Thursday, January 29, 2009

Inconsistency considered

I was recently asked what amounts to: "When did Church Tradition go wrong?"

There are so many places in which the tradition to which RCC subscribes went wrong that it's impossible to place some collective When. There are also places where they still have it right - Trinity, Christology (kinda), Bible as God's Word (or, some RCs), etc.
So we would have to ask which doctrine in particular. And even then it's nearly impossible.
I invite you to consider three things:

1) How many churches in the NT already had it wrong? Even after apostolic teaching and even correction? Corinth, Rome, Galatia, Ephesus, Colossæ, Thessalonica, Crete, the church to which 1 John is addressed, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Laodicæa. And these are in the lifetime of the apostles!
And of course, the OT provides a paradigm for history as well - how much time did OT Israel spend in fairly-close obedience to God's Word? Very little. Yet God always preserved a remnant, which had the upper hand in numbers and influence sometimes but infrequently.
2) RCC picks and chooses which parts of CF writings it will follow and which it won't. The final authority is the Church. ECF writer X will say this or that and RCC will say "well, he's just speaking as a private theologian here", but if he says something else in the same document, alluvasudden he's a reliable witness to the universal and ancient church's constant tradition. Why should anyone put any credence in an approach such as that?
3) This is a subset of #2.

Consider:
Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) Hebrews 9:27-28: "As it is appointed for each human being to die once, and the one who accepts death’s decree no longer sins but awaits the examination of what was done in life, so Christ the Lord, after being offered once for us and taking up our sins, will come to us again, with sin no longer in force, that is, with sin no longer occupying a place as far as human beings are concerned. He said himself, remember, when he still had a mortal body, “He committed no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth.” It should be noted, of course, that he bore the sins of many, not of all: not all came to faith, so he removed the sins of the believers only." [Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 175.


Or:
1st Epistle of Clement of Rome:

From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, "Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven." All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men. Amen


Or:
There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews...there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit" (Athanasius, Festal Letter 39:2-4, 39:7)


Let's just say for the sake of argument that Rome is right - Ath taught in more than one *other* place the opposite doctrine to what I've presented here. (And this happens all the time with all sorts of CFs.)
That leaves us w/ CFs who have contradicted themselves. To be consistent w/ these Ch Fathers (and remember, my claim is that modern RCC is inconsistent w/ them), RCC would either have to:
A: Teach just as inconsistently as these two guys do, sometimes saying one thing, sometimes the other, or
B: Call these teachings not actually part of Divine Tradition.

The problem w/ resolution A is that the cognitive dissonance would be pretty much unbearable. The upshot is that I don't know if I'd expect a lot of people to turn away from RCC in real life.
The thing about resolution B is that they have indeed already done just that. Somehow these two godly, forcible, powerful writers, from whom RCC ostensibly derives much of its tradition and doctrine, also produced impious, ungodly, and flat wrong teachings.

Now, how would the RC know this? Apparently from judging these non-"Apostolic Traditions" by... yup, you guessed it! What The Church® Says.
In the end, it's a vicious circle of question-begging. I claim the modern RCC is not totally faithful w/ Ch Fathers and then cite them when challenged. Then they say, "Hey, those aren't part of Apostolic Tradition!" I say, "Thanks for proving my point."
Note how this is the exact same thing they do with Scripture. Sola Ecclesia.
I also pause to note how pernicious this is. The Lord Jesus set an authoritative example for how one is to judge tradition - by Scripture. The RC refuses to do that and instead appeals to his own doctrinal construct which is already in place to then look BACK on tradition AND Scripture and pick and choose what he'll believe and what he won't believe. Thus the RC holds to the Scriptural teaching of the Deity of Christ and rejects the Scriptural teaching of salvation by grace alone thru faith alone. He accepts the Trinity and rejects sola scriptura. He accepts the fact that we should pray to God as commanded in the Scripture and rejects the fact that prayer to dead people and angels is strictly prohibited in the Scripture.
It becomes easy to see how this not only dishonors God in ideal (that is, that we should not judge men's teachings by God's) but also later in practice (bowing down to images, praying to dead people, trying to earn merit towards one's salvation).


81 comments:

Stacey said...

Ah Rhology, I think a more worthy discussion will ensue on Beggars All than on my blog with such a small following there, so I'll reply here.

I have a few questions:

1) How does the Reformed tradition decide which traditions to follow?

2) Did the Church Fathers actually contradict themselves in such matters as baptism, the Eucharist, doctrine of Mary, etc.?

3) And if they contradicted themselves regarding things like grace and works, then did it go uncorrected by those in authority?

I think that a lot of what you may call contradictions aren't actually that, they're just emphasizing different aspects of the same gospel. For instance, the following clears up some apparent contradictions:

"So that when we hear, 'Your faith has saved you' (Mt 9:22; Mk. 5:34; Lk. 8:48), we do not understand Him to say absolutely that those who have believed in any way whatever shall be saved, unless also works follow. But it was to the Jews alone that He spoke this utterance, who kept the law and lived blamelessly, who wanted only faith in the Lord."
-St. Clement of Alexandria "Stromata"

At the same time, in theory, I see what you're saying. These people are fallible people, with their own ideas. So where is the line drawn? If there are such contradictions, then I see a problem.

Rhology said...

1) Mark 7:1-13.
2) Yes.
3) This begs the question. RCC appeals to early church trad to back up their supposed authority, yet corrects other parts of it, calling it "not Tradition". I covered this in the post.

they're just emphasizing different aspects of the same gospel.

So limited atonement (from the Theodoret quote above) can be subsumed under RCC? Submitting everything to correction by Scr (Sola Scriptura)? A Canon of OT books that is very different from that of the RCC? Those guys are just emphasising different parts of the Gospel? The Canon is part of the Gospel?


So where is the line drawn?

For the Reformed, there's an easy answer. We judge Irenæus by the same standard as we use to judge Joel Osteen - the Word of God. You're welcome to join us!

tnourse said...

You say Jesus told us to evaluate Tradition using scripture, but what you have NOT said, which is also completely true is that, when Jesus said this, he was referring to the Old Testament. The new Testament hadn't been canonized by the Catholic Church yet since it hadn't been written. What you also fail to mention is that Tradition came BEFORE the New Testament. The New Testament books weren't written until YEARS after Christ ascended into the Heavenly Holy of Holies. Tradition is what decided which of the 400+ supposedly inspired writings actually made it into the New Testament Canon. Those that conformed to the Tradition handed on from the apostles to the Bishops from the time they were written until the Catholic Council of Hippo in 393 were retained. And in 397 at the Catholic Council of Carthage, the list was finalized and the Pope closed the Canon. The New Testament, which is the 'written' half of Sacred Tradition, was defined and defended using the 'oral' half of the Sacred Tradition. For the first almost 400 years, there was no Canon of the New Testament, only 400+ writings claiming Divine Inspiration, and which ones were authentic was a question for that entire time. The Church survived on Tradition (the remembered and handed down oral teachings of the Apostles, and whichever written copies of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul and many others a particular Church was in posession of that existed at that time).
I don't understand how you can NOT understand this and state with any perceived certainty that you are an adequate judge of anything much less the Authenticity of anything the Church holds as Sacred Tradition.
Now what you say is true that some of the Church Fathers appear to contradict both themselves AND others so the useage of the CFs is best for determining the mindset of both them and the Church at the time they wrote... Those CFs, even St. Augustine and St. Thomas Acquinas who are quoted throughout the Catechism of the CC at times believed different things about any given topic. Some even drifted off into Heresy as some do also today.
IMHO, we have to remember that scripture tells us that Jesus taught the apostles many things which are not contained in Scripture...this is the basis for Tradition and to say that these things (not recorded, but taught nonetheless) must be measure strictly against the Written Tradition is a circular argument. They must be evaluated against ALL of Sacred Tradition and the historical proof of belief (using collectively the Church Fathers and others who wrote about the earliest beliefs and actions) to determine their authenticity. Think about this. The Catholic Church is the ONLY Church that was around at the time of the Apostles (named the 'Catholic' Church in 110AD by St. Ignatius of Antioch, but existed prior) and received the promise of Christ that the 'gates of Hell will NEVER (emphasis mine) prevail against the Church'. The only Church he could be referring to is the ONE he created Himself, the one that arose IMMEDIATELY with the Descent of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room on the 120 (that deserves a whole discussion) and has existed ever since. Read Eusibius, he recorded the first Church History in the 300s and tells you not only the Apostolic Succession through each Bishop of each Church (parish) for those 300 years, but also which parish held which 'writing' as inspired and binding. A very good read.
In Chrit's Peace,
Tom Nourse

Tim Enloe said...

Rhology is correct that Mark 7 is the principle for how the Reformed tradition decides which traditions to follow. The practice that follows from the principle is the same one the Apostles used: "they reasoned from the Scriptures." Different Protestants do this different ways. The Magisterial wing of Protestantism gives great provisional weight to conciliar action, which is just the learned and pious teachers of the Church coming together to examine matters of dispute on the basis of the Scriptures. The Radical wing of Protestantism is more focused on individual conscience and individual wrestling with the Scriptures. But all agree on the principle and the basic procedure.

Rhology said...

Hi Tom,

when Jesus said this, he was referring to the Old Testament.

And the way we are to evaluate things is totally different in NT times? On what basis do you say that?
What about Acts 17:11?


canonized by the Catholic Church

You mean recognised, right?
And you do know that it would be 100s of yrs before anything even close to a "canonisation" "conference" would be held?



Tradition is what decided which of the 400+ supposedly inspired writings actually made it into the New Testament Canon.

You sound kind of like an atheist.
No, God decided which.


(for the 1st 400 yrs) The Church survived on Tradition

Sola Scriptura recognises that. What SS denies is that oral tradition is a sufficient guide and of equal authority with the Scr NOW, *AFTER* the Scr is complete and available.



the Authenticity of anything the Church holds as Sacred Tradition.

You haven't begun to answer my challenges on that question from the post.



They must be evaluated against ALL of Sacred Tradition

You mean "evaluated against ALL of what RCC has picked and chosen out of little-t tradition to be magically promoted to Big-T Tradition". That's the problem.


'gates of Hell will NEVER (emphasis mine) prevail against the Church'.

Yes, a promise of indestructibility.

Thanks Tim for your thoughts as well.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rhology,

Just a few questions about you answer to Stacey about tradition:

1.A. Which tradition of the elders was Jesus refuting at Mk 7:1-13?

1.B. Can you cite the appropriate passage in the Mishnah, which is the written codification of the Tradition of the Elders, where the tradition that Jesus was refuting is elaborated?

2. Since the OT was the only Scriptures that those Pharisees and scribes would have known, can you tell us if what is written at Numbers 30:1-3, Lev. 27:26-30, and Dt. 23:21-23 figure into how the Pharisees who were there may have understood the inviolability of a Korban vow that is being discussed in that pericope?

3. If you believe that the keeping of the Korban vow was a tradition of the elders that contradicted SCripture, please cite to any passage in the OT which permitted a person to rescind a Korban vow once made?

4.A. Does the Scriptures tell us which school those Pharisees had come from?

4.B. Do you believe that it makes a difference which school the Pharisees who were criticizing Jesus were from there in understanding Mk. 7:1-3?


I ask these questions because I do not believe that the tradition of your Calvinist elders in interpreting Mk. 7:1-13 is a correct one. However, I would be happy to see in this instance that I was wrong. It will save me from having to do another 20+ page paper to give my thoughts full expression.


God bless!

Stacey said...

Rhology,

I don't see how Mark 7:1-13 answers the question "How do you decide which traditions to follow". Are you saying that if they nullify the Word of God, then you do not follow them? Then, until the New Testament was canonized, do you believe that the gospel was taught faithfully in the early church? Why, then, would you not follow the tradition of transubstantiation or baptism as a real grace, or Mary as ever-virgin, or the faith that matters as being the faith that bears fruit in love? They are supported Biblically and certainly by the ECF. Is there any way you can give me a brief rundown of the major traditions of the early church that you do hold to? I don't particularly want to argue points here, but am trying to understand what tradition sola scriptura includes, because you were right before when you said I didn't understand it.

If the ECF contradicted themselves on vital issues pertaining to the gospel, could you please give me an example or two? By correction, I meant, a consensus by all the ECF that someone was out of line with Scriptures and the handed down traditions, like Pelagius. Augustine beat him bloody with the truth in many writings, even if they were not official, (although Orange made it so). I would say he was corrected.

Submitting everything to correction by Scr (Sola Scriptura)? A Canon of OT books that is very different from that of the RCC?

I was saying bickering over whether or not Esther should be included in the canon is NOT on the same level as saying baptism is necessary for salvation. Or salvation is by grace alone. Btw, the RCC teaches grace alone, and they do test all things by Scripture.

Rhology said...

hi Paul,

1A - The Corban rule. Jesus says it right there in the psg.
1B - No. I don't, however, see why it's relevant - see 1A. Also the Mishna was begun 150+ yrs after the NT events.

2 - Num 30 - no.
Lev 27 - no.
Deut 23 - no.
Unless you think that God is unable to distinguish between greater and lesser commandments. And wouldn't be upset with someone for making unwise or sinful vows.

3 - Mark 7:1-13. That's not in the OT, but I trust Jesus' interp over my own (or yours).

4 - Not that I know of. Nor do I see why it's relevant.


I do not believe that the tradition of your Calvinist elders in interpreting Mk. 7:1-13 is a correct one.

So...Jesus wasn't submitting a tradition to the Word of God there? Help me out here.

Rhology said...

Stacey,

Yes, we know which are OK to follow when we submit them to the Word of God, like Jesus did here.

Are you saying that if they nullify the Word of God, then you do not follow them?

Not me, Jesus. Look at the psg again, please.


Then, until the New Testament was canonized, do you believe that the gospel was taught faithfully in the early church?

I don't know. It's irrelevant to this question.


transubstantiation, baptism as a real grace, or Mary as ever-virgin

See the post.
And it's an unbiblical idea.


the faith that matters as being the faith that bears fruit in love

That is the sola fide position, actually. I'm not at all sure it's the RC position, especially given the doctrines of the treasury of merit, penance, and Purgatory.


They are supported Biblically and certainly by the ECF.

Not so, CF writers are divided on those issues. So, go back to the post.


Is there any way you can give me a brief rundown of the major traditions of the early church that you do hold to?

I really don't think you're grasping especially the 2nd half of the post, b/c these questions are irrelevant.


what tradition sola scriptura includes

I'm sorry, I don't understand what this means.
SS churches have a wide variety of traditions they CAN hold. It's just that we submit all to the Scr.


If the ECF contradicted themselves on vital issues pertaining to the gospel,

See the psg quoted out of 1 Clement above. Then go to Catholic.com or something and look at CFs quoted when they want to refute sola fide.


I was saying bickering over whether or not Esther should be included in the canon is NOT on the same level as saying baptism is necessary for salvation

I'm pretty sure you were the one who was asking about the Gospel in the post. I was answering you on your terms.


they do test all things by Scripture.

Hmm, how does one test "the Assumption of Mary as part of the Gospel, to be believed by all faithful Christians" by Scripture, still find it in line with Scripture, and yet attempt to make this statement with a straight face?

Peace,
Rhology

David Waltz said...

I recently asked myself what amounts to: “When did the Reformed Tradition go wrong?”

There are so many places in which the tradition (Westminster Confession, Belgic Confession, Heidlberg Catechism, et al.), to which so many Reformed devotees subscribe, went wrong that it’s diificult to place some collective When. There are also places where they still have it right – Trinity (kinda—Calvin’s autotheos of the Son is suspect), Christology (kinda—there is a tendency towards Nestorianism), Bible as God's Word (deficient canon), etc.

So we would have to ask which doctrine in particular. And even then it's difficult, especially when one adds in the Reformed Baptists, the Reformed Catholics, and Federal visionists.


