How Dialogue Sounds When Grown-Ups Do It

Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Catholicism, Development, Ecclesiology, Featured, Protestantism | 284 comments

Just for fun, I drew up what I think is a pretty good blueprint for how dialogue should occur. Some things you’ll note are (1), there’s no name-calling; (2), questions are posed rather than strawmen destroyed; (3), concessions are made on both sides; and (4), both characters end with the same views with which they started. Enjoy:

Protestant: “Why’d you become a Catholic?”

Catholic: “Because I believe the Catholic Church is the church that Christ founded.”

Protestant: “Even if I grant that there is such a visible body today that can lay claim to that identity, why does it even matter?”

Catholic: “Because in order to distinguish between divine revelation and human opinion in a principled way, some visible body must exist with the authority to do so.”

Protestant: “Aren’t you just presupposing Catholicism by saying that?”

Catholic: “No. I said that ‘some visible body’ must exist, I didn’t say it was the Catholic Church.”

Protestant: “Oh, so you’re saying that visible body could be the Orthodox Church?”

Catholic: “Yes.”

Protestant: “Why couldn’t that visible body be Protestantism?”

Catholic: “For a couple reasons. First, Protestantism didn’t exist before the Reformation, and no church can be considered the church that Christ founded if it can’t make some plausible claim to have existed from the very beginning. And secondly, Protestantism is not a visible body, neither is there a coherent concept of a visible church in Protestantism.”

Protestant: “Umm, read the Westminster Confession. It describes the visible church in some detail.”

Catholic: “It describes visible believers and visible congregations, plural, but not a single visible church. For example, saying that ‘the visible church’ is ‘all who profess Christ, and their children’ is tantamount to saying that the visible church is just a collection of people who have no visible connection to one another. But if a bunch of severed limbs don’t make a body, a bunch of disconnected believers don’t make a church.”

Protestant: “But they aren’t disconnected, they belong to local churches.”

Catholic: “Exactly. That’s why I said that Protestantism has visible churches, but no singular visible church. That’s why I don’t consider it an option to be the church that Christ founded. Jesus founded one church, not many.”

Protestant: “But why do you consider the RCC to be that church? Where did the early fathers teach the papacy?”

Catholic: “They didn’t. At least not in the terms we now use to describe it.”

Protestant: “How is that not a huge problem for your position?”

Catholic: “Because we nowhere stated that there was some cut-off date after which no new language or development of prior-held doctrines was possible.”

Protestant: “How does that apply to the papacy? If neither Peter, nor Clement, nor any of the other early Roman bishops claimed infallibility or universal jurisdiction, then how are the Catholic teachings not as novel as you say ours are?”

Catholic: “It’s not just a question of novelty. If it were, we should dismiss Nicene Trinitarianism and Chalcedonian Christology, since they both said things that were not found explicitly either in the New Testament or in the earlier fathers.”

Protestant: “So if it’s not about novelty, what’s it about?”

Catholic: “It’s about authority. If you believe, at least on paper, that there’s such a thing as development of doctrine, such that not all changes are necessarily corruptions, then the question becomes, ‘Who has the authority to differentiate between legitimate developments from corruptions of doctrine?'”

Protestant: “So. . . back to the papacy?”

Catholic: “The authority that Jesus gave Peter to tend and feed his lambs did not need to be wielded outside his own backyard, or the backyard of his earliest successors, until there began to be disputes not just within congregations, but among bishops themselves.”

Protestant: “So once bishops started disagreeing with one another, Rome came up with the idea that Peter’s successor has primacy?”

Catholic: “No, because everyone, even EOs today, acknowledge Petrine primacy. But it wasn’t until it was needed that Roman bishops recognized they could exercise it. So when those cases arose, it made sense to look to Rome for adjudication. The fact that the need didn’t arise earlier is beside the point.”

Protestant: “So you’re saying that Clement, or even Peter himself, may not have completely understood his own role?”

Catholic: “Kind of. I’m saying that in the same way that Jesus, when he was six, may not have understood or been able to articulate the details and depth of his own divine mission, but grew into an understanding of it as he developed mentally and physically, so in a similar way his Body, the Church, can grow into a deeper understanding of itself and its divine mission.”

Protestant: “But what about all those ways that ‘development’ ends up contradicting things you’ve said earlier?”

Catholic: “Such as?”

Protestant: “Such as at Vatican 2. Didn’t the Church radically change then?”

Catholic: “Yes.”

Protestant: “Wait, what? How can you admit that the Catholic Church changed?”

Catholic: “Its self-understanding developed. The Church found itself in a new, denominational context, and recognized that it needed to change its outlook toward the heirs of a schism that happened 500 years ago, the culprits for which are all dead.”

Protestant: “How is that not a total cop-out?”

Catholic: “For the same reason that it’s not a cop-out to say that you are the same person as the boy in your fifth grade class picture, or that the church of Acts 16, with its deacons and Gentiles and pigs-in-a-blanket at their church potlucks is the same church as the one in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost.”

Protestant: “That seems like a bit of a stretch.”

Catholic: “Yeah, I can see how it might. But so can conservative Christian attempts to harmonize the Gospels.”

Protestant: “What’s that got to do with anything?”

Catholic: “Something’s only a ‘stretch’ when you’re looking at it from a posture of skepticism. When you’re looking at it from a basic posture of trust, it’s different.”

Protestant: “So you’re admitting that believing in Catholicism is a matter of faith, not historical proof?”

Catholicism: “I’d hardly call it a groundbreaking admission. We’ve always said that our faith is reasonable (so it’s not just a fideistic leap in the dark), but it’s also supernatural and a matter of special revelation, meaning that it can’t be known by purely human means or empirical evidence.”

Protestant: “That still sounds like way too much trust in a human institution.”

Catholic: “The Church is not simply human, any more than Jesus was simply human. It’s a divine institution that is led by humans. Often very sinful humans. That’s why it needs to be protected from error: precisely because of its proneness to it.”

Protestant: “Yeah, but infallibility seems so unlikely, especially given all the evidence.”

Catholic: “I could say the same thing about the Bible. Why do you trust in its infallibility despite all the scholarly evidence to the contrary?”

Protestant: “Because I don’t find the evidence that strong. Every so-called contradiction between, say, Matthew’s version of a story and Luke’s, can be harmonized pretty easily.”

Catholic: “Exactly. And it’s that same hermeneutic of trust that we extend not just to Scripture, but to the Church.”

Protestant: “Sounds too good to be true. Sounds like wishful thinking.”

Catholic: “So does Christianity in general. But Catholics don’t suddenly go from being faithful to being skeptics the minute we close our Bibles. The God we read about in Scripture seems to us to be exactly the kind of God who would protect his Church from error when she exercises her full authority, just like he did for the writers of the New Testament when they exercised theirs.”

Protestant: “Well, wish I had your faith, or credulity.”

Catholic: “Which is exactly what an agnostic would say to either of us the minute we mentioned the resurrection.”

Protestant: “Fair point. But I just can’t bring myself to take the RCC’s claims seriously, despite whatever Protestant problems they may alleviate.”

Catholic: “So you agree that the Catholic Church’s claims, whether true or not, theoretically alleviate’s uniquely Protestant problems like AC2?”

Protestant: “Yeah, theoretically. But what good are claims to be able to fix problems when they come from a dubious source?”

Catholic: “Yeah, I can see why you’d say that.”

Protestant: “You can?”

Catholic: “Totally. The Catholic Church’s claims hardly look persuasive at first glance. It takes a fair bit of charity and trust to embrace them.”

Protestant: “Well, it’s good to hear you admit that.”

Catholic: “Just being honest.”

Protestant: “Cool. Anyway, I’ve got to run. Darryl Hart’s giving the keynote address at the American Skeptics Society, and I don’t want to miss it.”

Catholic: “Really? Sounds riveting.”

Protestant: “Oh yeah, they love him over there. The lecture is titled ‘Protestants and Agnostics Together, Catholics Apart: An Ecumenical Proposal.'”

Catholic: “Sounds about right. I’ve gotta go as well. Bryan Cross’s logic lessons start in a few minutes, and when we’re late he hits us.”

[A n d . . . scene ]

 

284 Comments

  1. Catholic: “For a couple reasons. First, Protestantism didn’t exist before the Reformation, and no church can be considered the church that Christ founded if it can’t make some plausible claim to have existed from the very beginning

    Messianic Jews existed from the very beginning and are actually the ones who preserved the Gospels for gentiles, and more so, who admitted gentiles into their own </i olive tree. (cf Romans 11). Did you catch that? Their OWN olive tree. The catholic church isn’t that olive tree, it is Israel that Paul is speaking of here. You simply subsume their existence into the CC, with no reasonable motive to do so. Messianic Jews today for the most part identify themselves outside of the CC. The other presupposition in your argument is that visibility must mean a presence spread over 2,000 years. Why? Israel went for hundreds of years sometimes without authentic leadership, so why is the CC immune from such? Especially considering the fact that both the CC and the Protestant church have claimed supersessionism from the beginning.

    “I’d hardly call it a groundbreaking admission. We’ve always said that our faith is reasonable (so it’s not just a fideistic leap in the dark), but it’s also supernatural and a matter of special revelation, meaning that it can’t be known by purely human means or empirical evidence.”

    The motives of credibility which pertain to the authority of the CC are actually not reasonable to many a natural seeker, and therefore your stance is one of quasi-fideism. That is my core argument. What should be the criteria to determine how ‘reasonable’ the motives are? Now that’s the real question and what the conversation should center on.

  2. SS,

    I have told you before that I just can’t muster up the desire to engage with you on this crusade of yours. You are the ONLY person I have ever come across who holds your theory, which makes it plenty marginal and fringy enough to not take seriously (for me anyway). Others can debate you if they want to, but if you’re going to hijack this thread and turn it into a soapbox, I will have to put a stop to it.

    I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but surely there are other blogs with broader aims that would be a more profitable arena to debate whether or not we’re all supposed to become Jewish or whatever.

  3. That said, SS, I think your second paragraph should be addressed:

    The motives of credibility which pertain to the authority of the CC are actually not reasonable to many a natural seeker, and therefore your stance is one of quasi-fideism. That is my core argument. What should be the criteria to determine how ‘reasonable’ the motives are? Now that’s the real question and what the conversation should center on.

    Something’s either reasonable or it’s not. Lots of reasonable things are false, and lots of people find claims reasonable, but not reasonable enough to persuade them. I would say as much about Protestantism: it is plausible, but no longer plausible enough to persuade me.

    If you are saying that Catholicism is not even plausible, then in my mind you’re just too closed-minded to dialogue with. And to be fair, I don’t find your position plausible enough to really take seriously, but I won’t completely dismiss it as impossible or unreasonable.

    The MOC are not only plausible, they are persuasive for millions of people. If the fact that some are not persuaded means that the claims are unreasonable, then the same would apply to your position, as well as to every single belief system in existence.

  4. but surely there are other blogs with broader aims that would be a more profitable arena to debate whether or not we’re all supposed to become Jewish or whatever.

    Nowhere have I asked any of us to become Jewish. What I have said is that we gentiles were meant to be authority together with Jewish believers and that there is no historical evidence to support the idea that the first Jewish believers were proto-catholics. I think you can appreciate the difference.

  5. That said, SS, I think your second paragraph should be addressed

    Glad that you can recognize that.

    If you are saying that Catholicism is not even plausible, then in my mind you’re just too closed-minded to dialogue with. And to be fair, I don’t find your position plausible enough to really take seriously, but I won’t completely dismiss it as impossible or unreasonable.

    I never said Catholicism is not even plausible. I think that it takes a tremendous amount of effort and work to work through the competing claims, I know because I’ve been doing just that for a decade now. I personally feel that the EO has a much stronger case than CC, if that is anything to you. What I believe is that the MOC pertaining to the authority claims of the CC are the weakest and not justifiable as reasonable. I actually believe that they are unreasonable, and this not because of an priori bias against the CC, but in light of the cold, hard historical facts.

    The MOC are not only plausible, they are persuasive for millions of people. If the fact that some are not persuaded means that the claims are unreasonable, then the same would apply to your position, as well as to every single belief system in existence.

    The appeal to a majority I do not find a convincing argument. Muslims can claim the same for the appeal of the Koran. The fact that some are not persuaded does not necessarily imply that the claims are unreasonable, that is correct and true. However, that was not my point. My point was that the latter fact shows that your stance reduces to quasi fideism, in the event that there is no arbitrator to adjudicate between competing claims as to what is reasonable and what is not. That’s why I have argued to Bryan Cross, Mike Liccione, Ray Stamper, Mateo and yourself that your stance cannot avoid an epistemic Tu Quoque.

    What then? Does this therefore imply that we are doomed to epistemic neverland? May it never be. The disciples were men of God, appointed by Him and approved by their fear of God. If they were able to settle doctrinal disputes as complex as the implications of the law for the gentiles, how much more ought we, be able to settle disputes and reach unity on doctrinal matters, in a way that is pleasing to God, eschewing violence and all manner of ungodliness. The conciliar process is the answer, but of course, it needs to be the sequel to genuine repentance and reconciliation with the natural branches.

  6. SS,

    What I have said is that we gentiles were meant to be authority together with Jewish believers and that there is no historical evidence to support the idea that the first Jewish believers were proto-catholics. I think you can appreciate the difference.

    Yeah, I don’t know what else to say other than that in Christ there is no longer Jew or Greek. The gospel was preached to the Jews first, and the fact that no many of them believed, or that few of them became leaders in the early church, isn’t Gentiles’ fault, and it’s certainly not the CC’s.

    So I don’t know what to do with your claim that a certain thing “was meant to be,” but since it didn’t happen that therefore dot dot dot, et cetera. I just honestly have no response.

  7. Yeah, I don’t know what else to say other than that in Christ there is no longer Jew or Greek. The gospel was preached to the Jews first, and the fact that no many of them believed, or that few of them became leaders in the early church, isn’t Gentiles’ fault, and it’s certainly not the CC’s.

    Paul also says that there is now no longer male nor female, nor bondservant or master. Does mean that distinctions between male or female are now erased as well? Is your wife, a believer, no longer female now that she has believed? Because surely your argument is that the jew/gentile distinction is conflated. But that is not what Paul meant. Afterall, this is the Paul who always and everywhere defined himself as a Jew (“I am a Jew, a Pharisee!…” and not as a Christian. 2) This is the Paul who freely and voluntarily took a Nazirite vow in Acts 18, shaving his head. 3) This is the Paul who had no qualms paying for the nazirite vows of 4 other devout Jewish believers, zealous for the law, as described by James himself. Did he not get the memo that there was now no longer jew nor greek? 4) This is the Paul who circumcised Timothy (whose mother was jewish and father was greek. Given this evidence in a nutshell, is it reasonable to hold that there is neither jew nor greek in the sense in which you mean it? I contend that the expression only speaks to the common bond of salvation, i.e., justification by faith through the grace of God in Christ and does not speak to the erasing of all distinctions of praxis between jew and greek.

    So I don’t know what to do with your claim that a certain thing “was meant to be,” but since it didn’t happen that therefore dot dot dot, et cetera. I just honestly have no response

    I would like to point out that your earlier point that am “the ONLY one” arguing in this manner is actually incorrect. If you were aware of the Radical New Perspective on Paul, you wouldn’t say that. I think that the scholarship from Joseph Shulam, Mark Nanos, Paul Tomson, John Gager, Stanley Stowers, Pamela Eisenbaum ought to be considered. I have read almost all the heavyweights when it comes to Paul, and this is just my personal observation, but the so called ‘heavyweights’ in the West are far surpassed when it comes to depth of understanding of the Scriptures under a historical-critical approach.

    The reason why I have repeated my points in your threads is because I know that these arguments are underrepresented in the discussion, and they deserve a place in the discussion because they have immense ecclesiological implications even though they are not familar to most readers/posters. I will grant you this even: if it were simply a matter of catholic vs protestant: the protestant would stand no chance, by virtue of the fact that sola scriptura is epistemologically untenable and actually unbiblical. I wish it were that easy, but life’s always a bit more complicated than we think, non? What’s the saying “What you don’t know might kill you”. I think that in the field of theology, the same holds true as far as arguments and their logical underpinnings.

    At any rate, if you still feel like banning me, I will respect your decision. It is entirely your prerogative to put my arguments on ignore, even though I feel like there isn’t a valid reason to do so.

  8. I meant “and does not speak to the erasing of all distinctions of praxis between jewish and greek believers”

  9. I won’t ban you, SS. But I would just urge moderation and prudence. Also, I’ll prolly leave the interacting-with-you-on-this-issue to others. Hope you understand.

  10. Thanks Jason, I understand. I will try to be more prudent and keep it moderate despite the difficulty involved.

    Hope you and family are doing well otherwise.

    Peace,
    S

  11. Protestant: “Why couldn’t that visible body be Protestantism?”

    Catholic: “For a couple reasons. First, Protestantism didn’t exist before the Reformation, and no church can be considered the church that Christ founded if it can’t make some plausible claim to have existed from the very beginning. And secondly, Protestantism is not a visible body, neither is there a coherent concept of a visible church in Protestantism.”

    I was shocked when I found this fatal flaw in Protestantism’s doctrine of the church. I mulled this thing over…..”Surely this couldn’t have been missed by the same men who brought us the 5 solas. I must not understand?”…..” I mean it is now almost 500 years since the Reformation and the case isn’t airtight!!!!??”…..
    And then I thought, ” If this is so *glaringly* unworkable then what does that also say to Protestantism’s vouching for the reliablity of scripture?”…..

    Somebody’s ducks were not in a row. Thank you for writing this. It’s very helpful.

    Susan

  12. SS September 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm
    Messianic Jews existed from the very beginning

    Messianic Jews in the first century, were Catholic. Bonafide members of the Catholic Church which Jesus Christ built.

    and are actually the ones who preserved the Gospels for gentiles, and more so, who admitted gentiles into their own </i olive tree. (cf Romans 11). Did you catch that? Their OWN olive tree.

    God’s olive tree. The Apostles never claimed ownership of the tree. They claimed stewardship.

    The catholic church isn’t that olive tree,

    Yes, it is. It is the only tree remaining. The Jewish tree was pulled up by the roots and discarded by God. There is another tree, growing from the root of Jesse, which is contains Gentiles and Jews without distinction.

    it is Israel that Paul is speaking of here. You simply subsume their existence into the CC, with no reasonable motive to do so. Messianic Jews today for the most part identify themselves outside of the CC.

    That is besides the point. Salvation is not about being Jewish. It is about being righteous, whether Jew or Gentile.

    The other presupposition in your argument is that visibility must mean a presence spread over 2,000 years. Why? Israel went for hundreds of years sometimes without authentic leadership, so why is the CC immune from such?

    Because the Catholic Church was established by God.

    Especially considering the fact that both the CC and the Protestant church have claimed supersessionism from the beginning.

    Supersessionism is true. The Old Covenant was fulfilled and the New Testament took its place.

    “I’d hardly call it a groundbreaking admission. We’ve always said that our faith is reasonable (so it’s not just a fideistic leap in the dark), but it’s also supernatural and a matter of special revelation, meaning that it can’t be known by purely human means or empirical evidence.”
    The motives of credibility which pertain to the authority of the CC are actually not reasonable to many a natural seeker, and therefore your stance is one of quasi-fideism. That is my core argument. What should be the criteria to determine how ‘reasonable’ the motives are? Now that’s the real question and what the conversation should center on.

    The motives are divine. God had to die in order for the first covenant to be fulfilled. Therefore He took on a body and died upon the Cross that the sins of the fist testament might be redeemed and the Patriarchs awaiting entry into heaven might receive the promise of eternal inheritance (Hebrew 9:15).

    But Christ did not die in order that the Jews remain in power. Christ died for all people in order that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for Him who died for them and rose again (2 Cor 5:15). Jew or Gentile.

    If God had wanted a Jewish branch to grow side by side with a Gentile branch, He would have sustained one. Yet, the one Jewish branch which was growing in the Church, it had 15 Bishops of Jewish heritage, was eradicated by the Roman empire. You have agreed that this is true. So, if God wanted a line of Jewish leaders beside a line of Gentile leaders in the Church, why did He permit it to be eradicated?

    And why do you blame the Catholic Church for its eradication?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  13. Paul also says that there is now no longer male nor female, nor bondservant or master.

    St. Paul also recognized Sts. Timothy and Titus. Therefore, individual identity is not eradicated either.

    To put it bluntly, your point is exceedingly silly. The Catholic Church teaches in Scripture and in Doctrine, that we are all equal in the eyes of God. Jew or Gentile. If we keep His Commandments, we are approved. If we don’t, we are not.

    Romans 2:6-13
    King James Version (KJV)
    6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

    Now, if God had intended a Jewish led branch to grow side by side with a Gentile branch, why did He permit the branch led by Jewish believers to be eradicated? History shows that it existed. History shows that the Romans destroyed it. If God had willed it to grow until today, it would have. But it didn’t. And you have agreed that this is true. Not that it would matter whether you agree or not. It is a matter of record.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  14. Jason and Susan,

    Jason wrote:

    Catholic: “For a couple reasons. First, Protestantism didn’t exist before the Reformation, and no church can be considered the church that Christ founded if it can’t make some plausible claim to have existed from the very beginning. And secondly, Protestantism is not a visible body, neither is there a coherent concept of a visible church in Protestantism.”

    I’ll address this piece by piece:

    1. Protestantism didn’t exist before the Reformation—yes and no. Yes there was no Protestant church before the Reformation because the concept had no meaning until historical circumstances forced a split. But there was no Roman Catholic Church before the Reformation. What you all don’t seem to recognize is that Trent is as important to the birth of Roman Catholicism as anything Luther or Calvin did for Protestantism. Before the Reformation you just have the Western Church with various streams of theology, including factions with an Erastian bent, some that were Augustinian, some that were more thoroughly Thomistic, etc. etc. You have some concept of papal authority that is bringing about a surface level visible unity but there are all sorts of movements and undercurrents that are jonesing for reform and a strong conciliar tradition that wanted to take away so much of the papacy’s authority. These are simple historical facts that even Roman Catholic scholars recognize.

    On the other hand, there was a Protestant church before the Reformation. Protestantism is a legitimate development of certain but not all strains of theology in the Western Church. I could actually say the same for Roman Catholicism being a legitimate development of certain but not all strains of theology in the Western Church. The question is adjudicating which strains of doctrine and practice were legitimate in the first place.

    The unspoken assumption is that a body that can trace a laying on of hands back to the apostles cannot possibly fall into such severe doctrinal error and be so corrupt in practice that thoroughgoing Reformation is unnecessary. The unspoken assumption is that a body that can trace a laying on of hands back the apostles could never possibly fall into such error that its leaders steadfastly resist all calls for true reformation and leave people with no choice but to break free and continue on the true church apart from those who have claimed to lead it for generations. Where in the world does Scripture or the earliest tradition say that?

    Magisterial Protestantism has just as a legitimate claim to going back to the apostles as Rome even by Rome’s own standards. In the first place, Anglicanism retained the bishop’s primacy. The see of Canterbury can easily trace an apostolic lineage according to Rome’s own standards. Luther was ordained a priest for crying out loud. Farel was appointed a preacher by a Reform-minded bishop in France and later took on Calvin with him. There you go. Now if you want to tell me that the apostolic succession even by Roman standards became broken somehow when these men started to reject certain medieval practices and doctrines somehow, that’s fine as long as you apply the same standard to your own communion and reject the bishops, popes, and priests who have openly rejected Roman Catholic doctrines and morals by their lives or teachings. I say this not to be rude, but the Roman Catholic double standard is extremely tiresome.

    2. If by visible church you mean that Protestantism does not have the same home office, then yes, Protestantism is not a visible church. But the unspoken assumption here is that God intended for the church to all have the same home office, whether it is Rome, Constantinople, or somewhere else. Where in Scripture do we see this? Furthermore, it seems that even Paul was willing to tolerate a certain degree of difference in praxis and even doctrine at levels that don’t touch the essence of salvation. His whole discussion of Christian freedom in Romans 14 and in 1 Corinthians 10 presupposes this. If Paul is willing to let some people consider eating meat offered to idols a sin for them even though the practice has no inherent moral value, that is teaching touching on doctrinal and moral matters.

    All of this is not to say that denominational unity is not the ideal. But it is something that is just assumed around these parts and not argued for. I happen to believe that unity must be both visible and invisible, but whether that will occur before the eschaton I don’t know. However, given the choice between one visible church that winks at heretics within its midst and a multitude of visible churches that seek to purge the heretics, why is the former better? Why is organizational unity better than true doctrinal unity? It beggars belief that y’all can be so insistent that Rome has AC2 when AC2 is not meaningfully enforced. Do you not understand that there is no distinction between a fallible church and an infallible church that is fallible about when it is infallible?

    3. The idea that there is no coherent doctrine of the visible church in Protestantism makes no sense unless, perhaps, coherent doctrine of visible church=one home office that solves all your problems. Again, that’s an assumption.

    The coherent doctrine of the visible church in Protestantism is that the visible church is a fallible body that is bound by apostolic teaching and whose pronouncements have authority when they reflect apostolic teaching. Fallibility doesn’t mean that the church always gets it wrong, nor does it mean that we have no way of knowing when it is right or wrong. Fallibility is asserted to help prevent things such as the Inquisition from happening and to preserve the apostolic doctrine of Christian liberty.

    The fact that there is division within Protestantism points to the doctrine of sin as much as the division within RC points to the doctrine of sin.

  15. Susan,

    I was shocked when I found this fatal flaw in Protestantism’s doctrine of the church. I mulled this thing over…..”Surely this couldn’t have been missed by the same men who brought us the 5 solas. I must not understand?”…..” I mean it is now almost 500 years since the Reformation and the case isn’t airtight!!!!??”…..
    And then I thought, ” If this is so *glaringly* unworkable then what does that also say to Protestantism’s vouching for the reliablity of scripture?”…..

    Well, given that Rome believes it has existed for 2,000 years and the case for it is not airtight (forget Protestantism, ask the Eastern Orthodox and the Antiochian Orthodox), that must mean that Roman Catholicism is wrong as well, right?

    As I said, the double standard is tiresome.

  16. @Jason:
    You’ve made a point in your response to SS that I would like to see elaborated.

    I would say as much about Protestantism: it is plausible, but no longer plausible enough to persuade me.

    If you are saying that Catholicism is not even plausible, then in my mind you’re just too closed-minded to dialogue with.

    That’s exactly where I am, but I would say the same about atheism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Marxism, Mormonism, and just about every other belief that has any significant following. In other words, on sheer plausibility grounds, there are hardly any beliefs with significant followings that don’t pass the basic plausibility test. That’s essentially the Catholic teaching on religious pluralism; you don’t have to violate natural reason to refuse the Gospel.

    ISTM that the problem is looking into motives. If you are convinced that, as per Newman’s formulation, a Catholic is either “a knave or a fool,” then that’s no better. That’s the part that I can’t get around, the people who are convinced that there has to be a negative moral component involved. Those people seem to be, if anything, far more destructive of reasonable discourse than even the ones who don’t see any kind of plausibility in the opposing view.

  17. @Robert:

    But there was no Roman Catholic Church before the Reformation. What you all don’t seem to recognize is that Trent is as important to the birth of Roman Catholicism as anything Luther or Calvin did for Protestantism. Before the Reformation you just have the Western Church with various streams of theology, including factions with an Erastian bent, some that were Augustinian, some that were more thoroughly Thomistic, etc. etc. You have some concept of papal authority that is bringing about a surface level visible unity but there are all sorts of movements and undercurrents that are jonesing for reform and a strong conciliar tradition that wanted to take away so much of the papacy’s authority. These are simple historical facts that even Roman Catholic scholars recognize.

    This is exactly the sort of “closed-minded” view, rejecting the plausibility of the view and treating the contrary as “simple historical facts,” that makes dialogue impossible. It takes a minority view held by a few liberal historians and elevates it to the level of “simple historical facts.”

    How do you dialogue with that? Answer’s easy: you don’t. That’s not even reasonable.

  18. I see the problem now: you want to talk to people that think RC has some measure of plausibility. For that, you need to stop talking to Protestants.

    [Susan]Surely this couldn’t have been missed by the same men who brought us the 5 solas

    It was not missed. See for instance here

  19. Author: Robert
    Comment:
    Jason and Susan,

    Jason wrote:

    Catholic: “For a couple reasons. First, Protestantism didn’t exist before the Reformation, and no church can be considered the church that Christ founded if it can’t make some plausible claim to have existed from the very beginning. And secondly, Protestantism is not a visible body, neither is there a coherent concept of a visible church in Protestantism.”

    I’ll address this piece by piece:

    1. Protestantism didn’t exist before the Reformation—yes and no.

    Two contradictory statements can’t both be true at the same time. It is either yes or no. Protestants did not exist before the Reformation.

    Yes there was no Protestant church before the Reformation because the concept had no meaning until historical circumstances forced a split. But there was no Roman Catholic Church before the Reformation.

    The Catholic Church has existed from the time that Jesus established it.

    What you all don’t seem to recognize is that Trent is as important to the birth of Roman Catholicism as anything Luther or Calvin did for Protestantism. Before the Reformation you just have the Western Church with various streams of theology, including factions with an Erastian bent, some that were Augustinian, some that were more thoroughly Thomistic, etc. etc. You have some concept of papal authority that is bringing about a surface level visible unity but there are all sorts of movements and undercurrents that are jonesing for reform and a strong conciliar tradition that wanted to take away so much of the papacy’s authority. These are simple historical facts that even Roman Catholic scholars recognize.

    You’re mistaken. The Council of Trent did for Luther and Calvin what the Council of Nicea did for Arius. It identified their errors and anathematized their teachings.

    On the other hand, there was a Protestant church before the Reformation. Protestantism is a legitimate development of certain but not all strains of theology in the Western Church. I could actually say the same for Roman Catholicism being a legitimate development of certain but not all strains of theology in the Western Church. The question is adjudicating which strains of doctrine and practice were legitimate in the first place.

    Protestantism is an illegitimate development of many heresies that existed before the Reformation. It has revived many old heresies and proliferated many new ones.

    The unspoken assumption is that a body that can trace a laying on of hands back to the apostles cannot possibly fall into such severe doctrinal error and be so corrupt in practice that thoroughgoing Reformation is unnecessary.

    That is not an assumption. The Catholic Church is living proof.

    The unspoken assumption is that a body that can trace a laying on of hands back the apostles could never possibly fall into such error that its leaders steadfastly resist all calls for true reformation and leave people with no choice but to break free and continue on the true church apart from those who have claimed to lead it for generations. Where in the world does Scripture or the earliest tradition say that?

    Scripture:
    1 Timothy 3:15
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

    Ephesians 3:10
    King James Version (KJV)
    10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

    Tradition:
    Irenaeus

    The Catholic Church possesses one and the same faith throughout the whole world, as we have already said (Against Heresies 1:10 [A.D. 189]).
    Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account we are bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the things pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth. For how stands the case? Suppose there should arise a dispute relative to some important question among us. Should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary [in that case] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the churches? (ibid. 3:4).

    Magisterial Protestantism has just as a legitimate claim to going back to the apostles as Rome even by Rome’s own standards.

    False.
    a. There is no such thing as Magisterial Protestantism.
    b. Protestants separated themselves from the Church authorized by Jesus Christ.

    In the first place, Anglicanism retained the bishop’s primacy.

    This is an excerpt from a Catholic Answers explanation:
    Valid Apostolic Succession is not the same as valid Holy Orders (though it is necessary for valid Holy Orders). In order for a Sacrament to be valid, it must have valid minister, subject, form, matter, and intent. If any one of these five elements are not valid, no Sacrament can occur. Anglican Orders were found to be defective in form and intent. Valid succession is required for the validity of the minister (the consecrating Bishop), but the minister (even if he is a valid Bishop) does not validly ordain unless the other four elements are also valid. So (according to the Catholic Church) the Anglican Church has valid succession – but it is a succession of laypeople laying hands on laypeople. No Ordinations are taking place.>

    The see of Canterbury can easily trace an apostolic lineage according to Rome’s own standards. Luther was ordained a priest for crying out loud. Farel was appointed a preacher by a Reform-minded bishop in France and later took on Calvin with him. There you go.

    There you go again. Priests can’t appoint themselves Bishops. Nor can they appoint others to the Bishoprick. Luther was a Catholic priest who was excommunicated and anathematized. He broke his vows to the Catholic Church and thereby invalidated his orders. He could consecrate no one to Bishoprick or priesthood.

    Now if you want to tell me that the apostolic succession even by Roman standards became broken somehow when these men started to reject certain medieval practices and doctrines somehow, that’s fine as long as you apply the same standard to your own communion and reject the bishops, popes, and priests who have openly rejected Roman Catholic doctrines and morals by their lives or teachings. I say this not to be rude, but the Roman Catholic double standard is extremely tiresome.

    Any Catholic which has been discovered doing anything wrong has been corrected or has been ousted. Any Catholic who lives in contradiction of Catholic Teaching, excommunicates and condemns himself.

    2. If by visible church you mean that Protestantism does not have the same home office, then yes, Protestantism is not a visible church. But the unspoken assumption here is that God intended for the church to all have the same home office, whether it is Rome, Constantinople, or somewhere else. Where in Scripture do we see this?

    Matthew 18:17
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

    1 Timothy 3:15
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

    Furthermore, it seems that even Paul was willing to tolerate a certain degree of difference in praxis and even doctrine at levels that don’t touch the essence of salvation.

    The key phrase here is “at levels that don’t touch the essence of salvation. ” That is Catholic Teaching. The Catholic Church teaches unity in necessary Doctrines, freedom in unnecessary and charity in everything else.

    His whole discussion of Christian freedom in Romans 14 and in 1 Corinthians 10 presupposes this. If Paul is willing to let some people consider eating meat offered to idols a sin for them even though the practice has no inherent moral value, that is teaching touching on doctrinal and moral matters.

    As usual, you contradict yourself. First you say, “the practice has no inherent moral value”, then you say, ” that is teaching touching on doctrinal and moral matters”. You were right the first time.

    All of this is not to say that denominational unity is not the ideal.

    In other words, Church unity is the ideal. But you would rather not obey the Word of God, therefore, you cast away the ideal to follow your own preferences.

    But it is something that is just assumed around these parts and not argued for.

    I think we’ve argued very persuasively. But the readers are the judge of whose arguments are better supported by facts of history, Tradition and Scripture.

    I happen to believe that unity must be both visible and invisible, but whether that will occur before the eschaton I don’t know.

    Unity already exists in the Catholic Church. Unity is not an end all. Christ wanted complete unity. But the Word of God recognizes that heresies had to come:
    1 Corinthians 11:19
    For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

    However, given the choice between one visible church that winks at heretics within its midst and a multitude of visible churches that seek to purge the heretics, why is the former better?

    Lol! It is the multitude of organizations claiming to be churches which are winking at the heretics. Your incoherence and illogic is so thorough that it is impossible to correct that statement. Can you not see that the heretics are multiplying the Protestant denominations?

    Why is organizational unity better than true doctrinal unity?

    That is a loaded question easily unraveled. You are making a false dichotomy. In the Catholic Church, we have both organizational and Doctrinal unity. It is Protestant which have neither one nor the other.

    It beggars belief that y’all can be so insistent that Rome has AC2 when AC2 is not meaningfully enforced. Do you not understand that there is no distinction between a fallible church and an infallible church that is fallible about when it is infallible?

    Lol! I think you’re making reference to the statement made by Jonathan that some Popes have made pronouncements which they thought were infallible.

    a. He wasn’t talking about the Church. He was talking about certain Popes who have made comments they thought were infallible.
    b. It is because the Church knows when infallibility applies and when it doesn’t that Jonathan could make the statement which he made.
    c. Popes are not impeccable nor infallible in everything they say. Therefore, it is possible that they could say something they thought was infallible. But the Church, in the course of time, determines whether this is true or not.

    How is this possible? It is the same as when someone baptizes an infant. If the person does not follow the proper formula nor have the proper intent, then that person does not provide an effectual baptism. Therefore, unless the Pope intends to teach the entire Church on morals and Doctrine in accordance with the Teaching of the Catholic Church, he has not spoken infallibly.

    3. The idea that there is no coherent doctrine of the visible church in Protestantism makes no sense unless, perhaps, coherent doctrine of visible church=one home office that solves all your problems. Again, that’s an assumption.

    Nope. It is Christian Doctrine which can be traced to the Apostles and the Scriptures.

    Luke 22
    King James Version (KJV)
    31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

    John 21:17
    He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

    The coherent doctrine of the visible church in Protestantism is that the visible church is a fallible body that is bound by apostolic teaching and whose pronouncements have authority when they reflect apostolic teaching. Fallibility doesn’t mean that the church always gets it wrong, nor does it mean that we have no way of knowing when it is right or wrong. Fallibility is asserted to help prevent things such as the Inquisition from happening and to preserve the apostolic doctrine of Christian liberty.

    And yet atrocities abound and abounded in the Protestant church from day one. And knowing right from wrong is not the question. God wrote in our hearts the Commandments and gave us a conscience so that we would know right from wrong even if we are unbelievers. The question is whether we follow Christ or not? And Christian Doctrine says that we are saved by faith and works, not by faith alone. Therefore, Protestants do not follow Christian Doctrine.

    The fact that there is division within Protestantism points to the doctrine of sin as much as the division within RC points to the doctrine of sin.

    There is no division in the Catholic Church. There is disagreement which is something totally different. But believing Catholics submit to the Teaching of the Church. Those disobedient Catholic which do not are simply committing sin by disobeying the Word of God. But they do better to remain in the Church than to sever completely their connection to Jesus Christ.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  20. ROBERT September 10, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Well, given that Rome believes it has existed for 2,000 years

    Which it can prove with reams of evidence.

    and the case for it is not airtight

    It is airtight. Your denial of the truth does not make the truth false. It simply means that you deny the truth.

    (forget Protestantism, ask the Eastern Orthodox and the Antiochian Orthodox), that must mean that Roman Catholicism is wrong as well, right?

    On the contrary, we do not deny that the Eastern Orthodox or the Antiochan Orthodox. They do have roots that go back to Christ and they have Apostolic Succession and valid orders.

    Protestants do not.

    As I said, the double standard is tiresome.

    There is no double standard applied by the Catholic Church.
    a. You don’t understand the standard which the Catholic Church applies. In a word, it is truth.
    b. It is you applying double and triple standards. Anything to justify your disobedience to the Word of God.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  21. RUBERAD September 10, 2013 at 7:48 am
    I see the problem now: you want to talk to people that think RC has some measure of plausibility. For that, you need to stop talking to Protestants.

    No. We are obeying Christ’s grand commission and explaining the reasons why we are Catholic:
    Matthew 28:20
    Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    1 Peter 3:15
    But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

    In the process we are engaging and debunking Protestant errors and novelties. If you don’t want to know the truth, you should quit engaging with Catholics.

    [Susan]Surely this couldn’t have been missed by the same men who brought us the 5 solas

    It was not missed. See for instance here

    It was missed. Sola Scriptura is a false doctrine which contradicts the Scriptures:
    2 Thessalonians 2:15
    Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  22. No. We are obeying Christ’s grand commission and explaining the reasons why we are Catholic…In the process we are engaging and debunking Protestant errors and novelties. If you don’t want to know the truth, you should quit engaging with Catholics.

    It’s not a question of whether you should talk to Protestants, it’s a question of whether you (JJS and Jonathan) should be whining when Protestants don’t find RC to be plausible.

  23. SS,

    As a former “Messianic Jew” I can tell you the most Jewish of places to be as Christian is in the Catholic Church which alone faithfully mirrors and fulfills the temple and synagogue worship of the OT and the maintains the corporate, unified people of God.

    Please check out the Association of Hebrew Catholics. Here you will find truly completed Jews http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/.

  24. To Whomever wrote the above,

    I am not a Messianic Jew. I strongly recommend that you take the time, if you haven’t already, to converse with your Jewish brethren who have studied to show themselves approved. Netivyah.org (Joseph Shulam) is an excellent place to start. Since the intramural debate over who exactly is a Messianic Jew is still ongoing, and as gentile, I can only point you to those who have as important a voice as the AHC.

