Conversions to Roman Catholicism

As I have been reading more about Roman Catholic theology, I have been noticing something about recent conversions to Roman Catholicism (and I want to be careful about this statement, so that I am not making an over-generalization). What I have noticed is that converts to Roman Catholicism from Protestant denominations tend to be much more “old-school” Catholics. They don’t tend to talk much about ecumenical endeavors, and they nearly always emphasize continuity of Vatican II with what came before, as opposed to discontinuity. In other words, they don’t believe that much changed at Vatican II.

Those who have been Catholics their whole lives tend to be much more on the discontinuity side of Vatican II. They tend to say that a lot more changed. There is a good psychological reason for this contrast. Those who have grown up in Roman Catholicism are much more tempted to the “familiarity breeds contempt” for the old-school pre-Vatican II theology and practice. They like the changes. They embrace ecumenism and do not feel that they are threatened by it. Converts (especially those who went to seminary, like many of the CtC crowd) feel very differently about Roman Catholicism. I’ve seen it even in the book recommendations that Bryan Cross gave me. The systematic theology book he recommended to me (Ludwig Ott) was pre-Vatican II, very scholastic in tone, old-school Catholic. To put it mildly, this is not where most Roman Catholics are today. The 2 volume set on systematic theology by Schüssler Fiorenza and Galvin is much more what modern post-Vatican II systematic theology looks like.

Similarly with views on Vatican II. Guys like Bryan Cross will tend to emphasize the continuity aspects of Vatican II almost to the exclusion of any idea of change. Many other analyses of Vatican II will say just the opposite, emphasizing the key words aggiornamento (“renewal”), and ressourcemont (a word like “fountain” that was used to emphasize an abandonment of scholastic methods and a return to a more pastoral tone, and was a keyword of the Nouvelle Theologie). If there was a huge change at Vatican II, and if there is such a huge emphasis now on ecumenical endeavors, then it renders their conversions a bit more suspect. If, after all, Martin Luther is not such a bad guy (as many Roman Catholics today will say), and if they will even use Luther’s hymns in the Missal (I once saw “A Mighty Fortress” in a RC Missal, even though Luther wrote the hymn against Roman Catholicism), then why is a huge, flashy conversion to Rome really all that necessary? I definitely see the CtC crowd trying very hard to justify their conversions. As a result, they are in a place most other Catholics are not.

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239 Comments

  1. Reed Here said,

    June 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Careful insights, ones I think Bryan and company will find hard to which to give much objection. Not saying that means they need to give into your concluding observations. Sadly sure they won’t.

  2. June 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Dear Lane,

    I am a convert from the PCA to Roman Catholicism. As I considered the question of the development of doctrine, which I take to be the central concern of this post, I found Newman’s book quite helpful. Perhaps you will, too.

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul Weinhold

  3. Sean Gerety said,

    June 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Lane, do you think part of the reason the Protestant “continuity coverts” do not want to admit that Rome’s teaching is amorphous and tailors itself to the age is because central to their “conversions” (which is really just their rejection of the true faith) is the myth of the unchangeable church?

  4. Bryan Cross said,

    June 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Lane,

    Guys like Bryan Cross will tend to emphasize the continuity aspects of Vatican II almost to the exclusion of any idea of change.

    Where ever did I say anything implying or entailing “the exclusion of any idea of change”? If I excluded “any idea of change” I could not affirm the development of doctrine.

    why is a huge, flashy conversion to Rome really all that necessary?

    Where did any Catholic ever say or imply that a “huge, flashy conversion to Rome” is necessary? I’d be grateful if you would resist the temptation to knock down straw man.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  5. Bob S said,

    June 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    What? Who me? Huh?

    Infallible and implicit faith. Eminently plausible deniability. Wax nose. Chameleon. Private judgement that concurs with and changes according to the pope’s judgement making it no longer private.
    (How’s that universal thing doing for ya, Francis?)

    Yet as others have noted, the recent ex prot converts at CtC and elsewhere attempt to graft a prot sensibility and apologetic onto the roman mystical sacramental “eating is believing” paradigm. Ultimately it doesn’t work/fails.

    I still think somebody’s wife nixed the Mormon thing on account of polygamy, so B went Romeward. I mean, think of it. Would you rather have an apostle or a pope as the head of your church?

    Yeah, we know. Ad hom. Whatever. The newbs don’t know what ‘holy water joes’ are and buy into the dialectic whole hog. But everybody else is in the implicit faith mode. It’s not supposed to make sense or be explainable all the protesting to the contrary.

    cheers

  6. Dennis said,

    June 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Lane,

    What’s your definition of “Old School Catholics”? I’m a lifelong Catholic but I notice the continuity from pre-Vatican II to today.

    I think you’re confusing the Catholic theology (which hasn’t changed from pre to post Vatican II) with the day to day worships and standards of Catholics (which changed significantly from pre to post Vatican II. ) Along with that, you had “reformers” who had liberal interpretations of Vatican II who were trying to change the Church which caused overall confusion in the Seventies.

    What is happening now is a return orthodox Catholicism which is what Vatican II always intended and what these new converts are keying on.

  7. Tony said,

    June 14, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    As a cradle Catholic who gave Evangelicalism a 10-year-long try, I have by God’s grace joyfully returned home to Christ’s Bride, the original Christian flock, to which He handed Peter the keys. My little insight on what’s going on here…

    1. Convert’s Zeal. The high-profile, formerly-Proddie pastors who’ve converted are deeply Scripture-grounded men, articulate thought leaders, highly educated and inclined to seek truth. And their conversions often have come at a high cost: they give up careers, friends, sometimes even family harmony, to swim the Tiber. Who would go thru all that just to become a lukewarm, whatever-floats-your-boat Catholic?!

    2. What did Vatican II really do? When I was growing up (1980s), American Catholics were still dealing with the “fallout” of the great Council, and unfortunately much of our leadership–informed more by American democracy than by Sacred Scripture and Tradition–took some aspects of the Council as a carte-blanche to totally re-invent the Church as…well, just another denomination. Tearing out altar-rails, hippy-dippy guitar Masses, holding hands for “social justice” with the LIBERAL Protestants… Their rallying cry was always “the ‘Spirit’ of Vatican II”–whatever the heck *that* means! This crowd isn’t totally gone; they’re still as loud & annoying as ever–dissident priests, “nuns on the bus” and other liberals, ALL darlings of the secular media. But in the brief span of a generation, the pendulum within the Church has swung–I’ve noticed it since I’ve been back, and the atmosphere of a genuine “Evangelical Catholicism” is here–thankfully! Popes John Paul, Benedict and Francis have demonstrated it beautifully…

    3. Where are “most Catholics”? The majority of Catholics, while maybe not as zealous as converts or daily Mass-goers, are NOT on board with the aforementioned reformist/leftist/progressive claptrap in the U.S. church. Ecumenism, properly understood, is about reuniting Christendom under the loving and faithful leadership of Christ’s earthly vicar, the Pope. It is NOT about giving Luther a pass for his disobedience, or yielding to Calvin’s dour, doom-and-gloom austerity, or appeasing the (Ana)Baptists with grape juice at Mass.

  8. Mark B said,

    June 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I would have to agree with the assessment that CtoC represents only a faction of Catholics, and is not in general representative of Catholics I’ve met. They may argue that theirs is the true version of the Catholic Faith, but that is missing the point.
    As to those who say there continuity (sure, but what kind?) between pre/post Vatican II and ask what is meant by old school Catholics, consider this quote from an old school Catholic who isn’t such a fan of Vatican II:

    “A general corruption of the hierarchy has been foreseen and has happened before and the Saints have told us how we are to respond: we are to keep to the traditional, true Catholic Faith which has been handed down from the Fathers and to reject the “lying novelties” of the pope and the hierarchy”. , and:
    “And finally, we have seen that the Saints and approved theologians through the ages have told us that it can happen that “some new contagion attempts to poison, no longer a small part of the Church, but the whole Church at once”, and it can come to pass that “Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful”. Should this happen the great concern of each “will be to attach himself to antiquity which can no longer be led astray by any lying novelty” – and it is the “Catholics faithful to tradition” who “are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.” Further, a pope can “destroy the Church through his evil actions” and then “it would be unlawful to allow him to act in such a fashion”; “on the contrary, there is a duty to oppose him”; there “would be a duty to prevent him, and likewise an obligation to oppose him and resist him”; “he may be resisted and the fulfillment of his commands prevented” with “open resistance”. Again, “it is lawful to oppose him publicly”; “every person, in fact, has the right to oppose an unjust action in order to prevent, if he is able, its being carried out.” Indeed, “it is imperative to resist a pope who is openly destroying the Church.” He “should not be obeyed” and it is “lawful to resist him” if he acts contrary to justice and the common good. A pope has no right to teach novelty. It is “lawful to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed” should he destroy the Church.”

  9. Sean Gerety said,

    June 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    “As a cradle Catholic who gave Evangelicalism a 10-year-long try”

    Tony, you don’t “give Evangelicalism a try.” Either you’re saved by grace alone through faith alone or you’re not. And the first part of the last sentence you have nothing to do with which is probably why you’re back where you started. I think the author of Hebrews 6:5 said it best sorry to say.

  10. Ron said,

    June 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Lane,

    I think the average Roman Catholic who grew up in that communion and has remained is unaware that Rome’s doctrines are irreformable. Accordingly, many nominal Roman Catholics believe that their communion can and has changed in the sense that it has actually revised and contracted (for the good) teachings previously held. Whereas those who apostatize to Rome are often more thinking in their decision to be Roman Catholic and, therefore, appreciate that Rome claims she cannot change in that reformational sort of way. Therefore, these types of Roman Catholics are more constrained to embrace “old school” in a way that the average Roman Catholic across the street doesn’t worry about.

    Now, of course, Bryan’s objection to the idea that Rome cannot change trades on another use of the word, that change need not entail revision or contradiction. That’s a very legitimate use of the word. In that sense, Rome may change. So your use of “change” might need to be fleshed out a bit more.

  11. Mark B said,

    June 14, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    @10 I just visit here occasionally, but even that’s enough to be fairly sure that Lane and Bryan are familiar with what the other one means by the terms change and development….

  12. Mark B said,

    June 14, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    @7 Read Vatican I and then read Vatican II. There’s enough “””””development””””” there for Brian to write a two volume set to try and explain how “change need not entail revision or contradiction”

  13. greenbaggins said,

    June 14, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Bryan, I was not actually trying to make a value judgment on whether converts to Rome are more or less admirable or whether that was a better or worse condition to be in than a lifelong Roman Catholic. I was seeking to engage in a descriptive observation of what I have seen of the difference between converts to Rome and lifelong Roman Catholics. Maybe the last bit of rhetoric about “flashy conversions” is a little overdone. I was merely trying to throw out some generalizations. Whenever one does that, of course, one runs the risk of engaging in straw-man arguments. But then, if one never engages in generalizations, one never gets the big picture. I’m a big picture person first. I’m lost without a larger road-map. I like to fill in details (and yes, correct the larger picture) later. It was not my intention to actually argue anything except my observation about the psychological difference between converts to Rome and lifelong Roman Catholics.

    Tony, I’m sure we’ll have to agree to disagree on our respective assessments of where Roman Catholicism is at the moment. It was not just Americans who were pushing the “liberal” agenda, if you want to use the term. I am not nearly as sure as you are that the pendulum has swung the way you have said it has. I would agree that JP2 and Benedict have tried to do that. It’s a little early to tell in the case of Francis.

    As to Calvin’s “dour, doom and gloom austerity” I wonder if you have read any biography of his? Did you know, for instance, that Calvin was ill most of his life? Did you also know that he often preached every single day of the week? Have you read many of his sermons? His sermons are certainly not what you describe. You should give him a bit of an allowance for his constant physical pain, and you should also perhaps broaden your reading of Calvin to include sermons that are part of his comforting and warm side, which he certainly had. His letters are another indication that you are a bit off the mark.

  14. Andrew McCallum said,

    June 14, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I would have to agree with the assessment that CtC represents only a faction of Catholics, and is not in general representative of Catholics I’ve met.

    Mark B,

    That’s exactly my experience as well. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever met one of the CtC sort of Roman Catholics except in these Internet forums (and I’ve met and interacted with many many RC’s).

    I think that Lane is correct that the CtC Catholics do tend to be much less willing to deal with the modernistic shift of the current RCC than most other conservative RC’s. My explanation of this is that CtC is marketing its appeals to a largely Reformed audience and they know that Reformed will have little time for the more liberal leaning elements of the RCC. So we Reformed are told that the CtC sort of Roman Catholic’s are the “faithful” ones and all of those left leaning Catholics are “unfaithful.” And they have to say this because if it’s true that the RCC is, as it appears to be, a mush of belief systems from the extremely liberal to the ultra-conservative, then the typical Reformed guy will run from Catholicism.

  15. June 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I think I would agree with your assessment in certain respects, Lane. But it’s hardly remarkable that someone like me would display more zeal for orthodox Catholicism than a nominal cradle Catholic. I mean, when I “converted” to Reformed theology from broad evangelicalism I became more knowledgable of and zealous for the WS and 3FU than many born-and-bred southern Presbyterians who’ve been at it their whole lives.

    And I think it would have been unfair to criticize confessional Presbyterianism because my former zeal (or your present zeal) for it outstripped that of its nominal members, right?

  16. jsm52 said,

    June 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    I wonder if the “zeal” thing is erroneously attributed only to recent RCC converts and thus misses Lane’s point. There is much zeal among many lifelong Roman church members who do acknowledge the shift or change in V2. Such as…

    http://www.hughhewitt.com/george-weigel-reporting-from-the-vatican-on-evangelical-catholicism/

  17. Andrew McCallum said,

    June 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I wonder if the “zeal” thing is erroneously attributed only to recent RCC converts and thus misses Lane’s point.

    jsm – Yes, exactly right. There are so many really serious Roman Catholics who have none of the seeming need to justify their conversions like the CtC people do. My old boss was about as serious a Roman Catholic as you could ever find (he spent almost a decade of his life in a Jesuit order studying his faith). He had every bit the zeal of our CtC friends, but we were able to have so many great conversations about Roman Catholicism and Protestantism without all of the excessive defensiveness that you get at CtC.

  18. Bryan Cross said,

    June 14, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Andrew,

    none of the seeming need to justify their conversions like the CtC people do.

    Do you presume that all persons who defend and promote a position at which they have arrived have a “need to justify their conversion,” or do you do so only regarding persons who have arrived at a position with which you disagree, so as to remove their conversion from the realm of reasoning and place it in the realm of psychologizing?

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  19. jsm52 said,

    June 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Bryan, you wrote:

    Do you presume that all persons who defend and promote a position at which they have arrived have a “need to justify their conversion,” or do you do so only regarding persons who have arrived at a position with which you disagree, so as to remove their conversion from the realm of reasoning and place it in the realm of psychologizing?

    Not all, just those who reflexively and defensively refuse to engage the points made and presented to them.

  20. Bob S said,

    June 15, 2013 at 1:39 am

    15. Evidently then, comparing the 3F or the WS to Trent, Vat. I&II is apples to apples.
    For romanists anyway.

    The rest of us are trying to figure out how to harmonize the anathematization of justification by faith alone and mere separated brethren. As in there’s apples and there’s crab apples and road apples and . . .

    Now if you were to talk about the 3F and the present day CRC or the WS and the United Pres. Church, then you might have a valid analogy.
    But we’re not, even if you are.

    18. And yes, some of us see a distinct need on the part of the CtC to justify their conversion.
    Why else the rush to exalt the novices? And the touting of one’s previous protestant credentials, all the while it is exceedingly clear that the grasp of protestantism by the ex prots is pretty deficient on some fundamentals.

    As in somebody couldn’t stump the mormon missionaries and somebody else can’t figure out how sola scriptura did or didn’t operate before the close of the NT canon.

    Come on. Get serious. This is incompetence in aces and spades and no amount of paradigm mongering, charges of uncharitableness or playing the ad hom card, if not just trying to brass it out, will really suffice.

    Still, all in all the justification of one’s conversion is only to be expected. It is the nature of roman justification, that it is man centered.
    If not on oneself, on the pope, a man, or even the pope’s church. Which amounts to the same thing.
    Neither does it give all the glory to God in Christ for one’s salvation, if one’s works have to play their part in justification.

    But that’s enough private judgementing for now.

    cheers

  21. greenbaggins said,

    June 15, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Jason, as I have said, my post was much more in the way of observation rather than critique. My observation is simply that converts to Rome do not seem to me to be very representative of Roman Catholicism as it is usually propounded today. It seems to me that Schussler Fiorenza, Galvin, O’Malley and O’Brien are much closer to what most Roman Catholics think today.

    Bryan and Ron, the definition of the word “change” is indeed important. I define it in a way that goes beyond what most people would posit of the term “development.” Let’s actually try putting Kuhn’s “paradigm shift” to work here, and define “change” as a shift of paradigm. Maybe not the entire paradigm is necessary here, but certainly on certain issues. To take Bob’s excellent case in point, what about Roman Catholicism’s approach to Martin Luther? Do you think that development can account for what appears to Protestants as a paradigm shift in approach to Martin Luther among Roman Catholics? To go from anathematizing Luther to calling him, in effect, a “separated brother” seems to me to go beyond development. Is it really credible to think of the Tridentine theologians looking at Vatican II’s assessment of other and being content with the development of doctrine as accounting for it? Wouldn’t they have seen it as a reversal? Now, of course, one can argue that the idea of the development of doctrine itself developed. That is true. Newman was the first to articulate it in any kind of thorough manner. But then, couldn’t we as Protestants argue that there was a “change” from non-self-aware non-development of doctrine (or even non-self-aware development of doctrine!) to self-aware development of doctrine? That is a pretty fundamental shift in thinking, is it not? Is it not a paradigm shift? If there is such a change, then the Roman Catholic church goes beyond development of doctrine to actual change.

  22. Andrew McCallum said,

    June 15, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Do you presume that all persons who defend and promote a position at which they have arrived have a “need to justify their conversion,” or do you do so only regarding persons who have arrived at a position with which you disagree, so as to remove their conversion from the realm of reasoning and place it in the realm of psychologizing?

    Bryan,

    Like Lane says in the last two sentences of his original post, there is a distinct difference. It’s just an observation that many of us have had. It’s great to have conversations with Catholics where the tone is not immediately confrontational and defensive. The Catholics like my ex-boss are much more likely to listen and not argue about what we Reformed believe.

  23. Ron said,

    June 15, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Lane,

    You won’t get any argument from me against the conclusion that Rome has indeed contradicted herself. And if she hasn’t, then the interpretation of Trent through the lens of Vatican II makes Trent apart from Vatican II impossible to have understood correctly given the laws of immediate inference. Rome has either contradicted herself or she defies perspicuity.

    Notwithstanding, and as you say, the move from anathema to separated brethren is more than mere “development.” I, for one, find this change contradictory, but my only concern here is clear communication between you and Bryan.

    You noted that Bryan emphasizes continuity almost to the exclusion of any idea of change, citing Luther’s salvific status in the eyes of Rome. The “almost” as it pertains to Bryan’s framework must allow for change that is not contradictory. For instance, non-contradictory changes in doctrinal emphasis do not undermine Rome or Bryan. Certainly you agree. Even a change in paradigm, if it’s a non-contradictory, would not undermine Rome or Bryan. Accordingly, what might be teased out in all of this is whether these paradigm shifts you have in mind are indeed contradictions. If they’re not, then what’s the beef? Yet if these changes (in pardigm) are indeed contradictions, then Bryan’s emphasis on continuity is not “almost” to the exclusion of any idea of change. Rather, it would be 100% to the exlusion of any idea of change (since Bryan, of course, would deny contradictory-change). So, are these paradigm shifts contradictions? If not, I’m not sure I understand the point of contention.

    Bryan wrote:

    Where ever did I say anything implying or entailing “the exclusion of any idea of change”? If I excluded “any idea of change” I could not affirm the development of doctrine.

    You’ve been miquoted. You did not say that Bryan emphasizes continuity to “the exclusion of any idea of change” but rather you said that he emphasizes continuity almost “to the exclusion of any idea of change,” which would allow for doctrinal development, the very thing Bryan tried to suggest you were denying Rome. His complaint was based upon something you did not say.

  24. Robert said,

    June 15, 2013 at 10:53 am

    The tortured appeals I have seen by CTC types to explain that the inclusivism of Vatican II was not a fundamental change from no salvation outside the church proves your point, Lane.

    I had a Roman Catholic ethicist as an undergraduate who was quite liberal, basically a universalist who promoted legalized abortion and the normalization of homosexuality. She has published widely on these topics. She had no problem admitting that there was a fundamental change at Vatican 2. When Benedict became pope, she expressed dismay online because she essentially feared that the pope might take the church backwards. But if the church hasn’t fundamentally changed, how would that even be possible?

    I could bring up the fact that this woman, who has published widely against the magisterium’s positions on sex and contraception remains a Roman Catholic in good standing. For some reason, that doesn’t bother the CTCers claim about Rome having the only principled means of determining divine truth.

    In related news, apparently Roman Catholics don’t have to worry about censures from the Congregation of the Doctrine of Fatih any longer:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/pope-francis-orthodoxy/

    Something tells me that Francis is going to be the gift that keeps on giving for us Protestants.

  25. Sean Patrick said,

    June 15, 2013 at 11:04 am

    jsm52.

    Not all, just those who reflexively and defensively refuse to engage the points made and presented to them.

    This is interesting.

    In the years that we’ve been operating ‘Called to Communion’ we’ve made a substantial effort in engaging the Catholic question and engage in all sorts of ‘points’ made against the Catholic question.

    I’d like for you to tell us what ‘points’ we have refused to engage.

  26. Sean Patrick said,

    June 15, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I had a Roman Catholic ethicist as an undergraduate who was quite liberal, basically a universalist who promoted legalized abortion and the normalization of homosexuality

    Robert. Such a person is not Catholic. By taking such contrary views to those espoused by the Catholic Church they have removed themselves. from the Catholic Church.

    Whether or not some person purports to be ‘Catholic in good standing’ is beside the point. Its rare that individuals are formally excommunicated but there is still the penalty of latae sententiae excommunication.

    I had a Roman Catholic ethicist as an undergraduate who was quite liberal, basically a universalist who promoted legalized abortion and the normalization of homosexuality. She has published widely on these topics. She had no problem admitting that there was a fundamental change at Vatican 2.

    You’ll note that none of those views are taught by the 2nd Vatican Council.

    Besides, the whole line of thinking could easily be directed to you’re side. The Lutheran Church just elevated an openly gay bishop – and that openly gay bishop is a ‘Protestant in good standing.’

  27. June 15, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Dear Lane,

    Have you read Newman’s Essay On the Development of Doctrine? If so, what did you think of it?

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul

  28. sean said,

    June 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Part of what doesn’t get teased out in these discussions of Vat II is how continuity is maintained. It’s a purposeful hermenuetic of continuity and reform but not rupture. IOW, it’s informed by a faith posture and claim, much how we as protestants seek to harmonize scripture(insert obvious prot. polemic, but not my point here). Additionally, there’s a purposeful attempt to provide interpretation as wide a birth as possible. So, there’s not often a declarative statement on what a controverted teaching actually means, but rather an ongoing evaluation of various interpretations and which will be allowed and which will not. Even here the levels of denunciation are varied and often left without final judgement. This isn’t even a necessary failure on the part of many of the participants of the Vat II documents such as; Kuhn, because the concern and then subsequent attempt at the time was to prepare the church for modernity, to give it a new outward face to a modern world with problems not heretofore considered. That’s where you see the tension between a Kuhn and Ratzinger or Ratzinger and seda’s etc. Of course this flexibility and noumenalism boggles the mind of those of us who are confronted with RC polemical claims of philosophic and religious certainty vs. our supposed skepticism. But, I guess that’s just a lack of faith on our part or mine as it may be.

  29. Dennis said,

    June 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Lane 22,

    Do you think that development can account for what appears to Protestants as a paradigm shift in approach to Martin Luther among Roman Catholics?

    Is this a paradigm shift? Is there a difference between anathema and “separated brethren”? I don’t think there is. I think if we talked to the people at Trent, they would agree with separated brethren.

    When the Prodigal Son wanders off to a far away land, is he a “separated brother?” I would say yes. He needs to return the same as Martin Luther would have.

    The Catholic Church hasn’t changed their position. The understanding–and the call–is for all separated brethren to return back home.

  30. Robert said,

    June 15, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Sean Patrick 27

    Nice try.

    1. Rome is supposed to have a far stronger doctrine of the visible church than Protestants do. If you don’t excommunicate your heretics—and you don’t, at least not anymore—then the idea that one can identify the true church visibly a la Romanism breaks down into absurdity. And yes, I know that the true church is where the duly-ordained bishop is. Your duly ordained bishops are not doing their job. If they can’t take care of outright heretics, why and the world should I entrust the care of my soul to them?

    2. What right do you have to exercise your private judgment and tell me that the woman in question is not Roman Catholic? Evidently her bishop and parish think that she is. You are not the magisterium and you are not Protestant. Quit with that whole private judgment thing. If the bishops don’t identify the heretics, then the whole “principled reason” argument that you and the other CTCers espouse degenerates into absurdity.

    3. The whole “Lutheran gay” bishop thing is a pointless argument. I assume the ELCA is what you are talking about. Most of the Protestants posting here would argue, I think, that the ELCA went apostate long ago even if on the congregational level there are many good Christian churches in that denomination. Furthermore, we’re the ones that argue that the visible church is not infallible. Lot easier for us to deal with it when the visible church makes a major boo-boo like that. You all just pretend that “separated brethren” was no new innovation and that it’s no big deal that Roman Catholicism as a whole is about one or two liberal popes away from full-on universalism.

