Obedience Girl

Wesleyans aren’t the only ones to promote perfectionism:

Following Jesus is a serious task, and, at the same time, one filled with joy; it takes a certain daring and courage to recognize the divine Master in the poorest of the poor and those who are cast aside, and to give oneself in their service. In order to do so, volunteers, who out of love of Jesus serve the poor and the needy, do not expect any thanks or recompense; rather they renounce all this because they have discovered true love. And each one of us can say: “Just as the Lord has come to meet me and has stooped down to my level in my hour of need, so too do I go to meet him, bending low before those who have lost faith or who live as though God did not exist, before young people without values or ideals, before families in crisis, before the ill and the imprisoned, before refugees and immigrants, before the weak and defenceless in body and spirit, before abandoned children, before the elderly who are on their own. Wherever someone is reaching out, asking for a helping hand in order to get up, this is where our presence – and the presence of the Church which sustains and offers hope – must be”. And I do this, keeping alive the memory of those times when the Lord’s hand reached out to me when I was in need.

Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded. She was committed to defending life, ceaselessly proclaiming that “the unborn are the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable”. She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity; she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime – the crimes! – of poverty they created. For Mother Teresa, mercy was the “salt” which gave flavour to her work, it was the “light” which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.

But did she trust Jesus as her savior from sin?

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447 thoughts on “Obedience Girl

  1. She had to have trusted Him as Saviour.

    Maybe not to the same demands of endless and pointless hairsplitting that certain denominations pride themselves on.

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  2. There are two kingdoms; the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world or Satan/sin.
    Jesus didn’t chide people like the bad Pharisees( the good ones like Nicodemus …) for being too loving, but for thinking that they were saved just by being Jews who were given revelation that held the information concerning the promised Messiah, the ceremonial laws( types) and the history of God’s dealings with those who love him and obey him or don’t( City of God vs. City of the world.
    You shall know them by their love.
    St. Mother Teresa is a beautiful icon of God’s love.

    Pray for us, St Mother Teresa.

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  3. Susan, did Mother T trust Christ to die for her sins? Was she a model of that?

    If Aquinas had written a tribute to her, I’m betting he’d have worked in Christ and the cross.

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  4. “Susan, did Mother T trust Christ to die for her sins? Was she a model of that?”

    Did she believe that Jesus died for her ( and every human beings) sins? Did she trust that that one time event actually happened? Of course! That doesn’t get missed when you’re a Catholic.
    How would she model it? Through sacrificial ( self emptying) love and carrying the cross, daily? Col. 1:24

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  5. amen DG; morning Susan; gotta go too, you too have a good day, but had to add….interesting article linked; clarifications to these :

    -“May this tireless worker of mercy help us increasingly to understand that our only criterion for action is gratuitous love, free from every ideology and all obligations”
    -“The specific charism of the Congregation is to satisfy the infinite thirst of Jesus for love and for souls by working for the salvation and the sanctification of the poorest of the poor.”
    -From heaven she continues to “kindle a light for those living in darkness here on earth.”
    -For the honour of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother Bishops, we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a Saint and we enroll her among the Saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole Church. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

    -per Jesus, believers actions are never ‘free from every ideology’ – because whatever(believers) do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Col 3:17
    -per Jesus, believers don’t ‘work for’ the salvation and sanctification of another and Jesus is not the thirsty one –He is the thirst quencher, we are the thirsty ones, and He says “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. Rev 21:6
    -so you see from the above, there is no ‘kindling of lights by Theresa from heaven’- God alone does
    -per Jesus, God alone ‘enrolls’ a person in heaven- the church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven Heb 12:23
    -per Jesus, every believer is a saint the day they become a believer.- to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus,saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: 1 Cor 1:2
    -per Jesus, ‘veneration’ (and who hasn’t seen Catholics bow down to and give exaggerated acclaim to Mary,other statues, ‘saints’) belongs to God alone…
    ..Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God.Rev 19:10
    …But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.” Rev 22:9

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  6. Between us and God there is an infinite distance. Just so you know that “I know” 🙂
    However, to add and clarify, here’s a great article.

    “Everything that we do in this life has meaning. Every word that we say, every thought, every deed, every choice. Why? Because it makes a difference in the long-run, i.e. for eternity. And it is precisely the Judgment that makes this so, because at the Judgment everything is eternally brought to light.19 If there were no Judgment, there would be no meaning to the choices we make every day, because it would not ultimately matter what we did, whether good or evil.20 Likewise, not only does everything we do have meaning, every thing that we do out of loving obedience to God increases the perfect happiness that we will have in beholding God in the Beatific Vision. Every day is an opportunity, among the limited opportunity that is our short life on earth, to serve God in loving sacrifice and obedience. Every day is a gift from God to participate in the preparation of our own eternal state, by giving ourselves to God freely and lovingly. In this way the Eternal Life manifested in the gospel makes every choice and decision in our present life eternally meaningful. The Gospel not only saves us from hell by opening to us the perfect happiness of the Beatific Vision; through the gospel our every choice and every sacrifice have eternal significance.”

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/07/the-gospel-and-the-meaning-of-life/

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  7. Anjeze did not trust in Christ, nor in the Gospel,and her message was not one of salvation from sin by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ, but in her own works righteousness. Her so called grace, mercy, kindness, etc. was according to the traditions of men. One thing for certain, she made up her own version of the Roman church.

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  8. Susan, what do you think of this:

    In her book, “Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers,” she says:

    “We never try to convert those who receive [aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.” (Pages 81-82)

    In an interview with Christian News a nun who worked with Mother Teresa was asked the following in regards to the Hindus they worked with, “These people are waiting to die. What are you telling them to prepare them for death and eternity?” She replied candidly, “We tell them to pray to their Bhagwan, to their gods.”

    In an interview with Christian News a nun who worked with Mother Teresa was asked the following in regards to the Hindus they worked with, “These people are waiting to die. What are you telling them to prepare them for death and eternity?” She replied candidly, “We tell them to pray to their Bhagwan, to their gods.”

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  9. Steve,

    She was a Catholic, a missionary nun, do you think those people didn’t know that her God is Jesus Christ? We can’t convert through the use of force, and for some people, especially people older and/or related to you( ( I’ve been lovingly witnessing and telling my mother about Jesus since I was 18), or with whom you are very familiar( John 7:5), they can be slow to believe too. That doesn’t mean that that is the advice they give to all. If my mother was on her death bed, and was Hindu, she would know that I am a Christian and that I believe that Jesus died for her, but she may be so entrenched in her own religion that she can’t understand what mine means. Do you think that all the other nuns in Calcutta came from Europe or don’t you think they are converts?
    But when they meet Mother Teresa they, no doubt, meet the one who sent her.(“Whoever receives you receives me,* and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me Matt. 10:40).
    What do you say about the person who never heard about Jesus and never received a drink of cold water from a Christian, are they saved even thought they never heard?

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  10. Susan, “What do you say about the person who never heard about Jesus”?

    Heard of Paul?

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:18-27 ESV)

    If you were this charitable with Protestantism as you are with Roman Catholicism, you’d still be a Protestant.

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  11. Revelation 5:8 ” And when the Lamb had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints…”

    Is “sainthood” the functional equivalent of enough indulgences to get out of purgatory in order to go the good place? I guess it’s not bad for business unless you do it too often.

    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2013/04/mother-teresa-and-her-critics

    A Harvard University study suggests both an uptick in saint-making and a larger portion of new saints coming from outside Western Europe, thanks to increasing competition for worshipers around the world from Protestant religions. Sainthood is quite an exclusive club for American Catholics. .. The pope canonized Junipero Serra, who spread Catholicism in modern-day California. Declaring a saint means that the Catholic Church recognizes that a person has made it to heaven and can intercede for those on earth.

    Romans 6:20 ”For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those thing is death”

    Luke 16:15 That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God.

    Being set apart by God for God is not the same thing as being “moral”. Morality is not “sanctification” because those who are not yet justified before God by Christ’s death are not yet sanctified. The Bible teaches a distinction between “dead works” (works done with unacceptable motives, like gaining sainthood) and “fruit unto God” (works that are a result of sanctification).

    Hebrews 12: 17″For you know that later, when Esau wanted to inherit the blessing, Esau was rejected because he didn’t find any opportunity for repentance, though Esau sought repentance with tears 18 For you HAVE COM … to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels in festive gathering, 23 to the assembly of the firstborn whose NAMES have been WRITTEN in heaven, to God who is the Judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, 24 to Jesus (mediator of a new covenant), and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel.”

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  12. What about Mo’ Teresa’s rumored exorcism at the turn of the Century? Never did understand the need for that (or the reasons why) for someone destined for sainthood.

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  13. Susan, but when she’s advocating other gods to them wouldn’t they be at best confused, at worst misled? One could rely on her reputation only so long until she with her own mouth says there are various ways to God and other gods (contrary to the mouth of God himself). For a tradition so fond of saying it’s the only game in town, sure is strange for one of its modern beatified to advocate so explicitly for syncretism and for an adherent to dance so much around it. Is the triune God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the only God and Jesus his only begotten son, or only kinda sorta?

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  14. Susan says:Between us and God there is an infinite distance. Just so you know that “I know” However, to add and clarify, here’s a great article

    not sure what you are wanting us to know you know Susan?
    Read the whole article -it was long -but interesting – and some good points -the gospel does go to the very heart of our human existence here and now; only God alone can satisfy the will of man; Satan and Adam and Eve were tempted because they wanted to be as God; nothing short of union with God will truly satisfy ; We cannot desire anything more than God, because there is not and cannot be any good that is not found in God. God made man to be with Him in perfect happiness forever.

    A couple of things I noticed though -in the whole article ‘faith’ is never mentioned once and ‘believe’ and ‘trust’ only once. But the Lord says- or whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4

    The author asks the question -How exactly do we pass the test? (of life). Again, see above .Answer-hold faith. He ended with thequote -This is what St. Augustine means when he says “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

    More strongly, God says we are LOST until we rest in Him…
    … Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest.10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
    11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience
    14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
    16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb 4…

    the above meaning… we must fully trust in Him/His promises and to “make every effort to enter that rest” is choosing , to completely trust and depend on Him alone and to yield to Him and His promises….
    …. so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Eph 2:7-8

    and ps.re :trust in His promises – the article says
    “So how do we receive sanctifying grace? Through Baptism, and subsequently through the Eucharist and the other five sacraments.”

    God promises :by the pure milk of the word you may grow in respect to salvation, (1 Peter 2:2); and He promises in humility receive the word implanted which is able to save your souls ( James 1:21); and He promises those who have heard and have the word taken away from their heart- they will not believe and be saved. (Luke 8:12)etc. etc.
    See the theme – His word – so, to exclude that primary means is not believing His promises. So you might tell your people to add it to your sacrament scheme.

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  15. Hi Ali,

    Thank you for reading the whole article.

    What I wanted you to know that I know is that since there is infinite difference between us and God, no man is worthy of worship. Man is worthy of honor if he is godly. I still admire Elizabeth Eliot and her late, first husband, Jim. He inspired me to believe that it meritorious to give one’s life for a friend for the same of the gospel; ” He is no cool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” Ever read, “Through Gates of Splendor”? It’s a great story of saints.
    I ask him to pray for me.

    As for telling my community to believe that God’s word is the vehicle to faith; well, all the rest in that article presupposes that one has faith. Faith comes by hearing what God has spoken. God has spoken and he wants our trust and our obedience. I mean, we have to grow in the spiritual life, just like we have growth during our physical life. Every sacrament corresponds with the aspects of our emotional, intellectual physical life and gives us graces to grow and increase our faith during these times.
    To sum up, we can’t mechanically receive the sacraments to be saved, we have to believe in Jesus first of all, and that they come from God, and that he nourishes us through them.

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  16. Susan, “God has spoken and he wants our trust and our obedience.”

    Exactly. And God said nothing about infallible bishops or even episcopacy. Not even good and necessary consequence will get you there. Only the word of man will. (Cue James Young who thinks the magisterium is like special revelation but not.)

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  17. Susan says:Man is worthy of honor if he is godly. He inspired me to believe that it meritorious to give one’s life for a friend for the same of the gospel;

    Susan, meritorious? mer·i·to·ri·ous :deserving reward or praise

    -Jesus: So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” Luke 17:10)
    -Though it is true: without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.Heb 11:6
    -But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Gal 6:14

    Susan say: Every sacrament corresponds with the aspects of our emotional, intellectual physical life and gives us graces to grow and increase our faith during these times.

    Again, the point was that the Lord says that (feeding on) the word is a (the?) primary means of growth.
    Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the Lord’s mouth.

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  18. Darryl,

    “And God said nothing about infallible bishops or even episcopacy”

    God did say that the Church would be led by the spirit and if led by the spirit what it teaches has to be true as compared with whatever is posing as truth out there in the world.
    Why don’t you ever compare teaching content- doctrine, dogma about morals and the sacraments rather than pound the table that infallibility is impossible? You believe that Luther and Calvin were right-while they disagreed with each other-( which means one or both was mistaken).
    You don’t have infallibilty? ; well,neither do Lutherans.
    Jesus gave us a church and a church entails hierarchy just like every other collective unit of society. And if Jesus gave it and it has the spirit than what she speaks, is truth without possibility of error.
    But, we’ve been down this meandering road before.
    Have a good day.

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  19. Susan,

    God did say that the Church would be led by the spirit and if led by the spirit what it teaches has to be true as compared with whatever is posing as truth out there in the world.

    The HS led the OT church as well, and the OT church as a whole rejected Christ. Leading and following are two different things. I’m still waiting to see where Christ promised the NT church would follow the Spirit infallibly, which is really what you guys are after.

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  20. Susan, and you believe that Vatican I and Vatican II were right but don’t notice they disagree with each other.

    You haven’t found a way out of the problems of living in this world. I know you think you have. But you are naive about Roman Catholicism.

    Just trust Jesus and find a church that preaches the gospel.

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  21. I remember soon after MT’s death reading the book by her Father Confessor, Father Brian Kolodiejchuk. ( http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/118056/mother-teresa-by-mother-teresa/9780307589231/ ). My immodest but immediate response was that his actions in the confessional were awful, bordering on denying her grace. In the midst of her “dark nights of the soul”, he basically told her to double down on the work she was doing as it was a good work. A more evangelical response would have been to absolve her worry and proclaim the love and work of Christ to her. Now he was dealing with a woman who had this incredible personal revelation story early in her life and who was bearing fruit in remarkable fashion, but being a Lutheran I couldn’t help but hear Luther’s anfechtung being met with pure law and wondering if anyone had ever simply told her, “Jesus loves you”. But I’m a fat comfortable American and she is St. Teresa of Calcutta.

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  22. Hey Robert,

    “The HS led the OT church as well, and the OT church as a whole rejected Christ. ”

    No they didn’t. Some understood that Jesus was the Messiah. All of the apostles were circumcised and therefore of the church.
    But not all circumcised Jews had circumsion of the heart.

    “Leading and following are two different things.”

    Yes, they are. And we can resist grace and therefore not follow the leading.

    ” I’m still waiting to see where Christ promised the NT church would follow the Spirit infallibly, which is really what you guys are after.

    We both agree that the Spirit leads infallibly. Is it infallibly so that Jesus is the second person of the trinity, or is this provisional thought( I can’t say “knowledge” when “to know” is to grasp the essence).
    Do you believe that every proposition is provisional?
    Neither science not philosophy can prove Jesus is God, but it is a infallible rule of faith. I could go on.
    But again, we’ve covered this before.
    I couldn’t go to a church
    where what was understood of the Eucharist was provisional, but it was infallibly true that you could sin( commit adultery 1000 x’s a day) gravely and go to heaven by believing in forensic justification.
    True faith is circumsion of the heart.
    Abraham’s faith was faith in God who challenged and tested him and thereby grew him. When God looked at Abraham at the end of his 175 years, He reckoned that he actually was righteous. Faith alone is not in the bible.

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  23. Susan,

    No they didn’t. Some understood that Jesus was the Messiah. All of the apostles were circumcised and therefore of the church.
    But not all circumcised Jews had circumsion of the heart.

    You are conflating things. You don’t have to be circumcised in heart in order to be a member of the church even in Roman Catholicism. Lots of people who are part of the RCC are going to hell.

    The majority of the OT church rejected Christ. That’s plain from the NT. Christianity received a much greater hearing among the Gentiles and still does. Very few Jewish converts then and now.

    So you have the reality that the HS guided the OT church but most of the OT church rejected Christ.

    We both agree that the Spirit leads infallibly. Is it infallibly so that Jesus is the second person of the trinity, or is this provisional thought( I can’t say “knowledge” when “to know” is to grasp the essence).
    Do you believe that every proposition is provisional?

    I believe that all aspects of human knowledge are fallible. It’s a consequence of being a creature. The only way out of it is to become God.

    I couldn’t go to a church
    where what was understood of the Eucharist was provisional, but it was infallibly true that you could sin( commit adultery 1000 x’s a day) gravely and go to heaven by believing in forensic justification.

    Why? I mean that might be a nice thought or something, but it isn’t at all clear to me why you couldn’t go to a church that had a provisional understanding of the Eucharist but infallibly believes in forensic justification. Just seems to me like you are telling me your preference.

    I sense a lot of that here with you and Mermaid. It’s all about the Eucharist. Get the Eucharist right as the sine qua non of Christianity and not much else matters. It’s a very RC thing, so I get it. But not sure why you all think it will be convincing to Protestants.

    Abraham’s faith was faith in God who challenged and tested him and thereby grew him.

    Sure.

    When God looked at Abraham at the end of his 175 years, He reckoned that he actually was righteous. Faith alone is not in the bible.

    Being justified by love isn’t in the Bible. God declaring sinners righteous is. There’s absolutely nothing about justification = infusion. It’s all based on poor Greek metaphysics read back into Scripture in order to justify an anti-Protestant position that was acceptable up until Trent.

    But I don’t deny that Abraham actually was righteous, nor do I deny that Christians are actually righteous. The question is whether the actual righteousness of Christians is enough to satisfy God on the final day. If it were, you really can’t explain Romans 1–3. “No one is righteous, not even one” applies to everyone. It’s why Christ is necessary.

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  24. Mark,

    The thing is, priests give absolution for sins, not for worries.
    Going through a dark night means that you don’t experience any spiritual consolation. God sometimes removes the consolation so that we grope for him( Acts17:26-28)
    If you don’t give up that faith is meritorious and salvific.

    What if she just gave up the good she was doing because she didn’t sense God? She believed God exists and that she had a purpose.
    She wouldn’t be in the confessional if she didn’t have either faith or hope, or both.

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  25. I couldn’t go to a church where what was understood of the Eucharist was provisional, but it was infallibly true that you could sin (commit adultery 1000 x’s a day) gravely and go to heaven by believing in forensic justification.

    What a terrible misrepresentation of Reformed soteriology. Interesting to contrast your characterization with what the Heidelberg Catechism says,

    Q. But doesn’t this teaching make people indifferent and wicked?
    A. No. It is impossible for those grafted into Christ through true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude.

    Q. Since we have been delivered from our misery by grace through Christ without any merit of our own, why then should we do good works?
    A. Because Christ, having redeemed us by his blood, is also restoring us by his Spirit into his image, so that with our whole lives we may show that we are thankful to God for his benefits, so that he may be praised through us, so that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ.

    Q. Can those be saved who do not turn to God from their ungrateful and unrepentant ways?
    A. By no means. Scripture tells us that no unchaste person, no idolater, adulterer, thief, no covetous person, no drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Q. What is involved in genuine repentance?
    A. Two things: the dying-away of the old self, and the rising-to-life of the new.

    Q. What is the dying-away of the old self?
    A. To be genuinely sorry for sin and more and more to hate and run away from it.

    Q. What is the rising-to-life of the new self?
    A. Wholehearted joy in God through Christ and a love and delight to live according to the will of God by doing every kind of good work.

    Q. What are good works?
    A. Only those which are done out of true faith, conform to God’s law, and are done for God’s glory; and not those based on our own opinion or human tradition.

    I also find it interesting to contrast your claim that, “…we can resist grace and therefore not follow the [Holy Spirit’s] leading.” with what Jesus says,

    All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out…this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day….No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day….My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand…I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me.

    Since we are a love offering from the father to the son, does that mean our behavior is irrelevant? Of course, not,

    if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

    But what about those who leave the Christian faith? Aren’t the empirical evidence that one can resist the grace of the Holy Spirit? Of course not. It is evidence that they never had true faith to begin with,

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

    So the fact that posers exist and eventually stop posing is not evidence that one can resist the grace of the Holy Spirit. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine how to square your claim with Jesus’s words.

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  26. Darryl,

    A MT post! I knew you wouldn’t disappoint.

    God said nothing about sola scriptura or perpetual private judgment reigning supreme. Not even good and necessary consequence will get you there. Only the word of man will. That was fun.

    Robert,

    I don’t recall OT promises like this:
    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
    “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
    “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
    “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you.”
    “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
    “He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
    “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”
    “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
    “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.”
    “just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    Zrim,

    Yeah MT clearly didn’t care much about Jesus – interview with Time in 89 – http://www.servelec.net/mothertheresa.htm

    “Time: What’s your greatest hope here in India?
    Mother Teresa: To give Jesus to all.
    Time: But you do not evangelize in the conventional sense of the term.
    Mother Teresa: I’m evangelizing by my works of love.
    Time: Is that the best way?
    Mother Teresa: For us, yes. For somebody else, something else. I’m evangelizing the way God wants me to. Jesus said go and preach to all the nations. We are now in so many nations preaching the Gospel by our works of love. “By the love that you have for one another will they know you are my disciples.” That’s the preaching that we are doing, and I think that is more real.
    Time: Friends of yours say that you are disappointed that your work has not brought more conversions in this great Hindu nation.
    Mother Teresa: Missionaries don’t think of that. They only want to proclaim the Word of God. Numbers have nothing to do with it. But the people are putting prayer into action by coming and serving the people. Continually people are coming to feed and serve, so many, you go and see. Everywhere people are helping. We don’t know the future. But the door is already open to Christ. There may not be a big conversion like that, but we don’t know what is happening in the soul.
    Time: What do you think of Hinduism?
    Mother Teresa: I love all religions, but I am in love with my own. No discussion. That’s what we have to prove to them. Seeing what I do, they realize that I am in love with Jesus.
    Time: And they should love Jesus too?
    Mother Teresa: Naturally, if they want peace, if they want joy, let them find Jesus. If people become better Hindus, better Moslems, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there. They come closer and closer to God. When they come closer, they have to choose. ”

    Odd that a Hindu nationalist group rep is concerned about conversions in India due to her canonization – indianexpress(DOT)com/article/india/india-news-india/mother-teresas-canonisation-portends-more-conversions-vhp/

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  27. Hi Robert:)

    I believe that faith matters because we can’t see God and I believe it works through love since we desire God who is our ultimate happiness and who is a person. The relationship is nuptial don’t you agree and love between spouses is what matters most.
    You can have a legal marriage but what we all want is to love and be loved.
    That’s what our relationship with God is suppose to be and the reason wjy marriage between husband and wife is the perfect analogy.

    As for circumcision. It’s what marked ths Hebrew people as belonging to the OT church. If you were circumcised it didn’t mean you can’t still sin or deny God, but it did mean you were in the community where the things said of God weren’t provisional. The neighboring people’s has some things right but they didn’t know what God had said only through revelation.
    Same with the Church and our world today.

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  28. Susan,

    I believe that faith matters because we can’t see God and I believe it works through love since we desire God who is our ultimate happiness and who is a person.

    I agree.

    The relationship is nuptial don’t you agree and love between spouses is what matters most.

    The love and the legal go together. Without the legality, there is no marriage. The legal, at least on the human level, sustains the relationship when the love is not perfect. Every marriage goes through periods where one or both do not love the other as they should. But that doesn’t mean an automatic divorce.

    From a theological standpoint, it looks like the marriage relationship between God and His people in the Roman Catholic system doesn’t rise even to the human level. The second one party doesn’t love the other like he should, divorce. Commit a mortal sin and God divorces you.

    Frankly, and it may just be because my understanding of RC marriage theology isn’t up to snuff, seeing marriage as a parallel to our relationship to God doesn’t make a whole lot of sense from a RC level.

    Humans can’t ever get a divorce in RCism, but God can divorce us for things that can’t ever rise to a divorceable offense on a human level. Earthly adultery isn’t a way out for RC marriages, but if humans commit spiritual adultery, God will divorce them in the RC system.

    The best you can hope for is an annulment, which essentially says there was never a true marriage there to begin with. But theologically, you can’t really have that in Roman Catholicism. You guys don’t really like it when Calvinism says that final apostasy is committed only by those who weren’t really married in the first place. So you can have an annulment on a human level, not a divine level and you can have divorce on a divine level and not a human level. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if the marriage parallel is supposed to work out so well. At least to me anyway.

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  29. CvD, who said she “didn’t care much for Jesus”? Not me. But the point is she cares not for Jesus alone but for Jesus and other gods. There’s that variant of faith plus works at play, Jesus plus others.

    Susan completely shuts down and doesn’t engage the point. But you provide even more evidence for MT’s syncretism:

    Naturally, if they want peace, if they want joy, let them find Jesus. If people become better Hindus, better Moslems, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there. They come closer and closer to God. When they come closer, they have to choose.”

    Like

  30. sdb,

    “Scripture tells us that no unchaste person, no idolater, adulterer, thief, no covetous person, no drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    Are the Reformed faithful sinning every second of their lives and will continue to do so until death? If so and those who stumble in one point are guilty of all (including the above sins), why will they inherit the kingdom of God while the above will not?

    “Q. What are good works?
    A. Only those which are done out of true faith, conform to God’s law, and are done for God’s glory”

    But all works of Reformed believers are defiled and tainted with sin – that is, they don’t conform to God’s law and strict standard. So do any Reformed perform good works?

    “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. ”

    Do any Reformed keep his commandments and walk in the way in which he walked? Or are they breaking commandments every second of their lives and thus showing they have not come to know him?

    “not evidence that one can resist the grace of the Holy Spirit.”

    When believers sin, are they resisting the grace of the Holy Spirit?

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  31. James Young,

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
    “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
    “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
    “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you.”
    “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
    “He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
    “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”
    “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
    “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.”
    “just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    Great. All that applies to my session. Welcome to the Presbyterian family.

    Like

  32. Hi sdb, ( and Robert since I am kind of answering your question about the Eucharist too)

    I’m a bit under the weather, so I won’t be responding any more.

    Let me be clear that I don’t think that Lutherans and Calvinists are consistant with their teachings.
    Look at what kind of crazy things Luther thought. He thought if your wife wouldn’t be , let’s say, nice, that you could be friendly with the maid.
    He thought you could commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day and it wouldn’t affect your eternal destiny.
    He said, “If I’m faith, adultery could be commited, it would be no sin”.
    So you see, that in consistent Lutheranism you can’t do anything contrary to the faith of you have faith.
    If you see your brother sinning a sin that leads to death, he can tell you that his soul isn’t in danger because he still has faith.
    If your daughter moved in with her boyfriend and sleeps with him, it’s okay ( even if you don’t like it)because she still comes to church, hears the word preached and takes communion.
    If there is a homosexual couple in your small congregation you don’t have to warn them of their sin because they still have faith and even honor the Lord’s Day.

    I knew beautiful pious souls( especially elderly Dutch) who were devoted to Christ in spite of the teachings of Luther and Calvin. I knew one sweet seventy- something “young”, kind, and feisty lady who would lovingly pick up any piece of bread that fell to the ground during communion. She was the only person in my Reformed community that did anything like this. I wondered where she got this Catholic concern, devotion, but more than that I wondered why this wasn’t being taught. In fact, her devotion was mocked. Not her personally, but the idea of such a unwarranted concern; not in her hearing, mind you, but through anecdotes of others with the same misguided devotion. The contradiction and the undermining began to erode my faith in Reformed theology. Watching and listening to this lady quote hymns through tears as she exalted Jesus as the church’s foundation, bolstered my faith when it was really waining.
    But, I had read the children’s book “Scottish Seas” by Doug Jones and while I knew that the characters in the book were written so as to extol the Reformation in Scotland as being” the right thing to do” since the Reformers are the ones who actually knew how a man is made just, I still couldn’t get it out of my mind that Presbyterianism was and is the established church of Scotland. There wasn’t enough Catholicism in it. So the descriptions in the book of rugged independence conveyed through wind swept cliffs and deafening surf actually evoked a more mystical supernatural longing that transcended sea, land and sky.
    That’s what my young at heart lady friend wanted too. Not justification By faith alone but the one who gives grace and makes us holy.
    By the way, I’m of Scottish descent, so I love the land, the nation, the people , but the religion can’t be confined to the nation or any nation.
    The church wasn’t built with human hands, even though it is made up of people and a hierarchy. You can go to any country and you’ll get local color but because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. ( 1 Cor.10:17)

    Robert,
    I don’t know if you will, but I hope you will listen to Feingold on the Eucharist.
    You can find it at the Association of Hebrew Catholics.
    You said that you don’t understand all of Catholic theology. Me neither:) !! But I so enjoy listening to him explain it.

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  33. Susan, no need to understand it all, that’s why Implicit Faith. But have you listened to Francis? How do you reject Luther(non-redemptive object) but tolerate Francis(trust in papal charism part and parcel of the RC faith)? Is it just because that’s what you signed on for? Do you want to compare the moral fiber of any number of popes with Luther’s? You can’t sell Protestantism as aberrant because of Luther or Calvin or name your protestant hero and then hold onto papal audacity. The papal moral corruption in the history of the roman church is voluminous.

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  34. Hi Robert,

    “Susan,

    Any citations for any of that?”

    I haven’t read even close to all of Luther, and so I would want to be careful not to take him out of context.
    On James Swan’s blog there is one of these quotes that was discussed where Luther said( or is said to have said) that Jesus must have commited fornication just because he was seen with women alone. I think that Luther is probably responding to dumb headed people who actually think Jesus would commit fornication.
    And there are other quotes that may or may not tell the truth of what Luther meant.
    The thing that bears pointing out though is that Luther didn’t teach that you could lose the hope of heaven by anything that we do, except not having faith.

    To see where I pulled some of those quotes, there’s a pdf on the web, “Martin Luther Quotes”.
    For sure, some are so outrageous they can’t be true.

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  35. ” Are the Reformed faithful sinning every second of their lives and will continue to do so until death?”
    Where is that in confessions?

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  36. Hi Sean,
    “Do you want to compare the moral fiber of any number of popes with Luther’s? You can’t sell Protestantism as aberrant because of Luther or Calvin or name your protestant hero and then hold onto papal audacity. The papal moral corruption in the history of the roman church is voluminous.”

    No.Well, no, not entirely. If a priest thinks and teaches that it’s good moral fiber to molest children though he doesn’t himself do it, I question his moral fiber.

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  37. Let me be clear that I don’t think that Lutherans and Calvinists are consistant with their teachings.
    Look at what kind of crazy things Luther thought. He thought if your wife wouldn’t be , let’s say, nice, that you could be friendly with the maid.

    Lutheranism is not the compilation of everything Luther believed nor is Calvinism the compilation of all Calvin believed. When one subscribes to the reformed confessions, one does not subscribe to the institutes much less every apocryphal whim that may or may not have crossed their mind. If you want to criticize reformation thought, then focus on the confessions. I’m sure you don’t want to defend Augustine’s view that women are not created in the image of God, Tertullian’s view that women are temples built on sewers, or JP2 covering for child rapists.

    So you see, that in consistent Lutheranism you can’t do anything contrary to the faith of you have faith.
    If you see your brother sinning a sin that leads to death, he can tell you that his soul isn’t in danger because he still has faith.
    If your daughter moved in with her boyfriend and sleeps with him, it’s okay ( even if you don’t like it)because she still comes to church, hears the word preached and takes communion.
    If there is a homosexual couple in your small congregation you don’t have to warn them of their sin because they still have faith and even honor the Lord’s Day.

    Slander is a mortal sin in your system. I presume you have secure sources? How is any of that consistent with the HC to which you claimed to adhere?

    I haven’t read even close to all of Luther, and so I would want to be careful not to take him out of context.

    Rich given your calumny.

    Curious that you have to use apocryphal quotes by Luther rather than answer the confessions that summarize the Christian faith. You’ll forgive my skepticism of your purported experiences in a reformed church.

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  38. Susan, you lost me. Are you impugning Luther, again, maybe erroneously or throwing stones at your new glass house? I’m just trying to understand how Rome was to be preferred to Protestantism based on documented moral turpitude, to borrow from the legal world. Speaking of which, there are/were so many priests engaged in criminal sexual misconduct that it became it’s own sociological phenomenon. The numbers you have to turn to statistically warrant your own category is no minor defect. That’s a lot of sexual deviance going on with a collar and a cassock.

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  39. sdb:
    Slander is a mortal sin in your system. I presume you have secure sources? How is any of that consistent with the HC to which you claimed to adhere?>>>

    I think this comment helps Susan’s case.

    You are, in effect, saying that slander is not sin for you, only for Catholics. How is this kind of argumentation consistent with your claim to be part of the elect?

    sdb:
    You’ll forgive my skepticism of your purported experiences in a reformed church.>>>>

    Here you are calling Susan a liar. Maybe you will be given repentance and faith if you ask. See how your comments really double back on you and help to prove Susan’s point?

    As long as you have faith, it doesn’t really matter what you do. You will always be part of the elect.

    Do you really believe that?

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  40. sdb,

    “Rich given your calumny.”
    Touche. And you have a reason to be peeved if Luther’s thought doesn’t lead to trouble.
    But did you ever consider that you don’t understand all of Catholicism and still slander it?

    “Curious that you have to use apocryphal quotes by Luther rather than answer the confessions that summarize the Christian faith. You’ll forgive my skepticism of your purported experiences in a reformed church.””

    They’re apocryphal only if they aren’t in the theology. And, sdb, you have ignored the main point of all that I’ve said.
    I don’t want to push, but would you mind answering me?
    Can a person who trusts that Jesus’s perfect righteousness is mputed to their account, do anything to send them to hell?

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  41. Sean,

    I’ve told you before that it’s horrible, twisted and sick for the abuse and the cover-up.
    Does the theology say that doing those things will not send a person to to hell? If those men don’t have complete repentance they won’t make it to heaven.

    In Lutheranism, after baptism, will unconfessed consensual sin hurt the outcome of one’s eternal state?

    That’s all I’m asking.

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  42. Sdb, Robert, Sean,

    If those quotes don’t represent what Luther thought and taught, I do apologize. It doesn’t help my case of I trot out a bunch of misquotes.

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  43. Susan says:
    September 6, 2016 at 9:38 pm
    Sdb, Robert, Sean,

    If those quotes don’t represent what Luther thought and taught, I do apologize. It doesn’t help my case of I trot out a bunch of misquotes.>>>>

    It’s hard to know all that Luther actually said. However, he said and did plenty that is indefensible. Let those who have followed him away from the Catholic Church defend him.

    His sins are no secret.

    Susan, for your own good, stay away from these guys. Just stay away. You are a sweet lady who loves God. Virtually no one listens to them anyway. They don’t even represent standard Reformed theology, and I think you realize that.

    I have NEVER heard any Christian say that we cannot be certain about the resurrection of Jesus Christ because there is a possibility that His body might be found.

    Have you ever heard that? That has not been retracted, either.

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  44. Susan,
    1) I’m no expert on the “Book of Concord”, but I know enough to know that not everything Martin Luther thought made it in. Similarly with Calvin and the TFU and Westminster standards. If you followed the thread on 2k, you’ll see that most of us here think Calvin was wrong about church and state. Further, a lot of what he taught (including stuff in the Institutes) didn’t make it into the confessions. If you want to criticize reformation thought, go for it! Answering such criticisms can make be an enlightening activity. Telling us what “Lutheranism” or “Calvinism” is really all about because you found a list of unsavory quotes is not dispositive. It is the same game anti-catholics play by quote mining unfortunate statements by various RCs.

    2) “But did you ever consider that you don’t understand all of Catholicism and still slander it?” How have I misrepresented anything about Catholicism here? If I have, I’ll happily stand corrected. I’m sure that there is much about the RCism that I don’t understand – canon law can be inscrutable! But I don’t think I have ever suggested that various apocryphal statements made by ECFs somehow reflect what RCism is really about.

    3) “They’re apocryphal only if they aren’t in the theology.” No. they are apocryphal if he didn’t actually say them. But even if he did say them, it says nothing about the system of doctrine that followed from some subset of his ideas. If you want to criticize Lutheranism, lay into Concord. If you want to criticize Reformed protestantism laying the TFU and Westminster standards.

    4) “I don’t want to push, but would you mind answering me? Can a person who trusts that Jesus’s perfect righteousness is imputed to their account, do anything to send them to hell?”
    I thought that answer was pretty clearly answered in the HC above. Perhaps the problem is the framing of your question. It is not too unlike asking if God can create something so heavy that he can’t lift it. Or maybe a better example is to answer the question, “Can an astronaut who orbited the Earth believe that it is flat?”. I’m pretty sure that once that experience is impressed upon her, she couldn’t believe in the flatness of the Earth if her life depended on it. We aren’t free to form any old beliefs.

    The short answer to your question is no – God will not allow someone who truly trusts him to sin and not be brought to repentance. That isn’t to say that there aren’t people who *say* they trust Christ and then fall away, but John tells us that such people were never truly among the elect to begin with.

    I think the fifth section of the Canons of Dort is really helpful in clearly describing what the reformed believe about the perseverance of the saints. This is the long answer, but if you want to criticize what Calvinists believe about the perseverance of the saints, this is a pretty good place to start:

    1. Those people whom God according to his purpose calls into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord and regenerates by the Holy Spirit, God also sets free from the dominion and slavery of sin, though not entirely from the flesh and from the body of sin as long as they are in this life.

    2. Hence daily sins of weakness arise, and blemishes cling to even the best works of saints, giving them continual cause to humble themselves before God…and to strain toward the goal of perfection, until they are freed from this body of death…

    3. Because of these remnants of sin dwelling in them…those who have been converted could not remain standing in this grace if left to their own resources. But God is faithful, mercifully strengthening them in the grace once conferred on them and powerfully preserving them in it to the end.

    4. …those converted are not always so activated and motivated by God that in certain specific actions they cannot by their own fault depart from the leading of grace, be led astray by the desires of the flesh, and give in to them. For this reason they must constantly watch and pray that they may not be led into temptations. When they fail to do this, not only can they be carried away…into sins, even serious and outrageous ones…

    5. By such monstrous sins, however, they greatly offend God, deserve the sentence of death, grieve the Holy Spirit, suspend the exercise of faith, severely wound the conscience, and sometimes lose the awareness of grace for a time—until, after they have returned to the right way by genuine repentance, God’s fatherly face again shines upon them.

    6. For God…does not take the Holy Spirit from his own completely, even when they fall grievously. Neither does God let them fall down so far that they forfeit the grace of adoption and the state of justification, or commit the sin which leads to death (the sin against the Holy Spirit), and plunge themselves, entirely forsaken by God, into eternal ruin.

