Make It Stop

Yet another press release on evangelicals who have found a home that is sweet and located in Rome. And once again, the great appeal is authority (papal, infallible, audacious?):

What I came to realize is that little progress will be made on the major issues (or many secondary issues) of theology until one settles the issue of religious authority. That single concern is related to numerous key facets of the Christian faith, the most impactful of which were the canon of Scripture and its orthodox interpretation.

The canon of Scripture (the books included in the Bible) is a huge issue for anyone who considers the Bible to be the Word of God and the authority for one’s faith. If one thinks the early Church went astray somehow, it becomes a very difficult problem because the biblical collection itself was not settled until centuries after the apostles died. If the Church was in error by then, how can the “Bible-Only Christian” be sure he really has the inspired Word of God? And if the Church was kept from error while it determined the canon, why was it not likewise kept from error during the councils and creeds it produced at the same time? As I looked at the major alternate theories of canonization, I discovered the historical truth that the Church is ultimately the standard.

This was also the case with doctrine. It is well known that there is rampant disagreement among the various sects, denominations, and cults of Christianity—but where is the line drawn? Christians often speak of “orthodoxy,” “heresy,” “essentials,” and “fundamentals”—but by what authority are these words defined, and doctrines labelled? For the Christian who denies that the Church is the standard, there seemed to be no non-circular means of doing so.

I’ve asked before and no one answered. So I’ll ask again. With all that authority, how do you explain the bad stuff? What about Marquette University? What are the bishops doing? Pope Francis? The converts?

Working in my Marquette office one afternoon in the spring of 2010, I heard unusual sounds coming from the normally quiet lawns outside my window. I was surprised to see a modest assembly of students and professors preparing to march in protest. Against what? Minutes later, an email arrived informing me that the university’s then-president, Robert Wild, S.J., had voided a contract extended to Jodi O’Brien to join us as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Though the contract had already been signed, Fr. Wild—perhaps under external pressure—decided that O’Brien, a partnered lesbian whose research included queer studies, was not an appropriate choice to represent our mission and identity.

Although an ordinary person with a passing knowledge of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church would think such a decision obvious, the department chairs in the college soon gathered and voted almost unanimously to censure Wild’s decision. The press, meanwhile, demanded an explanation. On the ­defensive, the university allegedly paid a considerable sum in order to break the contract. Officials were soon exercising themselves to demonstrate their concern for equitable treatment of gays and lesbians. The university would initiate projects, courses, conferences, and the like to explore issues of sex and gender! The clear implication was that change would come, though slowly. Marquette would get with the sexual-liberation program so that something like the O’Brien affair would never happen again.

Since 2010, the campaign for sexual diversity at Marquette has advanced rapidly. Last year, the university announced the expansion of the former Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (established in the wake of the O’Brien dustup) into two new initiatives: a Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies and an LGBTQ Resource Center. How much funding has been increased has not been disclosed. We also now have an Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, which offers faculty and staff awards for excellence in, yes, “diversity and inclusion.” Again, how much this will cost hasn’t been revealed. We do know, however, that funds have been promised to support the development of new courses that advance the cause. A faculty fellows program in diversity is also in the works.

The whole article is worth reading, but this paragraph is particularly telling:

For the last two generations, American Catholic ­theology departments have been at the forefront of a campaign of dissent against Catholic sexual morality. This campaign has often been led by Jesuits and Jesuit universities. Unlike attempts to attract more minority students, or programs to empower students from disadvantaged backgrounds—efforts in full accord with Catholic social teaching—this campaign of dissent has sometimes been underhanded, even dishonest. It has also been ruthless, working hard to suppress and punish any who speak up for the Church’s teaching. The way Marquette has adopted and promoted the mishmash of LGBTQ ideology over the last few years is consistent with that tradition of dissent.

So why don’t the converts ever include these developments in their touting of Rome’s authority and certainty? Are they unaware?

Whatever the reason, the Marquette situation may explain Rachel Lu’s counsel (which doesn’t say much about the hierarchy that is supposed to keep everything neat and orthodox):

In that spirit, try not to pay too much attention to Church politics. Catholic politics is, well, politics. Unless your profession requires it, you probably don’t need to obsess about it, and there are much more edifying ways to immerse yourself in the faith. But whatever you do, don’t trust journalists to educate you about Catholicism.

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156 thoughts on “Make It Stop

  1. Don’t expect an answer that is coherent. You’ll get “having an infallible authority doesn’t mean there won’t be dissent.” Well, d’uh. But for some reason Protestants can’t use that argument to explain denominational diversity. The RC apologist double standard is staggering to behold.

    Maybe it’s our hats, or lack thereof.

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  2. DG Hart says “And once again, the great appeal is authority ”

    More reality. Appealing authority = is meeeeee

    Catholics who look to their own conscience “a great deal” for guidance on difficult moral questions. 73%
    Catholics who rely a great deal on the Catholic Church’s teachings 21%,
    Catholics who rely a great deal on the Bible 15%
    Catholics who rely a great deal on the pope 11%.
    http://www.pewforum.org/2016/04/12/religion-in-everyday-life/

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  3. Robert,

    So you can determine when someone is dissenting from an authority. Good. And Reformed churches have denominational diversity, just as Rome has theological diversity amongst its religious orders and liturgies and such. Good. So how do you distinguish denominational diversity “good dissent” from heretical diversity “bad dissent” amongst competing Protestant churches, if no Protestant church or member has the authority and ability to make definitive and irreversible judgments on the issue?

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  4. Robert, or maybe it’s the boasting about 1.2 billion members catches up with boasters who don’t have a clue about what’s going on in the church. Just keep your eye on Augustine, Aquinas, and Newman and keep moving. Nothing else to see here.

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  5. James Young, and how does your church distinguish good from bad Roman Catholics at Marquette and your pope thinks judging is bad?

    At some point this kind of boosterism really is unbecoming. It’s like complaining about divorce when you are filing for one.

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  6. Brother Hart, have you read the book? You might find it interesting. All those who wrote chapters in the book Evangelical Exodus are Thomists. That may be the key your are looking for – the common denominator.

    I don’t think you are getting it.

    How do I explain the bad? People sin. People make promises they don’t keep. People mess up.

    How could all those Israelites in the OT all be part of God’s chosen people? Yet they were. The Jews are still God’s Old Testament people.

    Not all of them were walking in obedience as they should have been. That in no way negated the truth.

    Remember. The Church is by nature pillar and ground of the truth. Part of that truth is that sinners are gonna’ sin. Part of that truth is that some sinners repent and begin to walk in obedience. You know that. The evil, careless, and sinful actions of man do not change the truth one iota.

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  7. Clete,

    So you can determine when someone is dissenting from an authority. Good. And Reformed churches have denominational diversity, just as Rome has theological diversity amongst its religious orders and liturgies and such. Good. So how do you distinguish denominational diversity “good dissent” from heretical diversity “bad dissent” amongst competing Protestant churches, if no Protestant church or member has the authority and ability to make definitive and irreversible judgments on the issue?

    How do you distinguish it when your pope says that cohabitating couples have the grace of the sacrament of marriage but validly married RC couples don’t?

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  8. Webfoot,

    I don’t think you are getting it.

    Au contraire, we’re not defending the glory of a church who says abortion is murder formally but winks and nods when a powerful enough American RC politician who is rabidly pro-abortion insists on their orthodoxy. The disconnect really isn’t on our side.

    How do I explain the bad? People sin. People make promises they don’t keep. People mess up.

    Indeed. And when they teach what should be heresy at RC universities, they get tenure.

    How could all those Israelites in the OT all be part of God’s chosen people? Yet they were. The Jews are still God’s Old Testament people.

    Actually, Paul said that not all Israel was truly Israel. He affirmed the Augustinian and Protestant notion of the invisible church.

    Not all of them were walking in obedience as they should have been. That in no way negated the truth.

    True.

    Remember. The Church is by nature pillar and ground of the truth. Part of that truth is that sinners are gonna’ sin. Part of that truth is that some sinners repent and begin to walk in obedience. You know that. The evil, careless, and sinful actions of man do not change the truth one iota.

    They don’t change the truth. They make it hard to take an argument for Rome’s superiority seriously when you read a conciliar document and then see people who teach against it get tenure at RC universities. The principled means isn’t working for you in such cases.

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  9. Mermaid, people also err. So if church officers are human (and not Bryan Cross), they err. And they might err when determining infallible dogma.

    Resolve that one in your epistemology seminar.

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  10. So, what happens when you write about Trump and take a Roman Catholic informed shot at him?

    Christianity is a religion of losers. To the weak and humble, it offers a stripped and humiliated Lord. To those without reason for optimism, it holds up the cross as a sign of hope. To anyone who does not win at life, it promises that whoever loses his life for Christ’s sake shall find it. At its center stands a truth that we are prone to forget. There are people who cannot be made into winners, no matter how positive their thinking. They need something more paradoxical and cruciform.

    After one of Trump’s outbursts, I walked up to Marble Collegiate Church to see where he once worshipped. I tried a front and then a side door before deciding that the church must be closed. When I was about to turn away, a janitor came out of the building. He asked me what I wanted and then led me inside. The sanctuary was painted in burgundy and gold, with soft carpet, and pew brackets that hold plastic thimble cups used for communion. The janitor pointed out a recently installed stained-glass window depicting the Crucifixion. “Before that window was put in, there was no cross in here,” he told me. I asked him whether he attended church there and he said, no, he was a Catholic.

    But then you write extensively about the liberal take over of the Roman Catholic Church?

    Liberal Catholics are left with a delicate and tedious task. The doctrine of infallibility limits even those who would call it into question. Peter can wink, nod, nudge or fall silent, but he cannot contradict himself. Francis knows this well. When he was asked about the possibility intercommunion between Lutherans and Catholics, he gave an ambiguous response before finally concluding: “I dare not say more.” This is how one speaks in an age of reflection when one still cherishes hope for revolution.

    Someone who advances by stealth can fall victim to sudden reversals, but he is also able to avoid detection and opposition. If liberal Catholicism hopes to direct the course of the Church, then, it will have to do so with caution and cunning. This makes it less heroic and and appealing than it once was, but no easier to avoid. As long as the Church continues to confront what Boudway calls late capitalism, there will be a liberal Catholicism seeking to make peace with it.

    Meanwhile, the man in whom liberal Catholics have placed their hopes advances on the only possible path. He is hollowing out rather than overturning, undermining rather than uprooting, those things he perceives to be harmful. That some of those things are essential to the faith is the explosive claim of a group of Catholics who may, once again, undo all that Francis has done.

    Maybe Norman Vincent Peale isn’t so funny?

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  11. Mrsw says: Remember. The Church is by nature pillar and ground of the truth.

    Reality – warning -from the Lord Himself -for His own church – the one true church– infiltration –be on guard -be steadfast -don’t be deceived

    certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 4

    men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit,doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their ownshame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. Jude 12-13

    false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 2 Pet 2:1-3

    They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 2 Pet 2:13-15

    These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.2 Pet 2:17-19

    Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Acts 20:28-30

    Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Matt 7:15-16

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven Matt 7:21-23
    as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 2 Pet 3: 16-17

    preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. … 14 Alexander (or whoever) did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. 2 Tim 4:2-4,14-15

    But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. 2 Cor 11:3-4, 13-15

    I have had dangers among false brethren; 2 Cor 11:26

    I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; Rev 2:2

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  12. Ali says:
    July 22, 2016 at 9:13 am
    Mrsw says: Remember. The Church is by nature pillar and ground of the truth.

    Reality – warning -from the Lord Himself -for His own church – the one true church– infiltration –be on guard -be steadfast -don’t be deceived>>>>

    So, you disagree with the Apostle Paul? The Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. Didn’t you know that?

    You create your own reality, Ali, based on your favorite Bible passages.

    BTW, yes, there are dragons, Ali. That is part of reality. Daniel knew it, and so did the Apostle John. There are also talking animals. It’s all in the Bible. What does it mean? It is all true and it is all real.

    There are angels and demons as well. All part of reality.

    1 Timothy 3:15New International Version (NIV)

    15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

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  13. mrswebfoot , REALITY CHECK: while we all would like (in our flesh) that it be the cse that our ways are His ways…
    REALITY: His ways are infinitely higher

    8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
    9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    So are My ways higher than your ways
    And My thoughts than your thoughts.
    10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
    And do not return there without watering the earth
    And making it bear and sprout,
    And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
    11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
    It will not return to Me empty,
    Without accomplishing what I desire,
    And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isa 55

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  14. Darryl,

    “how does your church distinguish good from bad Roman Catholics at Marquette”

    How do you distinguish good from bad OPC’ers? Is it impossible for me to know who is dissenting from WCF and who isn’t? Am I unsure whether an Arminian scholar subscribes to WCF? Of course not.

    Robert,

    That’s odd that the pope encourages cohabitating couples to get married and be right with the church then. You were asserting RC apologists engage in a staggering double standard when they say “having an infallible authority doesn’t mean there won’t be dissent” in the context of the article where Beaumont said the authority question was critical, hence his “Christians often speak of “orthodoxy,” “heresy,” “essentials,” and “fundamentals”—but by what authority are these words defined, and doctrines labelled?” So, since you assert “good dissent” is what generates denominational diversity, I’m wondering how you distinguish that from “bad dissent” which generates heretical diversity, absent any church or body claiming the authority to make definitive judgments on the issue.

    “The church is the pillar and foundation of the truth as long as it is teaching truth.”

    So the church is authoritative only insofar as it conforms to my judgment of teaching truth. So every individual is the pillar and foundation of truth. Then you wonder why Protestant “diversity” (i.e. splintering) might be inherent to the system.

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  15. “The church is the pillar and foundation of the truth as long as it is teaching truth.”
    So the church is authoritative only insofar as it conforms to my judgment of teaching truth. So every individual is the pillar and foundation of truth. Then you wonder why Protestant “diversity” (i.e. splintering) might be inherent to the system.

    I guess if one’s judgment determined whether the church is teaching truth, you might have a point. But it isn’t, so you don’t. Of course, even when the church is teaching truth, it isn’t a foundation of Truth – that is Christ alone. The church is just a broken vessel that carries the truth delivered to it. As we’ve noted several times, the legitimacy of authority is not contingent on infallibility. You bishops are authoritative even when they speak on prudential matters that on which they are not infallible. Going even further, they are authoritative on disputable doctrinal matters as well. In this instance they may not command your full assent of faith, by they still command the religious submission of your intellect and will.

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  16. sdb,

    “The church is the pillar and foundation of the truth as long as it is teaching truth.”

    How does one judge the church is teaching truth (and so is for now the pillar and foundation) without making a judgment whether the church is teaching truth?

    “it isn’t a foundation of Truth – that is Christ alone.”

    The church is only the pillar and foundation of truth because of Christ and His work and promises – it’s not a zero sum game or mutually exclusive.

    “the legitimacy of authority is not contingent on infallibility. Your bishops are authoritative even when they speak on prudential matters that on which they are not infallible.”