  31. Robert said,

    June 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Dennis 30

    Is this a paradigm shift? Is there a difference between anathema and “separated brethren”? I don’t think there is. I think if we talked to the people at Trent, they would agree with separated brethren.

    When the Prodigal Son wanders off to a far away land, is he a “separated brother?” I would say yes. He needs to return the same as Martin Luther would have.

    The Catholic Church hasn’t changed their position. The understanding–and the call–is for all separated brethren to return back home.

    I’m sure your kind words would have given Luther much comfort as he tried to keep from being executed by Roman Catholic monarchs, with the full support of the papacy.

    Rome might view Luther as a “separated brother” today, but they did not in the Reformation and post-Reformation periods. If you can actually believe that the church of Luther’s day and following did not see him as a heretic, then I would like to know what the color of the sky is in your world.

  32. Mark B said,

    June 15, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    @30
    “Is this a paradigm shift? Is there a difference between anathema and “separated brethren”? I don’t think there is. I think if we talked to the people at Trent, they would agree with separated brethren.”

    I got a good laugh out of this, and then I realized you were serious!?!?? They may have settled with “separating” his head from the rest if burning at the stake could not be arranged….

  33. Sean Patrick said,

    June 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Robert.

    Re: # 31

    Nice try.

    Thanks.

    Rome is supposed to have a far stronger doctrine of the visible church than Protestants do. If you don’t excommunicate your heretics—and you don’t, at least not anymore—then the idea that one can identify the true church visibly a la Romanism breaks down into absurdity. And yes, I know that the true church is where the duly-ordained bishop is. Your duly ordained bishops are not doing their job. If they can’t take care of outright heretics, why and the world should I entrust the care of my soul to them?

    The Catholic Church of course has a far stronger doctrine of the visible church. Firstly, you gloss over the excommunication brought by latae sententiae. This is very real. Secondly, the Catholic Church has over a billion members. Most parishes have hundreds, if not thousands, of registered families. Its very difficult, practically speaking, to go around affirming that every person is orthodox. But, it does not take rocket science to say that a person espousing the murder of children in the womb is not in communion with the Catholic Church.

    Having said that, it would be great if bishops were somehow able to swoop in like Batman every time a Catholic professes ideas or doctrines contrary to the Catholic Church. While it can be frustrating when such people carry on under the pretense of being ‘fully Catholic’, there are times when people are singled out and excommunicated. I wrote about this in further detail here.

    Contrast the admittedly imperfect mode of dealing with heresy that is practiced in the Catholic Church with that model used in the Protestant Church. In the Protestant Churches, if a heretic is ‘excommunicated’ from Church A for teaching heresy, that heretic can walk across the street to Church B and enter into full communion with the ‘visible church’ again. No problem. Or, he/she can start their own church. All of that is perfectly consistent with Protestantism. Not so with the Catholic Church.

    This is why you can act like the gay Lutheran bishop is not your problem. “Oh, that’s not my church!”

    Quit with the whole private judgement thing.

    That’s just it. I am not judging this friend of yours against my own ideas. I am comparing her ideas against the dogmatic tradition of the Catholic Church. Against that measure, she fails as Catholic.

    You all just pretend that “separated brethren” was no new innovation and that it’s no big deal that Roman Catholicism as a whole is about one or two liberal popes away from full-on universalism.

    This is the beauty of the Church, Robert. The Church cannot adopt ‘universalism’ or any other doctrine that is contrary to the apostolic faith. The Pope himself could not impose ‘universalism’ upon the church anymore than I could.

  34. Mark B said,

    June 15, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    @34
    “This is the beauty of the Church….. The Church cannot adopt ‘universalism’ or any other doctrine that is contrary to the apostolic faith. The Pope himself could not impose ‘universalism’ upon the church anymore than I could.”
    It’s nice that we have one convert to Protestantism coming out of this discussion. If that wasn’t your intent, here’s a couple of questions. Isn’t it true that there are many Catholics that at Vatican II thought that that is exactly what happened? (If you say no, I’ll post more from those Catholics who still think that, like I did above) So, if the Pope were to declare it, a council approved it, and it’s written into the catacism of the Catholic Church, what then? Could we not consider it imposed?

  35. Mark B said,

    June 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    oops, @33, and sorry for the spelling:)

  36. Bryan Cross said,

    June 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Lane, (re: #21)

    Do you think that development can account for what appears to Protestants as a paradigm shift in approach to Martin Luther among Roman Catholics?

    Of course.

    Is it really credible to think of the Tridentine theologians looking at Vatican II’s assessment of other and being content with the development of doctrine as accounting for it?

    The question presupposes the falsehood of development of doctrine, because it attempts to judge the authenticity of developments by the limitation of a perspective held at an earlier stage of development.

    But then, couldn’t we as Protestants argue that there was a “change” from non-self-aware non-development of doctrine (or even non-self-aware development of doctrine!) to self-aware development of doctrine?

    Anyone can “argue” (i.e. claim) anything, so sure.

    If there is such a change, then the Roman Catholic church goes beyond development of doctrine to actual change.

    If you wish to show that conditional to be true, you’ll need to support it with premises. Otherwise it remains a mere assertion.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  37. Bob S said,

    June 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    7. As a cradle Catholic who gave Evangelicalism a 10-year-long try,

    Nice, uh, try Tony.
    The problem is in as much as modern Evangelicalism is armininan – i.e. that it exalts the free will of man as decisive in choosing salvation – is that it is romanism without all the bells, whistles and window dressing. Like the E.Orthodox, but even more so, it is popery without the pope.

    While Luther’s Bondage of the Will is better known, Calvin also wrote a treatise with the same title and Knox wrote a tome on predestination.

    Meanwhile in England, Bradford wrote Latimer, Cranmer and Ridley – all whom were in prison and were shortly to burn for their protestant faith – concerning a new sect of protestants:

    Great evil is like to come hereafter to posterity, by these men. . . Christ’s glory and grace is like to lose much light if your sheep be not somewhat holpen by them that love God, and are able to prove that all good is to be attributed only, and wholly to God’s mercy and grace
    in Christ. . .
    The effects of salvation they (the freewillers) so mingle with the cause, that, if it be not seen to, more hurt will come by them, then ever came by the papists. . .
    In freewill they are plain papists; yea Pelagians. God is my witness that I write not this, but because I desire God’s glory and the good of his people.

    In short the Reformers and the Reformation all repudiated free will.
    Fast forward to today and modern Evangelical Protestantism just might resemble what they opposed.

    And while Bryan and Jason, to their uh merit, don’t have the excuse of mistaking modern evangelicalism for the reformed faith, arguably you might however poor of an excuse contemporary evangelicalism is for the true protestant religion. Respectfully it still will be small consolation in that day.

  38. Bob S said,

    June 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    37If you wish to show that conditional to be true, you’ll need to support it with premises. Otherwise it remains a mere assertion.

    Gotta love that old time religion roman jesuitical dialectic in ignoring the obvious, huh?

    Performatively in the any ordinary world paradigm, an anathema or excommunication is um, worlds paradigms apart from mere separation.
    So Trent vs. Vat.2.

    Unless of course we performatively buy into the “A word means just what I say it means” paradigm (of more horse schtick from Humpty Dumpty).

    IOW the roman schtick is still the same old roman you know what.

    cheers

  39. Ron said,

    June 15, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Lane,

    Bryan’s 37 is a fine post. I think he’s right; you’ll have to do better. That’s why I offered 23, so that you might clarify your position. If you think these changes entail contradictions, then that must be shown by exegeting the plain meaning of Trent and Vii. If Bryan, representative of Rome, denies the plain meaning of words then we may conclude Rome has no perspicuity of doctrine.

    So again (from 23) “if these changes (in paradigm) are indeed contradictions [which I believe is your position - it certainly is mine] then Bryan’s emphasis on continuity is not [as you say] ‘almost’ to the exclusion of any idea of change.” Rather, Bryan’s position disallows for any idea of change. Yet Bryan does allow for development of doctrine by the Roman communion, which is hardly controversial.

    I offer this not to take to task a brother but to help advance the discussion, if for no other reason than to avoid an unnecessary marathon.

  40. Mark B said,

    June 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    “The question presupposes the falsehood of development of doctrine, because it attempts to judge the authenticity of developments by the limitation of a perspective held at an earlier stage of development.”

    I have to agree with Bryan here, that this is an accurate summation of the current RC teaching on doctrinal development. If the Pope were to declare it, a council approved it, and it’s written into the catechism of the Catholic Church, it’s true. For example, if the Pope declared, and a council approved the doctrine that a spaceship of little green men from Alpha Centauri III whacked the tail off a monkey and gave him a soul, Catholics would know it’s true, Doctors of the Church in the field of history would have to find precedent in the Fathers, and the CtoC guys would have to add another few pages to their explanation of doctrinal development. Returning to Brian’s statement, if you say this is nonsense, it is because your perspective is limited now at this stage of development.

  41. Mark B said,

    June 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    @ Sean Patrick

    Sorry that wasn’t clear, I’ll try again. You said:

    “This is the beauty of the Church….. The Church cannot adopt ‘universalism’ or any other doctrine that is contrary to the apostolic faith. The Pope himself could not impose ‘universalism’ upon the church anymore than I could.”

    The irony of that statement is that there are Catholics at the time of Vatican II that said universalism of a sort was imposed. (If you disagree, I can post more from those Catholics who still think that, like I did above) So, if the Pope were to declare it, a council approved it, and it’s written into the catechism of the Catholic Church, what then? Could we not consider it imposed? On what do you base such an assumption that a Pope could not impose anything whatsoever, especially if he has the majority of a council with him?

  42. Ron said,

    June 15, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Is this a paradigm shift? Is there a difference between anathema and “separated brethren”? I don’t think there is.

    Dennis,

    One can be in a “state of salvation” while being a “separated brethren.” Do you, also, think that one can be in a “state of salvation” while being under the anathema of God? Please interact with Galatians 1 in your response.

  43. Tim Harris said,

    June 15, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Mark @42 — The pope would not need “the majority of a council.”

    Already the Assumption of Mary was dogmatized without ruling by a Council. But the canon law of 1983 nails it shut:

    Can. 331, “The Bishop of the Church of Rome [i. e., the Pope,], in whom resides the office given in a special way by the Lord to Peter, first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is head of the College of Bishops, the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the Universal Church on earth: therefore, in virtue of his office he enjoys supreme, full, immediate and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he can always freely exercise.”

    Can. 333 §3: “There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.”

    Can. 1442: “The Roman Pontiff is the supreme judge of the entire Catholic world; he tries cases either personally or through the ordinary tribunals …”

  44. Mark B said,

    June 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    @44 Tim, yes, I was trying to leave less wiggle room by making certain we both understood I was referring to something that unequivocally was/would be considered an official declaration of the church.

  45. jsm52 said,

    June 15, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Sean Parrick @ 25:

    For starters the link I provided @ 16 from the Weigel interview.

    Weigel, a lifelong devout Roman Catholic and commentator on Rome: But as patristic Catholicism gave way to medieval Catholicism, which gave way to counter reformation Catholicism, now the Catholicism in which anybody over 50 in the United States grew up, is giving way to a new mode of being Catholic. And that, whether you get that or not, seems to me one of the interesting fault lines, or division points in the conclave that will be opening a week or ten days from now.

    Agree or disagree?

  46. Robert said,

    June 15, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Sean Patrick @ 33

    Nice Try Again.

    If a person can leave a Protestant church that faithfully practices discipline and be accepted at another church down the street proves nothing except that the second church ignores Scripture. If that means excommunication means nothing in the Protestant paradigm, then a Roman Catholic could walk out of the local parish and walk down the street and join a local sedevacantist church and they would still be Roman Catholic. The fact that the pope and magisterium say otherwise should concern me, why?

    I am well aware that given the size of the Roman church, it would be almost impossible to make sure everyone was toeing the line. I’m talking about the fact that your church does not discipline Roman Catholics who are visible to anyone paying attention, including theologians and ethicists like my professor as well as high-ranking members of the U.S. government. Be more consistent in kicking these people out, or at least in trying to discipline them, and the beauty of your imperfect system might be more appealing or at least evident to anyone that hasn’t already crossed the Tiber and must now justify it.

    When the day comes that Rome is full-on unapologetically universalistic, then we can talk more about the fact that universalism cannot be imposed. I suppose that once that happens, there will be a big split in Rome between more traditionally minded, don’t question the Magisterium folk like you and the other CTcers and rank liberals, such as the vast majority of Roman Catholics I have known. That would actually be a good thing, although it’ll put a whole new nail in the coffin on the whole principled means of discerning doctrine, one true body of Christ, visible identification by the visible church thing.

    If it means anything, I have a lot more respect for Roman Catholics who want to kick the liberals out of their church.

  47. Bryan Cross said,

    June 15, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Mark B, (re: #41)

    The possibility of development beyond the limitation of a perspective held at an earlier stage of development does not entail that there are no limitations to or criteria for authentic development, as Blessed Newman explains.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  48. Dennis said,

    June 16, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Ron 43,

    One can be in a “state of salvation” while being a “separated brethren.” Do you, also, think that one can be in a “state of salvation” while being under the anathema of God? Please interact with Galatians 1 in your response.

    A “separated brethren” would be saved by A. the grace of God, B. Through their Baptism, and C. with God’s mercy.

    This is the same as for Catholics. So, yes, a “separated brethren” can be in a “state of Salvation” by virtue of their Baptism.

    In regards to Galatians 1:8, one is in anathema if they are preaching a gospel different from what “they have received.”

    What did the Galatians receive? What is the Gospel? I’ve asked you this before and you haven’t answered it. If you hold to something different than the Galatians, then you truly are anathema.

    Does that mean you’re not saved? I don’t know…that’s God’s call.

  49. Bob S said,

    June 16, 2013 at 2:29 am

    40. Bryan’s 37 is a fine post.

    Excusa me. It’s fine if you are a romanist.

    If you think these changes entail contradictions, then that must be shown by exegeting the plain meaning of Trent and Vii. If Bryan, representative of Rome, denies the plain meaning of words then we may conclude Rome has no perspicuity of doctrine.

    Yo Ron, I vote for prima facia, but hey that’s just little old obstinate me speaking, you know the PJ thing.

    Byrome? He can do what he wants. (After all, he never admits, even under duress if he can help it, what the prot position is. But that’s supposed to be his claim to fame right and why we should listen to him, as an ex prot pontificate on the superiority of the Roman paradigm, no?

    Whatever. I don’t expect him to agree, but honesty and fair play is what it is, a defining characteristic of a genuine discussion. Which is why I conclude Bryan is really not interested in either that or the truth, he just interested in flacking us with a bunch of propaganda. But we done been there, done that before, thank you very much.)

    And Rome has “no perspicuity of doctrine”?
    With all due respect, this is news?
    It’s part and parcel of the pogram, if not the chief appeal of Rome’s mysticism, which is the tag team alternate of ‘wouldn’t it be reasonable that Christ left all authority to an infallible and visible church’?
    Indeed it would, but that is immaterial, because the real question is what saith the scripture?

    . . .avoid an unnecessary marathon

    No, no, nooo. . . . .you didn’t mention the M word. Now the happy drones and clones will be showing up enmasse. Arghh.

    48. The possibility of development beyond the limitation of a perspective held at an earlier stage of development does not entail that there are no limitations to or criteria for authentic development, as Blessed Newman explains.

    Snicker – Oh excuse me, I didn’t realize the mike was on.
    Still this explains absolutely nothing whatsoever, blessed or not.

    But it isn’t supposed to, Virginia.
    It’s called the dialectic.
    Confuse them with contradictions. Baffle them with buffalo breath. The newbs will think it is really spiritual.
    I think it’s BS.

    But whatever. The Scripture says, let your yea, be yea and your nay be nay. Let not the trumpet make an uncertain sound. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free (of the traditions, opinions and obfuscations of men.) We have the mind of Christ, not the mind of a scatterbrain or academic.

    The lack thereof was one of the reasons I left that communion.

    ciao

  50. Bob S said,

    June 16, 2013 at 2:41 am

    49. Yo Dennis. Don’t patronize your audience and they just might return the favor. (Imagine that.)

    The real question before the house is again – listen closely please – how you can be an anathema or believe in the same as pronunciated by The Infallible Church, yet at the same time be merely a separated brethren from and outside The One True Church without any possibility of salvation?
    Ummm.

    That’s what I thought.
    If we were talking about a Windows Microsoft program and we are not, the little screen would come up that says “The program is not responding”.

    Indeed. Rationally in this case.
    Either way, it’s time to hit the reset button.
    But Rome as infallible doesn’t have one.
    Which is why the Reformation was necessary.

    cordially

    .

  51. Sabine said,

    June 16, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Has anything changed in our attitude towards Protestants since Trient?
    Yes, it has. Since Protestants no longer come into our cathedrals, break up the tabernacle and trample on the body of the Lord, a lot has changed in our attitude.
    We are also more ready for dialogue, since Protestant countries forgo to hang our priests and imprison our religious.
    We are very much open to Protestant criticism, since it no longer expresses in the fact that Catholic land expropriated and the Catholic population loses their rights as citizens.
    It is much easier for us to see the separated brother since the killing has stopped.
    And yes, much has changed much since Vatican I.
    The dialogue with the world has also become much easier. Today the Vatican is no longer besieged or protected by troops . There is no European country where Catholics are second class citizens. No more Jesuit laws in Germany, not revolutionaries who demand the destruction of the church, no government that calls for a National Catholic Church. And of course no more Protestants who support these claims.
    Just as the Reformation was not only an exchange of views on the doctrine of justification, but also a political and economic rebellion, the documents of the councils are not only dogmatic, but also reactions to political and social upheavals.
    It is not only important what they say about faith, but also why.
    I think our relationship with the Baptist pastor of the neighboring us.-military base, would be different if he had John of Leiden as a model for his ministry here.

  52. Sean Patrick said,

    June 16, 2013 at 8:33 am

    # 42 (Mark B)

    That some Catholics, however man, thought Vatican II imposed universalism, does not make it so. There are Protestants that believe in universalism but you don’t conclude that the bible teaches it do you?

    Vatican II (and the Catholic Church in 2013) affirmed Extra ecclesiam nulla salus. That means that universalism is utterly impossible.

    I’ve read the Council Documents. The Council does not teach universalism. It repudiates universalism and re-affirms that Christ’s blood and Christ’s Church is the only way to heaven.

    But what if the ‘Pope declared it?’ What if the Pope said, “Disregard the 2,000 + years of apostolic teaching and Holy Tradition that has been passed down to us through the living magesterium…I declare that all human beings are saved no matter what!” Well, that would not be possible because the office the Pope and the gift of infallibility does not grant the Pope the ability to overturn Holy Tradition. Holy Tradition cannot be changed.

    For example, when Pope John Paul II wrote “ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS”, a pastoral letter dealing with women’s ordination he said: “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

    Now, if your premise is true that the Pope just might declare something completely foreign to apostolic faith and we’d be stuck with it, why did Pope John Paul II say that he and the Church as ‘no authority’ to confer priestly ordination on women? The answer is because the male priesthood is Holy Tradition. The same goes for the rejection of Universalism.

  53. Sean Patrick said,

    June 16, 2013 at 8:42 am

    # 46 (jsm52)

    Your original comment said that we refuse to engage various points. You then linked an article about one Catholic, George Weigel, talking about how the Church has changed throughout the millennia. If you read the comments throughout this very thread you’ll see that many of us have acknowledged various changes as well. The context of those ‘changes’ must be understood not as overturning doctrines and replacing new doctrines with old ones . I don’t think Weigel takes a view any different than ours on that score.

    And, we have written about Catholic church and change – we even wrote about it in the context of the charge of ‘universalism’ here.

  54. Ron said,

    June 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

    A “separated brethren” would be saved by A. the grace of God, B. Through their Baptism, and C. with God’s mercy.

    Dennis,

    Not sure what “A” means to you. In any case, you say that from a RC perspective “separated brethren” can be saved. Good, now let’s move to those anathematized.

    In regards to Galatians 1:8, one is in anathema if they are preaching a gospel different from what “they have received.”

    Are all who are anathematized in a state of non-salvation or only those who preach another gospel from that which they have received?

    What is the Gospel? I’ve asked you this before and you haven’t answered it. If you hold to something different than the Galatians, then you truly are anathema.

    I don’t remember you ever asking me what the gospel is. However, what we do see here is you’ve just retracted an earlier post of yours, or so it would seem given your fuzzy distinction between two groups. You had claimed that there was no difference between separated brethren and those anathematized, but you draw at least one distinction regarding those who preach another gospel from that which they had received. Presumably these people aren’t ‘brethren” of any sort.

    Does that mean you’re not saved? I don’t know…that’s God’s call.

    Why not finish the syllogism on the authority of Rome’s understanding of the gospel and say I’m not saved given I preach a gospel contrary to the one I learned in Romanism?

  55. Sean Patrick said,

    June 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

    # 47

    “If a person can leave a Protestant church that faithfully practices discipline and be accepted at another church down the street proves nothing except that the second church ignores Scripture.</i"

    This is convenient and I don't think you've thought this through. What if a Baptist Church (a serious one) excommunicated an elder for professing infant baptism and that man tried to join Lane's church? Would Lane's church be 'true to scripture' and uphold the previous church's excommunication?

    “If that means excommunication means nothing in the Protestant paradigm, then a Roman Catholic could walk out of the local parish and walk down the street and join a local sedevacantist church and they would still be Roman Catholic.”

    If that happened, it would be nothing more that a Catholic leaving the Catholic Church for a particular Protestant church. The sedevacanist churches are simply neo- Protestant churches. They protest against the Catholic Church and remove themselves from communion with the Catholic Church.

    “I’m talking about the fact that your church does not discipline Roman Catholics who are visible to anyone paying attention, including theologians and ethicists like my professor as well as high-ranking members of the U.S. government.”

    While we could always hope for more, this statement is not true. The Church does go after high ranking members of the government (though not often enough). Pope Benedict said explicitly that pro-choice politicians should not receive communion, for example. And, the Church has and does single out bad Catholic teaching and removes an heretical teachers license to teach in the Church. I cited one example in my link. And, the church excommunicates people. The former priests who take part in the ‘woman’s roman catholic priest’ movement come to mind.

    “When the day comes that Rome is full-on unapologetically universalistic, then we can talk more about the fact that universalism cannot be imposed.

    You’ve been waiting for this for at least 500 years and if you continue to wait, you’ll end up waiting for eternity for reasons I explained in # 52.

  56. Sean Patrick said,

    June 16, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Sorry for typos and not closing my italics right.

    And Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers!

  57. Bob S said,

    June 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Well, the ethanol mileage may vary for Bryan and various other romanists on the site, but for dummies like us, simple works best, if not Scripture.

    When Paul and Barnabas separated over their brother John Mark, they became separated brethren. Judas on the other hand, when he left the upper room in order to betray Christ became anathema.

    IOW for slow learners, the two terms are contradictory. They cannot both be true. ( If in doubt, consult an elementary book on logic. Bryan, I am sure can recommend one.) Like oil and water, they do not mix.

    Again it’s not hard to figure out and those of our diligent roman promoters who are ex prots ought to be able to cut the specious pleading and parsing of frog hairs and admit the obvious.

    But then that would mean that Rome’s development of doctrine is arbitrary and opportunistic, not organic and consistent and we know the rest of that story. The marathon of obfuscation, equivocation and denial commences. IOW more performative hand waving from the usual suspects.

  58. Dennis said,

    June 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Ron,

    The anathema is why we’re “separated.” Your baptism is why we’re brothers–regardless of your knowledge of the Gospel. We’re baptised into Christ and we’re joined together in Him. The Prodigal Son, when he leaves home is still a brother. He’s separated but they can’t revoke his brotherhood.

    Are all who are anathematized in a state of non-salvation or only those who preach another gospel from that which they have received?

    Again, God is who determines who is and who is not in a state of Salvation. An anathema means they are outside of the Church. Are they saved, I don’t know. That’s God’s call.

  59. Ron said,

    June 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    The anathema is why we’re “separated.”

    Dennis,

    So, “anathema” makes one “separated,” which means the two are not the same. Therefore, this statement of yours is not actually true:

    “Is there a difference between anathema and “separated brethren”? I don’t think there is.”

    Or can the cause of something be the same thing as that which it causes? In other words, how can anathema be the same thing as separated brethren if “anathema is why we’re separated”?

    Again, God is who determines who is and who is not in a state of Salvation. An anathema means they are outside of the Church. Are they saved, I don’t know. That’s God’s call.

    I’ll make it simpler by taking ontology off the table by speaking to the question of external status only.

    Please define these two terms (anathema and separated brethren) so that the cause of the latter is no different from the latter. If you come up empty, you might then see that the external status of separated-brethren and that of those under the anathema of the Roman communion are not the same.

  60. didymusmartin said,

    June 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    For many cases ex-communication is the same as one selecting to commune with a different body of believers. Fortunately Vatican II made it easier for Romanists to swallow this idea,….The pro- testants are less inclined to embrace the teaching especially within reformed circles as evidenced by NAPARC and the EPC.

  61. Andrew McCallum said,

    June 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    This is convenient and I don’t think you’ve thought this through. What if a Baptist Church (a serious one) excommunicated an elder for professing infant baptism and that man tried to join Lane’s church? Would Lane’s church be ‘true to scripture’ and uphold the previous church’s excommunication?

    Hello Sean,

    I can’t imagine this happening in any Baptist church. I would guess that such a person would be asked to step down from leadership (just like a PCA guy who came to Baptist convictions on this issue would be asked to step down). But to make your example a real world one, if this same person denied let’s say the Virgin Birth and was excommunicated, any good Reformed Church would uphold the excommunication.

