Sunday, August 03, 2008

Handbook For Today's Catholic



I picked this book up in a used bookstore today.  As opposed to some of the current trends in pop-Catholic apologetics, this book actually has the Imprimatur. Here are a few choice quotes from page 31:



"Like a mother waiting up for her grown children to come home, Mary never stops influencing the course of our lives."

"This mother who saw her own flesh-and-blood son die for the rest of her children, is waiting and preparing your home for you."

Thanks Mary, but I think I'll stick with God's providence and the place Jesus mentions in John 14:1-4.

79 comments:

Tim MD said...

Hi James,

First of all, what is the Protestant equivalent of the Catholic Imprimatur? In other words, who, SPECIFICALLY, determines what is acceptable Protestant “thinking” and what is not or what is or is not “acceptable”, meaning “not in opposition to Protestant theology?

Amazingly, I think I’ll stick with Luther on this one, and in fact prefer the sentiments (on Mary) of virtually ALL of the founding founders of Protestantism as opposed to those of MOST of modern Protestantism. I hope you appreciate the irony of these Luther quotes:

The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart. (Sermon, September 1, 1522).

[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures. (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).

One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God's grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees . . . If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother. (Sermon, Christmas, 1529).

At the wedding of Cana Mary says: “Do whatever he tells you.” What she desires of us is that we follow Him. The general disrespect that is prevalent among most Protestants in regards to Mary is nothing more than an overreaction of what they THINK is the Catholic teaching on Mary. Thankfully, many Protestants are returning to the beliefs about Mary that were expressed by the founders of their various core denominations.

God Bless You James, Tim

James Swan said...

Tim,

While in this instance I appreciate you obambulating over to the subject of Luther's Mariology, I have to wonder how familiar you are with some of the Luther subjects I've written about. If you poke around on this blog, you'll notice rather quickly I've done a lot of study in this area.

I don't know how familiar you are with this subject . There are a number of less-than-accurate Roman Catholic "pop" apologetic web pages and propaganda sites out in cyber-space. Bringing up Luther as an apologetic comment to this blog entry won't do you any good.

Rather, you should question where in the Bible such statements as those from this book I cited can be justified.

Tim MD said...

Hi James,

I guess one way to take your post is that you feel that I am not qualified to post Luther's actual quotes that at least SEEM to suggest that his views on Mary are not what is generally "acceptable" within "orthodox" Protestantism. That would be one way to take it since in three short paragraphs, you mentioned that you don't "know how familiar" I am about this particular subject. This would also be supported by your reference to RC "pop apologetics and propaganda web sites".

I guess that the other thing that I could draw from your (lack of) response to the quotes that I actually posted is an IMPLICATION that if I WERE actually "educated" on the subject, I CERTAINLY would not have posted Luther's ACTUAL quotes to suggest that he had a different opinion of Mary than you do personally.

You say:

"Bringing up Luther as an apologetic comment to this blog entry won't do you any good."

I take this as evidence of how uncomfortable you are with the issue and that your statement is something of an ineffective snoke screen.

Now..............IF I were to be "better educated" on this issue, and others, certainly I would "see" that there is some very compelling reason to believe that Luther either,

A. Didn't actually write these things.

B. That he said them and later retracted them when he became "morer infallibler" on the matter.

C. That this belief was simply a "holdover" from his days as a dazed Papist and one that he simply COULD NOT SHAKE in spite of his "correct understanding" on all the "other stuff" or at least on all of the other stuff on which you agree with him.

D. That he did say them but according to YOUR interpretation of Luther, and YOUR interpretation of Scripture, Luther shared YOUR views of Mary and while it may LOOK like he really honored Mary, he did not “mean it” the way that Catholics do.

E. Some other REALLY compelling argument.

As for your comments about "pop apologetics" web sites: What do you think this site is exactly? Hard Science? Like Mathamatics where there is only one right answer and all the others are flawed?

You know I love this site and respect your devotion to getting out the facts which "clarify" Luther and his teachings.....BUT, your response is just another case of the extreme need to "justify" everything that Luther ever said or did.
God Bless You James, Tim

And BTW, I think you missed my question about WHO, EXACTLY determines what is “correct” and incorrect within Protestantism, but then I have to believe that it was only an oversight. After all, you did seem to want to discuss the Imprimatur. Right? I was something you mentioned in your opening post.

Augustinian Successor said...

One thing is for sure, Romanising Lutherans do NOT speak on behalf of confessional Lutheranism. Therefore, they do not speak for historic Protestantism.

Another thing is that one's view on Mary is as good as the other, UNLESS it is backed up by Scripture. That's the whole point about NOT having a Magisterium in the first place!

Dozie said...

"Another thing is that one's view on Mary is as good as the other, UNLESS it is backed up by Scripture. That's the whole point about NOT having a Magisterium in the first place!"

And why is one's view on anything - God, Trinity, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, the Canon, etc, not as good as any other, since you have the benefit of not having a magisterium?

You forget that if everyone's opinion is equally valid and authoritative, you would never have a bible to refer to in the first place because you would have a "million" opinions of what is, and is not, the bible.

Rhology said...

why is one's view on anything - God, Trinity, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, the Canon, etc, not as good as any other, since you have the benefit of not having a magisterium?

Scripture is the deciding factor then, not the Magisterium.

Given a Magisterium, why is one's view on anythg - God, Trinity, Jesus, etc - not as good as any other? You still have to engage in private interpretation to understand and apply and communicate what the Magisterium says.

It's not the case that everyone's opinion is equally valid or authoritative. Those that agree with Scr are more valid and authoritative than those that don't.

Mary's Son said...

"It's not the case that everyone's opinion is equally valid or authoritative.Those that agree with Scr are more valid and authoritative than those that don't."

You're kidding, right? Tell me Alan, can you think of anyone who has a more authoritative view of scripture than you do? By your definition that would be anyone who disagrees with you and is RIGHT where you are WRONG. Can you name just one person? Describing just how they are right and you are wrong.

Rhology said...

can you think of anyone who has a more authoritative view of scripture than you do? By your definition that would be anyone who disagrees with you and is RIGHT where you are WRONG.

What does the phrase "more authoritative view of Scrpture" mean?
You're imposing a Romanist view of authority onto me, which of course is an incorrect view, so there's really no way to answer the question.
Maybe this would help - I am in subjection to the elders of my church, but their authority is not "above" me in Scripture but rather in the church body and governance and membership, etc.

By the same token, can you think of anyone who has a more authoritative view of a Magisterial pronouncement than you do?

Rhology said...

Can you name just one person?

Whoops, forgot. Jesus Christ. He Who was the infallible interpreter of Scr, and Who has now left us His Spirit to interpret. He Who held individuals responsible for judging tradition by Scr. That guy.

Carrie said...

And why is one's view on anything - God, Trinity, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, the Canon, etc, not as good as any other, since you have the benefit of not having a magisterium?

Even with the magisterium we could have a wide range of beliefs on things. For example, who holds the correct beliefs on predestination, the Molinist or the Thomist?

Augustinian Successor said...

"You forget that if everyone's opinion is equally valid and authoritative, you would never have a bible to refer to in the first place because you would have a "million" opinions of what is, and is not, the bible."

Not really ... do Protestants and Romanists disagree that Jesus is the Son of God? Or on the Trinity? Or that Jesus died on the Cross for the sins of the world? Or on the existence of Hell?

Scripture is clear on the fundamentals, which is why both Protestants and Romanists can confess the creeds. Scripture is also clear on the fundamental of all the fundamentals, i.e. justification by faith alone. You can't say that it's not in the creeds. It's in Scripture. Both Protestants and Romanists agree there is no such thing as creeds alone. So, if the creeds are unclear, then these need to be supplemented. And only in the Protestant Faith do we find that it is so. So that only in the Protestant Faith that we find Scripture given its full expression of the fundamentals of dogma.

James Swan said...

I guess that the other thing that I could draw from your (lack of) response to the quotes that I actually posted is an IMPLICATION that if I WERE actually "educated" on the subject, I CERTAINLY would not have posted Luther's ACTUAL quotes to suggest that he had a different opinion of Mary than you do personally.

