Response to Bryan Cross

Bryan Cross has critiqued my post on church unity here. I must say it is refreshing to see some use of logic in a debate. Fancy that. As opposed to all the name-calling, and whining about tone that has occurred on this blog recently, someone is actually trying to deal with the heart of the issues. So, thanks Bryan, for a vigorous, healthy, and logical debate. All right, let’s get to it.

Consider Lane’s arguments. Here is the first: 1) If there are believers in just about every Christian denomination, then there is Christian unity. 2) There are believers in just about every Christian denomination. 3) Therefore, there is Christian unity. Not only is the apodosis of (1) a non sequitur, but (1) makes disunity impossible, and implies that the unity of the Church is unaffected by schism.

I don’t think that Bryan has gotten my argument correct. Admittedly, I could have inserted a few more statements to flesh out premise 1. Let’s take Bryan’s own position. The picture on his blog shows the patriarch of Constantinople holding hands with the Pope. I would assume that means that Bryan would say that the Eastern Orthodox Church has believers in it, just as the Roman Catholic Church does. If this is so, then is there not an underlying unity that connects the believers in the EOC with believers in the RCC? After all, Bryan would presumably not advocate union between the RCC and Buddhism. Why not? Because there is no basis for organizational unity without a corresponding, prior, theological unity. So, what I am saying in premise 1 is that there is theological unity among all believers, no matter in what denomination they participate. If Bryan does not grant premise 1, then he cannot premise that there are any believers in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and thus, there would be no reason for the RCC and the EOC to join. Christian unity cannot be merely external and organizational. There is a deeper, underlying Spiritual unity among all believers. This is precisely what Ephesians 4 is saying. Furthermore, premise 1 in no way implies that the church is unaffected by schism, since, in order for that claim to be true, I would have had to say that Christian unity has no implications at all for external organizations, something which the rest of the post clearly kaboshes.

His next argument is: 4) Ephesians 4:1-6 refers to the “unity of the Spirit”. 5) Nowhere in this passage is it implied that it has to be an organizational unity. 6) Therefore Christian unity is a (S)spiritual [not organizational] unity. Notice the explicit equivocation in (6) between Spiritual (i.e. Spirit-wrought), and spiritual (i.e. not organizational). The move from (4) to “Spirit-wrought” in (6) would be fine. But the move from (4) and (5) to “spiritual” [and not organizational], is a non sequitur on account of an equivocation between ‘Spirit’ and ‘spiritual’, and because the move from (5) to “spiritual” [and not organizational] in (6) is an argument from silence.

The difficulty with Bryan’s assessment of my argument here is that I am also using the term “Spiritual” to mean non-organizational. Therefore the equivocation between “Spiritual” and “spiritual” is irrelevant to the validity of the argument, since both imply non-physical as I have understood the terms. Bryan also does not tell us why the move from 5 to 6 is an argument from silence. What is silent, precisely? Bryan does not deny, interestingly, that move from 4 to 6 would be fine if the meaning “Spiritual” were retained. I am glad to hear that, since it means that he accepts my argument about Ephesians 4 not necessarily implying organizational unity.

7) Paul does not say [in this passage] that there should be Christian unity. (8) Paul says [in this passage] that there is unity. 9) Therefore, if this passage applies at all today, then the unity is in no way, shape, or form organizational. 10) This passage applies today. 11) Therefore, Christian unity is in no way, shape, or form organizational. (9) is a non sequitur; it does not follow from (7) and (8).

I wish Bryan had given us a little more here, for he does not demonstrate how line 9 does not follow lines 7-8, but merely asserts it. Assertion is not proof or disproof unless one is God (Bryan is not claiming to be God!). But let me respond to his assertion anyway. We have a difficulty in the text. The difficulty is this: there are believers in almost every Christian denomination today; however, Paul’s letter was not written in our day and age. We must seek to see how Paul’s message applies today. The difficulty is this: Paul’s letter is silent on the question of denominations, since no denominations existed then. Paul’s letter cannot easily be forced into saying denominations are bad or good, since the situation simply didn’t exist. What I mean in this argument is that Paul asserts that all believers actually have Christian unity. I think that is Paul’s message. If that is true, and there are believers in almost every denomination, then it must follow that the unity of which Paul speaks (if it applies today at all) must not be an organizational unity primarily, but rather a (S)spiritual unity. And again, as I stressed in my original post, organizational unity is a good thing, when it can be a unity around the truth, and it is something for which we should strive as much as we are able. However, lack of organizational unity simply does not mean that there are no other forms of unity among all Christians.

Going on to comment 19 of that post, where I respond to Jonathan Bonomo:

12) The denominations around today are all part of the body of Christ. 13) If visible unity were necessary, then the denominations around today would not be part of the body of Christ. 14) Therefore visible unity is not necessary. (13) is a non sequitur, because it assumes that parthood is all or nothing.

Unfortunately, Bryan got my argument badly garbled here. First of all, I did not claim that the denominations around today are all part of the body of Christ. I claim that there are Christians in almost every denomination that calls itself Christian. Those are not the same claims. I do claim number 13, which Bryan has not even remotely answered. Bryan’s position seems to require visible unity as the sine qua non of being oart of the body of Christ. As I tried to show earlier in this post, if that were true, then he would have to disenfranchise most Christian denominations as not being part of the body of Christ at all. And as I pointed out earlier in this post as well, not even Bryan believes that. The subtitle of his blog is “a blog dedicated to the reunion of all Christians.” That claim, of necessity, forces Bryan to admit that there are Christians in many denominations. If there are, then are not those churches that consist of Christians part of the body of Christ? Does he claim that the Eastern Orthodox Church is a true church? They claim the same apostolic succession that the RCC does. What makes their claim false? If there is only one true church, and the RCC and EOC have not joined yet, then Bryan is forced to conclude that the EOC is not a true church.

15) Every particular church is part of the body of Christ. 16) Every particular church would still be a separate body, even if they were all in the same denomination. 17) Therefore, the “one body” of Eph 4 must refer to a spiritual (not organizational) unity. This argument is a non sequitur as well, because it assumes that being [geographically] separate bodies is incompatible with being one visible body by way of hierarchical organization.

