Today's Topic for the Epistemology Seminar

Mark Powell’s new book Papal Infallibility: A Protestant Evaluation of an Ecumenical Issue shows that the path from papal infallibility to epistemic certainty is hardly uniform or successful.

First, maximal infallibility:

[Henry Edward Cardinal] Manning’s maximal infallibility, which stressed the problems of private judgment in theological reflection, looked to the pope to decisively settle theological disputes and secure doctrinal unity. . . . However, Manning’s maximal infallibility is fraught with problems. His position is dependent on a strong foundationalism with unfeasibly high standards for knowledge that has been largely abandoned in contemporary epistemology. Rather than rescuing Manning from the problem of private judgment, maximal infallibility only continues his pursuit of epistemic certainty on an endless cycle. Infallible papal pronouncements must be properly identified, and then they too, like scripture and tradition, are subject to private interpretation. In this regard, papal pronouncements bring no more certainty than scripture and tradition do. (202-203)

Second, moderate infallibility:

[John Henry Cardinal] Newman’s moderate infallibility and his theory of doctrinal development were proposed to address many of the problems that result from maximal infallibility. The moderate position substantially limits the number of infallible papal pronouncements, and the theory of doctrinal development explains the lack of historical support for recent Catholic doctrines. Newman, though, shares many of Manning’s assumptions in epistemology. Like Manning, Newman is seeking epistemic certainty, and this certainty is required for religious claims to qualify as knowledge….

However, the complexity of Newman’s proposal subtly undermines the epistemic certainty he seeks. To avoid papal absolutism, Newman highlights the problem of identifying and interpreting infallible papal pronouncements. For Newman, the church as a whole has a part in adopting infallible papal pronouncements, and theologians in particular play a crucial role in interpreting infallible doctrines. While Newman recognizes the problem of past papal errors, some of which are quite inventive, in an attempt to preserve papal infallibility. When he considers the possibility of future papal errors, he employs a number of epistemic resources, primarily conscience, to counter these potential errors….

While the theology of doctrinal development worked in Newman’s favor for the doctrines he supported, it was also used against him by proponents of doctrines he opposed. Suddenly, Newman could no longer appeal to historical problems in contemporary doctrinal proposals since such doctrines could be legitimate doctrinal developments. Further, proponents of theological liberalism could appeal to doctrinal development to bypass historical beliefs like the Trinity and Chalcedonian christology. (203-204)

Third, minimal infallibility:

[Han’s] Kung’s minimal infallibility, which is actually a rejection of papal infallibility, refuses to engage in the epistemic practices of moderate infallibility. Kung does not call doctrinal change a doctrinal development, and he does not retain the term “infallibility” when he is in fact speaking of indefectibility. Kung admits historical problems in the doctrinal history of the Catholic Church without attempting to explain these problems away. And he is not interested in retaining the notion of religious certainty. . . .

The debate over Kung’s Infallible? An Inquiry demonstrates once again the inadequacy of doctrines of infallibility. In Infallbie? Kung gives the example of Humanae Vitae, which bans the use of artificial contraception, as an example of erroneous teaching of the Catholic magisterium that has the status of an infallible doctrine. Kung’s example, though, sparked a substantial debate over whether Humanae Vitae is indeed an infallbile exercise of either the extraordinary papal magisterium or the ordinary universal magisterium. The debate clearly shows the problem of identifying infallble doctrines by the foremost officials and theologians of the Catholic Church. Obviously, doctrines of infallibility have not brought the epistemic certainty first envisioned by Manning and even Newman. (206)

Powell’s conclusion is that with out infallibility, the pope “could still exercise primacy in the Catholic Church while exercising a different role of leadership in any potential ecumenical union, as the bishop of Rome did in the first millennium of the church’s existence.” (213)

Advertisements

134 thoughts on “Today's Topic for the Epistemology Seminar

  1. Darryl,

    Do you agree with Powell’s comparison of PI (and associated criticisms) to that of scriptural inerrancy as he makes in the introduction?

    “”For these reasons and more, there is a need to revisit the assumptions underlying the doctrines of inerrancy and infallibility… is it true that the Christian faith stands or falls with an inerrant scripture or an infallible teacher?” (p. 1)

    “For Protestants, religious truth was secured by the plain sense of Scripture as interpreted by the individual under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. However, this appeal to scripture as an epistemic criterion was not without problems. Individuals, churches, and nations disagreed on the proper interpretation of scripture, leading to further divisions in the Western church. Some, like the Socinians, rejected foundational Christian beliefs such as the Trinity and the incarnation because they held that scripture, when properly interpreted, opposes these surviving remnants of ecclesial tradition. The application of historical criticism to scripture and the rise of Liberal Protestantism led conservative Protestants to buttress the epistemic status of scripture with doctrines of biblical inerrancy. These defenders of sola scriptura offered ingenious explanations for the purported errors and contradictions in scripture, and warned that rejecting the epistemic doctrine of biblical inerrancy was the first step to denying the Christian faith as a whole.
    In response to the Protestant challenge, Catholics rightly argued that scripture alone is inadequate for religious certainty.” (p. 2)

    “Like the Protestant proponents of biblical inerrancy, the defenders of papal infallibility offered creative explanations for the alleged errors and contradictions in papal and conciliar pronouncements, and warned that rejecting papal infallibility was the first step to unbelief.” (p. 3)

    “While there are similarities between the various doctrines of inerrancy and infallibility, papal infallibility is taken up for two reasons… and two, papal infallibility has been formally canonized in the Catholic tradition, and therefore the doctrine presents a significant challenge to anyone who questions it. While some Protestant churches and parachurch organizations have formally and informally adopted the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, the status of biblical inerrancy for these groups is less clear. Numerous Protestants have distanced themselves from biblical inerrancy more easily, and with fewer consequences, than appears to be the case for Catholics and papal infallibility.” (p. 3)

    “The oldest critique of papal infallibility submits papal teachings to historical scrutiny and emphasizes errors and contradictions in papal and conciliar proclamations…. most proponents of this approach simply replace papal infallibility with another epistemic method that is equally problematic, typically biblical inerrancy or historical-critical exegesis of scripture combined with a revisionist version of the Christian faith… On the whole, participants in this debate share assumptions in epistemology that are questioned in this work.” (p. 4-5)

    “Many moderate proponents of inerrancy and infallibility appeal to these principles when faced with shortcomings in their epistemic doctrines. For instance, problems with inerrancy and infallibility are addressed by stressing the need for the church community when interpreting an inerrant scripture or infallible papal pronouncements. However, this move only covers over, and never really addresses, the problems inherent in doctrines of inerrancy and infallibility.” (p. 8)

    “With the assistance of Abraham’s convincing proposal [part of which includes “Ad hoc arguments are employed to justify proposed beliefs without the need for an inerrant scripture, an infallible teacher, or a comprehensive epistemic method”], we can identify at least four conceptual errors in the doctrine of papal infallibility. The first two, and in many instances the third, also characterize doctrines of biblical inerrancy.” (p. 14)

    Further, is Powell not a serious scholar or historian since he disagrees with Tierney’s thesis? (p. 34)

    Like

  2. James Young, He doesn’t disagree with Tierney.

    But he also disagrees with you.

    So where does that leave you except formulating more questions.

    Are you Manning, Newman, or Kung?

    As for the Bible, if you want to make up religion, fine. Leave the Bible out of it. But if you actually believe Christianity is a revealed religion, the Bible is way more important that guys wearing funny hats trying to rule Europe and the world as “vicuh” of Christ.

    No one said the Bible would produce the unity the Rome doesn’t have. And epistemic certainty? The apostles couldn’t spell philosophy.

    Like

  3. Darryl,

    Powell asserts PI had its origins in 14th century, not with Olivi in the 13th century as Tierney argues. Nor is he alone amongst scholars in disagreeing with Tierney on that score. I agree he also disagrees with me.

    I dont want to make up religion. I want to know if you embrace Powells arguments against PI that also undermine your position on scriptural inerrancy.

    What type of unity did someone say the Bible could provide? Could the apostles spell inerrancy? They werent mindmelding with their audiences so perhaps we should discard inerrancy as an impediment to ecumenism and not something “the Christian faith stands on” and a relic from stale controversies, fundamentalist approaches, and outdated epistemologies, rather than engaging in forced and “ingenious” “creative” “problematic” attempts to defend it as Powell argues.

    Like

  4. Still, I don’t see how the criticisms of Papal infallibility can’t be just as easily applied to the evangelical doctrine of inerrancy. Both doctrines emerge from a desire for epistemic certainty. Within evangelicalism, the process of formulating “truth” is more deliberative. But it’s just as open to attack as the Catholic doctrine. Consider, for example, the recent kerfuffle at Wheaton. Hawkins isn’t being fired because her views fly in the face of Christian doctrine. Rather, she’s being fired because her views run counter to the opinions of the self-appointed gatekeepers of evangelicalism. Sure, evangelicals may not use the term infallibility, but they have the functional equivalent of the same thing.

    Against that tableau, one could really see the Hawkins incident as a vote of confidence in the set of men who’ve set themselves up as evangelicalism’s gatekeepers. Note that those who are members of that elite cadre have lined up to support Jones and Ryken.

    In interpreting contracts, one looks to the legal function of a particular contractual clause and not to the specific language chosen by the drafter. The fact that Catholics use the term “infallibility” and evangelicals don’t is of little moment. What matters is whether the broader institutional apparatus treats certain pronouncements as infallible. In that sense, I see little difference between the Pope and the collection of 1-2 dozen evangelical pastors (and their hedge-fund-managing benefactors) who view themselves as the guardians of “true evangelicalism.”

    Like

  5. CvD:
    I dont want to make up religion. I want to know if you embrace Powells arguments against PI that also undermine your position on scriptural inerrancy.>>>>>

    I would love to hear Brother Hart’s response to you on this, CvD.

    How does the concept of provisional knowledge when applied to the resurrection of Jesus Christ affect the inerrant message of the Gospel that Paul preached? Still no answer on that one, either.

    Like

  6. Oh, Bobby, give it up. If you’re worried about how valuable your law degree is now, just remember this. A former committee chairman of the progressive caucus in congress was a Wheaton grad. It did not harm the guy’s political career. Tell your colleagues that if they question your credentials.

    Not to worry. Unless you wish all women would wear the hijab, that is.
    …………………………………………………………..
    From Is the Hijab a Symbol of Diversity or a Symbol of Oppression?:

    “Many women who wear the Hijab even in Western countries are forced to wear it due to a pressure from society or their families. I personally know of cases in which women have been beaten up or rejected by their families for refusing to wear the Hijab. My Egyptian friend Reem Abdul Razak was disowned by her father for taking the veil away. An Iraqi friend was kicked out from the house for refusing to wear the hijab any longer even though her reasons were not primarily anti-religious but rather because of the extreme summer heat in Iraq.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/valerie-tarico/is-the-hijab-a-symbol-of-_b_4796907.html

    Like

  7. If the Pope were one day to decide which infallibility was the one he liked best, which infallibility would he be exercising in making this momentous decision?

    Like

  8. James Young, great. Papal infallibility didn’t come until the 14th c. That’s exactly the infallibility Christ founded.

    Doh!

    How does Powell undermine “my” argument about scriptural inerrancy. No one on the Protestant side here has argued that scriptural inerrancy gives epistemic certainty, as its either the inerrant Bible or Descartes. You’re the one who painted yourself into that corner — hope you like the company.

    The claims for the Bible as the word of God are modest compared to your epistemological gobblety gook. Even your old Encyclopedia gets it:

    The Bible, as the inspired recorded of revelation, contains the word of God; that is, it contains those revealed truths which the Holy Ghost wishes to be transmitted in writing. However, all revealed truths are not contained in the Bible (see TRADITION); neither is every truth in the Bible revealed, if by revelation is meant the manifestation of hidden truths which could not other be known. Much of the Scripture came to its writers through the channels of ordinary knowledge, but its sacred character and Divine authority are not limited to those parts which contain revelation strictly so termed. The Bible not only contains the word of God; it is the word of God. The primary author is the Holy Ghost, or, as it is commonly expressed, the human authors wrote under the influence of Divine inspiration. It was declared by the Vatican Council (Sess. III, c. ii) that the sacred and canonical character of Scripture would not be sufficiently explained by saying that the books were composed by human diligence and then approved by the Church, or that they contained revelation without error. They are sacred and canonical “because, having been written by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that have God for their author, and as such have been handed down to the Church”. The inerrancy of the Bible follows as a consequence of this Divine authorship. Wherever the sacred writer makes a statement as his own, that statement is the word of God and infallibly true, whatever be the subject-matter of the statement.

    Minus the wiggle room for tradition, that’s a statement of what makes the Bible unique and authoritative.

    And get this — that infallible word of God reveals why you should lower your expectations about epistemic certainty and unity. As if God’s people were ever united. (But if you can use disunity to score points against Protestants. . . )

    Inerrancy is not the barrier to ecumenism. The gospel is.

    Like

  9. Bobby, no one here as I read them would say that inerrancy solve doubts, makes Protestantism superior, fixes the world. It is simply an implication of the uniqueness of the Bible as divine revelation. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea that God revealed himself. Otherwise, I’m stuck trying to figure out of I should think like you do. But the last I checked, you weren’t doing anything for my guilt and sin.

    Like

  10. Mermaid, and we are still waiting to hear how the poor judgment of your bishops, the ones with charism, who thought the 1960s was the time to come into the modern world — are you kidding — affects your understanding of infallibility and certain knowledge.

    Like

  11. The idea that the same criticisms of papal infallibility apply equally well to Scripture is perhaps attractive at first but in the end it is a no go.

    We have infinitely more records from the Roman Church and no real clear idea of what is inerrant and infallible and what isn’t. At least with Scripture, the inerrancy position says it’s all inerrant. It’s easier to peg arguments that way.

    The greater number of records and sheer historical record that attaches to the papacy creates problems for papal infallibility that you just don’t have with Scripture. Popes making unclear statements, banning books one year and not the next, condemning errors and then rescinding them, increase vastly the number of apparent contradictions than you have with Scripture. There’s more that you have to reconcile, and the greater that amount, the harder it is to reconcile.