Tim, you posted the typical context-less Luther/Mary quotes found on the typical propaganda RC "pop" apologetic sites.

Hence, I call your bluff. You have little or no knowledge in this area of Luther studies, and probably the little you have has been a cram session in order to look like you know what you're talking about now. You have no idea what those Luther quotes say in context, or, perhaps you've been busy looking them up over the last 24 hours. If you want to score some "credibility" points with me, you could admit some version of what i stated is the case.

I'll also give you credit for being zealous Tim, but I've studied Luther's Mariology for years. This is a discussion you shouldn't be in with me.

Dozie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dozie said...

“Given a Magisterium, why is one's view on anythg - God, Trinity, Jesus, etc - not as good as any other?”

I am not exactly sure what you mean by the above; I simply hope you meant to say something intelligible. In any case, every Catholic knows that the Church is the mother and teacher (matar et magistra) and every Catholic teacher knows that he has to teach, not in his own name, but in the name of the Church.

“You still have to engage in private interpretation to understand and apply and communicate what the Magisterium says.”

The comment above reflects a certain mind-set which comes to matters of “faith” with boxing gloves and ready to fight and to dispute. May I suggest to you that this is not a requirement for faith; at least, not the Catholic faith. The Act of Faith which every Catholic is required to profess states:

“O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.”

A Catholic comes to the Catholic faith with an attitude of docility – belief and trust – like a child (like sons and daughters). He trusts because he knows who the teacher is and has confidence in the teacher. He believes in order to understand. When I, as an ordinary Catholic, am presented with a dogmatic teaching, my first reaction is not to load up books and start finding where the pope made a mistake. Rather my first reaction is to make sure it is an authoritative Catholic teaching and if I do not understand it or even inclined to disagree, I also have to consider who the teacher is and in whose authority she teaches.

The protestant is however justified in being skeptical about matters of faith because he neither trusts his teacher, if he has one, nor himself; hence the concept of authoritative and infallible teaching is an alien concept to him.

Is it not ironic then that while Protestants chant sola fide ad infinitum, when they encounter matters requiring faith, they resort to controversy, endless research, bickering, running around in circles, and never able to answer important questions of faith? The Anglicans, for example, are in their 9 out of 10 circles at the moment. Who will deliver them? It will not be James White or David King or James Swan or anyone else in Protestantism, whose opinion, by the way, is as good as any other Protestant. They will look up to the most hated “Rome” for assistance.

There are millions of Catholics who are not able to engage in the kind of controversy that Protestants prescribe as necessary requirement for faith; these too are subjects of God’s salvation. My grandmother never handled a pen or pencil in her life and if you wrote her name on a piece of paper, she would not know what you wrote. Was she then excluded from salvation? All she had to do was simply to have faith – to believe in what the Church taught her. The Protestant will, of course, protest what I have just stated about only believing without the need to pull down controversy from everywhere. If he does, we should ask, what then is the usefulness of his sola fide? How is this faith exercised? While he carries sola fide and sola sriptura signs and disturbs papal events, one would like to know if this slogan means a thing for him. How does one looking at what he writes and his endless argumentations, and scholarship induced by restless; how does one know that such individual has come to faith in anything?

He says he believes in the bible alone and we should ask him on what basis is he comfortable with the canon of the scriptures? Here, he will pull in another controversy, refusing to answer a direct question, by demanding to know how the Jews knew that Genesis was scripture. But, the question is not to the Jew; it is to the Protestant. Why has he suspended his controversy and not engaged in his “private interpretation to understand and apply and communicate” the various sources and details of each book of the new and old testament? What research has he completed to verify the qualification of each book of scripture to be included in the canon? Or, on whose authority does he accept what he accepts as scripture -his own or another’s?

“It's not the case that everyone's opinion is equally valid or authoritative. Those that agree with Scr are more valid and authoritative than those that don't.”

Well, he has his work cut out for him. We will need him to start with his own community and give us a list of those who agree with scripture and those that don’t.

Alexander Greco said...

James: I'll also give you credit for being zealous Tim, but I've studied Luther's Mariology for years. This is a discussion you shouldn't be in with me.

Me: Then I would be curious in how you would explain it, rather than dish-out idle threats of doing so (maybe you just do not have the time right now, and I can understand that...besides, whether or not Luther had a devotion to Mary, saw Mary's role as the Church does, does not make a difference to me).

Augustinian Successor said...

"The protestant is however justified in being skeptical about matters of faith because he neither trusts his teacher, if he has one, nor himself; hence the concept of authoritative and infallible teaching is an alien concept to him."

Yes, because in obedience to Jesus Himself, the Protestant does not equate the pope with God. God speaks to man through man, but God is still God and man is still man.

Augustinian Successor said...

"The protestant is however justified in being skeptical about matters of faith because he neither trusts his teacher, if he has one, nor himself; hence the concept of authoritative and infallible teaching is an alien concept to him."

Sorry, my eyes are getting tired. I missed the point. Let me try again:

The Protestant trusts his teacher in so far as what is being taught agrees with the Bible. Everything is derived from the Bible. Because the Bible claims to be the Word of God. The Church is not the Word of God nor has such a claim been made before, not even by the Roman Church.

We see the example of Jesus Himself, in not appealing to Himself Who is the Teacher, but to the written Word. So, final authority rests with the Bible and the Bible alone because it alone is the Word of God.

L P Cruz said...

I am curious.

Let us assume that Luther venerated Mary, are the RC apologists here sayin we should follow Luther on this?

But at the same time, the RC apologists here are asking us not to follow Luther on JBFA, sola scriptura correct?

LPC

James Swan said...

then I would be curious in how you would explain it, rather than dish-out idle threats of doing so (maybe you just do not have the time right now, and I can understand that...besides, whether or not Luther had a devotion to Mary, saw Mary's role as the Church does, does not make a difference to me).

I've probably done 10 to 20 blog entries on Luther's Mariology on this blog- I suggest using the blog search engine.

Rhology said...

Hi Dozie,

I am not exactly sure what you mean by the above; I simply hope you meant to say something intelligible.

Perhaps you should ask the Romanist who asked me the same question about Scr. I didn't think it made a lot of sense either, which you'd know if you'd read my comment.


In any case, every Catholic knows that the Church is the mother and teacher (matar et magistra) and every Catholic teacher knows that he has to teach, not in his own name, but in the name of the Church.

That doesn't answer the question (as I understand it). How do you know what the Magisterium teaches? Is it not true that, to take it into yourself, you must exercise private, individual interpretation? The same as when you read Scr?


The comment above reflects a certain mind-set which comes to matters of “faith” with boxing gloves and ready to fight and to dispute.

I'm answering the above Romanist on his own grounds. To thine own fields look thee!


The Act of Faith which every Catholic is required to profess states:

Well and good, but that is even more minimalistic than the Apostles' Creed.
And what Protestant would disagree with it?
Who among the vast and wide body of people who call themselves "Protestant" would disagree?
But that is not all that is bound upon the consciences of Romanists by the Roman church.


He trusts because he knows who the teacher is and has confidence in the teacher. He believes in order to understand

But that can't be done with the Scr?


Rather my first reaction is to make sure it is an authoritative Catholic teaching and if I do not understand it or even inclined to disagree, I also have to consider who the teacher is and in whose authority she teaches.

As for me, my first reaction is to make sure it is an authoritative biblical teaching and if I do not understand it or even inclined to disagree, I also have to consider who the teacher is and in whose authority it teaches.


he neither trusts his teacher

I don't trust the Scr? The Holy Spirit?


hence the concept of authoritative and infallible teaching is an alien concept to him.

Not at all. The Scr is both authoritative and infallible. So is the Holy Spirit.


when they encounter matters requiring faith, they resort to controversy, endless research, bickering, running around in circles, and never able to answer important questions of faith?

B/c "faith" is not our authority. This is a serious category error. Faith is the vehicle thru which grace saves the repentant sinner. Scr is our authority. We get to the bottom of what Scr teaches by discussing and yes, even debating its meaning. But we Reformed make a distinction between schism-worthy heresy (denying the Trinity, denying sola fide, etc) and less important distinctions between Christians (pædo vs credo baptism, for ex). Rome does the same.