This rebuttal doesn’t work either. My argument doesn’t assume what he thinks it assumes. I am asking the question: what is the nature of the oneness of the church? Bryan and I both agree that oneness exists. I argue that it is a primarily (S)spiritual unity with organizational implications (I have never denied the visible aspects of church unity, contrary to Bryan’s charges of Gnosticism). Bryan seems to deny utterly any non-physical aspects to Christian unity. Bryan would, right now, claim that the two churches I pastor in rural North Dakota are not part of the body of Christ in any way, shape, or form, since they are not visibly united to the Church of Rome. It is ironic, isn’t it? Bryan wants Christian unity that is visible. He will never get that with my two churches, for instance, so long as the Roman Catholic Church has distorted the Word and Sacraments. So, he will intolerantly claim that my two churches are not true churches, not part of the body of Christ. On the other hand, I claim (S)spiritual unity with all true Christian believers, Roman Catholic believers included. Who is the more tolerant here? Who is more concerned about Christian unity? Bryan has too narrowly defined Christian unity.

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46 Comments

  1. Tim Wilder said,

    August 29, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Perhaps one of the greatest things that could be done to promote Church unity would be to disband the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox organizations. Neither of these organizations is the church, so uniting them isn’t the uniting of the church. Moveover, doing away with these organizations would remove one of the biggest sources of bitterness and divisions over the last 1000 years, namely the bickering over which organization is the true one.

  2. Paul B. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Mr. Wilder,

    If you mean that neither “Catholic” nor “the Orthodox” is exhaustively synonymous with “the Church,” I’m with you. Otherwise, I’ll stand with Machen and others in affirming a great deal of common ground with the Catholic Church. I’ll also stand with whoever will affirm the same with respect to the Orthodox. Having been in the trenches of a profession where the name of Christ gets little respect, and having had Catholic and Orthodox colleagues join me in naming him, it’s hard for me to dismiss them as non-Christians. (And that’s just for starters.)

    I share your aversion to the bickering over which is the true Church. I can’t see, though, that Protestants have much room to boast in this respect. Look no further than the ugly spirit on display daily, and tolerated daily, in the comments on this blog.

    I am a member of a Reformed church. But I do not believe that any tradition, not even the Reformed, can afford to say to the others, “I don’t need you, and I have nothing positive to learn from you.” That’s hubris.

  3. August 29, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    “Having been in the trenches of a profession where the name of Christ gets little respect, and having had Catholic and Orthodox colleagues join me in naming him, it’s hard for me to dismiss them as non-Christians. (And that’s just for starters.)”

    Coming from the continental Reformed side of things, it is worth noting that historically our Reformed churches, going all the way back to Calvin, have held that Rome is a false church (according to the 3 Marks of a True Church the Belgic Confession outlines). While Roman baptism was accepted as valid, Romanists were not communed and it was thought that communion with Rome destroyed the credibility of any profession of faith. See, for instance, the French Confession.

    there can be no Church where the Word of God is not received, nor profession made of subjection to it, nor use of the sacraments. Therefore we condemn the papal assemblies, as the pure Word of God is banished from them, their sacraments are corrupted, or falsified, or destroyed, and all superstitions and idolatries are in them. We hold, then, that all who take part in those acts, and commune in that Church, separate and cut themselves off from the body of Christ.

  4. Tim Wilder said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Re:

    The PCA is not the church, nor is the OPC the church. They are merely denominations, organizations maintained by churches. Much less is Roman Catholocism or Eastern Orthodoxy able to be called the church.

    I think the PRC has the right idea in calling itself the Protestant Reformed Churches.

  5. Bryan Cross said,

    August 30, 2007 at 9:26 am

    Lane,

    Thanks for the reply. Your response to my evaluation of (1),(2), and (3) takes the form of a dilemma. You claim that I must either deny that there are Christians outside the Catholic Church, or I must admit that there is theological unity among all believers.

    In order to explain my response to that dilemma, I have to back up. Catholics believe that there is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church”. We believe that Christ has only one bride. We also believe that Christ is building this Church on Peter the Rock, through the bishops in sacramental succession from Peter, to whom were given the “keys of the kingdom”. That is why St. Ambrose (who baptized St. Augustine) said: “Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesiae” [Where Peter is, there is the Church]. And this explains why, from the Catholic point of view, schism is defined in relation to Peter’s successor. (See CCC #2089) We also believe that being incorporated into the Church can be a matter of degree. Fully incorporated into the Church are “those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who – by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion – are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops.” (CCC #837) Those who are baptized but “do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter”, are, according to the Catholic Church, through their baptism, “put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church”. Because they do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter, they are not fully incorporated into the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church (CCC #838).

    Now, even though I presume that you reject almost everything in that paragraph, it should be clearer how a Catholic can acknowledge that there are Christians in presbyterian, baptist, methodist, (etc.) denominations, while affirming both that the Church is one Body (i.e. one institution) and that Christians are not as united as they should be. There is some degree of unity among all believers because through their baptism they are placed in a certain communion with the institution of the Catholic Church. (All Trinitarian baptisms are Catholic in that, because Trinitarian baptism was given by Christ to the Catholic Church, therefore all who receive Trinitarian baptism are incorporated into the Catholic Church.) But those who are not in full communion with Peter’s successor, are in schism, and hence such Christians are not as united with the Church as they should be. So that is why the Catholic is not faced with the dilemma you posed to me. Perfect ecclesial unity is achieved when all believers are in full communion with the successor of the Rock (Peter) on which Christ is building His Church, and in full communion with all others who are in full communion with Peter’s episcopal successor.

    Now given what I have just said above, it should be clear that a number of the things you said about my position were inaccurate. For example, you wrote:

    Bryan would, right now, claim that the two churches I pastor in rural North Dakota are not part of the body of Christ in any way, shape, or form, since they are not visibly united to the Church of Rome.

