Thoughts on a Roman Catholic Funeral Mass

Today I went to a Roman Catholic Funeral Mass. It was the funeral of the father-in-law of one of my best friends here in North Dakota. My thoughts were going a mile a minute, especially since this was the first RC funeral I have ever attended. I will divide my thoughts into the things that I liked, and the things that I disliked.

Things I liked:
1. The beauty of the sanctuary. Issues of the second commandment aside, the inside of the sanctuary of the church is incredibly and stunningly beautiful. I think it is possible for a Protestant church to be that beautiful without slipping into idolatry. Quite frankly, it is easier to worship God in a beautiful church than elsewhere, though we should worship God everywhere. We Protestants have lost sight of what true beauty can accomplish. This is a favorite quote of Adrian’s from _Les Miserables_, by Victor Hugo: “Madame Magloire,” retorted the Bishop, “you are mistaken. The beautiful is as useful as the useful.” He added after a pause,”More so, perhaps.” – Bishop Bienvenu. It has become one of my favorite quotations.

2. There seemed to be a fairly strong emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, with a relative lack of emphasis on purgatory. I didn’t here much about purgatory, though it may have been part of the stuff I missed simply because I could not hear it very well (the priest is getting old, and their PA system is almost shot to pieces). But I did hear a fair bit about the resurrection. Therein lies our hope with regard to death.

Things I didn’t like:
1. The Eucharist and Baptism automatically save without any reference to faith. That was fairly clear from the liturgy. The idea was implied (though not stated) that it didn’t really matter how one had lived one’s life; the important thing was that he had been baptized, and had never fallen out of favor with the church. I’m sorry, but the Christian life is more than that. Faith is essential to the Christian life. And it is faith in Jesus Christ, not in the saints, or in the Sacraments, that is required. This is not to denigrate from the importance of the Sacraments. But there are biblical examples of saints dying without having received either Sacrament. The thief on the cross comes to mind. He is promised paradise on the basis of faith alone.

2. The prelude to the service: this consisted of several hundred repetitions of the “Hail Mary.” I’m sorry, but I don’t pray to saints (especially since Paul and others say that all Christians are saints). I pray to God alone.

3. The last thing that I didn’t like was that the funeral seemed to be just as much for the benefit of the departed as for the bereaved. Funerals are only for the living. The dead are beyond our reach. We cannot help them. Funerals are for the living.

This funeral made plain to us that the differences between Protestant and Catholic are very much alive and well. I am proud to stand beside Protestant and Catholic on such socially important issues a abortion. However, that partnership must not be allowed to eliminate the fact that there is still a rift between us. I for one am not going to cross that bridge over to Catholicism. I will stand on the solas of the Reformation.

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230 Comments

  1. zan said,

    November 30, 2005 at 11:58 am

    I have never been to an RC church before but my interest is peaked. My parents formerly went to a an OPC but left it because they thought it was pretty dead. The closest thing they could find that was similar was a Lutheran church of the Missouri Synod. I have visited a few times and see a lot of pomp and circumstance during the service but I don’t think any of it was unnecessary or unbiblical. I think they have a more worshipful service than a lot of other Protestant churches have.

    I do think that there are brothers and sisters in Christ in the Roman Catholic church. John Paul declared shortly before he died that the only way to God was faith through Jesus Christ. My grandmother was raised Catholic and became a baptist when she married my grandfather. She always was very discouraged when her fellow baptists would tell her that you couldn’t be a Catholic and be a Christian. She would often say that her father would always pray to God and would tell her as a child that she didn’t have to confess her sins to a priest that she could talk directly to God through Jesus.(they were a poor Irish Catholic family and mass was still in Latin)

    I am finding out that not all RC’s are on a conveyer belt to hell. I think there is error in the church just like in many Protestant churches. I believe that there are believers sprinkled everywhere.I am not so quick to judge based on denomination now.

    Oh, I totally agree with the pretty church. I wish there were more of them around. It is easier to worship in a pretty setting. I wish more of the old New England churches around me weren’t so dead.

    -Zan

  2. Jeff Vehige said,

    November 18, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    I’m sure you mean well, but, unfortunately, you don’t know too much about what the Catholic Church teaches.

    1. The Church teaches that you cannot be saved unless you love God. Even if you are baptized and receive the Eucharist, the love of God is what is necessary. Baptism gives us the power to love God; the Eucharist strengthens our love of God. Here is what the Church taught at Vatican II: “One who does not however persevere in charity is not saved” (Lumen gentium, no. 16).

    2. You’re confusing “praying to” and “worshipping.” Catholics should not worship the saints or Mary; this practice has been condemend by the Church because God alone is worthy of worship and adoration. But Catholics do ask the saints and espeically Mary to pray for us. This is biblical. Hebrews 12.22-24 tell us that when we approach Mount Zion, we are approaching God, of course, but also the angels and “spirits of just men made perfect.” All of Hebrews 12 gives a biblical foundation for the Catholic teaching of the community of saints. Furthermore, in Revelation 5.8, we read that the 24 elders (saints in heaven) offer up the prayers of the saints on earth.

    3.Praying for the dead isn’t mentioned in the Protestant OT, but it is mentioned in the OT that the early Church used, which was the Septuigent. 2 Macc 12.39-45 tell us that praying for the dead is a “holy and pious thought.” Furthermore, praying for the dead was a practice throughout the early Church, and the doctrine of purgatory can be found in 2nd-century Christian writings. Martin Luther’s completely misunderstanding of purgatory, as well as the Church’s grave misuse of indulgences in the 15th-16th centuries, resulted in the early Protestants rejecting the doctrine of purgatory. But misunderstanding and malpractice do not negate truth.

    In Christ,
    Jeff Vehige

  3. greenbaggins said,

    November 18, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Jeff. It is refeshing to meet a Roman Catholic who knows what he believes.

    The Bible teaches that you cannot be saved unless God loves you. Our love of God really doesn’t have anything to do with our conversion, since Romans 1-3 teaches us that in our sinful state, we hate God, and cannot please Him, no matter what we do. We are saved by grace through faith, not baptism. Paul says “grace through faith” numerous times. This is not license to sin. Nor am I saying that loving God is unimportant. But it is not how we come to a saving knowledge of God.

    We can only pray to God. We only have *one* mediator between God and man, as Hebrews plainly tells us. Therefore, we don’t need to pray to Mary. We pray directly to God. Heb 12 is hardly telling us that we need to pray to the saints. Rather, it is about being part of the heavenly Jerusalem along with the saints (vs. 22). Nowhere does it say in that passage, or in the rest of Scripture, that we are to pray to the saints.

    With regard to the Apocrypha (the LXX books not included in the Hebrew canon), there is a significant stream of the early church that did not hold to their being canonical. Even Jerome, though translating them for the Vulgate, did not include them in the canon in his book Prologus Galeatus. Rufinus follows this course. Secondly, the NT never quotes the apocalyptic books, with the possible exception of 1 Enoch. Thirdly, the Apocrypha never claims inspiration for itself as the books of the canon do. Given that the LXX is a translation in the OT, it cannot have the same authority that the Hebrew Bible does.

  4. Jeff Vehige said,

    November 18, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    There’s a lot of ways to go here, but I have a question. If Group-A says these books are in the Bible, and Group-B says no they’re not, then how do you know which group is right and which group is wrong? And, further, how do I know that either one of them are right?

  5. Josh said,

    November 18, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    Jeff,

    I like that question. It really makes you think and examine groups A and B. However, My final determination was by listening to group A or B. Rather, it was the remarks in the apocrapha that contradict God in the rest of the universally accepted books. These days you do not have to be a lover of books with an extensive library to read opinions and examine the evidence. All you need is google :-).

  6. Jeff Vehige said,

    November 19, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    Josh,

    Hmm…

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you say, “Rather, it was the remarks in the apocrapha that contradict God in the rest of the universally accepted books.”

  7. greenbaggins said,

    November 19, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    Jeff, I think that Josh means that the Apocrypha contradicts the Protestant canon.

  8. Jeff Vehige said,

    November 19, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    Well, if that’s what Josh meant, then he still hasn’t answered my question: If Group-A says these books are in are part of the canon, and Group-B says they’re not in the canon, then who is right? How do you know they are right? Or to use his own language: How do we know which books are the “universally accepted books”? Who determines which canon is the “universal” canon?

  9. greenbaggins said,

    November 19, 2006 at 2:35 pm

    Well, Jeff, I would say that Josh has answered your question. He said that the Apocrypha doesn’t agree with the canon. The canon does have to be self-consistent, if God ultimately wrote it. You, being Roman Catholic, will probably not agree with the assessment that the Apocrypha is therefore excluded. But the Reformation has always said that the canon determines the church, not the other way around.

  10. Jeff Vehige said,

    November 19, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    “But the Reformation has always said that the canon determines the church, not the other way around.”

    Huh? That’s illogical. By deciding which books were not part of the canon, the Reformers determined the canon.

    And exactly which parts of the Deuterocanonical books are “inconsistent” with the rest of the canon?

    Further, is it possible that they’re merely insonsistent with a particular theology? Marcion, for example, excluded Matt, Mark, John, and all of the non-Pauline books from his NT.

  11. greenbaggins said,

    November 19, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    What I mean is that the church *received* the canon, but did not determine the canon. God determined the canon. The canon for the OT was closed by the Jews at the Council of Jamnia in 70 A.D. The Reformers followed that tradition. Since the LXX was a translation, and not the original Hebrew, it was not viewed as having the same authority that the Hebrew had, either with respect to the text itself, or with respect to the books it contained. The Jews never accepted the Apocrypha as canonical. Neither did many of the early church Fathers, including Eusebius, Tertullian, Rufinus, Jerome, Augustine, and Athanasius.

    The answer to your second question would take a whole book. However, the Apocryphal books never claim of themselves to be canonical, whereas there is staunch evidence for the OT.

    The answer to your last question is that the Protestant church (all together) comprises just as many people as the Roman Catholic Church does. So, if you wish to say “particular theology,” then you have to include all of Protestantism. One could say that the Council of Trent was the first time in the Roman Catholic Church that the Apocrypha was considered finally canonical. No earlier church council had ever spoken definitively on the matter. And Trent, of course, was in response to the Reformation.

  12. Josh said,

    November 19, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    Jeff,

    I am not so concerned about group A or group B. My concern is following scripture. I think Lane answered exactly what I was saying and meant.

    The main difference between RC and Protestant, is that we only accept the bible our authority (Sola Scriptura), whereas RC’s would accept the bible and tradition. Therefore the argument begins with what is acceptable authority for those that follow Jesus Christ, and all arguments follow after.

    Having said that, it appears to me that the Vatican is going against the stream of tradition and scripture in including some Apocraphal books. As Lane pointed out before, they were not part of the Jewish canon, the same canon we have inherited. The Old Testament was a closed Canon before Christ walked the earth. I think that is extremely significant as well as the fact that these apocraphal books were not canonized until the council of Trent.

    However, when books are recognized as canon, is not the problem. The content of these books when compared to all the books of the bible that do claim inspiration is what is important. Since the canon is determined by content that is consitant with the nature and actions of God.

    I am going to cut and paste a section to save time, I am also providing the url for the more comparisons between the apocrapha and the O.T. http://www.justforcatholics.org/a109.htm
    Please take a second look and judge for yourself. Let’s take some examples, starting with the book of Sirach which teaches that almsgiving makes atonement for sin. “Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins…Water will quench a flaming fire; and alms maketh an atonement for sin” (Sirach 3:3, 30).

    Now it is the constant teaching of the Law that atonement is made by a blood sacrifice. For example Leviticus 17:11 states: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

    But Sirach teaches that honouring parents and giving alms atones for sin. Sirach teaches that a person can be justified by another method apart from substitutionary sacrifice.

    Sirach teaches justification by the works of the law (honouring parents, etc.) which is directly refuted by the Bible: “A man is not justified by the works of the law” (Galatians 2:16). In fact, the apostle Paul goes as far as saying that “if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (verse 21). If we could obtain righteousness by such things as obeying the commandment and doing charity, there would have been no need for Christ dying on the cross.

    I was raised Roman Catholic, I was an alter boy and attended private school. I found these arguments to be very persuasive, among other arguments and regular bible reading. I hope this helps answer any questions I have raised.

  13. Jeff Vehige said,

    November 19, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    Josh, I can’t answer anything you said because you have made a fundamental historical error. The OT was NOT a closed canon by the time Christ walked the earth. The Saduccees believed only the Torah was canonical. The Pharisees admitted the wisdom books as well as the prophets. The Essenes seemed to have a much larger canon.

    (That’s all right, though, because GreenBaggins also makes an historical error: the Council of Jamni was held after the destruction of Jerusalem, sometime around A.D. 90.)

    Besides, Josh, there is still this question: How do we the nature and actions of God? Through Scripture, you say. Yes, of course, I completely agree with that. But which books should be included in Scripture? Who has the authority to decide that?

    Which leads me to this as a response to GreenBaggins in Post 11:

    On the one hand, you say that the church has received the canon from God. On the other hand, you tell me that the Jews as that Council of Jamni decided the OT canon and that the likes of Augustine and Jerome didn’t believe the Deuterocanonical books should be included within the OT canon.

    Well, it seems to me that you’re saying the same thing the Catholic Church says. God has decided the canon, but we need to have some kind of human authority to determine which books are included in the canon. But who gave the Jews at Jamni the authority to determine which books are included in the Christian Old Testament? What divine authority has Augustine and Jerome been given?

    The problem is that you haven’t answered my first question. If Group-A says “X,” and Group-B says “not X,” how are we to determine which group, if either one, is correct?

    I believe that Christ gave authority to the Apostles, who, in turn, passed it down to their successors through the laying on of hands; and that this apostolic succession has continued on to the present day in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Therefore, it is the Church who has the divine authority to determine which books were inspired by God and, therefore, are canonical.

    In fact, this seems to be what Augustine says in his Letter Against the Manichees, 5.6: “I would not have believed in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.”

  14. Josh said,

    November 19, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    Jeff,

    I did answer this question “The problem is that you haven’t answered my first question. If Group-A says “X,” and Group-B says “not X,” how are we to determine which group, if either one, is correct?” In fact I answered it twice.

    If you are seeking honest dialog, I am all for it. If your question is preloaded to spring into debate on the merits of Catholicism, I have been down that road, and cannot be converted :-) In fact, as my past comment states, I converted in the opposite direction.

    In answering your first question I gave my answer, and provided a cut and paste and link that expressed my same ideas without taking the time to type it all out. You have not responded to my answer, but seem to be trying to edge me into an authority issue. Of which I said I am not concerned, because authorites can be misgiven. We have to deal with the comparisons of the apocrapha and the O.T. to move on. Everything else is a smoke screen.

    Plus, I fail to see any evidence that the Hebrew Canon was not closed by the time of Chist.

    Warm Regards,
    Josh

  15. Seth McBee said,

    November 19, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    My biggest issue with the Apocrypha in thinking they should be apart of the Canon is this. For the OT we needed prophets for the word of the Lord to come to the people. Plain and simple 1 Maccabees 9:27 and 14:41 say that there were no prophets at this time…if there were no prophets how can you say that the apocrapha was inspired by God?

    You cannot…no prophets; no word; no word; no inspiration; not included in the canon. Simple not difficult

  16. Seth McBee said,

    November 19, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    Jeff.
    You really going to use that quote? That makes me laugh. First, you capitalize catholic, which it is not Catholic but catholic, staying true to the normal meaning which means the “universal church of Christ”

    If you are going to quote Augustine what about this quote…

    “I would never have understood Plotinus had not the authority of my neo-Platonic teachers moved me.”

    This parallel shows that Augustine is not talking about some absolute, infallible authority in the church, but rather about the ministerial work of the church and about teachers who help students understand.

    I still can’t believe how many times the early church fathers are used for quotes and then those in the Catholic church capitalize Catholic when those who are being quoted were using catholic or universal and being taken completely out of context.

  17. Kymanika said,

    November 20, 2006 at 8:29 am

    Seth, I was saving the Macabee quote :-), which is great, it at least wipes out the Macabees. I also think it is misdirection to use the Sadducees and Essenes to force an open OT canon. Because the Sadducces did accept the Torah, there is not much of an argument. In fact they clearly rejected the Apocrapha. I am waiting for Jeff to prove an open canon, and not use fringe or seperatist groups. If that were proof I could use other speratist groups of Roman Catholics to disprove the Popes authority or any number or RC doctrine.

  18. Jeff Vehige said,

    November 20, 2006 at 10:14 am

    To Josh–The question of the canon IS a question of authority. Who has the authority to determine the canon? To say, that question doesn’t concern me is not an answer, but, rather, an evasion. You cannot use the canon to determine the canon, either, because THAT is the question at hand.

    To Seth’s 1st post–Using this criteria, you’ve have wiped out every book of the OT except the Torah and the Prophets, and every book of the NT.

    To Seth’s 2nd post–You aren’t reading the Augustine quotes correctly. In the one I quoted, Augustine said he would not have BELIEVED without the authority of the Church. In you’re quote, he said that he would not have UNDERSTOOD without the help of teachers. Big difference. Further, any comprehensive reading of the Church Fathers shows that they believed in a Church that is substantially the same at the Catholic Church: hierarchical, sacramental, Marian, and–YIKES!–papal.

    To Kymanika–Are you suggesting that the Sadducees were a “fringe” group? Further, how do the Jews have the divine right to determine what books belongs in the CHRISTIAN canon? Finally, fringe groups cannot “disprove” the authority of the Church; they only disagree with it.

  19. greenbaggins said,

    November 20, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Jeff, you mistake entirely Seth’s first post argument. There were prophets all during the time of the OT. There was never a time when there was no prophet of the Lord until the intertestamental period. The argument holds.

    I acknowledge my historical error: the council of Jamnia was held in 90, not 70 A.D. That, of course, does not effect the validity of any of my other arguments.

    the Sadducees were completely wiped out in the destruction of Jerusalem, since there was no temple left, and the Torah study replaced sacrifice in the thinking of Jews. And yes, the OT church has a perfect right to determine the OT canon. We don’t see ourselves (no more than the RCC does) in fundamental discontinuity with the OT people of God. And again, they did not determine, but rather received what was already inspired and inerrant. Jeff, you need to answer Josh’s very real attempt to answer the OT-Apocrypha contrast. I’ll let Seth respond to the Augustine quotation issue.

  20. Seth McBee said,

    November 20, 2006 at 11:40 am

    Jeff.

    Even more to add to green baggins last post…2 Peter 1:16-21 prove that those who wrote Scripture were prophets and that if there are no prophets then there is no Scripture. Take a look when you get a chance to that part of Scripture as Peter points to the inspiration of the Scripture by the Spirit through PROPHETS. Again, no prophets, no Scripture.

    As far as you saying that there is a difference between believing and understanding, I couldn’t disagree with you more. How can you believe without understanding? How can you understand (The Greek term) without believing. Want Scripture proof? Colossians 1:4-6

    since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;

    Paul speaks of the faith and understanding as though they cannot be separated, then he speaks of the result of that faith: fruit.

    By the way, you still dodge my question of your integrity by you saying that the church fathers believed in a heirarchal Catholic church instead of telling us why you capitalize a word(catholic) by Augustine that is obviously supposed to mean “universal” NOT the heretical Church of Rome.

  21. Jeff Vehige said,

    November 20, 2006 at 12:45 pm

    It seems to me that we’re going around in circles here.

    The problem with JOSH’S argument is that he’s using the canon to determine the canon. That’s a circular argument. The only way you can debate about the canon is by debating who has the authority to determine it—something Josh doesn’t want to do, which is fine.

    SETH’S arguments are interesting.

    Regarding the difference between faith and understanding, he makes a fundamental exegetical error by going outside of Augustine to interpret Augustine. What is faith for Augustine? What is understanding for Augustine? These are the key questions.

    Regarding the notion of the “prophets,” I simply don’t follow his argument. I read the passage from 2 Peter, and I don’t see how he equates the “word of prophecy” with the composition of Scripture. Was the author of Proverbs a prophet? But since we cannot use the canon to argue the canon, which eliminates his use of 2 Pet. Now his use of 1 Macc is interesting b/c on the one hand he is saying it is not canonical, but on the other he is using it to give him a method for determining the canon. Which leads us back to my original question: Who has the authority to determine the canon?

    Regarding his questions about my integrity, I’ll simply say this: His question is a two-edged sword; he cut one way, and I cut the other. So I ask, why is it that Protestants do not see that the early Church Fathers understood the Church to be authoritative, hierarchical, papal, Marian, and sacramental?

    GREEN BAGGINS is obviously the best well-read among my interlocutors, and my gut tells me he understands exactly what is at stake here—namely, that Protestants accept a canonical tradition in the same what that Catholics accept a canonical tradition, and that the real question at hand is one goes about determining which tradition, if either one, is correct.

    Simply: Who has the authority to determine the canon?

    I’ve given my answer: Jesus Christ established his Church on the Apostles and, through the laying on of hands, their successors—and it is this Apostolic authority that has determined which books are inspired by God and are therefore canonical.

    If you think that is too simple of an argument, or if you want to examine it further, then I highly recommend you read John Henry Newman’s ESSAY ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE.

    Good-bye, and God bless,

    Jeff Vehige

    PS—My original post here was simply to clarify what the Catholic Church teaches regarding the sacraments, prayer, worship, death, and purgatory. My hope is that when speaking about the Catholic Church, even if you don’t agree with it, that you would do your best to understand what the Church teaches and present it correctly.

  22. greenbaggins said,

    November 20, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    Jeff, a few thoughts. (And thanks for continuing the discussion, by the way). The difficulty with calling Josh’s argument circular is that you would then have to call the Bible itself circular. I am thinking of 2 Peter 3, where Peter says that Paul’s writings are inspired (“Paul’s writings…the *rest* of the Scriptures”). Are we to believe what Peter writes there? Can we go to Peter to prove that Paul’s writings are part of the canon? God seems to think so, or He wouldn’t have written 2 Peter 3 by the hand of Peter. Only God can determine the canon. He uses providence to do it. I believe, in the case of the OT, that God used the Council of Jamnia in 90 A.D.

    BOQ But since we cannot use the canon to argue the canon, which eliminates his use of 2 Pet. EOQ By this argument, 2 Peter 3 could not be said to confirm the canonicity of Paul’s letters (as being part of the *canon*). But even the RCC has used Scripture to prove the canonicity of Scripture (see the Catechism 104-105, including using 2 Peter!! Read the footnotes carefully).

    You have asserted that one cannot go outside of Augustine to determine what he means by faith and understanding. What, then, is your take on Augustine such that Seth’s argument is wrong? In your very statement, you haven’t exactly gone to Augustine to prove your point. What is so different about Augustine’s views of faith and understanding?

    Every author of Scripture was a prophet. We must not have too narrow a view of what a prophet is. A prophet is someone who has the Word of God. In several different definitions, one can note that, in the broadest sense, anyone who preaches the Word is a prophet. Then there is a narrower sense in which anyone who has had God’s Word specially revealed to him is a prophet. Then there is a further narrower definition of a prophet as someone like Isaiah, whose main occupation was as a prophet.

  23. Seth McBee said,

    November 20, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    well said green baggins. A prophet did two things; predicted and preached. Every one of the OT writers were prophets and that is the essence of 2 Peter 1:20,21. I believe that just as their are multiple gifts of the Spirit to the believer, so were the gifts given to those in the OT. So just because Solomon was a king, didn’t mean that eliminated him from being a prophet. To prophecy, means to speak before. This can mean two things: to predict or to speak before (the position) the people. So when 1 Maccabees says that there were no prophets in that day, there was no one bringing the word of the Lord to the people. That is why the apocryphal books are historical at best, at best because they are also riddled with error. (Nebuchadnezzar being king of Ninevah for one; Judith 1:1). To my knowledge, the first prophet mentioned, in apocryphal or in the protestant canon, to come after the closing of Malachi was John the Baptist in the wilderness, so that is why the word of the Lord begins again.

  24. Josh said,

    November 20, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    Jeff,

    You are quite correct that I use the canon to determine the canon. I can also accept that we accept the canon on tradition. However, I have been carefull not to assert that tradition is the authority. Which is why I have not used the word. I know well enough where the argument is headed. I am not biting at the bait, so to speak.

    There is an element of circular reasoning using the canon to determine itself. It is also circular reasoning to say The Church says that itself has the authority to determine the canon. How do you prove that statement? By going to the exact canon you say you are the authority to approve.

    The canon is discovered and examined by the Church, not authoritated by it.

    I dont want to see you frustated, actually this discussion is a nice break from the anti-trinitarians.

    Kind Regards,

    Josh

  25. Seth McBee said,

    November 20, 2006 at 1:30 pm

    by the way, I also want to say thanks to Jeff for “putting up” with us and continuing the discussion

  26. Jeff Vehige said,

    November 20, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    My previous post was to be my last post, but Josh raised a question I want to answer, namely, is not my own argument a circular one?

    No, it is not.

    As a Catholic, I believe that the Church is prior to the Bible and that that the Bible is the product of the Church. What’s the earliest NT writing? 1 Thess, I think, written in the 40’s. When was the last NT writing composed? It was the Book of Revelation, I think, sometime in the 90’s.

    Now during the time, what else was written? Well, at the beginning of his Gospel, Luke implies that many people have written about the life of Christ—not Just Matthew and Mark—and that one of his own reason for writing was to give a clear and orderly account of the story. We also know that the Didache was written in the 90’s, as well as the famous Letter of Clement to the Corinthians. By the 110, we have, among others, the writings of Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp—men, like Mark and Luke, who did not know Christ but knew the Apostles.

    From all of these writings, viewed from a completely historical perspective, that is to say, without any reference to divine inspiration, we can see that Jesus Christ gathered to him 12 men on whom he intended to establish a new community of God, the Church. That Christ gave these men the authority over this new community, and that through the laying on of hands this authority was handed down from the Apostles to their successors.

    This new community, over the course of many, many years, produced a number of writings—many of which detailed the life and ministry of Christ, and many of which were exhortations and/or admonitions to live a life worthy of God.

    In the early part of the 2nd century, around 130, I believe, a fellow named Marcion arrived on the scene, and he gave this community of Christ their first fundamental challenge—for Marcion accepted only the Gospel of Luke (and a modified version at that), as well as a handful of the letters of Paul. Was Marcion right to do this? Was his own theology consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ as they had been handed down from the Apostles? To both these questions, no.

    Furthermore, Marcion was only one man. Other Gnostic groups were writing their own sacred writings: The Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, the Revelation of Paul, etc. All of these Gnostic writings date from the first half of the 2nd century.

    So now the Community of Christ has to figure out which books form their own canon—that is to say, which books form their own “rule” of life (for canon means “measuring rod”). What standard did the 2nd-century Church apply? How did it decide which Gospels among hundreds authentically preserved and presented the teachings of Christ? How did it decided which letters had authority?

    The answer was obvious: They chose those books that had obvious apostolic roots.

    Matthew–Matthew was an apostle.
    Mark—has its roots in the preaching of Peter
    Luke—has its roots in the preaching of Paul
    John—an apostle
    Acts—roots in Paul
    Paul’s 14 letters—Paul was an apostle.
    James—James was an apostle
    1-2 Peter—Peter was an apostle.
    1-2-3 John—John was an apostle.
    Jude—the brother of the apostle James
    Revelation—John was an apostle.

    Thus, my argument isn’t circular. I don’t believe the canon determines the Church; I believe the Church is the source of the canon, for it was the Church that produced the writings and it was the Church that chose which writings were authoritative.

    PS—Yes, I accused Seth of being a poor exegete of Augustine, and I should have provided an example of what Augustine means by faith and understanding. But I am on vacation and do not have access to my library or my files. But I think if you read the opening of THE CONFESSIONS you’ll see that he does indeed make a difference between faith and understanding. It was Augustine, if I recall, who first said, “I believe that I may understand.”

    – JV

  27. greenbaggins said,

    November 20, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    Jeff, you are committing the species of error known as propter hoc, ergo hoc, “after this, because of this.” Even if the word came after the church, that doesn’t mean that church caused the word, or in any way validated the church.

    Actually, the Word was first (John 1:1). So even there, you lose, I’m afraid. The Word was before any semblance of church existed.

  28. Josh said,

    November 20, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    BQ:Thus, my argument isn’t circular. I don’t believe the canon determines the Church; I believe the Church is the source of the canon, for it was the Church that produced the writings and it was the Church that chose which writings were authoritative.EQ:

    I would explain it a little differently. The Church was led by the Holy Spirt and providence to discover the truth of canon. They did not authortate which books were to be canonized based an external authoritative basis, like just becaues the Pope is the Pope, he says what is in and what is out.

    My point with the Sadducees and Essnes was that there have always been individuals and groups that disagree with the accepted norm, you already mentioned one group. Some early father did accept the apocrapha, some didnt. Some quote from apocraphal books well beyond dispute. Even those that did not hold it as canonical, did see use for the books and didnt discourage NOT reading them.

    You brough up the NT, but we have never moved beyond proving the OT was still an open canon. The NT canon was a process of discovery, the OT canon was handed down to us complete.

    I know you are on vacation, so I am not in a hurry to ask for your proof that the OT canon was still open in Jesus day.

  29. Jade said,

    December 12, 2006 at 12:32 am

    Hi Jeff,
    When you say:
    “As a Catholic, I believe that the Church is prior to the Bible and that that the Bible is the product of the Church.”
    Do you mean the Catholic Church? So I take it that Peter was the first Pope? If so, how come the Bible never explicitly mentions this or identifies that Peter is the Pope of the Catholic Church?
    I was once a devout Catholic. I was earnestly searching for God at a very young age. For a long while I had no idea that there were other “Christians” outside the Catholic church…but then I was only in 2nd grade when I was confused by this term. I was scolded and put in the corner when I questioned in Sunday school why we weren’t reading the Bible if we were Christians. I remember every Sunday I earnestly read through the mass and wondered if anyone really understood what they were reciting. In hindsight, aside from the Hail Mary’s and the praying to the saints it was pretty biblical. But I couldn’t make sense of who this “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” along with the teachings of working toward heaven, purgatory, the Hail Mary’s and the praying to the saints. I found these doctrines clouding what this Jesus is to me and why he had to die on the cross. By 13…there’s a cermony all 13 year old Catholics under go…and I can’t remember what that cermony is called…but that day I asked my priest if anyone can be sure of going to heaven. And he said, “No one can really be sure. One just tries to be a good person and hopes for the best”. I was confounded. The only thing that crossed my mind at the time was that this man was celibate for something he doesn’t know. Well, after that I became a rebellious teenager…well not so rebellious…I just shaved my head and wore black all the time. I couldn’t help thinking that the faith I was brought up on was all a lie. Well at the time I thought all religion was a lie and people were blindly following tradition. Thankfully someone finally shared the gospel with me using the Bible and when I first heard it, it was a little too hard to swallow. It sounded so simple…I think in my Catholic mind it was too simple. The “working toward heaven” doctrine was so embedded in my mind that I couldn’t believe that salvation could come as free as the scriptures say…that is “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph 2:8
    I can’t say that all Catholic churches are the same as the church I attended because I have met some “born-again” Catholics that do seem to have the grasp of the gospel, but I can’t see how they can justify the praying of “Hail Mary’s” (which btw Hailing Mary is a worshiping of Mary as a goddess) and praying before an idol. But there is a centralized Catholic church, and there’s too many underlying practices that just proves to be a stumbling block for many. I can certianly attest to this because I did sought for the truth for a long time and did not find it in the Catholic church.

  30. Mark said,

    January 12, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Hello there. Thanks for submitting a thought-provoking post.
    That said, I was googling to find appropriate Catholic condolence wishes for my uncle who had just passed away, and google pointed to you.
    Sorry, but I am just not in the mood for bla-bla, cannon this, and finding 1/2 a word in scripture that you feel proves your point and dancing for joy…
    Religion, espcially Christianity, is not like football (“in your face… yeah”), although I understand the confusion with both taking place on Sundays.
    If the world were a more chartible place, maybe we wouldn’t be so certian we are made for something better..

  31. Bn1 said,

    October 9, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    A few points…

    By 90 A.D., the Jews were no longer the true Church and no longer had any divine authority to determine authenticity of canon. In fact, their determination of OT canon was influenced with a desire to cut out things in the new found religion, Christianity or “way of Christ.” To be consistent in following their canon, one would also take note that they specifically declared the Gospels as non-canonical at Jamnia.

    Jeff claimed that the Church is the SOURCE of the Canon. Not the divine inspiration behind it. I believe he means canon as in the Table of Contents or Compilation Index. IF one considers the Apostles part of the Church, then it is also true the Church produced the Scriptures under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. Using Peter to validate the canonicity of Paul’s letters means you have to first validate Peter’s letters. Do we have a certificate of authenticity on Peter’s writing? No. All of the written scriptures were at one time oral tradition – which tells us that oral tradition is no less the Word of God. The validity of written scriptures is based on the greater encompassing Holy Tradition. What kept the book of James and Revelations in the Canon is Holy Tradition discerned by the Church (in my opinion).

    Someone made the argument that the deuterocanonical (aka apocrypha) are not valid as OT canon because they aren’t quoted. Quotation doesn’t by itself determine canonicity. Is Song of Songs every quoted in the NT? There are quotations in the NT to the Assumption of Moses and other non-OT canonical works. Moreover, one does actually find that the apocrypha quoted and referenced. In general, one finds an overwhelming majority of the LXX (Septugaint) quoted…not the Hebrew version. The Tanakh may be in Hebrew, but it is believed that the Septugaint was translated from a much older and more complete Hebrew copy of the Scriptures. Although he initially left them out, Jerome later included the apocrypha and defended their place in the Canon. One must distinguish between form and content of the apocrphya. The parts missing from the Protestant versions are:Tobit, Judith, parts of Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach(aka Ecclesiaticus), Baruch, Letter to Jeremiah (ch. 6 of Book of Baruch), parts of Book of Daniel (Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon), and 1 & 2 Macabees.

    Now, there are a few factors about these deuterocanonical books protestants call apocrypha:

    1) before around 1950, the earliest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible were from year 1000 a.d. and afterwards. (actual hand-written copies of the old testament found in archaeology – remember this is before the printing press).

    2) two important archaeological finds of Nag Hamadi and Qumran (i.e. Dead Sea Scrolls) which contained Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament from around 1st century BC to 1st century AD indicate that the LXX is closer to the original than the Hebrew version of 11th century AD forward – it seems that the scribes who were copying the Hebrew Testament made changes to suit their needs. To Martin Luther’s credit, he could not have known this in his time.

    3) The early Church Fathers (leaders of the early Church before the Christian Church was divided – thus the name Catholic meaning universal) had access to many faith writings, even letters from other early Church leaders like Paul, writings about Jesus etc, and they decided that only certain books should be considered divinely inspired scriptures because they were consistent with the faith and teachings of the Apostles. So out of over thirty books about the life of Jesus, they chose only four to be the Gospels that belong in the Canon – this was based on their criteria that it was consistent with the Apostolic teaching (we do say, one, Holy, Catholic and APOSTOLIC Church for this reason).

    4) In terms of the Old Testament, Jesus and the disciples considered the LXX to be the Scriptures, who are we to say otherwise?

    5) These books add much value. The deuterocanonical Books (“apocrypha” according to Protestants), especially Macabees and some wisdom books fill a big gap of the intertestamental times. That is they shed much light into the faith lives of Jews in period before Jesus where not much else is written. For this reason, even most Protestant Biblical Scholars consider these books to be quite important, and study them quite carefully.

    6) Other books of the apocrypha or extrabiblical books also add much value in study. Some of them like Enoch cannot be ignored when studying OT because it is referenced quite often in apocalyptic writings. Also some of the extrabiblical gospels are source of many traditions like stories of Anna and Jehoakim (Mary’s parents), how Joseph won Mary over to be his wife, etc. But remember, we do not consider these part of Sacred Scriptures.

  32. Jason G. said,

    November 10, 2007 at 2:03 am

    Roman Catholicism and Presbyterianism severely differ on salvation. Under this doctrine are subsumed the broad differences between the two faiths concerning God, man, and salvation. Roman Catholicism and Presbyterianism both have a significantly similar Theology Proper. God is understood to be an omniscient, omnipresence, omnipotent, holy, righteous, just, merciful, and gracious Being who is pure Spirit. In Genesis 1, the Bible states that man was created in the image and likeness of God (1:26). Roman Catholicism believes that “image” refers to man’s cognitive and intellectual abilities while “likeness” refers to man’s original righteousness. This view was first explicated in detail by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. Roman Catholicism maintains that when man sinned and fell in the Garden of Eden, he only lost his original righteousness, or “likeness.” Yet, he completely maintained his “image of God” in his thinking, reasoning, and relational faculties. Thus, Adam passes on to his progeny a corrupted nature that is only devoid of its original holiness. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads,

    Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence”. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

    The fall’s impact on Adam’s progeny, all of mankind, is that they have only relapsed back into their states of pure nature and are only inclined towards sin. They do not have a sinful nature as such, only a leaning or proclivity towards unrighteousness. An interesting note, the Catechism’s reasoning for formulating the above language was to reflect the Council of Trent’s 16th century response to the Protestant Reformation and the Reformers teaching that sin is both a humanly-insurmountable reality and that “original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom.” Catholicism essentially teaches that man is not completely affected by sin. This reflects Aquinas’s and the Roman Catholic Church’s exaltation of man and human reason. Thus, if man is not really bad, then he also plays a significant if not primary role in his salvation.