    Regards,
    SS.

  25. Rube,

    Jonathan is right. If you cannot even find it within yourself to admit that Catholicism, while false, is nonetheless plausible, then you are not only closed-minded and impossible to dialogue with, you’re also pretty arrogant (and relax, I’m sure it’s not the first time a Reformed person has been called that!). I say that not to name-call, but because your position entails that a billion-plus people spread throughout every corner of the world are not just wrong (which wouldn’t be all that remarkable), but they actually find the implausible persuasive.

    I mean, what a bunch of idiots, right?

  26. Totally. Just like all the Mormons, J-dubs, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists in the world.

    Besides, I bet at least a billion of those billion plus have never even considered any of the questions central to the Roman/Protestant debate, and half a billion don’t even have enough vocabulary or categories or biblical background to even understand the question (let alone consider any particular answer), so it doesn’t mean much to say they have not found RC to be implausible.

  27. And the street goes both ways here; I would guesstimate that 90% of, say, American evanjellyfish are equally ignorant and ill-equipped.

  28. RUBERAD September 10, 2013 at 9:32 am

    It’s not a question of whether you should talk to Protestants, it’s a question of whether you (JJS and Jonathan) should be whining when Protestants don’t find RC to be plausible.

    Its not we who are whining.

    Fact. This is a Catholic forum.
    Fact. They are on a Catholic forum trying to convince Catholics that Catholic Doctrine is false.
    Fact. They have gotten upset with everyone who presents the Catholic argument in disagreement with their false doctrines.

    If they didn’t want to hear our understanding of the Word of God, why are they here?

    As long as they remain here, we will continue to teach them Catholic Doctrine. No matter how much they whine.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  29. RUBERAD September 10, 2013 at 10:20 am
    Totally. Just like all the Mormons, J-dubs, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists in the world.

    What about you though? Are you the only genius in the world?

    Besides, I bet at least a billion of those billion plus have never even considered any of the questions central to the Roman/Protestant debate, and half a billion don’t even have enough vocabulary or categories or biblical background to even understand the question (let alone consider any particular answer), so it doesn’t mean much to say they have not found RC to be implausible.

    Let’s do it right here and now. Let’s consider what YOU consider the central question to the Catholic/Protestant debate. I’ll let you pick the question. Then we can go through Scripture and Tradition and see whose got the best answer.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  30. RUBERAD September 10, 2013 at 10:23 am
    And the street goes both ways here; I would guesstimate that 90% of, say, American evanjellyfish are equally ignorant and ill-equipped.

    Obviously, then, you are here representing yourself. So, let’s see what answer you can give to the central question in the Catholic/Protestant debate.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  31. FORMER MESSIANIC JEW September 10, 2013 at 9:36 am
    SS,
    As a former “Messianic Jew” I can tell you the most Jewish of places to be as Christian is in the Catholic Church which alone faithfully mirrors and fulfills the temple and synagogue worship of the OT and the maintains the corporate, unified people of God.
    Please check out the Association of Hebrew Catholics. Here you will find truly completed Jews http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/.

    He is a gentile member of the Messianic Judaism religion. He seems a bit conflicted over whether the Jews should be in charge or whether the Gentiles are on equal footing with the Jews in that religion. Therefore, he once asked:

    What’s so offensive about a church led by Jewish believers or Jewish believers and Gentile believers?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  32. What about you though? Are you the only genius in the world?

    No, there’s lots of Protestants.

    Let’s do it right here and now. Let’s consider what YOU consider the central question to the Catholic/Protestant debate. I’ll let you pick the question. Then we can go through Scripture and Tradition and see whose got the best answer.

    The central questions are the formal principle of sola scriptura and the material principle of sola fide. But I’m not going to waste my time with you, because neither of us is going to come up with anything that hasn’t been said better before by others, nor is anybody going to change their mind.

    Obviously, then, you are here representing yourself.

    Obviously, since I said 90%, not 100%, I’m leaving room for myself.

    Its not we who are whining.

    Fact. This is a Catholic forum.
    Fact. They are on a Catholic forum trying to convince Catholics that Catholic Doctrine is false.
    Fact. They have gotten upset with everyone who presents the Catholic argument in disagreement with their false doctrines.

    Fact: This is a Catholic forum trying to convince Protestants that Catholic Doctrine is true, and that Protestant Doctrine is false.

    Add to that “[JJS]If you are saying that Catholicism is not even plausible, then in my mind you’re just too closed-minded to dialogue with.” and we can add

    Fact: This is a Catholic forum that wants to skip over the step of trying to convince Protestants that Catholic Doctrine is plausible.

    All I can say is, if you don’t like talking to people who find RC to be implausible, don’t start discussions with Protestants — especially not Reformed Protestants!

    And the rest of you Cat’licks, if you want to encourage the plausibility of Rome among the Reformed participants around here, consider putting a leash on De Maria, who is as dismissive and obnoxious as anybody else in these discussions.

  33. Therefore, he once asked:

    What’s so offensive about a church led by Jewish believers or Jewish believers and Gentile believers?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

    Just doing some housekeeping here: can you provide the source/thread/post for that quote please?

    Thanks.

  34. SS September 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Just doing some housekeeping here: can you provide the source/thread/post for that quote please?
    Thanks.

    You’ll find that on “the gospel as participation in the divine nature thread”, here.

    You put Wosbald’s words in italics. Your own response follows. I’ve highlighted the text in which you were interested.

    The exact quote follows:
    ——————

    SS April 1, 2013 at 6:26 am
    But you seem to be saying that a Jew, simply by virtue of his Jewishness, simply because of his Jewishness, is not only regenerated and thus a Christian, but also automatically gains a position of formal ecclesial authority. Maybe this isn’t what you’re saying, but this is the impression that I’ve been getting over the course of your posts.

    The promises of God to His people are irrevocable. I didn’t say that, Paul did (Romans 11) If God has promised to the Jew and delivers on that promise, who is man to question Him? Will He not have mercy on whom He will have mercy and compassion on whom He will have compassion? I know, foolishness to the Greek…
    Acts 21 says that many thousands of jewish men believed in Christ and were zealous for the law. They weren’t christians, they were Jewish believers with Yeshua as their Messiah.It’s not because they were of a superior ethnicity, but because they believed in Him that they were regenerated.
    As for ecclesiological authority, you seem to have a problem with Jewish believers such as James, Peter, John and others leading the church in Acts 15. Why? Because they’re not Italian? What’s so offensive about a church led by Jewish believers or Jewish believers and Gentile believers? I understand that this is in contravention of your own ecclesiology, but history is what it is, and so are the promises of God.

    ————–

    I hope that helps.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  35. RUBERAD September 10, 2013 at 11:58 am

    No, there’s lots of Protestants.

    That is sad.

    The central questions are the formal principle of sola scriptura and the material principle of sola fide. But I’m not going to waste my time with you, because neither of us is going to come up with anything that hasn’t been said better before by others, nor is anybody going to change their mind.

    I won’t change my mind. And you might not change your mind. But there are lots of other people reading the thread who might.

    But I understand. You geniuses can’t handle the wisdom of God taught by the Catholic Church:

    1 Corinthians 1:20
    Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

    Ephesians 3:10
    King James Version (KJV)
    10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

    Obviously, since I said 90%, not 100%, I’m leaving room for myself.

    But now you refuse to represent anyone. So, what’s the point in your presence here. Are you simply adding to the whining voice of Protestantism?

    Fact: This is a Catholic forum trying to convince Protestants that Catholic Doctrine is true, and that Protestant Doctrine is false.

    Is anyone twisting your arm to come to this forum?

    Add to that “[JJS]If you are saying that Catholicism is not even plausible, then in my mind you’re just too closed-minded to dialogue with.” and we can add
    Fact: This is a Catholic forum that wants to skip over the step of trying to convince Protestants that Catholic Doctrine is plausible.

    But it is you who refuse to dialogue. You just said:
    But I’m not going to waste my time with you, because neither of us is going to come up with anything that hasn’t been said better before by others, nor is anybody going to change their mind.

    And now you’re saying that Catholicism is not plausible without even submitting your reasons why you believe this to be so. Do you even know what plausible means?

    Soooo?

    All I can say is, if you don’t like talking to people who find RC to be implausible, don’t start discussions with Protestants — especially not Reformed Protestants!

    But it is you who refuses to talk. I’ll say it again. Pick your question. I will prove from Scripture and Tradition that any Protestant doctrine is false which disagrees with Catholic Doctrine.

    And the rest of you Cat’licks, if you want to encourage the plausibility of Rome among the Reformed participants around here, consider putting a leash on De Maria, who is as dismissive and obnoxious as anybody else in these discussions.

    Lol! Why are you so scared to compare your doctrines to Scripture? Is it because you know, in your heart, that they are false.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  36. But I understand. You geniuses can’t handle the wisdom of God taught by the Catholic Church…Lol! Why are you so scared to compare your doctrines to Scripture? Is it because you know, in your heart, that they are false.

    Like I said, obnoxious and dismissive, this is why it is you specifically I am refusing to dialogue with.

    If JJS and others want to dialogue with me and my inability to find RC plausible, fine. But apparently they only want to talk to ‘Protestants’ who are already halfway across the Tiber.

  37. I hope that helps.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

    Thanks.

  38. Like I said, obnoxious and dismissive, this is why it is you specifically I am refusing to dialogue with

    I too have refused to dialogue with DeMaria on anything of substance. I think Jason’s blog would be much better served without him. Maybe we should do a trade, DG Hart for DeMaria, lol. Jason, how does that sound?

  39. Haha!

    To be honest, I’m not sure this ‘place’ any better due to my presence either. Maybe we should trade myself for De Maria — we can each only say positive things about the other side. That would shut us both up for sure!

  40. +JMJ+

    RubeRad wrote:

    If JJS and others want to dialogue with me and my inability to find RC plausible, fine.

    Of course, you find it implausible/unreasonable! LOL

    You start by presupposing Christian Identity. If one starts from a Supernatural/Fideistic position, how could the Catholic exhortation to return to the the sphere of Nature (a sphere which has already fideistically been adjudged as being hostile and opposed to Supernature) in order to discuss the reasonability of the Catholic MOC be seen as anything other than implausible/absurd?

  41. RUBERAD September 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Like I said, obnoxious and dismissive, this is why it is you specifically I am refusing to dialogue with.
    If JJS and others want to dialogue with me and my inability to find RC plausible, fine. But apparently they only want to talk to ‘Protestants’ who are already halfway across the Tiber.

    From what I see, it is you who is obnoxious and dismissive. I’m not the one claiming that the other’s religion is “implausible.”

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  42. I don’t know what all those words mean, but I assume what you say is tautologically true (by virtue of the definitions of those terms I don’t understand), which brings me back to my original point; why would JJS assume there exist Protestants who find RC plausible so he can have the kind of conversation he wants?

  43. Just to be clear, that last was for Wosbald. I know what all of DeMaria’s words mean.

  44. SS September 10, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I too have refused to dialogue with DeMaria on anything of substance

    People tend to stop debating when they are completely refuted, as you were.

    . I think Jason’s blog would be much better served without him. Maybe we should do a trade, DG Hart for DeMaria, lol. Jason, how does that sound?

    Coming from the person who is described as:
    Others can debate you if they want to, but if you’re going to hijack this thread and turn it into a soapbox, I will have to put a stop to it.

    Will you ever engage the topic at hand. Or will you always stand upon your soapbox?

    Sincerely.

    De Maria

  45. RUBERAD September 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm
    I don’t know what all those words mean,….

    Just as I suspected. You are simply arguing because you want to contradict anything Catholic. But you really don’t know what you’re arguing against.

  46. People tend to stop debating when they are completely refuted, as you were.

    Obnoxious and dismissive…

    Coming from the person who is described as…

    Also coming from that person: Thanks Jason, I understand. I will try to be more prudent and keep it moderate despite the difficulty involved. Hope you and family are doing well otherwise. Peace, S

    I don’t think that particular kettle can be called black by you. Feel free to dredge up my snark though, I know there’s plenty of it.

  47. +JMJ+

    RubeRad wrote:

    I don’t know what all those words mean, but I assume what you say is tautologically true (by virtue of the definitions of those terms I don’t understand), which brings me back to my original point; why would JJS assume there exist Protestants who find RC plausible so he can have the kind of conversation he wants?

    Once you decide to engage me and Jason and all other Natural Men on the same level, then we can have a productive dialogue from the perspective of Reason. And though I can’t answer for Jason, I greatly suspect that he believes that honoring the dignity of every human person always breeds hope for productive dialogue.

  48. Wosbald,

    All have equal dignity as bearers as God’s images in the eyes of the Reformed just as all man’s reasoning has been affected by sin, including our own as Reformed people, in the eyes of the Reformed.

  49. I haven’t been following things closely, but my overall point was that in order to engage in charitable dialogue, one side cannot insist that the other’s position is implausible. Wrong? Yes. Unpersuasive? Fine. But dismissing the other’s view as implausible is tantamount to saying that those who hold it are stupid (why else would someone believe something that has no chance of possibly being true?).

    So if you, Catholic or Protestant, can’t even extend the courtesy of seeing that your opponent may actually have a point, then please feel free to not comment here.

  50. Rube, hold up. When it comes to plausibility, I’ve no trouble granting the claims of physical apostolic succession. It’s quite plausible that we can draw a straight line from Francis to Peter (sure, it has its problems, but go with it). But so what? When teachings from the man who can reach back and touch Peter are tested against holy writ and found way off the reservation, poof.

    Yes, there are a whole host of assumptions in that caveat that favor Protestantism, but my point is that the claims of Catholicism are not absolutely implausible, as if anybody who affirms them is devoid of rationale capacity; perfectly reasonable and sane people can conclude Catholic. Their problem isn’t stupidity, it’s that they’re plain wrong. I mean, smart and non-gullible people can be wrong and dim and gullible people can be right (you know you have plenty of the latter in your church). And, frankly, same goes for lots of other kinds of sectarians. Total irrationality is like Seinfeld’s un-datability, it’s like 4-to-6-percent, not over a billion.

  51. That, ladies and gentlemen, is an interlocutor I can live with.

  52. PS – Of course, an interesting thread to pull on would be how, given the Bible’s supposed perspicuity, someone of good will and reasonable intelligence can get the “essentials” wrong. . . .

  53. Jason,

    Bingo.

    Hence my earlier thought: how does one (natural man/unaided intellect) assess the credibility of the motives of credibility pertaining to the authority of the CC? How can an individual arrive at a moral certainty regarding this credibility when there is intense and detailed scholarship addressing the premises behind it and coming to different conclusions. I’m afraid it’s just not a matter of intelligence…

    I can grant you that the existence of an institution with a physical apostolic succession can at first glance, seem like strong evidence. But looks can be deceptive wouldn’t you say? Further, the implications of getting the paradigm wrong are enormous; taking a newtonian approach to certain problems in physics for example can be an exercise in futility.

    So again, who gets to adjudicate between several claims regarding the motives of credibility pertaining to the authority of the CC?

  54. I think the Protestant in this dialogue isn’t representing Protestantism.

    Because I believe the Catholic Church is the church that Christ founded.

    I love how the Protestant in that dialogue let that slip. The majority Protestant position has always been that the only church that Christ had association with was the one in Jerusalem that God destroyed lest it become an idol. A real Protestant would call the notion of an earthly church with claiming divine foundation to assert divine prerogatives textbook idolatry. You may disagree but that’s Protestantism. Protestantism rejects all hints of idols.

    “Because in order to distinguish between divine revelation and human opinion in a principled way, some visible body must exist with the authority to do so.”

    Poppycokc. This has already been discussed numerous times on this site. There are many other systems for distinguishing revelation from human opinion. The most importantly the bible itself indicates one such system, the prophetic system. In that system there is no fixed, permanent body. God simply appoints a spokesperson (called a prophet) gives them visions of the future and possibly other wonders to establish their credibility with the masses and tells his people what new revelation is needed by the situation.

    “It’s about authority. If you believe, at least on paper, that there’s such a thing as development of doctrine, such that not all changes are necessarily corruptions, then the question becomes, ‘Who has the authority to differentiate between legitimate developments from corruptions of doctrine?’”

    Who has the authority to differentiate between corruptions of physics and legitimate developments? The bible’s position is clear, nothing outside prophetic revelation has prophetic status. There are no developments that have coequal status to revelations. Teachers have the authority to teach prophetic revelation and they act as a check on each other. The people act as a secondary check since they are the ones ultimately responsible for obedience to prophets. The tertiary system is that God sends prophets if that secondary check fails.

    Intermixing the role of prophet with the role of teacher (minister) is one of the primary points of dispute and the Protestant in your dialogue should have rejected it unabashedly. Something like, “The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world.” There is nothing about authority to decide doctrine.

    Something’s only a ‘stretch’ when you’re looking at it from a posture of skepticism. When you’re looking at it from a basic posture of trust, it’s different.

    True. But so what? The truth of a claim needs to be established vs. a posture of skepticism not one of trust.

  55. ZRIM September 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm
    Rube, hold up. When it comes to plausibility, I’ve no trouble granting the claims of physical apostolic succession. It’s quite plausible that we can draw a straight line from Francis to Peter (sure, it has its problems, but go with it). But so what? When teachings from the man who can reach back and touch Peter are tested against holy writ and found way off the reservation, poof.

    I’m your huckleberry! Let’s do it. Lets compare your beliefs to Scripture and the Pope’s beliefs to Scripture. I guarantee your beliefs will be found wanting.

    Yes, there are a whole host of assumptions in that caveat that favor Protestantism, but my point is that the claims of Catholicism are not absolutely implausible, as if anybody who affirms them is devoid of rationale capacity; perfectly reasonable and sane people can conclude Catholic. Their problem isn’t stupidity, it’s that they’re plain wrong. I mean, smart and non-gullible people can be wrong and dim and gullible people can be right (you know you have plenty of the latter in your church). And, frankly, same goes for lots of other kinds of sectarians. Total irrationality is like Seinfeld’s un-datability, it’s like 4-to-6-percent, not over a billion.

    Let’s compare then. Unless you also are afraid to compare your beliefs to the Word of God. Shall we begin with Rube’s questions? Or will you bring up your own? Rube said:

    The central questions are the formal principle of sola scriptura and the material principle of sola fide.

    Scripture says:
    2 Thessalonians 2:15
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

    That seems to debunk Scripture alone on its face.

    And Scripture also says:
    James 2:24
    Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

    That debunks faith alone.

    But feel free to pick your own questions. Or try to defend these.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  56. SS September 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm
    Jason,
    Bingo.
    Hence my earlier thought: how does one (natural man/unaided intellect) assess the credibility of the motives of credibility pertaining to the authority of the CC?

    Several ways.

    Faith.
    Learning the Traditions.
    Reading of Scripture.
    Reading history.

    How can an individual arrive at a moral certainty regarding this credibility when there is intense and detailed scholarship addressing the premises behind it and coming to different conclusions.

    You don’t have to believe everyone’s conclusions. Stick to the most plausible. For instance. It isn’t plausible that a new religion established in 1960 could come to a better understanding of Scripture than the Institution which wrote and canonized the Scripture.

    It isn’t plausible that Messianic Judaism could have existed for 2000 years without leaving a shred of evidence of its existence.

    It isn’t plausible that God intended there to be two branches of leadership in His Church when there is only evidence of one for 2000 years.

    It isn’t plausible that God intended the Jewish believers to be over the Gentile believers when He permitted the one branch that consistently appointed Jewish believers as leaders to be completely obliterated.

    I’m afraid it’s just not a matter of intelligence…

    You are correct in that assessment. It is not a matter of your intelligence. But of your preconceived assumptions amounting to prejudice against the Catholic Church.

    I can grant you that the existence of an institution with a physical apostolic succession can at first glance, seem like strong evidence.

    Whether you grant it or not makes no difference. It is strong evidence.

    But looks can be deceptive wouldn’t you say?

    In other matters. Such as the idea that one can interpret the Scriptures independently of the Tradition of Jesus Christ. You have been deceived. Therefore your interpretations are prima facie evidence that looks can be deceptive.

    Further, the implications of getting the paradigm wrong are enormous; taking a newtonian approach to certain problems in physics for example can be an exercise in futility.

    No doubt. But it is you making that error. Not Catholics.

    So again, who gets to adjudicate between several claims regarding the motives of credibility pertaining to the authority of the CC?

    Let’s go back to Scripture on that question:
    Matthew 18:17
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  57. RUBERAD September 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm
    …. Feel free to dredge up my snark though, I know there’s plenty of it.

    When you’re ready to debate like an adult, I’m ready to prove you wrong.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  58. CD-HOST September 10, 2013 at 8:13 pm
    I think the Protestant in this dialogue isn’t representing Protestantism……

    Who cares? If you think you can represent Protestantism, show us what you can do. Represent.

    Ready when you are.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  59. http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2013/03/jason-stellman-tells-his-conversion-story/#comment-58800

    “Michael (#457) – Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability “are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all”; they are “motives of credibility” (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the mind”.30

    Erik – What miracles of the saints? What proof of them can you offer me?

    What prophecies? Biblical prophecies or prophecies by the RCC?

    What holiness of the church? If I am to consider holiness may I also consider unholiness?

    If I am to consider RCC church growth can I also consider more recent declines in membership?

    What fruitfulness?

    If I am to consider stability can I also consider instability (The Avignon Papacy, bad popes, etc.)?

    Most certain signs of divine revelation?

    Once again, I don’t see how this reformulation improves your position. These statements involve the evaluation of evidence, and unless I start out as a Catholic there is no assurance that I will evaluate the evidence as you want me to.

    I need way more specifics.

    Michael (#476) – Most of your comment consists in expressing skepticism about the Catholic MOCs pending much more detail than is given by the sources we’ve considered so far. So you want the case laid out in detail. I don’t know of any single book accomplishing that in a way that’s both comprehensive and tightly argued. If I had adequate financial support, I would do it myself. Since that support is probably not forthcoming, I probably won’t do it. But in the context of this thread, I don’t believe that further detail would be any more desirable than possible.

    Erik – That’s an honest answer. “

  60. +JMJ+

    SS wrote:

    How can an individual arrive at a moral certainty regarding this credibility when there is intense and detailed scholarship addressing the premises behind it and coming to different conclusions.

    You have to make the decision of reasonableness by the use of your own naturally-good faculties. Then, if you think the claims are reasonable, you have to decide whether you will invest your Natural Authority by choosing to petition the Church for entrance. The ball’s in your court. This is why we direct the appeal of the MOC to your own sense of Reason, rather than submit them to the International Reasonableness Council for standardized testing.

  61. SS September 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2013/03/jason-stellman-tells-his-conversion-story/#comment-58800

    That says Called to Communion. What are you doing bringing it up here?

    “Michael (#457) – Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability “are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all”; they are “motives of credibility” (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the mind”.30
    Erik – What miracles of the saints? What proof of them can you offer me?

    Well, let’s see. The first miracle which was mentioned outside the Bible was the miracle of Mary’s appearance to St. James in Spain when she was in Jerusalem:
    It is believed that on January 2nd, in the year 40 A.D., St. James and his disciples where resting on the shore side of the Egro river and started to hear sweet voices singing. They saw the sky fill up with light and many angels coming near them. The angels where carrying a throne on which the Queen of Heaven and earth was sitting. This was extraordinary, for Mary was living at that time in Jerusalem, making her appearance to them in Spain a bilocation. The Blessed Virgin told St. James to build a sanctuary where God would be honored and glorified, and gave him a pillar with her image to be placed in the sanctuary.

    That’s the record of the Church. But, will you accept that? I guess I should ask, what sort of proof will you accept? A Tilma that should have disintegrated centuries ago? A shroud which image can’t be explained? Blood which reconstitutes itself every year on the same day and has done so for centuries? Saints whose remains have been found to be incorruptible?

    What will it take?

    What prophecies? Biblical prophecies or prophecies by the RCC?

    We have them both.

    What holiness of the church? If I am to consider holiness may I also consider unholiness?

    Sure. Jesus said:
    Matthew 13:30
    Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

    If I am to consider RCC church growth can I also consider more recent declines in membership?

    Sure, Jesus also said:
    Luke 18:8
    King James Version (KJV)
    8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

    What fruitfulness?

    The Catholic Church spread the Gospel all over the world. The Catholic Church canonized the Bible and wrote the New Testament. It has established the most hospitals, the most schools, the most universities, and the most charitable institutions. Catholics faced down Islam. The Catholic Church identified and anathematized heresies from the earliest centuries.

    Did I leaven anything out?

    If I am to consider stability can I also consider instability (The Avignon Papacy, bad popes, etc.)?

    Sure. As long as you recognize that stability wins out. The Catholic Church is still here in spite of Judas Iscariot and any bad Popes.

    Most certain signs of divine revelation?

    Sacred Tradition, the Mass, the miracles of Jesus, the miracles of the Saints, the charities of the Church throughout the centuries.

    Once again, I don’t see how this reformulation improves your position.

    Too bad. I do.

    These statements involve the evaluation of evidence, and unless I start out as a Catholic there is no assurance that I will evaluate the evidence as you want me to.

    Its not all about you. We have reviewed the evidence and found it compelling.

    I need way more specifics.

    Scripture has prophecied about people like you:
    2 Timothy 3:7
    Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    Michael (#476) – Most of your comment consists in expressing skepticism about the Catholic MOCs pending much more detail than is given by the sources we’ve considered so far. So you want the case laid out in detail. I don’t know of any single book accomplishing that in a way that’s both comprehensive and tightly argued. If I had adequate financial support, I would do it myself. Since that support is probably not forthcoming, I probably won’t do it. But in the context of this thread, I don’t believe that further detail would be any more desirable than possible.
    Erik – That’s an honest answer. “

    It is actually. There are people who keep asking and never come to understanding of the Truth. An old movie said it best, in my opinion, “For those who believe no proof is necessary. For those who believes, no proof is ever enough.”

    In my opinion, you fall in the second category.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  62. Oops. That should read:

    For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t, no proof is ever enough.

  63. ZRIM,

    If there are smart people who can be fooled by the plausibility of Catholicism what does this say to the formal principle of sola scriptura.

    If you told me that you are looking out upon a sea of plausible options within the world and don’t know where to go, I would tell you to check out the RCC because not only has it now become a choice among equally plausible choices, but that there are some things that you should take as *additional markers* in your search( since we are all conceding that searching and choosing is part of the process) that make the RCC stand out as being more plausible. If we could reach agreement that these additional markers further help the seeker of truth then one can’t really say that the choice of Catholicism is plain wrong anymore. The person who becomes Catholic can’t be considered plain wrong for utilizing
    what was available to help himself narrow down his choices, can he?

    But if I say, “Steve, help me. I see differences within Protestantism and this makes me confused about the doctrine of church, but I also know that according to Reformed doctrine, I must not consider Catholicism or the EO as an option no matter what even though they are both highly plausible.” And you say, “That’s right, the RCC is plausible but its definately wrong. I can’t prove to you that it’s wrong without appealing to Reformed theology and thereby begging the question, but you can safely take my word for it. A whole host of things are plausible but that doesn’t mean they’re likely.”

    But Steve, what if there’s evidence that increases the likelihood?

    Your friend!
    Susan

  64. Jason, have you ever considered that it’s your version of Roman Catholicism that is implausible?

    One issue is your lack of historical awareness. Have you considered that Roman Catholicism as you believe it did not exist before the Reformation? That Trent needed to say what it did only because of Protestantism? Or that the infallibility of the papacy (high papacy) did not come until 1870 when the papacy was about to lose its temporal authority?

    Of course, none of this matters in your scheme. The church always believed what it believes today and that’s because of Development of Doctrine.

    And you want to have dialogue? When you can trace continuity wherever you want and I can’t, then you’ve set the rules for a conversation that goes nowhere.

  65. De Maria, you’re missing my simple point, which isn’t to go toe-to-toe with the Bible. It’s that intelligence and rationality are had by both sides. For that matter, so are their opposites. But the idea that faith is more or less the sum of its logical and rationale parts is what animates other religiously bigoted ideas like we can’t trust Mormons with being the President (“Do you really want a guy who wears secret magic skivvies and thinks he’ll be deified one day with his finger on the button?”).

    Susan, what about what Jesus said to Thomas: Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. That’s what comes to mind when you say on my hypothetical behalf, “That’s right, the RCC is plausible but its definately wrong. I can’t prove to you that it’s wrong without appealing to Reformed theology and thereby begging the question…” In other words, Susan, what I don’t see in your point is any room for faith (something Jason allows for the Catholic when pushed by the Prot). I can appeal to Reformed theology, which is to say sight, but in the final analysis believing what is right and true is really more a matter of faith.

    You speak of additional markers to know whether one’s conclusion is of faith or not, then suggest to conclude Catholic couldn’t possibly be wrong. Why not? To conclude Reformed is wrong for you all, so why can’t we say that to conclude Catholic is wrong? Again, my point is that to conclude Catholic isn’t irrational, it’s wrong. Those are two very different things.

  66. DGHART,

    Well, have you considered that the 5 points of Calvinism didn’t exist before the synod of Dort against the Remonstrance of Arminius?

  67. Brianbel,

    I think the difference between Dr. Hart and RC is that Dr. Hart has never claimed that the 5 points of Calvinism existed in that fashion since the days of the apostles but are a logical and suitable deduction from Scripture, unlike the papacy which RC used to claim at least existed from the days of the apostles. It’s only really post Vatican II that you get an attempt to deal with actual history and shift the emphasis more to deducing the papacy as a development from Scripture rather than something delivered in its medieval form to the church.

    The difference is also that as far as I am aware, Dr. Hart would not say the 5 points of Calvinism is an infallible doctrinal statement but an adequate but fallible summary of certain teachings of Scripture.

  68. Susan,

    The person who becomes Catholic can’t be considered plain wrong for utilizing what was available to help himself narrow down his choices, can he?

    What about the person in India who becomes Muslim when all that was available to him was Hindu and Muslim sources? Could he not be plain wrong as well?

  69. +JMJ+

    DGHart wrote:

    Have you considered that Roman Catholicism as you believe it did not exist before the Reformation?

    Of course. The Church is both ever-the-same and ever-different. Just like Wosbald and DGHart and JJS. That’s a real organic being, for ya. But if you’d rather have a Wosbald or a Church or a Jesus that you can collate and control and file on a bookshelf, then good luck with that.

  70. Jason et al,

    Part of the issue is that I don’t think anyone has made an evaluation of anyone else’s intelligence. Some of us on both sides have said that the beliefs of the other side are foolish or absurd, but that’s not an evaluation of intelligence or even of good will. Intelligent people believe all sorts of absurd and foolish things either because of willful or unwillful ignorance or simply a lack of information. It’s also not an attack on someone’s good will or intelligence to say they are deceived. There are a lot of brilliant atheists in the world. But when it comes to spiritual matters, what else are we to say about them other than they are deceived by others. That’s actually far nicer than what the Bible says about them, namely that they suppress the truth in unrighteousness? Someone could tell me that I’m deceived about RC because of certain teachers that have led me astray, but I’m not going to take that as an insult to my intelligence or an attack on my motivations.

    It also might be nice on the RC side to try and see why the Reformed and others see the RC claim to infallibility as so implausible. The style of apologetic offered here and at C2C does not help your case. You all want to insist that without an infallible adjudicator—namely, the pope and Magisterium—to make declarations regarding doctrine, we are left essentially hopeless in our ability to separate divine truth from human opinion. Then, at the same time, you want to tell us that this infallible adjudicator can be fallible about when it is infallible. I’m sorry, but to the Protestant at least, that just sounds insane. If you want to believe that ecclesiastical infallibility is absolutely necessary for religious certainty, fine, but then don’t tell us that the pope is fallible about his own infallibility. Or, tell us that the church is fallible about its own infallibility, but then don’t go insisting that without infallibility, we’re left awash in a hopeless sea of human opinion and subjectivism.

    It’s the height of cognitive dissonance to insist that we need an infallible pope and Magisterium but then to say that the pope and Magisterium can be fallible about when they have believed things to be infallible.

  71. Jason,

    Does this not raise the question in your heart about our Lords grace? How is it that one God fearing man can see the truth of the Church and another can not? There simply must be factors in play here that we are not privy to. You know, I only came to believe in unconditional election (Thomism) AFTER crossing the Tiber. Sort of backwards right? I just couldn’t believe all of my friends and family could be so BLIND as to miss the beauty and truth that was Rome. It really had me wondering if this whole business of “everyone is equal everyone makes equal choice with equal grace” was really legit. Question: does this mystery haunt you at all? Have you completely abandoned the PCA theology of predestination for some sort of molinist view? I found the book “Predestination” by John Salza to be enormously helpful in explaining the complexities of Thomism in a down to earth manner. I was just curious on how your conversion effected your thoughts on this and it seemed like it wasn’t to far off topic….

  72. @Susan —

    If we are going to pick criteria for plausibility then top on the my list is the ability of the individual believer to experience direct revelation. Voodoo tops the list with Wicca, Zen Buddhism and Hinduism coming up the rear as the 2nd wave. After that we can get some Christian groups like Catholic mysticism and Pentecostalism come in with the 3rd wave.

    I don’t know what criteria you had in mind but the CtC type criteria are in no sense natural.

  73. CD Host,

    how do you come up with that list? Those people could be experiencing demons as easily as angels could they not? How then do we know what spiritual experience to trust and which to run from? Enter Catholic Church and c2c

  74. Darryl,

    Have you considered that Roman Catholicism as you believe it did not exist before the Reformation? That Trent needed to say what it did only because of Protestantism? Or that the infallibility of the papacy (high papacy) did not come until 1870 when the papacy was about to lose its temporal authority?

    Yeah, and Nicaea needed to say what it did because of Arianism. See? I can wave my hand and rattle off random historical events too.

    And if you still think a doctrine is invented on the day it is defined as dogma after all this time, then you’re just not trying very hard to learn anything by these conversations. But then, we all knew that already, didn’t we? Every time you post something about Catholicism you simply reinforce the image you’ve created for yourself, one that has no interest in ever conceding a single point or re-calibrating your attacks when every single one of your targets keeps telling you that you are misrepresenting them.

    But wait, Edgardo Mortara, right?

    Of course, none of this matters in your scheme. The church always believed what it believes today and that’s because of Development of Doctrine.

    It’s amazing to us how wide of the mark you get when you try to sum up what we’re saying. I mean, IN THIS VERY POST, the one we’re commenting under, I concede that “the church has always believed what it believes today” is overly-simplistic. The development of doctrine is intended to soften that claim. But hey, why let what I actually say get in the way of criticizing what you don’t like, right?

    And you want to have dialogue? When you can trace continuity wherever you want and I can’t, then you’ve set the rules for a conversation that goes nowhere.

    Would a single Catholic or EO recognize any Protestant church as succeeding from the apostles in the Nicene sense of that word? You can trace whatever you want to wherever else you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that no one takes it seriously.

  75. Kenneth,

    How is it that one God fearing man can see the truth of the Church and another can not? There simply must be factors in play here that we are not privy to.

    I have puzzled over this a lot during the past several years. Why was I persuaded by the very arguments that other scoff at and dismiss? Is because I am gullible and they are discerning, or because I am smart and they aren’t?

    I think there are lots of factors involved, as you said. Part of it has to do with the ability to understand what your opponent is saying, or the willingness to do so (which some Protestant do not display). Part of it also is the ability/willingness to see something from someone else’s perspective, which means that when your opponent says that you are not representing his position, you ask him why that is, and then work on readjusting your argument to focus on what he actually believes. That takes patience and a measure of charity, which is often lacking on both sides of this debate. Then of course there are external factors, such as what would happen to one’s relationship and livelihood if he were to become Catholic.

  76. Robert, to be fair there was this:

    “I mean, what a bunch of idiots, right?”

    “Totally. Just like all the Mormons, J-dubs, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists in the world.”

    So I’m not sure it’s true that nobody has made an evaluation of anyone else’s intelligence.

    Of course, an interesting thread to pull on would be how, given the Bible’s supposed perspicuity, someone of good will and reasonable intelligence can get the “essentials” wrong. . . .

    The answer seems to be that while the Bible is perfectly clear and infallible, its readers being full of sin are not. Deficiency lies in the human being, not in God’s Word. This is why it is so Pollyanna for biblicist-evangelicals (and those influenced by them) to tell people to just pick up the Bible and read it for themselves. Sure it’s clear, but you aren’t. Thermal dynamics has simple aspects, but don’t expect me to get it just by picking up a 101 textbook.

    But your question suggests a reasoning that is similar to how the theonomists reason about natural law: if it’s so clear then why do so many people get even the easiest stuff wrong? Natural law isn’t sufficient, what the world needs is an infallible text (the Bible) to make it clear how to govern civil life. Oops, there’s that simplistic gloss right over the reality of human depravity. Catholics seem to reason the same way about the church: if it’s so clear and sufficient then what gives with the 30K denoms? The Bible isn’t sufficient, what the church needs is an infallible interpreter (the Papacy) to solve all the riddles of faith and morals. Oops, he’s human. Double oops, other humans have to interpret him. Triple oops, an infallible source has to be infallible 24-7-365, not on certain days and in certain contexts. I hope Darryl’s follow up lecture will be something like “Theonomists and Catholics Together, Protestants Apart: Who Knew?”

  77. So Zrim,

    Since the Bible is clear but we are sinful (and it is this sinfulness that accounts for our missing its clear message), is it the case that the more sinful you are, the less likely you are to grasp the meaning of Scripture’s basic essentials?

  78. Jason,

    In your personal experience, and feel free not to answer if it is to personal, were you swayed by argumentation or by charity? Amazingly, the spirit moved in my life in the midst of an online argument I was having with Dave Armstrong. I became sort of animated and rude (imagine that) and he pulled out of the conversation with a very charitable exit. Politely saying something along the lines of “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it, I’ll pray for you etc etc” and I remember sitting back and thinking “WTF with this guys niceness?!?” it was gentlemanly discourse just the way you outlined it but there was something about his charity that sort of… I don’t know…. Moved my heart? Its completely subjective and maybe alarming to some but it had a huge impact. Some sort of obstacle was removed on the inside. I remain convinced that Gods grace is the number one factor in conversion and websites like these are only useful if the faithful supplement them with prayer for our online “adversaries/brothers and sisters in Christ”

    still a huge fan of the site Jason

  79. Jason,

    I think it would be safer to say the more willfully you reject the God who is, the less likely you are to grasp the essentials of Scripture.

    In your understanding, who suppresses the truth in unrighteousness?

  80. JJS, that question strikes me as wooden and two-dimensional as the one that wants to ascribe intelligence and gullibility factors to Protestant or sectarian conclusions. After all, can sin really be so easily quantified or measured? I know we do this for IQs, but it seems like the smarter one is the more skeptical he is about what they actually mean.

  81. For what it is worth I actually use to like to read this blog, but it has become filled with so much ……….. (too numerous to keep track of) my heart and stomach won’t take it anymore. I can’t tell the trees by their fruit. I keep you all in my prayers. Peace be with you.

    “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mk 9:50

  82. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    In your understanding, who suppresses the truth in unrighteousness?

    Those of bad will.

    And who has bad will, you may ask? Though we may suspect, only God truly knows. That’s why we dialogue. All things being equal, we always try to presume that we’re talking to someone of good will.

  83. Robert,

    I think it would be safer to say the more willfully you reject the God who is, the less likely you are to grasp the essentials of Scripture.

    In your understanding, who suppresses the truth in unrighteousness?

    See, I think that is a fundamental problem.

    For the Protestant, the truth stops at Scripture. As such, an individual has license to interpret Scripture freely (and more importantly incorrectly).

    The reality is that the truth was not delivered in Scripture but rather in Jesus Christ. Truth was delivered by God the Son. Some of it was recorded in Scripture.

    It’s not that truth is being suppressed in unrighteousness. I think Protestants are very sincere in their quest for truth. The problem is that your paradigm isn’t allowing you to see the message of Jesus Christ.

    For example, a major tenet of the Protestant gospel is Justification by Faith Alone. The problem is that Jesus Christ never said this. You’re tying a major part of your belief system on something that Jesus Christ didn’t say. In actuality, the words of Jesus Christ don’t lend themselves to a JBFA gospel…and yet, your paradigm has you believing it.