    We also have various statements from various popes and other figures that either admit substantial change and contradiction outright, or they note that things are purposefully vague in order to please people who themselves hold contradictory theologies. Think Benedict’s famous statement about how the V2 documents were written.

    It is true that in both cases, where you start determines to some degree where you land. If you assume inerrancy or infallibility is at least a possibility for either Scripture or the papal statements, you are going to be more predisposed to accept explanations. Scripture, however, has the advantage in giving us grounds for a presupposition of inerrancy. It purports to be the very Word of God. If CVD and other apologists are correct, papal statements, while purportedly infallible, do not themselves purport to be divine revelation. That introduces a significant difference. It can’t hold together rationally, so that’s why popes and conservatives end up treating papal teaching as divine revelation despite its claims to the contrary.

    Then of course there are repeated warnings by the Apostles that people will arise in the church even to the point of almost leading the elect astray. It is very hard to square that with the idea that the Roman Church is infallible whenever it says it is infallible. If the church is so trustworthy that its mere claim should be enough or necessary, the Apostolic warnings make little sense. So you have the strange phenomenon of Rome claiming more for the church than the Apostles do. It’s a problem that plagues Roman Catholicism in particular and the Eastern Orthodox to a related but lesser extent.

    Add to that the behavior of various popes and the reality that there were times in history where there was no way to determine who was actually pope (like the era of three popes, post-facto identification of antipopes), and you have a theory that is finally untenable unless you are motivated more by a philosophical need that is by no means self-evident than you are by actually figuring out what God has done in history. If Scripture is clear on anything, it is that human beings don’t determine what must be (i.e., that a church must be infallible to determine dogma and the whole other CTC schtick); rather, God does.

    I’m sure there are other problems. But those are the main ones that set apart the claims of Scripture and the claims of Rome.

    Like

  12. Consider, for example, the recent kerfuffle at Wheaton. Hawkins isn’t being fired because her views fly in the face of Christian doctrine. Rather, she’s being fired because her views run counter to the opinions of the self-appointed gatekeepers of evangelicalism. Sure, evangelicals may not use the term infallibility, but they have the functional equivalent of the same thing.

    There are a few important distinctions here Bobby. Wheaton is not a church and has no ecclesiastical authority. Hawkins’s access to the table and the assurance of her salvation are not called into doubt by the decision made by Wheaton or the purported gatekeepers of evangelicalism. A better analogy is the kerfuffle over the curmudgeonly prof at Marquette who criticized a lecturer for her handing of a discussion involving ssm. He embarrassed the progressive cred of the school and was canned. The fact that the lecturer happened to be a graduate student as well was used as cover. The idea that this RC who was fired (or attempted, I don’t know if his lawsuit succeeded) by an RC institution and thus the admin at Marquette is exercising some sort of infallibility is pretty dumb. They are trying to protect the brand as is Wheaton. Questions of infallibility are utterly irrelevant.

    Like

  13. Darryl,

    “How does Powell undermine “my” argument about scriptural inerrancy. ”

    Okay, so you agree that:

    “For Protestants, religious truth was secured by the plain sense of Scripture as interpreted by the individual under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. However, this appeal to scripture as an epistemic criterion was not without problems.”

    And so reject the appeal to scripture as an epistemic criterion.

    You agree that “The application of historical criticism to scripture and the rise of Liberal Protestantism led conservative Protestants to buttress the epistemic status of scripture with doctrines of biblical inerrancy. These defenders of sola scriptura offered ingenious explanations for the purported errors and contradictions in scripture, and warned that rejecting the epistemic doctrine of biblical inerrancy was the first step to denying the Christian faith as a whole.”

    And so don’t agree with those who offer ingenious explanations in defending biblical inerrancy or with those warning denying biblical inerrancy is the first step to denying the Christian faith as a whole.

    You agree that Catholics rightly argued when “In response to the Protestant challenge, Catholics rightly argued that scripture alone is inadequate for religious certainty.”

    You agree that “Protestant proponents of biblical inerrancy … offered creative explanations for the alleged errors and contradictions in [Scripture]” and disagree with such proponents who “warned that rejecting [biblical inerrancy] was the first step to unbelief.”

    So much for one of the central planks of conservative criticisms against liberalism.

    You agree it is to their credit and to be applauded that “Numerous Protestants have distanced themselves from biblical inerrancy more easily, and with fewer consequences, than appears to be the case for Catholics and papal infallibility.”

    You agree that “The oldest critique of papal infallibility submits papal teachings to historical scrutiny and emphasizes errors and contradictions in papal and conciliar proclamations…. most proponents of this approach simply replace papal infallibility with another epistemic method that is equally problematic, typically biblical inerrancy or historical-critical exegesis of scripture combined with a revisionist version of the Christian faith”

    and so biblical inerrancy and ghm exegesis is a problematic epistemic method built on a revisionist version of the Christian faith.

    You agree “For instance, problems with inerrancy and infallibility are addressed by stressing the need for the church community when interpreting an inerrant scripture or infallible papal pronouncements. However, this move only covers over, and never really addresses, the problems inherent in doctrines of inerrancy and infallibility.”

    and so disagree with those appealing to the church community when interpreting an inerrant scripture to give them any epistemic certainty.

    “As if God’s people were ever united.”

    Guess those passages affirming unity are errant.

    “Inerrancy is not the barrier to ecumenism. The gospel is.”

    An excellent slogan any liberal could use. It’s all about the gospel (which we can frankenstein construct through errant or inerrant texts – don’t sweat those details), not all that secondary trivial inerrancy business. Paul was wrong and a product of his times in some things don’t you know. Stop hating.

    Like

  14. @Robert,

    Appreciated your words at CtC. Thanks.

    I once got Bryan really riled when I bemoaned my own depravity in a comm box. Nothing expansive mind you, just explaining why i love Scripture and distrust my own mental abilities. It was quite entertaining, really, him going off on a long condescending riff on how bad I’m not.

    And that’s partly why I never saw “reasoning” apart from continual application of Scripture texts as a good tactic there, because they’re way to Arminian Thomistic. He too told me to stop commenting because I refused to accept his presups as my starting point – I had to abandon my understanding of Scripture and trust my own mental comprehension on the MOC for the evidence for the RC institution.

    Because I refused to get off the good ship SS, he treated me as foolish, all in the peace of Christ.

    Like

  15. Thanks, NOON!

    I echo your views on Scripture and on CTC. The longer I am a Christian, the more convinced I am that there is no neutral realm of reason that we somehow can enter and set everything else aside. That doesn’t mean our assumptions have to govern debate, but it does mean that those who don’t recognize that even the realm of reason isn’t neutral are incapable of seeing their own assumptions.

    You’ve basically pegged that with Bryan. For someone with a PhD in philosophy, he seems to be remarkably not self aware when it comes to these issues. Accusations of question-begging for the most part seem to be grounded in Bryan’s frustration that his interlocutor refuses to assume from the outset that Rome’s teaching—and particularly the CTC spin on it—can be squared with any historical difficulty. That makes all the CTC logic lessons done in the peace of Christ ultimately into tantrums that we really set Scripture as the final, infallible authority conducted in the peace of Christ.

    I just wish the CTC crowd would be more open about their intent. The intent isn’t ecumenical dialogue that resolves differences while being open to the good in other Christian traditions. The intent is to convince people that Rome solves all problems and alone can produce the unity people are seeking.

    Problem is that CTC doesn’t see that Rome’s claims are perhaps the biggest obstacle to Christian unity.

    Like

  16. > Darryl, is there really such a thing as epistemic certainty?

    WCF 18.2,3, “infallible” assurance of salvation may be attained “without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means”

    Like

  17. Cletus,

    Yes, I reasoned to that conclusion. The fact that the realm of reason isn’t neutral doesn’t mean you can’t use it to reach true conclusions any more than the fact that divine revelation isn’t neutral doesn’t mean one can’t rely on it for truth.

    But it may perhaps be more accurate to say that those who exercise reason are not themselves neutral. Which raises questions about the neutrality of the laws of logic since they were formulated/discovered by non-neutral people.

    This is basic epistemology since Descartes theory was overturned. It’s long been recognized in the Reformed tradition and it goes back to at least Augustine: “I believe in order to understand.”

    Like

  18. CTC’s problem is they want to, finally, answer a historical claim-One True Church wiith a philosophical assertion. But paradigms………

    Like

  19. Robert,

    You reasoned that reason isn’t neutral. So your reasoning process to reach that conclusion was non-neutral, that is it was biased and skewed by your presuppositions and assumptions correct?

    “Which raises questions about the neutrality of the laws of logic since they were formulated/discovered by non-neutral people.”

    Are the you claiming the laws of logic are not reasonable and are biased and not neutral?

    Like

  20. Clete,

    You reasoned that reason isn’t neutral. So your reasoning process to reach that conclusion was non-neutral, that is it was biased and skewed by your presuppositions and assumptions correct?

    My presuppositions/assumptions/background affected my reasoning, but they did not necessarily invalidate it. I didn’t become a tabula rasa, nor do I ever become a tabula rasa. The CTC motives of credibility approach, as well as Thomism to some degree, assumes that human beings are fundamentally neutral in the epistemological realm. If the Bible is correct, that’s actually impossible.

    Are the you claiming the laws of logic are not reasonable and are biased and not neutral?

    I’m claiming that they are adequate but not infallible. I’m claiming that one should be careful in how they are employed given that Aristotle formulated them from a worldview hostile to the God of the Bible. I’m claiming that they should be made to conform to divine revelation and not the other way around.

    Basically, all I am saying is that they are never employed by blank slates, which is what the CTC argument essentially requires. Bryan’s blindness to that in particular is easy to see. He’s so governed by his Romanist assumptions that he can’t see any way other than Rome. I actually expect that of a RC of his bent. CTC should just be honest about it. They aren’t out for honest dialogue; they’re out to make converts.

    Like

  21. Robert,

    “My presuppositions/assumptions/background affected my reasoning, but they did not necessarily invalidate it.”

    So your presuppositions and assumptions affected your reasoning when you reasoned that reason is non-neutral. If you changed your presuppositions and assumption, could you reason that reason is neutral? If reason is non-neutral, how would you determine whether your presuppositions/assumptions invalidated your reasoning you used in concluding reason is non-neutral?

    “I didn’t become a tabula rasa, nor do I ever become a tabula rasa.”

    I agree. That hardly means reason is non-neutral or that we cannot recognize faulty presuppositions/assumptions we hold and correct them via our reason. Every conclusion one reaches is not by nature and necessity skewed and biased by presuppositions that enslave and blind the reasoner.

    “If the Bible is correct, that’s actually impossible.”

    Did you use non-neutral reason to come to this conclusion? If so, how did you reason which presuppositions/assumptions to hold and which to exclude in employing your non-neutral reason to reach that conclusion?

    Like

  22. > Rube, but epistemic certainty and infallible assurance are two different things.

    They’re not both knowledge without possibility of error?

    Like

  23. Cletus,

    I just finished reading Pope Pius X enclyclical on modernism. Considering what Robert said:
    “I’m claiming that they are adequate but not infallible. I’m claiming that one should be careful in how they are employed given that Aristotle formulated them from a worldview hostile to the God of the Bible. I’m claiming that they should be made to conform to divine revelation and not the other way around.”

    Isn’t this denying that we can know the God of creation by anything other than special revelation?

    Robert,

    Aristotle doesn’t use a different of logic than Christians. Also, how do you yourself determine the boundaries of “adequate” but not “infallible”. You’d have to know extra (outside)logic to know what logic is capable of. Logic rightly employee will yield truth. That’s why it exists and any violation leads to errors.
    Just wanted to point out that your reasoning isn’t correct.

    Like

  24. Robert,

    “I’m claiming that one should be careful in how they are employed given that Aristotle formulated them from a worldview hostile to the God of the Bible.”

    Guess we need not only Christian plumbers, doctors, mathematicians and artists, but Christian logicians as well. Someone who holds skepticism or suspicion about the law of identity and law of noncontradiction simply is not rational. You don’t actually behave this way in society or life or in your interactions here.

    “I’m claiming that they should be made to conform to divine revelation and not the other way around.”

    How does one go about conforming the laws of logic to divine revelation? Did you not use logic and reason to identify and interpret divine revelation in the first place?

    Susan,

    I have no clue. Probably, considering in the past he has conflated natural and divine revelation.

    Like

  25. So your presuppositions and assumptions affected your reasoning when you reasoned that reason is non-neutral. If you changed your presuppositions and assumption, could you reason that reason is neutral? If reason is non-neutral, how would you determine whether your presuppositions/assumptions invalidated your reasoning you used in concluding reason is non-neutral?

    One can adopt a different set of assumptions. It’s called conversion. It’s like I’ve said with the MoC. For instance, one has to assume that holiness is important and that Rome’s definition of it is correct, etc. in order for it to be a proof for Rome. None of that is neutral or self-evident. If I reject that holiness as Rome defines it is a mark of anything, no amount of reasoning based on the evidence for it will be convincing.

    I agree. That hardly means reason is non-neutral or that we cannot recognize faulty presuppositions/assumptions we hold and correct them via our reason. Every conclusion one reaches is not by nature and necessity skewed and biased by presuppositions that enslave and blind the reasoner.

    That’s not what Paul says about fallen humanity. But I do agree that fallen man can employ reason rightly at least on occasion. But he will always ultimately pervert it to sustain his anti-Christian convictions. Which is an irrational move.

    Did you use non-neutral reason to come to this conclusion? If so, how did you reason which presuppositions/assumptions to hold and which to exclude in employing your non-neutral reason to reach that conclusion?

    I came to this conclusion, in part, by assuming that the Bible is clear and understandable to anyone who is willing to put in the effort. Just as you have to assume the same about Rome in order to even give Rome a fighting chance for your submission. You have to assume that it is at least possible for the Bible to be what it is or for Rome to be what it is; otherwise, no amount of reasoning can or will convince you. But to admit possibility is a non-neutral position. The effect is to incline oneself, if ever so slightly, toward the position being considered. Evidence may become so great that it is rejected. It’s called a paradigm shift, and one of the main points of paradigm shifts is that they don’t change because of a position of neutrality.

