The Strange Case of Bishop Strossmayer

During the debates on papal infallibility in 1870 (the council called Vatican I), at least one bishop was opposed to the doctrine of papal infallibility. His name was Joseph Georg Strossmayer, Bishop of Diakovar. The reason I bring him up in a blog post is as an illustration of some of the problems with Loraine Boettner’s book on Roman Catholicism, but also to dig a little deeper into the history of Vatican I.

On pp. 244-245 of the book, Boettner quotes a speech purportedly from Strossmayer. The problem with the speech is that it appears to be a forgery. Karl Keating, in his book Catholicism and Fundamentalism, points this out (on page 34), referencing the Catholic Encyclopedia. You can see that article in the Encyclopedia here. Believe it or not, there is an entire book written about the man, by Ivo Sivric, which also confirms that the speech is a forgery, perpetrated by a man named Jose Agustin de Escudero. The speech which Boettner quotes certainly sounds Protestant, and not Roman Catholic. If it had been a genuine speech from Strossmayer, it would have great weight indeed. However, it is almost certainly a forgery.

However, there is more to the story. Strossmayer was opposed to the proceedings of the Council. In a letter to Lord Acton, he wrote “There is no denying that the Council lacked freedom from beginning to end” (quoted on p. 133 of How the Pope Became Infallible, by August Hasler). He was accused of being another Luther (Hasler, p. 81). After the Council was over, the dissenting bishops were oppressed by Pope Pius IX himself until they submitted (Hasler, pp. 200-201). This included the refusal to grant marriage dispensations (the bishops were not allowed to perform marriages in their dioceses). This happened not only to Strossmayer, but also to Joseph Karl Hefele, Bishop of Rottenburg. This certainly brings a cloud over the later recantation and submission of Strossmayer. He submitted to the infallibility doctrine later, as many Roman Catholic apologists note, but they do not explore the reason why.

Now, Hasler himself, though an insider when it comes to Vatican politics (and who had access to the Vatican vaults) appears to be something of a dissident when it comes to papal infallibility. The fact that Hans Kung wrote the introduction certainly seems to be an indication of this. However, that does not mean that this perspective should be overlooked. The question becomes this: if the Council was not free, then are its proclamations binding? Strossmayer believed that the Council was not free, and that therefore he did not have to submit to the Council’s decision. The evidence amassed in Hasler’s book certainly points to a Council that was not free. Enormous pressure was brought to bear on anyone who opposed Pius IX’s desire to proclaim papal infallibility.

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37 Comments

  1. Kathrin said,

    November 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Josip Juraij Strossmayer opposition to papal infallibility was politically motivated. His goal was a union of the Slavic Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, which should also bring a political union among the Slavic peoples. His case is typical for his time.
    Ther attempt to create an ecumenical church on the state level is a recurring pattern and often goes hand in hand with the attempt to create a greater national unity.
    I.e. the German Catholic movement in the mid-1840s years followed very similar goals.
    The members of these movements were excluded from both the Catholic Church and the Protestant State Church. Given that this movements sank quickly into obscurity, Strossmayer was wise not to join their ranks.

  2. Bryan Cross said,

    November 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Hello Lane

    The evidence amassed in Hasler’s book certainly points to a Council that was not free.

    Specifically what evidence in Hasler are you referring to? Chapter 4?

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  3. Sean Patrick said,

    November 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    The question becomes this: if the Council was not free, then are its proclamations binding? Strossmayer believed that the Council was not free, and that therefore he did not have to submit to the Council’s decision.

    He did submit to the Council’s decision, according to the Catholic encyclopedia.

    I am not sure that finding a bishop who did not initially accept fully or agree with fully the decrees of the council demonstrates that the council was not free. At the time of Nicea there were certainly many Christians and even bishops who held to Arian sensibilities but I don’t think any of us would argue that this means the Council of Nicea was not ‘free.’

  4. Sean Patrick said,

    November 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    By the way, it is quite remarkable that many Protestant apologetic websites still hold to the Strossmayer speech as some kind of silver bullet against Papal Infallibility. I found plenty just now doing some reading on Strossmayer.

  5. Andrew McCallum said,

    November 1, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I read Boettner’s book in High School and was very impressed with it then. But then I was a teenager! My assessment now is that there is not that much to recommend it. In fact I would say that whatever good points he makes are probably made equally well or better elsewhere. And there are all sorts of problems with this book misrepresenting teachings of Roman Catholicism, not taking into account the developments of Vatican II, bringing up extraneous and irrelevant data, etc.