The Anglicans, for example, are in their 9 out of 10 circles at the moment. Who will deliver them? It will not be James White or David King or James Swan or anyone else in Protestantism, whose opinion, by the way, is as good as any other Protestant. They will look up to the most hated “Rome” for assistance.

1) They'd be much better off if they listened to men like the ones listed here.
2) Who cares what the Anglicans do? Why is what they do supposed to be authoritative or exemplary to me?


There are millions of Catholics who are not able to engage in the kind of controversy that Protestants prescribe as necessary requirement for faith

So could you just answer Carrie's question?
Who holds the correct beliefs on predestination, the Molinist or the Thomist?


how does one know that such individual has come to faith in anything?

I don't really understand what you're getting at here.
But no one can know infallibly if someone has saving faith in Christ. There's such a thing as a credible profession, and that can be different from a saving profession. If they didn't mean it, for ex.


He says he believes in the bible alone and we should ask him on what basis is he comfortable with the canon of the scriptures?

1) Rome has no set Canon of Scr either.
2) Rome has no fallible, much less infallible, Canon of its infallible teachings. You have no place to lecture anyone on the Canon.

Peace,
Rhology

EA said...

"When I, as an ordinary Catholic, am presented with a dogmatic teaching, my first reaction is not to load up books and start finding where the pope made a mistake. Rather my first reaction is to make sure it is an authoritative Catholic teaching and if I do not understand it or even inclined to disagree, I also have to consider who the teacher is and in whose authority she teaches."

And how does one 'make sure it is an authoritative Catholic teaching'?

Rhology said...

Fine question from EA. I would add "infallibly" to it.
How do you know infallibly whether it is an authoritative teaching?

If you don't know it infallibly, how are you in any better shape than a Sola Scripturist?

Dozie said...

"And how does one 'make sure it is an authoritative Catholic teaching'?"

You must be kidding, aren't you? In case you are not, a Catholic would look for the name or the dicastry that issued it. There are more but these are good starting points.

Rhology said...

Is this judgment infallible?
Is the dicastry infallible?

If no to those questions, then what's the difference between what you do and what the Sola Scripturist does in looking at Scr?

EA said...

The comment above reflects a certain mind-set which comes to matters of “faith” with boxing gloves and ready to fight and to dispute.

Not at all. It's a matter of hearing what the reasoning and argument from Scripture is (exegesis), then weighing the argument and comparing that against competing arguments. If the proposed dogma or doctrine cannot be validated by Scripture, then we are right to be concerned.

The Act of Faith which every Catholic is required to profess states:

O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.”


I agree with the bold portion of the above quote. However, the remainder is an oath to open-ended Sola Ecclesia.

The Anglicans, for example, are in their 9 out of 10 circles at the moment. Who will deliver them? It will not be James White or David King or James Swan or anyone else in Protestantism, whose opinion, by the way, is as good as any other Protestant.

If the Anglican Communion goes down by embracing anti-Scriptural beliefs and practices, the Protestant Believer has a built in defense mechanism, a life raft; they can seek out a Communion that is led by the Holy Spirit. But when the RCC errs and embraces false doctrine, the laity, like the passengers on the Titantic, are trapped below decks; doomed to go down with the ship.

And what is the problem that the Anglican Church is having right now? The episcopate has permitted the ordination of open homosexuals to the ministry and many of the laity disagree with that to the point of leaving or trying to split the communion.

I'm assuming that it's the action of the laity that you find so tragic. After all, no church has ordained more homosexuals to the clergy than the RCC.

They will look up to the most hated “Rome” for assistance.

Maybe. More's the pity.

Just Some Guy Who Likes Coffee said...

Can I offer you a nice, light fiction book of the NYT best seller? ;)

Tim MD said...

Hi James,

You said:

Tim, you posted the typical context-less Luther/Mary quotes found on the typical propaganda RC "pop" apologetic sites.

Hence, I call your bluff. You have little or no knowledge in this area of Luther studies, and probably the little you have has been a cram session in order to look like you know what you're talking about now. You have no idea what those Luther quotes say in context, or, perhaps you've been busy looking them up over the last 24 hours. If you want to score some "credibility" points with me, you could admit some version of what i stated is the case.

I'll also give you credit for being zealous Tim, but I've studied Luther's Mariology for years. This is a discussion you shouldn't be in with me.

James, you can say that if you want but I will ask you again, what it is exactly that you consider this website and your self-published articles to be if not “pop apologetics”? Exactly.

Here is what I see James and I am actually getting pretty used to it. You do not like it very much when facts about Luther come to the surface that conflict with your efforts to clean up his “image”and “spin” what he ACTUALLY said to make sure that people “see it” the way that you do. However, I do believe that as one of the founders of, if nothing else, a brand-new way to view Christianity, the nature of the man and his actions are FAIR GAME FOR DISCUSSION. I strongly believe that when the facts about the man come to the surface, unimpeded by some “pro-Luther spin”, the THINKING person is going to have to wonder how in the name of God, such a man could have EVER been viewed as someone who was even remotely capable of interpreting God’s written word, MUCH less thought that HE, in spite of MASSIVE criticism for his teachings, could be viewed as any kind of a religious leader.

Now, I realize that this kind of statement calls into question your obvious devotion to the man

I am not at all surprised that you have written “a lot” on the obvious fact that Luther held VERY un-Protestant views on Mary, but it is the apparent NEED to do so that I find telling, especially given that you have admitted that the Lutheran Church would NOT accept you as either a Lutheran Minister OR let you “teach” your personal beliefs from one of their pulpits. I find that very curious.



Here I find an obvious Protestant “ethic”. Those who study the longest are the “mostest rightest”, and all should BOW to their superiority or at least their superior “education”. We see this all the time. ‘Gee Catholic, if you would just bother to read this document “.............’, you would be sure to see things my particular way.” In other words, there is some “document” which has been written which would clear up EVERYTHING if ONLY us Papists would read it?

In fact, James, I don’t think that you have done a very good job back on CARM in terms of answering some MUCH MORE FUNDAMENTAL questions that have been presented to you.

I shouldn’t be in this discussion with you because...................................? Specifically? Personally, I think that Luther’s general attitude is VERY MUCH showing through in your own. He would be proud in that you REALLY told me. Right? Luther was a MASTER at making condescending statements and making personal attacks on his opponents, but I would suggest that it is possible that he was, deep down, not all that sure about his “authority” to turn Christianity upside down.

I should also point out that I have been, and will continue to be, AT LEAST a hundred times more charitable with, and respectful to you than Luther was EVER with ANY of his “opponents”. As you know better than most, respect for others was not exactly his forte.

Anyway, as always James, God Bless You, Tim

EA said...

I should also point out that I have been, and will continue to be, AT LEAST a hundred times more charitable with, and respectful to you than Luther was EVER with ANY of his “opponents”. As you know better than most, respect for others was not exactly his forte.

This is humorous.

What can you say? Maybe Luther's Catholic training never entirely left him.

Alexander Greco said...

ea: What can you say? Maybe Luther's Catholic training never entirely left him.

Me: I have to say, this was certainly good jab. Touche!

David Ernst said...

Given James Swan's knowledge of Luther and Lutheran theology, I would say the main reason he would not be accepted as a Lutheran pastor would be this: Following his own conscience, he would not be able to commit himself to the Lutheran ordination vow. The vow requires acceptance of Lutheran teaching on the sacraments and predestination. Since James identifies himself as a Calvinist, I presume these would be his sticking points.

As for myself, I have found James' Luther research very edifying (and I am Lutheran).

In regard to the adoration of Mary, there is no serious dispute between Lutherans and Calvinists. Luther completely rejected the medieval church's veneration of Mary and the saints, as did Luther's successors, as did Calvin, and as did Calvin's successors to this day. The only "conflict", such as it is, is over semantics. That is to say, can some of the language of medieval piety, such as referring to Mary as "Mother of God", be salvaged without tempting some to fall back into the errors of Romanism.

