My 2016 Resolution

(Inspired — I hope — by Jonathan Edwards and New Calvinist examples):

The Doug-Sowers rule now applies to VD, T. Any comment addressed to him will be deleted.

May the ghost of Ben Franklin be electrified.

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224 thoughts on “My 2016 Resolution

  1. John Staupitz (d. 1524), the vicar-general of the Augustinian Order for all Germany, one day asked the young Martin Luther: “Why are you so sad, brother Martin?” “Ah,” replied the young Luther, “I do not know what will become of me…It is vain that I make promises to God; sin is ever the stronger.”

    To this Staupitz replied:
    O my friend, more than a thousand times I have sworn to our holy God to live piously, and I have never kept my vows. Now I swear no longer, for I know that I cannot keep my solemn promises. If God will not be merciful towards me for the love of Christ, and grant me a happy departure when I must quit this world, I shall never, with the aid of all my vows and all my good works, stand before him. I must perish.

    Why do you torment yourself…? Look at the wounds of Jesus Christ, to the blood that he has shed for you; it is there that the grace of God will appear to you. Instead of torturing yourself on account of your sins, throw yourself into the Redeemer’s arms. Trust in him – in the righteousness of his life – in the atonenent of his death. Do not shrink back…Listen to the Son of God. He became man to give you the assurance of divine favor.

    (Cited by J.H. Merle D’ Aubigne, The Life and Times of Martin Luther (Reprint; Chicago: Moody, 1978) 37-8.)

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  2. Franklin, Sowers, Edwards as tagged names

    Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please remove your hats and stand and honour these three greats..

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  3. I second Robert’s question, and while we’re at it, another burning question: what’s up with the whole “tvd” vs. “vd, t” thing?

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  4. Rook,

    Wait – are you implying the gospel wasn’t hopelessly obscured by Rome in Luther’s time, and that if Luther had actually heeded and obeyed his confessor he might not have gone down the path he did? That cannot be right.

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  5. Cletus,

    But that’s what Luther did, trust in the righteousness of Jesus’ life and His atoning death. In THAT and not in his own trust.

    RC teaching on mortal sin means you’ve got to trust in your own ability to keep yourself out of mortal sin. If you’re actually trusting in Christ, there’s no possibility of mortal sin because Christ doesn’t fail to pray for or keep those whom He’s justified. He isn’t in heaven wasting his time praying for people whom He knows will fail and since He prays perfectly, none of His prayers ever failed to be answered.

    IOW, Jesus isn’t the great cosmic failure we get in non-Calvinistic systems.

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  6. CvD, it is a little more complicated than that. Staupitz died in 1524, and while he did not formally leave the RC Church, his works were put on the prohibited list.

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  7. Robert, he was the first commenter to take the free and easy manner of the OL commbox to an unhealthy and self-righteous (read theonomic) degree. After Doug, they broke the mold.

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  8. Robert,

    Staupitz held to mortal sin. He also held to what was cited above. They are not incompatible. If Luther had heeded his confessor’s advice, he could’ve remained RC.

    Dan,

    Scholarly Wikipedia: “Ultimately, Staupitz released Martin Luther from the Augustinian order, preserving the good name of the order while simultaneously giving Luther freedom to act. His connection with Luther’s views was now sealed, and in 1520 Pope Leo X demanded an abjuration and revocation of heresy from Staupitz. He refused to revoke, on the grounds that he had never asserted Luther’s heresies himself, but he did abjure and recognize the Pontiff as his judge. Staupitz was no Lutheran, but was thoroughly Catholic in matters of faith, especially as regards the freedom of the will, the meritoriousness of good works, and justification, which has been established by Paulus from the writings of Staupitz. However, Luther perceived his abjuration as a betrayal. In his last letter to Luther in 1524 Staupitz made it clear he was bitter about the direction of the Reformation and its seemingly willful destruction of the unity of the Christian Church. Staupitz also wrote theological works on the topics of predestination, faith, and love. In 1559, Pope Paul IV added these texts to the Index of Prohibited Books, seeing them as perhaps compromised by the friendly relations between Staupitz and Luther during Luther’s earlier years. Staupitz died in 1524 at St Peter’s Archabbey, Salzburg, where he had become a monk in 1522, rising quickly to the post of abbot.”

    Schaff:
    “He cared more for the inner spiritual life than outward forms and observances, and trusted in the merits of Christ rather than in good works of his own, as the solid ground of comfort and peace. The love of God and the imitation of Christ were the ruling ideas of his theology and piety. In his most popular book, On the Love of God,128 he describes that love as the inmost being of God, which makes everything lovely, and should make us love Him above all things; but this love man cannot learn from man, nor from the law which only brings us to a knowledge of sin, nor from the letter of the Scripture which kills, but from the Holy Spirit who reveals God’s love in Christ to our hearts and fills it with the holy flame of gratitude and consecration. “The law,” he says in substance, “makes known the disease, but cannot heal. But the spirit is hid beneath the letter; the old law is pregnant with Christ who gives us grace to love God above all things. To those who find the spirit and are led to Christ by the law, the Scriptures become a source of edification and comfort. The Jews saw and heard and handled Christ, but they had him not in their heart, and therefore they were doubly guilty. And so are those who carry Christ only on their lips. The chief thing is to have him in our heart. The knowledge of the Christian faith and the love to God are gifts of pure grace beyond our art and ability, and beyond our works and merits.”

    “But when Luther broke with Rome, and Rome with Luther, the friendship cooled down. Staupitz held fast to the unity of the Catholic Church and was intimidated and repelled by the excesses of the Reformation. In a letter of April 1, 1524, he begs Luther’s pardon for his long silence and significantly says in conclusion: “May Christ help us to live according to his gospel which now resounds in our ears and which many carry on their lips; for I see that countless persons abuse the gospel for the freedom of the flesh. Having been the precursor of the holy evangelical doctrine, I trust that my entreaties may have some effect upon thee.” The sermons which he preached at Salzburg since 1522 breathe the same spirit and urge Catholic orthodoxy and obedience. His last book, published after his death (1525) under the title, “Of the holy true Christian Faith,” is a virtual protest against Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone and a plea for a practical Christianity which shows itself in good works. He contrasts the two doctrines in these words: “The fools say, he who believes in Christ., needs no works; the Truth says, whosoever will be my disciple, let him follow Me; and whosoever will follow Me, let him deny himself and carry my cross day by day; and whosoever loves Me, keeps my commandments …. The evil spirit suggests to carnal Christians the doctrine that man is justified without works, and appeals to Paul. But Paul only excluded works of the law which proceed from fear and selfishness, while in all his epistles he commends as necessary to salvation such works as are done in obedience to God’s commandments, in faith and love. Christ fulfilled the taw, the fools would abolish the law; Paul praises the law as holy and good, the fools scold and abuse it as evil because they walk according to the flesh and have not the mind of the Spirit.”
    Staupitz withdrew from the conflict, resigned his position, 1520, left his order by papal dispensation, became abbot of the Benedictine Convent of St. Peter in Salzburg and died Dec. 28, 1524 in the bosom of the Catholic church which he never intended to leave.”

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  9. I have to say that, while I don’t disagree with the moderator’s decision to block comments to DVT (he does, after all own the blog site and can do whatever he likes [the web-space is a free country, so far anyway]), I did enjoy some of his retorts, caustic and inflammatory though they may have been. But then I tend to swallow a bitter pill every morning, myself…

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  10. CvD, tlm and I exchanged several posts a few months back re: the via moderna, and Luther’s roots in that developing school of thought. Staupitz is an exemplar of others who were headed in the same direction. But, as is indicated by putting his works on the Index, these trends were deemed heretical during and after Trent.

    But, as I have stated several times here I have no interest in re-litigating the Reformation at least along the lines that I see in most all internet com box battles.

    Schaff is dated, but he gets it.

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  11. Cletus,

    Staupitz held to mortal sin. He also held to what was cited above. They are not incompatible. If Luther had heeded his confessor’s advice, he could’ve remained RC.

    Yes they are incompatible. Mortal sin that can kill God’s power and grace doesn’t give you the God of the Bible. And it makes Jesus’ intercession pointless or ineffective or both.

    The question is rather simple: Does Jesus pray for all the justified? If the answer is yes, then all non-Calvinistic systems make Jesus’ intercession pointless. He’s either praying for people who won’t persevere and who He knows won’t persevere, or God hears the prayer for some and says no, or man’s free will really is stronger than the omnipotent God.

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  12. Got it Darryl.

    I, for one, and glad for the ban. TVD would be far less annoying if he were actually a practicing RC. Someone defending the RCC and practices the faith I can understand. Someone who claims to be impartial while lauding Rome as having the Spirit over Geneva and yet refusing to engage in the basics of RC piety or affirm what are the most obvious non-negotiables of the RC system I just don’t get.

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  13. Robert
    Posted January 4, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink
    Got it Darryl.

    I, for one, and glad for the ban. TVD would be far less annoying if he were actually a practicing RC. Someone defending the RCC and practices the faith I can understand. Someone who claims to be impartial while lauding Rome as having the Spirit over Geneva and yet refusing to engage in the basics of RC piety or affirm what are the most obvious non-negotiables of the RC system I just don’t get.>>>>>

    But Robert, that’s what made him fun and interesting. Man of mystery. I will miss him, but I do understand your frustration. He had a respect for you, though, straight-shooter, Robert.

    …and I can hear Brother Hart loading his comment canon and aiming it at the Mermaid as we speak…

    Why do we take any of this so seriously? It is comedy, not tragedy.

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  14. Robert, bingo. Like I always said, he was the religious version of the swinging bachelor telling all the marrieds how to do marriage. You’d think a married guy would get that. But he’s also a good example of cultural Christianity–religion is really only useful to build the polis, which should give the resident converts some pause about who’s in their corner, as well as the worldviewers (since he was so enamored with how Calvinism allegedly made America).

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  15. Dan, but you should know that what finally counts for James Young is what Avery Cardinal Dulles (or some member of the curia) says. He has the infallibility to speak on ehvry-thing.

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  16. DGH, thanks. I knew it was getting late the other night when my first thought when reading his post re Dulles and Oakley was that it made sense.

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  17. Zrim
    Posted January 4, 2016 at 8:10 pm | Permalink
    Robert, bingo. Like I always said, he was the religious version of the swinging bachelor telling all the marrieds how to do marriage. You’d think a married guy would get that. But he’s also a good example of cultural Christianity–religion is really only useful to build the polis, which should give the resident converts some pause about who’s in their corner, as well as the worldviewers (since he was so enamored with how Calvinism allegedly made America).>>>>>

    Well, you know, maybe he saw how empty Calvinism really is and didn’t like the underlying anti Catholic bigotry that drives it.

    I am shocked myself. If I had been here as an impartial observer, seeing how the Catholics handle themselves with grace and kindness – and I’m a new Catholic, so don’t think I’m talking about myself – I probably would have sided with anyone but the Calvinists.

    I am a recovering Protestant who was very interested in the WCF and the Doctrines of Grace for a long time – the TULIP. I accepted the Doctrines of Grace as the Gospel, but it really is a dead end. It is close, but not quite true. It promises assurance, but cannot deliver. No one can ever be sincere enough. There is always a fear that maybe my assurance is a false assurance.

    Besides, Tom is the only one who stood up to Brother Hart’s bullying. Tom is the only one who called you guys on your mistreatment of the Nice Catholic Ladies – especially Susan, and me as well. He even got called names by one of your Reformed women. How can that be?

    You really should not be taken seriously, you know.

    All that focus on the sins of the Catholic Church, and brushing off your own abusive tendencies as if they were nothing is not really a good sign.

    So, I am sorry to see Tom treated the way he has been. Yes, I understand your frustration, but maybe not in the way you guys do. You get angry when someone will not bow the knee to you. Tom never bowed, never submitted, never gave in to your bullying. He has more integrity than anyone here – except Susan who is a model of Christian kindness. Well, Kevin, too. Oh, and CvD is outstanding. So was the guy from Texas. I hope I didn’t forget any of the Catholics. Well, Dan is a great guy as well. Me, sometimes, but not so much.

    And, you know, Brother Hart, why you did what you did with his initials. It was a dirty trick. You are not kidding me.

    I do appreciate some who commented, but in general, I’d say you guys are the ones who need to grow up.

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  18. Ariel, you seem angry and perpetually so. For all the vitriol against liberalism you sure like to use the playbook with loaded and emotional appeals to bigotry, offense, mistreatment, abuse, scandal, virtue. I don’t know how one gets so huffy from my remark to Robert. Disagree, ok, but breathless? I worry for your health, because it sure seems like frequenting this corner of blogdom raises your BP for no real good reason. Maybe it’s part of this recovery mode you say you’re in? But it’s supposed to be a bit of fun is all, so if you don’t want to take some of us seriously, ok, but do you think that matters much to those of us who don’t take ourselves as seriously as our ideas? It’s when some take themselves oh so seriously that the fun gets sucked right out.

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  19. Darryl,

    In the post where tvd mentioned Dulles, we werent talking about Oakleys specialization. Dulles is a scholar. So is Oakley. Dulles gets a squirrel shrug from you. Oakley doesnt. Yet if someone doesnt think Oakleys the bees knees or perfect, it obviously entails they are unTHINKing, bigoted, ignorant, biased, or whatever fun term enters your mind. Its cool.

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  20. DG-

    Re: Tom.

    How would you have run things in Geneva? 2k all the way?

    Granted a blog’s not a city, but one of the very rare things about this blog was it allowed quite strong differences in views to coexist and benefit from interaction, which I took to be a demonstration-in-miniature of proper free discourse in the secular realm according to your principles.

    I’ve no problem with proper censorship, but in the context of the discourse you permit, seems to me he was in no way to-be-censured.

    In any case, the blog is the less interesting for it.

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  21. Mermaid, “It promises assurance, but cannot deliver.”

    Christ can’t deliver? Who are you?

    “Tom never bowed, never submitted”

    Exactly. He didn’t kiss the ring of the pope either.

    Or maybe he was really on you team but was too embarrassed to admit his “personal” loyalties.

    But if you can get Jesus so wrong, I guess we need to let you do the same with vd, t.

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  22. James Young, yes, there goes the intellectual equivalence. Both are scholars so Dulles knows as much about the period of papal supremacy’s origins as Oakley.

    Plus, one is a member of the magisterium and finally that’s what matters, right? You only think what the church tells you to think — the blankie.

    I know it’s a caricature, but you have invited it by painting yourself into the corner of no knowledge without infallibility. And the emotional Catholic ladies back you up. Boy, that looks intellectually appealing.

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  23. Kevin, sure, 2k all the way.

    I don’t agree about vd, t. And he was grading you every time you wrote something, I’m not sure you’d find it all that interesting. It went on for almost three years. He refused to ever concede I had a point about anything other than racial intermarriage in Brazil.

    You do know that he has been banned at a couple other blogs where he was a blogger even, right?

    As I watched this situation unfold (mostly from the position of a lurker and LoOG reader pre TVD), I was reminded of a workplace situation that was quite similar which took a little over a year to resolve. The similarities are striking even though we are dealing with completely different venues. It is not surprising that it took as long as it did for the LoOG editors to come to the conclusion that the toxicity of TVD’s writing was indeed an issue they were no longer willing to support on their site. They really needed to come to a consensus in this sort of situation.
    I had seen TVD’s interactions on other blogs and I was genuinely disappointed when he became involved as a FPer at the League. I have long suspected that his tenure here would not last. My first reaction admittedly was “finally they figured out what appeared so obvious,” but then I recognized that in everything there is a process, there are more people involved with goals and ideas unlike my own who may put particular weight on issues I do not and I get why this may have been particularly hard for LoOG as a group.

    I’m not writing here to send an “I told you so” message as tempting as it would be, I would like to thank the LoOG for making what was obviously a hard decision and to offer my support in that I believe it was the right decision and my appreciation in that they were purposely thoughtful in making this decision.

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  24. TLM,

    He had a respect for you, though, straight-shooter, Robert.

    I know. And I tried to engage respectfully. Probably failing at times. That’s for those with better memories to judge.

    But just so you know, as much as I disagree with you, CVD, Susan, Kevin in Newark, and the other RCs who post here, I respect the fact that you practice your faith and try and take it seriously. Nominalism on either side has never made sense to me.

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  25. I suspect TVD is agnostic. That would make sense of his claim that he defends Mormons and such. In fact, from that statement, I assumed that he had no more allegiance to Romanism than Mormonism.

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  26. Joel, my own view is that TVD wanted to get everyone who professed to believe in any allegiance to a Supreme Being on side for the coming Culture War Armageddon. I have seen that movie before in my Baptist world.

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  27. Dan, that would explain defenses of Barton and denunciations of Palin’s critics.

    And the “nice” “catholic” “ladies” think this vindicates infallibility.

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  28. Joel: I suspect TVD is agnostic

    sorta wondered; anyway, I think we should just go ahead and admit we all love tvd ,aka vd,t recently DVT, and pray the Lord would save Him if He hasn’t already.

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  29. Robert,

    “Mortal sin that can kill God’s power and grace doesn’t give you the God of the Bible.”

    That’s odd considering the Bible mentions sins that can separate believers from Him. But I guess all non-Calvinists are idolaters. Be sure to let the Lutherans know when you take communion from them.

    “And it makes Jesus’ intercession pointless or ineffective or both.”

    So when you sin in sanctification, did Jesus pray that you wouldn’t sin, or did He pray that you would sin? In that moment of sin, were you given grace that you resisted instead of cooperating with, or were you not given grace at all, or were you given some different type of inferior grace that was intended to fail?

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  30. Robert
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink
    TLM,

    He had a respect for you, though, straight-shooter, Robert.

    I know. And I tried to engage respectfully. Probably failing at times. That’s for those with better memories to judge.

    But just so you know, as much as I disagree with you, CVD, Susan, Kevin in Newark, and the other RCs who post here, I respect the fact that you practice your faith and try and take it seriously. Nominalism on either side has never made sense to me.>>>>

    Aw, you are so sweet. It was nice to talk to you, too, Robert. You are always a gentleman. Yes. I agree. 🙂 I just got really fixated on the bats and cows. I don’t get logic very well. Not your fault. Whatever all that meant, I know it doesn’t mean you are without true faith in Christ. It can’t mean that.

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  31. Jesus prayer is always effective. Jn.18:9, “That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.”

    Jesus doesn’t pray for everybody. Jn.17:9, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me.”

    If “Father forgive them, Lk.23:34, could possibly be nullified, then no one has hope in God’s mercy. Then we’d have the Muslim god.

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  32. I read your comments about Tom, and I wonder. You don’t know him, yet you judge him.

    Whatever his personal faith is, he seems 100% committed. Just because he refused to talk about his personal beliefs doesn’t mean he doesn’t have them. That is a fallacious line of argumentation. You really don’t know.

    I don’t detect nominalism at all.

    I don’t detect agnosticism at all.

    I don’t detect a desire to argue just for the sake of arguing at all. Every word he said has a point. No one refuted him, ever. Brother Hart did all he could to slime him. Why is that? Maybe he exposed Brother Hart for what he is.

    Brother Hart, for all his knowledge, does not make well thought out arguments – ever.

    What do I suspect about Brother Hart? Well, I would say he is nihilistic. He mocks everyone’s faith all the time. Nothing in this world is real or has meaning for him. Is it possible for a person to be a Christian nihilist?

    I think that Tom has his number. That is why Dr. Hart feels threatened by him. Besides, Tom was the only really interesting thing going on here. Without him, y’all can get back to your regularly scheduled, dreadfully boring disagreements with one another – because that is what Protestants do. If it’s not with the Papists, it is with the Pietists. If it’s not with the Pietists, it’s with the Arminians. If it’s not with the Arminians, it’s with the neo-Calvinists and the Charismatics and the Episcopalians and the list goes on and on.

    So, who are the ones who like to pick fights again? Not Tom. He tried to intervene when y’all got nasty. It worked sometimes.

    I think Brother Hart didn’t like it that everyone wanted to talk to Tom and not him.

    ni·hil·ism
    ˈnīəˌlizəm,ˈnēəˌlizəm/Submit
    noun
    the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.
    synonyms: skepticism, negativity, cynicism, pessimism; More
    PHILOSOPHY
    extreme skepticism maintaining that nothing in the world has a real existence.

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  33. Clete,
    You are to cry for.
    No, don’t listen to Jesus. Question the accuracy of his words in the text. That’s not what your bishop will say, is it?

    Do you want an imprimatur on the words? Will the New Jerusalem Bible do? “34 Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.’ Then they cast lots to share out his clothing.”

