Thursday, August 14, 2008

Magisterial snobbery

Alexander Greco has graced us with an exposition of the worth of the Magisterium.

He apparently can't tell when I am engaging his position on its own grounds. He and Dozie continually attribute the logical conclusions of the Roman position to my own.
Reading this post would do them some good.

Being aware that their understanding of my philosophy was flawed, I began to clarify my philosophy by both narrowly defining certain principles and outright condemning others on an ad hoc basis.

Holy Spirit's job, sometimes working thru people, sometimes not.


Surely after I have "Greco's Philosophy for Dummies" published there will still be people who just do not get it; however, there are those who would.

Correct. And presumably, one would not find, in a work on Greco's philosophy, absolutely nothing on a topic (say, the Assumption of the BVM or the Immaculate Conc) but go ahead and say it's there anyway, and then have you come and affirm that it really is there.
Or...maybe it WOULD happen like that.


Would I totally eradicate misunderstanding? Of course not!

So what you're saying is, it's not the Bible's fault if people misunderstand. Thank you - that is my point exactly.


if he were to do that, then why would he have allowed us to become sinners to begin with?).

Maybe b/c He has a perfect plan that you, as a limited human, don't fully understand.
I refuse to let someone get away with the argument-equivalent of putting God in the dock. You don't get to judge His plan. You are to submit to it.


You emphasis the erroneous straw man idea that the individual must know infallibly, or have infallible knowledge in order to have certainty regardless of the amount of clarification given to them

Actually, that would be you and Dozie who emphasise that very thing.


Have you not considered that certainty can be a gradual process?

Sure. But how does that leave a Magisterium-based epistemology in better position than Sola Scrip?


how does this take away from the objective value in an infallible Magisterium?

B/c the very grounds you use to criticise Sola Scrip - that people don't understand it, people misinterp it, people end up in disunity, people end up disagreeing - you've just admitted are the case or could be the case for your own position. But have you not considered that certainty can be a gradual process?


Can the Bible actively tell you when you have erroneously derived false doctrines?

The Holy Spirit does. This is not that hard, seriously.


you might claim that it could, by reading Scripture within context and exegetically.

1) That's part of what the HS uses to bring us into understanding.
2) You have to do that with Magisterial proclamations, the same as the Scr. Yet somehow Magisterial documents are better, more sure, have better communicative ability.


Could the Holy Spirit guided Church actively tell you when you have erroneously derived false doctrines?

Happens all the time. What do you think excommunication is for?
What do you think 2 Tim 3:15-17 and the surrounding context are talking about? Or 1 Tim 3:15, for that matter? An infallible Magisterium is not required to accomplish that!


Yes as evidenced in history.

And history also evidences loads of Church screw-ups.
See, on the one hand you say "the Church" will serve as the always-good guide. Yet the Church is made of people, and people, by your own admission, "are complex animals who contain the rational faculty, but due to other factors they do not always make the best use of this faculty". which is it?


Mind you that the Bible is only acting passively, dependent upon you to find the correct meaning.

Thank God for providing His Holy Spirit, for not leaving us alone.
You continue to strawman the Sola Scrip position. Is it really that hard to learn?


It cannot stop you and say, “Hey, you are not reading me correctly.”

Paul never does that in Romans 6? Mark never does it in Mark 7? The Psalm 119 Psalter didn't think the HS can, thru the Scripture?


You might claim that another believer could stop and correct you. However, you are still left with their possible erroneous beliefs which influence their reading of the text.

1) That's one reason why the church is there. God uses means to accomplish His will, you know.
2) If you are reading a Church document in error, you might claim that another believer, even a priest, could stop and correct you. However, you are still left with their possible erroneous beliefs which influence their reading of the text. when's the last time you received direct correspondence from the Magisterium? Could you scan the letter and post it somewhere, in photobucket? What did you ask them? What did they say?


On the other hand, when the Holy Spirit-guided Magisterium steps in to correct you via infallible proclamations, their corrections are infallible (when proclaimed to be)

When was the last time an infallible correction was made?
Then, when was it proclaimed to be?
Does the Magisterium ever make fallible proclamations?
How do you know the difference?
How do you know the difference infallibly? If you don't know it infallibly, does it matter whether you know the difference infallibly? What is the difference, if not, between that situation and a believer reading the Scr?


So the Protestant has his fallible teacher and fallible self, and the Catholic has his infallible teacher and fallible self.

The Sola Scripturist's teachers are the Scripture and the Holy Spirit.
John 6:45 - "It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."
1 John 2:27 - As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
Jeremiah 31:34 - "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

The church's job, biblically, is to teach the Scr to believers and call out sin, etc.
The source is infallible. The guide is infallible. The individual teacher is fallible.

Contrast that with the Roman system, on the Roman position.
The Scr is (supposedly) infallible (though that depends on which Romanist you ask).
The Magisterium can be infallible, when it 'wants' to be.
The individual reader of a Magisterial/papal infallible proclamation and/or the priest who teaches it, expounds on it, and answers questions about it to his congregation is fallible.

Tell me again where the advantage is? At least with the Sola Scrip position, we KNOW that the Scr is infallible. We apparently can't know the Scr is infallible, and we certainly can't know when the Magisterium is speaking infallibly, on the Roman position.








(Edits in green, for clarification's sake - see Alexander Greco's first comment)

45 comments:

Alexander Greco said...

I am about to leave for work, so I will not respond until tomorrow, but to say that I meant to insert *guided* between Holy Spirit and Magisterium here:
"On the other hand, when the Holy Spirit GUIDED Magisterium steps in to correct you"

Let's also include at the end of "correct you": via infallible proclamations.

Rhology said...

OK, I just edited the post to clarify. I'm quite familiar with mistakes in my comments!

Carrie said...

Jinx!

I read Greco's comment on the other post before leaving for work and was planning to repond with a link to Steve Hays well-worded post when I got home, but you saved me the time.

I just cannot understand why RCs cannot grasp that their arguments against Sola Scriptura cut against their own infallible interpreter concept. If RCs want to argue for the validity of Holy Mother Church, the "need for the certainty provided by an infallible interpreter" will get them nowhere fast.

EA said...

If RCs want to argue for the validity of Holy Mother Church, the "need for the certainty provided by an infallible interpreter" will get them nowhere fast.

Yes, and that's not the end of the troubles either. After all, Holy Scripture is God's (Infallible) Revelation to us, to suggest that
another "Infallible Revelator" is required to teach God's Holy Word is to infer that the original revelation was somehow insufficient.

Further, the RCC's doctrine of infallibility protects only the institution from teaching error, it does nothing to protect the end user (laity).

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

This is worth some further commentary, given Mr. Greco's little rant in our combox at Tblog recently:

so the Protestant has his fallible teacher and fallible self, and the Catholic has his infallible teacher and fallible self.

What exactly does this mean?

If by this he means that Scripture is his fallible teacher and that the Protestant has his fallible self, then that's blasphemy. Is the Bible fallible? Hmmm, maybe so, given the nature of current Catholic scholarship, but since Greco runs to Sippo, I doubt he means this.