    I do remember Boettner making points that really made me think critically about Roman Catholicism. For instance, the lack of biblical and Sub-apostolic documentation of Peter’s role in Rome was a problem in my mind for Roman Catholicism. His discussion on this point was apropos. There is a fair amount of good thought provoking discussion such as this in the book. But there is also lots of pretty worthless and inaccurate stuff as well.

    So on the issue of Strossmayer, what really is the point here? What if the speech had been genuine? Would the issues of one renegade Catholic bishop mean anything? And is not the issue of papal infallibility basically a settled matter for Rome in the 19th century even before Vatican I?

    Boettner was an obvious place for many of us grappling with Protestant/Catholic issues to start with, but IMO this book should not be included in list of recommended readings on the subject of Protestant/Catholic dialogue.

    Cheers…..

  6. November 1, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    If the Gospels and Acts are any indication, heartily submitting to Jesus’ pronouncements immediately upon hearing them is quite difficult, even for the faithful. Part of what makes the Christian faith credible, it seems to me, is its insistence upon things that run against the grain of the natural mind.

    Like the incarnation and resurrection, for example. If God the Son could do those things, then he certainly could be present with us now “in the breaking of the bread” or protect the earthly head of the visible church from corrupting the deposit of faith beyond repair.

    The problem with many of us (myself included) is that we’re only supernaturalists with respect to those things the Bible declares happened supernaturally, and then only begrudgingly. But any purported miracle that we don’t have to believe, we refuse to believe.

  7. Bob S said,

    November 2, 2012 at 3:12 am

    6 Like the incarnation and resurrection, for example. If God the Son could do those things, then he certainly could be present with us now “in the breaking of the bread” or protect the earthly head of the visible church from corrupting the deposit of faith beyond repair.

    Mr. Stellman begs the question. Nobody denies that God is omnipotent. But he cannot and will not contradict himself or Scripture.

    The last of course, is the rub when it comes to transubstantiation and papal infallibility.

    Further, to attempt to suggest or compare either with the incarnation and the resurrection is to fall into the old Roman shell game of engaging in equivocation, if not the fallacy of the missing middle term.

    Mr. Stellman of course, after a humble fashion, retreats to a mediating position in his last paragraph rather than putting the insinuation bluntly.

    Yet the $64 question remains. Does our recent romish convert think transubstantiation and papal infallibility are “purported” miracles or have they been proven/declared to be such by the Roman hierarchy and denied at the risk of one’s eternal soul?

    The problem further, if the church is infallible, is that by definition one has an airtight alibi/paradigm. What’s not to like? There is literally no down side and it is no surprise that CtC is overjoyed to find out that they are on the winning side, however crooked – or if one prefers, “catholic” – the rules.

    IOW for protestantism, “purported” does not describe the popish miracles of transubstantiation and papal infallibility half so well as “puerile”.

    As for Vatican 1, it was a coerced council rather than a genuine catholic council, regardless if both Strossmeyer’s speech and the Donation of Constantine were forgeries and they were.

  8. Dennis said,

    November 2, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I’m curious to know…who is August Hasler?

    I googled his name and can’t find much out about him other than he’s a priest who wrote that book. I was honestly expecting to find a few books written by him but can only find one with no other book written and no other records of him on line.

    I’m just wondering if anyone knows more about him. I get a little suspicious when I see names pop up and can’t find anything else about them online. Is he dissident? Is he real? Is he SSPX?

    Books written by priests (or anyone of the faith for that matter) that don’t build up a person’s faith leave me a little leery.

  9. greenbaggins said,

    November 2, 2012 at 11:38 am

    August Hasler (died in 1980) served for 5 years in the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity, concentrating on work with Lutheran, Reformed, and Old Catholic churches. It was during those 5 years that he was given access to the Vatican Archives, and discovered there documents related to Vatican I that had never been studied before. Thus says the dust-jacket on the book. By the way, Hasler understands himself to be building up the faith of Roman Catholics by arguing that Papal infallibility should not be believed in, because it was not properly instituted at Vatican I. Just because someone argues against the status quo doesn’t mean that they are tearing down the faith.

    Yes, Bryan, chapter 4 is where the bulk of evidence rests. There is quite a bit of correspondence from various attending bishops quoted in that chapter that state rather unequivocally that the Council was not free. However, the evidence is not limited to that chapter. As Hasler says, “The further we press the analysis of the debate on infallibility, the more clearly we shall see how little freedom there was.” So, his argument is that the politics of persuasion that were used on the dissenting bishops in how it played out is proof positive that the Council was not free and open debate, but rather an example of ecclesiastical oppression.