    Or would you prefer the Douay-Rheims? “34 And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But they, dividing his garments, cast lots.”

    How about the Vulgate? “34 Iesus autem dicebat Pater dimitte illis non enim sciunt quid faciunt dividentes vero vestimenta eius miserunt sortes.”

    You are mixed up as to what Christ’s intercession is all about. Where in the Bible does Jesus promise to pray for me not to sin right this very minute?… or now?… or right…now? Does he ever promise to pray I will not sin in something or other?

    Why would Jesus be praying such a thing anyway? Who would he be asking that help of? His Father? Mary? Jesus IS God. All power in heaven and earth belongs to him. He does with me what he wills.

    If my God and Savior wills to prevent greater sin in me, I will certainly be restrained by his almighty power. If he wills to permit my greater sinning, it will spew forth from my own as-yet imperfect character. Sin is subverted against the purposes of unbelief, Gen.50:20, and forced to serve the glory of God, Ps.76:10.

    I don’t entirely know why he leaves me in this world, where I keep sinning. But the reality of it teaches me how great is my sin and condemnation, how desperate is my condition apart from my Lord, but that where sin abounds grace the more abounds. I sin all the time, and even my righteous deeds are worse than unmentionable, considered in themselves. My only comfort in life or in death is that I belong, body and soul, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

    Do I ever not sin? It is God who works in me both to will and to do of his good pleasure, Php.2:13. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing,” Rom.7:18. So, I am posse non pecare in this third estate, but not to my credit. Christ gets the credit for anything good in me, for he put it there himself, and drew it out of me, with nothing from me but ineffectual, infantile yearnings. Only, his strength is made perfect in my weakness, 2Cor.12:9.

    Perhaps my sin will drive you to Christ, in spite of my vain-glory or the devil’s schemes.

    Perhaps my sin will confirm your proud and obstinate heart in your current ways, to continue (for now) resisting the Holy Spirit; as your priests did, so do you.

    Either way, you need a Mediator who intercedes before the Father for you. Intercession is about forgiveness, not about intervention.

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  34. Clete,

    That’s odd considering the Bible mentions sins that can separate believers from Him.

    The Bible mentions sin, but assures that all who are justified will persevere. Rom. 8:29–30.

    But I guess all non-Calvinists are idolaters. Be sure to let the Lutherans know when you take communion from them.

    We’re all guilty of idolatry somewhere, even Calvinists. Every sin is an act of idolatry. Thank God for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.

    So when you sin in sanctification, did Jesus pray that you wouldn’t sin, or did He pray that you would sin?

    Maybe at that specific point He didn’t pray for that specific thing at all. Or maybe He prayed that the sin He knew I would commit would bring Him glory and further my sanctification. Or maybe something else. The point of intercession, as Bruce indicates, is primarily forgiveness. If Jesus is praying for someone, that person will persevere. Jesus prays perfectly. He doesn’t pray for those whom He doesn’t want to save.

    In that moment of sin, were you given grace that you resisted instead of cooperating with, or were you not given grace at all, or were you given some different type of inferior grace that was intended to fail?

    If according to His perfect will/hidden will/consequent will (they’re all essentially talking about the same thing) God does not want me to sin, I won’t sin. If according to that same will He has willed to permit me to sin, I will sin. Either way, God will remain blameless.

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  35. Hi mermaid. I don’t mind diversion from the evening news to respond.

    I want to say that my own comment about tvd potentially being an agnostic, was based primarily on recalling his oft spoken theological complaint re: unconditional election -just an opinion, but it seemed he may have known it true, but rejected God about it – my opinion – God knows and that’s what matters.

    Anyway a couple others things ….
    1) I think we probably would agree the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these; that to say, I’m not sure about the emphasis of your ‘interesting’/’boring’ paradigm – I prefer the Lord’s paradigms.

    You’ve mentioned before appreciating ACE posts, so did you see today’s post here?: http://www.reformation21.org/articles/conformity-to-jesus-as-the-paradigm-for-christian-ethics-3.php
    I thought it was exceptional – in clarity and truth- that we believers need to hear more constantly, but which seems we don’t, particularly this: ..“Why is it so important to emphasize, as the Heidelberg Catechism does, and as the New Testament does, a Christocentric ethic? Because our primary calling is not to show the world that we are very moral people – very good people – zealous for the glory of God. Our primary calling is not to show that we have kept the law as well as can be humanly expected and that we expect others to do the same. Our primary calling is to reflect Jesus Christ and the work he has done and is doing, in love, for sinful people such as ourselves.”..” the Heidelberg Catechism suggests, and the New Testament teaches, that our primary calling is to do this in a way that preserves our fundamental obligation to be conformed to Christ.”

    2)It is commendable your defense of tvd, but it does not seem very credible that you never thought he could use any correction -never once from you? That to say too, it has never been boring here – but very instructive about many things and I wish I had had some of this type material when I was always struggling to find topics for my college psychology papers.

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  36. Mermaid, so why did vd, t think it was inevitable?

    Or why has vd, t been barred from comments at other blogs (even though he is still free to make them here?

    As I watched this situation unfold (mostly from the position of a lurker and LoOG reader pre TVD), I was reminded of a workplace situation that was quite similar which took a little over a year to resolve. The similarities are striking even though we are dealing with completely different venues. It is not surprising that it took as long as it did for the LoOG editors to come to the conclusion that the toxicity of TVD’s writing was indeed an issue they were no longer willing to support on their site. They really needed to come to a consensus in this sort of situation.
    I had seen TVD’s interactions on other blogs and I was genuinely disappointed when he became involved as a FPer at the League. I have long suspected that his tenure here would not last. My first reaction admittedly was “finally they figured out what appeared so obvious,” but then I recognized that in everything there is a process, there are more people involved with goals and ideas unlike my own who may put particular weight on issues I do not and I get why this may have been particularly hard for LoOG as a group.

    I’m not writing here to send an “I told you so” message as tempting as it would be, I would like to thank the LoOG for making what was obviously a hard decision and to offer my support in that I believe it was the right decision and my appreciation in that they were purposely thoughtful in making this decision.

    I think I understand. Difficult questions are never well thought out for you.

    Like

  37. I like Tom for the fact that he was howling funny (as funny as DGH), super intelligent, and defended women when they were being drubbed and needed defending.

    I’m quite certain he’s a practicing Catholic, too. His defense of Mormons was a defense on principle.

    Like

  38. NOoN: “defended women when they were being drubbed and needed defending.”

    But TVD always said the nice Catholic ladies had thoroughly drubbed dgh. Why did they need defending?

    Susan and TLM hardly strike me as damsels in distress.

    Like

  39. Dan, it does seem that over time vd, t became the umpire of comments. He thought his calling was to tally up winners and losers. I certainly know in which column he placed mmmmeeeeEEEE.

    Like

  40. Dan,

    Distress? More like they were on the offense, trolling for converts and affirming their decision to swim the smelly Tiber. But worthy of honor and special care all the same.

    Like

  41. Zrim
    Posted January 4, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Permalink
    Ariel, you seem angry and perpetually so.>>>>

    Me, angry? Are you reading people’s spirits again? 😉

    Zrim:
    For all the vitriol against liberalism you sure like to use the playbook with loaded and emotional appeals to bigotry, offense, mistreatment, abuse, scandal, virtue. I don’t know how one gets so huffy from my remark to Robert. Disagree, ok, but breathless? I worry for your health, because it sure seems like frequenting this corner of blogdom raises your BP for no real good reason.>>>>>

    Breathless, maybe. I have asthma, which is why playing the oboe was both difficult and in a way, therapeutic. I had to purchase an oboe that blows quite freely in order to keep playing. Or rather, to return to playing.

    I am much better than I was say 10 years ago. So much better that I can play the d’amore – a larger instrument which takes more air to fill – without too much pain in my lungs. I have to use a soft reed, though, which makes keeping on pitch in all registers a bit challenging. It took some getting used to.

    So, breathless, yes. As for my writing style, you are free to take it or leave it. Just keep scrolling. Don’t feel threatened by it, though. I am quite harmless. My BP is just fine. Sometimes I worry about Brother Hart’s, though.

    Zrim:
    Maybe it’s part of this recovery mode you say you’re in?>>>>

    Oh, come on. Now who is taking things too seriously? I do have a sense of humor, you know. I think it’s funny to say I am a recovering Protestant. Don’t take it personally, man.

    Zrim:
    But it’s supposed to be a bit of fun is all, so if you don’t want to take some of us seriously, ok, but do you think that matters much to those of us who don’t take ourselves as seriously as our ideas? It’s when some take themselves oh so seriously that the fun gets sucked right out.>>>>>

    Well, Tom was a lot of fun around here, and quite serious. He did not tolerate bullying. That is never funny. You know how you guys can be. You get mean and nasty, and that’s not funny. Then you talk about how saved you are.

    It just doesn’t quite add up.

    Tom can post, but no one can talk to him. Like that’s not weird and immature or anything. Why can’t we talk to Tom if we want to? Our comments will be removed if we talk to Tom?

    So, we can talk about Tom, but not to Tom? Okay, then. 3rd person is okay, but not 2nd person? Creepy. If he posts something, is it okay to talk in 3rd person as if he were not here? I mean, we can’t talk to him directly? Can we talk to him indirectly? Will that get the comment deleted?

    Like, does the rule apply to Brother Hart as well? I mean, if he breaks his own rule and talks to Tom, does he have to delete his own comment?

    Help me out , here?

    Just ban him outright. Maybe Brother Hart knows how much his blog depends on Tom’s presence. Maybe he needs Tom to make this place fun and interesting. Otherwise all we got here is some incomprehensible Calvinistic gobbledy gook about how saved Jesus is – or whatever it is they are trying to prove by an appeal to Christ’s righteousness.

    I have noticed, too, that this is the post with the most comments in the last few days. Even when Tom is not here, he drives the conversation. Who will do that now?

    Like

  42. To the tune of Juke Box Hero:

    Sitting at the desk, with his head hung low
    Couldn’t get a reply, it was a ban so you know
    Read the roar of the crowd, he could picture the scene
    Put his ear to the monitor, then like a distant scream
    He read one reply, just blew him away
    He saw stars in his eyes, and the very next day

    Found a beat up blog, through the interweb door
    Didn’t know how to play it, but he knew for sure
    That one reply, felt good for his demands, didn’t take long, to understand
    Just one reply, on the page way down low
    Was a one way ticket, only one way to go
    So he started commentin’, ain’t never gonna stop
    Gotta keep on commentin’, someday gonna make it to the top

    And be a commbox hero, (got stars in his eyes) he’s a commbox hero
    He took one reply (commbox hero stars in his eyes)
    commbox hero, (stars in his eyes) he’ll come alive tonight

    In a town without a name, in a heavy downpour
    Thought he passed his own shadow, by the back page door
    Like a trip through the past, to that day in the rain
    And that reply, made his whole life change
    Now he needs to keep on commentin’, he just can’t stop
    Gotta keep on commentin’, that boy has got to stay on top

    And be a commbox hero, got stars in his eyes
    He’s a commbox hero, got stars in his eyes
    Yeah, commbox hero, stars in his eyes
    With that one reply (stars in his eyes)
    He’ll come alive, come alive tonight, woah

    ———
    Joking aside, I’m still amazed at how so many are able to find so much free time to interact online.

    Like

  43. @tlm
    I always thought the Volokh gang put it nicely in their comment policy:

    …We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we’d rather you went elsewhere…

    Going on to someone’s blog and complaining about how they run it is akin to going to someone’s open house uninvited and complaining about the food. If you don’t like it here, don’t comment. No one knows who you are and no one is going to follow you over to other sites to keep up the conversation (at least I would hope not…if they did *that* would be creepy).

    So it seems to me that the blogmaster should be free to run his blog however he wants. If he wants to ban someone he finds annoying (say me for too many windy posts), fine. I can always start my own blog about the relative merits of trad-RC and SS-RP epistemology. I’m sure the other six people in the world who care would eventually find it and we could go in circles ad infinitum…

    I enjoy the banter and general free for all that is the comment threads here, but trolls can really disrupt that. When they do, I’m glad they get the hook.

    Like

  44. “Maybe Brother Hart knows how much his blog depends on Tom’s presence.”

    Nope. I come here to get rid of the New Life instilled in me. Comments are poop to me. Not to say that I don’t read something interesting in the commbox, but I don’t expect anything profound written.

    Whatever.

    Like

  45. Well, Tom was a lot of fun around here, and quite serious. He did not tolerate bullying. That is never funny. You know how you guys can be. You get mean and nasty, and that’s not funny. Then you talk about how saved you are.

    Ariel, you’re thinking of the pietists who go on about their savedness, it’s the OLers who give that kind of thing grief. But some of us pre-date both you and Tom in this place. I watched Tom join years ago. He started off well enough perhaps but when he didn’t receive the plaudits he wanted but instead honest push back went rogue and hung on like the proverbial dog with a bone. Everything you accuse OLers of doing Tom did as well. And oh, come on, he loved to spin certain things into bullying because it gave him the chance to put on his cape and play hero and take cheap shots. Anyone not addled with naivete could see that.

    I’m not sure he was ever much fun, though he may have been a good example of “for a guy who seems smart, he sure can be duuuuuumb.”

    Like

  46. DG-

    I don’t agree about vd, t. And he was grading you every time you wrote something, I’m not sure you’d find it all that interesting. It went on for almost three years. He refused to ever concede I had a point about anything other than racial intermarriage in Brazil.

    I take it he thinks you’re more interested in framing debates so that the Catholic position looks bad rather than maintaining free discourse. ‘Interrupting the principled discussion at your own blog’ was how he put it recently.

    You could defend it in the name of saving souls from the CC; but I don’t think this would be adequate given our duty of charity to one another. Within the context of the aggressive tone around here you encourage, I don’t see his comments as having been uncharitable.

    You employ cleverness in rhetoric (a praiseworthy skill, used rightly) and he consistently addressed you in a way that recognized this. Take it as a compliment.

    I did find the “grading” to be at times vexing (and at times useful), and encountered it 1% as often as you. I wouldn’t blame you for banning him on those grounds (usurpation?), am just pointing out it seems inconsistent with your stated principles and, more importantly, what makes this blog interesting.

    Like

  47. DG Hart: even though he is still free to make them (comments) here?
    Kevin: I wouldn’t blame you for banning him on those grounds

    He is not banned, is he?
    even though, of course, he is singly called out (by Bob S.) as the culprit here – Prov 13: 20

    Like

  48. D.G. Hart
    :I think I understand. Difficult questions are never well thought out for you.>>>>

    Ask me a difficult question, then. Abuse? Read your Bible. Full of examples of human beings failing and doing all kinds of horrible things.

    They did not make God fallible. They did not make His Word fail. They did not destroy His purposes in redemption.

    Those who sinned paid, and paid dearly. They should have a millstone hung around their necks and drowned in the depths of the sea. I have actually said that before.

    Now how about answering a hard question. Exegete Ephesians 4. What does it mean? No, not what does it mean to you and your denomination. What does it mean? What did it mean before the Protestant Reformation?

    Like

  49. Mermaid,

    Breathless, maybe. I have asthma, which is why playing the oboe was both difficult and in a way, therapeutic. I had to purchase an oboe that blows quite freely in order to keep playing. Or rather, to return to playing.

    I am much better than I was say 10 years ago. So much better that I can play the d’amore – a larger instrument which takes more air to fill – without too much pain in my lungs. I have to use a soft reed, though, which makes keeping on pitch in all registers a bit challenging. It took some getting used to.

    tmi

    Like

  50. Mermaid, “Otherwise all we got here is some incomprehensible Calvinistic gobbledy gook about how saved Jesus is – or whatever it is they are trying to prove by an appeal to Christ’s righteousness.”

    From the person who spent so much time studying the Westminster Confession.

    Why are you so mean? Remember, you’re Roman Catholic. You’re superior. Act like it.

    Like

  51. b, sd, from what I can tell, vd, t is bothered nary a bit by all this. If you look at his Twitter feed, it’s all Republican politics all the time. Think Matt Drudge.

    Like

  52. Kevin, I didn’t ban vd, t. He is free to comment. Doug Sowers continued to comment for a time. So did others to whom I applied the rule. Maybe vd, t wanted the attention more than he wanted to enlighten.

    On the point of making Roman Catholicism look bad, look, I call to attention things that are widely available in the Roman Catholic web presence. If those things make Rome look bad, is that my fault? And in case you didn’t notice, those bad parts never receive attention from the apologists and cheerleaders (like Bryan and the Jasons). So making Protestants aware of how skewed the defense of Rome is doesn’t seem necessarily mean.

    Why couldn’t it lead Roman Catholics to pot down the hype?

    Like

  53. Mermaid, maybe if you actually spoke less cartoonishly you’d be worthy of a conversation. The upside is that you make up for the lack of entertainment with vd, t.

    Those who sinned paid dearly? Are you kidding? Cardinal Law received the golden parachute of archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Try getting your facts straight.

    Try also going back to your epistemology point. If an infallible bishop identifies truth so that you avoid skepticism, what happens when that bishop identifies a wayward priest and then lies about it? How do you know the infallible bishop wasn’t lying when he identified the doctrinal truth?

    In other words, if you’re going to depend so heavily on the bishops for you knowledge of anything, you are in no position to judge when bishops err or sin.

    This is really elementary stuff that all of your wheezing and chest thumping ignores on the way to the victory parade.

    Grow up.

    Like

  54. Kevin, I didn’t ban vd, t. He is free to comment. Doug Sowers continued to comment for a time. So did others to whom I applied the rule.

    Well right, but that’s a part of what’s odd here (as TLM points out). The “Sowers Rule” is something a child would come up with in the schoolyard to bully another – childish, not childlike. I am sure this will come off as priggish: if that’s granted, there are implications in moral psychology.

    Ban him if you believe he harms the blog – that would be much more straightforward, and to my mind justifiable.

    Maybe vd, t wanted the attention more than he wanted to enlighten.
    Maybe, although I didn’t get that sense at all.

    On the point of making Roman Catholicism look bad, look, I call to attention things that are widely available in the Roman Catholic web presence. If those things make Rome look bad, is that my fault? And in case you didn’t notice, those bad parts never receive attention from the apologists and cheerleaders (like Bryan and the Jasons). So making Protestants aware of how skewed the defense of Rome is doesn’t seem necessarily mean.

    I mostly agree (I really have very little familiarity with the writings of “Bryan and the Jasons” and CTC).

    Note that I said that this was my interpretation of Tom’s interpretation of what you’re doing. That’s pretty removed from anything hard and factual. I freely admit I don’t know what you’re about much of the time, but try to presume the best.

    Why couldn’t it lead Roman Catholics to pot down the hype?
    Perhaps it can, and perhaps that would lead to a more genuine engagement for all involved. Some come for your posts, some to read and reflect, some to engage in discussion which for various reasons is of significant importance to them (whether seeking a focus group, simply working out their own thoughts, finding companionship with the like-minded, or in some cases spreading the faith as they see it).

    But to reach that goal, people need to be heard (specifically the Catholics- so that you and others can respond to them), and to be heard, they often need to be stimulated to speak. Tom did a good job in that department.

    I’m sure he has other things to do with his life, and this just a blog, and yours at that. Worthwhile thinking goes on here, though- I just hate to see changes which may diminish that.

    Like

  55. Bruce,

    I don’t deny the authenticity of Luke 23:34. I was simply noting the irony of your appeal to it given Protestant principles and claims.

    “Where in the Bible does Jesus promise to pray for me not to sin right this very minute?”

    Okay, so Jesus doesn’t pray for you not to sin when you do sin. Where in the Bible does Jesus promise believers cannot reject Him or walk away?

    “Why would Jesus be praying such a thing anyway? ”

    Okay, so when you don’t sin, that wasn’t due to Jesus praying for it.

    “If he wills to permit my greater sinning, it will spew forth from my own as-yet imperfect character.”

    You mean if He wills to determine your greater sinning, it will spew forth from your divinely determined imperfect character.

    “I sin all the time, and even my righteous deeds are worse than unmentionable”

    These haven’t been asterisked (yet): “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him… No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”

    Robert,

    “We’re all guilty of idolatry somewhere, even Calvinists. Every sin is an act of idolatry.”

    Do Lutherans and other non-Calvinists who affirm mortal sin worship the God of the Bible?

    “Or maybe something else. ”

    I thought Jesus prays for all the justified. Does he only “kind of” pray for them?

    “The point of intercession, as Bruce indicates, is primarily forgiveness. If Jesus is praying for someone, that person will persevere”

    So apparently perseverance equates to forgiveness.