So, what he's doing is saying that the Protestant has a fallible teacher (like a pastor/elder - an ecclesiastical person or body or confessional document, theology texts, etc) and his fallible self and then he's equating the Magisterium with and ecclesiatical body and his fallible self.

But how is this any improvement?

Bible (infallible) plus fallible Protestant is functionally equivalent to infallible Magisterium and fallible Catholic. So, clearly, this is epistemic par QED.

On the other hand it could be that he is claiming that because the Magisterium is infallible, the fallible Catholic is in a better (epistemological) position with respect to the ecclesiastical teacher/authority.

What a stunning conclusion...but does it logically follow? No,for why should we accept that the Magisterium is, indeed, infallible? Why should we agree to cast the issue in terms of ecclesiastical authority? And if the Bible is infallible and teaches us, then the argument is defeated.

Mr. Greco is forgetting yet again that you can't make infallibility jump from the page to mind of the percipient. The fallible percipient has to interpret the Magisterium - if you can find its address, and we know that the address shifts, given Dulles' book. The interpreter of Scripture should also be able to tell us which Scriptures it has infallibly interpreted, right?

Ah, the Catholic says, it doesn't need to do that directly, it need only do it be defining a dogma. Okay, but this involves a vicious regress. Take the standard prooftexts they offer for their ecclesiastical authority. It's a vicious regress to use the standard dogmatic definitions Rome itself provides in order to determine the meaning of these texts. That's standard logical argumentation. It must be something in the sacramental wine, or maybe its the checking of their intellect at the door that has caused their cerebral matter to atrophy.

The basic problem is that infallibility doesn't jump from the voice or the text directly into the mind of hearer or reader. If you're going to claim that the RECIPIENT of teaching (whether it be Scripture or a Magisterial document, statement, etc.) is in a better EPISTEMOLOGICAL position, then, yes the RECIPIENT/PERCIPIENT must also be infallible.

Why? When you are talking about an epistemological question, the issue isn't the infallibility of the teacher, whether the Bible itself or an ecclesiastical authority, which sets ABOVE the percipient/recipient, the issue is the percipient/recipient, eg. the fallible Protestant or Catholic. That's how epistemology works; it doesn't work from the top (the source) down, rather it works from the bottom (the recipient/percipient) up. If the recipient/percipient is fallible in both cases, then the two are both on epistemic par.

In the case of Catholicism, the Catholic is relying on the alleged infallibility of his ecclesiastical teacher (vs. the fallibility of the Protestant's ecclesiastical teacher) to alleviate this problem, but that won't cut, for it only introduces another layer of authority between him and the Bible itself, while, apparently forgetting that the Bible is infallible and sets over the fallible ecclesiatical teacher of the Protestant, and it introduces another set of problems for the Catholic...to quote Steve:

“The person who submits his interpretation to the judgment of the magisterium of the Church must, of course, interpret the words in the magisterium's judgment, but being under the authority of the magisterium means that if necessary, he submits even his interpretation of the magisterium's judgment to the magisterium.”

i) But that’s regressive. If he submits his interpretation of the magisterium to the magisterium, and the magisterium comments on his interpretation of the magisterium, then he must interpret the magisterial commentary on his interpretation of the magisterium. So Bryan has merely pushed the original conundrum back a step. He has failed to solve the problem he posed for himself.

ii) In addition, his hypothetical is a paper theory since, as a matter of fact, the magisterium doesn’t begin to comment on every Catholic’s interpretation of magisterial teaching. Hence, as a practical matter, almost every Catholic is thrown back on his own, “individualistic” resources.

What fraction of a fraction of a billion Catholics submits its interpretation to the Magisterium? And is the Magisterium in a position to respond? Obviously not. Only a handful of high-profile Catholics ever receives magisterial scrutiny.

and on top of that, you have to be able to locate the Magisterium.

In the end, the Catholic is still fallible, so he has no greater certainty than the Protestant who is also fallible. Our rules of faith are on epistemic par at the level of the recipient/percipient, which is where it really matters, if in both cases they are fallible.

Alexander Greco said...

I'm sorry, but what does this mean:
"but since Greco runs to Sippo, I doubt he means this"

When did I run to Sippo?

Alexander Greco said...

Rhology: OK, I just edited the post to clarify. I'm quite familiar with mistakes in my comments!

Me: Thanks!

Alexander Greco said...

Gene: If by this he means that Scripture is his fallible teacher and that the Protestant has his fallible self, then that's blasphemy. Is the Bible fallible?

Me: When I stated teacher I was referring to your Pastor, or brother in the faith.

Frank said...

First timer here. I've been a Catholic all my life. I have no problem understanding any of the Church's teaching. The Church says don't use condoms, I don't use them. The Church says marriage is for life, then its for life. I don't know what the problem here is with these wise guys who keep attacking Catholics. What, did some Catholic kid kick the crap out of your son or something?

Carrie said...

Bible (infallible) plus fallible Protestant is functionally equivalent to infallible Magisterium and fallible Catholic. So, clearly, this is epistemic par QED.

Definitely on par, at least.

But I think the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the individual hearer gives the Protestant the advantage. But then I never did understand the HS's role in Catholic laity. They always talk about the HS-guided church but I hope they wouldn't try to claim that the HS guides their individual understanding of magisterial "revelation" b/c if that could happen, then why not for scripture.

Carrie said...

I have no problem understanding any of the Church's teaching.

Fabulous, you are just the guy I need.

Can you explain your church's view on Christ's atonement? Can you tell me who is right on the doctrine of predestination, the Molinist or the Thomist? Does the church hold to the partim-partim view of scripture and tradition or material/formal sufficiency? Can you give me a list of mortal sins that if committed would disqualify one from eternal life? What is your church's official exegesis of Acts 4:5? How exactly can I be right with God?

I'm sure there are many more questions I have, but that is a start.

I don't know what the problem here is with these wise guys who keep attacking Catholics.

Frank, if you are new here then maybe you don't realize this isn't amount emotions or likes and dislikes. It is about who is faithful to God's revelation and who is not. We want you and your fellow Catholics to be right with God, not right with men.

Dozie said...

"Can you explain your church's view on Christ's atonement? Can you tell me who is right on the doctrine of predestination, the Molinist or the Thomist? Does the church hold to the partim-partim view of scripture and tradition or material/formal sufficiency? Can you give me a list of mortal sins that if committed would disqualify one from eternal life? What is your church's official exegesis of Acts 4:5? How exactly can I be right with God?"

Your questions suggest either of two things:

1. You know next to nothing about the Catholic faith, or

2. You are insincere about your questioning.

Before answering your questions, one needs to be sure which of the two options best fits you, otherwise it would be a waste of Catholic time. It may turn out you fall in both categories.

Jugulum said...

Dozie, can you articulate what was Carrie's intended point with her questions?

Jugulum said...

Frank,

OK, you're a first-timer. Your reply suggests to me that you're missing the context.