Grace and peace,

David

Agellius said...

Rhology: Still waitin' on ya. ; )

tnourse said...

Rhology,
Thanks for your responses to my post. Now, to continue the conversation:

And the way we are to evaluate things is totally different in NT times? On what basis do you say that?
What about Acts 17:11


What I was saying is that when Christ said these words, the only Scriptures were the Old Testament, the Torah. If you would have asked ANYONE at that time if they thought new Scripture was going to be added, they would have stoned you for blasphemy. Adding to God's word was completely unheard of. And, add to that, Jesus never commanded the apostles to write anything, they were to go and preach. No one was expecting a New Testament to be written, not even the Apostles, and I'd be willing to bet that if we could somehow ask them whether or not they considered their writings to be Scripture, what do you think their answer would be? Ok, a little off topic, but necessary.

You mean recognised, right?
And you do know that it would be 100s of yrs before anything even close to a "canonisation" "conference" would be held?

No, I meant Canonized... read the documents from those two Catholic Councils and you'll see specific reference to "the Canon". In Eusebius' 'Church History', the lists there would be of writings 'recognized' as inspired and held with the same weight as the Sacred Tradition (the oral preaching still ringing in their ears from the Apostles and their own disciples.) Once the Catholic Church declared the New Testament Canon closed and complete in 397, we then had the addition 27 books in our Bible.

You sound kind of like an atheist.
No, God decided which.
I guess I should have worded things a little different on this one, yes, the Bishops of the Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit ("I will lead you into all truth) applied the Sacred Tradition as handed on down through the Bishops (the Apostolic Succession) oral teaching ("The gates of Hell will never prevail against the Church") to determine whether a particular writing was "inspired" and also "canonical" (to be included in the canon). Not an atheist, far from it in fact, but I appreciate the spur to furthur holiness!

Sola Scriptura recognises that. What SS denies is that oral tradition is a sufficient guide and of equal authority with the Scr NOW, *AFTER* the Scr is complete and available.

I get that. But since you can only use Scripture as your guide here, show me where in Scripture it says something like "There will come a time when all that we have taught you is written down and recognized as Scripture, so when that happens, what we have taught you by word of mouth should be disregarded and only use the written format to the exclusion of the other". Exact Book(s), Chapter(s), and Verse(s) please. Then respond to 1 Timothy 3:15 which says that the Church is the pillar and foundation of all Truth, not Scripture. And before I get labeled a Bible-basher here, answer this: Is it not correct to say that everything in the Bible is truth, yet not all truth is contained in the Bible? St. John himself tells us in his gospel that Jesus taught and said many things which were not reduced to writing, so was this stuff NOT truth?

the Authenticity of anything the Church holds as Sacred Tradition.
What I was saying here in answer to your challenges, is "who is there today who can interpret or better say what the Apostles said, some 2000 years removed?" The only answer to that is no one. The Catholic understands though that the infallible interpretation has been handed down through the Bishops for 2000 years.

'gates of Hell will NEVER (emphasis mine) prevail against the Church'.
If ONE lie was allowed to creep into the Sacred Tradition (oral or written) then the gates of Hell will have prevailed.

Peace
Tom
PS.. You should really get Eusebius Church history, it is available from Penguin but I've found it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Eusebius-Church-History/dp/082543307X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233266946&sr=1-1

Wintrowski said...

Rhology,

"The Lord Jesus set an authoritative example for how one is to judge tradition - by Scripture.

I see in the comments that you've been quoting Mark 7:1-13 as a validation of the above position.

Yes, Jesus does indeed employ Scripture to criticize the Pharisees for enforcing rituals that are meaningless because the Pharisees' internal disposition is not one that seeks to draw closer to God.

But he does not say, nor do I think he implies, that Scripture is the only means by which traditions are to be judged. That would seem to be the common Protestant position, is it not?

Christ says in verse 13, "you nullify the word of God by your tradition". It would be much too restrictive an interpretation of the phrase "word of God" if you think that it refers only to the written Scriptures. God literally spoke to the Jews, He sent Prophets who said certain things and lived lives that were an example to others, and He also inspired authors to write these things down. "Word of God" should be more rightly thought of as all forms of God's revelation to man.

So, considering that Jesus Christ was also God, and that he committed teachings verbally to the minds of men whom we call Apostles, those teachings would also fall within this term "word of God", and ought to be used when evaluating tradition (indeed, we read of Paul's exhortations several times to hold to the teachings that have been handed down from the Apostles, either by word of mouth, or by letter).

Then, to make a point, how are we supposed to regard your claim that Scripture, and only Scripture, must be used to judge tradition? Your claim would, in fact, seem itself to be a tradition that makes void a large portion of the "word of God" which we have received from the lips of Christ himself through the Apostles (for example, Christ clearly says baptism is necessary if believers are to be saved, yet Protestants deny this by their recourse to the Scriptures; Christ also said that we are to eat him and drink his blood if we are to have eternal life, yet Protestants deny this also by their claim that all must be judged by the Scriptures).

I also find it interesting to note that even though Christ chastises the Pharisees for their hollow customs, he also tells his disciples that the Pharisees sit in the "Seat of Moses" so they must be obeyed (c.f. Matthew 23:1-4). Looking at this and the event of Mark 7:1-3, what would you say the message then is? Judge traditions only by the Scriptures, but do them regardless, even if they're bad?

Anyway, the claim that we must judge tradition by Scripture and only Scripture seems to be the foundation of your argument, and is objectively dubious. That kind of leaves you flapping in the breeze.

MM said...

Warm greetings, all. I'm delighted to find your blog today, pertinent to my research on indulgences. You have some great stuff here. May God bless-

Jugulum said...

tnourse,
"If you would have asked ANYONE at that time if they thought new Scripture was going to be added, they would have stoned you for blasphemy."

What is your source for this idea?

When do you think the people of Israel developed the idea that there would never be any more prophets to add to Scripture? (Was it immediately after Malachi was written?)

"And, add to that, Jesus never commanded the apostles to write anything, they were to go and preach. No one was expecting a New Testament to be written, not even the Apostles, and I'd be willing to bet that if we could somehow ask them whether or not they considered their writings to be Scripture, what do you think their answer would be?"

Didn't Peter call Paul's writings "Scripture" in 2 Peter 3:16?

Would he think that Paul's letters were Scripture while his own weren't?

Do you not think that the apostles considered their letters to be as authoritative as the OT Scriptures?

Carrie said...

St. John himself tells us in his gospel that Jesus taught and said many things which were not reduced to writing, so was this stuff NOT truth?

Are these the passages you are referring to?

"Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." John 21:25

"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have lifein his name." John 20:30-31

Did I miss one?

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rhology,

Your answer: 1A - The Korban rule. Jesus says it right there in the psg.

My rebuttal: Sorry, Jesus does not say that the Korban rule was a tradition of the elders. He called it "your tradition" meaning the teaching of that particular group of Pharisees, not a decision arrived at in the Great Sanhedrin of all the different schools. All of the different schools had to agree on an interpretation in order for a teaching to become a Tradition of the Elders. We know that didn't happen because the Mishnah said it didn't.

Further, the Korban rule is scriptural (Lev. 27:28) and not a tradition at all.

The tradition Jesus is actually referring to was the fact that the school these Pharisee belonged to did not teach that vows could be loosed. Take a closer look at the passage, particularly 7:12

Your answer to 1B - No. I don't, however, see why it's relevant - see 1A. Also the Mishna was begun 150+ yrs after the NT events.

My rebuttal: It is relevant. Although the Mishnah was written 150 years later, it does record the oral tradition of the elders in Jesus' time. If you take a look at the Gemmara (commentary) after Nedarim 9:1 (in error earlier said 64), you would see it records the teachings (another word for tradition) of two different schools of Pharisees arguing this very point. The School of Shammai say vows can not be loosed. The School of Hillel says they can. Both of the Rabbis mentioned there by the way I believe were around when Jesus was conducting His ministry on earth.

Your answer to Question 2 - Num 30 - no.
Lev 27 - no.
Deut 23 - no.
Unless you think that God is unable to distinguish between greater and lesser commandments. And wouldn't be upset with someone for making unwise or sinful vows.

My rebuttal: Let's test your theory against Scripture to see what it says about the making of unwise vows. First, take a look at Judges 11:29-40 to see how seriously Jews took vows. Despite the fact that human sacrifice was forbidden, a vow had to be kept regardless and Jepthath still had to kill his daughter because that was his vow to offer the first thing that came out of his home (in ancient cultures many times, the animals lived in the house with the people~Jepthath thought it would be one of his animals that would come out first).

If you do not like Judges, look again at Numbers 30:3 "If any man make a vow to the Lord, or bind himself by an oath: he shall not make his word void but shall fulfill all that he promised." Is there anything here that suggests an exception can be made?

Dt. 23:21 "When thou hast made a vow to the Lord thy God, thou shalt not delay to pay it: because the Lord thy God will require it. And if thou delay, it shall be imputed to thee for a sin." Is there anything here that suggests an exception can be made?

Eccl.: 5:3-5 "If thou hast vowed any thing to God, defer not to pay it: for an unfaithful and foolish promise displeaseth him: but whatsoever thou hast vowed, pay it. And it is much better not to vow, than after a vow not to perform the things promised. Give not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin: and say not before the angel: There is no providence: lest God be angry at thy words, and destroy all the works of thy hands." Any exception here for foolish or unfaithful vows?

Proverbs 20:25 "It is ruin to a man to devour holy ones, and after vows to retract." Any exception here?

I could come up with more, particularly in Psalms but these are off the top of my head.

Furthermore, while we now do distinguish degrees of commandments, the ancient Hebrews did not. They treated all 613 commandments listed in the OT as equal. It was not until the Pharisees promulgated one of their traditions of the elders that held that there were greater and lesser commandments. Halachah found in the Oral Torah are generally divide into two categories: Laws in relation to God (bein adam le-Makom) and Laws about relations with other people (bein adam le-chavero). Violations of Commandments involving relations with other people are considered more serious in degree than ones only involving God in the Oral Torah, as one must obtain forgiveness both from the offended party and from God. See, e.g. “Kalot and Chamurot”: Gradation of Sin in Repentance.

Your answer reads into the passage your 20th century presuppositions instead of how a Jew in the 1st century AD would have understood things being talked about in Mk. Isn't that how Protestants are supposed to look at passages?

Your answer to Question 3 - Mark 7:1-13. That's not in the OT, but I trust Jesus' interp over my own (or yours).

My rebuttal: Yep, I trust Jesus' interpretation too. But one has to also understand what He is talking about. Apparently, you don't.

OF course, Jesus could negate the commandments in the OT; he does so in the very next section concerning the eating of unclean foods. That is not the point. The problem you have is that He is treating the halakhah of the Pharisees as a commandment equal to the written commandments in the OT. Jesus is chiding the Pharisees here because they weren't following their own Tradition of the Elders which required that commandments concerning relationships with people took priority over commandments concerning one's relationship with God alone. Since the commandment to honor one's parents deals with relationships between people, that was supposed to be of more importance than a commandment to honor God alone. That is why Jesus calls them hypocrites (7:6), because they were following only the written Torah and not the Oral Torah as well! He was condemning sola scriptura as a false tradition at least as practiced by the particular school of Pharisees those guys came from.

Your answer to Question 4 - Not that I know of. Nor do I see why it's relevant.

My rebuttal: It makes all the difference in the world if you are going to understand the passage correctly! Throw away your bible commentary and pick up a history book instead.

You asked me: So...Jesus wasn't submitting a tradition to the Word of God there? Help me out here.

My answer: If we understand tradition of a particular school of Pharisees yes. Again, your problem is that Jesus was treating the Oral Torah (Tradition of the Elders) as the Word of God and saying it trumped what was in the written Torah!

I realize that you have probably never heard this before. I have looked at what Calvinists (and many Catholic) commentators have written on this passage as well as Jewish ones (yes there are Jewish commentaries on the NT). If you can really poke a hole in this, please do. My thoughts above do need to be tested to see if they ring true as opposed to getting a sound bite or two response.

God bless!

EBW said...

Hi Rhology,
"Inconsistency Shared"
I accept the invitation to consider. The following comments presume that the Westmnstr.CF will operate as a norm for faith. Always ready, of course, to subject its teachings to the Scriptures.
1) You placed the "preserved remnant" within the history of OT Israel. What about the "PR" in NT
history? The visible church..also catholic and universal under the gospel..OUT of which there is NO ORDINARY POSSIBILITY of Salvation(WCF). Your point about wrong churches falls under the "particular churches" and not the "visible church". Nevertheless, there shall be ALWAYS A CHURCH on earth, to worship God according to his will (WCF). Where is this Church?

2)YES. RC picks and chooses without a doubt. Anyone who thinks their office and duty is to make religious judgements and decisions will p&c. You should put credence
in this approach because any "church" who is necessary for salvation, necessarily preserves the true gospel. Otherwise, the WCF(Of the Church) is suspect.

For there is through Christ's Catholic Church ALONE..universal help...fullness of the means of salvation..Apostolic College ALONE..enstrusted ALL the blessings of the New Covenant (VII DEcum.)
Sola Ecclesia? You bet! Ask the Westminister Divines who know it best.
Thanks for the exchange.

Lvka said...

Theodoret of CyrRHus is generally to be avoided, since he was a Nestorian sympathizer, and wrote in his commentary on the Gospel that when Jesus blew forth his Spirit upon the Apostles and said unto them: "take ye the Holy Ghost", He was doing this only in symbol, since He could not RHeally give the Holy Spirit (in his Nestorian understanding).

The quote You've offered, however, is fully Orthodox (though, curiously enough, coming from a heretic mouth). The same goes for the one from the authentic epistle of Clement the Roman. (And no, these men teach neither Limited Atonement, nor Sola Fide).

In case anyone here's truly interested, here's a link to St. Clement's First Epistle; (just press "next" to get to the following chapter).


----------
Stacey,

You were mixing up Clement the Roman with Clement the Alexandrinian. :-) -- Don't worry; I *allways* mix up Clement of Alexandria with St. Cyril of Alexandria. :-)

Stacey said...

Paul,

That's an interesting history/analysis. I really appreciate the care with which you answer things. It does people like me, who are short on time and history, a great service.

Rhology,

Jesus seems to be saying here that if you cannot ignore one commandment in favor of another, even trying to do something for God. How is considering baptism a real grace contra-scriptural or against any of the commandments? It neither violates the command to love God nor to love your neighbor. The same goes for transubstantiation etc. However, the Korban vow obviously violates "love your neighbor" specifically "honor your mother and your father". Of course, Paul was much more eloquent on this matter. As for judging these traditions by Scripture, they are not contra-scriptural.

"the faith that matters as being the faith that bears fruit in love"

That is the sola fide position, actually. I'm not at all sure it's the RC position, especially given the doctrines of the treasury of merit, penance, and Purgatory.


*sigh* That's what I've been saying. Maybe you don't fully understand the doctrins of treasury of merit, penance, and purgatory. I have a blogpost on purgatory that may help you understand it better if you're interested.

Not so, CF writers are divided on those issues. So, go back to the post.

I see no contradiction. You can at the same time say "Christ died for the sins of all" and say "He did not remove the sins of all because not all have believed" and they do not contradict each other.

SS churches have a wide variety of traditions they CAN hold. It's just that we submit all to the Scr.

I don't understand. How is this different than solo scriptura? Do you accept traditions that are not contrary to the Bible or do you accept traditions that are only explicitly derived from the Bible?

See the psg quoted out of 1 Clement above. Then go to Catholic.com or something and look at CFs quoted when they want to refute sola fide.

If you read it more carefully, Catholics refute belief alone, not faith alone. Luther explicitly meant belief when he said "faith". Darned semantics. Gotta figure out what words mean, not what they look like at face value.

Hmm, how does one test "the Assumption of Mary as part of the Gospel, to be believed by all faithful Christians" by Scripture, still find it in line with Scripture, and yet attempt to make this statement with a straight face?