    “Jesus prays perfectly.”

    So there’s no “maybe” about it. When you sin, Jesus didn’t pray for it, or he prayed for you to sin.

    “God does not want me to sin, I won’t sin. If according to that same will He has willed to permit me to sin, I will sin. ”

    Okay, so God doesn’t give you grace that you resisted when you sin.

    Like

  56. Mermaid: whatever it is they are trying to prove by an appeal to Christ’s righteousness.
    Mermaid: Exegete Ephesians 4.

    For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. Rom 10:3

    Please quit talking about unity where it is not possible. Eph 4: ….15 Instead, speaking the truth in love……

    Like

  57. Clete: just to confirm – in no way in this discussion, is anyone talking about anyone sinning by blaming God about anything, right? (Job 1:22); And would be interested in your own thought about Jesus’s own thought and way here:
    Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

    Like

  58. Walton –

    Kevin, the rhetoric on OL about the RCC is not rehashing the classic debates (though that does happen some, and I like following that too), but just looking for more honesty and less triumphalism.

    Fine, but I’d submit that’s not a worthwhile final goal (i.e., what do you do with good-faith interlocutors) – seeking the truth is, through principled discourse.

    I’m not by any means implying that doesn’t happen here – despite all the baggage everyone carries (500+ years worth), the real and not-to-be-diminished differences which divide those present, and the great (eschatological, if you like) importance of those differences. That’s a sign of a worthwhile blog.

    I’ve learnt plenty, and intend to stick around at least a little while longer, contingent on my being welcome. The moderator has of course the power and authority to do as he likes, but if my comments start getting deleted as a result of a childish rule, that would be a sign I’m not welcome.

    Ali- granted, but see my note to DG.

    Like

  59. KiN: Well right, but that’s a part of what’s odd here (as TLM points out). The “Sowers Rule” is something a child would come up with in the schoolyard to bully another – childish, not childlike. I am sure this will come off as priggish: if that’s granted, there are implications in moral psychology.

    Ban him if you believe he harms the blog – that would be much more straightforward, and to my mind justifiable

    I actually disagree here. Banning outright would mean “…and don’t come back.”

    Lowering the Sowers boom means, “Your behavior is trollish, and I am going to cut off your ability to troll, while leaving you free to make more substantive comments.”

    It also allows TVD to change his ways and have the rule lifted.

    So while saying nothing either way about whether the sanction was justified, I do think it is a sophisticated way of maintaining the “comments are open” philosophy while keeping a single individual from dominating the entire site. And, it is a way to do so without fully and finally rejecting that individual.

    Like

  60. I want to take a moment to praise one of our more determined loyal opposition colleagues, Mark McCulley. It is clear that McMark does not agree with one of the fundamental premises of Reformed Theology — namely, the unity of the covenant of grace in terms of continuity from Gen 3 up through Abraham up through Christ.

    Nevertheless, he finds ways to make his points in a manner that is both substantive and respectful. Cheers to you, Mark. I don’t engage with you as much as you deserve, but I always read what you write.

    Like

  61. Jeff – I’ll second that complement. There is so much depth, richness, and volume of sources to MM’s comments and replies that I often have a hard time following and have to read through several times to get his point. But it’s always there and is relevant to the thread subject.

    Like

  62. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 6, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink
    Mermaid,

    Breathless, maybe. I have asthma, which is why playing the oboe was both difficult and in a way, therapeutic. I had to purchase an oboe that blows quite freely in order to keep playing. Or rather, to return to playing.

    I am much better than I was say 10 years ago. So much better that I can play the d’amore – a larger instrument which takes more air to fill – without too much pain in my lungs. I have to use a soft reed, though, which makes keeping on pitch in all registers a bit challenging. It took some getting used to.

    tmi>>>>

    See, Zrim was concerned about my health. I wanted to assure him that my asthma is under control. Playing oboe is part of my therapy. It helps my lungs.

    Now, 10 years ago, I would have had a hard time saying that.

    Like

  63. Jeff-

    I think it depends on how the blog format is viewed, and how a specific blog chooses to conduct itself.

    I’ve always imagined it as being like a living room which the moderator has invited us into for free discussion. In this scenario, the rule seems to me out of place. I can imagine asking someone to leave, but not for no one else to speak to them.

    If it is more like a journal, then the editor can certainly filter correspondence.

    In either case, I acknowledge the moderator has the duty to direct discussion and to maintain standards of civility (which will vary from blog to blog).

    I see greater value provided in the living room model. The accessibility provides greater value to the greater number (academics testing ideas, spiritual seekers, the evangelically-motivated, intelligent people with a bit of free time to discuss something of interest as their schedule allows) – through this inclusiveness, the blog becomes a better image of the scope of opinion.

    Of course only so many people fit in a living room – blogs can be overwhelmed with comments and become useless for reasoned discussion- but the number of participants here is low, and I think the blog benefits for that.

    I don’t see the rule as sophisticated maintenance of a “comments are open philosophy” – it closes off comments created by those who wish to interact in a civil manner with participants who have been subjected to sanctions.

    But it’s not my blog and I’d really rather be discussing, should you have adequate interest and time to respond, the issues I posed questions on at https://oldlife.org/2015/12/spotting-the-difference/comment-page-6/

    Like

  64. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 6, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink
    Kevin, I didn’t ban vd, t. He is free to comment. >>>>

    What you did, Brother Hart, was put him in the middle of the class with a dunce hat on. The kids can’t talk to him, but all are free to talk about him.

    What are you afraid of? If I remember right, your only responses to him had to do with his hair, his music – which is outstanding – and your dirty little trick played with his name. Oh, and you started the whole “butch” thing. Remember?

    So, IOW, you have no arguments to refute anything he said. That seems to have frustrated him. He seems to have expected better of you. He seemed to think you would be a more worthy opponent. He seemed to try to get you to engage. You don’t seem to be able to. Why is that?

    You sit in your ivory tower and throw comment bombs at everyone you think is beneath you.

    You never really enter the discussion.

    You could start right now by explaining where the OPC fits in the “onsies” of Ephesians 4.

    Like

  65. Mermaid, “your only responses to him had to do with his hair, his music”

    reading comprehension alert

    or

    #yourbiasmatters

    I’ll explain the OPC when you explain your dependence on bishops for knowledge — when they err. But you don’t know if they err unless they identify error as error.

    Do you see the dilemma yet?

    Like

  66. MWF,

    All the things you said above about how Tom was treated, and how we are treated, is a good reason to stop commenting here. I find myself holding my breath as I read Darryl and Kevin’s conversation, afraid that Darryl is going to resort to humiliation.

    I’m pretty sure I was hit with a “papist” brick pretty near the first couple of times I began to comment. Darryl, didn’t try to stop it. I should have stayed away at that time, but I’m pretty bill headed. Later, I came to care about the people even considering them far away friends( maybe Tom is right and I do have stockholm syndrome). And I always cared about discussing theology with seriousnes, believing that in spite of our differences, the mutual acquisition of truth is possible.

    Tom intially tried to get others to engage with the information about the epistemological problems recognised by women who knew Thomas More as against the fideism of Tyndale( I believe I’m correct; it’s been awhile since I read it) that he brought to the discussion table. No one really engaged with it, even though it’s substantive and was very important to the discussion. Tom was the only person who recognized the difficulty posed and he treated my voice with respect; something I needed after all the unkindnesses I suffered by people who attacked my person rather than my argument.

    Everyone provokes the other here, which isn’t unual in the reformed blogosphere. (I was just reading some older comments at greenbaggins and sure enough dersion was directed( and approvingly so) at the “Romanists” who comment there too.)

    Too much liquidation of persons for my taste. Too much rudeness and mockery, and lack of care for lack of care. You derided Tom while he was here and You still do it when he’s gone. We’ve all said mean things to each other, why pick on Tom as if he’s the worse offender?
    We all can say and do terrible unjustess to each other but we really only estroy ourselves in the process.

    Like

  67. Be upfront, tell him. Ask for forgivess and seek his:) too. then be loving.from here on out.

    Be kind and tenderhearted, forgiving one another.

    As much as depends on you live peacably with all men.

    Like

  68. “As much as you can maintain a free website and allow practically anybody to say anything they want as many times as they want and hardly ever block or shun or Sowers anyone except the most trollacious trolls ever to to troll their trollery at your free website.”

    Like

  69. Clete,
    I don’t deny the authenticity of Luke 23:34. I was simply noting the irony of your appeal to it given Protestant principles and claims.

    Sorry, your attempt at irony is a failure when you employ a higher-critic skeptical tactic, and foist it on “Protestantism.” Not when RCs like Fitzmyer, L.T.Johnson, and Kung relish the imprimatur. Or shall I break out the “no true Scotsman” fallacy as well?

    You say: “Protestant principles and claims.” Genetic fallacy… or can it even qualify as a fallacy if you give the assertion minus the supporting effort at an argument? It isn’t obvious you know how to articulate Protestant principles, much less how they might function in an internally consistent way.

    It certainly is far from obvious that “Protestantism” entails the elimination of canonical text. The New Jerusalem Bible (with imprimatur!) cuts Lk.23:17 from the text. That’s a text critical decision. Most Protestants still use some translation that contains it, rightly or wrongly.

    So you’re going to need more than the whipping-boy of “Protestantism,” viewed through your jaundiced eye. That Protestant conclusions are inconsistent with Roman reasoning is an otiose observation.

    Like

  70. Susan
    Posted January 6, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
    MWF,

    All the things you said above about how Tom was treated, and how we are treated, is a good reason to stop commenting here. I find myself holding my breath as I read Darryl and Kevin’s conversation, afraid that Darryl is going to resort to humiliation.>>>>

    Oh, I agree totally. It is nice to see you, though. I will miss you, Susan.

    Susan:
    I’m pretty sure I was hit with a “papist” brick pretty near the first couple of times I began to comment. Darryl, didn’t try to stop it. I should have stayed away at that time, but I’m pretty bill headed. Later, I came to care about the people even considering them far away friends( maybe Tom is right and I do have stockholm syndrome). And I always cared about discussing theology with seriousnes, believing that in spite of our differences, the mutual acquisition of truth is possible.>>>>

    Well, Susan, we are taught to look for the best in people. No, he doesn’t stop it. He is a bully. Let’s call it what it is. Tom was willing to call it what it is.

    See, I know that we at least have the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed in common. So, to see officers of conservative Reformed churches even suggest that it is a real possibility that the body of Christ – dead body, as in bones and other remains – could be found I sat up and took notice.

    That is heresy no matter who says it. What is really going on, here? What is being covered up? Maybe a descent into modernism. Could it be?

    Susan:
    Tom intially tried to get others to engage with the information about the epistemological problems recognised by women who knew Thomas More as against the fideism of Tyndale( I believe I’m correct; it’s been awhile since I read it) that he brought to the discussion table. No one really engaged with it, even though it’s substantive and was very important to the discussion. Tom was the only person who recognized the difficulty posed and he treated my voice with respect; something I needed after all the unkindnesses I suffered by people who attacked my person rather than my argument.>>>>>

    Yes, and I apologize for not sticking up for you more. You are a smart cookie, well studied and careful in the presentation of your arguments. Yet only Tom stood up to the bullies. I did at the end, but I always relied on Tom to come through for us.

    I did stick up for Tom some, but not nearly enough. Not nearly enough. Yes, the whole Thomas Moore thing is interesting. See, we women are at the mercy of these men who think that they are better than us. They think they know more than we do, so that makes them superior.

    Susan:
    Everyone provokes the other here, which isn’t unual in the reformed blogosphere. (I was just reading some older comments at greenbaggins and sure enough dersion was directed( and approvingly so) at the “Romanists” who comment there too.)>>>>>

    Yes. It is horrible everywhere among the Reformed males especially. Just read a little of Calvin’s vitriol and you can easily see where it comes from. Remember, too, how the Anabaptists were treated.

    See, the doctrines of grace seemed to have good support from Scripture. That was what interested me. I found this explanation of how the TULIP fits in with Catholic teaching. See, it is close, but it has been changed.

    Similar to the Eucharist and the Real Presence. It is close in Reformed teaching, but just off enough to deny the real, Real Presence. Heaven and earth do not quite meet. Jesus is not quite there in a real way. Almost, but not quite.

    It has all been changed.

    I don’t know how it is in Lutheranism. Luther was a priest after all. Calvin was a lawyer.

    See A Tiptoe Through the TULIP by James Akin

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/TULIP.htm

    Susan:
    Too much liquidation of persons for my taste. Too much rudeness and mockery, and lack of care for lack of care. You derided Tom while he was here and You still do it when he’s gone. We’ve all said mean things to each other, why pick on Tom as if he’s the worse offender?>>>>

    I think because Tom saw through it all.

    Susan:
    We all can say and do terrible unjustess to each other but we really only estroy ourselves in the process.>>>>>

    Yes, indeed. I just don’t want them to think that they can freely spit on Tom’s grave without a little push back.

    Hey, see you around, maybe.

    Let them spit on me a little. Tom has done it for me many times. It’s the least I can do – and I mean the least.

    Like

  71. Clete, cont.

    2Ths.2:11, ” Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false.”

    Ps.141:3-4, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil.”

    Heb.3:13 “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of YOU may be hardened by the DECEITFULNESS of sin.”

    Heb.6:9 “Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.”

    Okay, so when you don’t sin, that wasn’t due to Jesus praying for it.

    You quoted my question, for which you offer no answer; but pretend to grant the premise and draw a tendentious conclusion. You’re going to have to do better than equivocate terms and evade.

    I actually claimed to do nothing BUT sin, so nothing else you propose is meaningful. And then, what is this prayer of Jesus? In your representation, is Jesus praying to me? “I don’t want you to sin!” Is Jesus praying to Holy Spirit? “Spirit, don’t let him sin!” Is Jesus praying to his Father? “Father, I’m not sure what your will is, but may I increase the drip on this one? Is Jesus praying to Mary? “Mother, please give him a boost! Maybe he’ll make it… awwwww.” Is he praying to the angels? Or to persuade himself?

    You mention prayer like it’s self evident what you mean. I explained what I understand intercession to mean, namely to have the High Priest of our confession enter into the Holiest by a new a living way, and plead his own blood for my forgiveness (see Heb.10:17-21; cf. Lev.16:15).

    If I’m to be held back from some form of sin, or a greater sin, Jesus doesn’t need anyone’s permission to keep me; nor does he lack the personal authority, potential and actual, to have his will done. What you have not provided is a coherent explanation of what it means for Jesus to pray in someone’s behalf, yet leaving the outcome unsure.

    If you knew of it, you might have appealed to Jn.17:15, “I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil.” But, the verse itself does not show Jesus praying his Father would prevent his eleven disciple’s sinful abandonment of him. It is plain he does not pray for an absolute deliverance from sin–which would require them being taken out of the world.

    He prays that his disciples would be kept from the reassertion of evil’s domination, even by that same almighty power he had wielded for their protection “while I was with them in the world,” v12. His immediate atoning work required him to provide for the temporary care of his own by another Agent. And isn’t it telling how he offers no prayer for restraining the sinful intention of Judas? Nor for his forgiveness, the way he prayed, Lk.22:32, for Peter, yet knowing his imminent betrayal?

    The glorified Son’s prayer is in perfect alignment with the Father’s will. It benefits from both divine omniscience and wisdom. It is clear he prays for my salvation, to deliver me from the wrath of God, and into God’s presence eventually, faultless, Jde.1:24. But that he prays (of whom?) I not do something my actions reveal in fact I do–this is a contradiction to the effectual nature of his prayer, Jn.11:42, wherein he is always heard.

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  72. Clete, cont.

    Okay, so Jesus doesn’t pray for you not to sin when you do sin. Where in the Bible does Jesus promise believers cannot reject Him or walk away?

    Jn.6:39-40,44 “And this is the Father’s will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that EVERY ONE which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I WILL raise him up at the last day…. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I WILL raise him up at the last day.”

    Jn.10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and NO ONE WILL snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and NO ONE IS ABLE to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

    Php.1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who BEGAN a good work in you will bring it to COMPLETION at the day of Jesus Christ.”

    Apostasy? It’s real; for instance see Heb.6:4-8. What does it mean? Does apostasy look the same from the earthly perspective as from the eternal? You need a category of false or deluded believers. And a doctrine of election.

    1Jn.2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

    2Pet.2:1, “false words;” Gal.2:4, “false brothers;” 2Cor.11:13, “false apostles.”

    2Tim.3:13 “While evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

    2Ths.2:11, ” Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false.”

    Ps.141:3-4, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil.”

    Heb.3:13 “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of YOU may be hardened by the DECEITFULNESS of sin.”

    Heb.6:9 “Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.”

    Like

  73. Clete, cont.
    You mean if He wills to determine your greater sinning, it will spew forth from your divinely determined imperfect character.

    I said “permit,” and I meant “permit.” Don’t mangle the words of another person in order to impute your own misunderstandings to his doctrine.

    To “permit” is to let a thing go according to the direction of second-causes. That the result is determined or certain because of the inerrant predestination of God is no strike against it. Act.4:27-28, “For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”

    Did God permit those evil men to work their twisted design? Of course. Was it also planned and predestined? Absolutely. And yet, God is not the author of sin, Jas.1:13. The sin was in the characters, and they did as their natures (second causes) took them–as God’s will would have it. Because it was his will to bring about the redemption of his elect by this means.

    It isn’t the Calvinist who has reintroduced the Pelagian demon into his theology.

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  74. Clete, cont.,

    These haven’t been asterisked (yet): “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him… No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”

    I don’t think John is contradicting himself within two chapters. 1Jn.1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

    This has not been asterisked: Is.64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”

    Gal.3:10-11, “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law.”

    Thus says the Lord: that my righteousness and my deeds will not profit me, Is.57:12.

    Them, “being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God,” Rom.10:3.

    Php.3:8-9, “That I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”

    Tit.3:5, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

    Please, Clete, do not desire to wear one thread of your own devising. Don’t be like this guy: Mt.22:12-14,
    “And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are elected.”

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  75. Susan, should Mermaid ask for forgiveness?

    Brother Hart, for all his knowledge, does not make well thought out arguments – ever.

    What do I suspect about Brother Hart? Well, I would say he is nihilistic. He mocks everyone’s faith all the time. Nothing in this world is real or has meaning for him. Is it possible for a person to be a Christian nihilist?

    I think that Tom has his number. That is why Dr. Hart feels threatened by him. Besides, Tom was the only really interesting thing going on here. Without him, y’all can get back to your regularly scheduled, dreadfully boring disagreements with one another – because that is what Protestants do. If it’s not with the Papists, it is with the Pietists. If it’s not with the Pietists, it’s with the Arminians. If it’s not with the Arminians, it’s with the neo-Calvinists and the Charismatics and the Episcopalians and the list goes on and on.

    So, who are the ones who like to pick fights again? Not Tom. He tried to intervene when y’all got nasty. It worked sometimes.

    I think Brother Hart didn’t like it that everyone wanted to talk to Tom and not him.

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  76. Mermaid,

    Yes, and I apologize for not sticking up for you more. You are a smart cookie, well studied and careful in the presentation of your arguments. Yet only Tom stood up to the bullies. I did at the end, but I always relied on Tom to come through for us.

    I did stick up for Tom some, but not nearly enough. Not nearly enough. Yes, the whole Thomas Moore thing is interesting. See, we women are at the mercy of these men who think that they are better than us.

    Mr. Mermaid is getting leftovers tonight.

    Like

  77. Susan:
    Everyone provokes the other here, which isn’t unual in the reformed blogosphere. (I was just reading some older comments at greenbaggins and sure enough dersion was directed( and approvingly so) at the “Romanists” who comment there too.)>>>>>

    See, Susan, I am doing a bit of penance here. I used to be anti Catholic. I am not proud of that.

    I used to be on the side – more or less – of the Reformed people – men and women. I have had a great respect for them, especially because of some in my family who are Reformed and have done a great job of raising their children.

    I don’t know what to think of this underlying anti Catholicism that is still so ingrained. I am seeing it from the other side, now. It didn’t seem like that big a deal before. How things change.

    I have always had Catholic friends, too, so it wasn’t some personal anti Catholic “thing.” It’s just built into Protestantism. Maybe it cuts both ways. Maybe after 500 years we can change?

    It seems the Lord would want us to.

    At least we are not taking up arms against one another anymore. That is a huge deal.