    But that is not my position. Those members of your congregation that are baptized, are, from the Catholic Church’s point of view, by their baptism (which is visible), placed into an imperfect communion with the Catholic Church. Baptism is a sacrament of the Catholic Church. By baptizing people, you are incorporating them (truly, but imperfectly) into the Catholic Church presently ruled by Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th episcopal successor from Peter.

    And there were other similar claims you made about my position, but they were all based on this same misunderstanding of the Catholic Church’s doctrine regarding what baptism does and whether incorporation into the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church is all or nothing.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  6. greenbaggins said,

    August 30, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Benedict has just recently repeated the age-old claim that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church. The implies that all other churches suffer from degrees of falsity. But the entire papacy is built on a misinterpretation of Matthew 16. Note the change in gender of petra. Jesus says, “You are Petros, and on this petra I will build my church.” Jesus is making a word-play, obviously, but He is not saying that the church is built on Peter, since that would contradict other Scriptures, which say that the church is built on Christ as the only foundation. The “foundation of the apostles and prophets” is what they *said,* not the person himself. And what the apostles and prophets said was Jesus. The Roman Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16 was not in existence in the earliest church. Chrysostom says that the petra is the rock of Peter’s confession. See this site:

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.LII.html

    Origin said that the words meant that we can *all* become a Peter by such a confession, and that upon such a transformation the church is built.

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf09.xvi.ii.v.x.html

    So, even tradition is not by any means unified as to whether there is a papal succession to Peter.

  7. Bryan Cross said,

    August 30, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Lane,

    Pope Benedict XVI has not claimed that the “Roman Catholic Church” is the only true Church. The term “Roman Catholic Church” is a term invented by English Protestants. The Catholic Church is composed of twenty-two particular Churches. They are all united by the three bonds of unity: same doctrine, same sacraments, and same visible head (i.e. Peter’s successor). The Latin Church is one of the twenty-two particular Churches (as can be seen in this diagram). There are four Rites within the Latin Church; one of those four Rites is the Roman Rite.

    He is not saying that the church is built on Peter, since that would contradict other Scriptures, which say that the church is built on Christ as the only foundation

    The Scripture nowhere says that Christ is the only foundation. It says in fact that the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20). The either/or mentality you express is not supported by Scripture, as though if Christ is the Cornerstone, therefore there can be no other subordinate magisterial foundation.

    Actually Chrysostom does not say that it is “Peter’s confession”; he says that it is the “faith of Peter’s confession”. And again, apart from an either/or mindset, that does not exclude Peter (and the Petrine office) from being the petra. It is important not to proof-text Chrysostom, who was a Catholic. To understand what Chrysostom really believed about Peter’s role we should look throughout his corpus. Elsewhere Chrysostom writes:

    “Peter himself the chief of the Apostles, the first in the Church, the friend of Christ, who received a revelation not from man, but from the Father, as the Lord bears witness to him, saying, ‘Blessed are thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven'; this very Peter, — and when I name Peter, I name that unbroken rock, that firm foundation, the great Apostle, the first of the disciples, the first called and the first who obeyed.”

    And elsewhere he writes:

    “And if any should say, ‘How then did James receive the [episcopal] chair at Jerusalem?’ I would make this reply, that He appointed Peter teacher, not of the chair [of Jerusalem], but of the world.”

    What Origen says is true, of course, but it is fully compatible with the Catholic position. Origen is not promoting a kind of sacramental egalitarianism, something entirely unknown in the Church at his time. For an overview of what the fathers teach on the primacy of Peter, see my collection of excerpts from the fathers on that subject. I also recommend Stephen Ray’s book Upon This Rock.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  8. Sean Gerety said,

    August 30, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    it should be clearer how a Catholic can acknowledge that there are Christians in presbyterian, baptist, methodist, (etc.) denominations, while affirming both that the Church is one Body (i.e. one institution) and that Christians are not as united as they should be.

    Typical papist nonsense. Romanism has nothing in common with Christianity at all beyond the fact that they might use some of the same words like “Trinitarian” or names like “Jesus.” What they mean of course is something completely different than a Christian would understand these words and names.

    The Roman state/church is a anti-Christian cult, but Bryan has provided another wonderful testimony against the FV in that so many Romanists can affirm and embrace so many solidly FV doctrines. Not at all surprising, but I love to watch those FV men like Doug Wilson squirm. Evidently they’re just too stupid to see the logic end of their own theology.

    FWIW Bryan, I’m convinced, despite his attempt to distance himself from you, that you have understood and embraced Doug Wilson’s teachings perfectly.

  9. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    August 30, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Mr. Gerety,

    As an avowed Protestant, who adheres wholeheartedly to the system of doctrine contained in the Reformed Confessions, you disgust me.

    Mr. Cross,

    I personally apologize to you for Mr. Gerety’s nonsensical remarks.

    To anyone who may give a rip about the actual state of things, it is clear as day that the Western branch of the holy catholic Church, both Roman and traditional Protestant, share quite the same ideas on the nature of God and the person of Jesus Christ as well as his redeeming work: his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension. Only hatred and bigotry can cause one to think differently. And Mr. Gerety has demonstrated himself time and again to be a rather hateful and bigotted fellow.

  10. Shawn Young said,

    August 30, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Let me first say that I have great respect for Bryan. At least existentially, I even sympathize with his desire for ecclesiastical unity. I can understand the attraction of institutional unity. What is more, we both attended the same church in St. Louis before his conversion to Catholicism.

    My own ecclesiastical journey, however, has been the reverse of his. I was raised in a devout Catholic family in one of the most conservative dioceses in the U.S. I was diligently catechized in the Catholic doctrine. I could offer a number of reasons for my leaving the Catholic Church. But Bryan’s comments here effectively point to my central concern. It comes down to this: Peter effectively holds a far more important place in the life and theology of the church than does Christ. While it is true that the Scriptures do not say that Christ is the only foundation, they do say He is the only head of the church. There can be only one head of the church. And therein is the crux of the issue.

  11. Bryan Cross said,

    August 30, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    Hello Shawn,

    Peter effectively holds a far more important place in the life and theology of the church than does Christ.

    What do you think a Church that affirmed both the episcopal primacy of Peter’s successors and the deity of Christ would look like in its life and theology? Do you think that a primacy of one of the twelve Apostles is intrinsically incompatible with the Church properly affirming the deity of Christ?

