Wednesday, February 28, 2007

And around and around we go….

Here was an interesting little exercise from a recent CARM discussion I walked in on:

Poor jay, I will pray that God deliver you from darkness.

Jay: He did and I joined the catholic church, the one Jesus founded. "That thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" I belong to that church, you do not.

Then I wander in….

Hi Jay, Just a quick question- Are you relying on the Bible alone to substantiate your belief in the papacy? Or do you have some other ultimate authority?

Jay: See, that is a loaded question, especially the word "ultimate". The NT came out of the church, the church did not come out of the NT. I use Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The confession of Christ as well as Feed My Sheep pointed to Peter as the leader from Jesus Himself. No, Paul was NOT the leader.

I'm just curious why you're quoting scripture to prove the papacy. That's a very protestant thing to do- using scripture to justify one's belief. So, if the NT came out of the church, how can you therefore use it to prove the authority of the church?

Jay: I was doing it on YOUR level, the protestant way, so you would understand it. I don't have to use the NT to prove the papacy since the existence of the papacy was in place BEFORE the NT was written. The NT is the history of the church. As you know you only had Oral Tradition before the written Word. The Word of God came orally first.

Ok, so what evidence proves that God established the papacy? Or do you just believe it by faith?

Jay: By FAITH and by WORD. Jesus did not use the word PAPACY. That is a later term as you know. Jesus's own words in the CONFESSION and the charge of FEEDING the SHEEP points to Peter as the leader of the church. It does not matter if anyone agreed to it or not. This gives me FAITH and Word, backed up by St. Iggy, a true witness. I don't like circular arguments as well as dissecting the word "Faith" by using relitivism as prots are known for.

Sounds to me like you're back to quoting the Bible again to prove your belief.

Jay: I mentioned St. Iggy if you did not get.

So, that's how you know God established the papacy? Wow. Amazing. And as far as I know, he wasn't even infallible.

Jay: The NT explained what Jesus already started. We all agree the Gospels contain the Word of God. St Iggy is just a witness to what had taken place. He doesn't have to be infallible. You might as well throw out your history books and everything else if you do not believe in eye witnesses.

I agree that the Bible is an ultimate authority. It is my ultimate authority, and I use it to establish truth. However, you being Roman Catholic say the church precedes the Bible, and you keep evading how it is you prove the authority of the Papacy. It can't be proved by the Bible if it comes before the Bible. In regards to “St Iggy”- This is a similar problem. It posits the testimony of someone who came afterward proves the authority of that which precedes it.

Jay: Are you telling me that the church DID not exist before the NT was written down? You can't be serious......The Word of God, preached Orally, proved Peter was the chosen leader. Then the Gospels were written. St Iggy and others backs all this up.

Peter states Scripture originated when men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit. Paul mentions that the same gospel he proclaimed was also proclaimed in the Old Testament (1 Cor 15:1-4), so the gospel, and at least some of the scriptures, precede a church founded in Rome. Thus, the church already had an ultimate authority by which to prove their beliefs. You though have attempted to prove your belief in the papacy by the word of God in oral form that stated Peter was the first pope and the papacy was established. Of course, one has no way of verifying that an oral message stating such ever happened. So again, I ask, on what basis do you believe in the papacy?

Jay: I am talking about the New Testament, not all scripture. Jesus chose Peter in the New Testament that was preached orally before it was written. The church was not founded in Rome, but headquartered there by Peter. Jesus's church was started on Pentecost, 33 ad, in Jerusalem.

This little exercise was intended to show you that you begin with the papacy as your ultimate authority. In fact, had you simply admitted this, I would have thanked you. You begin with the Roman papacy as true. The only thing we know about Jesus is from the testimony of the Scriptures. We don't have oral traditions about Jesus still floating around by which to appeal to.

Jay: Well the NT and the catholic church were created by the same person Jesus Christ.

And around and around we go…. first Jay said the New Testament came out of the church, now it was created by Jesus Christ. I can accept this answer as an unproven presuposition. In fact, I can even agree with it.


pilgrim said...

Around and around and around...

Been there, done that.