    So, thank you, Tom, wherever you are, for all your support here at Old Life. I will never forget that, even though I took your help for granted. Now that it is gone, … anyway …

    I will look for you at your American Creation blog. I don’t post there ‘cuz I really don’t know much about the history of religious freedom in America. It’s just something we take for granted. Not a good idea in these days we live in where freedom of religion is changed to freedom of worship.

    See, the whole St. Thomas Moore thing is a simple epistemology. We all have to trust someone else to tell us what Scripture teaches. We all have the Apostle’s Creed as well as a standard. When someone says that Jesus may have stayed in the grave, just don’t follow that person.

    How do we know? Scripture, Tradition, and the Teaching Magisterium line up on that without fail.

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  78. PS
    Nothing against lawyers! Didn’t mean it as a cheap shot at attorneys. The point is that Calvin was a lawyer, not a priest or a theologian. He had studied theology, but he had another profession. It was not his area of expertise.

    Luther was a priest, so that may be why the Catholic Church has been able now, after so long, to sit down with Lutherans and see what the real differences are. I have never studied Lutheranism, even though all of my father’s family was Lutheran by baptism – agnostic and atheist by choice. Two of my uncles returned to the Lutheran church and were confirmed later in life.

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  79. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 6, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
    Susan, should Mermaid ask for forgiveness?>>>>

    Baiting Susan?

    Don’t you want her to leave your living room? Why not let her go?

    You have Tom to spit on. Why do you need to spit on Susan? Spit on me as well if you like.

    If this were a living room, and you were a gracious host, you would man up and kick Tom off the blog if you don’t want him here. That is your right, even though he has done nothing wrong. Yet you do not.

    You could let Susan go quietly, yet you do not.

    Why not?

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  80. Ali, the Catholic teaching predates Calvinism. Now, it could have been lost somewhat in translation, since he did not write in English, of course.

    However, the Tiptoe Through the TULIP is an accurate reflection of what both Augustine and Aquinas taught.

    You do realize that those men are giants, right? Aquinas had all of Scripture memorized, you do know that don’t you? In fact, the best Calvinists consider themselves to be Thomists. I will let you figure out who they are.

    Calvin is a midget in comparison, and the rest of us specks of dust.

    So, go with the gold standard, not the clay.

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  81. Hmmm, I guess we’re all different but what the converts are calling RC bashing on this site, I’ve actually found to lessen my religious animosity toward my cradle communion. I won’t be returning to rome but I’m not as scorched earth about the place that I was even five years ago. Converts, don’t blame Darryl for your unrealism about your new home. Any honest cradle woulda, coulda and shoulda told you everything he’s brought up and then added their own personal anecdotes. And hey, if you hadn’t noticed, american evanjellyfish doesn’t get spared the rod around here, even the reformed churches aping evanjellyfish(or rome for that matter). All in all it’s pretty evenhanded while still pulling off a bit of a virtual bar engagement.

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  82. Mermaid,

    We all have to trust someone else to tell us what Scripture teaches.

    But who do we trust to tell us who that someone else is who tells us what Scripture teaches?

    Like

  83. Bruce,

    “I actually claimed to do nothing BUT sin”

    Oh, well, okay then. Do reprobates do nothing but sin as well?

    On one hand, “I explained what I understand intercession to mean, namely to have the High Priest of our confession enter into the Holiest by a new a living way, and plead his own blood for my forgiveness ”

    On the other, “is Jesus praying to me? “I don’t want you to sin!” Is Jesus praying to Holy Spirit? “Spirit, don’t let him sin!” Is Jesus praying to his Father? “Father, I’m not sure what your will is, but may I increase the drip on this one? Is Jesus praying to Mary? “Mother, please give him a boost! Maybe he’ll make it… awwwww.” Is he praying to the angels? Or to persuade himself?”

    So Jesus saying “I don’t want you to sin!” is no-go, but Jesus “pleading His own blood for my forgiveness” is a go.

    “If I’m to be held back from some form of sin, or a greater sin, Jesus doesn’t need anyone’s permission to keep me; nor does he lack the personal authority, potential and actual, to have his will done.”

    Apparently you can’t ever be held back from sin in the first place, since you do nothing but sin.

    Secondly, why does Jesus not need anyone’s permission to keep you, nor does he lack the personal authority, potential and actual, to have his will done – but he apparently does need permission and lacks personal authority when it comes to forgiveness and must intercede for you and plead his own blood for your forgiveness?

    “What you have not provided is a coherent explanation of what it means for Jesus to pray in someone’s behalf, yet leaving the outcome unsure.”

    Jesus knew the outcome when he prayed in gethsemane that the cup be taken from Him.

    “”I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil.” But, the verse itself does not show Jesus praying his Father would prevent his eleven disciple’s sinful abandonment of him. It is plain he does not pray for an absolute deliverance from sin–which would require them being taken out of the world.”

    Apparently he was praying for them to “do nothing BUT sin”. But anyways, I thought the only thing Jesus prayed for was forgiveness? Why is He now praying for something you say He can’t pray for?

    “Apostasy? It’s real”

    Yup, it is. Believers can reject Him and fall in their sin. In your view, that just means they weren’t saved in the first place – e.g. Calvin’s “evanescent grace” and “inferior operations” of the Holy Spirit that deceives them.

    “To “permit” is to let a thing go according to the direction of second-causes.”

    Right. And those secondary causes are determined just as much as primary causes in your view. If I click a button on one hand, or on the other if I set off a rube goldberg machine to click the button, the click is still determined and necessitated – I didn’t “permit” the button to be clicked in the latter case but not the former. Saying “permit” in a deterministic or necessitarian framework is just obfuscation.

    “The sin was in the characters, and they did as their natures”

    The character and natures that God determined to determine the sin.

    “It isn’t the Calvinist who has reintroduced the Pelagian demon into his theology.”

    A rejection of Reformed determinism, or an affirmation of mortal sin, or an affirmation of synergism and that our works in grace merit, or a rejection that believers damnably sin every second of their lives, is not an affirmation of Pelagianism.

    “I don’t think John is contradicting himself within two chapters.”

    I don’t think so either. That’s why the mortal and venial sin distinction exists. 1Jn.1:8 refers to venial.

    “do not desire to wear one thread of your own devising.”

    Of course one who disagrees with your position could offer the same sentiment in return to you.

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  84. Susan, if you read this, I just want to tell you what a superb job you have done here. You have spoken eloquently and with love. You are well read and a deep thinker.

    I do not understand why Brother Hart baited you. I do not understand why he shouted THINK and to READ at you when you obviously do, – certainly more than I do or have.

    It was not right.

    It is a pleasure to know you. You are a beautiful person. If you want to contact me, I would be honored. I use the term “beauty” for something that touches me deeply because it moves me to worship God.

    I’m kind of a rag tag daughter of working stiffs, but they were noble in their own way.

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  85. Mermaid, how many times has Susan said good-bye?

    btw, it’s not “spitting” to ask. You are acting like the undergraduates at most universities — “I NEED A SAFE SPACE” (read I don’t ever want to feel discomfort.

    Since you have the superior faith, act like it.

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  86. Mermaid, “I do not understand why Brother Hart baited you.”

    Clueless.

    If you had a clue, you’d know that matters are contested here and that RC’s push and shove with the best of them. But like many Protestants who I follow on line, because you don’t notice how obnoxious you are because you think you have the truth.

    I know you think the same can be said of me. But I am obnoxious because I think hype deserves it. I could well be wrong about that. But since I suspect most people harbor disrespectful thoughts about words and behaviors they find ludicrous, I am letting my reactions shine.

    Be respectful of others. Don’t parade how good your team is and how bad the other side is. Heck, your side shows plenty of reservations about how good your team is. KNOW!

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  87. TLM –

    Just wanted to be sure you saw my reply to your oboe post (which I appreciated):
    https://oldlife.org/2015/12/spotting-the-difference/comment-page-6/#comment-371630

    You might enjoy the horn/wind performance of the Art of the Fugue in the link I posted- something for more valuable than how a guy runs a blog.

    Also, any idea how early I can start my little one on clarinet? He’s already constantly making blowing sounds, and I have a clarinet lying around from when I made my parents buy me one but then never bothered to practice.

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  88. Dear Mrs. Webfoot,

    Thank you for the very kind words. You are a lovely person, and I am pleased to have had the chance to learn more about your personal life including a little about what led you out of Reformed theology.
    I think I have been coming to OL because I truly love to discuss theology as well attempting to discuss the problems I encountered with people who are not being disturbed by those epistemological problems.

    I cannot find the documents that Tom Van Dyke brought to the table, regarding Thomas More and William Tyndale, but I did stumble upon an essay written by a student of Brad Gregory.
    I very much like primary sources, but I will trust that this man gave a good summary of their written dispute since it is a well known one.

    http://beutel.narod.ru/write/more.htm

    Here is my email:

    Take Care,
    Susan

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  89. Cletus,

    Jesus knew the outcome when he prayed in gethsemane that the cup be taken from Him.

    According to His divine nature, sure. According to his human nature? Prove that.

    Saying “permit” in a deterministic or necessitarian framework is just obfuscation.

    Kind of like saying “God is sovereign” in your system is. Well, only if you also care about the Bible.

    Back to bare permission, I see. The God of Roman Catholicism—just like us, only bigger.

    Like

  90. Cletus,

    And those secondary causes are determined just as much as primary causes in your view.

    Yes, because determining to permit with bare permission secondary causes that are certain to happen if permitted is non-deterministic.

    Like

  91. Robert-

    [CVD:] Jesus knew the outcome when he prayed in gethsemane that the cup be taken from Him.

    [Robert:] According to His divine nature, sure. According to his human nature? Prove that.

    Sounds Nestorian. The Church of the East isn’t Nestorian. Nestorius wasn’t even Nestorian.

    If a Catholic Bishop said that (and the second-most prominent of them has), I’d call it modernism.

    The Henceforth-All-Generations-Shall-Call-Me-Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God conceived, birthed, and (one can fairly assume) gave suck to one person with two natures- one integral person.

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  92. Dear Darryl,

    I apologize, but I shouldn’t have put my email address up.
    Would you please kindly take that whole commet down?

    Thank you very much.

    Susan

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  93. Cletus van Damme: That’s why the mortal and venial sin distinction exists. 1Jn.1:8 refers to venial.

    Morning Clete, your mocking aside, this ,from this am re: your/man’s vain imaginations of mortal, venial distinction

    January 7: DAY 7: What does the Lord’s Prayer teach us about forgiveness?
    “The request, “Forgive us our debts” (6:12), is the heart of the prayer; it is what Jesus stressed in the words that followed the prayer (vv. 14, 15; see Mark 11:25).The parallel passage in Luke 11:4 uses the word that means “sins,” so that in context, spiritual debts are intended. Sinners are debtors to God in their violations of His laws. When Jesus added that “if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (v. 15), this is not to suggest that God will withdraw justification from those who have already received the free pardon He extends to all believers. Forgiveness in that sense—a permanent and complete acquittal from the guilt and ultimate penalty of sin—belongs to all who are in Christ (see John 5:24; Rom.8:1; Eph. 1:7).Yet, Scripture also teaches that God chastens His children who disobey (Heb. 12:5–7). Believers are to confess their sins in order to obtain a day-to-day cleansing (1 John 1:9).This sort of forgiveness is a simple washing from the worldly defilements of sin; not a repeat of the wholesale cleansing from sin’s corruption that comes with justification. It is like a washing of the feet rather than a bath (John 13:10). Forgiveness in this latter sense is what God threatens to withhold from Christians who refuse to forgive others”. http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

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  94. D.G. Hart:
    I know you think the same can be said of me. But I am obnoxious because I think hype deserves it. I could well be wrong about that. But since I suspect most people harbor disrespectful thoughts about words and behaviors they find ludicrous, I am letting my reactions shine.

    Be respectful of others. Don’t parade how good your team is and how bad the other side is. Heck, your side shows plenty of reservations about how good your team is. KNOW!>>>>>

    Good morning, Viet Nam! 😉 Just kidding. Remember the Robin Williams role?

    Aren’t you the one trying to create a safe space? You want me to talk about my faith in a way that you approve of.

    That doesn’t make sense to me. You talk about your faith as the only reasonable way to believe. I would expect no less from you. You believe what you believe. I would expect you to defend it.

    Why not? You will get annoyed again, and I am concerned about your blood pressure. 😉 Just ban Tom. He didn’t do anything wrong, but he annoys you. Why hold him up to public ridicule like that? As it is, he’s still here, but what can he say? Anyway…it doesn’t make him look bad.

    Anyway, no es su peo. Es tuyo.

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  95. Mermaid, cite one case where I’ve said the way I believe is the only way to believe. Have you ever considered (I have) why I admire Mencken? Does that add up to your caricature of me? And did you throw the flag when vd, t ridiculed me for liking Mencken? Did you throw the flag at yourself for taking the cheap shot of calling me a nihilist (it’s not even an ethos).

    What I would like is for you to be honest. Your church has problems. Protestantism has problems. Funny, the fallen world has problems.

    So don’t turn Roman Catholicism into the U.S.A. You converts do to Christianity what Fox News does to ‘Merica.

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  96. …and seeking to justify ourselves …sheesh you two guys (and meaning all of us) …
    and ,personally, we personally acknowledge, we all, personally, have ‘problems’ [aka sin], which we, personally, confess as be our own personal problem).

    Maybe this could be one truth we could unite around -though the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his (old) heart was only evil continually, Noah, [then, all God’s own possession], …found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

    have a great day.

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  97. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 7, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, cite one case where I’ve said the way I believe is the only way to believe. >>>>

    It is the only way that you do believe. Your belief entails trying to show everyone else the flaws in their belief systems. You believe in that truly and act on it every day. In that way, you think that everyone should have the same approach to faith.

    So, yes. you do believe your way is the only way to believe. If you don’t, then why promote it?

    Brother Hart:
    Have you ever considered (I have) why I admire Mencken? Does that add up to your caricature of me? And did you throw the flag when vd, t ridiculed me for liking Mencken? Did you throw the flag at yourself for taking the cheap shot of calling me a nihilist (it’s not even an ethos).>>>>

    You daily promote the vanity of everything in this life. Nothing is of real or lasting value. Everyone needs to realize that life is hard. Do not idealize anything or anyone. You are an iconoclast. Yes, it is a form of nihilism. The kingdom of this world is a total write off. Focus on the other kingdom. Let this one go to hell.

    D.G. Hart:
    What I would like is for you to be honest. Your church has problems. Protestantism has problems. Funny, the fallen world has problems.>>>>

    I would like you to be honest as well. Where have I said that my Church, Protestantism, or the world does not have problems? You have no idea how much I know all that. Do you know how flawed your caricature of me is?

    It’s simple. Protestantism promised to reform the corrupt Catholic Church, and even replace her. 500 years later Protestantism has not delivered on the promise. The Catholic Church is still here. Why are we still fighting? It makes no sense at this point in time. We used to be one. Why not move back in that direction, since that is the direction Jesus prayed for in John 17 and the Apostle Paul stated in Ephesians 4.

    Even your OPC no longer calls the Pope the Antichrist. That is a step in the right direction. Catholics are encouraged not to call Protestants heretics. That is a step in the right direction.

    Though Protestants spend a lotta’ time calling one another heretics, so why you would complain about Catholics calling Protestants heretics is beyond me.

    D.G. Hart:
    So don’t turn Roman Catholicism into the U.S.A. You converts do to Christianity what Fox News does to ‘Merica.>>>>

    Oh, whatever. You have NO idea what we have here or why we have it. You have no way of knowing, either.

    Now, let me ask you something. What do you admire most about Machen? I will start the ball rolling.

    I appreciate his tenacity. I appreciate the fact that he stood up to what he believed was wrong and did what he could about it. I appreciate the fact that he thought he could make a difference, and he did. In fact, I have said this before. Indirectly he had a big influence on all of Evangelicalism, including moi. I also appreciate the fact that he taught me Greek. I’ll let you ponder that one.

    So, what is it you admire about him? Talk about something you know and love.

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  98. Clete,

    Do reprobates do nothing but sin as well?

    Of course. The difference is having a Mediator, or not.

    On one hand, “…”
    On the other, “… ?”
    So Jesus saying “I don’t want you to sin!” is no-go, but Jesus “pleading His own blood for my forgiveness” is a go.

    As to the first part, it neither reflects what I wrote, nor what I asked. It’s a false statement on the face, refuted by Jn.5:14 (to say no more), “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”

    And you never answered my question: Who is Jesus praying to, for the desired effect–that Name This Person won’t sin? That is your claim, and we’re waiting for a biblical reason to believe it.

    My claim is that the Almighty Lord Jesus Christ always gets just what he prays for, and I’ve adduced a variety of Scripture proofs for that position. If he tells us he prays for something, we can count on him doing that, and having his desire; because God’s Word is trustworthy. We shouldn’t speculate on whether Jesus prays for something, general or specific, that he doesn’t tell us he does.

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  99. Clete, cont.

    Apparently you can’t ever be held back from sin in the first place, since you do nothing but sin.

    Read more carefully. I said FORM of sin, and GREATER sin. God restrains men from particular exhibitions of sin all the time, but they are still sinning, Rom.14:23, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Prv.21:27, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.” Prv.21:4, “An haughty look, and a proud heart, even the plowing of the wicked is sin.”

    God’s work of sanctification is alive in his redeemed people. He restrains sin in us, for our improvement. We expect to “grow in grace,” 2Pet.3:18. But that’s not a perfect work in this life. Ps.19:13, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” That’s the language of a man who is dependent on grace to not fall.

    David writes again Ps.143:2, “Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.” What’s good about us is not US, but Christ in us, the hope of glory, Col.1:27. Do we want God to be One that grades us on a curve? “Not perfect, but good enough… or not.” Or do we want God who looks at those in Christ, and only sees His obedience, and therefore perfection? That’s what having a Mediator is all about.

    Secondly, why does Jesus not need anyone’s permission to keep you, nor does he lack the personal authority, potential and actual, to have his will done – but he apparently does need permission and lacks personal authority when it comes to forgiveness and must intercede for you and plead his own blood for your forgiveness?

    On the one hand, he’s told us he has “all authority in heaven and earth committed unto him,” Mt.28:18. On the other hand, he’s told us that “no one comes to the Father except by me, ” Jn.14:6. Access to the Father and his Home is contingent upon the Son’s intercessory Mediation. That’s the nature of his ongoing Priesthood, Heb.10:14, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” We need forgiveness, as long as sin remains a fact of our earthly life. Nothing unclean is permissible in the eternal city, Rev.21:27, “But nothing unclean will ever enter it.”

    You ask, “Why…?” Because that’s what the Bible says.

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  100. Clete, cont.
    Jesus knew the outcome when he prayed in gethsemane that the cup be taken from Him.

    It’s not in doubt, and it’s not relevant to anything. The Savior was a real man, as well as God. He prays, “Not my will,” his human will expressing real fear of death and hell (we aren’t monothelites), “but thine be done.”

    I thought the only thing Jesus prayed for was forgiveness? Why is He now praying for something you say He can’t pray for?

    It was your proposal that Jesus prays (to someone) for everyone in the world for intervention to keep them from sinning. That general notion is unsupportable by Scripture’s teaching. On the other hand, I’ve been defending from Scripture a particularist notion of Jesus’ prayers, that they are to the Father, and predicated on his Mediatorial work for the forgiveness of the sins of his people.

    I didn’t say Jesus never prayed for this or that. I said we’ve no reason to believe Jesus has prayed in accord with your proposal, and you’ve made no effort to show from Scripture he has. His present prayers for believers, according to the Scripture I’ve quoted, is for bringing them near to God–and that requires far above any other consideration, forgiveness of their sinful condition.

    His past prayers for those present in the Upper Room, or blessing the meal for 5000, or for any other, 1) were suitable to those conditions; and 2) say nothing to those original hearers about divine intervention keeping anyone from doing sin. I cannot imagine Jesus standing in a Galilean town, praying Holy Spirit’s power to heal someone, and being turned down. Can you? Now, he’s exalted to the throne of the universe! My biblically informed perception of his authority and capability are commensurate with his Ascension, not limited to his kenotic-incarnate conditions.

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  101. Clete, cont.
    Believers can reject Him and fall in their sin. In your view, that just means they weren’t saved in the first place – e.g. Calvin’s “evanescent grace” and “inferior operations” of the Holy Spirit that deceives them.

    I notice you don’t deal with the Apostle John’s words, whether in his Gospel (and quoting Jesus) or in his letter; you just belittle Calvin.