    The salvation of man, in the Roman Catholicism view, is primarily an inward transformation of the soul back into its original righteousness as the individual actively partakes of the passive grace of the sacraments (this is called mediate salvation). Since this is a continual process and mankind still dies with sin, no one can ever really be sure he is saved – thus, in comes the doctrine of purgatory.[14] Roman Catholicism salvation is involved in the appropriation of and participation in the sacraments. As stated, salvation is mediate in the Roman Catholicism view, as opposed to immediate in the Protestant view. That means God deals with not-completely-fallen man mediately through means of salvation, i.e. the sacraments, which work ex opere operato. The sacraments effectually merit the work of Christ to the sinner. Christ wrought salvific grace through His life and death and it is imparted to the sinner through the sacraments. That is, the Lord has appointed “supernaturally endowed instrumentalities” between Himself and the sinner by which saving power flows to the sinner as the sinner partakes of them. As systematic theologian Dr. Reymond notes, “The sacraments cause grace to flow to their recipients by the mere administration of them ‘without any act or movement of the soul in the recipients, accommodating themselves intelligently to the grace signified.” Note the words of the Catechism, “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” The effectuality of the sacraments are dependent upon the character of the one partaking of them, as the Catechism notes, “The fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them” – side note: the Catechism provides NO BIBLICAL support for this view but only references the Council of Trent of 1547. Note what this means – salvation is dependent upon the individual already having or faithfully cultivating a righteous and good soul that is made more righteous as he partakes in the sacraments of salvation administered by the Roman Catholicism Church. <b.This is a salvation that is primarily works-based – i.e. eternal life comes through human action.

    Full article here

  33. Jason G. said,

    November 10, 2007 at 2:05 am

    Roman Catholicism and Presbyterianism severely differ on salvation. Under this doctrine are subsumed the broad differences between the two faiths concerning God, man, and salvation. Roman Catholicism and Presbyterianism both have a significantly similar Theology Proper. God is understood to be an omniscient, omnipresence, omnipotent, holy, righteous, just, merciful, and gracious Being who is pure Spirit. In Genesis 1, the Bible states that man was created in the image and likeness of God (1:26). Roman Catholicism believes that “image” refers to man’s cognitive and intellectual abilities while “likeness” refers to man’s original righteousness. This view was first explicated in detail by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. Roman Catholicism maintains that when man sinned and fell in the Garden of Eden, he only lost his original righteousness, or “likeness.” Yet, he completely maintained his “image of God” in his thinking, reasoning, and relational faculties. Thus, Adam passes on to his progeny a corrupted nature that is only devoid of its original holiness. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads,

    Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence”. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

    The fall’s impact on Adam’s progeny, all of mankind, is that they have only relapsed back into their states of pure nature and are only inclined towards sin. They do not have a sinful nature as such, only a leaning or proclivity towards unrighteousness. An interesting note, the Catechism’s reasoning for formulating the above language was to reflect the Council of Trent’s 16th century response to the Protestant Reformation and the Reformers teaching that sin is both a humanly-insurmountable reality and that “original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom.” Catholicism essentially teaches that man is not completely affected by sin. This reflects Aquinas’s and the Roman Catholic Church’s exaltation of man and human reason. Thus, if man is not really bad, then he also plays a significant if not primary role in his salvation.

    The salvation of man, in the Roman Catholicism view, is primarily an inward transformation of the soul back into its original righteousness as the individual actively partakes of the passive grace of the sacraments (this is called mediate salvation). Since this is a continual process and mankind still dies with sin, no one can ever really be sure he is saved – thus, in comes the doctrine of purgatory.[14] Roman Catholicism salvation is involved in the appropriation of and participation in the sacraments. As stated, salvation is mediate in the Roman Catholicism view, as opposed to immediate in the Protestant view. That means God deals with not-completely-fallen man mediately through means of salvation, i.e. the sacraments, which work ex opere operato. The sacraments effectually merit the work of Christ to the sinner. Christ wrought salvific grace through His life and death and it is imparted to the sinner through the sacraments. That is, the Lord has appointed “supernaturally endowed instrumentalities” between Himself and the sinner by which saving power flows to the sinner as the sinner partakes of them. As systematic theologian Dr. Reymond notes, “The sacraments cause grace to flow to their recipients by the mere administration of them ‘without any act or movement of the soul in the recipients, accommodating themselves intelligently to the grace signified.” Note the words of the Catechism, “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” The effectuality of the sacraments are dependent upon the character of the one partaking of them, as the Catechism notes, “The fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them” – side note: the Catechism provides NO BIBLICAL support for this view but only references the Council of Trent of 1547. Note what this means – salvation is dependent upon the individual already having or faithfully cultivating a righteous and good soul that is made more righteous as he partakes in the sacraments of salvation administered by the Roman Catholicism Church. .This is a salvation that is primarily works-based – i.e. eternal life comes through human action.

    Full article here

  34. Jason G. said,

    November 10, 2007 at 2:06 am

    Roman Catholicism and Presbyterianism severely differ on salvation. Under this doctrine are subsumed the broad differences between the two faiths concerning God, man, and salvation. Roman Catholicism and Presbyterianism both have a significantly similar Theology Proper. God is understood to be an omniscient, omnipresence, omnipotent, holy, righteous, just, merciful, and gracious Being who is pure Spirit. In Genesis 1, the Bible states that man was created in the image and likeness of God (1:26). Roman Catholicism believes that “image” refers to man’s cognitive and intellectual abilities while “likeness” refers to man’s original righteousness. This view was first explicated in detail by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. Roman Catholicism maintains that when man sinned and fell in the Garden of Eden, he only lost his original righteousness, or “likeness.” Yet, he completely maintained his “image of God” in his thinking, reasoning, and relational faculties. Thus, Adam passes on to his progeny a corrupted nature that is only devoid of its original holiness. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads,

    Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence”. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

    continued below…..

  35. Jason G. said,

    November 10, 2007 at 2:07 am

    The fall’s impact on Adam’s progeny, all of mankind, is that they have only relapsed back into their states of pure nature and are only inclined towards sin. They do not have a sinful nature as such, only a leaning or proclivity towards unrighteousness. An interesting note, the Catechism’s reasoning for formulating the above language was to reflect the Council of Trent’s 16th century response to the Protestant Reformation and the Reformers teaching that sin is both a humanly-insurmountable reality and that “original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom.” Catholicism essentially teaches that man is not completely affected by sin. This reflects Aquinas’s and the Roman Catholic Church’s exaltation of man and human reason. Thus, if man is not really bad, then he also plays a significant if not primary role in his salvation.

    The salvation of man, in the Roman Catholicism view, is primarily an inward transformation of the soul back into its original righteousness as the individual actively partakes of the passive grace of the sacraments (this is called mediate salvation). Since this is a continual process and mankind still dies with sin, no one can ever really be sure he is saved – thus, in comes the doctrine of purgatory.[14] Roman Catholicism salvation is involved in the appropriation of and participation in the sacraments. As stated, salvation is mediate in the Roman Catholicism view, as opposed to immediate in the Protestant view. That means God deals with not-completely-fallen man mediately through means of salvation, i.e. the sacraments, which work ex opere operato. The sacraments effectually merit the work of Christ to the sinner. Christ wrought salvific grace through His life and death and it is imparted to the sinner through the sacraments. That is, the Lord has appointed “supernaturally endowed instrumentalities” between Himself and the sinner by which saving power flows to the sinner as the sinner partakes of them. As systematic theologian Dr. Reymond notes, “The sacraments cause grace to flow to their recipients by the mere administration of them ‘without any act or movement of the soul in the recipients, accommodating themselves intelligently to the grace signified.” Note the words of the Catechism, “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” The effectuality of the sacraments are dependent upon the character of the one partaking of them, as the Catechism notes, “The fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them” – side note: the Catechism provides NO BIBLICAL support for this view but only references the Council of Trent of 1547. Note what this means – salvation is dependent upon the individual already having or faithfully cultivating a righteous and good soul that is made more righteous as he partakes in the sacraments of salvation administered by the Roman Catholicism Church. <b.This is a salvation that is primarily works-based – i.e. eternal life comes through human action.

    Full article here

  36. Jason G. said,

    November 10, 2007 at 2:08 am

    The fall’s impact on Adam’s progeny, all of mankind, is that they have only relapsed back into their states of pure nature and are only inclined towards sin. They do not have a sinful nature as such, only a leaning or proclivity towards unrighteousness. An interesting note, the Catechism’s reasoning for formulating the above language was to reflect the Council of Trent’s 16th century response to the Protestant Reformation and the Reformers teaching that sin is both a humanly-insurmountable reality and that “original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom.” Catholicism essentially teaches that man is not completely affected by sin. This reflects Aquinas’s and the Roman Catholic Church’s exaltation of man and human reason. Thus, if man is not really bad, then he also plays a significant if not primary role in his salvation.

    continued below….

  37. Jason G. said,

    November 10, 2007 at 2:08 am

    The salvation of man, in the Roman Catholicism view, is primarily an inward transformation of the soul back into its original righteousness as the individual actively partakes of the passive grace of the sacraments (this is called mediate salvation). Since this is a continual process and mankind still dies with sin, no one can ever really be sure he is saved – thus, in comes the doctrine of purgatory.[14] Roman Catholicism salvation is involved in the appropriation of and participation in the sacraments. As stated, salvation is mediate in the Roman Catholicism view, as opposed to immediate in the Protestant view. That means God deals with not-completely-fallen man mediately through means of salvation, i.e. the sacraments, which work ex opere operato. The sacraments effectually merit the work of Christ to the sinner. Christ wrought salvific grace through His life and death and it is imparted to the sinner through the sacraments. That is, the Lord has appointed “supernaturally endowed instrumentalities” between Himself and the sinner by which saving power flows to the sinner as the sinner partakes of them. As systematic theologian Dr. Reymond notes, “The sacraments cause grace to flow to their recipients by the mere administration of them ‘without any act or movement of the soul in the recipients, accommodating themselves intelligently to the grace signified.” Note the words of the Catechism, “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” The effectuality of the sacraments are dependent upon the character of the one partaking of them, as the Catechism notes, “The fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them” – side note: the Catechism provides NO BIBLICAL support for this view but only references the Council of Trent of 1547. Note what this means – salvation is dependent upon the individual already having or faithfully cultivating a righteous and good soul that is made more righteous as he partakes in the sacraments of salvation administered by the Roman Catholicism Church. <b.This is a salvation that is primarily works-based – i.e. eternal life comes through human action.

    Full article here

  38. Jason G. said,

    November 10, 2007 at 2:08 am

    The salvation of man, in the Roman Catholicism view, is primarily an inward transformation of the soul back into its original righteousness as the individual actively partakes of the passive grace of the sacraments (this is called mediate salvation). Since this is a continual process and mankind still dies with sin, no one can ever really be sure he is saved – thus, in comes the doctrine of purgatory. Roman Catholicism salvation is involved in the appropriation of and participation in the sacraments. As stated, salvation is mediate in the Roman Catholicism view, as opposed to immediate in the Protestant view. That means God deals with not-completely-fallen man mediately through means of salvation, i.e. the sacraments, which work ex opere operato. The sacraments effectually merit the work of Christ to the sinner. Christ wrought salvific grace through His life and death and it is imparted to the sinner through the sacraments. That is, the Lord has appointed “supernaturally endowed instrumentalities” between Himself and the sinner by which saving power flows to the sinner as the sinner partakes of them. As systematic theologian Dr. Reymond notes, “The sacraments cause grace to flow to their recipients by the mere administration of them ‘without any act or movement of the soul in the recipients, accommodating themselves intelligently to the grace signified.” Note the words of the Catechism, “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” The effectuality of the sacraments are dependent upon the character of the one partaking of them, as the Catechism notes, “The fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them” – side note: the Catechism provides NO BIBLICAL support for this view but only references the Council of Trent of 1547. Note what this means – salvation is dependent upon the individual already having or faithfully cultivating a righteous and good soul that is made more righteous as he partakes in the sacraments of salvation administered by the Roman Catholicism Church. <b.This is a salvation that is primarily works-based – i.e. eternal life comes through human action.

    Full article here

  39. Jason G. said,

    November 10, 2007 at 2:09 am

    The salvation of man, in the Roman Catholicism view, is primarily an inward transformation of the soul back into its original righteousness as the individual actively partakes of the passive grace of the sacraments (this is called mediate salvation). Since this is a continual process and mankind still dies with sin, no one can ever really be sure he is saved – thus, in comes the doctrine of purgatory. Roman Catholicism salvation is involved in the appropriation of and participation in the sacraments. As stated, salvation is mediate in the Roman Catholicism view, as opposed to immediate in the Protestant view. That means God deals with not-completely-fallen man mediately through means of salvation, i.e. the sacraments, which work ex opere operato. The sacraments effectually merit the work of Christ to the sinner. Christ wrought salvific grace through His life and death and it is imparted to the sinner through the sacraments. That is, the Lord has appointed “supernaturally endowed instrumentalities” between Himself and the sinner by which saving power flows to the sinner as the sinner partakes of them. As systematic theologian Dr. Reymond notes, “The sacraments cause grace to flow to their recipients by the mere administration of them ‘without any act or movement of the soul in the recipients, accommodating themselves intelligently to the grace signified.” Note the words of the Catechism, “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” The effectuality of the sacraments are dependent upon the character of the one partaking of them, as the Catechism notes, “The fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them” – side note: the Catechism provides NO BIBLICAL support for this view but only references the Council of Trent of 1547. Note what this means – salvation is dependent upon the individual already having or faithfully cultivating a righteous and good soul that is made more righteous as he partakes in the sacraments of salvation administered by the Roman Catholicism Church. .This is a salvation that is primarily works-based – i.e. eternal life comes through human action.

  40. Jason G. said,

    November 10, 2007 at 2:10 am

    Full article here

    –sorry about posting my statement in three posts, it continually error’ed out when I tried to post it as one long statement…..

  41. Jason G. said,

    November 10, 2007 at 2:11 am

    Full article: http://turretin.blogspot.com/2007/09/reformed-protestantism-vs-roman.html

    –sorry about posting my statement in three posts, it continually error’ed out when I tried to post it as one long statement…..

  42. Robert Hawkins said,

    February 1, 2008 at 6:27 am

    As a Catholic convert of 30 years I haven’t ever given any thought to the differences between Catholic and Protestant. Christianity to me is the same as Catholicism. They are one and the same religion. It is as if the reformatation never happend. So I really think discussions like this are a waste of time. Protestants are wrong and that is it.

  43. Machaira said,

    February 1, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Protestants are wrong and that is it

    Well . . . then I guess that settles about 500 years of conflict doesn’t it? Thanks Mr. Hawkins!

  44. GLW Johnson said,

    February 1, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Mr. Hawkins
    Hey, you sound like you’re from Moscow, ID.

  45. KassiLex said,

    February 24, 2008 at 11:12 am

    While I’m confident these have been argued substantially, I’ll present concise rebuttals anyway–

    1) The Eucharist and Baptism are just as much acts of faith as a conversion to faith in Christ–indeed, they exist in part as a Sacramental renewal of that faith. However, is it not true that children, who are the usual recipients of First Communion and Baptism, have not yet developed substantial reasoning in matters of faith? In their case, obedience to Christ through receipt of the Sacraments MUST suffice.

    2) Pardon me, but have you ever asked a friend to pray for you? I can hardly see how this can possibly be a sacrilegious thing.

    3) The dead are not beyond the mercy and healing power of Christ, otherwise Lazarus could not have been raised.

  46. July 10, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    “I am proud to stand beside Protestant and Catholic on such socially important issues a abortion. However, that partnership must not be allowed to eliminate the fact that there is still a rift between us.”

    Important as such issues are, do they justify standing with enemies of the gospel? While I am glad RCs oppose abortion, I would not join in protest with them. We need a distinctly Protestant social protest; to join with Romanists would appear to discredit the integrity of gospel.

  47. Richard said,

    October 8, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    The canon for the OT was closed by the Jews at the Council of Jamnia in 70 [90] A.D. (sic)

    Now that is interesting, I was not aware that the decision was made so late. I also find it interesting that so much authority was found in oral traditions, i.e. there were two streams of revelation, that which was written and that which was oral. In my mind that lends credence to some of the RCC claims though more investigation is required.

  48. Lamar said,

    January 14, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    it should be said that even the Hebrew scholars were torn on to or not to include them they were quoted in many of the OT books as well as in other Hebrew writings…Jerome said if it were up to him he would have left out Revelations,but he gave in to others.Martin Luther also said the book was useless for the Church,and most Orthodox Churches Still refuse to teach from it,so should we remove it too as the Protestants did with the books they didn’t like?all the Church Fathers agreed they were good for reading,they only doubted the authorship of some.

  49. Joe said,

    January 17, 2009 at 12:27 am

    “The main difference between RC and Protestant, is that we only accept the bible our authority (Sola Scriptura), whereas RC’s would accept the bible and tradition.”

    If the doctrinal principle of Sola Scriptura is true then the Bible should specifically address Sola Scriptura. If it does not then Sola Scriptura itself has been violated. Can someone please point me to where the Bible addresses Sola Scriptura? A related passage I came across seems to indicate that the Bible recognizes Sacred Tradition. “To this he called you through our Gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:14–15).

  50. Dan said,

    April 10, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    i just stumbled across this “discussion.” it is clear that protestants are still “protesting,” rather than seeking the unity that our Lord prayed for among his church before he died. sorry, but to my way of thinking, nothing justifies the divisions that have been perpetuated over the years. and division leads to further division and lack of authority. all protestant “protestations” stem from the simple issue of authority and the break from centuries of unity. the past several centuries have demonstrated that unity without authority is impossible. and He did not pray for the impossible.

  51. Jason said,

    October 27, 2009 at 1:20 am

    Baggins….don’t believe what Jeff says. His is the platitudinal apologistic display that is so prevelent from a well versed (in church formalities) infiltrator. I have known this first hand from my father -in-law.

    Don’t let you guard down.

  52. Jason said,

    October 27, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Dan, Christ didn’t come to unify.
    He came to set brother against brother, father against son etc. etc. etc…

    Matthew 10:35-37

    35For I have come to turn
    ” ‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter-in-law against her motherinlaw—
    36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]

    37″Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

  53. June 14, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Funerals are only for the living. The dead are beyond our reach. We cannot help them.

    Why did the apostle Paul pray for the dead man Onesiphorus, then (2 Tim 1:16-18; cf. 2 Tim 4:19)?

    That’s not just my Catholic position. Some Protestant commentators hold that he was “possibly” dead (ISBE, New Bible Commentary); even “apparently” so (A. T. Robertson). Most commentators think Paul was praying for him (the same ones denying that he was dead, per Protestant presuppositions, and holding that it was a “wish,” etc., rather than a prayer: pretty much a desperate distinction without a difference, IMO).

    I submit that the “dead guy / Paul praying for him” position is a perfectly straightforward, plausible reading of the text if it is approached without the prior theological presuppositions. We all have such premises; I’m not knocking that at all, but I’m saying that sometimes we have to step out of them momentarily to consider other possibilities (exegetical or otherwise).

  54. greenbaggins said,

    June 14, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I think you have not adequately dealt with the meaning of “oikos” in this context, Dave. The mercy asked for by Paul in verse 16 was for the *household* of Onesiphorus. Then, in verse 18, there are several possible understandings for the translation of “in that day.” Surely, for anyone, we would want mercy on the day of judgment, not justice. That doesn’t mean we should pray for the dead. For one with no preconceived understandings, it simply doesn’t force us to that conclusion.

  55. June 14, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I didn’t claim that the text “forced” us to interpret as I do; only that it was a “straightforward, plausible reading.” A. T. Robertson wrote: “Apparently Onesiphorus is now dead as implied by the wish in 1:18.” He gets out of the implications by calling Paul’s sentiment a “wish” rather than a prayer.

    The Lutheran Bengel and Anglican Alford both thought he was dead, too. It’s not absolutely clear or undeniable that the man was dead (I agree), but I would argue that if one assumed for the sake of argument that he was, nothing in the text would contradict that. It would fit to a tee: Paul is praying for his family, asking mercy on the day of judgment, etc. Protestants habitually do the former, in cases of death, if not the latter, for a dead person.

    Why couldn’t we pray for a dead person, even under Protestant presuppositions, though, since God decides to answer a prayer or not, and since He is outside of time, He could actually grant the fulfillment of a prayer backwards in time (from our perspective)? A Lutheran friend of mine made exactly this point. I think Luther did, too, if I recall correctly.

  56. June 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    In other words, say someone dies. Under Protestant premises, why couldn’t you pray for the person’s salvation in the sense of God applying the prayer to the person retroactively when he or she was alive? It is “past” to us but not to God, so He can do that. In this scenario, the prayer wouldn’t be fundamentally different from praying for a person’s salvation while they are alive.

  57. D. T. King said,

    June 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I submit that the “dead guy / Paul praying for him” position is a perfectly straightforward, plausible reading of the text if it is approached without the prior theological presuppositions.

    On the contrary, the text has a very plausible reading to the contrary if approached without the prior theological presuppositions of a Romanist. For example, while commenting on this passage such “a perfectly straightforward, plausible reading of the text” is, in the mind of an ancient commentator likeTheodoret, a commendation and expression of gratitude for Onesiphorus…

    Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466), commenting on 2 Timothy 1:16-18: Worthy of praise and imitation and thrice-blessed the one who offered such service to the apostle, on the one hand, and on the other reaped from him commendation in word. In other words, whereas the ones he mentioned first turned away from the apostle even when they were in his presence, the latter betook himself to Rome from Asia, not put off by the length of the journey nor afraid of the emperor in his great savagery, and he bestowed on him service of all kinds. This is surely the reason why he repaid not only him but also all his household with the divine mercy. He made mention of him as knowing also the attention given by him in Ephesus. Robert Charles Hill, trans., Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 239.

    As Theodoret observed, the purpose of the Apostle in context is to contrast the ill-treatment of the apostle at the hands of Phygellus and Hermogenes with the kindness shown him by Onesiphorus, and to express his gratitude for the latter.

    The suggestion that Onesiphorus was *possibly* dead (by Protestant commentators or otherwise) does not prove the presupposition that he was dead at the time of the Apostle’s writing, and still less does it support the notion of this passage as an example of “a perfectly straightforward, plausible reading of the text if it is approached without the prior theological presuppositions” as a prayer for the dead when the very question of whether Onesiphorus was dead is not answered by the text itself. Yet that is offered as “the plausible” explanation to the silence of the text on that very question, regardless of the speculations of any commentator.

    Not only does such an approach to the text not enter the mind of an ancient commentator like Theodoret, but please notice also how the Romanist mode of argumentation will argue for the formal sufficiency of Scripture when the interests of its apologetic is at stake. Thus the contention for what constitutes “a perfectly straightforward, plausible reading of the text” begs the question.

    Since Whitaker is being discussed on this blog elsewhere, it seems appropriate to apply his observation of how the Roman position is prone to handle Scripture in this way when its apologetic is served…

    William Whitaker (1547-1595): Indeed all the papists in their books, when they seek to prove any thing, boast everywhere that they can bring arguments against us from the most luminous, plain, clear and manifest testimonies of Scripture . . . For in every dispute their common phrases are,—This is clear,—This is plain,—This is manifest in the scriptures, and such like. Surely when they speak thus, they ignorantly and unawares confess the perspicuity of the scriptures even in the greatest questions and controversies. See A Disputation on Holy Scripture Against the Papists, Especially Bellarmine and Stapleton, trans. and ed. William Fitzgerald (Cambridge: The University Press, reprinted 1849), p. 401.

  58. June 14, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Just to quickly back up a claim of mine: Martin Luther did indeed allow this as a possibility. In his 1528 work Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper, he wrote as follows:

    “As for the dead, since Scripture gives us no information on the subject, I regard it as no sin to pray with free devotion in this or some similar fashion: ‘Dear God, if this soul is in a condition accessible to mercy, be thou gracious to it.’ And when this has been done once or twice, let it suffice.”

    (Luther’s Works, Vol. 37, p. 369)

    Luther’s successor Philip Melanchthon, in his apology to the Augsburg Confession (article XXIV, 94), likewise wrote:

    “Now, as regards the adversaries’ citing the Fathers concerning the offering for the dead, we know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead, which we do not prohibit; . . .”

  59. greenbaggins said,

    June 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    The only possible reason for praying for the dead is if one believes in purgatory. If one does not believe in purgatory, then the dead are already set in their final destination, and thus praying for them is not helpful.

  60. June 14, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Under Protestant premises, why couldn’t you pray for the person’s salvation in the sense of God applying the prayer to the person retroactively when he or she was alive?

    Hey Dave, if the person being prayed for is dead, how can the prayer be applied to him while he is still alive? This has nothing to do with your absurd view that there is no past or present with God. It has everything to do with the impossibility of man being dead and alive at the same time.

    Ron

  61. June 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Marcus Dods (1834-1909: Free Church of Scotland, not “Romanist”) provides several reasons of plausibility that this was indeed a prayer for a dead man:

    “Certainly the balance of probability is decidedly in favour of the view that Onesiphorus was already dead when Paul wrote these words. There is not only the fact that he here speaks of “the house of Onesiphorus” in connection with the present, and of Onesiphorus himself only in connection with the past: there is also the still more marked fact that in the final salutations, while greetings are sent to Prisca and Aquila, and from Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia, yet it is once more “the house of Onesiphorus” and not Onesiphorus himself who is saluted. This language is thoroughly intelligible, if Onesiphorus was no longer alive, but had a wife and children who were still living at Ephesus, but it is not easy to explain this reference in two places to the household of Onesiphorus, if he himself was still alive. In all the other cases the individual and not the household is mentioned. . . .

    “There is also the character of the Apostle’s prayer. Why does he confine his desires respecting the requital of Onesiphorus’ kindness to the day of judgment? Why does he not also pray that he may be requited in this life? . . . This again is thoroughly intelligible, if Onesiphorus is already dead. It is much less intelligible if he is still alive. It seems, therefore, to be scarcely too much to say that there is no serious reason for questioning the now widely accepted view that at the time when St. Paul wrote these words Onesiphorus was among the departed.

    “With regard to the second point there seems to be equal absence of serious reasons for doubting that the words in question constitute a prayer. . . . we have a prayer that the Judge at the last day will remember those good deeds of Onesiphorus, which the Apostle has been unable to repay, and will place them to his account. Paul cannot requite them, but he prays that God will do so by showing mercy upon him at the last day.”

    (Marcus Dods, Robert Alexander Watson, Frederic William Farrar, An Exposition on the Bible: a series of expositions covering all the books of the Old and New Testament, Volume 6 [Hartford, Conn.: S.S. Scranton Co., 1903, p. 464)

    http://books.google.com/books?id=zwAWAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA464&dq=onesiphorus+fathers+prayer,+OR+prayed&lr=&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a&cd=1

    Dods (or whoever wrote this particular section) goes on to say there are different kinds of prayer for the dead, and that the passage doesn’t necessarily sanction all of them, but the essential point is in agreement with the way I have argued this. He says (p. 465):

    “This passage may be quoted as reasonable evidence that the death of a person does not extinguish our right or duty to pray for him . . . but this passage proves no more than that some kinds of intercession for the dead are allowable . . .”

  62. greenbaggins said,

    June 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Dave, you have your opinion, and I have mine on this. I suggest we leave it at that.

  63. June 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Let me provide all that Dave said with my response.

    In other words, say someone dies. Under Protestant premises, why couldn’t you pray for the person’s salvation in the sense of God applying the prayer to the person retroactively when he or she was alive? It is “past” to us but not to God, so He can do that. In this scenario, the prayer wouldn’t be fundamentally different from praying for a person’s salvation while they are alive.

    Hey Dave, if the person being prayed for is dead, how can the prayer be applied to him while he is still alive? This has nothing to do with your absurd view that there is no past or present with God. It has everything to do with the impossibility of man being dead and alive at the same time.
    Ron

  64. June 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    your absurd view that there is no past or present with God.

    The denial that God is outside of time is expressly against orthodox theology proper: Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox alike. It makes God subject to His own creation, which is absurd, and blasphemous and idolatrous as well. It eliminates His transcendence.

    It denies His eternity, essential aspects of being the Creator (including creation of time), makes it impossible for Him to foretell the [to us] future, which in turn is a denial of His omniscience (He no longer knows all things), since He doesn’t know what is going to happen, since it is yet to come, and He is in time just as His creatures are.

    It also wrecks His sovereignty and providence and omnipotence, since He can no longer mold the world and His creatures and the course of events in a certain way, so that His perfect will triumphs in the end.

    I would expect a Unitarian or open theologian or process theologian or Jehovah’s Witness to argue in this fashion. I’m surprised to find such a thoroughly heretical opinion on this forum.

  65. June 14, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks for your cordial interaction, Lane.

  66. Reed Here said,

    June 14, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Dave: I understand why you are ignoring D.T. King’s and Ron DiGiacoma’s comments. Might you, however, at least apply yourself to the substance of Lane’s comments?

    You’ve only made one salient point, Onisephorus may have been dead, and then have used that to build your whole case. Lane has offered at least two salient responses, one to who was actually being prayed for (an argument based on the text), and a second to the unreasonableness of praying for the dead.

    It might be good on your part to at least respond to the substance of Lane’s responses.

    For my own curiosity, are you familiar with the reformed confessions in regards to prayers for the dead? Are you familiar with reformed fathers that are more representative of our reformed convictions, say someone like Calvin or Turretin? I.e., throwing out Luther is not really going to advance the conversation here, as we’re not Lutherans (at least the regular commenters).

  67. June 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Dave,

    I see you did not try to defend your point, which was that Protestant theology can make room for God to make efficacious a prayer for man while he is alive yet while the prayer being offered was after the man was already dead. Instead, you offered this diatribe:

    The denial that God is outside of time is expressly against orthodox theology proper: Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox alike. It makes God subject to His own creation, which is absurd, and blasphemous and idolatrous as well. It eliminates His transcendence.

    It denies His eternity, essential aspects of being the Creator (including creation of time), makes it impossible for Him to foretell the [to us] future, which in turn is a denial of His omniscience (He no longer knows all things), since He doesn’t know what is going to happen, since it is yet to come, and He is in time just as His creatures are.

    It also wrecks His sovereignty and providence and omnipotence, since He can no longer mold the world and His creatures and the course of events in a certain way, so that His perfect will triumphs in the end.
    I would expect a Unitarian or open theologian or process theologian or Jehovah’s Witness to argue in this fashion. I’m surprised to find such a thoroughly heretical opinion on this forum.

    Dave, you are not paying attention. I never suggested that God is not transcendent. I said that it is absurd to think that there is no past or present with God. God is both – transcendent and immanent. So, all your ramblings do not apply, as usual. God has condescended to place himself in the sphere of time. He did this through creation, and he underscored this condescension in the incarnation. And he proves it everyday in providence.

    Ron

  68. TurretinFan said,

    June 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I’d like to add a few thoughts to what Pastor King already stated. The original proposition/loaded question was this:

    “Why did the apostle Paul pray for the dead man Onesiphorus, then (2 Tim 1:16-18; cf. 2 Tim 4:19)?”

    2 Timothy 1:16-18
    The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

    2 Timothy 4:19 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

    Pastor King has already provided some thoughts from the worthy Theodoret, let me add the thoughts of Chrysostom:

    @ Ver. 19. “Salute Priscilla and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.”
    Chrysostom comments: For he was then in Rome, of whom he said “The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day.” 2 Timothy 1:18 By this naming of him, he makes those of his household also more zealous in such good actions.

    Shall we chalk this up to Chrysostom’s proto-Protestant prejudices? Or perhaps the text simply does not indicate that Onesiphorus was dead, such that one would view Paul’s comment in that light?

    Likewise @ “The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, you know very well.”
    Chrysostom comments: Observe too, that he says, “The Lord grant him mercy.” For as he himself had obtained mercy from Onesiphorus, so he wished him to obtain the same from God. Moral. And if Onesiphorus, who exposed himself to danger, is saved by mercy, much more are we also saved by the same. For terrible indeed, terrible is that account, and such as needs great love for mankind, that we may not hear that awful sentence, “Depart from me…I never knew you, you that work iniquity” [Matthew 7:23]; or that fearful word, “Depart, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matthew 25:40]: that we may not hear, “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed” [Luke 16:16[: that we may not hear that voice full of horror, “Take him away, and cast him into outer darkness”: that we may not hear those words full of terror, “Thou wicked and slothful servant.” [Matthew 22:13 and 25:26] For awful truly and terrible is that tribunal. And yet God is gracious and merciful. He is called a God “of mercies and a God of comfort” [2 Corinthians 1:3]; good as none else is good, and kind, and gentle, and full of pity, Who “wills not the death of a sinner, but that he should be converted and live.” [Ezekiel 18:24; 33:11] Whence then, whence is that Day so full of agony and anguish? A stream of fire is rolling before His face. The books of our deeds are opened. The day itself is burning as an oven, the angels are flying around, and many furnaces are prepared. How then is He good and merciful, and full of lovingkindness to man? Even herein is He merciful, and He shows in these things the greatness of His lovingkindness. For He holds forth to us these terrors, that being constrained by them, we may be awakened to the desire of the kingdom.

    This comment doesn’t directly address the issue of whether Onesiphorus was dead yet, but it does get us to the second major issue. What Paul was praying for was mercy. Chrysostom correctly understood this to be mercy on judgment day, i.e. that Onesiphorus would be spared the pains of hell.

    Even assuming that Onesiphorus were dead, and that Paul was praying for him, these prayers are not possibly prayers related to Purgatory. Indeed, since the offers of mercy cease at death, even if this were a prayer for the dead, it could not rightly be thought of as intercessory, since the cause is already closed. But I digress.

    Chrysostom does, at the same place, mention how the living and dead may communicate:

    For do not suppose Paul the combatant, that irresistible and invincible one, but some one of the many, who, if he had not received much consolation and encouragement, would not perhaps have stood, would not have contended. So those who are out of the contest may perchance be the cause of victory to him, who is engaged in it, and may be partakers of the crowns reserved for the victor. And what wonder, if he who communicates to the living is thought worthy of the same rewards with those who contend, since it is possible to communicate after death even with the departed, with those who are asleep, who are already crowned, who want for nothing. For hear Paul saying, “Partaking in the memories of the Saints.” And how may this be done? When you admire a man, when you do any of those acts for which he was crowned, you are evidently a sharer in his labors, and in his crowns.

    Communication, not by prayer, but by imitation – that’s what Chrysostom recommends, and it should be clear to the reader that Chrysostom is offering this option in view of two things (1) the fact that those who are dead are already crowned (not waiting in torment in Purgatory) and (2) normal communication with the departed has ceased.

    Perhaps somewhere Chrysostom suggested praying for the damned, so that their sufferings might be mitigated, but surely his mind does not seem to have thought for even one second that Onesiphorus was in some place in which he needed prayers. On the contrary, he thought Onesiphorus still to be alive.

    Here’s the challenge for someone (anyone) who thinks that the most natural reading of the passage is that Onesiphorus was dead. When is the first time that one can find anyone in church history holding such a view? We see Chrysostom holding the Reformed view in the late 4th century. When is the first time we see a contrary view? Is it a thousand years later in the late 14th century?

    Even in the late 13th Century, Aquinas is not sure. Commenting on the final greeting in 2 Timothy, Aquinas writes: “He says, therefore: Salute Prisca, a woman, and Aquila, her husband, whom he puts first perhaps because they were more devout, and the household of Onesiphorus. Why not him but rather his house? Perhaps because he was dead, and so he greets the family; or perhaps he was with the Apostle in Rome.” (Latin: “Dicit ergo saluta Priscam, scilicet quae est mulier, et aquilam, virum Priscae, quos praemittit, quia forte devotiores, et Onesiphori domum. Sed quare non eum, sed domum? Quia forte mortuus erat, et ideo salutat familiam; vel forte quia erat cum eo Romae.”)

    Let me conclude by providing Matthew Henry’s commentary on “The Lord give mercy to Onesiphorus.”
    Henry writes: It is probable that Onesiphorus was now absent from home, and in company with Paul; Paul therefore prays that his house might be kept during his absence. Though the papists will have it that he was now dead; and, from Paul’s praying for him that he might find mercy, they conclude the warrantableness of praying for the dead; but who told them that Onesiphorus was dead? And can it be safe to ground a doctrine and practice of such importance on a mere supposition and very great uncertainty?

    – TurretinFan

  69. June 14, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Diatribe

    “Dave: I understand why you are ignoring D.T. King’s and Ron DiGiacoma’s comments. Might you, however, at least apply yourself to the substance of Lane’s comments?

    Reed, Dave did not ignore me. So please don’t try to “understand” why he did, because he didn’t. He was simply selective in his response. Indeed, he did ignore one aspect of my post, the exposure of his blunder regarding Protestant theology being able to accommodate prayer being offered for a dead man yet made efficacious while the man was still alive. To have responded to the exposure of his allegation of a logically consistent position for Protestants to hold would have required him to admit he was wrong, or else dig in further and draw more attention to the absurdity that was exposed. In turn, Dave chose to respond to a view that is not mine, nor was implied by anything I wrote. In other words, he erected a straw man. As a moderator, I might have hoped you would have addressed the misrepresentation of my position, but instead you stated how you can understand why he ignored me (and DTK).

    Ron

  70. TurretinFan said,

    June 14, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    greenbaggins:

    You wrote:

    The only possible reason for praying for the dead is if one believes in purgatory. If one does not believe in purgatory, then the dead are already set in their final destination, and thus praying for them is not helpful.

    You may perhaps want to qualify this. For example, in the Roman Requiem Mass one finds:

    Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon them.

    And again:

    Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory,
    free the souls of all the faithful departed
    from infernal punishment and the deep pit.

    And still further:

    May Angels lead you into paradise;
    may the Martyrs receive you at your coming
    and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
    May a choir of Angels receive you,
    and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.

    Not all of those are specific to a view of Purgatory. For example, the theory may simply be that the soul is wandering about waiting to enter Heaven, rather than being in a place or state of purgation.

    Likewise, there are additional prayers for the dead that one sometimes finds, such as prayers for the relief of the suffering of damned, or even prayers for the salvation of the damned.

    I’m not condoning any of those, but I just want you to be aware that there are a variety of reasons why folks, without Scriptural warrant, pray for the dead.

    Scripture on the other hand states:

    Ecclesiastes 11:3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.

