Two Years a Catholic

Posted by on September 23, 2014 in Apologetics, Catholicism, Featured, I Fought the Church, Suffering, The PCA, Westminster Seminary California | 1,042 comments

On September 23rd, 2012 (two years ago today), I was received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Humanly speaking, it was one of the worst decisions I have ever made.

The last two years have brought me almost nothing but loss. Most of my fellow alumni and former professors at Westminster Seminary no longer speak to me, I am denied entrance into the church I planted (where my family still attends on Sundays) — I wasn’t even allowed to attend the Christmas Eve service last year and just sit and sing the hymns. To most of my old Calvinistic friends I am simply a traitor to the gospel.

Each job I have gotten since resigning from the ministry has paid less than half of the one before it. I now have the earning potential on the open market to make one tenth of what I earned as a pastor (in fact, my latest job pays me less than half of what I was getting from unemployment, which benefits were due to dry up soon). There’s no other way to say it: I am officially poor.

As readers of Creed Code Cult  will have noticed, I have taken measures to step out of the spotlight and extricate myself from any kind of role as an official spokesperson for Catholicism. Part of the reason for this is that I simply don’t have the stomach for it anymore. The way many so-called Christians interact online sickens me: the smugness, the hatred, the vitriol and spite, it all makes me want to have nothing to do with any of it. Couple with that the pressure of being a public example of Jesus — pressure that I began to feel at around age 16 — and it serves to make a quiet, civilian life look pretty appealing when considering the alternative.

With exceptions that I could count on one hand, I have attended my last 150 or so masses alone.

To be honest, I don’t really know why I am posting this. I know for a fact that much of the information I am divulging will be received with glee from many in the Calvinistic world. But I’m in a reflective mood, sue me.

(Actually, please don’t sue me, I can’t afford it. I’m driving a loaner car that doubles in value when I fill it up with gas.)

Someone asked me recently whether, if I could go back in time, I would make the same choice. My response was, humanly speaking, “Absolutely not.” I would rather be like Cipher from The Matrix, blissfully ignorant and enjoying the spoils of what was in reality a lie.

But then I came across the scene below from one of my favorite films. At the 1:40 mark when Martin Landau’s character is asked whether he would change his choice so many years prior to abandon his study of the Torah and study to be a lawyer instead, his response, delivered with great sadness and resignation, was, “What choice?”

Catholicism is true, even though I don’t like it. Catholicism is true, even if embracing it has been an unmitigated disaster.

(You can file this one under the category of Most Counterproductive Conversion Stories Ever.)

 

 

1,042 Comments

  1. ROBERT November 8, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Your incarno-Sacramentalism schtick and railing against this artificial division would be more credible if your communion did not think that a life of virginity was more holy than a life of devotion to one’s spouse

    Scripture says devotion to God through His Church is more important than devotion to one member of the Church. As it is written.

    1 Corinthians 7:31-33King James Version (KJV)

    31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

    32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

    33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

    and that there wasn’t such a distrust of earthly pleasures on the one hand (a la Lent), and then excuses to indulge in them with abandon because you can always get cleaned up later if you do enough penance. Talk about separating body and soul.

    There is no distrust of earthly pleasures. We fast during Lent in imitation of Christ, who fasted in the desert for forty days.

    Matthew 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

  2. “Paul isn’t praying to His congregation. That’s the difference. Prayer is an act of worship.”

  3. Robert,

    You said,
    “Paul isn’t praying to His congregation. That’s the difference. Prayer is an act of worship.”

    Wrong! To pray is merely to ask. See the dictionary definition below;

    prith·ee (pr, prth)
    interj. Archaic
    Used to express a polite request.
    [Alteration of (I) pray thee.]

    Did Paul ever ask or exhort his followers to pray for one another? Yes?
    Then he said, ” Prithee, good people, pray for one another”. IOW, he prayed to them. Of course, his prayer to them in which he asked for their prayers would not be as efficacious as praying to Mary to ask her to pray for us as she is much holier than Paul’s readers as she is the Theotokos.

  4. Eric,

    About 10 days ago you asked me to send you a photo of myself so you could erect a shrine to me in your garden.
    Now, you send me this paean in praise of my august being.

    You are like the pagans who wanted to offer a sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul. They said Paul was like Hermes and Barnabas like Jupiter.
    Which god do you think I am like? Poseidon? Adonis? Perhaps an Egyptian deity like Horus? Perhaps a Norse god like Thor or Woden? Tell me before I authorize your worship of me.

  5. JIM November 8, 2014 at 10:51 am
    Eric,
    About 10 days ago you asked me to send you a photo of myself so you could erect a shrine to me in your garden.
    Now, you send me this paean in praise of my august being.
    You are like the pagans who wanted to offer a sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul. They said Paul was like Hermes and Barnabas like Jupiter.
    Which god do you think I am like? Poseidon? Adonis? Perhaps an Egyptian deity like Horus? Perhaps a Norse god like Thor or Woden? Tell me before I authorize your worship of me.

  6. Jim,

    Prayer is an act of worship in the Bible. If you can’t see that, I don’t know what else to tell you.

  7. ROBERT November 5, 2014 at 9:17 am
    ….
    That distinction between “in Jesus” and “apart from Jesus” is one that you dispense for the Apostles but apply to everyone else, meaning your attacks on universal Christianity according to the Seventh Ecumenical Council (which explicitly established the latria/dulia distinction pre-schism) are both ad hoc and irrational. And veneration of Mary was hardly denied by the Reformers; Calvin and Luther venerated Mary. To the extent they ever went past that, then yes, they were being irrationally anti-catholic (even in the small-c sense).
    It’s not ad hoc if the Apostles have a unique role that isn’t passed on to others, which they had. As far as veneration of Mary, sure Calvin and Luther respected her. They didn’t pray to her or worship her as a goddess, which is what most Marian piety devolves to and why it is rightly rejected.

    This is further proof that the Reformers don’t understand Scripture.

    The Virgin Mary is Revealed Through Scripture

    Revelation 11:19And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

    Revelation 12:11And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

    Perhaps you will agree with me that the Jews considered the Ark, made of wood, a very important part of their faith. In that Ark of the Old Covenant, were contained the Word of God written by the finger of God on stone tablets, the Rod of Aaron, symbol of the Aaronic High Priesthood and the Manna from heaven (i.e. Bread of heaven).

    Perhaps you will also agree that those three things are symbols of Our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, who was contained in the Ark which was not made by human hands, the womb of our Blessed Mother.

    Hebrews 9:4
    Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

    Luke 1:30-32

    King James Version (KJV)
    30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
    31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
    32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

    The Israelites had a great deal of reverence for this wooden box. They even bowed before it:
    Joshua 7:6
    And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.

    And they considered it the Glory of Israel:
    1 Samuel 4:22
    And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.

    Of course, Catholics are frequently berated by Protestants for bowing before images of Our Blessed Mother:

    Luke 1:48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

    Power flowed from this wooden box. So much so, that the Philistines, when they stole it, were forced to return it even though the Israelites did not intervene at all (see 1 Sam Chapter 5).

    That power now flows through the Virgin Mother.
    Revelation 12:17

    King James Version (KJV)
    17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.There are so many parallels between Mary and the Ark of the Old Covenant, that it would take a small book to list them all. For the sake of time, I’d like to simply post a small snippet from a Catholic source:

    Compare David and the ark to Luke’s account of the Visitation:

    In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:39-45).

    Here are the parallels:

    Mary arose and went to the hill country of Judea. Ein Kerem (where Elizabeth lived) and Abu Ghosh (where the ark resided) are only a short walk apart. Mary and the ark were both on a journey to the same hill country of Judea.

    When David saw the ark he rejoiced and said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” Elizabeth uses almost the same words: “Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke is telling us something — drawing our minds back to the Old Testament, showing us a parallel.

    When David approached the ark he shouted out and danced and leapt in front of the ark. He was wearing an ephod, the clothing of a priest.

    When Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, approached Elizabeth, John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb — and John was from the priestly line of Aaron. Both leapt and danced in the presence of the ark.

    The Ark of the Old Covenant remained in the house of Obed-edom for three months, and Mary remained in the house of Elizabeth for three months. The place that housed the ark for three months was blessed, and in the short paragraph in Luke, Elizabeth uses the word blessed three times. Her home was certainly blessed by the presence of the ark and the Lord within…..

    Catholic Culture

    I’d like to ask this. Is Scripture telling us that St. Mary’s role in salvation history is much more important than Protestant theology teaches? And also, for those who do not believe that she is the ark of the New Covenant, are all these verses merely coincidence?

  8. Wosbald, you write:

    Intellectual Assent is merely your outward sign of your inward Faith/Election. In lieu of operatively efficacious (Incarno-) Sacramentalism, this tautological feedback loop (a sort of Calvinist Little Engine That Could) is your replacement.

    Well said. I was thinking along similar lines when I asked myself the question of what a Calvinist means by having “faith”, and why the Calvinists so desperately cling to the ideas that they have about faith to the point of being irrational.

    It occurred to me that a Calvinist is in bondage to a vicious tautological trap. Faith, in the mind of the Calvinists, is primarily the belief that they are one of the special people that God loves more than he loves other sinners. If a Calvinist doubts even for a moment that he might not be one of the lucky people that God is going to save from hell, in spite of his constant damnable sinning, then that flicker of doubt would be evidence that he doesn’t have really have “faith”.

    The Calvinist is caught in a vicious trap. His Calvinist confessions teach him that he is nothing but a totally depraved sinner that does nothing but constantly commit damnable sin. His Calvinist confessions also teach that most depraved sinners are going to be cast into the everlasting fires of hell because God doesn’t love these sinners enough to save them from that fate.

    In Calvinism, the only people that are going to escape the fate of the second death are those whom God has arbitrarily and capriciously decided in his “eternal decrees” to not send to hell. The evidence that you aren’t going to hell cannot ever be admitted by a Calvinist to be the evidence of living of a holy life, because that would contradict the parts of the Calvinist Confessions that teach the total depravity of all human beings. So what “evidence” is left for the Calvinist, if good works are ruled out? The “evidence” of “faith”, the fatuous presumption based on nothing that God loves me more than he loves other totally depraved sinners.

    The “faith” of a Calvinist is a “create your own reality by believing in what you want to be true” kind of faith. One little doubt based on your own sinning is evidence that you don’t really have “faith”. In other words, the “faith” of a Calvinist is not that much different than the “faith” of an average believer in the New Age.

  9. mateo asks Robert:

    So if living a holy life is not separated from saving faith, do you admit that a faith that is NOT accompanied by a holy life is a dead faith with no power to save you?

    Robert responds:

    Absolutely.

    This is good! You are finally admitting that there exists a dead faith that is not accompanied with good works – a faith that can save no one – and a living and saving faith that is accompanied with good works. Which is exactly what the scriptures teach, and what the Catholic church teaches too.

    The only rational conclusion that a sane man can draw from this is that which distinguishes saving faith from dead faith is NOT the object matter of what one believes, but the good works (or lack of good works) that accompany that faith. A man with dead faith, and a man with living faith can believe in exactly the same things, but the man with dead faith manifests no works of mercy. Which is exactly what St. James teaches:

    What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
    James 2: 14-16

    Robert, you write:

    Here’s the point—trust always logically precedes obedience.

    Of course! The first step in twelve step program is to admit your powerless to what has you in bondage and trust that “God as you know him” wants to free you from your bondage. But to be set free from bondage one must also want to be set free from bondage.

    Both faith in God and having a desire to be set free from bondage are absolutely necessary for a twelve step program to work. Which is why court mandated twelve step programs don’t work, because unless the alcoholic or drug addict wants to be set free from his bondage, he won’t be set free. The bondage will persist, not because God lacks power, or because God does not desire the alcoholic or drug addict to be set free. The bondage to sin persists because the alcoholic or drug addict doesn’t want to be set free. He just wants to “do his time” in the court mandated program so that he can get back to living the life of an unrepentant alcoholic or drug addict.

    I’m justified at the moment I trust in Christ.

    The first step in a twelve step program is trust in “God as you know him”. But an alcoholic or a drug addict won’t be set free from his bondage unless he works all the steps. A man that is making the decision to enter a twelve step program and trust “God as he knows him” is justified in the sense of the publican that admits that he is a sinner and is in desperate need of the power of God to save him.

    If I trust in Christ and then get hit by a bus before I can actually do any work of obedience, I’m still justified. Even Rome, in theory, has a place for this.

    Which is really irrelevant to my point. Suppose that a man has made the decision to trust God to save him from his alcoholism, and he is on his way to his first AA meeting. Before he gets there, he is hit by a bus and is killed. Can God save this alcoholic because of his contrition and desire to repent? Sure, and that is what the Catholic Church teaches.

    But that is NOT my point. My point has to do with the alcoholic that has twenty years of sobriety because of AA, and then chooses to go off the wagon and become a drunk again. Can that man be saved if he lives as a nasty old drunk for the next twenty years and dies an unrepentant drunk? There is nothing in the scriptures that teach that because he once made a decision forty years ago to repent of his sinful life that he is guaranteed heaven because of that. Some sects of Protestantism teach that, but they are teaching heresy.

    A Protestants is living in a fantasy world if he believes that a one time act of repentance in his past life (even if it was genuine and sincere repentance) guarantees that he is going to heaven. We have to be doers and not just hearers to be saved. We need the grace of final perseverance to make it to heaven.

    You all just posit that anyone who lives longer than about 5 seconds after they first have faith can jump out of Jesus’ hand and all Jesus will do is stand there and say “please don’t go.”

    We believe that because Jesus teaches that. Please, for the love of God, take off your Protestant blinders and read the story of the prodigal son until you understand it. The Father said that his younger son was dead because of his loose living. You and Eric seem to think that mortal sin is a sin that brings physical death, but that entails a ridiculous reading of the story of the prodigal son.

    Here is how Eric actually defined mortal sin, and you did not disagree with Eric:

    Mortal sin…a sin which results in the death of the perpetrator.

    Robert, you write:

    Your Jesus is like a pop singer pining after his girlfriend. “Please don’t go, my baby.”

    Did the father in the story of the prodigal son let his move away from home to commit sin or not? Yes, he did allow his rebellions son to leave home. The father allowedhis younger son live a life full of mortal sinning, sinning that caused him to become dead. The father was filled with joy when his younger son came to his senses and repented of his sins, a repentance that brought him back to life. This has been explained to you many times, and still you refuse to believe that unrepentant sinning will kill the eternal life abiding in the soul of a Christian. You simply will not accept what the scriptures teach when it contradicts your Protestant fantasies.

    The Bible is quite clear that there is a difference between the sinner whose life is oriented away from God and the sinner whose life is oriented toward God. The difference between us is what God does with sin considered in itself.

    Sin is sin. There are objective standards that establish whether an act is either sinful or not sinful, and the Catholic Church has the authority to define what those standards are, because Christ has given the church that he has personally founded the authority to define those objective standards.

    A Protestant can be deluded into thinking that he can commit the sin of say, adultery, and die unrepentant for having a mistress, but that doesn’t mean his delusional thinking is going to save him from hell.

    For you, there are some sins that Jesus will simply say, “Man, I wish you hadn’t done that. Now my power in your soul has been all but obliterated.

    Now we see your childish argumentative tactic coming to the fore once again. You make up something that no right thinking Catholic believes, and then expect me to defend myself against the lies that you are telling. Why don’t you just grow up and quit this nonsense? If you are going to hate Catholic teaching, at least hate what we believe.

    The Calvinist, however, says that Jesus remains with His elect whenever they sin, guarantees that they will finally come to repentance

    Which proves that you are a heretic. The story of the prodigal son does not saying anything about the father dragging his rebellious son home against his will and forcing him to wise up. The father had the power to have his rebellious son dragged home, which is how the Jews listening to this story expected the father to act – the father needs to go get this little punk and bring home to be killed because his younger son is stubborn and rebellious:

    “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
    .
    And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”
    Deuteronomy 21:18-21

    Robert, you write:

    IOW, when God looks at us, He sees Christ.

    When God looks at me, he looks at me. Does God see eternal life abiding in me, or not? If I was once a good Christian, but now have hatred in my heart for a brother, he looks at me and sees that I have no eternal life abiding in me:

    If any one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
    1John 4:20
    .
    Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
    1 John 3:15

    Robert, you write:

    He sees Mateo trying His best to unite Himself to Christ, which work won’t really be complete until you get beaten in purgatory for a billion years.

    Again with the lies. God looks at mateo, and most likely sees that my love is anything but perfect (even though I have the desire that it be perfect, just like the alcoholic that wants to live a sober life must have the desire to be sober).

    God has given me the great gift of infused agape in my soul. But mateo did not instantly become a great and holy saint the moment I was regenerated through the Sacrament of Baptism, nor did I become a great and holy saith the moment that I repented of my apostasy and threw myself on the mercy of God.

    The rest of my life on this earth can by my purgatory, if I allow it. I can be purged from the self-centeredness that makes my love mercenary in its quality. If I don’t allow God to purge me of inordinate self-love on this earth, I will be purged of my inordinate self-love in purgatory, because no one can enter heaven and behold the beatific vision God until they are purged of all traces of inordinate self-love.

    But don’t worry, the people whom He really loves—predominantly Mary—can swoop down and pull you out after a few days if you’re wearing a scapular. Barring that, God will credit her merit to you and reduce your sentence. It’s a great way to build a cathedral and all. Problem is, its not taught in Scripture.

    No, it isn’t taught in scriptures, and this isn’t taught by the magisterium either. You are just being childish and making stuff up that I don’t believe so that you can maintain your closed minded Calvinist religious bigotry.

  10. Robert,

    “I’ve yet to see one Roman Catholic on this blog accurately represent Calvinist theology, particularly when it comes to the issue of God’s responsibility for evil.”

    Calvinism says God’s not morally responsible for evil, even though he determines it rather than only permits it, because the secondary/intermediate agents performing evil acts desire and freely want to execute those acts; God is not the primary actor. How he is not culpable/responsible when those desires/motives/intents determining the sinner’s acts are determined by God as well is a mystery. If this is incorrect, please revise. If it is correct, then I fail to see where anyone on this blog has not been presupposing that explanation in discussions on evil and Calvinism.

    “Saying that God has a decree that ordains whatsoever comes to pass does not make God the author of evil (nor do I see how it logically entails such).”

    The problem is your only defense that it doesn’t logically entail such has simply been “I don’t know – it just doesn’t.” That is not the defense RCs use against assertions that intercessory prayer/Marian doctrines logically entail she is a goddess.

    “That’s the doctrine, God is not the author of evil. There are no ad hoc denials or special pleading or inconsistencies going on.”

    The “we don’t know – he just isn’t the author of evil” is the ad hoc denial/special pleading. And the whole issue we’ve been raising is that it is a completely unnecessary special pleading – it only becomes needed when one has faulty presuppositions.

    “God will define what worship is and is not, just as He will define what would make Him the author of sin and what would not. The preconceived notions that we have on either matter are irrelevant.”

    Yes – so why you persist with preconceived notions that inexorably lead to him being the author of sin escapes me. If you stop trying to force God into a little box of your own making based on those notions, you might see that.

  11. James–

    Robert has never said anything like, “I don’t know…it just doesn’t,” in terms of why God’s sovereignty does not entail that he is the Author of Evil. He has made good-faith efforts to help you understand. (You’re the one mumbling, in effect, “I don’t know…I just don’t understand.”)

    And I have heard no defense whatsoever concerning hyperdulia not being idolatrous.

    I think we should all quit with the posturing and answer honest questions from the other side.

  12. Eric,

    Robert has said “God is not the author of sin. He ordains sin, but He is not morally culpable for it. You are assuming that ordain=author in a morally responsible sense. It doesn’t.” and
    “God’s decree establishes that a creature will choose evil. As to how that does not make Him morally responsible, I cannot answer except to say “Because the Bible says He isn’t.” The answer Paul gives in Romans 9 to those who ask how God can be just for condemning to hell those who He has chosen to do evil is “Who are you o man?” That’s the only answer I can give you. The answer of the Job is the same.”

    That’s just an appeal to mystery – which is exactly what I referenced in my description of Calvinist doctrine on this question (you know, the thing apparently no one on this blog understands). Of course perhaps I’m wrong and don’t understand – that’s why I outlined it and asked – but if I am it would be helpful for it to be actually pointed out, rather than assumed.

  13. Robert,

    Sorry but the definition of WORSHIP is;

    “1wor·ship noun \?w?r-sh?p also ?wo?r-\
    : the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshipping God or a god

    : excessive admiration for someone

    Full Definition of WORSHIP

    1
    chiefly British : a person of importance —used as a title for various officials (as magistrates and some mayors)
    Middle English worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being, from Old English weorthscipe worthiness, respect, from weorth worthy, worth + -scipe -ship
    First Known Use: before 12th century”

    How much honor or reverence is due Mary?