    And those secondary causes are determined just as much as primary causes in your view. If I click a button on one hand, or on the other if I set off a rube goldberg machine to click the button, the click is still determined and necessitated – I didn’t “permit” the button to be clicked in the latter case but not the former. Saying “permit” in a deterministic or necessitarian framework is just obfuscation.

    Actually, given the cosmic personalism of the Bible, plus any theory you like that affirms both exhaustive divine foreknowledge (ala Is.46:10) and omnipotence, even your theology can be construed in such a way that tries to put God on the hook as culpable for evil. Reformed theology doesn’t blink. God is the ultimate cause of everything, visible and invisible; so he permitted evil when he might have prevented it. And that admission doesn’t actually besmirch his character–even if his detractors try to throw mud on him.

    The other options are that 1) he couldn’t prevent evil; or 2) he didn’t know evil would pop up, or was indifferent; or 3) he gave evil positive (as opposed to privative) existence, thus making evil one of his (good) works. No sound theology affirms the last; the middle eliminates the wisdom of God, reducing him to a learner; the first is the refuge of a variety of theologies that make God contingent.

    Assuming you like none of those options, then by refusing Reformed theology any legitimate maneuver to preserve the omnipotence and omniscience of God, you cut off your nose to spite your face. You cannot save such things for Romanism, and call “permission” mere obfuscation. Your “permission” may occur at some point you arbitrarily deem “far enough” for a successful theodicy. But your rubegoldbergery mockery is unprincipled in that case.

    Reformed Theology’s refuge is just this: given the facts of revelation, we should be content to know that the Creator God, who defines righteousness, had a morally sufficient reason to permit evil to invade his good creation; and we have been assured by the promise of revelation that at the end of this age God will purge every evil from his good creation prior to its renovation.

    Furthermore, your comparison of personal agents having active wills to mechanistic deterministic processes is an example either of deliberate misconstrual for rhetorical advantage; or philosophical naivete. It is never legitimate to treat a personal, secondary cause as if it were a robot, and had no active willing participation thus adding a significant moral dimension to responsibility. Reformed Theology does not make this mistake; and simply yelling, “You do, too!” shows no awareness of your own need to employ similar categories for a defense of your own position.

    Your problem is not with me, or Calvin; but with a Sovereign God. Is.45:7, “I form light and create darkness, I make shalom and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.”

    Is.10:5-15, “Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few….

    “When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes….Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!”

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  102. Clete, cont.
    The character and natures that God determined to determine the sin.

    Roman anthropology says that man by created nature is concupiscent. So, according to your own basic theology, in Eden man was owned by his brute, uncontrollable lusts; except (!) for the donum superadditum, which prevented it. And one day God slipped his gift away, and that explains the fall. That’s basically Greek fatalism in Christian dress.

    Reformed theology teaches that God created man upright by nature (Ecc.7:29), not concupiscent unless (!) protected by an additional grace. The fall of an upright man and woman is a profound mystery–that they COULD fall is no explanation for that they DID fall, being left to the freedom of their own will. The NECESSITY of the fall is subservient to the PURPOSE of God in Christ, from “before the foundation of the world,” Eph.1:4; 1Pet.1:20.

    You either believe Jesus as a dying, substitutionary Savior (Rev.13:8) was in God’s plan before creation, or you don’t. But if he was, then you as well as I have to admit that God permits sin in somehow, in order to keep his plan of salvation in motion.

    A rejection of Reformed determinism, or an affirmation of mortal sin, or an affirmation of synergism and that our works in grace merit, or a rejection that believers damnably sin every second of their lives, is not an affirmation of Pelagianism.

    Of course, there’s a whole bunch wrong with this statement. Starting with the pejorative “determinism.” Why not just use the biblical word, “predestination.” We do. What do you do with that word?

    Affirming synergism gets you at least up to semi-Pelagianism. That’s just the definition. Salvation by grace–AND–works. Say “buh-bye” to Augstin at that point. We’ll take him.

    We’ll take him on merit, too. “If the Decii dedicated themselves to death, consecrating themselves in a form of words, as it were, that falling, and pacifying by their blood the wrath of the gods, they might be the means of delivering the Roman army—if they did this, let not the holy martyrs carry themselves proudly, as though they had done some meritorious thing for a share in that country where are eternal life and felicity, if even to the shedding of their blood, loving not only the brethren for whom it was shed, but, according as had been commanded them, even their enemies by whom it was being shed, they have vied with one another in faith of love and love of faith. (City of God 5.18)

    What is it that “collects citizens to the celestial country,” then? Augustine answers, “the remission of sins” (5.17).

    And you interject “damnable” into our admission of the ineradicable taint of sin, while we live in this flesh. Which is not our term. To us, sin is sin. In the nature of the thing, it is damnable–however, for the grace of God we are not condemned. We are forgiven.

    You have sins that are little peccadilloes. You needn’t sweat the small stuff.
    That’s why the mortal and venial sin distinction exists. 1Jn.1:8 refers to venial.

    And then you have the sins that are more than divine grace can handle. You have mortal sins that “nullify the grace of God,” unless (!) you recover your tank. Grace as “substance,” vs. grace as “relationship.”

    If this was a real distinction, I think Paul and the rest of the prophets and apostles would have taught it. Where–other than in places you superimpose it on the text–did any biblical writer anywhere teach that sin has toxic and non-toxic levels: deadly, and not-so-deadly? Like the immaculate conception, the papacy, and purgatory, this is an idea conceived first as a “reasonable” extension of popular opinions, and eventually as a logically necessary entailment of “development.”

    The only people who need any kind of exegetical basis in Scripture for these dogmas, are former Protestants-turned Roman who still have an affinity for the Bible. People who really understand “implicit faith” don’t need the Bible-crutch anymore.

    “do not desire to wear one thread of your own devising.”
    Of course one who disagrees with your position could offer the same sentiment in return to you.

    Except, Clete, above you just trumpeted your synergistic contribution. As of today, you aren’t planning on wearing the wedding garment given out “as is.” No, not until you’ve added some embroidery of your own making. Then it won’t be strictly the Master’s garment, but more of a “team effort,” you and him.

    Saints will be clothed upon, not clothing themselves. Rev 19:8, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

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  103. TLM:

    I will beat dgh to it:
    http://www.amazon.com/Defending-Faith-Gresham-Conservative-Protestantism/dp/0875525636

    Seriously, have you read the book?

    It has a great strength that many miss, the recognition that viewing the past through our presently polarized categories obscures the reality of how things actually happened.

    I only have a minute, and no time until later to chase this down, but there was a book that came out in the last year or so on the way the Civil Rights movement played out in Mississippi, focusing on Presbyterian (and I think Baptist) churches that held to the “spirituality of the Church” doctrine. I lived through those struggles in another part of the South, and all I can say is that many Churches who held to that doctrine acted very differently. That is the best analogy I can make to the modernist/fundamentalist controversy of Machen’s time. It just might be the case that DGH’s admiration of Machen is more complicated than would fit in a com box..

    Speaking for myself only, this is kind of how I feel about Luther, Calvin and More.

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  104. DGH,

    So don’t turn Roman Catholicism into the U.S.A. You converts do to Christianity what Fox News does to ‘Merica.

    What is truly frustrating is that those interacting here seem completely unwilling to recognize that you are not “anti-Catholic” anymore than you are anti-PCA. You are anti-triumphalism. That’s why you blast (I think wrongly often–but what do I know?) Tim Keller and CtC. When someone talks about (the Gospel) transforming NY you scoff at the hubris. When catholic converts pratter on about how the Church saved them from all their theological and epistemological problems, you scoff at that too.

    The problem is not Catholicism or the PCA per se, it’s triumphalism. Tom, Susan and TLM seem to miss this point entirely, but I suspect it’s because their version of Catholicism is inherently triumphalistic.

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  105. Darryl,

    “Protestantism has problems. Funny, the fallen world has problems.”

    Why all the shrugging now?

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  106. TLM,

    The above was in response to your post of 11:01.

    I am not old enough to have lived through the fundamentalist/modernist controversy, BTW. ☺

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  107. Brandon Addison:The problem is not Catholicism or the PCA per se, it’s triumphalism. Tom, Susan and TLM seem to miss this point entirely

    Oh, TVD got the point. He is a culture warrior, first last and always. Why he felt so threatened by DGH and his relative handful of followers is still a mystery to me.

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  108. Mermaid, where have you admitted that your church is divided?

    And why did you not respond to this or this? You have a habit of ignoring the posts about Roman Catholic failings.

    Meanwhile, you do promote your church as superior. But if it is older, and bigger, then it will actually have more problems than Protestantism. Those are the numbers.

    To your question about moving in the direction of Rome, why would a Machen warrior child ever join a modernist church?

    I admire Machen for his understanding of the faith, one that puts your soul in serious jeopardy. I also admire that he figured out a way to be conservative Presbyterian without being theonomic or Constantinian. I don’t know why you would admire him since part of your stated reason for joining Rome was its political activism.

    Let me give you a phone number where you can get help — 1-800-438-2583.

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  109. Brandon, “The problem is not Catholicism or the PCA per se, it’s triumphalism.”

    give the man a cee-gar.

    But when you are a Homer, you turn critics into bigots. Have you ever read the hue and cry about Wolf Hall as anti-Catholic (the tv series). Just because it’s not A Man for All Seasons (which I still love) it must be anti-Catholic. When in fact the series paints Cromwell as shady. But when your a Manichean, it’s either black or white (no microaggression intended).

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  110. Darryl,

    RCism has problems. But anytime an RC says that while also affirming its claims to ability/authority, you claim it’s a “shrug”.

    “But when you are a Homer, you turn critics into bigots”

    Are you a Homer for calling me an anti-Protestant bigot instead of a critic?

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  111. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 7, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, where have you admitted that your church is divided?>>>>>

    Uh. She isn’t divided the way Protestants are splintered. I like TVD’s term. Protestantism didn’t divide. It atomized.

    Machen tried to unite Evangelicals around what he called the fundamentals of the faith. Most have given up on that. Many are even antagonistic to that sort of thing.

    D.G. Hart:
    And why did you not respond to this or this? You have a habit of ignoring the posts about Roman Catholic failings.>>>>

    So, are you asking me to make a New Year’s resolution? I spent a long time noticing Roman Catholic failings. Not interested. People are sinners. People fail. God’s purposes and promises do not fail. What’s so hard about that?

    D.G. Hart:
    Meanwhile, you do promote your church as superior. >>>>

    I promote her as the Church that Jesus founded. Why does that bother you? What Church did Jesus found, then? The OPC? If He did, then show how so.

    D.G. Hart:
    But if it is older, and bigger, then it will actually have more problems than Protestantism. Those are the numbers.>>>>

    So, you have a problem with old things? Isn’t it amazing? After all this time she’s still here. That is not failure.

    D.G. Hart:
    To your question about moving in the direction of Rome, why would a Machen warrior child ever join a modernist church?

    I admire Machen for his understanding of the faith, one that puts your soul in serious jeopardy. I also admire that he figured out a way to be conservative Presbyterian without being theonomic or Constantinian. I don’t know why you would admire him since part of your stated reason for joining Rome was its political activism.>>>

    See, I can admire him for what he did for me when I was a young Christian – though I didn’t know it was his influence that influenced me. I can be grateful, even. I admire him for his strength of character in standing strong for what he believed in the face of great opposition.

    I admire him for his commitment to the fundamentals of the faith, though fundamentalism took a different turn from him.

    D.G. Hart:
    Let me give you a phone number where you can get help — 1-800-438-2583.>>>>

    Aw. That’s sweet. You do care about me. In a weird way, but I suppose for you this is love?

    Hey, I think we’re making progress. Now grant my one request. Let your resolution lapse, or ban Tom altogether. As it is, you have un-personed him.

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  112. James Young, I don’t think you weighed in these posts either. I don’t think you’ve commented either on the posts where I reproduce Boniface’s (of Unam Sanctam) complaints about the current state of your vaunted communion. In fact, the best you do is go to infallibility. I got it already.

    But tell me how the sex scandal does not make those claims about infallibility look dubious (without the mind meld supplied by Koolaid).

    I am sorry if I ever called you an anti-Protestant bigot. That was something I thought I reserved for vd,t. I don’t think you’re bigoted. Naive (and cynical about it because you are obviously too smart to believe all the blather from RC apologists).

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  113. Brandon,

    All that Catholics are saying is that we are not a denomination. When we say that we have a pope, we aren’t saying we follow his interpreation of scripture but his leading through the Holy Spirit to direct the one church( that has sinners and saints). This is safer (if Jesus really did found a church), then following man who claims to interpret scripture better than anyone who came before him. You might say that I am impossing the Catholic view into the reading of scripture, but since that is the Catholic view, protestants have to disprove that. However, sin doesnt disprove it. Neither does the cover-up of sin( as atrocious as both those are!).

    So we admit to our having problems and even doctrinal problems,when people either willfully or through ignorance protest a documented teaching and or dogma, for one reason or another.

    There isn’t anything strange about believing that Jesus founded a church that is supposed to exist, teaching and administering sacraments,visibly through all of time.
    We Catholics know that there are numerous Judas’s and numerous Paul’s and numerous types of all the other apostles sitting next to us, but that.doesn’t mean that the Catholic Church is wrong about who she claims to be. You should be at a dinner or bbq where there are all Catholics talking about how angry and disgusted they are at those who have done rotten things.
    You can’t prove that she isn’t the church Jesus founded by the sins of her members.
    If you like read the essay that I linked above. It is about this very topic

    Dear Darryl,

    Thank you for going through the trouble of removing my email and for still keeping the rest of the comment, especially since the link is there.
    That was very fair of you.

    Peace,
    Susan

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  114. Bruce,

    “Of course. The difference is having a Mediator, or not.”

    So there’s no difference in believers and reprobates except one is forgiven and the other isn’t.

    ““See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.””

    Right, but according to you Jesus never prays for believers to not sin or ever resist sin. He only prays for them to be forgiven.

    “Who is Jesus praying to, for the desired effect–that Name This Person won’t sin?”

    Who is Jesus praying to, for the desired effect – that Name This Person will be forgiven?

    “My claim is that the Almighty Lord Jesus Christ always gets just what he prays for”

    Jesus prayed for the cup to be removed. It wasn’t.

    “Read more carefully. I said FORM of sin, and GREATER sin. ”

    Okay, but all sin is grave and damnable in your view. Remember the Reformed gloss of stumble in one point you’re guilty of all. So why does it matter that He restrains you from being a murderer? You’re still wickedly damning just as much as a murderer every second of your life – you “do nothing BUT sin”.

    “He restrains sin in us, for our improvement”

    So since you “do nothing BUT sin”, you’re improving and “growing in grace”? Do reprobates who you agree also “do nothing BUT sin”, but aren’t forgiven, improving and “growing in grace”? Is Jesus praying for you to improve and grow in grace, or not?

    “You ask, “Why…?” Because that’s what the Bible says.”

    I’m asking why because your gloss of the Bible doesn’t seem consistent to me. You say Jesus does not need anyone’s permission to keep you, nor does he lack the personal authority, potential and actual, to have his will done – so he doesn’t pray for believers to resist sin. But he does pray for believers to be forgiven. So it would seem by that same logic, Jesus needs permission to keep you and lacks the personal authority to have his will done when it comes to forgiveness.

    “It’s not in doubt, and it’s not relevant to anything”

    It’s relevant to whether Christ praying for something entails it must happen.

    “It was your proposal that Jesus prays (to someone) for everyone in the world for intervention to keep them from sinning.”

    I haven’t proposed anything. I’ve asked questions. I’m examining your position.

    “I didn’t say Jesus never prayed for this or that.”

    So what else does Jesus pray for besides forgiveness? In making those prayers, does he lack personal authority to have his will done when it comes to those areas of prayer and needs someone’s permission?

    “I cannot imagine Jesus standing in a Galilean town, praying Holy Spirit’s power to heal someone, and being turned down. Can you?”

    Sure, many healings were contingent upon the subject acting in faith or doing some work. They could have resisted.

    “Reformed theology doesn’t blink.”

    Sure, it just suddenly retreats to “permission” language when critics point out its implications and consequences that make God the author of sin.

    “God is the ultimate cause of everything, visible and invisible”

    No non-determinist Christian argues creaturely powers of causation rose independently of God.

    “so he permitted evil when he might have prevented it.”

    You mean he determined evil when he might have prevented it.

    “But your rubegoldbergery mockery is unprincipled in that case.”

    It’s not mockery. You’re trying to hold to permission within a necessitarian/deterministic framework by appealing to secondary causes (which are themselves determined). That appeal is no more convincing than someone who starts up a rube goldberg machine that ultimately pours a glass of water saying he “permitted” the water to be poured and so didn’t determine it. He determined it just as much as he would have determined it by directly pouring the water into the glass himself.

    “given the facts of revelation, we should be content to know that the Creator God, who defines righteousness, had a morally sufficient reason to permit evil to invade his good creation”

    You mean determine evil to invade his good creation. Why are you claiming the above is the “Reformed refuge” when non-determinist Christians offer the same “refuge”?

    “It is never legitimate to treat a personal, secondary cause as if it were a robot”

    So are the choices, decisions, thoughts, desires, intentions, motives, character, circumstances that determine and necessitate your act not themselves necessitated and determined by God?

    “Your problem is not with me, or Calvin; but with a Sovereign God”

    The Sovereign God who says this:
    “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
    “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”
    “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
    “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.”
    “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires …. for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
    “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world -the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the Father but from the world.”
    “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
    “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
    “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You.”
    “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving”
    “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”
    “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness…”
    “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
    “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: …. a heart that devises wicked schemes ….”
    “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.”
    “God is love”
    “They built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”
    “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
    “Far be it from God to do wickedness, And from the Almighty to do wrong”
    “This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.”
    “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby … Was in you …You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned … You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.”

    “The fall of an upright man and woman is a profound mystery”

    Indeed. God was still sovereign though wasn’t He? So there goes the “sovereign God entails Calvinism and determinism” argument.

    “being left to the freedom of their own will”

    The “freedom” where they had no ability to choose otherwise. They were rube goldberged just as much as post-fall man is.

    “But if he was, then you as well as I have to admit that God permits sin in somehow, in order to keep his plan of salvation in motion.”

    Of course I “admit” God permits sin. I don’t admit he determines/necessitates it.

    “Affirming synergism gets you at least up to semi-Pelagianism… Say “buh-bye” to Augstin at that point.”

    Augustine affirmed synergism. Just as he affirmed mortal sin. Odd that synergism gets me to Semi-Pelagianism when Council of Orange affirmed synergism in condemning SPism. Maybe they didn’t know what they were doing.

    “We’ll take him on merit, too.”

    Your citation of Augustine shows he wasn’t a Pelagian or semi-Pelagian. It doesn’t show he denied the RC notion of merit from works done in a state of grace – that is, after initial justification – as he attests to in multiple places; there’s a reason the Catechism cites him and Therese of Lisieux on its section in merit.

    “To us, sin is sin. ”

    Right. So all sin is equally damnable. And you “do nothing BUT sin”.

    “You have sins that are little peccadilloes. You needn’t sweat the small stuff.”

    Venial sin if neglected or ignored can easily erode virtue and lead to vice and mortal sin, so believers are called to be wary, not to shrug. And it also must be forgiven, thus the confiteor said before every mass.

    “And then you have the sins that are more than divine grace can handle.”

    Confession is a form of grace.

    “Where–other than in places you superimpose it on the text–did any biblical writer anywhere teach that sin has toxic and non-toxic levels: deadly, and not-so-deadly?”

    My “superimposition” upon the text is what makes writers like Paul and John consistent and coherent.

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  115. D.G. Hart
    :But tell me how the sex scandal does not make those claims about infallibility look dubious (without the mind meld supplied by Koolaid).>>>>>

    See, this is part of the problem that I see in the discussions about infallibility. How are you defining “infallibility”? If it includes “bishops and priests can never be wrong, heretical, and downright sinful criminals – satanic even” then that is the wrong definition.

    If it includes the idea that once a person is a bishop or priest they can never be removed from their positions, then that is also a flawed definition.

    Judas was an apostle, but was the son of perdition. He was removed from his place. Another took his place.

    Peter denied his Lord, not once, but 3 times. In the book of Galatians we see that Paul had to correct Peter.

    The failures of men, even in the NT, did not nullify the promises of God to His Church.

    I don’t think you’re getting it. Besides, the Creeds can be seen as a kind of protection for the body of Christ – the faithful members of that body – against being infected with error. The priests, bishops, cardinals, and even the pope himself are bound by those symbols of the faith.

    Back to a musical analogy. A musicians ear is trained to distinguish one pitch from another and even whether or not what he or she is playing is in tune or not. Some have what is called perfect pitch.