    7. …by his Word and Spirit God certainly and effectively renews them to repentance so that they have a heartfelt and godly sorrow for the sins they have committed; seek and obtain, through faith and with a contrite heart, forgiveness…and from then on more eagerly work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

    8. …it is not by their own merits or strength but by God’s undeserved mercy that they neither forfeit faith and grace totally nor remain in their downfalls to the end and are lost….

    10. …assurance [derives] from faith in the promises of God, from the testimony of “the Holy Spirit testifying with our spirit that we are God’s children and heirs” (Rom. 8:16-17), and finally from a serious and holy pursuit of a clear conscience and of good works.

    In short, we all sin – everything we do is to some degree imperfect, but of course not all sins are equal. Sometimes we don’t just stumble, but we commit outrageous sins in rebellion against God. But in the end, the elect cannot resist his grace and we are brought around to genuine repentance. Those who claim to have trusted Christ for their salvation, but go on sinning without repentance should not have any assurance of their salvation. Indeed, people who walk in rebellion are not truly saved. While our justification is by faith alone, that faith is never alone.

    Does that answer you question?

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  45. sdb:
    Those who claim to have trusted Christ for their salvation, but go on sinning without repentance should not have any assurance of their salvation. >>>

    In your system, you can’t know with certainty that you are elect. You can’t know anything with certainty, especially that you, sdb, are elect. You have no way of knowing since in your Calvinism, only God knows who are His.

    You don’t know. What if God has elected only Papists, Pietists, and Pentecostals? You have nothing to say about it.

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  46. Mermaid, “In your system, you can’t know with certainty that you are elect. You can’t know anything with certainty, especially that you, sdb, are elect. You have no way of knowing since in your Calvinism, only God knows who are His.”

    Make it stop!

    You don’t know if your saved. I do.

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  47. D.G. Hart:Make it stop!

    You don’t know if your saved. I do.>>>>

    You do not know you are saved, Brother Hart. Your religion does not give you that kind of certitude.

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  48. Mermaid, bull bleep. My sins are forgiven. You’re aren’t (because you don’t know when you’ll commit them and whether you get to the confessional in time).

    Sorry, but your bloviating is well nigh remarkable. But if fits the Yankees’ fans profile.

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  49. Aw, now you stooped to insults, Brother Hart, which shows you are not as convinced in your own mind as you let on.

    Every day you have to come here and resist the default mode of Western Christianity. I understand. No offense taken.

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  50. sdb,
    “Are the Reformed faithful sinning every second of their lives and will continue to do so until death?”
    Where is that in confessions?”

    WCF: “This sanctification is throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life: there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

    We can not, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, because of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they can not endure the severity of God’s judgment.

    Yet notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him, not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

    As there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.”

    WLC:
    “Q. 149. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
    A. No man is able, either of himself, or by any grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.”

    Heidelberg Catechism:
    “62. But why cannot our good works be the whole, or part of our righteousness before God?
    Answer: Because, that the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect, (a) and in all respects conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.

    113. What does the tenth commandment require of us?
    Answer: That even the smallest inclination or thought, contrary to any of God’s commandments, never rise in our hearts; but that at all times we hate all sin with our whole heart, and delight in all righteousness.

    115. Why then does God so strictly enjoin the ten Commandments upon us, since in this life no one can keep them?
    First, that as long as we live we may learn more and more to know our sinful nature, and so the more earnestly seek forgiveness of sins and righteousness in Christ”

    Calvin’s Catechism of the Church of Geneva:
    “Q121 But after we have once been embraced by God, are not the works which we do under the direction of his Holy Spirit accepted by him?
    They please him, not however in virtue of their own worthiness, but as he liberally honours them with his favour.

    Q122 But seeing they proceed from the Holy Spirit, do they not merit favour?
    They are always mixed up with some defilement from the weakness of the flesh, and thereby vitiated.

    Q123 Whence then or how can it be that they please God?
    It is faith alone which procures favour for them, as we rest with assured confidence on this — that God wills not to try them by his strict rule, but covering their defects and impurities as buried in the purity of Christ, he regards them in the same light as if they were absolutely perfect.”

    Scottish Confession of Faith
    “For God the Father, beholding us in the body of his Son Christ Jesus, accepts our imperfect obedience, as it were perfect, and covers our works, which are defiled with many spots, with the justice of his Son.”

    Belgic Confession
    “Moreover, although we do good works we do not base our salvation on them; for we cannot do any work that is not defiled by our flesh and also worthy of punishment.”

    Synod of Dordt
    “blemishes cling to even the best works of God’s people”

    Irish Articles of Religion
    “The regenerate can not fulfill the law of God perfectly in this life. For in many things we offend all; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

    Not sure why this is controversial. RS Clark: “The notion that the law continues to have a pedagogical function even for Christians is not a distinctively Lutheran view. It is what the Reformed Churches confess.”
    Tullian’s analysis of the Good Samaritan – http://www.thespiritlife.net/facets/exchanged/71-holistic/holistic-reflection/3957-who-is-the-good-samaritan-by-tullian-tchividjian . Examples could be multiplied.

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  51. Brother Hart, don’t you remember your epistemology? You do not know with certitude that you are among the elect.

    What you may have is what all Christians have – the hope of eternal life. Reaching the goal is contingent on holding true and not shrinking back. Paul saw that there was a possibility of his own disqualification.

    How could he fear disqualification if he had the kind of assurance that you boast of?

    1 Corinthians 9
    24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
    25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
    26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
    27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control,[b] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

    Phil. 3
    12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
    13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
    14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
    15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
    16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

    Hebrews 10

    36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

    “Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
    38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
    my soul has no pleasure in him.”
    39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

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  52. Mrs. Webfoot,

    The warnings in the bible are superflous for everyone, by the Protestant system. That’s the problem. Pulling someone back from the brink of hell is a fool’s errand. If your think you’re of the elect, that makes one of the elect. If you doubt your election because of your sin, you simply remember your election. Rather than sin being a sign that all is not well, so as to send you back to God, it can make you wonder if you are of the elect( especially if your sin is very grave). The only reason a person who is sinning( and loses charity)doesn’t despair is that they still retain faith( one of the other theological virtues). So they have faith but it’s dead being that they don’t have charity.

    But they can’t regain charity unless they respond again to actual grace and repent. This is why we aren’t happy if we see our children or friends sin. We know that more is going on than only messing up their earthy lives and families. If there was no such thing as justice we wouldn’t worry about our friend who had an affair or our son who is addicted to drugs.

    If anyone loses faith, like I did, they lose love too, but not hope( Thank God!) If we lose charity til the end though, we lose the beatific vision( seeing God face to face).
    I never had these words parsed out to me when I was Protestant.
    If I had given up that there was one coherent Christian religion, I would have had to walk away agnostic.

    The thing I think we are both trying to say to the fellas here is that there has to be more than political ideology going on in the splintering between liberal and conservative protestants.

    We should be angry and worried that there are church leaders who don’t care about their congregations enough to tell them that there are things that will send them to hell. If you split with a Humf! because” the church politics are too liberal”( or too conservative), that’s pointless. However, if divine justice is true, then you’d better stick it out and reform the congregation for the sake of souls.

    Related to this line of thought is people leaving the Catholic church because of molesting priests and cover-ups.
    It should make us angry, I agree. We’d be heartless not to be angry and grieved, but using that as a reason to leave the church is unreasonable.
    If the OPC was the only church that was doctrinally correct and they had ministers that molested, would anyone be wise to leave that church? Wouldn’t you in actuality just be separating from some of the evil doers as long as you retained all of the doctrinal correctness?
    What if there was no such thing as denominations and the one Christian church that existed in the whole world had throughout its history, times of terrible corruption, should a new church be begun?

    Anyways, I’m mostly just thinking out loud. Thanks for listening:)

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  53. Cletus,

    You need to read your OT better.

    I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

    “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

    The Spirit of the Lord/the Lord guided the people under the old covenant and spoke only what he heard:

    “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.” (Ex. 13:21)

    “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.” (Deut. 18:18–19)

    “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!” (Ps. 143:10)

    “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me;
        his word is on my tongue.” (1 Sam. 23:2) [and all the prophets]

    “the Lord will guide you continually” (Isa. 58:11)

    “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

    “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you.”
    “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
    “He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”

    Lots of people God commissioned under the old covenant were rejected and by rejecting them, God was rejected. The corollary is that to receive the prophets/teachers God sent under the Old Covenant was to receive God.

    “And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.” (2 Sam. 8:7)

    “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed,” (Ps. 2:2)

    “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

    All sorts of promises that the gates of hell won’t prevail against Israel:

    “And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his[d] enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Gen. 22:17)

    “Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the Lord their God. 45 But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.” (Lev. 26:44–45)

    Bound on earth and in heaven? Hello covenant and prophetic curses. One example.

    “And he turned around, and when [Elisha] saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.” (2 Kings 2:24)

    “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.”

    Sure sounds like Israel was supposed to uphold the truth like a pillar to me:

    “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations” (Isa. 42:6)

    “just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    All sorts of promises regarding the exaltation of Israel to judge the nations. Such as:

    It shall come to pass in the latter days
        that the mountain of the house of the Lord
    shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
        and it shall be lifted up above the hills;
    and peoples shall flow to it,

        and many nations shall come, and say:
    “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
        to the house of the God of Jacob,
    that he may teach us his ways
        and that we may walk in his paths.”
    For out of Zion shall go forth the law,[a]
        and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

    He shall judge between many peoples,
        and shall decide for strong nations far away;
    and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
        and their spears into pruning hooks;
    nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
        neither shall they learn war anymore;

    but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
        and no one shall make them afraid,
        for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

    For all the peoples walk
        each in the name of its god,
    but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
        forever and ever. (Micah 5:1–5)

    Now if you want to say that all of these promises are ultimately fulfilled in the church, then I agree. But they were given first to Israel. There’s no substantial difference in the type of guidance/fallibility in these promises to Israel and the promises to the church. You can say that the new covenant is different in terms of the degree of Gentile participation, the measure in which all the covenant people share in the spirit (see Joel 2), and such things, then great. I’d even say that the church, overall, has done a better job in being a witness to the nations than Israel did, but it was also Israel’s vocation.

    What you don’t see is any substantial difference between the covenants. It’s one of degree, unless you want to be a dispensationalist. And none of the passages you adduce demonstrate a promise of ecclesiastical infalliblity. The same kinds of promises were given to Israel, and Israel had no such gift.

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  54. …… I mean if you’re in a church that is arguing about same sex union and there is no divine justice and eternal penalty, aren’t you just spliting because of political reasons?

    The children of Israel had Jesus in the desert and drank but they still fell in the desert because of sin. Was it because of a lack of faith or a lack of charity that they died? How did some avoid punishment? Is 1 Cor. 10 really a warning for us or not?

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  55. The warnings in the bible are superflous for everyone, by the Protestant system.

    This is false.

    Pulling someone back from the brink of hell is a fool’s errand. If your think you’re of the elect, that makes one of the elect.

    This is a false description of the reformed faith.

    If you doubt your election because of your sin, you simply remember your election. Rather than sin being a sign that all is not well, so as to send you back to God, it can make you wonder if you are of the elect( especially if your sin is very grave).

    This is a false characterization of what the Canon of Dordt said. I provided the text to you, why not engage that rather than make up stuff about what we supposedly *really* believe. If you disagree, that is fine. But why not disagree with what we actually believe rather than making up crazy straw men?

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  56. Cletus,
    The quotes you give are not consistent with your construal of that sinning every second bit. Dordt contrasts “sins of weakness” with outright rebellion. The reformed do not believe that all sins are equally grievous. However, we do believe that any sinfulness is sufficient to make one not sinless. Do you disagree?

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  57. Robert,

    “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.””

    What an equivocation. Leading a physical path to walk is not leading into all truth.

    Yes God raised OT prophets. It wasn’t a continual ongoing presence akin to the NT and Christ’s promises. Which is why the Jews and Israel fell into error so often, and prophets were raised to correct them.

    “All sorts of promises regarding the exaltation of Israel to judge the nations. Such as:”

    The point was Israel is judged by the apostles, not the other way around or with parity. The NC is superior based on its character and promises that the OC lacked. That lack is not a bug, but a feature, due to its purpose to serve as a shadow and due to revelation still unfolding and being incomplete versus revelation reaching its imminent end and fulfillment in the NC. Christ will be departing – there will be no more apostles or prophets. So, what guarantee do we have that the OT pattern won’t continue with all that error popping up over and over again? Christ promising everything will be written down? Apostles frantically running around to write things down when they sense their lives coming to an end? Nope. Instead we see Christ establishing a church with divine promises related to truth, guidance, protection. We see Him appointing teachers with divine authority as part of these promises. We see those teachers then appointing their successors. We see types from the OT being fulfilled in order to do this. The Apostles, successors, and church in the NT are not just OT redux. That’s why the pattern we see in the OT of prophets being raised no longer applies. Revelation has ended – Christ planned for that.

    “There’s no substantial difference in the type of guidance/fallibility in these promises to Israel and the promises to the church. You can say that the new covenant is different in terms of the degree of Gentile participation, the measure in which all the covenant people share in the spirit (see Joel 2), and such things, then great”

    Or I might say it’s different in terms of that little thing about the relationship between Christ and the church:
    “He has put everything under his dominion, and made him the head to which the whole Church is joined, so that the Church is his body, the completion of him who everywhere and in all things is complete.”
    “They are to order the lives of the faithful, minister to their needs, build up the frame of Christ’s body, until we all realize our common unity through faith in the Son of God, and fuller knowledge of him. So we shall reach perfect manhood, that maturity which is proportioned to the completed growth of Christ; we are no longer to be children, no longer to be like storm-tossed sailors, driven before the wind of each new doctrine that human subtlety, human skill in fabricating lies, may propound. We are to follow the truth, in a spirit of charity, and so grow up, in everything, into a due proportion with Christ, who is our head. On him all the body depends; it is organized and unified by each contact with the source which supplies it; and thus, each limb receiving the active power it needs, it achieves its natural growth, building itself up through charity.”
    “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy… Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church”
    “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”

    That you didn’t even consider that in your list of things speaks volumes. The NC was more robust than just “we added some more people in”

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  58. D. G. Hart says:
    September 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm
    Mermaid, you left out Romans 8. Nothing can separate me from the love of God. You? Mortal sin can.

    See? Epistemology really is peripheral.>>>>

    Yes, those promises are for those who are led by the Spirit of God, those who are not walking according to the flesh. (vv. 1-4) So a failure to allow the Spirit of God to lead a person demonstrated by a fleshly lifestyle do not meet the criteria set out by the Apostle Paul.

    Notice that in the list of things that cannot separate us from the love of God, our own turning away from Christ is not included. Why is that? It always made me wonder why that was not included.
    ————————————
    Romans 8:35
    Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? or distress? or famine? or nakedness? or danger? or persecution? or the sword?
    ————————————————————————–

    Read the whole passage. You know that, though, since your theology does not teach “once saved, always saved.” If there is no evidence of perseverance, then there was no justification by faith in the first place, right? That’s your theology.

    However, one can begin by the Spirit, and then fall away. That’s the message of Galatians 3 & Hebrews 12 – that you somehow miss when you read the Bible. Hence Scripture gives stern warnings not to turn back. That is why it is so important to confess all sin, but especially mortal sin to a priest to receive absolution – but you don’t understand that. If there were no possibility for the elect to turn back and be lost, then why does the NT give such warnings in the first place?

    Why does the Apostle Peter tell us to make our election sure so that we do not fall if there were no possibility of falling? BTW, 2 Peter was one of the books that Martin Luther was not a huge fan of. You can see why, can’t you?

    2 Peter 1:10
    Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

    Here is Cardinal John Henry Newman on vv. 35-39 of that Romans 8 passage. This is what a Christian’s hope of salvation should look like – “joy the world cannot take away, any more than it can understand.”

    This joy is for those who are led by the Spirit and are not walking according to the flesh.

    If a person continues in unrepented of moral sin, then that is evidence that they are not being led by the Spirit. etc.
    ————————————————————————–
    8:35-39 But we, who trust that so far we are doing God’s will, inasmuch as we are keeping to those ordinances and rules which His Son has left us, we may humbly rejoice in this day, with a joy the world cannot take away, any more than it can understand. Truly, in this time of rebuke and blasphemy, we cannot but be sober and subdued in our rejoicing; yet our peace and joy may be deeper and fuller even for that very seriousness. For nothing can harm those who bear Christ within them. Trial or temptation, time of tribulation, time of wealth, pain, bereavement, anxiety, sorrow, the insults of the enemy, the loss of worldly goods, nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This the Apostle told us long since; but we, in this age of the world, over and above his word, have the experience of many centuries for our comfort. We have his own history to show us how Christ within us is stronger than the world around us, and will prevail. We have the history of all his fellow-sufferers, of all the Confessors and Martyrs of early times and since, to show us that Christ’s arm “is not shortened, that it cannot save;” that faith and love have a real abiding-place on earth; that, come what will, His grace is sufficient for His Church, and His strength made perfect in weakness; that, “even to old age, and to hoar hairs, He will carry and deliver” her; that, in whatever time the powers of evil give challenge, Martyrs and Saints will start forth again, and rise from the dead, as plentiful as though they had never been before, even “the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands” Rev. 20:4. Meantime, while Satan only threatens, let us possess our hearts in patience; try to keep quiet; aim at obeying God, in all things, little as well as great; do the duties of our calling which lie before us, day by day; and “take no thought for the morrow, for sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matt. 6:34. (Cardinal John Henry Newman Sermon 13.3)

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  59. sdb,

    “The quotes you give are not consistent with your construal of that sinning every second bit. Dordt contrasts “sins of weakness” with outright rebellion.”

    I asked the following: “Are the Reformed faithful sinning every second of their lives and will continue to do so until death?”

    “sins of weakness” is still sin in your view. So the quotes I gave were consistent with my construal you expressed incredulity towards. So since you acknowledge that, you can answer the rest of the questions if you feel inclined.

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  60. Susan, being a Lutheran minister, I think I’ve got a better read on what we teach. As far as asking if one can ever do anything to lose grace after baptism the answer is yes, not believe in the Word and Sacraments of Christ by which grace and faith come to us. God works his will that the sinner not die through means of the church. The best place in Lutheran thought to think about this is probably the Augsburg Confession article VI (New Obedience) and Article XII (Repentance). Article 6 simple states that “our churches teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruit. It is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God’s will. We should not rely on those works to merit justification before God. The forgiveness of sins and justification is received through faith…” Article 12 adds, “Our churches condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that those who have once been justified can lose the Holy Spirit.” Nothing separates us from the love of God. His Word in baptism is true. But we can spurn that grace and make a shipwreck of our faith.

    And this actually ties in with your reply earlier. Confession in the Lutheran church is not as in the Roman Church about making satisfaction. A Roman Father Confessor looks at MT with nothing to repent of, no satisfaction to make, keep doing what you are doing. The Lutheran says we have no ability to make satisfaction but wholly rely on Christ. The purpose of confession is contrition which is the acknowledgement of our sin, and absolution which is the proclamation of God’s enduring love for us sinners even at our worst. Contrition is simply the acknowledgement of a living faith against a hardened heart that would deny that we are sinners. When MT went to her confessor in what could be called despair that God was present, what the Lutheran hears is someone throwing themselves against the hidden God or seeking to find assurance from their works. Maybe the greatest temptation to someone of the heroic works of MT. A Lutheran Father Confessor would have told her to look at the cross, the revealed God, not her works but the works of Christ. Jesus loved us first, including you, such that we might live that new obedience. That consolation is always there, through the means appointed (word and sacrament). It is the living faith the receives it. That faith is never our merit or work. It is simply a gift.

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  61. Spot on Zrim, way to go!
    Zrim’s earlier post needs repeating……..

    “In her book, “Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers,” she says:
    “We never try to convert those who receive [aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.” (Pages 81-82)
    In an interview with Christian News a nun who worked with Mother Teresa was asked the following in regards to the Hindus they worked with, “These people are waiting to die. What are you telling them to prepare them for death and eternity?” She replied candidly, “We tell them to pray to their Bhagwan, to their gods.”
    In an interview with Christian News a nun who worked with Mother Teresa was asked the following in regards to the Hindus they worked with, “These people are waiting to die. What are you telling them to prepare them for death and eternity?” She replied candidly, “We tell them to pray to their Bhagwan”

    It is flat out staggering the semantical gymnastics , the utter justifying rationalization which takes place by Roman catholic apologists in defending this garbage. For that matter this also exposes an interesting correlation for all those Neo Calvinist “do the gospel” hipsters who are consistently out there stating …….” You know, it is not just all about getting saved and getting right with God via Jesus it’s about how you live your life you know.” ( almost always said in a condescending I more holy than you tone by the way)

    I always feel like saying just the opposite in reply right back to them ………..you know it’s not all about your works and your good deeds it’s about getting right with God through the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    But we’re living in a time where when stating it that way one is often accused of being an Antinomian by of all people fellow so called “reformed” folk.

    Sigh…

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  62. Susan, “Pulling someone back from the brink of hell is a fool’s errand. If your think you’re of the elect, that makes one of the elect. If you doubt your election because of your sin, you simply remember your election.”

    Wrong.

    REMEMBER!

    I am saved because Christ died for my sins, all of them. You have no certainty of that. And Mermaid may be guilty of mortal sins here at Old Life. Do we know she’s gone to confession?

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  63. Mermaid, exactly, read the entirety of Paul’s letter to the Romans.

    Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:27-31 ESV)

    Protestant taught you how to read. How quickly you forget.

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  64. Dear Rev. Mark,

    You are very kind. Thank you for your input.
    I believe too that faith is a gift, but that we have to ask God for it. The reason I know is because I know it can be lost. But if it’s truly God that we seek, He will give us the help that we need, and it just might surprise us where it leads.
    For me there was no place to go once I could no longer view the doctrine of sola scripture as being tenable.
    If one is pushed to that conclusion, can they remain Protestant?

    But the point I was attempting to make-and I apologize for not being clear enough and or putting so much out there that it looks a jumbled confusion- is ” Is it incumbent on a Lutheran( or any pastor) to teach that we can forfeit heaven through actual sins of we don’t repent?”
    I hope you don’t mind if I get more concrete, but since sin is really objective, I will ask more pointedly,” If a church teaches that having homosexual relations is not a sin, does that lack of orthodoxy endanger the souls of those who think it’s not a sin?”
    I appreciate your thoughts and am happy that you comment.
    Since I’m under the weather, I may not be able to participate more today.

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  65. D. G. Hart says:
    September 7, 2016 at 5:32 pm
    And Mermaid may be guilty of mortal sins here at Old Life. Do we know she’s gone to confession?>>>>>

    Brother Hart, I have no reason to think you are anything other than a Christian who loves God and is on his way to Heaven. I think your 2 K position is flawed and not standard even for your kind of Calvinism. Otherwise why is there a Church of Scotland and a WCF in the first place?

    I reject details of Calvinistic soteriology. Doesn’t mean I don’t know the basics of it. There are things that just don’t quite fit – like the warnings to Christians about falling. Why would such warnings be given if there were no possibility of falling? Saying that a person was never justified by faith in the first place doesn’t quite work. It leaves one with an unsettled sense that there is more there than contained in Calvinistic theology.

    It’s like having a clock with all its pieces laid out on a table. Calvinists put it together and it kind of works, but what about those pieces that are left over, like 2 Peter 1:10 and Hebrews 12 and even the first verses of Romans 8.

    In your system, you cannot know with certainty that you are part of the elect. Doesn’t mean you aren’t. It certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t think you aren’t elect. Of course, what we might or might not think of one another doesn’t change anything. You are my Brother.

    “I they say, “Why do you seek us? What do you want of us?” we should reply: You are our brothers. They may say, “Leave us alone. We have nothing to do with you.” But we have everything to do with you, for we are one in our belief in Christ; and so we should be in one body, under one head.”

    – “You Are Our Brothers”
    by Augustine of Hippo (185-254 AD)

    Like

  66. Susan:
    Pulling someone back from the brink of hell is a fool’s errand. If your think you’re of the elect, that makes one of the elect. If you doubt your election because of your sin, you simply remember your election.>>>>>

    I think you are saying that the assurance that comes from believing that one is part of the elect is a dead end. You can do nothing to be elected. If you have doubts, what real assurance can you have? You try to affirm that you are elect, yet the doubts continue.

    Quoting Scripture does help, but what if you are self deceived and not really elect after all?

    You can do nothing about it, either, since you have no real way of knowing whether or not you have been granted true repentance and faith.

    You can look for evidence, but that evidence can be just as much proof that you are self deceived. You can say that the Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God, but what if that is just religious fervor and not real assurance?

    It’s a dead end, or it can be. Doesn’t mean that Reformed people are not Christians. It does mean that the promised assurance is pretty unsure after all.

    Not all agree. You are sharing what you lived through as a member of a Reformed congregation.

    Am I on the right track? Do I understand what you are saying?

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  67. Mrswebfoot: In your system, you can’t know with certainty that you are elect. You can’t know anything with certainty, especially that you, sdb, are elect. You have no way of knowing since in your Calvinism, only God knows who are His.

    I know with certainty that you are wrong about this.

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  68. Mermaid, whatever I can or can’t know, your infallible pope won’t get you to heaven and will only tell you you’re going to hell if you die in mortal sin. That’s a lock.

    I know all my sins are covered in Christ’s blood. The Bible tells me so.

    But turn off the lights when you go out. It will shave off a few minutes of purgatory — as long as you don’t die in mortal sin.

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  69. I said:
    You have no way of knowing since in your Calvinism, only God knows who are His.>>>>

    Jeff:
    I know with certainty that you are wrong about this.>>>>

    2 Timothy 2:19
    But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

    You don’t know who are His, Jeff.

    Well, it always ends this way. You claim that I cannot be certain, but you claim certainty for yourselves.

    At the same time you claim you might be wrong.

    It doesn’t add up, you know.

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  70. ” I asked the following: “Are the Reformed faithful sinning every second of their lives and will continue to do so until death?”

    “sins of weakness” is still sin in your view. So the quotes I gave were consistent with my construal you expressed incredulity towards. So since you acknowledge that, you can answer the rest of the questions if you feel inclined.”

    Your quotes do not imply we are always sinning every second. Yes I am always imperfect. You make your point by flattening distinctions you know the confessions make. That is not likely to produce an interesting conversation.

    Like

  71. @Susan
    ” What if there was no such thing as denominations and the one Christian church that existed in the whole world had throughout its history, times of terrible corruption, should a new church be begun?”

    That’s a really interesting question. It got me thinking of Paul’s words of new Romans 11:

    God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace…17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root[c] of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

    I’m just thinking “outloud” so to speak, but there are a few takeaways here that may be relevant. First…God will always preserve a remnant of those who are called out to follow him (ekklesia or church). This group is a mixed bag that gets pruned. If he pruned the natural stem…israel, we should not be surprised to see him prune the grafted branches (gentile branches) even more severely. So I would say that this text leads to an expectation of (1) various levels of spiritual health among groups grafted in, (2) the promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the ekklesia is not a promise to an institution but rather a promise to always preserve the elect, and (3) obedience matters (you say cause, I say effect but I don’t think either of us would say irrelevant). What do you think?

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  72. sdb:
    I’m just thinking “outloud” so to speak, but there are a few takeaways here that may be relevant. First…God will always preserve a remnant of those who are called out to follow him (ekklesia or church). This group is a mixed bag that gets pruned. If he pruned the natural stem…israel, we should not be surprised to see him prune the grafted branches (gentile branches) even more severely. So I would say that this text leads to an expectation of (1) various levels of spiritual health among groups grafted in, (2) the promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the ekklesia is not a promise to an institution but rather a promise to always preserve the elect, and (3) obedience matters (you say cause, I say effect but I don’t think either of us would say irrelevant). What do you think?>>>>

    Problematic. The sub group of the elect Israelites lived within the visible nation of Israel – God’s chosen people.

    All who were circumcised were part of the nation of Israel, yet not all were part of the remnant. (1 Kings 19:18)

    In the NT the invisible Church exists within the visible Church. There is only one invisible Church just as there was only one visible nation of Israel in the Old Testament.

    All Israelites who had been circumcised were part of the nation of Israel. All who are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit are Christians.

    Not all Jews were or are part of the subset of “the remnant”. Not all Christians are part of the subset of “the elect.”

    Yeah, women weren’t circumcised, but they count, too. Because patriarchy – which is God’s invention.

    Eph. 4. John 17.

    “If they say, “Why do you seek us? What do you want of us?” we should reply: You are our brothers. They may say, “Leave us alone. We have nothing to do with you.” But we have everything to do with you, for we are one in our belief in Christ; and so we should be in one body, under one head.”

    – “You Are Our Brothers”
    by Augustine of Hippo (185-254 AD)

    Like

  73. Robert,
    What an equivocation. Leading a physical path to walk is not leading into all truth.

    Sure, pick one verse and ignore all the rest. Meanwhile, God’s leading a physical path and leading into all truth cannot be divorced, as seen in Israel’s refusing to heed the leading of both.

    Yes God raised OT prophets. It wasn’t a continual ongoing presence akin to the NT and Christ’s promises. Which is why the Jews and Israel fell into error so often, and prophets were raised to correct them.

    Sorry, but OT believers had the Spirit. I didn’t know you were a dispensationalist. The only difference is the measure had, not its continual ongoing presence. And Deuteronomy 18 doesn’t say a prophet will come only when failure occurs. David had Nathan even when he wasn’t failing.

    The point was Israel is judged by the apostles, not the other way around or with parity. The NC is superior based on its character and promises that the OC lacked. That lack is not a bug, but a feature, due to its purpose to serve as a shadow and due to revelation still unfolding and being incomplete versus revelation reaching its imminent end and fulfillment in the NC. Christ will be departing – there will be no more apostles or prophets. So, what guarantee do we have that the OT pattern won’t continue with all that error popping up over and over again?

    We don’t have that guarantee and that is the point. You throw out all these passages that are supposed to be a guarantee of no error popping up again, and I adduced dozens and dozens and dozens of OT passages that give similar if not identical promises as the one you gave me. And instead of addressing them, you pick one, cast it aside with no exegesis whatsoever, misconstrue the role of the prophet, and now tell me that the thing that sets the NC apart is no error. All without any exegetical warrant.

    Christ promising everything will be written down? Apostles frantically running around to write things down when they sense their lives coming to an end? Nope. Instead we see Christ establishing a church with divine promises related to truth, guidance, protection. We see Him appointing teachers with divine authority as part of these promises. We see those teachers then appointing their successors. We see types from the OT being fulfilled in order to do this. The Apostles, successors, and church in the NT are not just OT redux. That’s why the pattern we see in the OT of prophets being raised no longer applies. Revelation has ended – Christ planned for that.

    More handwaving. God did all of those things under the old covenant and Israel fell into error again and again. Prophets were appointed. Prophets appointed successors (Elijah and Elisha being the most notable example). So did the priests. So did the kings after a fashion.

    You are reading types and shadows as qualitative differences but you haven’t given any warrant for doing so. There is no NT passage that says “You get no more prophets because now you have an infallible church.” What the NT says is that there are no more prophets because there is Christ, God’s final Word.

    Or I might say it’s different in terms of that little thing about the relationship between Christ and the church:
    “He has put everything under his dominion, and made him the head to which the whole Church is joined, so that the Church is his body, the completion of him who everywhere and in all things is complete.”
    “They are to order the lives of the faithful, minister to their needs, build up the frame of Christ’s body, until we all realize our common unity through faith in the Son of God, and fuller knowledge of him. So we shall reach perfect manhood, that maturity which is proportioned to the completed growth of Christ; we are no longer to be children, no longer to be like storm-tossed sailors, driven before the wind of each new doctrine that human subtlety, human skill in fabricating lies, may propound. We are to follow the truth, in a spirit of charity, and so grow up, in everything, into a due proportion with Christ, who is our head. On him all the body depends; it is organized and unified by each contact with the source which supplies it; and thus, each limb receiving the active power it needs, it achieves its natural growth, building itself up through charity.”
    “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy… Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church”
    “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”

    And there is absolutely nothing in any of these passages about a promise of infalliblity to the church. Not one of those passages requires that.

    That you didn’t even consider that in your list of things speaks volumes. The NC was more robust than just “we added some more people in”

    Or, my simple point was to show that the kinds of promises YOU listed were also given to the OT church.

    And I agree that the NC is more robust, but it is a difference of degree, not of kind. You are reading the Bible (selectively) just like a dispensationalist, only instead of end-times charts, you are giving us an infallible church. Not impressive or convincing.

    God was just as married to Israel under the old covenant as Christ is married to the church under the new covenant. There’s no reason to think that therefore we get an infallible church today. Like I said you need to read your OT. Every one of the promises given to the church is found in at least shadow form. And a shadow and type means same kind but different degree.

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  74. SDB,

    I’ve had this conversation with Cletus before. Basically, Roman Catholics don’t seem to believe imperfection is really a sin. Or better, imperfection is not enough to bar you from heaven altogether. Though they still think you have to be perfect to get to heaven, they just get perfection via purgatory and not imputation.

    It’s a perfectionistic system. I’m frankly amazed at times how similar it is to Wesleyanism, though Wesleyanism doesn’t have a purgatory. RCs really think that it is possible on this side of glory to be perfect and not just theoretically. They’re realistic in that they pretty much don’t think anyone attains it except for a select few saints, but they think it is more than theoretically possible to serve God without any imperfections. Seems to me the difference is that for the Reformed, such is possible only in theory because of our strong doctrine of abiding sin.

    Like

  75. appreciated Robert’s marriage comment –appreciate all the pictures God condescends to give us for understanding– looked up the Jewish wedding custom:

    betrothal:
    -bride acquired by her groom;groom leaves his father’s home, travels to bride’s home to purchase her; gives a dowry; wife acquired only with her consent.
    -marriage contract established- binding agreement-woman legally considered groom’s wife-set apart exclusively for her bridegroom; bride so devoted to bridegroom so as desires not to commit adultery; bridegroom goes away and constructs marital home

    consummation :
    groom returns for his bride accompanied by male escorts; exact time of his arrival not usually known; groom’s arrival announced with a shout

    Like

  76. Deedee( mwf),my friend,

    You advised me to stay away from here.What do you say that we pact together to stay off OL? We can keep one another accountable.
    And it would make Darryl very happy:)

    Like

  77. sdb,

    “Your quotes do not imply we are always sinning every second. Yes I am always imperfect.”

    Is imperfection not sinful? Why does the Belgic state one cannot do any work that is not worthy of punishment if it’s not sinful?

    I do not dispute you distinguish between gravity of sin. All sin is still damnable in your view (“As there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation”). The quotes indicate sin remains with the faithful as part of their condition and thus their best works are corrupted – there is no point at which you are not sinning in some way:

    “there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part”
    “[Good works] as they are wrought by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection”
    “No man is able, either of himself, or by any grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.”
    “the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect, (a) and in all respects conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.”
    “Why then does God so strictly enjoin the ten Commandments upon us, since in this life no one can keep them?
    First, that as long as we live we may learn more and more to know our sinful nature, and so the more earnestly seek forgiveness of sins and righteousness in Christ”
    “[Good works] are always mixed up with some defilement from the weakness of the flesh, and thereby vitiated… God wills not to try them by his strict rule, but covering their defects and impurities as buried in the purity of Christ”
    “covers our works, which are defiled with many spots, with the justice of his Son.”
    “we cannot do any work that is not defiled by our flesh and also worthy of punishment.”
    “For in many things we offend all; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

    More from Calvin’s Geneva Catechism:
    “Q225 M. Why then does God require a perfection which is beyond our ability?
    S. He requires nothing which we are not bound to perform. But provided we strive after that form of living which is here prescribed, although we be wide of the mark, that is, of perfection, the Lord forgives us what is wanting.”

    So imperfection requires forgiveness.

    Q227 M. Hence we must conclude, that as there are two classes of men, so the office of the law is twofold?
    S. Exactly. For among unbelievers it does nothing more than shut them out from all excuse before God. And this is what Paul means when he calls it the ministry of death and condemnation. In regard to believers it has a very different use.
    Q228 M. What?
    S. First, while they learn, from it that they cannot obtain righteousness by works, they are trained to humility, which is the true preparation for seeking salvation in Christ. Secondly, inasmuch as it requires of them much more than they are able to perform, it urges them to seek strength from the Lord, and at the same time reminds them of their perpetual guilt, that they may not presume to be proud. Lastly, it is a kind of curb, by which they are kept, in the fear of the Lord.”

    The 2nd use applies to believers. They sin when they do not do what is required of them – which is much more than they are able to perform, thus perpetual guilt.

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  78. CVD, you should distinguish activity from state. Yes, imperfection requires forgiveness – that does not entail that one who stumbles and is repentant is in the same class as one who is an unrepentant sinner. You are flattening distinctions embedded in the confessions. Do you really not understand what they are getting at or are you just playing word games. Like I said, I’m not really interested in the later.

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  79. sdb,

    The confessions all state your activity is driven by your state – hence believers’ best works are still riddled with sin – there is no “activity” done that is not sinful, worthy of punishment, and requiring forgiveness. My initial question was, “Are the Reformed faithful sinning every second of their lives and will continue to do so until death?” which you took issue with, not “are believers different than non-believers”.

    Like

  80. SDB,

    Like I said, Roman Catholics don’t believe imperfect obedience is sinful. There’s damnable sin (mortal sinl) and non-damnable imperfection (venial sin).

    Like

  81. Jeff Cagle says:
    September 8, 2016 at 6:29 am
    @ Mermaid:

    Other endings to the conversation are possible.>>>>

    Yes. You can choose not to be triggered. 😉 You can choose to actually converse with me. That’s up to you.

    Like

  82. Susan says:
    September 8, 2016 at 10:43 am
    Deedee( mwf),my friend,>>>

    Deedee? I like that. 😉 I hardly remember who I am anymore I have so many nicknames.

    Susan:
    You advised me to stay away from here.What do you say that we pact together to stay off OL? We can keep one another accountable.>>>>>

    Look. I see them calling you a liar and a slanderer, but you don’t tell them to stuff it – or the nice Catholic lady version of that. If you apologize to them, it just makes it worse and it is not good for your brothers to get away with making that kind of nasty accusation.

    What they are doing is 1.) stooping to a very nasty form of ad hominem 2.) trying to “prove” that Catholicism is flawed since you slander. Therefore you are condemned by your own faith.

    Instead of really studying out what the Church teaches, they use these lazy tactics to try to prove that they are right and Catholics are wrong.

    Don’t let them get away with it.

    Susan:
    And it would make Darryl very happy:)>>>>

    I think Brother Hart is very happy. Reformed theology is really boring. We are interesting. 🙂 We keep this place lively. Besides, he thinks we make him look good.

    Just don’t let them mess with you. You don’t have to allow it.