  10. Dennis said,

    November 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Lane,

    Thanks. I have been able to find his obituary online which talks about his book and the controversy. He died at 43!!! (That’s my age.) It also talks about an open letter he wrote (also signed by Georg Denzler) criticizing Pope JPII about his letter to the German bishops to stop their discussion about Papal Infallibility.

    http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/15th-august-1980/9/obituary

    Just because someone argues against the status quo doesn’t mean that they are tearing down the faith.

    I can agree with that. If a person has strong convictions, he should definitely speak out about them. It sounds like he had some reservations about Papal infallibility and wrote about them.

    It’s not that he’s “tearing down the faith” but rather that he’s not building it up.

    A priest’s (or Protestant Minister) responsibility is to tend to his flock. It’s to bring a person closer to Christ. Books written by men of the cloth should be pointing to Christ. If they don’t, then they’re academic books which are good too but are relevant for different reasons.

    A book about Vatican I and the infallibility of the Pope may be an interesting read and have historical significance but doesn’t necessarily point the flock to Christ. i.e. Fr. Hasler had his historian hat on instead of his clerical collar.

  11. Bob S said,

    November 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    10 It’s not that he’s “tearing down the faith” but rather that he’s not building it up.

    A priest’s (or Protestant Minister) responsibility is to tend to his flock. It’s to bring a person closer to Christ. Books written by men of the cloth should be pointing to Christ. If they don’t, then they’re academic books which are good too but are relevant for different reasons.

    IOW we ought to be happy happy happy all the time? Not a discouraging word of admonition or rebuke is ever heard (2 Tim.3:17) and the skies are not cloudy all day or night for those at home on the Roman range? Not buying, Den.

    Christ is the way, the truth and the life. If fundamental aspects about the Roman papa are not true and he officially represents Christ, how does that reflect on Christ?

    And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.1 Kings 22:8

    Again, do we really want to take Ahab’s side in the argument?

  12. Dennis said,

    November 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Bob,

    IOW we ought to be happy happy happy all the time? Not a discouraging word of admonition or rebuke is ever heard (2 Tim.3:17) and the skies are not cloudy all day or night for those at home on the Roman range?

    No. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that priests and ministers should be focusing on matters of the faith. Recently, I’ve been listening to Podcasts by Fr. Robert Barron (largely due to this blog) and of the few that I’ve listened to, he’s quoted Lewis, Bonhoffer, N. T. Wright, and some Methodist minister (can’t remember his name)—all Protestant theologians with great insight into Christ. I think that’s great that a Catholic priest is quoting Protestant theologians. He’s able to do this because these men have all contributed something to Christianity that builds it up. Maybe I’m holding priests and ministers to too high of a standard? I don’t know. This is just my personal opinion.

    If fundamental aspects about the Roman papa are not true and he officially represents Christ, how does that reflect on Christ?

    Regardless of our opinions of whether or not we think the Papacy is “true” (I think we know where we fall on this). If you or James White or even I wrote a book criticizing the Pope or an ecumenical council, that would be one thing. A priest writing a book and criticizing an ecumenical council from 200 years earlier sounds like he has an ax to grind. It would be like you or I writing a book about our respective bosses criticizing them.

    IOW we ought to be happy happy happy all the time? Not a discouraging word of admonition or rebuke is ever heard (2 Tim.3:17) and the skies are not cloudy all day or night for those at home on the Roman range?

    Absolutely not. We should be very critical of the Church. If the clergy are doing something wrong, we should speak out against it. If bishops are hiding priests and covering up scandals, they should be brought to justice. If the Pope refuses to eat with gentiles, then we have the right to rebuke him on that too. What we shouldn’t do is allow it to blind us from seeing Christ in the Church.

  13. sean said,

    November 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Dennis,

    I like what you are saying here, so why don’t we just have the RC church drop all the ‘one,only, holy, roman, catholic and apostolic’ bit. Chalk up the magisterium to just an ‘italian’ quirk for fancy dress and fascist tendencies and come join the reformation churches singing kumbaya around the scriptures, and affirming the various churchly traditions. Wouldn’t that be the most ecumenical thing to do?

  14. Dennis said,

    November 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Sean,

    I think we’ve had this discussion previously…within the Protestant faiths, there are elements of Truth (or as Lane mentioned in the last post, “they don’t ‘embrace the doctrine in its fullness’”). The fullness of Truth can be found in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Church shouldn’t join the reformation churches singing kumbaya around the scriptures. That’s not what it’s about. Rather, all of us should be drawing ourselves into closer relationship with Christ.

