Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tiber Swim Book Club #1

I wanted to provide some book recommendations for all of you getting ready to swim the Tiber and convert to Roman Catholicism. You know how you're reading the Early Church Fathers, and how wonderful it is? You know that feeling you're getting that now you've plugged into ancient Christian history? Well, as you're ordering your books by Hahn, Madrid, or Ray, (the ones telling you all about Church history that you think are "unanswerable"), for the sake of both sides of the issue, because we know you're trying to be as honest and careful as possible in your research, I think you need to secure a copy of this book:

A Treatise on the Right Use of the Fathers in the Decision of Controversies Existing at This Day in Religion by John Daillé (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1856)
The book covers such topics as:

-On the difficulty of ascertaining the opinions of the Fathers in reference to the present controversies in religion deduced from the fact that there is very little of their writings extant of the first three centuries

-Those writings which bear the names of the ancient Fathers, are not all really such; but a great portion of them supposititious and forged, either long since or at later periods

-The writings of the Fathers, which are considered legitimate, have been in many places corrupted by time, ignorance and fraud, pious and malicious, both in the early and later Ages

-The testimonies given by the Fathers, on the Doctrines of the Church, are not always true and certain

- The Fathers testify themselves, that they are not to be believed absolutely, and upon their own bare assertion, in what they declare in matters of religion

- The Fathers have erred in divers points of religion; not only singly, but also many of them together

- The Fathers have strongly contradicted one another, and have maintained different opinions in matters of very great importance

-Neither the Church of Rome nor the Protestants acknowledge the Fathers for their judges in points of religion; both of them rejecting such of their opinions and practices as are not suited to their taste; being an answer to two objections that may be made against what is delivered in this discourse


You owe it to yourself, your family, and your friends to be as honest and diligent as possible in your studies. I plan on posting more books for you to consider.

69 comments:

Saint and Sinner said...

JND Kelly's "Early Christian Doctrines": While you'll discover that the ECF weren't Protestant, they weren't Roman Catholic either.

Alister McGrath's "Iustitia Dei": The first couple chapters are on how the early church was influenced by cultural, philosophical, and linguistic factors to the point that their starting presuppositions on soteriology prevented them from seeing forensic sola fide. I blogged on this here:

http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/2008/04/influence-of-greco-roman-culture-on.html

Jacques LeGoff's "The Birth of Purgatory": Shows how the idea of Purgatory wasn't invented until (I believe) the fifth century. Covers the RC misuse of Tertullian, Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, The Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas, etc. I would have liked it if he had shown that 1 Cor. 3 teaches no such thing as Purgatory, but he's an historian, not an exegete. Of course, we could just let the Catholics do it themselves!:

"The text of 1 Cor 3:15 has sometimes been used to support the notion of purgatory, though it does not envisage this."
http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/1corinthians/1corinthians3.htm#foot8

Klaus Schatz's "Papal Primacy": Written by a Roman Catholic professor in Germany. Shows that Papal Primacy in the modern Roman sense was not believed in until the Middle Ages. Deals with most all of the RC examples and shows how they are misused. A great antidote to the Steve Ray type. I copied a large number of quotes from it here:

http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/2008/02/papal-primacy-by-klaus-schatz.html

Michael Horton's "Covenant and Salvation" (Advanced): This deals with the New Perspective on Paul, Radical Orthodoxy, and a little Eastern Orthodoxy (though very friendly to the last). However, many of the arguments used by the NPP are the same or similar to the Roman Catholic apologetic for their soteriological system.

Lastly, I've made two posts over at my blog on the common philosophical arguments that RC apologists use (with two more on the way):

http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/2008/04/infallible-knowledge-argument-common.html

http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/2008/04/doctrinal-chaos-argument-one-of.html

Kevin Davis said...

How about we just get beyond whether the ECF were Protestant or Roman Catholic -- or any sort of homogeneous identity. Catholic scholars recognize that they have no burden to prove each father as committed to the Catholicism of later generations, unless they think "unanimous consent" is still on the table (and its arguable to what extent the medievals and Tridentines took this literally or not). However, the ECF (insofar as they can be taken as a whole) are certainly closer to Roman Catholicism than Protestantism (especially Reformed or Free Church), including on soteriology, ecclesiology, and sacramentology. Hence, so many Protestants read the ECF and say, "They were Catholic!"

This is true in that they were members of the Catholic Church and were committed to some ill-defined concepts of salvation, the church, and the sacraments. But, they were "ill-defined," but so were the ECF's understanding of the Trinity and the ontology of Christ until it was developed. The second-century fathers were simply not Trinitarian Christologists in the way Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria were, simply because the conceptual schemes had yet to develop, i.e., the logic of Christ's full deity and humanity had yet to be worked-out vis-a-vis the Father and Spirit. A Catholic can argue that it is the same with soteriology (and the sacraments and ecclesiology) in that purgatory may at best be present in incipient form in some fathers, but this does not argue against its validity as a logical extension of prior soteriological suppositions. We could say the same about "Real Presence" or the authority of the Pope. In other words, the issue is not whether the ECF were 21st century Roman Catholics (or that a 5th century Catholic is the same as a 2nd century Catholic), the issue is whether the Roman Catholic Church of today can lay claim to the Church of Irenaeus, Athanasius, Cyril, Augustine, Jerome, and so on. Is there one, continuous Church, commissioned by God, to teach in Christ's name? The reason Newman's development thesis was/is so persuasive to many is that it is a way to say yes, without resorting to some ahistorical bastardizing of the fathers.

James Swan said...

Saint and Sinner said...

Great choices, and I had some of your choices in mind as well. It was the recent Journey Home show that prompted me to post this entry. If you get a chance to listen to it, one wonders how the man could miss so many of these books.

James Swan said...

How about we just get beyond whether the ECF were Protestant or Roman Catholic

Kevin, show me anywhere where I've argued the ECF's were Protestant. I do not believe they were, but they certainly were not Roman Catholics either. The Early Church Fathers were....the Early Church Fathers.

Kevin Davis said...

James,

I wasn't saying you (or anyone else here at Beggars All) believed the ECF were Protestants. I was speaking in general, i.e., to anyone who may be tempted to push the ECF into either category. However, I do believe that ecclesial continuity with dogmatic development is a serious argument for the Catholic Church, and it is this that needs to be the focus of these discussions. In other words, Steve Ray et al. certainly can't get away with their hyper-evidentialism, but neither can Protestants get away with simply showing that the ECF do not believe in purgatory or transubstantiation or whatever. I think we can develop higher standards in apologetics. This is what Catholic apologetics did very well when they started out (countering the pseudo-scholarship of Lorraine Boettner, among others). But, sadly, Catholic apologetics has gotten lazy and triumphalist. So, now it is the Protestants who have to up the standards.

Saint and Sinner said...

kevin,

The problem with the "Development of Doctrine" scheme is that many of the fathers explicitly denied several of the dogmas of Rome. It is not an "increasing understanding" of a doctrine if the majority of the early church at first denied such a doctrine but later generations came to accept it.