    Like

  26. Cletus,

    Guess we need not only Christian plumbers, doctors, mathematicians and artists, but Christian logicians as well.

    Not exactly. Non-Christians can and do lean on natural revelation correctly in specific instances. In the broad scheme, however, they use it to support their irrationalism.

    Someone who holds skepticism or suspicion about the law of identity and law of noncontradiction simply is not rational. You don’t actually behave this way in society or life or in your interactions here.

    I agree and I would contend that only Christian theism provides a foundation for such claims. To the extent that non-Christians assume the irrationality of skepticism or suspicion about the law of identity or noncontradiction, they are operation on Christian theistic principles whether they know it or not.

    How does one go about conforming the laws of logic to divine revelation? Did you not use logic and reason to identify and interpret divine revelation in the first place?

    It’s a reciprocal relationship, but divine revelation ultimately has priority. Example: Trinity. On the surface, saying that God is one and three, which the Bible does, is a contradiction. Make the laws of logic your ultimate standard, you never get the doctrine of the Trinity. Assume the truth of divine revelation and that God is not contradictory, and you employ the law of noncontradiction to elucidate what the Bible says is true.

    Like

  27. Susan,

    Isn’t this denying that we can know the God of creation by anything other than special revelation?

    Yes. We can’t know the God of creation other than by special revelation. The God of creation is a Trinity, which is not revealed in nature. All nature reveals is that there is some higher being who made everything and holds it accountable. That’s not the God of creation. That’s generic monotheism.

    Aristotle doesn’t use a different of logic than Christians.

    Aristotle reasoned himself away from the one true God to the unmoved mover. He employed the laws of logic differently than Christians do.

    Also, how do you yourself determine the boundaries of “adequate” but not “infallible”.

    Only God’s Word is infallible. The laws of logic aren’t God’s Word. At best they are an adequate reflection of it. Same with all human knowledge.

    You’d have to know extra (outside)logic to know what logic is capable of.

    Don’t understand this statement. Rephrase?

    Logic rightly employee will yield truth.

    Agree and disagree. An argument can be logically valid but not true. I can construct a syllogism proving the moon is made of green cheese that is logically valid but not true. Logic really only tells us if an argument is valid. It has limitations.

    Like

  28. James Young, I’m not talking about epistemology — full stop. That’s your addition. Inerrancy is about authority. Where do you go to know God’s will, the way of salvation, how to resolve controversies?

    If the disunity of the church proves Scripture’s error, then it also proves the inadequacy of Christ’s prayer.

    So now we’re in the logic seminar.

    Let me clear — I reject the way you frame the debate over papal infallibility. Yup.

    Like

  29. Darryl,

    “Inerrancy is about authority.”

    And part of Powell’s argument is that inerrancy no more helps things than an infallible authority or teacher does. Thus his arguments that inerrancy is not something the Christian faith should stand upon and that proponents of inerrancy (especially those who also criticize papal infallibility based on the historical approach as you like to do) are out to lunch.

    “If the disunity of the church proves Scripture’s error”

    You’re the one who said “As if God’s people were ever united”. So apparently it isn’t just “No one said the Bible would produce the unity the Rome doesn’t have” but that “No one said the Bible would produce any unity whatsoever”.

    “Let me clear — I reject the way you frame the debate over papal infallibility.”

    Do you reject the way Powell frames the debate over inerrancy? Since inerrancy is not an impediment to ecumenism as you said, why not give it up as adiaphora and stop being such a hater and sectarian towards those Protestants and churches who deny it?

    Like

  30. Rube, how does epistemic certainty allow for the possibility of error? It corresponds to sight, as in I know the sky is blue because I see it’s blue; I believe it’s blue but more than that I know it is. Infallible assurance corresponds with faith, as in I’ve only ever seen an overcast sky but I trust those who tell me that behind it lies a blue sky; they could be wrong but coupled with what I know otherwise and how they explain it, I am confident it is blue.

    Like

  31. Susan, “Isn’t this denying that we can know the God of creation by anything other than special revelation?”

    Wait, I thought you couldn’t know anything apart from an infallible pope.

    THINK!

    Like

  32. James Young, “Someone who holds skepticism or suspicion about the law of identity and law of noncontradiction simply is not rational.”

    So what does that make someone who thinks he only knows on the basis of an infallible bishop? Someone playing with a full deck?

    Like

  33. James Young, who said that inerrancy is something on which the Christian faith stands? Sorry, but you’re the one who overreached with you claims, not only about Christianity but about all knowledge. Without infallibility, Descartes.

    Inerrancy is a way of affirming the authority of God’s word. God’s word is authoritative. God. Duh.

    Infallibility is a way of affirming the authority of a pastor. Pastors are not authoritative in themselves. Duh.

    Like

  34. “Susan, “Isn’t this denying that we can know the God of creation by anything other than special revelation?”

    Wait, I thought you couldn’t know anything apart from an infallible pope.

    THINK!”

    Nope, never said that. No Catholic thinks that. OLTS isn’t serious. It’s too bad everything here is a joke.

    Like

  35. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:40 pm | Permalink
    James Young, who said that inerrancy is something on which the Christian faith stands? Sorry, but you’re the one who overreached with you claims, not only about Christianity but about all knowledge. Without infallibility, Descartes.

    Inerrancy is a way of affirming the authority of God’s word. God’s word is authoritative. God. Duh.

    Infallibility is a way of affirming the authority of a pastor. Pastors are not authoritative in themselves. Duh.>>>>>

    The Bible is your only infallible rule of faith and practice. Sounds like the Bible is authoritative, inerrant. AND infallible according to your standards. Of course, your standards do not claim infallibility.

    At least you are trying to interact with CvD’s arguments, which is refreshing. .

    I don’t see what good a fallible system of doctrine allegedly taught in the infallible Bible is, but you have taken a vow to uphold the fallible standards.

    Why not take a vow to uphold the Word of God directly and not indirectly through something that is fallible? Sola scriptura should be able to stand alone after all.

    “When the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America was formed in 1788, it adopted (with minor revisions) the Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms (1647), as its secondary standards (the Bible itself being the only infallible rule of faith and practice). Officers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church take a vow to “sincerely receive and adopt” these confessional “documents “as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures.”

    http://www.opc.org/preface.html

    Like

  36. Susan
    Posted January 22, 2016 at 11:51 pm | Permalink
    “Susan, “Isn’t this denying that we can know the God of creation by anything other than special revelation?”

    D.G. Hart:
    Wait, I thought you couldn’t know anything apart from an infallible pope.

    THINK!”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Susan:
    Nope, never said that. No Catholic thinks that. OLTS isn’t serious. It’s too bad everything here is a joke.>>>>><

    Yes, it is too bad. Brother Hart is deliberately misrepresenting Catholicism. What’s up with that?

    Good answer, Susan. You are a very thoughtful person.

    It seems to me like it is Brother Hart who needs to do more thinking on these subjects.

    CvD is very perceptive in showing how the author Brother Hart thinks is supporting him against the Pope is actually defeating him. I don’t think that Brother Hart will ever figure that out what hit him, though.

    Powell is doing his best to refute all infallibility, including that of the Bible. I guess Dr. Hart didn’t notice that part. If he did, then that would be a problem for him.

    Like

  37. Hey there MWF,

    CvD is very perceptive in showing how the author Brother Hart thinks is supporting him against the Pope is actually defeating him. I don’t think that Brother Hart will ever figure that out what hit him, though.

    Powell is doing his best to refute all infallibility, including that of the Bible. I guess Dr. Hart didn’t notice that part. If he did, then that would be a problem for him.”

    I commend CVD for attempting it. Some people fail to see that the enemies of the Church are actually their own enemies too…….but I know nothing about Powell.
    Before, when I heard Christian leaders say that the Christian faith was a generation away from extinction, I thought to myself, ” how can truth be lost or abandoned?” Now I see how it happens.
    As for me, I don’t worry any more about weapons raised against Catholicism. It’s just one more man thinking he has found a chink in the armor. Why should we listen to Powell? The only safe place is in and with The Church.

    Like

  38. @DGH

    I can accept the fact that God revealed Himself. But such acceptance does not require me also accept the grammatical-historical method.

    Moreover, as Molly Worthen noted in her recent book, evangelicals are fairly selective in their application of inerrancy. Inerrancy, after all, is less about protecting the integrity of the biblical text and more about protecting fundamentalist interpretations of that text, especially on social and political questions. When you next listen to or read something by Al Mohler (one of the de facto evangelical popes), count the number of times he uses the word “clear” or some variant thereof. By and large, evangelicals believe that a good God couldn’t possibly leave them in a world without a “rule book” to resolve life’s complexities and ambiguities. So, when the Bible fails to give a clear answer, which is often the case on complex social issues, guys like Al Mohler, John Piper, and Phil Ryken step in with their “special knowledge” to tell us the right (and only) answer.

    How do evangelicals know that Larycia Hawkins is wrong? She’s wrong because she disagrees with Phil Ryken, Franklin Graham, Marvin Olasky, and Al Mohler. She’s not part of the all-white-male papal council that determines evangelical “truth,” so she must either agree with the council or face expulsion.

    Rod Dreher often talks about “condensed metaphors.” The Wheaton kerfuffle is, in my view, a condensed metaphor of the problems with the inerrancy cult that pervades evangelicalism. If inerrancy is primarily about conferring political privilege on certain interpretations over others (and on certain interpreters over others), then it explains the sharp reaction of Ryken to Hawkins. After all, the only other Wheaton professor to face involuntary administrative leave was a guy who was arrested for child pornography. That signals the degree to which Ryken believes that disagreeing with him (and the other white male popes of evangelicalism) is a crime. To him, Hawkins is as bad as, if not worse, than a child pornographer. And he must destroy her to protect the hard-earned right to maintain his own claim to infallibility.

    If evangelicals didn’t believe in the substantive equivalent of papal infallibility, Hawkins would be grading essays tonight instead of preparing for a heresy trial. And Pete Enns and Douglas Green would likely still be teaching at Westminster.

    Like

  39. Darryl,

    I thought fallible powers have authority (Powell agrees, which is why he views inerrantists as out to lunch). Why is inerrancy so inextricably tied to Scripture’s authority now?
    Cool, so the Christian faith doesnt stand or fall with inerrancy, nor is it an impediment to ecumenism. I trust you wont discipline or fence off any church members denying it.

    Like

  40. Susan, here are a few of your greatest hits about the limitations of Scripture compared to the glories of THE church:

    Submitted on 2015/12/14 at 11:49 pm
    Sean,

    But then again maybe Jesus did found a church that has worn on through time and even trans the.medieval church.and has authority.
    If it really is a matter of me and my bible what can I say when the kids become evangellyfish or become members a congregation that ordains women or approves of sodemy.

    I wasn’t only after antiquity, I really believe that the church comes before the NT scriptures.

    Submitted on 2015/12/15 at 11:57 am
    Darryl,

    “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

    This doesn’t negate the historical logic that NT church preceded the scriptures; Of course scripture is able to make one wise for salvation and of course sacred scripture is God breathed and profitable for all those good things listed, but it isn’t all that the church consists of. There were and still are other components.

    CCC 108 “Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is “not a written and mute word, but the Word is incarnate and living”.73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.”74

    And Timothy was planting an hierarchical apostolic church, as the instruction “to guard” the good deposit through the help of the Holy Spirit by “laying on of Pauls hands” denotes.

    .

    They clearly were not planting denominations.

    And do you think St Timothy had a complete and closed canon of books during the time of St Paul?

    But you still continue not to engage with anything I’ve said about the evolution of church in Protestantism. How they changed the number of sacraments, the nature of of a sacrament…

    Mrs. Webfoot and CVD have been addressing Protestantisms admitted dependence on scriptures that they can’t even agree on. Talk about shaky foundations. If you are relying on the scriptures to be your sole rule of your faith, but you believe that they are provisional, and that even their correct identity as sacred scripture is up for grabs depending on critical scholarship then how can you say the are God breathed? Some say Paul didn’t write 2 Timothy, so now what?

    Apparently you don’t care that the many protestant congregations are not ontological the same church of Sts. Timothy and Paul just as long as they say they are following the bible. Which bible, and says who? Possessing a bible doesn’t make you “the” church even if you have a Doctor of Divinity. It was against the many theologies (and bad behavior) that Paul was warning Timothy.

    Submitted on 2015/12/15 at 4:14 pm
    Should I have a problem with that quote?

    “That’s why it’s called God’s word. What Protestants have problems with is some notion that any human — apart from divine inspiration — has 100 % certain knowledge. If you think you have that now because you trust a lefty Pope, you really are more daft than I realized.”

    Well you know I’m Catholic, so if that means I’m daffy I’m at least in good company. Popes come and go but the magesterium remains hence no provisional knowledge.

    I don’t know, but it sure seems odd after all that for you to claim that special revelation is necessary to know God. You’ve got the church. I thought ‘s’all good.

    Like

  41. Mermaid, “I don’t see what good a fallible system of doctrine allegedly taught in the infallible Bible is, but you have taken a vow to uphold the fallible standards.”

    Oh, maybe because the Bible tells pastors not simply to read but “preach” the word.

    But if you have an infallible bishop, why do you need the Bible? Why would the bishops even form a canon of Scripture since it would challenge the magisterium’s authority?

    Like

  42. Mermaid, didn’t you also say this:

    Submitted on 2015/12/21 at 8:18 pm
    Petros
    Posted December 21, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
    @susan and other RCC’ers, yes some articles at CTC are informative.

    What I remain curious about, however, is understanding what you think individuals should do in the situation where their conscience/intellect simply disagrees with official church teaching. Over any group of people, disagreement is inevitable. Are they supposed to obey the Church’s teaching, notwithstanding their own conscience?>>>>

    Yes, basically. You submit to her teachings. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Church teachings are presented in a reasonable way. A Church member can read, study, ask questions, think through things. The Church is not some kind of freaky Borg continuum. Look at what the Church is asking you to obey. I’ll bet you don’t even know.

    Look at what the teaching magisterium is. You have all the saints and doctors of the Church, including men like Aquinas, Chrysostom, Augustine, Anselm, Athanasius and many others of both eastern and western traditions.