The whole Church gave us the Bible thing and not the other way around is a real circular thing, and not a very convinvcing argument.

I'll go with God giving us both...

Apolonio said...


I'm a bit confused at your logic. You said:

"So, if the NT came out of the church, how can you therefore use it to prove the authority of the church?"

That's easy. Because if authority is transferred, then if Jesus transfers His authority to the Church and the Church (being a secondary cause) to the Scripture, one can use the Scripture to show where its source is. I mean, if creation came from God, one can use creation to prove God's existence. Same with Church and Scripture.

Gojira said...

Hi Apolonio,

"That's easy."

Not so easy. You just drove a wedge between Christ and the Church. Christ is the head, making the authority His, with the Church in union with Him. If Christ is the head of the body, then there is no transfer of authority, since the body is subject to the head of that body. Christ has indeed comissioned the Church to carry out His will (desires), but the authority spoken of here resides in the Lord of the Church, who is the head of the body, the Holy Spirit being the very heart of the body.

I would have to disagree with your statement about creation in the context of Christ and the Church (although I would agree that creation bears witness to it's creator). God is seperate from His creation, but just as the creation bears witness to God (the point we agree upon), who Himself created, so do the scriptures bear witness to the one who gave them by His very breath.

That's my disagreement in a nutshell.

Turretinfan said...

Further to what Gojira has said, I rarely see Catholic apologists even attempt to defend the claim that "the Church gave us the Bible" from Scripture. Typically, instead, they make arguments from silence in the evidentiary record of the first few centuries of the church.
And, of course, the Scriptures themselves say that they come from the the Holy Spirit, not from the church.


Apolonio said...


I was responding to James' question: "So, if the NT came out of the church, how **can** you therefore use it to prove the authority of the church?"
And that is just not a good argument. James says again:
"It can't be proved by the Bible if it comes before the Bible."

Now, I don't know what James mean by "can't" there. Does he mean logical or metaphysical impossibility? Suppose we say, God can't be proved by creation if He comes before creation. Of course that's just plain wrong. Same with the papacy. Just because it came before the Scriptures it does not mean that we *can't* prove it from th Bible.

With regards to your comment, again, notice how I used the word "if". That's because I was responding to the question posed by James how we *can* prove something. "Can" means possibility. So he is asking "How is it possible to prove..." And I gave a possibility.

Now, you said:
"If Christ is the head of the body, then there is no transfer of authority, since the body is subject to the head of that body."

Why should I accept that? I don't see how that follows. Are you using "if, then" in terms of logical or metaphysical entailment? I can think of ways where the consequent is false even if the antecedent is true.

I agree God is separate from His creation in the sense that He is a different essence or He is transcendent. But it still does not mean that you can't use creation to prove God's existence.

Ric said...

James, do you need some aspirin?

Gojira said...

Hi Apolonio,

"Why should I accept that? I don't see how that follows."

Why should you accept that? Because it is the scriptural reading. For example, see Eph. 5:23-24. Col. 1:18, 2:10,19.

"I was responding to James' question..."

And I was responding to your statements about transfer of authority. They simply do not hold up Biblically.

"But it still does not mean that you can't use creation to prove God's existence."

Indeed. Something I agree with you upon.

originally, you wrote:
"one can use the Scripture to show where its source is."

The scriptural witness is that they (the scriptures) have came to be from the very breath of God. It would be interesting to see you demonstrate your statement in light of the scripture that teaches it's own origin is that from God.

James Swan said...

Apolonio- I leave in you in gorija's big green scaley hands- sorry i just don't have the time to dialog. Thanks though for your comments.

Ric- I think I need to refill the asprin bottle.

FM483 said...