    While it is true that the Scriptures do not say that Christ is the only foundation, they do say He is the only head of the church.

    Where do the Scriptures say that Christ is the “only head of the church”? Do you think it is wrong to refer to a “head pastor” of a particular [i.e. local] Church? If not, then why would it be wrong for Christ to give one of the Apostles (and his episcopal successors) the visible headship of the catholic (i.e. universal) Church until Christ returns? It seems ad hoc to admit one (i.e. “head pastors” of particular Churches) and disallow the other (i.e. a head pastor [shepherd] of the catholic visible Church), without some principled reason.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  12. August 30, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Bonomo said “both Roman and traditional Protestant, share quite the same ideas on the nature of God and the person of Jesus Christ as well as his redeeming work: his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension. Only hatred and bigotry can cause one to think differently. ”

    No, such a view of Rome as a false church with a false Gospel is, rather, because some of us are confessional (and, to boot, also following the historical precedent of the early Reformed churches). See my post (#3) above. Of course, you and your ilk call this a “repristination” of history and theology. This charge is also wrong, but it is at least more plausible as a source for this view than are hatred and bigotry.

  13. Sean Gerety said,

    August 30, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    Where do the Scriptures say that Christ is the “only head of the church”? Do you think it is wrong to refer to a “head pastor” of a particular [i.e. local] Church? If not, then why would it be wrong for Christ to give one of the Apostles (and his episcopal successors) the visible headship of the catholic (i.e. universal) Church until Christ returns? It seems ad hoc to admit one (i.e. “head pastors” of particular Churches) and disallow the other (i.e. a head pastor [shepherd] of the catholic visible Church), without some principled reason.

    At the risk of getting Bonomo into another self-flagellating froth (although that might be fun), this is another fine example of papist equivocation. Yet, what else can one expect but another fallacy parading as truth in order to justify the abomination of that antichrist to whom Bryan bows? Why, even sailors and Marines call the bathroom “the head” and schools have head masters. He’s right after all and I bet even Bomono’s “avowed” Protestant church has a head pastor. So why can’t Jesus Christ have two heads? Why not eight or eighteen for that matter? Of course, like his mentor Doug Wilson, Bryan is a sensual creature which is why he had so much trouble with Lane’s post and the spiritual nature of the one true catholic church.

    Of course, we can all play Bryan’s game. We can cite passages like Col 1:17,18; “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Or, even Eph 1:22; “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church . . . .” But, really what good will it do? None of these passages, despite being completely unequivocal in placing Christ alone as the head of the church, actually say that Christ is the “only head of the church.” Look all you want, those words aren’t anywhere to be found. So what if the same meaning is found in other propositions of Scripture? When pressed even second-rate papal apologists can out fundamentalist the best of ‘em.

    I mean, really, why bow to the one true head of the one true church who is invisible when you can bow to that two-headed hydra that we all can see? Haven’t we all heard that two heads are better than one? Besides, if you’re really lucky you might even get to kiss his . . . eh, ring.

  14. Bryan Cross said,

    August 30, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Sean,

    I do not know where you are getting your information when you claim that Wilson was my “mentor”, or that he has attempted to “distance himself from [me]“. My decision six years ago (to worship in the Episcopal liturgy) took place without knowing anything about Wilson’s positions (other than that he was Reformed); at that time, I hadn’t read any of his books, or any other FV books. At that time, I knew nothing about FV. Wilson and the FV had nothing to do with my decision.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  15. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    August 31, 2007 at 7:11 am

    David,

    I wasn’t speaking at all about the charge that Rome is a “false” church with a “false” Gospel. If you equate the Gospel with JBFA, or at least make a certain formulation of JBFA an essential of the Gospel, of course you are on solid ground, given your own presuppositions, in claiming that Rome preaches a false Gospel. I don’t have much of a problem with this charge, for Rome clearly has a different understanding of justification than traditional Protestants do.

    But this was not the issue I addressed. Mr. Gerety made the rather silly statement that Rome means a different thing by the words “Trinity” and “Jesus” than Protestants do. This is manifestly false, and was as false in the sixteenth century as it is now. So no, this statement cannot be chalked up to merely a repristination of history and theology, because it has no basis in reality, either now or in any age since the Reformation.

    Hence, hatred and bigotry are in fact the conditioning factors of wanting to make someone you disagree with in one area to be an idiot, heretical, satanic devil in every other area, even though your charges may have no foundation in actual fact.

    Case in point: Assuming Mr Cross was a disciple of DW and the FV before converting, based on the simple information that he is a convert to Romanism. The reasoning goes something like this: “FV is satanic. FV causes people to go to Rome. That guy over there went to Rome. He must have been FV at one point.”

    I’ve seen this sort of brilliant reasoning now from Robert K and Sean G. (and a few others). I hope I don’t beging seeing it from you as well, David. I trust your mind is a bit too keen for that sort of nonsense.

  16. Sean Gerety said,

    August 31, 2007 at 9:24 am

    I do not know where you are getting your information when you claim that Wilson was my “mentor”, or that he has attempted to “distance himself from [me]”.

    While not apologizing for any statements I made concerning the false church of Rome (I realize you think the use of “Romanism” is fear mongering), I did confuse you with another FV man who, thanks to Wilson, found his true home (see On How The Federal Vision Made Me Catholic).

    My apologies for the confusion.

  17. Sean Gerety said,

    August 31, 2007 at 9:46 am

    But this was not the issue I addressed. Mr. Gerety made the rather silly statement that Rome means a different thing by the words “Trinity” and “Jesus” than Protestants do. This is manifestly false,

    LOL :) False? So, Mr. Bonomo that stick figure hanging on RC crucifixes and that imaginary Jesus Christ they ingest as a supposed remission of their sins is the same Jesus Christ worshiped in “avowed” Protestant churches? I think you should learn to speak for yourself and stop pretending to speak for all Protestants. It’s embarrassing.

    The reasoning goes something like this: “FV is satanic. FV causes people to go to Rome. That guy over there went to Rome. He must have been FV at one point.”

