Sunday, July 13, 2008

Careful Where You Find Your Quotes...

This was a quote I just couldn't pass up posting. Over on the CARM boards a Roman Catholic stated:

"Luther's use of the word "allein" was deliberate, NOT to make the passage clearer, but to advance his own personal doctrine. No wonder that he disliked the epistle of James, and rejected it's APostolic origin and wanted to expunge it from the Bible, because he saw that James 2:29 contradicted his addition of "allein" to Romans 3:28."

When asked if this was a personal opinion, this Roman Catholic then stated:

It is not only MY opinion, but that of some Protestant scholars as well, people like HOJ Brown: …Martin Luther would once again emphasize…that we are “justified by faith alone”, apart from the works of the Law” (Rom. 3:28), adding the German word allein (”alone”) in his translation of the Greek text. There is certainly a trace of Marcion in Luther’s move (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 64-65).

Guess which book I have in front of me at the moment? Yes, it's Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Harold O.J. Brown never states Luther's intention was "not to make the passage clearer," nor does Brown accuse Luther of "advancing his own personal doctrine" rather than what was taught in the Scripture.

Brown speaks of Marcion's radical rejection of the Torah (Law), and noted those criticizing Marcion's position did so because "his own personal life [was] in gross violation of Old Testament standards of conduct" (p.63). He then states:

"Orthodox Christianity has always lived in tension between the Law and the Gospel. Over thirteen centuries after Marcion, Martin Luther would once again emphasize the discrimination of Law and Gospel, and reaffirm that we are 'justified by faith alone, apart from the works of the Law' (Rom. 3:28), adding the German word allein ('alone') in his translation of the Greek text. There is certainly a trace of Marcion in Luther's move, but unlike Marcion he possessed and treasured the entire canonical Scriptures. Consequently the separation between Law and Gospel in Lutheranism remains a discriminatio (distinction), not a radical separation. Marcion called for such a radical separation, but only a minority of Christians followed him" [Harold O.J. Brown, Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church (Peabody:Hendrickson Publishers, 1988), pp. 64-65].

Note the importance of what was left out: "Orthodox Christianity has always lived in tension between the Law and the Gospel." It should be fairly obvious what Brown intended by seeing a broader examination of what he actually said, rather than the snippet of spin posted. The snippet spins Luther "Marcion." Brown though simply intended to show Marcion's false position by contrasting it with a true position. There is no meaningful discussion of the word "allein" from Brown. And, I think the "spin citation" is reading more into Brown's use of the word "trace" than was intended.

In fact, on page 305, Brown discusses Luther's understanding of justification by faith, stating:

"Justification by faith is a concept that is quite consistent with the teaching of the Apostle Paul- in whose writings Luther rediscovered it- and indeed with the whole emphasis of the early church on the finished work of Christ."

On page 306, Brown states:

"It was not justification by faith alone that was the innovation and therefore the heresy; transubstantiation was the innovation that made the orthodoxy of the past into the heresy of the present. it made the promise of justification by faith alone appear fraudulent."

Tedium
I'm always interested with following quotes around cyberspace. The Harold O.J. Brown quote used above can be found here in the same form as used by the Roman Catholic. Funny, the webpage authors have something to do with the old Herbert W. Armstrong Church of God cult. Now this is somewhat humorous- that a Roman Catholic is using this non-Catholic wacky web page to spin Luther.

20 comments:

Matthew Bellisario said...

Spin Luther? Please. What part of not adding to the Gospel do you not understand? That means the you don't insert words that are not there to begin with. So now God's Holy Writ is not clear enough by itself but we all need Luther to clarify it by adding words to it? This goes against one of the main tenants of the faulty idea of Sola Scriptura. If its so easy to understand why is Luther adding to it to make it clearer? Either way we once again see how confused and off base Luther really was. Keep trying to justify his heresies. It is fun watching you trying to do it. What is this, like the 6th post on this guy in recent months? You must really feel a need to defend this monster.

James Swan said...

It is fun watching you trying to do it. What is this, like the 6th post on this guy in recent months? You must really feel a need to defend this monster.

Matthew,

I have explained elsewhere why I research Luther information.

Lvka said...

Orthodox Christianity has always lived in tension between the Law and the Gospel

Oh, really!? :-\

Matthew Bellisario said...

There is no excuse for Luther adding to Sacred Scripture. Luther doesn't need vilifying by Catholics. His actions speak for themselves. Anyone who has the audacity to add to Sacred Scripture as he did is clearly defying God and His commandments.