    I have a funny story about that-well it’s funny to me, but probably really dumb to others. I used to play with a soprano who, according to her, had perfect pitch. She did have a lovely voice. No doubt about it. Well, all her perfect pitches were sharp.

    What a head ache, especially when singing and playing with an in tune piano. Anyway…

    Each member of the Catholic Church should listen carefully to make sure that what is being taught them is in tune with the creeds, as well as Scripture. It takes training.

    Now sing the “Catholics have done a dreadful job of catechesis.” Yes, that is very true in some ways, but not in others. See, Catholics do know their Bibles if they are faithful Catholics. They just don’t know they know their Bibles.

    So, when a Protestant tells them that they don’t know their Bibles, they are easily flummoxed. That needs to change. Will it? It is in some areas, yes.

    Of course, Protestants brag a lot more about knowing Scripture than is warranted.

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  116. Mermaid,

    Each member of the Catholic Church should listen carefully to make sure that what is being taught them is in tune with the creeds, as well as Scripture. It takes training.

    Now sing the “Catholics have done a dreadful job of catechesis.” Yes, that is very true in some ways, but not in others. See, Catholics do know their Bibles if they are faithful Catholics. They just don’t know they know their Bibles.

    So, when a Protestant tells them that they don’t know their Bibles, they are easily flummoxed. That needs to change. Will it? It is in some areas, yes.

    Of course, Protestants brag a lot more about knowing Scripture than is warranted.

    That’s not what you were saying in the epistemology seminar. Then your claim was that Protestants know squattah because we don’t have infallible bishops. Now you grant those who need the bishops autonomy to see if the bishops sing in tune?

    As I’ve said, I don’t think you have THOUGHT this through.

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  117. D.G. Hart:
    That’s not what you were saying in the epistemology seminar. Then your claim was that Protestants know squattah because we don’t have infallible bishops. Now you grant those who need the bishops autonomy to see if the bishops sing in tune?>>>>

    No, I didith noteth! What I said over and over and over again was that I didn’t think Protestants really think that way about the infallible Word of God. It works for lotsa’ stuff, but not for the resurrection of Christ.

    In fact, I don’t think anyone thinks that way about what they have their minds made up about.

    Well, unless “I could be wrong, yes, and pigs could fly, bats could fly out of your nose, and cows could jump over the moon. Oh, and hell just might freeze over.” Is what they were really saying?

    Then it just took a really comical turn in my mind, and people got kinda’ frustrated with me. Then it got funnier and funnier.

    What I understood CvD to be saying – who actually seemed to understand the Protestant epistemology – is that the Church follows the 3 fold infallibility “thing” to understand truth. She does not claim omniscience. Lotsa’ “issues” are deliberately left open ended. Molinists and Thomists all take communion together.

    The Word of God, the Traditions of the Church, and the teaching magisterium.

    Protestants – at least the kind we are talking about who have not abandoned the infallibility of the Word of God – have Scripture.

    I mean, how can something be both uncertain and infallible at the same time?

    I did not understand the whole thing, except that I don’t believe that Jeff, you, sdb, Robert and others here are heretics on the basics of the Gospel as per 1 Cor. 15:1ff.

    Here is me during the whole “thing.” Well, mercifully, the little elves who live in the basement of the Internet decided to put us and it out of its and our misery.

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  118. But, you guys fudge a bit on Scripture’s infallibility since without acknowledging it, you are just as dependent on Tradition to preserve and define the NT under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit as Catholics are. At least at that point, you secretly pay homage to Church Tradition.

    Then there’s the defense of the divinity of the Trinity and the Incarnation that you are heavily dependent on Tradition and at least the older teaching magisterium of the Catholic Church. Or church if it is too offensive to you to capitalize it. 🙂

    If you cut yourself off from those teachings and traditions, you make yourselves heretics according to your own definitions of that.

    Your secret is kinda out in the open, actually. You gotta’ trust that Christians got at least those thing infallibly correct.

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  119. Mermaid:

    Hope your new year is going well. I will pray in re: asthma.

    We don’t have to accept Catholic Tradition (as in infallible, orally transmitted apostolic teachings) to accept church authority to make binding, non-infallible declarations.

    Not all understandings of tradition and authority are yours.

    Likewise, we don’t have to reject the early church root and branch in order to observe that the current denomination styling itself Catholic has departed from that early church in many ways.

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  120. Jeff Cagle
    Posted January 7, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid:

    Hope your new year is going well. I will pray in re: asthma.>>>>

    We are doing great, Jeff. Thank you for your prayers. I am stable. No, I really am.

    Jeff:
    We don’t have to accept Catholic Tradition (as in infallible, orally transmitted apostolic teachings) to accept church authority to make binding, non-infallible declarations.>>>>

    You do have to accept that the early Christians – I won’t call them the Church or the church, since that is one of your triggers and I want this to be a safe place for you – were infallibly – or if you prefer, without error – directed in their selection of the books that belong in the NT.

    Neither of us believe that they dropped out of the sky like that coke bottle in The Gods Must be Crazy. I think it was a Coke bottle anyway.

    Jeff:
    Not all understandings of tradition and authority are yours.

    Likewise, we don’t have to reject the early church root and branch in order to observe that the current denomination styling itself Catholic has departed from that early church in many ways.>>>>

    Well, that’s the fallible assumption that Protestantism is based on. Why do I say fallible? I has to be a fallible assumption, since it’s not in Scripture anywhere.

    Your only infallible rule of faith and practice is Scripture.

    If the Catholic Church is not the Catholic of the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed, then which Church is that Catholic Church?

    Is your denomination it?

    “The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate.”

    – St. Augustine of Hippo

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  121. TLM: If the Catholic Church is not the Catholic of the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed, then which Church is that Catholic Church?

    Once more with feeling and four part harmony:

    WCF: 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]

    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]

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  122. James,

    So since you “do nothing BUT sin”, you’re improving and “growing in grace”?

    There is such a thing as sinning less grievously than before.

    There’s also such a thing as mortifying one sin more or less completely and then discovering another sin that you never knew you had before. We don’t give people a pass completely for ignorance like Roman moral theology does. Kind of like Jesus didn’t give the servant who disobeyed not knowing the Master’s will a pass. He got beat as well. Not as many beatings, but beatings nonetheless.

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  123. Mermaid, “Then there’s the defense of the divinity of the Trinity and the Incarnation that you are heavily dependent”

    But you’re way more dependent on tradition and you haven’t yet fessed to the tradition of bishops covering things up. Can you say Alexander VI? Sure you can.

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  124. Mermaid, “You do have to accept that the early Christians”

    That doesn’t sound like the bishops or THE Bishop or Rome.

    Watch out for that rake handle!

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  125. Clete,
    So there’s no difference in believers and reprobates except one is forgiven and the other isn’t.

    You’re playing reductionist semantics with snippets of my comments. I’m not keen on playing that game. I’m taking our dialog seriously, even if its one-sided.

    Right, but according to you Jesus never prays for believers to not sin or ever resist sin. He only prays for them to be forgiven.

    More ignoring what I actually said. And you still aren’t answering the simplest questions. You quote my questions, but ignore them. Does Jesus presently have the power in his own Person to DO what you have claimed he prays for help of someone else to accomplish–which thing may or may not happen according to the will or ability of the other? Whom Jesus asks is quite relevant to furthering the investigation, for it brings into view new questions about the nature of the relationship between the parties. It may suggest reasons for the request, and invoke new Scripture light on the investigation.

    But you have done nothing but dodge and evade.

    On the other hand, I’ve answered ALL your questions. With care. If I haven’t, its not for lack of effort.

    Who is Jesus praying to, for the desired effect – that Name This Person will be forgiven?

    Rom.8:34, Heb.7:19-25–to God (the Father). See how easy that is?

    Jesus prayed for the cup to be removed. It wasn’t.

    Jesus qualified his own request. “Not my will, but thine be done.” If I make your will mine over mine own will, then “my will” is an expression of what I would otherwise, if not for your will. Jesus made the Father’s will his highest aim, seeing it was preferable. See Is.49:4-7.

    So why does it matter that He restrains you from being a murderer? You’re still wickedly damning just as much as a murderer every second of your life – you “do nothing BUT sin”.

    Why does it matter? Because I’m not an abstract individual, an island. Is it a better or worse world if there’s grosser or less gross sin abounding in it? But I’m also thankful that he prevents me from sinning WORSE. Why wouldn’t that matter to me and the folks around me? But anyway, the lingering plague of indwelling sin is why I rejoice to have a Mediator. You have to DIE to get out of here alive, Mt.10:39.

    So since you “do nothing BUT sin”, you’re improving and “growing in grace”? Do reprobates who you agree also “do nothing BUT sin”, but aren’t forgiven, improving and “growing in grace”? Is Jesus praying for you to improve and grow in grace, or not?

    Take a standard gas-burning car. Because of what it is, that vehicle is going to have exhaust emissions. It can do nothing but emit. But if improvements are made to the car, it will put out less pollutants. It will grow in “grace.” It is still a pollutant, until it is cleaned, crushed, and repurposed.

    There is no contradiction to having sinful flesh, and yet growing in grace. Reprobates don’t have a Mediator–how can they “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?” They don’t know the Savior. Has any good work begun in them? No one is working on that car. It’s only getting worse.

    Jesus isn’t praying for my improvement. That’s baseless, pious-sounding nonsense, and Clete’s say-so. Jesus is creating my improvement. It’s already the will of God, 1Ths.4:3; and God is accomplishing this through Jesus, Heb:13:21, making me “perfect in every good work to do his will, working in [me] that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.”

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  126. Clete, cont.

    I’m asking why because your gloss of the Bible doesn’t seem consistent to me. You say Jesus does not need anyone’s permission to keep you, nor does he lack the personal authority, potential and actual, to have his will done – so he doesn’t pray for believers to resist sin. But he does pray for believers to be forgiven. So it would seem by that same logic, Jesus needs permission to keep you and lacks the personal authority to have his will done when it comes to forgiveness.

    Before you can ask a question about consistency, you need to postulate what some text or another means. And furthermore, you need to show where two such “glosses” create a connundrum. At this point, offering no alternatives, you appear to accept my “glosses” as the apparent, indisputed meaning of the texts.

    It is rationalist to reason from an a priori (X is inconsistent) to the conclusion, “Your premise/gloss MUST BE faulty.” The problem is not in the rationalist tendency (for we all use this formally fallacious reasoning at times, to no harm). The problem is in the subsequent refusal to grapple with the biblical textual premise. It is intellectually virtuous to find the true meaning/gloss of the texts, so as to remove the connundrum. It is intellectually vacuous to be uninterested in finding the coherence between indisputed meanings that have led to apparent confusion.

    Mt.28:18, Christ speech nearly on his way to his THRONE, declares the state of affairs in which we in the NT age now live, move, and have our being. Does he have ALL authority in heaven and earth from which to do his will, or doesn’t he? You say he “prays.” I say he “provides,” Php.4:19, where once again we read it is by/through Christ our needs are supplied.

    You dispute my contention that Jesus’ always makes perfect prayers, with results guaranteed due to that perfection. The alternative is that Jesus’ prayers reveal imperfection: ignorance, ineffectiveness, crossed-purposes with his Father’s, prayers for “show,” etc. I keep asking you to tell us to WHOM Christ makes his prayer that no one will sin. Right now, if we simply accept Clete’s proposal on its face, then our farm is sold, because nothing is more obvious than Jesus prayer fails more than it succeeds.

    It’s relevant to whether Christ praying for something entails it must happen.

    As already shown, you’ve ignored Christ’s relevant qualifier. It looks like bad-faith argumentation.

    I haven’t proposed anything. I’ve asked questions. I’m examining your position.

    That’s laughable. When you call another’s claim into question, there’s at the very least a counterclaim implied–or else the question is baseless. Your skepticism is from the VOID. In which case, Reformed theology is really the only game in town. You need a pou stow to gain an ounce of leverage, in order to “examine” anything.

    So, I don’t believe you, and no one reading our exchange should either. It’s a phony posture.

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  127. Clete, cont.

    So what else does Jesus pray for besides forgiveness? In making those prayers, does he lack personal authority to have his will done when it comes to those areas of prayer and needs someone’s permission?

    Scripture speaks again and again about him interceding for forgiveness of our sins, Heb.7:25-27; Rom.8:34; 1Jn.2:1. With that kind of emphasis, it’s hard to justify distracting from what seems so central.

    I can tell you what Jesus has prayed for. And having spoken once, does God need to speak further? Can he refer back to his Word, fixed and sure?

    He prayed the Father send Holy Spirit, Jn.14:16, which was answered, Act.2. We find several petitions in the High Priestly prayer of Jn.17. Besides praying particularly for those who were present that hour (which specifics we should not grasp presumptively for ourselves), he also prayed for future Christian unity, Jn.17:21, and witness bearing to the world, of which we have many fulfillments, including Act.4:32; real present fulfillment, e.g. Eph.4:4-5, Rom.12:5; and which awaits perfect eschatological fulfillment, Jn.17:23.

    So he prayed further, v24, for the redeemed to finish their race, and join him in glory; of which we have numerous attested fulfillments in Scripture, including 2Tim.4:7; and good hope by grace of the blessed end of many others since, and of present believer’s faith also. And in Jn.17:26, he prayed his intention to aid his church (by himself) for their proclamation of the Name of God. All these are things he prayed once we know, and may well continue to pray seeing how they have ongoing and future fulfillment.

    His will in these things is perfectly united with his Father’s, which Person has promised the Son unity of effort. So, these prayers are not asking permission, but a summoning of answer to Promise. These are guarantees, a combination of his personal authority, and his Father’s, and the mind of the Holy Spirit.

    That’s simply not in the same category as supposed prayers, unattested to by Scripture, where Jesus prays to have a frustrated outcome, despite his glorified, omniscient awareness of all things (past, present, and future). Nor does the Lord of Glory pray to his angels (or others) to give what aid is in their power, if perhaps their effort could achieve the will of God. All their combined strength is a mote in the bottomless well of divine omnipotence. What does Christ lack of himself in order to see his exact purpose perfected?

    The answer is “Nothing.” He lacks nothing, nor is he uncertain of the Father’s purpose, Jn.10:30.

    Sure, many healings were contingent upon the subject acting in faith or doing some work. They could have resisted.

    What a tragic read. We need a Savior to break down the bars of death, to rescue us when we lack even the smallest will or faith; and rather than One who reveals himself invincibly to our enlivened vision that he has imparted, Romanism offers us a diffident, deferent, gentlemanly Jesus who comes to save only those with some spark of life already.

    The reason he did “few miracles” in a few places was not because some came to him but their faith was sub-par. But that they wouldn’t come to him at all, that they might be healed! Jn.5:40, “Still, you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” They didn’t believe in him. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, all they needed was to look, and live–about as passive and unwilling as one can be.

    I suppose Lazarus could have resisted Jesus call and stayed in his tomb, too? The man born blind could have resisted his new vision, I guess? Or is it just the most important, eternal life and death decision God leaves in the hands of us powerless, hopeless ones, dead in our tresspasses and sins?

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  128. Clete, cont.

    Sure, it just suddenly retreats to “permission” language when critics point out its implications and consequences that make God the author of sin.

    This, and subsequent “corrections” of Reformed theology are unworthy of attention. As I wrote previously, you don’t get to save permission for your own system, while simultaneously putting it entirely off-limits for another. If you have an argument to make concerning Reformed theology’s “improper” placement, fine. You make it sound as if mere criticism validates every alleged implication and consequence. And I didn’t make my defense an “exclusive” defense, unlike your own behavior, in trying to deny “permission” to my side.

    Also, you simply repeated your rube-goldberg analogy without adjustment, as if I didn’t point out the fundamental difference between a cause-effect machine, and moral actors. God summoned and wielded the Assyrian like a rod against his Israelites. Isaiah reports the Lord’s testimony, I didn’t make this up. God owns that whole work of death, rape, enslavement, and wanton devastation as his sure threat and righteous execution. It was PREDESTINED; or to use your non-biblical term of preference, it was DETERMINED. And still, the wickedness of the Assyrian intent and his failure to acknowledge his servant-role before the Living God, is announced by God as the reason for similar judgment that will fall on his boastful head.

    Your method of dealing with this affirmation of predestined particulars seems to be that God is shielded from culpability by sufficient vagueness as to the character, motives, and methods of his instruments. In fact, you’d have God overwrite his purposes onto the Assyrian’s sovereign self-determination. As if you can just pull out alternate Scripture, and pit God’s Word against itself. You are not engaging in serious discussion. If I wished, I could imitate your style, and argue (like an atheist) that Romanism’s commitments make God the author of evil/sin. But atheist “style” isn’t MY thing. So, I’ll just re-acknowledge your unprincipled habit of special pleading, and move on.

    To repeat: I have yet to argue in your style–which you repeatedly project on me–as if only Reformed theology has a right to certain arguments.

    Of course I “admit” God permits sin. I don’t admit he determines/necessitates it.

    Unless you are adopting open-theism, where God does not know the fixed and certain course of events for all time to come, then his perfect foreknowledge in some way makes the specific future he allowed–to the exclusion of all else–to be NECESSARY. That’s the “omniscience trap,” which should be no trap at all for someone who believes in the God of the Bible, rather than the philosopher’s god. Maybe you should read some Aquinas?

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  129. Augustine affirmed synergism. Just as he affirmed mortal sin. Odd that synergism gets me to Semi-Pelagianism when Council of Orange affirmed synergism in condemning SPism. Maybe they didn’t know what they were doing.

    Yea, maybe not. I guess he’d be appalled to hear of his alleged synergistic affirmations. A “free will” is not the essence of synergism. Many are monergistic, who acknowledge a doctrine of the will’s (relative) freedom. The will is both bound, and free, in different senses, as Augustin carefully distinguishes in his Retractiones.

    Your citation of Augustine shows he wasn’t a Pelagian or semi-Pelagian. It doesn’t show he denied the RC notion of merit from works done in a state of grace – that is, after initial justification – as he attests to in multiple places; there’s a reason the Catechism cites him and Therese of Lisieux on its section in merit.

    Too funny, because Augustin was speaking re. those “in a state of grace” (as you think of it). You are just TOO eager to save our common heritage ONLY for yourself, and you will not let him speak for himself. As a specialist in semantics, I know how to exegete a writer. Augustin means almost EXACTLY what you deny of him: that no one should think that by a most grand demonstration of the most genuine Christian “faith of love and love of faith” they have done any merit for heaven.

    At your instigation, I investigated the CCC, as well as Augustin’s 298th Sermon (in full). I can think of some subtle reasons the CCC might want to hint at having Augustin’s approval. The adumbration of the Merit section (from a missal, attr. to Aug.) is not simple to trace, nor is it directly sourced to Augustin, so no strong support there; followed later on by an acontextual and broken snippet of a quote, with his original pronouns all swapped out (change affects authorial intent).

    It was well they did not dare cite him for support of para.2010, since the passage from De Civitate Dei rebuts Rome’s official doctrine so abruptly. CCC2010: “We can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed… for the attainment of eternal life.” [orig. emph.] They EMPHASIZED their opposition to what Augustin clearly taught! I thank you for directing me to yet another precise contradiction of Augustin’s own theology by Roman doctrine. It’s not the first time.

    But men contradict one another; they even contradict themselves–whether by error or by retraction. God’s Word never self-contradicts. And as your final comment echoes that sentiment, this seems an ideal place to end.

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  130. Jeff Cagle
    Posted January 7, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink
    TLM: If the Catholic Church is not the Catholic of the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed, then which Church is that Catholic Church?

    Jeff:
    Once more with feeling and four part harmony:>>>>

    Hey, I love good Gospel quartets, or choirs, or string quartets. Oboe quartets not so much unless it’s Mozart’s. You know there is such a thing as a bass oboe? It’s the crazy uncle of the oboe family and we don’t talk about it much.

    Thanks for the WCF quotes. See, I studied the first chapters of the WCF because I was interested in the doctrines of grace. It was a good study. I wasn’t so interested in the ecclesiology part, but I did read the whole WCF. It’s not that long.

    So is the WCF for you something like the bylaws of any organization? Of course, a church is not just any organization, but the WCF plays a role like that? It is not infallible, but the churches within your network all agree to abide by these standards. All agree that it has sufficient Biblical support to be trusted, but not completely. It is fallible. Something like that?

    You believe that it is a good way – or the best way? – to run a denomination. It is very close to what Scripture teaches, but there is some wiggle room allowing for personal conscience in some areas.