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  83. MWF,

    “Deedee? I like that.😉 I hardly remember who I am anymore I have so many nicknames”

    It’s closer to your real name, and I like your real name:)

    I don’t see that I put up with what they do, but maybe the insults get passed me, or, Tom Van Dyke is right and I have Stockholm Syndrome. I see the errors in their system, and I see the simple bigotry, and I call them on both, but they still wiggle out somehow. I still try to refrain from snark or being passive aggressive. I have a very mean tongue that I have to work hard to bridle!:)
    You and Cletus do a really good job comparing the doctrine and showing the holes in their system, so you should keep at it, and keep the site interesting, I’m getting tired of going round and round on the same points.
    Maybe if everyone could stick to just one point at a time? I don’t know.
    I thought I had a very good point when I asked about the difference between issues in the Protestant churches that lead to division as being political or moral(and detrimental to the soul), but no one found it compelling or interesting. Poor me.
    Anyways, stay tenacious my friend!

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  84. Susan, if you want to stay on point then instead of indulging the let-loose-nature of any post that has a whiff of Catholicism then how about the point of the post, namely MT? Neither you nor CvD ever addressed her blatant syncretism. How does one who does what angers God more than anything throughout the Bible–commend idolatry–get beatified?

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  85. You know what Steve….. You wouldn’t accept my explaination if I tried.
    Let me put it this way.
    I learned my lesson when walking out of the funeral home with my mother as we were about to drive to the grave site to bury my dad. I asked her if she was thinking about Jesus. She snapped ” No, I’m thinking about _______________(my dad’s name)!”

    Anyways, some 2K-er you are. Would you withhold compassion, touch, drink, food……love, until they say the “sinners prayer”?
    She was Catholic. And the people around her knew that. She was devoted to the source and summit of our faith. If they came into contact with her for any length of time they knew she loved God and love them because of God.She was a witness to the love of God.
    There is such a thing as human dignity and a right to religion. People can’t be threatend or coerced.
    The Lord of the earth will do right.
    Not by might or power, but by the Spirit.

    If you really want to understand, read this.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive

    Liked by 1 person

  86. Susan,

    You are evading Zrim’s point. Nobody is going to withhold a cup of cold water if they don’t say the sinners prayer.

    The testimony is that while people were dying, Teresa and her co-laborers were telling people to pray to Hindu gods.

    Hard to see what was remotely Christian about their work given that evidence. It’s great that she helped sick people. But what help is it ultimately to give people something to eat and then tell them not to go and sin no more but to go and keep sinning by encouraging them in their idolatry.

    This is the kind of blindness that your system is encouraging. I’m sure MT was a sweet lady. But your church is making a saint out of a woman who didn’t think monotheism was all that big a deal. That’s a huge problem.

    At least if someone comes to my church and asks what they need to do to be saved, we aren’t going to tell them “Just be the best Hindu you can be, It’s all good.”

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  87. Zrim,

    The point of the post was actually whether MT trusted Jesus as her savior. You do not dispute she cared about Jesus. You were the one who decided to take it to evangelism land in your first post.

    Regardless, she did not commend idolatry. She commended finding God. RCism teaches non-Christian religions have elements of truth and goodness to varying degrees. One can come closer to God by navigating further in what is good and true in those religions, which ultimately can prepare one for accepting Christ at death. Her evangelism through her actions obviously had an effect, as the link I posted to of the Hindu nationalist group In India concerned over conversions to Christianity due to her influence. I don’t hear much about Westboro having that effect which apparently is a better model of evangelism in your view.

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  88. Good grief, Robert. You sound like a fundamentalist.

    “The testimony is that while people were dying, Teresa and her co-laborers were telling people to pray to Hindu gods.”

    How many people live in Calcutta and how many needed tending that weren’t within the walls of a convent or Catholic hospital? If came upon an old woman who was within minutes of hours of death would you pound them with the Westminster catechism or hold their hand and be the last display of godly compassion that they would see? Even if they are lucid for a few hours, would you start at Moses, or what?
    If they’ve been around nuns for awhile who are constantly praying to Jesus and asking the intercession of the Blessed Mother, they know that they would please the Christian God if they talk to him in order to set things right.
    I can’t imagine anybody who is in the throws of death looking at a nun and asking, “now who should I pray too?”
    If I was in the nuns place and I was holding close to me the head of a person who is dying and they are confused and all they can muster is faith in God( there is only one), I’d tell them to pray the best they can.
    God meets us where we are.
    Have some imagination.

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  89. @Susan
    You asked me,
    “I don’t want to push, but would you mind answering me?
    Can a person who trusts that Jesus’s perfect righteousness is mputed to their account, do anything to send them to hell?”

    To which he I responded and asked, ” Does that answer you question?” Perhaps you missed it?

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  90. Robert,

    Trying to communicate through this medium is tough, forgive my cheek( don’t look MWF. Lol!)
    But surely you can see that criticisms hardly stand up when you consider that she wasn’t saying there are no difference in the beliefs.
    There are subtleties and complexities that don’t make everthing clear cut.
    It’s a good thing this inquiry isn’t in 17th century Conneticut.
    🙂

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  91. But not 1st century either.

    Jesus was not shy of saying “I am the way…” or “All who come through other gates are thieves and robbers…”

    What changed?

    Like

  92. Jeff Cagle says:
    September 8, 2016 at 2:56 pm
    @ Mermaid:

    Gaslighting will get you nowhere.>>>>>

    Flattery will get you nowhere, you ol’ gasbag, you. 😛

    Like

  93. “Are the Reformed faithful sinning every second of their lives and will continue to do so until death?” which you took issue with, not “are believers different than non-believers”.

    The context was that you claim we believe our confessions teach that we are sinning every second therefore there is no distinction between the adulterers et al. who won’t go to heaven and the believer. Your every second bit is a misconstrual of what the confessions teach. Like I said there is a difference between imperfection or tainted with sin and out right rebellion. You have flattened that distinction and wrenched these quotes from their context that recognizes this. Not unlike those who take the scope of depravity to mean degre of depravity. Nice for scoring polemical points, but not enlightening. Anyway I’m bored with these kind of word games.

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  94. ” If came upon an old woman who was within minutes of hours of death would you pound them with the Westminster catechism or hold their hand and be the last display of godly compassion that they would see?”

    So the alternatives are encouraging a dying unbeliever to embrace her idolatry or go westminster? Really? There is no way to encourage an unbeliever to embrace christ? Curious…

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  95. sdb,

    It’s not difficult. You’re not committing genocide every second. Are you sinning every second of your life or are you not? Robert has no problem affirming it. You demur.

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  96. ” “We never try to convert those who receive [aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity”
    MT isn’t just talking about folks minutes from death.

    “It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.””
    If you agree with MT here, why bother with rc apologetics? If I don’t doubt my reformed faith, then it is my way to salvation. Doesn’t this undermine all that ctc stands for?

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  97. “What changed?”

    Nothing. See my earlier comments and http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a1.htm

    Jesus made the way to the Father, He gave something more pleasing than all sin is displeasing( see Stellman’s Destiny of the Species Ch. 7) and opened the gates of heaven( people were in Abraham’s bosom before holy Saturday). He is the truth which other religions have some measure of.
    All truth is God’s truth, right?

    Like

  98. James Young, “The confessions all state your activity is driven by your state – hence believers’ best works are still riddled with sin.”

    Wrong.

    Believers are in a regenerate state. If works always proceed from our state, then believers are perfect. Not even popes claim that.

    Like

  99. Susan, “I see the simple bigotry, and I call them on both, but they still wiggle out somehow”

    Are you talking about the bishops who covered up the sex scandal? When will you THINK?

    Like

  100. ” It’s not difficult. You’re not committing genocide every second. Are you sinning every second of your life or are you not? Robert has no problem affirming it. You demur.”

    I guess Robert and I disagree. I don’t think I am doing something every sec. But whatever.
    You agree that your insinuation that the sinfulness of the believer entails that there is no distinction with the rebellious is wrong. Good! We can move on.

    Like

  101. D. G. Hart says:
    September 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm
    Mermaid, “We are interesting.🙂 We keep this place lively.”

    Mortal sin alert.>>>>>

    #Calvinistpickuplines 😛

    Like

  102. @ Susan:

    I’m sorry, I just don’t understand. The CCC you pointed me to says

    The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. — CCC 2105

    In this circumstance, if the report is accurate, then MT was asked “How do I prepare for death?”

    This is not a circumstance in which she had the opportunity or intent to coerce or compel. She had freedom to give an honest answer to an honest question.

    Reading the CCC, it directly states that had a duty to make known the worship of the one true religion.

    You seem to be saying that she didn’t have that duty.

    Like

  103. Susan, the sinner’s prayer is anathema to a Calvinist. But the point isn’t to withhold anything from those in provisional need (nor is it even to dispute MT’s good works). It’s to hold out Christ alone to those in eternal need. MT didn’t do that. Why are you defending someone’s undermining of Christ alone? You’d be more credible if you at least acknowledged the apparent discrepancy, but all you do is chat up her good works.

    Like

  104. CvD, “These people are waiting to die. What are you telling them to prepare them for death and eternity?” She {MT} replied candidly, “We tell them to pray to their Bhagwan, to their gods.” If that’s not commending idolatry, what is? But Westboro? And you guys complain of being treated uncharitably, harrumph. Plank, meet eye.

    Like

  105. Susan says:
    September 8, 2016 at 3:16 pm
    MWF,

    “Deedee? I like that.😉 I hardly remember who I am anymore I have so many nicknames”

    It’s closer to your real name, and I like your real name:)>>>>

    Yes, it is. It’s a cute nickname. I don’t mind it at all.

    Susan:
    I have a very mean tongue that I have to work hard to bridle!:)>>>>

    If you have a very mean tongue it would have shown by now. You are the quintessential nice Catholic lady. You have style and class, and are very thoughtful. I like to read what you say.

    Accusing you of not THINKING, or being dishonest about your experiences in the Reformed religion, or slander is very strange. Very strange indeed!

    What worries me about you is that you will take the accusations seriously. It could do you harm if you believe what they say to you or about you.

    Susan:
    Anyways, stay tenacious my friend!>>>>

    One has to be tenacious. 🙂 You take care of yourself, sweet Sister Susan.

    Don’t worry about St. Mother Teresa. She will be vindicated.

    Of course, there was a time when I was critical of St. Mother Teresa myself. Not anymore.

    Like

  106. Jeff Cagle says:
    September 8, 2016 at 9:55 pm
    @ Susan:

    I’m sorry, I just don’t understand. The CCC you pointed me to says>>>

    Don’t take the bait, Susan! It’s a trap!

    Like

  107. @ Susan:

    No trap. My aim in our conversations is to bring clarity. We can agree or disagree, but down with fuzzy thinking!

    Like

  108. The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. — CCC 2105

    Now it’s the ‘worship’ of ‘religion ? Please CCC, just say worship the one true GOD (Father,Son,Spirit) alone.
    [Not MT, Mary, the pope, ‘saints’, ‘the Church’ ‘religion’]

    Like

  109. @ Ali: to be fair to the CCC, it’s a genitive of composition (“worship consisting of the one true religion”, as in “statue of bronze”), not an objective genitive.

    But yeah, poor wording. Translators aren’t infallible…

    Like

  110. Jeff Cagle says:
    September 9, 2016 at 6:44 am
    @ Susan:

    No trap. My aim in our conversations is to bring clarity. We can agree or disagree, but down with fuzzy thinking!>>>>

    Said the one who spent a long time trying to convince people there might be bats flying out their noses. How could anyone be 100% sure?

    Naw. You lay traps. If you stop that, then maybe a clear conversation can be had.

    Like

  111. Webfoot,

    Said the one who spent a long time trying to convince people there might be bats flying out their noses. How could anyone be 100% sure?

    Malarkey. No one has tried to convince people that there might be bats flying out their noses. The example was suggested merely to show that fallible certainty about a proposition is perfectly sufficient. Not one of you RCs seem to get that even though you live your lives every day based on that premise and converted to Rome based on your fallible certainty that Rome is what she claims to be.

    You are obfuscating up the wall, and I don’t know if it is intentional or you really just are not as well-versed in epistemology and definitions as you think it is. Witness the conversation on Athanasius where you missed the point entirely.

    Jeff, Robert, et all: “Mermaid, Athansius didn’t accept the RC canon.”

    Mermaid: “But Athanasius never used the WORD APOCRYPHA

    J, R, et, all “But Athanasius explicitly claimed they weren’t inspired Scripture.”

    Mermaid: “But he didn’t say they were Apocrypha, so therefore he believed they were Scripture.”

    J,R et al: “But Athansius said explicitly that they weren’t.”

    Mermaid: “But He said they weren’t Apocrypha, so he believed they were Scripture.”

    What happens to you conservative RCs whereby you become Roman Catholic and then all of sudden lose all ability to read people in context. I’ve never seen such a blatant reading back into history things no one ever meant than I have had with some of you conservative RCs. Did you all fail history or does become RC make you clueless?

    Like

  112. Robert, it is you guys who need to clarify what in the world you were talking about. Until you do that, you cannot claim clarity.

    Here are a few issues you guys clearly dodged and dodge.:

    1. How can you make any claim to infallibility, as in “the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice”?

    2. You stated on at least 2 occasions that there exists the possibility, ever so slight, that the body of Jesus could be found.

    3. You do not have a closed canon of Scripture. What you have is a fallible list of infallible books, as Dr. R.C. Sproul says. Therefore your Protestant canon is not closed no matter what your fallible WCF tells you. So, again, what in the world can “the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice” even mean for you?

    4. You do not know with 100% certainty that you are part of the elect. Assurance of your own, personal salvation is not the same as certitude. Therefore, what you have is what any Christian has – the hope of salvation. There are numerous NT passages that make salvation contingent on your continuing in the faith. You know that. You are not part of a special, select group that saves a few and sends the rest of us slobs to hell. We are all – all who claim faith in Christ – on our way, but not there yet. We have the hope of Heaven, eternal life, the beatific vision if we do not turn back and fall away.

    5. You argue with Catholicism constantly, yet you yourself admit that you do not understand Catholicism. How can you refute what you clearly, by your own admission, do not understand?

    I have suggested numerous times that you guys study what the Catholic Church actually teaches. Now, I do not claim to understand all of Reformed theology. No one does, since the very word “Reformed” has several different meanings and you guys have trouble agreeing among yourselves what true Reformed even is.

    You guys here seem to think that your version of “Reformed” is the true, pure version and everyone else must be judged by your standard of purity.

    Only thing is that there is no authority that can tell you who is and who is not the real deal.

    If you guys were a little more honest about your own weaknesses, then maybe real conversation could be had. As it is, that is impossible.

    Too bad, since we really do have a very large body of truth that all of us adhere to. Oh, well.

    Like

  113. J,R et al: “But Athansius said explicitly that they weren’t.”

    Mermaid: “But He said they weren’t Apocrypha, so he believed they were Scripture.”>>>>

    I did NOT say that. You guys use the term Apocrypha, which Athanasius says are books written by heretics. He did not use that term.

    If you want to follow Athanasius, then read the books he lists. He claims that they were appointed by the Fathers to be read. So, read them and be instructed in the word of godliness by them.

    Your argument is dishonest since you have no intention of actually doing what St. Athanasius says the Fathers want us to do.

    Once again you are caught cherry picking Church history and the Church Fathers in order to defend your idea of the canon of Scripture. You don’t even know with certitude what the canon is.

    I have said numerous times that when the Apostle Paul spoke of “Scripture” he included the Septuagint. Evidence for that abounds in the New Testament.

    When he says that all Scripture is God-breathed, he includes the Deuterocanonical books. Where did he get his teaching about purgatory otherwise?

    Open your minds and hearts to the Word of God.

    —————————————————————————
    7. But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being [merely] read; nor is there in any place a mention of apocryphal writings. But they are an invention of heretics, who write them when they choose, bestowing upon them their approbation, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as ancient writings, they may find occasion to lead astray the simple.
    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2806039.htm

    Like

  114. D. G. Hart says:
    September 9, 2016 at 5:55 am
    Mermaid, I’m serious about sin. You?>>>

    Oh, I know you are very serious about sin – everyone else’s. I hope you are also concerned about your own.

    Like

  115. @Jeff,

    Me, you, parlay:)

    What exactly is the question again?

    Are you asking if it’s right that the Church canonize Mother Teresa?

    Yes

    Are you asking if Mother Teresa is really a saint?

    Yes

    Are you asking if it’s okay that she tell people to pray to their Hindu gods?

    Yes, with qualification. 🙂
    See. You Can still ask for answers even when you’re Catholic. There is no checking ones brain in at the door.

    Cletus did a great job showing the distinctions.

    Btw, thanks for being a good grammarian. You have a mind for analysis, so I trust that you can comb through the CCC, engaging with its delineation of concepts and terms very readily [ Have you every considered the difference between faith and hope, before having it parsed out? I didn’t].

    I feel a ” You never understood Reformed theology” coming on. 😉

    Personally I love the CCC, because of the truth that breezes in clearing away the cobwebs in my mind, as well as the syntax( which might require a little work, but since we can get at it[a recognition that keeps us digging], isn’t vain toil). I dislike ambiguity and blurring of distinctions. Perhaps that’s why I had a problem with trying to see that all sin were equal. If Paul lays out certain sins, there’s an implication involved.

    For some people, ” This is the sort of pedantic nonsense of which they will not put” I sense you like getting to the bottom even though when you get there you won’t be certain where you are😀

    I won’t answer back to anyone but you.

    Liked by 1 person

  116. sdb,

    “You agree that your insinuation that the sinfulness of the believer entails that there is no distinction with the rebellious is wrong. Good! We can move on.”

    Actually what I was getting at is how you maintain that distinction. If all sin deserves damnation, why – to use your example – is adultery a dealbreaker but the believer’s constant breaking of the 2 great commandments and the command to be perfect not a dealbreaker and given a pass? Are believers’ not breaking Heidelberg’s gloss of the
    10th commandment:
    “113. What does the tenth commandment require of us?
    Answer: That even the smallest inclination or thought, contrary to any of God’s commandments, never rise in our hearts; but that at all times we hate all sin with our whole heart, and delight in all righteousness. ”

    If those who stumble in one point are guilty of all (all would include adultery) – Heidelberg cites Jas 2:10 in its negative reply to whether the converted can perfectly keep the commandments – why will the 2-gc-breakers inherit the kingdom of God while the adulterers will not?

    Like

  117. Cletus,

    It’s really simple. Impenitent 2GC commandment breakers won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Penitent commandment breakers will. There’s no need for a some sins are going get you kicked out of heaven and some don’t.

    Both of our systems demand perfection in order to see God. For Protestants, that is secured by Christ’s work alone. For you, it’s secured by your efforts in cooperation with grace, and where you fall short, it’ll get burned away in purgatory, eventually.

    Like

  118. Mermaid,

    I did NOT say that. You guys use the term Apocrypha, which Athanasius says are books written by heretics. He did not use that term.

    If you want to follow Athanasius, then read the books he lists. He claims that they were appointed by the Fathers to be read. So, read them and be instructed in the word of godliness by them.

    Yeah, Athanasius said read what we call Apocrypha to be instructed by the word of godliness. He explicitly says not to read them as if they were inspired Scripture. And that is the ENTIRE point. You’re still doing it.

    Mermaid: “Athanasius said read those books in order to be instructed by godliness in them so therefore they are canonical.”

    You simply aren’t following the argument.

    Your argument is dishonest since you have no intention of actually doing what St. Athanasius says the Fathers want us to do.

    For more than 500 years, Protestants have been reading the Apocrypha and learning about godliness from them. We read them in the same way we read Calvin, Luther, et al, testing everything, holding fast to what is good.

    Once again you are caught cherry picking Church history and the Church Fathers in order to defend your idea of the canon of Scripture. You don’t even know with certitude what the canon is.

    Malarkey. It’s been demonstrated that Athanasius believed the Apocrypha were good for edification but were not Scripture. No cherry picking there. Meanwhile, you key off of someone telling you to read something and making it into Scripture even though you would never think Mother Teresa’s writings are Scripture even if the Pope told you you could learn godliness therein.

    I have said numerous times that when the Apostle Paul spoke of “Scripture” he included the Septuagint. Evidence for that abounds in the New Testament.

    The fact that Paul and the other NT writers sometimes quote the Greek Septuagint says nothing about whether there was a Septuagintal canon that differed from the Jewish one much less whether they agreed with it if there is one. The NT writers sometimes make their own Greek translations and sometimes quote other Greek versions that aren’t the Septuagint. The fact is this: The Apostles quote what they regard as Scripture in specific ways and they never, ever quote the Apocrypha that way. In fact, to my knowledge, they never directly quote an Apocryphal book. Jude quotes Enoch but not as Scripture and then you don’t even think Enoch is Scripture. Frankly you are all over the place and you simply don’t know how to read the evidence. Take some time to actually read history from your own modern RC historians and biblical scholars and you aren’t going to get such wild claims you are making.

    When he says that all Scripture is God-breathed, he includes the Deuterocanonical books. Where did he get his teaching about purgatory otherwise?

    1. Paul doesn’t talk about purgatory because Paul isn’t into denying the gospel, which purgatory does. There’s no sense of believers getting pummeled in the afterlife before they get into heaven. There’s a testing of works, which by no means matches any traditional description of purgatory, so even if Paul were to have such a notion, Rome has erred by misrepresenting it.

    Like

  119. Robert:
    Yeah, Athanasius said read what we call Apocrypha to be instructed by the word of godliness. He explicitly says not to read them as if they were inspired Scripture. And that is the ENTIRE point. You’re still doing it.>>>

    Yours is a stupid point. You are arguing Athanasius against Augustine against the Council of Trent and missing the point.

    Like

  120. Robert,

    “Impenitent 2GC commandment breakers won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Penitent commandment breakers will. There’s no need for a some sins are going get you kicked out of heaven and some don’t.”

    I presume you consider a serial adulter an impenitent adulterer. So a serial 2GC-breaker is an impenitent 2GC-breaker. Yet serial 2GC-breakers are still considered believers and upstanding members of the church. So why does serial 2GC/perfection-breaking and “sins of weakness” get a pass but serial adultery doesn’t?

    If impenitence was the only relevant criteria, why does Heidelberg, following Paul, single out certain sins
    “Q. Can those be saved who do not turn to God from their ungrateful and unrepentant ways?
    By no means. Scripture tells us that no unchaste person, no idolater, adulterer, thief, no covetous person, no drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    Why not just say, “no impenitent person will inherit the kingdom of God”.

    Like

  121. Mermaid,

    1. How can you make any claim to infallibility, as in “the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice”?

    I have never made a claim to infallibility, nor does the Reformed tradition make a claim to be infallible. But as long as this strange notion exists that you can’t know if something is right or wrong unless it’s prefaced by a claim to infallibility, you are going to miss this point.

    2. You stated on at least 2 occasions that there exists the possibility, ever so slight, that the body of Jesus could be found.

    Sure, there’s at least a theoretical possibility. Paul says so.

    There’s also a theoretical possibility that we are all figments of the imagination of some aliens like the ones that show up at the end of Men and Black. It’s it a theoretical possibility worth entertaining in any serious way. No. When we say that we are fallible it’s much the same claim. It’s theoretically possible that Reformed theology is wrong. Is it a theoretical possibility worth entertaining in any serious way. Not in the least.

    3. You do not have a closed canon of Scripture. What you have is a fallible list of infallible books, as Dr. R.C. Sproul says. Therefore your Protestant canon is not closed no matter what your fallible WCF tells you. So, again, what in the world can “the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice” even mean for you?

    If needing an infallible list is necessary to know what that statement means, then you can’t make a meaningful claim either because you do not have an infallibly declared parameters of what your authority is. We still don’t know what T is. It’s getting to the point where we really don’t know the parameters of the Magisterium anymore either, and we certainly don’t know everything they’ve infallibly taught.

    4. You do not know with 100% certainty that you are part of the elect. Assurance of your own, personal salvation is not the same as certitude. Therefore, what you have is what any Christian has – the hope of salvation. There are numerous NT passages that make salvation contingent on your continuing in the faith. You know that. You are not part of a special, select group that saves a few and sends the rest of us slobs to hell. We are all – all who claim faith in Christ – on our way, but not there yet. We have the hope of Heaven, eternal life, the beatific vision if we do not turn back and fall away.

    1. In the Bible, hope is not a lack of certainty. Hope is the most certain certainty possible.
    2. We know we are elect by our perseverance. This is standard Reformed teaching.
    3. Assurance of my personal salvation is assurance of election because only the elect are saved. We don’t have this “now God loves me, now he doesn’t cause I did one of those really bad sins” idea that Rome promotes.

    5. You argue with Catholicism constantly, yet you yourself admit that you do not understand Catholicism. How can you refute what you clearly, by your own admission, do not understand?

    I don’t understand all the ins and outs of your system. Frankly, it looks to me like a bunch of semi-Christian ideas loosely bound together via the church’s ineffectual mediation of a substance called grace whose power isn’t dependent on God who is trying his best but in some cases just fails miserably to save people he really wants to save. I know enough about your system that whatever it is, it isn’t what the Apostles taught unless there really is some secret Gnostic deposit hidden of oral tradition hidden in the Vatican somewhere.

    I have suggested numerous times that you guys study what the Catholic Church actually teaches. Now, I do not claim to understand all of Reformed theology. No one does, since the very word “Reformed” has several different meanings and you guys have trouble agreeing among yourselves what true Reformed even is.

    You guys here seem to think that your version of “Reformed” is the true, pure version and everyone else must be judged by your standard of purity.

    Only thing is that there is no authority that can tell you who is and who is not the real deal.

    Where oh where am I to turn to figure out if what Joe Biden did in marrying homosexuals is compatible with RC practice and theology, because as far as I can tell, he’s still getting welcomed with open

    If you guys were a little more honest about your own weaknesses, then maybe real conversation could be had. As it is, that is impossible.

    You know, for all of the criticism that Darryl and the others have of their own tradition, they’re also pretty open that joining the OPC isn’t going to solve all of Christianity’s problems. Darryl has regularly pointed out that the OPC is not the be all and the end all of Christianity. I heard one OPC minister elder say that the OPC is the Acts 27 network. In case you don’t remember, Acts 27 is about a shipwreck. And plenty of us are vocal about the shortcomings of the PCA.

    Where is the acknowledgment of Rome’s weaknesses on your part? Where is the “Yeah, I believe Rome has infallible authority but I can understand why you Protestants have a hard time believing it given that we’ve got a lot of really bad theologians, that we are making a saint out of a nun who told people to pray to Hindu gods, that we covered up abusive priests for decades, and because a lot of what has followed in the wake of V2 has been hippie nonsense?”

    All we get is you and Cletus and Susan trying to make a lot of square pegs fit into round holes. I get it. You have to. But how about at least a little acknowledgment that the modern RC church so often seems to do everything it can to refute in practice its claims. Plenty of conservative, orthodox RCs are willing to admit this. Why not you?

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  122. Mermaid,

    You are arguing Athanasius against Augustine against the Council of Trent and missing the point.

    The question is whether there was unanimity on the OT canon before Trent and whether it was the collective testimony of the Church Fathers that the Tridentine canon is the true canon.

    Athanasius shows us that the answer to both questions is no. That doesn’t mean Trent identified the wrong books. It means that Trent is wrong to claim consensus on this issue.

    Like

  123. See, it all started when I quoted Augustine on the books that are included in the canon of Scripture. It agrees with the Vulgate and the Council of Trent, showing that this canon had been in use for over 1,000 years before Trent declared it to be infallible dogma.

    Your argument is that there was not such agreement on the canon until the time of Trent. You guys pointed to Athanasius to engage his support for leaving the wrongly labeled “Apocrypha” out of the canon.

    There are flaws in your reasoning.

    1. Athanasius did not label those books “Apocrypha.”
    2. He called the book of Baruch Scripture.
    3. He said that the books you reject should be read as per the instruction of the Fathers.
    4. He in no way, then, would accept the Protestant practice of ignoring them altogether except to cherry pick them to find doctrines that disagree with your beliefs. Correction. Many Lutherans hold them in high regard, as did Martin Luther. You have deviated even from Luther on this.

    I know you are trying to say, “See, the Church makes errors! She’s not infallible!” That is what is stupid. No, you guys aren’t stupid, but seriously?

    If you are going to take him, take him as he is, not as you wish he were. Besides, you continue to pretend you do not understand that even the Pope himself does not claim personal infallibility for everything he says and does.

    That’s fine. You don’t believe in infallibility of any kind as far as I can tell. Nothing will convince you. Your goal is to refute the concept of “infallibility”, not to discover what is true. It is part of your ongoing, daily effort to resist the default mode of Western Christianity – The One Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church.

    Keep trying. You can never let down, never give up, never surrender.

    Like

  124. Me:
    1. How can you make any claim to infallibility, as in “the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice”?>>>

    Robert:
    I have never made a claim to infallibility, nor does the Reformed tradition make a claim to be infallible. But as long as this strange notion exists that you can’t know if something is right or wrong unless it’s prefaced by a claim to infallibility, you are going to miss this point.>>>>

    You did not answer my ?, Brother Robert. I asked, and have always asked, specifically about Scripture. Notice the words in quotation.

    I never though you claimed personal infallibility about anything. I have never claimed personal infallibility about anything. Not even the Pope makes the claim that he is infallible about everything. But you have been told that numerous times.

    Do you agree or disagree with this this clear statement – from the PCA and the OPC websites? They are exactly the same. Notice the use of the word “infallible” as applied to Scripture.

    What does “infallible” mean?

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

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

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  125. You know, the rest is so full of straw man arguments, Robert, that I won’t waste my time or yours in responding. Brother Hart will be happy about that.

    If you can explain what “infallible” in “the only infallible rule of faith and practice is”, then fine. That is really what interests me. What do you mean?

    Do you mean “certain”?

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  126. Webfoot,

    You did not answer my ?, Brother Robert. I asked, and have always asked, specifically about Scripture. Notice the words in quotation.

    The claim is this: ““the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice”? is a true statement arrived at by a fallible church.

    You want to know how I know “The Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice” is a true statement. It’s a silly question with presuppositions that ultimately undermine all human knowledge.

    How do you know “The Roman Catholic Church is the Church Jesus founded” is a true statement? Because that statement isn’t coming to you directly. It’s passing through your fallible mind and being presented fallibly to your fallible will.

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  127. Webfoot,

    See, it all started when I quoted Augustine on the books that are included in the canon of Scripture. It agrees with the Vulgate and the Council of Trent, showing that this canon had been in use for over 1,000 years before Trent declared it to be infallible dogma.

    Your argument is that there was not such agreement on the canon until the time of Trent. You guys pointed to Athanasius to engage his support for leaving the wrongly labeled “Apocrypha” out of the canon.

    In use and consensus/agreement are two different things, and that is the entire point. No one disputes that some were using the Apocrypha as Scripture 1000 years before Trent. The dispute is whether Trent was right to say that the use of that canon was universal practice and the consensus of the fathers. It wasn’t.

    There are flaws in your reasoning.

    1. Athanasius did not label those books “Apocrypha.”

    Why is this a flaw? He said that books that Rome receives as canonical weren’t canonical. So the Tridentine canon wasn’t universally recognized until Trent. Full stop. Does that mean Trent’s canon is wrong? Not necessarily. It does mean Trent was picking one view from many and codifying it. It does mean that the consensus of the Fathers does not favor Trent on this. Maybe the consensus was wrong and Trent is right. What is clear is that Rome is absolutely wrong to claim canonical consensus before Trent.

    2. He called the book of Baruch Scripture.

    And that means what? That he saw Baruch as Scripture? Okay. What did he think about Maccabees, Judith, Tobit, and the others?

    3. He said that the books you reject should be read as per the instruction of the Fathers.

    Where have any of us said the Apocrypha shouldn’t be read.

    4. He in no way, then, would accept the Protestant practice of ignoring them altogether except to cherry pick them to find doctrines that disagree with your beliefs. Correction. Many Lutherans hold them in high regard, as did Martin Luther. You have deviated even from Luther on this.

    Where have any of us said we don’t hold the Apocrypha in high regard.

    I know you are trying to say, “See, the Church makes errors! She’s not infallible!” That is what is stupid. No, you guys aren’t stupid, but seriously?

    The point isn’t to say that the church is wrong on the canon. The point is that the church made an error in claiming that the Tridentine canon was the canon of the fathers. You guys have a way out. You can parse the statement to say that “Well, the part about the consensus wasn’t infallible.” Fine. Just acknowledge that while Trent may be right on the canon, it was wrong to claim it as historical consensus. Why is that so hard?

    If you are going to take him, take him as he is, not as you wish he were.

    I’m not the one trying to make Athanasius into a Protestant like you are trying to make him a RC on the canon.

    Besides, you continue to pretend you do not understand that even the Pope himself does not claim personal infallibility for everything he says and does.

    No, I understand that. I also understand that RCs have told me that the pope can think he is being infallible even when he really is not infallible and that the pope can be infallible without knowing it. No wonder no one can agree on how many times he has been infallible.

    That’s fine. You don’t believe in infallibility of any kind as far as I can tell.

    I believe in the infallibility of the Word of God.

    Nothing will convince you. Your goal is to refute the concept of “infallibility”, not to discover what is true. It is part of your ongoing, daily effort to resist the default mode of Western Christianity – The One Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church.

    I don’t have a problem with the concept of infallibility. I’d believe the church was infallible if there were actual evidence for it. At this point I’d be happy if one of you would say something like “The RCC is infallible, but I can understand why you as a Protestant might think otherwise given all of the apparent evidence against it.” That would at least be honest and show an attempt to understand Protestants other than Rah-Rahing for the home team all the time.

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  128. Cletus,

    I presume you consider a serial adulter an impenitent adulterer. So a serial 2GC-breaker is an impenitent 2GC-breaker. Yet serial 2GC-breakers are still considered believers and upstanding members of the church. So why does serial 2GC/perfection-breaking and “sins of weakness” get a pass but serial adultery doesn’t?

    What do you mean by serial adulterer? If by serial adulterer you mean someone who commits adultery more than once but is honestly trying to be faithful, quickly repenting, experiencing a slow but steady decline in giving into temptation, etc. then no, I don’t consider a serial adulterer an impenitent adulterer. A “serial adulterer” who is doing everything in his power to avoid even the possibility of adultery and yet may fall into adultery again isn’t an impenitent adulterer.

    The impenitent adulterer is one who when confronted with his sin refuses to acknowledge that it is sin. Is the one who pretends to be chaste but is actually still committing adultery when he can. Etc.

    I can’t read someone’s heart, but if I were on my church’s session, if someone who repentance for adultery but then is hanging out with his former adulterous partner even if “nothing is happening,” I would judge him as impenitent because he isn’t showing any proclivity to fight against sin.

    I’m not sure why this is so difficult except that you are wedded to a concept of mortal sin that you’re somehow trying to read back into Protestantism. I guess having a way to tell if someone is out of grace that is as easy as turning on and off a light switch (mortal sin, you’re out; venial sin, you’re in) might help with some of the complexities of human behavior and assurance, but the trade off is that God isn’t perfectly holy anymore. He’s someone who is like a doting grandfather who says “boys will be boys” about some sins but will write you out of the will the second you do one of those things that really bug him. Meanwhile, Uzzah commits a minor infraction of trying to steady the ark and God strikes him dead and he has Achan’s entire family killed for keeping back some of the gold, even the kids who probably didn’t have much to do with the deed.

    If impenitence was the only relevant criteria, why does Heidelberg, following Paul, single out certain sins

    Because Paul is speaking representationally, not extensively. That is clear because in some contexts he lists more sins than others. Romans 1 includes a whole host of sins that as far as I know aren’t all considered mortal by Rome and yet Paul says all of them will send you to hell.

    “Q. Can those be saved who do not turn to God from their ungrateful and unrepentant ways?
    By no means. Scripture tells us that no unchaste person, no idolater, adulterer, thief, no covetous person, no drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    Why not just say, “no impenitent person will inherit the kingdom of God”.

    Because one lustful thought does not an adulterer make, as Jesus says. Looking at a woman lustfully makes one guilty of the sin of adultery. It does not make him an adulterer. Just like stealing a candy bar when you are five makes you guilty of stealing but not necessarily of being a thief. The pattern of one’s life evidences the state of the heart.

    Again, this is not hard. Even on Roman Catholic doctrine, I honestly don’t see how ultimately the only truly mortal sin is impenitence. You can be forgiven even for murder. But you have to repent. It’s the failure to repent that gets you barred from heaven ultimately, not the murder itself.

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  129. Mermaid, “Said the one who spent a long time trying to convince people there might be bats flying out their noses. How could anyone be 100% sure?”

    You are clueless.

    Use the snark on me. I invite it. Jeff Cagle is one of the most charitable persons here. But in the world of Yankeedom, if you’re not in THE club, you’re a schulb. So much for sanctity.

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  130. @ Susan:

    Thanks. My question was closest to the third: “Is it a sin to tell someone to prepare for death by praying to other gods?” If yes, then it would seem to contradict her beatification process.

    Your answer is “Yes, with qualification.” If you were to put that qualification into one sentence, it would be

    It is OK to tell someone to pray to other gods when ______
    but not when _____

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  131. Mermaid, “If you guys were a little more honest about your own weaknesses, then maybe real conversation could be had. As it is, that is impossible.”

    That’s like, what we’re asking of you, dudette.

    You are clueless squared.

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  132. I don’t have a problem with the concept of infallibility. I’d believe the church was infallible if there were actual evidence for it. At this point I’d be happy if one of you would say something like “The RCC is infallible, but I can understand why you as a Protestant might think otherwise given all of the apparent evidence against it.” That would at least be honest and show an attempt to understand Protestants other than Rah-Rahing for the home team all the time.>>>>

    You are looking at infallibility in the wrong light, IMO. Infallibility for the Church has the same starting point as infallibility for Scripture.

    It’s not about human beings being infallible, which both of us know is impossible this side of Heaven. Well, with one or two exceptions, depending on your point of view. That’s why both the book of Wisdom and the Apostle Paul said there has to be a purification before a believer can enter Heaven. Catholics call that “purgatory.”

    It is about the infallibility of the Holy Spirit who is the Divine Author of Scripture and the One who leads the Church into all Truth. If I understand correctly, you as a cessationist would say “led into all truth”.

    Even though you reject the ongoing work of the Spirit to guide the Church infallibly in the way Catholicism teaches, you have to believe it on some level.

    How so?

    1. I think you would say that at least until the canon of Scripture was complete, the Holy Spirit was still infallibly guiding the Church into all truth.

    2. I think you would say that the Holy Spirit is infallibly guiding the Church to her intended goal – the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, as the Apostle Paul put it. The goal is to see Him as He is, to be like Him. To be with Him in glory, etc.

    3. The gates of hell will not prevail against her. Jesus is infallibly building His Church.

    I think you are missing the point of infallibility. It’s about the Spirit’s ability to do what He was sent by the Father and the Son to do.

    In NT terms, there are not many denominations. There is only one Church. She is very visible. Otherwise how do you know about all her flaws if she is not visible? Nobody cares, really, what Presbyterians are up to, even when they vote to approve gay marriage or support Planned Parenthood.

    OTOH, Catholics are always interesting.

    Oh, man. Don’t shoot!

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  133. Webfoot: Your argument is that there was not such agreement on the canon until the time of Trent.