    -TurretinFan

  71. June 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Dave: I understand why you are ignoring D.T. King’s and Ron DiGiacoma’s comments. Might you, however, at least apply yourself to the substance of Lane’s comments?

    I thought I did! But since he wrote, “Dave, you have your opinion, and I have mine on this. I suggest we leave it at that,” why would I want to contravene his wishes?

    You’ve only made one salient point, Onisephorus may have been dead, and then have used that to build your whole case. Lane has offered at least two salient responses, one to who was actually being prayed for (an argument based on the text), and a second to the unreasonableness of praying for the dead.

    In my citing of Dods, there were a number of arguments from context and cross-referencing, and the text itself.

    It might be good on your part to at least respond to the substance of Lane’s responses.

    Again, as far as I am concerned, I did. The exegesis is clearly decided already against prayer for the dead, before the Reformed person even considers the text. That has been amply demonstrated. All Christian traditions do this, or strongly tend to do it in exegesis, but I can’t overcome it and try to get y’all to look at the text by stepping outside of your presuppositions for a moment.

    Plus, now I have three anti-Catholics thundering from on high against me, which means this thread will become another fiasco if I continue. I’m not looking for fiascoes and tremendous controversies, but rather, for calm theological and exegetical discussion (it may still not be possible on this site if the anti-Catholics want to continually hound me whenever I comment on anything). So I am answering your post only, to clarify my position.

    For my own curiosity, are you familiar with the reformed confessions in regards to prayers for the dead?

    As far as I know and knew (and you confirm it), they uniformly deny this. Does it follow that open-minded exegesis is impossible, because of prior dogmatic confession? One can still have a discussion . . .

    Are you familiar with reformed fathers that are more representative of our reformed convictions, say someone like Calvin or Turretin?

    I just wrote a book about John Calvin. I have the most extensive web page online that I am aware of, that critiques Calvin and Calvinism from a Catholic perspective. I have replied online to the entirety of Book IV of the Institutes point-by-point and I’ve had scores and scores of dialogues with Reformed Protestants.

    I.e., throwing out Luther is not really going to advance the conversation here, as we’re not Lutherans (at least the regular commenters).

    It was simply a footnote. I never said you were Lutherans, so this is neither here nor there. But there is relevance insofar as it was implied (esp. in one of the thunderous posts) that my reasoning was merely “Romanist” etc. There are Protestants (albeit not Reformed) who do accept prayer for the dead, and do so based on the Bible. That defeats the notion that it is only conceivable within a “Romanist” framework. And that is directly relevant to the charge made; therefore it is appropriate in that sense, too. That was my reasoning and intent there.

    But often I get this back: “we’re not so-and-so” or “we don’t think Calvin / Luther / whoever is infallible, like you do the pope” as if any of that is relevant to the point I’m making at the time. It’s not. I have conversations. I acknowledge the importance of many Christian traditions (it may possibly be that I even respect Martin Luther more than many of you do), and I don’t have to restrict myself to any given one in any particular discussion, as if the others have no relevance to exegesis, historic theology or anything else.

    Did you know that Luther and the Lutheran Confessions both accepted prayer for the dead? If not, then you (and others here) learned something, didn’t you? And it is never a bad thing to learn new facts.

  72. June 14, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I have the most extensive web page online that I am aware of, that critiques Calvin and Calvinism from a Catholic perspective. I have replied online to the entirety of Book IV of the Institutes point-by-point…

    I have to keep reminding myself…

    “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.””It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’”It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.””It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.”s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.””It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’”It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.””It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.”s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.””It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’”It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.””It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.””It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’”It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.””It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.”s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.” “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.”

    I’m out of here guys. Lane, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but there are other reasons why I must depart.

    Best wishes,

    Ron

  73. June 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Ron DiGiacomo:

    (#63) “your absurd view that there is no past or present with God.”

    (#67) “I said that it is absurd to think that there is no past or present with God.”

    John Calvin:

    “When we attribute prescience [1960 version: "foreknowledge"] to God, we mean that all things always were, and ever continue, under his eye; that to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present, and indeed so present, that it is not merely the idea of them that is before him (as those objects are which we retain in our memory), but that he truly sees and contemplates them as actually under his immediate inspection. This prescience extends to the whole circuit of the world, and to all creatures.”

    (Institutes, III, 21:5)

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.v.xxii.html

    I’m happy to be a dumbbell, alongside Calvin, in Ron’s singular thought-world . . . I haven’t misrepresented his opinion (at least not as stated), but he has misunderstood the biblical view and Calvin’s view. If he claims to adhere to Calvinist theology of God, he has some rethinking to do, unless the Confessions changed this (and to my knowledge, they have not).

  74. June 14, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Since Ron clearly values repetition as a teaching tool, I thought this might be helpful for him to recall this point of orthodox theology proper:

    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”
    Calvin: “to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present”

  75. Reedhere said,

    June 14, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Ron, no, 69: just a simple mistake on my part. I incorrectly thought Dave A. was not talking with you, as per his personal decision to not interact with folks he labels as anti-catholic. I know he has labeled Pastor King as that. Obviously, since he has interacted with you, I was mistaken in believing he labeled you the same.

    No need for me to call him on his “misleading” when you are fully capable, willing, and have done so.

    I would appreciate it if next time you were not so quick to judge my errors. I’m fully willing to own them, but not an erroneous opinion of them. It is helpful for promoting Christan unity if you give me at least a little benefit of the doubt. Thanks.

  76. Reed Here said,

    June 14, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Dave and Ron: please, no more tit for tat comments (nos. 72 and 74). It is impolite to everyone else. Challenge substantively; etc. Please stop the silliness.

  77. Reed Here said,

    June 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Dave: I repeat my questions:

    Why not respond to Lane’s actual response to you?
    Are you familiar with the reformed confessions on prayers to the dead?
    Are you familiar with reformed fathers closer to our tradition (e.g., Calvin, Turretin) on the same subject?

    I’m repeating my questions because I do not think your prior response actually does answer these questions.

    You do not offer anything in particular to add to what you already said to Lane. Your initial responses did not directly respond to his main points. Might you go back and read his responses to you. We’re open to both exegetical debate and doctrinal refinement?

    You’ve answered the other questions with only generalities. Having written extensively on Calvin’s Institutes does not specifically answer this question. Neither does your response vis-a-vie Turretin. I’ve asked if you might be familiar with these merely because it might be helpful, at least to present our understanding, to refer to such sources. I did not want to waste your time if you were already familiar with them on this particular topic.

    Please do not keep harping on your having to deal with the attack from “anti-catholics” here. You have demonstrated a willingness to pick and choose when you respond to them (quite inconsistent with your stated principle to not respond to them). In particular, I find it quite disappointing that you seem willing to respond to secondary issues (at best) instead of their particular arguments that address the specific topic.

    For example, strip away anything you find offensive in what DT King has said, or what Turretin Fan added to his comment, and you’ve actually got quite reasonable and fairly worded arguments, ones that are not steeped in anti-catholic rhetoric, but rooted in both textual and historical considerations, things which can be debated without giving or taking offense.

    Why not spend your finger strength on those arguments?

  78. TurretinFan said,

    June 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Ron already wrote: “I never suggested that God is not transcendent. I said that it is absurd to think that there is no past or present with God. God is both – transcendent and immanent.” That seems to answer #74 as well, not by disagreeing with Calvin, but by agreeing with Calvin while noting that God is also immanent.

  79. TurretinFan said,

    June 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Dave wrote:

    The exegesis is clearly decided already against prayer for the dead, before the Reformed person even considers the text. That has been amply demonstrated. All Christian traditions do this, or strongly tend to do it in exegesis, but I can’t overcome it and try to get y’all to look at the text by stepping outside of your presuppositions for a moment.

    There a few problems with Dave’s claim:

    1) The text is being advanced as an example of prayer for the dead. Thus, one would hope that, at a minimum, it would say that he was dead. But it doesn’t. It’s not like Reformed people look at the death mentioned and interpret it spiritually. There’s just no mention of him being dead.

    2) There is a serious barrier to this being a prayer for the dead in the nature of the “request” or wish. The wish is that Onesiphorus will be granted mercy at the judgment day. However, both Rome and Geneva agree that man is either permanently bound for hell or permanently bound for heaven at the moment of death. There is no opportunity for further mercy (of the judgment day variety) after that time.

    3) The slender reed on which to suppose that Onesiphorus is dead is the absence of specific greeting of him, separate from his household in the conclusion of 2 Timothy. This argument from silence is far from compelling.

    4) Even if we say that it is possible that Onesiphorus is dead, we again note that there is no particular reason to view it as a prayer, rather than a wish. The verb itself is an optative mood verb, which is one that expresses a wish or hope (just like the verb earlier in the chapter, where Paul wishes that Alexander the coppersmith will receive according to his works). Of course, one sometimes expresses one’s wishes in prayers, but not every wish is a prayer.

    5) More specifically, looking at the context, immediately before and after the expression of this wish, Paul is addressing Timothy, the recipient of the letter. In other words, this is not a wish expressed in the course of a prayer, or even simply embedded within a theological discussion. Instead, it is found side by side with direct addresses to Timothy. Thus, for example, in the vs. 16, while the first half of the sentence expresses the wish, the second half calls Timothy to remember the good things that Onisephorus did for Paul while they were in Ephesus. (Since Calvin has come up in the conversation, it’s worth noting that Calvin’s commentary refers to this as a “prayer.”)

    6) Going back to the text, there is an explanation provided for why Paul might not mention Onesiphorus in the final salutations. The explanation is that while Onesiophorus is from Ephesus (where Timothy is when this letter is sent), Onesiphorus has come to Rome as stated at 2 Timothy 1:17 to find Paul.

    7) This explanation is the one we find not only in Henry, Gill, and so forth among the Reformed expositors, but also in Chrysostom. Even Oecumenius of Trikka, writing about 990 in his commentary on 2 Timothy 4:16 declares that the reason Onesiphorus’ family is mentioned is that Onesiphorus is at Rome (PL 119:239). In fact, to all appearances, an explanation that Onesiphorus is dead doesn’t make headway until after prayers for the dead are commonplace. Indeed, even Aquinas was undecided on the matter of whether Onesiphorus was dead or in Rome. Perhaps some earlier writer suggested the “dead” alternative, but it does not appear to be so widely accepted that we can chalk up our rejection of that theory to Protestant prejudices.

    -TurretinFan

  80. TurretinFan said,

    June 14, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Excuse me, that citation should, of course, be to PG not PL.

  81. June 14, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Reed,

    I think I understand, but I’m not quite sure. In any case, he has called me anti-C (and maybe that is what you were remembering), and he has also said he would ignore me. He still responds, yet only selectively.

    As for judging your errors, I’m not sure what to say. “Judge” has the connotation of suggesting motive, which I don’t believe I did, and I’m not trying to suggest that you think I “judged” in that way. I identified your error, but I would not say that I judged your error other than to find your remark in error, but certainly you don’t mind my calling you on your error. Again, “judge: seems to have a connotation that I cannot own. However, I do own being abrupt with you, which I do apologize for in all sincerity. I’m truly sorry and ashamed. Please forgive your sinful brother.

    As for your electing not to call Dave on his misrepresentation of me, I would ask that you reconsider; I truly believe that my motivation is not so that I can be vindicated but that Romanist lurkers and those Protestants who might be taken in by this man might appreciate that studied-Protestants like yourself do affirm God’s nearness in time. And if you don’t, you can at least affirm that it is not outside of the pale of orthodoxy to affirm such a view. Dave likened me to a Unitarian and Open Theist, and called me unorthodox. I am not going to defend myself to him on these serious allegations. But if this were my board, he’d have to repent or be gone.

    Aside from calling me unorthodox and all the rest, Dave’s reasoning is once again deplorable. Once again he has drawn a hasty conclusion that goes beyond the scope of a single premise. That God is near doesn’t mean that he doesn’t transcend.

    Yes, I believe it is ridiculous to believe that God has not entered into time both relationally with his people through creation, providence and grace, and through the ordering of the natural order of things. And, I think it’s absurd to think that God in Christ has not entered into time through the incarnation and in pre-incarnate appearances, etc. But this all goes beyond the ridiculous. It gets to the ninth commandment and a test of orthodoxy.

    His misuse of Calvin is another matter altogether, which I won’t get into other than to say that even if Calvin believed that God was ONLY transcendent not only in His FOREKNOWLEDGE, which is the section from which Dave lifted the quote from, but also in his works of creation, providence and grace, it still wouldn’t mean that those who believe in God’s immanence are outside the Reformed faith or orthodoxy. It’s only those who believe in ONLY immanence who are being unorthodox. Finally, it’s interesting how he quotes Calvin (and Luther, etc.) when he thinks it supports his position. Sophistry?

    Best wishes,

    Ron

  82. June 14, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I incorrectly thought Dave A. was not talking with you, as per his personal decision to not interact with folks he labels as anti-catholic. I know he has labeled Pastor King as that. Obviously, since he has interacted with you, I was mistaken in believing he labeled you the same.

    Ron is indeed an anti-Catholic. I have not stated that I would not interact with them, period, but rather, that I would not debate theology with them any longer. I don’t have to be discourteous, as they almost uniformly are with me. We could even have a marvelously enjoyable discussion about baseball or music or good movies. I have decided to refrain from theological debates, because we have all seen before our eyes what happens: personal attack, nonsense, going around in circles, etc.

    In Ron’s case, I refused the debate, but issued a correction about his theology of God, since in my capacity as an apologist, it is my duty to warn anyone who believes in such a gravely erroneous opinion.

    Dave and Ron: please, no more tit for tat comments (nos. 72 and 74). It is impolite to everyone else. Challenge substantively; etc. Please stop the silliness.

    Mea culpa. I couldn’t resist the turn-the-tables thing there. He makes out that I am utterly full of myself (personal attack). I pointed out, using his silly method, that what he deemed absurd was actually Calvin’s own view as well as mine (which is a factual matter and no attack at all). But I understand that you guys don’t want the silliness (even if it is an actual reductio ad absurdum method, so, sorry about that.

  83. TurretinFan said,

    June 14, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    The label “anti-Catholic” is misleading and offensive. For some reason, Dave is permitted to continue to use it, even while using that as a “personal attack” basis for ignoring our critiques of his position. I don’t understand why.

  84. June 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Dave: I repeat my questions:

    Why not respond to Lane’s actual response to you?

    And I repeat my answer: I thought I did, and he asked me to stop the discussion, so I did.

    Are you familiar with the reformed confessions on prayers to the dead?
    Are you familiar with reformed fathers closer to our tradition (e.g., Calvin, Turretin) on the same subject?

    I’m repeating my questions because I do not think your prior response actually does answer these questions.

    As far as I know, they deny the correctness of the practice. I couldn’t quote chapter and verse without looking it up. If I am wrong about that, I’d appreciate you directing me to the relevant spot to show me that Reformed do indeed agree that one can pray for the dead. Thanks.

    You do not offer anything in particular to add to what you already said to Lane. Your initial responses did not directly respond to his main points. Might you go back and read his responses to you. We’re open to both exegetical debate and doctrinal refinement?

    You may not think I answered because I have a little different method than you do. But I think I did. So we can argue about whether my reply was a “real answer” or not, or we can let it drop, just as Lane suggested, and I can be subjected to 14 additional condescending lectures from my anti-Catholic overlords, so everyone can be sure that the “Romanist” was refuted 51 times, so no one can be deceived!

    You’ve answered the other questions with only generalities. Having written extensively on Calvin’s Institutes does not specifically answer this question. Neither does your response vis-a-vie Turretin. I’ve asked if you might be familiar with these merely because it might be helpful, at least to present our understanding, to refer to such sources. I did not want to waste your time if you were already familiar with them on this particular topic.

    Again, I understand that it is not a Reformed view. I don’t know all the particulars. I don’t know much about Turretin, but I have a good knowledge of Calvin, generally speaking (not like you guys, though, which anyone would expect, since he is “your guy”).

    Please do not keep harping on your having to deal with the attack from “anti-catholics” here.

    I’m forced to because they won’t let it drop and keep making it an issue, with the personal attacks. I can ignore them absolutely, if you prefer that: just act as if their replies do not exist. Onlookers may see that as cowardice and evasion when it is not at all.

    You have demonstrated a willingness to pick and choose when you respond to them (quite inconsistent with your stated principle to not respond to them).

    I see now, though, that my initial language used the language of “interact.” I meant, more specifically, “not engage in debate.” I should have made that more clear. My mistake. Turretinfan knows full well what my policy is. He was a major reason why I stopped debates in the first place. It doesn’t stop him from frequently goading and baiting me.

    I probably used “interact” in that context, to make it clear that if I didn’t answer at all, it was because of my policy, not rudeness. It may be a losing battle on this forum, though, the way things are going. The great likelihood anti-Catholics will either keep insulting or persuade you and Lane to kick me out.

    I worded it more precisely in #405 of that long thread:

    “People choose with whom they will debate all the time. . . . James White picks and chooses. He has systematically ignored my critiques for many years now. R.C. Sproul has a policy of not debating Catholics . . . When I did debate anti-Catholics, I did so probably more times than any other Catholic online. . . . I continue to debate all sorts of people (I was in a room alone with eleven atheists about a month ago), but there are groups that I ignore, debate-wise. You happen to be in one of them.”

    In particular, I find it quite disappointing that you seem willing to respond to secondary issues (at best) instead of their particular arguments that address the specific topic.

    Life is tough. I have to be a steward of my time even in a good discussion, too. I was doing this off and on all day when I had other work to do. You demand more. Three people are haranguing me and being insulting.I have to explain the anti-Catholic thing yet again. I answered your questions carefully; you asked them again, and here I am spending more time answering them again with more precision.

    I assure you that in the 8-10 discussions I have already been in on this forum, many many particulars of my arguments were not dealt with at all, let alone at length. So I know the feeling well. Yet you are virtually demanding that I have to give more and more answers when I have stated that I basically stated what I wanted to say. It’s an unreasonable demand. I don’t have unlimited time to get into every jot and tittle of every discussion. I don’t have anything to prove, either.

    For example, strip away anything you find offensive in what DT King has said, or what Turretin Fan added to his comment, and you’ve actually got quite reasonable and fairly worded arguments, ones that are not steeped in anti-catholic rhetoric, but rooted in both textual and historical considerations, things which can be debated without giving or taking offense.

    There is always some truth to be found mixed in-between all the condescension, sure. That’s the tragedy of the whole thing, actually. But if I go down that road, then I am into a debate with them, and believe me, these guys will use any pretext to engage in any mockery of me. They would have a field day with that. It has already been a huge urban legend (White, Svendsen, Swan, King, TF, Hays, others) that I supposedly “vowed” to not debate anti-Catholics and broke the vow. This never happened. I’ve never made a vow in my life except my marriage vows. I did make a too-strongly worded resolution once that I changed my mind on. Resolutions are not vows.
    I have informed all those who have lied in this way that it’s not true, but no matter.

    Why not spend your finger strength on those arguments?

    Precisely because nothing is ever accomplished. Your experience is not mine. You see your friends making arguments, and you’d like to see the Catholic respond. But I know what lies down the road if I do, because I’ve been through all this over and over. Pastor King detests me. Why would I want to spend time dialoguing with him, even if I didn’t have my restrictive policy? He called me on James Swan’s board “a filthy, foulmouthed Romanist.” He’s called me a liar many many times in James White’s chat room, and kicked me off of there more than once.

    Turretinfan thinks I am not a “real” Catholic and don’t even properly represent the Catholic Church. Etc. You’ve seen his recent insults, that were censured by Lane as attacks on character. So this is why I don’t try to dialogue with them anymore.

    I’m not in this to vanquish and conquer and humiliate dialogue opponents, but to seek truth. It’s not about chest-puffing, but about building up the Body of Christ. Dialogue should be enjoyable and edifying, not miserable and filled with insult and mud, as it always is with these guys.

    I have all kinds of papers on prayers for the dead, purgatory, and so forth, if you are so interested in my opinions. They’re out there on my blog.

  85. June 14, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    “Anti-Catholic” is a scholarly term of long use. See:

    Use of the Term “Anti-Catholic” in Protestant and Secular Scholarly Works of History and Sociology

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/01/use-of-term-anti-catholic-in-protestant.html

    The Legitimacy of the Term “Anti-Catholic” as a Noun as Well as an Adjective

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2008/08/legitimacy-of-term-anti-catholic-as.html

    Scholarly Use of the Term “Anti-Catholicism” in Precisely the Way I Habitually Use It (the Theological or Doctrinal Sense)

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2008/07/scholarly-use-of-term-anti-catholicism.html

    The Term “Anti-Catholic” is Widely Used by Scholars of Many Types — Including Non-Catholics (Will Anti-Catholics Ever Comprehend This?)

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/01/term-anti-catholic-is-used-widely-by.html

    TF is the one who has a double standard, since he uses “anti” language himself all the time (yet squeals whenever I use it, even though my use has far more scholarly backing than his does):

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/09/anti-catholic-turretinfan-joins-his.html

  86. Reed Here said,

    June 14, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Ron: thank you for your apology. Yes, I struggled to find the right word. I did not intend to infer anything concerning motive in the use of “judgment.” You picked my concern accurately, the abruptness. Consider it past.

    I do take seriously your concern and question concerning Dave’s debating tactics (my label). Attempting to find a way that does not merely hack him off, I’ve sought to ignore quite a bit and address the need from a different direction. I do not believe challenging Dave extensively on his “anti-catholic” rhetoric is productive. (I note his last response to me does contain quite a bit of self exposure on his part, suggesting that his “no interaction with anti-catholics” principle is held with some serious inconsistency that he his not willing to own. I trust readers can see that for themselves).

    As to his selective response to your challenges to him (I did note that), I’ve not addressed the issue of Dave’s accusations for two reasons: 1) you are aptly defending yourself, and 2) Dave is not adequately responding to the point you are making. His effort to deflect from your primary point has not been sustained. In this sense, he is not making his case, but demonstrating the kind of pugnaciousness he derides in his interlocutors. I think his behavior speaks for itself.

    His continued defensiveness and selective interaction is, as I said, disappointing, and does speak to his relative confidence in his positions. I’m sure he will not like reading this, but I’ve no animosity in observing that his behavior does demonstrate that the positions he takes are more defended by argumentativeness than substantiveness. Again, I think this behavior speaks for itself.

  87. Reed Here said,

    June 14, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Dave: you really aren’t interacting with substantive points deirected at your arguments.

    Instead you’re given to much too much bloviating and claiming expertise instead of demonstrating it. This is not anti-catholic, or even anti- Dave Armstrong, merely my opinion based on your selective interaction.

    E.g., I’ve yet to see the “anti-catholic” nature of DT King’s comments here. (I’m not thereby inferring something about Ron’s or TF’s comments; merely limiting the scope of my example).

    Seriously Dave, if you want to prove your point about Oni and prayers to the dead, ignoring substantive points by both Lane and DT King is not credible.

  88. June 14, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks, Reed……..ron

  89. TurretinFan said,

    June 14, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Reed: I’m a little confused. Is Dave allowed to personally attack and defame those people whose arguments he doesn’t want to address? If not, would you please remove his latest defamatory posts (currently #84 and 85)?

  90. June 14, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Same old same old. How disappointing. But I suppose it was inevitable here.
    The normal fun dialogues I have had on this forum were with Jeff Cagle and Andrew McCallum. But they are nowhere to be seen lately.

  91. June 14, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Same old same old. How disappointing. But I suppose it was inevitable here.The normal fun dialogues I have had on this forum were with Jeff Cagle and Andrew McCallum. But they are nowhere to be seen lately.

    Reed, with all due respect, I truly believe that a lesson should be learned here by all of us – though I can probably think of a few people that were confident this would happen. David Armstrong will stick around as long as his ego is stroked, or at least people are not calling him on his tactics. Now that you have put the press on – you too are no longer worthy of this time. Given this man’s long history, there was no reason to have believed that he was ever interested in rational interchange. He was going to stay as long as the moderators were giving him leniency. Now he holds Jeff and Andrew up as an example to you. Only if you could have been more like they! Yet if they were to ditto your recent post to David, then they too would fall out of favor with Mr. Armstrong.

    Blessings,

    Ron

  92. June 14, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with Lane’s advice that this thread should have ceased by mutual decision. It looks like he saw what was coming and was trying to avoid it. And I completely agree also with his statement at #416 of the Canon thread:

    “While the character of anyone commenting on this board may be suspect and open to challenge in other forums, it is not open on this forum. To the Protestants: even if you think that a particular Romanist’s character is less than honorable, I would prefer if that were not made the topic of debate on this blog. If we keep to the topic and the specific logical argumentation, we will do just fine, I think.”

  93. Bob Suden said,

    June 15, 2010 at 1:13 am

    91
    You nailed it, Ron. Good job.

  94. Reed Here said,

    June 15, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Dave: you’ve given as good as you’ve gotten – routinely ignoring appeals to not engage in such. “Well, he started it first,” is a child’s excuse, and one unbecoming whom you purport to be.

    I’ve ignored (intentionally men) the fair and reasonable complaints that Ron and Turretin Fan have made about your insinuations about them, in large part because they have been making similarly worded challenges back to you. If your willing to engage what you perceive are personal attacks, even after being admonished to not do so, then you have no right to complain.

    You have repeatedly made statements that are personally offensive to me and many others on this blog. Most of those have been ignored (I do not believe I’ve called you on one). I’ve urged repeatedly that you follow the same pattern. You hold up Jeff Cagle’s conversation as an example – well follow that pattern yourself and you’ll find that even the “anti-catholics” will tone down quite a bit,

    My most recent exchange has been to press you to deal with the substance of the topic here. You have demonstrated a consistency in obfuscating that is impressive in its ability to mask the fact that you refuse to do so. In spite of your professed policy to not interact with “ant-catholics”, even as you’ve recently qualfied it (not debate theology with them), you still do so selectively. It is sad that when you choose to interact with them you do so to return what you perceive is an attack.

    How might you receive the charge of being an anti-Protestant? After all, you spend most of your time here deriding and denouncing, playing one-up games at most when you decide to interact with the subject. Your rhetoric has a decided, “you silly protestants, I know your theology better than you do, and y’all are sooooooooo wrong,” condescending tone to it.

    None of this is said is anger, or tit for tat Dave. I’m offering some sincere criticism. When you debate the topic at hand you do o.k. (even if I disagree with you, at least you’re making substantive comments). But to choose to ignore the substantive comments of “anti-catholics” and then to get heated up and respond to what you perceive are their slights … this is not a failing of this blog, but you.

  95. Reed Here said,

    June 15, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Well, it may be that folks haven’t woken up yet and had time to read the last few exchanges. I’m holding out hope that Dave A. has not done what Ron D. thinks he may have done, labeled me an anti-catholic not worthy of debating. (But, Ron, you may be right).

    At the risk of pushing Dave A. even further, let me note a few things for folks just reading along.

    First, it is clear that my initial expression understanding for why Dave A. does not want to interact with DT King or Ron D. (and TF by implication) carried with it some inferences that I did not intend. In fairness to Rev. King and Ron (TF) I should clarify that here.

    I did not mean to infer that Rev. King or Ron (TF) were not making substantive comments that directly addressed Dave A.’s argument. Indeed, I believe quite the contrary and wish Dave A. would re-consider. If he wants his position to be taken credibly, he needs to deal with the actual arguments against it. These men have offered cogent arguments against his position.

    I personally do not agree with Dave A.’s principle to not debate (theologically, but willingly exchange barbs with) men he deems as merely anti-catholic. I further agree with Turretin Fan’s point that such rhetoric is at best stifling to any real open exchange between men who hold opposing views. Labeling someone “anti” anything, whether you can establish a “scholarly” reputation for it or not, is simply not conducive to the kind of friendly interaction Dave A. states he wishes.

    Further, if this is his intent, he would be wise to quit making himself out to be an expert on what we think, and a martyr to boot. By way of example, in one of his recent exchanges with me he in effect claimed to have a bettwe working knowledge of Calvin than most “Calvinists”. He then defends his diatribe trading with the anti-catholics because he is being personally attacked. Both “defenses” of his rhetoric completely ignored the reasonable, Christlike response to such things, stick to the substance.

    I anticipate the possibility that Dave A. may read this post as personal attack. I intend it to be nothing of the sort. He needs to understand that most of us here at GB are just as “anti-catholic,” at least in terms of how he has demonstrated what he means by that term. After all, most of us agree that teh RCC teaches “another gospel,” one that is not the gospel at all (Gal 1:7-8). If that makes us “anti-catholic” so be it. The truth of the matter is that Dave’s own Church believes the we likewise teach another gospel, making him by his definition an “ant-protestant.”

    I’m fine with living with these labels. I don’t think they’re helpful and won’t make a habit of using them. Yet I won’t ignore that my opponent thinks this way about my position. Nor do I expect him to ignore that I think of his convictions the way I do.

    Instead I’ll strive for polite polemics; substantive arguments that attack the position not the person. I admit at times I will forget myself. I will endeavor to repent in Christ when that happens.

  96. June 15, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Reed, it might not be that he thinks you to be an anti-Catholic (whatever that might mean to him), but rather he might just think that you followed anti-Catholics in your more recent discourse, as this quote of last night on his blog might suggest.

    “The hopeful signs of Lane’s fair-minded reply have turned sour with the decision of moderator Reed DePlace (“Reed Here”) to follow the usual judgmental garbage of the anti-Catholics, after I spent much time carefully answering his questions today and daring to disagree with some of his conclusions.” Dave Armstrong

    I had no intention of putting that quote on this site, as I wrote to Lane and asked him to relay to you last night, but it now seems appropriate that I bring this to your attention in this forum given that you are questioning out loud whether you have indeed been lumped in with some of the rest of us. If you’re not an anti-Catholic to DA, you are indeed a close cousin. Relax, you’ll get used to it! :)

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/06/anti-catholic-turretinfan-tries-again.html?showComment=1276574091328#c608243370158629319

    Ron

  97. Reed Here said,

    June 15, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Ron: yeah, getting used to it. I guess the most frustrating part is being called a kettle by the pot. Would that Dave A. would be a little humbler and not take any/all criticism as mean-spirited ill-will.

    Yet I’ll not waste time worrying about that.

  98. D. T. King said,

    June 15, 2010 at 10:42 am

    If the moderators will indulge me, I would like to offer an explanation to my fellow Reformed brethren/readers here as to why I use the term “Romanist” to describe members of the Roman communion. I use it with conviction, and this is why . . . A Romanist who defends the dogmas peculiar to Rome should not (as I understand the term) be accepted either as “catholic” in doctrine or as “catholic” in sentiment. I mean no insult and/or empty rhetoric by it, and this is why I regard them as Romanists, and refuse to extend to them the term “catholic” as presupposed in our subordinate, confessional standards (WCF Chapter 25). I do not believe these people to be “catholic” in the true sense of the word. Now, I know that they wish to regard “Romanist” as a derogatory term, and that some (not all) do so in order to play the martyr/victim game, and it fools a great many evangelical Christians. But who among us here, as Reformed believers, is ever offended to be called a Calvinist? I am most certainly not offended by that term. And if someone proposes to defend the dogmas peculiar to Rome, I see no reason why he should be offended by the term “Romanist.” My convictions do not permit me to extend to them the term “catholic” given the reality that they have so many dogmas that are “uncatholic” in nature, particularly the dogma of primal primacy which is, in essence, an usurpation of the crown prerogatives of the only true king and head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ. The ancient eastern Church never accepted papal primacy, and my sentiments lie with them in that respect. I commend to all of you the words of Basil of Caesarea (329-379 A.D.) who testified in his Preface on the Judgment of God of the Lord Jesus Christ that He is “the truly one and only head” of the Church. (Greek text:τῆς μιᾶς καὶ μόνης ἀληθῶς κεφαλῆς. De Judicio Dei, §3, PG 31:660.)

    Moreover, this ancient churchmen describes the church of his day as suffering from the same divisions to which Romanists lay at the feet of Protestantism…

    Basil of Caesarea: Liberated from the error of pagan tradition through the benevolence and loving kindness of the good God, with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the operation of the Holy Spirit, I was reared from the very beginning by Christian parents. From them I learned even in babyhood the Holy Scriptures which led me to a knowledge of the truth. When I grew to manhood, I traveled about frequently and, in the natural course of things, I engaged in a great many worldly affairs. Here I observed that the most harmonious relations existed among those trained in the pursuit of each of the arts and sciences; while in the Church of God alone, for which Christ died and upon which He poured out in abundance the Holy Spirit, I noticed that many disagree violently with one another and also in their understanding of the Holy Scriptures. Most alarming of all is the fact that I found the very leaders of the Church themselves at such variance with one another in thought and opinion, showing so much opposition to the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so mercilessly rendering asunder the Church of God and cruelly confounding His flock that, in our day, with the rise of the Anomoeans, there is fulfilled in them as never before the prophecy, ‘Of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.’
    Witnessing such disorders as these and perplexed as to what the cause and source of such evil might be, I at first was in a state, as it were, of thick darkness and, as if on a balance, I veered now this way, now that—attracted now to one man, now to another, under the influence of protracted association with these persons, and then thrust in the other direction, as I bethought myself of the validity of the Holy Scriptures. After a long time spent in this state of indecision and while I was still busily searching for the cause I have mentioned, there came to my mind the Book of Judges which tells how each man did what was right in his own eyes and gives the reason for this in the words” ‘In those days there was no king in Israel.’ With these words in my mind, then, I applied also to the present circumstances that explanation which, incredible and frightening as it may be, is quite truly pertinent when it is understood; for never before has there arisen such discord and quarreling as now among the members of the Church in consequence of their turning away from the one, great, and true God, only King of the universe. Each man, indeed, abandons the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and arrogates to himself authority in dealing with certain questions, making his own private rules, and preferring to exercise leadership in opposition to the Lord to being led by the Lord. See Fathers of the Church, Vol. 9, Preface on the Judgment of God (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1950), pp. 37-38. See also the translation offered in W. K. L. Clarke, The Ascetic Works of Saint Basil, Translations of Christian Literature Series I, Greek Texts (London: S.P.C.K., 1925), Prelude On the Judgment of God, pp. 77-78.

    I appreciate all for bearing with me in offering this explanation.

  99. D. T. King said,

    June 15, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Please pardon my typo, not “primal primacy,” I meant to say “papal primacy.”

  100. greenbaggins said,

    June 15, 2010 at 10:57 am

    To all, Dave Armstrong and I have agreed that the issues on which we are debating would better be debated blog to blog, rather than in the combox. We agreed (in effect) that more heat than light was being generated. He has therefore amicably agreed to desist from commenting in my combox, and instead make the debate blog to blog. I do not know what his rules are for debate on his blog, but those wishing to continue the debate with Dave may go over there.

  101. TurretinFan said,

    June 15, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Reed:

    You wrote: “After all, most of us agree that the RCC teaches “another gospel,” one that is not the gospel at all (Gal 1:7-8).”

    I hope that all TR ministers and other elders would agree that Rome proclaims another gospel. I’m not aware of any who have said otherwise. If there is someone here who doesn’t think so, I’d be happy to try to explain why I think that conclusion is the only reasonable one in view of Scripture and our Confessional standards. And I’d be happy to provide that explanation privately, if anyone is shy to acknowledge their uncertainty or disagreement on that issue.

    -TurretinFan

  102. June 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Some sundry thoughts as this all winds down…

    The apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit declared that if he or even an angel from heaven preached any other gospel other than that which he preached let him be accursed. With respect to the gospel, what the apostle had in view was not the finished work of Christ per se but rather the appropriation of that work. In other words, the apostle was not addressing whether Jesus died for his people and rose again for their justification. Rather, the apostle was jealous to protect and desirous to declare the good news of how the finished work of the Savior must be appropriated so that one can be justified. The apostle had in view justification by faith alone, apart from works (Galatians 2:16). Obviously, one’s understanding of the finished work of Christ will influence his understanding of how that work is to be appropriated. If Christ’s work is lacking, then merit and expiation must be found, at least in part, elsewhere as opposed to in Christ alone. To look elsewhere is to bring reproach upon the grace offered in the gospel.

    Should we draw distinctions between those in fellowship with Rome?

    I think we must. I believe we do well to keep in mind that the apostle distinguishes between the “bewitched” saints and the false teachers who did the bewitching by perverting the gospel of grace. The apostle’s unambiguous anathema was placed upon those who perverted the gospel and not upon the confused congregants who were about to fall from grace as it were. The apostle in the tradition of Christ always dealt more severely with the religious leaders who made proselytes twice the sons of hell as themselves (Matthew 23:15). It is the godless man who slips in unnoticed and denies the Sovereign Lord’s gospel of grace who faces the greater condemnation (Jude 4). Accordingly, we all do well to consider what we are teaching because it is the teacher who will incur the more severe judgment (James 3:1). We should want to ensure that we are not found among those who will be destroyed for smuggling in damnable heresies (2 Peter 2:1).

    Faith alone is the only remedy:

    Finally, the apostle taught that the forgiveness of sins and a right standing before God comes only through the monergistic work of the Holy Spirit and not by obeying God’s ordinances (even by grace). By being baptized into the finished work of Christ, signed and sealed in water baptism, sinners become heirs with Christ according to the promise that was made to the patriarchs (Galatians 3:29). It is only through union with Christ that one is clothed in Christ’s righteousness (Galatians 3:27). Through union with Christ, His propitiatory sacrifice for sins becomes our payment for sins. Through union with Christ, his perfect righteousness becomes our perfect righteousness. God’s wrath toward unworthy sinners is 100% placated and His justice 100% satisfied upon our being found in him. Then there are the glories of adoption, something we probably need to hear more about. For the true believer the forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the adoption as sons, and the hope of glory are all ours now and forever. May this good news bring the Jews (and the NT Jews found in Rome) to jealousy so that they too might be grafted in with us to the one Vine. Let there be no mistake, union is not at odds with faith. Indeed, upon union with Christ the sinner is declared not guilty and righteous for Christ’s sake alone. The apostle indexes the instrumental cause of the sinner’s pardon and right standing before God to faith and faith alone. It is by faith so that it might be by grace. Faith is the gift of God that is immediately present within the sinner the moment he is recreated in Christ and found in Him (Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 3:9).