This post--and the more extended exchange of which it is part--is not intended to say, "You Catholics have a problem." Rather, it is a response to a common Catholic argument, where Catholics say that Protestants have a problem--but Catholics turn out to have the same problem. It's not a show-stopping problem in either case. (BTW, I recently summarized my contribution to the exchange here.)

Many Catholics will argue that because we're all fallible interpreters, it's not enough just to read the Bible--we need the Magisterium to interpret it for us. And if we refer to them, then "a person has the possibility to know that he or she is holding beliefs at variance with sound doctrine, and can avoid this." Protestants, supposedly, don't have the possibility to know if we're getting things wrong. Apparently we're just lost, without an infallible Magisterium to tell us what Scripture means.

The point is not, "Catholic teachings are hard to understand." The point is, "If you can be confident that you correctly understand Catholic teaching, then we can be confident that we correctly understand Scripture." In both cases, there's the same possibility that we might misunderstand the infallible source.

Whatever infallible source we're looking at--the Bible, or the (allegedly) infallible Magisterium--when we listen, we have to interpret.

Sure, it's easy to understand, "Don't use condoms." It's just as easy to understand, "You shall not covet." We're on the same ground when we read the Bible that you are when you listen to the Magisterium. (And then there are harder questions--areas where Bible-believing Protestants disagree. And there are the questions Carrie asked you about Catholic teaching, where Catholics disagree about what the Church teaches.)

Alexander Greco said...

Carrie, are you serious? Is this really a question you would like to make?

Carrie: Can you give me a list of mortal sins that if committed would disqualify one from eternal life?

Me: Your other questions would take a little more time to answer. I am heading off to Mass, today is the feast of the Assumption of Mary. I will ask her to intercede on your behalf to her Son.

As to your question, what part of *mortal* do you not understand? All mortal sins deprive one of eternal life. They bring about a willful rebellion against God's free but uncoerced gift of eternal life.

Carrie said...

As to your question, what part of *mortal* do you not understand? All mortal sins deprive one of eternal life. They bring about a willful rebellion against God's free but uncoerced gift of eternal life.

Sorry, perhaps my phrasing was confusing.

I meant, what sins exactly are mortal sins?

2. You are insincere about your questioning.

Yes, I am somewhat insincere about "needing" answers. My questions are to show Frank that there are many questions for which your church cannot give a clear answer. I don't believe any Catholic here can give clear, certain answers to my questions - but feel free to prove me wrong.

Remember, the RC argument is that the magisterium is necessary (over and above scripture)to provide certainty and clarity on important issues of salvation of faith - I'm just testing this hypothesis. If I can end up in hell by committing a mortal sin then very high on my list would be knowing exactly which sins are mortal sins.

Rhology said...

Make sure the list of mortal sins and their conditions are infallible. According to what you've been saying, fallible stuff is worthless.

Frank Luciani said...

"Can you explain your church's view on Christ's atonement? Can you tell me who is right on the doctrine of predestination, the Molinist or the Thomist? Does the church hold to the partim-partim view of scripture and tradition or material/formal sufficiency? Can you give me a list of mortal sins that if committed would disqualify one from eternal life? What is your church's official exegesis of Acts 4:5? How exactly can I be right with God?"


Carrie,
What? What is all of this nonsense? Why do you need a list of mortal sins? This stuff is common sense. If you commit a serious sin like killing someone and you are unrepentant you go to hell. The Church does have a Catechism that explains all of this stuff. This is not rocket science here.

It seems to me your reaching for reasons to reject Christianity my friend. You ask, how can we know for sure? How do we know about predestination? How do we know this, how do we know that? It comes down to faith and whether or not your going to trust Christ and His Church, thats what we know princess. What are you worried about predestination for? Do you think your chosen for hell anyway? Or are you one of these nuts who thinks they are the chosen anointed ones that are guaranteed a seat in heaven no matter how they act or what they do?

That predestination nonsense is a phony pile of rubbish, where one uses the predestination scapegoat to excuse them for their immoral acts. Then you can just blame God. I've got some breakfast to cook princess. Go buy a Catechism. Maybe that will help you with the 10 commandments. You can start your list with, Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not cheat on your wife...you know the basic stuff. Then maybe you can graduate to not killing your baby, or contracepting.

Alexander Greco said...

It is simply intellectually dishonest to proclaim that the Magisterium's mode of teaching and Scripture's mode as well are funtionally equivalent because for the Magisterium's method to be superior, it would require its recepient to have the charism of infallibility as well. To make this statement you would be implying that there is no objective difference in clarity. Well objective reasoning would differ with you. It is simply foolish to make this proclamation. How many text books in theology do the various Protestant groups publish? I know that my father-in-law (Baptist pastor) has several, including Hodge. What about confessions of faith? Yet all of you would admit that these confessions and commentaries provide some clarification, otherwise what is their usefulness? If they are functionally equivalent to Scripture (apart from their fallibleness) then they are useless. Your own practices defeat your bogus arguments. The relevant differences reside in the fact that the Official Magisterium's dogmatic teachings are infallible. I believe that that is certainly better than your fallible confessions.

For all we know the recipient of the teaching might suffer from mental retardation, but this does not discredit the information provided.

Jugulum said...

It is simply intellectually dishonest to proclaim that the Magisterium's mode of teaching and Scripture's mode as well are funtionally equivalent because for the Magisterium's method to be superior, it would require its recepient to have the charism of infallibility as well. To make this statement you would be implying that there is no objective difference in clarity.

Alexander,

I agree. I know it wasn't my point to say that the two modes of teaching are perfectly functionally equivalent (see my comments to Frank), and I doubt it was anyone else's point, either. (Others can explain for themselves. If anyone did mean that the two are perfectly equivalent, I would disagree.)

Your last sentence gets down to the issue, which I know that I pointed out a couple weeks ago. You can claim that the Magisterium is clear & perspicuous while the Bible isn't.

If you make that claim, you have to support it. Why should we believe that God gave the Magisterium a clarity of communication which he withheld from the Scriptures? Or, why should we believe that the Holy Spirit teaches the Body to understand Scripture through an identifiable, infallible Magisterium?

From there, hopefully, the argument goes to Scripture. Does the Bible teach us to submit to the Magisterium or not? In what sense does Scripture "thoroughly equip" us, what is tradition, how is the church "the pillar of the truth", etc.

bkaycee said...

Were the letters of Paul written to the various churches meant to be understood by those very churches?

Or were they up the creek without a magisterium?

Who infallibly interpreted Paul's letters to Timothy, so Timothy himself could understand them?

Frank Luciani said...

"The point is not, "Catholic teachings are hard to understand." The point is, "If you can be confident that you correctly understand Catholic teaching, then we can be confident that we correctly understand Scripture." In both cases, there's the same possibility that we might misunderstand the infallible source."