    Now instead of just a self-flagellating suck up to an RC apologist, you’re just playing the fool. While your logic above is pretty good and is probably the first logical argument you’ve attempted so far, a case of mistaken identity was the only flaw in the argument.

    Besides, I take full responsibility for my mistake. With so many former FV converts finding their way Romeward it’s easy to get them confused.

  18. August 31, 2007 at 10:11 am

    There are books upon about by PCA converts in general to Rome, with those converts having nothing to do with FV. Does mainline contemporary Reformed Presbyterianism lead to Rome? Is it a half-way house? I’m obviously being rhetorical.

    Going the other way, millions of former RCC’s have become charismatic, or baptist, or presbyterian, or Episcopalian – and even Mormon and atheist. It appears Rome itself is a half-way house to all sorts of things!

    The point is that anecdotes tell us nothing.

  19. Sean Gerety said,

    August 31, 2007 at 10:26 am

    The point is that anecdotes tell us nothing.

    I think it tells us quite a lot if you would actually read their testimonies. I find them quite credible, although I can see why FV men find them an embarrassment.

    Also, just so I’m not guilty of any further cases of mistaken identity, Mr. Bonomo are you the same Jonathan Bonomo who put your name to Presbyterians and Presbyterians together?

    Jonathan Bonomo
    Student, PCA
    Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
    Langhorne, Pennsylvania

  20. August 31, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Yes, the content to the testimonies, and relatedly, the accuracy to Scripture is what counts. But mere persuasiveness as credibility can be ascribed to Scott Hahn, no former FVer he, and Richard Bennett (who left Rome), as it is to say, Dave Hodges.

    BTW, it can be argued that because of superficial features like practicing infant baptism that Presbyterianism is a half-way house for Baptists and charismatic’s on the way to Rome. My (admittedly highly anecdotal) experience, though, is that far more folks jump ship directly, being disillusioned with the incipient Gnosticism of so much that passes for Protestantism these days.

    But again, argument by anecdote is highly convenient, but not really helpful.

  21. Paul B. said,

    August 31, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Mr. Gerety writes: “Romanism has nothing in common with Christianity at all …”

    I don’t believe that J. Gresham Machen, founder of Westminster, and Samuel Craig, founder of P&R Publishing Co., are infallible. But long before the present imbroglios, they said things that suggest you can have solid Reformed credentials and yet not engage in this sort of all-or-nothing thinking.

    Here, once more, is Machen, writing in Christianity and Liberalism:

    “[H]ow great is the common heritage which unites the Roman Catholic Church, with its maintenance of the authority of Holy Scripture and with its acceptance of the great early creeds, to devout Protestants today! We would not indeed obscure the difference which divides us from Rome. The gulf is indeed profound. But profound as it is, it seems almost trifling compared to the abyss which stands between us and many ministers of our own Church.”

    And Craig, writing in 1930 when founding the old Christianity Today magazine and having affirmed unflinching opposition fo Rome:

    “… as the lines are drawn today — theism over against atheism; Christ the God-man over against the man Jesus; the cross as a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice over against the cross as a symbol of self sacrifice; salvation as a divine gift over against salvation as a human achievement; the Bible as the revealed Word of God over against the Bible as a purely human product; the moral law as a divinely imposed rule of life over against the moral law as an everchanging resultant of human insight and experience — Rome, at the points at which the battle rages most fiercely today, is our ally rather than our opponent.”

  22. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    August 31, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Mr. Gerety,

    I am sorry if you find my seeking to be honest about what are, and what are not, true disagreements between Romanists and Protestants to be “embarrassing.” Yours is a brand of Protestantism which I in particular find unorthodox, sectarian, distasteful, and utterly devoid of the spirit and love of Jesus Christ. This is what is truly embarrassing. It is true Christian Protestantism of which I speak above; not the ridiculous paranoid sectarianism which defines itself solely by what it is against, and has no real concern for honesty, cordial dialogue, or Christian charity.

    Romanists (at least informed Romanists) do not think that images are the same thing as the realities which give them meaning. And they do, in fact, have the same understanding of the virgin birth, incarnation, life, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of the Savior as Protestants do. What is more, they adhere to the same trinitarian beliefs, and the same understanding of the hypostatic union of the two natures in the person of Christ. Their practices are errant and idolatrous. With this I agree, of course. But let’s not play the part of paranoid fools; sniping at things that really are not there just because we hate those “Papist dogs.”

    And yes, I am a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I am in the PCA. I did sign the document “Presbyterians and Presbyterians together.” And I did live in Langhorne, PA when I signed the document.

    Do you have an infatuation with digging up information on people you don’t like?

  23. Sean Gerety said,

    August 31, 2007 at 11:34 am

    But mere persuasiveness as credibility can be ascribed to Scott Hahn, no former FVer

    Wasn’t Norm Shepherd a major influence in Hahn’s trek to Rome?

    For starters, see: http://www.puritans.net/news/shepherd120803.htm .

    As for Bennett, what does he have to do with the relationship of the FV to Romanism or the discussion?

  24. Sean Gerety said,

    August 31, 2007 at 11:56 am

    And they do, in fact, have the same understanding of the virgin birth, incarnation, life, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of the Savior as Protestants do.

    Again, this is simply a lie. Not only does the Roman church/state deny the finished work of Christ in principle and practice, their understanding of ALL the doctrines you mention differ significantly from the biblical understanding. Even any similarities are vitiated and contorted under their false and errant system of doctrine. And, since you mentioned the virgin birth, are you now going to defend the Roman Mary as being one and the same with the biblical Mary too? My guess is you would.

    Despite your evident ignorance of the Roman system (perhaps you should spend sometime listening to Richard Bennett since Eric mentioned him above), the Roman state/church has no Savior and no gospel. They are, as Luther said, “a slaughterhouse of souls.” So, if you would like to now defend the Roman system and I’ll take the side of the Christian system, let’s get it on!

    Do you have an infatuation with digging up information on people you don’t like?

    I don’t know you from Adam. I just googled your name and that came up. I was just curious what kind of man calling himself and “avowed Protestant” would want to assert common ground with that destroyer of souls parading as a “Christian” church in Rome.