  14. Robert and Eric,

    You guys are so concerned that Catholic hyperdulia goes beyond what is appropriate . This is amusing as one is immediately compelled to ask just what are the appropriate boundaries we should remain within when speaking of a woman whose status in absolutely unique or sui generis. I mean, after all, Mary was chosen out of all women to share most intimately in the life of her son. Remember, her one son and God the Father’s One Son are one and the same Person. IOW, her maternity and the Father’s Paternity issue forth into the same term, right? How many other women can say as much?
    As Mary was, like Ruth by Boaz, “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit and thus entered into a spousal relationship with the Third Person of the Trinity, how much praise is appropriate? What is excessive?
    Are you capable of giving sufficient homage to such a woman? Is it a real concern?

    You trot out quotes from St. Alphonsus and his ilk to embarrass Catholics with their “excesses”. In fact, they fall far short of giving Mary the honor heaped on her by God Himself.
    If God spared nothing in the favoritism He showed Mary, how dare we pygmies quibble over, ” Our Life, our Sweetness and our Hope”?

    You lads like to quote Aquinas as your own. Great, then you will like what he had to say on Mary;

    He said God “exhausted” ( or some such word ) all possibilities in the three areas;
    1. The unity of the human and divine natures in the Person of Jesus Christ.
    2. The unity of our souls and God in the Beatific Vision.
    3. The honor bestowed on may by elevating her to the hypostsatic order by making her Mother of God.

    Mary does not take away from Christ. Her soul actually MAGNIFIES the Lord according to the Bible.
    You guys should get in step with the Bible and join all generations in calling BLESSED rather than the nasty thing you say about her.

    Ave Maria!

  15. James,

    The problem is your only defense that it doesn’t logically entail such has simply been “I don’t know – it just doesn’t.” That is not the defense RCs use against assertions that intercessory prayer/Marian doctrines logically entail she is a goddess.

    No, you put forth a bunch of arguments that are irrelevant and ignore vast swashes of Scripture about mattes such as, I don’t know, contacting the dead.

    The “we don’t know – he just isn’t the author of evil” is the ad hoc denial/special pleading. And the whole issue we’ve been raising is that it is a completely unnecessary special pleading – it only becomes needed when one has faulty presuppositions.

    It is no more ad hoc than to say, as Jonathan has, that we don’t know why God permits evil.

    It’s not a faulty presupposition. Scripture consistently and unambiguously teaching that God ordains all things, even the smallest things. And in any case, this idea that God permitting evil doesn’t make him morally responsible for it is no more “ad hoc” than what I’m saying. Normally when you give somebody a gun and know that he is going to use it to commit mass murder, you’re going to be held morally responsible in some way. You guys have God giving people a gun (“free will”) knowing they will radically misuse it, but somehow his hands remain clean. And when I ask for an explanation, I get nonsense about sting operations, which might be helpful except in the case of Adam and Eve at least, you have entrapment.

    Yes – so why you persist with preconceived notions that inexorably lead to him being the author of sin escapes me. If you stop trying to force God into a little box of your own making based on those notions, you might see that.

    First, I’m just attempting to deal honestly with all of Scripture, such as the passages in Proverbs that talk about God determining the result of even chance events such as the casting of lots, the fact that the Bible says both God and Satan incited David to do an act that God later condemns as sin, and so much more.

    Second, its the preconceived notion that ordain=moral responsibility that leads to the complaints you all have. No one has ever been able to tell me why, Scripturally speaking, God is the author of sin if he ordains it. Meanwhile, I get philosophical arguments that ignore the fact that the Bible simply isn’t embarrassed about saying that God incited David to commit a sin, a complete ignoring of the fact that God predestined specific events such as the crucifixion and that you don’t have that event if the people don’t have evil intents, etc., etc.

  16. Jim,

    We have no problem calling Mary blessed. We have no problem giving her the appropriate honor that is due a creature who has done a great thing. The problem is with viewing Mary as a sinless mediator of salvation.

  17. Jim wrote:
    In fact, they fall far short of giving Mary the honor heaped on her by God Himself.

    3. The honor bestowed on may by elevating her to the hypostsatic order by making her Mother of God.
    ———————

    And Mary was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld her glory, the glory as of the only begotten Mother of God,) full of grace and truth.

  18. Robert,
    Then you have a problem with the Fathers who called Mary the New Eve because her role in the Redemption paralleled that of Eve’s in the Fall.
    D you call into question the orthodoxy of the Fathers?

    Gen 3:15 says the Woman shares, along with her seed, in the same enmity with the serpent and his seed. The same enmity.
    If the Woman was ever a sinner, she could not be said to be at complete enmity with the serpent. This explains why the woman spoken to is not Eve as she was a willing accomplice in the seduction of Adam, 1 Tim 2:14.

    So, you need to come up with some explanation for the “coincidence” of John saying the Woman of Gen 3:15 is the same as Rev 12. The same serpent. Same seed/man child. But two completely different women? Or worse, the serpent and the seed are definite persons but the woman is to interpreted allegorically as Israel or the Church?

    Then toss in Simeon’s prophecy about Jesus’ messianic mission in which he included the sufferings of Mary.

    Robert, the best thing you guys have against Mary’s sinlessness and cooperation with her Son is to scramble for a passage in Romans 3 that isn’t even addressing this issue and then try to shoehorn it into the discussion.

  19. James–

    RC’S certainly punt to mystery when it comes to the Trinity…and when it comes to the Chalcedonian Definition (which defines the hypostatic union purely in terms of what it is not rather than what it is).

    Scripture specifically says by way of sovereignty that we “cannot answer back to God.” Scripture employs mystery here, so how is it that YOU are allowed to say, “Oh, yes, you can answer back to God; now, get busy doing it!”

    Appealing to mystery is NOT the same as appealing to ignorance (which is what you had Robert doing). So let’s play nice, shall we?

    I don’t have the energy to go back and check the original exchange between you guys. Perhaps he took you in the wrong way. If so, I am sorry (on behalf of my side).

    I think both sides mistake disagreement for misunderstanding from time to time. We half believe that ANYONE with any brains who completely understood our stance, could not help but agree with our stance. The evidence is irrefutable, isn’t it?

    And then there is the other factor of disagreeing over logical entailments: if one believes that hyperdulia logically entails idolatry, then the charge towards Catholics of Marian idolatry is not one of misunderstanding but of disagreement.

    This is probably why C2C is constantly harping on “begging the question.” We must be ever vigilant (with every post and comment) that we are not inadvertantly confusing paradigms. Terms that are held in common but which have very different meanings need to be identified (Catholic and Protestant “justification”…Catholic and Protestant “regeneration”).

  20. Eric,

    No one is saying we have a right to question or doubt God. The problem is your side automatically assumes that every reference to sovereignty must only mean “we can’t demand God answer how he determines evil without being culpable for it or the author of it” rather than allowing it could mean “we can’t demand God answer why he permits evil or what his purposes for it are”. Just like you assume divine foreknowledge must entail causation/necessity. Just like you assume determinism must be true or cosmic chaos results and God is no longer sovereign.

    As for this logically entailing idolatry business. What are the Marian doctrines:
    – Intercessory prayer – how asking someone, who being in heaven has a will perfectly united to Christ’s, to pray for us makes them a goddess escapes me
    – PV – how Mary being ever-virgin makes her a goddess escapes me.
    – Assumption – how Mary being assumed makes her a goddess escapes me.
    – IC – how mary being sinless/redeemed due to Christ’s merits makes her a goddess escapes me.
    – Theotokos – how mary being mother of God makes her a goddess escapes me.

    RCs and EOs know what the Trinity is. They are quite aware Mary (nor any other saints) isn’t a fourth member of it.

  21. Jim–

    There is no question that Protestants have gotten to a place of virtually ignoring Mary and the saints. It is inexcusable…as is our ignorance of the ECF’s.

    But one thing we do not do is badmouth her. I doubt you call Mother Teresa “your life, your sweetness, and your hope,” but in calling her a humble servant of our Lord or a great humanitarian, you hardly insult her.

    We didn’t, haven’t, and won’t say one “nasty” thing concerning the Mother of our Lord. We won’t come close to doing so.

  22. Jim,

    Then you have a problem with the Fathers who called Mary the New Eve because her role in the Redemption paralleled that of Eve’s in the Fall.
    D you call into question the orthodoxy of the Fathers?

    I call into question their orthodoxy on this particular doctrine, just as I call into question any theologian’s orthodoxy on any doctrine where they are wrong biblically.

    The problem with the Mary-Eve parallel is that it gives to Mary alone a role shared by all Christians. If Christ is the new Adam and the church is his bride, we’re all the new Eve.

    Gen 3:15 says the Woman shares, along with her seed, in the same enmity with the serpent and his seed. The same enmity.
    If the Woman was ever a sinner, she could not be said to be at complete enmity with the serpent. This explains why the woman spoken to is not Eve as she was a willing accomplice in the seduction of Adam, 1 Tim 2:14.

    I’m not sure where the enmity is “complete” every moment of her life, especially since the seed of the woman is not exclusively Christ. It finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ, but the seed includes every enemy of Satan, just as the seed of the serpent includes every enemy of God. And the people of God, until they are glorified, are not as wholly against Satan as they should be. if they were, they would never sin.

    Mary has an important role, but the role she plays must be seen in its rightful context. Mary was chosen not because she was better than any other Jewish girl. And God’s choice of her guaranteed that she would say yes to him. There was absolutely no chance she would say no. Further, Jesus relativizes her role significantly. Those who do his will are His brothers and sister and MOTHER (Matt. 12:46–50). She was a sinner, thinking her son crazy at times (Mark 3:21) and she essentially disappears after the gospels. Apparently she wasn’t all that significant to Paul, as he could have named her when he speaks of Christ being born of a woman, but he doesn’t.

    So, you need to come up with some explanation for the “coincidence” of John saying the Woman of Gen 3:15 is the same as Rev 12. The same serpent. Same seed/man child. But two completely different women? Or worse, the serpent and the seed are definite persons but the woman is to interpreted allegorically as Israel or the Church?

    John never says that the woman of Gen. 3:15 is the same as the woman in Rev. 12. He identifies the dragon as the serpent, but he never identifies the woman as anyone, much less Mary. Could it be Mary? I suppose anything’s possible, but Revelation is such a symbolic book that depends so much on the OT prophets, that you are going to be hard pressed to make that case with any certainty. Building Mariology on this one text is fraught with problems, especially when you then go on and ignore rather clear passages of Scripture, such as Romans 3. I know you RCs basically reject that text, but we take sin seriously on this side of the Tiber. Even the Mother of God sinned.

    Again, we respect Mary as she is to be respected—as a creature. Praying to her is idolatry. Thinking that she becomes infinite and can hear the prayers of a billion RCs all at once is idolatry. She’s a creature. Protestants probably tend to give her less attention than she deserves, but in light of the Mariolatry RC and the EO represent, it is entirely understandable.

  23. James,

    As for this logically entailing idolatry business. What are the Marian doctrines:
    – Intercessory prayer – how asking someone, who being in heaven has a will perfectly united to Christ’s, to pray for us makes them a goddess escapes me

    If you all were simply saying, “hey Mary, say a prayer for me,” and then went about your business, it would be far less troublesome. You guys have popes dedicating the whole world to Mary, you make pilgrimages to pay homage to her, and you paint her as being better able to relate to us than Jesus. That’s just the start. It’s simply not a matter of asking Mary to pray for you and you know it. She displaces Christ in common RC piety, and that is a simple fact.

    – PV – how Mary being ever-virgin makes her a goddess escapes me.

    It doesn’t make her a goddess. It evidences a pagan belief that matter is evil and that Mary would be sullied by sexual relations that God says are holy and good more than anything else.

    – Assumption – how Mary being assumed makes her a goddess escapes me.

    It doesn’t, there’s just no evidence for this biblically, nor can it be traced even to the earliest tradition.

    – IC – how mary being sinless/redeemed due to Christ’s merits makes her a goddess escapes me.

    It doesn’t necessarily, it just goes against Scripture.

    – Theotokos – how mary being mother of God makes her a goddess escapes me.

    Properly understood, it doesn’t. Which is one reason why Protestants accept Chalcedon. The problem is that the common person in a RC Church does not know that the title is meant to say something about JESUS, not primarily Mary.

  24. ROBERT November 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    If you all were simply saying, “hey Mary, say a prayer for me,” and then went about your business, it would be far less troublesome. You guys have popes dedicating the whole world to Mary, you make pilgrimages to pay homage to her, and you paint her as being better able to relate to us than Jesus. That’s just the start. It’s simply not a matter of asking Mary to pray for you and you know it. She displaces Christ in common RC piety, and that is a simple fact.

    No, she doesn’t displace Jesus. However, Jesus gave her to us to be our mother. So, we treat her as our mother. We do this in obedience to Christ and to the Word of God in Scripture.

    The problem is that you guys don’t know Scripture nor the power of God. Therefore, you deny the will of God with respect to how you should relate to Mary.

    First, Scripture tells us to go beyond the letter to the Spirit of the Word:
    2 Corinthians 3:6 (KJV)
    6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

    Because the truths of Scripture are spiritually discerned:
    1 Corinthians 2:14
    King James Version (KJV)
    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    So, let us go to the spirit of the text in question.

    2nd:
    John 19:26-28
    26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. 28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

    Catholics are taught to read Scripture as though God was speaking to us. Now, are you a beloved disciple of Christ? To put it differently, are you a disciple whom Jesus loves?

    Catholics would answer, “Yes” to that question and therefore accept Jesus command to take Mary as our mother and bring her into our home (i.e. heart).

    Then, you need to be aware of other verses in Scripture.
    Genesis 3:15
    15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

    The seed of the Woman is not just Jesus. Let me show you:
    Revelation 12:17
    17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    Do you consider yourself someone who keeps the Commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus? If so, then you are seed or a child of the Woman. That Woman is Mary. And therefore, Scripture says that all who fight the good fight on behalf of God in Christ, are children of Mary.

    We don’t idolize her. We love her as Scripture teaches us to do. As Jesus commands us to do.

    It doesn’t make her a goddess. It evidences a pagan belief that matter is evil and that Mary would be sullied by sexual relations that God says are holy and good more than anything else.

    Well, the fact is that Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. It is well known, that Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. What is not as well-known is that Mary is also the bride of Christ. Mary is in the figure, the heavenly Jerusalem, which in another figure is the heavenly church.

    Therefore, it is not right that any man should have relations with the Bride of Christ, the Mother of God, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

    The perpetual virginity of Mary uplifts Christ precisely because His mother is not sullied.

    Ezekiel 44:2
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
    2 And he[a] said to me, “This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.

    This gate is in a figure the Virgin Mary.

    Psalm 118:19-21
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
    19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
    that I may enter through them
    and give thanks to the Lord.
    20 This is the gate of the Lord;
    the righteous shall enter through it.
    21 I thank thee that thou hast answered me
    and hast become my salvation.

    This is why the Virgin Mary is in a figure, the mother of all the righteous:

    Revelation 12:17
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
    17 Then the dragon was angry with the woman,[a] and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood[b] on the sand of the sea.

    St. Joseph, the righteous, is spiritually one of Mary’s children. Therefore, it is not appropriate for him to have sexual relations with his spiritual mother.

    It doesn’t, there’s just no evidence for this biblically, nor can it be traced even to the earliest tradition.

    The Bible seems explicit to me concerning the assumption of Enoch. The Bible also seems explicit in explaining why Enoch was assumed into heaven:

    Hebrews 11:5 ….for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
    Now it seems to me that this sort of gives us a guideline or Biblical principle. Apparently, God will translate to Himself those who please Him. We know that we all await our translation to heaven body and soul, eventually, in the Resurrection. But apparently, God will translate some to Himself who please Him extraordinarily. Such as, Elijah and Moses ( 4 Kings 2:11; Jude 1:9).

    Now, if He did this in the past, why would God not do it in the future. After all, God is absolute and does not change. And isn’t Scripture clear that Mary pleased God:

    Luke 1:28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women….42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
    Additional texts which support the translation of Mary to heaven body and soul are these:

    Rev 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail.
    Rev 12:1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars:

    John 17:24 Father, I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me; that they may see my glory which thou hast given me, because thou hast loved me before the creation of the world.
    Psalms 132:8 Arise, O Lord, into thy resting place: thou and the ark, which thou hast sanctified.

    I guess your next question is “what does the ark have to do with Mary?”

    I’ll let Scott Hahn answer that:

    The most prominent scriptural theme in the liturgical text of the Church when it comes to the feast of the Assumption, which we are celebrating happily today. You can see, if you had a missalette that the reading for the Vigil of the Assumption has some text that at first might seem to be rather odd and out of place. For instance, we had a reading from 1st Chronicles 15. It doesn’t mention Mary. All it talks about is how David assembled all Israel and Jerusalem to bring the Ark of the Lord to the place which he had prepared for it. …. And you’re thinking, “Why choose this text? There are literally thousands of texts to choose from, why a text about a box? And all of these guys jumping and singing and dancing around a box, and putting it in a tent and then singing and dancing and offering sacrifices and blessing people in the text?”

    Kind of unusual. But then for the Responsorial Song in the Vigil Mass from Psalm 132, the responsorial is , “Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the Ark of you holiness.” Now, this isn’t Noah’s ark, this is the Ark of the Covenant. We’ll get a little bit more into the background in just a minute, but why the Ark of the Covenant, and this is an ancient liturgical tradition. These are texts that have been included in the liturgy of the Assumption as far back as we can trace it, and this is like 7th Century, 6th Century. We can’t trace it back much farther than that, but all this historical evidence points to the fact that this has been celebrated from ancient times. So you can’t just say, “Well it popped out of nowhere in the 6th and 7th Century,” because back then Churches were liturgically hyper- conservative. I mean you didn’t just innovate and then say, “Well, we’ve got a new feast.” Then all of a sudden have it catch on in the Church all around the world.

    It doesn’t necessarily, it just goes against Scripture.

    No, it doesn’t:

    Romans 5:14King James Version (KJV)

    14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    – Theotokos – how mary being mother of God makes her a goddess escapes me.
    Properly understood, it doesn’t. ….

    We understand it properly. It is you who by denying the fact that she gave birth to God, deny the Divinity of Christ. We’ve had this conversation before.

  25. Possibly the only thing I might add to this conversation regarding how upset our Protestants brothers are over what they perceive as our worship of Mary.

    We deny that we worship Mary, but declare wholeheartedly that we WORSHIP God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. . .

    Can you just imagine what our worship must be like!

  26. James–

    Like everything else that has existence, Evil is ordained by God. To say anything else is to posit that he is not in control of Evil. It didn’t sneak up on him or take him by surprise. He knew exactly what he would do with it. My guess is that you have no problem with the fact that God is in control. Thus, within my terms at any rate, you would say that God ordains all things, including Evil.

    Actually, I believe infralapsarian Calvinism would prefer to say that God permits Evil rather than that he determines it. At any rate, he ordains it. To say otherwise is to say that God is not God…that he is not all wise, all powerful, and everywhere present. From what I recall, Reformed thought on this matter and Thomistic thought on this matter are virtually identical. When it comes down to philosophical concepts, Calvinism tends to punt to Aquinas (which is why it strikes me as inordinately weird when Jonathan wants to paint us as Nestorians or the like). In terms of Christology and Theology Proper (the Trinity, the Attributes of God), the very framework we use is Thomistic.

    We do not deny free will. We do not deny secondary causes.

    Like Augustine, we deny any fatalistic, deterministic system. There are no puppet strings!

    In point of fact, I very much like what Augustine has to say on the matter:

    “God works in the hearts of men to bend their wills wherever He wills, whether to good deeds according to His mercy, or to evil deeds after their own deserts; His own judgment being sometimes manifest, sometimes secret, but always righteous. This ought to be the fixed and immoveable conviction of your heart, that there is no unrighteousness with God. Therefore, whenever you read in the Scriptures of Truth, that men are led aside, or that their hearts are blunted and hardened by God, never doubt that some ill deserts of their own have first occurred, so that they justly suffer these things. Thus, you will not run counter to that proverb of Solomon: The foolishness of a man perverts his ways, yet he blames God in his heart.”

    “Grace, however, is not bestowed according to men’s deserts; otherwise grace would be no longer grace. For grace is so designated because it is given gratuitously. Now, if God is able, either through the agency of angels (whether good ones or evil), or in any other way whatever, to operate in the hearts even of the wicked, in return for their deserts–whose wickedness was not made by Him, but was either derived originally from Adam, or increased by their own will–what is there to wonder at if, through the Holy Spirit, He works good in the hearts of the elect?”

  27. ERIC November 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm
    James–
    Like everything else that has existence, Evil is ordained by God…..

    You were complaining that we were falsely accusing Robert of saying that God is the author of sin. But now you have admitted to believe the same error. If you claim that God ordains evil, then you have said that He is the author of sin.

  28. Debbie–

    Yes, I can see where you’re coming from.

    But our impression is not that Mary is one of four entities that you worship. Our impression oftentimes is that you worship Mary INSTEAD of the Trinity, that you worship Mary TO THE EXCLUSION of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Listen to Catholic radio sometime. The station I can get has constant rosaries recited. Songs are overwhelmingly Marian in content. Programming is about apparitions and pilgrimages to Marian sites.

