Stuff I Don’t Like That Much: Catholicism Edition

Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Catholicism, Christian Culture, Church Discipline, Church History, Darryl Hart, Development, Ecclesiology, Featured, History, Humor, Pop Culture, Stuff I Like, Westminster Seminary California | 510 comments

D.G. Hart, this one’s for you. . . .

Most of you won’t know this, but Darryl and I kind of used to be pals (in a professor/student kind of way, of course). He was my faculty advisor at Westminster, and he oversaw my work on a directed research project examining Calvin and Edwards on the issue of assurance (a project for which I not only earned an A, but which Darryl described as an “impressive study” [hey, turns out that when I was a Protestant I could  do history to Hart’s liking!]). A few years later he even wrote a blurb for my first book.

But it wasn’t all hoity-toity academics: Once at seminary, D.G. selected a handful of students for what he called a “Big Lebowski Night,” which included dinner at In ‘n’ Out Burger, a bowling tournament between the Caucasians and the Nihilists (which Darryl’s team won, resulting in his doing victory laps around the ball dispenser hoisting the Lebowski Cup aloft [which he had made from a Folger’s can, green paint, and stick-on letters]). The night was capped off by, you guessed it, watching The Big Lebowski  and drinking White Russians.

But these days? These days Darryl doesn’t like me too much. His reasoning has a lot to do with this idea he has in his head about how I consistently fail to tell the whole truth about Catholicism by talking up its good bits and covering up the bad ones. He even suggested in a recent comment here that if I would just admit that the Church has significant problems, his feud with me would end. So in the interest of putting this beef to rest, I will now disclose all the stuff about Catholicism that I don’t like, in random order:

1. I don’t like it when priests molest people. They should be castrated and imprisoned, along with those who enable them.

2. I am uncomfortable with some of the pomp and excess of the Vatican, and when the culture faults the Church for it in the light of worldwide poverty, I think, “Well, if you’re going to sit in a chair like this one, you’d better brace yourself for some justified criticism.”

3. Same goes for Francis’s whole “Follow me on Twitter and get out of purgatory quicker” idea. Now, I know that that’s not really what he said, but it’s close enough that the unbelieving media pretty much gets a free pass to make fun of us on this one, as far as I’m concerned at least.

4. I don’t like it when popes back in the old-timey days threw their weight around politically, or treated their office as a means for earthly wealth or power.

5. I think Vatican 2 confused a lot of people, as evidenced by the fact that it has taken 50 years to get back to the idea that lesbian priests doing puppet shows at Mass is not what the council had in mind.

6. Moreover, I can see that there is a lot of tension (at least at first glance) between the idea that the Church retains a single and once-given deposit of faith, and the idea that doctrine develops to the point of seeing Protestants as separated brethren. As my mate Zrim likes to say, “I liked you guys better when you just consigned me to hell. At least that  I can understand.”

7. Whatever the truth is behind this whole Inigo Montoya thing that Darryl’s been raving about, I will happily go on record as saying that no, popes shouldn’t kidnap babies. They shouldn’t kick puppies or waterboard people, either. I can’t emphasize this enough: If something is a crime, and a guy does it who’s also the pope, it’s still a crime (perhaps even a worse one). Francis, I’m looking in your direction here. Don’t go stealing any kids, or Darryl’ll never let us hear the end of it.

8. I hate almost all contemporary Catholic art and web design. I constantly have to brace myself before clicking a new link, because my equilibrium can only handle being teleported back to 1997 so many times before I my soul starts to slowly die. And what’s the deal with that ’70s Jesus shooting rainbows at people? It’s like he’s the kinder, gentler alter-ego of the Emperor from Return of the Jedi.

9. I really don’t like the Breaking Bread  worship hymnal. I don’t like Air Supply either, for similar reasons.

10. Lastly, the Crusades? Not a fan.

So what am I supposed to do, given all this? The impression I get from Darryl is that he thinks I should be a SSPX-er or sedevacantist or something. But what he doesn’t understand is that I left behind the whole holding-the-church-hostage-to-my-personal-preferences thing when I ceased being a Protestant. I have only one Mother and I don’t get to choose her, and Christ has only one Bride (albeit an often wart-covered one). So rather than searching high and low for a church that has just the right hymns, just the right leadership, and just the right amount of plausible deniability so as to take credit for the Nicene Creed while blaming others for the Inquisition, I’ll just keep on believing in one holy catholic and apostolic church, blemishes and all.

And for the record, if anyone out there is considering Catholicism and stumbles upon this post, all I can say is that being a Catholic can be one of the most rewarding, and embarrassing, things in the world.

 

510 Comments

  1. Christ knew that His Church would include the Gentiles. Don’t you remember the prophecies of the Old Testament?

    Isaiah 49:6
    And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

    Yes, I do know the prophecy but must ask you, and your point is? That Christ knew His church would include gentiles eventually does not in any way obviate the fact that when Matt 18:17 was spoken, the words were not spoken to catholics but rather to Jews who believed in the Messiah. We know that they were Jews, as FJ Anthony Hort says, by the very fact that the command involves a prescription which only makes sense when applied by Jews, i.e., let him be like a gentile and a tax collector unto you.

    That is because you blur the lines between spiritual teachings and natural distinctions. I remember in another conversation where I said the same thing, you asked me if I my wife was a woman because the verse says:

    Galatians 3:28
    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Obviously, these realities still exist.

    But, spiritual truths also exist. And it remains true that in Christ, there is no distinction. In Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek.

    This is very ironic, because it is in fact your position which blurs the spiritual and natural distinctions. For you, there is no such thing as a Jewish believer in Christ, only a catholic. That is nothing short of a blurring of the natural distinctions that God has foreordained. What I say is that the spiritual reality does not remove the natural reality, both coexist side by side peacefully. So when a Jew believes in the Messiah and worships Him, He is as much a natural branch as Paul calls it, as he is a true Jew in that he is a son of Abraham.

    You pay lip service only to these realities existing, because what you give with one hand you take away with the other. You claim that these natural distinctions exist (thankfully, unlike those today who are seeking for ‘gender neutrality’…): your wife retains her distinctiveness as a female and you retain your distinctive as a male, even though you both share the common bond of faith in Christ. This is the natural order of things and likewise, God has made Jew and Gentile, and both glorify Him when they believe in His Son. That is what Paul meant by there is now no Jew nor Gentile, he is emphasizing the common bond between the two distinct groups.

    So, what does it mean? Why say that the distinctions don’t exist spiritually while they continue to exist in this world? Because God adds to the Church, those who are to be saved:
    Acts 2:47
    Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    Whether they be Jew, Gentile, male or female. These distinctions exist in the world. But not in the Church, the Kingdom of God.

    So you now, to mitigate cognitive dissonance you resort to introducing a dichotomy between the world and the church. That does not work, because as I have showed you from Romans 15, Paul does not make that dichotomy at all. It is speaking to the Church and not the world that he says: you gentiles owe your jewish brethren because through them you have received spiritual blessing. The dichotomy you inject here finds its origin in Greco-Roman thought and is thoroughly dualistic, and at odds with Paul’s Hebraic mindset. For Paul, the distinctions between Jew and Gentile, or male and female are not a hindrance to the church, but a reason to rejoice and to do the good works which God has called us to.

    Uh, that is what I said. NOT what you said. I said that the Gentile Christian is a Jew in the spirit. You are the one denying that proposition claiming that only Jews are Jews. And that Gentiles can not be spiritual Jews.

    You are really digging yourself deeper in the ditch here DeMaria. Earlier, you said that these distinctions obviously exist. But now you say a Gentile Christian is a Jew. You can’t eat your cake and have it too. Gentiles are already fully accepted in the sight of God, with their hearts circumcised, so why on earth would they want to be ‘spiritual Jews? You have misunderstood Paul, whose writing isn’t exactly the easiest of prose to decipher.

    Romans 2:
    “13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts,”

    Paul doesn’t call Gentiles Jews. He calls Gentiles, Gentiles. In the entire 2nd chapter, Paul is speaking to Jews only:

    “17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law , and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law”

    When he mentions the gentiles in v 13, it is to remind the Jewish believer that they too are justified by faith.

    on the other hand, Paul has no right to tell the Gentiles that they OWE IT TO THE JEWS to share material blessings, because they have been the beneficiaries of SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS from the JEWS.

    Yes, he does. Because he is speaking in natural terms. Not spiritual. Like the Protestants, you don’t seem to understand the Scriptures use every type of teaching known to man. In this case, St. Paul is speaking about natural and ethnic distinctions. It is seen in other parts of Scripture:
    Acts 6:1-3
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
    3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

    The very context of Romans 15 proves you wrong: let’s take another look:

    “26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings , they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.”

    The text itself is telling you and the reader that Paul is not talking about natural things, but rather SPIRITUAL things. So here, we find Paul upholding 2 truths: 1) the idea that the true Jews are the ones circumcised at heart 2)these true Jews (such as Paul himself, or Barnabas or Peter etc) have shared spiritual blessings with the Gentiles. As the objective reader will notice, Paul is upholding both truths and there is nary a conflict between the two, they coexist peacefully. There is no conflation of the believers in the church, they are not all catholics. They are jews and gentiles.

    But Christ knew that His Church would soon be filled with Gentile believers and that this Teaching had to be adjusted for that circumstance. And therefore, that is why He can make the distinction between them and the ‘gentile’ (meaning gentile unbeliever) and ‘tax collector’. The ‘tax collector’ was anathema to Israel, because he was aiding the enemy, Rome. It makes perfect sense that the Church in Matt 18:17 refers to the Catholic Church if you accept the facts of Scripture and history. The fact is that the very same Church which Jesus built turned to the Gentiles because the Jews refused to convert. And at that point, the Teaching of Matt 18:17 obtained a new understanding to fit the new circumstances.

    Again, that Christ knew that Gentiles would enter the church does not change the fact that the people He was speaking to when he said Matt 18:17 were his Jewish disciples. He did not need to ‘adjust’ anything, that is your meaningless gloss. The facts of Scripture and history point to the overwhelming truth that the first disciples were Jewish believers and retained their Jewishness (Acts 2, 3, 10, 15, 21).

    That is the point you are trying to make. But it is belied by the actual history of the Church. St. Paul is a true Catholic passing on Catholic Doctrine. And the Church developed in a manner totally at odds with that which you describe. There is no superior ethnic Jewish hierarchy ever seen in the Church. Ever.

    I have never argued for a ‘superior ethnic Jewish hierarchy’. What I have said is that the leadership of the church in the beginning was comprised of Jewish believers. That’s a simple fact, and there is no need to read into it a racial charge that simply isn’t there.

    Nope. That is you doing so. If you weren’t, then we would be able to see the Church develop as you claim, with a superior Jewish hierarchy. But that doesn’t happen. The Church is begun by a Jewish foundation. But soon, the Jews and Gentiles come together as one. And there is no more distinction.

    The church developed as it did because the gentiles quickly forgot that they owed much to Jewish believers. Because they grew in numbers very quickly and soon dwarfed the many thousands of Jews who had come to believe in Christ, they early on made the mistake of saying that God had rejected all Jews (as you do) and replaced them with christians as proven by the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The church was begun by a Jewish foundation, yes, not a catholic one. And not only that, today the fullness of the gentiles has come, and Jews are once again turning to Jesus Christ as their Savior, and they are embracing Him not as catholics, but as Jews in their own right.

    But the Scriptures describe the Catholic Church. Whereas, you are reading your presuppositions into the Scriptures. There is no place in Scripture which says the Jews must be authoritative in the Church. Whereas, Scripture shows Gentiles being appointed as Bishops in the Church from Apostolic times.

    The Scriptures show both Jews and Gentiles appointed as Bishops. Timothy was Jewish believer, circumcised by Paul. I’m glad you brought that up. Titus was a gentile believer, and was not circumcised by Paul. This shows and proves that both distinctions were made and accepted in the early church. But for a catholic, there is no such thing as a Jewish believer, only a catholic.

    And that is precisely what I said. Ethnic lineage does not a Jew make. Got it!

    That’s not what I said. It is not sufficient for a Jew to be of ethnic lineage to claim to be a true Jew. That is what Paul meant in Romans 2:27ff. He never denied that they were ethnic Jews, matter of fact, he addressed them as exactly that, as Jews:

    Romans 2:17

    “17 Indeed you are called a Jew , and rest on the law, and make your boast in God”

    Again, you are conflating Spiritual Teachings with natural teachings. Answer this question, does he exclude himself when he says:

    Galatians 3:28
    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Does he say? “there is no other Jew except me.” No, he doesn’t. He says that in Jesus, there is neither Jew nor Greek. PERIOD.

    As explained above, spiritual teaching and natural distinctions are not mutually exclusive. I realize that you must argue otherwise to shore up whatever is left of your argument here, but I the objective reader will not be fooled. And again, that there is neither Jew nor Greek does not imply that the distinctions between the two do not exist anymore, but only that both Jew and Greek now share a mutual faith in Christ.

    What we have seen is that St. Paul makes spiritual sayings and natural sayings. He is a Jew by birth. But He is a Christian by Spirit. He does not count himself a Jew in the spiritual realm.

    Phil 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

    Although he recognizes that he is a Jew in the natural realm:
    4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

    But he counts it all dung for the sake of Jesus Christ:
    7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
    1. Paul identified himself as a Jew, not as a ‘christian’.

    Paul identifies himself as a Jew in the natural realm and as a Christian in the spiritual realm. He never denies being a Christian.

    Show me, where in Scripture does Paul identify himself as a Christian? . The above quotes do not show anything except the fact that Paul rejected the mistakes of the Pharisees and had embraced true Jewishness, which upholds the Jewish Messiah and King, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach. Yes, Paul counts all those things as loss for Christ, meaning the Ma’shaich, Savior of Jews (and Gentiles).

    The difference is on the outside. It is the soul of the man which God values:
    Romans 2:11 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;
    Acts 10:33-35
    King James Version (KJV)
    33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

    See above re Romans 15 and spiritual blessings.

    Of course no one has an issue with the fact that Jewish and Greek believers now have the common bond of faith in Messiah.

    Apparently, you do.

    I don’t and you do, because as a catholic you reject the idea that there is such a thing as a Jewish believer existing in his/her own right, and this on nothing else but an a priori bias against them.


    1. St. Paul is not contradicting himself.
    2. Both are true. They were still Jews according to the flesh and Gentiles according to the flesh.
    3. But according to the spirit, there were no distinctions.

    Acts 21 shows that they were zealous for the Law, meaning that they engaged in a praxis of the faith that was thoroughly Jewish, even though it was at odds with the Judaism that rejected Yeshua as their Messiah. So it is impossible to argue honestly that they were only Jews according to the flesh. Likewise, Scripture points to other Jews who were justified by faith, in Elizabeth and Zechariah, John the Baptist’s parents. They too were blameless in keeping all of God’s ordinances (meaning the Mosaic Law). But the difference between them and the Pharisees is this: Z&E had faith in Messiah and faithfulness in their hearts. There is no way for you to argue that Z&E were catholics!

    EXACTLY! Both Jew and Gentile in the Christian Church were persecuted by unbelieving Jews.

    And?

    Your arguments are so confusing that frequently you do sound as though you are claiming the unbelieving Jews are blessed by God.

    My arguments are very clear to the one who does not enter the conversation with an unfounded a priori bias.

    On the contrary, the rest of the denominations, including yours, does not argue the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Breaking of the Bread:
    Luke 24:35
    And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
    It is Catholics who believe this. The rest of you believe in Scripture alone.
    Your text actually disproves your argument DeMaria. The Passover is a Jewish Feast and Christ as the King of the Jews, is the Passover Lamb. There is nothing ‘catholic’ about that.
    Do you eat the flesh of Jesus, the Passover Lamb? I don’t know much about the Messianic Jewish faith.

    So, tell me. Do you believe in the Real Presence and do you believe you eat the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, in your breaking of the bread, i.e. the celebration of the Mass.

    Yes, I believe in the Real Presence and I believe I am eating the Passover Lamb in the breaking of the bread.

    Has the CC appropriated this Jewish festival and repainted it according to its own tradition, yes. But nowhere in this is there any indication that the disciples kept ‘catholic feasts’.
    They were no longer required to keep the Jewish feasts. That is clear:
    Colossians 2:15-17
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

    Once again you misunderstand Paul. In Colossians above, Paul is saying whatever you choose to do, do it for the Lord. Romans 15 explicates this further:

    “5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother?”

    No. There were many branches. Not just two:
    Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
    18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
    The wild branches were grafted in amongst the natural branches. There was no segregation. There was no ethnic bigotry wants to keep them separated.
    And today, the natural and wild branches are indistinguishable. Only your ethnic pride wants to claim superiority over the gentiles.

    When I said there are two branches in one olive tree, I am obviously referring to the nature of those branches, and not their quantity. You admit that the wild branches (gentiles) were grafted into the natural branches (jews). That’s good. But why the charge of segregation? Is it segregation for you to be a male and your wife female? Or was such a distinction a good thing when God created it and ordained it? You see, your twisted mind is taking something that God intended for good, i.e., the diversity among us, and turning it into something bad. As I have said repeatedly, I have never claimed any ethnic superiority for Jews over anyone or Gentiles over anyone. What I have simply said is that the early church was comprised of both Jewish believers and Gentile believers and they were not catholics. Catholics are not zealous for the Mosaic Law. Catholics do not uphold the distinction that Paul does when he says that gentiles should help believers in Jerusalem for they shared spiritual blessings from them. Unity in Diversity in the Community of Jew and Gentile, as there is unity in the diversity in the community of the Trinity.

    This still shows that you conflate the Spiritual Teaching from the natural. St. Paul distinguishes the ethnic differences. But recognizes that God does not make distinctions spiritually but all men who act righteously are acceptable to Him.

    More of the same. See above.

    The Scripture doesn’t show them praying there. The Scripture shows them preaching Jesus Christ.

    The point dear friend, was that the Scripture doesn’t show the disciples them NOT praying at the temple. In fact, in Acts 2:46, it says that they continued with one accord in the temple, which implies that they prayed there, in addition to preaching the Good News. More on this later from Luke 24.

    With one accord with whom? With unbelieving Jews? Obviously, they were with one accord evangelizing the Jews.

    With one accord with each other, believing Jews.

    Show me even one example of the Christians going to the temple to worship according to the Jewish customs.

    Certainly:

    Luke 24

    “50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.

    Amen indeed!

    No one is denying that it is Peter’s personal hour of prayer.

    You tried to claim it was a form of Jewish prayer.

    I don’t have to claim anything. The practice of praying at the 3rd, 6th, and 9th hour IS a Jewish practice. It was there long before the catholic church was an gleam in Constantine’s eye.

    What you don’t want to acknowledge is that the personal hour of prayer at the 3rd, 6th and 12th hour is a distinctively Jewish practice, lending concrete evidence to the fact that the disciples did not jettison their Jewishness when they worshipped God and Christ.

    As I said, Christians are spiritual Jews. That is something which you are denying in one breath and acknowledging with another.

    No, Jews who believe in Messiah are spiritual Jews. Jews do not become gentiles when they believe in the Messiah nor more than males become females when they believe, or bondservants become their masters when they believe. The fact that Peter prayed regularly as Jews did shows that he had not jettisoned his Jewishness. Luke tells you black on white in chapter 24:50ff that the praised God and blessed Him in the temple, not in the cathedral.

    On the contrary, St. Paul, we number him amongst our saints, is confirming my word. He attests that the Jews are his flesh. In another place, he says this about his flesh:
    Philippians 3:3-5
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

    “16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

    19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? “

    The root is Christ, the trunk is composed of the Prophets and Apostles and today, after 2000 years, the trunk now includes the Saints of the Catholic Church. Many of which are of gentile origins.

    Simply claiming Paul was a catholic will not suffice. The tree is not only composed of a root, but also branches. The trunk is jewish and so are the natural branches. The wild branches were not at all originally in that trunk, but were grafted in, meaning they were attached into the olive tree. You would think they would learn a little humility from that fact alone! The fact that the CC does not uphold the natural branches and respect their right to worship as Jews proves that it does not derive its authority from God. It gained its authority through military conquest and the sword, not by the Spirit of God.

    Acts 21
    “17 And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law ; 21 but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. 22 What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. 23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24 Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. 25 But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing,except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them. ”

    If Peter, James and Paul were Catholics, can you tell me why then did they ask Paul to go ahead with the purification rites? WHY? As proud catholics they should have told the zealous Jews off and told them to go bury their silly rites correct?

    St. Peter was not there present at this second meeting. Unless this is a retelling of the Jerusalem Council in Chapter 15. At this point, it is clear that St. James was still clinging to certain Jewish customs. Because it is St. James who forced St. Paul to follow these rituals against his will. Not St. Peter.

    And since he was in St. James’ diocese, St. Paul had to submit, out of obedience.

    I didn’t think you’d go that far, but now that you have, you make a spectacle out of the CC for everyone to see.
    First of all, Jerusalem was not a ‘diocese’, stop with the silly anachronisms please. Now to the important part: where in the text does it say Peter was not there? I understand that you need Peter not to be there, but where does the text say that? It doesn’t! Matter of fact, there is no reason to exclude him from that gathering in Acts 21, because it says that all the brethren were there. But regardless of whether Peter was there or not, what you do with James here is shameful and a calumny of his name. It’s good on the one hand that you recognize that James was upholding the Jewish customs, because this proves that James was NOT A CATHOLIC. Your argument died a long time ago, now you are burying it six feet under ground. On the other hand, it is distressing to see how far catholics will go to avoid massive cognitive dissonance: to the extent of blaspheming some of the holiest men to have ever walked the earth. Realize that you are not only blaspheming James, but also all the other elders who were present and all the other Jewish believers who were zealous for the law and a cause for rejoicing to the church in Jerusalem.

    I think you simply missed it. I broke it down point by point. Here it is again:

    You quoted Acts 21:
    Acts 21:?17 After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 And the following day Paul went in with us to James , and all the elders were present. 19 After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother,

    I replied:
    This says that the “brethren” received St. Paul gladly. The “brethren” at this point, did not include “gentiles” because the Church had just turned to the gentiles. However, the “brethren” included “gentiles” very soon after:
    Acts 15:23?And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.
    Romans 1:13?Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

    I don’t see how any of this is an argument. So what that the brethren did not include the gentiles, what’s the point of pointing that out? That the gentiles would eventually be included does not obviate the fact that the church was originally comprised of jewish believers, not catholics.

    “If Peter truly was the Head of the church, one would expect him to give the final deliberation and answer, not James or anyone else. Because if he truly had primacy, everyone should have stepped back when it was time to give the final answer. Did Peter have a leadership role? Yes he did, but he was not the prime and only leader. James was a leader as well, and led indeed, taking Peter’s input into account.”

    YOU would expect him to give final deliberation. Perhaps that is how you run meetings. More frequently, in meetings which I have chaired, the VP or other higher authority will be present and give their directives. And the rest of us will follow through and give the final summation in accordance with the directive set by the authority which may or may not be present by the end of the meeting. The authority is recognized whether the person speaks at the beginning or at the end of the meeting.

    The point being, that meetings do not have to be run according to your presuppositions.

    Well thanks for the nice boardroom analogy and all that, but the CC does not claim to be run by a boardroom. It claims to be headed by the Petrine office. And again, in Acts 15, it is not Peter who gives the final decision, it is James. Yes, Peter contributes to the discussion and offers his thoughts, but it is James who deliberates in the final balance. This is incontrovertible evidence for the fact that Peter was not the first Pope.

    Where do you get this apocryphal tale about James being forced to flee. Nonsense. Eusebius of Caesarea and Josephus tell us that James was thrown from the temple top in A.D. 62 and then stoned and clubbed.

    1. That seems to contradict Scripture:
    Acts 12:1-3
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

    You need to learn about the history of the early church DeMaria. The James of Jerusalem is James the Just. Ya’akov was and is a famous Jewish name, there were a lot of James’ going around. James the brother of John was the son of Zebedee, and not the same person as James the Just.

    2. But you are missing or ignoring the point. Jerusalem was destroyed. St. James diocese was demolished. And, although St. James appointed other Bishops, they were never considered authoritative over the entire Church.

    Wow, this gets better and better. Is everyone following this with me? I would really appreciate it if other catholics could chime in here (Jason especially) and tell me if they agree with Demaria here? Is this the standard view? James was not punished by God because he was a Jewish believer who did not get the gospel, unlike what you are insinuating above.

    DeMaria, let me ask you this, did James get the Gospel right? Was he saved?

    3. However, since you call this nonsense, perhaps you can follow the line of authority of the Messianic Jews through St. James. Can you? Show me.

    I don’t need a long line of authority if it is the case that the church massively apostasized when it committed adultery with the Roman state in the fourth century.

    And you have proven that St. Paul, a Jew, no longer considered himself a Jew. He was indeed teaching Jews to abandon their Jewishness.

    If Paul was teaching Jews to abandon their Jewishness, then why did he obey James (hint to the protestants reading, it wasn’t just ‘paul/me and his/my bible’ here….) and take the Nazirite vows? Matter of fact, it is easily shown that Paul was under no compulsion and happily complied, because in Acts 18 it is written:

    “12 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, 13 saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” 14 And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. 15 But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.” 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then all the Greeks[b] took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.

    18 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.

    Luke the good doctor was a meticulous and intelligent man. He was writing a summary for Theophilus and did not include details on a whim, but for good reason. And here he shows Theophilus and us that Paul took a vow at Cenchrea, cutting off his hair, which essentially is a Nazirite vow; he was under no compulsion to do this.

    So now, will you tell me that Paul was ‘clinging to the Jewish law’ as well, like James? Will you blaspheme his name too?

    I don’t see how. Unlike you, I recognize the facts of life. The Scripture is clear that this was not a cut and dried time in the Church. Some Jews came into the Church with false expectations. Just as some Protestants do today. St. Paul rocked the boat and St. James had some more learning to do. The Holy Spirit was not recreating the Old Covenant in the New. Whether you like it or not. The facts are messy. We live with them. You guys try to wriggle out from under them and make up your own religion. But the fact is that your Messianic Jewish faith was not seen until the 1960?s. For they are the ones who were concerned, not unbelieving Jews who were persecuting believers! Catholics do not seek to keep the law and are not moved by Nazirite vows! (as you yourself have argued pointing to Heb 8 etc below).

    Of course you don’t see how 🙂 I’m so glad you said what you did above, that catholics do not take Nazirite vows because this essentially proves that Paul was not a catholic. See Acts 18 above.

    Nope. It is obvious from reading Scripture that St. James had issues. He had not shed Jewish practices to the extent that he should have. This is perhaps why Providence ensured that his diocese was erased from existence. In AD 77, his diocese, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.

    No DeMaria, you are the one with massive issues, not blessed James the Martyr. For you to state that God punished him by destroying his church, is shameful. Again, I challenge any catholic reading this, IS THIS the STANDARD CATHOLIC TEACHING or it is just DeMaria who is off his rocker? I’m sure you know which of the two I think it is.

    “You are essentially saying that there aren’t two branches in one tree, but rather just one branch in one tree, contradicting Paul in Romans 11.”

    Please show me where St. Paul speaks of two branches.

    Sure:
    Romans 11:

    “24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?”

    In the above and the entire chapter, he repeatedly contrasts wild branches (gentiles) with natural branches (jewish).

    Do not boast and harden your heart against your Jewish brothers in the faith. Don’t be pretentious, for God can cut you off too if He so desires. I have shown you proof that there are Jewish believers in Christ living in Jerusalem today. Ignore that reality and you are ignoring the fulfilled prophecy of God.

    I’m boasting of nothing. I’m observing the facts. The purported believing Jews which you speak of, reject the Church which Jesus Christ established and are therefore not believers in Christ:
    Luke 10:16
    He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

    This is presuppositionalism because you simply assume without proof that the ones that Jesus speak of here are catholics.

    “Oh they are not pretending belief, that is just a baseless accusation that shows how desperate your argument is. That they began to congregate as Jews in their own right is proof that the fullness of the gentiles has come.”

    Neh. Unless they submit to the Teaching of the Church they are rejecting Christ.

    They do not have to submit to a church that once forced their forebears to convert or die. They do not have to submit to a church that even this very day denies their right to live in their land.

    That doesn’t mean they are condemned. However, they are not receiving the benefits of the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

    Well, I’m glad to see you do not condemn them.

    The Catholic Church is the holiest entity in this world and has been since Jesus Christ established it. It is the voice of God in this world.

    Only in the minds of those who have closed their hearts to the truth that the Church was called to be Holy and Blameless and was indeed holy and blameless in Jerusalem, in the beginning.

    Jason can speak for himself. As for me, the Catholic Church looks precisely like Jesus said it would.
    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.

    Jason speaks truth, when he speaks of his discomfort and of the great sins of the CC. It’s a crying shame that cradle catholics do not have an ounce of his courage and boldness.

    She has produced more holy Saints than any other entity in history. But Christ never said that all in the Church would be saints. In fact, he 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.

    Christ was referring to the sheep, not the Shepherds. Of course, there will always be people within a church body who fail to abide by the commands of Christ. But when it comes to Shepherds, they are under a different standard, and for could reason, because when the root is rotten, so are the branches. When the leadership is corrupt, the Holy Spirit is quenched and departs from it (see 2 Chronicles 15). This is what Christ had to say about the Shepherds:

    “15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit , nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

    It is only the blind self deluded fool who believes that constraining Jews to a ghetto, persecuting them and murdering them is walking in His statues and doing His will.

    That is true. But I never said any of that. Or if you claim I did, show me.

    So you do recognize then that the CC sinned greatly by allowing the above to happen?

    “Um, have you thought that maybe, just maybe, it might have to do with the relentless hatred and persecution they have received at the hands of so called Christians? At the hands of both the catholics and protestants? I need not bring up Luther’s or Calvin’s repulsive anti Semitism again now do I. And your church history is replete with such. Do you think that forced conversions by medieval catholics upon the Jews (see the history of the Marranos in Spain for example) has anything to do with it? ”

    So, they went into hiding? Even when Christians were in hiding, they left signs of their presence. Show me from history. I don’t need your made up stories from youtube. Show me some real evidence of their existence from the time of the Apostles.

    My argument wasn’t that they went into hiding, but that they were forced to convert at great risk, even at the risk of death by the sword.

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

    This kind of relentless persecution of the Jews by the Gentiles is proof enough for the fact that post the 1st century, very few if any Jews would want to embrace Christ, because He had become associated with gentile persecution. And you dare ask for evidence? The chutzpah is off the walls here.

    So, you have no proof. Nothing except the ideas you make up between your ears. Ok. Just admit it.

    See above.

    “That there is a new covenant does not mean that there is no longer now a distinction between Jewish believer and Gentile believer. This is the lie of replacement theology.”

    1. There remains a natural distinction.
    2. But spiritually, Catholics are all Jews.

    #2 has been disproven above.

    “How is it racist to say that there are Jewish believers (not catholics or protestants but Jewish in their own right )and Gentile believers and that both are accepted in the eyes of the Lord. If anything, this affirmation upholds the glory of God who justifies all men, be they Jew or Gentile.”

    It is racist to believe that gentiles are somehow inferior to Jews. Especially when God does not hold
    Jews to be superior to anyone. The Scripture is clear:
    Acts 10:33-35
    King James Version (KJV)
    33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
    34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
    35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
    That the church is the New Jerusalem does not imply that God has done away with the distinctions He made between Jew and Gentile.

    I never said that. It is you who conflate spiritual and natural teachings. Meantime, it is you who aim for the earthly Jerusalem. We aim for the heavenly.

    Nowhere have I said that gentiles are inferior to jews. I understand the ad hominem, because you have no argument.

    I understand your sentiment. I also don’t write to convince you. Let the objective reader compare our writings and decide for himself who has presented the best evidence.

    Indeed.

    Yeah, well, I’ll point out that I debunked their arguments as thoroughly as I debunked yours. So, its pretty much sour grapes. But the objective reader can decide between their writings and mine as well.

    You say let the objective reader compare and decide then you say you debunked arguments, nice.

    No sour grapes at all. Replacement theology/supersessionism is deceptive teaching, through and through. You are nothing but another voice promoting this garbage.

  2. To all catholics reading:

    From one of your own, Father Friedman:

    “HAS THE ELECTION BEEN REVOKED?

    The sentiment is widespread among Christians, theologians and laymen alike, that God punished post-Christic
    Jewry for not believing in Jesus Christ by withdrawing from them the privilege of the Election. The thesis is directed not at Rabbinical Judaism but at the Jewish People. It defines Christian theological anti-
    Semitism. It is the fundamental premise of a pseudo-theology of Jewry, which has wrought incalculable harm. It
    is the remote cause of modern racial anti-Semitism. Father Benoit, for example, permits himself to write: “The Church cannot agree that the Jewish people is still the Chosen People, for it is henceforth conscious of possessing that election”.1 And why should we ignore the testimony of Jewish self-consciousness that it has not been dispossessed of its election? Father Benoit answers: “The Christian Church cannot recognize it to be a Church equally valid in the designs of God”. Contradictorywise, Father Benoit concedes that Jewry retains a theological mission of a kind “which it has momentarily lost and for which it is searching in an obscure and painfully fumbling way”. He even appeals to Jewry to realize that by reconciling itself with the Church it stands to gain by “a fulfilment of its veritable and eternal vocation”. We agree with Frizzel who finds these words enigmatic.2 Since Father Benoit admits that Jewry has an eternal vocation, how could it ever have been lost? Again, if it has a vocation, it has to be chosen or elected in one sense or another. Is not its election the source of its vocation? ” (Fr Elias Friedman, O.C.D “Jewish Identity”)

  3. and more from the same:

    “III. The Eternal Mission of the Jewish People

    It is not possible to regard the Jewish “religion” simply as one among the religions that presently exist on this earth. It is through the people of Israel that belief in the One God has been engraved in the history of mankind. It is through the people of Israel that, albeit with certain differences, monotheism became the shared legacy of the three great families which stem from the heritage of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam.
    According to Bible revelation, it was God Himself Who made the Jewish people schooled it and taught it His
    designs, sealing an eternal Covenant with it (Genesis 17:7) and endowing it with a vocation that Saint Paul terms
    irrevocable (Romans 11:29).
    To it we owe the Pentateuch, the Prophets and the other sacred Books which
    complete it message. Assembled by tradition, written and oral, these teachings were received by the Christians,
    without the Jew being in any wise thereby dispossessed of them.

    Even if, for Christianity, the Covenant is renewed in Jesus Christ, Judaism must be regarded by Christians as
    a reality that is not merely social and historical but primarily religious, not as the relic of a venerable, antiquated
    past, but as a living reality for all time. The chief signs of this vitality of the Jewish people are the testimony of its collective loyalty to the One God; its fervor in studying the Scriptures to discover, in the light of Revelation, the meaning of human life; its search for identity in the midst of other peoples, and its constant effort to be gathered together again in a reunified community.” (pg 108, “Jewish Identity”)

  4. +JMJ+

    SS wrote:

    I have never argued for a ‘superior ethnic Jewish hierarchy’. What I have said is that the leadership of the church in the beginning was comprised of Jewish believers. That’s a simple fact, and there is no need to read into it a racial charge that simply isn’t there.

    You sure seemed to do so. I had once asked you whether a Jew, just because he decided to “believe in Jesus” (whatever that means), is not only ipso facto inside the Church but also receives some sort of authoritative position in the Church. And you sure seemed to had answered in the affirmative.

  5. And you are the one complaining of ‘pulling a Robert’ and not allowing others to hold the views they say they do? A Jewish believer does not have automatic authority because of his Jewishness. But that fact in no way changes the reality that the early church was led by Jews and not by Catholics. If we gentiles accept that, there’s no reason to bar Jewish believers from leading today together with gentile believers.

  6. +JMJ+

    SS wrote:

    And you are the one complaining of ‘pulling a Robert’ and not allowing others to hold the views they say they do?

    Don’t even go there, dude. I said “seemed to have answered in the affirmative” in order to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    SS wrote:

    A Jewish believer does not have automatic authority because of his Jewishness.

    Well, that’s good to hear.

  7. Hi Susan,

    Thanks so much for your response. I wanted to respond to you in kind.

    The RCC is the only church that precedes all denominations, and behaves like it is possessed with that Charisma. You can pinpoint its beginning on a timeline, it has longevity that has extended farther than all temporal powers, and its moral teaching is supreme. (If it is not the Church that Christ founded, then what should one be on the lookout for? Should I expect it to be already in existence, or will it involve a new shepherd?)

    But isn’t this the point of contention, Susan? My argument is that the RCC is not the church the precedes all denominations. It would itself fall under the category of a “denomination.”

    You then responded

    You are certainly familiar with this below( I have seen your conversation with Bryan Cross, and Andrew Preslar concerning this topic for a long time now)…Sorry no, St. Irenaeus isn’t within your time frame of “150 yrs from the time of Christ”. May I ask why the arbitrary date?

    I am familiar with the fact the Irenaeus mentions an episcopate dating to Peter. But based on your statements above, the reason I asked for evidence in 150 years is because we don’t have anything until Irenaeus that substantiates what he is arguing. We have a significant amount of sources to glean from before Irenaeus that were written in or around Rome and there is no mention of a Roman bishop, let alone a Petrine bishop.

    You could argue as Bryan and Andrew have that we don’t find anything that explicitly denies that there could have been a Petrine office in the church of Rome in that time and I concede that. But consider the nature of your claim. Jesus founded a Petrine episcopate which was then established in Rome. This is an historical claim of which there is no good evidence for until much later and which the evidence we do possess seems to point in the other direction. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be true, but when you are touting your methodology as a “principled means” of distinguishing opinion vs. revelation, you better make sure that principle is strong.

    If you’ve read the exchange between myself, Bryan, and Andrew, I invite you to go back to look at me pleading for more evidence and them not being able to provide anything beyond the pieces of evidence I laid out for them. They are as follows:

    1.Peter ministered in Rome on multiple occasions
    2. He received a special office in Matthew 16 and he would have to pass that office along
    3. He died in Rome.
    4. Irenaeus (and Hegessipus before him, though in a less comprehensive way) say this happened

    Ergo, Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church with the charism of infallibility with the intention for Peter to pass this office on to his successors

    That is your evidence. If you think that it gives you the confidence to say that the Roman Catholic Church comes from Jesus himself, you are free to believe it. But I think that the ground for accepting such claims is a philosophical/theological precommitment. The reason I mention roughly 150 years is because the cause itself is so sparse.

    You concluded,

    As for me, if I am wrong which I obviously believe I’m not, I will plead for mercy in that I just couldn’t find the True Church because it wasn’t conspicuous enough.

    Finally, I should say that I empathize with you. I get why the proliferation of interpretation makes coming to any decision difficult. Skepticism is an appealing philosophical posture because it at least appears to offer the proper humility given our own frailties. It seems that in your fear of abandoning any kind of objective reality you have felt compelled to join an institution that claims to provide stability and objective meaning. I can appreciate that and have had those same feelings of anxiety.

    But in my study I’ve come to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church is not the Church that Christ founded and that Apostolic Succession (per the laying on of hands from a bishop) is *not* the only means to distinguish human opinion from Divine revelation. I believe that Bryan and Neal’s position, though well intentioned and well argued, is just as Michael Horton has argued, “Radical skepticism with a strong absolutist ecclesiology.” The historical evidence simply does not favor Bryan’s argument or the conservative Roman Catholic argument.

    I’d ask you to really consider the evidence above and see if the conclusion follows from the premises. Unless I am missing a piece of evidence in (which I‘d love to be corrected on, btw, so feel free to let me know) it simply does not. Even the premises themselves range from uncertain to highly unlikely, but grant the veracity of all the premises and you still don’t get the conclusion.

    I pray that as you continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ that you would come into a greater knowledge and understanding of his truth.

  8. Dear Brandon,

    I really appreciate that your address to me is measured and respectful. Thank you. You also take the time to really listen, consider and respond with clarity, and without attacks against the person, so it is a pleasure to talk with you and to share my enthusiasm for the Catholic Church. I know that I sound as if I am not enthusiastic because I talk about my doubts, depression, and disillusionment in order to show how it is that I became Catholic, but any skepticism I have now hits its nose against the concrete reality that Jesus founded the Church. This is a beautiful reality, but its bittersweet because I don’t get to enjoy it to its fullest yet. My family is outside. You are outside.

    I have a goal in my correspondence, and that it for you and I not to be separated brethren. When I was in the Vineyard Movement, we used to put our arms around each other and sing, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethern to dwelt together in unity. It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down Aaron’s beard” The concept was beautiful, however I did not know at the time that there was no unity in protestanism. There is no way to bring it about and here is problem #1.

    You said: “But isn’t this the point of contention, Susan? My argument is that the RCC is not the church the precedes all denominations. It would itself fall under the category of a “denomination.””

    Yes, I know that you do not believe that the Catholic Church is the community of one body that is provided by one spirit, that has called us to one hope in one Lord and hence that there is only one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.
    You must believe then that God never intended doctrinal unity, but wouldn’t that make your act of arguing for a specific branch against my specific branch a warrantless endevor? If this is the truth of our predicament then I say, my RCC denomination is as good as your local PCA. You obviously do not agree with the idea of “pick your favorite denomination.” otherwise you wouldn’t be commited to the congregation that has certain doctrines that “at least you” believe are biblical. Your hermenutic of suspicion should be applied to the last 500 of Protestant history.

    You said:
    1.Peter ministered in Rome on multiple occasions
    ( The heart of an Empire that was anti-Christ. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XaXjWUcWf8)

    2. He received a special office in Matthew 16 and he would have to pass that office along.
    ( yes, for “the faith” to be successfully delivered to future saints, this is required)

    3. He died in Rome.
    ( He was martyred there and is tomb is in St. Peter’s, I like concrete things like this, it helps my faith)

    4. Irenaeus (and Hegessipus before him, though in a less comprehensive way) say this happened
    ( St. Hegessipus and Irenaeus say the same thing, and you doubt that it’s true? Shouldn’t this bolster the case? I’m confused. Why do you distrust this historical evidence that’s a heck of a lot more illuminating then a shred of pottery found from the 2nd century?)

    I’m adding #5.

    5. The RCC is in existence

    You aslo said:
    “But in my study I’ve come to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church is not the Church that Christ founded and that Apostolic Succession (per the laying on of hands from a bishop) is *not* the only means to distinguish human opinion from Divine revelation.”

    You came to this conclusion through your own personal study, yet you throw out historical evidence that doesn’t give you the result you were looking for? This is not doing historical studies properly, and involves not the slightst bit of true science. You should say instead that the Catholic Church, per St. Ireneaus as one of the faithful, and in whom we consult for his other trustworthy teaching, believes that the RCC is the Church Christ founded. It might be erroneous that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ, but it isn’t erroneus that he and others believed it.

    Talk about skepticism. I am the one not operating from skepticism, your system on the other hand, presupposes that there is no way to find orthodoxy.

    Peace on your journey,
    Susan

  9. Brandon,

    I meant to ask you about this other thing you said:

    “and that Apostolic Succession (per the laying on of hands from a bishop) is *not* the only means to distinguish human opinion from Divine revelation.”

    Tell me the other means then please. Prove to me that it is trustworthy.

    Also to show you practically how anything else than AS is useless, answer me this, please.

    1.How many sacraments are there?

    2. If I left the RCC today, where do I go to church where everything is orthodox( meaning I don’t have to wonder if the other Reformed denomination down the street might be right about this or that doctrine)?

    I appreciate your thought and answers, provided they are absolutely the truth, not as you see it, but as they exist. Good luck! 🙂

    Susan

  10. Brandon,

    I’ve been out of the loop for a few days – playing catch up. I’m replying to your Aug. 1 comment.
    First, I have no idea how to interpret the gibberish at the bottom of the screen and I’d love to use some block quotes. Help? (I’ve probably just dated myself). Second, I re-read my last comment to you and realized that I succumbed to a sort of snarky, biting tone – something I like to avoid, so please accept my apology.

    I agree that we have to be very specific in these combox conversations. First, I want to try to summarize what I think you are saying. You believe that the question of how we are able to go beyond the level of personal opinion in doctrinal matters is essentially unanswerable. You also suggest that while folks like Cross, Liccione, Stellman etc present what may appear to be a compelling philosophical argument, the historical improbability of the Roman claim renders their argument void. You also, in the final analysis, see no epistemological difference between the RCC and Protestant position because both must make individual determinations regarding orthodoxy versus heresy.
    Am I understanding you correctly?

    You ask what would become of Bryan and Jason’s polemic if it could be shown that Rome’s historical claims are wrong. Clearly in that case their argument would have more to say about the wrongness of Protestantism than the rightness of the RCC. I’m not a huge fan of hypotheticals unless they are used to illustrate some other principle or underlying concept. What would become of the apostle Paul’s polemic if the Bible could proved to be contradictory? Same sort of question.

    I want to press you a bit on one point. One thing that strikes me as essential to the very possibility of definable Christian truth is the ability to define true doctrine and heresy, and that these definitions be in some way authoritative (and hence binding) beyond the opinion of the individual. Would you agree that this necessary? (While addressing this question, let’s forget for the moment the Protestant versus Catholic debate.)

    And in response to your last sentence, I’m not sure what you mean by, “….but that’s not what we’re trying to do.” Do you mean that you do not intend to present a positive argument for Protestant epistemology, but rather focus on why Rome’s claims are so improbable?

    Burton

  11. Dear Susan,

    First, Thank-you for your blessing for my children and family and by your description that you have many blessings from God.

    You said
    >>>>This is a beautiful reality, but its bittersweet because I don’t get to enjoy it to its fullest yet. My family is outside. You are outside.<<<<

    Everyone must find the particular church that the Holy Ghost has for them. But our God is not the author of strife or confusion, that always is a result of the limitations of man.

    There are many churches that make up the Body of Christ, so my brethern are communing with some fully and others partially.
    I have members in my own extended family [we are first, second and third generation Christian Lebanese] that worship in different churches. Most are Catholic, others orthodox, and many in protestant denominations both confessional and congregational, but we were all Oriental orthodox in Lebanon.

    My father was the first to break from the Catholic and Orthodox traditions and joined the UPC. I know what you speak of when referring to the "outside". The single tradiitional family units were all communing together while there were children that had not yet emancipated.

    Beside my own family I am keenly aware from both my professional [tent making] experience and my experience as an Elder in the PCA the struggles that individuals and families experience with changes in faith.
    My prayer for you is that the Holy Ghost causes the bittersweet to become like the honey from figs.

    Sincerely in Christ Jesus through the Power of the Holy Spirit

  12. SS August 5, 2013 at 10:43 pm
    To all catholics reading:
    From one of your own, Father Friedman:
    “HAS THE ELECTION BEEN REVOKED?
    The sentiment is widespread among Christians, theologians and laymen alike, that God punished post-Christic
    Jewry for not believing in Jesus Christ by withdrawing from them the privilege of the Election. The thesis is directed not at Rabbinical Judaism but at the Jewish People. It defines Christian theological anti-
    Semitism. It is the fundamental premise of a pseudo-theology of Jewry, which has wrought incalculable harm. It
    is the remote cause of modern racial anti-Semitism. Father Benoit, for example, permits himself to write: “The Church cannot agree that the Jewish people is still the Chosen People, for it is henceforth conscious of possessing that election”.1 And why should we ignore the testimony of Jewish self-consciousness that it has not been dispossessed of its election? Father Benoit answers: “The Christian Church cannot recognize it to be a Church equally valid in the designs of God”. Contradictorywise, Father Benoit concedes that Jewry retains a theological mission of a kind “which it has momentarily lost and for which it is searching in an obscure and painfully fumbling way”. He even appeals to Jewry to realize that by reconciling itself with the Church it stands to gain by “a fulfilment of its veritable and eternal vocation”. We agree with Frizzel who finds these words enigmatic.2 Since Father Benoit admits that Jewry has an eternal vocation, how could it ever have been lost? Again, if it has a vocation, it has to be chosen or elected in one sense or another. Is not its election the source of its vocation? ” (Fr Elias Friedman, O.C.D “Jewish Identity”)

    That is Catholic Teaching. All he says is that the Jews must be reconciled with the Catholic Church in order to fulfill their vocation. They can’t do it without the Church.

    SS August 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm
    and more from the same:
    “III. The Eternal Mission of the Jewish People
    It is not possible to regard the Jewish “religion” simply as one among the religions that presently exist on this earth. It is through the people of Israel that belief in the One God has been engraved in the history of mankind. It is through the people of Israel that, albeit with certain differences, monotheism became the shared legacy of the three great families which stem from the heritage of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam.
    According to Bible revelation, it was God Himself Who made the Jewish people schooled it and taught it His
    designs, sealing an eternal Covenant with it (Genesis 17:7) and endowing it with a vocation that Saint Paul terms
    irrevocable (Romans 11:29). To it we owe the Pentateuch, the Prophets and the other sacred Books which
    complete it message. Assembled by tradition, written and oral, these teachings were received by the Christians,
    without the Jew being in any wise thereby dispossessed of them.

    Even if, for Christianity, the Covenant is renewed in Jesus Christ, Judaism must be regarded by Christians as
    a reality that is not merely social and historical but primarily religious, not as the relic of a venerable, antiquated
    past, but as a living reality for all time. The chief signs of this vitality of the Jewish people are the testimony of its collective loyalty to the One God; its fervor in studying the Scriptures to discover, in the light of Revelation, the meaning of human life; its search for identity in the midst of other peoples, and its constant effort to be gathered together again in a reunified community.” (pg 108, “Jewish Identity”)

    I’m not sure what the good Father intends to say there. But in the advent of Jesus Christ, any Jew who denies the Divinity of Jesus Christ, denies the Father. This is from Scripture. And Scripture binds the Catholic Church:
    Luke 10:16
    He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

    We remain grateful for all that the Jews did before the advent of Christ. But, God called the Hebrew people out of Judaism soon after they killed our Lord:
    Revelation 18:4
    And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  13. SS August 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm
    And you are the one complaining of ‘pulling a Robert’ and not allowing others to hold the views they say they do? A Jewish believer does not have automatic authority because of his Jewishness. But that fact in no way changes the reality that the early church was led by Jews and not by Catholics. If we gentiles accept that, there’s no reason to bar Jewish believers from leading today together with gentile believers.

    The foundation of the Church was Jewish. But the Jewish foundation, the Apostles, appointed Gentile Bishops to continue the leadership of the Church. That is indisputable.

    If the Apostles, who were taught by Christ, did not find it offensive to appoint Gentile leaders in the Church, why do you?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  14. SS,

    I forgot to ask, you said that God did not create a hierarchy of Jews over Gentiles. At the same time, you say that as a Gentile, you have no authority in your religion. How is that not a contradiction?

    If Jews and Gentiles are on the same footing in your religion, then Gentiles should be eligible to be elected or appointed to a position of higher authority.

    So, what’s the problem?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  15. Everybody (Susan, Brandon, Burton)–

    Just a reminder that it is not valid Apostolic Succession which must be shown (EO, OO, Anglicans, Old Catholics, and Swedish Lutherans could all potentially show that). What must be evidenced is Roman primacy. Only primacy gives one some measure of epistemic certainty. Some of the groups with AS are considered heretical or nearly so.

  16. Author: SS
    Comment:

    Yes, I do know the prophecy but must ask you, and your point is? That Christ knew His church would include  gentiles eventually does not in any way obviate the fact that when Matt 18:17 was spoken, the words were not spoken to catholics but rather to Jews who believed in the Messiah. We know that they were Jews, as FJ Anthony Hort says, by the very fact that the command involves a prescription which only makes sense when applied by Jews, i.e., let him be like a gentile and a tax collector unto you.

    My point, I thought was clear, Jesus Christ knew that this metaphor would be understood by His audience. Treat them as you would a gentile.

    Let me get the crayons out. Say that I’m talking to a group of guards at a prison. And I say, “treat him as you would a prisoner.” Then, a former prisoner, call him Ed, is hired as a guard. And I say, “treat him as you would a prisoner.” Do you think the guards will continue to treat Ed as a prisoner because he was formerly a prisoner?

    By the same token, Jesus was talking to members of His Church who formerly followed Sanhedrin. Now, He has established a new hierarchy and He says that anyone, including those of the Sanhedrin, who do not obey the Church, will be treated as Jews treat the Gentiles.

    How did Jews treat Gentiles? They shunned them.

    But when the Gentiles become part of the Church, it is understood that they are now members of the Body of Christ. If a Jew should disobey the Gentile leader in the Church, the Gentile will treat the Jew as the Jews used to treat the Gentiles.

    IT IS A METAPHOR!

    This is very ironic, because it is in fact your position which blurs the spiritual and natural distinctions. For you, there is no such thing as a Jewish believer in Christ, only a catholic.

    That is your misrepresentation of what I have said and what the Church teaches. A Jewish believer in Christ is a Catholic (with a capital C) and a Gentile believer in Christ is also a Catholic. Spiritually there is no distinction although according to the flesh, there is much distinction.

    That is nothing short of a blurring of the natural distinctions that God has foreordained. What I say is that the spiritual reality does not remove the natural reality, both coexist side by side peacefully. So when a Jew believes in the Messiah and worships Him, He is as much a natural branch as Paul calls it, as he is a true Jew in that he is a son of Abraham.

    God has foreordained no distinctions. Listen to the Word of God:
    Acts 10:
    34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
    Rom 2:9 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.
    Do you understand those words? God is not a respecter of persons. God doesn’t care if you are Jew or Gentile. All He cares about is that you work righteousness in His eyes.
    Say that to yourself several hundred times.

    You pay lip service only to these realities existing,….

    I’ve addressed this objection of yours ad nauseaum. I’ll let the reader decide between you and I who is blurring what.

    So you now, to mitigate cognitive dissonance you resort to introducing a dichotomy between the world and the church. That does not work, because as I have showed you from Romans 15, Paul does not make that dichotomy at all. It is speaking to the Church and not the world that he says: you gentiles owe your jewish brethren because through them you have received spiritual blessing…..

    As I said, you blur the lines of natural and spiritual teaching. St. Paul was speaking naturally, according to the flesh. But when he speaks spiritually, he says:
    Galatians 3:28
    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
    But you conflate the two.

    You are really digging yourself deeper in the ditch here DeMaria.

    Not me. I have read your other messages.
    1. You claim that Jews and Gentiles are on equal footing in your religion.
    2. You admitted you are a Gentile.
    3. You admitted you have no authority because you are not a Jew.

    You contradicted yourself completely. If you have no authority in your religion because you are not a Jew but a Gentile, that means that Jews and Gentiles are not on equal footing in your religion.

    Earlier, you said that these distinctions obviously exist…..

    I know what I said. But I think you are confusing the issue on purpose.

    Its a very simple concept. St. Paul speaks about natural realities and spiritual realities.

    When he speaks naturally, he admits the distinctions between believing Jew and believing Gentile.
    But when speaking spiritually, he admits no distinction between believing Jew and believing Gentile.

    Now, you need to explain why your religion makes a distinction between Christians of Jewish ethnicity and those of Gentile ethnicity. At least, if you want to present an honest argument.

    Snip….I’m cutting it short because you just repeat the same false arguments which I’ve already rebutted. Lets move on. You also say:
    I have never argued for a ‘superior ethnic Jewish hierarchy’.

    Then why can’t you, a Gentile, have authority in the your religion?

    What I have said is that the leadership of the church in the beginning was comprised of Jewish believers. That’s a simple fact, and there is no need to read into it a racial charge that simply isn’t there.

    That is a simple fact which we recognize. But St. Luke, the Evangelist, was a Gentile believer and a leader in the Church. And St. Paul appointed Sts. Timothy and Titus to the office of Bishop. And history shows that very quickly, the Jew and Gentile became one in the Church. Until today, unless the conversion was very recent, there is no way to tell the difference.

    The church developed as it did because the gentiles quickly forgot that they owed much to Jewish believers…..

    That is really just your prejudice against the Catholic Church speaking. All those things you claim you want to see in your vision of Christianity, are already in the Catholic Church. What you need to do is to accept the authority of the Church which Jesus Christ established for the salvation of mankind.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria?

  17. ERIC August 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm
    Everybody (Susan, Brandon, Burton)–
    Just a reminder that it is not valid Apostolic Succession which must be shown (EO, OO, Anglicans, Old Catholics, and Swedish Lutherans could all potentially show that). What must be evidenced is Roman primacy. Only primacy gives one some measure of epistemic certainty. Some of the groups with AS are considered heretical or nearly so.

    The evidence has been shown, over and over. What must happen is that the Holy Spirit must open your mind to accept the truth. We only plant the seed. God makes the growth. As long as you refuse to believe the truth you will continue to reject any evidence we present.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  18. DeMaria,

    Since your arguments have been thoroughly dismantled, I need only respond to one thing: nowhere have I argued that gentiles cannot or should not have authority in the church or that jews are superior by virtue of their ethnicity.

    What I have said is that leadership in the church today should be modeled after the early church, which had both Jewish believers and Gentile believers appointed to take the Gospel to the entire world. The Catholic position is one of supersessionism and is nowhere in conformity to this model but the very antithesis of the model. It does not recognize the God given distinction between true Jews (believers in Messiah) and gentile believers, but conflates the two. Scripture itself never makes that conflation, not Paul, not James, not Peter as my prior lengthy post has made clear.

    Regards,
    SS.

  19. +JMJ+

    For those who are interested in the Jewish roots of the Catholic Mass, I recommend How Christ Said the First Mass by Fr. James Meagher. It deals heavily with correspondences of ceremony, sacrifice, symbolism, etc. It can be read online at the following site, but it’s a pretty long book to be read in that way. Also, it seems that one can download it in a number of formats, including a Kindle version, but I’ve no experience with this.

    http://archive.org/details/howchristsaidfi00meag

  20. De Maria–

    My wife’s electric breast pump spits out rhythmic speech-like sounds during operation. She and I have made it a game to “interpret” these noises as to what English words or phrases they most closely resemble. Just the other day, it was unmistakably articulating the word Protestant-Protestant-Protestant over and over. Without a shade of doubt, we must take this to mean that the Holy Spirit is on our side! 😉

    (Your so-called “evidence” is just as roundly rejected by Eastern Orthodoxy. I guess they don’t have access to the Holy Spirit either.)

  21. Eric,

    What must be proved or disproved depends upon the goal of inquiry. If my intent is to determine whether or not the Protestant paradigm is credible, then Roman primacy is irrelevant. If Protestantism cannot provide a rational, credible positive argument, I will look elsewhere, and not necessarily the RCC.