Examples of these include:
Papal Primacy & Infallibility
Mary's Sinlessness
The Veneration of Icons and Images

Secondly, how can you be sure that such developments were legitimate developments? I can be sure that the developments in Christology were correct because they are explicitly found in Scripture. However, the dogma of Papal Infallibility is found nowhere in Scripture and was explicitly denied in the early and Medieval Church.

bluewoad said...

The book is online:

http://books.google.com/books?id=U7YPAAAAIAAJ

Kevin Davis said...

S&S,

I don't think you can say that the majority of the ECF rejected papal primacy; though certainly most of the East had a problem with "universal jurisdiction," at least if understood as infringing on their own episcopal rights. Papal infallibility, in its limited Vatican I definition, wasn't even on the table, so you can't really say that the ECF rejected it. Papal infallibility is a development from the idea that the Pope, as representative of the entire Church, cannot err, as Christ's body, the Church, cannot err -- and this is seen, for Catholics, in the promise to Peter in the handing of keys. Of course, in the 19th century, it was the freedom of the Church from state influence that pushed the dogma to be defined. Rome wanted (needed?) to reassert her ultimate authority in the Church over a conciliarism/episcopalism that was too aligned to nationalist (proto-fascist?) ideals. Eamon Duffy has a good account of this in his history of the popes.

As for Mary's sinlessness, while perhaps not a majority, certainly some significant ECF affirmed her sinlessness -- Ephraim, Ambrose, and Augustine being the most important for the medieval acceptance of the tradition. These fathers were likely building off of Justin and Irenaeus' typology of the New Eve and the 5th century Theotokos disputes.

And the veneration of icons and images is far too loaded of an issue to say that the ECF rejected or affirmed such, since it is completely contingent upon what you mean by "veneration" of icons and images. The ease with which it can be taken as idolatry is certainly a very good reason for rejecting the practice, but it is impossible in most cases to say whether a certain ECF would agree with the 7th ecumenical council's defintion (in a.d. 787).

kmerian said...

"fair and dilligent"? Well, I looked at the book and this jumped out on the first page:

When the avarice and ambition of the Romish clergy
had, by working with the superstition and ignorance of the
people, erected what they call their hierarchy, and digested
an ecclesiastical policy on the ruins of gospel liberty, for
the administration of it they found nothing of such use for
the support of this lordly system, as the making the authority of the Fathers sacred and decisive.


Yeah, this books seems very fair. Page one and the propaganda starts. If it cannot speak the truth about what Catholics believe and has such an obvious agenda, why should I believe what it says about the fathers?

Here's an idea, get a copy of the writings of the ECF's and just read them for yourself and make up your own mind?

dtking said...

As for Mary's sinlessness, while perhaps not a majority, certainly some significant ECF affirmed her sinlessness -- ... Ambrose, Augustine

This is simply not true with respect to the explicit testimony of Ambrose and Augustine. Yes, Augustine was hesitant to speak of specific actual sins with respect to Mary, but he never indicated he believed her to be without sin. In fact, Augustine never concedes that Mary was sinless. You've simply jumped on the bandwagon of bad scholarship.

Augustine (354-430): This being the case, ever since the time when by one man sin thus entered into this world and death by sin, and so it passed through to all men, up to the end of this carnal generation and perishing world, the children of which beget and are begotten, there never has existed, nor ever will exist, a human being of whom, placed in this life of ours, it could be said that he had no sin at all, with the exception of the one Mediator, who reconciles us to our Maker through the forgiveness of sins. NPNF1: Vol. V, On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, and on the Baptism of Infants, Book II, Chapter 47.

Augustine (354-430 AD): Moreover, when expounding the Gospel according to Luke, he [i.e. Ambrose] says: “It was no cohabitation with a husband which opened the secrets of the Virgin’s womb; rather was it the Holy Ghost which infused immaculate seed into her unviolated womb. For the Lord Jesus alone of those who are born of woman is holy, inasmuch as He experienced not the contact of earthly corruption, by reason of the novelty of His immaculate birth; nay, He repelled it by His heavenly majesty.” NPNF1: Vol. V, Augustin’s Anti-Pelagian Works, The Grace of Christ And on Original Sin, Book II On Original Sin, Chapter 47-Sentences from Ambrose in favor of Original Sin.

Yes, some medieval theologians wrongly made use of Augustine in the attempt to claim a state of sinlessness for Mary, but they were in error regarding his position. Ambrose stated explicitly that God alone is sinless...

Ambrose (c. 339-97): So, then, no one is without sin except God alone, for no one is without sin except God. Also, no one forgives sins except God alone, for it is also written: “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And one cannot be the Creator of all except he be not a creature, and he who is not a creature is without doubt God; for it is written: “They worshipped the creature rather than the Creator, Who is God blessed for ever.” God also does not worship, but is worshipped, for it is written: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve.” NPNF2: Vol. X, On the Holy Spirit, Book III, Chapter 18, §133.

Ambrose (c. 339-97): Let us therefore consider whether the Holy Spirit have any of these marks which may bear witness to His Godhead. And first let us treat of the point that none is without sin except God alone, and demand that they prove that the Holy Spirit has sin. NPNF2: Vol. X, On the Holy Spirit, Book III, Chapter 18, §134.

Moreover, Fulgentius, a follower of Augustine, explicitly affirms that Mary was conceived in sin...

Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe (c. 467-532): For the flesh of Mary, which had been conceived in iniquities in the usual manner, was the flesh of sin which begot the Son of God in the likeness of the flesh of sin...For translation, see I. D. E. Thomas, The Golden Treasury of Patristic Quotations (Oklahoma City: Hearthstone Publishing, 1996), pp. 180-181.
Latin Text: Caro quippe Mariae, quae in iniquitatibus humana fuerat solemnitate concepta, caro fuit utique peccati, quae Filium Dei genuit in similitudinem carnis peccati. Epistola XVII, Cap. VI, §13, PL 65:458.

Before you continue in your evident propensity to pontificate on what little you know with respect to scholarship, you might want to apply it to your own studies, because they presently fall in the classification of those whom you've negatively critiqued.

DTK

Matthew Bellisario said...

The fact of the matter is, no amount of sophistry can twist the Early church Fathers into being Calvinists. They all believed in the freewill of man co-operating with the grace of God. This eliminates the whole "Reformed" position on the subject of predestination. The Church dealt with this early on. See the Council of Orange and read any of the Church Fathers and find any one of them that supports John Calvin's position. Oh, I know we will see the standard twisting of St Augustine which the "Reformed" theologians use to support their heretical positions. But it is plain to see, that while Augustine did at times straddle the line regarding predestination, never went to the level that John Calvin did. You can also read all of the spiritual writings on the spiritual life that the Eastern and Western Fathers wrote, including the monastics and see plainly that John Calvin's position on predestination was and is still a work of the devil. The works St. Ephraim, St. Anthony, St. John Climacus, St. Athanasius, etc all speak of the co-operation of man with God's grace in order to be saved. God does not save man against his own will. I wouldn't waste your time reading Daille's reformed nonsense. He does not speak for Christ or his Church.