The Bible does not say "Mary died and was buried." Enoch and Elijah were also assumed into heaven. Jesus honored his mother perfectly in accordance with Scripture and God's commandments. Therefore it is not contra-scriptural.

Lvka,

It's Clement of Alexandria. I got it out of "The Teachings of the Church Fathers", but this online link seems to have confirmed it, at least in a way I can give you :)

tnourse said...

Carrie,
Yes, those were the 2 John quotes I was refering to... thanks for providing the citation for others.
In Christ's Peace,
Tom

Carrie said...

Yes, those were the 2 John quotes I was refering to...

Hi Tom,

The reason I asked was b/c I saw nothing specifically about teaching in those two verses.

You said:

St. John himself tells us in his gospel that Jesus taught and said many things which were not reduced to writing, so was this stuff NOT truth?

and earlier…

IMHO, we have to remember that scripture tells us that Jesus taught the apostles many things which are not contained in Scripture...this is the basis for Tradition and to say that these things (not recorded, but taught nonetheless) must be measure strictly against the Written Tradition is a circular argument.

But the verses say:

"Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." John 21:25

"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:30-31

I see nothing in these verses that implies that Christ taught the disciples things which have been handed down orally and need to be believed. In fact, I see the opposite as John specifically states that what has been written was done so that the reader may believe and have eternal life. What was written was sufficient for the belief which leads to salvation.

Clearly the gospels do not record everything that Jesus said and did, but how do you then jump to the assertion that Jesus taught a separate body of beliefs that were not recorded, yet necessary for belief and in direct conflict with what John said in 20:31?

(assuming I understood you correctly)

tnourse said...

Carrie,
So, if you take those versus literally in the manner you suggest, then Jesus only DID things, but spoke no more? One can rightly assume that not only did Jesus perform more miracles/acts/etc, but he also spoke about them. Very rarely did Jesus 'speak' where he wasn't imparting some type of lesson. I may be off a bit here in that in my understanding, while Jesus was performing most of his miracles, he also taught a little bit with it too... not all to be sure, but quite often.

I also have a hard time making the leap from John 20:31 "But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name."
to thinking that this implies that there was nothing else. This is my opinion, not official Catholic Doctrine, but what I think John was saying was "Jesus did so much I can't fit it all into 1 writing, so I picked what I thought would best lead to your believing in Him". Likewise, when John wrote those words, he was not referring to the other books of the New Testament, because there were none... He was referring to that specific writing.


Also, it is a fact that not all 4 gospels say exactly the same things or cover the exact same things in exactly the same way. Nor, when the New Testament list of writings was defined and 4 years later the Canon was closed was there any assumption that the 27 books were EVERYTHING, but rather, those 27 books out of the 400+ were the ones that kept with the Oral Tradition as handed down by the Bishops in succession from the Apostles. There was no declaration by ANY Bishop that this is the COMPLETE Word of God, but rather, what was in those 27 books was COMPLETELY the Word of God. There theoretically could have been other writings that may have been included but could have been destroyed during Christian persecutions beforehand...
This is why the CC faithfully maintains that what was passed on as Oral Tradition from the Apostles down through the Bishops until today, which is protected by the Promise of the Holy Spirit to lead us to all truth, and the Promise of Christ to protect his Church, is also part of the Sacred Deposit of Faith and is equal in weight to the Written Tradition (scripture).

This can be based on the Authority Structure of the Jews, and Christianity is the organic growth of Judaism. For the Jews, there was a 3-legged stool of authority in their lives which any Jew will tell you came down the mountain with Moses: 1) The teaching authority of Moses (magisterium of the CC today, the Pope and Bishops with him), 2) The written Word of God on stone (today on paper), and 3) the Oral Tradition as passed on by the priests (still ongoing today).

Take away 2 of those legs (Magisterium and Oral Tradition) and the stool falls (Sola Scriptura). For the stool to stand up again, the Protestant must add himself as Pope (decider of doctrine), and add his own traditions (i.e., where is the sinner's prayer in the Bible? that's an added tradition, interpreting John 6 (the Eucharistic part) as figurative and not literal is a tradition).

Long answer, so I apologize for that.
In His Peace,
Tom

Carrie said...

So, if you take those versus literally in the manner you suggest, then Jesus only DID things, but spoke no more?

I stated that he clearly said and did much that wasn't recorded, but those specific verses don't say what you asserted: "we have to remember that scripture tells us that Jesus taught the apostles many things which are not contained in Scripture".

What you seem to be asserting is that Christ taught the apostles truths that were not captured in scripture, but are necessary to be believed. The verses in John don't support that assertion.

What you need to show is that 1) Christ taught the apostles truths which were never captured anywhere in scripture and 2) that these uncaptured teachings must be believed for X (salvation?).

tnourse said...

Carrie,
Glad we agree, at least to an extent anyways. I think we are running around the same bush so to speak. What I'm saying, and I'm trying to be a little more clear each time :-), is that John refers to Jesus doing (and with certainty saying) more than can possibly be recorded in any book(s), and since Jesus only said/taught/did the Truth, it is therefore rightly asserted that the things which he said that weren't recorded are also Truth. Let's take an example. The Trinity is not mentioned in the Bible. Jesus never said anything about 1 God and 3 Divine persons. The dogma of the Trinity is alluded to, but never explicitly mentioned, nor (in my my memory of scripture) does it say that the Holy Spirit even is God. Perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, Jesus taught this more in depth but it was never recorded. Does that mean it must not be believed since it is not explicitly defined in scripture? Now I realize this is a very loose example, but nonetheless, we have the dogma of the Trinity thanks to the Oral Tradition. And undoubtedly to Arianism which denied the God the Father and God the son were coequal, coeternal, one in being, that the Father created the Son's spirit at somepoint when then "took flesh...". The Catholic Church, at the council of Nicea upheld the long believed Oral Tradition of God the Father, his Begotton son and the Holy Spirit as one Godhead, yet being of 3 Divine persons. The term Tri-unity, or Trinity was thus defined and declared necessary in belief for salvation to settle the heretical argument causing division.

So in short, I'd say "yes" there are some known truths not explicitly mentioned in scripture which must be believed to be saved. Are there bazillions of them? Probably not, but I'm not omnipotent.

Peace!
Tom

Rhology said...

A word to all RCs in this thread - you need to defend your own position. Attacking SS gets no one anywhere if you can't defend your own position here. If I'm right and SS is also wrong, then we all have nothing and we might as well all eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Get to it.


tnourse,

If you would have asked ANYONE at that time if they thought new Scripture was going to be added, they would have stoned you for blasphemy.

And they were wrong. This is a bizarre objection - remember that you are supposed to believe also that the NT is God-breathed Scripture, not just me. You're not an atheist, remember?
Funny thing is, when we cite the Jewish canon of the OT to rebuff Roman claims, RCs are quick to object that we shouldn't put any weight in what Jews, who rejected their Messiah, say.


Once the Catholic Church declared the New Testament Canon closed and complete in 397, we then had the addition 27 books in our Bible.

You are distinguishing between canonisation and recognition, so I can only conclude that you are pretty clumsy in your thinking here. As if these books carried less weight or were less inspired before 397!


yes, the Bishops of the Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit ("I will lead you into all truth) applied the Sacred Tradition as handed on down through the Bishops (the Apostolic Succession) oral teaching ("The gates of Hell will never prevail against the Church") to determine whether a particular writing was "inspired" and also "canonical"

So now Tradition is the determining factor for what is God-breathed. You're welcome to this, but I don't know if other RCs will share your viewpoint.


The Catholic understands though that the infallible interpretation has been handed down through the Bishops for 2000 years.

Oh, I see. So, what's the infallible interpretation of the partim-partim vs material sufficiency controversy? Make sure you cite sources for your 2000 yrs claim.
At any rate, you didn't even respond to the points I made in my post, so I'd ask you to get on-topic here.


You should really get Eusebius Church history

Thanks, maybe someday. I'm in the middle of Schaff right now, actually.


Wintrowski said:
rituals that are meaningless because the Pharisees' internal disposition is not one that seeks to draw closer to God.

That's not why Christ called them out for their exercise of the Corban rule.


that Scripture is the only means by which traditions are to be judged.

1) That's just your personal, private interpretation.
2) What is the other means He includes in that psg?


God literally spoke to the Jews, He sent Prophets who said certain things and lived lives that were an example to others,

And where was that recorded, other than the Scr?

You didn't respond to the post either; you're more throwing out a general talking-points response to Sola Scrip. Been there, done that. I'd like you to read the post and interact with it, please.


Paul Hoffer said:
the Korban rule is scriptural (Lev. 27:28) and not a tradition at all.

Jesus specifically identified it as a tradition, so...
And of course, the Pharisees were guilty of twisting OT into their own traditions and making them sound like they came straight from Moses. Matthew 5 contains another example.


The School of Shammai say vows can not be loosed. The School of Hillel says they can.

Whoopie, and Jesus in Mark 7 corrects everyone - don't make bad oaths, and don't keep them either.


take a look at Judges 11:29-40 to see how seriously Jews took vows.

1) And Jephthah fails to discern when it is better to break a bad vow than to carry it out and make it worse.
2) This assumes that Jeph actually killed his daughter rather than sacrificing her to be a lifelong virgin in religious service.
But it's irrelevant either way.


Is there anything here that suggests an exception can be made?

Have you ever heard of being impaled on the horns of a dilemma?
But this whole discussion is irrelevant to my actual post.



while we now do distinguish degrees of commandments, the ancient Hebrews did not

Again, who cares what they thought? Jesus corrected that several times in the NT - "you have neglected the weightier matters of the law."


Jesus could negate the commandments in the OT; he does so in the very next section concerning the eating of unclean foods.

You mean, He could fulfill them. You have a deficient understanding of how the OT Law relates to NT living. Let me suggest you read the Epistle to the Hebrews and also see the multiple times Jesus says "the law cannot be broken", "I have come not to abolish the law but to fulfill it", "not one jot or tittle shall pass out of the law", etc.


He was condemning sola scriptura as a false tradition at least as practiced by the particular school of Pharisees those guys came from.

I give you props for the tremendous distance you had to leap to get to this conclusion.


I realize that you have probably never heard this before.

No, this is pretty bizarre indeed. Your argument needs serious help. But I'd encourage you to actually interact with my post, thanks.



EBW said:
OUT of which there is NO ORDINARY POSSIBILITY of Salvation

I'm actually doing quite well in my Baptist fellowship - I'm just a separated brother, you know. See the CCC.


RC picks and chooses without a doubt.

I appreciate the admission. Now, when RCC then, when challenged, appeals to Sacred Tradition (that she picked out) to justify her position as infallible interpreter, why should anyone put credence in such a circular appeal?


You should put credence in this approach because any "church" who is necessary for salvation, necessarily preserves the true gospel.

Highly circular on your part.




Stacey,

I don't have all day, so I'm only responding to things relevant to my post.

the Korban vow obviously violates "love your neighbor" specifically "honor your mother and your father".

Yup, both of which commands are found in Scr.


How is this different than solo scriptura?

Well, b/c solO says "me and my Bible under a tree, and nothing else except that which can be derived from it". At least, that's my understanding of solO, but maybe you've heard sthg different.


Do you accept traditions that are not contrary to the Bible or do you accept traditions that are only explicitly derived from the Bible?

We submit all things to the Scr. We must accept all that the Scr teaches. And if sthg is not countermanded by Scr, then we are free to hold it, or not. See 1 Cor 8 and Romans 14 for more information.

All in all, like I said above, not a good show from the RCs on this thread. Please, if you don't remember what the post was about, read it again. Defend your own system. I don't have time to (and therefore won't) respond to tangents.

Peace,
Rhology

EBW said...

Rhology,
Thanks for responding. After a barrage of RC responses, you still hold ground. Your post opened and ended with an admonishment. Not sure if it includes me, but I don't wish break from "blog protocol". I tried to stay in line w/the points of your original post.
I get the impression that you think ANY words from the ENTIRE corpus of the CF should somehow qualify for Sacred Tradition. Is that your position? Are they YOUR Fathers? If so, why "CHURCH" Fthr and not "Scripture" Fthr?
Please clarify what is "modern RC"
and HOW do you escape the charge of circular reasoning when the Scriptures alone are the only infallible rule to interpret
Scripture? This "diction" counters itself.
If this post has ended, then may my comments can be considered for future exchange.
Thanks

Stacey said...

Rhology,

I've reread your post... very slowly ;)

My original questions to you "Where do you think RCC went wrong in its tradition?" and "How does the Reformed tradition decide which traditions to accept?" were an attempt from me to understand how sola scriptura is different from solo scriptura, because as you had told me, I didn't understand it. Maybe you thought I was getting at something else?

Carrie has told me before that my extremist experiences in Protestantism are due to a mangling of the Scriptures (I totally agree!) and that they do not hold tradition in any regard like the Reformed tradition does, and technically sola scriptura does as well. I was trying to find out the role the tradition plays in Reformed theology and how it differs from the role it plays in the RCC.

I still do not see how "me and my Bible under a tree, and nothing else except that which can be derived from it" is different in practice from And if sthg is not countermanded by Scr, then we are free to hold it, or not. because anything can and has been shown to be "derived" from the Bible (as I have experienced), and you are free to hold it or not, though generally don't. I don't know if there is anything stopping sola scriptura from devolving into Latter Rain teachings, since they are Biblically supported.

If you'd rather remain critical of the Roman Catholic use of tradition, we can go there, but I have little motivation to continue defending a position against which there has yet to be any serious charges asserted.

Over on my blog site, I have asked for examples of these major contradictions of the ECF in essential doctrine that you say exist, and you have given sola scriptura to start with. I don't think this is a good example at all, because the ECF could not possibly have been arguing for sola scriptura, when there was no recognized and set New Testament, there was tradition handed down from their predecessors in the form of letters and essays (which they obviously held in high regard). Also, the ECF repeatedly affirmed the four gospels as being materially sufficient for salvation, and something which everything should be measured against and at the same time regarded tradition as vitally important. These positions are not mutually exclusive, and the quotes you have brought up do not show that they are.

I was hoping that you might produce writings pertaining to major doctrines, and maybe at some point before 400 AD some poor bloke said "Nah, that isn't the body and blood of Christ! He was being metaphorical" or "Mary was buried here!" or "All you have to do is cross your t's and dot your i's and you'll be saved, forget that faith stuff!". If you did produce such a quotation from a reliable source that did not go uncorrected, Catholics would have something serious to answer for.

kaycee said...

Hi Stacey,

Quote from ECF Cyril of Jerusalem on autority of scripture.

"That the fathers were firm believers in the principle of sola Scriptura is clearly seen from the writings of Cyril of Jerusalem, the bishop of Jerusalem in the mid fourth century. He is the author of what is known as the Catechetical Lectures. This work is an extensive series of lectures given to catechumens expounding the principle doctrines of the faith. It is a complete explanation of the faith of the Church of his day. And his teaching is thoroughly grounded in Scripture. There is in fact not one appeal in the entirety of the Lectures to an oral Apostolic Tradition that is independent of Scripture. He states in unequivocal terms that if he were to present any teaching to these catechumens which could not be validated from Scripture, they were to reject it. This tells us that his authority as a Bishop was subject to his conformity to the written Scriptures in his teaching. The following are some of his statements from the Lectures on the final autghority of Scripture:

"This seal have thou ever on thy mind; which now by way of summary has been touched on in its heads, and if the Lord grant, shall hereafter be set forth according to our power, with Scripture-proofs. For concerning the divine and sacred Mysteries of the Faith, we ought not to deliver even the most casual remark without the Holy Scriptures: nor be drawn aside by mere probabilities and the artifices of argument. Do not then believe me because I tell thee these things, unless thou receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of what is set forth: for this salvation, which is of our faith, is not by ingenious reasonings, but by proof from the Holy Scriptures" (A Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (Oxford: Parker, 1845), The Catechetical Lectures of S. Cyril 4.17).

kaycee said...