  84. Jason,

    I think this post may address some of my biggest beefs with the RCC, but I’m not sure I’m following you to your conclusion.

    You’re willing to concede that Peter, Linus, & Clement may not have had the same understanding of their office than Francis has today. Fair enough–I don’t think this necessarily undermines your faith, but I do wonder how far this goes. As a Protestant when I hear “Rome is the Church Christ founded” I find that to be an historical claim that needs to be substantiated historically. I grant that certain things about the office could certainly develop as the Church came to a deeper understanding of the implications of Jesus commission to Peter, but I’m curious what you may be willing to concede. How much continuity needs to exist from Peter to Francis for your claim to succession to be legitimate? For example, are you willing to concede that Peter didn’t think of himself as infallible? If not,what are points of discontinuity that you are willing to concede?

    If I were to distill the argument that you’ve adopted from CtC it would be that Jesus established a principled means to determine Divine revelation and that principled means was the Petrine office. But if Peter didn’t conceive of himself as being that principled means, doesn’t that undermine the entire apologetic that you’ve adopted? I’d assume you’re not willing to go that far, but I’m curious to know what things your Catholic interlocutor has in mind in conceding development.

  85. Dennis,

    You pointed out something very important that would help the Protestant put himself in our shoes and reevaluate his view of the doctrine of the church. This would lead him closer to “What should I, a Protestant who is plausably stuck to gratutious assumptions, do to find The Church?”

    “For example, a major tenet of the Protestant gospel is Justification by Faith Alone. The problem is that Jesus Christ never said this. You’re tying a major part of your belief system on something that Jesus Christ didn’t say. In actuality, the words of Jesus Christ don’t lend themselves to a JBFA gospel…and yet, your paradigm has you believing it.”

    This doctrine is one that no Protestant will put at arms length for a second. But say Rome forfeited this this one( which it can’t not because it wants to be obstinate but because it is metaphysically unhelpful to the sinner), would Reformed Protestants be pacified, since this is the biggy?
    If the answer is still no, then it proves that there is no limit to Protestant Reform, and that should make the Protestant afraid that just maybe the thing started off nobely(from their perspective) but that men got carried away and now there is no way to appease the mulititude that demand that Rome conform to all the different biblical views, aka… man-made religions.
    I’ve already heard about some of the syncretism of religions out there: Jewbu( Jew+Buddist), the Baptist/Hindu, etc. What is going to stop this but the religion that Christ is ensuring won’t fall into the melting pot of man’s pluralistic inventions? This is the pandoras box of denominationalism. Shivers!!!

    Susan

  86. To All Catholics,

    Was Peter acting the capacity of Pope or even prototypically in the capacity of Pope at the Jerusalem council (Acts 15)?

  87. @Brandon:

    If I were to distill the argument that you’ve adopted from CtC it would be that Jesus established a principled means to determine Divine revelation and that principled means was the Petrine office.

    Technically, it would be the college of bishops in communion with Rome. Rome can act infallibly and unilaterally as well (the extraordinary form), but the bishops can act in consensus with Rome as well (the ordinary form). That’s why the unique role of Peter wasn’t all that important until there was discord between bishops.

  88. Susan,

    Yes, I see your point.

    For the individual Protestant shouting at the Church, they see it as, “The Church agrees with me” as opposed to “I submit to the Church.”

    The whole thing becomes a struggle for authority. So, even if the Church were to cave on JBFA, they still wouldn’t see it as enough.

  89. SS,

    Was Peter acting the capacity of Pope or even prototypically in the capacity of Pope at the Jerusalem council (Acts 15)?

    Peter begins acting in the capacity of Pope in Acts 1 when he calls the Apostles together to choose Judas’ successor.

    He continues acting as Pope in Acts 2 when he addresses the crowd after Pentecost.

    Then in Acts 3, he continued acting as Pope when he addressed the people at Solomon’s Portico.

    In Acts 4, he acts as Pope when he addresses the Sanhedrin.

    Notice in Acts 5:29, Luke refers to them as, “Peter and the Apostles…” in front of the Sanhedrin…

    So, my conclusion is that Yes. He was acting as Pope in Acts 15 as Luke pretty much establishes in the first five books that Peter is the man.

    I may be mistaken but…I don’t think another Apostle speaks other than Peter in the first five chapters of Acts.

  90. So, my conclusion is that Yes. He was acting as Pope in Acts 15 as Luke pretty much establishes in the first five books that Peter is the man

    So if I understand the Catholic argument correctly, the fact that James spoke finally does not imply that he was the church’s leader/Pope, only that he (James) was the spokesman for a deliberation (no circumcision for gentiles, 4 noachide laws) which truly issued from Peter’s authority as the Pope? Is that correct?

  91. Jonathan,

    Gotcha. But would you agree that Peter would have had to believe that he had the power to adjudicate between competing bishops in order for it to be true that the Roman Church was established by Jesus? Maybe this is one of the things that must remain contiguous from Peter to Francis. What do you think?

  92. @Kenneth —

    how do you come up with that list? Those people could be experiencing demons as easily as angels could they not? How then do we know what spiritual experience to trust and which to run from?

    You are assuming a Christian view of the supernatural. Susan in her original challenge was keeping this open. For example since I listed Voodoo first, the Voodoo being that most corresponds to the Christian God (essentially God the father) is Bondye. Just as the Christian God interfaces through the Logos Bondye interfaces though the Loa which are aspects of God. There are no demons in Voodoo in the Christian sense all reachable beings are part of Jesus. Or for example in Buddhism the demons represent the mundane that distracts one from the spiritual not the evil in a Christian sense.

    So you are subtly assuming Christianity.

  93. SS,

    So if I understand the Catholic argument correctly, the fact that James spoke finally does not imply that he was the church’s leader/Pope, only that he (James) was the spokesman for a deliberation (no circumcision for gentiles, 4 noachide laws) which truly issued from Peter’s authority as the Pope? Is that correct?

    The way that I read Acts 15 is:

    1. They gather
    2. They debate
    3. Peter speaks and offers his opinion
    4. James agrees and supports Peter’s opinion from Scripture
    5. Everyone agrees
    6. Letter written

    So, Peter offers the initial opinion and James supports the opinion using Scripture. Peter is a fisherman by trade and not very learned. There is a good possibility that he doesn’t know how to read (as did half the world up to WWII.) So, James who obviously could read supports Peter’s opinion from Scripture and agrees.

    My PERSONAL opinion is that Paul–who is the most learned of all of them convinced them during the initial debate and then Peter agreed with Paul and James supports it with Scripture.

    Regarding who is the lead, I don’t think James is the head of the Council as he doesn’t offer the initial opinion and nowhere do I read, “James and the Apostles said…”

    Luke establishes early on that Peter is the head of the Apostles.

  94. Dennis,

    Ok, I’m following you, not agreeing on key aspects but regardless, I will come back to those key points later.

    My question then is this: If Peter is the head of the Apostles, and is acting as Pope, is the deliberation which bears his imprimatur (so to speak) infallible?

  95. @Brandon:

    But would you agree that Peter would have had to believe that he had the power to adjudicate between competing bishops in order for it to be true that the Roman Church was established by Jesus?

    I don’t believe that’s true. I can think of even mundane examples of government where the powers aren’t actually clear until they get used. The famous one in American history was Marbury v. Madison establishing judicial review. One could argue that it was already inherent in the judicial power, but that was the first case in which it actually had to be used. We wouldn’t say that Chief Justice Marshall created the judicial power, because that was already in the Constitution, but it would have only been latent if it was never exercised. We can reasonably conclude that it wasn’t a true novelty because the people were generally docile to it, even though there was a pretty good chunk of political power at stake. It wasn’t perceived as some novel creation that was inconsistent with history, tradition, or the purpose of the power, as if Marshall were making some ridiculous power grab (although some opponents whose interests were hurt made that argument).

    That seems to be very similar to how the papal power developed. People recognized that Rome was the see associated with Peter, that it was somehow special in this regard (even over Antioch, where Peter had also led the local church), and you had this one bishop who was appointed to speak on behalf of Rome to other churches. According to Peter Lampe, who I think is probably right in this regard, they were in this “fractionated” state, really just a collection of local congregations working together, not really organized but operating in a more collegial fashion, with this one bishop appointed as an external representative and treasurer for common funds. There was no monarchy being exercised, because you didn’t really need one, nor did it make sense to exercise it when it wasn’t needed. It was only when people became aware of issues pertaining to the universal church, not just this congregation or that congregation, that the bishops and then the Popes started acting as we understand them later to act.

    And just as with Marbury v. Madison, there were a few people who were resistant to the idea (St. Cyprian being a significant case), but there were many more who accepted it without question. And there was a lot at stake in the outcome in terms of political power, so it’s not like there wasn’t incentive to worry about it. It’s that widespread acceptance in a very short time period that makes it hard to write off as something alien to the radition. That’s where Lampe’s notion of the papacy developing as essentially Rome’s treasurer getting too big for his britches doesn’t make sense to me. It reminds me of the people who see Marshall as making this great expansion of the judicial power, even though people didn’t really see it that way. We have a real test in cultural acceptance, and when that results in a few loud opponents who have a personal stake in the opposition and a much more widespread “meh,” there doesn’t appear to be a real conflict.

    Now on the matter of papal primacy versus papal jurisdiction (Catholic vs. Orthodox), one could argue whether we are talking about who represents the tradition and who is the opponent with a personal stake in the outcome. That’s not going to get solved. The point is only that the papal office appears to have been established with very little opposition and even support from other bishops (like St. Irenaeus), so I find it very hard to see this as some radical innovation apart from tradition. History just doesn’t normally work that way; that would be a highly unexpected result.

    That’s a long answer to a short question, but I think it gets at what the real problem is. On my paradigm, I don’t really have any expectation that history would show some constant exercise of papal authority. Rather, what I would expect is that when it started being exercised, it was not viewed as some extra-traditional innovation that was an alien intrusion into the life of the Church. And that seems to be consistent with what actually happened.

  96. SS,

    The letter that is written is infallible.

  97. The letter that is written is infallible.

    Just to be sure I understand you: the letter is infallible and since Peter is the real authority behind the letter, Peter is speaking infallibly through the letter?

    Is that right?

  98. SS,

    No, in a Council, the bishops and the Pope are speaking as one. The letter is their joint declaration and all declarations from all councils are infallible.

    Papal infallibility is only when the Pope speaks ex-cathedra and only since Vatican I when papal infallibility has been declared two times ever.

  99. What exactly do you mean by this: the letter as joint declaration of both Pope and Council is infallible?

    What does that infallibility, which you are saying only pertains to the letter (and not to Peter…) actually entail?

  100. Zrim,

    I wrote, “Since the Bible is clear but we are sinful (and it is this sinfulness that accounts for our missing its clear message), is it the case that the more sinful you are, the less likely you are to grasp the meaning of Scripture’s basic essentials?” You responded:

    JJS, that question strikes me as wooden and two-dimensional as the one that wants to ascribe intelligence and gullibility factors to Protestant or sectarian conclusions.

    I know it’s wooden, but it’s exactly the right question to ask the person who says that (1) the Bible is perfectly clear on the essentials, and yet (2) there is widespread disagreement on many of Scripture’s most basic issues, but (3) that disagreement can be attributed to human sinfulness, despite the fact that (4) the Reformed system of doctrine is the most accurate reflection available of the Bible’s system of doctrine.

  101. Brandon,

    You’re willing to concede that Peter, Linus, & Clement may not have had the same understanding of their office than Francis has today. Fair enough–I don’t think this necessarily undermines your faith, but I do wonder how far this goes. As a Protestant when I hear “Rome is the Church Christ founded” I find that to be an historical claim that needs to be substantiated historically. I grant that certain things about the office could certainly develop as the Church came to a deeper understanding of the implications of Jesus commission to Peter, but I’m curious what you may be willing to concede. How much continuity needs to exist from Peter to Francis for your claim to succession to be legitimate? For example, are you willing to concede that Peter didn’t think of himself as infallible? If not, what are points of discontinuity that you are willing to concede?

    Good questions. Let me give you an example of the kind of development I think Scripture exhibits. Jesus, when he taught that it’s what comes out of a man that defiles him, sowed the seed for the idea that all foods are now clean (I think it’s Mark who teases this out). Now, did Peter understand, at that precise moment, that the Mosaic dietary restrictions were null and void? I would say no, he didn’t. But if the believing Pharisees had argued against him at the Jerusalem council on the basis that Jesus never taught that Gentiles could be included without becoming Jews, Peter could have appealed to this teaching of Jesus, the ramifications of which were not clear to him at the time (now, I realize I’m skipping the whole “rise and eat” vision, but I think my point still stands, which is that stuff that happened in the past can become relevant to a heretofore unexpected issue that has arisen, even though at the time it didn’t seem all that important).

    So did Peter fully understand the implications of things like “Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you. When you are converted, strengthen your brethren”? Or, “Feed my sheep, tend my lambs”? I’m not sure we can answer that question, but I don’t think the answer affects the Catholic position. Again, if Jesus didn’t fully understand his own mission when he was six, and if it’s legit to draw implications from Christ and apply them to his Body (which I think it obviously is), then it is not necessary for Peter to have fully understood the nature of his role and office. I mean, isn’t that pretty much the pattern we see throughout Scripture? Saul goes looking for his father’s lost mule, and instead he ends up being anointed Israel’s first king. Joseph interprets the butler’s dream and winds up the second most powerful man on earth, behind Pharaoh.

    If I were to distill the argument that you’ve adopted from CtC it would be that Jesus established a principled means to determine Divine revelation and that principled means was the Petrine office. But if Peter didn’t conceive of himself as being that principled means, doesn’t that undermine the entire apologetic that you’ve adopted? I’d assume you’re not willing to go that far, but I’m curious to know what things your Catholic interlocutor has in mind in conceding development.

    As Jonathan said, it’s also the whole episcopate and not just Peter’s successor. Now I’m not sure I would say that “Peter didn’t conceive of himself as that principled means.” I am quite certain that when he, along with the apostles and elders, wrote the epistle from Jerusalem to the churches in Acts 15, no one considered that a fallible, human, or ignorable decision by anyone with whose personal interpretation of the OT the letter didn’t conform. No, they all knew exactly whose authority they were wielding, that much is obvious from the chapter.

    Look man, the whole thing’s almost a joke it’s so funny. The apostles themselves, beginning with Peter, are such a group of bumbling morons that God actually has to step in all the time to keep them from effing the whole thing up beyond repair. And even that protection is itself only a negative intervention, as if God were saying, “Look, I’m not going to spend all my time trying to get you bishops and popes to always say the right things at the right times in the right ways, I’ve got too much on my plate for that. What I will do, though, is restrain you from completely derailing the entire church that my Son went to all the trouble to found.”

    Honestly, if you look at the claims the Church is making, they’re not all that high and mighty. In fact, it’s because of our appreciation for how sinful people are that we insist on such divine protection from error.

  102. Jesus, when he taught that it’s what comes out of a man that defiles him, sowed the seed for the idea that all foods are now clean (I think it’s Mark who teases this out). Now, did Peter understand, at that precise moment, that the Mosaic dietary restrictions were null and void

    I don’t think it necessarily follows from the Lord’s statement about what defiles a man that the Mosaic dietary laws have been nullified for Jews.

    “17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven ; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    Jesus was simply correcting the prevailing hypocrisy which held that a Jew who was 100% dietarily kosher could be considered clean if he nevertheless harbored that list of sins in his heart. Indeed that was the Pharisees’ problem: they were externally clean, but internally unclean by virtue of their lack of inner piety. Also, if Jesus had indeed annulled the dietary laws for Jews, He is open to the charge of hypocrisy, since He accused the Pharisees of adding their commandments (such as the washing of hands) to the commandments of God. And yet we know that the clean/unclean distinction itself come for the commandments of God in the Torah (again see Matt 5).

    Then there’s an textual issue where some modern translations have ‘added’ text to Mark 7:19b: “In saying this, Jesus declared all food ‘clean'”. Dr David Flusser, renowned Hebrew scholar at Hebrew University states: “The passage about the washing of hands does not justify the assumption that Jesus opposed the Jewish legal practice of his time; but by the third century, Origen understood it as signifying the rejection of Jewish dietary laws by Jesus. The overwhelmingly majority of modern translators thoughtlessly accept Origen’s interpretation when they take Mark 7:19b to mean ‘Thus he declared all foods clean’, although the Greek original can hardly be read in this sense”. Dr Fischer follows Dr Flusser’s statement with “Origen and Chrysostom pioneered this interpretation. Neither of them can be viewed as neutral to Jewish people and culture in view of their anti-Jewish writings (e.g., Chrysostom’s ‘Homilies Against the Jews’.”

  103. along with the apostles and elders, wrote the epistle from Jerusalem to the churches in Acts 15, no one considered that a fallible, human, or ignorable decision by anyone with whose personal interpretation of the OT the letter didn’t conform. No, they all knew exactly whose authority they were wielding, that much is obvious from the chapter.

    Jason, I realize that the above was in the context of your convo with Brandon, but just noting that this answers my last question to Dennis.

    So my followup then is this: if the letter’s content, encapsulating the content of the council’s and Peter (presumably as Pope according to the CC) joint deliberation, was infallible , why does the CC today teach that catholics are not bound to 3 of the 4 noachide laws listed in the letter? And 2) what are the ramifications of your answer to 1) with regards to AC2?

  104. SS,

    It comes down to the distinction between disciplines and dogmas. Perhaps Jonathan can elaborate, because I’ve got a bunch of episodes of Boardwalk Empire that aren’t going to watch themselves.

  105. Comment

  106. Your still stuck on boardwalk empire?!? Breaking bad all the way

  107. *You’re*

    And I’m all caught up on Breaking Bad, and am in season 3 of BE. It’s all a footnote to Sopranos and The Wire anyway. . . .

  108. Jason, yeah, you really are grown up about this (and remember, you’re the one claiming to be an adult and superior).

    History is not a mere wave of the hand to Nicea. It is actually seeing development, that high papalism did not exist before the 11th century, that it was clearly on the ropes with three popes in the 14th century, and had its arse saved by councils in the fifteenth century, and then Trent had to avoid the subject of ecclesiology after the Reformation.

    You’re in over your head, dude. But keep up touting how no one takes Protestantism seriously. That’s odd because Rahner and De Lubac took Barth seriously and so did Vatican II when it took Protestants seriously as separated brothers who have some of the truth.

    For a guy who talks so openly about a church with so much history, you really should know what you’re talking about.

  109. Jason writes: “Look man, the whole thing’s almost a joke it’s so funny. The apostles themselves, beginning with Peter, are such a group of bumbling morons that God actually has to step in all the time to keep them from effing the whole thing up beyond repair. And even that protection is itself only a negative intervention, as if God were saying, ‘Look, I’m not going to spend all my time trying to get you bishops and popes to always say the right things at the right times in the right ways, I’ve got too much on my plate for that. What I will do, though, is restrain you from completely derailing the entire church that my Son went to all the trouble to found.'”

    So which is it? Is Rome superior because it’s infallible? Or is Rome superior because it’s the worst church out there.

    You really need to get you apologetic straight.

  110. Wosbald writes: “The Church is both ever-the-same and ever-different.”

    Bryan Cross responds: “That’s a logical fallacy.”

    D G Hart says, “but the rules never apply to those who need to vindicate not the church but themselves.”

    Why don’t you guys act like a professional athlete who has scored more than one touchdown — that is, like you’ve been here before. Oh, wait. You haven’t.

  111. Jason, when you were a Protestant you seemed to know that triumphalism was obnoxious — you know, exile and pilgrimage?

    What happened?

  112. Dennis,

    For the Protestant, the truth stops at Scripture. As such, an individual has license to interpret Scripture freely (and more importantly incorrectly).

    I don’t know exactly what you mean by saying the truth stops at Scripture. If by this you mean that special revelation stops at Scripture, then yes, that’s what Protestants believe. If you mean Protestants find all truth about everything in Scripture, then no.

    The individual never has license to misinterpret Scripture. The right to individual interpretation is not the right to misinterpretation. The issue is that Scripture always requires individual interpretation and application just as papal decrees require it. In fact, all communication requires individual interpretation and application.

    The question regarding infallibility is really about the origin of binding authority. Protestants say a decree only has binding authority insofar as it conforms to what God has clearly said in Scripture. The RC position, in my eyes, reduces to the fact that for at least some things, the church has conscience-binding authority regardless of whether what it says can actually be verified by divine revelation. That’s because Rome is, essentially, an organ of divine revelation. That is an essentially Mormon or JW ecclesiology.

    The reality is that the truth was not delivered in Scripture but rather in Jesus Christ. Truth was delivered by God the Son. Some of it was recorded in Scripture.

    This is a false dichotomy. In the first place, Scripture says Christ is the clearest revelation of God and not that He is the only revelation of God. Remember the prophets and Apostles? Second, by virtue of the unity of the Godhead, all of Scripture is the Word of Christ. Those genealogies in Chronicles are as much the Word of Christ as the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Holy Spirit is the primary agent of revelation in regards to Scripture, but because God is undivided, the Father and Son are working in revelation as well and what is written in Scripture is their words as well.

    The idea that only some of what God has said is revealed in Scripture sounds very much like the old 2-source conception of tradition where God says somethings in Scripture and other things in tradition. It was my understanding that Rome was moving away from this to a more material sufficiency view. That is to Rome’s credit because without a doctrine of development and a denial of a 2-source view, Rome really does crumble under the weight of historical evidence. But the fact that Rome now holds more to material sufficiency (I think, since there’s no infallible decree on this, its hard to tell. I’m looking mainly at their style of discussion) proves a substantial change. Newman recognized that traditional definitions of revelation could not work regarding the papacy. But instead of asking whether the papacy was legitimate, he assumed it and came up with a theory of development to make it fit. When you’re looking for a tangible way to settle your own uneasiness, I submit that is what you do. It’s the standard line in Protestant-to-RC conversion narratives that goes something like this: “I looked at Protestantism and was alarmed by the division and how the churches can’t solve doctrinal disputes because if they could, there would not be a multitude of divisions. Therefore, Rome.” It’s a line I’ve seen in various forms from Jason, Bryan Cross, Susan, and many of the other RCs on this board and elsewhere. The trouble is, once you are convinced that visible unity according to a certain model is the be-all and end-all of ecclesiology, you’ll stop at nothing to make the facts fit the theory rather than proving the theory from the facts. Hence, the doctrine of development vs. earlier Roman claims that Jesus and the Apostles delivered the mass, saintly invocation, and more as-is.

    It’s not that truth is being suppressed in unrighteousness. I think Protestants are very sincere in their quest for truth. The problem is that your paradigm isn’t allowing you to see the message of Jesus Christ.

    For example, a major tenet of the Protestant gospel is Justification by Faith Alone. The problem is that Jesus Christ never said this. You’re tying a major part of your belief system on something that Jesus Christ didn’t say. In actuality, the words of Jesus Christ don’t lend themselves to a JBFA gospel…and yet, your paradigm has you believing it.

    Here’s the difference between a Reformed view of mankind and the non-Reformed view, which includes RCs as well as Arminian Protestants. I don’t believe anyone is sincerely seeking for truth apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (Romans 3; John 3). And this is as true of me as it is for anyone else. Now, being that I can’t see who the Spirit has regenerated, I assume that anyone who tells me they are seeking truth is actually seeking truth until they start consistently employing double standards, arguing in an arbitrary manner, and the like. Of course, we’re all guilty of these things at times. The question for me is when they become an individual’s modus operandi and whether or not the individual is sincere in his attempt not to employ double standards, argue arbitrarily, etc.

    The person who claims to be seeking after God may be sincerely seeking God, but most people in reality want the benefits of God without wanting God Himself. It’s difficult for me as a finite human being to distinguish the two, so I assume the former until the evidence is overwhelming that the latter is the case. Even then, God may open that person’s eyes and I pray to that end.

    As to whether Jesus never said anything about JFBA, I disagree. I acknowledge that the clearest presentations of this doctrine do not come from the lips of Jesus during His earthly ministry. But I also acknowledge that Jesus is speaking where the doctrine is presented most clearly, namely, the letters of Paul. So yes, I’m tying my belief to what Jesus has revealed.

    Second, the fact that the gospels do not record a lengthy presentation of the doctrine a la Romans 1–5 does not prove that Jesus never taught it as such. Most if not all of the NT epistles were written before the gospels. We know that the gospels do not record everything Jesus said and did during his earthly ministry (John 21:25). Given that the production of scrolls and books were so expensive, why would the gospel writers need to include a lengthy discourse on what Jesus said about the full doctrine of justification when they could devote the limited space they had to things Jesus said that aren’t recorded in the epistles???

    Third, what the gospels do record presuppose the doctrine. Jesus’ demand for absolute perfection (Matt. 5:48). The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18). I could multiply examples What the gospels will not support is the idea that we are justified by baptism, can move in and out of a justified state through mortal sin and penance, and that justifying grace is insufficient for perseverance. What the gospels won’t support is the idea of grace being dispensed as a substance through the sacraments ex opere operate. All of these points are essential to the RC view of justification.

  113. Jason,

    did you really just spell check me? Lol!

    Game on. I’m all over your next slip up dude. Just miss a comma and *you’re* going in blast!

  114. (sifting through *your* previous comments looking for a weakness)

  115. Jason,

    You may find St. Thomas More’s Dialogue Concerning Heresies to be a helpful resource. C.S. Lewis gave the book high praise, perhaps because More and his interlocutor engage in a genuine dialogue. Here is a link.

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul

  116. @SS:

    So my followup then is this: if the letter’s content, encapsulating the content of the council’s and Peter (presumably as Pope according to the CC) joint deliberation, was infallible , why does the CC today teach that catholics are not bound to 3 of the 4 noachide laws listed in the letter? And 2) what are the ramifications of your answer to 1) with regards to AC2?

    As Jason implied, by their own admission, they were making accommodations for the case in front of them. It’s not clear that dogmatic infallibility is even relevant to that kind of determination. In the case of the Jerusalem Council, they were claiming the wisdom of the Holy Spirit for an individual judgment, and that would not fall within any of the ordinary parameters of infallibility. It’s not clear, at least to me, whether they were saying that they were infallible in this context (which could be the case; they were Apostles, after all!) or whether they were simply appealing to their authority to enforce discipline (the Holy Spirit chose us, so you should listen to us). In any case, it’s not really a paradigm case for dogmatic infallibility, because the model doesn’t really fit for the reasons you gave. These were temporary guidelines given to the Church, not enduring and permanent principles.

    @Dr. Hart:

    It is actually seeing development, that high papalism did not exist before the 11th century, that it was clearly on the ropes with three popes in the 14th century, and had its arse saved by councils in the fifteenth century, and then Trent had to avoid the subject of ecclesiology after the Reformation.

    That’s a specific definition of “high papalism” that involves political power. The sort of monarchial papal authority over the Church that we are talking about definitely goes all the way back to Sts. Leo the Great and Gregory the Great. The “high papalism” you are talking about was not a particularly good thing, and it has been weeded out of the Church entirely. Vatican I was essentially the last stand for indulging that sort of thing, and by the way, good riddance. Based on my discussions with Jason, I think we’re both happy for that it’s gone.

    But keep up touting how no one takes Protestantism seriously. That’s odd because Rahner and De Lubac took Barth seriously and so did Vatican II when it took Protestants seriously as separated brothers who have some of the truth.

    I take Barth quite seriously. That’s a view of Scripture that can actually be plausible, although it will necessarily suffer from the same difficulties that liberalism does (you can never really know what the content is). If all Protestants were neo-orthodox, rather than clinging to inerrancy as the be-all, end-all of Scriptural authority and casting liberalism as an evil, these discussions would be a lot more productive.

    @Robert:

    Now, being that I can’t see who the Spirit has regenerated, I assume that anyone who tells me they are seeking truth is actually seeking truth until they start consistently employing double standards, arguing in an arbitrary manner, and the like. Of course, we’re all guilty of these things at times. The question for me is when they become an individual’s modus operandi and whether or not the individual is sincere in his attempt not to employ double standards, argue arbitrarily, etc.

    Oh, NOW I get it. When you said those things, I thought you were talking about actual arguments, like rational concepts for what counts as being arbitrary or being a double standard based on objective truth. I didn’t have my secret anti-Catholic Reformed Decoder Ring that told me you were actually putting me through your magic see-into-the-heart test for judging other people’s souls. What you actually mean by “arbitrary” or “modus operandi” means “doesn’t agree with my version of Reformed Protestantism.” I apologize for actually trying to respond to you as if you were making arguments, rather than submitting humbly to your judgment of the state of my soul.

  117. @Robert:
    You know what? I am not inclined to let this go.

    I don’t believe anyone is sincerely seeking for truth apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (Romans 3; John 3).

    Now you’ve also said that Catholics can’t be saved if they actually believe Catholic dogma, but only despite it. So how can you avoid the conclusion that all faithful Catholics who actually believe Catholic dogma are not seeking the truth and are therefore dishonest? Is then belief in Catholicism not proof that the person is not sincerely seeking for the truth? And if you cannot avoid that conclusion, does accusing every faithful Catholic of being dishonest, committed to arbitrariness and double standards by his very faith, not qualify as bigotry?

    I don’t see how you can avoid Kingsley’s position that Catholics must either be knaves or fools. You necessarily have to believe that all Catholics are deceived and that if they were seeking the truth, they would leave the Catholic Church. I do NOT believe that about Protestantism; its conservative varieties may be inconsistent, but it isn’t implausible to the point that someone couldn’t come by it honestly.

  118. @Paul —

    I think it is an interesting book, but ultimately there is a real and fundamental problem. The whole concept of heresy in Christian thought has changed. Heresy is in that dialogue a criminal act, against a religious body not just a term for a difference of religious opinion which the parties consider to be too important for them to ignore. At the time of Dialogue Concerning Heresies the Magisterial Reformation is just starting. The Reformation is still an attempt to Reform the church not a Revolution that intends to replace the Catholic Church with an entirely different family of religious bodies. There is no way to go back in time and not know that didn’t work.

    There are also problems of details. Just to pick the extreme, Moore is often arguing against Lollards, which are not even Protestant but rather proto-Protestant. Protestantism has evolved quite a bit, it just believe the same things the Lollards did in many respects.

    Of course there is the arguments we hear 500 years later, “The Church of Christ has always had one belief and one faith” which Moore assumes despite the wealth of evidence to the absolute contrary. The Protestant interlocker really should have brought up the changes and the discrepancies, but 500 years later they are far better documented. In Moore’s time I believe it was possible for someone to examine the evidence and see continuity, a stretch but possible. Today it is only possible if one ignores evidence.

    There are other problems. For example a good deal of the book deals with Saints and relics. Both parties agree that saintly relics induce miracles, i.e. more or less agreement that they are magic devices that do magic stuff though they won’t say that directly. The Messenger just believes that magic arrises from the devil while Moore asserts it is a divine sign. That’s wholly different than the overwhelming Protestant position that these relics do nothing at all and there are no miraculous devices.

    Or for example in the discussion of the worshipping saints Moore can assume that the Messenger considers it non-objectionable to take a position of supplication and worship towards political figures like a King. The argument crucially turns on that point. I don’t think almost any Protestant today would agree, heck I don’t think almost any Catholic would agree.

    What I do think is nice is that one sees how strong the break was in the pre-Calvin period before the compromises that left both faiths muddled.

    1) The Messenger (the Protestant interlocker) unabashedly argues for the fall of the church as per Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

    2) Moore argues for salvation by the church, unabashedly. The church (not Jesus though empowered by him, and not faith) is the instrument of salvation.

    So definitely an interesting book but not a cure all.

  119. +JMJ+

    Jonathan Prejean wrote:

    As Jason implied, by their own admission, they were making accommodations for the case in front of them. It’s not clear that dogmatic infallibility is even relevant to that kind of determination. In the case of the Jerusalem Council, they were claiming the wisdom of the Holy Spirit for an individual judgment, and that would not fall within any of the ordinary parameters of infallibility. It’s not clear, at least to me, whether they were saying that they were infallible in this context (which could be the case; they were Apostles, after all!) or whether they were simply appealing to their authority to enforce discipline (the Holy Spirit chose us, so you should listen to us). In any case, it’s not really a paradigm case for dogmatic infallibility, because the model doesn’t really fit for the reasons you gave. These were temporary guidelines given to the Church, not enduring and permanent principles.

    So, what we’re looking at is more like proto-Canon Law?

  120. [Susan a long time ago]: say Rome forfeited this this one [Sola Fide] (which it can’t not because it wants to be obstinate but because it is metaphysically unhelpful to the sinner), would Reformed Protestants be pacified, since this is the biggy?

    Well that is a very intriguing question. I find it hard to imagine a scenario where RC could concede Sola Fide, but nothing else, but if that somehow happened, this Protestant, for one, would ‘be pacified’.

    There are really two ‘biggies’, not just one; there’s also the formal principle of Sola Scriptura. But if we were somehow to agree on Sola Fide, I’m not sure it would matter too terribly much how we got there. Disagreement on Sola Scriptura would limit our ability to have fruitful conversation (same as now), but hey, there are plenty of Christian groups out there with borked notions of revelation and authority. Nobody’s calling Pentecostals non-Christian (except Oneness Pentecostals, who flunk on the Trinity). The Reformation considers Roman sacramentology to be blasphemous idolatry. And yet Baptists (and most Protestants who are baptistic) get baptism completely backwards, and we don’t shun them.

    But taking this thought experiment a little further, if Rome conceded Sola Fide, how would it get around Trent? Fundamentally, conceding Sola Fide would mean that Rome would have to admit to making a mistake, which has knock-on implications for other issues like infallibility, authority, sola scriptura, etc.

    Also, picking up on “…because it is metaphysically unhelpful to the sinner” — should the proper criterion be whether it is biblical? How does human understanding of metaphysics norm our understanding of the bible in this area — even within an RC paradigm?

  121. JJS, but when the person being asked doesn’t recognize the implication of his point (i.e. the Bible is clear but sin greatly obscures readers from grasping even its essentials, thus there is a direct correspondence between the relative ability to grasp the Bible’s essentials and the level of the reader’s sinfulness), then maybe the inquisitor is a bit off?

    In point of fact, the implication that flows more naturally from the point is that abiding sin is so great that it cannot be so simplistically measured. Moreover, those who watch others who at one time confessed its clear message and then reject it ought to be very careful in concluding that they are LESS sinful than him, which is another way of saying they should emphasize grace and humility. The way you construe my point only sets up Reformed Christians for pride and arrogance in the face of apostasy. Still, to the extent that apostasy is met with the latter instead of the former may reveal just how un-Reformed many Reformed actually are.

  122. +JMJ+

    Zrim wrote:

    … the Bible is clear but sin greatly obscures readers from grasping even its essentials…

    Is “The Bible is clear” an essential?

  123. @Susan

    If the answer is still no, then it proves that there is no limit to Protestant Reform, and that should make the Protestant afraid that just maybe the thing started off nobely(from their perspective) but that men got carried away and now there is no way to appease the mulititude that demand that Rome conform to all the different biblical views, aka… man-made religions.

    I’ve already heard about some of the syncretism of religions out there: Jewbu( Jew+Buddist), the Baptist/Hindu, etc. What is going to stop this but the religion that Christ is ensuring won’t fall into the melting pot of man’s pluralistic inventions? This is the pandoras box of denominationalism.

    What exactly do you think 1st century Judaism looked like. The sacrificial cult no longer was a viable option for a religion that was as geographically scattered as the Jews had become. The priesthood had been totally corrupted. The overwhelming majority of the population philosophically had become Hellenized and wanted a syncretic faith that would meld into the empire as one more cult.

    That’s not Christianity’s death you are describing but its birth.

  124. Jonathan,

    You know what, I’ll respond at the risk of being labeled a bigot.

    Now you’ve also said that Catholics can’t be saved if they actually believe Catholic dogma, but only despite it. So how can you avoid the conclusion that all faithful Catholics who actually believe Catholic dogma are not seeking the truth and are therefore dishonest?

    My actual position is that Roman Catholics cannot be saved if they actually believe RC dogma regarding justification. Now it is possible that a current RC who believes RC dogma regarding justification is honestly seeking the truth, but if that is true, the Holy Spirit is working in his or her heart and said person will not persist in believing the RC version of justification until the end. In other words, before that person dies, he or she will trust in Christ alone for salvation, not Christ plus his or her works. In other words, said person will come to not put any stock in penance, temporal satisfaction, or anything else to be declared righteous in God’s sight and will believe that one is in no way whatsoever justified by what he or she does, that God’s declaration of righteousness and the right to be a citizen of heaven is based on only on Christ’s works and not Christ’s works plus the works that Christ enables me to perform by His Spirit.

    One could conceivably believe in justification by faith alone and at the same time believe in ecclesiastical infallibility, the intercession of the saints, etc. At that point one is just being inconsistent and not truly believing RC dogma as a whole but just pieces of it because you can’t really hold to JFBA and a great deal of other Roman dogma at the same time. Given enough time and barring a doctrinal reformation in the RC Church, for which one can always hope, the honest seeker of the truth will flee Rome (depending of course, on how much access one has to the truth.) A Latin American villager, for example, that has only a RC Church in his town might believe in JFBA and yet never leave his church because there are no other options and he or she doesn’t know any better. Someone who does not have much time or a natural inclination to read RC or Protestant sources beyond the Bible might also be in that boat. Some might even insist on staying within Rome and affirm the doctrine. I had several friends in college who I think fall into that last category—evangelicals who affirm JFBA but could not bring themselves to leave the RC Church. At that point, they were just being bad Roman Catholics.

    I don’t think all Roman Catholics are fools. What I think is foolish is the belief that Rome somehow solves an epistemological problem that Protestantism can’t. You can confess Rome’s ability to distinguish truth from opinion all you want, but if there is no infallible visible body that can tell you to go to Rome (which is what you demand to know what is true doctrinally), you’ve just moved the goal post back an inch. The relative advantage of your choice of an infallible source is only as good as the degree of fallibility one has in making it. RCs, Protestants, and the rest of us are equally fallible in making that initial choice.

    I don’t think all Roman Catholics are fools. I think it is foolish to believe in papal and ecclesiastical infallibility and yet have no concern what the actual beliefs of the individuals promulgating a belief were when they promulgated it. If you say the pope can be fallible about the meaning he invests in an infallible statement (a la Unam Sanctum and no salvation outside of the visible church), you are ironically left with a rather mechanical view of how the Spirit works and a non-incarnational view of divine revelation. The pope and Magisterium effectively become merely those who take dictation. It’s not unlike some dispensational views of how Daniel and Revelation came to be whereby they say that the authors had no idea what their prophecies meant but that it doesn’t matter because now we know the locusts in Revelation are really helicopters.

    I don’t think all Roman Catholics are fools; I think it’s foolish to believe the particular Roman view of infallibility logically ends up giving the church nothing more than a way to cover its behind and still teach that it is infallible even when past errors were made even in doctrinal statements and practical instructions.

    I don’t think all Roman Catholics are fools; I think it’s foolish to think that Rome’s doctrine of infallibility will not inevitably increase the natural desire and propensity for leaders to protect their own and to cover ups so that the faithful will not doubt the church.

    I don’t think all RCs are dishonest; I think that a great many popes and bishops have been dishonest and that it’s dishonest to promote wide-eyed skepticism regarding the certainty Protestantism provides and then pretend that Protestants are foolish for using the dishonesty of the Magisterium to demonstrate the unworkability of ecclesiastical infallibility.

    I don’t think all RCs are dishonest; I think that it’s dishonest call people spiritual pornographers, fundie hicks, bigots, and raving lunatics, and then get upset and think a Protestant is out of bounds to say one cannot knowingly affirm RC dogma and be saved.

    I don’t think all RCs are dishonest; I think it’s dishonest or perhaps better, inconsistent, to stress how much clearer Rome makes things and then purport to interpret and apply Roman dogma and declare certain beliefs heretical in a way that infallible Rome herself has not done.

