Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I got myself banned

So in this I guess I stand in the footsteps of many better men before me.
I've been putting in some time at Mark Shea's blog, and I guess I made it as long as I did before the ban is because he was out of town the last 4 days of last week. I thought he'd be happy to have me, since I drove his combox to just under 160 comments. That kind of pub don't come easy, you know. But it all started to crumble when I compared his behavior and unnecessarily insulting language (in fact, I was just agreeing, as did another commenter, with a different commenter) to that of Art Sippo and Tim Staples. Although, he's probably right to censure me for that. I mean, with such irenic comments as:
Liar. You intend war on Holy Church.
what other conclusion would anyone (like Ben Douglass - thanks for trying, Ben) draw?

(BTW, hopefully Mark appreciates the traffic I'm thus driving to his site. One can only wish he'd present arguments worthy thereof.)
(It's also very interesting that Mark got all bent out of shape by my comparisons of him to Art Sippo and Tim Staples. One can only wonder why that is...)

Anyway, the long combox for the primary conversation I was engaged in might be worth the read, at least somewhat. Let me draw out two of the primary points I was making, the former of which never saw a rebuttal and the latter of which I was, amazingly, dealing with the entire time.

1) Mark Shea had said in the OP:
The whole "Scripture is perspicuous" thing is a classic case of elevating human tradition to the level of equality with the word of God. It works like this: the enthusiast for the doctrine of the "perspicuity of Scripure" reasons "God always does what is best. Having a Bible that is perspicuous is best. Therefore, God has done that."

(You can play that game with anything you like, by the way: "God always does what is best. Having the gift of tongues is best. Therefore, God grants all believers the gift of tongues." "God always does what is best. Health and wealth are best. Therefore, God will all believers to be healthy and wealthy.")
I kicked it off with:
Y'all in the RCC argue that way, though, all the time for the Marian dogmas. Come now, don't forget your own legacy, where you've been. You're ripping your own strategy now.
I got one irrelevant rebuttal, then a request for specifics, which I provided:
Specifically, here are a few:
Two (here citing Bishop of Neapolis in Cyprus in the 7th century)
Matatics vs White on the Marian Dogmas
Then, later:
My point is that this exact argument was lambasted by Mark Shea when used to support the perspicuity of Scr. I point out that RCs use it for one of Shea's pet doctrines, and people get all upset.
And finally:
In fact, on his own Catechism, interestingly:

1380 It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us "to the end,"209 even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us,210 and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love...
Not to mention the fact that I don't know of anyone who's ever used that type of argumentation, as TurretinFan also pointed out.

2) People and their agreement as standard of truth.
I suppose it's what one should expect from a man-centered religion like Rome's, but it gets a little tiresome after a while. For example, from commenters sympathetic to the Roman side of things, with my responses below them:
-Of course, this begs the question of how a former Protestant like myself became convinced that the RC church does possess apostolic authority and hence a valid magesterium.
-If it's so simple, why do you disagree with so many people?
There's that fallacy again! Why do you keep trying to make PEOPLE the standard of truth? You think Jesus did that or sthg?

From Vatican Council I (1870), on the primacy of Peter and Papal Infallibility:

"This doctrine is to be believed and held by all the faithful in accordance with the ancient and unchanging faith of the whole church....To this absolutely manifest teaching of the sacred scriptures, as it has always been understood by the catholic church, are clearly opposed the distorted opinions of those who misrepresent the form of government which Christ the lord established in his church and deny that Peter, in preference to the rest of the apostles, taken singly or collectively, was endowed by Christ with a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction."

Yet many ppl, even RCs, don't hold to this. If it's so simple, so ancient, unchanging, absolutely manifest, always understood by the catholic church, and if the opposition is distorted opinions, why do you disagree with so many people?
The answer is clear - people's agreement is not the standard of truth. Remember what Jesus said about the narrow and wide gates?

-Why do so many people disagree about Calvinism if its supposedly the truest form of Christianity, based solely on perspicuous Sacred Scripture?
Why do so many people disagree about RC dogma if it's supposedly the truest form of Christianity, based on the living-voice infallible Magisterial authority, who can step in and clear up doctrine disputes?
How many times do I have to say this? People are not the standard of truth. Wide gate vs narrow gate. I came not to bring peace, but a sword. Let me add to that 1 Cor 11:
18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

-Whereas both you and the United Methodists (who ordained my friend) think you're entirely right and fully Christian with no consciousness of rebellion to God or his church.
Same goes for the women priests. THEY think THEY'RE right. They think they're rightfully dissenting from the oppressive patriarchal structure of RCC, but they are the heirs to the true church.
Once again, you're trying to make people the standard of truth.

All in all, a very satisfying excursion across the Tiber. It's often comforting to know things haven't changed over yonder.