    In #55. you speak of discipline happening in the RCC in certain high visibility cases like a prominent Catholic politician who supports abortion being refused communion. I think this is a good thing and I’m glad the RCC takes a stand in such situations. But I think the bigger issue is that RCC congregations do not generally discipline the priests and the laity. It’s the local discipline issues which I think separate a typical Reformed congregation from a Roman Catholic one. In a Reformed congregation a layperson will fall under discipline if, for instance, it’s found that they are living in open sexual sin like fornication. In the same congregation a minister or elder would be disciplined if he denied something basic about the Christian faith. But this typically does not happen in Roman Catholic congregations. You talk about the RCC being big and thus unable to discipline all of the 1 billion members, but then it should not be the responsibility of a central ecclesiastical body to deal with every local case. The problem with discipline in the RCC is not so much at the global level, but at the local one. It’s too easy to be a moral or theological rebel in the RCC at the local congregational level.

    I understand what you are saying about a Protestant who is excommunicated running down the road and joining some other other church/denomination. But I think Robert is right here. If the local congregation has been faithful why is there a problem if this person does join some other church who has a low opinion of ecclesiastical discipline? And what would happen in the Roman Catholic analogy to this situation? My perception is that the local Roman Catholic congregation would ignore the moral and/or theological infraction as long as the person in question does not create too much of a public scandal. The result is that the RCC has become an amalgamation of all sorts of beliefs and practices.

  62. Mark B said,

    June 16, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    @52 (Sean Patrick)
    “Well, that would not be possible because the office the Pope and the gift of infallibility does not grant the Pope the ability to overturn Holy Tradition. Holy Tradition cannot be changed.”
    I’ll try to not get too caught up here with Vatican II, as I realize there is vehement disagreement within parts of Catholicism over exactly was stated there, but judging by a few things written over the years at CtoC trying to explain and justify it , I suspect that it’s not one of your favorite moments in Roman history, right? Rather, I used it as it is an illustration that is familiar to most. My basic point, (which you seem to be trying to ignore with a bare assertion that it can’t be true) is that CtoC seems to address most all problematic (non Scriptural) doctrinal issues in the Catholic Church from a perspective (with an excuse?) of development. I realize this is the currently accepted method in Catholicism, but it doesn’t fly. You make the bare assertion that the Pope cannot overturn “Holy Tradition” because he has been granted the gift of infallibility, but when he does, as many Catholics, Protestants, and even agnostic historians will agree happened at Vatican II, you try to explain it away in hindsight with “development”, and by redefining the plain meaning of words. This is sort of one of Lane’s points in the post under discussion, that CtoC has a rather specific view of, or way they define, what Catholicism is. If you disagree with what a Pope or Council says, you “interpret” it in a way that makes it fit with what you believe are the “correct” decisions of Popes and Councils. Of course you claim that all Popes and Councils always basically agree on everything (well, at least with a big helping of “development”), but that does not make it true. This is part of the reason Catholicism can seem such a broad tent to some of us, of which CtoC is just a part; other factions within Catholicism interpret church history and papal and council decrees to support their reading of what Catholicism should be in the same way CtoC does, with different conclusions. Many at CtoC seem to think that by swimming the Tiber they have found stability in the ecclesiastical world, to carve out their own little cave, but it’s only an illusion given by ecclesiastical inertia.. The next Pope may just decree something you find reprehensible, and good Catholics, after going through the redefining and reinterpreting process outlined above, will have to say, yep, “the office the Pope and the gift of infallibility”, the tent is just that much bigger now, so now we ordain women, birth control is ok, every priest should have an eleven year old boy companion, or whatever; or else end up like that faction of Catholics that believe Vatican II declared universalism, the current church hierarchy is apostate, and they are the only true Catholics left. If you think this isn’t so, you need to read your own history some more. Was it a Pope that initiated the concept of Papal infallibility or was it a faction that didn’t like the current Pope overturning a previous Pope’s decree? The Catholic Church is a ship driven hard in the storm (that is this present age) that has cut it’s anchor (the authority of the Word of God). Many of you have Reformed backgrounds and you still reason as if you have that anchor of Scripture attached, but you don’t, it’s only a shadow you see from the bow of the ship.

  63. Mark B said,

    June 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    @48 (Brian)

    “The possibility of development beyond the limitation of a perspective held at an earlier stage of development does not entail that there are no limitations to or criteria for authentic development”

    This statement is a truism, and does nothing to help your cause. You have limitations to or criteria for authentic development that you and some others at CtoC and in broader Catholicism agree to now, but that is because of a “limitation of” your “perspective held at” this “earlier stage of development”.
    Some of what I said to Sean Patrick above applies, most specifically; The Catholic Church is a ship driven hard in the storm (that is this present age) that has cut it’s anchor (the authority of the Word of God). Many of you at CtoC have Reformed backgrounds and you still reason as if you have that anchor of Scripture attached, but you don’t, it’s only a shadow you see from the bow of the ship.

  64. Mark B said,

    June 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Observation to the moderator: The posting numbers above seem to have changed radically, making it sometimes less that clear as to who is responding to what.

  65. Bryan Cross said,

    June 16, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Mark B, (re: #64)

    This statement is a truism, and does nothing to help your cause.

    Claiming that it is a “truism” does not show it to be false. And I didn’t write it to “help [my] cause” but only to explain why your conclusion in #41 does not follow from your premises in #41.

    You have limitations to or criteria for authentic development that you and some others at CtoC and in broader Catholicism agree to now, but that is because of a “limitation of” your “perspective held at” this “earlier stage of development”.

    No, that’s a straw man of your own making.

    Some of what I said to Sean Patrick above applies, most specifically; The Catholic Church is a ship driven hard in the storm (that is this present age) that has cut it’s anchor (the authority of the Word of God).

    That mere assertion does not show what I said to be false.

    Many of you at CtoC have Reformed backgrounds and you still reason as if you have that anchor of Scripture attached, but you don’t, it’s only a shadow you see from the bow of the ship.

    Again, a mere assertion. Assertions are a dime a dozen; they establish nothing.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  66. Mark B said,

    June 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    @66 (Brian)

    “Claiming that it is a “truism” does not show it to be false.”

    I was not arguing that it was false: Definition of TRUISM: an undoubted or self-evident truth; especially: one too obvious for mention (Webster)

    “And I didn’t write it to “help [my] cause” but only to explain why your conclusion in #41 does not follow from your premises in #41″.

    You did write it to help your cause. Your cause was to explain why my conclusion in#41 does not follow from my premise, the statement you made does not explain that, even though, taken in the abstract, it is true.

    “You have limitations to or criteria for authentic development that you and some others at CtoC and in broader Catholicism agree to now, but that is because of a “limitation of” your “perspective held at” this “earlier stage of development”. “No, that’s a straw man of your own making.”

    Rather than a strawman, it’s a fairly direct paraphrase of what you said earlier (notice all the ””””’).

    “Many of you at CtoC have Reformed backgrounds and you still reason as if you have that anchor of Scripture attached, but you don’t, it’s only a shadow you see from the bow of the ship. Again, a mere assertion.
    Assertions are a dime a dozen; they establish nothing.”

    This is another truism (assertions are a dime a dozen…). And, in addition to being an assertion (actually at least two assertions), it is a conclusion I made based on reading things you and others at CtoC have written over the years. If there are those who question my assertion, they may read your writings while bearing it in mind, and decide for themselves as to the veracity of my assertion.

  67. Bryan Cross said,

    June 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Mark B, (re: #67)

    Rather than a strawman, it’s a fairly direct paraphrase of what you said earlier (notice all the ””””’).

    No, it is a straw man. Your conclusion in #41 is that in the Catholic paradigm there are no limits on authentic development. But that’s a straw man of the Catholic paradigm. In the Catholic paradigm, there are immovable limits on authentic development. And that fact is fully compatible with that I said to Lane in #37.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  68. Mark B said,

    June 16, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    @68 (Brian)

    ” In the Catholic paradigm, there are immovable limits on authentic development.”

    Since you are so fond of accusing people of making assertions (I’m basing that solely on your responses to comments on Green Baggins over the past three years), you should recognize when you make one yourself, like this one. You (and some other Catholics) claim (and attempt to demonstrate) that there are immovable limits on authentic development, but these immovable limits are only there only insofar as they suit your (or their) various purposes. That was one of the small points raised above. For some, Vatican II crossed those immovable limits, for most others, it did not. Your position is untenable because the only way you can know for sure that a limit is unmovable is because Rome hasn’t crossed it yet. So, I’ll say it again: “You have limitations to or criteria for authentic development that you and some others at CtoC and in broader Catholicism agree to now, but that is because of a “limitation of” your “perspective held at” this “earlier stage of development” Or, in your own words: “….. it attempts to judge the authenticity of developments by the limitation of a perspective held at an earlier stage of development.” You cannot say logically, without contradicting yourself, that you know the limitations on any ridiculous hypothetical future formal doctrine I may propose, because you yourself are limited by the perspective you have, at this, an earlier stage of development.

  69. Bob S said,

    June 16, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    68 But, but, but . . . but Bryan.
    In all the sophistry, you left out THE chief premise.
    (But that’s impossible. I don’t believe it. No, it cannot be . . . . not in the righteous roman religious world.)
    Anathema and separated brethren are NOT contradictories.
    Rather they are synonyms, i.e. equivalent.

    That, if we do not prefer the alternative scholastic definition of reality, truth and all things, both cogent and copacetic from the beatlific Johan Lennon:

    I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
    I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
    I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.
    I’m crying. . . .

    True, the cynics out there in lala land might opt for Herr Goerring and the Big Lie, but everybody knows that he’s not Italian.

    See, wasn’t that easy?
    You’re welcome.

  70. Bryan Cross said,

    June 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Mark B (re: #69)

    Since you are so fond of accusing people of making assertions

    I’m not fond of it all. I’d rather not have to point out reasoning fallacies, and I take no pleasure in it.

    you should recognize when you make one yourself, like this one.

    I’m aware that my statement was a mere assertion. But I am not the one advancing an argument. I’m merely refuting an argument (i.e. the one you made in #41). If I’m merely refuting an argument, I need not make any argument; I need only point out what’s wrong with yours. The one advancing the argument has the burden of proof.

    but these immovable limits are only there only insofar as they suit your (or their) various purposes.

    That just begs the question, by presupposing that these limits are not actually immovable. So it does not show them to be movable; it merely presupposes that they are movable.

    For some, Vatican II crossed those immovable limits, for most others, it did not.

    Truth isn’t determined by democracy. Feel free to lay out an actual argument demonstrating that Vatican II crossed an immovable limit.

    Your position is untenable because the only way you can know for sure that a limit is unmovable is because Rome hasn’t crossed it yet.

    That is not only not true, it is also a mere assertion. Anyone can assert anything. Merely asserting something does not show it to be true.

    You cannot say logically, without contradicting yourself, that you know the limitations on any ridiculous hypothetical future formal doctrine I may propose, because you yourself are limited by the perspective you have, at this, an earlier stage of development.

    Again, this is a mere assertion. Feel free to lay the argument having this as its conclusion.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  71. Bryan Cross said,

    June 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Mark B, (re: #69)

    You cannot say logically, without contradicting yourself, that you know the limitations on any ridiculous hypothetical future formal doctrine I may propose, because you yourself are limited by the perspective you have, at this, an earlier stage of development.

    If you want this to be taken not as a singular proposition, but as an argument with one premise, then it looks like this:

    (1) You are limited by the perspective you have this [earlier] stage of development

    Therefore,

    (2) You cannot say logically, without contradicting yourself, that you know the limitations on any ridiculous hypothetical future formal doctrine I may propose.

    The problem with this argument is that the conclusion does not follow from the premise. Just because we are limited by our present perspective, it does not follow that we cannot presently know that a doctrine has been infallibly defined, and therefore that this doctrine can never be overturned. In this way, among others, even while we are limited by our present perspective we may presently know limits beyond which authentic development cannot advance.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  72. Robert said,

    June 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Guys,

    It’s easy to know where the limits on doctrinal development are—whatever the Magisterium of today says that they are. When those limits change, the cradle Roman Catholics say, “whatever, we knew that whole idea of fixed doctrine was bunk anyway.” The Protestant converts burn through some gray matter to prove that anathema never meant what the ones who originally pronounced the anathema thought they meant, and the Vatican train trudges on.

    Pay no attention to those excommunications. Those are not the facts CtC are looking for…

  73. June 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    One reason people leave Protestantism is because they want certainty and have found that believing the Bible is inerrant doesn’t provide it because you still have to interpret the BIble. They want the Church to do that for them, and the Roman Catholic Church promises to do so, perfectly and without change. Thus, if Vatican II changed things, they lose the whole point of leaving Protestantism. They again have to think for themselves as to which interpretation is correct.

  74. Dennis said,

    June 16, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Ron,

    Please define these two terms (anathema and separated brethren) so that the cause of the latter is no different from the latter. If you come up empty, you might then see that the external status of separated-brethren and that of those under the anathema of the Roman communion are not the same.

    Are you really having trouble with these definitions? An anathema removes you from the Church and “separated brethren” means that we’re brothers albeit separate.

    Note that if a person is born Protestant, the anathemas wouldn’t necessarily include you. How can one be anathema if you’ve never been Catholic?

    Specifically with Luther, he was baptized and excommunicated and would thus be a separated brother.

  75. Mark B said,

    June 16, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Brian
    The trouble here seems to be the gianormus (borrowed that word from the kids- happy fathers day) assumption you bring to the table. You presuppose the “Doctrine of Development” to be true, but I do not share your presupposition. To clarify, I see it as absolute nonsense fabricated by the Catholic Church to advance their traditions of men that they have made part of their church. I have difficulty seeing why they thought the “Blessed Newman” was that clever, although I’ll grant their previous explanations were wearing thin. So, from my perspective your list of sandbox rules above are reversed and apply to you. (so you get to say “is to” and I get to say “is not” until we reach #253) You began this by accusing Lane of presupposing “Doctrinal Development to be false, and made a bunch of assertions to the contrary (#37). To reiterate, here in the ‘not CtoC’ world, I don’t think many will grant you the presupposition that doctrinal development is true. Why should anyone here NOT presuppose doctrinal development to be false, we don’t believe in your Magisterium. Lane gave a few examples of things that the ‘not CtoC’ world considers to be change, or opposites, things that cannot be explained away by doctrinal development, I picked up on other examples. You are entitled to think that doctrinal development can account for them if you wish. The kids are asking me what’s so funny on the computer, and I guess this comment shows that I’m having difficulty taking you seriously, sorry for that. I did start this trying to be constructive, I guess if I hung out here more I would have started out with Bob S’s more sarcastic humor approach. Thanks for taking the time to dialogue even if it wasn’t productive.
    Mark

  76. Bryan Cross said,

    June 17, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Mark B, (re: #75)

    You presuppose the “Doctrine of Development” to be true, but I do not share your presupposition.

    I agree, in the sense that DD is part of the Catholic paradigm, and not part of the Reformed paradigm.

    To clarify, I see it as absolute nonsense fabricated by the Catholic Church to advance their traditions of men that they have made part of their church.

    I agree that this is how you see it.

    So, from my perspective your list of sandbox rules above are reversed and apply to you.

    What you are calling “sandbox rules” have nothing to with DD per se, but rather have to do with the nature of rational discourse. The burden of proof does not fall to the person whose position seems more absurd to the other person, but rather to the person advancing an argument. In this context, you are advancing an argument. I’m not putting forward any argument.

    You began this by accusing Lane of presupposing “Doctrinal Development to be false, and made a bunch of assertions to the contrary (#37).

    No, Lane began the conversation with his post. Then in #21 he asked a number of critical questions of Catholics. In #37 I offered answers to those questions, and pointed out that one of those questions is a loaded question, i.e. presupposes the falsehood of development of doctrine, because it attempts to judge the authenticity of developments by the limitation of a perspective held at an earlier stage of development.

    To reiterate, here in the ‘not CtoC’ world, I don’t think many will grant you the presupposition that doctrinal development is true.

    Of course.

    Why should anyone here NOT presuppose doctrinal development to be false, we don’t believe in your Magisterium.

    Of course Reformed persons such as you (I presume) and Lane will presuppose DD to be false. That’s not a problem. I’m not objecting to that in the least. The problem arises when a person presupposes one of the two paradigms when attempting to evaluate the two paradigms. That move presupposes precisely what is in question. The more intellectually honest approach is not even to pretend to compare rationally the two paradigms, but simply to say “I assert the truth of my own paradigm and the falsehood of the other paradigm.” To presuppose one of the two when purporting to compare the two is a form of self-deception, because the person is not actually comparing the two.

    Lane gave a few examples of things that the ‘not CtoC’ world considers to be change,

    That’s fully compatible with what I have said.

    or opposites, things that cannot be explained away by doctrinal development,

    Already by saying “explained away” you’re using loaded language. But, again, feel free to lay out an *argument* showing that some actual change in the Catholic Church cannot be explained as development, or is in some other way incompatible with other Catholic teaching. Merely asserting that these changes cannot be explained as development does not show that they cannot be explained as development.

    The kids are asking me what’s so funny on the computer, and I guess this comment shows that I’m having difficulty taking you seriously,

    Of course I’d rather you take me seriously, because we’d have a more fruitful conversation. But when Reformed critics don’t take Catholicism seriously (either by laughing at us, or by taking the “sarcastic humor” approach) the ultimate result is the fruit of more conversions, the very thing about which Lane is writing. From what I’m told, one of the most powerful rationally persuasive factors in these conversions is not the quality of our arguments, but the deficiency of charity on the part of our critics, because deep inside us humans we know that where charity is lacking, truth is lacking. So I’m fine with whatever horn of this dilemma you choose, though I hope you choose the way of charity.

    Thanks for taking the time to dialogue even if it wasn’t productive.

    You’re welcome, and happy Father’s Day.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  77. Bob S said,

    June 17, 2013 at 1:42 am

    Come on Bryan.
    Answer the question and acknowledge the salient distinction instead of evading it as usual; in your latest of 76 by playing the unloving, sarcastic card.

    Anathema is tantamount to a mortal sin, while a separated brother has only committed a venial sin.

    IOW in the real world, instead of the roman paradigm a contradiction in terms is a contradiction in terms, not an opportunity for you to display your debating skills and major in minors.

  78. Ron said,

    June 17, 2013 at 8:24 am

    How can one be anathema if you’ve never been Catholic?

    Dennis,

    Trent throws around anathemas without any qualification. For instance, “If any one saith that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation: let him be anathema.” I don’t read anything restrictive in that universal injunction. It would apply to “any one [who] saith…”

    Are you really having trouble with these definitions? An anathema removes you from the Church and “separated brethren” means that we’re brothers albeit separate.

    So they’re not the same thing; yet earlier you said there was no difference between the two. So again, are you saying that the external status of one under anathema is that he is in a state of grace – hence a “brethren” albeit separate? Again, I’ve taken actual status off the table. Or does being a separated brethren make room for one to be in fellowship with the pope, which is not the case for one who has been excommunicated as a heretic.

    Specifically with Luther, he was baptized and excommunicated and would thus be a separated brother.

    If one renounces the Trinity and is excommunicated, is he still to be considered a brother albeit separated? May a confessing believer marry such a one? Are JW’s who grew up in Rome brothers of any sort?

    The reason you’re coming up with these silly responses is that you want to say there’s no difference between the old and new face of Rome. True brethren are not accursed and the status of those considered brethren is not the same as the status of those under anathema. Did Paul treat the Judaizers as brethren?

  79. Bryan Cross said,

    June 17, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Bob S (re: #5)

    I still think somebody’s wife nixed the Mormon thing on account of polygamy, so B went Romeward.

    Where civility and charity are absent, the mutual pursuit of agreement in the truth through dialogue is not possible.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  80. Bob S said,

    June 17, 2013 at 9:33 am

    80 And what does the Scripture say, Bryan?

    “Fathers provoke not your children to wrath”.

    What exactly do you expect when as a rule you refuse to speak to the question and that ever since you have been on this forum since ’09?
    To the point that it gets ridiculous.
    And not only do you exacerbate the frustration, you can’t take it if anybody pokes any fun at your pompous evasions and inconsistencies.

    Further some of us – OK just me – are tired of your patronization and boast of your supposed expertise as an ex prot all the while you demonstrate profusely that you know not what you speak of.
    Beginning with the Mormon missionaries, polygamists or not.

    Yet the real question before the house, as it has always been – and if I may say so, implicit in the OP – is what of the Grand Canyon between the anathema of Trent and the separated brethren of Vat. 2?

    The distinction being again that between Judas and Christ and Paul and Barnabas.

    As if one, we have to ask and two, have to explain it.

    But no, I don’t expect an answer.
    At best all I expect is more of the above.

    Thank you.

  81. Tim Harris said,

    June 17, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I’m still flummoxed by this from Sean Patrick @53,

    “Well, that would not be possible because the office the Pope and the gift of infallibility does not grant the Pope the ability to overturn Holy Tradition. Holy Tradition cannot be changed.”

    It is obviously “possible” in the ordinary senses of that word. There is no logical contradiction to supposing a pope could do that; and no physical impossibility. And if he did, Canon 333 §3 warns, “There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.”

    Unless… could it be that RC’s are allowed to use their private interpretation to conclude that a pope has contradicted Holy Tradition?

  82. John Bugay said,

    June 17, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Bryan #80 — You are, as Lane said in the OP, “in a different position” from most Catholics.

    Mutual agreement on the central issue, Rome’s authority, is not possible in any event. Someone is right about it and someone is wrong. Your efforts ought to be focused in that direction. If Rome is wrong (and you know I think it is), the consequences are horrific for Christianity.

    The issue again is your foundational assumption (that’s all it is) that Rome’s story is correct about “divine institution” of the papacy, when it’s clear from historical studies (even those done by Roman Catholics) that, as John Meier, a leading Catholic Biblical scholar, pointed out, “A papacy that cannot give a credible historical account of its own origins can hardly hope to be a catalyst for unity among divided Christians.”

    You can’t say Meier was “begging the question”. He does not operate from a “Sola Scriptura” presupposition. He simply does not operate from your fundamental assumption that Roman Dogma on everything is correct.

    Yet there are many Roman Catholics who accept Meier’s account.

    Ancient Roman House Churches

    In this same article, Herman Pottmeyer, another Roman Catholic who has studied the issue, said, “anyone who wishes to come to an understanding of the papal ministry cannot avoid dealing with the history of this ministry. The historical facts are not disputed…

    Rome’s account of the origin of the papacy is not credible. It stretches the imagination far beyond the breaking point to think that Matt 16:18 had anything to do with the papacy. You CTC folks are in a different, and I would say a wishful thinking place.

    I don’t write this for you. I write this for the Protestants here.

  83. John Bugay said,

    June 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Tim Harris 82: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2013/04/before-infallibility-was-twinkling-in.html

    “Holy Tradition” (an Orthodox, not a Roman Catholic term by the way) does not get overturned. As Raymond Brown said, “the Roman Catholic Church does not change her official stance in a blunt way. Past statements are not rejected but are requoted with praise and then reinterpreted at the same time”. You can see this procedure in almost every “reformulation” that Rome puts out.

  84. Ron said,

    June 17, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Hi Tim,

    Regarding your 82, if the seat of the papacy is defined as incapable of making such an error, then wouldn’t it be logically impossible for him to make such an error (given the original premise)? In the like manner, Scripture being without error cannot contradict Scripture. The question, of course, is whether the papacy is infallible. What am I missing?

  85. Bryan Cross said,

    June 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

    John, (re: #83)

    Rome’s account of the origin of the papacy is not credible.

    This mere assertion is not entailed by what precedes it; the contrary is fully compatible with what precedes it.

    I could just assert the contrary [i.e. Rome's account .. is credible], and we could then trade contrary assertions. But obviously that would be futile.

    Without logic, this mode of engagement is futile with regard to attaining agreement concerning the truth.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  86. John Bugay said,

    June 17, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Bryan 86:

    This mere assertion is not entailed by what precedes it; the contrary is fully compatible with what precedes it.

    It doesn’t need to be. We have discussed it many times, and I reject your methodology. Which is not “pure logic”. It is a kind of logic that begins with the presupposition that Roman Catholicism is what it says it is, and rejects anything other than your own line of thinking as “begging the question”.

    I offer it as a working hypothesis for the Protestants here who are interested in looking at the issue.

    I could just assert the contrary [i.e. Rome's account .. is credible], and we could then trade contrary assertions. But obviously that would be futile.

    With history, and also with an analysis of Rome’s statements over the centuries, it is easy to understand just how much Rome’s statements have changed over the years.

    With logic, as you say, so long as a thing is not ruled out deductively, so long as there is a .01% chance that a thing may have happened,

    Theology, however, is a science, as so many [even Roman Catholic] theologians have pointed out, including Aquinas.

    Take the science (the history) as far as it will go, then apply logic.

  87. Sean Patrick said,

    June 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

    #63 (Mark B).

    I don’t have much time this week but didn’t want to leave your last comments to me unanswered.

    “I realize there is vehement disagreement within parts of Catholicism over exactly was stated there, but judging by a few things written over the years at CtoC trying to explain and justify it , I suspect that it’s not one of your favorite moments in Roman history, right?”

    There really isn’t too much disagreement over what exactly Vatican II states. The documents of Vatican II are not obtuse or hard to understand. After the council , in some parts of the world, various novelties were introduced in the name of the council but the council never provided for those novelties. This is what we refer to as ‘the spirit’ of Vatican II. For example, more liberal nuns might cite ‘Vatican II’ as the reason they dropped their habits but Vatican II does not say that nuns should not wear habits! Or look at Robert’s friend who advocated abortion and gay marriage and pointed to Vatican II as justification! It takes about 5 minutes to see that Vatican II does not allow or advocate that!

    The problem is not the Council. The problem is human beings. So, no, I don’t have a problem with the 2nd Vatican Council at all.

    My basic point, (which you seem to be trying to ignore with a bare assertion that it can’t be true) is that CtoC seems to address most all problematic (non Scriptural) doctrinal issues in the Catholic Church from a perspective (with an excuse?) of development.

