Monday, September 10, 2007

The infallible list of infallible teachings of Rome

Starting off my time here with a bang, I'd like to get to the bottom of a question that's been on my mind for some time. I was actually able to ask Fr Mitch Pacwa, S.J. this question during the Audience Questions segment at the Eric Svendsen-Pacwa debate in May 2007. It wasn't well read by the moderator so I asked him face to face afterwards and got the same non-response.

Related to the question of Sola Scriptura is how the Canon of Scripture can be known. Roman Catholic apologists are fond of asking, "But Mr. Sola Scripturist, is your Canon infallible?" knowing that the SS-ist has no structure in his worldview to affirm sthg infallibly. The RC apologist will then go on to claim that his position enjoys an epistemic advantage b/c the RC Church can proclaim things such as the Canon infallibly, and indeed has done so at the Council of Trent.
Leaving aside the question of which Esdras-es were included in the Tridentine Canon, this alleged advantage encounters a difficult problem upon examination.

To the SS-ist, Scripture is the only vehicle for infallible teachings. Thus, the Canon of Scripture is the list of infallible teachings. Indeed, it is the complete list of infallible teachings.

Now, I question whether the RCC has a once-for-all settled Canon of Scripture (see the cross-examination section when James White questioned Gary Michuta), but let's grant they do for the sake of argument. Scripture, however, is not the RC's only source for infallible teachings. Certain Magisterial teachings, such as in particular the ex cathedra statements from a Pope, are also infallible.
So, the big question: The RCC claims that the SS-ist is at a disadvantage b/c he lacks an infallible canon of infallible teachings. Very well, where is RCC's?
If you can produce one, is it itself, being an infallible teaching about infallible teachings, listed?
How do you know it is infallible?

If the RCC cannot produce an infallible list, then a fallible list will suffice, as long as it is complete.

From what I've so far seen, this is an unanswerable question for a RC. I've heard the following suggestions:

-The Enchiridion (aka, "Denzinger").
-The Catechism of the Catholic Church
-"History" (that's a good one!)
-Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma

However, none of these are infallible. Nor are they complete, it would seem.

If RCC can produce an infallible list, it would constitute an epistemic advantage over the SS-ist position.
If RCC can produce a complete but fallible list, it would constitute an equal epistemic position to that of SS.
If RCC can produce neither, then RCC is in fact at a great disadvantage as far as Canon issues go.

Bottom line - the RCC claims the ability to proclaim things infallibly, but it uses this ability so infrequently and so inconsistently and with such completely insufficient communication so as to render this ability, even if it existed, completely worthless to anyone.

50 comments:

Leo said...

How do we know when the Pontiff speaks ex cathedra?

1. when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians
2. in accord with his supreme apostolic authority
3. he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church.

This is done through the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, he operates with that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished that His Church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals; and so such definitions of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable.

We know that something is infallible when it bears these marks.
Not having a "Canon" is no biggie for Catholics, for they do not claim to have them all volumized in one volume that serves as the one rule of faith, but for Protestants, it is a biggie, because they do make that claim with scriptures.

Rhology said...

1. when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians
2. in accord with his supreme apostolic authority
3. he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church.


This sounds an awful lot like it is highly influence-able by private individual interpretation.

-Why doesn't the Pope just make it obvious?
-Please name 5 times in history the Pope has spoken ex cathedra and how you know.
-Please explain how this statement: Not having a "Canon" is no biggie for Catholics, for they do not claim to have them all volumized in one volume that serves as the one rule of faith, does not absolutely bleed sola ecclesia, ie, whatever we say.

Peace,
Rhology

Leo said...

Why doesn't the Pope just make it obvious?

It is clearly distinguishable when those criteria are met, but you still won't answer my questions about the canon of the Bible, till you do so, this is the last comment I answer from you.

Please name 5 times in history the Pope has spoken ex cathedra and how you know.


Council of Trent, under five differnet popes: Paul III, Julius III, Marcellus II, Paul IV and Pius IV.
Also, The Council of Florence, under Martin V, and Eugene IV.
Fourth Council of Constantinople in 869, under Adrian II.
2nd Lateran Council under Innocent II.
Third Lateran Council (1179) took place under Pope Alexander III.

The above Criteria are met in all of them.

Your trying to use my logic against me, by saying that what I say won't fit because I don't have a canon of the times that the popes spoke ex cathedra. But this does not apply here, no one is claiming such pronouncements as the one rule of faith in one complete volume, set in stone as a rule of faith for all at all times, because this was my argument against sola scriptura, one that you never heeded.

Rhology said...

Leo,

Why should I believe you when you name these times, when other RC apologists do not name those times when asked?

How do you know these are infallible pronouncements? Are you infallible? If you are not infallible, how can you know infallibly that they are infallible?

If any step in the chain is fallible, how are you in a better position than the Sola Scripturist?

As for whether I answered you on the Canon, I'm content to let the reader decide who wasn't answering the relevant questions.

Peace,
Rhology

GeneMBridges said...

If RCC can produce neither, then RCC is in fact at a great disadvantage as far as Canon issues go.

I would amend this to state:

a. He is at best on an epistemic par with us.

b. He is at a disadvantage insofar as his claim would be viciously circular or unprovable.

The only way he can know this is to appeal to Tradition - a viciously circular appeal.

And, no, the Protestant rule of faith is not simply, "because the Bible says so."

Alan, feel free to link to articles in T-blog's archives that might help keep you from reinventing the wheel. We've answered this RCC claim about the canon many times.

kmerian said...

I believe Dr. Ott's list is the best, but, the church does not need to infallibly declare a list of infallible doctrines to be held as infallible by the Church. This is an unanswerable question in that since you do not believe in the infalibility of the church, you would not accept the validity of any such list anyway.

As Leo stated, there are criteria that must be met for a statement to be infallible. As Catholics we can recognize them. Isn't that all that is necessary. Or, perhaps you could point to an issue where there is debate on whether a statement is infallible or not?

Carrie said...

It appears that no one is quite sure what statements are infallible or not. The discussion on ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS seems to be a prime example:

“Much of the discussion has been focused on whether the Holy Father's statement "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" is an infallible exercise of the extraordinary papal magisterium. The point has been well made by Jeff and others that it is. Other theologians, mostly those who are quoted in newspapers and are eager to find the smallest loophole, will stress that the declaration is "non-infallible" and express hopes that some future pope will reverse it. And again, others hold, as a well-founded opinion that it is an infallible exercise of the ordinary papal magisterium. Ratzinger it seems, would fall into this last group.”
http://www.ewtn.com/library/ISSUES/PILSORD.txt

“Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not issued under the extraordinary papal magisterium as an ex cathedra statement, and so is not considered infallible in itself. There is, however, a case for its contents to be infallible under the ordinary magisterium, as this doctrine has been held consistently by the Church. In a responsum ad dubium dated October 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was to be held definitively, as belonging to the deposit of faith. In 1998, this was clarified slightly (in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Doctrinal Commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem) to state that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not taught as being divinely revealed, although it might someday be so taught in the future:”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinatio_Sacerdotalis

GeneMBridges said...

the church does not need to infallibly declare a list of infallible doctrines to be held as infallible by the Church.

Really? Then how do you know what is correct in your theology - infallibly speaking?

This is an unanswerable question in that since you do not believe in the infallibility of the church, you would not accept the validity of any such list anyway.

Why does this get repeated so much. If this was true, then it would prove too much, for you'd have no basis for doing apologetics with an atheist for the same reasons. Is Catholicism interchangeable with atheism? I think not, but do you see the point?

If it is "unanswerable" it is because it has no answer - period.

Whether an opponent likes or accepts the answer is irrelevant.

As Leo stated, there are criteria that must be met for a statement to be infallible. As Catholics we can recognize them. Isn't that all that is necessary.

How do you know that that criterion is valid?

If we apply this logic to Scripture, we could also say:

There are criteria that must be met for a book to be canonical. As Christians we can recognize them. Isn't that all that is necessary?

So, if you are right, your position is not superior, it is on an epistemic par with ours - but that isn't your argument; your argument is that your rule of faith is superior.

What grounds the authority of the Church? If it is Scripture itself by itself, that's the Protestant rule of faith - so you're borrowing capital from us to arrive at your position. If it is the Church's "Tradition" then that is viciously circular, and if you ground it in Scripture by way of authorizing Scripture through the Church's authority, then you've only moved the question back a step. You're in a vicious regress.

Kenneth Merian said...

genem, at some point you are left with faith. Scripture is not the basis for our belief in the infallibility of the magesterium. But since the Protestant cannot prove the infallibility of his sole rule of faith, nor then, can you fault us for not being able to pass a test that you cannot pass either.

As the adage says: For those that do not believe, no proof is possible, for those that do, no proof is necessary.

Rhology said...

Kenneth,

Which has been our point for some time now. You begin with the assumption that the church is the final authority and all else flows therefrom. The problem that we're trying to point out is that RCs talk like they appeal to the early church and tradition, etc, but in reality they can do nothing but appeal to what the MODERN Magisterium tells them. They refuse to test what the church tells them, b/c the church is the final word on everthg, even when the church says that they hold to the "ancient and constant faith of the universal church" (Vatican I) but manifestly don't in real life.

