The Biblical Basis of Man-Made Liturgy

Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Acts, Apologetics, Confessionalism, Evangelicalism, Perspicuity of Scripture, Presbyterianism, Regulative Principle, Sabbath, Sola Scriptura, Worship | 239 comments

The Woman at the Well. Jesus explains the distinction between true worship and man-made worship, John 4:19-26.

Is a Christian free to worship God however he pleases? I think all of us would intuitively answer “No” to that question. Man’s duty to worship God is too important to just be a free-for-all. This is especially true for Christians who have God’s Revelation, particularly the Bible. The Confessional Reformed tradition (rightly) understands that man is not only not free to worship however he pleases (since this would ultimately tend towards man worshipping himself), but in fact man should not worship in any way not clearly laid out in God’s Word. This notion is known in the Reformed tradition as the “Regulative Principle of Worship” (RPW), wherein man must worship God how God has revealed He wants to be worshiped. The goal of this post is to show that while the RPW sounds good on the surface, I think it quickly runs into some serious problems.

Most non-Reformed Protestant traditions (especially Evangelicalism) take a more ‘lax’ approach to Christian worship, generally holding to the idea that many forms of worship are acceptable so long as they don’t contradict Scripture. That view doesn’t see the Bible as prescribing a specific form of worship, but rather only ‘ruling out’ unacceptable practices (e.g. the use of images). Clearly, the ‘worship question’ is not trivial, yet Sola Scriptura has led to a more relativistic, human-centered approach to Christian worship, as each believer is seen as autonomous, not having to be subject to any specific pastor/congregation and having the ‘right’ to worship however he pleases (including simply sleeping in on Sunday). Rather than go on a tangent about Sola Scriptura in general though, I think the Confessional Reformed RPW view should be analyzed in light of what Scripture says, because it seems to me the RPW has little to no Scriptural support – which is quite ironic.

The most obvious starting point in discerning whether the RPW is actually Biblical is to find whether Scripture lays out any specific example of Christian liturgy. Some Evangelicals will say they base their Christian liturgy off of “The Acts 2 Church,” but at that point in the Church (Acts 2:42-47) there wasn’t even a book of the New Testament written yet, so “The Acts 2 Church” couldn’t even have been a Sola Scriptura based Christian liturgy. Moreover, there aren’t really any details here or anywhere else in Scripture of what precisely early Christian liturgy looked like. (Such information comes mostly from inspired Apostolic oral teaching, which Protestants reject.) So given this lack of specific Biblical testimony, from what I’ve been able to gather, the RPW is really a bunch of verses strung together to ‘form a principle’ (hence the name RPW), which ironically leads Reformed liturgy becoming more a work of men than a command of God.

To see this problem more clearly, consider John Calvin’s official liturgy which he instituted in Geneva in 1542 [1]: The liturgy begins with Confessing Sins, Prayer for Pardon [2], then goes on to Scripture Readings [3], a Sermon, a Collection of Alms, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, Words of Institution, Consecration of the Bread and Wine, and concludes with the Aaronic Blessing (Num 6:22-27). Now we can all agree that none of this is necessarily a bad thing when considered individually. The problem is that this “liturgy” is nowhere instituted in the Bible. Is man really free to just lift the Aaronic Blessing from the OT and append it to the Christian Liturgy and call this approved by God? Not if they are being honest. And as anyone can see, a whole host of liturgies can be invented using this cut-and-paste method. [4] This is clearly an unacceptable position for a Christian to take.

Given this brief look at Reformed Liturgy, it seems to me that the RPW not only is self-refuting (since it’s not a specific principle taught in Scripture, just a gathering of verses here and there), it also exposes one more flaw in Sola Scriptura, since it makes liturgy more or less relative to the whims of the individual (guided at most by some generic ‘principles’). So while it is good that the Reformed take worship of God seriously, they unfortunately find themselves in a conundrum wherein as hard as they try to “worship God as He has commanded in His Word,” they end up worshiping God according to blatant traditions of men. Only an appeal to inspired Apostolic oral teaching and Apostolic Succession (both of which Catholicism has) can ground a Christian in true worship and prevent a slide into man-centered relativistic “worship”.

 

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulative_principle_of_worship#John_Calvin.27s_Liturgy

[2] It’s not clear to me how the Confession of Sins and Prayer for Pardon is compatible with the Reformed idea that man’s sins are completely forgiven at the moment of Justification and that God only views man in light of the Righteousness of Christ imputed to him. Why ask for forgiveness of sins every Sunday if you believe all your sins were already forgiven and that God never counts your sins against you?

[3] It’s also not clear to me if the Scripture reading is taken from a fixed lectionary of readings (if so, where did the Bible teach this?), or if the Scripture reading is a randomly chosen text (and if so, where does the Bible say we worship God by randomly selecting which texts we feel like reading?).

[4] Note that in the Wiki link above, Calvin had noticeably modified this 1542 liturgy from his 1540 liturgy, including removing Psalm 124:8 from the start, removing the recitation of the Ten Commandments (with each Commandment followed by Kyrie Eleison) and removing the Nunc Dimittis before the conclusion. Did the Bible tell him he could make such revisions? Does he not realize a whole host of liturgies can come about by this mixing/cutting/pasting?

 

239 Comments

  1. Nick:
    Great post as usual. The additional concept I would suggest is that what God wants in terms of worship is grounded in our nature as well, so that we aren’t starting from a clean slate. Supernatural worship builds on “natural religion,” which is really our sense of awe and wonder at creation. So we do not expect worship to be arbitrary in any sense, but in particulat, we expect worship to be fitted to the natural relationship between man and God.

    And, of course, where the Christian religion has taken us beyond the limits of nature, we expect a difference related to the new revelation. For example, where natural religion limits the use of images to preserve God’s transcendence, Christianity uses icons to affirm the Incarnation.

    The really important aspect is that how one worships is one’s belief. What happens outside of worship in terms of doctrine is not trivial, but it pales almost to insignificance in view of worship. That is what made Scripture to be Scripture: liturgical use. The two canons were based on how writings were used in liturgy; were they part of the liturgy itself, or were they “merely read”? Likewise, the primary sense of Sacred Tradition is liturgical, and this is the pinnacle of the “oral teaching.” Revelation is worship.

    Looking in the Early Church Fathers for doctrinal statements is missing the forest for the trees. What they taught us to do was much more important.

  2. Nick,

    Interesting.

    How would you counter someone pointing to the differences in worship not only between various rites of the Catholic Church but also between other churches that can reasonably claim Apostolic Succession?

  3. Jonathan,

    I totally agree with you that it’s important to talk about how supernatural builds on natural religion. I love how Pope Leo teaches on this. The “problem” is that I have found that introducing such ‘deep’ ideas doesn’t work in certain forums, as you already know. I’ve found that unless I narrow things down to fixate on specific issues, then people will naturally go off on tangents and leave the main issue unaddressed. My goal here is to get Protestants to see that (1) how man worships God is not a trivial matter, and (2) the proper way to worship God is not spelled out in the Bible the way the RPW and Reformed Liturgy would have us assume it did.

    Lane,

    I would answer that question by saying that there are different liturgical traditions in the Church, but this doesn’t amount to contradiction. Just as there are four Gospels, each focusing on their own unique features, they still have the same essential message. Furthermore, it testifies to the fact that the Bishops as the successors of the Apostles do have the authority to modify certain parts of liturgy, e.g. adding the Nicene Creed (which wasn’t written until the 300s), rather than using the Apostles’ Creed. A Protestant cannot really make this same argument because they believe only the Bible has the authority to tell us how to worship…except for the ‘slight problem’ that nowhere does it spell out anything substantial on Christian worship, especially not John Calvin’s “Liturgy” (which some Reformed still use today).

  4. @Nick:
    At this blog? We’ll have another thousand comments on the same old, same old by next week. I figured I’d try to get one substantive comment in early, before it all broke down…

    Back on topic then. In honor of Jason, I’ll make it a paradigm question. If Scripture were written with the sola scriptura paradigm in mind, wouldn’t the New Testament say more about how we were supposed to worship? Look at the Old Testament!

  5. Nick–

    Both requiring a hard and fast liturgy or requiring an informal, free-form order of worship are flip sides of the same legalistic coin. God desires to be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth. OT worshipers often had the form right and the heart wrong, and God said he despised their sacrifices and feasts. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (All I can say is that if they are Catholic, ONE of them better be a priest!)

    RPW is a hermeneutical principle based on seeing a lack of continuity between the Old and New Testaments. It’s a decision, not something one can proof text. I don’t happen to like it (being pushed on people). It makes for decent worship. But so do many other interpretations of Scriptural worship commands and narratives. Furthermore, I cannot see how it arises from “good and necessary consequence.”

    The few clear descriptions we possess of worship in the very early church (e.g., in the Didache and from Justin Martyr) display a rather flexible liturgical form rather unlike Catholic worship. It’s decidedly closer to Geneva (especially in its earlier liturgical forms, like from Calvin and Knox) than Rome.

    I worship in Charismatic and Anglican and Eastern Orthodox and Baptist and Presbyterian and Catholic and Lutheran churches. In White and Black and Hispanic and Korean churches. I seriously wonder about the spiritual heart for worship of those who can only worship among their own particular kind in only their own particular way.

    Do I believe there are worship styles which are more and less reverent than others? You betcha. But I would rather worship with a group of the developmentally disabled singing their hearts out for the Lord in an out-of-tune, disorderly fashion than with a bunch of rich, apathetic codgers who can afford an amazing cantor and choir and orchestra, all the while sitting on their hands and yawning, themselves.

  6. @Eric:

    It’s decidedly closer to Geneva (especially in its earlier liturgical forms, like from Calvin and Knox) than Rome.

    Priests, sacrifices, and all that. Yeah, I can totally see that.

    I seriously wonder about the spiritual heart for worship of those who can only worship among their own particular kind in only their own particular way.

    If I had a drink every time you “seriously” or “frankly” expressed “concern” in a backhanded way that implied something derogatory about Catholics … well, I’d be dead, because no one can drink that much.

  7. Jonathan–

    In the very early church, there were “presidents” not priests who distributed the elements.

    My words you cited as anti-Catholic were generalized enough to include almost every group under the sun. You are one of the most paranoid folks I know. If I had a dollar for every time you falsely accused someone of anti-Catholic bias, I’d be as rich as Croesus and Gates put together,

    Put away your pea-shooter, man up, and get busy presenting arguments.

  8. @Eric:
    No, thanks, I’m not doing your homework for you anymore. Find another tutor.

    And yeah, I’m sure this was about some *other* Catholics…

    a rather flexible liturgical form rather unlike Catholic worship. It’s decidedly closer to Geneva (especially in its earlier liturgical forms, like from Calvin and Knox) than Rome.

    Like I said, if a historical argument gives Catholicism a fair shake, it’s money in the bank that you won’t display any cognizance of it.

  9. J.M.J.

    Nick,

    While the Bible doesn’t tell us how to worship, it does tell us how not to. Look what happened to Kore when a layman usurped the priestly office. Uzziah too.

  10. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    ” If I had a drink every time you ………..If I had a dollar for every time you falsely accused someone of anti-Catholic bias, I’d be as rich as Croesus and Gates put together,”

    If I had a drink and a dollar for every time, when cornered, you accuse us of not understanding Calvinism, I would be one happy guy.

    As for those “presidents” in the early Church, they were sacrificing presidents. And they didn’t just offer sacrifices of praise and worship either. They offered sacrifices for the dead and in honor of the martyrs.

  11. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    And those “presidents didn’t just “distribute the elements”. The deacons did that. The presidents, by a prayer and by the power of the Holy Spirit, “metaboliized” the bread into the Body of Christ.

  12. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    ” I seriously wonder about the spiritual heart for worship of those who can only worship among their own particular kind in only their own particular way.”

    A few days ago you said you like Fulton Sheen so I have a story for you.

    One day Fulton Sheen was chatting with a Protestant minister. The minister said, “Why all this bickering? We both worship the same God, don’t we?”
    Fulton Sheen answered, “We do indeed. You worship Him your way and we worship Him His way”.

    Your comment begs what you are trying to prove.. It assumes Christ did not establish the Mass.

  13. J.M.J.

    Nick,

    Sola Scriptura does not to tell us how worship was to be done in the O.T. either.

    Despite all of Moses’ instructions on sacrifice and the making of the temple instruments, modern Jews who want to rebuild the temple and re-institute sacrifice are stymied as just ow to do it. They don’t even know how to construct the lampstand as pure beaten gold is too heavy and weak to support its own weight.

    The O.T is also silent on the actual fate of the scapegoat.

    I could give more examples but suffice it to say that without a living O.T. magisterium,, the traditions and authority of the rabbis, the Bible alone doesn’t give enough information for modern Jews to revise the sacrificial system.

  14. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    As I just left a church where they do the Stations of the Cross on the Fridays of Lent, I feel compelled to sneak in one more post while America is still asleep.
    You said,

    “But I would rather worship with a group of the developmentally disabled singing their hearts out for the Lord in an out-of-tune, disorderly fashion than with a bunch of rich, apathetic codgers who can afford an amazing cantor and choir and orchestra, all the while sitting on their hands and yawning, themselves.”

    I find it interesting that you said not a peep about the validity of the Sacraments. But then, for you, the Sacraments are subsumed into the eternal decrees and rendered practically superfluous anyway, right? ( I know, I know, I have once again revealed just how little I know of Calvinism ).

    By the way, you mentioned an orchestra. Musical instruments are a divisive issue in non-Catholic circles, aren’t they? And where in the N.T. do we see folks, “singing their hearts out for the Lord”?
    But I digress.

    A couple of Sundays ago I had to go to the Riverside Church, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIJ1G-VmMzg a non-denominational church here to pick up a guy for lunch to discuss doing a 40 Days for Life event. I got there before services were over and politely stood outside an browsed their bookstore.

    They Riversiders are nice folks and the pastor, Eddie Fernandez, had them whipped into a frenzy for Jesus, waving their arms and swaying back and forth. It’s not my style, but hey, I don’t doubt for a minute that God is pleased by their efforts to worship him.

    Eddie is a charismatic guy and uses a lot of gimmicks such as performing underwater marriages in scuba gear, selling toys for tots in front of supermarkets, and even has a motorcycle gang called the Christian Bikers. He is the darling of the Protestant community over here although he is in disagreement with another local non-denominational pastor who doesn’t permit the Lord’s Prayer to be said because it is too mechanical. I think they also disagree on the Eucharist. The other pastor ( of an outfit called the American Church ) distributes communion to everyone, including the unbaptized, because the Bible doesn’t specifically address the issue. He also prohibits kneeling as unbiblical. Both communities however are vibrant and fun.

    My parish priest is so dull, I often wonder how he got himself ordained. And the “apathetic codgers”, often myself included, seem to pretty much go just to fulfill God’s commandment.

    The thing is Eric, my drab, lackluster priest confects a true Sacrament. He feeds me with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. He offers a true sacrifice of propitiation for sins. He stands in the succession of the Apostles. He has the power to release me from my sins. And although his homilies are often as insipid as a Hallmark Card, the liturgy is pure doctrine handed down from the Apostles.

    The things you mention, while nice, are absolutely irrelevant to public worship.

  15. Jonathan–

    Though confessional Protestantism, in terms of worship, sacraments, and soteriology, differs in only slight manners from Catholicism, you call anyone who dares to see anything of Protestantism in the early church a blind fool.

    I’m arguing for the Protestant side. I’m not required to show Catholicism in the best possible light. That’s YOUR job, for goodness’ sake! No other Protestant here goes nearly so far in trying to understand and, where possible, move toward the Catholic paradigm. I actually listen to you guys, you complete ingrate. I also pretty much agree with Raith, whose position you said you liked. Whom you called “fair.”

    You have an extreme problem with your temper. Work on that. It doesn’t mix well with loving your separated brethren. Bring back the kinder, gentler Jonathan.

  16. Nick,

    Is a Christian free to worship God however he pleases? I think all of us would intuitively answer “No” to that question. Man’s duty to worship God is too important to just be a free-for-all. This is especially true for Christians who have God’s Revelation, particularly the Bible. The Confessional Reformed tradition (rightly) understands that man is not only not free to worship however he pleases (since this would ultimately tend towards man worshipping himself), but in fact man should not worship in any way not clearly laid out in God’s Word. This notion is known in the Reformed tradition as the “Regulative Principle of Worship” (RPW), wherein man must worship God how God has revealed He wants to be worshiped. The goal of this post is to show that while the RPW sounds good on the surface, I think it quickly runs into some serious problems.

    While the intro here is good, more or less, you make one significant error, and that is thinking that the RPW is definitional of the Reformed tradition. The Reformed tradition is much broader, and the RPW is indicative of the more Puritan strain of the Reformed tradition. So, one can be Reformed and not embrace the RPW, or at least the strict version of it.

    Most non-Reformed Protestant traditions (especially Evangelicalism) take a more ‘lax’ approach to Christian worship, generally holding to the idea that many forms of worship are acceptable so long as they don’t contradict Scripture. That view doesn’t see the Bible as prescribing a specific form of worship, but rather only ‘ruling out’ unacceptable practices (e.g. the use of images). Clearly, the ‘worship question’ is not trivial, yet Sola Scriptura has led to a more relativistic, human-centered approach to Christian worship, as each believer is seen as autonomous, not having to be subject to any specific pastor/congregation and having the ‘right’ to worship however he pleases (including simply sleeping in on Sunday).

    If this is true, than the RC sola ecclesia position has led to just as many problems. There’s plenty of insanity in modern RC liturgy, and plenty of parishes that feel free to do whatever they want in worship. So if you want to say that SS is the problem, you have to admit that Sola Ecclesia hasn’t solved it, if you want to be fair.

    Rather than go on a tangent about Sola Scriptura in general though, I think the Confessional Reformed RPW view should be analyzed in light of what Scripture says, because it seems to me the RPW has little to no Scriptural support – which is quite ironic.

    That’s because you don’t understand Sola Scriptura or the RPW.

    The most obvious starting point in discerning whether the RPW is actually Biblical is to find whether Scripture lays out any specific example of Christian liturgy.

    Why? The RPW has never said that you have to find a specific order of service in Scripture. The principle is that you should only do in worship that which has explicit Scriptural warrant. Consequently, there is great freedom in how the liturgy may be designed. Want to have 2 hymns? Great. Want 15? Sure. Want to put the offering before the sermon? Go for it. Want to put it after? Who’s to stop you? Want to have the Eucharist every week? Sure. Want it every other week? Why not?

    Some Evangelicals will say they base their Christian liturgy off of “The Acts 2 Church,” but at that point in the Church (Acts 2:42-47) there wasn’t even a book of the New Testament written yet, so “The Acts 2 Church” couldn’t even have been a Sola Scriptura based Christian liturgy. Moreover, there aren’t really any details here or anywhere else in Scripture of what precisely early Christian liturgy looked like. (Such information comes mostly from inspired Apostolic oral teaching, which Protestants reject.)

    The early church had the Old Testament and the teaching of Jesus, and the earliest examples we have of Christian worship include gathering to sing, have the Eucharist, and to hear the teachings of Jesus. All of which have biblical warrant.

    Now, Nick, please provide the liturgy given by one of the Apostles, where it was given, under what circumstances. Prove that it goes back to the first century, and make sure that it includes things without biblical warrant.

    I’m willing to bet you can’t, because it doesn’t exist. So your “information” from “inspired Apostolic oral teaching,” which no one has ever been able to produce around here, is nonexistent.

    So given this lack of specific Biblical testimony, from what I’ve been able to gather, the RPW is really a bunch of verses strung together to ‘form a principle’ (hence the name RPW), which ironically leads Reformed liturgy becoming more a work of men than a command of God.

    What you have been able to gather is therefore completely unimpressive because it isn’t a bunch of verses strung together to “form a principle.” The RPW comes from teachings such as Romans 1 that says men are by nature idolaters since the fall. It comes from episodes such as Nadab and Abihu who were put to death for offering unauthorized fire. The RPW has never been “find a set liturgy for all times in Scripture.” Sola Scriptura has never been that.

    To see this problem more clearly, consider John Calvin’s official liturgy which he instituted in Geneva in 1542 [1]: The liturgy begins with Confessing Sins, Prayer for Pardon [2], then goes on to Scripture Readings [3], a Sermon, a Collection of Alms, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, Words of Institution, Consecration of the Bread and Wine, and concludes with the Aaronic Blessing (Num 6:22-27).

    Hmm, and all of these are expressly commanded in Scripture or deducible by good and necessary consequence.

    Now we can all agree that none of this is necessarily a bad thing when considered individually. The problem is that this “liturgy” is nowhere instituted in the Bible. Is man really free to just lift the Aaronic Blessing from the OT and append it to the Christian Liturgy and call this approved by God?

    What, are you a dispensationalist now? What in the Aaronic blessing is incompatible with the new covenant.

    Not if they are being honest. And as anyone can see, a whole host of liturgies can be invented using this cut-and-paste method. [4] This is clearly an unacceptable position for a Christian to take.

    Yes, a whole host of liturgies can be developed by using the RPW. The RPW at its best is simply a guideline within which a great deal of freedom is allowed.

    Given this brief look at Reformed Liturgy, it seems to me that the RPW not only is self-refuting (since it’s not a specific principle taught in Scripture, just a gathering of verses here and there), it also exposes one more flaw in Sola Scriptura, since it makes liturgy more or less relative to the whims of the individual (guided at most by some generic ‘principles’).

    It’s called Christian liberty. Since Romanism doesn’t know anything about Christian liberty, it’s not surprising that you don’t like it. But since you can’t give me Paul’s liturgy or Peter’s liturgy, then your answer is Sola Ecclesia, which leads to nonsense that is clearly not Aposotlic, such as processing statues of the Virgin Mary around, gasping in horror when it is dropped and broken, stations of the cross with unverifiable events added to them, mandatory feast days, etc.

    So while it is good that the Reformed take worship of God seriously, they unfortunately find themselves in a conundrum wherein as hard as they try to “worship God as He has commanded in His Word,” they end up worshiping God according to blatant traditions of men.

    Again, you show a complete failure to understand the RPW. The RPW has never been about finding a set liturgy in Scripture. If you can find something in traditional Reformed liturgy without warrant in Scripture, be my guest.

    Only an appeal to inspired Apostolic oral teaching and Apostolic Succession (both of which Catholicism has) can ground a Christian in true worship and prevent a slide into man-centered relativistic “worship”.

    Please give me this inspired Apostolic oral teaching and who gave it, where, and under what circumstances. And I want all of it please. Crickets.

    I say all this as one who is not a strict RPW. I’m not against images of Christ or biblical events in the sanctuary, and I think the RPW allows for a lot more freedom than the Puritans did. But if you are going to critique the position, at least understand it. This article is just bad, and the fact that some of you RCs think it is golden says more about your failure to understand the Reformed tradition than the quality of the writing and analysis.

  17. Jonathan,

    Back on topic then. In honor of Jason, I’ll make it a paradigm question. If Scripture were written with the sola scriptura paradigm in mind, wouldn’t the New Testament say more about how we were supposed to worship? Look at the Old Testament!

    I don’t see how this follows. The OT doesn’t give a set liturgy either. There is some stuff on sacrifices and the construction of the tabernacle, but that is about it. And all of this stuff can be incorporated under the RPW.

    Further, we have evidence of the development of the synagogue and its own liturgy, which Jesus participated in, indicating that it wasn’t sinful. There is no express biblical command to establish the synagogue or its liturgy, but what we do know of the synagogue liturgy, such as the singing of psalms, reading of Scripture, etc. all has express biblical warrant.

    The RPW simply means that whatever we do in worship must have express biblical warrant. It doesn’t mean that there has to be a set liturgy or that people are not free to apply what Scripture does say about worship in a variety of settings. To think that is to grossly misunderstood the RPW and Sola Scriptura.

    In other words, its called Christian liberty guided by the Word of God. You all should try it some time.

  18. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    “I worship in Charismatic and Anglican and Eastern Orthodox and Baptist and Presbyterian and Catholic and Lutheran churches.”

    I sure hope you don’t receive the Eucharist in all of them!

    By the way, you said you wonder about the “spiritual heart for worship” of folks who don’t do likewise. What is a “spiritual heart”?
    Do the pastors and other worshipers in those various and disparate groups know how you feel? And worse, if in fact you do partake of the Lord’s Supper in all of them, do they know you do?

  19. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    “stations of the cross with unverifiable events added to them, ”

    Is this a response to my post of some hours ago in which I mention the Stations? If it is, I am surprised you can do no better.

    As for the “unverifiable events”, you can only mean the 6th Station in which Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. Have you ever heard of the Sudarium of Oviedo?

  20. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    The liturgy goes back to the Apostles and before that, to the Passover meal.
    By the way, we may actually have the chalice used at the first Mass.
    http://www.catedraldevalencia.es/en/el-santo-caliz_historia.php

    All the other Grails and their legends hang on this one.

  21. Jim,

    Wait. What? We HAVE the Holy Grail?!

  22. Jim,

    You said, The liturgy goes back to the Apostles and before that, to the Passover meal.

    Good Point.

    “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. (Exodus 12:14 ESV)

  23. Jim,

    The liturgy goes back to the Apostles and before that, to the Passover meal.

    Please point me to where the Apostles delivered the liturgy of the Mass. Thank you.

  24. J.M.J.

    Lane,

    The evidence is pretty good for the one in Valencia. Supposedly St. Lawrence of gridiron fame, acting under orders of the Pope, transferred the wealth of the Roman Church to his home country of Spain.

    Ever read the Song of Roland as a kid? When Charlemagne went back over the Pyrenees, he took knowledge of the Grail with him. After his journey into Spain and return back over the Pyrenees, there was an explosion of Grails and legends all over Europe. The one in Valencia is the source of all of them.

    I’ve got the book and have driven to Valencia for the express purpose of seeing the Grail. Of course, nobody has to believe it.
    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/08/st-lawrence-and-the-holy-grail-3/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KolRoPjy9g

    By the way, you mentioned liking the video of the Little Flower. I clicked on and ended up watching about an hour of it last night. I had forgotten most of it. I first saw it in a movie theater years ago when it first came out.
    Coincidentally, as I was going into Mass this morning, I saw a sign on the wall announcing that the relics of St. Theresa of Jesus will be on display here in Lisbon on Sunday morning to kick off a tour of Portugal in honor of her 500th anniversary.http://www.carmelitas.pt/site/noticias/noticias_ver.php?cod_noticia=363

    But we are straying afar from topic.
    Robert asked for proof of the antiquity of the Catholic liturgy. I immediately thought of canons 1 and 2 of the Mass.
    http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.pt/2007/10/hippolytus-and-eucharistic-prayer-ii.html

  25. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pDyIjJ0jfv0bc_blDqz4296dEFLpI71GG5W3tVkiy9g/edit

    I bet Brant Pitre has some stuff too.
    There are some good videos on Seder Meals too in which one can see some connection to the Mass.