    Burton

  22. Burton,

    Okay,

    Why are the EO, OO, Anglicans or Swedish less credible than Rome?

    I keep hearing a lot from Susan and others that only Apostolic Succession provides a credible and rational way to distinguish opinion from divine truth. What I don’t see is:

    1. Why nothing but apostolic succession in the sense of a traceable unbroken chain of hands-laying-on back to the apostles can do that.
    2. How one has a principled way to distinguish Roman succession from any other view of succession that is more than opinion according to the same standards that CTC and those of their ilk demand of Protestants.
    3. Why the Holy Spirit can be trusted to reveal to people the truth of the Roman Catholic Church but not the truth of Scripture apart from an infallible Magisterium.
    4. Why an infallible body was not necessary under the old covenant before the Spirit was poured out but is required today after Pentecost.

    Until you all can demonstrate these things, Rome’s argument (in the CTC view at least) will remain viciously circular. You all come to the evidence with your mind made up. If you determine beforehand that the only principled way to distinguish divine truth from revelation is ecclesiastical infallibility and apostolic succession as Rome defines it is necessary, then you’ve already come to your conclusion. Until you can prove those former points, you are just pretending to consider the evidence from Scripture and tradition that is actually there.

  23. To any interested party. the quote below comes from a Catholic scholar

    “The question whether the episcopate is of divine institution continues to divided the churches, even though Christian scholars from both sides agree that one does not find the threefold structure of ministry, with a bishop in each local church assisted by presbyters and deacons, in the New Testament. They agree, rather, that the historic episcopate was the result of a development in the post-New Testament period, from the local leadership of a college of presbyters, who where sometimes also called bishops, the leadership of a single bishop. They also agree that this development tool place earlier in the churches of Syria and western Asia Minor, that it did in those of Philippi, Corinth and Rome. Scholars differ on details, such as how soon the church of Rome was led by a single bishop, but hardly any doubt that the church of Rome was still led by a group of presbyters for at least a part of the second century….This question asks about the theological significance of a post-New Testament development, which history alone cannot answer….As I have said, history alone cannot give the answer to the question whether bishops are the successors of the apostles by divine institution….”(p viii)

    “One conclusion seems obvious: Neither the New Testament nor early Christian history offers support for a notion of apostolic succession as “an unbroken line of episcopal ordination from Christ through the apostles down through the centuries to the bishops of today.” ” (p 15-16) (Francis A. Sullivan, S.J., From Apostles to Bishops.)

    He goes on to argue that the episcopate is of divine institution, but cannot answer that question based on the historical facts alone. His basis is that it is a post-New Testament development that is not supported by the source or the streams closest to the source.

    SWR

  24. Hi Burton,

    You said,”What must be proved or disproved depends upon the goal of inquiry. If my intent is to determine whether or not the Protestant paradigm is credible, then Roman primacy is irrelevant. If Protestantism cannot provide a rational, credible positive argument, I will look elsewhere, and not necessarily the RCC.”

    Yup, totally agree.

    Robert,

    1. Why nothing but apostolic succession in the sense of a traceable unbroken chain of hands-laying-on back to the apostles can do that.

    First of all apostolic succession is not a figment of our imagination. The NT is filled with references to authority. This authority cannot be with the person who is a reader of the bible, and it can’t be with every person who preaches from the bible; otherwise either I am my own authority, or the preacher is my authority. If everyone is an authority, no one is an authority. The scriptures testify to authority being with the apostles, and this is certain. So did that authority die when the St. John died, leaving us with no authority, or did the chuch that was begun by Christ continue to exist with the same authority it had at the start?

    2. How one has a principled way to distinguish Roman succession from any other view of succession that is more than opinion according to the same standards that CTC and those of their ilk demand of Protestants.

    The difference is that there is a real succession from Pope Peter through Pope Francis. It is documented.
    Casey Chalk writing at CTC has reviewed a book written by Robert Lewis Wilken where he highlites 3 “markers” that existed during the first 1000 years of Christianity. You should read it, it will help you understand how thing hung together during the early days of Christianity.

    3. Why the Holy Spirit can be trusted to reveal to people the truth of the Roman Catholic Church but not the truth of Scripture apart from an infallible Magisterium.

    The scriptures belong to the people of God, the Church. Since everyone claims that they are led by the Spirit yet come to different conclusions about important matters, it should prove that sola scriptura doesn’t work.

    4. Why an infallible body was not necessary under the old covenant before the Spirit was poured out but is required today after Pentecost.

    This is 3 pages long but well worth the read.

    Chair of Moses: Refuting James White’s Claims of sola Scriptura in his book The Roman Catholic Controversy
    Written by Dave Armstrong

    Reformed Baptist apologist and expert on sola Scriptura, Dr. James White, offered a two-page response to the Catholic apologetic use of Matthew 23:1-3 and Moses’ seat. I shall quote the heart of his subtle but thoroughly fallacious argument:
    “Some Roman Catholics present this passage as proof that a source of extrabiblical authority received the blessing of the Lord Jesus. It has been alleged that the concept of ‘Moses’ seat’ is in fact a refutation of sola scriptura, for not only is this concept not found in the Old Testament, but Jesus seemingly gives His approbation to this extrascriptural tradition . . .
    “The ‘Moses’ seat’ refers to a seat in the front of the synagogue on which the teacher of the Law sat while reading from the Scriptures. Synagogue worship, of course, came into being long after Moses’ day, so those who attempt to make this an oral tradition going back to Moses are engaging in wishful thinking” (White, 100).
    James White agrees that the notion is not found in the Old Testament but maintains that it cannot be traced back to Moses. That may be correct (though we are told that Moses took his seat or sat among the people to judge them in Exodus 18:13), yet the Catholic argument here does not rest on whether it literally can be traced historically to Moses, but on the fact that it is not found in the Old Testament. Thus, White from the outset concedes a fundamental point of the Catholic argument concerning authority and sola Scriptura.

    White then cites Bible scholar Robert Gundry in agreement, to the effect that Jesus was binding Christians to the Pharisaical law, but not “their interpretative traditions.” This passage concerned only “the law itself” with the “antinomians” in mind. How Gundry arrives at such a conclusion remains to be seen. White’s query about the Catholic interpretation, “is this sound exegesis?” can just as easily be applied to Gundry’s fine-tuned distinctions which help him avoid any implication of a binding extrabiblical tradition. White continues:

    There was nothing in the tradition of having someone read from the Scriptures while sitting on Moses’ seat that was in conflict with the Scriptures . . . It is quite proper to listen and obey the words of the one who reads from the Law or the Prophets, for one is not hearing a man speaking in such a situation, but is listening to the very words of God (White, 101).

    This is true as far as it goes, but it is essentially a non sequitur and amounts to eisegesis of the passage (which is ironic, because now White plays the role of “a man speaking” and distorting “the very words of God”). Jesus said:
    “’The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice’” (Mt 23:2?3).
    First, it should be noted that nowhere in the actual text is the notion that the Pharisees are only reading the Old Testament Scripture when sitting on Moses’ seat. It’s an assumption gratuitously smuggled in from a presupposed position of sola Scriptura.

    Secondly, White’s assumption that Jesus is referring literally to Pharisees sitting on a seat in the synagogue and reading (the Old Testament only) and that alone—is more forced and woodenly literalistic than the far more plausible interpretation that this was simply a term denoting received authority.

    It reminds one of the old silly Protestant tale that the popes speak infallibly and ex cathedra (cathedra is the Greek word for seat in Matthew 23:2) only when sitting in a certain chair in the Vatican (because the phrase means literally, “from the bishop’s chair”; whereas it was a figurative and idiomatic usage).

    Jesus says that they sat “on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you.” In other words: because they had the authority (based on the position of occupying Moses’ seat), therefore they were to be obeyed. It is like referring to a “chairman” of a company or committee. He occupies the “chair,” therefore he has authority. No one thinks he has the authority only when he sits in a certain chair reading the corporation charter or the Constitution or some other official document.

    Yet this is how White would exclusively interpret Jesus’ words. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, in its article, “Seat”, allows White’s reading as a secondary interpretation, but seems to regard the primary meaning of this term in the manner I have described:

    References to seating in the Bible are almost all to such as a representation of honor and authority . . .

    According to Jesus, the scribes and Pharisees occupy “Moses’ seat” (Matt. 23:2), having the authority and ability to interpret the law of Moses correctly; here “seat” is both a metaphor for judicial authority and also a reference to a literal stone seat in the front of many synagogues that would be occupied by an authoritative teacher of the law (Myers, 919-920).

    The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (article, “Seat”) takes the same position, commenting specifically on our verse:

    It is used also of the exalted position occupied by men of marked rank or influence, either in good or evil (Mt 23:2; Ps 1:1) (Orr, IV, 2710).

    White makes no mention of these considerations, but it is difficult to believe that he is not aware of them (since he is a Bible scholar well-acquainted with the nuances of biblical meanings). They don’t fit in very well with the case he is trying to make, so he omits them. But the reader is thereby left with an incomplete picture.

    Thirdly, because they had the authority and no indication is given that Jesus thought they had it only when simply reading Scripture, it would follow that Christians were, therefore, bound to elements of Pharisaical teaching that were not only non-scriptural, but based on oral tradition, for this is what Pharisees believed. They fully accepted the binding authority of oral tradition (the Sadducees were the ones who were the Jewish sola scripturists and liberals of the time). The New Bible Dictionary describes their beliefs in this respect, in its article, “Pharisees”:
    . . . the Torah was not merely ‘law’ but also ‘instruction’, i.e., it consisted not merely of fixed commandments but was adaptable to changing conditions . . . This adaptation or inference was the task of those who had made a special study of the Torah, and a majority decision was binding on all . . .

    The commandments were further applied by analogy to situations not directly covered by the Torah. All these developments together with thirty-one customs of ‘immemorial usage’ formed the ‘oral law’ . . . the full development of which is later than the New Testament. Being convinced that they had the right interpretation of the Torah, they claimed that these ‘traditions of the elders’ (Mk 7:3) came from Moses on Sinai (Douglas, 981-982).

    Likewise, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church notes in its article on the Pharisees:

    Unlike the Sadducees, who tried to apply Mosaic Law precisely as it was given, the Pharisees allowed some interpretation of it to make it more applicable to different situations, and they regarded these oral interpretations as of the same level of importance as the Law itself (Cross, 1077).

    Fourthly, it was precisely the extrabiblical (especially apocalyptic) elements of Pharisaical Judaism that New Testament Christianity adopted and developed for its own: doctrines such as: resurrection, the soul, the afterlife, eternal reward or damnation, and angelology and demonology (all of which the Sadducees rejected). The Old Testament had relatively little to say about these things, and what it did assert was in a primitive, kernel form. But the postbiblical literature of the Jews (led by the mainstream Pharisaical tradition) had plenty to say about them. Therefore, this was another instance of Christianity utilizing non-biblical literature and traditions in its own doctrinal development.

    Fifth, Paul shows the high priest, Ananias, respect, even when the latter had him struck on the mouth, and was not dealing with matters strictly of the Old Testament and the Law, but with the question of whether Paul was teaching wrongly and should be stopped (Acts 23:1-5). A few verses later Paul states, “I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees” (23:6) and it is noted that the Pharisees and Sadducees in the assembly were divided and that the Sadducees “say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all” (23:7-8). Some Pharisees defended Paul (23:9).

    Next, White mentions (presumably as a parallel to the Pharisees and Moses’ seat) Nehemiah 8: a passage I dealt with previously:

    Indeed, when Ezra read the Law to the people in Nehemiah, chapter 8, the people listened attentively and cried “Amen! Amen!” at the hearing of God’s Word (White, 101).

    He conveniently neglects to mention, however, that Ezra’s Levite assistants, as recorded in the next two verses after the evangelical-sounding “Amens,” “helped the people to understand the law” (8:7) and “gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading” (8:8).

    So this supposedly analogous example (that is, if presented in its entirety; not selectively for polemical purposes) does not support White’s and Dr. Gundry’s position that the authority of the Pharisees applied only insofar as they sat and read the Old Testament to the people (functioning as a sort of ancient collective Alexander Scourby, reading the Bible onto a cassette tape for mass consumption), not when they also interpreted (which was part and parcel of the Pharisaical outlook and approach).

    One doesn’t find in the Old Testament individual Hebrews questioning teaching authority. Sola Scriptura simply is not there. No matter how hard White and other Protestants try to read it into the Old Testament, it cannot be done. Nor can it be read into the New Testament, once all the facts are in. James White, however, writes:

    And who can forget the result of Josiah’s discovery of the Book of the Covenant in 2 Chronicles 34? (White, 101).

    Indeed, this was a momentous occasion (Dr. White probably thinks it is similar in substance and import to the myth and legend of Martin Luther supposedly “rescuing” or “initiating” the Bible in the vernacular, when in fact there had been fourteen German editions of the Bible in the 70 years preceding his own).

    But if the implication is that the Law was self-evident simply upon being read, per sola Scriptura, this is untrue to the Old Testament, for, again, we are informed in the same book that priests and Levites “taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the LORD with them; they went about through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people” (2 Chron 17:9), and that the Levites “taught all Israel” (2 Chron 35:3). They didn’t just read, they taught, and that involved interpretation. And the people had no right of private judgment, to dissent from what was taught.

    James White and all Protestants believe that any individual Christian has the right and duty to rebuke their pastors if what they are teaching is “unbiblical” (that is, according to the lone individual). This is an elegant, quaint theory indeed, on paper, but it doesn’t quite work the same way in practice. I know this from my own experience as a former Protestant, for when I rebuked my Assemblies of God pastor in a private letter (because he had preached from the pulpit, “keep your pastors honest”), I was publicly renounced and rebuked from the pulpit (in a most paranoid, alarmist manner) as a theologically-inexperienced rabble-rouser trying to cause division.

    Dr. Kim Riddlebarger, an expert in historical theology, in dealing with the same passage, assumes what he is trying to prove (what is known in logic as “begging the question” or a “circular argument”):

    The biblical case for sola scriptura becomes even stronger when one looks to the words of our Lord on the subject . . . Jesus instructs us to obey the Old Testament (Matthew 23:3) . . . Is the Old Testament incomplete in this regard, requiring a “sacred” tradition to complement it? On the contrary, Jesus declares that the Old Testament alone is authoritative in matters of doctrine . . . There is no hint, therefore, in any of these texts, that the biblical writers viewed anything other than the written Word of God (the Old Testament) as the only infallible guide or authoritative source for the faith and practice of the church (in Armstrong, 237-238).
    This perspective is quite interesting, seeing that what Jesus did in that verse was to encourage submission to the teaching of the Pharisees (not the Old Testament), and on the basis of their sitting on Moses’ seat: a phrase not even found in the Old Testament, as Dr. James White admitted above.

    White also asserts that “we are only speaking of a position that existed at this time in the synagogue worship of the day” (White, 100). That is hardly “Old Testament alone.” White’s and Riddlebarger’s positions here mutually exclude each other. Such confusion is one of the hallmarks of an incoherent, weakly-supported position.

    Moreover, the Pharisees themselves can only be dated to the 2nd century B.C. at the earliest (see Douglas, 981) long after the completion of the Old Testament. And they accepted the full authority of oral tradition, as mentioned above.

    Riddlebarger’s “argument,” therefore, collapses on all points. He cites Jesus’ injunction to obey a group which began in the 2nd century B.C. one which believes in oral tradition—and on the basis of an institution of authority (Moses’ seat) which cannot be found in the Old Testament, as somehow the same as obeying the letter of the Old Testament, which alone Jesus supposedly regarded as authoritative. The internal inconsistency and incoherence of this position is surely evident

    I feel that I have proved the points that you presented.
    If there is still something that you need clarity about, I will do my best to help.

    When I was learning these things and came to the conclusion that the RCC was telling the truth it became incumbent on me to submit to the light that I had been given, and to refuse to enter the Church was to disobey God who is truth. If you become convinced and refuse, there is punishment.

    Susan

  25. De Maria said

    >>>>>Just a reminder that it is not valid Apostolic Succession which must be shown (EO, OO, Anglicans, Old Catholics, and Swedish Lutherans could all potentially show that). What must be evidenced is Roman primacy. Only primacy gives one some measure of epistemic certainty. Some of the groups with AS are considered heretical or nearly so.<<<<<

    You have, once again, managed to insult every faith outside of Rome. The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is only believed by the Roman Catholic Church ….to everyone else the Bishop of Rome is at best…."primus inter pares" ( the first among equals).

  26. De Maria

    Are you an RCR, Radical Catholic Reactionary?

  27. SS August 6, 2013 at 9:06 pm
    DeMaria,
    Since your arguments have been thoroughly dismantled, I need only respond to one thing: nowhere have I argued that gentiles cannot or should not have authority in the church or that jews are superior by virtue of their ethnicity.

    But you did say:

    SS August 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm
    DeMaria wrote:

    ….Let me give you my own example, as a gentile. I speak with no authority, but I have greatly benefited from these people,….

    If, as a gentile, you have no authority to speak, why do you claim that gentiles can have authority in the your religion? You have said the opposite of the Jews. You have said that we, gentiles, need to go them before we make any decisions.

    So, please explain your contradictory statements.

    What I have said is that leadership in the church today should be modeled after the early church,

    It is. The Catholic Church is the original Church.

    which had both Jewish believers and Gentile believers appointed to take the Gospel to the entire world.

    The Catholic Church still does.

    The Catholic position is one of supersessionism and is nowhere in conformity to this model but the very antithesis of the model.

    In your opinion. But I see the exact organization which Jesus Christ established.

    It does not recognize the God given distinction between true Jews (believers in Messiah) and gentile believers, but conflates the two. Scripture itself never makes that conflation, not Paul, not James, not Peter as my prior lengthy post has made clear.

    It is you who conflates the two and further, you don’t even recognize that nature followed its course. The two, originally different and distinct groups, became one. The Jews which originally composed the Church mingled with the Gentiles until today, the two are indistinguishable.

    But please answer the question. Why, as a gentile, don’t you have a voice in your religion?

    Regards,?SS.

    And to you,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  28. Hey Burton,

    To use blockquotes use

    at the beginning of the quote and

    at the end of the quote. Hope that helps!

    And with regard to your tenor, I’ve seen you enough to understand that you are not combative or belligerent. I appreciate your willingness to monitor your tone though because in these sorts of discussions it’s easy to lose our Christian virtues! I find that particularly online discussions can get derailed because of misunderstanding and offense being taken when it isn’t intended. These are serious issues, but being right at the expense of maintaining Christian love doesn’t do us much good.

    Moving on to your description of my argument, you say,

    You believe that the question of how we are able to go beyond the level of personal opinion in doctrinal matters is essentially unanswerable

    That’s not exactly what I’m saying. I believe an answer exists but I do not believe that in order for there to be an answer there must be an infallible authority. I’m still reading on this question. I understand that there are philosophical concerns about how we can get outside of our own interpretation of the phenomenal world. The text really does exist, but my access to it is mediated through my own prejudiced metanarrative. Thus there is meaning in a text, but the question if there is meaning, the real existential crisis comes with the proliferation of meaning. This is why I was initially enamored with Bryan’s argument because it seemed to solve the dilemma.

    Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church therefore there was an institution that could definitively and infallibly determine opinion from fact. Apostolic Succession (from here on when I refer to “AS” it is going to be of the Roman Catholic version, succession from the perpetual Petrine office with the charism of infallibility) of the successor of Peter provides a verifiable way to determine the God is still speaking to us and clarifying himself (or perhaps more accurately, accommodating to our short comings and misunderstanding) in the Magisterium. I think that Neal and Bryan show that if the RCC was founded by Christ, then the RCC would possess a privileged epistemological position. But I’d like to avoid the philosophical discussions for the moment to focus on the case that Bryan and Neal make.

    I’ll again quote Bryan and Neal from their article on the distinction between Sola and Solo Scriptura,

    In this article we argue that there is no principled difference between sola scriptura and solo scriptura with respect to the holder of ultimate interpretive authority, and that a return to apostolic succession is the only way to avoid the untoward consequences to which both solo scriptura and sola scriptura lead.

    Bryan and Neal are arguing that the only way to have a principled difference, with respect to the holder of ultimate interpretive authority is a return to Apostolic Succession (again the RC claims to AS). That is the *ONLY* way to possess ultimate interpretive authority. Without AS there is no way of knowing anything for sure. It’s just the proliferation of human interpretation and there is no principled way to distinguish all the (equal?) interpretations. This is exactly why I ask my hypothetical that you seem wary to answer.

    According to their argument, if you lose AS then you lose the argument. Or maybe more accurately, if you don’t have AS you lose meaning period. There is no way to make principled distinctions between opinions and there is no way to arbitrate. So religious truth claims and metanarrative claims in general, are quaint individualized views of the world ipso facto because there is no infallible way to arbitrate. What this exercise does is demonstrate the fundamentally skeptical philosophy undergirding the argument. If we can’t have our religious knowledge infallibly, it is reducible to opinion. Even the Word of God in Scripture is not strong enough to penetrate our individualized noumenal capacities because it is still ultimately our interpretation of the phenomenal world through our noumenal lens.

    If you’re familiar with Kant you’ll notice that I’m invoking his categories to describe Bryan’s argument. I’m not asserting that the argument is Kantian through-and-through but it seems to share a number of similarities to my mind. But I’m no trained philosopher so I’ll let better minds determine whether my analysis is apt or not.

    For the time being I’m going to answer your following question very succiently,

    One thing that strikes me as essential to the very possibility of definable Christian truth is the ability to define true doctrine and heresy, and that these definitions be in some way authoritative (and hence binding) beyond the opinion of the individual. Would you agree that this necessary? (While addressing this question, let’s forget for the moment the Protestant versus Catholic debate.)

    I think that it is important for the Church to define true doctrine from heresy, but I don’t think that this requires the Church to be infallible. The Church exercises her office under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit’s guidance does not necessitate infallibility. Those at CtC have argued that without infallibility you don’t have authority to bind someone’s conscience. I get it, sort of, but I just see it to be philosophical speculation and not really connected to the history of Israel or the teaching of Scripture.

    Finally, and most importantly you asked,

    Do you mean that you do not intend to present a positive argument for Protestant epistemology, but rather focus on why Rome’s claims are so improbable?

    Again, succinctly, yes. I’m interacting with Bryan’s argument at the ground level. I’m attempting to discuss the most important aspect of his argument against Protestantism and for Catholicism, namely that “AS” is the *ONLY* way to avoid individualism.

    I’ll again invite you to investigate and read the historical arguments. I know you are intelligent based upon your interaction. Do you really find the claims of Rome even remotely plausible? Possible? Maybe. Unlikely? Very.

    I’ve always tried to give Rome the benefit of the doubt because in my theological training I was always disappointed in the presentation of Roman arguments. I’ve found Roman Catholic theology stimulating and challenging. I feel like I’ve grown intellectual and spiritual by mining the depths and sights of the Roman Church. I have many positive things to say about it and have a more positive assessment of Rome than most of my Protestant brothers.

    Yet when I consulted the historical evidence everything that Bryan and CtC argued collapsed (at least for me). Consider the arguments that Susan has agreed to (and which I believe Bryan and Andrew have agreed to as well):

    1. Peter visited Rome (speculated that he did so on multiple occasions)
    2. Peter died in Rome (seems to be acceptable)
    3. Jesus established Peter as the head of the Apostles in Mat 16 C. 33AD (highly questionable and disputed)
    4. Irenaeus c.180 AD (and in a much less developed form, Hegessipus) records an Apostolic list dating back to Peter
    5. Into the mid 3rd century we see a more universal acceptance of Peter establishing the Church in Rome.

    Bryan will argue that an argument from silence is skepticism on my part. Nothing in the early Church is inconsistent with the possibility of their being an episcopate in Rome which was established by Peter. Maybe it wasn’t clear for c. 150 years, but if you don’t believe it then you believe in ecclesial deism (a claim that is not true even if you grant Bryan’s criteria for “ecclesial deism”). The quote from SWR on Aug 7th @ 7:43 illustrates the problems inherent in claiming that Jesus founded the episcopate that claims succession from Peter today.

    This is why if you feel that Bryan has showed that the philosophical ground for religious belief is untenable, without an infallible Magisterium then you should become an agnostic because I don’t think you will find their historical claims convincing (and this is why others have identified Bryan’s apologetic as one step away from agnosticism). If you do find the historical claims convincing, then I would love to dialogue about them because I’m genuinely open to the possibility. But what I am attempting to point out is that when you actually evaluate with “principled distinction” you’ll find that the whole argument turns on the Catholic in a very vicious way.

    Perhaps you are headed in that direction. In response, I would simply point out that we are at a Catholic blog discussing polemical theology between Protestants and Catholics. There may be better answers to these questions in other forums. I’m not saying there aren’t answers, I’m just saying the sorts of answers you want may be accessible in venues more interested on the intersection between postmodern philosophy and Christian theology.

  29. SS,

    You also, continually belittle and berate the Catholic Church because sinners have existed in the Church from the time of Christ.

    In so doing, are you making an indirect claim that there are no sinners in the Messianic Jewish faith?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  30. DIDYMUS August 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm
    De Maria said
    >>>>>Just a reminder that it is not valid Apostolic Succession which must be shown (EO, OO, Anglicans, Old Catholics, and Swedish Lutherans could all potentially show that). What must be evidenced is Roman primacy. Only primacy gives one some measure of epistemic certainty. Some of the groups with AS are considered heretical or nearly so.<<<<<
    You have, once again, managed to insult every faith outside of Rome.

    Read the message again. The bolded words are Eric’s. You quoted the bolded words and attributed them to me. Mine follow in regular type.

    The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is only believed by the Roman Catholic Church ….to everyone else the Bishop of Rome is at best….”primus inter pares” ( the first among equals).

    In the Catholic Church, the Pope is first among equals. He is a Bishop, just like the rest.

    DIDYMUS August 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm
    De Maria
    Are you an RCR, Radical Catholic Reactionary

    Are you an RPR? Radical Protestant Reactionary

  31. Susan–

    1. The Sadducees were those in authority in the Temple. They were the top of the hierarchy. They rejected Oral Tradition flat out. The Pharisees held authority within the Synagogue. They were the “party of the people” as opposed to those in actual leadership.

    2. Pharisaic (which became Rabbinic) Oral Tradition was never monolithic. It described a broad path of acceptable interpretations of the Tanakh (our OT). As has been repeated many a time, place any two Rabbis in a room together, and you will have three opinions. The structure of the original Mishnah (the Oral Tradition itself) and the commentary on that Tradition, the Gemara (together making up what is called the Talmud) is similar to a conversation: an ongoing process to reach consensus. It has far more in common with Sola Scriptura than the top-down authoritarian approach of the Catholic Magisterium. The Catholic system is actually far closer to what the Sadducees would have had.

    3. The Sadducees only accepted the Torah (our Pentateuch) and disbelieved in the resurrection from the dead among other things. Jesus railed on the Pharisees partly because he was much more like them. He cared about them. Many, many Pharisees became Christian. Of course, St. Paul was one of these.

    4. Jesus himself sometimes sided with the House of Hillel and sometimes with the House of Shammai (two opposing “schools of thought” within Pharisaism).

    But if you are looking for some sort of corroboration of the Roman Catholic system of Tradition, you are barking up the wrong tree! There was nothing secretive about the Oral Tradition. Yes, it was passed on orally like Catholic Tradition, but it was also set down in written form: the first copies of the Mishnah hail from around 200 C.E.

    There is no authoritative text of Catholic Sacred Tradition, and there never will be!

  32. De Maria–

    So, Francis is no longer the Vicar of Christ but just a lowly bishop somewhere in central Italy? Just an obscure servant, ministering to his parishioners a la Bienvenu?

  33. Didymus–

    For what it’s worth, I’m pretty doggone sure none of those groups would take offense at what I said….

  34. Author: Eric
    Comment:
    Susan–

    1. The Sadducees were those in authority in the Temple. They were the top of the hierarchy. They rejected Oral Tradition flat out.

    Then how did they claim authority?

    a. You admit they were in authority in the Temple.
    b. There is no authority pointing to them from Scripture. Jesus said that the Pharisees sat on Moses’ seat.
    c. So, if they didn’t get their authority from Scripture, where did they get their authority?

    Answer: Their authority in the temple comes from Jewish oral tradition.

    The Pharisees held authority within the Synagogue. They were the “party of the people” as opposed to those in actual leadership.

    Not according to Jesus Christ.
    Matthew 23:1Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

    Do you believe Jesus Christ? Or your sources?

    2. Pharisaic (which became Rabbinic) Oral Tradition was never monolithic. It described a broad path of acceptable interpretations of the Tanakh (our OT). As has been repeated many a time, place any two Rabbis in a room together, and you will have three opinions.

    Jewish tradition is not infallible.

    The structure of the original Mishnah (the Oral Tradition itself) and the commentary on that Tradition, the Gemara (together making up what is called the Talmud) is similar to a conversation: an ongoing process to reach consensus. It has far more in common with Sola Scriptura than the top-down authoritarian approach of the Catholic Magisterium.

    Not true. The Jews did not pass out Scripture and say, “Interpret it yourself.” The Rabbinic system was set up so that people would come to the Levitical priesthood to learn the will of God. This was inherited directly from Moses:

    Exodus 18:15
    And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:

    And Moses was installed in the leadership of the Hebrew people by God:

    Exodus 19:9
    And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord.

    And this foreshadows the installment of St. Peter in the leadership of the Church:
    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.

    The Catholic system is actually far closer to what the Sadducees would have had.

    Neh. But, both the Sadduccees and Pharisees were in authority over the Jews because of Jewish tradition. But according to Jesus, the Pharisees could trace their tradition all the way to Moses.

    3. The Sadducees only accepted the Torah (our Pentateuch) and disbelieved in the resurrection from the dead among other things. Jesus railed on the Pharisees partly because he was much more like them. He cared about them. Many, many Pharisees became Christian. Of course, St. Paul was one of these.

    Perhaps. I’m not aware that anyone held a poll. Although, initially, the Scripture records more Pharisees converting to Christianity than Sadducees.

    4. Jesus himself sometimes sided with the House of Hillel and sometimes with the House of Shammai (two opposing “schools of thought” within Pharisaism).

    Jesus only took the side of truth, because Jesus is Truth. If Hillel and Shammai were right, then they sided with Jesus.

    But if you are looking for some sort of corroboration of the Roman Catholic system of Tradition, you are barking up the wrong tree!

    On the contrary, you have not a clue what you are talking about. If anyone wants to know about Catholic Tradition, my firm suggestion is that they NOT consult you.

    There was nothing secretive about the Oral Tradition.

    There is nothing secretive about Catholic Tradition. Next time you pick up a copy of the New Testament, you will have in your hands the first written version of Catholic Tradition. And even you will admit that it is infallible.

    Yes, it was passed on orally like Catholic Tradition, but it was also set down in written form: the first copies of the Mishnah hail from around 200 C.E.

    Catholic Tradition has been passed down by word and epistle since the time that the New Testament was written down.

    There is no authoritative text of Catholic Sacred Tradition, and there never will be!

    The very first authoritative written text of Catholic Sacred Tradition is the New Testament. After that, the records of the ecumenical councils are authoritative Tradition.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  35. ERIC August 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm
    De Maria–
    So, Francis is no longer the Vicar of Christ

    Yes.

    but just a lowly bishop somewhere in central Italy?

    Also true.

    Just an obscure servant, ministering to his parishioners a la Bienvenu?

    Not an “obscure” servant. But yes, a servant of the parishioners of Rome. That is his See.

    Unbeknownst to the secular media, Pope Francis is not “redefining” the office in that regard. It has always been so. The ones who redefined the Doctrine, many years ago, were the schismatic Orthodox Churches. The term “primacy” of the Pope comes from the word, “first”.

    The Orthodox and other schismatics redefined this to be only a title of honor. Whereas, from the time of Christ, this primacy has been one of authority:
    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.

    Luke 22:30-32
    King James Version (KJV)
    30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 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.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  36. But please answer the question. Why, as a gentile, don’t you have a voice in your religion?

    DeMaria,

    You have completely misunderstood me. When I say “I have no authority”, this is how I demarcate myself from denominational bodies and their members who do claim to have authority, via their confessions and creeds. This has nothing to do with being a gentile or jew! So effectively, what I am saying is that until there is a return to the unity of leadership shared between jewish and gentile elders as demonstrated in the earliest church , no individual or body can claim to have authority.

    Susan for example, keeps saying that because the protestant model offers no reassurance in leadership, it therefore must be true that the CC is the one true church. While she is correct about protestantism’s achilles heel, she fails to understand that that is a non sequitur and false dilemma. There is a third possibility beyond this, namely that the gentile church has apostasized at large and is living in unfaithfulness to one degree or another. As Brandon and others have mentioned, the record of history speaks volumes and is a motive of incredulity, not a motive of credibility that can then lead one to an assent of faith in the catholic church.

    And as I have explained, the stubborn refusal by the CC and many protestant bodies to recognize the leadership role granted to Jewish believers in the early church and the latter’s implications (instead viewing the latter disingenuously as prototypes of whatever denomination they belong to, which flies in the face of the biblical data) is another key motive of incredulity, besides the record of history.

    You also, continually belittle and berate the Catholic Church because sinners have existed in the Church from the time of Christ. In so doing, are you making an indirect claim that there are no sinners in the Messianic Jewish faith?

    I do not berate, I simply expose the leadership of the CC for what it is. From the time of Constantine down on to today’s gay lobby in the Vatican, the tree has consistently borne bad fruit, indicating what kind of a tree it is. The issue here is not that there are sinners in the church, for there will always be (as per the parable of the tares), but rather that the church’s leadership has been corrupt throughout history. I for one applaud the faithful catholics who do their jobs in abject poverty, with little to no resources, while their superiors cavort in wealth and immorality in Rome, still sitting on their ill gotten gains from the dark ages. Let’s be clear about one thing, there were no tares in the leadership of the early church. They were all godly men who had the approval and respect of everyone, even their enemies. Such is not the case today. And by the way, this is also the reason why I completely reject the protestant faith, because it was birthed in ungodly violence, a violence that continues today in its condemnation to hell for anyone who does not agree with its understanding of the faith.

    If one wants to object: well, can’t you grant that sometimes leaders might fail? Certainly, but this should be the exception and not the pattern, and even then the exception should not be tolerated or condoned. When it happens the evil should be purged immediately with irrevocable consequences for the offenders. But then again I ask Susan and all catholics, where is the evidence that this has been the praxis of the church over the course of history? It is nowhere to be found and instead what the objective reader finds is contrariwise evidence supporting the view that there has been a consistent pattern of deception and sin in the leadership, much of it fostered by an adulterous relationship with the state, in violation of Jesus’ command to give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s. You take great pleasure in pointing to the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, but conveniently fail to mention the destruction of Rome itself at the hands of German barbarians/ostrogoths. Was God punishing Peter’s church then for her failures? How about the fact that today Rome has been reduced to a tourist destination with nothing but remnants of stones and pillars for people to ooh and ah at?

  37. De Maria–

    1. The Sadducees were put in power by the Maccabees. According to Oral Tradition, they were illegitimate.

    They were in power. But they were not legitimate.

    The same could be said for many kings and priests of Israel:

    They were in power, but their power was illegitimate. It was not of God.

    As a result, his prophets blasted them. Sometimes, these prophets held no office at all. No “authority” to speak of. As far as I know, Elijah and Elisha held absolutely no institutional position. They were complete outsiders in terms of power because the North was apostate. This is the model of the OT. Faithful men come to power briefly, but soon people forget the kindness of God and rebel. Leadership goes down the tubes. They have authority, but no spiritual validity. Prophets must show the way back to the straight and narrow. Sounds kind of like dear old Luther and Calvin, doesn’t it? Most often in Scripture, those who have political or ecclesial power DO NOT have spiritual legitimacy! It pulls the rug out from under all you Catholic boasters in continuity. There is no continuity to speak of in Scripture.

    Yes, Jewish Tradition is fallible. Just like Catholic Tradition. Just like Protestant Tradition. In fact, all human tradition is fallible!

    I hate to break it to you, but Protestants don’t hand out Scripture and say, “Interpret it yourself!” So who in the heck are you talking about?

    I am unaware of any scholar who believes a single Sadducee converted to Christianity. Anything is possible, I guess. But they basically died out with the destruction of the Temple.

    I have been speaking specifically of Oral Tradition. The NT is Written Tradition. There’s no evidence that it was ever oral. The Mishnah is Oral Tradition that was eventually written down. Catholic Oral Tradition has never been written down.

    My point concerning “primus inter pares” is that the RC interpretation of that phrase and the EO interpretation do not coincide. The current Patriarch of Constantinople is considered “primus inter pares.” He received it when the Catholic popes relinquished the designation by going into schism. He does not have any direct jurisdiction over other EO patriarchs.

  38. Chair of Moses: Refuting James White’s Claims of sola Scriptura in his book The Roman Catholic Controversy
    Written by Dave Armstrong

    Reformed Baptist apologist and expert on sola Scriptura, Dr. James White, offered a two-page response to the Catholic apologetic use of Matthew 23:1-3 and Moses’ seat. I shall quote the heart of his subtle but thoroughly fallacious argument:

    “Some Roman Catholics present this passage as proof that a source of extrabiblical authority received the blessing of the Lord Jesus. It has been alleged that the concept of ‘Moses’ seat’ is in fact a refutation of sola scriptura, for not only is this concept not found in the Old Testament, but Jesus seemingly gives His approbation to this extrascriptural tradition . . .

    “The ‘Moses’ seat’ refers to a seat in the front of the synagogue on which the teacher of the Law sat while reading from the Scriptures. Synagogue worship, of course, came into being long after Moses’ day, so those who attempt to make this an oral tradition going back to Moses are engaging in wishful thinking” (White, 100).
    James White agrees that the notion is not found in the Old Testament but maintains that it cannot be traced back to Moses. That may be correct (though we are told that Moses took his seat or sat among the people to judge them in Exodus 18:13), yet the Catholic argument here does not rest on whether it literally can be traced historically to Moses, but on the fact that it is not found in the Old Testament. Thus, White from the outset concedes a fundamental point of the Catholic argument concerning authority and sola Scriptura.

    Right on, and an important and subtle distinction here by Armstrong. Indeed, Moses seat was found in synagogues during the times reflected in the Mishnah, i.e., between the 1st century BCE and 2nd century CE, and not the Old Testament. While it is a non sequitur to jump from that assessment to an approval of the CC’s claim to authority, this acknowledgement is very important to disproving the CC’s authority claim, and I will make clear why this is so, below.

  39. White then cites Bible scholar Robert Gundry in agreement, to the effect that Jesus was binding Christians to the Pharisaical law, but not “their interpretative traditions.” This passage concerned only “the law itself” with the “antinomians” in mind. How Gundry arrives at such a conclusion remains to be seen. White’s query about the Catholic interpretation, “is this sound exegesis?” can just as easily be applied to Gundry’s fine-tuned distinctions which help him avoid any implication of a binding extrabiblical tradition. White continues:

    There was nothing in the tradition of having someone read from the Scriptures while sitting on Moses’ seat that was in conflict with the Scriptures . . . It is quite proper to listen and obey the words of the one who reads from the Law or the Prophets, for one is not hearing a man speaking in such a situation, but is listening to the very words of God (White, 101).

    This is true as far as it goes, but it is essentially a non sequitur and amounts to eisegesis of the passage (which is ironic, because now White plays the role of “a man speaking” and distorting “the very words of God”). Jesus said:
    “’The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice’” (Mt 23:2?3).
    First, it should be noted that nowhere in the actual text is the notion that the Pharisees are only reading the Old Testament Scripture when sitting on Moses’ seat. It’s an assumption gratuitously smuggled in from a presupposed position of sola Scriptura.

    Armstrong is correct again, and White entirely eisegetical. Around the first century BCE there was a revolution in the world of Judaism, in that the Pharisees put forth the notion that the Scriptures and their study was the way to the knowledge of God. The Tanach became the very voice of God and the synagogue and Moses’ seat (pulpit) became the locale for the people to hear the Word of God. But it was not only the Word of God being spoken! The Rabbi who was in the line of authority from Moses held the right and authority to exegete the text and draw practical or moral conclusions from the text. This was the earliest form of doing Halacha in the Jewish Community.

  40. SS–

    Yes, but this is very much like the Lutheran tradition where the Word of God preached is to be listened to as if revealed from on high.

  41. SS said
    >>>>The Rabbi who was in the line of authority from Moses held the right and authority to exegete the text<<<<

    Rabbi's are theologians (teachers) not a line from Kohen priest. The Kohanim are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from Aaron. That is why it was permissible for Jesus to be called Rabbi.

  42. Both David Armstrong the Catholic Apologist and White are guilty of some eiesgesis in their arguments concerning Matthew 23. But nearly every man interjects some of their personal belief where scripture is not totally clear. The Karaite Jews view the Scriptures as only the Tanach whereas the Orthodox Jews still see the writings of the Rabbis’ ,which is only eisegesis, as part of their tradition.

  43. Eric and SS,

    SS, I don’t know what you are trying to prove exactly. Duly ordained elders have the right and authority to exegete the text and draw practical or moral conclusions from the text. This is particularly emphasized in the classical Reformed tradition, where it is often said that the “preached Word of God is the Word of God” (Second Helvetic Confession).

    Protestant elders have the authority to bind the conscience according to Scripture. They don’t have the authority to bind the conscience by things not taught in Scripture. The fact that many individual professing Protestants reject ecclesiastical authority does not diminish the authority of the elders; what it does is put those rejecting Scriptural teaching under God’s discipline and potential condemnation.

    That Jesus said do what the Pharisees say and not as they do because they sit on Moses’ seat proves Roman Catholicism is a non sequitur, as you have noted. But its also a non sequitur to go from that to saying the principle of sola Scriptura is wrong. Christ was by no means saying do everything that the Pharisees say, otherwise He would have never condemned their teaching! The individual believer still had some role in evaluating what the rabbi said. He could not say, “well the rabbi told me to do it” as an excuse for obeying false teaching from the rabbi.

    What Jesus is saying is that the rabbis (roughly equivalent of today’s church elders in terms of function) had authority, but it was not an absolute authority. When they taught things that contradicted the Word of God, they were to be rejected. That was Jesus’ entire point in condemning the Pharisees for giving people burdens that they could not bear.

    Church leaders have real authority insofar as the make judgments according to Scripture. Individuals in a society where there is freedom of religion are free to accept or reject those judgments. That doesn’t diminish the authority of those judgments when they are correct; it brings potential eternal condemnation on the heads of those who reject them.

    So I guess my question for you is, what do you think is going to be achieved if everybody gathers together for a Jerusalem council and can agree to visible reunification? When the new body has authority again is it going to be absolute? Is it going to be infallible? Is there a guarantee that it will not err? Something tells me that you would answer no to those questions because the whole reason why there is division in the first place is that the church did err and create all sorts of divisions (including your oft-lamented division between Jews and Gentiles in the church).

    To answer no to these questions is to stand essentially as a Protestant.

  44. ERIC said

    >>>>>For what it’s worth, I’m pretty doggone sure none of those groups would take offense at what I said….<<<<<

    You presume too doggone much.
    Why do you think outside of the Western and Eastern Catholic Church no one has chosen to be in full communion with Rome?
    That is with exception of some isolated renegrade anglican churches in the northeastern US [which is similar to the Eastern Catholic Church who broke from the EO] who have special dispensation from Rome.

  45. Eric, and everyone else

    Only the RCC , exegetes Matthew 16:18 as Petros being The Petra. The protestant and orthodox faiths see Jesus Christ as The Petros, both Cornerstone and Foundation, upon which the Holy Spirit builds the Church.
    To further define the orthodox view, which I myself and Reformed pastor, Tim Keller, prefers to be labeled rather then evangelical.

    Worldwide, the apostles founded the majority of Churches in the Eastern world (and only two in the West). It was from the East (not from Rome) that the original apostles and Paul were sent out with the Gospel. The West was not a center of the early Christian movement – it was the “mission field”! For over 1,000 years, with the exception of Rome, all the major centers of Christian belief were found in the East – in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch and Constantinople.
    All the fundamental and essential dogmas regarding the faith were formulated and defended in the East:
    • Christ being “of the same essence” with the Father;
    • Christ is fully God and fully human;
    • The Holy Spirit is a divine Person;
    • The nature of the Trinity.
    The first schools of Biblical interpretation, Antioch and Alexandria, were in the East. Their perspectives of interpretation still influence much of our understanding of the Scriptures today.
    The East was the site for all the Ecumenical Church Councils (that is, the first seven from 325 to 787 A.D.) which formulated doctrines which Christians of all orthodox traditions accept as normative. The overwhelming majority of the bishops present at those councils were Eastern as well.
    The Roman Catholic Church broke from the Eastern churches in 1054 A.D. largely over the issue of the encroaching authority of the Roman Pope by the western church. The eastern churches consistently rejected this encroachment for 1,000 years of Christian history (and continue to today). The Orthodox Church does not have a single leader. It is organized into “jurisdictions” following national and historic lines, based on the early Church model of conciliar church leadership seen in the Book of Acts (Chapter 15). Each group is governed by synods (councils of bishops) who have equal authority and who do not interfere in one another’s affairs. The Patriarch of Constantinople is known as the “Ecumenical” (or universal) Patriarch, and since the schism has enjoyed a position of honor among the Orthodox communities. But, he does not have the right, for example, to interfere in the internal affairs of other churches. His position resembles that of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Anglican Communion.

  46. Didymus,

    What Rome does not seem to understand is that her continuing arrogance is among the single biggest reasons why the visible church continues to be divided. Instead of moving in a more conciliar direction at Vatican I, they make the pope infallible in certain circumstances. Instead of humbly admitting that the major theological foundations of the church, particularly the Nicene Creed, were not laid by the Roman bishop (there was NO ONE from Rome at Constantinople in 381 AD), they come in later say that those councils got it right because the pope later said they did.

    Its always been interesting to me that while Rome talks a good game about apostolic succession, they don’t even follow the model of apostolic succession taught in the early church.

  47. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    I don’t take the academy seriously in terms of their analysis of the beginnings of Christianity. My point was simply that when it comes to deciding the historicity of each claim to being the “church Christ founded,” we are on our own. There simply is no purely objective answer. The c2c crowd is seriously deluded. They use personal preference to decide. As do we. As do you. We are all in the same epistemological boat.

    I somewhat agree with you, but with the caveat that your point holds true only so long as we examine factual systematics (such as historical studies) in isolation. But once we admit that there is a Natural knowledge which precedes and transcends said factual systematics, then the Protestant and Catholic approach to these facts are in separate epistemic boats entirely.

    You are correct that all science (historical, physical, biological, etc.) are dependent upon interpretation. Facts do not exist apart from a determination made by a determiner (per Eddington’s “The Fisher and The Net” parable). IOW, facts are always theory-laden.

    In this way, scientific truths are just as much constructed as they are discovered. Facts are a participative reality. If this had been more widely understood during The Galileo Affair (both by the arrogantly triumphal Galileo and by some of the more uptight of his opponents), much needless controversy could have been avoided. Aside from Galileo using his systematic to subvert Biblical veracity (which was the real locus of the conflict from the get-go), there was never any real scientific kerfuffle. From a factual or scientific POV, Galileo’s systematic was neither more nor less correct than that of his Ptolemaic opponents (“motion” and “rest” having no literal meaning which is not also relative), and a preference for either system is a function of personal disposition rather than a function of absolute truth.

    But this recognition eaves us with one important question: “Is there no strata of Natural truth, no mode of Human knowing, which precedes fact?” Protestantism’s answer seems to ‘no’, whereas the Catholic answer is ‘yes’. Catholics believe that Natural Man can know the truth and goodness of his own nature, a knowledge which precedes and transcends factual knowledge. (AFAIK, Judaism doesn’t have a tradition of metaphysical skepticism, so I find SS’s dismissal of philosophy as “gobbledegook” to be puzzling.)

    And since historical data only becomes fact once it has been interpreted, if you insist upon a positivistic historical hermeneutic, then (barring an acceptance of aforementioned Natural metaphysical knowledge) you will always find a way to remain skeptically indifferent to the Catholic Motives of Credibility. (IOW, if you hadn’t disbarred Natural metaphysical knowledge, you wouldn’t have to hedge your bets upon a fideistic illumination, discontinuous with Nature, to break your epistemic impasse with regard to Supernatural Revelation.)

    And so, in saying that we are “in the same epistemological boat” with regard to factually abstract systematics, you are failing to account for Catholics’ affirmation of prior metaphysical knowledge. IOW (and at the risk of being labeled a ‘Caller’), you are “begging the question”.

  48. Wosbald,

    What color is the sky in your world?

  49. Didymus–

    I said that no one would take offense at what I actually said. They may take offense at what they THINK I said, but that is another matter altogether….

  50. Robert,

    Wait, you believe that there was apostic succession… to be redundant….. “after” the last apostle died, but then it came to a halt at some point that nobody can pinpoint? And more than that, you concede that succession was definately taught?

    This is what you said:”Its always been interesting to me that while Rome talks a good game about apostolic succession, they don’t even follow the model of apostolic succession taught in the early church.”

    Are you fooling with us?

    Susan

  51. Susan,

    I’ll speak more precisely:

    From the time of Irenaeus on, the early church in the main held to a view of apostolic succession of bishop to bishop of laying on of hands. This model of apostolic succession was one of true collegiality, with Rome at best being first among equals and not with the charism of infallibility or primacy of jurisdiction. The modern Roman doctrine of the papacy contradicts those things. I would say that it is the Eastern Orthodox who are most true to the the idea of apostolic succession found in those early years. I don’t think the concept is the mark of the church, but I acknowledge that many early fathers held to it.

  52. Wosbald–

    It’s kind of hard to account for “Catholics’ affirmation of prior metaphysical knowledge” when I have little clue what that means. Best I can tell, Catholics must not either. Google “prior metaphysical knowledge” and one gets exactly one entry dealing with Catholic thought.

    At first blush, it sounds like some sort of Catholic version of the “burning bosom” in Mormonism.

    Care to illuminate us on what the heck you were trying to say?

    By the way, the Galileo fiasco was just a clash of scientific paradigms, one on its way out and one on its way in. He got in trouble with the Church hierarchy because they WERE the scientific establishment and as such, were committed to the old paradigm.

  53. Susan–

    I’ll do Robert one better: it really doesn’t matter if the chain goes all the way back to Peter. Collegiality and fallibility and conciliarism are engrained into the early church. Primacy and hegemony are 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

  54. Susan–

    A slowly boiled frog cannot pinpoint when to jump out of the heated water. That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t have leapt out of the pot somewhere along the line. (Supposedly, they’ll sit there and boil until it’s too late.)

    Calvin believed the last good pope to have been Gregory the Great….

  55. Eric,

    Come back and have the last word if you like, but you know, I just wasn’t sure that my Confessionally Reformed Church was teaching truth or not….I just had no certainty about it. If pastors would only sit on a stool up there at the pulpit and just read straight from Holy Scriptures, I’m sure that they couldn’t mess that up, but they don’t do that, they expound and I began to got worried, because I knew they had a presupposition that their formularies were right, but no way to know for sure. I began to doubt that they were good theologians if their training was strictly Reformed systematics; they might as well have gone to school at Calvary Chapel Bible College if they were doing theology ad hoc. This isn’t how one faithfully does theology….and I got scared…..so I jumped into the pot.

    The world is extremely confusing, and call me crazy or weak, but I couldn’t handle a myriad of competing opinions and so on a fools errand, I sought out on a quest for religious certainty. It’s an illegitmate endeavor you say, but hey I’m old fashioned and honestly believe there is such a thing as truth. From your angle, you could say( and do say) I did what any good protestant would do wanting the truth and faced with a plethora of choices. I used scripture, prayer and the best power my little brain can muster. I took all the right steps. God is a rewarder to those who seek Him, and He knows that I sought Him with my whole heart.

    Susan

  56. Author: SS
    Comment:
    But please answer the question. Why, as a gentile, don’t you have a voice in your religion?

    DeMaria,

    You have completely misunderstood me. …..

    I don’t think so. When you say, “as a gentile” that says “because I’m not of Jewish heritage”. So, if I misunderstood, it is because you misspoke.

    I do not berate, I simply expose the leadership of the CC for what it is.

    You’ve done nothing of the kind. You’ve simply bought that old anti-Catholic propaganda. What you have exposed however, is your dismal understanding of true church history. And the lack of historicity of your denomination.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  57. ERIC August 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm
    De Maria–
    1. The Sadducees were put in power by the Maccabees. According to Oral Tradition, they were illegitimate.

    You were arguing that the Jews had no oral tradition, remember? Now you’ve made a complete 180.

    They were in power. But they were not legitimate.

    Says who?

    The same could be said for many kings and priests of Israel:
    They were in power, but their power was illegitimate. It was not of God.
    As a result, his prophets blasted them.

    The Prophets passed down God’s message. And God was only concerned about their sinfulness.

    Sometimes, these prophets held no office at all. No “authority” to speak of. As far as I know, Elijah and Elisha held absolutely no institutional position.

    They were prophets of God most high. Appointed by God to speak His Word.

    They were complete outsiders in terms of power because the North was apostate. This is the model of the OT. Faithful men come to power briefly, but soon people forget the kindness of God and rebel. Leadership goes down the tubes. They have authority, but no spiritual validity. Prophets must show the way back to the straight and narrow. Sounds kind of like dear old Luther and Calvin, doesn’t it? Most often in Scripture, those who have political or ecclesial power DO NOT have spiritual legitimacy! It pulls the rug out from under all you Catholic boasters in continuity. There is no continuity to speak of in Scripture.

    There is no continuity for those who fall from grace. The Jews were told what would happen to them:
    Deut 11:27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:

    28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

    We also know what will happen to the Catholic Church. Christ has already told us the end of the story:
    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.

    Eph 5: 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

    Revelation 21:2
    And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

    Yes, Jewish Tradition is fallible. Just like Catholic Tradition. Just like Protestant Tradition. In fact, all human tradition is fallible!

    But the Tradition of the Catholic Church is the Word of God and therefore, infallible.
    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,

    I hate to break it to you, but Protestants don’t hand out Scripture and say, “Interpret it yourself!” So who in the heck are you talking about?

    On this very website, Catholics have repeatedly been told, by Protestants, that no one needs the Church to interpret Scripture.

    I am unaware of any scholar who believes a single Sadducee converted to Christianity. Anything is possible, I guess. But they basically died out with the destruction of the Temple.

    Ok.

    I have been speaking specifically of Oral Tradition. The NT is Written Tradition. There’s no evidence that it was ever oral.

    Yes there is. It is the Tradition of Jesus Christ which He deposited with the Church. The Catholic Church has continued to pass down His Traditions in written and oral form since then.

    The Mishnah is Oral Tradition that was eventually written down. Catholic Oral Tradition has never been written down.

    Yes, it has. In Scripture and in the ecumenical councils , in catechisms and in other documents.

    My point concerning “primus inter pares” is that the RC interpretation of that phrase and the EO interpretation do not coincide. The current Patriarch of Constantinople is considered “primus inter pares.” He received it when the Catholic popes relinquished the designation by going into schism. He does not have any direct jurisdiction over other EO patriarchs.

    The Catholic popes have never relinquished the designation. It is still true today. The Pope is the “first of equals” and that is designation of authority as well as honor.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  58. DIDYMUS August 8, 2013 at 8:32 am
    Eric, and everyone else
    Only the RCC , exegetes Matthew 16:18 as Petros being The Petra. The protestant and orthodox faiths see Jesus Christ as The Petros, both Cornerstone and Foundation, upon which the Holy Spirit builds the Church.
    To further define the orthodox view, which I myself and Reformed pastor, Tim Keller, prefers to be labeled rather then evangelical…..

    Sooooo, you’re Protestant and Orthodox? But don’t you believe in Sola Scriptura? When did the Orthodox switch to that doctrine?

    It sounds like all you think you need to do is rewrite history and abracadabra, it is done.

    I’ll stick with the Tradition which was passed down by Christ through the Catholic Church to this very day:
    2 Peter 1:15-21
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
    19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
    20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
    21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  59. Eric,

    Thank you for your concern and your kind words. I can’t speak for Joey, but while I am willing to discuss the broad issue in general with anyone else, I cannot do so any longer with Jonathan. He has been called out for His behavior by many others online, including Steve Hays and the other writers at Triablogue and James White. Every other place where he has “dialogued” with Protestants, he gets extremely defensive when his argument is exposed for what it is and starts calling names. He then starts taking detours and throws out accusations of Nestorianism based on his own idiosyncratic reading of the church fathers. Anyone who points out where he is not spouting the official Roman Catholic line or where he is not reflecting the thought of the average Roman Catholic is labeled a bigot and a hatemonger, and he slanders the names of honest scholars, teachers, and pastors such as John Frame and R.C. Sproul. Anyone can follow him on this thread and elsewhere on line to see that it happens in nearly every case.

    I recognize that I may at times have spoken in an untoward manner, and for that I apologize. But I cannot deal with someone who throws out personal insults and then later denies that they were personal. I cannot deal with someone who, once they have been refuted or answered competently by several people, has to result to calling people jerks and bigots because he can’t deal with the fact that not everyone thinks their arguments are sound or consistent. That is not honest debate.

    We all can get heated. We are talking about eternal things. I have gone out of my way to give him the benefit of the doubt, as I think the threads show.

    The topic is an interesting one and worth discussing. I’m willing to do so with anyone else, Roman Catholic, Protestant, EO, or whatever tradition we can attribute to SS. Just not with Jonathan any longer.

  60. De Maria,

    The Logos, the Word, and the word made flesh is infallible. Sola Scriptura affirms this belief. Aristotilean thought is the metaphysics by which the Western church, both the RCC and Protestant faiths, is the common mechanism to derive their respective theology.

    The exegesis of scripture, in the mind of most in the Western Church, is predicated to some extent by an agreement among some consesus of saints. The body of consensus is different for protestsnts and the RCC. The “lone wolf” exegeting scripture by himself is permissible under the priesthood of the belierver but is not confounded in the dogma of sola scriptura.

    I believe that the scriptures advise both in one seeking a multitude of counselors and how one can use the scriptures to profit a man in Godly living.