Rhology said...

Gene,

You know, I think this idea took shape for me while reading you T-bloggers on the subject. It was one of those "OOooooohhhhhhh" moments. So yeah, I should give credit where it's due.

orthodox said...

Where does the logic come from that the RC would need a complete and infallible list to be at an epistemic advantage? Even with an incomplete yet infallible list you are at an advantage.

Let's make an infallible (according to Rome) list of infallible teachings, but not a complete list, an incomplete one.

1. The Books listed as canonical by Trent
2. The 7 ecumenical councils.

Ok, so now we have a list of things we know infallibly to be true declared to be so from an "infallible" source.

What of the Sola Scriptura proponent? Well he has a list, but he has no infallible source to say that anything in this list is infallible. He has as RC Sproul put it, a fallible list of infallible books. But this is a nonsense. If the list is fallible you don't know if the books therein are infallible. What you really have is a fallible list of books that you hope are infallible.

Clearly this is an epistemic disadvantage. NOTHING can ever be final for the sola scripturalist, because the list itself is potentially open to revision. On the other hand, the RC, while not having a final list, can state certainly that the books declared in the canon and the 7 ecumenical councils are infallible. If there are other issues which are less clear, it hardly removes the epistemic advantage concerning the things he does know.

orthodox said...

GENE: What grounds the authority of the Church? If it is Scripture itself by itself, that's the Protestant rule of faith - so you're borrowing capital from us to arrive at your position. If it is the Church's "Tradition" then that is viciously circular, and if you ground it in Scripture by way of authorizing Scripture through the Church's authority, then you've only moved the question back a step. You're in a vicious regress.

ORTHODOX: It seems odd to me that an appeal to scripture would in any shape or form be borrowing capital from protestants. Quite the reverse.

How is it again that an appeal to tradition to support tradition is viciously circular, but an appeal to scripture isn't?

Is a native on a desert island with no scripture at an epistemic disadvantage in knowing if Jesus is the Christ? Apparently not, since if he had scripture it would be viciously circular. And even ignoring that problem, were he to have scripture it would only be moving the question back a step in answering the question as to what authority can tell us anything about Jesus anyways. May as well give up this religion thingy now I guess.

Rhology said...

Orthodox,

Where does the logic come from that the RC would need a complete and infallible list to be at an epistemic advantage?

B/c SS-ists have a fallible complete list of infallible teachings. Better still, our appeal is to God, not to a human institution.

1. The Books listed as canonical by Trent
2. The 7 ecumenical councils.


How would an RC know that the 7 ecum councils are infall? Which parts?
And we'd have to parse that thing about Trent - they only infallibly included certain books of the RC Bible but not all (See the White-Michuta debate).

Well he has a list, but he has no infallible source to say that anything in this list is infallible.

God says it is infallible.

What you really have is a fallible list of books that you hope are infallible.

Much like the RC or EO who has an incomplete list of teachings that the church says are infallible, and he *hopes* that the church is infallible, b/c his decision to follow the church is fallible in itself.

NOTHING can ever be final for the sola scripturalist, because the list itself is potentially open to revision.

The New Covenant is complete and final and sufficient. Nothing more needs to be added.

an RC can state certainly that the books declared in the canon and the 7 ecumenical councils are infallible.

Absent a list, how can he know? Absent an infallible way to know what is infallible proclaimed and what isn't, how can he know?

How is it again that an appeal to tradition to support tradition is viciously circular, but an appeal to scripture isn't?

B/c God grounds the appeal to Scr.

Peace,
Rhology

Richard Froggatt said...

I have a suggestion for your next post.

Tradition
The Red Headed Stepchild of Protestantism

orthodox said...

R: B/c SS-ists have a fallible complete list of infallible teachings.

O: How can you say you have a fallible complete list? That is an oxymoron. It's like saying I have a fallible but complete list of who the next 5 presidents of the United States will be. It may be complete in my own mind, but its fallibility makes its completeness moot.

R: Better still, our appeal is to God, not to a human institution.

O: And where did God speak on this matter?

R: How would an RC know that the 7 ecum councils are infall? Which parts?

O: A RC knows that the canons of the 7 councils are infallible according to their church teaching. Are you seriously arguing that Catholicism is unclear on this teaching?

R: And we'd have to parse that thing about Trent - they only infallibly included certain books of the RC Bible but not all (See the White-Michuta debate).

O: Ok, so an infallible yet possibly incomplete list. That trumps a "complete" but possibly totally wrong list.

R: God says it is infallible.

O: Where?

R: Much like the RC or EO who has an incomplete list of teachings that the church says are infallible, and he *hopes* that the church is infallible, b/c his decision to follow the church is fallible in itself.

O: No, not like that at all. Again, you are confusing the epistemic problem of deciding what authority to follow with the epistemic problem of whether there is in fact an authority who can answer the question at hand.

For example, by your argument a New Ager who follows whatever latest fad teaching they decide to could argue they are on an epistemic equal footing to you in knowing the truth because both of you picked what authorities to follow.

However I would argue they are at a disadvantage because they have no authority to tell them which beliefs they should pick. I would hope you could recognize that having scripture as an authority puts you at an advantage in knowing who God is compared to just picking and choosing any beliefs at all. And yet this epistemic advantage remains DESPITE the fact that both of you choose what authority to follow. If an authority exists in the world to answer a question it is always an epistemic advantage to find it and follow it compared to just following anything you like on the argument that everyone is epistemicly equal because they have to pick what authority to follow.

R: The New Covenant is complete and final and sufficient. Nothing more needs to be added.

O: But whose list of books in the New Covenant is the complete list? Because the lists don't agree and never have agreed.

O: How is it again that an appeal to tradition to support tradition is viciously circular, but an appeal to scripture isn't?

R: B/c God grounds the appeal to Scr.

O: Which scriptures? How do you know that a particular writing or scriptura is one grounded by God?

L P Cruz said...

Orthodox,

Let me try this out for the moment ...

I accept your point on the Canon, I accept that there was already a Canon from the historic ancient catholic Church (small c -neither Roman nor Orthodox).

I know this by "tradition". The question you would probably for me would be - why should I trust this tradition - my answer, the same reason you do.

BTW, to some Prots, not all tradition is bad, those traditions that coincide with Scripture should be retained.


O: But whose list of books in the New Covenant is the complete list? Because the lists don't agree and never have agreed.



Then I must follow one tradition over the other and test the Canon. I think you are doing the same following a tradition.

BTW, is your New Testament Canon different from us Prots? I doubt that.

I can test tradition the same way I can test Scripture. And yes, I am fallible in my judgment - but so are you.

Any problem with my answers?

The point is that you and I have made a decision as to where we pass our authority for belief.

LPC

Richard Froggatt said...

Any problem with my answers?


You can't test the tradition of the canon of scripture against scripture.

orthodox said...

LPC: The question you would probably for me would be - why should I trust this tradition - my answer, the same reason you do.

O: Well it can't be the same reason I do since I find Tradition to be an authoritative source of revelation whereas presumably you don't EXCEPT in this one instance. I can't see the logic here.

LPC: BTW, to some Prots, not all tradition is bad, those traditions that coincide with Scripture should be retained.

O: Not sure how you define coincide.

LPC: Then I must follow one tradition over the other and test the Canon. I think you are doing the same following a tradition.

O: How do we "test" the Canon?

LPC: BTW, is your New Testament Canon different from us Prots? I doubt that.

O: Mine isn't, but the canon of those churches who broke away at Chalcedon - the non-Chalcedoneon churches have a different NT canon. I think the Ethiopian church has a different canon again as well. So yes, the dispute about the NT canon was never settled in the sense of all christians agreeing.

This is why I think the epistemological starting point is to find the true church. If that's not your starting point, then from whence do you start?

LPC: The point is that you and I have made a decision as to where we pass our authority for belief.

O: Lead me through the process, because I'm not seeing how your system holds together.

Carrie said...

This is why I think the epistemological starting point is to find the true church. If that's not your starting point, then from whence do you start?


And this seems to be the fatal flaw of every RC who actually puts some thought into this matter.

Trusting God to protect his Word just isn't certain enough for the RC. They would rather put their faith in an earthly organization claiming to be infallible and coast from there.

The true church is the invisible body of believers who have a saving faith in Christ, who bear fruit to that effect, and who have the internal witness of the Holy Spirit to guide them in recognizing the Word of God. I don't need the early church to be infallible in order to trust that they recognized the voice of God (being his sheep) and that God ensured that his Word would be preserved.

Besides, if you need an infallible determination from men of the canon, then you didn't have that until 1546. How was anyone before that time able to appeal to scripture without the infallible determination?

orthodox said...

Carrie: "Trusting God to protect his Word just isn't certain enough for the RC. They would rather put their faith in an earthly organization claiming to be infallible and coast from there."

ORTHODOX: Oh great, let's all trust God to protect his word. Fine and dandy.