    Then there are the women like Sta. Teresa de Avila & The Little Flower.

    Look at who is most often quoted in the CCC. Then there is the living magisterium which includes the Pope of Mercy, Francis. I love the man. I kind of get the So. American mindset. I know what he lived through in Argentina. Do you know? The man has a context.

    It includes great minds like St. Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict.

    Those are the ones we are asked to follow and submit to.

    Now, I know that Brother Hart will “comment bomb” what I am saying with something that I can’t even figure out. So, I’m supposed to submit to that instead of the teachings of the greatest Christian minds who have ever lived? The great gifts God has given to the Church?

    Or I am supposed to submit to some convoluted logic lessons that I can’t even follow? Or someone who believes they have the gift of discernment and is discerning my spirit?

    I’ll take the magisterium, thank you very much. No hay donde perderse.

    So you’ll take the magisterium over the word of God. Good for you. What did I miss?

    Like

  43. Cletus,
    I haven’t seen any comments that emphasize that the Reformer’s, especially Calvin, were quite familiar with church history and patristics – but if church history and doctrine grew around the interpretation of God’s Word then God’s Word properly interpreted should have more priority and authority that anything else. There is a great series of lectures on ItunesU by Robert Letham showing the “catholicity” of the Westminster Assembly – anyone who thinks the Reformer’s/Protestants ditched “Tradition” is just wrong.

    Darryl is right, Scripture does not provide epistemic certainty, only the Holy Spirit can do such a thing to my knowledge – looking to Scripture for epistemic certainty – since epistemic certainty about anything goes further steps back doesn’t it – seems quite a complicated task, but just as complicated for Catholics since they presuppose the authority that gives the “inerrant” bible authority… The CtC crowd seems want to create epistemic uncertainty and then offer certainty through their writings, but still, then the certainty rests in their writings and their evaluation of history and so on… There is an infinite regress it seems in placing epistemic certainty in anything but God and his Word…

    As for the comments on Wheaton, I cannot understand how someone can interpret Jesus words or Holy Tradition if you want to call the Bible Tradition, that to love the Son is to love the Father – to hate the Son is to hate the Father. If Jesus was God incarnate, born of the virgin Mary, then Muslims hate that Son. If Jesus is a elevated prophet then we worship the same God, maybe. Someone’s got to change their belief system to claim we worship the same God as Muslims. When Papal statements directly contradict statements easily interpreted, you go with the pope – and call out evangelical leaders as popes in their own right – nuts!

    Like

  44. The last paragraph I wrote was for Bobby, I didn’t mean to address it to Cletus…
    “As for the comments on Wheaton, I cannot understand how someone can interpret Jesus words or Holy Tradition if you want to call the Bible Tradition, that to love the Son is to love the Father – to hate the Son is to hate the Father. If Jesus was God incarnate, born of the virgin Mary, then Muslims hate that Son. If Jesus is a elevated prophet then we worship the same God, maybe. Someone’s got to change their belief system to claim we worship the same God as Muslims. When Papal statements directly contradict statements easily interpreted, you go with the pope – and call out evangelical leaders as popes in their own right – nuts!”

    Like

  45. Susan, Here’s the thing. I believe in the infallibility of the Bible. I don’t think that that now cures all doubts, uncertainty, shows the OPC is the only true church, and that J. Gresham Machen is really Timothy, the man Paul placed in Ephesus.

    You guys take the infallibility of the pope in cheering for the Yankees proportions. It’s not becoming.

    Admit that other people don’t see it the way you do. I see that you don’t agree with me.

    But it seems that if you admit that other people have reasons for not seeing it the way you do, your faith collapses because you thought you found THE answer to all doubts and questions. That’s why it’s not much fun discussing matters with you. You won’t grant the other person’s point. The Bryan and the Jasons response — You don’t have the right paradigm.

    Good luck living your life like that.

    Like

  46. Bobby, think about this. So how do you know “the all-white-male papal council” is wrong? Aren’t you white? Aren’t you sort of male? (Isn’t Rod Dreher a white male? Why do you appeal to some white males and disregard others?)

    Try engaging an argument rather than simply using the politics of identity in a pretty cliched way.

    Like

  47. James Young, STOP! When did I ever say inerrancy was inextricably tied to biblical authority? You keep trying to draw me into the silly claims you’ve made for the papacy — talk about inextricably. No one in my communion makes inerrancy a test of Christian faith or a stand-or-fall matter for fraternal relations.

    But if those things look so laughable for Protestants (even though they don’t exist), imagine how funny they look when you actually make these points for the papacy, and that your RC cohorts here not only make papal authority essential to the faith and to ecumenical relations but even to — get this — knowing anything.

    Like

  48. just one other comment.

    Susan: The only safe place is in and with The Church.

    Susan, the only safe place is our refuge – Jesus.

    It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man and princes. Ps 118:8-9

    Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to (or take away) His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. Prov 30: 5-6

    But it is impossible for GOD to lie, and He, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Heb 6:17-20

    …..Two unchangeable things…”the word of His promise and the oath which confirms that promise… His unchangeable word alone should be enough comfort for us. But He adds to it His unchangeable oath so that “we who have fled for refuge” might have all the more incentive to cling to our hope…We have fled for refuge unto Christ, the Guarantor of the better and heavenly city that will descend to earth at the consummation (Rev. 21).” http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/unchangeable-things/

    Like

  49. Darryl,

    I’ve said a lot of things during the three years that I’ve commented here. Some I’m not very proud of, but I think the most embarrassing part is that I continued to comment for so long on a site where the arguments are lacking.
    This particular articles is about the epistemology, and so yes, I chimed in about the Church being the way to settle differing beliefs.
    You confine to talk about the sin in the church, and as important as that is, it doesn’t deflect from the glaing fact that there is no way to have a cohesive christiaity in Protestantism. In Catholicism, people stray from the truths of dogma, but it still remains that only the church that Jesus founded has the right to state what is dogmatic and, with authority, require that those teachings be followed or believed. Yes, for the millionth time Catholics don’t practice the faith, but as far as what is orthodoxy of the faith it is plain as can be.
    What scares you about the Church? There’s nothing to dislike or be afraid of since Jesus is the one who instituted her and.has given us the sacraments.

    Like

  50. Bobby,

    How do evangelicals know that Larycia Hawkins is wrong?

    Because the God of the Bible and the historic tradition is a Trinity and the God of Islam isn’t. Because the historic Christian position vis a vis Islam is that they are infidels and the historic position vis a vis Christianity from Islam is that we’re committing the sin of shirk. This isn’t difficult.

    One might complain that Wheaton has been unclear or inconsistent. One might note that Wheaton’s problems with Hawkins may be tied in some way to concerns on donors’ part (but of course that’s true even at secular universities). But to paint this a witch hunt by white males is dumb.

    One can also note that one reason Ryken was brought in was to fix the perceived drift of the school toward heterodoxy. Maybe he’s just doing his job.

    Like

  51. Ali,

    Jesus founded the Church and so it’s visible. He also instituted the sacraments and those can only be gotten from the same church that he founded. So when I to to mass, I do physically encounter the second person of the Holy Trinity.
    Preachers and teachers come and go, but Jesus promised that He would remain with us til the end.
    Evangelicals are wonderful people who love our Lord, but their ecclesiology isn’t as robust as the scripures say it should be. Eventually, after all the different denominations and job denominations I visited or attendee, I had to ask myself where the Church was.

    But, I’m not sticking around here to debate what no one can convince me differently. Is perfectly historically obvious. Just follow the streams backwards.All roads lead to Rome.
    🙂

    Like

  52. @Robert I think it’s simpler than all that. Wheaton has an institutional identity they wish to maintain. Just like Marquette dumping a curmudgeonly prof for criticizing a pro-ssm instructor, Kentucky passing on a planetarium director for being “potentially evangelical”, and Illinois trying to rescind a hire for anti-zionist expression. Of course public schools have constraints private ones don’t, but setting aside legal technicalities the question of institutions protecting the brand really isn’t an epistemological question. Whether Marquette should slam profs who criticize ssm or Wheaton slam profs who verr towards universalism is a different question. Obviously how institutions police themselves will vary based on what is hot in the broader culture…alas.

    Like

  53. ” Yes, for the millionth time Catholics don’t practice the faith, but as far as what is orthodoxy of the faith it is plain as can be.”
    Good in theory but ineffectual. Ugh… if you can accept that, then you are finally right about something – continued dialog is pointless. Perhaps your energy would be better spent on progressive RC blogs battling heresy within your church. Maybe if get those seminary profs and theologians you are in unity with to adopt the orthodoxy you say is obvious (start with Grimes at ‘nova maybe), your time will have been spent productively.

    From where I sit though, your claims fail on historical, sociological, theological, exegetical, and philosophical grounds. I doubt you’ll get more traction than other more nuanced trads like Douthat, but it can’t hurt to try. You have the superior paradigm after all.

    Like

  54. Sdb,

    And if I did what you suggest, am I not pointing out to my fellow (albeit “bad” or ignorant Catholics) information that is orthodox of the faith and therefore correcting them and helping them get orthodox?

    What do you do about an Reformed Baptist if you’re an elder in the URCNA? At least I can say, “our mutual faith says and demands such and such.”
    What you would get is a, “well, baptism of infants is an unorthodox doctrine and so don’t try to hold me to your unbiblical options.”

    Like

  55. Susan,

    But frankly, I don’t know how you can determine who is orthodox RC and who isn’t. That’s the job of the Magisterium. And if the Magisterium hasn’t kicked somebody out, who are you to question their orthodoxy?

    You guys keep trying to go all in on the papacy and the Magisterium, but if you do that, you lose your right to identify orthodoxy and heresy. And if you try to identify it, all you are doing at best is picking the bishop that agrees with your interpretation and submitting to him. But that’s what CTC says is so bad.

    Like

  56. No Robert, because if a Catholic promotes or believed abortion, or contraception is okay, I can tell them that it is contrary to the faith. I can correct a priest or even the pope if they thought such things. What do I correct them with? Well the longstanding dogma and or practice or tradition of the Catholic Church.
    Same thing goes for what is orthodox belief concerning the Sacrifice of the Mass, transubstantion, baptism of infants, etc…
    Why are you skeptical about orthodoxy being known in Catholicism? Do you doubt every single dogma in Protestantism? It’s not difficult to be orthodox if one trusts that Jesus gave teaching authority to one church. Actually one should expect to meet heterodox in a “many church scenario” and only orthodoxy in a” one holy apostolic church” scenario.

    Like

  57. Susan, need to line you up against my old prof, Pachence or any number of my old priests and see who comes out as the ‘bad’ or ‘ignorant’ RC. Then there’s Francis’ ,self declared, prophetic chaos.

    Like

  58. Susan, first you tell us that the magisterium overcomes your doubts.

    Then you tell us — still channeling Luther — you can tell priests or “even the pope” if they are wrong because you have access to orthodoxy.

    When will you realize that your claims for church authority leave you no position to criticize church authority. You bitch about Luther but reserve Lutheran rights for yourself.

    DON’T THINK (reverse psychology).

    Like

  59. @Susan

    And if I did what you suggest, am I not pointing out to my fellow (albeit “bad” or ignorant Catholics) information that is orthodox of the faith and therefore correcting them and helping them get orthodox?

    Good question. Look here to see what happened when Douthat tried it. Perhaps you will make more headway? You’ll forgive me if I don’t put money on it though. You see what counts as heresy and orthodoxy seems to be up for grabs. What does development mean? What is the distinction between doctrine and dogma? Are there orthodox doctrines or only dogmas? I know, I know, you have your trad apologetic sites to point to. They are all very nice. But I don’t get the feeling that Fr. O’Malley, Fr. Martin, Prof. Grimes, or Prof. Faggoli or the long list of progressive theologians and religious who signed the open letter to the NYT would agree with you.

    What do you do about an Reformed Baptist if you’re an elder in the URCNA? At least I can say, “our mutual faith says and demands such and such.”

    One could say (and many have), that the scripture teaches… Some of us ex-baptists are even convinced by such arguments. Of course, we aren’t all.

    What you would get is a, “well, baptism of infants is an unorthodox doctrine and so don’t try to hold me to your unbiblical options.”

    That could be the case. How is this different between the kerfuffle between the trads and progs in the latest Douthat/Faggioli kerfuffle?

    All snark and kidding aside, I am honestly interested in how you make the distinction.

    Like

  60. Okay guys we are all in the same epistemic boat yet we’re all in different ones with different doctrines and dogma and mine is biblically speaking as spot on as yours. Since Christianity is a make it up yourself religion( because none of us knows what must be dogmaticallt held) why do you guys knock the other guy?

    Love is still a virtue though and a sign of orthodoxy, so if Kevin Swanson has a following or not he is still a false teacher inside the not so orthodox OPC. Might want to scratch out that “O” before it confuses people.
    When the magisterium starts sounding like Swanson, then you will have a point.

    Like

  61. Susan, more of the wild swings between either epistemic certainty(absolute, infallible) and radical skepticism. Just lower your bar to accomodate a creatureliness and you’d actually find the elbow room to make substantive criticisms or at least justify(philosophically) differences in belief. There are other disciplines besides philosophy, and that, not without reason Where is your aristotelian first principles in some of your apologetic/polemic anyway? It seems to go missing at times.

    Like

  62. Darryl,

    “When did I ever say inerrancy was inextricably tied to biblical authority?”

    When you said the following:

    “no one here as I read them would say that inerrancy solve doubts, makes Protestantism superior, fixes the world. It is simply an implication of the uniqueness of the Bible as divine revelation.”

    “Inerrancy is a way of affirming the authority of God’s word. God’s word is authoritative.”

    “Enns still hasn’t figured out the stakes of inerrancy. If the Bible is wrong about somethings, it could be wrong about Christ? And if wrong about Christ, my faith is not merely nervous but as Paul says “vain.””