    Correct. My parents, city, state, and country govts have legitimate authority over me without infallibility. There are gradations of authority within the RC church, one of which is infallibility and definitive irreversible judgments. That level does not obtain in Protestant churches/bodies. So my question and Beaumont’s concern remain.

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  17. Sdb,

    “The church is just a broken vessel that carries the truth delivered to it.”

    I believe in one HOLY, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    Without confounding Jesus with visible members, how is the Church holy?

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  18. Ali:
    Ali says:
    July 22, 2016 at 10:14 am
    mrswebfoot , REALITY CHECK: while we all would like (in our flesh) that it be the cse that our ways are His ways…
    REALITY: His ways are infinitely higher>>>>

    Are dragons part of reality? Yes, or no. The Bible says they are. Since they are real, in what are they and in what way are they real?

    Is the church by nature pillar and ground of the truth? Yes or no.

    The Bible says she is. In fact, the Bible says the Church is “she”, not “he” nor “it.” How does that fact influence your view of reality?

    How many churches are there? The Bible says there is one and only one. The Bible says she is invisible in some ways and visible in others. How does that affect your view of reality?

    etc.

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    I wish you would open your heart to all of reality, and not just the passages you cut and paste from the Bible.

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  19. Cletus,

    That’s odd that the pope encourages cohabitating couples to get married and be right with the church then.

    No one said liberals were consistent. But if you can have the grace of the sacrament of marriage without marriage, what’s the point of getting married? And if most RCs can be validly married without having the grace, what’s the point?

    You were asserting RC apologists engage in a staggering double standard when they say “having an infallible authority doesn’t mean there won’t be dissent” in the context of the article where Beaumont said the authority question was critical, hence his “Christians often speak of “orthodoxy,” “heresy,” “essentials,” and “fundamentals”—but by what authority are these words defined, and doctrines labelled?” So, since you assert “good dissent” is what generates denominational diversity, I’m wondering how you distinguish that from “bad dissent” which generates heretical diversity, absent any church or body claiming the authority to make definitive judgments on the issue.

    The same way you do but which your Magisterium does not, and that is by evaluating it according to the deposit of faith.

    So the church is authoritative only insofar as it conforms to my judgment of teaching truth.

    This is a nonsensical statement. It’s authoritative if it teaches the truth. Whether it conforms to my judgment or not is irrelevant. I could be wrong in my evaluation. Just as you can be wrong in yours, as Jeff has demonstrated.

    Like it or not, we all evaluate things based on our judgment. You are RC because it conforms to your judgment of what divine authority entails, what teaching truth means, etc. You’ve already admitted there are things it could do to make you leave. Which means you are holding in perpetual asterisked belief no less than any of the rest of us.

    But of course you aren’t really doing that, just as I’m not doing that. But if making evaluations according to personal judgment means asterisking every belief, everyone who isn’t a member of a cult is doing that.

    So every individual is the pillar and foundation of truth. Then you wonder why Protestant “diversity” (i.e. splintering) might be inherent to the system.

    Well your visible authority doesn’t prevent splitting. All it has prevented is certain of your groups drawing up new articles of incorporation, and then that only has happened if you don’t count all the dozens of groups that your church has led to—the Reformed, Lutherans, Waldensians, and on and on.

    I guess having that infallible authority doesn’t guarantee the maintenance of unity does it. But if you want to tell me you and Pelosi don’t follow completely different religions, then I’ll realize you really aren’t paying attention.

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  20. sdb:
    “it isn’t a foundation of Truth – that is Christ alone.”>>>>

    Christ is not alone. For one thing, He is the incarnate Son of God. As Emmanuel, He is the second person of the Trinity who became man – the God-Man.

    Christ is not alone. He was born into a specific human family from a specific human ethnicity in a specific tribe of that ethnicity.

    Christ is not alone. He has a body. He is the Head of one Body, not the Head of many bodies.

    Christ is not alone. He has a Bride. That Bride is not a haram. BTW, I was happy to hear that Peter Kreeft agrees with me on that. I chortled when I heard him say that.

    Christ is not alone. Yes, He is the foundation of a building. He is the Cornerstone. The Church is pillar and buttress of the truth.

    He is not just the cornerstone of the building. He is the Truth that has been given to the Church and through the Church, to the world.

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  21. Let me clarify for the nitpickers here. Peter Kreeft has no idea who I am. So, to say that he agreed with me was meant to be lighthearted. I’m kidding! Brother Hart is a kidder. I am, too.

    It is a logical conclusion. Christ has a Bride, not a haram. Make of it what you wish.

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  22. Webfoot,

    Christ has a Bride, not a haram. Make of it what you wish.

    But is the oneness of that Bride primarily invisible or primarily visible. If it’s primarily visible, then according to our status as separated brethren, Christ has a harem because there are many legitimate churches that teach the truth and have valid baptisms. If it’s primarily invisible, then there’s only one Bride, known perfectly only by Christ.

    Make of it what you wish.

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  23. Ariel, the Prot understanding of “Christ alone” has to do with his unique and exclusive offices, not his situational agency. It doesn’t imply that Christ isn’t connected to an earthly lineage, church, or person of the Trinity, etc.

    But the question is, If someone made a tee shirt that said “Christ has a church, not a haram” in response to Christian women who misguidedly refer to themselves a “bride of Christ,” would you wear it?

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  24. mrswebfoot says: Ali Are dragons part of reality? Yes, or no.

    mrsw- The topic was: is there a dragon in the Bible in Daniel 14. Answer: Daniel 14 is not in the Bible.
    “Neither Daniel 13 (also called Susanna) nor Daniel 14 (also called Bel and the Dragon) were written by Daniel. Susanna was written in the Greek language and probably dates around the 1st or 2nd Century BC. Bel and the Dragon was written in Aramaic at about the same time. Daniel died about 300 years earlier. While they contain interesting stories, these two chapters were not originally part of Daniel and were not considered to be inspired writings either by the Jews or Early Christians.”

    mrswebfoot says: Ali , is the church by nature pillar and ground of the truth? Yes or no.

    mrswebfoot ,
    His church = the called out ones= His body =by nature new-creations = standing as ‘one man’ = all with same DNA , ie the same Spirit =the Spirit of truth = the ones together destroying arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God (and within it, He – the body Head – has given apostles ,prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers)

    all other humans, with a different spirit, w/o the Spirit of Truth = not the church

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  25. Zrim:
    Ariel, the Prot understanding of “Christ alone” has to do with his unique and exclusive offices, not his situational agency. >>>>

    Prot understanding of “Christ alone” is “Just give me Jesus”. Prots don’t even agree on which Jesus.

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  26. Ali, the 1 Timothy 3:15 verse is talking about the visible Church. Look at the context. You are, in effect, saying that there is no such thing as the visible Church which is pillar and ground of the truth.

    Do you really want to say that? Are you willing to deny the existence of a visible Church?

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  27. mrswebfoot says: Ali, the 1 Timothy 3:15 verse is talking about the visible Church.

    mrswebfoot, reality: humans are visible. God is Spirit.

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  28. “The church is the pillar and foundation of the truth as long as it is teaching truth.”
    How does one judge the church is teaching truth (and so is for now the pillar and foundation) without making a judgment whether the church is teaching truth?

    How does making a judgment about whether something is true make that judgement a “pillar and foundation”?

    “it isn’t a foundation of Truth – that is Christ alone.”
    The church is only the pillar and foundation of truth because of Christ and His work and promises – it’s not a zero sum game or mutually exclusive.

    Yes it is. The 2×4’s of my house may be essential for supporting the house, but they aren’t the foundation. That is the concrete block (alone). The church isn’t a foundation, it is a vessel. It doesn’t produce truth that is Christ. The truth of the information coming from the church is contingent on its concordance with God’s Word. God’s Word is not contingent.

    “the legitimacy of authority is not contingent on infallibility. Your bishops are authoritative even when they speak on prudential matters that on which they are not infallible.”
    Correct. My parents, city, state, and country govts have legitimate authority over me without infallibility. There are gradations of authority within the RC church, one of which is infallibility and definitive irreversible judgments. That level does not obtain in Protestant churches/bodies. So my question and Beaumont’s concern remain.

    I think we more or less agree here. However, Protestants have access to an infallible source and irreversible judgments – they are all contained in his Word. What you haven’t shown is how one model is epistemically superior to the other. A dead letter brought to life by a church that can offer definitive teaching under certain circumstances that are not clearly defined versus the living word that is self attesting.

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  29. Robert,

    “that is by evaluating it according to the deposit of faith.”

    So you evaluate “good dissent” from “bad dissent” by your own judgment of the deposit, not any church’s or body’s judgment. And since you disclaim any personal authority that would motivate the dissenters to heed that judgment (as you don’t heed theirs), Beaumont’s concern remains – “Christians often speak of “orthodoxy,” “heresy,” “essentials,” and “fundamentals”—but by what authority are these words defined, and doctrines labelled?” The individual is not the pillar and foundation of truth.

    “It’s authoritative if it teaches the truth.”

    Right, and if you judge a church is not teaching truth – either because it shifted teaching and lost authority, or because you shift and so it no longer has the authority it had when it conformed to your prior judgment of the deposit – it is no longer authoritative for you. You don’t follow the authority of the Lutheran or Methodist church because you deem it’s teachings to not conform to your judgment of the deposit, while you follow the PCA because its teachings currently (since there’s no guarantee per PCA or any Protestant church, semper reformanda, those teachings will not be reversed) conform to your judgment of the deposit.

    “we all evaluate things based on our judgment.”

    Sure. NT believers evaluated Apostles and Christ’s claims in choosing to submit. That did not mean those believers were free to ignore Christ/Apostles and deem them in error when they judged their teachings to not conform to the OT, or to hold any teachings and judgments they offered as only tentatively correct and asterisked. There was a difference pre and post submission to Christ/Apostles authority, as there was to the NT church’s authority, as there is to RCC authority – that difference doesn’t obtain pre and post submission to any Protestant church’s authority.

    “Well your visible authority doesn’t prevent splitting.”

    It doesn’t prevent dissent. That doesn’t mean endless splintering/denominationalism is inherent to the system. Christ and the Apostles didn’t prevent dissent. Splintering/denominationalism wasn’t inherent to their system of authority.

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  30. and you’re always looking for ‘beauty’ mrsw….weep at the beauty…

    the pillar and support of the truth = His people, the church = the current expression of Jesus Christ in the world until He returns.

    fellow citizens with the saints, of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. Eph 2:19-21

    You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Eph 2:1-10

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  31. @Susan

    Sdb,
    “The church is just a broken vessel that carries the truth delivered to it.”
    I believe in one HOLY, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
    Without confounding Jesus with visible members, how is the Church holy?

    Let me rephrase that a bit:
    1) The church is a broken vessel that carries the truth delivered to it. Not “just”. Yes the Church is Holy because it is comprised of the elect, whom he chose before the foundation of the world (set apart), to be fitted together to form God’s tabernacle.

    2) To say that the church is catholic is to say that is no longer restricted to a single nation, but is now comprised of the nations. To say that it is apostolic is to say that it is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. To say Christ alone, it was shorthand for his Word – communicated by him, the prophets, and the apostles by the Holy Spirit (following 2Peter1). The church isn’t the foundation of truth, it is built on the foundation of truth. I should have been more clear.

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  32. Right, and if you judge a church is not teaching truth – either because it shifted teaching and lost authority, or because you shift and so it no longer has the authority it had when it conformed to your prior judgment of the deposit – it is no longer authoritative for you.

    The fact that I reject a legitimate authority does not mean that it has lost the authority. It means I’m not recognizing truth. If only there were a judge who would set all things right…

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  33. “Well your visible authority doesn’t prevent splitting.”
    It doesn’t prevent dissent. That doesn’t mean endless splintering/denominationalism is inherent to the system.

    Sure it does. Every since you split from the Nestorians, you have been splitting endlessly. First from the EOs, then the Lutherans. Next thing you know the Anglicans split. And on and on. I guess if we were born of an empire more efficient at killing off dissenters and enslaving new populations we could be just as big. The English had a pretty good run, but their empire wasn’t quite as ruthless.

    Christ and the Apostles didn’t prevent dissent. Splintering/denominationalism wasn’t inherent to their system of authority.

    I think Paul would beg to differ. The rather tumultuous first couple of centuries are not quite in line with this view. To be sure the absence of western style religious freedom kept things in check, but the explosion of religious movements in the US (Christian and non-Christian – broadly defined) belies the hypothesis that it was “protestantism” that caused the explosion of denominations.

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  34. Robert, my statement “make of it what you wish” had to do with my statement that Dr. Kreeft agreed with me! I hoped that you guys would realize I was kidding. I don’t know Dr. Kreeft.

    Although the way you took it was just fine. You made of it what you wished to make of it.

    One of the hardest things for me to reconcile while I was a protestant was the divisions in protestantism. It’s not just differences of opinion about this or that passage of Scripture. Protestantism is shattered, like a huge pane of glass that has fallen off a truck and onto a freeway.

    Actually happened in front of us in Houston one time… Very dangerous situation. I think it is a good metaphor for protestantism – broken shards of glass on a busy freeway. Each piece retains some glasslike properties, but it will never be cohesive and coherent again.

    Another metaphor for protestantism I had was that Christianity is like a zoo. That almost worked, except for the fact that the Bible calls the Church a Bride and the Body of Christ.

    A zoo where the animals had to be kept in cages so they wouldn’t hurt one another just didn’t seem right after all.

    She has to have a visible form, as you must agree. That visible form has to have certain characteristics. One. Holy. Catholic. Apostolic.

    You believe that the Catholic Church does not have those qualities.

    You as a person who adheres to the Nicene creed must answer. How does protestantism meet those characteristics? It doesn’t even try to since it isn’t really anything except what an individual wants it to be.

    You have narrowed it down to your relatively small denomination. You belive the PCA – I think it is – to have those 4 qualities.

    That’s a problem. Protestantism is not that narrow. Doing that may give you peace of mind. It’s the prot way. If you decide that the PCA has abandoned the faith, you will go elsewhere. You are running out of options, really.

    I learned to love Augustine from reading Calvinistic sources. Then it dawned on me that he was and is Catholic. All my favorite theologians were, it turns out. So, why wasn’t I Catholic if those were the ones who most clearly spoke of God and most clearly interpreted His Word as I came to believe they did?

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  35. Clete,

    So you evaluate “good dissent” from “bad dissent” by your own judgment of the deposit, not any church’s or body’s judgment.

    Well, ultimately I do rely on my own judgment. I’m not a member of a cult. And neither are you, right? But it’s not my judgment alone, it’s my judgment informed by the standards of my church. Just like you.

    And since you disclaim any personal authority that would motivate the dissenters to heed that judgment (as you don’t heed theirs), Beaumont’s concern remains – “Christians often speak of “orthodoxy,” “heresy,” “essentials,” and “fundamentals”—but by what authority are these words defined, and doctrines labelled?” The individual is not the pillar and foundation of truth.