    How should we regard those who fellowship with Rome?

    The churches at Galatia were confused. The gospel was faint and in some sense unrecognizable; yet the church existed in a visible form with visible sacraments and the apostle addressed his audience as “brethren.” It is noteworthy that Israel had an incorrect view of circumcision and how corporate membership related to salvation. Nonetheless, even given a perverted use of the sacrament it still distinguished the Jews from the world, marking them out as the visible people of God. Accordingly, Roman baptism, although perverted, may be honored. Moreover, Israel called for the crucifixion of their Messiah; yet the apostle John records for us that that Christ came to “his own” who received him not. How are God’s covenant people to be identified? Is it by the orthodoxy of the gospel or the visible signs of the covenant (or both)? There’s not enough to time to flesh that out here. How are the Popes to be viewed? Well that’s an easy one. We must have our affections formed by Scripture. With God’s word we must say: let any person, Pope or Bishop (or even an angel from Heaven) who would pervert the gospel and lead people to hell be accursed. Yet all those who are being bewitched be saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. As hard a saying as that is, let us remember that he who cannot pronounce curses in the name of the Lord really cannot pronounce His blessings.

    Unworthy but His,

    Ron

  103. June 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    God’s wrath toward unworthy sinners is 100% placated and His justice 100% satisfied upon our being found in him.

    Clearly this was accomplished 2000 years ago. I was referring to “redemption applied”, when we, by receiving the reconciliation, go from being “children of wrath just the like the rest” to those at peace with God.

    RWD

  104. Reed Here said,

    June 15, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Ron: good summary. Let all be clear, there are no “anti-catholic” in that summary. Instead, Ron has summarized real differences that all need to heed.

    Our RCC friends do the exact same thing from their perspective. I’m not offended.

  105. June 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Reed,

    What I appreciate about the delegates to the Council of Trent and the Protestant Reformers is that both sides appreciated that at least somebody was preaching another gospel. They knew the score and what was at stake, which seems to escape the more modern movements like ECT, and more recently the so-called Manhattan Declaration.

    Cheers,

    Ron

  106. Reed Here said,

    June 15, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    … chuckling …

  107. Reed Here said,

    June 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I note that at his blog Dave Armstrong has taken my last comments (i.e., another gospel) as proof positive that I have declared myself to be anti-catholic.

    I reject his slanderous accusation. It is untrue, unfounded, and contrary to both my profession and the evidence here.

  108. David Meyer said,

    June 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I am a Reformed guy who is about to join the Catholic church. I thought the post was interesting from a “story” point of view. I always like to hear peoples accounts of seeing a foreign situation. A Reformed guy in a Catholic mass is certainly a fish out of water situation! Other than the personal account though, I found the post to be lacking in real content. I mean OF COURSE you don’t pray to saints. Your Reformed. No surprise there. The fact that ~90% of Christians for the past 2 millenia DID AND DO pray to saints is not proof that it is ok, but it should give way more pause to Protestants than it does. At least enough pause to get the facts straight about why Catholics and Orthodox DO pray to saints. (not that the poster does not have his facts straight, but most Protestants could care less!)
    He says:

    “I for one am not going to cross that bridge over to Catholicism. I will stand on the solas of the Reformation.”

    I for one WILL cross over because Sola Scriptura makes no sense. It is obvious that under Sola Scriptura, I was the final authority. Like Keith Mathison says, “every apeal to scripture is an apeal to an interpretation of scripture” so I have come to see the emperor walking down the street stark naked.
    If anyone is interested on hearing RC Sproul Jr’s response to this decision of mine, you can check it out here:

    http://newchristendom.blogspot.com/2010/06/rc-sproul-jr-on-converts-to-catholicism.html

    We Catholics love you guys and hope you will get a better feel for what we ( 17% of the planet) believes so that the church can have the full unity Christ desires for us!

    Peace brothers!

    David

  109. Bob Suden said,

    June 15, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    GB Respectfully IMO Dave was never interested in “debate”. He only showed his true colors when it became clear that it wasn’t all about him. As to whatever will come of this aor goes on over at his site ( I hate the term blog) I really couldn’t care less.

    DTK Good point. Born in the RC I remember being told that other people called us the Roman Catholics.

    RG By definition the pope perverts the gospel ala Gal. 1:9.
    The reformed fathers categorically considered the office to be that of antichrist. WCF 25:6, 2 Thess. 2:3-8

    Even further, the roman church is a chameleon. If the Psalmist says all who worship idols become like them (115:8) romanists cannot help, but become sophists, particularly if they make it a point to become proficient defending and promoting roman distinctives avidly as some people we know do. ( Onesiphorus is a biblical example of praying for the dead!? Like do we need to adminster drug tests before allowing people to post (2Cor. 11:19,20)?

    Reed, I have to admit I was beginning to wonder if everyone had swallowed DA’s jive, hook, line and sinker! Glad to see it ain’t so.

    Last, if anybody has read Packer’s historical intro to Luther’s Bondage of the Will, pretty much all DA’s affirmation of being an evangelical at one time meant that at one time he was an arminian. But romanism is essentially arminian in principle or vice versa. Both teach a salvation by works, albeit with the last it is according to one’s “free will”. Sad, but true.

    cordially

  110. TurretinFan said,

    June 16, 2010 at 10:06 am

    “I am a Reformed guy who is about to join the Catholic church.”

    I am sorry to hear that you’re still pursuing that path. By the way, may I ask whether your current elders are aware of your plan? If that is too personal, I apologize.

    You make an appeal to numbers. Are you aware that there is a huge amount of nominalism within the numbers for both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox? If you’re aware of that, why do you think the numbers are worth mentioning?

    -TurretinFan

  111. D. T. King said,

    June 16, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I mean OF COURSE you don’t pray to saints. Your Reformed. No surprise there. The fact that ~90% of Christians for the past 2 millenia DID AND DO pray to saints is not proof that it is ok, but it should give way more pause to Protestants than it does.

    All of us who are less informed than yourself would be grateful if you would prove this claim instead of assuming it. Thanks.

  112. June 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    “I mean OF COURSE you don’t pray to saints. Your Reformed. No surprise there. The fact that ~90% of Christians for the past 2 millenia DID AND DO pray to saints is not proof that it is ok, but it should give way more pause to Protestants than it does.

    And 67% of the world has no Christian affiliation. By your reasoning that should give Christians more reason to pause than it does, but don’t let that distract you from DTK’s challenge to prove your statistic.

    Ron

  113. Reed Here said,

    June 16, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Dave: you say,

    The fact that ~90% of Christians for the past 2 millenia DID AND DO pray to saints is not proof that it is ok, but it should give way more pause to Protestants than it does.

    My immediate response was to think of what Scripture says about the “majority” in the Visible Church” (given the RCC the benefit of the doubt for the sake of this discussion):

    Romans 9:27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, (emphasis added)

    Romans 10:21 – 11:5 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 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? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.

    That a “majority” in the Visible Church maintains a debatable practice is actually a reason for pause and serious investigation if this is not evidence of that majority’s rejection of God, rather than submission to Him.

  114. TurretinFan said,

    June 16, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    We can even step back before Paul, to Jesus’ earthly ministry. Recall:

    John 7:46-48

    The officers answered, “Never man spake like this man.”

    Then answered them the Pharisees, “Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?”

    But, of course, our rule of faith is not majority of those who label themselves “Christians,” but the Word of God contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

    -TurretinFan

  115. June 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    In passing we might also note that those who actually pray to saints would be censured by a confessional church that preached the biblical gospel for being delinquent in doctrine and lifestyle. Accordingly, that puts the statistic in our book down to zero percent of Christians pray to saints.

    Ron

  116. Phil Derksen said,

    June 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    “We Catholics love you guys and hope you will get a better feel for what we ( 17% of the planet) believes…”

    “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13, 14)

  117. Reed Here said,

    June 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Ron: yep.

    Phil: actually the first verse I thought of, but forgot to note it.

    I can’t help but observe with sadness that Dave here is offering yet another “informed” uninformed opinion of the weaknesses of reformed doctrine. I accept his sincerity. I’ve not yet talked with someone like him who really did comprehend the genius (i.e., the uniqueness demonstrating it’s accuracy with Scripture) of reformed doctrine.

  118. David Meyer said,

    June 17, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Turretin Fan: Yes I did inform my session. I have not heard from them about it at all. My impression is that excommunication is a possibility.

    Ron DiGiacomo: You mentioned “confessional church that preached the biblical gospel”. This statement is what I am fleeing from. You will say I am running from “confessional churches and the biblical gospel”, but what I am running from is YOU or ME as the arbiter of what that church and gospel is! Lets just ask Mike Horton and Doug Wilson to point us to the gospel you refer to shall we? Oh wait, that just leads us to then decide for ourselves what the Scripture says, and oh wait, then I guess WE are the ones that are our own authority. So when you say “confessional church that preached the biblical gospel” I see through the facade now. The emperor has no clothes. What you mean is for me to agree and submit to YOUR opinion of what church and gospel consist of. You also said “zero percent of Christians pray to saints”.
    I guess you do not consider me a brother in Christ then. I do return that sentiment to you brother, and if you look at church history and see who DID pray to saints, you might want to reconsider that percentage.

    As for my statistic of ~90%, I meant the sheer number of christians throughout history that have prayed to saints and prayed for the dead should GIVE REFORMED BELIEVERS PAUSE. It PROVES nothing, to be sure. The (~) before 90% was meant as “not exactly 90 but the vast majority”. I should have said “vast majority” instead of “~90%”, I was wrong, mea culpa, now hear my point…Does anyone seriously debate that the majority of Christians of all time have practised praying to saints? So if you feel my point is wrong because I cannot prove the exact number, that seems semantic. Again it PROVES nothing. My point was not to prove.

    Reed said: “That a “majority” in the Visible Church maintains a debatable practice is actually a reason for pause and serious investigation.”

    Your reference to the Visibe Church seems to imply it is visibly divided in doctrine, but that is another topic. You said it is a debatable practice. Well from a PROTESTant perspective of course it is debatable! Everything is debatable when you arrogate the authority to define doctrine to yourself away from the church and what it has already decided in council.

    The statement that it is up for debate is up for debate!

    Also Reed, you have made the most common accusation I have heard since I decided to be Catholic. You say: “yet another “informed” uninformed opinion of the weaknesses of reformed doctrine” and “I’ve not yet talked with someone like him who really did comprehend the genius”…

    So if I were smarter, more informed, and if I really did understand your genius in ellucidating Reformed doctrine, then you would not feel sad for me? I am a layman and have studied Reformed doctrine for 9 years in my spare time and I think I understand it pretty well for a layman.

    Compared to you I bet I am fairly uninformed. But don’t you see how that fact is a warning sign to someone in my ill-informed position? Would Christ give us a church where there is no way for me do distinguish between the content of Divine revelation on the one hand and my own (or my favorite teachers) mere opinion on the other?

    I sincerely desire the Truth not ony in His Person, but in doctrine. It is this desire for the unadulterated Truth, (as opposed to self consciously human opinion) that has lead me to look for THE church. The Catholic Church claims to have a teaching office guided directly by the Holy Spirit.

    They might be wrong about that.
    Having researched it as much as I am able, I am convinced it is consistent with being the Church Christ founded and that we should expect to see at this point in history.
    But one thing is undeniable: they have a singularity of doctrine that has no match in the ever splintering, ever disagreeing, many headed magisterium of Protestantism.

    The Apostles were in agreement as to doctrine because the Holy Spirit enlivens the church. If I then want to look for that church in history, the choices are pretty slim. The “confessional” Reformed churches may have started thinking they were carrying on the true church, but after the reformer’s log has fractured, splintered, and now a sliver of one of the splinters is claiming my attention, pointing to themselves saying “if you only were smarter, learned more about what I believe, listen to MY interpretation of this book and not the other 489 interpretations, you will have the truth then! Forgive me if that sounds pompous to me. I’ll stick with the church that rejected this Protestant hydra from the beginning. Protestants say: “6th eccumenical council: yep. 7th ecumenical council: um… I don’t agree so nope.” Nothing but personal interpretation of the scripture drives their decision, then they tell me I must agree with their interpretation to have the real gospel? Why?

    I will stick with the councils of the church thank you. Good luck with your Reformed Eccumenical council that will end the Federal Vision debate. Oh, wait… there will be no such council because there is no church authority to convene or enforce such a council…

    Peace,

    David

  119. David Meyer said,

    June 17, 2010 at 9:01 am

    My previous comment should be ammended by the moderator if possible. I meant to say “I DO NOT return that sentiment to you brother” Big difference, and I wouldnt want him to think I harbor that sentiment!

  120. David Meyer said,

    June 17, 2010 at 9:19 am

    A post I made at CTC will better explain my thoughts. Find it here:

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/03/doug-wilsons-authority-and-apostolic-succession/#comment-7293

  121. D. T. King said,

    June 17, 2010 at 9:21 am

    As for my statistic of ~90%, I meant the sheer number of christians throughout history that have prayed to saints and prayed for the dead should GIVE REFORMED BELIEVERS PAUSE. It PROVES nothing, to be sure. The (~) before 90% was meant as “not exactly 90 but the vast majority”. I should have said “vast majority” instead of “~90%”, I was wrong, mea culpa, now hear my point…Does anyone seriously debate that the majority of Christians of all time have practised praying to saints? So if you feel my point is wrong because I cannot prove the exact number, that seems semantic. Again it PROVES nothing. My point was not to prove

    I guess, I’m at a loss to understand. You make a claim, change it from 90% to a “vast majority,” claim it proves nothing, and then proceed on the presupposition of no proof to ask, “Does anyone seriously debate that the majority of Christians of all time have practised praying to saints?”…And then if I ask for some proof for the claim, it seems semantic????

    If your point was not to prove, was your point for us simply to take your word for it? What was your point in making this claim? I’m trying to understand. What historical facts and statistics could possibly lead one to make such a claim?

    DTK

  122. D. T. King said,

    June 17, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I can’t pause without some proof. :)

  123. Reed Here said,

    June 17, 2010 at 9:30 am

    David: you sound a bit antognistic. I did not write what I said to antagonize you, or cause you to be defensive. I’m not trying to pick a fight, but simply observe what I’ve seen to be true from my perspective.

    As to who is smarter, my comment was not directed at that. I’m not claiming to be brighter or better than you (indeed, the very opposite may be the case). Instead I’m simply noting that in such discussions I regularly see that the other person thinks they’ve got it all figured out, when actually they demonstrate key misunderstandings of reformed belief and practice. Sincerely, I see hints at least of such things in your response.

    E.g., you did not actually interact with my biblically based point concerning the reason an appeal to the majority should give any Christian a reason to pause. Instead you went to a perjorative attack against “PROTESTants”. I never attacked you. Why did you feel the need to attack instead of interact with the biblical argument? Is it possible that you’ve not considered the “remnant,” the wider vs. narrow way concept, and how it applies to the RCC’s claim of historical majority status?

    As to your response to Ron D., and the quest for religious certainty, might I sincerely suggest you read something like R. Scott Clark’s Recovering the Reformed Confession. He deals well with an erroneous notion that you and almost every other reformed to RCC convert I’ve run across puts forth as your main motivation for going to Rome. It is the idea that religious certainty, absolute surety in terms of your doctrinal convictions, can be had via a man based means. Scott rightly labels this as an “illegitimate” quest.

    I do sympathize with the anxiety and frustration to be had in a situation where there appears to be no settled agreement as to the truth. An appeal to an institution that makes an apparently credible claim to have the divine imprimature, and therefore speak authoritatively in God’s name indeed has an inviting and alluring appeal.

    Aside from the fact that belief in the supremacy of the Magisterium is just as much subjectively based as any PROTESTant belief, you will find that that all is not roses in Mother Rome’s gardens. In fact you will find that rather than finding secuirty in doctrinal agreement, you will only have found security in practice agreement. Rome is the home for the equivocation and relativistic doctrinal formulation long before the modern era. It is practice more than doctrine which is authoritatively settled in Rome. (This goes to Scott’s other illegitimate quest, religious experience).

    You will find you’ve traded security in the Spirit’s direct ministry (you shall know the truth via the Spirit of truth, Jh 8:32; 16:13) for yet another slavery to the opinions of man. I’m not saying that your experience in whatever PROTESTant churches you’ve been in have not also had this error. I will say this is not the norm for a reformed church rightly understanding and teaching the gospel of Christ.

    There seems to me to be a misunderstanding in concerns of the authority of the Church shared by both some (many) PROTESTants and Romanists. It seems to me that both assume a kind of authority in the Church that is not what God has actually given.

    It may be that this is the source of the critical misunderstanding. It may be that like a lens that is marred, Rome only looks correct because it looks better through the marred lens. But if one first cleans the lens, then the underlying “problem” may be seen in a completely different manner, one which demonstrates that it is not really a problem at all.

  124. Reed Here said,

    June 17, 2010 at 9:32 am

    David: btw, I’m sure it is a convention you’ve picked up as a means of expressing a sincere desire, but it is quite contradictory to write in such an antagonistic manner, issuing even veiled attacks as you have, and then sign off “peace”. Knd of sounds hypocritical.

    Again, I’m not saying you are a hypocrite. Rather that the convention of signing off in such a manner does not comport well with the kind of tone you wrote with. If you feel the need to write in that manner, maybe a different sign off would be more appropriate.

  125. D. T. King said,

    June 17, 2010 at 9:35 am

    BTW, I never asked for an exact number, only for proof for this “VAST MAJORITY.” So please don’t be distracted by “an exact number” for which no one asked you. I would like for you to make good your claim for this “VAST MAJORITY.” Thanks!

  126. TurretinFan said,

    June 17, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Mr. Meyer:

    Thanks for your response. I am sorry to hear that your session seems to have given up on you. We have not given up on you here, for what it’s worth.

    To briefly answer your question, yes – people do doubt your modified assertion. One reason is the fact that praying the saints is not something encouraged by Scripture. The best evidence we have about the 1st century church – the Acts of the Apostles – does not provide us with any reason to think that the church of that age acted as Rome does today.

    I brought up the issue of nominalism, which you’ve passed over. I think it is important for you to consider it. Although the official size of the Roman Catholic Church today is vast, a lot of those counted are – at best – nominal adherents. We can see that from, for example, the reproduction rates in Italy and other European Roman Catholic countries.

    The sex scandals that have rocked Roman Catholicism are also evidence (not proof, of course) of a significant presence of nominal adherents even in the hierarchy.

    And, of course, I’m just focusing on nominalism vis-a-vis Rome’s own official standards. If we judged Romanism by Scripture, many even of those zealous, theologically conservative Roman Catholics would not meet the Scriptural definition of a Christian, because they are not seeking salvation through Christ alone.

    Do you see the problem?

    Do you have hesitations about joining an organization that does not rid itself of nominal adherents, that continues to financially support evil men like Cardinal Law, and that teaches that it is anathema to say that “by faith alone the impious is justified” (Trent on Justification, Canon IX)? Shouldn’t those things give one serious pause?

    -TurretinFan

  127. June 17, 2010 at 11:15 am

    “…I am running from is YOU or ME as the arbiter of what that church and gospel is! Let’s just ask Mike Horton and Doug Wilson to point us to the gospel you refer to shall we? Oh wait, that just leads us to then decide for ourselves what the Scripture says, and oh wait, then I guess WE are the ones that are our own authority. So when you say “confessional church that preached the biblical gospel” I see through the facade now. The emperor has no clothes. What you mean is for me to agree and submit to YOUR opinion of what church and gospel consist of… ”

    David,

    p1. Clear communication is discernable by rational people who desire the truth
    p2. God’s communication of the gospel in his word is clear communication
    Conclusion: God’s communication of the gospel in his word is discernable by rational people who desire the truth

    I will assume that you will accept the validity of the form of the syllogism. Accordingly, if the premises that have been pumped into the valid form are indeed true, then of course the conclusion is reliable. The only question is which premise(s) would you dare deny?

    The conclusion is that God’s communication of the gospel in his word is discernable by people who desire the truth. You would like to deny that conclusion – yet for you to reject iy you will be constrained to reject at least one of the two premises.

    However, if you reject p1, that clear communication is discernable by rational people that desire the truth – then your axiom that you can discern the clear communication of the gospel according to Rome becomes suspect. If you reject p2, that God’s communication of the gospel in his word is clear – then your axiom that Rome has understood the gospel without confusion also becomes suspect. Consequently, to reject that argument that is before you is to dismiss out of hand at least one if not two premises that you yourself require in order to discern Christ’s gospel through the mediation of Rome.

    Rather than write sheets and sheets, which is all too common among Romanists, I ask that you simply state which premise or premises you find false and without getting too far afield, please argue how you do not undermine your own position by rejecting said premises. NOTE: I’m looking for arguments, not opinions.

    {Rather than diluting the force of this post, I’ll pass on your statistical conjecture and reasoning having to do with the historical, idolatrous practice of praying to anyone other than God.}

    Ron

  128. Reed Here said,

    June 17, 2010 at 11:40 am

    David: I understand it is difficult to respond to four different people. Feel free to respond to the others, and leave my comments unresponded. I’ll understand.

  129. TurretinFan said,

    June 17, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Reed: You are a gentleman, sir.

    However, Mr. Meyer, if you need to reduce the number of folks to whom you respond, please feel free to omit me first in favor of responding to elders Ron, David, and Reed. After all, I am a person of no particular consequence.

    -TurretinFan

  130. Reed Here said,

    June 17, 2010 at 11:57 am

    TF: what’s this one-upmanship :-)

    Thanks for your kindness, and your other efforts at you know where.

  131. D. T. King said,

    June 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    After all, I am a person of no particular consequence.

    Not in my estimation.

  132. June 17, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    “…I am running from is YOU or ME as the arbiter of what that church and gospel is!” Let’s just ask Mike Horton and Doug Wilson to point us to the gospel you refer to shall we? Oh wait, that just leads us to then decide for ourselves what the Scripture says, and oh wait, then I guess WE are the ones that are our own authority.

    Dave.

    That’s a good start. Now to whom will you turn? Who has the words of eternal life? Jesus said that his sheep hear his voice and they follow him.

    I would suggest to you that it is equivocal to think, and misleading to suggest, that making a personal determination of what should be considered authoritative somehow places the one making the determination authoritatively above the one he has become convinced is the authority. Christ is Lord and his word is authoritative. It is the task of all men to come to that conclusion; yet when they do they are not setting themselves up as an authority but rather coming to embrace the reality of what was always the case – that Christ, the Word, is Lord. Obviously you must decide over the different voices of this world and determine for yourself which one or ones to follow. If that by your definition makes one an arbiter of truth, then being an arbiter of truth is unavoidable. In other words, if you wish to define your terms in such a way that sets men up as authoritative when they decide whom they must follow, then it’s an inescapable predicament that Romanism cannot save you from. So, every time you suggest this as a Protestant dilemma you reason by double-standard. My challenge is that if you know who Christ is by his word, then why not stick with that very same word to find out what he requires of you? His person and work can be found in the same depository of truth, His word. Any denomination that would not suggest and even go so far as to discourage, if not forbid (at sundry times and places), one to weigh their teachings against the teachings of the Bible is a dangerous place to call home. The cults do this, do they not?

    So when you say “confessional church that preached the biblical gospel” I see through the facade now.

    There’s no façade about it. The gospel comes by way of Christ’s authority. Whether Rome or the Westminster standards are correct does not change the fact that they who agree with Christ are not adding any authority to His gospel.

    The emperor has no clothes. What you mean is for me to agree and submit to YOUR opinion of what church and gospel consist of… ”

    No, I ask you to strive to figure out Christ’s gospel. Spend all your waking hours in this endeavor if you must. When you are persuaded of the truth, then by all means throw yourself upon the mercy of that message you believe to be from God, not men. Fair enough?

    Ron

  133. June 17, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I must leave these discussions.

    Blessings to all who know and love the Lord.

    Ron

  134. D. T. King said,

    June 17, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    The emperor has no clothes…

    Yes, and I’m still looking for Rome’s claim to these clothes, which your metaphor implies that Rome is wearing. So then, could you please demonstrate the clothes of this truth claim implied in the question, “Does anyone seriously debate that the majority of Christians of all time have practised praying to saints?”

  135. James Dean said,

    June 17, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    If anyone lurking on this thread is interested in the one proof (among others) of ancient practice of prayer for and to the “dead.” they can look at St. Cyril’s cathetical lecture on Sacred Liturgy and Communion. <a href="http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.ii.xxvii.html#fnf_ii.xxvii-p24.1&quot; (Focus Paragraphs ( 9&10)

  136. James Dean said,

    June 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Correct link(Paragraphs ( 9&10)

    If anyone lurking on this thread is interested in the one proof (among others) of ancient practice of prayer for and to the “dead.” they can look at St. Cyril’s cathetical lecture on Sacred Liturgy and Communion.
    LINK (Paragraphs ( 9&10)

  137. TurretinFan said,

    June 17, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Mr. Dean,

    Paragraph 9 deals with prayers for which the saints etc. are mediators, i.e. prayers through not to or for the dead. That is to say, the hope is that the prayer will be accepted on the basis of the merit of those commemorated in the prayer. That’s an example of illicit prayer through someone other than Christ. Something similar may be found in the Roman religion in the prayers that are prescribed for the period before a person has been canonized as a saint. Scripture, on the other hand, teaches us that there is one mediator between God and man. That’s why such prayers are illicit.

    Paragraph 10 mentions the idea of prayers for the departed, and specifically for departed sinners. Do you understand what’s going on there? The idea is that God is not propitious towards them, but that God may be rendered propitious toward them through the intercession of the living.

    These are souls that have been banished from the presence of God for sins. These are, to put it bluntly, damned souls for which Cyril is suggesting prayers may be helpful.

    Yes, it’s an ancient practice – but like many ancient errors – one that we would do well to learn from rather than imitate. Thankfully Cyril of Jerusalem held to a form of Sola Scriptura, which provided the opportunity for his errors to be corrected.

    As Cyril of Jerusalem (about A.D. 315 – 386) put it:

    Even to me, who tell thee these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.

    – Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture IV, Section 17

    -TurretinFan

  138. D. T. King said,

    June 17, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    ancient practice of prayer for and to the “dead.”

    I am still waiting for the proof behind the implication of this question, “Does anyone seriously debate that the majority of Christians of all time have practised praying to saints?”

    Yes, many ECFs engaged is prayer for the dead, but there is a world of difference between praying for the dead and praying to the dead, which of the latter Augustine declared…

    Augustine (354-430): So the good slave, as I said, who is already to be called a son, doesn’t wish himself, but his master to be venerated. Think a little, brothers and sisters, and recall what you attend every day; what does truth teach you in church? The faithful know in what style the martyrs are commemorated in the mysteries, when our wishes and prayers are addressed to God. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Newly Discovered Sermons, Part 3, Vol. 11, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermon 198.12 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1997), p. 190.

    Augustine (354-430): And may his very prayer be accounted sinful. This comes about because no prayer can be righteous unless offered through Christ, whom Judas sold by his monstrous sin. A prayer made otherwise than through Christ is not merely powerless to efface sin; it even becomes sin. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Part 3, Vol. 19, trans. Maria Boulding, O.S.B., Expositions of the Psalms, Psalms 99-120, Exposition of Psalm 108.9 (Psalm 109) (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2003), p. 247.
    Latin text: Et oratio ejus fiat in peccatum. Quoniam non est justa oratio, nisi per Christum, quem vendidit immanitate peccati: oratio autem quae non fit per Christum, non solum non potest delere peccatum, sed etiam ipsa fit in peccatum. See In Psalmum CVIII Enarratio, §9, PL 37:1436.

  139. D. T. King said,

    June 17, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    If anyone lurking on this thread is interested in the one proof (among others) of ancient practice of prayer for and to the “dead.” they can look at St. Cyril’s cathetical lecture on Sacred Liturgy and Communion.
    LINK (Paragraphs ( 9&10)

    Just a note on the above reference to Cyril of Jerusalem. It’s not really Lecture 23 in the Lenten Lectures as the link suggests, but rather is the 5th of five Mystagogical Lectures appended to the works of Cyril of Jerusalem, the authorship of which is questioned. The number of Lenten Lectures by Cyril were 18, not 23 as the link suggests.

    The editor in the Fathers of the Church series volume writes: “Again, the Mystagogiae, both as a theological and a literary work, seem unworthy of Cyril. Compared with the praises of baptism in the Lenten Lectures, set in a rich context of biblical theology, the Mystagogiae seem somewhat jejune and lame, as well as obscure. Awe and exclamations of wonder have taken the place of understanding. Cyril, on the other hand, commanded considerable biblical and theological resources, to which corresponded a notable mastery of language, a quite rich vocabulary and some imagination. The diction of the Mystagogiae is, by comparison, poverty-stricken; I have deliberately, in my translation, left some of its infelicities unimproved. See FC, Vol. 64, The Works of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1949), pp. 146-147.

  140. James Dean said,

    June 17, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Do you understand what’s going on there?

    Lol, i’ll let others make the determination whether you understood what you just read. Whether in fact it is me or you attempting to twist self into a pretzel, to avoid the obvious.

    For those interested, here is another: Gregory Nazienzen On the Death of his Father

  141. David Meyer said,

    June 17, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Gents, I am sorry for my antagonistic tone. I think it comes from not being able to express myself properly, so in order to come across more convincing, I end up just being abrasive and rude. My sincere apologies.

    I think I threw too much out there so I cant really respond to all of you.

    As far as the “vast majority” of Christians of all time praying to saints, this is something I truly thought was common knowledge. In my time as a Pentacostal, and in the 9 years I was Reformed, I have never heard anyone dispute it. Of course I thought the practise was wrong and unbiblical, but that it has been nearly universal outside of most Reformation traditions is certainly as sure as the fact that infant baptism has been the practise by the vast majority of christians as well. I have little desire and don’t feel the need to defend the near universal practice of infant baptism, and my feeling is similar with the prayer to saints issue. Nevertheless, I was challenged so…
    First, Roman Catacombs: Our earliest christian brothers and sisters wrote in the catacomb of Saint Sebastian invocations such as “Paul, Peter, pray for Erote, intercede” and Paul, Peter, pray for Victor”. There are many others.
    Augustine:
    “A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers” (Against Faustus the Manichean [A.D. 400]).

    “There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended” (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

    “At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps” (Homilies on John 84 [A.D. 416]).

    “Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ” (The City of God 20:9:2 [A.D. 419]).

    Many more quotes from early sources can be found at: http://www.catholic.com/library/Intercession_of_the_Saints.asp

    St. Jerome in Against Vigilantus is very clear, (and quite rude). I recommend reading it even for a laugh at how fiery he gets! Find that here:

    http://newadvent.org/fathers/3010.htm

    The “vast majority part” came purely from my grey matter smushing the folowing thoughts together in it’s sausage grinder:

    1. The earlist Christians, church fathers, and the 7th E. council were in pretty solid agreement on praying to saints.
    2. until the Reformation, the practice was largely not questioned.
    3. For the last 1/4 of church history 21% (generous) of christians have been protestants that don’t pray to saints. (i’ll include Anglicans as a bonus)
    4. Balancing that 21% with the other 3/4 of church history with lower populations of “saint prayers” gives roughly 5-15% or ~10% by my fuzzy math. Thus it makes sence to say that ~90% of all Christians of all time have had no trouble at all with asking for intercesory prayer from the saints in heaven. Not that that makes it ok!!!!!
    WHEW!

    Ron said: “I ask you to strive to figure out Christ’s gospel. Spend all your waking hours in this endeavor if you must. When you are persuaded of the truth, then by all means throw yourself upon the mercy of that message you believe to be from God, not men. Fair enough? ”
    Yep, thats fair. I did that and am becoming a Catholic.
    And : “p2. God’s communication of the gospel in his word is clear communication”
    That is like a politician saying we need “change.” Well, yeah, but WHAT KIND of change? Yes, His communication is clear to me. It is clear to you. One or both of us is wrong. With no authority to give the final interpretation, we are left to our opinions.

    T.Fan said: “I brought up the issue of nominalism, which you’ve passed over. I think it is important for you to consider it. Although the official size of the Roman Catholic Church today is vast, a lot of those counted are – at best – nominal adherents. We can see that from, for example, the reproduction rates in Italy and other European Roman Catholic countries.”

    The issue of nominalism is affecting ALL Christians. I must be missing your point. Catholics dont have the luxury of splitting into a conservative “branch” (like the PCA did) when the liberals get frisky, so nominalism is more “integrated” rather than “segregated”. I dare to bet the pecentages are pretty similar though. (Please, don’t ask for proof!) Picture this mind bend: In 2050 all Protestant churches are combined (PCA, PCUSA, ELCA, LCMS, etc.) and all the members retain most of their personal views. But, they all are now sworn to submit to the WCF. What do conservatives like you and me do? Point to the confession and pray for our nominal brothers! This is the situation of conservative Catholics. (With a sacramental teaching office instead of the WCF)

    As for the authority issue and the no clothes on the emperor:

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/06/christ-founded-a-visible-church/

    As for the “well your still using your judgement in choosing ‘”Romanism” argument:

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/05/the-tu-quoque/

    Sorry for the book. Let me know how that church council on FV goes guys! Kidding, kidding. Friendly jab.

    Peace,

    David M.

  142. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Your first mistake here is in failing to recognize the literary genre of funeral oration. You’re taking this oration as though it is actually addressed to his father, though this is actually a rather transparent literary device by which he speaks about his father to the congregation.

    However, even if I were mistaken or trying to do what you accuse me of, I trust that Gregory would have submitted himself to the instruction of Scripture.

    Gregory Nazianzen said:

    I remembered the days of old, and, recurring to one of the ancient histories, drew counsel for myself therefrom as to my present conduct; for let us not suppose these events to have been recorded without a purpose, nor that they are a mere assemblage of words and deeds gathered together for the pastime of those who listen to them, as a kind of bait for the ears, for the sole purpose of giving pleasure. Let us leave such jesting to the legends and the Greeks, who think but little of the truth, and enchant ear and mind by the charm of their fictions and the daintiness of their style.

    We however, who extend the accuracy of the Spirit to the merest stroke and tittle, will never admit the impious assertion that even the smallest matters were dealt with haphazard by those who have recorded them, and have thus been borne in mind down to the present day: on the contrary, their purpose has been to supply memorials and instructions for our consideration under similar circumstances, should such befall us, and that the examples of the past might serve as rules and models, for our warning and imitation.

    – Gregory Nazianzen, Oration II, section 104

    Having said that, may I commend you to open your mind and consider the rebuttals that have been provided, rather than dismissing them offhandedly.

    – TurretinFan

  143. Tom Riello said,

    June 18, 2010 at 12:41 am

    It strikes me as though you are taking offense at the notion of “praying to saints” when prayer should only be addressed to God. That being said, technically, the Church does not pray to saints, if by that you mean in the same way that we pray to God. It is no different than when someone asks someone else to pray for them about such and such situation. No one would accuse the man of praying to the man he asked to pray for him. Catholics ask the Saints to intercede for us, as the Catechism states,
    “Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world” (#2683). The most famous of all the “prayers” to the saints, the Hail Mary, says very clearly, “pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death” and another beautiful request says, “pray for us O Holy Mother of God, that we might be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

    To suggest that James is reading the Fathers out of context or not understanding them is not accurate. These Fathers that are so often put forward as teaching Sola Scriptura believed in such things as Baptismal Regeneration as Bryan Cross magnificently just pointed out at Called to Communion, also Purgatory,”Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition; next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep, for we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn sacrifice is laid out” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lectures 23:5:9).

    “Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice [Job 1:5], why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them” (St. John Chrysostom Homilies on First Corinthians 41:5).

    “There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for other dead who are remembered. It is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended” ( St. Augustine Sermons 159:1here St. Augustine states that we should commend ourselves to the prayers of the martyrs).

    And as Joseph Gallegos has demonstrated some of these Fathers who are brought forward as teaching Sola Scriptura did not: St. Gregory of Nyssa brother of St. Basil the Great, and close companion with St. Gregory Nazianzen,

    “[F]or it is enough for proof of our statement, that the TRADITION has come down to us from our fathers, handed on, like some inheritance, by succession from the apostles and the saints who came after them. They, on the other hand, who change their doctrines to this novelty, would need the support of arguments in abundance, if they were about to bring over to their views, not men light as dust, and unstable, but men of weight and steadiness: but so long as their statement is advanced without being established, and without being proved, who is so foolish and so brutish as to account the teaching of the evangelists and apostles, and of those who have successively shone like lights in the churches, of less force than this undemonstrated nonsense?” (Against Eunomius,4:6).

    St. Basil the Great writes:

    “Of the dogmas and kergymas preserved in the Church, some we possess from written teaching and others we receive from the tradition of the Apostles, handed on to us in mystery. In respect to piety both are of the same force. No one will contradict any of these, no one, at any rate, who is even moderately versed in manners ecclesiastical. Indeed, were we to try to reject the unwritten customs as having no great authority, we would unwittingly injure the Gospel in its vitals; or rather, we would reduce kergyma to a mere term” (Holy Spirt 27:66).