    “Does Pete actually think that science or history will answer the question of how to be right with God? Might the Bible’s answer to that question be a reason for maintaining that Scripture is unique, authoritative, and worth defending? Might the significance of Christ be a reason for claiming the Bible’s truthfulness? ”

    I am surprised your communion considers inerrancy adiaphora. Liberals and conservatives together like pigs in a blanket (WTS didnt get the memo). Think sanctification is synergistic though? Begone evildoer.

    Like

  63. Robert,

    Then why isn’t Ryken trying to distance Wheaton from Billy Graham, who said something fairly similar to what Hawkins has said? And why is Ryken’s flunky, Stan Jones, still around, given that he signed his name to an interfaith document that made a similar averment (although he withered in the face of criticism from Al Mohler and withdrew his name from the document)? And what about the fact that Jones himself referred to Hawkins’ comments as “innocuous.”

    This is not a theological controversy, and anyone who says that it is is lying. It is a political controversy over who has the right to call themselves evangelical and who has the right to determine who gets that right. Ryken is fighting to make sure that those rights remain in the hands of the older white men with pleated pants and bad haircuts who’ve traditionally called the shots in evangelicalism. I’m ready to see those rights handed off to black women, guys with tattoos and beards, and the like. I’m ready for an evangelical version of Nadia Bolz-Weber to emerge. Institutional evangelicalism has become a hindrance to the Gospel because it’s too comfortably aligned with white, middle-brow culture. Evangelicalism, like any institution that wants to survive, cannot insulate itself from creative destruction.

    Someone recently asked me what I thought of Donald Trump. I responded that I was ambivalent. I don’t agree with his views on Muslims and on immigration. Even so, I believe that it’s time to blow up the GOP and rebuild it around a more thoroughly Schumpeterian vision. And I believe that Trump, for all of his faults, can and will do that. Whether it admits or not, the GOP needs Donald Trump if it wants to survive. And evangelicalism needs its own Trump-like figure too. In an ironic sense, perhaps Hawkins is about to become evangelicalism’s Trump.

    Like

  64. Sdb,

    Rod Draher obviously thinks Pope Francis is the definition of a liberal and so when he defends Douthot against what is clearly leftist it looks to the reader that Draher is correct in estimation. What he did was without warrant lumped Pope Francis in with nonconsevatives because some liberals like Francis. They are wrong to think Francis has any liberal social.ideas.or that he is theologically liberal. There is no proof of that but the mere social tranformationalists are agenda.driven rather than vying for what is the good.

    Ask Sean what rad trads( hate that term) are about. I guarantee you it isnt rethinking the truth of the.sacrifice of the mass or transubstantion or baptism of infants or the other sacraments.

    Like

  65. Matt,

    “God’s Word properly interpreted should have more priority and authority that anything else.”

    And “properly interpreted” is the rub and the point in dispute.

    I never said the Reformers didnt appeal to patristics or what they considered tradition. Arians and Mormons did as well.
    One of Powells points is that appealing to a community to ground interpretations is invalid in giving any epistemic certainty to that interpretation.

    “There is an infinite regress it seems in placing epistemic certainty in anything but God and his Word”

    And the identification of His Word is never offered as more than provisional and tentative by your churches. Secondly Powells point is that “His Word” and its purported inerrancy gives you no more epistemic certainty than an infallible teacher or aurhority does, that is, none.

    Like

  66. James Young, “I am surprised your communion considers inerrancy adiaphora.”

    Keep reading. You may be more surprised.

    Speaking of surprise, I’m not sure why you affirm papal infallibility after Pius X.

    BTW, how do any of those quotations suggest that I regard inerrancy as the center of my epistemic universe. I do regard the Bible as God’s word. So do you. And Roman Catholics also used to defend inerrancy.

    The Bible not only contains the word of God; it is the word of God. The primary author is the Holy Ghost, or, as it is commonly expressed, the human authors wrote under the influence of Divine inspiration. It was declared by the Vatican Council (Sess. III, c. ii) that the sacred and canonical character of Scripture would not be sufficiently explained by saying that the books were composed by human diligence and then approved by the Church, or that they contained revelation without error. They are sacred and canonical “because, having been written by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that have God for their author, and as such have been handed down to the Church”. The inerrancy of the Bible follows as a consequence of this Divine authorship. Wherever the sacred writer makes a statement as his own, that statement is the word of God and infallibly true, whatever be the subject-matter of the statement.

    Like

  67. Bobby, I don’t think you know what you’re talking about. But you sure are confident about it. And not very liberal — “Ryken’s flunky.”

    That’s the way fundamentalists talk.

    Like

  68. Darryl,

    Of course I affirm and defend inerrancy. My point has simply been to demonstrate your use of Powells arguments to undermine papal infallibility do the same for inerrancy. Dont argue like Muslims do when they rely on liberal methodologies and arguments to undermine inerrancy (and consequently authority – get it? You did in my quotes of yours) of Scripture and then refuse to apply those same arguments, methodologies, and standards to their own sacred texts.

    Like

  69. Sdb,

    Sorry, I totally read that article wrong. I gave it better attention just now and from what I understand Dreher is defending Douthat against a liberal, but that doesn’t mean that Dreher agrees with Douthat that the pope is a threat to tradition or the family.
    I don’t read either Dreher or Douthat and so don’t know much about either. Are you trying to show me that there are liberals in the church?

    Like

  70. Hi Susan,
    No, neither Douthat nor Dreher think the Pope is a threat to tradition, the family, or apple pie. By way of background, Douthat and Dreher are friends from way back and both have connections to the National Review…both are fairly mainstream reformist conservatives. Dreher lost his RC faith covering the priest abuse coverup scandals. He converted to the Orthodoxy. Douthat remains a faithful RC (in the Neuhaus vein I think it is fair to say – trad, but not radial by any stretch). As an aside, Dreher’s books, “Little Way”, and “Dante” are certainly worth reading (though not all that related to the matter at hand).

    The reason I pointed to the kerfuffle involving Douthat & Faggioli (an Italian RC and theologian at St. Thom. Aq U. in MN) is that it serves as a useful case study of the claim you made above:

    And if I did what you suggest, am I not pointing out to my fellow (albeit “bad” or ignorant Catholics) information that is orthodox of the faith and therefore correcting them and helping them get orthodox What do you do about an Reformed Baptist if you’re an elder in the URCNA? At least I can say, “our mutual faith says and demands such and such.” What you would get is a, “well, baptism of infants is an unorthodox doctrine and so don’t try to hold me to your unbiblical options.”

    So the thoughtful, public intellectual, faithful RC Douthat points out to a progressive RC theologian that his claims are heretical (“our mutual faith says and demands such and such”). The result? Well you can see for yourself. It isn’t exactly “don’t try to hold me to your unbiblical options”, but it is close. A group of RC clergy and theologians write to Douthat’s employer and ask how they can hire such a nincompoop (my paraphrase). Evidently, they didn’t think that Douthat’s claim that support for recognition of gay marriage was tantamount to heresy was all that helpful. I’m having a really hard time seeing how this isn’t worse than the stalemate between the reformed baptist and URCNA elder over baptism. They don’t lie and claim to believe the same thing. They recognize that at least one of them is wrong on the issue of baptism and follow their conscience and their understanding of the Word of God recognizing that we will be united in truth and perfect love in the eschaton. I just don’t see how avoiding discipline and pretending to be in unity while believing you priest or teacher is a heretic in order to maintain a common organization is biblical (sorry MWF – I don’t get that from Eph 4).

    Like I told mwf on another thread, I don’t really expect anyone to have an answer for everything. It could very well be that you don’t know how this all fits in your understanding of the purported epistemological/ecclesial superiority of the RCC. That’s fine – we all live with a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. I get that and I respect the struggle we all have with various aspects of our faith. What I really irks me is the brushing under the rug of the contradictions in order to win commbox competitions (MWF) or score more converts from pulpits for the trophy case (CTC). But those are just my pet peeves….ymmv.

    Like

  71. D.G. Hart:
    Inerrancy is about authority. Where do you go to know God’s will, the way of salvation, how to resolve controversies?>>>>>

    Well, your side goes to the epistemology of provisional knowledge to explain how we can know anything. We need evidence. We need proof. No one can be 100% certain of anything, really, but we can get very, very, very, very close. Close enough.

    How can an epistemology based on provisional knowledge result in inerrancy and infallible authority?

    Seems like the whole system would collapse like a house built on sand. Hence, your guys had no qualms about speaking heresy in order to defend their epistemology of provisional knowledge. How did they do that?

    By arguing that there exists the possibility, ever so slight, that the dead body of Jesus could be found.

    No orthodox theologian in the whole history of the Church – including the Apostle Paul himself – has ever argued that way. Paul presented his case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ without ever indicating that the body of Jesus might still be around somewhere.

    The only bibilical case you might make is that Peter and John provisionally believed the testimony of the women that the body of Jesus was gone. When they saw the empty tomb, all doubt was removed.

    The apostle Thomas did not believe it, until Jesus appeared. After that, none of the disciples ever doubted again.

    So, your side is arguing something that no one has ever argued. How do you defend their heresy?

    Like

  72. How can an epistemology based on provisional knowledge result in inerrancy and infallible authority?

    Seems like the whole system would collapse like a house built on sand. Hence, your guys had no qualms about speaking heresy in order to defend their epistemology of provisional knowledge. How did they do that? By arguing that there exists the possibility, ever so slight, that the dead body of Jesus could be found.

    No orthodox theologian in the whole history of the Church – including the Apostle Paul himself – has ever argued that way. Paul presented his case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ without ever indicating that the body of Jesus might still be around somewhere.

    Infallible authority does not follow from epistemology. Further, fallible knowledge is not necessarily provisional (“existing or accepted for the present time but likely to be changed”). The fact that something *could* be wrong does not mean that it is *likely* to be wrong. The characterization of “provisional knowledge” is yours (and CVD’s), certainly not mine. I prefer falsifiable. The fact that something turns out to be true does not mean that it could not have been false (unlike necessary truths – true by definition).

    It was Paul who said, “If Christ is not raised…”. It was a possibility worth considering and responding to, not obvious nonsense (like the idea of a square circle or other nonsense). The resurrection of Christ is falsifiable. Find the body and the claim is falsified. That is different than private revelation (ala Joseph Smith and his golden plates).

    Like

  73. James Young, how could Powell’s questioning of papal infallibility undermine biblical inerrancy? The Bible was inerrant way before the bishop of Rome started to claim infallibility.

    Also, you didn’t notice that my use of Powell was to show how lame (and diverse) your and Susan and Mermaid’s claims about epistemic certainty are.

    My problems with the papacy go well beyond infalliblity. My problems with you go to your treating it like it’s your blankie.

    Like

  74. Mermaid, “Well, your side goes to the epistemology of provisional knowledge to explain how we can know anything.”

    Lie.

    No claims about epistemology in what I wrote.

    Our side argues what your side does about the Bible — God’s word and inerrant. You’re the one adding to God by making faith depend on infallible bishops whose judgment you never question even though they have a record of acting like adolescents.

    Like

  75. b, sd, Mermaid is going to stick with epistemology because she has no argument against the point — after a record like that — that at some point you start to question infallible bishops.

    Like

  76. Susan,

    No Robert, because if a Catholic promotes or believed abortion, or contraception is okay, I can tell them that it is contrary to the faith. I can correct a priest or even the pope if they thought such things. What do I correct them with? Well the longstanding dogma and or practice or tradition of the Catholic Church.

    But if that is identified by the Magisterium and the Magisterium one day finds a development that makes contraception okay, then what?

    Why are you skeptical about orthodoxy being known in Catholicism?

    Because the only people talking about it are ex-Protestants who pooh-pooh the historical-grammatical interpretation of Scripture but apply it with full force to the catechism of the RC Church.

    Because people like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden continue to receive the Eucharist and even attend the papal mass.

    Because the RCs I know personally who were raised in the communion don’t care about orthodoxy and don’t think that my independent Reformed Church is not a true church.

    Because Pope Francis keeps giving interviews that entrance liberals and that conservatives have to perform contortions to make straight.

    I actually don’t think orthodoxy is hard to identify, if you are willing to try and discern the intents of writers and documents. The problem is that the Magisterium just doesn’t care. The only people that care are you and CVD and CTC and Mermaid.

    But the most important part is that you and everyone else claim that the Magisterium solves all your problems epistemologically. You can’t claim that and then tell me that YOU can correct the pope even, as Darryl said. Those things don’t go together. The pope and Magisterium can always call another council and infallibly declare that contraception is okay and abortion is permissible in certain circumstances. When I’ve raised that, the response I get is that the pope can’t do that. Really?

    Do you doubt every single dogma in Protestantism?

    No, and I also don’t ground my faith in an infallible church.

    It’s not difficult to be orthodox if one trusts that Jesus gave teaching authority to one church.

    But if that’s the case, it’s presumptuous for you to correct that church as you said you can do if the church is infallible.

    Actually one should expect to meet heterodox in a “many church scenario” and only orthodoxy in a” one holy apostolic church” scenario.

    Only if you define unity as a bureaucracy, but your assumption that you can correct the pope if need be points to non-bureaucratic union in the truth as more important than everybody being a part of the same denomination.

    And that still doesn’t explain why, then, you don’t get only orthodoxy in Rome. You get plenty of heterodox bishops and even popes. That’s the problem.

    Like

  77. Sdb,

    Thanks for filling me in on the respective views of those two journalist.
    I guess Dreher doesn’t understand the need nor the claim for the one church. He still gets apostolic succession and the sacraments. I have to wonder what he’d do if orthodox priests were found to be molesting kids.
    Its kind of irksome that he left since it the abuse scandal affected everyone and the whole church cant just walk away because of a few bad apples. They just don’t understand the nature of the Church.
    Oh well, he still must have understood the irreplaceable nature of the sacraments.

    “I’m having a really hard time seeing how this isn’t worse than the stalemate between the reformed baptist and URCNA elder over baptism. They don’t lie and claim to believe the same thing. They recognize that at least one of them is wrong on the issue of baptism and follow their conscience and their understanding of the Word of God recognizing that we will be united in truth and perfect love in the eschaton.”