Jugulum said...

Matthew,

This post would be relevant, particularly sections three and four.

Matthew Bellisario said...

So what. So we are gong to listen now to Luther trying to justify himself on why he feels he needs to add words to Sacred Scripture? Look, Luther can come up with any excuse he wants. No one, and that includes him, can add anything to Sacred Scripture. Who is the real blockhead? The Church or Luther? Luther who couldn't understand the text until he added his own words to it, or the rest of the Church who never saw a reason to add words to Sacred Scripture?

The link you posted is nothing but Luther propaganda. Anything to make him come out smelling like a rose, even after blaspheming Sacred Scripture and adding his own words to it. You call the Catholics guilty of idolatry in venerating the Saints? We can see that venerating Martin Luther is alive and well.

James Swan said...

The link you posted is nothing but Luther propaganda. Anything to make him come out smelling like a rose, even after blaspheming Sacred Scripture and adding his own words to it. You call the Catholics guilty of idolatry in venerating the Saints? We can see that venerating Martin Luther is alive and well.

Matthew, your invultuation against the Reformers hasn't changed my desire to post on issues that interest me. At this point, your comments are typically so absurd that I allow them for humor sake.

Matthew Bellisario said...

James, what is so humorous about someone adding in their own adjectives to Sacred Scripture? You think it is OK to add then your own adjectives to make sure that someone interprets the text as you interpret it instead of letting them interpret it the way it was written? Luther himself admits that the word is not there. So would you also be interested in putting out your Bible with added words as well? I am just curious.

James Swan said...

James, what is so humorous about someone adding in their own adjectives to Sacred Scripture? You think it is OK to add then your own adjectives to make sure that someone interprets the text as you interpret it instead of letting them interpret it the way it was written? Luther himself admits that the word is not there. So would you also be interested in putting out your Bible with added words as well? I am just curious.

Do the words used by Paul in Romans 3:28 imply “alone”? Others previous to Luther noted that “alone” was implied in the verse- Fitzmyer proves this. Fitzmyer lists others previous to Luther who likewise translated Romans 3:28 (and Galatians 2:15-16) by adding “alone”). Luther’s translation of Romans 3:28 was based on an exegetical reading of the text. The text infers “alone” and other besides, and previous to, Luther saw this as well.Luther’s translation of Romans 3:28 is within the realm of reason.

Look at Luther’s translation of all the verses that are relevant to this discussion. Luther did not add the word “alone” to Galatians 2:16, nor did he remove “alone” from James 2. Also of note, is that Luther did a revision of the Latin Vulgate. The editors of Luther's Works point out: "In Jerome’s Vulgate the Latin actually was: per fidem sine operibus legis. Luther retained this reading unembellished in his 1529 revision of the Vulgate. WA, DB 5, 636" [LW 35:182]. In other words, Luther was not presenting a twisted translation. Don't distort Luther’s work based on one verse, and that one verse, can be rightly rendered using the word “alone”.

Matthew Bellisario said...

First of all, if alone was supposed to be there God would have put it there. So, now we need to add in words to the text so we can properly interpret it? Isn't this against your teachings of Sola Scriptura? Of course it is. If the Scriptures are so easy and clear why is he adding to the Sacred texts? No, the term alone is not implied, and this still gives no one, including Luther to add to the Sacred Texts. Romans is talking about faith apart from the works of law, not faith alone. This text is to exclude the pride of men trying to work their way to heaven. We can see that Paul does not imply faith alone, since he would never contradict faith apart from works as James explains when taking about faith and works going together. Romans is talking about works of law apart from faith and grace, so none would boast, nothing more. This a poor exegesis to justify your thoughts on Luther. Keep trying....

James Swan said...

Of course it is. If the Scriptures are so easy and clear why is he adding to the Sacred texts?

Luther's Bible is a translation, as are any of the Bibles not presented in their original language. There are all sorts of words added into translations- particularly if the translation leans more in the direction of dynamic equivalence. There can be no exact absolute formal correspondence between languages. Words are necessarily added or deleted in, even in Catholic Bibles. Note this comment on the Jerusalem Bible (a Catholic translation):

"The translation of the NT especially seems much freer than it needs to be. Many times this freedom does not enhance the meaning of the text, but more often it leads to a slight change in the meaning. Sometimes words are omitted or added unnecessarily." [Sakae Kubo & Walter F. Specht, So Many Versions? 20th Century English Versions of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1983), p.157].