    By the authority of God’s Word. I don’t have any personal authority, nor do I claim to.

    Right, and if you judge a church is not teaching truth – either because it shifted teaching and lost authority, or because you shift and so it no longer has the authority it had when it conformed to your prior judgment of the deposit – it is no longer authoritative for you.

    Um, since you have said that there are things Rome could do, at least in theory, to make you reject Rome, I hardly see how this separates me from you or any other RC.

    You don’t follow the authority of the Lutheran or Methodist church because you deem it’s teachings to not conform to your judgment of the deposit, while you follow the PCA because its teachings currently (since there’s no guarantee per PCA or any Protestant church, semper reformanda, those teachings will not be reversed) conform to your judgment of the deposit.

    Well you don’t follow them either, and you are RC only because the RC conforms to your judgment of the deposit. Remember, you have said there are things that Rome could do to make you leave.

    Sure. NT believers evaluated Apostles and Christ’s claims in choosing to submit. That did not mean those believers were free to ignore Christ/Apostles and deem them in error when they judged their teachings to not conform to the OT.

    No one is ever free to obey error.

    or to hold any teachings and judgments they offered as only tentatively correct and asterisked. There was a difference pre and post submission to Christ/Apostles authority, as there was to the NT church’s authority, as there is to RCC authority – that difference doesn’t obtain pre and post submission to any Protestant church’s authority.

    You need to get your story straight. Jeff has already shown how every belief of yours is at least nominally asterisked. And I’ll add again that if there are things Rome could do, at least in theory, to convince you to leave, then there is no difference pre and post-submission for you either.

    It doesn’t prevent dissent. That doesn’t mean endless splintering/denominationalism is inherent to the system. Christ and the Apostles didn’t prevent dissent. Splintering/denominationalism wasn’t inherent to their system of authority.

    I’m sorry, but how is a big visible tent of nominal believers in which all sorts of people believe all sorts of things and still get the grace of the sacraments better than many visible tents wherein people are honest about divisions and yet actually and truly agree on key issues.

    Why is a church that has you and Nancy Pelosi as members in good standing even though you very clearly don’t believe the same things about the nature of the deposit of faith, church authority, etc. better than me in the PCA and Al Mohler in the SBC disagreeing on Baptism but otherwise holding almost identical beliefs regarding the rest of the depost?

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  36. Ariel, if you’re referring to the churchless “just Jesus and me” heart religion then you mean eeeevangelicals, not Prots. It’s an important difference.

    If you mean what is one’s only hope in life and in death, then yes, Prots plead Christ alone. But so what? Is there some another name that will help you on the last day? If so, then whatever Jesus you have he’s quite weak and the point of it all sure fades fast, because if Christ alone doesn’t reconcile God to sinners then whatever exclusive claims Christianity makes are complete bunk and its adherents are to be most pitied.

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  37. The more things “develop”:

    The Reformation was a response to real abuses within the Catholic Church, and the Council of Trent eventually moved to end those abuses. The sex-abuse problem has laid bare another scandal: the existence of a complacent clerical culture, protected by a complacent episcopate, unresponsive to the needs of the laity. The only way to eliminate the scandal entirely is by a thorough reform of the Catholic clergy. Unfortunately, as a group the clergy—bishops included—have not yet recognized the need for that reform.

    But we will trust the bishops to give up irreformable dogma?

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  38. Mermaid,

    One of the hardest things for me to reconcile while I was a protestant was the divisions in protestantism.

    I actually understand. My critique is largely that you ignore the divisions in Roman Catholicism. There are actually ways in which Romanism has a leg up on Protestantism. Greater unity really isn’t one of them.

    Actually happened in front of us in Houston one time… Very dangerous situation. I think it is a good metaphor for protestantism – broken shards of glass on a busy freeway. Each piece retains some glasslike properties, but it will never be cohesive and coherent again.

    But if Rome is correct and we are breakaway sects, that means Rome is a broken shard as well that retains some glasslike properties but won’t be cohesive and coherent again until all are back together. Doesn’t that undermine the argument for Rome’s superiority?

    You believe that the Catholic Church does not have those qualities.

    That’s not exactly right. You have some of those qualities to greater or lesser degrees.

    You as a person who adheres to the Nicene creed must answer. How does protestantism meet those characteristics? It doesn’t even try to since it isn’t really anything except what an individual wants it to be.

    Protestantism isn’t a church. It’s an umbrella term that means many different things. If you are looking for specifics, then various churches meet the standards collectively:

    Oneness, for instance—there is great invisible unity between all believers in Christ, and this must be the primary unity Jesus is talking about, otherwise, you would have to tell me that all members of the RCC are in a state of grace. But there is also visible unity. Witness the many parachurch organizations that unite believers from different denominations for common missions. Not ecclesiastically, but I’m not sure how a Reformed Baptist and I are less united that you and someone like Nancy Pelosi. But that’s your argument. At least the Reformed Baptist and I follow the Christian religion. Pelosi, not so much.

    You have narrowed it down to your relatively small denomination. You belive the PCA – I think it is – to have those 4 qualities.

    No. I believe the PCA is one of many denominations that has those 4 qualities to a greater degree than others.

    That’s a problem. Protestantism is not that narrow.

    Depends on your perspective. Generally, you’ll get confessional Protestants to be far more narrow on the abortion question than you will Roman Catholics, for example.

    If you decide that the PCA has abandoned the faith, you will go elsewhere.

    So will Cletus. He has said so. What about you? Is there any conceivable scenario under which you would leave Rome?

    I learned to love Augustine from reading Calvinistic sources. Then it dawned on me that he was and is Catholic. All my favorite theologians were, it turns out. So, why wasn’t I Catholic if those were the ones who most clearly spoke of God and most clearly interpreted His Word as I came to believe they did?

    Augustine was catholic. I’m catholic. You might even be catholic. The difference between you and Augustine is that he wasn’t Roman Catholic. There was no such animal back then.

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  39. James Young, so you need bishops to know what truth is. But once you have Denzinger you can stand on your own two feet like a Protestant and decide who is in and who isn’t?

    Sorry, but that determination is above your pay grade.

    But for those licensed to judge, they are much louder about Francis than you or your choose-to-look-the-other-way friends:

    In the alarmed letter that thirteen cardinals from five continents were preparing to deliver to Pope Francis at the beginning of the last synod, they were warning him against leading the Catholic Church as well to “the collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation

    BTW, how could I ever know a good from bad OPC without a pope? You mean people can simply look at sources and make judgments? Sort of like reading the Bible?

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  40. Mermaid, you cannot assert Protestant disagreement without telling the whole truth — Roman Catholics also disagree.

    So you’re critique of Protestantism is simply bigotry.

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  41. James Young, “That doesn’t mean endless splintering/denominationalism is inherent to the system.”

    It does mean you can’t trust Roman Catholic universities:

    It was 49 years ago, on July 20-23, when Notre Dame’s Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., gathered his peers to draft and sign the “Land O’ Lakes Statement,” a declaration of the independence of Catholic universities from “authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself.”

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  42. Robert, thanks for your response. I’ll try to get back to you and give you more complete answers. The subject of this post has to do with why protestants leave their congregations in order to become Catholics.

    I read the book Evangelical Exodus. It was a good read. It played no part in my conversion, but I did find some points of similarity between my experience and each story. Maybe I will bring in some quotes to show what I mean.

    I know that Brother Hart puzzles over why anyone would join the Catholic Church on purpose. He seems to think it’s all about authority, especially the Pope.

    It’s really more about the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Popes come and go. I like Francis. He is well liked and well loved by Catholics. Of course you wouldn’t know that by reading this blog! 🙂 However, he is not the whole of the Church.

    However, the miracle of the Eucharist is still the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. That doesn’t change, nor can it change, no matter who is pope.

    There’s also the real, live, present communion of saints, and the Deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament.

    The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is key. No pun intended. Or maybe I did intend it. Hmmm.

    Well, and the apostolic succession that is more than just the body of truth that was deposited in the Church. Real bodies are involved as well.

    Talk to you later, Robert. Thanks for the response.

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  43. Darryl,

    ” so you need bishops to know what truth is. But once you have Denzinger you can stand on your own two feet like a Protestant and decide who is in and who isn’t?”

    Right – there are gradations of authority. My local bishop and conference of bishops has authority, but he isn’t infallible. An ecumenical council or the ordinary magisterium giving universal teaching is infallible. And since it’s not difficult for someone inside or outside the system to recognize dissent – just as it’s not difficult for you to recognize dissenters from the OPC or WCF – it’s not hopelessly opaque if a priest or a bishop or a newspaper or a university is dissenting and/or in error vs being faithful and/or legitimately disagreeing on a matter that is open to speculation/debate.

    That determination isn’t above my paygrade which is why priests and bishops have been corrected by laity in the past – the faithful have a role to play in the life and development of the church, they’re not mindless drones. Those cardinals who wrote to Francis were out of line according to your caricatured view – how could they have judged if Francis says we can’t judge and Francis is the one with the charism? The answer is of course Francis and any pope does not have absolute authority and infallibility 24×7, nor do the cardinals.

    “It does mean you can’t trust Roman Catholic universities:”

    RC universities aren’t the Magisterium.

    “You mean people can simply look at sources and make judgments? Sort of like reading the Bible?”

    Yes. People can make judgments. Now is there any authority to adjudicate between conflicting judgments and make definitive and binding judgment as to what constitutes “orthodoxy,” “heresy,” “essentials,” and “fundamentals” and which category competing doctrines fall under, or are we stuck with perpetual stalemates and opinion on not only how to categorize doctrines, but even how to define the categories in the first place?

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  44. Darryl,

    I don’t think you get it. Laity can correct the Magisterium as long as the Magisterium say that they can, and if the Magisterium says the Laity is wrong in its reading of Denzinger, then the laity is wrong. The Magisterium doesn’t even need to make a case for it.

    Some might call that convenient…for the Magisterium.

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  45. Webfoot,

    It’s really more about the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

    Well I’d say that that might be a more compelling argument. In fact, it seems to more accurately reflect the actual practice of RCs. I dare say, given the sheer size and theological and moral diversity of your church, the Eucharist is your only point of unity. You and someone like Nancy Pelosi disagree on what the church teaches except that the Eucharist is important.

    But that’s not the argument CtC makes. The argument that CtC makes isn’t that Rome is better because you all gather round the Eucharist. The argument is that Rome is better because it is a principled means and Protestantism isn’t.

    I’m really not sure at the end of the day how important dogma is to most RCs, so the principled means argument is shaky in reflection of actual RC practice. I once asked an ardent RC what he would do if there were only 2 Christian churches he could attend: 1) a Roman Catholic church that followed the liturgy and had the sacraments but which dissented from the See on issues such as homosexuality, abortion, the Trinity, etc. and 2) A Baptist church that was self-consciously Trinitarian and fully conservative/orthodox on those other issues. He said he’d still attend number 1. That really hit home to me how irrelevant actual theology is to most RCs.

    The only place I really see a difference is in Protestant converts. But I think that is a reflection of Protestant sensibilities. There’s a certain priority to orthodoxy over orthopraxis in Protestantism. That’s why we split over doctrinal division but are willing to tolerate a great deal of practical and liturgical difference within the same denomination. When I look at RCism, I see the opposite. Orthopraxis is more important. So, you get a very big tent where ritual is held in common but where theological contradictions are very, very different. It’s why it’s hard for me to buy this idea that Rome has a principled means for settling dogma in a way that puts it at an advantage over Protestantism.

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  46. Robert,

    The choices are not limited to Protestant view of authority or a cult’s view of authority. A person who isn’t in a cult isn’t necessitated into engaging in private judgment of the sort inherent to Protestantism’s system of authority.

    “By the authority of God’s Word”

    Which is to be identified and interpreted by your judgment, since you exclude the judgment of the church or any other body since a church is only the pillar and ground as long as it teaches (your estimation of) truth. And since you disclaim any personal authority, those churches and individuals you deem in “bad dissent” from your judgment of the deposit have no motivation to heed that judgment.

    “I hardly see how this separates me from you or any other RC.”

    Because of Rome’s authority and infallibility, once I submit, I am obliged to adapt and conform my views to her views. I am not so obliged under any Protestant church. That’s why the theoretical thing Rome could do that would make me reject it would be to contradict or reverse her infallible teaching/judgments – that would nuke her claims and credibility. Since Protestant churches do not claim infallibility, that scenario would not obtain – even theoretically – in any Protestant church.

    “Jeff has already shown how every belief of yours is at least nominally asterisked.”

    I am speaking of teachings/judgments offered by the authority. A person sitting before a fallible teacher who says “This teaching I am giving could be wrong, I don’t think it is, but it might be and is open to revision.” is obliged to take that teaching with an asterisk – even if he has 100% accurate understanding of the teaching, he will still want to asterisk the truth of it. A person sitting before an infallible teacher who says “This teaching is not wrong. It is true and irreformable” is obliged to take that teaching without an asterisk. Similarly, NT believers were in the latter camp under Christ/Apostles. If they acted as those in the former camp and asterisked everything offered as reformable and possibly in error, they never submitted to Christ/Apostles authority in the first place.

    “And I’ll add again that if there are things Rome could do, at least in theory, to convince you to leave, then there is no difference pre and post-submission for you either.”

    If Christ or the Apostles were shown to be insane or charlatans to NT believers, they would be justified in leaving. That does not mean there was no difference pre and post submission for them.

    “Why is a church that has you and Nancy Pelosi as members in good standing ”

    A dissenter can still be a formal member of the church. Can you not figure out a dissenter from the PCA until a trial is held? Grounds for trials would never get off in the first place then.

    “better than me in the PCA and Al Mohler in the SBC disagreeing on Baptism but otherwise holding almost identical beliefs regarding the rest of the depost?”

    This assumes the “good dissent” vs “bad dissent” distinction which is in dispute above. Protestant endless splintering/denominationalism was not meant to imply only those groups you judge are orthodox and in “good dissent” are part of the splinters/denominations.

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  47. Robert, I’m not part of CtC, though I like some of what they write. I like guys like Peter Kreeft who is gentle on the mind. He has a good sense of humor as well. He’s one of those guys that even many protestants like.

    Bishop Barron is another one I appreciate. My godly parish priest as well. I am gaining a greater appreciation for Scott Hahn. He is a good Bible teacher.

    I am reading through the CCC for a second time along the infamous Baltimore Catechism.

    I have started reading an illustrated catechism that was first published in 1909 in Paris. I love its format. The artwork is exquisite.

    I am also reading The Aquinas Catechism, which is for just ordinary Christians.

    It’s all so beautiful. Protestants should not fear a Catholic catechism.
    —————————————————————-
    St. Thomas Aquinas preached a series of sermons during Lent in 1273, the last year of his life. Delivered in the church of San Domenico in Naples in Thomas’s native Neapolitan dialect (rather than in Latin), the sermons were directed to the simple faithful and had an immediate and profound impact on those who heard them.