  26. J.M.J.

    You can bet the Apostles delivered the words of Institution to their followers. And of course, we can be sure they read all 73 books of the Bible in the liturgy.

    Of course the liturgy went through stages of development. But the essentials remained intact. St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s Mystogogic Catechesis might be something you could look at too.

  27. Jim,

    The Hippolytus article doesn’t go back to the Apostles.

    The Google Docs link isn’t working for me.

    If, as Nick seems to demand, we must have the exact Eucharistic liturgy from the Apostles, where can I find it?

    To be honest, I’m pretty sure you guys can’t give it without talking about some mythic inspired oral tradition that nobody can put their finger on.

  28. Jim,

    You can bet the Apostles delivered the words of Institution to their followers.

    Yep, and surprise surprise, the evidence for this is in the New Testament.

    And of course, we can be sure they read all 73 books of the Bible in the liturgy.

    Where in the world does this come from. Where is any evidence the Apostles viewed the Apocrypha as Scripture?

    Of course the liturgy went through stages of development.

    Bingo. So the idea that it goes back to the Apostles has to at least be qualified.

    But the essentials remained intact.

    Okay. Where do I find those essentials in the New Testament or verifiable oral tradition (hint, there is no verifiable oral tradition. The only access to Apostolic teaching that we have is the NT).

    St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s Mystogogic Catechesis might be something you could look at too.

    That might be interesting to look at. If it contains elements with biblical warrant, great. The point is this—if it has no biblical warrant, it shouldn’t be used according to the RPW.

  29. Robert,

    “The RPW simply means that whatever we do in worship must have express biblical warrant”

    Can you point me to the express biblical warrant that whatever we do in worship must have express biblical warrant then?

    “The principle is that you should only do in worship that which has explicit Scriptural warrant. ”

    What’s the explicit Scriptural warrant for only doing in worship that which has explicit Scriptural warrant?

  30. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    Sorry but I am multi-tasking; trying to paint my wife’s bathroom ceiling, pick lemons for a lady who just rang my door bell and answer your question all in a single bound.

    I didn’t see your response to what we talked about about a week ago on this issue.
    You said the early liturgy was a sacrifice of praise and worship only.

    I came back with the fact that Mass was a sacrifice of propitiation as it was said for the dead and in honor of martyrs, even on their tombs.
    The Deformers brought this to a screeching halt. They were the innovators, no?

    So, show me where your tradition has any historical authenticity.

  31. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    “Where in the world does this come from. Where is any evidence the Apostles viewed the Apocrypha as Scripture?”

    Are you kidding? Want me to give you the beaucoup references? I can.

    One criteria for determining which books were canonical was whether or not they had been read in the liturgy. Ever hear of Sirach, a.k.a. Ecclesiasticus? Ecclesiasticus means ” the book read in church”.

    Back in five.

  32. Jim,

    I came back with the fact that Mass was a sacrifice of propitiation as it was said for the dead and in honor of martyrs, even on their tombs.

    The Apostles do this where?

    The Deformers brought this to a screeching halt. They were the innovators, no?

    Not if the Apostles didn’t do what you said. Where is the evidence that the Apostles viewed the Eucharist as a sacrifice of propitiation or that it should be offered for martyrs.

    So, show me where your tradition has any historical authenticity.

    Read the New Testament. Look at the RC Mass. Look at a Protestant service. Come back and tell me which one is more biblical.

  33. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    Along a related line, since time IMMEMORIAL, the Eucharist has been reserved for use outside of the Mass; taking it to the sick, to prisoners , taking it home to be received between liturgies and the custom of the Bishop sending a particle to another church in communion with him. ( And of course, for processions later ).
    This all points to the Real Presence remaining after the liturgy.

    Luther said the Real Presence existed from the words of institution along with the bread only until all those present had received.
    Some of his followers said no, the Presence came about at the reception of the Sacrament and not before or after. IOW, they said there was no objective or real Real Presence outside of the Faith or piety of the recipient.
    Today, both views are acceptable in Lutheran circles which renders Luther’s personal view meaningless.

    I won’t try to teach you what you already know about Zwingli’s outright denial of the Real Presence and Calvin’s later attempt at a compromise between the them.

    I bring this up only to show that it is YOU and not we Catholics that have some explaining to do. You broke with the ancient Tradition, not us. Don’t try holding our feet to the fire. Not until you show me one protestant denomination that has retained the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament since day one.

  34. James,

    Can you point me to the express biblical warrant that whatever we do in worship must have express biblical warrant then?

    Burden of proof is on you to show where the Apostles do or prescribe something for worship not found in Scripture. Unless, of course, you can give me a list of verifiable non-biblical Apostolic traditions.

    The burden of proof is upon those who would want to add to Scripture, which Scripture forbids.

  35. Jim,

    I don’t know what you are going on about taking the Eucharist to the sick, which is also a Protestant practice. In fact, it is a PCA practice specifically. I was recently talking about it with a pastor friend of mine.

  36. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    “Where is the evidence that the Apostles viewed the Eucharist as a sacrifice of propitiation or that it should be offered for martyrs.”

    Luke said,
    “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

    And Matthew said,
    “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS! ( That means propitiation ).

    I didn’t mean Mass was said FOR martyrs but as a commemoration of them.
    Mass was said for the others.

  37. J.M.J.

    Robert,
    Do you mean to say Presbyterian believe the Real Presence exists outside of the service? I did not know they believed in a Real Presence ( by the Catholic and Lutheran sense of the word ) IN the the Liturgy.

    Has this been the constant and universal practice of your denomination?

  38. Jim,

    Obviously Robert believes that the Church almost immediately started doing worship wrong, blaspheming the Lord’s Supper. Thank God it only took 14 or so centuries for the Protestants to come around and “fix” it. So much for the gates of hell not prevailing against the Church…

  39. Robert,

    The burden of proof is upon those who would want to add to Scripture, which Scripture forbids.

    Where does Scripture say that? Is it next to the inspired table of contents?

  40. Jim–

    For what it’s worth, I am a confirmed Lutheran, a confirmed Anglican, and was “under care” in the PCA (ok’d to pursue ordination). I am currently a member of a Baptist Church. So, yes, I have taken the Eucharist in all of them except Eastern Orthodoxy (who give you blessed bread after the service). I no longer partake in Catholic Churches, although recently while at Mass at the local Black Catholic parish, they all but made me take it.

    For the most part, all of them have known (or have signaled their openness). Most denominations never bother to fence the table. Even fairly strict denominations, like the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, don’t.

    You seem to believe that there are these huge chasms between confessionally Protestant denominations. Not so. Growing up in the Lutheran Church, I was never taught consubstantiation, let alone required to believe it. Most conservative Protestant churches will allow all baptized/believing Christians to partake without insisting that they understand the minutia of the particular denomination’s Eucharistic formulation. Some traditional Lutherans, on the other hand, at least give lip service to keeping it for members only.

    Most of Catholic laity do not understand or do not agree with transubstantiation. And yet every single priest lets them come forward.

  41. Jim–

    Though it is probably a minority report in Presbyterian churches these days, the Real Presence is embraced by many within the Reformed community, Calvin himself clearly endorsed it.

  42. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    Could you explain what you mean by a Real Presence? You categorically deny the apostolic doctrine of Transubstantiation ( the doctrine predates the term ).

    “Real” means whether anybody believes it or not, right? Christ is really present, yes?

    How does this presence come about? Certainly, you don’t believe Christ leaves heaven and travels through space down onto our altars ( despite the pious hyperbole ). Christ only has one Body, right? No one in heaven and one on earth.
    How is your Presence the same Christ who is at the right hand of the Father?

    Please tell me you don’t hold to the Lutheran theory of ubiquity.
    Explain how the Real Presence comes about, how the bread and wine is changed. It is what the Fathers taught after all.

  43. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    “Most of Catholic laity do not understand or do not agree with transubstantiation”.

    I don’t understand it either. It is a mystery I barely scratch the surface of. But I believe on Faith. Not my human reason. On Faith. Because God has revealed it.

    Those Catholics you say don’t agree with it, did you tell them it is de fide? And that they have to believe it? Why don’t you next time and see how they respond.

    I swear, you keep misstating how the Faith works.

    I may not know all the Church teaches but I believe all of it. Make sense?

    By the way, how could you profess to believe such disparate doctrines of the Eucharist? You might as well as say that your don’t really believe anything.

    By the way, there are no ‘black Catholic churches”. Oh, for sure, there a Catholic churches in black neighborhoods. I attend one in Portland sometimes. But you gotta get your terms right.

  44. Lane,

    Obviously Robert believes that the Church almost immediately started doing worship wrong, blaspheming the Lord’s Supper.

    Not true at all. Not in the least. You really need to stop reading pious RC fairy tales about how the Early Church held to the Tridentine Mass, because it’s not historically accurate.

    Thank God it only took 14 or so centuries for the Protestants to come around and “fix” it. So much for the gates of hell not prevailing against the Church…

    Well, that’s not what I believe. But even if it were, the fact that it was fixed proves that the gates of hell didn’t prevail even if they were really strong for a long time. This idea that gates of hell will not prevail equals no doctrinal mistakes ever is a RC pious fiction that can be held only if you close your eyes and arbitrarily pretend that what was once thought infallible really never was infallible.

    Where does Scripture say that? Is it next to the inspired table of contents?

    Deuteronomy and Revelation for two places. Where’s the inspired table of contents for tradition. Oh wait, double standard for Romanism. Kind of like the development for thee but not for me.

  45. Jim–

    Obviously, most modern Zwinglians are strict memorialists, but I remember reading somewhere that Zwingli himself CALLED his formulation a type of Real Presence. One would have to look through his writings.

    As far as I know, Anglicans have reserved the Sacrament (in a tabernacle) from the onset. Do you have evidence to the contrary? All denominations have taken it to the sick.

    Why does something being “of faith” discount it for you? Peter walked on water “by faith” and began to sink upon losing that faith. Does that mean his experience wasn’t real?

  46. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    Help Robert out and explain how Calvin’s Real Presence is a real presence.
    How does it come about? How many bodies does Christ have?

  47. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    “As far as I know, Anglicans have reserved the Sacrament (in a tabernacle) from the onset. Do you have evidence to the contrary?”

    Now I know you didn’t bother to peruse the link to CRANMER”S GODLY ORDER I sent you.

  48. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    ” All denominations have taken it to the sick.”

    No sir. In Portland, at Good Sam Hospital, the Lutheran minister brings bread to the sickbed and says the words of institution there for the sick person.

  49. Jim–

    I live in a town that is 70% Black. There are two major Catholic parishes within the city limits. One is 99% Black; the other is 99% White. They are situated about five blocks apart.

  50. Jim,


    Could you explain what you mean by a Real Presence? You categorically deny the apostolic doctrine of Transubstantiation ( the doctrine predates the term ).

    Real presence equals that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, spiritually. There is no Apostolic doctrine of transubstantiation. Its an Aristotelian, not a biblical concept.

    “Real” means whether anybody believes it or not, right? Christ is really present, yes?

    Yes.

    How does this presence come about? Certainly, you don’t believe Christ leaves heaven and travels through space down onto our altars ( despite the pious hyperbole ). Christ only has one Body, right? No one in heaven and one on earth.

    I’m not sure how to explain it. Various explanations have been posited. One is that believers are lifted up spiritually to heaven to feed on Christ. Basically, I would say that by virtue of the omnipresence of the divine nature of Christ and its union with the human nature of Christ in the one divine person of Christ, we have access to the whole Christ whenever the person of Christ is present. So, while the human nature remains localized in heaven, I have access to it by virtue of the fact that is united to the divine person of Christ, and the divine person of Christ is present in the Eucharist. But the human body of Christ doesn’t actually leave heaven, nor does the bread turn into the human body of Christ. Bread remains bread and wine remains wine.

    How is your Presence the same Christ who is at the right hand of the Father?

    Because the person of Christ is omnipresent by virtue of the fact that he is a divine person with a divine nature.

    Please tell me you don’t hold to the Lutheran theory of ubiquity.

    I don’t.

    Explain how the Real Presence comes about, how the bread and wine is changed. It is what the Fathers taught after all.

    By virtue of the divine person of Christ, I have access to the whole Christ. But the bread does not become the body of Christ in any literal way, either via consubstantiation or transubstantiation, both of which have to be read into the earliest post-Apostolic sources. Those notions aren’t there in any clear way, and they end up making the human nature of Christ omnipresent, which is a violation of Chalcedonian Christology and the nature of a true human nature. IOW, if the bread is literally Christ’s human body, then his human nature is no longer truly human.

  51. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    “. Does that mean his experience wasn’t real?”

    Again, “real” means whether anybody believes it or not.
    In the Orthodox Church, they give the Eucharist to babies. Do you believe it is real? I don’t think so.
    Augustine said Judas received at the last Supper. Was that real?

    Please tell me what you mean by “real”.

  52. Jim–

    In Calvinism, Christ has one, normal-sized body, located in heaven. In Lutheranism, Christ is one body, one HUGE one that stretches from heaven. In Catholicism, Christ is present in heaven, as well as sacramentally present wherever Mass is offered to whomever the Eucharist is offered. So, at least two places, but practically, given a billion and a half adherents, in millions and millions of places.

  53. J.M.J.
    Robert,

    “Real presence equals that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, spiritually.”

    If “spiritually” means by substantially, you are correct. If it means “not physically” you are wrong.

    ” There is no Apostolic doctrine of transubstantiation. Its an Aristotelian, not a biblical concept.”

    I couldn’t be more biblical. Christ said so. So did Paul.

    “But the bread does not become the body of Christ in any literal way, either via consubstantiation or transubstantiation, both of which have to be read into the earliest post-Apostolic sources. Those notions aren’t there in any clear way, and they end up making the human nature of Christ omnipresent, which is a violation of Chalcedonian Christology and the nature of a true human nature. IOW, if the bread is literally Christ’s human body, then his human nature is no longer truly human.”

    Lutheran consubstantiation is a violation of Chalcedon. Transubstantiation says there is NO bread. Please understand the difference.

  54. Robert,

    “Burden of proof is on you to show where the Apostles do or prescribe something for worship not found in Scripture.”

    How is the burden of proof upon me? I am not trying to prove Rome. I am asking you to be consistent with your own principle – do you not bear a burden to be consistent? So, can you point me to the express biblical warrant that whatever we do in worship must have express biblical warrant then?

    If something does not have express biblical warrant, that’s a good indication it’s man-made tradition according to you right? So I would hope you can point me to the express biblical warrant, otherwise RPW should be considered man-made tradition (remember as you said, “Romans 1 that says men are by nature idolaters since the fall. It comes from episodes such as Nadab and Abihu who were put to death for offering unauthorized fire.”)

    “Unless, of course, you can give me a list of verifiable non-biblical Apostolic traditions.”

    Earlier above you also said “The only access to Apostolic teaching that we have is the NT”

    So I’d like to know where the NT teaches the following:
    - The identified extent/scope of the canon
    - Public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle
    - Sola Scriptura
    - Apostolic oral/unwritten tradition would be consigned to writing eventually – i.e. that SS would “kick in” at some point given the ample witness to parallel unwritten tradition
    - Related to the post, RPW

    If it doesn’t, then apparently those are all man-made tradition and should be abandoned by you.

    “The burden of proof is upon those who would want to add to Scripture, which Scripture forbids.”

    You appeal to Deuteronomy. The NT was added after that. That’s why Mormonism doesn’t feel shackled by the Revelation verse you also appeal to. And apostolic tradition does not add to scripture, it gives its proper sense and interpretive lens – that’s why the two operate in parallel.

  55. Jim–

    If it is “ex opere operato” corporeal, then infants who receive it, receive it. What’s so different from Catholic “first communion” given to 7 or 8 year olds?

    Real means real, physical, corporeal. Peter’s walk on water wasn’t a David Copperfield illusion conjured up by Christ.

    And yes, Judas received it to his detriment.

  56. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    Christ has one physical Body and only one.

    Let me come at this without making Robert think that our doctrine is from Aristotle and not the Bible.

    Christ fed the multitude with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. We call the miracle the “Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes” but did Christ actually turn the 5 loaves into 500? After the feeding, the Apostles gathered up 12 baskets of the left over 5 loaves. That is what the text says. Christ fed the crowd with 5 loaves and 2 fishes.

    Now, how did He do it? He multiplied the accident of location. Spatial location is not part of the essence of something. ( You are still you even if you walk across the room, right?)

    I am not saying this was a case of Transubstantiation. I am just saying Christ has ONE Body and only one.

  57. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    Excellent! You affirm Catholic doctrine.

  58. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    I think we are moving back onto the topic of Nick’s post so let me squeeze this in quickly.

    The bread is changed into Christ’s Body and the wine into Christ’s Blood. That Body and Blood is in heaven physically, spatially or circumscribed, however you want to say it.
    IOW, the bread and wine are changed 100% into into Christ’s Body and Blood ( otherwise Christ would move from heaven ). By what is called concomitance, as Christ’s glorified Body and Blood are not separated from each other nor from His soul and Divinity, all of Christ is in the Eucharist.

    We say Christ is in the Eucharist by way of substance. Location or bodily extension are accidents. Substance is not dependent on accidents but it is the other way around. Christ is where the accidents of the bread are ( or what was once bread ). But he is not a tiny man squeezed into the host. He is Present by way of substance.

    Here is a link to what the fathers thought on the subject.
    http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/father/a5.html

  59. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    “If it is “ex opere operato” corporeal, then infants who receive it, receive it. What’s so different from Catholic “first communion” given to 7 or 8 year olds?”

    Not a thing. It is just a matter of Church discipline.

    Now that you seem to be catching on, let’s talk about the need for a validly ordained priest to confect the true Sacrament.

    Then we can start working on getting you Confirmed in the Catholic Church.

    I gotta get painting on that ceiling.

  60. James,

    How is the burden of proof upon me? I am not trying to prove Rome.

    Of course you aren’t. Rome doesn’t feel the need to prove itself. Nick is the one attacking the RPW. Both Protestants and RCs agree that Scripture is Apostolic tradition. Therefore, in a discussion between Rome and Protestantism, Rome bears the burden of proof that there is something more from the Apostles than what we have in the canon. Discussion is different between a Protestant and a Muslim.

    I am asking you to be consistent with your own principle – do you not bear a burden to be consistent? So, can you point me to the express biblical warrant that whatever we do in worship must have express biblical warrant then?</
    If something does not have express biblical warrant, that’s a good indication it’s man-made tradition according to you right? So I would hope you can point me to the express biblical warrant, otherwise RPW should be considered man-made tradition (remember as you said, “Romans 1 that says men are by nature idolaters since the fall. It comes from episodes such as Nadab and Abihu who were put to death for offering unauthorized fire.”)

    Good, then “remember as I said” is the starting point for the express biblical warrant, not to mention all of the prophetic condemnations of idolatry, and so much more.

    So I’d like to know where the NT teaches the following:
    - The identified extent/scope of the canon

    Scripture is ultimately self-authenticating because it is the final authority. Just as Rome must be self-authenticating if it is the final authority (hence the circularity of the motives of credibility.)

    - Public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle

    The nature of the Apostolic office is that the Apostle speaks for Christ. So unless you can point to an Apostle today, there is no one who can speak for Christ in the same way. This was obvious to the early church without any conciliar pronouncement on it.

    - Sola Scriptura

    2 Tim. 3:16–17. Scripture is sufficient for every good work. Sola Scriptura, among other things, is a confession of the full sufficiency of Scripture.

    - Apostolic oral/unwritten tradition would be consigned to writing eventually – i.e. that SS would “kick in” at some point given the ample witness to parallel unwritten tradition

    If the witness is so ample, you should be able to provide me with at least one example of something Jesus or the Apostles said that never go written down but that we need today. Rome hasn’t done this for anything.

    You need to decide whether unwritten parallel tradition is what the Apostles said that never got written down (which this comment assumes on your part) or the church’s understanding of the Apostolic preaching (which you and Jonathan elsewhere have said tradition is). It’s one or the other. If it’s the former, then give me a list of defined Apostolic tradition. If it’s the latter, prove that the latter doesn’t contradict Scripture. Good luck.

    - Related to the post, RPW

    See a few lines up.

    And apostolic tradition does not add to scripture, it gives its proper sense and interpretive lens – that’s why the two operate in parallel.

    Is Apostolic tradition what the Apostles said and did that never got written down? If yes, then give me a list. If not, quit calling it Apostolic.

  61. Robert,

    “Good, then “remember as I said” is the starting point for the express biblical warrant, not to mention all of the prophetic condemnations of idolatry, and so much more.”

    I don’t see how Rom 1, unauthorized fire, or other condemnations of idolatry are express biblical warrant for RPW. My point was RPW could very well be man-made tradition and unauthorized fire/idolatry by your own standard since it doesn’t have express biblical warrant.

    “Scripture is ultimately self-authenticating because it is the final authority.”

    So can you point me to where the NT teaches the canon? If not, it’s man-made tradition and non-apostolic teaching by your standard.

    “The nature of the Apostolic office is that the Apostle speaks for Christ. So unless you can point to an Apostle today, there is no one who can speak for Christ in the same way. This was obvious to the early church without any conciliar pronouncement on it.”

    So can you point me to where the NT teaches there are no more apostles/prophets or ongoing revelation? If not, public revelation ending with the death of John is a man-made tradition and non-apostolic teaching by your standard.

    “2 Tim. 3:16–17. Scripture is sufficient for every good work. Sola Scriptura, among other things, is a confession of the full sufficiency of Scripture.”

    James White: “You will never find anyone saying, “During times of enscripturation—that is, when new revelation was being given—sola scriptura was operational.” Protestants do not assert that sola scriptura is a valid concept during times of revelation. How could it be, since the rule of faith to which it points was at that very time coming into being? One must have an existing rule of faith to say it is “sufficient.” It is a canard to point to times of revelation and say, “See, sola scriptura doesn’t work there!” Of course it doesn’t. Who said it did?”

    So any appeal to the NT for teaching SS is invalid by definition. So you cannot point me to where the NT teaches SS. So SS is a man-made tradition and non-apostolic teaching by your standard.

    “If the witness is so ample, you should be able to provide me with at least one example of something Jesus or the Apostles said that never go written down but that we need today. Rome hasn’t done this for anything. ”

    Do you deny the NT teaches unwritten tradition/teaching and written teaching/tradition operating in parallel? If not and you agree it was, then my request seems reasonable – we should have some pretty good Scriptural evidence (to be consistent with your principle) that this mode of operation in transmission was going to shift and SS would kick in at some point. I mean, it’s odd to hold you have express biblical warrant for unwritten/written tradition operating in parallel but then assume that relationship changed without express biblical warrant – you’d be violating your own principle.

    So can you point me to where the NT teaches Apostolic oral/unwritten tradition would be consigned to writing eventually and that SS would “kick in” at some point? If not, the rejection of unwritten apostolic tradition is a man-made tradition and non-apostolic teaching by your standard.

    “Apostles said that never got written down (which this comment assumes on your part) or the church’s understanding of the Apostolic preaching (which you and Jonathan elsewhere have said tradition is). It’s one or the other.”

    It’s both. The common life, teaching, worship of the church handed down is not and cannot be written down and it also forms the proper sense in which to understand Scripture, a relationship we would naturally expect since the church was operating and developing for decades as the NT was being completed.

    “Is Apostolic tradition what the Apostles said and did that never got written down? If yes, then give me a list. If not, quit calling it Apostolic.”

    So quit calling the identified canon, public revelation has ended, SS as the rule of faith, unwritten tradition relegated to writing, and RPW Apostolic.

    Apostolic tradition is the common life, teaching, worship of the church handed down through the generations. You want a list of all that? Such a thing cannot be exhaustively catalogued by definition. To see why, please give me an exhaustive list of Presbyterian tradition. Please give me an exhaustive list of American tradition. Or Robert’s family tradition. The request doesn’t even make sense.

  62. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    Here is what we mean by the term Real Presence. You and Robert don’t seem to agree with one another on the Real Presence.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/what-do-we-mean-by-the-real-presence

  63. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    While I was working on that ceiling I remember a link between the Seder and the Mass. In the old Tridentine Mass ( that most of my fellow Catholics here never served ), the priest would slide the patin under the corporal. This was like the hiding of the afikomen.
    There are others, I am just drawing a blank at the moment.

  64. James asked Robert:
    So can you point me to where the NT teaches the canon?

    Response:
    All Scripture…..2Tim.3:16

    Paul wrote All to signify the canon.

  65. Eric W,

    I’m speaking of the identification and extent/scope of the canon, not that a canon exists. Was 2 Tim 3:16 the final verse of Scripture written?

    But thanks, you reminded me of another teaching (though it is related to ones I’ve already listed) that apparently is non-apostolic and a man-made tradition according to Robert’s standard for determining such – that the identified canon is closed.

  66. Robert said to me:

    (1) “The Reformed tradition is much broader, and the RPW is indicative of the more Puritan strain of the Reformed tradition. So, one can be Reformed and not embrace the RPW, or at least the strict version of it.”

    This is why I singled out “Confessional Reformed,” because RPW is taught in the standard Reformed Confessions. Folks like Dr R Scott Clark would argue you cannot even be “Reformed” unless you embrace one of the standard Confessions. You can be ‘Calvinist’ in your soteirology, but it’s a distortion to truncate Calvin himself or Reformed Theology proper to simply the Doctrines of Grace.

    (2) “The RPW has never said that you have to find a specific order of service in Scripture. The principle is that you should only do in worship that which has explicit Scriptural warrant. Consequently, there is great freedom in how the liturgy may be designed. Want to have 2 hymns? Great. Want to have the Eucharist every week? Sure. Want it every other week? Why not?”

    But RPW does necessitate a liturgy of some kind, otherwise it is a ‘build-your-own’ liturgy. Calvin and the Reformed tradition do have a liturgy, more or less fixed. What you’re proposing is not the RPW but more akin to ‘if it sounds good, do it’ liturgy, which is a form of man-centered worship.

    (3) “The early church had the Old Testament and the teaching of Jesus, and the earliest examples we have of Christian worship include gathering to sing, have the Eucharist, and to hear the teachings of Jesus. All of which have biblical warrant.”

    But this is too vague to reconstruct any specific worship/liturgy. The Jews were fully aware that liturgy was a fixed thing, revealed by God. If you don’t accept inspired oral Apostolic tradition for your liturgy, then you must conclude there is no Christian liturgy, which is a dubious position to embrace. We see Liturgies in the Early Church Fathers, e.g. Justin Martyr, and they look very similar to the Catholic Mass.