    A Catholic can read Protestant writings and recognize truth and even see some profound things. Those elements are in unity with Church teaching. When a Protestant reads good Catholic teaching and recognizes it as truth, they cease to be Protestant. They don’t have a choice. If you don’t believe me, go ask anyone over at Called to Communion. Ask Jason Stellman.

  15. Bob S said,

    November 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    12 No. That’s not what I’m saying. . .

    But it is exactly what you are saying in so many words.

    Absolutely not. We should be very critical of the Church. If the clergy are doing something wrong, we should speak out against it. If bishops are hiding priests and covering up scandals, they should be brought to justice. If the Pope refuses to eat with gentiles, then we have the right to rebuke him on that too. What we shouldn’t do is allow it to blind us from seeing Christ in the Church.

    But no mention of course, Gal 1:8,9.
    That anybody that preaches a false gospel is accursed.
    The difference doesn’t get any more stark than that.

    Protestantism says Rome preaches a false gospel that Christ damns.
    Rome says its gospel of Christ is infallible.

    But forget Gal. 1:8,9. Let’s all sing Kumbaya. Never mind Matt. 23. Let’s everybody sing They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love.

    The hegelian synthesis implicitly assumed contra Amos 2:3 – at least until the protestant simpletons take the poisonous bait and get swallowed up in the soul destroying dialectic of the arrogant ecclesiastical basilisk of Rome – is that we can all come together in Christ WHATEVER our differences.

    It is not the holy apostolic solution though.
    Rather Peter tells us that not only do we have a more sure word of prophecy, that word is contained in Scripture.

    Not only does Christ go before his sheep and they follow him: for they know his voice, Antichrist they will not follow, but will flee from him. For they know not the voice of Antichrist.

    Thank you.

  16. Bob S said,

    November 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Well, I see sean beat me to the punch in 13. The sisters must have taught him that song in first grade too.

    But I still don’t believe Dennis.
    There is a choice. CtC and Jason buttered their bread and made their deal in their own head, but now have come to find out the paradigm has been transubstantiated into the whole loaf, which they must wolf down without dropping or spilling a divine crumb. IOW popery by definition, is a package deal.
    Deal with it or depart from it. That is the issue.

  17. sean said,

    November 3, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Dennis,

    I’m being just a touch sarcastic with you. It’s interesting though, when people ask me why I left RC, it’s not terribly dissimilar to what you propose happened to the folks crossing the bridge the other direction. “The more I read the scriptures, the worse roman catholic I became”.In some cases just reading the scriptures was putting me on the outside looking in. So, I had the same compulsion to leave that others may have had to join.

  18. Dennis said,

    November 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Sean,

    It’s interesting though, when people ask me why I left RC, it’s not terribly dissimilar to what you propose happened to the folks crossing the bridge the other direction.

    Yes, we have discussed this a few weeks ago. The Catholic who converts (like you) wasn’t finding Christ in the Catholic Church. It’s not that He’s not there it’s just that you’re not seeing Him. Largely as a result of poor catechesis or something similar.

    The Protestants who come over are seeing Christ in the Church. They are putting the dots together and it compels them to join.

    I spent 12 years in Catholic schools and didn’t understand Catholicism. I knew all the rules and laws and could recite them by memory and yet I did not know Christ.

    In order for Catholicism to work…in order to “get” Catholicism, Christ has to be at the center of your life. Christ has to direct everything you do. Christ has to be the first thing on your mind when you wake up in the morning and the last thing on your mind when you go to bed at night. If that’s not happening, then Catholicism is a bunch of empty works and a “good” Catholic can end up becoming Protestant.

    The former Protestants over at CtC understand this. The former Protestants who become Catholic “get” it. The Catholics who become Protestant don’t.

    A friend of mine was a seminarian in Rome who mentioned that one of his classmates went home to Albania on his Christmas break. He was captured by fundamentalist Muslims and was asked to renounce Christ. He wouldn’t and they found him nailed him to the floor.

    I have a feeling that when you were Catholic you wouldn’t have been nailed to the floor for Christ. That’s where the problem lies.