  25. Sean Gerety said,

    August 31, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Per #21, you’re right neither man was infallible. Take Craig above. Sounds to me like the same reason men like J.I. Packer gave for putting their name to Catholics and Evangelicals Together, THE GIFT OF SALVATION. Atheism is not a greater danger than Romanism. Atheism is a net plus. At least the atheist isn’t under any delusions that they’re Christians. Rome is not and has never been an ally, even if some respected men with Reformed credentials were dumb enough to think and even say so.

  26. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    August 31, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Mr Gerety,

    Your category mistakes are simply maddening, but I’ve come to expect that from your type.

    Difference of articulation does not necessitate difference of substance, nor does honest assessment of the actual state of things necessitate defense of error.

    And I am ignorant of the Roman system? That is quite interesting. I thought I knew it rather well. I also thought I vehemently rejected all of those areas in which it in fact does run counter to the Protestant system: idolatry, mariolatry, the sacramental system, the cult of the saints, purgatory, and justification as infused righteousness rather than divine declaration.

    But perhaps actually studying historic Protestant and Roman Catholic writings and analyzing the Roman Catholic Catechism over against the Reformed Confessions as well as talking to real, living Roman Catholics is just not good enough. I guess all of my studying, and all of the studying done in the past by guys like Schaff, Alexander, Hodge, Machen, et al. really just gets us nowhere after all. If only we were privy to the same gnosis to which you seem to be, perhaps we would all be able to really understand the true nature of things. But alas, we are just poor fools stuck with our books and our own life experiences.

    Maybe I should just change careers. I mean, if there are true scholars out there like you who have access to the higher world of knowledge, then what’s the point for we poor peons who do not?

  27. August 31, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Mr. Gerety,

    re: your #24 – it is just about this: “But again, argument by anecdote is highly convenient, but not really helpful.” And it cuts all directions. I think my wording and the thrust of my argument in this regard in #18 and #20 is pretty clear.

  28. tim prussic said,

    August 31, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    J-Bo, on what career path art thou? Gotta say I’m curious!

  29. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    August 31, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Very interestingly, as I’m sitting here in the library doing research for my thesis, I stumble across this statement from Charles Hodge:

    “We do not hold to an entire apostasy of even the outward Church before the Reformation. It is an historical fact that (excepting the Arian heresy), the inspiration of the Scriptures, the doctrine of the Trinity, the true divinity and humanity of the Savior, the fall of man, redemption by the blood of Christ, and regeneration and sactification by his Spirit were held by the Church universal. These are not the doctrines of Romanism as distinguished from Protestantism. These are not the points against which the Reformers protested, and as to which they proclaimed Rome apostate and anti-Christian.” (“Dr. Schaff’s Apostolic Church.” Princeton Review, vol. 26, 1854, 191.)

    Apparently, Hodge is an embarassment to true Protestants, for he seeks to speak for them and hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about.

  30. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    August 31, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Tim,

    I’ve been for some time wavering between the pastorate and the academy. I have resigned for the time being to seek ordination and hopefully integrate academic labor with my labors for the church. I was not long ago convinced that my career would be in the academy, but I’m not too keen any longer on the idea of being a “professional theologian” as distinct from ecclesial ministry. Theology exists for the church, not the church for theology.

    So… we’ll see.

  31. Sean Gerety said,

    August 31, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    Very interestingly, as I’m sitting here in the library doing research for my thesis, I stumble across this statement from Charles Hodge

    So what? Hodge thought Romanish baptisms were valid too. Big deal. Thornwell demolished him.

  32. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    August 31, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Sean,

    Thornwell… now there’s a thinker of ecumenical authority if there ever was one. One of the few brilliant luminaries in the history of the Church. Augustine, Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, all the other Swiss Reformers, all great thinkers of the English Reformation, Kuyper, the Princeton luminaries, and most others in the entire history of Christianity: they’re all jokes–embarrassing blights on the otherwise spotless face of Protestantism. But Thornwell, man, he was a beacon of light. It’s good to know that true religion existed amongst the Reformed churches for around a half century in at least one location: Southern America in the mid nineteenth century.

  33. tim prussic said,

    August 31, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    J-Bo, your reason and historical research are useless against such an one as Sean. Here’s how he works: His (that is, Robbins’s and Clark’s) innovations are called semper reformata, anyone else’s are heresy. That seems to be about par for the course.

    Funny thing about Thornwell, I have his set and have wanted to read that essay/letter to Hodge. The more, however, I interact with people like Sean, the less I want to read it…. it’s funny how association works. The more I read Sean, the less I like Thornwell. Hey, Sean! I’m sure Thorney’s just happy as a kitty in a catnip farm to have you on HIS side!

    But seriously, J-Bo, I appreciate you notion about professional theology. I would like to see seminaries and Christian academic institutions tied in more closely with the day to day labors of the local churches. I like the medieval/Reformation notion of doctors who labor teaching in the church and the academy.
    What have been your main areas of academic work? What ecclesiastical body are you a part of?

  34. Sean Gerety said,

    August 31, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    But Thornwell, man, he was a beacon of light

    Bonomo, one question. Do you consider Roman Catholics your bothers and sisters in Christ?

  35. Sean Gerety said,

    August 31, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Funny thing about Thornwell, I have his set and have wanted to read that essay/letter to Hodge.

    Didn’t you already say you read Thornwell’s reply? I guess you and ol’ J-Bo can look down your noses at the man, but his arguments prevailed at the GA, not Hodge’s. Besides being right, his arguments were biblical, sound and brilliant. So, do yourself a favor, don’t read Thornwell. Stick with stalwarts like Wilson.

  36. tim prussic said,

    August 31, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    Easy there, fella. Don’t take your toys and go home, just yet. Just learn to play nicer and we can all share the sandbox like good little boys and girls.

    Never said I read Thorney’s essay. Honestly, I don’t look down my nose at him in the least; nor, I suppose, does J-Bo. From what I know of him, he’s well worth reading and worth of great respect. It’s worth noting, right or wrong, he’s departed from long-standing Reformed tradition. Can you affirm that much?