    (4) “The RPW comes from teachings such as Romans 1 that says men are by nature idolaters since the fall. It comes from episodes such as Nadab and Abihu who were put to death for offering unauthorized fire. The RPW has never been “find a set liturgy for all times in Scripture.” Sola Scriptura has never been that.”

    This is contradictory. On one hand, you say there are unauthorized forms of worship, while on the other hand you’re advocating a non-fixed liturgy. The Reformed Tradition has interpreted “No other gods before me” and “No taking God’s name in vain” to include unlawful worship, which isn’t merely a negative statement (i.e. you may do anything except what’s expressly forbidden) but rather a positive statement (i.e. you man only do what is expressly commanded).

    It is understandable that you’re forced in the Evangelical subjective/relativistic “liturgical” direction, since this is where SS truly does tend towards.

    To see this problem more clearly, consider John Calvin’s official liturgy which he instituted in Geneva in 1542 [1]: The liturgy begins with Confessing Sins, Prayer for Pardon [2], then goes on to Scripture Readings [3], a Sermon, a Collection of Alms, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, Words of Institution, Consecration of the Bread and Wine, and concludes with the Aaronic Blessing (Num 6:22-27).

    (5) “Hmm, and all of these are expressly commanded in Scripture or deducible by good and necessary consequence.”

    No, they are not expressly commanded. They are mentioned to various degrees, but taken together they not commanded as a liturgy. For example, there are various blessings in Scripture mentioned, and they are good in themselves, but you are not free to pick your favorite one and simply insert it wherever you feel like in your liturgy.

    (6) “What in the Aaronic blessing is incompatible with the new covenant.”

    Nowhere does the NT say you are to append the Aaronic Blessing to your liturgy.

    (7) “Yes, a whole host of liturgies can be developed by using the RPW. The RPW at its best is simply a guideline within which a great deal of freedom is allowed.”

    But that’s the Evangelical understanding of worship, not what the RPW stands for. What you’re advocating is no actual worship at all, just things you aren’t allowed to do. Sleeping in on Sundays and if you feel like it get up and reciting the Lord’s Prayer doesn’t violate any of the prohibitions.

    (8) “I say all this as one who is not a strict RPW. I’m not against images of Christ or biblical events in the sanctuary, and I think the RPW allows for a lot more freedom than the Puritans did.”

    This simply proves my point. What Confessional Reformed Theology teaches, you reject, and go with your personal preferences.

  67. James, you wrote:
    I’m speaking of the identification and extent/scope of the canon, not that a canon exists.

    Response:
    You are not free to reduce “All” to a mere “canon exists”. Paul, the teacher, taught the canon in “All Scripture.” What you call the “identification and extent/scope” is virtually contained in his words. He did teach the canon, therefore, the NT teaches the canon. This means we can legitimately use Scripture to teach the doctrine of the canon.

    ALL SCRIPTURE is inspired by God and profitable for TEACHING, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness….

  68. Eric W,

    There’s a distinct difference betwen teaching all Scripture is inspired and teaching what all Scripture consists of. The latter is what I am focusing on.

  69. James, you wrote:
    …what all Scripture consists of.

    After you make the distinction, you will be quick to say that the NT doesn’t teach the canon. You need to acknowledge that Paul taught the canon in the way I said he did. After the acknowledgement, we can go on to how identification is achieved. True focus requires the acknowledgement.

  70. Eric W,

    Lets take the teaching All Scripture is inspired. If I asked for express biblical warrant for that as I did with my list of other teachings, you could offer the 2 tim verse. No problem and its consistent with your standard (which is why its not on my list).

    But when I ask about the canon, I get the self-evident/authenticating business. Is the teaching that All Scripture is inspired self-evident/authenticating as well so that the 2 tim verse is superfluous and unnecessary? If not and the verse is needed to be consistent with your standard of evaluating manmade tradition, why does the identified canon get a pass instead of the same treatment?

    And remember the canon is only one teaching in my list.

  71. James, you asked:
    Is the teaching that All Scripture is inspired self-evident/authenticating as well so that the 2 tim verse is superfluous and unnecessary?

    Response:
    The verse is identical with “self” in self-evident. It seems to me that any self-evident/authenticating adherent can never dispense with the verse.
    ———————-

    You asked:
    If not and the verse is needed to be consistent with your standard of evaluating manmade tradition, why does the identified canon get a pass instead of the same treatment?

    Response:
    The identified canon is equivalent with “All Scripture.” Use “All have sinned” (Rom.3:23) as a standard of evaluating Mary’s ImmC. The only way to exclude application of this verse to Mary’s ImmC is to have another revealed truth equivalent to Mary was ImmC. This case is similar to the identified canon case, but with one exception. Finding the equivalent doesn’t require another distinct revelation. Non-revelatory elements are admissible in our search for the equivalent.

  72. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    You doubt the Jewish roots of the Mass, eh?

    Fast forward the attached video to 41 minutes, to the 3rd cup of Blessing and breaking of the Aphikomen Matzoh. ( Earlier the guys explains how the feast of the Passover Lamb is extended for 8 days using bread. The number 8 signifies perpetuity ).

    The fellow explains that after the 4th cup the Jews recite the Hallel Psalms. The strange thing is, Gospel accounts have the 3rd cup and the Psalm but conspicuously leaves out the 4th cup. This is because Jesus said He would no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until He came into His kingdom.

    Later, on Calvary, Jesus drinks bitter wine before saying, “It is finished”.

    What was finished? Redemption? No way as the “Resurrection for our justification” was yet to come.

    The sacrifice, which began in the Upper Room, was finished.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E0Xb6GLIAM

  73. J.M.J.

    Eric
    Last night I was distracted while multi-tasking and failed to give your comment about you worshiping in various and disparate groups and receiving their Eucharists. You even mentioned being “forced against your will” to receive in a “black Catholic church”. You also asserted that the Catholics in you sphere either “misunderstand or deny Transubstantiation”.
    I am glad you said you no longer receive at the Catholic church. Should you ever find yourself again being “forced against your will to receive Communion by Catholics, black or white, who deny Transubstantiation, all you have to do is open the missal in the pew in front of you to the very first page and read to those dummies that non-Cathoilcs are requested to refrain from approaching the Eucharist. That should be easy for an outspoken fellow like yourself, especially as you like to instruct Catholics on their Faith.
    Last night you manfully defended your belief in the Real Presence although your confrere Robert flatly denied it. I am sorry to keep bringing it up but you are also on record as defending the use of the pejorative “Death Wafer” for that Catholic Eucharist you were forced to receive. Just what is your position?
    Robert, I wonder about you. You have been called a “Lone Ranger” by Catholics on this blog. I doubt if the Lone Ranger would do such a thing. As one so much better schooled in our Faith than those Transubstantiation denying Catholics, you must have known what you were doing was tantamount to stealing. And in violation of Paul’s admonition not to receive if not disposed.

    Again, just what do you believe? On anything.

  74. @Eric:

    Though confessional Protestantism, in terms of worship, sacraments, and soteriology, differs in only slight manners from Catholicism, you call anyone who dares to see anything of Protestantism in the early church a blind fool.

    Yes, slight differences like priests, sacrifices… I’m sure that there are no scholars who have studied the history of the liturgy before. It’s not like there are any who specialize in that sort of thing.

    I’m arguing for the Protestant side. I’m not required to show Catholicism in the best possible light. That’s YOUR job, for goodness’ sake! No other Protestant here goes nearly so far in trying to understand and, where possible, move toward the Catholic paradigm. I actually listen to you guys, you complete ingrate.

    Arguing with someone and listening to someone are the opposites of one another, so you can’t be doing both. And by your own admission, you are arguing, not listening. Arguing is a performance for third parties, an emotional appeal, and one can’t be putting on a show while sincerely trying to understand someone else. That is precisely why I say you are bigoted. You are incapable of listening to Catholics; you can only argue with them.

    Count the number of times I’ve said to Robert and others that I’m not arguing for Catholicism; that’s because I’m not. The main difference between arguing and listening is intellectual charity, that thing that you claim is my job. If you’re sincerely listening and not arguing, then you will make the maximum effort to understand the other side, and you will do your utmost to put the best possible spin on their position. In arguing, for example, you never interrupt your opponent while he is making a mistake; in listening, you creatively interpose ideas (subject, of course, to humbly standing for correction if your idea is not what they were saying).

    In studying Calvinism, I am well over a thousand in both dollars and hours over the last decade-plus. When people recommend a book, I buy it, and I read it. This is because I am student of American history and science generally, and Calvinism (and the Scottish Enlightenment) undeniably played a massive role in both, in their goods and their evils. I want to understand the intellectual framework, although my personal connection is very limited.

    When I saw that Calvinists online were just arguing and not listening several years ago, I left, because that is pointless. When Jason converted, he was attacked by a throng of people who were likewise arguing and not listening. So it continues; you aren’t listening either.

    I also pretty much agree with Raith, whose position you said you liked. Whom you called “fair.”

    Then you should have backed off of your slurs against “modern Catholicism,” which included me personally. You should have backed off “hemidemisemiPelagianism” charges (and that’s a 64th note, by the way, not a 32nd note). On Raith’s reading, there is simply no component of our contribution to participatory actions that makes them meritorious.

    You have an extreme problem with your temper. Work on that. It doesn’t mix well with loving your separated brethren. Bring back the kinder, gentler Jonathan.

    I’m a firm believer in tough love when someone is being an idiot. You’re arguing and preening to show how open-minded you are, but you’re showing no discipline, no thought, and no work. And quite honestly, I don’t think you’re capable of it, because I’ve seen nothing to suggest you are any different than any of the other pseudo-intellectuals I’ve encountered over the years, who are using the trappings of intellect to rationalize their prejudices.

    Along those lines, don’t urinate on my head and tell me it’s absinthe. If I actually see you do some work, real work, not just vapid Google scholarship, but actually reading what you find, I might revise that opinion. But don’t even pretend that you are listening to us, because you aren’t, any more than secularists are “listening” to Christians when they make their judgments about us.

    Enough. You have work to do if you want to be taken seriously.

  75. @Robert:

    I don’t see how this follows. The OT doesn’t give a set liturgy either. There is some stuff on sacrifices and the construction of the tabernacle, but that is about it. And all of this stuff can be incorporated under the RPW.

    The question is whether the default assumption is that one can only do what is specified in the liturgy and not go beyond it. There were clearly both prescribed and proscribed aspects of the OT liturgy, and there were also elements that appear to have been neither prescribed nor proscribed, which should violate the RPW.

    Further, we have evidence of the development of the synagogue and its own liturgy, which Jesus participated in, indicating that it wasn’t sinful. There is no express biblical command to establish the synagogue or its liturgy, but what we do know of the synagogue liturgy, such as the singing of psalms, reading of Scripture, etc. all has express biblical warrant.

    The problem is that it doesn’t have express Biblical warrant in the liturgy. The fact that the synagogue was established is evidence that the Jews weren’t following sola scriptura in the liturgy, but rather Tradition on what was permissible in conjunction with Scripture. The fact that Jesus endorsed these practices shows that He didn’t believe in sola scriptura either, because He judged his adversaries by both Scripture and Tradition.

    Along those lines, there is significant historical evidence that the liturgical pattern for Christian worship came out of the synagogue tradition:
    http://www.liturgica.com/html/litEChLitWEC.jsp

    The RPW simply means that whatever we do in worship must have express biblical warrant. It doesn’t mean that there has to be a set liturgy or that people are not free to apply what Scripture does say about worship in a variety of settings. To think that is to grossly misunderstood the RPW and Sola Scriptura.

    The point is that it doesn’t say it about worship specifically. The fact that Scripture says something is good doesn’t mean that it’s to be done in liturgy.

    In other words, its called Christian liberty guided by the Word of God. You all should try it some time.

    As others have pointed out, Christian liberty doesn’t generally mean “do whatever you want,” particularly with respect to liturgy.

    Not if the Apostles didn’t do what you said. Where is the evidence that the Apostles viewed the Eucharist as a sacrifice of propitiation or that it should be offered for martyrs.

    Subject to Jim’s correction above, it’s not like the history of the liturgy hasn’t been studied extensively. Zizoulas is a luminary in the field, for example.

    Read the New Testament. Look at the RC Mass. Look at a Protestant service. Come back and tell me which one is more biblical.

    If one looks at the archaeological evidence of the earliest Christian practices in exactly the same way that you do to analyze the synagogue tradition in which Jesus participated, then there is absolutely no question that the Catholic Mass is much closer to first century Christian worship.

    Burden of proof is on you to show where the Apostles do or prescribe something for worship not found in Scripture. Unless, of course, you can give me a list of verifiable non-biblical Apostolic traditions.

    By “due use of ordinary means,” we have plenty of archaeological evidence on what they did or prescribed for worship based on what Christians in that time, just as we have plenty of evidence about how the synagogue tradition operated. The burden of proof would be on you to prove some bizarre rule where we exclude evidence that we would use in every other context, including the interpretation of Scripture, when evaluating evidence.

    The burden of proof is upon those who would want to add to Scripture, which Scripture forbids.

    That’s based on your operating principle, not ours. If you’re going to say that we don’t use the same evidence that we would use in any other context, that’s special pleading, so you have to make the case.

    I’m not sure how to explain it. Various explanations have been posited. One is that believers are lifted up spiritually to heaven to feed on Christ. Basically, I would say that by virtue of the omnipresence of the divine nature of Christ and its union with the human nature of Christ in the one divine person of Christ, we have access to the whole Christ whenever the person of Christ is present. So, while the human nature remains localized in heaven, I have access to it by virtue of the fact that is united to the divine person of Christ, and the divine person of Christ is present in the Eucharist.

    The omnipresence of God is everywhere, and that’s a common attribute for all three persons, so it doesn’t distinguish the person of Christ. That’s why omnipresence alone can’t suffice to explain Christ’s personal presence in the Eucharist. Try again.

    Therefore, in a discussion between Rome and Protestantism, Rome bears the burden of proof that there is something more from the Apostles than what we have in the canon.

    Actually, you have to prove up your presupposition of Scriptural authority first. We believe based on the Church, and you can’t inconsistently rely on our belief in the Church to justify Scriptural authority and then say that the Church doesn’t have authority. If you’re going to argue against us, you first have to prove, and not presuppose, the authority of Scripture. But we can bypass that discussion entirely by not talking about Catholicism at all and instead focusing on an internal critique of Protestantism.

    Scripture is ultimately self-authenticating because it is the final authority. Just as Rome must be self-authenticating if it is the final authority (hence the circularity of the motives of credibility.)

    If that’s true, then we’re all irrational, and nobody can rationally be a Christian. Let’s hope it isn’t true.

    The nature of the Apostolic office is that the Apostle speaks for Christ. So unless you can point to an Apostle today, there is no one who can speak for Christ in the same way. This was obvious to the early church without any conciliar pronouncement on it.

    Luke didn’t have the apostolic office; he still wrote Scripture. Paul didn’t receive the Apostolic office while Christ was alive, so there’s no independent evidence that he was appointed an Apostle. It just isn’t so simple.

    You need to decide whether unwritten parallel tradition is what the Apostles said that never got written down (which this comment assumes on your part) or the church’s understanding of the Apostolic preaching (which you and Jonathan elsewhere have said tradition is). It’s one or the other. If it’s the former, then give me a list of defined Apostolic tradition. If it’s the latter, prove that the latter doesn’t contradict Scripture. Good luck.

    Remember that thing about tough love when someone is being an idiot? You’re being an idiot. Was the synagogue tradition simply an expression of the interpretive culture to which Scripture was delivered, or was it a “good and necessary” extension of what was described in Scripture? Who knows, and how could you even clearly draw that line? That’s why the whole partim-partim debate is purely theoretical and makes no practical difference at all. Either Tradition has its authority as the normative interpretive culture for Scripture (material sufficiency), or the Apostles taught specific cultural practices that have authority from being so taught (partim-partim).

    In either case, Tradition is authoritative, and the content of the Tradition is essentially entirely in cultural practices rather than specific doctrines. In other words, there’s no way to assemble a list of doctrines in Tradition, because Tradition consists essentially of cultural activities, and there’s no way to exhaustively list a culture. Nobody would ever try to say “list every normative principle of the Mayan culture” because it’s impossible. But when Catholics make exactly the same claim (i.e., that Christianity has a normative unwritten culture), Protestants feel comfortable making a demand that would never be made of anyone else. It’s that sort of sheerly irrational bias that prevents productive listening.

  76. J.M.J.
    Jonathan,

    Great link! Especially the stuff on Calvin and the Icons. It has a picture of a heavily decorated church dating 75 tears before Constantine’s Edit of Toleration.

    It sure fits. Calvin’s monergism and iconoclasm go hand in glove.

  77. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    ” So, while the human nature remains localized in heaven, I have access to it by virtue of the fact that is united to the divine person of Christ, and the divine person of Christ is present in the Eucharist…. nor does the bread turn into the human body of Christ. Bread remains bread and wine remains wine.”

    Kind of just the opposite of what Christ said at the Last Supper.
    He did not take bread into His hands and say, “This is My Divinity”.

  78. Jim–

    I thought you might appreciate this. I was listening to a sports-talk radio program and they were discussing the possibility that Philip Rivers, quarterback of the San Diego Chargers, may choose to switch teams when his contract expires at the end of this coming season. One announcer asked, “What’s he got, 12 kids? (He has seven.) And the other responded, “Yeah, enough with the kids already.”

    As you probably know, Rivers is a devout Catholic and a consummate family man. Tremendous reasons to make fun of him, don’t you think?

  79. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    I don’t think you saw the link I sent you because of the multiple discussions happening.

    The term “Real Presence” is actually an Anglican term used to deny Transubstantiation.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/what-do-we-mean-by-the-real-presence

  80. Jonathan–

    Arguing is the art of taking a stance and then advocating for that stance. It has absolutely nothing but nothing to do with third parties. Third parties make it into a discussion or a debate. Two isolated individuals on a desert island can argue back and forth for their respective positions. I couldnt care less what anyone out there thinks. I’m not even grandstanding for the home team. If Robert or Michael wish to disagree with me, that’s their prerogative. I am beholden to no one.

    Showing the other side in its best light has different meanings. The reason defendants are granted their own counsel is that even the fairest prosecutor immaginable believes the person on trial to be guilty. I believe Catholicism to be guilty of many of the complaints lodged against it. If you’re accusing me of slander, you’re going to have to show how my negative slant against Rome is untrue. If it is fully true, then in describing it, I AM putting Rome in the best possible light. It’s just that the “best possible” is still not very good.

    Your point against me, in terms of not doing enough serious research, is true enough. It is not one, however, which I can correct. I have been visually impaired my entire life and have been forced to do more with less in terms of research. I have a couple of graduate degrees, so I guess I haven’t done that poorly. Currently, most of my time is caught up with the care and nurture of three toddlers. If you get any research out of me at all, consider yourself lucky. I almost always go through every link I’m provided with. This whole recent tiff between us originated when you refused to give any citation in evidence of your assertions. If you want me to take YOU seriously, then don’t leave me hanging when I ask for evidence.

    Frankly, I don’t care for the sort of “gotcha” gamesmanship concerning tiny factual errors. I have an undergraduate degree in music, but hemisemidemiquaver is a Britishism, not a term ever actually employed here in the U.S. So, yes, I misremembered “quaver” as a quarter note rather than an eighth note. (All I can say is, why don’t you little school girls get a high-powered lawyer and SUE me!) Absinthe, by the way, has been used as a plot ploy in a lot of literature and film, as a drink with hallucinogenic and addictive properties. If in real life, it’s a harmless spirit (heaven forbid I refer to it as a liqueur), what is that to me? I’m a teetotaler (for health reasons) and have never made myself out to be some sort of an expert on alcoholic drinks. Absinthe, for what it’s worth, was banned for many years in both the U.S. and Europe. So much for its supposed lack of negative history.

    Spending a hundred thousand dollars and a hundred thousand hours are no guarantee that one will understand anything when he is done. Another someone, having perused J. I. Packer’s intro to John Owen’s “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ,” might be light years ahead of the more thorough researcher if he truly comprehended what he read.

  81. J.M.J.

    People,

    http://www.liturgica.com/html/litPLitCalvin.jsp#Legacy

    Here’s the link to the article on Calvin’s hatred for images.
    In fact, icons were used in the early Church. His desire to purify the liturgy of stuff reveals his anti-Incarnational spirit.

    So, Eric is a Temperance Man, eh? I am reminded of the old, ‘”Lips that touch liquor will never touch Mine”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK6RvB8BCKA

  82. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    You will never have to sing this one.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3YTKh7GToo

  83. Jim–

    No, I believe the Temperance Movement, once it moved from advocating moderation to hawking abstinence, was more or less unbiblical. I still drink a little wine, but must keep it to an absolute minimum for health reasons, as I stated. Al Mohler has admitted that wine in the New Testament was indeed fermented, but he refuses to change the policy at Southern Seminary for “practical” reasons: the high price society has paid as a result of excessive alcohol intake.

    It’s kind of ironic that the Puritans, despite their reputation, both drank and smoked. Of course, they stayed away from playing cards, attending theater, and participating in dance!

    It was difficult to even have “unfermented wine” for communion until Welch came out with pasteurized grape juice in the 1890′s. Temperance is a total innovation. It’s sad that biblical “literalists” invent such convoluted means to justify its continuance.

    (Now, moderation is another story, and you sound like you could use a refresher course on its ethical advantages from time to time!) :)

  84. @Eric:

    Arguing is the art of taking a stance and then advocating for that stance. It has absolutely nothing but nothing to do with third parties. Third parties make it into a discussion or a debate.

    That’s entirely true. The problem is that explaining is a completely different skill set. That doesn’t involve advocacy at all. It involves structuring facts and logical form in a way that shows one’s reasons and conclusions. A good explanation is often good for advocacy as well, but one need not be advocating to explain. And it is completely inappropriate to advocate or to expect advocacy in an explanation.

    Showing the other side in its best light has different meanings. The reason defendants are granted their own counsel is that even the fairest prosecutor immaginable believes the person on trial to be guilty.

    Yes, and that is in turn a result of the adversarial process in the first place. Alternatively, there are inquisitorial systems, even in the judicial context, that are aimed at discovering the truth by generally reliable methods that do not have the same role of advocacy as ours. And even in our process, the advocates are supposed to be officers of the court, and they are supposed to exercise their own restraint, honesty, and ethics in presenting their clients’ positions. The point is that we shouldn’t be adversarial, and we shouldn’t be advocating, because there’s no point in it. We should be explaining.

    I believe Catholicism to be guilty of many of the complaints lodged against it. If you’re accusing me of slander, you’re going to have to show how my negative slant against Rome is untrue. If it is fully true, then in describing it, I AM putting Rome in the best possible light. It’s just that the “best possible” is still not very good.

    It doesn’t work that way, or it shouldn’t. If you’re going to make any serious charge against anyone, then it is your job to make sure that your facts are so unassailable that even the target of the criticism won’t dispute them. When you are accusing people of believing what they can’t even recognize, that means you haven’t done their job. Self-restraint is your responsibility, not the victim’s. Again, that’s why you should be at the explanation/inquisition stage, rather than the advocacy stage.

    Your point against me, in terms of not doing enough serious research, is true enough. It is not one, however, which I can correct. I have been visually impaired my entire life and have been forced to do more with less in terms of research. I have a couple of graduate degrees, so I guess I haven’t done that poorly.

    No, you haven’t, nor am I interested in forcing you to do what would be entirely unreasonable for me to expect. But here’s the thing: stop arguing with me. If I send you to a source, and you don’t see it, then the correct course of action is not to say “X doesn’t say that” or “X is perfectly compatible with the Reformed belief.” If nothing else, it is very clear that I believe that what it says is relevant, or I would not have sent you to it. So it behooves you to figure out why it is that I think that the same set of words that you are reading say something different. That’s your job, not mine. Over half the time, I’ve given you a citation, you went off and read it, and then you came back without a hint of understanding of why I thought it supported my position. That’s not acceptable dialogue; it’s not even honest dialogue.

    For example, Fr. Raymond Brown, who very obviously believes that it is possible for people to lose their salvation after regeneration (a Catholic dogma), has written a commentary on the Gospel of John. You are reading the Gospel of John as if it can’t possibly allow that, so it should be pretty obvious to you that it is you, and not Fr. Brown, who is missing something. So figure out why this world-renowned scholar of Johannine literature didn’t miss John 10. Figure out why he doesn’t think that it is a promise of salvation to everybody who truly hears and believes at some point in his life.

    Given that I actually told you why it is (i.e., it’s viewing this prototypical believer qua community member, which is a status that is obviously changeable by leaving), it’s just a matter of you reading the passages on the assumption that every category (“sheep,” “he who believes,” “in Christ,” etc.) is mutable by sin. Even if you yourself don’t accept that the categories are mutable by sin, it should not be awfully difficult to see that people could accept the premise or how they would read the passages if they did. I don’t understand what your resistance is to going through that exercise. In other words, take the understanding that people can lose their salvation, which you know that people before the Reformation believed, and go back and try to figure out how they interpreted Scripture consistent with that assumption. That is the only way that you can really try to get into the Catholic paradigm.

    On Augustine, likewise. James and I have given you a boatload of citations, but you just keep on reading them based on your assumptions. Do exactly the opposite; assume that our interpretation is correct, and read the passages consistent with that belief. In other words, read them as a Catholic. I don’t have any problem doing that as a Catholic reading Calvinists. I have Carson, Morris, and Moo on my bookshelf, and I don’t have any problem understanding what their views are or why they read Scripture the way they do.

    Even if you’re going to be an advocate at some point, you will be a terrible advocate if you can’t perceive that your opponent has a case that can beat you under the right circumstances. There are too many smart Catholics out there to think that it’s either stupid or inconsistent with obvious facts. You need to pretend that you’re an advocate for the Catholic case and actively defend propositions like the loss of salvation, with which you disagree, if you want to understand the paradigm.

    Frankly, I don’t care for the sort of “gotcha” gamesmanship concerning tiny factual errors.

    Frankly, I don’t care for gamesmanship at all, and that’s why I think your whole approach stinks, which was the point. If we aren’t playing games, then you should be able to assume that my view is true for the sake of argument and follow through the implications. You’re not an advocate, so you can feel completely free to take the other side, and that is what you should be doing.

    And like I said, I don’t have any problem understanding the Calvinist interpretation of Scripture, so this shouldn’t be a real stretch in the other direction.

  85. Jim–

    No, I don’t agree with Robert on the Real Presence, nor do I agree with Fr. Longenecker on its current use (though I don’t doubt his research as to its etymology).

    Eastern Orthodoxy holds to the Real Presence though they eschew all formulations of it.