The problem here pal is that you are starting your own religion with the Bible. It is common sense that tells you to follow the Bible in its historical setting, which doesn't include your man made self appointed "pastor" who teaches his own interpretations of it. Any parrot can rattle off Scripture verses and claim to know what they mean. But only the Church can prove that it has been teaching by Christ's authority and it has existed since Christ. Use your heads for a change. The Catholic Church is not physics course Tesla..We don't need any self appointed prophets to needle us over any crazy un-Biblical interpretations of the Bible. Thats a cool oxymoron huh? How do you like that one Francis?

GeneMBridges said...

When I stated teacher I was referring to your Pastor, or brother in the faith.

Okay, fine, but this still doesn't work for you, for the Bible sets above the pastor/teacher, and he is still a recipient/percipient.

I might add that this is one of the problems in arguing with Catholics from time to time when discussing our rules of faith. On the one hand they call Protestants their own popes on the notion of personal or individual interpretation of the biblical text itself. So the form of the argument is from Bible to layman, not Bible to pastor to layman. Then, on the other, they argue from pastor to layman, on the basis of a mediating authority.

They seem to forget that the pastor is, in our rule of faith, one of the ordinary means by which the layperson can (better) understand the text of Scripture. His ecclesiastical authority to teach is drawn from (a) regeneration (see John L. Dagg) and calling and (b) his spiritual gift to teach. There is no biblical promise that an elder is infallible in the exercise of that or any other gift. His "authority" elsewise extends to the adminstration of the local church, interchurch representation of the local church or presbytery, and church discipline.

The pastor is subject to Scripture. To take a concrete example, I don't agree with everything that my pastor/s teach. I'm a Reformed Baptist. For pragmatic reasons related to fuel costs right now, I attend a PCA church. I disagree with them over their doctrine of baptism, because I test what they teach by Scripture. I don't have a big problem with their interchurch polity, but then I don't think the Bible says much about that sort of relationship. I agree with them over the doctrines of grace, the rule of faith, etc. as these, IMO, are higher order doctrines than "whose baptism is right." They credobaptize (a fact most Baptists forget) and practice open communion. Most Baptists only practice closed communion. I disagree with my Baptist brothers over that.

So, appealing to a mediating teaching authority, Alexander doesn't cut it for you.

And, for you in particular, as a Catholic can't get infallibility to jump from the Magisterium into your own mind, Alexander. You are still fallible. Ergo, epistemic par. You are NOT in a superior epistemic position to me, whether or not you phrase the argument in terms of the Bible to me or from the Bible to a mediating teaching office to me.

You still have to find the Magisterium.

You can't be sure, because you are fallible, that your interpretation of the Magisterium is correct. So, if it's a problem for me relative to the Bible or the teacher of the Bible (pastor), its equally a problem for you. That's epistemic par.

I am heading off to Mass, today is the feast of the Assumption of Mary. I will ask her to intercede on your behalf to her Son.

Ah yes, a dogma for which there is zero biblical support. This is ecclesiolatry at its worst. We will not ask Mary for anything today, instead, we will as God Himself to open your heart to the truth.

To make this statement you would be implying that there is no objective difference in clarity.

One of the standard arguments for the need for a Magisterium, Alexander, is that Scripture isn't clear. So, you're now in the position of having to affirm that the Magisterium offers greater clarity than Scripture. (A) If you don't understand how blasphemous that is, you've a got big problem; (B) how so? If the Magisterium is so very clear, how come it keeps refining its statements? Is it so infallible it can't get it right the first time?

How many text books in theology do the various Protestant groups publish? I know that my father-in-law (Baptist pastor) has several, including Hodge. What about confessions of faith? Yet all of you would admit that these confessions and commentaries provide some clarification, otherwise what is their usefulness? If they are functionally equivalent to Scripture (apart from their fallibleness) then they are useless

No, they aren't functionally equivalent to Scripture. Rather these are ordinary means that are available to help us understand Scripture. They are subject to Scripture; that's why most Protestant communions aren't strict conscriptionists. In the PCA, for example, an Arminian Paedobaptist and a Reformed Baptist like me and be members of a PCA church, while only the officers in it must hold to the WCF, and the PCA also allows for "scrupling" among the elders and deacons. They don't interpret Scripture for us, like your allegedly and unverifiably infallible Magisterium, they are helps for us. Not all things alike are perfectly clear (WCF in summary), and "Perspicuity does not exclude the means necessary for interpretation (i.e. the internal light of the Spirit, attention of mind, the voice and ministry of the church, sermons and commentaries, prayer and watchfulness). For we hold these means not only to be useful, but also necessary ordinarily,” Turretin, Institutes, 1:144.

GeneMBridges said...

It is common sense that tells you to follow the Bible in its historical setting, which doesn't include your man made self appointed "pastor" who teaches his own interpretations of it.

Where does the Bible give the Roman See primacy over all others? I mean, if we can deduce Rome is one true church from the Bible in its own historical setting, we should be able to find that, right?

According to non other than St. Cyprian a congregation can reject its bishop. That's a marvelous example of the way most Protestants view the appointing of pastor/elders. So much for using history as your guide.


But only the Church can prove that it has been teaching by Christ's authority and it has existed since Christ.

So why are you are not a member of the Most Holy Apostolic One True Jerusalem Church?

We don't need any self appointed prophets to needle us over any crazy un-Biblical interpretations of the Bible.

No, instead you let your itching ears tell you to believe in the Assumption of Mary. Where, Frank, can we find that doctrine in the Bible? This might be a good day to show us that. While you're at it, try for Purgatory.

And you angry, condescending attitude is proof to us here of the sort of "piety" that Catholicism produces. From the heart, the mouth speaks.

Jugulum said...

Frank,

Ah, good, we agree that it shouldn't be "me and my Bible alone in the woods", that the Holy Spirit has been teaching the Body for 2000 years, that it is wrong to ignore the entirety of church history and just start over, etc.

But... This has exactly what to do with what I said?

And this has exactly what to do with the idea that God gave us an infallible organizational Magisterium?

"But only the Church can prove that it has been teaching by Christ's authority and it has existed since Christ."

My, that's quite the hand-waving claim! "We can prove it!" Shall I just trust you on that?

I love truth, Frank. I love truth above my evangelical upbringing. I love truth above my current theology, and I long to learn & grow in the Word that God has given us. And I hope and pray that I am being honest when I say that--that I honestly and openly examine these matters, seeking for the Spirit's teaching, so that I will be led into all truth. Even if that should lead to Catholicism.

So instead of simply telling me "use your head", you might try answering--say, answering what I just said to Alexander a couple comments above:

----------
If you make that claim, you have to support it. Why should we believe that God gave the Magisterium a clarity of communication which he withheld from the Scriptures? Or, why should we believe that the Holy Spirit teaches the Body to understand Scripture through an identifiable, infallible Magisterium?

From there, hopefully, the argument goes to Scripture. Does the Bible teach us to submit to the Magisterium or not? In what sense does Scripture "thoroughly equip" us, what is tradition, how is the church "the pillar of the truth", etc.
----------

Mike Burgess said...

This comment is directed to Jugulum, as he appears to be honestly dealing with the issues and has an excellent grasp of the presuppositions behind and logical consequences of sola scriptura (and not scriptura solo).