    That is really not the case. We’ve been presenting the case for the Catholic Church for years. The vast majority of our discussions on issues that relate to issues that are thought by the typical Reformed person as ‘problematic’ are discussed through the lens of scripture, Tradition and theology in general. Development is there, it cannot be avoided. Even Reformed Protestants cannot escape development. Look at the canon of scripture.

    You make the bare assertion that the Pope cannot overturn “Holy Tradition” because he has been granted the gift of infallibility, but when he does, as many Catholics, Protestants, and even agnostic historians will agree happened at Vatican II, you try to explain it away in hindsight with “development”, and by redefining the plain meaning of words.

    Maybe you can site case(s) where the Pope ‘overturned’ Holy Tradition? That would be helpful. Saying, “Vatican II” isn’t good enough for reasons already explained.

    The next Pope may just decree something you find reprehensible, and good Catholics, after going through the redefining and reinterpreting process outlined above, will have to say, yep, “the office the Pope and the gift of infallibility”, the tent is just that much bigger now, so now we ordain women, birth control is ok

    You are swallowing the lie promulgated by the progressives. I don’t know how many different ways I can reiterate that the Pope, by definition of his office, cannot do any of that. Did you even read ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS????

    Here is this discussion so far:

    Protestant: The Catholic Church changed at Vatican II.
    Catholic: Oh really, how? What documents put forth the changes and what are those changes?
    Protestant: Well, these people over here say it changed.
    Catholic: Show me the changes?
    Protestant: Well, tomorrow the Pope could say that birth control is ok and women could be priests if he wanted!

    Obviously this is talking past each other.

    So, let’s hear it. Cite for us the changes that you argue are present in Vatican II and demonstrate how those changes are inconsistent with Holy Tradition in such a way as to disprove the Catholic paradigm.

  88. Bryan Cross said,

    June 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

    John (re: #87)

    It doesn’t need to be.

    If assertions are sufficient to establish their truth, then I assert (and thereby establish as true) that the Catholic Church is the Church Christ founded. But if it doesn’t work when I do it, then it doesn’t work when you do it.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  89. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Ron,

    When one is baptized (be it Catholic or Protestant—done with the necessary intention), they carry an indelible mark that cannot be erased. No matter how far removed from the Church, they can always be considered a separated brother. Regardless if they are JW, atheist, or Muslim, they would still carry the marks of Baptism and are still separated brothers.

    Did Paul treat the Judaizers as brethren?

    In Galatians 4, Paul urges his “brothers” not to turn their backs on what they know. If they do, they would become “separated brothers.” These “brothers” would still be brothers even though Paul may have “labored in vain.”

    As Paul so eloquently states, we are all one in Christ. If we are baptized into Him, we are all one with Him. If one removes himself from the Body of Christ (the Church) through his own actions, they are still brothers now matter how far removed.

    The Church calls them to return.

  90. Ron said,

    June 17, 2013 at 11:43 am

    When one is baptized (be it Catholic or Protestant—done with the necessary intention), they carry an indelible mark that cannot be erased. No matter how far removed from the Church, they can always be considered a separated brother. Regardless if they are JW, atheist, or Muslim, they would still carry the marks of Baptism and are still separated brothers.

    Dennis,

    So, one can renounce the faith and be considered a brother, in a state of grace?

    I wrote: Did Paul treat the Judaizers as brethren? You responded with:

    In Galatians 4, Paul urges his “brothers” not to turn their backs on what they know. If they do, they would become “separated brothers.” These “brothers” would still be brothers even though Paul may have “labored in vain.”

    These Galatians Paul wrote to were not Judaizers. They were their prey -being bewitched by them. Paul was exhorting them to no longer follow those who “preach any other gospel” to them. (Galatians 1:8, 9) He clearly distinguished those who were being led astray from the false teachers. So, again, were the Judaizers considered brethren while under the anathema of the apostle?

  91. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Ron,

    So, one can renounce the faith and be considered a brother, in a state of grace?

    I never said they were in a state of grace. One can be a Catholic and not be in a state of grace. I’m saying one can be a brother (albeit separated) by virtue of their baptism.

    A Protestant who has left the faith will be nearer (in terms of separation) to a Catholic than an atheist or a Hindu who were baptized but we would all share in that Baptism and would all be “brothers”–to differing degrees. It doesn’t mean we are all “saved” or that we are in a state of grace. We all would, however, carry an indelible mark. At one point, we were all conformed to Christ.

    Paul was exhorting them to no longer follow those who “preach any other gospel” to them. (Galatians 1:8, 9) He clearly distinguished those who were being led astray from the false teachers. So, again, were the Judaizers considered brethren while under the anathema of the apostle?

    These Judaizers were focusing on circumcision and not baptism. I don’t know if these Judaizers were baptized so, I don’t know. From what I can tell, they were telling the Galatians that it’s the circumcision that’s important and not baptism.

    Paul corrects them and explains it’s baptism that’s important. It’s in baptism that we are united to Christ. He continues in Colossians to explain that it’s baptism that we are “circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand.”

    So, my assumption is that these Judaizers were not baptized because they focused on circumcision and did not have an understanding of baptism.

    But honestly, I don’t know.

  92. Ron said,

    June 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    A Protestant who has left the faith will be nearer (in terms of separation) to a Catholic than an atheist or a Hindu who were baptized but we would all share in that Baptism and would all be “brothers”–to differing degrees.

    Dennis,

    Differing degrees of union with Christ (through baptism)? I think you’re making things up as you go along.

  93. Phil D. said,

    June 17, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Yet another thread demonstrating that profitable discourse with CtC types is utterly futile. Nothing to see here folks…

  94. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Ron,

    Differing degrees of union with Christ (through baptism)? I think you’re making things up as you go along.

    Everything I’ve written is in line with Catholic teaching (although anyone is free to correct me if I’m wrong).

    Yes, there are differing degrees of union with Christ and yes, it is measurable. The more truths that one outside of Catholicism shares with the Catholic faith, the more in union with Christ he or she is.

    You and I share the same Scripture (for the most part). We can both agree on the Trinity, on the divinity of Christ, on accepting Jesus Christ as our savior. Our union is more perfect (though not fully) than a baptized Christian who becomes an atheist (where we would only share in our baptism.)

    I am not making this up as I go along.

  95. Bob S said,

    June 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    95 I am not making this up as I go along.

    Yet another reason why the management turned out the lights.
    It wouldn’t make any difference to those in the dark to whom scriptural definitions are anathema 2 Thess. 2:10.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.
    Or should I say mea culpa, Bryan’s strictures on civility and charity notwithstanding.

  96. Ron said,

    June 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Yes, there are differing degrees of union with Christ and yes, it is measurable. The more truths that one outside of Catholicism shares with the Catholic faith, the more in union with Christ he or she is.

    Dennis,

    And all this time I thought salvation in Christ was binary.

  97. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Ron,

    And all this time I thought salvation in Christ was binary.

    Man’s purpose is not salvation. Man’s purpose is to seek, know, and love God. (CCC 1). Through our love of God, we become His adopted children and heirs to eternal life.

    Salvation is secondary. Love of God is primary. Love of God is not binary. We can always love God more. Truth is not binary. We can always know more Truth. The fullness of Truth lies within the Catholic Church.

    Salvation is binary.

  98. Ron said,

    June 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Dennis,

    This is not about purpose. It’s about union with Christ and whether one can become more or less united to him. There is one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. It’s a onetime event in the experience of the believer, never to be improved upon or increased. “Do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death; we were buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the death through the glory of the Fathers so we too should live in newness of life.” Believers shall live in newness of life because they are united to Christ, fully and completely. Upon union, the believer shares in the relationship that the Son has to the Father. What Jesus has by nature believers possess by grace in their adoption in Christ. Accordingly, a believer can no sooner become more a son of God through union than the Second Person can become more united to his human nature or to his Father.

    Salvation is binary.

    Union is salvation.

  99. Ron said,

    June 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Dennis,

    This is not about purpose. It’s about union with Christ and whether one can become more or less united to him. There is one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. It’s a onetime event in the experience of the believer, never to be improved upon or increased. “Do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death; we were buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the death through the glory of the Fathers so we too should live in newness of life.” Believers shall live in newness of life because they are united to Christ, fully and completely. Upon union, the believer shares in the relationship that the Son has to the Father. What Jesus has by nature believers possess by grace in their adoption in Christ. Accordingly, a believer can no sooner become more a son of God through union than the Second Person can become more united to his human nature or to his Father.

    Salvation is binary.

    Union is salvation.

  100. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Ron,

    Union is not salvation. We unite ourselves to Christ and throughout our lives, we grow and and develop more fully. We become conformed to Christ. We walk in faith and nurture our faith more and more.

    We do this through love and obedience to Christ. By seeking the will of Christ every day, it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives inside of us. He lives through us as we do His will. The more obedient to Him we are, the more we put on the mind of Christ. The more we become Christ.

    Some are more obedient to Christ than others. Some may love Christ more and are more Christ like in their daily walk. While many are saved, there are varying degrees of love. There are varying degrees of conformity.

    Paul explains that some have built on their foundations with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, straw, hay. All these people will be saved. Their foundation is Christ, but the varying degrees of their conformity would be what is built on that foundation. (1 Corinthians 3:12).

  101. Ron said,

    June 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Well, as you say, if “we unite ourselves to Christ” then I suppose we can cause ourselves to become more united to Him…more raised from the dead, more seated in heavenly places, more forgiven, more a son…

  102. jsm52 said,

    June 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I think this section from J. Gresham Machen’s book, Christianity and Liberalism is relevant to what Ron and Dennis are discussing. A bit lengthy, but worth it:

    But what was the difference between the teaching of Paul and the teaching of the Judaizers? What was it that gave rise to the stupendous polemic of the Epistle to the Galatians? To the modern Church the difference would have seemed to be a mere theological subtlety. About many things the Judaizers were in perfect agreement with Paul. The Judaizers believed that Jesus was the Messiah; there is not a shadow of evidence that they objected to Paul’s lofty view of the person of Christ. Without the slightest doubt, they believed that Jesus had really risen from the dead. They believed, moreover, that faith in Christ was necessary to salvation. But the trouble was, they believed that something else was also necessary; they believed that what Christ had done needed to be pieced out by the believer’s own effort to keep the Law. From the modern point of view the difference would have seemed to be very slight. Paul as well as the Judaizers believed that the keeping of the law of God, in its deepest import, is inseparably connected with faith. The difference concerned only the logical–not even, perhaps, the temporal–order of three steps. Paul said that a man (1) first believes on Christ, (2) then is justified before God, (3) then immediately proceeds to keep God’s law. The Judaizers said that a man (1) believes on Christ and (2) keeps the law of God the best he can, and then (3) is justified. The difference would seem to modern “practical” Christians to be a highly subtle and intangible matter, hardly worthy of consideration at all in view of the large measure of agreement in the practical realm. What a splendid cleaning up of the Gentile cities it would have been if the Judaizers had succeeded in extending to those cities the observance of the Mosaic law, even including the unfortunate ceremonial observances! Surely Paul ought to have made common cause with teachers who were so nearly in agreement with him; surely he ought to have applied to them the great principle of Christian unity.

    As a matter of fact, however, Paul did nothing of the kind; and only because he (and others) did nothing of the kind does the Christian Church exist today. Paul saw very clearly that the differences between the Judaizers and himself was the differences between two entirely distinct types of religion; it was the differences between a religion of merit and a religion of grace. If Christ provides only a part of our salvation, leaving us to provide the rest, then we are still hopeless under the load of sin. For no matter how small the gap which must be bridged before salvation can be attained, the awakened conscience sees clearly that our wretched attempt at goodness is insufficient even to bridge that gap. The guilty soul enters again into the hopeless reckoning with God, to determine whether we have really done our part. And thus we groan again under the old bondage of the law. Such an attempt to piece out the work of Christ by our own merit, Paul saw clearly, is the very essence of unbelief; Christ will do everything or nothing, and the only hope is to throw ourselves unreservedly on His mercy and trust Him for all.

  103. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Ron,

    Well, as you say, if “we unite ourselves to Christ” then I suppose we can cause ourselves to become more united to Him…more raised from the dead, more seated in heavenly places, more forgiven, more a son…

    Nothing can be done without the grace of God. It’s all done by His grace.

  104. John Bugay said,

    June 17, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Dennis 101: I just had to bring this up, because this illustrates something I said up in #86, dealing with “method”:

    Paul explains that some have built on their foundations with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, straw, hay. All these people will be saved. Their foundation is Christ, but the varying degrees of their conformity would be what is built on that foundation. (1 Corinthians 3:12).

    The Protestant takes care to do a proper grammatical study (exegesis) of the passage and understand that Paul is addressing leadership and the rewards of leadership here.

    You, Dennis, with your Roman Catholic presuppositions, take the passage to mean “all these people” (and you and Ron are talking about average believers and nonbelievers), in the Roman Catholic understanding that this passage is speaking of some kind of purgatory.

    A Protestant here ought to first of all tell you that your Roman Catholic presuppositions cause you to misunderstand the sense of the passage. That matters not to you because the Roman Magisterium can twist this or any Scripture like a wax nose.

    I asked Brian, “why not take the science (history, grammar) as far as it will go and then apply logic?”

    The answer is because if you understand the plain meaning of the text (and that is not even according to a Sola Scriptura paradigm, but just according to standard rules of logic), Roman Catholicism is defeated.

    So you must set up your little epistemological fort, with “infallibility” that gets things like this wrong all the time, and you preach at us about how great the Roman Catholic church is.

    Because getting things wrong historically (grammatically, etc.) still leads to infallibly correct doctrines, “all done by the grace of God”.

    You turn God into a God of confusion.

  105. didymusmartin said,

    June 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    @jjsm52
    Just to split one hair

    > Paul said that a man (1) first believes on Christ, (2) then is justified before God, (3) then immediately proceeds to keep God’s law. <

    Romans 5:6-11 outlines Paul's ordo salutis which I believe places the call and the regeneration as crucial events before your #1 and which are events which the Judaizers are less likely agree. or Salvation is monergisticand sanctification is synergistic.

  106. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Ron,

    Well, as you say, if “we unite ourselves to Christ” then I suppose we can cause ourselves to become more united to Him…more raised from the dead, more seated in heavenly places, more forgiven, more a son…

    It’s not a matter of being more forgiven. It’s a matter of loving Him more. It’s to become more perfect with each day. It’s to conform more fully to Christ. That’s what faith is.

    Christ is perfect. I am not. The more I become Christ-like (through His help) the more I become perfect.

    The more perfect I become, the more people see Christ in me. They see Christ in my actions. Through me following His will, Christ lives.

    This is the Gospel. Christ lives in me. Through my actions–through Baptism, faith, and by loving others as I love God, people see Christ and I become part of the “Body of Christ.”

    The Judaizers were saying, NO. It’s through circumcision and following of the old law that we are saved.

    Paul is telling the Galatians not to listen to that gospel. It is false. If they listen to that, they are stupid.

  107. jsm52 said,

    June 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    didymusmartin,

    Machen is not outlining the ordo salutis here. Rather he is highlighting the difference how man is saved between Paul’s gospel and that of the Judaizers. Machen is hardly saying that believing is first in the ordo. Nor is he saying that faith is a work that results in justification. Rather, we are justified through faith in contrast to the Judaizers who posit that man by faith and works is justified. We, in fact receive justification through faith in Christ alone by God’s grace alone.

    “We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” Romans 3:28

  108. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    John 105,

    I’m not talking about Purgatory. While this passage can be used to defend Purgatory, that’s not the point I’m discussing here.

    Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:12 that that there is one foundation, Jesus Christ and that people build on top of it. Some use Gold, some precious stones, some wood, some hay, some straw.

    My argument is simply that the different “materials” we use are the differing degrees of union with Christ.

    Our objective isn’t necessarily to be saved. Our objective should be to have a building of Gold on top of our foundation of Jesus Christ. To have precious stones or silver would be acceptable too. Anything else will be burned up on that day.

    The objective is to live a life of Christ.

  109. John Bugay said,

    June 17, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Dennis, you still misread the passage: Paul is talking about ministers and their work. It’s not “to live a life of Christ”. He is talking about something much more specific, which you are mis-applying.

    And in fact, Rome does use that passage to defend Purgatory, so they’re wrong in a different way, and you’re just freelancing.

  110. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    John,

    I understand the passage. I don’t think you’re understanding it correctly.

    Yes, he’s talking about ministers. The foundations and buildings (made of gold, silver, straw) are people. So, Paul laid a foundation of Jesus Christ and others (ministers) built on it.

    The buildings/temples though, aren’t necessarily about the ministers. It’s the people. So, they’ve taken what they’ve received and lived their lives accordingly by how they were taught. If they were taught well, they are a temple made of gold or precious stones.

    If they were taught poorly–the example he gives is bragging about who baptized them (1 Corinthians 1: 11-15)–then they would be a temple made of straw.

    The person taught well (temple of gold) would have lived a life of Christ and when going through the purging fire will become more pure. They will become a shimmering, shining temple of gold free of impurities. The person taught poorly (who brags about who baptized them–instead of focusing on Christ) will be burned up and all that’s left is their foundation of Christ. Still saved but no temple.

    Purgatory works for this passage.

  111. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    John,

    Just to continue…the ministers (which is where you were going) would be punished by God for building these temples (people per 1 Corinthians 3:9, 1 Cor. 3:16) poorly.

  112. didymusmartin said,

    June 17, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    @jsm
    Machen, in his book, said that that modern liberalism dioes not embrace a “penal” substitutionary atonement. This Doctrine only goes back to Calvin and is in contrast to the Roman Church’s “satisfaction” substitutionary atonement. The apostles and early church fathers never diferentiated between the two and never mentioned a “penal” component to Christs death, they only referred to Substitutionary atonement.
    When one examins the Levitical Sacrifices there was no “penal” component to the sacrifice by way of additional pain and suffering , only a “clean” blood draining death, in fact the animals felt little or no pain as the Dietary Laws even required and has been depicted as merely the “silence” of the Lanbs. I find it difficult to believe that our Father would require more from His only Begotten then from the Levitical Sacrifices other then perfect sinless sacrifice which only God is capaBle of being..

  113. jsm52 said,

    June 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    didymm…
    An interesting topic to pursue, but I fail to see the relevance to your initial comment visi-vis the ordo salutis or this thread. The relevance of Machen’s quote is that Rome, like the Judaizers, claim that man is justified through faith and works, not faith alone.

  114. Ron said,

    June 17, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Dennis,

    I’m afraid that you’re so attached to the Roman communion that you are not able to take on passages that have not been scripted for you. I now see this with your interaction with John. In any case, one is united to Christ through the monergistic work of the Spirit. Whether union occurs through water or not is of little consequence to the discussion. The material point is that upon union one is buried, raised and seated with Christ. How can one become more buried, raised and seated with Christ? He can’t. Upon union one is forgiven. How can one become more forgiven? He can’t. One is definitively sanctified upon union, which by definition is, also, not progressive. Rather than discuss these things, you write things like:

    “It’s not a matter of being more forgiven. It’s a matter of loving Him more. It’s to become more perfect with each day. It’s to conform more fully to Christ. That’s what faith is.”

    Now you’ve tried to shift the discussion to faith, which by the way is not defined as conforming to Christ. You’ve done everything but consider what union in Christ entails and whether one can become more united to Christ than at first.

  115. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Ron,

    One is buried, raised and seated with Christ at Baptism. Again, it’s not about more forgiveness. It’s about love of God.

    The greatest commandment is not to seek forgiveness. It’s to love God and love others. Loving God is the focus of everything. Something that’s lacking in what you have written.

    Now you’ve tried to shift the discussion to faith, which by the way is not defined as conforming to Christ. You’ve done everything but consider what union in Christ entails and whether one can become more united to Christ than at first.

    Ok. Fine. If you don’t agree with my definition, then please give me a better definition.

    What is faith?

  116. jsm52 said,

    June 17, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    What is faith?

    It’s the instrument by which the ungodly are justified, accounted righteous by God, i.e. saved.

    “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference”

    “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”

    “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

    “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
    (Rom. 3:22,24,25; 4:5)

    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

  117. AB said,

    June 17, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Jsm at 103:

    Nicely quoted.

    Others:

    Along the “what is faith” lines, here’s a helpful link, perhaps:

    http://archive.org/details/MN41619ucmf_6

  118. jsm52 said,

    June 17, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    more on what is faith

  119. jsm52 said,

    June 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    WSC: Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
    A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

  120. Dennis said,

    June 17, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    jsm52,

    Thank you for the definitions…except that they don’t work.

    If I take the phrase, “Justified by faith alone…”

    I cannot say, “Justified by the instrument by which the ungodly are justified, accounted righteous by God alone”

    I cannot say, “Justified by a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel alone”

    Do you have a better definition?

    Ironically, a Catholic CAN say, “Justified by conformance to Christ alone.

    As to conform yourself to Christ means to be baptized in Him. It means to seek His will daily AND it means to partake in the Eucharist on a regular basis.

  121. jsm52 said,

    June 17, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Dennis,

    Although I think your paraphrasing distorts Paul’s words in the verses cited, I didn’t expect you to agree. And therein, since Trent, is the divide.

    One is God’s truth. One is not.

    One is Scriptural. One is not.

    One finds salvation only and completely in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One does not.

    One depends entirely upon the free mercy of God in Christ. One does not.

    One receives justification entirely as a gift of God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. One does not.

    One claims salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. One says salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Christ plus works one does (which oddly enough are by definition imperfect), assisted of course by more grace (if one cooperates!) … [add in all that Rome requires]…

    One understanding is really good news. One is not.

  122. jsm52 said,

    June 18, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Dennis,

    You wrote: Justified by conformance to Christ alone.

    On that basis there is no justification before God because no human in this life is perfectly conformed to the righteousness of Christ our Lord. For in this life there is no one who is without sin (1 John). So on that basis, there is no justification for anyone as long as they are a mortal who indeed is one who still sins.

    Roman Catholic good news?… Not.

  123. Dennis said,

    June 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Jack 122,

    Everything I’ve written is Scriptural. Everything I’ve written is God’s truth.

    Your definition of faith is circular and doesn’t adequately define it.

    It’s the instrument to justify..okay. What is the instrument? What is faith?

  124. Dennis said,

    June 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Jack 123,

    On that basis there is no justification before God because no human in this life is perfectly conformed to the righteousness of Christ our Lord. For in this life there is no one who is without sin (1 John). So on that basis, there is no justification for anyone as long as they are a mortal who indeed is one who still sins.

    Don’t take it up with me, take it up with Paul. I didn’t make this up. He explained it in Romans 8.

    With God’s grace, we can be conformed. Our shortcomings (i.e. sins) distort God’s image in us. With forgiveness and mercy, we overcome our shortcomings and we are justified.

    The key though is love. It’s to love God and reflect His love on others so that it shines like a beacon on a hill.

    If we don’t have love, we can have faith that moves mountains and it doesn’t mean anything. (1 Corinthians 13:2)

  125. Ron said,

    June 18, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Dennis,

    When Jack said faith is the instrument that justifies, at least he was being descriptive of faith. Whereas you posited faith to be one’s conforming to Christ, becoming more perfect, becoming more loving of Him. You didn’t define faith but rather the results of faith. It’s even more interesting that you confused faith with works.

    We must define faith in such a way as to allow one to have faith when sleeping, less a righteous man when sleeping could be considered faithless. In this respect, we must distinguish the gift of faith from exercising faith in the act of believing. Faith can be rightly called the God-given propensity to believe all that God has revealed, in particular the revelation of Christ as he’s offered in the gospel.

  126. jsm52 said,

    June 18, 2013 at 9:45 am

    What is faith… @120
    WSC: Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
    A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

  127. Dennis said,

    June 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Ron,

    We must define faith in such a way as to allow one to have faith when sleeping, less a righteous man when sleeping could be considered faithless. In this respect, we must distinguish the gift of faith from exercising faith in the act of believing. Faith can be rightly called the God-given propensity to believe all that God has revealed, in particular the revelation of Christ as he’s offered in the gospel.

    I can agree with that and can accept that my definition could need more polishing. I have always understood faith to be man’s response to God. So, God calls, we hear God’s call and we respond. That urging to respond to God’s call is faith.

    I got this off a web site and it’s a quote from St. Ignatius of Antioch which in my opinion summarizes faith pretty well:

    Faith is the act of the intellect, prompted by the will, by which we believe the truth of all that God has revealed on the basis of the authority of the one who has revealed it.

    Faith is our fundamental option of saying Yes instead of No to God with our heart, our will, our personal center. To believe in this sense is to receive God himself.

    “Faith is the beginning, and love is the end; and the union of the two together is God.”

  128. Ron said,

    June 18, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Dennis,

    Although poetic definitions can often become a wax nose, I appreciate what’s at the core. Probably a good place to stop.

    In His grace,

    Ron

  129. Dennis said,

    June 18, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Ron,

    Sounds good. Peace.

    Dennis

  130. dgwired said,

    June 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    This is old school Roman Catholicism. http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2013/06/12-realistic-reforms-church-could.html

    I suspect Jason and the Callers are really New School Roman Catholics.

  131. locirari said,

    June 18, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Those are some really exciting, revitalizing reforms! I especially like the one regarding the Pope’s head gear:

    11. Bring out the Triregnum

    Some may place this in the realm of the implausible, but I am not suggesting a full and immediate return to papal coronations, the sedia gestatoria and all that – not because it wouldn’t be awesome, but because it just wouldn’t happen like that. The Pope should begin wearing the triregnum on certain occasions just to bring it back into people’s minds; perhaps the Feasts of Peter and Paul, the Chair of Peter and a few other select occasions. This would not be too controversial, and would in fact be quite appropriate and could set the stage for a hearty dialogue within the Church about the papal tiara. Ideally, its use would gradually be extended after the Pope had brought it out a few times.