    I guess you could ask yourself if this is one of many other things that God wants us to know with certainty. From your perspective it might be a non essential or it might actually be essential. Either way, we have to know how important this sacrament is in order to deem it essential or not. And we have to know of it’s essential to know if it’s important or not.
    I don’t think a educated guess is the best option. In fact it’s debate in history along with how the EO and all the different Catholic rites view it just might clue us in in the level of it’s importance.

    Like

  78. Dear Robert,
    “But if that is identified by the Magisterium and the Magisterium one day finds a development that makes contraception okay, then what?”

    That cannot happen.Development isnt the same thing as a change otherwise it would be called change rather than development. But no, the church knows.what is true and the reason that contraception can’t be permitted.
    You should read about both develpment and about the church’s stance on contraception.

    Why are you skeptical about orthodoxy being know in Catholicism?

    “Because people like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden continue to receive the Eucharist and even attend the papal mass.”

    “Because the RCs I know personally who were raised in the communion don’t care about orthodoxy and don’t think that my independent Reformed Church is not a true church.”

    How do you know what Pelosi and Biden do? Are they wrong about their anticatholic views? If you know the answer, so do they. I mean, it can be known right? Faithful Catholics and faithful Christians wouldn’t be pointing out the problem if they didn’t know what was the truth of the matter.

    Robert, I’m gonna now out of any further conversation with you because I don’t think I’m capable of constant back and forth.
    I wish you well!

    Like

  79. D.G. Hart:
    No claims about epistemology in what I wrote.>>>>>

    This post is about epistemology. What are you talking about?

    D.G. Hart:
    Our side argues what your side does about the Bible — God’s word and inerrant. You’re the one adding to God by making faith depend on infallible bishops whose judgment you never question even though they have a record of acting like adolescents.>>>>

    Is the Bible infallible?

    Like

  80. Would somebody on your side please exegete Ephesians 4. I didn’t put it in the Bible. You are the ones who claim that the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. You are the ones who claim sola scriptura. You are the ones who claim that the meaning of the Bible is clear. Perspicuous, remember?

    So, what does Ephesians 4:1-6 mean? What do you get from it? It should be an easy one for all you sola scripturaists.

    Like

  81. sdb, the epistemology that involves the resurrection of Jesus Christ as being provisional knowledge is still nonsense. The resurrection of Jesus Christ – and therefore of all the dead, righteous and unrighteous – is an infallible fact. It is not 99 and 9 hundredths per cent sure. It is 100% sure.

    When Paul said “If Christ be not raised…” he was addressing skeptics. That is how skeptics think, and he was addressing their skepticism. They did not believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. They did not believe in any kind of resurrection.

    He was not saying that there is a possibility that Christ’s body could be found! It is skeptics who were worried about what you are calling falsifiable claims. He is blasting their unbelief out of the water with the evidence.

    He never said, “You know, you are right. There is a very slight possibility that the body of Jesus might be found. It could be around here someplace. I don’t think so, and here’s why. Think about it why dontcha’?.”

    Nice try, sdb, but you got it wrong. Provisional knowledge about infallible truths is for skeptics. It is for unbelievers.

    I don’t know whether to talk about Catholicism or try to convince you guys that your infallible rule of faith and practice really is infallible. Some seem to have forgotten.

    Like

  82. Mermaid, the Protestant belief in the unity of the church is like your belief in an infallible magisterium.

    Don’t be a village atheist only about Protestantism.

    I pity the man.

    Like

  83. Susan: Ali, ecclesiology isn’t as robust as the scripures say it should be.

    quick comment Susan

    re: change your mind – wasn’t meant to change your mind Susan – just to encourage for sure and steadfast hope (when I see your name, I usually think of your comment that you don’t know if you are saved);also wasn’t meant to diminish the importance of the church, but just to magnify Jesus’s supremacy.

    and re: robust ecclesiology – His ways are not our ways and He is teaching us –
    I just don’t see a large rich hierarchical institution in the Bible, but I see One Shepherd guiding many assigned under-shepherds to feed, instruct, equip, correct, grow each of their sheep and their own little flock, even as also each little sheep, with his own assignment does in the flock.

    And each sheep (including eg. Kevin Swanson, Nancy Pelosi, me, you, everyone) will give an account of himself to the Lord, as will every shepherd for himself and his sheep.

    Take care, have a great day, and here’s some selected Scripture (lots, sorry) I’m thinking of this am:

    Romans 14:12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

    Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.

    Jeremiah 3:15 Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.

    Jude 2:3 you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

    Romans 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly

    Colossians 12:5 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,.. 26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

    1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills….12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.14 For the body is not one member, but many…18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. .27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers,

    Ephesians 3: 8 To me (Paul), the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

    Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

    Like

  84. Hi Ali,

    Of course all of those scripture verses are not at 93rd with God giving is one visible church.

    I agree that there is only one divine shepherd, but it is also clear from scripture that God gives us visible leadership( shepherds).
    In Matthew 16:18 we have Jesus giving authority to Peter and that seat is still in existence to this day.
    I know the Protestant interpretation of this verse, but the interpretation itself only came into use during the reformation. Before that no one would have used Matt. 16 as proof for an unviable church.
    Take that along with the evidence of a long line of popes and you have a cohesive and ,common sense really, proof that people didn’t make up a list or the magesterium at some late date in history.
    If you were examining this from a purely archeological and.anthropological view, you would come to the clear conclusion that it is at least the same institution even if you.didnt believe.that it was supernatural in origin.

    Here is a really great article to show how God have his own church the best for of government.

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/08/philosophy-and-the-papacy/

    Take care.

    Wish you well my friend,
    Susan

    Like

  85. Ali,

    The article I have you is longish and a lot of people either don’t have the attention span or the interest ( or both) to make the effort, but if one is really interested in understanding the point of view of the other as well as charitibly hoping for unity, they will make the effort.
    Of course you don’t have to read it, but if you would.really like to dialog with me( and me with you!) you should understand what I believe and why.

    In the article I just have you this excerpt is included from St. Jerome.

    “The Church was founded upon Peter: although elsewhere the same is attributed to all the Apostles, and they all receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the strength of the Church depends upon them all alike, yet one among the twelve is chosen so that when a head has been appointed, there may be no occasion for schism. (Against Jovinianus 1.26)

    Anyways, I hope you will read the whole article, and that we might discuss:)

    Blessings!
    Susan

    Like

  86. Ali,

    I want to clear up my sloppiness( the spelling errors are because of autocorrect) when I said that common sense proof of the papacy was evidenced from both archeology and anthropology. I rather should have said history than anthropology.
    People often throw a list of three adjective or what not to try to be impressive and their writing gets redundant and also loses precision. So I wanted to get this straight.
    What I love about the writings from authors at CTC is that they never patronize their audience or write with obscurity.

    So anthroplogically the church has a lot of important things to say about man’s existence as man, but what I meant was more of an Ockam’s razor approach to the proof of the papacy being from scripture and the continued historical existence of the Catholic Church.
    So even if you reject it’s supernatural orgins you have to admit that both scripture and history.testify to its possibility.

    Like

  87. Darryl,

    Come on. The point of your post was more than just showing a range of views in the doctrine of papal infallibility. Thats hardly news or controversial. Thomism, Molinism. Congruism, etc are nuanced views of grace in RCism. That doesnt mean one isnt certain sufficient grace is offered to all or the will is involved in salvation or P/SPism is heresy. Mary may have died or not before the Assumption. That doesnt mean the Assumption isnt certain. Scripture may be materially sufficient or not. That doesnt mean Tradition and Magisterium being necessary parallel authorities isnt certain or the Protestant view of SS is in error.

    Your citations of Powell not only show diversity, but the common point (and why you posted it given your opening) in his analysis of those views is that no view affirming PI can grant any epistemuc advantage or further ground any certainty. And that is exactly what he says also applies to proponents of inerrancy.

    So when you say,”Powell’s conclusion is that with out infallibility, the pope could still exercise [authority]”, the sister statement to that is Powell’s conclusion is that without inerrancy, Scripture could still be authoritative. But my citations of you show you dont buy that. Thus my pointing out your double standard. But if you want to nuke your own position in trying to score points against RCism, have at it its a free country.

    Like

  88. James Young, “Your citations of Powell not only show diversity, but the common point (and why you posted it given your opening) in his analysis of those views is that no view affirming PI can grant any epistemuc advantage or further ground any certainty. And that is exactly what he says also applies to proponents of inerrancy.”

    You still don’t get it but not getting it goes with the point that you made over and over and over and over and over and over again that Roman Catholics are superior because they have an infallible bishop to identify truth. Protestants don’t claim that they are in a better position because they have an inerrant Bible. How could we make that claim when Roman Catholics claim as well that Scripture is inerrant.

    So the point still stands. Making infallibility the lynch pin in avoiding Descartes is silly. No Protestant makes such a silly claim.

    The idea of an inerrant Bible is something to beat someone over the head with how you have no knowledge without it. But it does work really well against the bodily assumption of Mary. Are you kidding? I get it if you need some sort of feminine ideal that is divine-like. But seriously. The resurrection is hard enough. You have to add BAOM to that?

    Francis doesn’t. He’s infallible. He’s communing with Lutherans, praying with Hindus.

    Your life is really complicated. Yup.

    Like

  89. Darryl,

    I have knowledge without PI – the church didnt tell me bats cant fly out of my nose. You want to say we can have church authority without infallibility. Powell agrees. Great. So we can also have scriptural authority without inerrancy right? Powell agrees. Oh wait…

    Why are you making the Resurrection hard – since inerrancy isnt a big deal why not just affirm the OPC view of the Resurrection and the biblical texts you appeal to are errant? Youre making Christianity way too hard with your dogged insistence the Resurrection accounts are inerrant or to be interpreted as a physical resurrection. You already showed your hand with, “Enns still hasn’t figured out the stakes of inerrancy. If the Bible is wrong about somethings, it could be wrong about Christ? And if wrong about Christ, my faith is not merely nervous but as Paul says “vain.””

    Like

  90. @TLM,

    “one body” – the universal body of all believers saved by Christ; most are in heaven and presumably many in it are yet unborn or yet to come to faith. It has no hierarchy or organizational structure, but has a common Head (Eph. 1:22-23).

    “one Spirit” The Holy Spirit, 3rd member of the Trinity

    “one hope of your calling” – all Xtns share the same hope of glorification, a hope granted spiritually through the same call of the Holy Spirit. It isn’t a wishful hope, but a certain hope (and thus differs from RC dogma).

    “one Lord” – Jesus Christ

    “one faith” –some say certain doctrines (objective faith), some saving faith (subjective faith). I say saving faith, a supernatural gift given in Christ’s baptism to all who are predestined to salvation in Christ.

    “one baptism” – some say water baptism, some Christ’s baptism through the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13, Acts 1:5). Some combine the two. I’m with the 2nd group.

    “one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” self-explanatory

    Like

  91. James Young, “So we can also have scriptural authority without inerrancy right? Powell agrees. Oh wait…”

    So we can have scriptural authority without inerrancy, right? James Young’s infallible church disagrees. Oh wait.

    Powell may undermine me. So?

    He doubly undermines you on the papacy and Scripture (which you’re supposed to believe but never mention — funny how that works. yup.)

    Plus, this apologetic of yours, “see, Protestants are as bad as we are” is hardly convincing. Man up to all those world championship pennants.

    BTW, you and the ladies chorus did go on and on and on and on and on and on and on about how Protestantism leads to skepticism. Live with it.

    If you can’t figure out why the resurrection is hard . . . wait. This is really just a game for you. Yup.

    Like

  92. NOON, thank you for trying. There are a few things I noticed. First, you are giving your opinion about what those verses mean. Some say one thing. Others say something else. You sometimes agree and other times disagree with the “some” you are talking about.

    Now, maybe you are right in your understanding, but how can you know you are right and someone else’s interpretation is wrong or at least not quite right? Maybe that doesn’t bother you. What process do you use?

    I also noticed you didn’t even include the visible body of Christ in your statements. Why not?

    I also noticed that you have not yet said anything about these verses.:

    Ephesians 4
    , “2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

    How do you understand those statements?

    I do appreciate your giving this a shot. I have asked many times and I think this is the first time anyone has responded, at least in detail. Thank you, Brother NOON!

    Hey, you have a wonderful week. Maybe we’ll talk later. Maybe that’s all you have to say about those verses and you may not want to go any farther. No problem.

    Like

  93. NOON, thank you for trying. There are a few things I noticed. First, you are giving your opinion about what those verses mean. Some say one thing. Others say something else. You sometimes agree and other times disagree with the “some” you are talking about.

    Now, maybe you are right in your understanding, but how can you know you are right and someone else’s interpretation is wrong or at least not quite right? Maybe that doesn’t bother you. What process do you use?

    Grammatical historical reading, coupled to submission to antecedent revelation. But I’m open to being taught for I have often been wrong in my interpretation of sacred Scripture. I’m even open to being corrected by people who claim to be regenerate but aren’t. I just ask that the correction show me things in the text or context I had not rightly considered before.

    If you want an example on how wrong interpretations are to be corrected please read John 21:23. Wrong interpretations aren’t resolved by submitting to a church’s dogma, or by intuition, but by going back and doing a better reading of the text.

    If you have any of those textual observations for me, please show them to me. And the patronizing “nice try” is arrogant.

    I also noticed you didn’t even include the visible body of Christ in your statements. Why not?

    If you want to see a visible body, look in the mirror. Notice how the parts are physically connected to each other.

    The universal body of Christ won’t be visible until the eschaton, and only the local body of Christ, defined by the apostle as all the regenerate in a locale, can be visible, and only is visible when gathered for worship of the Lord (1Cor 1:2, 12:27, 14:23; Eph. 1:15, 4:16).

    The RCC claims itself the “mystical body of Christ,” which allows it to claim unity without proximity. But if it it can’t be seen in unity, it can’t be a visible body.

    I also noticed that you have not yet said anything about these verses.: Ephesians 4, “2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” How do you understand those statements?

    I submit to those precepts which are to be lived out in fear. However, they do not require worshipping the true God under impenitent, unholy leaders, as the writings of 2 Corinthians, 1 Timothy, Titus, and 3 John show. To do so is to violate the unity of the Spirit (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

    Have you considered that Paul wanted spiritual leaders who were qualified by character and skill, not an invisible, mystical charism, and he was led to require the one and not the other by the Holy Spirit?