I am curious about one thing: Does signing off with "God bless you" at the end of a snarky post filled with ad hominem argument let you skip talking about your fit of pique in the confessional or what?rf

Mary's Son said...

"the Protestant Believer has a built in defense mechanism, a life raft; they can seek out a Communion that is led by the Holy Spirit."

This is a good analogy of what has happened in the past and what is happening now. The "Titanic" is no longer guided by the holy Spirit and now there are one hundred life boats in the water (which sooner or later become the Titanic to those in the life boats).

It's a shame the holy Spirit lets it's own ship sink; but it's okay because bibles float (or do they?).

Rhology said...

That's a tad bit disrespectful to the Holy Spirit, but hey, it's all good if it's in the service of Mother Church.

Mary's Son said...

Howso? When I jumped ship I realized I couldn't swim. Sitting in the life boat I looked around and averyone had an "authorized" bible with an "authentic" interpretation. I have faith in the holy Spirit to guide the ship into all truth. It's easy to look and say "the ship is sinking" and abandon it; but the captain always goes down with his ship and I'll stay with HIM (Jesus). Remember Peter? If it's really you Lord command that I should walk on water...

Yes, Peter could have jumped ship too.

James Swan said...

I shouldn’t be in this discussion with you because...................................? Specifically? Personally, I think that Luther’s general attitude is VERY MUCH showing through in your own.


Tim,

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel with you on Luther's Mariology. I've written about it already. I don't know if it's because you don't care to find out what I've said on this subject already, if you're simply being a gadfly, or you don't know how to find what I've written on this subject already.

I'm not going to drop everything to spoon feed you everything I've written on this subject, only to have you insult me. I find it very disingenuous of you to use the typical Luther Mariology quotes posted on a dozen or more Catholic sites, to post them over here, and then have you slander my writing by calling it "spin."

Tim, my patience with you is growing thin.

James Swan said...

I am curious about one thing: Does signing off with "God bless you" at the end of a snarky post filled with ad hominem argument let you skip talking about your fit of pique in the confessional or what?

This is a typical RC move. I have had this approach used on me a number of times. It's like some sort of license with these guys- that they can say whatever amount of rhetoric and slander they want, but if you add "God bless" or something like that, every negative bit of polemic or ad hominem is made acceptable.

James Swan said...

Me: Then I would be curious in how you would explain it, rather than dish-out idle threats of doing so (maybe you just do not have the time right now, and I can understand that...besides, whether or not Luther had a devotion to Mary, saw Mary's role as the Church does, does not make a difference to me).

I'll give you the same advice I gave Tim. Look through my blog. I refuse to spoon feed you folks.

Dozie said...

“Tim, my patience with you is growing thin.”

Why should we not conclude that you are using your feigned exasperation as an excuse not to address important questions about Luther’s devotion to Mary? What exactly are you getting impatient about? And, since you consider Luther to be a God-sent, why exactly are you not Lutheran? Why are all Protestants who hail the man, not Lutherans? It is a dangerous situation when a man does not believe what he preaches.

It seems this blog is at the same time a preaching of Luther and a condemnation of Catholicism. It is then understandable that you are not Catholic; but, again, why are you not Lutheran? Is there something, after all, wrong with Lutheranism?

Rhology said...

Dozie,

James addressed that why not a Lutheran question a long time ago.

Speaking of important questions not addressed, I addressed quite a few to you, which you've not yet found your way to.

Please answer them so we can move fwd.

James Swan said...

Why should we not conclude that you are using your feigned exasperation as an excuse not to address important questions about Luther’s devotion to Mary? What exactly are you getting impatient about?

Wow, one blog, 3 Catholics unable to perform a simple search. Go figure. Perhaps my next entry should be "I will not reinvent the wheel for you. How to use a search engine"

Dozie said...

"Is this judgment infallible?"

This is an awkward question. However, let’s see who is judging who or judging what? The Catholic does not stand in judgment of his Church’s magisterium and there is a reason Catholic laity is officially called, “the faithful”. What is required is faith and not controversy.

As far as this side of heaven is concerned, the judge of what is to be believed and guarantor of same faith is the pope. Again, the Catholic is called to faith and not to start up controversies. Sorry you have a different background.

Is the dicastry infallible?

Yes, in so far as the dicastry is an exercise of papal office. The dicastries are nothing more than the various ways the pope exercises his office. This is why when a pope dies, all offices are technically dissolved until the election of a new pope.

In any case, when then Joseph Card. Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the DECLARATION, "DOMINUS IESUS, he was exercising a ministry proper to the papal office and the statement is forever irreformable as it is infallible.

Carrie said...

Wow, one blog, 3 Catholics unable to perform a simple search.

I'm sorry, but this is too painful to watch.

Here is a link to James' MANY articles on Luther (I got sick of counting after reaching 40 so I can't tell you exactly how many posts there are). If you scroll down the page you will see a section entitled "Luther’s Mariology" where there are links to 16 separate articles which are very likely to address the majority of issues brought up (on Mariology).

Now, I would bet that James may have more relevant posts on this blog that aren't listed on that particular page. But that list should at least get you started.

Mary's Son said...

"I got sick of counting after reaching 40 so I can't tell you exactly how many posts there are"

Is there a doctor in the house?

James Swan said...

Is there a doctor in the house?

Well, Mary's Son, you can be the Internet Doctor if you know how to use a search engine. Perhaps e-mail the three Roman Catholics that are befuddled by doing a search, and help them out.

Mary's Son said...

Or maybe I'll help Carrie feel a little better by counting up to 116 for her; which includes 2 broadcast links and a link for helpful resources (Carrie that makes 113 actual papers on Luther - breathe in, breathe out).

Click two links and call me in the morning.

Mary's Son said...

James,

On a serious note though I think your work deserves to be more than just shrugged off. And I think that everyone should be given their say (Luther included) and not just judged by a few sentances, which happens a lot in these discussions.

In Christ,

Richard

EA said...

The "Titanic" is no longer guided by the holy Spirit and now there are one hundred life boats in the water (which sooner or later become the Titanic to those in the life boats).

Mary's Son, this is only true of those who hold onto institutional indefectability as the touchstone of assurance. For those of us that have not outsourced our thinking to an allegedly infallible third party, this is not a concern.

Alexander Greco said...

James: his is a typical RC move. I have had this approach used on me a number of times. It's like some sort of license with these guys- that they can say whatever amount of rhetoric and slander they want, but if you add "God bless" or something like that, every negative bit of polemic or ad hominem is made acceptable.

Me: Actually, this is typical human behavior. Most of us tend to do this at least once.I'm not going to speak on your behalf, but I imagine that you are not saying that Protestants do not have this problem as well. None of us are perfect. We can all become better models of Christ (myself even more so). Can anyone here honestly claim that they have shown perfect charity to others?

Alexander Greco said...

James: I'll give you the same advice I gave Tim. Look through my blog. I refuse to spoon feed you folks.

Me: A simple "search through my blog, I have posted stuff on this before" would have been sufficient. There is no need to get hostile. I have not read through everything on your blog, so how would I have known?

Alexander Greco said...

James: I've probably done 10 to 20 blog entries on Luther's Mariology on this blog- I suggest using the blog search engine.

Me: For example, this earlier reply to me was sufficient. Why you felt you had to come back with your later hostile reply is beyond me.

Mary's Son said...

ea,

The touchstone of assurance is the promise of Christ.

In Him,

Richard

GeneMBridges said...

And why is one's view on anything - God, Trinity, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, the Canon, etc, not as good as any other, since you have the benefit of not having a magisterium?

So, the Nicene Creed and Chalcedon, to name but two creeds teach a high Christology but Scripture does not. On this view, Scripture does not teach the Trinity with clarity and John's Gospel does not teach a high Christology. Where's the supporting argument?

Appealing to the Magisterium doesn't help. How did the Jews muddle along without an infallible Magisterium? How did the Subapostolic Church have any idea of what books were canonical apart from a Magisterium?

Catholics' low view of Scripture is just barely matched by their low view of God's Providence.

He trusts because he knows who the teacher is and has confidence in the teacher.

He exercises his private judgment about who the teacher is and/or engages in circular reasoning.