  132. June 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    The main reform I’d like to see (and I haven’t checked with the Callers about this yet) is that the pope travel solely via palanquin borne by Old School Presbyterian historians.

  133. jsm52 said,

    June 18, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    The main reform I’d like to see (and I haven’t checked with the Callers about this yet) is that the pope travel solely via palanquin borne by Old School Presbyterian historians.

    And if that occurred I’m sure there would be forthcoming from the CtC’ers a “logical” explanation that even this change is consistent with everything that has gone before in Roman doctrine. No real change, only development of what already is. No mess, no fuss. Seamless…

  134. June 18, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    It was a joke. Frankie say “Relax.”

  135. Mark B said,

    June 18, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Yet another group of Catholics who don’t see Vatican II as a perfectly perspicuous continuation of Romish Tradition:

    “Sadly, interpretive norms are needed not only for one phrase in one document, but for the entire Council. Dei Verbum on biblical inspiration. Gaudium et Spes on the Church in relation to the world. Dignitatus Humanae and Unitatis Redintegratio especially need to be clarified in a manner continuous with pre-Conciliar teaching, as does Sacrosanctum Concilium. Or what about Ad Gentes on the Church’s missionary mandate? There needs to be a series of norms for reading these documents that say, “If you construe Dignitatus Humanae to mean X,Y, or Z, you are missing it.” It is so obviously needed, and it is extremely frustrating that this has not yet been done, since Benedict XVI stated very clearly that the Council has basically been hijacked since day one. Such interpretive norms would provide pastors, bishops and everyone else the firm Magisterial standing they need to permanently lock up the Spirit of Vatican II with all the other evil spirits in the underworld.”

  136. Mark B said,

    June 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    @jsm #134
    Watch out, Brian is gonna tell you that’s an assertion….

  137. jsm52 said,

    June 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Indeed. And a friendly riposte in response. Zimmy says, don’t think twice, it’s all right…

  138. Andrew McCallum said,

    June 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    This is old school Roman Catholicism. http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2013/06/12-realistic-reforms-church-could.html

    The most interesting thing about this link is the picture that these old school Catholics use to illustrate their point. The picture is not all that clear, but it’s a sculpture ironically called “Religion Overthrowing Heresy and Hatred” from the Jesu Church in Rome. The Jesu Church is the mother church of all the Jesuit churches worldwide and it’s full of painting and sculpture dedicated to to showing the triumph of the truth of Roman Catholicism over all forms of heresy, in this case Protestantism. The sculpture has a furious looking Mary beating the snot out of some cowering Protestants beneath her with a large whip. Her foot is stepping on a serpent (Luther) at her feet while cherubs tear pages from a heretical Protestant text. What’s so interesting about this sculpture is is that it is not housed in a museum, but rather in a functioning Roman Catholic Church in the heart of the Holy City.

    So much more I could say about the Jesu Church and its Baroque art and architecture. I spent a few hours there on a trip to Rome several years ago. It’s well worth the visit on your next trip to Rome. It really is a fascinating church for its aesthetic beauty as well as its use of this art in the service of a distinctly Roman Catholic apologetic.

  139. Mark B said,

    June 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Even Pope Benedict XVI doesn’t see Vatican II as a perfectly perspicuous continuation of Romish Tradition:

    “Thus, in a precise and extraordinarily dense document, a theme is opened up whose importance could not be foreseen at the time. The task that it involves and the efforts that are still necessary in order to distinguish, clarify and understand, are appearing ever more clearly.In the process of active reception, a weakness of this otherwise extraordinary text has gradually emerged: it speaks of religion solely in a positive way and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion which, from the historical and theological viewpoints, are of far-reaching importance; for this reason the Christian faith, from the outset, adopted a critical stance towards religion, both internally and externally.”

    Benedict XVI is here acknowledging that Nostra Aetate, besides being “extraordinarily dense”, has a very profound “weakness” – that it speaks too positively of other religions and does not look at them critically, which is the approach the Church had always taken “from the outset.”

  140. jsm52 said,

    June 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Mark B,

    Nothing to see here! Move along…

  141. Mark B said,

    June 18, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    @ JSM 141
    Thanks, haven’t seen that in ages. Yeah, sometimes I don’t know why I bother…

  142. jsm52 said,

    June 18, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    @ Mark B 142
    Why? Because you (we) do care that the truth of the gospel be understood and received by those who presently misunderstand it, distort it, or haven’t clearly heard it. So keep on keeping on…

  143. Bob S said,

    June 19, 2013 at 1:10 am

    134And if that occurred I’m sure there would be forthcoming from the CtC’ers a “logical” explanation that even this change is consistent with everything that has gone before in Roman doctrine. No real change, only development of what already is. No mess, no fuss. Seamless…

    135 I’d quit while I was ahead.
    You think 134 is a joke and it’s not.

  144. sean said,

    June 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Darryl, close. Actually they are the prot-catholic. The vanguard of an apologetic effort centered around the axiom’s of ; ‘you catch more than you learn’ and ‘dinner table conversations’, never minding the cradles who’ve caught more than they’ve learned’ and were raised at the ‘dinner table’, telling them; ‘not so much’. They’ve returned to their protestant fundamentalist roots, but now as RC’s, determined to make sure everyone ‘really’ understands and if you don’t toe the line, you’re no RC. The effort spent and the faith put forth harmonizing scripture has been replaced with trying to harmonize early church history with Tridentine RC and various ecclesial documents. But they’re sure about it.

  145. dgwired said,

    June 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Sean, for sure. You are my last word in all things RC (in the U.S. anyway).

  146. jsm52 said,

    June 19, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    My last word in all things RC is Father Guido Sarducci…

  147. Bob S said,

    June 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Nope, you’re all wrong.
    The last word on romanism is:

    Where civility and charity are absent, the mutual pursuit of agreement in the truth through dialogue is not possible.

    And those of you who keep anathematizing our separated roman brethren know who you are.
    IOW you can run, but you can’t hide from the CtC. They know all your sarcastic prot excuses for your theological inferiority complex.

  148. sean said,

    June 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Darryl, I’m here for ya. I have to go now, Patrick Madrid wants to condemn me to hell, again. You separated brethren get all the breaks.

  149. didymusmartin said,

    June 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Why go Roman when you can go EO and be recapitulated into theosis. Now, that is the crème de la crème

  150. cathapol said,

    June 19, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    What has really changed, dogmatically, since Vatican II?

  151. AB said,

    June 20, 2013 at 12:56 am

    Lane,

    Your post bears thinking about, sure. Thanks. I think personally when I started to see the callers as the quitters of reformed theolgoy, and not the graduates, as they seem to think they are, I decided to just leave them be, and stop posting comments there. Just a big shrug and “whatever.” Hope that’s not harsh.

  152. John Bugay said,

    June 20, 2013 at 3:57 am

    @sean 149: Patrick Madrid wants to condemn me to hell, again I feel your pain:

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p3.htm#846

    they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    Those of us who were devout Roman Catholics who leave are in big trouble.

    On the other hand, guys like DGH who:

    through no fault of their own, do not know … his [Roman Catholic] Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    Note to DGH: Keep being sincere and trying hard do do his will as you know it. Eternal salvation may be your achievement! ;-)

  153. CD-Host said,

    June 21, 2013 at 7:32 am

    @Andrew #62

    This is convenient and I don’t think you’ve thought this through. What if a Baptist Church (a serious one) excommunicated an elder for professing infant baptism and that man tried to join Lane’s church? Would Lane’s church be ‘true to scripture’ and uphold the previous church’s excommunication?

    I can’t imagine this happening in any Baptist church.. I would guess that such a person would be asked to step down from leadership (just like a PCA guy who came to Baptist convictions on this issue would be asked to step down). But to make your example a real world one, if this same person denied let’s say the Virgin Birth and was excommunicated, any good Reformed Church would uphold the excommunication.

    FWIW this did happen at my church growing up and yes to laity. We had converts from Lutheranism and generally encouraged membership of families. We were pretty strict on the issue of rejecting infant baptism. If one of the parties wanted their infant baptized generally we did not accept the family into membership. Obviously they were welcome to attend, but a family that still believed in calling the sin paedobaptism righteousness couldn’t be members and couldn’t vote. It was seen as a sin issue for laity.

    I can’t think of any direct excommunications on this issue because people who rejected credobaptism were honest. But if someone in leadership say baptized their baby and it was found out, I think the excommunication would have taken all of about 10 minutes.

  154. CD-Host said,

    June 21, 2013 at 7:58 am

    @Sean #26,33

    Whether or not some person purports to be ‘Catholic in good standing’ is beside the point. Its rare that individuals are formally excommunicated but there is still the penalty of latae sententiae excommunication….
    Secondly, the Catholic Church has over a billion members. Most parishes have hundreds, if not thousands, of registered families. Its very difficult, practically speaking, to go around affirming that every person is orthodox.

    One of the things CtC does is tries to have it both ways on this question of the size of the Catholic church. On the one hand they talk about the church being quite large. You can have one or the other. There may be Catholic religions that bears some resemblance to the CtC religion and has a few thousand adherents, maybe even a million or two.

    There is also another denomination with a billion adherents and a huge range of theological positions most of which totally reject the CtC paradigm. Most Catholics consider the hierarchy to be a vital part of the church, but consider Catholic tradition to be something outside the magisterium: “We are the church, they are the hierarchy”. CtC’s theology doesn’t allow for anything remotely like that where tradition exists in genuine separation and as a genuine check on the magisterium.

    You can certainly argue that CtC’s theology is a reasonable read of Catholic doctrine. You can certainly argue that the Catholic church has a billion members. What you can’t argue is that CtC’s theology or anything like it is a prerequisite for being Catholic and that the Catholic church is large.

  155. John Bugay said,

    June 21, 2013 at 8:24 am

    CD-Host, this is off-topic, but you may find it of interest:

    http://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/trajectories-and-interactive-diversity/

  156. CD-Host said,

    June 21, 2013 at 11:31 am

    @John #156

    That is an interesting question how much we can read trajectories into the early Christian record. In some sense how much should we think of the acorn or the oak tree sproat as an oak tree and how much should we think of it as another plant that became an oak tree? It is almost a question of semiotics not history.

    I’d love a richer language for describing the diversity of forms that existed in early Christianity. I’ve tried to form a map of early Christianity. I’m being slowly convinced that Encratite Christianity was the crucial bridge between Jewish Gnosticism and Catholicism and that Marcionism was an example of a more general phenomenon. But we need more detailed information.

  157. Chris Donato said,

    June 21, 2013 at 11:38 am

    This is all just a bit of a tautology, isn’t it, Lane? Converts generally do make for more passionate and “paleo” observers.

    In the interest of exploding generalizations, I’d like to think that if I were to become Catholic, it’d reflect more Küng, O’Malley, or Davis than CtC. But perhaps that has more to do with my desire to be one with the Catholics on Christ’s (through the early church’s) terms, not on Rome’s.

  158. John Bugay said,

    June 21, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Chris Donato 158: Küng is not a real Catholic. See Sean Patrick #26 above for infallible proof. So be careful where you step.

  159. John Bugay said,

    June 21, 2013 at 11:51 am

    CD-Host 157, I do not have access to the full article. I think you are mistaken to associate Jewish Gnosticism and Catholicism. Many early writers wrote against the Encratites. Maybe some of the more mystical Easterners.

    But it seems more likely to me that the degeneration into “Roman” “Catholicism” was more straightforward than that — early Christians in the empire, especially the more western parts of the empire, lost touch with the Hebrew Scriptures, put more stock in Greek philosophies, and adopted Roman culture (for better or for worse) in a wholesale kind of way.

  160. CD-Host said,

    June 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    @John #160

    The problem with the traditional theory is that the documentary record runs in the opposite direction. Under that theory that “early christianity” (some semi-Protestant sort of thing) became Catholicism became later Gnosticism you don’t have a good explanation for early Gnosticism, Docetism…. Why do we have the documentary record we have for early Christianity where Greek philosophy plays a dominant role from the beginning?

    As far as early writers attacking the Encratites, exactly what you need to show they were early. That’s evidence for my theory not evidence against it.

  161. Chris Donato said,

    June 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    @John 159: Perhaps the modern-day Küng is a bad example. I’m thinking more of the criticisms of Küng and (the much more moderate) de Lubac during the time of Vatican II.

  162. Chris Donato said,

    June 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Poignant letter from George Weigel in 2010 (another Catholic with whom I’d identify) to Küng, detailing some of the precise tensions that Lane raises in the OP: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/04/an-open-letter-to-hans-kung

  163. Robert said,

    June 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    John @159,

    What I personally find laughable is that for all the claim to being one true church, a layperson like Sean Patrick expects me not to regard a liberal Roman Catholic in good standing even though she supports abortion as a Roman Catholic even though her bishop and priest do. Isn’t the Magisterium supposed to tell us who is truly Roman Catholic and who is not? Isn’t the Magisterial view supposed to win out when it conflicts with the lay view?

    This is why it is impossible to take CtC seriously. They leave Protestantism for the “epistemological certainty” or better “principled means” that Rome provides, but then they feel free to disagree when those who are supposed to enforce that principled means fail to do so.

  164. John Bugay said,

    June 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Chris Donato — George “I-had-dinner-with-the-pope” Weigel, with his inside knowledge and constant hints of “I know better than you”, seems to me to be an educated publicity-hound, and you’d still do well to stay away from him.

    De Lubac et al were roundly criticized by the very traditional Pius XII in http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis_en.html. In fact, it shut down even the “much more moderates” for a decade, until the quite then-in-vogue Küng and his hero, John XIII shuffled the deck.

    I would suggest that your hypothetical exploration of Catholicism is a chasing after ghosts. Please see Robert’s response in 165. Without the “epistemological certainty” of the CTC crowd, you’d be just as un-moored as Küng (who seems much more honest to me that Weigel).

  165. John Bugay said,

    June 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    CD-Host:

    the documentary record runs in the opposite direction. Under that theory that “early christianity” (some semi-Protestant sort of thing) became Catholicism became later Gnosticism you don’t have a good explanation for early Gnosticism, Docetism…. Why do we have the documentary record we have for early Christianity where Greek philosophy plays a dominant role from the beginning?

    You should look at Beale’s work on the “New Testament Use of the Old Testament”. The NT is suffused not just with quotes but allusions. Concepts like logos in John 1 (a relatively late NT document) is not based on Greek concepts at all, but on very Hebrew concepts. The “documentary record” we have up to the year 100 is the New Testament, and “Greek philosophy” is not very dominant at all. Docetism was making an appearance around that time, and 1 John argues against it. But that doesn’t make it “dominant”.

    In fact, I have had to work hard to convince people here that even a writer like 1 Clement is even influenced by Philo (in his usage of the word Grace). Even 1 Clement is thick with OT references, and some NT. The “grace” issue I have written about extensively is an aberration but this is not “Greek philosophy” playing a dominant role. Rather, it is the usage of the common culture creeping in.

    I don’t need to show anything about “early writers attacking Encratites”. You need to make good on your claims that “Greek philosophy” is “dominant” during the first century.

  166. Chris Donato said,

    June 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    @John 166: “Without the “epistemological certainty” of the CTC crowd, you’d be just as un-moored as Küng (who seems much more honest to me that Weigel).”

    C’mon, man—I was the author of that post!

  167. sean said,

    June 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Chris D,

    Here’s a better Kung;

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/opinion/a-vatican-spring.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/05/catholic-revolution-nazi-dictatorship-pope

    Not that I agree with all his theological conclusions or even magisterial remedies, but the guy knows where all the points of tension were and are, and also understands while the ‘liberals’ may have overstepped at places, CTC style RC was not the intention of Vat II. The idea of Vat II was to engage modernity, right or wrong, not repudiate it and certainly not return to a medieval church.

  168. dgwired said,

    June 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    sean, you’re forgetting that Jason and the Callers want the church before Augustine (as in ECF).

    Oh. Wait a minute. Pope wasn’t supreme then.

    Reset.

  169. Robert said,

    June 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Dr. Hart @ 170

    Stop confusing people with the facts. It just means that you haven’t found the right principled means yet. Repeat after the CTCers:

    “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…”

  170. Bob S said,

    June 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    dgw, who knows what our sanctimonious boiler room op wants. A pristine church that only exists outside of their own imagination on a couple of bwogsites and amidst a pile of philosophical blather?

    As for Mr. S, does he have a DOT approved helmet for when that semi pelagian piece of string he’s pushing in Rom. 2 runs into the concrete Grand Coulee Dam of Rom. 3 and the locus classicus of total depravity?

    To be sure, another Mr. S. (aka Mr. “What I Know About the RPW, I Have Yet To Learn”) already tried finessing the same ten years ago, but he was only plagiarizing NT Wright, not MLK or JBiden.

    But hey, ya gotta love the internet. It’s a field day for the crank callers, which means I gotta go. From here, I can see the landline ringing in the mirror.

  171. June 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    CD Host (re 162),

    Andrew should have linked to this image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ad/Religion_Overthrowing_Heresy_and_Hatred_Legros.jpg

    Yes, a much better image of the sculpture from the Jesu Church in Rome. This is old school Roman Catholicism that to my mind is much more consistent with the Roman Catholicism of the Reformation era. But the CtC folks tell us that these old world Catholic types are actually “unfaithful.” And the more modern Hans Kung types are also “unfaithful.” And the Latin American liberation theology types of Catholics are “unfaithful.” All of these other kinds of Roman Catholics go to mass and take sacraments and are members in good standing of the RCC, but apparently they are all “unfaithful.” Apparently there is a stamp of approval that the CtC Roman Catholics give out, but I’m not all sure how far these other kinds of RC’s have to stray from the CtC version of orthodoxy before they are branded with a scarlet “U.”

    Anyway, one more thing I’ll throw in about the Jesuit Church – when you enter the church you pass by a statue of the founder of the Jesuit order, Ignatius Loyola, and another Jesuit founder (think it’s Francis Xavier). The statues show Loyola/Xavier in classic poses except that they are both stepping on some miserable looking people beneath their feet. Not exactly sure who the people are who are being stepped on, but since a central theme of the church is Roman Catholicism’s trump over heresy it’s safe I think to assume that these are pagans or heretics, and very likely Protestants. I’m sure Loyola would turn over in his grave if he could hear the pope today talk about us as “separated brethren!”

  172. CD-Host said,

    June 21, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    @John #167

    You should look at Beale’s work on the “New Testament Use of the Old Testament”. The NT is suffused not just with quotes but allusions. Concepts like logos in John 1 (a relatively late NT document) is not based on Greek concepts at all, but on very Hebrew concepts.

    I don’t see how that is possible. The word “logos” is in Greek without a corresponding Hebrew word. The fundamental problem of the logos, how an unchanging god can interact with a changing universe, that is act in time, doesn’t exist in Hebrew though. In Hebrew though God exists in time and experiences reality sequentially.

    I’m not going to deny that there are concepts in the Hebrew literature that tie in. For example it is possible to make such a case like Yahweh being the material realization of El. But then you are have to have “Old Testament Judaism” as henotheistic not monotheistic and there you have the “son” being Yahweh not Jesus. The angelic “Son of God” / “Son of Man” concept which does have Aramaic ties and might go back to Hebrew could work.

    I haven’t read the book but I don’t see how you can argue that the Christian Logos, John’s Logos isn’t the a variant of Hellenistism’s Logos. The Logos for Christians is an intermediary who interacts with matter on behalf of the supreme God.

    I think Pagan Hellenism -> Hellenistic Judaism (Philo) -> Christianity (Gospel John) is such an obvious derivation. I’m not sure why you would want to bypass it.

    The “documentary record” we have up to the year 100 is the New Testament,

    We have quite a bit more. We have DSS literature. We have gnostic Christianity and Gnostic judaism with Christian themes.

    Docetism was making an appearance around that time, and 1 John argues against it. But that doesn’t make it “dominant”.

    I’d argue there is quite a bit more than that. Revelations, Hebrews and most of the other epistles.

    In fact, I have had to work hard to convince people here that even a writer like 1 Clement is even influenced by Philo (in his usage of the word Grace). Even 1 Clement is thick with OT references, and some NT. The “grace” issue I have written about extensively is an aberration but this is not “Greek philosophy” playing a dominant role. Rather, it is the usage of the common culture creeping in.

    I don’t know Phio’s theory of grace so you probably know more than I do on that topic.

    I don’t need to show anything about “early writers attacking Encratites”. You need to make good on your claims that “Greek philosophy” is “dominant” during the first century.

    Well the NT is written in Greek using language and concepts from Hellenistic Judaism and borrowing from Middle Platonism. We talked about Logos.

    Paul talks about how we are entering a new aion. The notion of unity between place / times is Greek there is nothing Hebrew like that. He uses the notion that we live in the shadow or reality not the true reality, an appearance. That’s pure Platonism. His use of cosmos and the fixed stars is dominant in Paul. The are the ephemeral powers, archons. That is to say Hellenistic Judaism.

    Are you really contending that a book written in Greek about Greek topics using Greek philosophical ideas isn’t Greek?

  173. jsm52 said,

    June 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Cardinal Dolan affirming those who are Muslim to stay Muslim. Forget the gospel?

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/351745/youre-good-man-cardinal-dolan-michael-potemra

  174. Bryan Cross said,

    June 21, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    jsm52, (re: #175)

    Those are Potemra’s own words. There is no evidence that Cardinal Dolan told Muslims to “stay Muslim.” None of the other media outlets are claiming that Cardinal Dolan said this.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  175. jsm52 said,

    June 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Bryan,

    Cardinal Dolan quotes from various news outlets:

    “You love God, we love God and he is the same God,” the cardinal said of the Muslim and Roman Catholic faiths.”

    He likened Muslims to earlier waves of Roman Catholic immigrants who some 150 years ago faced the same challenge of “how to become loyal, responsible, patriotic Americans without losing their faith.”

    “We love God and he is the same God,” said the Cardinal, ignoring the general Christian interpretation that views Allah as a separate, different god than the one of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Various Christian critics have previously blasted “Chrislam” as viable theology, as Muslims believe Jesus Christ was simply a prophet like Muhammad instead of the divine Son of God.

    Jack

  176. Mark B said,

    June 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    @JSM more can be seen here from 4:20 – 5:05 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iInL9XbE_M

  177. Bryan Cross said,

    June 21, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    jms52 (re: #177)

    I was aware of those statements by Cardinal Dolan, but none of them means or entails that Muslims should “stay Muslim.”

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  178. jsm52 said,

    June 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Bryan,

    Dolan: “how to become loyal, responsible, patriotic Americans without losing their faith.”

    i.e. staying Muslim.

  179. didymusmartin said,

    June 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    @CD #174

    The Word of God in Hebrew is transliterated as
    Dabar YHWH

  180. Bryan Cross said,

    June 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    jms52 (re: #181)

    Just because Cardinal Dolan likened American Muslims to early Catholic Americans, who faced the same challenge of “how to become loyal, responsible, patriotic Americans without losing their faith,” it does not follow that American Muslims should “stay Muslim.” That is, from the fact that (1) there are similarities between the situation of present-day American Muslims, and the situation of early American Catholics, and (2) the fact that Catholics should stay Catholic, it does not follow that Muslims should “stay Muslim,” and not accept the truth concerning Christ.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  181. jsm52 said,

    June 21, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Well, that is exactly how the Muslim hearers heard it.

    Same God. You Muslims just like us Catholics assimilating… Not losing your (our) faith… Blurring the lines a bit? At a minimum.

  182. Rooney said,

    June 21, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    2000-03-22, Jordan.
    John Paul II said: “With gratitude, I invoke abundant blessings upon his Highness the King and Upon the Whole nation. God Bless you all! God bless Jordan!” [After the blessing the Pope Said]: “May John the Baptist protect Islam”.

    Interestingly, in 1980s, Islamic apologist Akmet Deedat challenged the Vatican to debate, but JP2 backed down and played “cat and mouse” with Akhmed Deedat.

    2002-05-22, Azerbaijan.
    JP2 address: “Praise to you, followers of Islam ….. for treating believers of other religions as brothers and sisters”.

    1990-12-07, Redemptoris Misio #55.
    God does not fail to make himself present in many ways, not only to individuals, but also to entire people through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main and essential expression.

  183. didymusmartin said,

    June 21, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Bryan,
    Watch out for those Hugenots

    Ad maiorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem
    didymus

  184. Rooney said,

    June 21, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    1980-11-17, Germany.
    JP2 on Muslims/Islam: “When you are not ashamed to pray even in public, in this way, you set us Christians an example worthy of the utmost respect. Live you faith [Islam] also in a foreign land.

    2005-08-20, Address to Muslims.
    Benedictus said: “You guide Muslim believers and train them in the Islamic faith. Teaching is the vehicle through which ideas and convictions are transmitted. Words are highly influential in the education of the mind. You therefore have great responsibility for the formation of the younger generation”.

  185. jsm52 said,

    June 21, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Bryan,

    Cardinal Dolan: “You love God, we love God and he is the same God,” the cardinal said of the Muslim and Roman Catholic faiths.”

    Question: Is the god of Islam the same God of Christianity?

    Yes or No?

  186. Mark B said,

    June 21, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    The Cardinal is on tape saying YHWH and Satan are the same person: “You love God, we love God and he is the same God”. Pointing out that “stay Muslim” was inferred and not a direct quote misses the forest for the trees.

  187. June 22, 2013 at 1:44 am

    @Mark B #189

    I suppose your edition of the WCF still claim that the Pope is the Antichrist
    ……and you suspect that the Cardinal placed a curse on the 8 yo Italian girl that grew up an American-Muslim when he did not speak to her in her native tongue of English

  188. Bryan Cross said,

    June 22, 2013 at 6:04 am

    jms52, (re: #184)

    At this point, when it has been shown that there is no evidence that Cardinal Dolan said anything that means or entails “stay Muslim,” you should retract your original claim in #175, so as to avoid furthering a false accusation. One who does not concern himself to ensure the truth of his accusations has no right to complain about the alleged deficiency of truth in other persons’ positions.