No, the term alone is not implied, and this still gives no one, including Luther to add to the Sacred Texts.

You have a shallow understanding of translation and method.

Romans is talking about faith apart from the works of law, not faith alone. This text is to exclude the pride of men trying to work their way to heaven. We can see that Paul does not imply faith alone, since he would never contradict faith apart from works as James explains when taking about faith and works going together. Romans is talking about works of law apart from faith and grace, so none would boast, nothing more.

I actually doubt you've ever read Luther's explanation of his translation, so I've included one pertinent paragraph.

"I know very well that in Romans 3 the word solum is not in the Greek or Latin text — the papists did not have to teach me that. It is fact that the letters s-o-l-a are not there. And these blockheads stare at them like cows at a new gate, while at the same time they do not recognize that it conveys the sense of the text -- if the translation is to be clear and vigorous [klar und gewaltiglich], it belongs there. I wanted to speak German, not Latin or Greek, since it was German I had set about to speak in the translation. But it is the nature of our language that in speaking about two things, one which is affirmed, the other denied, we use the word allein [only] along with the word nicht [not] or kein [no]. For example, we say "the farmer brings allein grain and kein money"; or "No, I really have nicht money, but allein grain"; I have allein eaten and nicht yet drunk"; "Did you write it allein and nicht read it over?" There are countless cases like this in daily usage."

Interestingly, Luther's put forth a Latin translation of the Bible, and it did not have "alone" in 3:28. This was because it wasn't necessary- the meaning could be easily comprehended in Latin. The editors of Luther's Works point out: "In Jerome’s Vulgate the Latin actually was: per fidem sine operibus legis. Luther retained this reading unembellished in his 1529 revision of the Vulgate. WA, DB 5, 636" [LW 35:182].

GeneMBridges said...

Spin Luther? Please. What part of not adding to the Gospel do you not understand? That means the you don't insert words that are not there to begin with. So now God's Holy Writ is not clear enough by itself but we all need Luther to clarify it by adding words to it? This goes against one of the main tenants of the faulty idea of Sola Scriptura. If its so easy to understand why is Luther adding to it to make it clearer?

Since Rome holds out many aScriptural dogmas as de fide matters - such that it is peril to the soul not to affirm them, this comment is rather humorous coming from you.

But, since you've brought up that subject, shall we stroll through the history of Bible translations from the Catholic side of the aisle during that same period. Awhile back, weren't you quoting from Schaff on that subject? As I recall, you conveniently overlooked the footnote that told us that it was also Romanist practice at the time. If your ecclesiastical betters have no problem with that practice, why are you waxing on about it?

Yet again we have a Romanist who's more Catholic than the Pope.

Anyone who has the audacity to add to Sacred Scripture as he did is clearly defying God and His commandments.

So, would this, pray tell, also hold true for the Remish Version of the NT, for it contained such wonderful words as "supersubstantial bread" for daily or needful bread-which comes from Jerome's language, or will you actually argue such words are in the urtext? Indeed, we can find many Latinisms in Catholic Bibles of that age. Have a problem with Luther? Well, he was only following the practices of his age, practices that Romanists themselves employed.

Matthew Bellisario said...

James said, "Interestingly, Luther's put forth a Latin translation of the Bible, and it did not have "alone" in 3:28. This was because it wasn't necessary- the meaning could be easily comprehended in Latin. The editors of Luther's Works point out: "In Jerome’s Vulgate the Latin actually was: per fidem sine operibus legis. Luther retained this reading unembellished in his 1529 revision of the Vulgate. WA, DB 5, 636" [LW 35:182]."

The Latin still does not convey a faith alone implication, I am sorry to inform you. In fact we see Saint Augustine commenting on different passages in Romans, who knew Latin interpreting it just the way I have told you. He talks about works being divorced of faith as being the subject of Saint Paul here. It never implies that it is faith alone, but works divorced from faith which has always been Church teaching. Read his texts on Romans.

There is also an aspect here that is addressing the Jews directly and their works of law, and how the gentiles would now be included. Saint Chrysostom speaks about it in his homilies on Romans. Neither interpret this text in a context of faith alone. Later we see Aquinas also reading it in this context.

bkaycee said...

matthew bellisario said... Spin Luther? Please. What part of not adding to the Gospel do you not understand? That means the you don't insert words that are not there to begin with.