Micah said...

"God does not save man against his own will."

No, God raises the dead to life by the power of the Holy Spirit and gives them the gift of salvation.

Go back under your bridge.

dtking said...

The fact of the matter is, no amount of sophistry can twist the Early church Fathers into being Calvinists.

Could you please give me an example of any amount of sophistry that is attempting to twist the ECFs into your anachronistic straw man? Just one example? I don't know of a single Protestant who has attempted to "twist the Early church Fathers into being Calvinists." This is why interacting with people like yourself a waste of time - you can't even state your opposition's position correctly.

I wouldn't waste your time reading Daille's reformed nonsense. He does not speak for Christ or his Church.

And neither do you, so what makes your nonsense any better?

DTK

Kevin Davis said...

DTK,

I am aware of the quotes you just gave. Don't presume I just read Catholic apologists, nor that I read them without some suspicion. However, the texts you quote only prove that Ambrose and Augustine did not believe in the immaculate conception of Mary; she is guilty of sin by virtue of her being born in Original Sin. This does not mean that she committed any actual sins, and, thus, you have the well-known quotes from Ambrose and Augustine to that effect. As I'm sure you know, it would not be until the Middle Ages that it would be debated and ultimately concluded whether or not her sinlessness extends as far as conception in Original Sin. The medievals were quite aware of the problem involved -- does not the Immaculate Conception indicate that Mary did not need to be saved? Does she not share the common guilt of all humanity? Duns Scotus gave the solution of "yes" to these questions but that her method of salvation was one of pre-emption. I'm sure you find the logic tenuous at best -- fair enough, I can grant that.

Kevin Davis said...

Sorry...Duns Scotus gave the answer of "yes" to the second question, and "no" to the first question -- in both cases, the point is that Mary qua human has no claim to God (i.e., to sinlessness), but Mary qua grace does. It's one of those fine scholastic distinctions.

dtking said...

Don't presume I just read Catholic apologists, nor that I read them without some suspicion. ...The medievals were quite aware of the problem involved -- does not the Immaculate Conception indicate that Mary did not need to be saved? Does she not share the common guilt of all humanity? Duns Scotus gave the solution of "yes" to these questions but that her method of salvation was one of pre-emption. I'm sure you find the logic tenuous at best -- fair enough, I can grant that.

I didn’t presume anything, especially who you may or may not read. You made a claim, and I proved the emptiness of it. There is no need to shift the argument from your claim that those two ancients believed in Mary’s sinlessness to insinuate that anyone has denied Mary’s need for salvation. You made the claim that those two fathers I cited believed she was sinless. Perhaps your pride won’t let you admit that you misfired. And if you were aware of those quotes, you wouldn’t have proclaimed those fathers’ support for her sinlessness so triumphantly. In short, I don't believe you. Your words were: “As for Mary's sinlessness, while perhaps not a majority, certainly some significant ECF affirmed her sinlessness -- Ephraim, Ambrose, and Augustine being the most important for the medieval acceptance of the tradition.” When someone says "certainly some significant ECF affirmed her sinlessness," which then names certain names of certain ones who affirmed it (when they never affirmed any such thing), then a certain erroneous claim has been made.

You misfired, and I have no respect for a response that attempts to construe it otherwise. I simply proved that you that your claim was in error, which it was.

DTK

Kevin Davis said...

Matthew,

Augustine, in his later anti-Pelagian writings, is pretty damn close to Calvin, with three key differences: (1) Augustine believed in mortal sin but ultimately the elect will be in a state of grace at death, so his difference with the Reformed here is not that great. (2) Augustine did not have a doctrine of assurance, as in knowing for sure that one is among the elect. This is a more important difference between Augustine and Calvin, and goes a way to explain why Augustine can still give rather works-righteous exhortations. (3) Augustine emphasized infused righteousness and really didn't have much of a forensic view of salvation; i.e., Augustine's "forensicist" soteriology is located in the decrees of God, not so much in the "external righteousness of Christ" as the sole ground of our justification.

Regardless of these differences (and they are important), Augustine still believed that some are elect and some are reprobate because of nothing in themselves (such as works or a certain disposition) but only because of his own hidden will to choose some and not others. Most Catholics would find Augustine's doctrine here to be horrible, and most Catholic scholars do reject Augustine on this point. Calvin scholars recognize that Calvin was simply following Augustine on this point, with the few differences noted above.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Blogger Micah said...

"God does not save man against his own will."

No, God raises the dead to life by the power of the Holy Spirit and gives them the gift of salvation.

Go back under your bridge.



Hey Micah, any day of the week I welcome a written debate on this subject pertaining to the topic of predestination and the early Church. It seems that you need a bit of education regarding your response. Only children respond with written texts such as "go back under your bridge." What are you an 11 year old playing at your dads computer or something? Thats how people who can't rationally defend their positions act. So what else would I expect?

As far as speaking for the Church DTK I never said that I did. The Church has spoken for herself. The Council of Orange says, “We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.”

Catechsim 2002 "God's free initiative demands man's free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of "eternal life" respond, beyond all hope, to this desire:

If at the end of your very good works . . ., you rested on the seventh day, it was to foretell by the voice of your book that at the end of our works, which are indeed "very good" since you have given them to us, we shall also rest in you on the sabbath of eternal life.52


Catechism 2025 "We can have merit in God's sight only because of God's free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man's collaboration. Man's merit is due to God."

Canon 4. of the Council of Trent

"If anyone says that man's free will moved and aroused by God, by assenting to God's call and action, in no way cooperates toward disposing and preparing itself to obtain the grace of justification, that it cannot refuse its assent if it wishes, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive, let him be anathema."

Canon 9.
If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone,[114] meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.

The Church has spoken on this particular subject. Calvinism is not a Christian doctrine. Never has been, never will. As I said earlier, the "Reformed" theologians who use the early church to back up their incorrect Scriptural interpretations regarding this, or any other theological position are in serious error.

The more I read this blog, the more I notice that the posters here have no knowledge of church history, nor Catholic dogmas and doctrines. All Beggars All is, is Catholic bashing bigotry. Go back and look through the history of this blog and see what the subject matter pertains to. Most of it is nothing more than attacks on the Church and her doctrines, making fun of the Pope, etc, etc. If anyone wants to have a serious written debate on something then let me know. Responses like"go back under your bridge" belong in on the grade school playground, not in adult discussions.

EA said...

Here's an idea, get a copy of the writings of the ECF's and just read them for yourself and make up your own mind?

All of a sudden, the mind that is ordinarily unfit to interpret Holy Scripture is suitable to interpret the ECF and reach its own conclusions. That's convenient!

Alexander Greco said...

dtking,
It seems that you are having difficulty with Davis' distinction between actual sin and original sin in Mary. Before you dismiss Davis' arguments, first understand what they are. Avoid the straw-man.

Kevin Davis said...