    As a result, our impression is that your worship is seriously impoverished by the lack of focus on Christ.

  29. Eric, you write:

    Evil is ordained by God.

    Define ordain! Give us a Calvinist definition of the word “ordain” so that we can clearly see that Calvinists do NOT believe that God is the source of all evil. Frankly, I think that you are just spewing out a bunch of double talk.

  30. Hi Robert,

    I’m not a Roman Catholic, but I can explain to you why 21 Ecumenical Councils confirmed Petrine jurisdictional authority. Let simplify thing to 7 Ecumenical Councils. In canon laws of Council of Nicaea, Alexandria was elevated into Patriarchal See following the Church government in Rome. Before Pentarchy was developed (non-Chalcedonian rejected Council of Chalcedon) Triarchy was modelled after Rome’s monarchy. St. Leo refused Canon 28 of Chalcedon specifically because it asserts that Rome hold primacy because she was located at the ancient capital city of Old Rome. He went on to clarify that misconception that Petrine primacy is divinely instituted by the Lord not a primacy of honor based on location. As a Protestant you can reject St. Leo’s view but you can’t deny that such view exists prior to Medieval Scholasticism. St. Victor in the middle of second century excommunicated Asiatic bishops which shows the scope of his jurisdiction. Even if you deny that, we can go earlier to St. Clemens who demanded the Church of Corinth to heed his exhortation. To argue that this is merely typical exhortation among brethren is simply diminishing the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Even Eastern Orthodox don’t deny that primacy of Rome is more than just honorific. What they argue is when Rome added filioque, Rome loss her primacy. This view can be seen in Fr. Meyendorff’s (an EO) writings about Papacy. In EO they do have regional (patriarchal) and local (bishopric) hierarchies, but they rejected universal hierarchy (See my comment to Jason Loh). To argue that there is no Papacy you need to ignore the overwhelming involvement of Rome in every Ecumenical Councils, naming the first four: St. Silvester who supported St. Athanasius on Nicaea 325, St. Damasus on Constantinople 381-2 where his Tome on filioque was accepted in its fifth canon, St. Celestine in supporting Ss. Augustine and Cyril on Ephesus, and St. Leo in supporting Ss. Flavian and Theodoret on Chalcedon. These were not honorific supports, these showed Petrine universal jurisdiction. Can a Pope make mistake? Yes, that’s why St. Bellarmine wrote extensively about such possibility. The classical one is condemnation of Pope Honorius.

    Regarding Theotokos, you can confess it because you want to affirm that the one she gave birth was God and man. But you do this on three false assumptions: Theotokos gave birth to His humanity (nature can’t be begotten) which is Nestorianism (she gave birth to the Second Divine Person), The Logos assumed prelapsarian humanity (that which is not assumed is not healed) which is Pelagian Antropology (He assumed our fallen infirmities), and Theotokos even was though born with fallen infirmities as consequence of Ancestral Sin (Lat. reatus not culpa) was saved by her Son by being protected from sin from her conception (even Luther and Eastern Orthodox confess that Theotokos is sinless). So you can confess Theotokos in name only but never in substance. This is why I mentioned the closing prayer to Theotokos by St. Cyril during Ephesian council. The dogma of Ephesus is twofold, it confirms the Incarnation of the Second Divine Person (not His humanity) and in relation to that Marian devotion, “Therefore, because the holy virgin bore in the flesh God who was united hypostatically with the flesh, for that reason we call her mother of God.” To read Ephesian council by denying its Marian dogma, is like Calvin read Nicene but rejecting Deum de Deo. Or like Nestorian who confessing Nicene’s one Lord but locating the Logos as a part and not the whole person of Christ. Ironically Calvin followed Nestorius (cf. Beeke and Jones which I quoted on my earlier comment). You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Either you accept Theotokos as accepted by Ephesian fathers with devotion to her or you’re not. This is why you can claim to accept the Gospel of St. John but can’t agree on its content because John 8 was moved from the Gospel of St. Matthew. Eastern Orthodoxy has a stronger claim than Protestantism. Even Mormon and Jehovah Witnesses are more consistent at least they rejected all councils as abomination and false Christianity rather than claiming to accept the first four councils and redefined its teaching to suit their interpretations. Please read The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism by Louis Bouyer or Jaroslav Pelikan. God bless you Robert.

  31. ERIC November 9, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    But our impression is ….that you worship Mary…..

    And our impression is that you worship a book. Bibliolatry is very real in your world.

  32. James–

    I’ll probably end up just echoing Robert for the most part, but here goes:

    1. Prayer to Mary is seldom if ever intercessory. Well, I shouldn’t say that with the frequency that the Rosary gets prayed…and it’s more or less intercessory. Most Marian prayers (and prayers to Saints, for that matter) are prayers of supplication, where the pray-er is hoping the Saint will grant a request. Some of them are prayers of thanksgiving for what the Saint or the BVM has already supplied. These are prayers of worship. They are NOT asking the BVM to pray along with us. They are NOT requesting the BVM to beseech her Son on our behalf (on the strange belief that she is somehow closer to his ear…or closer to his heart). Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we have DIRECT access to our great high priest, who is the only mediator with the Father. I gave Catholics the benefit of the doubt until I started reading and hearing actual Marian prayers. In my opinion, if they are not idolatrous, then nothing is.

    2. I have no problem with Mary’s perpetual virginity, and neither did a number of the Reformers.

    3. I have no problem with the Assumption, either. Of course, as with perpetual virginity, it is not found in Scripture. The history of the dormition or death of the BVM has many variants.

    4. Likewise, immaculacy does not necessitate idolatry, but it does not square with Scripture nor the early history of the church.

    5. And certainly, we have no problem with the use of theotokos …we fully EMBRACE the term!!

    Where are the other, more incriminating terms? Queen of Angels? Gate of Heaven? Throne of Wisdom? Co-Redemptrix? Mediatrix of All Graces? Mother of the Church? Refuge of Sinners?

  33. Mateo–

    Genesis 50:20.

    “As for you, you intended evil against me, but God intended it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

    For me, “to ordain” means that an action has been intended by God, and he has brought it about.

  34. ERIC November 9, 2014 at 10:02 pm
    Mateo–
    Genesis 50:20.
    “As for you, you intended evil against me, but God intended it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
    For me, “to ordain” means that an action has been intended by God, and he has brought it about.

    And you have proven the Catholic position. God does not ordain evil, but good. The evil creature intends the sin.

  35. Adithia–

    Who told you we believed any of these things? I’ll let Robert go ahead and answer, but CLEARLY we don’t believe that Mary bore only Christ’s humanity. She bore the divine person of Christ. BUT,maps the
    Chalcedonian Definition also clearly states:

    “We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.”

    She is the theotokos only according to the Manhood. She is not the source of Christ’s divinity in any way, shape, or form. And you can like it…or you cannot…but that is orthodoxy.

    And we fully hold to it.

     

  36. ERIC November 9, 2014 at 9:54 pm
    ….
    5. And certainly, we have no problem with the use of theotokos …we fully EMBRACE the term!!

    No you don’t. We’ve had that conversation before, at length.

    Where are the other, more incriminating terms?

    They are only incriminating to those who don’t understand the Word of God.

    Queen of Angels?

    Rev 12:1, she was crowned Queen of Heaven. That includes the Angels.

    Gate of Heaven?

    She brought forth into this world, God, in whom all move and have their being.

    Throne of Wisdom?

    Wisdom incarnate sat on her lap.

    Co-Redemptrix?

    She brought forth the Redeemer.

    Mediatrix of All Graces?

    She brought forth Jesus, who is All Grace.

    Mother of the Church?

    She is the Mother of the body of Christ. She is also the mother of all believers.

    Refuge of Sinners?

    Jesus Christ, from the Cross gave her to us to be our mother.

  37. Adithia–

    That should read:

    BUT, as the Chalcedonian Definition also clearly states:
     

  38. ERIC November 9, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    ….She is the theotokos only according to the Manhood.

    and this is where you stumble. Because Jesus can’t be divided. He was God when He resided in her womb. And He was God when He was born. The Godman was born of Mary.

  39. ERIC November 9, 2014 at 10:49 pm
    ….She is the theotokos only according to the Manhood.

    and this is where you stumble. Because Jesus can’t be divided. He was God when He resided in her womb. And He was God when He was born. The Godman was born of Mary.

  40. Eric,

    This is the part of Chalcedon that you continually deny:

    one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.”

    That is the part that you and Robert and all the Protestants that have come on this board, reject and deny.

  41. Eric,

    She is not the source of Christ’s divinity in any way, shape, or form.

    No Catholic on this board has ever said that she was. It is your straw man to finagle your argument that Jesus was not God while He was in Mary’s womb.

  42. Eric,

    “But our impression is not that Mary is one of four entities that you worship. Our impression oftentimes is that you worship Mary INSTEAD of the Trinity, that you worship Mary TO THE EXCLUSION of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. ”

    TO HELL WITH YOUR FAULTY ” IMPRESSION”!!!!

    You have been told 100 times WE DON”T. Quit calling us liars or idiots. You are like Kauffman and the troll that accuse us of unknowingly worship bread.
    Please give us the benefit of the doubt.

    Mary is not God. I really know that. I am not pretending. Despite your impressions, I worship God as Creator. I also realize Mary is a creature. What can I do to satisfy you? Stop obeying the Bible which says Mary is our mother? Stop obey the prophecy that says all generations will call her blessed? Stop imitating the angel that greeted her with the royal greeting of “Ave”?

    Eric, you are an outsider looking in. You don’t know what Catholics believe despite your insistence that you do.
    You commit the sin of rash judgement by accusing us of a sin based on your assumptions.

  43. Jim–

    Then kindly cease and desist from all non-intercessory prayer to Mary!

  44. Adithia,

    Rome was really and almost entirely irrelevant to the first few ecumenical councils, which nobody knew at the time they were held that they were going to be ecumenical and “eternally” binding councils. It’s all a post-hoc recognition.

    <I.Regarding Theotokos, you can confess it because you want to affirm that the one she gave birth was God and man. But you do this on three false assumptions: Theotokos gave birth to His humanity (nature can’t be begotten) which is Nestorianism (she gave birth to the Second Divine Person),

    As Eric pointed out, Chalcedon specifically says that she is Theotokos according to Christ’s humanity. She simply isn’t the source of His deity. Was the baby she bore the incarnate second person of the Trinity, absolutely.

    The Logos assumed prelapsarian humanity (that which is not assumed is not healed) which is Pelagian Antropology (He assumed our fallen infirmities), and Theotokos even was though born with fallen infirmities as consequence of Ancestral Sin (Lat. reatus not culpa) was saved by her Son by being protected from sin from her conception (even Luther and Eastern Orthodox confess that Theotokos is sinless).

    If Jesus possesses a fallen human nature, He can’t save us. He would be guilty of sin according to Protestant theology.

    In any case, I’m not sure why saying Jesus did not assume a fallen human nature is controversial. Even Rome says Jesus was born without Original Sin. If that is the case, one must qualify the kind of humanity Christ assumed. It would be difficult to say it is prelapsarian humanity, since he assumes it after the fall occurs. But if the humanity he assumes was never tainted by original sin, there is a significant difference between it and the humanity that all of us right now possess. Assuming RC theology, all people need to be cleansed of original sin in their baptism. Jesus never needed that.

    So you can confess Theotokos in name only but never in substance. This is why I mentioned the closing prayer to Theotokos by St. Cyril during Ephesian council. The dogma of Ephesus is twofold, it confirms the Incarnation of the Second Divine Person (not His humanity) and in relation to that Marian devotion, “Therefore, because the holy virgin bore in the flesh God who was united hypostatically with the flesh, for that reason we call her mother of God.”

    Incorrect. We affirm Theotokos as it is intended to be, as a title that says something about Christ.

    To read Ephesian council by denying its Marian dogma, is like Calvin read Nicene but rejecting Deum de Deo.

    And, of course, Calvin didn’t formal reject Deum de Deo. He was reacting against those who took Deum de Deo to infer that what Christ is according to His divinity is less divine than the Father.

    Or like Nestorian who confessing Nicene’s one Lord but locating the Logos as a part and not the whole person of Christ. Ironically Calvin followed Nestorius (cf. Beeke and Jones which I quoted on my earlier comment).

    Calvin was not Nestorian, a fact that even Roman Catholic scholars such as Thomas Weinandy point out.

    .You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Either you accept Theotokos as accepted by Ephesian fathers with devotion to her or you’re not.

    And it all depends on what you call devotion. I have a very high regard for Mary; I just don’t go to the extremes of Marian piety wherein she is not treated like just anyone else you would ask for prayer. Its a bit disingenuous for RCs to claim that all they are doing is asking Mary to pray for them just as they would ask their friend who is still alive. I don’t go to my wife to ask her to pray for me and preface it by calling her Queen of Heaven, etc.

    This is why you can claim to accept the Gospel of St. John but can’t agree on its content because John 8 was moved from the Gospel of St. Matthew. Eastern Orthodoxy has a stronger claim than Protestantism.

    A stronger claim to what, to following absolutely everything every early council said? Probably that is the case. That’s only a problem if everything every early council said was correct.

    Even Mormon and Jehovah Witnesses are more consistent at least they rejected all councils as abomination and false Christianity rather than claiming to accept the first four councils and redefined its teaching to suit their interpretations. Please read The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism by Louis Bouyer or Jaroslav Pelikan. God bless you Robert.

    I’m still trying to figure out what has been redefined. All I’ve seen from your statement is that we are wrong because we don’t follow the excesses of Marian piety. Specific statements from Chalcedon seem to contradict what you have said.

    Protestants are doing what every other communion does, and that is interpret the councils according to some higher authority. We do it and reject Marian piety. Rome does it and rejects the idea that it doesn’t have primacy of jurisdiction. I’m not quite as familiar with the EO, but I do know that no one going into Nicea had any notion that it was an ecumenical council gathering to settle things once and for all. That’s a post-council application. Nobody going into Nicea thought that the church was inevitably going to get it right.

    Thanks.

  45. Eric,

    Actually, I believe infralapsarian Calvinism would prefer to say that God permits Evil rather than that he determines it.

    That is indeed correct. Calvinists don’t normally have a problem with saying God permits evil; it all depends on what you mean by permission. What Calvin and all in His camp want to avoid is the notion of bare permission, the notion that God just stands back and twiddles his thumbs when it comes to the occurrence of evil. If one isn’t careful, that is exactly the notion that comes across.

    The notion of permission that seems to be promoted by our RC interlocutors seems to raise significant problems for our doctrine of God.

    1. It seems to make God a passive learner/absorber of information. God sees that Joe will have an evil intent and then allows Him to have it. His knowledge logically follows His decree.

    2. It seems to reduce to de facto dualism. If evil is not ordained by God, then you have evil with an eternal existence apart from God. Sure God creates all the conditions and sustains those who choose evil, but He knows eternally that there will be a fall and that the ultimate explanation of this is in the wills of creatures who have no existence until He creates them. He knows without ordaining what they will do even though they have no reality until He creates them. IOW, if He does not decree the fall and it is still sure to happen, one must account for how he knows that and yet evil not being an eternally independent power.

    3. At the end of the day, God knowing that evil will happen and permitting it doesn’t get God off the hook. If God’s knowledge cannot be falsified, the fall has been determined with certainty. But if God isn’t determining it, who is? And how is God not morally responsible if He is sustaining their ability to choose wrongly when He could just as well blink them out of existence.

    4. At the end of the day, God could choose not create those who would choose wrongly, but He does so anyway. Again, it’s like the gun seller who sells a gun to a mass murderer knowing for certain that the mass murderer will use it anyway. The mass murderer is going to be held accountable for the evil, at least partially.

    God’s permission ensures that event x will happen. How that is not determinism of some kind escapes me.

    I understand the desire to absolve God of evil, believe me I do, but viewing sin primarily as a matter of ontology and the idea of bare permission just doesn’t do it. Our notion of what it is good for God to do must be different than what it is good for man to do if we are to retain any classical notion of divine omniscience, omnibenevolence, and omnipotence. The only other way to keep God good in face of evil is to deny omniscience and omnipotence.

    The problem for our RC interlocutors is that they want to say that it is good for God to permit evil (in the sense of bare permission) even though under any ordinary circumstances, we would not say it is good for creatures to do that. But if they can do that, we can say it is good for God to ordain evil without Him being morally culpable.

    In my mind, it all goes back to a willingness to take God at His word. If God says He ordains evil and is not blameworthy for it, then we believe that. We don’t waste our energy looking for how that can be the case when there is no answer given, or at least an incomplete answer. The biblical authors have no problem speaking of God in a deterministic fashion without explaining it.

  46. Eric,
    Prayer can be to ask for something, to give thanks, to praise or to ask forgiveness.
    We don’t not ask Mary to forgive us. No do we ask any saint to forgive us.

    You demand Catholics stop all Non-intercessory prayer. Okay, on condition you
    start saying some prayers of intercession, okay?

    Your silly request demonstrates that you really don’t believe we Catholics thing Mary is God. You believe we think she spoke and the world leapt into existence.
    You think we believe Mary to be self-existent.
    Some of you people actually think Mary is mother to the Trinity. Ralph Martin accused us of such inanity.
    You might deign to concede we American Catholics who are well catechized don’t worship Mary but you insist brown, yellow or black skinned Catholics think she is a goddess.

    I think it is you Protestants who fail to see the distinction between Creatorr and creature, between contingent being and self existent Being.
    You prove you don’t by your rendering of of Gen 3:15.

    The enmity willed or created by God is between the Woman and the Serpent is every bit, if not more, intense than that of the enmity between the respective seeds.

    God did not say, ” I will be enmity between the Seed and his/its mother…”. Rather, He put the emphasis on the Woman’s role.

    You see Eric, the Serpent is a creature, a contingent being that was created by God and is conserved in existence by God. There is no enmity between the two combatants that could not be addressed by an act of annihilation. There is no contest between the Devil and God. It wouldn’t be a fair fight if God squished the Serpent’s head.

    The enmity is primarily creature to creature. Jesus has a created human nature but he is not a created Person. Mary is. So is the Devil. It’s a fair fight between them.

    The Atonement can be looked at under various aspects such as Satisfaction, Sacrifice, Merit and Ransom or Redemption. ( Anything but Penal Substitution. )

    The last one, the Ransom aspect, was the one the Fathers like to apply to Mary. Adam’s sin put him and us into thralldom to the Devil. While he was the head of the race, Eve was seduced by the Serpent into helping him enslave Adam. In order to ransom us, redeem us, or undo the knot tied by Adam and Eve’s disobedience, a reversal of the Fall was called for.
    If Jesus, God incarnate, undid Adam’s disobedience by his obedience alone, the Devil has not been 100% humbled and the ransom still lacks the New Eve’s willing cooperation.

    The Bible speaks of Adam’s sin. It speaks of Christ as the New Adam. It also says Eve was tricked by the Devil.
    Can you connect the dots from here without me spelling it all out for you? The Church Fathers sure could.

    Now, since you have appointed yourself arbiter of what is appropriate and what is excessive devotion to the New Eve and Mother of the human race in the order of grace, could you please tell me just what kind of homage or recognition we should give the woman God chose to share in our redemption?
    Can we sing to or about her? Honor her images? Build Cathedrals and name them after her? Can the Murillo’s and DaVinci’s portray her on canvas or in marble? Can we name cities like Las Angeles ( Queen of the Angels ) after her? Put flowers in front of statues without being accused of thinking she is a goddess? March in processions? Say “repetitious” prayer like Psalmist did?

    Please tell us how not to go overboard in our praise. You keep telling us what we shouldn’t do but you haven’t told us the” in-good-taste” devotions you render to God’s favorite creature.

    Help us out Eric. Tell us what exactly you think we should do. Maybe compose an appropriate hymn or prayer for us. We don’t want to go beyond what you feel is in good taste.

  47. ERIC November 10, 2014 at 2:43 am
    Jim–
    Then kindly cease and desist from all non-intercessory prayer to Mary!

    All prayer to Mary is intercessory. The prayers themselves may include praise, but then God commands us to praise Mary.

    God wills that the Angels praise Mary:

    Luke 1:26-28
    King James Version (KJV)
    26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

    Let’s break this down:

    ANGEL GABRIEL
    1. an angel is a messenger of God. That is what the word, angel, means.
    2. this angel, Gabriel, is one of the four angels that stands before the throne of God.

    WAS SENT FROM GOD
    1. God sent this angel to Mary.
    2. Since this angel is a messenger of God’s, God sent Him to deliver a message.
    3. Therefore, the angel was not speaking on his own, but was communicating God’s message to Mary.
    4. If we skip down to verse 28, we see that this was a message of praise (i.e. blessed art thou).
    5. Therefore God praised Mary through His Angel.

    That is great praise indeed. Do you know of any man whose praise is worth more than God’s? In other words, what do you value more highly, the praise of man or the praise of God?

    And if God praises Mary, what makes you disdain her?

    But, there’s more. God sent the Angel to do His Will. What is His Will. Obviously, God sent the Angel to deliver a message of praise. Therefore it is God’s will that the Angels praise Mary.