    Mark B, not every act of focusing on a tree is a case of missing the forest. There is a time and a place for everything. And false accusation is never justified by the existence of larger issues or more important objections.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  189. John Bugay said,

    June 22, 2013 at 6:22 am

    Rooney 185:

    [After the blessing the Pope Said]: “May John the Baptist protect Islam”.

    This is because in Roman Catholicism, John the Baptist is the patron saint of getting your head cut off.

    [Bryan Cross alert: This is just a joke!!]

  190. Rooney said,

    June 22, 2013 at 7:15 am

    The ecumenical events at Assisi had the RCs giving different religions their own rooms in the St Francis Basilica Sacred Convent for prayer/burning of sacrifices. Not only did they remove/cover the crucifixes for the pagans, but also allowed pagans to add their idols, such as the Buddha.

    I wonder if CtC church would invite Evangelicals to an ecumenical event at their RC church/basilica/convent, where they give the Evangelicals a private room where the crucifixes, statues and icons and are replaced with an empty cross and a painting of some anti-Catholic person.

    I am sure many RC churches would allow this today.

  191. John Bugay said,

    June 22, 2013 at 7:23 am

    CD-Host 174 –

    I think Pagan Hellenism -> Hellenistic Judaism (Philo) -> Christianity (Gospel John) is such an obvious derivation. I’m not sure why you would want to bypass it.

    We don’t have to relegate this to opinion. I’ve mentioned to you that T.F. Torrance found Philo in 1 Clement’s use of the concept of “grace”. But that same study of the Apostolic Fathers traced Paul’s usage and it had no discernable reliance on Philo, but rather it relied heavily on the OT concepts of hesed and related concepts of God’s lovingkindness.

    Just as some background, (and in response to Bryan’s article “The Tradition and the Lexicon”), I cited G.K. Beale to the effect that:

    By standards that Beale relates, there may be more than 4,000 “allusions” or “echoes” of the Old Testament found within the New. Given that there are 7956 verses in the New Testament, more than half the New Testament can be seen as bearing at least some form of “echo of” or “allusion to” some Old Testament concept or idea.

    Thus, when a New Testament writer talks of “tradition” “handed down” (παρέδοσαν) to him by “those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word”, which in Luke 1:2 is a clear reference to the apostles, the “content” of that “tradition” was oozing with Old Testament words and concepts.

    Beale traces three different types of phenomena: “direct references”, “probable allusions”, and “possible allusions”.

    An “allusion” may simply be defined as a brief expression consciously intended by an author to be dependent on an OT passage. In contrast to a quotation of the OT, which is a direct reference, allusions are indirect references (the OT wording is not reproduced directly as in a quotation).

    This is an exercise in determining “where the language of the New Testament came from”. And it is no surprise that Christ’s Apostles were steeped in the culture of the Old Testament.

    With that said, looking to John and λόγος, D.A. Carson, for example, in his analysis of John’s prologue (John 1:1-1:18) while allowing that the word exists in Greek culture (i.e. Plato and Philo), but he says (after a lengthy analysis) “there is little evidence for the existence of full-blown Gnosticism before John wrote his gospel”.

    Of Philo and other Greek sources he says:

    Still others think John has borrowed from Philo, a first-century Jew who was much influenced by Plato and his successors. Philo makes a distinction between the ideal world, which he calls ‘the logos of God’, and the real or phenomenal world wihich is but its copy. In particular, logos for Philo can refer to the ideal man, the primal man, from which all empirical human beings derive. But Philo’s logos has no distinct personality, and does not itself become incarnate. John’s logos doctrine, by contrast, is not tied to such dualism. More generally, logos can refer to inner thought, hence ‘reason’ even ‘science’. That is one reason why some have advocated ‘Reason’ as a translation of logos. Alternatively logos can refer to outward expression, hence ‘speech’ or ‘message’, which is why ‘Word’ is still thought by many to be the most appropriate term, provided it does not narrowly refer to a mere linguistic sign but is understood to mean something like ‘message’ (as in 1 Cor 1:18).

    Kostenberger, too, in his commentary notes the various Greek concepts, and points out that “in Stoic thought, logos was Reason, the impersonal principle governing the universe … Yet while John may well have been aware of the Stoic concept of the logos, it is doubtful that it constituted his primary conceptual framework (and he cites an earlier work of his to that effect).

    Neither Carson nor Kostenberger (nor Beale) is unaware of the DSS and other sources you cite. Nevertheless, Carson gives what I believe is a superb summary of the source for λόγος in John 1:

    However the Greek term is understood, there is a more readily available background than that provided by Philo or the Greek philosophical schools. Considering how frequently John quotes or alludes to the Old Testament, that is the place to begin. (And the chapter on John in “Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” covers nearly 100 pages).

    There, ‘the word’ (Hebrew: dabar) of God is connected with God’s powerful activity in creation (cf. Gen 1:3ff; Ps 33:6), revelation (Jer 1:4; Is 9:8; Ezk 33:7; Amos 3:1, 8) and deliverance (Ps 107:20; Is. 55:1). If the Lord (Yahweh) is said to speak to the prophet Isaiah (e.g. Is 7:3), elsewhere we read that ‘the word of the Lord came to Isaiah (Is 38:4; cf. Jer 1:4; Ezk 1:6). It was by ‘the word of the Lord’ that the heavens were made (Ps 33:6); in Gen 1:3, 6, 9, etc., God simply speaks and his powerful word creates. That same word effects deliverance and judgment (Is 55:11; cf Ps 29:3ff).

    When some of his people faced illness that brought them to the brink of death God ‘sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave’ (Ps 107:20). This personification of the ‘word’ becomes even more colourful in Jewish writing composed after the Old Testament (e.g. Wisdom 18:14, 15). Whether this heritage was mediated to John by th Greek version of the Old Testament that many early Christians used, or even by an Aramaic paraphrase (called a ‘Targum’), the ultimate fountain for this choice of language cannot be in serious doubt.

    Carson goes on to cite other post-OT writings, especially related to the concept of logos as wisdom and concludes, “However, the lack of Wisdom terminology in John’s Gospel suggests that the parallels between Wisdom and John’s Logos may stem less from direct dependence than from common dependence on Old Testament uses of ‘word’ and Torah, from which both have borrowed.”

    Concluding with his discussion of Greek thought:

    In short, God’s “Word” in the Old Testament is his powerful self-expression in creation, revelation, and salvation, and the personification of that ‘Word’ makes it suitable for John to apply it as a title to God’s ultimate self-disclosure, the person of his own Son. But if the expression would prove richest for Jewish readers, it would also resonate in the minds of some readers with entirely pagan backgrounds. In their case, however, they would soon discover that whatever they had understood the term to mean in the past, the author [the Apostle John] was forcing them into fresh thought (see on v. 14: there Carson discusses and unpacks this comment: “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”.

    It is interesting to note that Carson is finding the same phenomenon in John and “λόγος” that Torrance found regarding “grace” in Paul: the word, prevalent in Greek thought, has a totally new meaning [for pagans] that is filled with Old Testament concepts.

    One could go into much greater detail with this. Brown and Cullmann both interact extensively with the literature you cite and both place the identity of the λόγος firmly in the Old Testament.

  192. Mark B said,

    June 22, 2013 at 11:36 am

    @ 190 didymus
    Why would you suppose something ridiculous like that? Shall I in return suppose that you believe that the “god” whose attributes and characteristics are described in the Koran is the same God Christians worship? I propose we don’t assume, because we know what that does, as the old saw goes…

  193. Rooney said,

    June 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    When did Popes start claiming that Muslims and Catholics worship the same God??

    I am surprised that Muslims dont get offended that this implies that Allah is equal with Jesus and that Allah can be painted as a big male human with a beard, who crowns Mary in Heaven.

  194. CD-Host said,

    June 22, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    @didymusmartin said 182

    The Word of God in Hebrew is transliterated as
    Dabar YHWH

    Word(s) of God would be something like ‘emer ‘el. YHWH means creator.

  195. CD-Host said,

    June 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    @Rooney #196

    As far back as we can go. Allah has always meant “the God” and is freely used for the trinity.

    Allāh al-ab = God the Father
    Allāh al-ibn = God the Son
    Allāh al-rūḥ al-quds = God the Holy Spirit

  196. jsm52 said,

    June 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Bryan @ 191 wrote:

    At this point, when it has been shown that there is no evidence that Cardinal Dolan said anything that means or entails “stay Muslim,” you should retract your original claim in #175, so as to avoid furthering a false accusation. One who does not concern himself to ensure the truth of his accusations has no right to complain about the alleged deficiency of truth in other persons’ positions.

    Bryan, why is it that when faced with something like Cardinal Dolan’s words you revert to legalisms, as if you’re some prosecuting attorney in a court room? Your claim above is merely that – a claim based on how you interpret his words. You disagree with my take on his words. Fine. I didn’t expect you too. Try engaging with his words and my argument. It’s called a conversation rather than just huffing that I’m making a false accusation. I wrote that he affirmed “those who are Muslim to stay Muslim.” That interpretation is based on his words spoken to a Muslim audience:
    ______________

    Dolan:
    “You love God, we love God and he is the same God,” the cardinal said of the Muslim and Roman Catholic faiths.

    He likened Muslims to earlier waves of Roman Catholic immigrants who some 150 years ago faced the same challenge of “how to become loyal, responsible, patriotic Americans without losing their faith.”

    “We love God and he is the same God,” said the Cardinal, ignoring the general Christian interpretation that views Allah as a separate, different god than the one of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Various Christian critics have previously blasted “Chrislam” as viable theology, as Muslims believe Jesus Christ was simply a prophet like Muhammad instead of the divine Son of God.
    ________________

    So, if the god of Islam is the same as the God of Christianity and both Muslims and Christians love (the ultimate virtue) the same God, and C. Dolan likens their assimilation now with that of Roman Catholics in the 1800s facing the challenge of becoming loyal…. Americans without losing their faith – yes, I think it is fair to say that the message very likely received by the Muslim audience was your faith is similar to our faith… we worship the same God… we love the same God. Be like the Roman Catholics of the 1800s, i.e. assimilate “without losing your faith.” It’s ok to remain Muslim.

    Why become RC if they are already loving the same God? And if the challenge is to not lose their faith and they succeed, will they not remain Muslim? Do I think Cardinal Dolan wants Muslims to remain Muslim? No, I don’t think so. But that is the import of his words to the Muslim ear as he went overboard trying to build a bridge between Catholics and Muslims. And by the way, doesn’t Vat 2 say something about Muslims and salvation available to them? Hmm… Salvation available… they love the same God. Why not then remain Muslim? I’m sure you’ll raise another technical objection rather than interact with the Dolan’s words. By the way, would you have said the same thing to that Muslim audience? If not, why not? If so… then (shakes his head…).

    Jack

  197. Rooney said,

    June 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I think I read somewhere about some RC document or some RC theologian from the 1500s saying that if someone makes an ambigious statement, which may be heretical (eg. Popes making comments about Jews not needing to convert etc), then the standard of the 1500s era RCC is to assume that the person is a heretic until proven innocent.

    If we apply that standard today, then many of the ecumenical stuff would fall under the category of heresy. Either way, I cant see the CtC people making similar ecumenical statements, not even to Protestants/EOs.

  198. Bob S said,

    June 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    103 I wonder if CtC church

    Correction Rooney, make that the “CtC para church”, which no doubt is true, infallible and all that.
    Otherwise your comment is performatively ruining my paradigm.

    And Jack needs to stop posting links to religious obscenities.
    I tried to watch the video, but I can only stomach so much of the relativistic cr*p jesuitical dung I had to listen to growing up.
    Let your yea be yea. . . ?
    Nah, not so much. The truth is over rated.

  199. Rooney said,

    June 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    @ CD-Host #198

    What I meant was that since the Muslim God is not a trinity, and since Muslims do not see Jesus as God, then if Popes claim that the Catholic God is the same as the Muslim God, it implies that:

    1. The Muslim God is a Trinity.
    2. Jesus is equal with the Muslim God.

    This would no doubt offend Muslims, not to mention the fact that since the Catholic God can be painted as a human adult male in ancient robes, it implies that the Muslim God is can be depicted.

  200. jsm52 said,

    June 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Bob S @ 201:

    Those are Mark B’s video links @ 178 and 179, not mine.

    Jack

  201. Bob S said,

    June 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    203.
    Oops.
    But you watched them didn’t you, Jack?
    Doesn’t that make you performatively something or other?

  202. jsm52 said,

    June 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Bob S 204 -

    No, I actually didn’t watch them. So I guess that makes me performatively just some ignorant bystander to whatever sacrilege is communicated in those little videos.

    One less thing to get out of my mind…

  203. CD-Host said,

    June 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    @John #194

    Very good answer. Let me start with your discussion of DA Carson. Carson’s argument that you quote is that John’s Logos can’t be a reference to Philo’s Logos even though both represent an ideal man because Philo’s Logos never became incarnate. But of course that is precisely the entire point of the Johanne prologue that the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us. That’s seems to be precisely what the Johanne community is claiming as their unique contribution. In other word’s John appears to be aware that Philo’s Logos is not incarnate while his is, and sees this as progress.

    So I don’t see how that doesn’t prove derivation. It shows development from Philo, but that is to be expected. Philo is preaching Hellenistic Judaism, John is preaching some form of Christianity. I can certainly agree that some of the notions of personified wisdom are present in Proverbs, but even this develops in the Hellenistic community: Sir 1:1-18; 4:11-19; 6:18-31; 14:20-15:10; 24:1-31; 51:13-30; Wis 7-9; Baruch 3:9-38.

    So I’m basically not finding the argument all that convincing. To argue that John’s Logos had no connection with Plato we would want to see a much stronger conflict that just whether it was incarnate. A good example of what we would want to see is something like morality. The Good for Judaism is tied to ceremonial cleanliness , while Plato’s notion of the Good is tied back ultimately to Happiness. That’s a separate derivation and that’s the sort of thing you would want to see.

    So I don’t find Carson’s argument convincing.

    _____

    I would disagree with the tie between Wisdom personified, Torah and salvation in the old testament. I don’t see that at all. I see his comment as a huge jump. The wisdom character in Aramaic or Hebrew doesn’t have anything like a saving role. That only develops partially in the Greek literature. The earliest I see her having a broader role is Jewish Gnosticism. So I’m disagree with Old Testament / Aramaic derivation.

    Once you assert the evidence there are two possibilities:

    a) Jewish Gnosticism with Christian themes derived from Christianity, then it follows the idea is alien to Judaism and is a product of Christianity.

    b) If one asserts that Jewish Gnosticism predates Christianity (which is consistent with our dateable documents) then we have these ideas developing in the more primitive form in Hellenistic Judaism moving on from there into Gnostic Judaism and then into Christianities.

    What’s not possible to argue is that this is part of the “Old Testament” tradition because in the Old Testament it isn’t meaningfully developed yet.

  204. John Bugay said,

    June 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    For those discussing Dolan and Islam: A brief word on how the Roman Catholic Church operates:

    If you all are going to mock that Dolan thinks that Muslims may remain Muslims, it really is an official Roman Catholic teaching that the God of Islam is the same as the God of the Bible.

    As Lane has been trying little by little to relate, it’s not the “little things” like this Dolan speech that is where the real danger of Roman Catholicism lies. The real danger of Roman Catholicism is its attitude of itself being the fountain of all grace, and its notion that, even though it can’t say precisely how, all may be saved through the graces that God dispenses through the Roman Catholic Church:

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p1.htm#774

    The universal Sacrament of Salvation

    774 The Greek word mysterion was translated into Latin by two terms: mysterium and sacramentum. In later usage the term sacramentum emphasizes the visible sign of the hidden reality of salvation which was indicated by the term mysterium. In this sense, Christ himself is the mystery of salvation: “For there is no other mystery of God, except Christ.” The saving work of his holy and sanctifying humanity is the sacrament of salvation, which is revealed and active in the Church’s sacraments (which the Eastern Churches also call “the holy mysteries”). The seven sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head throughout the Church which is his Body. The [Roman Catholic] Church, then, both contains and communicates the invisible grace she signifies. It is in this analogical sense, that the Church is called a “sacrament.”

    775 “The Church, in Christ, is like a sacrament – a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men.” The Church’s first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with God. Because men’s communion with one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also the sacrament of the unity of the human race. In her, this unity is already begun, since she gathers men “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues”; at the same time, the Church is the “sign and instrument” of the full realization of the unity yet to come.

    776 As sacrament, the Church is Christ’s instrument. “She is taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all,” “the universal sacrament of salvation,” by which Christ is “at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God’s love for men.” The Church “is the visible plan of God’s love for humanity,” because God desires “that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit.”

    So Islam is just a small part of the plan. This is the concept by which you, too, Presbyterian brethren, may be saved as “separated brethren”:

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p3.htm#839

    The Church and non-Christians

    839 “Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God [the Roman Catholic Church] in various ways.” …

    841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

    842 The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:

    All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .

    843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”

    844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

    Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.

    845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    According to 846, the only people who are really lost are the former Roman Catholics like myself and sean and Bob S: We once believed that “the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ”, and we refuse to remain in it.

    [Although, the language here is so slippery that I’ve had Roman Catholics tell me that I really didn’t “believe” and thus I’m still covered for salvation under “invincible ignorance”. Which is how you all are covered as well.]

  205. jsm52 said,

    June 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    John @ 207 -

    It’s not about mocking Dolan’s words per se. Rather stating what they can very well mean to his audience and see if the CtCers accept his construction of Catholic/Muslim faith. Answer – No. So, Bryan’s answer is don’t be open to how a Muslim might or would interpret Dolan’s words. Yes V2 did open the door of salvation to non-Catholics, a change from the previous teaching, imho. I didn’t hear Dolan say anything that surprised me. But what I and others are hearing from Dolan is apparently at a decibel level beyond CtC ears.

  206. jsm52 said,

    June 22, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Rather stating what they can very well mean to his audience and see if the CtCers accept his construction of Catholic/Muslim faith. Answer – No.

    That wasn’t clear. The “No” is to considering how his words are being heard. No consideration of that. And there is no answer from Bryan whether he accepts Dolan’s Catholic/Muslim equation.

  207. John Bugay said,

    June 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Hi JSM, I probably shouldn’t have used the word “mock”, but it’s one thing to base a criticism of Roman Catholicism on a news report of one prelate, but it is another thing to really understand the source of what that prelate is saying. And in this case, the warm fuzzies for Islam are prompted by the statement from CCC 841. If you click on the link to the CCC, then follow back the footnotes on some of these statements, you’ll see that they go no further back than Vatican II. Vatican II really did “reformulate” some dogmas. Most of them, to be sure, were to “have the same sense”, but you end up with a statement like “no salvation outside the church” being turned on its head. Roman Catholics can trace the “development” contained in that turning, and they have an official explanation for it, and of course, that “turning on its head” was the precise kind of consequence that was feared by the conservatives.

    That’s what Pius XII militated against with regard to the “Nouvelle Theologie”, which was mentioned above. De Lubac and all those guys wanted the “reformulation” — Pius XII’s contention was that you can’t change the words without changing the meaning. Of course, that is precisely what happened. As Raymond Brown said, “doctrines are requoted with praise, and then reinterpreted at the same time”. That gives the sense that the same old thing is in place, but what the “reinterpretation” is is anyone’s guess.

  208. jsm52 said,

    June 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    John,

    No disagreement here. Though Dolan’s remarks are useful inasmuch as they lead back to V2 and its reformulations.

  209. John Bugay said,

    June 23, 2013 at 8:05 am

    CD-Host 206:

    Carson’s argument that you quote is that John’s Logos can’t be a reference to Philo’s Logos even though both represent an ideal man because Philo’s Logos never became incarnate.

    Carson is arguing that John was fully aware that he used the word, while knowing full well that he intended to co-opt it and ad the Old Testament meaning to it.

    But of course that is precisely the entire point of the Johanne prologue that the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us. That’s seems to be precisely what the Johanne community is claiming as their unique contribution.

    You’re making an assumption here, and that would be Bauer’s “thesis” about multiple origins and multiple Christianities. It seems as if you’re failing to take into account the work of Hurtado and others who do take the time to peg “orthodox Christianity” to a singular event, and then to trace it chronologically through the first century. In fact, one of the key contentions that Kostenberger and Kruger make in their work “The Heresy of Orthodoxy” is that Bauer and his followers seem to have failed to take into account the whole first century. Certainly, in the second century, Christianity was in multiple locations, and its adherents were influenced by multiple kinds of influence. But that does not exclude that orthodoxy of the first century, and that orthodoxy in the first century is the downfall of Bauer.

    So I don’t see how that doesn’t prove derivation. It shows development from Philo, but that is to be expected. Philo is preaching Hellenistic Judaism, John is preaching some form of Christianity.

    Again, some early Christians may have had sensibilities that were influenced by Philo, but that does not exclude the “singular event” of the Resurrection that Hurtado writes about.

    Kostenberger and Kruger describe this in their work “The Heresy of Orthodoxy”. In the midst of the second century heresies (and other heterodox influences) … :

    One may trace a central orthodox doctrine, such as the deity of Christ, back in history in order to establish which group originated first and which one deviated from the other. Larry W. Hurtado, professor of New Testament Language, Literature, and theology at the university of Edinburgh, masterfully does this in his work Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. In essence, Hurtado demonstrates the swiftness with which monotheistic, Jewish Christians revered Jesus as Lord. This early “Christ devotion,” which entailed belief in Jesus’ divinity, was amazing especially in light of the Jewish monotheistic belief that was deeply ingrained in Jewish identity, worship, and culture. The revolutionary nature of the confession of Jesus as Lord and God, especially in such chronological proximity to Jesus’ life, cannot be overstated. The study of early Christian worship of Jesus thus further confirms that heresy formed later than, and was parasitic to, orthodoxy….

    Hurtado’s study of early Christian belief in the deity of Christ begins with Paul’s writings (limited to the “undisputed Pauline Epistles”) because they were written prior to other New Testament documents.

    A common date for Jesus’s resurrection is 33 AD. Paul wrote letters to various churches between 40 and 60 AD. Whether or not Hurtado believes that Paul’s “disputed” letters are authentically Paul’s is irrelevant. By focusing on only the “undisputed” letters, Hurtado is able to cull

    On another side of the “orthodoxy” coin, I’ll say that writers like R.T. France (in his commentary on Mark), Richard Bauckham, and Martin Hengel trace “orthodox” doctrine to Peter and his eyewitness accounts of Jesus’s life. In fact, it is possible to trace Paul’s conversion to within a year of Jesus’s resurrection. There is not much space at all here between the life of Jesus Christ and “orthodoxy”.

    Again, I’ve relied on writers like Torrance and Cullmann to trace some of the initial heterodoxies in the writings of 1 Clement and some of the other Apostolic Fathers.

    Kostenberger and Kruger note the progression of various heresies through the period we are talking about:

    AD 40s-60s: Paul writes letters to various churches; orthodoxy is pervasive and mainstream; churches are organized around a central message; undeveloped heresies begin to emerge.

    AD 60s-90s: the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament are written and continue to propagate the orthodoxy that preceded them; orthodoxy continues to be pervasive and mainstream; heresies are still undeveloped.

    AD 90s-130s: the New Testament writers pass from the scene; the apostolic fathers emerge and continue to propagate the orthodoxy that preceded them; orthodoxy is still pervasive and mainstream; heresies begin to organize but remain relatively undeveloped.

    AD 130s-200s: the apostolic fathers die out; subsequent Christian writers continue to propagate the orthodoxy that preceded them; orthodoxy is still pervasive and mainstream, but various forms of heresy are found; these heresies, however, remain subsidiary to orthodoxy and remain largely variegated.

    AD 200s-300s: orthodoxy is solidified in the creeds, but various forms of heresy continue to rear their head; orthodoxy, however, remains pervasive and mainstream.

    Consider these more extended explanations:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/05/weakness-of-living-voice-in-2nd-century.html

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/06/kruger-vs-ratzinger-4-four-different.html

    Just because Philo was writing during that period, and just because some Christians may have been influenced by his thoughts and writings, doesn’t mean that there is any kind of “derivation” at all.

    So I’m basically not finding the argument all that convincing. To argue that John’s Logos had no connection with Plato we would want to see a much stronger conflict that just whether it was incarnate. A good example of what we would want to see is something like morality. The Good for Judaism is tied to ceremonial cleanliness , while Plato’s notion of the Good is tied back ultimately to Happiness. That’s a separate derivation and that’s the sort of thing you would want to see.

    So I don’t find Carson’s argument convincing.

    Aside from the fact that you got Carson’s argument wrong. Neither Carson nor the others I cited say “John’s Logos had no connection with Plato”. But John is most highly, most radically influenced by the notion that Christ (as God) is “God’s ultimate self-disclosure, the person of his own Son” (and this is the conclusion of Carson’s argument, which I cited in 194).

    I would disagree with the tie between Wisdom personified, Torah and salvation in the old testament. I don’t see that at all. I see his comment as a huge jump.

    There is no need to cement this “tie” because John’s primary referent, again, “God’s Word”, is directly tied to “God’s ultimate self-disclosure, the person of his own Son”. That was the overriding orthodoxy that John had in mind as he used this Greek word and concept.

    [regarding “Wisdom personified”] Once you assert the evidence there are two possibilities:

    There is actually that third possibility, which you fail to acknowledge, that of “the swiftness [and overwhelming depth of conviction] with which monotheistic, Jewish Christians revered Jesus as Lord.”