    Thomas Aquinas. The Aquinas Catechism: A Simple Explanation of the Catholic Faith by the Church’s Greatest Theologian (Kindle Locations 151-153). Kindle Edition.

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  48. sdb,

    “However, Protestants have access to an infallible source and irreversible judgments – they are all contained in his Word.”

    When different believers or professed believers disagree on the identification of God’s Word, is there any authority to adjudicate between the disagreements and make a definitive and binding judgment?

    “A dead letter brought to life by a church”

    This is not the RC position.

    “The fact that I reject a legitimate authority does not mean that it has lost the authority.”

    Agreed. God has authority over atheists.

    “It means I’m not recognizing truth.”

    If different believers or professed believers disagree on whether the other is recognizing truth, is there any authority to adjudicate the disagreement with a definitive and binding judgment to correct the errant party?

    “That doesn’t mean endless splintering/denominationalism is inherent to the system.
    – Sure it does. Every since you split from the Nestorians
    – The rather tumultuous first couple of centuries are not quite in line with this view.”

    Dissent is compatible with NT authority and witness. Schism is also compatible with NT authority and witness. Endless splintering and denominationalism/sectarianism is not. Because the very nature and possibility of “schism” presumes the type of authority the Apostles, the NT church, the early church, and RCC claims. Given the type of authority Protestant churches claim, “schism” is meaningless, that’s why sectarianism and splintering is inherent to it. The rampant fracturing and division occuring within the lifetime of the Refomers was not coincidental. The fact that splintering has only increased, rather than coalesced, over the past 500 years across various cultures and demographics is also not coincidental.

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  49. MWFCletus: When different believers or professed believers disagree on the identification of God’s Word, is there any authority to adjudicate between the disagreements and make a definitive and binding judgment?

    The authority is the Scripture, speaking infallibly. The secondary authority is the church, speaking fallibly yet authoritatively.

    In the end, those two authorities cannot compel everyone to agree. Such is the state of this life.

    Consider your own question applied to your paradigm: “When different believers disagree on the identification of the true Church (or deny that there is a unique true Church), is there any authority to adjudicate between their disagreements?”

    And of course, the answer is No. If Archbishop Cerularius and all of the churches under him refuse to acknowledge Leo IX as the head of the Church, then there is no “uber-Pope” to step in and tell Leo or Cerularius that one is right and one is wrong.

    So now we have to ask, “What does No mean in this context?”

    Is the lack of an uber-authority above the ultimate earthly authority prove that the ultimate earthly authority is not authoritative? Of course not. If there were such an uber-authority, it would supersede the ultimately earthly authority, which is a contradiction.

    And so here. You want Protestants to come up with an uber-authority over the Scriptures, capable of infallibly setting both the boundaries and the meaning of the text. If we were to do so, then that uber-authority would have greater authority than Scripture itself.

    Which is really the Protestant complaint concerning Catholicism: It places the Church in authority over the word of God, claiming to be able to define its boundaries and determine its meaning infallibly.

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  50. “However, Protestants have access to an infallible source and irreversible judgments – they are all contained in his Word.”
    When different believers or professed believers disagree on the identification of God’s Word, is there any authority to adjudicate between the disagreements and make a definitive and binding judgment?

    God.

    “A dead letter brought to life by a church”
    This is not the RC position.

    Are you certain? Perhaps you have an infallible interpreter for your catechism that can settle this for us?

    But since Sacred Scripture is inspired, there is another and no less important principle of correct interpretation, without which Scripture would remain a dead letter. “Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written.”

    Ok, I have to interpret it correctly or it is a dead letter. How might I read it in light of the same Spirit by whom it was written?

    Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”. According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture.

    Now that sounds a whole lot like saying the scripture is a dead letter brought to life by the church. But what do I know?

    “The fact that I reject a legitimate authority does not mean that it has lost the authority.”
    Agreed. God has authority over atheists.

    Good. So we can put to rest (again) this silly notion you keep putting forward that if I judge that a church is not teaching truth, then it is no longer authoritative. Whether or it is or isn’t authoritative is independent of my judgment.

    “It means I’m not recognizing truth.”
    If different believers or professed believers disagree on whether the other is recognizing truth, is there any authority to adjudicate the disagreement with a definitive and binding judgment to correct the errant party?

    God.

    “That doesn’t mean endless splintering/denominationalism is inherent to the system.
    – Sure it does. Every since you split from the Nestorians
    – The rather tumultuous first couple of centuries are not quite in line with this view.”

    Dissent is compatible with NT authority and witness. Schism is also compatible with NT authority and witness. Endless splintering and denominationalism/sectarianism is not. Because the very nature and possibility of “schism” presumes the type of authority the Apostles, the NT church, the early church, and RCC claims. Given the type of authority Protestant churches claim, “schism” is meaningless, that’s why sectarianism and splintering is inherent to it. The rampant fracturing and division occuring within the lifetime of the Refomers was not coincidental. The fact that splintering has only increased, rather than coalesced, over the past 500 years across various cultures and demographics is also not coincidental.

    You’re going to have to do a lot better than that. You see, all these groups split from RCism. Not the EOs. Maybe the problem is RCs went astray and we ended up with Waldensians, Hussites, Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, Lollards, Anabaptists, RCWP, the old catholic church, the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic church (with 500,000 members, it beats out the PCA and OPC combined!), and on and on it goes. The EOs might be looking at their separated brethren and thinking that whole Pope thing is just creating endless splintering…. Indeed, that splintering has increased dramatically among the RCs… (that whole exodus of L/S American RCs rushing into pentecostalism and the rise of the spiritual but not religious denominations of one). Perhaps the common root isn’t sola scriptura or the pope in rome. Maybe it is just a consequence of the confluence of religious freedom, transient communities, and entrepreneurialism? I mean the Hussites went nowhere right? That was because you could kill off the dissenters and ban their books. Pretty sure that wasn’t an option for Machen and it isn’t an option for Francis today. So you get Nuns on the bus doing seances and RC theologians claiming Jesus was gender queer. You’ve been confusing authority with power.

    Like

  51. Here is something from the book Evangelical Exodus that might interest you guys. It goes to the very real problem of authority that protestants face. I will post it below.

    Beaumont asked himself the question: “Why choose the latecomers as authoritative, official confessions?”

    Of course, you can’t get the gist of his argument from just a short paragraph.

    This may make your heads explode, but I know that many protestants ask themselves the same question.

    —————————————————————————————————

    As to the question of orthodoxy, Protestant denominations generally understood the Bible through some official confessions that were written when their particular group was founded, but in the end they could grant these no more binding authority than Evangelical “doctrinal statements”. It seemed to me that if one were going to trust some official statement, why choose these latecomers as authoritative? Further, even on the most important Reformation teaching (sola fide) there was still disagreement after five hundred years!22

    Beaumont, Douglas (2016-02-11). Evangelical Exodus: Evangelical Seminarians and Their Paths to Rome (Kindle Locations 395-399). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

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  52. James Young, “Francis and any pope does not have absolute authority and infallibility 24×7, nor do the cardinals.”

    So how do you know when they are infallible? When Denzinger tells you? When the light goes on? When they agree with Scripture? You wind up in a position where you know when they are infallible and so you become your own standard. Or, you need them to tell you all the time. You painted yourself into this box with all of your epistemology papers.

    Who said the universities are the magisterium? They are evidence of what the magisterium does or doesn’t do. If they don’t do anything about the universities, then how reliable are the bishops? How great is church authority? Souls are at stake and it’s the magisterium that’s supposed to protect the faithful.

    Now is there any authority to adjudicate between conflicting judgments and make definitive and binding judgment as to what constitutes “orthodoxy,” “heresy,” “essentials,” and “fundamentals” and which category competing doctrines fall under, or are we stuck with perpetual stalemates and opinion on not only how to categorize doctrines, but even how to define the categories in the first place?

    You tell me. Rome isn’t answering.

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  53. James Young, “Which is to be identified and interpreted by your judgment, since you exclude the judgment of the church or any other body since a church is only the pillar and ground as long as it teaches (your estimation of) truth.”

    Funny how when you determine which bishops are good and bad, it’s Roman Catholic. When we do it, it’s individualist. And you do it without any input from the infallible interpreter.

    What’s up with that.

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  54. James Young, “Protestant endless splintering/denominationalism”

    What about endless curial cover ups?

    To put this issue in the proper historical perspective, let me disclose something about the editorial policies of Catholic World News. When I first began the service, back in 1996, I treated any credible report of clerical abuse as an important story, and a lawsuit against a Catholic diocese was top-headline material. Twenty years later, new charges of priestly abuse and new lawsuits against Catholic dioceses have become so commonplace that they barely merit a mention. Even diocesan bankruptcy filings and multi-million-dollar settlements, and the parish closings that follow, command only a quick story at the bottom of our daily headline menu. The editorial bar is now set much higher at CWN; only the most sensational stories receive top billing. But it is important to bear in mind that the lesser revelations—the stories that might have generated shocking headlines in 1996—keep dribbling out, week after week. The massive hemorrhage of episcopal credibility occurred in 2002, but since that time the bleeding has never entirely stopped.

    This week’s revelation breaks new ground because for the first time, critics of the Church have solid “smoking gun” evidence that the Vatican—or at least someone fully authorized to represent the Vatican in the US—smothered an inquiry into a prelate’s behavior. Since Archbishop Vigano was acting on behalf of the Holy See, it is not unreasonable to assume that senior Vatican officials approved of his action, and perhaps even ordered it. So this case raises new questions about the commitment of the Vatican to root out corruption in the episcopate. Nor can those questions be finessed by saying that Pope Francis has brought a new dedication to the cause of reform; this case arose in 2014, during the current pontificate.

    Read only a few of the documents made public yesterday in Minnesota, and you are forced toward one of two possible conclusions. Either Archbishop John Nienstedt was guilty of gross misconduct, and unfit for his office; or he was the target of a organized campaign of slander, designed to silence his opposition to the gay-rights movement. One way or another, the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis was (or is) in grave danger. Wasn’t it imperative to know the facts, fully understand the problem, and excise the cancer?

    Don’t the faithful the right to know what has happened, to cause so much distress within the Church they love? If Archbishop Nienstedt is guilty, he should be denounced—not allowed to negotiate a quiet withdrawal and then treated with the respect customarily accorded to a retired prelate. If he has been unjustly accused, then the slanderers should be exposed and denounced; the archbishop should stay and his accusers should go. Instead the former nuncio arranged a solution that has left everyone with questions and doubts.

    Questions and doubts: these are the enemies of credibility. Important as it is to establish the guilt or innocence of Archbishop John Nienstedt, for my present purposes it is more important that the papal nuncio chose to set a higher priority on public appearances than on exposing the truth. Evidently he thought that he could avoid a broader scandal by negotiating the early exit of Archbishop Nienstedt. But of course he did not avoid the broader scandal; he only postponed and enlarged it. How many lessons will be needed before the point finally sinks in: the cover-up is worse than the crime!

    The Catholic hierarchy—and yes, that includes the Vatican—cannot regain public trust without demonstrating a willingness to pursue and expose the truth about clerical misconduct. New policies and procedures will never erase doubts, unless they are implemented by Church leaders in whom the public has complete confidence. And the public will not, and should not, place that sort of trust in leaders who slough off the critical questions, and place all their trust on the lawyerly multiplication of policies and procedures.

    If the bishops can get morality wrong, how do you know they get theology right? And when they declare the magisterium infallible, like we’re not supposed to notice how self-serving that is?

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  55. James Young, “When different believers or professed believers disagree on the identification of God’s Word, is there any authority to adjudicate between the disagreements and make a definitive and binding judgment?”

    How stupid do you think we are? You ask this when you have a pope whose adjudications are — how you say — loose?

    Stop it. Breast beat when you get someone who acts like an infallible pope. Otherwise, get ready for laughter.

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  56. @ Mermaid:

    Here’s something from the book of 1 Corinthians that you might find interesting.

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

    – 1 Cor 1.9-17

    Now, at one level, we can observe that schisms are urged against. You’re fond of noting that, and I agree with you. There is indeed one Lord, one faith, one baptism — and there should be one body to reflect that.

    So if we were at Luther’s elbow at Marburg, we might counsel him against pounding the table so as to prevent schism.

    But we are not in that situation. We are instead in the situation in which the church is already divided into many factions. Your solution to that situation is to insist that we all follow Peter.

    That’s not a solution.

    My solution is that we all attend to the proper meaning of the gospel and unite around that. According to Paul, that is the solution.

    It’s really time to stop pushing this “how do you REALLY know?” line of argument. In your heart of hearts, you KNOW that you

    * Don’t have infallible knowledge that Rome is the True Church,
    * Don’t have infallible understanding of what Rome teaches,
    * Have never had first-person contact with infallible Magisterium,
    * Don’t have original (i.e. infallible) documents from Church Tradition.

    You also know that your church

    * Is led by fallible men who learned their doctrine from fallible men,
    * Has committed numerous errors in morals and faith, thus indicating that the property of infallibility is exercised seldom if at all.
    * Is rife with dissension on the true meaning of Church teaching in a number of areas.

    In other words, your STM is riddled with fallibility; your knowledge is less-than-certain.

    You know these things. You have not been able to respond to my argument in the other thread; Cletus has not been able to respond. None of you can explain how a fallible human working with a fallible chain of evidence can arrive at knowledge that is certain-beyond-possibility-of-error.

    It’s time to stop.

    Let’s talk about the gospel instead. What must we do to be saved?

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  57. Jeff:
    None of you can explain how a fallible human working with a fallible chain of evidence can arrive at knowledge that is certain-beyond-possibility-of-error.

    Jeff, I don’t accept the premise. It has been explained to you. In fact, Jesus explained how.

    John 16:13English Standard Version (ESV)

    13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

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  58. You don’t accept that you are a fallible human? Or you don’t accept that your priest is fallible? Those are the two premises.

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  59. “None of you can explain how a fallible human working with a fallible chain of evidence can arrive at knowledge that is certain-beyond-possibility-of-error.”

    So you could be in error when you disagree that the Catholic Church does, and always has had, the Magisterium as way to know with certainty truth in matters related to morals and faith?

    Like

  60. Jeff Cagle says:
    July 23, 2016 at 1:20 pm
    You don’t accept that you are a fallible human? Or you don’t accept that your priest is fallible? Those are the two premises.>>>>

    Of course all human beings are fallible. The purposes of God do no fail – not even a little bit. Your focus on the failings of people doesn’t change anything about Jesus’ promises to His people – His Body – His Bride – His Church.

    Your focus on the failings of human beings is consistent with your dogma of total depravity. Your idea of total human inability seems to have affected your view of the Holy Spirit’s total ability to accomplish His will in spite of the failings of God’s people.

    Therefore the gates of hell actually are able to prevail against the Church, since it is made up of flawed human beings. In fact, Jesus didn’t really mean what He said to Peter.