  144. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Mr. Reillo,

    I’m glad you raised those points. This is what I refer to as a typical “Catholic Answers” style response to the issue. It’s mistaken, but it is something that one is likely to hear if one listens to EWTN. Let me try to explain why it is mistaken, while again noting that I’m thankful you have raised these objections:

    It strikes me as though you are taking offense at the notion of “praying to saints” when prayer should only be addressed to God. That being said, technically, the Church does not pray to saints, if by that you mean in the same way that we pray to God. It is no different than when someone asks someone else to pray for them about such and such situation. No one would accuse the man of praying to the man he asked to pray for him. Catholics ask the Saints to intercede for us, as the Catechism states, “Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world” (#2683). The most famous of all the “prayers” to the saints, the Hail Mary, says very clearly, “pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death” and another beautiful request says, “pray for us O Holy Mother of God, that we might be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

    Let’s take your assertions one by one. First, when you write: “the Church does not pray to saints, if by that you mean in the same way that we pray to God,” this is only true if you mean that you do not call the saints, “God.” Other than that, the prayers are, or at least can be, the same. Even the prayers that say, “Please pray to God regarding ‘x, y, and z'” are prayers that ought rather to be directed to Jesus, that he would pray for those things from the Father for us. I will concede that request for Jesus to intercede for the sinner to the Father may well be rare in Roman Catholicism today, but they are permitted. In this regard, the prayers to the saints are the same as permissible prayers to Jesus, except for the difference of not actually calling the saint, “Jesus” or “God.”

    Second, it should be obvious that it is not the same thing as simply asking a living person to pray for you. There is a perception that the saints, and especially, have special favor or “pull” with God, such that their prayers will be more likely to be heard. When we ask our brethren at church to pray for us, we are not asking them to plead their own merits to God. In Roman Catholicism, one is asking that the saints (or Mary) plead their merits to God. One is hoping that if God will not hear you, perhaps God will hear Jude (for example), who is thought to be much more holy than you.

    Third, another obvious difference is that when I want one of my Christian brethren to pray for me, I don’t look at his photo on my fridge and speak to it. I go and see him, or call him on the phone. Perhaps this is so obvious that people miss it, but I don’t actually pray to my fellow man, because I know he cannot hear my prayers. Without proper justification, those in Roman Catholicism believe that the dead will be able to hear their prayers.

    Your second paragraph also raises some interesting issues. You write:

    To suggest that James is reading the Fathers out of context or not understanding them is not accurate. These Fathers that are so often put forward as teaching Sola Scriptura believed in such things as Baptismal Regeneration as Bryan Cross magnificently just pointed out at Called to Communion, also Purgatory,”Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition; next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep, for we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn sacrifice is laid out” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lectures 23:5:9).

    First, note that Pastor King has already pointed out that this is not Cyril of Jerusalem. I’m not sure whether you are following along in the thread and just missed this, or what. I assume it is an innocent mistake on your part.

    Second, I’ve already pointed out that the entreaties mentioned are not for those in Purgatory (you’ll notice that even Pseudo-Cyril never makes reference to a place or state called “Purgatory”) but for those in hell – those to whom God has not been propitiated, and who are banished from him, as explained at section 10 (you can find it at the link Mr. Dean provided above).

    I’ll leave the more complex issue of Baptismal Regeneration for another time. Suffice to say that the error of confusing the sign and the thing signified is an error that goes back to before the Incarnation, existing in the erroneous beliefs of the Jews regarding circumcision.

    You then quote from Chrysostom, but again have you considered which souls he’s referring to? They are those who died in sin and went to the place where sinners go:

    “But I know not whither he has gone,” say you. Wherefore do you not know, tell me? For according as he lived well or otherwise, it is evident whither he will go. “Nay, on this very account I lament,” say you, “because he departed being a sinner. ” This is a mere pretext and excuse. For if this were the reason of your mourning for the departed, you ought to have formed and corrected him, when he was alive. The fact is thou dost every where look to what concerns yourself, not him.

    But grant that he departed with sin upon him, even on this account one ought to rejoice, that he was stopped short in his sins and added not to his iniquity; and help him as far as possible, not by tears, but by prayers and supplications and alms and offerings.

    For Chrysostom, there are only two places after death: heaven and hell. There is no third place or state, I trust you’ll find – though correct me if you can find even one reference in Chrysostom to place or state called “Purgatory.”

    I’ll respond to the rest if God gives me time.

    -TurretinFan

  145. Reed Here said,

    June 18, 2010 at 7:51 am

    David, no. 141: thanks for the irenic tone. I’ll strive for the same.

    Peace

  146. Tom Riello said,

    June 18, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Turretin Fan,

    I get that you object to this whole notion. What I find, quite frankly, absurd is the pretzel-twisting that goes on to get the Fathers to be read as proto-Reformers. Do you really think your quote of Chrysostom backs your claim? Do you really want to put that forward as evidence for your position? Could a Reformed man, would a Reformed man, say this on the floor of a presbytery, “Dear Fathers and Brothers, “Let us help our dear brother ________, not by tears for his death, but by our prayers, supplications, alms, and offerings. Let us today, as we gather later for our worship remember him in our prayers as we offer the sacred mysteries of our faith to God.”?

    You may reject what Rome teaches. What you may not do is truck in the Fathers to support your claim.

  147. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 8:32 am

    The Lord has given me a little extra time, so let me respond to the remainder of your comments, Mr. Riello:

    And as Joseph Gallegos has demonstrated some of these Fathers who are brought forward as teaching Sola Scriptura did not: St. Gregory of Nyssa brother of St. Basil the Great, and close companion with St. Gregory Nazianzen,

    “[F]or it is enough for proof of our statement, that the TRADITION has come down to us from our fathers, handed on, like some inheritance, by succession from the apostles and the saints who came after them. They, on the other hand, who change their doctrines to this novelty, would need the support of arguments in abundance, if they were about to bring over to their views, not men light as dust, and unstable, but men of weight and steadiness: but so long as their statement is advanced without being established, and without being proved, who is so foolish and so brutish as to account the teaching of the evangelists and apostles, and of those who have successively shone like lights in the churches, of less force than this undemonstrated nonsense?” (Against Eunomius,4:6).

    Gregory of Nyssa is quite an interesting character. While I’ll grant you that he’s not a 21st Century Reformed Presbyterian, he was certainly no Roman Catholic, either. For example:

    Article: Gregory of Nyssa considered only Jesus to be Sinless

    Article: Gregory of Nyssa Barely Paid Attention to Rome and placed it in Parity to Other Ancient Churches

    Article: Terms One Doesn’t Find in Gregory of Nyssa’s Writings (e.g. pope, cardinal, rosary, and transubstantiation)

    Article: Gregory Never Refers to Icons/Statues But Takes the Reformed View on Divine Beauty

    Article: Some Form of Sola Fide in Gregory of Nyssa’s Writings

    Article: Gregory of Nyssa on the Head of the Church (Spoiler: he doesn’t call the bishop of Rome that)

    Of course, Gregory of Nyssa is also one who viewed Scripture as the rule of life:

    Gregory of Nyssa (about A.D. 335-395):

    Since, my friend, you ask me a question in your letter, I think that it is incumbent upon me to answer you in their proper order upon all the points connected with it. It is, then, my opinion that it is a good thing for those who have dedicated themselves once for all to the higher life to fix their attention continually upon the utterances in the Gospel, and, just as those who correct their work in any given material by a rule, and by means of the straightness of that rule bring the crookedness which their hands detect to straightness, so it is right that we should apply to these questions a strict and flawless measure as it were, — I mean, of course, the Gospel rule of life, — and in accordance with that, direct ourselves in the sight of God. Now there are some amongst those who have entered upon the monastic and hermit life, who have made it a part of their devotion to behold those spots at Jerusalem where the memorials of our Lord’s life in the flesh are on view; it would be well, then, to look to this Rule, and if the finger of its precepts points to the observance of such things, to perform the work, as the actual injunction of our Lord; but if they lie quite outside the commandment of the Master, I do not see what there is to command any one who has become a law of duty to himself to be zealous in performing any of them.

    – Gregory of Nyssa, NPNF2: Vol. V, On Ascetic and Moral Treatises, On Pilgrimages.

    So, what about your quotation which uses the word “tradition” (I noticed that you, or the source from which you were drawing, decided to place that word in all caps)? Well, one thing to note up front is that you (or your source) has omitted context necessary to understand the statement. The statement is not contrasting “tradition” with “scripture” but “tradition” with “constructive reasoning.” We can see this from the preceding context, which you or your source omitted (I’ll include the first portion of your quotation as well, so you can see where they dove-tail together):

    Now seeing that the Church, according to the Divine teaching, believes the Only-begotten to be verily God, and abhors the superstition of polytheism, and for this cause does not admit the difference of essences, in order that the Godheads may not, by divergence of essence, fall under the conception of number (for this is nothing else than to introduce polytheism into our life)— seeing, I say, that the Church teaches this in plain language, that the Only-begotten is essentially God, very God of the essence of the very God, how ought one who opposes her decisions to overthrow the preconceived opinion? Should he not do so by establishing the opposing statement, demonstrating the disputed point from some acknowledged principle? I think no sensible man would look for anything else than this. But our author starts from the disputed points, and takes, as though it were admitted, matter which is in controversy as a principle for the succeeding argument. If it had first been shown that the Son had His existence through some operation, what quarrel should we have with what follows, that he should say that the essence which exists through an operation admits for itself the name of “product of making”? But let the advocates of error tell us how the consequence has any force, so long as the antecedent remains unestablished. For supposing one were to grant by way of hypothesis that man is winged, there will be no question of concession about what comes next: for he who becomes winged will fly in some way or other, and lift himself up on high above the earth, soaring through the air on his wings. But we have to see how he whose nature is not aerial could become winged, and if this condition does not exist, it is vain to discuss the next point. Let our author, then, show this to begin with, that it is in vain that the Church has believed that the Only-begotten Son truly exists, not adopted by a Father falsely so called, but existing according to nature, by generation from Him Who is, not alienated from the essence of Him that begot Him. But so long as his primary proposition remains unproved, it is idle to dwell on those which are secondary. And let no one interrupt me, by saying that what we confess should also be confirmed by constructive reasoning: for it is enough for proof of our statement, that the tradition has come down to us from our fathers, handed on, like some inheritance, by succession from the apostles and the saints who came after them.

    (Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book IV, Chapter 6)

    Given that the distinction is not between “tradition” and “Scripture” but between “tradition” and “constructive reasoning,” we may ask what “tradition” Gregory has in mind. The best answer, of course, is to look to the text: in the text we see that this is something handed down “to us from our fathers, handed on, like some inheritance, by succession from the apostles and the saints who came after them.” Furthermore, we see a distinction made that provides a further clue: “who is so foolish and so brutish as to account the teaching of the evangelists and apostles, and of those who have successively shone like lights in the churches, of less force than this undemonstrated nonsense?” The “undemonstrated nonsense” is, of course, the opinion against which Gregory is arguing, but the “tradition” that he is supporting is “the teaching of the of the evangelists and apostles, and of those who have successively shone like lights in the churches.”

    Now, what fits that bill? It cannot be a recent conciliar decision, such as the decision of Nicaea. That’s not a decision provided by the apostles and evangelists. What was provided by the apostles and evangelists and passed down to Gregory? You won’t be surprised, I hope, to realize that what was passed down was Scripture. Now, if you want to claim that you think there was also some oral tradition handed down with it, by all means show us what oral statements of the evangelists or apostles Gregory of Nyssa ever refers us to to teach doctrine.

    As for Basil’s comments, you might want to be advised what “traditions” he refers to: they are all practices (not doctrines) as you will see:

    For instance, to take the first and most general example, who is thence who has taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the cross those who have trusted in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? What writing has taught us to turn to the East at the prayer? Which of the saints has left us in writing the words of the invocation at the displaying of the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing? For we are not, as is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching. Moreover we bless the water of baptism and the oil of the chrism, and besides this the catechumen who is being baptized. On what written authority do we do this? Is not our authority silent and mystical tradition? Nay, by what written word is the anointing of oil itself taught? And whence comes the custom of baptizing thrice? And as to the other customs of baptism from what Scripture do we derive the renunciation of Satan and his angels? Does not this come from that unpublished and secret teaching which our fathers guarded in a silence out of the reach of curious meddling and inquisitive investigation? Well had they learned the lesson that the awful dignity of the mysteries is best preserved by silence. What the uninitiated are not even allowed to look at was hardly likely to be publicly paraded about in written documents.

    Basil, On the Holy Spirit, Chapter 27, Section 66

    Notice that these traditional practices, that Basil thinks are so vital, including practices Rome does not use, such as triple immersion baptism. Notice as well the claim that the words of invocation are themselves vital, yet the “new mass” that has been in use for years is about to have the wording of the invocation (“shed for you and for all” will be changed back to “shed for you and for many”).

    We do firmly disagree with Basil naive belief that those practices are all apostolic in origin. Nevertheless, keep in mind that (1) his “traditions” that are not written are limited to practices, and (2) his list of practices include various things both you (in the Roman church) and us (in the Reformed churches) do not practice.

    If you are willing to let the early church fathers be the early church fathers, instead of trying to turn them into Roman Catholics (or into 21st century Reformed Presbyterians), you will be able to appreciate their historical value much more, in my opinion.

    Indeed, the more you read of Basil, the more you will realize that when it came to establishing doctrines, he agreed that such must be based on Scripture.

    Basil of Caesarea (Ad 329-379):

    What our fathers said, the same say we, that the glory of the Father and of the Son is common; wherefore we offer the doxology to the Father with the Son. But we do not rest only on the fact that such is the tradition of the Fathers; for they too followed the sense of Scripture, and started from the evidence which, a few sentences back, I deduced from Scripture and laid before you. For “the brightness” is always thought of with “the glory,” “the image” with the archetype, 2 Corinthians 4:4 and the Son always and everywhere together with the Father; nor does even the close connection of the names, much less the nature of the things, admit of separation.

    – Basil, On the Holy Spirit, Chapter 27

    Notice that he says that he does not rest only on the tradition of the fathers, but rather on the Scriptures, from which the fathers learned the doctrine. That’s the source, that’s what Basil appeals to in order to definitively resolve the controversy.

    Would to God that those here would be willing to submit to it as their rule in case of controversy!

    -TurretinFan

  148. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Mr. Reillo:

    You wrote: “I get that you object to this whole notion.”

    So far, so good.

    You wrote: “What I find, quite frankly, absurd is the pretzel-twisting that goes on to get the Fathers to be read as proto-Reformers.”

    That’s not been my argument. I encourage you to go back and re-read my argument, bearing in mind that I am not aiming to make out the fathers to be “proto-Reformers.” For example, when I talk about the unknown author of the spurious quotation that you and your colleague have attributed to Cyril of Jerusalem, I call his comment illicit. I don’t approve of it. Likewise, with Chrysostom, I note that he is talking about prayers for those in hell – something that we Reformed do not practice. So, please try to go back and re-read my comments without having in your mind the faulty conception that I am trying to be anachronistic. Instead, read my comments for what they say.

    You wrote: “Do you really think your quote of Chrysostom backs your claim?”

    I don’t know what you think my claim is. Obviously, I believe my own arguments. I hope you’ll at least do me that much courtesy.

    You wrote: “Do you really want to put that forward as evidence for your position?”

    Again, I’m not sure what you think my position is, or if you have carefully read my arguments. I obviously wanted to write what I wrote. If there are errors in what I wrote, I welcome you to try to bring them to my attention.

    You wrote: “Could a Reformed man, would a Reformed man, say this on the floor of a presbytery, “Dear Fathers and Brothers, “Let us help our dear brother ________, not by tears for his death, but by our prayers, supplications, alms, and offerings. Let us today, as we gather later for our worship remember him in our prayers as we offer the sacred mysteries of our faith to God.”?”

    No. Now, if you will go back and read more carefully, you will see that I did not argue otherwise. I did not say that I agree with everything each of the fathers said: they were men of their time, with much truth and some error – just like all fallible human beings. Their rule of faith, like ours, was the Scripture.

    You wrote: “You may reject what Rome teaches. What you may not do is truck in the Fathers to support your claim.”

    I realize you object to my bringing forth the traditions of the fathers against your claims. However, I have and will continue to bring forth that evidence. Rome’s distinctive teachings are neither the teachings of Scripture nor the unanimous consent of the fathers.

    The fathers are not my rule of faith, but they do provide historical evidence. I cannot force you to listen to the historical evidence, but I do encourage you to set aside your preconceptions about what form of argument I’m using, and instead look seriously at the evidence presented.

    So far, you and your colleague have tried to substantiate your cause from the writings of the fathers. I would respectfully submit to you that they haven’t substantiated your cause, but rather the opposite: they have undermined it.

    -TurretinFan

  149. Phil Derksen said,

    June 18, 2010 at 8:46 am

    David,

    In light of the Scripture passages cited in #113 and #116, I must say I find your continued infatuation with percentages and majority status rather fascinating.

  150. D. T. King said,

    June 18, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Mr. Dean,

    Well, lets look at your claim for this passage from who knows who, since it is highly questionable if it even came from the pen of Cyril?…

    Mystagogical Lecture 5: Then we commemorate also those who have fallen asleep: first of all, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that God through their intercessory prayers may accept our supplication. Next we pray also for the holy Fathers and Bishops who have fallen asleep, and generally for all who have gone before us, believing that this will be of the greatest benefit to the souls of those on whose behalf our supplication is offered in the presence of the holy, the most dread sacrifice.
    Let me use an illustration for an argument. For I know that many of you say: “What does it avail a soul departing this world, whether with or without sins, to be remembered at the Sacrifice?” Well, suppose a king banished persons who had offended him, and then their relatives wove a garland and presented it to him on behalf of those undergoing punishment, would he not mitigate their sentence? In the same way, offering our supplications to Him for those who have fallen asleep, even though they be sinners, we, though we weave no garland, offer Christ slain for our sins, propitiating the merciful God on both their and our own behalf. FC, Vol. 64, The Works of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Mystagogical Lecture V, §9-10(New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1949), pp. 146-147.

    Please demonstrate where the “the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs” are invoked in prayer above? The writer professes no such thing. He expresses the belief that they (i.e., patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs) are praying for the ones commemorating them by their sacrifices. But that belief is not equivalent to the “we” of the writer praying to them. Yes, the “we” of the writer claimed to pray for those passed from this life, but again praying for the departed is worlds apart than praying to the departed. The only one said to be invoked in prayer by the “we” of the writer is God himself. Now, if you’re convinced that this proves someone at that time was praying to departed “patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs,” there’s nothing in this passage but your own desire to see something where it is not. To claim that this passage is offers proof for prayers to the departed so indicated above is a stretch of the imagination.

    As for Gregory of Nazianzen’s eulogy of his father, please direct me to the specific invocation of a departed saint in the 18th Oration that you have in mind?

    Now, given the fact that you have referenced two examples in order from Kelly’s chapter on “Mary and the saints” in his Early Christian Doctrines, I suspect you are reading into these patristic pericopes something that not even Kelly attributes to them. Commemoration of saints in liturgies doesn’t prove the invocation of the same in prayer. Please convince me that you’ve something more to offer on this subject than flipping through a couple of pages in Kelly’s book. Now, to be sure, I have no doubt that the saints in heaven are engaged in prayer to God even as they prayed when on earth, but I do not see any evidence in these two examples of a saint on earth invoking, by way of prayer, a departed saint in heaven. Please show us that you have something more concrete for proof than this.

  151. D. T. King said,

    June 18, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Mr. Riello,

    It strikes me as though you are taking offense at the notion of “praying to saints” when prayer should only be addressed to God. That being said, technically, the Church does not pray to saints, if by that you mean in the same way that we pray to God. It is no different than when…

    Thanks, I am well aware of the explanation, and no I’m not offended by Romanists making this claim, even after having heard it for some 15 years now or so. I can’t speak for TF, but I’m not taking offense by this man’s claims. I am saying these patristic pericopes do not prove what he claims they do. I’m saying he needs some more explicit examples, which should not be very difficult if this was the practice of the “vast majority of Christians” as the other person above claimed with no proof.

    To suggest that James is reading the Fathers out of context or not understanding them is not accurate…. as Bryan Cross magnificently just pointed out at…

    Maybe you or he “can magnificently point out” how expressions of devotion to the martyrs, i.e., commemoration of them, is automatically equivalent to prayer to the martyrs.

    Mr. Riello, Let’s examine your citation of Chrysostom in context, and it’s difficult for one to believe that you would offer this as proof as something akin to “prayer to the dead.” Notice, no where does he indicate prayer to the dead. Notice that Chrysostom, in context, expresses his belief of praying here for people who have died in their sins (these are not saints). He rebukes those who would sorrow for them in vain for not having sought to correct them while they were living, rebukes them for really only caring for themselves and their own sorrow, and also expresses his belief that our prayers now can help mitigate their suffering with some “refreshment.” To offer this example from Chrysostom does not make a case for prayer to the dead, unless you want to insist now that Rome is presently advocating pray to those departed who are in hell. Yes, we believe that Chrysostom erred on this matter.

    Notice, In context, Chrysostom (349-407) said: “But I know not whither he hath gone,” say you. Wherefore knowest thou not, tell me? For according as he lived well or otherwise, it is evident whither he will go. “Nay, on this very account I lament,” say you, “because he departed being a sinner.” This is a mere pretext and excuse. For if this were the reason of thy mourning for the departed, thou oughtest to have formed and corrected him, when he was alive. The fact is thou dost every where look to what concerns thyself, not him.
    But grant that he departed with sin upon him, even on this account one ought to rejoice, that he was stopped short in his sins and added not to his iniquity; and help him as far as possible, not by tears, but by prayers and supplications and alms and offerings. For not unmeaningly have these things been devised, nor do we in vain make mention of the departed in the course of the divine mysteries, and approach God in their behalf, beseeching the Lamb Who is before us, Who taketh away the sin of the world;–not in vain, but that some refreshment may thereby ensue to them. Not in vain doth he that standeth by the altar cry out when the tremendous mysteries are celebrated, “For all that have fallen asleep in Christ, and for those who perform commemorations in their behalf.” For if there were no commemorations for them, these things would not have been spoken: since our service is not a mere stage show, God forbid! yea, it is by the ordinance of the Spirit that these things are done.
    Let us then give them aid and perform commemoration for them. For if the children of Job were purged by the sacrifice of their father, why dost thou doubt that when we too offer for the departed, some consolation arises to them? since God is wont to grant the petitions of those who ask for others. And this Paul signified saying, “that in a manifold Person your gift towards us bestowed by many may be acknowledged with thanksgiving on your behalf.” (2 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 11) Let us not then be weary in giving aid to the departed, both by offering on their behalf and obtaining prayers for them: for the common Expiation (καθάρστον, PG 61:361) of the world is even before us. NPNF1: Vol. XII, Homilies on First Corinthians, Homily 41, §8.

    Thus, Chrysostom does not support “prayer to the dead.”

    Now you asked: What I find, quite frankly, absurd is the pretzel-twisting that goes on to get the Fathers to be read as proto-Reformers. Do you really think your quote of Chrysostom backs your claim? Do you really want to put that forward as evidence for your position? Could a Reformed man, would a Reformed man, say this on the floor of a presbytery, “Dear Fathers and Brothers, “Let us help our dear brother ________, not by tears for his death,…?

    1) We do not and have not claimed they are proto-Reformers, that is a red herring, and it doesn’t help your case when you read into our words things we never affirmed. We are saying they were not Romanists. Thus, your comment simply erects a straw man that we have not suggested.
    2) No, we would not pray what Chrysostom prayed on the floor of Presbytery.
    3) Please show me where Rome advocates prayers for those suffering in hell, because that’s what Chrysostom is affirming.

    Moreover, your passage from Augustine doesn’t prove that he advocated prayer to the dead, and I have provided positive proof that he rejected such a prayer, and even regarded all prayer not made through Christ to be sin.

    Augustine (354-430) made the point elsewhere: Neither do we erect altars at these monuments that we may sacrifice to the martyrs, but to the one God of the martyrs and of ourselves; and in this sacrifice they are named in their own place and rank as men of God who conquered the world by confessing Him, but they are not invoked by the sacrificing priest. For it is to God, not to them, he sacrifices, though he sacrifices at their monument; for he is God’s priest, not theirs. NPNF1: Vol. II, The City of God, Book XXII, Chapter 10.

    You wrote: You may reject what Rome teaches. What you may not do is truck in the Fathers to support your claim.

    Why do you simply copy and paste a passage from Chrysostom as if it supports something he never believed? Now that you are a member of the Roman communion, does that mean that you may truck in the Fathers to support your claim when they intended something very different than you? You folks do not seem to have read these men in context in the interest to ascertain what they really believed. If you are going to offer the ECFs as proof for the beliefs of modern day Rome, we’d be grateful if you would read them in context.

    I’ll try to offer some further comments later as I find time.

  152. June 18, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Yes, His communication is clear to me. It is clear to you. One or both of us is wrong. With no authority to give the final interpretation, we are left to our opinions.

    Dave,

    Two quick points:

    (1) You deny the intrinsic authority of God, which is to usurp the authority of King Jesus.

    (2) You suggest that Rome can free you from your own theological opinions, while rendering an opinion on such matters.

    First, you say “Yes, His communication is clear to me.” Accordingly, you should believe that Jesus’ clear words are the final authority for you since Jesus communicated by those clear words that he is God. Yet, strangely enough, you outright deny Jesus’ divine and prime authority when you suggest the authority of the Roman communion as being higher than the authority of Jesus. After all, you wrote: “With no authority to give the final interpretation, we are left to our opinions.” That, David, is a reference to Rome and her teaching that she is the arbiter of biblical truth, as opposed to God’s word being the authoritative interpreter of itself. It, therefore, follows that the the words of Rome and not the words of Jesus (that you claim to be so clear) are the ultimate authority for you. That, by the nature of the case, usurps the authority of King Jesus.

    Secondly, you suggest that the authority that gives the final interpretation, namely Rome, keeps you from being left to your own opinion. After all, for you “with no authority to give the final interpretation, we are left to our own opinions.” What you have failed to disclose in all of this is how the authority of Rome keeps you from your own opinion when it is true that you have deliberated over these matters and in the end rendered an opinion about Rome’s authority.

    Frankly Dave, your position is an epistemological mess. Moreover, you have made many assertions but have argued nothing on this site. First you stated that Jesus’ words, within which he claims his divinity, are clear to you. Yet in the same breath you say you require another authority other than God’s in order that you can be freed from rendering an opinion on the matter. Yet you have rendered an opinion on this entire matter, including God’s word, Papal Rome and even the part your opinion plays in evaluating the two. Something tells me that you have not been deliberating over God’s word in the Spirit but rather memorizing Roman sophistry and dogma in the flesh.

    Ron

  153. June 18, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Let’s try this again with better formatting! :)

    Yes, His communication is clear to me. It is clear to you. One or both of us is wrong. With no authority to give the final interpretation, we are left to our opinions.

    Dave,

    Two quick points:

    (1) You deny the intrinsic authority of God, which is to usurp the authority of King Jesus.

    (2) You suggest that Rome can free you from your own theological opinions, while rendering an opinion on such matters.

    First, you say “Yes, His communication is clear to me.” Accordingly, you should believe that Jesus’ clear words are the final authority for you since Jesus communicated by those clear words that he is God. Yet, strangely enough, you outright deny Jesus’ divine and prime authority when you suggest the authority of the Roman communion as being higher than the authority of Jesus. After all, you wrote: “With no authority to give the final interpretation, we are left to our opinions.” That, David, is a reference to Rome and her teaching that she is the arbiter of biblical truth, as opposed to God’s word being the authoritative interpreter of itself. It, therefore, follows that the the words of Rome and not the words of Jesus (that you claim to be so clear) are the ultimate authority for you. That, by the nature of the case, usurps the authority of King Jesus.

    Secondly, you suggest that the authority that gives the final interpretation, namely Rome, keeps you from being left to your own opinion. After all, for you “with no authority to give the final interpretation, we are left to our own opinions.” What you have failed to disclose in all of this is how the authority of Rome keeps you from your own opinion when it is true that you have deliberated over these matters and in the end rendered an opinion about Rome’s authority.

    Frankly Dave, your position is an epistemological mess. Moreover, you have made many assertions but have argued nothing on this site. First you stated that Jesus’ words, within which he claims his divinity, are clear to you. Yet in the same breath you say you require another authority other than God’s in order that you can be freed from rendering an opinion on the matter. Yet you have rendered an opinion on this entire matter, including God’s word, Papal Rome and even the part your opinion plays in evaluating the two. Something tells me that you have not been deliberating over God’s word in the Spirit but rather memorizing Roman sophistry and dogma in the flesh.

    Ron

  154. John Bugay said,

    June 18, 2010 at 10:20 am

    First you stated that Jesus’ words, within which he claims his divinity, are clear to you. Yet in the same breath you say you require another authority other than God’s in order that you can be freed from rendering an opinion on the matter. Yet you have rendered an opinion on this entire matter, including God’s word, Papal Rome and even the part your opinion plays in evaluating the two.

    I fail to see how Matt 16:18-19 is “clear” in any way. Having looked at a number of commentaries on that verse, what is “clear” is that that verse is really one of those “nor alike clear unto all” verses spoken of in the WCF. For Rome to base its whole authority structure, foundationally on that verse, (and to require its own “interpretation” of it from everyone else) is just extraordinarily questionable, at best.

    And that should be the beginning of the “red flags” for the Roman Catholic.

  155. James Dean said,

    June 18, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Mr King

    Please demonstrate where the “the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs” are invoked in prayer above?

    If you cannot see it, i cannot help you. I’m not interested in playing word games. You can perhaps write a book with Bill Webster and explain how the ECFs all thought that prayers to saints were abominable. I think we can both agree with these words : Woe to the man that causes others to stumble.
    ——————

    Since someone mentioned St. Augustine, here is more from him:

    On The Lord Prayer In Matthews Gospel (Paragraph 2 pay attn to the contrast between who must be asked and who mustn’t be)

    Lectures on Johns Gospel Tractate LXXXIV (toward the end of paragraph 1)

  156. June 18, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Even granting Peter’s papal powers, how may one conclude from that single premise a perpetual-infallible Magisterium? I’ll tell you. Roman apologists delight in drawing conclusions that exceed the scope of their premises. They never argue anything. They simply assume and assert.

    Ron

  157. James Dean said,

    June 18, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Mr King

    Please demonstrate where the “the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs” are invoked in prayer above?

    If you cannot see it, i cannot help you. I’m not interested in playing word games. You can perhaps write a book with Bill Webster and explain how the ECFs all thought that prayers to saints were abominable. I think we can both agree with these words : Woe to the man that causes others to stumble.
    ——————

    Since someone mentioned St. Augustine, here is more from him:

    On The Lord Prayer In Matthews Gospel (Paragraph 2 pay attn to the contrast between who must be asked and who mustn’t be).

    Lectures on Johns Gospel Tractate LXXXIV (toward the end of paragraph 1).

  158. James Dean said,

    June 18, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Seems my post has been caught in spam filter, any of the Mods here check on that.? thanks

  159. greenbaggins said,

    June 18, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Caught them, James. Thanks for directing my attention to it.

  160. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 11:07 am

    James:

    You wrote:

    If you cannot see it, i cannot help you. I’m not interested in playing word games. You can perhaps write a book with Bill Webster and explain how the ECFs all thought that prayers to saints were abominable.

    I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here. You have not correctly identified Pastor King’s argument, and you haven’t provided any substantial response to his refutation. Would you care to try again?

    I’m disinclined to post a detailed refutation of your new attempted reliance on the fathers, until you at least have the courtesy of reading our comments more thoroughly and giving us something more of a response than that.

    There are hundreds of volumes of patristics materials upon which you could mistakenly rely and for which we could provide a thorough explanation. Perhaps before we provide you with the answers to your latest quotations, we should wait for you to provide some sort of substantial answer?

    -TurretinFan

  161. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Nevertheless, in the interest of giving Mr. Dean the benefit of the doubt that he is not just here to spam, let me address the first of the two Augustine citations. I’m not sure what he thinks Augustine is saying. Here’s the relevant portion:

    Two things therefore must he that prays beware of; that he ask not what he ought not; and that he ask not from whom he ought not. From the devil, from idols, from evil spirits, must nothing be asked. From the Lord our God Jesus Christ, God the Father of Prophets, and Apostles, and Martyrs, from the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from God who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things in them, from Him must we ask whatsoever we have to ask.

    – Augustine, Sermon 6, Section 2

    Augustine is explicit that “from Him must we ask whatsoever we have to ask.” That “from Him” is a reference to God. I’m not sure if Mr. Dean has mistakenly read “God the Father of Prophets and Apostles and Martyrs” as being a reference to prayers to those men in addition to God, but the final phrase of the sentence should remove any doubt or ambiguity.

    I cannot say whether Augustine was always consistent with this, but if this is the closest he gets to modern Romanism, then he looks as though he is in full agreement with us on this point (though he’s not in agreement with us on every point).

    And feeling exceedingly willing to show good faith toward Mr. Dean, I’ll add to my discussion above a discussion of his second citation to Augustine. It’s a little unclear what he wants us to see in this particular instance, so I’ll first quote the entire cited section:

    The Lord, beloved brethren, hath defined that fullness of love which we ought to bear to one another, when He said: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Inasmuch, then, as He had said before, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you;” and appended to these words what you have just been hearing, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends;” there follows from this as a consequence, what this same Evangelist John says in his epistle, “That as Christ laid down His life for us, even so we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren;” [1 John iii. 16.] loving one another in truth, as He hath loved us, who laid down His life for us. Such also is doubtless the meaning of what we read in the Proverbs of Solomon: “If thou sittest down to supper at the table of a ruler, consider wisely what is set before thee; and so put to thy hand, knowing that thou art bound to make similar preparations.” [Prov. xxiii. 1, 2: see below, and also Tract. XLVII. sec. 2, note 4.] For what is the table of the ruler, but that from which we take the body and blood of Him who laid down His life for us? And what is it to sit thereat, but to approach in humility? And what is it to consider intelligently what is set before thee, but worthily to reflect on the magnitude of the favor? And what is it, so to put to thy hand, as knowing that thou art bound to make similar preparations, but as I have already said, that, as Christ laid down His life for us, so we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren? For as the Apostle Peter also says, “Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps.” [1 Pet. ii. 21.] This is to make similar preparations. This it was that the blessed martyrs did in their burning love; and if we celebrate their memories in no mere empty form, and, in the banquet whereat they themselves were filled to the full, approach the table of the Lord, we must, as they did, be also ourselves making similar preparations. For on these very grounds we do not commemorate them at that table in the same way, as we do others who now rest in peace, as that we should also pray for them, but rather that they should do so for us, that we may cleave to their footsteps; because they have actually attained that fullness of love, than which, our Lord hath told us, there cannot be a greater. For such tokens of love they exhibited for their brethren, as they themselves had equally received at the table of the Lord.

    – Augustine, Tractate 84 on John’s Gospel, Section 1

    Since I have to guess, I’ll guess the sentence that Mr. Dean thinks is helpful for him is this one:

    For on these very grounds we do not commemorate them at that table in the same way, as we do others who now rest in peace, as that we should also pray for them, but rather that they should do so for us, that we may cleave to their footsteps; because they have actually attained that fullness of love, than which, our Lord hath told us, there cannot be a greater.

    Pastor King and I have already provided the answers to help Mr. Dean understand and make sense of this. The first is, as I said above, that this about exhortation to imitation: “that we may cleave to their footsteps; because they have actually attained that fullness of love, than which, our Lord hath told us, there cannot be a greater.” I realize that prayers for martyrdom are not popular these days, and it is easy to understand why, but that’s what cleaving to the footsteps of the martyrs means – it means laying down our lives for Christ or the brethren.

    That’s why, as Augustine pointed out, the Christians commemorated the martyrs. Commemorating them doesn’t necessarily involve supplicating the martyrs (we will address this below), it means remembering them – often with some sort of feast day.

    The second part to remember is that one can hope for the prayers of the martyrs, without actually trying to communicate with the dead. This is blindingly obvious, but people tend to overlook it in view of the modern practice that folks in Roman Catholicism have of trying to communicate directly with the dead.

    Now, it may well be that there were folks who tried to communicate with dead. 3000 years ago, King Saul was trying to do that – I don’t doubt that a similar error presented itself in the early church.

    However, the central point of Augustine’s message (and the central point of the commemoration of martyrs early on) was to encourage folks to imitate (or at least, be ready to imitate) the love of the martyrs in laying down their own lives for the sake of Christ or the brethren.

    There may be some lingering doubts, some ambiguity in the passage that might lead one to think that Augustine actually means that we should pray to the Martyrs so that they will pray for us (though, obviously, Augustine does not actually say that). Those doubts should be removed when we examine the next section of the tractate:

    But let us not be supposed to have so spoken as if on such grounds we might possibly arrive at an equality with Christ the Lord, if for His sake we have undergone witness-bearing even unto blood. He had power to lay down His life, and to take it again; [Chap. x. 18.] but we have no power to live as long as we wish; and die we must, however unwilling: He, by dying, straightway slew death in Himself; we, by His death, are delivered from death: His flesh saw no corruption; [Acts ii. 31.] ours, after corruption, shall in the end of the world be clothed by Him with incorruption: He had no need of us, in order to work out our salvation; we, without Him, can do nothing: He gave Himself as the vine, to us the branches; we, apart from Him, can have no life. Lastly, although brethren die for brethren, yet no martyr’s blood is ever shed for the remission of the sins of brethren, as was the case in what He did for us; and in this respect He bestowed not on us aught for imitation, but something for congratulation. In as far, then, as the martyrs have shed their blood for the brethren, so far have they exhibited such tokens of love as they themselves perceived at the table of the Lord. (One might imitate Him in dying, but no one could, in redeeming.) [Migne omits this sentence, alleging that it is a later addition to the text.] In all else, then, that I have said, although it is out of my power to mention everything, the martyr of Christ is far inferior to Christ Himself.

    – Augustine, Tractate 84 on John’s Gospel, Section 2

    Notice again the focus on imitation. The martyrs are imitators of Christ. However, you see the key phrase (even leaving aside the parenthetical sentence): “no martyr’s blood is ever shed for the remission of the sins of brethren … .” (Compare the “treasure of the church” described at CCC1477: “This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission in the unity of the Mystical Body.”)

    So, with respect, even if I’ve misunderstood Augustine, and Augustine is actually hinting at (without saying) that we should pray to the martyrs and ask them to pray for us, still he is not suggesting that their merit can be applied to us, as is the case in the Roman system.