    Anglicans can choose whether to believe it or not. I would say that almost all Anglo-Catholics do. Since the days of the Oxford Movement, including Newman’s Tract XC, they have played fast and loose with the 39 Articles. There are plenty of transubstantiationists in their midst.

    Lutherans believe in the Real Presence, that Christ is really, physically present in, on, and under the elements. There is no one-to-one correspondence with the elements as in Catholicism, but Christ is substantially present.

    Some Presbyterians, following Calvin, also believe in the Real Presence, that we feast on his body and blood, soul and divinity…in heaven, which is where he is located Incarnationally. Many, if not most, Presbyterians have spiritualized everything into a sort of virtual presence. But the minority hold to his corporeal presence.

    And that’s what Real Presence has come to mean: that Christ is physically, corporeally, substantially present in the Supper, so that we may feed upon him. And this classification is valid for all of the listed faith traditions, regardless of the sacramental formulation employed or lack thereof.

    Receptionism needn’t change any of this…though often it does. I think there are different understandings of the term.

  86. To be honest, I sort of miss my old worship services at Cross Point (lcms parish). I haven’t yet felt the same kind of moving experience in the Catholic liturgy.

    Nothing touches the reverence and beauty of the extraordinary form, but my wife doesn’t feel comfortable enough at my fssp parish for us to attend regularly. So we gave several other parishes a shot. Some of them tried to be more modern… guitars, drums, choirs, the whole nine yards, but it was just a ghastly experience. Like watching a grandpa try to keep up with the times by throwing around slang terminology. Really just makes you cringe. (Stop trying to be cool gramps. Just be you) I’m sure that the problem is with me, but I really miss praise and worship. The liturgy can be beautiful, but mostly these days it’s just plain cheesy and trivialized.

    The emotional appeal of mainstream evangelical praise and worship is very powerful. I think that’s a big part of why the pentacostal movement is growing so fast.

  87. @Kenneth:

    So we gave several other parishes a shot. Some of them tried to be more modern… guitars, drums, choirs, the whole nine yards, but it was just a ghastly experience. Like watching a grandpa try to keep up with the times by throwing around slang terminology. Really just makes you cringe. (Stop trying to be cool gramps. Just be you) I’m sure that the problem is with me, but I really miss praise and worship. The liturgy can be beautiful, but mostly these days it’s just plain cheesy and trivialized.

    Believe me, it’s not you. The place I felt most at home was the Syro-Malabar mission (or “Indian church” as the family called it). We were the only white people there, and I couldn’t even understand the Gospel reading because it was in Malayalam. But God! it was the most beautiful liturgy I’ve ever seen. After seeing something like that, it was hard to go back.

    If you can find an Eastern rite parish, I would really give it a try. There’s some culture shock, but those are always the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They seem genuinely happy to see new faces with whom they can share their liturgy.

  88. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    Yeah, I pretty much agree with what you say about various denomination’s view. I have known a High Anglican or two in my time, by the way. I don’t agree with your take on Fr. Longnecker . For all their smells and bells and talk of the Real Presence, Anglicans seldom believe what we do.

    The interesting thing is, Eric, Transubstantiation is the only explanation of the Real Presence that is not fraught with problems. Some of thetheories are absurd. Some lead to bad Christology. And some don’t really mean any sort of real or objective presence at all despite the use of the term.

    T. says the bread and wine are 100% changed into the Body and Blood. That is how the Presence comes about.

    It also comports with the Fathers who spoke of this change.

    As for Orthodoxy, yes indeed. I have argued over the phone with Frankie Schaeffer on this very issue.

    Speaking of those Anglicans, the last vicar here in the Estoril area definitely denied he was a “sacrificing priest” but insisted he was a priest. Go figure.

    How can one have the same victim and same priest present but not have a sacrifice needs some explaining, wouldn’t you say?

  89. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    The you are not a true “teatotaler”.
    Yes, a little wine is good for the stomach, as Paul advised Timothy.

    As for the ball player being ridiculed, the entire Catholic Church is ridiculed for her views on large families and contraception.
    I am old enough to remember the slurs against Bobby and Ethel Kennedy. Even after he was shot.

  90. Kenneth and all,

    I just got back from the middle of nowhere on a horse farm in the middle of nowhere and found a Catholic Church in the middle of nowhere. Was irritated, full of fleas, scratching, mad at my husband for getting us lost, and entered a Church where I couldn’t even find the tabernacle and was by far the youngest ‘old’ person I saw. A guy next to me was either snoring or mumbling.

    It took me almost 1/2 hour to settle in, to let grace begin to pull me in, silence the demons that wanted me to forget where I was…..

    but then the WORD was alive in that little Church, the Eucharist was alive in that little Church and the miracle from the Most Holy Trinity kissed me and I vowed again to never forget, to never go astray, to love as I had been loved.

    This afternoon, I’m back to being slightly irritated, and need to constantly get down on my knees and praise because ‘grace’ is always calling me; I just have to work hard and practice, practice, practice hearing the Eternal Song.

    Our Lord must know how much practice I need, and I’d like to believe because the closer I get, the closer He wants me to come.

  91. Debbie,

    Good for you! It’s a struggle.

  92. J.M.J.

    Nick,

    Where is everyone? This topic is a slam dunk for us Catholics.

    On the night He was betrayed, the great High Priest according the order of Melchizedek took bread and wine into His sacred hands and said, “This is My Body…,This is My Blood” and established the liturgy of the pure oblation that would be offered from the rising of the sun to its setting.

  93. J,M,J,

    Robert,
    Some days ago we established that Judas did partake of the Body and Blood of Christ at the Last Supper and not in a merely “spiritual” manner.

    I stumbled upon this further explanation of Judas receiving Holy Communion from Aquinas ( whom you guys like to quote as one of yours ) and thought of you and your fixation with Nancy Pelosi receiving Communion ( although you don’t actually know the state of her soul ).

    I answer that, Hilary, in commenting on Matthew 26:17, held that Christ did not give His body and blood to Judas. And this would have been quite proper, if the malice of Judas be considered. But since Christ was to serve us as a pattern of justice, it was not in keeping with His teaching authority to sever Judas, a hidden sinner, from Communion with the others without an accuser and evident proof. lest the Church’s prelates might have an example for doing the like, and lest Judas himself being exasperated might take occasion of sinning. Therefore, it remains to be said that Judas received our Lord’s body and blood with the other disciples, as Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. iii), an

  94. Jonathan,

    The question is whether the default assumption is that one can only do what is specified in the liturgy and not go beyond it. There were clearly both prescribed and proscribed aspects of the OT liturgy, and there were also elements that appear to have been neither prescribed nor proscribed, which should violate the RPW.

    None of this is relevant. The RPW simply says that whatever we do in Scripture must have biblical warrant. To that in, most hardcore RPW advocates distinguish between things such as the time of service (which is not prescribed) and other things such as teaching (which is).

    Full disclosure: While I adhere to the RPW in a broad sense, I think that the way it has been applied in certain streams of the Reformed tradition is wrong. I think Calvin went too far at times in trying to apply it, and I’m no Puritan.

    The problem is that it doesn’t have express Biblical warrant in the liturgy. The fact that the synagogue was established is evidence that the Jews weren’t following sola scriptura in the liturgy, but rather Tradition on what was permissible in conjunction with Scripture. The fact that Jesus endorsed these practices shows that He didn’t believe in sola scriptura either, because He judged his adversaries by both Scripture and Tradition.

    This is just wrong. Again, the things we know about the synagogue service—singing, teaching, Scripture reading—that we know of at least, has express biblical warrant. And where does Jesus judge His adversaries and condemn them for violating tradition that is contrary to Scripture or that is not found in Scripture directly or by good and necessary consequence?

    Along those lines, there is significant historical evidence that the liturgical pattern for Christian worship came out of the synagogue tradition: http://www.liturgica.com/html/litEChLitWEC.jsp

    Sure. Which is also why it is significant that Protestant worship looks far more like first-century pre-Christian synagogue worship than RC or EO liturgies do.

    The point is that it doesn’t say it about worship specifically. The fact that Scripture says something is good doesn’t mean that it’s to be done in liturgy.

    By good and necessary consequence, if people are killed in Scripture for doing things in worship that aren’t given in Scripture, Scripture must guide our liturgy.

    And of course, just because Scripture says something is good, doesn’t mean it is to be done in worship. The animal sacrifices are an obvious example, but of course they are explicitly set aside in the NT.

    As others have pointed out, Christian liberty doesn’t generally mean “do whatever you want,” particularly with respect to liturgy.

    Christian liberty means you follow principles and don’t impose on people a burden that Scripture doesn’t command. Where does Scripture say not to have a benediction, not to preach, not to sing? Welcome to Protestant liturgy.

    Subject to Jim’s correction above, it’s not like the history of the liturgy hasn’t been studied extensively. Zizoulas is a luminary in the field, for example.

    Translation: you can’t give me apostolic evidence that the Eucharist was a propitiatory sacrifice.

    If one looks at the archaeological evidence of the earliest Christian practices in exactly the same way that you do to analyze the synagogue tradition in which Jesus participated, then there is absolutely no question that the Catholic Mass is much closer to first century Christian worship.

    One may not accept an early Christian practice as Christian unless it can be confirmed by what the Apostles taught. So again, look at the only sure source of Apostolic teaching we have, the NT. Nothing in there about elevating the host, venerating statutes, etc.

    By “due use of ordinary means,” we have plenty of archaeological evidence on what they did or prescribed for worship based on what Christians in that time, just as we have plenty of evidence about how the synagogue tradition operated. The burden of proof would be on you to prove some bizarre rule where we exclude evidence that we would use in every other context, including the interpretation of Scripture, when evaluating evidence.

    Give me the archaeological evidence for what the Apostles did in worship that we do not have in the NT. Not some practice from the second century that claims to be Christian—unless it can be verified from the actual Apostolic tradition that we do have.

    It is not some “bizarre rule.” If you apply the due use of ordinary means to the NT, you simply do not get Roman Catholic liturgy. I would say that a good portion of the RC liturgy can be verified as Apostolic. I’ve been to mass. Benedictions, singing, homilies, etc. can all be found in the NT. What can’t be found are specifically unique RC practices such as the adoration of the host.

    That’s based on your operating principle, not ours. If you’re going to say that we don’t use the same evidence that we would use in any other context, that’s special pleading, so you have to make the case.

    Christianity is a revealed revelation, which means our touchstone is divine revelation. You all are the ones treating amorphous oral tradition as if it is revelation without any justification except that the church does it. Sola ecclesia.

    The omnipresence of God is everywhere, and that’s a common attribute for all three persons, so it doesn’t distinguish the person of Christ. That’s why omnipresence alone can’t suffice to explain Christ’s personal presence in the Eucharist. Try again.

    If Christ has a true human nature, the human nature is not omnipresent. So the only thing that can justify His presence in the Eucharist is omnipresence.

    Actually, you have to prove up your presupposition of Scriptural authority first. We believe based on the Church, and you can’t inconsistently rely on our belief in the Church to justify Scriptural authority and then say that the Church doesn’t have authority. If you’re going to argue against us, you first have to prove, and not presuppose, the authority of Scripture. But we can bypass that discussion entirely by not talking about Catholicism at all and instead focusing on an internal critique of Protestantism.

    I don’t rely on your belief in the church to justify scriptural authority. Your belief in the church cannot grant scriptural authority. You get sola ecclesia.

    If that’s true, then we’re all irrational, and nobody can rationally be a Christian. Let’s hope it isn’t true.

    God is self-authenticating. What rational means did Abraham need besides God Himself to rationally believe in Him? What rational means did Peter need besides Jesus Himself to rationally believe in Him.

    Luke didn’t have the apostolic office; he still wrote Scripture. Paul didn’t receive the Apostolic office while Christ was alive, so there’s no independent evidence that he was appointed an Apostle. It just isn’t so simple.

    So are you calling Paul a liar now? Are you saying he didn’t have Apostolic authority before Peter said “this guy is kosher”?

    By the nature of Scripture itself, its authors have Apostolic authority. End of story.

    Remember that thing about tough love when someone is being an idiot? You’re being an idiot. Was the synagogue tradition simply an expression of the interpretive culture to which Scripture was delivered, or was it a “good and necessary” extension of what was described in Scripture? Who knows, and how could you even clearly draw that line? That’s why the whole partim-partim debate is purely theoretical and makes no practical difference at all. Either Tradition has its authority as the normative interpretive culture for Scripture (material sufficiency), or the Apostles taught specific cultural practices that have authority from being so taught (partim-partim).

    Actually, Rome is being the idiot here. Tradition is either a set body of content delivered by the Apostles or it is not. If it is, and that is clearly the notion of the NT whenever the Apostles speak of tradition, the only possible acceptable view of tradition in Romanism should be partim-partim. Which then means that you have the burden of proof to give us what the Apostles taught that is not recorded in Scripture. Good luck.

    Material sufficiency is a recent innovation that came about only because the best RC biblical scholars realized that the partim-partim view is not tenable either in the earliest tradition or simply in the ability of the church to give us any of the words or deeds of Jesus and the Apostles that were not written down in Scripture.

    Now, having said that, you do make a good point about how one draws the line. And the simple answer to that is to go back to what Scripture actually says, and if it cannot be backed up by Apostolic tradition, it cannot be binding on the Christian conscience. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily wrong or sinful; it just cannot be enforced as something that must be believed for salvation. Thus, no mandatory feast days, no statement that you are going to hell if you don’t think Mary was bodily assumed into heaven, etc.

    In either case, Tradition is authoritative, and the content of the Tradition is essentially entirely in cultural practices rather than specific doctrines. In other words, there’s no way to assemble a list of doctrines in Tradition, because Tradition consists essentially of cultural activities, and there’s no way to exhaustively list a culture. Nobody would ever try to say “list every normative principle of the Mayan culture” because it’s impossible. But when Catholics make exactly the same claim (i.e., that Christianity has a normative unwritten culture), Protestants feel comfortable making a demand that would never be made of anyone else. It’s that sort of sheerly irrational bias that prevents productive listening.

    If you don’t know what the unwritten culture is and its limits, then it can’t be normative. It is ever growing and simply consists of whatever the church decides to accept, whether or not you can actually trace it back to the Apostolic witness.

    Christianity is a revealed religion, and the Apostles clearly see tradition as a set body of content. That rules out defining tradition as anything other than what the Apostles said and did, and what they would have us say and do until kingdom come. If you can’t produce a list of that, then you can’t judge anything by it. Not Rome. Not the East. Not Geneva or Wittenberg.

    So in sum, if tradition is a set body of content, then the only tenable RC view is partim-partim. And if it is a set body of content, then Rome should be able to give it to us. But Rome has no interest in doing so, because that would at least in theory limit what Rome could say and do.

  95. J.M.J.
    Robert,
    I’ve been eavesdropping on your exchange with Jonathan. You said some intriguing things.

    “While I adhere to the RPW in a broad sense, I think that the way it has been applied in certain streams of the Reformed tradition is wrong. I think Calvin went too far at times”

    Thank you so much for the concession that, at the end of the day, you concede our chief argument against Protestantism. Yours is an “every man for himself religion”.

    “If Christ has a true human nature, the human nature is not omnipresent. So the only thing that can justify His presence in the Eucharist is omnipresence.”

    No, no, no! Transubstantiation is pure genius. Nay, it is downright inspired. It is the only ONLY explanation that doesn’t run into absurdities.

    “Christianity is a revealed religion,”.

    Do you mean, “Catholicism is a revealed religion”?

  96. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    “If Christ has a true human nature, the human nature is not omnipresent.”

    Indeed.

    “So the only thing that can justify His presence in the Eucharist is omnipresence.”

    Christ’s human nature is not present in every place on earth. ( Only where the appearances of consecrated bread are ). Place has to do with bodily extension, dimension ,space, and quantity. The concept of these accidents can be divorced from the concept of substance by the mind. ( Disregard the constant and imperious intrusions of the imagination ).
    Christ’s accidents are in the Blessed Sacrament by way of substance. By concomitance all of His accidents are present. But this has nothing to do with omnipresence.

    This is the Sacrament of Faith. Just as the senses say Christ is but a man, Faith tells us not to be deceived. Same with the Eucharist. The senses tell us it is bread.
    But,
    “Humbly let us voice our homage
    For so great a sacrament;
    Let all former rites surrender
    To the Lord’s New Testament;
    What the senses fail to fathom,
    Let us grasp through faith’s consent!”

  97. Jim,

    Thank you so much for the concession that, at the end of the day, you concede our chief argument against Protestantism. Yours is an “every man for himself religion”.

    No more or no less than Roman Catholicism.

    As far as the Eucharist, for me to say that transubstantiation makes Christ omnipresent is not exactly correct, so let me qualify it. If transubstantiation means that Christ is physically present wherever the consecrated bread is, then Christ according to His human nature is in more than one place at once. That is not a true human nature.

    If you say one has access to the whole Christ by virtue of His spiritual presence, that’s not a problem. It’s saying that the bread in Portugal is the literal human body of Christ and that the bread in the United States is the literal human body of Christ at the same time and in the same sense.

  98. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    Think of the substantial change that happens when a bottle of wine turns to vinegar. The vinegar exists in the same bottle where the wine was. The wine was not annihilated and replaced by the creation ex nihilo of vinegar. There was a conversion of one being into another.
    Now, think of several bottles of wine morphing into vinegar.
    Each bottle of vinegar is a different presence of vinegar just as the wine was.

    This is not Transubstantiation.

    In the case of wine to vinegar, the vinegar comes into existence at the change of the wine.
    In T. Christ does not being to exist. Rather, He is already existing. The bread and wine change into the Body of Christ that already exists in heaven.

    The change is a substantial one. Substance is indifferent to place. Unlike the wine/vinegar analogy above, Christ’s one and only Body can be in several places at once due to the accident or appearances of bread.
    ( Christ said, ” THIS is My Body…”. “This” can be both the bread and His Body according to which point of the conversion we are considering ).

  99. Jim,

    But the issue is that the substance of a human body cannot be in more than one place at the same time. Otherwise, it is not limited by space and not truly human.

    Human substance isn’t indifferent to space. I’m sitting here in the U.S. and I’m not in Portugal. You are in Portugal, and you are not in the U.S. The substance of me isn’t over somewhere else with he accidents of a frog, bread, a mountain, or anything else. If it were, I’d no longer be human, or at least I’d be superhuman.

    If Christ has a true human nature, that human nature can only be present in one place at a time. It can’t be anywhere else but in heaven. We can commune with that nature by communion with the divine person of Christ, in whom divinity and humanity are united, but His human nature remains where it started, in heaven.

    I think transubstantiation is a (poor) attempt to explain what God has not explained.

  100. J.M.J.

    Robert,
    While I have your attention, speaking of this Regulative Principle, how is that working out for you guys?

    Didn’t Calvin put musical instruments in the same category as idols? And he forbade praying in church outside of scheduled worship services.

    Earlier, I was reading about the Black Rubric in the Book of Common Prayer. It was revised to mean different things at different times. Some clergymen ( and women ) like to be referred to as priests. Most want to be called, “Father”. They are a microcosm or Protestantism in general, all over the map on everything.
    And their rubrics and order of worship reflect their doctrine which is all over the map. ( Just try to pin Anglicans down on what they mean by “Real Presence”. Or try to pin down the ones who say they believe in it ).

    Receiving Communion in the hand or on the tongue, under both species or one, standing or kneeling, in Latin or in the vernacular, are things we Catholics can agree upon.
    What can you folks agree upon? The smells and bells? Doctrine? What?

  101. J.M.J.
    Robert,

    “But the issue is that the substance of a human body cannot be in more than one place at the same time.”

    The enemy of understanding Transubstantiation is the human imagination.
    You are still Robert if you get up from the computer, walk across the room and let the cat out. Location, relation to space or extension, size, etc. are not of your essence.

    ( Here are the categories of accident;
    Nine Accidents:
    Quantity,
    Quality,
    Relation,
    Action,
    Passion,
    Time,
    Place,
    Disposition (the arrangement of parts), and
    Rainment (whether a thing is dressed or armed, etc.)

    You said,
    “If Christ has a true human nature, that human nature can only be present in one place at a time. It can’t be anywhere else but in heaven. We can commune with that nature by communion with the divine person of Christ, in whom divinity and humanity are united,”

    Yes Christ is in heaven. But I think you are not following what the Bible says.
    Christ said, ” This is My Body”. Not, ‘This is My Divinity”. We get to the Divinity via the Body and not the other way around.
    Why did Christ become man? So we could participate in His Divine Nature.
    Why the Eucharist? Same reason.

    When we eat the Eucharist, we are receiving the whole living and glorified Christ as He is sitting at the right hand of the Father. This is unlike eating dead meat that is transformed into our body.

    Receiving Christ’s Body, we become members of His Body, the Church. St. Paul says so.

  102. J.M.J.
    Robert,

    “I think transubstantiation is a (poor) attempt to explain what God has not explained.”

    God has indeed explained it through His Church.
    What is the alternative to Transubstantiation?

    You are a Calvinist, right? How does it make you feel that Calvin’s only motive in concocting his view of the Eucharist was to unite Lutherans snd Zwinglians in a common front against Rome.
    Truth be damned!

    Every explanation other than Transubstantiation leads to more problems than it solves.

  103. Jim,

    Robert: ~”This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

    St. Peter to Jesus: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

  104. Jim,

    You are still Robert if you get up from the computer, walk across the room and let the cat out.

    Yes, but if I walk across the room, I’m no longer at the computer anymore. I’m in one place at a time. That’s the entire point. A human nature can’t be in more than one place at a time.

    Yes Christ is in heaven. But I think you are not following what the Bible says.
    Christ said, ” This is My Body”. Not, ‘This is My Divinity”. We get to the Divinity via the Body and not the other way around.

    Since Jesus isn’t walking around physically in front of me, I get to Him through the divinity. Unless, of course, you want to say that Christ is only present when the Eucharist is being celebrated.

    I’m not saying the bread becomes deity or humanity. It is bread. It looks like bread, tastes like bread, etc. I’m saying Christ is present in the Eucharist and that we feed on Him spiritually.

    Why did Christ become man? So we could participate in His Divine Nature.
    Why the Eucharist? Same reason.

    I’m still waiting for someone to explain this. The patristic scholars I read say that the fathers undrestood this as a participation in the relationship between Father and Son such that God loves us as He loves His Son. When you guys talk, sometimes it sounds as if there is an ontological mingling of being taking place. I’m not saying that is what you are advocating, but it sure sounds like it at times.

    When we eat the Eucharist, we are receiving the whole living and glorified Christ as He is sitting at the right hand of the Father.

    I actually agree. What I am denying is that Christ’s human nature absorbs divine attributes in the process, which is what transubstantiation says implicitly, if not directly.

    Receiving Christ’s Body, we become members of His Body, the Church. St. Paul says so.

    We become members of His body via baptism. We participate in Christ via the Eucharist.

    You are a Calvinist, right? How does it make you feel that Calvin’s only motive in concocting his view of the Eucharist was to unite Lutherans snd Zwinglians in a common front against Rome.
    Truth be damned!

    I don’t know what you are talking about here. Calvin’s only motive was to get people to agree against Rome. Umm, no.

    Every explanation other than Transubstantiation leads to more problems than it solves.

    The memorial view doesn’t take the full witness of Scripture into account.

    Consubstantiation makes the humanity of Christ full-on ubiquitous. Talk about confusing the natures. Besides that, I’m not even sure if Lutherans know what they mean by their understanding.

    Transubstantiation imports foreign Aristotelian categories into the biblical witness.

    The actual Calvinist real presence view preserves the mystery.

  105. Jim–

    You wrote::

    “When we eat the Eucharist, we are receiving the whole living and glorified Christ as He is sitting at the right hand of the Father. This is unlike eating dead meat that is transformed into our body.”

    Nice articulation of the Calvinist Eucharist. I knew you’d come over to our side!

  106. Jonathan–

    I appreciate your desire to keep things civil. But one can advocate just a strenuously (even if not as directly) in explaining a belief as in arguing for a belief.

    What I really have trouble appreciating is your penchant for letting your opponents know when you think we are being “idiotic” or “bigoted”…ostensibly “for our own good.” These are not “civil” actions on your part. Don’t get me wrong. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t feel like calling almost all of you far worse things. I do my best to quash these emotions…though sometimes, I admit, anger or impatience gets the better of me.

    In addition, it’s difficult for me to process how your constantly dragging Calvin’s name through the mud enhances civil discussion.

    So, if you want to be taken seriously–if you want to be treated with respect–if you want us all to act civilly, then why not just be civil yourself?

    (I went back to John 10 in Brown’s commentary. He doesn’t mention a thing about losing one’s salvation.)

  107. He offers His Body as a living sacrifice.

    He is the Bread of Life.

    All who receive Him, receive the Father and Holy Spirit Who live in Him.

  108. One of the best ways to expand a person’s understanding of the Eucharist is to look at the complexity of the human body. I tried to take this route before when looking at the complexity of human blood.

    The human body is mind blowing and the human brain is barely used to its potential. (How is it that Jesus could see and hear what the Father was doing)

    When we talk about the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus being present in the Eucharist as His gift to us, we’re not just talking about part and partial, it is the total gift of all He is to us.

    He is the True Lamb of God in every way possible (especially the ways we don’t know about or understand).

    Through Him, and with Him, and in Him,
    O God, Almighty Father,
    in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    All glory and honor is Yours,
    for ever and ever. Amen.

  109. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    “Nice articulation of the Calvinist Eucharist. I knew you’d come over to our side!”

    Ha! Not so fast. We receive all of the glorified Christ by concomitance BECAUSE we receive His Body( under the appearances of bread ). We are not lifted up in spirit to the heavenly places to receive in spirit like you say.

    Remember the Longnecker article. The term “Real Presence” is sleight of hand used by Anglicans of the Calvinist ilk to actually deny what we mean. Just last evening I was reviewing some stuff on the Black Rubric. The Book of Common Prayer was put together by Calvinists and Zwinglians but ti look kind of Catholic for the simple/

  110. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    “We become members of His body via baptism. We participate in Christ via the Eucharist.”

    Yes, we are Baptized into Christ one Body. And we grow in that union via the Eucharist. We are one because we all eat of the same loaf. 1 Cor 10:17
    We eat the Body of Christ to be transformed into the Body of Christ.

    Transubstantiation is a change in the bread and the brad only. The Fathers spoke of a conversion, a becoming,

    Tertullian says, He made bread into His Body”. Augustine said. ” the bread passes into the nature of the Lord’s Body”.

    Theodoret says that it only appears to be bread.

    This change is brought about by the words, a pray, or the invoking of the Holy Ghost. St. Gregory called the priest’s words a “mystic sword” that would change the elements into the separate Body and Blood of Christ were He not in glory just as Christ did at the Supper.