  61. ROBERT August 9, 2013 at 7:18 am
    Eric,
    Thank you for your concern and your kind words. I can’t speak for Joey, but while I am willing to discuss the broad issue in general with anyone else, I cannot do so any longer with Jonathan. He has been called out for His behavior by many others online, including Steve Hays and the other writers at Triablogue and James White. …

    Yeh, yeh, yeh. Everywhere I go on the internet, when a Catholic starts holding sway over Protestant inanities, the Protestants start talking to each other like little kids in a playground. Urging each other to shun the Catholic because he’s proved them wrong from Scripture, Tradition, history and every other form of argumentation.

    Go lick your little wounded feelings. Jonathan has proved all of you wrong and you can’t stand it.

    Keep up the good work, Jonathan!

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  62. Robert said:

    ROBERT August 9, 2013 at 7:18 am
    Eric,
    The topic is an interesting one and worth discussing. I’m willing to do so with anyone else, Roman Catholic, Protestant, EO, or whatever tradition we can attribute to SS. Just not with Jonathan any longer.

    Really? Is this your website? Shouldn’t it be up to Jason if anyone is shunned on this board?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  63. Both the Catholic and protestant faiths makes permissible areas of non-consensus in theology. Those areas being the Mysteries of Faith [mysterium fidei].

    The First Vatican Council re-affirmed the existence of mysteries as a doctrine of Catholic faith as follows:
    If any one say that in Divine Revelation there are contained no mysteries properly so called (vera et proprie dicta mysteria), but that through reason rightly developed (per rationem rite excultam) all the dogmas of faith can be understood and demonstrated from natural principles: let him be anathema”.

    Those outside looking in on Christianity [Jews, Muslims, Hindi, Shinto and other ancestor faiths] find the Western Aristotelian churches’ God oppressive and find it easier to embrace the God of the EOC and the OOC.

  64. DIDYMUS August 9, 2013 at 7:27 am
    De Maria,

    Wow?! Someone is still talking to me. I’ll know I’m in Jonathan’s league when people start talking about me and stop addressing me.

    The Logos, the Word, and the word made flesh is infallible.

    Agreed.

    Sola Scriptura affirms this belief.

    Agreed. Scripture also teaches that the Church is infallible:
    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,

    Aristotilean thought is the metaphysics by which the Western church, both the RCC and Protestant faiths, is the common mechanism to derive their respective theology.

    Nope. Catholic Theology is based upon the Teachings of Jesus Christ. Aristotalean thought is merely a helpful tool to understanding some portions of it.

    The exegesis of scripture, in the mind of most in the Western Church, is predicated to some extent by an agreement among some consesus of saints. The body of consensus is different for protestsnts and the RCC. The “lone wolf” exegeting scripture by himself is permissible under the priesthood of the belierver but is not confounded in the dogma of sola scripture.

    Are you explaining the Protestant mindset? Catholics do not exegete Scripture in a manner independent of the Church. Jesus Christ deposited His Faith in the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church wrote that down in the New Testament and continues to pass down the Faith of Christ by Tradition and Scripture to this day.

    I believe that the scriptures advise both in one seeking a multitude of counselors and how one can use the scriptures to profit a man in Godly living.

    That is true. But the New Testament Scriptures were written by the Church precisely for those purposes. Note that in 2 Tim 3:16, the Scriptures are PROFITABLE for the TEACHER to use to bring a man of God to perform good works. The Scriptures are therefore, not alone. No one is supposed to pass out Bibles and say, “Hey, come to your own conclusions.” That is basically what Protestants do.

    Jesus established a Church and said:
    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.

    And the Apostles understood that disciples and believers must accept the Teaching of the Church, without question:
    Hebrews 13:17
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  65. ERIC August 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm
    Susan–
    A slowly boiled frog cannot pinpoint when to jump out of the heated water. That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t have leapt out of the pot somewhere along the line. (Supposedly, they’ll sit there and boil until it’s too late.)

    Its still not too late for you. You can jump out of the Protestant pot as soon as you want. The Catholic Church is still in the business of converting sinners to the Faith of Jesus Christ.

    Calvin believed the last good pope to have been Gregory the Great….

    Scripture says:
    1 Corinthians 4:5
    Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

    So, I guess thats another Scripture that Calvin ignored.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  66. De Maria,

    You do a marvelous job using scripture to disprove protestantism. Of course many protestants will say rather, that you are proof texting to support a Catholic paradigm. They could say this, but they would never really know. They lack the “mechanism”, as Michael Liccione calls it.
    I wonder if they will see the irony. This is exactly why I came to believe the Catholic Church is who she says she is.
    I will not gloat, for by the grace of God go I. I do pray that these men, Robert, Eric, SS, Didymus,Joey, Brandon, and any that I’ve missed will come to see the beauty and fullness of the Church Christ Himself founded.

    P.S. Can you link me to your blog? I thought that I saw somewhere back that you had one.

    To Everyone,
    I would love to see the faces of you all. You are not symbols on a screen, you are beautiful human souls. Would you please create gravitars so I can see real faces?

    I’ve grown to like you men, even though some of you are sometimes caustic, *often illlogical*, and a couple of times, crude. I liked it that Eric’s Catholic niece was changing his baby’s diaper, and that he says that he would slap anyone down for hurting the Catholic’s that he loves. I know what you mean; my entire family are Calvinsts. I adore my family and I adore the truth. I don’t like division, but neither will I tolerate either one being abused. I hope that in the future there will be less anti-Catholic remarks.

    Above all love each other deeply because love covers a mulitude of sins.

    Susan

  67. Susan,

    I don’t know if you’ve answered this. There have been a lot of comments and I may have missed it.

    What is your principled reason for being able to distinguish between the Roman Catholic Church as the infallible, God-appointed body that Christ founded and not the Eastern Orthodox, the PCA, the Missouri Synod Lutherans, the Antioch Orthodox, or any other similar body?

  68. I can’t speak for Joey, but while I am willing to discuss the broad issue in general with anyone else, I cannot do so any longer with Jonathan. He has been called out for His behavior by many others online, including Steve Hays and the other writers at Triablogue and James White. Every other place where he has “dialogued” with Protestants, he gets extremely defensive when his argument is exposed for what it is and starts calling names. He then starts taking detours and throws out accusations of Nestorianism based on his own idiosyncratic reading of the church fathers. Anyone who points out where he is not spouting the official Roman Catholic line or where he is not reflecting the thought of the average Roman Catholic is labeled a bigot and a hatemonger, and he slanders the names of honest scholars, teachers, and pastors such as John Frame and R.C. Sproul.

    The common theme is that anti-Catholic bigots don’t like me. As to the issue of Nestorianism, I am following the latest scholarly opinion on this subject, something none of these anti-Catholics do. And as I said, one can easily look up Perry Robinson to see him making the exact same arguments, having come to Eastern Orthodoxy from Reformed Christianity. Truth is truth, regardless of who says it. Here’s that crazy Reformed philosopher Paul Helm on Calvin’s view of the communicatio idiomatum:
    “It followed from this rule that the language of the communicatio , though sanctioned by Scripture, is nevertheless figurative, metaphorical or ‘improper,’ whenever it occurs. And in this respect at least Calvin’s view concides with that of Nestorius [citing J.N.D. Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines].”

    I’m not defensive about my arguments; they speak for themselves. I’m defensive about the slanders, misrerepresentations, and other personal attacks on Catholics, which you have hardly ceased from directing at me.

  69. Robert,

    Ok, I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. This subject is tedious and nuanced and people like Michael Liccione, Bryan Cross, and Neil Juditsch(sp?), have probably spent hour fine tuning their arguments. I think I should pay them respect, and give to you the same article that I read.
    It comes down to the question of intepretive authority.

    Here’s a quoted synopsis, for the full understanding read the article again. http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/05/the-tu-quoque/#identifier_3_4868

    “Even though every Protestant confession has Scripture as its material source (i.e. that from which its authors draw), yet for anything in the confession that is not an exact re-statement of Scripture itself, the more it has merely human judgment mixed within it, with no guarantee of divine protection from error, the more it is merely a human judgment, i.e. a human opinion. In other words, because Protestant confessions were crafted by mere humans not having divine authorization, to the degree they go beyond an exact re-statement of Scripture, they are essentially human opinion”

    “No Protestant confession has the authority to bind the conscience, precisely because no Protestant confession has divine authority; each has only human authority. Even Protestant confessions state that they cannot bind the conscience”

    “The confession has no interpretive authority, because the individual is not required to conform to the confession.”

    “For this reason, neither a Protestant confession nor parts of it can bind anyone’s conscience; at most it is merely a record of what some people find or have found in their reading of Scripture to be the only way they can in good conscience interpret Scripture”

    The Catholic on the other hand…
    “….does not merely find an interpretation in which the Church has apostolic succession; he finds this very same Church itself, and he finds it to have divine authority by a succession from the Apostles”

    “The basis for the authority of the Church he finds **is not its agreement with his own interpretation** of Scripture, history or tradition”

    THEREFORE, “The tu quoque objection does not apply to the reader who through the Scriptures discovers Christ, because in discovering Christ such a reader is not picking as an ‘authority’ something that conforms to (or agrees with) his own interpretation of Scripture”

    And that’s the difference.

    Susan

  70. Susan,

    I’ve read the article, but the conclusion holds no weight. When I read the Bible I discovered Christ and a religion that is far different from Roman Catholicism. What is the principled reason why my discovery is illegitimate and the Roman Catholic’s is not? That’s the question that needs to be answered.

  71. Robert,

    “When I read the Bible I discovered Christ and a religion that is far different from Roman Catholicism.”

    There’s your problem. You think everything must comes out of scripture, but the church logically precedes scripture. Why is this so hard to grasp. This is a necessity.
    If you’re Reformed and happen to be in a congregation that receives communion every Lord’s Day, and you speak to a Calvary Chapel person who thinks it needs to be practiced less because it is so special, how do you tell him that he is mistaken and that it should be celebrated every Sunday? Of course there are Reformed congrgations that receive once a month or bi-weekly.
    The EO celebrate daily and so do the Catholics. Do you see a principled way to solve these differences?
    Is your view the biblical one? Tell me yes or no, if you are a Calvinist is the Lutheran of the Lord’s Supper wrong or if you are Lutheran, is the Calvinist view wrong.

    Give me a definate answer.

  72. Author: Susan
    Comment:
    De Maria,

    You do a marvelous job using scripture to disprove protestantism.

    Thank you.

    Of course many protestants will say rather, that you are proof texting to support a Catholic paradigm.

    That’s true. When I first started out practicing apologetics on the internet, they used to say, “Its not in the Bible.” Now, they want me to stop interpreting the Bible. Of course, they want to continue to do both. They claim they only believe the Bible. But when you show them that their beliefs are not in the Bible, they don’t drop them. They hold on for dear life.

    That shows me that its not really the Bible they care about. They want to do what they want to do and then justify it by twisting the Word of God. As the Scripture says:

    2 Peter 3:16
    As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

    They could say this, but they would never really know. They lack the “mechanism”, as Michael Liccione calls it.
    I wonder if they will see the irony.

    Its astounding to me that they don’t. Because the frequently accuse me of being wrong in my interpretation.

    This is exactly why I came to believe the Catholic Church is who she says she is.
    I will not gloat, for by the grace of God go I. I do pray that these men, Robert, Eric, SS, Didymus,Joey, Brandon, and any that I’ve missed will come to see the beauty and fullness of the Church Christ Himself founded.

    As do I. As the Scripture also says:
    Revelation 3:16
    So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

    None of these men seem luke warm to me. So, there is hope.

    P.S. Can you link me to your blog?

    WordPress doesn’t permit it. However, the first part of the url is =>http://washedsanctifiedandjustified.blogspot

    And you just add => .com <= to the end.

    Anytime I put my blogspot link anywhere in a message or in the box above, my message gets kicked out into cyberspace, never to be seen again.

    I thought that I saw somewhere back that you had one.

    Yes, I do. Its not like this one. I’m not very good at writing extended lessons. So, I just review the daily Mass readings and copy some of the rebuttals I’ve made to anti-Catholic rhetoric. But I do get a few clicks every now and then.

    To Everyone,
    I would love to see the faces of you all. You are not symbols on a screen, you are beautiful human souls. Would you please create gravitars so I can see real faces?

    I’m afraid I promised my wife I would never do that. And in twenty years on the internet, I never have.

    I’ve grown to like you men, even though some of you are sometimes caustic, *often illlogical*, and a couple of times, crude. I liked it that Eric’s Catholic niece was changing his baby’s diaper, and that he says that he would slap anyone down for hurting the Catholic’s that he loves. I know what you mean; my entire family are Calvinsts. I adore my family and I adore the truth. I don’t like division, but neither will I tolerate either one being abused. I hope that in the future there will be less anti-Catholic remarks.

    Above all love each other deeply because love covers a mulitude of sins.

    Amen. Well said.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  73. Susan,

    Revelation births the church, and Scripture is the written account of this revelation. What you are assuming is that there is an oral tradition flawlessly preserved that contains things not in Scripture. But what RC says is in tradition does not align with what EO says, which does not align with what AO says.

    Leaving aside sola Scriptura for a moment, and even Protestantism in general. All of the traditions I just mentioned believe in a strong view of oral tradition. What is your principled reason for choosing Rome over the EO or the AO? If you are wrong, you are part of a schismatic body, and that is quite serious. What is your principled reason for distinguishing truth from opinion in picking among these different bodies?

    (I believe the Reformed are right on the Lord’s Supper and the Lutherans are wrong, and just so you know, I grew up Lutheran, attended my First Communion classes in the Lutheran church, and was confirmed a Lutheran.)

  74. Robert,

    Ok great, I’m going to answer with the hope that you are sincere and have goodwill towards me and really want to know how a person picks from among those that claim AS. Maybe not how everyone figures it out but we will have overlap.

    For one I consider the the NT period and the gathering together of 12 and the growth at Pentacost and all establishes an ecclesial community that needed coherence, and it wasn’t until the early part of the 10th century that the East and West split. But considering that there are no real doctrinal disputes, I consider that the Church looked and behaved pretty much like the Eastern church does today. It looks to be trapped in a timewarp preserving a universal identity prior 1100.
    It was unaffected by the Reformation so this is also a clue to what it looked like. The liturgies, the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass, the devotion of Mary, prayers to the Saints, are all set in amber, if you will. The Western Church still shares these things.

    I see that the EO, to be able to remain in schism might have needed to deny the Petrine Supremacy, but since I don’t really know its reason for denying that there had to be a way to adjudicate doctrinal differences, my idea is only hypothesis. “Schism” however, implies that unity is the ideal. Perpetual schisms are bad and needs a corrective, and the only way is an appeal to sola scriptura, something that the EO don’t hold to, or find out who gets to adjudicate. But the gulf between Rome and the EO is nowhere the same as between Protestants and the EO and Rome together.
    So I hypothesize that they denied the Petrine Office just a Protestants do, to create their own authority.Which leads me to another point.
    True religion must be identifiable to any one seeking truth, and if a seeker has to know Church history, ancient Hebrew, and Greek to find the truth, this isn’t easy for the mass of people that God surely wants to save and bring to the knowledge of truth.

    Anglicans,we all know they are basically the state church so that King Henry VIII could get his divorce, but again it looks more Catholic than Protestant, and denies that the Thirty-Nine Articles are meant to be a Confession of Faith, but more like a Creed.
    Is this what you meant by AO? Sorry I’m not familiar with those initials.

    So I think in a linear way, while also holding a literal interpretation of Matt. 16:18 and others. I figure if AS ever existed, and the term came into popular use somewhere down the line, then it must have signified a concept applicable to the state of preserving teaching. AS is the only thing that can determine theological truth from theological opinions.

    Susan

  75. Robert,

    If I assume the Church, you bet I believe in its teaching’s being flawlessly preserved! You trust that those who wrote the gospels and epistles were in the Church and that they faithfully told us what happened and what things Jesus said, so what’s the problem? That is why I am Catholic!
    Robert, the church birthed the scriptures. If that body died away and what they believed and practiced are not in existence today the best we got is a book, an inspired book ,but no one to testify to its inspiration. And that would mean that the gates of hell did prevail against His Church. Ever seen “The Book of Eli”
    But this is not the case, God preserved his Church and its 2000 yrs old!

    Susan

  76. Author: Robert
    Comment:
    Susan,

    Revelation births the church,

    That is a good point of contrast Robert. Its also a good example of how you believe that which you imagine.

    Because anyone can read the New Testament and see that the Church wrote the New Testament. The Church was born before the New Testament was written because the Church wrote the New Testament.

    Christ didn’t write the New Testament and then establish the Church. He established the Church, commanded the Church to teach His commands and then

    and Scripture is the written account of this revelation.

    Yes it is. But it didn’t write itself. And Jesus didn’t write it. Nor did God. Nor the Angels. The New Testament was written by the Catholic Church.

    What you are assuming is that there is an oral tradition flawlessly preserved that contains things not in Scripture.

    You know that isn’t true. The Doctrines of the Catholic Church are all in the Bible, explicit or implied.

    Why do you keep making that false accusation Robert? Why can’t you debate honestly? I’ll tell you why, because you know that the truth supports the Catholic Church.

    But what RC says is in tradition does not align with what EO says, which does not align with what AO says.

    Then the EO and the AO are wrong. It is the Catholic Church which received the Deposit of Faith directly from Jesus.

    Leaving aside sola Scriptura for a moment, and even Protestantism in general. All of the traditions I just mentioned believe in a strong view of oral tradition. What is your principled reason for choosing Rome over the EO or the AO?

    The primacy of the Pope which can be traced back to the installment of St. Peter as the leader of Christ’s Church.

    If you are wrong, you are part of a schismatic body, and that is quite serious.

    But we are not.

    What is your principled reason for distinguishing truth from opinion in picking among these different bodies?

    The Word of God. The Bible describes the Catholic Church.

    (I believe the Reformed are right on the Lord’s Supper and the Lutherans are wrong, and just so you know, I grew up Lutheran, attended my First Communion classes in the Lutheran church, and was confirmed a Lutheran.)

    Then its about time you discarded all those errors and turned to the Pillar of Truth. The Catholic Church.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  77. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    Wosbald–
    It’s kind of hard to account for “Catholics’ affirmation of prior metaphysical knowledge” when I have little clue what that means. Best I can tell, Catholics must not either. Google “prior metaphysical knowledge” and one gets exactly one entry dealing with Catholic thought.
    At first blush, it sounds like some sort of Catholic version of the “burning bosom” in Mormonism.
    Care to illuminate us on what the heck you were trying to say?

    What I am saying is that the knowing intellect of Natural Man participates in Being (i.e. the intellect is ordered to the True). Man’s intellect truly knows its Object, even if this knowing is dark and incomplete. This preeminence of the Intellect is the ground of knowing which prevents everything from being lost in an epistemic fog of interminable “interpretation”. This is the foundation of “pure objectivity” upon which well-founded factual interpretations can be built. On such a foundation, there is no need to try to locate a “pure objectivity” in facts themselves, and thus, no temptation to despairingly fall into a skepticism when this proves to be untenable. Man’s Intellective Vision may not know its Object in totality (Man does not even know His own Nature in totality), but what knows, he, nonetheless, knows in truth.

    So in a nutshell, all I’m saying is that Man knows certain truth by Nature and, thus, that he can preemptively rule out of court any proposition which would contradict this. So, I reject the notion that we are lost in a cycle of endless interpretation. Since the interpretation and judgement is made by a Knowing Being, there is the possibility of interpreting and judging rightly. A man may see rightly, or he may see wrongly. But your position (at least, AFAICT) seems to equate to him not being able to see at all.

    The Catholic Church makes claims. Investigate them. Make a judgement, even at risk of judging wrongly (I trust that your conscience will be clear). But don’t cop out with, “Well, we just can’t know…”

    (Again, if that’s not what you’re saying, then please feel free to correct the record.)

  78. Susan–

    I also believe that there is such a thing as what Francis Schaeffer called True Truth. But I must be hard-wired differently from you. I believe we are to work to find that truth. That it is a quest we have been appointed to which does not allow for short cuts. You cannot find a ready-made answer on the back of a Catholic cereal box (no secret “decoder ring” inside, no “mechanism” or special “little blue pill,” no liver shivver or “burning bosom”). I feel called to the quest by the Spirit within. I never feel like copping out, like those who would look to the back of the book for the answers to the odd-numbered math problems rather than just doing their homework. It’s exciting. It never feels the slightest bit futile. I learn more and more each day as the Spirit guides.

    The amount of theology shared by Catholics and Protestants is at least 80%. The amount shared by those who accept the standard Reformed formularies is well over 95%. When people bemoan the “thousands of Protestant denominations,” I honestly wonder about their sanity. When you leave to one side the many liberal, basically non-Christian denominations, and the plethora of denominations clearly deciding things on a subjective, ad hoc basis (such as most Charismatic groups), one is mostly left with the confessional Protestants, and there is barely an ounce worth of difference between them.

    The Jason Stellmans and the Bryan Crosses of this world compare the regenerate mind guided by the Holy Spirit with the unregenerate will of the unbeliever and pronounce them equal. “It is wrong,” they declare, “to figure these things out for oneself.” Why are they so pessimistic concerning our ability to cooperate with the Holy Spirit? Just because many undoubtedly go down misguided rabbit trails, doesn’t mean that the straight path isn’t clear.

    I’ll write more later…crying babies to attend to!

  79. ERIC August 10, 2013 at 12:56 am
    Susan–
    I also believe that there is such a thing as what Francis Schaeffer called True Truth.

    Why does it take Francis Schaeffer to tell you such a thing, don’t you believe Scripture?

    John 14:6
    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:….

    But I must be hard-wired differently from you. I believe we are to work to find that truth. That it is a quest we have been appointed to which does not allow for short cuts. You cannot find a ready-made answer on the back of a Catholic cereal box (no secret “decoder ring” inside, no “mechanism” or special “little blue pill,” no liver shivver or “burning bosom”).

    Aside from your appeal to ridicule, where is it written that God did not provide us a short cut to His Truth? As for me, I believe the Word of God which says:
    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.

    Therefore I know that it is the Catholic Church which teaches the Truth of Jesus Christ. And the Word of God also says:
    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,

    So, go ahead and keep searching on the back of cereal boxes. I’ll lean upon the Word of God taught by the Catholic Church.

    I feel called to the quest by the Spirit within.

    Its not the Holy Spirit leading you away from Christ. Its a totally different spirit.

    I never feel like copping out, like those who would look to the back of the book for the answers to the odd-numbered math problems rather than just doing their homework. It’s exciting. It never feels the slightest bit futile. I learn more and more each day as the Spirit guides.

    Judging by your answers here, you’re learning all the wrong things. Set aside your pride in self and lean not upon your own understanding. Your self pride will lead to your destruction.

    The amount of theology shared by Catholics and Protestants is at least 80%. The amount shared by those who accept the standard Reformed formularies is well over 95%. When people bemoan the “thousands of Protestant denominations,” I honestly wonder about their sanity. When you leave to one side the many liberal, basically non-Christian denominations, and the plethora of denominations clearly deciding things on a subjective, ad hoc basis (such as most Charismatic groups), one is mostly left with the confessional Protestants, and there is barely an ounce worth of difference between them.

    I’m not sure what you just said. Do you not bemoan the fact that Protestants have taken the Word of God and twisted it until it is unrecognizable? Protestantism is a many headed hydra, the spawn of Satan.

    The Jason Stellmans and the Bryan Crosses of this world compare the regenerate mind guided by the Holy Spirit with the unregenerate will of the unbeliever and pronounce them equal. “It is wrong,” they declare, “to figure these things out for oneself.” Why are they so pessimistic concerning our ability to cooperate with the Holy Spirit? Just because many undoubtedly go down misguided rabbit trails, doesn’t mean that the straight path isn’t clear.
    I’ll write more later…crying babies to attend to!

    That is not how I interpret their message. They don’t say it is wrong to try to do it yourself. But like the Catholic Church, they advise, “why are you trying to reinvent the Wheel which Christ established 2000 years ago? Because that is all you, all of you non-Catholics, are trying to do. You are second guessing Christ. You are looking at what He did and claiming you can do it better. Because it is Christ who established the Catholic Church. And when you reject the Catholic Church, you reject Christ.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  80. Jonathan,

    I would concede that Calvin could be viewed with having some thoughts/ideas that can be shared with Nestorius and his view of the “Impassibility of Christ’. Nearly all the Chalcedonians [even Cyrillus] had thoughts/ideas that mirrored those of Nestorius during their arguments against monophytetism.

    The Impassibility of Christ, Christology, and the Creation of Man Attest to my earlier perspective of the Mysteries. I again say most all views of Christlogy are Schizophrenic.

    When Chalcedonians repulsed at the Idea that the Logos Suckled at the Virgin’s breast, and that the Logos had to be assisted by Angels, and that The the Imutability of the Logos could be altered by human passion all are linked to Nestorians thoughts and Ideas.

    So, Jonathan, I would dare say most men have some common thoughts/ideas with Nestorius

    De Maria
    How does man divorce himself from the “tools used” to write Scripture when God utilized inspired men to use those same tools to document Special Revelation. God did not write the scriptures Himself, aqnd He did not create Zombies of Inspired men.

  81. Susan,

    I just want to make sure you understand the Protestantism that you rejected because it seems to me that you may be overextended the arguments that even Bryan and others at CtC are making.

    You say,

    If that body died away and what they believed and practiced are not in existence today the best we got is a book, an inspired book ,but no one to testify to its inspiration. And that would mean that the gates of hell did prevail against His Church. Ever seen “The Book of Eli”
    But this is not the case, God preserved his Church and its 2000 yrs old!

    As a Protestant, this comment is loaded with assumptions which we reject, which would completely alter your conclusion. So just for the sake of clarification I want to point out where I think you may be able to refine your understanding of Protestantism.

    If all we have is “an inspired book,” which both sides agree is God’s Word spoken to us, that seems like quite a bit to have. It’s not just an “inspired book.” It is the very Word of God spoken to us and for our edification. By it the man of God is “equipped for every good work.” Scripture is more than an inspired book, it is God’s Word spoken to you. I don’t think you’ve given proper weight to the significance that has.

    Again, as a Protestant, I’m puzzled by your comment that the Church would have fallen to Satan if there were not an infallible interpreter of God’s Word. Could you flesh out why you believe this to be the case? From where I am sitting, it appears to read quite a bit into Jesus’s promise. Protestants affirm that the gates of Hell will never overcome the Church, but we do not believe that this must necessarily entail an infallible Magesterium.

    You then seem to argue that Protestants cannot affirm that Christ’s kingdom has not stood for 2000 years. We all affirm that it has. But again, you possess that assumption that you must affirm that the Church of Rome has existed for 2000 years in order to believe in Christ’s promise. But why? I don’t find any reason in the biblical or historical record to come to such an assumption.

  82. Brandon,

    I don’t think you’ve given proper weight to the significance that has.

    How do you know she hasn’t?

    (You departed rather abruptly from Andrew’s Apostolic Succession thread on CTC; I am still awaiting your response to my comment #212 in that thread, from June 12. Thanks!)

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  83. The Church has existed since the Only Begotten, its’ Head, to claim it is only 2000+ years old is to say Abraham, ELijah, and the OT saints were not part of the church.
    So with that said, AS, defines only a ssmall portion of the “True” Church.

  84. Bryan,

    Based on her comments. I tried to explain that to her in my subsequent comments. Based on her comments, how do you know that she has?

    WRT to the AS thread over at CtC I think that it has run its course. I don’t feel that anything that I have raised has been substantively dealt with. I originally began asking questions because I was curious and began pushing back when the answers that I got were unsatisfactory. I’m not sure why, but you’ve uncharacteristically mischaracterized and misunderstood me so many times that I don’t care to invest the time any longer. Much of your comment in 212 has to do with a rabbit trail that K Doran started and you ran down as well. You also wanted to go down the rabbit trail of the sacrament of ordination and were exceedingly difficult when I tried to discuss the “plausibility” of Rome’s claims.

    I’ll allow others to judge whether or not the sacrament of ordination or Peter Lampe’s perspective on Christianity in Rome have anything to do with your argument that Jesus established the RCC because Peter may have gone to Rome on multiple occasions, may have died there, and may have been given a special office among the Apostles. If that is evidence you are presenting as “materially evident,” a word which is not dependent on Andrews intention, but a word with concrete specific meaning, then this argument is false. If you are saying that bishops ordaining bishops is materially evident I’m willing to concede this, but this has nothing to do with substantiating the claim that Jesus founded the RCC. But that is not what Andrew is arguing. He is arguing that bishop-to-bishop ordination with connection to the bishop of Rome is “materially evident” as being Apostolic. Such a claim is untrue, as I have demonstrated.

    I think that I’ve gotten the information that I need. I also think both of our cases have been documented for others to see. If others determine that what I’ve presented is flawed, then I ask that they pray for me. I’ll do the same for you.

  85. Even within the, Liber Pontificalis, the BIshop of ROme has succession issues, when you look at the Magesterium and the Apostolic Succession it represents the chasm widens. Of theis is a problem with all churchs who base their “legitimacy” on AS. I want to take the modern phrase, “Whose your Dadddy?” and ask all the Bishops. THen we can see if AS is genetically confered as the Kohen priesthood.

  86. Brandon,

    Based on her comments. I tried to explain that to her in my subsequent comments. Based on her comments, how do you know that she has?

    I never made any claim about how much thought Susan has put into it. However, I do think the ‘you-haven’t-put-enough-thought-into-x-because-you-didn’t-reach-the-conclusion-I-reached’ tactic should be called out for what it is.

    I don’t feel that anything that I have raised has been substantively dealt with.

    Which claim or piece of evidence do you feel was not substantively addressed?

    I’m not sure why, but you’ve uncharacteristically mischaracterized and misunderstood me so many times

    What, exactly, have I mischaracterized or misunderstood, concerning your position?

    I’ll allow others to judge whether or not the sacrament of ordination or Peter Lampe’s perspective on Christianity in Rome have anything to do with your argument …

    I think that they would have been able to do that, whether or not you “allowed” them to do so.

    your argument that Jesus established the RCC because Peter may have gone to Rome on multiple occasions, may have died there, and may have been given a special office among the Apostles.

    I’ve never made that argument. If you wish to represent me accurately and truthfully, you should just quote the arguments I actually provide. The point that K. Doran and I raised was not a rabbit trail, and I would be glad to explain why, if you disagree.

    He is arguing that bishop-to-bishop ordination with connection to the bishop of Rome is “materially evident” as being Apostolic. Such a claim is untrue, as I have demonstrated.

    Where, exactly, can I find this demonstration?

    If others determine that what I’ve presented is flawed, then I ask that they pray for me. I’ll do the same for you.

    I agree that mutual prayer is essential, and I’m thankful for your prayers on my behalf. But I also think that our conversation (on CTC) was only at the very initial stages, that we had only barely scratched the surface of evaluating the available evidence and argumentation.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  87. DIDYMUS August 10, 2013 at 7:57 am

    ….

    De Maria
    How does man divorce himself from the “tools used” to write Scripture

    That’s a strange question? It sounds like a straw man since I never said that man “divorced himself from the “tools used” to write Scripture. Therefore, since you are making that objection, you need to answer that question.

    when God utilized inspired men to use those same tools to document Special Revelation.

    God first inspired holy men of the Church to preach and teach His Word. Then He inspired those holy men of the Church to write Scripture.

    It is Protestants who divorce the holy men which God inspired from the Word of God which He inspired them to preach. In short, Protestants divorce the holy men of the Church from Sacred Tradition. And then, Protestants divorce the Sacred Tradition which God inspired the holy men to preach from the Sacred Scripture which God inspired the holy men to write.

    Protestantism is the religion of divorce in more ways than one.

    God did not write the scriptures Himself, aqnd He did not create Zombies of Inspired men.

    You are making nonsensical statements such as those in an effort to draw attention away from the real argument which Protestant theology can’t handle. The fact that the New Testament was written on the basis of the Tradition of Jesus Christ which He commanded the Church to Teach. You are the only one who has mentioned Zombies.

    And the fact that you are trying to ridicule the Catholic position by comparing holy men of the Church to Z0mbies highlights the fact that Protestants have too much pride to ever submit to the Teaching of God through the Church:

    Hebrews 13:17
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  88. De Maria,

    You read too literally my statement concerning ‘tools “. The issue of Scriptures inspired for the church is not something that is held by only the RCC but by all Christians. The cultural term, albeit modern, zombie, implies that God did not cause the nature and person of man to change to become inspired. It was never intended to insult the RCC or any Christian. Your statement that my use of the term zombie is a strawman is like saying Jesus’ teaching in the parables were all strawmen because He never called the characters by a name [except Lazarus in the story with the rich man in hell, which many would call a legitimate parable].

    Literal interpretation of scripture and the blindness to literary devices is one reason that the RCC warns against individual interpretation of Scripture and you have successfully defended the point by example.

  89. Ok great, I’m going to answer with the hope that you are sincere and have goodwill towards me and really want to know how a person picks from among those that claim AS. Maybe not how everyone figures it out but we will have overlap.

    I am sincere, and I have nothing but goodwill toward you. At the same time, you have to know that I believe you have been led down a path that does not really do for you what you think it does.

    For one I consider the the NT period and the gathering together of 12 and the growth at Pentacost and all establishes an ecclesial community that needed coherence, and it wasn’t until the early part of the 10th century that the East and West split. But considering that there are no real doctrinal disputes, I consider that the Church looked and behaved pretty much like the Eastern church does today. It looks to be trapped in a timewarp preserving a universal identity prior 1100.

    First, I agree that the ecclesial community needs coherence. What has to be proven is the coherence requires the same home office. That is essentially what Roman Catholicism is telling us, especially groups like CTC and individuals like you who put so much emphasis on the necessity of the papacy. The Eastern Church is different and has much more of a collegial view of authority.

    Second, there are significant doctrinal disputes between Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy. First is the papacy. Second is purgatory. Third is the doctrine of salvation—the East is not fond of Anselm’s satisfaction view. Fourth is the filioque (Spirit proceeding from Father AND Son) clause the Western church inserted into the Nicene Creed. There are others.

    It was unaffected by the Reformation so this is also a clue to what it looked like. The liturgies, the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass, the devotion of Mary, prayers to the Saints, are all set in amber, if you will. The Western Church still shares these things.

    True to a point. There was an essentially protestant Patriarch of Constantinople—Cyril Lucaris—who introduced a confession of faith that was essentially Calvinistic. Later he was murdered, and there were not too many bishops in the East that were sad about that. As far as I know, the Eastern and Western liturgies are very different. The East’s theology of icons is also unique in comparison to the West.

    I see that the EO, to be able to remain in schism might have needed to deny the Petrine Supremacy, but since I don’t really know its reason for denying that there had to be a way to adjudicate doctrinal differences, my idea is only hypothesis. “Schism” however, implies that unity is the ideal. Perpetual schisms are bad and needs a corrective, and the only way is an appeal to sola scriptura, something that the EO don’t hold to, or find out who gets to adjudicate. But the gulf between Rome and the EO is nowhere the same as between Protestants and the EO and Rome together.

    It depends on what you mean by denying the Petrine Supremacy. The East would be happy to affirm Rome as first among equals. But the key part of that phrase is equals. The East does not deny that there has to be a way to adjudicate doctrinal differences. For them it is the first seven ecumenical councils which are held, essentially, to be infallible. The Bishop of Rome had almost no role at the first three of these. No one from the West was at the first council of Constantinople in 381 AD when the Nicene Creed as we have it today was formally established.

    The Reformed believe there has to be a way to adjudicate doctrinal differences, we just deny that the authority that does this must be infallible. The Westminster Confession of Faith tells us that it is the responsibility of synods and councils to settle matters of religion. As Eric has pointed out, the only significant difference between the Reformed confessions is on the issue of who are the proper subjects of baptism. Other than reserving the sacrament only for adults, the London Baptist Confession and the WCF are basically identical.

    So I hypothesize that they denied the Petrine Office just a Protestants do, to create their own authority.

    The EO don’t deny the Petrine office, they just deny that it belongs to Rome alone and that the pope has a charism of infallibility. On this they are reflecting what the earliest Christians affirmed. Protestants agree with this.

    I don’t deny the Petrine office. The church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, like Paul says in Ephesians 2. The question is, what is the Petrine office and does it continue? You only lay a foundation once. To pass on the apostolic office as Rome and the East want to do gives us a church that is always laying its foundation in every generation.

    No less a Reformed theologian than Sinclair Ferguson affirms that Peter has a special and foundational role. He said so to me and other students in a course on ecclesiology. Peter was the first to confess Christ, the first to preach after Pentecost, and the first to preach to Gentiles. His importance can scarcely be ignored. But it’s one thing to recognize a foundational role for Peter, and quite another to say that this means His role is passed on without significant change merely by the laying on of hands, that there is a charism of infallibility that successors get with it, that his successor is the symbol of Christian unity, that his successor is the Vicar of Christ, and nearly everything else associated with the modern papal office. Those are all things not recognized in the early church except for, by and large, the Bishop of Rome himself—and then only later, starting really with Leo the Great, and even he did not go so far. That is one reason why East and West remain divided.

    Which leads me to another point. True religion must be identifiable to any one seeking truth, and if a seeker has to know Church history, ancient Hebrew, and Greek to find the truth, this isn’t easy for the mass of people that God surely wants to save and bring to the knowledge of truth.

    Okay, I can basically agree with this. I might be reading into this, but it seems that the implication is that Protestantism is too hard to figure out and that you need to know church history, Hebrew, and Greek to get there. If this is so, I don’t know what Protestant you were listening to. This is certainly not something Dr. Riddlebarger would affirm. I suppose that it is more common to reference the Hebrew or Greek in Protestant sermons than in RC homilies, but if you get from that reality that one must know these things to understand the Bible, then with as much kindness and respect as I can, I have to say that you were not paying attention as a Protestant.

    Roman Catholicism is far more complex. You have to know church history backwards and forwards to become Roman Catholic because you have to answer for the serious breaks in the line of Rome’s bishop. At one point in history there were three popes, and no one living under those popes had any way to determine who was the real pope and who wasn’t. A special council had to be called to figure it all out. So much for the pope being the symbol of unity.

    Until very recently, one had to know Latin in order to understand what was being said and taught in the mass. The current Roman Catholic Catechism has something like 3,000 points to understand. Rome produces no infallible list of infallible decrees, so you have no way of knowing for sure what is infallibly true and what isn’t. On this very site, Jonathan denies that all of what Vatican I says about papal infallibility and its basis is infallible, and he limits the infallibility to the definitional statement. Wosbald wants to take the whole thing as infallible. Since the advent of Pope Francis, both Jason Stellman and Bryan Cross have produced lengthy posts explaining how he wasn’t really opening up the doors to heaven for atheists. That kind of defeats the whole infallibility and perspicuity thing for the pope.

    Theology is a complex science on both sides, but to really grasp the ins and outs of Roman Catholic dogma, one must be well-versed in Aristotelian thought and the history of philosophy. The definition of papal infallibility is so narrowly defined and qualified that hardly anyone can make sense of when the pope is speaking infallibly and when he isn’t, even Roman Catholics. Fifty years after Vatican II, and people are still arguing about the meaning of so much of this supposedly infallible ecumenical council. Jason points this out even in this blogpost.

    Rome makes things much muddier and then tells its people, essentially, that you don’t have to understand all these things. Just believe what we say and make sure you go to Mass as much as possible. It basically tells us that religion is far too confusing for you simple people to figure it out, let us do the hard work for you. But that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible tells parents to teach their children the law. This assumes that every parent can do that no matter their level of education.

    Now, I can understand to a point how people look at Protestantism and then think that unity is impossible. Part of that is the problem with Protestantism having become a catch-all sociological definition and not a theological one. Basically, anyone who does not identify as RC or EO is labeled a Protestant. There are even many who want to lump Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Protestant group.

    As Eric noted, if you take confessional Protestants as a whole, the disagreements are not very significant and are no more significant than the differences you get between different Roman Catholic theological traditions (such as the Thomists vs. the Molinists). The Reformed, Baptists and Presbyterians alike, have about 95 % in common. There is about 90% overlap with Lutherans and Anglicans and even Methodists. Even if we lump in the nondenominational bodies and charismatics in, the theological unity is there. Except for some far out groups, all would agree on the Trinity and that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone.

    This business of tens of thousands of Protestant denominations that differ radically from one another is dishonest and simplistic. I’m not saying you are dishonest but that those who promote it to get people to question Protestantism are. This number comes from adding in all the various cultic groups, independent churches, and so on into the pot. Well, if Roman Catholic apologists have the right to do that, then I have the right to include all of the Roman Catholic denominations that are not in union with the current pope in the category of Roman Catholics. By the same standards that one uses to get thousands of different Protestant groups, I get hundreds of Roman Catholic groups: the Old Catholic Church, the American Catholic Church in the United States, the Antiochian Catholic Church in America, and many others.

    Anglicans, we all know they are basically the state church so that King Henry VIII could get his divorce, but again it looks more Catholic than Protestant, and denies that the Thirty-Nine Articles are meant to be a Confession of Faith, but more like a Creed.

    Is this what you meant by AO? Sorry I’m not familiar with those initials.

    Sorry for not being clear enough. AO is the Antioch Orthodox Church, which says the rightful pope is the bishop of Antioch because Peter founded the church there.

    So I think in a linear way, while also holding a literal interpretation of Matt. 16:18 and others. I figure if AS ever existed, and the term came into popular use somewhere down the line, then it must have signified a concept applicable to the state of preserving teaching.

    AS is the only thing that can determine theological truth from theological opinions.

    Well, I hold to a literal interpretation of Matthew 16:18. What I don’t accept is that the literal interpretation gives a special office with a charism of infallibility to Peter and his successors in Rome. That was certainly not the view of the early church fathers. Cyprian didn’t think Rome had any right to mess around in his diocese. Rome played almost no role in the earliest councils. Many fathers interpreted “this rock” as Peter’s confession. The keys of the kingdom were given to all the apostles.

    Having said all that, what I’m trying to do is get you to see that the claims you and Rome are making fail at the core. What is the principled way that I know AS is the only way to determine theological truth from theological opinion? How do I know that this statement you made: AS is the only thing that can determine theological truth from theological opinions is not your mere theological opinion or just the theological opinion of a bunch of people?

    And finally, thank you for giving me a basic outline of how you determine which claim to Apostolic Succession is the right one. In sum, though, it confirms what I have been saying: You make your choice finally based on your reading of the evidence. Protestants do nothing different. We all make our choices based finally on our own reading of the evidence. Some readings of the evidence are better than others, yes. But the Roman Catholic stylings of CTC are playing a game. If it is so important to have a principled way (AS) to separate theological truth from mere opinion you need to have a principled way to separate one claim to (AS) from another. You don’t have that apart from bare fideism: Rome is the true claimant to AS because Rome is the true claimant to AS.

    There is no infallible principled way (of the same nature of the infallible Roman Magisterium) available to me to separate truth from opinion in choosing the communion that can distinguish opinion and truth. So the CTC argument fails. The only logical alternative to the radical skepticism they promote to get people to question themselves and Protestantism is atheism. They’re asking questions that Rome itself can’t answer.

  90. Susan,

    That last post by me is for you.

  91. Bryan,

    This will be my last response until I have time to potentially revisit the issue. You said,

    I do think the ‘you-haven’t-put-enough-thought-into-x-because-you-didn’t-reach-the-conclusion-I-reached ’tactic should be called out for what it is.

    This is a straw-man and assuming the worst about me. I think that her comment show that she hasn’t properly valued God’s Word. I’m not sure which logical fallacy you’re referring to, but it’s not helpful to make up logical fallacy when you don’t like someone’s argument to counteract it.

    Then you said,

    Which claim or piece of evidence do you feel was not substantively addressed

    Is there plausible evidence that Jesus established the RCC church? I listed four reasons (and later added a fifth, adding the later testimony of the church) I asked for further evidence and there was none that was given to my satisfaction. To preempt your comment, I understand that this is my opinion.

    You continue,

    I think that they would have been able to do that, whether or not you “allowed” them to do so.

    This is an example of being difficult that I addressed. You know that is not the intent of my comment. I can’t judge your motive, but it comes off very condescending and uncharitable.

    I’ve never made that argument. If you wish to represent me accurately and truthfully, you should just quote the arguments I actually provide. The point that K. Doran and I raised was not a rabbit trail, and I would be glad to explain why, if you disagree.

    I would be interested to see the historical evidence you have to offer then. I’ve attempted in multiple places to lay it out.

    The rabbit trail was attempting to focus on a comment on made in #37 where I mentioned that I find Lampe compelling for the best udnerstanding of Roman Christianity, but that has nothing to do with Andrews argument. I was attempting to understand it and interact with it. My agreement with Lampe has nothing to do with the post. I wanted to see what evidence you had to make *your* claim plausible and you wanted to discuss my mention that I find Lampe’s position persuasive. Your site wrote and hosted an article and I am questioning its credibility on the criteria being presented alone. In an academic review, the person spends time critiquing the position at hand, not creating their own case. There is a time and place for that, but not in a review of someone’s work. Your attempt to shift the burden to the person questioning your argument is at best ineffective for meaningful dialogue and at worst an attempt to obfuscate the issues because of the weakness of the position.

    Where, exactly, can I find this demonstration?

    In the article. Let me quote Andrew directly for you,

    Ordination by the laying on of hands is clearly Apostolic; ordination by those who have been ordained to ordain is the prevailing practice in the Church throughout history; the college of bishops in communion with the bishop of Rome (as a point of emphasis) is a materially evident and historically continuous thing (which Catholics call “the Magisterium”), being a touchstone of orthodoxy as witnessed by the history of the Ecumenical Councils and the writings of the Church Fathers. [4] The objections to Apostolic Succession, by contrast, are built upon conjecture about periods or areas for which we do not have much evidence, some possible exceptions to the rule of mediate ordination (e.g., the early Christian prophets), and (less theoretically) the experience of many Christians in ecclesial communities that lack sacramental Apostolic Succession but nonetheless enjoy an authentic life of faith and good works in some sort of communion with other like-minded communities. [5]

    The claim to being materially evident is directly related to the Apostolic ordination and all those bishops being in communion with the bishop in Rome. Again, if Andrew’s argument is that it occurred later, then I can live with that. But that’s not how the argument was presented. As such, any attempt to argue that a perpetual Petrine office existed in Rome is definitively not “materially evident.”

    Finally,

    I agree that mutual prayer is essential, and I’m thankful for your prayers on my behalf. But I also think that our conversation (on CTC) was only at the very initial stages, that we had only barely scratched the surface of evaluating the available evidence and argumentation.

    If that is the case, then I would again request your prayers. As it is, I don’t think that the claims of Rome are credible and therefore I think that the conversation has reached its climax. If Rome is not the Church that Christ founded then I think we can both agree that the entire project at CtC is futile. Of course, you do not believe that it is, and I encourage you to continue working and producing articles to prove otherwise. But in terms of the current discussion, I think that if I can get to a point where I think Rome’s claims are false, that concludes the discussion. Again, I covet your prayers and will keep you in mine.

  92. DIDYMUS August 10, 2013 at 11:16 am
    De Maria,
    You read too literally my statement concerning ‘tools “.

    If you say so.

    The issue of Scriptures inspired for the church is not something that is held by only the RCC but by all Christians.

    Your phrasing is difficult to understand. Are you using another metaphor? It is true, the Scriptures were inspired for the Church. But that is only a manner of speaking. To say that the Scriptures were inspired is shorthand for the fact that holy men of the Church were inspired to preach. And then, they wrote the Scriptures:

    2 Pet 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

    The cultural term, albeit modern, zombie, implies that God did not cause the nature and person of man to change to become inspired.

    Really? Which culture uses the term “zombie”? Hollywood “B” movie culture? Here’s what I think. I think you’ve been watching too many horror movies.

    It was never intended to insult the RCC or any Christian. Your statement that my use of the term zombie is a strawman is like saying Jesus’ teaching in the parables were all strawmen because He never called the characters by a name [except Lazarus in the story with the rich man in hell, which many would call a legitimate parable].

    Apparently, you don’t know what is a “straw man” argument. You used the term “zombie” and implied that you were arguing against something I said. I never used the term “zombie”, therefore,

    a. you are arguing against your own made up argument when you make that argument, or…
    b …you are describing the holy men which God inspired to write the New Testament as zombies.

    Your reference to what Jesus said or did is a “red herring” argument to draw attention away from your errors.

    Literal interpretation of scripture and the blindness to literary devices is one reason that the RCC warns against individual interpretation of Scripture and you have successfully defended the point by example.

    Lol! No. Your poor grasp of the English language is what you have exhibited by example.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  93. @Eric:

    But I must be hard-wired differently from you. I believe we are to work to find that truth. That it is a quest we have been appointed to which does not allow for short cuts. You cannot find a ready-made answer on the back of a Catholic cereal box (no secret “decoder ring” inside, no “mechanism” or special “little blue pill,” no liver shivver or “burning bosom”). I feel called to the quest by the Spirit within. I never feel like copping out, like those who would look to the back of the book for the answers to the odd-numbered math problems rather than just doing their homework. It’s exciting. It never feels the slightest bit futile. I learn more and more each day as the Spirit guides.

    My background is in physics, and I don’t see things any differently than you in this regard. But it starts with a proper scientific method; there have to be principles that make the quest something other than futile. In no scientific field would one ever start from scratch. One would always understand all that had been learned before based on true principles of inquiry.

    That a good part of how I would explain that Catholicism is reasonable. I would never waste time trying to learn physics from astrologers or magicians. I would find the people whose theories had proved enduring over the ages based on true principles of inquiry, and I would learn from them first. That’s just a basic matter of what anyone reasonable ought to do, and the inquiry led by the Spirit builds on the same principles. To put it another way, truth doesn’t contradict truth, so the Spirit would never lead us in a way that didn’t make sense or spur us to have faith in anything for no reason. Blind trust is simply being gullible, and God doesn’t want us to be gullible, because that disrespects our God-given intellect.

    I would not have an architect who did not understand mechanical engineering to design my house. And while there are ranges of possible designs, they all have to be designed based on the principles of mechanical engineering to avoid collapse. There’s nothing different with theology. You look for people who built houses that didn’t collapse. The ecumenical councils essentially document how people’s theological houses have fallen down in the past. And that’s not a question of how I personally I am certain that what they did is correct; I may not even understand the principles of architecture to be able to check their work. What I need to know is that there is such a thing as sound architecture, and I have no business entrusting my house to someone who doesn’t follow it. When we talk about “Tradition,” we don’t necessarily mean “a collection of enumerated doctrines” but rather a set of principles governing the actions of the Church that can be used to derive such doctrines.

    That’s what Newman had in mind when he said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.” If you take that perspective alone and simply engage in what you would usually do in assessing competence, it is not a hard answer. The Antiochene school, very analogous to the modern grammatical-historical method, was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council. The condemnation of Theodore of Cyret reads as follows: “If, then, anyone shall defend this most impious Theodore and his impious writings, in which he vomits the blasphemies mentioned above, and countless others besides against our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and if anyone does not anathematize him or his impious writings, as well as all those who protect or defend him, or who assert that his exegesis is orthodox, or who write in favour of him and of his impious works, or those who share the same opinions, or those who have shared them and still continue unto the end in this heresy: let him be anathema.” In other words, they didn’t just condemn his conclusions, but even his method for interpreting Scripture in such a way as to allow them.

    Some people don’t understand why I am concerned about the issue of Nestorianism, but that is essentially it. It shows that these theologians are no real architects, that they build houses that fall down. The only Reformed school that has something even close to a correct theological method is Barth, and even he has problems. The rest of them are, from a theological perspective, worthless. They are building houses to collapse.

    The real problem is that it’s just not Catholics who say this; it’s the united witness of the orthodox West and the orthodox East. In other words, literally everyone who can trace their theological method back to the conciliar era condemns imputed justification and sola scriptura. That’s essentially everyone who has ever successfully built a house in history saying “that thing is going to fall down, and I already see the cracks forming.” So if you come in without the expertise in architecture, and some guy says that he didn’t accept the “traditional” ideas of forces and gravity, would you trust him because he seemed like a good guy and what he said seemed right to you?

    That’s essentially the problem with Brandon’s analogy. Outside of the Church, the Bible really *is* just a book; it is the Word of God *only* because it is the Church’s book. If you don’t understand the principles, the book is going to be useless, just like someone who doesn’t understand basic mechanics isn’t going to be able to learn from an architecture book. For me, Protestant theologians are nobodies from the perspective on conciliar orthodoxy; they are not (small-c) catholic Fathers who have received the acclamation of the universal Church.

    Speaking of which…
    @Brandon:
    I have no idea how Lampe is responsive to apostolic succession at all. The only thing he responds to is the idea of a monarchial bishop, specifically as applied to Rome, and his conclusions are essentially neutral about the succession part. Even if it were a council of elders, there was still a sacramental endowment of Eucharistic authority.

    At best, this would mean that the idea of jurisdiction over a city was developed, and even that doesn’t address the question of doctrinal apostolic succession. That’s the part I don’t get. Even if Lampe is right, so what? He doesn’t prove what you’d need to prove.

  94. Brandon,

    In your comment of August 10, 2013 at 8:38 am, you claim to Susan “I don’t think you’ve given proper weight to the significance that has.” You give no argument showing that she has not given “proper weight” to the significance of having Scripture in common. And by default, without such an argument, the only reason remaining is that she didn’t reach your conclusion. A more helpful approach is to lay out the argument showing (1) what is the proper weight to give, and (2) where her position falls short of that proper weight.

    You had written:

    I don’t feel that anything that I have raised has been substantively dealt with.

    I replied, “Which claim or piece of evidence do you feel was not substantively addressed?” You then replied:

    Is there plausible evidence that Jesus established the RCC church? I listed four reasons (and later added a fifth, adding the later testimony of the church) I asked for further evidence and there was none that was given to my satisfaction. To preempt your comment, I understand that this is my opinion.

    Apparently, it wasn’t some claim or piece of evidence that I failed to address. Rather, it was that you didn’t get a satisfactory level of evidence in response to a request for evidence. Ok, but notice that you have switched from the objective, to the subjective. You want evidence that *satisfies* you, whereas the more important question is not is there enough evidence to satisfy Brandon, but does the evidence support the Catholic position, or does it support some other position even more. Imagine a similar approach to Christ’s resurrection – wanting a level of evidence “satisfactory” to me, and getting only sufficient evidence to show His resurrection.

    This is an example of being difficult that I addressed. You know that is not the intent of my comment. I can’t judge your motive, but it comes off very condescending and uncharitable.

    I merely pointed out an instance of sophistry. Sophistry seeks to turn attention from the arguments, to the audience, and implicitly appeals to the crowd (as you did). Yes, it can be difficult and uncomfortable to have one’s sophistry pointed out. But genuine dialogue *is* difficult.

    Your attempt to shift the burden to the person questioning your argument is at best ineffective for meaningful dialogue and at worst an attempt to obfuscate the issues because of the weakness of the position.

    I never attempted to “shift the burden of proof.” Rather, I only asked you to substantiate the positive claims *you* made. If you’re going to engage in a dialogue, and you want to make positive claims, you have to expect to be asked to provide evidence for them. Moreover, my request for you to substantiate *your* positive claims was in no way a denial that I am responsible (and Andrew is responsible) for defending the positive claims *we* make and made. So there was no attempt to “shift” the burden of proof.

    You wrote:

    Such a claim is untrue, as I have demonstrated.

    I replied, “Where, exactly, can I find this demonstration?”

    And then you proceeded to quote from Andrew’s article. But, when I ask, “Where, exactly, can I find this demonstration?,” I’m asking for the location of your demonstration that Andrew’s claim is “untrue.”

    As it is, I don’t think that the claims of Rome are credible …

    I wish I knew what you meant by ‘credible.’ On the face of it, ‘credible’ means believable. But if that were all you meant, then your claim would be self-evidently false, because there are people who believe them. So you must mean something else. And if you mean something merely subjective (i.e. that you, Brandon, can’t believe them), then ok, but then in that case, why switch from the objective question to the subjective question? Whether *you* are capable of believing them is just not the important question; the question is whether they are true.

    and therefore I think that the conversation has reached its climax. If Rome is not the Church that Christ founded then I think we can both agree that the entire project at CtC is futile.

    Indeed.

    Of course, you do not believe that it is, and I encourage you to continue working and producing articles to prove otherwise.

    It is patronizing to presume without cause that people are low on courage, and to “encourage” them. (Yes, I know you mean well.)

    But in terms of the current discussion, I think that if I can get to a point where I think Rome’s claims are false, that concludes the discussion.

    What is so strikingly odd about this statement is how you seemingly recognize no obligation to engage in dialogue with those who hold what you believe to be false beliefs about the Catholic Church. From what you say here, it seems that if you come to believe that their beliefs are false, then the conversation is over. Does this apply to all persons whose beliefs you think are false, or only Catholics? Don’t you think charity requires a bit more on your part? (i.e. perhaps reaching out in kindness to those you believe to be misled, and helping them out of their deception?)

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  95. Jonathan,

    Lampe’s work shows that the claims of an episcopate established in Rome are unlikely. But you’re right about one thing, it has nothing to do with Andrew’s article.

    Bryan,

    Sometimes engaging in dialogue with you is truly exasperating. I want to believe that you are attempting to seek mutual understanding but such responses from you seem to indicate that you are only interested in winning.

    With regard to the evidence, it was the level of evidence you presented. I shifted from my subjective analysis of the evidence because I know I’m not changing your mind. I think the evidence you’ve offered is incredibly deficient. All I can do is point to the evidence itself, yet again, to see if it can move you to acknowledge how improbable your claim is. You rely on evidence c.150 years after the fact when we have silence for over a hundred years that seems to speak against the very thing you suggest Christ must have established in order for human opinion to be distinguished from Divine revelation.

    In addition, I would simply have you go back and read my mention of Lampe in context of the thread. Your assertions about me offering Lampe as a piece of evidence that needed to be substantiated is your own interpolation. I invite you and anyone else to go read the exchange that occurred and why I brought Lampe at all.

    With regard to the case being materially evident I will ask you to re-read what I wrote at CtC. Material evidence is that which has probative value so as to determine a case. It is simply a mater of fact that the evidence the article has presented does not meet such a criterion. Even if you believe it, it is plainly not “materially evident.” The supporting evidence that Andrew presents shows that his argument is anything but “materially evident.”