    Is remission of sins through the blood of the martyrs or through the blood of Christ alone? We know which side of that question Augustine was on – which side are you on?

    -TurretinFan

  162. James Dean said,

    June 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Turretinfan
    There are hundreds of volumes of patristics materials upon which you could mistakenly rely and for which we could provide a thorough explanation.

    You would make for a good comedian

    ______________________________

    Here is more from St. Ambrose: Concerning Widows Chapter IX (Attn esp. to Paragragh 55)

  163. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Mr. Dean:

    I’m not joking, and you’re not serious. We make an interesting pair. I don’t see the point in explaining what’s wrong with your reliance on Ambrose, given your track record here of non-interaction.

    – TurretinFan

  164. D. T. King said,

    June 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    If you cannot see it, i cannot help you. I’m not interested in playing word games. You can perhaps write a book with Bill Webster and explain how the ECFs all thought that prayers to saints were abominable. I think we can both agree with these words : Woe to the man that causes others to stumble.

    Given how you’ve read into every one of these patristic pericopes precisely what you already wanted to see – does not prove your contention. Not one of those patristic passages proves your point, and you’ve rejected out of hand Augustine’s explicit condemnation of prayer to anyone but God. In fact. the first Augustinian reference to which you’ve alluded couldn’t be more against your own position. Yes, “woe to the man who causes others to stumble,” but I don’t think I’m in any danger of you causing me to stumble. :)

    However, I do appreciate your misuse of these passages because it demonstrates to others here, who are unfamiliar with how Romanist are wont to appeal to patristic sources, in that it gives them an indication of how Romanists attempt to twist ancient sources in order to bring them into conformity with modern Rome’s dogmas and beliefs. The spirit of triumphalism may fare well in the mind of the one expressing it, so if crowing, and kicking up verbal dust gives you a sense of triumph, you are very welcome to it, but that does not constitute it a convincing argument.

    More to come as time permits.

  165. Reed Here said,

    June 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    James: please respond to the substance of the response offered you. If you’re not so inclined, please don’t make jabs. Lighthearted jabs attached to substantive responses, not personal attacks, are always appropriate.

  166. James Dean said,

    June 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Turretinfan:

    I don’t see the point in explaining what’s wrong with your reliance on Ambrose…,

    I already anticipated your response so thats why i’d rather focus my attention on provide proof of the practice to people who are open minded, perhaps lurking this thread. They don’t have to agree with the practice even if they see that it was a ‘tradition’ in the early church. Nor does it require them to, at once, join the Catholic church. You welcome to keep on providing so called “thorough explanations” so that the audience can decide for themselves. If they decide to join the Catholic church based on these few links that i’ve provided, then -per your Calvinist belief system- they weren’t part of the elect to begin with.

    …given your track record here of non-interaction.

    Here is what i mean when i say i anticipated your response. I expect you to say something to this effect:

    Ambrose is explicit that “The angels must be entreated for us.” That “entreated” is a reference to God. I’m not sure if Mr. Dean has mistakenly read “They can entreat for our sins” as being a reference to prayers to those men in addition to God, but the final phrase of the sentence should remove any doubt or ambiguity.

    I cannot say whether Ambrose was always consistent with this, but if this is the closest he gets to modern Romanism, then he looks as though he is in full agreement with us on this point (though he’s not in agreement with us on every point).

    And feeling exceedingly willing to show good faith toward Mr. Dean, Pastor King and I have already provided the answers to help Mr. Dean understand and make sense of this. The first is, as I said above, that this about entreatment: “that the martyrs must be entreated;” because they have actually attained that fullness of love, than which, our Lord hath told us, there cannot be a greater.” – it means laying down our lives for Christ or the brethren.

    That’s why, as Ambrose pointed out, the Christians entreated the martyrs. entreating them doesn’t necessarily involve supplicating the martyrs it means remembering them – often with some sort of feast day.

    I’m afraid i’m not ready to play these games

  167. James Dean said,

    June 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Reed Here:

    point taken, I was in the process of posting that response, so i didn’t see you post. But in anycase from now on i’ll just post the links. I’ll let turretinfan and David King, give is us thorough explanations.

  168. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Mr. Dean:

    I think I’ve been relatively patient with your mocking. Maybe you should get your kicks some other way.

    -TurretinFan

  169. D. T. King said,

    June 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Very quickly because they’re at my fingertips, two comments from Theodoret concerning the invocation of angels…

    Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Col. 2:18: Those who supported the Law encouraged them to worship the angels, claiming in this to respect the Law; this affliction persisted in Phrygia and Pisidia for a long time. Hence a synod that assembled in Laodicea in Phrygia forbade by law praying to the angels; to this very day you can see chapels to Saint Michael among them and their neighbors. Those people, then, were giving that advice—namely, those addicted to self-abasement and claiming that the God of all is beyond sight, reach and comprehension, and that divine benevolence must be secured through the angels (his meaning in self-abasement and angel worship). Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 95.

    Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Col. 3:17: Since those people, remember, ordered the worship of angels, he urges the opposite, that they adorn both their words and their deeds with the memory of Christ the Lord. Offer thanks to the God and Father through him, he is saying, not through the angels. Following this law and wishing to cure that ancient malady, the synod in Laodicea legislated against praying to angels and passing over our Lord Jesus Christ. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 99.

  170. Reed Here said,

    June 18, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    James Dean: as a matter of fact it would be preferable if you’d not continue your current practice.

    Your opponents here are willing to engage substantively. You dismiss their responses as “playing games.” If that is your method of fair give and take, then better not post.

    If you really do understand Calvinism, you know we’re not afraid of proselytizing. However, it is rather rude to say your only purpose is to come to ablog devoted to debate and simply proselytize and not debate.

    Please, if TF’s and DTK’s responses are so typical, surely you can rather easily come up with some substantive challenges. As it is, it is quite unfair to expect you can post quotes, and their ignore their interaction.

    Please, participate as per the intentions of this blog. If you’d rather not, then do not post.

  171. David Meyer said,

    June 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Phil D. said: “In light of the Scripture passages cited in #113 and #116, I must say I find your continued infatuation with percentages and majority status rather fascinating.”

    I have always thought my various infatuations were rather fascinating! I’m glad you agree!

    Ron: I have given links to responses to your issues with my position. I am not going to write a book on this site. It is Friday and I have a liter of Bavarian Dopplebock calling my name. You have said that I “outright deny Jesus’ divine and prime authority.” That is outright false, and a low blow bro. You keep using the tu quoque as if there is some similarity between submitting to Rome and you submitting to your interpretation of Scripture. There is a gulf of difference. Here is the link again:

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/05/the-tu-quoque/

    Please read it before you again acuse me of not answering you.

    Also you said: “Something tells me that you have not been deliberating over God’s word in the Spirit but rather memorizing Roman sophistry and dogma in the flesh.”
    I think that is called an ad hominum. Well, whatever it is, let me say that you really know nothing of me, or my walk with Christ, or my deliberations on His word, or whether I have the Holy Spirit. Your statement seems to imply that you are imune from this accusation of being led by the flesh and not being in the Spirit as you seek God’s Truth.
    Must be nice to have a lock on all the answers straight from the Spirit to you. (that is what you imply)
    Anyway time for that beer. Peace to all my Reformed brothers!

    David M.

    P.S. Turretin Fan: Some Friday fun: What do you think the pecrentage is on the praying to saints question? Just a rough estimate of course. And not that it proves anything!

  172. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    One more olive branch in the hope of obtaining substantive interaction.

    The quotation is this:

    The angels must be entreated for us, who have been to us as guards; the martyrs must be entreated, whose patronage we seem to claim for ourselves by the pledge as it were of their bodily remains. They can entreat for our sins, who, if they had any sins, washed them in their own blood; for they are the martyrs of God, our leaders, the beholders of our life and of our actions. Let us not be ashamed to take them as intercessors for our weakness, for they themselves knew the weaknesses of the body, even when they overcame.

    It says that both angels and martyrs “must be entreated” for us. Of course, it does not actually say who is entreating them for us. Mr. Dean would love to say that the person entreating them is the individual believer via the mechanism of the prayer (at least I think that’s his aim, though I’m happy to be corrected).

    Let’s say that it is even possible that Ambrose meant that, although Ambrose doesn’t say that. What should we make of it? Should we imitate it because it has Ambrose’s name attached? Should we assume it is representative of the patristic era? (Pastor King has already supplied contrary evidence regarding that, above)

    More importantly what else does Ambrose say about prayer?

    In another of his writings he states: “Such intercessors, then, must be sought for after very grievous sins, for if any ordinary persons pray they are not heard.” (Ambrose, Concerning Repentance, Chapter 10, Section 44)

    Notice how Ambrose is not in the realm of people just asking someone else for prayer. He’s specifically stating that there are some cases where ordinary intercessors won’t cut it.

    And it gets worse:

    So that point of yours will have no weight, which you take from the Epistle of John, where he says: “He who knows that his brother sinneth a sin not unto death, let him ask, and God will give him life, because he sinned not unto death. There is a sin unto death: not concerning it do I say, let him ask.” [1 John v. 16.] He was not speaking to Moses and Jeremiah, but to the people, who must seek another intercessor for their sins; the people, for whom it is sufficient they entreat God for their lighter faults, and consider that pardon for weightier sins must be reserved for the prayers of the just. For how could John say that graver sins should not be prayed for, when he had read that Moses prayed and obtained his request, where there had been wilful casting off of faith, and knew that Jeremiah also had entreated?

    – Ambrose, Concerning Repentance, Chapter 10, Section 44

    The idea that God will not hear the prayers of the penitent man, even when it is a grave sin, is just plain wrong. I would be surprised if someone from the Roman side would try to argue that Ambrose is right here.

    Thus, those are some dramatically wrong views about prayer, whether or not Ambrose wants people to pray to Moses and Jeremiah (he certainly does not say so). So again, the question comes back to this: what should we do with this information about Ambrose and his apparent view of prayer and intercession?

    I say “apparent” because in his work, “The Sacraments,” Book VI, Chapter 3, when discusses how to pray, he only addresses prayer to the father. He makes no reference to praying to any creature, even in order to ask that creature to pray for us.

    Likewise, passages like the following make me doubt that Ambrose was literally suggesting to pray to the dead:

    But in summary, to gather together at the end more clearly what has been said here and there, the manifest glory of God is proved not only by other arguments, but also by these four in addition to the others. For God is known from the following: either because He is without sin, or because He forgives sin, or because He is not a creature, but is the Creator, or because He is adored, but does not adore.
    Thus, no one is without sin except the one God, because there is no one without sin except the one God. Also, no one forgives sins except the one God, for it is likewise written: ‘Who can forgive sins, but God alone? Also, one cannot be the Creator of all things, except one who is not a creature; moreover, he who is not a creature is without doubt God, for it is written: They served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.’ God also does not adore, but is adored, for it is written: Thou shalt adore the Lord, thy God, and shalt serve him only.

    – Ambrose, On the Holy Spirit, Chapter 18, Sections 132-33

    So then what are these writings? They are historical data. We can look at them, examine them, and so forth. However, what we should not do is make men our rule of faith. Ambrose himself recognized this. Thus, he wrote:

    I do not wish that credence be given us; let the Scripture be quoted.

    – Ambrose, The Sacrament of the Incarnation of Our Lord, Chapter 3, Section 14

    If that’s how Ambrose settled controversies, let us also settle this controversy by resorting to Scripture. Let those from Rome show us from what Scripture they derive prayers to and for the dead, and let us examine whether it is properly derived or rather imposed upon the text.

    -TurretinFan

  173. James Dean said,

    June 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Reed Here (Re #170):

    To be quite honest, i never thought that showing evidence of the ancient practice of prayers to and for the “dead” would be anything to quibble about.

    I’ve not seen the need to, as you said put up; substantive challenges to DTK and TF, and I’ll explain why(more Below). If words in passages that I’ve linked to are not explanatory enough, then surely you would agree that both their (DKT &TF) clarifications and thorough explanations would suffice to refute any misconceptions.

    As you can see from his post in #172 he is quite up the the task. There is really nothing for me to challenge.
    – he intimates that its not clear ,who is entreating them ,for us. how can i argue with that? Even when in that same passage it says: “Let us not be ashamed to take them as intercessors for our weakness, for they themselves knew the weaknesses of the body, even when they overcame. If it’s not clear how can i convince him that it is? i I mean Short of saying it is quite clear?
    -He then says even if so “Should we imitate it because it has Ambrose’s name attached.” Which I’ve already answered when i said earlier that evidence for the practice does not mean you have to join the Catholic church.
    _ Also he says “when [he] discusses how to pray, he only addresses prayer to the father. Which i cannot argue with given that it does not really deal with other passages where he is dealing with prayer to the “dead.” So i have no argument with him there.

    -Next he quotes Ambrose, On the Holy Spirit, Chapter 18, Sections 132-33, saying just prior, that passages like the one quoted make him doubt that Ambrose was literally suggesting to pray to the dead. Again how can i argue with him about this?

    -Lastly he challenges us to show it from scripture. i was not trying to prove it from scripture, obviously, i was trying to prove that it was and ancient practice that is all.

  174. June 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Once again David, you have argued nothing. Now you have resorted to saying “Ron: I have given links to responses to your issues with my position.

    I’ve interacted with all your assertions. I’ve provided logical, succinct arguments and critiques and you have now resorted to providing me links to your position. Let me once again interact with your assertions.

    You have said that I “outright deny Jesus’ divine and prime authority.” That is outright false, and a low blow bro.

    You have stated that Jesus’ words are clear to you but that you need an authority – other than God’s word – to tell you what doctrines are true. Consequently, it is the interpretation of Rome you place in highest regard because that is the authority YOU have said you require not to be left to your own opinions.

    You keep using the tu quoque as if there is some similarity between submitting to Rome and you submitting to your interpretation of Scripture. There is a gulf of difference. Here is the link again:
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/05/the-tu-quoque/

    AGAIN, I am not asking you to submit to my interpretation of Scripture. I have merely argued that you are relying on your OWN opinion regarding Rome and Scripture which you say you do not do. And you are placing Rome above Christ because you think you must in order not to rely on your own opinion. You are simply a walking contradiction.

    Also you said: “Something tells me that you have not been deliberating over God’s word in the Spirit but rather memorizing Roman sophistry and dogma in the flesh.”I think that is called an ad hominum.

    Nope, you’ve missed that point too. My simple point is that all you have done is parrot Roman sophistry and Roman conclusions, which “tells me” that you are more concerned with being right with Rome than submitting to the Christ you say is so clear in His word.

    Well, whatever it is, let me say that you really know nothing of me, or my walk with Christ, or my deliberations on His word, or whether I have the Holy Spirit.

    I don’t know whether you have the Holy Spirit but I do know that you have argued nothing on this site and have made many bald assertions that deny Christ’s authority.

    Your statement seems to imply that you are imune from this accusation of being led by the flesh and not being in the Spirit as you seek God’s Truth.

    That too is logically fallacious. That it is clearly discernable that you are denying Christ’s authority and contradicting yourself all over the place does not imply in any rational sense that I am immune to being led by the flesh. Your comment is simply an emotional one that does not follow from any premises you’ve asserted.

    Dave, you argue like all Romanists I have interacted with in my life. You don’t reason. You simply assert (and provide links).

    Ron

  175. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Mr. Meyer:

    I think speculating regarding percentages would be irresponsible of me at this juncture. While I appreciate the offer of fun, I take these particular discussions quite seriously.

    -TurretinFan

  176. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Mr. Dean:

    I’m glad you’ve finally provided some form of response! I hope this is a step in the direction of dialog.

    You wrote:

    he intimates that its not clear ,who is entreating them ,for us. how can i argue with that? Even when in that same passage it says: “Let us not be ashamed to take them as intercessors for our weakness, for they themselves knew the weaknesses of the body, even when they overcame. If it’s not clear how can i convince him that it is? i I mean Short of saying it is quite clear?

    With all due respect, what is clear is that he stops short of saying: “pray to them” or “entreat them.” There are other ways of taking them as intercessors, if you will be more creative in your thinking. Would you like me to explain?

    – TurretinFan

  177. Phil Derksen said,

    June 18, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    David #171,

    Since you provoke a further clarification by your glib response, I mean “fascinating” in the sense of “pathetically bizarre.”

  178. TurretinFan said,

    June 18, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Mr. Dean,

    Thanks for the response that at least touches on the substance. I’ll take this as a positive sign that you may be interest in dialog. You wrote:

    - he intimates that its not clear ,who is entreating them ,for us. how can i argue with that? Even when in that same passage it says: “Let us not be ashamed to take them as intercessors for our weakness, for they themselves knew the weaknesses of the body, even when they overcame. If it’s not clear how can i convince him that it is? i I mean Short of saying it is quite clear?

    Again, I think you are assuming. Here you seem to be assuming that the only way one can take them as intercessors is by praying to them. If you would be more creative, you would realize that there is another way this can be done. One way, for example, would be to pray to God and ask God to provide those men as intercessors. It’s the same way one might for the guardianship of angels: not by praying to the angels, but by asking God to send his angels to guard one.

    What is indisputable is that he does not actually say to people (at least not in anything we’ve been shown) that they should be praying to or for the dead. In fact, the one place we found where directly addresses prayer, he correctly indicates that it should be to God alone.

    Finally, if your point is simply that the practice of praying to the dead and for the dead appeared in church history at some point prior to Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses on the door of the chapel at Wittenburg, we will readily acknowledge it.

    If that’s your entire reason for commenting, I’m afraid we have been talking past each other.

    – TurretinFan

  179. D. T. King said,

    June 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    The following passages from Chrysostom show his emphasis on our need to approach God ourselves without the aid of others…You won’t find passages like these on Roman apologetic web sites…

    Chrysostom (349-407): There is in fact no need either of doorkeepers to introduce you, or of managers, guardians or friends; rather, when you make your approach in person, then most of all he will hear you, at that time when you ask the help of no one. So we do not prevail upon him in making our requests through others to the degree that we do through ourselves. You see, since he longs for our friendship, he also does everything to have us trust in him; when he sees us doing so on our own account, then he accedes to us most of all. This is what he did too in the case of the Canaanite woman: when Peter and James came forward on her behalf, he did not accede; but when she persisted, he promptly granted her petition. I mean, even if he seemed to put her off for a while, he did it not to put the poor creature aside but to reward her more abundantly and render her entreaty more favorable. Robert Charles Hill, St. John Chrysostom Commentary on the Psalms, Volume 1, Psalm 4 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998), pp. 48-49.

    Chrysostom (349-407) commenting on Psalm 7, v. 3: This must everywhere be our concern, not simply to pray but to pray in such a way as to be heard. It is not sufficient that prayer effects what is intended, unless we so direct it as to appeal to God. Robert Charles Hill, St. John Chrysostom Commentary on the Psalms, Volume 1, Psalm 7 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998), p. 117.

    Chrysostom (349-407): Prayer is a great weapon, prayer is a wonderful adornment, security and haven, a treasury of good things, wealth beyond threat. When we make requests of human beings, we need an outlay of money, servile flattery, much to-ing and fro-ing and negotiating. Often, in fact, it is not possible to make a direct approach to their lordships personally to grant a favor: it is necessary first to wait upon their ministers or managers or administrators with money and words and every other means, and only then through them to be in a position to receive the request. With God, on the contrary, it is not like this: it not so much on the recommendation of others as on our own request that he grants the favor. In this case, too, both the one receiving it and the one not receiving it are better off, whereas in the case of human beings we often come off worse in both cases.
    Since, then, for those approaching God the gain is greater and the facility greater, do not neglect prayer: it is then in particular that he will be reconciled with you when you on your own account appeal to him, when you present a mind purified, thoughts that are alert, when you do not make idle petitions, as many people do, their tongue saying the words while their soul wanders in every direction — through the house, the marketplace, the city streets. It is all the devil’s doing: since he knows that at that time we are able to attain forgiveness of sins, he wants to block the haven of prayer to us, and at that time he goes on the attack to distract us from the sense of the words so that we may depart the worse rather than the better for it Robert Charles Hill, trans., St. John Chrysostom, Old Testament Homilies, Volume Three: Homilies on the Psalms (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2003), Homily on Psalm 146.1, p. 125.

    Chrysostom (349-407): And even if you do not confess, He [i.e., God] is not ignorant of the deed, who knew it before it was committed. Why then do you not speak of it? Does the transgression become heavier by the confession?—nay, it becomes lighter and less troublesome. And it is for this reason that He would have you confess, not that you should be punished, but that you should be forgiven; not that He may learn thy sin, (how could this be, since He has seen it,) but that you may learn what favour He bestows. He wishes you to learn the greatness of His grace, that you may praise Him perfectly, that you may be slower to sin, that you may be quicker to virtue. And if you do not confess the greatness of the need, you will not understand the exceeding magnitude of His grace. I do not oblige you He [God] saith, to come into the midst of the assembly before a throng of witnesses; declare the sin in secret to Me only, that I may heal the sore and remove the pain. F. Allen, trans., Four Discourses of Chrysostom, Chiefly on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, 4rd Sermon, §4 (London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1869), p. 102. Cf. also Catharine P. Roth, trans., St. John Chrysostom On Wealth and Poverty, 4th Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man, §4 (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1984), p. 89. Cf. Concionis VII, de Lazaro 4.4 PG 48:1012.

    Chrysostom (349-407): For things which often we have not strength to perform successfully from our own exertions, these we shall have power to accomplish easily through prayers. I mean prayers which are persevering. For always and without intermission it is a duty to pray, both for him who is in affliction, and him who is in relief from it, and him who is in dangers, and him who is in prosperity — for him who is in relief and much prosperity, that these may remain unmoved and without vicissitude, and may never change; and for him who is in affliction and his many dangers, that he may see some favorable change brought about to him, and be transported into a calm of consolation. Art thou in a calm? Then beseech God that this calm may continue settled to thee. Hast thou seen a storm risen up against thee? Beseech God earnestly to cause the billow to pass, and to make a calm out of the storm. “Hast thou been heard? Be heartily thankful for this; because thou hast been heard. Hast thou not been heard? Persevere in order that thou mayest be heard. For even if God at any time delay the giving, it is not in hatred and aversion; but from the desire by the deferring of the giving perpetually to retain thee with himself; just in the way also that affectionate fathers do; for they also adroitly manage the perpetual and assiduous attendance of children who are rather indolent by the delay of the giving. There is to thee no need of mediators in audience with God; nor of that much canvassing; nor of the fawning upon others; but even if thou be destitute, even if bereft of advocacy, alone, by thyself, having called on God for help, thou wilt in any case succeed. He is not so wont to assent when entreated by others on our behalf, as by ourselves who are in need; even if we be laden with ten thousand evil deeds. For if in the case of men, even if we have come into countless collisions with them, when both at dawn and at mid-day and in the evening we show ourselves to those who are aggrieved against us, by the unbroken continuance and the persistent meeting and interview we easily demolish their enmity — far more in the case of God would this be effected. NPNF1: Vol. IX, Concerning Lowliness of Mind and Commentary on Philippians 1:18, §11.

    Chrysostom (349-407) commenting on John 16:22, 23: “And ye now therefore have sorrow — [but I will see you again, and your sorrow shall be turned into joy].” Then, to show that He shall die no more, He saith, “And no man taketh it from you. And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing.”
    Again He proveth nothing else by these words, but that He is from God. “For then ye shall for the time to come know all things.” But what is, “Ye shall not ask Me”? “Ye shall need no intercessor, but it is sufficient that ye call on My Name, and so gain all things.” NPNF1: Vol. XIV, Gospel of St John, Homily 79, §1.

    Notice also in the following passage from Chrysostom how he emphasizes that if one gives himself to prayer frequently and fervently, then one (generally speaking) needs no instruction from an intermediary, because God enlightens one’s mind. In other words, he knows nothing of some human infallible interpreter to act as one’s mediator in to understand Holy Scripture.

    Chrysostom (349-407): Besides, what benefit would there be in a homily when prayer has not been joined to it? Prayer stands in the first place; then comes the word of instruction. And that is what the apostles said: “Let us devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.” Paul does this when he prays at the beginning of his epistles so that, like the light of a lamp, the light of prayer may prepare the way for the word. If you accustom yourselves to pray fervently, you will not need instruction from your fellow servants because God himself, with no intermediary, enlightens you mind. FC, Vol. 72, On the Incomprehensible Nature of God, Homily 3.35 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1984), pp. 111.

    I offer also this testimony of Ambrose who says that the Lord alone is to be invoked in prayer…

    Ambrose (c. 339-97): My heart is worn out, because a man has been snatched away, whose like we can hardly find again; but yet Thou alone O Lord, art to be invoked, Thou art to be entreated, that Thou mayst supply his place with sons. Herbert Mortimer Luckock, After Death: An Examination of the Testimony of Primitive Times respecting the State of the Faithful Dead, and Their Relationship to the Living, 2nd Ed. (London: Rivingtons, 1880) pp. 192-193.
    Latin text: Conteror corde; quia ereptus est vir, quem vix possumus invenire: sed tamen tu solus, Domine, invocandus es, tu rogandus, ut eum in filiis repraesentes. De obitu Theodosii oratio, §36, PL 16:1397A-1397B.

    Chrysostom indicates in the following passages that he knows nothing of any kind of post-mortem experience as purgatory…

    Chrysostom (349-407) commenting on Matthew 6:12: Let us know these and let us remember that terrible day and that fire. Let us put in our mind the terrible punishments and return once for all from our deluded road. For the time will come when the theater of this world will be dissolved, and then no one will be able to contend anymore. No one can do anything after the passing of this life. No one can be crowned after the dissolution of the theater. This time is for repentance, that one for judgment. This time is for the contests, that one for the crowns. This one for toil, that one for relaxation. This one for fatigue, that one for recompense. FC, Vol. 96, St. John Chrysostom on Repentance and Almsgiving, Homily 9.5 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998), p. 129.

    Chrysostom (349-407): Anticipate the exodus of the soul with repentance and correction, because when death comes suddenly, at absolutely no time will the therapy of repentance be fruitful. Repentance is powerful upon the earth; only in Hades is it powerless. Let us seek the Lord now while we have time. Let us do what is good so that we will be delivered from the future endless punishment of Gehenna, and will be made worthy of the Kingdom of the Heavens. FC, Vol. 96, St. John Chrysostom on Repentance and Almsgiving, Homily 9.7 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998), p. 130.

    Chrysostom (349-407): I testify and affirm, that if any of us who have offended shall forsake his former sins, and promise to God with sincerity that he will turn to them no more, God will require no further satisfaction from him. For translation, see William John Hall, The Doctrine of Purgatory and the Practice of Praying for the Dead (London: Henry Wix, 1843), p. 203.
    Greek text: Ἐγὼ διαμαρτύρομαι καὶ ἐγγυῶμαι, ὅτι τῶν ἁμαρτανόντων ἡμῶν ἕκαστος, ἂν ἀποστὰς τῶν προτέρων κακῶν ὑπόσχηται τῷ Θεῷ μετὰ ἀληθείας μηκέτι αὐτῶν ἅψασθαι, οὐδὲν ἕτερον ὁ Θεὸς ζητήσει πρὸς ἀπολογίαν μείζονα. De Beato Philogonio, Homilia VI, §4, PG 48:754.

    Chrysostom (349-407) said the incantation of Angels was introduced by the devil: Therefore the devil introduced those of the Angels, envying us the honor. Such incantations are for the demons. Even if it be Angel, even if it be Archangel, even if it be Cherubim, allow it not; for neither will these Powers accept such addresses, but will even toss them away from them, when they have beheld their Master dishonored. “I have honored thee,” He saith, “and have said, Call upon Me”; and dost thou dishonor Him? NPNF1: Vol. XIII, Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians, Homily 9.
    Greek text: Διὰ ταῦτα ὁ διάβολος τὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων ἐπεισήγαγε, βασκαίνων ἡμῖν τῆς τιμῆς. Τῶν δαιμόνων τοιαῦται αἱ ἐπῳδαί. Κἂν ἄγγελος ᾖ, κἂν ἀρχάγγελος, κἂν τὰ Χερουβὶμ, μὴ ἀνέχου· ἐπεὶ οὐδὲ αὗται αἱ δυνάμεις καταδέξονται, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀποσείσονται, ὅταν ἴδωσι τὸν Δεσπότην ἀτιμαζόμενον. Ἐγώ σε ἐτίμησα, φησὶ, καὶ εἶπον· Ἐμὲ κάλει· καὶ σὺ ἀτιμάζεις αὐτόν; In epistulam i ad Colossenses, Caput III, Homily IX, §3, PG 62:365.

    Council of Laodicea (363-364 A.D.): Christians ought not to forsake the Church of God, and depart aside, and invocate (οὐνομάζω) angels, and make meetings, which are things forbidden. If any man therefore be found to give himself to this privy idolatry, let him be accursed, because he hath forsaken our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and betaken himself to idolatry. For translation, see James Ussher, An Answer to a Challenge Made by a Jesuit (Cambridge: J. & J. J. Deighton, 1835), p. 406.
    Greek text: Ὅτι οὐ δεῖ Χριστιανοὺς ἐγκαταλείπειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ἀπιέναι, καὶ ἀγγέλους ὀνομάζειν, καὶ συνάξεις ποιεῖν, ἅπερ ἀπηγόρευται. Εἴ τις οὖν εὐρεθῇ ταύτῃ κεκρυμμένῃ εἰδωλολατρείᾳ σχολάζων, ἔστω ἀνάθεμα, ὅτι ἐγκατέλιπε τὸν Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ εἰδωλολατρείᾳ προσῆλθεν. Synodus Laodiciae, Canon XXXV.

    More to come as time permits.

  180. D. T. King said,

    June 18, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Dear moderators,

    I don’t think my last post/comment came through. Thanks for your attention.

  181. David Meyer said,

    June 19, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Ron:

    Your #174 was not to helpful as far as the tone. Was hard to not get offended at some of it. Maybe im just sensitive. : ) I’ve done worse myself and it takes one to know one, but winsome you are not my friend. Take a cue from TurretinFan as far as a good way to come across. I am trying harder too.

    The comments about prayer to saints have been interesting to me and I have leaned a little, but you seem to want to go in a direction of discussing church authority/epistemology etc. which I have been discussing and mulling over for months. It is not something I care to spend hours blogging about in this thread which seems a bit of a different topic. That is why I gave the tu quoque link: to save verbage. And from your use of that argument style, I could see you were missing where I was coming from as far as the difference between Protestant and Catholic authority structures. (my lack of clarity no doubt)

    It is a really common argument used and you should really read that article and see how it is not a valid argument.

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/05/the-tu-quoque/

    I myself used the tu quoque when my friend converted to Eastern Orthodoxy last year because of the authority issue. At the time I thought he was equivocating by claiming I was my own authority and he was not. But the difference is not in the ACT of submiting, but WHAT is being submitted to.

    SCENARIO 0: Inquiry and use of will and intellect are used to come to conclusions about truth claims.

    SCENARIO 1: The Protestant believes (or used to) that (as Keith Mathison says,) “Scripture is the sole source of revelation; that it is the final authoritative norm of doctrine and practice; that it is to be interpreted in and by the church, and that it is to be interpreted according to the regula fidei.” Protestant confessions are self admittedly the words of men that each Christian must in a sense be a judge of. Protestants can reject or accept any interpretation of divine revelation based on their private judgement. If they are convinced the WCF is in error on some point when compared with Scripture, they side with private judgement over the WCF. Their conscience and private judgement (after being informed by the above description of Sola Scriptura through the church and regula fidei of course) have the FINAL SAY.

    SCENARIO 2: The Catholic or “Romanist” as you say, submits to a Divinely authorized and sustained interpretive authority that requires the full submission of faith on some doctrines. His consciense and private judgement are to conform to IT where he is in disagreement. Catholics cannot take an “exception” to the 7th ecumenical council like my PCA pastor (and you) can take an exception to it. They believe the Holy Ghost guided the councils and protected them from error, so submission to them is submission to Christ. Conscience and private judgement are conformed to the interpretive authority, not placed as judge of it.

    Both scenarios 1 and 2 START with scenario 0. Inquiry and use of will and intellect are used by all to come to conclusions about truth claims. But they quickly diverge. The Protestant retains his private judgement as the final say in all matters of the faith, and consistent with his system of belief he can diverge in his opinion from his church and still be considered a faithful Protestant.
    The Catholic cannot retain his private judgement and remain consistent with his system of belief. i.e., within his system (chosen at scenario 0) he is not his own authority. Within the Protestants system (chosen at scenario 0) he retains the crucial ability to decide what interpretive authority to submit to and this retention is consistent with his system of belief.

    Because we all do scenario 0 in no way means that scenarios 1 and 2 are the same in respect to retaining authority. In fact they are worlds apart.

    I hope that clears up where I am coming from. Now I will go say a Hail Mary and ask her if it is OK to pray to saints. te he.

    David M.

  182. June 19, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Your #174 was not to helpful as far as the tone. Was hard to not get offended at some of it. Maybe im just sensitive. : )

    Dave,

    I went back and read the post and in all sincerity found nothing objectionable in tone. Maybe you might do the same. Read the post if you can in a quieter voice and see whether the words, though intentionally to the point, can be read in a non-combative sort of way given the points that I am making. To point out to you that you have been evasive and that your obedience, as expressed by your epistemic loyalty, is to Rome and not Christ might be impossible for you to receive in any other tone than harsh. Notwithstanding, there is a distinction between offense given and offense taken.

    I’ve done worse myself and it takes one to know one, but winsome you are not my friend. Take a cue from TurretinFan as far as a good way to come across. I am trying harder too.

    I’m sincerely glad to find that you find TF so winsome. I agree. Maybe you wouldn’t mind relaying your opinion to David Armstrong.

    The comments about prayer to saints have been interesting to me and I have leaned a little, but you seem to want to go in a direction of discussing church authority/epistemology etc. which I have been discussing and mulling over for months. It is not something I care to spend hours blogging about in this thread which seems a bit of a different topic.

    You made this assertion, which is the root of our discussion: “You mentioned ‘confessional church that preached the biblical gospel’. This statement is what I am fleeing from. You will say I am running from ‘confessional churches and the biblical gospel’, but what I am running from is YOU or ME as the arbiter of what that church and gospel is! Lets just ask Mike Horton and Doug Wilson to point us to the gospel you refer to shall we? Oh wait, that just leads us to then decide for ourselves what the Scripture says, and oh wait, then I guess WE are the ones that are our own authority. So when you say ‘confessional church that preached the biblical gospel’ I see through the facade now. The emperor has no clothes. What you mean is for me to agree and submit to YOUR opinion of what church and gospel consist of.

    That statement is pregnant with epistemological considerations, which I elected to challenge you on. Moreover, the epistemological considerations are most germane to this thread because the discussion about praying to dead people presupposes two different sources of authority, Christ and papal Rome. The matter of epistemic Lordship is inescapable.

    That is why I gave the tu quoque link: to save verbage. And from your use of that argument style, I could see you were missing where I was coming from as far as the difference between Protestant and Catholic authority structures. (my lack of clarity no doubt) It is a really common argument used and you should really read that article and see how it is not a valid argument. http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/05/the-tu-quoque//i

    I’m all too familiar with the arguments. However, experience has showed me the futility of arguing against third party positions. I have found that persons reference third party arguments when they are not well versed in the arguments themselves. Consequently, any interaction over the argument will be at best shallow and evasive simply because the person is ill-equipped to defend his position or respond to criticisms. Secondly, if the third party argument is successfully refuted, the person who is incapable of articulating, let alone defending the position, has little chance of recognizing that the position has been refuted. That reason is also indexed to the fragile understanding the person has of a position that has not yet been internalized, yet is desperately clung to.

    The nub of the matter regarding what you have labeled SCENARIO 0, 1 and 2.

    Your position begins by saying that both Romanists and Protestants draw opinions and conclusions. Then you move on to say:Protestants “can reject or accept any interpretation of divine revelation” because they have the “FINAL SAY”. Whereas Romanists “cannot take an ‘exception’ [for instance] to the 7th ecumenical council like my PCA pastor (and you) can take an exception to it.”

    I will briefly point out why you are wrong on both the Protestant and the Romanist assertions. I believe your error goes in many directions, but I think it would be foolish of me to write more than a couple of things.

    Certainly a Romanists CAN take an exception to Romish dogma, they simply may not. In other words, they have a will and are not robots. You should agree. Accordingly, when you say that a Romanist cannot take exception to certain Romish dogmas, what you should be saying is that he cannot and still be rightly considered a Romanist. I trust you will agree.

    You are correct, however, that what is required of the Romanist is “full submission of faith on some doctrines. His conscience and private judgments are to conform to it where he is in disagreement.” But that is true of Protestants! There are some doctrines that Protestants may not reject and remain true Protestants. Romanist and Protestants share some of these doctrines in fact. Within Protestant religion, the Bible alone – God’s word, binds the consciences of men on these doctrines, and the elders are to ensure in a ministerial and declarative manner that adherence is kept within the roles of the church. In principle, it is no different in Romanism with a couple of exceptions; one is the authority that is to bind the private judgments and consciences of men. Obviously points of doctrines that must be adhered to differ between the two communions, but let’s not pretend that Protestants can pick and choose on cardinal doctrines.

    More to the point, you have yet to show how the Romanists and Protestants are not exercising their opinions in the exact same manner. When confronted with a doctrine that is a necessary condition for either a Romanist or Protestant credible profession of faith, the members of each communion are to place themselves in full submission to their respective authorities, whether Scripture or Pontiff. What’s more, within Protestantism members are to submit themselves to ALL, not just some, true doctrines – yet only some, like in Romanism, if not submitted to should result in excommunication.

    Conscience and private judgement are conformed to the interpretive authority, not placed as judge of it.