    You must have accepted interpreters of the words of the WCF. Though not infallible, they are reliable interpreters of Scripture – the infallible rule of faith and practice – and the accompanying standards.

    Something like that?

    It still doesn’t tell me how you know that Scripture is infallible. Well, except that Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, so from God’s viewpoint, it is obvious. How does the Holy Spirit infallibly communicate the real contents of His infallible Word?

    We can rule out the coke bottle from the sky theory. So, in your way of understanding, how did He do that? It seems to me that at least for this, you would have to trust that the Holy Spirit led the Church. How else could you know for sure?

    Well, in your understanding, the Church that defined the NT canon is not the same as the Catholic Church of today. The Church of the first 2 or 3 centuries AD preserved and defined the canon of Scripture.

    I understand that you don’t think that the Church or church is infallible in general. I suppose that you might say that it is like the human authors of Scripture who were not always infallible. They were protected from error only in the writing of Scripture. Maybe you could say that the Church was similarly infallible in selecting the inspired works. The Church was preserved from error in identifying the canon of the NT.

    In your system, how do you know that the canon of the NT is the right canon, IOW? Would it be something like what I described?

    I won’t mention the OT canon since we disagree on what books belong. I am trying to understand how you know that you got the NT right. Am I close?

    Thanks.

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  131. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 7, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, “Then there’s the defense of the divinity of the Trinity and the Incarnation that you are heavily dependent”

    But you’re way more dependent on tradition and you haven’t yet fessed to the tradition of bishops covering things up. Can you say Alexander VI? Sure you can.>>>>

    I confess that there are Bishops who have erred greatly, including those liars who covered up the horrific abuse perpetrated by some of the priests under their watch.

    That is not Tradition since the Church does not teach that priests should molest young boys. The Church does not teach that Bishops should cover up sin and lie to the press about it.

    Read what I did say and think about it.

    See you tomorrow, D.V. Take care.
    ——————-
    See, this is part of the problem that I see in the discussions about infallibility. How are you defining “infallibility”? If it includes “bishops and priests can never be wrong, heretical, and downright sinful criminals – satanic even” then that is the wrong definition.

    If it includes the idea that once a person is a bishop or priest they can never be removed from their positions, then that is also a flawed definition.

    Judas was an apostle, but was the son of perdition. He was removed from his place. Another took his place.

    Peter denied his Lord, not once, but 3 times. In the book of Galatians we see that Paul had to correct Peter.

    The failures of men, even in the NT, did not nullify the promises of God to His Church.

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  132. Mermaid, you have once again performed the Protestant move of separating tradition from authority — “Tradition does not teach that priests should molest young boys.” But in your epistemology seminar I learned that tradition and knowledge depends on infallible authority. Without that, Protestants are skeptics. So what about the authority of bishops who cover up for wicked priests? If they could be wrong about that in their use of authority, why couldn’t the also be wrong in identifying truth or establishing doctrine.

    You have to get out of the circle of your own closed infallibility epistemology paradigm. I’m trying to help. You need to reach out too.

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  133. mermaid: Of course, Protestants brag a lot more about knowing Scripture than is warranted.

    warranted? meaning deserved or called for? assuming from the your discussion prior, promoting that Catholic teachings rather than the teaching of the actual word of God is good enough, combined with your disdain that I may know less of the words of ‘those giants Augustine and Aquinas’, I assume you are saying the actual word is not really that ‘called for’ or ‘necessary’.

    Given that then, and it being akin to the Gen 3 question ie “Did God really say hearing and knowing HIS own word is vital? The answer :YES

    As prophets of old have said since the beginning: Hear the WORD of the LORD:
    -Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every WORD that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
    -you have been born again of imperishable seed through the living and enduring WORD of God. 1 Peter 1:23
    -My WORD goes forth from My mouth; accomplishes what I desire; succeeds in the matter for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
    -faith comes from hearing the WORD Romans 10:17
    -the exercise of His will: He brought us forth by the WORD of truth. James 1:18
    -the WORDS that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. John 6:63
    -Peter:You (Jesus) have WORDS of eternal life. John 6:68
    -Sanctify them in Your WORD. John 17:17
    -by the WORD, you may grow in respect to salvation 1 Peter 2:3
    -cleansed by the washing of water with the WORD Ephesians 5:26
    -receive the WORD implanted, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21
    -come to Me; hear My WORDS; act on them = unshakable Luke 6:47-48
    -constantly nourished on the WORDS of the faith 1 Timothy 4:6
    – receive my WORDS, treasure them, discover the knowledge of God Prov 2
    -hear the WORD, accept it, bear fruit, thirty, sixty, hundredfold. Mark 4:20
    -sword of the Spirit-the WORD of God Ephesians 6:17
    -the WORD of God is living, active, sharp Hebrews 4:12

    Mermaid, as you say “go with the gold standard, not the clay.”

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  134. and still thinking of the Lord’s vital word and your vital question Mermaid: “whatever it is they are trying to prove by an appeal to Christ’s righteousness” , this am for you:

    January 8: DAY 8: What does Abraham’s faith teach us about justification?

    In Genesis 15:6, we are told that when Abraham “believed” in the Lord, it was “accounted” to him for “righteousness.” The apostle Paul quoted these words as an illustration of faith over and against works (Rom. 4:3, 9, 22; Gal. 3:6). Abraham was regenerated by faith, and so are we!

    This quotation is one of the clearest statements in all Scripture about justification. Abraham’s faith is not a meritorious work. It is never the ground of justification—it is simply the channel through which it is received and it, too, is a gift. His faith was “accounted” or “imputed” to him, which is a term used in both financial and legal settings. It means to take something that belongs to someone and credit to another’s account. It is a one-sided transaction—Abraham did nothing to accumulate it: God simply credited it to him. In this case, God took His own righteousness and credited it to Abraham as if it were actually his. This God did because Abraham believed in Him.

    The “righteousness” imputed to Abraham is unique: 1) God is its source (Is. 45:8); 2) it fulfills both the penalty and precept of God’s law. Christ’s death as a substitute pays the penalty exacted on those who failed to keep God’s law, and His perfect obedience to every requirement of God’s law fulfills God’s demand for comprehensive righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24; see Heb. 9:28); and 3) because God’s righteousness is eternal (Ps. 119:142; Is. 51:8; Dan. 9:24), the one who receives it from Him enjoys it forever.
    http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

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  135. @TLM
    “All agree that it has sufficient Biblical support to be trusted, but not completely. It is fallible. Something like that?”

    I think you are close, but there is a bit of hang up and I think it is on the understanding of what it means to be fallible or infallible. Bryan has averred that it is *impossible* for the pope speaking ex cathedra or for bishops in unity with the pope defining doctrine at a council to err. Further, if this is not true then there is no warrant for Christian doctrine – everything is just mere opinion. My belief that Jesus is the Son of God is not justified (cvd if you are watching, please correct me if I have misrepresented anything). Further, since as a protestant, I have the responsibility to judge what my church teaches against the word, the only authority is me, myself, and I. Thus the splintering of denominations. One is justified in believing the claims of the catholic church (i.e., it is not mere fideism) based on the motives of credibility (the history, continuity, size, and holiness of the church).

    Infallible does not mean that one says something correct. It means that it would have been impossible to have been wrong. Fallible does not mean that one is wrong or even that one is uncertain. It means that one *could* have been wrong. If you are filling out a crossword puzzle, and you check your work at the end and find that all of your answers match the key, you can be 100% certain that you got the right answers. However, your answers are still fallible because you *could* have gotten the answers wrong. To say that the WCF is fallible is to say that it is only valid insofar as it is consonant with scripture. As the divines studied scripture, theologians throughout the history of the church, and applied the light of reason, they could have gotten something wrong. The plum line is scripture. Once it is established that a doctrine is consonant with the bible, our articulation of the doctrine, while still in principle fallible (just like your crossword puzzle after you checked the answers) is certain (well of the Cagle sort – of course it is possible that we are all brains in a vat or something, but I don’t think those kinds of fanciful possibilities, while logically possible, are worth considering).

    It seems to me that this is the principle difference between SS-RPs and the RCC when it comes to church authority, doctrine, and tradition. We both agree that doctrine matters and we should unify around true teaching. We both agree that God has established (ordained) men to lead the church, teach, settle ecclesiastical disputes, etc… And we agree that tradition matters – we should be guided by tradition, we rely on tradition, and tradition is a valuable teacher. Where we part ways is over the question of whether the Holy Spirit protects the church from making mistakes about doctrine so that it is impossible to define a doctrine (or moral practice) that isn’t true or whether the Holy Spirit guides the church through his word and that it is possible that the church can get things wrong and need to reform.

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  136. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, you have once again performed the Protestant move of separating tradition from authority — “Tradition does not teach that priests should molest young boys.” But in your epistemology seminar I learned that tradition and knowledge depends on infallible authority. Without that, Protestants are skeptics. So what about the authority of bishops who cover up for wicked priests? If they could be wrong about that in their use of authority, why couldn’t the also be wrong in identifying truth or establishing doctrine.

    You have to get out of the circle of your own closed infallibility epistemology paradigm. I’m trying to help. You need to reach out too.>>>>>

    It’s not Protestant, since it is Tradition that is infallible, not the individual that represents the Tradition. The Tradition is the standard, not the individual.

    Even the Pope is not infallible in everything he says. We listen to him and follow his lead, but not as mindless robots. Faithful Catholics are always questioning their leaders and yet still remain faithful Catholic. Now, when the Pope speaks ex cathedra he is making infallible pronouncements. How often does that happen? It is very rare.

    We do believe that the Holy Spirit leads the Church through the Pope, who sits in the seat of Peter. He has to answer to the Cardinals, the bishops, and even the priests and the faithful members of the Catholic Church.

    The Tradition is episcopal, which your system rejects. The Tradition involves apostolic succession, a line that has not been broken that can be traced back to Peter, the first pope.

    You reject all of that. Remember? One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Those are the 4 marks of the Church. That is taken from the Nicene Creed. The Church holds that Creed as being infallible.

    You don’t have an infallible tradition. You have traditions, but unless I am mistaken, you do not take them to be infallible. Scripture is your only infallible rule of faith and practice.

    The WCF is one of your standards. It is part of your tradition. By definition, it is not infallible.

    What is it that you are hung up on? I don’t understand. Yes, there is some similarity – and more than what you seem to allow for – but the differences are real differences.

    So, I am not sure how you arrive at any teaching that is infallible when your standards are fallible. There must be a way. What is it?

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  137. Mermaid,

    We listen to him and follow his lead, but not as mindless robots. Faithful Catholics are always questioning their leaders and yet still remain faithful Catholic. Now, when the Pope speaks ex cathedra he is making infallible pronouncements. How often does that happen? It is very rare.

    Now take a breath and apply this to your points about epistemology, and how you have knowledge with an infallible bishop and how Protestants are skeptics without said authority. It looks to me like the average RC is in the same position as the average Protestant. The sovereign self understands truth and evaluates authorities accordingly. But when we do that we are Descartes. Huh!?!

    Protestants also believe in the Holy Spirit. Haven’t you heard that Calvin is the theologian of the Holy Spirit? In fact, Protestants developed pneumatology far more readily than Roman Catholics — take my historical theology seminar. And we too believe the Holy Spirit leads the church. You just won’t acknowledge our church as legitimate (even though your infallible bishops do). Huh?!?

    BTW, I wouldn’t bring up holiness as a mark of your church. The gall (and the wormwood).

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  138. Mermaid, delineate for me all the infallible tradition. There’s more I’d like to say, but I just want that part laid out. It’s a nice rhetorical catch all but I’ve never heard it all laid out or agreed upon even within RC. Think canon lawyers and competing inclusions, and then among what is considered the deposit, what it means and what level of authority each doctrine or just parts of the doctrine down to specific words and sentences and phraseology accounting for historical considerations and ‘development’ each dogma ‘attains’ from an aspect of conscience binding while also keeping in mind the dogmatic constitutions at Vat II that elevated the charism of the laity and sanctity of religious conscience.

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  139. Okay, the question for you guys is how do you arrive at infallible teachings when your standards are fallible. You accept Scripture as being the only infallible rule of faith and practice. How do you arrive at that conclusion? There has to be a way.

    I know you reject Catholicism. That is a given. How do you know that you know that Scripture is infallible?

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  140. See, as far as I understand, the Catholic Church claims that the Holy Spirit leads the Church into all truth through Scripture, the Traditions of the Church, and the teaching magisterium at this moment in time.

    You don’t agree. I get that. Do you claim the leading of the Holy Spirit in any way? Did the Holy Spirit lead the divines who drafted the WCF? If so, did He lead fallibly or infallibly?

    I suppose you have to define “infallible” first? Right?

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  141. Mermaid when you say, “at this moment in time”, I think you’re onto something even if you don’t intend to be. It’s what makes infallibility sticky. How is the HS leading the RCC? When is it doing so infallibly? How do you know? When does development change it? Who do I think along with, Burke or Francis and Kasper? Where’s the table of contents for the deposit? Does it come color coded like the red letter edition bibles for the infallible parts?

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  142. D.G. Hart:
    BTW, I wouldn’t bring up holiness as a mark of your church. The gall (and the wormwood).>>>>>

    Well, is holiness a mark of the Catholic Church – the one in the WCF definition – the one that is sometimes more visible and sometimes less visible? Is it a mark of your denomination and those who submit to the WCF standards? Remember, the WCF was not able to keep Presbyterianism from apostatizing. Will it keep the OPC from apostasy?

    Explain what holiness is and how it relates to Presbyterianism and those who tried to keep the standards.

    I still don’t know how you know you know that Scripture is infallible.

    D.G. Hart:
    Protestants also believe in the Holy Spirit. Haven’t you heard that Calvin is the theologian of the Holy Spirit? >>>>>

    Why don’t you create a new Geneva, then? That must be what the Holy Spirit wants from you.

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  143. Mermaid, the Holy Spirit leads everything, right? Isn’t that the doctrine of providence? So the Holy Spirit leads Canada and the Philippines. That doesn’t make them infallible.

    Sheesh.

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  144. Mermaid, “Explain what holiness is and how it relates to Presbyterianism and those who tried to keep the standards.”

    The communion of Presbyterians to which I belong deposes from the ministry someone who molests children.

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  145. Merm, here’s another way to think about(I’m giving lots of ground here) what does your ‘infalliblity’ get you? If I’m a separated brother(actually, my situation is far worse but others here get a pass) and I don’t believe the ex cathedra pronouncements(let’s just say every jot and tittle of them without scrutiny, parsing and development) but still get brotherly consideration(soteriologically considered) what have you gained in the end game?

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  146. Sean, was the Holy Spirit leading Cardinal Law?

    The Boston Globe?

    Darryl, these are difficult things. I’ll be applying Ignatian spiritual disciplines over the rest of my life, yours and the millenials, weighing these things out and probably not come to an infallible determination about my sorta conclusion. Oh, holy spigot help us to understand.

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  147. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, “Explain what holiness is and how it relates to Presbyterianism and those who tried to keep the standards.”

    The communion of Presbyterians to which I belong deposes from the ministry someone who molests children.>>>>

    So, you are making a claim to holiness. How do you know who is and who is not molesting children?

    How did you know before the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church forced the Reformed churches in your communion to put safeguards into place?

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  148. See, as far as I understand, the Catholic Church claims that the Holy Spirit leads the Church into all truth through Scripture, the Traditions of the Church, and the teaching magisterium at this moment in time.

    You don’t agree. I get that. Do you claim the leading of the Holy Spirit in any way? Did the Holy Spirit lead the divines who drafted the WCF? If so, did He lead fallibly or infallibly?

    Yes, we do claim his leading. Are we done now? Probably not, since we also say human sin is still an abiding reality that the Spirit doesn’t swallow up and overcome. Prosperity gospel does indeed come in various forms and yours enjoys more western approval than others.

    Ariel, you act as if just because you say “Catholic Church claims that the Holy Spirit leads the Church into all truth through Scripture, the Traditions of the Church, and the teaching magisterium at this moment in time” that this settles it. Don’t you realize self-attestation doesn’t make a claim so? But we get–dial down the claims to take into account human sin and there goes the whole blessed project.

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  149. Mermaid, why don’t you ever give answers for your team? You only turn things around. Remember. You’re the Yankees now. You have to set a higher standard. Act like you’ve won a championship or two.

    On my side, it’s not that we know or claim to know who is molesting children. Are you that dense? It’s what we do with ministers when we do know. We don’t pass them along.

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  150. “Remember, the WCF was not able to keep Presbyterianism from apostatizing”
    And the stm triad didn’t keep Christians in europe from dividing or the ones in the middle east from succumbing to islam.

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  151. we believe the Holy Spirit leads the church

    That isn’t what Jesus Christ promised in John 16:13.

    There, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, is promised to guide the apostles (and the apostles alone) to give to the churches a canon of infallible revelation that will explain all we need to need for the present age based on the death-resurrection-ascension of Christ.

    The Holy Spirit does not guide “the Church,” no matter what your user-defined category of church is.

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  152. Could it be that Webfoot, et al have a much more subjective/personal view of, experience of, and take on the mutli-headed, onion-layered corpus of Rome than we could ever have with our insignificant little prot confessional denoms? Did not Sean ask an unanswerable (though perfectly valid) question?

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  153. sdb,

    True. Nor did Christ and the Apostles keep people from dissenting or leaving them. But those who left Christ or the Apostles had reason to care what Christ and the Apostles thought of their leaving. Do WCF churches claim the type of authority and ability that would give those who leave them reason to care what those churches think of their leaving?

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  154. Noon,

    If Christ’s promise only applies to the Apostles, the church’s recognition of the canon wasn’t divinely guided by the Holy Spirit then?
    Did this command and promise only apply to the Apostles as well since it was addressed only to them? “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

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  155. Clete, yes. And no, you don’t have to have Thomistic Divine faith(btw, just because thomism claims it attains this level of certainty and/or infallibility doesn’t mean it does) in order to have authority in order to exercise ecclesial discipline-keys to the kingdom.

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  156. Sean,

    So are you in schism from all the non-WCF Protestant churches and need to repent? Are all non-WCF Protestant churches in schism from yours and need to repent? Why should either side care what the other judges about the other’s beliefs, given the type of authority/ability all Protestant churches claim?

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  157. sdb
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink
    @TLM
    “All agree that it has sufficient Biblical support to be trusted, but not completely. It is fallible. Something like that?”

    sdb:
    I think you are close, but there is a bit of hang up and I think it is on the understanding of what it means to be fallible or infallible. >>>>>

    Yes.

    sdb:
    Bryan has averred that it is *impossible* for the pope speaking ex cathedra or for bishops in unity with the pope defining doctrine at a council to err. >>>>

    I don’t know Bryan. I don’t know if he is infallible. 🙂 I am reading through the CCC again in light of what has been discussed here.

    sdb:
    Further, if this is not true then there is no warrant for Christian doctrine – everything is just mere opinion. My belief that Jesus is the Son of God is not justified (cvd if you are watching, please correct me if I have misrepresented anything). Further, since as a protestant, I have the responsibility to judge what my church teaches against the word, the only authority is me, myself, and I. Thus the splintering of denominations. One is justified in believing the claims of the catholic church (i.e., it is not mere fideism) based on the motives of credibility (the history, continuity, size, and holiness of the church).>>>>

    I think that there is a big danger in that. I think we see it a lot. Maybe not so much where you are, but where I go, that kind of “I am the authority, so listen to me” is rampant.

    I also think that the constant exhortations to examine everything in light of Scripture is a huge burden on the individual Christian. Very few Christians are able to do that consistently. So, at the end of the day, we have to trust someone else’s scholarship.

    sdb:
    Infallible does not mean that one says something correct. It means that it would have been impossible to have been wrong. >>>>

    It is impossible for the Holy Spirit to be wrong. It is impossible for Jesus to err. Now, maybe the claims of the Catholic Church to be the Church that Jesus founded are … hmmm. unfounded. However, there is some church out there that is infallible. There is such a thing as infallible apostolic teaching. Who has it and where is it?