This invites a vicious regress. It's illicit to appeal to the Catholic understanding of Scripture to underwrite the authority of Rome.

Rather my first reaction is to make sure it is an authoritative Catholic teaching and if I do not understand it or even inclined to disagree, I also have to consider who the teacher is and in whose authority she teaches.

So, your first reaction is to beg the question in favor of Rome. Unlike you, we look to the Bible and test our teachers thereby. If we disagree with a teacher, we ask questions of that teacher.

By the way, it's not as if there is a load of difference between us over the fundamentals of the faith or over the general exegesis of Scriptures. What causes the differences often lies in the authority individuals or churches give to that exegesis or the aprioristic commitments that some Protestants have. For example, the Arminians are committed to Libertarian Freedom. We ask where the Bible teaches it. They reply either with passages that show God's law is violated (which does not prove LFW) or with philosophical arguments and statements that Scripture "assumes it." In the case of those last two replies, then, LFW is then admitted to be an aprioristic commitment that Arminians bring to Scripture, not something derived from it. Differences in baptism between Presbys and Baptists are not fundamentals of the faith and they are reflective of the differences we have in ecclesiology, and to anticipate your objection, these are not matters that touch on the salvation of the soul - that would only be true to sacramental traditions and it would only be viewed that way by you if you impose your views on us and then castigate us for not measuring up - that's called mirror-reading, yet another logical fallacy to which Roman Catholics are prone.

The protestant is however justified in being skeptical about matters of faith because he neither trusts his teacher, if he has one, nor himself; hence the concept of authoritative and infallible teaching is an alien concept to him.

No, the Bible's teaching is infallible. Infallibility is not "alien" to us. What is "alien" is the belief that your rule of faith is epistemically superior or that God has promised an infallible Magisterium to the churches or that such an authority is necessary for us to understand Scripture.

Given James Swan's knowledge of Luther and Lutheran theology, I would say the main reason he would not be accepted as a Lutheran pastor would be this: Following his own conscience, he would not be able to commit himself to the Lutheran ordination vow. The vow requires acceptance of Lutheran teaching on the sacraments and predestination. Since James identifies himself as a Calvinist, I presume these would be his sticking points.

Only if that communion or church is a strict conscriptionist communion or church. There are Lutheran churches that are not locally strict constrictionists. I personally know of Calvinists who serve as Lutheran pastor/elders. The reasons are often pragmatic, like they need a pastor and can't find one, but they can find qualified teacher/pastors outside of their communion.


This is a good analogy of what has happened in the past and what is happening now. The "Titanic" is no longer guided by the holy Spirit and now there are one hundred life boats in the water (which sooner or later become the Titanic to those in the life boats).

It's a shame the holy Spirit lets it's own ship sink; but it's okay because bibles float (or do they?).


Aside from insulting the Holy Spirit, I believe the original point being made and to which this reply was made is that that person can turn to another local church. So, let's put that to the test...has every local church begun since the Apostolic age itself survived to the present day? No. Once again the Romanist shows a low view of Providence. Yes, God does let "lifeboats" (eg. local churches) "sink." It can be the result of apostasy, or for other reasons, for example because He wishes to reprobate a generation or more in an area, so he removes the means of grace dispensed through the local church (specifically the gospel preached itself).

Why should we not conclude that you are using your feigned exasperation as an excuse not to address important questions about Luther’s devotion to Mary?

Because, Dozie, it's been done before. We do this at Triablogue too, for we have well over 3000 articles in our archives. Bloggers with long track records in our view, and, it seems that of James, should have to reinvent the wheel. What should be done in this case is this: Read the archives and then come back with accurate quotes and responses, and then James may well (as we do at Tblog) respond more kindly. This isn't your blog, you don't get to play demagogue and demand answers that are in the archives already.c

GeneMBridges said...

Correction:

Bloggers with long track records in our view, and, it seems that of James, should have to reinvent the wheel.

Should be:Bloggers with long track records in our view, and, it seems that of James, should NOT have to reinvent the wheel.

Augustinian Successor said...

"I personally know of Calvinists who serve as Lutheran pastor/elders."

Amen.

David Ernst said...

"I personally know of Calvinists who serve as Lutheran pastor/elders."

There also are Roman Catholics who approve of birth control, abortion on demand, women priests, etc. Their views are not consistent with the historic confession of their church. Neither are the views of "Lutherans" who allow Calvinists to serve as pastors and elders.

Mary's Son said...

Aside from insulting the Holy Spirit,

How is it insulting the holy Spirit? I'm serious, I really don't wish to do that.

I believe the original point being made and to which this reply was made is that that person can turn to another local church.

I believe that was my point with the one hundred life boats.

So, let's put that to the test...has every local church begun since the Apostolic age itself survived to the present day? No.

To be accurate there are local churches. The local Catholic church has survived since the Apostolic age, the local churches you refer to have not been around that long.

Once again the Romanist shows a low view of Providence.

By the same token, so do you (see below).

Yes, God does let "lifeboats" (eg. local churches) "sink." It can be the result of apostasy, or for other reasons, for example because He wishes to reprobate a generation or more in an area, so he removes the means of grace dispensed through the local church (specifically the gospel preached itself).

There's not much here that I actually disagree with (sorry to disappoint your view of "Romanists") but the question is; has He done it? Maybe. But I'm sure that even you would agree that this would not mean that the universal church is lost as a whole; regardless of our opposition. This is where I believe that your low view of Gods' providence comes in, because the local church to you is just a set of doctrines that must stack up to your interpretation of Scripture. I don't wish here to underestimate the fellowship that is encountered here; but I speak of reasons for belonging to a particular local church, from a Protestant POV. The local church to me is one part of the whole. Even if the local church is apostate it is still a part of the body. If you break your arm do you cut it off? No, you put it in a cast and sling and carry it until it heals. There are extreme cases where the malady requires amputation, but in the case of the church, Christ is the surgeon and surgery is not scheduled until His return.

In Christ,

Richard

Dozie said...

Rhology said:

“But that can't be done with the Scr?”

And:

”As for me, my first reaction is to make sure it is an authoritative biblical teaching and if I do not understand it or even inclined to disagree, I also have to consider who the teacher is and in whose authority it teaches.”

The depravity of the above responses lies in the fact the appeal is useless to people who can neither read nor write, or can’t afford a bible, or lived before the age of the printing machine.

The responses further expose the condition and mind set of Protestants – every man on his own. They have no teachers and hate to have them; they are un-teachable and very often interpret their own hallucinations as teachings from the Holy Spirit.

Tim MD said...

Hi Alex,

I think it has something to do with reading a lot of Luther quotes and emulating his "style" of dealing with people.

God Bless You Alex, Tim

Dozie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dozie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dozie said...

“So, the Nicene Creed and Chalcedon, to name but two creeds teach a high Christology but Scripture does not. On this view, Scripture does not teach the Trinity with clarity and John's Gospel does not teach a high Christology. Where's the supporting argument?”

If the scriptures taught such things, how would you know? You have no assistance, period. Remember, the Ethiopian Eunuch could read (the bible said he was reading the prophet Isaiah) but could not understand. And so we have plenty of lunatics running around in Protestant circles and feeding people unadulterated poison and claiming they have the Holy Spirit as their teacher. Such is your condition.

“On this view, Scripture does not teach the Trinity with clarity and John's Gospel does not teach a high Christology”.

You need to review one of Robert Sungenis and James White debates where Robert asked James to show from the scriptures that Jesus had two wills. In five second, James White must have lost 10 lbs. Can you do better? Can you go to the bible and show us why you believe that Jesus has two wills or two natures, if this is in fact, your belief?

“How did the Jews muddle along without an infallible Magisterium? How did the Subapostolic Church have any idea of what books were canonical apart from a Magisterium?”

It would have been more beneficial and educational if you addressed how you, Mr. Genembridges, know what documents are parts of the canon. You have a question addressed to you and instead of answering; you go to pull down the Jews from wherever they are. Can you answer the simple question: How do you know what writings belong in the Christian canon?