  37. Sean Gerety said,

    September 1, 2007 at 7:36 am

    Never said I read Thorney’s essay.

    Then you need to before jumping in again with guns blazing.

    Honestly, I don’t look down my nose at him in the least; nor, I suppose, does J-Bo.

    That explains smarmy retorts like; “Thornwell… now there’s a thinker of ecumenical authority if there ever was one. One of the few brilliant luminaries in the history of the Church.”

    It’s worth noting, right or wrong, he’s departed from long-standing Reformed tradition. Can you affirm that much?

    Perhaps that is the problem with you and “J-Bo.” The long-standing Reformed tradition is that Scripture alone and every necessary inference therefrom is the sole arbiter of truth and not the collective opinions of any group men, Reformed or otherwise. Yes, Thornwell departed from a long standing tradition, but so what? That tradition and the reasons given for holding it were unsound and unbiblical. The fact that even most of the Reformers held a different view means nothing either, since, and in most cases, they had bigger fish to fry. Beyond that, ad populum is a fallacy.

    Let’s take Machen again cited above. He said; “[H]ow great is the common heritage which unites the Roman Catholic Church, with its maintenance of the authority of Holy Scripture and with its acceptance of the great early creeds . . . .” I love Machen, but, frankly, this statement is as misinformed as it is nauseating. First, the Roman state/church does not maintain the authority of Holy Scripture. At best their Scriptures are nothing more than window dressing used as a Christian sounding prop to legitimize their endless list of false teachings and hell bound traditions. Besides, last I checked their Scriptures contain 72 books not 66 and their system of doctrine, complete with their imaginary god and false Christ, has no relationship to the God and Christ revealed in the Holy Scriptures at all. At best their contradictory collection of books, polluted by the apocryphal additions, render what was once God’s word into an incoherent morass of contradictory random aggregate of conflicting truths and lies (which might be a net plus for some dialectical theologians of the Van Tilian stripe).

    Regardless of what Machen said, the Roman state/church doesn’t have the Holy Scriptures, but a corrupted fake instead.

    Finally, so what if RC’s parrot the so-called “ecumenical creeds?” That might be enough for ecumenicists like Bonomo and others to embrace them as brothers and fellow Christians (I’m still waiting for Bonomo to answer my question), but those early creeds have long since lost their usefulness to the church not because of what they say in every case, but because of what they don’t say. How do the early creeds legitimize these organizations claiming to be Christian churches and make them part of the visible church? I thought professing the true religion was required? Oh, yeah, that’s a later creed that departed from another long standing tradition, but even Liberals, who Machen correctly argued believed in a different religion and one that was not Christian, accept the “great early creeds.”

  38. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 1, 2007 at 8:40 am

    Sean,

    Just to be clear, I do not “look down my nose” at Thornwell. I understand the conditioning features of his thought, and appreciate the good he has to offer in certain respects. However, he does not outweigh the authority of the entire church catholic which preceeded him, existed during his own day, existed after he was buried, and will continue to exist once we are all in our graves. Thornwell was simply dead wrong and fundamentally sectarian on this issue–just as wrong as the Donatists were when they argued against Augstine, and just as wrong as were the Anabaptists when they argued against Luther and Calvin. The judgment of the church before, during, and after him has ratified this judgment, and I feel on solid ground in going with Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Schaff, and Hodge against Thornwell and Dabney. That’s just how I see it. You may feel comfortable in exalting your private opinion above to the realm of infallibility against the vast majority of the community of the redeemed–the community which, mind you, Christ promised that the Spirit of Truth would lead into all truth–but I do not.

    And your question is pointless as to the essentials of the discussion at hand. I cannot answer it directly, because it is far too general. I do not pretend have the special gnosis which you seemingly possess, Sean, so I unfortunately lack the ability to peer into the hearts of men. I judge a tree by its fruit. If one demonstrates by confession and life that they love the Lord Jesus Christ, I feel uncomfortable consigning them to the fires of hell. I understand that condemnation is a favorite hobby of yours, but I’m not quite bold enough for that sort of thing.

  39. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 1, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Tim,

    I am currently a member in the PCA. The main focus of my studies have been in the area of the theology of the New Testament, particularly the Pauline Epistles; Patristic Christology and sacramentology; the thought of the magisterial Reformers, particularly John Calvin and the Reformed Confessions; and the theological movements of the nineteenth century, focusing on Reformed Theology in nineteenth century America.

    If you’re interested in discussing things privately, feel free to e-mail me: jb4calvin at g mail dot com.

  40. Sean Gerety said,

    September 1, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    I do not “look down my nose” at Thornwell.

    Nice try Bonomo, but as anyone can see from your smarmy condescending crack above, you do.

    he does not outweigh the authority of the entire church catholic which preceeded him,

    What “entire church catholic” are you talking about? That’s the question. It seems evident from your remarks that you include the Roman cult in that equation, which is why I want to know if you consider RC’s your brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet, instead of answering this simple question, you evade it with more acumen than Gulliani on the question of abortion.

    Thornwell was simply dead wrong and fundamentally sectarian on this issue–just as wrong as the Donatists were when they argued against Augstine, and just as wrong as were the Anabaptists when they argued against Luther and Calvin.

    Wow, quite an argument. Comparing Thornwell’s argument to the Donatist is not only to slander the man’s good name (and proves you either haven’t read his argument or didn’t understand it or both), but impugns the judgement of the entire GA that voted overwhelming in favor of Thornwell’s position.

    It seems what I and other see as biblical and sound you see as “sectarian.” FWIW I’m happily sectarian when it comes to the Gospel and is why I consider putrid compromises with sin per Pres and Pres Together, that you put your name to, an affront, especially given what is at stake in the FV/NPP debate. Just in case you forgot, these are the same damnable doctrines you mockingly call “satanic.”

    The judgment of the church before, during, and after him has ratified this judgment,

    Says who? Is this some special talent you’ve garnered in seminary that magically turns ad populum into a valid argument and forms at quasi-Reformed Magisterium in your mind? Not very Protestant “J-bo.”