    Correct. In particular, I argued that Athanasius and Luther agreed on which books belonged in the canon and which books did not belong in the canon.

    I’m actually mistaken on one book: Baruch, which A received but L did not. Make as much hay as you wish.

    But for the rest, as I repeat, Athanasius did not receive them as canonical Scripture.

    I have produced dispositive quotes from Athanasius to that effect. Here is one again:

    But for the sake of greater exactness I add this also, writing under obligation, as it were. There are other books besides these, indeed not received as canonical but having been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness: Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being merely read; nor is there any place a mention of secret writings. But such are the invention of heretics, who indeed write them whenever they wish, bestowing upon them their approval, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as if they were ancient writings, they find a means by which to lead astray the simple-minded.

    Where is there wiggle room? Athanasius disagrees with Augustine.

    FURTHER

    He not merely disagrees personally (“Augustine says, but he’s wrong in my opinion”), but he disagrees as to what the fathers have taught about those books.

    Augustine’s understanding of the tradition is opposed to Athanasius’ understanding of the tradition. Both cannot be right about the tradition.

    The rest is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether Athanasius used the word apocrypha. It doesn’t matter whether the fathers wanted the deuteros to be read.

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  134. As a confessional Protestant, I want the WCF to be read by parishioners for instruction in the faith. But I tell them very clearly that it is not Scripture.

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  135. Webfoot: Your argument is that there was not such agreement on the canon until the time of Trent.

    Correct. In particular, I argued that Athanasius and Luther agreed on which books belonged in the canon and which books did not belong in the canon.>>>>

    Not true. Check Athanasius’ list again. Compare to Luther’s, even on his NT canon.

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  136. Mermaid,

    It is about the infallibility of the Holy Spirit who is the Divine Author of Scripture and the One who leads the Church into all Truth.

    Sure, but my point is that it’s a big jump from the infallibility of the Spirit to His church must never err in following Him.

    If I understand correctly, you as a cessationist would say “led into all truth”.

    That’s not quite right. If I understand the RC position correctly, mine would be similar to the Roman position. Special revelation has ended. But the Holy Spirit is leading His church into a deeper and fuller understanding of that revelation and how it applies to us. On this point we just differ on where the revelation is to be found.

    Even though you reject the ongoing work of the Spirit to guide the Church infallibly in the way Catholicism teaches, you have to believe it on some level.

    The more I think about it, the more I think our disagreement has to be considered this way:

    1. Both of us agree that the Holy Spirit infallibly guides His people. That’s because by definition the HS is God and whatever God does is infallible.

    2. We would also agree that there are points at which the church has correctly followed His leading.

    3. Where we disagree is the point as to whether there is ever point at which it is logically impossible for the church to be incorrect. That would be infallibility. For the Roman Catholic, it seems:

    a. There are some points at which it is logically impossible for the church not to follow the Spirit’s leading correctly. At those points the church is infallible and correct.
    b. There are some points at which it is logically possible for the church not to follow the Spirit’s leading correctly; nevertheless, the church can be correct at those points. At these points, the church is fallible and correct. This might be those cases where Rome has taught something consistently but has not yet said “This doctrine x is infallible.”
    c. There are some points at which it is logically possible for the church not to follow the Spirit’s leading and where the church has been wrong. This could include anything, even teaching on faith and morals. Here the church is fallible and incorrect. Here, also, there is some kind of work of God which prevents the Magisterium from attaching a declaration of infallibility or which makes the laity incapable of receive something as infallible even if some in the Magisterium wrongly think it to be infallible. Basically, the HS keeps the church from clearly stating, this is infallible.

    Protestants deny a. because of indwelling sin and because we see no promise of Christ to this end. We affirm b. For the Reformed, we affirm c after a fashion. God will prevent His elect from dying with any belief that might make it impossible for them to be saved.

    We question the relative advantage of a. because of your affirmation of personal fallibility. Even if the church can speak infallibly, unless you yourself overcome your own fallibility, you can’t ever know with infallible certainty when this has happened. This is the point that various figures such as Jeff, SDB, and me keep making. We see an ongoing inconsistency in your casting Protestants as perpetually lacking as certainty when we have no infallible mans while not seeing that your own fallibility means that you don’t really have one either because of the way human knowledge works. The data passes through a fallible medium to get to you—your eyes, your ears, your mind, etc.

    For some reason this isn’t a problem for you and the only reason this can be is because of some divine work that gives you assurance of truth while preserving your fallibility. My question is why then can Protestants not claim the same thing. Because that’s what we claim. God works through fallible means and divinely preserves His truth.

    1. I think you would say that at least until the canon of Scripture was complete, the Holy Spirit was still infallibly guiding the Church into all truth.

    The Spirit continues to guide us infallibly. The church follows Him fallibly but, in the main and over time, correctly.

    2. I think you would say that the Holy Spirit is infallibly guiding the Church to her intended goal – the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, as the Apostle Paul put it. The goal is to see Him as He is, to be like Him. To be with Him in glory, etc.

    Yes, and He is doing so infallibly. But the church as a whole and individual believers follow this call fallibly. Think of it like traveling on a millennia-long journey to a destination in the north. For the Protestant, the church is on a long journey and will reach the destination. But if you look at the journey itself, you will see that some years and even centuries, a detour is made and we travel West for a while. We might even head South for a while. But the church always reorients itself eventually and heads north.

    We want to know why that is a problem, especially when you all will admit that even the Roman Church has done such things. Why is it a problem to be fallible, wander some, and yet finally get to the destination while it is okay to be infallible, wander some, and yet finally get to the destination.

    3. The gates of hell will not prevail against her. Jesus is infallibly building His Church.

    Sure, but why does this mean that the church can’t be wrong ever in dogma? Why can the church not be wrong for a time and then get corrected.

    I think you are missing the point of infallibility. It’s about the Spirit’s ability to do what He was sent by the Father and the Son to do.

    In NT terms, there are not many denominations. There is only one Church. She is very visible. Otherwise how do you know about all her flaws if she is not visible?

    But where does it guarantee that the one visible denomination is a reality before the eschaton. In fact, the NT is full of statements both that the church is one and is not yet one. It’s both and. There isn’t unity among the NT churches. We have unified dogma in the form of Apostolic teaching. But we have a really messed up Corinthian church, a relatively good Philippian church, etc. Not all of these churches believe the same things even, or at least they have forgotten some things they should know. Why else do the Apostles write letters?

    Sure, you have Apostles decrying the condition and calling people to unity. It should be pursued. I’m actually all for good, honest, solid attempts at ecumenical reunion. But they have to be centered in truth. There’s no NT passage that says we solve disunity by all agreeing to some visible bishop in a particular city. And there’s lots of NT passages that says the church is united even at points where there is some differences in practice and even doctrinal understanding. The Corinthians don’t cease to be truly united and one with the Philippians simply because their understanding of the Lord’s Supper is incorrect.

    But I don’t see how Rome can account for any of that. It’s all visible unity all the time. And the only way you guys get that is to basically ignore the substantial doctrinal and practical disagreements within their communion. That’s what Darryl keeps pointing out.

    Nobody cares, really, what Presbyterians are up to, even when they vote to approve gay marriage or support Planned Parenthood.

    That’s not true at all. When such decisions get made, they get national press.

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  137. Robert,

    “What do you mean by serial adulterer?”

    The same I mean by serial 2GC-breakers and serial perfection breakers, since as you said, imperfect obedience is sinful.

    “If by serial adulterer you mean someone who commits adultery more than once but is honestly trying to be faithful, quickly repenting, experiencing a slow but steady decline in giving into temptation, etc.”

    If someone is constantly breaking a commandment, how are they experiencing a slow but steady decline in breaking that commandment?

    “A “serial adulterer” who is doing everything in his power to avoid even the possibility of adultery and yet may fall into adultery again isn’t an impenitent adulterer. ”

    Are you and your congregation doing everything in their power to avoid even the possibility of being imperfect or breaking the 2GC?

    “The impenitent adulterer is one who when confronted with his sin refuses to acknowledge that it is sin.”

    So an adulterer who acknowledges it is sin, but continues to commit adultery every second is impenitent?

    “Meanwhile, Uzzah commits a minor infraction of trying to steady the ark and God strikes him dead and he has Achan’s entire family killed for keeping back some of the gold, even the kids who probably didn’t have much to do with the deed.”

    Right, so 2GC and perfection breakers shouldn’t get a pass in your congregation. So why isn’t everyone being brought up for examination and discipline every week and only Joe the adulterer gets notice?

    “The pattern of one’s life evidences the state of the heart.”

    And you’ve acknowledged you are sinning every second of your life (“imperfect obedience is sinful”). So that pattern of your life evidences the state of your heart, just as the pattern of serial 2GC/be-perfect breaking in your congregation evidences the state of their hearts. And since stumbling in one point makes you guilty of all, you’re a murderer, adulterer, etc.

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  138. Hi Jeff,

    “As a confessional Protestant, I want the WCF to be read by parishioners for instruction in the faith. But I tell them very clearly that it is not Scripture.”

    Yes, I agree that confessions are not holy scripture. But you wouldn’t want to be training yourself and your children for years in error.
    The CCC is not scripture but it does explain the scriptures so well that whatever proposition is expressed therein, is the same truth found in scripture.
    Otherwise, why study error?

    I believe if you study the CCC, you will gain the whole truth, through another vehicle.

    Take care!
    It’s my 33 wedding annivesary,so I won’t be commenting more.

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  139. Robert,

    “My question is why then can Protestants not claim the same thing. Because that’s what we claim.”

    Which Protestant doctrine is offered as inerrant as opposed to subject to revision and possibly in error?

    “The church follows Him fallibly but, in the main and over time, correctly…. the Holy Spirit is leading His church into a deeper and fuller understanding of that revelation and how it applies to us… points at which the church has correctly followed His leading… the church always reorients itself eventually and heads north… Why can the church not be wrong for a time and then get corrected.”

    What’s the identification of this church?

    “The Corinthians don’t cease to be truly united and one with the Philippians simply because their understanding of the Lord’s Supper is incorrect. ”

    Do the Arians, Mormons, RCs, EOs, open theists, PCUSA, ELCA cease being truly united and one with the PCA simply because their understanding of certain doctrines is incorrect according to the PCA?

    “God works through fallible means and divinely preserves His truth.”

    So the apostles needn’t have been infallible when writing Scripture to preserve truth. Scripture itself needn’t be infallible to preserve truth.

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  140. Jeff:
    Augustine’s understanding of the tradition is opposed to Athanasius’ understanding of the tradition. Both cannot be right about the tradition.

    The rest is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether Athanasius used the word apocrypha. It doesn’t matter whether the fathers wanted the deuteros to be read.>>>

    I still think all that Athanasius said is relevant, but you disagree.

    Tradition is not based on the opinion of one man, even one great Saint and Doctor of the Church. Sts. Augustine and Athanasius aren’t up there in Heaven duking it out over the canon of Scripture. I don’t think they were down here, either. Somehow both Eastern and Western Churches ended up with he D’s in their canons – with some very slight variations. That would not have happened if there had been some kind of serious dispute between to two branches of the Church. The schism was not over the canon of Scripture. I think you know that.

    It is most Protestants who have deviated from both East and West when it comes to the canon of the OT.

    Consider this, if you will. You may have different answers to the questions, but probably not to all of them. I put mine. Don’t blame Pope Francis, Vat. II, St. Teresa of Calcutta, Nancy Pelosi, or the CCC for anything I say.

    Were the Deuterocanonical books part of the Septuagint? Yes, they were.

    Was the LXX a translation from Hebrew to Greek? Yes, it was.

    Why did it include the Deuteros.? It included the D’s because they were and are part of OT Scripture.

    When did the Jews meet to determine their canon? In the late 1st Century of the Christian era.

    Why did they meet then to settle the matter? They rejected the NT. They weren’t sure what to do with the D’s, either.

    What OT Scriptures did Jesus, the Apostles, and all early Christians use? The LXX.

    I think Luther messed up.

    Augustine got it right. The Church got it right with the Vulgate. St. Jerome’s objections are exaggerated by Protestant historians.

    I know you will disagree with a lot of what I laid out here, but not all. There is some consensus, after all – to use your word. I am afraid you don’t even understand what the Catholic arguments are.
    ———————————————————————————————-

    During the first century, the Jews disagreed as to what constituted the canon of Scripture. In fact, there were a large number of different canons in use, including the growing canon used by Christians. In order to combat the spreading Christian cult, rabbis met at the city of Jamnia or Javneh in A.D. 90 to determine which books were truly the Word of God. They pronounced many books, including the Gospels, to be unfit as scriptures. This canon also excluded seven books (Baruch, Sirach, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, and the Wisdom of Solomon, plus portions of Esther and Daniel) that Christians considered part of the Old Testament.

    The group of Jews which met at Javneh became the dominant group for later Jewish history, and today most Jews accept the canon of Javneh. However, some Jews, such as those from Ethiopia, follow a different canon which is identical to the Catholic Old Testament and includes the seven deuterocanonical books (cf. Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, p. 1147).

    Needless to say, the Church disregarded the results of Javneh. First, a Jewish council after the time of Christ is not binding on the followers of Christ. Second, Javneh rejected precisely those documents which are foundational for the Christian Church—the Gospels and the other documents of the New Testament. Third, by rejecting the deuterocanonicals, Javneh rejected books which had been used by Jesus and the apostles and which were in the edition of the Bible that the apostles used in everyday life—the Septuagint.
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/DEUTEROS.htm

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  141. Jeff:
    Questioning James or Hebrews is not the same as declaring non-Canonical.>>>

    Check out Luther’s intros to those books. Now, you may be comfortable in saying that Luther’s opinions about these books are acceptable. Fine.

    I am not comfortable with him saying that Hebrews has wood, straw or hay mixed with the gold, silver, and precious stones; that he does not put James among the chief books; that Jude need not be counted among the chief books; that Revelation does not teach Christ.

    I think you only think you agree with Luther on the NT canon. I don’t think you do.

    Hebrews:
    However that may be, it is a marvelously fine epistle. It discusses Christ’s priesthood masterfully and thoroughly, out of the Scriptures, and interprets the Old Testament finely and richly. Thus it is plain that it is the work of an able and learned man, who was a disciple of the apostles, learned much from them, and was greatly experienced in faith and practiced in the Scriptures. And although, as he himself testifies in Hebrews 6:1, he does not lay the foundation of faith, which is the work of an apostle, nevertheless he does build finely thereon gold, silver, precious stones, as St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:12. Therefore we should not be hindered, even though wood, straw or hay be mixed in with them, but accept this fine teaching with all honor; though to be sure, we cannot put it on the same level with the apostolic epistles.

    James:
    In a word, he wants to guard against those who relied on faith without works, and is unequal to the task [in spirit, thought, and words, and rends the Scriptures and thereby resists Paul and all Scripture], and would accomplish by insisting on the Law what the apostles accomplish by inciting men to love. Therefore, I cannot put him among the chief books, though I would not thereby prevent anyone from putting him where he pleases and estimating him as he pleases; for there are many good sayings in him.

    Jude:
    Concerning the Epistle of St. Jude, no one can deny that it is an extract or copy from St. Peter’s second epistle, so very like it are all the words. He also speaks of the apostles as a disciple coming long after them, and quotes sayings and stories that are found nowhere in the Scriptures. This moved the ancient Fathers to throw this Epistle out of the main body of the Scriptures. Moreover, Jude, the Apostle, did not go to Greek-speaking lands, but to Persia, as it is said, so that he did not write Greek. Therefore, although I praise the book, it is an epistle that need not be counted among the chief books, which are to lay the foundation of faith.

    Revelation:
    PREFACE TO THE REVELATION OF SAINT JOHN (2) 1522 FT510

    About this book of the Revelation of John, I leave everyone free to hold his own ideas, and would bind no man to my opinion or judgment; I say what I feel. I miss more than one thing in this book, and this makes me hold it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic. First and foremost, the Apostles do not deal with visions, but prophesy in clear, plain words, as do Peter and Paul, and Christ in the Gospel. For it befits the apostolic office to speak of Christ and His deeds without figures and visions; but there is no prophet in the Old Testament, to say nothing of the New, who deals so out and out with visions and figures. And so I think of it almost as I do of the Fourth Book of Esdras, and can nohow detect that the Holy Spirit produced it.

    Moreover, he seems to me to be going much too far when he commends his own book so highly, — more than any of the other sacred books do, though they are much more important, — and threatens that if anyone takes away anything from it, God will deal likewise with him. Again, they are to be blessed who keep what is written therein; and yet no one knows what that is, to say nothing of keeping it. It is just the same as if we had it not, and there are many far better books for us to keep. Many of the fathers, too, rejected this book of old, though St. Jerome, to be sure, praises it highly and says that it is above all praise and that there are as many mysteries in it as words; though he cannot prove this at all, and his praise is, at many points, too mild.

    Finally, let everyone think of it as his own spirit gives him to think. My spirit cannot fit itself into this book. There is one sufficient reason for me not to think highly of it,-Christ is not taught or known in it; but to teach Christ is the thing which an apostle is bound, above all else, to do, as He says in Acts 1:8, “Ye shall be my witnesses.” Therefore I stick to the books which give me Christ, clearly and purely.

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  142. If you’re going to do history, you have to think like a historian.

    Yes, Luther expressed those opinions. Did he hold them his whole life? Is there evidence that his views changed over time?

    Up there, you stooped to name-calling. Since it’s in print, is that “who you are”? Or is it what you said in a particularly heated moment?

    People change. When they write confessional material, that matters much more than private opinion. To know what Luther thought canonical, look at his actual canon.

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  143. James Young, “Which Protestant doctrine is offered as inerrant as opposed to subject to revision and possibly in error?”

    Like, the Bible?

    You know, ess tee EMMMMMM!

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  144. Jeff Cagle says:
    September 9, 2016 at 7:49 pm
    If you’re going to do history, you have to think like a historian.>>>>

    When I pointed out that you can find no support in Athanasius and gave the historical reasons for that, you decided what he said was irrelevant. In fact, if you want to think like a historian, you will check it out ahead of time to see what he really said about the canon of Scripture, which you did not seem to do.

    You often make mistakes about details of Scripture and Koine Greek as well. You rely too much on your memory. If you learn anything from this interaction, learn to fact check yourself so you don’t make obvious mistakes.

    Jeff:
    Yes, Luther expressed those opinions. Did he hold them his whole life? Is there evidence that his views changed over time?>>>>

    As far as I know, he never retracted his statements about those books of the NT. If he did, then please present evidence to prove that he did.

    Jeff:
    Up there, you stooped to name-calling. Since it’s in print, is that “who you are”? Or is it what you said in a particularly heated moment?>>>>

    Jeff, I have noticed that you can dish it out, but you can’t take it. You accused me of psychological abuse. I made a play on words. You said I was gas lighting you. I called you an old gas bag. 😉 It’s funny! Yes, I have a sense of humor. Thank you for noticing. It shows that I did not take any real offense, but rather thought it was a comical thing for you to say, whether you meant it that way or not.

    Does Brother Jeff need a safe space?

    Jeff:
    People change. When they write confessional material, that matters much more than private opinion. To know what Luther thought canonical, look at his actual canon.>>>>

    His actual canon can be seen clearly in his actual translation along with his prefaces.

    Luther seemed to get meaner as he got older. How can one explain his anti semitic rants? How does one explain his advice to go ahead and kill the peasants! Did he really mean that? Did someone put words in his mouth? Or was that who he really was? Did he repent?

    No way to judge. I hope he did.

    Look. He was an important man in history. There is some evidence he repented of the mess he had made of things. He did not seem to mean to split the Church. He really did mean to reform her.

    Why would you trust the changing positions of a volatile man named Martin Luther? Shifting sands.

    Besides, Luther never said to remove the Deuterocanonical books from the Bible. You guys did that.

    Like

  145. Jeff, you are not engaging me in an honest way. Maybe your arguments are not as air tight as you believe them to be. Maybe they do not stand up well under scrutiny.

    Like

  146. cvd
    Missed your question earlier. I’m traveling all week and on a phone, so will probably need to pick up later.

    One quick thing… you wrote, ” I presume you consider a serial adulter an impenitent adulterer.” I’m not so sure about that. The HC writes about adultery,

    ” Q. What does the seventh commandment teach us?
    A. That God condemns all unchastity,
    and that therefore we should thoroughly detest it…God forbids all unchaste actions, looks, talk, thoughts, or desires, and whatever may incite someone to them.”

    So I am violating the 7th when I don’t thoroughly detest unchaste desires. I may not have seven exes from texas, but neither am I perfect on this front. I don’t think thst is whst you have in mind by serial adulterer though which is why your every second bit is a poor construal of total depravity and/or persistence of indwelling sin.

    Rather my best efforts at chastity are still tainted, so I put all my trust in Christ because I know even my best efforts fall short. That I always fall short does not entail that I have not improved in real ways by the work of the holy spirit in my life.

    That is very different from one who is indifferent about one’s sin – this is what Paul is pointing to in Corinthians by describing people who identified with those sins. Of course the difference between the truly repentant and those not can be unclear to outsiders…indeed hypicrites can fool themselves. That is addressed in the docs on perseverence.

    But to get back to Susan’s question, the elect will not be unrepentant in their sin. The reformed faith does not teach antinomianism (you can do anything as long as you believe in jbfa or whatever doctrine it was and still go to heaven) nor do the confessions imply it.

    Like

  147. The Protestant and Catholic agree with Paul that “adulterers will not enter the kingdom of God”, but differ as to the reason: whether persistent adultery is fruit that demonstrates a bad root (Protestant) or adultery is a mortal sin that removes one from a state of grace (Catholic).

    Like

  148. Mermaid,

    You’re trying to relitigate an argument you already lost.

    You’ve (finally) conceded that Athanasius and Augustine had different views of the canon. That’s the tip of the iceberg. Their views were not private views, but reflected Church tradition as they knew it. Their disagreement was an early indicator of disagreement that persisted through the Middle Ages, so that the primary theological primer used in Europe, the glossa ordinaria, taught that the Deuteros were not canon. Cajetan and Ximines, reflected their best understanding of church tradition, agreed.

    It is beyond dispute that there was a lack of uniform tradition about the Deuteros in the middle ages.

    What’s the point in trying to deny it?

    Like

  149. Jeff Cagle says:
    September 10, 2016 at 12:35 am
    Mermaid,

    You’re trying to relitigate an argument you already lost.>>>>

    You “lost” on Athanasius if you want to put it in terms of winning and losing. He was a Greek Father. So, let’s look to the EO to see what they consider to be the canon of the OT.

    Below I cut and pasted a statement of the Orthodox Church in America about the OT canon.

    You have no good reason to reject the Deuteros as canonical. You can get mad at me for saying so if you want. Did you even think that maybe the Holy Spirit wants to bless you through those books?

    Change is hard, Jeff. It’s not comfortable. Let yourself be convinced. I am not your enemy. I am not out to hurt you. Not at all.
    —————————————————————
    Canon of Scripture
    Question

    What is the position of the Orthodox Church regarding the books that the Protestant churches refer to as the Apocrypha? Maccabees, Tobit, Ecclesiasticus, etc.

    Answer

    The Old Testament books to which you refer—know in the Orthodox Church as the “longer canon” rather than the “Apocrypha,” as they are known among the Protestants—are accepted by Orthodox Christianity as canonical scripture. These particular books are found only in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, but not in the Hebrew texts of the rabbis.

    These books—Tobit, Judah, more chapters of Esther and Daniel, the Books of Maccabees, the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, the Book of Sirach, the Prophecy of Baruch, and the Prayer of Manasseh—are considered by the Orthodox to be fully part of the Old testament because they are part of the longer canon that was accepted from the beginning by the early Church.

    The same Canon [rule] of Scripture is used by the Roman Catholic Church. In the Jerusalem Bible (RC) these books are intermingled within the Old Testament Books and not placed separately as often in Protestant translations (e.g., KJV).
    https://oca.org/questions/scripture/canon-of-scripture

    Like

  150. Mermaid,

    You “lost” on Athanasius if you want to put it in terms of winning and losing. He was a Greek Father. So, let’s look to the EO to see what they consider to be the canon of the OT.

    Below I cut and pasted a statement of the Orthodox Church in America about the OT canon.

    You have no good reason to reject the Deuteros as canonical. You can get mad at me for saying so if you want. Did you even think that maybe the Holy Spirit wants to bless you through those books?

    Change is hard, Jeff. It’s not comfortable. Let yourself be convinced. I am not your enemy. I am not out to hurt you. Not at all.

    Congratulations, you’ve just proven that not only did Trent not reflect canonical consensus, but neither does the East. This is relevant to the point you want to make how? Wait, it isn’t. It proves that you simply cannot find consensus on the OT canon before the Middle Ages except, wait for it, on the books that the Protestants, Jews, RC, and EO all have in common. Ta da!

    Does that fact in itself prove that Protestants are right? No, and not one of us has said that it does. All that fact in itself proves is that there was no agreement on the canon apart from the 39 Jewish/Protestant books that you also affirm.

    Believe Trent was right on the canon. Fine. But you have to affirm that Trent was wrong and that RC apologists continue to be wrong to suggest this was the consensus of the fathers. But again, you can get out of that. Your doctrine of infallibility, I think, doesn’t require you to believe that the reasons Rome gives for a dogma are correct. You just have to believe the dogma. So the supporting arguments for any of your dogmas could be proved completely wrong and the dogma must still be believed. This is why we accuse you all of believing sola ecclesia, but whatever. You don’t have to believe Athanasius was correct to believe that Trent is.

    And could it be that God wants to bless us through reading the Apocrypha? Sure. Who denies it. It could be that God wants to bless us by reading Thomas, Calvin, Luther, Newman, Pope Francis, etc. But that doesn’t entail he wants us to view any of their writings as divine revelation.

    Like

  151. Which Protestant doctrine is offered as inerrant as opposed to subject to revision and possibly in error?

    That divine revelation is infallible. (By definition)
    That God spoke through Hosea “The word of the Lord that came to Hosea” (Hos. 1:1).
    That the words of Jesus won’t pass away: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matt. 24:35)

    I could list more, but all of those, if you are an honest debater, should fulfill the criterion you have established for professed infallibility/inerrancy. And remember, we just need one to be “a contender.”

    What’s the identification of this church?

    Paul says the church is founded on the Apostles and Prophets, so whatever church adheres to their teaching.

    Do the Arians, Mormons, RCs, EOs, open theists, PCUSA, ELCA cease being truly united and one with the PCA simply because their understanding of certain doctrines is incorrect according to the PCA?

    Depends on the doctrine. Which doctrines do the Apostles say are non-negotiable to make one a Christian. The deity of Christ (John 8). Getting the doctrine of justification right—IE, none of our cooperation justifies us. (Galatians). I could list others.

    God doesn’t say that a group has to have the Lord’s Supper right to be a church. There are erroneous beliefs that make a church less pure but not fundamentally disunited from the true church of God. This isn’t hard. You guys believe that about the East and, essentially now, about Protestantism. Our baptisms are golden. Plenty of your bishops are happy to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with us. You all construe church unity by submission to Rome, but your dogma allows for invisible submission, otherwise, you couldn’t accept the rest of us as Christians.

    Gee, it looks like Rome affirms something similar to what I just said about the PCA…

    So the apostles needn’t have been infallible when writing Scripture to preserve truth. Scripture itself needn’t be infallible to preserve truth.

    Divine revelation is of a different character. This isn’t hard. When God speaks, it must be infallible. Even Rome recognizes that by putting Scripture and the infallible teachings of the church on a different level. If your doctrine of infallibility was in practice as high as you claim it is, the Nicene Creed would be in the canon. But it isn’t. Seems like there is still a fundamental difference between revelation and preservation.

    All the church has to be is correct. It doesn’t have to be infallible. You can be correct and fallible. The real question for you is “How do I know when the church has been correct?” Sorry, but a claim that “We are infallible and at this point we are correct” doesn’t really help you answer the real question you have.

    Like

  152. mrs. webfoot, ditto agree with Jeff on the ‘gaslighting’ on enough occasions.
    Appreciate the opportunity it gives, though, to apply it to the thinking of cvd/sdb’s discussion above 1) with example of digging-your-heels nonrepentance when called on it and that 2) ‘gaslighting’, or whatever of our heart sins, may rank fairly, relatively equally according to the Lord -falling short of His glory?

    Liked by 1 person

  153. Just in case this was missed, the EO accept the Septuagint as part of the canon of Scripture. They come down on the same side as the Catholic Church and for the same reasons. The early Church used the Septuagint as its OT Scripture.

    Jesus, the disciples & NT writers used the Septuagint as holy Scripture. When Paul said that all Scripture was God-breathed, he meant the Septuagint as well as the OT in Hebrew. All of it, including the Deuterocanonical books.

    This is truth, not error. Protestants got it wrong.

    I hope some will consider this. The Holy Spirit is serious about the Word of God and He will not let this rest.

    Notice the attempts to tell me I am sinning by defending the Deuterocanonical books. I am causing Jeff psychological damage, in his words. Ali told me to repent.

    Does anyone else find that strange?

    Praying for you that you will open your hearts to all that God has for you in His Holy Scriptures.
    ——————————————————————————-

    Canon of Scripture
    Question

    What is the position of the Orthodox Church regarding the books that the Protestant churches refer to as the Apocrypha? Maccabees, Tobit, Ecclesiasticus, etc.

    Answer

    The Old Testament books to which you refer—know in the Orthodox Church as the “longer canon” rather than the “Apocrypha,” as they are known among the Protestants—are accepted by Orthodox Christianity as canonical scripture. These particular books are found only in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, but not in the Hebrew texts of the rabbis.

    These books—Tobit, Judah, more chapters of Esther and Daniel, the Books of Maccabees, the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, the Book of Sirach, the Prophecy of Baruch, and the Prayer of Manasseh—are considered by the Orthodox to be fully part of the Old testament because they are part of the longer canon that was accepted from the beginning by the early Church.

    The same Canon [rule] of Scripture is used by the Roman Catholic Church. In the Jerusalem Bible (RC) these books are intermingled within the Old Testament Books and not placed separately as often in Protestant translations (e.g., KJV).
    https://oca.org/questions/scripture/canon-of-scripture

    Like

  154. IOW, the rule of Scripture is this: The Septuagint is the Old Testament used by the early Church, including Jesus and the apostles. Therefore that is the rule to be followed now by all Christians.

    Protestants deviated from that rule. Just the truth. Just the fact of the matter. If you disagree, you are disagreeing with Jesus, the apostles, the early Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and Roman Catholicism.

    Just so you know. Besides, what is the rule – canon – for Protestants? It is undecided and left open since the WCF and Luther’s opinions are fallible, not infallible. You can’t have a fallible standard sitting in judgment on an infallible rule of faith and practice.

    See, you guys pick away at details, and in so doing you miss the truth.

    Like

  155. At least Robert is more open to the idea of being blessed by the Deuterocanonical books. That’s a start. If you read St. Thomas Aquinas, you will see how he often referenced the D’s for support. He was blessed by them and used them just as he used all other Scripture – as authoritative and infallible. Just a fact.

    If it was good enough for Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and on down to St. Thomas Aquinas – who summarized all of Christian theology up to his point in time and laid the groundwork for all that followed, incl. the Council of Trent- and the present, who am I to deny the inspiration of the Deuterocanonical books of the OT?

    I humbly submit to the Holy Spirit on that.

    Yeah, I know what some are thinking. Humble bragging? The Mermaid? Bawhahahaha!!!!

    Y’all have a wonderful day. It is so beautiful here where I am. I hope it is where you are. God bless America! God bless Pope Francis! St. Thomas Aquinas & St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

    And God bless all of you my dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

    Like

  156. Webfoot: Notice the attempts to tell me I am sinning by defending the Deuterocanonical books. I am causing Jeff psychological damage, in his words.

    Not my words, actually. And neither sentence is true.

    You are welcome to defend the Deuteros to your heart’s content, and it causes me no great distress. No one accuses you of sin on that account.

    Likewise, what I said was not that you damage me, but that you are gaslighting.

    To be specific, you exhibit many manipulative behaviors, including frequent misrepresentations of facts and past history; passive-aggressive attacks on character (instead of describing behaviors that offend); bipolar switching from aggressively harsh to syrupy sweet; projection of your own behaviors onto others; unwillingness to ever apologize even for obvious offenses; and implausible failure to understand what your interlocutors are saying, complete with a substantial dose of mockery.

    In other words, your online persona demonstrates a number of socially unacceptable behaviors that set you apart from other defenders of the Deuteros such as Susan or CVD, both of whom are equally as determined as you, but who do not obnox. I cheerfully interact with Susan and Cletus. For you, I have think about how to not get drawn into your head games.

    Or in a phrase, you gaslight. Your words create an artificial reality in which you are the hero, boldly standing with Jesus and His Church against the horribly mean, confused, and incompetent Protestants. You rewrite a history in which you didn’t lie, don’t err, never have to apologize, and have total epistemological certainty.

    All of this appears designed to try to manipulate people into looking bad according to your lights.

    Is that who you are in reality? I doubt it. I don’t think we see much of the real Webfoot — or whoever you are — on this site. I hope not this is not how you treat others in the real world.

    And to forestall any complaints about my thin skin: this isn’t just me. You have these kinds of interactions with every. single. non-Catholic here. I’m just willing to call you on it because at the end of the day, you are still a human being who needs a functional way to disagree with other people.

    To repeat: You need a functional way to disagree with other people. This is not it.

    Ali’s right. It’s time to repent.

    Like

  157. Mermaid, “you guys are terribly lacking in self awareness.”

    Mermaid, hear Jeff for some self-awareness:

    To be specific, you exhibit many manipulative behaviors, including frequent misrepresentations of facts and past history; passive-aggressive attacks on character (instead of describing behaviors that offend); bipolar switching from aggressively harsh to syrupy sweet; projection of your own behaviors onto others; unwillingness to ever apologize even for obvious offenses; and implausible failure to understand what your interlocutors are saying, complete with a substantial dose of mockery.

    In other words, your online persona demonstrates a number of socially unacceptable behaviors that set you apart from other defenders of the Deuteros such as Susan or CVD, both of whom are equally as determined as you, but who do not obnox. I cheerfully interact with Susan and Cletus. For you, I have think about how to not get drawn into your head games.

    I know. Jeff roots for the Nationals. He doesn’t count.

    Like

  158. Oh, Jeff, I know your ego is easily bruised. You will get over it. I know you will, you ol’ gas bag you. As usual, you were sloppy in your use of terms. Look up “gas lighting”. You did indeed accuse me of causing you psychological damage.

    Find a safe space. Have a good cry or scream. Hug some stuffed animals. It will all be okay.

    Like

  159. See, Jeff, I don’t take you seriously anymore. I mean, count the pseudo psychological terms you used in your rant against me.

    That’s not Reformed faith and practice. That’s Dr. Phil. Your epistemology is scientism. Your linguistics are taken from Noam Chomsky.

    So, what gives, here? Surely others have noticed.

    Like

  160. D. G. Hart says:
    September 10, 2016 at 5:52 pm
    Mermaid, “you guys are terribly lacking in self awareness.”

    Mermaid, hear Jeff for some self-awareness:>>>

    So, you are saying that Jeff is really talking about himself, but directing it towards me? I can see that.

    Like

  161. Now, back to the subject at hand. It was the Septuagint. I know you guys want it to be anything and anyone but the truth. Shoot the messenger. The truth still stands. It doesn’t care about your feelings. It doesn’t care about what positions of authority you may have in your congregations or class rooms. It stands firm through the millennia. You will not be able to destroy it, bury it, or deny it forever. It will be there like a beacon for those who wish to know the truth instead of just stooping to the lowest tactics around to win an argument.

    This is the truth. The Septuagint, including the Deuterocanonical books, is Scripture. It is what Jesus used. It is what the apostles used. It is what the Apostle Paul referenced in his teaching on Purgatory.

    Protestants reject the Deuteros because it conflicts with doctrines the Reformers rejected. Sola scriptura games the system. Remove the offending books, and you remove the offending doctrines. Easy peasy.

    Except for little things like the Apostle Paul’s doctrine of Purgatory. Oh, that is the name that the Church gives to the time of purification that must take place before one enters Heaven. Is it a period of time? Is it a moment of time? There are theories about that, but the fact remains.

    It is real.

    Now, if you love the truth, find the main text where Paul explains the doctrine of Purgatory. Or you can continue to shoot at me and make yourselves look like snowflakes who need a safe space.

    Canon of Scripture
    Question

    What is the position of the Orthodox Church regarding the books that the Protestant churches refer to as the Apocrypha? Maccabees, Tobit, Ecclesiasticus, etc.

    Answer

    The Old Testament books to which you refer—know in the Orthodox Church as the “longer canon” rather than the “Apocrypha,” as they are known among the Protestants—are accepted by Orthodox Christianity as canonical scripture. These particular books are found only in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, but not in the Hebrew texts of the rabbis.

    These books—Tobit, Judah, more chapters of Esther and Daniel, the Books of Maccabees, the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, the Book of Sirach, the Prophecy of Baruch, and the Prayer of Manasseh—are considered by the Orthodox to be fully part of the Old testament because they are part of the longer canon that was accepted from the beginning by the early Church.

    The same Canon [rule] of Scripture is used by the Roman Catholic Church. In the Jerusalem Bible (RC) these books are intermingled within the Old Testament Books and not placed separately as often in Protestant translations (e.g., KJV).
    https://oca.org/questions/scripture/canon-of-scripture

    Like

  162. D. G. Hart says:
    September 10, 2016 at 9:17 pm
    Mermaid, you are so self-aware that self is all you see.

    I pity the man.>>>

    Oh, I know you have nothing to add to the discussion. Therefore you let your henchmen do your dirty work. Maybe someday the Truth will interest you more than The Wire.

    Like

  163. Mermaid,

    Except for little things like the Apostle Paul’s doctrine of Purgatory.

    The Apostle Paul has no doctrine of purgatory. The passage generally adduced by RCs as evidence (1 Cor. 3) is all about the testing of our works, not ourselves making satisfaction via temporal punishment.

    God is our Father. He doesn’t torture us and beat us for millennia before finally letting us come home to heaven. Purgatory is a denial of the gospel.

    Liked by 1 person

  164. Jeff Cagle says:
    September 11, 2016 at 8:12 am
    1 Esdras and 3 and 4 Maccabees are in the EO canon and not the RC.

    Not the same canon.>>>>

    Here’s what is the same between the EO and the Catholic Churches. Both base their decisions about what is and what is not Sacred Scripture on the Septuagint, the LXX. Read what the guy from the American Orthodox Church said.

    You have seemed to argue otherwise. You may wish to clarify. The overwhelming evidence of Church history is that the LXX was the Bible of the early Church.

    Your friend, St. Athanasius used the LXX. How do I know with certainty?

    When he made his list of books that 1.) are canonical or 2.) that should be read in Churches, he was talking about the LXX. Obviously. Besides, you have alleged that he and Augustine disagreed. Do you mean they discussed it between themselves and disagreed after talking about it? Or do you mean that there are discrepancies in their lists?

