Thursday, August 30, 2007


Here’s a great quote for all the ecumenical Roman Catholics who consider Protestants “separated brothers” rather than heretics:

“Do not be misled, my brothers: if anyone follows a schismatic, he will not inherit the kingdom of God. If anyone holds to alien views, he disassociates himself from the Passion.”
Ignatius, Letter to the Philadelphians 3:3.

Source: Michael W. Holmes, ed. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Michigan: Baker Books, 1999), p.179.

12 comments:

theo said...

Dear brother James:

I do not understand why it apparently seems so important to some Protestant brothers to try to convince modern Catholics to disbelieve our own Catechism, doctrinal development and recently reinforced Catholic teaching that the true Church operates within the ecclesiastical communities of our separated brethren.

Regardless, I will continue praying as I have for your continued blessing in Christ Jesus, who is our only Lord and Savior. May He strengthen your hand in every action you offer for the purposes of His Holy Gospel and God's Kingdom.

As always, I remain your humble servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

Saint and Sinner said...

James,

While your reading through the Apostolic Fathers, don't forget to check on those quotes that I gave you in respect to Calvinism.

First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, ch. 27
“By the word of his Majesty he has established all things…Who shall say to him, What have you done? Or who shall resist the might of his power? ***He has done all things at what season he pleased, and in what manner he pleased; and not one of the things which have been decreed by him shall pass away. All things are open to his view, nor has anything absconded from his will and pleasure***.”

Ignatius of Antioch (c.100 A.D.)
Epistle to the Romans, the salutation
“Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which has obtained mercy, through the majesty of the Most High Father, and Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son; the Church which is beloved and enlightened ***by the will of Him that willeth all things*** which are according to the love of Jesus Christ our God…”

Saint and Sinner said...

Oops. Forgot to ask the question.

Do you think that they are saying that God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass?

Ree said...

"I do not understand why it apparently seems so important to some Protestant brothers to try to convince modern Catholics to disbelieve our own Catechism, doctrinal development and recently reinforced Catholic teaching that the true Church operates within the ecclesiastical communities of our separated brethren."


If the reversal of a position can be called a "development," then the idea of an infallible magisterium is meaningless. Some Roman Catholics might recognize that.

theo said...

Dear Ree:

Thank you for your reply. I find it slightly helpful in understanding what you imagine Catholics believe. Please know that we do not hold that every word spoken by Ignatius or any person, whether priest, Church Father or Pope is infallible--except for that spoken by Jesus Himself.

However, your reply does not address the question I ask. Unfortunately I remain as perplexed as before regarding why some Protestants seem to insist that I must believe what I clearly do not to believe.

I understand that the Church teaches that to the extent that Protestant churches operate as vehicles of the Gospel, they are (whether their members realize it or not) still experiencing the operation of the true church within them, and as such their members, though not in full communion with us nevertheless still are our brothers.

Yet time and time again, I encounter Protestants who insist that I do not (or as a Catholic, should not) believe this teaching. Do you know what makes it so important to some that I should confess against what I know to be true? Why should a lie be what will (apparently) satisfy these people?

As always, I do hope and pray that I've clarified more than muddied the waters. It is with acute realization that I am also able to incorrectly project my own desires onto the motivations and beliefs of others, that I humbly ask our Lord Jesus to bless you and us all in His truth, while I remain your servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

theo said...

Dear S&S:

Please also know that this same Ignatius also wrote:

"Seeing, then, all things have an end, and there is set before us life upon our obedience, but death as the result of disobedience, and everyone, according to the choice he makes, shall go to his own place, so let us flee from death, and make choice of life."

For I remark that two different characters are found among men—the one true coin, the other spurious. The truly devout man is the right kind of coin, stamped by God Himself. The ungodly man, again, is false coin, unlawful, spurious, counterfeit, wrought not by God, but by the devil."

I do not mean to say that there are two different human natures, but that there is one humanity, sometimes belonging to God, and sometimes to the devil. If any one is truly religious, he is a man of God; but if he is irreligious, he is a man of the devil, made such, not by nature, but by his own choice."



Please note that he both asserts election and free will. At least to this man, the two did not appear mutually exclusive.

If you are truly interested in what the early Church looked like, I humbly encourage you to read the church fathers in their entirity.

Humbly submitted, I remain your servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

Ree said...

I think anyone who's spent any time talking with Catholics knows how you qualify infallible teachings, but we also recognize that these qualifications render the idea of an infallible magisterium functionally useless.

You claim that your views are historic, but then you dismiss the words of even the earliest church fathers, as well as those of your own popes, for being "undeveloped." We're all familiar with your rationalizations for doing so, but it still seems worthwhile to point out the contradictions. If your "developments," can be this elastic, then you have no real basis for confidence in anything. And this from the church that claims to provide certainty of beliefs.

theo said...

Dear Ree:

I appreciate your effort to answer my question; however, I don't follow how what you're writing addresses it. Let us pray that God will provide me with the insight I require to find epiphany in your words.

As it is, I would be dishonest to confess that I lack confidence, whatever you assert to the contrary; for indeed, I have confidence in Jesus who founded the Church and sent the Apostles, and I have confidence in Holy Tradtion and in all the Holy Scriptures that were affirmed by the authority of both. My confidence is based upon the very promise of Jesus Himself.

I'm sorry to report that I no more understand this need some Protestants appear to have to tell people that they do not actually believe their own confession of faith. Still, I thank you for your attempt at explaining.

May God bless you with every good gift and strengthen your every act made for His glory.

Humbly, I remain your very limited and unfortunately perplexed servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

theo said...

Edit alert:

This phrase in the above comment:

"I'm sorry to report that I no more understand this need some Protestants appear to have to tell people that they do not actually believe their own confession of faith."

ought to have been this sentence:

"I'm sorry to report that I no more understand this need some Protestants appear to have to tell people that they do not actually believe their own confession of faith than I did before."

I'm sorry that omission made my already often muddy writing all the less understandable.

Ree said...

I don't know of anyone trying to tell Catholics that they don't believe their own confessions. The point as I see it is the incoherence of those confessions.

You say that you have confidence in "Holy Tradition" and in the Holy Scriptures, but your adherence to the RC concept of development gives you no reason for confidence in any particular content contained either in Scripture or tradition.

As C.S. Lewis put it in response to why he would never become Roman Catholic, "to accept your Church means not to accept a given body of doctrine but to accept in advance any doctrine that your Church hereafter produces.”

And as is demonstrated by your church's current teaching, included in those ever-developing doctrines are things that flatly contradict what previous Roman Catholics have always believed, as well as things historically believed by the church as a whole (things like the necessity of conversion for the salvation of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and even atheists.)

theo said...

Dear Ree:

Please forgive me if I do not fully understand your point. Does it simply boil down to "the doctrine of doctrinal development is bunk?"

Humbly asked,
--Theo

PS:

Ree wrote:
"I don't know of anyone trying to tell Catholics that they don't believe their own confessions."

James wrote:
"Here’s a great quote for all the ecumenical Roman Catholics who consider Protestants “separated brothers” rather than heretics"

I write:
Dear Ree:
May I introduce you to our brother, James?

Humbly,
Your servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

Ree said...

Not quite. It's that the Roman Catholic concept of development renders confidence in any particular doctrine impossible because anything can "develop" into anything else, even its opposite.

And perhaps I'm missing something, but I'm at a loss as to how you would interpret James to be saying that Roman Catholics don't believe their own confessions by him quoting Irenaeus. Maybe he can clarify for us.