Now WHERE did he protect it? Maybe in the Non-Chalcedonian churches? Ok, then take the scissors out because you've got some chopping out to do. Or maybe in the Ethiopian church? Get your glue out, you've got a lot of additions to make.

Carrie: I don't need the early church to be infallible in order to trust that they recognized the voice of God (being his sheep) and that God ensured that his Word would be preserved.

ORTHODOX: "THEY"??? What "THEY"? You see, before you can talk about the early church recognizing the voice of God, you're going to have to identify WHICH church recognized it. Depending on your answer, you'll have a different set of scriptures.

You haven't escaped the observation that finding the true church is the only epistemological starting point. And you haven't told us how you know that only your church and the churches who agree with you have correctly recognized the voice of God, and the others haven't.

Carrie said...

You haven't escaped the observation that finding the true church is the only epistemological starting point.

The only starting point is finding God (or being found by him).

What you have found is religion.

Rhology said...

Hi there,

Orthodox said:
How can you say you have a fallible complete list?

B/c the New Covenant is complete and requires no addition. Hebrews tells us so.
Interestingly, that's yet another way that EOC and RCC are out of step with the Bible. They keep stacking up.

And where did God speak on this matter?

By breathing out books.

Are you seriously arguing that Catholicism is unclear on this teaching?

I'm asking the RC to ***TAKE ADVANTAGE*** of the much-ballyhooed infallibility of his church. Bury me under the futility of my Protestant fallibility.
-Where were the councils declared infallible?
-By whom?
-How do you know which language renders sthg infallible?
-Why would anyone trust their own or your fallible description of the language that supposedly renders a declaration infallible?

If the RCC is all that as they claim, this stuff should be child's play. I thought I had some huge epistemological inferiority to the RC position! That's what they keep telling me, but they never back it up.

Ok, so an infallible yet possibly incomplete list. That trumps a "complete" but possibly totally wrong list.

-How do you know Trent is infallible?
-It's not possible that the Canon of Scr is totally wrong. The weight of evidence precludes that.

Where?

2 Tim 3:16. Unless you're claiming God can lie and/or screw up. Which wouldn't surprise me, given your win-the-argument-at-all-costs modus operandi.

you are confusing the epistemic problem of deciding what authority to follow with the epistemic problem of whether there is in fact an authority who can answer the question at hand.

The knowledge that a given church is infallible is fallible. Nothing that follows can be infallible. You're a fallible individual, which is what you keep forgetting.

a New Ager who follows whatever latest fad teaching they decide to could argue they are on an epistemic equal footing to you in knowing the truth because both of you picked what authorities to follow.

You're not an atheist. I presuppose that you believe the Scr to be God speaking, but every time I talk to you I find less and less reason to think you do.
If you don't believe the Scr to be God speaking, then our convo changes. Plz let me know if that's the case.
If not, this is a stupid statement. The OBJECT of our decision (God's Word) is infallible, and on that we should agree. I don't, however, agree that the RCC is infallible.

they have no authority to tell them which beliefs they should pick.

Just like you're not for your own. And yet you would tell me (or at the very least, RCs tell me) that the Ch precedes the Scr. You're tripping over your own feet here.

But whose list of books in the New Covenant is the complete list?

My NT Canon differs from the RC NT Canon? How so?

Which scriptures? How do you know that a particular writing or scriptura is one grounded by God?

The same way the pious Jew of 50 BC knew his Canon.
Say, how DID he know that anyway?

it can't be the same reason I do since I find Tradition to be an authoritative source of revelation whereas presumably you don't EXCEPT in this one instance.

You do so in contradiction to Jesus' command to test all trad by Scr. Mark 7:1-13.

Not sure how you define coincide.

Not contradicted by.

How do we "test" the Canon?

See my answer to RF below.

Mine isn't, but the canon of those churches who broke away at Chalcedon - the non-Chalcedoneon churches have a different NT canon. I think the Ethiopian church has a different canon again as well.

How do you know your NT Canon is correct?
If your answer amounts to "the EOC tells me", then:
1) How do you infallibly know the EOC is right and those infallible interpers are not?
2) If not infallibly, how is your choice and epistemic position better than mine?
3) It sounds like your Scr + Trad + authoritative church model didn't prevent a split. How is that different from a split within Prot-ism?

This is why I think the epistemological starting point is to find the true church.

I knew it.
But see, beforehand you said this:
they have no authority to tell them which beliefs they should pick.

You're equivocating. You're no better off, in fact worse off, than a SS-ist.

Oh great, let's all trust God to protect his word. Fine and dandy.

1) Yeah, we all know God can't be trusted to accomplish important things, like salvation and stuff. We need to help Him out.
2) Orthodox is a blasphemer. Amazing.
3) Are you an open theist? Does God know the future and past exhaustively and infallibly?

Now WHERE did he protect it? Maybe in the Non-Chalcedonian churches?

In the people of God.
How do YOU know it wasn't in the non-Chalc churches?
If your answer amounts to "the EOC says so", how is that not viciously circular?

"THEY"??? What "THEY"?

The people of God.
Unlike you, we don't have to be addicted to pointing out specifically a visible church all the time. Why? B/c biblically there is a visible (ie, local) and an invisible (ie, universal) church. It'd do you a world of good to get a better understanding of biblical theology. Doesn't your priest teach you authoritatively? Why did Sacred Tradition leave that part out?


finding the true church is the only epistemological starting point.

Sola ecclesia at its finest. Myself, I prefer Jesus.



Richard said:

You can't test the tradition of the canon of scripture against scripture.

Sure I can. There is plenty of internal evidence testifying to the groupings of the books and which ones are correct and incorrect.
One example is the "Law, Writings, and Prophets" groupings found there.
Another is Jesus' statement "from Abel to Zechariah".
Another is the "thus saith the Lord"s and "it is written"s.
Another is discovering that Nebuchadnezzar reigned in Babylon, not Nineveh, as Judith says.
Another is the dating of the 1st Jerusalem Temple, knowing that Judith's dating of events related to it are way off.
Another is contradictions found between Apoc books and Canonical books.


Peace,
Rhology

Richard Froggatt said...

Richard said:

You can't test the tradition of the canon of scripture against scripture.


Rhology:
Sure I can.

Really? This should be interesting.

There is plenty of internal evidence testifying to the groupings of the books and which ones are correct and incorrect.

I thought we were discussing the canon; is grouping your definition of canon?

Even we were to grant "grouping", let's see if even that holds up.

One example is the "Law, Writings, and Prophets" groupings found there.

Well you've proved your point; now I know exactly which books belong to the Law, Writings and Prophets.

Maybe I'll have better luck on the next one.

Another is Jesus' statement "from Abel to Zechariah".

Another defeat; all the prophets listed with three words. I'm really amazed I couldn't see this before!

Another is the "thus saith the Lord"s and "it is written"s.

Wow, another concrete example!

Another is discovering that Nebuchadnezzar reigned in Babylon, not Nineveh, as Judith says.

Well, I've got you on this one. Appeal to tradition.

Another is the dating of the 1st Jerusalem Temple, knowing that Judith's dating of events related to it are way off.

Appeal to tradition.

Another is contradictions found between Apoc books and Canonical books.

Assuming what you've yet to prove.

Peace

orthodox said...

R: B/c the New Covenant is complete and requires no addition. Hebrews tells us so.

O: Oh, is Hebrews in the bible? Who told you so?

And again, you're weaseling around the point. That the New Covenant is complete doesn't tell us what list of books are in the New Covenant.

R: Interestingly, that's yet another way that EOC and RCC are out of step with the Bible. They keep stacking up.

O: How so? I don't see Orthodox adding new books.

R: O: And where did God speak on this matter? By breathing out books.

O: What books? How do you know what books he breathed out so that you know what he spoke?

R: -Where were the councils declared infallible?
-By whom?
-How do you know which language renders sthg infallible?
-Why would anyone trust their own or your fallible description of the language that supposedly renders a declaration infallible?

O: The councils are infallible by virtue that the whole church agreed they teach the faith of the Church.

If this reasoning is insufficient for you, I again ask how you know what books are in the canon? Where was the list proclaimed? Why do you trust you fallible interpretation of the list?

R: I thought I had some huge epistemological inferiority to the RC position! That's what they keep telling me, but they never back it up.

O: We do find it childs play to recognize what the church recognized as its faith as it regards the NT canon and the 7 councils. It's obvious because on these issues we know who the church is and what it believed.

But for you, you don't know where the church is, so you can't point to a particular church as definitive for the canon.

R: -How do you know Trent is infallible?

O: I don't, because I'm not RC. But if I had concluded that the RCC was the true church, then its acceptance by the true church would be the criteria.

R: -It's not possible that the Canon of Scr is totally wrong. The weight of evidence precludes that.

O: Well let's say "quite wrong" rather than "totally wrong". You're avoiding the point.

R: O: Where?

R: 2 Tim 3:16. Unless you're claiming God can lie and/or screw up.

O: 2 Tim 3:16 is not referring to any list known to us. In fact it was written prior to scripture being complete so it can hardly be referring to an infallible and complete list.