    Besides, engage your epistemology. How do you know with certainty that St. Athanasius 1.) did not change his mind later or 2.) would have disagreed with what the EO Churches obviously acknowledge as canon? You don’t know, and you can’t know unless there is some historical evidence out there that can be brought into this conversation. So you may wish to modify your dogmatic assertion that the two distinguished members of the “A” team were in conflict with one another. The best you can do is something like “I, Jeff Cagle, think that St. Athanasius would be in disagreement with his Church now, but I can’t be positive.” Your level of certainty is quite low. You might want to bring it down a notch or two.

    When St. Augustine made his list of canonical books, he was talking about the LXX, obviously. That’s clear, right?

    They were basing their statements on the same Bible, the one that was in use by the Church, both east and west. That was the LXX.

    So, you must at least acknowledge that part. Do you?

    Why is that fact important to establish? The LXX contains the Deuterocanonical books.

    The EO accepts the longer canon which includes the Deuterocanonical books as their official canon of Scripture. That is, their rule of faith. As with the Catholic Church, they hold to their sacred Tradition which is almost the same as the sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church. There are some differences.

    I won’t go into detail on that except to say that as you pointed out, there may be some differences in the two canons – the Catholic one and the EO’s longer canon. Again, you present no proof except your own memory on that. I have no basis to say you are wrong on that, and no basis to say you are right.

    However, I will say this for now. I accept the decision of the Catholic Church on that. St. Augustine got it right. The Church got it right.

    Another piece of evidence that you can accept with great certainty is that the Vulgate was translated from the LXX.

    Another piece of evidence that you can accept with great certainty is that the Vulgate was the standard Latin text used in the Church from the time of St. Jerome. What was the discussion about Hebrew vs. LXX? Why did the Church go with the LXX? It had always been the Bible the Church used, so go with Tradition. How do I know that? Read the A team and see. Read the NT and see how much influence the LXX had on the writers of Scripture.

    It was the logical choice for the basis of the translation given the over whelming evidence in favor.

    Now, tell me when the Jewish canon that left out the Deuteros. was established? 1st Century B.C. or 1st Century A.D.? Do all Jewish groups have the same canon? Luther accepted the Jewish canon. So, all you guys followed his lead.

    Another piece…is the fact that Martin Luther did his translation into German – common German, not the German of scholars – using the Vulgate as his text.

    Another…is the fact that it was Luther who removed the Deuterocanonical books from their places in the OT and put them in the back of his Bible. What other books did he put in the back? Like it or not, Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation.

    Do you see a pattern, here? In all these cases, what is the original source that both EO and Catholic – then Luther – were basing their versions on?

    The LXX. That SHOULD tell you something. I hope you agree at least this much.

    Now, you don’t accept the Deuterocanonical books as canonical. Fine. That’s your choice. They contain doctrines that you disagree with. Are Protestants right and the rest of the Church wrong? Possibly, but not likely.

    Why do I say “not likely”? It is not likely that the Holy Spirit would have allowed the Church to get it wrong for some 1,500 years until Luther came along to set things straight. We both agree that the Bible is a supernatural book who has numerous human authors but only one Divine Author – the Holy Spirit, God Himself.

    He is its Defender as well. I am sure you agree. Did He defend His Word, using Martin Luther as His instrument to set the record straight? Or did Luther go against the will of God in his decision about the canon?

    If Luther got it right and the Church got it wrong, then why did the Holy Spirit wait so long to correct that error, if it was indeed error? Did the Holy Spirit tell Luther to do what he did, or did he decide that for himself?

    Read his own words. He does not claim that the Holy Spirit told him to put those books in the back of his translation. Can you claim that for him? I don’t think so. In fact, in a letter he wrote defending his addition of the word “alone” to Scripture, he claimed he did it on his own authority. I have provided that quote in the past and will do so again if asked nicely.

    Now, what I expect you will do is start picking away at this or that detail and miss the big picture.

    The LXX has formed the basis of the Church’s understanding of the canon of Scripture for over 2,000 years. In fact, that can be said with certitude, not just certainty. If you want to talk consensus, that’s it.

    Protestants reject the Deuterocanonical books, following the lead of Luther who moved the into the back of the Bible from their original places within the Old Testament. They also followed his lead on their canonicity.

    You have to ask yourself. Was the Holy Spirit in what he did, or not? It’s His book, not yours or mine or Luther’s.

    Like

  165. Robert says:
    September 11, 2016 at 8:38 am
    Mermaid,

    Except for little things like the Apostle Paul’s doctrine of Purgatory.

    The Apostle Paul has no doctrine of purgatory. The passage generally adduced by RCs as evidence (1 Cor. 3) is all about the testing of our works, not ourselves making satisfaction via temporal punishment.

    God is our Father. He doesn’t torture us and beat us for millennia before finally letting us come home to heaven. Purgatory is a denial of the gospel.>>>>

    Actually, denying that there is a final purification before one is able to enter Heaven is a denial of the Gospel.

    That’s what Purgatory is.

    Like

  166. @jeff I was recently reading about the Septuagint and learned a few things. First, the original only contained the Pentateuch. This may be connected to why the Saducees only included these in their canon. As the Septuagint expanded, the versions floating around were not standardized. Evidently the DSS show that texts by the Essenes were translated quite loosely. In addition to the differences between the EO and RC canons, there are other texts included among Septuagint versions that neither include in their canon, but other Christmas griups did. Unfortunately I don’t have names handy while im traveling. I don’t think they are the extra texts the copts includes, but I’m not sure.

    What I find the most interesting about all this is how the gospels describe Jesus’s use of Scripture. The underlying assumption in his discourses (and the apostles’) is that scripture is the final arbiter of disputes, men stray when they stray from scriprure, and people are responsible for kniwing scripture. All of these assumptions existed within a historical context in which there was broad disagreement about the scope and meaning of the canon (the temple authorities rejected all but the books of Moses and the resurrection! ).

    Like

  167. @ Webfoot:

    By all means, let us return to the topic.

    You have argued that the Catholic canon is in fact the tradition of the Church. You provide the following evidence as warrant for your claim. I’ve infilled your argument where marked:

    (1) Jesus and the apostles, as well Augustine and Athanasius used the LXX as the Bible.
    (1a) This establishes that the LXX was Scripture, hence
    (1b) *The books in the LXX are the canonical books.

    (2) The RC Church and EO Church use the same canon, hence
    (2a) *The Church tradition is established by the agreement of these two witnesses.

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  168. By contrast, Robert, sdb, and I have argued that there was not one single uniform Church tradition concerning the canon. As evidence for the claim, we assert

    (1) Two important early witnesses to Church tradition, Jerome and Athanasius, did NOT believe that the Church held the Deuteros to be canonical, with the exception of Baruch in the case of Athanasius.

    (2) A Middle-Ages witness to Church tradition, the Glossa Ordinaria, taught that the Deuteros were not canonical.

    (3) Two eve-of-Reformation witnesses to Church tradition, Cardinals Cajetan and Ximines, both held that the Deuteros were not accepted by the Church as canonical.

    That’s current state of play.

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  169. In terms of rebuttals, we have responded as follows:

    (~Webfoot 1A) “The Septuagint” has many different manuscript variations (see: Wiki “Septuagint manuscripts”), some of which contain the Deuteros and some of which do not.

    This casts doubt on (Webfoot 1) for two reasons: The variation makes it unlikely that the Septuagint was regarded as a complete canon, since the contents seemed to be variable; and the variation means that it is entirely possible that Jesus and the apostles were quoting from an LXX that did not contain the Deuteros.

    (~Webfoot 1B) Further, although we agree that Jesus and the apostles quoted the LXX versions of Old Testament books, we observe that they never quoted the Deuterocanonicals. This means that (1a) is not well-established. It is entirely possible that the LXX regarded as Scripture either did not contain the Deuteros OR contained the Deuteros as “useful books” but not actual Scripture, much as the “book of maps” is included in modern translations, but is not Scripture; or much as the Apocrypha is included in many Anglican Bibles, but is not regarded as Scripture.

    (~2) Counterfactual. In fact, the RCs and EOs do not use the same canon. Yes, the canonical lists are similar (and both broader than the Protestant); but the fact that they do not agree in every particular means that one or the other or both is in error regarding the Church tradition.

    Keeping in mind that we are talking about an infallible canon, that means that at least one of your two witnesses has erred and is not therefore a witness to infallible Church tradition.

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  170. In terms of your rebuttals to our argument , you have questioned whether Augustine and Athanasius really disagreed. But you have not produced any contrary evidence.

    So at this time, it would appear that you are still trying to collect some sort of rebuttal.

    —-

    That’s pretty much it. Unless you would like to introduce some new substantive ideas (additional evidence, a rebuttal to our arguments, etc.), I would suggest we leave it here. We clearly disagree, and unless a new substantive idea appears, that fact will not change.

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  171. Jeff, I will repost here in hopes that you will interact with what I actually said. Keep your focus.
    ——————————————————-

    Jeff Cagle says:
    September 11, 2016 at 8:12 am
    1 Esdras and 3 and 4 Maccabees are in the EO canon and not the RC.

    Not the same canon.>>>>

    Here’s what is the same between the EO and the Catholic Churches. Both base their decisions about what is and what is not Sacred Scripture on the Septuagint, the LXX. Read what the guy from the American Orthodox Church said.

    You have seemed to argue otherwise. You may wish to clarify. The overwhelming evidence of Church history is that the LXX was the Bible of the early Church.

    Your friend, St. Athanasius used the LXX. How do I know with certainty?

    When he made his list of books that 1.) are canonical or 2.) that should be read in Churches, he was talking about the LXX. Obviously. Besides, you have alleged that he and Augustine disagreed. Do you mean they discussed it between themselves and disagreed after talking about it? Or do you mean that there are discrepancies in their lists?

    Besides, engage your epistemology. How do you know with certainty that St. Athanasius 1.) did not change his mind later or 2.) would have disagreed with what the EO Churches obviously acknowledge as canon? You don’t know, and you can’t know unless there is some historical evidence out there that can be brought into this conversation. So you may wish to modify your dogmatic assertion that the two distinguished members of the “A” team were in conflict with one another. The best you can do is something like “I, Jeff Cagle, think that St. Athanasius would be in disagreement with his Church now, but I can’t be positive.” Your level of certainty is quite low. You might want to bring it down a notch or two.

    When St. Augustine made his list of canonical books, he was talking about the LXX, obviously. That’s clear, right?

    They were basing their statements on the same Bible, the one that was in use by the Church, both east and west. That was the LXX.

    So, you must at least acknowledge that part. Do you?

    Why is that fact important to establish? The LXX contains the Deuterocanonical books.

    The EO accepts the longer canon which includes the Deuterocanonical books as their official canon of Scripture. That is, their rule of faith. As with the Catholic Church, they hold to their sacred Tradition which is almost the same as the sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church. There are some differences.

    I won’t go into detail on that except to say that as you pointed out, there may be some differences in the two canons – the Catholic one and the EO’s longer canon. Again, you present no proof except your own memory on that. I have no basis to say you are wrong on that, and no basis to say you are right.

    However, I will say this for now. I accept the decision of the Catholic Church on that. St. Augustine got it right. The Church got it right.

    Another piece of evidence that you can accept with great certainty is that the Vulgate was translated from the LXX.

    Another piece of evidence that you can accept with great certainty is that the Vulgate was the standard Latin text used in the Church from the time of St. Jerome. What was the discussion about Hebrew vs. LXX? Why did the Church go with the LXX? It had always been the Bible the Church used, so go with Tradition. How do I know that? Read the A team and see. Read the NT and see how much influence the LXX had on the writers of Scripture.

    It was the logical choice for the basis of the translation given the over whelming evidence in favor.

    Now, tell me when the Jewish canon that left out the Deuteros. was established? 1st Century B.C. or 1st Century A.D.? Do all Jewish groups have the same canon? Luther accepted the Jewish canon. So, all you guys followed his lead.

    Another piece…is the fact that Martin Luther did his translation into German – common German, not the German of scholars – using the Vulgate as his text.

    Another…is the fact that it was Luther who removed the Deuterocanonical books from their places in the OT and put them in the back of his Bible. What other books did he put in the back? Like it or not, Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation.

    Do you see a pattern, here? In all these cases, what is the original source that both EO and Catholic – then Luther – were basing their versions on?

    The LXX. That SHOULD tell you something. I hope you agree at least this much.

    Now, you don’t accept the Deuterocanonical books as canonical. Fine. That’s your choice. They contain doctrines that you disagree with. Are Protestants right and the rest of the Church wrong? Possibly, but not likely.

    Why do I say “not likely”? It is not likely that the Holy Spirit would have allowed the Church to get it wrong for some 1,500 years until Luther came along to set things straight. We both agree that the Bible is a supernatural book who has numerous human authors but only one Divine Author – the Holy Spirit, God Himself.

    He is its Defender as well. I am sure you agree. Did He defend His Word, using Martin Luther as His instrument to set the record straight? Or did Luther go against the will of God in his decision about the canon?

    If Luther got it right and the Church got it wrong, then why did the Holy Spirit wait so long to correct that error, if it was indeed error? Did the Holy Spirit tell Luther to do what he did, or did he decide that for himself?

    Read his own words. He does not claim that the Holy Spirit told him to put those books in the back of his translation. Can you claim that for him? I don’t think so. In fact, in a letter he wrote defending his addition of the word “alone” to Scripture, he claimed he did it on his own authority. I have provided that quote in the past and will do so again if asked nicely.

    Now, what I expect you will do is start picking away at this or that detail and miss the big picture.

    The LXX has formed the basis of the Church’s understanding of the canon of Scripture for over 2,000 years. In fact, that can be said with certitude, not just certainty. If you want to talk consensus, that’s it.

    Protestants reject the Deuterocanonical books, following the lead of Luther who moved the into the back of the Bible from their original places within the Old Testament. They also followed his lead on their canonicity.

    You have to ask yourself. Was the Holy Spirit in what he did, or not? It’s His book, not yours or mine or Luther’s.

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  172. Jeff, you are still litigating the canon, since what you have is a fallible list of infallible books. The canon is settled for both EO and Catholic Churches.

    You are free, as Protestants, to continue to litigate the case from now until the Return of Christ.

    Does the pericope adulterae stay or go? Yes or no. You’re not sure. You are sure. You are certain. You do not have certitude, etc. etc. etc. with every word in the Bible, with every passage in the Bible, with every book in the Bible.

    Being 99% certain about every detail adds up to an infinity of uncertainty.

    You are happy with your canon. It gives you freedom to decide for yourself what is and what is not Scripture. That is the beauty of Protestantism.

    You are in control of the canon itself.

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  173. Jeff:
    So at this time, it would appear that you are still trying to collect some sort of rebuttal.>>>>

    Actually, Jeff, you are the one who thinks in terms of rebuttal, counter argument, and winning the debate.

    Feel free to declare yourself the winner. I have no problem with you doing that. You beat the Mermaid.

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  174. Mermaid,

    Actually, denying that there is a final purification before one is able to enter Heaven is a denial of the Gospel.

    That’s what Purgatory is.

    No, Purgatory is a place where you make temporal satisfaction for those sins that Jesus’ blood somehow doesn’t cover because you didn’t confess them good enough or whatever other absolute nonsense your sacerdotal system requires you to believe.

    You can be purified instantaneously by the Holy Spirit at your glorification or you can suffer for millennia while God beats you senseless in purgatory and get some unsuspecting people on earth to pay a fee an get a couple seconds knocked off your sentence.

    Just ask the medieval church that sold salvation to people to build the pope a palace. Tetzel and all that.

    I don’t mean to be harsh, but the public relations that you are performing for purgatory is ridiculous. It’s a place where God punishes His children because Jesus’ death wasn’t good enough to cover all of their sin. No thank you.

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  175. You know, guys, nobody cares what any of us say. I know that Brother Hart will continue to post anti Catholic screed. Of course you guys mean to be harsh.

    Everything about this blog is harsh. I tried to communicate with Jeff in a clearer way, and he still jumped all over me.

    Well, it’s your blog. Time to shut the “hate on Catholics” feature of the comments section down.

    You be nice to one another, ya’ hear? I get it that you don’t like Catholics. At least love your brothers and sisters.

    Like

  176. mrswebfoot says: “hate on Catholics” feature

    gaslighting, or at least mischaracterizing mrsw? what goes on here, re: the cat-system?

    I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. 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. 2 Cor 11:2-3

    The LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God— a consuming fire, a jealous God- jealous for His name, jealous for Zion, jealous for the Spirit which He has made to dwell in believers

    they provoked Him with their high places and aroused His jealousy with their graven images. Psalm 78:58

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  177. Stop the slander, Ali. Yes, the hatred for Catholics is on display here every day. Do not try to justify it or double down on it. Just stop it.

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  178. Mermaid, does Ross Douthat hate Roman Catholics? He is critical of the church. You never address that other Roman Catholics are critical. You act like we’re supposed to take your word for Roman Catholicism, as if you’re the pope or something.

    I pity the man.

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  179. sdb,

    “So I am violating the 7th when I don’t thoroughly detest unchaste desires… my best efforts at chastity are still tainted”

    Right. So you are not thoroughly detesting unchaste desires every second of your life since even your best efforts are tainted. If you were committing fornication as frequently as you fail to thoroughly detest unchaste desires (i.e. always), would you consider yourself a serial fornicator?

    “my best efforts fall short… I always fall short”

    Is imperfection sinful and a violation of the command to be perfect? If so, how are you not sinning every second of your life?

    “That does not entail that I have not improved in real ways by the work of the holy spirit in my life.”

    Do you consider a serial fornicator or axe murderer who continues to fornicate and axe murder every second of his life improving and thus not worthy of discipline?

    “That is very different from one who is indifferent about one’s sin”

    Is the only difference between repentance and impenitence one’s attitude towards sin, and action/behavior has no significance? Why does the serial adulterer or thief warrant discipline in your congregation but the serial 2GC and be-perfect breakers don’t?

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  180. Robert,

    “That God spoke through Hosea…That the words of Jesus won’t pass away”

    That the books of Hosea and Matthew are inerrant and divine revelation are doctrines subject to revision and possibly in error by your confessions/churches, as is the case for every book/passage in your canon.

    “Paul says the church is founded on the Apostles and Prophets, so whatever church adheres to their teaching.”

    Right. So the RCC then. You’ll reply “of course not!” That shows the inadequacy of this answer.

    “Depends on the doctrine.”

    And in Protestantism, no church is authorized to make this judgment.

    “Which doctrines do the Apostles say are non-negotiable to make one a Christian… I could list others.”

    So you got it down no problem, but all the Protestant churches that disagree with you and consider you in error on essentials got it wrong.

    “God doesn’t say that a group has to have the Lord’s Supper right to be a church.”

    According to your interpretation and judgment – you consider the Lord’s Supper a non-essential (Paul missed the memo). Other churches don’t.

    “There are erroneous beliefs that make a church less pure but not fundamentally disunited from the true church of God. This isn’t hard.”

    Oh right. It isn’t hard. The countless divisions and contradictory doctrines and disagreements on essentials amongst Protestant churches are no biggie.

    “When God speaks, it must be infallible. ”

    And the apostles and Scriptural writers aren’t God. So by your previous argument to discredit the infallibility of the church that “God works through fallible means and divinely preserves His truth”, they needn’t have been infallible when writing Scripture to preserve truth. Scripture itself needn’t be infallible to preserve truth.

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  181. @ Cletus in re: serial fornication:

    Are you trying to argue that some sins are more heinous than others? If so, then we agree.

    Are you trying to argue that some sins do not bring on guilt such that they would be considered “mortal”? If so, we disagree: Matthew 5.22, 30.

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  182. @ Cletus in re: “doctrines subject to revision”:

    All it takes to revise a Catholic doctrine is for that doctrine to be reinterpreted to mean something than what it was previously understood to mean.

    Trent’s anathemas are case in point. You understand them to not apply to most Protestants. Catholics in the 16th-19th centuries understood otherwise. The meaning of “anathema” shifted over time.

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  183. Jeff Cagle says:
    September 12, 2016 at 12:41 pm
    @ Cletus in re: “doctrines subject to revision”:

    All it takes to revise a Catholic doctrine is for that doctrine to be reinterpreted to mean something than what it was previously understood to mean.

    Trent’s anathemas are case in point. You understand them to not apply to most Protestants. Catholics in the 16th-19th centuries understood otherwise. The meaning of “anathema” shifted over time.>>>>>

    All you are doing is presenting your opinions, which is all you have. Nothing more.

    Talk about your area of expertise. Tell us about the meaning of “rule of faith” and “infallible” in a Reformed context at this point in time?

    Tell us what the Old Testament Bible of the early Church was if it was not the LXX.

    Tell us how “assurance” differs from “certitude”? Tell us how you know you are part of the elect? Tell us the difference between your concept of “assurance of salvation” and how it differs from what the Bible says about the believer’s hope of salvation?

    Given the fact that you reject the idea that anyone can have certitude about anything, how can you claim an absolute assurance that you are part of the elect?

    What percentage of certainty do you have about your own salvation? 100%? No, that’s impossible in your system. 99.9%? 10% What?

    In your thinking, is “assurance” the same as “certainty”, but not the same as “certitude”? If so, what you have is the hope of your own personal salvation just as any other Christian believer has.

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  184. D. G. Hart says:
    September 12, 2016 at 10:36 am
    Mermaid, does Ross Douthat hate Roman Catholics? He is critical of the church. You never address that other Roman Catholics are critical. You act like we’re supposed to take your word for Roman Catholicism, as if you’re the pope or something.

    I pity the man.>>>>

    Brother Hart, are you envious of a man like Douthat? Some like him. He’s not my cup of tea. Too elitist and inside the beltway for my taste.

    I prefer the populist kind of Christianity, not the kind that sits in an ivory tower and throws little barbs at everyone else from his safe space.

    There. See, I can be critical of Catholics, too. Maybe there’s hope for me.

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  185. D. G. Hart says:
    September 12, 2016 at 5:07 pm
    Mermaid, once again you didn’t answer the question. If Douthat isn’t a bigot why am I?

    But as usual, you make it about YOU. Still telling your testimony.

    And I still pity the man.>>>

    You are an anti Catholic bigot here on your blog because all you do it criticize Catholicism and Catholics, that is when you talk about Catholicism. You cannot be that bigoted in real life. On your blog, you are.

    You know that this kind of anti Catholic “stuff” is out of style even in your circles. Boettner was debunked long ago. Who uses his test anymore?

    Even your own OPC removed statements about the Pope being antichrist from your version of the WCF.

    You did not seem to get the memo.

    Forget Boettnerism. Forget Jack Chick. They are no longer considered to be reliable sources even for Protestants.

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  186. Jeff,

    “Are you trying to argue that some sins do not bring on guilt such that they would be considered “mortal”? If so, we disagree: Matthew 5.22, 30.”

    Right, you don’t hold that some sins are mortal. So breaking the 2 great commandments or the commandment to be perfect or Heidelberg’s gloss of the 10th commandment “That even the smallest inclination or thought, contrary to any of God’s commandments, never rise in our hearts; but that at all times we hate all sin with our whole heart, and delight in all righteousness.” is sinful, and all your best works in trying to keep the commandments are defiled and vitiated with sin. So believers sin every second.

    So, given that, why is the serial fornicator, axe murderer, burglar, etc in your congregation brought up for examination and discipline, but the serial 2GC and perfection breakers – which all your congregation freely admit to being – countenanced and given a pass?

    “All it takes to revise a Catholic doctrine is for that doctrine to be reinterpreted to mean something than what it was previously understood to mean.”

    Development does not entail the doctrine was in error. Development entails greater nuance and deeper understanding, but it does not entail “revision” in the sense of contradiction or nullification. No such guarantee obtains in Protestantism.

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  187. Cletus,

    That the books of Hosea and Matthew are inerrant and divine revelation are doctrines subject to revision and possibly in error by your confessions/churches, as is the case for every book/passage in your canon.

    Sorry, but the books of Hosea and Jesus Himself offer their words as the Word of the Lord. The church doesn’t have to. It merely reads them and submits to their claim.

    You want an authority that offers itself as infallible. There it is. It’s a book. You just want one dogma for contending. There it is. Hosea says it is the Word of the Lord’ Protestants agree.

    Right. So the RCC then. You’ll reply “of course not!” That shows the inadequacy of this answer.

    It’s no less inadequate that the Roman answer of Apostolic Succession. Lots and lots and lot of churches claim Apostolic Succession. Your answer is inadequate from my perspective because of the hopeless disagreement between all peoples and churches claiming Apostolic Succession.

    And in Protestantism, no church is authorized to make this judgment.

    The only authorization that the visible church lacks in Reformed Protestantism is the authorization to create doctrines that do not jive with Apostolic tradition. Rome in theory doesn’t have that power either.

    So you got it down no problem, but all the Protestant churches that disagree with you and consider you in error on essentials got it wrong.

    So you got RCism down now problem, but all the RCs and non-rss that disagree with you and consider you in error on essentials got it wrong. Welcome back to the same boat.

    According to your interpretation and judgment – you consider the Lord’s Supper a non-essential (Paul missed the memo). Other churches don’t.

    I don’t consider the Lord’s Supper itself a non-essential. I don’t think you have to have the intricacies of the Lord’s Presence correct in order to be saved. You can be very wrong and yet still be a Christian.

    But in any case, according to your interpretation and judgment, you consider the Lord’s Supper an essential. Other churches don’t. Same boat.

    Oh right. It isn’t hard. The countless divisions and contradictory doctrines and disagreements on essentials amongst Protestant churches are no biggie.

    Countless divisions and contradictions between members of the Magisterium and the laity. No biggie, right?

    And the apostles and Scriptural writers aren’t God.

    They make the claim to be giving us His very Word, so irrelevant.

    So by your previous argument to discredit the infallibility of the church that “God works through fallible means and divinely preserves His truth”, they needn’t have been infallible when writing Scripture to preserve truth. Scripture itself needn’t be infallible to preserve truth.

    Scripture doesn’t need to be infallible to preserve truth. Truth can be preserved in my fallible brain, a scrap of paper, a computer program, etc. Scripture must be infallible in order to be divine revelation. If it’s not infallible, it’s not divine revelation.

    Scripture’s preservation of truth is a necessary consequence of it being divine revelation, but divine revelation is not a necessary consequence of something preserving truth. If that were the case, your words would be divine revelation to the extent that they preserve the truth of God.

    So God is perfectly able to work through fallible means to preserve His truth. Again, not hard. You presumably don’t have direct access to the pope or to the Magisterium. You don’t have access to an infallible copy of the catechism. You are trusting your local priest to preserve the truth of the RCC for you. Your salvation is dependent in large measure on the faithfulness of your local fallible priest and other local RCC leaders. And yet that is perfectly fine for you.

    Welcome to Protestantism.

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  188. Mermaid, who’s doing Boettner? You get Devin Rose and Bryan Cross to back it down and I may relent. But seriously, when did the Roman Catholic testimonies drown out the evangelical conversion narratives? And don’t forget your own Yankee pride. It’s downright embarrassing when you talk about how great Roman Catholicism is when it’s in — wait for it — a crisis as Douthat says.

    You’ve yet to address the Roman Catholic critics or modify your cock-sure bluster. It’s really unbecoming. I pity you.

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  189. CVD: Right, you don’t hold that some sins are mortal.

    Point of clarification. Because Prots and Cats use different categories, mapping concepts can be tricky.

    I would put it as

    (1) All sins are mortal in that they are deserving of Hell; but
    (2) No sin is mortal in the sense of causing a loss of justification.

    I would not say that “I don’t hold that some sins are mortal” (ambiguous — but others are?)

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  190. CVD: why is the serial fornicator, axe murderer, burglar, etc in your congregation brought up for examination and discipline, but the serial 2GC and perfection breakers – which all your congregation freely admit to being – countenanced and given a pass?

    I’m sensing that you are perceiving a contradiction here. Rather than put words in your mouth, can I ask you to make it explicit?

    Would you expect charges to be brought for every sin?

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  191. D. G. Hart says:
    September 12, 2016 at 9:46 pm
    Mermaid, who’s doing Boettner? You get Devin Rose and Bryan Cross to back it down and I may relent. But seriously, when did the Roman Catholic testimonies drown out the evangelical conversion narratives? And don’t forget your own Yankee pride. It’s downright embarrassing when you talk about how great Roman Catholicism is when it’s in — wait for it — a crisis as Douthat says.

    You’ve yet to address the Roman Catholic critics or modify your cock-sure bluster. It’s really unbecoming. I pity you.>>>

    I don’t know those people at all.

    It’s a little hard to take the criticisms seriously. I think you guys jump the shark when you pick on St. Teresa of Calcutta.

    Not sure what you have against conversion narratives. Protestantism is based on Martin Luther’s conversion narrative. Remember?

    Justification by faith alone. Luther got saved. I hope he did.

    Catholics believe in justification by faith, and even conversion narratives. The Apostle Paul is the prime example for all Christians.

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  192. Robert:
    Welcome back to the same boat.>>>>

    If we are all in the same boat, then why don’t you get back aboard the same boat?

    There is only supposed to be one Ark, one Church. You know. One Spirit, one body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.

    You can’t run from problems. They follow you.

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  193. Mermaid,

    If we are all in the same boat, then why don’t you get back aboard the same boat?

    It’s the same epistemological boat. All of us think we are correct and the only way to persuade somebody that we are is to provide evidence of our beliefs. You all seem to think the shortcut of “But Rome is infallible” is somehow a game changer. But as has been pointed out ad nauseum, your knowledge of Rome is fallible, your identification of Rome is fallible, you identification of what Rome has taught infallibly is fallible, etc. At the end of the day, we talk to each other and you say, “But Rome says…” and we say “But the Bible says…” and the only one to adjudicate things is the Holy Spirit, who blows where we will.

    Both Roman Catholics and Protestants have divisions within their respective traditions.
    Both Roman Catholics and Protestants have a variety of interpretations of their documents within their traditions.
    Both Roman Catholics and Protestants have elements and leaders that turn their eye toward sin and what should be heresy.

    Saying that the Magisterium will adjudicate all this and create unity is frankly laughable. Not even the majority of Roman Catholics believe this. Everything that the Magisterium says must then be interpreted. And when the Magisterium interprets itself, that must be interpreted. All you have to rely on at the end of the day is your fallible brain because that is the only connection you have to your Magisterium.

    Welcome to Protestant epistemology. Welcome to the human race.

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  194. Mermaid,

    Protestantism is based on Martin Luther’s conversion narrative. Remember?

    That’s ridiculous.

    Justification by faith alone. Luther got saved. I hope he did.

    So now you are denying what the Reformation era popes said. If only you had been pope…

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  195. All of us have disunity within our respective traditions. And that has flourished by and large with the removal of the sword from the church. When the church has the power of the sword, it has the ability to create an outward uniformity that it doesn’t have when it lacks the sword.

    But the thing is, the disagreement within our traditions has always been there. Dissent can flourish when there’s freedom of religion, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a church with no power of the sword, as SDB has noted. Once that can has been opened, there’s no closing it again except through bloodshed and tyranny.

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  196. “same boat”

    read about this ‘same boat’ this am. Not sure what to call this boat:

    Hillary Clinton (Methodist?) a few years ago: “Marriage has historic, religious, and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman,” she said in 1996, according to God and Hillary Clinton by Paul Kengor.
    -Clinton now: “One of my big problems right now is that too many people believe they have a direct line to the divine and they never want to change their mind about anything,” Clinton told NPR’s Terry Gross during an interview in 2014 in which she said she now supports gay marriage. “We are living at a time when this extraordinary change is occurring and I’m proud of our country. I think that we have all evolved, and it’s been one of the fastest, most sweeping transformations that I’m aware of.”

    Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine suggested that, in his interpretation of the Bible, homosexual acts aren’t sinful. He further suggested that one day the Catholic Church may also come out in support of same-sex marriage.”I think it’s going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator who surveys the entire world, including mankind, and said it is very good,” he added, according to The Associated Press. Pope Francis famously said ‘Who am I to judge,’ and to that I want to add ‘Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family?’ I think we’re supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it.”

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  197. I think, or should I say THINK, sean, it’s the Lord’s ‘gig’.

    John 3:7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    Also speaking of ‘conversion’ discussion above, read this, this am:

    DAY 13: What does Paul mean when he writes about being “in Christ” and someone being a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17)?
    Paul uses the term “in Christ” when he writes about various aspects of our relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. These two words comprise a brief but profound statement of the inexhaustible significance of the believer’s redemption (salvation), which includes the following:
    1. The believer’s security in Christ, who bore in His body God’s judgment against sin.
    2. The believer’s acceptance in (through) Christ with whom God alone is well pleased.
    3. The believer’s future assurance in Him who is the resurrection to eternal life and the sole guarantor of the believer’s inheritance in heaven.
    4. The believer’s participation in the divine nature of Christ, the everlasting Word (2 Pet. 1:4).
    All of the changes that Christ brings to the believer’s life result in a state that can be rightly called “a new creation.” The terms describe something created at a qualitatively new level of excellence. They parallel other biblical concepts like regeneration and new birth (John 3:3; Eph. 2:1–3; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:23; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 5:4). The expression includes the Christian’s forgiveness of sins paid for in Christ’s substitutionary death (Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:24).
    http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

    Like

  198. oh wait, sean, sorry, I see that your WCF doesn’t have the ‘wind blows’, ‘conversion’, ‘new creation’, ‘in Christ’

    Like

  199. Jeff,

    “(1) All sins are mortal in that they are deserving of Hell; but
    (2) No sin is mortal in the sense of causing a loss of justification.”

    Right. I would add a (3) I presume reflects your position: Some ongoing sins or patterns of behavior merit examination and discipline of the believer and/or are incompatible with genuine regeneration/belief.

    “why is the serial fornicator, axe murderer, burglar, etc in your congregation brought up for examination and discipline, but the serial 2GC and perfection breakers – which all your congregation freely admit to being – countenanced and given a pass?
    – I’m sensing that you are perceiving a contradiction here. Rather than put words in your mouth, can I ask you to make it explicit?”

    The inconsistency I perceive is that Reformed churches have a de facto distinction between mortal and non-mortal sins, even as they deny it. Why is a lifestyle of adultery a red flag, but a lifestyle of 2GC and perfection breaking not a red flag?

    “Would you expect charges to be brought for every sin?”

    I’m simply asking why, if a congregation is full of professed believers who freely admit they sin every second of their lives in being imperfect, not obeying the 2 GC, not obeying the 10th commandment, etc. – why are those considered faithful members in good standing, whereas a professed believer who admits they fornicate or beat their wife every second would merit skepticism and have his faith questioned.

    Like

  200. Robert:
    Welcome to Protestant epistemology. Welcome to the human race.>>>

    You need to admit that your assurance of salvation says nothing about whether or not you are elect.

    Like

  201. Ali says:
    September 13, 2016 at 8:32 am
    “same boat”

    read about this ‘same boat’ this am. Not sure what to call this boat:>>>

    Ask Robert. That’s his argument. We’re all in the same boat. He says it means we are all human. Therefore no one can have 100% certainty about anything, even the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Like

  202. Jeff:
    “Would you expect charges to be brought for every sin?”>>>>

    CVD:
    I’m simply asking why, if a congregation is full of professed believers who freely admit they sin every second of their lives in being imperfect, not obeying the 2 GC, not obeying the 10th commandment, etc. – why are those considered faithful members in good standing, whereas a professed believer who admits they fornicate or beat their wife every second would merit skepticism and have his faith questioned.>>>>>

    What about gas lighters?

    Like

  203. Mermaid,

    You need to admit that your assurance of salvation says nothing about whether or not you are elect.

    By definition, assurance of salvation in the Westminster Standards is also assurance of election. Only the elect are saved and only the saved get infallible assurance. Connect the dots.

    No one had heard of Martin Luther before his conversion. After it, he became a household name, a rock star.

    That may be true, but it doesn’t mean that Protestantism is founded on his conversion narrative. Luther just happened to be a primary flashpoint because he was in the right place at the right place. But the Reformation was already getting started before the sixteenth century. It would have happened regardless of whether Luther ever existed. Luther just built on the work of those before him, and he wasn’t the only one doing said building.

    Like

  204. Cletus,

    I’m simply asking why, if a congregation is full of professed believers who freely admit they sin every second of their lives in being imperfect, not obeying the 2 GC, not obeying the 10th commandment, etc. – why are those considered faithful members in good standing, whereas a professed believer who admits they fornicate or beat their wife every second would merit skepticism and have his faith questioned.

    If you read the New Testament, the sins that merit immediate, public discipline seem to be those that will bring the most ill repute on the church. IE, it is the stuff that even the pagans know is wrong—murder, incest, adultery, etc. Other sins that have more a negligible impact on others or are more easily overlooked in love don’t fall under the same category.

    It’s a big leap to go from some sins are overlooked in the covenant community because we tolerate imperfection in one another and because love covers a multitude of sins to if every sin was truly mortal, it would merit church discipline. We simply don’t operate under the same categories. All sins are mortal in one sense and no sin is mortal in another sense. Paul’s list of sins in Romans 1 that merit God’s wrath includes both the obvious big sins and smaller sins such as disobedience to parents. Most people outside the church won’t think that a ten year old sassing his mom and dad is that big a deal and they are going to put up with people being patient towards their children and not spanking them every time they disobey because they have children of their own and are dealing with the same things. But that in no way means the ten year old isn’t worthy of hell for such disobedience.

    Do we believe some sins more quickly display the possibility of an unregenerate heart? Sure. So does the Bible. But the mortal/venial distinction isn’t warranted by the text and in fact violates a great many other biblical principles, such as Christ’s command for us to be perfect, the fact that God kills people in the OT for relatively “minor” sins, and so on.

    Like

  205. I said:
    No one had heard of Martin Luther before his conversion. After it, he became a household name, a rock star.

    Robert:
    That may be true, but it doesn’t mean that Protestantism is founded on his conversion narrative.>>>

    I strongly disagree. His conversion narrative is what convinced people more than all the theological bickering.

    In the minds of his followers, it “proved” that he was right and the Papists were wrong. It is still used in any defense of the Reformation.

    There is another narrative related to Luther’s conversion. The splintering of Christianity. He did not expect that at all. In his mind, he was reforming the Church. What he was really doing was smashing parts of her into thousands of pieces.

    Now, what? At least we can affirm what Christianity affirms. “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”

    Where is she? If we can’t see her, how will we become part of her?

    Like

  206. Robert says:
    September 13, 2016 at 1:49 pm
    Mermaid,

    You need to admit that your assurance of salvation says nothing about whether or not you are elect.

    By definition, assurance of salvation in the Westminster Standards is also assurance of election. Only the elect are saved and only the saved get infallible assurance. Connect the dots.>>>>

    The Westminster Standards are fallible. You cannot fully put your faith in them.

    If that is where your assurance of election lies, then you are trusting in the teachings of men and not on any Word of God spoken to you.

    Build on the solid Rock.

    Like

  207. Mermaid,

    I strongly disagree. His conversion narrative is what convinced people more than all the theological bickering.

    You can strongly disagree, but you are simply wrong. Protestants didn’t build a religion based on Luther’s conversion story. And again, Luther is famous, but the Reformation would have happened without him. He was just a flashpoint. It had started at least a century before he was even born. Luther was just able to escape the Inquisition.