  210. didymusmartin said,

    June 23, 2013 at 8:21 am

    John,
    I would agree that Cardinal Dolan is merely preaching what Ratner and et al proclaimed at Vatican II, concerning the condition of those who do not fully commune with the Roman Catholic Church. Nothing New

  211. Robert said,

    June 23, 2013 at 8:47 am

    What the CTCers like Brian cannot bring themselves to acknowledge is that Rahner’s concept of the anonymous Christian, which has been basically enshrined as Roman Catholic orthodoxy, takes away any argument that one should join the Roman Catholic church. Name the most ardent Roman Catholic evangelist you can find. You can’t because there really aren’t any except for the odd Protestant convert who has not yet fully shed his Protestantism.

    If Muslims worship the same God as Christians, there is no reason not to become a Muslim. If Protestants worship the same God as Roman Catholics, there is no reason to become Roman Catholic. I’ve never had a Roman Catholic—priest or layperson—that I’ve know personally tell me that I need to become a Roman Catholic. They simply don’t think that I need to be, whether they have a concept of invincible ignorance or have embraced the incipient universalism promoted by Vatican 2 and later.

    Cross, Stellman, Patrick, et al have the unenviable position of defending an institution that does not want to defend itself. That says much about their failure to really understand Rome before they swam the Tiber.

  212. didymusmartin said,

    June 23, 2013 at 9:31 am

    “Swimming the Tiber”….. is not like
    “Crossing the Rubicon”

  213. CD-Host said,

    June 23, 2013 at 10:15 am

    @Robert #214 –

    I got to disagree with you on this one. Let’s exclude the CtC faction and address mainstream Catholics. Many of them are disgruntled which is why 2::1 when they marry Protestants they cross over. But they do have a case for the Catholic church and that’s the culture. It is important to understand that difference because it frames the role of apologetics.

    I never choose to speak English I simply absorbed it. Catholicism wants to be a cultural institution in that sense, apologetics, while part of Catholicism are much less important to it than they are to Protestantism. I could create an apologetic for English relative to say Russian or an apologetic for Russian relative to English. But ultimately both English and Russian recruit not on an individual level they recruit through culture. Catholicism aims to convert countries and cultures not individuals. Protestant churches are much more like McDonald’s or Wendy’s they do see it as part of their mission to recruit on an individual level.

    But in America ultimately all religions have to be about individual recruitment. And you can, and Catholics do make a case for their church. Where in Presbyterianism do you find choirs that are professional quality backed by symphony quality instrumental plays and multi-million dollar organs? The clothing, the incense, the chanting… Excluding the boring sermons there is no reason to go anywhere else. The closest analogy in terms of production values might be mega churches but I think you would agree that in terms of taste and richness the tacky expensive productions of mega church evangelicalism really doesn’t compare to a Catholic basilica. And when you lower the budget to say something like a PCA church, say your church: would even claim to compare? I assume you can understand for someone who goes to church to be inspired spiritually by the the music and the art you just don’t have to offer.

    If you go beyond the church itself there is a lot of positives of Catholic culture. The warm social meals with friends of second cousins sharing spicy foods that too all day to cook for 5 hours, as contrasted with say Protestant food where if there is taste left they boil it some more. The dancing (white Protestants here). the sex (Catholic sexual satisfaction is very high compared to most other faiths).

    I noticed you used my example of Nancy Pelosi. She is enthusiastic Catholic who along with her family hosts many Catholic events in San Francisco. She loves the church, loves the traditions, loves even the sermons she just thinks the hierarchy has been taken over by a bunch of extremists and is full of it.

    There is a lot that a mainstream Catholic can say about their faith that is very appealing. This cultural richness is why its taken generations for the Catholic hierarchy to have successfully alienated their membership to the point that the church is experiencing massive defections. It took generations for people to leave Catholicism for Protestantism because they were leaving so much behind. I’ve never met Catholics, even Catholics who converted to Protestantism, who can’t make a case for how much they left behind or how much they miss all the good things. Most Catholics can make a case for Catholicism it is the reason they are still Catholic despite their issues with the hierarchy.

  214. didymusmartin said,

    June 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    CD
    No matter how “cultured and beautiful” you dipict Rome in order to gain entry to Rome one must “swim the Tiber”, where all the sewage of Rome is flushed.
    If one leaves Rome and heads north they must “cross the Rubicon “, a crystal clear mountain stream, that leads to Elysium.

  215. Mark B said,

    June 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    CD
    Have to disagree with you here. The Methodist and PCUSA churches I have family background in had some really great cooks. Was just back for a funeral at a Methodist church, the pastor wore a Francis of Assisi robe and a Bishops miter and borrowed heavily from the mass, (someone pointed out that at least it wasn’t the woman who would have said that the departed is now one with the universe), but wow, the food was great!

  216. Robert said,

    June 23, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    CD-Host,

    I can agree (216) with some of your assessment, at least insofar as when a church becomes a state church, there is less incentive to promote and defend it. But a lot of what you have said does not pertain to Roman Catholicism as Roman Catholicism. For example, there is nothing inherently Roman Catholic about spicy foods. Those cultures had them before Roman Catholicism, and they had them long after.

    Many species of Presbyterian have issue with plainness, but there are plenty of Presbyterians who don’t. Dr. R.C. Sproul’s church in Orlando features a restored organ, stained glass depictions of the four evangelists and Paul, paintings in the Narthex of the life of Christ, and other such things. Furthermore, if there is a plainness in Protestantism, it is largely limited to those with the most direct ties to Puritanism. Lutherans, Anglicans, and Methodists all prize rich music and visual beauty. Bach was a Lutheran, for crying out loud!

    The issue with the Nancy Pelosi example is interesting. I don’t think you can meaningfully call her a Roman Catholic according to the Roman Catholic paradigm. Here is a woman who is not only pro-abortion in her personal life but is directly responsible for the promotion of abortion here and overseas through the power of U.S. law. That she remains a Roman Catholic in good standing should embarrass faithful Roman Catholics who actually believe what their church teaches, and it does. The problem for them, of course, is that Rome does nothing about folks like Pelosi who wield a lot of power to promote anti-Roman Catholic teaching. Which brings me back to my point that for the most part, Rome doesn’t actually feel like defending itself.

    Christianity is not a culture, it is a faith system, and a faith system that does not promote itself as the only way to God, as Christianity has traditionally, is not worth defending. Rome no longer believes that one must be a professing Christian, let alone a Roman Catholic, to be saved. The CTCers are trying in some strange way to defend exclusivity of the Roman Church when the Roman Church itself does not want to make such a defense.

    If people are only Roman Catholic for the traditions it offers, is it any wonder that nominalism is a huge problem? When the hierarchy says and does things that encourages nominalism, why should the people do any different.?

    There is no tangible reason for me or any other Protestant, or even any non-Christian, for that matter, to become Roman Catholic. We can be saved right where we are. If it is a matter of food and music, well, we live in a global system where all those things are available no matter who you are. It is not even clear that non-Roman Catholics get more time in purgatory any more.

    From a purely pragmatic sense, Rome can’t give me anything that I can’t find anywhere else as a Protestant. It essentially does the same for Muslims, Hindus, and even atheists who do good but can’t be convinced that God exists. Whether Rome wants to admit it or not, it basically threw away its reason for existence at Vatican II.

  217. CD-Host said,

    June 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    @John #212

    I don’t know that I can respond to all that one in post. So let me start with trying to close off this issue of gospel of John and use “AJohn” to denote the author(s) of Gospel of John. Originally the claim was that Gospel of John didn’t have a hellenistic influence (Plato / Stoic / Philo) that it was in some way derived from the Old Testament. If you are granting that:

    a) The personified Wisdom doesn’t meaningfully develop until after Judea is conquered by the Seleucid Empire (i.e. after the Old Testament)

    b) The specific references to Logos in Gospel of John show knowledge of Philo.

    That’s it. If AJohn sees himself as responding to Philo’s theology, that’s it for proving my position of intellectual descent from Hellenism not the Old Testament. The fact that AJohn choose to write in Greek makes it almost impossible for him to be oblivious to Greek culture. The same way that any Christian writing in 21st century English can’t be oblivious to Western culture. If he then is writing about a cultural topic, say Batman, then he’s obviously responding to Western culture. And that would hold true even if his analysis of Batman were Old Testament, his cultural identity is still 21st century western.

    So let now take a slightly different thesis you a putting forward:

    Carson is arguing that John was fully aware that he used the word, while knowing full well that he intended to co-opt it and ad the Old Testament meaning to it.

    That I agree with. The point of Hellenistic Judaism was to try and recast Judaism in Hellenistic terms and to cast Hellenism in Jewish terms. That is to create a syncretic faith making Judaism into a Hellenistic cult. Their greatest success by far was Christianity. Philo is taking the Platonic / Stoic logos and recasting it for Jewish mythology. AJohn is taking Philo’s logos and recasting it for the Christian theology of his sect. His Christian theology of the logos has old testament aspects to it that are not part of Philo’s notions. Yes absolutely AJohn is thinking about how to recast the Old Testament in terms of his Logos theology.

    I agree with you 100% here. But that doesn’t change the fact one bit that at its core Logos theology, is a response to a Hellenistic issue about the nature of God not a Jewish question.

    Just because Philo was writing during that period, and just because some Christians may have been influenced by his thoughts and writings, doesn’t mean that there is any kind of “derivation” at all.

    Which contradicts your comments above. AJohn is either aware of and responding to Philo or he isn’t. I can’t write about Batman without responding to DC Comics. and Warner movies. I can’t write about Romeo and Juliet without responding to Shakespeare. John cannot respond to the Logos without responding to Philo. To argue that AJohn is not derived from Philo you would need to see writing shows a concept of the Logos utterly unlike Philo’s totally distinct.

    If I wrote a book about Batman as bird catcher who lived in Saint Lewis … and showed no evidence of any knowledge of the 1930s comic book character you could argue that there is no derivation from DC comics. But if I show obvious knowledge of the DC character, whether I agree or disagree with their treatment then this is a derivation. Philo came first.

    There is actually that third possibility, which you fail to acknowledge, that of “the swiftness [and overwhelming depth of conviction] with which monotheistic, Jewish Christians revered Jesus as Lord.”

    That possibility just falls under my “radical break” case. Whether the radical break was induced by theological novelty (i.e. an entirely new religion appearing on its own) or historical novelty (i.e. some event that caused a sudden theological shift) is at least for this discussion mostly irrelevant. They both would leave behind a similar literary trace. I’d argue that’s not the literary trace we have, and so dismiss theological novelty as being consistent with the evidence. We see evidence of gradual development.

    I’ll address your first century objection in more detail in my next response but I don’t think the 1st century present any problem for Bauer at all. What we know of the 1st century is consistent with Bauer and inconsistent with an initial point of origin.

  218. CD-Host said,

    June 23, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    @Robert #219

    Christianity is not a culture, it is a faith system

    That would be a point most mainstream Catholics would reject. Catholicism is the natural religion of the west, of Christendom. Catholicism’s relationship with the west is like Hinduism’s relationship with India or Buddhism’s relationship with the far east. Catholics reject the kind of sharp distinction between religion and cultural practice that characterize Protestant thinking about religion.

    There are for Catholics beliefs that are part of the Catholic faith but they would never hold being Catholic is primarily much less exclusively a question of beliefs. Catholics don’t reject sola fide, in a formal sense they reject sola fide absolutely, unquestionably. CtCers, because they have to debate Protestants meet Protestants 2/3rds of the way or more and have subtle debates about justification. Typical Catholics reject sola fide, that religion is about a particular set of beliefs, in the same kind of untroubled way that you would reject a claim that religion is fundamentally about about coming into alignment with universal vibrations and to stop resisting persisting.

    Further, I think most typical Catholics would reject that Protestantism is ultimately a set of beliefs either, while agreeing it pays lip service to this idea. Protestantism is seen by most Catholics as an emotion, things are ultimately true not because of an authoritative church but because of a personal experience of conversion. Pascal’s arguments I think are rather typical of how most Catholics see Protestantism.

    They have other critiques as well, for example many see Protestantism as based on Gallicanism, the worship of the prince. Protestants in trying to avoid the transcendent aspects of culture (or at least western culture) end up embedding fully in the in the most petty aspects of their national culture.

    Most of your response is based on this core idea, essentially sola fide. To talk about the apology for mainstream Catholicism you have to assume a dialogue in which sola fide is really on the table. Where belief is just a piece of the religion. Where there is an untroubled pairing of what you would call works: rites and practices with faith. And more than that no clear desire to pair the religion down to a minimal set of statements but rather revel in the thickness of the culture that it provides.

    The issue with the Nancy Pelosi example is interesting. I don’t think you can meaningfully call her a Roman Catholic according to the Roman Catholic paradigm. Here is a woman who is not only pro-abortion in her personal life but is directly responsible for the promotion of abortion here and overseas through the power of U.S. law. That she remains a Roman Catholic in good standing should embarrass faithful Roman Catholics who actually believe what their church teaches, and it does. The problem for them, of course, is that Rome does nothing about folks like Pelosi who wield a lot of power to promote anti-Roman Catholic teaching. Which brings me back to my point that for the most part, Rome doesn’t actually feel like defending itself.

    Why can’t you call her Roman Catholic? She accepts the authority of the fathers. She reads the church fathers. She takes them seriously. And based on her study of them has come to the conclusion that the magisterium is preaching traducianism. A charge that is itself wedded in Catholic theology. She’s addressing Catholic morality, in Catholic terms, using Catholic concepts, Catholic sources and arriving at conclusions support by many tens of millions of Catholics who consider her a moral authority,

    She’s certainly not a conservative Catholic. She’s not a Buddhist or a Jew. What is she? If you are saying why doesn’t Rome want a showdown, because they might very well lose. So far most Catholics believe that Humanae Vitae is immoral. They haven’t accepted though that is is heretical traducianism. If they have a showdown with Nancy Pelosi they are going to be forced on equal terms to debate what is the record of the church fathers on how and when ensoulment occurs. And IMHO she’s got the better argument. That for the Catholic church is not a minor thing. Even though the magisterium was fairly united that Luther’s critiques were wrong there were people who found them convincing and a premature excommunication did not quickly kill off his theories. Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism is far more influential today than it ever would have been if he had never been formally excommunicated. Nancy Pelosi is able to organize millions has tremendous moral authority for tens of millions and can command resources. However much of a problem she might be for the magisterium now, what is she like when she doesn’t see herself as part of the same team just with a few disagreements. To use Johnson’s expression, when she’s not standing in the tent p*ssing out but is outside the tent p*ssing in. What would be the point for an unpopular hierarchy in taking her on in an argument that they might very well lose and very unlikely to decisively win. Cardinal Dolan took her on in the Contraception debate and by the end she had 2/3rds of American Catholics thinking he was unreasonable and Obama was right with the numbers going up by several percentage points per week. That was Kathleen Sebelius (also Catholic), whose not nearly as tough as Pelosi and she kicked his butt the last time he stepped in the ring with her.

    One of the things that does differentiate Catholics from Evangelicals is their attitude towards schism. Evangelicals at best pay lip service to disliking schism. The surge in Evangelical Christianity in the last 40 years has been an attack on mainline denominations, an encouragement of defection. In practice when Evangelicals have a serious disagreement they settle it by through a split. Evangelicals have lost their willingness to work together and compromise. Catholics haven’t lost that, they really do believe in a catholic, that is to say universal, church. They do not want see Christianity break into thousands of sects which don’t even claim to present a religion capable of command broad support. That is one of their deepest criticism of Protestantism as it exists today. Catholics appreciate that a formal schism has its own momentum. Look at the OPC / PCA troubles in reuniting and that’s a schism among people who disagree about almost nothing.

    Evangelicals are 1/4 of the US population. Conservative Presbyterians are 1/90th of Evangelicals. Your church achieves its unity primarily through preselection. To create a comparative situation to say Cardinal Dolan, assume you Robert were head of a new National Council of Protestants combing the NCC and NCE. The membership is still as ideologically diverse as it is today. You want to advance your theology and you want to hold this group together. What can you do?

    You can see a better example of this with the American nuns. The Bishops tried to crack down and the nuns gave them a “no”. The Bishops backed off. What’s the alternative? Turn a minor temporary flare up in hostilities until a full blown schism between nuns and bishops?

    From a purely pragmatic sense, Rome can’t give me anything that I can’t find anywhere else as a Protestant.

    This is what I was responding to above. What Rome offers is a religious tradition that plausibly your entire family, your neighbors, your friends can be part of for several generations. A real long term church home. A church where regardless of where you and your children and their children go through all stages of their lives or their journey of faith be within its confines and be an active part of it.

    I’d say the conservatives are starting to screw that up. But that’s what Rome can give you that Protestant churches can’t. And that to my mind is the argument that a mainstream Catholic would make.

  219. CD-Host said,

    June 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    @John #212

    Before we debate which way the 1st century record points let’s first establish how we would read the evidence. Here is my initial proposal that we establish testable hypothesis consistent with each theory and see what the historical evidence looks like. You tell me if you agree with these hypothesis. Where you disagree rewrite.

    Let’s see if we can get to agreement on how to test.

    Orthodox position: Christianity emerged suddenly from mainstream Judaism during the 30s Palestine, spread all over the empire in something like its primitive form. Various heresies broke off but none became the dominant faith. Catholicism is mostly a fair reflection of first century Christianity.

    Bauer: proto-Christian theologies emerged gradually from Hellenistic Judaism. In general the ideas flowed from mainstream Judaism to Gnostic Judaism to various heretical Christianities to Orthodox Christianity. Orthodox Christianity / Catholicism formed from a jelling together of these primitive Christianities.

    So then what would we expect the 1st century documentary record to look like in each case?

    Orthodoxy: We would not expect significant theological development between those biblical books that are dateable early and those that are later.
    Bauer: We would expect significant theological development between those biblical books that are dateable early and those that are later.

    or to simplify:

    Orthodox: The earlier the Christian text the more orthodox the theology on average.
    Bauer: The earlier the Christian text the more heretical on average.

    Orthodox: We would expect canonical texts to drift in a more heretical direction as the true faith is lost and more of these heretical sects emerge.
    Bauer: We would expect the canonical texts to drift in a more orthodox direction as the orthodox can be more selective.

    Orthodox history: we would expect few if any traces of Gnosticism in the 1st century record.
    Bauer: we would expect extensive Gnosticism all through the 1st century record.

    Orthodox: We would expect to see very little Jesus theology attributed to other Jewish beings.
    Bauer: We would expect to see Jesus theology broadly attributed to a wide range of Jewish beings: enoch, seth, melchizedek… and only later those roles being attributed to Jesus

    Orthodoxy: We would expect early appeals to witnesses and faith. What we saw, what we heard, what we witnessed.
    Bauer: we would expect the earliest debates to peer to peer sect to sect. The idea of a definitive apostolic deposit would have emerged as sects gained supremacy so we would expect to see apostolic succession far more in later writings than in the biblical witness.

    Orthodoxy: We would expect the earliest dateable references to clearly indicate that their faith was a result of having heard the preachings of a historical character.
    Bauer: We would expect the earliest datable references to have either no or at best a vague relationship with historical characters.

    Orthodox: We would expect when Catholics encounter heretical sects they know more about the “Catholic fathers”. We would not expect to see literature from the “Catholic fathers” passing from heretical sects into orthodoxy.
    Bauer: We would expect early Catholicism to be merging with various heretical sects and adopting their texts and heroes when possible. So we would expect to see literature of the “Catholic fathers” passing from heretical sects into orthodoxy.

    Orthodoxy: We would expect to see 2nd century Catholic fathers be knowledgeable about 1st century Catholic leaders.
    Bauer: We would expect to see 2nd century Catholic fathers appear ignorant about 1st century Catholic leaders as their biography was still changing.

  220. John Bugay said,

    June 24, 2013 at 8:39 am

    CD-Host:

    Before we debate which way the 1st century record points

    I’m not interested in debating this. I’ve provided examples and thorough documentation of world-leading New Testament scholars who have analyzed “the Bauer thesis” and have showed precisely where it is lacking. I’m not inclined to disbelieve their work on your say-so.

    let’s first establish how we would read the evidence. Here is my initial proposal that we establish testable hypothesis consistent with each theory and see what the historical evidence looks like. You tell me if you agree with these hypothesis. Where you disagree rewrite.

    Let’s see if we can get to agreement on how to test.

    The point is, you and I don’t need to go through this exercise. I’m nowhere near the scholar that Hurtado and Bock and Kostenberger and Kruger and Daniel Wallace are; they’ve addressed the items you discussed, and they’ve put out books and papers on Bauer.

    So I’m standing by what they say, and what I wrote up above. And the point is, at this point, you would have to go through their work and say precisely where THEY are mistaken. Otherwise, I have no reason to disbelieve them.

  221. erasmuse said,

    June 24, 2013 at 10:31 am

    @CDHOST #221.
    I like your analysis, but I’d change the emphasis. Simple people— the vast majority— believe in God and Jesus, but are vague about what that actually means. They also dislike being told to think, probably even more than they dislike being told *what* to think. Roman Catholicism responds to that by just telling people what to do, and making its demands small for the ordinary person. It also offers high-powered sub-brands for people who want theology or ascetism. Evangelicalism responds, in the main, in the same way, by telling people just to believe in the Bible and not be divisive by getting into theological detail, and to avoid major sins. Liberalism makes it even easier, by getting rid of the belief and moral components altogether and trying to sell itself purely as social club, nice music, and a way to give to charity if you feel like it. That goes too far for most people— as I said, most people actually do believe in God and think they should make at least moderate efforts to please Him– but it’s the most pleasant path for pastors, and works if there’s enough of an endowment that shrinking membership doesn’t matter.
    Even intellectuals have to worry about what it is that truly is drawing them to a church. Even if I were convinced their doctrines were true, could I stand being lumped in with holy rollers?

  222. CD-Host said,

    June 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    @John 223

    I’m not interested in debating this. I’ve provided examples and thorough documentation of world-leading New Testament scholars who have analyzed “the Bauer thesis” and have showed precisely where it is lacking. I’m not inclined to disbelieve their work on your say-so.

    They aren’t really doing scholarship, they are doing Christian apologetics. The difference is in apologetics one assumes the traditional doctrine is true as long as some possibly explanation remains that doesn’t falsify it. In scholarship one goes with the most likely theory.

    And you don’t have to accept my say so. You want scholars who refute your 1st century notion: John Thompson, Berger Pierson, Walter Schmithals, Karen King, Elaine Pagels, James Dunn, Helmet Koester…

    And the point is, at this point, you would have to go through their work and say precisely where THEY are mistaken.

    The Heresy of Orthodoxy mostly is a straw man argument. And generally begs the question. I could whip through the book and point out the problems. For example when the argument about Asia minor first arises (p 42) he talks about “modern scholars now believe that full fledged Gnosticism had not arisen by John and Ignatius time”.

    a) He assuming that John (the apostle) wrote Revelations. Most scholars reject that.

    b) He is shifting the question by “full fledged Gnosticism”. That’s not Bauer’s theory and is irrelevant.

    c) Once qualified to primitive-Gnosticism most scholars, essentially all scholars agree that it arose by 100 BCE well before John’s time.

    He then goes on to talk about how we know that Docetism hasn’t arisen by the time of Revelations because Revelations doesn’t mention it. Which misses the obvious question that Revelations preaches a non-incarnational / Docetic Christianity itself. John of Patmos doesn’t note primitive Docetism because he is part of it.

    etc… page by page by page.

  223. John Bugay said,

    June 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    CD-Host: Pretty heady saying that the writers I’ve listed “aren’t really doing scholarship”. They certainly are, while rejecting the naturalistic presuppositions of Pagels, Dunn, Koester, etc. In fact, Carson’s work is one of the leading reasons why Dunn has backed off his schtick somewhat.

    You show a bit of your lack of understanding calling the last work of the Bible “Revelations”.

  224. Robert said,

    June 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    CD-Host,

    I can’t call Nancy Pelosi a Roman Catholic because she is defying the magisterium on so many levels. I’m applying Rome’s own standard for itself more consistently that Rome does.

    If the reason that they don’t do anything about people such as her has to do with the fact that she has money and can mobilize many people, well, that proves that their claims to authority, power, and being the true church of Christ really aren’t all what they claim to be. The Bishops are scared of her and other Roman Catholic politicians because their own people are more likely to be Romanists in the vein of Pelosi than the orthodox Magisterium. So much for the magisterium achieving unity. If you are going to claim to be the one, true church founded by Christ, you better have a freaking backbone to back it up. Rome would be more respectable if it, in fact, did have such a backbone.

    As far as evangelicals losing their willingness to compromise, aren’t you the one who here or on other forums have argued against Rome’s claims that Protestants aren’t united and then proved it because certain parachurch groups are taking care of things cross-denominationally? Evangelicals are less likely to be united as a formal institution, but they’re also less likely to have lesbian pagans teaching religion at their universities (Mary Daly at Boston College for 20–30 years was forced out not for being unorthodox but because of an affirmative action claim by a male student).

    Protestantism offers the same long-term benefits you speak of with regards to Roman Catholicism. The fact that there are more Roman Catholics and that that they are “spread out” more than the Presbyterians, for example, proves very little when there is no real unity of faith. But they’ll get the bread and wine every week—that’s what’s really important, after all.

    By saying that Christianity is not a culture, I am only trying to say that if the cultural aspects of Christianity are all that you have, you’re not a Christian. You may feel free to disagree with me if you wish, but I can then point you back to Jesus who decried the very attempt to think one is okay if one’s religion is merely a culture. Granted that few Roman Catholics would say so crassly that Roman Catholicism is merely a culture, however, given the pervasive nominalism we see in Rome (and not only Rome, to be sure), all that it is for a large majority of adherents is a culture.

    I would also disagree that Roman Catholicism is the “natural religion of the West.” Sure, it has been dominant for a long part of the West’s history, but then again, depending on where you are and where you pinpoint Roman Catholicism’s beginning, Protestantism, paganism, and even agnosticism/atheism are as well.

