Thursday, August 13, 2009

Where Islam and Church history, apologetics, and Roman Catholicism/Eastern Orthodoxy meet

I want to thank James Swan for inviting me to post on Beggars All.

I have been involved in Muslim evangelism for 26 years; and teaching former Muslims (MBBs = Muslim Background Believers in Jesus Christ) in the Bible and sound doctrine and discipleship in church planting and discipleship contexts. Muslims have lots of questions about the canon of Scripture, issues that relate to church history, the doctrine of the Trinity, and salvation by grace alone and justification by faith alone. (But it does not stay alone; true faith results in good works, fruit, change, growth, confession and hatred of sin, deeper levels of repentance).

My interest in those apologetic issues over the years has also led me to study church history more deeply, especially because it is impossible to answer Muslims questions about the canon of Scripture issue and the doctrine of the Trinity without knowing something of church history. That is what led me to blogs that deal with church history, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy from a Reformed / Biblical Perspective. I also have visited a few Roman Catholic blogs in order to learn and grow and ask questions from them.

Therefore, I will be commenting on issues of theology, church history, missions, outreach to Muslims; things that bring these issues together. It is my sincere belief that Muhammad and the Arabs got the wrong impression of Christianity and Christ from a combination of many different beliefs and communities that were on the borders of Arabia and all over the Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian Empire of that time period. As Islam spread out, it encountered more of the different Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian faiths. These communities include the heretical and nominal churches on the borders of Arabia, Yemen and Abyssinia, the eastern Orthodox/Chalcedonian Churches in Syria/Palestine; the Monophysite Coptic churches in Egypt, the Monophysite Jacobite-Syrian churches in Syria and later in Armenia; the Jewish communities in Northern Arabia, particularly in Medina; and the Nestorians in Mesopotamia (now called Iraq) and Iran. (Both Iran and Iraq were part of the Persian Empire of those days. The Muslims also probably encountered Apocryphal heretical sects that used the Apocryphal gospels. Several indications in the Qur'an point to Muhammad getting a lot of his information from Apocryphal gospels. More on that later.

The Collyridians were a sect in Northern Arabia, mentioned by Epiphanius, around 374-377 AD, who worshipped Mary and offered cakes to her. (Epiphanius of Salamis, (lived from around 310-403 AD) (Panarion, or Against the Heresies, 79:4) The title of the work is Panarion, meaning Medicine-chest, but the Latin translations of the 16th century had the title Adversus Haereses, meaning Against the heresies. It is possible, though not likely, because of how small they were and that there is not much evidence that they survived into the 6th and 7th centuries; that Muhammad or other Arabs came into contact with this heretical sect and it helped form their opinions of what Christianity was.

As L. E. Browne points out, "The common explanation of this amazing charge [that the Trinity is God, Mary, and Jesus] is that some Christian heretical sect in the days of Muhammad believed in a Trinity consisting of God, Mary, and Jesus. The only evidence for the existence of such a sect is a statement of Epiphanius about some people whom he called Collyridians. This was more than two centuries before the time of Muhammad, and it is scarcely conceivable that Muhammad could have found out the existence of a sect which was so unimportant in the seventh century that Church history is ignorant of it, and would then have brought the peculiar views of this sect as a charge against Christians in general." (The Eclipse of Christianity in Asia: From the Time of Muhammad till the Fourteenth Century, L. E. Browne, Cambridge, 1933, p. 20.)

But no doubt, the images, icons, and statues of Mary, and seeing the eastern Christians bow down and pray before pictures and icons of Mary contributed to their mis-understanding of Christianity and the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity.

Later, Browne writes, "We may safely conclude that this curious Trinity of God, Mary, and Jesus was simply a misunderstanding of Christian teaching on Muhammad's part." (ibid, p. 21)

In 26 years of evangelism and discipleship with Muslims, most Muslims still think that the Trinity is God the Father, the Son Jesus, and Mary, "the Mother of the God" (See Qur'an Surah 5:116; also 5:72-73).

And behold! God will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God'?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. (Qur'an, Surah 5:116, Yusef Ali translation)

They do blaspheme who say: "God is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship God, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with God, - God will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them (Qur'an, Surah 5:72-73, Yusef Ali translation).

For 10 English translations of the Qur'an, (and Arabic transliteration) see
http://www.quranbrowser.com/

We will attempt to go more into these issues in my next post.

32 comments:

Rhology said...

...These communities include the heretical and nominal churches..., the eastern Orthodox/Chalcedonian Churches in Syria/Palestine; the Monophysite Coptic churches in Egypt, the Monophysite Jacobite-Syrian churches in Syria...