    In the minds of his followers, it “proved” that he was right and the Papists were wrong. It is still used in any defense of the Reformation.

    The only thing it’s used for is to show how he could not find in the medieval RCC the peace he sought for his soul.

    There is another narrative related to Luther’s conversion. The splintering of Christianity. He did not expect that at all. In his mind, he was reforming the Church. What he was really doing was smashing parts of her into thousands of pieces.

    Tell you what. I’ll own up to Protestantism’s responsibility for division if you own up to Romanism’s responsibility. Start with repenting of all the non-Apostolic innovations such as the papacy, indulgences, and so on. Then, repent of the way that your church lied about its own history for centuries. Then, repent of the way the papacy abused Western Europe and how its practices made people sick and tired of foreigners calling the shots, creating a seedbed for political authorities to support the theological reformers. Then we can talk.

    Now, what? At least we can affirm what Christianity affirms. “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”

    Where is she? If we can’t see her, how will we become part of her?

    The visible church is wherever Apostolic teaching is upheld. She’s quite visible.

    Like

  208. CVD: would add a (3) I presume reflects your position: Some ongoing sins or patterns of behavior merit examination and discipline of the believer and/or are incompatible with genuine regeneration/belief.

    Errm. You’re in the ballpark but not quite there.

    First, “discipline” is a broad term that encompasses teaching and pastoral exhortation, as well as bringing charges and so on.

    Second, it follows from this that all sin is the proper object of discipline.

    But, I would agree that some sins warrant charges and some do not.

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  209. Mermaid,

    The Westminster Standards are fallible. You cannot fully put your faith in them.

    If that is where your assurance of election lies, then you are trusting in the teachings of men and not on any Word of God spoken to you.

    Build on the solid Rock.

    I don’t trust in the Westminster Standards. I trust in Christ. The Westminster Standards are a helpful summary of Christian doctrine.

    So since the Apostle Paul teaches that ALL those who are justified are elect/predestinated (Rom. 8:28–30) and the Apostle John tells us that assurance of salvation is for all Christians (1 John 1), it follows that assurance of salvation/justification is assurance of election. It really is not that hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  210. CVD: The inconsistency I perceive is that Reformed churches have a de facto distinction between mortal and non-mortal sins, even as they deny it. Why is a lifestyle of adultery a red flag, but a lifestyle of 2GC and perfection breaking not a red flag?

    So, two problems here.

    First, there’s much more to a “mortal/venial distinction” than a “red flag.” We’ve already agreed that some sins are more heinous than others.

    That agreement does not extend to the essence of mortal sins, which can actually (in RC theology) destroy justification.

    No Reformed Protestant church (unless maybe an “FV dark”) operates with that as a de facto category.

    Second, charges leading to excommunication do not remove one from a state of grace. The action of excommunicating (a) removes from the visible church, and (b) states about the person that he or she gives strong evidence of never having been saved.

    Like

  211. Robert says:
    I don’t trust in the Westminster Standards. I trust in Christ. The Westminster Standards are a helpful summary of Christian doctrine…
    So since the Apostle Paul teaches that ALL those who are justified are elect/predestinated (Rom. 8:28–30) and the Apostle John tells us that assurance of salvation is for all Christians (1 John 1), it follows that assurance of salvation/justification is assurance of election. It really is not that hard.>>>>

    Of course, but I was talking about your assurance of your personal election – salvation. You do not have absolute knowledge that you, Robert, will never fall away. Not even the Apostle Paul had that kind of assurance.

    In fact, your own religion teaches you this. You might be self deceived.

    What you have is the hope of salvation if you do not fall away. That is what the Bible gives you, Robert.

    1 Thessalonians 5:8
    But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

    When times of testing come, will you stand?

    1 Cor. 10:12
    Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

    In fact, Paul himself was very aware of his own frailty. Why else would he have said this about himself?
    1 Corinthians 9:27
    But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

    What the Bible says is there is a group of people called “the elect.”

    IOW, you have the same assurance as any other Christian. You will be saved if you do not fall away. It’s in the Bible.

    I am justified by faith in Christ. I am being justified – sanctified – by the Holy Spirit as I cooperate with Him. I will be justified at the end if I do not fall away.

    Besides, check the list in Rom. 8 carefully. It does not list falling away – apostasy – as one of the things that cannot separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. You are free to fall away if you choose to.

    Like

  212. Robert,

    I asked what Protestantism offers as inerrant. You cited verses of Matthew and Hosea as examples. To see the issue, imagine if you had cited the pericope adulterae or johannine comma or one of the pastorals. Protestantism offers no guarantee that the verses you cited, or the books they are found within, are inerrant or inspired.

    “It’s no less inadequate that the Roman answer of Apostolic Succession.”

    The Roman answer is more than just Apostolic succession. It includes communion with the bishop of Rome. Your answer is “the church that is correct and guided by God is the church that is founded on the Apostles and Prophets, so whatever church adheres to their teaching.”, so essentially your answer is, The church that is correct is the church that is correct. Not a helpful observation, and ends up boiling down to “whatever church adheres to their teaching as I interpret and judge it”. This ethereal and nebulous church being guided by God to be correct remains perpetually subjective.

    “The only authorization that the visible church lacks in Reformed Protestantism is the authorization to create doctrines that do not jive with Apostolic tradition. ”

    The authorization the church lacks in Reformed Protestantism is the authorization to judge what doctrines are non-negotiable to make one a Christian. You take it upon yourself to make that judgment with, for example, the lord’s supper because of how you interpret the NT, but there’s no reason any Protestant or Protestant church that disagrees with you on that score should feel compelled to follow your (or your denomination’s) judgment. But if there’s some “church” out there being guided by God to get things correct, as you posit, then we should be able to identify it and that church’s judgments should make believers feel compelled to follow it. This “church” shouldn’t conform to our judgment if it is being guided and getting things correct, we should conform our judgment to its.

    “If it’s not infallible, it’s not divine revelation. ”

    Yup. And your canon and its passages are not offered as infallible, nor are any of your doctrines.

    “So God is perfectly able to work through fallible means to preserve His truth. ”

    So the biblical writers needn’t have been infallible when writing Scripture to preserve truth. Scripture itself needn’t be infallible to preserve truth.

    “But as has been pointed out ad nauseum, your knowledge of Rome is fallible, your identification of Rome is fallible, you identification of what Rome has taught infallibly is fallible, etc.”

    And as also has been pointed out ad nauseum, the same applied to NT believers under Christ and the Apostles.

    “we tolerate imperfection in one another”

    Why tolerate imperfection? All sins are worthy of punishment and damnation.

    “Most people outside the church won’t think”

    So the church’s dealing with sin is dictated by how a society feels and judges sin? I don’t recall such relativism commended in the NT.

    “But that in no way means the ten year old isn’t worthy of hell for such disobedience… the fact that God kills people in the OT for relatively “minor” sins”

    Bingo, you’re taking away with one hand what you give with the other. So why tolerate serial imperfection and “minor” sins in your congregation?

    Like

  213. Jeff,

    “No Reformed Protestant church (unless maybe an “FV dark”) operates with that as a de facto category… charges leading to excommunication do not remove one from a state of grace. The action of excommunicating (a) removes from the visible church, and (b) states about the person that he or she gives strong evidence of never having been saved.”

    Okay, let’s redefine “mortal” sin to not be sin that removes someone from the state of grace as in RCism, but sin that indicates the person was never saved in the first place and is incompatible with faith, meriting discipline and possible excommunication. The same concerns I brought up remain – all sin by the believer or non-believer, no matter how heinous or light, is worthy of punishment and damnation in your view. So why is a lifestyle of adultery by a professed believer in your church a red flag, but a lifestyle of 2GC and perfection breaking by a professed believer in your church not a red flag?

    Like

  214. Jeff:
    That agreement does not extend to the essence of mortal sins, which can actually (in RC theology) destroy justification.>>>>

    I don’t think you understand Catholic theology. Justification is never divorced from charity since it is always by faith. There is no such thing as faith that does not work through love, as Galatians 5 tells us. A faith that is not infused with charity is a dead faith, as James 2 tells us.

    Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart. Sure, you don’t agree, but it is biblical.

    “1855    Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him. (1395)
    Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.”

    Excerpt From: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/kMWMD.l

    Like

  215. Mermaid,

    You do not have absolute knowledge that you, Robert, will never fall away.

    I don’t have absolute knowledge of anything. The only being who possesses absolute knowledge is God. I have infallible assurance that I will never fall away.

    Like

  216. Robert says:
    September 13, 2016 at 8:47 pm
    Mermaid,

    You do not have absolute knowledge that you, Robert, will never fall away.

    I don’t have absolute knowledge of anything. The only being who possesses absolute knowledge is God. I have infallible assurance that I will never fall away.>>>

    I would say you have infallible assurance that if you do not fall away, you will see God.

    See, you can’t claim Scripture yet ignore its infallible statements about the possibility of falling away. It’s a stern warning to all of us so that we do not fall.

    God is not a being among others, but the highest. He is being itself. Right?

    Like

  217. Cletus,

    I asked what Protestantism offers as inerrant. You cited verses of Matthew and Hosea as examples. To see the issue, imagine if you had cited the pericope adulterae or johannine comma or one of the pastorals. Protestantism offers no guarantee that the verses you cited, or the books they are found within, are inerrant or inspired.

    The criteria keeps shifting.

    Cletus: “All a religion has to do is be able to offer one infallible dogma to be under serious consideration”

    Robert: “Book of Hosea claims to be God’s Word. Therefore, Hosea offers itself as infallible. Protestantism merely repeats that claim.”

    And your response is to move the ball down the field. Sorry. I’ve given one dogma. That is now enough to raise it to the level of consideration next to Rome (Whoopee!) unless and until you can give me an infallible canon of dogma. Whoopee!

    The Roman answer is more than just Apostolic succession. It includes communion with the bishop of Rome.

    Of course it does. It also includes many other things. There’s only so much time in the day. Shorthand.

    Your answer is “the church that is correct and guided by God is the church that is founded on the Apostles and Prophets, so whatever church adheres to their teaching.”, so essentially your answer is, The church that is correct is the church that is correct. Not a helpful observation, and ends up boiling down to “whatever church adheres to their teaching as I interpret and judge it”. This ethereal and nebulous church being guided by God to be correct remains perpetually subjective.

    No more or less subjective than Rome. Your answer is “According to my, Cletus’ reading of the documents, the church is the church in communion with Rome.” That’s just as subjective as my answer, which means that you therefore by your standards haven’t given a helpful observation either. You arrived at and continue in it by sifting tradition, Scripture, claims whatever and found the church that agreed with your interpretation. You heard Rome’s claim, and then continue to submit because it continues to match your interpretation of the evidence. Unless you want to claim that you are not a thinking person.

    Basically, your approach to the church differs with some Protestants in that you assume that your church is correct unless proven otherwise. But that’s the same stance that confessionalists on my side take.

    The authorization the church lacks in Reformed Protestantism is the authorization to judge what doctrines are non-negotiable to make one a Christian.

    Incorrect. Reformed Protestantism makes these judgments all the time and claims to have the authorization to do so. You are making the second level claim that one cannot have divine authorization to make such judgments unless said church also claims that it is infallible. Sorry, but divine authorization can come without infallibility and often does in Scripture.

    You take it upon yourself to make that judgment with, for example, the lord’s supper because of how you interpret the NT, but there’s no reason any Protestant or Protestant church that disagrees with you on that score should feel compelled to follow your (or your denomination’s) judgment.

    I’m not taking it on myself at all. My tradition and my church tell me that one can be saved and have an inadequate or even wrong understanding of the Lord’s Supper. It is more accurate to say that my judgment in this manner is grounded in Scripture and informed by my tradition. But I didn’t just make it up on my own.

    And what should compel other churches to follow our judgment is whether we are correct or not.

    But if there’s some “church” out there being guided by God to get things correct, as you posit, then we should be able to identify it and that church’s judgments should make believers feel compelled to follow it.

    Every church teaches a mixture of truth and error. Some churches are purer than others. I can identify many true churches, but that in no way means I am compelled to follow all of their judgments. I am compelled to follow them when they are correct.

    This “church” shouldn’t conform to our judgment if it is being guided and getting things correct, we should conform our judgment to its.

    It’s a both-and, and this is why I say that you really have no place for any subjective work of the Holy Spirit in the individual. If the HS is guiding me and it is guiding my church, then it will conform to my judgment and I should conform my judgment to it. There seems to be no organic give and take between one Christian and the collective body in your system. It’s blind robotic submission whenever Rome calls for blind robotic submission.

    Yup. And your canon and its passages are not offered as infallible, nor are any of your doctrines.

    Protestants do not claim that the canon is divine revelation; it claims that the contents are. And we don’t claim our doctrines are divine revelation but that they are summaries and interpretations of divine revelation.

    What Reformed Protestantism claims to do is make true doctrinal judgments arrived at by the deliberations of fallible people. This isn’t enough for you, I get it. What I don’t get is why this is inadequate but why your fallible deliberation by which you make a true doctrinal judgment of what Rome is is sufficient. Looks just like cheering for the Yankees as a Yankee fan.

    So the biblical writers needn’t have been infallible when writing Scripture to preserve truth. Scripture itself needn’t be infallible to preserve truth.

    Divine revelation preserves truth but preserving truth doesn’t mean divine revelation. If Rome is right, you are preserving its truth but you aren’t giving divine revelation.

    You can’t have divine revelation without infallibility but you can have the preservation of truth without it.

    And as also has been pointed out ad nauseum, the same applied to NT believers under Christ and the Apostles.

    Yup. And interesting how Christ and the Apostles never say there has to be an infallible mediator between them and us for their teaching to be adequate and sufficient to equip us for every good work.

    Why tolerate imperfection? All sins are worthy of punishment and damnation.

    At least three reasons:
    Because the Bible tells us to.
    Because God is patient, desiring all to come to repentance and so we must as well.
    Because some sins are more destructive of community bonds than others.

    So the church’s dealing with sin is dictated by how a society feels and judges sin? I don’t recall such relativism commended in the NT.

    It’s not dictated by it. I’m just looking at the NT and asking why some sins are charged publicly and why some aren’t. And if you look at the sins and what Paul says in 1 Cor. 5 (“This sin is not even tolerated among the pagans!”), it’s a reasonable observation. You wanted to know why some sins are treated one way and some sins aren’t. That’s part of the answer.

    Bingo, you’re taking away with one hand what you give with the other. So why tolerate serial imperfection and “minor” sins in your congregation?

    At least three reasons:
    Because the Bible tells us to.
    Because God is patient, desiring all to come to repentance and so we must as well.
    Because some sins are more destructive of community bonds than others.

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  218. Mermaid,

    See, you can’t claim Scripture yet ignore its infallible statements about the possibility of falling away. It’s a stern warning to all of us so that we do not fall.

    I don’t ignore them. I take them quite seriously. It’s how the Holy Spirit preserves my infallible assurance. I read them and search my heart and pray for grace and strength. It is by heeding the warnings that my assurance grows ever stronger.

    Infallible assurance is not “That could never happen to me.” Infallible assurance is more “That will not happen to me because of the promises of Christ.”

    Like

  219. Robert, “Protestants didn’t build a religion based on Luther’s conversion story.”

    The funny thing is, Americans built a society on Luther’s affirmation (such as it was) of personal liberty.

    Now — watch this — U.S. Roman Catholics (including Mermaid) have embraced that modern story of liberty. Fortnight for Freedom anyone? But when the Yankees do it, it’s good.

    Like

  220. @ CVD: So the contradiction you perceive is that while all sims are worthy of damnation (the greater), only some are worthy of excommunication (the lesser)?

    I think the answer is that severity of sin is not the only factor in receiving a charge. Other factors are the public nature of that sin, and especially unrepentant contumacy in persisting in sin.

    It is assumed that a believer will sin daily in thought, word, and deed; it is also assumed that a believer will repent — imperfectly — in response to the Word.

    We don’t get to the point of charges until a lot of opportunities for repentance have come and gone.

    It has been said, truly but not perspicuously, that the only sin that you can be excommunicated for is contumaciousness. Meaning, that whatever sin has been committed, the individual will have to obstinatly persist in order to be excommunicated.

    But as to which sins could start that process rolling — any sin could, in principle.

    In practice, some sins are more public and therefore tend to attract judicial action; and some sins such as adultery are hard to repent of.

    Like

  221. Lord’s Supper discussion -though when we do partake: Jesus’s summary: right assessment of our hearts =very serious business (1 Cor 11:27-32)

    all the discussion of ‘redemptive discipline’ for believers – I think the Lord really wants us to practice getting this, don’t you?

    thank you and amen – Robert says: I don’t have absolute knowledge of anything. The only being who possesses absolute knowledge is God. I have infallible assurance that I will never fall away.

    mrswebfoot, re same boat- The additional point, with that new s story, was that there is a boat of the saved and a boat of the unsaved, and that news story could indicate two apostates; (though as my former pastor used to say, he preferred to say: “I don’t know if you are saved, but it’s not looking very good right now”)

    Like

  222. D. G. Hart says:
    September 13, 2016 at 9:47 pm
    Robert, “Protestants didn’t build a religion based on Luther’s conversion story.”

    The funny thing is, Americans built a society on Luther’s affirmation (such as it was) of personal liberty.

    Now — watch this — U.S. Roman Catholics (including Mermaid) have embraced that modern story of liberty. Fortnight for Freedom anyone? But when the Yankees do it, it’s good.>>>>>>

    You may not have remembered St. Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland shortly after he became Pope. Remember the Solidarity movement he inspired that eventually led to the breakup of the Soviet Union?

    Anti Catholic sentiment almost prevailed in Revolutionary America. Your anti Catholic sentiments are showing once again. That is so yesterday.

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2013/01/anti-catholicism-and-american-revolution.html

    Like

  223. D. G. Hart says:
    September 14, 2016 at 6:06 am
    Mermaid, “Your anti Catholic sentiments are showing once again.”

    So?

    Roman Catholics are anti-Protestant. Big whoop.>>>>

    What do I call you grumpy old Calvinists here at Old Life? Remember? I call you my brothers and sisters in Christ. That is consistent with Church teaching. I believe it, too. You are my brother. Deal with it.

    That even applies to Jeff.

    Calvinists love to quote St. Augustine, and you should. He belongs to all of Christendom. We all love to quote him. Accept him as he is, though. A priest and a bishop of the Catholic Church and defender of the LXX and its Deuterocanonical books.

    He was no Protestant. He loved his separated brethren, though, whether they liked it or not.

    “Others are separated, insofar as they are joined with us in professing faith in Christ, our head, but are yet divided from the unity of his body. My friends, we must grieve over these as over our brothers. Whether they like it or not, they are our brothers; and they will only cease to be so when they no longer say our Father.”

    – St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

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  224. Mermaid,

    Calvinists love to quote St. Augustine, and you should. He belongs to all of Christendom. We all love to quote him. Accept him as he is, though. A priest and a bishop of the Catholic Church and defender of the LXX and its Deuterocanonical books.

    He was no Protestant. He loved his separated brethren, though, whether they liked it or not.

    But we do accept him as he was. That doesn’t mean we accept everything he said as gospel. But wait a minute, neither do Roman Catholics.

    And accepting Augustine as he is means acknowledging that he was not Protestant AND that he was not Roman Catholic. There was no such thing as Roman Catholicism then. He was no blind papist like some of you seem to be.

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  225. Mermaid, “He loved his separated brethren, though, whether they liked it or not.”

    Tell that to the Donatists:

    But then, as Zagorin describes it, “Augustine eventually reversed his position and decided to endorse coercion.” [p.27] In doing so, though, Augustine was simply acquiescing to the established practices of his fellow Christians, who were already using fines, beatings, imprisonment, torture, and execution against various heretical groups. Augustine, in turns, out, had been impressed by the results that had been obtained from these methods – although he personally continued to oppose execution of heretics.

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  226. mrswebfoot says: “Others are separated, insofar as they are joined with us in professing faith in Christ, our head, but are yet divided from the unity of his body. My friends, we must grieve over these as over our brothers. Whether they like it or not, they are our brothers; and they will only cease to be so when they no longer say our Father.”– St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

    not sure that makes sense- if he agreed we both profess Christ –
    the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:23

    did he mean the father, as in pope ? If so, ditto, agree, grief.

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  227. But, Ariel, since you clearly want to imply some sort of religious bigotry you might consider how some Calvinists oppose religious tests for public life (none), which is actually a better test for bigotry. Some other Calvinists see it the other way and would like to see the former Calvinists strung up for it. The irony can be in how your camp actually agrees with the latter Calvinists. What’s that about three fingers?

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  228. Jeff,

    “So the contradiction you perceive is that while all sims are worthy of damnation (the greater), only some are worthy of excommunication (the lesser)?”

    Or put another way, all sins are worthy of damnation, but only some are incompatible with true belief/faith and evince false profession.

    “I think the answer is that severity of sin is not the only factor in receiving a charge.”

    Why is severity of sin a factor at all? All sin, no matter how light, is worthy of punishment and damnation.

    “Other factors are the public nature of that sin”

    It’s public that all believers in your congregation sin daily in thought, word, and deed and are always imperfect as they freely admit it.

    “and especially unrepentant contumacy in persisting in sin.”

    But your church isn’t disciplining or bringing charges against believers who persist in and constantly break the 2GC and command to be perfect in the first place. That’s the point. So they aren’t being contumacious.

    “Meaning, that whatever sin has been committed, the individual will have to obstinatly persist in order to be excommunicated.”

    But individuals persist in 2GC/perfection breaking. So why does that sinful behavior get a pass but persistent adultery and wifebeating does not?

    “It is assumed that a believer will sin daily in thought, word, and deed; it is also assumed that a believer will repent — imperfectly — in response to the Word.”

    Right – so you’re assuming this type of sinful lifestyle is compatible with belief but other types of sinful lifestyles are not. Thus the de facto distinction. All sin unbelievers and believers commit is worthy of punishment and damnation. A lifestyle of perfection breaking is assumed as “well, all believers do it, we don’t question your profession” while a lifestyle of adultery, fornication, robbery, wifebeating, etc is viewed as “no, believers don’t exhibit this lifestyle, we question your profession”.

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  229. Cletus,

    But individuals persist in 2GC/perfection breaking.

    Define persist. It’s one thing to fall short and continually repent and another to fall short and not care.

    It’s also quite hard to consider why the pope would say something like this if we were not continual sinners:

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  230. Robert,

    Why would I or the pope deny believers sin daily? That’s part of that whole venial/mortal distinction your side denies.

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  231. Robert:
    And accepting Augustine as he is means acknowledging that he was not Protestant AND that he was not Roman Catholic. There was no such thing as Roman Catholicism then. He was no blind papist like some of you seem to be.>>>>>

    You cherry pick Augustine. He was a priest and a bishop. You dumped all of that. And the slander… Blind Papists.

    Like

  232. Ali says:
    September 14, 2016 at 10:33 am
    mrswebfoot says: “Others are separated, insofar as they are joined with us in professing faith in Christ, our head, but are yet divided from the unity of his body. My friends, we must grieve over these as over our brothers. Whether they like it or not, they are our brothers; and they will only cease to be so when they no longer say our Father.”– St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

    not sure that makes sense- if he agreed we both profess Christ –
    the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:23

    did he mean the father, as in pope ? If so, ditto, agree, grief.>>>>

    No. He meant Father as in God our Father. We have the same Father. We have the same Savior. We have almost the same Bible. 😉 We share the great ecumenical confessions of faith – the Apostles’ and the Nicene.

    It seemed to be a ref. to the Our Father – the Lord’s Prayer. We all pray that prayer, hopefully from the heart.

    I have always called you my Sister. I assume you are a woman. That’s why. Besides, you love God’s Word. I see how these guys are not always nice to you. It’s not right. You are their sister, too.

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  233. James Young, but what happens when bishops sin at the very same time they think they are acting infallibly? You have no way to know since they have the charism that is way way above your pay grade.

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  234. Cletus,

    Why would I or the pope deny believers sin daily? That’s part of that whole venial/mortal distinction your side denies.

    You are getting hot and bothered that Protestants claim sin is an ongoing, daily, every moment reality at least in the sense of falling short of what God requires and then your pope tells us that it’s always a good idea to ask for mercy. Well, if it’s always okay to ask for mercy, that presupposes that we are always sinning, and if we are always sinning, we are always breaking the 2 Great Commandments. To keep the two great commandments is by definition not to sin.

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  235. Mermaid,

    You cherry pick Augustine. He was a priest and a bishop. You dumped all of that. And the slander… Blind Papists.

    You cherry pick Augustine, rejecting his doctrine of election and view of original sin as original guilt. And quit acting like a blind papist and maybe the charge won’t stick.

    It’s the red herrings that get annoying. “You Protestants can’t claim Augustine because he was a bishop and you don’t have bishops but we RCs can claim Augustine even though we reject his doctrine of predestination.”

    Like

  236. mrswebfoot says: It seemed to be a ref. to the Our Father – the Lord’s Prayer.

    Not sure that makes too much sense either. We both confess Christ, but if we no longer ‘say our Father’ meaning the Lord’s Prayer, that’s it – that’s the straw that breaks the brotherhood-back?
    It seems true that no prayer = may indicate no relationship = may indicate not saved, but that seems a strange way for him to put it.
    On the thought of ‘Father’. If Pope Francis says everyone in the world is a child of God then = everyone has the same Father?

    mrswebfoot says: I have always called you my Sister. I see how these guys are not always nice to you.

    Yeah, but then neither are you. But, anyway, sure, non-insiders + with different opinions haven’t always been treated too well, here. I don’t hold it against them (too much) or take it too personally anymore (too much, except, for cw (usually)). I’m sure if/when they do mistreat whoever here– their heart tells them it’s not right- so they probably say to themselves, I’m gonna repent for doing this – later, after I do it – until the next time.

    Reminds me … GOD always looks very spectacular.

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  237. Robert,

    “the church is the church in communion with Rome.”

    Right. And everyone knows what church that is, even those who disagree with it. Just like everyone knows what church is the PCA. Just like we can define what country is the country that is the USA. There’s objective criteria. Your answer is “the church [being divinely guided to be correct] is the one that adheres to the teaching of the Apostles and Prophets”. But there are countless Protestants out there who disagree which Protestant church this is. Because the criteria for “adhering to the teaching of the Apostles and Prophets” is one’s shifting interpretation and judgment of what “adheres to the teaching of the Apostles and Prophets”. So the church remains a subjective ill-defined entity for you, even as you ostensibly claim it is being guided in being correct.

    “Basically, your approach to the church differs with some Protestants in that you assume that your church is correct unless proven otherwise. But that’s the same stance that confessionalists on my side take. ”

    I assume the RCC is correct because, in part, the nature of her claims regarding authority/ability. That’s obviously not the same stance Protestant confessionalists take regarding their churches.

    “Reformed Protestantism makes these judgments all the time and claims to have the authorization to do so.”

    Any judgment it makes is self-admittedly fallible and revisable and possibly in error. PCUSA and ELCA members don’t conform based on what your church judges regarding their orthdooxy, nor does your church conform based on what they judge regarding yours.

    “My tradition and my church tell me that one can be saved and have an inadequate or even wrong understanding of the Lord’s Supper.”

    Right. And you follow this tradition and church because it conforms with your current interpretation and judgment of the “teaching of the Apostles and Prophets”. Its judgments are no more authoritative for you than the bylaws of a civic org you’re currently a member of.

    “I am compelled to follow them when they are correct.”

    Right, and you judge them to be correct based on your shifting subjective criteria for being correct. So the “guided church” smokescreen lifts – “the church being guided to be correct is the church that is correct” – again if there’s some church out there being guided by God to get things correct, as you posit, then we should be able to identify it in a non-circular way and that church’s judgments should make believers feel compelled to follow it. This church shouldn’t conform to our judgment if it is being guided and getting things correct, we should conform our judgment to its.

    “If the HS is guiding me and it is guiding my church, then it will conform to my judgment and I should conform my judgment to it.”

    And if you deem the HS is not guiding your church, you leave it, because it now doesn’t conform to your current judgment of adhering to the Apostles’ teaching. So the church that you were judging as being divinely guided to get things correct wasn’t the genuine article, and now you jump to another church that is the divinely guided one. Until further notice. NT believers did not follow Christ and the Apostles by perpetually evaluating every teaching they offered to see whether it met some tentative and subjective threshold they considered for correctness; they submitted, after which they conformed all of their past, current, and future judgments to Christ/Apostles judgments.

    “it claims that the contents are.”

    A claim itself that is not offered as inerrant, but rather revisable and possibly in error. Further, the identification of those contents are not offered as inerrant or infallible, but rather revisable and possibly in error.

    “Because the Bible tells us to.”

    The same Bible that you appeal to in saying “Uzzah commits a minor infraction of trying to steady the ark and God strikes him dead and he has Achan’s entire family killed for keeping back some of the gold, even the kids who probably didn’t have much to do with the deed… that in no way means the ten year old isn’t worthy of hell for such disobedience.. the fact that God kills people in the OT for relatively “minor” sins”

    Again, giving with one hand what you take with the other. If all imperfection – be it amongst believers and non-believers alike – is worthy of damnation, then a class of “light” sins given a pass while “heinous” ones are not is inconsistent. If all imperfection amongst believers is not worthy of damnation, we could see a principle in why such sins are treated differently. But your theology denies this distinction.

    “Because God is patient, desiring all to come to repentance and so we must as well.”

    Was God patient with Uzzah as you appealed to earlier? Why is your church not patient with the habitual fornicator, adulterer, abortion practitioner, but only patient (perpetually so) with the habitual 2GC/perfection breakers who continue to sin every second and admit they will continue doing so?

    “Because some sins are more destructive of community bonds than others.”

    Because pagans don’t tolerate it correct? So communities approving of homosexuality or exposure of infants or euthanasia or abortion entails churches in those societies should not discipline those engaging in habitual lifestyles in such practices.

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  238. @ Cletus:

    Don’t get your cart ahead of your horse. I get that you want to score points, but if you have a valid point to make, it needs to be logically thought out.

    CVD: Why is severity of sin a factor at all? All sin, no matter how light, is worthy of punishment and damnation.

    Nevertheless, some sins are more severe than others.

    WLC: Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?

    A. All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

    Cites: John 19:11. Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. Ezekiel 8:6, 13, 15. He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations…. He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do…. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. 1 John 5:16. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. Psalm 78:17, 32, 56. And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness…. For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works…. Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies.

    So it’s illogical for you to ask why Presbyterians treat some sins as worse than others when the reason is plain: In their view, some sins are worse than others.

    JRC: “Other factors are the public nature of that sin”

    CVD: It’s public that all believers in your congregation sin daily in thought, word, and deed and are always imperfect as they freely admit it.

    I did not say that other factors were the fact of sinning; I said that other factors are (better: include) the public nature of that sin. If the act of sin is public, that’s a factor.

    JRC: “Meaning, that whatever sin has been committed, the individual will have to [obstinately] persist in order to be excommunicated.”

    CVD: But individuals persist in 2GC/perfection breaking. So why does that sinful behavior get a pass but persistent adultery and wifebeating does not?

    I did not say “persist.” I said “obstinately persist.”

    And that matters.

    What did Jesus say? If your brother sins against you and asks forgiveness, forgive, up to 77 (or 490) times. He’s persisting in sin — but not obstinately so.

    But if your brother sins against you and refuses to listen to you, take it to the church — and the church is to excommunicate that person. He’s obstinately persisting in sin.

    You have to get the view right before you can don your warpaint.

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  239. CVD,

    NT believers did not follow Christ and the Apostles by perpetually evaluating every teaching they offered to see whether it met some tentative and subjective threshold they considered for correctness; they submitted, after which they conformed all of their past, current, and future judgments to Christ/Apostles judgments.

    Your argument concerning the reception of apostolic authority is unbiblical.

    Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

    You did couch your language with some nuance “every teaching,” but in our passage we are told the Bereans examined Scripture every day to test the truth of Paul’s teaching. They are not chastised for refusing to acquiesce to an Apostle. Instead, they are lauded for comparing the prophetic word of God in Scripture with the Apostolic testimony.

    We imagine a Berean interchange between church authority and the individual conscience. I think you hear Protestants saying something quite different.

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  240. Brandon,

    “They are not chastised for refusing to acquiesce to an Apostle. ”

    Those in Thessalonica rejected the message and are chastised in the passage you cite. The Berean objection is not new:

    “There certainly is another method of conversion upon private judgment described in Scripture, which is much more to our purpose, viz., by means of the study of Scripture itself. Thus our Lord says to the Jews, “Search the Scriptures;” and the treasurer of Candace was reading the book of Isaiah when St. Philip met him, and the men of Berea are said to be “more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” And it is added, “therefore many of them believed.” Here at length, it will be said, is a precedent for such acts of private judgment as are most frequently recommended and instanced in religious tales; and indeed these texts commonly are understood to make it certain beyond dispute, that individuals ordinarily may find out the doctrines of the Gospel for themselves from the private study of Scripture. A little consideration, however, will convince us that even these are precedents for something else; that they sanction, not an inquiry about Gospel doctrine, but about the Gospel teacher; not what has God revealed, but whom has He commissioned? And this is a very different thing.

    The context of the passage in which our Lord speaks of searching the Scriptures, shows plainly that their office is that of leading, not to a knowledge of the Gospel, but of Himself, its Author and Teacher. “Whom He hath sent,” He says, “Him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me.” He adds, that {351} they “will not come unto Him, that they may have life,” and that “He is come in His Father’s name, and they receive Him not.” And again, “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me.” It is plain that in this passage our Lord does not send His hearers to the Old Testament to gain thence the knowledge of the doctrines of the Gospel by means of their private judgment, but to gain tests or notes by which to find out and receive Him who was the teacher of those doctrines; and, though the treasurer of Candace appears in the narrative to be contemplating our Lord in prophecy, not as the teacher but the object of the Christian faith, yet still in confessing that he could not “understand” what he was reading, “unless some man should guide him,” he lays down the principle broadly, which we desire here to maintain, that the private study of Scripture is not intended ordinarily as the means of gaining a knowledge of the Gospel. In like manner St. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, refers to the book of Joel, by way of proving thence, not the Christian doctrine, but the divine promise that new teachers were to be sent in due season, and the fact that it was fulfilled in himself and his brethren. “This is that,” he says, “which was spoken by the prophet Joel, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.

    While, then, the conversions recorded in Scripture are brought about in a very marked way through a teacher, and not by means of private judgment, so again, if an appeal is made to private judgment, this is done in order to settle who the teacher is, and what are his notes or tokens, rather than to substantiate this or that religious opinion or practice. And if such instances bear upon our conduct at this day, as it is natural to think they do, {352} then of course the practical question before us is, who is the teacher now, from whose mouth we are to seek the law, and what are his notes?

    …..Thus the New Testament equally with the Old, as far as it speaks of private examination into teaching professedly from heaven, makes the teacher the subject of that inquiry, and not the thing taught; it bids us ask for his credentials, and avoid him if he is unholy, or idolatrous, or schismatical, or if he comes in his own name, or if he claims no authority, or is the growth of a particular spot or of particular circumstances.

    If there are passages which at first sight seem to interfere with this statement, they admit of an easy explanation. {355} Either they will be found to appeal to those instinctive feelings of our nature already spoken of which supersede argument and proof in the judgments we form of persons or bodies; as in St. Paul’s reference to the idolatry of Athenian worship, or to the extreme moral corruption of heathenism generally. Or, again, the criterion of doctrine which they propose to the private judgment of the individual turns upon the question of its novelty or previous reception. When St. Paul would describe a false gospel, he calls it another gospel “than that ye have received;” and St. John bids us “try the spirits,” gives us as the test of truth and error the “confessing that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,” and warns us against receiving into our houses any one who “brings not this doctrine.” We conceive then that on the whole the notion of gaining religious truth for ourselves by our private examination, whether by reading or thinking, whether by studying Scripture or other books, has no broad sanction in Scripture, is neither impressed upon us by its general tone, nor enjoined in any of its commands. The great question which it puts before us for the exercise of private judgment is,—Who is God’s prophet, and where? Who is to be considered the voice of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?”

    http://www.newmanreader.org/works/essays/volume2/private.html

    Searching the Scriptures meshes fine with authority claimed and exercised such as this:

    “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
    “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law … The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching–and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”
    “and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority.”
    “Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.”
    “When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?”
    “The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.””
    The entire sermon on the mount, His teaching on divorce, His forgiveness of sins, etc.
    “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
    “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
    “Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. ”
    “just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
    “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
    “Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.”
    “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.”
    “Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.””
    “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”
    “He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.””
    “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.””
    “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
    “I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
    “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”
    “If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth”
    “He who despiseth these things, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given in us His Holy Spirit”

    Holding Christ/Apostles teachings – past, present, future – as perpetually tentative and optional is not reflective of the NT model of faith and submission to their authority.

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  241. Cletus,

    Holding Christ/Apostles teachings – past, present, future – as perpetually tentative and optional is not reflective of the NT model of faith and submission to their authority.

    But as Brandon noted, we don’t hold their teachings as perpetually tentative. The only thing that can even be remotely called tentative, and then only if you twist and wiggle and ignore what the Reformed actually said, is our understanding of those teachings.

    The teachings of Christ is not perpetually tentative or optional. But our understanding of it is ever incomplete and, because we are fallible, subject to correction by the teaching of Christ and the Apostles when it can be conclusively demonstrated that our understanding is incorrect.

    Sounds just like you and the Magisterium.

    In theory the teaching the Magisterium is not perpetually tentative. But your understanding of it is ever incomplete and, because you are fallible, subject to correction by the teaching of the Magisterium when it can be conclusively demonstrated that your understanding thereof is incorrect.

    So all you have done is add an infallible middleman, which is what we’ve said ad nauseum. You’ve just added more infallible stuff for you to interpret and possibly muck up.

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  242. Cletus,

    Newman’s exegesis is just plain horrible. The Berea passage doesn’t say they searched the Scriptures to figure out if they were teachers. That may have been part of it, but it included searching the Scriptures to find out if their message was in accord with what the prophets taught. They examined “daily to see if these things were so.” What things? Everything they taught. Not “daily to see if these things they said about their authority were so.”

    In fact, that is exactly what the Jews in Berea would be expected to do. They knew their Law:

    If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil[a] from your midst. (Deut. 13)

    Jews evaluated prophets by the content of their teaching. So Newman is at best incomplete here and at worse absolutely wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  243. And to add to Robert’s point, evaluating the truth of the Gospel is precisely what Paul told the Galatians to do, regardless of the (hypothetical) apostolic or even angelic authority of the false teacher:

    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

    But here we all are repeating ourselves again.

    Like

  244. Clete,

    Right. And everyone knows what church that is, even those who disagree with it. Just like everyone knows what church is the PCA. Just like we can define what country is the country that is the USA. There’s objective criteria. Your answer is “the church [being divinely guided to be correct] is the one that adheres to the teaching of the Apostles and Prophets”. But there are countless Protestants out there who disagree which Protestant church this is. Because the criteria for “adhering to the teaching of the Apostles and Prophets” is one’s shifting interpretation and judgment of what “adheres to the teaching of the Apostles and Prophets”. So the church remains a subjective ill-defined entity for you, even as you ostensibly claim it is being guided in being correct.