It seems to me that everyone has an ultimate authority source. Mormons believe in Mormonism and what their church heirarchy espouses and anything that conflicts with what their church teaches is rejected as false. Roman Catholics behave similarly with their appeal to sola ecclesia: what the pope and his majesterium teaches is absolute rock-bottom truth by which everything else is compared, even Holy Scripture. From my perspective in the debate over “which came first, the chicken or the egg”,I go to Holy Scripture and cleave to what it says. For example:

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In Paul’s letter to the church body at Colossae, I read regarding the Incarnate Word, that is Christ:

Col. 1:15-16
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Hence, I as a confessional Lutheran, believe that Christ preceded all things, including the Church. This same Christ ensured that all people would have a written record of Truth recorded in Holy Scripture by which everything could be compared for establishing Truth from lies. As a confessionalLutheran, I understand the term “church” as referencing the communion of saints throughout history who cleaved to the promises of Almighty God as revealed in His Word, the Holy Scriptures. This same Church is responsible for delivering the timeless message of God to His creation through the ministry of Word and Sacrament. The “chuch”is not an end in itself, but the instrument of God by which everything accomplished by Christ is delivered to mankind. This comes about by preaching the Law of God in all it’s sternness, andas the Holy Spirit accomplishes His work of producing repentance, the sweetness of the love of God in the Gospel is announced. Faith is thereby miraculously ceated and sustained in the hearts of repentant men so that the humanly unbelievable grace of God can be received: the forgiveness of sins and escape from the curse of the Law(eternal death).

Frank Marron

Apolonio said...


This is probably the last time I will respond because I think I have made myself clear on previous posts. Take the proposition:

If Christ is the head of the body, then there is no transfer of authority. S

Your support for S was:

"since the body is subject to the head of that body."

Of course one can easily see the flaw in this. This is presupposing that someone or those who are subject to someone cannot have authority. It *could* be that **because** Christ is the head of the body, the Church has that authority. A governor can be subject to a king but the king might have transferred his authority to the governor to govern a particular country. So logically and metaphysically, S is false. Also, the scriptural quotes you have only speak of Christ being the head. I agree with the antecedent of S but not S.

Gojira said...

Hi Apolonio,

"Of course one can easily see the flaw in this."

Yes, indeed. There are several on your part. :-)

You are making one of catagory. Of course, what you said above is true. For example, Daniel in the OT. He was given authority by the king, although that did not remove him from being under the authority of the king himself. However, in the NT teaching of the body, the picture is a whole, with Christ as the head over the body with the body in submission to the head. In the Church as a whole, there are no individuals, there is only the body. Does parts of your body, say your right arm, exist apart from the remainder of your body? Of course not. What you have done is to present a confusion of of contexts, and a confusion of ideas. For example, in the picture of the body, you would have, according to what you have presented, a body with several ruling parts, thus destroying the unity of the body. In short, you have philophized yourself away from the scriptural point of Christ functioning as the head. It is Christ who is the glory of the Church, just as it is Christ who is the one Lord of the Church. No transfer of authority needed. Christ is quite sufficient in Himself to rule His own body. Does Christ have to transfer authority to the right hand, so that the right hand can rule over the left foot? Of course not. Such an idea would be silly. Simply put, what you have presented is not what the Bible is expressing in terms of the Body of Christ, the Church.

" Also, the scriptural quotes you have only speak of Christ being the head."

So now you would have the head as seperate from the body? Following what you have presented, yes you would, and of course that destroys His lordship over the Church, which is His body.But to say that the quotes I gave speak only of the head makes me wonder if in fact you paid attention to those scriptures I gave. For example, from Eph. 5-

"23. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body."

Can you please state where only the head is mentioned here? It would appear that you have Christ being the head of the church, the savior of the body. So I would ask again, where is your assertion to be found here in this verse?

"24. But as the church is subject to Christ..."

And of course, if what you assert were true, this would be wrong, as you have claimed a transfer of authority. Such an idea will simply not work in this passage, especially in light of the fact the passage compares the way the church is to be subject to Christ the way a wife is to be subject to the husband. Your post, as presented above, simply falls to the ground.

From Col. 1:18-

"18. He is also head of the body, the church..."

Can you please state where only the head is mentioned here? It would appear that you have Christ being proclaimed as the head of the body, which is the church. And of course, that would mean that He is the sole ruling authority of His own body. As before, your objections simply fall to the ground.

Thank you for the interaction, Apolonio. May you have a blessed weekend.