    And there’s yet more. Because the Holy Spirit inspired a holy woman to exclaim, “”Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! ”

    still in:
    Luke 1:41-45
    King James Version (KJV)
    41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

    Should we break this down?
    1. The Holy Spirit is God the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.
    2. Therefore, God inspired Elisabeth to praise Mary.
    3. This praise is inscribed in the Word of God for all generations.
    4. Since Elisabeth is a member of the human race, then it is safe to conclude that God wills that men praise Mary.
    5. And we find, again, that God praised Mary through His Saint. Saint Elisabeth praised Mary when she was inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so. That means that it is the Holy Spirit’s praise which she passed on. That is why Scripture is called the Word of God. Because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    Need we say more? Let’s do it anyway.
    Mother of God
    Luke 1:43-45
    New International Version (NIV)
    43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

    Lets break this down:
    1. The word “Lord” is here mentioned two times.
    2. In the second instance, it is an obvious reference to God. “Blessed is she who believes that the LORD would fulfill His promises.” That is an obvious reference to God.
    3. Therefore, then, what could she possibly have meant when she said, “mother of my LORD”?
    4. Since she was inspired by the Holy Spirit to utter these words, she must have meant what is most obvious. Is Jesus, God? Yes. Therefore, the words she uttered could also be translated, “mother of my GOD”.
    5. So, God explicitly teaches us, in His Word, that Mary is the Mother of God.

    Is there any higher praise than that?

    And finally, Scripture says:
    Matthew 6:10King James Version (KJV)
    10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

    Thus, God wills that mankind PRAISE Mary. This is confirmed by Mary herself when she says,
    “From now on all generations will call me blessed (Luke 1:48).”

  48. Jim,

    Your response to Eric is very confused, not the least of which is this idea that God owes Satan a fair fight. What in the world are you talking about. This is the kind of stuff that sends shivers up our spines as it leads almost inexorably to the notion that the whole reason God won is because Mary said yes.

    And as far as what is allowable—a good start would be to stop dedicating the world to Mary. Then, you all should start emphasizing that when you have trouble, go straight to Jesus. That would start solving a lot of your problems.

  49. No Catholic I know of that says one rosary a day, does any less than AT LEAST that much prayer and adoration to our Lord.

    In fact, when you find someone that has been given the gift of our Holy Mother, look closely and you will see their love for Jesus pouring out in everything they do. They have been GIVEN this devotion to His Mother as a beautiful protection and added gift, but it stems from the adopted status of His children who will not be left orphans. We all have it, not all except it.

    Kind of like Salvation, it is for all, but not everyone partakes. For the ones who love, this is a great sadness and brings them to more intercessory prayer. Hence those you want to know the Lord you pray pray pray for. And I am assuming you ask others to join you in prayer.

    This is what a loving family does for one another. The most heart wrenching example of this is: “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” … John 17:21

    His mother prays this too because she loves her Son. So beautiful;

    Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
    Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now
    and at the hour of our death, Amen.

  50. Jason,

    Your coming home journey to Rome from the PCA is so eerily similar to mine both in time and in kind that I simply direct folks to your testimony to elucidate it. I too have experienced many of the same losses and alienations. I am particularly moved by your partial estrangement form your own nuclear family, as my wife made the journey with me. We are empty nesters about your parents age, whose son and his wife (your age) were the immediate and material instigators of the initiation of our journey, having come home before us.

    But young brother you and I both know that St. Peter councils us to rejoice (1Peter 1:6-7) in such times. I know – easier said than done.

    Please know that the One “… who holds our tears in a bottle …” will one day wipe every one from our face. And so in good Catholic fashion, please offer your present sufferings as a holy sacrifice to God which is pleasing to Him.

    I have also felt the sting of animosity from those formerly close to me to whom I only wanted to share the new sweet tasting water.

    But brother since the Lord has called us to confront every argument and pretension that raises itself up against the knowledge of God, please do not weary in doing well.

    Please never relent from speaking the truth in love.

    Your brother in Christ, and fellow sojourner home,

    Paul Michael Shane Goodrich, Ph.D.
    Chesapeake, VA

  51. Robert–

    You do a good job of laying out the case of why the RC’s do not escape the charge of allowing God to be seen as the Author of Evil. You keep repeating, however, that God is deterministic without qualifying the term: he is NOT fatalistic, for example. He does NOT squelch free will. In fact, he uses voluntary acts, both good and bad, to bring about his intended purposes.

    We need to protect the overall framework of of ongoing and eventual victory over sin and death and the devil. It is established. We are not left hoping against hope that it will come. We need to protect the absolute need for regeneration…that no one comes to the Son for life unless the Father draw him.

    And there are, of course, many more things which God compassionately and providentially works out for good for those who love him.

    In large part, however, though God is there in the midst of things, orchestrating everything for our overall good, he is not a puppet master who has no desire for us to exercise our freedom. Almost everything we do is as free as free can be. That which is not free, we would not wish to be so in our wildest dreams.

    God ordains Evil, but it should never be lost sight of that, for the most part, it is ordained in order that he might bring about greater good. That is Christian philosophy’s principal ethical argument towards a satisfactory theodicy.

    In many senses, on then other hand, Scripture makes clear that God neither wants nor needs our paltry defenses of his honor. He created the expanse of the universe, while we are but a fleck on a fleck on a fleck. No matter what, we should trust his reasons…for they cannot go against his character.

  52. Jim–

    What does your Lady of Divine Mercy give you if not a plenary indulgence…and what is a plenary indulgence if not forgiveness? (Of course, there is a whole ritual involved, including the Eucharist, so I suppose that gets you off the hook.) I’m betting that there are prayers asking for forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption. I’ll try to find the time to look.

    You ask the BVM for things. What does she have the power to grant (and how does bestowing such character traits or virtues or spiritual “supplies” not bring her to the goddess level?)

  53. Eric,
    “He does NOT squelch free will.”

    Excuse me Eric but free will for a Calvinist is not free will according to normal people.
    Free will for most folks means one can choose or not choose something.

    For the Calvinist free will means simply that one act according to one’s nature without any external compulsion. If one is a God hater by nature, he freely and happily chooses to sin and to spit in God’s face. Although his evil nature does not allow him do do otherwise, he, according to you, acts freely.

    Then he is punished for doing what his evil nature demanded that he do. He was not free to do otherwise, but he is punished never the less.

    In the Calvinist scheme, God ordains that Adam fall. This nicely puts us all into the massa Damnata. Now we are all deserving of hell and sin according to our nature. God is therefore off the hook and can pick some men out of the corrupt mass and can pass over the rest.

    It is all so nice.

  54. Jim–

    You may have answered this for me before, but I’m pretty dense at the moment. Remind me, what is the purpose of going to Mary in prayer when we have direct access to the Father through the mediation of the Son? Is anyone kinder, gentler, more compassionate than Jesus? Does our approaching Mary somehow enhance our prayers to the Son? How could that be? Why did Jesus never say anything directly concerning his desire that we reverence his Mother? (In fact, he seems to have said the opposite…you who follow me are my mother and brothers and sisters.)

  55. Jim–

    From a human standpoint, I understand your objections to the apparent lack of freedom of the reprobate. But you rail against Scripture, not against me.

  56. Jim–

    This whole notion that “the ransom lacked the New Eve’s willing cooperation” is a nifty thought, but must be wholly built off of Tradition.

    For Scripture says:

    “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”

    It makes no attempt to incorporate Eve’s transgression into the mix.

    At any rate, this is the type of thing I would very much like to hear from you. I think it is these bits of Tradition which stand behind the thinking Catholic’s acceptance of the Church’s teaching on Mary. Almost every convert to Catholicism mentions the Marian dogmas as those which took longest to wrap their minds around.

  57. ERIC November 10, 2014 at 10:18 am
    Robert–
    You do a good job of laying out the case of why the RC’s do not escape the charge of allowing God to be seen as the Author of Evil.

    But it is both you and Robert who have said that God causes evil. And you have been saying so proudly.

  58. I’m pretty excited about this!
    I can’t wait to share with friends as it takes this blog several steps further:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JblwFtu4jn4

  59. Eric,

    Robert–
    You do a good job of laying out the case of why the RC’s do not escape the charge of allowing God to be seen as the Author of Evil. You keep repeating, however, that God is deterministic without qualifying the term: he is NOT fatalistic, for example. He does NOT squelch free will. In fact, he uses voluntary acts, both good and bad, to bring about his intended purposes.

    I agree, and thanks. If I’m pushing hard on determinism its because our RC interlocutors need a good dose of divine sovereignty, not the bare permission and simple foreknowledge that despite their best attempts, their position finally reduces to.

    We need to protect the overall framework of of ongoing and eventual victory over sin and death and the devil. It is established. We are not left hoping against hope that it will come. We need to protect the absolute need for regeneration…that no one comes to the Son for life unless the Father draw him.

    And there are, of course, many more things which God compassionately and providentially works out for good for those who love him.

    Of course.

    In large part, however, though God is there in the midst of things, orchestrating everything for our overall good, he is not a puppet master who has no desire for us to exercise our freedom. Almost everything we do is as free as free can be. That which is not free, we would not wish to be so in our wildest dreams.

    God ordains Evil, but it should never be lost sight of that, for the most part, it is ordained in order that he might bring about greater good. That is Christian philosophy’s principal ethical argument towards a satisfactory theodicy.

    I agree 100 percent. All I’m trying to say is that God doesn’t simply know evil will occur and THEN decides to make it work together for good. This is what our RC friends are essentially saying. I would say that every evil is ordained for greater good.

    In many senses, on then other hand, Scripture makes clear that God neither wants nor needs our paltry defenses of his honor. He created the expanse of the universe, while we are but a fleck on a fleck on a fleck. No matter what, we should trust his reasons…for they cannot go against his character.

    That is true, and that is why I am content to say that God ordains evil without being morally responsible for it and leave it at that. The centuries of defining evil as a mere privation, viewing evil in ontological terms, and seeing God’s work as bare permission aren’t satisfying Scripturally, and they don’t answer the hard question anyway. You really have to ignore a great deal of biblical data to get there.

    A big part of the reason that I am a Calvinist is in relation to this issue. If God permits evil, He doesn’t escape moral blame in any normal sense of the word, so one might as well say He ordains it because the Scripture does not view God as acting via bare permission.

    Essentially, one must make up their mind that God is not accountable to a higher standard of good outside himself. These objections to the Calvinist position on the matter are really grounded in the idea that there is a higher standard than God himself, that he is answerable to a higher authority that says if He ordains something He must be guilty of it. There is no higher authority than God, and if God says He ordains evil and is not blamable for it, He is not blamable for it. It fits with His perfectly good character even if we cannot say precisely how.

    God will define what it means to be morally responsible for evil, not Greek philosophy.

  60. The problem with Mary is …..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Ad9VwXACU

  61. Debbie–

    The problem with these videos is that nearly every other Christian sect could produce a similar documentary. Answered prayer, miracles, intellectual satisfaction, persecution from other sects, the need to make life sacrifices in order to hold firm to the “truth.”

    If Catholicism is not even slightly unique in all this, then why present such an unsatisfying, irrelevant documentary?

    Besides, there are plenty of others who have studied the history of the Church, thoroughly and in good faith…and come to opposite conclusions. There are plenty who have prayed in the name of the Virgin and seen their loved ones die. There are plenty who have thrown out a fleece and had it come back dry as a bone.

    You are presenting Catholicism almost like Mormonism. Pray to God expecting an answer, and he will give you a “burning bosom,” verifying for you the validity of Joseph Smith’s transcriptions.

    How do you answer such charges?

  62. +JMJ+

    Robert wrote:

    … if God says He ordains evil and is not blamable for it, He is not blamable for it.

    “If God says that He’s a square circle, then, dammit, He’s a square circle!”

    Newsflash: God cannot be square circle just as He cannot ordain evil.

    Lesson: Whether you’re reading the Bible or reading tea leaves, if you hear God saying that He ordains evil, you’re doing it wrong.

  63. Eric,

    “It didn’t sneak up on him or take him by surprise. He knew exactly what he would do with it. My guess is that you have no problem with the fact that God is in control. ”

    All orthodox positions hold God is in control. Denial of determinism does not entail open theism.

    “Actually, I believe infralapsarian Calvinism would prefer to say that God permits Evil rather than that he determines it. ”

    If God only permits evil (which originates/is caused by the sinner), then you should have no issue with libertarian positions.

    “We do not deny free will. We do not deny secondary causes.”

    No, but you deny libertarian free will. Which was my point earlier and Jim’s above about how sinners are not coerced to sin reluctantly, but their desires/motives/intent/character that determines and necessitates those evil acts is itself determined by God.

    Interestingly your objection to Jim’s post seemed to agree with him (since you just appealed to Scriptural witness rather than objecting) that:
    “For the Calvinist free will means simply that one act according to one’s nature without any external compulsion. If one is a God hater by nature, he freely and happily chooses to sin and to spit in God’s face. Although his evil nature does not allow him do do otherwise, he, according to you, acts freely.
    Then he is punished for doing what his evil nature demanded that he do. He was not free to do otherwise, but he is punished never the less.”

    If nature determines our acts, why do regenerate believers sin? Further, why did Adam and the angels – both created with good natures – disobey and sin?

    “Like Augustine, we deny any fatalistic, deterministic system. There are no puppet strings!”

    It might not be a puppet, but it is a rube goldberg machine. And many Calvinists fend off the fatalist objection by saying determinism is not fatalistic because God has a purpose in the means he ordains to achieve ends and that’s it.

    “In point of fact, I very much like what Augustine has to say on the matter”

    I also very much like your citation, especially “God works in the hearts of men to bend their wills wherever He wills, whether to good deeds according to His mercy, or to evil deeds after their own deserts … Therefore, whenever you read in the Scriptures of Truth, that men are led aside, or that their hearts are blunted and hardened by God, never doubt that some ill deserts of their own have first occurred, so that they justly suffer these things.”
    and
    “whose wickedness was not made by Him, but was either derived originally from Adam, or increased by their own will”

    “Prayer to Mary is seldom if ever intercessory. Well, I shouldn’t say that with the frequency that the Rosary gets prayed…and it’s more or less intercessory.”

    Progress.

    “Most Marian prayers (and prayers to Saints, for that matter) are prayers of supplication, where the pray-er is hoping the Saint will grant a request. Some of them are prayers of thanksgiving for what the Saint or the BVM has already supplied. These are prayers of worship. They are NOT asking the BVM to pray along with us. They are NOT requesting the BVM to beseech her Son on our behalf”

    Progress halted. The saint can only grant the request – surprise – through intercessory prayer. No one thanks a saint as if that saint acted independently of God – as I said there’s no battle of the wills going on in heaven. Why do you think the rosary is by far the most popular Marian devotion? Don’t you think it’s reasonable you should interpret other prayers in that light, rather than the other way around and make them contradictory?

    Robert,

    “1. It seems to make God a passive learner/absorber of information. God sees that Joe will have an evil intent and then allows Him to have it. His knowledge logically follows His decree.”

    Does God’s foreknowledge of His own acts necessitate His acts? Did Adam not have libertarian will in the choice to sin?

    “2. It seems to reduce to de facto dualism. If evil is not ordained by God, then you have evil with an eternal existence apart from God.”

    Evil cannot be eternal if it is dependent on creation to exist in the first place.

    “IOW, if He does not decree the fall and it is still sure to happen, one must account for how he knows that and yet evil not being an eternally independent power.”

    Are God’s actions part of the decree? If they are, but still not determined/necessitated, does that mean those acts are subject to some eternal independent power?

    “At the end of the day, God knowing that evil will happen and permitting it doesn’t get God off the hook…And how is God not morally responsible if He is sustaining their ability to choose wrongly when He could just as well blink them out of existence.”

    The sting example has already been offered. So we already have a quite obvious intuitive example in the natural order.

    “If God’s knowledge cannot be falsified, the fall has been determined with certainty.”

    No, the fall is foreknown with certainty. You continue to conflate knowing with certainty with determinism/necessity. Adam could’ve not sinned – God’s foreknowledge would be different then by definition.

    “At the end of the day, God could choose not create those who would choose wrongly, but He does so anyway.”

    Knowing does not entail causation (again).

    “Our notion of what it is good for God to do must be different than what it is good for man to do if we are to retain any classical notion of divine omniscience, omnibenevolence, and omnipotence. The only other way to keep God good in face of evil is to deny omniscience and omnipotence.”

    Classical notion? The classical notion that monergism and determinism is the only way to understand those divine attributes which was largely absent from the tradition for 1400 years?

    “In my mind, it all goes back to a willingness to take God at His word.”

    Yes the word that says there is no darkness in Him and that he does not tempt anyone and is not the author of confusion and always provides a way to avoid sin and so on.

    “The biblical authors have no problem speaking of God in a deterministic fashion without explaining it.”

    They have no problem speaking of God in a sovereign fashion without forcing determinism that entails God being author of sin. You might strengthen your case if Judaism also embraced the determinist/theodicy model of Calvinism, but afaik it never has – that might help illuminate what the biblical authors were assuming and their context when writing on the topic of evil and sovereignty.

  64. James,

    They have no problem speaking of God in a sovereign fashion without forcing determinism that entails God being author of sin.

    I’m still waiting for somebody to prove that God’s ordaining sin makes Him the author of sin, besides of course, “it just does.”

    You might strengthen your case if Judaism also embraced the determinist/theodicy model of Calvinism, but afaik it never has – that might help illuminate what the biblical authors were assuming and their context when writing on the topic of evil and sovereignty.

    Yes, let’s go to people who reject Christ as the Messiah and have them develop our hermeneutic. Great idea.

    Knowing does not entail causation (again).

    If God’s knowledge cannot be falsified, then those whom He knows will sin cannot not sin in any meaningful sense.

    The sting example has already been offered. So we already have a quite obvious intuitive example in the natural order.

    The sting example doesn’t work because Adam and Eve didn’t have any sinful desires until the temptation was presented to them. It was entrapment under your scheme, unless of course you believe God made human beings with an inherent tendency to go bad, which is essentially what Roman anthropology boils down to. Looks like God did make people to sin after all.

    Yes the word that says there is no darkness in Him and that he does not tempt anyone and is not the author of confusion and always provides a way to avoid sin and so on.

    Again where is the evidence that God’s ordaining evil means he has darkness in him, that he tempts people, that he is the author of confusion, and doesn’t always provide a way to avoid sin. One could just as well say that God’s passive allowing of these such things entails the same things.

    If God’s knowledge is not determinative, he’s just like us, only he knows a lot more. More making God in our own image.

    So you’re giving me a passive God for which omniscience means he just knows a lot of stuff. Congratulations on going Mormon on us.

  65. James,

    Evil cannot be eternal if it is dependent on creation to exist in the first place.

    So God didn’t know eternally that evil would occur? He didn’t know eternally that it would come in from out of nowhere? If God doesn’t ordain it, it has an eternal existence outside of His decree.

  66. DEBBIE November 10, 2014 at 12:08 pm
    I’m pretty excited about this!
    I can’t wait to share with friends as it takes this blog several steps further:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JblwFtu4jn4

    Isn’t it awesome?!!! Knowledgeable Protestants and learned people throughout the world are becoming Catholic!!!

    Woohooo!

  67. ERIC November 10, 2014 at 1:26 pm
    Debbie–
    The problem with these videos is that nearly every other Christian sect could produce a similar documentary. ….

    But the subjects won’t be as articulate. Besides, your complaint sounds like sour grapes to me. What, did you think you would be invited?

  68. ROBERT November 10, 2014 at 2:05 pm
    James,
    Evil cannot be eternal if it is dependent on creation to exist in the first place.
    So God didn’t know eternally that evil would occur?

    The very question and the wording of it, proves that you know that evil did not exist and therefore is not eternal.

  69. “why present such an unsatisfying, irrelevant documentary?”

    Well, a couple of reasons;
    1) this is Jason Stellman’s Blog
    2) this post was about his conversion to Catholicism
    3) he is featured in this documentary along with several high profile people
    4) the shared ‘difficulty’ in this present life for them to follow the Truth
    5) the shared intense searching from a strong analytical background

    The other highlight video about what they found most difficult in Mary was precisely what was being discussed here. This is actually very unique; I would be very interested in any video at all that you could point me to that is, in fact, similar.

    Eric, it is important to point out that you failed to see the people in the video as yourself. It is not a common phenomenon to have perfectly happy people in their faith to do what these individuals did. Not typical at all. And it wasn’t “answered prayer, miracles, intellectual satisfaction, persecution from other sects, the need to make life sacrifices” – just the opposite – they all didn’t WANT to have to change, they weren’t looking for miracles. They were being drawn, pulled closer to the fullness of love in the Holy Trinity.

  70. Debbie–

    This isn’t my first rodeo. I have had a couple of very close personal friends go the Roman route. Their problem, as with many converts, was the lack of epistemic certainty in Evangelicalism and a personal desire to be free from perceived restrictions pertaining to God’s sovereignty. They DID INDEED want a change…though not necessarily the one they got. Both have gone through difficult times since conversion. The one divorced his wife and soon married another woman. The other has come full circle and seems close to being out of Christianity entirely. Among other things, he has fully embraced the same-sex marriage of his son. He also divorced his wife. He has found Roman Catholicism as empty as his previous Evangelicalism.