    It’s not subjective or ill-defined at all. My understanding of the true church hasn’t really changed at all from the time I was a young Christian. I regard the Reformed church as purer than other churches, but I’ve always been able to identify theological conservative churches in any Protestant churches as true churches.

    But of course, unless you give up thinking, there is always the possibility that your interpretation of what it means to be in communion with Rome may change and a variety of other factors. So the church is as subjective and ill-defined for you as it is for me.

    I assume the RCC is correct because, in part, the nature of her claims regarding authority/ability. That’s obviously not the same stance Protestant confessionalists take regarding their churches.

    In part, very good. That’s the exact same claim Protestant confessionalists make. We assume the PCA, the OPC, or whatever is correct, in part, because of their claims to authority.

    Any judgment it makes is self-admittedly fallible and revisable and possibly in error. PCUSA and ELCA members don’t conform based on what your church judges regarding their orthdooxy, nor does your church conform based on what they judge regarding yours.

    Any judgment you make is self-admittedly fallible and revisable and possibly in error. So again, while you might say certain things about Rome, it doesn’t help you at the end of the day at the most critical point.

    Right. And you follow this tradition and church because it conforms with your current interpretation and judgment of the “teaching of the Apostles and Prophets”.

    And you follow Rome because it conforms with your current interpretation and judgment of the same. Unless you want to tell me there is no logical possibility of ever leaving Rome, which you have denied. You appear to be a thinking person. You aren’t really following Rome blindly, I don’t think. It has to make sense to you for you to submit to it. Or, at least, that Rome is the true church makes more sense to you than teaching X of the church doesn’t make sense to you. So, as long as you put thought into your faith, you are basing your submission, at least in part, on its conformity to your current interpretation.

    Its judgments are no more authoritative for you than the bylaws of a civic org you’re currently a member of.

    Incorrect. I don’t fear the judgment of the civic org. I do fear the judgment of my church. Further, there are many things I believe based more on the authority of my church than that I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt by my own study. So what you are saying simply isn’t true to my experience.

    “I am compelled to follow them when they are correct.”

    Right, and you judge them to be correct based on your shifting subjective criteria for being correct.

    My subjective criteria aren’t shifting. Even before I was Reformed, my means of identifying the church was identifying the gospel, and my basic understanding of the gospel didn’t change from Lutheranism to Wesleyanism to Reformed theology.

    So the “guided church” smokescreen lifts – “the church being guided to be correct is the church that is correct” – again if there’s some church out there being guided by God to get things correct, as you posit, then we should be able to identify it in a non-circular way and that church’s judgments should make believers feel compelled to follow it.

    There’s no way to identify Rome as the church Jesus founded in a completely non-circular way. Your motives of credibility are not self-evident, and they don’t point to Rome unless you accept Rome’s interpretation of them. Whatever motives you suggest are virtually identical to the ones I can point to for Protestantism, and they point me away from Rome to Protestantism.

    This church shouldn’t conform to our judgment if it is being guided and getting things correct, we should conform our judgment to its.

    I’m not asking the church to conform to my judgment except to the extent to which I participate in leadership. Just like the Roman Magisterium asks the laity to conform to its judgment, it sounds.

    And if you deem the HS is not guiding your church, you leave it, because it now doesn’t conform to your current judgment of adhering to the Apostles’ teaching. So the church that you were judging as being divinely guided to get things correct wasn’t the genuine article, and now you jump to another church that is the divinely guided one. Until further notice. NT believers did not follow Christ and the Apostles by perpetually evaluating every teaching they offered to see whether it met some tentative and subjective threshold they considered for correctness; they submitted, after which they conformed all of their past, current, and future judgments to Christ/Apostles judgments.

    As has been pointed out, the church isn’t Christ and the Apostles. So you may think the example is effective, but it isn’t until you identify the church with its head. But if you’re going to do that, then everything it says has to be infallible. The Mormons are far more consistent on this. They can actually make the comparison and it make sense. You can’t.

    A claim itself that is not offered as inerrant, but rather revisable and possibly in error. Further, the identification of those contents are not offered as inerrant or infallible, but rather revisable and possibly in error.

    Still waiting for Rome’s inerrant and infallible canon of belief. Until I get that, there’s no tangible advantage that I can see. I can produce at least one infallible dogma: Hosea 1:1. We’re now even. Moving on.

    The same Bible that you appeal to in saying “Uzzah commits a minor infraction of trying to steady the ark and God strikes him dead and he has Achan’s entire family killed for keeping back some of the gold, even the kids who probably didn’t have much to do with the deed… that in no way means the ten year old isn’t worthy of hell for such disobedience.. the fact that God kills people in the OT for relatively “minor” sins”

    Uzzah and Achan both committed public sins.

    Again, giving with one hand what you take with the other. If all imperfection – be it amongst believers and non-believers alike – is worthy of damnation, then a class of “light” sins given a pass while “heinous” ones are not is inconsistent. If all imperfection amongst believers is not worthy of damnation, we could see a principle in why such sins are treated differently. But your theology denies this distinction.

    See what Jeff has said. Further, discipline, as has been noted, is not limited to public charges. Lots of people sin against one another and no one ever hears of it because they work it out themselves.

    What I want to know is if venial sins won’t send me to hell, why should I care about them. Especially if purgatory is only a “warm bath,” as Kreeft has said. That sounds rather nice, after all. I mean, it may not be as good as heaven, but it is certainly not worth getting worked up about it now. Maybe I really like my venial sins. If they aren’t going to cut me off from God’s grace, sounds like I should really enjoy them now, take my comfortable, relaxing bath, and then enjoy glory.

    Was God patient with Uzzah as you appealed to earlier?

    God isn’t equally patient with everyone. Uzzah committed sacrilege.

    Why is your church not patient with the habitual fornicator, adulterer, abortion practitioner, but only patient (perpetually so) with the habitual 2GC/perfection breakers who continue to sin every second and admit they will continue doing so?

    I’m not sure there is “admit they will continue doing so.” Repentance involves a true resolve and intent to do better. Any admittance is “I’m going to strive to be obedient, but I know that I’ll fail here or elsewhere. I don’t want to, but I also know the power of my flesh.” True repentance isn’t “Well, I know I’ll fail, so I won’t try.”

    Obstinacy is key.

    Because pagans don’t tolerate it correct?

    I was speaking specifically of tolerating sins within the Christian community that are not as destructive of community bonds than others. Pagans don’t define sin. You are reading my words in a way I never said or intended. I simply made an observation that the sins that are charged publicly in the NT seem to be sins that the pagans also see as obvious. But if you want to ramrod mortal/venial distinctions into the WCF, I guess that means you don’t pay attention.

    So communities approving of homosexuality or exposure of infants or euthanasia or abortion entails churches in those societies should not discipline those engaging in habitual lifestyles in such practices.

    By definition, a Christian community doesn’t approve of such things or of the minor sins.

    It’s one thing to see backbiting and exhort someone to knock it off without bringing formal charges, it’s another to approve of it.

    Oh and since we’re on the subject, maybe you can tell me why if the mortal/venial sin is so tidy, why I can go to one priest and be absolved of mortal sin of birth control and another will tell me that birth control isn’t sin. How would I ever know apart from my private judgment and evaluation of the church’s teaching, or at least the teaching of that one priest who approves of birth control (or disapproves, it really doesn’t matter). I guess I’m not submitting to the church in that case.

    Oh wait, the Magisterium is above the priest. So I can submit to a higher authority over a lesser. Sort of like I can submit to Christ when His church mucks it up.

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  245. Ali, you need to get out of here. Susan needs to stay away as well. This is not doing you any good or making you into a better Christian.

    Just a word to the wise. This is not a place that one comes to get closer to God, which I think is your heart’s desire.

    It’s kind of a theological demolition derby.

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  246. Cletus,

    I also want to add that you have this notion that we shouldn’t care about a church and its discipline and its pronouncements of other churches as heretical if we don’t claim infallibility. If this is the case, I don’t see any reason to care about Rome’s discipline either. Acts of discipline, as far as I am aware, aren’t infallible. So there’s the practical aspect of not being a member of a RCC anymore if you are excommunicated, but you can just pick up and go somewhere else. Either to another RCC that doesn’t care about your excommunication, or to an EO Church or even to a Protestant Church. Because Rome’s pronouncement is fallible, I have no reason to care what it says about my soul if it takes judicial action against me if infallibility is the standard for caring.

    Same boat, different day.

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  247. mrswebfoot says: Ali, you need to get out of here. Susan needs to stay away as well. This is not doing you any good or making you into a better Christian. Just a word to the wise. This is not a place that one comes to get closer to God, which I think is your heart’s desire. It’s kind of a theological demolition derby.

    morning mrsw, and thanks. And you? I came here by accident way back from a link from a ref21 article by a he-who-should-not be-named (since it might stir up wrath). How and why did you get here? Anyway, I’m sure we both have learned a lot, but then it’s not always about oneself (meeee, that is)

    Re: ‘theological demoliton derby’, according to the Lord, sounds like it’s a perpetual thing, this side of eternity ,that there are ‘theologies to demolish’ ; so it’s sometimes seems discouraging, but He’s always purposeful about everything, so that would be the wrong attitude.

    Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 2 Cor 10:3-6

    Anyway, mrsw, I’ve also learned a lot from you. Don’t forget, and don’t let all those many of Cat things, obscure this fact: GOD (alone) is always spectacular !
    And don’t forget to remind your people (advance passage note – there are a lot of i’s here) -it’s all about JESUS:

    Jesus:Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

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  248. D. G. Hart says:
    September 15, 2016 at 6:13 am
    Mermaid, @DonnaLouise52 was a place of spiritual sanctuary?>>>>>

    Check it out. You would esp. enjoy the kitties playing Jenga and the kitty getting a strike. Lotsa’ good stuff there.

    Ali, thanks for changing your tone with me somewhat. You still don’t seem to like Catholics, but at least you were nice to me today. I appreciate that. Don’t let these grumpy Calvinists have too much sway over you. Remember who you are.

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  249. CVD,

    Holding Christ/Apostles teachings – past, present, future – as perpetually tentative and optional is not reflective of the NT model of faith and submission to their authority.

    As Robert and Jeff have pointed out, you’re missing the mark in describing the Reformed position. We don’t believe the teaching of Christ is perpetually tentative. We believe that by virtue of the human condition, we can improperly understand Scripture. Thus, what is subject to revision is our understanding, but God’s Word is never held as perpetually tentative or optional. Conflating these two results in your distorted characterization of Protestantism.

    Liked by 1 person

  250. Brandon,

    You took issue with “they submitted, after which they conformed all of their past, current, and future judgments to Christ/Apostles judgments.” as unbiblical.

    You appealed to the Bereans as ones who judged Paul’s teachings (“examined Scripture every day to test the truth of Paul’s teaching”), not their understanding of Paul’s teachings.

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  251. Brandon,

    You put your finger on the problem.

    “We believe that by virtue of the human condition, we can improperly understand Scripture.”

    Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say that we can improperly understand God’s word to us? And would you agree that it is also possible to properly understand God’s word to us?
    If we properly grasp is that knowledge then still subject to revision. Does the mind terminate on an object or not?

    ” Thus, what is subject to revision is our understanding, but God’s Word is never held as perpetually tentative or optional. Conflating these two results in your distorted characterization of Protestantism.”

    It’s a locked box if what I can know of it is always subject to revision.
    One has to know absolutely what data is correct before being able to transmit it to another person, or before correcting it either a little or a lot, or before scrapping it altogether.

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  252. Let me reword this. If a true idea( God”s Word in this case) is held in the mind’s possession(and therefore correct knowing), is that knowledge then still subject to revision? Does the mind terminate on an object or not?

    If it can and has then nothing about it is subject to revision.
    Clarification, but not revision.

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  253. Susan,

    It’s a locked box if what I can know of it is always subject to revision.

    Sorry, but if you are not God, what you can know of anything is always subject to revision. Only omniscient beings don’t have knowledge that is revisable.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t know truly, it just means you need to be more humble about what you know and your understanding of what you know.

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  254. At the end of the day, the fundamental problem really seems to be that the RCs here really believe the church and Christ to be identical, though inconsistently so. Sometimes they’re identical—when CVT, Susan, and Mermaid exercise their private judgment to determine when Rome has spoken on faith and morals—and sometimes they’re not—when CVT, Susan, and Mermaid exercise their private judgment to determine when Rome has not.

    Oh the irony…

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  255. Robert,

    “Sorry, but if you are not God, what you can know of anything is always subject to revision. Only omniscient beings don’t have knowledge that is revisable.”

    No it isn’t. Is it subject to revision the statement that what one can know of anything is subject to revision?

    Full in the blank:

    “————” is God’s Word.
    Don’t put in “the bible”. Give me data that is not subject to revision.
    Skeptics fail their own philosophy.

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  256. CVD,

    Can you clarify your point? I may be missing you.

    Of course, once the Bereans confirmed the Apostolic testimony with Scripture, they submitted to the Apostolic testimony. My point was that private judgement of God’s Word is lauded when evaluating claims of further divine revelation. I’ve understood you to be criticizing Protestants for doing much the same–and attributing this to the problem of interpretation. The Berean citation undercuts the plausibility of your argument regarding the early church’s reception of the Apostles.

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  257. Susan: Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say that we can improperly understand God’s word to us? And would you agree that it is also possible to properly understand God’s word to us?

    Right, so one of the basic oceans in epistemology is the distinction between knowledge and certainty.

    Knowledge of a fact is taken to be some variant of “justified true belief.”

    Certainty is taken to be knowledge of one’s own knowledge: not only do I know X, but I know about my own belief that it is correct.

    Infallibility is thus perfect certainty or put another, uncontingent knowledge: All possibility of being wrong is excluded.

    Put yet another way, certainty is a meta-question about knowledge, which raises the unfortunate possibility of meta-meta-questions, etc.

    One way to look at the pushback against CVD et al is that we perceive him (them) to be conflating questions and meta-questions.

    How do I know that the sun’ll come out / tomorrow?

    Because the earth turns, the sun is stable, etc. It’s the best bet in the solar system that the sun will rise tomorrow (even if hidden by clouds)

    But how can I be certain? That’s now a question about the validity of using evidence to draw conclusions.

    Like

  258. Robert says:
    September 9, 2016 at 4:04 pm
    Webfoot,

    You did not answer my ?, Brother Robert. I asked, and have always asked, specifically about Scripture. Notice the words in quotation.

    The claim is this: ““the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice”? is a true statement arrived at by a fallible church.

    You want to know how I know “The Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice” is a true statement. It’s a silly question with presuppositions that ultimately undermine all human knowledge.

    How do you know “The Roman Catholic Church is the Church Jesus founded” is a true statement? Because that statement isn’t coming to you directly. It’s passing through your fallible mind and being presented fallibly to your fallible will.>>>>>

    Susan is right. “Skeptics fail their own philosophy.”

    IOW, the statement “the bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice” is a nonsense statement. It was made by a fallible church, don’t you see.

    Yours are the presuppositions that ultimately undermine all human knowledge. All truth is relative.

    Hence you are able to say without qualms that the body of Jesus Christ might be found someday. In saying that, you can also claim not to be a heretic.

    Besides. What’s a heretic anyway, and who gets to determine that?

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  259. Susan,

    No it isn’t. Is it subject to revision the statement that what one can know of anything is subject to revision?

    All human knowledge is in principle subject to revision. In principle 2+2=4 is subject to revision. The chances of it happening are quite low, infinitely small, even, but that doesn’t mean there is no possibility in any possible world that the statement couldn’t be revised.

    Further, revision does not have to equate to full-scale change. This is the problem with your and CVD’s caricature of Reformed theology. Fallibility doesn’t mean we believe it is actually possible for a wholesale upheaval of the Reformed tradition. The Reformers didn’t reject everything that came before them. They simply recovered what was there but had been neglected and ignored.

    In most cases, fallibility simply means that it is logically possible that we are wrong, but logical possibility and actual possibility are two different things. It’s logically possible that I am really a Visitor from Mars with the mental powers to take over the Internet and bend the will of the globe to my own. But that logical possibility doesn’t mean it obtains in reality.

    Full in the blank:

    “————” is God’s Word.
    Don’t put in “the bible”. Give me data that is not subject to revision.
    Skeptics fail their own philosophy.

    But I’m not the skeptic. The kind of knowledge you claim is necessary ends logically in skepticism. It’s what generated the Enlightenment and all that followed. Descartes was looking for knowledge beyond all possibility of being wrong.

    You all are Cartesians, and Descartes finally gave us postmodernism when people realized that human knowledge is never absolute.

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  260. Mermaid,

    IOW, the statement “the bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice” is a nonsense statement. It was made by a fallible church, don’t you see.

    There is nothing inherently self-contradictory or impossible about saying “the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

    Yours are the presuppositions that ultimately undermine all human knowledge. All truth is relative.

    No. It is the Cartesian thinking you espouse that leads to full-on skepticism.

    Hence you are able to say without qualms that the body of Jesus Christ might be found someday. In saying that, you can also claim not to be a heretic.

    My claim has never risen above it is logically possible to find the body of Jesus. Many things obtain in logical possibilities that don’t obtain in reality.

    Besides. What’s a heretic anyway, and who gets to determine that?

    A heretic would be one who denies a truth necessary for salvation, and God determines that.

    Like

  261. Brandon,

    “once the Bereans confirmed the Apostolic testimony with Scripture”

    The Apostolic testimony is not their understanding of the Apostolic testimony. The latter is what you argue is revisable and perpetually provisional or optional. Yet you keep arguing the former with your gloss on the Bereans.

    So again You took issue with “they submitted, after which they conformed all of their past, current, and future judgments to Christ/Apostles judgments.” as unbiblical.

    You appealed to the Bereans as ones who judged Paul’s teachings (“examined Scripture every day to test the truth of Paul’s teaching”), not their understanding of Paul’s teachings.

    “early church’s reception of the Apostles.”

    And what of the early church’s reception of “God’s Word” in the first place?

    Like

  262. Jeff,

    Can we please restrict our conversation to God’s Word?

    Do you agree that if I possess in my mind the truth of what God has revealed, that it is God’s truth and not error that I am thinking on( and trusting in)?
    Is there a bridge between what God has said and us?
    I just want you to say positively what is God’s Word and what isn’t.
    If there isnt a way to know the difference, well, there won’t be a God’s Word. It will only ever be ” What we believe is God’s Word”
    Jeff this is nomimalism. It’s basically saying we can’t know the truth.

    Like

  263. Susan,

    In addition to Jeff’s comments, keep in mind a distinction between subject and object is permanent. When CVD has been accused of collapsing the mind of Christ with the mind of a believer, he eschews this label. He knows a distinction always remains between subject and object–and he’s right. That is dependent on the law of identity.

    There is always a level of mediation that takes place in a subject evaluating an object. Given our fallen & imperfect condition, this process of mediation introduces variables wherein there is a possibility our faculties have not properly grasped the object. It does not mean our faculties are wholly unreliable, but merely that they can be unreliable.

    Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Not every man follows a path of destruction, but all of us are prone to these types of errors. Wisdom is recognizing this proclivity and guarding against brash over-confidence. Being teachable is also a component of wisdom, but if one is teachable then he knows he needs to be taught, and if he needs to be taught, then his knowledge cannot be perfect.

    Like

  264. Robert,

    I can know things as they are by natural reason( this isn’t Cartesian), but when you or I hold in our minds something that natural reason can’t supply, that information is an article of the faith.
    We can get to the incarnation and the cross, and the resurrection because God is real and very truth himself, so those things are not unreasonable. But believing that you could be from another planet is impossible to believe not because othet planets don’t exist, but because of all the criteria necessary for that to be true.
    But let’s not go to Absurdville again.

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  265. CVD,

    The Apostolic testimony is not their understanding of the Apostolic testimony. The latter is what you argue is revisable and perpetually provisional or optional. Yet you keep arguing the former with your gloss on the Bereans.

    First, I’ve never argued (and neither has any Protestant here every argued) one’s understanding of the Apostolic testimony is “optional.” I’m not even sure what that could possibly mean. Second, I Scriptures attests that the Apostolic testimony was verified by the Bereans personal interpretation of God’s Word. They did not merely accept the apostolic office, they focused upon the apostolic teaching *and* Scripture lauds them for this. This does not justify a renegade rejection of apostolic authority or radical interpretive independence, but it presents a problem for your proposed narrative of early Christians reception of the Gospel.

    And what of the early church’s reception of “God’s Word” in the first place?

    The OT Scriptures–which the Bereans consulted.

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  266. Brandon Addison:
    The OT Scriptures–which the Bereans consulted.>>>>

    Yes, and that included the Septuagint, the Bible of the early Church.

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  267. Robert, what you say about human knowledge is gobbledygook. How does God communicate knowledge to human beings? That is the question. You are asking how a sinful human being can know anything with certainty.

    A fallen human being cannot know anything about revealed truth – like the divinity of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the canon of Scripture – unless God makes that known. How can He make that known? Focus on His ability, not your inability.

    Even your own, personal election cannot be known using the epistemology you are using. It is not a matter of gathering evidence and making your best determination. It is not a science experiment or a matter of probabilities.

    Like

  268. Brandon,

    “keep in mind a distinction between subject and object is permanent. When CVD has been accused of collapsing the mind of Christ with the mind of a believer, he eschews this label. He knows a distinction always remains between subject and object–and he’s right. That is dependent on the law of identity.”
    Of course there’s a difference, who’s eschewing the difference?
    Horton makes this clear, but at the same time,we are told to trust the mediation of men( Horton’s mediation) who espouse that we can’t know the object of our faith. How do we know there’s an object except we see the difference?

    “There is always a level of mediation that takes place in a subject evaluating an object. Given our fallen & imperfect condition, this process of mediation introduces variables wherein there is a possibility our faculties have not properly grasped the object.”

    But when we alight on the object we actually alight on the object, right?

    “It does not mean our faculties are wholly unreliable, but merely that they can be unreliable.”

    Well, I hope not! What’s the use of faculties if they don’t facilitate! Lol!

    “Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Not every man follows a path of destruction, but all of us are prone to these types of errors. Wisdom is recognizing this proclivity and guarding against brash over-confidence.”

    You are misusing the proverb. We are all drawn to things for the good they have( we wouldn’t want them otherwise), but when they are master over us they will destroy us. Like wine for instance, or an attractive woman when you already have a wife.

    ” Being teachable is also a component of wisdom, but if one is teachable then he knows he needs to be taught, and if he needs to be taught, then his knowledge cannot be perfect.”

    Sure there is always more to know because everything is connected in some way, but that doesn’t mean what is known is not known in its own right.
    You can always go deeper because more exists to be known. However, you don’t want to say what you already know is revisable of it isn’t. You are committed to your presupposition that the Reformers rediscovered the gospel and so you can’t walk outside of that. The reason I could was because I saw that the act of trusting that presupposition was having to admit it was a presupposition. In other words, I had no reason to trust the mediation of Reformed theology over Catholic theology.
    Anyways, some subjects are exhaustive in themselves hence we can have mastery, and persons Like God are themselves not masterable, but that doesn’t mean all of what we say and know is up for revision.
    The reason we know this is because we see that it works on some predications. We can say that God is Love. This is grasped and the opposite cannot be stated without stating a lie.

    Like

  269. Susan:
    You are committed to your presupposition that the Reformers rediscovered the gospel and so you can’t walk outside of that.>>>

    That is largely based on Martin Luther’s conversion experience. In fact, it is what has convinced more people than all the theologizing in the world.

    Here was Luther, a priest in the Catholic Church. He gets saved. He then claims to have discovered justification by faith alone. He adds the word “alone” to the Bible based on his experience.

    Without his conversion experience, there is no Reformation. Justification by faith alone, – the alleged rediscovered truth of the Gospel,- becomes the rallying cry – and it still is.

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  270. Jeff,

    No one is arguing the claim to authority is sufficient. The Apostles didn’t say, “well, just do a coin flip if someone comes along claiming divine commission and go with whoever”, nor, on the other hand, did they say “our authority is superfluous”.

    “evaluating the truth of the Gospel is precisely what Paul told the Galatians to do”

    Which Newman referenced:
    “Or, again, the criterion of doctrine which they propose to the private judgment of the individual turns upon the question of its novelty or previous reception. When St. Paul would describe a false gospel, he calls it another gospel “than that ye have received;” and St. John bids us “try the spirits,” gives us as the test of truth and error the “confessing that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,” and warns us against receiving into our houses any one who “brings not this doctrine.””

    Paul didn’t tell the Galatians to perpetually evaluate the truth and correctness of “the one we preached to you”, but rather ones contrary to that – what had already been received and given authoritatively by Paul was the standard presupposed, it wasn’t tentative or provisional.

    Robert,

    “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams”

    Right, as Newman argued. Evaluate the teacher – “what are his notes or tokens”? And such prophets had to make the claim to authority in the first place that would make them worth considering. Christ was given more consideration than a random rabbi, because of the claims to authority he made I already adduced.

    “I regard the Reformed church as purer than other churches, but I’ve always been able to identify theological conservative churches in any Protestant churches as true churches. ”

    There it is – the subjective criteria. Those other Protestant churches that aren’t “theologically conservative” according to my interpretation and judgment aren’t part of the true church that is being guided in getting things correct.

    “We assume the PCA, the OPC, or whatever is correct, in part, because of their claims to authority.”

    The ELCA and PCUSA claims the same type of authority as all Protestant churches. You reject their authority. Even churches you consider part of the true church such as the LCMS or Arminian churches you reject as having any authority over your theology. You deem any church that does not meet your standard of “theologically conservative” as having no authority you are compelled to heed.

    “Any judgment you make is self-admittedly fallible and revisable and possibly in error”

    I said your churches, not you. I’m not the RCC. Your churches authoritative judgments are always self-admittedly fallible and revisable and possibly in error.

    “And you follow Rome because it conforms with your current interpretation and judgment of the same.”

    I made the judgment to its credibility, just as NT believers did with Christ/Apostles. That does not mean after I submit, I continue to hold everything as perpetually revisable and tentative; that would be inconsistent with the authority I supposedly submitted to in the first place. I would just be treating the RCC as another Protestant denomination, or NT believers treating Christ/Apostles as just another rabbi who happened to get things right and align with my opinion for now.

    “I don’t fear the judgment of the civic org. I do fear the judgment of my church.”

    Do you fear the judgment of the PCUSA or LCMS church?

    “There’s no way to identify Rome as the church Jesus founded in a completely non-circular way. ”

    Rome is identified more than just “The church that is in communion with the bishop of Rome is the church that is in communion with the bishop of Rome”. The PCA is identified more than just “the church that is the PCA is the church that is the PCA”. Your identification of the divinely guided church getting things correct is “the church that is getting things correct is the church that is getting things correct”.

    “I’m not asking the church to conform to my judgment except to the extent to which I participate in leadership.”

    You already said the church that is correct is the one that conforms to the “teaching of the Apostles and Prophets”. So the church that is correct is the one that conforms to my judgment of the “teaching of the Apostles and Prophets”. And every other Protestant who disagrees with you asserts the same. Subjective.

    “So you may think the example is effective”

    The example is effective every time the “but we’re all fallible! RCs are in the same boat! Infallible authority doesn’t do anything!” shenanigans come up. It is also effective in contrasting which models of faith and authority are biblical.

    “Hosea 1:1. We’re now even.”

    Only that verse and book are not offered as infallible and inerrant by Protestantism. There is no dogma offered in Protestantism.

    “Uzzah and Achan both committed public sins.”

    So now the goalposts are moving. God kills people not for minor sins, but for minor public sins.

    “See what Jeff has said.”

    I see him say that Scripture notes degree of sin. That still doesn’t explain why “light” sins that are damning get a pass while “heinous” sins that are just as damning don’t get a pass. I see him say obstinancy is a factor, not persistence. Can you tell me the last time an obstinant 2GC/perfection breaker was disciplined in your congregation? What’s the difference between an obstinant persistent 2GC/perfection breaker and a persistent 2GC/perfection breaker?

    “What I want to know is if venial sins won’t send me to hell, why should I care about them”

    Because being careless about venial sin predisposes and weakens one towards committing mortal sin; one should remain vigilant. What I’m still wanting to know is if all sins believers commit are worthy of hell, why do only the “heinous” ones cause concern about false profession?

    “Uzzah committed sacrilege.”

    All sin is a form of idolatry. Is God patient with all sin except for sacrilege?

    “I’m not sure there is “admit they will continue doing so.”

    So Protestants think they will perfectly keep the commandments and bring forth a good work undefiled by sin? The confessions all stress otherwise – it’s impossible.

    “Any admittance is “I’m going to strive to be obedient, but I know that I’ll fail here or elsewhere. I don’t want to, but I also know the power of my flesh.””

    Wifebeater Joe says “I’m going to strive to be obedient, but I know that I’ll fail” and beats his wife and kids multiple times a day. Will you question his profession? If so, why not question the serial 2GC/perfection breaker who sins every second?

    “a Christian community doesn’t approve of such things or of the minor sins.”

    You just said the judgment of pagans in society are what was a factor in deeming which sins should merit discipline.

    “It’s one thing to see backbiting and exhort someone to knock it off without bringing formal charges, it’s another to approve of it.”

    Why are backbiters held as members in good standing but abortionists aren’t?

    “why if the mortal/venial sin is so tidy”

    You have the same distinction, which has been the point of my questions. You just hold that no sin removes you from justification, it simply reveals you were never saved in the first place. Both systems make the distinction between sins-compatible-with-true-faith vs sins-incompatible-with-true-faith.

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  271. Susan: Can we please restrict our conversation to God’s Word?

    Do you agree that if I possess in my mind the truth of what God has revealed, that it is God’s truth and not error that I am thinking on( and trusting in)?

    Not to be coy, but when you start asking questions about “exactly what we are thinking on when…”, you have left the restriction of conversing about God’s word.

    The Bible doesn’t hyper-parse philosophical questions about the nature of certainty. It simply says, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.”

    It is assumed that the hearer can do this without the need for an infallible interpreter.

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  272. Jeff,

    You say we can’t alight on the certaity of truth even when it’s revealed. What do we possess in our minds then, if not truth, when we know what things God has chosen to reveal?

    It is nominalism to think that we can only know particulars and not universals. And, okay, so I used nomimalism wrongly, but I still understand how Protestantism is fraught with it and skepticism too.

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  273. Jeff Cagle says:
    September 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm
    Susan: Jeff this is nomimalism. It’s basically saying we can’t know the truth.

    I don’t think you mean nominalism>>>

    Yes, you are basically saying we can’t know the truth.

    The “truth” that you consistently defend here is that no one can know anything with certitude. Knowing the truth requires certitude, otherwise we cannot claim to know the truth. There will always be an element of uncertainty mixed with your high level of certainty.

    The truth is absolute with no room for error. Knowing the truth to be true requires certitude. In your epistemology, only God has that kind of certitude. In fact, you can’t even know with certitude that God exists or that He has spoken in His Word.

    You can know with varying degrees of certainty, but never really arrive at the truth.

    She nailed you.

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  274. Jeff,

    What are the implications if the epistemology if one’s system is nomimalism? How does it affect one’s theology? That’s a question you have to ask yourself.

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  275. Susan: If we properly grasp is that knowledge then still subject to revision[?] Does the mind terminate on an object or not?

    Out of all of the many, many pages generated by this debate, this is really the most insightful question that has been raised. It’s the central issue.

    This question also reveals the subtle splinching of reference frames that is at the heart of your position.

    Consider a knowing subject, Aristotelian Alice.

    Alice knows that objects fall when dropped because

    * All her life, when she has dropped an object, it has fallen.
    * When she has observed others dropping objects, those objects have fallen also.

    She has every reason to believe that she has properly grasped a universal truth: dropped objects fall. She concludes from this that there is a proper place for those objects, which is on the ground.

    Now comes Bob with a helium balloon. He drops the balloon; it rises.

    What is Alice to do? The easiest way for her to accommodate the apparent exception is to expand her theory: the proper place for objects depends on the nature of that object. If made of earth or water, the object belongs with earth and water (down). If made of air, the object belongs in the heavens.

    This accommodates the balloon by revising and expanding the theory.

    But now comes Charlie with a video of ISS astronauts dropping wrenches on the International Space Station. They don’t fall.

    What is Alice to do?

    At this point, assuming that she doesn’t descend into some kind of denial about Charlie’s veracity, she must conclude that she had failed to properly grasp to begin with. After trying and failing with various ad hoc solutions to the problem, an honest Alice will conclude that her original idea, which she believed to be correct, was actually incorrect. She experiences a change in view as a result of inconvenient facts.

    So the difficulty with your question is that it assumes a God’s-eye perspective. You begin, If we properly grasp…, which assumes that we have already received a stamp of approval “properly grasped” on our knowledge.

    That reference frame is not available to us. There is no cosmic “back of the textbook” that we can turn to in order to get a stamp of approval that we have properly grasped. The Bible wasn’t given for that purpose, and the CCC cannot provide it either.

    BUT

    Contrary to the fearful views espoused by some here, this does not destroy the possibility of knowledge. It simply means that

    (a) knowledge is harder than Alice realized. In our simplified example, Alice (who stands in for Aristotle) was naive because she put no effort into attempting to falsify her own view.

    Likewise, fundamentalists who believe that they can read the Bible and just “know” what it says, without careful study, without listening to the voice of the church, are really just naive — naive about the difficulties of exegesis, not to mention the state of their own hearts.

    (b) our knowledge does not terminate on objects, but is tested by the behavior of objects. In our simplified example, Alice believed that she had discovered the essence of gravity; what was revealed is that she had a mental model of gravity.

    (c) our knowledge cannot be Webfoot-certain (that is, without possibility of error) unless we can guarantee that every link in the chain of reasoning to that knowledge is infallible. But IT CAN be highly certain by testing the knowledge against the behavior of objects.

    This is the point that your side has missed. You (Susan), Webfoot, Cletus all argue that either there is knowledge-with-infallible-certainty, or else no knowledge at all.

    But the scientific world — the people who make it their business to know objects — has rejected that all or nothing view. Instead, they accept as knowledge various propositions that are known with greater or less certainty.

    There are even fairly simple ways to quantify that certainty!

    So the third alternative is to accept knowing with varying degrees of certainty.

    Here’s where this becomes practical for you. For all of the various ins and outs on these threads, neither you nor CVD nor Webfoot has ever been able to answer a simple question:

    How do you get infallible knowledge from the Church when your only sources of information are fallible explanations from priests and bishops, and fallible copies and translations of the original Church documents?

    There’s a simple reason that no answer has been forthcoming: You can’t have that kind of knowledge under those circumstances.

    Given that situation, you’re going to have to embrace, sooner or later, a model of knowledge that admits to varying degrees of certainty.

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  276. Webfoot: The “truth” that you consistently defend here is that no one can know anything with certitude. Knowing the truth requires certitude, otherwise we cannot claim to know the truth. There will always be an element of uncertainty mixed with your high level of certainty.

    The truth is absolute with no room for error.

    I know that is your standard. But I also know that your standard leaves you unable to honestly claim any knowledge whatsoever.

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  277. Susan: What are the implications if the epistemology if one’s system is nomimalism? How does it affect one’s theology? That’s a question you have to ask yourself.

    That’s an interesting question, but it’s probably best addressed to an actual nominalist.

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  278. Jeff,

    You put a lot of work into that and I appreciate that you want to show us the situation from your view, but I don’t see how it’s applicable.
    For all of those situations can be explained through understanding gravity.

    When I ask if we can terminate at the object, I don’t mean that we have the beatific vision, I just mean that we can accept that hings said of God are true.
    You have Reformers as your mediators and they might be wrong, yet you still believe they have grasped what God has comminicated,and you ask your children to believe their testimony as well( that’s why you catechize, right?).
    If they are not 100% correct about the things that God wants to communicate then there is error in your doctrine. Actually there has to be.
    Can you pin point what things within your faith are not true?

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  279. Susan,

    You have Reformers as your mediators and they might be wrong, yet you still believe they have grasped what God has comminicated,and you ask your children to believe their testimony as well( that’s why you catechize, right?).

    If they are not 100% correct about the things that God wants to communicate then there is error in your doctrine.

    I’m not sure any of this is coherent, Susan and I am certain that you do not have clear intention behind the words you are using.

    What do you mean the Reformers are “mediators?” Who asks their children to believe the Reformers testimony because it is the Reformers testimony?

    What individual has a theology which is “100% correct”? How does he know “what God wants to communicate”? What do you do with Catholics who have different opinions about predestination/election?

    And that leads to Jeff’s question to you: Can you ever been 100% certain about any doctrines you believe the church teaches? All of that teaching is mediated to you by someone else…and then the teaching passed along to you is mediated by your cognitive processes (which can also be off).You’re creating an unrealistically high standard for warranted theological beliefs, which is why your position, when brought to its logical conclusion, results in agnosticism (I hate to say it, but look at Jason Stellman’s trajectory).

    Liked by 1 person

  280. Brandon,

    “I’m not sure any of this is coherent, Susan and I am certain that you do not have clear intention behind the words you are using.”

    There are mistakes in my grammar but yes it is coherent.

    “What do you mean the Reformers are “mediators?” Who asks their children to believe the Reformers testimony because it is the Reformers testimony?”

    That’s the thing. You believe that the Reformers know what is the gospel. You believe that they are heirs, rather than the visible church that has a succession of popes and bishops with jurisdiction over the lay.

    “What individual has a theology which is “100% correct”? ”
    All Catholics have a church that is completely correct about all things related to faith and morals.

    “How does he know “what God wants to communicate”? What do you do with Catholics who have different opinions about predestination/election?”
    You tell them what the Church officially teaches.

    “And that leads to Jeff’s question to you: Can you ever been 100% certain about any doctrines you believe the church teaches?”

    Of course. That’s what it means to have faith.

    ” All of that teaching is mediated to you by someone else…and then the teaching passed along to you is mediated by your cognitive processes (which can also be off).”

    Can I be corrected? If I can that implies there is something with which to correct.

    “You’re creating an unrealistically high standard for warranted theological beliefs, which is why your position, when brought to its logical conclusion, results in agnosticism (I hate to say it, but look at Jason Stellman’s trajectory).”

    I don’t know what’s going on with Jason.
    How does having a way to have knowledge about everything that Christianity is, lead to agnosticism?
    Not knowing whose version is correct leads to agnosticism.

    You have more studying to do pastor.

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  281. Brandon: And that leads to Jeff’s question to you: Can you ever been 100% certain about any doctrines you believe the church teaches?”

    Susan: Of course. That’s what it means to have faith.

    So this is really weird.

    When we point out that X bishop has erred, or Y council, you rush to assure us that bishops and councils are fallible, and that infallilbility applies only to ex cathedra pronouncements, etc.

    But now, it turns out that simply having faith makes you incapable of error.

    So all those bishops and councils didn’t have faith?

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  282. Jeff and Brandon,

    “So this is really weird.”