The principle question you asked was "Why should we believe that God gave the Magisterium a clarity of communication which he withheld from the Scriptures? Or, why should we believe that the Holy Spirit teaches the Body to understand Scripture through an identifiable, infallible Magisterium?"

And the answer is in Scripture itself. St. Paul demonstrated it quite plainly in 1 Corinthians 11:34. St. John demonstrated it in 2 John 1:12. St. Paul quite plainly illustrates the pattern of sacramental ordination in 2 Timothy 2:2, wherein he uses an inspired word which indicates that the men Timothy is to ordain "will be able to teach" after they are ordained. Not who are already able to teach now. They will receive the gift and the grace that Timothy did when he had hands laid on him to receive the gift of his office ("pastor and teacher," see Ephesians 4:11). Hearken back to Jesus' words in the Gospel narratives of his bestowal of the Holy Spirit and then tell me how it is that Scripture tells you explicitly that these same essential graces and gifts are not passed on to their successors. I'm not talking about miraculous attestations. I'm talking about the fundamental identity of the office: to shepherd and to teach, and especially so in collegiality as in Acts 15, and especially so in the Petrine office singularly established. Please show me where the Scriptural case is for denying these? If God didn't teach fallibly in Scripture, and He didn't teach fallibly through His Apostles, why should I believe that He would change procedure when they died?

Dozie said...

Talking about sola scriptura and "me, myself and my bible", one of the newest madmen of "my imagination is equivalent to the Holy Spirit teaching me directly" is falling as fast as he rose. Todd Bently's wife has recognized the fraud that the man is and they are ending their marriage, causing tremendous confusion in the Protestant world. Read the news here http://charismamag.com/cms/news/archives/081208a.php.

Now they say he needs to be taught - needs counseling. Too late, too useless.

Of course, Protestants can explain this tragedy away.

Jugulum said...

Mike,

Thank you for the compliment, though I would have to say that I am indebted to the teaching work of Dr. White, James Swan, etc.; I'm not sure what understanding you are seeing in me that would not be found far more exhaustively in them.

I have a few brief comments on your answer.

1.) You said:
...tell me how it is that Scripture tells you explicitly that these same essential graces and gifts are not passed on to their successors.
...
If God didn't teach fallibly in Scripture, and He didn't teach fallibly through His Apostles, why should I believe that He would change procedure when they died?


I don't know, why don't you tell me why you do believe that he changed procedure?

Or do you believe Timothy possessed the apostolic authority that Paul, or Peter, or John possessed, to write Scripture? Did any of the apostles' successors possess that gift? No? Is it that they could only produce infallible teaching collectively, as an ecumenical council? For that matter, if you're going to reason this way, why don't you tell me why God changed his procedure in the area of miraculous attestation?

2.) "Quite plainly" in 1 Corinthians 11:34 and 2 John 1:12? The apostles comment that they haven't written to the recipients everything they'll ever say to them, and that is "plainly demonstrating" that the interpretation of those letters will require an infallible interpreter?

3.) Hmm... Men who "will be able to teach"? Like we are all supposed to be able to do?

4.) Paul's words in 2 Tim. 2:2 would not be out of place in the mouth of any elder speaking to a younger man whom he has been mentoring. You read into it "sacramental" elements, and his words themselves lack any notions of infallible giftings.

And note something else about "able to teach". It comes from a list of qualifications for bishops in 1 Tim. 3. If someone aspires to be a bishop, he must be "above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money." These are the qualities that we are to look for and find in candidates before they are raised to be bishops. This list is not a list of charisms given by the Spirit when a man becomes a bishop; it is a list of qualifications, which non-elders possess before they might be raised. This has nothing to do with infallible teaching. And you don't even believe that any bishop other than the bishop of Rome can teach infallibly!

Mike Burgess said...

Jugulum,
"I don't know, why don't you tell me why you do believe that he changed procedure?"

You've misunderstood, I don't believe He did. That's just it. He taught infallibly through the Scriptures, He taught infallibly through the Apostles, and He teaches infallibly through their successors.

"Or do you believe Timothy possessed the apostolic authority that Paul, or Peter, or John possessed, to write Scripture? Did any of the apostles' successors possess that gift?"

St. Luke did. But, as I said, there is a difference in the successors' office delineated in Scripture: they are to be "pastors and teachers" (which is a singular office). So, St. Timothy had the office of bishop, not of Apostle.

"'Quite plainly' in 1 Corinthians 11:34 and 2 John 1:12? The apostles comment that they haven't written to the recipients everything they'll ever say to them, and that is 'plainly demonstrating' that the interpretation of those letters will require an infallible interpreter?"

The Apostle St. Paul "commented" (your word; sounds rather like you're being a bit dismissive) in inspired Scripture that he will correct the Corinthians' Eucharistic practice (this is the context) face to face. He does not say "this letter suffices." He teaches by letter and by word of mouth, and he gives an example for those he lays hands on to follow. My point was that St. Paul and St. John clearly exhibit an understanding that the letter is not sufficient qua letter. If you disagree, explain why St. John was inspired to write that he had more to "write," but instead decided to give this inspired teaching orally in person. Why didn't St. Paul simply leave all the instructions the Corinthians (and we) need in his letter? He didn't hold to sola scriptura, that's why.

"Hmm... Men who "will be able to teach"? Like we are all supposed to be able to do?"

So, you know for certain that the Hebrews to whom St. Paul addressed this Epistle are equivalent to all of us? They're interchangeable terms? These Hebrews who should have been far better equipped to explain the Old Testament Scriptures and the fulfillments thereof to their Greek contemporaries are convertible with all believers everywhere at every time? Hmm. Even Westminster disagrees with you.

"And note something else about 'able to teach'. It comes from a list of qualifications for bishops in 1 Tim. 3."

Prove that. Don't just assert it because of the similarities.

"If someone aspires to be a bishop, he must be..."

No. If someone aspires to be a bishop, he desires a noble task. A bishop must be those things. You are confusing things.

"This list is not a list of charisms given by the Spirit when a man becomes a bishop; it is a list of qualifications, which non-elders possess before they might be raised."

Ask Dr. White about the Greek in 2 Tim 2:2 that I mentioned. I believe it was he who said "Greek is Greek." Why did the Holy Spirit inspire St. Paul to write that future tense when he should have, according to you, written past tense?

"And you don't even believe that any bishop other than the bishop of Rome can teach infallibly!"

This shows a faulty understanding of infallibility. This has been dealt with before. Lumen Gentium for starters. 'Although the bishops, taken individually, do not enjoy the privilege of infallibility, they do, however, proclaim infallibly the doctrine of Christ on the following conditions: namely, when, even though dispersed throughout the world but preserving for all that amongst themselves and with Peter's Successor the bond of communion, in their authoritative teachings concerning matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement that a particular teaching is to be held definitively and absolutely.'

Mike Burgess said...

Jugulum,
Here's a little test for you: is Chalcedonian Christology infallible or fallible?

What about Niceno-Constantinopolitan trinitarianism?