    You guys know that such extreme infallibility is not claimed even for the Pope. The focus of infallibility in Catholicism is the Holy Spirit who birthed the Church on the Day of Pentecost.
    ———————————————————————————————-
    St Peter
    “I do so love St Peter,” says a friend of mine. “Whenever he opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it”.
    She is right, of course. Whatever else St Peter may be, he is not the model of a wise and noble hero. He walks on the water – but then panics and starts to sink. He makes the first profession of faith – and moments later blunders into error and is called Satan by the Lord. He refuses to be washed, and then, when the purpose is explained to him, demands to be washed all over. And, of course, he betrays his master soon after having been warned that he will and having sworn not to. If Peter is the rock on which the Church is built, what a fissured and friable rock it is! How much better, we think, to have chosen the Sons of Thunder, for their energy; or Judas Iscariot, for his financial acumen; or John, because he was loved the best.
    The choosing of Peter teaches us a lesson. The Church’s foundation-stone and its first leader is not all-wise, all-knowing, good, heroic, and beautiful. He is a very ordinary man who makes about as many mistakes as we would in his place, and kicks himself for them just as thoroughly afterwards. If St Peter had been a hero, we could easily have despaired of ever becoming like him. If St Peter had been great, and noble, and good, we could have told ourselves that the Church is for the saints, despaired, sat down, and not bothered. But the Church is not just for saints: it is for confused, impetuous, cowardly people like us – or St Peter. The rock crumbles, the ropes are frayed, the wood is rotten – but, although that improbable building, the Church, is made of such inferior materials, it grows (on the whole) faster than it collapses, and it is grace that holds it together.
    In the end, it was grace that gave the coward the courage to bear witness when it counted, grace that gave the fool the wisdom he needed to set the infant Church on her way, grace that taught the impetuous man patience and forbearance.
    We none of us admire ourselves, however much we would like to; let us not try to admire St Peter either, but admire instead the grace he was given, and pray that, weak as we are, we may be given it too, and may use it.

    Universalis reading for June 29, 2016
    http://www.universalis.com/-1100/today.htm

    Liked by 1 person

  61. JRC: You don’t accept that you are a fallible human? Or you don’t accept that your priest is fallible? Those are the two premises.

    MWF: Of course all human beings are fallible. The purposes of God do no fail – not even a little bit. Your focus on the failings of people doesn’t change anything about Jesus’ promises to His people – His Body – His Bride – His Church.

    You’re absolutely right. God’s promises to His people do not fail. Jesus’ promise that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His church will not fail.

    Here’s the thing: There is no promise in Scripture that the Church will be able to make infallible declarations.

    There is no promise that individual believers will be able to achieve certainty-without-possibility-of-error.

    Those ideas are not promises of God, but the ideas of men. They have been made up by men apart from God’s truth. And you, dear Webfoot, have failed to discern the error in them.

    John 16 is clearly addressed to the apostles. Jesus promised to guide them into all truth — and He delivered on that promise in the epistles. John 16 does not mean that you, Webfoot, can have certainty without possibility of error.

    Let’s leave this topic.

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  62. Susan: So you could be in error when you disagree that the Catholic Church does, and always has had, the Magisterium as way to know with certainty truth in matters related to morals and faith?

    Yes, I could. You could also be in error to identify the Catholic Church as God’s True Church and an infallible authority.

    Observing a possibility of error doesn’t provide any useful information, because that possibility could range from 100% (definitely wrong) down to 10^-300 % (error is less likely than the probability of bats flying out of my nose).

    So your question is similar to Cletus’s line of reasoning about fallible confessions. Yes, the confessions could be wrong — but are they? Simply observing the possibility of error does not prove any actual error.

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  63. Jeff:
    You’re absolutely right. >>>>

    That’s actually funny, Jeff, my dear!
    Jeff:
    Let’s leave this topic.>>>>

    Aw. Just when it’s gettin’ good. How’s the weather out your way?

    Like

  64. Hot. And, I have a patch that needs weeding that is infested with wasps — for the third time this summer.

    Still, it has been a good summer so far. God is kind.

    Liked by 2 people

  65. Jeff Cagle says:
    July 23, 2016 at 4:36 pm
    Hot. And, I have a patch that needs weeding that is infested with wasps — for the third time this summer.>>>>

    Have you named any of the wasp infestations “Mrs. Webfoot”?

    Jeff:
    Still, it has been a good summer so far. God is kind.>>>

    Yes, He is.

    Merciful as well, according to Pope Francis. I wouldn’t know that for sure unless he told me.

    Just kidding! Please laugh.

    It is a glorious day here.

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  66. Jeff,
    Have you tried wasp traps? I just put a few out hoping to catch (and kill) the queen after I dig up yet another yellow jacket nest…

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  67. Well, I found the nest and sprayed it.

    Here’s the long story. Two years running, we have had Acadian Yellowjackets, which are ground wasps like the familiar Southern Yellowjackets, but smaller and with less painful stings. I found our first nest in the “triangle garden” while trimming. It was fun. Seven stings.

    Before I sprayed, I had the family come out and listen to the hive buzzing underground. From several feet away, it sounded like traffic from a distance.

    This year, they migrated from the triangle garden to the raspberry patch. I found that nest while weeding, but got away without any stings. Sprayed the nest.

    They were replaced with paper wasps. Sprayed that.

    Today, trying to catch up on the weeding that didn’t happen during the “wasp-cupation”, I got stung by a Bald-Faced Hornet. Normally, I would leave those because their favorite food is other wasps. But these are right in the middle of the berry patch, and leaving them alone would mean letting that area get out of control — and having the berries be unpickable. So I just spent a half-hour repeating this process: clip a plant, jump back. Eventually, the nest was exposed and …

    Might try the wasp traps next year, or later this one.

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  68. The inescapable question for Rome is simply this: what good is authority if it is not used? What IS Roman teaching? The CCC is no clearer than the Bible without a teacher. At least Protestants have good Bible preachers. Rome has… waffling cardinals and priests who don’t believe the doctrine, much less show any ability to pretend to preach it? Come on… Oh, and Protestant converts dismissed as ignoramuses by cradle Catholics. Yes Scott Hahn has puns, put gravitas? Again, come on…

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  69. Exhibit A is Inerrancy. Whatever it is, don’t look for Rome to define it. There history on it, noble before VII, has gone off the rails faster than a set of Clinton emails.

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  70. Joe,

    Are you seriously asking those questions?
    To me, the alternative to the Catholic Church is a world with lots of Christianities. If that is the way God wants it why complain that I think Catholicism answers the epistemological question( assuming there is an epistmolgical question) for me.
    If your denomination isn’t superior by virtue of possessing the certainty of truth, then let Rome say she is superior( not by having sinless communicate but by being the Church ontologically).

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  71. Dear Joe,
    “The CCC is no clearer than the Bible without a teacher.”

    I began to be suspect of all my teachers as long as there was another, older theology out there in the world. But okay.
    If you think the CCC is difficult, you haven’t seen anything until you attemp Aquinas! 🙂

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  72. @Jeff I find that digging out the nest after spraying helps. I’m hoping the traps will stop any further infestations near the house. I hear they are most effective in spring when the queen is looking around.

    Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

    Like

  73. joe m says:
    July 23, 2016 at 9:50 pm
    The inescapable question for Rome is simply this: what good is authority if it is not used? What IS Roman teaching? The CCC is no clearer than the Bible without a teacher.>>>>>

    None of it is completely clear if a person doesn’t spend time learning. What bothers me about the guys here is not that they criticize the Catholic Church and Catholics – esp. converts. It’s what protestants – esp. of the Reformed brand – have been doing for some 500 years now. No surprise there.

    They don’t know much of anything about Catholicism. They have never studied Catholicism as Catholicism.

    With their background, they should be able to read the CCC and get an idea of what the Church teaches. They should be able to read Aquinas and understand what he is talking about.

    In fact, there is a whole raft of protestants who claim to be Thomists. They can read his catechism, even. They would rather alternate between pretending that they don’t know anything for sure, and then that they do know everything.

    joe:
    At least Protestants have good Bible preachers.>>>>

    Oh, protestantism has a lot of really mediocre or even horrible false teachers as well. Yes, there are some good ones, and a whole army of bad ones. The guys here regularly point that out, even of those within their own communions.

    Protestantism includes everything from R.C. Sproul to Crefalo Dollar to Benny Hinn. In fact, those last two men have maybe millions of followers, while Sproul has how many?

    Protestantism includes the United Church of Christ as well as Westboro Baptist Church. Protestantism includes everything not Catholic or EO.

    You have to be more specific if you want to make a statement about protestants and their good Bible teachers.

    joe:
    Rome has… waffling cardinals and priests who don’t believe the doctrine, much less show any ability to pretend to preach it? Come on… Oh, and Protestant converts dismissed as ignoramuses by cradle Catholics. Yes Scott Hahn has puns, put gravitas? Again, come on…>>>>

    Is Peter Kreeft an ignoramus? Is G.K. Chesterton an ignoramus? Is Elizabeth Anscombe an ignoramus? Is Blessed John Henry Newman an ignoramus?

    All of these converts, and more, have gravitas. Again, you need to be more specific.

    Bishop Barron is a cradle Catholic, and he has influenced most converts at this point in time. He has also helped a lot of cradle Catholics understand our faith better.

    Besides, Scott Hahn is a good Bible teacher and a good communicator. Maybe he’s not the ignoramus?

    Liked by 1 person

  74. “Susan, Joe M is one of yours — Roman Catholic. Get out more.”

    Like I don’t know that Catholics complain.
    I know all about people who leave the Church because they had a conversion experience at Melodyland or under “the tent” in Anaheim.
    They don’t understand the profound mystery of Christ and His Church.

    MWF,

    You left out Oral Roberts, Pat Robinson, Jimmy Swaggert, Paul and Jan Crouch, Gene Scott, Chuck Smith, John Wimber…

    Like

  75. To be fair, not all protestant pastors are yelling at us that sin will get us thrown into hell, or having “movements of the Spirit” that are scary and chaotic, asking for donations for their ministry that’s a parachurch not connected with a mainline denomination.
    I used to listen to the gentle broadcasts of Charles Swindoll. He was a great communicator who, does what every good pastor does( after they set the biblical historical scene, the background events( if applicable) give us key Greek or Hebrew words, cross references…) ;that is, gives short anecdote that connects our lives to those in the scripture either by object lesson or to imitate; encourages us to repentence of sin because of what sin cost Jesus; to live holy lives because of what sin cost Jesus; to excercise virtues like fortitude,; and to love God and neighbor.

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  76. Susan Vader says:
    July 24, 2016 at 12:27 pm
    “Susan, Joe M is one of yours — Roman Catholic. Get out more.”

    Like I don’t know that Catholics complain.>>>>

    That was a selling point for me, actually. What family doesn’t have conflicts? Protestantism isn’t a family. It’s not a church. There is nothing that unites protestantism, and many things that divide it.

    Machen attempted to unite conservative protestants around certain doctrines in order to combat liberalism-modernism. At least he tried.

    As for me, I get out plenty.

    Liked by 1 person

  77. Mermaid, there you have the convert pantheon: Kreeft, Anscombe, Newman, Barron, Hahn and the catechism.

    And Protestants don’t know anything about Roman Catholicism.

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  78. Susan, you do know that Calvin, Luther, Melanchthon, Bucer, Vermigli — I could go on — had “conversion” experiences well before Melodyland.

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  79. Susan, “Charles Swindoll. He was a great communicator …”

    Once an evangelical…

    Come on, Susan. All Swindoll does is tell stories, though it doesn’t surprise me that you are drawn to them still.

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  80. Mermaid, wait, I thought Protestantism was weak because it doesn’t have the unity that Rome has. Now Rome as the good kind of disunity.

    This game is rigged. It’s the chamber of commerce as apologetics. Roman Catholic intellectual tradition? My –s.

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  81. Darryl,

    “So how do you know when they are infallible?”

    The same way you know when OPC’ers are being faithful to the WCF or not. RCC has laid out criteria for infallibility. It’s not some abstract thing floating in the ether no one has any clue about. That’s why you won’t find any magisterial docs or bishops advancing the proposition the pope is infallible 24×7.

    “Souls are at stake and it’s the magisterium that’s supposed to protect the faithful.”

    Souls are at stake in a university auditorium? If parents are hoping their kids freshman professor saves their soul, they need some counsel.

    “Now is there any authority to adjudicate between conflicting judgments
    – You tell me. Rome isn’t answering.”

    Sure it has. That’s why it has dogmas and exercises of the extraordinary and ordinary universal magisterium.

    “Funny how when you determine which bishops are good and bad, it’s Roman Catholic. When we do it, it’s individualist. And you do it without any input from the infallible interpreter. ”

    Right. I can determine which bishops are good and bad, as can you. You can determine which OPC’ers are good and bad, as can I. We can determine good and corrupt public servants. We can determine which medical doctors are faithful to their professional standards. And so on.

    “If the bishops can get morality wrong”

    Bishops can be hypocrites, cowards, and sinners? Unfaithful to what has been received by the church? Quelle surprise. That’s why NT believers are cautioned about wolves in the church.

    “Breast beat when you get someone who acts like an infallible pope.”

    Popes have been scoundrels in the past – far worse than someone who just doesn’t “act like an infallible pope”. Ecclesial infallibility is not limited to the pope;s solemn definitions (again).

    Like

  82. Jeff,

    “The authority is the Scripture, speaking infallibly.”

    So when different believers disagree on the identification of Scripture, the adjudicating authority is Scripture?

    “The secondary authority is the church, speaking fallibly yet authoritatively.”

    This assumes some principled definition and identification of the bodies comprising “the church”. What do you propose that is?

    “When different believers disagree on the identification of the true Church (or deny that there is a unique true Church), is there any authority to adjudicate between their disagreements?”

    Yes. The true church. An authority’s judgment can still be final and definitive regardless of one’s recognition of it or assent or dissent to it. When different NT Jews disagreed on the identification of the true Messiah (or deny that there is one), Christ and the Apostles were the authority to adjudicate between their disagreements.

    “And so here. You want Protestants to come up with an uber-authority over the Scriptures, capable of infallibly setting both the boundaries and the meaning of the text. If we were to do so, then that uber-authority would have greater authority than Scripture itself.”

    The STM triad does not make M or T an uber-authority over the Scriptures – they are complementary and parallel authorities. Did the Apostles have uber-authority over the OT Scriptures or OT Tradition when infallibly setting the boundaries and meaning of the text and tradition? No. When the Apostles testified to Christ’s role, they did not have uber-authority over Christ. The Apostles were authorized by Christ; they had a derived and lesser authority. They gave authoritative infallible witness to Christ, the greater authority. The authority of the apostles and their irreformable testimony compelled believers to faith in Christ’s role and nature.

    “Which is really the Protestant complaint concerning Catholicism: It places the Church in authority over the word of God, claiming to be able to define its boundaries and determine its meaning infallibly.”

    That’s an unfounded complaint. DV: “But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.”

    “There is no promise in Scripture that the Church will be able to make infallible declarations.”