DTK,

The Ambrose statement that Mary was "incorrupt, immune from every stain of sin" from a sermon on Psalm 118 is easily found on Catholic websites. I am in trust to them as to the credibility of this source. And the Augustine quote, "We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins..." (from Nature and Grace) is also well-known. I take it that they still believed her guilty of Original Sin or that this was a privilege bestowed post-conception. You can call me a liar and prideful, if that is how you choose to discourse.

dtking said...

The Ambrose statement that Mary was "in corrupt, immune from every stain of sin" from a sermon on Psalm 118 is easily found on Catholic websites. I am in trust to them as to the credibility of this source.

Yes, and his commentary on Luke, that Augustine cited approvingly, can be bought and read where he explicitly states that "wholly alone of those born of woman was our Holy Lord Jesus, Who by the strangeness of His undefiled Birth has not suffered the pollutions of earthly corruption." The phrase (unlike your citation of Ambrose) "incorrupt, immune through grace from every stain of sin" (the fuller quote, per gratiam , see Migne PL 15:1521B) can be stated of all who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ in their regenerate state, not simply of Mary exclusively as though she was conceived without original sin. I think your dependency on Roman Catholic sources betrays your lack of critical evaluation on this point. For I repeat, Ambrose has told us explicitly elsewhere...

Ambrose (c. 339-97): So, then, no one is without sin except God alone, for no one is without sin except God. NPNF2: Vol. X, On the Holy Spirit, Book III, Chapter 18, §133.

Ambrose (c. 339-97): Let us therefore consider whether the Holy Spirit have any of these marks which may bear witness to His Godhead. And first let us treat of the point that none is without sin except God alone, and demand that they prove that the Holy Spirit has sin. NPNF2: Vol. X, On the Holy Spirit, Book III, Chapter 18, §134.

No, I do not believe you were aware of these affirmations of Ambrose that "none is without sin except God alone" before I showed them to you. The fact that you are dependent upon some Romanist interpretation of Ambrose is all the more evident to me that you really don't know what you're talking about.

And the Augustine quote, "We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins..." (from Nature and Grace) is also well-known. I take it that they still believed her guilty of Original Sin or that this was a privilege bestowed post-conception.

Yes, that passage is well known, but it doesn't prove her sinlessness, which is what you initially claimed in clear and uncertain terms.

You can call me a liar and prideful, if that is how you choose to discourse.

I didn't call you a liar, and I know very well that I am quite able to do so. I said I didn't believe you. There's a difference between the two, because I can be mistaken in my belief. I suggested that your pride has come into play, and I think it has. You claimed that two ancient witnesses affirmed Mary's sinlessness. And I repeat, that claim has been refuted. I'm content you've misfired, and for whatever reason can't own it.

DTK

dtking said...

It seems that you are having difficulty with Davis' distinction between actual sin and original sin in Mary. Before you dismiss Davis' arguments, first understand what they are. Avoid the straw-man.

All this proves to me is that you haven't read , or if you have, you haven't understood what I've said. Perhaps you should read and try to understand what I've said before you suggest some "straw man" construct.

DTK

Saint and Sinner said...

kevin,

You're wrong on all counts.

Again, I refer you to the links I gave for Papal Primacy and Infallibility. There are plenty of cases where Primacy would have been explicitly denied. Schatz cites many of them.

"Augustine being the most important for the medieval acceptance of the tradition."

Actually, while Augustine accepted that Mary was free from actual sin, he did not believe that she was free from Original Sin. As Philip Schaff notes, the first group to say that she was completely sinless were the Pelagians.

As to veneration, I will cite Ott and Hefle (both RC's) respectively:

“Owing to the influence of the Old Testament prohibition of images, Christian veneration of images developed only after the victory of the Church over paganism. The Synod of Elvira (about 306) still prohibited figurative representations in the houses of God (Can. 36).”

“The primitive church,” says even a modern Roman Catholic historian, “had no images, of Christ, since most Christians at that time still adhered to the commandment of Moses (Ex. xx. 4); the more, that regard as well to the Gentile Christians as to the Jewish forbade all use of images. To the latter the exhibition and veneration of images would, of course, be an abomination, and to the newly converted heathen it might be a temptation to relapse into idolatry. In addition, the church was obliged, for her own honor, to abstain from images, particularly from any representation of the Lord, lest she should be regarded by unbelievers as merely a new kind and special sort of heathenism and creature-worship. And further, the early Christians had in their idea of the bodily form of the Lord no temptation, not the slightest incentive, to make likenesses of Christ. The oppressed church conceived its Master only under the form of a servant, despised and uncomely, as Isaiah, liii. 2, 3, describes the Servant of the Lord.”

http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/2008/04/argument-from-apostolic-tradition-and.html

James Swan said...

How about we just get beyond whether the ECF were Protestant or Roman Catholic -- or any sort of homogeneous identity.

However, the ECF (insofar as they can be taken as a whole) are certainly closer to Roman Catholicism than Protestantism

I meant to contrast these two sentences this morning....I know you're not RC Kevin, but you definitely have what it takes, so to speak.

James Swan said...

The fact of the matter is, no amount of sophistry can twist the Early church Fathers into being Calvinists

Matthew, I suggest reading a little more carefully, because I can't recall anyone I know and respect ever saying this.

James Swan said...

I recall reading this sometime back, though I never followed up on the Aquinas points.

“Marian devotion developed in the church without sufficient control by the doctrine of the incarnation. The whole church became increasingly interested in the holiness of Mary and in the Western Church this interest became absorbed into the question of her immaculate conception. This was because St. Augustine, in his controversy with Pelagius, had emphasized the ravages wrought on mankind by original sin which he insisted infected every member of Adam’s race, including Mary, and which he postulated was transmitted in the act of sexual intercourse.

Almost all the great Western theologians until the later Middle Ages followed Augustine. An essential element of Anselm’s argument in Cur Deus Homo depends on the fact that Adam’s descendents are infected by sin. Aquinas in all five works in which he discussed the issue, insisted that Mary was not completely preserved from original sin. The same position was maintained by St. Bernard and that great anti-Pelagian Gregory of Rimini.

But in the later Middle Ages, Duns Scotus and William of Occam, Strongly supported by the Franciscan order, put forward the view that Mary was freed from the taint of original sin from conception. Those who held this position were in constant danger of undermining the crucial issue of the true humanity of Christ as did Gabriel Biel who in strongly upholding the immaculist position said ‘Christ is not fully man but the God-man’. Mary, he said, was more allied to the created order than Christ and therefore had a greater sympathy for human weakness than he. She represented love and pity in contrast to the severity of Christ as judge.

George Yule: Luther Theologian for Catholics and Protestants, 211. Yule was professor of church history at Ormond College, University of Melbourne, and Professor of Church History at the University of Aberdeen.

Kevin Davis said...

DTK,

I said I was aware of the quotes. You do not believe that I was aware of the quotes even though I said I was. So, with your distinction, you "believe" that I am a liar, but you do not "know" that I am a liar. Okay.

not simply of Mary exclusively as though she was conceived without original sin.