    Also, when I mention Rome’s claims not being credible I am saying that no one who is having their rational capacities functioning properly would believe such a thing as that Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church. This is why I cannot believe it. I do not believe that your rational faculties are functioning properly in order for you to believe as you do.

    You took my comment on encouraging you to continue writing articles was only mentioned because I will continue to read them. The encouragement was with reference to my willingness to read them openly. Of course, you again have decided to take my statement in a way that is pejorative. I’m not sure why, but it is probably a combination of me needing to communicate more lucidly and you needing to read more charitably.

    Finally, Bryan, your following comments are just exasperating,

    What is so strikingly odd about this statement is how you seemingly recognize no obligation to engage in dialogue with those who hold what you believe to be false beliefs about the Catholic Church. From what you say here, it seems that if you come to believe that their beliefs are false, then the conversation is over. Does this apply to all persons whose beliefs you think are false, or only Catholics? Don’t you think charity requires a bit more on your part? (i.e. perhaps reaching out in kindness to those you believe to be misled, and helping them out of their deception?)

    I’ve been frequenting and commenting at CtC for years. I’ve invested years these issues–something you know. I’m explaining to you why I don’t think commenting or discussing it on a web board is really going to be a wise or judicious thing for me to do. I have work to do (two full time jobs), family and friends to spend time with, other academic and devotional interests to attend to among other things. Pulling out of a conversation that has run its course does not indicate that I do not care or that I’m not being charitable with those who disagree. I’m just not going to continue beating a dead horse and I’m going to handle the time I do have with wisdom.

  96. Hi Brandon,
    I really hope that you will stay in dialogue with Dr. Cross because it looks to me that you might have reached the place where one begins to straddle the fence.

    You are in a different place than I was when I discovered The Church in that you are still putting trust in the idea that what is essential doctrine is the Lowest Common Denominator‘ truth’ ” as those things shared between all Protestant but with a greater certainty placed in the formulated winnowing of the Reformed Confessions. But what happens when you see that the EO and Rome look very much the same?
    This discrepancy did a number on my episteme. I realized that only ruled out those practices that the EO and Rome share based on my Protestant presuppositions.

    I was hanging on a thread that God existed, and if he did it was plausible that he would enter our world and speak to us. The bible makes this claim. The bible claims that through history, God showed up and spoke to man. These people who said that God spoke to them, or performed miracles on their behalf, also made prophesies about the coming of a Messiah, or so I trust that this was the intent of the OT. But I realized that I trusted that those OT words were prophesies was because people in the era of the arrival of the Messiah declared that the OT writings were in fact pointing to an actual fulfillment. The NT events get their meaning from the OT otherwise the people would have no clue what they were suppose to understand from the events happening around them and this Man. Further, I concentrate on this Man, Jesus, because He is central to these peoples’ world in the 1st century AD, and I hold him to be who He says He is because of their witness. If I am tempted to doubt their testimony— as I was when I considered that all of Christianity says that the scripture is the word of God but don’t have unity of doctrine— I take solace in the words attributed to The Christ, thinking, “If this Man didn’t actually say these things( if He didn’t really exist) and they were only attributed to Him, then the person who wrote the words attributed to Him must be the ones who are the gods because there is nothing else like this in the world.” A river cannot overflow its source; and this is how I think when I am hit with doubt. This is how I come to believe that the scriptures are inspired. I trust that the people writing it, experienced what they say, because I believe that God does speak to man.

    My faith has become a lot stronger now that I have a place to lay it down. This is a necessity that you take for granted because, as I said, you trust in the Church of the Reformers. I believe because of the testimony of The Church, and it makes no difference if that See is in Rome or anywhere else. There is definitely a hierarchy in Christianity and the NT bears this out. Protestantism affirms an authority but it’s a truncated hierarchy and begs the question of “how do I know that this is the church that God wants me to submit to?”. And this is the reason that couldn’t submit to the local URCNA, viz. the URCA doesn’t claim to be the Church of the Apostles. It claims biblical authority, but so does every other denomination. The church must do more than claim that it has authority; it must be that authority, if “authority” is not wild assumption, that is.

    Have I successfully addressed what you asked?

    Susan

  97. @Robert:

    I am sincere, and I have nothing but goodwill toward you. At the same time, you have to know that I believe you have been led down a path that does not really do for you what you think it does.

    And if you were sincere, you would make sure that you understood the view completely before drawing the conclusion, rather than deciding what the outcome was before bothering to check. But you’re not prejudiced and not bigoted against Catholicism. OK.

    First, I agree that the ecclesial community needs coherence. What has to be proven is the coherence requires the same home office. That is essentially what Roman Catholicism is telling us, especially groups like CTC and individuals like you who put so much emphasis on the necessity of the papacy. The Eastern Church is different and has much more of a collegial view of authority.

    The papacy is much more than a “home office,” and what is common between East and West is an entire theological method, an entire concept of what theology is that goes back to the Fathers. Whether the papacy is part of the operation of that method or not, the overall method of Scripture-Tradition-Magisterium is endorsed by both. Catholics and Orthodox agree on both the mechanism and authority of the first seven ecumenical councils, and that is enough to reject Protestantism conclusively.

    Second, there are significant doctrinal disputes between Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy. First is the papacy. Second is purgatory. Third is the doctrine of salvation—the East is not fond of Anselm’s satisfaction view. Fourth is the filioque (Spirit proceeding from Father AND Son) clause the Western church inserted into the Nicene Creed. There are others.

    Yes, but we all agree that Protestantism conflicts with both. So we can now rule out Protestantism and decide between Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, right? If you’re willing to accept that Protestantism is completely off the table as a historical option with respect to conciliar orthodox Christianity, then you will understand Jason and Susan a great deal better.

    True to a point. There was an essentially protestant Patriarch of Constantinople—Cyril Lucaris—who introduced a confession of faith that was essentially Calvinistic. Later he was murdered, and there were not too many bishops in the East that were sad about that. As far as I know, the Eastern and Western liturgies are very different. The East’s theology of icons is also unique in comparison to the West.

    Cyril was also condemned by other patriarchs, who rejected his doctrine. That hardly proves that Calvinism is an orthodox position, and the general Orthodox consensus is that his condemnation was dogmatically correct, whether infallible or not. Many heretics have managed to avoid ecumenical condemnation.

    It depends on what you mean by denying the Petrine Supremacy. The East would be happy to affirm Rome as first among equals. But the key part of that phrase is equals. The East does not deny that there has to be a way to adjudicate doctrinal differences. For them it is the first seven ecumenical councils which are held, essentially, to be infallible. The Bishop of Rome had almost no role at the first three of these. No one from the West was at the first council of Constantinople in 381 AD when the Nicene Creed as we have it today was formally established.

    Exactly. So the Orthodox and Catholics both agree on the necessary principles, including apostolic succession, required for distinguishing divine revelation from mere theological opinion. We simply differ on the formal execution.

    The Reformed believe there has to be a way to adjudicate doctrinal differences, we just deny that the authority that does this must be infallible.
    The the authority is not infallible, then it cannot in principle discern divine revelation from mere theological opinion. Therefore, you deny the principles that Catholics and Orthodox both require, and you put yourself out of the theological discussion entirely. This statement alone is sufficient to exclude you from conciliar orthodox Christianity.

    The Westminster Confession of Faith tells us that it is the responsibility of synods and councils to settle matters of religion. As Eric has pointed out, the only significant difference between the Reformed confessions is on the issue of who are the proper subjects of baptism. Other than reserving the sacrament only for adults, the London Baptist Confession and the WCF are basically identical.

    Since the confessions aren’t infallible, they are irrelevant. They do not qualify as divine revelation or even as authentic interpretation of divine revelation. They are opinions of people who don’t accept the first principles of distinguishing divine revelation from mere opinion. Agreement of mere opinions proves nothing. It would be like doing scientific inquiry by polling people on the street about what they thought the laws of nature should be.

    The EO don’t deny the Petrine office, they just deny that it belongs to Rome alone and that the pope has a charism of infallibility. On this they are reflecting what the earliest Christians affirmed. Protestants agree with this.

    But you deny the charism of infallibility generally, so you don’t have the same reasons for the conclusion. That is not agreement; that is violent disagreement. Catholics and Orthodox do not differ in principle, but both have the same principled disagreement with Protestantism.

    I don’t deny the Petrine office. The church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, like Paul says in Ephesians 2. The question is, what is the Petrine office and does it continue? You only lay a foundation once. To pass on the apostolic office as Rome and the East want to do gives us a church that is always laying its foundation in every generation.

    Is there an argument there? I said the Church is built on principles. Those principles are the foundation; the derived doctrines build on the foundation. Protestantism has no foundations; it is not built on principled theological method.

    No less a Reformed theologian than Sinclair Ferguson affirms that Peter has a special and foundational role. He said so to me and other students in a course on ecclesiology. Peter was the first to confess Christ, the first to preach after Pentecost, and the first to preach to Gentiles. His importance can scarcely be ignored. But it’s one thing to recognize a foundational role for Peter, and quite another to say that this means His role is passed on without significant change merely by the laying on of hands, that there is a charism of infallibility that successors get with it, that his successor is the symbol of Christian unity, that his successor is the Vicar of Christ, and nearly everything else associated with the modern papal office. Those are all things not recognized in the early church except for, by and large, the Bishop of Rome himself—and then only later, starting really with Leo the Great, and even he did not go so far. That is one reason why East and West remain divided.

    But since we both agree on apostolic succession, that clearly takes Protestantism out of the question. Unless you are attempting to proselytize Susan for the Orthodox, you no longer have a point.

    Okay, I can basically agree with this. I might be reading into this, but it seems that the implication is that Protestantism is too hard to figure out and that you need to know church history, Hebrew, and Greek to get there. If this is so, I don’t know what Protestant you were listening to. This is certainly not something Dr. Riddlebarger would affirm. I suppose that it is more common to reference the Hebrew or Greek in Protestant sermons than in RC homilies, but if you get from that reality that one must know these things to understand the Bible, then with as much kindness and respect as I can, I have to say that you were not paying attention as a Protestant.

    It’s a problem with your principles. If authority is only in the original autographs and no one is infallible, then no one has a way of distinguishing divine revelatory content from mere opinion even in principle. You claim that you use Scripture as a judge, but that would require each person to have perfect familiarity with all of the languages, not to mention the original autographs and all of the textual issues, to make informed judgments. Ultimately, you’d have to rely on blind trust that these people knew what they were doing, and as my post to Eric points out, you oughtn’t use blind trust even in the most mundane matters like building a house, much less the fate of one’s eternal soul.

    Roman Catholicism is far more complex. You have to know church history backwards and forwards to become Roman Catholic because you have to answer for the serious breaks in the line of Rome’s bishop. At one point in history there were three popes, and no one living under those popes had any way to determine who was the real pope and who wasn’t. A special council had to be called to figure it all out. So much for the pope being the symbol of unity.

    This is the same issue I pointed out with architecture. You don’t need to know architecture to know whose houses collapse. Only the Catholics and the Orthodox can claim to have built theological houses that didn’t collapse. Maybe one or the other collapsed later, but Protestants aren’t even in the architecture business. There’s no reason to trust them in the first place, because they have no principled method that would justify the trust.

    Until very recently, one had to know Latin in order to understand what was being said and taught in the mass. The current Roman Catholic Catechism has something like 3,000 points to understand. Rome produces no infallible list of infallible decrees, so you have no way of knowing for sure what is infallibly true and what isn’t. On this very site, Jonathan denies that all of what Vatican I says about papal infallibility and its basis is infallible, and he limits the infallibility to the definitional statement. Wosbald wants to take the whole thing as infallible. Since the advent of Pope Francis, both Jason Stellman and Bryan Cross have produced lengthy posts explaining how he wasn’t really opening up the doors to heaven for atheists. That kind of defeats the whole infallibility and perspicuity thing for the pope.

    There’s not a “perspicuity thing” for the pope. The point isn’t that theology is any easier than any other science, nor is it to say that everything is perspicuous to every Catholic any more than any other science is perspicuous. But the infallibility part is essential in principle. People differ within Catholicism as to what the form is, just as scientists differ on the form of particular interpretations of data, and Catholics and Orthodox differ more largely on form, but the substance, the core theological method, is the same. That is what prevents everything from being reduced to interpretation, a sheerly modernist perspective.

    Theology is a complex science on both sides, but to really grasp the ins and outs of Roman Catholic dogma, one must be well-versed in Aristotelian thought and the history of philosophy. The definition of papal infallibility is so narrowly defined and qualified that hardly anyone can make sense of when the pope is speaking infallibly and when he isn’t, even Roman Catholics. Fifty years after Vatican II, and people are still arguing about the meaning of so much of this supposedly infallible ecumenical council. Jason points this out even in this blogpost.

    But one can identify what the Church is, meaning that one has a method in principle for figuring these issues out. If there’s no science of theology, no principled method, this exercise is hopeless. Protestantism doesn’t let you do that; there’s no proximate object of faith, so the entire prospect of theological method is doomed from the start.

    Rome makes things much muddier and then tells its people, essentially, that you don’t have to understand all these things. Just believe what we say and make sure you go to Mass as much as possible. It basically tells us that religion is far too confusing for you simple people to figure it out, let us do the hard work for you. But that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible tells parents to teach their children the law. This assumes that every parent can do that no matter their level of education.

    And that makes perfect sense if theology is not a matter of epistemology, of knowing everything. If instead you are trusting the method of discerning divine truth from mere opinion, rather than particular conclusions of that method, then it makes sense to trust it. I don’t need to be an architect to know that I need to hire an architect. In other words, this is exactly what you’d expect if we handle theological method like we would with any other principled method of inquiry.

    Now, I can understand to a point how people look at Protestantism and then think that unity is impossible. Part of that is the problem with Protestantism having become a catch-all sociological definition and not a theological one. Basically, anyone who does not identify as RC or EO is labeled a Protestant. There are even many who want to lump Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Protestant group.

    As Eric noted, if you take confessional Protestants as a whole, the disagreements are not very significant and are no more significant than the differences you get between different Roman Catholic theological traditions (such as the Thomists vs. the Molinists). The Reformed, Baptists and Presbyterians alike, have about 95 % in common. There is about 90% overlap with Lutherans and Anglicans and even Methodists. Even if we lump in the nondenominational bodies and charismatics in, the theological unity is there. Except for some far out groups, all would agree on the Trinity and that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone.

    Again, because there’s no principled theological method, this is no different than polling random people to draw a scientific conclusions. All you’ve pointed out is that people with the same opinion tend to group; that says nothing about whether they have good reasons for their opinions. The problem Susan points out is that all of those other people’s opinions are in principle just as legitimate as yours, including on matters of Scriptural authority, inerrancy, and the like, because all you have are opinions to back them up. This is the hyperpluralism that Brad Gregory points out in The Unintended Reformation. It’s also why your version of theological argument is nothing but shouting; when everybody just has an opinion, cacaphony and rhetoric replace reason.

    This business of tens of thousands of Protestant denominations that differ radically from one another is dishonest and simplistic. I’m not saying you are dishonest but that those who promote it to get people to question Protestantism are. This number comes from adding in all the various cultic groups, independent churches, and so on into the pot. Well, if Roman Catholic apologists have the right to do that, then I have the right to include all of the Roman Catholic denominations that are not in union with the current pope in the category of Roman Catholics. By the same standards that one uses to get thousands of different Protestant groups, I get hundreds of Roman Catholic groups: the Old Catholic Church, the American Catholic Church in the United States, the Antiochian Catholic Church in America, and many others.

    But Protestantism defines itself in a way where mere opinion is the only definition, so it has to reckon with every opinion. The Catholic Church defines itself by objective communion, as do the Orthodox churches. That’s the problem with not having any principled way to define what the Church is, and it’s your problem, not ours.

    Well, I hold to a literal interpretation of Matthew 16:18. What I don’t accept is that the literal interpretation gives a special office with a charism of infallibility to Peter and his successors in Rome. That was certainly not the view of the early church fathers. Cyprian didn’t think Rome had any right to mess around in his diocese. Rome played almost no role in the earliest councils. Many fathers interpreted “this rock” as Peter’s confession. The keys of the kingdom were given to all the apostles.

    So you’re willing to agree with St. Cyprian on apostolic succession and now we’re just debating the formalities? Great! Protestantism is now off the table, so we can actually have a serious discussion about conciliar orthodox Christianity.

    Having said all that, what I’m trying to do is get you to see that the claims you and Rome are making fail at the core. What is the principled way that I know AS is the only way to determine theological truth from theological opinion? How do I know that this statement you made: AS is the only thing that can determine theological truth from theological opinions is not your mere theological opinion or just the theological opinion of a bunch of people?

    The same way you know whether somebody’s architectural method is sound: whose houses collapsed? Otherwise, everything devolves to opinion, and you’re just a glorified modernist (which is true of Protestantism, actually). The Catholics and the Orthodox got things right; they came to true and necessary conclusions about Christianity with their respective methods (which were common in many respects for the first millennium). Now you might decide between which of those groups has remained orthodox, but that’s the only question. Those are the only two methods that were capable of building the foundations on which Christianity is laid. You move from those, and you uproot the foundation and throw Christianity into the sea of modern hyperpluralism, just one more opinion.

    And finally, thank you for giving me a basic outline of how you determine which claim to Apostolic Succession is the right one. In sum, though, it confirms what I have been saying: You make your choice finally based on your reading of the evidence. Protestants do nothing different. We all make our choices based finally on our own reading of the evidence. Some readings of the evidence are better than others, yes. But the Roman Catholic stylings of CTC are playing a game. If it is so important to have a principled way (AS) to separate theological truth from mere opinion you need to have a principled way to separate one claim to (AS) from another. You don’t have that apart from bare fideism: Rome is the true claimant to AS because Rome is the true claimant to AS.

    This is what I hear so much from the whiny Protestant contingent, and it’s ridiculous. You’ve implicitly assumed a modernist view of “the evidence,” as if everything is a matter of interpretation of what the evidence communicates to you. So that there’s “natural revelation” and “special revelation,” and we’re all Kantian minds imposing our noumenal constructions on the phenomenal realm, just what Wosbald ridiculed above. That’s bunk. Most things are not matters of interpretation; you can’t deny that your experiences happen. I don’t need to have absolute certainty in any scientific conclusion to know that there is such a thing as science and that material things are governed by some kind of internal order. I likewise don’t need absolute certainty to know that there is such a thing as theological method for discerning divine revelation from mere opinion. That’s reasonable for anyone who hasn’t been brainwashed by modernist views of reason, and it is also what distinguished Protestants (who are really just theological modernists) from Catholics and Orthodox. You adopted the modernist, liberal theological method that reduced God to mere opinion, judgment, or interpretation, but then you complain about liberals. Unbelievable!

  98. Forgot to close the blockquote after the bolded sentence above, but it should be easy enough to follow.

  99. Brandon,

    Lampe’s work shows that the claims of an episcopate established in Rome are unlikely.

    The primary problem with that thesis is that every piece of evidence Lampe proposes is fully compatible with an episcopate having been established in Rome by Peter and Paul.

    I want to believe that you are attempting to seek mutual understanding but such responses from you seem to indicate that you are only interested in winning.

    I think that’s less than charitable.

    it was the level of evidence you presented…. I think the evidence you’ve offered is incredibly deficient.

    Deficient in relation to what?

    All I can do is point to the evidence itself, yet again, to see if it can move you to acknowledge how improbable your claim is. You rely on evidence c.150 years after the fact when we have silence for over a hundred years that seems to speak against the very thing you suggest Christ must have established in order for human opinion to be distinguished from Divine revelation.

    I explicitly and in some detail addressed the philosophical assumption at work in this objection, in comment #212 of Andrew’s thread. As I showed there, what’s doing all the work here, under your skepticism concerning the testimonies of Sts. Hegesippus and Irenaeus (and that of all subsequent saints and fathers who testified to the papacy), is a philosophical conflation of the epistemological and the ontological.

    Material evidence is that which has probative value so as to determine a case. It is simply a mater of fact that the evidence the article has presented does not meet such a criterion.

    If mere table-pounding can establish things, then I can do the same with contrary theses. But I think you misunderstand what Andrew meant by ‘materially evident.’ You are loading the term with a very specific definition, one that is somewhat different than the sense with which he used the term, as he explained it in #215. What is question-begging on your part is what you said above, when you wrote:

    If that is evidence you are presenting as “materially evident,” a word which is not dependent on Andrews intention, but a word with concrete specific meaning

    Here you presuppose that the term can only have one sense, and it is the sense you believe it has. But that’s not a safe presupposition. Authors can (and do) use terms in different ways, and the better (more helpful, and less belligerent) approach is first to understand Andrew on his own terms (i.e. as he used the term), and then to evaluate what he claimed according to the sense of the term as he used it.

    am saying that no one who is having their rational capacities functioning properly would believe such a thing as that Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church. This is why I cannot believe it. I do not believe that your rational faculties are functioning properly in order for you to believe as you do.

    Now we’re talking. All us Catholics are crazy imbeciles, functioning intellectually on only three cylinders. Well, let me suggest perhaps a less insulting and more productive approach. Instead of claiming that only stupid irrational people believe Catholicism (which isn’t going to go over well with Catholics), show that Catholicism is false. Moreover, I know from experience that it is always dangerous to adopt a position in which everyone who disagrees with you is ipso facto irrational. It is dangerous because it allows you to insulate yourself from their arguments (why listen to the arguments of madmen?), and thus prevent yourself from coming to see that you might be wrong. That’s why it is better to focus on the positions, evidence, argumentation, etc., rather than construct a world in which only those who share your view (or interpretation of the Bible) are rational, and everyone else belongs on the funny farm.

    The encouragement was with reference to my willingness to read them openly. Of course, you again have decided to take my statement in a way that is pejorative.

    It is pejorative, because it implies that I need more courage. Instead of blaming me for actually saying what you didn’t actually mean, a better response is to (a) take responsibility for what you did write, and in the future (b) just say what you actually mean, i.e. “I’ll continue to read whatever you write.”

    Pulling out of a conversation that has run its course does not indicate that I do not care or that I’m not being charitable with those who disagree. I’m just not going to continue beating a dead horse and I’m going to handle the time I do have with wisdom.

    Ok, I understand that, and relate to it. I also agree that for the most part, you’ve been quite charitable in our conversations. I’m guessing then that when you say, “I think that if I can get to a point where I think Rome’s claims are false, that concludes the discussion,” what you actually meant is that at that point the conversation shifts from one of inquiry to one of seeking to help deceived Catholics out of their Catholicism, always within the time limitations entailed by your other responsibilities. That’s better, in my opinion, than ceasing dialogue altogether.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  100. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    On this very site, Jonathan denies that all of what Vatican I says about papal infallibility and its basis is infallible, and he limits the infallibility to the definitional statement. Wosbald wants to take the whole thing as infallible.

    I never said any such thing, AFAICR. I remember saying that I defer the question to those (like Jonathan) who’ve a more informed view on the Subject.

    Don’t be too eager to Divide and Dismiss.

  101. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    I believe we are to work to find that truth. That it is a quest we have been appointed to which does not allow for short cuts. You cannot find a ready-made answer on the back of a Catholic cereal box (no secret “decoder ring” inside, no “mechanism” or special “little blue pill,” no liver shivver or “burning bosom”). I feel called to the quest by the Spirit within. I never feel like copping out, like those who would look to the back of the book for the answers to the odd-numbered math problems rather than just doing their homework. It’s exciting. It never feels the slightest bit futile. I learn more and more each day as the Spirit guides…
    The Jason Stellmans and the Bryan Crosses of this world compare the regenerate mind guided by the Holy Spirit with the unregenerate will of the unbeliever and pronounce them equal.

    To my mind, this largely represents the problem. The Spirit guides all men w/o exception. The Spirit speaks at the Heart of Man’s Soul, calling all “to the quest”, as you say. You are not ‘especially blessed’, chosen and set apart from other men, simply because of this. It doesn’t mean anything other than that you are a Natural Man. Welcome to the Human Race. (Though I applaud your desire to follow the goad.)

    The only reason why Catholics are “special”, “chosen” or “set apart” is because we have a Sacred Culture (The Church, an Incarno-Sacramental Culture) in which to live and move and have our being. Any man can have this if he so chooses, and we can abandon this if we so choose.

  102. Brandon,

    As time permits I hope you will read what I wrote.

    Thank you,
    Susan

  103. Wosbald,

    I am sorry I misunderstood your point, and for misquoting you.

  104. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    Wosbald,
    I am sorry I misunderstood your point, and for misquoting you.

    S’all good, yo.

  105. Jonathan–

    I only have time for a short reply.

    The Second Council of Constantinople was a purely political, arm-twisting fiasco that has no business being called an “ecumenical council.” Pope Vigilius, a non-Christian thug, a one-time anti-pope, implicated in the murders of two legitimate popes, condemned Theodoret after having earlier refused to do so. (He was for it before he was against it.) Theodoret, during his lifetime, was exonerated by the Council of Chalcedon. How can the church exonerate and then anathematize? It makes absolutely no sense.

    As far as I understand, his hermeneutics were not condemned, just some of his supposedly Nestorian conclusions. (Nestorius himself, you will remember, died in the good graces of the church.) Though Nestorianism is a fairly significant error, it pails in comparison to accretions never condemned by Rome.

    When I seek to employ an architect, I like to be impressed with his credentials, as well as the quality of his work. But if he is strange and sneaky, with an evil glint in his eye, I still look elsewhere. A Lhasa Apso may have a great pedigree, but if it looks like a Pomeranian, it’s not going to win any dog shows. I cannot square the history of Rome with a bona fide Church of our blessed Savior. If they dropped infallibility and disavowed their past, as the Protestants have done, I could at least consider its other claims. But one of the classic marks of a cult is infallibility.

    For me, to be deep in history is to be vehemently opposed to any Roman claims to primacy. Its history is not merely “messy,” it’s horrendous…and then some.

  106. Wosbald–

    If and when your “culture” ever strikes me as the slightest bit “sacred,” I’ll look into it.

    According to Scripture, you’re not supposed to hide your light, but let it shine….

  107. I’ve been unable to access this site since August 7th. Never had an issue like this before, so I hope Jason has not blocked me?

    SS.

  108. So this supposedly analogous example (that is, if presented in its entirety; not selectively for polemical purposes) does not support White’s and Dr. Gundry’s position that the authority of the Pharisees applied only insofar as they sat and read the Old Testament to the people (functioning as a sort of ancient collective Alexander Scourby, reading the Bible onto a cassette tape for mass consumption), not when they also interpreted (which was part and parcel of the Pharisaical outlook and approach).

    One doesn’t find in the Old Testament individual Hebrews questioning teaching authority. Sola Scriptura simply is not there. No matter how hard White and other Protestants try to read it into the Old Testament, it cannot be done. Nor can it be read into the New Testament, once all the facts are in. James White, however, writes:

    And who can forget the result of Josiah’s discovery of the Book of the Covenant in 2 Chronicles 34? (White, 101).

    Indeed, this was a momentous occasion (Dr. White probably thinks it is similar in substance and import to the myth and legend of Martin Luther supposedly “rescuing” or “initiating” the Bible in the vernacular, when in fact there had been fourteen German editions of the Bible in the 70 years preceding his own).

    But if the implication is that the Law was self-evident simply upon being read, per sola Scriptura, this is untrue to the Old Testament, for, again, we are informed in the same book that priests and Levites “taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the LORD with them; they went about through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people” (2 Chron 17:9), and that the Levites “taught all Israel” (2 Chron 35:3). They didn’t just read, they taught, and that involved interpretation. And the people had no right of private judgment, to dissent from what was taught.

    Agree, see above. But again, in what way is this therefore a de facto vindication of the CC? Armstrong references 2 Chronicles here and the reign of Kings after Josiah, that’s good, because 2 Chron 15 says that Israel went through a spiritual drought without leadership and elders because of the latter’s unfaithfulness!

    “15 Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. 2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; 4 but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them.

    Catholic doctrine is inherently contradictory because on the one hand it affirms the possibility of apostasy and falling away at the individual level but denies it at the corporate level. This is not how God dealt with Israel. When Israel’s teaching priests were wicked men, God did indeed forsake them! The beauty of Nehemiah is that it actually demonstrates the vital importance of having godly and blameless men at the head of the church. When the head is sound, the body can thrive. But when it is unsound, there are grave consequences for the entire people, because many (not all) are led astray. The catholic church is not immune to this, despite its rigid absolutism and claim to infallibility.

  109. James White and all Protestants believe that any individual Christian has the right and duty to rebuke their pastors if what they are teaching is “unbiblical” (that is, according to the lone individual). This is an elegant, quaint theory indeed, on paper, but it doesn’t quite work the same way in practice. I know this from my own experience as a former Protestant, for when I rebuked my Assemblies of God pastor in a private letter (because he had preached from the pulpit, “keep your pastors honest”), I was publicly renounced and rebuked from the pulpit (in a most paranoid, alarmist manner) as a theologically-inexperienced rabble-rouser trying to cause division.

    Yes, it quickly devolves into “Hey, I’m doing nothing else but reading my Bible/Confession/By-Laws here”. And the next guy says the same. And when the debating and shouting has exhausted itself, one of them is shown the door and it is usually by the one holding the money bag. (although that fails sometimes, witness the Federal Vision debacle). Is that not the protestant story? Split after split after split, ad nauseam?

    Dr. Kim Riddlebarger, an expert in historical theology, in dealing with the same passage, assumes what he is trying to prove (what is known in logic as “begging the question” or a “circular argument”):

    The biblical case for sola scriptura becomes even stronger when one looks to the words of our Lord on the subject . . . Jesus instructs us to obey the Old Testament (Matthew 23:3) . . . Is the Old Testament incomplete in this regard, requiring a “sacred” tradition to complement it? On the contrary, Jesus declares that the Old Testament alone is authoritative in matters of doctrine . . . There is no hint, therefore, in any of these texts, that the biblical writers viewed anything other than the written Word of God (the Old Testament) as the only infallible guide or authoritative source for the faith and practice of the church (in Armstrong, 237-238).
    This perspective is quite interesting, seeing that what Jesus did in that verse was to encourage submission to the teaching of the Pharisees (not the Old Testament), and on the basis of their sitting on Moses’ seat: a phrase not even found in the Old Testament, as Dr. James White admitted above.

    White also asserts that “we are only speaking of a position that existed at this time in the synagogue worship of the day” (White, 100). That is hardly “Old Testament alone.” White’s and Riddlebarger’s positions here mutually exclude each other. Such confusion is one of the hallmarks of an incoherent, weakly-supported position.

    Not only is it incoherent, but also embarrassing. When the scholars can’t agree, what hope is there for the average guy in the pew, as Susan has rightly pointed out.

    Moreover, the Pharisees themselves can only be dated to the 2nd century B.C. at the earliest (see Douglas, 981) long after the completion of the Old Testament. And they accepted the full authority of oral tradition, as mentioned above.

    Riddlebarger’s “argument,” therefore, collapses on all points. He cites Jesus’ injunction to obey a group which began in the 2nd century B.C. one which believes in oral tradition—and on the basis of an institution of authority (Moses’ seat) which cannot be found in the Old Testament, as somehow the same as obeying the letter of the Old Testament, which alone Jesus supposedly regarded as authoritative. The internal inconsistency and incoherence of this position is surely evident

    Agree. Ok, now for the bad news for catholics. While Dave Armstrong did a good job of dismantling White’s arguments, he in now way offered an apologetic for the CC. I understand that that might not have been his direct focus, but nonetheless. I would like for all of you to think deeply about the implications of your own apologetic:

    – Jesus instructs His disciples to observe whatever they are told to observe by those sitting in Moses’ seat.
    – Therefore this is proof that the CC has the authority it claims.

    Non sequitur if there ever was one. I began to explain why above, referring to 2 Chron 15, but let’s take it further. In Acts 15, Ya’akov (James the Just), head of the church in Jerusalem, renders the final word on the matter of the justification of gentiles. He concludes:

    “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. 21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.

    First note that the judgment he is rendering is essentially a halakhic ruling which in and of itself is not far from the kinds of rulings issued by those on Moses’ seat, in that it was deduced from an analysis of Scripture and then applied to resolve a theological/practical issue. So there’s much more than a simple reading of Amos going on here, James is imbuing the text with meaning and it is HIS judgment that carries the day (not Peter’s, not the guy on the street who’s saying “but wait, my Bible says…”) But take a closer look at v 21 which is often overlooked in both catholic and protestant quarters. James supports his ruling to have the gentiles abide by the Noachide laws by referring to the fact that Moses is preached and read in the synagogue every Sabbath. Meaning, James was highlighting the fact that the gentiles would be able to acquaint themselves with the details of those 4 Noachide laws by hearing the latter for themselves when they were in the synagogue. Moses was preached everywhere, so it seemed logical to James that the halakhic binding was not a measure that they could not bear (see Peter’s comments leading to James’ ruling).

    The ecclesiological implications of this are enormous, but amazingly, completely overlooked : this lends even more evidence besides the mounds found elsewhere in the NT, that the early church was not a catholic church, but instead a church comprised of Jewish believers in their own right and Gentile believers in their own right. James had no issue with gentiles learning of what portions of the Torah applied to them by hearing them on the Sabbath. How then could he have been a Catholic, for from them to ever teach gentiles to listen to torah in the synagogue!

    After the Ascension, blessed Luke writes this:

    Luke 24:

    “50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.”

    Neither Luke, nor James had any issues with the temple and being in the temple. They were not in the temple, simply because they wanted to proselytize, but because they were Jews and God fearers in their own temple, not cathedral or ‘diocese’ as has been ridiculously suggested earlier.

    So what does this come down to: catholics tells us that we should heed Matt 23:1-4, but then they contradict themselves when they argue that following Pentecost, there was no such thing as Jewish believers worshipping God as Jews, but only as catholics…. Forget the fact that:

    1. Luke 24:50-52 affirms that they praised and blessed God in the temple , which no catholic does.

    2. Acts 2:46 says that they were daily in the temple , praising God and having favor with all people, which no catholic does.

    3. Acts 15:5 says that some believers actually were Pharisees, which no catholic would identify as.

    4. Acts 16 says that Paul circumcised Timothy, which no catholic does.

    5. Acts 18 shows Paul taking a Nazirite vow, which no catholic does.

    6. Acts 20:6 says that Paul kept the Feast of Unleavened bread, which no catholic does in its entirety.

    7. Acts 21 shows Paul paying for the Nazirite vows of 4 others at James’ request, again which no catholic does.

    8. Luke 23 shows the first disciples of Christ, the women, keeping the Shabat (Saturday), which no catholic does.

    And to boot, today when we point to our Jewish brethren, believers in Messiah, who do the above (with the exception of the first couple of points which is understandable given the persecution they undergo at the hands of non believing Jews), we are told that they are not true believers, because they are not catholic, and these are the people today who are descended from Moses and best qualified to speak from Moses’ seat!

    So really the gist of the catholic position it is this: Matt 23:1-4 speaks of authority, but we don’t want any authority to come from Messianic Jews, they don’t even rise up to the level of being worthy of being considered.

    I’ll let the objective reader decide if the catholic church’s claim is consistent with its own teaching/supersessionism.

    SS.

  110. Friends,

    If you don’t hear from me, be assured that it’s not because I don’t want to post anymore. I’ve been trying since Aug 7th to get on here, but I’m unable to. It really looks as if my posting is being blocked by the administrator here…

    SS.

    Robert,

    I regards to:

    “SS, I don’t know what you are trying to prove exactly. Duly ordained elders have the right and authority to exegete the text and draw practical or moral conclusions from the text. This is particularly emphasized in the classical Reformed tradition, where it is often said that the “preached Word of God is the Word of God” (Second Helvetic Confession).”

    See first paragraph, in the prior post above.

  111. Jonathan–

    In reading your response to Robert:

    There is no such thing as conciliar orthodox Christianity extant today. East and West anathematized each other. The Reformers asked for an ecumenical council and their requests were denied. When such a thing is reinstituted, I will look into it.

    Protestant Anglicanism embraces Apostolic Succesion, so I have no need to flee to Rome.

  112. Don’t be too eager to Divide and Dismiss.

    Incredibly rich, the irony given how the CC has divided itself from the church that once upheld and celebrated the existence of both Jewish and Gentile believers (cf. Romans 15).

  113. That’s what Newman had in mind when he said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.” If you take that perspective alone and simply engage in what you would usually do in assessing competence, it is not a hard answer.

    If we are going to quote Newman, let’s be a little less selective, shall we?

    On after-dinner toasts to conscience and the pope:
    “Certainly, if I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts, (which indeed does not seem quite the thing) I shall drink, — to the Pope, if you please, — still, to Conscience first , and to the Pope afterwards.”
    From Newman’s Letter to the Duke of Norfolk

  114. On conscience and the authority of popes:
    “Was St. Peter infallible on that occasion at Antioch when St. Paul withstood him? was St. Victor infallible when he separated from his communion the Asiatic Churches? or Liberius when in like manner he excommunicated Athanasius? And, to come to later times, was Gregory XIII, when he had a medal struck in honor of the Bartholomew massacre? or Paul IV, in his conduct towards Elizabeth? or Sextus V when he blessed the Armada? or Urban VIII when he persecuted Galileo? No Catholic ever pretends that these Popes were infallible in these acts. Since then infallibility alone could block the exercise of conscience, and the Pope is not infallible in that subject-matter in which conscience is of supreme authority, no dead-lock, such as implied in the objection which I am answering, can take place between conscience and the Pope.
    From Newman’s Letter to the Duke of Norfolk

    On his opposition to the declaration of papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council:
    “Why is it, if I believe the Pope’s Infallibility, I do not wish it defined? I answer, because it can’t be so defined as not to raise more questions than it solves.”
    From The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman (Dessain et al., eds.), xxiv, 334.

    On his opposition to the way in which papal infallibility was declared at the First Vatican Council:
    “As little as possible was passed at the Council — nothing about the Pope which I have not myself always held — but it is impossible to deny that it was done with an imperiousness and overbearing willfulness, which has been a great scandal.”
    From The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman (Dessain et al., eds.), xxv, 262.

    On his wish that the declaration of infallibility might be ‘trimmed’ in the future:
    “Let us be patient, let us have faith, and a new Pope, and a re-assembled Council may trim the boat.”
    From The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman (Dessain et al., eds.), xxv, 310.

    On how the Arian controversy shows that it is sometimes the laity, and not the episcopate, that best preserves and protects the truth of the Catholic faith:
    “Here, of course, I must explain: — in saying this, then, undoubtedly I am not denying that the great body of the Bishops were in their internal belief orthodox ; nor that there were numbers of clergy who stood by the laity, and acted as their centres and guides; nor that the laity actually received their faith, in the first instance, from the Bishops and clergy; nor that some portions of the laity were ignorant, and other portions at length corrupted by the Arian teachers, who got possession of the sees and ordained an heretical clergy; — but I mean still, that in that time of immense confusion the divine dogma of our Lord’s divinity was proclaimed, enforced, maintained, and (humanly speaking) preserved, far more by the ‘Ecclesia docta’ than by the ‘Ecclesia docens;’ that the body of the episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism; that at one time the Pope, at other times the patriarchal, metropolitan, and other great sees, at other times general councils, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth; while, on the other hand, it was the Christian people who, under Providence, were the ecclesiastical strength of Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius of Vercellae, and other great solitary confessors, who would have failed without them. I see, then, in the Arian history a palmary example of a state of the Church, during which, in order to know the tradition of the Apostles, we must have recourse to the faithful….”
    From “On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine”

    Susan, likewise, it is my prayer that you and others here would come to realize your error. Atheism is not next if you acknowledge the mistakes of the CC, repentance is. And likewise for the protestant.

  115. Brandon,

    I am saying that no one who is having their rational capacities functioning properly would believe such a thing as that Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church. This is why I cannot believe it. I do not believe that your rational faculties are functioning properly in order for you to believe as you do.

    Here’s my question: Why is it rational to believe that the evidence Lampe provides is exhaustive, and thus that Sts. Hegesippus and Irenaeus were not telling the truth about the history of the bishop of Rome, but irrational to believe that Lampe’s evidence is not exhaustive, and that the testimony of Sts. Hegesippus and Irenaeus is truthful and fills out the picture provided by the evidence Lampe presents?

    Thanks!

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  116. +JMJ+

    SS wrote:

    On his [Cardinal Newman’s] opposition to the way in which papal infallibility was declared at the First Vatican Council:
    “As little as possible was passed at the Council — nothing about the Pope which I have not myself always held…

    (emphasis added)

  117. @Eric:

    There is no such thing as conciliar orthodox Christianity extant today. East and West anathematized each other. The Reformers asked for an ecumenical council and their requests were denied.

    The Reformers never had standing to ask for a council. The conciliarists thought they could, and the Church rejected their opinion.

    As to East and West, my argument would be that it was all a misunderstanding that persists to this day, except for the bare question of papal jurisdiction. Even if not, one of them is right, and one of them is wrong. If neither is correct, then no one ought to be Christian. Put another way, if Anglican branch theory accurately reflects the state of the Church, where we’re all sort of right and sort of wrong, then I would be the first person to say that Christianity ought not be believed. If (per impossibile) the only Christian churches left were Protestant, then I could no longer in good conscience be Christian. Protestantism is a defeater for Christianity as far as I can tell.

    Protestant Anglicanism embraces Apostolic Succesion, so I have no need to flee to Rome.

    They don’t “do what the Church does” in terms of celebrating the Eucharistic sacrifice (and thus, the Real Presence). They are not in apostolic succession, and Catholicism would have to contradict its own dogma to accept them. So you don’t embrace apostolic succession in a way that is meaningful in terms of conciliar orthodox Christianity. That means you really have no such option, regardless of your feelings on the subject.

    Your religion is hopelessly confused. You should find one that isn’t.

  118. The Second Council of Constantinople was a purely political, arm-twisting fiasco that has no business being called an “ecumenical council.”

    Doesn’t matter. All of the ecumenical councils were arm-twisting to some extent. It certainly wasn’t Vigilius’s idea to condemn Theodoret; he had to be dragged into the condemnation kicking and screaming. And Chalcedon exonerated Theodoret personally after he affirmed Chalcedon, which doesn’t mean that his doctrine wasn’t heretical or that it didn’t contradict Chalcedon before. Nestorius was deposed and died in exile; no one ever restored him, even though he (mistakenly) thought of Chalcedon as vindicating him.

    Your opinion of how “bad” Nestorianism is doesn’t really matter. Denying the divinity of Christ goes to fundamental Christian belief; it renders Christianity untenable. Regardless of what you think of moral issues, which are important, the primary job of the Church is to protect Christian belief, not to be morally perfect. If the doctrine is right, even if it’s sustained by immoral people, doctrine trumps morality. That’s a hard truth to swallow, but it’s absolutely the case.

    And once Christianity gives up infallibility, it gives up doctrine, meaning it’s given up the whole game. If Protestantism gave up infallibility, then it at that very same moment gave up any authority it had as a Christian body. That is why the Reformers opinion on the need for a council was irrelevant; they ceased to be Christian authorities the moment they denied infallibility. There is no sense in holding a council that isn’t infallible.

  119. +JMJ+

    SS wrote:

    I’ve been unable to access this site since August 7th. Never had an issue like this before, so I hope Jason has not blocked me?…
    If you don’t hear from me, be assured that it’s not because I don’t want to post anymore. I’ve been trying since Aug 7th to get on here, but I’m unable to. It really looks as if my posting is being blocked by the administrator here…

    I really doubt it. Jason never blocked Old Adam, and he didn’t contribute a whole lot to the dialogue. I think that he just stopped posting because we were all “baked clay”. Besides, I don’t think Jason would block you w/o warning/informing you first. He has your email, after all. Though I don’t know WordPress, I suppose that it’s possible that he accidentally blocked you while tweaking some settings or something. Why don’t you just Contact him?

  120. S August 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm
    Don’t be too eager to Divide and Dismiss.
    Incredibly rich, the irony given how the CC has divided itself from the church that once upheld and celebrated the existence of both Jewish and Gentile believers (cf. Romans 15).

    It is not the Catholic Church which has divided anything. It is those who do not believe Christ who have abandoned the Church which He established. The Catholic Church.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  121. S August 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm
    If we are going to quote Newman, let’s be a little less selective, shall we?
    On after-dinner toasts to conscience and the pope:
    “Certainly, if I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts, (which indeed does not seem quite the thing) I shall drink, — to the Pope, if you please, — still, to Conscience first , and to the Pope afterwards.”
    From Newman’s Letter to the Duke of Norfolk

    That’s Catholic Teaching SS. But you probably didn’t know that because you interpret things according to what is between your ears rather than to what is true.

    1778 Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescriptions of the divine law:

    Conscience is a law of the mind; yet [Christians] would not grant that it is nothing more; I mean that it was not a dictate, nor conveyed the notion of responsibility, of duty, of a threat and a promise. . . . [Conscience] is a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by his representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.

    In case you don’t know what aboriginal means:
    ab•o•rig•i•nal (?æb ??r?d? ? nl)

    adj.
    1. of or pertaining to aborigines.
    2. original or earliest known; native; indigenous.
    3. (usu. cap.) of or pertaining to the Aborigines of Australia.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  122. Jonathan,

    “If (per impossibile) the only Christian churches left were Protestant, then I could no longer in good conscience be Christian. Protestantism is a defeater for Christianity as far as I can tell”

    and

    “And once Christianity gives up infallibility, it gives up doctrine, meaning it’s given up the whole game. If Protestantism gave up infallibility, then it at that very same moment gave up any authority it had as a Christian body”

    Nobody understands me when I try to say this, but then again I never said it so ingeniously.

    Thanks!

  123. Author: S

    Agree, see above. But again, in what way is this therefore a de facto vindication of the CC?

    Who said anything was “de facto”? You seem to be making a “straw man” argument there. This was offered as support for the Catholic position.

    Armstrong references 2 Chronicles here and the reign of Kings after Josiah, that’s good, because 2 Chron 15 says that Israel went through a spiritual drought without leadership and elders because of the latter’s unfaithfulness!

    That is correct.

    “15 Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. 2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; 4 but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them.

    Very good. Now you know why the Jews have been persecuted throughout history.

    but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

    Catholic doctrine is inherently contradictory because on the one hand it affirms the possibility of apostasy and falling away at the individual level but denies it at the corporate level.

    That is a non sequitur. It is not necessary that the Body fail because an individual fails. And it is an especially grievous error because the Word of God says that the decisions of the person in the office of Peter are guaranteed in heaven (Matt 16:18-19). And because the Church is described as the Teacher of the Wisdom of God, which is infallible, at the corporate level (Eph 3:10).

    Therefore, the only reason anyone would believe that the Church at the corporate level would commit apostasy, is if they did not believe the Teaching of Jesus Christ who founded the Church.

    This is not how God dealt with Israel.

    Correct. This is a New Covenant with better promises:
    Hebrews 8:6
    But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

    When Israel’s teaching priests were wicked men, God did indeed forsake them!

    Correct. And since God has not forsaken the Catholic Church, that means the Catholic Church is filled with Holy Priests.

    The beauty of Nehemiah is that it actually demonstrates the vital importance of having godly and blameless men at the head of the church.

    Again, proof that the Catholic Church is filled with Godly and blameless men at the head of the Church.

    When the head is sound, the body can thrive.

    And the Catholic Church is thriving throughout the world.

    But when it is unsound, there are grave consequences for the entire people, because many (not all) are led astray. The catholic church is not immune to this, despite its rigid absolutism and claim to infallibility.

    No one claimed that Catholics were immune to this. But the Catholic Church remains infallible as it is revealed by the Word of God in Tradition and Scripture. The fact that you deny these truths, notwithstanding.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  124. Jonathan–

    It saddens me to hear that you believe on the church more than you believe in Christ. No one in Union with Christ would abandon him simply because their own personal view of the church fell.

    The “church” didn’t reject the conciliarists’ call for a council, the anti-conciliarists did. The Reformers represent the ongoing remnant of conciliarism, which died in Roman Catholicism.

    The gates of hell have not prevailed against the Roman Catholic Church…

    …except when they have.

  125. De Maria–

    You are so right about conscience!

    Which is why Luther famously said (at the Diet of Worms):

    “My conscience is held captive by the Word of God. And to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

  126. Author: S
    Comment:

    Yes, it quickly devolves into “Hey, I’m doing nothing else but reading my Bible/Confession/By-Laws here”. And the next guy says the same. And when the debating and shouting has exhausted itself, one of them is shown the door and it is usually by the one holding the money bag. (although that fails sometimes, witness the Federal Vision debacle). Is that not the protestant story? Split after split after split, ad nauseam?

    Yes.

    Not only is it incoherent, but also embarrassing. When the scholars can’t agree, what hope is there for the average guy in the pew, as Susan has rightly pointed out.

    Which supports the Catholic position. Are you now arguing in favor of Catholicism? You jump over the fence with ease whenever you feel like it, don’t you?

    Agree. Ok, now for the bad news for catholics.

    There is no bad news for Catholics. It is only your spin which again, is only between your ears. It is what you imagine.

    While Dave Armstrong did a good job of dismantling White’s arguments, he in now way offered an apologetic for the CC. I understand that that might not have been his direct focus, but nonetheless. I would like for all of you to think deeply about the implications of your own apologetic:

    – Jesus instructs His disciples to observe whatever they are told to observe by those sitting in Moses’ seat.

    Correct.

    – Therefore this is proof that the CC has the authority it claims.

    Correct.

    Non sequitur if there ever was one.

    Nope. Listen to what Jesus says:
    Matthew 23:1-3
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

    Ok, lets continue.

    I began to explain why above, referring to 2 Chron 15, but let’s take it further. In Acts 15,

    Huh? I thought you were going to talk about Matt 23:1-3? What happened? Did you discover that our logic there is perfectly sound so you want to skip to another verse where you can ignore certain parts of the context and twist the Word of God until it is unrecognizable?

    Here, let me finish the logic in Matt 23 and how it supports the Catholic position. The Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. What is Moses’ seat?

    Scripture tells us:
    Exodus 18:13-15
    King James Version (KJV)
    13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. 14 And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? 15 And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:

    The people come to Moses to inquire about God. That is the position to which God appointed Moses:
    Exodus 19:9
    And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord.

    To what position did Jesus Christ appoint the Church?
    Matthew 28:18-20
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    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.

    Therefore, Jesus Christ appointed the Catholic Church to teach His Word to the whole world. And specifically appointed one man to whom Jesus Christ promised that His decisions were ratified in heaven:
    Matthew 16:19
    King James Version (KJV)
    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.

    In Acts 15, Ya’akov (James the Just), head of the church in Jerusalem, renders the final word on the matter of the justification of gentiles.

    You want to talk about Acts 15, ok. But lets talk about the whole chapter. Lets not leave out the most important parts. And lets also discuss how your evidence supports the Catholic Church’s model of Church organization.

    He concludes:

    “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. 21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.

    First note that the judgment he is rendering is essentially a halakhic ruling which in and of itself is not far from the kinds of rulings issued by those on Moses’ seat, in that it was deduced from an analysis of Scripture and then applied to resolve a theological/practical issue. So there’s much more than a simple reading of Amos going on here, James is imbuing the text with meaning and it is HIS judgment that carries the day (not Peter’s,

    Well, let’s see. What did St. Peter say?

    Acts 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

    12 Then all the multitude kept silence,

    Now, because everyone recognized the authority of the Speaker, St. Peter, they all held silence and permitted Sts. Paul and Barnabus to speak. But notice how St. Peter set the tone. From this time forward, the Gentiles would not be troubled by Jewish impositions.

    and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

    And Sts. Paul and Barnabus could speak comfortably. And then it was St. James’ turn. What did he say?

    13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

    19 Wherefore my sentence is,

    Wherefore. Essentially that means that the reason he has come to his conclusion is because St. Peter made the statement which he made. In other words, he is basing his conclusion upon St. Peter’s statement.

    Here’s the non sequitur which SS makes. He believes that because St. James made the last statement, St. James must have more authority than St. Peter. But that is simply his presupposition. It is nowhere, NOWHERE, required that the man with the most authority must be the last man to speak. In fact, frequently, those men are not even present at such meetings. And again, when they are present, they frequently just set the tone.

    It is obvious that in this case, St. Peter set the tone and St. James followed through, as did everyone else who attended the meeting.

    that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

    And that is the conclusion which fits perfectly with St. Peter’s admonitions.

    not the guy on the street who’s saying “but wait, my Bible says…”)

    And that is true. But that is not the Catholic way. So, the Protestants can try to handle that objection.

    But take a closer look at v 21 which is often overlooked in both catholic and protestant quarters. James supports his ruling to have the gentiles abide by the Noachide laws by referring to the fact that Moses is preached and read in the synagogue every Sabbath. Meaning, James was highlighting the fact that the gentiles would be able to acquaint themselves with the details of those 4 Noachide laws by hearing the latter for themselves when they were in the synagogue. Moses was preached everywhere, so it seemed logical to James that the halakhic binding was not a measure that they could not bear (see Peter’s comments leading to James’ ruling).

    Lets’ look at that verse and see if what you are saying makes sense.

    20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

    What is the context of v. 21? The immediate context is v.20. What do the three restrictions have in common? They are things which pagans indulged in in their idolatrous celebrations. So, St. James was forbidding the Gentiles from participating in the worship of false gods. WHY? For the very same reason that St. Paul forbid them:

    2 Corinthians 6:16
    And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    So, it is natural then to explain that the Jews have been preaching against idolatry for centuries.

    So, what is the point which SS is making?

    Is SS here supporting Scripture alone? If he is, this verse doesn’t support his point because it says, For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him,

    So, that doesn’t support Scripture alone.

    Is he claiming that the Catholic Church has discarded the Old Testament? But the Catholic Church put the Bible together with both Testaments. So, history proves him wrong.

    Is he claiming that because Moses is mentioned by St. James, that means that the Catholic Church must be part of the synagogue? But the book of Acts clearly shows that the synagogue is persecuting the Church.

    So, the only thing that he can prove is that he is making many statements based solely upon his imagination.

    The ecclesiological implications of this are enormous, but amazingly, completely overlooked

    They are. But they totally contradict your stance.

    : this lends even more evidence besides the mounds found elsewhere in the NT, that the early church was not a catholic church,

    Your assumption is that you are correct. But you are not. It only lends evidence to your misunderstanding of Scripture.

    but instead a church comprised of Jewish believers in their own right and Gentile believers in their own right.

    Again, that is your presumption. But what is truly shown is that the Church was comprised of Jewish and Gentile believers and that they were not segregated. Nor were Gentiles somehow made subservient to the Jews nor were they second class citizens.

    Certainly they were not organized like the Messianic Jews which came about in the 1960’s.

    James had no issue with gentiles learning of what portions of the Torah applied to them by hearing them on the Sabbath. How then could he have been a Catholic, for from them to ever teach gentiles to listen to torah in the synagogue!

    St. James did not say that the Gentiles must listen to the Torah on the Sabbath day. He said that the Jews were reading the Torah on the Sabbath day. You are reading into Scripture your presupposition.

    St. James is saying that the Gentiles must leave behind their pagan ways. He mentions the Jews preaching and reading of Scripture in v. 21, because the Christian faith does not contradict that aspect of the Jewish faith.

    After the Ascension, blessed Luke writes this:

    Luke 24:

    “50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.”

    Neither Luke, nor James had any issues with the temple and being in the temple. They were not in the temple, simply because they wanted to proselytize, but because they were Jews and God fearers in their own temple, not cathedral or ‘diocese’ as has been ridiculously suggested earlier.

    I used the term “diocese” because it is well known term which people will recognize and which effectively conveys the same information as “Bishoprick”. The fact that Christians were not immediately cast out of the Jewish Temples is recognized and accepted by all. So is the fact that Christians had a daily and separate celebration of the Mass (breaking bread). And finally, so is the fact that they were ejected form the Jewish Temple, accused of apostasy and persecuted by the Jews.

    So what does this come down to: catholics tells us that we should heed Matt 23:1-4, but then they contradict themselves when they argue that following Pentecost, there was no such thing as Jewish believers worshipping God as Jews, but only as catholics…. Forget the fact that:

    1. Luke 24:50-52 affirms that they praised and blessed God in the temple , which no catholic does.

    And you forget that St. Luke also said:
    Acts 7:51-53
    King James Version (KJV)
    51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

    This is an example of what CHRISTIANS were saying to the Jews in the Jewish Temple.

    2. Acts 2:46 says that they were daily in the temple , praising God and having favor with all people, which no catholic does.

    And breaking bread, which is a euphemism for holding the Mass. Because it is in the breaking of the Bread that the Real Presence of Jesus Christ is seen by faith:
    Luke 24:35
    And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

    Acts 2:46
    And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

    3. Acts 15:5 says that some believers actually were Pharisees, which no catholic would identify as.

    Meaning that they came from Pharisaic background. As did St. Paul.

    4. Acts 16 says that Paul circumcised Timothy, which no catholic does.

    Because of pressure from the Jews. Not because he wanted to.
    Acts 16:3
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

    St. Paul does not agree with circumcision. As it is said:
    Romans 2:29
    But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

    5. Acts 18 shows Paul taking a Nazirite vow, which no catholic does.

    Actually, we do. We make all kinds of sacrifices, shave our heads, crawl on hands and knees, dress in certain manner and associate these sacrifices with vows.

    6. Acts 20:6 says that Paul kept the Feast of Unleavened bread,

    No it doesn’t. You are making that up.

    7. Acts 21 shows Paul paying for the Nazirite vows of 4 others at James’ request, again which no catholic does.

    At St. James’ command.

    Because of pressure from St. James, the Bishop of Jerusalem. Anyone reading the verse can see that it was not something he did willingly. They can also see that St. James was being probably trying to save St. Paul’s life by emphasizing that Christianity did not reject Moses:
    Acts 21:18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. 19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
    20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
    21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
    22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.
    23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;
    24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
    25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
    26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
    27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,

    It didn’t seem to work though, because the Jews still tried to kill St. Paul.

    8. Luke 23 shows the first disciples of Christ, the women, keeping the Shabat (Saturday), which no catholic does.

    Our Sabbath is everyday. We break bread daily. But we worship on the first day of the week. Sunday, because that is when Jesus rose.

    And to boot, today when we point to our Jewish brethren, believers in Messiah, who do the above (with the exception of the first couple of points which is understandable given the persecution they undergo at the hands of non believing Jews), we are told that they are not true believers, because they are not catholic, and these are the people today who are descended from Moses and best qualified to speak from Moses’ seat!