    I don’t think all RCs are dishonest; I think it’s dishonest to accuse Protestants of Trinitarian heresy as if it is an inevitable deduction from RC doctrine and then not face the facts that Rome has not condemned Protestants as Trinitarian heretics even though its condemned us for a lot of other beliefs.

    I don’t think all RCs are foolish; I think it’s foolish to bind God according to some concept of metaphysics that he created (in being metaphysically unable to impute guilt to Christ and yet have Him remain guiltless in himself) but believe it wrong to say God is bound by his own character.

    I don’t think all RCs are dishonest; I think it’s dishonest to claim that RC and EO are the only viable options and then say Protestants must hold to everything the first 7 councils taught in order to affirm anything they taught while allowing RCs to not hold to everything the first 7 councils taught and to not consistently apply this and deny EO as a viable option for not recognizing later ecumenical councils and wherever they spoke on the Trinity and the incarnation.

    I could go on, but I hope you get my point.

  125. SS: “So my followup then is this: if the letter’s content, encapsulating the content of the council’s and Peter (presumably as Pope according to the CC) joint deliberation, was infallible , why does the CC today teach that catholics are not bound to 3 of the 4 noachide laws listed in the letter? And 2) what are the ramifications of your answer to 1) with regards to AC2?”

    Jonathan: As Jason implied, by their own admission, they were making accommodations for the case in front of them. It’s not clear that dogmatic infallibility is even relevant to that kind of determination. In the case of the Jerusalem Council, they were claiming the wisdom of the Holy Spirit for an individual judgment, and that would not fall within any of the ordinary parameters of infallibility. It’s not clear, at least to me, whether they were saying that they were infallible in this context (which could be the case; they were Apostles, after all!) or whether they were simply appealing to their authority to enforce discipline (the Holy Spirit chose us, so you should listen to us). In any case, it’s not really a paradigm case for dogmatic infallibility, because the model doesn’t really fit for the reasons you gave. These were temporary guidelines given to the Church, not enduring and permanent principles.

    This is getting even more interesting by the minute…

    Ok, earlier Dennis said that the letter (a product of joint deliberation by Pope Peter and council) was infallible. Now you are telling me that it’s not clear whether dogmatic infallibility is not relevant to that letter. Which one is it? Can you please provide a link to magisterial teaching on the Jerusalem council and its implications?

    You say “As Jason implied, by their own admission, they were making accomodations…”

    Logically speaking, that the deliberation may have indeed been an accommodation to the gentiles does not necessitate that it therefore not be an infallible binding. That’s a non sequitur, especially considering the fact that accomodations are intrinsically part of halakhic deliberation. All one needs to do to realize this is to take into account the significance of what was pronounced: not only did it deal with the binding of 4 laws, but also the loosing of no circumcision for gentiles. To qualify the loosing of circumcision for the gentiles as ‘non dogmatic’ or even ‘unclear if dogmatic’ strikes me (and would strike a natural seeker of truth) as exceptionally strange

    Regarding this:

    “In the case of the Jerusalem Council, they were claiming the wisdom of the Holy Spirit for an individual judgment, and that would not fall within any of the ordinary parameters of infallibility

    This is question begging. Again, Dennis said earlier that the letter, as the conclusion of the council, was infallible. Is this official catholic teaching? If yes, then why do you say merely assert that the judgment and indeed it was a judgment because James said “Therefore I judge,….” and “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us “, does not fall within any ordinary parameters of infallibility? This strikes me as a moving of the goal posts. The council was infallible, yes? If that’s not official catholic teaching, then how can it be that Peter’s (as the claimed first Pope) only recorded doctrinal deliberation is openly discarded/nullified/ignored?

  126. Roman Catholics,

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet, but it’s statements like this that make it so implausible for us poor Protestants to take Roman claims to infallibility seriously. Granted the link does not have the full letter (I suspect it’s in Italian, and I can’t read Italian anyway), but how is this position even remotely Christian? How does this square with the early church, who if it really thought the only thing that matter was following some idea of conscience, certainly never would have thought it needed to preach the gospel. Leave the poor people just following their consciences alone:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-assures-atheists-you-dont-have-to-believe-in-god-to-go-to-heaven-8810062.html

  127. @Robert:
    I don’t care about your excuses or rationalizations for your beliefs; I only need to know what they are.

    I said “faithful Catholics who actually believe Catholic dogma.” That includes Trent on justification and all of those things you mentioned, as well as numerous beliefs that you labeled “foolish” or “dishonest” in your true confession or whatever that mush up there was supposed to be.

    So if someone not only knows the Catholic belief on justification but accepts it explicitly and voluntarily, it follows that such a person is not an honest seeker of the truth, right? He is suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, right? He is not led by the Spirit to seek truth, right?

    You shouldn’t worry so much about being called a bigot as actually being one.

  128. For the record, I fully accept all that the CC teaches. I love the Lord Jesus and have been serving him for well over half my life, all around the world. I attend Mass at least once a week, and am a faithful husband and father.

    Now if despite all that I am still consigned to hell by someone, then I would suggest that such a person is not exactly the kind of dialogue partner I am looking for. A certain level of respect and charity is needed, and if that is lacking, then what’s the point?

  129. @SS:
    Wosbald correctly summarized my view; I think it was an early instance of Canon law. I am aware of the halakhic tradition, and that is most likely the authority with which Peter was invested in Matt. 16:18. That authority doesn’t strike me as being the same thing as infallibility, which relates specifically to the promise that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it.

    In the Jerusalem Council, the dogmatic teaching that Gentiles were not bound to the Jewish law was infallible. This condemned the false doctrine of the Judaizers, and that principle is immutable for all time. The imposition of the Noachide discipline was not infallible; that was a practical resolution specific to the situation. It therefore cannot be dogmatic, because it does not teach any explicit and irreformable principle. Not everything promulgated by an infallible council is itself infallible. For example, condemnation or exoneration of specific people can be corrected.

  130. +JMJ+

    SS,

    It’s simple. It’s a question of Discipline, a question of Canon (or Civil) Law, not one of Natural Law or Dogma.

    Canon Law simply cannot be an object of infallibility because the choice is not between Truth and Falsity, is not between Morality and Immorality. In fact, it is not an Either/Or choice at all.

    Instead, is simply a prudential decision which weighs and balances, in the practical and temporal order, moral or dogmatic principles in order to come to an accommodation which is most conducive to the Common Good.

    In that light, it should become clear that a civil law (such as a $500 fine for spitting on the sidewalk) can’t be “infallibly prudent”. However, such a law can, very well, be more or less prudent. Regardless of how prudent or imprudent it may be, a civil law is still the law, even though it may be overturned if/when it becomes too imprudent to keep it on the books.

    This is a distinction, a distinction which is clear in light of the Dharma, which Christ rebuked the Jews for not knowing and respecting. (Matt 23:2ff.and Matt 15:6-11. And in Luke 14:5 Christ as much as says “You know the Natural Law! You’re human, and thus, you know what binds and how and when it binds! Do you need to cling to the apron strings of some legislator every minute of the day? C’mon, man!) The reason why he rebuked them was because they needed no especial revelation or grace to know this Natural Truth. They didn’t need Him to know this! They only needed to respect and engage their own basic, common humanity, and their Jewish ethnicity gave them no intrinsic leg-up in meeting this moral imperative. But their scrupulosity and legalism led them into pride over their civil law. In essence, they absolutized the prohibition against spitting on the sidewalk as if it were part immutable law inscribed in Nature. This is a form of idolatry.

    So, no, neither we nor Moslems nor the Jews need the Church to know that eating blood is not, in itself, against the Dharma. But from a Catholic POV, Christ would rebuke us as Natural Men if we fell into that trap almost as fast as he’d rebuke us as Catholics for falling into it.

  131. For the record, I fully accept all that the CC teaches. I love the Lord Jesus and have been serving him for well over half my life, all around the world. I attend Mass at least once a week, and am a faithful husband and father.

    Now if despite all that I am still consigned to hell by someone, then I would suggest that such a person is not exactly the kind of dialogue partner I am looking for. A certain level of respect and charity is needed, and if that is lacking, then what’s the point?

    ??Replace “CC” in that statement with “Church of Latter Day Saints” and “Mass” with whatever Mormons call it, and see how that sounds. Or swap in “Islam/Allah/Mosque”. If someone sincerely believes you have shipwrecked your faith and brought the anathema of Gal 1 on yourself, what level of charity would allow them to gloss over that significant, I’ll avoid the loaded word ‘fact’ here, and stick with ‘perception’?

  132. I wonder whether Luther or Calvin found the CC to be the kind of dialogue partner they were looking for.

  133. @RubeRad:
    Do you walk up to picnics at Catholic churches and tell them they are going to Hell? Do you protest outside of Mass? Use some common sense already. Even if you care about somebody, those kinds of displays are irrational and pointless.

    I don’t got to Protestant websites to have discussions about Catholic faith unless there is a reason to talk to the people there (read: dialogue). But every Catholic website overflows with Reformed trolls having no interest in dialogue at all. Why do you think that is any more OK than crashing the church picnic or picketing Mass? Do this at your own website, or better yet, get off the computer and talk to people you actually know!

    I swear, some people’s children…

  134. Wosbald correctly summarized my view; I think it was an early instance of Canon law. I am aware of the halakhic tradition, and that is most likely the authority with which Peter was invested in Matt. 16:18. That authority doesn’t strike me as being the same thing as infallibility, which relates specifically to the promise that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it.

    Does the Magisterium confirm that it was an early instance of Canon Law? If yes, does the magisterium make the distinction you make regarding circumcision vs the 4 laws?

    In the Jerusalem Council, the dogmatic teaching that Gentiles were not bound to the Jewish law was infallible. This condemned the false doctrine of the Judaizers, and that principle is immutable for all time. The imposition of the Noachide discipline was not infallible; that was a practical resolution specific to the situation. It therefore cannot be dogmatic, because it does not teach any explicit and irreformable principle. Not everything promulgated by an infallible council is itself infallible. For example, condemnation or exoneration of specific people can be corrected.

    On what basis does the CC differentiate between the 2 aspects of the deliberation? (assuming that it does that is, that still needs clarification). You say above that you are aware of the halakhic tradition. If that’s the case, you must then be aware of the fact that binding was no less a halakhic decision than loosing was. This binding and loosing was typically done by the Rabbis/those who sat in Moses’ seat, with the two main schools of thought of the day being those of Hillel and Shammai. In a similar manner, James and the Council were exercising their right to bind and loose.

    Simply stating that the binding of Noachide discipline onto gentiles was not infallible and was only a reversible practical resolution is entirely question begging to the natural seeker. On what basis/grounds is this asserted? You cannot argue on ecclesial grounds, because that is precisely what is indirectly in dispute here. As I said earlier, that the deliberation involving both a binding (4 laws) and a loosing (no circumcision) was an accommodation is not the source of disagreement. It was indeed an accommodation. But this is what you are missing: the very nature of a fair accommodation involves give and take . James’ and the Council granted the gentiles the freedom of not having to be circumcised but they also adjudicated that the 4 Noachide laws were to be kept. There is no evidence to the natural seeker in the rest of the NT to suggest that the 4 Noachide laws were abrogated. As I have quoted earlier, Paul says:

    “14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. 18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?”

    Back in Acts 15, James says:

    “19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God , 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality,from things strangled, and from blood.”

    The ‘we should not trouble’ portion refers to the loosing of circumcision as not required of gentiles (the “give”) and the ‘but that we write’ refers to the binding (the “take”). The two cannot be separated if one is operating from the perspective that these were Jewish believers making a halakhic pronouncement, and not catholics. The 4 laws are not a collection of disparate ideas (as Robert has indirectly suggested), but are related/interconnected to each other, with the common thread between them being a prohibition against idolatry. FF Bruce comments on the passage that it “seems strange to find an injunction against fornication coupled with food regulations”… It’s only strange if one is unfamiliar with the importance of ritual purity issues to the community (see Paul’s halakhic instruction in 1 Cor 10 above for example). The idea that one can make a clean break between sexual immorality (as Robert has done) and the other 3 laws derives from a fundamental misunderstanding/ignorance of halakah, which is defined as the “wisdom of the feasible”. Indeed, in the culture of the day, Roman pagan worship involved all 4 elements within the sacrificial cult: objects polluted (a ritualistic term in an of itself), immorality with the priestesses/prostitutes officiating at the temples, animal sacrifice which involved strangling as opposed to slaughtering, and the consumption of blood. With this understanding of the sitze im leben of the deliberation, it becomes clear that the CC’s and Protestant churches’ attempt to isolate fornication/immorality from the other 3 laws is entirely anachronistic and question begging.

  135. Jonathan,

    So if someone not only knows the Catholic belief on justification but accepts it explicitly and voluntarily, it follows that such a person is not an honest seeker of the truth, right? He is suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, right? He is not led by the Spirit to seek truth, right?

    Since you obviously weren’t paying attention, the more simple answer is “I don’t know.” Someone could today honestly be seeking the truth and affirm the doctrines of Trent, but if that is so then sometime tomorrow (or in the future), that person will come to see the error of his ways and repent for trying to contribute to his own justification. The person who dies a Trent-affirming Roman Catholic was never truly seeking after the truth, just as a person who dies a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist was never truly seeking after the truth.

    I can’t know for sure if someone today is not a sincere seeker after the truth, although the tendency to employ double-standards is an indication that one may not be as sincere as one sounds.

    What is making me roll my eyes here is that you might actually be surprised that there are Reformed Christians who actually believe this. The Reformed have been the strongest opponents of the papacy in all of Protestantism have they not.

    Maybe you should be more concerned about consistency than with being the Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson of Roman Catholicism.

  136. SS,

    It is my understanding that when Paul is talking about partaking of the cup of demons that he is talking about actual participation in demon/pagan worship and not partaking of food left over after a pagan ritual and sold in the marketplace, the Christian not having participated in the worship service but just looking for some chicken to make for his kids for dinner. That is really the only way to make his comments gel with 1 Cor. 10:23–30 where Paul specifically says don’t worry if the meat in the marketplace has been offered to idols unless someone with a tender conscience is present.

    If James in Acts 15 is specifically talking about participating in pagan worship, then those Noachide laws apply. I can’t worship a Hindu god and eat in his temple at the same time. If there are some vegetables or something left over that I buy later and eat, I’m golden.

    Outside of pagan worship, nothing is to be refused (except in the presence of one with a tender conscience) for it has been sanctified by God and prayer.

    Context, context, context. Is it now always a sin for a Gentile to eat blood in any context?

  137. Jonathan,

    I don’t got to Protestant websites to have discussions about Catholic faith unless there is a reason to talk to the people there (read: dialogue). But every Catholic website overflows with Reformed trolls having no interest in dialogue at all. Why do you think that is any more OK than crashing the church picnic or picketing Mass?

    Except Triablogue and other sites, right? Referring to Poythress and Frame as fundie Hicks, Sproul as a bigot, and Calvin as a spiritual pornographer indicates a desire to have dialogue with the Reformed, how?

    When an ex-Protestant goes on the web or elsewhere talking about how RC has solved his epistemological problems and trying to exegetically make a case against his former beliefs, he’s inviting Protestants to comment. Jason can ban anyone he wants to. Let’s not pretend, however, that either you or he are truly open to persuasion.

    How long will the double standard continue?

  138. Do you walk up to picnics at Catholic churches and tell them they are going to Hell? Do you protest outside of Mass? Use some common sense already. Even if you care about somebody, those kinds of displays are irrational and pointless.

    I don’t got to Protestant websites to have discussions about Catholic faith unless there is a reason to talk to the people there (read: dialogue). But every Catholic website overflows with Reformed trolls having no interest in dialogue at all. Why do you think that is any more OK than crashing the church picnic or picketing Mass? Do this at your own website, or better yet, get off the computer and talk to people you actually know!

    I swear, some people’s children…

    I have been following JJS’ blog for years, since even before it was called “Creed Code Cult”; and JJS was a not infrequent participant on my&Zrim’s blog. Back when JJS was Reformed, I valued his contribution to Reformed churches enough that he earned the title of “Outhouse Saint” along with other stars from the WSCAL pantheon (Horton, Hart, van Drunen, Clark, Trueman, TD Gordon, Riddlebarger, etc. In fact I think JJS may have the distinction of being the only OHS to ever lack the title “professor”).

    Whatever this “relationship” was, it was strong enough that I felt personally betrayed and sickened by his abandonment of the faith to join the synagogue of Satan. So since you don’t know me at all, don’t you presume to lecture me about how to interact with people I know.

    And yes, if I encountered a Catholic standing on a street corner with a bullhorn enticing Protestants to shipwreck their faith, I would feel justified in confronting them. Especially if they were somebody I knew at any level.

  139. +JMJ+

    SS wrote:

    The idea that one can make a clean break between sexual immorality (as Robert has done) and the other 3 laws derives from a fundamental misunderstanding/ignorance of halakah, which is defined as the “wisdom of the feasible”.

    I’m not sure that Catholics would need to break the injunction against sexual immorality from the other 3 injunctions. The injunction against fornication could simply be a canonical injunction that was temporally enacted alongside the Natural Law injunction. For example, the moral teaching regarding the intrinsic evil of abortion is part of intrinsic Catholic fabric. However, a canonical (civil) penalty against abortion (e.g. excommunication reserved to the local Ordinary), intended to further the Common Good, may well exist in addition to the inherent moral penalty.

    And so, the prohibition against fornication could well be a canonical penalty meant to avoid scandalizing the sensibilities of the Jews. It would say, in effect, that “You already know that sexual immorality is wrong. But in addition, if you engage in this behavior, know that you also incur a penalty for having hampered the Church’s tender solicitation for the Jews’ sensibilities.” This secondary, canonical penalty could be lifted when the Church’s attention to Jewish sensibilities is no longer seen to be as imperative to the Church’s current apologetic focus. However, the moral injunction would still remain, regardless of any canonical penalties which may or may not exist “on the books”.

  140. Jason,

    For the record, I fully accept all that the CC teaches. I love the Lord Jesus and have been serving him for well over half my life, all around the world. I attend Mass at least once a week, and am a faithful husband and father.

    1. No one has denied you are a faithful husband or father. We all know that you are. Being a faithful husband or father, however, isn’t going to get anyone into heaven. There are atheist husbands and fathers far better than you or I, and that’s not going to help them except perhaps to lessen the intensity of what they’ll receive in hell

    2. After being a Roman Catholic for what, 18 months? you fully accept all that the church teaches. Really. Do you even know all that the church teaches? I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here to mean that you accept all that the CC teaches even if you don’t understand it or still have lingering issues with it because you believe the church is the voice of God.

    3. How many confessional Reformed people have you known who believe it is possible for a Roman Catholic who knowingly affirms Trent to be in heaven, especially someone who was once ordained and confessed belief in Roman doctrine? Is it really surprising that the Reformed would say you are on your way to hell based on all outward evidences? Don’t you know the past 500 years of church history?

    Now if despite all that I am still consigned to hell by someone, then I would suggest that such a person is not exactly the kind of dialogue partner I am looking for. A certain level of respect and charity is needed, and if that is lacking, then what’s the point?

    4. You’re looking for a dialogue partner who believes that you are wrong about core doctrines of Scripture but who isn’t therefore worried about the state of your soul?

    5. Is a Roman Catholic able to be the kind of dialogue partner you want a Protestant to be if you think the only way to true Christian unity is for Protestants to come under the Roman pontiff? Sounds like a double standard to me.

    6. What do you mean by respect and charity? Is it charitable to believe someone is on their way to hell and say nothing?

    7. This last sentence or two sounds all postmodern and squishy, as if we cannot even have an educated guess as to who might be going to hell based on the words of the apostles and the actions of others. I realize that that is how the modern Vatican rolls, but why are you surprised that Reformed evangelicals don’t? This is really what the comment reads like to me, that you are shocked that the Reformed would actually think Roman Catholics are in danger of hellfire.

    8. Is it impossible to respect people who put forth good arguments and good research and yet still believe that said persons conclusions are wrong?

  141. Robert,

    In the “What the Hell” thread (by the way, hats off to Jason for pithy/funny thread titles and icons!) you said:

    If by the 4 Noachide laws you mean:

    No food that has been offered to idols
    No eating of blood
    No eating of a strangled animal
    No sexual immorality

    Then the only one absolutely binding on a Christian today is the one regarding sexual immorality. Food offered to idols and eating blood is not forbidden (though eating blood is not my cup of tea. Keep the blood pudding away!) absolutely, though I think the conciliar principle would be that if you’re eating with an orthodox Jew, it’s best to stay away. Strangled animal meat is a bit more difficult. I think it could be condemned based on Scripture’s teaching on animal cruelty, but it’s hard to say with certainty.

    Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 10 are the key passages that support my answer, but there are others.

    Like the earlier kosher laws, James’ instruction was intended to be binding only for a time and then only in a specific context (the mission to the Jews) on the matters listed above, except for sexual immorality, which is grounded in a broader principle that was in existence even before the original kosher laws (ie, one man-one woman marriage given in creation). James’ teaching on circumcision was also not temporary given that God saved Gentiles without it beginning with Abel, Eve, and Adam (if he was repentant). The prohibition on eating blood comes later and does not seem to be grounded in any creational principle since we don’t really hear of it until Noah.

    If I find out my juicy steak is meat left over from a sacrifice to an idol and there are no believers with a weak conscience present, I’m going to eat it to the glory of God, for it has been sanctified by thanksgiving and prayer. (emphasis mine)

    Now you say:

    “If James in Acts 15 is specifically talking about participating in pagan worship, then those Noachide laws apply. I can’t worship a Hindu god and eat in his temple at the same time. If there are some vegetables or something left over that I buy later and eat, I’m golden.”

    So you’ve essentially flipped positions. Before you categorically denied that there is any food out there that is non kosher for gentiles. In your most recent post on the matter you change your view to say that you can’t eat food from a Hindu temple, whilst having cognizance that said food is polluted by Hindu God worship. So you are essentially now saying that you are indeed bound by all 4 Noachide laws pronounced by the first council. Good, one step closer to the truth than Catholics. Very good. (I’m assuming that the ‘vegetables’ or ‘leftovers’ that you are buying you are buying without knowledge that they are from pagan temple worship.) There are some serious logical problems with your earlier stance in that, if you argue that the binding was only provisional, who are you to complain to an agitator today about his belief that circumcision is in fact binding upon gentiles. He can just as easily dismiss you by saying “Well, that was provisional Robert, because after all, James says that Moses is read everywhere in the Synagogues and James intended for people like you to eventually be circumcised and then keep the entire law”…. Of course, he is mistaken, but that’s not my point, which is rather that the typical Protestant /Catholic stance, as exemplified by your earlier argument, lacks internal soundness at best and is inherently irrational at worst.

    Now, let’s take your most recent view:

    It is my understanding that when Paul is talking about partaking of the cup of demons that he is talking about actual participation in demon/pagan worship and not partaking of food left over after a pagan ritual and sold in the marketplace, the Christian not having participated in the worship service but just looking for some chicken to make for his kids for dinner. That is really the only way to make his comments gel with 1 Cor. 10:23–30 where Paul specifically says don’t worry if the meat in the marketplace has been offered to idols unless someone with a tender conscience is present.

    Yes, indeed Paul is doing what I would call ‘halakha within halakha’. IOW, he is aware of Jerusalem Council’s deliberations and is not seeking to abrogate the latter. Instead, he is adding a layer of complexity to the ethical and theological guidelines involved in the application of the Council’s decree. That layer of complexity (there’s that binding going on again, proving that Peter was not the only one with authority to do so, Peter was first among equals) involves the believer’s conscience/awareness . If he is aware that market meat has been involved in idol worship, he should not eat it. If he eats the latter without being aware of that, he is not defiled. This is not a contradiction of the Council, this is an expansion of the Council’s conclusions.

    That is really the only way to make his comments gel with 1 Cor. 10:23–30 where Paul specifically says don’t worry if the meat in the marketplace has been offered to idols unless someone with a tender conscience is present.

    Regarding this, not quite. What Paul is saying is that if you sit down to eat with someone who in good faith puts meat bought in the marketplace (which may or may not be polluted, the host doesn’t know) in front of you, be quiet and eat it. Don’t make a fuss. But then Paul goes on to say “If you host says “this food was offered to idols””, meaning the host is aware of the pollution, Paul unequivocally says:

    “27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake ; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?”

    In other words, Paul is in full agreement with the Jerusalem Council, he is just taking a more nuanced approach to it. He says if you/host knows that the food was offered to idols, do not use the excuse that Paul said “for the earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness”, because the eating will nevertheless remain a sin and a misunderstanding of me(and a slandering of his good name at that).

    The bottom line is that the 4 Noachide Laws are still binding upon Gentile believers. They are disconnected and severed from the olive tree that was meant to nourish them, so they just don’t realize it.

  142. The injunction against fornication could simply be a canonical injunction that was temporally enacted alongside the Natural Law injunction

    And so, the prohibition against fornication could well be a canonical penalty meant to avoid scandalizing the sensibilities of the Jews

    This secondary, canonical penalty could be lifted when the Church’s attention to Jewish sensibilities is no longer seen to be as imperative to the Church’s current apologetic focus

    Wosbald,

    Yes, it ‘could be’. But that’s precisely my point; while it is possible that the 4 Noachide laws could be in truth, part of ‘canon law’, it is not probable . The natural seeker will be concerned with more than a few thorns:

    1. While one could say that the canon law was ‘provisional’, can’t one also argue that it was a contradiction of later church teaching which cannot be said to have ‘developed’ from it? If so, should it be accepted that the church contradicts herself?

    2. The halakhic explanation I have given above makes a lot more sense to him in that both the binding of the 4 laws and the loosing of circumcision are all ritualistically connected and integrated as halakhic judgment by the Council which fits perfectly with what Paul says later on about not eating food offered to idols, or about the consequences of immorality (spiritual death), as well as the mixing of the latter 2 events in temple worship.

    3. Some catholics view the Council’s letter as infallible. It sure looks like hedging/moving the goalposts to then say that only a portion of it was infallible/dogma (the loosing of circumcision) while the other portion of it was fallible/non-dogmatic (4 noachide laws).

    4. How could the injunction against sexual immorality be part of the canon law and only issued to not offend the Jews’ sensibilities? Isn’t immorality dogmatically condemned by Scripture, by Jesus, by Paul, by John, by James, by Peter, by Jude, by the author to the Hebrews, by the Gospel writers?

    Too many inconsistencies and question marks to argue that the CC position on the ramifications of Acts 15 is the best explanation for the Biblical data. Like I said, possible? Yes. Probable? No.

  143. SS,

    So my followup then is this: if the letter’s content, encapsulating the content of the council’s and Peter (presumably as Pope according to the CC) joint deliberation, was infallible , why does the CC today teach that catholics are not bound to 3 of the 4 noachide laws listed in the letter? And 2) what are the ramifications of your answer to 1) with regards to AC2?

    The letter was binding on the Noahide laws. Up until the 15th century, this was Canon Law.

    The Catholic Church lifted the ban in the Council of Florence-1440 (Session 11):

    It firmly believes, professes and teaches that every creature of God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because according to the word of the Lord not what goes into the mouth defiles a person, and because the difference in the Mosaic law between clean and unclean foods belongs to ceremonial practices, which have passed away and lost their efficacy with the coming of the gospel. It also declares that the apostolic prohibition, to abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled, was suited to that time when a single church was rising from Jews and gentiles, who previously lived with different ceremonies and customs. This was so that the gentiles should have some observances in common with Jews, and occasion would be offered of coming together in one worship and faith of God and a cause of dissension might be removed, since by ancient custom blood and strangled things seemed abominable to Jews, and gentiles could be thought to be returning to idolatry if they ate sacrificial food. In places, however, where the Christian religion has been promulgated to such an extent that no Jew is to be met with and all have joined the church, uniformly practising the same rites and ceremonies of the gospel and believing that to the clean all things are clean, since the cause of that apostolic prohibition has ceased, so its effect has ceased. It condemns, then, no kind of food that human society accepts and nobody at all neither man nor woman, should make a distinction between animals, no matter how they died; although for the health of the body, for the practice of virtue or for the sake of regular and ecclesiastical discipline many things that are not proscribed can and should be omitted, as the apostle says all things are lawful, but not all are helpful.

    So, the law is no longer in effect where Gentiles and Jews are not practicing together.

  144. +JMJ+

    SS wrote:

    Like I said, possible? Yes.

    Thank you. That’s all we’re trying to accomplish. Our only point in apologetics is to build a plausible case. Now, add this plausible case to all the other plausible cases of Catholic apologetics, and one comes up with a rather voluminous apologetic. However, regardless of how strong the case, it can never necessitate a person to enter the Church.

    SS wrote:

    Probable? No.

    That’s your call. I’m going to go play me some Rayman Legends. Catch ya later.

  145. SS,

    I’m not reversing my position. My point was that if the 4 Noachide laws are actually about participating in pagan worship, as in I’m eating the meat in the temple to the glory of Osiris or whoever and whatnot, then James’ statement is binding on me in that context. Like I said in the other thread, context matters. I’m not going to eat blood in the presence of an orthodox Jew (really, I won’t do it knowingly anywhere, yuck! 🙂 ).

    1 Cor. 10:23–30 is applied specifically to the case of dining with an unbeliever, and since it’s Paul writing to Corinthians, it’s an unbeliever who participated in pagan worship and believed there was some type of inherent spiritual power/benefit to eating meat sacrificed to idols. For a Christian to eat meat offered to idols in that context would be to offer a false testimony to the power of pagan worship. If it’s a believer who thinks there’s some inherent power, I wouldn’t eat either for the sake of his conscience, but I would also expect that one day I could eat freely before him once he matures in the faith. Context is key. You are ignoring the context of the passage for the sake of importing a particular ecclesiological view of Acts 15. That’s essentially the Roman Catholic error, just applied differently.

    My application is not inconsistent because there are loads of apostolic teaching after the Jerusalem council that tell me nothing is unclean in itself and that all is to be received with thanksgiving when sanctified by prayer, not all except that steak left over from the cow sacrificed to Osiris. Every apostolic pronouncement on circumcision after the council says Gentiles don’t have to do it. Furthermore, just look at redemptive history. The eating of blood/unclean animals was not forbidden until after the flood. Circumcision was not given until Genesis 17. Neither practice has grounding in creational realities, so neither can be eternally binding. Sexual immorality and its prohibition has a grounding in creational realities. So yes, it can be eternally binding.

    The instructions on eating apply within the context of missions. I’m not going to eat pigs or blood in front of orthodox Jews or Muslims to whom I’m witnessing. But if it’s just me and my Christian brothers, I’m going to eat that steak to the glory of God even if it’s juicy and said juices include some remnants of blood.

    Jesus made all foods clean, even those that are still a little bloody and those sold after part of the animal had been sacrificed to a pagan God. He didn’t make all foods clean except those.

    Romans 14:14: I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

  146. Robert,

    I noticed you missed the part above about how I love Jesus Christ. But then, I must actually hate him, right? Like, I just spit all over the cross in my heart when no one’s looking. You know, since I am a Catholic and all.

    My point is that we need to move past the older ways in which we used to dialogue. V2 was an attempt on the Church’s part to do just that. The CC recognized, finally, that we exist in a global and denominational context, and the people who caused the schism all died in the 1500s, meaning their offspring aren’t personally responsible for it, or morally culpable for being Protestants.

    Your side needs to do something similar, albeit it will have to be grassroots rather than conciliar. You guys need to figure out that Catholicism isn’t the bogeyman it was thought to be back when Lorraine Boettner was your spokesman. The CC is not the woman riding the beast in Revelation, we’re not a bunch of hateful idolaters who worship Mary. In our day, in which there is just more information about the Church available than you could ever hope to digest, it’s simply silly to retain those ideas. Maybe even bigoted.

    If you were able to join other Protestants who have a more ecumenical spirit, you would be able to recognize that Catholicism is plausible even though you think it’s wrong, and Catholics love Christ and can be saved even though you think they’re wrong. There’s no excuse for clinging to these old stereotypes given the evidence you have before you. It’s almost as silly as still thinking girls have cooties, cameras steal your soul, and black people are 3/5 human.

    It’s a new day, Robert, and borders are more fuzzy, and walls a bit lower, than they used to be. Try to keep up.

  147. I am just going to sit here admiring the awesomeness of Jason’s last response. I’m done. I cannot do better than that.

    That, and everybody read The Destiny of the Species, so you can get a whole book’s worth of Jason’s writing.

  148. I’m not reversing my position. My point was that if the 4 Noachide laws are actually about participating in pagan worship, as in I’m eating the meat in the temple to the glory of Osiris or whoever and whatnot, then James’ statement is binding on me in that context. Like I said in the other thread, context matters. I’m not going to eat blood in the presence of an orthodox Jew (really, I won’t do it knowingly anywhere, yuck! 🙂 ).

    I really think you have reversed your position in that in your prior email, your declarations were categorically clear: ain’t no meat that’s beat for me. You even go to the extent of saying :

    If I find out my juicy steak is meat left over from a sacrifice to an idol and there are no believers with a weak conscience present, I’m going to eat it to the glory of God, for it has been sanctified by thanksgiving and prayer”

    But the issue is Paul never says the juicy steak meat which you know is sacrificed to an idol has been sanctified by prayer. He says the exact opposite:

    14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. 18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He”

    Paul draws an analogy with the Hebrew priests eating of the firstfruits and sacrifices at the altar in the Temple. He says: aren’t the priests who eat the bulls and lambs partakers of the altar to God? Then he preemptively counters the objection that eating of an idol tainted sacrifice confers legitimacy to that idol: hence the expression “is the idol anything” or in other words “that idol ain’t nothing but chopped liver/be sure of that”. And next Paul unequivocally halakhically prohibits any believer to eat knowingly of anything that is of the cup of demons. Contrast that with your attitude regarding your juicy steak meat…

    1 Cor. 10:23–30 is applied specifically to the case of dining with an unbeliever, and since it’s Paul writing to Corinthians, it’s an unbeliever who participated in pagan worship and believed there was some type of inherent spiritual power/benefit to eating meat sacrificed to idols. For a Christian to eat meat offered to idols in that context would be to offer a false testimony to the power of pagan worship. If it’s a believer who thinks there’s some inherent power, I wouldn’t eat either for the sake of his conscience, but I would also expect that one day I could eat freely before him once he matures in the faith. Context is key. You are ignoring the context of the passage for the sake of importing a particular ecclesiological view of Acts 15. That’s essentially the Roman Catholic error, just applied differently.

    Yes, it would be offering false testimony to the power of pagan worship, that’s correct. But you can only eat freely before him one day if he converts to the faith and also can affirm that the meat was not offered to idols, for no believer eats meat knowingly offered to idols (see 1 Cor 10:14-22). I am reading the context just fine here, moreover, I have shown that Acts 15 and 1 Cor 10 are not at odds with each other, in contradistinction to your earlier argument. So I’m afraid it is you who is reading the passage out of context. You can’t just focus on 23-30 divorced from 14-22.

    My application is not inconsistent because there are loads of apostolic teaching after the Jerusalem council that tell me nothing is unclean in itself and that all is to be received with thanksgiving when sanctified by prayer, not all except that steak left over from the cow sacrificed to Osiris. Every apostolic pronouncement on circumcision after the council says Gentiles don’t have to do it. Furthermore, just look at redemptive history. The eating of blood/unclean animals was not forbidden until after the flood. Circumcision was not given until Genesis 17. Neither practice has grounding in creational realities, so neither can be eternally binding. Sexual immorality and its prohibition has a grounding in creational realities. So yes, it can be eternally binding.

    What are the loads of the apostolic teaching. Bring me the top 2 or 3 teachings and let’s discuss them.

    The instructions on eating apply within the context of missions. I’m not going to eat pigs or blood in front of orthodox Jews or Muslims to whom I’m witnessing. But if it’s just me and my Christian brothers, I’m going to eat that steak to the glory of God even if it’s juicy and said juices include some remnants of blood.

    No, the instructions on eating do not only apply to the context of missions. That’s you reducing 1 Cor 10 to 1 Cor 10:23-30. You’ve got to contend with 14-22 as well. You can’t eat that juicy steak even if it’s just you and your buds, if it’s the case that the juicy steak is from meat that you know was sacrificed to idols. That is precisely what Paul forbids in 14-22.

    Jesus made all foods clean, even those that are still a little bloody and those sold after part of the animal had been sacrificed to a pagan God. He didn’t make all foods clean except those.

    Where did Jesus made all foods clean? Can you back the claim up?

    Romans 14:14: I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean

    And you’re talking about ignoring context? Shoo-Wee Pigulla man. In Romans, Paul is speaking to the Jew-Gentile axis.

    “14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

    19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.”

    In the above, Paul is not talking about food offered to idols, but rather to the dietary laws of the Jews as pertaining to the clean/unclean categories. It is as if he is saying to the gentiles, that if your jewish brethren consider pork unclean, then do not grieve them by trying to feed pork chops when they come over for the Sunday fellowship/potluck. So this has nothing to do with the erasing of dietary laws and the jew/gentile distinctions. That there is no more jew nor greek does not entail that the jew can eat like a gentile anymore than it means that man can live like a woman, or a bondslave like his master… Yes, context is king.

  149. And since there’s been all this talk about juicy steaks and pork chops (I’ve eaten my fair share in the past), I wanted to encourage all my brothers in the faith, be they RC/EO or Protestant to watch “Forks over Knives” on Netflix if you haven’t already, for your own sales and the sake of your wives and children. While I’m not necessarily going to give the science an unequivocal pass (I’m still reading up on it), I urge all to consider the evidence for the reversal of heavy atherosclerosis and even cancer in people who adopt a plant based diet. The correlation between animal protein and cardiovascular disease/cancer seems to be quite convincing, although some dispute causation. It sounded very intriguing to my ears, given that we are told:

    “29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed ; to you it shall be for food. ”

    I don’t see any pork in there. 🙂

    http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/11/28/report-finds-69-pork-contaminated-with-bacteria/

    Jus sayin’.

    Shalom.

  150. Now, add this plausible case to all the other plausible cases of Catholic apologetics, and one comes up with a rather voluminous apologetic. However, regardless of how strong the case, it can never necessitate a person to enter the Church

    I don’t know if its plausible, if by plausible you mean moral certainty. I think the natural seeker would not discount your version altogether, but would rather assign a very low probability to it. The rest of the CC’s apologetics depend mightily on the assumption that the first believers were proto-catholics. If one can show that this wasn’t the case, then there is no voluminous apologetic. The #1 MOC pertaining to the authority of the CC is the claimed existence of the church from day one. That is precisely what this debate on Acts 15 is about, unveiling the identity of the church deliberating there.

  151. The letter was binding on the Noahide laws. Up until the 15th century, this was Canon Law.

    The Catholic Church lifted the ban in the Council of Florence-1440 (Session 11):

    It firmly believes, professes and teaches that every creature of God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because according to the word of the Lord not what goes into the mouth defiles a person, and because the difference in the Mosaic law between clean and unclean foods belongs to ceremonial practices, which have passed away and lost their efficacy with the coming of the gospel. It also declares that the apostolic prohibition, to abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled, was suited to that time when a single church was rising from Jews and gentiles, who previously lived with different ceremonies and customs. This was so that the gentiles should have some observances in common with Jews, and occasion would be offered of coming together in one worship and faith of God and a cause of dissension might be removed, since by ancient custom blood and strangled things seemed abominable to Jews, and gentiles could be thought to be returning to idolatry if they ate sacrificial food. In places, however, where the Christian religion has been promulgated to such an extent that no Jew is to be met with and all have joined the church, uniformly practising the same rites and ceremonies of the gospel and believing that to the clean all things are clean, since the cause of that apostolic prohibition has ceased, so its effect has ceased. It condemns, then, no kind of food that human society accepts and nobody at all neither man nor woman, should make a distinction between animals, no matter how they died; although for the health of the body, for the practice of virtue or for the sake of regular and ecclesiastical discipline many things that are not proscribed can and should be omitted, as the apostle says all things are lawful, but not all are helpful.