“So, your first reaction is to beg the question in favor of Rome. Unlike you, we look to the Bible and test our teachers thereby. If we disagree with a teacher, we ask questions of that teacher.”

There is a memory problem here or something worse. If one recognized that since the inception of Christianity, there have probably been 10 times more Christians who either did not have access to the bible because there was not yet the printing press, or could not afford it, even in our day, or could not read, than there are those who are able to read, could afford it, and ca find a copy to buy. I know for a fact that there are tens of millions of Christians in Africa today who do not have bibles and who would find it less useful because they are not able to read or do not have the resources to buy one. How are these people to practice this kind of new age religion being advocated by an elitist group of yuppie Americans?


“Unlike you, we look to the Bible and test our teachers thereby.”

You would look to the Bible and test your teachers? Are they really your teachers or test boards? You believe your teachers could mount their pulpits and tell you they are preaching the Word of God to you but you don’t expect them to be teaching the truth always.

Notice your first reaction – has nothing to do with having faith but with starting a controversy – you put your teachers to the test. This again confirms what has already been stated; that while Protestants love to chant sola scriptura and sola fide, they love controversy more than having faith.

In any case, if you could really test your teachers, why do you have teachers in the first place? You really don’t need teachers then; you need students. Why bother going to hear a preacher; you will do well to save your gas, stay home and teach yourself as it ends up being the case anyway.

“Because, Dozie, it's been done before. We do this at Triablogue too, for we have well over 3000 articles in our archives. Bloggers with long track records in our view, and, it seems that of James, should have to reinvent the wheel. What should be done in this case is this: Read the archives and then come back with accurate quotes and responses, and then James may well (as we do at Tblog) respond more kindly.”

And you expect anyone who has even minimal respect for time to wade through 3000 articles to find an article. People who are used to writing and who want others to check out their stuff usually provide citations. If there are relevant articles in your archives, it is your duty to direct the one who may find it useful to the article, after all, it is your site and you know what you have in it.


“This isn't your blog, you don't get to play demagogue and demand answers that are in the archives already.”

I know that and I am beginning to expect that very soon you will take your “ball” and go home”, just to show you have some clout. It suggests to me that the writings here are for sports or some kind of showmanship and not for the pursuit of truth.

“No, the Bible's teaching is infallible. Infallibility is not "alien" to us.”

Yes, it is alien to you. I am astonished that for as long as you have been in this fighting enterprise, you have not understood that infallibility refers to a person and not to a book.

Augustinian Successor said...

"There also are Roman Catholics who approve of birth control, abortion on demand, women priests, etc. Their views are not consistent with the historic confession of their church. Neither are the views of "Lutherans" who allow Calvinists to serve as pastors and elders."

Yes, it's true. And it's an important point to remember. But that does not make them any less Lutheran. We can all agree many so-called confessional Lutherans today are no Lutherans at all. They are hung-up on liturgical issues and pay scant attention to justification by faith alone; they clamour for reunion whilst conveniently forgetting that the papacy is damned as the Antichrist in the confessions; they speak of the Lord's Supper as the Eucharist and divorce the Definitive Presence from the Gospel. Thus, what counts simply is the mere acknowledgement that there is a physical presence of Jesus in the bread and wine and not how this is related to the Gospel of justification by faith alone.

At the end of the day, Lutherans have nothing in common with Rome and everything in common with the Reformed, notwithstanding that the confessional boundaries must be upheld and respected.

Rhology said...

Dozie said:
The depravity of the above responses lies in the fact the appeal is useless to people who can neither read nor write, or can’t afford a bible, or lived before the age of the printing machine.

And the depravity of YOUR position lies in the fact that it is useless to people who are deaf and therefore can't hear the priest's homily, or who are celiac and can't eat the Eucharistic wafer, or who live in an area where there is no priest to administer confession or Mass.

This is special pleading on your part.
If you can't read or write, you ask someone else to read the Bible for you. If you can't afford one, go ask for one. I'd happily give one for free to anyone who can't afford it. If you live before the printing press, you go to church where Scr is read. Think a little.


The responses further expose the condition and mind set of Protestants – every man on his own.

And what you said: He trusts because he knows who the teacher is and has confidence in the teacher. He believes in order to understand

doesn't do so? In what way are the two statements different?

And you've been corrected more than once on the "every man on his own" thing. You should know it's a strawman, but apparently you don't care. Whatever is in the service of Mother Church...


They have no teachers and hate to have them

Why should anyone take you seriously?
One of the elders at my church is called the "teaching pastor". Prots all over the place submit themselves to the preaching of men like Billy Graham (for better or worse), John MacArthur, RC Sproul, etc. But that doesn't mean anything, right? I'm just a scum of the earth Protestant, after all.


they are un-teachable and very often interpret their own hallucinations as teachings from the Holy Spirit.

This is blatant emoting. What is your evidence for this statement?


If the scriptures taught such things, how would you know? You have no assistance, period.

What the Church teaches, how do you know it?


Remember, the Ethiopian Eunuch could read (the bible said he was reading the prophet Isaiah) but could not understand.

Yes, he was kind of, you know, not saved.
It was ONE GUY who helped him. Not the Magisterium, not the Pope, not The Church.


How do you know what writings belong in the Christian canon?

1) We trust God to communicate it to His people.
2) When it comes to a contention with Rome, the question of the Canon of Scr doesn't matter, b/c even if we grant that:
-there is a set Roman Canon (which there isn't)
-there is an infallible, set Roman Canon (which there isn't)
-the Roman Canon is true,
the Protestant soteriology, ecclesiology, and authority are still that which is taught by Scr. So in many ways the question is moot.
3) How do you know what belongs in the Canon?
4) How do you know what teachings are infallible from the church and which are not? Where is your list? Is it fallible or infallible? If infallible, do you know that infallibly? How?
If fallible, why should we listen to it (since you're the one critiquing fallibility and private interpretation all over the place)?


You believe your teachers could mount their pulpits and tell you they are preaching the Word of God to you but you don’t expect them to be teaching the truth always.

1) As opposed to a Roman priest, whom I can expect to preach the truth only occasionally.
2) We are explicitly told in the Scr to test all things. If you have a problem with that, talk to the Apostle Paul.


you put your teachers to the test.

Thereby obeying the Scr, yes.


while Protestants love to chant sola scriptura and sola fide, they love controversy more than having faith.

Then apparently the Scr is to blame.


if you could really test your teachers, why do you have teachers in the first place? You really don’t need teachers then; you need students.

Um, what is a teacher or a student without the counterpart?
Again, we test our teachers b/c the Scr tells us to.


Why bother going to hear a preacher; you will do well to save your gas, stay home and teach yourself as it ends up being the case anyway.

B/c the Scr tells us to.
Judging by your arguments, you need some practice contending with Protestants. I hope you're taking notes and won't make the same obvious and blatant mistakes again.


And you expect anyone who has even minimal respect for time to wade through 3000 articles to find an article.

Apparently, since you haven't taken the time to acquire even a basic understanding of Sola Scripturism, even one article is asking too much.

Peace,
Rhology

David Ernst said...

"At the end of the day, Lutherans have nothing in common with Rome and everything in common with the Reformed, notwithstanding that the confessional boundaries must be upheld and respected."

Actually, no. Lutherans have a lot in common with Rome, and much in common with the Reformed as well. There also are crucial differences between Roman, Lutheran and Reformed understandings of justification, sanctification, the nature and authority of the church, the authority of the Scriptures, and the sacraments. All three confessions cannot be considered equally valid in regard to these significant issues.

Now if Scripture is clear and contains all we need to know for our salvation, the answers to these questions already lie before us. Luther, in fact, did not invent the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Nor did he receive a direct revelation from God, or a special key to decoding the Scriptures.

We find in the Scriptures themselves the promise that the Holy Spirit will work through the proclamation of the written Word (Isaiah 55:10-11, Romans 10:14,2 Timothy 3:16). One consolation in this promise is that the pure Word of God will abide forever, regardless of our own argumentation or persuasiveness.

However, in regard to the various confessions (Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed), it implies that one must be the faithful exposition of the apostolic doctrine and the others contaminated with false doctrine that, if consistently believed and practiced, will lead away from saving faith in Christ (2 Peter 3:16).