    There are a lot of Jews out there. We have a greater number of Christians directly descended from Moses, in the Catholic Church.

    So really the gist of the catholic position it is this: Matt 23:1-4 speaks of authority, but we don’t want any authority to come from Messianic Jews, they don’t even rise up to the level of being worthy of being considered.

    Not until they begin to accept the authority which Jesus Christ established in the Catholic Church.

    I’ll let the objective reader decide if the catholic church’s claim is consistent with its own teaching/supersessionism.

    I’m confident that the objective reader will come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church has far more support in Scripture than Messianic Judaism.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  127. Jonathan–

    You might be right concerning Nestorius though I could swear I read that he recanted toward the very end. Neither he nor Nestorianism denies the full divinity of Christ. They deny the title of “theotokos” to Mary. The Chalcedonian Definition itself appears to deny her the Latin designation of “mater dei” since she is proclaimed Godbearer only “according to the Manhood.”

    Nestorius comes dangerously close to Adoptionism with his “moral union” of the two natures of Christ. He was trying hard to avoid monophysitism in an era that had not established the concept of the hypostatic union. His punishment was harsh, more a deterrent to others than a fair penalty.

    Immoral shepherds do not and cannot maintain pure doctrine. As far as the maintenance of consistent doctrine goes, the Reformed community of the twenty-first century is far closer doctrinally to Calvin and Beza and the Westminster Divines than modern Catholicism is to Trent. In fact, we might be closer to Trent than you all. Send Pope Francis and I back in time to stand in the docket at Trent, and they will likely anathematize him (for his abandonment of the Latin liturgy and his rejection of the inspired authority of the Vulgate, among other things) far sooner than me. Their canons grossly misconstrue Reformation thought. I might skate through relatively unscathed.

  128. Jonathan–

    Two clarifications:

    1. Before you accuse me of Donatism, I do not mean individual shepherds, as in particular popes, but whole centuries of unethical rule by the Magisterium in toto. Orthodoxy cannot be said to be maintained in the complete absence of orthopraxy. For long stretches at a time, Rome practiced and/or espoused tyranny, torture, genocide, anti-Semitism, and chattel slavery. Those involve doctrinal issues or else doctrine as a theological term is meaningless.

    2. I fully realize I have overstated my case as to my potential exoneration by Trent. That was a minor corollary anyway. My main point is that Calvinism has kept its consistency better than Catholicism. I don’t see how that would even be debatable.

  129. Eric,

    On the whole, Jonathan’s whole “Protestants have no conciliar orthodoxy thing” schtick is really quite laughable, especially considering recent developments.

    Vatican II calls you and me separated brethren, which certainly should not be possible if Protestants departed from conciliar orthodoxy of the early church.

    The Eastern Orthodox Church and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches recently came to an agreement on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. The Eastern Orthodox Church is also a member of the World Council of Churches while Rome is not. Of course, I realize that the WCC tends to be a more liberal body, as does the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. But the Protestant members of those groupings still have Protestant confessional standards, so apparently the East thinks we’re good enough.

    Apparently Rome and Constantinople are far off the rails in this regard. They really need to contact Jonathan immediately or they’re really going to be in trouble.

  130. ERIC August 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm
    De Maria–
    You are so right about conscience!

    I didn’t say that. The Catholic Church did. 2000 years ago:
    Romans 2:14-16
    King James Version (KJV)
    14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

    Which is why Luther famously said (at the Diet of Worms):
    “My conscience is held captive by the Word of God. And to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

    That is the one thing he ever said that was right. But he will still have to pay for his errors before God. Because the Word of God is not something that you parse and obey a bit here and a bit there. The Word of God says:

    Hebrews 13:17
    Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

    Luke 12:46-48
    King James Version (KJV)
    46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

    James 3:1
    King James Version (KJV)
    1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  131. ROBERT August 11, 2013 at 3:59 am
    Eric,
    On the whole, Jonathan’s whole “Protestants have no conciliar orthodoxy thing” schtick is really quite laughable, especially considering recent developments.
    Vatican II calls you and me separated brethren, which certainly should not be possible if Protestants departed from conciliar orthodoxy of the early church…..

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. The term separated brethren is applied to Protestants who have been baptized. That is all:

    818 “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers. . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”

    838 “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.” Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.” With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.”

    That says nothing about the orthodoxy of your preaching.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  132. Author: Eric
    Comment:
    Jonathan–

    It saddens me to hear that you believe on the church more than you believe in Christ. No one in Union with Christ would abandon him simply because their own personal view of the church fell.

    The “church” didn’t reject the conciliarists’ call for a council, the anti-conciliarists did. The Reformers represent the ongoing remnant of conciliarism, which died in Roman Catholicism.

    The gates of hell have not prevailed against the Roman Catholic Church…

    …except when they have.

    The gates of hell prevailed against the Reformers. The Catholic Church remains strong and continues to assail those gates to this day.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  133. @Susan:

    Nobody understands me when I try to say this, but then again I never said it so ingeniously.

    Thanks!

    Glad to be of assistance, but I would note that this is the same thing that Mike Liccione says about there being no principled way of discerning divine revelation from mere opinion in Protestantism. No infallibility, no revelation.

    @Eric:

    It saddens me to hear that you believe on the church more than you believe in Christ. No one in Union with Christ would abandon him simply because their own personal view of the church fell

    For some reason, Protestants never seem to understand that Catholics are actually Catholic. We believe that salvation comes through the Church. If there were no Church, there would be no salvation. It would mean that the Christ we believed to be God and man was not truly so and that the Scriptures had no authority.

    The “church” didn’t reject the conciliarists’ call for a council, the anti-conciliarists did. The Reformers represent the ongoing remnant of conciliarism, which died in Roman Catholicism.

    Conciliarism was an innovation; it would have need ratification from the Magisterial authority to have any substance, but it was rejected as heresy. In that respect, it deserves no more respect from a theological perspective than any other heresy.

    The Chalcedonian Definition itself appears to deny her the Latin designation of “mater dei” since she is proclaimed Godbearer only “according to the Manhood.”

    The Chalcedonian definition doesn’t deny anything of the sort. She’s the Mother of God (mater theou) only according to manhood as well, and the Third Ecumenical Council very clearly affirms both titles.

    Nestorius comes dangerously close to Adoptionism with his “moral union” of the two natures of Christ. He was trying hard to avoid monophysitism in an era that had not established the concept of the hypostatic union. His punishment was harsh, more a deterrent to others than a fair penalty.

    Nestorianism is just as dangerous as adoptionism; both deny Christ’s divinity. The lack of the “concept of the hypostatic union” does not mean that the false doctrine did not directly attack Christianity. He may have been excusably wrong, but from the perspective of the doctrine itself, he was irretrievably in error.

    Immoral shepherds do not and cannot maintain pure doctrine.

    That’s completely false. Shepherds are supposed to be moral; that is part of their calling. If they are immoral, then they have failed as shepherds. But they can fail utterly at that calling and still succeed at preserving doctrine, and the latter is necessary for the existence of Christianity, while the former is not. The Church can survive immoral shepherds, which is a disease. It can’t survive corruption of the apostolic deposit, which is death.

    For long stretches at a time, Rome practiced and/or espoused tyranny, torture, genocide, anti-Semitism, and chattel slavery. Those involve doctrinal issues or else doctrine as a theological term is meaningless.

    No, it simply means that one’s example is not an exercise of the teaching office. Infallibility is simply not given to people’s moral example in any sense. That doesn’t render doctrine meaningless, but it does render personal example meaningless for purposes of doctrine.

    At some point, you’re going to have to bite the bullet that all of these things pale in importance to Christian dogma. Again, the Church can function with poor moral example, but if Christian dogma is not preserve, nothing else the Church does has any value at all. Likewise, if the Church does not exist or proves false, then Christianity has no value at all.

    I fully realize I have overstated my case as to my potential exoneration by Trent. That was a minor corollary anyway. My main point is that Calvinism has kept its consistency better than Catholicism. I don’t see how that would even be debatable.

    Internal consistency is no proof of truth; a perfectly consistent formal system can be built on false axioms. It would need to have kept its consistency perfectly not only with itself but with all prior Christian dogma. I don’t even see how it would be debatable that Calvinism has not done so. Moreover, as I said, Catholicism may have been wildly inconsistent in terms of example and prudential judgment, but it has been excruciatingly consistent in matters of dogma. That makes all the difference. The inconsistencies you point out simply don’t matter.

    @Robert:

    On the whole, Jonathan’s whole “Protestants have no conciliar orthodoxy thing” schtick is really quite laughable, especially considering recent developments.

    Vatican II calls you and me separated brethren, which certainly should not be possible if Protestants departed from conciliar orthodoxy of the early church.

    The bigot strikes again. Don’t try to understand the doctrine; just lie about it. As an example for Eric, Robert is entirely consistent in his MO, and that doesn’t make it any less obnoxious.

    The Eastern Orthodox Church and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches recently came to an agreement on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. The Eastern Orthodox Church is also a member of the World Council of Churches while Rome is not. Of course, I realize that the WCC tends to be a more liberal body, as does the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. But the Protestant members of those groupings still have Protestant confessional standards, so apparently the East thinks we’re good enough.

    Ironically, the common statement on Christology particularly points to iconodulia, the subject matter of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, as a dividing point, meaning that the statement itself says that the Orthodox and Reformed are NOT in agreement on matters of conciliar orthodoxy. You’re confusing sufficient recognition to make the effort to talk worthwhile, which is generally true of any recognized Christian baptism, with doctrinal orthodoxy. What’s more, you should absolutely know better.

    Apparently Rome and Constantinople are far off the rails in this regard. They really need to contact Jonathan immediately or they’re really going to be in trouble.

    You periodically apologize for how you come off, but the sarcasm is too much to resist. You seem to enjoy being hateful to Catholics. Sounds a little bigoted, no?

  134. Jonathan

    You periodically apologize for how you come off, but the sarcasm is too much to resist. You seem to enjoy being hateful to Catholics. Sounds a little bigoted, no?

    Look, sometimes the best way to deal with an individual as arrogant as you come across is to point out that arrogance with a little sarcasm. If that makes you angry, then perhaps you need to man up and get a stronger spine. Remember, I’m not the one swerving off down a new path when others point out the holes in you argument and launching into tirades about bigotry and so forth. For those who have read of your interaction with the Triabloguers and James White, this is nothing new. I just made the error of thinking, initially, that the leopard may have changed his spots.

  135. ERIC August 10, 2013 at 10:14 pm
    Jonathan–
    It saddens me to hear that you believe on the church more than you believe in Christ.

    It saddens us that you guys separate the Church from Christ. It is Christ who speaks, acts and saves us through His Church. Christ didn’t separate Himself from His Church. When Saul was persecuting the Church, Jesus did NOT ask, “Why are you persecuting the Church?” BUT, “Why are you persecuting me?”

    When you guys get that straight, then you will realize why the Catholic Church is infallible and necessary for salvation.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  136. Eric,

    I’ve heard that Nestorius was afraid to use the title Theotokos because he was afraid of it exalting Mary beyond her rightful status. I don’t know if that was true or not or if it was part of the largely discredited attempt to rehabilitate Nestorius in the last century. Given the Mariolatry of Roman Catholicism that has only gotten worse over the years, however, it is a worthwhile concern even if was is not really the viewpoint of Nestorius and even if he went too far in rejecting Theotokos. As I’m sure you are aware, Theotokos is actually designed to affirm orthodox Christology regarding the deity of Christ even in his assumption of the human nature. Unfortunately, all but the most sophisticated RC theologians forget this and end up, for all intents and purposes, worshipping Mary. The Christological intent of the title is lost almost entirely among the laypeople. I suppose that statement might seem bigoted to some, but when one of the first statements of Pope Francis was that he was going to pray to Mary and given so much of the Marian piety we see, I’ll stand by it as a true estimation of where Roman Catholicism leads.

    Jonathan is right, at least in a formal sense, regarding the ability of immoral people to defend true doctrine. If something is true it is true, no matter who says it. On that, I believe, the Reformers would agree even though they rightly saw that it is not enough to maintain true doctrine but that life must reflect Christ as well. Hence their affirmation of the Christian tradition in general but concurrent insistence that a church that does not discipline its members and especially its clergy is no true church. God can speak through anyone or anything, including Balaam’s ass, but the goal is to keep those who bring disgrace upon the name of Christ out of the pulpit.

    That, I submit, is one of the lessons that Rome has refused to learn, which is why apart from periodic reform movements, we see no real attempt to hold individuals and particularly clergy responsible for their sin. The abuse scandal is just the latest and probably most egregious example of this. The sad thing is that such things should not surprise us as much as they do given what we know of human nature. Even in churches that don’t claim infallibility for themselves, there is a tendency for leaders to protect their own. We see this on the non-religious level all the time. When you add infallibility to it, it makes things worse. The reputation of the infallible teaching office must be protected at all costs, even at the local level. If people find out priests are child abusers, it will call into question the orthodoxy of the body as a whole and cause people to doubt mother church. Thus, you have even stronger motivations to ignore the suffering of the innocent. They aren’t gospel motivations, however.

    I realize that the vast majority of Roman Catholics are appalled at the abuse scandal, including Jonathan, Jason, and the other Roman Catholics that write here on this site. But what they don’t seem to realize is that such things make it impossible for any ordinary person who has not already committed a blind leap of faith in to the arms of Rome to take Rome’s claims for itself seriously. Protestants have their problems, but we don’t claim infallibility for ourselves.

    What Rome has done is taken that legitimate point that truth is truth no matter who speaks it but run off with it down paths that are naught but dead ends. As Rome has been wont to do throughout its history, when appeals for reform are made, the Magisterium doubles down on certain errors, enacts some superficial reforms and goes on humming until the next scandal exposes infallibility for what it is, mere myth. Jonathan’s statement that the Reformers call for a council was illegitimate because the Magisterium said so is a great example of what happens and why true reform is impossible under a system that calls itself infallible. If the Magisterium decides when it needs to be reformed and when it doesn’t, it cannot listen to others pointing out its faults. It has no true faults and can have no true faults. (Individuals such as De Maria show where this leads in their uncritical comments. Jason, to his credit in this point, does not seem to have totally abandoned his brain yet in this regard.) Rome could have avoided a lot of trouble for the church had it not responded the way it did first when East and West split and then at Trent. For a church that supposedly hates schism, it is utterly blind to the fact that virtually all schisms have been caused by Rome itself!

    I’m glad Jonathan admitted that the church saves him. It is the perfect example of sola ecclesia. I don’t know if he hates that term, but I know Jason has expressed his dislike of it. But if the church is the infallible adjudicator of truth and error, it should not be a problem. If you believe the church saves you, be proud of it. Me, I’ll trust Christ alone and look for my assurance from him, not an institution and definitions of infallibility so fine that no one really knows for sure what Rome has said infallibly and what it has not.

  137. ROBERT August 12, 2013 at 2:55 am

    Look, sometimes the best way to deal with an individual as arrogant as you come across is to point out that arrogance with a little sarcasm.

    That isn’t the problem Robert. You say, “Look, sometimes…” I’ll tell you what those sometimes are when you sound civil towards Catholics, you sound civil when the discussion has just begun or you think you’ve got the upper hand. But when the Catholic debunks your arguments, you do what Protestants do, belittle the other persons argument, ignore the argument, attack the Catholic Church or attack the person. In either case, it is ad hominem.

    If that makes you angry, then perhaps you need to man up and get a stronger spine. ….

    It is you who need to take that advice. It isn’t Jonathan who was conspiring to shun you on his thread. It is you who were going around inviting other Protestants to shun Jonathan on his own thread.

    Really? Did you think that he couldn’t read what you were writing? Did you think you were back in elementary school?

    Man up and get a spine of your own before you advise someone else to do so. Maybe then you’ll be able to recognize those who have a spine.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  138. Robert,

    You are correct about Nestorius and the word Thetokos[god bearer], he preferred the word Christotokos in describing Mary.

  139. Jonathan,

    Your belief in concillar heresy is “unorthodox” but leaves no other economy for papists….
    Within the conciliarist framework:
    1. The Orthodox Church historically acknowledged Rome’s primacy as primus inter pares (“first among equals”) for various reasons, but never in terms of jurisdictional supremacy.
    2. As evidence against the notion of an early papal supremacy, the Orthodox look to both the Scripture and subsequent Church history.
    a. Paul rebukes Peter in his letter to the Galatians.
    b. The bishop of Rome did not personally attend any of the seven ecumenical councils and so could certainly not have presided over them. Even Peter did not convene the apostolic council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 (nor did he preside), but the local bishop James (who was not even one of the Twelve) called the meeting and had the final word.
    3. Even in the case of the Robber Council, a “second council of Ephesus”, which convened in order to re-challenge Orthodox Christological dogmas, Rome was the first to cry anathema and condemn the council—but not without the support of the other bishops. Thus, while Rome affirmed the decisions of the ancient Church (as did the rest of the bishops), the Church did not require Rome’s approval nor did Rome ever play the top-down activist role that Roman Catholics would like to believe.
    4. Ecumenical councils, while understanding their decisions to be of immediate effect, nevertheless are only settled into the Church’s canonical consciousness over time

  140. De Maria,

    No, when Jonathan is answered by Protestants, he resorts to charges of bigotry and then changes the argument to Nestorianism and runs off down other trails. To my knowledge, I haven’t invited anyone to “shun” Jonathan. I may have pointed out that it is pointless to discuss his argument with him, since when he is backed into a corner, he goes onto a tirade of hatemongering, bigotry, so on and so forth. I have no problem with those who want to discuss these matters at least somewhat reasonably, such as SS (a non-Roman Catholic), Susan, Wosbald or even Jason, who at least has recognized that the Roman Church has significant flaws.

    I repeatedly said that I would not impute dishonesty to Jonathan, if you can see through your own Rome-colored glasses. He’s been called out for failure to understand the Protestant position, his non sequiturs, his arbitrary and inconsistent appeals to what God can and cannot do, and so on. He’s been called out for his tirades by almost every Protestant, but no Roman Catholic has. I have called out Protestants such as “The Old Adam” for lesser matters, such as the failure to make an argument but just to repeat talking points.

    I fully expect you not to hear this, for your “style” of discussion is nearly the same as TOA, except that you are Roman Catholic. Suffice it to say yet again, that Jonathan has engaged in this behavior before. The blind allegiance to your church is one of the biggest flaws of Roman Catholicism. Even bad, inconsistent, and finally incoherent arguments are fine as long as they serve the church. When Rome is measured against the same standard it wants to measure Protestants, it fails every single time. As others have said, that is the mark of cult when one refuses to measure oneself by one’s own standards and to submit blindly to the church.

  141. @Robert:

    Look, sometimes the best way to deal with an individual as arrogant as you come across is to point out that arrogance with a little sarcasm.

    Yes, you attacked me, a Catholic, by stereotyping and misinterpreting Catholicism. That is sarcastic bigotry. If you were attacking my arrogance personally, then this might even make sense. I have no qualms calling you out for you being an obnoxious person, regardless of your religion. But you attack the whole religion. In your view, the religion itself is arrogant, and that is a prejudiced and bigoted assessment.

    If that makes you angry, then perhaps you need to man up and get a stronger spine.

    I am not afraid of bigotry; I just think it’s important to call it what it is. We tend to paper over the fact that there’s a strain of American Protestantism, the Know-Nothing strain, that is just plain ugly. You’re the historical relic of that anti-Catholic prejudice, the “rum, Romanism, and rebellion” contingent. You’re living in some antiquated mythology where the Pope was condemning Americanism and trying to take over the country. It wasn’t ever real; it was always bigoted paranoia by people who didn’t understand Catholic doctrine in the first place, because it wasn’t native to them. It was good old fashioned prejudice against people they didn’t understand, but that has carried on until the present day, even though the Catholic Church has made every effort to explain this.

    Remember, I’m not the one swerving off down a new path when others point out the holes in you argument and launching into tirades about bigotry and so forth.

    You have to understand the argument first before you can point out holes in it. You as much as admitted that you were judging the argument before you understood it. That’s bigotry.

    I’m sure it’s hard to accept that you are motivated by irrational prejudice. But your “arguments” show that you are. Like every good modernist, you’re convinced that you’re too enlightened to do this sort of thing, but like any good modernist, you lack the metaphysical framework or the investigative tools to prevent it.

    For those who have read of your interaction with the Triabloguers and James White, this is nothing new. I just made the error of thinking, initially, that the leopard may have changed his spots.

    No, I’m the same man I ever was. I am consistent; that’s what you see here. Those people are anti-Catholic bigots, just as you are. Do you see me bothering with them anymore? No. I had my discussions with them to assess whether there was any rational foundation for their beliefs. I read Frame, Van Til, Owen, Nicole, Murray, Nash, Carson, Morris, Moo … all of the people that they insisted were the best representatives of their views. That is what someone serious, and not intending to put on a show for the audience, does.

    Moreover, I went beyond them and read Protestant patristics historians, some of which they recommended and some of which I identified. None of them had any background in scholastic metaphysics; none of them were anything other than modernist in their theology or historiography. And I conferred with other people who were even more familiar with the Reformed tradition to see if I was missing anything. There’s simply “no there there.” All of these smarter people have nothing more to say that the admittedly intelligent skeptic philosophers that preceded them. It is the same exercise in question-begging against rational inquiry that began with Ockham and early modernism.

    Brad Gregory has diagnosed Protestantism correctly, even if his assertions about Scotus are (as far as I can tell) completely wrong. Protestantism is simply Christianity corrupted with modernism and irreconcilable with patristic doctrine. There is no saving it or reconciling it with Christianity, any more than modern secularism can be reconciled with Christianity. Indeed, modern secularism and conservative Protestantism are simply two sides of the same modernist coin, as Gregory has documented. Your reaction to Catholicism is no different than the militant atheist’s reaction to Catholicism; it is simply irrational bigotry.

  142. And PS, it’s not pronounced “sola ecclesia.” It’s pronounced “extra ecclesiam nulla salus.”

  143. Jonathan,

    Remember, your church changed its mind on that whole outside the church thing. Or maybe it didn’t, since it arrogantly insists that I’m somehow connected to your church even though I’m not. Since Vatican II is neither perspicuous nor consistent with prior Roman Catholic history, it really is hard to tell sometimes.

    And as far as tarring an entire religion, once again you proved your inconsistency by attacking me for what you did in your most recent post tarring Reformed theology as modernist and so on. Never mind that the Vatican is a nation-state, a thoroughly “modernist” concept if there ever were one. Never mind that the most recognized Roman Catholic biblical scholars use modernist historical-critical scholarship far more uncritically than any confessional Protestant. Facts just don’t matter if they undermine Rome’s assumptions and practice.

    I’ve read Ott, Weinandy, Trent, Vatican II, Ratzinger, Rahner, and scores of other Roman Catholic theologians, including the most liberal ones such as Knitter and Ruether. You just don’t like it when Protestants see through Rome’s baseless assumptions, inconsistent reading of the patristic sources, and so much more. You criticize someone such as James White or Robert Letham for not being “patristic scholars” but want all of us to accept you as one yourself.

    The reason why you don’t interact with those other men anymore is that you could not handle them. You can barely handle yourself here. Like you did with them, as soon as your arguments are not recognized and shown to be lacking in their understanding of Protestant theology and Scripture, you retreat into charges of bigotry and so on. So like I’ve said, your modus operandi has not changed. You double down on a misunderstanding of Protestantism, make assertions about Reformed thought that even your own infallible church shies away from today, and proclaim yourself the resident expert on patristic theology.

    I understand your argument. What you don’t understand is that it is weak exegetically (that’s being generous to you), inconsistent, and often boomerangs back to invalidate the Roman Catholic position, whichever one you happen to take at the time.

  144. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    I’m glad Jonathan admitted that the church saves him. It is the perfect example of sola ecclesia. I don’t know if he hates that term, but I know Jason has expressed his dislike of it.

    I think that the problem that many Catholics would have with your term (see Jonathan’s above comment at 6:51 am) is with the notion of “‘Sola’-Anything”. In the Catholic worldview, Man must still choose to join the Church. Regenerate Man must still live and fight and die within the Church. (The inseparability of the Fisher and the Net, remember?)

    “Sola Ecclesia” reduces the Church/Christ to an abstract function or formula. IOW, it brings the living Catholic dynamic down to the level of Protestant functionalism (turns a living praxis into an abstract formula; turns a dynamic into a flowchart).

    Considering that the drive of the entire Reformation/Enlightenment zeitgeist is to exorcise Man/Creation from the equation (to pretend that the theological/scientific Net exists apart from the Fisher), I don’t find this surprising. It makes solving the Mysteries of Faith (holding them static and captive as an idol of the mind) easier. It turns the Saga of Salvation History, the Grand Cosmic Epic, into a unilinear function… “Input Grace Here —> Output Salvation Here”.

    This is why, methinks, that Reformists would prefer to reduce the issue to a formula rather than allow Catholics to express the issue as a dynamic: “Sola Ecclesia” implies an abstract, functional, impersonal principle whereas “Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus” implies a real, living, personal Word which is being addressed to a real, living, personal Recipient.

  145. @Robert:
    My point is that I don’t say these things without bothering to understand them. If you’ve read Catholic theologians, you haven’t read them competently, and you certainly haven’t read them in the context of the Church. There’s a difference between not being an expert and being incompetent or ignorant. James White is incompetent, as an actual patristics scholar observes:
    http://www.catholicfidelity.com/apologetics-topics/other-religions/protestanism/baptists-at-nicea-by-fr-hugh-barbour-o-praem/
    Letham appears to be ignorant of essentially all of the research on Eastern Christology. You appear to be incompetent in Catholic theology, but you keep talking anyway.

    I am not tarring Protestantism with anything. To give only Scripture infallible authority requires that one accept a nominalist view, because the authority of Scripture is necessarily ad hoc. That is, one can’t derive the authority (or even the canon) of Scripture from first principles, so it necessarily places divine revelation exclusively in an ad hoc category. It rules out the possibility of anything other than blind faith in the authority of Scripture.

    In Catholicism, the authority principle is identical throughout, even back to the New Testament. The forms change (contra SS) but the substance is identical. We accept the divine authority of the Apostles and the Prophets because we have the same divine authority today in different form. Without that, Scripture can have no authority; apostolic succession is necessary for Scriptural authority.

    As I said, Gregory explains all of this in The Unintended Reformation, including how the metaphysical rejection of authority per modernism leads to God being put outside the realm of reason.

  146. Jonathan,

    You really are amazing invoking the fantasist stories of, Dr RS Gregory, historian, in explainging the metaphysics of the Reformation. Truly Scotus placed it nearly correct to the effects of the Greek academy.
    But I would use the Torah example of the patriarch joseph, “Where man intends for evil, GOD uses for good.”,
    such is the outcome of the Reformation, sola gratia, sola christo.

  147. jonathan,

    Oh , yes , one minor point, where The Soverign is involved , nothing is un-intended , even the reformation

  148. Jonathan, as a scholar, you must somewhere believe that:
    “Whomever persits in the Aristotillean view of the “Queen of the Sciences”, will miss how the Gods enlighteniment to man of His General Revelation ,such as Quantum mechanics, supports the attributes of God such as His omnipresence found in Special revelation.”

  149. Jonathan,

    My point is that I don’t say these things without bothering to understand them. If you’ve read Catholic theologians, you haven’t read them competently, and you certainly haven’t read them in the context of the Church. There’s a difference between not being an expert and being incompetent or ignorant. James White is incompetent, as an actual patristics scholar observes:
    http://www.catholicfidelity.com/apologetics-topics/other-religions/protestanism/baptists-at-nicea-by-fr-hugh-barbour-o-praem/
    Letham appears to be ignorant of essentially all of the research on Eastern Christology. You appear to be incompetent in Catholic theology, but you keep talking anyway.

    My point Jonathan is that you really need to be careful before you start throwing charges of competency around. You certainly haven’t read Protestantism correctly, as more than one of us has pointed out. Moreover as far as competence, you cite an article that is full—and I mean absolutely full—of problems.

    1. The author you cite looks to Gelasisu of Cyzicus, who many have pointed out as an almost “worthless” source of history, including authors at the turn of the twentieth century and the more recent Brill online reference resource.

    2. Second, your author says that White believes the church has no final interpretative authority, which is just not true. First, he never actually says that in the CRI article. Second, White does not deny that the church has interpretative authority, the issue is the source from which that authority derives and whether that authority is infallible. That White practices church discipline and, with his fellow elders, excommunicates people from the church proves that he does indeed see the church as having final interpretative authority, just that this interpretative authority is fallible and open to correction.

    3. Third, your author cites Athanasius regarding the presiding of Hosius. Reading the actual quote from Athanasius in context, which I did since I possess the work, it is far from clear that he is doing more than just using hyperbole to commend good Hosius to others. Remember that whole we can ignore Vatican I’s pronouncement that the bishop of Rome’s authority was universally recognized because it was bombastic language typical of debate and not infallible? Let’s be consistent shall we? Furthermore, even if Hosius did preside, as noted above, there is almost no reason to think he did so as the representative of Rome. And, what’s more, even if he did preside as Rome’s representative, it was not Nicea that finally solved the Trinitarian controversy but Constantinople in 381, where NO ONE from the West, let alone the bishop of Rome was present.

    4. Your author makes the absurd claim that White sees the fathers as Protestants. Anyone who is familiar at all with White’s work knows that White does not see the fathers as Protestants, RC, or EO but, the church fathers, which is the most reasonable position for anyone to take as none of those labels have any meaning before the eleventh century or so.

    5. Your author fails to grasp what sola Scriptura actually means and seems not to have read White’s book on the subject. Sola Scriptura does not mean that the Bible is the only source for doctrine. It is the only INFALLIBLE source. Protestants do theology using other sources all the time. The most recent works on sola Scriptura, such as Keith Mathison’s work make it very clear that Scripture is interpreted within the rule of faith, which is not a problem for Protestants because the earliest references to the church’s rule of faith includes only what can be found in Scripture. There is nothing in the rule of faith about ecclesiastical infallibility, papal authority, venerating saints and Mary, and all of the other accretions held to by so many non-Protestant communions.

    6. White only refers to Athanasius as operating like a Protestant in the sense that when push comes to shove, it is Scripture to which he appeals as the convincing “blow” for heresy. For Athanasius to claim Scripture as more sufficient than other sources must, in fact, mean that they are in some sense insufficient. If nothing is more sufficient than Scripture, than Scripture alone must be the final authority.

    7. And there’s more that I could cite.

    No responsible researcher that I know of, White included, argues that the fathers were Protestants. I also don’t know any who would actually think that they held to a doctrine of sola Scriptura as Protestants would confess it today. No one should expect them to, but no one should also expect that just because they had a high view of tradition that they thought everything in tradition was viable and true. In the first few centuries of the church, when you are just trying to survive and you are much less far removed from the original days of the apostles, it is much easier to believe tradition would coincide with Scripture. The fathers did not live to see so many of the things Rome has added to tradition, and based on the writings we do have from them, they would be appalled at so much of what passes for RC and even EO. I’m sure they wouldn’t be all that happy with Protestants either. Protestantism arose because Luther, Calvin, et al were convinced that Rome had strayed far not only from Scripture but the actual tradition itself. It was nothing if not an attempt to recover the church’s historic faith. White’s point is that when the Fathers argue, their final court of appeal is Scripture in many, if not all cases.

    Letham is a strong advocate for Cyril’s Christology, which as you well know is essentially Chalcedonian Christology. Some of us have actually talked with the man and have had courses with him.

    If those are your sources, than you really need to find better ones. The fact that a patristics scholars might find White or someone else incompetent means very little if said scholar cannot even understand what he is criticizing and uses sources that are highly questionable. Having a PhD and a tenured academic chair doesn’t mean you actually know what you are talking about, and if it does, then we all need to go sit at the feet of Rosemary Radford Ruether and Paul Knitter to learn Roman Catholic theology.

    I have not read the fathers and Roman Catholic Theology in the context of the Roman Catholic Church, it is true. I’m not Roman Catholic. But if what they are saying is true and consistent, it should be recognizable to anyone. Given that there are so many Roman Catholic theologians who will point out inconsistencies and changes, so many that will admit that Vatican II was a real, substantive, doctrinal change for the church, I’m not thinking I’ve missed very much by not reading Roman Catholics as a Roman Catholic.

  150. DIDYMUS August 12, 2013 at 8:23 am
    jonathan,
    Oh , yes , one minor point, where The Soverign is involved , nothing is un-intended , even the reformation

    True. Scripture says:
    1 Corinthians 11:19
    For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

    God permitted the heresies the Reformers brought in order that the Wisdom of God taught by the Catholic Church could be made manifest:
    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,

    The heresies of the Protestant revolution against God’s church were prophesied long ago:
    2 Peter 2:1
    But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  151. DIDYMUS August 12, 2013 at 8:18 am
    Jonathan,
    You really are amazing invoking the fantasist stories of, Dr RS Gregory, historian, in explainging the metaphysics of the Reformation. Truly Scotus placed it nearly correct to the effects of the Greek academy.
    But I would use the Torah example of the patriarch joseph, “Where man intends for evil, GOD uses for good.”,
    such is the outcome of the Reformation, sola gratia, sola christo.

    On the contrary, those heretical teachings were uncovered and proved false. And the Church was purged of false teachings and the Doctrine of the infallible Church was proved true.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  152. @Robert:

    My point Jonathan is that you really need to be careful before you start throwing charges of competency around. You certainly haven’t read Protestantism correctly, as more than one of us has pointed out. Moreover as far as competence, you cite an article that is full—and I mean absolutely full—of problems.

    Given that you haven’t displayed the competence to read a short English language article honestly and competently, this says a lot more about you than the article.

    1. The author you cite looks to Gelasisu of Cyzicus, who many have pointed out as an almost “worthless” source of history, including authors at the turn of the twentieth century and the more recent Brill online reference resource.

    He cites Gelasius for the rather unremarkable observation that Hosius presided over the council and that two Roman legates attended. I’m sure Gelasius’s unreliability never extended that far.

    2. Second, your author says that White believes the church has no final interpretative authority, which is just not true. First, he never actually says that in the CRI article. Second, White does not deny that the church has interpretative authority, the issue is the source from which that authority derives and whether that authority is infallible. That White practices church discipline and, with his fellow elders, excommunicates people from the church proves that he does indeed see the church as having final interpretative authority, just that this interpretative authority is fallible and open to correction.

    Anything that is corrigible or fallible is not final. The definition of final authority is that no other decision can come afterward to change it. That is the sense in which “final” is used by Catholics, and it’s clear from Fr. Barbour’s article that this is how he was using it. Moreover, his argument, which is correct, is that Athanasius didn’t share that belief. But you don’t read Fr. Barbour honestly, because he’s Catholic, and you’re an anti-Catholic bigot.

    3. Third, your author cites Athanasius regarding the presiding of Hosius. Reading the actual quote from Athanasius in context, which I did since I possess the work, it is far from clear that he is doing more than just using hyperbole to commend good Hosius to others. Remember that whole we can ignore Vatican I’s pronouncement that the bishop of Rome’s authority was universally recognized because it was bombastic language typical of debate and not infallible? Let’s be consistent shall we? Furthermore, even if Hosius did preside, as noted above, there is almost no reason to think he did so as the representative of Rome. And, what’s more, even if he did preside as Rome’s representative, it was not Nicea that finally solved the Trinitarian controversy but Constantinople in 381, where NO ONE from the West, let alone the bishop of Rome was present.

    This is completely irrelevant to the point. If Hosius was presiding for Rome, then this strengthens the argument for Catholicism over Eastern Orthodoxy. But even if he wasn’t, the fact that he was presiding alone suffices to rebut the idea that the council lacked authority based on the apostolic succession. This is a minor point for Fr. Barbour, one that he doesn’t even need to make his point. I myself happen to think that Hosius was selected as court theologian to represent the Emperor, rather than the Pope (although he was loyal to the Pope). But this has nothing to do with Fr. Barbour’s thesis.

    4. Your author makes the absurd claim that White sees the fathers as Protestants. Anyone who is familiar at all with White’s work knows that White does not see the fathers as Protestants, RC, or EO but, the church fathers, which is the most reasonable position for anyone to take as none of those labels have any meaning before the eleventh century or so.

    No, White makes the claim that Athanasius has a similar authority position, the same one that you are maintaining here, which is that Scripture was the only infallible authority and sure judge of doctrinal disputes. That conclusion is what Fr. Barbour is mocking, quite accurately. He is saying that Athanasius was a proto-Protestant in terms of Scriptural authority, and that conclusion is completely laughable.

    5. Your author fails to grasp what sola Scriptura actually means and seems not to have read White’s book on the subject. Sola Scriptura does not mean that the Bible is the only source for doctrine. It is the only INFALLIBLE source. Protestants do theology using other sources all the time. The most recent works on sola Scriptura, such as Keith Mathison’s work make it very clear that Scripture is interpreted within the rule of faith, which is not a problem for Protestants because the earliest references to the church’s rule of faith includes only what can be found in Scripture. There is nothing in the rule of faith about ecclesiastical infallibility, papal authority, venerating saints and Mary, and all of the other accretions held to by so many non-Protestant communions.

    Fr. Barbour is responding to the ridiculous assertion that the Fathers considered Scripture the only infallible source of dogma. And incidentally, a source of dogma that is not infallible is not a source of dogma by definition. All sources of dogma must be infallible; this is why Athanasius considered sacred Tradition and Scripture all to be infallible, as well as the apostolic succession through councils. Athanasius called the rule of faith the “ecclesial scope,” as Fr. Barbour pointed out, so he believed in ecclesiastical infallibility. He venerated saints and the blessed Virgin himself, not to mention endorsing the ecclesiastical authority that explicitly endorsed these doctrines in the Seventh Ecumenical Council. And he himself went to Rome when the Arian bishops turned against him, affirming Liberius’s orthodoxy to the end when they tortured him and Hosius both. Your position is as ridiculous as White’s.

    6. White only refers to Athanasius as operating like a Protestant in the sense that when push comes to shove, it is Scripture to which he appeals as the convincing “blow” for heresy. For Athanasius to claim Scripture as more sufficient than other sources must, in fact, mean that they are in some sense insufficient. If nothing is more sufficient than Scripture, than Scripture alone must be the final authority.

    The first sentence would only hold if your second were true, but it’s silly on its face. All that it means is that Scripture is better at refuting heresies than the other sources of authority, which is generally true. But there are some heretics who turn to philosophy (or, more properly sophistry) when they can’t answer Scripture directly, misinterpreting Scripture outside of its ecclesiastical scope. So one then appeals to Tradition and the apostolic succession to show that their interpretive strategy is defective, meaning that they don’t really appeal to Scriptural authority. Again, Fr. Barbour points out that Athanasius uses this dual strategy against the Arians.

    7. And there’s more that I could cite.

    Keep going. You’re proving my point nicely.

    No responsible researcher that I know of, White included, argues that the fathers were Protestants. I also don’t know any who would actually think that they held to a doctrine of sola Scriptura as Protestants would confess it today. No one should expect them to, but no one should also expect that just because they had a high view of tradition that they thought everything in tradition was viable and true. In the first few centuries of the church, when you are just trying to survive and you are much less far removed from the original days of the apostles, it is much easier to believe tradition would coincide with Scripture. The fathers did not live to see so many of the things Rome has added to tradition, and based on the writings we do have from them, they would be appalled at so much of what passes for RC and even EO. I’m sure they wouldn’t be all that happy with Protestants either. Protestantism arose because Luther, Calvin, et al were convinced that Rome had strayed far not only from Scripture but the actual tradition itself. It was nothing if not an attempt to recover the church’s historic faith. White’s point is that when the Fathers argue, their final court of appeal is Scripture in many, if not all cases.

    This is all foolishness. While you are insulting and patronizing our allegedly stupid Fathers, there’s no reason to believe that any reasonable people, much less these shining examples of Christian holiness, were so guillible. They believed Tradition had authority because they believe it was divine in origin. To say otherwise is to do exactly what Fr. Barbour rightly mocked. The Fathers would never have repudiated Sacred Tradition; they literally risked their lives and suffered exile to defend it.

    Letham is a strong advocate for Cyril’s Christology, which as you well know is essentially Chalcedonian Christology. Some of us have actually talked with the man and have had courses with him.

    OK, and I’ve spoken with Fr. Barbour as well. It’s not clear to me that Letham knows Cyril’s Christology well enough to advocate from it. He doesn’t interact with the major scholarly works on the subject, and his interpretation of the few sources he reads is tendentious. I’ll be impressed with his advocacy when I see him make it consistent with his entire theology, including penal substitution. Otherwise, he’s just jumping on this fad of Protestants using Eastern terms to get “street cred” for how historical they are. I’ve read a lot of people like that, but I’ve seen very few Protestants who will actually take that to any serious level.

    If those are your sources, than you really need to find better ones. The fact that a patristics scholars might find White or someone else incompetent means very little if said scholar cannot even understand what he is criticizing and uses sources that are highly questionable. Having a PhD and a tenured academic chair doesn’t mean you actually know what you are talking about, and if it does, then we all need to go sit at the feet of Rosemary Radford Ruether and Paul Knitter to learn Roman Catholic theology.

    Well, I guess we don’t have to worry about Fr. Barbour then; White must really be incompetent. Theologians are no better than their arguments; there’s nothing magical about the title that entitles them to respect. As with Fr. Barbour, it is superior mastery of the relevant facts that makes someone believable, not their degrees. This is why I have no qualms rejecting Letham’s view of Cyril, because people with far better mastery of the facts (McGuckin, for example) reject his conclusions.

    I have not read the fathers and Roman Catholic Theology in the context of the Roman Catholic Church, it is true. I’m not Roman Catholic. But if what they are saying is true and consistent, it should be recognizable to anyone.

    Exactly, so you shouldn’t have to be Catholic to understand what a Catholic is saying. But you refuse to even try. That’s why you are an anti-Catholic bigot.

    Given that there are so many Roman Catholic theologians who will point out inconsistencies and changes, so many that will admit that Vatican II was a real, substantive, doctrinal change for the church, I’m not thinking I’ve missed very much by not reading Roman Catholics as a Roman Catholic.

    And? Are theologians never mistaken? People screw up. Until those beliefs are incorporated by the Magisterium, they are only as binding as they are persuasive. On the contrary, the people you mention have been condemned by the Magisterium for mistakes in the past, so why would we trust them?

  153. Jonathan,

    What is abundantly clear is that neither you nor Barbour actually read White’s article, for both of you accuse him of holding positions that he does not advocate, and Barbour grossly misinterprets much of what White says, as well as the sola Scriptura position. That is par for the course for anti-Protestant bigots such as yourself, but whatever. (See, the name calling is real productive, right?).

    Anyone who reads what White actually wrote and then reads Barbour without Rome-colored glasses will see the multiple non-sequiturs and so forth. Considering that you have been called out by White himself for your own shoddy argumentation and failure to grasp your opponent’s basic argument, I should expect this. Oh well, I guess I was wrong to expect better of you.

  154. @Robert:

    What is abundantly clear is that neither you nor Barbour actually read White’s article, for both of you accuse him of holding positions that he does not advocate, and Barbour grossly misinterprets much of what White says, as well as the sola Scriptura position.

    Does you saying this help anything? Can’t people just go and read the articles themselves? Do you get paid to be a water carrier or something?
    https://aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=1507

    White says the following:
    Over and over again Barbour argues that it was my intention to turn the council of Nicea into an ancient convention of Baptists. He writes, “The article. . . actually claimed the Fathers of the Council were essentially Evangelical Protestants.” But such is simply untrue. What I did say was that in the particular instance of Athanasius’ well-known stand against the combined weight of councils (such as the one held at Sirmium, attended by 600 bishops), bishops (including Liberius, bishop of Rome), and Emperors was not something that you would identify with Roman Catholicism, but with Protestantism, especially since Athanasius defended his action via his fidelity to Scriptural truth. Just because his actions were more consistent with modern day Protestantism than with Roman Catholicism cannot logically mean that I was identifying him as a full-blown Protestant.

    That is vintage White bigotry; Catholicism must be blind adherence to episcopal authority and councils, right or wrong. Never mind that orthodox bishops rejected heterodox councils all the time. Catholic bishops were famous for standing against Emperors; look at St. Ambrose, for example. As for standing against Liberius, the shameful slander is disgusting. Does White thinks he knows the man better than St. Athanasius himself, who remained firmly convinced of both Liberius’s and Hosius’s orthodoxy and never had the slightest doubt that the torture of these old men had driven them beyond their physical limits? Liberius was the first pope not to be recognized as a saint for not having had the extraordinary divine blessing of patience under the torture of his frail body, but to call him an opponent of Athanasius when even Athanasius himself did not boggles the mind.

    And the outrageous bolded statement was exactly what Fr. Barbour was ridiculing. The idea that Athanasius was “more consistent” with Protestantism is unfathomable. No serious scholar makes that argument.

    That is par for the course for anti-Protestant bigots such as yourself, but whatever. (See, the name calling is real productive, right?).

    You can try to make that charge stick. Given that I have never been a Protestant and have no reason for bigotry against them, it doesn’t make much sense.

    Anyone who reads what White actually wrote and then reads Barbour without Rome-colored glasses will see the multiple non-sequiturs and so forth.

    I’ve made it very convenient for them to do so by linking the discussion myself.

    Considering that you have been called out by White himself for your own shoddy argumentation and failure to grasp your opponent’s basic argument, I should expect this.

    I think you mean “hung up on my call,” which is the last time I even tried to dialogue with him. If you’re saying I fail to grasp my opponent’s basic argument, you would at best have a pot and kettle argument there, but the truth is that I don’t have any problem grasping argument, and neither does Fr. Barbour.

    Oh well, I guess I was wrong to expect better of you.

    I guess so. My expectations of you are pretty simple. You’re not even going to try to understand my view, you’re going to misrepresent my view, and you’re going to claim there is some answer out there without linking it or reproducing the argument or sources. Unfortunately, you never fail to meet expectations.

  155. Which supports the Catholic position. Are you now arguing in favor of Catholicism? You jump over the fence with ease whenever you feel like it, don’t you?

    DeMaria, I’m not a raging partisan like you. I give credit to each side when credit is due and I call each side to the mat when necessary too. It’s a shame you can’t even recognize that fwiw.

    There is no bad news for Catholics. It is only your spin which again, is only between your ears. It is what you imagine.

    Your caustic attitude reflects poorly on the owner of this blog. I would suggest you take your cue from other some here who have attempted to remain respectful and not gratuitously launch into ad hominems, this seems as natural as breathing to you.

    Huh? I thought you were going to talk about Matt 23:1-3? What happened? Did you discover that our logic there is perfectly sound so you want to skip to another verse where you can ignore certain parts of the context and twist the Word of God until it is unrecognizable?

    More cheap shots highlighting your lack of substance. The entirety of my post deals with the inconsistency of the CC in on the one hand claiming that Matt 23:1-3 supports their claim to authority and then turning around and denying that those who sit on Moses’ seat are no longer qualified to teach them, because the CC is the new Israel, and has replaced the Israel of old.

    Here, let me finish the logic in Matt 23 and how it supports the Catholic position. The Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. What is Moses’ seat?

    Scripture tells us:
    Exodus 18:13-15
    King James Version (KJV)
    13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. 14 And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? 15 And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:

    The people come to Moses to inquire about God. That is the position to which God appointed Moses:
    Exodus 19:9
    And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord.

    What have you proven above? Nothing, it’s all mere presuppositionalism. Like I said before, catholics take what belongs to the true Jews and sons of Abraham and appropriates it for themselves.

    To what position did Jesus Christ appoint the Church?
    Matthew 28:18-20
    King James Version (KJV)
    18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    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.

    Therefore, Jesus Christ appointed the Catholic Church to teach His Word to the whole world. And specifically appointed one man to whom Jesus Christ promised that His decisions were ratified in heaven:

    Non sequitur again. Your therefore clause does not work. The CC is not the remnant which Paul speaks of in Romans 11, because it does not recognize its proper place vis a vis the natural branches. The CC has not replaced Israel.

    Matthew 16:19
    King James Version (KJV)
    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.

    You are basically eisegetically reading catholic theology into the verse. The fundamental backbone of sound hermeneutics is the reading of the text in its own first century/jewish context. You omit that, and you have nothing but anachronistic eisegesis of the text. The phrase ‘what you bind on earth’ needs to be read in its proper Hebraic context. The binding and loosing is an Hebraism for the process of rendering halakhic (legal) rulings. That is what Rabbis do, they bind and they loose. As a Jewish believer and leader of the church, that is what Peter and James did. While James in Acts 15 took Peter’s input as supporting his final judgement, it was nevertheless he who made the final call, demonstrating the collegial aspect of the first and only valid council.

    You want to talk about Acts 15, ok. But lets talk about the whole chapter. Lets not leave out the most important parts. And lets also discuss how your evidence supports the Catholic Church’s model of Church organization.

    He concludes:

    “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. 21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath. ”

    First note that the judgment he is rendering is essentially a halakhic ruling which in and of itself is not far from the kinds of rulings issued by those on Moses’ seat, in that it was deduced from an analysis of Scripture and then applied to resolve a theological/practical issue. So there’s much more than a simple reading of Amos going on here, James is imbuing the text with meaning and it is HIS judgment that carries the day (not Peter’s,

    Well, let’s see. What did St. Peter say?

    Acts 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

    12 Then all the multitude kept silence,

    Now, because everyone recognized the authority of the Speaker, St. Peter, they all held silence and permitted Sts. Paul and Barnabus to speak. But notice how St. Peter set the tone. From this time forward, the Gentiles would not be troubled by Jewish impositions.

    This again belies complete ignorance of the Jewish deliberative process. When halakha was/is underway, and when an argument presented is agreed with by the audience, the latter shows its approval precisely through silence. It is only if there is disagreement that they open their mouths and dispute. The silence when Peter spoke is not evidence for his position as ‘pope’, but instead for the fact no one had any issue with what he was saying.

    And Sts. Paul and Barnabus could speak comfortably. And then it was St. James’ turn. What did he say?

    13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

    19 Wherefore my sentence is,

    Wherefore. Essentially that means that the reason he has come to his conclusion is because St. Peter made the statement which he made. In other words, he is basing his conclusion upon St. Peter’s statement.

    Utter nonsense. The ‘therefore’ follows his quote of Amos and his reading of the prophecy of Amos! Yes, Peter has provided evidence of what God has done for the gentiles (via Cornelius) but it is James who reaches into Scripture, and offers a theological argument for the teaching that gentiles are not to be burdened with circumcision, not Peter.

    Here’s the non sequitur which SS makes. He believes that because St. James made the last statement, St. James must have more authority than St. Peter. But that is simply his presupposition. It is nowhere, NOWHERE, required that the man with the most authority must be the last man to speak. In fact, frequently, those men are not even present at such meetings. And again, when they are present, they frequently just set the tone.

    How interesting that James suddenly has become St James to you. In a prior post, you blasphemed his name by saying that God punished his ‘diocese’ and him by letting the Romans destroy the church in Jerusalem and also that James had no clue about the gospel and was ‘clinging to the law’. Now he is back to being a saint. Ok, well, at any rate, it is not merely the fact that James speaks last, but rather that he is the one who takes the cumulative force of what preceded and renders the halakhic ruling. In Jewish culture, the one who renders the ruler is the authority. If you want to prove that Peter is the pope here the burden on proof is upon you to show that James’ reading of Amos was actually the product of Peter’s theological interpretation, but of course, nowhere does the text show that.

    But take a closer look at v 21 which is often overlooked in both catholic and protestant quarters. James supports his ruling to have the gentiles abide by the Noachide laws by referring to the fact that Moses is preached and read in the synagogue every Sabbath. Meaning, James was highlighting the fact that the gentiles would be able to acquaint themselves with the details of those 4 Noachide laws by hearing the latter for themselves when they were in the synagogue. Moses was preached everywhere, so it seemed logical to James that the halakhic binding was not a measure that they could not bear (see Peter’s comments leading to James’ ruling).

    Lets’ look at that verse and see if what you are saying makes sense.

    20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

    What is the context of v. 21? The immediate context is v.20. What do the three restrictions have in common? They are things which pagans indulged in in their idolatrous celebrations. So, St. James was forbidding the Gentiles from participating in the worship of false gods. WHY? For the very same reason that St. Paul forbid them:

    2 Corinthians 6:16
    And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    So, it is natural then to explain that the Jews have been preaching against idolatry for centuries.

    Wrong again. What the restrictions have in common is this:

    (1) The precursor requirement to abstain from things contaminated by idols is found in Leviticus 17:3-9. This command requires any ox, lamb or goat sacrificed by an Israelite or a ger (stranger/alien) to be brought to the door of the Tabernacle of Meeting. The reason for this requirement was because these animals were being sacrificed to demons outside the camp instead of to God (Lev. 17:7). Paul tells us that the sacrifices Gentiles made to idols were actually sacrifices to demons (I Cor. 10:19-21).

    2) The command against sexual immorality comes from Leviticus 18:6-23. This passage is an extensive listing of forbidden sexual practices and relationships.

    3) The commandment against eating animals that had been strangled was based on Leviticus 17:15-16. This passage states that Israelites or a ger living among them would become unclean by eating animals that had died naturally or had been killed by wild beasts (cf. Lev 22:8).

    4) The command to abstain from eating blood is found in Leviticus 17:10-14 (as well as Gen. 9:4; Lev. 3:17; 7:26-27; 19:26; Deu. 12:16, 23; 15:23). Neither the Israelites nor the ger dwelling with them were supposed to eat the blood of an animal, because the blood sustains the life of the flesh.

    So what has James done? He has reached into the Torah (Leviticus) and adjudicated that the portion of Torah that applies to the gentiles is the above and thus has bound the gentile to the above while loosing him from other parts of the Torah that are too heavy/burdensome to bear. This is binding and loosing in action. The common thread between the restrictions is not idolatry, but simply the application of the part of Torah which is relevant for the gentile. That is the common thread between the restrictions.

    So, what is the point which SS is making?

    Is SS here supporting Scripture alone? If he is, this verse doesn’t support his point because it says, For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him,

    So, that doesn’t support Scripture alone.

    Correct. We are in dire need of genuine, authentic, God-approved authority, in that I agree with Jason. However, it does not follow that the CC is therefore that authority. The CC by her deeds has proven herself to not be that authority.

    Is he claiming that the Catholic Church has discarded the Old Testament? But the Catholic Church put the Bible together with both Testaments. So, history proves him wrong.

    The CC did not write the Torah nor did it write Brit Chadashah. And the Lord God Himself was declaring believers righteous (cf. Rev 2, 3) long before the canon was established.

    Is he claiming that because Moses is mentioned by St. James, that means that the Catholic Church must be part of the synagogue? But the book of Acts clearly shows that the synagogue is persecuting the Church.

    What the book of Acts shows is that the first believers were Jewish believers, not catholics. Does it also show unbelieving jews persecuting Jewish believers, yes it does. But that is irrelevant to my point.

    but instead a church comprised of Jewish believers in their own right and Gentile believers in their own right.

    Again, that is your presumption. But what is truly shown is that the Church was comprised of Jewish and Gentile believers and that they were not segregated. Nor were Gentiles somehow made subservient to the Jews nor were they second class citizens.

    Yes, thank you for making my point for me, that they were Jewish believers and Gentile believers, not catholics. The Jews worshipped at the temple, praising God as was their custom. They did not celebrate mass in the temple or pray to the virgin Mary in the temple. You cannot prove that from the text. Nowhere did I say that Gentiles were subservient. If anything, Paul encouraged gentiles at Rome to share material blessings with the Jewish believers at Jerusalem not out of subservience or because they were second class citizens, but rather to honor those Jewish believers as their older brothers in the faith.

    “25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things. 28

    Certainly they were not organized like the Messianic Jews which came about in the 1960?s.

    They were no different than them, but are of the same stock. I know, a terribly inconvenient truth for the CC, but truth is what it is.

    James had no issue with gentiles learning of what portions of the Torah applied to them by hearing them on the Sabbath. How then could he have been a Catholic, for from them to ever teach gentiles to listen to torah in the synagogue!

    St. James did not say that the Gentiles must listen to the Torah on the Sabbath day. He said that the Jews were reading the Torah on the Sabbath day. You are reading into Scripture your presupposition.

    He didn’t say the Jews were reading the Torah on the Sabbath day. What you omit is the ‘FOR’ which precedes the clause “for Moses is read every Sabbath…’.

    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. 21 FOR Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath”

    The For explicates what precedes it: namely that the 4 restrictions are actually derived from the Law of Moses which is preached every Sabbath in the places of worship. Any gentile could go and hear these laws. There is also a another possible/mutually inclusive meaning to the phrase, namely the understanding that it was the sacrifice of Yeshua which brought about the inclusion of gentiles into the commonwealth of Israel, and not the preaching of Moses for many generations. I believe James also makes this contrast here to support his halakhic ruling that the gentiles ought not to be burdened with the entirety of the law of Moses.

    After the Ascension, blessed Luke writes this:

    Luke 24:

    “50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.”

    Neither Luke, nor James had any issues with the temple and being in the temple. They were not in the temple, simply because they wanted to proselytize, but because they were Jews and God fearers in their own temple, not cathedral or ‘diocese’ as has been ridiculously suggested earlier.

    I used the term “diocese” because it is well known term which people will recognize and which effectively conveys the same information as “Bishoprick”. The fact that Christians were not immediately cast out of the Jewish Temples is recognized and accepted by all. So is the fact that Christians had a daily and separate celebration of the Mass (breaking bread). And finally, so is the fact that they were ejected form the Jewish Temple, accused of apostasy and persecuted by the Jews.

    Where is evidence that Christians had a ‘daily and separate celebration of the Mass’? Show me where in the text? Luke says that they praised and blessed God in the temple. . How do you go from that to the idea that they were ‘separate’. That they were persecuted by their own does in no way remove the fact that they were actually jewish believers in the Messiah, Messianic Jews, not catholics.

    So what does this come down to: catholics tells us that we should heed Matt 23:1-4, but then they contradict themselves when they argue that following Pentecost, there was no such thing as Jewish believers worshipping God as Jews, but only as catholics…. Forget the fact that:

    1. Luke 24:50-52 affirms that they praised and blessed God in the temple , which no catholic does.

    And you forget that St. Luke also said:
    Acts 7:51-53
    King James Version (KJV)
    51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

    And your point is? You have not addressed what I raised, which is Luke 24:52. No catholic worships God in the temple.