    Both of these guys are incredibly analytical, a couple of the smartest guys I have ever known. One is the head of his department in a biological science. He got tremendous flack for embracing some mild Intelligent Design ideas at a secular university. So he understood what it was like to be persecuted for standing up for what he believed to be the truth in an extremely hostile environment. In fact, part of his conversion came about from exhaustion making that stance. He eventually accepted some of the ideas of Kenneth Miller, an ostensibly devout Catholic (that’s what he bills himself as), who espouses that biblical concepts and scientific theory need not mesh (more or less Catholic consensus right now…you are, after all, in a liberal denomination right now though you don’t seem to realize it).

    I’m sorry, but my experience has been that these converts are indeed looking for change…and they are not being drawn by the Father of Lights, but by the Father of Lies.

  71. ERIC November 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm
    Debbie–
    This isn’t my first rodeo. I have had a couple of very close personal friends go the Roman route. Their problem, as with many converts, was the lack of epistemic certainty in Evangelicalism….

    That’s a big problem. They made the right choice to ditch it and the confusion of Protestantism and come to the Fullness of Truth, in the Catholic Church.

  72. Eric,
    I know it isn’t your first Rodeo, we’ve all been through a lot in this life. God bless you dear brother.

    To be honest I couldn’t help myself because their stories were so close to my own.

    Let me tell you an interesting one about Mary:

    Up until even seven years ago I had a hard time really asking our Holy Mother to pray for me. In prayer one night I was told very directly that I needed to hold a Rosary prayer group on Wednesday afternoons at 3 pm beginning the following month – go figure, the last thing I would have concocted to do in my spare time. After discernment, I knew I better be in obedience, especially with that type of detail HA HA. (a whole other story)
    So I nervously put an announcement in our parish bulletin that I would host this, even then, cringing at who might show up. To cover myself, I actually said that we would also say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
    I prepared solemnly and waited…. and waited…. and waited…. and no one showed up. I purposely decided to still be obedient and went ahead by myself in my living room saying the Rosary out loud along with the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

    The next Wednesday, two people showed up, the following Wednesday 3 people showed up, and then the Wednesday after that a woman showed up that I really didn’t know well, but had a huge prayer request. Her son was dying of a mysterious disease and was going into hospice. The doctors didn’t know what was causing it, but he was going fast. We continued praying through the summer (I never did put an end date because I figured I’d be told when to end it). We prayed earnestly for her son and of course asked our Blessed Mother to pray for him, especially at the hour of his soon to be death.
    On the last day of the summer, when I knew we weren’t going to be together anymore, this woman shared something with us that I’ll never forget. Her son had been making a remarkable recovery the past couple of weeks, and after more testing, the doctors discovered that he had been slowly poisoned by his wife for a couple of years and the police had arrested her.

    We weren’t praying for a miracle to be done, a miracle was wanting to be done. I didn’t do anything but cooperate with grace and be led where I definitely didn’t want to go. So it wasn’t my idea, my comfort zone, even my spirituality . . .

    that’s when you begin to believe that the love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is especially full in the Mother of our Lord. It wasn’t about me, it was about this poor soul being robbed of his life.

  73. DEBBIE November 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm
    Eric,
    I know it isn’t your first Rodeo, we’ve all been through a lot in this life. God bless you dear brother.
    To be honest I couldn’t help myself because their stories were so close to my own.
    Let me tell you an interesting one about Mary:
    Up until even seven years ago I had a hard time really asking our Holy Mother to pray for me. In prayer one night I was told very directly that I needed to hold a Rosary prayer group on Wednesday afternoons at 3 pm beginning the following month – go figure, the last thing I would have concocted to do in my spare time. After discernment, I knew I better be in obedience, especially with that type of detail HA HA. (a whole other story)….the doctors discovered that he had been slowly poisoned by his wife for a couple of years and the police had arrested her.
    We weren’t praying for a miracle to be done, a miracle was wanting to be done. I didn’t do anything but cooperate with grace and be led where I definitely didn’t want to go. So it wasn’t my idea, my comfort zone, even my spirituality . . .
    that’s when you begin to believe that the love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is especially full in the Mother of our Lord. It wasn’t about me, it was about this poor soul being robbed of his life.

    How wonderful! God be praised! That is how God works through those whom He loves. Especially His glorious mother!

    Thanks for the witness.

    Of course, skeptics will deny it. But I really wonder how they have the gall to do so. There is a continuing miracle attributed to the intercession of Padre Pio. The woman who can see without pupils. She is still alive today. But of course, Protestants will deny it. Just as they do the continuing miracles of the Eucharist and the existence of the Tilma of Our Lady and the Shroud in which Our Lord was buried.

  74. Hi Eric,

    If you add me on FB I’ll discuss thoroughly why Reformed Christology is Nestorian and Pelagian in detail. I’ll try to be brief by answering your comment. “She is the theotokos only according to the Manhood. She is not the source of Christ’s divinity in any way, shape, or form.” It’s true that Theotokos communicates her humanity to Christ. Reformed is in agreement with Catholic and Orthodox at this point. But the issue come when we discuss who is the one person of Christ. I guess you didn’t read what I referred to from Beeke and Jones, which I’ll refer bellow. This is why Reformed can confess that God was in Mary’s womb for nine month but Nestorius himself confessed that also. What Reformed can’t confess is that Theotokos begat the Logos, God was begotten by a mortal. This Reformed can’t confess. You can read the debate on this topic in the Minutes of Westminster Assembly by Chad Van Dixhoorn to see why Calvin’s view was favored and dogmatized in WCF and not St. Cyril’s view (which is called monophysite in the dissertation by Joseph Tene Dyaji, WTS). This might be a shocking to you but in case you can’t accept Catholic and Orthodox reading on Reformed Christology, feel free to read Lutherans’ account on why they condemned Reformed for Nestorianism. I won’t expect you to accept this immediately it took me nearly 8 years to realize this. God bless you Eric.

    “All are agreed, however, that the Creed affirms that the two natures exist in one person. However, the debate’s major point of contention was the identity of the one person. In other words, do we simply identify the person with the divine Logos (Cyril’s position) or with the whole Christ (Calvin’s position)?”
    Beeke and Jones, A Puritan Theology, p. 337.

    “We have seen how the former brings his monophysite Christology to the fore through his twelve anathemas in that he insists on the commingling of the immutable God the Word and the mutable humanity of Christ, a position that results in presenting a divinized man or a monophysite Christology from above.”
    Dyaji, Adviser Tipton, Dissertation WTS (2012), p. 232.

    Hi Robert,

    I rarely read blog, if you have FB you can add me to discuss this in detail. I was like you 8 years ago trying my best to argue that Reformed Christology faithfully follow Chalcedon. I was wrong. I won’t be able to address all of your comments so I’ll answer it briefly. On each major controversies, Popes were asked to settle issues. This is not simply a fellow brethren asking opinion from another brethren. You can argue that Papacy was developed later in Middle Ages, but you can’t dispute that hierarchy do exist even in non Catholic churches. In EO, OO, and CE, hierarchy exists since the early church existed. This is why as early as Ss Clement and Victor we see strong hierarchy being practiced by Pope. About the acceptance of Ecumenical Council I would recommend you to read Jaroslav Pelikan a former Lutheran now an Eastern Orthodox. You can quote them out of context just like Mormon when misquoting Scripture to support their polytheism. Once you see how different Protestantism from the early church you’ll realize why Protestant’s claims are foreign in the Fathers.

    As Eric pointed out, Chalcedon specifically says that she is Theotokos according to Christ’s humanity. She simply isn’t the source of His deity. Was the baby she bore the incarnate second person of the Trinity, absolutely. The problem with what you said is that the Logos has two nativities, He receives His divinity via communication of essence from the Father (which Calvin denied by autothean controversy) and His humanity with fallen infirmities as consequences of the Fall and not guilt from Theotokos (which Calvin also denied by creation of Christ’s prelapsarian humanity out of nothing). Catholic never teach original guilt, because original sin is about consequences of the Fall (Lat. reatum) not guilt (Lat. culpa). This is why dying infants are saved (St. Augustine is not infallible on Limbo) not like Calvin who denied it except if they’re elects.

    The first denial caused him to be accused for Polytheism by Lutherans and Arminian (I’ve read Fr. Thomas Weinandy, you really need to read the Minutes of Westminster Assembly on autothean controversy), and the second denial caused him to be accused with Pelagian anthropology, because that which is no assumed is not healed. If His humanity is distinct from us, His death saved no one. In Reformed His humanity can’t be identical with us because you collapsed sin with guilt.

    “Of course Catholic opinion was against Calvin, even in the case of Robert Bellarmine who is sometimes cited as one who condoned Calvin’s position. As Warfield explains, Bellarmine only approved of Calvin’s Christology because he misunderstood it.”
    The Minutes of Westminster Assembly, Vol. 1, 243.

    How about your last sentence? Even Nestorius himself confessed that the Logos became man. You may want to read Fr. John McGuckin’s (an EO) St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy. You’ll be surprised how Orthodox Nestorius within the bar of Reformed theology. Beeke and Jones (both are Reformed) flawlessly showed why Reformed redefined Chalcedonian’s one person, from the Logos into the whole Christ where the Logos is a part in composite personhood. In Reformed the relation between the Logos and His humanity is parallel with soul and body. This is why R C Sproul and Bill Craig deny that the Logos die on the Cross. Sadly by denying that Reformed do not preach the Gospel at all.

    I can quote Biblical reference to Queen of Heaven but you won’t accept Catholic and Orthodox interpretation of that passage just like Mormon won’t accept Biblical passages that there is no God before Him. Catholic and Orthodox accepts Ecumenical Councils to be infallible, they only differ in the number of that councils. Just like when Samaritans rejected the primacy of Judah and rejected additional Scriptures other than Pentateuch. When you accept Nicaea you need to accept its canon laws on hierarchy which you rejected and when you accept Ephesus you need to accept Marian devotion because the Ephesian fathers pray to her in that council. This is why Protestantism only able to accept councils as long as they’re redefined in line of their theology. You can’t accept them as they’re historically received. Can you receive those councils by redefining them? Yes you can, that’s what Protestantism do. But you can never ever accept any councils as how they’re accepted by the Fathers. Because your Protestant’s presupposition demands that the Church lapsed gradually into error until Reformation brings the Church back into Scripture. Sadly apart from historical Church, any reading of Scripture is plain and simple Marcionism. You read it as if it’s a lexicographic text. Your situation is like what Jason Stewart mentioned in his article. I hope you’ll take time to learn what the Fathers actually teach. Feel free to disagree with them but I want you to check whether or not Protestantism is foreign to them. God loves you Robert.

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2012/02/taking-a-stand-on-the-scriptures-against-the-traditions-of-men/

  75. Debbie–

    Just tonight we had a woman in our home who, twenty-two years ago, was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and was worried she would not be able to care for her six small children, might not even survive. She was not a Christian, but had heard of this Pentecostal Church which had healing services. She went and had hands laid on her, then several days later had an echocardiogram. Completely clean bill of health! Needless to say, she’s kept going to that church never since.

    I have seen miracles done in churches where the theology is perfectly awful, even clearly heretical. Either God only cares about being humble and faithful and believing…or some of these churches are being helped by demonic forces. People certainly could be seduced from the faith by apparent…or even real…miracles. One thing healing miracles are NOT…and that is some kind of validation for the theology of the “healer.”

    I am not cynical or jaded concerning miracles. God usually heals me in a more traditional manner, but he is very faithful to do so, setting up finances and the like beforehand in miraculous ways.

    What is the difference to you for those of us who have mostly had negative experiences with the Church of Rome? The Holy Spirit quite decidedly is not nudging me toward swimming the Tiber. I’m being shoved farther and farther in the other direction. I’m only interested in going where the Holy Spirit would have me go. I have no chip on my shoulder against Rome. But what my head learns and what my heart experiences keep telling me in no uncertain terms: there is no truth down this road.

    Why are our experiences so different?

  76. ERIC November 10, 2014 at 6:21 pm
    Debbie–
    Just tonight we had a woman in our home who, twenty-two years ago, was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and was worried she would not be able to care for her six small children, might not even survive. She was not a Christian, but had heard of this Pentecostal Church which had healing services. She went and had hands laid on her, then several days later had an echocardiogram. Completely clean bill of health! Needless to say, she’s kept going to that church never since.
    I have seen miracles done in churches where the theology is perfectly awful, even clearly heretical. Either God only cares about being humble and faithful and believing…or some of these churches are being helped by demonic forces. People certainly could be seduced from the faith by apparent…or even real…miracles. One thing healing miracles are NOT…and that is some kind of validation for the theology of the “healer.”
    I am not cynical or jaded concerning miracles. God usually heals me in a more traditional manner, but he is very faithful to do so, setting up finances and the like beforehand in miraculous ways.
    What is the difference to you for those of us who have mostly had negative experiences with the Church of Rome? The Holy Spirit quite decidedly is not nudging me toward swimming the Tiber. I’m being shoved farther and farther in the other direction. I’m only interested in going where the Holy Spirit would have me go. I have no chip on my shoulder against Rome. But what my head learns and what my heart experiences keep telling me in no uncertain terms: there is no truth down this road.
    Why are our experiences so different?

  77. Eric said,

    What is the difference to you for those of us who have mostly had negative experiences with the Church of Rome? The Holy Spirit quite decidedly is not nudging me toward swimming the Tiber.

    Yes. The Holy Spirit is nudging to come to the Fullness of Truth in the Catholic Church. But you are fighting God all the way. Fighting so hard that you bring false witness against the Body of Christ which He instituted to bring all mankind the Sanctifying grace which He died upon the Cross to bestow upon all who obey Him.

    If the Holy Spirit were not nudging you to the Catholic Church, you wouldn’t be here. You would be on a Reformed site, minding your own business.

  78. Eric,

    I have no chip on my shoulder against Rome.

    You could’ve fooled me. Cause you’re doing a good impersonation of a rabid anti-Catholic.

  79. “I’M only interested in going where the Holy Spirit would have me go.”

    Amen to that, but

    try being uninterested.

    In other words, give up any personal interest and open yourself up to Him. Trust me, He will honor your sacrifice, humility, confession of wanting to know, and obedience. It really isn’t about us after all, our lives are not our own anymore, they are to be used for His glory always.

    The way to discern the spirits is to ask, did God humble Himself to become incarnate of the Virgin Mary? Anyone even wanting to believe this can be heard above the swarm of evil and be answered.

    Also, your comment, “either God only cares about being humble and faithful and believing” is quite prophetic. This is exactly what He does care about. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God. It is when we are poor in spirit that we find the pearl of great price. There is only one way to be poor in spirit . . .

    And Eric, I know it drives you crazy whenever I say this, but I don’t think our experiences are that different. We just haven’t reached the end of our lives yet.

    Peace.

  80. Debbie–

    Thanks for the kind words. My point was that being demonstrably “poor in the spirit” may well get us healed…and may also get us emotionally “close” to Christ. (Perhaps God doesn’t care a flip for theology, and a genuine and enthusiastic Mormon is closer to Christ than I.)

    But I fervently disbelieve that concept. I feel God’s favor in my search for theological excellence and truth. Theology is all about getting to know him. All the ins and outs of his character and personality, his attributes and virtues, his heartfelt providence and fittings, his neverending passion toward us and protection of us.

    You believe that the Pearl of Great Price is to be found within the Catholic Church. I am just as certain that it is not.

    You are indeed correct. We have not reached the end of our lives. Here’s praying that you come over to our side…into Christ’s sheepfold…and feel what the love of a secure family is all about. Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

  81. “I feel God’s favor in my search for theological excellence and truth. Theology is all about getting to know him. All the ins and outs of his character and personality, his attributes and virtues, his heartfelt providence and fittings, his never ending passion toward us and protection of us.”

    And then after all of that, go be poor in spirit.

    because it will make you mourn

    and make you meek,

    so you will hunger and thirst for righteousness

    and be merciful to all,

    for only then will you be pure in heart,

    and you will only be capable of making peace,

    and then you will definitely be persecuted because of Righteousness,

    and you are promised to be blessed when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of our Lord.

    Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    I have really only just begun my journey.

  82. Eric, you write:

    For me, “to ordain” means that an action has been intended by God, and he has brought it about.

    God has foreknowledge of every sin Eric is going to commit tomorrow, the next day, and the next. God ordains what he has foreknowledge of, therefore, Eric’s sins are actions that are intended by God, and Eric is not really responsible for his sinning because God “brought it about”.

    Eric, when you want to let go of your blame-God religion and become a Christian, let us know. If you decide to become a Christian, you will have to take personal responsibility for your sinning, but that is what all responsible adults do even if they are not Christians. Taking responsibility for the sins you choose to commit is the first step to holiness, but not the only step you will be taking as a new Christian that walks the walk, and doesn’t just talk the talk.

  83. Eric,

    “And as far as what is allowable—a good start would be to stop dedicating the world to Mary.”

    Why?
    Ever read how God, even though he was disposed to forgiving Job’s friends, would not do so. Instead they were sent to ask Job to offer sacrifice on their behalf first.

    God set up the system of mediation. I know that is hard for a Calvinist to grasp as they see God as jealous and defensive of his prerogatives. The Calvinist God is like a father who goes outside to play with his son in the snow. The Calvinist Dad god does not help the kid build a snow man. Rather, he has the kid sit an watch while he does it all for him.

    And yeah, the Holy Spirit is most surely nudging you toward the Tiber. You have been blogging here for years, I understand. Kicking at the goad. Don’t tell me you are hoping to lead a Catholic or two out of Rome. Neither you nor Robert even try. You both have a fixation with the Church that is obvious to everybody but you.

    Robert’s objection to swimming the Tiber is all of the Nancy Pelosis. He hates to see the Church so full of the phonies, the creeps, the hypocrites and other sleazebags.
    He shouldn’t let that bother him though. Even though the Church is full of scumbags, there is plenty of room for two more. You guys should join us. We would love to have you.

  84. Jim, you write:

    For the Calvinist free will means simply that one act according to one’s nature without any external compulsion. If one is a God hater by nature, he freely and happily chooses to sin and to spit in God’s face. Although his evil nature does not allow him do do otherwise, he, according to you, acts freely.

    That isn’t a description of a human being, that is a description of a robot made out of meat. The Great Robot Maker in the Sky creates a meat robot pre-programmed to do nothing but sin, and the unleashes his sin-robot to run amok on earth. This is perverse, but, unfortunately, it accurately reflects the inanity of Calvinist teaching.

  85. Jim–

    Obviously, you guys are hardened in your adherence to Rome, but others are not. I am surrounded by Catholics, inundated by Catholics, in my regular life. I’m just practicing up for them.

  86. Mateo–

    You need to be civil…and somewhere in the ballpark when it comes to painting your opponent’s positions accurately.

  87. Debbie–

    Thanks. Every now and again, it’s good to remind myself that there are incredibly kind and giving Catholics out there in the world. Not every adherent of Rome is like Mateo and De Maria and Jim (although, giving credit where credit is due, Jim is much improved of late).

    I appreciate your sweetness…and your acknowledgement that none of us has “arrived.” All of us are entirely dependent of the deep, deep mercies of God.

    (By the way, one marvelous Catholic lady washed and dried and folded our kids’ clothes three to four times a week for nearly a year. There is no way to even imagine how to adequately thank her.)

    We don’t have to hiss and growl and scratch like cats and dogs. We can be good to one another.)

  88. Adithia–

    We don’t follow Calvin, but Calvinism. And the consensus of CalvinISM is that the person of Christ is divine, and not some neutral amalgamation, incorporating the whole hypostatic union.

    You’re making a mountain out of a molehill in terms of the extra-calvinisticum, a concept embraced by Irenaeus, Athanasius, Cyril, and Augustine…among others. Are you the type to strain out a gnat and swallow a camel?

    Here is Cyril of Alexandria’s take on the death of Christ:

    “This is what we mean when we say he suffered and rose again; not that God the Word suffered blows, nail-piercing, or other wounds in his own nature (the divine is impassible because incorporeal), but what is said that since his own created body suffered these things, he himself “suffered” for our sake, the point being that within the suffering body was the impassible. We interpret his dying along exactly comparable lines. The Word of God is by nature immortal and incorruptible, is life and life-giving, but since, again, his own body “tasted death for every man” [Hebrews 2:9] as Paul says, “by the grace of God,” he himself suffered death for our sake, not as though he had experience of death with respect to his nature (to assert or imagine that is lunacy) but because his flesh, as I have just said, tasted death.”

    He believes that Paul is the author of Hebrews, but–hey–that’s still possible, isn’t it?

    All in all, I couldn’t have said it better myself!!