Mike Burgess said...

Off to bed, see you tomorrow.

Jugulum said...

A few comments before I head to bed myself.

On the last question: I would call it a category error. "Creation ex nihilo" is not infallible, it is true or false; Christ dying for our sins is not infallible, it is true or false. The phlogiston theory is not infallible, it is true or false. Molinism is not infallible, it is true or false. Chalcedonian Christology is either true, or not.

Those are ideas, not sources. Sources that express those ideas are either fallible or infallible--and the fallible sources may be perfectly correct, or not. A man on the street may perfectly express sound doctrine; in that case, he himself is fallible, and his doctrine is true.

It is the Council of Chalcedon that is either infallible or not. And to answer that question, no, I do not believe that they were infallible; I do believe that they accurately represented the Scriptures.


On whether we're dealing with qualifications or something else, I would also refer you to Titus 1, where Paul's wording is more explicit that he is talking about qualifications for selection of elders--"appoint elders in every town as I directed you—if anyone is..."


On whether I misunderstood you: No, I wasn't misunderstanding, I was making a point--I was claiming that you do believe that God "changed procedure" after the apostles, in that the apostles operated in ways that their successors did not. As you proceeded to make explicit, when you said that their successors had different gifting. We agree that God has given teachers to the church; the question is whether God anywhere gave us any reason to believe that those teachers would be infallible, either individually or collectively in councils.


As to your last paragraph: I think you were confused when you said that I misunderstood infallibility. Your quotation from Lumen Gentium is what I had in mind when I said, "Is it that they could only produce infallible teaching collectively, as an ecumenical council?"


On future tense: Goodness, no, I didn't claim that it should be past tense. If I say, "hire a cook who will be able to prepare a gourmet meal," I am not implying that he will develop that ability after I hire him!

But of course, that's English. Is something different in the Greek? If there is something about the Greek that does imply that the ability to teach comes after the appointing, then I am open to correction.

Frank Luciani said...

Bridges says, "No, instead you let your itching ears tell you to believe in the Assumption of Mary. Where, Frank, can we find that doctrine in the Bible? This might be a good day to show us that. While you're at it, try for Purgatory."

And you angry, condescending attitude is proof to us here of the sort of "piety" that Catholicism produces. From the heart, the mouth speaks."



Look Bridges. I am not a theologian, nor ever claimed to be one. But I don't need to be one to tell you that Christianity is not a religion of the book pal. It isn't you and the Bible. It is the Church guided by God himself which includes the Bible, and which to my knowledge includes other Revelation from God not found in Scripture. So why would I care if its in the Bible or not? It doesn't matter to me one bit whether it is in it or not.

I'm not a fundamentalist pew jumper that goes around claiming he is inspired by the Holy Spirit and has the authority to preach to Scripture when it is obvious that no one in their right mind would listen to you. As far as the Catholic Church goes, it is clear to me that it has its roots much further back than any of your upstart "churches" have. Sorry you don't like my tone. Didn't mean to hurt your feelings cupcake. I didn't realize you were so sensitive. Hang on while I get you a tissue...

Alexander Greco said...

kJugulum: On the last question: I would call it a category error. "Creation ex nihilo" is not infallible, it is true or false; Christ dying for our sins is not infallible, it is true or false. The phlogiston theory is not infallible, it is true or false. Molinism is not infallible, it is true or false. Chalcedonian Christology is either true, or not.

Those are ideas, not sources. Sources that express those ideas are either fallible or infallible--and the fallible sources may be perfectly correct, or not. A man on the street may perfectly express sound doctrine; in that case, he himself is fallible, and his doctrine is true.

It is the Council of Chalcedon that is either infallible or not. And to answer that question, no, I do not believe that they were infallible; I do believe that they accurately represented the Scriptures.

Me: I find this to be an intelligent argument. You are right, it is either true or false, and this is independent of the source proclaiming it. However, I would submit to you that the charism of infallibility provides clarity in the sense that when the Church makes a dogmatic proclamation that something is true, if the Magisterium is indeed infallible, then what is being proclaimed as being true is free from all error and therefore the source is 100% reliable. It is the confidence in the source's proclamation which we have as Catholics. As a reply to Gene, this concept is independent from our personal comprehension of the teaching. As I alluded to before, this is not a matter of knowledge in understanding the doctrine per se, but that the source proclaiming it is not prone to error. So his appeal to epistemology is nothing more than a red herring. This clearly gives the Catholic a benefit not enjoyed by the Protestant. If the Magisterium dogmatically defines the Eucharist, then we know that that teaching is free from error. If the particular Protestant communion defines it, it might be in error, and we can see the amount of variation in opinions on this. This is problematic for the Protestant. To say that this does not add objective clarity to an issue is beyond being a reasonable objection.

Carrie said...

Talking about sola scriptura and "me, myself and my bible", one of the newest madmen of "my imagination is equivalent to the Holy Spirit teaching me directly" is falling as fast as he rose. Todd Bently's wife has recognized the fraud that the man is and they are ending their marriage, causing tremendous confusion in the Protestant world.

...Of course, Protestants can explain this tragedy away.


I suppose now we can use your argument to show the fraud of the sacramental character of Holy Orders by linking to a news article on yet another priest accused on pedophilia? And I could then say "Of course, Catholics can explain this tragedy away."

CCC 1563 "Because it is joined with the episcopal order the office of priests shares in the authority by which Christ himself builds up and sanctifies and rules his Body. Hence the priesthood of priests, while presupposing the sacraments of initiation, is nevertheless conferred by its own particular sacrament. Through that sacrament priests by the anointing of the Holy Spirit are signed with a special character and so are configured to Christ the priest in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ the head."

Fortunately for Protestants, we do not make the lofty claims for our Pastors that Catholics make.

Or perhaps you could contact Bentley's wife and convince her to convert to your church where she can simply have her marriage annulled without causing any scandal from divorce. I know someone who had 4 non-Catholic marriages annulled to marry a Catholic in the Catholic Church (along with converting), but when that marriage ended in divorce and she wanted to marry again, managed to have that marriage annulled also.

This is a good example of people in glasses houses shouldn't throw stones. If you want to make an argument for your church or against Protestantism, these types of stories will help your cause.

Mike Burgess said...

Jugulum:
"Those are ideas, not sources. Sources that express those ideas are either fallible or infallible--and the fallible sources may be perfectly correct, or not. A man on the street may perfectly express sound doctrine; in that case, he himself is fallible, and his doctrine is true."

I actually meant to write "inerrant." Acknowleging my error, the question then reverts to Scripture. Scripture is not a source, it is, as you would have it, "ideas, not sources." God is the primary source, the Apostles and other authors are instrumental sources. How the ideas can function as "the sole infallible rule of faith" when they are ideas and not sources is what's at issue. They may be true, as you would say, or not true, but self-referentialism is hardly a sound defense of them.

"On whether we're dealing with qualifications or something else, I would also refer you to Titus 1..."