Pope Gelasius of Rome on the Eucharist.

"The sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which we receive, is a divine thing, because by it we are made partakers of the divine-nature. Yet the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease. And assuredly the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the performance of the mysteries."

Augustine on the Eucharist.

"‘If the sentence . . . seems to enjoin a crime or vice. . . it is figurative. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,” says Christ, “and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” This seems to enjoin a crime or a vice; it is therefore a figure, enjoining that we should have a share in the sufferings of our Lord, and that we should retain a sweet and profitable memory of the fact that His flesh was wounded and crucified for us.’"

kaycee said...

Hi Stacey,

More Church Fathers on Mary. John Crysostom Mary and families unbelief.

"For where parents cause no impediment or hindrance in things belonging to God, it is our bounden duty to give way to them, and there is great danger in not doing so; but when they require anything unseasonably, and cause hindrance in any spiritual matter, it is unsafe to obey. And therefore He answered thus in this place, and again elsewhere, 'Who is My mother, and who are My brethren?' (Matt. xii. 48), because they did not yet think rightly of Him; and she, because she had borne Him, claimed, according to the custom of other mothers, to direct Him in all things, when she ought to have reverenced and worshiped Him. This then was the reason why He answered as He did on that occassion....And so this was a reason why He rebuked her on that occasion, saying, 'Woman, what have I to do with thee?' [John 2:4] instructing her for the future not to do the like; because, though He was careful to honor His mother, yet He cared much for the salvation of her soul" - John Chrysostom (Homilies on the Gospel According to St. John, 21)

Lvka said...

Kaycee,

feel free to read the writings of the men You quote: particularily St. Cyril and St. John Chrysostom. Technically, they were all Proto-Protestants, so You should have nothing to be affraid of.

ccel.org/fathers.html

kaycee said...

Cyprian, on Church hierarchy.

Around the middle of the third century, dozens of North African bishops gathered together in a council to support a doctrine that was opposed by the bishop of Rome, among other people. In that context, Cyprian denied that there's any Pope:

"For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. But let us all wait for the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only one that has the power both of preferring us in the government of His Church, and of judging us in our conduct there." - The Seventh Council of Carthage.

Cyprian believed in a primacy of Peter, but explains that the primacy is chronological and symbolic, not jurisdictional:

"The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, 'I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, 'Feed my sheep.' And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, 'As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;' yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity." (On the Unity of the Church, 4)

http://www.ntrmin.org/catholic_but_not_roman_catholic_index.htm

Stacey, certainly this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Early Church Fathers on how they were "Catholic" just not Roman Catholic.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rhology,

I said:
the Korban rule is scriptural (Lev. 27:28) and not a tradition at all.

You said: Jesus specifically identified it as a tradition, so...

My rebuttal: No, He did not identify the Korban rule as a Tradition of the elders. He stated that the paradosis He was refuting was their refusal to to annul the Korban vow, something that was not allowed in the OT.

You said: And of course, the Pharisees were guilty of twisting OT into their own traditions and making them sound like they came straight from Moses. Matthew 5 contains another example.

My rebuttal: If you are talking about Mt. 5:31-32, you would be wrong again. This recounts another dispute between the Schools of Hillel and Shammai. Jesus sided with what the School of Shammai had taught as opposed to what the School of Hillel taught.

Mt. 5 though is a perfect example of Jesus using Pharisaic teaching methods for His own use. Mt. 5 was Jesus building His own fence around the Torah. See, Pirke Avot 1:1.

The problem you face is the fact that the entire OT was nothing but a Tradition. Hebrew did not contain vowels. So depending on how the words were pronounced determined the meaning of hte passage. And that was all taught from teacher to student, being passed down-which is what paradosis, the word we now define as Tradition, really means. It was not until the Septuagint was written that the vowels got put in.

I said: The School of Shammai say vows can not be loosed. The School of Hillel says they can.

You said: Whoopie, and Jesus in Mark 7 corrects everyone - don't make bad oaths, and don't keep them either.

My reply: Well oaths and vows are not quite the same thing, but to take your statement further, Jesus actually taught that you should not swear an oath at all. Mt. 5:33-37. Of course, we, meaning most Protestants and Catholics, do take oaths and make vows all the time. Is our oath taking and vow making a tradition of the elders of our own? BTW, what do you make of Acts 21:17-26?

I said: take a look at Judges 11:29-40 to see how seriously Jews took vows.

You said: 1) And Jephthah fails to discern when it is better to break a bad vow than to carry it out and make it worse.
2) This assumes that Jeph actually killed his daughter rather than sacrificing her to be a lifelong virgin in religious service.
But it's irrelevant either way.

My rebuttal: Is there anything in the passage that suggests that Jepthath was condemned for what he did? And how come he wasn't released from his obviously foolish and bad vow. Who was there to release him?

At this point in revelation, God made it clear that He demanded precise obedience to His Word. He did not allow for exceptions (Take a look at Numbers 31 for instance.)

I asked: Is there anything here that suggests an exception can be made?

You replied: Have you ever heard of being impaled on the horns of a dilemma?

My rebuttal: Hence the need for a Magisterium to take and apply the Word of God to new situations that arise.

You said: But this whole discussion is irrelevant to my actual post.

My rebuttal: Not actually. You are failing to consider that all teachings are compared, contrasted, tested against each other. Ultimately, either a consensus develops-sensus fidelium-among the faithful or the Church authoritatively decided an issue (councils, etc.) Even in your own system of sola scriptura, Protestants do that.

The problem is that all things are interpreted, they all have to studied, and decisions are made on how they are to be used. The ancients all recognized that, even the pagans. Epictetus wrote:

"Of all the faculties, you will find not one which is capable of contemplating itself; and, consequently, not capable either of approving or disapproving.
How far does the grammatic art possess the contemplating power? As
far as forming a judgement about what is written and spoken. And how
far music? As far as judging about melody. Does either of them then
contemplate itself? By no means. But when you must write something
to your friend, grammar will tell you what words you must write; but
whether you should write or not, grammar will not tell you. And so
it is with music as to musical sounds; but whether you should sing
at the present time and play on the lute, or do neither, music will
not tell you. What faculty then will tell you?"


I wrote: while we now do distinguish degrees of commandments, the ancient Hebrews did not

You responded: Again, who cares what they thought? Jesus corrected that several times in the NT - "you have neglected the weightier matters of the law."

My rebuttal: You missed the point. After the diaspora and with the birth of the Pharisees, commandments were no longer taught as being equal (except by the Saducees) as I stated. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for NOT following their own standards. He was agreeing with their standards, not their practices which failed to live up to them.

I wrote: Jesus could negate the commandments in the OT; he does so in the very next section concerning the eating of unclean foods.

You said: You mean, He could fulfill them. You have a deficient understanding of how the OT Law relates to NT living. Let me suggest you read the Epistle to the Hebrews and also see the multiple times Jesus says "the law cannot be broken", "I have come not to abolish the law but to fulfill it", "not one jot or tittle shall pass out of the law", etc.

My rebuttal: Jesus fulfilled the Law by requiring that it be fulfilled through Love. He taught that the law could only be fulfilled when it reflected an internal change of heart, a change of attitude as opposed to a rote adherence to words only~which is fatal flaw of the false notion of sola scriptura.

I said: He was condemning sola scriptura as a false tradition at least as practiced by the particular school of Pharisees those guys came from.

You said: I give you props for the tremendous distance you had to leap to get to this conclusion.

My reply: Thank you-but I did not have to go as far as you think. Of course, my whole argument goes to pieces if you can show me one place in the OT where a Korban vow could be annulled. But unfortunately, there isn't one.

I wrote: I realize that you have probably never heard this before.

You said: No, this is pretty bizarre indeed. Your argument needs serious help.

My rebuttal: It can't be too bizarre. Here are some folks I found that are thinking along some of the same lines as I do~~ http://www.haderek.ca/articles/way/vows.htm. Of course, what does a bunch of Jews know about Judaism anyways?

I would suggest that you need to make like a Berean and start testing your own pre-conceived notions. It might be eye-opening for you!

But since you asked me to address your notions presented in the original article directly:

Of course, the whole foundation of you article rests solely on the presumption that the tradition which the RCC subscribes to "went wrong." At least in my mind and that of my fellow Catholic Christians, that is a very shaky and unproven presumption indeed.

And despite your claim that Catholics doctrine lacks clarity, I could give you a very conise and complete list of dogma that the Catholic Church does teach: Dr. Ludwig Ott wrote up such a list in "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma", published by the Mercier Press Ltd., Cork, Ireland, 1955. With Imprimatur of Cornelius, Bishop. Reprinted in U.S.A. by Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford, Illinois, 1974. Here is an internet copy of that list: http://www.theworkofgod.org/dogmas.htm#Dogma-VI-Church.

Your whole article presumes further, that each of us is a tabula rosa, that we have no sense of history or what it is like to live life in the community that is Church. Our understanding of what we believe, how we believe it, and how we apply such belief in our lives is a process of growth and learning. So too is how things are looked at in the Church. Hence, teachings are tested, adopted or rejected, and later developed.

Your points that you invite us to consider invaribly draws one to the conclusion that in order to get "it" right (using your terms), Christ had to appoint someone to have the final word in what doctrines one is to believe. For Catholics, it is a Magisterium, for Protestants it is sola scriptura and private judgment. Using the paradigm of history, so-called, one easily sees which one that the Church followed until the Reformation.

I like that you brought up the Early Church Fathers. Personally, I like the examples that you used because it shows the dangers of taking snippets of what they say and then telescope such snippets into the ludicrous notion that such snippet is their entire belief system.

Theodoret: James White used this quote in a debate and it was soundly rebuffed here: http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a98.htm .

Guess what, Theodoret did not not teach limted atonement:

"By raising the flesh He has given the promise of resurrection to us all, after giving the resurrection of His own precious body as a worthy pledge of ours. So loved He men even when they hated Him that the mystery of the economy fails to obtain credence with some on account of the very bitterness of His sufferings, and it is enough to show the depths of His loving kindness that He is even yet day by day calling to men who do not believe. And He does so not as though He were in need of the service of men -- for of what is the Creator of the universe in want? -- but because He THIRSTS FOR THE SALVATION OF EVERY MAN. Grasp then, my excellent friend, His gift; sing praises to the Giver, and procure for us a very great and right goodly feast." (Theodoret, Letter LXXVI To Uranius, Governor of Cyprus)

Here, Theodoret speaks of Jesus as thirsting for the salvation of every man, not the elect only.

See also:

"They give both to the pleadings of the opponents, and deliver a sentence acceptable to them, I shall put up with the injustice as bringing me nearer to the kingdom of heaven, and shall await that impartial tribunal, where there is neither prosecutor, nor counsel, nor witness, nor distinction in rank, but judgment of deeds and words and righteous retribution. "For," it is said, "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done whether it be good or bad [cf. 2 Cor 5:10]." (Theodoret, Letter XCI To the Prefect Euthrechius)

And to let you know how he looked at folks who distort the words of the early church fathers:

"I am yet more grieved that it should be in the name of true religion and with the dignity of a shepherd that he should give utterance to his heretical and blasphemous words, and renew that vain and impious teaching of Apollinarius which was long ago stamped out. Besides all this there is the fact that he not only supports these views but even dares to anathematize those who decline to participate in his blasphemies;—if he is really the author of these productions and they have not proceeded from some enemy of the truth who has composed them in his name and, as the old story has it, flung the apple of discord in the midst, and so fanned the flame on high.

But whether this composition comes from himself or from some other in his name, I, for my part, by the aid of the light of the Holy Ghost, in the investigation of this heretical and corrupt opinion, according to the measure of the power given me, have refuted them as best I could. I have confronted them with the teaching of evangelists and apostles. I have exposed the monstrosity of the doctrine, and proved how vast is its divergence from divine truth. This I have done by comparing it with the words of the Holy Spirit, and pointing out what strange and jarring discord there is between it and the divine.

Against the hardihood of this anathematizing, thus much I will say, that Paul, the clear-voiced herald of truth, anathematized those who had corrupted the evangelic and apostolic teaching and boldly did so against the angels, not against those who abided by the laws laid down by theologians; these he strengthened with blessings, saying, "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy and on the Israel of God." Let then the author of these writings reap from the Apostle's curse the due rewards of his labours and the harvest of his seeds of heresy. We will abide in the teaching of the holy Fathers." Letter of Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus to John, Bishop of Antioch.

I wonder how Theodoret would be writing about you in a letter if he were around today...

You mentioned Chapter 32 of St. Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians. Here are some quotes for you to consider. And after you do, you might want to consider why one needs a Church to help him put one thing that an early church father says into context with everything else he says:

CHAPTER XII.-THE REWARDS OF FAITH AND HOSPITALITY. RAHAB.

On account of her faith and hospitality, Rahab the harlot was saved.

CHAP. XXX.--LET US DO THOSE THINGS THAT PLEASE GOD, AND FLEE FROM THOSE HE HATES, THAT WE MAY BE BLESSED.

1. Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking after change,(3) all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride. "For God," saith [the Scripture], "resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble."(4) Let us cleave, then, to those to whom grace has been given by God. LET US CLOTHE OURSELVES WITH CONCORD AND HUMILITY, EVER EXERCISING SELF-CONTROL, STANDING FAR OFF FROM ALL WHISPERING AND EVIL-SPEAKING, BEING JUSTIFIED BY OUR WORKS, AND NOT OUR WORDS.

For [the Scripture] saith, "He that speaketh much, shall also hear much in answer. And does he that is ready in speech deem himself righteous? Blessed is he that is born of woman, who liveth but a short time: be not given to much speaking."(5) Let our praise be in God, and not of ourselves; for God hateth those that commend themselves. Let testimony to our good deeds be borne by others, as it was in the case of our righteous forefathers. Boldness, and arrogance, and audacity belong to those that are accursed of God; but moderation, humility, and meekness to such as are blessed by Him.

CHAP. XXXI.--LET US SEE BY WHAT MEANS WE MAY OBTAIN THE DIVINE BLESSING.

Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means(6) of possessing it. Let us think(7) over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? was it not BECAUSE HE WROUGHT RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUTH THROUGH FAITH?(8) Isaac, with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen,(9) cheerfully yielded himself as a sacrifice.(10) Jacob, through reason(11) of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel.

CHAP. XXXII

Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognize the greatness of the gifts which were given by him.(12) For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, "Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven." All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men. Amen

CHAP. XXXIII.--BUT LET US NOT OWE UP THE PRACTICE OF GOOD WORKS AND LOVE. GOD HIMSELF IS AN EXAMPLE TO US OF GOOD WORKS.

What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work. For the Creator and Lord of all Himself rejoices in His works. For by His infinitely great power He established the heavens, and by His incomprehensible wisdom He adorned them. He also divided the earth from the water which surrounds it, and fixed it upon the immovable foundation of His own will. The animals also which are upon it He commanded by His own word(16) into existence. So likewise, when He had formed the sea, and the living creatures which are in it, He enclosed them [within their proper bounds] by His own power. Above all,(17) with His holy and undefiled hands He formed man, the most excellent [of His creatures], and truly great through the understanding given him--the express likeness of His own image. For thus says God: "Let us make man in Our image, and after Our likeness. So God made man; male and female He created them."[1] Having thus finished all these things, He approved them, and blessed them, and said, "Increase and multiply."(2) We see,(3) then, HOW ALL RIGHTEOUS MEN HAVE BEEN DORNED WITH GOOD WORKS, and how the Lord Himself, adorning Himself with His works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay accede to His will, and LET US WORK THE WORK OF RIGHTEOUSNESS with our whole strength.