  89. Aditthia,

    My simple response is this: whether one confesses that original sin entails guilt or not, if Christ assumes human nature free of original sin, it is not a nature that is identical to ours at every single point. At the very least, the way in which He possesses it is different. If Christ’s nature was identical to the nature of postlapsarian man, then accreting to RCism He should need baptism to cleanse Him of original sin. But somehow, RCs say he doesn’t need that. That points to a discontinuity between Christ and us that must qualify “what is not assumed is not healed.” This is why the idea that Reformed don’t believe that is really silly or that they somehow have a Pelagian anthropology is just not true.

    I cited Weinandy on the issue of Nestorianism, which he specifically denies to Calvin in his book on divine impassibility. Weinandy could be wrong, of course, but his conclusion should certainly qualify RC triumphalist notions that Calvin was Nestorian.

    Otherwise, I agree with Eric and his quotation of Cyril. That is Reformed orthodoxy. It’s what R.C. Sproul teaches—like Cyril, Sproul’s emphasis is that the suffering of the Son of God is according to his human nature, not his divine nature for the divine nature can’t suffer. I don’t know what Beeke and Jones say. I assume you are referring to their book on Puritan theology, which I have not read. But the Reformed tradition is much broader than Puritanism.

    This is an old canard that needs to be put to rest. Rome and Constantinople are just as selective in their appropriation of the church fathers as any Protestant.

  90. Jim

    “(athough, giving credit where credit is due, Jim is much improved of late)”.

    Only on this blog Eric. About three weeks ago I was banned altogether on Green Baggins and Triabologue both. TurretnPhan doesn’t respond to those who comment on his blog or he would block me too. Tim K. is soon to dump me as I have lately taken to using ” Luther talk” on his site and he doesn’t like a potty mouth.

    It just seems I am mellowing here as I don’t comment as much as I used too.
    But thanks anyway.

  91. Hi Eric,

    If you read the Minutes of Westminster Assembly you’ll understand why they follow Calvin’s redefinition of the one person of Christ. St. Cyril’s Christology is completely Orthodox, let me point to what you just quoted from him.

    “This is what we mean when we say he suffered and rose again; not that God the Word suffered blows, nail-piercing, or other wounds in his own nature (the divine is impassible because incorporeal), but what is said that since his own created body suffered these things, he himself “suffered” for our sake, the point being that within the suffering body was the impassible. We interpret his dying along exactly comparable lines.”

    The Word didn’t suffer in his divine nature, but the Word suffered in His flesh. Because His flesh is of His own, St. Cyril can say the Word suffered. This R C Sproul and Bill Craig can’t confess following Westminster Confession of Faith. Because the one person of Christ is not the Logos according to Reformed. If you think otherwise you need to read the Minutes of Westminster Assembly. Or at least read Beeke and Jones. The Logos in Reformed Christology is a part in the whole Christ formed out of union with His humanity. Extra-Calvinisticum don’t exist in the Fathers. Why? Because Reformed focusing on how the two natures related to one another (Antiochene language) between the Logos and His humanity. The Fathers focusing on how the Word acts in two natures, they utilize distinction between the Logos and His two natures. In Reformed the Logos is His divine nature like soul with respect to body.

    To understand the substantial difference between Reformed WCF and Orthodox Chalcedonian you can read Paul Gavrilyuk’s The Suffering of the Impassible God. You can say whatever you want including not following Calvin, the problem is his view won the debate at Westminster Assembly. This is why Richard Muller wrote extensively that despite the differing strain of Calvinism the one who won the day is Calvin that later Calvinism is simply a development of his initial influence. Read Richard Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics. I won’t expect you to accept this quickly because I myself was like you 8 years ago. I would recommend you to learn what Catholic and Orthodox Christology is about, you can disagree but you need to admit it’s different than Reformed Christology. Because Chalcedonian Christology didn’t exist ex nihilo, those Fathers who signed Chalcedon venerate Theotokos and worship the Eucharist. God bless you Eric.

  92. Mateo,

    Yes but the Lord randomly chooses some Meat Robots and changes their wills so they delight in righteous living.
    The others are barbecued to a blackened crisp eternally.

    You just cannot understand this awesome mystery and sovereign decree o mercy and justice because you are unregenerate.
    And you will be held accountable, and justly so.

  93. Hi Robert,

    Catholic and Orthodox don’t follow the Fathers naked but as they being read authoritatively in Ecumenical Councils. This is why Catholic and Orthodox accept not only the councils but the Fathers who signed the councils. The Fathers venerate Theotokos and worship the Eucharist. Reformed on the other hand pick and choose what they want to accept, like Mormon and Jehovah Witnesses differ only in how many councils being rejected.

    [W]hether one confesses that original sin entails guilt or not, if Christ assumes human nature free of original sin, it is not a nature that is identical to ours at every single point. At the very least, the way in which He possesses it is different. If Christ’s nature was identical to the nature of postlapsarian man, then accreting to RCism He should need baptism to cleanse Him of original sin. But somehow, RCs say he doesn’t need that. That points to a discontinuity between Christ and us…

    It’d be very difficult to compact my 8 years journey to Catholicism in just a few paragraphs, without derailing Jason Stellman’s original post I’ll go briefly explaining what Catholic view regarding original sin and how it differs with Protestant. In Catholic and Orthodox, Ss Augustine’s and Cyril’s view on original sin is dogmatized at Ephesus combatting Pelagius and Nestorius alike. But this original sin is referring to consequence of the Fall (Lat. reatum) and not to guilt (Lat. culpa). The later is Protestant redefinition. This article bellow will help you to understand Catholic view on original sin and why it differ with Protestant’s original guilt.
    http://taylormarshall.com/2011/07/does-original-sin-guilty-babies.html

    Every human beings come to this world guiltless by nature. You don’t need to quote passages in both OT and NT about human’s inclination to sin because Catholic and Orthodox never deny original sin. Our nature is not corrupted but on its way to corruption, not final state but a process of decaying. Guilt is a property of human hypostasis, this is why Theotokos would be guilty had her Son didn’t save her at the moment of her conception. The Logos incarnate is her Savior, this is why in our Divine Liturgy we sung a hymn to her calling Theotokos, panagia, All-Holy. Even Luther confesses that Theotokos is sinless her entire life. Or maybe he is too Catholic. But that’s what the Fathers confess.

    The Logos doesn’t have a human self-subsistent hypostasis, this is why He is not guilty even though the human nature He assumed is in process of corruption after the Fall. He doesn’t have concupiscence (in Latin’s theology) or gnomic consent (in Greek’s theology) because that is a faculty of human hypostasis. The Logos is a divine person only not a composite divine and human person (cf. WCF 8:2). Salvation is not about a prelapsarian humanity die for us but the Logos die for us by assuming our fallen infirmities. This is why Reformed teach Pelagian anthropology at opposition to the Gospel. I hope this will help you to understand how Catholic (St. Augustine) and Orthodox (St. Maximus the Confessor) see the relation between nature and will after the Fall. http://jacobarchambault.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/nature-will-and-the-fall-in-augustine-and-maximus-the-confessor.pdf

    the Gospel is amazing grace because He became identical with us in our fallen infirmities by assuming a form of slave and came in the likeness of sinful flesh, He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might became God’s righteousness. Theosis is at heart of the Gospel. Sadly both Luther and Calvin took bad misreading by teaching that the Logos on the cross literally became guilty of sin (cf. Luther) and was suffered in hell as a sinner (cf. Calvin). Because you divide the Logos who stays immutable and His humanity who was separated from the Father while He became guilty and suffered in hell which is Nestorian Christology. Or to be fair with Nestorius, Hyper-Nestorianism. At least Nestorius still venerate the ever-virgin and worship the Holy Qurbana. Do not go gentle into that good night. It took me 8 years. God give you peace Robert.

  94. +JMJ+

    Jim wrote:

    Mateo,
    .
    Yes but the Lord randomly chooses some Meat Robots and changes their wills so they delight in righteous living.
    The others are barbecued to a blackened crisp eternally.
    .
    You just cannot understand this awesome mystery and sovereign decree o mercy and justice because you are unregenerate.
    .
    And you will be held accountable, and justly so.

    You guys might like this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObmOAfaxQoY

    Enjoy!

  95. ERIC November 11, 2014 at 12:49 am
    Debbie–
    Thanks. Every now and again, it’s good to remind myself that there are incredibly kind and giving Catholics out there in the world. Not every adherent of Rome is like Mateo and De Maria and Jim (although, giving credit where credit is due, Jim is much improved of late)…..

    We’ve been dealing with you much longer than Debbie. It gets tiresome to have a man who vaunts of his prowess as a linguist, continually misrepresent what we have said in our conversations. If he understands language as he says he does, those misrepresentations must therefore be deliberate.

    And

    It has been noted by many on this forum, that you seem to believe that silly quips and comebacks suffice for apologetical argument.

    While you were certainly taking advantage of Debbie’s lack of familiarity with you when you claimed to have nothing against the Catholic Church. Your hateful comments directed at the Catholic Church can be found on many threads on this blog.

  96. WOSBALD November 11, 2014 at 9:27 am
    +JMJ+
    Jim wrote:
    Mateo,
    .
    Yes but the Lord randomly chooses some Meat Robots and changes their wills so they delight in righteous living.
    The others are barbecued to a blackened crisp eternally.
    .
    You just cannot understand this awesome mystery and sovereign decree o mercy and justice because you are unregenerate.
    .
    And you will be held accountable, and justly so.
    You guys might like this.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObmOAfaxQoY
    Enjoy!

    Ha ha! God’s secret will? I didn’t know that God was gnostic.

  97. Jim–

    No matter your comment elsewhere, I believe on this blog you have shown that you CAN do it.

    I benefit from your familiarity with Marian dogma. Are there other nuggets of Tradition that might assist me with the Catholic psyche on the BVM?

  98. Adithia–

    I acknowledge that the WCF is worded awkwardly, but I have yet to find a single Reformed thinker whom agrees with your interpretation. I’ll certainly take a look at Joel Beeke.

    Charles Hodge was quite clear that the person of Christ was divine.

    Here is his son, A. A. Hodge, on the topic:

    “The Scriptures teach us that this amazing personality does not center in his humanity, and that it is not a composite one originated by the power of the Spirit when he brought the two natures together in the womb of the Virgin Mary. It was not made by adding manhood to Godhead. The Trinity is eternal and unchangeable. A new Person is not substituted for the second Person of the Trinity, neither is a fourth Person added to the Trinity. But the Person of Christ is just the one eternal Word, the second Person of the Trinity, which in time, by the power of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the womb of the Virgin, took a human nature (not a man, but the seed of man, humanity in the germ) into personal union with himself. The Person is eternal and divine. The humanity is introduced into it. The center of the personality always continues in the eternal personal Word or Son of God.”

  99. Jason,

    I hadn’t responded to your main article, because I didn’t know what to say. Even now, I have trouble saying anything because anything I say rings so hollow. But, hang in there and remember:

    Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

    Philippians 3:7-9New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

    Righteousness from God. 7 [But] whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss[a] because of Christ. 8 More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith

    God bless you in your suffering,

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

  100. Adithia–

    And here is R. C. Sproul, whom you accused of believing differently:

    “One of the great crises in evangelical Christianity today is a lack of understanding about the person of Christ. Almost every time I watch Christian television, I hear one of the classical creeds of the Christian faith being denied blatantly, unknowingly, unwittingly. And of course, part of the reason is that it is so difficult for us to understand how one person can have two natures. You are asking me the question “How?” I don’t know how; I know that Jesus is one person with two natures. How can that be? Long before there was a human nature, there was a second person of the Trinity. Here the second person of the Trinity, very God of very God, God himself, was able to take upon himself a human nature. No human being could reverse the process and take upon himself a divine nature. I cannot add deity to my humanity. It’s not as if Christ changed from deity into humanity. That’s what I hear all the time. I hear that there was this great eternal God who suddenly stopped being God and became a man. That’s not what the Bible teaches. The divine person took upon himself a human nature. We really can’t understand the mystery of how this happened. But it is conceivable, certainly, that God, with his power, can add to himself a human nature and do it in such a way as to unite two natures in one person. The most important council about this in the history of the church, whose decision has stood for centuries as the model of Christian orthodoxy and is embraced by Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Baptists— virtually every branch of Christendom—is the Council of Chalcedon. It was held in the year 451, in which the church confessed its belief about Jesus in this way: They said that we believe that Jesus is verus homus, verus Deus— truly man, truly God. Then they went on to set boundaries for how we’re to think about the way in which these two natures relate to each other. They said that these two natures are in perfect unity, without mixture, division, confusion, or separation. When we think about the Incarnation, we don’t want to get the two natures mixed up and think that Jesus had a deified human nature or a humanized divine nature. We can distinguish them, but we can’t tear them apart because they exist in perfect unity.”

    Maybe you should go another 8 years before making up your mind once and for all.

  101. Eric, you write:

    You need to be … somewhere in the ballpark when it comes to painting your opponent’s positions accurately.

    Eric, everyone can see that you have defined “decree” as a synonym for “cause”, which started this whole exchange. Your Calvinist theology: God decrees sin, and what God decrees must become manifested in reality = God is the source and cause of all evil. This is blasphemy, and all orthodox Christians know it.

    God has foreknowledge of every sin that you will ever commit, but God is not causing you to sin. God doesn’t even tempt you to sin, less yet does he cause you to sin, or “decree” that you must commit sin.

    The animated dialog posted by Wosbald accurately represents the Calvinist position. Deal with it.

  102. Adithia you write:

    Reformed on the other hand pick and choose what they want to accept, like Mormon and Jehovah Witnesses differ only in how many councils being rejected.

    The so-called Reformed accept Luther’s sola scriptura novelty, which means that they actually reject every Ecumenical Council. Why must that be so? Because to “accept” the dogmatic teachings of an Ecumenical Council in the same sense that the Catholics, the EO and the OO mean by “accept”, is impossible for anyone that buys into Luther’s novelty. A corollary of the sola scriptura heresy is that no man, or group of men, living in the post-Apostolic age can ever, under any conceivable circumstance, infallibly define dogma such that the faithful must either “accept it”, or be excommunicated.

    At best, some Calvinists can be said to give provisional assent to the dogmatic teachings of a few valid Ecumenical Councils, assent that can be revoked any time in the future, based on whatever novel doctrine (like sola scriptura!) that comes along and tickles their ears. To even assert that Reformed believe anything in common, is problematic because Robert and Eric claim to be Reformed, and both Robert and Eric sit in judgment of every Father of the Church, every Ecumenical Council, the almighty John Calvin, and even the Sacred Scriptures. What constitutes orthodoxy for Lone Ranger Protestants such as Robert and Eric is whatever they think is true, even if no other man on earth agrees with them.

  103. Robert,

    “I’m still waiting for somebody to prove that God’s ordaining sin makes Him the author of sin, besides of course, “it just does.””

    It appears to me you agree that it would – you just say it doesn’t because “Bible says so”. So logic and reason apparently tell you it would (hence it’s not reduced to “it just does” – that would rather apply to your position).

    “Yes, let’s go to people who reject Christ as the Messiah and have them develop our hermeneutic. Great idea.”

    Well you accept their judgment for your OT canon right?
    Anyways, Calvinists appeal to both the OT and NT to try to support their view of determinism. So given you’re such a fan of GHM determining sole meaning, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to see what the context was the OT writers were writing within, and what context the NT writers were writing in.
    Secondly, the NT writers were pretty emphatic in explaining views Jews weren’t accepting – they wrote tons on how the law and prophecies should now be interpreted and how the NC “changed” things. They didn’t seem to write tons on how the Jewish/OT view of sovereignty and evil and causation somehow “changed”.

    “If God’s knowledge cannot be falsified, then those whom He knows will sin cannot not sin in any meaningful sense.”

    Yes and that does not entail causation (again). Adam could’ve not sinned. God’s foreknowledge would then be different by definition.

    “The sting example doesn’t work because Adam and Eve didn’t have any sinful desires until the temptation was presented to them.”

    The sting example works because their sinful acts weren’t necessitated. Just like a criminal’s actions are not determined and necessitated in the sting and thus they are held responsible if they commit the crime.

    “One could just as well say that God’s passive allowing of these such things entails the same things.”

    One could not just as well say that. Permission does not entail determinism. A sting is not a rube goldberg machine.

    “Evil cannot be eternal if it is dependent on creation to exist in the first place.
    So God didn’t know eternally that evil would occur? He didn’t know eternally that it would come in from out of nowhere? If God doesn’t ordain it, it has an eternal existence outside of His decree.”

    He knew it would occur. Would occur != eternal. And knowing does not entail causation/necessity (again). Evil is a privation of good, not some nebulous floating substance. As I said before, are God’s actions part of the decree? If they are, but still not determined/necessitated, does that mean those acts are subject to some eternal independent power?

    I’ll ask two questions again:
    Does God’s foreknowledge of His own acts necessitate His acts?
    Did Adam have or not have libertarian will in the choice to sin?

  104. Hi Eric,

    I never say that A. A. Hodge is heterodox or all Calvinists are Nestorian. He is correct in regards to the Logos as the only subject of Christ. I can name two others to be generous to you, Charles Wesley and J. I. Packer. But the problem is the Reformed consensus is not. This is why I recommend you to read the Minutes of Westminster Assembly and Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics. I was like you 8 years ago caricaturing that Catholics worship Theotokos until I learned that the Ephesian Council was closed by prayer to Theotokos and since then I don’t want to caricature anyone, not even those whom I’m disagreeing with. Calvin is not a formal heretic like Arius, his innovation regarding the composite person of Christ is sincere because he misunderstood Chalcedon.

    When you quoted R C Sproul I noticed that you missed my point completely. He never denied that two natures are united in the one person of Christ. The problem is, he locates the death not to the one subject but to one of its natures. Nature can’t die.
    http://luxchristi.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/most-holy-theotokos-save-us/

    Jason Stellman while he was a PCA minister can also be found in this remarkable discussion on Nestorianism. I hope by following this discussion you’ll see why Reformed never accept any Ecumenical Council as being accepted by the Fathers who accepted it. St. Cyril himself prayed to Theotokos in the closing of Ephesian council. Reformed on the other hand pick and choose what they want ‘to give provisional assent,’ like Mormon and Jehovah Witnesses differ only in how many councils being rejected.
    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/nestorianism/

    I won’t expect you to accept this immediately no, that’d be dangerous because Frank Schaeffer and Drake Shelton went rampant because their emotional instability during conversion jeopardize their journey. I took 8 years mainly because I want to stay Reformed while denying and reforming what I found wrong in Calvin and Westminster Standard. Until I realized the whole foundation is shaky sands. Reformed give accent to statements of faith in councils without accepting its canon laws. Nicaea for example teach hierarchical church government not presbyterianism. To accept Nicene creed by redefining Deum de Deo (denied by Calvin) while reject its canon laws is plain and simple the same as never accepting it from the beginning. To accept Ephesian symbol of Theotokos by redefining it as the virgin giving birth to His human nature while rejecting St. Cyril’s devotion to her is basically deny Ephesian council altogether. I pray for you Eric, may the Lord give you gentleness in studying the early Christians. I was for 7 years considering EO. I’m glad that I took that scenic route instead of going straight to Catholicism. Because as a former Reformed I find it very difficult for me to embrace Catholicism, by considering EO before Catholicism I can gradually adapt and adopt Patristic mindset until I found myself to be a Catholic (to be confirmed on December 7th). Find me on FB and I hope we can be a friend. I don’t like debate, it’s useless if I can win an argument but loose the person. I prefer to build friendship and along that relationship to introduce Catholicism gradually. Becoming an Eastern Catholic put me in a unique position because the Protestant schism didn’t happen in the East. Our doctrine of Justification is Theosis which is completely different and alien to Protestant’s reformation. Please read more Fathers especially the Eastern Fathers, take scenic route like me. God love you Eric.

    Hi Mateo, yes I agree with you. Thank you for your comment. If you have FB please add me.

  105. Mateo–

    Look, you’re guilty of caricaturing our position in virtually every coqmment you post. You’re the one who needs to “deal with it.” This is not how ecumenical dialogue should be done.

    Since we have said at every turn that God “ordaining” and God “decreeing” evil does NOT include direct causation, someone might think that eventually you might get a clue that that is not what we are talking about.

    We’re talking about God here, not some tin-pot dictator. Our explanations of how he goes about exercising his sovereignty are never going to be satisfactory to everybody, no matter how we do so.

    That said, I know of no official stance of any order or branch of Catholicism that limits God’s sovereignty to mere foreknowledge.

    God never decrees that anyone “must” sin. But what he wills, he brings to pass…in every orthodox form of Christianity I know of.

  106. Adithia–

    1. Charles Wesley was not Reformed, but his hymn, “And Can It Be,” is loved by Calvinists everywhere. Two lines in the hymn–“How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”–and “‘Tis mystery all, the Immortal dies” are literary and not intended to be parsed theologically. Depending upon how one takes them, they are either correct or incorrect.

    2. In the link you provided to R.C. Sproul (well, actually, you didn’t provide it, but it was available at the link you directed us to), Sproul claims it is the human nature of Christ who procures our Atonement with God. In the quote I gave, Sproul makes it quite clear that the divine second person of the Trinity took upon himself a human nature. So, once again, no one is calling the person of Christ any kind of an amalgamation of the “whole Christ” as you claimed. Calvin may have done so, not wishing to go beyond what can be nailed down by Scripture, but it is most certainly the Reformed consensus (and so far, you have yet to produce one Calvinistic theologian who has said otherwise).