    So, the law is no longer in effect where Gentiles and Jews are not practicing together

    So basically, you are saying that the church speaks infallibly, until she does not. One council’s conclusions can be overturned by another council’s. I’ll leave it to the natural seeker of truth to conclude if this seems like a reasonable paradigm in the light of the following 3 points:

    1. While one could say that the canon law was ‘provisional’ for 14 centuries, or that the ‘ban was lifted’, can’t one also argue that it was a contradiction of later church teaching which cannot be said to have ‘developed’ from it? If so, should it be accepted that the church contradicts herself?

    2. The halakhic explanation I have given above makes a lot more sense to him in that both the binding of the 4 laws and the loosing of circumcision are all ritualistically connected and integrated as halakhic judgment by the Council which fits perfectly with what Paul says later on about not eating food offered to idols, or about the consequences of immorality (spiritual death), as well as the mixing of the latter 2 events in temple worship.

    3. How could the injunction against sexual immorality be part of the canon law and only issued to not offend the Jews’ sensibilities? Isn’t immorality dogmatically condemned by Scripture, by Jesus, by Paul, by John, by James, by Peter, by Jude, by the author to the Hebrews, by the Gospel writers?

    4. Given that Messianic Jews exist today, and are indeed in fellowship with Gentiles, (and this outside of the CC/Protestant paradigms) did the CC make a mistake by overturning the conclusions of the Jerusalem Council?

  152. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/329671/hell-populous-place-michael-potemra

    “One of the most spectacular religious developments of the past century was the complete upending of traditional Catholic theology on Hell. Before Vatican II, there was a centuries-long consensus that Hell not only existed, but was the final destination of very many people. It was never officially declared that any specific individual was in Hell, but the tradition (Augustine, Aquinas, and so on) assumed that there was a massa damnata who for whatever reason did not accept the Christian faith and ended up there. (There was a similar consensus among Protestants of the Reformation era, shared by, e.g., John Calvin.) There were loopholes, to be sure; it was recognized that God might bring some righteous people to salvation through extraordinary means, such as the Thomistic “baptism of desire.” But since the Vatican Council of the 1960s, the exception has become the rule; and a general, genial spirit of universalism has prevailed.

    “Father Robert Barron — one of today’s most prominent apologists for orthodox, Vatican-approved theology; not a “dissident” in any sense of the word — speaks for the current consensus in this video. He basically agrees with theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (who was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, but who died before the official installation ceremony). We know that Hell must exist, says Father Barron, because human beings have free will and we need therefore to leave open the possibility that some will finally reject God; ‘but [von Balthasar’s] keen sensitivity to the dramatic power of the cross convinced him that we may entertain the lively and realistic hope that all people will eventually be drawn into the divine love. . . . Given what God has accomplished in Christ, we may reasonably hope that all people will be saved.’

    “This is, in my view, quite reasonable, and I believe that it is true. But it is vulnerable to the criticism that it is basically the same universalist thesis that was always previously rejected — only articulated more politely, to avoid what in traditional theology is called the sin of presumption. (‘We don’t know that God will save everyone, but He is a decent chap, after all, and so . . .’) If this is now to be the accepted teaching, asks Ralph Martin — director of Graduate Theology Programs in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit — what incentive is there for evangelization?

    “In his new book, Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization, Martin contends that Balthasar ‘departs from the content of revelation and the mainstream theological tradition of the Church in a way that undermines the call to holiness and evangelization and is pastorally damaging . . . [and] undermines the traditional motivation for preaching the gospel to all creatures, namely that their salvation is in real jeopardy.’ Now, understand what the phrase ‘the content of revelation and the mainstream theological tradition’ means, in a Catholic context; it has roughly the same force as an assertion that something is ‘un-Biblical’ would have in a fundamentalist or Bible-literalist context, or an assertion that something is ‘unscientific’ would have in a physics lab. It is, basically, another way of saying ‘wrong-o.'”

    New day indeed. This is not 16th century stuff, this is 20th century modernism.

    And we’re supposed to act like we don’t notice (see, I didn’t even mention Mortara)? You’ve got some ‘splaining to do my pope-kissing friend.

  153. Dear CD-Host,

    Thanks for giving us your read of More’s Dialogue. My only intention was to suggest that the book might be a helpful resource to Jason and others, since it is an example of genuine dialogue. In that way, More’s dialogue is similar to Jason’s example in the original post. I bet it would be interesting and productive to have a conversation about the specific content of Dialogue Concerning Heresies at some point in the future, though.

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul

  154. Jason,

    Cue sarcasm:

    So, I guess the Reformation for you must have been just a tempest in a teapot, then? Silly thing. Let’s all just hold hands and sing kumbaya and be ecumencially minded. I mean, let’s even go hug those Muslims and invite them to lead worship for us. I know, let me go and kiss a Qur’an or two—wait, that’s your guy now, isn’t it?

    I noticed you missed the part above about how I love Jesus Christ. But then, I must actually hate him, right? Like, I just spit all over the cross in my heart when no one’s looking. You know, since I am a Catholic and all.

    Muslims and Mormons think they love Jesus. So do Jehovah’s Witnesses. Let me be clear. I believe you really think that you love Jesus. If classical Protestantism is correct, however, you don’t.

    My point is that we need to move past the older ways in which we used to dialogue. V2 was an attempt on the Church’s part to do just that. The CC recognized, finally, that we exist in a global and denominational context, and the people who caused the schism all died in the 1500s, meaning their offspring aren’t personally responsible for it, or morally culpable for being Protestants.

    But Jason, if the RCC is not merely one denomination among many, as you have said, but the actual church Christ founded, why would there be any need to recognize we live in a denominational context? By definition, Protestant churches used to be invalid until Vatican II. Now, well, it’s not really all that clear.

    Your side needs to do something similar, albeit it will have to be grassroots rather than conciliar. You guys need to figure out that Catholicism isn’t the bogeyman it was thought to be back when Lorraine Boettner was your spokesman. The CC is not the woman riding the beast in Revelation, we’re not a bunch of hateful idolaters who worship Mary. In our day, in which there is just more information about the Church available than you could ever hope to digest, it’s simply silly to retain those ideas. Maybe even bigoted.

    Now are we going all ECT? In case you don’t remember, the communion you left had a whole lot of people in it that were pretty well miffed when Packer et al said that Evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism affirm the same gospel. This is what is just absolutely amazing, namely, that you were a part of a very conservative part of Protestantism, the Reformed communion that has been the biggest resistor to Roman Catholicism, and now you’re all shocked and offended that the Reformed don’t want to sit down and make nice with Rome until Rome repents of her errors. You don’t have to agree that Rome has errors, but it’s amazing that you can’t seem to believe that the Reformed hold the position they do.

    I know that the Rome of today is not the same as the Rome of 1517 in its tone. Rome, in fact, is often a source of a great many social goods—the prolife movement, feeding the hungry, etc. etc. I know that Rome’s definitions are so heavily qualified and so finely tuned so as to on paper deny the worship of Mary and the saints. But my definition of idolatry is not Rome’s definition of idolatry. For all intents and purposes, the devotion shown to Mary and the saints is idolatry, or have you forgotten the communion from whence you came. Again, it’s amazing that you are shocked that the Reformed believe traditional Reformed things.

    Here’s something you won’t know about me. Even though I’ve been a Protestant all my life, I grew up in a very ecumenical context wherein I regularly participated in retreats in which Lutherans, Charismatics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians (PCUSA), and yes—ROMAN CATHOLICS—got together to celebrate how we all believed the same gospel. In college I was a part of IVCF, and we often worked with the Catholic Student Union. While in IVCF, I defended the Roman communion against charges of idolatry. I remember one night staying up till about 3am in the morning arguing with my Baptist friend and co-leader that John Paul II was NOT an idolater. ECT came out while I was in college, and I thought it was a great thing. So please don’t lecture me about having an “ecumenical spirit.” It is through my study of Scripture and theology that I became convinced that my former view of the RC Church were wrong and that Rome really represents true spiritual peril.

    And on the ecumenical spirit—when Rome stops believing that the only way to true Christian unity is to accept the authority of the Roman pontiff and doctrines such as papal infallibility, then you can lecture me on true ecumenicity. Until then, stop pretending that Rome’s view of ecumenism is anything different then the Borg’s philosophy of assimilation and conformity.

    If you were able to join other Protestants who have a more ecumenical spirit, you would be able to recognize that Catholicism is plausible even though you think it’s wrong, and Catholics love Christ and can be saved even though you think they’re wrong. There’s no excuse for clinging to these old stereotypes given the evidence you have before you. It’s almost as silly as still thinking girls have cooties, cameras steal your soul, and black people are 3/5 human.

    It’s a new day, Robert, and borders are more fuzzy, and walls a bit lower, than they used to be. Try to keep up.

    Roman Catholicism is quite plausible once you accept Roman Catholic presuppositions. Approach it without RC presuppositions, and it’s not plausible at all. In fact, its so implausible that even official RC scholars recognize this and admit that an honest reading of church history leaves Rome with so many holes that it’s like swiss cheese. And then you all have the nerve to say that history is not the proper arena for verifying theological claims all the while faulting Protestants for lacking the proper historical credentials.

    Roman Catholics who understand, despite Roman dogma, that their good works in no way avail for their justification do love Christ and are saved. Those who knowingly affirm Tridentine dogma do not love Christ. Again, why are you surprised that confessional Reformed people believe this? This is standard, historical Reformed teaching not only about Roman Catholicism but about all non-Protestant faith systems.

    I’ve never believed the vast majority of Roman Catholics are hateful, nor do I believe that you are hateful. Maybe a bit arrogant and cocky at times, but that may just be because those are my failings as well. What I do believe is that one can honestly think that one loves Jesus but that the Jesus he loves is the creation of men and not the one presented in divine revelation. It’s called the noetic effects of sin. You do remember that standard belief of the Reformed, right?

    It’ll be a new day when Rome rescinds the decrees of Trent and Luther’s excommunication. Until then it’s just good marketing.

  155. SS,

    So basically, you are saying that the church speaks infallibly, until she does not. One council’s conclusions can be overturned by another council’s.

    No, I’m saying the Church speaks infallibly and has the authority to overturn previous councils as she sees fit.

    1. While one could say that the canon law was ‘provisional’ for 14 centuries, or that the ‘ban was lifted’, can’t one also argue that it was a contradiction of later church teaching which cannot be said to have ‘developed’ from it? If so, should it be accepted that the church contradicts herself?

    No, I don’t see it as a contradiction. The Church gives her reasons why the ban is lifted. It seems reasonable.

    I have no comment on #2.

    3. How could the injunction against sexual immorality be part of the canon law and only issued to not offend the Jews’ sensibilities? Isn’t immorality dogmatically condemned by Scripture, by Jesus, by Paul, by John, by James, by Peter, by Jude, by the author to the Hebrews, by the Gospel writers?

    My understanding of porneia is not sexual immorality but rather consanguinity, i.e. that you can’t marry your cousin or sister. This is still canon law today as it was in Scripture and by Christ.

    4. Given that Messianic Jews exist today, and are indeed in fellowship with Gentiles, (and this outside of the CC/Protestant paradigms) did the CC make a mistake by overturning the conclusions of the Jerusalem Council?

    It leaves an out as when there is mixed company.

    SS, if you and I should ever dine together, please remind me of this and I will make sure to not eat any strangled animals or blood.

  156. Dennis,

    Like I said earlier, regarding the best explanatory framework for the above,I don’t think that the CC’s paradigm will fit the bill for the natural seeker in possession of the facts I’ve laid out above. Don’t think your apologetic even rises to plausibility or moral certainty for the natural seeker.

    But thanks for going the distance and providing the quote re council of Florence, I think it will be very helpful to readers.

    SS.

  157. My understanding of porneia is not sexual immorality but rather consanguinity, i.e. that you can’t marry your cousin or sister.

    This is mistaken because the four laws are all prohibitions applied to the “alien who sojourns…” (cf. Lev 17-18, and said prohibitions include all forms of immorality, not just consanguinity:

    Lev 18:

    “19 ‘Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness as long as she is in her customary impurity. 20 Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her.

    and

    “22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. 23 Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.”

    So again:

    How could the injunction against sexual immorality be part of the canon law and only issued to not offend the Jews’ sensibilities? Isn’t immorality dogmatically condemned by Scripture, by Jesus, by Paul, by John, by James, by Peter, by Jude, by the author to the Hebrews, by the Gospel writers?

  158. Ruberad,

    I’ m very interested in dialoguing, but I can only comment when I have about an hour to devote to it. Yes, it sometime takes me an hour to formulate my responses. I’ve been busy since yesterday though, and this is the first chance I’ve had to reply. Be forewarned in any of my comments however, that as much as I care about dialoguing, it’s very very difficult for me to get what’s in my head onto paper! I have an impediment that the men who comment here apparently don’t have. If I am unclear forgive my lack of clarity, and most definitely forgive my overuse of made-up dialogue inside quotations! I use this tool too often to try and get my point across. Always ask me to clarify myself if you don’t understand and I’ll try again; this is good practice for me anyways.?
    I care about Protestants and will go the extra effort to help keep communication open and friendly, as much as depends on me. My family, as well as many friends, are Reformed so I’m not looking just to win an argument. I’ll do my best not to use ad hominems, and I will bite my tongue to avoid being rude. I also will not purposely misrepresent Reformed doctrine. I’m going to hope the same from everyone else, otherwise we’re all wasting our time.
    Ok, so you said:
    “I find it hard to imagine a scenario where RC could concede Sola Fide, but nothing else, but if that somehow happened, this Protestant, for one, would ‘be pacified’.”

    I agree that the RCC will not concede to sola fide in the way the Reformed define it, but the reason isn’t because she likes giving Protestant’s a hard time, it’s because that isn’t the way our salvation is worked out in reality. So that leaves us with three other options:

    1.The RCC knows she’s wrong but has purposely propagated false teaching.

    Problem with this view: This would mean that there was a conspiracy that began at an unknown time in history and if that’s the charge by Protestantism it seems to me that there is a burden of proof on Protestants to do more than just assert the charge. They should have to prove when the great apostasy occurred.
    ( I think this view necessitates proof, like say proving that there was a time when altars were not utilized in the worship. The earlier in history that altars where in use the more I detect a normative inside of tradition, for which the scriptural support of which may very well be written in the deuterocanon, but conveniently removed being that it imposed upon a sola fide position. The more the clues point to Catholic style of worship, the more I personally, move away from a Protestant presuppostion.) Can we do this, ya think? Can we look at the history of when altars became the in use and then possibly admit that the doing away with altars was to satisfy a Protestant view of the Church’s worship?

    2. Or sola fide was simply lost at some unknown point in history which means that God failed to preserve “THE” most important doctrine; that is, The Gospel itself! ( the Protestant view)

    Problem with this view: How would this happen? This seems very implausible to me. The early church said, “Here’s the baton; do not let anything happen to it or else all of Christianity ( basically the truth of the whole damned world) will fall into apostasy. And guess what? …..the doctrine of sola fide is never again formally taught to any catechists or any clergy again, after some undisclosed date. If you know more, a near round about would suffice, thank you.

    3. Or the RCC does not understand scripture. Proving that the Reformed are the only ones who can interpret correctly; or that scripture isn’t perspicuous after all.

    Problems with this view: The Church had been working of said scriptures for 1500 years prior the Reformation. They had been copying it, and preserving it, and it looks to me that it pretty much belonged exclusively to this body of people. If the world were perfect and no schizmatics existed, the scriptures could have/should have stayed with the successors of the apostles only.( I mean, Luther only broke away because he had too right? So this says that the ideal is one, holy Catholic, and apostolic church. But of course a lot got fuzzy when ecclesia starting to mean something else. And, maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the way I see it. Further, if the church was wrong at the time of the Reformation this leaves it open to the plausibility of being wrong at earlier counsels.

    Next you asked:

    “But taking this thought experiment a little further, if Rome conceded Sola Fide, how would it get around Trent? Fundamentally, conceding Sola Fide would mean that Rome would have to admit to making a mistake, which has knock-on implications for other issues like infallibility, authority, sola scriptura, etc.”

    It is a thought experiment and I was speaking of hypothetically conceding sola fide with the purpose of making a point. Trent is right because it’s right. I know that this is hard to grasp but if there is a Magesterium it must by necessity have the ability to say what is right and what isn’t.

    Lastly you said:

    Also, picking up on “…because it is metaphysically unhelpful to the sinner” — should the proper criterion be whether it is biblical? How does human understanding of metaphysics norm our understanding of the bible in this area — even within an RC paradigm?”
    Well if the sinner does need to be changed then something deeper than imputation is going on. But you are hanging your hat on imputation alone without a guarantee that that view is in fact true; however that’s a topic for another time. If you want to start from justification by faith alone, you still have to concede that the Christian is actually being changed as he grows deeper in love with God and further away from graver sins, yet this isn’t stressed a lot in Reformed circles. If we acknowledge that God will actually change the sinner into something holy, then we’ve moved outside” sola fide simple”, right there, and have entered Catholic soteriology. ( As you know Catholics believe that justification begins at baptism or the desire for baptism.) The problem with sola fide as the Reformed understand it is that is creates a hard and fast separation between justification and sanctification, and this causes it to have little to no focus on the sanctification part.( I didn’t fast or pray very much as a Protestant and if these things are aids to us then I wasn’t being informed by the church of which I belonged, and I expect the church who is in the know to direct the spiritual life of the Christian. Prayer and fasting alone and with the Church is Christianity 101 in Catholicism, so apparently wide swaths of orthopraxy have been nixed from greater Protestantism). Now take in 2 Peter 1:4, “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” the way both the EO and the RCC understand it and you have metaphysics harmonizing with scripture, and scripture harmonizing with metaphysics.

    It is the concord that nature, being perfected by Grace, has with the scriptures that blows me away. I have heard the vs. …”continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”, explained in Reformed theology, but there is nothing in their explanation that suggests that my salvation can actually be helped or hampered. To be honest I haven’t even found Protestant gloss of “ Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”, but I’m sure there is a good Protestant explanation. Question is, who’s right and who’s wrong?

    One last thing Ruberad, what is the scriptural principle for the doctrine of sola scriptura? I see that church is the norm when I read the NT. If you can look outside of scripture to establish the canon, I can look outside of scripture and employ philosophy.

    Susan

  159. I am just going to sit here admiring the awesomeness of Robert’s last response. I’m done. I cannot do better than that. He says the same things I would say, but with less anger, and something closer to “desirable-dialogue-partner-ness”.

    That, and I’d rather read Dual Citizens, a whole book’s worth of Jason’s Reformed writing.

  160. +JMJ+

    SS wrote:

    So again:
    How could the injunction against sexual immorality be part of the canon law and only issued to not offend the Jews’ sensibilities? Isn’t immorality dogmatically condemned by Scripture, by Jesus, by Paul, by John, by James, by Peter, by Jude, by the author to the Hebrews, by the Gospel writers?

    Whom are you asking? Dennis? Cause I already detailedly addressed this in my earlier post (Sept 12th @ 12:45 pm). I even gave a contemporary example of how abortion has a double penalty: the Natural Law penalty and the legislative Canon Law penalty. Though the Natural Law penalty always remains in force, the Canon Law penalty could be changed or even, conceivably, dropped. And if you are asking Dennis, I imagine that Dennis’ answer would be the same as mine.

  161. For the record, I fully accept all that the CC teaches. I love the Lord Jesus and have been serving him for well over half my life, all around the world. I attend Mass at least once a week, and am a faithful husband and father.
    Now if despite all that I am still consigned to hell by someone, then I would suggest that such a person is not exactly the kind of dialogue partner I am looking for. A certain level of respect and charity is needed, and if that is lacking, then what’s the point?

    Jason you do remember being Reformed right? It wasn’t that long ago. Going to religious services, and being a good person have nothing to do with salvation in Reformed theology. You are saved by winning a game of bingo where God sorts people into an elect and the reprobate. Even if you want to talk works, you fully knowing the truth, and understanding it to the point of having been a well known Reformed minister, willfully apostatized from the faith to join another religion. Believing yourself to be serving him while promoting a false religion isn’t considered meritorious in Reformed theology, otherwise Mormons would be saved. To use your analogy you aren’t in the boat of the Protestants 500 years later but rather the boat of the Protestants of the 1530s that first generation who knowingly rejected the Catholic church. Or to put it another way, you are in the same boat as a Catholic priest who breaks his vows and joins a Protestant church because he no longer believes. Why would you expect them to consider you anything but damned?

    I grew up in a church slightly to the left of Robert’s theology. It was functionally semi-Pelagaian so your faith statements would weight more heavily. And I have to tell you we saw people coming from liberal forms of Protestantism over to our church as the work God’s hand in saving souls. As far as conservative Protestants are concerned, and probably most liberal ones as well, you are an apostate. Get used to it.

    Your post right before this one was critical of those Protestants who believe people like you are saved. Certainly you weren’t indicating you want them to your “dialogue partners” since you totally reject their faith and in fact tell the PCA that they are more or less an invalid church because they can’t reject the faith of universalists authoritatively enough. The dialogue partners you want don’t exist they can’t exist. You are making up imaginary people in your head who hold all sorts of contradictory positions, i.e have already rejected Protestantism, and creating pretend dialogues with them.

    You want people who consider history to be of such great importance that they will make life changing decision based upon it. “The church that Jesus founded” should be given enormous weight in their head rather than be a point of indifference. At the same time that these people who are historically focused enough to do that you want these people to be totally indifferent to actual history, for example the documentary and archeological record we do have from the 1st century. And you want them to be totally indifferent to the later centuries and all of the historical issues that work to disprove the Catholic churches claims about itself. There they should gloss over history as just “skepticism”.

    You want people who believe in the goals of the magisterial Reformers and thus be disgusted with he direction Protestantism is evolving in (Pentecostal and Baptist) so much that they are deeply troubled. The whole CtC apologetic depends crucially on the Protestant interlocker not being an enthusiastic supporter of Protestantism’s evolution theologically and culturally. I don’t mind telling you, that view is a minority view. Most evangelical Protestants are thrilled about the gains of Latin America Pentecostals. They aren’t mixed at all in their opinion about the direction the church is moving in in the last 500 years.

    You want people who are concerned with the state of society in Protestantism and thus deeply concerned about disagreements especially regarding baptism. On the other hand you want them to totally ignore the state of society within the Catholic church and major disagreements going on there.

    You need Protestants that hold the apostles in high regard not because of the bible but independently and that’s rare. Otherwise you instantly hit problems like the brothers and sisters of Jesus in the bible, they wouldn’t be able or want to get past that. For them if Catholicism openly and permanently insistent on contradicting the bible on something that would be immediately disqualifying and you don’t want that.

    etc… The people who are willing to engage in dialogue with you are your best dialogue partners. The vast majority of the Protestant world would be far worse. They would respond to apostolic succession style arguments with “so what?”. “The church that Jesus founded” would be seen by most Protestants as not much different than those fringe Protestants who claim to be the reincarnated Jesus. You have interlockers who consider claims of direct divine foundation a positive that needs to be refuted not a sign of mental illness, or a religion completely beyond the pale.

    Conservative Presbyterians represent 1/90th of evangelicals who are only 1/4 of the US population. You are already extremely narrowly targeted. Take your last post over to any of the mainstream evangelical boards where your interlockers believe in the theology of the local church and reject the conceptual category that the church should be able to bind universally.

  162. @Susan —

    Or sola fide was simply lost at some unknown point in history which means that God failed to preserve “THE” most important doctrine; that is, The Gospel itself! ( the Protestant view)
    Problem with this view: How would this happen? This seems very implausible to me. The early church said, “Here’s the baton; do not let anything happen to it or else all of Christianity ( basically the truth of the whole damned world) will fall into apostasy. And guess what? …..the doctrine of sola fide is never again formally taught to any catechists or any clergy again, after some undisclosed date. If you know more, a near round about would suffice, thank you.

    You don’t respond to anything I write but on your #2 the fall of the church is a fairly standard (mainstream) Protestant doctrine. This isn’t unusual at all. You can see this theology unambiguously in places like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It was a view that was very popular among the Radical Reformers during the Reformation.

    If you want a year Protestant traditionally gives for when the church choose to become corrupted 313 CE the Edict of Milan the point at which the Catholic church is faced with the same test as Jesus in Matthew 4:8-9 and makes the opposite choice. That’s not to say the church wasn’t falling before that, and doesn’t continue to fall after that but this the defining moment of choice. Like a guy who starts using drugs for years but then does his first armed robbery to support his habit.

    That is to say most Baptists believe that Catholic Church wasn’t “the church” ever. SS’s views while idiosyncratic with respect to Jews are not unusual on the basic theme that there was a baptist style church that existed through the centuries persecuted by the Catholic Church. SS’s beliefs are closer to the majority of Protestants than say Robert’s are. The faith that has become mainstream evangelicalism and mainline Protestantism in America came out of the the early 19th century belief that every individual needs to choose between the theology of the bible and the counterfeit they learn from their (mainstream) churches as an inheritance from Catholicism (actual Catholicism wasn’t even a consideration at this point theologically). For a typically American treatment of this theme from a best selling author Ellen White’s Conflict of the Ages. Particularly The Great Controversy is a good example of how they thought about these issues.

  163. +JMJ+

    I betcha if we all gave CD-H our bios and stats, he could have this conversation without us. Then, we could just sit back and watch it unfold.

    Just sayin’.

  164. @Robert:

    So, I guess the Reformation for you must have been just a tempest in a teapot, then?

    That’s essentially the historical truth of it. It was an extremely high-pressure political situation combined with a great deal of apocalyptic theology that reached a temporal boiling point. I think that it’s fair to say that it wasn’t really “about” anything from a theological perspective except a novel concept of theological authority.

    It’ll be a new day when Rome rescinds the decrees of Trent and Luther’s excommunication.

    “By appropriating insights of recent biblical studies and drawing on modern investigations of the history of theology and dogma, the post-Vatican II ecumenical dialogue has led to a notable convergence concerning justification, with the result that this Joint Declaration is able to formulate a consensus on basic truths concerning the doctrine of justification. In light of this consensus, the corresponding doctrinal condemnations of the sixteenth century do not apply to today’s partner.”
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html

    That’s essentially Jason’s point. There are still fundamentalists on both sides (Catholic and Protestant) clinging to the now-obsolete historical views of the Reformation and papal triumphalism. But those ideas have been discredited by history. Some people just apparently didn’t get the memo.

  165. Jonathan,

    Yes, Rome (anachronistically in my mind) no longer condemns Protestant heirs of the Reformation (I think, you have Benedict within the past 10 years essentially saying Protestants don’t have legitimate churches. That’s a good example of Rome’s tendency to give with one hand what it takes back with the other http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jul/11/catholicism.religion).

    But what you all don’t seem to get is that for Protestants who actually believe in the importance of the Reformation, Trent marked the point at which the Western portion of the church that remained in submission to the Roman pontiff officially apostatized. It’s all well and good for Rome to infinitely parse its own theological statements so that we who believe what the Reformers believe are not anathema (I think) even though our beliefs remain under Trent’s anathema, but until those anathemas are rescinded its just marketing. Do you really not understand that confessional Protestants see Trent as a denial of the gospel?

    I’m glad Rome isn’t out to kill Protestants anymore. I’m glad there have been some tentative moves toward ecumenical dialogue. But until Rome rejects its current doctrine of justification and admits that its anathemas toward the Reformers were unjustified, no confessional Protestant is going to see Rome as an honest dialogue partner.

    The goal of Rome is to get Protestants to reject the teachings of the Reformers, and thus what we believe to be the teachings of Scripture, and bow the knee to the Vatican. That’s not an honest dialogue partner in the way that Jason has defined it. Rome is in serious, soul-damning error. Rome used to believe that of Protestants, and the way it acts shows that said belief is still implicit despite the change in tone. The Curia has just been far more tainted by postmodernism and relativism than confessional Protestantism has.

    The tone has changed but not the underlying beliefs, and its the underlying beliefs that are the problem.

    Until Rome changes its view of justification, Protestants view it as under Paul’s anathema in Galatians. Like I said above, it’s actually nothing personal against Rome or Roman Catholics, even though Rome has been the primary target of Protestant criticisms. We believe that anyone who makes their works a part of their justification to be anathema, and this includes even many who self-identify as Protestants.

    CD may not be a Protestant or even a theist, but he apparently understands confessional Protestantism far better than the former Protestant minister who hosts this site. That’s what is so incredible.

  166. Jonathan,

    You’ll also note that that joint declaration is rejected by Lutherans who still affirm the Lutheran confessions and the intent of the original authors who drafted them:

    http://arkiv.lbk.cc/faq/site.pl@1518cutopic_topicid19cuitem_itemid6741.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Declaration_on_the_Doctrine_of_Justification

    http://firstthings.com/blogs/evangel/2010/03/a-betrayal-of-the-gospel-the-joint-declaration-on-the-doctrine-of-justification/

    Having grown up in the ELCA, the fact that they signed it tells me all I need to know about the worth of the document in forging a true agreement. The document is a public relations success but shows no true agreement with the Protestants who still hold to what the Reformers actually taught. Rome’s done nothing to change its doctrine of justification including both our faith and our works, and until it does that, it’s changed nothing fundamental.

  167. DGHART,

    hello, I’ve never had a chance to dialog with you but would like to take the opportunity to jump in on your last comment to Jason. I’m writing from a thomistic traditionalist prospective just so all the cards are on the table. I agree with everything you wrote 100%. I think there is definitely a modernist crisis in the catholic church. I think many of the teachings that are attributed to V2 are dead wrong. I will even take this opportunity to disagree with Jason (with much fear and trembling) on his statement about the post V2 church somehow relieving protestants of moral culpability for being protestant. I have no idea where that came from but it isn’t true and V2 definitely did NOT remove your culpability for being apart from and protesting the Church established by Christ. All that being said, surely you must know there are still a great many traditionalist Catholics in the church? Some (radical traditionalist) are out of line but the majority of us “fringe” conservatives continue to be vindicated as issue after issue is eventually sided in our favor. They say that church historians are the last to give up hope in times of crises. We have had heresy rise up for thousands of years now and the Church always stands strong in the end (no small thanks to the Holy Spirit). My point is that Jason really doesn’t have any explaining to do at all in this matter. I agree with you that the change in POSTURE by the Church has changed for the worse in many instances but there has not been a change in dogma. The change in discipline and attitude and the speculation of various individual theologians is troubling but not devastating. If your only problem is the apparent inconsistencies with the post V2 church than hop aboard and help me turn back the clock on these boys! I agree with alot that you guys bring up in regards to the post V2 Church but that’s no reason to be separated from her!!! If you have problems with dogma then lets talk about it. But don’t miss the forrest for the trees getting caught up with AC1 when what we really need to look at for the sake of your soul is AC2 and at the doctrines you hold that might just separate you from our Lord.

    Robert,

    do you believe that Augustine and Thomas Aquinas are in hell? Are they godly men to be studied and appreciated or heretics from the devil? I want to know how far your willing to take your ideas on RC dogma and damnation.

  168. Prejean,

    this is a blog for us Catholics to evangelize confused reformers… So I’ll try to reframe from arguing with you because its not a helpful witness. However, marginalizing traditionalist Catholics as “fundamentalists” (the boogeyman word) for the sake of your rhetoric is not in my view a responsible road to take. The truth is that we are still beating back an enormous liberal wave post V2 and the dust has far from settled. I wouldn’t be so sure that these “fundamentalist” Catholics have missed a memo. Check out the new website “faithful answers”. Good stuff coming from the old guard.

  169. +JMJ+

    Kenneth wrote:

    DGHART,
    hello, I’ve never had a chance to dialog with you but would like to take the opportunity to jump in on your last comment to Jason. I’m writing from a thomistic traditionalist prospective just so all the cards are on the table. I agree with everything you wrote 100%. I think there is definitely a modernist crisis in the catholic church.

    Though I would agree that there is a Modernist crisis in the Church (which had been fomenting since the Post-Medieval period), I would add that, not only was Balthazar not a Modernist, he was about as far from a Modernist as one can get. (BTW, I realize that you didn’t call him one.)

  170. Wosbald,

    you are correct in that I did not call him a modernist. Its a shame he is now becoming famous for the one topic he was a flaming liberal on. Lots of great stuff…. Hopelessly wrong on this issue. Similar to Origen in alot of ways (although you may not find that a very friendly comparison)

  171. SS’s views while idiosyncratic with respect to Jews are not unusual on the basic theme that there was a baptist style church that existed through the centuries persecuted by the Catholic Church. SS’s beliefs are closer to the majority of Protestants than say Robert’s are

    CD-Host,

    The above is mistaken.

    My belief is that the original church was fundamentally Messianic Jewish. That church then welcomed gentiles into its midst. Then a constellation of events caused a rupture between the harmony of that original church: a worsening of the tension between Rome and the Jews in the land, leading to the eventual destruction of the Temple under Titus as well as expulsion. It became very politically inconvenient for gentile believers to be associated with Jews as they had been until then (think of Paul walking around with Trophimus).

    This created an incentive for gentiles to break away from their Jewish roots and this break can be seen as early as the epistle of Paul to the Romans, where he urges the gentile believers in Rome not to boast over their Jewish brethren. Afterall Jews had been expelled from Rome a few years earlier, which could have been interpreted (as was the destruction of the Temple) as God’s rejection of them (hence Paul’s “Did God reject His people?” rhetorical question.) Eventually, the gentiles began to dwarf Jewish brethren in numbers and they themselves as Christians began to be persecuted more ferociously by Domitian and then Nero after him. Suddenly, they found themselves to be the new scapegoat in town and were viewed by Romans as ‘atheists’ to boot since they prayed to an invisible God. This eventually led to accommodation with Roman Imperial forces, with the merging of the church and state under Constantine being the ultimate compromise of all, since that opened the door to further apostasy and the expansion of syncretism to accommodate the masses who had been used to pagan worship.

    Your idea that my beliefs are ‘baptist’ could not be more off the mark. No Baptist believes that they ought to be under the authority of conciliar church leadership that is comprised of Jewish believers/leaders as well as Gentile believers/leaders. No Baptist believes that said conciliar leadership would ever have any authority to bind them (as James and the Council did in Jerusalem). You can verify this in Robert’s resistance (his being a confessional protestant notwithstanding) to accepting that he is in fact bound by the council. While he admits that, it’s certainly not because of the council’s authority, but because he agrees with the conclusion via his reading of Scripture. I’ve said it over and over: the early church did NOT believe in Sola Scriptura, that was Luther’s invention. No Baptist rejects the ‘penal’ aspect (technical sense of the term) of penal substitution regarding the atonement. No Baptist, ironically, believes in baptismal regeneration. No Baptist believes that a genuine believer can fall away, as the Apostles and all of the Apostolic Fathers taught. No Baptist believes in the practice of communing whenever we gather (they do it once a month/a quarter/a year). I’ll tell you one thing I agree with Baptists on: food. They’re pretty good at that.

    SS.

  172. +JMJ+

    Kenneth wrote:

    Wosbald,
    you are correct in that I did not call him a modernist. Its a shame he is now becoming famous for the one topic he was a flaming liberal on. Lots of great stuff…. Hopelessly wrong on this issue. Similar to Origen in alot of ways (although you may not find that a very friendly comparison).

    I love Origen.

    I wouldn’t call Balthasar wrong on this issue. He simply strongly emphasized one side of coin of this perennial and unsolvable Catholic mystery. (Since the other side of the coin had been theo-culturally overemphasized in the two centuries before Balthasar, I think that he simply saw himself as providing a needed course correction. I couldn’t disagree with him on that.) However, because this more Balthasarian stream of thought has also been overemphasized in the last 50+ years, many people may have extended his thesis beyond the point where he would have stopped (due to his Catholic commitments). And so, I agree that another course correction is probably about due, and I’m confident that Balthasar would also agree.

  173. SS —

    This ancient true church:

    a) Did they practice infant of paedobaptism?
    b1) Were the Jewish members saved by their adherence to the taryag mitzvot (613 commands…) or by their faith in Jesus (Yeshua)?
    b2) Were the gentile members saved by their adherence to the noahide commands or by their faith in Jesus (Yeshua)?
    In other words was salvation merited or unmerited?
    c) Did they believe there any mediator between God and man other than Jesus?
    d) Did they believe the bible was the final authority?
    e) Did they have structures above the synagogue local church level that is a binding hierarchy? Are there any offices above pastor / minister / rabbi …?
    f) Are all believers ultimately responsible to God for doctrine or are believers covered if they are in a church with false beliefs because they lawfully submitted?
    g) Did they practice, confirmation, confession, anointing the sick, and ritual of holy orders?

  174. I’m writing from a thomistic traditionalist prospective just so all the cards are on the table. I agree with everything you wrote 100%. I think there is definitely a modernist crisis in the catholic church. I think many of the teachings that are attributed to V2 are dead wrong.

    Kenneth,

    Tonnere de Brest! I applaud your honesty above and willingness to admit what most catholics refuse to admit.

    But don’t miss the forrest for the trees getting caught up with AC1 when what we really need to look at for the sake of your soul is AC2 and at the doctrines you hold that might just separate you from our Lord

    I have shown in this thread that the CC is not immune from AC2. If the doctrinal conclusions of the Jerusalem Council can be reversed under the pretext that it was ‘canon law’ (which I have argued is a weak reinterpretation of the facts), then you are smack dab in the middle of AC2 and only have the illusion of protection from it. To put it more vividly, if tomorrow there was a council repudiating the Trinity (belief that was held by the Arian Bishops who came to power in 4th century), and someone said “Well, we are nevertheless infallible, since what we nullify is nullified” (as Dennis said), you would be forced to accept it, under your paradigm of an infallible church. One of the greatest motives of credibility to a natural seeker as to the authority of an church that claims to be THE church should be this: continuity in guarding the deposit of the faith once delivered to the saints. Not an arbitrary reshuffling of the deck whenever social trends shift (as was the case with the Council of Florence). AC2 is as much your problem as it is that of Protestants.

  175. CD-Host,

    You were wrong about my views, that’s all I wanted to say.

    Have a good day,

    SS.

  176. Wosbold

    I’m not sure about this “Theoculturally over emphasized” business. Nearly every single doctor of the church emphasized “that side of the coin”. Our lady of Fatima emphasized that sign of the coin as well. In fact…. Nearly everyone, everywhere, in everytime of church history emphasized that side of the coin until very recently. I’m not convinced there even IS “another side of the coin” to be frank. In my view the ECFs are way to united on this topic to disagree with.

  177. SS,

    Like I said earlier, regarding the best explanatory framework for the above,I don’t think that the CC’s paradigm will fit the bill for the natural seeker in possession of the facts I’ve laid out above. Don’t think your apologetic even rises to plausibility or moral certainty for the natural seeker.

    You asked me questions and I answered them.

    I’m not trying to convince you as there is nothing I will say or do that will change your mind. You seem pretty set in your ways.

  178. +JMJ+

    Kenneth,

    I don’t know what else to say, except that there’s always another side of the coin. That’s the essence of Catholic theology. Succumbing to the temptation to reduce the coin to only one side was that which produced Protestantism.

  179. SS,

    How could the injunction against sexual immorality be part of the canon law and only issued to not offend the Jews’ sensibilities? Isn’t immorality dogmatically condemned by Scripture, by Jesus, by Paul, by John, by James, by Peter, by Jude, by the author to the Hebrews, by the Gospel writers?

    Yes, these are still against Catholic teaching. This injuction is not to offend Jewish sensibilities. This goes against Christ’s teachings. Goes against natural laws. Part of Big T Tradition.

    In essence, yes, I agree with what Wosbald said.

  180. Wosbald,

    well if it is ever determined that myself, Augustine, Aquinas, Jerome, etc were all mistaken and the brilliant balthazaar and Fr Barron nailed it then so be it! But I feel confident that the magesterium will never officially endorse this quasi-universalism that’s so prevalent in todays seminaries. If so count me in! But its gonna be a whole lot trickier to defend the unanimous consent of the fathers as counting for anything at all IMO.

    God bless

  181. +JMJ+

    Kenneth wrote:

    Wosbald,
    well if it is ever determined that myself, Augustine, Aquinas, Jerome, etc were all mistaken and the brilliant balthazaar and Fr Barron nailed it then so be it! But I feel confident that the magesterium will never officially endorse this quasi-universalism that’s so prevalent in todays seminaries. If so count me in! But its gonna be a whole lot trickier to defend the unanimous consent of the fathers as counting for anything at all IMO.