    The fact of the matter is that based on Rome’s own teaching about itself, Pelosi has no right to argue with the Magisterium. She is ineligible to be a part of it and though she may be seen as a moral authority, she isn’t qualified to be one according to what Rome says about so many moral issues. The fact that many professing Roman Catholics might agree with her only proves their heterodoxy as well.

  225. erasmuse said,

    June 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Perhaps the disagreement can be resolved by calling Pelosi a “bad Catholic”.

  226. didymusmartin said,

    June 24, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    @eramuse
    Westcoast catholic or even California Catholic has a good ring.

  227. CD-Host said,

    June 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    @Robert #227

    As far as evangelicals losing their willingness to compromise, aren’t you the one who here or on other forums have argued against Rome’s claims that Protestants aren’t united and then proved it because certain parachurch groups are taking care of things cross-denominationally? Evangelicals are less likely to be united as a formal institution, but they’re also less likely to have lesbian pagans teaching religion at their universities (Mary Daly at Boston College for 20–30 years was forced out not for being unorthodox but because of an affirmative action claim by a male student).

    Let me start by clarifying this one. In America there are 3 primary groups of Protestants in terms of political / social orientation.

    a) Evangelicals
    b) Mainline Protestants
    c) Black Protestants (i.e. attend exclusively / overwhelming black Protestant churches)

    On most theological issues (a) is also fairly united. There is no question “evangelicals” or “conservative Protestants” are more united than Catholics in America. They are a very cohesive large group, with the possible exception of liberals (whom they are still slightly larger than) they may be the most cohesive large group in America. But part of that makes them cohesive is selection. Evangelicals spent the 1970s-90s pulling rightwingers out of mainline Protestant churches. In the generation since then people dissatisfied with evangelical churches have been frequently going mainline. Black Protestants flow in and out of the other two groups based on personal preferences.

    Catholicism doesn’t have a similar release valve. I think it is fair to say that white Catholicism (is probably more united in moderation that white Protestantism. Now there are three complicating factors:

    i) Blacks and the existence of Black Protestants who often act as a swing group.

    ii) 1st and 2nd generation Hispanic Catholics who are being with them forms of Catholicism which aren’t American and make the Western Rite Catholic community more diverse.

    iii) Non western rite Catholics (Orthodox).

    I think if you throw those 3 complications back in you get Catholics more diverse than Protestants.

    Part of this is though that on many of the other boards the argument is being made is some sort of absolute terms rather than historical accident. White Catholicism was a heck of a lot less diverse when it was primarily Irish. White Protestantism was riven by harsh divisions in the late 18th and early 19th century between Lutherans and British forms (Presbyterians, Anglicans, Congregationalists).

    My feeling is that there is lots of historical accident in this analysis. In general Catholics were able to create religious unity through the use of state terror. Since they’ve lost access to state terror they have limited unity. The specifics of whose on top in the unity battle at any point has far more to do with immigration patterns over the last few generations.

    _______________________

    The Bishops are scared of her and other Roman Catholic politicians because their own people are more likely to be Romanists in the vein of Pelosi than the orthodox Magisterium. So much for the magisterium achieving unity.

    Exactly. Pelosi is a bit to the left. Cardinal Dolan is a bit to the right. Joe Biden is a fair representation of the median Catholic’s religious opinion.

    I can’t call Nancy Pelosi a Roman Catholic because she is defying the magisterium on so many levels. I’m applying Rome’s own standard for itself more consistently that Rome does.

    You aren’t really applying their standard, you are applying part of their standard. As you well know Rome doesn’t apply that standard blindly. The do consider the political context and avoiding schism. What you are saying is they aren’t applying their standard the way your church would. Which is true, but it is true because your church makes no meaningful claim at all to being small-c catholic. The Catholic church does not want purity at the cost of being like the PCA, 1/90th of 1/4 of the population. Unity through sectarianism is not an option for them.
    They can push as far as broad masses of people are willing to go. A Humanae Vitae would not present a problem for the PCA, they can just tell people “get on the bus on this one or get out”.

    And this was the point of the 2004 Conference of Bishops on the issue of politicians of national stature. They understand that Catholic doctrines do not have majority or anything like majority support among Catholics. In Uruguay they Bishops were able to excommunicate because they do have majority support.

    What you are really saying is if Rome acted like an Evangelical Protestant church, that is to say a church with little interest in being small-c catholic, with those doctrines then it would apply its standards and kick out Nancy Pelosi. But that is a very claim then Rome isn’t applying its standards.

    Remember the statement of rebellion I like to quote, “we are the church, they are the hierarchy”. That kind of rebellion wouldn’t even make sense in an evangelical context. A Protestant pastor sees himself as a leader of a sect not a diverse humanity.

    I would also disagree that Roman Catholicism is the “natural religion of the West.” Sure, it has been dominant for a long part of the West’s history, but then again, depending on where you are and where you pinpoint Roman Catholicism’s beginning, Protestantism, paganism, and even agnosticism/atheism are as well.

    You are a Protestant, I’d expect you to disagree with that concept. That is a thoroughly Catholic way of looking at religion and Christianity in particular. The issue isn’t whether you agree with it, the issue is whether you are willing to come to terms with the fact that Catholics view religion in this way and when you talk about what Catholics believe it is very misleading to be thinking in Evangelical terms.

    The fact of the matter is that based on Rome’s own teaching about itself, Pelosi has no right to argue with the Magisterium. She is ineligible to be a part of it and though she may be seen as a moral authority, she isn’t qualified to be one according to what Rome says about so many moral issues. The fact that many professing Roman Catholics might agree with her only proves their heterodoxy as well.

    Yes. They are heterodox. And that’s the issue you keep trying to duck. American Catholics don’t agree with Rome on many issues. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have religious opinions they just don’t have Rome’s opinions.

  228. CD-Host said,

    June 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    @erasmuse #228

    I don’t think she’s a bad Catholic. She’s been active supporter of the Catholic community as Thomas D’Alesandro’s very political daughter since her early teens. She went Catholic High school and college, married Catholic. Board members for National Organization of Italian American Women forever and National Italian American Foundation for like 2 decades. She’s lifetime achievement awards for helping the community…. She just a liberal Catholic amateur theologian who thinks the hierarchy is full of it when it comes to Catholic tradition.

    And that’s sort of my point to Robert. You can be a good liberal Catholic. You can’t be a good liberal PCAer.

    _______

    As for post #224 I wrote a post about 4 years ago you might enjoy: http://church-discipline.blogspot.com/2008/07/gresham-machen-invalid-excommunication.html

  229. Robert said,

    June 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    CD-Host

    You wrote: “She just a liberal Catholic amateur theologian who thinks the hierarchy is full of it when it comes to Catholic tradition.”

    But where does Roman Catholicism give her the right to question tradition? Is not the final, infallible, interpreter and arbiter of tradition the Roman Magisterium, not Nancy Pelosi? That’s really my main point.

    The fact that one can be a good liberal Roman Catholic is precisely the problem. Rome makes all of these grandiose claims, but then is unwilling to back them up when it really matters. I understand that the Roman Church is huge and there has to be a certain amount of “politicking” to keep the whole thing together, but we’re not talking about issues that Rome has said are adiaphora. If the Roman Magisterium is infallible, and if it has defined certain beliefs on abortion and human sexuality as essential and non-negotiable, then the Roman Catholic who actively works against those policies is at best a bad Roman Catholic. And if she’s not a bad Roman Catholic, then Rome’s claims are all a bunch of malarkey.

    I don’t necessarily expect Rome to apply its standards in a Protestant fashion, I just want people like the CTCers to be less smug about the infallibility and unity of their church when people like Pelosi prove that one can spit in the face of the Magisterium and yet live and die a Roman Catholic.

  230. Rooney said,

    June 25, 2013 at 1:23 am

    “But where does Roman Catholicism give her the right to question tradition?”

    Cardinal Manning (in his 1866 work [The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost]) went as so far as to say that it is prideful/heretical to try to look into the Patristics to try to find support for RC doctrine/dogma because it implies that you are not 100% trusting in the RCC’s ability to “get it 100% infallibly right”.

    You should just assume that the RCC got it right and never ever question any bit of its decisions.

  231. Robert said,

    June 25, 2013 at 6:22 am

    Rooney @233

    Thanks for that. I’ll have to read that book!!

  232. CD-Host said,

    June 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    @Robert #232

    But where does Roman Catholicism give her the right to question tradition? Is not the final, infallible, interpreter and arbiter of tradition the Roman Magisterium, not Nancy Pelosi? That’s really my main point.

    In an unqualified sense, that’s CtC theology not Catholic theology. Catholicism understands there is tension there, which CtC tries to deny. Unqualified a magisterium that is the sole meaningful interpreter of tradition eliminates tradition from meaningfully existing. CtCers are drawn to the authoritarian aspects of Catholicism mainly because they want something more than just human opinion. So they like the claims, at least in theory. In practice they like to freely disagree with the USCCB as much as any other Catholic so I don’t think it goes beyond a warm fuzzy on the claim in theory.

    But when we start talking about mainstream Catholics including the actual Catholic leadership they want a more nuanced and more balanced sort of approach. A good analogy might be something like US culture. I don’t personally watch sports but that doesn’t mean that I deny the importance of Football, Basketball, Baseball, Nascar… to US culture. Mainstream Catholics even those on the right often understand that Liberal Catholicism is a valid and important part of Catholic theology. Most Catholics take pride in people like Raymond Brown or John Meier. Most conservative Catholics love the tradition of scholarship on both sides. The love that Joseph Ratzinger and Karl Kung belong to the same church. Liberal Catholics would take pride in something CtC, presenting the Catholic faith to PCAers even while fully understanding how much CtC hates liberalism. Catholics really do like being part of a small-c catholic church.

    Just to take an analogy. You expect the US government to govern people who fundamentally disagree with you about many things. My guess is that you understand that for the US government to work it has to appeal to a much broader base than almost any other institution. I assume you get that a a government which was an almost perfect fit for your ideology would be hated by huge chunks of the population and unable to govern them. In other words, for the US government to achieve your goals it has to disagree with you. But you want a functioning government more than you want specific policies. Catholics view the church that way.

    If the Roman Magisterium is infallible, and if it has defined certain beliefs on abortion and human sexuality as essential and non-negotiable, then the Roman Catholic who actively works against those policies is at best a bad Roman Catholic. And if she’s not a bad Roman Catholic, then Rome’s claims are all a bunch of malarkey.

    You are forgetting the other possibility that the Roman Magisterium is not the only voice, they aren’t the only ones with a vote. To turn this example on its head: Nancy Pelosi has lots of power and authority but that doesn’t mean everything she says is binding on the entire US government. An important voice and the only voice are different. This is the sort of thing where I don’t think CtC is accurately reflecting Catholicism.

    For most Catholics Nancy Pelosi’s lifetime of service to the Catholic community far outweighs her disagreement with the hierarchy on abortion and contraception.

  233. Robert said,

    June 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    CD-Host,

    I get what you are saying to a large measure, and I don’t fundamentally disagree with it practically speaking. All I am saying is that practice does not match the theory laid out in specific Roman teachings on the infallibility of the Magisterium and the papacy.

    The CTCers definitely have a rosy view of the church that does not match what actually happens on the ground. Of course the Magisterium recognizes that the people have a voice, pragmatically speaking, it is just that when you gift the charism of infallibility to the select few in the Magisterium, granting the voice to dissidents destroys the whole claim of infallibility.

    If someone like Nancy Pelosi is a good Roman Catholic, then Roman Catholicism doesn’t mean anything. Now, I have known that for years, that Rome’s reality does not match its grandiose claims. If Rome had not made so many grandiose claims about itself, none of this would be as much of a problem.

    We’re not talking about the color of the vestments, the number of icons, or any number of other things that are adiaphora. If the lay Roman Catholic is allowed to buck the church on issues it has said are fundamental to the faith, then Roman Catholicism is a paper tiger. Churches like the PCA that don’t grant infallibility to themselves, ironically, have more teeth at the end of the day because let’s be honest, if someone like Nancy Pelosi was a member of a PCA church, she’d be disciplined for her advocacy of certain issues, and rightly so.

    Roman Catholics may want a “functioning” government, but my point is that by biblical standards, a church government that does not discipline someone like Nancy Pelosi is not a functioning government. And even in Rome, where you don’t have sola Scriptura, it’s government isn’t functioning according to its own standards. Sure, masses are being held every Sunday, but people are not being shepherded. There is rot at the core.

    To borrow the analogy from the U.S. government, our government is functioning on a superficial level—but it’s not going to last. One day, the debt bomb will go off. The same thing is true of Rome. The American church is already imploding. When one-tenth of the U.S. population is formerly Roman Catholic, you’ve got some big problems. When you have pragmatism without principle, you’ve got problems.

    I’m not looking for a church where there is no disagreement. In fact, I’d be relatively happy with one Protestant denomination where differences on matters not touching the Trinity or justification by faith alone were tolerated. That would mean Calvinists, Lutherans, Baptists, Anglicans, and a whole host of others getting along and working together in one institution. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

    Rome may defer to the church body/laity, but its grandiose claims don’t allow it to. They don’t have a presbyterian form of church government, and they claim that the Magisterium is infallible, at least on occasion. If Rome wants to change its view of itself in these regards, then I’d be happy to grant the possibility that someone like Pelosi is a good Roman Catholic. Until then, not so much.

  234. CD-Host said,

    June 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

    @Robert #236

    All I am saying is that practice does not match the theory laid out in specific Roman teachings on the infallibility of the Magisterium and the papacy.

    CtC tends to overemphasize parts of Catholic doctrine they like. Catholic doctrine also has fairly strong statements about moral conscience. The church does not ask for people to obey doctrines that in they in their heart believe to be wicked. They ask them to examine their conscience, “a human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience”. The actual Catholic doctrinal position is a bit more nuanced than the CtC position. It really is the case that Catholics view their church as more than just a set of rules or rites. If you take some Catholic doctrines and ask what would a conservative Protestant denomination do with those doctrines you get a very different answer than what Catholics would do with those doctrines.

    Catholics aren’t Protestants. The two religions have forked off for 500 years. For Catholics proper moral conscience can never disagree with the magisterium can never disagree with tradition can never disagree with scripture can never disagree with reason. There are apparent disagreements and they need to be worked through. Liberal Catholicism and even to a certain extent conservative Catholicism is all about that tension. The tension is faithful to Catholic moral philosophy. CtC tends to downplay the tension here because the PCA went through the Fundamentalist / Modernist controversies and so has a very different understanding of liberal Protestantism than the Catholic church does of liberal Catholics.

    If your main complaint is that a human institution shouldn’t claim to be inerrant and then act like a human institution I agree. I think the claim on its face is offensive. Besides being obviously contradicted by history a claim of inerrancy is a clear violation of the 2nd commandment. What’s cool about Catholicism though is that many liberal Catholics do as well while still being able to love the church. In your moral frame “catholic” doesn’t matter much but “pro-choice” matters a lot. And that’s why we keep going in circles.

    Roman Catholics may want a “functioning” government, but my point is that by biblical standards, a church government that does not discipline someone like Nancy Pelosi is not a functioning government. And even in Rome, where you don’t have sola Scriptura, it’s government isn’t functioning according to its own standards. Sure, masses are being held every Sunday, but people are not being shepherded. There is rot at the core.

    I think you are being a bit over the top here. People are being shepherded they just aren’t being subject to church discipline. Even using the example of Nancy Pelosi who taught her about Hugh of Saint Victor, Alexander of Hales, Thomas Aquinas…? To make the argument she’s making she had to have received a good Catholic education that is to say been shepherded. They may not have agreed with her final conclusions but they didn’t fail to instruct her in the Catholic faith. She did a lifetime of Catholic school including her BA and adult study of these topics after this that isn’t someone who isn’t being engaged by the church. It is someone who isn’t in accord with their conclusions about the weight of the evidence. (As an aside who is actually right here is very complex. Interestingly enough her position depends on a formal read of the church fathers taking them at their word, while their’s is dependent upon a more subtle argument about underlying principles. In most other situations conservatives would tend to side with the more formal read).

    What you are really objecting to is they aren’t forcing agreement with their positions. That is to say they aren’t discipling not that they aren’t shepherding. It is important to realize Catholicism since the early 4th century never had discipline in the PCA, that is to say American Protestant, sense of word. Their discipline was always tied to state enforcement. One of the reasons that Protestant Reformation happened was that Prince Frederick didn’t let Pope Leo’s excommunication turn into Martin Luther’s death sentence. Without state support church discipline takes on a different flavor, a flavor that the Radical Reformers had pushed for: an individually regenerate church.

    What you have in the PCA is a functioning discipline system. Probably one of the most functional in all of American Protestantism (so as an aside you may be setting the bar a bit high on this issue with comparing the Catholic Church to the PCA on an area of such strength). But it is a functioning discipline system only in the sense of trying to create a Regenerate Church. PCA discipline has no interest at all or any plausible way of creating a regenerate society.

    I think you would agree that PCA discipline works because other denominations exist. When a minister is kicked out of the PCA either for heresy, being to liberal or being too conservative they go elsewhere. Because they quickly find a new home, and their is a flow of membership all throughout Protestantism the pressure stops after the excommunication. The pressure doesn’t keep building. And BTW that is a really good model. For all of the CtCers criticism of it, it is proven stable model for maintaining a highly religious population with very close to 0 state coercion or interference in the functioning of the church.

    Lane has no fear about the extra publicity a Peter Leithart would get or the tension because in part he knows Leithart would just join CREC and release the pressure. If Leithart is forced out there wouldn’t be PCAers who would hate Lane till the day he died over the Leithart issue, because PCA discipline is just seen as a formal measure having to do with the PCA. PCA discipline only works because the degree of passion is kept in check and what keeps it in check is a diversity of institutions the fact that the PCA isn’t catholic. Peter Enns stops teaching at Westminster but is able to teach at Eastern and so everyone can move on from the Enns issue to focus on the Leithart issue.

    PCA excommunications are symbols that people should go join another denomination. The Catholic church’s excommunications still mean more they just can’t use them nearly as often. Catholics don’t agree with the Radical Reformers. Catholics see church discipline not as a way to regenerate the church but a way to regenerate Catholic societies. Remember Catholics try and convert whole countries and cultures not individuals. The Catholic church hasn’t been able to come up with a good answer for “what does Catholicism look like outside the context of Catholic kingdoms”? So it is very unclear what heavily used church discipline can exist in a country like the United States other than Protestant model.

    Catholics know they don’t want your model because they don’t want multiple Catholic churches and your model depends on that. So what they do instead is have a discipline that needs an overwhelming consensus among all the stakeholders to function, and that includes the faithful. I think Cardinal Dolan would love to kick Nancy Pelosi out of the Catholic Church. But there is no “liberal Catholic Church” today and if kicking Nancy Pelosi out means the creation of one (which is a realistic possibility in her case) the cost is much too high.

    What happens in your theory right after they excommunicate Nancy Pelosi? You’ve never disagreed with me that she has tens of millions of supporters and can command tremendous resources. I think you would agree that it is plausible that a majority of the nuns (who are very disgruntled with the bishops) including Sister Keehan would probably follow her out the door and go for government funding. Pelosi with the nuns and thus the hospitals and schools but only a fraction of the priests. Dolan ends up with most bishops and priests all the pretty buildings but without secondary supports. Things could be worse, things could be better. But what I don’t understand is what in your view does Dolan get from excommunicating Pelosi other than the certainty of a powerful enemy and the real risk of a Liberal Catholic Church being created? Dolan can’t beat her at an acceptable cost. You don’t fight wars you can’t win and he can’t win.

    I should also mention this attitude is fairly common in Liberal Christianity today, including liberal Presbyterians. The reason there still are evangelicals in the PCUSA is because the PCUSA is much tolerant of dissent than the PCA is. I think you would agree. For example, there have been motions before the PCUSA’s GA to treat anti-homosexual preaching (and sometimes members) the way an open advocate of racism would be treated and those motions have failed. They failed mainly because the PCUSA doesn’t want to force an agreement through where none exists.

    I’m not looking for a church where there is no disagreement. In fact, I’d be relatively happy with one Protestant denomination where differences on matters not touching the Trinity or justification by faith alone were tolerated. That would mean Calvinists, Lutherans, Baptists, Anglicans, and a whole host of others getting along and working together in one institution. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

    Really? Assuming by justification you mean sola fide and not TULIP since you are including Anglicans… what you are describing strikes me as much closer to the UCC or PCUSA than the PCA.

    How would that church function on moral issues:

    gambling — a horrible sin worthy or excommunication (incidentally a position maybe liberal congregations hold) to harmless entertainment (many conservatives on this side)

    drinking — a core social activity to a sin that is the fountain of almost every other sin and to be prohibited

    masturbation — an important part of healthy childhood sexual development and an activity to be encouraged or a sin and a gateway to more serious sexual sins

    greed — we should admire success and hold in esteem those people who triumphed in business to money is the root of evil and almost inevitably what is required to get wealth corrupts the soul

    I’m hard pressed to think of how this church could even speak to morality. To work it would have to create dynamic tension between these conflicting views and then …. you have the Catholic church.

    etc…

    Pretty much all (high 90s percentage) Protestants agree on the trinity and sola fide.

  235. Robert said,

    June 26, 2013 at 11:37 am

    CD-Host,

    Much of what you are saying is exactly correct, from a purely pragmatic perspective. But a church that runs on pure pragmatism is a church that has nothing to say.

    What does Dolan get for excommunicating Pelosi—presumably a purer church. If that’s not a cost he is willing to pay, he’s not following the apostolic model that he is supposed to be inheriting and perpetuating in the Magisterium. Paul certainly was willing to rebuke a fellow apostle when he was compromising what he considered an essential gospel issue. Last time I looked, Rome thought abortion was a gospel-related matter, a mortal sin. Pelosi is actively encouraging making it easy to commit mortal sin.

    I realize that Roman Catholicism has a nuanced view of conscience, but at the end of the day, a Roman Catholic still can’t deny the Trinity as a matter of conscience and still be a good Roman Catholic. I would say that according to the Magisterium, you can’t do the same with the immorality of abortion and remain a good Roman Catholic.

    Not all PCA excommunication is a sign that one should join another church. An Arminian teacher who could be removed only through excommunication would be rare, but I don’t think that most would view that as anything more than join another communion. Excommunication for impenitent adultery or Trinitarian heresy, however, is the church’s verdict that the person is not a Christian, not merely a way to tell them they would be happier elsewhere.

    Again, I realize that pragmatic considerations such as funding play a huge role in all of this. They do so in many Protestant cases of discipline as well. That is also wrong in those cases. If one is afraid to make enemies by standing for what the church has said are core truths, then one needs to go sell shoes or something. Again, we’re not talking about Pelosi wanting to build a more contemporary-looking church building or change the service time on Sunday, we’re talking about issues that the church has said are essential, not issues that even the Roman church regards as adiaphora.

    The question is, should the church’s goal be a regenerate society or a regenerate church. You don’t have the former without the latter, ever.

  236. CD-Host said,

    June 26, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    @Robert #238

    Not all PCA excommunication is a sign that one should join another church. An Arminian teacher who could be removed only through excommunication would be rare, but I don’t think that most would view that as anything more than join another communion. Excommunication for impenitent adultery or Trinitarian heresy, however, is the church’s verdict that the person is not a Christian, not merely a way to tell them they would be happier elsewhere.

    Let me just point out that I know for a fact that there are PCA churches that accept members who reject the trinity. The best examples I know of are x-Mormons who have rejected eternal progression and Joseph Smith as a prophet but often still believe that the son and the father are fully separate persons. That is a reasonable matter of pastoral discretion and I’m not disagreeing with their call. What’s impossible to believe in 10 weeks after leaving Mormonism might look different 10 years after leaving Mormonism. But still I wanted to point out that even in the 2 examples you gave I know your church does make pragmatic decisions.

    More pragmatically on non-trinitarian, I can tell you from personal experience, they can do just fine in conservative congregations no sweat, as long as they aren’t looking to pick a fight on the issue. I became a modalist long before I became an atheist. As long as you avoid identifying “persons” as “modes” in more or less that language you can pretty freely talk about modalism and no one even raises an eyebrow. No one asks members (as opposed to teaching elders) to talk about the distinctions in the natures of the persons of the trinity. I found that as long as I avoided more or less rubbing anyone’s face in non-trinitarian theology using explicitly modalist terms, I could freely discuss those beliefs in prayer group without it even raising comment. Without the right keywords they can’t even tell the difference.

    As a 3rd example CBMW is part of the Reformed Conservative tradition and they have been arguably preaching subordinationism (son is subordinate in authority to the father) that most semi-Arians would have no problem agreeing with and no one but egalitarians women (who have limited stature in the PCA) have raised an eyebrow because the like their defense of complementarianism.

    As for adultery the PCA is pretty good there. It is harder for members to pop between churches because even churches that reject the PCA and visa versa (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists, Mormons, Fundamentalist Baptist…) disapprove of adultery and thus will tend to enforce one another’s discipline if they know. This doesn’t apply as much to liberal churches and the Catholic church is in the same boat. They just don’t discipline members much at all.

    On the other hand the PCA shouldn’t pat itself too much on the back. 3 years after they adultery is discovered, the adulterer is divorced married to his mistress, or there has been another affair or two and now the person in an effectively open marriage. And then (s)he happily joins a conservative congregation, no mess no fuss.

    The question is, should the church’s goal be a regenerate society or a regenerate church. You don’t have the former without the latter, ever.

    I agree with you. Catholics don’t. They believe that a universal church is the agent of regeneration that a “regenerate church” is just a faction.

    Paul certainly was willing to rebuke a fellow apostle when he was compromising what he considered an essential gospel issue.

    No question. Paul as we have mentioned clearly was comfortable in a world of peers where he met people on equal ground on the basis of scripture. That’s not Catholicism.


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