CHAP. XXXIV.--GREAT IS THE REWARD OF GOOD WORKS WITH GOD. JOINED TOGETHER IN HARMONY, LET US IMPLORE THAT REWARD FROM HIM.
The good servant(4) receives the bread of his labour with confidence; the lazy and slothful cannot look his employer in the face. It is requisite, therefore, that we be prompt in the practice of well-doing; for of Him are all things. And thus He forewarns us: "Behold, the Lord [cometh], and His reward is before His face, TO RENDER TO EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS WORK."(5) He exhorts us, therefore, with our whole heart to attend to this,(6) that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work. Let our boasting and our confidence be in Him. Let us submit ourselves to His will.

Chapter XLVIII says:

Let us therefore, with all haste, put an end to this [state of things]; and let us fall down before the Lord, and beseech Him with tears, that He would mercifully be reconciled to us, and restore us to our former seemly and holy practice of brotherly love. For [such conduct] is the gate of righteousness, which is set open for the attainment of life, as it is written, "Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go in by them, and will praise the Lord: this is the gate of the Lord: the righteous shall enter in by it." Although, therefore, many gates have been set open, yet this gate of righteousness is that gate in Christ by which blessed are all they that have entered in and have directed their way in holiness and righteousness, doing all things without disorder.

Chapter L says:
Blessed are we, beloved, if we keep the commandments of God in the harmony of love; that so through love our sins may be forgiven us.

You can't take one sentence out of one paragraph of an entire work and start calling it a tradition. You need to read it in context with the whole work and harmonzie all of the parts.

I will finish my thoughts later. I have to go do errands and see clients today.

God bless!

kaycee said...

Hi Stacey,

If you are indeed interested in what the ECF's have to say, this would be a good rescource for you.

http://www.christiantruth.com/products/product_view.pl?item_view=Holy_Scripture_-_Volume_3

Jason Engwer on Triablogue gives a good summation of what the earliest church fathers taught.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/07/early-post-apostolic-christians-were.html

"- There was no papacy.
- There were multiple forms of church government, including forms not involving a monarchical episcopate.
- Church leaders were required to meet moral and doctrinal standards, and it was considered acceptable to disobey or separate from a leader who violated such standards.
- When apostolic succession was discussed, it was defined in different ways by different sources, and the concepts discussed involved reasoning and qualifications that we don't find in modern Roman Catholic arguments for apostolic succession.
- Infants weren't baptized initially, and the later practice of infant baptism was largely done for a different reason and at a different time than we see in modern Catholicism.
- There were multiple views of the eucharist on issues such as a eucharistic presence of Christ, and John 6 was sometimes interpreted metaphorically, for example.
- Though most of the early post-apostolic sources advocated some form of justification through works, some advocated justification through faith alone, and those who advocated justification through works disagreed with each other about the nature of the works, sometimes contradicting Roman Catholicism on the issue.
- Mary was believed to have sinned.
- They often discussed subjects such as bodily assumptions and what happened to men like Enoch and Elijah without mentioning a bodily assumption of Mary. The concept of an assumption of Mary is absent, including in contexts where it would be appropriate to mention the concept.
- Whether Mary was a perpetual virgin isn't discussed much, though the earliest view seems to be that she wasn't.
- Passages of scripture often cited in support of Roman Catholic Marian doctrines, such as Revelation 12, were interpreted differently than Catholics interpret those passages.
- The concept of Purgatory was initially absent and widely contradicted, and some of the later ante-Nicene fathers who are sometimes cited in support of the doctrine can only be cited for partial support, along with partial contradiction.
- There was widespread opposition to the veneration of images.
- There was widespread belief that prayer is to be offered only to God, not to angels or deceased humans.
- Despite much acceptance of one or more Apocryphal books as scripture, some of the Apocryphal books accepted aren't accepted by Roman Catholicism, and some sources rejected the Apocryphal books.
- Premillennialism seems to have been the most popular eschatology.

Wintrowski said...

Hi Kaycee,

I liked your quote from St. Cyril of Jerusalem. However, I think it's missing some important context, so I thought I'd help provide that for the readers. Here's what St. Cyril has to say about the Catholic Church, from his Catechetical Lecture 18 (the same series of documents that your quote was from):

"22. The Faith which we rehearse contains in order the following, And in one Baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; and in one Holy Catholic Church; and in the resurrection of the flesh; and in eternal life. Now of Baptism and repentance I have spoken in the earliest Lectures; and my present remarks concerning the resurrection of the dead have been made with reference to the Article In the resurrection of the flesh. Now then let me finish what still remains to be said for the Article, In one Holy Catholic Church, on which, though one might say many things, we will speak but briefly.

23. It is called Catholic then because it extends over all the world, from one end of the earth to the other; and because it teaches universally and completely one and all the doctrines which ought to come to men's knowledge, concerning things both visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly ; and because it brings into subjection to godliness the whole race of mankind, governors and governed, learned and unlearned; and because it universally treats and heals the whole class of sins, which are committed by soul or body, and possesses in itself every form of virtue which is named, both in deeds and words, and in every kind of spiritual gifts.

24. And it is rightly named (Ecclesia) because it calls forth and assembles together all men; according as the Lord says in Leviticus, And make an assembly for all the congregation at the door of the tabernacle of witness . And it is to be noted, that the word assemble, is used for the first time in the Scriptures here, at the time when the Lord puts Aaron into the High-priesthood. And in Deuteronomy also the Lord says to Moses, Assemble the people unto Me, and let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me (Deuteronomy 4:10). And he again mentions the name of the Church, when he says concerning the Tables, And on them were written all the words which the Lord spoke with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the Assembly ; as if he had said more plainly, in the day in which you were called and gathered together by God. The Psalmist also says, I will give thanks unto You, O Lord, in the great Congregation; I will praise You among much people .

25. Of old the Psalmist sang, Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, (ye that are) from the fountains of Israel . But after the Jews for the plots which they made against the Saviour were cast away from His grace, the Saviour built out of the Gentiles a second Holy Church, the Church of us Christians, concerning which he said to Peter, And upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). And David prophesying of both these, said plainly of the first which was rejected, I have hated the Congregation of evil doers ; but of the second which is built up he says in the same Psalm, Lord, I have loved the beauty of Your house ; and immediately afterwards, In the Congregations will I bless you, O Lord . For now that the one Church in Judæa is cast off, the Churches of Christ are increased over all the world; and of them it is said in the Psalms, Sing unto the Lord a new song, His praise in the Congregation of Saints . Agreeably to which the prophet also said to the Jews, I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord Almighty (Malachi 1:10); and immediately afterwards, For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, My name is glorified among the Gentiles . Concerning this Holy Catholic Church Paul writes to Timothy, That you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the House of God, which is the Church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).

26. But since the word Ecclesia is applied to different things (as also it is written of the multitude in the theatre of the Ephesians, And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the Assembly (Acts 19:14)), and since one might properly and truly say that there is a Church of evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics, the Marcionists and Manichees, and the rest, for this cause the Faith has securely delivered to you now the Article, And in one Holy Catholic Church; that you may avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which you were regenerated. And if ever you are sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord's House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God (for it is written, As Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25), and all the rest,) and is a figure and copy of Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and the mother of us all (Galatians 4:26); which before was barren, but now has many children.

27. For when the first Church was cast off, in the second, which is the Catholic Church, God has set, as Paul says, first Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, various kinds of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:28), and every sort of virtue, I mean wisdom and understanding, temperance and justice, mercy and loving-kindness, and patience unconquerable in persecutions. She, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour (2 Corinthians 6:7-8), in former days amid persecutions and tribulations crowned the holy martyrs with the varied and blooming chaplets of patience, and now in times of peace by God's grace receives her due honours from kings and those who are in high place (1 Timothy 2:2), and from every sort and kindred of men. And while the kings of particular nations have bounds set to their authority, the Holy Church Catholic alone extends her power without limit over the whole world; for God, as it is written, has made her border peace . But I should need many more hours for my discourse, if I wished to speak of all things which concern her.

28. In this Holy Catholic Church receiving instruction and behaving ourselves virtuously, we shall attain the kingdom of heaven, and inherit eternal life; for which also we endure all toils, that we may be made partakers thereof from the Lord. For ours is no trifling aim, but our endeavour is for eternal life. Wherefore in the profession of the Faith, after the words, And in the resurrection of the flesh, that is, of the dead (of which we have discoursed), we are taught to believe also in the life eternal, for which as Christians we are striving."

Wintrowski said...

Kaycee,

Here is some more context on St. Cyril of Jerusalem, taken from his Catechetical Lecture No. 4, on the relationship between the Church spoken of in my last comment and the Scriptures (emphasis added):

"33. Now these the divinely-inspired Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament teach us. For the God of the two Testaments is One, Who in the Old Testament foretold the Christ Who appeared in the New; Who by the Law and the Prophets led us to Christ's school. For before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, and, the law has been our tutor to bring us unto Christ . And if ever thou hear any of the heretics speaking evil of the Law or the Prophets, answer in the sound of the Saviour's voice, saying, Jesus came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it (Matthew 5:17). Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testament, and what those of the New. And, pray, read none of the apocryphal writings : for why do you, who know not those which are acknowledged among all, trouble yourself in vain about those which are disputed? Read the Divine Scriptures, the twenty-two books of the Old Testament, these that have been translated by the Seventy-two Interpreters.

[...]

35. Of these read the two and twenty books, but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study earnestly these only which we read openly in the Church. Far wiser and more pious than yourself were the Apostles, and the bishops of old time, the presidents of the Church who handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, trench thou not upon its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if you are desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave , and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle ; then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament.

36. Then of the New Testament there are the four Gospels only, for the rest have false titles and are mischievous. The Manichæans also wrote a Gospel according to Thomas, which being tinctured with the fragrance of the evangelic title corrupts the souls of the simple sort. Receive also the Acts of the Twelve Apostles; and in addition to these the seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude; and as a seal upon them all, and the last work of the disciples, the fourteen Epistles of Paul . But let all the rest be put aside in a secondary rank. And whatever books are not read in Churches, these read not even by yourself, as you have heard me say. Thus much of these subjects."

Wintrowski said...

Kaycee,

Some more context from St. Cyril of Jerusalem, this time from Catechetical Lecture 17, describing how he sees the Church as being a protector of the faith (emphasis added):

"3. But lest any from lack of learning, should suppose from the different titles of the Holy Ghost that these are various spirits, and not one and the self-same, which alone there is, therefore the Catholic Church guarding you beforehand has delivered to you in the profession of the faith, that you believe in one Holy Ghost the Comforter, who spoke by the Prophets; that you might know, that though His names be many, the Holy Spirit is but one—of which names, we will now rehearse to you a few out of many."

I'll see if I can dig up some more clarifying quotes from St. Cyril, but I'm somewhat strapped for time right now. Still, I think it would be a beneficial thing for the readers here who might take your original quote out of its proper context and draw from it an incorrect assertion that St. Cyril might've been a "proto-Protestant".

Carrie said...

I liked your quote from St. Cyril of Jerusalem. However, I think it's missing some important context, so I thought I'd help provide that for the readers.

Hi Stacey!

This tactic happens often so pay attention. As soon as a Protestant quotes a church father that says something not very Catholic, a Catholic comes by to post quotes from the same father that do sound very Catholic.

Unfortunately, this doesn't really make the Catholic case - it just shows that the church fathers are not consistently Roman Catholic. They also don't agree on many doctrines important to modern-day Catholics.

As a Protestant, I can let the church fathers be the church fathers. They are not infallible, so if they say stuff that is inconsistent with other fathers or inconsistent with themselves, that doesn't harm my position. But since Catholics place such a large emphasis on the teachings of the church fathers, the inconsistency is a problem for them.

Just something to keep in mind as you stand in the church father quoting cross-fire :)

Carrie said...

Carrie has told me before that my extremist experiences in Protestantism are due to a mangling of the Scriptures (I totally agree!)

Btw, that isn't quite what I said. I just wouldn't consider your past denominational choices (or those of your upbringing) as very orthodox.

I also am praying you don't jump from the frying pan into the fire :(

I also have still have the quote I mentioned on justification - I'll try to get it up soon.

Carrie said...

What I'm saying, and I'm trying to be a little more clear each time :-), is that John refers to Jesus doing (and with certainty saying) more than can possibly be recorded in any book(s), and since Jesus only said/taught/did the Truth, it is therefore rightly asserted that the things which he said that weren't recorded are also Truth.

I understand your point but I'm not sure you understand mine.

How do you move from "Jesus said and did things not recorded in scripture" to "Jesus taught truths that are not found anywhere in scripture (literally or derived) BUT that must be believed for salvation". Specfically I am wondering how you came to that conclusion from those 2 passages of John. Or is it possible you have read too much into those 2 passages?

The Trinity is not mentioned in the Bible. Jesus never said anything about 1 God and 3 Divine persons. The dogma of the Trinity is alluded to, but never explicitly mentioned, nor (in my my memory of scripture) does it say that the Holy Spirit even is God.

The Trinity can be derived from scripture. My knowledge of the Nicean Council is limited - what is the proof that the Council developed the doctrine of the Trinity from oral tradition and not from scripture?

So in short, I'd say "yes" there are some known truths not explicitly mentioned in scripture which must be believed to be saved.

Now you are losing me. Maybe I misunderstood before.

Are you saying that there were truths taught by Christ to the disciples that are not recorded in any way in scripture or are you saying there were truths taught that are not explicitly laid down in scripture (but were explicitly taught orally)?

Or maybe it is easier to tell me whether you believe in partim-partim or material/formal sufficiency.

Carrie said...

I also have a hard time making the leap from John 20:31 "But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name."
to thinking that this implies that there was nothing else. This is my opinion, not official Catholic Doctrine, but what I think John was saying was "Jesus did so much I can't fit it all into 1 writing, so I picked what I thought would best lead to your believing in Him".


Hi Tom,

If you don't mind, I wanted to go back to this.

Do you believe that someone could read the Gospel of John, believe that Jesus is the Christ, and through that belief have eternal life?

Here is the passage again:

"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:30-31

Lvka said...

Carrie, (and Stacey)

what is it more probable: that a man is inconsistent with himself? Or rather that those that say that he were so do not fully grasp him? (Especially in the case of men of great magnitude, like the Fathers)

Take for instance the quote from Theodoret of Cyrrhus: it simply says that "not all came to faith, so he removed the sins of the believers only", which is obviuously perfectly true, and has nothing to do with the Calvinist understanding about Limited Atonement, since almost all Christians [except perhaps for the Universalists] agree with it. Which is also in perfect agreement with the other quote from him provided here, namely that "He (i.e. Christ Jesus) thirsts for the salvation of every man".


Kaycee,

Why do You choose to satisfy Yourself with mere snippets, instead of diving in full into the water? If the Fathers are truly so Protestant, and so Reformed, and so uncorrupted ... why hesitate? (I wouldn't). :-\

ccel.org/fathers

As regards the Triabloguers, ... I don't even want to go there. (Take for instance the sloppy or one-sided way they treat the data: on one hand they tell You that the Early Church was high on pre-millenial speculations ... on the other hand they don't really tell You why: it's because they were tempted to believe [and rightly so] that Christ would return in the year after creation 6,000 [500 AD] to instill an one thousand year reign lasting until the year after creation 7,000 [1,500 AD]: the seventh day/millenmnium, which would preceed the eternal "eighth" day/millennium -- which obviously hasn't happened: hence why this pious opinion died out so quickly, never to return again). -- On the other hand, it did happen, but not in the form they've immagined it: because there was indeed a earthly Christian Kingdom in this time-frame, namely Byzantium: from 330-395 AD to 1453 AD. [But it wasn't the Kingdom of Heaven, nor was it ruled by Christ the King, but only by a Christian king].

Carrie said...

what is it more probable: that a man is inconsistent with himself? Or rather that those that say that he were so do not fully grasp him?