    2. Acts 2:46 says that they were daily in the temple , praising God and having favor with all people, which no catholic does.

    And breaking bread, which is a euphemism for holding the Mass. Because it is in the breaking of the Bread that the Real Presence of Jesus Christ is seen by faith:
    Luke 24:35
    And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

    Again, you sidestep my point which was that they assembled in the temple, with other Jews. Nothing to do with ‘mass’.

    3. Acts 15:5 says that some believers actually were Pharisees, which no catholic would identify as.

    Meaning that they came from Pharisaic background. As did St. Paul.

    And what is your point? I agree that they ‘came from Pharisaic background’. Not only did they come from that background, they actually WERE Pharisees, not catholics!

    5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”

    Do catholics ask for circumcision to be binding upon gentiles? I didn’t think so. So whatever you say above is a NON answer to my point which is that these early believers were not catholics.

    4. Acts 16 says that Paul circumcised Timothy, which no catholic does.

    Because of pressure from the Jews. Not because he wanted to.
    Acts 16:3
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

    St. Paul does not agree with circumcision. As it is said:
    Romans 2:29
    But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

    What in the text justifies the idea that Paul was under pressure? It is entirely possible to understand that Paul actually wanted to circumcise Timothy, precisely to show the Jews that he was never against the keeping of the Law for Jews, and that the rumors to the contrary were false! And in no way does Rom 2:29 deny that Jews can be circumcised, for what Paul is saying there is simply that a true Jew is the one who is not only circumcised outwardly but also inwardly. He has no problem with circumcision. For him, whether it is circumcision (jewish believers) or uncircumcision (gentile believers), what truly matters is faith working through love.

    5. Acts 18 shows Paul taking a Nazirite vow, which no catholic does.

    Actually, we do. We make all kinds of sacrifices, shave our heads, crawl on hands and knees, dress in certain manner and associate these sacrifices with vows.

    Okay, this one takes the cake, LOL. I really want to hear from other catholics on this: can somebody explain to me what Demaria is talking about here? I guess I didn’t get the memo that you catholics keep Nazirite vows. Can someone chime in please? Jason, Wosbald, Jonathan, John, anyone?

    6. Acts 20:6 says that Paul kept the Feast of Unleavened bread,

    No it doesn’t. You are making that up.

    Prove to me that it doesn’t.

    7. Acts 21 shows Paul paying for the Nazirite vows of 4 others at James’ request, again which no catholic does.

    At St. James’ command.

    Because of pressure from St. James, the Bishop of Jerusalem. Anyone reading the verse can see that it was not something he did willingly. They can also see that St. James was being probably trying to save St. Paul’s life by emphasizing that Christianity did not reject Moses…

    It didn’t seem to work though, because the Jews still tried to kill St. Paul.

    Prove to me from the text that Paul did not do it willingly, ESPECIALLY GIVEN that Paul cut his hair off in Cenchrea before that in Acts 18, which had nothing to do with James.

    8. Luke 23 shows the first disciples of Christ, the women, keeping the Shabat (Saturday), which no catholic does.

    Our Sabbath is everyday. We break bread daily. But we worship on the first day of the week. Sunday, because that is when Jesus rose.

    I don’t dispute that, so entirely a red herring. The text says that the disciples, the women, kept Shabat on Saturday. No catholic does that. They were jewish believers, not catholics.

    And to boot, today when we point to our Jewish brethren, believers in Messiah, who do the above (with the exception of the first couple of points which is understandable given the persecution they undergo at the hands of non believing Jews), we are told that they are not true believers, because they are not catholic, and these are the people today who are descended from Moses and best qualified to speak from Moses’ seat!

    There are a lot of Jews out there. We have a greater number of Christians directly descended from Moses, in the Catholic Church.

    Supersessionism ad nauseam. ‘We’re the biggest, we’re the best, we’re the smartest, those filthy Jews they couldn’t possibly bring us any blessing could they.’ Your bragging is a stench in God’s nostrils.

    So really the gist of the catholic position it is this: Matt 23:1-4 speaks of authority, but we don’t want any authority to come from Messianic Jews, they don’t even rise up to the level of being worthy of being considered.

    Not until they begin to accept the authority which Jesus Christ established in the Catholic Church.

    You have no authority but the illusion of it.

  156. Just in case this gets lost on other catholics reading:

    I had said this earlier:

    5. Acts 18 shows Paul taking a Nazirite vow, which no catholic does.

    To which Demaria replied:

    “Actually, we do. We make all kinds of sacrifices, shave our heads, crawl on hands and knees, dress in certain manner and associate these sacrifices with vows.”

    I really want to hear from other catholics on this: can somebody explain to me what Demaria is talking about here? I guess I didn’t get the memo that you catholics keep Nazirite vows. Can someone chime in please? Jason, Wosbald, Jonathan, John, anyone?

  157. Jonathan–

    Some people’s kids have no respect for the rules of grammar!

    In your 10:08 entry to Robert, you said:

    “Does you saying this help anything?”

    When uneducated lowbrows fail to use possessive case before gerunds, I get this sharp pain right behind my retinas…. 😉

  158. Jonathan–

    I am hopelessly behind in this discussion, but I will try to make a few comments nonetheless.

    Docetism, Apollonarianism, Eutychianism, and all embrace Christ’s full divinity (unlike, say, Arianism). What they deny is a full integration between his two natures, which tends towards denying his full humanity.

    You are correct that technically mater dei is alright, but it tends to confuse. Millions of Catholics extend hyperdulia into full-fledged worship of Mary. I recall a Puerto Rican seminary professor, writing on the “dirty little secret” in Catholicism, described the results of a poll he did with his students in which fully a third clearly went beyond the bounds of hyperdulia in their personal beliefs. I should have used “mater divinitatis,” I suppose, for she was NOT the mother of his divinity. Many confused the two almost immediately after the Council of Ephesus, and it is from 431 C.E. that scholars note a huge increase in extreme Marianism. Theotokos was meant as a safeguard concerning the deity of Christ, but it was soon taken as a statement on Mary. Nestorius was quite correct to be concerned, and his term for Mary, christotokos, is technically orthodox.

  159. Jonathan,

    Thank you for citing the aomin.org response, as it allows the reader to again evaluate the evidence for themselves.

    I am not a “water-carrier.” I don’t have the onerous task of defending a so-called infallible church that has shown itself time and again not to be infallible.

    The bolded quote you cite is not actually from the article to which Barbour was responding, first of all. Second, White’s point is not call into question Athanasius’ personal view of Liberius. If you bothered to read it in context, his point is that Athanasius stood against a council that included the bishop of Rome as one of its participants if not even its “head.”

    White is exactly right that no Roman Catholic today could do such a thing today. If the pope convened a council and called it ecumenical, no bishop could declare its decision unorthodox and remain in the good graces of the church. If Vatican II had decided to exalt Mary into position as the fourth member of the Trinity, Roman Catholics would have had to accept it. Now, you can say the council would never do such a thing. Fine, but such a statement is bare fideism.

    There was no developed theory of ecumenical councils in Athanasius’ day. Based on the writings we do have from him, we know that if Nicea had sided with the Arians, he would have opposed it just as he opposed Arianism elsewhere. It is historical fantasy to go from Athanasius cited and defended Nicea to Athanasius believed that the church was infallible.

    Have your interactions with other Protestants not taught you to stop digging the holes you get yourself in?

  160. @Robert:

    When uneducated lowbrows fail to use possessive case before gerunds, I get this sharp pain right behind my retinas.

    Exactly right. One of these days I will take them time to edit, but as you can tell, I don’t have time. God evidently doesn’t protect me from error when I work without a net.

    I am not a “water-carrier.” I don’t have the onerous task of defending a so-called infallible church that has shown itself time and again not to be infallible.

    I don’t have any problem defending Catholic dogma, although I shouldn’t have to defend every doctrine of the Church every time I have a discussion about any discussion I have. Reasonable people would not take that view; it is only those who hate Catholicism that make every discussion into one about papal authority.

    The bolded quote you cite is not actually from the article to which Barbour was responding, first of all.

    White has no incentive to misrepresent what his point was. He clearly takes Fr. Barbour as criticizing the idea that the Fathers behaved like Protestants in all ways, and his argument was that Athanasius placed Scripture above the fallible authorities of Tradition and councils. That was not true in the least. Athanasius considered Tradition just as much an infallible judge as Scripture and later added councils to the same class, realizing that he could not deny Nicaea without repudiating his own claim to infallible Tradition. Yes, Nicaea was the first of its kind, but Athanasius himself, after the fact, clearly realizes that it was a true witness to divine doctrine and therefore infallible just as Scripture and Tradition were.

    Second, White’s point is not call into question Athanasius’ personal view of Liberius. If you bothered to read it in context, his point is that Athanasius stood against a council that included the bishop of Rome as one of its participants if not even its “head.”

    Liberius was tortured and forced to sign the document after the fact. That’s not a “participant.” That’s not a “head.” He was dragged back from exile by the Emperor and forced to sign a document against his will, and even then, he regretted not having fought to the death to avoid it. Moreover, the people of Rome did not even know about it until much later, and neither did Athanasius, so the idea that Athanasius perceived himself as standing against Liberius when “the whole world groaned to find itself Arian” (per St. Jerome) has no historical basis. If this is White’s point, then you are proving mine.

    White is exactly right that no Roman Catholic today could do such a thing today. If the pope convened a council and called it ecumenical, no bishop could declare its decision unorthodox and remain in the good graces of the church. If Vatican II had decided to exalt Mary into position as the fourth member of the Trinity, Roman Catholics would have had to accept it. Now, you can say the council would never do such a thing. Fine, but such a statement is bare fideism.

    No, White is an anti-Catholic bigot, and you should be ashamed to believe such a thing. If someone kidnapped the Pope and showed him being tortured into signing a document against his will, no one would accept that he had done it freely in the office of the Pope. If you mean that there is a bare logical possibility that the Pope could teach false doctrine, then the Apostles or Scripture also logically could have taught false doctrine and one’s interpretation of the Scriptures can be wrong. If the bare statement that one believes an authority is infallible is inherently fideistic, then all authority claims are fideistic. The fact that you make such an assertion tells more about the modernism and fideism of your own position than anything about Catholicism.

    This does not mean that Protestants and Catholics are in parity, however. It is reasonable to accept divine authority, but it is inconsistent to give credence to anything that one considers fallible as a divine authority. Protestants have a logical problem is in claiming that an authority that is not infallible nevertheless possessed divine authority. For example, having faith in a “fallible collection of infallible books” or a process of “inscripturation” is fidestic, because there is no reason for thinking that the people doing the collecting or inscripturating were infallible.

    This is why Athanasius is so critical and why White’s position gave Fr. Barbour so much ammunition. If Athanasius accepts any infallible authority beyond Scripture, then Athanasius logically contradicts the Scripture-only position. That means his view is logically incompatible with the Protestant position, while it is not logically incompatible with the Catholic position (or the Eastern Orthodox position). That means that Athanasius must necessarily be closer to the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox positions, because both of them also put Scripture in parity (albeit in the most perfect expression) with Church authority. And if they conflict on authority, none of the other doctrine matters, because even if they happen to agree on some or another conclusion, the conflict on authority means that Athanasius, for example, could never have accepted and held the beliefs the way Protestants do.

    We all use reason in discerning divine authority, but Protestants have a drastically different, fideistic approach to divine authority, putting faith in things like the inscripturation process without adequate justification. That is what Fr. Barbour points out in his article.

    There was no developed theory of ecumenical councils in Athanasius’ day. Based on the writings we do have from him, we know that if Nicea had sided with the Arians, he would have opposed it just as he opposed Arianism elsewhere. It is historical fantasy to go from Athanasius cited and defended Nicea to Athanasius believed that the church was infallible.

    See above. The ecumenical council was clearly a new form that no one knew exactly how to take, but Athanasius was the one who famously realized that to deny the council would be do deny his own patrimony, including St. Alexander. He looked around and saw all these new councils and all these creeds, and when he had the opportunity to have yet another council among councils and yet another creed among creeds, he realized that Nicaea was different. The very idea of Tradition would perish if he did not affirm the unique authority of what Nicaea had recognized for the entire Church. And by the way, I got that from another patristics scholar of my acquaintance; that is a factual account of the history.

  161. @Eric:

    Docetism, Apollonarianism, Eutychianism, and all embrace Christ’s full divinity (unlike, say, Arianism). What they deny is a full integration between his two natures, which tends towards denying his full humanity.

    I don’t think that’s true. The orthodox statement is “the man Christ Jesus is the Word of God.” Lack of “full integration” is not the problem in Apollinarianism or Docetism; both of those deny that Jesus is a man. Eutychianism denies the divinity, because the divinity can’t be mixed with humanity into a tertium quid. The very idea of “integration” creates a problem, as if there is a union between two things brought together as opposed to the Word of God being the union of the two natures. I’m not saying that you’re entirely wrong, but the characterization is confusing, and I am not sure what you mean but it.

  162. Author: SS

    DeMaria, I’m not a raging partisan like you. I give credit to each side when credit is due and I call each side to the mat when necessary too. It’s a shame you can’t even recognize that fwiw.

    Wrong SS. Susan was arguing in favor of the Catholic Doctrine of the infallibility and authority of the Catholic Church. Which, you hold to against Protestants, but deny for yourself. Therefore, it is disingenuous of you.

    Essentially, you are saying, “it is good for Protestants, but not for me.” You are arguing that Protestants must submit to the authority of the Church whose authority you deny.

    Your caustic attitude reflects poorly on the owner of this blog. I would suggest you take your cue from other some here who have attempted to remain respectful and not gratuitously launch into ad hominems, this seems as natural as breathing to you.

    You’re accusing me of ad hominems? That’s the pot calling the kettle black. If you want a respectful tone, I suggest you cultivate a respectful tone.

    More cheap shots highlighting your lack of substance.

    More accusations of cheap shots in order to avoid acknowledging that your original point has been disproved.

    The entirety of my post deals with the inconsistency of the CC in on the one hand claiming that Matt 23:1-3 supports their claim to authority and then turning around and denying that those who sit on Moses’ seat are no longer qualified to teach them, because the CC is the new Israel, and has replaced the Israel of old.

    That is all explained in Scripture. The Old Covenant has been superseded. Christ established a New Covenant with new and better promises. Do you believe Scripture or not?

    Hebrews 8:5-7
    King James Version (KJV)
    5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
    6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

    What have you proven above?

    I provided the support for the Catholic Doctrine from Scripture.

    Nothing, it’s all mere presuppositionalism.

    Nope. Yours is suppositionalism. We can see from the history of the Church that this was how the Traditions of Jesus Christ were implemented from the beginning.

    Like I said before, catholics take what belongs to the true Jews and sons of Abraham and appropriates it for themselves.

    That is your spin on what Christ did. Catholics just accept the New Covenant which Jesus Christ established. We don’t try to invent ways to disobey the Word of God.

    Non sequitur again. Your therefore clause does not work. The CC is not the remnant which Paul speaks of in Romans 11, because it does not recognize its proper place vis a vis the natural branches. The CC has not replaced Israel.

    Again, history is clear that the Church implemented the Doctrines of Jesus Christ precisely the way the Catholic Church Teaches. It is you, who, without any support whatsoever, without any semblance of evidence for the existence of your religion before 1960, are trying to disprove 2000 years of Catholic Teaching and Tradition.

    The rest of your post continues in the same vein. You pitting your unsupported opinion against Catholic Tradition, Scripture and history. So, I’m cutting it short here. I’ll let the reader decide whose explanations are more reasonable.

    By the way, since you admire the Jews so much, you might be interested in contacting this group of former Jews and asking why they joined the Catholic Church.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  163. SS August 12, 2013 at 10:49 pm
    Just in case this gets lost on other catholics reading:
    I had said this earlier:
    5. Acts 18 shows Paul taking a Nazirite vow, which no catholic does.
    To which Demaria replied:
    “Actually, we do. We make all kinds of sacrifices, shave our heads, crawl on hands and knees, dress in certain manner and associate these sacrifices with vows.”
    I really want to hear from other catholics on this: can somebody explain to me what Demaria is talking about here? I guess I didn’t get the memo that you catholics keep Nazirite vows.

    St. Paul’s vow in chapter 18 of Acts was not a Nazirite vow. It is something you are reading into the Scripture. St. Paul shaved his head because he had made a vow to God. That is all the Scripture says.

    Can someone chime in please? Jason, Wosbald, Jonathan, John, anyone?

    I’m not sure whether they are all new converts to Catholicism. They may be unaware of the rich history of Catholic customs of prayer and sacrifice. I’m a revert who fell away from a family steeped in Catholic culture. Catholic vows and sacrifices are not new nor problematic to me. Here’s some history about Novenas and Catholic vows.

    Tonsure – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Tonsure refers to the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on …. of the consecration of their lives to God (reminiscent of the Vow of the Nazirite).

    “At the back of the principal church is a strange stairway, leading to the Chapel on the Hill (Capilla del Cerrito). This ascent is composed of very wide stone steps, of which there are some hundreds, that conduct from the Chapel of the Well containing the sacred water, at the bottom of the hill, to the small church on the top. It is up these steps that devout pilgrims crawl on their hands and knees.

    What this article fails to mention is that this “crawling on hands and knees” is generally done as a result of a vow to do so, as a sacrifice offered to God.

    If you fast forward to the 34 second mark on this video, you’ll see a group of people crawling on their knees in the Church.

    I couldn’t find any other examples on the internet, but from my youth, I am aware that Catholics made vows to God for prayer intentions such as St. Paul did when he shaved his head:
    Acts 18:18
    And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

    From my youth, I have known that Catholics pray for certain intentions in the following form:

    1. I will shave my head if you (i.e. God) will bring my child back to me.
    2. I will walk a mile on my hands and knees if you will heal my wife’s illness.
    3. I will dress like a Dominican Saint if you will provide me with a job to raise my family.

    These are customs that continue to this day in Catholic culture and which can be tied back to Scripture:
    Ecclesiastes 5:4
    King James Version (KJV)
    4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  164. St. Paul’s vow in chapter 18 of Acts was not a Nazirite vow. It is something you are reading into the Scripture. St. Paul shaved his head because he had made a vow to God. That is all the Scripture says.

    You merely state that it was not a Nazirite vow. I don’t see any support or evidence provided for this view and neither does anyone else, because you do not provide any. As in my prior post, I keep asking you for evidence to support your assertions and all I get in return is juvenile belligerence.

    I, on the other hand, offer strong evidence for the view that it was indeed a Nazirite vow:

    Given that Paul identified Himself as such:

    Romans 11:1
    “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

    and as an Israelite it was most natural that he would take Israelite vows to the LORD, as in:

    Psalm 76:11
    “Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them.”

    and

    Numbers 6:18
    “Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering.”

    Notice carefully that in Acts 18 below, it is said that Paul had his hair cut off. This wasn’t some dreadful looking medieval tonsure , this was the real deal, shaving the entire head of hair off. And it is so painfully obvious that reaching for the tonsure and applying it to Paul is a desperate anachronism.

    Acts 18
    18 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem ;but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.

    even in this compact passage of Scripture we have multiple signposts pointing to Paul’s intrinsic Jewishness. First, the fact that he was with Priscilla and Aqulia, two Jews and took the Nazirite vow. Then he enters the synagogue and reasons with the Jews. Can you imagine a catholic being allowed inside a Synagogue and reasoning with Jews? Seriously? They allowed Paul to reason with them, because he was one of them and observed the Law. In v 21, he says “I must by all means keep the coming feast in Jerusalem”, said feast being Sukkot, or the feast of Tabernacles as it’s known to gentiles. No catholic keeps sukkot, let alone says “I must keep sukkot”!.

    Historian Richard Belward Rackham writes regarding the above:

    “Brief as this section is, it contains a detail which cannot be altogether without significance. At Cenchreae Paul cut his hair, for he had a vow”. This fact shows that in ordinary life St Paul confirmed to the law as a Jew…. But there was a special connection between the cutting of the hair and the taking of the vows. Vows were constantly being taken to obtain, or to express gratitude for deliverance from danger and trouble; and the beginning and the end of the period of a vow were marked by the shaving of the head. The custom of taking vows found a place in the Jewish law, where the vow of the Nazirite is expressly legislated for. And now St Paul take a vow and this quite spontaneously. His motive herein was not, we presume, to avoid giving scandal to his fellow countrymen or for the sake of charity, because the ceremony was entirely voluntary…

    Alexander Loveday writes:

    “The visit to the barber’s in Cenchreae is a tantalizing note. Paul’s vow should probably be understood in light of the nazirite vows of the Old Testament (see Numbers 6:2,9) where the shaving of the head is one of the marks of a life dedicated to God’s service , and it may be linked with Paul’s planned return to the Jewish heartlands…”

    Wikipedia entry on Nazirite vows:

    “Acts of the Apostles is also attributed to Luke (see Luke-Acts) and in Acts 18:18, Paul cut off his hair because of a vow he had taken, we learn that the early Jewish Christians occasionally took the temporary Nazarite vow, and it is probable that the vow of St. Paul mentioned in Acts 18:18, was of a similar nature, although the shaving of his head in Cenchræ, outside of Palestine, was not in conformity with the rules laid down in the sixth chapter of Numbers, nor with the interpretation of them by the Rabbinical schools of that period.”

    The last comment above by the wiki author is actually very interesting, because it allows one to connect Acts 18 and Acts 21 in a logical manner. Why would Luke include what appears to be at first glance, a completely random thing as this, Paul shaving his head off. Well, it was far from random, and Luke being the meticulous and careful writer that he is, with an unwavering determination to faithfully explain the rise of the faith to Theophilus, includes this episode for a very good reason. The only other link we have to it is Acts 21, where Yaakov comes to Paul and says this:

    “23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24 Take them and be purified with them , and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.”

    Both Paul and Yaakov knew that the earlier Nazirite vow he had taken could not be completed unless it was completed at the temple (see end of earlier wiki entry above), with the offerings. So they both saw in this (4 men who had taken the vows but could not afford the expenses for the sacrifices associated with the completion of the vows) an opportunity to prove to all the slanderers and liars that Paul had never taught Jewish believers in Messiah to stop being Jewish. He had taken the vow in gentile land, and now would complete the vow in Jerusalem thereby proving that he was never against the customs of his people, and taking it a step further would pay for the other 4 men to further prove that he had no issue with them observing the law either.

    An again, the burden of proof is upon the catholic to show that Paul did the above against his will. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE TEXT that supports the idea. All that is there is this: Paul complied. Nothing about his feeling forced to do it. If that is the view, it must be supported and not merely asserted!

    Here’s some history about Novenas and Catholic vows.

    Tonsure – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Tonsure refers to the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on …. of the consecration of their lives to God (reminiscent of the Vow of the Nazirite).

    As stated above, forcing tonsure onto Paul’s vow and head shaving in Acts 18:18 is a desperate anachronism, presented to mitigate cognitive dissonance. You will not realize this, but the objective reader will when he weighs the evidence I have presented. You have presented zero evidence for your belief, only asserted such.

    “At the back of the principal church is a strange stairway, leading to the Chapel on the Hill (Capilla del Cerrito). This ascent is composed of very wide stone steps, of which there are some hundreds, that conduct from the Chapel of the Well containing the sacred water, at the bottom of the hill, to the small church on the top. It is up these steps that devout pilgrims crawl on their hands and knees.

    What this article fails to mention is that this “crawling on hands and knees” is generally done as a result of a vow to do so, as a sacrifice offered to God.

    If you fast forward to the 34 second mark on this video, you’ll see a group of people crawling on their knees in the Church.

    With all due respect, regardless of what crawling is being done, Scripture needs to be read in its proper historical context. We cannot take Acts 18 and superimpose medieval traditions invented in the dark ages back onto the text, this is plainly known in hermeneutics as eisegesis.

    I couldn’t find any other examples on the internet, but from my youth, I am aware that Catholics made vows to God for prayer intentions such as St. Paul did when he shaved his head:
    Acts 18:18
    And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

    From my youth, I have known that Catholics pray for certain intentions in the following form:

    1. I will shave my head if you (i.e. God) will bring my child back to me.
    2. I will walk a mile on my hands and knees if you will heal my wife’s illness.
    3. I will dress like a Dominican Saint if you will provide me with a job to raise my family.

    These are customs that continue to this day in Catholic culture and which can be tied back to Scripture:
    Ecclesiastes 5:4
    King James Version (KJV)
    4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

    You can bring up as many examples as you want, and it will not change the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that vow that Paul fulfilled in Acts 18:18 was not a Nazirite vow, and that as a Nazirite vow it found its completion in Acts 21 when he went to the temple and offered sacrifices for himself and the 4 other men. Therefore, this is another piece of evidence proving that Paul was never a catholic, for no catholic undertakes Nazirite vows and pays for sacrifices for others to do so at the temple.

    Q.E.D.

  165. SS August 13, 2013 at 10:56 am
    You merely state that it was not a Nazirite vow. I don’t see any support or evidence provided for this view

    I quoted the verse later in my response. I don’t see the word, Nazirite, there, do you? Simply that he had made a vow and in the next verse, he was forced to make a vow. No word about him being a Nazirite nor that he was to join a group of Nazirites.

    and neither does anyone else, because you do not provide any. As in my prior post, I keep asking you for evidence to support your assertions and all I get in return is juvenile belligerence.

    I’ve done three things.

    1. I’ve shown from Scripture and from the evidence in the internet, that the people of God have always made vows to God.

    2. I’ve that the verses in question do not mention Nazirite.

    In response, you’ve again turned to your habitual ad hominems, this time belittling my reference to the fact that I was born into a Catholic family.

    Anyway, you still have nothing to stand on except your refusal to believe anything Catholic. I’ll let the reader be the judge between you and I.

    I, on the other hand, offer strong evidence for the view that it was indeed a Nazirite vow:
    Given that Paul identified Himself as such:
    Romans 11:1
    “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. ”
    and as an Israelite it was most natural that he would take Israelite vows to the LORD,

    There are many forms of Israelite vows. Nazarite is just one.
    Leviticus 22:18
    Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering;

    as in:
    Psalm 76:11
    “Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them.”

    That is not a Nazarite vow. It is a simple vow. And the Catholic Church does not forbid Catholics from making vows unto the Lord.

    and
    Numbers 6:18
    “Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering.”

    That is a Nazarite vow. Note carefully that the verse says so.

    Notice carefully that in Acts 18 below, it is said that Paul had his hair cut off. This wasn’t some dreadful looking medieval tonsure ,

    There you go with your false argumentation. Belittlement is not a logical form of argument. It simply shows your desperation since you have nothing to stand on.

    Tonsure also was not medieval torture. It was simply the shaving of the head as a result of a vow. It is very similar to the Nazirite vow. The Priest would separate himself unto the Lord and as a sign of his separation would shave his head.

    this was the real deal, shaving the entire head of hair off. And it is so painfully obvious that reaching for the tonsure and applying it to Paul is a desperate anachronism.

    I’ll let the reader decide. The two seem virtually identical to me.

    Acts 18
    18 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem ;but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.
    even in this compact passage of Scripture we have multiple signposts pointing to Paul’s intrinsic Jewishness. First, the fact that he was with Priscilla and Aqulia, two Jews and took the Nazirite vow. Then he enters the synagogue and reasons with the Jews. Can you imagine a catholic being allowed inside a Synagogue and reasoning with Jews? Seriously? They allowed Paul to reason with them, because he was one of them and observed the Law. In v 21, he says “I must by all means keep the coming feast in Jerusalem”, said feast being Sukkot, or the feast of Tabernacles as it’s known to gentiles. No catholic keeps sukkot, let alone says “I must keep sukkot”!.

    1. Talk about anachronisms. You are judging the language of the Catholic Church today based upon the language of the Catholic Church in the first century.

    2. When he said this, he was in the Temple EVANGELIZING the Jews:
    Acts 18:
    19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus

    You presume that he wants to keep the Feast in order to worship. But more likely, he wants to keep the feast in order to take advantage of the large number of Jews who will congregate there and evangelize them.

    But when he arrived in Jerusalem, he was apprehended and forced to shave his head and then the Jews nearly killed him:
    Acts 21:24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. 25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. 27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, 28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. 29 (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) 30 And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. 31 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul. 33 Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. 34 And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. 35 And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people. 36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him.

    This is what St. James was trying to protect him from when he commanded him to shave his head.

    Historian Richard Belward Rackham writes regarding the above:
    “Brief as this section is, it contains a detail which cannot be altogether without significance. At Cenchreae Paul cut his hair, for he had a vow”. This fact shows that in ordinary life St Paul confirmed to the law as a Jew…. But there was a special connection between the cutting of the hair and the taking of the vows.

    Thanks for posting this. Read the next verse:

    Vows were constantly being taken to obtain, or to express gratitude for deliverance from danger and trouble;

    There you go. And that practice continues in the Catholic Church today.

    and the beginning and the end of the period of a vow were marked by the shaving of the head. The custom of taking vows found a place in the Jewish law, where the vow of the Nazirite is expressly legislated for. And now St Paul take a vow and this quite spontaneously. His motive herein was not, we presume, to avoid giving scandal to his fellow countrymen or for the sake of charity, because the ceremony was entirely voluntary… ”

    1. I’m not sure exactly what you’re trying to prove with this part. A Nazarite vow has a precise definition. It is a vow of separation from the brethren in order to have a single hearted devotion to the Lord. Neither the word, Nazarite. Nor the purpose of the vow as a separation unto God are mentioned in either of the verses which you provide:
    Numbers 6:2
    Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord:

    2. This is precisely what Tonsure was about.

    3. Today, the Catholic Priesthood is based upon this vow of celibacy. The only difference is that the shaving of the head is not included.

    4. And we stand upon this verse:
    1 Corinthians 7:31-35
    King James Version (KJV)
    31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. 32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord how he may please the Lord: 33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. 34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

    Note that there is no mention of shorn hair.

    5. And finally, St. Paul was separated unto the Lord, by the Lord:
    Acts 9:
    8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. 10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

    So, there was really no need for him to make a separate Nazarite vow. Therefore the vows in reference are probably of another nature.

    Alexander Loveday writes:
    “The visit to the barber’s in Cenchreae is a tantalizing note. Paul’s vow should probably be understood in light of the nazirite vows of the Old Testament (see Numbers 6:2,9) where the shaving of the head is one of the marks of a life dedicated to God’s service , and it may be linked with Paul’s planned return to the Jewish heartlands…”

    Do you see the word, “probably” there? That means he is making an educated guess.

    Wikipedia entry on Nazirite vows:
    “Acts of the Apostles is also attributed to Luke (see Luke-Acts) and in Acts 18:18, Paul cut off his hair because of a vow he had taken, we learn that the early Jewish Christians occasionally took the temporary Nazarite vow, and it is probable that the vow of St. Paul mentioned in Acts 18:18,

    Again, do you see the word, “probable” there? Again, this is an educated guess, but not an absolute teaching. Certainly, you have to make a big deal of it in order to justify your position. But we don’t.

    was of a similar nature, although the shaving of his head in Cenchræ, outside of Palestine, was not in conformity with the rules laid down in the sixth chapter of Numbers, nor with the interpretation of them by the Rabbinical schools of that period.”

    There you go. So it wasn’t a Nazarite vow.

    The last comment above by the wiki author is actually very interesting, because it allows one to connect Acts 18 and Acts 21 in a logical manner. Why would Luke include what appears to be at first glance, a completely random thing as this, Paul shaving his head off. Well, it was far from random, and Luke being the meticulous and careful writer that he is, with an unwavering determination to faithfully explain the rise of the faith to Theophilus, includes this episode for a very good reason. The only other link we have to it is Acts 21, where Yaakov comes to Paul and says this:
    “23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24 Take them and be purified with them , and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.”
    Both Paul and Yaakov knew that the earlier Nazirite vow he had taken could not be completed unless it was completed at the temple (see end of earlier wiki entry above), with the offerings. So they both saw in this (4 men who had taken the vows but could not afford the expenses for the sacrifices associated with the completion of the vows) an opportunity to prove to all the slanderers and liars that Paul had never taught Jewish believers in Messiah to stop being Jewish. He had taken the vow in gentile land, and now would complete the vow in Jerusalem thereby proving that he was never against the customs of his people, and taking it a step further would pay for the other 4 men to further prove that he had no issue with them observing the law either.

    The Jews, who actually heard his preaching, got a different impression and tried to kill him because of it. Therefore, it is very likely that St. James was trying to make St. Paul more acceptable to the Jews by commanding him to take the vow. Whether that be a Nazirite vow or not, it doesn’t appear to be since he did not separate himself for very long.

    An again, the burden of proof is upon the catholic to show that Paul did the above against his will. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE TEXT that supports the idea.

    Everything in the text supports the idea. You simply are reading the text with your biased filters. The entire book of Acts shows that St. Paul was antagonizing the Jews by his Christian Teaching and was frequently threatened with death. In fact, he was once left for dead. But you ignore all of this and pretend that St. Paul was a Jew in good standing. It is obvious that he was not.

    All that is there is this: Paul complied. Nothing about his feeling forced to do it. If that is the view, it must be supported and not merely asserted!

    Guess what? Nothing there says anything about Nazarite either.

    So, I’ll leave it to the reader to compare between you and I which is a more reasonable interpretation of the events.

    As stated above, forcing tonsure onto Paul’s vow and head shaving in Acts 18:18 is a desperate anachronism,

    In your opinion. But the two have precisely the same object. Separation unto God.

    presented to mitigate cognitive dissonance.

    You are the one who complained about ad hominem. Again, I’m glad you did so that I could point out all the ad hominems which you cast and which, I suppose, you consider acceptable behavior.

    However, I will let the reader decide who is cognitively dissonant between you and I.

    You will not realize this, but the objective reader will when he weighs the evidence I have presented. You have presented zero evidence for your belief, only asserted such.

    I don’t think so.

    With all due respect, regardless of what crawling is being done, Scripture needs to be read in its proper historical context. We cannot take Acts 18 and superimpose medieval traditions invented in the dark ages back onto the text, this is plainly known in hermeneutics as eisegesis.

    You are mistaken again. The New Testament was not written first and then followed. Tradition was first established and then written. It is the same with the Old Testament. The Traditions and traditions we follow today are based upon the traditions and Traditions of the ancients.

    You can’t understand the Scripture until you begin to understand the culture from which it sprang. And that culture, Jewish and Catholic, includes all types of vows and offerings.

    You can bring up as many examples as you want, and it will not change the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that vow that Paul fulfilled in Acts 18:18 was not a Nazirite vow,

    The very first piece of evidence is the fact that it isn’t classed a Nazarite vow. As you said, St. Luke was meticulous. If it had been a Nazarite vow, he would have probably mentioned it.

    and that as a Nazirite vow it found its completion in Acts 21 when he went to the temple and offered sacrifices for himself and the 4 other men.

    Again, no mention of separating himself unto the Lord. No mention of the word Nazarite. It was, in fact, St. James’ idea. Not St. Paul’s.

    Acts 21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

    Therefore, this is another piece of evidence proving that Paul was never a catholic, for no catholic undertakes Nazirite vows and pays for sacrifices for others to do so at the temple.

    That is your reading of the text based upon a johnny come very lately tradition which did not exist until the late 20th century. 19 centuries too late to understand the Word of God the way it was intended by the Holy Spirit. It will not be until you understand the Traditions of Jesus Christ that you will learn the meaning of the Scriptures.

    Q.E.D.

    All you have proved is that you read into Scripture that which isn’t there.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  166. Jonathan–

    In Docetism, Christ has only the appearance of a man. He is fully divine.

    In Apollinarianism, Christ has the body of a man, but a divine mind. He is fully divine.

    In Eutychianism, Christ’s human nature is “swallowed up” by his divine nature due to his humanity’s relative insignificance. He is fully divine.

    In Nestorianism, Christ’s two natures are joined in a “moral union” rather than a hypostatic one. He is fully divine.

    In each of these, it is his humanity that is compromised.

    However, because the two natures are not fully integrated (or whatever term you would rather), the full Christ is not fully divine. He possesses full divinity, but it does not apply to his whole person. So, in a sense, I’m agreeing with you…his divinity is indirectly compromised.

  167. Jason–

    You said:

    “For some reason, Protestants never seem to understand that Catholics are actually Catholic. We believe that salvation comes through the Church. If there were no Church, there would be no salvation. It would mean that the Christ we believed to be God and man was not truly so and that the Scriptures had no authority.”

    This, of course, is a non sequitur since if there were no church, Catholicism would be false, and you would be free to evaluate other potential paradigms. You would be free to breathe fresh air out here where Christ is truly God and man irrespective of the status of the church (although for there momentarily to be no invisible church would have to be by the design of God). And Scriptures have divine authority even in the absence of voices from the sky.

    “Blessed is he who has not seen and yet believes.”

    Evidently, Christ doesn’t dismiss fideism when it comes to discerning ultimate authority.

    “My sheep hear my voice.”

  168. Jonathan–

    Actually, that last comment was for you, not Jason.

    By the way, it was I who made the grammar crack, not Robert. All in fun, I was following up on your comment on the other thread concerning “such” as a pronoun. Hope you don’t mind. I don’t thoroughly edit my comments either. 😉

  169. You merely state that it was not a Nazirite vow. I don’t see any support or evidence provided for this view

    I quoted the verse later in my response. I don’t see the word, Nazirite, there, do you? Simply that he had made a vow and in the next verse, he was forced to make a vow. No word about him being a Nazirite nor that he was to join a group of Nazirites.

    The omission of the word Nazirite in Acts 18:18 does not constitute proof of the claim that it was not a Nazirite vow! Your argument is dead in the water Demaria. If we go by your logic, then the vow in Acts 21 isn’t a Nazirite vow either? Do you see the word Nazirite there? 🙂

    “23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24 Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.”

    Again do you see the word Nazirite in the above? And yet no one except you disputes that it was a Nazirite vow that Paul was fulfilling there. Why did Paul only need to be purified unlike the four men who wanted to shave their heads? Because he had already shaved his head and was now completing the vow (begun in gentile land) in Jerusalem as the Law dictated.

    The greek word for vow, ‘euchEn’, is one and same in both Acts 18:18 and Acts 21:23, and the word ‘euchEn’ (?????) is interchangeably translated as ‘nazar’ in the LXX. Euchen is what theologians call a terminus technicus for a nazirite vow. Linguistically speaking, there is absolutely no reason to doubt that the vow spoken of by Luke in those two verses is indeed a Nazirite vow.

    Once again, I present the evidence. Where is yours?

    I’ve done three things.

    1. I’ve shown from Scripture and from the evidence in the internet, that the people of God have always made vows to God.

    2. I’ve that the verses in question do not mention Nazirite.

    In response, you’ve again turned to your habitual ad hominems, this time belittling my reference to the fact that I was born into a Catholic family.

    Your ‘evidence from the internet’ is anachronistic and has nothing to do with proper historical criticism. It is mere wishful thinking. That’s #1. #2: an argument from silence is no argument at all. See above for more on that. Nowhere have I belittled the fact that you were born into a catholic family. Whatever family you were born into is utterly irrelevant to my argument.

    There are many forms of Israelite vows. Nazarite is just one.
    Leviticus 22:18
    Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering;

    as in:
    Psalm 76:11
    “Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them.”

    That is not a Nazarite vow. It is a simple vow. And the Catholic Church does not forbid Catholics from making vows unto the Lord.

    The issue is not whether Psalm 76:11 is a Nazirite vow or that there were different types of vows practiced, but rather that those vows that are made to God include Nazirite vows. The Catholic Church absolutely forbids Nazirite vows, as early as the 4th century Chrysostom was forbidding Christians from having anything to do at all with the temple, even stepping foot in one was a punishable act.

    and
    Numbers 6:18
    “Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering.”

    That is a Nazarite vow. Note carefully that the verse says so.

    I don’t need to note anything, because I’m the one who brought up the verse, and precisely because it describes exactly the vow begun in Acts 18:18 and completed in Acts 21:23. Paul shaved his head off, he didn’t do a tonsure. A tonsure is a medieval practice derived from the real Jewish practice. It’s a poor imitation of the real thing.

    There you go with your false argumentation. Belittlement is not a logical form of argument. It simply shows your desperation since you have nothing to stand on. Tonsure also was not medieval torture. It was simply the shaving of the head as a result of a vow. It is very similar to the Nazirite vow. The Priest would separate himself unto the Lord and as a sign of his separation would shave his head.

    It is irrelevant to my argument that tonsure is ‘similar’ to the Nazirite vow. Of course it’s similar, the CC has been ‘borrowing’ Jewish practices and usurping from day one. My argument is that Paul did not tonsure his head. Here’s let’s use a little bit of Demaria logic: Do you see the word tonsure anywhere in Acts 18:18? I don’t, therefore you cannot prove that Paul is being a catholic here. By your own fallacious reasoning you have disproved your own argument! All the evidence shows he is a Jew, not a catholic. More on that below.

    Acts 18
    18 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem ;but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.
    even in this compact passage of Scripture we have multiple signposts pointing to Paul’s intrinsic Jewishness. First, the fact that he was with Priscilla and Aqulia, two Jews and took the Nazirite vow. Then he enters the synagogue and reasons with the Jews. Can you imagine a catholic being allowed inside a Synagogue and reasoning with Jews? Seriously? They allowed Paul to reason with them, because he was one of them and observed the Law. In v 21, he says “I must by all means keep the coming feast in Jerusalem”, said feast being Sukkot, or the feast of Tabernacles as it’s known to gentiles. No catholic keeps sukkot, let alone says “I must keep sukkot”!.

    1. Talk about anachronisms. You are judging the language of the Catholic Church today based upon the language of the Catholic Church in the first century.

    The CC did not exist in the first century, you merely presuppose that it did. That is precisely what we are discussing here.

    2. When he said this, he was in the Temple EVANGELIZING the Jews:
    Acts 18:
    19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem : but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus

    You presume that he wants to keep the Feast in order to worship. But more likely, he wants to keep the feast in order to take advantage of the large number of Jews who will congregate there and evangelize them.

    Paul said I must KEEP the feast. Only you can with a straight face read that and then turn around and say that means evangelize. Keeping a feast is jewish speak for actually celebrating the feast. You cannot prove from the text that Paul’s only goal was to evangelize. Might he have wanted to evangelize, of course that was his custom and ministry. But does that imply that that was the only reason why he wanted to keep the feast? Absolutely not. The wording itself tells you he kept the feast, meaning he celebrated Sukkot.

    For the serious reader: http://www.mjstudies.com/storage/Paul%20and%20the%20Torah%20According%20to%20Luke%20-%20D.%20Rudolph.pdf

    This is what St. James was trying to protect him from when he commanded him to shave his head.

    James did not command him to shave his head. You don’t even understand the basic story…. James told him to go be purified with these four men who want to undergo the Nazirite vows. Paul had already shaved his head off in Cenchrae, but because he was in gentile land when he did it, he hadn’t been able to finish the vow which prescribed ritual purification and sacrifices to be made. Now James grants him the opportunity to do two things:

    1) Finish the vow that Paul himself had undertook voluntarily .

    2) Pay for the vows of the 4 men and thereby prove that he was not urging Jews to abandon their Jewishness.

    Historian Richard Belward Rackham writes regarding the above:
    “Brief as this section is, it contains a detail which cannot be altogether without significance. At Cenchreae Paul cut his hair, for he had a vow”. This fact shows that in ordinary life St Paul confirmed to the law as a Jew…. But there was a special connection between the cutting of the hair and the taking of the vows.

    Thanks for posting this. Read the next verse:

    Vows were constantly being taken to obtain, or to express gratitude for deliverance from danger and trouble;

    There you go. And that practice continues in the Catholic Church today.

    Rackham tells you that Paul took a Nazirite vow and you take disregard that entirely.

    Here it is again:

    and the beginning and the end of the period of a vow were marked by the shaving of the head. The custom of taking vows found a place in the Jewish law, where the vow of the Nazirite is expressly legislated for. And now St Paul take a vow and this quite spontaneously. His motive herein was not, we presume, to avoid giving scandal to his fellow countrymen or for the sake of charity, because the ceremony was entirely voluntary…

    1. I’m not sure exactly what you’re trying to prove with this part. A Nazarite vow has a precise definition. It is a vow of separation from the brethren in order to have a single hearted devotion to the Lord. Neither the word, Nazarite. Nor the purpose of the vow as a separation unto God are mentioned in either of the verses which you provide:

    Again, this is an argument from silence and thereby fallacious reasoning. Here, I’ll go the extra mile. Basic exegesis of Acts 18 reveals that Paul had been involved in a dispute with Jews:

    “2 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, 13 saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”
    14 And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. 15 But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.” 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.”

    So from the above it is crystal clear that the accusation was that Paul did not keep the Law. And what does Paul do in the very next verse, v 18?

    “18 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.

    HE HAD TAKEN A VOW. Why? Because he wanted to show the Jews who accused him that their charges were baseless. The Nazirite vow was part of Mosaic Law, and by shaving his head and beginning the process dictated by the vow, he proved that he was entirely Jewish, not catholic, for not catholic keeps Nazirite vows.

    Numbers 6:2
    Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord:

    2. This is precisely what Tonsure was about.

    3. Today, the Catholic Priesthood is based upon this vow of celibacy. The only difference is that the shaving of the head is not included.

    See above re tonsure.

    5. And finally, St. Paul was separated unto the Lord, by the Lord:
    Acts 9:
    8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. 10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

    So, there was really no need for him to make a separate Nazarite vow. Therefore the vows in reference are probably of another nature.

    Wishful thinking with absolutely no evidence presented to defend the view. You know Demaria, simply writing lengthy responses does not prove anything. There must be some kind of kosher content/substance to those responses. Otherwise you can’t expect people to take you seriously. This is why I have repeatedly asked Jason and others catholics to comment, but dead silence so far. They more than likely have no answers to offer either.

    Alexander Loveday writes:
    “The visit to the barber’s in Cenchreae is a tantalizing note. Paul’s vow should probably be understood in light of the nazirite vows of the Old Testament (see Numbers 6:2,9) where the shaving of the head is one of the marks of a life dedicated to God’s service , and it may be linked with Paul’s planned return to the Jewish heartlands…”

    Do you see the word, “probably” there? That means he is making an educated guess.

    Yes, I see the probably, that is why I call it evidence. Actually I will show below why it goes beyond probability. What evidence have you presented?

    Wikipedia entry on Nazirite vows:
    “Acts of the Apostles is also attributed to Luke (see Luke-Acts) and in Acts 18:18, Paul cut off his hair because of a vow he had taken, we learn that the early Jewish Christians occasionally took the temporary Nazarite vow, and it is probable that the vow of St. Paul mentioned in Acts 18:18,

    Again, do you see the word, “probable” there? Again, this is an educated guess, but not an absolute teaching. Certainly, you have to make a big deal of it in order to justify your position. But we don’t.

    I don’t make a big deal of it and don’t need to, but only present it as more evidence for the fact that it was indeed a Nazirite vow. See first paragraph above and below.

    was of a similar nature, although the shaving of his head in Cenchræ, outside of Palestine, was not in conformity with the rules laid down in the sixth chapter of Numbers, nor with the interpretation of them by the Rabbinical schools of that period.”

    There you go. So it wasn’t a Nazarite vow.

    Here is more evidence proving you wrong:

    Bart J Koet says this in his article “Why did Paul Shave His Head (Acts 18:18…”

    http://books.google.com/books?id=K9_QsLPsKYMC&pg=PA195&lpg=PA195&dq=why+did+paul+shave+his+hair+acts+18:18+nazirate+and+temple+in+the+book+of+acts&source=bl&ots=ezWba8Jgby&sig=C5YBY3VCOH46DuHXQa-SSfAKdHY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=broKUoL5PMfuyAHDmYHQBw&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=why%20did%20paul%20shave%20his%20hair%20acts%2018%3A18%20nazirate%20and%20temple%20in%20the%20book%20of%20acts&f=false

    Koet writes:

    “Some commentators argue that Acts 18:18 does not follow the rules for the Nazirite vow. They probably suggest that Luke’s reference to Paul shaving his hair in Cenchrae is, is against the rule to do so in the Temple (as is suggested by analogy in Num 6). However in m. Naz 6,8 this “shaving” is discussed. From this discussion it is clear that it was also possible to shave outside the Temple and even outside the city. Of course, we should reckon with the possibility of a different and earlier halakhah in the times of Paul, but since we do not have this, it is legitimate to conclude that according to the halakhah, that was written down later, Paul could have shaved his hear even in Cenchrae…. Acts 21 confirms that the writer of Acts seems to understand Paul’s association with the Nazirite phenomenon as a good answer to doubts about his attitude towards the Law. As we saw above, in 21:21, like in 18:13, Paul is accused of lawlessness, this time by Jewish believers (!). James (who himself is depicted as a lifelong Nazir and as an example of law abidingness in Eusebius’ Church History, (see Book II, 23, 4-6), suggests to Paul to pay for four Nazirites as a proof if his law abidingness. By paying for the expenses of the sacrifices of those men Paul associates himself with their law abidingness. As in 18:18, the references to the vow are an answer to doubts concerning Paul’s law abidingness. For the reader of Luke Acts this information is not strange. Already in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, one is informed that being like a Nazir is quite law abiding. Like his parents John the Baptist will be an example of dedication to the Law (Luke 1, 15-17).”

    The last comment above by the wiki author is actually very interesting, because it allows one to connect Acts 18 and Acts 21 in a logical manner. Why would Luke include what appears to be at first glance, a completely random thing as this, Paul shaving his head off. Well, it was far from random, and Luke being the meticulous and careful writer that he is, with an unwavering determination to faithfully explain the rise of the faith to Theophilus, includes this episode for a very good reason. The only other link we have to it is Acts 21, where Yaakov comes to Paul and says this:
    “23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24 Take them and be purified with them , and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.”
    Both Paul and Yaakov knew that the earlier Nazirite vow he had taken could not be completed unless it was completed at the temple (see end of earlier wiki entry above), with the offerings. So they both saw in this (4 men who had taken the vows but could not afford the expenses for the sacrifices associated with the completion of the vows) an opportunity to prove to all the slanderers and liars that Paul had never taught Jewish believers in Messiah to stop being Jewish. He had taken the vow in gentile land, and now would complete the vow in Jerusalem thereby proving that he was never against the customs of his people, and taking it a step further would pay for the other 4 men to further prove that he had no issue with them observing the law either.

    The Jews, who actually heard his preaching, got a different impression and tried to kill him because of it. Therefore, it is very likely that St. James was trying to make St. Paul more acceptable to the Jews by commanding him to take the vow. Whether that be a Nazirite vow or not, it doesn’t appear to be since he did not separate himself for very long.

    See above and Koet’s comments. There is nothing in the text to suggest that Paul was not sincere in being purified and paying for the vows. If that’s what you want to claim, you must do more than simply assert it, you have to prove it. But you have not and cannot.

    An again, the burden of proof is upon the catholic to show that Paul did the above against his will. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE TEXT that supports the idea.

    Everything in the text supports the idea. You simply are reading the text with your biased filters. The entire book of Acts shows that St. Paul was antagonizing the Jews by his Christian Teaching and was frequently threatened with death. In fact, he was once left for dead. But you ignore all of this and pretend that St. Paul was a Jew in good standing. It is obvious that he was not.

    As Bart Koet explains above, it is precisely because Paul was under suspicion by both Jewish believers and unbelievers that he voluntarily undertook a Nazirite vow. He wanted to show them that he had no issues with the Law itself, same Law which is calls holy and good and spiritual in Romans 7. Paul was Jewish through and through.

    All that is there is this: Paul complied. Nothing about his feeling forced to do it. If that is the view, it must be supported and not merely asserted!

    Guess what? Nothing there says anything about Nazarite either.

    Your argument is so bad, it’s embarrassing. Matter of fact I shouldn’t even use the word argument to describe it because it doesn’t even rise to the level of one.

    You are mistaken again. The New Testament was not written first and then followed. Tradition was first established and then written. It is the same with the Old Testament. The Traditions and traditions we follow today are based upon the traditions and Traditions of the ancients.

    No, you have no regard for the traditions of the ancients, because you believe that your church has replaced those ancients.

    You can’t understand the Scripture until you begin to understand the culture from which it sprang. And that culture, Jewish and Catholic, includes all types of vows and offerings. </i<

    You have major chutzpah to say the above, when you have presented virtually zilch from a historical critical perspective. To make the kind of claim you do above, you actually have to earn it. Do some real exegesis and research for once and then you can talk about reading Scripture in its proper Hebraic context. You have shown before that you are ignorant of basic historical facts, such as confusing James the brother of John with James the Just, or appealing to traditions that are apocryphal. Not exactly a basis for anyone reading to trust whatever it is that you are saying.

    You can bring up as many examples as you want, and it will not change the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that vow that Paul fulfilled in Acts 18:18 was not a Nazirite vow,

    The very first piece of evidence is the fact that it isn’t classed a Nazarite vow. As you said, St. Luke was meticulous. If it had been a Nazarite vow, he would have probably mentioned it.

    See above.

    and that as a Nazirite vow it found its completion in Acts 21 when he went to the temple and offered sacrifices for himself and the 4 other men.

    Again, no mention of separating himself unto the Lord. No mention of the word Nazarite. It was, in fact, St. James’ idea. Not St. Paul’s.

    What do you think Paul had done leading up to Acts 21, from Acts 18 and even before then? Of course, he had separated himself unto the Lord, that was exactly the vow that Paul took when he shaved his head. And as I have shown backed by strong evidence, there’s no need to see the word Nazirite in there for us to know that it was one.
    And here you make another catastrophic mistake: Paul in Acts 18:18 takes the vow ENTIRELY VOLUNTARILY. It was his own idea, not James’.

    Paul Returns to Antioch

    18 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.

    Acts 21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

    Therefore, this is another piece of evidence proving that Paul was never a catholic, for no catholic undertakes Nazirite vows and pays for sacrifices for others to do so at the temple.

    That is your reading of the text based upon a johnny come very lately tradition which did not exist until the late 20th century. 19 centuries too late to understand the Word of God the way it was intended by the Holy Spirit. It will not be until you understand the Traditions of Jesus Christ that you will learn the meaning of the Scriptures.

    You can bang your drum as loud as you want, but it’s the empty ones that make the most noise.

    All you have proved is that you read into Scripture that which isn’t there.

    All you have proved is that all you have is mere assertions and wishful thinking.

  170. SS August 13, 2013 at 5:39 pm
    Your argument is dead in the water Demaria.

    You obviously didn’t understand my argument. So, I’ll repeat it.

    1. Whether it is a Nazarite vow or not, you support Catholic Doctrine.

    2. You are trying to prove some sort of discontinuity between the Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church.

    3. However, the Nazarite view that you are trying to prove supports both Tonsure and the vow of celibacy which is made by Catholics priests.

    4. On the other hand, my contention is that the vows St. Paul pronounced are not Nazarite. This is still in continuity with Catholic practice today.

    Therefore, it is not I who’s argument is dead in the water, but yours.

    If we go by your logic, then the vow in Acts 21 isn’t a Nazirite vow either? Do you see the word Nazirite there?

    I’m pretty sure I said that already. Are you now agreeing with me?

    Again do you see the word Nazirite in the above? And yet no one except you disputes that it was a Nazirite vow that Paul was fulfilling there. Why did Paul only need to be purified unlike the four men who wanted to shave their heads?

    You are again reading into the text. Where does it say that ONLY St. Paul had to be purified?

    Acts 21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;

    24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads:

    Note, that this also does not say that he will or will not shave his head. You are reading that into the text as well. It merely says that he must pay the expenses for them (i.e. be at charges with them) to shave their heads. It sounds as though he must join them and shave his head with them. But that neither one or the other is explicitly in the text.

    Because he had already shaved his head and was now completing the vow (begun in gentile land) in Jerusalem as the Law dictated.

    Let’s examine the Nazarite vow. You say he shaved in Gentile land in order to complete his vow in Jerusalem. Am I reading you correctly. Therefore, according to you, there is no need for St. Paul to shave in Jerusalem since again, according to you, it is there he is completing his vow. I will quote you in order to confirm this is what you said:

    Because he had already shaved his head and was now completing the vow (begun in gentile land) in Jerusalem as the Law dictated.

    However, the law of the Nazarite is precisely the opposite. If the rite performed in Jerusalem is the completion of the separation, that is, the fulfillment of the Nazarite vow, then it is in Jerusalem he must be shaved. NOT IN THE GENTILE LAND.

    Numbers 6:
    2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord: 3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. 4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. 5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. 6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body.
    7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head. 8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord.
    9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it. 10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: 11 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day. 12 And he shall consecrate unto the Lord the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled. 13 And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: 14 And he shall offer his offering unto the Lord, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings, 15 And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings. 16 And the priest shall bring them before the Lord, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering: 17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.
    18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.

    Therefore, this is not a Nazarite vow. QED

    The greek word for vow, ‘euchEn’, is one and same in both Acts 18:18 and Acts 21:23, and the word ‘euchEn’ (?????) is interchangeably translated as ‘nazar’ in the LXX. Euchen is what theologians call a terminus technicus for a nazirite vow. Linguistically speaking, there is absolutely no reason to doubt that the vow spoken of by Luke in those two verses is indeed a Nazirite vow.

    Yeh, yeh, yeh. But when compared to the OT Scripture which describes the Nazarite vow, that is, to the the law of the Nazarite vow, is not described nor performed, nor even mentioned anywhere in the book of Acts.

    Once again, I present the evidence. Where is yours?

    I’m the one presenting evidence. You’re presenting conjecture.

    I’ve done three things.

    Your ‘evidence from the internet’ is anachronistic

    In your opinion. But it is you who are reading the New Testament as though 2000 years of development had not occurred since the time of the Apostles and the time your religion was invented.

    and has nothing to do with proper historical criticism. It is mere wishful thinking. That’s #1. #2: an argument from silence is no argument at all.

    Which brings us back to 2000 years of silence from the Messianic Jew religion. 2000 years of absence in the world. 2000 years of history which you are trying to rewrite in one fell swoop.

    See above for more on that.

    Again, you’ve been utterly debunked. The Scripture details how a Nazarite vow is to be performed. The Nazarite does not cut his hair before he completes his vow, but after, when his days of separation are completed. Have you never heard of Samson?