    Did it atomize along with Protestantism after the Reformation? .and I’m trying to avoid nasty comments like “Is the church that is more visible sometimes and less visible other times kind of like Brigadoon?” However, I will ask how we know what it is in all its phases of visibility and invisibility?

    sdb:
    Fallible does not mean that one is wrong or even that one is uncertain. It means that one *could* have been wrong. If you are filling out a crossword puzzle, and you check your work at the end and find that all of your answers match the key, you can be 100% certain that you got the right answers. However, your answers are still fallible because you *could* have gotten the answers wrong. To say that the WCF is fallible is to say that it is only valid insofar as it is consonant with scripture. >>>>

    Yes. I understand.

    sdb:
    As the divines studied scripture, theologians throughout the history of the church, and applied the light of reason, they could have gotten something wrong. The plum line is scripture. Once it is established that a doctrine is consonant with the bible, our articulation of the doctrine, while still in principle fallible (just like your crossword puzzle after you checked the answers) is certain (well of the Cagle sort – of course it is possible that we are all brains in a vat or something, but I don’t think those kinds of fanciful possibilities, while logically possible, are worth considering).>>>>

    Yes. I understand.

    sdb:
    It seems to me that this is the principle difference between SS-RPs and the RCC when it comes to church authority, doctrine, and tradition. We both agree that doctrine matters and we should unify around true teaching. We both agree that God has established (ordained) men to lead the church, teach, settle ecclesiastical disputes, etc… And we agree that tradition matters – we should be guided by tradition, we rely on tradition, and tradition is a valuable teacher. Where we part ways is over the question of whether the Holy Spirit protects the church from making mistakes about doctrine so that it is impossible to define a doctrine (or moral practice) that isn’t true or whether the Holy Spirit guides the church through his word and that it is possible that the church can get things wrong and need to reform.>>>>

    Yes. Got it. I understand what you are saying.

    Now, the one thing that I don’t quite get is how you know that you know that Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith and practice? That is the part that interests me.

    I have also become interested in understanding why Protestants are not willing or maybe not able to consider the fact that the Deuterocanonical books – at least some of them or parts of some of them – cannot be inspired Scripture. Is that an infallible “thing” or an opinion “thing” ?

    See, if Robert is right – and he may very well be – that there were several opinions about the Deuteros present even at the time of the Reformation, why don’t we see that variety of opinions expressed in Protestantism today? Why aren’t there Protestant denominations that accept the canonicity of them or parts of them?

    Maybe you don’t know, and maybe that doesn’t interest you. I understand if it doesn’t.

    Hey, thanks sdb. Have a great day.

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  158. Clete, whose schism? But yes, we have fraternal relations and there is transference of membership and excommunication that goes on. We, unlike your version of RCC, recognize our finitude and creaturely limitations and stop short of pronouncements left to God alone. Tares and wheat, searching the heart, illumining the mind savingly. We abide by one’s confession. Are there false confessors? Yep.

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  159. Sean,

    “we have fraternal relations”

    You have fraternal relations with all Protestant churches?

    “excommunication that goes on.”

    Why should someone excommunicated from a Protestant church care that they were excommunicated from it? A person excommunicated from Rome has reason to care – Rome claims apostolic authority. Rome claims divine authority. Rome claims to be the one true church Christ founded. I do not see why someone excommunicated from a Protestant church should care – after all, such a church would only claim its authoritative only insofar as it conforms to Scripture – it has no ability or authority to infallibly define or teach irreformable doctrine or issue a normative judgment binding upon all. And since the excommunicated person judges the church to no longer (or never did in the first place) conform to Scripture, he should feel perfectly within his rights under that church’s own claims to leave it.

    “We, unlike your version of RCC, recognize our finitude and creaturely limitations and stop short of pronouncements left to God alone. ”

    Those in the NT recognized their finitude and creaturely limitations. They still had reason to care what Christ or the Apostles thought of their beliefs and had reason to care if they decided to leave, because Christ and the Apostles claimed a type of authority and ability that would compel them to care.

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  160. mermaid: How did you know before the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church forced the Reformed churches in your communion to put safeguards into place?

    your point, a diversion( right this moment), and don’t know how accurate, but not dismissed, mermaid.

    God serious, about His church and its leadership- its importance- His high standard for it; about authority and submission in everything (for all of us); about all His word has to say –we’re either in need of learning it, being reminded of it, reoriented (μετανοέω) to heed it.

    What a great leader Paul, for one, was and very clear here: Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Acts 20:28-32

    great grace, His word is- warns, informs, teaches –eg. here:
    Presbutero/episcopoi/poimino =elders/bishops/pastors=all the same; those who watch their life and doctrine; who guard their flock, not caught off-guard by all the many threats; and a serious reorientation-reminder for us sheep to have the highest regard for the faithful ones (mostly especially our own) – shepherds after His own heart who feed us on knowledge and understanding.

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  161. Clete, it’s God who gifts and God who calls and God who grants authority. They should care because holy writ tells him/her so-apostolic authority still attains-yea.. All the rest of your “conditions for caring” presume trad RC apologists paradigm and/or thomistic understanding of divine faith. You may claim you have it(infallibility, certitude) but I question your surety. The thirty thousand foot view says you substiute the RCC for what God has claimed for only himself-wheat/tares, searching the heart, glorification(in your case immenatizing the eschaton). Eventually rome is making a historic claim, that history doesn’t substantiate. So, I can’t keep you or trads from pratling on about what you think you have, but I don’t think you have what you think you have. Subjugated, creaturely authority under the auspice of the HS is still authority. I can’t help it if you feel it must be thomistic in nature, I don’t. And I still haven’t heard how it is that the HS grants to the RC faithful one type of saving faith and the separated brethren another quality of it. And then, just to be ornery, I’d like to see this distinction in holy writ. This denying the initial ground is fun stuff.

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  162. Bruce,

    This is what I’ve gleaned – when you sin, or when you don’t sin (well, you always damnably sin every nanosecond, but let’s say when you don’t sin “as badly as you could have”), Jesus’ prayer had nothing to do with it because Jesus doesn’t pray for such things. Although, he does pray “for the redeemed to finish their race”, so apparently he is praying for you not to apostasize, but any other sin he isn’t praying for. That seems rather ad hoc – can you tell me why he prays for you not commit apostasy but that’s it?
    Secondly, so what’s happening when you give in to temptation and sin (even though you sin every nanosecond, let’s say a particular temptation at a particular moment in time) – Jesus didn’t pray for you as you already said. And I presume you agree that when you resist temptation, it was due to grace bestowed upon you yes? So when you don’t resist temptation in a particular moment, was grace offered to you that you resisted, was no grace offered at all, or was an “inferior” type of grace offered that was intended to fail and be resisted?

    Does the Holy Spirit actively and purposely grieve Himself in causing you to sin? Can you receive grace in vain or is that impossible?

    “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, all they needed was to look, and live–about as passive and unwilling as one can be.”

    Yes, they needed to look. That was an action done in faith. They could have not looked. Which was my point.

    “I suppose Lazarus could have resisted Jesus call and stayed in his tomb, too?”

    RCism distinguishes between operative and cooperative grace (amongst other divisions of grace). Operative grace cannot be resisted and always precedes cooperative grace. RCism is not Pelagian, nor semi-Pelagian.

    “Also, you simply repeated your rube-goldberg analogy without adjustment, as if I didn’t point out the fundamental difference between a cause-effect machine, and moral actors.”

    Here’s a more fleshed out analogy – https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/who-authored-the-crime/

    “It was PREDESTINED; or to use your non-biblical term of preference, it was DETERMINED.”

    RCs have no problem with the term Predestination. Garrigou-Lagrange wrote a book entitled that covering the Thomist position. You may want to look it up or read his work on grace and Aquinas at www(DOT)ewtn(DOT)com/library/Theology/gracegarrlagr.HTM

    “As if you can just pull out alternate Scripture, and pit God’s Word against itself.”

    I’m not pitting God’s word against itself. I’m letting Scripture interpret Scripture. Let me ask, do you agree with Trent’s statement that “If any one saith, that it is not in man’s power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil God worketh as well as those that are good, not permissively only, but properly, and of Himself, in such wise that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul; let him be anathema.”, i.e. that there is an asymmetry in God’s relation to good vs evil acts?

    “God does not know the fixed and certain course of events for all time to come, then his perfect foreknowledge in some way makes the specific future he allowed”

    Knowledge does not entail causation.

    “Maybe you should read some Aquinas?”

    I’ve read quite a bit of him. He doesn’t buy your view of determinism, grace, will, or soteriology.

    “The will is both bound, and free, in different senses”

    No libertarian free will proponent argues the will is not bound in a sense. I’m not free to start flying with my arms to Jupiter.

    “I know how to exegete a writer. Augustin means almost EXACTLY what you deny of him: that no one should think that by a most grand demonstration of the most genuine Christian “faith of love and love of faith” they have done any merit for heaven.”

    Since you know how to exegete a writer, perhaps you’ll appreciate this exegesis of Augustine’s thought on justification, grace, and merit – www(DOT)calledtocommunion(DOT)com/2010/07/st-augustine-on-law-and-grace/

    “We can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed… for the attainment of eternal life.”

    Right, merit only applies to those in the state of grace – initial justification and our adoption into Christ is unmerited. Once justified, we can now participate in His nature and agape and grow in that participation and deepen our union, that is, we can merit (and since Christians are part of the body of Christ, they can merit graces for others as well via prayer, charity, etc). I agree Augustine teaches we cannot merit initial justification. Nor does RCism. But afterwards, we can merit as Augustine says:

    “We are commanded to live righteously, and the reward is set before us of our meriting to live happily in eternity. But who is able to live righteously and do good works unless he has been justified by faith?”

    “He bestowed forgiveness; the crown he will pay out. Of forgiveness he is the donor; of the crown, he is the debtor. Why debtor? Did he receive something? … The Lord made himself a debtor not by receiving something but by promising something. One does not say to him, ‘Pay for what you received,’ but ‘Pay what you promised’”

    “What merit, then, does a man have before grace, by which he might receive grace, when our every good merit is produced in us only by grace and when God, crowning our merits, crowns nothing else but his own gifts to us?”

    For more on merit (and Augustine’s view), see www(DOT)calledtocommunion(DOT)com/2011/11/the-doctrine-of-merit-feingold-calvin-and-the-church-fathers/

    “But men contradict one another”

    Augustine wasn’t contradicting himself in your citations and mine.

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  163. Sean,

    “They should care because holy writ tells him/her so-apostolic authority still attains-yea”

    Right, and they judge that church’s authority no longer applies because it no longer (or never did) conform to holy writ. So they shouldn’t care if that particular church excommunicates them or shakes their fists at them as they walk out. Just as your church doesn’t (nor should) care what some non-WCF Protestant church shaking their fists at them thinks of them.

    “(in your case immenatizing the eschaton). ”

    in your case, neutering and nullifying the church and Christ’s promises. That was easy.

    “Eventually rome is making a historic claim, that history doesn’t substantiate.”

    And every atheist and non-Christian argues this against Scripture. That was also easy.

    “but I don’t think you have what you think you have”

    That’s fine you don’t think Rome has what it thinks it has. The point is you note it thinks it has something. And that something is what would compel someone to care if they were excommunicated from it. That lack of something is what would not compel someone to care if they were excommunicated from a Protestant church.

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  164. Clete, them not caring is different from whether they should care. Your assertion that aside from claims of infallibility and thomistic certitude, should rightly render them careless, is like, your opinon and a radical sketpticism. If holy writ is true(historic verifiability not mere philosophical plank) than they should(deemed responsible for before God) care. I’m waiting for your thomistic certiude from the aforementioned holy writ. My guess is I’ll be waiting a long time. Faith, now faith is another matter entirely but even that dimly, in this life, waxing and waning and subject to sinful corruption but yet perservering because it’s God at work. The mormons give me the burning in the bosom confirmation, where’s yours?

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  165. Clete, and for a case example of one who SHOULD care because of RCC’s claims, I don’t even get separated brethren status from rome, according to you, some priests tell me otherwise, you wanna know how much I care?

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  166. Sean,

    Should you care what a non-WCF Protestant church thinks or judges of your church or your beliefs? Do you?
    Should a non-WCF Protestant church or member care what your church thinks or judges of their beliefs?

    “our assertion that aside from claims of infallibility and thomistic certitude, should rightly render them careless”

    So were the claims to authority and ability Christ and the Apostles made in the NT no different than the claims to authority and ability random rabbis made?

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  167. James Young, “A person excommunicated from Rome has reason to care – Rome claims apostolic authority. Rome claims divine authority. Rome claims to be the one true church Christ founded.”

    This is rich.

    You are really straining now.

    Why does your pope think he is in no position to judge?

    All that authority and Garry Wills remains in good standing.

    So when are you joining SSPX?

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  168. James Young, “neutering and nullifying the church and Christ’s promises. That was easy.”

    Wrong.

    Vatican 2 — your infallible bishops, the ones who care — deneutered and denullified what Protestants did. We’re separated brethren. Show as much respect as the infallible ones.

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  169. Darryl,

    Was Francis judging when he said, “It’s an absurd dichotomy to think one can live with Jesus, but without the Church, to follow Jesus outside the Church, to love Jesus and not the Church.”

    Rather than you and I dueling with off-the-cuff remarks to reporters or audiences, what might be more helpful is you citing magisterial documents that supposedly contradict, rather than affirm, what I said regarding Rome’s claims.

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  170. Clete, depends how you mean it. Jesus said man lived not on bread and water alone but by every word of God. So, in one sense, no. In the sense of being the logos, the God/man and testator of a new and better covenant and then granting apostolic authority(gifting) to a select few(pentecost) and by means of divine inspiration inscripturating that NT word of God, His authority and the authority of the apostles outstripped and was actually in contest with random rabbis. But that NT inscripturated word is conjoined with the OT inscripturated word as being ALL of scripture and inspired and suitable and profitable………….that the man of God may be complete. Hmmm, not so sure about the “infallible” man made traditions, though. Jesus, however, even leaves us a hermenuetical grid for the scriptures, “you search the scriptures thinking in them you have eternal life but it’s those(scriptures) that testify of ME.” – Not for nothing, but that was slapping the pharisees around for substituting their own traditions for the word of God. I think I feel an application coming on………………

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  171. Darryl,

    Vat2 affirmed the same claims I offered. Read Dei Verbum again. Classing Protestants as separated brethren does not contradict or is incompatible with that.

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  172. Hi Jim,

    If Christ’s promise only applies to the Apostles, the church’s recognition of the canon wasn’t divinely guided by the Holy Spirit then?

    Who invented the idea that some representatives of various churches constitute “the church?” Not Christ, and not the apostles. Who?

    Did this command and promise only apply to the Apostles as well since it was addressed only to them? “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

    Christ’s prophetic words “even to the end of the age” show these words apply beyond the lives of the apostles.

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  173. Sean,

    “His authority and the authority of the apostles outstripped and was actually in contest with random rabbis.”

    Right. So someone who left Christ or the Apostles, or who was excommunicated by them, would have reason to care. Christ and the Apostles weren’t just another random rabbi, nor did they claim to be.

    “Not for nothing, but that was slapping the pharisees around for substituting their own traditions for the word of God.”

    I agree. That doesn’t entail all tradition is therefore corrupt, or inferior to Scriptural authority. Arians appealing to their own traditions were slapped around by the church. Just as Protestantism was by Trent. Trent’s claims and statements should make someone care if they leave or are excommunicated. WCF or Augsburg or any other Protestant confession’s or church’s claims and statements shouldn’t make someone care if they leave or are excommunicated.

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  174. Noon,

    Did you come up with and piece together the canon all by yourself?

    “Christ’s prophetic words “even to the end of the age” show these words apply beyond the lives of the apostles.”

    Hmm, so if such prophetic words are not attached to a promise, then any promises only apply to Christ’s immediate audience at the time they were made?

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  175. Cletus,

    Was Francis judging when he said, “It’s an absurd dichotomy to think one can live with Jesus, but without the Church, to follow Jesus outside the Church, to love Jesus and not the Church.”

    Rather than you and I dueling with off-the-cuff remarks to reporters or audiences, what might be more helpful is you citing magisterial documents that supposedly contradict, rather than affirm, what I said regarding Rome’s claims.

    Do you have absolute infallible certainty that Francis’ off the cuff remarks to reporters aren’t meant to be taken as infallible?

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  176. Clete, you’re leaving out my ‘in one sense, no”. Jesus even affirms the legitimacy of the OT prophets and religious system. Born under the law.

    And yes, it does mean that all other traditions are inferior. Only holy writ rises to the level of innerant and infallible and that in it’s original autographs. We are ALL subject to this condition. Despite rome’s claims to a living tradition. However, even rome, says that scripture is unique-distinct.

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  177. Sean,

    “Jesus even affirms the legitimacy of the OT prophets and religious system.”

    Yup, and so His claims to authority and ability did not make Him or the apostles overlords of Scripture and Tradition when they gave irreformable and normatively binding teaching, identification, interpretation, or judgment upon it. Nor do Rome’s claims to authority and ability make it overlord of Scripture and Tradition. In either case, one who left or was dismissed from either authoritative body should and would have reason to care.

    “And yes, it does mean that all other traditions are inferior.”

    So are the following traditions inferior? The identification of the extent and contents of the Protestant canon of Scripture, public revelation has ended, Sola Scriptura is the rule of faith, Scripture is inerrant, GHM exegesis alone yields divine truths, the church has no ability or authority of the type Rome claims?

    “However, even rome, says that scripture is unique-distinct.”

    True, but that uniqueness does not entail that Tradition is not a necessary parallel authority to it.

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  178. Clete, you like your, “and Tradition”. But, yes, scripture is self authenticating. Any communion’s affirmation of it does not therefore cause it(tradition) to rise to the level of scripture. That, therefore, doesn’t make it worthless or of no use or should cause someone to ‘care less’. Your tradition, my tradition doesn’t rise to the level of alive and active and sharper than any two edged sword or inspired or innerant or capable of making the man of God complete.

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  179. Sean,

    Your tradition, my tradition doesn’t rise to the level of alive and active and sharper than any two edged sword or inspired or innerant or capable of making the man of God complete.

    And it’s quite interesting that the three-legged school forces Roman Catholics to deny 2 Tim. 3:16. and Hebrews and everything else. Scripture is sufficient. Full stop. Not sufficient when the pope utters his infallible interpretation.

    The more I study Roman Catholicism, the less reason I see for them to even have Scripture. All the Magisterium has to do is say “X is infallible” and it has no obligation to give anyone justification for it. At best, it’s reliance on ST is a condescension to us; it isn’t necessary.

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  180. @Jim,

    Did you come up with and piece together the canon all by yourself?

    Evasion, Jim. That’s what religious sinners do when the source of their authority is shown to be in man and not in God.

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  181. James Young, just as effective might be evidence of the bishops ever enforcing the claims you make on behalf of your truth. You want conservative RC’sm. But you have to do what Protestants do to get there — affirm doctrines. Surely you can’t stand up for your bishops, you know, the ones who are infallible.

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  182. James Young, so you’re saying that Francis and Kasper are even more liberal than Vat 2?

    I get it. You’re in a rough spot. The church let you down. I’m here for you. Yup.

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  183. James Young, Pope Francis should give you hope in this year of mercy:

    But the bishop said the designation of these priests, personally appointed by Pope Francis, will help break through the spiritual barriers some people have constructed for themselves, “either due to bad advice or bad information,” that they are beyond God’s forgiveness.

    You really can “get right” with the church.

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  184. DGHart James Young, Pope Francis should give you hope in this year of mercy:
    But the bishop said the designation of these priests, personally appointed by Pope Francis, will help break through the spiritual barriers some people have constructed for themselves, “either due to bad advice or bad information,” that they are beyond God’s forgiveness.
    You really can “get right” with the church.

    re: bad advice or bad information, and year of mercy and hope qualified –

    2068 men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2.htm

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  185. Darryl,

    So there are no conservative bishops to stand up for? Nor are there any bishops celebrating mass or performing/taking sacraments which is an affirmation of dogma and Romes claims? Do you have a problem with your citation – do you tell contrite people they are beyond forgiveness in your elder duties? Good news indeed.

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  186. James Young, you’re long on questions and short on explanations. Looks like your mercy-energized holy father, you know, the one with all the infallibility that allows you to know anything (remember, it’s Manicheanly either Rome or Descartes) has lots of good news — except for any Roman Catholic with an ounce of theological coherence.

    For shame.

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  187. Darryl,

    Is mercy-energized a bad thing? I guess you would tell Christ and the Apostles to stop all that mercy, love, forgiveness business. Infallibility is not confined to the pope, nor do I need the pope to know bats cannot fly out of my nose. But Im not sure (see, Im fallible) if you know bats cant and wont fly out of your nose.

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  188. James Young, is the Latin rite mercy-energized? How about mercy for Wall St. bankers or for companies that pollute the environment?

    When will you be embarrassed?

    I admire your tenacity. But it’s gone past looking foolish.

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