Well, I have been saying that Ambrose and Augustine did not believe Mary was without Original Sin. The point of the Ambrose quote is that her inviolate Virginity is given the qualifying clause of her being incorrupt and free from every stain of sin. Here is a translation from Taylor Marshall (a Catholic blogger):

Mary, a Virgin not only incorrupt [incorrupta], but a Virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free from every stain of sin [per gratiam ab omnia incorrupta labe peccati].

I can see how you read this as just a statement of her being a Christian forgiven of sin, and perhaps that is all that it is saying. But, as the Virgin who gave birth to Christ, Ambrose is saying she is also a Virgin without sin who gives birth to Christ; in other words, God's graces were not just to make Jesus' mother a Virgin but also a Virgin without the stain of sin. From a Catholic interpretation, it seems unlikely that he would emphasize this if the point was just that she is forgiven of her sins, rather than it being ordained that Mary be a sinless and virgin mother of our Lord.

As long as we grant that Ambrose believes Mary to be born in sin (i.e., tainted by Original Sin), he can say that Jesus alone, in his birth, did not suffer the "pollutions of earthly corruption." This doesn't rule out that Ambrose believed Mary to be free from actual sin. I did not "misfire" when I claimed this for Ambrose and Augustine, but perhaps I should have not said "certainly" but rather "it seems" some significant ECF affirmed her sinlessness (I "believe" but I do not "know" that this is the case).

By the way, using "Romanist" is not going to help your case.

Kevin Davis said...

S&S,

Actually, while Augustine accepted that Mary was free from actual sin, he did not believe that she was free from Original Sin.

Yes, as I've been trying to tell DTK in the subsequent discussions.

As for the papal primacy issue, I'm sure there are plenty of quotes against it in the early fathers (for example, those who claimed Constantinople to have the primacy because it is the "New Rome"). My point is simply that there is a strong tradition for the primacy of Rome as well, and I don't know if we can say that the "majority" were against it in some form.

As for the veneration of images, my point was that the ECF understanding of what veneration of images would entail is perhaps not the same as what was defined in the 8th century. Perhaps if we could interview Athanasius and Cyril and Augustine, they would tell us that the 7th ecumenical council was wrong, even with the threat of paganism gone. But I do not know, since I do not know how they would respond to the arguments for veneration that developed.

dtking said...

Well, I have been saying that Ambrose and Augustine did not believe Mary was without Original Sin.

Yes, now you are, but you've only changed your tune after you were corrected and you still refuse to own it. I'll reproduce your words for you again...

As for Mary's sinlessness, while perhaps not a majority, certainly some significant ECF affirmed her sinlessness -- Ephraim, Ambrose, and Augustine being the most important for the medieval acceptance of the tradition.

That was your claim, and I have shown it was mistaken. If you want to keep this up, I'll be happy to keep offering your own words back to you every time you refuse to own them. You misfired and got caught in the midst of your pontifications.

DTK

Alexander Greco said...

Quote from DTK: "That was your claim, and I have shown it was mistaken. If you want to keep this up, I'll be happy to keep offering your own words back to you every time you refuse to own them. You misfired and got caught in the midst of your pontifications."

DTK, you are glossing over Kevin's distinction between original sin and actual sin. Kevin had made this clear, and provided further clarification each and every time. It is time to move on. Insulting his character is of no help.

dtking said...

DTK, you are glossing over Kevin's distinction between original sin and actual sin. Kevin had made this clear, and provided further clarification each and every time. It is time to move on. Insulting his character is of no help.

No, I am not. His original claim bore no such distinction, and assisting him in his error does not serve him, nor anyone else, with a favor. Now, with that, you feel perfectly free to move on wherever you desire. The man decided to visit this board and unleash his pontifications. I'll not grant him, nor you, the opportunity to gloss over his recorded error. If he wants to own it, I'll be happy to go back into silence. But I am tired of letting people get away with this kind of sophistry. If that doesn't suit you, well you'll just have to live with it. But your own pontification on the matter (to move on) doesn't mean a thing to me.

DTK

Alexander Greco said...

Kevin stated: "As for Mary's sinlessness, while perhaps not a majority, certainly some significant ECF affirmed her sinlessness -- Ephraim, Ambrose, and Augustine being the most important for the medieval acceptance of the tradition. These fathers were likely building off of Justin and Irenaeus' typology of the New Eve and the 5th century Theotokos disputes."

You stated: "This is simply not true with respect to the explicit testimony of Ambrose and Augustine. Yes, Augustine was hesitant to speak of specific actual sins with respect to Mary, but he never indicated he believed her to be without sin. In fact, Augustine never concedes that Mary was sinless. You've simply jumped on the bandwagon of bad scholarship."

(Notice how you made the distinction between actual and original, but then glossed over it yourself.)

Kevin stated: "However, the texts you quote only prove that Ambrose and Augustine did not believe in the immaculate conception of Mary; she is guilty of sin by virtue of her being born in Original Sin. This does not mean that she committed any actual sins, and, thus, you have the well-known quotes from Ambrose and Augustine to that effect."

(Notice how he made the distinction, didn't argue over sinlessness as it pertains to Original sin, but specified that he was making reference to actual sins...he was here specifically clarifying for you which context of sinlessness he was making reference to.)

You stated: "You made the claim that those two fathers I cited believed she was sinless."

(Yes as to actual sins, not Original sins. From here on out, no matter how clear Kevin explains to you his argument, you blur his clarity with your obfuscatory sophistry. What are you trying to gain from this? Move on.)

Alexander Greco said...

Maybe a better aproach would be to challenge Kevin's (or Augustine's) distinction (artificial/real?) between the absence of actual sin in sinlessness, and Original sin in sinlessness; if this is what you are concerned with.

dtking said...

you blur his clarity with your obfuscatory sophistry. What are you trying to gain from this? Move on.

I made the distinction to correct him. He never owned his error. The fact is that it's only with this post that you even acknowledge that I'm the one who made the distinction when I corrected him. Now then, you feel perfectly free to keep pontificating about what you think I should do, but this is not your board and I hasten to assure you that you're not my master. Perhaps you ought to heed your own counsel, because it means nothing to me.

DTK

Alexander Greco said...

Apart from the emotionally-tainted rhetoric, it is not a fact that you "corrected" him, and that is my point. You might have given him the impetus to make a further clarification as to the context of what he meant, seeing how he did not explicity say *actual* sinlessness. However, there are ZERO indicators in what he wrote that he necessarily implied anything more than *actual* sinlessness. You are making the stubborn inference without contextual support, and to which he corrected. There has been long historical distinction between actual and original sin. You are not the sole creator of this distinction. To insist that you somehow have knowledge that Kevin did not have this distinction in mind is truly arrogant. The proper way to have approached this would have been to ask him and not make assumptions. The horse is dead, and I refuse to beat it any longer.

dtking said...