But you repeat yourself.

;-)

Let me be among the first to welcome you to the most evilest blog in all of teh Interw3bz. I look fwd to seeing what you have to say, especially since I'm fresh off a summer mission to N African Muslims which included a great deal of substantive conversations (in French) about such issues.

Grace and peace,
Rhology

Ken said...

Thanks for the welcome - yes, I can be wordy and repetitious (trying to be accurate)- sorry about that.

That's really cool that you can speak French with N. African Muslims.

In Christ,
Ken

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Nice to seeing writing on Islam. You posted:

>>As L. E. Browne points out, “The common explanation of this amazing charge [that the Trinity is God, Mary, and Jesus] is that some Christian heretical sect in the days of Muhammad believed in a Trinity consisting of God, Mary, and Jesus. The only evidence for the existence of such a sect is a statement of Epiphanius about some people whom he called Collyridians. This was more than two centuries before the time of Muhammad, and it is scarcely conceivable that Muhammad could have found out the existence of a sect which was so unimportant in the seventh century that Church history is ignorant of it, and would then have brought the peculiar views of this sect as a charge against Christians in general.>>

Not entirely true—I think you may find this thread of interest:

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2008/03/were-there-ever-fsm-trinitarians.html

As well as:

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2008/03/turretinfan-attempting-some-damage.html

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2008/03/quran-muhammad-and-polemical.html


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

David,
Thanks for your comments.

1.Do you have any evidence that the Collyrdians survived into the 6th and 7th centuries?

2. When Muslims see Roman Catholics and other Orthodox groups praying to Mary and bowing before statues, that is idolatry to them and they see the Popes also in modern times doing the same think. They don’t care about distinctions. There are some famous pictures of John Paul II bowing before a giant Mary statue and the current Pope Benedict XVI praying with hands spread out in front of a giant Mary statue. There is no difference in the Muslims mind.

Because the Qur’an says the Trinity is Father, Son, and Mother, that is what they think our doctrine of the Trinity is.

Therefore, Roman Catholics and Orthodox should stop the Marian practices of devotion and dulia and hyperdulia and repent of the Marian dogmas, which are false doctrine and “traditions of men”. (Matthew 15; Mark 7; Colossians 2:8)

3. See what Ibn Kathir, one of the most important commentaries on the Quran in all of Muslim history says:

Ismail ibn Kathir (Arabic: ابن كثير‎) (1301–1373 AD) was an Islamic scholar and renowned commentator on the Qur'an.

If you study Inb Kathir’s commentary (Tafsir) on the Qur’an, (see the link below), he lumps all of the Christian groups together. The Monarchites are the Melkites (meaning those that follow the king, the Monarch, meaning the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople and the Chalcedonain Creed. He includes the Monophysites (Jacobite Syrians) and the Nestorians (church of the east in Syria and Mesopotamia and which spread out in missionary outreach along the silk road all the way to China. They were pretty much wiped out first by the Seljuk Turks and then completely by the Mongols under Gengis Khan and Timor Lang ( known in the west as Tamerlane.)

Muslims don’t care much about the differences in the Christian groups. It is too much to copy onto this combox, but read through the whole thing and you will see that he talks about the Christians, their monks, their priests, the ascetics who castrated themselves ( Like Origen, and Simon Stylitis, who lived on top of a pillar/column for many years.) The Muslims like their humility when contrasting with the Jews, but think that Monastisim and giving up marriage is ridiculous.

In the commentary, all the passages about Christians, the Chalcedonians (Orthodox/Melchites/Maronites/Monarchites) and the Monophysites and the Nestorians are all lumped together as “Christians”. There is no doubt that Marian devotion, prayers to her and bowing before statues and icons, and later the Marian dogmas are indications for Muslims that the “Christians worship three gods”.

http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=5&tid=14362


The Disbelief of the Christians; `Isa Only called to Tawhid
Allah states that the Christians such sects as Monarchite, Jacobite and Nestorite are disbelievers, those among them who say that `Isa is Allah. Allah is far holier than what they attribute to Him. They made this claim in spite of the fact that `Isa made it known that he was the servant of Allah and His Messenger. The first words that `Isa uttered when he was still a baby in the cradle were, "I am `Abdullah (the servant of Allah).'' He did not say, "I am Allah,'' or, "I am the son of Allah.'' Rather, he said,
[إِنِّى عَبْدُ اللَّهِ ءَاتَانِىَ الْكِتَـبَ وَجَعَلَنِى نَبِيّاً]
Later . . .
Allah will also speak to His servant and Messenger, `Isa son of Maryam, peace be upon him, saying to him on the Day of Resurrection in the presence of those who worshipped `Isa and his mother as gods besides Allah,
[يعِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ أَءَنتَ قُلتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِى وَأُمِّىَ إِلَـهَيْنِ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ]
(O `Isa, son of Maryam! Did you say unto men: `Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah') This is a threat and a warning to Christians, chastising them in public, as Qatadah and others said, and Qatadah mentioned this Ayah as evidence, . . .