  19. sean said,

    November 6, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Dennis,

    I don’t necessarily disagree that some people are more nominal and others more sincere in their faith, it happens everywhere and in your life and mine at different times. But you keep pushing the catechesis issue with me, and it’s really poorly placed. I was a seminarian. It was because of the inherent problems with what I was learning as I compared them to scripture that I left, everyone of my profs at various points of tension with church teaching would give a wink and a smile, and chalk it up to a Kantian idea of faith or simply argue that Rome can accomodate multiple views of essential doctrine. Anyway, I no longer could embrace the sacred tradition or the magisterium. I found many of the claims false and obfuscating of the claims of the gospel and Christ. Which is what these discussions between prots and catholics concern themselves. Jason is engaging in a somewhat worthwhile project making scriptural case for his new soteriology, but even he admits along with Cross that there can be other legitimate takes on what they are saying and at some point it’s a paradigm shift. Well, leaving aside the merit or demerit of their positions, I’ve been on both sides of that paradigmatic fence and the view from the protestant side is more compatible with scripture alone, which is why in Rome you have a tiered structure of interpretation with the magisterium and sacred tradition giving ‘guidance’ where the church seem to be at contest with specific scriptural warrant. So, in Rome you don’t compel yourselves to be beholden to just the canon much less perspicuity. I find this troubling particularly when Apostolic succession must first be grounded NOT in papal succession but in fealty to original apostolic teaching. Here’s the apostle Paul;

    Gal. 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

    I left, because there are ‘traditions’ more in line with original apostolic teaching, and no offense but I paid a heavy price for doing so, that no nominalist would even entertain.

  20. Bob S said,

    November 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    18 I have a feeling that when you were Catholic you wouldn’t have been nailed to the floor for Christ. That’s where the problem lies.

    Lots of people boast of about their faith and lots of people die for their faith, Dennis.
    So far, you are one for two.
    But even if you are just willing to die for your faith – or at least implicitly boast about it, because that is all you are really doing in your remark above – doesn’t make that faith true.

    And we know that for a fact, because Christ himself – not the pope or the magisterium – said that false Christs shall arise and shall shew great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect Matt. 24:24.

    But since you have already denied election, it’s very possible you don’t believe in the Christ of Scripture either, despite all the holy water, rosaries, masses, statues and other paraphernalia that Peter’s church piles up in the name of some kind of Christ.

    Still, Christ Jesus is the Word of God become flesh Jn. 1:12. You cannot drive a wedge between Scripture and Christ and remain faithful to him. The question then – which can be determined with some degree of objectivity – is what church, what faith, what belief is most faithful to Scripture?

    But we know that somebody hasn’t even begun to answer that question, in part because they have clearly demonstrated they don’t understand the story about Peter and the rooster.

    All the while they boast of Peter’s church.
    Go figure.

  21. Dennis said,

    November 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Sean,

    I found many of the claims false and obfuscating of the claims of the gospel and Christ

    Seeing as how you couldn’t adequately define the gospel and never talked about the teachings of Christ in our last discussion, I find this hard to believe that you found this in the reformed tradition.

    Jason is engaging in a somewhat worthwhile project making scriptural case for his new soteriology, but even he admits along with Cross that there can be other legitimate takes on what they are saying and at some point it’s a paradigm shift.

    There is nothing that Jason has brought up that I haven’t heard before. There is nothing Jason has mentioned so far that a Catholic seminary student wouldn’t have studied. This isn’t earth shattering stuff. (although I will agree it’s engaging).

    I’ve been on both sides of that paradigmatic fence and the view from the protestant side is more compatible with scripture alone

    I can agree with this. The problem is that there is nothing that tells me that scripture alone is sufficient.

    I left, because there are ‘traditions’ more in line with original apostolic teaching

    Well, I think you left because what you were learning wasn’t matching up with your understanding of Sola Scriptura. But I’m curious…what ‘traditions’ are more in line with original apostolic teaching?

  22. Dennis said,

    November 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Bob,

    I’m not boasting about my faith. I have prayed about martyrdom and I ask God that I have the faith to give up my life but I honestly don’t know how I would react if given that choice. It’s easy to say yes. It’s harder to do it. Is my faith strong enough to give up my life for Christ? I hope so! But yet, I don’t know. My prayer is for God to give me strength and faith to choose Him in everything that I do and to pick up His cross daily. To give up my life for Him would be an honor and yet, I don’t know how I would react. To believe I would react a specific way would be presumptious.

    As for the rest of your comments, I am growing tired of arguing with you. You seem very bitter with a vitriol for Catholics that I don’t understand. I quite honestly don’t feel it’s worth my time to engage in an argument as I don’t think it’s fruitful.

  23. johnbugay said,

    November 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Dennis 18:

    It’s not that He’s not there it’s just that you’re not seeing Him. Largely as a result of poor catechesis or something similar.

    You are a good mindreader.You know more about sean’s experience than he himself does. That’s one of the benefits of being Roman Catholic. Your own word becomes the reality of it.

  24. Bob S said,

    November 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Dennis,
    Just how exactly can you tell us in 22 that To believe I would react a specific way would be presumptious, but yet in 18, you do exactly that when it comes to a protestant: “I have a feeling that when you were Catholic you wouldn’t have been nailed to the floor for Christ”.