You are not the sole creator of this distinction. To insist that you somehow have knowledge that Kevin did not have this distinction in mind is truly arrogant. The proper way to have approached this would have been to ask him and not make assumptions. The horse is dead, and I refuse to beat it any longer.

I don't have a clue who you are or what rock you crawled out from under, but I never claimed to be the sole creator of this distinction. So imputing that to me by way of suggestion is your invention, not mine. Moreover, Let me hasten to assure you again that I don't care what you think about me. Call me arrogant, stubborn, whatever. You're only engaging in your own double standard about what you claim was an attack on one's character. But I'm happy to hear you're moving on with your pontifications, because they're getting you no where with me.

DTK

Alexander Greco said...

Stubborn: Characterized by perseverance; persistent.
Arrogance: from O.Fr. arrogance (12c.), from L. arrogantia, from arrogantem (nom. arrogans) "assuming, overbearing, insolent," prp. of arrogare "to claim for oneself, assume," from ad- "to" + rogare "ask, propose"

You have persistently (stubborn) assumed (arrogance) knowledge of what was in Kevin's mind, and insolently (arrogance) refused, in a persistent (stubborn) way, the clarification which Kevin provided. These were discriptive statements, not an ad hominem. I apologize, and should have found better word choices.

dtking said...

Stubborn: Characterized by perseverance; persistent.
Arrogance: from O.Fr. arrogance (12c.), from L. arrogantia, from arrogantem (nom. arrogans) "assuming, overbearing, insolent," prp. of arrogare "to claim for oneself, assume," from ad- "to" + rogare "ask, propose"

You have persistently (stubborn) assumed (arrogance) knowledge of what was in Kevin's mind, and insolently (arrogance) refused, in a persistent (stubborn) way, the clarification which Kevin provided. These were discriptive statements, not an ad hominem. I apologize, and should have found better word choices.


And here I was led to believe that you were moving on. I guess you misled me.

Descriptive statements such as you intended them are not ad hominem? That's a wonderful postmodern world in which you're living. Let me state it again for the record - I could care less what you think. But please feel free to make more of these non ad hominem remarks.

DTK

Alexander Greco said...

Descriptive statements of your comments, not your person...this is what I meant. As I said, I should have chosen differently. It is late. I've been up since 5:00 am. I'll have to get up tomorrow at 5:00 am. I'm trying to simultaneously finish a "Research Design" for class tomorrow after work. Again, I should have used different language which did not contain such negative connotations. And yes, I have stopped commenting on your argument with Kevin...now it has become about me. Good night.

David Waltz said...

Hello David,

You posted:

>>Could you please give me an example of any amount of sophistry that is attempting to twist the ECFs into your anachronistic straw man? Just one example? I don't know of a single Protestant who has attempted to "twist the Early church Fathers into being Calvinists.">>

Me: How about this…

SATURDAY, MARCH 01, 2008
Gems of Calvinism from the Early Church: Ignatius

In my reading of the Apostolic Fathers, another gem from the Calvinistic Apostolic Fathers caught my eye, this one from the Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians (opening sentence):

Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus in Asia, deservedly thought happy, blessed in the greatness and fulness of God the Father, predestinated before the worlds to be for ever for a glory abiding, not to be overturned, united and elect in the true passion, by the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God, much joy in Jesus Christ and in blameless grace.

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2008/03/gems-of-calvinism-from-early-church.html


Grace and peace,

The other David

dtking said...

Descriptive statements of your comments, not your person...this is what I meant. As I said, I should have chosen differently. It is late. I've been up since 5:00 am. I'll have to get up tomorrow at 5:00 am. I'm trying to simultaneously finish a "Research Design" for class tomorrow after work. Again, I should have used different language which did not contain such negative connotations. And yes, I have stopped commenting on your argument with Kevin...now it has become about me. Good night.

It's interesting how you're willing to draw a distinction on my comments and my person, and yet unwilling to make the same distinction regarding my comments about the other man I've been critiquing. It looks like another double standard to me.

BTW, you're the one who choose to insert yourself in the midst of this disagreement, and began your own pontifications. Now, as I said, I really don't care what you think of me, but I'm not going to play dead for you. Remember, this didn't become about you until you drew your target on me.

With that said, I wish you the very best on your "Research Design."

DTK

dtking said...

Mr. Waltz,

Thanks for sharing.

In the future I'd be grateful if you would address me as "DTK" here. Only my friends are permitted to address me as "David," and you're not my friend.

DTK

GeneMBridges said...

I don't see how that is turning Ignatius into a Calvinist in any way that violates the rule of St. Vincent.

Perhaps, David, you can elaborate on that for us, or is this just you seeking out something for which to criticize TF the way you seek out ways to criticize James White?

Alexander Greco said...

dtking, I draw this distinction because there was contextual room in Kevin's comments to do so. He stated *sinlessness.* He didn't state the Immaculate Conception or anything of the kind. When you challenged him (rightfully so) he clarified. He didn't changed the substance of his argument. That is my observation.

I finished my Research Design, so hopefully everything in it will be fine...thanks.

dtking said...

I don't see how that is turning Ignatius into a Calvinist in any way that violates the rule of St. Vincent.

Dear Gene,

Mr. Waltz was responding to a challenge that I made, and he provided that blogger as an example. I'm content with it, because he responded to my challenge with an example. I think people should be careful not to assign to the ECFs anachronistic titles like "Calvinist."

DTK

dtking said...

dtking, I draw this distinction because there was contextual room in Kevin's comments to do so.

We will have to agree to disagree because I think you're selective in your standard.

I am glad to hear you completed your "Research Design" and hope it goes well for you.

DTK

kmerian said...

All of a sudden, the mind that is ordinarily unfit to interpret Holy Scripture is suitable to interpret the ECF and reach its own conclusions. That's convenient!

Who in Catholicism claims the human mind unfit to interpret Holy Scripture? No one! But my point was (and still is) the only way to get a "fair and balanced" reading of the ECF's is to read them on their own, in their own words. Why read dueling commentaries on them?

Rhology said...

Who in Catholicism claims the human mind unfit to interpret Holy Scripture?

Many, many of the RC epologists I've run into retreat into this assertion when I challenge their exegesis. Please, don't insult our intelligence.

dtking said...

Who in Catholicism claims the human mind unfit to interpret Holy Scripture? No one!

I beg your pardon...John A. O’Brien: The plain fact is that an infallible Bible without an infallible living interpreter is futile. (Italics are his for emphasis) See John A. O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, rev. ed. (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1974), p. 117.

It's clear that he doesn't think God is able to communicate clearly with His own God-breathed words.

But my point was (and still is) the only way to get a "fair and balanced" reading of the ECF's is to read them on their own, in their own words. Why read dueling commentaries on them?

Yes, that's why I've devoted my time and money to fill my library up with works by the ECFs in their own words, which in turn enables me to offer my commentary on them in contrast to the outrageous commentaries of Romanists on the same.

DTK

Kevin Davis said...

Alright, I've gone through the responses since I've been gone. I have to thank Alexander for rightly pointing out (among other things) that in my first response to DTK I made the original-actual sin distinction. I have no care to argue further with DTK, as anyone who has followed the thread can understand why.

kmerian said...