Coming from a member who's church regularly ads to scripture via "tradition", "magesterium", "ex cathedra pronouncements", "infallible interpretation" apocraphal additions and signs and worders, your observations on Romans is not only wrong but quite hypocritical.

GeneMBridges said...

The Latin still does not convey a faith alone implication, I am sorry to inform you. In fact we see Saint Augustine commenting on different passages in Romans, who knew Latin interpreting it just the way I have told you. He talks about works being divorced of faith as being the subject of Saint Paul here. It never implies that it is faith alone, but works divorced from faith which has always been Church teaching. Read his texts on Romans.

This is a classic bait and switch.

The Roman position here is that these works are works of the Law, eg. works associated with the ceremonial law, not works qua work, for the Roman position on justification is ontological, something God makes one, not legal, what God declares one to be.

So, you're equivocating over the meaning of "works" here. You know, we know it, and your fellow Catholics know it.

"Faith alone" refers to the instrument by which we are justified, that is declared righteous by God and imputed with the alien righteousness of Christ Himself, not ontologically made righteous and not with a faith divided into faith in Christ, one's own merit, and the congruent merit of others.

And we've been over this with you before - eg. Augustine's understanding of the urtext and the meaning of iustiare.

And notice how Matthew glosses right over his original complaint - that Luther added to the meaning of the text, but he doesn't bother to address the Latinisms that litter the Rhemish Bible. Yet another double standard.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Genebridges says, "The Roman position here is that these works are works of the Law, eg. works associated with the ceremonial law, not works qua work, for the Roman position on justification is ontological, something God makes one, not legal, what God declares one to be.

No the Roman position is not refering to ceremonial works of law only. Like I said before it is speaking of any works divorced from faith. You try and point the finger at Rome and it is so amusing to watch. Guess what? No ancient Church agrees with you! Not one. Whether they be from any of the ancient Oriental Churches, Orthodox churches, or Catholic Churches, they all hold to almost the same doctrines, and none of them are even close to your "Reformed" ideologies. It is quite amusing that you bend the Scriptures to suite your own ideologies. Find one ancient Church before the "reformation" that agrees with you. When you find one then come back and maybe someone will take you seriously. When you want to wake up and look at history for a change, then maybe you will finally get a clue. As I challenged James White before without an answer, so I challenge you. Find me one ancient Church in existence before the "reformation" that agrees with you theology.

GeneMBridges said...

No the Roman position is not refering to ceremonial works of law only.

It is for this text. Take a look at a standard Roman Catholic Commentary on this text. It attributes this text to works of the Law, not all works done apart from faith. So, you're confounding the wider Roman dogma with the standard commentary on this text.

Here's a standard statement of what this text means:

“What are ‘Works of the Law’?

Taking the second point first, what are works of the law? Rom. 3:28, denying justification by “works of the law,” is immediately followed by a question: “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not God of the Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also” (3:29). This question is a tip-off. What law would apply to Jews only but not Gentiles other than the law of Torah? When he refers to “the law” (nomos in Greek), St. Paul is not referring to any old law, particularly not the natural moral law that he said is “written on the hearts” in Rom. 2:15. No, “the law” means the Torah. Continuing in Rom. 3:30, St. Paul writes that God is the God of Gentiles also “since God is one; and he will justify the uncircumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith.” So the point is that circumcision, the prime entrance into the life of the old covenant, stands for the Torah in its entirety. God does not justify or make just people who simply follow the commands of the old law. He justifies all, both Jew and Gentile, on the basis of faith.”

http://www.ignatius.com/magazines/hprweb/deavel.htm

The Roman position attaches works to faith and makes justification ontological in nature, something God makes the person, not something God declares the person to be apart from works. So, has MB done anything to overturn what I wrote? No

Like a poor marksman, he keeps missing the target. Indeed Deavel, who purports to represent the position you seek to defend is at variance with a standard Roman Catholic Commentary:

Let us turn to the standard Catholic commentary on Romans:

***QUOTE***

Paul uses for the first time [3:20] the plural phrase erga nomous, “deeds of the law.” The singular appeared in 2:15, and the plural will appear again in 3:28 and 9:32…Gal 2:16; 3:2,5,10; and in abbreviated form in Rom 3:27; 4:2,6; 9:[11?],32.