    That made me chuckle. But okay back to seriousness since I see I’m being unclear or misunderstood.

    “When we point out that X bishop has erred, or Y council, you rush to assure us that bishops and councils are fallible, and that infallilbility applies only to ex cathedra pronouncements, etc.”

    Doesn’t it seem weird to you that you think councils err and you are certain that they did?
    All that the Church teaches is certainly true. It doesnt speak to science unless science seems to contradict matters of morals or faith.

    “But now, it turns out that simply having faith makes you incapable of error.”

    Faith is believing all that God has spoken and if God speaks it it has no error. I’m capable of erring but not hopelessly condemned to never getting what I was in error about, corrected. Correction means receiving the true answer to something that hangs in question.

    Brandon,
    I was sharp and rude. I’m sorry.
    But what do you do with Catholic theology? Have you ever listened to the Feingold lectures?

    Like

  283. Susan,

    But believing that you could be from another planet is impossible to believe not because othet planets don’t exist, but because of all the criteria necessary for that to be true.
    But let’s not go to Absurdville again.

    Ah, so it is very unlikely to be true, but it is not logically impossible to be true. And that is the entire point. You want knowledge without the logical possibility of error. I’m not sure that it will be true of human beings in the age to come, but it certainly isn’t true now.

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  284. Susan: All that the Church teaches is certainly true.

    But this is metaphorical language. You, Susan, have never been taught by “the Church.”

    You have been taught by priests. You have read e-copies of translations of copies of copies of original documents.

    You personally have never had a concersation with anyone speaking infallibly; nor have you read any document that your criteria would consider infallible.

    So you literally believe no propositions that meet your own criterion for “knowledge.”

    Yet this does not bother you. Why not?

    Because you consider that the chance of the Nicene Creed having been mistranslated is acceptably low.

    That’s it. You actually use the epistemological method I described to you — even while you dismiss it as “not knowledge.”

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  285. Cletus,

    Right, as Newman argued. Evaluate the teacher – “what are his notes or tokens”? And such prophets had to make the claim to authority in the first place that would make them worth considering. Christ was given more consideration than a random rabbi, because of the claims to authority he made I already adduced.

    It simply isn’t self-evident that the person making the stronger claim deserves more consideration. People make claims to be prophets all the time, and we don’t consider those claims at all. We don’t ask them for motives of credibility. We just ignore them. In fact, the stronger the claim made, the less likely we are to take it seriously. I don’t suppose you stop and listen intently to every would-be prophet and then go evaluate the claims. You’d have no time to comment here.

    There it is – the subjective criteria. Those other Protestant churches that aren’t “theologically conservative” according to my interpretation and judgment aren’t part of the true church that is being guided in getting things correct.

    Your criteria is just as subjective. You adduce which RC theologians are hewing to orthodoxy and which aren’t according to your interpretation and judgment and then make the decision that they aren’t being guided. And your criteria for choosing Rome in the first instance was according to your subjective judgment. So you don’t escape the “subjectivity problem.”

    The ELCA and PCUSA claims the same type of authority as all Protestant churches. You reject their authority.

    This is simply false. They claim to be following the Spirit apart from the inspired Word, so they are making a fundamentally different authority claim.

    Even churches you consider part of the true church such as the LCMS or Arminian churches you reject as having any authority over your theology.

    Not true either. Portions of my theology were originally formed in Lutheran and Wesleyan communions. I’ve kept what is good in those traditions.

    You deem any church that does not meet your standard of “theologically conservative” as having no authority you are compelled to heed.

    I deem any church that is not a true church as having no authority over me, as do you.

    I said your churches, not you. I’m not the RCC. Your churches authoritative judgments are always self-admittedly fallible and revisable and possibly in error.

    And of course the only thing that Rome says that isn’t “revisable” (though you have revised your theology of other religions and many others) is pronouncements on theology. But any discipline carried out based on that theology is admittedly fallible. So there was no reason for Nestorius to take seriously Rome’s claim. Maybe it got it’s doctrine right but wrongly applied to him. And Luther, and on and on. In fact, there’s no clear reason why I should care if Rome deems my church a true church or not because such matters aren’t infallible.

    I made the judgment to its credibility, just as NT believers did with Christ/Apostles. That does not mean after I submit, I continue to hold everything as perpetually revisable and tentative; that would be inconsistent with the authority I supposedly submitted to in the first place. I would just be treating the RCC as another Protestant denomination, or NT believers treating Christ/Apostles as just another rabbi who happened to get things right and align with my opinion for now.

    As long as you admit that there are things Rome could do to make you leave, you hold your submission to Rome provisionally. The only people that don’t have provisional submission are jihadists and other cult members.

    Do you fear the judgment of the PCUSA or LCMS church?

    PCUSA no. LCMS yes.

    “There’s no way to identify Rome as the church Jesus founded in a completely non-circular way. ”

    Rome is identified more than just “The church that is in communion with the bishop of Rome is the church that is in communion with the bishop of Rome”. The PCA is identified more than just “the church that is the PCA is the church that is the PCA”.

    Rome makes a claim.
    I ask why I should believe it.
    Rome proposes motives of credibility and tells me how they point to Rome (i.e., gives me the correct interpretation of them)
    I either accept Rome’s interpretation of them or not.

    Broadly circular. You can’t identify Rome as the true church in a completely non-circular way. As your final authority, there is broad circularity of necessity.

    Your identification of the divinely guided church getting things correct is “the church that is getting things correct is the church that is getting things correct”.

    No.

    You already said the church that is correct is the one that conforms to the “teaching of the Apostles and Prophets”. So the church that is correct is the one that conforms to my judgment of the “teaching of the Apostles and Prophets”. And every other Protestant who disagrees with you asserts the same. Subjective.

    The church that you deem correct is the one that conforms to your judgment of what the Apostles, Prophets, and Church Fathers say, right? I mean, it’s not as if you believe without researching. If you weren’t convinced, you wouldn’t believe. You have the same subjectivity.

    The example is effective every time the “but we’re all fallible! RCs are in the same boat! Infallible authority doesn’t do anything!” shenanigans come up. It is also effective in contrasting which models of faith and authority are biblical.

    Its potentially effective for Mormons because they are consistent. Its not consistent for your claims since Rome’s infallibility even for the pope is limited. Rome simply isn’t making the same claims Jesus and the Apostles made. If it was, the Nicene Creed and the Definition of the Assumption would be sacred Scripture.

    Only that verse and book are not offered as infallible and inerrant by Protestantism. There is no dogma offered in Protestantism.

    The verse and book are offering themselves. If you want to say Protestantism offers no dogma, I guess that’s your business. The best Protestants want to do is convey what God’s Word says anyway.

    Hosea 1:1 is Protestant dogma not because of any authority in Protestantism. We just point you to it.

    But in any case, we are even. There is the one infallible doctrine you are looking for.

    So now the goalposts are moving. God kills people not for minor sins, but for minor public sins.

    They weren’t minor sins. From the point of view of the unbeliever, it is really hard to explain how they were major sins, however, because on the surface, at least Uzzah’s sin doesn’t seem all that big a deal. But in any case, the public nature of the sin plays a large role in disciplinary decisions, as the NT shows, but that doesn’t mean private sins aren’t damnable.

    I see him say that Scripture notes degree of sin. That still doesn’t explain why “light” sins that are damning get a pass while “heinous” sins that are just as damning don’t get a pass. I see him say obstinancy is a factor, not persistence. Can you tell me the last time an obstinant 2GC/perfection breaker was disciplined in your congregation?

    Recently, a gentleman who was persistently angry and quarrelsome, after many, many years of people being patient with him, was sent a letter from the elders warning him that if he would not stop or make an attempt to stop, he would be elevated to the next stage of discipline. This particular individual was not a member but a long-time attender. As soon as he got that letter, he left the church so it did not escalate beyond that. The new church to which he went, however, was contacted.

    Throughout my life as a Christian, I’ve been disciplined privately by friends for issues related to impatience. Discipline isn’t always stringing someone up before the congregation. Most of it takes place more privately. Every Sunday, Christians are disciplined as the preacher preaches against sin and members hear and heed his warnings.

    What’s the difference between an obstinant persistent 2GC/perfection breaker and a persistent 2GC/perfection breaker?

    Well, elders can’t read hearts perfectly. We’re only tasked with reading what we can. An obstinate perfection breaker is the one who is always right, never open to correction, never remorseful, and so on. An obstinate persistent sinner will make no good faith attempt to reconcile with others or to put sin to death. A non-obstinant persistent sinner, however, will.

    Because being careless about venial sin predisposes and weakens one towards committing mortal sin; one should remain vigilant. What I’m still wanting to know is if all sins believers commit are worthy of hell, why do only the “heinous” ones cause concern about false profession?

    It’s not only heinous ones that cause concern. But when it comes to other people, unless we are extremely close to them, the only sins we usually know about are the heinous ones.

    All sin is a form of idolatry. Is God patient with all sin except for sacrilege?

    God is patient with all sin. If he wasn’t, there would be no planet. God would have scorched it the second Adam sinned.

    So Protestants think they will perfectly keep the commandments and bring forth a good work undefiled by sin? The confessions all stress otherwise – it’s impossible.

    It’s not logically impossible. It just won’t ever happen. Christ gives believers the power to overcome all sin, but the remaining presence of sin means we won’t attain perfection, not that we can’t. It’s less ability-related.

    Wifebeater Joe says “I’m going to strive to be obedient, but I know that I’ll fail” and beats his wife and kids multiple times a day. Will you question his profession? If so, why not question the serial 2GC/perfection breaker who sins every second?

    If it’s the first time he’s hit his wife, I’ll be less inclined to question his profession than I will be if it is time 200, he refuses to take an anger management class, and so forth.

    I said “a Christian community doesn’t approve of such things or of the minor sins.”

    You just said the judgment of pagans in society are what was a factor in deeming which sins should merit discipline.

    Failure to publicly discipline does not mean approval. All sins merit discipline. Not all sins merit public discipline.

    “It’s one thing to see backbiting and exhort someone to knock it off without bringing formal charges, it’s another to approve of it.”

    Why are backbiters held as members in good standing but abortionists aren’t?

    They aren’t held as members in good standing if they continue to backbite, don’t confess their sin, or make any good faith attempt. The gentleman mentioned earlier would not have been considered a member in good standing if he had actually been a member.

    You have the same distinction, which has been the point of my questions. You just hold that no sin removes you from justification, it simply reveals you were never saved in the first place. Both systems make the distinction between sins-compatible-with-true-faith vs sins-incompatible-with-true-faith.

    We don’t have the same distinction. We don’t think God is in heaven waiting for us to slip up so he can kick us out of his house, which is just what mortal sin looks like. That’s bad enough and incompatible enough with true fatherhood, but what makes it worse is that you have no real way of knowing when you have committed a mortal sin and when you haven’t. Your priests don’t all apply the criteria the same way.

    No sin is compatible with true faith. In our system, the impenitent venial sinner according to your criteria of veniality is as likely to be a non-Christian, never having faith in the first place as is the impenitent moral sinner according to your criteria of mortal sin. It seems to me that in RCism, you can be an impenitent venial sinner and be a true Christian. Not so in Protestantism. An impenitent person for venial sin has no reason to believe he is a true Christian or was ever saved in the first place. Yet it seems that in RCism, an impenitent venial sinner has reason to believe he has the hope of salvation.

    To put it another way, if I am made aware of a venial sin that I have committed and I don’t repent, I have no good reason to believe I am a Christian. If you are made aware of a venial sin that you have committed and you never repent, you still have good reason to believe you are a Christian. Your system at the same time, from our perspective, trivializes sin (venial) and makes it something that God can’t really overcome (mortal).

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  286. Jeff,

    Here’s where this becomes practical for you. For all of the various ins and outs on these threads, neither you nor CVD nor Webfoot has ever been able to answer a simple question:

    How do you get infallible knowledge from the Church when your only sources of information are fallible explanations from priests and bishops, and fallible copies and translations of the original Church documents?

    There’s a simple reason that no answer has been forthcoming: You can’t have that kind of knowledge under those circumstances.

    Given that situation, you’re going to have to embrace, sooner or later, a model of knowledge that admits to varying degrees of certainty.

    ringadingaling

    This is what happens when you use philosophy for apologetics.

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  287. Susan, “It doesn’t speak to science unless science seems to contradict matters of morals or faith.”

    Say hello to your pope. Francis teaches climate change science. And get this, a work of mercy is turning off the light.

    It’s a bad theory when you don’t even pay attention to the current hierarchy, you know, the one with whom you are in fellowship and who approves your bishop and makes the Mass valid.

    This is like Roman Catholic evangelicalism — naivete on steroids.

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  288. Hmmm…. how did this thread get back to epistemology?

    Susan wrote, “All Catholics have a church that is completely correct about all things related to faith and morals.”

    This is not what I understand the Catholic church to teach. My understanding is that there are levels of the magisterium demanding different levels of assent. The extraordinary magisterium is infallible, but not all church teaching falls under this category. The ordinary magisterium also is church teaching, but it is fallible. This teaching is still authoritative though. Infallible teaching only requires the full assent of faith, but fallible teachings still require the submission of one’s intellect and will. I’m not sure how this jives with the assertion that only infallible teachers have authority or if this description itself is infallible, but it seems to reflect the conservative take on the RC magisterium.

    Do disagree with this?

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  289. mrsw, Ali, You still don’t seem to like Catholics

    well as I mentioned, it’s all about the knowledge of God – KNOWING GOD.

    We should dislike as the Lord Himself does saying to Job’s friends:My wrath is kindled against you because you have not spoken of Me what is right Job 42:7

    He seems pretty serious about knowing Him.

    Just think if Adam and Eve had held firm their knowledge of God’ s character – that He can’t lie, that He never withholds good, etc.

    Jesus says: This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3

    God talks making Himself known; and about those who refuse to know Him; and about His people who do know Him/know His name because He has given us hearts to know Him (Jer 24:7)

    His people are not these :“ I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:34), but those who know Him.
    And those who know His name put their trust in Him, for He has not forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:10

    All that to say, no I don’t like Catholicism because in too many of its manmade doctrines and speculations – it “does not speak of the Lord what is right” and that is very serious.

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  290. Jeff,
    There’s a lot of shooting from the hip going on here, and it’s nearly impossible to discuss when feeling you have to answer several interlocutors.

    You are bringing to my attention something you think is being purposely ignored.

    Okay let’s have a go, while also keeping in mind that you don’t think certitude is achievable.

    “How do you get infallible knowledge from the Church when your only sources of information are fallible explanations from priests and bishops, and fallible copies and translations of the original Church documents.”

    Maybe I’m wrong but I think I’m correct to say that if I am being given doctrine with infallibility as a guarantee, that it won’t slough off infallibility in transmission.

    Tell me about your system:
    Does your dogma come with a disclaimer?

    I’m being serious.

    Is the resurrection of the dead definitely going to happen in the future?

    Are the events in Genesis certainly real historical events?

    Are there really angels?

    Will there really be a general judgement?

    Could Catholic theology be correct?

    Like

  291. sdb says:
    September 15, 2016 at 11:10 pm
    Hmmm…. how did this thread get back to epistemology?>>>>

    Jeff is 100% certain that no one can be 100% certain about anything. He likes to point that out.

    Like

  292. Here is an interesting excerpt from the book Scriptural Perspicuity in the Early English Reformation. Notice the sentence, “Reformed scholasticism unthomistically redefined ‘certitude’ relativistically…”

    That’s what’s happening here with Jeff’s arguments. That’s what some of us are picking up on. The element of relativism in his arguments cannot be denied, not even a little. It’s a real thing. Thomas will lead you Home, and away from the relativism which is a hallmark of modernism.

    You guys think you are escaping modernism?

    https://books.google.com/books?id=fGxUUQyWu4kC&pg=PA103&lpg=PA103&dq=reformed+theology+and+certitude&source=bl&ots=HWpfRRHNDz&sig=k5Krp3VX4bI1InstbbhAxqF_9Is&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwig9-vOiZPPAhUD8GMKHVycBJoQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=reformed%20theology%20and%20certitude&f=false

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  293. Mermaid, if we’re not escaping modernism why are your bishops so willing to call us brothers?

    You can’t have it both ways. If your church wants to hang out with us, and if we’re so bad, maybe your church isn’t as rock solid as you are.

    Like

  294. @ Susan: Thank you for direct responses. I really, really appreciate that fact about you.

    Susan: Okay let’s have a go, while also keeping in mind that you don’t think certitude is achievable.

    Yes, for the purposes of my question — let’s call it the Transmission Question — we will assume that the Church has the charism of infallibility per your definition.

    JRC : “How do you get infallible knowledge from the Church when your only sources of information are fallible explanations from priests and bishops, and fallible copies and translations of the original Church documents.”

    Susan: Maybe I’m wrong but I think I’m correct to say that if I am being given doctrine with infallibility as a guarantee, that it won’t slough off infallibility in transmission.

    Let’s explore here.

    When a doctrine is transmitted, whether orally or in written (including electronic) form, what you have on the other end is a copy of the doctrine. In the case of oral transmission, that copy is contained in the memory of the listener; in the case of writing, it is contained in the document, whether on palimpsest or thumb drive. Agree?

    Like

  295. Naw, Jeff, the game around here is relativism. It gives you maximum control over what you decide to believe. It makes you your own pope, your own magisterium. It puts you in control over the canon of Scripture.

    Jeff:
    Let’s explore here.

    When a doctrine is transmitted, whether orally or in written (including electronic) form, what you have on the other end is a copy of the doctrine. In the case of oral transmission, that copy is contained in the memory of the listener; in the case of writing, it is contained in the document, whether on palimpsest or thumb drive. Agree?>>>>>

    No wonder Presbyterianism apostatized. A little relativistic leaven leavens the whole lump. You end up with relativism in spades. You are right. You are playing spades.

    Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

    What He really meant was, “You will know the truth with relative certainty, but not with certitude. That truth has a high probability of setting you free, whatever that may mean to you personally. The oral transmission of my words has the potential of corrupting the message, but never mind. Just get as close as you can to the truth. Of this you can be 100% certain. You can’t know anything with 100% certainty. The advantage is that you get to decide what you wish to believe. You’re in charge.”

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  296. D. G. Hart says:
    September 16, 2016 at 10:12 am
    Mermaid, which is it? Apostate or separated brother?

    Your chest thumping seems to have rattled your brain (and your heart).>>>

    This is where your religion is. Presbyterianism is apostate. Are there separated brethren within the PCUSA or the Church of Scotland? Of course there are. The denominations themselves are apostate.

    You think Presbyterianism has lost its way, otherwise you would not be one of Machen’s Warrior Children.

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  297. Roman Catholics,

    I’ll just say briefly that one of the errors you all keep making is this bizarre idea that Protestants can’t have certainty of doctrine. That’s simply not what we confess. All we are saying is that our certainty is not one that overcomes our fallibility.

    What you all seem to be saying, to me at least, is that the kind of certainty you have overcomes your fallibility without making you personally infallible. Which is essentially nonsensical.

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  298. Mermaid, why aren’t you one of Douthat’s Worried Children? Your bluster and answer avoidance can’t hide what goes on among Roman Catholics. Heck, you’re in the Roman Catholic version of the PCUSA. You’re proud of that?

    Like

  299. SDB,

    My understanding is that there are levels of the magisterium demanding different levels of assent. The extraordinary magisterium is infallible, but not all church teaching falls under this category. The ordinary magisterium also is church teaching, but it is fallible.

    YES! Exactly. Such an epistemology is not similar to agnosticism–it is agnosticism.

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  300. Sdb & Brandon,

    It isn’t agnosticism because there is no question about what is expected.
    Morally, we have a conscience that is capable of being formed. The church’s moral teachings go beyond what is expected in Protestant moral teaching( contracepting; intentionally not being open to life).
    In matters of faith, its explicit that we observe the day sanctified for worship( The Lord’s Day) and this means participating in Holy Mass; that we don’t receive the Eucharist if we are not in a state of grace; that we perform spiritual and corporeal acts of mercy; that we pray daily for our own personal intentions, for those of the state and the world. That we try to cultivate a life of prayer; That we study the faith handed on to us, through learning scripture, the catechism, encyclicals, theology…

    Here. This might help:
    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/11/papal-fallibility.html?m=1

    Like

  301. Susan,

    But it’s not that easy. No one has yet produced an infallible list of all that the extraordinary Magisterium has commanded. This is a problem for your side, at least in giving it any tangible benefit over Protestantism.

    You are exercising your private judgment in order to determine what Rome has said that pertains to faith and morals and when it has acted infallibly. At the end of the day, it’s all your fallible interpretation from start to finish.

    Like

  302. Jeff Cagle says:
    September 16, 2016 at 11:44 am
    @ Mermaid: You’ve confused your Google searches for actual competence. Get back to me when you’re ready to stop trolling.>>>

    Naw. I’m not interested anymore, especially now. Remember I asked you guys several times where your epistemology is coming from, and you didn’t give a clear answer?

    Now what you are saying makes sense. Yes, there is an element of relativism in everything you say. You are the one who speaks in those terms.

    That’s fine with no essential doctrines. It doesn’t work when talking about Gospel truths such as the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the divinity of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and even the canon of Scripture. Basically, it does not work for the truths contained in the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed.

    You have to have more epistemological tools in your tool chest to even have a high level of certainty about those truths.

    There has to be a way that God is able to bridge the epistemological gap to give us certitude about those essentials at the very least.

    You ask for a list? The Creeds are a good place to start. If you can’t have certitude about those truths, then what good is your high level of certainty?

    You have it all figured out, Jeff. Except that you don’t.

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  303. Susan,

    It’s not a matter of intelligence, because you are a very intelligent person, but your responses lack coherence. They are scattered and unfocused. It makes impossible to have a productive dialogue with you.

    SDB’s point is that the epistemology you are advocating eliminates the possibility of knowledge for any doctrine that has not been ratified by the extraordinary magisterium of the church. That means there is a significant amount of teaching that, in your epistemology, you claim cannot be knowledge. But that flies in the face of RCC piety and theology. There are plenty of things that are not infallibly defined that parishioners ought to still submit to, and have warrant for believing. In other words, problem 1 with your epistemology is that it is not Roman Catholic (and I recommend you re-read Feser, because he notes several things in the article that refute your epistemology. See his Paragraph beginning with: That popes are fallible in the ways that they are is as important for Catholics…)

    But Jeff drives the nail deeper into the coffin for your epistemology with a second point: have you ever spoken with the Magisterium of the Church? No, you’ve relied on the teaching of priests, friends, articles, publications, bishops, etc. You may respond that the people you’ve spoken with are part of the Magisterium, but given your requirements for knowledge, you are required to know that they’ve have given you everything exactly in order for you to have true knowledge.

    I then proposed a 3rd problem with your model: even if we assume the people giving you information on the teaching of the Magisterium are honest, sanctioned to speak as members of the Magisterium, exhaustively teaching you, etc., you are still unable to get past your own cognitive processes. Cognitive processes in human beings are prone to error because of weakness and sin. Consider the dispute about the color of the “dress.” WW III almost broke out on social media on whether or not the dress was black and blue or gold and white. At first blush, I thought it was clearly black and blue (it was), but when family and friends insisted it was white and gold, there were times my perception would change. Our faculties are imperfect, which introduces variability into any pursuit of knowledge. Because we, the subject, do not merge our essence with the object, it can only be accessed through fallible mediation.

    As Jeff has reiterated again and again, ” you’re going to have to embrace, sooner or later, a model of knowledge that admits to varying degrees of certainty.”

    Like

  304. Robert:I’ll just say briefly that one of the errors you all keep making is this bizarre idea that Protestants can’t have certainty of doctrine.>>>>

    Of course you can have certainty, as you define certainty. Your objection is to having certitude of doctrine.

    Like

  305. D. G. Hart says:
    September 16, 2016 at 6:17 am
    Mermaid, if we’re not escaping modernism why are your bishops so willing to call us brothers?>>>

    You know the separated brothers “thing” goes way back to Augustine. I’ve posted his quote numerous times. St. Augustine is ancient, not modern, but his teachings are timeless.

    D.G. Hart:
    You can’t have it both ways. If your church wants to hang out with us, and if we’re so bad, maybe your church isn’t as rock solid as you are.>>>

    I know that makes sense to you.

    Like

  306. Hi Jeff,

    You asked for my assent about this doctrine, but I’m not sure it transmitted the way you formed it :)~

    Okay, I’ll do my best to help carve this up, but bear with me with language and definitions, I have a difficult time with them.

    “When a doctrine is transmitted, whether orally or in written (including electronic) form, what you have on the other end is a copy of the doctrine. In the case of oral transmission, that copy is contained in the memory of the listener; in the case of writing, it is contained in the document, whether on palimpsest or thumb drive. Agree?”>>>>>

    Doctrines are teaching and teachings are either true or false propositions. When transmitted they are not meant to be quantified( except if we are counting propositions, sentences, words, letters, ink, paper). If you state in a classroom of 150 pupils that “Socrates was a wise man”, there aren’t 151 copies of this proposition. There is still only one proposition, being considered among 151 people at that moment. How it will be held will depend on what is meant by what is being affirmed of the subject. But the example I used is not something that belongs to the realm of the faith.

    Catholics are not suppose to take some doctrine ,that must be believed on the authority of the church, and hold that it’s opposite could be true. That is to hold something in one’s mind as an opinion.

    Take a look at how Newman parses and defines Profession, Credence, Opinion, Presumption, and Speculation, to see what I mean.

    http://www.newmanreader.org/works/grammar/chapter4-1.html

    Like

  307. Mermaid,

    Your objection is to having certitude of doctrine.

    Incorrect. Our objection is to certitude without the logical possibility of error. Which is what you want but can’t have unless you are omniscient.

    Like

  308. Brandon,

    You say that I am scattered, but right after saying that you gave me three instances where you believe that my epistemology fails.

    I just now answered Jeff. We can wait and see if that was a sufficient enough answer. I’m not holding my breath.

    As to sdb’s I can address that next.

    The last one is the position we are all in. How do you know when you are receiving doctrines in their purity( which still doesn’t mean they are true) or when there are traces of your own subjective imaginings or former beliefs influencing the transmittal?

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  309. Susan,

    Doctrines are teaching and teachings are either true or false propositions. When transmitted they are not meant to be quantified( except if we are counting propositions, sentences, words, letters, ink, paper). If you state in a classroom of 150 pupils that “Socrates was a wise man”, there aren’t 151 copies of this proposition. There is still only one proposition, being considered among 151 people at that moment. How it will be held will depend on what is meant by what is being affirmed of the subject. But the example I used is not something that belongs to the realm of the faith.

    There’s one proposition but 150 interpretations of said proposition because there are 150 interpreting subjects. And while the interpretations will overlap, it’s doubtful that every person has the exact same interpretation at every point. The differences may be negligible for meaning, but different styles of learning, different life experiences, and so on all impact the interpreting subject. The only way to avoid this is through mindmeld.

    Catholics are not suppose to take some doctrine ,that must be believed on the authority of the church, and hold that it’s opposite could be true. That is to hold something in one’s mind as an opinion.

    What does this even mean? The CTC guys, for example, fairly often believe something on the authority of the church but then will entertain the possibility that its opposite could be true at least in theory for the sake of critiquing it. Human beings do it all the time. I’ve even seen you do it.

    You really need to study Protestant epistemology more. For confessionalists, the idea that the Trinity, JBFA, and many other doctrines might be incorrect is held very much in the sense of “logically possible in theory but impossible in reality.”

    If you can’t hold that the opposite of your doctrine might be true, if only in theory, you can’t consider what you think are its logical consequences.

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  310. Robert,

    I think we’re going to have to have something concrete to chew on.
    I have to believe in the resurrection, I have to believe in transubstantation, and the assumption of Mary and her perpetual virginity. And I do believe it on the authority of the Church that Jesus founded.
    None of those doctrines can be falsified, so how do you hold their opposites as theoretically true? Why would you want to? Isn’t doing that skepticism in a nut shell?

    I do not hold to sola scriptura, but in your system that is tantamount to heresy. But why, since it’s not an article of any council. Even if it was it could be wrong( which I have found that if is). I had no protestant Christianity to go to anymore since not only did I hold its opposite as true. Since I definitely believed in Jesus, there should have been a category for my situation. Since there wasn’t, protestant Christianity was impossible. I should have been able to hold the position that sola scriptura was untenable if we can’t know with certainty that the doctrine is correct.

    Same thing goes for claims of the Catholic church. You should hold all Catholic doctrines as theoretically possible of you really believe that could be possible
    If they aren’t then why entertain them?

    Like

  311. Robert says:
    September 16, 2016 at 5:03 pm
    Mermaid,

    Your objection is to having certitude of doctrine.

    Incorrect. Our objection is to certitude without the logical possibility of error. Which is what you want but can’t have unless you are omniscient.>>>>>

    “You cannot have certitude without the logical possibility of error unless you are omniscient” sounds a lot like you are claiming both certitude and omniscience for yourselves.

    You don’t know everything.

    It kind of turns in on itself. Proof? It doesn’t work for the resurrection. You and I don’t have to be omniscient to know with certitude that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

    It is contradictory to say that you are certain Jesus Christ rose from the dead, but His body might be found. You can’t have it both ways.

    Like

  312. Exactly MWF,

    And why be dogmatic about sola scriptura when it, unlike the resurrection, is falsifiable?
    Dogma isn’t possible in Protestantism when other possibilities exist.
    If sola fide considered from merely the Reformed perspective can theoretically be wrong, why fault anyone for disbelieving it?

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  313. Robert, Jeff, and all honestly,

    I know that I must look bipolar to you guys. I assume you like to discuss these things as much as I do but also feel tugged by your responsiblities and people that you love needing your attention
    Maybe you all are better at prioritizing and balance than me.
    Anyways, I really want to exist. I need will power! Pray for me.

    I hope( please please please) that you will listen to the lectures from the site I am linking.
    If you want to understand you will look into them of your own interest.

    http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/studies/mystery-of-israel-church/

    Take care!
    Susan

    Like

  314. Susan says:
    September 16, 2016 at 7:15 pm
    Exactly MWF,

    And why be dogmatic about sola scriptura when it, unlike the resurrection, is falsifiable?
    Dogma isn’t possible in Protestantism when other possibilities exist.
    If sola fide considered from merely the Reformed perspective can theoretically be wrong, why fault anyone for disbelieving it?>>>>>

    I suspect that both Jeff and Robert – and all conservative Reformed people – kind of ride on the coat tails of the teaching magisterium of the Catholic Church. Otherwise they would have apostatized with the rest of Presbyterianism.

    “Reformed scholasticism unthomistically redefined ‘certitude’ relativistically…”

    Not wise to mess with Thomas. A little relativistic leaven leavens the whole lump.

    I remember the guys’ reaction when I posted something from the Summa. Very interesting.

    Like

  315. @ Susan: Thanks. What I am particularly focusing on is the question, “How do propositions get communicated from one person to another?” As you can imagine, this is a central question of my professional life.

    Here is my experience teaching a class of people. If I say, “Socrates is a man” in a class of 150 people, there will be two people who want to know who Socrates is, one joker who named his cat Socrates, a gender activist who wants to deconstruct the word “man”, and someone who copies my words in their notes as “Socrates is not a man” and spends the evening being confused. What do we make of this situation?

    Several options: (1) we could take a radically skeptical approach and say that there is no such thing as an abstract proposition, but only symbols and mental images. I actually reject that approach for a variety of reasons.

    (2) We could propose that propositions make their way from one mind to another without being corrupted by transmission. This is the approach you have taken, focusing on the fact that the proposition “Socrates is a man” is not itself changed by encoding. The problem with this approach (sorry) is that it has no way to account for my four students who misunderstood.

    IF propositions make their way from mind to mind without corruption by transmission, and IF there are people who misunderstand, we have a contradiction.

    (3) Or, we could propose that propositions themselves are abstract entities who make their way from mind to mind by the process of encoding and decoding.

    There are variations on these, but those are the three families of options. If you take the latter approach, then you have to start accounting for errors in transmission.

    When I say “Socrates is a man” to 150 people, my proposition is encoded, transmitted, and decoded into 150 propositions by 150 listeners — well, probably 140 propositions, subtracting the kids on their phones. Many of those 150 will be the same proposition as mine; some will not.

    The same thing happens when believing Catholics say the Creed. Some — many — might understand the very same thing that the Council of Nicea intended. (Or do they? Filioque. But I digress.)

    The important thing is that many will misunderstand. Some of those misunderstanding will be priests and bishops, who then go on to teach others.

    The point is that at every point of encoding, hearing, decoding there is a chance that a listener will misunderstand.

    To deny this entails a belief in infallible transmission of propositions from mind to mind, or what we have called here “the Vulcan mind-meld.”

    One either claims infallibility in transmission OR accepts fallibility in transmission; those are the only two logical options.

    My argument has nothing to do with either nominalism nor relativism, but a simple examination of how you come to believe the propositions taught by your priest.

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  316. Mermaid,

    “You cannot have certitude without the logical possibility of error unless you are omniscient” sounds a lot like you are claiming both certitude and omniscience for yourselves.

    It’s a statement I make and believe with certainty while accepting my own fallibility. There’s no logical contradiction in the statement, so it’s not self-refuting.

    You don’t know everything.

    Agree.

    It kind of turns in on itself. Proof? It doesn’t work for the resurrection. You and I don’t have to be omniscient to know with certitude that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

    I agree that you and I don’t have to be omniscient to have certainty that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Nor do we need an infallible entity between divine revelation—which is infallible by definition—and us to know with certainty that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

    What we do need, it seems, is some kind of mediator or pointer, but there is no reason why that mediator or pointer needs to be infallible. Plenty of people read fallibly translated Bibles and attain certainty of the resurrection. Preachers can point people to the resurrection fallibly. Your priest can do the same fallibly. In fact, as Jeff notes, you rely on your fallible priest to point you there since you aren’t on direct speaking terms with the Magisterium. If you are correct, you should not have certainty because all you have to rely on are fallible mediators and your own fallible mediators.

    It is contradictory to say that you are certain Jesus Christ rose from the dead, but His body might be found. You can’t have it both ways.

    Why? Why cannot I not be certain that Jesus rose from the dead and yet admit that it is logically possible that he didn’t. Have you never thought about possible worlds before? In fact, one of your own, Molina proposed them. Most theologians will admit that God knows not only actualities but all logical possibilities. So God can be certain that Christ rose from the dead even though He knows it is logically possible that He didn’t. He can conceive of a possible world in which He didn’t send Christ. In fact, your side admits that God could have saved us in another way besides the cross and resurrection. Cross and resurrection may be the best or most fitting way, but its not the only way.

    So at least, God can know the resurrection happened with certainty and yet be able to see a possible world in which Jesus died but was not raised and yet He still saved people. If you are right, this is impossible, but in contradicts large swatches of your tradition, including your current pope, a Jesuit, and the Jesuits by and large follow Molina.

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  317. Robert,

    Susan,

    I think we’re going to have to have something concrete to chew on.
    I have to believe in the resurrection, I have to believe in transubstantation, and the assumption of Mary and her perpetual virginity. And I do believe it on the authority of the Church that Jesus founded.
    None of those doctrines can be falsified, so how do you hold their opposites as theoretically true? Why would you want to? Isn’t doing that skepticism in a nut shell?

    But the resurrection can be falsified. All it would take is to find the body of Jesus. Will that happen? No. But that His body won’t be found does not mean its not logically possible that it could be found.

    It’s not skepticism unless you hold that you can’t know whether the resurrection happened. That’s not the claim being made. The claim being made is that human beings can know whether the resurrection happened in a manner that is appropriate to human beings. But that entails knowing things fallibly. What all of us on the Protestant side are trying to get you guys to see is that the bar for certainty, knowledge, and faith that you have set for yourselves is, logically speaking, impossibly high. It can never be met. Even if we accept all of Rome’s claims, apart from the mindmeld we cannot attain to certainty unless we become infallible.

    I do not hold to sola scriptura, but in your system that is tantamount to heresy. But why, since it’s not an article of any council.

    Why does truth need to be pronounced by a council to be submitted to? There was no councils for thousands of years before Jesus. All they had was divine revelation with no infallible mediator. No one held a council to declare monotheism. If you are right, then Jews were wrong to be monotheistic or at least could not be certain of monotheism until at least Acts 15.

    Even if it was it could be wrong( which I have found that if is). I had no protestant Christianity to go to anymore since not only did I hold its opposite as true. Since I definitely believed in Jesus, there should have been a category for my situation. Since there wasn’t, protestant Christianity was impossible. I should have been able to hold the position that sola scriptura was untenable if we can’t know with certainty that the doctrine is correct.

    You are introducing infallibility to attain to certainty, which I don’t understand. Your reasons for rejecting Protestantism, in particular, seem to be uncertainty which you have solved by finding an infallible church. But if this is so, why are you uncertain in the first place? Because you are fallible. For you, fallibility equals perpetual uncertainty. But if that is true, an infallible church doesn’t help you. Because you are fallible, you should be perpetually uncertain. This is the entire point.

    Same thing goes for claims of the Catholic church. You should hold all Catholic doctrines as theoretically possible of you really believe that could be possible
    If they aren’t then why entertain them?

    Sure I hold them as theoretically possible, even logically possible though that is difficult for me because from this outsider’s perspective, RC theology often looks like an amalgamation of contradictory beliefs held together by ritualism. But I don’t see any substantial evidence for them. The kind of blind submission to authority that some of you advocate just isn’t what Jesus ever called for if the Scriptures are true. There’s no evidence for anything resembling the papacy until the late second century, and even then the only evidence is for a monarchical bishop equal to all other bishops. At critical points in your history, no one even knew who the pope was because there were many who had equal claim to the papal throne. And I could go on. There’s no real way to make all the square pegs fit unless you first accept that Rome is who she says she is.

    The RC system, in my view, is the most narrowly presuppositional form of Christianity I have seen.

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  318. Jeff:
    Here is my experience teaching a class of people. >>>>>

    You’re not God communicating to His people the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Can an omniscient God communicate truth such that His child can know with certitude that Jesus Christ rose from the dead?

    I say He can. I say He did. The child receives the news with joy.

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  319. Incorrigibility does not depend on the belief being true.
    Moral certainty is not skepticism (even allowing that moral cetainty is all that is possible for non-necessary truths).

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  320. Mermaid,

    Can an omniscient God communicate truth such that His child can know with certitude that Jesus Christ rose from the dead?

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. And He has done that using infallible revelation (the Word of God) mediated to us by fallible individuals and churches (preachers, etc.).

    You are the one saying that fallible mediators are insufficient even though you have never once had direct contact with an organ of infallibility. Hence Jeff’s point.

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  321. Susan, “Dogma isn’t possible in Protestantism when other possibilities exist.”

    Then why don’t theologians at Roman Catholic universities teach church dogma? Why aren’t priests (some of them) as impressed by church infallibility as you are?

    Do you ever consider that you are really part of a parachurch group — Roman Catholics who are devoted to an idealistic notion of Roman Catholicism? Or more like George Whitefield? He was an Anglican priest but the workings of the church made no difference to him. Same goes for you.