Titus 1:5-9 are the relevant verses for our purpose here. St. Paul lists qualifications for those candidates Titus is to appoint in v 5, then he lists qualities bishops must possess. Chief, in my view, is verse 9:
"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." Again, there's a prereq/consequence at work as indicated by the future tense. None of the passages concerning qualifications or qualities and gifts indicate that a teacher must already be able to teach. They all indicate that the one appointed will be able to teach. This isn't at all like your chef analogy. St. Paul wasn't setting up instructions for food prep. Besides, your analogy fails because you failed to make the distinction between picking a chef and picking a future culinary school student.

"On whether I misunderstood you: No, I wasn't misunderstanding, I was making a point--I was claiming that you do believe that God "changed procedure" after the apostles, in that the apostles operated in ways that their successors did not. As you proceeded to make explicit, when you said that their successors had different gifting."

This isn't right; Apostles were bishops in addition to their other superlative gifts. God chose to give Apostles all the gifts of the bishop to them; He didn't change method, He gave the first bishops who were also Apostles extra, attestive gifts. This is hardly a change in method, any more than the absence of superlative gifts in Joshua (in Numbers 27) indicates a change in method from Moses' calling and appointment.

"As to your last paragraph: I think you were confused when you said that I misunderstood infallibility. Your quotation from Lumen Gentium is what I had in mind when I said, 'Is it that they could only produce infallible teaching collectively, as an ecumenical council?'"

The passage in LG isn't talking about ecumenical councils. It's talking about proclaiming things infallibly while dispersed.

Jugulum said...

Quickly, on sources:

As I was using the term "source", a written source is still a source that conveys ideas. It is not the ultimate source of the ideas contained in it. The primary source, God, used instrumental sources to produce it. And those instrumental sources produced another instrumental source--a written source. A secondary (or tertiary) source, but a source nonetheless. (People use that language all the time, when they talk about "source material".) Either way, Scripture, a council, an individual, or a magisterium are all mediums or agents which conveys ideas. The sources are not the ideas they convey. The ideas will be either true or false; the sources will be infallible or fallible.

You didn't elaborate on why you meant to say "inerrant", and what difference that makes. Were you asking, "Is Chalcedonian Christology in error?" If so, I think I answered that question.

(BTW, I suppose you could use "inerrant" as a synonym for "completely true"--if it means "without error". But that just seems odd to me. If I were to teach doctrine that was entirely sound, I can't imagine saying that I was being inerrant, or that my teaching was inerrant. I guess it's a question of whether "inerrant" means "free from error", or "incapable of error".)

Jugulum said...

"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers."

Also, you said that this implies precondition/consequence. Sure, of the same sort present here:

"Holding fast the expert recipes as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound culinary wisdom to produce a gourmet meal."

There is nothing in either Timothy or Titus that suggests or demands that any of the traits will come about after the bishop's appointment. The use of the future tense does not indicate such a thing (thought it might leave room for the possibility). Titus does have a condition/consequence--a "so that"--but the ability to teach is said to be a consequence of holding to sound doctrine, not a consequence of his appointment.

You have not exegeted any basis for the notion that the appointment itself results in any of the listed traits. (And if you are going to be consistent, then read through 1 Timothy 3. Read "able to teach" next to the other traits. Are those traits charisms conferred at the appointment? If not, what is the basis for picking out that one trait from the others?)


I'll put it this way. I'm looking for something in Paul's words that would be out-of-place in the mouth of the president of a Protestant seminary giving a convocation to graduates, heading off to pastor churches. Could he use Paul's exact words when giving them advice, without implying anything about infallibility? If so, then where is the notion of an infallible gift coming from? Not this text, so where? (I was doing something similar with the chef analogy--showing how the same form of a sentence can be used, without meaning what you're reading into it.) Really. Can you point to anything that would be out-of-place in the mouth of someone who isn't intending to imply infallibility?

"Besides, your analogy fails because you failed to make the distinction between picking a chef and picking a future culinary school student."

Eh? Are you saying that Paul was giving instructions for students who will study to become bishops? If so, where do you get that? If not, what's your point?

Mike Burgess said...

The scriptures are a compendium of ideas. This is not the same as a source. They were not self-generated. They are condescending revelatory ideas, information. Greco is the source, his hypothetical text is not. It is an abbreviation of elaborated conceptual information. This is why we speak of books as a "source": because they are the compendium of information, not the generator or interpreter of the information. It is the same category error which is conventional but incorrect as when people refer to infallible things when they mean true things. Further, when people speak of "source material," they mean source material for their subsequent work. But they mean the original author was the source and the material is the conceptual deposit.

"You didn't elaborate on why you meant to say 'inerrant', and what difference that makes. Were you asking, 'Is Chalcedonian Christology in error?' If so, I think I answered that question."

You said you believe it's true since it's an accurate representation of Scripture. This begs the question.

I've already pointed out how you conflated the candidate for ordination and the one ordained. I don't see how re-addressing it will do any good since you don't accept or see that.

1 Timothy 3:2 contains a Greek word (dei) which indicates different things in different contexts, "must" or "ought to" depending. What's your case for translating it "must," out of curiosity? And, again, 3:1 speaks of a candidate, 3:2 speaks of a bishop. There's a difference, as even you will admit.

What I am saying is that St. Paul was giving Ss. Timothy and Titus instructions about whom he was to lay hands on, and he was reminding them of the gifts and qualities possessed by those who were already those upon whom hands had been lain, as they were.

Jugulum said...

On sources:

I must admit to a growing sense of frustration. I agree with everything that you just said about sources--and I used other language to express the same ideas. As far as I can tell, that is. If you perceive a difference between what you are saying and what I said, then you are failing to bring out what that difference is. I agree that the Bible is not the source of the ideas conveyed therein; it is only a source of information in the same sense that people would speak of an encyclopedia or any other book being a "source". No one thinks that the ideas come from the book--the book is recognized as a compendium of ideas that come from an ultimate source.

Since you are not bothering to state what your point is in pressing this, you leave me to speculate. Is it mere pedantic distinctions? Or does it have some relevance to what I said about infallibility, inerrancy, and truth? Does it affect the point I made? Are you attempting to change my mind in some way? Why would you bother to press the point that the Bible is not self-generated--Did I appear to make that mistake? Where? How does it impact the discussion?

Significantly, I have no idea whether or not you are disagreeing with the point that I made. Alexander agreed with my way of expressing the difference between infallibility and truth; do you as well, or do you wish to offer nuance that you think I lacked? If so, what? Do you agree that it is better to speak of Chalcedonian Christology being "true" or not, while the Council of Chalcedon itself was either infallible or not? And since you said that you should have used the word "inerrant", how does that fit in? How do you respond to what I said about the ambiguity in the term "inerrant"? How were you using it--as "free from error", or as "incapable of error"?

"You said you believe it's true since it's an accurate representation of Scripture. This begs the question."

You said that you meant to use the word "inerrant", but then declined to offer any explanation in response to my question about that term.