    I think that you’re missing my point. My point is that, simply because we are dealing with two irresolvable sides of a coin (a Mystery or Paradox), there is no possibility of absolutely “nailing it”, neither by Aquinas and Augustine nor by Balthasar and Barron. Instead, what we have is various theologies that view the Mystery from different perspectives. These perspectives, falling as they do within the boundaries of Catholic Dogma, are all admissible theologies (theologies that are meant to exist in tension and balance each other rather than to vie for absolute control.) So, no, the Magisterium will never officially (dogmatically) endorse one of these theologies over the other, though it is certainly true that the Magisterium has certainly has had its own theological preferences, especially as regards to the pastoral efficacy of certain theological methodologies, such as when Leo XIII encouraged the revival of the Thomistic school.

    Now, one may prefer one theological view over another (a theology which is more amenable with one’s dispositions) and that’s just fine. But no one school ever “nails it” or resolves the Mystery. As I said, it is the temptation to resolve the Mystery in favor of one side or the other which produced, first, Protestantism and, later, Modernism.

    This is an interesting and important topic, but I agree that we’re probably getting far afield from the thread’s focus. Maybe another time.

  182. Wosbald,

    thank you for your comments. I understood your point I just reject that there is any mystery. This is not a topic that has confounded theologians for centuries. It has always been perfectly obvious from Tradition and Scripture that the vast majority of humanity will sadly and tragically go to hell. Inventing a different side of a coin 1900 years later and then somehow claiming its a mystery in my eyes is bogus. There are exactly 0 ECFs that share balthazaars view. Case closed. There is no need to defend the Church from these guys attacks in instances that they are spot on. DGHARTS critique is valid. That’s all I was trying to say

  183. +JMJ+

    Kenneth wrote:

    Wosbald,
    thank you for your comments. I understood your point I just reject that there is any mystery. This is not a topic that has confounded theologians for centuries. It has always been perfectly obvious from Tradition and Scripture that the vast majority of humanity will sadly and tragically go to hell. Inventing a different side of a coin 1900 years later and then somehow claiming its a mystery in my eyes is bogus.

    That’s not the Mystery to which I’m referring, not the crux of the issue with which Balthasar or Aquinas deals. Both sides of the coin have been there since the very beginning. All of the theologians have had to deal with it.

    That which you mention is but a practical conclusion or “common sense opinion” which is far removed from the delicate lucubrations of Catholic speculative theology.

    What Dr. Hart needs to realize is that, inasmuch as he conforms to Reformed theology, he is far more of a Modernist than any (or at least, some) of the so-called Universalists or Modernists whom he lambasts.

  184. SS, you ask:

    My question then is this: If Peter is the head of the Apostles, and is acting as Pope, is the deliberation which bears his imprimatur (so to speak) infallible?

    A simple question with a complex answer! A very good question too. SS, a number of terms need to be defined, and a number of points need to be made before this question can be answered. Let me try to explain.
    Infallibility is a charism of the Holy Spirit that can be exercised, under certain circumstances, by the living Magisterium. In a valid Ecumenical Council, the bishops, in union with the Pope, exercise the charism of infallibility when they solemnly define a doctrine of faith or a doctrine of morals.

    CHARISMS. Literally “gifts of grace” (charismata), described by St. Paul as gratuitous blessings of an extraordinary and transitory nature conferred directly for the good of others. Indirectly they may also benefit the one who possesses the charisms, but their immediate purpose is for the spiritual welfare of the Christian community.
    Reference: Fr. John Hardon, Pocket Catholic Dictionary

    MAGISTERIUM. The Church’s teaching authority, vested in the bishops, as successors of the Apostles, under the Roman Pontiff, as successor of St. Peter. Also vested in the Pope, as Vicar of Christ and visible head of the Catholic Church. (Etym. Latin magister, master.)
    Reference: Fr. John Hardon, Pocket Catholic Dictionary

    Catechism of the Catholic Church
    The teaching office [the Magisterium]
    890
    The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium’s task to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church’s shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms: …

    The point that I want to make here is that the charism of infallibility is exercised in a valid Ecumenical Council when the Council solemnly defines a doctrine of the Church:

    891 … The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council.” …

    The Council of Jerusalem was the first Ecumenical Council that solemnly defined doctrines of the faith that are binding on the whole church.

    … conciliary decisions are the ripe fruit of the total life-energy of the teaching Church actuated and directed by the Holy Ghost. Such was the mind of the Apostles when, at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:28), they put the seal of supreme authority on their decisions in attributing them to the joint action of the Spirit of God and of themselves: *Visum est Spiritui sancto et nobis* (It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us). This formula and the dogma it enshrines stand out brightly in the deposit of faith and have been carefully guarded throughout the many storms raised in councils by the play of the human element. From the earliest times they who rejected the decisions of councils were themselves rejected by the Church.

    Ref. Catholic Encyclopedia article, General Councils

    Doctrines of faith and morals are immutable, and only doctrine can be taught infallibly. When doctrine is taught infallibly at a valid Ecumenical Council, the bishops and the pope are exercising the full authority of the teaching office of the Church (the Magisterium). The totality of what is promulgated in an Ecumenical Council is not restricted to only solemn definitions of dogma, because the bishops at valid Ecumenical Councils can also exercise the power vested with them in the governing office of the Church. Bishops exercise the power of the governing office when they establish the practice of church discipline. Church discipline is mutable (it can change), and hence, church discipline can never be said to be taught infallibly.

    … The subject matter of infallibility, or supreme judicial authority, is found in the definitions and decrees of councils, and in them alone, to the exclusion of the theological, scientific, or historical reasons upon which they are built up. These represent too much of the human element, of transient mentalities, of personal interests to claim the promise of infallibility made to the Church as a whole; it is the sense of the unchanging Church that is infallible, not the sense of individual churchmen of any age or excellence, and that sense finds expression only in the conclusions of the council approved by the pope. Decisions referring to dogma were called in the East*diatyposeis* (constitutions, statutes); those concerned with discipline were termed *kanones* (canons, rules), often with the addition of *tes eutaxias* (of discipline, or good order). …

    Ref. Catholic Encyclopedia article, General Councils

    What doctrine (diatyposei) was taught infallibly at the Ecumenical Council of Jerusalem, and what discipline (kanones) was established at the Ecumenical Council of Jerusalem? Before those questions can be answered some background for the Council of Jersusalem needs to set. The Ecumenical Council of Jerusalem was convoked was because of a dispute that arose in Antioch concerning a matter of doctrine concerning men’s salvation:

    … from there they [Paul and Barnabas] sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had fulfilled. And when they arrived, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they remained no little time with the disciples. But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
    Acts 14:26-28 & Acts 15:1

    Paul identifies a certain “Cephas” as one of the “men that came down from Judea” that taught this false doctrine: that unless the Gentiles were circumcised, they could not be saved:

    … when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face …
    Galatians 2:11

    The man named Cephas that opposed Paul in Antioch was not the Apostle Peter. Clement of Alexandria, identifies the Cephas that was disputing with Paul as “one of the 70 disciples who happened to have the same name as Peter the Apostle”:

    There is no question that mainstream opinion in the Church has held that the Apostle Peter and the Cephas whom St. Paul rebuked in [the Epistle to the] Galatians were the same person. After all, did not the Gospel of John note that Christ Himself gave the name Cephas (meaning ‘Rock’) to his leading Apostle? Have not some of the greatest Fathers and Doctors of the Church and modern exegetes all taken for granted the identity of Peter and the Cephas mentioned in Galatians and I Corinthians? Was not Peter-Cephas censured by St. Paul who “withstood him to his face”?

    Needless to say, if the Apostle Peter and the Cephas rebuked by St. Paul were not the same person, the polemical arguments of Protestants and Eastern Orthodox claiming that St. Paul’s severe rebuke of St. Peter constituted a denial of Peter’s Primacy of authority among the Apostles — fall by the wayside.

    … The Jesuit Father D. Pujol published in “Etudes” in the last century some remarkable articles effectively demonstrating that the Apostle Peter and the Cephas of Antioch and Corinth could not have been the same person. It is surprising that more notice was not given to his arguments. He showed, moreover, that Peter and Cephas as two distinct individuals represents an ancient tradition that has never been lost in the Church. In the 3rd century Clement of Alexandria observed that “Cephas was one of the 70 disciples who happened to have the same name as Peter the Apostle.” This same belief is found in the writings of St. Dorotheus of Tyre (4th c.) and Eusebius, the well-known historian of the ancient Church (4th c.). …

    Ref: James Likoudis, Were the Apostle Peter and Cephas of Antioch the same person?

    http://credo.stormloader.com/Doctrine/cephas.htm

    SS, this is a key point. The man named Cephas that was opposing the Apostle Paul in Antioch was NOT Peter the Apostle. The Apostle Peter actually confirmed that Paul was teaching correct doctrine, and that this other Cephas was teaching a false doctrine of salvation. Now let us look at the contents of the letter from the Council of Jerusalem that was sent to Antioch:

    “The brethren, both the apostles and the elders, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greeting. Since we have heard that some persons from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
    Acts 15:23-59

    As is typical of an Ecumenical Council, a matter of doctrine (diatyposei) that was in dispute among the brethren is settled for all time by the Council. As is also typical of an Ecumenical Council, church discipline (kanones) is set for the church.

    There are two infallibly taught doctrines coming out of the Council of Jerusalem. One is a doctrine of the faith – men do not have to be circumcised to be saved. Another is a doctrine of morals – the brethren are to abstain from unchastity. These doctrines are immutable and can never be changed. They have been taught infallibly.

    The Council of Jerusalem also set church discipline for the brethren – the brethren are to “abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled.” This church discipline can be changed, and was changed, at the Council of Florence-1440 (Session 11) (Thank you Dennis for posting this information).

    To sum some salient points:

    The Apostle Paul gets into a dispute with a man named Cephas (who is not the Apostle Peter) in the city of Antioch about a doctrine concerning salvation. (Acts 15:1-2)

    For the brethren in Antioch, scripture alone is not able to settle the doctrinal dispute.

    The Apostle Paul standing his ground against Cephas does not have sufficient authority to settle the dispute.

    The brethren in Antioch know how to settle the dispute – the brethren follow the teaching of Jesus found in Matthew 18:15-20. The dispute is sent to “the church” for resolution.

    The Council of Jerusalem settles the doctrinal dispute – circumcision for men is deemed not necessary for their salvation.

    At the Council of Jerusalem, the Apostle Peter confirms the Apostle Paul’s side of the doctrinal dispute between Paul and Cephas.

    At the Council of Jerusalem the development of doctrine occurs.
    The charism of infallibility is exercised by the living Magisterium at the Council of Jerusalem when doctrine is defined.

    The council of Jerusalem also sets church discipline that is binding on the brethren until that particular church discipline is changed at the Council of Florence.

  185. SS, you write:

    One of the greatest motives of credibility to a natural seeker as to the authority of an church that claims to be THE church should be this: continuity in guarding the deposit of the faith once delivered to the saints.

    I totally agree with this. The doctrines of faith and morals that a church professes cannot change over time for a church to be a credible choice as being “THE church” that all of Christ’s disciples must listen to upon pain of excommunication. That is why it is absolutely imperative that one know how to distinguish doctrine from discipline.

    The doctrine of THE Church cannot change. The development of doctrine cannot mean the evolution of doctrine, because evolution means to change from one thing into another. To make an analogy, if you go to a college you might find offered there a course on Evolution. That course might include a study of the land based mammal that was related to the cow that, over time, evolved into the whale. Evolution is changing from one thing into another. Likewise one might go to a college that offers a course in Early Childhood Development. Development in a child means maturing into the potential that is inherent in the child. Early Childhood Development is not a course that studies how a child can evolve from a human being into, say, a tree frog.

    When the Catholic Church speaks of the development of doctrine, she is using the word development in the same way it is used when speaking about the development of a child. As the child moves towards maturity, the potential that is inherent in the child is developed.

    In Protestantism, on the other hand, one can clearly witness the evolution of doctrine. This is most obvious in the evolution of the Protestant doctrines of morals. The sinfulness of artificial contraception is one obvious example. Prior to 1930, virtually every Protestant sect taught that artificial contraception was sinful. But then that particular moral doctrine started evolving in the world of the Protestantism, and now virtually every Protestant sect teaches that artificial contraception is not sinful. Protestant moral doctrine evolved from one thing into the opposite thing.

    SS, you are trying to make a case that what is a discipline of the church is actually a doctrine of the church. And that is where you are making your mistake. Church doctrines are immutable but church disciplines are mutable.

  186. Kenneth,

    The problem with your understanding of the post V2 church is that your bishops (including the head honcho in Rome) don’t agree with you. A whole raft of pre-V2 popes were alarmed by the kind of changes going on in the church and condemned modernism and Americanism. No more.

    So why would I jump on board a liberal church? It’s like going from mainline Protestantism to a mainline Protestant church where women and gays can’t be ordained. Is that it? (And yet, many conservative RC’s think that celibacy and male ordination is what makes the RCC orthodox.) Now you have some ‘spalin’ to do.

  187. As a protestant in a conservative denomination (i.e. non-mainline), Darryl’s reasoning right above tracks with mine (is it any surprise, I follow his blog…). Vat 2 to me, means, that if I wanted to go liberal, I’ve got many options to choose from, the Catholic church only being one.

    Jason, I hesitate to write things like this on a Catholic blog, but the you are precisely writing about how you want to see prot/cat dialogue go on your blog. I don’t accept the claim, as it seems, that all protestants are by that very nature skeptics (or did I miss your point? was that a provocation, or do you really label all non-catholic Christians as skeptics?).

    I’m sure it’s my fault for trying to make sense of what I read on the internet.

    Later.

  188. Darryl, you write:

    A whole raft of pre-V2 popes were alarmed by the kind of changes going on in the church and condemned modernism and Americanism. No more.

    If you think that is true, then I would say it is because you do not know what is being condemned in both Modernism and Americanism.
    Why don’t you tell us what you think is being condemned in Modernism and Americanism, and then show us quotes from any post Vatican II pope that would leave the popw open to the charge of promulgating either Modernism or Americanism. I don’t believe that you can do that.

    So why would I jump on board a liberal church?

    Does your Protestant sect teach that artificial contraception is not sinful? If not, then you are already a member of a liberal Protestant denomination.

  189. Darryl,

    I am wondering if a similar case could be made to the one you make about how “liberal” and “conservative” are misnomers when applied to theological positions (when it comes to American Presbyterian history, you prefer “confessionalist” and “pietist”).

    The reason I am wondering this is that in the case of someone like Francis, he just confounds the media because he cannot be labeled using the available nomenclature. Is he liberal? Well, he cares a lot about the poor and he is against war (and it sounds like he really hopes hell will have as few people in it as possible), but on the other hand he is against gay marriage, abortion, and contraception.

    There has to be a way we can talk meaningfully about Catholics in which one label applies to all who embrace the Church’s official doctrines, regardless of whether they have a more liberal or conservative spirit vee-zah-vee other cultural matters.

    Also, I would be curious to hear your response about contraception. If there is a difference between the “adaptation” of the CC to certain modern trends (which you say are total capitulations) and all Protestant churches’ change on the matter of birth control, what is it?

  190. SS, you are trying to make a case that what is a discipline of the church is actually a doctrine of the church. And that is where you are making your mistake. Church doctrines are immutable but church disciplines are mutable

    Mateo,

    Again and again you simply presuppose the identity of the church to be the CC, when that is precisely what is in dispute, in view of the data. As I have explained before, it is entirely question begging for the CC to claim that the judgment of James and the Council on the 4 Noachide Laws was canon law/discipline while the loosing of circumcision of the gentiles was dogma. As I have said, you can claim that, but don’t expect it to be viewed as reasonable to the natural seeker of truth in possession of the facts. The natural seeker will see it for what it is, an arbitrary and anachronistic rearranging of the deliberation, by virtue of the fact that all the evidence suggests that the ruling was entirely halakha and hence, dogmatic. And look, it’s no offense to anyone’s intelligence or integrity. If we can argue that the Protestant understanding of justification is improbable and not expect anyone to take offense, we shouldn’t about this either.

  191. DGHART,

    I think you are missing my point. The politics of the age are not something that any catholic needs to explain away. There is no “splaining” to do. From the earliest times there has always been politics, dissent, liberalism, etc. Always will be this side of heaven. That was my whole point about church historians being the last to give up hope in times of crises. What is important Mr. Hart is if the CC was established and is protected by Jesus Christ. Simply looking at the politics of the age, the scandals, the sin, whatever, won’t tell you that… After all, didn’t Christ pick Judas? There will always be Judas priests, Judas bishops, even Judas popes every now and again but that is to be expected.
    What I am trying to say is that while I sympathize with your V2 critique (and voice it myself) it is not relevant to our conversation. There have been no americanist heresies embraced by the Church in any official capacity. The perfect standard is still being delivered to the faithful. The perfect standard is all that I have ever wanted in a church. Are you looking for something more?

    Why would you join a liberal church? Wrong question. Why join a church fighting off liberalism? Better question. How is this Church always able to avoid dogmatic error despite the worst of circumstances? Best question! We’ve got the promise man. It is not us who are building this Church it is Jesus himself. Or so He says. Why join a Church built by Christ? Not even a question worth asking

  192. Also, I would be curious to hear your response about contraception. If there is a difference between the “adaptation” of the CC to certain modern trends (which you say are total capitulations) and all Protestant churches’ change on the matter of birth control, what is it?

    Protestant churches, when they are wrong, can admit it and change. When the RC is wrong, it is forced to either double down, or rationalize that it wasn’t really wrong, or it wasn’t acting infallibly in the previous instance, etc.

  193. DGHART,

    for the sake of an insane conversation…. If Jesus really did establish a Church a divinely protect it from error… How would you ever know which one it was if all you ever obsessed about was politics, liberalism and sin? Your missing out because your looking at the wrong issues. You obviously a bright fellow but your focus is on the wrong things

  194. *You’re* (4X)

    BOOM!

  195. Oh, excuse me, *you’re*

  196. LOL!

  197. Ruberad,

    Protestant churches, when they are wrong, can admit it and change.

    No they don’t. Nowhere in Scripture can be found anything about Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide and yet I can’t think of any Protestant ecclesial community that would admit it and change.

  198. C’mon Dennis, have you not read any Protestant systematic theology?

    I can do a drive by as well:

    I can’t find any of this in Scripture or the earliest traditions:

    1. Indulgences
    2. Papal Primacy
    3. Rosaries and scapulars

    Protestants have changed their own confessions. Rome just ignores their own or relies on Roman apologists to debate the meaning of the word is.

  199. SS, you write:

    As I have explained before, it is entirely question begging for the CC to claim that the judgment of James and the Council on the 4 Noachide Laws was canon law/discipline while the loosing of circumcision of the gentiles was dogma.

    SS, you need to clarify several things for me before I can understand the point that you are trying to make.

    Paul and Cephas were disputing in Antioch about a doctrine concerning salvation. Cephas was disturbing the brethren in Antioch about what he contended was a doctrine of salvation which was this: unless the Gentile males were circumcised, they could not be saved.

    SS, do you agree or disagree with Cephas?

    Again and again you simply presuppose the identity of the church to be the CC, when that is precisely what is in dispute, in view of the data.

    And once again, you are telling me what I am presupposing.

    I am presupposing no such thing, since Jesus founded his own church and hand picked the men that he wanted to be installed into the teaching and governing offices of his church. Jesus gave a commandment about how doctrinal disputes are to be handled within his church, and that commandment is explicitly spelled out in Matthew 18:15-20 – the commandment that says take your dispute to THE church, and anyone who does not listen to THE church is to be excommunicated.

    Acts chapter 15 is explicit example of how Christ’s Church implemented this teaching of Jesus. The Council of Jerusalem sided with Paul – Cephas and the Judaizers were teaching false doctrine; males do not need to be circumcised to be saved.

    SS, you can call THE church that taught conscience binding doctrine at the Council of Jerusalem anything that you want. It is THAT church that Christ promised that the powers of death would not prevail against. It is THAT church that Christ promised that he would be with until the end of time. It is THAT church that must still be on earth in the year 2013. It is THAT church that all would-be disciples of Christ must listen to upon pain of excommunication in the year 2013.

    SS, if THAT church is not the Catholic Church, then where is THAT church to be found on planet earth in the year 2013?

  200. RUBERAD, you write:

    Protestant churches, when they are wrong, can admit it and change.

    How in the world can a sect of sola scriptura confessing Protestants ever know if they are right or wrong about any doctrine that they confess, if the doctrines that they confess are based on interpretations of scriptures? Luther’s sola scriptura proposition is the assertion that NO man can interpret the scriptures infallibly in the post-apostolic era.

    Suppose for a second that Luther’s proposition is true. That means that no man in the post-apostolic era can ever interpret scriptures and have any certainty whatsoever about whether his interpretation is true. Maybe the interpretation is true, or maybe it is false. There is no way to know with certainty if it is true or false. because no man in the post-apostolic era can interpret scriptures infallibly.

    It seems ludicrous to me that a sola scriptura confessing Protestant would ever claim that “Protestant churches, when they are wrong, can admit it”. If Luther’s proposition is true, then no Protestant church can ever know with certainty if they are right or wrong about any doctrine that comes from an interpretation of scriptures. Before you can admit that you are wrong, you have to know that you are wrong, and that is precisely what is impossible if Luther’s sola scriptura proposition is true.

  201. @Dennis

    No they don’t. Nowhere in Scripture can be found anything about Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide and yet I can’t think of any Protestant ecclesial community that would admit it and change.

    First off you are making a category error with respect to sola scriptura. Sola Scriptura is an epistemological doctrine not part of the content of the system (theological). Thus in theory doesn’t need to be part of scripture any more than scripture needs to speak of lexicons, poetic analysis or historical / critical methods.

    But… it turns out that scripture does speak pretty clearly of a prophetic system where prophetic revelation are the messages from the deity and teachers exist to expound on prophet revelation not to create their own. In other words the content of the faith are those teachings that came from God’s prophets. Example Deut 11 and 13 expound on this theme clearly. For protestants the prophetic revelations are contained in scripture. 1Peter and 2Peter dont’ have authority authority because some church declared those books to be canon, or because some church declared Peter to be an important person and declared those writing authentic but rather because of his prophetic status and the fact that he speaks with prophetic voice in those books.

    As for sola fide I think Protestants can make a legitimate claim to this being in scripture: Romans 3-4, Romans 5, Romans 8, Philippians 3… The problem is of course that scripture says much the opposite in other places so everyone has to decide how to deal with that.

  202. @Mateo

    The sinfulness of artificial contraception is one obvious example. Prior to 1930, virtually every Protestant sect taught that artificial contraception was sinful.

    And that’s simply false. It is not like we don’t have good written records from the 17th-19th century. I’m going to use the USA just to simplify. So let’s talk about what would have happened if you had grabbed an American Protestant minister from 1800 CE (let’s call him M18) and ask him if he had ever given a sermon on contraception.

    First off the issue of woman’s sexual health being within the legitimate bounds of church at all was a debate in the 19th century. Many Protestants simply disagreed that the church could rule on issues of women’s health they saw it as out of scope. The professionalization of medicine: i.e. health practice is performed by doctors not by a range of folk treatments is what changed most Protestant denominations to seeing women’s health as something they ever addressed. So M18 is very likely to say no.

    But you would even have a deeper problem. Most Protestant sects, like American Catholics didn’t even have the modern conception of contraception vs. abortion which assumes that the crucial moment is either fertilization (a very modern view) or implantation / pregnancy (the view up until the last few decades). Rather from their perspective the critical point was quickening, about 18 weeks when the mother experiences fetal movement. Prior to that there was “restoration of menses”. There were all sorts of things that could damage menses: hunger, pregnancy, age, disease… The people in M18’s congregation might not even know what fertilization and implantation were much less have acted directly to stop it. You cannot have a sin for something you don’t understand. That’s not to say they don’t understand the progression from sex to pregnancy to birth, but they define the lines between those stages quite differently. When Catholics talk about how Christianity always banned contraception they are reading a modern theory of fetal development into the past and putting words into the mouth of predecessors.

    So the next thing you would have to do is try and bridge the mental gap between their conceptions of what pregnancy means and your conception of what pregnancy means.

    Then really if we are going to ask the question in a meaningful way, what we end up with is asking the question did Protestant women’s health providers (not Protestant churches as you indicated above) consider it licit for young healthy women to regularly restore menses until she was financially able to care for and support a child? And the answer is some most certainly did. There was not a uniform disapproval, and in fact often approval of what would be the closest equivalent to the contraception question for their own parishioners.

    But even if that weren’t true, there were other populations of women. When it came to Catholic women, black women in the north, Native American women, people with a history of mental illness … many Protestants were even more enthusiastic about birth control might even use that term explicitly for providing counseling to them to reduce births. There Protestant churches often took a (what you could call) a pro-contraception stance that it was perfectly morally licit to encourage a reduction of birth among people who would move the United States away from being white or Protestant. Now this is really important because it separates out pro-nativity theology from anti-contraception theology. Many Protestants were pro-nativity and you are trying to read anti-contraception back into their theology.

  203. Mateo,

    You need to take off those Rome-colored glasses. First, there’s no evidence that Peter ever taught that Gentiles needed to be circumcised. Paul rebukes him for not eating with Gentiles, not for teaching that Gentiles needed circumcision.

    Second, your construal of Acts 15 shows exactly what Protestants have been saying about the papacy. If Peter was the first pope, and if he had to be corrected by the council (assuming that is what is happened for the sake of argument), and James delivered the council’s decision, Rome is in significant error and denial about the history and function of the papacy.

    Third, this hyper-skepticism about sola Scriptura really needs to stop unless you are going to apply it consistently. For all the vaunted ability of Rome to settle disputes, you as an individual Roman Catholic must still interpret ecclesiastical documents, and since Rome so often refuses to give the official interpretation of its own statements, you have no way of knowing if you have the right interpretation. Even so, you still have to interpret the official interpretation. Sola Ecclesia as in Roman Catholicism only moves the task of interpretation back one step. The individual in some sense is still the final subjective interpreter and appropriater of the text, be it Scripture, a conciliar decree, papal encyclical, or whatever.

    Protestants are quite confident when they have the correct interpretation of Scripture, thank you very much. Where there is disagreement, we basically admit that the matter is not clear and allow a latitude of belief and practice. My Reformed church (WCF) does not condemn Baptists for baptizing only adults, for example. In fact, we welcome them into membership and work with other Baptist churches (as well as other confessional bodies). Meanwhile, we all have the same understanding of the gospel, while in Roman Catholicism you have groups jonesing to reduce Marian devotion while others want to make her, essentially, the fourth member of the Trinity, and Rome is so incredibly vague that I can find support for both positions in your church documents.

    CD is largely right about the issue of contraception. If belief in contraception makes one a liberal, then the entire Roman Catholic Church was liberal until the twentieth century or so. The same applies to abortion. When you have luminaries such as Aquinas saying the developing life wasn’t really fully human until quickening, you have a church that signficantly changed its mind on a matter of morals. Ironically, this means that people like Nancy Pelosi (who remains a member in good standing of your church despite her advocacy of moral positions that go against the Magisterium’s teaching) is actually correct when she says that the modern Roman Catholic position on contraception and even abortion at the earliest stages is not the same as that earlier tradition. But wait, you are supposed to have the consensus of the fathers on your side in all things. You don’t on so many things, so this appeal to consensus is at best ill-informed and at worst disingenuous.

    Besides, we’ll believe that Rome is no less “liberal” than Protestantism when you start excommunicating radical pro-abortion Democrats (and Republicans) such as Pelosi and Biden. You should also excommunicate the RCs who are a part of Catholics for Choice and other similar organizations. Until then, your beliefs that abortion and such things are truly mortal sin are completely hollow. As we say, Rome makes decrees so that there is unity on paper. This pacifies conservatives and converts such as Jason, but since these decrees are not enforced, the liberals realize they can go on as they please and ignore the Vatican. It’s actually a brilliant way to keep billions of people happy without providing pastoral oversight or any meaningful attempt to forge a consensus on faith and morals.

    Here’s the thing. Confessional Protestants look at history and modern science and can say that they and the earliest church speakers on the subject were wrong about abortions at the very earliest stages and that the baby is fully God’s image form the moment of conception. Rome (at least its lay apologists), however, pretends that it has always been “right” and “conservative” on this issue, and it says “Move on, nothing to see here.”

    Color Protestants and anyone with a basic understanding of the history of this issue unimpressed.

  204. Author: Dennis
    Comment:
    Ruberad,

    Protestant churches, when they are wrong, can admit it and change.

    No they don’t. Nowhere in Scripture can be found anything about Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide and yet I can’t think of any Protestant ecclesial community that would admit it and change.

    Author: Robert
    Comment:
    C’mon Dennis, have you not read any Protestant systematic theology?

    I can do a drive by as well:

    I can’t find any of this in Scripture or the earliest traditions:

    1. Indulgences
    2. Papal Primacy
    3. Rosaries and scapulars

    Protestants have changed their own confessions. Rome just ignores their own or relies on Roman apologists to debate the meaning of the word is.

    On the contrary. There’s a big difference in between those who hold to Sola Scriptura and Catholic Teaching as relates to Tradition.

    Protestants who hold to Sola Scriptura claim that:
    a. The Scriptures are “perspicuous”. That is, that they are easy to understand.
    b. That true doctrines are explicit in Scripture.
    c. Any doctrine which is not in Scripture is not true doctrine.

    This is, however, a self contradictory teaching because:
    a. Scripture teaches that there are certain Scriptures which are hard to be understood (2 Peter 3:16).
    b. Sola Scriptura is not mentioned in Scripture (2 Tim 3:16 says “all Scripture” not “Scripture alone” and is a teaching about the usefulness not the necessity of Scripture).
    c. Sola Scriptura contradicts Scripture (2 Thess 2:15).

    While the objection you have about the three doctrines is a straw man.

    1st. No one claims the devotions to the Rosary and Scapular are traceable to the Apostles. They are however, devotions which are completely in line with Scripture. The Rosary is a meditation on the Gospel and fulfills the commands to pray the Our Father (Matt 6:9) and to call Mary “blessed” in all generations (Luke 1:48).

    And the Scapular is a devotion which is completely in line with the command to keep reminders of the faith close to you:

    Deuteronomy 11
    18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:

    And that God acts through material things:
    Acts 19:12
    So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

    2nd. Jesus did not write any Scriptures. He established a Church and commanded that Church to pass on His Teachings. The New Testament which the Catholic Church wrote is based upon those Teachings. Thus we know that the Doctrine of indulgences is based upon the Teaching of Jesus. Because He said:
    Matthew 6:20
    But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

    Thus we also know that the of Papal primacy is also based upon His Teaching because He also said:
    Matthew 16:18-19
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    John 21:17
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

    And so, the bottom line is that Protestant doctrine which is against Catholic Teaching is also against the Teaching of the New Testament. But that is logical. Because New Testament Scripture is based upon Catholic Doctrine.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  205. RUBERAD, you write:

    I’m going to use the USA just to simplify.

    There is a reason the use of contraception was illegal in the USA until the Supreme Court case of Griswold v. Connecticut. There is a reason why abortion on demand was illegal in the USA until the Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade.

    RUBERAD, what was that reason?

    Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), is a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy. The case involved a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives.

    Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. Decided simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion …

    RUBERAD, you write:

    Most Protestant sects, like American Catholics didn’t even have the modern conception of contraception vs. abortion …

    RUBERAD, the Early Church Fathers knew the difference between contraception and abortion, and they condemned both practices as being immoral.

    John Chrysostom
    “Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth? You do not even let a harlot remain only a harlot, but you make her a murderess as well…. Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and fight with his [natural] laws? . . . Yet such turpitude . . . the matter still seems indifferent to many men—even to many men having wives. In this indifference of the married men there is greater evil filth; for then poisons are prepared, not against the womb of a prostitute, but against your injured wife. Against her are these innumerable tricks” ( 24 [A.D. 391]).

    Athenagoras (d.177)
    How, then, when we do not even look on, lest we should contract guilt and pollution, can we put people to death? And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God s for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very foetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it. But we are in all things always alike and the same, submitting ourselves to reason, and not ruling over it.
    -A Plea for the Christians 35.4

    Tertullian (c. 160 – 240)

    That the unborn child is alive:
    How are they dead unless they were first alive? But still in the womb an infant by necessary cruelty is killed when lying twisted at the womb’s mouth he prevents birth and is a matricide unless he dies. Therefore there is among the arms of physicians an instrument by which with a rotary movement the genital parts are first opened, then with a cervical instrument the interior members are slaughtered with careful judgment by a blunt barb, so that the whole criminal deed is extracted with a violent delivery. There is also the bronze needle by which the throat – cutting is carried out by a robbery in the dark; this instrument is called and embryo knife from its function of infanticide, as it is deadly for the living infant.
    This Hippocrates taught, and Asclepiades, and Erasistratus and Herophilus, the dissector of adults, and the milder Soranos himself, – all of them certain that a living being had been conceived and so deploring the most unhappy infancy of one of this kind who had first to be killed lest a live woman be rent apart. Of this necessity of crime, Hicesius, I believe did not doubt, as he added souls to those being born from blows of cold air, because the word itself for “soul” among the Greek relates to such a cooling.
    – De Anima 25.5 – 6

  206. Robert, you write:

    Second, your construal of Acts 15 shows exactly what Protestants have been saying about the papacy. If Peter was the first pope, and if he had to be corrected by the council (assuming that is what is happened for the sake of argument), and James delivered the council’s decision, Rome is in significant error and denial about the history and function of the papacy.

    Robert, did you even read what I wrote? The Apostle Peter and the man named Cephas that Paul was disputing with in Antioch are two different men. Please read the article by James Likoudis that I linked to in my earlier post, and then respond to that argument. I will give you the link again to the article by James Likoudis:

    http://credo.stormloader.com/Doctrine/cephas.htm

    Third, this hyper-skepticism about sola Scriptura really needs to stop unless you are going to apply it consistently.

    Luther’s “sola scriptura” is nothing more than Luther’s proposition that no man in the post-apostolic age can infallibly interpret the scriptures. It is you, not me, that affirms that Luther’s proposition is true, and that means that it is you, not me that needs to be consistent if you affirm Luther’s proposition.

    Robert, just admit that every private interpretation of scriptures that has occurred in the post-apostolic era are only human opinions that may, or may not be true, and then you will be consistent in your affirmation of Luther’s sola scriptura proposition.

  207. +JMJ+

    Happy Seven Dolors of the BVM, y’all!

  208. @Mateo –
    It is me not Ruberad you were were replying to:

    Well wish I could edit comment: here is it without the typo
    ___

    There is a reason the use of contraception was illegal in the USA until the Supreme Court case of Griswold v. Connecticut.

    Contraception was not universally illegal prior to Griswold v. Connecticut. The bans on contraception came after the civil war. The goal originally was to go after prostitutes and premarital sex not contraception with married couples. There was some level of enforcement of information regarding contraception and contraception provided by non-medical providers (i.e. folk medicine). But that was going on throughout society on a range of medical issues and had a great deal to do with centralizing medicine under the medical establishment.

    So no:
    a) It absolutely was not the case that from the 17th century through Griswold contraception was illegal throughout the USA. During most times it was fully legal.

    b) It is absolutely not the case that Protestants were unified on a ban being a good thing in the 19th century

    c) You are misinterpreting a movement to attack prostitution as a movement against contraception more generally there were nuances in enforcement that you are breezing over.

    There is a reason why abortion on demand was illegal in the USA until the Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade.

    See above. They didn’t even define abortion the same way you do. The vast majority of abortions performed today would have been perfectly legal 200 ago everywhere in the USA.

  209. CD Host, you write:

    It is absolutely not the case that Protestants were unified on a ban being a good thing in the 19th century …

    I agree. But when have Protestants ever been united on what constitutes the orthodox doctrines of faith and morals? The correct answer is never.

    I don’t want to sidetrack this thread into a discussion about the sinfulness of artificial contraception. But I will note that you are making my case for me – my point being that within Protestantism doctrines evolve over time. The Early Church Fathers, when they taught about artificial contraception at all, universally condemned the practice as sinful. I brought up the point about the sinfulness of artificial contraception because SS wrote something that I fully agree with, which was this:

    One of the greatest motives of credibility to a natural seeker as to the authority of an church that claims to be THE church should be this: continuity in guarding the deposit of the faith once delivered to the saints.

    SS is entirely correct. The moral doctrines taught by of THE Church must maintain continuity across the centuries. The fact that within Protestantism moral doctrine is continually evolving is evidence that Protestantism lacks any credible claim for being THE church that Jesus commands his would-be disciples to listen to.

  210. Robert/CD-Host,

    Regardless of any Protestant defenses of Sola Scriptura, no Protestant denomination would ever back away from it. Jason Stellman came across the realization that Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide don’t work and he had to resign his post.

    Ruberad’s point is that Protestant denominations can admit mistakes and change. I don’t think he’s correct as none would ever correct Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura.

  211. Mateo, I don’t know where you live, but around here Russell Shaw’s new book (by a Roman Catholic) is widely available and has been reviewed favorably at a number of Roman Catholic websites. http://books.google.com/books?id=cxFYSWLEvvcC&dq=americanism+shaw&source=gbs_navlinks_s

    I really don’t quite get this catch me if you can response, as if Protestant accusers don’t ever know what they are talking about. If you read National Catholic Reporter, New Advent, or Father Z, you see any number of aspects of church life that you never hear about at CCC or at CTC, and you read a lot of criticism of your church.

    Are all critics wrong? Are CCC and CTC the new magisterium?

  212. Jason, liberal Protestants were among the fiercest of moralists. They opposed abortion, contraception and alcohol well into the twentieth century. If you are a moralist, then I guess that’s conservative. And if you are a moralist, you turn universalist the way liberal Protestants have along with Francis.

    I can’t believe you don’t see the parallels. Then again, church history never interested you.

  213. Kenneth, of, so it’s official capacity you’re talking about: “What I am trying to say is that while I sympathize with your V2 critique (and voice it myself) it is not relevant to our conversation. There have been no americanist heresies embraced by the Church in any official capacity. The perfect standard is still being delivered to the faithful. The perfect standard is all that I have ever wanted in a church. Are you looking for something more?”

    But in that case, the only official statements of infallibility are papal infallibility and the bodily assumption of Mary. So everything else is fair game.

    As I wrote to Mateo, if you would ever read about the history of Americanism or the new book by Russell Shaw, you’d have to change your view. You’d also have to get out of the CCC/CTC bubble. I’m here to prick it.

  214. DGHART,

    assuming Christ established a Church divinely protected from dogmatic error. How would you ever discover it if all you ever focused on was sin, politics and dissent?

  215. … church history never interested you.

    (Says the guy whose ecclesiology has no precedent in either East or West for the first millennium and a half of church history.)

  216. Jason, puh-leeze. I’ve posted over a dozen times on conciliarism in the middle ages and beyond. You’re still holding on to (in a really high, wimpy voice) “this is the church Jesus really really founded.”

  217. Here is the most recent (just do a search on Oakley): http://oldlife.org/2013/09/debt-roman-catholicism/

    Jason, you’re head is in the sand (better than some other places).

  218. Mateo,

    I don’t mean to be overly dismissive, but the idea that Cephas and Peter are not the same person is not even remotely credible. Even Rome doesn’t make the argument.

  219. Mateo,

    I’ll also say once again that the sola Ecclesia paradigm of Rome only moves things back a step. You as an individual can never say that you’ve interpreted the Magisterium infallibly. Even the Magisterium doesn’t interpret itself infallibly—ironically—just witness the people who have told me that Unam Sanctum’s decree that there is no salvation outside the church is correct but the Magisterium’s interpretation of it up until Vatican 2 to mean one must be a practicing Roman Catholic in full submission to the pope was a wrong interpretation of it.

    It’s a shell game.

  220. Ruberad’s point is that Protestant denominations can admit mistakes and change. I don’t think he’s correct as none would ever correct Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura.

    I think the CREC proves otherwise.