    The change is real. It is objective. It is not dependent on the faith of the recipient. It comes about by the words of the priest.
    And the Presence remains as long as the appearances of bread remain.

  111. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    “Yes, but if I walk across the room, I’m no longer at the computer anymore. I’m in one place at a time. That’s the entire point. A human nature can’t be in more than one place at a time.”

    Christ does not walk across the room, does not leave heaven. Again, the change or conversion is in the bread only.
    This is, for me, the key to understanding this. The bread is changed. Christ is not. Remember the wine to vinegar analogy in which the change takes place in both. This not Transubstantiation. Christ already exists, in one place. The bread is changed into that Body that is in heaven. That Body which never leaves heaven is present on our altars as substance. Substance has no place.

    The substance of your body is discernible by the mind where its accidents are when you walk across the room.

    Now, as for the Humanity of Christ being absorbed into His Divinity or whater you said,

    You said,

    “I’m not saying the bread becomes deity or humanity. It is bread. It looks like bread, tastes like bread, etc. I’m saying Christ is present in the Eucharist and that we feed on Him spiritually.”

    We feed on him spiritually, according to Augustine, not to deny we feed on His real flesh but merely to refute those Capharnaumites who, like Protestants of today, accuse us of cannibalism.

    And yes, Christ became man so that we we can become gods ( or godlike ). So say the Fathers. ( No they were not Mormons. We always remain creatures ).
    As Mass, when the priest mingles water with wine, he says.” By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled Himself to share in our humanity”.
    Paul says Christ was born of a woman so that we could become adopted sons.

    Of course, we were reconciled to God by the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. But we were also made one with Him at the Incarnation, at Mary’s fiat, when the divinity and humanity kissed in the person of Jesus Christ.

    You said,

    “What I am denying is that Christ’s human nature absorbs divine attributes in the process, which is what transubstantiation says implicitly, if not directly.”

    Not at all. Pay attention to this; If , on Holy Saturday, the Apostles had tried to say Mass and confect the Eucharist, they would have gotten dead flesh as Christ was separated from His animating soul. His Blood was separated from soul and Body at that time too. However, both Body and Blood were not separated from the divinity.

    Subsequent to the Resurrection, when the soul of Christ was reunited with His Body, the Apostles could say Mass and get the glorified Christ. The Eucharist is always the same Body as Christ has, whether passible as at the Last Supper or glorified as it is now.
    At no time do we say the humanity absorbs the divinity although it is never separated from it, even in death.
    Christ said. “This is MY Body”. “My” is the possessive of the Person Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, true God and true man, was not a human being. He was a divine being with an assumed human nature. But only one Person. That divine Person is always with His human nature but they remain distinct.

  112. JMJ

    Robert,

    Jesus is not nor ever was a human person. He was and is a divine Person with a human nature.
    In the Eucharist, the bread us changed into Christ’s Body and the wine into His Blood. But as they are not separated in heaven from each other or His human soul and divinity they are not separated in the Eucharist. That is why we don’t make a big deal about receiving from the chalice as Protestants do.

    St. Paul said if one eats OR drinks unworthily, he is guilty of profaning BOTH the Body AND the Blood. Aristotle didn’t say that. Paul did.

  113. J.M.J.

    Eric,
    By the way, you keep bringing up what certain groups believe. Just believing isn’t enough. Even believing what the Catholic Church believes about the Real Presence is not enough. Some Anglicans might even profess Transubstantiation. Nice, but no cigar.

    My wife phoned me from Paris last night and mentioned she had been visiting the splendid churches there. She mentioned there was a little chapel right across the street from her hotel where she is planning to go to Mass today for the feast of the Annunciation. She has attended a couple of Masses there and said they use a sort of eastern rite she is not familiar with but the people there are so pious and have such devotion to Mary and the Blessed Sacrament. They nuns even wear an image of the monstrance on their habits.
    I asked her for the name of the Church and she said they are Mariavite Catholics. I said, “Whoa!”. http://www.mariawita.pl/htmls/indexang.html

    Those folks are not Catholics. And despite all their pious devotion to the Eucharist and Mary, and their claim to Apostolic Succession,they probably have no real Real Presence at all because their priesthood has been corrupted and rendered invalid.. At least for any male priest ordained by a female bishop.

    A real priest is needed for the Real Presence. That’s why neither the Anglicans nor the Mariavites have it.

  114. J.M.J.

    Robert,
    Let me come at it from another angle.
    You can mentally conceive of 100 side geometric figure but you cannot actually imagine it.
    You can conceive of a human person but if I ask you you to explain it, images of a particular man, fat or thin, bald or with hair, wearing a suit or bib-overalls will intrude into your imagination. The concept of human is devoid of particular features like hair, dress and weight.

    Think of animal. Not an animal. but animal. The concept can be conceived of but the imagination will try to interject particular features into your mind imaging some weird chimera, right?

    Christ at no time leaves heaven and moves through space to our altars. Nor is he created in the Host. Nor is the bread annihilated and He then takes its place. Christ undergoes no change. Not even when the Host gets old and moldy. Christ does not turn into moldy bread. His presence just recedes. He is present in the Host, under the appearances of bread as He is in heaven with all of his dimensions and other accidents.
    Christ no more suffers change in the Real Presence than He suffers in the Sacrifice of the Mass. He does not change.

    We say Christ is in the Host, but the imagination wants to shrink Christ down to fit into a little white circle. Or to divide Christ up into pieces of meat.
    Fight this as much as you can and use your mind and Faith to believe all of Christ is present just as He is at the right hand of the Father.

    Again, substance has no location in and of itself. Accidents do. A substance is present according to accidents. ( Think of this; you never actually see, taste or touch an apple. Only its accidents. Substance is taken in only by the mind and Faith ).

    Again, we are made Christ’s Body in the Eucharist. To say we digest Christ is to fal into an error called Stercorarianism. It said Christ is digested and passes into the latrine.

  115. Jim–

    Ha, not so fast! If substance has no location (which sounds utterly ridiculous, but hey, let’s go with it), then we can be physically lifted to heaven as easily as Christ can be teleported to earth. In your Eucharist, he remains where he is. In ours, we remain where we are.

    And we have a duly ordained priest…after the Order of Melchizedek.

  116. Jim–

    You all don’t make a big deal about Communion in both kinds because in your Bible, Jesus gave them the bread and said, “This is my body and my blood.” And then he gave them the wine and said, “Whoops, I already gave you everything you need. I guess I’ll drink this.”

  117. Jim–

    Fr. Longenecker doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There is no “sleight of hand” going on. Every formulation of the Real Presence is corpoREAL. And every formulation, including transubstantiation, is mediated spiritually.

  118. Jim–

    You don’t like Receptionism, and yet Catholicism is receptionistic when it comes to adult baptism.

    Here’s Augustine (quoted in the Summa):

    On the contrary, Augustine says (Serm. clxix): “He Who created thee without thee, will not justify thee without thee.” But since a sinner’s will is ill-disposed, he does not co-operate with God. Therefore it is useless to employ Baptism as a means of justification.

    In other words, an adult candidate for baptism, doing so under false pretenses, is NOT regenerated.

    By the way, Lutherans (and many Anglicans) are not receptionistic. And the Black Rubric has to do with Eucharistic Adoration, not Receptionism. All Anglo-Catholics, however, and supposedly, some Lutherans, including Luther himself, have/had no problem with adoration.

  119. Jim,

    Jesus is not nor ever was a human person. He was and is a divine Person with a human nature.

    Agreed. Which is why we can have access to the whole Christ in the Eucharist even though His human nature remains constrained by limitations such as time and space. By virtue of the deity of Christ and its perfect union with His humanity, we have access to His humanity every time we have access to His deity. But His humanity stays in heaven. If it is present under the accidents of bread, then it is no longer subject to the limitations of a human nature. It has become something more than human.

    Christ at no time leaves heaven and moves through space to our altars. Nor is he created in the Host. Nor is the bread annihilated and He then takes its place. Christ undergoes no change.

    What happens to the substance of the bread if the bread is not annhilated. If in the Eucharist the substance we receive is Christ, where did the substance of the bread go?

    Fight this as much as you can and use your mind and Faith to believe all of Christ is present just as He is at the right hand of the Father.

    But I do believe that all of Christ is present. I just don’t believe that His human nature is omnipresent or able to be in thousands of of RC services at the same time but in different places.

    Again, substance has no location in and of itself. Accidents do. A substance is present according to accidents.

    If this is true, then would not the accidents of bread mean that the substance of bread is what is received in the mouth and not the substance of Christ? Our, if the accidents of bread are present and a substance is present according to its accidents, then that should mean that when we have the accidents of bread what we have is the substance of bread.

    I really would like to get a better handle on this. Jonathan told me that what transubstantiation entails is that Christ is personally present in the Eucharist. If that is so, I don’t really see what the major difference is between Calvin’s view and Rome’s view except that Calvin doesn’t employ Aristotelian categories to explain it.

  120. JMJ

    Eric,

    Of course former Anglican priest doesn’t know as much as you on Anglicanism. No more than Jerry Walls knows Compatibilism. None of the Catholics on this blog understand Calvinism like you do. Fr. Most was a “kucklehead”, right? Newman a “twit”.
    I can’t keep track of all the people you have dismissed as being nincompoops compared to you.

  121. Jim–

    Cut the B.S.

    There are plenty of former Catholics who you don’t believe ever understood the faith properly.

    (Besides, you’re wrong. I spelled “knucklehead” with an “n.” ;) )

  122. My comment is awaiting moderation???????

    Is this a glitch?

  123. @Eric:
    It’s a glitch. Probably too many links.

  124. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    ” But His humanity stays in heaven. If it is present under the accidents of bread, then it is no longer subject to the limitations of a human nature. It has become something more than human.”

    Christ’s Body stays in heaven “circumscribed” under its own dimensions and spatial extension. Agreed.
    Again, ‘Hoc est Corpus meum”. The “meum” is that of God hypostatically united to a human nature.

    “What happens to the substance of the bread if the bread is not annhilated. If in the Eucharist the substance we receive is Christ, where did the substance of the bread go?”

    Ah ha! Now you are asking questions right out of the Summa’s objections.
    The substance of the bread is *changed*, not annihilated. If it were annihilated and replace by Christ, your objections would hold water.
    If you get up out of your chair and walk away, and Eric then puts his nasty bottom down in your chair, that would not be like an annihilation and then a replacement. But not a change.
    What you suggest would require movement on the part of Christ who would then have to traverse space to come and take the place of the annihilated bread. To be rejected!

    The accidents remain but adhere to no substance. Voila! It’s a miracle.

    Robert, Calvin’s theory is not our theory. His is more Zwinglian than Lutheran even. ( By the way, consubstantiation is not a change. And Christ suffers alteration in joining with the bread. To be rejected!

    Before moving on, let me reiterate my position, the position held by the Fathers.

    1. Christ is objectively Present in the Eucharist.
    2. That Presence comes about by a change, conversion, transformation, morphing, of the bread and only the bread into an ALREADY EXISTING CHRIST. ( Otherwise Christ would suffer change and you would be correct to say has many bodies in the Catholic system).
    3. The change takes place at the words of the priest. The change does not depend upon anything else. No receptionism.

  125. J.M.J.

    Jonathan,

    Why is there never a physicist around when you need one?

    You are a physicist, yes? I am not going to show my ignorance and try to explain to Robert what “substance” means and does not mean.
    I know enough to know that there is some fine tuning to be done to help Robert wrap his head around Transubstantiation.
    How about doing your duty and pinch hitting here?

  126. +JMJ+

    Jim,

    Simple answer is that Substance is metaphysical, not physical.

  127. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    Are we talking about Baptism? Tim Kauffman likes to muddy the waters on the Eucharist with Baptism too.

    Cyril said that Baptism causes an accidental change ( in the soul ).
    The Eucharist is a substantial change. Apples and Oranges.

    If you really want to read some mind blowing accounts of Baptism, google the case of the notorious Dutch Schulz a.k.a. Arthur Flegenheimer ( yes, he was a Jewish gangster ).

    Or the story of Edgardo Mortara. You will really hate us!

    Or read of John Wayne’s death bed Baptism.

    As 1 picture=1,000 words, the parable-like accounts of the Duke, the Dutchman and a little Jewish baby will enlighten you.

    And yes, tell Robert that the Calvinist/Zwinglian Black Rubic forbade adoration of Christ in the sacrament proving your Real Presence and our Real Presence are light years apart. ( But the 1662 revision dressed it up to smell Catholic and affirmed a “Real Presence” but denied a “corporeal” one ).

  128. J.M.J.

    Eric,

    You are sorely mistaken. Lutherans are allowed to believe in receptionism.
    While some believe in the “manducatio impiorum”, not all do.

    Just as both spellings, knucklehead and kucklehead are acceptable in some circles.

  129. J.M.J.

    Wosbald,

    Yes. I just know the way someone who deals in the empirical sciences speak of substance is different from how philosophers use the term and, like I explained to Robert this morning, the physical imagination will get in the way of understanding and appeal to the first definition rather than the mental or spiritual one.

  130. Jim–

    And you are sorely mistaken. Though some Lutherans consecrate the elements at the sickbed of an invalid, others hold it in reserve and take it to them. (There’s a whole discussion of its propriety in the LCMS, where, as a matter of practicality in larger congregations, the pastor cannot make the rounds to everybody.)

  131. Jim–

    I wasn’t trying to muddy the waters. Just trying to ascertain Catholic thinking. The Holy Spirit is sacramentally present in the waters of baptism, yet no Catholic would bow down and worship. (The Third Person of the Trinity gets absolutely no respect!) Nor would you bow down to each other…though ontologically united to Christ. Wherein lies the difference for you?

  132. @Jim:
    Only have time for a quick comment. I agree with Wosbald, but in terms of physical analogies from the present day that might be helpful, consider the light that we receive from stars that are now long-dead. We perceive a physical presence of those stars even though the substance is long gone. The bread and wine in the Eucharist is like that: a physical echo of a substance that is no longer there.

    In terms of Jesus’s personal presence, one can make an analogy to the indwelling of the Trinity in the believer’s soul. Obviously, the soul is not metaphysically “big” enough to contain God, but God can be specially and really present to the soul in a certain way, which we call indwelling. It’s kind of like videoconferencing; my body isn’t present as a body, but there is a real physical sign of my presence thay enables me to communicate with my body as if I were there.

  133. RCs,

    If Christ’s human body is literally present in New York and in Lisbon at the same time and in the same sense during the Mass, how has it not taken on attributes that are not human?

  134. Yes the indwelling of the Trinity in each Christian’s soul is itself a quite profound miracle! Think about that the next time you look into the eyes of another Christian. Maybe we should bow.

  135. “Maybe we should bow”

    or love them….

    “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.” Mark 9:41

  136. Robert,

    “If Christ’s human body is literally present in New York and in Lisbon at the same time and in the same sense during the Mass, how has it not taken on attributes that are not human”

    You sound like you don’t believe that Christ is fully human and fully divine or that He is in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Why the separation?

  137. @Eric and Lane:
    I agree with Lane. It is entirely appropriate to venerate other Christians on account of their union with Christ in the Holy Spirit. We just don’t worship them, because they don’t become the very person of God. I have no qualms about bowing or kneeling before statues of Mary and Joseph, for example.

    @Robert:
    Glorified bodies do a lot of things that aren’t physically possible for normal human bodies. Jesus walked through walls, changed His appearance, appeared and disappeared, yet cooked and ate fish as well. Even His ascending to Heaven is a supraphysical act. So glorified bodies are much more like the pure capability to manifest physically, much like the angelic bodies in the Old Testament, but still characteristic to the person.

    The Eucharist is really not different than the Old Testament theophanies. It’s just that Jesus’s glorified body now comes along when He manifests Himself with signs and wonders (which the Eucharist is). It would be more unusual to think that Jesus was manifesting in a theophany post-Incarnation without His Body than with it.

  138. There is extensive discussion in the Catechism about the role of the Holy Spirit in the liturgy:
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s1c1a1.htm

    The epiclesis (“let your Spirit come down upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ”) is the Eucharistic invocation taught by Tradition. It reinforces that the Eucharist is an act of manifestation by God on Earth, not an ascent to Heaven but a look toward Heaven.

  139. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    “if Christ’s human body is literally present in New York and in Lisbon at the same time and in the same sense during the Mass, how has it not taken on attributes that are not human?”

    When sperm and egg meet, an altogether new person begins to exist. In the case of Christ, the Holy Spirit acted upon the flesh of Mary and an already existing Person assumed a human nature. He did not begin.

    In the Mass, the same Holy Spirit acts upon the bread and wine and they are transformed into the Body and Blood of the already existing Person, Jesus Christ who is in heaven. The quantity of that Body is not added to or increased in anyway. There is not more of it. It is the same Body and Blood, not different.

    What has happened is the manner of Presence is now different. In heaven, Christ is circumscribed locally by His own dimensions. On the altar, that same Body of Christ is present but under the accidents of what only appears to be bread,

    Before His Bread of Life discourse Christ fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish.Not 5000 fish. Only 5. and yet the Bible says,

    12 “When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”
    13
    So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets* with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.”

    Jesus’ ministers filled 12 wicker baskets of what was left of the ***FIVE***loaves.
    The quantity of loaves did not reverse itself after the feeding. And it was precious enough to be gathered up and not wasted.

    Nowhere does the text say the number of loaves had been increased from 5. What seems to have been multiplied was not the loaves and fishes themselves but their manner of presence. %,000 people ate their fill of 5 loaves of bread.

    Bread. Jesus called Himself the Bread that came down from heaven. He said this Bread surpassed the O.T. types of manna. Manna was miraculous bread that transformed itself to every taste.

    Please, can anyone yell me how the Protestant Eucharist surpasses its O.T. type of Manna? How does it even come close to measuring up to its miraculous type and shadow? It appears that Manna is greater than a mere symbolic or “spiritual” bread from heaven. The shadow outshines the Protestant fulfillment.

  140. JMJ

    Eric,

    How soon you forget! I have told you on at least two occasions of the case of the newly baptized baby Origen whose father would creep up to his cradle, unbutton his nightshirt at the breast and adore the indwelling Holy Spirit therein.

    It was if the child was a living tabernacle of the Spirit.

  141. J.M.J.

    Robert,

    By the way, to be technically accurate, the bread at Mass is not changed into God. Rather, it is changed into Christ’s human Body only. But as it is the real body of Christ which is hypostatically untied to the Word along with His blood and human soul,the entire Christ is present under what appears to be bread.

    We approach the divinity of Christ by the Body, not the reverse as you keep insisting. Bread is not changed into God.

  142. J.M.J.

    Robert and Eric,

    Melchizedek was a bread and wine priest. Do your ministers share in that priesthood?

    By the way, Eric, some Anglicans genuflect. Some don’t. Do you?

    Robert, how are those other O.T. types and shadows of the Eucharist. specifically the Shewbread and the keeping of the Passover Feast for 8 days with unleavened bread. fulfilled in your church? They were very physical shadows. Have the physical shadows been replaced by non-physical, “spiritual” realities?

  143. JMJ

    Debbie,

    Oh, and Happy Feast of the Annunciation! Mary was the first living Tabernacle that carried the Bread of Angels.

  144. Jonathan–

    In the Calvinistic ascent into heaven, the gifts “become for us” the Body and Blood of our Lord Christ. Your cited epiclesis neither states nor implies anything different.

    The “sursum corda” (lift up your hearts) of the Mass comes from very early in the church. Here is the Syriac Orthodox version:

    Celebrant: The love of God the Father +, the grace of the Only-begotten Son + and the fellowship and descent of the Holy Spirit + be with you all, my brethren, forever.
    People: Amen. And with your spirit.
    Celebrant: Upward, where Christ sits on the right hand of God the Father, let our thoughts, minds and hearts be at this hour.
    People: They are with the LORD God.
    Celebrant: Let us give thanks to the LORD in awe.
    People: It is meet and right.

    This is an ANCIENT liturgy. And it has the Spirit descending, the participants ascending, and Christ staying put.

  145. @Eric:
    I am familiar with Calvin’s heretical interpretation of the sursum corda, which is why I said that we look upward but that we do not ascend. We have neither the ability nor the command to ascend to Heaven to take Christ down. We look up, and Christ descends to us through the power of the Spirit. Turning the epiclesis upside-down was only one example of Calvin’s heretical pneumatology and Nestorian Christology.

    Julie Canlis’s book Calvin’s Ladder gives a great explanation of how Calvin developed a Christianized theology of Platonic ascent based around the role of the Spirit. Unfortunately, it completely violated the Tradition and introduced a completely alien concept to Christianity, as reflected in the liturgical deviation.

  146. J.M.J.
    Eric,
    “In the Calvinistic ascent into heaven, the gifts “become for us” the Body and Blood of our Lord Christ.”

    “For us true believers” right? And I thought you said you did not believe in receptionism.

    Of course, this can be taken in a totally orthodox way. Then again, in a way that denies Transubstantiation and any real Real Presence”. Perfect for the Book of Common Prayer!

  147. J.M.J,

    Eric,

    The Presence is real, objective, not dependent on the faith of the recipiant nor invalidated by the sinfulness of unbelief of the celebrant. This can be seen by the fact the Christ was present outside of the Mass.

    St. Cyril of Alexandria said,

    “Some are so foolish as to say that the mystical blessing departs from the sacrament, if any of its fragments remain until the next day: for Christ’s consecrated Body is not changed, and the power of the blessing and the life-giving grace is perpetually in it.”

    St. Augustine says, “Let no man eat till he have first adored.”
    So we adore the Christ in the Blessed Sacrament before our reception.

    And again, the change takes place at the words of the priest, not after.
    Augustine ( just one of many ) said, “Not every bread, but that which receives the blessing becomes the Body of Christ,”

    I could multiply quotes but suffice it to say that even over on that other blog, the demonic one dedicated to the denial and mockery of the Blessed Sacrament, your amigo and his mentor T.K. ( I don’t want to conjure up any demons ), it is admitted that the Catholic Church taught the real objective presence comes about by the power of the Holy Spirit when the priest speaks the words of Consecration from an early date. They just try to nullify it by asserting that an even earlier “Christian” church did not. They place the Apostasy almost as far back as the Mormons do. But even using their own logic, you ( and they ) must concede that from the 3rd century until the Deformation, it was the teaching of the visible Church. IOW, there was no visible Church on earth for well over a 1,000 years, only a bread worshiping Harlot.

  148. J.M.J.

    Eric and Robert,

    About that Manna business, remember how it was put in a golden urn and then placed in the Ark of the Covenant where it was preserved for centuries?

    We Catholics say this would be a type of Mary, the incorruptible Ark lined with gold, carried within herself the Bread of Life.

    How would you fellows say the golden urn filled with heavenly Bread and carried about in an incorruptible Ark is now fulfilled? How is the reality any greater than its shadow for you lads?

  149. Eric,

    Jonathan said, “We have neither the ability nor the command to ascend to Heaven to take Christ down. We look up, and Christ descends to us through the power of the Spirit.”

    I would ask you to honestly say you ascend to Heaven and take Christ down.

    You can’t, it isn’t possible. If you have any knowledge (I am assuming you do have some personal experience) of how the Holy Spirit works you should be able to state with ease that we CAN’T ascend.

    That is the indescribably beauty of the ‘gift given’ to us in the here and now on earth.

    What is hidden in the Sacred Host is the glory of His love.

  150. Eric,

    Jonathan’s tagging of Calvin with Platonism is certainly inventive, considering that his entire tradition is built on Platonic and Neo-Platonic ideas of gradation of being.

  151. Eric and Jonathan,

    We have neither the ability nor the command to ascend to Heaven to take Christ down.

    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=641914

    We don’t, but the priest does. Jesus bows His head to the priests command. That of course isn’t heretical because, well, its Roman Catholic. But the idea that the omnipotent Son of God might be able to bring us into heaven, well, that’s just beyond the pale.

    I guess the author of Hebrews should be a Roman Catholic heretic as well, then:

    18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly[a] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Heb. 12:18–24)

    The idea that we might enter heaven is indeed preposterous if you think the Bible is a dead, closed book of riddles and only authoritative when Rome deigns to say it is so.

    Simply amazing.

  152. Jim,

    How would you fellows say the golden urn filled with heavenly Bread and carried about in an incorruptible Ark is now fulfilled? How is the reality any greater than its shadow for you lads?

    The manner in the urn was both a reminder of God’s provision and the people’s sin in not abiding by God’s commands regarding the manna.

    Christ Himself is the actual nourishing bread from heaven, who doesn’t have to be trapped in a container as a reminder of our sin but who is given to us as the one who saves us from sin. The manna only pointed out sin; Christ points out salvation.

    What you are suggesting is allegory, not typology. Just at the very base level, Mary didn’t carry Jesus around forever, and she doesn’t carry him around now. In no place in the NT is it suggested that Mary was an ark or an urn or any other such nonsense, and it certainly isn’t the case that she was incorruptible. She was a sinner no less than you or me.

  153. Robert,

    You asserted : “In no place in the NT is it suggested that Mary was an ark or an urn or any other such nonsense”

    Does this NT passage not “suggest” that Mary just might be the fulfillment of the ark?

    Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

    And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, (Revelation 11:19 – 12:5 ESV)

    Of course you will disagree with the interpretation, but it does “suggest”.

  154. Before I forget…
    @Robert:

    None of this is relevant. The RPW simply says that whatever we do in Scripture must have biblical warrant. To that in, most hardcore RPW advocates distinguish between things such as the time of service (which is not prescribed) and other things such as teaching (which is).

    Full disclosure: While I adhere to the RPW in a broad sense, I think that the way it has been applied in certain streams of the Reformed tradition is wrong. I think Calvin went too far at times in trying to apply it, and I’m no Puritan.

    That’s essentially admitting the problem. If the RPW is a normative principle from God, then you’re admitting that you have no principled means of distinguishing its revealed content. You and Calvin shouldn’t disagree based on due use of ordinary means. Based on Nick’s argument, you’re conceding the point, which is a sola scriptura failure.

    This is just wrong. Again, the things we know about the synagogue service—singing, teaching, Scripture reading—that we know of at least, has express biblical warrant. And where does Jesus judge His adversaries and condemn them for violating tradition that is contrary to Scripture or that is not found in Scripture directly or by good and necessary consequence?

    To avoid any needless contention, I will note that “good and necessary” in this context means something more like “necessary” in the “necessary and proper clause,” i.e., useful. I am not trying to make a constrained view of the term. However, “good and necessary” is still a normative principle, so one has to interpret and apply it (i.e., it isn’t self-executing). The synagogue service has no express Biblical warrant; it exists by an application of the normative principle. The divine authority issues the normative interpretation that allowed it. Individuals did not have the authority to establish their own principles of worship. Likewise, the New Testament worship is a matter of the divine authority in the New Testament. Just as Jesus considered the Old Testament worship as an acceptable interpretation of Scripture by the divine authority, so He made provision for the same divine authority in the New Testament.