I beg your pardon...John A. O’Brien: The plain fact is that an infallible Bible without an infallible living interpreter is futile. (Italics are his for emphasis) See John A. O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, rev. ed. (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1974), p. 117.

It's clear that he doesn't think God is able to communicate clearly with His own God-breathed words.


I have read that page, and Fr. O'Brian was speaking of infallibly, not interpretation of the scriptures. Context is important.

(It is at Google Books BTW)

kmerian said...

Many, many of the RC epologists I've run into retreat into this assertion when I challenge their exegesis. Please, don't insult our intelligence.
So, it is your assertion that the human mind CAN infallibly interpret scripture?

109 In Sacred Scripture, God speaks to man in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm, and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words.(Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Notice it gives guidance on the correct interpretation of Scripture. NOT prohibiting interpretation.

dtking said...


I have read that page, and Fr. O'Brian was speaking of infallibly, not interpretation of the scriptures. Context is important.


Yes, context is important and you missed it. It's comical to read how you Romanists miss the obvious. No wonder you claim the need for an infallible interpreter. The problem is that you folks disagree on the meanings of your own infallible pronouncements.

DTK

dtking said...

Alright, I've gone through the responses since I've been gone. I have to thank Alexander for rightly pointing out (among other things) that in my first response to DTK I made the original-actual sin distinction. I have no care to argue further with DTK, as anyone who has followed the thread can understand why.

Yes, you came riding in here as the white knight of neutrality, on the pretense of sound reasoning, and began to pontificate, and misfired. I agree, those who follow the thread can see why you would not want to argue your point further.

DTK

Matthew Bellisario said...

dtking says, "It's clear that he doesn't think God is able to communicate clearly with His own God-breathed words."



Well my friend, Saint Peter says in the Sacred Scriptures that you self proclaim to infallibly interpret, "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

You, like James Swann, James White and co. are distinguished examples of those he was speaking about in this passage. You read and interpret the Scriptures as you see fit, substituting a consistent 2000 year interpretation of them for your own.

Sola Scriptura is not a position that can be rationally held in any serious theologian, or church historian. I see that you guys also love to quote an Orthodox writers when you can find something that differs with a Catholic view. What I find so amusing is that they will also bury your arguments against Sola Scriptura, the Eucharistic Real Presence of Christ, The necessity of Tradition, the teaching of the Sacraments or Holy Mysteries as well as the Divine Liturgy, the Communion of Saints, and the list goes on and on. Don't try and use their resources to defend your arguments. You only make yourselves look bad. They consider you just as much of a heretic as the Catholics do.

Rhology said...

you self proclaim to infallibly interpret

This is why it becomes quickly tiresome to discuss things with some RC epologists. What a ludicrous thing to say, and in a mocking tone no less!
Please try to make sense.

You read and interpret the Scriptures as you see fit

kmerian, here is a perfect example of what I was telling you about.

They consider you just as much of a heretic as the Catholics do.

The CCC does not consider Protestants heretics.
So much for the infallibility or even basic trustworthiness of THIS Catholic.

Peace,
Rhology

kmerian said...

No, I did not miss it. If you read the entire section, it was on infallibity.

Here is the context of his statement:
"If you do not claim to be infallibly certain that your interpretation of the whole Bible is correct, then of what value is it to have an infallible Bible without an infallible interpreter? In either case, your statement crumbles (this is a statement to a Protestant who said that the Bible is the only infallible interpreter he needs). The plain fact is that an infallible Bible without an infallible living interpreter is futile. Infallibility never gets from the printed page to the one place where it is needed: the mind of the reader. The myriad divisions within Protestantism offer ample evidence of the proof of this statement."

He was illustrating the flaw in the logic of Protestants who claim the Bible is infallible but they are not.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Go ahead and skate around the argument as usual.

dtking said...

You wrote: Well my friend,

Let’s be clear, we are not friends. :)

You wrote: Saint Peter says in the Sacred Scriptures that you self proclaim to infallibly interpret, "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

Though Peter said that Paul wrote of “some things hard to be understood,” it does not follow that he cannot be understood in most of his writings. For example, Paul informs the Corinthians in his 2nd epistle to them, chapter 1, v. 13, For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end. Yes, and I agree perfectly with Ambrose’s gloss on Paul’s writings, not Rome’s...

Ambrose (c. 339-97): In most places Paul so explains his meaning by his own words, that he who discourses on them can find nothing to add of his own; and if he wishes to say anything, must rather perform the office of a grammarian than a discourser.
For translation, See William Goode, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, 2nd ed., (London: John Henry Jackson, 1853), Vol. 3, p. 262, Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, Part 1, p. 167, and Whitaker, A Disputation on Holy Scripture, pp. 398, 492, who all render plerisque as most.
Latin text: In plerisque ita se ipse suis exponat sermonibus, ut is qui tractat, nihil inveniat quod adjiciat suum; ac si velit aliquid dicere, grammatici magis quam disputatoris fungatur munere. Epistola XXXVII.1, PL 16:1084.
Oops, Ambrose says that Paul explains his own words in most places. My, my, Rome can have none of that, can she?
I also agree with Ambrose when he declared...
Ambrose (c. 339-97): Many times have the clergy erred; the bishop has wavered in his opinion; the rich men have adhered in their judgment to the earthly princes of the world; meanwhile the people alone preserved the faith entire. John Daillé, A Treatise on the Right Use of the Fathers (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1856), p. 197.
Latin text: Plerumque clerus erravit, Sacerdos mutavit sententiam, divites cum saeculi istius terreno rege senserunt; populus fidem propriam reservavit. In Psalmum David CXVIII Expositio, Sermo 17, §17, PL 15:1446.

And...

Ambrose (c. 339-97) commenting on ‘And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide.’ (Lk. 9:4): So the faith of the Church must be sought first and foremost; if Christ is to dwell therein, it is undoubtedly to be chosen. But lest an unbelieving people or heretical teacher disfigure its habitation, it is enjoined that the fellowship of heretics be avoided and the synagogue shunned. The dust is to be shaken off your feet [cf. St. Luke 9:5], lest when the drynesses of barren unbelief crumble the sole of your mind it is stained as if by a dry and sandy soil. For a preacher of the Gospel must take upon himself the bodily weaknesses of a faithful people, so to speak, and lift up and remove from his own soles the worthless actions like to dust, according as it is written: “Who is weak, and I am not weak?” [II Corinthians 11:29]. Thus, any Church which rejects faith and does not possess the foundations of Apostolic preaching is to be abandoned, lest it be able to bespatter some stain of unbelief. This the Apostle also clearly affirmed, saying, “A man that is an heretic after the first admonition reject” [Titus 3:10]. Saint Ambrose of Milan, Exposition of the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke, trans. Theodosia Tomkinson (Etna: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 1998), Book VI, §68, pp. 216-217.

That’s why we reject Rome.