    Like

  94. thanks for the comments, Susan; I may read your link when I get a chance, but I’ll just say re: the robust-est of ecclesiology – that I hope we can agree that the Lord’s focus is ‘marriage’ to His ‘bride’; His work collecting His treasure of individual redeemed people together for Himself, and readying each/all/ together to live with Him forever. The early Jews especially understood this time of engagement – essentially considered married but readying for the marriage.
    Who are we, Susan, that He would have such thoughts toward us and plans for us.

    Like

  95. Noon: Wrong interpretations aren’t resolved by submitting to a church’s dogma, or by intuition, but by going back and doing a better reading of the text.

    and emphasizing the Lord’s work in it.

    Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you Phil 3:15

    Like

  96. Hi Ali,

    I agree with you that God is collecting his treasury of redeemed people.That He would make us a people gives glory to who.He is. We can tend to imagine God’s kingdom as having no grand earthly manifestation, but the NT Church is the Davidic Covenant fulfilled.
    There is another article embedded in the article that I linked you too that briefly explains the OT steward whom God said he was going to remove in order to raise up a king and that He would give keys to. That is the only place in the OT where that theme is mentioned, so the only way to understand the NT mention of the keys to bind and to loose in Matthew 16 is to refer to that passage in the OT. The is glaring and I don’t see how protestants miss it when they do exegesis.

    Anyway, here is more on God’s covenant with David and how it was fulfilled. I heard a lot about God’s covenant with Moses but I don’t remember learning a whole lot about David’s kingdom.

    https://stpaulcenter.com/studies/lesson/lesson-one-a-throne-established-forever

    Like

  97. Susan,

    I said:
    “But if that is identified by the Magisterium and the Magisterium one day finds a development that makes contraception okay, then what?”

    You replied: That cannot happen.Development isnt the same thing as a change otherwise it would be called change rather than development. But no, the church knows.what is true and the reason that contraception can’t be permitted.
    You should read about both develpment and about the church’s stance on contraception.

    That seems to be blind fideism. If something looks like a change but the Magisterium says it isn’t a change, do you not have to submit to the Magisterium and believe it is not a change even though it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

    I’m still waiting for a coherent answer to the anathemas of Trent and V2. “Let him (CVD notes this can be a material or formal heretic) who holds to JBFA be cursed by God.”

    IOW, “Let the one who denies that justification is by faith and works either as a material or formal heretic be under the curse of God.”

    And then we get V2 “Let the one who denies that justification is by faith and works be considered a separated brother.” Is a separated brother cursed by God?

    How do you know what Pelosi and Biden do?

    It’s well documented. They tout their Roman Catholicism when they are defending government assistance to the poor and Biden has emphasized that while he is against abortion personally, as a representative of the state he must advocate for the woman’s freedom to kill her baby. Pelosi regularly cites church fathers to argue for abortion and contraception. Biden went to the inaugural mass of Pope Francis. And on and on and on.

    Are they wrong about their anticatholic views?

    Looks like you are relying on your private judgment to determine they are anti-Catholic. The priests and bishops who serve them the Eucharist apparently don’t agree or they don’t care about the state of their souls. Either way, if you go all in with the Magisterium, what right do you have to call them anti-Catholic?

    If you know the answer, so do they. I mean, it can be known right?

    I’m doing my best to read the documents in context. But you have to essentially give up your right to private interpretation once you become a RC. Again, if you are going to go all in on the infallible church, you can’t ignore how the dogma is applied. That’s what we continue to get from you all. “Yeah, we know things are a problem, but we have the dogma.” But as Darryl has pointed out, the right application of dogma isn’t your job. It’s the Magisterium’s task.

    Without consistent discipline, your whole “principled means” thing fails. Roman Catholicism becomes a free for all, as evident by the wildly divergent views of dogma and the fact that people who you would consider not faithful get the Eucharist. Your view does not match that of the Magisterium, so as Francis said, “Who are you to judge?”

    I’m really don’t mean to be cruel. I just don’t get the sense that any of you have thought through how radically inconsistent and fideistic your position is. All we get are platitudes about the church, and the only members of the Magisterium who seem to agree keep getting demoted.

    And I still don’t know how you can know when the Magisterium is wrong when you have to have an infallible Magisterium to tell you what is what. How do you know when they tell you what is what that they aren’t wrong. That’s why I keep returning to sola ecclesia. If the church were to say tomorrow that abortion was okay and that the church has always believed it, how can you disagree with them. The best answer I get from you all is: “The church can’t do that.” That’s bare fideism. Just because the church hasn’t done it, doesn’t men it can’t and doesn’t mean it won’t. It’s already turning a blind eye to the many, many communing members who believe abortion is okay. That’s a tacit endorsement of their position.

    Can you really imagine Peter or Paul looking at an abortion doctor and then giving him communion while saying “Oh well, wheat and tares till the end”? If they won’t, what does that say about the fallibility of the Magisterium who does it all the time.

    Faithful Catholics and faithful Christians wouldn’t be pointing out the problem if they didn’t know what was the truth of the matter.

    But you gave up your ability to define who faithful RCs are. If Rome is who she says she is, then anyone who gets the Eucharist is a faithful RC. Either that, or Rome is happy to let people increase their own condemnation by taking the Eucharist while in mortal sin.

    Either way, you’re worse off than my little Protestant denomination.

    Like

  98. No one of note and emphasizing the Lord’s work in it. Topper.

    oh, noon. I shouldn’t respond, maybe you were just kidding,but don’t think so… so….hope it’s not sinful to respond this way…

    re Noon: doing a better reading of the text.

    you know, ie- it’s ultimately up to you – a better reading on your own – your know – your own work- self-righteousness- don’t explicitly clarify/remind that the answer always involves Jesus and His work, cause then how could one ‘top’ Jesus…. and some are just in the business of being Jesus toppers!

    Like

  99. I have let this thread wander over the weekend, so there’s probably not much point, but…

    Rube, how does epistemic certainty allow for the possibility of error?

    It doesn’t, that’s what I said.

    It corresponds to sight, as in I know the sky is blue because I see it’s blue; I believe it’s blue but more than that I know it is.

    How do you know with certainty that you’re not under a giant dome, artfully painted like a blue sky? Epistemic certainty is not about “certain, except for silly hypotheticals”, but “certain, even against silly hypotheticals”

    Infallible assurance corresponds with faith, as in I’ve only ever seen an overcast sky but I trust those who tell me that behind it lies a blue sky; they could be wrong but coupled with what I know otherwise and how they explain it, I am confident it is blue.

    “they could be wrong” ==> not infallible. No?

    Like

  100. Robert,

    I don’t give up my reason in discovering who the church is and I don’t give up the law that it written on my heart. As CVD has shown you, when it comes to.things that we don’t understand on out own it is epistemically advantages to have the correction of the tradition of the apostles.

    So I know the correct view on all those doctrines that protestants argue about and are divided over. I don’t ask myself who is right about the Eucharist or having icons of Jesus, Mary and the saints. I now know the correct answer. Does that mean that I am practicing bare fideism? Well, I ran all over the place in Protestantism and they all had something.different to say. If I landed on my own interpretation that it was fine to have icons and believe in a different view of the Lord’s supper than Calvinists does that mean that I landed on the true understanding concerning it?
    Who do I let correct me if I’m wrong?

    In protestant churches, do you know who votes for pro abortion politicians? Do you know who supports same sex marriage. I knew protestants who support same sex marriage but didn’t suffer public shame for their views not were they kept from receiving communion because it was a 2K community. These people believed the gospel according to Luther and so it didn’t matter what their political views were.

    You know very well that the Catholic Church condemns abortion. If anyone receives Jesus while being in mortal sin they just heap more judgement on themselves. That should be a serious enough warming.
    If someone goes into confession but isn’t truly repentent, the priest doesn’t know that so he gives the Eucharist to whoever goes up to receive. Its up to the communicant to step out and receive the sacrament of reconciliation and the holy Eucharist.

    The Church is a hospital for sinners, and Biden and Pelosi aren’t the only grave sinners in her history.
    If they confess their sins and they are truly repentant they can receive communion.

    Like

  101. Noon,

    “I just ask that the correction show me things in the text or context I had not rightly considered before.”
    “Wrong interpretations aren’t resolved by submitting to a church’s dogma, or by intuition, but by going back and doing a better reading of the text.”

    And the church’s dogma reflects the better reading of the text. Jews weren’t warranted in rejecting the apostles and Christ’s interpretations and exegesis of the OT because it didn’t meet their subjective standard and criteria for “doing a better reading of the text” or because they didn’t feel it showed them anything they “had not rightly considered before”.
    Arians and other heretics weren’t warranted in rejecting the church’s authority and interpretation and exegesis of Scripture because it didn’t meet their subjective standard and criteria for “doing a better reading of the text”. Relying on the individual’s estimation of “doing a better reading of the text” as the criterion, rather than the church’s authority and tradition, is what results in the endless splintering and stalemate status between all Protestant churches.

    Like

  102. CVD,

    Relying on the individual’s estimation of “doing a better reading of the text” as the criterion, rather than the church’s authority and tradition, is what results in the endless splintering and stalemate status between all Protestant churches.

    Perhaps one day you will realize that the Western church’s claims to authority and mishandling of tradition is what caused the splintering in the first place. Or do the papal claims to temporal authority, refusal to call and heed councils, etc., etc. count for nothing?

    Like

  103. Robert,
    This was written by Bryan Gross and is in the “Ecclesial Consumerism” thread.

    The video embedded isn’t working it seems, but take a look at the charge of the trouble caused by ecclesial consummerism and the necessity of humility to overcome our division.

    Take care Robert. I wish you well!

    “Recently I saw the parody video below in an article titled “Jynx is a social network that removes everyone you disagree with” on CNET.

    Imagine if the same human tendency satirically criticized in the video was operative in Christianity as the ecclesial consumerism discussed in the post at the top of this page. What would be, or could be, the only antidote? Some time ago Neal Judisch offered two comments directly relevant to this question. Responding to a comment about the tenseness during the first Masses in the early Church, involving mixed groups of Jewish and Gentile believers, rich and poor believers, free and slave believers, he wrote:

    ‘I think it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of this trenchant remark. One altar/sacrifice/bishop forces the breaking down of those barriers that we naturally erect (along ethnic lines and nationalist lines and class lines and …) as a function of the sin that expresses itself not just in Gen 3 but quite fundamentally in Gen 10. Otherwise the church is built-bottom up in our own image (or our collective, ethnic, nationalist … image), and becomes a club for those who associate with others who think like them and act like them (…), others whom they’d be comfortable associating with in any case, and fails utterly to appreciate the radical newness and inclusiveness of the religion centered around the Gospel. Since that’s become clear to me, I’ve always been astounded that a theological tradition which makes so much of the depth and degree and scope of human sin should see no need for a ‘top-down’ “enforcement” of unity that runs against the grain of our natural and naturally devisive tendencies. Here again there is a pragmatic contradiction, or at any rate a tension, between theory and the outworking (or non-outworking) of theory in pracise and in ecclesiology.’

    A few months later he wrote:

    ‘One of the things that paints an easy target on the chest of the Catholic Church is that there is such a thing as the Catholic Church. So when you see Catholic Christians doing superstitious or potentially idolatrous or just “pretty damn weird” stuff nowadays, it’s easy to say that that is the sort of thing Catholics do. Or again, when you look back in the past and see bad stuff — inquisitions, burnings-at-the-stake, or really any other bad thing the Church has ever done — it’s just irresistably tempting to say, “Welp, that’s what the Catholic Church did;” and when you look back into the past and see all the cool stuff — Nicaea, for instance, or saving Western culture and inspiring Western Science, for instance — it’s tempting in just the same way to say, “Welp, that’s the stuff the real Christian Church did, and look, I’m a part of that Church.” One of the cool things about Protestantism is that it lets you do this. Protestants get to dissociate themselves from all the bad things (past and contemporaneous) and lay claim to all the good stuff. Since there isn’t any “Protestant Church,” per se, there’s no Churchish chest on which a target might be painted.

    Ladies who see Mary in tortillias can be excluded from the denomination with which you affiliate. People who read “The Prayer of Jabez” either don’t darken the doors of your local church, or, if they do, they’re handed the most recent copy of Tabletalk, or handed a copy of the WSC to look over; and over time, they either just leave your church or they start acting and talking like the other folks in your church act or talk. “Fellowship.” And that takes care of that. No need to come to the Table with Mary-Tortillia or Prayer-of-Jabez people. And there is always the possibility of plausibile deniability: *these* people aren’t part of *my* church, even if they might by some charitable stretch of imagination be Christians. The Inquisition? The Catholics did that. Chalcedon? That was us.

    Maybe this doesn’t connect with your experience or outlook at all. It is certainly my own experience and certainly was my own outlook, and it was also the outlook of people I decided to rub shoulders with when I was Reformed. But what I find, now, as a Catholic, is that there is a great value in “humbling myself” and accepting responsibility, as a Christian, for all the bad things Catholic Christians have done, and are doing, as well as rejoicing in all the very good things the Church has and does do. And I like very much, now, the fact that I get to sit at the same Table with all those common, vulgar folk, that I previously wanted to exclude from the church I’d built bottom up, after my own image.

    That’s family, for you. That’s “Here Comes Everyone,” for you.’

    So, going back to my question: What would be, or could be, the only antidote to the ecclesial consumerism that is an expression of our human tendency to surround ourselves with people who agree with us? The only available answer to that question is a visible Church founded by Christ, by which there is such a thing as schism from from the Church. If there is only one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, then we cannot justifiably separate ourselves from her to form a substitute composed of persons who conform to our own tastes, interpretations, etc. That raises the possibility that we are so immersed in consumerism, including ecclesial consumerism, as not even to recognize it for what it is, and the way in which it perpetuates rather than reverses Babel.”

    Like

  104. Cvd,

    And the church’s dogma reflects the better reading of the text.

    What text does RCC dogma do a better reading of, and why?