R: Which wouldn't surprise me, given your win-the-argument-at-all-costs modus operandi.

O: Don't go down the ad-hominem route, it isn't pretty.

R: O: you are confusing the epistemic problem of deciding what authority to follow with the epistemic problem of whether there is in fact an authority who can answer the question at hand.

R: The knowledge that a given church is infallible is fallible. Nothing that follows can be infallible. You're a fallible individual, which is what you keep forgetting.

O: Knowledge isn't fallible or infallible. Knowledge is true or untrue. Authorities are fallible or infallible.

What you're saying is that anything I can know is limited by my fallibility. That's a given in any area of learning.

However, what isn't a given in any area of learning is the claim that there is no source of finding the answer to a particular question. It is one thing to say that our personal limitations put limits on our certainty. It is quite another to say that nowhere on earth can we find the answer to a particular question.

What you are forced to say is that nowhere on earth is there a source of knowledge about the canon. You have to say that because there is no authority that can answer that question. So you can search high and low, research till you're blue in the face, and no certainty can actually come. This is quite different to our position that you can find the true church which continues the authority of the apostles and which can answer these kinds of questions.

R: O: a New Ager who follows whatever latest fad teaching they decide to could argue they are on an epistemic equal footing to you in knowing the truth because both of you picked what authorities to follow.

R: You're not an atheist. I presuppose that you believe the Scr to be God speaking, but every time I talk to you I find less and less reason to think you do.

O: Oh do try and follow the conversation. Because you are the one denying half of revelation from our point of view, I have to hold a mirror up to you by comparing you to those who deny the other half. I think what I said is quite clear. Your argument for denying our half is no different than if a New Ager denies scripture. You can't use this argument on us without denying there is an epistemological advantage to knowing God in having scripture. Make up your mind, be consistent. Either your fallibility makes all authorities worthless because you have to pick them, or else authorities that can provide answers are an advantage despite having to pick them. You can't have it both ways. Either side with us or side with the New Agers.

R: O: But whose list of books in the New Covenant is the complete list?

R: My NT Canon differs from the RC NT Canon? How so?

O: It differs from the non-Chalcedonian church canon and it differs from the Ethiopian Church's canon. Now prove to me that your list is right and theirs is wrong.

R: O: Which scriptures? How do you know that a particular writing or scriptura is one grounded by God?

R: The same way the pious Jew of 50 BC knew his Canon.
Say, how DID he know that anyway?

O: He knew it by finding the true Israelites and following their Tradition.

Now substitute Church for Israel and you've got my answer.

But I note again you're taking the James White cop out. You answer a question with a question and thus provide no answer at all. Yes, how DID he know? TELL US.

R: You do so in contradiction to Jesus' command to test all trad by Scr. Mark 7:1-13.

O: Firstly, Jesus makes no such command.

Secondly, as 2Th 2:15 says, the scriptures ARE a tradition. So Jesus can hardly have been advocating testing tradition by tradition.

What he commented was that the Pharasees set aside God's commandment for traditions of men.

Scripture is a tradition, but not a tradition of men.

Holy tradition is a tradition but not a tradition of men. Nowhere does Jesus contrast written with oral tradition as the problem. Rather is it traditions of men with God's commands. Paul says that scripture is a tradition. If you want to say Jesus condemns all tradition then he condemns scripture. Be consistent.

O: R: Not sure how you define coincide.

R: Not contradicted by.

O: Since Orthodoxy is the historical wisdom of what the scripture means, then obviously, empirically speaking, Orthodoxy doesn't contradict scripture. Of course what you mean is your personal interpretation verses historical Christianity.

R: If your answer amounts to "the EOC tells me", then:
1) How do you infallibly know the EOC is right and those infallible interpers are not?

O: Which infallible interpers?

Yes, I need to know which Church is right. I suggest to you that this problem, whether it be easy or difficult to solve is your only defensible epistemological starting point. Because I don't see you telling us any alternative explanation of how you know the non-Chalcedoneon or Ethiopian canons are not more correct than yours.

Now, I think the EOC church is right as opposed to the non-Chalcedonian or Ethiopian churches because it preserves the Traditions passed down from the great bulk of the early Church and the great majority of the apostolic sees who received those traditions from the apostles, as opposed to a more narrow, more isolated selection of churches that believe differently.

We await your explanation, but I don't think you'll be able to come up with anything better, and I suspect if you do come up with anything it won't be much different.

R: 2) If not infallibly, how is your choice and epistemic position better than mine?

O: Again, if my ability to find the authority who can answer a question is fallible, it is a far better position than claiming there is NO authority who can answer the question.

Again, if you dispute this, you side with the New Agers that scripture can't help because your decision to follow it is fallible.

R: 3) It sounds like your Scr + Trad + authoritative church model didn't prevent a split. How is that different from a split within Prot-ism?

O: Since we don't believe a split results in two churches, rather it results in one church and one group of schismatics, then there is always a church with the truth and with authority to proclaim the truth.

R: You're equivocating. You're no better off, in fact worse off, than a SS-ist.

O: If I became a SS-ist today, I still wouldn't have a final authority because I'd then have to go find WHICH scriptures to follow. Ethiopian? Non-Chalcedonian? RC? Orthodox? Protestant? Jewish? Mormon?

Becoming SS-ist doesn't answer anything, it just puts you back to the point of doing what I am saying you should do in the first place: find the true church.

R: O: Oh great, let's all trust God to protect his word. Fine and dandy.

R: 1) Yeah, we all know God can't be trusted to accomplish important things, like salvation and stuff. We need to help Him out.

O: Nonsense. God can be trusted to protect his word, but that isn't enough. God must also be trusted to protect an authority who can tell you which words are His.

R: 2) Orthodox is a blasphemer. Amazing.

O: If there is a blasphemer around it would be you, because you deny God's protecting his Holy Church, the Body of Christ with the ability to tell us which words are His.

R: 3) Are you an open theist? Does God know the future and past exhaustively and infallibly?

O: No I'm not, and what has that got to do with anything?

R: O: "THEY"??? What "THEY"?

R: The people of God.
Unlike you, we don't have to be addicted to pointing out specifically a visible church all the time. Why? B/c biblically there is a visible (ie, local) and an invisible (ie, universal) church.

O: You can't ask an invisible church what the canon is. If you could, you would get conflicting answers as "the people of God" from the differing churches give differing answers. So this hasn't helped you one whit.

R: O: finding the true church is the only epistemological starting point.

R: Sola ecclesia at its finest. Myself, I prefer Jesus.

O: Jesus huh? Where is Jesus' body? Where is the body of Christ? Your problem is you have a very low view of Christ's body, which is not a good place to be.

R: Sure I can. There is plenty of internal evidence testifying to the groupings of the books and which ones are correct and incorrect.
One example is the "Law, Writings, and Prophets" groupings found there.
Another is Jesus' statement "from Abel to Zechariah".
Another is the "thus saith the Lord"s and "it is written"s.
Another is discovering that Nebuchadnezzar reigned in Babylon, not Nineveh, as Judith says.
Another is the dating of the 1st Jerusalem Temple, knowing that Judith's dating of events related to it are way off.
Another is contradictions found between Apoc books and Canonical books.

O: Open your eyes that you are defending your tradition not some kind of an unbiased reading of the facts. If everything was so clear based purely on facts we wouldn't have every major branch of Christendom with a different canon.

L P Cruz said...

O: Well it can't be the same reason I do since I find Tradition to be an authoritative source of revelation whereas presumably you don't EXCEPT in this one instance. I can't see the logic here.

Yes but which Tradition are you talking about, is that Tradition the same as held by the present RC?

How do you think the OT people determined their Canon? ( a rhetorical question).

Your answer to that question can be mine as well!

O: Mine isn't, but the canon of those churches who broke away at Chalcedon - the non-Chalcedoneon churches have a different NT canon. I think the Ethiopian church has a different canon again as well. So yes, the dispute about the NT canon was never settled in the sense of all christians agreeing

Since your NT canon is the same as mine, we got nothing to talk about for in this case both of us have a beef against those who has differed with us. We do not have a beef towards each other in this regard so let us move on.

In other words, we are following a tradition and we have decided to follow ONE tradition over ANOTHER. Can you not atl east conceded that for that is fairly obvious --

We have one difference, my position is this, I follow this tradition - the Tradition that says "Scripture is Supreme over Tradition" . You do not follow this tradition correct? Name me your tradition then...


BTW, "Scripture Supreme over Tradition" does not mean I deny the role of Tradition. This is what I mean by Sola Scriptura. Others may have a different understanding of this principle so be aware not to equate me with them then.

I am aware there was a "Church" that was already there when I was born. So I do not trump or chuck away "tradition".

This is why I think the epistemological starting point is to find the true church. If that's not your starting point, then from whence do you start?

My starting point is first to find where salvation is found, that is my starting point. It differs from your starting point.

Assume I am an Atheist who became a Theist (which actually happened btw). His main concern is first salvation, certainty. So convince him (or me) that yours is the true church and not the Roman one (I believe the Pope excommunicated you guys in 11th century right)?