How do you think I begged the question? You asked if Chalcedonion Christology is infallible (or rather, inerrant). I answered that the Christology of Chalcedon is true, i.e. without error, but that "incapable of error" or "incapable of leading astray" would apply to Chalcedon itself, not the Christology they promulgated.

More importantly, how does the logical fallacy "beg the question" even apply? You asked a question, as part of a "test". You didn't connect that question with any kind of argument, so my answer can't "beg the question". If you meant the popular misuse of that phrase ("raises the question", or perhaps "avoids the real question"), then what did I avoid? I answered--no, it is not infallible, yes, it is true.

Or did you intend to ask a different question--"How can you know whether Chalcedonion Christology is true or not?" If that's the question that you think I'm begging, I would suggest that failed to communicate any such thing.

If I have failed to understand you correctly, well. It's difficult to guess.

"I've already pointed out how you conflated the candidate for ordination and the one ordained. I don't see how re-addressing it will do any good since you don't accept or see that."

Eh? What are you even replying to? My question at the end about culinary chefs?

If so, my goodness! You don't see the point in clarifying what you meant when you said something? Really? So you're not interesting in clarity of communication, and clearing up confusion?

"1 Timothy 3:2 contains a Greek word (dei) which indicates different things in different contexts, "must" or "ought to" depending. What's your case for translating it "must," out of curiosity?"

I would say that the semantic range of "must" includes the sense of "ought to". It includes preconditions/qualifications, it includes that which certainly will occur, it includes that which ought to occur. If there is something in the range of "dei" that is not conveyed by "must", you're welcome to point it out.

"And, again, 3:1 speaks of a candidate, 3:2 speaks of a bishop. There's a difference, as even you will admit."

I will admit a distinction, without a demonstrated difference--at least, without a difference that establishes your point. Paul talks about a candidate in 3:1, and then talks about what a bishop "must be" in 3:2 and on. That fits if he is presenting a list of qualifications; it could also fit if he is explaining why the office is a noble task, or some such.

What you have not drawn out of the text is any implication that a gift will be conferred to those who are appointed.

Let me repeat that, because it is the significant point that we could easily lose sight of.

What you have not drawn out of the text is any implication that a gift will be conferred to those who are appointed.

What you have not pointed out, again, is anything that would be out of place in the mouth of any Protestant elder or seminary president, advising people on how to run churches.

Mike Burgess said...

Jugulum:
"I agree that the Bible is not the source of the ideas conveyed therein; it is only a source of information in the same sense that people would speak of an encyclopedia or any other book being a 'source'."

Then you also must agree that the Scriptures are not the sole infallible rule of faith. Since they aren't a source, and all.
God and the authors are the source.

It's fair to say your position amounts to "fine, the authors were infallible. Not so their successors."

Timothy is reminded of the gift he received through the laying on of hands (1 Timothy 4:14). The spiritual gift there refers directly to the public reading of Scripture, exhortation and teaching so as to confirm those faithful who are not called and not sent, against the teaching of demons through hypocrites.

The definition of "gift" in v 14 is rendered "grace or gift denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit" in the Greek dictionary I consulted. V 16 goes on admonish Timothy to look well to himself and to his teaching, and hold to them both, because in doing so he will save himself and those who hear him.

I have to run, but I'll finish this up later.

Dozie said...

"Fortunately for Protestants, we do not make the lofty claims for our Pastors that Catholics make."

Of course you will chase the wind and ignore the substance. You don't make the claim because you can't. And, why don't you?

In any case, nobody jumps out of the bush and declares himself a Catholic priest as is the culture in your religion. I wonder however if you admit that Todd Bently and his ministry, while being autentically Protestant, represent autentic Christianity.

Jugulum said...

Mike,

Why, yes, I agree that God is infallible.

I don't quite believe that authors of Scripture are necessarily infallible, generally. God moves people through His Spirit to write inspired Scripture--but might do so without giving them any kind of general gifting. But the apostles, yes, taught with infallible authority. And yes, my view is that their successors did not have that authority.

I anticipate where you're going, with Timothy. What I'm looking for is this: Any indication that Timothy's gift of teaching involves magisterial infallibility. Any indication that his gift was different in nature from how I might say that John Piper has a spiritual gift of teaching. Any indication that gifts of teaching are always given to those appointed as elders--and I've explained why the future tense does not imply such a thing. (It allows for it, but does not imply it.) Any indication that "gift of teaching" inherently implies something like magisterial authority.


P.S. That definition of "gift" seems to be a fair representation of how it's used Biblically, especially 1 Cor. 12. The word is "charisma", so your definition's reference to "grace" is particularly appropriate. The one problem I see is the part that says, "distinguishing certain Christians". If that is meant to imply that only some Christian have spiritual gifts, then it is off-base. Read through 1 Cor. 12--all are given spiritual gifts, of various types. A gift might distinguish someone from other Christians, but only in the kind of empowerment--all are empowered in some way. (Though not all receive their gifting with a word of prophecy, like Timothy!)

I would guess that you think, "when an elder is appointed, the appointment is similar to when Timothy received his gift." If so, again, I'm not seeing that come from the text--I'll be looking for it, in your argument.

P.P.S. I'll read your continuation, if you write another comment. But I likely won't find the time to reply, at this point. Thanks for the interaction.

Mike Burgess said...

Jugulum,
Since you agree that the Apostles "taught with infallible authority," I have some questions. You said you weren't going to have time to continue the dialogue, and that's fine, but I am curious: was there, in your view, an infallible authority in the Old Covenant community?

If so, where was it? Did it's teachings all get inscripturated as the Law, Prophets, and Writings? If yes, what about extra-scriptural OT teachings which were later inscripturated in NT writings? Were they inspired and were people in the OT and intertestamental times required to believe them as part of the deposit of faith before they were inscripturated? (I'm referring to such passages as: Jude's citation of Enoch's prophecy being fulfilled, St. Michael's dispute and rebuke of the devil, and the Gospel of Matthew's record of Jesus' adjuration to the people to do whatever those in Moses' seat say despite what they do.)

Apart from that, you asked for "Any indication that Timothy's gift of teaching involves magisterial infallibility." Would Titus 2:15 suffice for you? I think it does. "Exhort and correct with all authority." Redolent of the fragrance of Jesus' words of His own commission and the commission He gave to those He ordained. Or would you like to argue that Titus had a different ordination than Timothy? I'm not sure what else could be said that would make this more explicit: Jesus received all authority in Heaven and on earth; He anointed and ordained His Apostles to teach, forgive sins, baptize, make disciples, all of which you admit they could do infallibly; they (at least one of them, you must admit) ordained successors with the reminder that these successors had the ability (whether with or without qualifications such as collegiality, I leave aside for the moment) to do at least part of the definitional duties of their office with "all authority." This is the exact phraseology which you accept in conjunction with bestowal of infallible authority in the case of the Apostles. Yet, somehow, it is not to be similarly understood when it is used in the exact same context when an Apostle, in inspired Scripture, reminds and exhorts one of his successors with regard to his commission? Well, I'll check back later to see if you care to address these or any of the previous points I made which have not been addressed.

Thanks for the interaction as well.