    Isn’t that what is called a double standard?
    Maybe that’s where the real problem lies.

    Scripture tells us that we become what we worship. And if it is a self serving idol of Christ that allows for our own works to justify us in part, well maybe, just maybe, that’s where the real problem lies.

    And of course I “seem bitter”, but of course, nothing more specific than that.

    Rather the Russian proverb, according to Solzhenitsyn is,”the yes man is your enemy, your friend will argue with you”. So too Prov. 27:5,6.

    Some of us were born in the Roman church. We know the rhetoric and the dialectic. We are “hard sells” for good reason. Maybe we know something of the deceitfulness of our own hearts and a religious system that panders to exactly that, self righteousness in the name of Christ, i.e justification by infusion of grace along with works for salvation.

    Of course, it would make your job and CtC’s easier if we would buy in without exercising our “private judgement”, but then again engaging in argument means you actually deal with the objections, rather than expecting implicit faith to automatically kick in and your opponent to immediately and unconditionally agree with you.

    After all, if infallibility can belong to the Roman magisterium, doesn’t it also belong to self appointed interpreters of that magisterium? All that without even touching on the difference between a genuine argument and a raw assertion, never mind non sequiturs.

    cordially yours

  25. Bob S said,

    November 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    21, Sean can answer for himself if he cares too, but come on Dennis, this is babycake.

    The problem is that there is nothing that tells me that scripture alone is sufficient.

    What is the plain meaning and teaching of 2 Tim 3:17; that Scripture equips a man to all good works? Even that of determining which church is the true church? And don’t just pound the table like Bryan and Jason and tell us that that assumes the protestant paradigm and leave it at an empty that. But if Mr. Cross, if our award winning exegete couldn’t come up with anything, do you really expect that we think you will do any better?

    But I’m curious…what ‘traditions’ are more in line with original apostolic teaching?

    The traditions inscripturated in the apostolic NT.

    But if the plain grammatical reading of 2 Thess. 2:15 doesn’t teach the equality/interchangeability of the oral and the written traditions, then pray tell, just what exactly can it be contorted or waterboarded – with apologies to the Inquisition – into saying?

  26. sean said,

    November 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Dennis says

    “Seeing as how you couldn’t adequately define the gospel and never talked about the teachings of Christ in our last discussion, I find this hard to believe that you found this in the reformed tradition.”

    sean says:

    Dennis it’s just slightly mind-numbing how one who has such supposed high regard for apostolic authority, so much so, that, in theory, he’s willing to subordinate his own thoughts for the magisterium’s on matters of faith, has such DISregard for the apostle Paul’s rendering of the gospel. All this regard for the apostolic succession and determination, except apparently for that ‘original’ apostolic authority, and yet supposedly it’s the protestants who are the schismatics?!

    as for the second complaint. If Rome wants to get in line with original apostolic teaching Gal. 1:8, then we’d be making some progress. Rome self-acknowledges both adding to(maturation), and illumining(maturation) original apostolic teaching. I’m all for teaching offices, but perspicuity demands that that which is necessary to be known about God and salvation is readily apparent through the due use of ordinary means(preaching, reading, teaching). So, when the ‘official’ teaching conflicts with what is readily apparent, they(whoever they may be) loses prophetic authority.

  27. Dennis said,

    November 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Bob,

    Just how exactly can you tell us in 22 that To believe I would react a specific way would be presumptious, but yet in 18, you do exactly that when it comes to a protestant: “I have a feeling that when you were Catholic you wouldn’t have been nailed to the floor for Christ”.

    I’m not talking about Protestants. I’m talking about former Catholics. Many Catholics—I can’t speak for Protestants—lack the faith to be martyred for Christ. I know of many Catholics who wander into Church late or leave early (or both!) and don’t really understand what it means to be Christian. These are the ones who I am talking about. It’s not that they don’t know if their faith is strong enough to weather martyrdom…it’s the ones who have so little faith that they would rather go shopping or watch football than go to Church on Sunday.

    Scripture tells us that we become what we worship.

    Yes, it is in man’s blueprint to be addictive. Some are addicted to money, some to sex, some to worldly goods. Whatever we are addicted to, we become a slave of it. It owns us. Scripture tells us to become a slave to Christ. Let Christ be our master. In Christ, we find salvation.

    Through Him, we become united to God. In essence, we become Christ. We are Christ. And we are called to serve. In service, I deliver Christ to you and you deliver Christ to me. In service, we are called to deliver Christ to the world so that the world is delivered to Christ. That’s what Scripture calls us to do. That’s what Scripture tells us.