    Like

  105. I don’t give up my reason in discovering who the church is and I don’t give up the law that it written on my heart.

    Fine. Just recognize that you are submitting to your own understanding in discovering the church and therefore are doing so thereafter in every case.

    As CVD has shown you, when it comes to.things that we don’t understand on out own it is epistemically advantages to have the correction of the tradition of the apostles.

    “Things we don’t understand on our own” is meaningless. We don’t understand anything on our own. We must encounter divine revelation, both in Scripture and in nature.

    So I know the correct view on all those doctrines that protestants argue about and are divided over.

    Because of your personal interpretation that Rome is the church Christ founded? What happened to divine revelation?

    I don’t ask myself who is right about the Eucharist or having icons of Jesus, Mary and the saints. I now know the correct answer. Does that mean that I am practicing bare fideism?

    Yes. The statement: “Now I know who has the correct answer” evidences itself. You have surrendered your mind to the church. If the church says it is development and not change, you must believe it is development even if it looks like, walks like, and quacks like change.

    If I landed on my own interpretation that it was fine to have icons and believe in a different view of the Lord’s supper than Calvinists does that mean that I landed on the true understanding concerning it?

    You’d have to define “icons” and “different view of the Lord’s Supper.”

    Who do I let correct me if I’m wrong?

    Who is correcting you in the RCC? You don’t have a personal audience with the Magisterium or the pope, do you? All you have are written documents that you have to interpret. Sounds like what Protestants do with Scripture.

    In protestant churches, do you know who votes for pro abortion politicians?

    Not unless they tell me. But voting for a pro-abortion politician isn’t necessarily the same as endorsing abortion.

    I’m not talking about anonymous RCs who the bishops have no way of knowing. I’m talking about world-known politicians who tout their faithfulness while doing everything they can to have the federal government pay for things the church has in theory defined as morally reprehensible.

    Do you know who supports same sex marriage. I knew protestants who support same sex marriage but didn’t suffer public shame for their views not were they kept from receiving communion because it was a 2K community. These people believed the gospel according to Luther and so it didn’t matter what their political views were.

    Perhaps. But we’re talking about Roman Catholicism and the “superior” epistemology it has here, not whether Protestant 2Kism is right or wrong. I can understand the frustration with Protestantism. I don’t understand the “Now I know”

    You know very well that the Catholic Church condemns abortion.

    I know what the documents say when read in a manner that is historically sensible to their context. I also know what they can mean when they are read in a reader-response manner, like most of your communion does with impunity.

    If anyone receives Jesus while being in mortal sin they just heap more judgement on themselves. That should be a serious enough warming.

    It should be, but clearly it isn’t. Or abortion may not be a mortal sin. Or the priest who is handing Pelosi the Eucharist after she just voted to uphold partial birth abortion doesn’t care.

    If someone goes into confession but isn’t truly repentent, the priest doesn’t know that so he gives the Eucharist to whoever goes up to receive. Its up to the communicant to step out and receive the sacrament of reconciliation and the holy Eucharist.

    That’s fine. But we’re talking about people who very clearly and for decades have acted contrary to the most literal reading of church documents and still get the Eucharist.

    The Church is a hospital for sinners, and Biden and Pelosi aren’t the only grave sinners in her history.

    Agreed but irrelevant. The church is supposed to excommunicate or at least discipline people for impenitent grave/mortal sin.

    If they confess their sins and they are truly repentant they can receive communion.

    Sure. But they are receiving the Eucharist without confessing or being truly repentant. So I’m left with only a few possibilities.

    1. My reading of the Roman Church’s ban on abortion is wrong and abortion is okay in at least some circumstances.
    2. Rome knows full well that Biden and Pelosi are in mortal sin but doesn’t care for any number of possible reasons.

    Maybe there is another, but both of those make the epistemological and unity arguments for Rome meaningless.

    Like

  106. Robert,

    Any group condemned by the church before the Reformation could also try to justify their schism and error in the same manner. Arians and Pelagians could easily have just said, “We aren’t the sectarians and heretics, it was all the mean arrogant Western church’s fault in holding those so-called “councils” and mishandling so-called “tradition” that dared to condemn us – where do they get the gall? Those decisions clearly show their proponents have a divisive mentality and aren’t “doing a better reading of the text” than we are, so they have no authority over us.”

    The church can err or have done better in her prudential handling of situations of course; that’s been true of her entire history. That doesn’t justify schism. A Protestant Reformer is not equivalent in kind to the Catholic Reformers.

    Like

  107. Rube, sorry, so your intention was to say that infallible assurance is knowledge without the possibility of error?

    But it seems to me that there are three tiers: knowing as God knows (impossible for any creature, even glorified ones), knowing because there is no doubt (possible but not afforded in this life), believing co-exiting with doubt (what is afforded in this life). .

    I don’t see how allowing for believers to be wrong dismantles the so-called infallibility of faith if the author of our faith is God himself. The only alternative is to eliminate the possibility of being wrong, in which case faith must either be abandoned or turned into sight. But if faith by its nature is somewhere in between such that it is to believe in things not seen, it must allow for this possibility. Even if that irritates the resident sea creature.

    Like

  108. CvD

    Jews weren’t warranted in rejecting the apostles and Christ’s interpretations and exegesis of the OT because it didn’t meet their subjective standard and criteria for “doing a better reading of the text” or because they didn’t feel it showed them anything they “had not rightly considered before”.
    Arians and other heretics weren’t warranted in rejecting the church’s authority and interpretation and exegesis of Scripture because it didn’t meet their subjective standard and criteria for “doing a better reading of the text”. Relying on the individual’s estimation of “doing a better reading of the text” as the criterion, rather than the church’s authority and tradition, is what results in the endless splintering and stalemate status between all Protestant churches.

    Jim, what you failed to include in your quote, and to take into account in your answer, is how an apostle corrected a wrong interpretation by Xtns of Jesus words in John 21:23. I’m not surprised, because the apostles are not authoritative to you.

    You assume going in that Scripture is insufficient to be correctly interpreted except under a charism, except that charism was never promised by Jesus or His Spirit guided apostles.

    Otoh, I conclude, based on Jesus’ promise to the apostles in John 16:13 that the Scripture is sufficient, and that men who sanctify Christ as Lord can come to interpret Scripture rightly, in spite of indwelling noetic sin, which includes other pre-existing beliefs.

    As I’ve told you before, you disbelieve Jesus in John 16:13. You do not believe the ascended Jesus through the Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all the truth. You reject that and believe a lie, that the Holy Spirit instead guides RCC bishops through time into all the truth.

    Therefore you mirror the unbelieving Jews who could not believe, for they were not His sheep (John 10:26).

    Like

  109. Noon,

    John corrected a wrong interpretation by supplying the right interpretation. He didn’t say, “Here is my interpretation, but it might be wrong and I might change it later, but feel free to accept it or not if you don’t feel like I’m doing a better reading of the text than you are”. Christ and the Apostles had (and claimed) a type of authority and ability that demanded assent and submission from their followers.

    “the apostles are not authoritative to you.”

    Sure they are. Are you convinced when Protestant groups you consider heretics or in error tell you “the apostles are not authoritative to you” and that’s why you are rejecting that group’s teaching as in error?

    “You assume going in that Scripture is insufficient to be correctly interpreted”

    I assume the church has authority to correct errant interpretations and judgments held by those who may think they are interpreting Scripture properly.

    ” except that charism was never promised by Jesus or His Spirit guided apostles. ”

    Yes, you apparently think if a promise or command or address by Christ or the Apostles was not accompanied by a “prophetic utterance” a la “to the very end of the age” in Matt 28:20 as you’ve said before, then those statements only apply to the immediate audience unto which the statement was made.

    “I conclude, based on Jesus’ promise to the apostles in John 16:13 that the Scripture is sufficient,”

    And you also conclude based on that promise that the church was not guaranteed protection from error in its recognition and identification of the canon of Scripture, including that verse in John. So you already undermined your own position.

    ” and that men who sanctify Christ as Lord can come to interpret Scripture rightly, in spite of indwelling noetic sin, which includes other pre-existing beliefs.”

    So all the Protestant churches I listed earlier, some of which you would consider in error or heretics presumably, aren’t interpreting Scripture rightly because they are not “men who sanctify Christ as Lord”? And when they return the same charge to you, how do you reply? Stalemate.

    “do not believe the ascended Jesus through the Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all the truth. ”

    RCC teaches the deposit of faith is fixed and closed with the death of the apostles. So, no I don’t disbelieve Jesus. You apparently do disbelieve His promises and the apostolic witness to the church’s authority and ability though.

    “you mirror the unbelieving Jews who could not believe”

    Were the Jews warranted in rejecting the apostles and Christ’s interpretations and exegesis of the OT because it didn’t meet their subjective standard and criteria for “doing a better reading of the text” or because they didn’t feel it showed them anything they “had not rightly considered before”?

    Like

  110. Clete,

    Any group condemned by the church before the Reformation could also try to justify their schism and error in the same manner. Arians and Pelagians could easily have just said, “We aren’t the sectarians and heretics, it was all the mean arrogant Western church’s fault in holding those so-called “councils” and mishandling so-called “tradition” that dared to condemn us – where do they get the gall? Those decisions clearly show their proponents have a divisive mentality and aren’t “doing a better reading of the text” than we are, so they have no authority over us.”

    Sure. And any ecclesiastical group can also claim to be from God and infallible. Doesn’t make them right. Doesn’t make the Protestant Reformers wrong if their claims of the Western church’s failures are superficially similar to those of the heretics. You overlook the key difference: The Reformers were advocates of the Rule of Faith as defined by the early church fathers, i.e., the Apostles Creed.

    The church can err or have done better in her prudential handling of situations of course; that’s been true of her entire history. That doesn’t justify schism.

    True. But we’re not the schismatics. The papacy is the root of schism, both in the West and in the East.

    A Protestant Reformer is not equivalent in kind to the Catholic Reformers.

    True. Protestants are concerned to Reform doctrine according to the Word of God. RC Reformers were concerned to implement superficial moral reforms to maintain the power of the papacy.

    And I see how you gloss over Rome’s errors in claiming for itself temporal power. That’s a doctrinal error unless you’ve given up your mind to the Vatican.

    Like

  111. Rube, sorry, so your intention was to say that infallible assurance is knowledge without the possibility of error?

    Yes, that’s what ‘infallible’ means.

    But it seems to me that there are three tiers: knowing as God knows (impossible for any creature, even glorified ones), knowing because there is no doubt (possible but not afforded in this life), believing co-exiting with doubt (what is afforded in this life). .

    I don’t see how allowing for believers to be wrong dismantles the so-called infallibility of faith if the author of our faith is God himself. The only alternative is to eliminate the possibility of being wrong, in which case faith must either be abandoned or turned into sight. But if faith by its nature is somewhere in between such that it is to believe in things not seen, it must allow for this possibility.

    I think I agree with all of that. Which is to say WCF (and LC80) should not have used the word ‘infallible’.

    Like

  112. Robert,

    “You overlook the key difference: The Reformers were advocates of the Rule of Faith as defined by the early church fathers”

    The rule of faith of the fathers that included Tradition and ecclesial authority as necessary parallel authorities to Scripture, rather than solo scriptura/biblicism, perpetual private judgment, and endless splintering and stalemating. That rule of faith was rejected by the Reformers, just as it was by all schismatics and heretics of the past. So there was no key difference overlooked.

    “the Apostles Creed.”

    And is the Apostles Creed special over the Nicene creed or the WCF or any other creed or confession the Reformers and contemporary Protestants have no problem revising or rejecting as they see fit? See RS Clark’s and Rick Phillips and Geerhardus Vos view on the “descended into hell” line from the AC at http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2015/04/catholic-and-reformed-understandings-of-he-descended-into-hell/

    “True. But we’re not the schismatics.”

    Says every schismatic.

    Like

  113. CvD,

    John corrected a wrong interpretation by supplying the right interpretation. He didn’t say, “Here is my interpretation, but it might be wrong and I might change it later, but feel free to accept it or not if you don’t feel like I’m doing a better reading of the text than you are”. Christ and the Apostles had (and claimed) a type of authority and ability that demanded assent and submission from their followers.

    John’s corrected an erroneous interpretation of Christ’s words in John 21:23 not on a “because I say so” but a “because this what Jesus actually said.”

    So too, the only right way to relate to God is through what Scripture actually says.

    Any cultist can do what you do, string together verses from different contexts and different writers to make a message supporting his or her religion. It’s what you do with John 16:13 and Mat. 28:20, but neither say anything about an ongoing charism that is critical to your religion.

    The godly man will stop when it is pointed out to him. The only way you will is to leave your Roman Catholicism by being taught by God in the apostolic writings.

    The unstable are caught in your kind of dishonest twisting of Scripture but those who believe the word of God was written for men to read, believe, and obey can’t honor God by treating discreet verses as lego pieces awaiting the builder’s creativity.

    Like

  114. James Young, “RCC teaches the deposit of faith is fixed and closed with the death of the apostles.”

    Except — wait for it — it develops. How fixed is that? “Error has no rights” now voila “error has rights.”

    Like

  115. Clete,

    The rule of faith of the fathers that included Tradition and ecclesial authority as necessary parallel authorities to Scripture, rather than solo scriptura/biblicism, perpetual private judgment, and endless splintering and stalemating. That rule of faith was rejected by the Reformers, just as it was by all schismatics and heretics of the past. So there was no key difference overlooked.

    As Mathieson and others have demonstrated, the rule of faith of the fathers was essentially the Apostles Creed. So try again.

    And is the Apostles Creed special over the Nicene creed or the WCF or any other creed or confession the Reformers and contemporary Protestants have no problem revising or rejecting as they see fit? See RS Clark’s and Rick Phillips and Geerhardus Vos view on the “descended into hell” line from the AC at http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2015/04/catholic-and-reformed-understandings-of-he-descended-into-hell/

    Simply making an observation that the Reformed hold to the Apostles Creed while the Arians don’t. So you can try and paint us with the same broad brush, but last I noticed, even Rome doesn’t think the JWs are separated brethren.

    Says every schismatic.

    Yeah, and every cult says it is the only church Jesus founded. So we’re back to having to deal with history, which isn’t friendly to Roman claims.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s