    Given what I have just pointed out, I hope you will see that it is simply a Romish caricature of Protestantism to assert that Protestants may sit in judgment of cardinal doctrines that are requisite for a credible profession of faith. In that sense of the word “judgment” – neither Protestants nor Romanists are permitted to sit in judgment of any dogma prescribed from their respective authorities. Whatever God says about eschatology (i.e. a more minor doctrine) I am to submit to without remainder; and whatever papal Rome says about non-essential dogmas, Romanists are also to submit to in the same manner. It’s only certain dogmas that men MUST submit to in order to properly remain within their respective communions.

    “The Protestant retains his private judgment as the final say in all matters of the faith, and consistent with his system of belief he can diverge in his opinion from his church and still be considered a faithful Protestant.”

    That is a false statement and if it is repeated by you after having been corrected on the matter then you will be guilty of lying, which unfortunately is the practice of all the Roman apologists I have dealt with. I do not place you in that category but you are certainly moving in that direction.

    Within the Protestants system (chosen at scenario 0) he retains the crucial ability to decide what interpretive authority to submit to and this retention is consistent with his system of belief.

    This is no different for the Romanist. In fact when you say that the Romanist is to submit his conscience to his authority regarding certain dogmas, what you are presupposing is that the Romanist “retains the crucial ability to decide what interpretive authority to submit to…”!

    I hope that clears up where I am coming from. Now I will go say a Hail Mary…

    That’s a blasphemous and repugnant joke.

    Ron

  183. D. T. King said,

    June 19, 2010 at 5:34 am

    The following passages from Chrysostom show his emphasis on our need to approach God ourselves without the aid of others…You won’t find passages like these on Roman apologetic web sites…

    Chrysostom (349-407): There is in fact no need either of doorkeepers to introduce you, or of managers, guardians or friends; rather, when you make your approach in person, then most of all he will hear you, at that time when you ask the help of no one. So we do not prevail upon him in making our requests through others to the degree that we do through ourselves. You see, since he longs for our friendship, he also does everything to have us trust in him; when he sees us doing so on our own account, then he accedes to us most of all. This is what he did too in the case of the Canaanite woman: when Peter and James came forward on her behalf, he did not accede; but when she persisted, he promptly granted her petition. I mean, even if he seemed to put her off for a while, he did it not to put the poor creature aside but to reward her more abundantly and render her entreaty more favorable. Robert Charles Hill, St. John Chrysostom Commentary on the Psalms, Volume 1, Psalm 4 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998), pp. 48-49.

    Chrysostom (349-407) commenting on Psalm 7, v. 3: This must everywhere be our concern, not simply to pray but to pray in such a way as to be heard. It is not sufficient that prayer effects what is intended, unless we so direct it as to appeal to God. Robert Charles Hill, St. John Chrysostom Commentary on the Psalms, Volume 1, Psalm 7 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998), p. 117.

    Chrysostom (349-407): Prayer is a great weapon, prayer is a wonderful adornment, security and haven, a treasury of good things, wealth beyond threat. When we make requests of human beings, we need an outlay of money, servile flattery, much to-ing and fro-ing and negotiating. Often, in fact, it is not possible to make a direct approach to their lordships personally to grant a favor: it is necessary first to wait upon their ministers or managers or administrators with money and words and every other means, and only then through them to be in a position to receive the request. With God, on the contrary, it is not like this: it not so much on the recommendation of others as on our own request that he grants the favor. In this case, too, both the one receiving it and the one not receiving it are better off, whereas in the case of human beings we often come off worse in both cases.
    Since, then, for those approaching God the gain is greater and the facility greater, do not neglect prayer: it is then in particular that he will be reconciled with you when you on your own account appeal to him, when you present a mind purified, thoughts that are alert, when you do not make idle petitions, as many people do, their tongue saying the words while their soul wanders in every direction — through the house, the marketplace, the city streets. It is all the devil’s doing: since he knows that at that time we are able to attain forgiveness of sins, he wants to block the haven of prayer to us, and at that time he goes on the attack to distract us from the sense of the words so that we may depart the worse rather than the better for it Robert Charles Hill, trans., St. John Chrysostom, Old Testament Homilies, Volume Three: Homilies on the Psalms (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2003), Homily on Psalm 146.1, p. 125.

    Chrysostom (349-407): And even if you do not confess, He [i.e., God] is not ignorant of the deed, who knew it before it was committed. Why then do you not speak of it? Does the transgression become heavier by the confession?—nay, it becomes lighter and less troublesome. And it is for this reason that He would have you confess, not that you should be punished, but that you should be forgiven; not that He may learn thy sin, (how could this be, since He has seen it,) but that you may learn what favour He bestows. He wishes you to learn the greatness of His grace, that you may praise Him perfectly, that you may be slower to sin, that you may be quicker to virtue. And if you do not confess the greatness of the need, you will not understand the exceeding magnitude of His grace. I do not oblige you He [God] saith, to come into the midst of the assembly before a throng of witnesses; declare the sin in secret to Me only, that I may heal the sore and remove the pain. F. Allen, trans., Four Discourses of Chrysostom, Chiefly on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, 4rd Sermon, §4 (London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1869), p. 102. Cf. also Catharine P. Roth, trans., St. John Chrysostom On Wealth and Poverty, 4th Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man, §4 (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1984), p. 89. Cf. Concionis VII, de Lazaro 4.4 PG 48:1012.

    Chrysostom (349-407): For things which often we have not strength to perform successfully from our own exertions, these we shall have power to accomplish easily through prayers. I mean prayers which are persevering. For always and without intermission it is a duty to pray, both for him who is in affliction, and him who is in relief from it, and him who is in dangers, and him who is in prosperity — for him who is in relief and much prosperity, that these may remain unmoved and without vicissitude, and may never change; and for him who is in affliction and his many dangers, that he may see some favorable change brought about to him, and be transported into a calm of consolation. Art thou in a calm? Then beseech God that this calm may continue settled to thee. Hast thou seen a storm risen up against thee? Beseech God earnestly to cause the billow to pass, and to make a calm out of the storm. “Hast thou been heard? Be heartily thankful for this; because thou hast been heard. Hast thou not been heard? Persevere in order that thou mayest be heard. For even if God at any time delay the giving, it is not in hatred and aversion; but from the desire by the deferring of the giving perpetually to retain thee with himself; just in the way also that affectionate fathers do; for they also adroitly manage the perpetual and assiduous attendance of children who are rather indolent by the delay of the giving. There is to thee no need of mediators in audience with God; nor of that much canvassing; nor of the fawning upon others; but even if thou be destitute, even if bereft of advocacy, alone, by thyself, having called on God for help, thou wilt in any case succeed. He is not so wont to assent when entreated by others on our behalf, as by ourselves who are in need; even if we be laden with ten thousand evil deeds. For if in the case of men, even if we have come into countless collisions with them, when both at dawn and at mid-day and in the evening we show ourselves to those who are aggrieved against us, by the unbroken continuance and the persistent meeting and interview we easily demolish their enmity — far more in the case of God would this be effected. NPNF1: Vol. IX, Concerning Lowliness of Mind and Commentary on Philippians 1:18, §11.

    Chrysostom (349-407) commenting on John 16:22, 23: “And ye now therefore have sorrow — [but I will see you again, and your sorrow shall be turned into joy].” Then, to show that He shall die no more, He saith, “And no man taketh it from you. And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing.”
    Again He proveth nothing else by these words, but that He is from God. “For then ye shall for the time to come know all things.” But what is, “Ye shall not ask Me”? “Ye shall need no intercessor, but it is sufficient that ye call on My Name, and so gain all things.” NPNF1: Vol. XIV, Gospel of St John, Homily 79, §1.

  184. D. T. King said,

    June 19, 2010 at 5:39 am

    Please notice also in the following passage from Chrysostom…he knows nothing of the need for some human infallible interpreter, located in Rome or elsewhere, to act as one’s mediator in to understand Holy Scripture. Passages like this could easily be multiplied fro Chrysostom, and I’m willing to do so upon request…

    Chrysostom (349-407): Besides, what benefit would there be in a homily when prayer has not been joined to it? Prayer stands in the first place; then comes the word of instruction. And that is what the apostles said: “Let us devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.” Paul does this when he prays at the beginning of his epistles so that, like the light of a lamp, the light of prayer may prepare the way for the word. If you accustom yourselves to pray fervently, you will not need instruction from your fellow servants because God himself, with no intermediary, enlightens you mind. FC, Vol. 72, On the Incomprehensible Nature of God, Homily 3.35 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1984), pp. 111.

  185. D. T. King said,

    June 19, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Chrysostom indicates in the following passages that he knows nothing of any kind of post-mortem experience as purgatory…

    Chrysostom (349-407) commenting on Matthew 6:12: Let us know these and let us remember that terrible day and that fire. Let us put in our mind the terrible punishments and return once for all from our deluded road. For the time will come when the theater of this world will be dissolved, and then no one will be able to contend anymore. No one can do anything after the passing of this life. No one can be crowned after the dissolution of the theater. This time is for repentance, that one for judgment. This time is for the contests, that one for the crowns. This one for toil, that one for relaxation. This one for fatigue, that one for recompense. FC, Vol. 96, St. John Chrysostom on Repentance and Almsgiving, Homily 9.5 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998), p. 129.

    Chrysostom (349-407): Anticipate the exodus of the soul with repentance and correction, because when death comes suddenly, at absolutely no time will the therapy of repentance be fruitful. Repentance is powerful upon the earth; only in Hades is it powerless. Let us seek the Lord now while we have time. Let us do what is good so that we will be delivered from the future endless punishment of Gehenna, and will be made worthy of the Kingdom of the Heavens. FC, Vol. 96, St. John Chrysostom on Repentance and Almsgiving, Homily 9.7 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998), p. 130.

    Chrysostom (349-407): I testify and affirm, that if any of us who have offended shall forsake his former sins, and promise to God with sincerity that he will turn to them no more, God will require no further satisfaction from him. For translation, see William John Hall, The Doctrine of Purgatory and the Practice of Praying for the Dead (London: Henry Wix, 1843), p. 203.
    Greek text: Ἐγὼ διαμαρτύρομαι καὶ ἐγγυῶμαι, ὅτι τῶν ἁμαρτανόντων ἡμῶν ἕκαστος, ἂν ἀποστὰς τῶν προτέρων κακῶν ὑπόσχηται τῷ Θεῷ μετὰ ἀληθείας μηκέτι αὐτῶν ἅψασθαι, οὐδὲν ἕτερον ὁ Θεὸς ζητήσει πρὸς ἀπολογίαν μείζονα. De Beato Philogonio, Homilia VI, §4, PG 48:754.

  186. D. T. King said,

    June 19, 2010 at 5:41 am

    Chrysostom (349-407) said the incantation of Angels was introduced by the devil: Therefore the devil introduced those of the Angels, envying us the honor. Such incantations are for the demons. Even if it be Angel, even if it be Archangel, even if it be Cherubim, allow it not; for neither will these Powers accept such addresses, but will even toss them away from them, when they have beheld their Master dishonored. “I have honored thee,” He saith, “and have said, Call upon Me”; and dost thou dishonor Him? NPNF1: Vol. XIII, Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians, Homily 9.
    Greek text: Διὰ ταῦτα ὁ διάβολος τὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων ἐπεισήγαγε, βασκαίνων ἡμῖν τῆς τιμῆς. Τῶν δαιμόνων τοιαῦται αἱ ἐπῳδαί. Κἂν ἄγγελος ᾖ, κἂν ἀρχάγγελος, κἂν τὰ Χερουβὶμ, μὴ ἀνέχου· ἐπεὶ οὐδὲ αὗται αἱ δυνάμεις καταδέξονται, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀποσείσονται, ὅταν ἴδωσι τὸν Δεσπότην ἀτιμαζόμενον. Ἐγώ σε ἐτίμησα, φησὶ, καὶ εἶπον· Ἐμὲ κάλει· καὶ σὺ ἀτιμάζεις αὐτόν; In epistulam i ad Colossenses, Caput III, Homily IX, §3, PG 62:365.

    Council of Laodicea (363-364 A.D.): Christians ought not to forsake the Church of God, and depart aside, and invocate (οὐνομάζω) angels, and make meetings, which are things forbidden. If any man therefore be found to give himself to this privy idolatry, let him be accursed, because he hath forsaken our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and betaken himself to idolatry. For translation, see James Ussher, An Answer to a Challenge Made by a Jesuit (Cambridge: J. & J. J. Deighton, 1835), p. 406.
    Greek text: Ὅτι οὐ δεῖ Χριστιανοὺς ἐγκαταλείπειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ἀπιέναι, καὶ ἀγγέλους ὀνομάζειν, καὶ συνάξεις ποιεῖν, ἅπερ ἀπηγόρευται. Εἴ τις οὖν εὐρεθῇ ταύτῃ κεκρυμμένῃ εἰδωλολατρείᾳ σχολάζων, ἔστω ἀνάθεμα, ὅτι ἐγκατέλιπε τὸν Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ εἰδωλολατρείᾳ προσῆλθεν. Synodus Laodiciae, Canon XXXV.

  187. D. T. King said,

    June 19, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Mr. Meyer commented…

    But one thing is undeniable: they [i.e., the communion of Rome] have a singularity of doctrine that has no match in the ever splintering, ever disagreeing, many headed magisterium of Protestantism.

    Yes, there is another thing undeniable, according to the Lord Jesus, about Satan’s kingdom; it is likewise singular in its unity around the Satan, and his subjects are likewise loyal to his tyrannical constraints (Matthew 12:26). Therefore, the boast of unity, in and of itself, is no valid argument for or against the question at hand.

    Cyprian (c. 200-58): For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. But let us all wait for the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only one that has the power both of preferring us in the government of His Church, and of judging us in our conduct there. ANF: Vol. V, The Treatises of Cyprian, Concerning the Baptism of Heretics.

  188. TurretinFan said,

    June 19, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I see that Ron has already provided a response to Mr. Meyer, but I’d like to chime in too. Mr. Meyer, you wrote:

    But the difference is not in the ACT of submiting, but WHAT is being submitted to.

    There is actually some insight here. What we (Reformed) submit to with ultimate submission is the very Word of God. What Roman Catholics submit to with ultimate submission are teachings of men, specifically the allegedly infallible teachings of their magisterium.

    There are also lesser types of submission to authority both for Reformed and Roman Catholics. Thus, for example, a Roman Catholic does not have to accept absolutely whatever his local bishop says, particularly if (in his private judgment) the bishop is at odds with the allegedly infallible teachings of the magisterium. Likewise, a Reformed person is not required to accept absolutely everything that their pastor says, particularly if the pastor is at odds with Scripture.

    The question is – is absolute submission to be made to Scripture or the church? The answer to that question should be clear: it is better to obey God than man. When there is a conflict between Scripture and one’s church, one ought to obey Scripture and submit it to it, rather than submitting to their church.

    Recall that the apostles refused to obey those who “sat in the seat of Moses” when the rulers of that see instructed them contrary to the Word of God. Like them, our rule of faith should be the Word of God, and that Word has come down to us in Holy Scriptures, which were given for this very purpose:

    2 Timothy 3:14-17

    But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    That’s why I (like the church fathers) keep trying to call the discussion back to Scripture.

    As Gregory of Nyssa wrote:

    For if custom is to avail for proof of soundness, we too, surely, may advance our prevailing custom; and if they reject this, we are surely not bound to follow theirs. Let the inspired Scripture, then, be our umpire, and the vote of truth will surely be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.

    Gregory of Nyssa, On the Holy Trinity, and of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit, Section 2.

    Basil of Caesarea says virtually the same thing:

    I do not consider it fair that the custom which obtains among them should be regarded as a law and rule of orthodoxy. If custom is to be taken in proof of what is right, then it is certainly competent for me to put forward on my side the custom which obtains here. If they reject this, we are clearly not bound to follow them. Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favour of that side will be cast the vote of truth.

    – Basil, Letter 189, Section 3

    -TurretinFan

  189. June 19, 2010 at 10:02 am

    REGARDING UNITY

    I would add that although Romish doctrine is one, there is way more disunity among professing Romanists with respect to their adherence to Romish doctrine than there is among professing Evangelicals. Professing evangelicals by and large all agree that faith alone in Christ alone is necessary and sufficient for salvation. (A very few Evangelicals do not believe faith in Christ is necessary for the person who has never heard of Christ, but Evangelicals are clearly united over the sufficiency of Christ alone.) If you ask ten professing Romanists on the street the way of salvation, what might you find? Isn’t it everyone’s experience on this site that most professing Romanists will say that salvation comes by living a good life? Isn’t it so that some might mention something regarding faith, and less than one in ten on average will mention the sacramental system of Rome? If a Romanist is honest, he will purport the same kind of statistics. Rome would like to think they have unity, but what they have is an allegiance to her name and not an allegiance to Romish dogma and practice.

    Along these same lines, why is it that all the Romanists that fill the evangelical churches today have not been erased from the Romish roles as a disciplinary measure? By not practicing discipline as they should, they end up allowing for greater disunity among wandering “members” of the communion, do they not? Moreover, why is it that the priests of those churches don’t even know their members so that they might be phoned and pursued when they miss “Sunday obligation” (over and over again no less). It is because, by and large, the laity and the priests do not have any sort of unity of Spirit and a bond of peace, is it not? What else might we attribute such pastoral neglect to? Who is shepherding the flocks in the Roman communion after all? We might do better to ask, who is shepherding the priests who are engaged in shenanigans? (I find a unity of cover-up but not a unity in Christ. I find a unity to a communion in other words.) Why is it that most Romanists that take their version of the supper do not receive the alleged sacrament of penance? Could it be because most professing Romanists are not true, card carrying Papists, which again speaks to the question of unity within Romanism, does it not? Evangelicals unite over many truths of Scripture. But isn’t it the experience of most on this site that a Romanist doesn’t open his Bible unless he’s trying to refute an Evangelical? It would seem to me that there is more unity among all stripes of Protestants than there are among the “one” stripe of Romanism because Scripture for Protestants is conclusive, whereas the “infallibly” defined dogma of Romanism is not for the average Romanist. (Thanks DTK for that particular seed thought.)

    There is indeed loyalty to the tyranny of Romanism, but the loyalty typically manifests itself only during Lent leading up to Easter, Christmas and certainly Extreme Unction. My conclusion is that there is no discernable unity of the Spirit and bond of peace within Romanism simply because there is no Good News to unite over.

    Ron

  190. D. T. King said,

    June 19, 2010 at 10:16 am

    To piggy-back on TF’s comment above, I recall Mr. Cross objecting to our Presbyterian polity regarding the church’s authority as ministerial and declarative, implying it to be a novelty. I object to this charge of novelty with the words of both Chrysostom and Augustine…

    Chrysostom (349-407) commenting on 1 Cor. 1:24: How then can any one apply the remedy for the disease of which he does not know the character, often indeed being unable to understand it even should he happen to sicken with it himself? And even when it becomes manifest, it causes him yet more trouble: for it is not possible to doctor all men with the same authority with which the shepherd treats his sheep. For in this case also it is necessary to bind and to restrain from food, and to use cautery or the knife: but the reception of the treatment depends on the will of the patient, not of him who applies the remedy. For this also was perceived by that wonderful man (St. Paul) when he said to the Corinthians—“Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy.” For Christians above all men are not permitted forcibly to correct the failings of those who sin. Secular judges indeed, when they have captured malefactors under the law, show their authority to be great, and prevent them even against their will from following their own devices: but in our case the wrong-doer must be made better, not by force, but by persuasion. For neither has authority of this kind for the restraint of sinners been given us by law, nor, if it had been given, should we have any field for the exercise of our power, inasmuch as God rewards those who abstain from evil by their own choice, not of necessity. Consequently much skill is required that our patients may be induced to submit willingly to the treatment prescribed by the physicians, and not only this, but that they may be grateful also for the cure. For if any one when he is bound becomes restive (which it is in his power to be), he makes the mischief worse; and if he should pay no heed to the words which cut like steel, he inflicts another wound by means of this contempt, and the intention to heal only becomes the occasion of a worse disorder. For it is not possible for any one to cure a man by compulsion against his will. NPNF1: Vol. IX, The Christian Priesthood, Book 2, §3.

    Chrysostom is simply echoing the old adage…”A man persuaded against his will is of the same opinion still.”

    Augustine (354-430): That passage in the Gospel, ‘As my Father hath sent me, so also do I send you; when he had said this he breathed upon them, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; if you forgive any one’s sins, they shall be forgiven; and if you retain any one’s sins, they shall be retained,’—would be against us, so that we should be compelled to confess that this was done by men, and not through men, if after he had said, ‘And I also send you,’ he had immediately added, ‘Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted; and whose sins ye retain, they shall be retained.’ But since the words are introduced, ‘When he had said this, he breathed upon them, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost,’ and then was conferred through them either the remission or retention of sins, it is sufficiently shown, that they themselves did not act, but the Holy Spirit through them; as he says in another place, ‘It is not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit who is in you.’ See John Cumming, Lectures on Romanism (Boston: John P. Jewett and Company, 1854), p. 215.
    Latin text: Nam illud ex Evangelio, Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos. Hoc cum dixisset, insufflavit, et dixit: Accipite Spiritum sanctum; si cui dimiseritis peccata, dimittentur; et si cui retinueritis, retinebuntur: contra nos esset, ut cogeremur fateri ab hominibus hoc, non per homines fieri, si posteaquam dixit, Et ego mitto vos; subjecisset continuo, Si cui dimiseritis peccata, dimittentur; et si cui retinueritis, retinebuntur. Cum vero interpositum est, Hoc cum dixisset, insufflavit, et ait illis: Accipite Spiritum sanctum; et deinde illatum, per eos vel remissionem vel retentionem fieri peccatorum; satis ostenditur, non ipsos id agere, sed per eos utique Spiritum sanctum, sicut alio loco dicit, Non enim vos estis qui loquimini, sed Spiritus sanctus qui in vobis est. Contra Epistolam Parmeniani, Liber II, Caput XI, §24, PL 43:67.

  191. Tim Prussic said,

    June 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Gents, please check this out. I’ve just posted a response to Tim Troutman’s handling of the NT data as he tried to show that the prelacy of the RCC is in harmony with the NT. I hope it’s a blessing.

    http://wp.me/pVf8p-6S

    -Tim

  192. David Meyer said,

    June 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Hey Ron, do you have a macro on your keyboard for the words Romanish and Romanism? That might speed up your commenting.

  193. TurretinFan said,

    June 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Mr. Meyer:

    I get that you don’t like that label. Does that label really bother you more than the fact that your new church has distinctively Roman doctrines that justify that label?

    -TurretinFan

  194. June 21, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Romanish? Do you mean the least spoken language in Switzerland, usually spelled Romansh? I’m not sure I’ve used that word here. :v)

    Ron

  195. David Meyer said,

    June 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Romanist and Romist are perjoratives. It’s like spitting in someones face as you are telling them something. Obviously, the moderators don’t mind that on this site. At least from select commentors.

    W

  196. TurretinFan said,

    June 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    “Romanist” is a term that has been used since Reformation times to distinguish the sect of Rome from other groups. It’s used in many of the significant scholarly Protestant works (especially those dealing with the topic of Romanism) from the Reformation onward for several centuries. It has somewhat fallen out of vogue these days.

    But again … you’re caught up with the label, when you should be worried about the substance.

    Your church is not Catholic but Roman, which is why folks like Pastor King refuse to call your church by that label. In fact, those who understand what Rome is claiming by that label ought to be deeply offended by that label. It’s the equivalent of saying, “We’re the One True Church.”

    Nevertheless, the moderators here don’t insist that you more truthfully label yourselves with some other label, and we can only encourage you to get over your personal issues with a label that is, in itself, purely descriptive (notwithstanding that some folks – none of them here – may use it in a derogatory way). Moreover, I readily concede that one will find dictionary entries where the term is labeled “pejorative” or “derogatory” but the folks here are using it descriptively. Try to get past the labels to get to the substance.

    – TurretinFan

  197. June 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Frankly, I find the term Protestant misleading. Although Protestants protest Romanism, they never had any beef with the one holy, catholic and apostolic church. None whatsoever in fact! Furthermore, given our belief that the ecclesiastical sect of the papacy is not “catholic” in any sense of the word, what then might we call this Roman sect? Sometimes I refer to the organization as the Roman communion, yet I am open to suggestions. Romanism seems appropriate and accurate, and it is not intended to be a charged expression. Like the term Arminianism refers to the teachings of J. Arminius, Romanism points to the teachings the Roman Pontiff. One thing is certain – “Roman Catholic” is as misleading as could be.

    In the like manner, I don’t particularly care for the phrase “Reformed and always reforming”. It comes to close to the notion of innovation, and innovation is what brought us Federal Vision, a nicely paved road back to Arminianism and Romanism.

    Ron

  198. June 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    My post merely detracted from this on of TF’s, so let his remain the most current:

    ‘Romanist” is a term that has been used since Reformation times to distinguish the sect of Rome from other groups. It’s used in many of the significant scholarly Protestant works (especially those dealing with the topic of Romanism) from the Reformation onward for several centuries. It has somewhat fallen out of vogue these days.

    But again … ,you’re caught up with the label, when you should be worried about the substance.

    Your church is not Catholic but Roman, which is why folks like Pastor King refuse to call your church by that label. In fact, those who understand what Rome is claiming by that label ought to be deeply offended by that label. It’s the equivalent of saying, “We’re the One True Church.”

    Nevertheless, the moderators here don’t insist that you more truthfully label yourselves with some other label, and we can only encourage you to get over your personal issues with a label that is, in itself, purely descriptive (notwithstanding that some folks – none of them here – may use it in a derogatory way). Moreover, I readily concede that one will find dictionary entries where the term is labeled “pejorative” or “derogatory” but the folks here are using it descriptively. Try to get past the labels to get to the substance.

    – TurretinFan

  199. Phil Derksen said,

    June 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Re: #193
    I must confess I was wondering how long it would take for someone here to play the “victim” card. Now I know…

  200. Sean said,

    June 23, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    …members of a denomination of about 300,000 mostly centered in the American Southeast telling a Catholic</a< that his church isn't 'catholic' enough…

  201. Tim Prussic said,

    June 23, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Roman Catholic is an oxymoron.

  202. Sean said,

    June 23, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Tim.

    The name of my church is not the ‘Roman Catholic Church.’ It is the ‘Catholic Church.’

    So, agreed that it is any oxymoron.

  203. TurretinFan said,

    June 23, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Sean:

    Unlike the ultra-sectarianism of Rome, our denominations do not claim to be the entire church, but rather to be a part of the entire church. They are truly catholic, where yours looks more like a cult.

    “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    What Scripture says that? What father from the 1st to 5th centuries says that? I think you know the answer. Do you dare to admit it?

    Are you willing to say that the Roman Bishop who said this was wrong?

    – TurretinFan

  204. Sean said,

    June 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    TFan.

    What you are doing is redefining what it means to be “Catholic” and then proclaiming that the Catholic Church is not Catholic. You aren’t the first to do that. Its not very clever or persuasive. The doctrines in the faith that you take issue with are not Roman doctrines…they are precisely Catholic doctrines. Calling the Church by another name does not move her identity or remove from her the mark of catholicity that we affirm in the creed.

    If you want to discuss Unam Sanctam than I suggest a new thread.

  205. TurretinFan said,

    June 23, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    “What you are doing is redefining what it means to be “Catholic” and then proclaiming that the Catholic Church is not Catholic.”

    You aren’t even bothering to define anything … you’re just asserting.

    “You aren’t the first to do that. Its not very clever or persuasive.”

    That’s not a rebuttal. It’s just a characterization. It’s easy to say that someone’s argument is [negative description here]. It’s harder to actually rebut the argument.

    “The doctrines in the faith that you take issue with are not Roman doctrines…they are precisely Catholic doctrines.”

    You can claim that, but your doctrines (such as the ridiculous idea that everyone has to be subject to the Roman pontiff) lack the attestation necessary to demonstrate that they are universal.

    “Calling the Church by another name does not move her identity or remove from her the mark of catholicity that we affirm in the creed.”

    Calling your church “the Church” doesn’t make it so, just as vociferously asserting that she is catholic does not make it so.

    “If you want to discuss Unam Sanctam than I suggest a new thread.”

    Why don’t you address it here? It provides evidence of the absence of catholicity of your church. If you are just saying that you refuse to examine the evidence here, preferring to loudly assert, so be it.

    – TurretinFan

  206. Sean said,

    June 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    In that case you church isn’t really the Presbyterian Church in America. My church is more Presbyterian than your church so my church is truly the Presbyterian Church in America.

  207. Sean said,

    June 23, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    TFan,

    Since you ask…

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

    A short response is that Unam Sanctam is not questioning the condition of those who are not visibly in communion with the Catholic Church through no fault of their own. Boniface’s bull was written in response to a Catholic King and written to Catholics.

  208. D. T. King said,

    June 23, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    A short response is that Unam Sanctam is not questioning the condition of those who are not visibly in communion with the Catholic Church through no fault of their own. Boniface’s bull was written in response to a Catholic King and written to Catholics.

    What a splendid example of private judgment and interpretation of Roman dogma!

  209. June 23, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    There is a question on the table, Sean, pertaining to a quote:

    “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    TF asks:

    What Scripture says that? What father from the 1st to 5th centuries says that? I think you know the answer. Do you dare to admit it?

    Don’t provide links. Don’t dodge. Just answer, Sean.

    Ron

  210. TurretinFan said,

    June 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    “In that case you church isn’t really the Presbyterian Church in America. My church is more Presbyterian than your church so my church is truly the Presbyterian Church in America.”

    No, your church is papist, no presbyterian, in is polity.

    As to your second comment, you’ve missed the target. Let me remind you of what I asked:

    “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    What Scripture says that? What father from the 1st to 5th centuries says that? I think you know the answer. Do you dare to admit it?

    Are you willing to say that the Roman Bishop who said this was wrong?

    Your quotations deal with the different question of whether there is salvation outside of “the Church.” I realize that given your view of the papacy, it may be hard for you to distinguish between the two concepts – however what I am asking about is the specific requirement that the bishop of Rome is indicating that asserts that submission to him (i.e. to the Roman pontiff) is absolutely necessary to salvation.

    Can you find that teaching anywhere in the Scriptures or the ante-Nicaean fathers? What’s the earliest reference you can find to this doctrine? Is it Unum Sanctum itself? If the latter, can you see how your church with this distinctively Roman doctrine is Roman, not catholic?

    You concluded:

    A short response is that Unam Sanctam is not questioning the condition of those who are not visibly in communion with the Catholic Church through no fault of their own. Boniface’s bull was written in response to a Catholic King and written to Catholics.

    There’s nothing “questioning” about what Unam Sanctam has to say about the matter of salvation outside the church: “we do firmly believe and simply confess that outside of it there is neither salvation nor remission of sins,” a statement that he says is motivated thus: “Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic.”

    There’s nothing dubious about the analogy that Boniface employs within the first argument to argue for this premise: “There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed.”

    Boniface analogy does not really leave room for additional arks for saving folks outside the ark. It’s a very simple and perspicuous analogy he’s giving. One ark: one way of salvation. No pluralism for him.

    The next section of the bull, from “We venerate this church as one …” down to ” … one shepherd” is more of the same argument against a plurality of churches. It’s a terrible argument (perhaps it would be worthwhile demonstrating that, if anyone from the Roman side cares to), but that’s what it is – an argument against the idea that there is a Roman church and a Greek church etc. The argument is that there is but one church. The contextual reason (from the historical context) for this argument is to avoid the French church doing what the Greeks had already done and obtaining autonomy. Obviously that historical context doesn’t square quite with the “urged by faith …” preface, but you and I both know this wasn’t about faith urging him, it was about a power struggle with King Phillip the Fair.

    The next section, from “We are informed by the texts of the gospels that in this Church and in its power are two swords …” down to ” … judged by no man’ [1 Cor 2:15]” is an argument about the two kingdoms or “swords” as Boniface refers to them: the ecclesiastical and secular – church and state. The argument asserts that the ecclesiastical has greater authority than the secular and rules over it. The contextual reason for this argument is that Boniface is trying to assert authority over the King of France. Having already established himself over the French church, he needed also to attempt to exercise authority over the French state.

    It is a little tangent, but it is worth noting that the allegedly infallible pope here (i.e. in this argument) blunderingly cites Pseudo-Dionysius as “the blessed Dionysius” (and yes, we know the fallback that is always presented: supposedly God protects him in his conclusions, regardless of how obviously wrong his arguments are and no matter how demonatrably fraudulent his evidence is). (see discussion here)

    The final argument is the argument that the authority of the pope, while exercised by a man, is divine authority (from “This authority, however …” down to “… heaven and earth [Gen 1:1].” This argument would seem to hinge on the question of whether God actually gave the bishop of Rome the authority in question, but again, we’ll pass over that issue of the merit of Boniface’s argument for the time being (though it would be interesting to hear someone try to defend him!).

    Having set forth all these arguments, the bull presents its conclusion – a conclusion that is as clear as the introduction was. Indeed, the conclusion of the bull is equally clear, while dogmatically sectarian: “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    Here’s the real teeth of the bull (to paraphrase): “if you don’t submit to me, you’re not going to heaven” – and this comes right on the heels of his point about having divine power to bind and loose!

    So, yes … it was written to folks who were “catholics” in a broad sense. Nevertheless, the arguments, analogies, and even the words used don’t permit of the sense you’re seeking to apply: “every human creature” is really intended to mean that, not just to mean “every human creature who is Roman Catholic” (what an absurd result that would be!). In fact, the bull aims at avoiding the French king pressuring the French bishop to do what the Greeks had done, and what Henry VIII later did. It aims at avoiding loss of the power of the papacy, by alleging in ultra-sectarian fashion that Rome is the only church that has salvation – it’s the one ark for all creation.

    You’ll note if you read up that there is some dispute (no matter how minor) over whether the final and popular phrase should be included, but the ark analogy has already sunk the boat of those who want to suggest that the Roman church is just the way for Roman Catholics, but others can get saved some other way.

    -TurretinFan

  211. June 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    David 206. Yes indeed. The statement states with no ambiguity that you and I must submit to the “Pontiff”. Sean, on the other hand, would like to extend leniency toward those who are not “visibly in communion” with the Pontiff through “no fault of their own”. “No fault one their own” of course opens up a myriad of questions which Sean is not prepared to answer, at least with any papal imprimatur. Will Sean admit that TF, you and I REFUSE to fellowship with the “Pontiff” due to fault of our own? If not, then he has some explaining to do regarding the plain teaching of Pope Boniface’s (VIII) Papal bull@#$%. Yet if so (i.e. if Sean agrees with the plain teaching), then how “catholic” is Sean’s communion?

    I’m still waiting for a summons to appear before the elders at Immaculate Heart of Mary. Maybe they lost my address after I renounced their secret society.

    Ron

  212. D. T. King said,

    June 24, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam.

    Where is this materially revealed in Holy Scripture?

  213. Phil Derksen said,

    June 24, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Ron, I believe the proper theological term for “bull@#$%,” is “bovine scatology.”

  214. June 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Phil – great term from the Stormin’ Norman days. :)

    BTW (to anyone) w/ the new format are we losing the the numbering for the posts within any thread? I’m probably missing something very obvious but I don’t see the numbers any longer. For instance, I referenced David’s post, which was once clearly marked as #206.

    Cheers,

    Ron

  215. David Meyer said,

    July 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    D. T. King said:
    [“Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam.

    “Where is this materially revealed in Holy Scripture?”]

    It is revealed here:
    Matt. 16:18-19 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 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.”

    John 20:23 “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

    Luke 10:16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

    Of course you will have an interpretation of these verses that explain them away, but you asked for them so I gave them.
    Salvation comes through the church. Therefore submission to the church (and its appointed leaders) is necessary for salvation. Through our baptisms, Mr. King, you and I are subject to the Pope, and will be saved because of our communion (be it full or imperfect) in the church of which he is the earthly head.

    Let me ask you a couple questions.
    1.Where is it materially revealed in Holy Scripture that every doctrine must be materially revealed in Holy Scripture?

    2.Where is sola Scriptura materially revealed in Holy Scripture?

    3. Where is the table of contents of Scripture materially revealed in Scripture?

    Ironically, even if I grant your totally arbitrary presupposition that all doctrines must be materially revealed in Scripture, I still see evidence in Scripture for definitively authoritative church leaders and councils defining doctrine outside of the written words of Scripture.

    2 Thess. 2:15 “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

    So your presupposition is arbitrary and (ironically) contradicted by Scripture itself. Even a theologically untrained layman like me can see this.

    -David

  216. D. T. King said,

    July 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    It certainly took a long time for you to attempt to respond to my questionj in any meaningful way. And with all due respect, I am not answering any of your questions until you answer mine, and this one issue has been addressed fully. I am not about to let you off that easily.

    You wrote: Of course you will have an interpretation of these verses that explain them away, but you asked for them so I gave them.

    Where are all of those passages you cited (Matt. 16:18-19; John 20:23; Luke 10:16) infallibly defined by the Roman magisterium to be speaking of the Roman Pontiff alone, because I do not see any material reference to him in any of those passages. You are making the gigantic leap from the Apostle Peter to the Roman pontiff. There is not a single word uttered about the successors to Peter in any of those passages. Therefore, you have not proven this to be materially revealed in Holy Scripture; you’ve only asserted it.

    I want to know where the infallible interpretations of these passages is to be found in official Roman pronouncements, because many Roman apologists deny that the three pericopes you cited have been infallibly defined. Until you produce these official infallible interpretations, then I am going to assume that you are engaging in private judgment, which has no unanimous precedent for such interpretations in either the early church or the church catholic. In short, these interpretations you’ve *suggested* come from some members of the Roman communion in contradiction to the witness of the church catholic, and therefore cannot be genuine catholic dogma. You have yet to prove that this dogma from Unam Sanctam has been materially revealed in Holy Scripture.

  217. July 13, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    David M.,

    DTK asked where this doctrine is materially revealed in Holy Scripture: “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam.

    The teaching that DTK and the rest of are still waiting for you to defend from Scripture is not logically equivalent to the verses you referenced.