    And your question is pointless as to the essentials of the discussion at hand.

    Actually, it is not and would go a long way in explaining the personal attacks you’ve leveled against me in favor of some Romanish apologete who crawls out from under the carpet to come to the aid of FV heretics and false teachers.

    I cannot answer it directly, because it is far too general. I do not pretend have the special gnosis which you seemingly possess, Sean, so I unfortunately lack the ability to peer into the hearts of men.

    Evasion. I never asked you to judge the eternal destinies of anyone or peer into anyone’s heart.

    Is the RC part of the visible church? Yes or no? Am correct to conclude from your remarks above that in your mind it is?

    Then, if so, when you meet an RC believer (I have a number of friends that are devoted RCs and one who is even a priest), do you consider them your brothers and sisters in Christ? How hard can that be?

    If this is too general for you, how about the current and last pope? Do you consider either of these men your brothers in Christ? Still not happy and looking for a way out? How about that so-called “mother” Theresa? If she were alive today, would you embrace her and address her as your sister in Christ?

    Specific enough for you Jonny-B?

    I judge a tree by its fruit.

    And a big part of that fruit is one’s profession. Are adherent of the RC church/state Christians?

    Why is this hard for you? Doug Wilson is very clear and unequivocal in his answer to this question, why are you being so evasive. Certainly it’s not a difficult question for someone so trained and ready to pass his vast knowledge on to another generation or inform minds from a pulpit.

  41. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 1, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    “Is the RC part of the visible church? Yes or no?”

    Yes.

    If you would have asked this particular question from the beginning then you would have gotten a nice short answer. Speaking of institutions is different from speaking of individuals, however. Asking about the Roman church is wholly different than asking if, in each and every particular case, when I see a professing Roman Catholic I consider him/her a brother or sister.

    This question is hard to answer no matter what denomination we are speaking of. There are many professing Presbyterians who have rejected the doctrines of the church to which they pledge adherence, and even the catholic doctrines of the ecumenical creeds, so I would be equally evasive in answering a sweeping question regarding the status of each and every professing Presbyterian. But if you were to ask if I consider the PCA, OPC, PCUSA, ARP, and all the other letter combinations out there to be component parts of the Catholic Church, I would answer emphatically and without hesitation: Yes.

    I’m sorry if I’m not ready to judge others rashly enough for you Sean, I really am.

    And, by the way, I no more said that Thornwell was a Donatist than I said that he was an Anabaptist. He held certain tenets in common with these groups, of course, but all I said was that he, in his stance on the validity of Roman Baptism, was just as wrong as those groups were on their stance towards the validity of the ministry of the groups they opposed. This is not to call Thornwell a Donatist. If I wanted to do that, I would say, “Thornwell was a Donatist.”

  42. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 1, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Oh, and another by the way: if this comment is the “smarmy condescending remark” you’re talking about:

    “Thornwell… now there’s a thinker of ecumenical authority if there ever was one. One of the few brilliant luminaries in the history of the Church.”

    You can rest assured that that was directed toward you, not Thornwell. I was attempting to bring out how silly it sounds to hear someone invoke the authority of Thornwell while rejecting that of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Hodge, and the vast majority of the historic church.

    Sorry if that was confusing to you

  43. Sean Gerety said,

    September 1, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    “Is the RC part of the visible church? Yes or no?”

    Yes.

    Then I guess by force of logic, and being an avowed confessional Protestant and all your position is that those in the Roman state/church “profess the true religion” and the papal see “is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.”

    Scary stuff. Admittedly, not at all sectarian and ecumenical to a fault. You should feel a very warm glow by now. Perhaps we can all now sing a chorus of Kum Ba Ya. :)

    I’m sorry if I’m not ready to judge others rashly enough for you Sean, I really am.

    I don’t think it’s rash in the least to recognize Romanists as being outside of the visible church; “out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.” These people need to hear and believe the Gospel. Unfortunately, they’re not going to get it from you. I’d say not only are you not rash, you lack all compassion for the lost.

    I no more said that Thornwell was a Donatist than I said that he was an Anabaptist.

    Try and be more careful when reading. What I said was “Comparing Thornwell’s argument to . . . ” is slander and such a comparison only proves your failure to grasp what he wrote.

    Thornwell was simply dead wrong and fundamentally sectarian on this issue–just as wrong as the Donatists

    For anyone who would think the profession of the Roman state/church is even remotely Christian, much less a valid expression of “the true religion,” I can see why you would make such unfortunate and foolish statements. However, when making your career choice, please do the church a favor and choose carpentry or chartered accountancy. The church has become lukewarm and ecumenical enough in its effeminacy.

    Thanks for playing.

  44. September 1, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    OK, I’m really tired of the FV folks (following Wilson) thinking that they have a big ol’ trump card merely by pointing out that the Reformed churches have accepted RCC baptism. It does not logically follow that the RCC is a true church (please see my comments above, where this has not been the case for the continental Reformed) and it does not logically follow that anyone who communes in Rome has a credible profession of faith. Thornwell and Hodge were both wrong. The sooner people start considering seriously the earlier Reformed view (which is, BTW, confessional) the better.

  45. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 2, 2007 at 9:19 am

    “when making your career choice, please do the church a favor and choose carpentry or chartered accountancy.”

    Thanks for the advice, Sean. You’re such a nice guy! Maybe I’ll go build me a table.

    “Thanks for playing.”

    Yes, I’ve suspected for quite a while that things which I take very seriously you consider a mere game.

    Sigh… should have listened to Tim P…. yet again he has proven himself a wiser man than I.

  46. Jonathan Bonomo said,

    September 2, 2007 at 9:47 am

    One more thing, Sean: I just read your comments once more and this statement stuck out to me:

    “Then I guess by force of logic… your position is that those in the Roman state/church “profess the true religion” and the papal see “is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.””

    Here we have yet another example of you many category confusions and apparent inability to read others charitably. Saying that the Roman church is a *part* of the visible church is worlds separated from the notiong that it is to be equated with the kingdom of Christ.

    I have been trying to take you seriously, Sean, but you make it pretty darn hard.


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