For Dunn, it would refer specifically to “circumcision and foot laws,” two obligations that “functioned as boundary makers” to set Jews off from Gentiles…This restricted sense of the phrase is hardly correct, for it contradicts the generic sense of “law” about which Paul has been speaking since 2:12 and to which he refers in 3:20b. See further Cranfield, “The Works of the Law.”

J. Fitzmyer, Romans (Doubleday 1993), 338.


Paul [in 3:27] is playing on the different senses of nomos. Such an understanding of deeds prescribed by the law has already been discussed in the argument of 2:17-3:20.

His emphasis [v28] falls on pistei, “by faith”…that emphasis and the qualification “apart from deeds of (the law” show that in this context Paul means “by faith alone.”

Paul is not speaking about deeds that are the fruit of Christian faith.

Ibid. 363-364.

***END-QUOTE***

It's worth noting that Fitzmyer is taking the PROTESTANT position on this text, not the Roman position.



Notice that Fitzmyer affirms everything that Deavel wants to deny, and denies everything that Deavel wants to affirm. He affirms sola fide. He denies that “works of the law” has special reference to the Torah. He denies the new perspective, represented by Dunn. And he denies any link between justifying faith and the fruits of faith.

And what Protestants talk about faith apart from works of any sort, for we have a healthy view of works connected to faith as well? Have you never read the second volume of William Cunningham’s Historical Theology? Or the second volume of Turretin’s Institutes? Or Berkouwer’s book on Faith and Justification? Or Hoekema’s chapter in Saved by Grace—to name a few? Doubtful.

In Reformed theology in particular Sola Fide is a species of Sola Gratia and to those that God grants said grace to justification, He also grants them sanctification as well.

And MB's reply is just a diversionary tactic too. For his original position was that Luther was changing Scripture...but if he's right, then he has to admit that the Rhemish Bible does too, for it contains many Latinisms. Has he addressed this? NO.

Guess what? No ancient Church agrees with you! Not one. Whether they be from any of the ancient Oriental Churches, Orthodox churches, or Catholic Churches, they all hold to almost the same doctrines, and none of them are even close to your "Reformed" ideologies.

The Ancient Church isn't my rule of faith, so this rant worthy of a toddler is just a pseudoproblem generated by your rule of faith, not mine. I'm not an ecclesiolater.

That said, we'd be very happy at Triablogue to take you on. I, for one, would love to sit back and watch Steve Hays and Jason Engwer have a go at you. Go ahead, drop by our next thread on Romanism and rant for us.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Once again its not Romanism Gene. No Church before the Reformation believes what you believe, thats a fact. I don't care what Joseph Fitzmyer says either. Obviously you are selectively choosing your sources to align with your arguments. No, that passage is not referring to ceremonial law only. It doesn't really matter , because the text is not referring to faith alone, which is what this whole line has been on.

Of course your not concerned with the ancient Churches because you are so far removed from them, and the true Christian faith, that you haven't a clue as to what you are to believe. So you choose to follow this "reformed" nonsense like one of the Pied Pipers blind followers. As far as reading "reformed" literature, I've read my share. Once again show us any Church in ancient history that agrees with your "reformed" doctrine. It doesn't exist!

Since you asked for another rant, here it is. Keep dodging the question. Does it comfort you to keep hiding from the ecclesiastical aspect of Christianity that the Sacred Scriptures so beautifully speak of as the bulwark of truth? I know more popery, and Romanism right? Get a grip and for once and realize that the Catholic faith is not a "Roman" faith. But once again if it comforts you to have a virtual punching bag to vent your theological and ideological frustrations at, then have at it.

I know its hard to hold to an ideology that has a track record like Sola Scriptura. When one rationally tries to hold on to such ramshackle, impotent ideologies it is only natural to lash out at the one opposing truth that will never concede to such nonsense. The Church has dealt with far worse than you can or ever will bring against her.

Jugulum said...

Matthew,

Do you condemn the translators of the Rhemish Bible?

Alexander Greco said...

The problem here, which those of you who hate Christ's Church, is the fact that when coupling the word "alone" with faith, Luther was attempting to revise Scripture to teach his heretical doctrine. Scripture does not insinuate nor imply that we are justified by faith alone. Luther had no authority, nor theological precedent to include "alone" within the text.

Why do all of you run silly trying to avoid addressing Matthew's questions regarding the Ancient Liturgies, and the historical churches? Is it because you are all, in Martin Luther's words, "blockheaded?"