You wrote: You, like James Swann, James White and co. are distinguished examples of those he was speaking about in this passage. You read and interpret the Scriptures as you see fit, substituting a consistent 2000 year interpretation of them for your own.

That alleged "consistent 2000 year interpretation" of the Scriptures exists only in the minds of Roman apologists like yourself. As one of your own theologians has noted, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J.: When one hears today the call for a return to a patristic interpretation of Scripture, there is often latent in it a recollection of Church documents that spoke at times of the ‘unanimous consent of the Fathers’ as the guide for biblical interpretation.But just what this would entail is far from clear. For, as already mentioned, there were Church Fathers who did use a form of the historical-critical method, suited to their own day, and advocated a literal interpretation of Scripture, not the allegorical. But not all did so. Yet there was no uniform or monolithic patristic interpretation, either in the Greek Church of the East, Alexandrian or Antiochene, or in the Latin Church of the West. No one can ever tell us where such a “unanimous consent of the fathers” is to be found, and Pius XII finally thought it pertinent to call attention to the fact that there are but few texts whose sense has been defined by the authority of the Church, “nor are those more numerous about which the teaching of the Holy Fathers is unanimous.” Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Scripture, The Soul of Theology (New York: Paulist Press, 1994), p. 70.

But hey, thanks for your pontifications. They are very meaningful for other folk reading them.

You wrote: Sola Scriptura is not a position that can be rationally held in any serious theologian, or church historian. I see that you guys also love to quote an Orthodox writers when you can find something that differs with a Catholic view. What I find so amusing is that they will also bury your arguments against Sola Scriptura, the Eucharistic Real Presence of Christ, The necessity of Tradition, the teaching of the Sacraments or Holy Mysteries as well as the Divine Liturgy, the Communion of Saints, and the list goes on and on. Don't try and use their resources to defend your arguments. You only make yourselves look bad. They consider you just as much of a heretic as the Catholics do.

More “simple Simon,” stereotype Romanist pontifications. One can look in vain for any meaningful argumentation, because all we have here are more empty claims.

Now all of this will pass right over your head, but I'm responding only so that others can see just how pathetic and empty your claims are.

DTK

Matthew Bellisario said...

The Simple Simon is you who cherry picks out of context quotes to make yourself feel better about your erroneous Biblical interpretations. How in the world do you use those quotes form the Church Fathers to substantiate your claim? You are way out in left field. Anytime you want to engage in a formal written debate on Sola Sriptura I welcome it. Enough of this dribble that you keep putting up here. Whenever you want to man up and accept a formal written debate, in a formal debate format, with formal debate rules, then let me know. Until then I am done wasting my time here.

Carrie said...

Wow!

I was offline for a day and missed all this.

If you want to engage in a formal written debate on Sola Sriptura I welcome it.

That's funny.

Why don't you start with reading DTK's two books on Sola Scriptura and then publish your own two books in response.

Carrie said...

Who in Catholicism claims the human mind unfit to interpret Holy Scripture?

Notice it gives guidance on the correct interpretation of Scripture. NOT prohibiting interpretation.

If a fallible interpretation is okay, then why the need for an infallible interpreter? Your shooting yourself in your Catholic foot.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Here is an open challenge for a formal written debate. Since I am such a Simple Simon as dtking has said, then he should be ready to take up my challenge. Visit my blog for the debate format. Anyone is welcome as well. Here is your chance to make another Catholic apologist look foolish! After all, its only me, Simple Simon.

http://catholicchampion.blogspot.com/

Rhology said...

Here is your chance to make another Catholic apologist look foolish!

Done and done, sir. This thread has accomplished that task.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Hey Rhology, I don't see you stepping up to the challenge.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Waltz,

I'd appreciate it if you did not reproduce entire blog entries from my blog. You may not have noticed that there a copyright notice on my blog - not that it would especially change anything if I did not.

I had hoped that my tongue-in-cheek anachronism would be understood. Apparently it was not, so I have updated the post you copied above, with an up-front caveat.

I'm certainly not an example of someone trying to twist the ECFs into Calvinists. They are what they are. We have at best a very spotty record of what they understood and taught.

Ignatius in places conveys Pauline doctrines for which Augustine (especially later in life) and Aquinas (at times) and Calvin and especially Turretin provide greater exposition.

But of course it is as anachronistic to call the ECF's Calvinist as it is to call them "Catholic."

-Turretinfan

DrOakley said...

Mr. Bellisario:

It has been quite a while since I last encountered your...apologetic prowess. I find your blog to be most interestingly named. Catholic Champion. I'm not sure what kind of reaction I'd get from Roman Catholics if my blog was titled something similar, like, "Protestant Champion," but I am sure it would be...entertaining.

In any case, I notice yet again the penchant of so many on the net to make accusations without the courtesy of providing substantiation. It is hard to know whether you are saying I am untaught and unstable, or whether I distort the Scriptures, or both. In any case, I note that you seem to have missed the point of Peter's concern. Yes, untaught and unstable men can twist and torture the Scriptures. However, the fact that there are untaught and unstable men likewise means what? That there are taught and stable men who do not twist the Scriptures. Rome's defenders often miss this point in their rush to frighten us away from the Scriptures and into Mother Rome's arms. Such is a frightful misuse of Peter's actual intention.

Now, you accuse James Swan (one 'n' by the way) and myself of reading and interpreting "the Scriptures as you see fit, substituting a consistent 2000 year interpretation of them for your own." Really? I simply read the Scriptures as I see fit? I just willy-nilly throw out some meaning as I desire? That's what the person reading my work on the Trinity will find? The Deity of Christ? I am sure you would be capable of going through my 24 page chapter on James chapter 2 and prove this point from the original languages, yes, Matthew?

I wonder: could you identify the 2000 year old interpretation of Romans 5:1 for me? How about Romans 8:29-34? Where might I find this wonderful compendium of 2000 year old interpretations that are "consistent" all along?

You wrote, "Sola Scriptura is not a position that can be rationally held in any serious theologian, or church historian." You probably meant "by any serious theologian"? In any case, I find this kind of dismissive and silly rhetoric unworthy of someone who calls themselves a "Catholic Champion." That kind of rhetoric is barely above the school yard, Matthew. Truly. Think about it.

dtking said...

You wrote: The Simple Simon is you who cherry picks out of context quotes to make yourself feel better about your erroneous Biblical interpretations. How in the world do you use those quotes form the Church Fathers to substantiate your claim? You are way out in left field. Anytime you want to engage in a formal written debate on Sola Sriptura I welcome it. Enough of this dribble that you keep putting up here. Whenever you want to man up and accept a formal written debate, in a formal debate format, with formal debate rules, then let me know. Until then I am done wasting my time here.

You are no where near being my equal on these matters as you've shown us here time and time again. I have a formal theological education, and all you have is a bunch of misguided hype and bravado. "Man up?" Please tell me this isn't your idea of serious debate. It sounds more like a professional wrestling promoter. Your idea of debate is simply a "shout down" via assertion upon assertion. You're to be pitied, not humored.

DTK