    Sure. Which is also why it is significant that Protestant worship looks far more like first-century pre-Christian synagogue worship than RC or EO liturgies do.

    That’s not a commending virtue; Judaizing (the belief that the Old Testament worship is normative) is a Christian heresy. That would basically concede the point that you hadn’t made the transition to the New Covenant worship.

    By good and necessary consequence, if people are killed in Scripture for doing things in worship that aren’t given in Scripture, Scripture must guide our liturgy.

    The point is that they aren’t killed for “doing things in worship that aren’t given in Scripture.” They are killed for doing unauthorized things in worship, period. There is a divine authority that can authorize worship that goes beyond Scripture, which happened with the synagogue tradition. But individuals don’t get to decide that they can do something else by “good and necessary consequence.” The divine authority decides that.

    And of course, just because Scripture says something is good, doesn’t mean it is to be done in worship. The animal sacrifices are an obvious example, but of course they are explicitly set aside in the NT.

    But that isn’t your decison to make. You aren’t the divine authority; God established that. You even need to have a divine authority to normatively interpret your “good and necessary consequence” principle, but you don’t have one, so you’ve conceded liturgical anarchy. Your regulative “principle” is no principle at all, because there are no principled means from distinguishing divinely authorized liturgy from man-made liturgy.

    Christian liberty means you follow principles and don’t impose on people a burden that Scripture doesn’t command. Where does Scripture say not to have a benediction, not to preach, not to sing? Welcome to Protestant liturgy.

    Yes, but you have no authoritative way of saying where your “principle” becomes a “burden.” You and Calvin disagreed on that. So indeed, welcome to Protestant liturgy, which is every sect (and indeed every man) does whatever he wants to do with no normative guidance.

    Translation: you can’t give me apostolic evidence that the Eucharist was a propitiatory sacrifice.

    On the contrary, all of the evidence, when interpreted in light of the contemporaneous cultural evidence, shows clearly that it was a sacrifice. Nor is there any concept of a “non-propitiatory sacrifice” evidenced in history. If it’s a sacrifice, it’s propitiatory.

    One may not accept an early Christian practice as Christian unless it can be confirmed by what the Apostles taught. So again, look at the only sure source of Apostolic teaching we have, the NT. Nothing in there about elevating the host, venerating statutes, etc.

    We interpret normative teachings based on the culture that receives them. That’s why we accept the synagogue tradition as a legitimate religious practice under the Old Testament. So you want us to do something completely different that we would do in any other circumstance with the New Testament, which is to blind ourselves to how the text was normatively received by the religious body it it happened after some arbitrary line that you established. That isn’t sensible. It should be exactly the other way around; all early Christian practices should be presumed to be Christian in the absence of compelling evidence that they originated somewhere else (which we don’t have, by the way).

    Give me the archaeological evidence for what the Apostles did in worship that we do not have in the NT. Not some practice from the second century that claims to be Christian—unless it can be verified from the actual Apostolic tradition that we do have.

    And that’s not doing history. The practices in the second century *are* the evidence of Apostolic tradition. When we are looking for any kind of normative tradition, we would look for the people who received the law (here, Christians who accepted Scripture) and study how they applied it as normative. In any normal exercise of history, we would let the culture of the normative document interpret what is normative, because the document itself was intended to serve as a norm in that culture. This is basically an admission that you aren’t doing history; you are taking your theological and philosophical presuppositions about revelation and Scriptural authority, which were not derived empirically in any sense, and performing some kind of pseudo-history where you disregard massive amounts of relevant evidence about the normative practices of the receiving community.

    And by the way, that methodology is unsound when speaking of Christian reception of other cultural elements as well. For example, when interpreting Neoplatonism, we don’t “read back” the Christian adaptation of Neoplatonism into the pagan Neoplatonists. Rather, we look at the pagan Neoplatonist community to determine the normative sense of the revealed texts. An extraordinary amount of bad history resulted from trying to lump “Hellenistic philosophy” into a single bucket, and it’s taken years to undo some of the early mistakes made by scholars like Harnack. But you’re doing the same thing with the New Testament, separating its concepts from the normative community in which it was intended to operate.

    It is not some “bizarre rule.” If you apply the due use of ordinary means to the NT, you simply do not get Roman Catholic liturgy. I would say that a good portion of the RC liturgy can be verified as Apostolic. I’ve been to mass. Benedictions, singing, homilies, etc. can all be found in the NT. What can’t be found are specifically unique RC practices such as the adoration of the host.

    The “bizarre rule” is cutting off all evidence after the first century of the normative sense of Scripture. That’s not doing history, at least not any kind of history I’ve ever seen. “Due use of ordinary means” would mean that the normative community would determine your reading of the Scripture. And likewise, rather than humbly sitting before the normative community of history, you have set yourself up as the divine authority for what a “good and necessary consequence” based on “due use of ordinary means” is. You are normatively judging “good and necessary” and “due,” both of which are heavily laden with a normative sense that requires authoritative interpretation.

    Christianity is a revealed revelation, which means our touchstone is divine revelation. You all are the ones treating amorphous oral tradition as if it is revelation without any justification except that the church does it. Sola ecclesia.

    There’s nothing amorphous about it. We interpret normative traditions in this way for all kinds of cultures all the time, based on nothing more than ordinary reason. It’s why basically every reasonable man, woman, and child knows what the federal government is. The fact that Christianity is a revealed religion shouldn’t make any difference at all, except to say that the law and government is infallible for having been divinely established. In other words, it’s a divine version of the same thing.

    Likewise, we wouldn’t consider our government system sola anything. There are different branches and different normative sources, and it is the collective working that is the normative operation of the system. But if someone came in and said “the Constitution is the only law, and every man determines for himself what the law is,” we would look at him like he was insane (except in religious matters in Protestantism, where this sort of religious anarchy is apparently encouraged as “Christian liberty”).

    I don’t rely on your belief in the church to justify scriptural authority. Your belief in the church cannot grant scriptural authority. You get sola ecclesia.

    Then your belief in Scripture is fideistic and irrational, so I have no reason to believe anything you say about religion generally. You have a religious opinion, and I have no reason to accept it.

    God is self-authenticating. What rational means did Abraham need besides God Himself to rationally believe in Him? What rational means did Peter need besides Jesus Himself to rationally believe in Him.

    If you run into God on the street, Incarnate or otherwise, then I would urge you not to deny Him. But if He decided to reveal Himself to us by means of normative, public revelation, then we need a principled means for interpreting the normative principles.

    So are you calling Paul a liar now? Are you saying he didn’t have Apostolic authority before Peter said “this guy is kosher”?

    No, what I am saying is that based on ordinary historical methods, we can’t just say “well, Jesus sent these people, so what they said must be true,” because Paul doesn’t fall into that ordinary historical path. Had Paul been completely rejected by the apostolic community at the time, we surely wouldn’t have accepted his witness on historical reasons. In another example, Luke was a historian, but he didn’t meet Jesus in person, so it’s really the community attesting to the normative status of his record. In other words, even from a historical perspective, it isn’t as simple as direct transmission from Jesus. Once that idea of mediation is introduced, that’s when the normative authority issue arises.

    By the nature of Scripture itself, its authors have Apostolic authority. End of story.

    That makes no sense. The nature of Scripture (written revelation) presumes a normative interpretive authority, just as written laws presume a government. It’s the other way around; you’re creating an ad hoc definition of normative writing based on your unjustified theological presuppositions. “End of story” isn’t an argument; you need to explain to me why Scripture was intended by God to work completely differently than its nature would lend us to believe.

    Actually, Rome is being the idiot here. Tradition is either a set body of content delivered by the Apostles or it is not. If it is, and that is clearly the notion of the NT whenever the Apostles speak of tradition, the only possible acceptable view of tradition in Romanism should be partim-partim. Which then means that you have the burden of proof to give us what the Apostles taught that is not recorded in Scripture. Good luck.

    No, it’s exactly the opposite. With any normative writing, there is always a government, so the very idea of normative writing includes at a minimum the normative culture and government. So you have the burden of proof for establishing why this normative writing is different from every other normative writing of which we have experience. Otherwise, the government is included in the definition of the authority of the normative writing, meaning that the authority of Scripture already includes T-M in the triad.

    Material sufficiency is a recent innovation that came about only because the best RC biblical scholars realized that the partim-partim view is not tenable either in the earliest tradition or simply in the ability of the church to give us any of the words or deeds of Jesus and the Apostles that were not written down in Scripture.

    Material sufficiency dates back to St. Thomas Aquinas explicitly, and I would argue based on extensive documentation that it was the universal view of the Early Church Fathers. To call it a recent innovation is ridiculous; the idea of partim-partim was much more recent, and it obviously was crafted in response to sola scriptura. It seems much more natural, and less ad hoc, to say that Tradition is just the normative reception of the deposit of Scripture.

    Now, having said that, you do make a good point about how one draws the line. And the simple answer to that is to go back to what Scripture actually says, and if it cannot be backed up by Apostolic tradition, it cannot be binding on the Christian conscience. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily wrong or sinful; it just cannot be enforced as something that must be believed for salvation. Thus, no mandatory feast days, no statement that you are going to hell if you don’t think Mary was bodily assumed into heaven, etc.

    Again, that’s just you appointing yourself as the judge of the normative matters, i.e., PJ1.

    If you don’t know what the unwritten culture is and its limits, then it can’t be normative. It is ever growing and simply consists of whatever the church decides to accept, whether or not you can actually trace it back to the Apostolic witness.

    The Apostolic witness includes how the Apostolic teaching was received. Unwritten cultures are normative all the time; that’s essentially what government and the rule of law is. The idea of tracing it back to the Apostolic witness, as if only what you can find in written records from the original sources is normative, is a weird theological idea that has no application in any other historical method.

    Christianity is a revealed religion, and the Apostles clearly see tradition as a set body of content. That rules out defining tradition as anything other than what the Apostles said and did, and what they would have us say and do until kingdom come. If you can’t produce a list of that, then you can’t judge anything by it. Not Rome. Not the East. Not Geneva or Wittenberg.

    No, it’s not a set body of content. It’s a series of normative operating principles for a society and culture that was intended to continue indefinitely (“until kingdom come”), and Scripture is only one piece of that set of principles. We judge normative cultures all the time; it’s a routine historical operation, and we should do the same with the normative culture that received Scripture. Societies don’t operate by lists, which would be impossible to administrate. They operate organically based on normative principles, which was just as true in the Old Testament as it is today. The only change is that Scripture and its associated government are infallible on Christian theological assumptions, but that doesn’t substantially change the analysis. If people asserted that because something wasn’t on a list that they didn’t have to follow the government, we would consider those people anarchists, but again, Protestantism excepts itself from this completely normal operation.

    So in sum, if tradition is a set body of content, then the only tenable RC view is partim-partim. And if it is a set body of content, then Rome should be able to give it to us. But Rome has no interest in doing so, because that would at least in theory limit what Rome could say and do.

    The whole “body of content” part is what’s ridiculous. The deposit of faith is primarily a set of operating principles, not a body of content. This idea that revelation is reducible to a body of content is exactly the idea that Catholicism rejects with the STM triad, which is exactly why the Protestant arguments based on it are just silly. Show me one normative human culture that ever operated on the idea of a closed “body of content” without further intepretation or experience! But you expect me to believe it of Protestantism. That is not based on experience; it’s based on imagination.

  155. JMJ

    Robert,
    You opined,

    “Mary didn’t carry Jesus around forever, and she doesn’t carry him around now”

    Who said she did? Not me.
    Did she carry Jesus around for a day? To Elizabeth where John the Baptist danced as did King David when the Ark approached him? Did she carry Jesus for 9 months?

    Yes? Then was was indeed a type of the Ark.

    You further opined,

    “. In no place in the NT is it suggested that Mary was an ark”

    Not “an” ark, Robert, THE ARK! The Ark of the Covenant’s presence was announced by an “anaphosien” or trumpet blast. Notice the words used for Elizabeth’s greeting when Mary approached. (Psssst, hint; Anaphosien. )

    When David skipped before the Ark the word used in “Skirtan”. John the Baptist skipped in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary approached with Jesus. Luke uses the same “skirtan” to describe it.

    When the Ark entered the Temple, it was overshadowed by the Shekinah ( epikaizo ). At her fiat to the Incarnation and your salvation, she was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost. Luke again uses the same word.

    Now, read what Lane said about John’s Revelation.
    Looks like she fulfills the OT shadow of the Ark.

    By the way, she is Assumed into heaven. So is the Ark as Lane directs your attention to.

    You went and opined some more saying,

    “or an urn or any other such nonsense, and it certainly isn’t the case that she was incorruptible. She was a sinner no less than you or me.”

    Now, look who is talking nonsense now, eh Robert? She was indeed sinless as God Himself placed an enmity between her and that old Serpent. Take a quick peek at Gen 3:15 and then get back to me and I will help wipe that egg off your face.

  156. he manner in the urn was both a reminder of God’s provision and the people’s sin in not abiding by God’s commands regarding the manna.
    Christ Himself is the actual nourishing bread from heaven, who doesn’t have to be trapped in a container as a reminder of our sin but who is given to us as the one who saves us from sin. The manna only pointed out sin; Christ points out salvation.

  157. WHAT HAPPENED? Just Roberts allegation got posted.

    Anyway,
    Robert,

    Where in tarnation are you dreaming this up? The only place in all of scripture that manna being placed inside the Ark is in Hebrews 9. It doesn’t say a word about what you are trying to buffalo us with.

  158. Robert said – One may not accept an early Christian practice as Christian unless it can be confirmed by what the Apostles taught. So again, look at the only sure source of Apostolic teaching we have, the NT. Nothing in there about elevating the host, venerating statutes, etc.

    Me – You are so inconsistent! Using your view above and ignoring early Christian tradition explain how you know for certain the NT is inspired? Did the Apostles claim this?

    At your church must women cover their heads? 1COR 11:4-10. Why not? Today’s culture would dictate women shouldn’t but the bible says otherwise.

    You twist yourself into some crazy positions to support your belief.

  159. CK,

    Yes, the Apostles did claim to be inspired. I’m not ignoring early Christian tradition. I’m going to the earliest Christian tradition that we have, namely, the NT.

  160. Jim,

    If you are going to do exegesis like that, then everyone before whom anyone skips is the ark, anyone upon whom the Spirit comes is the ark, etc.

  161. JMJ

    Robert,

    If I am going to do exegesis like that?
    Ha! I am in very good company doing exegesis like that.

    By the way, talking about bad exegesis, I am still trying to figure out how you concocted the nonsense you did about the jar of manna being preserved as a reminder of sin. Show me that in Hebrew 9.

    And I am still dying to know which is better, the O.T. manna, or the Protestant Eucharist. It sure looks like the O.T. shadow outshines its N.T. fulfillment for you guys!

  162. Robert – CK,
    Yes, the Apostles did claim to be inspired. I’m not ignoring early Christian tradition. I’m going to the earliest Christian tradition that we have, namely, the NT.

    Me – really every book? Who decided that those who were not Apostles wrote under God’s inspiration? Does the NT tell you Luke, etc was inspired?

    And do you believe women should be required to cover their head? The earliest Christian tradition says they do.

  163. J.M.J.

    Robert,
    Me first! Me first!
    You still haven’t addressed my arguments about the Transubstantiation.
    I asked you a couple of days ago about Christ being a priest according to Melchizedek.
    Please, when and where did Christ act as a priest according to Melchizedek if not at the Last Supper when He offered Himself in sacrifice using bread and wine?

  164. Jim,

    If you read the book of Hebrews, the import of Christ being a priest in the order of Melchizedek has nothing to do with bread or wine. It has to do with the fact that Christ holds priesthood permanently. Further, the book of Hebrews emphasizes that the sacrifice that our Melchizedekian priest made was once and for all, which if applied to the bread and wine would mean that no one should have celebrated the Last Supper following the original Maundy Thursday.

    There’s nothing in the NT about Jesus’ sacrifice being the bread and wine and a whole lot about His sacrifice being the sacrifice of Himself on Calvary. So I’m not sure at all how Melchizedek is relevant.

  165. CK,

    Me – really every book? Who decided that those who were not Apostles wrote under God’s inspiration? Does the NT tell you Luke, etc was inspired?

    In the specific case of Luke, Paul quotes Luke’s gospel in the letters to Timothy and calls it Scripture.

    If every book has to make a direct claim “here ye, here ye, I am inspired,” why does the Roman church not have to say “here ye, here ye, this is now an infallible, irrevocable doctrine” before every doctrine it pronounces on. It doesn’t, and there is no agreement among RCs as to the extent of what has been infallibly defined. How is this not a defeater for Rome’s position that she identifies dogma?

    At the end of the day, there is an affirmation of self-authentication. Every time I ask you guys for an infallible list of infallibly defined doctrines you say that you don’t need one, that everyone knows what they are. Self-authentication. That’s what we’re saying about Scripture. There are lots of objective reasons to accept the canon we have, but the only persuasive reason is the work of the Spirit. This has to be true of Rome as well. There’s no sheerly logical, airtight case that Rome is the church Christ founded, so unless you want to make your own ability to evaluate evidence the final arbiter, you must believe that in some sense the Spirit convinced you of Roman Catholicism.

    And do you believe women should be required to cover their head? The earliest Christian tradition says they do.

    I go back and forth on this. I can see the arguments for it being mandatory and perpetual, as well as it for being cultural. My own church and denomination have not made a pronouncement on it. It doesn’t seem to be a matter related to salvation, so I don’t worry too much about it.

  166. Robert wrote:
    I don’t rely on your belief in the church to justify scriptural authority. Your belief in the church cannot grant scriptural authority. You get sola ecclesia.

    Jonathan wrote:
    Then your belief in Scripture is fideistic and irrational, so I have no reason to believe anything you say about religion generally. You have a religious opinion, and I have no reason to accept it.

    Response:
    If fideistic and irrational mean the authority of God revealing is the only formal motive of faith, then this is a compliment. From a Catholic view, Robert’s believing is more meritorious without the human inducement.

  167. Jim–

    You wrote:

    Not “an” ark, Robert, THE ARK! The Ark of the Covenant’s presence was announced by an “anaphosien” or trumpet blast. Notice the words used for Elizabeth’s greeting when Mary approached. (Psssst, hint; Anaphosien. )

    When David skipped before the Ark the word used in “Skirtan”. John the Baptist skipped in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary approached with Jesus. Luke uses the same “skirtan” to describe it.

    The verb “anaphoneo” means ‘to cry out’ and is in no way connected with a trumpet blast (it’s vocal). Furthermore, it is not used in 2 Samuel 6 of the Septuagint.

    The verb “skirtao” means ‘to leap’ (and sometimes, ‘to dance’), but is not used in the Septuagint version of 2 Samuel 6. The Hebrew has “leaping and dancing,” while the Septuagint just has “dancing and playing music.” (And the verb for ‘to dance’ is not “skirtao.”)

  168. JMJ

    Robert,

    ” the import of Christ being a priest in the order of Melchizedek has nothing to do with bread or wine.”

    HA! So says the guy who says reserving the Manna in Hebrew 9 was to be a reminder of sin! ( You don’t believe that yourself ),

  169. JMJ

    Eric,

    Now you are telling us St. Luke got it wrong! ( Yesterday it was Longnecker, before that it was… )

    Gotta an early plane to Paree https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vkOYEtivTA

    no time or patience for your expertise,
    You asked for a picture of me once. Here is is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlUExq2hNBU

    And I will guzzle some o; that absinthe in your honor. Ah, Springtime in Paris!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF_yN1R2b5M

  170. Jim–

    No, I’m saying you got Luke wrong.

    I don’t have a lot of problem with Mary being, in some sense at least, the Ark of the Covenant. Trouble is, the first Ark wasn’t particularly inherently valuable. A little bit of gold plating for the acacia wood box. Nothing resplendent, encrusted in precious jewels, or anything like that. Humble, like Miriam of Nazareth. Priceless only because of God himself enthroned on the mercy seat (on top of the Ark). Mary contained that which was incomparably precious. She herself was fairly ordinary. Part of the exquisite beauty of the story.

  171. Eric,

    “Trouble is, the first Ark wasn’t particularly inherently valuable.”

    Except for the fact that God Himself designed it using the finest materials and craftsmen available.

    “[Mary] herself was fairly ordinary”

    Except for the fact that God Himself designed her using the most Grace and Craftsmanship available. She was Full of Grace, the Most Favored One. Mother of God. Except for that I would agree she was fairly ordinary…

  172. Eric,

    If God would go to so much designing His seat, how much more His mother?

  173. Eric,
    If God would go to so much designing His seat, how much more His mother?

  174. So much “trouble” I mean

  175. Lane–

    Didn’t God go to just as much trouble designing you and me? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty ordinary. Heck, the Apostles were pretty ordinary, too.

    As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 1:

    For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.

    Mary makes it crystal clear in the Magnificat that despite her “highly favored” status, she doesn’t believe she has done anything to deserve it. Instead, she speaks of her “low estate.”

    I adore Mary, the humble, willing servant of the Most High. I just don’t recognize her in Rome’s depiction.

  176. Eric,

    “Didn’t God go to just as much trouble designing you and me? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty ordinary. Heck, the Apostles were pretty ordinary, too.”

    There seems to be a flattening to humanity, on a both physical as well as a spiritual level, that you seem to be ascribing too. On a physical level we are all equally made creatures; yes made in the image of God which makes us inherently more valuable (infinity so) than other creatures. But when you say that the Mother of God and the Apostles are just pretty ordinary, I have to disagree on a spiritual level. On a physical level, by worldly standards, yes ordinary, but not so on a spiritual level.

    To be fair to you, this idea that we are equally saintly is an ingrained Protestant idea. It is an artifact of the idea that God’s Righteousness is imputed to us – how could we not all be equal then? This is wrong. You are simply NOT as saintly, at the moment, as an Apostle. Nor are you as saintly as the woman who carried within her the Creator of the Universe, who changed the diapers of the 2nd person of the Trinity, who breast feed Jesus providing Him all His physical nourishment from her breast for a time. No. Mary is anything but ordinary. And every generation will call her Blessed.

  177. “I adore Mary, the humble, willing servant of the Most High.”

    Make sure you tell her and thank our Lord for her fiat, I promise you that grace will abound in your life.

  178. Eric,

    “Didn’t God go to just as much trouble designing you and me? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty ordinary. Heck, the Apostles were pretty ordinary, too.”

    There seems to be a flattening to humanity, on a both physical as well as a spiritual level, that you seem to be ascribing too. On a physical level we are all equally made creatures; yes made in the image of God which makes us inherently more valuable (infinity so) than other creatures. But when you say that the Mother of God and the Apostles are just pretty ordinary, I have to disagree on a spiritual level. On a physical level, by worldly standards, yes ordinary, but not so on a spiritual level.

    To be fair to you, this idea that we are equally saintly is an ingrained Protestant idea. It is an artifact of the idea that God’s Righteousness is imputed to us – how could we not all be equal then? This is wrong. You are simply NOT as saintly, at the moment, as an Apostle. Nor are you as saintly as the woman who carried within her the Creator of the Universe, who changed the diapers of the 2nd person of the Trinity, who breast feed Jesus providing Him all His physical nourishment from her breast for a time. No. Mary is anything but ordinary. And every generation will call her Blessed.

  179. Lane,

    This is wrong. You are simply NOT as saintly, at the moment, as an Apostle.

    In terms of where the Apostles are presently, this is undoubtedly true. They have been glorified. Otherwise, the Apostles have a far lower opinion of themselves than you do now that you’ve put on your Rome colored glasses.

    “7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

    13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

    21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Rom. 7:7–25).

    Paul also, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, called Himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). That doesn’t sound at all like a man who was more saintly than others.

    Nor are you as saintly as the woman who carried within her the Creator of the Universe, who changed the diapers of the 2nd person of the Trinity, who breast feed Jesus providing Him all His physical nourishment from her breast for a time. No. Mary is anything but ordinary. And every generation will call her Blessed.

    I don’t really know Erik or whether he ever has thought Jesus to be crazy, but Mary sure did. (Mark 3:21).

    Mary is extraordinary because of her role, not because she was more saintly than other Christians. She was no more fit to be the mother of Jesus than any other humble and pious Jews handmaiden of the first century, nor was she more fit to be the mother of Jesus than the godliest woman living today.

    Rome has terribly inverted the reason why Mary is special, making her an idol. I thank God that she likely has no idea that her name has been cause for blasphemy for so long.

  180. Robert, you write:

    If Thomas views the grace given to the elect is finally irresistible, then there really isn’t much difference between Calvin and Thomas.

    St. Thomas Aquinas never taught that the human beings that are saved from damnation are saved because they were turned into puppets controlled by puppet master in the sky (the puppet master who is pulling strings labeled “irresistible grace”).

    Calvinism exists in an entirely different universe from Christianity. Calvinist soteriology isn’t even close to anything taught by St. Thomas Aquinas.

    If grace precedes and guarantees conversion, it is monergistic.

    For an adult that wants to convert to Christianity, there is no such thing as an “irrestible” grace that guarantees his conversion. God gives the adult the synergistic grace he needs to convert, but the adult is always capable of exercising his free will to reject that grace. The Calvinists that think otherwise are living in a fantasy world.

    An adult must choose between life or death:

    I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live …
    Deut 30:13

    Rebellion is always a possibility:

    “Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion …”

  181. Mateo,

    St. Thomas Aquinas never taught that the human beings that are saved from damnation are saved because they were turned into puppets controlled by puppet master in the sky (the puppet master who is pulling strings labeled “irresistible grace”).
    Calvinism exists in an entirely different universe from Christianity. Calvinist soteriology isn’t even close to anything taught by St. Thomas Aquinas.

    Orthodox Calvinism doesn’t teach what you have just said. End of story.

    For an adult that wants to convert to Christianity, there is no such thing as an “irrestible” grace that guarantees his conversion. God gives the adult the synergistic grace he needs to convert, but the adult is always capable of exercising his free will to reject that grace. The Calvinists that think otherwise are living in a fantasy world.

    Then, of course, you save yourself. You need the help of grace, but grace isn’t inherently effectual. You are the final deciding factor in your salvation.

    But thank you for pointing out that official Roman dogma allows for grace NOT to be efficacious inherently. And thus the charge that Rome does NOT teach that salvation is by grace alone stands.

  182. Lane–

    You’re looking at it as if we merit something by our actions in this life. If all is of grace–if God only crowns his own gifts–then, as a matter of fact, I AM as saintly as St. Francis or Thomas a Kempis or the Little Flower. For all of our saintliness is derivative.