How do you know that the Orthodox is the TRUE church? However, I will only accept an answer that is not self referential.


LPC

orthodox said...

LPC: Yes but which Tradition are you talking about, is that Tradition the same as held by the present RC?

O: No, we would argue Rome has been changing tradition since our churches split.

Like I said, finding the true church is the epistemological starting point.

LPC: How do you think the OT people determined their Canon? ( a rhetorical question).

Your answer to that question can be mine as well!

O: The true people of Israel were being led into truth.

For you to adopt this answer you have to have a visible people of God that you can go ask what the canon is.

LPC: Since your NT canon is the same as mine, we got nothing to talk about for in this case both of us have a beef against those who has differed with us. We do not have a beef towards each other in this regard so let us move on.

O: How can we move on, when you can't tell me your basis for saying we are right and they are wrong? Without an answer we could be two blind men leading each other into a ditch and worse, not knowing why.

And to move this problem to the OT, it is quite possible that differing parts of the people of God had different OT canons at different times. Even if we accept the protestant contention (which I question) that some Jews were using the prot OT canon, other Jews were using the expanded canon. Without an identifiable and visible and existing people of God, you're not going to be able to solve the OT question.

Furthermore, by just moving on without asking the tough questions, you're left with the jellyfish epistemology. If you can't figure out the basis for knowing truth, how are you going to answer other tough questions?

LPC: In other words, we are following a tradition and we have decided to follow ONE tradition over ANOTHER. Can you not atl east conceded that for that is fairly obvious

O: Absolutely. The starting point is figuring out whose tradition to follow, i.e. what church to follow.

LPC: We have one difference, my position is this, I follow this tradition - the Tradition that says "Scripture is Supreme over Tradition" . You do not follow this tradition correct? Name me your tradition then...

O: Scripture is a tradition as 2Th 2:15 testifies.

If you mean the tradition that the 66 books are at odds with the interpretation of those books by the Orthodox church, then no I don't follow that tradition. It needn't be said that this tradition is rather recent.

LPC: BTW, "Scripture Supreme over Tradition" does not mean I deny the role of Tradition. This is what I mean by Sola Scriptura. Others may have a different understanding of this principle so be aware not to equate me with them then.

O: Yes well, I've yet to hear anyone explain what the difference is in the lives of real life SSers. For example, give me an example where there are two viable interpretations of scripture but where you went for one over the other because of tradition. If you can't then I think you are denying the role of tradition.

LPC: I am aware there was a "Church" that was already there when I was born. So I do not trump or chuck away "tradition".

O: You mean don't you that you keep tradition when it just happens to agree with your personal view of scripture, right?

LPC: My starting point is first to find where salvation is found, that is my starting point. It differs from your starting point.

O: That's not a starting point, that is a pre-starting point statement of purpose. We all have that purpose, the question is where do you start in getting answers?

LPC: Assume I am an Atheist who became a Theist (which actually happened btw). His main concern is first salvation, certainty. So convince him (or me) that yours is the true church and not the Roman one. (I believe the Pope excommunicated you guys in 11th century right)? I will only accept an answer that is not self referential.

O: Yes, we consider that our churches split in the 11th century as you mention.

To answer your question, to convince someone that ours is the true church and not the Roman one, I would refer to the historical teachings of our respective churches up to the point of the split. Then I would refer to our churches teachings at the present time. Then I would make a case that ours haven't changed, but theirs have.

Then I would refer to the issues surrounding the split. If the accusations from their side are false, and if the issues they split over are issues that either they have no canonical basis to split over, or even worse, are contrary to the canons of the Church, I would argue they were in error in the split, and therefore separated themselves from the Church.

Rhology said...

Orthodox,

Ad hominem is not always a fallacy. You've proven yourself worthy of what I said. And it's been seen again here.

You're not even interacting much with my post. Note that I said:

Roman Catholic apologists are fond of asking, "But Mr. Sola Scripturist, is your Canon infallible?" knowing that the SS-ist has no structure in his worldview to affirm sthg infallibly.

NO STRUCTURE. Yet you keep asking me for some infallible certainty. I don't have one and I don't need one.
My point is and has been that **you** don't have infallible certainty either.
This is demonstrated in my asking you HOW you know sthg is infallible.
I don't know the RC answer (and I'm holding my breath though I'm not optimistic) but your EO answer seems to be "the church accepted it."
1) that's what I say for the Canon. Don't need to import infallibility into it.
2) How do YOU know that "the church accepted Council X as authoritative" is infallible? Where did you get that information?
3) You're not infallible, so why should I trust what you say? How can I be sure that I, a fallible individual, correctly interped what you said?

Peace,
Rhology

Leo said...

NO STRUCTURE. Yet you keep asking me for some infallible certainty. I don't have one and I don't need one.
My point is and has been that **you** don't have infallible certainty either.


Yeah, I ask you, 'cause without it, you got nothing but what you think is the word of God, and nothing more. I have the infallible certainty that JEsus Christ did Promise St. Peter and his successors, and I do know when such infallibility is exercised, even if you choose to ignore it and deny it.

This is demonstrated in my asking you HOW you know sthg is infallible.

I answered it too, quit beating the dead horse.

2) How do YOU know that "the church accepted Council X as authoritative" is infallible? Where did you get that information?


Just as soon as you answer my original questions.

1) How do YOU know that "the scripture" is composed of the current canon of writings?
Where did YOU get that information?

You're not infallible, so why should I trust what you say?

Fine, I'll go with that, This is over, I have no more participation in this rigamarole waste of time.

How can I be sure that I, a fallible individual, correctly interped what you said?

You're not, and you have not interpreted anything I said correctly, at least as far as I can tell. I leave you to your own devices.

Cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare,

Leo

Rhology said...

Infallible certainty, which is recorded in Scr.
If you get to assume it, I will too. You're not an atheist.

You have never answered how you know that your conditions for infallibility are infallible. I'm waiting on that.

How do you say "I can't answer the infinite regress problem, nor any question for that matter" in Latin?

Non posso rispondere all'infinito regredisco problema, né alcuna domanda per quella materia That's Italian, close enough.

Leo said...

Infallible certainty, which is recorded in Scr.
If you get to assume it, I will too. You're not an atheist.

You have never answered how you know that your conditions for infallibility are infallible. I'm waiting on that.


So, what Jesus Christ says is not infallible to you?

Answer my question, until you do, I will not comment on this again.

Rhology said...

What Jesus says is infallible. Don't be absurd.

Now that we've established that we both believe that what Jesus says is infallible, we need to know what it means. You claim to have an infallible interper to tell you what He meant in Matt 16:18, for example.

So, here we go again, me asking questions and you fleeing the scene:

1) What is the infall interp of Matt 16:18?
2) How do you know it's infall?
3) How can I know infallibly that the way you know it's infallible is infallible?
4) How do YOU know infallibly that what the infallible interper says is infallible?
5) Since you're not infall, how can I trust what you say?
6) Since I'm not infall, how can I interp infallibly what the infall interper said?
7) If I am somehow able to interp the words of the infall interper correctly, why is it that I can't do so with the words of Jesus?
8) If I can do neither, how am I ever going to reap the advantages of the infall interper?

My guess is that I just wasted my time asking these questions, but you could surprise me.

Peace,
Rhology

orthodox said...

R: Ad hominem is not always a fallacy.

O: I didn't say it was a fallacy. I said it wasn't pretty. It is an ugly sin. You can do better.

R: your EO answer seems to be "the church accepted it."
1) that's what I say for the Canon. Don't need to import infallibility into it.

O: Firstly, if the "church accepted it" is good enough for you to put the issue beyond challenge or question then you are functionally treating the church as if it is infallible. And the Church which finalized this, which finally kicked out other books that you don't accept, and fully promulgated the books that earlier saw limited acceptance was the tradition following, icon venerating church of Chrysostom, Athanasius, Basil etc.

But "the church accepted it" doesn't work for you unless you can tell us what church you are talking about. Was it the non-Chalcedoneon churches lacking Revelation, James, 2 Peter, 2 John etc etc? Or maybe the Ethiopian church with all its extra books?

You are going to have to choose a church to lay this responsibility on. Which church is it?

R: 2) How do YOU know that "the church accepted Council X as authoritative" is infallible? Where did you get that information?

O: It's so wonderful to be in Orthodoxy because the mindset is always as per Paul's admonition "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."

Even if people can get it wrong about council X, they are always trying to the best of their abilities to discern what the universal faith of the Church is and has been. We do our best to perceive where the Spirit has led the Church into truth by perceiving the catholic faith. That's why there are Orthodox churches all over the world and you don't hear about one of them breaking off to follow some new teaching. There is no Pope or King or Emperor to keep them aligned. Only a commitment to the principle that we all agree with one another. That worked well for 1000 years until one bishop said no, everyone must agree with me. Then 500 years later when every man and his dog said no, everyone must agree with me.

R: 3) You're not infallible, so why should I trust what you say? How can I be sure that I, a fallible individual, correctly interped what you said?