Ken said...

The above commentary from Ibn Kathir was from Surah 5, Al Maida, "the table spread"

It covers verses 72-73 and 116 and many other issues with eastern Christianity at that time that shows that the Quran is lumping all the Christians in together with each other.

Another issue is that Islam has never understood the word "Trinity". The do not know it is from two Latin words, "Tri - Unitas". Both Arabic and Farsi use words for the Trinity that only communicate, "three-ness" or "three-sided". The "oneness" and "unity" is missing, in their understanding.

In Farsi, we have to supply the word "oneness" or "unity" or "One" to emphasize the oneness of God when we use the word in their language for Trinity.

"The Holy Trinity" =
Taslis e Aqdas e Vahdat
"threeness of holy of one"
تثلیث اقدش وحدت

وحدت is from the Arabic word واحد, which means "one" and the concept of towheed, توحید (Oneness or Unity) comes from this same word.

Ken said...

David,
I also know about some of the other theories of where that false idea of the Father, Mother, and Son for Trinity came from, some of it mentioned in your links that you guys discussed before; one based on the feminine form of the word for "spirit" (Ruha) in Syriac or Peshitta Aramaic. Cognate “Ruakh” in Hebrew (רוְּחַ)
روح (Ruh) = Arabic and Farsi.

Browne mentions this, and the Apocryphal Gospel according to the Hebrews and that is was known by Gibbon in his famous Decline of the Roman Empire, which you and Turrentinfan debated over in the links you referenced. (ibid, p. 21)

In the Ibn Kathir's commentary, he clearly talks about the Ruh ol qodos
روح القدس , the "Holy Spirit", but he calls that, the angel Gabriel ("Jabril"); so he does not base his false idea on the mother part of the Trinity as based on any relation to the Holy Spirit, because he mentions the Holy Spirit as Gabriel.


“(110. (Remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): "O `Isa, son of Maryam! Remember My favor to you and to your mother when I supported you with Ruh - il-Qudus [Jibril] so that you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and when I taught you the Book, the Hikmah, the Tawrah and the Injil; and when you made out of the clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My permission, and you breathed into it, and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed those born blind, and the lepers by My permission, and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from you since you came unto them with clear proofs, and the disbelievers among them said: `This is nothing but evident magic.''') (111. "And when I Awhaytu [put in the hearts of] Al- Hawariyyin to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: `We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims.''')” (from Ibn Kathir’s commentary, my emphasis)
http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=5&tid=14879

Matthew Bellisario said...

What a novel approach this is. When someone supposedly misunderstands a doctrine of the Church, then the Church is supposed to change her doctrine, or her orthodox practices to pacify them? The Eastern Church was so steeped in proper Trinitarian doctrine that I find it hard to believe that anyone can blame them for a Muslim misunderstanding of it. Have you ever witnessed any of the Eastern Liturgies? They invoke the Trinity, (The Father, Son and Holy Spirit) throughout it, from beginning to end.

Secondly the use of images has been defended by the entire ecumenical Church in her Ecumenical Councils. I personally find it sickening to see this iconoclastic mentality still breeding hate and discontent by people calling themselves Christians today.

Saint Basil wrote,
"I see before me a beautiful picture and the sight refreshes me, and induces me to glorify God. I marvel at the martyr's endurance, at his reward, and fired with burning zeal, I fall down to adore God through His martyr, and receive a grace of salvation."

Saint Gregory of Nyssa wrote,
"Then the father proceeds to bind his son. I have often seen paintings of this touching scene, and could not look at it with dry eyes, art setting it forth so vividly."

Bishop Leo of Neapolis wrote,
"If you, O Jew, reproach me saying that I adore the wood of the Cross as God, why do you not reproach Jacob, who worshipped on the point of his staff (epi to akron thV rabdou)? Now it is evident that he was not worshipping wood. So with us; we are worshipping Christ through the Cross, not the wood of the Cross."