    You’ve got it backwards. You’re looking at something heavenly from an earthly perspective.

    Scripture and the Apostolic Fathers often focus on God as no respecter of persons, on saints and apostles as unworthy servants just doing their duty, on humility as one of the prime character traits to be emulated. We should model ourselves after the lives of saints and learn of their wisdom…but we are to glory in God alone. There are no superstars, no matinee idols, in the Christian life. We do not follow Apollos or Cephas or Paul…but Christ. There is to be no cult of personality found among us.

  183. Robert you write:

    But thank you for pointing out that official Roman dogma allows for grace NOT to be efficacious inherently.

    Robert, if you had a lethal case of syphilis, and the doctor gave you the dose of penicillin that would cure you at no charge to you, you would not be cured unless you took the penicillin. The penicillin is “inherently efficacious” (to use your term), but it will not be efficaciousfor you if you take the penicillin home and throw it down the toilet.

    The problem with Calvinism is that it posits a divine physician that crams penicillin down the throats of the infected. In Calvinism, the divine healer forces the sick to take their medicine. You have as much as admitted as much when you said that God forced you, against your will, to change from being a God hater into a God lover.

    Calvinism is all messed up!

  184. Mateo wrote to Robert:
    Rebellion is always a possibility….

    And that’s why there’s no guarantee that the light of glory will prevent sin during the beatific vision.

  185. Eric,

    You’re looking at it as if we merit something by our actions in this life. If all is of grace–if God only crowns his own gifts–then, as a matter of fact, I AM as saintly as St. Francis or Thomas a Kempis or the Little Flower. For all of our saintliness is derivative.

    Yes, God crowns His gifts to Christians. Are all His gifts distributed evenly? No. We will be judged based on our works, given to us by God. Are you suggesting that your works, your merits, are equal to that of St. Francis or even the Mother of God? If you do, that’s what I’m disagreeing with. You say Mary was ordinary, God made her not ordinary. Should a saint boast in themselves? No. Yet we should recognize the work that God has chosen to do through certain individuals. God crowns his gifts, and we should recognize those crowns. And we should be humbled by them, not think that we are equally saintly. That’s my point.

  186. Lane–

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I still think it’s a human way of looking at it. The Lord’s grace which animated Mary’s works is the same grace which animates mine. Her Lord is not more saintly than mine. (It’s the same Lord and Christ, for goodness’ sake!) When we glory, we are to glory in the God of creation and never creation itself, no matter how nifty. I love sunsets, but I give them no glory. Sure, they shine far more gloriously than I do, but their Creator is one and the same as mine,

    The hand is not to say to the eye, “I have no use for you.” The verse even goes on to say that the ignoble parts of the Body are given greater honor. Perhaps, the skid row bum who, after his conversion, actually comes close to overcoming his addiction before succumbing to HIV, should receive our veneration RATHER than St. Francis. The Catholic Church venerates the visibly elite rather than those who labor in the shadows. Mother Teresa may never have been considered for sainthood had Malcolm Muggeridge not shed light on her work.

  187. Mateo–

    I’m guessing then that should you ever be in a traumatic accident or wreck in which you are rendered unconscious, you will be pissed as heck if an unthinking EMT administers a lifesaving medication or treatment without your permission. (The unmitigated gall!! What were they thinking??)

  188. “The Lord’s grace which animated Mary’s works is the same grace which animates mine.”

    I’m going to say it again, GRACE is not a thing.

    Grace is not a thing. Grace is not a thing. Grace does not animate works.

    Grace is participation in the life of the Trinity.

    So, Mary, unlike you or me, Eric, is full of grace.

    The angel Gabriel came to her with “Hail”.

    All generations will call her blessed.

    She is daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

    She is full of Grace.

  189. If you don’t get the Trinity and how it works, you are in no danger of losing your way.

    However, if you don’t experience the life of the Trinity, God among us and within us, His Grace, the way is indeed dark. Experiencing the Trinity is a call to participate in the Divine life. God becoming flesh, the Lover giving to the Beloved and the Beloved returning the love, the way that Jesus Christ has set before us.

    God is love, and in God there is no darkness at all. The God who is Trinity is a God who lives in relationship. The Trinity is also spoken of in terms of Lover, Beloved, and Love. St. Augustine called the Holy Spirit the bond of love between Father and Son. When Jesus promises the Spirit to the disciples, he is promising the ongoing love between himself and his Father. The eternal Spirit that guides us into truth.

  190. Mateo,

    Robert, if you had a lethal case of syphilis, and the doctor gave you the dose of penicillin that would cure you at no charge to you, you would not be cured unless you took the penicillin. The penicillin is “inherently efficacious” (to use your term), but it will not be efficacious for you if you take the penicillin home and throw it down the toilet.

    The problem with Calvinism is that it posits a divine physician that crams penicillin down the throats of the infected. In Calvinism, the divine healer forces the sick to take their medicine. You have as much as admitted as much when you said that God forced you, against your will, to change from being a God hater into a God lover.

    God didn’t “force” anything on me. He changed my heart without asking me. Now since I can’t change my own heart, and the change in heart is necessary for me to, you know, NOT GO to hell, I’m fairly glad that he did so.

    That’s no more “forcing” me in a negative sense than it would be for me to hold down my screaming son so that the doctor could administer a life-saving treatment.

    Calvinism is all messed up!

    Yes, what a horrible thought. Taking people who have no interest in God whatsoever and giving them His persevering love. What a horrible thing.

    I’m amazed at the lengths to which you will go to preserve your “free” will. You simply don’t believe the biblical doctrine of sin.

  191. Mateo,

    “The penicillin is “inherently efficacious” (to use your term), but it will not be efficaciousfor you if you take the penicillin home and throw it down the toilet.”

    Something that is intrinsically efficacious achieves its effect by its very nature. Intrinsically efficacious grace cannot derive its efficacy by our cooperation, that would be a contradiction and inverting the relationship; int. eff. grace infallibly guarantees our cooperation (though we still freely act since God moves us according to our nature) – i.e. while we truly retain the power to resist, we will not. I’m not saying you have to agree to int eff grace – many smart and devout theologians and saints in history haven’t – just pointing out saying something like ‘int eff grace will/might not be efficacious’ doesn’t really make sense.

    Calvinism and Jansenism have issues – but you need to be careful in your criticisms that you don’t end up inadvertently condemning permissible orthodox positions as collateral damage.

  192. James, you write:

    Something that is intrinsically efficacious achieves its effect by its very nature.

    ex opere operato

    Back to my analogy with penicillin. What I really had in mind with the “penicillin” that heals the sick man is the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the cure for the illnesses that plague fallen man.

    If an unrepentant Satanist receives the Eucharist, he is not going to receive spiritual healing, he is going to receive curse and death for committing the sin of receiving the Eucharist in an unworthy manner. On the other hand, the righteous man may receive the Eucharist and get the healing that takes him to the transforming union.

    The point that I am trying to make here is what is intrinsic to the Eucharist is the same for both the Satanist and the Saint.

    Intrinsically efficacious grace cannot derive its efficacy by our cooperation …

    ex opere operantis

    Whether one receives blessing or curse from the Eucharist depends on the disposition of the one receiving the Eucharist. Our disposition is dependent on the everyday choices that we are making in this life.

  193. R0bert, you write:

    God didn’t “force” anything on me. He changed my heart without asking me.

    Robert, you contradict yourself. If you really were at one time a “God hater”, as you claim that you were, then your will as a God hater was completely and utterly opposed to the will of God.

    Since Calvinism denies synergism, the only way that you could have been transformed into becoming a God lover would be if God forced you to act against your will – which God accomplished by forcing irresistible grace upon a man that had his will utterly opposed to God.

  194. Mateo,

    Robert, you contradict yourself. If you really were at one time a “God hater”, as you claim that you were, then your will as a God hater was completely and utterly opposed to the will of God.

    Yes

    Since Calvinism denies synergism, the only way that you could have been transformed into becoming a God lover would be if God forced you to act against your will – which God accomplished by forcing irresistible grace upon a man that had his will utterly opposed to God.

    No. God changed my will so that I would choose Him freely and in line with my will. You just don’t like the changing of the will part. God never forced me to do anything. When I chose Christ, I didn’t have a gun to my head, an arm pinned behind my back, or whatever. I really and truly wanted to choose Christ.

    God made me willing. And I thank him for it. And I have no room for boasting.

    You have room for boasting. You are more rational, or spiritually sensitive, or something because YOU are the final vote in your salvation. Yay Mateo.

    You keep your precious free will, but you end up denying that the Lord is the only savior. He needs your help. Poor God. Some people just won’t help him out.

  195. @Eric:

    I’m guessing then that should you ever be in a traumatic accident or wreck in which you are rendered unconscious, you will be pissed as heck if an unthinking EMT administers a lifesaving medication or treatment without your permission. (The unmitigated gall!! What were they thinking??)

    It occurred to me that maybe this may be a more useful analogy for understanding the Catholic view. At the end of the day, no matter how various Catholics may form the explanation, the problem of sin is always irreducibly personal. There is never a case where God could not save someone, but it is very much the case that there may be no way to save the person without fundamentally altering who that person is. In other words, it’s not a question of life-saving treatment that anyone would accept, but a question of whether one will accept a treatment that would basically cause that person to cease to be as the person that they are. Think Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

    For example, perhaps there could have been a saved “Lucifer” who never became Satan, but presumably, that would not have been the same person. So God wants that person to exist even to the point of allowing that person to destroy himself, permitting that will of the person to fundamentally define his own character at the cost of his own eternal happiness. The reasons for doing that are mysterious, and the different views of grace are essentially various explanations for how God might be thinking about it. I don’t find any of the explanations to be all that helpful; I prefer to just affirm the conclusion. Some people are allowed to exist despite being “hopeless cases,” at least in terms of their individual personalities as they concretely define them being reconcilable to God. But fundamentally, that is the answer; God wants Jesus to have a Judas, and because He wants that, He suffers the existence of a Judas for the sake of Jesus.

    @Robert:

    God didn’t “force” anything on me. He changed my heart without asking me. Now since I can’t change my own heart, and the change in heart is necessary for me to, you know, NOT GO to hell, I’m fairly glad that he did so.

    That’s no more “forcing” me in a negative sense than it would be for me to hold down my screaming son so that the doctor could administer a life-saving treatment.

    In the first place, it’s not like God erased your soul and rewrote another one (or at least, I hope that’s not how you feel about it). There’s a difference between changing your heart and making you an entirely different person. If you were an entirely different person, then it wouldn’t really be a case of changing your heart so that you don’t go to Hell, but annihilating the bad person (the “old man”) to make room for a new person who would be saved from Hell. That’s completely different than a case of applying some kind of medicine for a physical defect; this is a question of who someone fundamentally is.

    There are experiments where one can make the brain function to move someone’s limb, just the same as if they had willed to do so, and the subjects always say “I didn’t do that.” It’s that kind of thing that seems wrong. There are plenty of works of fiction, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the Borg in Star Trek, where people’s personalities are fundamentally changed, arguably for their own good. The Catholic point is simply that the elect are not pod people. Even though what the person already was has no merit before God, it is certainly the material and basis for the new creature, so that the new man is not a fundamentally different person that the old man. Rather, the new person chooses to express his character in a different way and chooses to let different things define him.

    Fundamentally, that is the difference between Thomist and Calvinist anthropology. Thomism doesn’t believe in a “sin nature.”

  196. Jonathan,

    There are experiments where one can make the brain function to move someone’s limb, just the same as if they had willed to do so, and the subjects always say “I didn’t do that.” It’s that kind of thing that seems wrong. There are plenty of works of fiction, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the Borg in Star Trek, where people’s personalities are fundamentally changed, arguably for their own good. The Catholic point is simply that the elect are not pod people.

    And that is the Calvinist point as well.

    Even though what the person already was has no merit before God, it is certainly the material and basis for the new creature, so that the new man is not a fundamentally different person that the old man. Rather, the new person chooses to express his character in a different way and chooses to let different things define him.

    “In Christ we you are a new creation” — St. Paul

    It depends on what you mean by a fundamentally different person, I suppose. Conversion doesn’t typically make a shy person gregarious, for example. But to take an extreme example—such as Paul—a murderer who stops murdering is a fundamentally different person. He’s no longer a murderer. A murderer who stops murdering hasn’t merely stopped His murderous character; that character has been changed to a “non-murderous” character.

    Basically what the Calvinist is saying is that regeneration changes the fundamental moral aspects of a person. If our moral character was not fundamentally against God, there would surely be at least some people who live their whole lives never committing sin. There was only one who did that, Jesus.

  197. Robert, you write:

    God changed my will so that I would choose Him freely and in line with my will. You just don’t like the changing of the will part. God never forced me to do anything.

    You flip and flop. If your will was dead set against God because you were a God hater, then God forced you to change your will. But then you claim that God did not force you to do anything. So how did it come about that your will changed against your will?

    Who changed your will, you or God?

    God made me willing.

    OK, God made you willing. God forced you to quit being a God hater, and God made you become a God lover. You had nothing to do with choosing Christ, your will was changed against your will.

    When I chose Christ, I didn’t have a gun to my head, an arm pinned behind my back, or whatever.

    So YOU chose Christ! If you were a God hater, why did you choose Christ?

    Your flip-flopping makes you incoherent.

  198. Mateo,

    God changed my will. And He didn’t do it by twisting my arm or anything like that. He effectually persuaded me. His Word works that way.

    I don’t have any other word to use except “made,” but there’s no sense of coercion. God can do things so that I freely choose Him. He’s that powerful and that good. He doesn’t need my permission. He’s not a weak, pathetic being knocking at my door hoping against hope that I’ll let Him in. If He wants me, He will have me.

    Just like Augustine and Aquinas both said.

  199. “In other words, it’s not a question of life-saving treatment that anyone would accept, but a question of whether one will accept a treatment that would basically cause that person to cease to be as the person that they are.”

    This is profound!

    My husband used One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest when teaching a religion class way back.

    At the heart of our will is the staunch pride-filled self-protection and of who we are and what we have done; not who we were created to become.

    A contrite heart comes purely from grace.

    To look at an extreme reality, I have worked with the homeless and have a sister who was homeless for 9 years. Research shows that after being on the street for only 6 months, it is almost impossible for a person to get off. Why you might ask?

    It is who they have become and, more importantly, how they have survived. We are all fiercely protective of who we are.

    So Robert when you say, ” God can do things so that I freely choose Him. He’s that powerful and that good. He doesn’t need my permission. He’s not a weak, pathetic being knocking at my door hoping against hope that I’ll let Him in. If He wants me, He will have me.”

    This statement is not reality.

    “Behold, I stand at the door and and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Rev 3:20

    “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matt 11:29

    The Body of Christ has a lot of work to do, a lot of witnessing of love to do, a lot of joy to share – and believe me, it can take a lifetime for someone to finally get ‘off the streets’.

  200. I really do get frustrated at my lack of being able to communicate certain things well. Thanks?? Robert for putting up with me .…

    What I’m trying to say is, HOW we have become AND WHO we have become, we are naturally unwilling to let go of because that is what we KNOW. Letting go of this is unfamiliar and takes trust in something much bigger than ourselves. The secular world knows this, but is hesitant to name it and definitely wants to manipulate it.

    See what St. Cyril of Alexandria says:

    “The Holy Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell and alters the whole pattern of their lives. With the Spirit within them it is quite natural for people who had been absorbed by the things of this world to become entirely otherworldly in their outlook, and for cowards to become men of great
    courage. — ”

    The change occurs in how we live and love.

    This is what Grace does.

    But because it is not of ourselves, the minute we step away from Grace – or reject or sidestep the new pattern/relationship of living given and shown to us, our old self wants to get back in charge of what we ‘know’ and we are ‘back on the street’.

    Truth is found the Bible, but Liturgy is a powerful font of Grace to live in Truth, with Truth, and through Truth.

  201. @Robert:
    What you just outlined with respect to effective persuasion is entirely compatible with the Molinist position on grace. That’s why we Catholics can’t understand why you are continuing to raise objections. Nobody denies that those whom God wants, He gets.

    The problem is what you said earlier. It’s not as if the character of a murderer is entirely vitiated, as if that’s all the person is or that someone is “fundamentally” opposed to God in that sense. And infants aren’t even capable of exercising a fundamental option in this sense.

    The point is that God elects not only by grace but also in the context of grace. It is that latter statement, that election is not by common and special grace but by election within the order of grace, where the difference from Calvinism emerges.

  202. Jonathan,

    What you just outlined with respect to effective persuasion is entirely compatible with the Molinist position on grace. That’s why we Catholics can’t understand why you are continuing to raise objections. Nobody denies that those whom God wants, He gets.

    If God considers possible worlds and then elects those whom He foresees will respond in faith, then we don’t have effective persuasion. You’ve said elsewhere,essentially, that God couldn’t create in any possible world create a Judas who would not betray Jesus (or pick your God-hater). That’s not effective persuasion. That’s God

    The problem is what you said earlier. It’s not as if the character of a murderer is entirely vitiated, as if that’s all the person is or that someone is “fundamentally” opposed to God in that sense.

    The specific example was Paul, and to want to kill Christians is to be entirely opposed to God and all that He is.

    And infants aren’t even capable of exercising a fundamental option in this sense.

    I don’t know what infants are “capable of” in the sense that I can’t get in their heads, and neither can you. But in any case, assuming the correctness of what you have said, the moment the infant has a moral conscience, he or she will exercise it in opposition to God.

    It’s the difference between Romanism and Calvinism on sin. You guys really don’t think the sin corrupted all that much.

    The point is that God elects not only by grace but also in the context of grace. It is that latter statement, that election is not by common and special grace but by election within the order of grace, where the difference from Calvinism emerges.

    I don’t understand what you are saying here.

  203. Debbie,

    At the heart of our will is the staunch pride-filled self-protection and of who we are and what we have done; not who we were created to become.
    A contrite heart comes purely from grace.

    Agreed completely.

    To look at an extreme reality, I have worked with the homeless and have a sister who was homeless for 9 years. Research shows that after being on the street for only 6 months, it is almost impossible for a person to get off. Why you might ask?

    It is who they have become and, more importantly, how they have survived. We are all fiercely protective of who we are.

    Sure.

    So Robert when you say, ” God can do things so that I freely choose Him. He’s that powerful and that good. He doesn’t need my permission. He’s not a weak, pathetic being knocking at my door hoping against hope that I’ll let Him in. If He wants me, He will have me.”
    This statement is not reality.
    “Behold, I stand at the door and and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Rev 3:20
    “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matt 11:29

    But if the contrite heart is really from grace, then grace must guarantee the response. To borrow your example, if a person is as hardened in their desire/experience to be homeless as you say they are, something has to change in the person. But we can’t change ourselves. That is the point of irresistible grace. If we are as hardened in our pride as you say we are, grace must effectually change us even before we give our “permission.” Otherwise, we aren’t really so hardened in our pride and sin, and there is no real reason for grace.

    Other than that, the verses you cite don’t have to do with regeneration, which is what I am talking about when I talk about irresistible grace.

    Better passages would be John 3, where we are told that we must be born again before we can even SEE the kingdom of God (let alone enter it.)

  204. Robert,
    I’ll take one sentence at a time.

    “But if the contrite heart is really from grace, then grace must guarantee the response.”

    ME: The important thing to remember (especially with the homeless with no foundation or support, and you can guess I’m also referring to spiritually homeless) is how grace is received, by this I mean, how did the person receive the grace of a contrite heart? Did someone tell them, by reading the bible. etc…. the poorest of the poor need assistance in every way imaginable to receive grace of a contrite heart.

    “To borrow your example, if a person is as hardened in their desire/experience to be homeless as you say they are, something has to change in the person.”

    ME: Well lets back up so that you know I am referring to a basic way of existence out of necessity, not options driven with desire. Yet nonetheless, there is a dignity in their life and they know it. This acknowledgement is what so many don’t consider when they see a homeless person.

    “But we can’t change ourselves. That is the point of irresistible grace.”

    ME: But HOW does this grace become irresistible and available to those living on the edges of humanity – you’re so right, they can’t change themselves.

    “If we are as hardened in our pride as you say we are, grace must effectually change us even before we give our “permission.”

    ME: Yes, but again, how does this actually happen? Drive around your city some night and stop and give a homeless person something to eat. You stopping and giving them something to eat is how they get food. Hence, we are the Body of Christ who changes/softens/prepares/loves them to give “permission”.

    “Otherwise, we aren’t really so hardened in our pride and sin, and there is no real reason for grace.”

    ME: There is only grace, the means of grace are infinite (thanks from the other post, Wosbald!).

    And most homeless are mentally disabled . . . getting them off the street is only the beginning. Throw that in the mix and see what you come up with.

  205. Robert,
    I can say with all certainty;

    The grace-filled journey of ‘saving’ my sister has been an incredible blessing. It irresistibly tore me inside out, destroyed all that I held important, and our Lord constructed a cross out of my selfishness so that I could be crucified with Him.

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

    It is all Grace.

  206. Jonathan/Debbie/Robert–

    Jack Nicholson’s change in “One Flew” is non-redemptive, pure and simple.

    On the other hand, in the new creation, we are given a brand new heart of flesh that allows us to become what we were meant to become. We don’t become someone else. We become ourselves for the first time. Sin actually enslaves us to others: evildoers and demons. Regeneration sets us free, reanimates our dead and useless souls.

    Unlike in Catholicism, we are not surgically repaired. No cardiologist grafts in new bypasses to make an old “heart of stone” reusable. That would be to keep us in our slavery. The goal is not to make our old selves more functional, but for us to become redemptively new selves. What we call our “old self” is mere dross. All the gold that ever was is in the new. Nevertheless, there is an extreme continuity between the two. The new is the redeemed mirror image of the old.

  207. Eric,

    Bingo.

  208. @Eric:
    Then we’re all agreed. That view of regeneration is heretical in Catholicism, so that’s the difference. If you get rid of your understanding of the “heart of stone,” “dry bones,” and whatever other metaphor you want to take too literally, then the Catholic understanding of grace makes sense. In Catholicism, actual grace is working before regenerstion, which makes no sense if the person is completely inoperative.

  209. Jonathan–

    You wrote:

    “In Catholicism, actual grace is working before regeneration, which makes no sense if the person is completely inoperative.”

    We Reformed speak of regeneration in two senses:

    From Abraham Kuyper:

    The word “regeneration” is used in a limited sense, and in a more extended sense.

    It is used in the limited sense when it denotes exclusively God’s act of quickening, which is the first divine act whereby God translates us from death into life, from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. In this sense regeneration is the starting-point. God comes to one born in iniquity and dead in trespasses and sins, and plants the principle of a new spiritual life in his soul. Hence he is born again.

    But this is not the interpretation of the Confession of Faith, for article 24 reads: “We believe that this true faith, being wrought in man by the hearing of the Word of God and the operation of the Holy Ghost, doth regenerate and make him a new man, causing him to live a new life, and freeing him from the bondage of sin.” Here the word “regeneration,” used in its wider sense, denotes the entire change by grace effected in our persons, ending in our dying to sin in death and our being born for heaven.

    Scripture speaks of conversion both as the dead being made alive and as the sick being made whole. You have settled on the latter analogy and excised the former.

    Our souls are indeed prepared over time for the instantaneous quickening of the Spirit.

    In order to be truly biblical, Catholicism needs to take into account those passages which claim we are “dead in sin.”

  210. Robert, you write:

    God changed my will. And He didn’t do it by twisting my arm or anything like that. He effectually persuaded me. His Word works that way.
    .
    I don’t have any other word to use except “made,” but there’s no sense of coercion.

    Robert, you do have another word besides “made”, and you just used it – persuasion.

    Many women have been made to marry men that they had no desire to marry. Force and power is all that it takes to make someone do something against their will. To persuade a woman to marry you is a different thing all together – a man has to woo his beloved. The woman that wants to marry you does not act against her will.

    Satan makes people do things – demonic possession is about a display of power, and it is the spiritual counterfeit of what God does in conversion. God woos his beloved – God makes no one act against their will.

    Robert, if you would accept an orthodox teaching of grace, you could accept synergism and the concept of God wooing his beloved bride.

    God is love.

  211. Eric, you write:

    Jack Nicholson’s change in “One Flew” is non-redemptive, pure and simple.

    In the film version of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, the parole board discusses the idea that “Mac” McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is faking mental illness, and that he should be sent to prison to serve his time. Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) talks the parole board out of doing that. She says that Mac should be left where he is, because she can help him there. What she really knows it that if Mac is in the mental hospital, he won’t be let free even if the time of his sentence is up, and that she will be able to control his behavior with the means at her disposal.

    Nurse Ratched is the personification of evil, and she is very much the embodiment of the god of Calvinism that uses his omnipotence to make people to change against their will.

  212. Mateo,

    God makes no one act against their will.

    Welcome to orthodox Calvinism.

    Robert, if you would accept an orthodox teaching of grace, you could accept synergism and the concept of God wooing his beloved bride.
    God is love.

    Ah, but everyone whom God woos becomes His bride, or joins the church his bride. There is not one person whom God woos who ever fails to love Him. You don’t believe that, at least not as far as I can tell. God seems to woo lots of people who never convert and become His bride.

    Thus, you paint God as an unrequited lover, one who can’t get the object of His affection to love Him. Poor God.

  213. @Eric:

    Scripture speaks of conversion both as the dead being made alive and as the sick being made whole. You have settled on the latter analogy and excised the former.

    On the contrary, we think that they refer to the same process in different ways.

    In order to be truly biblical, Catholicism needs to take into account those passages which claim we are “dead in sin.”

    I don’t know what part of “intrepreting differently” gets turned into “not taking into account.” It’s not like we’re not reading the passages.

    It’s like the John 10 non-discussion we had. The fact that Raymond Brown says nothing about your individual interpretation of John 10 is evidence that he’s interpreting it differently. If he saw it in the passage, he would talk about it, so it’s clear that he doesn’t see it there. For example, in commenting on John 6:53-56 [NJBC 61:98], Fr. Brown says “[i]n light of the strong negative warning in v. [Jn. 6:]54 and the immanence formula ‘remain in me’ in v. 56 (cf. 15:4-5), one might see here a saying directed toward a later crisis in the community. John 15 speaks about the necessity for the disciples to remain attached to Jesus, the vine (also a eucharistic symbol; cf. Mark 14:25). This warning may be directed toward Christians who would separate from the Johannine community, whether as a result of external persecution or as a result of the later split within the community that is evidenced in the Johannine epistles.” That’s not a guy who sees John 6 or John 10 as guarantees of final salvation or that everyone who believes will stay in the community.

    Just as I don’t see “eternal life” in the same way that you do, I don’t see “dead in sin” as saying what you think it says.