O: What I said about what?

Anonymous said...

Written by Dude:

I think this deliberate confusion within the 'how can you know what your infallible church is saying is infallible, and how can I know you telling me it's infallible is infallibe' business is getting ridiculous. You are creating a false circularity which does not apply to the 3-legged stool of authority within the Catholic Church. It is a system of checks and balances - scripture, tradition, magisterium.

This is not possible with the one legged stool - scripture. In a sense of course, it is a 2-legged stool, because you have crossed out tradition (except for all of the capitol you have borrowed from the Catholic Church) and inserted yourself as the interpretive magisterium. That, my Protestant friends is circular. The question we have to ask in the 'infallible, infallible, infallible' conundrum, is: How do you know your interpretation of your sole source of authority is infallible?

This problem can be summed up with several simple points:

1) Did Jesus Christ found a Church with authority, or did he setup the New Testament being the authority? No other question needs to be asked after this one, but I know how this goes, so I'll provide more:

2) If Jesus setup a Church, it seems to make sense that it would have this same authority after the death of the apostles (E.G. Timothy, Barnabas, Apollos et al)

3) If you deny this authority was passed from the apostles to other men, then you must point to the place is scripture where Christ commanded the New Testament to be the sole authority. If this command is not within the corpus of the Sacred Scriptures (more borrowed capital from the Catholic Church) then you will have to appeal outside of scriptures to backup the notion that once the Apostles died, the Bible (complete and auto-canonized on it's own, of course) was to be the authority.

This is nowhwere in the bible itself!

Jesus setup a Church, which produced and protected the bible.

Jesus Christ did not setup a Church, then command a bible to be written for post apostolic authority. This is illogical. But most importantly, it is unbiblical.

If you can do nothing but kick against the authority of this same Church, then what you are left with is something that is man-made and unbiblical: Sola Scriptura.

Scenario: Let's say it's rougly 95 A.D., and the last apostle has just died. One of their appointed Bishops (let's call him Joshua) sails ashore a village somehwere on the mediterranean rim. He was instructed by the Apostle John, and John laid his hands on Joshua. He had just been instructed by John orally, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what this messiah commanded. But Joshua has no full compilation of the 27 books of the N.T.
Can Joshua tell the village with accuaracy what the gospel of Christ is? - Yes, absolutely.

Now let's say the bible washed ashore in a glad baggie, all neat, bound up and still dry. Let's even say it's in the vernacular (native language) and the villagers knew how to read, discern logic and reason. Would they be able to read from the bible and know what it means, and how to be saved?

Really, the answer is no. It is not simple enough for a ploughman to understand.

Would they know it is infallible?
- How?

What if the book of Mormon then washed ahore? How would they know one book or the other was true and the other was not?

They would not be able to discern this without that Church that produced the bible in the first place.

Then they would also have to use logic and history.

The notion that the bible is infallible because it says so is the circular argument.

The attempt to say that the Catholic Church states that it is infallible is a false-conundrum, as the Church does not teach this on it's own accord: The scriptures backs up this claim.

Here is the primary false-conundrum Protestants attempt to create with the authority of the Catholic Church: They attempt to separate the Church from the Scriptures.
The Catholic Church itself does not do this. The Scriptures attest itself and to this Church and the Church attests itself and the Scriptures.
The are totally symbiotic in this regard. Now add the third leg of the stool: Tradition.
If you remove one leg of this stool, it all crumbles.

An example of this crumbling is the multi-headed hydra of constant Protestant sectarian fragmentation.

The logic follows.

L P Cruz said...

Orthodox.

LPC: My starting point is first to find where salvation is found, that is my starting point. It differs from your starting point.

O: That's not a starting point, that is a pre-starting point statement of purpose. We all have that purpose, the question is where do you start in getting answers?


I do not mean to be disrespectful but just read your answer to my comment --so my starting point is a pre-starting point, uhhm ok then mine is starts earlier than yours!

But the clue to where to find the answer is found in the question - who has the message of salvation? Corollary to that, how may one evaluate the plausibility of those who purport to have a message of salvation.

Lastly To answer your question, to convince someone that ours is the true church and not the Roman one, I would refer to the historical teachings of our respective churches up to the point of the split. Then I would refer to our churches teachings at the present time. Then I would make a case that ours haven't changed, but theirs have.

You are following a fallacy here, you seem to operate under the idea that simply because you are old, you are true. If that is the case, then we as Christians got competition, Judaism will trump us.

Also, you say the Orthodox church has not changed, are you sure? Theosis is never a doctrine in the Roman Church, but it is in yours. You developed this. If you prove that it is ancient, then how come that has no major adherents earlier than the split?

I heard from disillusioned Orthodox that it is an archaic Byzanthian local church tradition, do you have a response to that?

The truth my friend is that within the small c - catholic church there where traditions that run through and you and I have decided to follow one over the other. I do not deny your conviction, I know you are sincere.

Unfortunately this comment thread is overloaded.

Cheers,

LPC

Rhology said...

Orthodox,

you are functionally treating the church as if it is infallible.

Nope, just reliable b/c I trust God. Again, we've been over this. Try to keep up.

tradition following, icon venerating church of Chrysostom, Athanasius, Basil

1) Except it can be demonstrated that those guys didn't believe exactly like you do.
2) We've been over that too.
3) And they didn't follow tradition like you say.
4) And at least Ath held to a diff Canon than you.
5) And veneration of icons was not a constant in the early church.

You are going to have to choose a church to lay this responsibility on.

1) THE Early Church. There was no non-Chalc churches back then.
2) And that doesn't matter - the Canon is known. God worked with His people. I refuse to accept the wrong one out of the 2 biblical categories of "church". You're pretty good at accepting non-biblical stuff, though, so you go right ahead.

Even if people can get it wrong about council X, they are always trying to the best of their abilities to discern what the universal faith of the Church is and has been.

1) Which begs the question. You ask "the church" to know which councils will define the faith of the church.
2) And I'll ask you the same thing.
As far as councils go, "the church accepted it" doesn't work for you unless you can tell us what church you are talking about. Was it the non-Chalcedonian churches with their maybe heterodox, maybe not theology? Or maybe the Coptic church with its extra Pope? How do you know?
You are going to have to choose a church to lay this responsibility on. Which church is it?

What I said about what?

ANYTHING. That has been my central question for a week now. Again, try to keep up.




Dude,

You are creating a false circularity which does not apply to the 3-legged stool of authority within the Catholic Church.

Not my fault, as I explained. It's the RC apologists who keep trumpeting "infallible!!!" I just want to make sure they can provide the infallibility they say I need. So far, the answer is either "What?" or "Ummmm" or "Hey, look over here! You're just a fallible individual!!!!" or "_______". Not too impressive.

How do you know your interpretation of your sole source of authority is infallible?

See, there you go again! YOU'RE doing the EXACT same thing I'm talking about.
I don't claim my interp is infallible. I claim it's RIGHT. But I'm subject to the Scr - prove it's wrong and I'll admit I'm wrong and change my view.

Did Jesus Christ found a Church with authority, or did he setup the New Testament being the authority?

Both. The NT is authoritative OVER the church though (2 Tim 3:16-17).

Would they be able to read from the bible and know what it means, and how to be saved?

Yes, but that doesn't mean that a teaching elder (which is called-for in the NT) is not very important, indeed, commanded, for the edification of the ch.

the answer is no. It is not simple enough for a ploughman to understand.

I love this. It never fails - You RCs always get around to denying that the Scr is very clear, that God did a good enough job when He breathed it out. You're implicitly accusing God of incompetence. You are acting like a fool.

How would they know one book or the other was true and the other was not?

Same way I know. Comparing it to the inspired book.

The scriptures backs up this claim.

Which is 100% circular. You appeal to a fallible understanding of the Bible to back up your infallible church. But that understanding is fallible. Unless you ASSUME the infallible structure BEFOREHAND and then check with the Scr AFTER to find the infallible ch. Well, that's a can't-miss proposition! But not an impressive one.

An example of this crumbling is the multi-headed hydra of constant Protestant sectarian fragmentation.

Such is no less true for RCC. You have many denominations within your walls. They just go by different names and are recognised differently.

Peace,
Rhology

orthodox said...

LPC: But the clue to where to find the answer is found in the question - who has the message of salvation?

O: Did Jesus Christ purport to found a church or to write a book?

Did not Paul say that "the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church"?

LPC: You are following a fallacy here, you seem to operate under the idea that simply because you are old, you are true. If that is the case, then we as Christians got competition, Judaism will trump us.

O: I don't see it as a fallacy because Jesus Christ made the claim that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church. Therefore the Church must be in continual existence. Therefore age is at least one criteria. Paul said that the wisdom of God is made known through the Church. If the Church ever ceased to exist, the wisdom of God can't be made known.

LPC: Also, you say the Orthodox church has not changed, are you sure? Theosis is never a doctrine in the Roman Church, but it is in yours. You developed this. If you prove that it is ancient, then how come that has no major adherents earlier than the split?