The men are only inconsistent with the viewpoint that others try to lay on them thousands of years later.

If "Joe" claims that the ECFs were 100% Roman Catholic but quotes can be given from someone else showing an ECF's statements that are the opposite of current RC beliefs, that does not make the ECF inconsistent with himself, just inconsistent with Joe's assertion that he is 100% RC. Now, Joe can either admit that the RCs are not 100% RC or he can just continue to handle them inconsistently and maintain his head in the sand.

But aren't you EO, Lvka? Do you think the ECFs are 100% RC? I am assuming you do not so it appears you don't necessarily want to argue the RC view but simply want to argue against Protestants. Perhaps you should consider Psalm 26:17.

the Fathers are truly so Protestant, and so Reformed, and so uncorrupted ... why hesitate?

No one has said anything like the above. The fathers aren't so truly Protestant (or Reformed), they just are not so truly Roman Catholic. If I am right about your church association, I would think you would agree.

Constantine said...

Paul Hoffer,

You are quite right that Jesus upbraided the Pharisees in Mark 7 for not faithfully following the oral law, but I fear you do so for the wrong reasons.

The oral law (or oral tradition) in Judaism was never an authority on its own. The veracity of the oral law rested entirely in its correspondence to the written law. Talmudic scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz:: “In earlier generations, when the oral law adhered closely to the written law, the latter served, inter alia, as an instrument for reminding the student of the halakhah derived from each verse. This use of the biblical text not only as the legal and logical basis for oral law…was carried over to Talmudic literature and Jewish literature in general.” (Steinsaltz, Adin. The Essential Talmud, New York: Perseus Books, 2006. P. 57). So the oral law was never an authority on its own, but only in reference to the written law. Rabbi Steinslatz further concludes, “…although the Talmud is, to this day, the primary source of Jewish law, it cannot be cited as an authority for purposes of ruling.” (ibid. p. 4). Even in its current written form, the Talmud (containing the Mishnah and halakhot) is not on a par with written Scriptures and not for use in ruling on the Law.

Jesus knew that. The Pharisees knew that. So Jesus would have erred doing what you propose in elevating the oral law to that of the written law.

Which is why He did exactly the opposite. As soon as the Pharisees had presented the corrupt oral tradition, Jesus took them immediately to the written words of Isaiah 29:13 which indicted the Pharisees for departing from the “commands of God”. The importance of this phrase (besides Jesus repeated use of it in Mark 7:8-9) is that it mirrors the wording of the great law giver Moses: “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” (Deut. 4:2) And how, exactly, did Moses purport to have God’s people know His commands? Because they were written in the Book of the Law: “keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Dt 30:10). Jesus corrected the Pharisees by taking them directly to three written books of the Torah – Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus – and to the written book of Isaiah. So what Jesus shows us, contrary to your assertion, is what Rabbi Steinsaltz confirms two millennia later – that the Written Law is the only infallible rule for faith and practice for God’s children. That, my friend, is Sola Scriptura. That is the Law of God. And that is inescapable.

Peace.

Lvka said...

Carrie,

our friend Rho started this post by saying three things, out of which the first two are blatantly wrong: that poor little Theodoret of Cyrrhus, besides already being a Nestorian, was a Calvinist as well; and that Clement the Roman was a Proto-Protestant Sola-Fideist. -- There's a proverb that says: "if you would have held your peace, you would have remained a philosopher", which I think applies to our friend Rho here.

As for myself, my interest is in Truth, and not in taking sides. And there's also another proverb that says: "a shard laughs at a broken pot": and I think that this saying in particular so apptly characterizes Protestants' tries to pick on Catholics. (See another such useless confrontation here: now, I hate to sound like Bugs Bunny, but: "Was this trip RHEALLY necessary"?) :-\

Stacey said...

Wow, guys... that's a lot of sifting and reading, researching context, etc. Thanks for the starting points, kaycee. And the extra context, Wintrowski. Initially I think this is what I was talking about when I said there was no real inconsistency in affirming Scripture and at the same time affirming Tradition. You all seem to think Catholics don't subject things to the Bible. Strange.

I'll look into things and check back later, though I doubt anybody will be on the same topic ;)

Wintrowski said...

Carrie,

In reply to what you said to Stacey,

"As soon as a Protestant quotes a church father that says something not very Catholic"

Kaycee's initial quote from St. Cyril did not have him saying "something not very Catholic", but it was used in a context which was trying to imply that it was "something not very Catholic". In fact, Kaycee's quote shows St. Cyril saying something very Catholic, afterall, here's what the fathers of the Second Vatican Council had to say about Sacred Scripture:

"Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore "all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind" (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text)."
[Dei Verbum, 11]

You then said:

"Unfortunately, this doesn't really make the Catholic case - it just shows that the church fathers are not consistently Roman Catholic. They also don't agree on many doctrines important to modern-day Catholics."

Well, I would have to disagree with you about it showing the Church Fathers to be inconsistently Catholic. Indeed, the point of all my quotes was to give some kind of establishment of context to Kaycee's initial quote, in order to illustrate that St. Cyril was speaking from a position which was, indeed, genuinely Catholic.

For the thinking reader, my quotes would be a suggestion that perhaps what St. Cyril was saying in Kaycee's initial quote should not be taken quite how Kaycee intended, i.e., as a demonstration of how inconsistently Catholic were the Church Fathers.

As my quotes show, St. Cyril was speaking to a group of catechumens preparing to be baptized and enter the Church at Easter. He warns them of the dangers surrounding the Scriptures, that unscrupulous people have written blasphemous forgeries, and many disputes surrounding what he called 'apocryphal' texts. He also exhorts them to stay close to the Catholic Church, that She is their only sure guide.

So, it would seem rather schizophrenic for him to say something completely the opposite if we look at Kaycee's quote, and impute to it the meaning that St. Cyril was some sort of 'proto-Protestant' teaching a "non-Catholic doctrine". However, considering that the Catholic Church today constantly refers to the Scriptures, and venerates them as She does the Lord's Body, I can't see how Kaycee's initial quote demonstrates any kind of inconsistency, as you claim.

I'm sorry to anyone out there who did not appreciate my rather large quotes being pasted up. However, I think it really does the Church Fathers a grave disservice when someone quotes from them a couple of sentences out of context, and then twists and uses that quote to imply that the Fathers thought and believed things which they very clearly did not.

Wintrowski said...

Rhology,

"You didn't respond to the post either; you're more throwing out a general talking-points response to Sola Scrip. Been there, done that. I'd like you to read the post and interact with it, please."

I'm sorry I didn't respond in the manner you desired. Quite frankly, I found your original post to be babbling, incoherent, and hard to comprehend. I'm impressed that Paul Hoffer was able to make as much sense out of it as he did, but, then again, he's a lawyer who deals with confusing mumbo jumbo for a living.

Consequently, "throwing out a general talking-points response to Sola Scrip.", as you put it, was the best I could do. However, since Sola Scriptura is basically the foundation of your whole argument, I don't see why my chosen attempt to engage you in discussion was dismissed so readily. But, that's fine. You don't really seem as though you want to discuss anything which doesn't fall within whatever lines you were trying to draw with your initial post. Perhaps we can try again next time, when you've managed to get your head straight.

Carrie said...

You all seem to think Catholics don't subject things to the Bible. Strange.

Stacey,

How could they and also allow the partim-partim view of scripture? (rhetorical)

Dozie said...

"How could they and also allow the partim-partim view of scripture?"

What is partim-partim view of scripture? Can you define your own term so we can understand what you are talking about?

Stacey said...

Dozie,

I just had to look it up for myself. It means that part of what is necessary for salvation is found in Scripture and part is found in Tradition. I'm still trying to look into it, but from what I can tell, Catholics believe in the material sufficiency of Scripture, not partim-partim. I found an article here on Beggars All saying p-p was an option for Catholics, but couldn't find anything on Cath Encyc. that it referenced for support.

Here's an interesting quote from that page, which is kinda what I've been trying to say about the ECF arguments over SS and apparent contradictions:

"Of course the Fathers thought that they could prove their view from Scripture. They also thought that the historic communion of bishops in succession from the Apostles, gathered in Councils (with Rome playing some role, which I don't want to debate here), could be counted on to interpret Scripture correctly. The whole sola scriptura debate only became possible when a sizeable number of influential Christians began proclaiming that the bishops gathered in Council, in communion with Rome, had seriously erred in interpreting Scripture over a period of several centuries. Of course both sides can appeal to the Fathers, because the Fathers never thought of Scriptural sufficiency and the authority of the Church/Tradition as being at odds." - Edwin Tait

Stacey said...

Carrie,

Sorry, by "subject" to Scripture, do you mean only use things explicitly derived from Scripture or check to make sure things are consistent with Scripture? I was meaning the second.

Also, I never really got to hear what you thought about the whole "Latter Rain" "charismatic renewal" aspect of denominations besides it being a bad denominational choice and I think you said it was bad handling of Scripture. Do you think that there is no need for sola scriptura to have a defense against such extremist viewpoints? And do you agree with Rhology's estimate of how tradition is used for the Reformers?

Dozie said...

"I just had to look it up for myself. It means that part of what is necessary for salvation is found in Scripture and part is found in Tradition."

Thanks for looking it up. I thought you should have known what it meant before stamping it on the Catholic Church. Partim-partim, even if it was discussed at Trent, has never been a Catholic principle.

Rhology said...

Wintrowski,

You admit you didn't understand my post and yet you decided to post something on Sola Scriptura anyway, eh? Just b/c you figured you might as well fire away, I suppose. I'm sure all here appreciate it.

Paul Hoffer,

I'm not going to get into this here. Please, deal with the actual post. My time is limited.


To all, kaycee has done the valuable service of quoting a bunch of CFs to support one side of the argument - contra Rome. See also this valuable resource. And multiple RC commenters have quoted CFs to the opposite effect - pro Rome.
So, the question, the original question - How do we bring all this together? Show me the formula that can account for ALL the quotes, not just the ones that RCC likes and calls "Sacred Tradition". That's what I'm looking for. Our side is NOT claiming that CFs were Protestants, just that they were not Roman Catholics. But your side claims they WERE ROMAN CATHOLICS. Prove it. Account for ALL of what they said, under the authority framework you propose. Better get started, b/c no one in this thread has yet.

Wintrowski said...

Rhology,

"You admit you didn't understand my post and yet you decided to post something on Sola Scriptura anyway, eh? Just b/c you figured you might as well fire away, I suppose."

No, because that seemed to be what your last few paragraphs were going on about. I didn't realize that we're only allowed to talk about whatever it is you think we ought to talk about.

"So, the question, the original question - How do we bring all this together? Show me the formula that can account for ALL the quotes, not just the ones that RCC likes and calls "Sacred Tradition". That's what I'm looking for. Our side is NOT claiming that CFs were Protestants, just that they were not Roman Catholics. But your side claims they WERE ROMAN CATHOLICS. Prove it. Account for ALL of what they said, under the authority framework you propose. Better get started, b/c no one in this thread has yet."

Your silly and petulant attitude aside, I wonder why you think the burden of proof is on Catholics to prove that the Church Fathers were also Catholic. This was never even in question until after the Reformation. So, it would seem more appropriate that your side should give a definitive proof that the Church Fathers are, in fact, not Catholic. As evidenced by my large quotes from only one Church Father, it would appear you have quite a mountain to climb, and snippy quotes out of context are really not going to cut it.

Surely you have some childish and petty retort for me, so please, go ahead and get it out of your system, and then put forward your case as I'm sure we're all interested to hear it.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Constantine, Thank you so much for your thoughts and for your reasoned critique of my argument.

I have heard the name of Rabbi Steinsaltz before. I believe he had something to do with the reestablishment of the Sanhedrin as an authoritative interpreter of the Torah in modern-day Israel. I think he also holds the title "Nasi" or "presider" as well. I appreciate you giving me the name of the book where he writes such as well. Now I will have some reading and more research to do. Thank you!!!

In most of the works I have read, including the Jewish Encyclopedia, have stated that the Oral Torah or at least a part of it was as authoritative as the Written Torah. The Jewish Encyclopedia states that "Interpretations and regulations covering the written law, as well as new halakot, which the Tannaim deduced from Scripture by means of hermeneutic rules or by logical conclusions. There are differences of opinion among the scholars in regard to most of these explanations and definitions; but they are of equal weight with the written law, and are called also "Debar Torah" (Regulation of the Torah)."

The argument goes as follows:

It is uniformly taught that both the Written and Oral Torahs were given to Moses by God at Sinai. There are disagreements as to whether God gave Moses all of the Oral Torah as well as the Written Torah versus telling him the rules on how to interpret them, but nevertheless, the basic teaching stands.

It is usually shown that there are eight components to the Oral Law, but all of the texts I have read, concerning this point to date all say that the oral traditions relating to the meaning of basic biblical concepts were held to be as authoritative as the written text (see Halakhah Le-Mosheh Mi-Sinai). In fact, the Oral Torah came to be regarded as more important than the Written Torah inasmuch as the explanation and understanding of the Written Torah totally depended upon the former. To many Rabbis, the meaning of the word "Torah" therefore includes elements of the Oral Torah which are considered authoritative or de-oraita---"from the Torah."

One can see this from the statement at the beginning of the Mishnah: "Moses received the Torah [oral tradition] on Sinai and handed it down to Joshua; Joshua to the elders; the elders to the prophets and the prophets handed it down to the Men of the Great Assembly" (Avot 1:1)

If Rabbi Steinsaltz says that is not so, he would be the first I am aware of to say such a thing. Nevertheless, I do not discount what you say at all, and will give such serious consideration. Unlike some, I am not closed-minded and willing to admit a mistake if warranted. After all my name is "Paul" and there is no point in being named after a virtue if I am not going to take it to heart.

With that being said, I do see a problem with your argument. For argument sake, I will demur and accept all of the points of argument as factual. Even so, the conclusion you make is not apparent. "Jesus corrected the Pharisees by taking them directly to three written books of the Torah – Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus – and to the written book of Isaiah." Great! But it does not follow that the written law took priority because there is nowhere in those books that states that a vow could be loosed. What I see here is that Jesus was showing these particular Pharisees how important it was to uphold the honoring of one's parents from these books over a ill-conceived vow and that one must give meaning to the words of Scripture from the heart as opposed to merely following its letter with one's lips. He is still siding with the precepts of the Oral Torah over the Written Torah. Jesus may be justifying His reasons what such a vow should be loosed based on the books of the Pentateuch, but the result itself can only be found in the Oral Torah.

However, this is my initial reaction to what you are saying as opposed to thinking it through. I will contemplate this tonight.

Again thank you and God bless!

Stacey said...

kaycee,

Regarding the Eucharist: Do you know what transubstantion is? Try reading New Advent's definition. Here's an excerpt: "Yet as the disappearance of the latter is not attributable to annihilation properly so called, so there is no need of postulating creation, strictly so called, to explain the former's coming into existence. The idea of conversion is amply realized if the following condition is fulfilled, viz., that a thing which already existed in substance, acquires an altogether new and previously non-existing mode of being." and "Transubstantiation, however, is not a conversion simply so called, but a substantial conversion, inasmuch as one thing is substantially or essentially converted into another." They're talking about a conversion in essence, not in physical substance. With that in mind...

The bread and wine are still physically bread and wine. This is what Pope Gelasius seems to be saying and we cannot assume he means anything more. Especially since he believes that a divine nature is received in it and calls it a mystery. No contradiction.

Regarding the quote that you gave for Augustine, here's the full reference. Augustine is giving a lecture on understanding the Bible using a spirit of good will, ironically enough. He says if a crime is suggested, it is figurative, or if an unbenevolent act is suggested, it is figurative. So he says that the crime of eating and drinking physical blood and flesh (which we still despise today) is not suggested by Christ. Can you see if it was? The disciples go Dawn of the Dead? Obviously not. This is not contradictory with the definition of transubstantiation that I have given above.