    So no church can make an infallible decision and no theological question or dispute can be definitively settled or judgment made binding upon all that would compel those who disagree to heed it. Thus we are left with perpetual opinion, reformable judgments, debates, stalemates, and splintering. In the NT, did the church make a definitive judgment at the council of Jerusalem? Did Paul write the church was the pillar and support of truth with the view that it could not make definitive and irreformable judgments?

    “John 16 is clearly addressed to the apostles. Jesus promised to guide them into all truth — and He delivered on that promise in the epistles. John 16 does not mean that you, Webfoot, can have certainty without possibility of error.”

    As I said in the other thread, I’m confused. At some times you seem to argue the Apostles did not have certainty. Now you seem to argue they did. Then other times you seem to argue this type of certainty is only possible for God and is not appropriate to creatures. Yet the apostles were still creatures even when inspired.

    Secondly, your side appeals to the Holy Spirit and illumination for certainty. That same Spirit was given to the Apostles here. There further seems to be ample witness in the NT that believers, not just apostles, can attain to certainty. I’m interested in where Scripture “clearly” states that Spirit given in John 16 would not lead believers or the church into truth. I am also interested in whether you apply this restrictive hermeneutic to other passages where promises are given and conclude that those promises exclusively apply to the immediate audience and not other contemporary believers or future generations. For example John 16 ends with “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Does this not apply to believers now? Or John 15, which ends with a similar promise of the Spirit to them – does that mean John 15:1-25 only applies to the immediate audience?

    “Yes, the confessions could be wrong — but are they? Simply observing the possibility of error does not prove any actual error.”

    Divine truth is irreformable. Something offered as possibly in error and subject to revision is not offered as divine truth. A Protestant confession may contain some correct teachings – many do – but that is as Beaumont says, echoing Aquinas as I’ve posted other times, accidentally true opinion. This is why someone who opens a Bible on their own can come to truth without ever hearing about the RCC – someone might properly understand parts of Scripture apart from knowledge of the church – the Spirit blows where it will – but if they disagree with the church in other parts based on their interpretation and private judgment, they are in error.

    Like

  83. James Young, Haec Sancta says otherwise.

    Universities are no big deal. I get it in an era when the Index of Books is bye bye. But who would have thought a separated brother like Calvin could destroy a believer’s soul?

    Like

  84. James Young, there you go attributing to bishops the authority of the apostles and prophets:

    The STM triad does not make M or T an uber-authority over the Scriptures – they are complementary and parallel authorities. Did the Apostles have uber-authority over the OT Scriptures or OT Tradition when infallibly setting the boundaries and meaning of the text and tradition?

    Divine truth is irreformable. Something offered as possibly in error and subject to revision is not offered as divine truth.

    Something infallible is just like Scripture. Authors of something infallible are just like the authors of Scripture.

    You believe in ongoing revelation. You believe bishops and popes can add to Scripture. T&M go beyond Scripture — infallibility and bodily assumption of Mary.

    How does it feel being Mormon?

    Like

  85. Darryl,

    That infallibility is not limited to the pope’s solemn definitions (again) does not entail conciliarism is true. Councils that are ratified by the pope are not ex cathedra statements. So, the pope still isn’t infallible 24×7 nor does he have to act like it.

    “there you go attributing to bishops the authority of the apostles”

    Right – apostolic authority passed on via succession. That doesn’t entail inspiration. The successors appointed and sent out in the NT had apostolic authority but weren’t inspired.

    “Something infallible is just like Scripture. Authors of something infallible are just like the authors of Scripture.”

    I was responding to the assertion that an infallible authority automatically entails that authority must be superior to another authority, rather than complementary to it, or somehow becomes superior over the authority that authorized it in the first place. Inspiration is irrelevant.

    “You believe in ongoing revelation. You believe bishops and popes can add to Scripture.”

    Doesn’t follow from what’s been argued.

    “T&M go beyond Scripture — infallibility and bodily assumption of Mary.”

    SS is a manmade tradition. You’re convinced now right?

    You mean T&M go beyond your interpretation of Scripture; your private judgment and interpretation of S remains supreme. And why shouldn’t it given your rejection of T&M? That you rely on T&M to identify Scripture and fundamental doctrines in the first place is no big deal.

    Like

  86. sdb,

    “When different believers or professed believers disagree on the identification of God’s Word, is there any authority to adjudicate between the disagreements and make a definitive and binding judgment?
    If different believers or professed believers disagree on whether the other is recognizing truth, is there any authority to adjudicate the disagreement with a definitive and binding judgment to correct the errant party?
    – God.”

    Okay, and does God communicate and transmit this adjudication? If so, how?

    “A dead letter brought to life by a church”
    – This is not the RC position.
    — Are you certain?

    If you mean Scripture is to be read in the tradition and life of the church for proper understanding, that is the RC position. If you mean Scripture has no intrinsic authority or wasn’t inspired until the RCC defined it as inspired, that is not the RC position. Do you disagree that “Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written”? Do secular and liberal historical-critical and naturalist scholars who slice and dice it treat it as a dead letter?

    “So we can put to rest (again) this silly notion you keep putting forward that if I judge that a church is not teaching truth, then it is no longer authoritative. Whether or it is or isn’t authoritative is independent of my judgment.”

    Why do you regard your PCA church having authority over you but not the Methodist or LCMS or PCUSA church?

    “You’ve been confusing authority with power.”

    Reformation-era states had power and weren’t bastions of religious freedom. Splintering still was rampant. We’ve had 500 years of the Protestant experiment across various cultures, demographics, societies, countries, governments. Always the same pattern emerges. That’s an indication there might be something inherent to the system (and its view of authority) contributing to it.

    Like

  87. “James Young, please show scriptural support for the bodily assumption of Mary.

    Wait. You can’t. You don’t have the charism.

    Take it back.”

    That’s like asking someone to show from scripture why the Church made Sabbath worship on Sundays.

    Like

  88. cw l’unificateur says:
    July 26, 2016 at 11:51 am
    Condolences to Webby, Cletus, et al for the horrific murder of the priest in France. Truly horrible and evil.>>>>

    Yes, it is. Thank you.

    O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy.

    May God have mercy on those who are caught up in this evil either as victims or perpetrators.

    Like

  89. Why do you regard your PCA church having authority over you but not the Methodist or LCMS or PCUSA church?

    I can’t speak for SDB, but the basic answer would be that he is a member of his PCA church and not a member of those other churches. That’s why the RCC has authority over you but the EO doesn’t. The degree to which the RCC has authority over you in the modern context is due largely to your willingness to submit to it.

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  90. Susan,

    That’s like asking someone to show from scripture why the Church made Sabbath worship on Sundays.

    Not really. We have evidence from the NT that the church was already starting to gather on Sundays during the Apostolic period. We don’t have any information on Mary. She’s largely inconsequential outside of the birth narratives of the gospels. There’s certainly nothing in the Apostolic letters to suggest the early Christians thought she had any special role regarding intercession and other such things.

    Like

  91. Robert says:
    July 26, 2016 at 1:16 pm
    Susan,

    Susan:
    That’s like asking someone to show from scripture why the Church made Sabbath worship on Sundays.>>>>

    Robert:
    Not really. We have evidence from the NT that the church was already starting to gather on Sundays during the Apostolic period. >>>>>

    There is nothing in the NT Scripture alone that authorizes the change of the OT sabbath on the 7th Day of the week to the NT sabbath on the 1st Day. Some statements from the NT insinuate that is the case, but sola scriptura does not get you to the answer of why the Church made Sabbath worship on Sundays.

    Besides, non-Catholic, non-EO groups vary widely on that point.

    Most gather for worship on Sunday mornings, but not all.

    The Seventh Day Adventists gather on Saturdays, saying that it is the mark of the beast to change the Sabbath to Sunday.

    Many call Sunday a sabbath, but many would never call Sunday the Sabbath. It is the Lord’s Day, not the Sabbath according to many groups.

    IOW, just as on any point of doctrine, protestants are all over the place on the issue of the Sabbath.

    There is no one to settle it, either, so groups form around this doctrine and even split off from other groups as a result.

    This kind of splintering is in the protestant DNA, it seems, and happens all the time.

    There is no direct command in the NT that orders the Church to replace the OT Sabbath with the Sunday Sabbath. On whose authority did the Church make the change? The authority of Scripture, Tradition, Magisterium that you guys have trouble with.

    On whose authority did your group and most Christian communities make the change? On the authority of your group, and many other groups have trouble with you on that, and trouble with one another, and trouble within their own groups on that. Protestantism can never settle on one interpretation, because “protestantism” isn’t a church. It is a broad, catch all term describing anything that is not Catholic or EO.

    Susan’s point is well taken.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a3.htm

    IN BRIEF

    2189 “Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Deut 5:12). “The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord” (Ex 31:15).

    2190 The sabbath, which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ.

    2191 The Church celebrates the day of Christ’s Resurrection on the “eighth day,” Sunday, which is rightly called the Lord’s Day (cf. SC 106).

    2192 “Sunday . . . is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church” (CIC, can. 1246 § 1). “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass” (CIC, can. 1247).

    2193 “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound . . . to abstain from those labors and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body” (CIC, can. 1247).

    2194 The institution of Sunday helps all “to be allowed sufficient rest and leisure to cultivate their amilial, cultural, social, and religious lives” (GS 67 § 3).

    2195 Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day.

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  92. Webfoot,

    There is nothing in the NT Scripture alone that authorizes the change of the OT sabbath on the 7th Day of the week to the NT sabbath on the 1st Day. Some statements from the NT insinuate that is the case, but sola scriptura does not get you to the answer of why the Church made Sabbath worship on Sundays.

    It doesn’t if you think sola Scriptura means “We have to have a direct explicit command in the Scripture on matter x to do x.” That’s fundamentalism, not sola Scriptura.

    IOW, just as on any point of doctrine, protestants are all over the place on the issue of the Sabbath.

    Unlike RCs? Tell me again how you and Nancy Pelosi are in full doctrinal agreement. Tell me again if the RC Magisterium actually cares since both of you are in good standing with the church and are free to go get the Eucharist.

    There is no one to settle it, either, so groups form around this doctrine and even split off from other groups as a result.

    Actually, in the PCA, the group to settle it is the General Assembly. Same in the OPC. If people don’t like the decision they are free to leave. Same exact thing with the RCC. The moment you no longer agree with the Magisterium, you can leave as well.

    This kind of splintering is in the protestant DNA, it seems, and happens all the time.

    Protestant does put a very high premium on doctrine, which means people actually think it matters. Rome’s emphasis, the epistemology seminar notwithstanding, is decidedly less so. If you don’t think doctrine matters but that all that matters is nominal agreement on the Eucharist, of course you are going to have nominal assent. I’m still waiting for somebody to explain to me how it is better to have a church in which you and my undergrad RC Christian ethics professor are in good standing even though you and her differ on what church tradition teaches, the authority of the pope, sexual ethics, etc. than to have the PCA and the Reformed Baptists as separate incorporated entities that differ largely and most significantly on baptism only although we both agree that baptism in itself saves no one.

    There is no direct command in the NT that orders the Church to replace the OT Sabbath with the Sunday Sabbath.

    True, but largely irrelevant.

    On whose authority did the Church make the change? The authority of Scripture, Tradition, Magisterium that you guys have trouble with.

    We don’t have a problem with the authority of the tradition and the church. We have a problem with substituting a non-inspired authority for an inspired one.

    On whose authority did your group and most Christian communities make the change?

    It’s largely ecclesiastical, based on deductions from Scripture. Which is perfectly legitimate in a SS framework. We simply don’t need a “thou must now worship on Sunday.” That you think we do shows a misunderstanding of SS.

    On the authority of your group, and many other groups have trouble with you on that, and trouble with one another, and trouble within their own groups on that.

    Yes, although most groups today, for better or worse, don’t make a big deal about it. Even the majority of SDAs don’t care that much anymore. They’ll enforce it for their group, but they won’t call us damnable heretics for worshipping on Sundays.

    Protestantism can never settle on one interpretation, because “protestantism” isn’t a church. It is a broad, catch all term describing anything that is not Catholic or EO.

    Then why all the whining about Protestantism never being able to settle on one’s interpretation? No one exists that can settle the disagreement between RCs and the EO on the papacy, but you aren’t whining about that. These disputes can be settled only by everyone agreeing to the same authority, so the fact that two different groups with two different authority structures don’t agree shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for you.

    And have you ever thought that there are perhaps some issues that God doesn’t want settled? You RCs are just like certain fundamentalist groups. Instead of “Man, we’ve got to settle and enforce uniformity on what movies to watch” it’s all “Man, we’ve got to settle and enforce uniformity on what happened to Mary when she died.” Maybe God just doesn’t care so much. Rome has a place for that, since you think God doesn’t care about the nature of grace and whether it is intrinsically efficacious or not. That seems like a far more important issue than getting the Sabbath right. But no, we’ve got to settle the Sabbath and impose a view on all.

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  93. Webfoot,

    BTW, just about everything you quoted from the fallible CCC there is perfectly in line with what Westminster says.

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  94. Robert,

    Have you ever read Lubac’s “The Splendor of the Church?
    I just picked it up off the shelf of a priest friend this morning.
    Take a look at it.

    CW,

    I didn’t know about the murder of the priest in France until I read your offer of condolences.
    It is truly horrific.

    Like

  95. @CVD, for some of us eeee-Prot-biblicist-oriented, Col 2:16,17 and Romans 14:5,6 make the Sabbath debate hardly worth the energy. (This view may draw fire from people around here though)

    Like

  96. Susan, you missed the point like a good evangelical. Neither you nor James have the credentials to rule on the faith. Remember? That’s why you became Roman Catholic.

    Doh!

    Like

  97. Darryl,

    Does a church that doesn’t conform to your current interpretation and judgment of Scripture have authority over you?

    No RC here is “ruling” on the faith or hijacking the magisterial charism when reading Scripture with the church or appealing to Scripture to support RCC judgments. A Protestant layman or officer of a WCF church appealing to Scripture to support WCF isn’t subverting his subscription or undermining his vows to his church’s role and authority.

    Like

  98. James,

    I think the disconnect Darryl senses is between you and the others lauding the principled means of Rome and so forth (which you are well within your rights to do) and the fact that it just doesn’t appear that the current Magisterium at least cares all that much about it. Your pope has refused to answer whether Lutherans can take communion in a RC church and has played the ecumenical card in ways that suggest he really doesn’t think RCism is substantially better, epistemologically or otherwise, than Protestantism. I guess you can take refuge in the fact that he hasn’t officially declared it isn’t superior, but for those of us who know what liberalism does to a denomination, that isn’t much comfort. Decline always begins with a downplaying of distinctive and an overlooking of error. Always.

    Like

  99. I’ll also add that asking us why we should care if another ecclesiastical body has authority over us or if we should care is a bit odd since it’s really not clear that Rome claims authority over us Protestants anymore or even knows that we non-mainline Reformed actually exists. I know traditionally the pope claims authority but this pope seems more concerned to invoke a moral authority of some kind to scold us about air conditioning than any kind of spiritual authority over me. Just saying.