O: A quote from Augustine will put that misconception to bed:

‘He who was God was made man to make gods those who were men’ (serm. 192.1, 1)

In fact, as G.W.H. Lampe points out, "Augustine repeats more often, perhaps, than any of the Greek theologians, the theme of the ‘interchange of places.’ ‘The Word,’ he says, became what we are that we might attain what we are not. For we are not God; but we can see God with the mind and interior eye of the heart’… ‘God hates you as you are, in order to make you what you are not yet. You will be what he is;’

LPC: I heard from disillusioned Orthodox that it is an archaic Byzanthian local church tradition, do you have a response to that?

O: Go to a Roman Catholic Church. Put aside the papacy, and all the other theological developments and just look at the form and basic traditions of how things are done. The Liturgy, the blessings, the role of the priest etc etc. They are very very similar. So how local are we talking about? By "local" are we really talking about the whole church?

LPC: The truth my friend is that within the small c - catholic church there where traditions that run through and you and I have decided to follow one over the other. I do not deny your conviction, I know you are sincere.

O: Well, you lost out on the theosis attempt. Maybe you want to take another shot.

orthodox said...

R: you are functionally treating the church as if it is infallible.

Nope, just reliable b/c I trust God. Again, we've been over this. Try to keep up.

O: Infallible because I trust God. Reliable because I trust God. Just a word game.

R: 1) Except it can be demonstrated that those guys didn't believe exactly like you do.

O: Can it? I haven't seen you demonstrate it.

Truth be told, the main way in which the Church of this age differs from us is that the canon STILL wasn't settled at this time. Chrysostom, Athanasius and Basil still weren't quite in agreement, and none of them had the same canon as either you or I.

Maybe a few hundred years after this, THEN we can find a settled canon.

Now if you won't let the Church be led into truth, where does that lead your canon? Where is the Church that is "reliable" for you?

R: 3) And they didn't follow tradition like you say.

O: Really. They claimed to follow tradition, but you tried to weasel around their words. But if these supposed sola scriptura folk were icon venerating, saint venerating, with priesthood, real body of Christ, etc etc, what does that tell us?

R: 5) And veneration of icons was not a constant in the early church.

O: Even if we accept your theory, the fact is that the Church that recognized the canon was certainly icon venerating. Now where is this reliable church?

R: You are going to have to choose a church to lay this responsibility on.

1) THE Early Church. There was no non-Chalc churches back then.

O: How early? The early church had no canon.

R: 2) And that doesn't matter - the Canon is known. God worked with His people.

O: Great, God worked with his people. WHERE ARE HIS PEOPLE? The Non-Chalcedoneon churches, lacking Revelation, 2 Peter, 2 John, James etc? The Ethiopian Church that adds a bunch of books? Tell us where we can go talk to these people of God. Tell us how come the canon is "known" yet lots of people know different to what you know.

R: 1) Which begs the question. You ask "the church" to know which councils will define the faith of the church.

O: Will define? No, I ask the Church what councils HAVE accurately represented the faith of the church. Nobody can tell if they accurately represent the faith of the church until people can see what they actually said.

R: 2) And I'll ask you the same thing.
As far as councils go, "the church accepted it" doesn't work for you unless you can tell us what church you are talking about. Was it the non-Chalcedonian churches with their maybe heterodox, maybe not theology? Or maybe the Coptic church with its extra Pope? How do you know?

O: As I said, the epistemological starting point is deciding what is the true church. Whether working through that problem be difficult or not, it is a necessary step.

As I alluded in another thread, and as was taught by the early fathers like Irenaeus and St Vincent of Lerins, we ought look to the great bulk of the church and the apostolic sees to accurately represent the catholic faith. A bit like how biblical textual critics look for widespread support for a reading, I look for widespread agreement on the belief.

But you know what? If I decided that the non-Chalcedoneon churches were the true church, they are so close to Orthodoxy that I would hardly have to change at all.

R: You RCs always get around to denying that the Scr is very clear, that God did a good enough job when He breathed it out. You're implicitly accusing God of incompetence. You are acting like a fool.

O: You assume that it was God's plan to breath it out into a vacuum. Whether it is clear in a vacuum and clear inside the church it was breathed into are two completely different issues.

Rhology said...

Orthodox,

The early church that recognised the Canon was inconsistent in its veneration practices. You keep making naked assertions that are wrong. Best of luck with that.

The early church had a canon alright - look at Athanasius'. And how other ECFs would quote Scr and say "it is written" or sthg similar. Maybe their Canon wasn't totally complete and polished, but they knew books were inspired and others weren't.
Of course, the same 'problem' applies to your position - ECFs appeal sometimes to the Ch's authority, sometimes to the Scr's authority; sometimes Peter is the rock, sometimes his confession, sometimes Christ. The Pope is successor sometimes, other times each bishop is...

Why would we start at the point of trying to find a True Church®?
Where do we get the mandate for that (as you claim)? Scripture. But it's fallibly defined without the infall interper which you claim to find in Scr. But I reveal why that interp is mistaken and suddenly it's just my private interp! It's worthless! Talk about word games.

No one is claiming God breathed the Scr into a vacuum. Strawman.

The great bulk of the church for many decades was Arian.
Popes have erred in teaching.
Councils have erred in teaching.
Other Councils that look for all the world like an Ecum Council normally looks are somehow, um, NOT Ecum just by someone's say so.
Sthg is not holding water.
It's funny - we're both looking for sthg authoritative, sthg reliable. I recognise history for what it is and choose the Scr. You can't recognise history for what it is b/c your allegiance is given 1st to an inferior rival to the Scr, the EOC. You're settling for a muddy puddle of cow urine when you could be drinking from the clearest of mountain springs.

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

Written by Dude:

Rhett: You are implying more with 2 Tim3:16 than what is there in the text. Also, Paul is referring to 'the man of God'. In all other texts of the scriptures, a man of God is a priest, which is what Timothy was, setup by Paul with Priestly functions. 'A man of God' was not referring to everybody who just wants to stand up and say "I, am my own authority!"

Again? Did Jesus found a Church or a book?

What is the pillar and foundation of truth? - The Church.

Rhology said...

Who's "Rhett"? Are you directing your comment to me?

Jesus founded a church. Which would be the pillar and foundation of the truth, yes. A pillar and foundation holds sthg else up. What? The truth of God - His Word.

That's why Paul commanded Timothy to follow the Scr when faced with apostasy, false teaching, etc.

And no one is saying "I am my own authority" is valid. The *Scripture* is the authority. RCs seem easily to forget that, and I wish I knew why.

Peace,
Rhology

orthodox said...

R: The early church that recognised the Canon was inconsistent in its veneration practices. You keep making naked assertions that are wrong. Best of luck with that.

O: What year do you claim for recognising the canon?

You see, veneration of the saints is built into the divine liturgy of John Chrysostom which is used by all the churches, and yet the canon isn't fully settled until after John. So you're going to have to tell me what you're talking about.

R: The early church had a canon alright - look at Athanasius'.

O: Athanasius represents the first time that one person lists the canon. Your problem is:

a) He is an icon and saint venerator.

b) Athanasius' list does not represent a time when the canon is finally settled, not even the NT canon.

For example, Chrysostom has over 10,000 biblical quotes in his very extensive writings. But there are some glaring omissions in the books he quotes from. From memory, the omissions are a lot of the books that the non-Chalcedoneons still reject like 2 Peter and revelation. This is unsurprising because Chrysostom came from that part of the world.

So who do you want to look to? The saint venerating Athanasius? Or some later saint venerating church? Please enlighten us.

R: Maybe their Canon wasn't totally complete and polished, but they knew books were inspired and others weren't.

O: Uh, if their canon wasn't complete and "polished" (I guess "unpolished" is your euphamism for "wrong"?), then how can you say they knew books were inspired? Obviously they didn't know or else they would have had the same canon. This is basic logic.

R: Of course, the same 'problem' applies to your position - ECFs appeal sometimes to the Ch's authority, sometimes to the Scr's authority; sometimes Peter is the rock, sometimes his confession, sometimes Christ. The Pope is successor sometimes, other times each bishop is...

O: Whether Peter is or isn't the rock and whether the Pope is or isn't the successor of Peter makes little difference to the Orthodox, because none of those things make the Pope to be what he now claims to be, which is bishop with immediate jurisdiction over the churches and the ability to speak infallibly alone and apart from the Church. These are the two sticking points and these are the points that were never instituted in the life of the early church. We don't don't care if the Pope is the successor of Peter. In fact there is a long tradition that the Patriarch of Antioch sits in the chair of Peter. These things don't bother us.

R: Where do we get the mandate for that (as you claim)? Scripture. But it's fallibly defined without the infall interper which you claim to find in Scr. But I reveal why that interp is mistaken and suddenly it's just my private interp! It's worthless! Talk about word games.

O: Well you claim that our interpretation is mistaken, but I ask what you offer in its place as an epistemological starting point, and all you can tell me is you trust God to preserve the canon "somewhere out there", but you can't tell us how to decide whether it is the RC, Orthodox, non-Chalcedoneon, Ethiopian or Protestant canons.