    Judges 13:5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

    If St. Paul were a Nazarite, he would never have shaved his head because he was always separated unto the Lord. As he, himself taught:
    1 Corinthians 7:8
    I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

    1 Corinthians 7:31-34
    King James Version (KJV)
    31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
    32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:
    33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
    34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

    However, the point remains true. Whether you have St. Paul making a Nazrite vow or whether he was simply making a vow of another sort, both support the Catholic Doctrine and practice of today. You have nothing to stand upon except your illogical hatred of the Church which Jesus Christ established.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  171. @Eric:
    That’s like saying to me that I’d be free to disbelieve the laws of physics or chemistry. I have no interest in believing what I know to be wrong. In other words, I don’t believe the Church is necessary because the Church tells me it is. I believe that something like the Church would be metaphysically necessary for any religion to be credible as teaching scientific truth (as opposed to leaving people to mere opinion). Mere opinions about God don’t strike me as particularly valuable, so I would never bother with something like Protestantism, any more than I would with other necessarily unscientific opinions (say, astrology). In other words, even apart from my religious persuasion, I would consider Protestantism intellectually untenable.

  172. Jonathan–

    Scientifically, which view of economics is correct?

    Keynesianism?
    Supply Side Economics?
    Marxism?
    Distributivism?
    Pure Communism?
    Feudalism?
    The Barter System?

    People can have informed opinions which are not on an order with astrology. Evidently, you haven’t studied any of the “soft” sciences. With the hard sciences, one shoots one’s arrow, and then determines if the target of truth is painted around it. With the soft sciences, one shoots one’s arrow, and then analyzes whether the concentric area is consistent with the target of truth. Bryan Cross, and his dutiful sidekick Jason, speak of “painting a target around the arrow.” Of course, that’s something that occurs with trends and whims and agendas and fantasies (such as astrology), but it is not what happens with competing theologies.

    You’re a human just like me. There is absolutely nothing (with the possible exception of that which can be empirically validated) that you even have the capability of KNOWING that it is wrong. I am no cynic, so I will grant the admirability of your strong convictions. But I am postmodern enough to eschew your epistemic certainty as little more than a modernistic will to power.

  173. ERIC August 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm
    Jonathan–….
    You’re a human just like me. There is absolutely nothing (with the possible exception of that which can be empirically validated) that you even have the capability of KNOWING that it is wrong. I am no cynic, so I will grant the admirability of your strong convictions. But I am postmodern enough to eschew your epistemic certainty as little more than a modernistic will to power.

    Do you believe Scripture? Or do you consider that under the heading,

    There is absolutely nothing (with the possible exception of that which can be empirically validated) that you even have the capability of KNOWING that it is wrong.

    As for me, I believe Scripture. And Scripture tells me to believe the Church:

    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,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  174. You obviously didn’t understand my argument. So, I’ll repeat it.

    1. Whether it is a Nazarite vow or not, you support Catholic Doctrine.

    2. You are trying to prove some sort of discontinuity between the Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church.

    Your first statement is an assertion, not an argument. And yes there is discontinuity between the Apostolic Church and the CC by virtue of the fact that the apostles were observant Jewish believers. In Acts 21 for example, James says this:

    “20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “ You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; 21 but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.

    These aren’t catholics being described here, as you have asserted earlier. These ‘myriads’ (the greek word means many thousands) are Jews who have believed , are zealous for the law (Mosaic Law), and are concerned that Paul is teaching them to forsake Moses and circumcision. Catholics do not have these kinds of concerns. The discontinuity is hiding in plain sight. But you shut your eyes and cover your ears.

    3. However, the Nazarite view that you are trying to prove supports both Tonsure and the vow of celibacy which is made by Catholics priests.

    4. On the other hand, my contention is that the vows St. Paul pronounced are not Nazarite. This is still in continuity with Catholic practice today.

    Therefore, it is not I who’s argument is dead in the water, but yours.

    You claim that Paul’s act in Acts 18:18 and Acts 21:23 was some type of ‘catholic’ vow. Putting aside the obvious anachronistic eisegesis for a moment, which is evident to all reading with any kind of fair-mindedness, it is exceedingly clear that you are in the wrong, and this proven wrong by your own church which states:

    * [18:18] He had his hair cut because he had taken a vow: a reference to a Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–21, especially, 6:18) taken by Paul (see also Acts 21:23–27).

    in its explanation of Acts 18:18 as can be seen here:

    http://www.usccb.org/bible/acts/18/

    This is the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the USCCB speaking here…

    (Timothy Dolan and gang)

    If we go by your logic, then the vow in Acts 21 isn’t a Nazirite vow either? Do you see the word Nazirite there?

    I’m pretty sure I said that already. Are you now agreeing with me?

    Again do you see the word Nazirite in the above? And yet no one except you disputes that it was a Nazirite vow that Paul was fulfilling there. Why did Paul only need to be purified unlike the four men who wanted to shave their heads?

    You either did not understand my point or are feigning ignorance. My point was that no one, not even catholics! dispute that the vow Paul was fulfilling in Acts 21 was a Nazirite, you are the only one disputing it on the basis that the word ‘Nazirite’ does not appear… If we go by this logic, then your claim that Paul was engaging in a catholic ritual here is unfounded, because the word ‘tonsure’ does not appear either. Right? Yes or No? By your own logic, you have disproved your own position.

    Your own church proves you wrong: the USCCB says the following in the footnotes to its online bible:

    http://www.usccb.org/bible/acts/21

    * [21:23–26] The leaders of the community suggest that Paul, on behalf of four members of the Jerusalem community, make the customary payment for the sacrifices offered at the termination of the Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–24) in order to impress favorably the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem with his high regard for the Mosaic law. Since Paul himself had once made this vow (Acts 18:18), his respect for the law would be on public record.

    You are again reading into the text. Where does it say that ONLY St. Paul had to be purified?

    Acts 21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;

    24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads:

    Note, that this also does not say that he will or will not shave his head. You are reading that into the text as well. It merely says that he must pay the expenses for them (i.e. be at charges with them) to shave their heads. It sounds as though he must join them and shave his head with them. But that neither one or the other is explicitly in the text.

    Because he had already shaved his head and was now completing the vow (begun in gentile land) in Jerusalem as the Law dictated.

    Let’s examine the Nazarite vow. You say he shaved in Gentile land in order to complete his vow in Jerusalem. Am I reading you correctly. Therefore, according to you, there is no need for St. Paul to shave in Jerusalem since again, according to you, it is there he is completing his vow. I will quote you in order to confirm this is what you said:

    Because he had already shaved his head and was now completing the vow (begun in gentile land) in Jerusalem as the Law dictated.

    However, the law of the Nazarite is precisely the opposite. If the rite performed in Jerusalem is the completion of the separation, that is, the fulfillment of the Nazarite vow, then it is in Jerusalem he must be shaved. NOT IN THE GENTILE LAND.

    DeMaria, I’ve noticed, and I’m sure I’m not the only noticing that you conveniently leave out major parts of my responses to you in your replies. You began doing that about 3-4 posts of mine ago… That in and of itself is quite telling, but I think it’s important to highlight that you are extremely disingenuous. The objection you make above I have addressed fully in my prior note.

    I repost the comments from Bart Koet:

    “Some commentators argue that Acts 18:18 does not follow the rules for the Nazirite vow. They probably suggest that Luke’s reference to Paul shaving his hair in Cenchrae is, is against the rule to do so in the Temple (as is suggested by analogy in Num 6). However in m. Naz 6,8 this “shaving” is discussed. From this discussion it is clear that it was also possible to shave outside the Temple and even outside the city. Of course, we should reckon with the possibility of a different and earlier halakhah in the times of Paul, but since we do not have this, it is legitimate to conclude that according to the halakhah, that was written down later, Paul could have shaved his hear even in Cenchrae…. Acts 21 confirms that the writer of Acts seems to understand Paul’s association with the Nazirite phenomenon as a good answer to doubts about his attitude towards the Law. As we saw above, in 21:21, like in 18:13, Paul is accused of lawlessness, this time by Jewish believers (!). James (who himself is depicted as a lifelong Nazir and as an example of law abidingness in Eusebius’ Church History, (see Book II, 23, 4-6), suggests to Paul to pay for four Nazirites as a proof if his law abidingness. By paying for the expenses of the sacrifices of those men Paul associates himself with their law abidingness. As in 18:18, the references to the vow are an answer to doubts concerning Paul’s law abidingness. For the reader of Luke Acts this information is not strange. Already in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, one is informed that being like a Nazir is quite law abiding. Like his parents John the Baptist will be an example of dedication to the Law (Luke 1, 15-17).”

    Numbers 6:
    2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to …
    Therefore, this is not a Nazarite vow. QED

    Your ‘logic’ here belies a naivete that ironically echoes a Protestant fundamentalist approach to the text (the text and the text literally only). A careful reader of the Law would recognize that the Law was interpreted and adapted to the times in which the Jews were living. That is precisely what the seat of Moses was all about! Those on the seat of Moses would make halakah and rule on how exactly the laws in the Tanach were to be followed. They would make exceptions and add restrictions, would clarify certain aspects of the observances and provide guidance. Koet above explains some of those accomodations that were made for Jews in the diaspora, so that they could engage in Nazirite vows.

    The greek word for vow, ‘euchEn’, is one and same in both Acts 18:18 and Acts 21:23, and the word ‘euchEn’ (?????) is interchangeably translated as ‘nazar’ in the LXX. Euchen is what theologians call a terminus technicus for a nazirite vow. Linguistically speaking, there is absolutely no reason to doubt that the vow spoken of by Luke in those two verses is indeed a Nazirite vow.

    Yeh, yeh, yeh. But when compared to the OT Scripture which describes the Nazarite vow, that is, to the the law of the Nazarite vow, is not described nor performed, nor even mentioned anywhere in the book of Acts.

    You say yes then out of the other side of your mouth you ignore the grammatical evidence. The hallmark of a debater who has been defeated. You simply cannot pick and chose the evidence that you like DeMaria, you have to deal with all of it.

    Again, you’ve been utterly debunked. The Scripture details how a Nazarite vow is to be performed. The Nazarite does not cut his hair before he completes his vow, but after, when his days of separation are completed. Have you never heard of Samson?

    However, the point remains true. Whether you have St. Paul making a Nazrite vow or whether he was simply making a vow of another sort, both support the Catholic Doctrine and practice of today. You have nothing to stand upon except your illogical hatred of the Church which Jesus Christ established.

    Why don’t you pick up the phone right now, call Timothy Dolan, and tell him he is biased and has an ‘illogical hatred’ of the church for calling the vow Paul took a Nazirite vow, since you are so convinced it wasn’t? Or how about the bishop of the diocese you belong to. I guess he too has nothing to do stand on.

    No Demaria, you are the one utterly debunked. From day one you have failed to provide any evidence for your views, have shown that you don’t even know basic church history, and are obviously so blinded by your partisanship that you have made a fool out of yourself on this forum.

  175. De Maria-

    I KNOW that Protestant soteriology is correct, and you KNOW that it is a lie from the pit of hell. Obviously, when we get to heaven-if we get to heaven–one of us will be right, and the other one will be wrong. Or both of us will be wrong, and the EO will be off sniggering gloatingly in the corner, at our expense.

    Now, we see as through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. You might be surprised how many “lies straight from the pit” end up being totally true.

  176. Author: SS
    Comment:

    Your first statement is an assertion, not an argument.

    But is the assertion true? That is what matters.

    And yes there is discontinuity between the Apostolic Church and the CC by virtue of the fact that the apostles were observant Jewish believers.

    They were Catholics. They were no longer Jewish.

    You want of force your anachronistic view of the world upon us. But we, Catholics, don’t belong to a johnny come lately religion. We understand what Jesus meant when He said:

    Matthew 13:30-32
    King James Version (KJV)
    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. 31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

    In Acts 21 for example, James says this:

    “20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “ You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; 21 but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.

    These aren’t catholics being described here, as you have asserted earlier.

    Yes, they are. They are Catholics in the first century, before the Church was even called Catholic and who live amongst Jews and had recently converted from Judaism. Therefore, they don’t look nor act like European Catholics of the 20th century.

    Catholics today are not concerned about making Nazarite vows. But there was nothing forbidding them from doing so in the 1st century. There is nothing forbidding a man from making a vow of separation today. Even lay Catholics make this sort of vow frequently. People who rededicate themselves to God and make vows of separation.

    These ‘myriads’ (the greek word means many thousands) are Jews who have believed , are zealous for the law (Mosaic Law), and are concerned that Paul is teaching them to forsake Moses and circumcision.

    Correct. Do you not realize, from reading the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, that it took some time to convince the Jews that the law of circumcision and the other ordinances were abolished? Jesus Christ abolished them on the Cross.

    Ephesians 2:14-16
    King James Version (KJV)
    14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

    The ordinances, including circumcision, were abolished for everyone. Including the believing Jews.

    Catholics do not have these kinds of concerns.

    Today. But there are many Hebrew Catholics today, who have petitioned the Church to include many of their cultural practices in their worship today. It is hard to change people’s culture over night.

    Hebrew Catholics (In modern Israeli Hebrew ????? ?????? Ivrím Qatholím) are a movement of Jews converted to the faith of the Roman Catholic Church. The phrase was coined by Father Elias Friedman, OCD (1987) who was himself a converted Jew. They keep Jewish traditions in the light of Roman Catholic doctrine. Wiki

    If they want to do that today, how much more would they want to do that in the time when the majority of the people in Jerusalem were still Jewish. In a time when the non-believing Jews were persecuting Catholics.

    The discontinuity is hiding in plain sight. But you shut your eyes and cover your ears.

    Nope. You refuse to believe that the Apostolic Church is Catholic because you want to cast away 2000 years of Catholic history. You want to make believe that Jesus died and the Messianic religion was born. But you are wrong.

    You claim that Paul’s act in Acts 18:18 and Acts 21:23 was some type of ‘catholic’ vow. Putting aside the obvious anachronistic eisegesis for a moment, which is evident to all reading with any kind of fair-mindedness, it is exceedingly clear that you are in the wrong, and this proven wrong by your own church which states:

    * [18:18] He had his hair cut because he had taken a vow: a reference to a Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–21, especially, 6:18) taken by Paul (see also Acts 21:23–27).

    in its explanation of Acts 18:18 as can be seen here:

    http://www.usccb.org/bible/acts/18/

    This is the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the USCCB speaking here…

    Well, you’ve got several problems here.

    1. The NAB is an ecumenical Bible. Protestants have a say in it. And it is well known that they have put many of their beliefs in the foot notes.

    2. The footnotes are not infallible. We are free to disbelieve them when they contradict Scripture or Catholic Doctrine.

    3. Since it is the Catholic Church’s footnote, then this confirms that the Catholic Church has no problem with a first century Catholic making a Nazarite vow.

    (Timothy Dolan and gang)

    Whatever.

    You either did not understand my point or are feigning ignorance. My point was that no one, not even catholics! dispute that the vow Paul was fulfilling in Acts 21 was a Nazirite, you are the only one disputing it on the basis that the word ‘Nazirite’ does not appear…

    Read even your own references. The words used was “probable”. You are the only one taking an absolute stance as though it must be a Nazarite vow. I have produced the evidence that it does not follow the ritual nor prescription for a Nazarite vow.

    Here’s another opinion which does not make an absolute stance as you do:
    The vow of Paul mentioned in Acts 18 is like a Nazarite vow in that he did shave his head; the vow is different because he did not shave his hair in Jerusalem nor burn it on the alter as Numbers 6:13-18. Vows were also common for Jews to make to God as an expression of gratitude or of devotedness to his service when they had been raised up from sickness or delivered from danger or calamity. No doubt Paul was thankful for all of God’s goodness to him in Corinth and took his vow to show his gratitude. His vow seems to have been a private vow as a result of some mercy received or of some deliverance from danger, not the Nazarite vow, though similar in its obligation.

    You said, “I don’t need to note anything, because I’m the one who brought up the verse, and precisely because it describes exactly the vow begun in Acts 18:18 and completed in Acts 21:23”

    But the evidence is to the contrary. The vow made in Acts 18 had nothing to do with that payment made in Acts 21. In Acts 21, St. Paul did not make a vow. He simply was asked to pay for the expenses of those who had.

    If we go by this logic, then your claim that Paul was engaging in a catholic ritual here is unfounded, because the word ‘tonsure’ does not appear either. Right? Yes or No? By your own logic, you have disproved your own position.

    The word Nazarite existed in the first century. The word “tonsure” did not.

    tonsure (n.)
    late 14c., “shaving of the head or part of it as a religious rite,” from Anglo-French tonsure (mid-14c.), from Old French tonsure (14c.), from Latin tonsura “a shearing, clipping,” from tonsus, past participle of tondere “to shear, shave,” from PIE *tend-, from root *tem- “to cut” (see tome). The verb is attested from 1793. Related: Tonsured; tonsuring.

    Your own church proves you wrong: the USCCB says the following in the footnotes to its online bible:

    http://www.usccb.org/bible/acts/21

    * [21:23–26] The leaders of the community suggest that Paul, on behalf of four members of the Jerusalem community, make the customary payment for the sacrifices offered at the termination of the Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–24) in order to impress favorably the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem with his high regard for the Mosaic law. Since Paul himself had once made this vow (Acts 18:18), his respect for the law would be on public record.

    No, actually. It proves you wrong. Because if the Catholic Church has no problem with an 1st century Catholic showing respect for the Nazarite vow or even taking a Nazarite vow, why do you?

    So, my two pronged argument continues to hold. Whether it be a Nazarite vow or not, your argument of discontinuity between the Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church is null and void.

    Because he had already shaved his head and was now completing the vow (begun in gentile land) in Jerusalem as the Law dictated.

    It says nothing about completing the vow either. Read the Catholic footnote you presented. It says he was merely asked to show respect for the Nazarite law:

    * [21:23–26] The leaders of the community suggest that Paul, on behalf of four members of the Jerusalem community, make the customary payment for the sacrifices offered at the termination of the Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–24) in order to impress favorably the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem with his high regard for the Mosaic law. Since Paul himself had once made this vow (Acts 18:18), his respect for the law would be on public record.

    DeMaria, I’ve noticed, and I’m sure I’m not the only noticing that you conveniently leave out major parts of my responses to you in your replies. You began doing that about 3-4 posts of mine ago… That in and of itself is quite telling, but I think it’s important to highlight that you are extremely disingenuous. The objection you make above I have addressed fully in my prior note.

    I repost the comments from Bart Koet:

    “Some commentators argue that Acts 18:18 does not follow the rules for the Nazirite vow. They probably suggest that Luke’s reference to Paul shaving his hair in Cenchrae is, is against the rule to do so in the Temple (as is suggested by analogy in Num 6). However in m. Naz 6,8 this “shaving” is discussed. From this discussion it is clear that it was also possible to shave outside the Temple and even outside the city. Of course, we should reckon with the possibility of a different and earlier halakhah in the times of Paul, but since we do not have this, it is legitimate to conclude that according to the halakhah, that was written down later, Paul could have shaved his hear even in Cenchrae…. Acts 21 confirms that the writer of Acts seems to understand Paul’s association with the Nazirite phenomenon as a good answer to doubts about his attitude towards the Law. As we saw above, in 21:21, like in 18:13, Paul is accused of lawlessness, this time by Jewish believers (!). James (who himself is depicted as a lifelong Nazir and as an example of law abidingness in Eusebius’ Church History, (see Book II, 23, 4-6), suggests to Paul to pay for four Nazirites as a proof if his law abidingness. By paying for the expenses of the sacrifices of those men Paul associates himself with their law abidingness. As in 18:18, the references to the vow are an answer to doubts concerning Paul’s law abidingness. For the reader of Luke Acts this information is not strange. Already in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, one is informed that being like a Nazir is quite law abiding. Like his parents John the Baptist will be an example of dedication to the Law (Luke 1, 15-17).”

    Ok. Lets break this down. Did you or did you not say that St. Paul was finishing his Nazarite vow in Acts 21? I quoted you above. I’ll repeat the quote.

    You said:

    “I don’t need to note anything, because I’m the one who brought up the verse, and precisely because it describes exactly the vow begun in Acts 18:18 and completed in Acts 21:23”

    Here’s what YOUR references Bart Koet says:

    As we saw above, in 21:21, like in 18:13, Paul is accused of lawlessness, this time by Jewish believers (!). James (who himself is depicted as a lifelong Nazir and as an example of law abidingness in Eusebius’ Church History, (see Book II, 23, 4-6), suggests to Paul to pay for four Nazirites as a proof if his law abidingness. By paying for the expenses of the sacrifices of those men Paul associates himself with their law abidingness.

    To put it plainly, Bart Koet does not say that he completed his Nazarite vow begun in Acts 18.

    Nor does the Catholic footnote you provided. Let me quote that one also:

    * [21:23–26] The leaders of the community suggest that Paul, on behalf of four members of the Jerusalem community, make the customary payment for the sacrifices offered at the termination of the Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–24) in order to impress favorably the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem with his high regard for the Mosaic law. Since Paul himself had once made this vow (Acts 18:18), his respect for the law would be on public record.

    Now, you also said that I was the only one who denied that this was a Nazarite vow. But your very own reference says:

    I repost the comments from Bart Koet:

    “Some commentators argue that Acts 18:18 does not follow the rules for the Nazirite vow. ….

    Soooo, I’m not the only one, am I?

    What we have here, SS, is you trying to force your understanding of Scripture and the Christian faith upon everyone else. You can make all the absolute statements you want, but that doesn’t make you right. It just makes you sound out of touch with reality.

    Your ‘logic’ here belies a naivete that ironically echoes a Protestant fundamentalist approach to the text (the text and the text literally only). A careful reader of the Law would recognize that the Law was interpreted and adapted to the times in which the Jews were living. That is precisely what the seat of Moses was all about!

    All good an well. We believe and acknowledge that the Jews had a tradition which they followed and which helped them understand the revelation of God. But that is besides the point.

    Those on the seat of Moses would make halakah and rule on how exactly the laws in the Tanach were to be followed. They would make exceptions and add restrictions, would clarify certain aspects of the observances and provide guidance. Koet above explains some of those accomodations that were made for Jews in the diaspora, so that they could engage in Nazirite vows.

    Perhaps Koet is right, perhaps he is wrong. But Koet contradicts your insistence that St. Paul made a vow in Acts 18 that he completed in Acts 21. He also is neither a Pope nor a person of any authority whose opinion I have to accept. Show me the actual Hebrew documentation that shows that which confirms that which he speculates. Otherwise, like a good Berean, like a good Catholic, I must defer to the Scripture.

    You say yes then out of the other side of your mouth you ignore the grammatical evidence.

    There is no grammatical evidence. You are showing the etymological evidence. But the etymology of the word frequently means something totally different than what the word actually means. The fact that the root, nazir, came to mean “vow’ is natural. But the interpreters of the word did not take it to mean “Nazarite vow”, but simply “vow”.

    The hallmark of a debater who has been defeated. You simply cannot pick and chose the evidence that you like DeMaria, you have to deal with all of it.

    I have. You have not. Because you can’t. There are 2000 years of history between the Revelation of Jesus Christ and the traditions of your religion.

    Why don’t you pick up the phone right now, call Timothy Dolan, and tell him he is biased and has an ‘illogical hatred’ of the church for calling the vow Paul took a Nazirite vow, since you are so convinced it wasn’t? Or how about the bishop of the diocese you belong to. I guess he too has nothing to do stand on.

    Apparently, you still have not understood my argument. It doesn’t matter whether St. Paul made a Nazarite vow or not. It does nothing to dispute the continuity of the Catholic Church from the Apostolic Church.

    No Demaria, you are the one utterly debunked. From day one you have failed to provide any evidence for your views, have shown that you don’t even know basic church history, and are obviously so blinded by your partisanship that you have made a fool out of yourself on this forum.

    I think I’ve provided much more than you. But I’ll let the reader decide for himself.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  177. ERIC August 15, 2013 at 12:15 am
    De Maria-
    I KNOW that Protestant soteriology is correct,

    Which one?

    and you KNOW that it is a lie from the pit of hell. Obviously, when we get to heaven-if we get to heaven–

    Case in point. Some of you believe in Absolute Assurance of Salvation. Some of you don’t. Apparently, you don’t, otherwise you wouldn’t say, “if we get to heaven”.

    one of us will be right, and the other one will be wrong. Or both of us will be wrong, and the EO will be off sniggering gloatingly in the corner, at our expense.

    The EO is right about soteriology, then, by logical extension, so is the Catholic Church. The soteriology of the EO and the Catholic Church are identical. They believe the same thing about justification as is taught by the Catholic Church.

    Now, we see as through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. You might be surprised how many “lies straight from the pit” end up being totally true.

    I don’t have that problem any longer. But I followed the lineage, the logic and the Word of God. Now I know that Scripture tells me how to discern the difference:

    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,

    As the saying goes, “never say never”. But I sincerely doubt can’t see how anyone can produce a more logical, more systematic, more reasonable, more complete explanation of the Word of God than that presented by the Catholic Church.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  178. @Eric:

    Evidently, you haven’t studied any of the “soft” sciences. With the hard sciences, one shoots one’s arrow, and then determines if the target of truth is painted around it.

    No, I respect the soft sciences, although I admit that it’s not second nature for me. My point is only that theology is a hard science. At its core, the underlying principle is nothing but cold, hard reality; there are right and wrong answers, and we are falsifying the wrong ones to accept the true ones. Like the other hard sciences, that doesn’t mean that we’ll have every answer or that we are immune to error, but we base the scientific method on that correspondence to reality, and we can judge methodologies against it.

    The Catholic methodology can function as a hard science in that way, as can the Orthodox methodology. I don’t see any way that the Protestant methodology can. It’s ruled out infallibility, which is the necessary principle for divine revelation to be a real object of science.

  179. Your first statement is an assertion, not an argument.

    But is the assertion true? That is what matters.

    You presented an assertion as an argument. An assertion is not an argument, and in this case, it is false, as I have shown above and below.

    And yes there is discontinuity between the Apostolic Church and the CC by virtue of the fact that the apostles were observant Jewish believers.

    They were Catholics. They were no longer Jewish.

    Assertion #2.

    You want of force your anachronistic view of the world upon us. But we, Catholics, don’t belong to a johnny come lately religion. We understand what Jesus meant when He said:

    Matthew 13:30-32
    King James Version (KJV)
    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. 31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

    An anachronistic reading of the parable if there ever was one. The parable is Hebraic in nature, not roman or gentile. The mustard tree is far from a glorious tree in the middle east, quite the opposite, it’s in fact a bushy tree that tends to grow sideways and not up. The image his hearers would have expected to hear would have been something like the great cedar tree of lebanon, which grows majestic in height, not this shrub that tops out at 4 feet. So right from the get go, Jesus is subverting traditional ideas of what the kingdom should look like, including the idea that it is to grow into a mighty organization ala RCC. The parable in fact is a subversion of that very idea! Further, ‘birds of the air’ always have a negative connotation in jewish culture, they are also unclean animals, just as it was unclean to plant a mustard tree in one’s garden.The Jews of His time also expected a mightly earthly kingdom to come from Messiah, but Jesus tells them they have it all wrong. Not only will the tree be a bush and not a mighty oak or cedar, it will contain birds, unclean animals. There is a parallel here with the parable of the leaven, leaven was always a metaphor for sin, it puffs up and so it does to the dough. I’ll let the reader connect the dots with church history in mind.

    In Acts 21 for example, James says this:

    “20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “ You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; 21 but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. ”

    These aren’t catholics being described here, as you have asserted earlier.

    Yes, they are. They are Catholics in the first century, before the Church was even called Catholic and who live amongst Jews and had recently converted from Judaism. Therefore, they don’t look nor act like European Catholics of the 20th century.

    Assertion #3. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s probably a dog. Yep, got it.

    Catholics today are not concerned about making Nazarite vows. But there was nothing forbidding them from doing so in the 1st century. There is nothing forbidding a man from making a vow of separation today. Even lay Catholics make this sort of vow frequently. People who rededicate themselves to God and make vows of separation.

    These ‘myriads’ (the greek word means many thousands) are Jews who have believed , are zealous for the law (Mosaic Law), and are concerned that Paul is teaching them to forsake Moses and circumcision.

    Correct. Do you not realize, from reading the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, that it took some time to convince the Jews that the law of circumcision and the other ordinances were abolished? Jesus Christ abolished them on the Cross.

    Do you not realize from reading the Acts of the Apostles and the NT that Jewish believers observing their law was never an issue for anyone, certainly not Paul whom we see observing Jewish law in Acts 18 and Acts 21 and whom we see circumcising Timothy and describing himself as a Jew? Your statement about Jesus abolishing the law is priceless, because He says the very opposite!

    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.”

    Ephesians 2:14-16
    King James Version (KJV)
    14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

    The ordinances, including circumcision, were abolished for everyone. Including the believing Jews.

    If that were the case, Paul should have told James, “Sorry, you’ve got it wrong. You can’t ask me to pay for these men’s vows and sacrifices, try reading my letter to the Ephesians sometime will you?” Further, if that were the case, Paul should have never circumcised Timothy, whose mother was Jewish and father Greek. You argue that it was out of duplicity, I say that it was simply because Paul never had a problem with circumcision in the for Jews in the first place (he did not circumcise Titus, a gentile). What Paul means in the above Ephesians quote is that the Law is no longer a dividing point between Jew and Gentile. The Gentile has access to the same God that the Jew does and is justified in the same way, by faith in Yeshua. No longer are they opposed to one another, but they are in one body, whilst retaining their own distinctiveness.

    Catholics do not have these kinds of concerns.

    Today. But there are many Hebrew Catholics today, who have petitioned the Church to include many of their cultural practices in their worship today. It is hard to change people’s culture over night.

    Hebrew Catholics (In modern Israeli Hebrew ????? ?????? Ivrím Qatholím) are a movement of Jews converted to the faith of the Roman Catholic Church. The phrase was coined by Father Elias Friedman, OCD (1987) who was himself a converted Jew. They keep Jewish traditions in the light of Roman Catholic doctrine. Wiki

    I have referenced Fr Friedman in my prior posts and much of what he writes is in direct contradiction to what you and the CC teach: in the following he rebukes catholic thinking:

    “3. Christianity is a universal religion, incompatible with the granting of privileges to anyone people. We
    reply: God has granted privileges to the People of Israel; the granting of further privileges is neither possible to
    man nor required of him.

    The objection leans on several biblical texts:
    Gal. 3:27-28 “All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with him. There does
    not exist among you Jew or Greek, slave or freeman, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus.”

    We reply, denying that St. Paul intends to teach that there are no differences at all between Jew and Greek,
    slave and free, male and female. We agree that he teaches that there are no differences between them in the
    conditions of personal salvation, hence the words in that image, “in Christ Jesus”.

    St. Paul does not extend his egalitarianism to all the planes of human discourse. In Gal. 3:28, St. Paul teaches
    that there are no distinctions between male and female: in 1 Cor. 11:3, he affirms that man is the head of the
    woman. In 1 Tim. 2:14, he furnishes a theological argument in favor of women’s subordination to man. He
    instructs women to cover their heads in the assembly, as a sign of subordinate status (cf. 1 Cor. 11:10). St. Paul
    opposed fighting the abolition of slavery at that time, teaching that everyone should remain in the place allotted
    to him by providence.”

    The discontinuity is hiding in plain sight. But you shut your eyes and cover your ears.

    Nope. You refuse to believe that the Apostolic Church is Catholic because you want to cast away 2000 years of Catholic history. You want to make believe that Jesus died and the Messianic religion was born. But you are wrong.

    The discontinuity is made evident even in the words of your own, such as Fr Friedman above, but again, you shut your eyes and cover you ears.

    You claim that Paul’s act in Acts 18:18 and Acts 21:23 was some type of ‘catholic’ vow. Putting aside the obvious anachronistic eisegesis for a moment, which is evident to all reading with any kind of fair-mindedness, it is exceedingly clear that you are in the wrong, and this proven wrong by your own church which states:

    * [18:18] He had his hair cut because he had taken a vow: a reference to a Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–21, especially, 6:18) taken by Paul (see also Acts 21:23–27).

    in its explanation of Acts 18:18 as can be seen here:

    http://www.usccb.org/bible/acts/18/

    This is the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the USCCB speaking here…

    Well, you’ve got several problems here.

    1. The NAB is an ecumenical Bible. Protestants have a say in it. And it is well known that they have put many of their beliefs in the foot notes.

    2. The footnotes are not infallible. We are free to disbelieve them when they contradict Scripture or Catholic Doctrine.

    3. Since it is the Catholic Church’s footnote, then this confirms that the Catholic Church has no problem with a first century Catholic making a Nazarite vow.

    No, you’re the one with the big problem. For hundreds of pages now, you have been arguing against me, saying that the vows which Paul took in Acts 18:18 and Acts 21 are not Nazirite vows. And when we turn to the NABRE Bible translation used by catholic Bishops no less, and millions of catholics around the country during mass, we find that this Bible does not dispute that they were Nazirite vows. Regarding your first point, this is what the USCCB says:

    “Released on March 9, 2011, the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) is the culmination of nearly 20 years of work by a group of nearly 100 scholars and theologians, including bishops , revisers and editors. The NABRE includes a newly revised translation of the entire Old Testament (including the Book of Psalms) along with the 1986 edition of the New Testament.”

    Regardless of who participated, dozens of Bishops participated in its translation and approved the translation and footnotes. The Bible has their imprimatur, so to speak. Only you Demaria, claim to be more catholic and know more than your own bishop. So now you are reduced to conceding that the CC recognizes Paul’s vows as Nazirite vows. Good, that’s what I wanted to hear.

    It is precisely the CC ‘not having a problem’ with Paul taking Nazirite vows that I am bringing to light. The CC hides in plain sight, claiming that it has replaced the Jews and Israel. When in fact, as Fr Friedman says, and I have argued likewise from the beginning, the distinction between Jewish believer and gentile believer was never abolished and never meant to be done away with. Yes, I know that you can claim that if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a chicken. I do not doubt for one minute that you and the CC can rationalize/hand wave facts away and simply hide behind the curtain of supersessionism, but I make my case to the reader using Jason Stellman’s own M.O. throughout this site: is this what one would expect to see assuming the CC is the church Jesus founded, given the Biblical data? Is this the most probably sense of things? I have no doubt that the objective reader can see that the emperor is naked.

    You either did not understand my point or are feigning ignorance. My point was that no one, not even catholics! dispute that the vow Paul was fulfilling in Acts 21 was a Nazirite, you are the only one disputing it on the basis that the word ‘Nazirite’ does not appear…

    Read even your own references. The words used was “probable”. You are the only one taking an absolute stance as though it must be a Nazarite vow. I have produced the evidence that it does not follow the ritual nor prescription for a Nazarite vow.

    Read your own Bible! Your own Bishops say that Paul took Nazirite vows! You know more than them? Bart Koet who has analyzed the matter in depth, is full professor Tillburg School of Catholic Theology at Tillburg University, an expert on the matter, and he too say they were Nazirite vows. And you Demaria are still kicking against the goads. You keep digging yourself into the ditch, deeper and deeper here.

    Here’s another opinion which does not make an absolute stance as you do:
    The vow of Paul mentioned in Acts 18 is like a Nazarite vow in that he did shave his head; the vow is different because he did not shave his hair in Jerusalem nor burn it on the alter as Numbers 6:13-18. Vows were also common for Jews to make to God as an expression of gratitude or of devotedness to his service when they had been raised up from sickness or delivered from danger or calamity. No doubt Paul was thankful for all of God’s goodness to him in Corinth and took his vow to show his gratitude. His vow seems to have been a private vow as a result of some mercy received or of some deliverance from danger, not the Nazarite vow, though similar in its obligation.

    You said, “I don’t need to note anything, because I’m the one who brought up the verse, and precisely because it describes exactly the vow begun in Acts 18:18 and completed in Acts 21:23?

    But the evidence is to the contrary. The vow made in Acts 18 had nothing to do with that payment made in Acts 21. In Acts 21, St. Paul did not make a vow. He simply was asked to pay for the expenses of those who had.

    Bart Koet tells you that Paul did not have to shave his head in Jerusalem for the vow to be valid. You simply ignore the evidence and carry on as if it didn’t exist, lol. Paul purified himself, with the other 4 men who were taking the vows. Why did he purify himself if he was a catholic? You see, no matter how you try to weasel your way out of this one, you are trapped. Paul was not a catholic. No catholic goes for purification rites in the temple. If you say they were catholic rites, you simply eisegete the text, instead of letting it speak for itself, and you contradict your own superiors and scholars.

    If we go by this logic, then your claim that Paul was engaging in a catholic ritual here is unfounded, because the word ‘tonsure’ does not appear either. Right? Yes or No? By your own logic, you have disproved your own position.

    The word Nazarite existed in the first century. The word “tonsure” did not.

    tonsure (n.)
    late 14c., “shaving of the head or part of it as a religious rite,” from Anglo-French tonsure (mid-14c.), from Old French tonsure (14c.), from Latin tonsura “a shearing, clipping,” from tonsus, past participle of tondere “to shear, shave,” from PIE *tend-, from root *tem- “to cut” (see tome). The verb is attested from 1793. Related: Tonsured; tonsuring.

    That’s precisely my point, thank you for reinforcing it. The word did not exist, so you cannot prove that the vow Paul took was a tonsure, as you have claimed earlier. You can only claim that the walking and quacking like a duck must imply that it’s a dog because you have a vested interest in it being a dog, and not because of the TRUTH.

    Your own church proves you wrong: the USCCB says the following in the footnotes to its online bible:

    http://www.usccb.org/bible/acts/21

    * [21:23–26] The leaders of the community suggest that Paul, on behalf of four members of the Jerusalem community, make the customary payment for the sacrifices offered at the termination of the Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–24) in order to impress favorably the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem with his high regard for the Mosaic law. Since Paul himself had once made this vow (Acts 18:18), his respect for the law would be on public record.

    No, actually. It proves you wrong. Because if the Catholic Church has no problem with an 1st century Catholic showing respect for the Nazarite vow or even taking a Nazarite vow, why do you?

    Answer your own question first and I will answer yours. Why did you argue for hundreds of pages that they were not Nazirite vows? The CC has no problem conceding that, so why are you not conceding that? The chutzpah!

    So, my two pronged argument continues to hold. Whether it be a Nazarite vow or not, your argument of discontinuity between the Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church is null and void.

    Because he had already shaved his head and was now completing the vow (begun in gentile land) in Jerusalem as the Law dictated.

    It says nothing about completing the vow either. Read the Catholic footnote you presented. It says he was merely asked to show respect for the Nazarite law:

    You don’t have a two pronged nothing. I use Jason’s argument here and start from the idea that the catholic church is indeed the church described in the Bible and then go to the texts to find support for that. But upon a cursory examination, do I find catholic practices? No, I find Jewish praxis. Do I find believers worshipping in cathedrals? No I find them worshipping, praying and blessing God in the temple. Do I find them praying to Mary anywhere? No I find none of that, not once. Do I find them shunning circumcision entirely because there is no now jew or greek? No, I find Paul circumcising Timothy (see Fr Friedman above).

    I repost the comments from Bart Koet:

    “Some commentators argue that Acts 18:18 does not follow the rules for the Nazirite vow. They probably suggest that Luke’s reference to Paul shaving his hair in Cenchrae is, is against the rule to do so in the Temple (as is suggested by analogy in Num 6). However in m. Naz 6,8 this “shaving” is discussed. From this discussion it is clear that it was also possible to shave outside the Temple and even outside the city. Of course, we should reckon with the possibility of a different and earlier halakhah in the times of Paul, but since we do not have this, it is legitimate to conclude that according to the halakhah, that was written down later, Paul could have shaved his hear even in Cenchrae…. Acts 21 confirms that the writer of Acts seems to understand Paul’s association with the Nazirite phenomenon as a good answer to doubts about his attitude towards the Law. As we saw above, in 21:21, like in 18:13, Paul is accused of lawlessness, this time by Jewish believers (!). James (who himself is depicted as a lifelong Nazir and as an example of law abidingness in Eusebius’ Church History, (see Book II, 23, 4-6), suggests to Paul to pay for four Nazirites as a proof if his law abidingness. By paying for the expenses of the sacrifices of those men Paul associates himself with their law abidingness. As in 18:18, the references to the vow are an answer to doubts concerning Paul’s law abidingness. For the reader of Luke Acts this information is not strange. Already in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, one is informed that being like a Nazir is quite law abiding. Like his parents John the Baptist will be an example of dedication to the Law (Luke 1, 15-17).”

    Ok. Lets break this down. Did you or did you not say that St. Paul was finishing his Nazarite vow in Acts 21? I quoted you above. I’ll repeat the quote.

    You said:

    “I don’t need to note anything, because I’m the one who brought up the verse, and precisely because it describes exactly the vow begun in Acts 18:18 and completed in Acts 21:23?

    Here’s what YOUR references Bart Koet says:

    As we saw above, in 21:21, like in 18:13, Paul is accused of lawlessness, this time by Jewish believers (!). James (who himself is depicted as a lifelong Nazir and as an example of law abidingness in Eusebius’ Church History, (see Book II, 23, 4-6), suggests to Paul to pay for four Nazirites as a proof if his law abidingness. By paying for the expenses of the sacrifices of those men Paul associates himself with their law abidingness.

    To put it plainly, Bart Koet does not say that he completed his Nazarite vow begun in Acts 18.

    Bart Koet does not deny that Paul completed the Nazarite vow. But WAKE UP! The emperor has no clothes. Paul was engaging in Jewish rituals, not catholic rituals. Both Koet and the USCCB tells you so.

    Nor does the Catholic footnote you provided. Let me quote that one also:

    * [21:23–26] The leaders of the community suggest that Paul, on behalf of four members of the Jerusalem community, make the customary payment for the sacrifices offered at the termination of the Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–24) in order to impress favorably the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem with his high regard for the Mosaic law. Since Paul himself had once made this vow (Acts 18:18), his respect for the law would be on public record.

    Now, you also said that I was the only one who denied that this was a Nazarite vow. But your very own reference says:

    I repost the comments from Bart Koet:

    “Some commentators argue that Acts 18:18 does not follow the rules for the Nazirite vow. ….

    Soooo, I’m not the only one, am I?

    What we have here, SS, is you trying to force your understanding of Scripture and the Christian faith upon everyone else. You can make all the absolute statements you want, but that doesn’t make you right. It just makes you sound out of touch with reality.

    You are the one laughably out of touch with reality. You selectively quote Koet and fail to provide the full view of his quote which goes on to prove that there is no reason not to believe that the vow taken in Acts 18:18 was indeed a Nazirite vow. And this from a Catholic Theologian! And you’re telling I’m forcing my theology? Laughable.

    Those on the seat of Moses would make halakah and rule on how exactly the laws in the Tanach were to be followed. They would make exceptions and add restrictions, would clarify certain aspects of the observances and provide guidance. Koet above explains some of those accomodations that were made for Jews in the diaspora, so that they could engage in Nazirite vows.

    Perhaps Koet is right, perhaps he is wrong. But Koet contradicts your insistence that St. Paul made a vow in Acts 18 that he completed in Acts 21. He also is neither a Pope nor a person of any authority whose opinion I have to accept. Show me the actual Hebrew documentation that shows that which confirms that which he speculates. Otherwise, like a good Berean, like a good Catholic, I must defer to the Scripture.

    Not only is Koet right, but your own Bishops tell you Paul took part in Nazirite vows. And now in the above you have begun to change your tune, now arguing that if the CC does not have a problem with it, why do I. And I say answer the question yourself first, and I will be happy to tell you why the CC has a big theological problem on its hands.

    You say yes then out of the other side of your mouth you ignore the grammatical evidence.

    There is no grammatical evidence. You are showing the etymological evidence. But the etymology of the word frequently means something totally different than what the word actually means. The fact that the root, nazir, came to mean “vow’ is natural. But the interpreters of the word did not take it to mean “Nazarite vow”, but simply “vow”.

    Regardless, it is evidence that top theologians do not dispute contributes to the understanding that euchen was used a technicus terminus for Nazirite. You simply ignore that.

    Why don’t you pick up the phone right now, call Timothy Dolan, and tell him he is biased and has an ‘illogical hatred’ of the church for calling the vow Paul took a Nazirite vow, since you are so convinced it wasn’t? Or how about the bishop of the diocese you belong to. I guess he too has nothing to do stand on.

    Apparently, you still have not understood my argument. It doesn’t matter whether St. Paul made a Nazarite vow or not. It does nothing to dispute the continuity of the Catholic Church from the Apostolic Church.

    I’m happy to expand on why it does dispute the continuity, if it weren’t so obvious already. But I’ll continue. The main thing here is that you have conceded defeat on this point in the debate. If it truly didn’t matter, you would not have spent hours and hours trying to argue against my points in the first place. You have no credibility DeMaria.

  180. Jonathan,

    Science has no infallible arbitrer of truth and falsehood. It’s conducted by fallible human beings who are ever growing in their understanding and correcting earlier theories. Some become so established over time that they are practically infallible, but no infallible body exists to give them that stamp of infallibility. Why must theology be any different?

  181. Jonathan–

    Theology as a hard science?? You crack me up!

    Robert is right. Even hard sciences aren’t all that hard.

    If Catholic theology can be “scientifically” derived, then some non-Catholic and/or secular theologians must be coming to the same conclusions. Who are these theologians who objectively agree with the Roman Catholics? I’ve never heard of a single one.

  182. SS August 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    At the end of this last message, you said,

    You have no credibility DeMaria.

    The evidence speaks otherwise.

    You presented an assertion as an argument. An assertion is not an argument, and in this case, it is false, as I have shown above and below.

    Assertion #2.

    You do the same thing continually. All I do is prove your assertions wrong. In fact, I prove your assertions wrong by using your own references.

    Matthew 13:30-32
    King James Version (KJV)
    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. 31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

    An anachronistic reading of the parable if there ever was one. The parable is Hebraic in nature, not roman or gentile. The mustard tree is far from a glorious tree in the middle east, quite the opposite, it’s in fact a bushy tree that tends to grow sideways and not up. …. I’ll let the reader connect the dots with church history in mind.

    Your outlook is very bleak concerning the Parable of the Church being like a mustard seed which grows so large that the birds of the air build their nests upon it.

    First, you expect us to believe that Jesus was dissing the Kingdom of heaven? You expect us to believe that Jesus was belittling His own Kingdom? Wow?

    Second, you can believe that if you want. But history shows us that the Church begun by Jesus Christ started out metaphorically as a mustard seed, with 12 Apostles and 70 disciples. It now extends throughout the world and contains at least one billion adherents. So, we see that Christ’s prediction came true.

    Third, that’s a picture of a mustard tree which grows in Israel. That looks about a billion times bigger than the seed from which it was born.

    Fourth, Not all birds are unclean. There are clean birds and unclean birds.

    Fifth, the birds which are considered evil are the ones who eat carrion. Like vultures and crows.

    Sixth, birds are frequently referred to in a positive light:

    Song of Solomon 2:12
    The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

    Isaiah 31:5
    As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.

    Jeremiah 4:25
    I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.

    Matthew 8:20
    And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

    Commentary
    By St. John Chryostom

    “Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed.”

    That is, since He had said, that of the crop three parts are lost, and but one saved, and in the very part again which is saved so great damage ensues; lest they should say, “And who, and how many will be the faithful?” this fear again He removes, by the parable of the mustard seed leading them on to belief, and signifying that in any case the gospel shall be spread abroad.

    Therefore He brought forward the similitude of this herb, which has a very strong resemblance to the subject in hand; “Which indeed is the least,” He saith, “of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”

    Thus He meant to set forth the most decisive sign of its greatness. “Even so then shall it be with respect to the gospel too,” saith He. Yea, for His disciples were weakest of all, and least of all; but nevertheless, because of the great power that was in them, It hath been unfoldedin every part of the world.

    Assertion #3. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s probably a dog. Yep, got it.

    Geese, walk and act like ducks. But they aren’t ducks. Wolves, coyotes and foxes, walk and act like dogs, but they aren’t dogs.

    Your mind is overly simplistic. Former Muslim converts to Catholics, still look and act like Muslims. But they now obey the Church. Former Jews look and act like Jews, but they now obey the Church.

    These ‘myriads’ (the greek word means many thousands) are Jews who have believed , are zealous for the law (Mosaic Law), and are concerned that Paul is teaching them to forsake Moses and circumcision.

    That is true. Because many of the Jewish converts were still holding on to the law. They are called the Judaizers.

    Do you not realize from reading the Acts of the Apostles and the NT that Jewish believers observing their law was never an issue for anyone, certainly not Paul whom we see observing Jewish law in Acts 18 and Acts 21 and whom we see circumcising Timothy and describing himself as a Jew? Your statement about Jesus abolishing the law is priceless, because He says the very opposite!

    17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

    And when He fulfilled the Law, He rescinded it and issued a New Covenant:
    Romans 7:4
    Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

    Galatians 5:3-5
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

    Ephesians 2:15
    Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

    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.”

    The Commandments are the foundation of the Catholic Faith.

    1 Corinthians 7:19
    Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

    If that were the case, Paul should have told James, “Sorry, you’ve got it wrong. You can’t ask me to pay for these men’s vows and sacrifices,

    You are correct. He should have but didn’t. St. James was the elder in Jerusalem. It was his bishopric.

    try reading my letter to the Ephesians sometime will you?” Further, if that were the case, Paul should have never circumcised Timothy, whose mother was Jewish and father Greek.

    Again, I agree with you. But, St. Paul was a human being subject to fear and pressure. He was traveling in Jewish land where Jews would likely kill people whom they thought were blaspheming God. Your simplistic outlook ignores many realities of life because you want to force your Messianic presuppositions on all which you read.

    You argue that it was out of duplicity, I say that it was simply because Paul never had a problem with circumcision in the for Jews in the first place (he did not circumcise Titus, a gentile).

    Except that he adamantly opposes circumcision by any new Christian. Gentile or Hebrew.

    Galatians 5:3-5
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

    What Paul means in the above Ephesians quote is that the Law is no longer a dividing point between Jew and Gentile. The Gentile has access to the same God that the Jew does and is justified in the same way, by faith in Yeshua. No longer are they opposed to one another, but they are in one body, whilst retaining their own distinctiveness.

    No. What St. Paul is saying is that there is a New Covenant in Christ:
    Romans 7:
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

    Hebrews 8:13
    In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

    I have referenced Fr Friedman in my prior posts and much of what he writes is in direct contradiction to what you and the CC teach: in the following he rebukes catholic thinking:

    If you are following Fr. Greg Friedman, you are doing well and will soon become a Catholic.

    “3. Christianity is a universal religion, incompatible with the granting of privileges to anyone people. We
    reply: God has granted privileges to the People of Israel; the granting of further privileges is neither possible to
    man nor required of him.

    The objection leans on several biblical texts:
    Gal. 3:27-28 “All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with him. There does
    not exist among you Jew or Greek, slave or freeman, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus.”

    We reply, denying that St. Paul intends to teach that there are no differences at all between Jew and Greek,
    slave and free, male and female. We agree that he teaches that there are no differences between them in the
    conditions of personal salvation, hence the words in that image, “in Christ Jesus”.

    St. Paul does not extend his egalitarianism to all the planes of human discourse. In Gal. 3:28, St. Paul teaches
    that there are no distinctions between male and female: in 1 Cor. 11:3, he affirms that man is the head of the
    woman. In 1 Tim. 2:14, he furnishes a theological argument in favor of women’s subordination to man. He
    instructs women to cover their heads in the assembly, as a sign of subordinate status (cf. 1 Cor. 11:10). St. Paul
    opposed fighting the abolition of slavery at that time, teaching that everyone should remain in the place allotted
    to him by providence.”

    I see nothing there which opposes Catholic Teaching. I see nothing there which says that Gentiles must cowtow to Jews. I see nothing there which says that there are two branches of Christianity, Jew and Gentile. In fact, he summarizes very well my entire point:

    We agree that he teaches that there are no differences between them in the
    conditions of personal salvation, hence the words in that image, “in Christ Jesus”.

    This is what I have been calling the spiritual truth.

    The discontinuity is made evident even in the words of your own, such as Fr Friedman above, but again, you shut your eyes and cover you ears.

    I have no idea what you’re reading into that text. He is a Catholic Priest. If he were preaching against the Catholic Church, he would have been cast out already. But he is a Priest in good standing.

    No, you’re the one with the big problem.

    Nope. I’m pretty sure you’re the one with the problem.

    For hundreds of pages now, you have been arguing against me, saying that the vows which Paul took in Acts 18:18 and Acts 21 are not Nazirite vows.

    And I’ve proven it from Scripture.

    And when we turn to the NABRE Bible translation used by catholic Bishops no less, and millions of catholics around the country during mass, we find that this Bible does not dispute that they were Nazirite vows. Regarding your first point, this is what the USCCB says:

    “Released on March 9, 2011, the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) is the culmination of nearly 20 years of work by a group of nearly 100 scholars and theologians, including bishops , revisers and editors. The NABRE includes a newly revised translation of the entire Old Testament (including the Book of Psalms) along with the 1986 edition of the New Testament.”

    Show me where that says that the footnotes are infallible.

    Regardless of who participated, dozens of Bishops participated in its translation and approved the translation and footnotes. The Bible has their imprimatur, so to speak. Only you Demaria, claim to be more catholic and know more than your own bishop.

    I never made such a claim.

    So now you are reduced to conceding that the CC recognizes Paul’s vows as Nazirite vows. Good, that’s what I wanted to hear.

    Again, because of your simplistic mind, you can’t seem to handle the fact that:
    1. Footnotes in a Bible are not binding on a Catholic.
    2. The NAB is an ecumenical work which contains the thoughts of non-Catholics.
    Some fifty scholars collaborated on this project; these were mainly Catholics, but, in accord with the suggestion of Vatican II that “with the approval of the church authority, these translations be produced in cooperation with separated brothers” so that “all Christians may be able to use them” (Dei Verbum, No. 22), non-Catholics also participated in the work. See the preface

    3. You still don’t seem to understand that the idea that St. Paul may have made or participated in a Nazirite vow has no effect upon the Catholic Church.

    4. However, the fact remains that you are reading that into the text. It is not there.

    It is precisely the CC ‘not having a problem’ with Paul taking Nazirite vows that I am bringing to light. The CC hides in plain sight, claiming that it has replaced the Jews and Israel. When in fact, as Fr Friedman says, and I have argued likewise from the beginning, the distinction between Jewish believer and gentile believer was never abolished and never meant to be done away with.

    Read Fr. Friedman again. The verse you provided does not say that. Fr. Friedman appears to be faithful and obedient to the Catholic Church. I don’t see him clamoring for authority over Gentiles.

    His asking for cultural adaptations is nothing new. The Anglicans which recently converted to the Catholic Church have brought their rite with them with a few modifications.

    Yes, I know that you can claim that if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a chicken. I do not doubt for one minute that you and the CC can rationalize/hand wave facts away and simply hide behind the curtain of supersessionism, but I make my case to the reader using Jason Stellman’s own M.O. throughout this site: is this what one would expect to see assuming the CC is the church Jesus founded, given the Biblical data? Is this the most probably sense of things? I have no doubt that the objective reader can see that the emperor is naked.

    The objective reader can see that you are naked. You look at things through your filter and leave out “reality”. 2000 years of reality.

    Read your own Bible! Your own Bishops say that Paul took Nazirite vows! You know more than them? Bart Koet who has analyzed the matter in depth, is full professor Tillburg School of Catholic Theology at Tillburg University, an expert on the matter, and he too say they were Nazirite vows. And you Demaria are still kicking against the goads. You keep digging yourself into the ditch, deeper and deeper here.

    Nope.

    Here are the cogent points.

    a. You said that St. Paul began a Nazirite vow in Acts 18 which he concluded in Acts 21.

    Neither Koet nor the Catholic footnote say that. They both disagree with you. And agree with me.

    b. The Catholic footnote which you produce in this message is about the shaving of the head in Ch. 18. Both Koet and the Catholic footnote say that this is a Nazirite vow.
    i. But neither one says that St. Paul made such a vow in Acts 21. They both disagree with you and agree with me.

    c. You also claimed that I was the ONLY one who denied that St. Paul ever made a Nazarite vow. You begin the Koet quote with him admitting that many commentators denied that very thing.

    d. As for the possibility that St. Paul might have made a Nazirite vow in Ch. 18, the Catholic footnote doesn’t help you one whit. It shows that the Catholic Church is not affected at all by the vow.

    e. As for my disagreement with the Catholic footnote in the NAB, it is an ecumenical Bible with many well known errors in Catholic doctrine in the footnotes. Some of the footnotes deny the real presence, some the existence of purgatory and other errors which obviously come from the participation of Protestants in the Bible. The explanation for the existence of these errors is very simple. The Catholic Church invited them to participate. She couldn’t very well, in good conscience, then tell them to sit there quietly and do nothing.

    Examples:

    New American Bible: Problems on Purgatory « Archdiocese of …
    blog.adw.org/2010/09/new-american-bible-problems-on-purgatory/?
    Sep 13, 2010 – In this post I’d like to explore another problem with the NAB that was also called to my attention by one of you. There are problematic footnotes …

    A Bible That Keeps Us Apart | First Things
    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/02/a-bible-that-keeps-us-apart?
    Feb 5, 2013 – The NAB is not just a problem for Catholics. … Having used the NAB, I prefer the Jerusalem Bible, especially for the footnotes, & introductory …

    and yes, SS, we are free to disagree with footnotes.

    Bart Koet tells you that Paul did not have to shave his head in Jerusalem for the vow to be valid. You simply ignore the evidence and carry on….

    No, no. I just quoted the evidence from another source. The fact that YOU prefer Koet is your preference.

    I’ve already addressed, at length, the fact that the Catholic footnote is no problem for me. But a great problem for you.

    That’s precisely my point, thank you for reinforcing it. The word did not exist, ….

    Now you’re just lying. Or you are showing your illogical mind. It is unreasonable to expect to find a word which does not exist. However, it is not unreasonable to expect to find a word which does exist. Especially when you mentioned how precise St. Luke was in his writings. Therefore, making it unlikely he would have left it out.

    Your own church proves you wrong: the USCCB says the following in the footnotes to its online bible:

    http://www.usccb.org/bible/acts/21

    * [21:23–26] The leaders of the community suggest that Paul, on behalf of four members of the Jerusalem community, make the customary payment for the sacrifices offered at the termination of the Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–24) in order to impress favorably the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem with his high regard for the Mosaic law. Since Paul himself had once made this vow (Acts 18:18), his respect for the law would be on public record.