    Rather the Russian proverb, according to Solzhenitsyn is,”the yes man is your enemy, your friend will argue with you”.

    I agree with you on this. I have not always been as strong in my faith as I am now. For the first 2/3’s of my life, I seriously questioned my faith. I would have been considered at best nominal, at worst agnostic. And bitter might be an understatement for me. Essentially, I was struck by lightning for Christ in my twenties…and it literally happened overnight. The fact that I didn’t take the Protestant route is probably only by the grace of God.

    God calls all of us to draw closer to Him. If it’s through the Reformed faith, then so be it. However, never stop searching for Christ. Conversion is constant. Augustine once wrote, Our hearts are restless until they rest in You!. I’m not asking you to be Catholic but I will give a defense of my faith if called upon. I am asking all of us to draw closer to Christ.

    To have a real/tangible relationship with Him.

  28. Dennis said,

    November 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Bob,

    I don’t know how Bryan interprets 2 Tim 3:17 as I haven’t come across his exegesis of it. I’m not CtC and I don’t necessarily have the same mind set as they do. About the only thing I have in common with Bryan Cross is that I’m Catholic and we’re both fellow Wolverines from about the same time.

    That being said, my understanding of 2 Tim 3: 17 starts at v. 10. You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, . So, Timothy since learning from Paul has followed Paul’s teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, love, endurance. These things were taught to Timothy from Paul. The Church still teaches these things to the faithful. There’s a teaching that offers a way of life, a purpose, faith, love and endurance. These are all important.

    What does it lead to? Happiness? Salvation? Yes. But first, it leads to something else.

    Paul tells us in v.11 and 12. The life of Christ leads to Persecution and suffering. The life of Christ leads to persecution, suffering, martyrdom. It’s a hard life. It’s a life of endurance. That’s what Christ teaches. That’s what the Church teaches. The life of Christ is not an easy life. It leads to being nailed to the floor for your faith.

    So, what does Scripture point us to in verse 17? A life of preparation so that when we are persecuted, we will be prepared to offer our lives to Christ. It’s in our persecutions that we understand His sufferings. It’s in our persecutions that we find life. It’s through living a life of Christ—a life of “good work” per v. 17 that we find Salvation as per the Scriptures.

    2 Tim 3:16 doesn’t point us to Sola Scriptura. It points us to a life of purpose, faith, patience, love and endurance per v. 10.

    As for 2 Thessalonians 2:15, it actually points to three things…

    1. Traditions by oral statement (Sacred Tradition)
    2. Traditions by a letter of ours (Sacred Scripture)
    3. Traditions that they were taught…by whom??? The Apostles whom they appointed successors through the laying of hands (per 1 Tim. 4:14) (Magisterium).

  29. Dennis said,

    November 8, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Sean,

    it’s just slightly mind-numbing how one who has such supposed high regard for apostolic authority, so much so, that, in theory, he’s willing to subordinate his own thoughts for the magisterium’s on matters of faith, has such DISregard for the apostle Paul’s rendering of the gospel.

    No, I don’t have a disregard for Paul’s rendering of the gospel. The “good news” is that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4). Paul tells us that our love for Christ compels us to live for Him who died for us. (2 Corinthians 5: 14-15). Paul tells us it’s no longer “I who live but Christ who lives in me” (2 Gal 19). In our baptism, we are united to Christ so that we may live with Him. The gospel that Paul shared is the same gospel the Church shares today.

    Paul doesn’t point us to a book that’s open to our interpretation. He points us to Christ and calls us to live in Him. That’s the Gospel. That’s the apostolic teaching. It’s to live the life of Christ.

  30. Sean Patrick said,

    November 8, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    For Bob S and sean with a small ‘s.’

    Repeating and over again the charge that Catholics don’t care about the ‘gospel’ does not get us any closer to agreement. Certainly Catholics believe that the apostolic teaching we accept and profess is precisely the apostolic teaching that, well, came from the apostles.

    Dennis. Bless you for your patience here brother!

  31. sean said,

    November 9, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Sean Patrick,

    You need to read closer. Dennis has regularly accused me of being ignorant of the gospel because I don’t cite Jesus enough and am too reliant upon Paul. I never mentioned that Dennis doesn’t care about the gospel, I’ve simply stated he sets up a false dichotomy between Paul and Jesus. I also reminded him that it’s Rome that adds the additional layers of sacred tradition and magisterium supervision. The ‘precise’ representation of apostolic teaching is the very issue being contested.

  32. Dennis said,

    November 10, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Sean,

    I’ve simply stated he sets up a false dichotomy between Paul and Jesus.