    3. Sproul is imprecise, but I doubt he is saying what you think he is. Cyril of Alexandria more or less stated that though Christ in the flesh underwent death on the Cross, the Logos merely experienced it in some vicarious manner, owing to his union with the flesh, which directly “tasted death.”

    4. Christ not only possessed a human nature but a human BODY. He underwent death with respect to his human nature. His body died. Physical bodies can die last I checked.

    5. Immortal beings who die are called…mortal. The divine person of Christ, the second person of the Trinity, could not cease to exist even momentarily. The state of mind of those Christians who deny this tenet of the faith is called by St. Cyril himself…lunacy.

    6. Christ dies on the Cross. The Second Person of the Trinity dies on the Cross…but only with respect to (and in solidarity with) his humanity. This is orthodoxy, my friend, and you appear to be…confused.

    Thanks for bringing this up. It’s good to get refreshed on such topics. I think Sproul should sharpen his rhetoric a tad. It’s easy to be misunderstood on such a matter. At any rate, he was not as careful as he ought to have been.

  107. Adithia–

    I meant to throw this in there on my very last point, as it is from a Catholic source (the Baltimore Catechism):

    “Christ suffered and died in His human nature; in His divine nature He could neither suffer nor die. All of His sufferings, even the least, were of infinite value because His human and divine natures were united in the divine Person of the Son of God.”

  108. Adithia–

    You do realize that the line “deum de deo” was not even in the creed as originally written, don’t you? From what I understand, Calvin did NOT actually reject the line, but rejected an interpretation of it (it may have even been the original intention behind the line which he disagreed with). I cannot remember off the top of my head, so I’ll back tomorrow. Have a great night!

  109. Eric and Robert,

    Again, both of you are missing the point.

    Natures don’t die. Persons do.

    Ergo, The DIVINE person of Jesus Christ DIED a HUMAN death.

    It is clear that one cannot properly maintain orthodox understanding of Christology much less triadology whilst being Reformed …

  110. Jason Loh–

    Read my lips.

    The DIVINE person of Jesus Christ DIED a HUMAN death.

    But just as the ECF’s made clear (just as the official Catholic Church has made clear), Christ died with respect to his Manhood (his human nature). He could not die with respect to his Godhood (his divine nature).

    I don’t know what the Lutheran Church allows you to believe. But this is what I and the Catholic Church believe.

    As Mateo would say, “Deal with it.”

    (Sorry if that’s a little terse, but when someone repeats what I say nearly verbatim, as evidence of how I got things wrong, I’m not sure how to respond,)

  111. +JMJ+

    Eric wrote:

    Mateo wrote:
    .
    Eric, everyone can see that you have defined “decree” as a synonym for “cause”, which started this whole exchange. Your Calvinist theology: God decrees sin, and what God decrees must become manifested in reality = God is the source and cause of all evil. This is blasphemy, and all orthodox Christians know it.

    Look, you’re guilty of caricaturing our position in virtually every coqmment you post. …
    .
    God never decrees that anyone “must” sin. But what he wills, he brings to pass …

    The First Law of Holes and all that jazz.

  112. @Robert and Eric:
    I don’t have time to speak to everything right now, but let me try to hit one of the major points in detail. Weinandy doesn’t accuse Calvin of formal heresy, but the problem that Adithia and I are pointing out is one of material heresy.

    Because Calvin interprets the incarnational act as the union of natures after the manner of the soul-body union, he has lost the authentic use of the communication of idioms, where all attributes, whether divine or human, are applied to one and the same person of the Son. While Calvin wants the properties of each nature truly, and so “not causelessly,” to be predicated of the other since Christ is one, yet he must simultaneously speak of this transferral as done “figuratively” or “improperly” in order to protect the integrity of each nature

    That heterodoxy is reflected in, for example, Sproul makes the statement that “When we think about the Incarnation, we don’t want to get the two natures mixed up and think that Jesus had a deified human nature or a humanized divine nature.” Thinking that Jesus had a deified human nature or a humanized divine nature is not getting the two natures “mixed up.” It is affirming real communication of the attributes, which entails a real interpenetration (perichoresis) of the natures, yet without mixing or confusion. As Weinandy says, denial of the orthodox version of communication of the attributes is at the very least material heresy (error). We can debate about whether Calvin was a formal heretic, which few people (including Fr. Weinandy) believe, but there is no real debate about him being heterodox on this point.

    This error is also reflected in Eric’s interpretation of St. Cyril:

    Cyril of Alexandria more or less stated that though Christ in the flesh underwent death on the Cross, the Logos merely experienced it in some vicarious manner, owing to his union with the flesh, which directly “tasted death.”

    That’s confusing nature and person, because “the Logos” is not a different person than “Christ.” The Logos didn’t experience anything vicariously; the Logos experienced the Crucifixion directly in His humanity. What St. Cyril is saying is that the Logos vicariously experiences the Crucifixion in His divinity on account of the interpenetration of the natures. That’s the mystery of the Incarnation; the natures really interpenetrate one another, yet without changing either one from what it is.

    The question is whether denial of orthodox communication of attributes is itself a Nestorian heresy or whether we will instead say that it is a mere mistake in articulation or possible misunderstanding, as opposed to entailing a denial of anything essential. That in turn depends on whether Cyril’s explanation of communication of attributes is just that, or whether there is something doctrinally essential to orthodoxy.

    The Calvinist Richard Muller summarizes the situation beautifully:

    There is, you see, an ambiguity at the heart of the Chalcedonian Definition where the “Person” is concerned. On the one hand, the Definition can say that “the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being.” On the other hand, the Definition can say, “he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son, God, Word, Lord Jesus Christ…” On the basis of the first formulation, it would seem that theperson is formed out of the coming together of the natures. On the basis of the second, it would seem that a straightforward and direct equation is being made of the “person” and the pre-existent Logos as such. It is because of this ambiguity that patristic scholars are, to this day, divided over the question of which party to the controversy actually attained the upper hand at Chalcedon (which already, by itself, would render untenable any simplistic appeal to “Chalcedonian Christology”).. There are those who, leaning heavily on the first of these formulations, say that the Formula grants a certain victory to Nestorius. But there are also those who say that it is Cyril’s theology which triumphed at Chalcedon. In the first group is to be found Aloys Grillmeier and Brian Daley; in the second, John McGuckin. My own view is that a carefully contextualized reading of the Definition will show that it is the second of these opinions which is correct. But here’s the thing: classical Reformed theology clearly stood on the side of the first of these options – not the second.

    http://castleman711.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/all-reformed-need-to-read-this-part-1-mccormack/

    But then he asserts that this view was itself found in the Tradition, asserting:

    Two hypostases is extreme; indeed, it is something less than orthodox. According to Chalcedon, there is but one hypostasis in which the two natures subsist. What led Bullinger to this conclusion, however, was something that is to be found in the Definition, viz. the idea that the person of the union is formed out of the “coming together” of the natures. The same idea can be found in Calvin (who mistakenly believed that this was the view of all the orthodox Fathers). “Now the old writers defined ‘hypostatic union’ as that which constitutes one person out of two natures. This expression was devised to refute the delusion of Nestorius, because he imagined that the Son of God so dwelt in the flesh that he was not man also” (Institutes II.xiv.5). Clearly, Calvin’s grasp of Nestorius’ views was shaky at best. But he was not wrong to think that the idea that the “person” is formed out of the union had orthodox support – not only in one of the strands of the Chalcedonian Definition but also in later orthodoxy. John of Damascus, whose great work “On the Orthodox Faith” was newly translated into Latin in the early sixteenth century (and pored over by Zwingli), understood the “person” as a “compound person” – an idea that finds resonance in the Westminster Confession.

    Just as I think that Muller was exactly right in his acceptance of McGuckin’s description of Chalcedon as being Cyrillian is correct, I think that he is completely wrong about this assertion that there is a separate tradition reflecting “one of the strands of the Chalcedonian Definition but also in later orthodoxy.” Muller, not a patristics scholar himself, is taking the Reformers interpretation of St. John Damascene as being a correct one, or at least a plausible one. But those who have studied John Damascene in detail, particularly in view of his debt to St. Maximus the Confessor, find no space between St. John’s view and St. Cyril’s. Thus, for example, Paul Blowers says in “Maximus the Confessor and John of Damascus on Gnomic Will in Christ: Clarity and Ambiguity” of the hypostatic view common to both:

    Capital in Maximus’ mind is the fact that gnome is a particularized “mode” of willing, grounded in an individual human hypostasis. In Christ, however, there is no such hypostasis; there is only his composite hypostasis, the hypostasis of the divine Son perfectly united to Jesus’ humanity

    If Blowers is correct, then Muller’s assertion that St. John means something by “composite hypostasis” something other than “the pre-existent Logos as such” is false. In other words, Muller acknowledges that, in the dispute over what Chalcedon meant, McGuckin is likely correct, meaning that Chalcedon itself didn’t support this view. But he asserts a division in the orthodox reception of Chalcedon, one that appears to have been definitively ruled out by the scholarship of subsequent orthodoxy writers St. Maximus and St. John Damascene. So when Muller says Calvin was “not wrong” to think he had orthodox support for the “second” view he cites, he is making an unfounded assertion. Calvin was wrong to assert this, just as Muller is, but that has only been conclusively confirmed by the recent scholarship on Maximus.

    In short, everybody agrees that Calvin was wrong on communication of the attributes. It’s just a question of how seriously we take that error.While they both recognize that McGuckin is right on Chalcedon, Weinandy and Muller are both inclined to give Calvin a pass on this (Weinandy because he views it as a matter of poor articulation, and Muller because he thinks it’s a legitimate parallel tradition). The problem with both views is that I have no idea how one possibly reconciles either view with the subsequent history of orthodox Christianity, which never sees anything like Calvin’s view until Calvin. This denial of communication of the attributes is clearly a mutation from what Calvin inherited, Muller’s demurral notwithstanding, and I am not sympathetic with Weinandy’s whitewashing of that error.

  113. PS, that first blockquote is from Weinandy’s Does God Suffer?, p. 188. Forgot to put that at the end.

    I should also mention that my concern is similarly reflected in Eric’s desire to nuance Charles Wesley. Those statements are simply theologically correct, not “literary.” They are no more “literary” than Paul’s statement in Scripture that the Lord of Glory was crucified.

  114. Jonathan,

    The quote is from Bruce McCormack, not Richard Muller. Perry Robinson, quoting him as well, makes the exact same argument: http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/a-deformed-christ/ and http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2009/02/11/shibboleth/

    The link Perry gives leads you to a private blog, but fortunately enough, the link you provide has the only public version available. I’m still curious over Scott Clark’s response. There never was a Part 2 on Eric Castleman’s blog.

  115. @Leo:
    You’re exactly right. I got in my head that it was Muller, probably because Weinandy cites Muller with approval. But I think they are generally on the same page with this “person of the Mediator” analysis, so even though they disagree a bit about the Reformed scholastics, I think they agree on this point.

  116. R. Scott Clark’s response is here:
    http://heidelblog.net/2008/05/princeton-lecturing-wtsp-on-the-confessions/

    Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s anything cited here that actually addresses the problem as to whether the person of Christ constituted of the two natures is the very same person as the Word of God. Nor does anything speak of communication of attributes in a way that exonerates Calvin of Weinandy’s charge.

    In short, it’s a problem. Calvin (and the Reformed confessions) at least materially deviate from Chalcedonian orthodoxy.

  117. Jonathan–

    I wasn’t confusing nature and person. I just wrote sloppily. Instead of the Logos, I meant to write Christ in his divinity. In other words, I was saying the exact same thing as you. There was no “misinterpretation” going on.

    No Reformed writer I know of…and none you all have cited…believe that the one person of Christ is anything other than divine. The human nature is taken up by the second person of the Trinity, That human nature is anhypostatic. It is, on the other hand, enhypostatized by the personality of the Logos.

    As far as I can tell, the charges against Calvin and Bullinger and the WCF are more imagined than real. But I’ll be glad to peruse any further evidence you guys can come up with.

    Also, what is your take on Steven Wedgeworth’s defense of the Reformers on this point?

    http://calvinistinternational.com/2012/03/18/a-compound-person-part-1/

    (Be sure to read part 2, as well.)

  118. Wosbald–

    Funny. I picture you as living in an eternally dark, subterranean, hobbit-like hole, where the only light is provided by the lamp of your old-timey reel-to-reel film projector piercing through the smoke-filled space to flickeringly envelope the stone-cold cavern wall. The only sound is the vociferous munching and chomping of stale popcorn.

    Be that how it may be, there is still the old adage:

    People who live in dirt houses shouldn’t throw shovels.

  119. Eric, you write:

    Since we have said at every turn that God “ordaining” and God “decreeing” evil does NOT include direct causation, someone might think that eventually you might get a clue that that is not what we are talking about.

    You say this, but it is just Calvinspeak, a load of evil double talk. You seem to think that if God is not directly causing you to sin, but simply allowing you to sin, that this means something significant within Calvinism. But it means nothing, because you also believe that the sins you commit must be committed by you because you are incapable of doing anything against God’s decree that you must commit these sins. Which is just a roundabout way of saying that, in the end, you believe that God is the source and cause of all evil. Everyone reading your posts (except, perhaps Robert) can see through the sham.

    You really believe that God is the source and cause of all evil, even if God uses secondary means to cause the evil that he decrees that you must manifest in your life.

    Eric, you are not a meat robot, and God does not either directly, or indirectly, cause you to sin. Calvinism is preaching blasphemy when Calvinism declares that God decrees evil.

  120. Eric,

    Anhypostatic? Enhypostatized?

    You have been reading too much Jason Loh.

    And you balk at devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? You find Catholic devotion to Mary excessive even though her relationship with each Person of the Trinity is mind boggling?

  121. @Jim:
    That language comes from the anti-Nestorian theologians Leontius of Byzantium and Leontius of Jerusalem, which is related to the condemnation of the Nestorians in the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Don’t beat the guy up for being orthodox.

  122. Jonathan,

    Thank you for the link.

    On another note, I don’t see what the big problem is with admitting Sproul is a Nestorian. He’s already rejected the claim that “[i]t was the second person of the Trinity Who died”, explaining “[w]e should shrink in horror from the idea that God actually died on the cross.” That’s Nestorianism. If, according to Sproul, the subject of the Logos didn’t suffer death, who did? Cyril, Chalcedon, and the Church affirm the hypostatic union: that the Logos did suffer death on the cross and anything short won’t save us. Sproul’s answer, instead, is that “[i]t’s the God-man Who dies”, not God, because God is immutable and “death is something that would involve a change in [His] being”, so therefore, the “atonement was made by the human nature of Christ.” This is incredibly sloppy, even for a short post. Somehow, Christ, the God-man, is a different subject than the Logos; one can suffer death and one cannot suffer death. Also, how can an abstract human nature die on the cross? That requires a person, a divine person that he explicitly rejected. His view of the union is Nestorian if he can’t affirm the communication of idioms is real here.

    The quotes are found here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/it-accurate-say-god-died-cross/

  123. Leo–

    As is so often the case, you Catholics remain “accurate” on these difficult issues by paying attention to only one side of the coin. I have no great desire to defend Sproul. The man is sloppy quite a bit of the time…and he is an irrascible old coot all of the time.

    But that being said, you are being uncharitable to the man. He has made it quite clear that the divine person of Christ took on a human nature. You have no more right to call him Nestorian than I have a right to call you Arian for calling the BVM the “Mother of God” (since creatures can only beget creatures).

    You are fond of saying that abstract natures cannot die, that only persons die. But such a view cuts both ways. For if abstract natures cannot die, they also cannot live apart from the person to whom they are associated. It is Catholic orthodoxy to say that Christ did not suffer or die according to his divine nature. But this is a meaningless abstraction if the divine person dies in every sense of the word. For then you have what Sproul says he fears: a Trinity with one member temporarily missing.

    Also, in some sense, both natures must remain alive for the hypostatic union to keep its ongoing validity. At no point is Christ un-incarnated. He dies. His flesh dies. The hypostatic union goes on. I have no clue how.

    The fact of the matter is that Christ dies AND DOES NOT die. He remains alive AND DOES NOT remain alive. Now, his body dies, pure and simple. His body is also resurrected, without qualification.

    It is much like Mary, who is Christ’s mother “according to his Manhood.”

    The divine Second Person of the Trinity is conceived in her, borne in her womb, carried to term, and in the fulness of time, delivered. She is the mother of the divine person of Christ, the incarnate Word of God, the Logos…in every sense but one: she is not his mother “according to his Godhood.” And if we say that she is, we have either made her into a mother goddess equal to God the Father, or we have made Christ into a creature (capable of being begotten by a creature).

    Mary very much was AND WAS NOT the Mother of God. On the other hand, she was in every sense the theotokos , which only means the “Bearer of God.” (As Robert has pointed out a time or two, the operative words in either case is the prepositional phrase “of God.” It is paramount to acknowledge that the fruit of her womb, Jesus, was himself GOD. Mary was not so much the issue, at least not initially.)

    If I have gotten anything slightly askew, forgive me. But please remember that this is my struggling through an issue so difficult that even Chalcedon didn’t know how to describe it by what it was, preferring to circumscribe it round about by what it was not. This is not my being unwittingly Nestorian.

    We must stop the relentless uncharitability.

    I’ll try to remember that you all have a skewed view of Marian devotion…rather than saddle you unnecessarily with the accusation of idolatry.

  124. Eric,

    Is the Person of the Incarnate God divine alone or divine-human?

    The orthodox answer is divine.

    So, Sproul’s answer is inaccurate since it implies that the incarnation resulted in a divine-human person which arises from his use of the term, “God-Man.” This IS Nestorianism.

    When Chalcedon speaks about without confusion or mixture or co-mingling and so on, it precisely seeks to avoid that sort of confusion.

    “It is Catholic orthodoxy to say that Christ did not suffer or die according to his divine nature. But this is a meaningless abstraction if the divine person dies in every sense of the word.”

    You’re right on the former but wrong on the later.

    To repeat. there is only one pre-existing person of the God-Man, namely the Second Person of the Trinity. This means the Person of the Incarnation can only be divine and not divine-human.

    There is no addition to the DIVINITY of the Person but only to the PERSON. This is so since divinity belongs to NATURE — that which is held in *common* with the Other Two Persons of the Trinity. (This is why only the SON became Incarnate).

    Consequently, when the Christ died, He died as a divine Person, and *not* as a divine-human Person.

  125. Jason–

    Sproul explicitly states that the person of Christ is divine and only divine. Since Christ is fully God and fully human, it is common to call him the God-Man which is probably imprecise but hardly Nestorian.

    The preexisting divine Second Person of the Trinity is immortal, impassible, incorruptible, and as such, he CANNOT die. The divine PERSON died according to his human nature…but NOT according to his divine nature. In this sense, then, he DID NOT die. I know you Lutherans do not accept the extra-calvinisticum. But many of the ECF’s did.

  126. Eric,

    The quotation by Leo showed that Sproul did not mean by what you have affirmed. The issue is not the term, “God-Man” which is not problematic but as you’ve said, whether the Person is divine or both divine-human.

    Having said this, I’m not sure if extra calvinisticum was held by many of the ECFs. I’d agree that Augustine would most probably have held to that. The maxim that the Logos is never apart from the flesh is a patristic one and furthermore it is tied to a real presence view of the Lord’s Supper — one in which does not involve ascend into heaven to participate but a “descent,” i.e. and incarnational movement.

  127. @Eric:
    I’ve gone back to check some research so that I could try to be as clear as possible. I don’t think there’s one link that piles everything together, so I’ll need to work on the prefatory explanation.

    The whole thing really focuses on what it means to be a “single subject.” The Fathers viewed nature as an acting capacity and person as the real entity, the reality, undergirding the acting capacity. That view is identical in East and West; Michel Rene Barnes traces it through the Cappadocians, and Bryan Cross has explained Boethius’s view of “an individual substance of a rational nature.” So it’s easiest to think of nature as a capability, and person as what actualizes the capability.

    The Cyrillian view is that the only person in Christ is the Word of God. That means every act of Christ is done by the Word of God, regardless of which nature is exercised in the action. The body/soul analogy used by Cyril is primarily helpful in illustrating this fact, so that when I lift my hand (bodily action) or when I think about something (mental action), the “I” in question is entirely my person. I am not using part of my person, because the person doesn’t have parts. My entire person is engaged in everything I do.

    It is the irreducible singularity, the “whoness,” that is wholly engaged in all of my acts. And this is inherently mysterious because it is in the image of God. We really don’t understand what a “person” is, even in ourselves. That is why Augustine says that God knows us better than we know ourselves. It’s also why we can’t explain free will and why free will is inherently indeterministic. God’s free will, His exercise of person, is not determined by His nature but free, and so is ours, just in a lesser scope.