    Matthew 16:18-19 says that upon Peter Christ will build his church. From that premise how does one logically deduce that every human creature must be in subjection to the existing Roman Pontiff in order to be saved? Doesn’t your sense of logic suggest to you that you are skipping over a few crucial premises in your argument? You need to establish from that verse that Peter was a Roman Pontiff and that there is a succession of Roman Pontiffs. (A few more premises would also be needed to reach your conclusion, but those two should suffice in demonstrating that you have begged the question with your proof-texting. It’s not a matter of theology anymore but rather the plain meaning of words and trutfhulness.)

    Luke 10:16 speaks not of a singular Roman Pontiff, let alone a perpetual office of Roman Pontiffs, but rather seventy two people to whom Jesus said: “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Therefore, the verse no sooner teaches (or presupposes) the doctrine of the Roman Pontiff anymore than it implies that the church has at any one time seventy two Roman Pontiffs. In fact, the latter, as ridiculous as it is, would be more tenable from the text than the doctrine you are suggesting of a single pontiff.

    Similarly, John 20:23 teaches that Jesus came to his disciples – and not to a singular Roman Pontiff – and said: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” So once again, how do you leap to the conclusion that one must submit to the Roman Pontiff in order to be saved? > Your conclusion simply exceeds the scope of the proof-text, which seems to be your hallmark I’m afraid.

    2 Thess. 2:15 “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

    As soon as you can produce the traditions to which Paul referred I’m sure we’ll all gladly submit to them. So the question is – can you prove to us which specific non-Reformed doctrines Paul had in mind so that we can continue reforming?

    Of course you will have an interpretation of these verses that explain them away, but you asked for them so I gave them.

    David, we’re simply committed to the plain meaning of words and the laws of inference, that’s all. Please don’t hold that against us. We believe the Lord requires that of us and that he has given ample warning not to disobey him on this matter.

    …even if I grant your totally arbitrary presupposition that all doctrines must be materially revealed in Scripture, I still see evidence in Scripture for definitively authoritative church leaders and councils defining doctrine outside of the written words of Scripture.

    You don’t need to like the doctrine of Sola Scriptura but let’s not call it arbitrary. There is precedence in Scripture for the doctrine and to jettison it based upon reason is to reason fallaciously from silence. Mind you, not all arguments from silence are fallacious. What constitutes the fallacy has to do with burden of proof. Since Jesus blistered the Pharisees for defecting from a principle of sola scriptura and the Bereans were held up to the people of God as an example because they weighed doctrine against the Scriptures, it stands to reason that the de facto position is that we dare not deviate from Scripture alone. In the face of precedence, it is your task to show why we should overturn this tradition we find in Scripture.

    Ron

  218. Phil Derksen said,

    July 14, 2010 at 9:03 am

    re #217: “Matthew 16:18-19 says that upon Peter Christ will build his church.”

    Of course Protestants have historically argued that a careful exegesis of this passage shows that the “rock” Jesus was referring to was Christ himself, or (more likely, in my opinion) the revelation Peter had receive that Jesus was the Christ.

  219. July 14, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Phil,

    Although many Protestants believe that either Jesus was the rock in view or else it was Peter’s confession, I find that view somewhat esoteric in Reformed circles. I agree with Clowney and Calvin on this matter. In short, Peter was a rock but not the only rock, which he fully appreciated when he penned 1 Peter 2. In any case, no matter what we grant in this regard, the sweeping Roman conclusion is untenable.

    Cheers,

    Ron

  220. Phil Derksen said,

    July 14, 2010 at 10:18 am

    “In any case, no matter what we grant in this regard, the sweeping Roman conclusion is untenable.”

    Absolutely!

  221. Phil Derksen said,

    July 14, 2010 at 10:37 am

    BTW, John Jewel did an outstanding job showing that the early church fathers gave little or no indication that they understood this passage like the RCC now interprets it, here:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=MccUAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA1118&dq=Matthew+Upon+this+rock+build+church&hl=en&ei=-Nc9TK6nMdPenAfOkYDeDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAjgK#v=onepage&q=Matthew%20Upon%20this%20rock%20build%20church&f=false

  222. D. T. King said,

    July 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    John Jewel did an outstanding job showing that the early church fathers gave little or no indication that they understood this passage like the RCC now interprets it…

    Yes Phil, he did. But even members from the modern day Roman clergy grant the same. An example can be shown from one who has written probably the most thorough book on Roman tradition, and this is what he says with respect to Matthew 16…

    Speaking of the difficulty of the so-called Unanimous patristic consent as a reliable locus theologicus in Catholic theology, Cardinal Yves M.-J. Congar wrote: “Application of the principle is difficult, at least at a certain level. In regard to individual texts of Scripture total patristic consensus is unnecessary: quite often, that which is appealed to as sufficient for dogmatic points does not go beyond what is encountered in the interpretation of many texts. But it does sometimes happen that some Fathers understood a passage in a way which does not agree with later Church teaching. One example: the interpretation of Peter’s confession in Matthew 16.16-19. Except at Rome, this passage was not applied by the Fathers to the papal primacy; they worked out exegesis at the level of their own ecclesiological thought, more anthropological and spiritual than judicial. . . . Historical documentation is at the factual level; it must leave room for a judgement made not in the light of the documentary evidence alone, but of the Church’s faith.” Yves M.-J. Congar, Tradition and Traditions: An Historical and a Theological Essay (London: Burns & Oats, 1966), pp. 398-399.

    Therefore Congar implicitly admits the anti-catholicity of this exegesis of Matthew 16 by some members of the Roman communion. And on the same page, Cardinal Congar even goes on to insist that “It is the Church, not the Fathers, the consensus of the Church in submission to its Saviour which is the sufficient rule of our Christianity.” Yves M.-J. Congar, Tradition and Traditions: An Historical and a Theological Essay (London: Burns & Oats, 1966), p. 399.

    The Cardinal’s honesty is refreshing; it’s more than what one receives from the average “cage stage” Roman convert. Congar goes on to argue for what he calls “living tradition,” which is what Irenaeus identified as a Gnostic notion…

    Irenaeus (c. 130-c. 200): When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but viva voce (living voice). ANF: Vol. I, Book 3:2:1.

  223. D. T. King said,

    July 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Addendum to the above citation from Irenaeus, in context Irenaeus references the Gnostics, Valentinus, Marcion, Cerinthus, and Basilides, who are the “they” of whom he speaks.

  224. David Meyer said,

    July 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    D.T. King:
    Sorry for the delayed response on the last one, I have been uber busy.
    You are demanding all this material evidence from scripture and citations of infallible interpretations of scripture by the Magisterium. First let me say again this is arbitrary. You are demanding these things because you have arbitrarily decided that (I assume based on Sola S.) everything can and must be materially shown from Scripture. Obviously Catholics and Orthodox do not believe this and are not shocked and amazed when doctrines are not spelled out explicitly in Scripture. (contraception comes to mind) I was a staunchly Reformed Calvinist 6 months ago, and I had no trouble with (for instance) infant baptism not being materially revealed in Scripture. And there was certainly no infallible interpretation from the Reformed church(es). I’m sure you agree with me that the scriptural case is solid for that doctrine. You and I could give the same periscopes for infant baptism, and a Baptist would yawn and say “nope, not materially revealed.” The verses I gave for Papal authority were in the same category… you will dismiss the interpretation.
    As far as your demand for me to show where the verses I gave are “infallibly defined by the Roman magisterium to be speaking of the Roman Pontiff alone” AND your demand to show where they are materially revealed in Scripture, I provide both below.

    Pope Pius XII in his encyclical MYSTICI CORPORIS CHRISTI mentions Unam Sanctum by name when he infallibly points to Scripture (John 21 and Matt. 16) and shows why subjection to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation.

    “But we must not think that He rules only in a hidden or extraordinary manner. On the contrary, our Redeemer also governs His Mystical Body in a visible and normal way through His Vicar on earth. You know, Venerable Brethren, that after He had ruled the “little flock” Himself during His mortal pilgrimage, Christ our Lord, when about to leave this world and return to the Father, entrusted to the Chief of the Apostles the visible government of the entire community He had founded. Since He was all wise He could not leave the body of the Church He had founded as a human society without a visible head. Nor against this may one argue that the primacy of jurisdiction established in the Church gives such a Mystical Body two heads. For Peter in view of his primacy is only Christ’s Vicar; so that there is only one chief Head of this Body, namely Christ, who never ceases Himself to guide the Church invisibly, though at the same time He rules it visibly, through him who is His representative on earth. After His glorious Ascension into Heaven this Church rested not on Him alone, but on Peter, too, its visible foundation stone. That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head is the solemn teaching of Our predecessor of immortal memory Boniface VIII in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctam; and his successors have never ceased to repeat the same.
    41. They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.”

    Ron D. said:
    “Matthew 16:18-19 says that upon Peter Christ will build his church. From that premise how does one logically deduce that every human creature must be in subjection to the existing Roman Pontiff in order to be saved?”

    Thanks for the honest exegesis of that passage Ron. You are in good REFORMED and certainly good patristic company exegeting it that way. Here is the chain of logic:

    1. Submission to the church is necessary for salvation. This is nothing new to anyone with a high Reformed view.

    2. Catholics understand the Pope to be the earthly head of the church and the keeper of it’s unity (his primary duty).

    3. Therefore, salvation requires submission to the church which requires submission to it’s earthly head.

    I don’t see this as such a hard logical deduction.

    Mr. King, now that I have fully answered your questions, please answer mine. Keep in mind that if you can answer them without the tu quoque I will gladly report back to my session and renounce Rome. I am not kiding. Keith Mathison tried, and the best he could do was to tell me I would be better off going E. Orthodox.

    Cordially in Christ,

    David Meyer

  225. D. T. King said,

    July 15, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Mr. Meyer,

    You are demanding all this material evidence from scripture and citations of infallible interpretations of scripture by the Magisterium. First let me say again this is arbitrary. You are demanding these things because you have arbitrarily decided that (I assume based on Sola S.) everything can and must be materially shown from Scripture.

    I haven’t arbitrarily decided anything; I simply asked you a question. Be that as it is, most Romanists today do claim to embrace the material sufficiency of Scripture, even though Rome has never officially defined the relationship of Scripture to tradition, which is another example of how Rome has been content to let that controversy continue without adjudicating it. If you do not believe in the material sufficiency of Scripture, why not simply state it rather than going around in a circle trying to lecture to me? I don’t find that impressive. So far, the words above don’t tell me anything but your own false assumption based on my question. I asked a question – all you had to indicate was that you don’t believe in the material sufficiency of Holy Scripture, which would have been much easier to say, if that is indeed the case. Just say what you believe about the material sufficiency or insufficiency of Scripture, rather than lecturing me on what you think I’m thinking, because I’m not really interested in your attempted analysis of what’s going on in my mind.

    I was a staunchly Reformed Calvinist 6 months ago…

    I’m not really interested in this claim, but nonetheless I don’t believe it. “Staunchly Reformed Calvinists” who convert to Rome were never staunch. If they were, they wouldn’t find the claims of Rome impressive; because having studied them for the past two decades, I find them to be empty claims in the light of both Holy Scripture and church history.

    You and I could give the same periscopes for infant baptism, and a Baptist would yawn and say “nope, not materially revealed.” The verses I gave for Papal authority were in the same category… you will dismiss the interpretation.

    You are comparing apples and oranges, and you are missing the point and/or avoiding it. The Reformed are not the ones who claim the need for an infallible interpretation of Scripture. Romanists are the ones who insist on the need for official infallible interpretations, so I intend to hold members of that communion to their own claims. The fact is, you have provided no infallible interpretation for your claims about those scriptural references you listed.

    As far as your demand for me to show where the verses I gave are “infallibly defined by the Roman magisterium to be speaking of the Roman Pontiff alone” AND your demand to show where they are materially revealed in Scripture, I provide both below.

    You need to bear in mind that you appeared on this blog making claims (e.g. prayer to saints), for which you provided nothing but skepticism for those who doubted your word. Folks, such as myself, find that to be typical of Roman triumphalism, especially typical of new converts to Rome, which is long on claims, and short on proof, and in this case no proof.

    Now then, once again, you haven’t provided anything but a claim that amounts to a interpretation that you think favors Romanism. Your own theologians and apologists deny that the passages you cited have been infallibly defined. For example here is what a few of them say (I could easily provide more)…

    Roman Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid: …the dogma being defined here is Peter’s primacy and authority over the Church — not a formal exegesis of Matthew 16. The passages from Matthew 16 and John 21 are given as reasons for defining the doctrine, but they are not themselves the subject of the definition. As anyone familiar with the dogma of papal infallibility knows, the reasons given in a dogmatic definition are not themselves considered infallible; only the result of the deliberations is protected from error. It’s always possible that while the doctrine defined is indeed infallible, some of the proofs adduced for it end up being incorrect. Patrick Madrid, Pope Fiction (San Diego: Basilica Press, 1999), p. 254.

    Peter M. J. Stravinskas: From a positive vantage point, the Church has declared Matthew 16:17f. and John 21:15 as germane to the doctrine of Petrine primacy . . . So few examples can hardly be perceived as a heavy-handed attempt to stifle private interpretation. It is also worth noting that whenever a rare definitive interpretation is given, it is done only after consultation with the best exegetes of the day, as well as allowing for the divine guidance promised by Jesus to His Church (see Jn. 14:26, 16:13). To push for one’s own interpretation counter to twenty centuries of authentic and authoritative understanding of a particular passage would appear to be spiritual pride and arrogance of the worst sort. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, The Catholic Church and the Bible (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987), pp. 15-16.

    Johann Adam Möhler states: Catholic theologians teach with general concurrence, and quite in the spirit of the Church, that even a Scriptural proof in favour of a decree held to be infallible, is not itself infallible, but only the dogma as defined. Johann Adam Möhler, Symbolism: Exposition of the Doctorinal Differences between Catholics and Protestants as evidenced by their Symbolical Writings, trans. James Burton Robertson (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), p. 296.

    And, as I’ve already indicated in another post above, speaking of the difficulty of the so-called Unanimous patristic consent as a reliable locus theologicus in Catholic theology, Cardinal Yves M.-J. Congar wrote: “Application of the principle is difficult, at least at a certain level. In regard to individual texts of Scripture total patristic consensus is unnecessary: quite often, that which is appealed to as sufficient for dogmatic points does not go beyond what is encountered in the interpretation of many texts. But it does sometimes happen that some Fathers understood a passage in a way which does not agree with later Church teaching. One example: the interpretation of Peter’s confession in Matthew 16.16-19. Except at Rome, this passage was not applied by the Fathers to the papal primacy; they worked out exegesis at the level of their own ecclesiological thought, more anthropological and spiritual than judicial. . . . Historical documentation is at the factual level; it must leave room for a judgement made not in the light of the documentary evidence alone, but of the Church’s faith.” Yves M.-J. Congar, Tradition and Traditions: An Historical and a Theological Essay (London: Burns & Oats, 1966), pp. 398-399.

    Congar is implicitly admitting the anti-catholicity of this exegesis of Matthew 16 by some members of the Roman communion. And on the same page, Cardinal Congar even goes on to insist that “It is the Church, not the Fathers, the consensus of the Church in submission to its Saviour which is the sufficient rule of our Christianity.” Yves M.-J. Congar, Tradition and Traditions: An Historical and a Theological Essay (London: Burns & Oats, 1966), p. 399.

    Given the testimony of the members of your own communion, it does not appear that you have any infallible interpretation for Matt. 16:18-19; John 20:23; or Luke 10:16. In fact, concerning Matthew 16, Congar states that “except at Rome this passage was not applied by the Fathers to the papal primacy” which ought to be an indication to you that it does not have the support of genuine catholic exegesis. Yes, Rome has made a great many exaggerated claims, but making such claims does not make them “catholic” in any sense.

    You also pontificated earlier, Through our baptisms, Mr. King, you and I are subject to the Pope…

    Again, I am not interested in such inflated pontifications – this is simply a claim, and it proves nothing. Please tell me that you have something more than your convictions about what Rome thinks.

    Now, again, before I answer any of your questions, please indicate, can you or can you not provide an “infallible” interpretation by the Roman magisterium for Matt. 16:18-19; John 20:23; and Luke 10:16. When you give me a straightforward answer to these issues and questions I’ve raised for your claims, I will answer your questions, but not before then, because I am not going to let this line of questioning be side-tracked. Do you or do you not have an “infallible interpretation” by the Roman magisterium as to where it is materially revealed in Scripture that submission to the bishop of Rome is required for salvation?

    If you decide to respond again, please forego making claims for which you have no proof, as well as any digressed analysis about what you think I think.

    Thanks & Cheers,
    DTK

  226. July 15, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    David,

    The challenge from DTK was not merely that you show why all the saved must be in submission to the pope, but rather you were to have shown where you find in Scripture that all the saved must be in submission to the pope. You accepted that challenge and pointed to Matthew 16; Luke 10; and John 23 to prove (and even rest) your point. I in turn showed how the conclusion that all the saved must be in submission to the pope exceeded the scope of the Scripture proof-texts you cited. Rather than deal with the refutation that was before you, you simply dodged – which I trust I demonstrate below. Could it be that you need to be reminded of DTK’s challenge, which you accepted? Let’s review the bidding…

    Your claim was that Matthew 16; Luke 10 and John 23 settled the matter for you, that all the saved must be in submission to the Pope. I will not rehearse my earlier critique here other than to say that it was showed that a perpetual office of Pope is nowhere to be found in the texts you cited; yet a Scriptural defense of the premise of perpetual papal-primacy is crucial to your argument. In fact without it you are not able to take up the challenge that is before you, which is to show that Scripture teaches that all the saved must be in submission to the Pope.

    When we take a closer look at your rejoinder that was supposed to have been based upon the three passages you cited, what we find is slight of hand and not any valid “chain of logic” that is deducible from Scripture. Let me explain the trickery you employed – I trust unwittingly. Rather than proving from the Scripture texts you cited that one must be in submission to the Pope in order to be saved, you instead pointed to what you referred to as a “high Reformed view” of the church, which in your estimation teaches from Scripture that one must be in submission to the church in order to be saved. Granting for a moment that those texts synthesize ecclesiology and soteriology in that “high” manner (which they don’t), you went on to reason that since those in fellowship with the Roman communion acknowledge the Pope to be the earthly head of the church, then it stands to follow that the all the saved must be in submission to the Pope since to be in submission to the church presupposes being in submission to its earthly head, the Pope.

    It’s hard to believe that you would think that you have defended your position from Scripture when your entire appeal is made upon a faulty understanding of Reformed ecclesiology as it relates to soteriology, and an appeal to what “Catholics understand” to be the case regarding the Pope. In fact, one might think I was misrepresenting your position but below is your actual, unvarnished defense of your position. Keep in mind that you are to be defending from Scripture (not tradition) that all the saved are to be in submission to the Pope.

    Your defense from Scripture is:

    1. Submission to the church is necessary for salvation. This is nothing new to anyone with a high Reformed view.

    2. Catholics understand the Pope to be the earthly head of the church and the keeper of it’s unity (his primary duty).

    3. Therefore, salvation requires submission to the church which requires submission to it’s earthly head.

    Your maneuvering should be apparent. You were to have proved from the Scriptures that all the saved must be in submission to the pope. Yet your first point is based upon what you believe Reformed Protestants find in Scripture, and even that demonstrates a lack of understanding of the Reformed position, which teaches that that there is no ordinary way of salvation outside the visible church. WCF 25.2

    Your second point that Catholics understand the Pope to be the earthly head of the church etc., although true is utterly irrelevant to the task at hand, which is to prove from Scripture in general (and your three proof-texts in particular) that all men must be in submission to the Pope. You might begin by showing from Scripture the apostolic establishment of a perpetual office of Pope. Given that both your first and second premises are not rooted in Scripture (you didn’t even try to root them there!), your conclusion that follows from those premises has not been justified by Scripture either.

    In sum David, we all know what “Catholics understand”. What we Protestants are waiting for you to show is simply where all these Roman, non-catholic (little c) doctrines can be found in the Scriptures.

    I don’t see this as such hard logical deduction.

    Indeed, a deduction from Roman tradition and a caricature of Protestantism that you think is in agreement with Romanism is not hard to construct. That sort of deduction is a piece of cake, as you have well shown. What you’re obviously having a hard time with is justifying your premises from Scripture, which you said you could do.

    Again, DTK asked where this doctrine is materially revealed in Holy Scripture: “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam.”

    I’ll say one last thing in anticipation of an appeal to 2 Thess. 2:15: “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” Those who were taught traditions by the apostolate were to follow those traditions. If you want to argue that we should follow those traditions, then you need to produce them; or else make a radically different claim that exceeds the scope of the passage in view, such as we are to follow the traditions of popery. But once again, that is not an argument from Scripture.

    Now please, once and for all, leave all the bobbing and weaving in the pews and stand still for a moment to address the challenge that is before you. Or maybe you would like to concede the point that your ultimate authority for faith and practice is the Pope, which by the way I don’t believe for a moment given your esoteric interpretation of Unam Sanctam.

    Best regards,

    Ron

  227. July 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    “Please tell me that you have something more than your convictions about what Rome thinks.” DTK

    ROFL

    Kind of reminds me of the quote by Colonel Nathan R. Jessep (played by Jack Nicholson):

    “Maybe he was an early riser and liked to pack in the morning. And maybe he didn’t have any friends. I’m an educated man, but I’m afraid I can’t speak intelligently about the travel habits of William Santiago. What I do know is that he was set to leave the base at 0600. Now, are these the questions I was really called here to answer? Phone calls and foot lockers? Please tell me that you have something more, Lieutenant. These two Marines are on trial for their lives. Please tell me their lawyer hasn’t pinned their hopes to a phone bill.” Kaffee hesitates, dumbfounded

    This ain’t Hollywood folks. I don’t think the Roman apologists are going to be able to pull off what Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee did in the eleventh hour. The Roman apologists on this site (or anywhere else for that matter) have nothing more than mere convictions about what Rome thinks about Scripture. So, let’s move on and just admit that they are not interested in defending dogma from Scripture. Their ultimate authority does not require it from them. As Madrid honestly admits “It’s always possible that while the doctrine defined is indeed infallible, some of the proofs adduced for it end up being incorrect.” In other words, what Madrid appreciates and what David might come to appreciate one day too is that committed, mature Romanists eventually settle for a justification of doctrine that need not be based upon anything other than terrible exegesis and faulty reasoning. They don’t sweat that Bible stuff, but in our sincerest hope we all must ask in all sincerity of heart: “Please tell me that you have something more, David. You are on trial for your soul. Please tell me that you haven’t pinned your hope of glory on a Pope’s implicit rendering of John 3:16.”

    Unworthy but His,

    Ron

  228. David Meyer said,

    July 16, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Wow, I guess I am much dumber than I thought. Honestly guys I think I fully answered the 2 questions. btw, appologies for attributing motives to you Mr. King. And yes, of course I don’t think everything needs to be explicitly revealed from the Scripture, I guess I thought that was assumed, as I am becomming a R.C. Doctrines which I will be submitting to such as the assumption of Mary are not explicitly stated in Scripture, I know this. My accepting your challenge of answering the “where is Unam Sanctum materially revealed in Scripture” question does not mean in any way that I think it needs to be materially revealed in order to be proclaimed as infallible doctrine by the church. Nevertheless, it is infallibly

    Ron: Keep in mind I am not trying to dodge! That may be what I am doing but it is not intentional. I honestly thought I answered the questions asked. If that is true then I guess you are correct that I am just an that is wasting all your awsome brain cells. Even more reason for me to need someone to tell me what to think I guess. :) (kidding!)

    Perhaps I am confused a bit here, so I will show what I believe are the 2 questions you wanted me to answer.

    1. “Where is this [Unam Sanctum quote] materially revealed in Holy Scripture?”
    2. “Do you or do you not have an “infallible interpretation” by the Roman magisterium as to where it is materially revealed in Scripture that submission to the bishop of Rome is required for salvation?”

    Question #1:

    “Where is this [Unam Sanctum quote] materially revealed in Holy Scripture?”

    Matt. 16 shows that Peter was given the keys to the kingdom and implicit in that is the concept of apostolic succession. These keys also mean he (and his successors) are the head of the kingdom, binding and loosing with Christ’s authority. This is 100% compatable with Unam Sanctum.
    Now i don’t intend to impress you with my awsome exegesis here, and obviously you will take issue with the conclusion. Nevertheless, there are plenty godly men smarter than I on multiple interpretive sides of this verse. To me it seems obvious, but I do not doubt the sincerity of the Catholics and Protestants on every side of it. Ron says it is “terrible exegesis”, well even the great St. Augustine had a few different ways of viewing the exegesis on this verse within his life. Perhaps someone like Ron could have pointed him to the correct interpretation. Put together that passage with John 21 and it is clear to me that Peter is the head of the church. Even if you dont agree with that interpretation, can you see how intelligent men have come to the conclusion that Peter’s successors have the keys and are the head of the church? Agree with the interpretation or not, this answers your question of Unum Sanctum being revealed in Scripture.

    Question #2:

    “Do you or do you not have an “infallible interpretation” by the Roman magisterium as to where it is materially revealed in Scripture that submission to the bishop of Rome is required for salvation?”

    I must say I am baffled that the encyclical quote from Pius XII did not satisfy you. In Mystici Corporis Christi Pius XII specifically refers to the EXACT passage from Unum Sanctum and gives Matt. 16 and John 21 as his Scriptural support for the conclusions about Christ’s vicar the Pope. This is an example of the ordinary magisrerium, which means it is certainly infallible. It is not Patrick Madrid or Scott Hahn pontificating, it is (ironically) a Pontif pontificating. You gave me a bunch of quotes (interesting stuff by the way! Thank you for that) from men whos words are not in the same category of the magisterial teaching that I gave you. It is what you asked for and I gave it. God bless Patrick Madrid and the others, but they are not authoritative. Mystici Corporis Christi IS authoritative though, and it does exactly what your question asked, which is to show where the magisterium defines that it is “materially revealed in Scripture that submission to the bishop of Rome is required for salvation.”

    Also Mr King, like I said, I am sorry for atributing motives to you and “analyzing what’s going on in your mind.” You are right. I was wrong. I’m sorry. Strangely though after you admonish me for analyzing you, you do the same to me:

    “I’m not really interested in your attempted analysis of what’s going on in my mind.

    [David said:]“I was a stanchly Reformed Calvinist 6 months ago…”

    I’m not really interested in this claim, but nonetheless I don’t believe it. “Staunchly Reformed Calvinists” who convert to Rome were never staunch. If they were, they wouldn’t find the claims of Rome impressive; because having studied them for the past two decades, I find them to be empty claims in the light of both Holy Scripture and church history.

    So because YOU find Rome’s claims empty, based on your OWN convictions based on 20 years of study, you don’t believe my personal claim to have been staunchly Reformed and you state that you “find them to be empty claims” and that I “[was] never” staunchly Reformed. Hmm.

    Honestly my thinking on many points is still Reformed. Especially the doctrines of grace. Obviously it will be changing where necessary and I will submit to the magisterium. For instance, I do fully understand Total Depravity, and I can not see any way to reconcile it with Catholic theology. This is ONE example of many. The authority issue is why I converted, not because I didn’t understand Reformed theology or was not “staunch” enough.

    So. Will you please get to my questions now.

    Peace,

    David M.

  229. D. T. King said,

    July 16, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Mr. Meyer, you wrote
    And yes, of course I don’t think everything needs to be explicitly revealed from the Scripture, I guess I thought that was assumed, as I am becomming a R.C. Doctrines which I will be submitting to such as the assumption of Mary are not explicitly stated in Scripture…

    I never asked you if you believed that “everything needs to be explicitly revealed from the Scripture.” My question was – do you believe it is materially revealed in Holy Scripture that it is necessary for all Christians to submit to the pope, per Unam Sanctum, and if you have an “infallible interpretation” by the Roman magisterium of those passages you cited. I am going to take your answer that you believe that Unam Sanctum is an infallible interpretation of Matthew 16, though you really haven’t indicated if all three of those passages have been “infallibly” interpreted. I think you are somewhat confused about what you believe.

    But what you need to consider is this, given the fact that you are a new convert, why is it that you are the only Romanist, in all my years of exchanges, who claims that Matthew 16 and John 21 have been infallibly defined by the Roman magisterium? I guess either
    1) you have your own special revelation that these passages have been infallibly defined, or
    2) you’re in the dark about this matter,
    or
    3) the Romanists I quoted (the cardinal, priest, theologian and apologist) are in the dark,
    or
    4) there is no doctrinal unity considering which are the “infallibly” defined passages of Scripture by the Roman magisterium.

    You have your own belief, and these other four members of the Roman communion (whom I cited) disagree with your answer. Therefore, by Roman standards, there is no unity of belief on this matter.

    But for you to claim that Matt. 16:18-19 (John 20:23; and Luke 10:16?) has been “infallibly” defined by the Roman magisterium is simply your own private judgment. As for suggesting that any of those passages are the material revelation of Holy Scripture that it is necessary for all Christians to submit to the Roman pontiff has to be one of the most convoluted, question begging, self-serving conclusions that would challenge the theological acumen of the most advanced and esoteric Gnostic. My response to anyone who would buy into such thought is, “Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, who has spooked you against the truth?” To claim that this requirement of submission to the Roman pontiff is necessary for salvation, which is in essence a virtual addendum to the Gospel, is what Paul explicitly warns against, and calls the turning away to another Gospel, a perversion thereof, of which he declares its proponents to be accursed! (Galatians 1:6-9). To be sure, by insisting that I too should follow you into your “new found gospel” places you under an apostolic curse, given the fact that you’ve not only embraced it, but are actually calling others to it. That, my friend, is something seriously to consider as you contemplate leading your family to follow you.

    Strangely though after you admonish me for analyzing you, you do the same to me:…

    No sir, I did not.

    So because YOU find Rome’s claims empty, based on your OWN convictions based on 20 years of study, you don’t believe my personal claim to have been staunchly Reformed and you state that you “find them to be empty claims” and that I “[was] never” staunchly Reformed. Hmm.

    Hmmm is right, that “even a theologically untrained layman” ought to be able to “see.” I am not trying to read and/or analyse your mind. I’m simply telling you I don’t believe you. There is nothing staunch (firm or steadfast) about a professing Reformed believer who defects to Romanism. Now, if you wish to convince yourself of that, then go ahead, but I’m not buying what you’re peddling.

    Honestly my thinking on many points is still Reformed. Especially the doctrines of grace. Obviously it will be changing where necessary and I will submit to the magisterium…

    Shades of Scott Hahn!

    For instance, I do fully understand Total Depravity, and I can not see any way to reconcile it with Catholic theology. This is ONE example of many. The authority issue is why I converted, not because I didn’t understand Reformed theology or was not “staunch” enough.

    What? So, surrendering to the authority of men resolves the doctrinal conflict you perceived? The most basic tenet of Reformed theology is that there is no higher authority than God’s own inscripturated word. That was the first tenet of you professed “Reformed” theology to go. So it is a waste of time to try to convince me that you were “staunchly” Reformed. My friend, I think you’re lying to yourself in order to convince yourself.

    So. Will you please get to my questions now.

    Not yet, and here’s why. You have answered that you believe Matthew 16 has been “infallibly” interpreted by the Roman Magisterium, even though you seem to be alone in your judgment on that matter; but you have yet to answer (though I have asked you repeatedly now) whether John 20:23 and Luke 10:16 have been “infallibly” interpreted, and if so where, i.e. in what official Roman magisterial document(s)? And you have yet to tell me whether you believe in the material sufficiency of Scripture or not. Now, the little digression on the language of “explicit” was either a dodge, or maybe it’s something that “a theologically untrained layman” doesn’t understand – you tell me. If you don’t know what you believe, I’ll accept that answer as well. You offer a bit here, and a bit there, but you have not fully answered my questions.

  230. July 16, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    My accepting your challenge of answering the “where is Unam Sanctum materially revealed in Scripture” question does not mean in any way that I think it needs to be materially revealed in order to be proclaimed as infallible doctrine by the church.

    David,

    I believe I have understood this all along. I continue to press you because you have not yet tried to show this doctrine from Scripture, yet you say you can.

    Perhaps I am confused a bit here

    You’re not trying to cause me to stumble are you? :)

    I will show what I believe are the 2 questions you wanted me to answer.

    1. “Where is this [Unam Sanctum quote] materially revealed in Holy Scripture?”

    2. “Do you or do you not have an “infallible interpretation” by the Roman magisterium as to where it is materially revealed in Scripture that submission to the bishop of Rome is required for salvation?”

    I’m only concerned with #1. To which you have asserted:

    “Matt. 16 shows that Peter was given the keys to the kingdom and implicit in that is the concept of apostolic succession. These keys also mean he (and his successors) are the head of the kingdom, binding and loosing with Christ’s authority. This is 100% compatable with Unam Sanctum.

    You quoted more than Matthew 16 in your original defense of Unam Sanctum being materially revealed in Scripture. Those other two texts you cited suggested that more than just Peter was entrusted with the keys to the kingdom. Nonetheless, whether we interpret the whole of Scripture as teaching that Peter alone was given the keys or that Peter plus others were given the keys, you still have not tried to show from the texts why we should believe in an implicit concept of apostolic succession that (a) has at its center an infallible Pope and (b) places the seat of this infallible Pope in Rome.

    Now i don’t intend to impress you with my awsome exegesis here, and obviously you will take issue with the conclusion. Nevertheless, there are plenty godly men smarter than I on multiple interpretive sides of this verse. To me it seems obvious, but I do not doubt the sincerity of the Catholics and Protestants on every side of it.

    Impress? David, one might think by that naked statement that you actually offered at least some minimal exegesis of the texts. Yet if you go back and read the thread I think you will find that you offered none. You simply cited certain texts as if they spoke your conclusion of a perpetually infallible magisterium that has its seat in Rome. Why not Salt Lake City, Escondido or Elkton, Maryland for that matter? Can’t we derive those places as the seat of the Pope just as easily as Rome? I think Joseph Smith, DTK and RS Clark are all infallible when they say that they are speaking from their respective chairs, so there. How absurd is that? Well frankly, no less absurd than the Romanist claim. The only difference is that your claim is more popular due to better press. Neither, however, can be derived from the text and that’s the material point. I would submit to you that the problem you are now having with this crisis of faith is the same problem that children who were unfortunate enough to have been born into the Mormon cult have been dealing with for two centuries. If you say something long enough it can actually become the paradigm through which all other things must be interpreted. Shall we start planting by the light of the moon but never on Fridays? David, the fairytale of the papacy is no different; it’s becoming for you the lens through which all other claims must be seen. But like other superstitions, it has no rational or divine basis.

    Ron says it is ‘terrible exegesis’…

    I don’t believe I ever suggested that your exegesis was terrible for that would imply you offered some. What I believe I suggested was that the most prominent Roman apologists (e.g. Patrick Madrid) have stated unashamedly that exegesis can be flawed yet the conclusions that are based upon such exegesis will always be true. Now of course I share a position that might be confused with such a notion, but it is vastly different. That being, even if the early church’s criteria for the receiving and relying upon the canon were flawed, the receiving of the true canonical books has indeed passed. However, there’s a stark difference in the employment of this principle of providence. Mine does not require me to check the law of contradiction and the plain meaning of Bible truths at the door. It doesn’t leave me in the quandary you now find yourself, exemplified by your statement: “I do fully understand Total Depravity, and I can not see any way to reconcile it with Catholic theology.

    That God brings things to pass does not suggest that we are required to believe other things that appear contrary to what he clearly states. Is your full understanding of Total Depravity due to having learned this doctrine from God, or someone like R.C. Sproul? If you embrace a clear doctrine because Christ by the Spirit has taught you, then why in the world would you dare abandon such a plain teaching in order to try to square it with a Pope who did not die for your sins? To whom is your allegiance after all? Who taught you about the alleged assumption of Mary? Will you dare say God? Now who taught you about Total Depravity? Certainly not Rome.

    even the great St. Augustine had a few different ways of viewing the exegesis on this verse within his life. Perhaps someone like Ron could have pointed him to the correct interpretation.

    I believe philosophers and logicians would call that a Red Herring. Again, you said you could demonstrate from Scripture that all the saved must be in submission to the Pope. Now get to it man.

    Put together that passage with John 21 and it is clear to me that Peter is the head of the church.

    Fine – Peter is head of the church. Peter is now dead, which brings us full circle. How do you get to the next Pope and the one after that etc. from the texts? I’m afraid that you are imposing what you think you need (i.e. an infallible church) upon what God has actually said regarding Peter and the church.

    The OT saints operated under fallible leaders and that is no less the case today (except in the OPC of course). And as I’ve noted already, Jesus warned us not to abandon the principle of Sola Scriptura for the traditions of teachers that are not in line with Scripture. Consequently, we need good and necessary inference to abandon the de facto practice of Sola Scriptura. If you must do so, then do it in fear and trembling.

    Even if you dont agree with that interpretation, can you see how intelligent men have come to the conclusion that Peter’s successors have the keys and are the head of the church?

    What I see from Scripture is that God promised to build his church and that the gates of hell will not prevail. I do not see for a moment (and you have yet to try to prove from Scripture) that God promised a perpetual papacy in Rome, let alone one that would require that we deny clear Scriptural doctrines such as Total Depravity and Unconditional Election.

    Honestly my thinking on many points is still Reformed. Especially the doctrines of grace. Obviously it will be changing where necessary and I will submit to the magisterium. For instance, I do fully understand Total Depravity, and I can not see any way to reconcile it with Catholic theology.

    And that is where your tension comes from my friend. You wish to reconcile Rome and Bible. Who will you believe on these matters – the clear testimony of Scripture or that of a communion that says trust me apart from exegesis?

    David, I don’t wish to believe you as being dull by nature, but rather I prefer to think of you as blinded by presuppositions that you have not learned from God. In either case, I must assume you have argued your best case given your natural and spiritual conditions. Obviously, I find everything you have written not only indefensible but also poorly argued.

    Groaning and praying for you and your household…

    Ron


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