    What I’m trying to explain is that there is no false dichotomy between Paul and Jesus. Paul and Jesus shared the same message. The problem is that your interpretation of Paul is incomplete. Your understanding of the Gospel is incomplete. You’re reading the Scripture and missing the message.

    The Gospel is Jesus Christ is Lord. The Word made flesh, God, from the beginning of time was born of a virgin, lived, and was nailed to a tree for our sins. Through His resurrection, He destroyed death. Now we have the opportunity to unite ourselves to Him. In baptism, we unite ourselves to His Body and through obedience to His will, we can live forever. By eating His flesh and drinking His blood, we have eternal life. In Jesus Christ, we find salvation. Outside of Him, we die.

    That’s the Gospel. That’s the Apostolic teaching. Per Galatians 1:8, any gospel preached other than this should be anathema.

    The entire Gospel can be summarized in one word. Love. God is love. The Gospel is love. Christ crucified is love. We are called to love God. We are called to love one another. We are called to love our neighbors. And we are called to love our enemies. The entire Scripture is a love story. And Paul is called to share it with the world.

    There isn’t a false dichotomy between Paul and Jesus. Paul’s message is a message of love. Peter’s message is love. John’s message is love. And Jesus’ message is love.

    Your message, your summary of the Gospel doesn’t capture that at all. And that’s the problem I have with the Reformed understanding of the Gospel.

  33. Dennis said,

    November 10, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Sean Patrick,

    Thank you very much for your blessings!

  34. sean said,

    November 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

    So Dennis, I get from you that the Beatles were closer to the gospel than the reformed. Well, John Lennon did say they were more popular than Jesus……………………………..Maybe you and John Lennon are right, but you’ll forgive me if I have my reservations.

  35. Bob S said,

    November 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    27 Dennis,
    Yes you are correct. I misread your remarks as applying to protestants, instead of roman church members. That said, again, dying for our faith means nothing unless it is a true faith and to be that, it must be in Christ as mediated through the Scriptures and not the church and the sacraments at the expense of Scripture.

    28 Which is to say I don’t know what you were doing in 4th grade, but I at least had to diagram sentences for Sister Mary Petronella. Noun, verb, subject, object etc. I hated it, but I learned something. When you can demonstrate the same for 2 Tim. 3:16 & 17 and 2 Thess. 2:15 get back to us. Until then, don’t bother.

    The reason why Scripture is inspired and profitable is so that “the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”.
    Likewise the Thessalonians were to hold fast to the traditions they had been taught, “whether by word or epistle”. That they were apostolic traditions does not make them a third type of a tradition along side of oral and written traditions.

    32 If it’s all about love, how can we love Christ “the Word become flesh” if we don’t love his word written in Scripture; how can we love Christ when we ignore, mangle or even are genuinely ignorant of Scripture?
    We can’t.

    30 Sean P
    “Blessings”?

    Is that like: Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been three weeks from my last confession. I sinned and broke the ninth commandment by putting words in the mouths of protestants I disagreed with on the internet . . . ?

    FTR my point has always been again, Rome’s great divorce between Christ and Scripture.

    Rome begins by redefining Scripture to include traditions oral and ecclesiastical; usurps divine attributes that belong to the head of the church, Christ and assumes them for the magisterium; turns the Lord’s Supper, a sacrament instituted by Christ by which we remember his sacrifice on the cross, into a converting ordinance and a re-sacrifice of Christ by a pseudo Aaronic priesthood and so on and so forth.

    One error leads to another, with not the least effect being that Rome’s adherents are sincerely bamboozled by all the pomp, circumstance and mumbo jumbo religious pageantry and ritual, so much so they can’t discern what the Scripture plainly says over and above Rome’s studied obfuscation of the same. This, all the while, like Photiphar’s wife, they accuse protestants of infidelity.

  36. Sean Patrick said,

    November 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Bob S.

    A tip my hat to you for being consistently cantankerous.

    FTR my point has always been again, Rome’s great divorce between Christ and Scripture.

    Oh. OK. Got it now. Now if only you could somehow convince Catholics to marry Christ and the scripture again by piling it on us all day….

  37. Bob S said,

    November 12, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    36 Yes, I know Sean. We are just supposed to roll over and play dead when you, Jason or Bryan show up and give us your interpretation of what the magisterium said.

    You keep forgetting we are protestants with reasonable, rather than romish souls and a blanket appeal to authority by self appointed representatives leaves something lacking when it comes to an argument.

    Has your side mustered a coherent case yet against 2 Tim 3 or 2 Thess. 2? No. So what’s your beef? Somehow that is supposed to be the fault of protestantism? Sorry, not buying.

    cheers


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