    It’s that idea that your person is fully engaged even when you are not doing everything you can possibly do that distinguishes the Christian view from the Greek pagan view. In the Platonic view, essence dictates everything. The Aristotelian view nuanced that a little bit, but it wasn’t until Christians came along that this idea of individuation, of second substance, really took off as a needed explanation for how the Trinity was tri-personal and how Christ was God. In other words, the Christian revelation also revealed something mysterious about who we are and what it means that we are made in God’s image.

    Christian orthodoxy has essentially been a perpetual fight against the old Greek notion of person being merely the expression of the essence. The Arians and the Eunomians reduced God to His essence, so that Christ, having a human nature, could not be very God of very God. The Nestorians tried to localize the idea of free will in nature rather than personal exercise of will. Monothelitism and monoenergism were attempts to collect all of these mistakes under one banner, trying to reduce the unity in Christ to a unity of the natural power of will. These were all attempts to move the fundamental concept of person into the sphere of nature.

    There are essentially two signs that someone is appealing to a non-Christian (pagan) view of person. The first is a need to explain that the entire essence is not engaged in every action. We easily do that with respect to ourselves (nobody is saying that their body injured itself while their immaterial part remained uninjured, for example). But the fact that this isn’t comfortably accepted with God shows an error in the conception of the divine essence. There’s no reason you should think that the same wouldn’t apply to Christ as a divine person with a human nature, so when people feel the need to point out that Christ isn’t acting as God in some or another action, there’s something wrong behind it.

    An example of this is Peter Martyr Vermigli’s quote:
    “the Word was present at the passion and death, as had been said, because of the hypostatic union, although in a quiescent way

    That’s confusing person and nature. In the Christian concept, the whole person is present in every action. The Calvinist concept that the Word is present in a quiescent way, as if less than the person can be less than fully present in an action, is Nestorian.

    The second error, which is specific to Christology, is that the addition of the human nature somehow adds to the personhood. That is essentially McCormack’s misinterpretation of St. John Damascene. The idea that the person is “compound” does not then imply that the personhood then becomes a combination of the two natures, which is exactly Nestorianism. The person does not become a divin0-human person by the assumption of the nature; the person remains the same divine person that He always was, only now adding the capacity to act in a different way (possessing a body, for example) and being composite only in this sense. And this is the sense in which St. John says that the person is not “wholly” divine or “wholly” human, in that the person can act without acting according to both natures.

    I have yet to see even a single Reformed theologian get that right, and despite the affirmation that the nature subsists in the person of the Word, there are repeated claims inconsistent with the person being completely engaged in every action of either nature. As quoted by Wedgeworth, Zanchi tries quite desperately to affirm that he is not viewing the natures as parts of the hypostasis and to affirm that the hypostasis is wholly present in the human nature, but his reasoning is completely Nestorian. The clearest example is this:
    For in Christ’s humaine nature there be only two things: the proper essence of his nature, with his proprieties and gifts created, and the common hypostasis with the divine, which is the Word itselfe. His proper essence is finite or determinate and so is onely within one place. The hypostasis is infinite, immeasurable, and most simple or unmixt; and therefore in this onely and not in the proper essence the flesh of Christ can be, and in verie deed is, present in all places
    http://calvinistinternational.com/2012/03/18/a-compound-person-part-2/

    That’s clearly an example of the Nestorian view. Christ’s human nature is viewed as a compound of the “proper essence” (which is a Nestorian prosopon) with the hypostasis of the Word, which is “infinite, immeasurable, and most simply or unmixt” (the properties of the divine nature). Zanchi clearly can’t get his head out of the Platonic idea of essence as a thing in itself. In other words, the hypostasis of the Word is serving as the “prosopon of the union,” not the very hypostasis of the human nature in the same sense as it is the hypostasis of the divine nature. But you can’t draw a distinction between the hypostasis of the Word and the existence of the nature, because the existence of the nature is nothing other than the hypostasis of the Word.

    Likewise, when he explains how the Word serves as the hypostasis of the human nature, Zanchi says:
    The reason is because this person of the Word, as it is infinite, so also it is most simple and pure and therefore both is wholly hypostasis to the flesh, wheresoever the flesh existeth, and is also wholly hypostasis in other places, where the flesh existeth not, being it selfe existing in the form of God

    In other words, he’s referring to the divine properties of the Word to explain how the Word is hypostasis to the flesh, which is the hallmark of Nestorianism, maintaining the divine personhood as something distinct from how it serves as hypostasis of the human nature. There may be an orthodox sense of the Calvinistic extra, if referring to the different capacities of the natures relative to one another, but once it starts being applied to person, this is inevitably the result. That’s why you’re talking about the “pre-existent second Person of the Trinity” as opposed to “the Second Person of the Trinity according to His divine nature,” as if those two things were one and the same. According to His humanity, the Second Person of the Trinity began to exist at His miraculous conception. So you can’t talk about the “pre-existent Second Person of the Trinity” as if that were a different person than the one born of the Virgin Mary.

    I know this has got to seem esoteric, but believe me, when you study the Nestorian conflict in detail, it is clear as day what is happening here. This is why the Fifth Ecumenical Council pushed so hard on formulae that required the person of the Word to be the exact same person as the hypostasis of the human nature. This seems trivial, but even Wedgeworth himself shows how bad it can get. Wedgeworth says:

    There are two acts in Christ, corresponding with the two wills and energies, but they are still unified because of the one person. This one person is the “principle cause,” since He is divine (and indeed subsisted first and initiated the union). And so, even while there is an insistence on the integrity and complete work of the human nature in Christ, the priority is still given to the divine, since it is the principal cause. Thus there can be no misunderstanding of a two-actor Christology, even though the single actor possess two acting faculties, according to each nature.

    That is straight-up monotheletism. There are two operations, unified into one operation by the hypostatic union, which is exactly what the Nestorians meant by a “moral union” between the natures. Wedgeworth appears to be oblivious to this, because he seems to think that moral union refers exclusively to an external or functional union (as”joined to the person of the Word in an external way, a moral union” or “merely then a persona moralis, or functional conjunction of two distinct personae”). But any union that combines the natures based on unity of operations is a moral union, including exactly what Wedgeworth does here.

    I’ve gone back and reviewed some other sources, but rather than piling on further, I’ll cut to the chase. The real situation is that this is territory that was already covered in the Nestorian controversy. If the question is why the Reformers ended up going back to Nestorianism, it was because late medieval scholasticism got corrupted by Greek philosophy, and by that time, Nestorius was so far in the past that people in the West really didn’t have a great historical understanding about it.

    I don’t see any difference here between what Zanchi et al. have done with respect to Calvin and what Theodoret of Cyrus did with Nestorius or what Eunomius did with Arius. Every heresiarch who made a really big, fundamental mistake on who Christ was had people who came after him who gave their all to putting the best possible spin on their system. And that’s important to understand: all of those guys got really, really close to orthodox conclusions. But they all suffered from these kinds of fatal flaws; they just couldn’t affirm *exactly* what is required to worship Christ as God in the flesh.

    If you’re not convinced, then I get it. I’m not perfect, and I may not be making the most persuasive case. But you can believe this: I’ve seen the arguments, and if these guys think they have solved the Christological problem that I am pointing out (along with Orthodox and even Protestant students of the issue), then they haven’t. Orthodoxy can’t be presumed when people won’t simply affirm the creeds of the first seven ecumenical councils, for example, and this does nothing to quell my fears. And when ecclesial bodies can’t accurately answer the question “Who do you say that I am?,” the whole question of going back to Scripture becomes moot, because we won’t even agree on what Scripture is written to reveal.

    I can answer more questions, but that’s probably the best exposition I can give. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help. I’ll be turning to some other subjects, but this one is really important.

  128. Jonathan–

    Thanks so very much for the extended discussion. It will take me a while to process it all as I am in recovery from surgery.

    I really want to know all the ins and outs of this…either to better defend Calvinistic christology or to more thoroughly accept Catholic christology. I couldn’t care less who comes out on top. (As a matter of fact, however, I AM still unconvinced that there is any significant distinction between the two systems. I think that you’re not only being esoteric, but EXTRAORDINARILY esoteric. Your insistence on calling fellow Christians “heretics” for only coming “very, very close” to orthodoxy in an area where any slight slip seems to take one clean out of the ballpark…is an insistence I hope you are rewarded for with a few thousand extra years in purgatory.

    😉

    I have far more respect for Nestorius, who labored tirelessly for the truth in completely good faith, and was relentlessly persecuted for it. He was not corrected by brethren. He was persecuted by so-called Christians whom I count as worse than unbelievers despite their “orthodoxy.” Those who fight for orthodoxy without love, lose their own souls in the process.

    I understand that there is really very little room (or no room at all) for compromise in many of these situations (e.g., the famous difference of a single iota between “homoousios” and “homoiousios”). But you have often taken on an air of bully rather than instructor. I could probably learn a lot from you, but with your ingrained bias against the slightest whiff of Calvinism, I have a hard time saying I would really care to. You have lost your rightful standing in my mind because you have so often chosen to take the low road…the deeply judgmental road.

    Besides, you’re so quick to point the finger at our supposed Nestorianism and so slow to defend yourself against the charge of Arianism. (Not to mention, in this particular instance, we’re probably more vulnerable to a charge of Apollinarianism/Euthychianism.)

  129. Jason–

    You can reject Sproul’s explicit statements to the contrary if you wish, but you will not pick up any “brownie points” with me for doing so. I don’t particularly like the guy. But I know how to be somewhat fair in my evaluations. You can charge him with inconsistency on the matter, but you cannot charge him with flat out thinking that the “person” of Christ is some kind of divine-human amalgamation. I can guarantee you he would deny the charge…and his writings, for the most part, would bear him out on that denial.

    When it comes to Christ meeting with us in a juxtaposition of earth and heaven, whether he descends to us or we ascend to him is utterly immaterial.

  130. Eric,

    I LIKE Sproul.

    But the reason I’m highlighting Sproul is simply — it’s simply because he is representative of Calvinist theologians. That’s why …

  131. Jason–

    Every single Reformed theologian I know of makes it quite clear that the one and only person of Christ is divine and nothing but divine.

  132. Eric,

    Surgery? Did you have your…

    Oh hell! Maybe now is not the time to throw a witty barb.
    Here is wishing you a speedy recovery.

  133. Thanks, Jim.

    Thank you very much.

  134. Jonathan,

    That heterodoxy is reflected in, for example, Sproul makes the statement that “When we think about the Incarnation, we don’t want to get the two natures mixed up and think that Jesus had a deified human nature or a humanized divine nature.” Thinking that Jesus had a deified human nature or a humanized divine nature is not getting the two natures “mixed up.” It is affirming real communication of the attributes, which entails a real interpenetration (perichoresis) of the natures, yet without mixing or confusion. As Weinandy says, denial of the orthodox version of communication of the attributes is at the very least material heresy (error). We can debate about whether Calvin was a formal heretic, which few people (including Fr. Weinandy) believe, but there is no real debate about him being heterodox on this point.

    I’ll have to get the specific reference, but I have a friend (Reformed) who has done more reading in Cyril’s Christology than I have, and based on the work of at least one scholar has come to the conclusion that the traditional Reformed notion of attributing the properties of each nature to the person is essentially Cyrillian. I can’t remember the specifics.

    In any case, I don’t see what the problem is with saying that When the second person of the Trinity died on the cross, he suffered only according to the human nature. The divine nature is impassible by definition. Even Cyril said something to the effect that the divine nature suffered impassibly.

  135. Eric, Jason, Jonathan, Jim, et al.,

    I also want to add that Sproul’s specific concern is well placed in making distinctions between what Jesus does according to His humanity and what He does according to His deity. When that isn’t done, you end up with Process Theology, Open Theism, and Roman Catholic feminist theology. All of these take Christ’s suffering, and then based on a confusion of natures, end up denying full on the impassibility of God.

    Obviously there is mystery here, and once you get the divine and human united in Christ, it is difficult to conceive of the divine nature or the human nature remaining inert whenever Christ acts. Perhaps there is a better way to make distinctions in order to preserve things, but the fact is when you don’t make distinctions you get a passible God and a human nature that is not truly human.

  136. ERIC November 15, 2014 at 8:19 pm
    Jonathan–
    Thanks so very much for the extended discussion. It will take me a while to process it all as I am in recovery from surgery.
    I really want to know all the ins and outs of this…either to better defend Calvinistic christology or to more thoroughly accept Catholic christology. I couldn’t care less who comes out on top. (As a matter of fact, however, I AM still unconvinced that there is any significant distinction between the two systems…..

    What!?…..Lol! You must still be under anesthesia! ROFL!

  137. ERIC November 15, 2014 at 8:19 pm
    Jonathan–
    Thanks so very much for the extended discussion. It will take me a while to process it all as I am in recovery from surgery…..

    Sorry, about that. God bless you. Get well soon.

  138. Debbie and Catholics et all,

    “No Catholic I know of that says one rosary a day, does any less than AT LEAST that much prayer and adoration to our Lord. In fact, when you find someone that has been given the gift of our Holy Mother, look closely and you will see their love for Jesus pouring out in everything they do. They have been GIVEN this devotion to His Mother as a beautiful protection and added gift, but it stems from the adopted status of His children who will not be left orphans. We all have it, not all except it.

    Right after Jason Stellman says his Rosary on Mondays, you can catch your fellow convert here at “Drunk Ex-Pastors” http://www.drunkexpastors.com Simply dial Drunk Ex-Pastors at (213) 97-DRUNK! for your chance to speak with him up close and personal.

    In the meantime, keep Jason’s “suffering” in your prayers or better yet, all you supportive Catholics can begin donating to his “slush fund” (aka donations) which according to the site is “put towards the show’s expenses such as advertising, equipment, and hosting, and if there’s any left over possibly towards some whiskey…which we promise to drink on the show!”

    Congrats on your new convert.

    *Apologies in advance for the sarcasm, but a little perspective*

  139. +JMJ+

    Dear Sanctimonious Christian,

    Unclench.

    That is all.

  140. Hi S. Christian,

    Did you know that not all Catholics say the Rosary? It is one of the many many rich devotions that can be practiced by individuals in the Catholic Church.

    Since we were talking about Mary and praying the Rosary specifically, my point was that “no Catholic I know of that says one rosary a day, does any less than AT LEAST that much prayer and adoration to our Lord.” I’ll stand by that till I die.

    I don’t know anything about you, but I would like to “double dare you” to find a Catholic person your age and gender that has a similar life status (job, family etc…) that faithfully, 365 days/year, without fail, come what may – prays 5 decades of the Rosary everyday – and take them to lunch. It’ll blow your socks off.

    Blessings

  141. Hi Eric,

    Merry Christmas, may the joy and peace from our Lord be with you and your family.

    I believe while I was away for a while, Jason Loh and Jonathan have answered your questions regarding the apparent support from St. Cyril for Reformed Christology. If you were following my advise to read Paul Gavrilyuk’s Oxford monograph The Suffering of the Impassible God I believe you won’t asked me that kind of questions. The confusion comes because Reformed don’t take seriously the Fifth Ecumenical Council of Second Constantinople 553, which Joseph Tene Dyaji in his dissertation considered to be a monophysite council by accepting St. Cyril’s Twelve Anathemas. I’ve read Steven Wedgeworth’s defense on Reformed Christology, in fact for a year I was debating Perry Robinson (an Eastern Orthodox from Anglican) using Richard Muller, Steven Wedgeworth, Benjamin Swinburnso, and Oliver Crisp to defend Reformed Christology. Once you’ve read Gavrilyuk and McGuckin, I’m sure you’ll realize your missing spot. In Reformed the person of Christ is very God and very human (WCF 8:2) this is as Muller said because Reformed assumed the person of Christ is formed out of union of the two natures like soul and body. A man can be killed in his flesh but his soul can’t, therefore when Christ died His humanity was crucified (Calvin, Muller, R C Sproul, Beeke, Jones, and Crisp) but not the immutable Logos. This happened because Reformed don’t read Chalcedon in line with Second Constantinople. Deum de Deo is taken from the Latin translation of 325 not 381. The Latin creed is different than Greek because it was taken theologically not literary. If you check Aramaic creed you’ll see how they differ linguistically. Calvin refused to accept that the divinity of the Son is communicated from the Father, not from Himself. This is why John Murray (a Reformed theologian) admit that Calvin reinterpreted Nicene creed. Protestants only accepted Six Councils and nominally. This is why they refused to do devotion to Theotokos (practiced at Ephesus) and veneration to saints (particularly St. Euphemia at Chalcedon). You can claim to accept St. Cyril’s Christology but failed to accept his teaching that humanity of the Logos was deified. Much less you can accept St. Athanasius’ soteriology via theosis. I do pray that you’ll spend your time to read the Fathers. Not to make yourselves agree with them. But for you to see that the Fathers were not Protestants at all. I myself considering EO for 7 years. It was easier for me because there is no Papacy until I realized that the Fathers were Catholics in communion with Rome which then lead me to become an Eastern Catholic. Take your time slowly. Orthodoxy is not about intellectual but a way of life. Catholicism is not about institution but brotherly communion with those in fraternal love with the successor of St. Peter who preside in love. I wish I can keep continuing our discussions endlessly, but I’ll stop here with two articles for you to read.

    http://www.drakeshelton.com/2012/12/20/the-reformed-apostasy-from-the-nicene-creed-in-john-murray/
    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/nestorianism/

    Thank you Jason Loh and Jonathan for helping answering Eric’s questions for me. I wish you two best blessing in the year to come.

    In Christ’s love.

  142. I’m just wondering if you combined Open-Theism in a more nuanced sense: God knows all potentialities moment by moment but God experiences time with us in real-time, can direct things in the way he desires by manipulating external influences on the creation which only has a limited number of responses to stimulus, elects in the moment not based on anything but His own free will, but has not determined an extremely detailed outcome only a general one in which He desires are accomplished in general: a redeemed humanity out of fallen humanity that would experience joy in Him therefore glorifying Him forever (yes, I have some Piper in me), then couldn’t you solve a few problems at once – like transcendence/immanence, free-will/election… I’m aware of Biblical examples that would challenge this idea, but an Open-Theist merged with a Molinist merged with a
    Calvinist might be right on track? Is there any evidence of a similar idea out there in church history…. I would like to know…

  143. Jason, I also come from a PCA background and am preparing to come into the RCC this Easter. I know that there are many challenges, although I am thankful to have avoided much of the stigma and spiteful behavior you have experienced. I am so sorry, and I hope that you are feeling better about your Catholic faith than when this post was written.

    This is probably a very unnecessary question, as I am sure you have considered this, but have you talked with the folks at The Coming Home Network? It is my understanding that they were founded to help encourage (and sometimes support financially through fellowships) former Protestant clergy who enter the RCC. I have found their television programs very helpful.

  144. (And thanks for your comment, Katie!)

  145. I was curious if you had explored E.O. before going to R.C.C. I have a similar background as you. I grew up fundamentalist, went to several different denominations, then spent a while in Calvary Chapel then got converted to Calvinism, and eventually ended up in the P.C.A. You’re story has definitely had me thinking.

    Also, what do you think of Leithart, since he has remained Presbyterian and knows every argument for R.C.C. that you do (I know you oversaw the trial)…

    Thanks!

  146. Oh awesome, I look forward to watching your JH episode. I appreciate Marcus Grodi’s warm demeanor and knowledge of Scripture. I hope to see you and your wife on there together one day! It sounds like you are very well connected in the RCC/ former-protestant-pastor world…. I suppose it is just a hard transition, regardless of your convictions or connections.

    Also, I see Catholiclurker’s post and also wonder if you have had contact with Leithart since your confirmation? We were formerly in the church where he is now and remember reading about some of the trial details.

  147. No, no real temptation to go EO. They seem to suffer from a similar problem as Protestantism in my mind.

    Nope, no contact with Leithart. A few hours after the trial ended I was at a U2 show, so I put that whole thing out of my mind pretty quickly. . . .

  148. Jason,
    I feel ya bro. My 2010 conversion didnt do much for me in the temporal sense. I lost all my friends and my extended family ridiculed me (I am lucky with my wife thank God).
    That is not a hundredth of what you are going through though. We made the worst switch ever… from Calvinist to Catholic is about as bad as conversions get when it comes to the feelings of betrayal those left behind feel. Honestly it has made me very jaded and cynical about humanity to see people behave as they do in response to my conversion. I can only imagine how awful it was for you coming down from the hero-worship I have seen in Reformed congregations.
    On to the real point of my comment: if you are still working for $12 an hour somewhere, please contact me and I can give you something to look into as far as self employment that can at least triple that for someone smart. I did it last year and for part time hours, mostly at home, net 20k. This year I am on track to at least double that. Best of all, super small start up investment… as in a few hundred. No tricks here Jason, just a simple way to make simple money on your own time. If you are interested, contact me.

  149. Hi Jason,
    I just came upon this article. I am sorry for your suffering, and I hope you don’t get offended, but I wonder if you are punishing yourself. A man with your education and background has a lot to offer. Once you have completed your “penance” I hope you will be rid of any pride you may have and reach out to those who can help you.

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