So it seems like the options that are presented is to follow my own consistent epistemological position, or else to follow your position that someone's got the canon, but we can't know which one it is.

R: No one is claiming God breathed the Scr into a vacuum. Strawman.

O: Then what did he breath it into? And this thing he breathed it into, where exactly can I find it so that I can see the authoritative and canonical container representing the context of the biblical message?

R: The great bulk of the church for many decades was Arian.

O: It's rather an exaggeration to say the great bulk. Some of the comments like that of Jerome were rather mistaken in confusing two essentially trinitarian parties arguing over homoiousios vs homoousios.

R: Other Councils that look for all the world like an Ecum Council normally looks are somehow, um, NOT Ecum just by someone's say so.

O: What matters is not whether a council is ecumenical, it is whether the church considers the council an accurate expression of the faith. You are looking at a council too much as if it is an island of infallibility unto itself. But it's not like that. The council's infallibility is only by virtue of it accurately expressing the mind of the Church, and the Church pronounces judgment on that over time.

R: It's funny - we're both looking for sthg authoritative, sthg reliable. I recognise history for what it is and choose the Scr. You can't recognise history for what it is b/c your allegiance is given 1st to an inferior rival to the Scr, the EOC. You're settling for a muddy puddle of cow urine when you could be drinking from the clearest of mountain springs.

O: You didn't just choose scripture. Wittingly or unwittingly you chose a church to tell you what the list of scriptures is. If you chose a church that is "cow urine", so much the worse for the confidence you can have in that decision. Go look for a church that instead of cow urine is the body of Christ and has the authority to tell you an authoritative canon.

Anonymous said...

From Dude to Rhology, my apologies on the name confusion. Yes, it was you I was directing it at.

Nowhere in scripture is it indicated that the passage of the Church being the pillar and foundation of the truth is that this is to leave you with the conclusion that it is secondary to the scriptures. This is a man-made tradition, and in terms of Church history, a fairly new one at that. About 1/4 the life of Christianity.

We Catholics have no problem using Scriptures to refute false teaching, hence our debate here. Just becuase you use that passage first does not mean your usage is correct.

The key is understanding the balance between scriptures and Church and that they are symbiotic, not separate.

Rhology, you deny that you are your own interpreter, but this is not a valid claim. You claim the scriptures interpret themselves, and you, in a vacuum, just happen to be a witness.

This is bogus.

It fails the test of denominationalism within Protestantism.

And no, the difference between Catholics is not the same, no matter how much you try to make it so.

A Catholic can look right to the teaching of the Church (with the backing of Scripture) on how one is saved (soteriolog), baptism, heirarchy (Bishops etc), and the differences within Catholicism are nothing similar to that wihin Protestantism.

Just look at Baptism: Anglican, Presbyterian and Lutheran vs. Reformed Baptist. Church heirarchy - again, Anglican and Lutheran vs. Reformed. What about the Free Will Baptists, a different theology altother, on many plains. But unlike Catholicism, they can all have just as valid a claim, under the rubric of Protestant theological authority.

In Catholicism we also have the abitliy of interpretation, but have consistency of basic doctrine on the essentials. A Catholic either seeks to conform themselves to this teaching, or a Catholic seeks to make the teaching conform to what they would like, which essentially makes that Catholic a Protestant, within the Church.

L P Cruz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L P Cruz said...

Orthodox,

I meant to say...

O: Did Jesus Christ purport to found a church or to write a book?

You ducked the question.

O: Well, you lost out on the theosis attempt. Maybe you want to take another shot.

Augustine may have said what you quoted but did he mean what the Orthodox Theosis mean? It seems that Lampe is not conceding the Orthodox idea of Theosis, it could be that Augustine was speaking of sanctification. Since that is not established it is not deification as you suppose by which you are saved.

BTW, you cherry pick, I would be interested to know if like Augustine you believe in Original Sin, hereditary guilt too.

Now the main point is this, I doubt if is you have established that you are the Church that Jesus spoke about in exclusion to the others. You keep on saying you are the Church but you are doing circular reasoning. What you assert is what you must prove so I wonder if the reader here thinks my point has been lost for that is the main point contra theosis as you suppose.

PeaceByJesus said...

This is an old thread i know, but i have a tendency to look at the sidebar in current posts and click on interesting titles. I do not have the concentration to read all this thru, but believe in understand the basic premises.

Rome asserts SS (sola scriptura) is invalid because we claim a supreme material infallible authority (Scripture) but lack an infallible interpreter of it, which she claims to be, while adherents to SS can respond that the RC also lacks an infallible interpreter for his supreme material infallible authority, that of the supposedly infallible authority of Rome (which is effectively supreme as it claims authority on both the extent and the meaning of Scripture - and "tradition).

In addition, while adherents to SS generally hold the 66 book Prot canon is Scripture, requiring assent of faith, the RC has no comparable settled canon of all that his supreme authority states which requires assent of faith.

The RC can answer that the charges that the SS adherent cannot claim an infallible canon, while RCs can claim to be certain about at least a few infallible decrees. To which the SS adherent can respond that he can be at least as sure about all or most of his canon being infallible as the RC can about his.

Of course, the other issue is that of infallibility and its basis.

Scripture does promise assurance, both as regards knowing one has true faith and thus possesses eternal life, (1Jn. 5:13) as well as doctrinal truths, but this is never on the basis that a magisterium is assuredly (key word) infallible whenever it speaks on faith and moral to the church universal. The ecumenical council in Acts 15 did so, but the assured infallibility of its teaching is based upon its fulfillment of a scope and subject-based formula, but because it is included in Scripture and was supported by Scripture, textually and by the manner of attestation we see it giving to new teaching.

And here we enter into the issue of how truth was established Scripturally, and the Scriptural means of establishing the canon.

How was Moses and his writings est. as being from God, and do we see writings becoming the standard for obedience and the establishment of additional revelation that would become part of Scripture?

What did the Lord and His apostles appeal to in establishing their authority?

Do we see a promise that all that the church will ever teach to the whole church on faith and moral will always be infallible, or that whatever is Scripture is infallible?

Were the writings which the latter invoked in support of the latter established as Scripture due to the decree of an assuredly infallible magisterium, or essentially due to heavenly qualities and effects, progressive conflation and complementarity and often supernatural attestation, directly or through men whose claims were dependent upon conformity to Scripture and its means of attestation?

What is the difference between relying on a claim of assured formulaic infallibility versus Scriptural manifestation of the truth. (2Cor. 4:2)?

All questions with an argument, and too late to add more.

PeaceByJesus said...

Clarification: the question, "Were the writings which the latter invoked" referred to Jesus and the apostles invoking Scripture in support of their authority.

David A said...

Protestants (of which i am a ex- Pentecostal/Charismatic/Faith-Movement) do not realise they deny their own infallible scriptures in the process of asking the 'Infallible List of Infallible Doctrines' question. They also make the faith denying mistake of making rational truth the test of supernatural truth which leads to the deconstruction of the faith they claim to defend. See my answer to this 'Infallible List of Infallible Doctrines' question.
http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/InfallibleList.htm
David Ahmed (UK)

PeaceByJesus said...

That is one way of escaping the problem and is it shortsighted and i think engages in a false dichotomy. .

Your premise is that "Christ established a single Church, with a hierarchy of popes, bishops, and priests, along with an infallible teaching office that is guided by the Holy Spirit to teach all truth and thus establish an infallible Church."

Thus truth is known upon the “the foundation of faith” rather than on “the foundation of reason,' which you restrict SS types to.

For the RC, "There is no need of further search for the doctrines contained in the Christian Gospel...” “The Vicar of Christ is the Vicar of God; to us the voice of the Pope is the voice of God. This, too, is why Catholics would never dream of calling in question the utterance of a priest in expounding Christian doctrine according to the teaching of the Church." (“Henry G. Graham, "What Faith Really Means", (Nihil Obstatl Imprimatur)

However, while the RC has faith that Rome is what she declares herself to be, and only is to find assurance thereby, yet in deciding to submit to an "infallible" church, the convert does so by the use of his fallible reasoning, and must yet use the same in recognizing what his church teaches on and discerning what class of magisterial teaching they fall into, and, to varying degrees, what it means.

The SS adherent, for his part, has faith in the Scriptures that they are the assured Word of God, and which provides for the ecclesiastical magisterium, but he must (prayerfully) use his reasoning to determine if a teaching is from Scripture and its meaning.

What you have done is separate faith from reason, but Scriptural faith is a reasonable faith, being based on evidence, thus Paul, as his manner was, .. reasoned with them out of the scriptures." (Acts 17:2)

The reality that remains is that the church began in dissent from those who presumed more than what Scripture provided for, while the church established its claims on Scriptural substantiation.

The real difference is that we do not put our faith in an self-declared infallible church as if it were God - and assured infallibility of office as per Rome was never necessary for truth to be established and preserved - but in the supernaturally established Scriptures, these being the assured word of God, that Word being what provides for faith. (Rm. 10:17)

PeaceByJesus said...

And if you are going to send us to your page, then link to this one from your blog.