Unless, as Wintrowski has said, Augustine was severely schizophrenic, he could not have meant what you think he meant and say the following at the same time:

"That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend HIS BODY AND BLOOD, WHICH HE POURED OUT FOR US UNTO THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS." (Sermons 227)

"The Lord Jesus wanted those whose eyes were held lest they should recognize him, to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread [Luke 24:16,30-35]. The faithful know what I am saying. They know Christ in the breaking of the bread. For not all bread, but only that which receives the blessing of Christ, BECOMES CHRIST'S BODY." (Sermons 234:2)

"What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that THE BREAD IS THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE CHALICE [WINE] THE BLOOD OF CHRIST." (Sermons 272)

"How this ['And he was carried in his own hands'] should be understood literally of David, we cannot discover; but we can discover how it is meant of Christ. FOR CHRIST WAS CARRIED IN HIS OWN HANDS, WHEN, REFERRING TO HIS OWN BODY, HE SAID: 'THIS IS MY BODY.' FOR HE CARRIED THAT BODY IN HIS HANDS." (Psalms 33:1:10)

"Was not Christ IMMOLATED only once in His very Person? In the Sacrament, nevertheless, He is IMMOLATED for the people not only on every Easter Solemnity but on every day; and a man would not be lying if, when asked, he were to reply that Christ is being IMMOLATED." (Letters 98:9)

"By those sacrifices of the Old Law, this one Sacrifice is signified, in which there is a true remission of sins; but not only is no one forbidden to take as food the Blood of this Sacrifice, rather, all who wish to possess life are exhorted to drink thereof." (Questions on the Heptateuch 3:57)

"Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead find relief through the piety of their friends and relatives who are still alive, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator is OFFERED for them, or when alms are given in the church." (Ench Faith, Hope, Love 29:110)

"But by the prayers of the Holy Church, and by the SALVIFIC SACRIFICE, and by the alms which are given for their spirits, there is no doubt that the dead are aided that the Lord might deal more mercifully with them than their sins would deserve. FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH OBSERVES THIS PRACTICE WHICH WAS HANDED DOWN BY THE FATHERS that it prays for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own place in the Sacrifice itself; and the Sacrifice is OFFERED also in memory of them, on their behalf. If, the works of mercy are celebrated for the sake of those who are being remembered, who would hesitate to recommend them, on whose behalf prayers to God are not offered in vain? It is not at all to be doubted that such prayers are of profit to the dead; but for such of them as lived before their death in a way that makes it possible for these things to be useful to them after death." (Sermons 172:2)

"...I turn to Christ, because it is He whom I seek here; and I discover how the earth is adored without impiety, how without impiety the footstool of His feet is adored. For He received earth from earth; because flesh is from the earth, and He took flesh from the flesh of Mary. He walked here in the same flesh, AND GAVE US THE SAME FLESH TO BE EATEN UNTO SALVATION. BUT NO ONE EATS THAT FLESH UNLESS FIRST HE ADORES IT; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord's feet is adored; AND NOT ONLY DO WE NOT SIN BY ADORING, WE DO SIN BY NOT ADORING." (Psalms 98:9)

Anyways, I'm going to relax with the hubby rest of the night and I'll research the other references you made later.

Carrie said...

I'm still trying to look into it, but from what I can tell, Catholics believe in the material sufficiency of Scripture, not partim-partim.

Hi Stacey,

I'll see if I can find some more quotes tomorrow, I know I have them somewhere.

But hopefully the Catholic Encyclopedia will do for now:

"Now in this respect there are several points of controversy between Catholics and every body of Protestants. Is all revealed truth consigned to Holy Scripture? or can it, must it, be admitted that Christ gave to His Apostles to be transmitted to His Church, that the Apostles received either from the very lips of Jesus or from inspiration or Revelation, Divine instructions which they transmitted to the Church and which were not committed to the inspired writings? Must it be admitted that Christ instituted His Church as the official and authentic organ to transmit and explain in virtue of Divine authority the Revelation made to men? The Protestant principle is: The Bible and nothing but the Bible; the Bible, according to them, is the sole theological source; there are no revealed truths save the truths contained in the Bible; according to them the Bible is the sole rule of faith: by it and by it alone should all dogmatic questions be solved; it is the only binding authority. Catholics, on the other hand, hold that there may be, that there is in fact, and that there must of necessity be certain revealed truths apart from those contained in the Bible;"

Carrie said...

I thought you should have known what it meant before stamping it on the Catholic Church. Partim-partim, even if it was discussed at Trent, has never been a Catholic principle.

Apparently Akin (for one) disagrees with you:

"The relationship between Scripture and Tradition comes up regularly in contemporary Catholic apologetics. According to one Catholic view, Scripture and Tradition are two sources of revelation. Some divine truths are found in the Bible, while others are found in Tradition. This "two source" model has a long history, but it also has some difficulties. One is that there is considerable overlap between the two sources."

"The decrees of Trent and Vatican II allow Catholics to hold the two-mode idea, but they do not require it. A Catholic is still free to hold the two-source view."

"Some apologists working with Protestants have adopted the two-mode position, which may help certain Protestants in the process of becoming Catholic. It also may help deflect certain objections that are met in debate. Such an apologist might say:

'It is not necessary for a Catholic to claim that the Bible is materially insufficient — that it fails to teach some truths needed for salvation. Scripture contains all that material, and we can agree with our Protestant brethren on this point. But the Bible does not contain this material in a form that makes it easy to derive these truths without risk of error. You need the help of Tradition to do that. Scripture is thus materially sufficient but not formally sufficient.'

If he uses this argument, an apologist needs to be careful of several things. Most importantly, he should not speak of this view as if it is a certainty or as if it is the official Catholic position. It is not. It is one possible position that Catholics may hold, but it would misrepresent the teaching of the Church to speak as if all Catholics hold or are expected to hold this view."


Stacey,

I have alot more material on this subject, but too much for a combox. I hope to have a post up on this topic in the near future.

Turretinfan said...

Stacey wrote: "I'm still trying to look into it, but from what I can tell, Catholics believe in the material sufficiency of Scripture, not partim-partim."

Dozie wrote: "Partim-partim, even if it was discussed at Trent, has never been a Catholic principle."

There is a good argument to be made that only partim-partim is a valid position in Catholicism, in view of Trent.

A well-documented discussion can be found in the Webster-King series, "Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Truth."

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"I wonder why you think the burden of proof is on Catholics to prove that the Church Fathers were also Catholic. This was never even in question until after the Reformation."

This sort of comment demonstrates the gross ignorance of history (both of the Fathers and the Reformation) held by those who most vehemently defend Rome.

The Fathers are a mixed bag, but there are many important points where it becomes clear that the doctrines held by modern Rome are not the doctrines held by the majority (much less the universality) of the Fathers.

-TurretinFan

Dozie said...

"Apparently Akin (for one) disagrees with you:"

You still don't seem to understand what partim-partim means and this simple debate illustrates the whole Protestant posture in dealing with Truth - fight it. You allowed yourself time to research this view-point and after having done so, you either still do not understand it or simply do not want to be confused with the truth.

The so called partim-partim view- point refers to the claim that divine revelation is contained party in scripture and partly in Tradition. The question is whether this is the teaching of the Church. The Church teaches that divine relation is contained in both written and unwritten tradition.

Dozie said...

"A well-documented discussion can be found in the Webster-King series, "Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Truth.""

It is a known fact that the Catholic Church is able to document, and has documented, her own teachings. She goes to goes to great lengths to make known what she teaches and Protestants often accuse her of having too many documents. If then you want to find out what the Church teaches, you go to her own sources. It is wicked and disingenuous to suggest that the best place to learn about the Church's position is from her enemies. This again highlights the futility of engaging Protestants where truth matters.

EBW said...

Rhology,
Alas, my thickheaded ways will get the best of me. Me thinks I got it. Thanks for your patience.
Here are a few formulas.
1) We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.Pope Leo XIII
2) For the Roman Pontiff..his office..Vicar of Christ..pastor..entire Church..full,supreme and universal power over the whole Church..exercised unhindered. CCC
3)The task of giving..interpretation..Word of God..entrusted..to the living,teaching office of the Church alone.CCC
I will take one of your examples.
St.Ath is the first CF and Chmpn.of Orthx. Even a creed in his name.But you found him contradicting himself on the Canon(orthx. issue).
He was WRONG about the Canon, b/c of Trent's testimony. Yet, other parts of the letter actually contain the remedy.
Letter:
2.I beseech you to bear patiently
3.and that he who has continued steadfast in purity may again rejoice, having these things brought to his remembrance
7.But for greater exactness I add this also,writing of necessity
7.there are OTHER books..APPOINTED by the FATHERS to be read..who wish for INSTRUCTION in the WORD OF GODLINESS (see this w/ #6..In these alone[scripture]is proclaimed the DOCTRINE OF GODLINESS)
He wrote the wrong and the remedy w/out malice.
The RCC knows all her faithful and seperated children.
You CAN'T know b/c you will not enter the Ark where the Spirit flourishes. St.Athanasius was Roman Catholic.

Carrie said...

You allowed yourself time to research this view-point and after having done so, you either still do not understand it or simply do not want to be confused with the truth.

I didn't need to research it, I was already familiar with it. What I took the time to do was actually find a Catholic source to support my claim so Stacey could judge for herself.

The Church teaches that divine relation is contained in both written and unwritten tradition.

Yes, but that teaching is intentionally left unclear which is why a Catholic is free to believe partim-partim or Material/Formal sufficiency.

If you have a church document that shows that partim-partim is not an acceptable position, than please produce it.

I wonder where Tom went? He seems to hold to a partim-partim viewpoint, perhaps you can discuss this with him.

Carrie said...

A well-documented discussion can be found in the Webster-King series, "Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Truth."

Indeed.

Since there seems to be some confusion even from Catholics, I feel this topic is worthy of a post - hopefully I'll have some time to tackle it. That book will be one of my references.

Wintrowski said...

Turretinfan,

"This sort of comment demonstrates the gross ignorance of history (both of the Fathers and the Reformation) held by those who most vehemently defend Rome."

I'd be interested to hear why you think that to be so.

"The Fathers are a mixed bag, but there are many important points where it becomes clear that the doctrines held by modern Rome are not the doctrines held by the majority (much less the universality) of the Fathers."

I must say that this unquantified assertion is somewhat amusing. By no means am I an expert on Patristics, but the Fathers whom I have read are objectively very much within the pale of Catholic orthodoxy. Perhaps, since you appear to know more about Christian history, the Fathers, and Catholicism than someone like I, you would be kind enough to help point a mere layman in the right direction?

Dozie said...

“…they [and also] allow the partim-partim view of scripture?”

“…a Catholic is free to believe partim-partim or Material/Formal sufficiency.”

You continue to make positive claims of what you think the Church teaches, sounding like some sort of magisterium, but when asked simply to identify where such teaching can be found, you resort to face-saving tactics.


“If you have a church document that shows that partim-partim is not an acceptable position, than please produce it.”

It seems to me you will accept no proof other than Church documents! This is exactly what I am asking of you. When you make claims of what the Church teaches, what Church document can you use to substantiate your claims?


“Since there seems to be some confusion even from Catholics, I feel this topic is worthy of a post - hopefully I'll have some time to tackle it. That book will be one of my references.”

Hopefully you realize that you should not use secondary sources in your research if you also have access to primary sources.

Paul Hoffer said...

While I am trying to answer some of the more weightier matters raised by Rhology, I would merely point out that Mr. Fan has never studied the liturgies that came out of the patristic period which are still in use today, particularly in the Eastern Catholic rites and our Orthodox brethren. They still say the same mass that Athanasius, Basil, John Chrysostom, and I dare say even Hippolytus knew and said. It would be interesting to see if anyone from a Protestant perspective has actually dealt with those issues. It is easy to pick a phrase out of context and pretend that some guy actually believed that or was some sort of proto-Protestant, particularly when he isn't around to say otherwise, but the fact that our liturgy has stayed basically the same for all that time tends to contradict such assertions.

Further, despite everything else that has been said, Rhology had admitted these guys were not Protestants or in any way adhered to tenets that are distinctive of Protestantism vs. Catholic/Orthodox. So what church did they belong to and when did their church cease to exist. And if that church ceases to exist, why would that not make Christ out to be a liar and a fraud.

Or we Catholics and Orthodox a bunch of idiots and morons for recognizing the ECF's as saints in our traditions. What are they in yours?

Stacey said...

Hi kaycee,

I've had another moment to look up the reference you made to St. John Chrysostom and his thoughts on Mary.

Your source may have cut off the first sentence, which puts the whole paragraph in context. Chrysostom starts out saying "To prove that He greatly respected His mother, hear Luke relate how He was "subject to" His parents Luke 2:51, and our own Evangelist declare how He had forethought for her at the very season of the Crucifixion." The homily then goes on as you have quoted, but continues to describe the seasons of Mary's relation to her son. She was rightly his mother, and mothered him for thirty years. We have always known that at some point she had to switch from mothering her child to worshipping her Lord and savior. Chrysostom thinks that we have viewed this transition here at the wedding at Cana. Hence "She did not yet think rightly of him". He later refers to this again, saying, "These then were the words, not of one speaking rudely to his mother, but belonging to a wise dispensation, which brought her into a right frame of mind, and provided that the miracles should be attended with that honor which was meet." This is pretty clearly saying that by not thinking rightly of him, she was not in the right frame of mind.

Also, there is a substantial middle portion cut out of that quote. In it, Chrysostom describes this change from Jesus being subject to his mother to being her master. "He replied as He did to them who spoke to Him; otherwise He could not have led up her thoughts from His present lowliness to His future exaltation, had she expected that she should always be honored by Him as by a son, and not that He should come as her Master."

He then continues that Christ might have desired his miracles to be reserved for those in need, and would not want them to be suspect because they were done for his mother or for his friends. He postulates that Christ spoke as he did to tell his mother not to ask things of him in the future. It's worth noting that Christ honored his mother's request at that time, despite his protests.

Chrysostom is very careful to regard Mary as highly as her son did. Some quotes throughout the homily: "This is why He said, "Who is My mother and My brethren?" Not to insult her who had borne Him, (away with the thought!) but to procure her the greatest benefit, and not to let her think meanly of Him."

Later, discussing Luke 11:27 ("Blessed is the womb that bare You, and the paps which You have sucked," and Him answering, "rather blessed are they that do the will of my Father"), he says: "For the answer was not that of one rejecting his mother, but of One who would show that her having borne Him would have nothing availed her, had she not been very good and faithful." He goes on to say: "Now if, setting aside the excellence of her soul, it profited Mary nothing that the Christ was born of her" then we are all responsible for the state of our souls by "our own righteous deeds (done) after the grace of God."

Again, I'll retire for the evening and look into the next reference you've suggested later.

kaycee said...

Hi Stacey,

It appears you are describing something other than transubstantiation.

"The Roman Catholic doctrine is defined in the second canon of the thirteenth session of the Council of Trent:

If anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular change of the whole substance of the bread into the body and the whole substance of the wine into the blood, the appearances only of bread and wine remaining, which change the Catholic Church most aptly calls transubstantiation, let him be anathema.

In other words, the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ, and in the process the bread and wine cease to exist, except in appearance. The ‘substance’ of the bread and wine do not remain.

Pope Gelasius clearly seems to be indicating something quite different from Trent, further evidenced by his word usage of "image" and "similitude".

"The sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which we receive, is a divine thing, because by it we are made partakers of the divine-nature. Yet the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease. And assuredly the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the performance of the mysteries."

Gelasius, statement would seem to place him squarely under the anathema of Trent.

Rhology said...

EBW,

My friend, yes, I know WHAT you believe, which you have repeated here. But I'm interested in WHY you believe it, and if you can defend it.