    No, actually. It proves you wrong. Because if the Catholic Church has no problem with an 1st century Catholic showing respect for the Nazarite vow or even taking a Nazarite vow, why do you?

    Answer your own question first and I will answer yours. Why did you argue for hundreds of pages that they were not Nazirite vows?

    Because I don’t believe they were.

    The CC has no problem conceding that, so why are you not conceding that? The chutzpah!

    The Catholic Church is not conceding anything. You don’t seem to understand that a footnote in a Bible is not an official declaration of doctrine. I am free to disagree with any non-doctrinal information in a Bible footnote.

    Now, if you can find a Papal decree or an Ecumenical Council which writes to this idea, then I would be conscience bound to agree.

    You don’t have a two pronged nothing.

    Yes, I do. And you were skewered by both. I think you just realized it.

    I use Jason’s argument here

    I don’t care whose argument you use. It doesn’t matter because whether it is a Nazarite vow or not does not affect one whit the continuity of the Catholic Church from the time of the Apostles. It is simply in your mind that it should. But its not all about you and what you can make up.

    Well, its getting late and I get the feeling the bad news just sunk into your psyche. No more need be said.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  183. @Robert:

    Science has no infallible arbitrer of truth and falsehood. It’s conducted by fallible human beings who are ever growing in their understanding and correcting earlier theories. Some become so established over time that they are practically infallible, but no infallible body exists to give them that stamp of infallibility. Why must theology be any different?

    Infallibility is in the object. The laws of nature don’t fail; if reality could fail to operate according to laws, then science would be pointless. Likewise, if there is no infallible divine authority and no principled way to discern divine revelation, then the entire endeavor is pointless. But unlike the sciences, we don’t have our own senses to perceive the object, which is why infallible divine authority (and faith in that authority) is a necessary precondition. Otherwise, the theological science is doomed to failure, just like science would be doomed to failure if reality did not infallibly conform to physical law.

    @Eric:

    Theology as a hard science?? You crack me up!

    That would be the difference between us; I am deadly serious about that. If the guy building a bridge is wrong, people die. We’re no less certain about how souls are saved; some mistakes can kill people forever. Theology is the hardest of the hard sciences; it’s putting theology in the realm of soft sciences that produced liberalism and essentially ruined the world. Again, read Brad Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation for a good summary.

    Protestants may be sincere, but they’re screwing around with ancient principles, Catholics and Orthodox, that save people’s souls. This matters; if you and Robert don’t convert to Catholicism, there is a very good chance that both of you will end up in Hell and a remote chance that you won’t. I have no power to change that, but I also want to provide what assistance I can.

    Robert is right. Even hard sciences aren’t all that hard.

    The object of the science is hard; it follows rules infallibly and absolutely. The same goes for theology; in fact, it applies even more strongly in that case. You’re confusing epistemology with ontology, the modernist error. If there is no adequate ontological object, then the science is doomed to failure from the beginning.

    If Catholic theology can be “scientifically” derived, then some non-Catholic and/or secular theologians must be coming to the same conclusions. Who are these theologians who objectively agree with the Roman Catholics? I’ve never heard of a single one.

    What non-Catholics should be able to do is to understand the arguments, not to derive the theological first principles that can only be accepted on faith. In other words, I can’t prove the Trinity, the hypostatic union, or the Resurrection to you; all of those have to be accepted on faith. What one can do is to start from those Catholic principles (in Scripture and Tradition) and to derive other beliefs according to theological method, building on previous knowledge in a way somewhat similar to what we do in the sciences. This is where the Magisterium functions: to determine whether such speculation falls within the boundaries of what the Church believes, to articulate implicit principles explicitly in particular cases, and to condemn propositions that cannot be reconciled with the faith.

    In the case of penal substitution, for example, it is perfectly legitimate to reason from known premises that this belief is impossible and therefore implicitly condemned. And just as in the hard sciences, where such a conclusion is reliable according to the method and there is no contrary evidence, it is unreasonable to deny it. I have yet to see any such explanation, and it appears that every Catholic who ever held such a theory must have been erroneous in doing so, because no one has offered any explanation of how such a theory could answer the objections. It is far more plausible that the Catholic theologians who have ever held this erred than that their belief is actually permissible within the range of Catholic dogma.

  184. Infallibility is in the object. The laws of nature don’t fail; if reality could fail to operate according to laws, then science would be pointless. Likewise, if there is no infallible divine authority and no principled way to discern divine revelation, then the entire endeavor is pointless. But unlike the sciences, we don’t have our own senses to perceive the object, which is why infallible divine authority (and faith in that authority) is a necessary precondition. Otherwise, the theological science is doomed to failure, just like science would be doomed to failure if reality did not infallibly conform to physical law.

    Infallibility is in the object. God and His revelation do not fail to give us truth. If God and His revelation could fail to operate infallibly, then theology would be pointless. Like the sciences, we have our own senses to perceive the object directly, in the case of Scripture, and indirectly, in the case of God, through Scripture.

    Reality infallibly conforms to God’s infallible revelation, but we are fallible and can get it wrong. The theological science is not doomed to failure without an infallible church. We have the Word of God. We have His Spirit. We have the great minds past and present who had His Word and His Spirit. We work together and come to a knowledge of the truth. With Science we have nature. We have senses and tools. We have the great minds past and present who also had nature. We work together and come to a knowledge of the truth.

    Again, you have no infallible authority to tell you infallibly that your scientific theory is right. You have no infallible authority to tell you infallibly that your wife (if you have one) loves you. Somehow you manage just fine in those areas.

    At rock bottom, it takes just as much faith to believe your senses are telling you the truth as it does to believe the Trinity is true. There is no meaningful difference between science and theology in that regard. Science as we conduct it today leans far more toward empiricism, and its actually that belief that empirical proof is better than logical proof or the proof from the study of faith that led to modernism. Like other children of the Enlightenment, you are driving a wedge between science and faith if we drill down far enough.

    I can trust my senses to read Scripture and church tradition and understand that Rome’s claims are false, or at least I can do this in a manner that is no more fallible or infallible than your ability to do the same and concluded that Rome’s claims are true. You have no infallible arbiter to tell you that you made the right decision to remain a Roman Catholic. So as so many have said, this idea that the Roman Catholic has some kind of superior epistemological position is wishful thinking on the part of fideistic Roman Catholics who are forced to explain the twists and turns and internal contradictions of the Roman church.

    And I appreciate that you are concerned for my salvation. I am concerned for yours. The difference between us is that Rome has said I’m golden. First, Muslims are on their way to heaven but I’m a separated brethren, so how much closer am I to the truth. Second, about the only unforgiveable sin in Roman Catholicism is to know that the Roman Church is true and then reject it. For the many years I’ve read Roman Catholic sources (many of which, by the way, would not endorse much of what you’ve said) and talked to Roman Catholics, watched your church shelter pedophiles, seen your popes kiss Qur’ans, watched Roman Catholics on a practical level reject so much of Rome’s infallible teaching, endorse what Moses would have called idolatry, and so on, my failure to see the truth of the Vatican is clearly related to invincible ignorance of the truth and beauty of Romanism. In which case, I’m still golden. I just might stay a few more years in purgatory.

    If you’re right, both Eric and I are okay in the end. If we’re right, you’re not. “No one comes to the Father but by me” is infinitely more perspicuous than Lumen Gentium and its contradictions of Roman teaching before it. I’ll trust the words straight from Jesus’ mouth, thank you.

    Until you rest in Christ alone for salvation, you are on the way to hell.

  185. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:Theology as a hard science??
    Robert is right. Even hard sciences aren’t all that hard.

    Robert wrote:Reality infallibly conforms to God’s infallible revelation, but we are fallible and can get it wrong. The theological science is not doomed to failure without an infallible church. We have the Word of God. We have His Spirit. We have the great minds past and present who had His Word and His Spirit. We work together and come to a knowledge of the truth. With Science we have nature. We have senses and tools. We have the great minds past and present who also had nature. We work together and come to a knowledge of the truth.

    (Oy gevalt. This is exactly why the Church has so solicitously tended sound philosophy.) I would tell y’all exactly what I told Joey Henry: you need to repent of your metaphysical error. You need to start thinking like a human should think, before the truth of Nature will be open to you and the possibility of Supernature won’t be preemptively dismissed.

    Now granted, I do applaud the work that the Postmodernist critique has worked in you, inasmuch as it has begun to divest you of your Modernist-Enlightenment dreams (reifying the abstraction). But you’ve got to take that one step further. Waking from a dream is an opportunity. You can either choose to return to Realist metaphysics (and you don’t need a degree in philosophy to possess this most basically human of truths) or you can get further mired in Postmodern skepticism.

  186. Jonathan–

    If I’m reading you right, you’re positing a type of foundationalism similar to Alvin Plantinga where the knowledge of the existence of God is properly basic, only you are maintaining that all of Catholic dogma is properly basic. That strikes me as theological fideism, pure and simple, something you all have been accusing us Protestants of.

    I wish I could get to the place where I could even say of Catholicism, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” But the closest I can get, in all honesty, is, “Lord, this stuff is a load of crap. Help thou my utter and total disbelief.” At this point, my ignorance is as about as invincible as it could possibly get. This in spite of the fact that I am not in any way adverse to or rebellious toward or obstinate about joining Rome. There would be no real interpersonal fallout were I to do so.

    I am in no way invested in either modernistic or postmodernistic thought. I’m waiting for the next big idea: something that makes sense this time preferably.

    I’ll take a look at Brad Gregory, and, for now, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. But my first impression of your epistemology/oncology is that you sound as if you have a major screw loose. (Just being honest.)

  187. Wosbald–

    I don’t claim any expertise in the field of philosophy. From what I understand of it, I accept the postmodern critique of modernism, but I reject almost all of postmodernism itself, as well.

    Peter Kreeft maintains that the Protestant error is to prioritize Supernature over Nature, rather than believing with Catholics that Supernature works with Nature, redeeming it. Here you claim that we preemptively dismiss Supernature. For what it’s worth, I think you’re both wrong.

  188. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    Peter Kreeft maintains that the Protestant error is to prioritize Supernature over Nature, rather than believing with Catholics that Supernature works with Nature, redeeming it. Here you claim that we preemptively dismiss Supernature. For what it’s worth, I think you’re both wrong.

    Oh, I understand and agree with Kreet. What I’m saying is that you are preemptively dismissing the possibility of receiving Supernature from the Catholic Church. For a fuller unpacking, see my two posts on the “It is Finished” thread (Aug 14th 2013 @ 10:07 am and Aug 14th @ 3:07 pm)

  189. Your outlook is very bleak concerning the Parable of the Church being like a mustard seed which grows so large that the birds of the air build their nests upon it. First, you expect us to believe that Jesus was dissing the Kingdom of heaven? You expect us to believe that Jesus was belittling His own Kingdom? Wow? Second, you can believe that if you want. But history shows us that the Church begun by Jesus Christ started out metaphorically as a mustard seed, with 12 Apostles and 70 disciples. It now extends throughout the world and contains at least one billion adherents. So, we see that Christ’s prediction came true. Third, that’s a picture of a mustard tree which grows in Israel. That looks about a billion times bigger than the seed from which it was born.

    Jesus’ outlook was very bleak too when He said “Will the Son of Man find faith on earth when He returns?” and when He rebuked 5 out of 7 churches in the book of Revelation. The kingdom belongs to those who have peace and joy in righteousness, not to those who revel in their worldly power and ill gotten wealth. If I were to use your logic, the Muslims have a pretty big tree too, and must have it right since they have more adherents than the CC does.

    http://issachar5.wordpress.com/

    http://issachar5.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/salvadora-persica-in-flower-i-e-mustard.jpg

    “It becomes the greatest of shrubs/herbs .” Not the greatest of ‘trees’! Yes, Jesus as a Prophet was giving an accurate description of what would become of the church. Again, it is telling that He deliberately chose to subvert the idea of military/kingdom power by avoiding comparison to a great cedar tree, but instead chooses to liken it to the greatest of herbs/garden greens. The subversion is obvious to the reader aware of Jewish tradition/law, which stated that mustard seeds were not kosher for their gardens.

    Fourth, Not all birds are unclean. There are clean birds and unclean birds.
    Fifth, the birds which are considered evil are the ones who eat carrion. Like vultures and crows.

    Matthew identifies “birds of the air” as “the wicked one” (Matthew 13:4, 19). Mark connects them with “Satan” (Mark 4:4, 15), and Luke links them to “the devil” (Luke 8:5, 12). In Genesis 15:11, fowls swoop down on Abraham’s sacrifices, and he has to drive them away (see Deuteronomy 28:26). The end-time Babylon becomes “a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird” (Revelation 18:2).

    Assertion #3. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s probably a dog. Yep, got it.

    Geese, walk and act like ducks. But they aren’t ducks. Wolves, coyotes and foxes, walk and act like dogs, but they aren’t dogs. Your mind is overly simplistic. Former Muslim converts to Catholics, still look and act like Muslims. But they now obey the Church. Former Jews look and act like Jews, but they now obey the Church.

    Thank you for making my point. Geese are not ducks, each reproduce according to their kind. Catholics are not Messianic Jews. You simply presuppose resemblance when in fact, catholics resemble jews as much as ducks resemble dogs. The two animals are entirely different. So is Catholicism and Messianic Judaism for good reason:

    Acts 21:26
    “26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

    Paul did not ‘obey the catholic church’ when he went to be purified in the temple and paid for the Nazirite vows of the 4 men. No catholic church ever taught to do that. Your attempt to gloss over these real distinctions and differences is precisely what is in contention here, and the objective reader will realize that simply slapping the label ‘catholic’ on anything, regardless of how probable an act, and even regardless of what Catholic authorities themselves say about the vows, is not believable. As Jason says it best, possible, maybe (I wouldn’t even say maybe in this case), probable? No.

    These ‘myriads’ (the greek word means many thousands) are Jews who have believed , are zealous for the law (Mosaic Law), and are concerned that Paul is teaching them to forsake Moses and circumcision.

    That is true. Because many of the Jewish converts were still holding on to the law. They are called the Judaizers.

    You are reading the text with your rose tinted glasses again. Nowhere does the text say in Acts 21 that they are ‘converts’. That word presupposes catholicism when that is precisely what is being discussed here. The text doesn’t indicate any discomfort by Paul or James with them. Matter of fact, that Paul agreed to follow through with the vow and purify himself/make the offerings proves undeniably that he was not asking Jews to stop being Jews, as the catholic church demands. Hence, Paul wasn’t a catholic.

    Do you not realize from reading the Acts of the Apostles and the NT that Jewish believers observing their law was never an issue for anyone, certainly not Paul whom we see observing Jewish law in Acts 18 and Acts 21 and whom we see circumcising Timothy and describing himself as a Jew? Your statement about Jesus abolishing the law is priceless, because He says the very opposite!

    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.”

    The Commandments are the foundation of the Catholic Faith.

    Jesus says that heaven and earth will not pass away until one jot or tittle will pass from the Law. Heaven and earth have not passed away, and your denomination’s insistence that the Law is no longer relevant for Jewish believers is a direct contradiction of Jesus’ teaching. When the young rich ruler tells Jesus of what He has kept, Jesus does not reply, “You better stop doing all that, because it’s all irrelevant now that I’ve come” He simply tells him to give up his riches to the poor (something the CC refuses to do), and follow Him. He doesn’t have a problem with what the young rich ruler has done or what laws he has kept. Likewise, He tells the Pharisees they ought to have sought mercy, humility and justice in addition to tithing on their dill and cumin. Meaning that Jesus had no problem upholding all aspects of the law, great or small, for Jewish believers.

    1 Corinthians 7:19
    Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

    If that were the case, Paul should have told James, “Sorry, you’ve got it wrong. You can’t ask me to pay for these men’s vows and sacrifices,

    You are correct. He should have but didn’t. St. James was the elder in Jerusalem. It was his bishopric.

    Here you go again with your nonsense about James being mistaken. You claimed earlier that James was a Judaizer punished by God in A.D. 70, yet you still call him ‘St’ James. You not only blaspheme but also call into question your own’s church’s admission that he was a saint.

    Again, I agree with you. But, St. Paul was a human being subject to fear and pressure. He was traveling in Jewish land where Jews would likely kill people whom they thought were blaspheming God. Your simplistic outlook ignores many realities of life because you want to force your Messianic presuppositions on all which you read.

    There is nothing in the text that shows that Paul acted out of fear or pressure. If there is, you will have to show us where. But you cannot. The text itself does not require that reading at all.

    You argue that it was out of duplicity, I say that it was simply because Paul never had a problem with circumcision in the for Jews in the first place (he did not circumcise Titus, a gentile).

    Except that he adamantly opposes circumcision by any new Christian. Gentile or Hebrew.

    Galatians 5:3-5
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

    This does not follow because Galatians was written to a gentile church. Paul was adamantly against circumcision for gentiles but had no problems with it for Jews. He himself circumcised Timothy. So how can you argue that he was a catholic? No catholic priest or bishop or pope today tells the son of a jewish mother and greek catholic to undergo circumcision! Not one. Paul did that precisely to show the Jews he was witnessing to that He had no problem with the Law for Jews, but wanted them to know that it is by faith that both Jew and Gentile are justified, as he writes of his conversation with Peter:

    “15 “ We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.

    What Paul means in the above Ephesians quote is that the Law is no longer a dividing point between Jew and Gentile. The Gentile has access to the same God that the Jew does and is justified in the same way, by faith in Yeshua. No longer are they opposed to one another, but they are in one body, whilst retaining their own distinctiveness.

    No. What St. Paul is saying is that there is a New Covenant in Christ:
    Romans 7:
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

    Hebrews 8:13
    In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

    Yes there is a new covenant for Jewish believers, in that atonement is made through the blood of Christ and not of sacrificial animals, for He is the fulfillment of the type that the latter represented. The above do not speak to the distinctions between Jew and Gentile in terms of circumcision, which was the point I explained above, namely that Paul does not have a problem with circumcision for Jews.

    “3. Christianity is a universal religion, incompatible with the granting of privileges to anyone people. We
    reply: God has granted privileges to the People of Israel; the granting of further privileges is neither possible to
    man nor required of him.

    The objection leans on several biblical texts:
    Gal. 3:27-28 “All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with him. There does
    not exist among you Jew or Greek, slave or freeman, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus.”

    We reply, denying that St. Paul intends to teach that there are no differences at all between Jew and Greek,
    slave and free, male and female. We agree that he teaches that there are no differences between them in the
    conditions of personal salvation, hence the words in that image, “in Christ Jesus”.

    St. Paul does not extend his egalitarianism to all the planes of human discourse. In Gal. 3:28, St. Paul teaches
    that there are no distinctions between male and female: in 1 Cor. 11:3, he affirms that man is the head of the
    woman. In 1 Tim. 2:14, he furnishes a theological argument in favor of women’s subordination to man. He
    instructs women to cover their heads in the assembly, as a sign of subordinate status (cf. 1 Cor. 11:10). St. Paul
    opposed fighting the abolition of slavery at that time, teaching that everyone should remain in the place allotted
    to him by providence.”

    I see nothing there which opposes Catholic Teaching. I see nothing there which says that Gentiles must cowtow to Jews. I see nothing there which says that there are two branches of Christianity, Jew and Gentile. In fact, he summarizes very well my entire point:

    You see nothing? Here it is again from Fr ELIAS (not Greg) Friedman:

    “We reply, denying that St. Paul intends to teach that there are no differences at all between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.”

    Friedman denies that Paul was teaching that all distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female were forever erased. He denies that that there are no differences, means when restated in the positive, that there are differences between Jew and Greek, the type of thing you and the CC cannot countenance.

    I have no idea what you’re reading into that text. He is a Catholic Priest. If he were preaching against the Catholic Church, he would have been cast out already. But he is a Priest in good standing.

    You mean like the other two priests in good standing who apologized to Messianic Jews and Jews in Brazil for the sins of the catholic church against their forefathers in Spain and Portugal? Like them, Friedman is telling the powers that be that they are mistaken in their understanding of the Jewish people.

    Here is Friedman contradicting what you have said in this thread and elsewhere about the Jewish people:

    “The sentiment is widespread among Christians, theologians and laymen alike, that God punished post-Christic
    Jewry for not believing in Jesus Christ by withdrawing from them the privilege of the Election. The thesis is directed not at Rabbinical Judaism but at the Jewish People. It defines Christian theological anti- Semitism. It is the fundamental premise of a pseudo-theology of Jewry, which has wrought incalculable harm. It is the remote cause of modern racial anti-Semitism. Father Benoit, for example, permits himself to write: “The Church cannot agree that the Jewish people is still the Chosen People, for it is henceforth conscious of possessing that election”.1 And why should we ignore the testimony of Jewish self-consciousness that it has not been dispossessed of its election? Father Benoit answers: “The Christian Church cannot recognize it to be a Church equally valid in the designs of God”. Contradictorywise, Father Benoit concedes that Jewry retains a theological mission of a kind “which it has momentarily lost and for which it is searching in an obscure and painfully fumbling way”. He even appeals to Jewry to realize that by reconciling itself with the Church it stands to gain by “a fulfilment of its veritable and eternal vocation”. We agree with Frizzel who finds these words enigmatic. 2 Since Father Benoit admits that Jewry has an eternal vocation, how could it ever have been lost? Again, if it has a vocation, it has to be chosen or elected in one sense or another. Is not its election the source of its vocation?

    For hundreds of pages now, you have been arguing against me, saying that the vows which Paul took in Acts 18:18 and Acts 21 are not Nazirite vows.

    And I’ve proven it from Scripture.

    And when we turn to the NABRE Bible translation used by catholic Bishops no less, and millions of catholics around the country during mass, we find that this Bible does not dispute that they were Nazirite vows. Regarding your first point, this is what the USCCB says:

    “Released on March 9, 2011, the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) is the culmination of nearly 20 years of work by a group of nearly 100 scholars and theologians, including bishops , revisers and editors. The NABRE includes a newly revised translation of the entire Old Testament (including the Book of Psalms) along with the 1986 edition of the New Testament.”

    Show me where that says that the footnotes are infallible.

    There it is, dividing and dismissing again. No different than the protestant really. The fact remains that Catholic Bishops approved that Bible and its footnotes. So much so that it is the official bible used on their site. This is not an association of the laity, these are cardinals we are talking about. This has proven your argumentation to be a no go from the beginning.

    Regardless of who participated, dozens of Bishops participated in its translation and approved the translation and footnotes. The Bible has their imprimatur, so to speak. Only you Demaria, claim to be more catholic and know more than your own bishop.

    I never made such a claim.

    You do make the claim every time you try to argue that the vow Paul took in Acts 18/21 isn’t a Nazirite vow, a Jewish vow, as your own Bishop admits.

    Again, because of your simplistic mind, you can’t seem to handle the fact that:
    1. Footnotes in a Bible are not binding on a Catholic.
    2. The NAB is an ecumenical work which contains the thoughts of non-Catholics.
    Some fifty scholars collaborated on this project; these were mainly Catholics, but, in accord with the suggestion of Vatican II that “with the approval of the church authority, these translations be produced in cooperation with separated brothers” so that “all Christians may be able to use them” (Dei Verbum, No. 22), non-Catholics also participated in the work. See the preface

    So what? Your Bishops still approved the work. And it is the NABRE I am referencing, not the NAB, to be clear.

    3. You still don’t seem to understand that the idea that St. Paul may have made or participated in a Nazirite vow has no effect upon the Catholic Church.

    That is mere claim which is precisely what I am calling out. It does have an effect on the CC’s claims, especially when viewed through the argumentation of the crew at C2C. When one accepts that Paul was indeed a Jewish man, as his enemies noticed,

    “19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews , and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

    one should begin to question supersessionism and the historical claims of the CC.

    4. However, the fact remains that you are reading that into the text. It is not there.

    It is precisely the CC ‘not having a problem’ with Paul taking Nazirite vows that I am bringing to light. The CC hides in plain sight, claiming that it has replaced the Jews and Israel. When in fact, as Fr Friedman says, and I have argued likewise from the beginning, the distinction between Jewish believer and gentile believer was never abolished and never meant to be done away with.

    Read Fr. Friedman again. The verse you provided does not say that. Fr. Friedman appears to be faithful and obedient to the Catholic Church. I don’t see him clamoring for authority over Gentiles.

    I have never claimed for Jewish believers to have authority ‘over’ but rather authority ‘with’ Gentiles. Big difference, but of course you cannot get over your ad hominems and insults.

    Read your own Bible! Your own Bishops say that Paul took Nazirite vows! You know more than them? Bart Koet who has analyzed the matter in depth, is full professor Tillburg School of Catholic Theology at Tillburg University, an expert on the matter, and he too say they were Nazirite vows. And you Demaria are still kicking against the goads. You keep digging yourself into the ditch, deeper and deeper here.

    Nope.

    Here are the cogent points.

    a. You said that St. Paul began a Nazirite vow in Acts 18 which he concluded in Acts 21.

    Neither Koet nor the Catholic footnote say that. They both disagree with you. And agree with me.

    Koet says that it was a Nazirite vow in Acts 18! Let’s begin with that shall we. He says here:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=K9_QsLPsKYMC&pg=PA203&lpg=PA203&dq=bart+koet+nazirite&source=bl&ots=ezWbfaFe6t&sig=HF2bwOWQ0MCAl6SLto6pfITSD74&hl=en&sa=X&ei=EJkSUrObDs-l4AP8voGgCA&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=bart%20koet%20nazirite&f=false

    “That n euchen indicates a Nazirite vow is also confirmed by the other occurrence in the NT. Next to 18:18 is it is only used in Acts 21:23. In Acts 21:23 it is clearly meant to characterize the Nazirite vow…. Even if in 18:18 the word Nazirite is not used, we can claim that the fact that Luke uses n euchen isa strong indication that there a Nazirite vow is intended “.

    And you talk about cogency?

    b. The Catholic footnote which you produce in this message is about the shaving of the head in Ch. 18. Both Koet and the Catholic footnote say that this is a Nazirite vow.

    i. But neither one says that St. Paul made such a vow in Acts 21. They both disagree with you and agree with me.

    Because you lie through your teeth, I will no longer address anything by you, but rather report you to Jason for unethical behavior. The catholic footnote says this about Acts 21:23-26, open your eyes wide:

    “7 [23-26] The leaders of the community suggest that Paul, on behalf of four members of the Jerusalem community, make the customary payment for the sacrifices offered at the termination of the Nazirite vow (see Numbers 6:1-24) in order to impress favorably the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem with his high regard for the Mosaic law. Since Paul himself had once made this vow (Acts 18:18), his respect for the law would be on public record.

    c. You also claimed that I was the ONLY one who denied that St. Paul ever made a Nazarite vow. You begin the Koet quote with him admitting that many commentators denied that very thing.

    Koet mentions the faulty understanding of many commentators and I picked him because Koet is a catholic. If a catholic can admit that Paul took Nazirite vows, who are you to dismiss that evidence by hand waving?

    d. As for the possibility that St. Paul might have made a Nazirite vow in Ch. 18, the Catholic footnote doesn’t help you one whit. It shows that the Catholic Church is not affected at all by the vow.

    What it does is show that the emperor has no clothes and that the devil is indeed in the details, so to speak.

    e. As for my disagreement with the Catholic footnote in the NAB, it is an ecumenical Bible with many well known errors in Catholic doctrine in the footnotes. Some of the footnotes deny the real presence, some the existence of purgatory and other errors which obviously come from the participation of Protestants in the Bible. The explanation for the existence of these errors is very simple. The Catholic Church invited them to participate. She couldn’t very well, in good conscience, then tell them to sit there quietly and do nothing.

    Examples:

    New American Bible: Problems on Purgatory « Archdiocese of …
    blog.adw.org/2010/09/new-american-bible-problems-on-purgatory/?
    Sep 13, 2010 – In this post I’d like to explore another problem with the NAB that was also called to my attention by one of you. There are problematic footnotes …

    A Bible That Keeps Us Apart | First Things
    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/02/a-bible-that-keeps-us-apart?
    Feb 5, 2013 – The NAB is not just a problem for Catholics. … Having used the NAB, I prefer the Jerusalem Bible, especially for the footnotes, & introductory …

    and yes, SS, we are free to disagree with footnotes.

    That’s your problem, not mine. All I have shown is that Catholic Bishops have approved the idea that Paul took Nazirite vows, unlike you.

    Bart Koet tells you that Paul did not have to shave his head in Jerusalem for the vow to be valid. You simply ignore the evidence and carry on….

    No, no. I just quoted the evidence from another source. The fact that YOU prefer Koet is your preference.

    That’s precisely my point, you quoted evidence from another source, IGNORING WHAT A CATHOLIC EXPERT is telling you.

    No, actually. It proves you wrong. Because if the Catholic Church has no problem with an 1st century Catholic showing respect for the Nazarite vow or even taking a Nazarite vow, why do you?

    Answer your own question first and I will answer yours. Why did you argue for hundreds of pages that they were not Nazirite vows?

    Because I don’t believe they were.

    Why do you not believe they were when Bart Koet, a Catholic tells you that they were, and when your own Bishops tell you that they were?

    The Catholic Church is not conceding anything. You don’t seem to understand that a footnote in a Bible is not an official declaration of doctrine. I am free to disagree with any non-doctrinal information in a Bible footnote.

    Divide and dismiss.

    Now, if you can find a Papal decree or an Ecumenical Council which writes to this idea, then I would be conscience bound to agree.

    This is how catholics have been rationalizing obvious disagreements and sins for centuries now. Nothing to see here, keep moving.

    I don’t care whose argument you use. It doesn’t matter because whether it is a Nazarite vow or not does not affect one whit the continuity of the Catholic Church from the time of the Apostles. It is simply in your mind that it should. But its not all about you and what you can make up.

    I use Jason’s M.O. here. If we begin with the premise that the church that Jesus founded is the CC, would we expect to see the kinds of things I’ve been highlighting, especially in regards to the Jewish praxis of the first disciples? No we wouldn’t. To simply claim supersessionism when the data indicates none of it is to be guilty of mere presuppositionalism, which is basically what Catholicism is really all about. An historical claim that cannot be supported by the facts.

  190. To Jason and the Catholic Reader,

    I have gone the distance with Demaria despite the latter’s intellectual dishonesty, for one reason only: to show you (not him) that the historical claim that the CC puts forth does not pass muster. The earliest disciples were not catholics, they were jewish believers. They prayed in the temple (at the typical jewish appointed times, 3x a day), as well as from house to house. They were circumcised and had no problem with circumcision for their own people the jews. They took Jewish vows and made offerings in the temple according to these vows. They observed Shabat (Saturday, not Sunday) in addition to the Lord’s Day on Sunday. All this isn’t the kind of evidence one would expect to see if the paradigm that the CC is the church that Jesus founded.

    So Jason, I have shown you, possible (meh…), probably, no way. Would be interested in hearing what you or other catholics have to say. I will not be addressing Demaria’s posts from now on.

    Peace,
    SS.

  191. @Robert:

    Infallibility is in the object. God and His revelation do not fail to give us truth. If God and His revelation could fail to operate infallibly, then theology would be pointless. Like the sciences, we have our own senses to perceive the object directly, in the case of Scripture, and indirectly, in the case of God, through Scripture.

    God’s revelation can obviously fail to give us truth infallibly from an epistemic perspective; plenty of people, even faithful people, do not know or understand revelation. In that respect, everyone is fallible, in that we can all err or fail to know, and if revelation were infallible, this would never happen. Infallibility has nothing to do with epistemic certainty; it has everything to do with whether there is anything outside ourselves to which we can turn with certainty in analogy to the way that we know external reality through our senses.

    And our senses operate infallibly in the same way that all scientific laws operate infallibly; every sensory response happens for a reason in external reality. We may not correctly understand what our senses are telling us, and the organs may deteriorate and lose their function, but the causal sensory chain never breaks down. Every sense we have is a sense of something. If we doubt our senses, we doubt the very possibility of knowledge or reason, just as if we doubt that there are such things as regular causal laws in nature, we vitiate the possibility of the scientific method. That connection with reality is what separates true knowledge from mere opinion. The proximate object of faith serves the analogous purpose in theology; if one denies infallible authority of a proximate object of faith, one denies even the possibility of discerning truth or falsity as opposed to mere opinion. In other words, the ability to say that there is such a thing as “right” or “wrong,” as opposed to merely “probable” to the point that the contrary could still be true, is excluded.

    Hence, backing up to your previous question…

    Science has no infallible arbitrer of truth and falsehood. It’s conducted by fallible human beings who are ever growing in their understanding and correcting earlier theories. Some become so established over time that they are practically infallible, but no infallible body exists to give them that stamp of infallibility. Why must theology be any different?

    That’s confusing ontology with epistemology, principle with practice. Theologians have opinions just like scientists do; there is debate about our understanding of dogma. But without an infallible object analogous to the infallible natural operation of laws (excepting miracles, of course), it’s not going anywhere. The reason physical scientific theories can become established over time is precisely because the phenomena they study do infallibly behave lawfully, so that there is something to study. Without this, physical science would be a meaningless endeavor, an endless debate that resolves nothing, akin to much of modern philosophy, which similarly has lost any grounding in reality.

    Reality infallibly conforms to God’s infallible revelation, but we are fallible and can get it wrong. The theological science is not doomed to failure without an infallible church. We have the Word of God. We have His Spirit. We have the great minds past and present who had His Word and His Spirit. We work together and come to a knowledge of the truth.

    No, you don’t come to knowledge of the truth. You just come to opinions, and the defining characteristic of opinions is that the contrary could be true, meaning that progress toward truth is illusory. Your conclusions are always merely probable, and they aren’t moving toward truth in any discernible way. And based purely on the metrics of historical patristic theology, which is a study of unassailably “great minds,” Protestantism has done literally nothing but to corrode Christian beliefs; it has been progressively moving away from truth while adding no truth itself. That’s essentially the problem that Jason has pointed out, and Christian Smith and Brad Gregory before him. It’s a defective methodology, and claims of having the Spirit and the Word are vacuous if the methodology for discerning the divine presence is flawed. In other words, if you have no principled way to distinguish divine revelation, then your claims of Spirit and Word will always be in vain, because you can never distinguish the Spirit from the merely human.

    With Science we have nature. We have senses and tools. We have the great minds past and present who also had nature. We work together and come to a knowledge of the truth.

    That is true because the senses infallibly respond to reality. We can run an experiment and say what actually happened based on sensible causal chains. If if weren’t for that, physical science would be a fool’s errand.

    Again, you have no infallible authority to tell you infallibly that your scientific theory is right. You have no infallible authority to tell you infallibly that your wife (if you have one) loves you. Somehow you manage just fine in those areas

    Yes, but in both cases, I have something infallible to rely upon, whether it’s the infallible causal laws that nature obeys or the infallible nature of my own experience of love (i.e., knowing that my wife has done loving things, even if I cannot directly perceive her mental state). But I would be foolish to engage in science if I thought that the universe did not obey infallible causal laws, which is why young earth creation “science” is foolish. And I would be foolish to conclude that my wife loved me if I had no experience of her doing so on which to judge this. Those are not cases of doing “just fine.” They are cases of irresponsibility. By saying that you accept no infallible human authority, you likewise vitiate the possibility of having any kind of human experience that could support your theological beliefs, thus rendering your endeavor of theology foolish in the same way as the examples I gave.

    At rock bottom, it takes just as much faith to believe your senses are telling you the truth as it does to believe the Trinity is true. There is no meaningful difference between science and theology in that regard.

    And that statement is completely insane (but to be fair, it’s the characteristic insanity of modernism, and it’s why modern society is completely off the beam). You do not need faith to believe in your senses; your senses operate based on infallible causal laws in reality. You might misinterpret your senses, but no faith is required for them to convey information. At rock bottom, you have knowledge from your senses, and that is not true at all of the Trinity. If you have the theological virtue of faith, then your certitude about the Trinity may be even greater than the certain knowledge that your senses give you, but that is a matter of will, not any deficiency in the certainty of sensory knowledge. Theology requires faith; physical science and knowledge generally does not. To say otherwise is to throw yourself into a modernist hell from which there is no escape.

    Science as we conduct it today leans far more toward empiricism, and its actually that belief that empirical proof is better than logical proof or the proof from the study of faith that led to modernism. Like other children of the Enlightenment, you are driving a wedge between science and faith if we drill down far enough.

    The fact that you said this indicates that you are completely oblivious to the intellectual history of Catholicism and the Enlightenment. Science leaning towards empiricism is a good thing; that is nothing other than the premodern belief that we can actually know things. The modernist belief is exactly the one you stated above: that we can’t trust our senses and that there is some sort of cognitive gap between sense and knowledge. That is why you speak of “trust” and “faith” in senses, and you equate this with the “trust” and “faith” you have in Scripture. That is radical skepticism, which you overcome only by sheer and arbitraty fideism, and that radical skepticism is modernism. It is Ockham who laid that egg, and the Reformation hatched it. The Reformers did not intend to drive the wedge between science and faith, but this is an inevitable result of your position, because once people realize that faith is really not like the knowledge of their senses, then they will reject faith as being irrational. The only solution is to provide a rationalism that supports both the reality and infallibility of sensory knowledge AND the legitimacy of faith, and that was the belief of all the premodern Christians, from the ante-Nicene Fathers to the Latin scholastics.

    I can trust my senses to read Scripture and church tradition and understand that Rome’s claims are false, or at least I can do this in a manner that is no more fallible or infallible than your ability to do the same and concluded that Rome’s claims are true.

    But that is irrelevant, because absent Rome’s claims, you have no basis for the infallibility of Scripture, leaving you with sheer fideism for Scriptural authority. Moreover, as I pointed out, this idea of “trust” in the senses saws off the branch on which you are sitting, so you lack any basis not only for Scripture but for the reliability of the intervening science that you need in order to be able to interpret it. Hence, the difference between us isn’t about the conclusions, but about the reliability of our respective methodologies to arrive at true conclusions in principle. Yours, based on modernism, has no such reliability; mine, based on premodern scholasticism, does.

    And I appreciate that you are concerned for my salvation. I am concerned for yours. The difference between us is that Rome has said I’m golden. First, Muslims are on their way to heaven but I’m a separated brethren, so how much closer am I to the truth. Second, about the only unforgiveable sin in Roman Catholicism is to know that the Roman Church is true and then reject it. For the many years I’ve read Roman Catholic sources (many of which, by the way, would not endorse much of what you’ve said) and talked to Roman Catholics, watched your church shelter pedophiles, seen your popes kiss Qur’ans, watched Roman Catholics on a practical level reject so much of Rome’s infallible teaching, endorse what Moses would have called idolatry, and so on, my failure to see the truth of the Vatican is clearly related to invincible ignorance of the truth and beauty of Romanism. In which case, I’m still golden. I just might stay a few more years in purgatory.

    Unless the foolishness in methodology that I have outlined above, although being quite common in the modern and postmodern age, is the foolishness of the man who has said in his heart that there is no God. I have no visibility into your heart, but your reasons for rejecting Catholicism (if they are the ones mentioned above) are foolish, because these have nothing to do with the object of faith itself. You would just be confusing ontology with epistemology again; what the Church is versus how one knows what the Church teaches. And Muslims may be better off than you are if they grew up in greater cultural isolation from the Gospel; to whom much is given, from him much is expected. If you know Christ and reject Him, that is worse than never knowing Him at all, although knowing Christ and accepting Him is even better, which is why we evangelize. If you actually understood the teaching of the Church concerning non-Catholics, your proximity to the Church would be a cause of dread, not confidence, because being so close makes it all the more likely that your refusal to enter is inexcusable. I am not in the soul-judging business, but let’s not pretend that God isn’t.

    If we’re right, you’re not. “No one comes to the Father but by me” is infinitely more perspicuous than Lumen Gentium and its contradictions of Roman teaching before it. I’ll trust the words straight from Jesus’ mouth, thank you.

    Until you rest in Christ alone for salvation, you are on the way to hell.

    That’s Pascal’s wager, and if this means that I am damned if I reject Reformed theology, then God who knows my heart will judge me accordingly. And given that I consider the entire Reformed theological method irrational and its conclusions heretical, I do not see how I could ever NOT reject Reformed theology. But the Church provides sure salvation, and everything else provides a mere possibility, contingent on all sorts of things. So I not only reject your view absolutely but also say that the only sure way to be saved is for you to abandon it and to come into the Church. If you are willing to wager your salvation on something that doesn’t even make sense, I do not know how God may judge it.

  192. @Eric:

    If I’m reading you right, you’re positing a type of foundationalism similar to Alvin Plantinga where the knowledge of the existence of God is properly basic, only you are maintaining that all of Catholic dogma is properly basic. That strikes me as theological fideism, pure and simple, something you all have been accusing us Protestants of.

    On the contrary, I am as far from foundationalism as one could me. It is precisely because of Plantinga’s Reformed epistemology that he has to account for the “noetic effects of sin,” introducing the same modernist gap between sense and knowledge that he has to cover with the idea of properly basic belief. If there were any example of how even the best efforts of Reformed epistemology are ultimately doomed to the same failure as modernism, Plantinga’s philosophy would be it. I have enormous respect for his work, but on the biggest issue there is in philosophy, he strikes out.

    I wish I could get to the place where I could even say of Catholicism, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” But the closest I can get, in all honesty, is, “Lord, this stuff is a load of crap. Help thou my utter and total disbelief.” At this point, my ignorance is as about as invincible as it could possibly get. This in spite of the fact that I am not in any way adverse to or rebellious toward or obstinate about joining Rome. There would be no real interpersonal fallout were I to do so.

    I feel the same way about Protestantism, but it also lacks the thousand years of Christian lives supporting the approach before modernism ever came on the scene, so that strikes me as one massive tiebreaker. Also, I have no qualms about rejecting modernism, which is the foundation of Protestant belief, as sloppy metaphysics. If the objections to Catholicism are too much for you, then take a look at Eastern Orthodoxy. Better one more on the side of premodern Christianity than one more footsoldier for modernism.

    I am in no way invested in either modernistic or postmodernistic thought. I’m waiting for the next big idea: something that makes sense this time preferably.

    I’ll take a look at Brad Gregory, and, for now, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. But my first impression of your epistemology/oncology is that you sound as if you have a major screw loose. (Just being honest.)

    Gregory is good. If you want the whole explanation of the problem and the “next big idea” in excruciating detail, John Deely is even better.

  193. That there’s a good list. I would have written the exact same one myself a little less than a year ago, but now that I have read some history on the Crusades, my list would only be 9 instead of ten, for this reason: the understanding held by the non-historian public about The Crusades (and The Inquisition, for that matter) is largely informed by myth, not unlike how people will swear up and down that Australian toilets spin the other way. One of the worst examples of this ignorance is Ridley Scott’s movie, “Kingdom of Heaven”. A good place to start is Thomas Madden’s “A New Concise History of The Crusades”. It is very well written and represents some of the best medieval/ Crusade scholarship out there, Catholic or otherwise.

  194. And the humorous way you wrote about being transported back to 1997 was awesome. Made me laugh A LOT.

  195. Jonathan–

    I will take a gander at Gregory and Deely. I will even grant that sometimes the truth looks like idiocy before the light goes on in our dusty little minds.

    That said, don’t hold your breath. Every bit deeper I dig in the ECF’s, the more skeptical I become of the simplest of Catholic claims. At the moment, in all good faith, I do not believe you have a thousand years on us but that we have a thousand years on you. And one thing is for darn sure: Vaticanism is but 50 years old!

    (You don’t strike me as at all pre-modern. But I am not nearly as versed as I would like to be on the topic.)

  196. ERIC August 30, 2013 at 6:31 am
    Jonathan–
    …. Every bit deeper I dig in the ECF’s, the more skeptical I become of the simplest of Catholic claims.

    Are you joking again?

    At the moment, in all good faith, I do not believe you have a thousand years on us but that we have a thousand years on you.

    Really? Ok then, why not let’s delve into the simplest of Catholic claims and the simplest of yours which oppose that claim. Let’s see if the Early Church Fathers support ours or yours. Why not?

    Let’s start with the Early Church Fathers on the authority of the Church. “The Early Fathers believed that authentic teaching and authority came through apostolic succession. Christ conferred authority on the apostles who in turn conferred it upon their successors. We see examples of this in Scripture when the apostle Paul ordains Timothy and Titus.” (Stay Catholic)

    Clement of Rome

    Our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned, and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry (Letter to the Corinthians 44:1 [A.D. 95]).

    Ignatius of Antioch

    You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8:1 [A.D. 110]).

    Irenaeus

    It is possible, then, for everyone in every Church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles, and their successors to our own times: men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about. For if the Apostles had known hidden mysteries which they taught to the elite secretly and apart from the rest, they would have handed them down especially to those very ones to whom they were committing the self-same Churches. For surely they wished all those and their successors to be perfect and without reproach, to whom they handed on their authority (Against Heresies 3:3:1 [A.D. 189]).

    What have you got to support your argument? Or would you rather begin with another?

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  197. SEAN August 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm
    That there’s a good list. I would have written the exact same one myself a little less than a year ago, but now that I have read some history on the Crusades, my list would only be 9 instead of ten, for this reason: the understanding held by the non-historian public about The Crusades (and The Inquisition, for that matter) is largely informed by myth, not unlike how people will swear up and down that Australian toilets spin the other way. ….

    Keep studying. They will all fall like dominoes. And then there were none.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  198. De Maria–

    Thanks for the ammunition! 🙂

    Clement of Rome
    Our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned, and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry (Letter to the Corinthians 44:1 [A.D. 95]).

    Ignatius of Antioch
    You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8:1 [A.D. 110]).

    Irenaeus
    It is possible, then, for everyone in every Church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles, and their successors to our own times: men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about. For if the Apostles had known hidden mysteries which they taught to the elite secretly and apart from the rest, they would have handed them down especially to those very ones to whom they were committing the self-same Churches. For surely they wished all those and their successors to be perfect and without reproach, to whom they handed on their authority (Against Heresies 3:3:1 [A.D. 189]).

    So, let’s see here.

    1. We have an apostolic succession with a strictly “approved” proviso: men of integrity and sound doctrine.

    2. They are to be men who live holy lives, worthy of being seen as representatives of Christ on earth.

    3. Actual sacred tradition has already been disseminated far and wide. It is common knowledge in all the churches (i.e., it doesn’t take till 1950 to figure it out). There is no secretive knowledge known only to the clergy. No one is kept from reading Scripture because of its supposed danger to them.

    4. Not only are office holders to be men of generally good character, but they are to be “perfect and beyond reproach.”

    Hint: when the evidence is not on your side, it’s best to do a better job of cherry picking quotes!

    By the way, it’s interesting that etymologically, the English word ‘priest’ comes from the Greek ‘presbyteros’ (elder) and then is used to translate a totally different Greek word indicating sacerdotal ministration. It appears that its meaning has changed due to a change in church practice. So, perhaps, we can take Ignatius for an early Presbyterian!

    Again, thanks for all the nice proto-Protestant citations…. You’re a true friend! 😉

  199. Author: Eric
    Comment:
    De Maria–

    Thanks for the ammunition! 🙂

    So, let’s see here.

    1. We have an apostolic succession with a strictly “approved” proviso: men of integrity and sound doctrine.

    a. So, you admit that we have apostolic succession. Good. That confirms Catholic Doctrine.
    b. And since the architects of the Protestant rebellion were not approved, further erodes your case.

    2. They are to be men who live holy lives, worthy of being seen as representatives of Christ on earth.

    Correct. And,
    a. The officers of the Catholic Church were approved by bona fide officials of the Catholic Church.
    b. Whereas, Protestant leaders were not approved but usurped their authority from the Church which Jesus Christ established.

    3. Actual sacred tradition has already been disseminated far and wide.

    Correct. Even from the time of the Apostles, the Catholic Church had passed down Tradition almost to the entire globe. The Catholic Church continues to be the most widely disseminated of any Christian body.

    It is common knowledge in all the churches (i.e., it doesn’t take till 1950 to figure it out).

    1. True. All Catholic Doctrine was included in the Teaching of Jesus Christ. As for that which was reiterated in 1950, I take it you are speaking of the infallibility of the Pope. That Doctrine was revealed by Jesus Christ when He said, “On this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys to the King of Heaven, what you lock on earth will be locked in heaven, what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matt 16:18-19). This declaration established the infallibility of the Pope.

    2. The fact that it was challenged by Protestants does not mean it didn’t exist from the time of the Apostles.

    There is no secretive knowledge known only to the clergy.

    Never has been and never will be. The Catholic Church’s Doctrines and Traditions are known world wide. They are certainly more well known than your traditions.

    No one is kept from reading Scripture because of its supposed danger to them.

    Again true and does nothing to support your cause.

    a. First of all, we’re speaking of Apostolic Succession and this seems to come out of nowhere.
    b. But it is still easily debunked, because the Catholic Church never formally forbade the laity from reading the Scriptures.
    c. There was a response to the proliferation of false teaching from Protestant sectors.
    d. There was also a response to the proliferation of poorly translated bibles from Protestant sectors.
    e. And the Church did its best to insulate her people from these errors.
    f. This is all well within the authority of the Church and you have, in other threads on this very forum, attacked the Church for not taking even harsher measures to ensure that proper doctrine is taught and obeyed.

    4. Not only are office holders to be men of generally good character, but they are to be “perfect and beyond reproach.”

    That is completely in line with the Scriptures:
    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;

    Do you have a problem with the Scripture?

    Hint: when the evidence is not on your side, it’s best to do a better job of cherry picking quotes!

    Hint: Even though you have done your best to change the subject by using the scatter gun approach rather than delving into each argument in detail, your objections can easily be proven false.

    Oh, and I get a feeling your going to need to find an emoticon real soon in order that you can go into your passive aggressive ploy. Oh yeah, 😉

    By the way, it’s interesting that etymologically, the English word ‘priest’ comes from the Greek ‘presbyteros’ (elder) and then is used to translate a totally different Greek word indicating sacerdotal ministration. It appears that its meaning has changed due to a change in church practice. So, perhaps, we can take Ignatius for an early Presbyterian!

    You mean this word?

    Romans 15:16
    King James Version (KJV)
    16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

    That I g3165
    ?? me

    should be g1519
    ??? eis

    g1511
    ????? einai

    the minister g3011
    ?????????? leitourgos

    of Jesus g2424
    ?????? I?sous

    Christ g5547
    ??????? Christos

    to g1519
    ??? eis

    the Gentiles, g1484
    ????? ethnos

    ministering g2418
    ????????? hierourge?

    the gospel g2098
    ?????????? euaggelion

    of God, g2316
    ???? theos

    that g2443
    ??? hina

    the offering up g4376
    ???????? prosphora

    of the Gentiles g1484
    ????? ethnos

    might be g1096
    ??????? ginomai

    acceptable, g2144
    ???????????? euprosdektos

    being sanctified g37
    ?????? hagiaz?

    by g1722
    ?? en

    the Holy g40
    ????? hagios

    Ghost. g4151
    ?????? pneuma

    That means that St. Paul, the LITURGIST of Jesus was doing his PRIESTLY (i.e. hierourge?; G2418; to minister in the manner of a priest, minister in priestly service) duty.

    Its hardly necessary, in a nation of Priests, for the word “priest” to be redundantly used in reference to the Elder “priests” . The word, elder came to mean “priest” because the ministerial priests or elders are the main priesthood in a nation of priests. Or did you not know the Scripture:
    1 Peter 2:9
    But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

    But g1161
    ?? de

    ye g5210
    ????? hymeis

    [are] a chosen g1588
    ???????? eklektos

    generation, g1085
    ????? genos

    a royal g934
    ????????? na

    priesthood, g2406
    ????????? hierateuma

    ….

    Again, thanks for all the nice proto-Protestant citations…. You’re a true friend! 😉

    Only a true friend can put up with such nonsense. But, I would like to thank you for posting such simple arguments to disprove. Feel free to use all the emoticons you need to dispel your frustration in your response.

    I have a couple of suggestions to assist the edification of the reader. We could study the ECF’s one at a time. Then you could explain why they are all priests, most of them Bishops and why they are each essentially Catholic.

    Or we could take one Doctrine at a time and trace it through the Church Fathers. See if it true that they teach Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide as some Protestants contend.

    But, I don’t think you want to delve into the details, do you? Not too closely. You just want to skim the surface fast enough to try to dance away before your presuppositions are shattered. 😉

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  200. De Maria–

    Mormons have priests and Oneness Pentacostals have bishops. This is a very superficial similarity that obviously proves nothing.

    What did the Early Church MEAN by baptismal regeneration? Why do they refer to Scripture so often if they have no concept similar to sola scriptura? Why do they emphasize the spiritual side of apostolic succession over the physical? You must delve below the surface to the core–to the nuts and bolts–of the Early Church. It most certainly doesn’t reflect the modern Church of Rome except in rather superficial ways.

    There are not seven sacraments. The Eucharist does not receive the central position on worship. Reconciliation (penance) has not developed. There is no papal primacy. Marian devotion is not to be found (until after the Council of Ephesus). Icons are not spoken of. It is a totally different church.

  201. ERIC September 1, 2013 at 4:23 pm
    De Maria–
    Mormons have priests and Oneness Pentacostals have bishops. This is a very superficial similarity that obviously proves nothing.

    They als have a 1500 year absence in Church history during which the Catholic Church was prominently Teaching the Word of God throughout the world.

    What did the Early Church MEAN by baptismal regeneration?

    The very same thing the Catholic Church Teaches today.

    Why do they refer to Scripture so often if they have no concept similar to sola scripture?

    Because they refer to the Word of God in Sacred Tradition and Scripture, but not in Scripture alone.

    Why do they emphasize the spiritual side of apostolic succession over the physical?

    The Catholic Church continues to emphasize the Spiritual side of all Doctrines. Something for which Protestants berate the Church.

    You must delve below the surface to the core–to the nuts and bolts–of the Early Church.

    Don’t just talk about it. Let’s do it. I guarantee that you will find the Catholic Church throughout the history of Christianity. Because the Catholic Church is the Church which Jesus Christ built.

    It most certainly doesn’t reflect the modern Church of Rome except in rather superficial ways.

    That is what you would like to think, but:
    a. The Early Church reflects the Catholic Church exactly.
    b. The Protestant communities are nowhere to be found in early Christianity. They don’t appear until the 1500’s.

    There are not seven sacraments.

    Yes, there are. All seven are in Scripture, see below. And as early as the Fifth Century, St. Augustine clearly teaches on all seven. While the rest of the early Church Fathers mention one or another as they see fit.

    Baptism. Mark 16:16

    Confirmation. Acts 19:3-6, Hebrews 6:2

    Eucharist. . Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 24:35; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:24-27;

    Penance. John 20:21-23; Heb 13:17; Rev. 1:18.

    Anointing of the Sick. James 5:14-15.

    Holy Orders. Acts 6:3-6; Acts 13:2-3; 1 Tim. 3:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-9; 1 Tim. 4:14; 1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Tim. 5:17-19; 1 Tim. 5:22.

    Matrimony. Mt. 19:10-11; Eph. 5:31-32.

    The Eucharist does not receive the central position on worship.

    Yes, it does.

    In Scripture, Heb 10:25-31, it is shown how important the Eucharist is in the Early Church. And Eucharist is mentioned from the earliest of the Church Fathers.

    Ignatius of Antioch

    Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2-7:1 [A.D. 110]).

    . . . and are now ready to obey your bishop and clergy with undivided minds and to share in the one common breaking of bread – the medicine of immortality, and the sovereign remedy by which we escape death and live in Jesus Christ for evermore (Letter to the Ephesians 20 [A.D. 110]).

    Justin Martyr

    We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these, but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).

    Irenaeus

    He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood) from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported) how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life — flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord and is in fact a member of him? (Against Heresies 5:2 [A.D. 189]).

    Reconciliation (penance) has not developed.

    It is described in Scripture. Heb 13:17

    There is no papal primacy.

    Jesus Christ established it. Matt 16:18-19

    Marian devotion is not to be found

    God the Father commanded it.

    Scripture says that God’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven.
    And God wills that the Angels praise Mary:

    Luke 1:26-28
    King James Version (KJV)
    26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
    Let’s break this down:
    ANGEL GABRIEL
    1. an angel is a messenger of God. That is what the word, angel, means.
    2. this angel, Gabriel, is one of the four angels that stands before the throne of God.
    WAS SENT FROM GOD
    1. God sent this angel to Mary.
    2. Since this angel is a messenger of God’s, God sent Him to deliver a message.
    3. Therefore, the angel was not speaking on his own, but was communicating God’s message to Mary.
    4. If we skip down to verse 28, we see that this was a message of praise (i.e. blessed art thou).
    5. Therefore God praised Mary through His Angel.
    That is great praise indeed. Do you know of any man whose praise is worth more than God’s? In other words, what do you value more highly, the praise of man or the praise of God?

    Irenaeus

    The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God (Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).
    Hippolytus

    [T]o all generations they [the prophets] have pictured forth the grandest subjects for contemplation and for action. Thus, too, they preached of the advent of God in the flesh to the world, his advent by the spotless and God-bearing (theotokos) Mary in the way of birth and growth, and the manner of his life and conversation with men, and his manifestation by baptism, and the new birth that was to be to all men, and the regeneration by the laver [of baptism] (Discourse on the End of the World 1 [A.D. 217]).

    (until after the Council of Ephesus). Icons are not spoken of.

    The use of icons is based upon the Teaching of Christ and the free use of relics in the Apostolic Church.

    It is a totally different church.

    It is the same Church, which led by the Holy Spirit, has organically developed into what you see today.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  202. De Maria–

    In other words, you have no real evidence for what you allege….

  203. Eric,

    Be careful about feeding trolls…

  204. Robert–

    I know. But I get bored. And De Maria never fails to make me laugh….

  205. ERIC September 3, 2013 at 10:43 pm
    De Maria–
    In other words, you have no real evidence for what you allege….

    Judging from our exchanges, I have much more than you.

  206. ROBERT September 4, 2013 at 3:55 am
    Eric,
    Be careful about feeding trolls…

    Hello? I’m still here.

    Were you born stupid or did you have to work at it? Aren’t you the one that was conspiring with everyone to ignore the author of this thread?

    If you think people should stop feeding trolls, perhaps its because you’re overstuffed.

  207. ERIC September 4, 2013 at 7:20 am
    Robert–
    I know. But I get bored. And De Maria never fails to make me laugh….

    Laughing? Sounded more like crying to me.

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