    Suppose for a second that Luther’s proposition is true. That means that no man in the post-apostolic era can ever interpret scriptures and have any certainty whatsoever about whether his interpretation is true. Maybe the interpretation is true, or maybe it is false. There is no way to know with certainty if it is true or false.

    I dunno, youse guise seem pretty certain that Christ’s substitutionary atonement was not penal, without benefit of any ex cathedra or ‘certainly’ infallible pronouncements…

  221. Darryl you write:

    Mateo, I don’t know where you live, but around here Russell Shaw’s new book (by a Roman Catholic) is widely available and has been reviewed favorably at a number of Roman Catholic websites.

    I have read many articles by Russell Shaw, but not his book, American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America .

    Russell Shaw has always struck me as being an orthodox Catholics. I would venture to say (without having read the book in question) that Russell Shaw actually knows what the heresy of Americanism would entail. But that isn’t really relevant to the question that I put to you. So I will ask you again. Darryl, why don’t you just tell us what you think Americanism is, and why a pre-Vatican II pope condemned it as heresy. Then give me the evidence for what you are claiming, namely that post-Vatican II popes have embraced the heresy of Americanism. It is you that wrote:

    A whole raft of pre-V2 popes were alarmed by the kind of changes going on in the church and condemned modernism and Americanism. No more.

    I will stand by my claim, and make it even more explicit. You don’t know what the heresy of Americanism actually is, and you cannot supply any evidence that a post-Vatican II pope has embraced the heresy of Americanism, because there is no such evidence.

    It would be quite easy for you to prove me wrong. Just tell us what was condemned in the heresy of Americanism, and then show me even one thing that a post-Vatican II pope has said that leaves him open to the charge of being A-OK with the heresy of Americanism. I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to respond to what I am asking of you, because I am quite sure you cannot rise to meet this challenge.

    If you read National Catholic Reporter, New Advent, or Father Z, you see any number of aspects of church life that you never hear about at CCC or at CTC, and you read a lot of criticism of your church.
    Are all critics wrong?

    St. Catherine of Sienna criticized the pope living in Avignon, France and St. Catherine of Sienna is recognized as a Doctor of the Church. Are all critics wrong? No. Criticism is good, if it is constructive.

  222. OMG

    Jason,

    can we please, PLEASE, do a discussion on sola ecclesia or “no salvation outside of the Church”. Maybe the discussion could advance after that. Its the same parrot-like objections over and over. Reformer want a cracker? “SQUUAAK SOLA ECCLESIA! SOLA ECCLESIA!!!” lol goodness gracious guys…. Any new tricks?

  223. Ruberad,

    you have confused our position with sola ecclesia. Roman Catholics don’t have certainty because of infallible dogmatic pronouncements ALONE. Although they are very helpful and can clarify things from time to time. We have certainty because of Sacred Tradition (which is firmly and undeniably on our side), Scripture AND a Magesterium our Lord protects from dogmatic error. Its a radically different kind of confidence than anything the protestant paradigm can produce.

  224. Kenneth, I am simply following the teaching of the first pope who spends most of his second epistle talking about liberalism and worse.

  225. Mateo, Shaw is relevant. He says Americanism is back in the church. So does R. Scott Appleby. So do various writers at this site. http://thechurchandtheliberaltradition.blogspot.com/

    It’s not a question of a pope embracing Americanism. It is a question of one pope condemning it as heresy, it resurfacing, and no pope challenging what the first pope condemned.

    Or is this one of those development of doctrine moments where tales I win head you lose?

    CCC and CTC need to get outside the bubble.

  226. @Mateo

    Mateo you had made a very strong claim earlier:

    In Protestantism, on the other hand, one can clearly witness the evolution of doctrine. This is most obvious in the evolution of the Protestant doctrines of morals. The sinfulness of artificial contraception is one obvious example. Prior to 1930, virtually every Protestant sect taught that artificial contraception was sinful. But then that particular moral doctrine started evolving in the world of the Protestantism, and now virtually every Protestant sect teaches that artificial contraception is not sinful. Protestant moral doctrine evolved from one thing into the opposite thing.

    I argued that this wasn’t true. There wasn’t a uniform position prior to 1930. And that it wasn’t really a position of Protestant sects. In many ways it wasn’t a doctrine of contraception in the modern sense. Now you are saying that I’m arguing that that most Protestant sects changed their attitude multiple times over the last few centuries, and that while that technically contradicts your position that there was only one change in context it makes your case that there wasn’t moral continuity on this issue. And that I’d agree with.

    Catholicism is vastly more consistent on almost all issues of sexual morality than Protestantism has been. But that’s a pretty low bar. In terms of Catholicism being consistent over its history. I agree that the majority of church fathers who wrote on issues of contraception took a negative position. But I certainly can point to Catholic writings from the middle ages that speak highly of regulating births to the appropriate ages in a woman’s life (14-21 roughly). Including advocacy for cunnilingus (though expressed metaphorically) as a heavy outlet for post “appropriate age” sexuality.

    I could see someone saying fairly that the majority of Catholic texts are somewhat consistent on taking an anti-moral position, but it a heavy majority not a uniform position. What’s really changed in Catholic theology is the definition of contraception vs. abortion. Contraception is much more narrowly defined today than it was 200 years ago for Catholics I don’t see how you get around that shift in doctrine.

    Moreover, I don’t think it is defensible to argue that today’s doctrine’s are constant on issues of sexual morality. By far the biggest change is whether marital sexuality is inherently sinful. I think that any fair read of the the Catholic theology of sexuality 1600 years ago, or even 900 years ago would have been that the procreative act was inherently sinful. However, producing and raising children was laudable. By being open to the possibility of life the sin of sex was overcome. That is not the Catholic theology of sexuality that one sees today. The sex act is not inherently sinful anymore at all. That’s a huge shift in doctrine.

    Morality has evolved in 2000 years. There is no avoiding moral evolution for a religion. They all exhibit evidence of change. If you want to claim that Catholicism changes less because it mostly has better thought out more nuanced positions, that’s fair.

  227. Kenneth,

    So are you certain about doctrines where the three sources disagree, like papal primacy?

  228. Robert, you write:

    I don’t mean to be overly dismissive, but the idea that Cephas and Peter are not the same person is not even remotely credible.

    Not remotely credible to whom? Why should I believe that your private interpretation of scriptures, which is based on no historical evidence whatsoever, is more credible that what St. Clement of Alexandria has claimed as a fact of history?

    Even Rome doesn’t make the argument.

    About ten years ago I discovered in the writings of Eusebius that there was an early church tradition that the man named Cephas that Paul opposed “to his face” and the Apostle Peter were two different men. When I read that, I immediately saw the implication that this had when presented with Protesant and Eastern Orthodox polemics that are based on their being unaware of what Eusebisus had written. That is, they were making a mountain our of a molehill.

    The article by James Likoudis brings forth even more evidence to back up what Eusebius was claiming. James Likoudis is also aware of the implication that this evidence has:

    … if the Apostle Peter and the Cephas rebuked by St. Paul were not the same person, the polemical arguments of Protestants and Eastern Orthodox claiming that St. Paul’s severe rebuke of St. Peter constituted a denial of Peter’s Primacy of authority among the Apostles — fall by the wayside.

    James Likoudis is presenting an interpretation of scriptures that I find compelling, and he is presenting both historical evidence and scriptural analysis that gives me a motive of credibility for accepting this particular interpretation of scriptures.

    It is quite true that this particular interpretation has never been solemnly taught as a dogma of the Catholic Church, but then again, I am not the first Catholic to ever read Eusebius either. Which is to say that the Catholic Church has never condemned this particular interpretation of scriptures either. As long as that is the case, as a Catholic, I am quite free to accept the interpretation that James Likoudis is presenting, and I am free to disagree with any Catholic that thinks otherwise.

    I’ll also say once again that the sola Ecclesia paradigm of Rome only moves things back a step.

    Say it as many times as you wish! Catholics don’t hold to a sola Ecclesia paradigm, and the fact that I interpret the documents promulgated by the Magisterium is to only accuse me of reading what the Magisterium has written. I plead guilty to the charge that I actually read the documents promulgated by the Magisterium!

    You also interpret the scriptures every time you read them. The bone of contention is not whether or not men interpret when they read, the bone of contention is over Luther’s proposition that no man living in the post-apostolic age can read the scriptures and have any certainty that their interpretations are inerrant.

    Luther’s proposition asserts that no man in the post-apostolic age can, under any conceivable circumstance, exercise the charismatic gift of the Holy Spirit of infallibility when the interpreting scriptures. The Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches all teach that Luther’s sola scriptura proposition is false; that sola scriptura a novelty that only Protestants believe; a proposition that is nowhere supported by the scriptures, and less yet, taught in the scriptures.

    Even the Magisterium doesn’t interpret itself infallibly …

    Say what? The living magisterium can indeed infallibly interpret the documents promulgated by the magisterium.

    … just witness the people who have told me that Unam Sanctum’s decree that there is no salvation outside the church is correct but …

    Please identify for me who “the people” are that are teaching you the nuances of what the Catholic Church means by Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus .

  229. @Robert:

    But what you all don’t seem to get is that for Protestants who actually believe in the importance of the Reformation, Trent marked the point at which the Western portion of the church that remained in submission to the Roman pontiff officially apostatized. It’s all well and good for Rome to infinitely parse its own theological statements so that we who believe what the Reformers believe are not anathema (I think) even though our beliefs remain under Trent’s anathema, but until those anathemas are rescinded its just marketing. Do you really not understand that confessional Protestants see Trent as a denial of the gospel?

    I don’t have a problem getting that the condemnation of imputed justification is considered a denial of the Gospel under the anathema of Galatians by *some* (and by no means all) confessional Protestants. But the historical claim that Trent represented some watershed in the theology of justification is complete nonsense. To the extent that Trent falls under the anathema of Galatians, so does every Christian of which we have any record through the entire conciliar era. Literally every Christian of whom we have records “makes their works a part of their justification” for the purposes you describe it. If you deny that, you have essentially given up on history entirely; I know of no serious patristics specialist who takes the view that any patristic author holds this version of sola gratia, and especially not Augustine, whose entire critique of the Pelagians was based on the efficacy of infant baptism. That’s not hyperbole, and that’s not exaggeration; there is literally no record of any person who did not hold this “soul-damning error” as being the Gospel itself.

    Now I also understand that the Reformers believed that Trent represented a *change* in the theology of justification. This is because the Reformers themselves were anachronistically reading much later medieval interpreters into the original authors. That sort of thing was understandable based on the standards of the time, but it isn’t any longer. Starting in the later nineteenth century and culminating in the last several decades, patristics has grown incredibly more accurate as a field of study. In light of that research, it’s clear that Trent could be no more than slightly outside the massive patristic consensus on justification. Perhaps it is importantly so, as the neo-Palamist scholars maintain, but certainly far closer to the patristic consensus than the doctrines it condemned.

    That leaves Protestants with a choice. They can take the historically-minded route, recognizing that putting Trent under the anathema of Galatians is essentially condemning the entirety of Christian history and trying to identify the common ground under the apparent conflict. That is what a number of Protestants have done, to their great credit, and that is reflected in the Joint Declaration. And yes, when Catholics get new information, they look at the condemnations again based on what the understanding was at the time. That is neither postmodernist nor relativist; it’s just what any honest historian does in understanding what was said.

    The alternative is the one that you have taken, which requires that one either bite the bullet and condemn all of Christianity between the New Testament and today (because literally everyone falls under the anathema of Galatians) or flat out deny the historical record. I know that you seem to believe that there are some contemporary Protestant patristics specialists who nonetheless believe that the condemnation of Tridentine Catholicism can be reconciled with not condemning the entirety of prior Christianity. But if such people exist, I am not aware of them, and I have not seen any interaction with the scholarship that would disprove them. I see a large number of Reformation scholars asserting prior medieval antecedents (say, the Frankish disputes on predestination and Eucharistic presence), but I have seen literally none mapping those beliefs onto the conciliar-era beliefs.

    Now you have real options. You can take the “history doesn’t matter” approach of the fundamentalist and treat the dispute between Catholics and Protestants as things were exactly as they were five hundred years ago, which entails anathematizing the entirety of Christian history. Or you can acknowledge the world we’re actually living in, realize that the Reformers’ beliefs would, if carried forward today, anathematize all of Christianity, and modify the criticism accordingly. Then we can have a reasonable discussion about what Christian authority should be, recognizing that we each have different views but that these different views could both reasonably be within the scope of Biblical orthodoxy.

    But what you can’t do is to pretend that there is a viable historical solution where Protestants were part of some kind of Western mainstream that goes all the way back to the conciliar era. We know as surely as we know any other historical facts that such a theory is false; I am aware of no qualified specialist currently asserting that interpretation as viable. If the medieval Catholic belief on justification is anathematized under Galatians, then so is the entirety of Christian history. It is simply not historically reasonable to hold any other belief; there is no evidence of it.

    Just own what you’re selling, and be consistent. I’m fine if you condemn Catholicism, but you need to condemn everybody who denied the Gospel, including all the Fathers. The fact that you don’t attack Eastern Orthodoxy and particularly the Eastern Orthodox claims of continuity, for example, says a great deal. Otherwise, it’s pretty obvious that it is just bigotry.

  230. Kenneth,

    I’ll also note that the 3-legged stool model you are talking about is not the type of RC apologetic promoted here or at C2C. At best it’s a mere afterthought. There and here, the story goes:

    “I came to realize that without a way to make a principled distinction between human opinion and divine truth…” and then lauds the glory of how the infallible Magisterium makes everything all hunky-dory and solves all the epistemological problems that are inherent to Protestantism but not “the church Christ founded”. That is the belief that Dr. Hart and others are hammering against.

    In my mind, a three-legged stool model is more defensible (though not infallible), but it only works to increase certainty when all three legs teach the same thing. Problem is, Rome bases so many of its binding doctrines on one very wobbly leg.

  231. DGHART,

    well, at least I got some kind of response…. I think your hand waving my question away because you know that I have a point. Even of I agree with you that the Americanist heresy has resurfaced so what?!? The Church has been one long crises story for 2000 years. How long did the Arian heresy persist? The fact that we have been going through a liberal stretch for 50 years is hardly note worthy. The point is that dissent, sin and politics are not relevant in this conversation. If you think otherwise please explain how. Because I’m not seeing it.

  232. @Kenneth:

    this is a blog for us Catholics to evangelize confused reformers… So I’ll try to reframe from arguing with you because its not a helpful witness.

    If confusion is indeed the problem, then arguing would probably be the most helpful witness. If confusion is not the problem and hardened resistance is, then I suspect this venue would not be suitable for that end.

    However, marginalizing traditionalist Catholics as “fundamentalists” (the boogeyman word) for the sake of your rhetoric is not in my view a responsible road to take. The truth is that we are still beating back an enormous liberal wave post V2 and the dust has far from settled. I wouldn’t be so sure that these “fundamentalist” Catholics have missed a memo. Check out the new website “faithful answers”. Good stuff coming from the old guard.

    Since you’ve as much as called me irresponsible, allow me to retort. I consider the views espoused on that site concerning evolution and anti-Judaism to be an embarassment to the fath. If I am going to be consistent with my own reason, I can’t excuse Catholics for doing the same thing of which I am convicting Protestants. Wrong is wrong. If that does not support the Catholic kayfabe (the appearance conveyed to outsiders that masks the internal truth), then that is not a matter of concern to me. I can’t support Feeneyite interpretations of Catholic dogma in good conscience, and I cannot in reasonable integrity support traditionalism that goes beyond reason.

  233. @Dennis

    Regardless of any Protestant defenses of Sola Scriptura, no Protestant denomination would ever back away from it. Jason Stellman came across the realization that Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide don’t work and he had to resign his post.

    Ruberad’s point is that Protestant denominations can admit mistakes and change. I don’t think he’s correct as none would ever correct Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura.

    Well that’s provably false. There are multiple groups that evolved from Protestantism that don’t hold to sola fide or sola scriptura. An obvious example would be Quakers which rejected both. They held to a doctrine of inner light and that scripture was just a form of revelation. They also held the Catholic position that faith+works -> justification and rejected sola fide.

    If you want to go even more mainstream, the Wesleyan doctrine of prima scriptura which is a rejection of sola scriptura by a group that is one of the largest and most influential subsets of Protestantism.

    Finally just to be even more mainstream I think that Robert or DGH would accuse Arminians of rejecting sola gratia while fully accepting that Arminianism is the belief of well over 90% of all Protestants. FWIW I don’t personally agree and think prevenient grace does meet the sola gratia criteria but… I do see why they object. There is a real issue.

  234. @Jonathan,

    Please provide for me one single article posted at faithful answers that is “anti-Jewish”. Just one will be fine. If you can not then you are once again IRRESPONSIBLY throwing people under the bus. I don’t personally believe in a young earth etc. but that has nothing to do with what we are talking about and I think you know that. ANYWAYS

    Robert,

    CCC and C2C fell in love with the magisterium. That’s great! It is true that without an infallible Church you can’t get passed human opinion. Just as its true that without Sacred Tradition we couldn’t know who the Church IS (AS remember?) There is no problem here.

    There has never been an instance where all three legs of authority disagree. The bible does not disagree with papal primacy (we would argue it supports it), Tradition supports Papal primacy as well (that’s why even E.O. grant the bishop of Rome primacy of honor), and all other confusion has been addressed by the magesterium…. That’s not to say that we NEED all three legs to be unanimous in every instance. Acts 15 shows that the Church has authority to settle matters which have no scripture or tradition to depend on. There was no Jewish Oral tradition nor any scripture that ever hinted circumcision would come to an end…. And yet… Here we are. I’m glad you find the three legged model more formidable. That is the paradigm we profess after all.

  235. @Dr. Hart:

    Jason, liberal Protestants were among the fiercest of moralists. They opposed abortion, contraception and alcohol well into the twentieth century. If you are a moralist, then I guess that’s conservative. And if you are a moralist, you turn universalist the way liberal Protestants have along with Francis.

    I can’t believe you don’t see the parallels. Then again, church history never interested you.

    Oh, come on. The Universalist Unitarians started as Calvinists in Puritan Massachusetts, but you’re not taking credit for Calvinist theology having produced them. You know full well that liberal Protestant moralism originated from Puritanical sensibilities, not reverence for tradition. In fact, that’s why they could easily chuck their own theological tradition! The false accusations of Calvinist-style universalism to Catholics are tiresome. To the extent Francis is coming anywhere close to universalism, it is far closer to the apokatastasis of Gregory of Nyssa than anything like the American Unitarian Universalists that you are trying to attach to him.

    I’ve posted over a dozen times on conciliarism in the middle ages and beyond. You’re still holding on to (in a really high, wimpy voice) “this is the church Jesus really really founded.”

    How many have you posted on conciliarism going back to the actual conciliar era? The significant majority of the foundation for the conciliar movement was solely in the West after the schism, and in terms of traditional underpinning outside of the apostolic succession, it has none. I’ve found jack squat on the patristic origins of conciliarism, and without that, you have nothing.

    It’s not a question of a pope embracing Americanism. It is a question of one pope condemning it as heresy, it resurfacing, and no pope challenging what the first pope condemned.

    Or is this one of those development of doctrine moments where tales I win head you lose?

    CCC and CTC need to get outside the bubble.

    Who is looking at USCCB and not seeing this? Everybody knows about those problems, and nobody has said that papal condemnations solve them or that those condemnations will be respected? But if there weren’t the possibility of a papal condemnation, then there would be no possibility of knowing where to look. And for people who know where to look, these problems are not (and should not be) faith-destroying events.

    Trashing Catholicism just isn’t going to make Protestantism any better. If Catholicism is bad for the reasons you give, then Protestantism is literally hopeless. It’s like you’re selling cyanide pills as a cure for cancer.

  236. Jonathan,

    I have plenty of things against the Eastern Church as well. Problem is, with the exception of Perry Robinson every now and again, there aren’t any EO writers popping in on these RC blogs to any large degree, at least the ones I look at.

    If you’d been paying attention, you would remember that I said Protestantism represents a codification of and development of certain streams of the Western tradition prior to the Reformation while RC represents a codification of and development of other streams of the Western tradition. As Warfield put it (and yes oversimplifying it to a degree, which he knew he was doing), RC represents the triumph of Augustine’s sacramentology over his doctrine of grace while Protestantism is vice versa. (And yes, I’m expecting a blah, blah, blah answer about how you can’t sever these, but since Roman inconsistency doesn’t bother you, it ain’t gonna fly with me. Even the best thinkers are inconsistent, the goal for all of us should be less so. To be honest, however, I’ve given up any hope that you would even show the least bit of effort judging Protestant thought by the same standard you judge the Magisterium.)

    The issue is that unlike traditional Romanism, Protestantism allows for a true development in understanding of doctrine. I don’t expect Athanasius to teach the doctrine of justification as Luther or Calvin would, but Trent comes out and tells us that the church has always believed the doctrine of justification in the way Trent deems to formulate it. That’s an outright falsehood, and puts to death the notion of RC infallibility.

    I give great latitude to pre-Reformation thinkers, especially when in some contexts they say things that are as Reformed as any Reformed person would say them, while in others they might sound more RC. The point is on some issues there is not sustained doctrinal reflection, and even then, until there is an official church pronouncement, much can be forgiven when people believe and teach error. (And Protestants are supposed to think church authority doesn’t matter, bah!) They did the best they could with what they had.

    I expect church theologians to not necessarily be clear or even entirely right on issues where the battles weren’t being fought. There was no need for the precision of Reformed formulations of justification until the medieval period. When history looks back on our era, its going to see Christians who spoke of things in a manner that was later condemned simply because when such things are not the point of controversy, careless speaking is to be expected.

    So no, the entire pre-Tridentine Church does not fall under Paul’s anathema.

    And yes, when Catholics get new information, they look at the condemnations again based on what the understanding was at the time.

    That is fine and yes it does happen, but Rome doesn’t do so honestly. They gnostically divorce the decree from the authorial intent so that they can say the decree is infallible but who cares if its promulgators had any idea what it was doing in the first place. Rome is supposed to have the living voice of God, but it leaves us with mouthpieces who don’t necessarily know what they are saying, if modern interpretations of Unam Sanctum are to be believed.

    So yes, I can accept that Trent is a legitimate development of certain strands of patristic thought, but no I can’t accept that there was a consensus on justification in patristic thought. It’s just not there.

    And the appeal to consensus is dishonest from the RC paradigm because the consensus in RC is by definition whatever Rome says it is. Perfect example of this is in Jason’s interview with Bryan Cross, where near the end he says something to the effect that when 6 Apostles and 3 Apostles reach opposite conclusions and Peter is a member of the 3, you go with the 3.

    That’s not consensus, that’s sola ecclesia.

    If Rome gave a hoot about patristic consensus, there would be no East-West split, there would be no bodily assumption, there would be no modern papacy in anything like the form we have it.

    Trent shows forth Rome’s modus operandi. Calls for Reform based on the church’s own history are silenced, heels are dug in, and so on.

    When a church believes itself never to need true reformation, that’s what is to be expected.

  237. CD Host, you write:

    Now you are saying that I’m arguing that that most Protestant sects changed their attitude multiple times over the last few centuries, and that while that technically contradicts your position that there was only one change in context it makes your case that there wasn’t moral continuity on this issue. And that I’d agree with.

    I am OK with that. My main point is that moral doctrine evolves in Protestant sects, and from what I see, you are willing to agree to that point.

    CD Host, you write:

    I agree that the majority of church fathers who wrote on issues of contraception took a negative position.

    Can you name an ECF that taught that artificial contraception was NOT a sin? I am not aware of any ECF that took that position. If you know of an ECF that taught that artificial contraception was not a sin, I would be very interested in seeing the evidence.

    But I certainly can point to Catholic writings from the middle ages that speak highly of regulating births to the appropriate ages in a woman’s life (14-21 roughly).

    The Catholic Church that I know teaches responsible sex. Births should be regulated, if there is good reason for doing so – such as living in poverty and not being able to care of the children that the parents already have. Which is what Natural Family Planning is all about: http://nfpandmore.org/.

    NPF, when practiced correctly, is a more effective form of birth control than any form of artificial contraception short of surgical sterilization.

    Including advocacy for cunnilingus (though expressed metaphorically) as a heavy outlet for post “appropriate age” sexuality.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if you could produce such evidence. But unless this is the official teaching of the Magisterium, then this is just more opinion that is mistaken.

    I could see someone saying fairly that the majority of Catholic texts are somewhat consistent on taking an anti-moral position, but it a heavy majority not a uniform position.

    There will always be dissenters in the Catholic Church, and there will always be dissenters that publish their dissenting opinions.

    What’s really changed in Catholic theology is the definition of contraception vs. abortion.

    I don’t agree, but I don’t want to sidetrack this thread with a discussion about this topic. Some other time, perhaps we could delve into this topic.

  238. @Kenneth:
    Refusal to condemn the popes when they were clearly in moral error on the subject, as Pope St. Pius V was, is anti-Jewish.

    Writing and speaking in the manner of the popes of history (including Pope SAINT Pius V) cannot be construed as “persecution” against the Jews. Otherwise this document would be condemning a long list of Roman Pontiffs. And that would be absurd.

    http://www.faithfulanswers.com/faithful-answers-to-mark-shea/

    Refusing to make a reasonable moral judgment on Holocaust denial is likewise an embarassment to the faith. It does not help the faith to demonstrate Catholics being unreasonable on these subjects. This idea that we can segregate the ideas is unrealistic; it is exactly the reason that the sex abuse scandal significantly harmed Catholic evangelism even though it theoretically posed no problem for Catholic dogma. If we can give theoretical arguments but lack a practical witness, it is unlikely to be persuasive except to the most engaged students of the matters.

  239. +JMJ+

    I certainly wouldn’t condemn Pope St. Pius V as being anti-Jewish. OTOH, I wouldn’t condemn the modern hierarchy for taking a more conciliatory stance towards the Jews. Both are simply responding to the Common Good in a prudential judgement according to the needs of times. What served the Common Good in the 16th century may not be what serves it in the 21st century. There may come a time in which Pius V’s stance is again in accord with the Common Good. Trying to assert either stance as being the “real” or “true” or “enlightened” face of the Church is illusory. What we are deal with here is a matter of prudence, not principle and thus, are indifferent things.

    Just sayin’.

  240. Darryl, you have yet to tell me what you think the heresy of Americanism actually is.

    For anyone that is interested in knowing the answer to that question, here is a link to Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae CONCERNING NEW OPINIONS, VIRTUE, NATURE AND GRACE, WITH REGARD TO AMERICANISM, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on January 22, 1899.

    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13teste.htm

    Darryl show me your evidence that a post-Vatican II pope has written something that has repudiated the teachings of Pope Leo XII found in his encyclical Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae.

    I am quite sure that you can’t do it.

  241. We can further consider this in the comments of my latest post, but I think Protestants need to do a better job of distinguishing between dogma and posture.

    But then, since dogma doesn’t exist in their paradigm, I can certainly understand the confusion.

  242. @Robert:

    If you’d been paying attention, you would remember that I said Protestantism represents a codification of and development of certain streams of the Western tradition prior to the Reformation while RC represents a codification of and development of other streams of the Western tradition.

    Yes, and this is delusional. There were no such streams. They didn’t exist.

    As Warfield put it (and yes oversimplifying it to a degree, which he knew he was doing), RC represents the triumph of Augustine’s sacramentology over his doctrine of grace while Protestantism is vice versa. (And yes, I’m expecting a blah, blah, blah answer about how you can’t sever these, but since Roman inconsistency doesn’t bother you, it ain’t gonna fly with me. Even the best thinkers are inconsistent, the goal for all of us should be less so. To be honest, however, I’ve given up any hope that you would even show the least bit of effort judging Protestant thought by the same standard you judge the Magisterium.)

    Warfield is the most recent source you could cite? This goes beyond mere inconsistency; there is simply no way that Augustine could even be considered to have a “sacramentology” apart from his “doctrine of grace.” That is a completely anachronistic reading of Augustine with no support in his writings. It’s that kind of thing that I mean. Warfield was wrong, and everybody who has been reading Augustine scholarship for the last few decades knows that he was wrong. So you just get to make up the facts now? The truth doesn’t matter?

    The issue is that unlike traditional Romanism, Protestantism allows for a true development in understanding of doctrine.

    OK, so all of Christianity can flout the anathema of Galatians, an absolute denial of the Gospel, for centuries and then develop past that? Come on, let’s at least be serious.

    I don’t expect Athanasius to teach the doctrine of justification as Luther or Calvin would, but Trent comes out and tells us that the church has always believed the doctrine of justification in the way Trent deems to formulate it. That’s an outright falsehood, and puts to death the notion of RC infallibility.

    That’s an irrelevant falsehood. Those statements aren’t infallible; they’re wrong all the time. These were just formal recitations that councils made all of the time; it’s a reflection of the genre, not a serious effort to do history. But with respect to St. Athanasius, he did a lot more than to teach the doctrine of justification. His sacramentology repeatedly and consistently violated the anathema of Galatians that you cite; he was quite deliberately and consciously teaching what you call a false Gospel, and there was absolutely no evidence that he was unaware of Galatians or that he lacked understanding. How does one develop from that?

    I give great latitude to pre-Reformation thinkers, especially when in some contexts they say things that are as Reformed as any Reformed person would say them, while in others they might sound more RC.

    You’re giving them latitude on what you are alleging is perspicuous Scriptual teaching, the very heart of the Gospel. This isn’t a matter of “sounding RC” or whatever else. This is a matter of clearly, explicitly and repeatedly endorsing a view of sacramentology that you reject as being anathematized by Scripture. The problem is that you are giving the Fathers a pass on Scriptural doctrine that you don’t give to Catholics for no apparent reason.

    The point is on some issues there is not sustained doctrinal reflection, and even then, until there is an official church pronouncement, much can be forgiven when people believe and teach error. (And Protestants are supposed to think church authority doesn’t matter, bah!) They did the best they could with what they had.

    I expect church theologians to not necessarily be clear or even entirely right on issues where the battles weren’t being fought. There was no need for the precision of Reformed formulations of justification until the medieval period. When history looks back on our era, its going to see Christians who spoke of things in a manner that was later condemned simply because when such things are not the point of controversy, careless speaking is to be expected.

    Historically, that is an entirely implausible claim. Sacramentology and soteriology were at the very heart of the Arian controversy; there are volumes and volumes of works by Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox scholars documenting that fact. They were clearly thinking specifically about these issues, and their doctrine of baptism and the Eucharist was absolutely essential to their articulation of these issues. To think otherwise is to divorce their thinking in a way that they themselves clearly did not do. And the accusations of unclear thinking or inconsistency in some thinkers, particularly Athanasius and Augustine, have been studied extensively. We know the parameters of those uncertainties and inconsistencies in detail, and sacramentology and soteriology were not among them.

    So no, the entire pre-Tridentine Church does not fall under Paul’s anathema.

    You say that only because you are in denial about the patristic record. We know as surely as we know anything, and certainly as surely as we know the text of the New Testament, that the Fathers would fall under your anathema of making works a part of salvation as you define those terms.

    They gnostically divorce the decree from the authorial intent so that they can say the decree is infallible but who cares if its promulgators had any idea what it was doing in the first place. Rome is supposed to have the living voice of God, but it leaves us with mouthpieces who don’t necessarily know what they are saying, if modern interpretations of Unam Sanctum are to be believed.

    There’s nothing gnostic about that. The Fathers who opposed gnosticism made similar interpretations of Scripture. Divinely authorized statements simply don’t follow the same rules as purely human statements.

    So yes, I can accept that Trent is a legitimate development of certain strands of patristic thought, but no I can’t accept that there was a consensus on justification in patristic thought. It’s just not there.

    I’m not saying that there was a consensus on justification. What I’m saying is that there was a consensus on works being necessary for salvation, which you claim is anathematized by Galatians. That consensus absolutely is there; indeed, I am not aware of any qualified scholar arguing to the contrary. You’re just in denial of ubiquitous scholarship without having any reason for it.

    And the appeal to consensus is dishonest from the RC paradigm because the consensus in RC is by definition whatever Rome says it is. Perfect example of this is in Jason’s interview with Bryan Cross, where near the end he says something to the effect that when 6 Apostles and 3 Apostles reach opposite conclusions and Peter is a member of the 3, you go with the 3.

    That’s not consensus, that’s sola ecclesia.

    I’m not appealing to consensus of anyone except scholars. My point is that if you believe what you say you believe, namely, that everyone who endorsed works-salvation falls under the anathema of Galatians, then it is a matter of historical fact that you are anathematizing the beliefs of every Christian of which we have any record.

    If Rome gave a hoot about patristic consensus, there would be no East-West split, there would be no bodily assumption, there would be no modern papacy in anything like the form we have it.

    This has nothing to do with Rome; it has to do with your belief. You are the one anathematizing everyone who believes in works-salvation. I’m just asking whether you have the courage of your convictions and if you are actually willing to go to the wall for them or not.

    If Protestantism have a hoot about patristic consensus, it wouldn’t exist. So show some guts and say that. Say that the patristic consensus is irrelevant because they were all teaching a false Gospel. Actually believe what you say, rather than saying it and then forgetting it when it comes to the facts.

    And by the way, the East believes in bodily assumption; that’s what the Dormition is. I have no idea what you are talking about when you keep talking about “bodily assumption” being a Catholic belief. The only question is whether Mary died before she was assumed, and that appears to have resulted from misinterpretation due to the document not specifically stating that she died, although it is clearly implied. In any case, the entire world, both East and West, accepted the Dormition well before the schism.

  243. Jonathan,

    LOL you could not possibly have read that article. A good quarter of the blog is spent DENYING any I’ll will towards Jews by Robert Sungenis and defending comments HE has made in the past (not any articles about Jews posted on the site…. There aren’t any… As you know)

    Your contempt towards Catholics (including priests, theologians, apologists, etc) who hold more traditional views and are in perfectly good standing with the Church is absurd. Your throwing them under the bus and bashing their integrity is sinful and I no longer wish to pursue this conversation. Not every traditional catholic holds the views of Robert Sungenis. But of course you already knew that….

  244. Jonathan Prejean,

    Your contributions are invaluable, thank you!

    You said this and I, for one, concur and wish I could get others that I know to think about it too.

    “Just own what you’re selling, and be consistent. I’m fine if you condemn Catholicism, but you need to condemn everybody who denied the Gospel, including all the Fathers. The fact that you don’t attack Eastern Orthodoxy and particularly the Eastern Orthodox claims of continuity, for example, says a great deal. Otherwise, it’s pretty obvious that it is just bigotry.”

    The fact that if, not all, most of the church prior the time of the Reformation denied the gospel and are condemned by the Reformers who supposedly recovered the gospel, is a huge pill to swallow. I don’t know how anyone can believe this if they look over at the EO, who also do not believe in the doctrine of sola fide. And, I’d love to hear a Reformer deal with the EO’s claim to continuity.

    If we are not out to defend a side based on our preferences, and the truth is what we are all honestly after, we should ask why the EO, who holds the same dogma, isn’t under the Reformed critique. I became Catholic because of the Petrine Office otherwise good sense would have spelled out, at least, the Eastern Orthodox.

    Susan

  245. As long as that is the case, as a Catholic, I am quite free to accept the interpretation that James Likoudis is presenting, and I am free to disagree with any Catholic that thinks otherwise.

    Yeah, but without certainty what’s the point?

  246. @Susan

    And, I’d love to hear a Reformer deal with the EO’s claim to continuity.

    And how is that any harder than dealing with the Western Church’s claim to continuity. Mostly it is the same argument that the concept of a hierarchy and bishops didn’t exist in the early church and the more authentic forms of Christianity rejected it when it was first introduced. The EO undermines more of your theology than Reformed theology. For example they differ on canon, yet Western rite Catholics like to claim that the canon was fixed prior the Great Schism.

    What do you think is so difficult about the EO? Theologically the differences between Eastern and Western Rite Christianity are minor. The documentary and archeological record we have shows a Christianity that doesn’t look anything like Catholicism. What changes for the argument in your mind?

    The EO doesn’t have as rough a 4th-9th century and so they do better in establishing themselves more deeply in the culture. Thus they feel safer being more responsive and the church is not as oppressive as the Western Church. They don’t engage in massive state terrorism. So they aren’t morally disqualified in the same way. But you’ve never seem troubled that for centuries your church’s primary means of resolving theological disputes was murder.

    While we are on the topic I should also mention to Jason’s claim that DGH’s ecclesiology is without precedent is contradicted by this EO. The Bogomils are yet another Christian group that firmly rejects Catholic ecclesiology and wanted a religious order capable of maintaining discipline while at the same time not subject to the abuse and corruption of the Catholics. They looked to the historical Paulicians for guidance and formed a church that lasted for centuries. Thus the denied the existence of a hierarchy and considered their religious leaders to be merely teachers without sacramental abilities. They nominated those people from among themselves who demonstrated the greatest knowledge of the Christian faith. That sounds a lot like DGH’s ecclesiology to me. They evolved into the Bosnian church which was religious orthodoxish while holding the same ecclesiology mostly so at least for the latter centuries the “they are heretics so they don’t count” argument wouldn’t apply. They would be part of the historical EO.

  247. Mateo, again, why have Benedict, JPII, or Francis been as concerned about Americanism as Russell Shaw is? That’s the last time I’ll ask. I know all about Testem Ben. I’ve been raising it with Jason and Bryan many times. And they keep telling me I can’t pin the tail on the donkey. Now I appeal to Shaw, you agree that Shaw has merit, but then you say no pope has contradicted a pope. Well, V2 contradicted Boniface VIII.

    Oh I forgot, development of doctrine means the church can say whatever it wants and that Protestants are always wrong (even if they are separated brothers).

    Logic? Not so much.

  248. Jonathan, if trashing Catholicism isn’t going to make Protestantism any better, why don’t you tell that logic to Jason who proves his conversion by trashing Protestantism.

    You don’t understand the origins of Unitarianism or its relationship to liberalism. But if you want to put your head in the sand again about what’s going on in your communion, it’s a free country with free sand in most places.

    But please don’t tell me about a lack of conciliarism in the early church when every single RC apologist tells me that the church gave us the canon of Scripture. If that’s true, then it was a council that gave us the Bible, not the bishop of Rome.

    This is a rigged game. You cherry pick from the past to promote your own views. When the past doesn’t cooperate, you switch subjects.

    I had thought Roman Catholics also believed in honesty.

  249. Kenneth, are you really missing the point? Jason and the Callers have been all over their blogs posting about how superior RC’sm is to Protestantism, with all sorts of comments about the lack of unity and immorality of Protestants. Well, if these fellows are going to convert to Rome by such a logic, it sure would make sense for Rome not to have the same problems. But here lo and behold you admit that Rome has problems and has had them for at least 50 years.

    If Rome has problems, then Jason and the Callers should back away from claiming RC superiority. It’s a fairly simple point. Their continued taunting of Protestantism is down right unbecoming and doesn’t reflect what the mainstream RC world is doing (such as the pope telling me all I need to do to get to heaven is try).

    If you want to think Rome is great, fine. You may also think Leave it to Beaver the best sit-com ever. Just be prepared (which you apparently are not despite large quantities in RC’sm) for dissent.

  250. @Kenneth:

    LOL you could not possibly have read that article. A good quarter of the blog is spent DENYING any I’ll will towards Jews by Robert Sungenis and defending comments HE has made in the past (not any articles about Jews posted on the site…. There aren’t any… As you know)

    It is the defense of those comments that is inappropriately anti-Jewish, and it will certainly be perceived that way. Ill will or lack thereof has nothing to do with it. I am not charging them with sin.

    Your contempt towards Catholics (including priests, theologians, apologists, etc) who hold more traditional views and are in perfectly good standing with the Church is absurd.

    You’re saying the same thing that Robert is. I have no personal contempt for these people; I don’t even know them. They are making bad arguments that are likely to make Catholics look foolish, with no reason compelling them to make such arguments. That has nothing to do with standing within the Church; it’s simply a practical question of what good it will do them.

    Your throwing them under the bus and bashing their integrity is sinful and I no longer wish to pursue this conversation.