Scripture commands us, as individual believers and as members of our local assemblies, only to hold fast to, but contend for pure doctrine (Jude 1:3) and to identify false prophets for what they are (1 John 4:1). Also, out of love for erring brothers and sisters, we must point out their errors.

Now, how might this be done? One method that has been tried repeatedly throughout the history of the Christian church is to have the secular state declare one confession and one church-body to be the official religion of the realm and impose sanctions against all who will not at least pay lip-service to the established church. (Of course, at the same time pressuring the established church to allow enough "wiggle room" in its doctrinal pronouncements to actually allow a wide variation of doctrine and practice for those willing to bow to the central authority.) The template for this approach is the Roman church.

One problem with this approach is that it replaces the power of the Holy Spirit working through Word and sacrament with the power of the secular state, that is to say, the sword. By the way, in response to the poster who said we should wait for "the great surgeon" to cut off any erring branches of the (Roman) church, the burning at stake of Lutherans and other "heretics" in Spain and other countries during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation periods sounds like major surgery to me.

Also, this approach ultimately failed to preserve the unity of western Christendom. One problem with the "Titanic" analogy used in some other posts is that the Titanic actually sunk, destroying many of its passengers in the process. Those who survived in lifeboats did not choose to board the lifeboats because they did not like the food being served or enjoy the music being played on the Titanic. Those in the Roman Catholic lifeboat to this day insist it really wasn't the captain's fault that the big ship went down, but rather the crew-members who raised the alarm about flooding below decks.

The other route is to allow freedom of worship according to one's conscience. This includes the freedom to associate with other who share one's particular beliefs, and, conversely, to disassociate from those who do not. United States history proves this can be a stable and prosperous arrangement.

But this liberty was built on the idea that fundamental articles of faith are too important to be decided by majority vote or federal fiat, not on indifference to Christian doctrine. Freedom of religion is implicit in the Reformation with its formulation of "the two kingdoms" (church and state), each with its appropriate jurisdiction, rather than 18th Century skepticism.

Certainly one does not obtain eternal life by wearing a badge that says "Lutheran", "Reformed", or "Roman Catholic". Within any organized church-body there will be false believers, those who go through the outward motions but do not truly have faith in Christ. God will judge these people in the end (Matthew 13:24-30).

Likewise, even in the most heterodox church-bodies, there may be those who cling solely to the Gospel of Christ, regardless of what other misleading doctrines they are taught. In the end, God will gather these to Himself as well (Mark 13:27).

In the meantime, I for one consider the honest Calvinist who says "I cannot consider myself a Lutheran because teachings of the Lutheran Church are not completely faithful to Scripture" worthy of nothing but respect. However, those who despise the very idea of sound doctrine, whatever they call themselves, are worthy of nothing but contempt.

I would advise anyone who values an outward show of "unity" over doctrinal integrity to seriously consider joining the Roman Catholic church. Again, in sacrificing doctrinal integrity for external unity, Rome did it first and best.

Dozie said...

“And the depravity of YOUR position lies in the fact that it is useless to people who are deaf and therefore can't hear the priest's homily, or who are celiac and can't eat the Eucharistic wafer …”

If you can find a Catholic sola principle similar to what you have in Protestantism, perhaps you can begin to make some sense. God is sovereign and can save whoever he wishes to save. But this is a shift in the discussion.

“If you can't read or write, you ask someone else to read the Bible for you. If you can't afford one, go ask for one.”

Your prescriptions show a very limited world view. If you can expand your mind you can conceive of a situation where your neighbor and your neighbor’s neighbor can neither read nor write and not able to afford bibles, or lived in an age where there were no bibles to purchase. You seem to think you are the center of the universe.

“I'd happily give one for free to anyone who can't afford it.”

What version will you give away?
You seem to forget that Christianity did not begin in 2006.
“If you live before the printing press, you go to church where Scr is read.”

And if you disagree, you are able to put your teachers to test!!!

“Think a little.”

It is not necessarily about me. May be you can begin to compare the intellectual patrimony of the Catholic Church against yours, whatever it may be.

L P Cruz said...

It's a shame the holy Spirit lets it's own ship sink; but it's okay because bibles float (or do they?).

This one contains a false premise. The HS lets the ship sink because it is not its own.

Actually, no. Lutherans have a lot in common with Rome, and much in common with the Reformed as well.

Actually yes, have you studied the Heidelberg Catechism? It was written by an ex-Lutheran.

I for one deny we have more in common with Rome when in fact Rome is semi-pelagian and about all the words we use are taken differently by them. We may sound the same, look the same and smell the same but we do not MEAN the WORDS to be the SAME!

Calvinists have more in common with us because Calvin mostly took his cue from us with modifications.

LPC

David Ernst said...

"...have you studied the Heidelberg Catechism? It was written by an ex-Lutheran."

And the Lutheran Confessions were written by a bunch of ex-Catholics. That proves nothing about the validity of the content.

I never said Lutherans have more in common with Roman Catholics than Calvinists, I said while there are broad areas of agreement between all three groups, there are crucial differences.

"We may sound the same, look the same and smell the same but we do not MEAN the WORDS to be the SAME!"

I believe that my posts here have been much more critical of Roman Catholicism than Calvinism, so I am not sure what has your back up. But, no, Calvinism is not Lutheranism "with a few modifications". And, no, documents issued by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and/or the Lutheran World Federation mean nothing to me.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Actually, no. Lutherans have a lot in common with Rome, and much in common with the Reformed as well. There also are crucial differences between Roman, Lutheran and Reformed understandings of justification, sanctification, the nature and authority of the church, the authority of the Scriptures, and the sacraments. All three confessions cannot be considered equally valid in regard to these significant issues."

No, you're sorely wrong on all accounts. This probably stems from your confusion regarding the issues. Look, the Lutheran does not have much in common with Rome. Why? Because the Gospel is determinative of everything in theology. This is Lutheranism, by the way where the Gospel of justification by faith alone is hub, nub, whatever of everything about theology, implicit and explicit. Talk about the ELCA! Officially, the ELCA would only grant sola fide is the starting-point or foundation of theology but not its end as well.

Now, therefore, Lutherans have much more in common with the Reformed. Listen here: bondage of the will, predestination, monergism, sola Scriptura and sola fide.

"I believe that my posts here have been much more critical of Roman Catholicism than Calvinism, so I am not sure what has your back up. But, no, Calvinism is not Lutheranism "with a few modifications". And, no, documents issued by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and/or the Lutheran World Federation mean nothing to me."

In case you were aware already, this blog is not criticising Lutheranism. This blog is called Beggars All Reformation and Martin Luther feature prominently in this blog. This blog therefore is about Reformation Christians in this day and age continuing the struggle for the purity of the Gospel overagainst Rome. And that means both Lutherans and Reformed.

So, it's about unity, unity in the truth of the Word of God, of the Gospel, in the cause of the Reformation and so on and so forth.

So, for the Lutherans serving as Reformed ministers/elders, and vice-versa, they may not be faithful to their confessions but they cannot be faulted in respect of their allegiance to Martin Luther. Read the Bondage of the Will, and you'll know why.

Rhology said...

Dozie said:
If you can expand your mind you can conceive of a situation where your neighbor and your neighbor’s neighbor can neither read nor write and not able to afford bibles, or lived in an age where there were no bibles to purchase.

If you can expand your mind you can conceive of a situation where your neighbor and your neighbor’s neighbor can neither read nor write and not able to afford papal encyclicals, or lived in an age where there were no papal encyclicals to purchase.

You seem to think you are the center of the universe.

B/c I suggested that someone who wants to find a Bible and prays to find one will often have his prayer answered by the Lord? Yes, how foolish and self-centered I am.

What version will you give away?
You seem to forget that Christianity did not begin in 2006.


???
I'll give them one they can read. Sheesh.

And if you disagree, you are able to put your teachers to test!!!

Or I could be like you and NOT do so, thereby violating Scr.

May be you can begin to compare the intellectual patrimony of the Catholic Church against yours

As if it's a question of intellectual patrimony, rather than fidelity to Scr.
And if the way you answer some questions and ignore others is any indication, I think my church is doing just fine.