  214. @Robert:

    God seems to woo lots of people who never convert and become His bride.

    Thus, you paint God as an unrequited lover, one who can’t get the object of His affection to love Him.

    Not “can’t.” “Won’t.” It’s God’s decision as to how far He will go to pursue anyone.

    But there is no one He doesn’t pursue to some degree. That’s what we mean by “sufficient grace.” It is sufficient to show that God has made contact with the person who spurned Him in that person’s very soul. Nobody is left out of the covenant of grace in that sense, even if it is only to allow the person to reject it.

  215. Robert, this conversation has come to the point that it always comes to with you – the point where you become increasingly irrational, start flip-flopping and contradicting yourself, and begin speaking in senseless double talk.

    You claim that you were once a God hater, and that God made you become a God lover. Since you reject synergism, it is obvious that if you were once a God hater with a will dead set against God, that God would have had to forced you to change your will against your will. But then you immediately flip-flop and claim that there was no force involved in changing your will, that you willingly “chose” Christ. But you then you flip-flop again and deny that you have free-will, so you “choosing” Christ is not something that you actually did, it is something that God forced you do against your will … but wait, in “orthodox” Calvinism God makes no one act against his will …

  216. Mateo,

    I’m not flip flopping. I’m a compatibilist. You don’t seem to be acquainted with the many philosophical discussions related to what free will actually is. Read up on it.

    God made me willing. He persuaded me. He granted me a new set of desires. He didn’t ask me before He did it. He didn’t deign to get my permission. But just because he didn’t ask me doesn’t mean He changed me against my will. IOW, I have no consciousness of God pinning my arm behind my back and say “convert or I’ll shoot your wife.” That would be an example of God changing my will against my will.

    I don’t deny free will. I deny the notion that my will is self-determined apart from God’s decree.

    I’m very glad that God changed my will without asking me first. If I He would have asked, I would have said no.

    Let’s put it this way, if God changed my will entirely against my will, I would today likely be mad.

    The point is that God doesn’t wait for my permission before he regenerates me, that God gets everyone whom He wants. There’s no one in hell that God wanted for Himself in every sense of the word. A consistent synergist would have to say that God is routinely frustrated by man’s choice not to respond to His grace.

    On this point I don’t see any real difference between Westminster and Aquinas except that God regenerates some without granting them perseverance in Thomas’ thought.

  217. Robert,

    “That would be an example of God changing my will against my will.”

    Right so no external coercion. Then let’s take 3 scenarios. A jilted lover surreptitiously gives his unwitting target a potion, or hypnotizes her, or sneaks in and keeps her under when she’s asleep and implants a chip in her brain. In all 3 cases his target now freely loves him and they live happily ever after. Was her will changed against her will?

    “A consistent synergist would have to say that God is routinely frustrated by man’s choice not to respond to His grace.”

    So given you have said grace is irresistible only in regeneration, and grace is monergistic only in regeneration, do the regenerate routinely frustrate God by their choice not to respond to His grace in sanctification when they sin?

    “On this point I don’t see any real difference between Westminster and Aquinas”

    Aquinas affirmed sufficient grace. Which is an oxymoron and entails boasting according to you.

  218. Robert you write:

    … just because he didn’t ask me doesn’t mean He changed me against my will …

    This is a perfect example of your senseless double talk …

  219. Mateo–

    God regenerates us while we are still dead in sin. It’s kind if difficult to ask someone who is dead if they wish to be made alive. Did you get the chance to OK your own birth ahead of time? (What, you mean he didn’t ask you? What an oppressive bully God must be in your eyes!)

  220. Eric you write:

    It’s kind if difficult to ask someone who is dead if they wish to be made alive.

    Eric, I suggest that you read, and reread, the story of the prodigal son over, and over, and over again, until you begin to grasp its meaning. But first, pray to the H0ly Spirit that he might enlighten you, because Calvinism has made you clueless.

    In the story of the prodigal son, the younger son was spiritually dead because of his wanton sinning, and he came back to life by his repentance. This is explicit in the story. Read the story of the prodigal son without your Calvinist blinders on, and you will see that the father did not hunt down his wayward son and force him to repent!

  221. Mateo wrote to Eric:
    Eric, I suggest that you read, and reread, the story of the prodigal son over, and over, and over again, until you begin to grasp its meaning. But first, pray to the H0ly Spirit that he might enlighten you, because Calvinism has made you clueless.

    Response:
    What a silly recommendation. If Eric prays, and the Holy Spirit grants light, then Eric will be light. If light, then visible. (Eph.5:13,14) If visible, then a visible reader of the Bible story. Eric may tell Mateo that he took the recommendation and God gifted him with light to grasp the meaning. Mateo will be forced to tell Eric to never take his recommendations. Calvinism encourages what Mateo recommends.

    Mateo, just get to it ! Tell others to listen to you BEFORE they read the stories or consider any theological position. You stand between Eric and the Church. It’s so evident that it’s not even funny.

  222. +JMJ+

    Eric W wrote:

    You stand between Eric and the Church. It’s so evident that it’s not even funny.

    If Calvinism has made someone irrational, then Mateo is more than justified in standing between Eric and the Church so as to redirect him to the nearest mental hospital. First things first and all that jazz.

  223. Wosbald,

    Thanks for the confirmation. I told Mateo to just get to it.

  224. Mateo–

    The “Prodigal Son” is in a grouping of three parables. Does the lost coin pick itself up and roll on over to its awaiting owner? Does the lost sheep “repent” and scurry back to the heartsick and worried (but inactive) shepherd?

    Might it not be that Luke here is showing two complementary biblical concepts (that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling…and that it is God who works in us both to will and to do)?

    Do you imagine that the father in the story represents the whole Trinity working in concert…and that there is no possibility that the Holy Spirit was active in convicting the son of sin, both in reducing him to a state of misery and in reminding him that even the servants in his father’s household are better off than he? Are you trying to tell me that there was no prevenient grace involved in the son’s “coming to his senses”?

    Look, Mateo, I don’t believe your interpretation is even Catholic. It clearly doesn’t take into account the other two parables (which simply cannot be taken to imply we can bring ourselves back to spiritual life). Quit reading and re-reading the parable…and read it once IN CONTEXT!!

  225. Eric you write:

    Might it not be that Luke here is showing two complementary biblical concepts (that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling…and that it is God who works in us both to will and to do)?

    Sure I can accept this, as you have just given a description of synergism. Being a prodigal son myself, I can testify that I did not return to God without his grace, and that God did not make me return to him.

    Robert is claiming that he used to be a God hater, and God made him become a God lover. I understand where this “testimony” is coming from, and it is not from his actual lived experience, but rather, it is a “testimony” that has been fabricated to conform to Calvinist theology.

    According to Calvinism, all men are born God haters, so Robert just had to be a God hater at one time in his life. Also according to Calvinism, there are “special people” that God loves more than he loves others among the great mass of God haters (and both you and Robert believe that you belong to that elite class of “special people”.)

    According to Calvinism, God makes the “special people” become God lovers, and since synergism is denied within Calvinism, that means that both you and Robert were forced by God to become God lovers – forced against you wills that were dead set against God when the two of you were God haters.

    Neither you nor Robert seem to grasp why those outside of Calvinism see you as presumptuous and arrogant in your belief that God loves you more than he loves other people. The “special people” can’t be distinguished by the lives that they live, because according to Calvinism, even the special people can’t overcome besetting sin. Calvinism teaches that everything that the “special people” do is defiled with sin so vile, so horrible, that if these sins were to be given the just punishment they deserve, even the “special people” would end up in the everlasting flames of hell.

    So, Eric, why should anyone believe that God loves you more than he loves the other “God haters”? If salvation is brought about by God forcing God haters to become God lovers, why doesn’t God force every God hater to become a God lover? After all, the scriptures explicitly teach that God desired all men to be saved.

    Calvinism is irrational.

  226. Eric you write:

    Do you imagine … that there is no possibility that the Holy Spirit was active in convicting the son of sin, both in reducing him to a state of misery and in reminding him that even the servants in his father’s household are better off than he?

    You are putting your words into my mouth so that you can have a straw man to attack. I can’t imagine … sheesh!

    I was a prodigal son. I don’t “imagine” that the Holy Spirit was active in my life convicting me of my sin when I was living the life of an apostate, I know that the Holy Spirit was doing that. I also know that God did not make me repent of my sins.

    Calvinism is hogwash – God doesn’t make people repent of their sins.

  227. James,

    ,Right so no external coercion. Then let’s take 3 scenarios. A jilted lover surreptitiously gives his unwitting target a potion, or hypnotizes her, or sneaks in and keeps her under when she’s asleep and implants a chip in her brain. In all 3 cases his target now freely loves him and they live happily ever after. Was her will changed against her will?

    All of those are external coercion. Try again. There is no analogy that I can think of in the natural world for His grace operating on a will efficaciously so that it willingly chooses Him when He would otherwise reject Him. If grace is intrinsically efficacious, this is what it does.

    So given you have said grace is irresistible only in regeneration, and grace is monergistic only in regeneration, do the regenerate routinely frustrate God by their choice not to respond to His grace in sanctification when they sin?

    The Reformed don’t mean by synergism what you think we mean. God ordained my failures. He doesn’t ordain such things in Romanism. He is merely passive, an actor acted upon by “free” creatures who don’t have wills determined in His eternal plan.

    So no, He’s not frustrated.

    Aquinas affirmed sufficient grace. Which is an oxymoron and entails boasting according to you.

    Yes, an Aquinas is less than helpful on this point in his quest to preserve an autonomous will.

    Grace that isn’t intrinsically efficacious entails boasting. If sufficient grace were intrinsically efficacious, everyone who received it would be saved, but not everyone who gets sufficient grace is saved. So what is it sufficient for?

  228. Mateo,

    According to Calvinism, all men are born God haters, so Robert just had to be a God hater at one time in his life. Also according to Calvinism, there are “special people” that God loves more than he loves others among the great mass of God haters (and both you and Robert believe that you belong to that elite class of “special people”.)

    Aquinas likewise believed that God loves some “more” than others. So in condemning us, you are condemning your patron saint of theology. And you’re supposed to be representative of Romanism? No wonder Protestants are confused.

    According to Calvinism, God makes the “special people” become God lovers, and since synergism is denied within Calvinism, that means that both you and Robert were forced by God to become God lovers – forced against you wills that were dead set against God when the two of you were God haters.

    A man “forced” against His will would say “I really hate that God did that to me,” so you are just wrong.

    Neither you nor Robert seem to grasp why those outside of Calvinism see you as presumptuous and arrogant in your belief that God loves you more than he loves other people.

    Aquinas and Augustine were arrogant and presumptuous as well then. And none of you RCs seem to grasp why those outside of the RCC see you as presumptuous and arrogant in your belief that the only church God founded was your church.

    The “special people” can’t be distinguished by the lives that they live, because according to Calvinism, even the special people can’t overcome besetting sin.

    Wrong. Which proves you haven’t a clue what any mainstream source of Reformed thought, including Calvin, Westminster, the London Baptist Confession, etc. actually teach. My guess is you probably haven’t read it.

    Calvinism teaches that everything that the “special people” do is defiled with sin so vile, so horrible, that if these sins were to be given the just punishment they deserve, even the “special people” would end up in the everlasting flames of hell.

    Romanism teaches that just about everything that the “special people” (the elect unto glory) is defiled with venial sin, so horrible, that they have to be tortured for eons upon eons in purgatory. On the other hand, Calvinism teaches that everyone whom God wants to save, He saves. You just don’t like the fact that God might love some more than others, but then your quibble isn’t just with Calvinism but with Augustine, Aquinas, and most importantly, the Bible.

  229. Robert, you write:

    A man “forced” against His will would say “I really hate that God did that to me,” so you are just wrong.

    You are the one that claims you were a God hater, not me. You are the one that denies that synergism, not me.

    So what is the truth, did God force you to become a God lover, or did you actually make a personal choice for Christ?

  230. Mateo–

    Charles Wesley wrote:

    Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
    Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
    Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
    I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

    Was he forced to become a God lover…or did he actually make am personal choice for Christ?

  231. Robert,

    “All of those are external coercion. Try again.”

    In neither of the 3 cases would the target afterwards be described as “A man “forced” against His will would say “I really hate that God did that to me”" which is how you continue to posit non-Calvinist positions caricature the Calvinist position.

    “God ordained my failures… He doesn’t ordain such things in Romanism.”

    Providence and omniscience are dogmas of Romanism – neither entails determinism. Your own side has little problem in affirming permission as part of ordination – http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?cat=11 has pages affirming such.

    “God ordained my failures… an actor acted upon by “free” creatures who don’t have wills determined in His eternal plan.”

    So do you disagree with Trent then that:
    “If any one saith, that it is not in man’s power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil God worketh as well as those that are good, not permissively only, but properly, and of Himself, in such wise that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul; let him be anathema.”
    Correct?

    “So no, He’s not frustrated.”

    “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
    Right so God didn’t give grace at all then to regenerate whenever they sin – grace gets what grace wants. So grace must then only be irresistible and monergistic. Which you have already denied previously.

    “The Reformed don’t mean by synergism what you think we mean.”

    If you affirmed synergism, it seems you would have no problem affirming sufficient resistible grace in sanctification for the regenerate. But you keep arguing the opposite. I see no reason why someone could read your argument thus far and not conclude you affirm monergism and irresistible grace in all facets of salvation, not just regeneration.

    “If sufficient grace were intrinsically efficacious, everyone who received it would be saved, but not everyone who gets sufficient grace is saved. So what is it sufficient for?”

    Already answered above.

  232. Eric, you write:

    Charles Wesley wrote …

    What? Are you now going to quote Charles Wesley to defend Calvinism’s “monergism only” soteriology?

    Unbelievable!

  233. In neither of the 3 cases would the target afterwards be described as “A man “forced” against His will would say “I really hate that God did that to me”” which is how you continue to posit non-Calvinist positions caricature the Calvinist position.

    Sure in all of those cases He would. That’s because in all of those cases, the one who is “forced” was capable of loving God. If we are incapable of loving God apart from His monergistic work and that incapacity equals hell, then you better believe that we’re happy He did it.

    Your problem, in effect, is that you don’t believe sin had any substantial impact on the will of man.

    Providence and omniscience are dogmas of Romanism – neither entails determinism. Your own side has little problem in affirming permission as part of ordination – http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?cat=11 has pages affirming such.

    My tradition doesn’t affirm bare permission, which is what you have in a non-deterministic view of permission such as you find in Arminianism and in Tridentine Romanism.

    So do you disagree with Trent then that:
    “If any one saith, that it is not in man’s power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil God worketh as well as those that are good, not permissively only, but properly, and of Himself, in such wise that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul; let him be anathema.”
    Correct?

    I disagree with Trent that God exercises bare permission, that he just stands back and lets it happen, that God’s permission does not actually establish what will take place.

    “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

    Well if you want to believe grief equals frustration, then you’re making my point for me.

    Right so God didn’t give grace at all then to regenerate whenever they sin – grace gets what grace wants. So grace must then only be irresistible and monergistic. Which you have already denied previously.

    If you affirmed synergism, it seems you would have no problem affirming sufficient resistible grace in sanctification for the regenerate. But you keep arguing the opposite. I see no reason why someone could read your argument thus far and not conclude you affirm monergism and irresistible grace in all facets of salvation, not just regeneration.

    We don’t affirm Romanist synergism. Luther wrote a whole book on it called The Bondage of the Will. You should read it sometime.

    I see no reason why someone could read your argument thus far and not conclude that God stands around giving people abilities/grace and really, really, really hoping that they will act on them but in no ways ordaining that they will because, you know, libertarian freedom and the ability to choose the contrary and all that jazz.

    Answered above

    Yes. Sufficient grace makes salvation possible and somehow gets God off the hook for sin even though He allows it anyway, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee salvation. Its insufficient for salvation. Its indistinguishable from Arminian concepts of prevenient grace. God gives a boost, but doesn’t determine who will cooperate.

  234. Mateo–

    Methodism has come a long ways from John and Charles Wesley. Many modern Methodists forget that George Whitefield, a staunch Calvinist, was co-founder of the movement. Both John Wesley and Jacob Arminius believed strongly in Total Depravity (and Arminius did not take a stance on the Perseverance of the Saints).

    But here is a take on John Wesley, from Ken Collins, Professor of Historical Theology at Asbury Seminary (a VERY Wesleyan institution):

    Wesley maintained that the monergistic reading (that is, the work of God alone) in one sense is accurate. Recall the language cited earlier: “‘Nay, but we affirm, that God alone does the whole work, without man’s working at all’; in one sense, we allow this also. We allow, it is the work of God alone to justify, to sanctify, and to glorify; which three comprehend the whole of salvation.” In other words, Wesley intentionally sought to avoid the contradiction of affirming the monergistic and synergistic paradigms simultaneously by offering a distinction, a carefully thought-out qualification that was so very typical of his “third way” theological style.  But this observation also means (and this is what has been missed by those who read Wesley utterly in a synergistic way) that Wesley did indeed think it appropriate to affirm the monergistic view at least in one sense because he recognized it carried meanings that are ever crucial to the proclamation of the gospel aright.

    If, however, a nearly exclusive synergistic reading of Wesley’s doctrine of salvation is offered (the “catholic” paradigm) and is drawn to tightly, neglecting the insights of the Protestant reformers, especially in terms of the sheer gratuity of grace, then the divine freedom itself will at least be misunderstood and possibly eclipsed. In this reckoning, once the initial or prevenient action of the Most High occurs, then God is virtually limited to responding merely to human response. But Wesley, as with Luther and Calvin, understood quite well that God is remarkably gracious and at times acts alone in the face of human impotence, for not only is justification not a human work but also the gift of grace is not given on the basis of a prior working.

    So then, as noted earlier, the conjunctive style of Wesley’s theology is not, after all, fully or aptly expressed in the divine and human roles found in an overarching synergistic paradigm even if the stress is on divine initiative (as in the model of responsible grace) for this is to privilege, once again, merely the “catholic” Wesley. On the contrary, more accurate readings suggest that a synergistic paradigm, which contains both divine and human acting, must itself be caught up in an even larger conjunction in which the protestant emphasis on the sole activity of God, apart from all human working, is equally factored in – not simply co-operant or responsible grace, but the conjunction of responsible and free grace, the union of both a catholic and protestant emphasis.

    So, I don’t know, maybe not so “unbelievable.” (Besides, Charles Wesley’s hymn, “And Can It Be,” is a favorite within Calvinistic circles. Similarly, “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” written by that arch-heretic Martin Luther, is found in many a Catholic hymnal. Go figure.)

  235. Robert,

    “you better believe that we’re happy He did it.”

    Right so in all 3 cases, the target is perfectly happy and in love with the jilted lover after he engaged in his tactics. Yet you still demur from affirming the 3 cases are kosher and apparently think in the 3 cases that the target’s will was changed against her will (perhaps you don’t think that, but if so, I don’t know why you would then demur).

    “My tradition doesn’t affirm bare permission, which is what you have in a non-deterministic view of permission such as you find in Arminianism and in Tridentine Romanism.”

    The very first citation from that blog: “But we do not doubt that it may, and indeed should be said that God exercises providence concerning sins. For He foresees sins in advance, and wills to permit them; and as they are seen beforehand, He destines them to some universal or particular good, whether for a display of his mercy or justice, or for some other good. And so it is rightly said that He exercises providence regarding them, since He disposes to do well regarding them”

    Now do you think RCism denies that? God has a purpose in his permission of evil – there’s this thing called Easter that just happened. You keep thinking that’s impossible without determinism but that’s never been demonstrated. Providence and omniscience are compatible with non-determinism.

    “I disagree with Trent that God exercises bare permission, that he just stands back and lets it happen, that God’s permission does not actually establish what will take place. ”

    Can you tell me where Trent denies providence?

    And again, you had said “God ordained my failures. He doesn’t ordain such things in Romanism. He is merely passive, an actor acted upon by “free” creatures who don’t have wills determined in His eternal plan.”

    So do you disagree with the following canon from Trent?
    “If any one saith, that it is not in man’s power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil God worketh as well as those that are good, not permissively only, but properly, and of Himself, in such wise that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul; let him be anathema.”

    “Well if you want to believe grief equals frustration, then you’re making my point for me.”

    Does the Holy Spirit purposely grieve Himself?

    “We don’t affirm Romanist synergism…I see no reason why someone could read your argument….”

    Right. So instead of evading, can you please tell me what type of synergism you affirm. Eric affirms sufficient resistible grace synergism. That’s a grace-denying oxymoron according to you. So all grace is irresistible and monergistic in your view correct? So please tell me how that is not … monergism but is instead some species of synergism. What would be different in your argument if you were to actually deny synergism in sanctification?

    “Its insufficient for salvation.”

    Sufficient grace is … sufficient. Sufficiency and efficacy are not identical.

    And I mistyped – I had answered this in the busted by feds thread and not here, so I reproduce it:

    “So what is sufficient grace designed for in your system?”

    To confer the power to act, not the act itself. Efficacious grace is offered within sufficient grace. “Help without which we cannot” applies to suff grace, “help whereby” applies to eff grace.

    As RGL says:
    “However, the reason for this is, as Lemos himself declares (ibid., chap. 6), that “God, by bestowing sufficient help, offers us, in it, efficacious grace; but since man resists sufficient grace, he is deprived of the efficacious grace which was offered to him.” Likewise Alvarez, (De auxiliis, Bk. XI, disp. 113, no. 10, and disp. 80 ad 4); and this is entirely conformed to the teaching of St. Thomas, who says expressly (III C. Gentes, chap. 159): “God, to the extent that it lies with Him, is ready to give grace to all, for He wills all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim., 2); but they alone are deprived of grace who present some obstacle to grace within themselves. In the same way, since the sun illuminates the world, the blame is imputed to one who shuts his eyes if some evil results therefrom, although he cannot see unless preceded by the light of the sun.” St. Thomas explains this at greater length in Ia, d. 40, q. 4, a. 2, and Ia IIae, q. 112, a. 3 ad 2: “The first cause of a defect of grace lies in us, but the first cause of the bestowal of grace is in God, according to the words of Osee (139): ‘Destruction is thy own, O Israel: thy help is only in Me.’” And again, De veritate, q. 24, a. 14 ad 2: “From man arises the negligence which accounts for his not having grace whereby he can keep the commandments.””

    And earlier cites Aquinas “Not every cause necessarily produces its effect, even if it is a sufficient cause, on account of the fact that a cause may be impeded.” Sufficiency and efficacy are not identical.

  236. Nick, you said,

    “The problem is that this “liturgy” is nowhere instituted in the Bible. Is man really free to just lift the Aaronic Blessing from the OT and append it to the Christian Liturgy and call this approved by God? Not if they are being honest. And as anyone can see, a whole host of liturgies can be invented using this cut-and-paste method. [4] This is clearly an unacceptable position for a Christian to take.
    Given this brief look at Reformed Liturgy, it seems to me that the RPW not only is self-refuting (since it’s not a specific principle taught in Scripture, just a gathering of verses here and there), it also exposes one more flaw in Sola Scriptura, since it makes liturgy more or less relative to the whims of the individual (guided at most by some generic ‘principles’). So while it is good that the Reformed take worship of God seriously, they unfortunately find themselves in a conundrum wherein as hard as they try to “worship God as He has commanded in His Word”. Only an appeal to inspired Apostolic oral teaching and Apostolic Succession (both of which Catholicism has) can ground a Christian in true worship and prevent a slide into man-centered relativistic “worship”.

    I was reflecting on the Mass, especially since this is First Communion season, and find it so uplifting to be able to worship at the Lamb’s Supper, a pre-figuration of heaven so beautifully laid out in the Book of Revelation and celebrated since the very beginning of Christianity. This is a loving exchange of gifts between our Lord and His people. He instituted the Eucharist and it is celebrated and participated in as part of the Eternal Covenant. What greater delight for the children of the Kingdom than to be in communion with our God.

    What greater joy than to worship a living, all-powerful God?

    http://www.usccb.org/about/media-relations/backgrounders/structure-and-meaning-of-the-mass-backgrounder.cfm

    A living, breathing sacrifice, death has nothing to do with it nor power over it.

  237. I love the Holy Bible, it is perfect. Is so unfortunate that people don’t appreciate it as it is intended by our loving Lord.

    I love the Holy Mass, it is perfect. It is so unfortunate that people don’t appreciate it as it is intended by our loving Lord.
    https://www.facebook.com/PreciousBlood/photos/a.379020140950.165818.111071525950/10152709991740951/?type=1&theater

  238. James said to Robert ” of course you are committing amenable sin every minute” James will you sing a song in unison with me. It’s by the great composer Paul , and the song is called the mature believer of Romans 7. It has one verse “wretched man that I AM. ” it’s a song in the present tense. Let’s do it again together this time ” wretched man that I AM” verse 24 . Please show us the specific reference to a soul substance, physical, that increases and decreases in scripture. Where the Apostles aware of these categories? How about the Prohets or OT Priests? We are not justified by our sanctification, and it is a person that is offered, not a derivative of that person. The Spirit sanctified us. At the moment we prowess Christ, we prowess our justification, and it doesn’t go up and down like a ferris wheel. K

  239. ERIC March 19, 2015 at 6:39 pm
    Nick–
    Both requiring a hard and fast liturgy or requiring an informal, free-form order of worship are flip sides of the same legalistic coin. God desires to be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth…..

    You’ve misunderstood that verse, Eric.

    John 4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

    First, the woman says to Jesus that the Jews claim that the only valid ritual worship is in Jerusalem. And this is the Teaching of the Old Testament.

    2 Chronicles 30:1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel.

    21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

    But Jesus counters, that in a future time, worship of God will no longer be confined to Jerusalem and Samaria. But that true worship will be done, not by the physical sacrifice of bulls and goats, but by spiritual (Sacramental) sacrifice of His Body and Blood, throughout the world. This is why He says:

    John 4:24
    God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    And soon after, in the Bread of Life discourse, says:
    John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    In this discourse, He revealed that our participation in the sacrifice of His Body and Blood, would be required for our salvation:

    John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

    Again, this is why Scripture also says that missing the Mass is insult to the Spirit of God:

    Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

    29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

    30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    Therefore, Jesus is comparing the OT Passover to the NT Mass.

    “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (All I can say is that if they are Catholic, ONE of them better be a priest!)

    This is a double entendre. And one of its meanings is exactly what you just said. When we gather for the Mass, we gather in His name and there He is, in the midst of us, in the Eucharist. And, you are right, it takes a validly ordained Priest to consecrate the Host.

    1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

    It is also a reference to the fact that Christ’s Priests pray for us in His stead:

    2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

    But, it is also a reference to simple prayer, together, in the name of Christ.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

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