    Then it’s a good thing I wasn’t bashing their integrity. It is not a good thing for you to jump to conclusions and to accuse me of what I did not do.

    Not every traditional catholic holds the views of Robert Sungenis. But of course you already knew that….

    I did not bash every traditional Catholic, and I did not say that every traditional Catholic was a fundamentalist. I bashed a subset of Catholic fundamentalism that holds an excessive view of infallibility.

  251. I’m pretty sure he also ran a whole blog on AC1 and AC2 DG HART. Did you miss that one? He isn’t arguing for Catholicism because its more shiny. He is arguing for a more epistemologically satisfying authority and a more historical view on salvation. I think your missing the forrest for the trees bud.

  252. @Mateo

    Can you name an ECF that taught that artificial contraception was NOT a sin? I am not aware of any ECF that took that position.

    I had said Christian fathers. You see direct advocacy for contraceptive sex for women in the middle ages. For ECFs the best I’m going to be able to do is fathers who believe that sex is sinful, “Blessed are they who have wives, as though they had them not, for they shall be made angels of God”. Birth is frequently seen by ECFs as taking women away from God not towards it, compounding the deleterious effects of sex on one’s spirituality. Motherhood and fatherhood are spiritual negatives. Against Jovinianus is good exposition by Jerome on the notion that virgins an entirely separate sex. John of Ephesus would be an excellent example who traces the convent movement to the women’s aesthetic movement of Thecla with the implications that sex and birth are both negatives. Euphemia’s doctrine that women should have a sisterly not mother / daughter relationship with their biological progeny because motherhood is sinful while sisterhood is spiritual. The cult of Saint Pelagia similarly if you want a source we know less about but it older.

    I think you can make a good case for many ECFs believing that women by sexually activity become instruments of Satan and procreation is part of what they view as the sin of sex. The advocacy is thus indirect. In practice in non-procreative community there is going to a lot of homosexuality, masturbation and contraception to avoid births. So if one if advocating that Christianity / Catholicism should be ideally composed of long term non-procreative communities they are in practice advocating those 3.

    ____

    As for the middle ages you said this:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if you could produce such evidence. But unless this is the official teaching of the Magisterium, then this is just more opinion that is mistaken.

    The idea that there is some mystical Magisterium that can be divorced from the actions of the actual physical bureaucracy is a religious concept. Are Catholics free to ignore everything the church teaches and asks them to do except for the stuff with the Magisterium sticker? I consider Catholic teachings at time X and place Y to be whatever the institution is teaching at time X and place Y. So if you have priests and bishops teaching stuff with the full support of cardinals and popes that’s Catholic teaching.

    Hopefully this video by a Protestant who is facing the same kinds of arguments from Mormons makes it clear how pointless this distinction is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzypKxr9knA

    So getting back to the point. You had religious doctrines that:

    a) Were practiced by Catholics
    b) Were written about by Catholic priests
    c) Had the full support of the Catholic hierarchy at the time

    Then that was Catholicism. We can’t use a religious standard when talking about what sects taught historically since that allows everyone to just rewrite history to their hearts content. If you want to talk theology then fine we’ll talk about what people should of taught. If we want to talk history then what they did teach is all that matters and what “they should have taught” is mostly irrelevant.

  253. @Dr. Hart:

    Jonathan, if trashing Catholicism isn’t going to make Protestantism any better, why don’t you tell that logic to Jason who proves his conversion by trashing Protestantism.

    Despite your repeated assertions to the contrary, he’s not criticizing Protestantism in ways that logically destroy the continuity of his own religion. It’s committing intellectual suicide to trash somebody’s position that seems needlessly hostile. Proving continuity is something everyone should have to do.

    You don’t understand the origins of Unitarianism or its relationship to liberalism.

    I see. So if certain scholars have this belief, then are you in denial of the facts, or do you simply disagree with them? I’m guessing you won’t give Catholics that same luxury vis-a-vis conciliarism, by the way.

    But please don’t tell me about a lack of conciliarism in the early church when every single RC apologist tells me that the church gave us the canon of Scripture. If that’s true, then it was a council that gave us the Bible, not the bishop of Rome.

    Medieval conciliarism had a drastically different concept of authority than the Christian conciliarism through the eighth century. That argument is based more on Sacred Tradition, in which medieval conciliarism had no basis. I’ll give you that the innovations of the canonists make a great deal more sense for secular states, but they have no place in theological dogma. Unlike mundane politics, divine revelation doesn’t run by political process.

    This is a rigged game. You cherry pick from the past to promote your own views. When the past doesn’t cooperate, you switch subjects.

    No, we just distinguish between the faith itself, the esse of the Church, and historical accidents. There are good reasons for making those distinctions, and your failure to make them is why you (apparently) find Catholics incomprehensible. That’s not “cherry picking” but sound philosophy. Moreover, your inability to make those distinctions is why you continue making arguments that damage your own position without touching the Catholic position.

    What you aren’t doing, which everybody agrees that you must do, is applying your theory of historical continuity all the way back to the New Testament, through the ante-Nicene era, through the conciliar era, through the Carolingian era, and through the Middle Ages. It’s the rupture in the Carolingian era that’s going to give you fits, because that’s where most of the original difficulties with the confusion of canon law with politics and dogma began, and that’s where Eastern Orthodoxy (to some extent, rightly) accuses the West of moving into non-traditional innovations, manifested the Photian schism.

    You said you liked Henry Chadwick; you should give him a try on this subject:
    http://www.amazon.com/East-West-Apostolic-Christian-ebook/dp/B001KVZIYQ/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/186-7528824-2718503

    The problem is that Chadwick’s digging a hole from which I don’t think he ever extricated himself. If we go with patristic ressourcement, then he’s basically talking his own Anglican branch theory out of the historical picture. Regardless, it will never work for Presbyterians and other Protestants without episcopal succession. This is why Reformed non-Anglicans, at least the conservative ones, have essentially ceded the field of patristic history. If they are consistent with the same historical method they apply for Scriptural studies and the like, they’re basically talking themselves out of any kind of continuity with the rest of Christian history.

    Conciliarism to a large extent simply perpetuates the novel Frankish “traditions” that they inherited from their Arian churches, so the key to understanding this will be to separate the influence of Germanic culture (not necessarily bad, but not in continuity with the Sacred Tradition) from the Christian dogma preserved in the monasteries. It’s just not part of the Christian tradition; it lacks any kind of pedigree to before the Carolingian era. The Catholic paradigm can survive that; yours can’t.

    In short, you are lecturing us on church history when your denomination has given up on patristics. That’s a problem that Catholics most assuredly do not have.

  254. I’ll let DGH handle the bulk of Johnathan’s comments but…

    The Universalist Unitarians started as Calvinists in Puritan Massachusetts, but you’re not taking credit for Calvinist theology having produced them.

    American Unitarianism was heavily influenced if not outright founded by English Unitarianism came from the Familists (proto-quakers and baptists which came out of the Anglicans and radicals), Deists (came out hermetic Christianity like Freemasonry, Spinozian Pantheism and the Socions which came out of the Polish Brethern. Their American converts came from American Presbyterian and Congregationalists faiths but I don’t see any evidence the movement originated inside Reformed Christianity.

    And that BTW is an example of how one starts to tie Protestantism back historically. because the FreeMasons get you back to Rosicrucianism and from there Islamic Hermetics. The Islamic Hermetics give you a path through to Jewish Hermetics and you are now before Catholics. Alternative you can go follow the tree down through the Rosicrucians to Esoteric Christianity and from there monastic theurgy movement and the Cathari. Protestants can potentially play the succession game just as well. Religious sects form from other religious sects.

    One doesn’t have to abandon history nor abandon Christianity. They just have to abandon this Catholic ahistorical idea that there are “good sects” and “bad sects” and you should ignore the “bad sects” in doing Christian history. In other words they just have to do history like a Protestant would and embrace the fact that the Christian faith has always been diverse whenever states didn’t suppress diversity.

    Protestants don’t have to write off Christian history they just have to fully embrace it.

  255. @Robert

    I have plenty of things against the Eastern Church as well. Problem is, with the exception of Perry Robinson every now and again, there aren’t any EO writers popping in on these RC blogs to any large degree, at least the ones I look at.

    FWIW you would be involved in a very different dialogue. The EO wasn’t hit by the notion of religious choice. They still really do live in a world of Christendom mostly (especially in Eastern Europe). For them religion is deeply tied to ethnicity and the EO view themselves ethnic churches representing an ethnic culture. They don’t make theological claims the center point of their apologetic in the same way that hotdogs or American Football don’t need a complex apologetic to justify their role in American culture. They simply are part of the cultural expression.

    If you are talking to EO people you are talking to people who really and truly are paedobaptist in their theology. Some is Russian Orthodox because they had the right father and mother, period. If they start worshipping at a Hindu temple then they are a Russian Orthodox who practices Hinduism and thus not a good member of the Russian Orthodox church but they are still as much Russian Orthodox as Patriarch Kirill. It really wouldn’t be until this person married and had children which were raised Hindu that then maybe those children wouldn’t be considered Russian Orthodox. But if the parent baptized them then they still would be.

    In the middle east where there is conversion to and from Islam it is a bit different. Being Orthodox is about where you choose to live in terms of housing and what sorts of tribal loyalties you have.

    I’m not sure how you would even get a conversation about TULIP or the 5 Solas off the ground. They just really lack the concepts necessary to have those arguments. Just to give you an example the Russian Orthodox church when they had their child sex scandal invited the Russian government to conduct the investigation. Of course the Russian government had more experience investigating criminal behavior. And all the political people are Russian Orthodox so why wouldn’t….

    I’m very curious what happens to these churches after a century or two in America. I suspect they end like American Judaism that built a Baptists form of Judaism that could thrive (or at least survive) on American soil.

  256. CD,

    Indeed. The East in so many ways speaks a different language altogether. I remember my class on American religion in college where one of the texts was an earlier edition of Corbett’s book Religion in America. Eastern Orthodoxy in its various stripes was included in a chapter titled “Religio-Ethnic Christianities.” I think that has been changed in more recent editions, but it shows how tightly connected to ethnicity the EO have become. To be Greek is to be Orthodox in a way that is not even true of saying that to be Italian is to be Roman Catholic.

    Reminds me also of the fact that the East simply hasn’t had the same kind of church-state problems we’ve had in the West. Here we’ve had popes and kings fighting over authority. In so many ways, the EO seem content to have the church be a department of state.

    I wonder how much of this is all tied to history. One of my seminary professors remarked that the East hasn’t had the same type of theological creativity and diversity that has marked the West because it has suffered under the two M’s—Muhammad and Marx. Makes sense to me.

  257. @Robert

    Reminds me also of the fact that the East simply hasn’t had the same kind of church-state problems we’ve had in the West. Here we’ve had popes and kings fighting over authority. In so many ways, the EO seem content to have the church be a department of state.

    I wonder how much of this is all tied to history. One of my seminary professors remarked that the East hasn’t had the same type of theological creativity and diversity that has marked the West because it has suffered under the two M’s—Muhammad and Marx. Makes sense to me.

    I agree on the department of state, and would even go further to cultural entity. They have the kind of confidence in their religion as say book publishers would have that the Latin Alphabet in the west. The Latin Alphabet is just part of western culture and no one would even seriously consider replacing it. Webster doesn’t even have to worry about the possibility that say Massachusetts might decide they like the Cyrillic Alphabet better.

    As far the rest I think it might be the Popes. You know my general theory that what was unique about the Reformation was not the politics or the theology but rather that

    1) Political reformers who wanted to change the people running the church. Whether it be financial corruption, moral corruption, a desire for the church to be more subservient to the state governments they didn’t like the what the church was doing and who they were. Prince Frederick (Luther’s patron), Henry VII or Elizabeth of York (Henry VIII’s mother) would haven fallen into this group.

    2) Doctrinal reformers who wanted minor doctrinal reforms but wanted to keep the structure of the Catholic religion mostly intact. Calvin and Luther are in this group.

    3) Radical reformers. Who hated the Catholic church and wanted to create an entirely different type of structure for Christianity.

    It my position that for 5 centuries there were 3 groups of reformers / rebels existed. They mistrusted each other, they disliked each other and during those centuries they worked with the Catholic church in holding each other down. What happened in the Reformation, what made it unique from the rebellions prior to it, is these groups decided to work together to achieve their objectives. They felt there was enough urgency that they were willing to risk the dangers they saw in each other. The urgency came from the fact that the Catholic church was turning on groups (1) and (2) the way it had on group (3).

    In the case of the East the first group, the political reformers didn’t exist. Because of the close ties with states political reform happened outside the church and never threatened the church. If politicians in country X think there is too much corruption in church X they just crack down on the corruption directly they don’t have to side with doctrinal reformers. So you might have a Luther, but Luther never gets the patronage of Prince Frederick and thus never posses a meaningful threat to the church.

    The EO has radical groups but because they don’t have political support they don’t threaten the finances of the church. So for example the Molokans (who btw in terms of Jason and DGH’s debate are another example of a sect that originated in the 11th century that has something you could fairly describe as having Presbyterian government yet again disproving this idea that Presbyterian ecclesiology has no Christian precedent) lived for centuries unmolested. And that was true because the church always knew they could press the state button. 500 years later when they did the Tzars kicked them out of the country and now they mostly live in Brazil, Mexico, the American South West… and no threat to the main Russian Orthodox Church.

    The interesting thing is going to be watching how the EO evolves on American soil when it isn’t part of the state. Given the high rates of cross ethnic marriages in America I can’t see ethnic Christianity holding up longterm. We will have to see how they handle it.

  258. Jonathan, you can’t have the patristics and high papalism. The church fathers didn’t believe about the papacy what Jason and the Callers do. The papacy was not even claiming the what Jason and the Callers now claim.

    Continuity? Broken line unite thyself.

  259. Darryl, you write:

    Mateo, again, why have Benedict, JPII, or Francis been as concerned about Americanism as Russell Shaw is?That’s the last time I’ll ask.

    I have already told you that I have not read the book by Russell Shaw that you are referring to. How can I answer this question without having first read Russell Shaw’s book? I don’t even know what Shaw’s thesis is.

    I know all about Testem Ben.

    Then you should have no problem at all in responding to my question. What do you think the heresy of Americanism actually is? Why don’t you answer that question!

    Now I appeal to Shaw, you agree that Shaw has merit, but then you say no pope has contradicted a pope. Well, V2 contradicted Boniface VIII.

    I said that I have read articles by Russell Shaw (he has written for This Rock magazine), and I have found him to be an orthodox Catholic. I have not said that the thesis of the book that you mentioned “has merit”. I haven’t said that, because I haven’t read the book. I have no idea whether it has merit or not.

    As for your contention that Vatican II contradicted Boniface VIII, I have no idea what you are talking about. Show me your evidence, and then I can comment on it. That said, I seriously doubt that you can show that Vatican II contradicted Boniface VIII, since if this was common knowledge, I believe I would not be hearing it for the first time from a Protestant.

    Oh I forgot, development of doctrine means the church can say whatever it wants and that Protestants are always wrong (even if they are separated brothers).

    But of course Protestants aren’t always wrong, they are only sometimes wrong.

    If you are a sola scriptura confessing Protestant, then you can never know with certainty if your interpretations of scriptures are either right or wrong. And that isn’t because the Catholic Church says so, that must be so because that is a logical consequence of affirming Luther’s proposition that no man in the post-apostolic age can ever, under any conceivable circumstance, interpret the scriptures infallibly.

  260. @Dr. Hart:

    Jonathan, you can’t have the patristics and high papalism. The church fathers didn’t believe about the papacy what Jason and the Callers do. The papacy was not even claiming the what Jason and the Callers now claim.

    And? Again, even if Catholicism is wrong (although I don’t think we are even claiming what you assert), whence Protestantism? How to I sign up for what every one of the Fathers, and indeed every living orthodox Christian for over five hundred years, would have rejected? Quibbling about whether Catholicism is going to win the meet against Orthodoxy is vain when your own team can’t get out of the prelims.

  261. Jonathan, please just say thank you. Without Protestantism you would not be able to feel so superior (though your Holy Father takes a strikingly different tone toward schismatics, heretics, and pagans).

  262. Again, even if Catholicism is wrong (although I don’t think we are even claiming what you assert), whence Protestantism? How to I sign up for what every one of the Fathers, and indeed every living orthodox Christian for over five hundred years, would have rejected?

    We have no idea what church fathers would have thought if they were alive today. You are putting words in their mouth. Irenaeus was an authoritarian he might have loved conservative Presbyterianism for its practical effectual authority and culture of attacking heresy while detesting Catholicism for its loose structures and diverse community. Irenaeus ultimately cared a great deal about the faith people believed not official pronouncements. You don’t know how much he would care about issues like sola fide when contrasted with the practical issues because he didn’t face those problems.

    Many of the fathers who were concerned with the state would have wanted a religion compatible with the state in which they live. Catholicism sits uneasily with a diverse christianity and competition for membership, while Baptists / Pentecostal churches fit easily with the state. The fathers might have weighed that much more heavily than theological issues.

    But even if we ignore all that and assume that most of the fathers if they could pick among today’s churches would pick Catholic, so what? Orthodox in the period in which you are talking is often just another word for Catholic. So all you are really saying is the people whom historically did choose the Catholic church over the alternatives available then would choose the Catholic church over the alternatives available now. Which is a lot like saying people whose favorite restaurant served Italian food 5 years ago eat a lot more Italian food today than the people who didn’t.

    There are 3 Protestant positions if you oversimplify:

    a) The Catholic church wasn’t the right church from its creation in the mid 2nd century.
    b) The Catholic church was the original church but fell early
    c) The Catholic church was the original church and gradually slowly fell into heresy

    All Protestants believe one of those 3. That’s Protestantism. The only disagreement between Protestants regarding the fall of the church is how deeply it fell and how early. You certainly can make a strong case that (c) is rather non-viable even though it was the opinion of the early magisterial reformers. OK that still leaves (a) and (b). And just as history undermines (c) history strongly supports (a).

    And that’s DGH’s point. If you are going to use history you need to be consistent. Absolutely the 2nd-15th century Catholic church didn’t believe in sola fide. On the other hand most Protestants and Catholics would agree that the 1st and early 2nd century church didn’t believe in the trinity either. A doctrine you have previously asserted is vital and obvious that you believe anyone who denies it is not just a heretic but completely irrational, more or less mentally ill.

    So the early church is either going to be determinative on matters of faith and morals or not. If the answer is yes, then you have Christian Restorationism and the goal is to find what the earliest Christians believed. If the answer is no, then you have God working through history and you can’t just assume the Reformation was invalid.

  263. +JMJ+

    CD-Host wrote:

    So the early church is either going to be determinative on matters of faith and morals or not. If the answer is yes, then you have Christian Restorationism and the goal is to find what the earliest Christians believed. If the answer is no, then you have God working through history and you can’t just assume the Reformation was invalid.

    That’s a false dichotomy from both an Incarnational perspective and an authentically Human perspective. You are saying that either the younger Jesus delimits the older Jesus or else that Human Jesus transforms into Divine Jesus.

    Being and Becoming are not mutually exclusive.

  264. @Wosbald

    Hi. Good response. I tend to think the being and becoming are exclusive. I think you are disagreeing with John’s premises that the early church’s father’s doctrines are determinative. To use your aging analogy, CD-Host at 15 or 25 believed all sorts of things I would freely contradict today. I can trace development of my thinking and in some sense deeper premises are what drive these shifts in lesser ones but there is no question there has been change.

    If one views the older Jesus as holding positions the younger Jesus did not hold then you no longer have a fixed deposit of faith. That’s the position of liberal Protestantism to try and determine “the direction” of change and to struggle with this direction. It views the divine Jesus as working through the church and through culture. That’s belief is fine but it opens up the argument to the idea that sola fide was a needed correctives of various abuses where a doctrine of pure works salvation had become normative in the middle ages church.

    Wosbald have soft of an ahistorical faith that doesn’t make or depend on strong historical claims. Which is fine, but the same arguments you are using for Catholicism could be equally well applied to Protestantism.

  265. Darryl,

    I have been talking to The Callers™, and we have decided to become Eastern Orthodox. We are really hoping you’ll join us (since no EOs ever kidnapped Inigo Montoya). Or will you refuse to do so on the grounds that Orthodoxy is unorthodox because it doesn’t comport with your interpretation of Scripture?

    Because if it’s the latter, then aren’t all your critiques of Rome just smoke screens? I mean, if every problem you’ve harangued us about for the past year were solved, you’d be no more open to Catholicism than you are now.

  266. Hi Jason,

    What if the conversation between the Catholic and the Protestant you present in this blog went more this way?

    The Catholic, in his 7th response to the Prot, says: “Jesus founded one church, not many.”

    To which you have the Prot accepting his premise… He replies, “But why do you consider the RCC to be that church?”

    But what if the Prot answered this way?

    Prot: “That statement “Jesus founded one church, not many” shows you have misunderstood Jesus’ ecclesiology.

    “The one church He affirmed in Mat. 16:18 is stronger than the gates of hades (i.e. death), and thus can’t be the RCC for two quick reasons.

    “The RCC, as an institution (hierarchy, etc.), doesn’t last forever, and thus isn’t stronger than the gates of death (i.e., no bishops in heaven); and two, not everyone in the RCC survives the second death. Some in the RCC go to hell, and thus the RC church is not stronger than the gates of death.

    “Therefore, Jesus isn’t speaking of a visible body on earth in Mat. 16:18 that survives, in toto, the second death, but rather all those elect from Pentecost to Second Coming.

    “What’s more, RCC ecclesiology ignores the plain fact that Jesus definitely did found many churches. Have you not read Revelation 1-3 where He addresses 7 churches, and calls each one “church?” It is He Himself who calls them discreet churches, and 7 times says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” not, “let him hear what the spirit says to the Church.

    “Never once, not once, let me emphasize again, not once – does the Christ of God speak to the 7 churches as one Church, or address any form of hierarchy over them, such as a bishop, or a Presbytery.

    “And yet, Mr. Catholic, your ecclesiology, that you wish Christians to convert to would have such a bishop, or council, responsible for the doctrinal and moral problems of those 7 churches.

    “Here is your problem, Mr. Catholic. We can either agree that Jesus Christ had no interest in such bishops. Or we could hypothesize that Jesus was ignorant that His 7 churches were actually governed by a bishop that He Himself wanted in spiritual authority? Did He forget about them, or was He growing senile? Did He temporarily forget the one church you claim? Or did He grow in wisdom as church history went along and eventually bought into the bishop system?”

    Well, Jason, I can only hope you agree with the first answer, that Christ had no interest in bishops.

    Now given what you Catholics believe about bishops and Rome, and what Prots believe about councils and Assemblies, how is that neither RCs nor Prots buy into Jesus Christ’s own ecclesiology, but argue with each other over whose ecclesiology is the best?

    http://www.churchsonefoundation.com/jesus-defines-his-church/

  267. Author: Ted Bigelow
    Comment:
    Hi Jason,

    What if the conversation between the Catholic and the Protestant you present in this blog went more this way?

    The Catholic, in his 7th response to the Prot, says: “Jesus founded one church, not many.”

    To which you have the Prot accepting his premise… He replies, “But why do you consider the RCC to be that church?”

    But what if the Prot answered this way?

    Prot: “That statement “Jesus founded one church, not many” shows you have misunderstood Jesus’ ecclesiology.

    No. Its describes precisely what He said without reading anything into it:
    Matthew 16:18
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    Jesus said, “I will build my Church. Singular.

    So your new question shows that you misunderstood Jesus’ ecclesiology.

    “The one church He affirmed in Mat. 16:18 is stronger than the gates of hades (i.e. death),

    Correct.

    and thus can’t be the RCC for two quick reasons.

    1st. You’re wrong. It is the Catholic Church.
    2nd. But if you claim it isn’t, then which Church is it? Jesus said “the gates of hades will not prevail against it.” So that means that His Church will continue fighting evil until the end.

    Either you believe Jesus’ promise or not. We do. And we believe it is the Catholic Church which He established and which will besiege the gates of hell until the end of time and prevail in the end.

    “The RCC, as an institution (hierarchy, etc.), doesn’t last forever, and thus isn’t stronger than the gates of death

    The Catholic Church as an institution has lasted since Jesus established it 2000 years ago. There is no other institution which can compare. The closest is the government of the USA. And it has stood since 1776. Barely 247 years.

    (i.e., no bishops in heaven);

    The Catholic Church has been shown and recognizes that many of her Bishops are in heaven, beginning with the 12 Apostles (Counting Paul, not Judas Iscariot and 13 counting Matthias as the first Catholic Bishop).

    and two, not everyone in the RCC survives the second death.

    That is Catholic Teaching. Being Catholic does not mean automatic salvation. It is Protestants who exalt apart from the Judgment of Christ calling themselves saved by faith alone.

    Some in the RCC go to hell,

    Whether they do or not, it is God who judges us and in whom we place our faith. Not you.
    Romans 14:4
    Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

    and thus the RC church is not stronger than the gates of death.

    Is the Church greater than Christ? Many who call Jesus Lord will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt 7:21). Do you deny that Jesus is greater than the gates of hell?

    “Therefore, Jesus isn’t speaking of a visible body on earth in Mat. 16:18 that survives, in toto, the second death, but rather all those elect from Pentecost to Second Coming.

    Show me from Scripture. All you’re doing is making stuff up and putting into Scripture. Matt 16:18 says nothing about the second death nor about the elect nor pentecost nor the second coming.

    Here’s what it says. Jesus built a Church and that Church will besiege the gates of hell. And the gates of hell will fall. Because if the gates of hell did not fall, then the gates of hell prevailed.

    That means that Jesus’ Church will stand until the end.

    “What’s more, RCC ecclesiology ignores the plain fact that Jesus definitely did found many churches. Have you not read Revelation 1-3 where He addresses 7 churches, and calls each one “church?” It is He Himself who calls them discreet churches, and 7 times says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” not, “let him hear what the spirit says to the Church.

    You are reading the Scriptures without any context in history. In all history, the Church Fathers recognized that the seven Churches of Rev 1 are local branches of the same Catholic Church.

    “Never once, not once, let me emphasize again, not once – does the Christ of God speak to the 7 churches as one Church, or address any form of hierarchy over them, such as a bishop, or a Presbytery.

    Because you don’t know your ecclesial history, you don’t realize that the man who recounts the story to us is that Bishop. St. John the Evangelist was the Bishop over the seven Churches of Rev 1-3.

    “And yet, Mr. Catholic, your ecclesiology, that you wish Christians to convert to would have such a bishop, or council, responsible for the doctrinal and moral problems of those 7 churches.

    That is correct.

    “Here is your problem, Mr. Catholic. We can either agree that Jesus Christ had no interest in such bishops.

    If He had no interest in such Bishops, He wouldn’t have appointed 12 Bishops over His Church. The Twelve Apostles were Bishops. Did you not read in Scripture where St. Peter said about Judas Iscariot:
    Acts 1:20
    For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take.

    Or we could hypothesize that Jesus was ignorant that His 7 churches were actually governed by a bishop that He Himself wanted in spiritual authority?

    It is not a hypothesis. Jesus wanted Bishops to rule in His Church. That is why the Apostles also appointed more Bishops:
    Titus 1:7
    For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

    Did He forget about them, or was He growing senile? Did He temporarily forget the one church you claim? Or did He grow in wisdom as church history went along and eventually bought into the bishop system?”

    The presbytery was established by Jesus Christ. The laying of hands of the presbytery has continued from that time:
    2 Timothy 2
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

    2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

    Well, Jason, I can only hope you agree with the first answer, that Christ had no interest in bishops.

    Jesus Christ is the Bishop of our faith. And He appointed Bishops to run His Church. And they appointed Bishops after them.

    Now given what you Catholics believe about bishops and Rome, and what Prots believe about councils and Assemblies, how is that neither RCs nor Prots buy into Jesus Christ’s own ecclesiology, but argue with each other over whose ecclesiology is the best?

    Hm? Let us compare what you believe to Scripture. And what the Catholic Church teaches to Scripture. I guarantee, your beliefs will not stand the test. Nor do the Prots. The Catholic Church is the Church which Jesus Christ built and empowered to Teach His commands throughout time.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  268. “1st. You’re wrong. It is the Catholic Church”

    De Maria,

    What you mean by the Catholic Church is a visible organization on earth under a central figure supplemented by a world-wide hierarchy.

    But when the writers of Scripture define the universal church, they include those already in heaven (Heb. 12:23, Eph. 1:22, Eph. 3:10). This is the church referred to in Mat. 16:18 that overcomes hades (i.e., death, not evil).

    When Jesus speaks to churches in Revelation 2-3, He has no use for the worldwide organization you profess. His words, spoken to only individual churches and not to any overseeing ecclesiastical umbrella, nullify the ecclesiastical organization you trust in.

    “In all history, the Church Fathers recognized that the seven Churches of Rev 1 are local branches of the same Catholic Church.”

    That’s nice. Jesus did not.

    How many times would He have to repeat, “he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (beyond the 7 times He already does) before you had an ear to hear the Spirit speaking to churches, and stop hearing, “one Catholic Church?”

    My statement about no bishops in heaven refers to those men in heaven in their positions of hierarchy (read the context). The RCC maintains that in its institutional form it is the church Jesus declared overcomes the gates of hades. But no bishop’s office is in heaven.

    “St. John the Evangelist was the Bishop over the seven Churches of Rev 1-3.”

    If John was in the position of responsibility then Jesus would have rebuked him for the problems of the churches under His authority, but nowhere does Jesus do that, or task John with fixing the problems, as would have been his duty. You are making up things to support your ecclesiology.

    http://www.churchsonefoundation.com/jesus-defines-his-church/

  269. @Ted —

    I’m really glad that someone here with solid Protestant credentials is arguing for the theology of the local church. When I try and present it I get back gruff about it not mainstream Baptist theology. The variant of one church per city is interesting, it is not the one I grew up with but there were people in my church that subscribed to the idea that the churches within a city should have a unified eldership.

    If you don’t mind I’d like to ask some practical questions since you seem to be arguing for one physical question.

    a) Are you arguing for one physical location or just a unified eldership with some sort of “citywide church” and lots of more local churches?

    b) Assuming one physical location how logistically is that supposed to work? Take for example my location New Jersey. Are Philadelphia and NY the two two churches or do the secondary cities like Newark, Elizabeth, Atlantic City… also get independent structures. Going down further what about tertiary locations like Princeton?

    c) Also hitting New York and Philadelphia, how logistically are the Christians supposed to maintain a single mega church. Are we really talking about a church capable of servicing a few million people on Sundays and Holidays i.e. something 20x the size of a large stadium?

  270. Hi CD,

    Yep, Western ecclesiology is enamored with the universal church and the universal body in large part because it justifies schism.

    Biblically, the ratio is 4 to 1, local body texts to universal texts in the NT. Ironically, the letter to the Romans only mentions the local body of Christ and never the universal body of Christ. I wish our RCC friends could embrace that.

    As well, the biblical view of the universal church includes all who believe in Christ, including those already in heaven (Heb. 12:23). Talk to a RC and they just assume their RCC is the universal church, and thus assume Roman Catholicism passes through death into heaven.

    My answers:

    A) no – just “one church in one locale” – http://www.churchsonefoundation.com/the-local-body-of-christ/

    B) How far regions are apart from each other is to be determined on a case by case basis, by biblically qualified leaders. They are tasked with the governmental oversight in the writings of the apostles and prophets. Governmental districting is not the issue.

    C) Well, once people are called to obedience to Christ based on the writings of the Scriptures, the numbers thin out real fast: John 6:63, 66.

    Want to see it in action? Read Titus 1:5.

    Love to you,

  271. +JMJ+

    Hey Ted,

    I’ve quickly scanned your material, and I would say that you are largely reacting to the unnecessary false dichotomy of “Visible Church vs Invisible Church”. Good on ya! That brings you back to authentically human thinking as well as bringing you one step closer to Incarnational thinking.

    However, I couldn’t find a page or post on your site in which you announce to the Natural Man (the Seeker) how to find and join with Christ/The Church. How does your ecclesiological understanding propound to bestow the Spirit on the Natural Man?

  272. “How does your ecclesiological understanding propound to bestow the Spirit on the Natural Man”

    Explain what you mean, using Scripture.

  273. +JMJ+

    Ted Bigelow wrote:

    Explain what you mean, using Scripture.

    I’m not going explain “using Scripture”. That would presume that I’m a Christian. Instead, presume that I’m a Natural (Unregenerate) man. In your ecclesiological understanding, if I comes to “the Church”, how does the Church make me Regenerate (make me a Christian/incorporate me into Christ/give me the Spirit)?

  274. Author: Ted Bigelow
    Comment:
    “1st. You’re wrong. It is the Catholic Church”

    De Maria,

    What you mean by the Catholic Church is a visible organization on earth under a central figure supplemented by a world-wide hierarchy.

    You’re wrong. Have you ever heard of the Church Triumphant? In fact, this is the basis of our Doctrine of the Communion of Saints. Why we can pray to the Saints. Because the Church is in heaven and on earth, right now:
    Hebrews 12:21-24
    King James Version (KJV)
    21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

    But when the writers of Scripture define the universal church, they include those already in heaven (Heb. 12:23, Eph. 1:22, Eph. 3:10).

    The Catholic Church wrote the New Testament. Everyone of the authors of the New Testament was a member of the Catholic Church.

    This is the church referred to in Mat. 16:18 that overcomes hades (i.e., death, not evil).

    Exactly! This is also why St. Peter can lock on earth and its locked in heaven and can loose on earth and its loosed in heaven. Because the Catholic Church extends into the heavenly realm:

    1354 In the anamnesis that follows, the Church calls to mind the Passion, resurrection, and glorious return of Christ Jesus; she presents to the Father the offering of his Son which reconciles us with him. In the intercessions, the Church indicates that the Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the whole Church in heaven and on earth, the living and the dead, and in communion with the pastors of the Church, the Pope, the diocesan bishop, his presbyterium and his deacons, and all the bishops of the whole world together with their Churches.

    When Jesus speaks to churches in Revelation 2-3, He has no use for the worldwide organization you profess. His words, spoken to only individual churches and not to any overseeing ecclesiastical umbrella, nullify the ecclesiastical organization you trust in.

    “In all history, the Church Fathers recognized that the seven Churches of Rev 1 are local branches of the same Catholic Church.”

    That’s nice. Jesus did not.

    Yes, He did.

    How many times would He have to repeat, “he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (beyond the 7 times He already does) before you had an ear to hear the Spirit speaking to churches, and stop hearing, “one Catholic Church?”

    That is besides the point. Jesus established a hierarchical Church. Jesus is the Bishop over all the Church and over all the local Churches. If He chooses to speak directly to seven local Churches, who is going to tell Him that He can’t? You?

    We recognize that Jesus established one Church as He said in Scripture. We also recognize that the Apostles established many local Churches under the one Church. Just as they are organized under the Chief Apostle, St. Peter. The fact that you don’t recognize this fact doesn’t make you right. It doesn’t even make you credible. It just makes you wrong.

    My statement about no bishops in heaven refers to those men in heaven in their positions of hierarchy (read the context). The RCC maintains that in its institutional form it is the church Jesus declared overcomes the gates of hades. But no bishop’s office is in heaven.

    Yes, there is:
    1 Peter 2:25
    For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    And there will be more under Him:
    Luke 22:30
    That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    “St. John the Evangelist was the Bishop over the seven Churches of Rev 1-3.”

    If John was in the position of responsibility then Jesus would have rebuked him for the problems of the churches under His authority, but nowhere does Jesus do that, or task John with fixing the problems, as would have been his duty. You are making up things to support your ecclesiology.

    Please read your history. St. John wrote the book of Revelations when he was exiled by the government. Any problems which might be occurring in those Churches were not occurring because of his negligence but because he could not be there to prevent or correct the problem.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  275. The Catholic Church wrote the New Testament. Everyone of the authors of the New Testament was a member of the Catholic Church.

    It is odd though that they all seem entirely unaware of that fact. No references to their place in a hierarchy. No references to the over riding institution. Dealing with the preachers on a peer basis rather than invoking an institution. Constantly making theological arguments based directly on scripture rather than citing authorities.

    One of those great mysteries how people that are part of a hierarchical institution seem breathtaking unaware they are part of a hierarchical institution. Must be the fact that they are terrible writers because its not like their particular works constitute the most read book on the planet for centuries running or anything like that.

  276. @Ted —

    How far regions are apart from each other is to be determined on a case by case basis, by biblically qualified leaders. They are tasked with the governmental oversight in the writings of the apostles and prophets. Governmental districting is not the issue.

    I’m going to keep pushing because I do see districting as a bit of an issue. The biblically qualified leaders exist only in the locality. So I’ll pick my geography in Princeton Junction. Princeton Junction is small suburb or the larger suburb of Princeton. We are across a river and have a different school system, tending to associate more deeply with other suburbs like Cranberry and form voluntary cooperation (for example we aren’t legally tied together but we share a school system).

    Both Princeton and Princeton Junction are in Mercer county. The dominant city in Mercer county is Trenton though culturally because of class issues there is little cross over between Trenton and Princeton. Culturally we do have ties to further north suburbs in Middlesex county. We are also near large cities like Newark. Finally we are equally distant and can take a commuter train (or easily drive) to either Philadelphia or New York.

    So let’s assume there is a group of elders who believe in extended West Windsor (Princeton Junction, Cranberry…) should be one locale.

    There is a group of elders in Princeton who believe we are part of their locale.

    There is a group of elders in Trenton who believe that Mercer should all be under Trenton.

    There is a group of elders who believe Northern Mercer / Middlesex should be unified.

    There is a group of elders in Newark who believe all of central New Jersey should be under Newark’s eldership.

    There is a group of elders in New York that believe all the areas where people live who regularly commute to New York for work should be part of New York’s locale.

    etc… Unless they form a super structure how does this get resolved?

    Or you could reverse this and say that people cut things up by county (which wouldn’t be unreasonable). But the elders in Trenton don’t want the Princeton people because of the cultural distance. They also fear their greater access to wealth and connections and thus are concerned that including Princeton would disproportionately tilt the church away from local rule. So then you have 100k people who no locale. Should they form their own even though the overwhelming majority of elders in New Jersey believed in division by county?

    I’m not following how this resolves.

  277. …group of elders in Trenton who believe that Mercer should all be under Trenton,” etc.

    Such men who like to grab more people and territory prove themselves unqualified of the office of eldership. Instead of being “self-willed” (Titus 1:7) they ought to seek the welfare of others. They must be confronted about their sin and put out of office, as the book of 3 John shows.

    Elders are shepherds, and those who like to exert authority over other elders are condemned, like Diotrophes (3 John 1:9-10).

    I think you might be mistaking eldership with bishopry. Eldership doesn’t place authority in any one man’s hands, but places authority in the hands of all who are qualified, equally.

    If interested, please read up on it – either Alexander Strauch, “Eldership,” or my book, “The Titus Mandate.” Esp. chapter 8 on 3 John.

    Love to you,

  278. Author: CD-Host
    Comment:

    It is odd though that they all seem entirely unaware of that fact. No references to their place in a hierarchy.

    Here, Jesus appoints Peter the leader of His Church.
    Matthew 16:18-19
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    Here, he is appointed Chief Pastor:
    John 21:17
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

    Here, Scripture recognizes that the Church is lead by the Apostles:
    Ephesians 2:20
    And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

    And the early Church had no trouble understanding this hierarchy.

    No references to the over riding institution.

    Matthew 18:17
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

    Dealing with the preachers on a peer basis rather than invoking an institution. Constantly making theological arguments based directly on scripture rather than citing authorities.

    On the contrary, their authority was Christ and they used the Old Testament Scripture simply to prove His Teachings. That is precisely what the Catholic Church does today:
    Acts 17:1-3
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

    One of those great mysteries how people that are part of a hierarchical institution seem breathtaking unaware they are part of a hierarchical institution. Must be the fact that they are terrible writers because its not like their particular works constitute the most read book on the planet for centuries running or anything like that.

    Not one of them denies that they are part of a hierarchical institution. You are simply reading into the Scripture your presuppositions. But Scripture is quite clear that the Church is a hierarchical institution.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

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