Peace,
Rhology

David Ernst said...

"Listen here: bondage of the will, predestination, monergism, sola Scriptura and sola fide."

The confusion is all yours. Lutherans agree with only the first two of the five points -- and only then with reservations. (If you had really read "On the Bondage of the Will", you would grasp this).

Calvinists believe in reprobation; Lutherans do not. Lutherans believe in universal atonement; Calvinists do not. Lutherans believe in baptismal regeneration; Calvinists do not. Lutherans believe in they receive the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist; Calvinists do not.

I would guess that most of the people who post here understand these issues and why they should be considered significant by both Lutherans and Calvinists. Apparently you do not.

You are also mistaken if you think confessional Lutherans are concerned with anyone's "allegiance to Martin Luther", nor to some vague thing called "the Gospel", that we define any way we please. One's allegiance should be to the whole Word of God. Our Lord's command is to "make disciples...teaching them to observe all the things that I have commanded you."

As I have said, I enjoy this Web site because James Swan's Luther research is very fair-minded and I personally find it useful. Generally there is no misrepresentation of Luther's life and teaching on the part of the Calvinists here. So I have no quarrel with them.

You, however, are misrepresenting historic Lutheran doctrine in the interest of what you call "unity". I do object to that.

Carrie said...

This blog therefore is about Reformation Christians in this day and age continuing the struggle for the purity of the Gospel overagainst Rome. And that means both Lutherans and Reformed.

Well said!

Dozie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dozie said...

"I'll give them one they can read. Sheesh."

This individual seems to place the age of Christianity to his birthday. For a split second, try thinking of a time when there were no bibles to be given away, ok. Those people, too, were Christians,even better ones.

Even today, there are wars, in the name of debates, within Protestantism, regarding which version of the bible is true and which ones are false, the KJV only controversy for example. There are a "thousand" bible versions that a Protestant does not ordinarily have confidence in the bibles he can read; he has to call Hank Hannagraff, or James White, etc, to determine which version he should buy.

The shallowness of Protestant responses goes again and again to what one of their best minds has described as the "scandal of the mind".

Rhology said...

For a split second, try thinking of a time when there were no bibles to be given away, ok.

For a split second, try thinking of a time when there were no papal encyclicals to be given away, OK?
You do realise the double-edged nature of the sword you're swinging?
Why can't this exact same objection be leveled against your position?

regarding which version of the bible is true and which ones are false

So the disunity of followers of the rule of faith proves the rule of faith is inadequate?
You're just as screwed as I am.

How about which part of tradition is Tradition? Isn't that a more pressing issue than choosing between the RSV, KJV, NIV, or NASB?

Dozie said...

"For a split second, try thinking of a time when there were no papal encyclicals to be given away, OK?
You do realise the double-edged nature of the sword you're swinging?
Why can't this exact same objection be leveled against your position?"

A Catholic does not ever have to hear of encyclicals to be a good Catholic; he does not ever have to know what it means. In Catholicism, we do not have the sola problem you deal with in Protestantism - we do not have "sola encyclicals" principle you have in your religion. So, you are comparing apples with oranges.

"How about which part of tradition is Tradition? Isn't that a more pressing issue than choosing between the RSV, KJV, NIV, or NASB?"

FYI, a Catholic is required to believe everything the Church proposes for our salvation, period. That's the more important thing to hold on to.

Rhology said...

Then how does the Catholic know what the Church teaches?
Is it not thru the proclamation of Church teaching?
Why couldn't that be done with biblical teaching too?


FYI, a Catholic is required to believe everything the Church proposes for our salvation, period. That's the more important thing to hold on to.

So the answer is: Whatever the Church says is Tradition is Tradition, not all tradition is Tradition, the Church distinguishes it.
Do you know those things infallibly? How?

Dozie said...

"Why couldn't that be done with biblical teaching too?"

Because some bloody fools distort what the bible teaches for what they think it teaches. Only the Catholic Church has the charism of teaching faithfully what God wants us to get out of the bible.

"So the answer is: Whatever the Church says is Tradition is Tradition..."

You got this one right. I am not the creator of Catholic Traditions and I must look to the Church to tell me what I must believe.

As a Protestant, you must have the experience that different sects within your religion, even while claiming to base their practices on the bible alone, have very different requirements for attaining salvation. For me, I only depend on what the Church teaches.

"Do you know those things infallibly?

The Church is the pillar and foundation of the faith. On her I must depend on my learning. Of course you disagree that the Church is the pillar and foundation and you have built up new foundations.


"How?"

I learned from infancy, just as Thimothy did, about the truth of Jesus Christ, his gospel, and his Church.

Rhology said...

Only the Catholic Church has the charism of teaching faithfully what God wants us to get out of the bible.

But between the Church's teaching (oral or written, either way), the individual private interpration stands in the way. Why is it not a problem when it comes to church teaching but it is a problem when it comes to biblical teaching?


I am not the creator of Catholic Traditions and I must look to the Church to tell me what I must believe.

But the NT church didn't teach what your church teaches.
There is no unanimous consent of the Church throughout history, yet the Church has claimed that for support of her dogma.


For me, I only depend on what the Church teaches.

And yet you have to subject the CHurch's teaching to your own private interpretation, just like I do for the Bible. Why is the former better than the latter?
Infallible charism or not, not even you believe that the INDIVIDUAL ends up infallible. Right?


"Do you know those things infallibly?

The Church is the pillar and foundation of the faith. On her I must depend on my learning. Of course you disagree that the Church is the pillar and foundation and you have built up new foundations.


So... do you know those things infallibly? How?


I learned from infancy, just as Thimothy did, about the truth of Jesus Christ, his gospel, and his Church.

Why won't you answer the question? It's not complicated.
Do you know these things infallibly? How?
If not, why make all this hay about infallibility?

David Ernst said...

Contemporary English translations of the Bible available to Roman Catholics include:

1. The "Catholic edition" of the Revised Standard Version, published by St. Ignatius Press.

2. The "Catholic edition" of the New Revised Standard Version from New Oxford University Press.

3. The New American Bible, said to be "the Bible Catholics hear during Sunday Mass readings, and thus a popular choice among Catholics."

4. The New Jerusalem Bible, first published by Doubleday, 1985.

5. The "Catholic edition" of the American Bible Society's Good News translation.

These translations are listed as at least acceptable for use by Catholics on the www.americancatholic.org Web site. Also listed are various translations for which no "Catholic edition" (i.e., including the "deuterocanonical" books), and also translations which are not at all acceptable (paraphrases, abridged Bibles and translations that use "radically inclusive language").

The source for these recommendations is Ronald D. Witherup, a priest of the Society of St. Sulpice (S.S.). He was formerly academic dean and professor at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California, and currently is provincial of the U.S. Province of Sulpicians in Baltimore, Maryland.

Several questions arise. The Roman Catholic Church has not given one particular English translation the infallible stamp of approval, but rather Catholics have a list of translations with varying levels of recommendation, some published by non-Catholic organizations. So why is having an array of translations from which to choose a problem for Protestants, but not for Catholics?

Also, just as for many years the King James Bible was the standard translation for English-speaking Protestants, Catholics for nearly the same period of time had only the Douay-Rheims translations. The contemporary-English Catholic Bibles, like their Protestant counterparts, all are of relatively recent origin. Since the English language has changed that much over the last 50 years and since Catholics allegedly have the advantage of an infallible magisterium, why was there a need to produce a whole series of new English translations for Catholics?

Finally, Gutenberg patented his moveable-type printing press in 1439. Since that time, many parts of the world have achieved almost universal literacy. Following the line of argument that "sola Scriptura" was not "practical" during periods when most people were illiterate and printed materials were scarce, one must ask, what's the problem with it now? Does it not follow that the idea of an infallible magisterium has served its purpose and is now obsolete?

David Ernst said...

Also there is this from www.ewtn.com:

"A bewildering array of Catholic Bibles are available for personal use. They all have imprimaturs, but not all avoid the use of inclusive language."

http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/bible_versions.htm