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  100. Darryl,

    So your church has fallible authority over you and its members. It doesn’t have authority over anyone else. If someone outside it disagrees with its reformable judgment or doctrinal decisions, it’s no big deal since that person is not a member and not under its authority.

    Fallible authority entails it can always err. How do you determine when it has erred and should not be submitted to versus when it has not erred and must be submitted to? If someone inside it disagrees with its judgment, should it be no big deal to that person since that person has judged it has erred in its fallible decision?

    Liked by 1 person

  101. Robert says:
    July 26, 2016 at 2:18 pm
    Webfoot,

    BTW, just about everything you quoted from the fallible CCC there is perfectly in line with what Westminster says.>>>>

    I was going to say that, but I wanted to see if you would confirm it. The Westminster has no binding authority on “protestantism” or the Church.

    It is fallible by definition, so its opinion is no better than that of the Seventh Day Adventists’. Hence “protestants” are all over the place on the subject of Sunday Sabbath.

    Like

  102. CVD:
    Fallible authority entails it can always err. >>>

    Fallible authority has a built-in excuse when it errs. So how can a fallible authority ever be scrutinized?

    Now, the Church’s claim to infallibility comes under constant scrutiny. Why? Because she claims to have real authority.

    Virtually no protestants take the WCF and Reformed standards seriously. Protestantism is not a church, nor does it have any real authority as a church.

    In fact, the only authority that is recognized as infallible in the Reformed system – Scripture, – is largely irrelevant sometimes.

    I asked:
    There is no direct command in the NT that orders the Church to replace the OT Sabbath with the Sunday Sabbath.

    Robert responded:
    True, but largely irrelevant.

    Like

  103. D. G. Hart says:
    July 26, 2016 at 5:26 pm
    James Young, but that church still has authority, just like my parents. And no one’s more infallible for the wear.>>>>

    In protestantism, there are no parents. Each individual is responsible to come to his or her own conclusion about what Scripture teaches.

    Protestantism is not a church, nor does it claim to be one. Protestantism is made up of some 30,000 or more denominations or independent groups.

    Each one runs its own show with whatever criteria they wish to adopt – or not, or whatever.

    Just look at Presbyterianism for one thing. The WCF could not keep it from going gay.

    Like

  104. @cvd
    “Okay, and does God communicate and transmit this adjudication? If so, how?”
    Yes. His sheep know his voice. By the holy spirit.

    “A dead letter brought to life by a church”
    – This is not the RC position.
    — Are you certain?

    If you mean Scripture is to be read in the tradition and life of the church for proper understanding, that is the RC position. If you mean Scripture has no intrinsic authority or wasn’t inspired until the RCC defined it as inspired, that is not the RC position. Do you disagree that “Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light [ According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture]”?
    I added back the part you cut out. I reject the assertion that scripture is pricipally other than the written word.

    “So we can put to rest (again) this silly notion you keep putting forward that if I judge that a church is not teaching truth, then it is no longer authoritative. Whether or it is or isn’t authoritative is independent of my judgment.”

    Why do you regard your PCA church having authority over you but not the Methodist or LCMS or PCUSA church?”

    They do. They could bar me from their table and I would respect their choice and take that seriously.

    “You’ve been confusing authority with power.”
    Reformation-era states had power and weren’t bastions of religious freedom. Splintering still was rampant.
    Not within those bastions.

    “We’ve had 500 years of the Protestant experiment across various cultures, demographics, societies, countries, governments. Always the same pattern emerges. That’s an indication there might be something inherent to the system (and its view of authority) contributing to it.”
    Well we’ve had much more than 500yrs. That was just when states were strong enough to lend support. What is interesting is how islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc… have all seen the proliferation of new offshoots in the west. Further even post-Trent RCism hasn’t been immune. Meanwhile, without a pope EOs have not seen much in this regard in the east. Perhaps socio-politico-economic forces are more relevant?

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  105. Cletus,

    And another thing. If infallibility is the only reason I should accept a church’s authority over me then Rome is out of luck. After all, it’s discipline isn’t infallible, right?

    Like

  106. Webfoot,

    A church’s confession and standards are only as good as the church’s willingness to follow them. A lesson that you all are now learning as your pope tells us that cohabitating non-married couples have sacramental grace but couples married by RC priests don’t.

    V1 didn’t keep your church from going modernist and liberal at V2. It’s what happens when the leadership doesn’t care about dogma but about “relevance.”

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  107. In protestantism, there are no parents. Each individual is responsible to come to his or her own conclusion about what Scripture teaches.

    What in thee heck does this even mean? Over here Protestantism, I see scads and scads of parents all raising and disciplining their children in the instruction of God. Am I seeing things? But if Ariel means by this that baptized children are then catechized and expected to in due time make a less-than-rote profession of faith that affirms not what they think individually but what is confessed by the church (and thereby come to the table), then maybe I’m not as delusional as she implies.

    Like

  108. July 27, 2016 at 9:27 am
    I said:
    In protestantism, there are no parents. Each individual is responsible to come to his or her own conclusion about what Scripture teaches.>>>

    Zrim:
    What in thee heck does this even mean? Over here Protestantism, I see scads and scads of parents all raising and disciplining their children in the instruction of God. Am I seeing things?>>>

    Brother Hart was comparing different churches to homes with parents. Why should the Catholic Church try to make protestant congregations submit to their leadership? At least that’s how I took it.

    In the first place, the word “protestant” is a catch all term. It can mean whatever a person wants it to mean. In that way, protestantism has no parents. It’s not a church. It is made up of all kinds of diverse groups.

    I think of “protestant” as all non Catholic and EO Christians. In fact, many “protestants” aren’t really protesting the Catholic Church anymore.

    So, what does “protestant” even mean? It can mean just about anything.

    Zrim:
    But if Ariel means by this that baptized children are then catechized and expected to in due time make a less-than-rote profession of faith that affirms not what they think individually but what is confessed by the church (and thereby come to the table), then maybe I’m not as delusional as she implies.>>>>

    I’m not sure what you mean. Sure. In your congregation, you have your children baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They are Christian children.

    Then you teach them to live as Christians and to make faith their own.

    If that child, now older, wants to join the Catholic Church he has to go through a process. Then the Church would ask the person to bring a baptismal certificate or somehow prove that they were baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. If the person has been baptized using this formula, then their baptism is accepted as true baptism. They are already Christians because of baptism.

    If the person has not been baptized, or has been baptized say in Oneness Pentecostal, or Mormon, or even a liberal denomination that has substituted other terms for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then they are baptized in the Catholic Church.

    The person would go through a course, then baptism if needed, confirmation, first communion, and be welcomed into membership if they so desire.

    Each non Catholic-EO group has its own rules for membership. Those rules do not apply to any other group.

    The Catholic Church is consistent worldwide in this. In that way, there is only one set of “parents.”

    OTOH, there is no such consistency.

    So, who is the authority in “protestantism”? Each individual. At any time any person can establish a “protestant” congregation and blow off all others already in existence.

    That doesn’t seem to be what the Reformers wanted, but that is what happened and continues to happen.

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  109. Ariel, don’t you mean separated brother Hart?

    I think of “protestant” as all non Catholic and EO Christians. In fact, many “protestants” aren’t really protesting the Catholic Church anymore.

    But this is your problem. You read church history the way lots of Prots do: there’s Rome and then there’s everybody else; if one isn’t Catholic, he’s a Protestant of some variation. Gong. Church history in the west had three very distinct groups–Prots, Cats, and Anabaptists. True, modernity has managed to give us eeeevangelicalism which is arguably an admixture of Protestantism and Anabaptism, but it’s just that, an admixture. It’s not Protestantism.

    So, who is the authority in “protestantism”? Each individual. At any time any person can establish a “protestant” congregation and blow off all others already in existence.

    Gong again. No Protestant church would recognize any body that denies what that Prot church confesses or affirms what it denies. That renegade body isn’t “Protestant” by virtue of not being Catholic. That’s the mistake you (and plenty of Prots, btw) make. There is more to being Protestant than not being Catholic. You start with the arrogant notion that there is only Catholicism, then dump anything that’s not in fellowship with the Bishop of Rome into the “Protestant” bin. I get it, feels good to be superior and the only legit game in town or on earth, but even with all that legitimacy you sure don’t read church history very well.

    Like

  110. @Zrim, what is your definition of “Protestantism” and of “Anabaptism”, and why do you categorize the latter outside of the former?

    Like

  111. Darryl,

    “It has no authority over me. ”

    Why doesn’t the RCC have authority over you? Because you’re not a member, or because you judge it as in error and not conforming to your interpretation of Scripture?

    Like

  112. sdb,

    “When different believers or professed believers disagree on the identification of God’s Word, is there any authority to adjudicate between the disagreements and make a definitive and binding judgment?
    If different believers or professed believers disagree on whether the other is recognizing truth, is there any authority to adjudicate the disagreement with a definitive and binding judgment to correct the errant party?
    – God.
    Okay, and does God communicate and transmit this adjudication? If so, how?
    – Yes. His sheep know his voice. By the holy spirit. ”

    So when believers continue to disagree, one or both sides are not His sheep. Since otherwise they would know His voice and thus know the adjudication. So when believers disagree, they should charge the other side with not being sheep and having the spirit? Can you tell me how this method of adjudication differs from bosom-burning and subjectivism? Is this the model we see in the NT?

    “I added back the part you cut out. I reject the assertion that scripture is pricipally other than the written word.”

    The cutting out was not meant to distort, it was meant to focus on the issue of “dead letter” since obviously you disagree with the RCC’s role in reading Scripture. Do you agree or disagree that “Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written.” If it is not read in such a manner, is it reduced to a dead letter?

    “Why do you regard your PCA church having authority over you but not the Methodist or LCMS or PCUSA church?”
    – They do. They could bar me from their table and I would respect their choice and take that seriously.”

    Do the Mormon, RC, EO, Joel Osteen churches have authority over you as well? Maybe the easier question is, does any church not have authority over you? If you respect and submit to their barring of you from the table by virtue of their authority, on what grounds to you not also respect and submit to their interpretation, teaching, and judgments of Scripture by virtue of their authority?

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  113. Cletus,

    Is this the model we see in the NT?

    The model we see in the NT is of actual, living, inspired Apostles who were eyewitnesses to Jesus. You don’t have that and neither do we. The question is what did the Apostles leave for us when they are gone if you don’t believe Apostles exist today. And what we find is the Apostles commanding future church leaders to teach what the Apostles had taught. We don’t find the Apostles commanding future church leaders to set themselves forth as a principled means or to invoke infallibility for themselves.

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  114. “There is more to being Protestant than not being Catholic…. you sure don’t read church history very well.”

    Carl Trueman: “Every year I tell my Reformation history class that Roman Catholicism is, at least in the West, the default position. Rome has a better claim to historical continuity and institutional unity than any Protestant denomination, let alone the strange hybrid that is evangelicalism; in the light of these facts, therefore, we need good, solid reasons for not being Catholic; not being a Catholic should, in others words, be a positive act of will and commitment, something we need to get out of bed determined to do each and every day.”

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  115. Robert,

    NT believers had the Spirit which is sdb’s (and your) proposed model of adjudication. So you’re agreeing that wasn’t the NT model.

    “The model we see in the NT is of actual, living, inspired Apostles who were eyewitnesses to Jesus”

    Those who were not eyewitnesses to Jesus and inspired were classed with apostolic authority.

    “And what we find is the Apostles commanding future church leaders to teach what the Apostles had taught.”

    I agree. What you actually mean is not what they taught, but only what they wrote down divorced from tradition and church authority. Where did the apostles teach the Protestant liturg(ies), identification of the canon and what they wrote, inerrancy, revelation is closed, SS?

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  116. Clete,

    NT believers had the Spirit which is sdb’s (and your) proposed model of adjudication. So you’re agreeing that wasn’t the NT model.

    The NT believers had the Spirit plus Apostolic teaching plus actual living Apostles plus elders and deacons. We don’t have actual living Apostles, but we have everything else. Evidently God didn’t think we would need actual living Apostles, otherwise we’d still have them.

    You are inventing a third category of non-inspired but infallible teachers. Where do we find that in the NT or any other era of redemptive history.

    Those who were not eyewitnesses to Jesus and inspired were classed with apostolic authority.

    No one has Apostolic authority in the New Testament except the Apostles.

    “And what we find is the Apostles commanding future church leaders to teach what the Apostles had taught.”

    I agree. What you actually mean is not what they taught, but only what they wrote down divorced from tradition and church authority.

    If there were inspired tradition that was not a part of Scripture, you could identify it. But you can’t. It’s a guessing game as to which commonly held beliefs and practices are inspired and which aren’t. When you can give me just one word that Jesus or the Apostles spoke that was never written down, you’ll have a stronger argument. Moreover, you can’t even tell me if the material sufficiency view of tradition is correct or not. So there’s nothing to grab onto with respect to what is actually sacred tradition until the Magisterium tells us what it is. And if the Magisterium says it is tradition, no matter how novel it seems or how incongruous it appears with other beliefs, it is by definition of tradition and the job is to bow to sola Ecclesia.

    Where did the apostles teach the Protestant liturg(ies), identification of the canon and what they wrote, inerrancy, revelation is closed, SS?

    Elements of Protestant liturgy are found throughout Scripture.
    The Apostles identify a book as canonical as soon as it is written.
    Inerrancy and SS — 2 Tim. 3:16, practice of Jesus to hold only Scripture as divinely inspired, condemnation of traditions not found in written revelation, etc.
    Closed Revelation—The repeated call to hand on what the Apostles taught and no call to look for new Apostles.

    More on the canon, the Protestant argument is not that the canon is identified apart from the church authorities and the church tradition. That idea reflects abject ignorance of the Protestant position. We aren’t Mormons. We believe in both objective truth and subjective confirmation. Mormons tend to the latter. RCs vacillate between the two, never really balancing them. The Reformed hold both in good balance.

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  117. Robert,

    “The NT believers had the Spirit plus”

    So your model of adjudication was not the NT model. And since you claim to follow the NT teaching as your ultimate standard, you should abandon it then.

    “No one has Apostolic authority in the New Testament except the Apostles.”

    Mathias was a successor classed as an apostle. Silas and Timothy were classed with apostolic authority:
    1 Thess: “Paul, Silas and Timothy,To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you… We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority…. And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”

    “Elements of Protestant liturgy are found throughout Scripture.”

    Where does Scripture give you warrant to just cobble together the liturgy as you see fit? Sounds like a recipe for manmade tradition and strange fire.

    “The Apostles identify a book as canonical as soon as it is written.”

    What does this mean? Were all NT books written by an apostle? If they identified all canonical books, why are there different canons amongst professed believers and disputes on passages within books of those canons?

    “Inerrancy and SS — 2 Tim. 3:16”

    SS wasn’t operative during the apostolic age, by definition. So any appeal to Scripture to support it is invalid and violates authorial intent.

    “Closed Revelation—The repeated call to hand on what the Apostles taught”

    So the first time that call is issued means your canon should have ended and closed at the time of that book’s writing and no more books added.