I don't think anyone thinks that Athanasius is the first CF. Irenaeus? Ignatius?
And I didn't say he contradicted himself on the Canon issue. It was a hypothetical. He contradicts OTHER CFs on the Canon issue. And yes, Trent too. But, Trent is 1200 yrs LATER, you know. Why would an unbiased observer give more credence to Trent than to someone who is no less than 1200 yrs earlier? Plus, Trent did not fully define nor close the Canon of Scr.

You said:
The RCC knows all her faithful and seperated children.
You CAN'T know b/c you will not enter the Ark


According to the CCC, I am a separated brother, so I am not sure what you mean here. I am already inside the ark of salvation according to CCC, but maybe you meant sthg else.


St.Athanasius was Roman Catholic.

What beliefs did he hold that would lead you to believe that he was a ROMAN Catholic as opposed to a catholic Christian, and/or as opposed to an Eastern Orthodox?



Dozie said:
It seems to me you will accept no proof other than Church documents!

You know, it's b/c the RCC makes such a big deal out of "infallible, authoritative teaching" that we have learned to ask for "infallible, authoritative teaching" every single time. We just want to see whether you can back up your own standard. And it's rare that you can.


Paul Hoffer said:
It is easy to pick a phrase out of context and pretend that some guy actually believed that or was some sort of proto-Protestant

Please quote any Protestant on this thread saying that.
If you can't, please explain why you misrepresent our position on this matter. This post is an attack on the RCC system, not a claim as to anything regarding Protestantism, not at all. I still haven't seen any RC deal with my actual post.


So what church did they belong to and when did their church cease to exist.

That is irrelevant, and the why is answered in the post. I have difficulty believing that you even read it.

Stacey said...

kaycee,

There is a difference between the physical substance of something and the essense, substance, or nature of something. Substance is in there twice, which can make it confusing. The dictionary defines substance different ways that are relevant here:

1 a: essential nature : essence b: a fundamental or characteristic part or quality
2 a: ultimate reality that underlies all outward manifestations and change
3 a: physical material from which something is made or which has discrete existence b: matter of particular or definite chemical constitution

Like I said before, the Catholic Encyclopedia helps to clarify that it is still physically bread and wine, but that its essense (said "substance", like with Pope Gelasius and in Trent) has changed. Remember chemistry was nowhere near its current state when these guys were trying to describe this stuff. Only in Luther's time did Peracelsus reject the four element theory.

To help understand the difference between physical substance and essensential substance, I have an example: When my grandpa was alive, he was my grandpa, but then he died, his soul departed, and he was my grandpa no more, even though his physical body remained.

Here's more from Trent that suggests they are talking about two different aspects of being: "our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially contained under the species of those sensible things." In the same document, how can they speak as if the species (nature) remains and then later say that it does not? As a wise man once said, what is more likely? That these great men contradicted themselves (in the same document) or that those who say they did do not understand them?

Definition helps. I don't fully understand transubstantiation, but I do understand that they are talking about two different modes of being and as such do not contradict themselves. We can go on for days like this - accusation, rebuttal, return... In the end, I am becoming more convinced that the Church Fathers were distinctly Catholic. After reading that lecture you referenced earlier, I just hear Augustine on this "If it appears to be a contradiction, it is a figure... if there is a way you can understand it without contradiction, that is the way it is."

I hope that you will read these quotes in full context, kaycee. If you read the entire works by the Fathers, and not a Protestant apologetic book compiled to show that the Fathers were not Catholic, then you might see things differently. Then again, maybe we all see what we're willing to see, like James told me. Either way, I think I'm done with the semantics right now. Thank you for your thoughts.

Stacey said...

Sorry, I meant "substance" in the Catechism and Trent

Dozie said...

"You know, it's b/c the RCC makes such a big deal out of "infallible, authoritative teaching" that we have learned to ask for "infallible, authoritative teaching" every single time. We just want to see whether you can back up your own standard. And it's rare that you can."

The twist continues but those with a grain of common sense will recognize the above as your admission that Carrie either wrote in haste or had, and still has no idea, what she was writing about. She made the claim that the Catholic Church teaches some concoction of theology known as partin-partim and I am demanding that she produce the Catholic document where she found that. Now you come to obscure the facts because you think it is your duty to defend every silly statement made by a Protestant.

I repeat, where is the primary Catholic source that indicates the Catholic Church teaches partim-partim view of revelation? You either produce the document or you disqualify yourself from being able to discuss, with any level of integrity, Catholic issues.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rhology,

I just wanted to respond to your last couple of points.

You wrote: "Please quote any Protestant on this thread saying that."

I have never said that any Protestant has said it here. Hence, why I still am willing to come back here to interact with you all.

Many Protestants do make the argument that ECF's were not Catholics, but believed in the doctrines that distinguish Protestants from Catholics. I tend to shy away from folks like that. I have had enough of the Rand Winburns and that ilk to last me a life time.

You wrote: "If you can't, please explain why you misrepresent our position on this matter."

My response: I was making the point that this type of argument is used by SOME Protestants to make the claim that the ECF's were proto-Protestants, I did not accuse anyone here of that. If you took it as such, I hope you accept this as a clarification.

You said, "This post is an attack on the RCC system, not a claim as to anything regarding Protestantism, not at all."

My response: I recognized that as such and have responded in the manner in which I thought your post deserved. I did not address your conclusion because you have neither established your premise adequately nor have furnished any proofs that tend to support it. In the law, we call that a demur.

If you insist on me doing such, I will try to formulate a response, but briefly, the Catholic Church recognizes that doctrines do develop as noted by St. Vincent of Lerins and Ven John Henry Cardinal Newman. Mr. Waltz, over at Articuli Fidei has been studying the issue in depth lately.

You wrote: "I still haven't seen any RC deal with my actual post."

My response: Since you like short, terse answers, please read Newman's "An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine" which may be found in most public libraries.

Of course, you may object that Newman wrote the book before he became a Catholic, nevertheless it does address your contention. If that is not good enough, I will be happy (well that may be too strong a word considering the time it would take) to try to answer your question, but I am afraid that my work would probably be longer than the 445 pages that Newman wrote and would not be as edifying, particularly when you want me to "prove" things to you to an ubknown degree of certainty that would be futile because the tenor of your post suggests that you are not open to accepting such proof as authoritative.

Additionally, it may take me a tad longer than the 11 years it took Newman to write his book. Can you wait? Or perhaps it might be easier for you to read his book and then ask me some questions about it?

Now I am not abandoning the field here, but pointing out that this undertaking would not merely be a skirmish, but rather a whole campaign. Now you could take any item on the list of dogmas that the Church holds, the link of which I gave earlier, and ask me to explain it. I would do so and cheerfully at that. I would even address how the doctrine developed over the centuries.

BTW, here is what our present popoe says and teaches.

"The then Cardinal Ratzinger, nka Pope Benedict XVI notes, "Christ's promise to bestow the Holy Spirit Who guide you into all truth, constantly sustains the Church on her way. Thus, in the course of her history certain truths have been defined as having been acquired through the Holy Spirit's assistance, and are therefore, perceptible stages in the realization of the original promise. Other truths, however, have to be understood still more deeply before full possession can be obtained of what God, in His mystery of love wished to reveal to men for their salvation."

See, Ratzinger, Jodeph. "Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio fidei (1999)"

God bless:


So what church did they belong to and when did their church cease to exist.

That is irrelevant, and the why is answered in the post. I have difficulty believing that you even read it.

Carrie said...

She made the claim that the Catholic Church teaches some concoction of theology known as partin-partim and I am demanding that she produce the Catholic document where she found that.

I said that partim-partim is an acceptable view within RC teaching. I have given a quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia and Jimmy Akin that support my assertion. You are the one that doesn't seem to understand the difference between your Church teaching definitively and teaching obscuring to allow a difference in opinion on particulars.

I have more quotes and alot more to say on the subject, but as I stated previously, I will summarize that information in a separate post. But I likely won't have time until the weekend.

However, you have time to prove me wrong and post the official church documents that prove the opposite - that partim-partim is not an acceptable view in RC teaching. Please feel free to save me the time in writing up a fresh post and just link us to the documents that disprove both the Catholic Encyclopedia and Jimmy Akin.

EBW said...

Rhology,
A naming convention is used sometimes to distinguish the Fathers. CF for 3rd Cntry...& Apostolic Fthr for end of 2nd to the Apstls. That's what I had in mind.
Any unbiased obsrv would probably opt for Ath over Trent. The details of this council(among others) is largely unknown to me. I need time to view your link.

Ath was RC b/c he believed in the "Supreme Power" of the Bishop of Rome to tend the Flock of God, unlike EO who recognize a pwr w/out Supremacy. Cthlc Christn denies any pwr.

Now that you know the WHAT, here is a WHY.
Jesus is the good shepherd to his flock.
Jesus commanded Peter to shepherd his flock.
Jesus and Peter constitute one shepherd b/c they shepherd one and the same flock.
So that the flock would continue w/a shepherd, one like Peter would follow. As long as there is one flock, one shepherd tends (Jesus and Peter in the "one" like Peter).
John 10, John 21, the history of christians in Rome and a sprinkle of reason provide proof & defense.

Stacey said...

Rhology,

Hopefully you will get the pertinent response you've been looking for here:

1) How many churches in the NT already had it wrong? Even after apostolic teaching and even correction? Corinth, Rome, Galatia, Ephesus, Colossæ, Thessalonica, Crete, the church to which 1 John is addressed, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Laodicæa. And these are in the lifetime of the apostles!

Might as well let Tertullian answer you on this one:

Since, therefore, it is incredible that the apostles were either ignorant of the whole scope of the message which they had to declare, or failed to make known to all men the entire rule of faith, let us see whether, while the apostles proclaimed it, perhaps, simply and fully, the churches, through their own fault, set it forth otherwise than the apostles had done. All these suggestions of distrust you may find put forward by the heretics. They bear in mind how the churches were rebuked by the apostle: O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you? Galatians 3:1 and, “You did run so well; who has hindered you?” Galatians 5:7 and how the epistle actually begins: “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him, who has called you as His own in grace, to another gospel.” Galatians 1:6 “That they likewise (remember), what was written to the Corinthians, that they were yet carnal, who required to be fed with milk, being as yet unable to bear strong meat; who also thought that they knew somewhat, whereas they knew not yet anything, as they ought to know. 1 Corinthians 8:2 When they raise the objection that the churches were rebuked, let them suppose that they were also corrected; let them also remember those (churches), concerning whose faith and knowledge and conversation the apostle rejoices and gives thanks to God, which nevertheless even at this day, unite with those which were rebuked in the privileges of one and the same institution.
[Tertullian, The Prescription Against Heretics, Ch. 27]

RCC picks and chooses which parts of CF writings it will follow and which it won't. The final authority is the Church.

In fact, "the final authority is the Church" would be a vital part of living Tradition.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) Hebrews 9:27-28: "As it is appointed for each human being to die once, and the one who accepts death’s decree no longer sins but awaits the examination of what was done in life, so Christ the Lord, after being offered once for us and taking up our sins, will come to us again, with sin no longer in force, that is, with sin no longer occupying a place as far as human beings are concerned. He said himself, remember, when he still had a mortal body, “He committed no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth.” It should be noted, of course, that he bore the sins of many, not of all: not all came to faith, so he removed the sins of the believers only." [Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 175.

What is your point? There is no contradiction with Catholic teachings that I see, so please be clear.

1st Epistle of Clement of Rome: From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, "Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven." All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men. Amen.

Catholics maintain the doctrine of grace alone, as expounded in The Council of Orange, which before you say it, is not contrary to the Council of Trent. Augustine goes on quite a lot about this in On Grace and Free Will. He's better at explaining things than I am. I have also referred to the Catholic understanding of faith, and justification by faith alone is true if you mean faith that bears fruit in love, i.e. obedience and total adherence to God's will and His Church. If you would like excerpts from the Catechism or Council documents and quotes from the Church Fathers to express these views as well, let me know and when I have time, I will look some up for you.

There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews...there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit" (Athanasius, Festal Letter 39:2-4, 39:7)

You have referred to dispute on the books included in the canon a lot when talking about inconsistencies of the Church Fathers, like the post on Rhoblogy that you referred me to earlier. I can see how a Protestant coming at things from a sola scriptura perspective would find this to be a serious discrepancy since the Bible is your sole and ultimate authority. But when the living Church of Christ is your guide, it's not as big a deal if people disagreed about such a thing, particularly before the Church held council to resolve the dispute, and after the Jews yanked books from the Septuagint because they sounded way too Christian. We cannot ignore the arrow of time, and once the Church has resolved the issue, then there should be no dispute in Tradition. I think the issue of which books are included in the Old Testament canon is relatively insignificant to issues like "Is Christ present in the Eucharist?" and "Is baptism necessary for salvation?" - these practices of the Church are more central to the rule of faith than Athanasius recommending considering fewer books as inspired. I might add that his summation of the New Testament is complete to this day and there appears no discrepancy over that.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that Rome is right - Ath taught in more than one *other* place the opposite doctrine to what I've presented here...
B: Call these teachings not actually part of Divine Tradition...
The thing about resolution B is that they have indeed already done just that. Somehow these two godly, forcible, powerful writers, from whom RCC ostensibly derives much of its tradition and doctrine, also produced impious, ungodly, and flat wrong teachings...
Now, how would the RC know this? Apparently from judging these non-"Apostolic Traditions" by... yup, you guessed it! What The Church® Says. In the end, it's a vicious circle of question-begging. I claim the modern RCC is not totally faithful w/ Ch Fathers and then cite them when challenged. Then they say, "Hey, those aren't part of Apostolic Tradition!" I say, "Thanks for proving my point."


This is a more interesting discussion. You're right. Men like Tertullian turned away from the Church and its instruction to the heresy of Montanism. So are they trusted as individuals? No, indeed the Church does not include every word written by these men as the written Tradition. There is no written Tradition. However, these Fathers are important as witnesses to the practices and traditions of the times that existed. They testify to the succession of Apostles, the authority held therein, the real grace distributed in the sacraments, and the importance of the living Church as the fountain of truth and temple of God. There testimony to these things acknowledges their existence, and by their very existence in these early times, which corroborates with the modern Church, we see consistent Catholicity. Well... I see it. You may not. The Tradition that Catholics speak of is not the writings of the Church Fathers, it is that to which the writings testify.

The Lord Jesus set an authoritative example for how one is to judge tradition - by Scripture. The RC refuses to do that and instead appeals to his own doctrinal construct which is already in place to then look BACK on tradition AND Scripture and pick and choose what he'll believe and what he won't believe. Thus the RC holds to the Scriptural teaching of the Deity of Christ and rejects the Scriptural teaching of salvation by grace alone thru faith alone. He accepts the Trinity and rejects sola scriptura. He accepts the fact that we should pray to God as commanded in the Scripture and rejects the fact that prayer to dead people and angels is strictly prohibited in the Scripture.

You plagiarize yourself! ;) I saw this on your blog earlier.

Catholics hold to grace alone and again they believe in the fruitful faith alone (see above). Scripture does not teach differently. In fact, Scripture teaches "not by faith alone" in James 2:24. There is reason to believe that when James said "faith", he meant "belief" and when Paul said "faith" he meant "obedience to the will of God". And prayer to those who are "asleep in the Lord" is not prohibited. Necromancy and summoning spirits is prohibited.

It becomes easy to see how this not only dishonors God in ideal (that is, that we should not judge men's teachings by God's) but also later in practice (bowing down to images, praying to dead people, trying to earn merit towards one's salvation).

Rhology, what honors God more? A submissive spirit to those He has put in authority over us, or a desire to exert our own will and understanding over those same people who are in authority over us? It all comes down to recognizing the authority granted the Church by Christ, then trusting in God, submitting ourselves to His will despite our lack of understanding, and behaving in a manner worthy of the gospel.

Rhology said...

Hi Stacey,
I answered you in a new post.