    “and no call to look for new Apostles.”

    Where does Scripture state no more Apostles and prophets will arise? Protestants can’t even agree on cessationism vs continuationism in the context of the Spirit bestowing healing, prophecy, tongues.

    “the Protestant argument is not that the canon is identified apart from the church authorities and the church tradition.”

    No just that that church authorities and tradition are inferior and not complementary to the canon. Which is identified by those same authorities. So it’s sawing off the branch you sit on.

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  118. James Young, “Roman Catholicism is, at least in the West, the default position.”

    Christianity started as an Eastern religion. Wrap your fallible brain around that.

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  119. Darryl,

    You watching The Night Of (hbo) yet? As a Wire fan, you’ll probably dig it. (Greg, look away).

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  120. Zrim, it is clearer when those who belong to one Christian group or another define themselves in terms of that group.

    If someone says, “I am Southern Baptist”, then I know where they are coming from, more or less. I can go to the SBC website and see what their official doctrines are.

    If someone says, “I am OPC”, then I can go to the OPC website and….

    Same with PCA, Luther groups, etc.

    Protestantism is not a church. There are no parents. It is not a home. It does not pretend to be one thing.

    Zrim:
    You start with the arrogant notion that there is only Catholicism, then dump anything that’s not in fellowship with the Bishop of Rome into the “Protestant” bin. I get it, feels good to be superior and the only legit game in town or on earth, but even with all that legitimacy you sure don’t read church history very well.>>>

    What I am saying meets the criteria of your epistemology, since it matches reality. No one in protestantism can agree on what the definition is, so it is too broad a term to be of much use.

    Where does “protestantism” meet when it calls a protestant council? Answer: It doesn’t call church councils, nor has it ever called one.

    Each denomination has its own councils and meetings on a denominational level where decisions are made about matters of faith and practice.

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  121. Ariel, you’re trying to do with Protestantism what (separated brother) Hart does with eeeevangelicalism–it’s an abstraction that doesn’t mean anything. But it doesn’t work as well because Reformed, Lutheran, and Anglican communions which fall under the rubric of Protestantism have the very forms you demand in order to locate them, something eeeevangelicalism doesn’t have. What does Prot’ism have to say about the Bible, justification, the church, baptism, etc.?” See confessions.” Eeevangelicalism? “Huh?”

    And so by “no parents” you mean “no popes.” And if “no popes” then “no church.” But Prot’ism doesn’t think in authoritarian terms but pastoral. So no parents perhaps but undershepherds, which is actually the biblical pattern, i.e. the Bible speaks of the church, which is actually the people of God, having shepherds, not papas. I know, the Bible–meh.

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  122. D. G. Hart says:
    July 27, 2016 at 1:57 pm
    James Young, “Roman Catholicism is, at least in the West, the default position.”

    Christianity started as an Eastern religion. Wrap your fallible brain around that.>>>>

    “Not in full communion with the Catholic Church” Brother Hart, you do realize that CVD was quoting your guy, don’t you?

    Notice that the phrase, “Roman Catholicism is, at least in the West, the default position” is a direct quote from Westminster Seminary Prof., Carl Truman.

    And, each and every day you good “not in full communion with the Catholic Church” Brethren come here and try to do what Dr. Truman suggests at the end of his quote.

    You are at Old Life fighting against the default mode, which here in the West is Roman Catholicism.

    Carl Truman said:
    Carl Trueman: “Every year I tell my Reformation history class that Roman Catholicism is, at least in the West, the default position. Rome has a better claim to historical continuity and institutional unity than any Protestant denomination, let alone the strange hybrid that is evangelicalism; in the light of these facts, therefore, we need good, solid reasons for not being Catholic; not being a Catholic should, in others words, be a positive act of will and commitment, something we need to get out of bed determined to do each and every day.”
    ——————————————–

    Rev. Dr. Carl R. Trueman (PhD, Aberdeen) holds the Paul Woolley Chair of Church History and is professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary. He has written more than a dozen books, and is currently co-editing with Bruce Gordon the Oxford Handbook of Calvin and Calvinism due in 2017…

    Dr. Trueman is an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and is pastor of Cornerstone OPC in Ambler, PA.
    http://faculty.wts.edu/faculty/trueman/

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  123. Zrim, please read what I said again. Your response does not reflect what I actually said. Is there a specific point you would like to talk about with me?

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  124. Cletus,

    So your model of adjudication was not the NT model. And since you claim to follow the NT teaching as your ultimate standard, you should abandon it then.

    I follow the NT teaching on the post-apostolic church as my ultimate standard, and that standard doesn’t include any Apostles, as you agree since you also deny we have Apostles.

    Mathias was a successor classed as an apostle. Silas and Timothy were classed with apostolic authority:

    1 Thess: “Paul, Silas and Timothy,To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you… We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority…. And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”

    They are not classed as Apostles or identified as non-Apostles with Apostolic authority. They are called “Apostles.” Try again. There’s no such thing in the NT as a non-Apostle with Apostolic authority. There were more than just 12 Apostles even in the NT.

    Where does Scripture give you warrant to just cobble together the liturgy as you see fit? Sounds like a recipe for manmade tradition and strange fire.

    It doesn’t give me the warrant to “cobble together the liturgy as I see fit.” It gives me warrant to use divine revelation to establish liturgy. I’m still waiting for the liturgy the Apostles wrote. It would be part of that stuff that never got written down that you can’t seem to find.

    What does this mean? Were all NT books written by an apostle?

    It means that any book written by an Apostle or published under Apostolic approval is by definition canonical.

    If they identified all canonical books, why are there different canons amongst professed believers and disputes on passages within books of those canons?

    SS wasn’t operative during the apostolic age, by definition. So any appeal to Scripture to support it is invalid and violates authorial intent.

    Once again, you don’t get the point of SS. The point of SS is that the Apostolic deposit alone is the standard for faith and practice. That we limit it to Scripture is a necessary consequence since no one can produce anything else taught by the Apostles.

    Where does Scripture state no more Apostles and prophets will arise?

    Where do Apostles and prophets arise when there is not new revelation being given?

    Protestants can’t even agree on cessationism vs continuationism in the context of the Spirit bestowing healing, prophecy, tongues.

    Apparently neither can Roman Catholicism. You’ve got your charismatics too.

    No just that that church authorities and tradition are inferior and not complementary to the canon.

    Authorities and tradition are not “inferior,” they just serve different purposes. If that makes them inferior, then your Magisterium is inferior since it is not divine revelation but Scripture is.

    Which is identified by those same authorities. So it’s sawing off the branch you sit on.

    That might be true if the canon was identified exclusively by those authorities or if those authorities were the final reason we accept what is canonical as canonical, but it’s not. We’re not Roman Catholics.

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  125. Ariel, I believe it does. I’m not sure why you’re hedging.

    Still, while Truman has a point about defaults, I’ve never quite understood why “we need good, solid reasons for not being Catholic.” Because Cat’ism is the default for western Christianity? So? Fundamentalist is the default setting for the Bible belt. Do Prots in the Bible belt “need good, solid reasons for not being Fundamentalists”? Mormonism is the default in Utah. Same question. One can’t help but wonder is such a charge is to play into the superiority complex in the first place. And to watch you guys, it’s a completely losing (rigged?) battle.

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  126. @Zrim, thx for the chart, and yes, it is a complicated history. I know where I am today, firmly in the middle of the admixture (to use your term) known as the eeee-world with sympathies with (some of) the curmudgeon reformed world, content that “church” consists of both the global invisible community of true believers and local, visible incarnations of such (be they denominational or nondenom). Your comment is the first time, however, I’ve heard anyone say the eeee-world is outside of Protestantism. TKNY probably needs to be enlightened on that point, too, don’t you think?

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  127. mrswebfoot says: they are already Christians because of baptism

    mrsw, please. just a reminder: A Christian, aka, a child of God, is so because of this: Jhn 1:12, one who 1Pe 1:23, and this person is 1Co 12:27. source:Jesus

    Carry on with who is better than who.

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  128. Petros, the wonder working power of modernity. But would pre-moderns like Calvin (Prot) and Simons (AB) know what to do with eeeevangelicalism? When it includes everything from Hinn to Sproul, neither would recognize it as their own. Does it help to say eeeevangelicalism is outside Anabaptism? Or how about one foot in both camps?

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  129. @zrim, “the wonder working power of modernity”….amen on that! I wouldn’t want to turn the theological or sociological clock back to John C’s or Menno S’s day.

    Now, as an onlooker to the Cat-vs-Prot ecclesial debate on this thread (and hundreds of others), I would offer for consideration Roger Olson’s recent post: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2016/07/2-my-second-principle-only-i-can-decide-what-is-true-for-me/. At the end of the day, it seems to me, each individual is accountable before God for their own decisions/choices…about His Son first/foremost, and then about any number of other matters. Ecclesial debates seem to devolve so much around “who gets to adjudicate truth for others, and how”. Yet, the notion that any earthly institution can impose/decide ‘truth’ for another individual’s conscience seems intrinsically erroneous and practically futile. Better some splinter groups with people of conscience, than fake uniformity-in-name-only.

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  130. “When different believers or professed believers disagree on the identification of God’s Word, is there any authority to adjudicate between the disagreements and make a definitive and binding judgment?
    If different believers or professed believers disagree on whether the other is recognizing truth, is there any authority to adjudicate the disagreement with a definitive and binding judgment to correct the errant party?
    – God.
    Okay, and does God communicate and transmit this adjudication? If so, how?
    – Yes. His sheep know his voice. By the holy spirit. ”

    So when believers continue to disagree, one or both sides are not His sheep. Since otherwise they would know His voice and thus know the adjudication. So when believers disagree, they should charge the other side with not being sheep and having the spirit? Can you tell me how this method of adjudication differs from bosom-burning and subjectivism? Is this the model we see in the NT?

    Depends on the issue I suppose. Of course abiding sin comes into play here. The big difference between between Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles is that their authority was established on the basis of the miracles they performed. For those of us that don’t get to see those, we have the word. Those who come post-apostles are in a different position than those who were around when the apostles were around.

    “I added back the part you cut out. I reject the assertion that scripture is pricipally other than the written word.”

    The cutting out was not meant to distort, it was meant to focus on the issue of “dead letter” since obviously you disagree with the RCC’s role in reading Scripture. Do you agree or disagree that “Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written.” If it is not read in such a manner, is it reduced to a dead letter?

    If it is read with eyes of faith (those enlightened by the holy spirit whose heart of stone has been replaced with a heart of flesh), then the word is living and active. The means by which the spirit works varies.

    “Why do you regard your PCA church having authority over you but not the Methodist or LCMS or PCUSA church?”
    – They do. They could bar me from their table and I would respect their choice and take that seriously.”

    Do the Mormon, RC, EO, Joel Osteen churches have authority over you as well? Maybe the easier question is, does any church not have authority over you? If you respect and submit to their barring of you from the table by virtue of their authority, on what grounds to you not also respect and submit to their interpretation, teaching, and judgments of Scripture by virtue of their authority?

    When it comes to their table/rites, I respect their authority. I would never attempt to get married in a mormon temple or take communion at an RC/EO church. No idea what authority means in the case of Joel. I reject their judgments of scripture because they are demonstrably wrong. You disagree in the case of the RCs. I get it. We’ll each get a chance to answer to our maker for the conclusions we’ve drawn from the data.

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  131. SDB,

    The standard RC answer on miracles is “we have miracles to prove it.” Funny thing is that there’s a difference between resurrection and floating axe heads and bread in the shape of Mary or a relic’s blood becoming partially liquefied when the pope holds it (sometimes).

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  132. Petros, I think your Anabaptist is showing–the elevation of the individual conscience. But God ordained a church and he gave her undershepherds the keys of the kingdom, the power to bind and loose on heaven and earth, to make disciples. That’s in the Bible. Were the church “an earthly institution,” you’d have a point, but she’s a heavenly one and her members are not free to choose what is truth for themselves. They are accountable to Christ and his undershepherds. It’s true that true faith ought not come at the point of the sword but the power of the Spirit alone (2k alert), but that hardly means the flock of God may claim conscience to God himself.

    Careful, you’re giving Ariel fuel.

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  133. Susan Vader says: Guadalupe.

    Susan,

    Pope John Paul II et al say: the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church

    Jesus says: 1) there will be ‘signs & wonders’ (Rev13:14; 2 Thess 2:9); 2) His word is truth/any contradiction to it is not truth (Isa 8:20); 3) be on guard (2 Cor 11:14-15; Matt 24:24)

    Please study it carefully – remedies for the world are not the rosary or devotion to the ‘immaculate heart of mary’; there is no call for personal reparation/penance nor bowing down/venerating/devotion to images

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  134. Robert,

    “I follow the NT teaching on the post-apostolic church as my ultimate standard”

    Where is the NT teaching that the degree of authority of the apostolic church ceased (or would cease) with the death of the last apostle? The purported shift to SS and loss of apostolic authority in the NT church and amongst its leaders is completely absent in the NT. So by your own standard, you should abandon it.

    “They are called “Apostles.” Try again.”

    Those who were ordained by apostles – such as Timothy, Mathias, the 7 in Acts 6, Titus, and so on – had full apostolic authority. And they are commanded to appoint successors in the same fashion. There is no indication they or those they appoint will lack apostolic authority, even as they are not inspired or living eyewitnesses of Christ. That authority was exercised in spreading and founding the churches.

    “It gives me warrant to use divine revelation to establish liturgy. I’m still waiting for the liturgy the Apostles wrote.”

    So the Apostles didn’t give you a liturgy. Yet you feel free to establish a liturgy based on what seems best to you. Did good intentions save Uzzah with the ark, or did God punish him for being irreverent?

    “It means that any book written by an Apostle or published under Apostolic approval is by definition canonical.”

    Yes, that doesn’t mean any book written by an Apostle or published under Apostolic approval identifies itself as apostolic (“The Apostles identify a book as canonical as soon as it is written.”) Which is why I asked, If they identified all canonical books, why are there different canons amongst professed believers and disputes on passages within books of those canons?

    “That we limit it to Scripture is a necessary consequence”

    No, it’s not a necessary consequence. That is a non-sequitur. I’m asking where Scripture teaches SS since you claim all doctrine is to be tested against Scripture as the sole infallible authority. You appeal to a verse. But SS wasn’t operative during the apostolic age, by definition. So any appeal to Scripture to support it is invalid and violates authorial intent.

    “Where do Apostles and prophets arise when there is not new revelation being given?”

    And this presupposes that there is no new revelation being given and it was closed with the death of John. Which you haven’t demonstrated from Scripture.

    “Authorities and tradition are not “inferior,” they just serve different purposes. ”

    Is tradition and ecclesial authority parallel and complementary to Scriptural authority? Or do you test all tradition and ecclesial authority by your interpretation of Scripture? The identified canon is reformable in your system. All tradition and ecclesial authority is reformable and to be tested against it. So the reformable is reformed by the reformable.

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