The Ecumenical Church says,
1. If anyone does not confess that Christ our God can be represented in His humanity, let him be anathema.
2. If anyone does not accept representation in art of evangelical scenes, let him be anathema.
3. If anyone does not salute such representations as standing for the Lord and His saints, let him be anathema.
4. If anyone rejects any written or unwritten Tradition of the Church, let him be anathema.

So, Anathema Sit!

Rhology said...

So, Anathema Sit!

I guess Vatican II neglected to take your airtight reasoning into account when they called us separated brethren.

Peace to you.

Peter Sean Bradley said...

Interesting post.

There is a long history where some element within Christianity attempts to model itself on Islam, particularly when the power of Islam seems to be increasing. The Iconoclastic Controversy, for example, occurred because Islam was militarily succesful and it seemed wise to some Byzantine Emperors to model themselves on their iconoclastic enemies.

Likewise, during the 16th Century, Islam was particularly threatening, with the Turks actually laying seige to Vienna. Accordingly, it is probably not surprising that so many Islamic elements made their way into Reformation doctrine. For example, Islam has no priesthood. Calvinism has no priesthood. Islam has no institution of celibacy or monasticism. TheProtestants have no institution of celibacy or monasticism. Islam is rigorously anionic or iconoclastic in
its religious art. Strict Islam takes a dim view of music and
dance and vain pastimes; so too Calvinism. Both faiths put primary the emphasis on the Book. The Protestants treat the Bible
as the Muslims treat the Koran, as the actual Logos, the Divine Word made manifest, whereas in Catholic
and orthodox Christianity Christ himself is the Logos, not the text. Both faiths emphasize predestination and the sovereignty of God. Both are nominalist. There is also a strong Unitarian theme in Protestantism, a rejection of the Trinity, which recurs repeatedly in more radical forms of Protestantism.

This article seems to support the thesis that Islamic typologies within Calvinism are not coincidental.

Ken said...

Matthew wrote:
The Eastern Church was so steeped in proper Trinitarian doctrine that I find it hard to believe that anyone can blame them for a Muslim misunderstanding of it. Have you ever witnessed any of the Eastern Liturgies? They invoke the Trinity, (The Father, Son and Holy Spirit) throughout it, from beginning to end.

The Trinitarian doctrine of the eastern church was good; what was bad was the mixing of the icons/images/prayers to Mary/bowing down before images of Mary. This certainly gave Muhammad and the Arabs the wrong impression of the Trinity; and so yes, false doctrine and practice are a bad witness and contributed to centuries of mis-understandings.

The Monophysites ( they prefer the term Mia-physite) and Nestorians were Trinitarian also; their heresies were on how to understand and put together the two natures of Christ. And Nestorius himself seems to have been vindicated by his Bazaar of Heraclides.

False doctrine, drifting from the Scriptures and drifting from the gospel of grace alone, and justification by faith alone; and lack of Evangelical witness, lack of outreach into the languages on the frontiers (where the heretics and ascetics were; who influenced Muhammad; Bible was not beginning to be translated into Arabic until 900s AD, and the Punic and Berber languages of N. Africa, not at all); the harshness of the Byzantine state policies against the Syrians and Egyptians, ie, and lack of mercy with the Monophysites and Nestorians; the political and military vacuum left between the wars between the Roman/Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire; other factors - the rise of monasticism, asceticism and exaltation of virginity and influence of Gnosticism; these combined to mix together and give rise to Islam to fill that vacuum and void.

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

Thanks much for your thoughtful response. You asked:

>> 1.Do you have any evidence that the Collyrdians survived into the 6th and 7th centuries?>>

No direct evidence, but as you know, there is no direct evidence that the sect perished before the 7th century.

When I get some time, I need to dig up some photo-copied articles from the Muslim World journal that I have buried away that talk about earliest interactions between Muslim and Christian theologians…

As for the presence of Nicene and Chalcedonian Christianity in Arabia in the 6th and early 7th century, it is my understanding that Arabia was a haven for non-Orthodox sects—am I correct on this?


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

Peter Sean Bradley wrote:
Likewise, during the 16th Century, Islam was particularly threatening, with the Turks actually laying seige to Vienna. Accordingly, it is probably not surprising that so many Islamic elements made their way into Reformation doctrine.

Reformation doctrine came from the Scriptures; not at all from Islam. That is a strange and unsubstantiated claim.

For example, Islam has no priesthood. Calvinism has no priesthood. Islam has no institution of celibacy or monasticism.

The NT has no authoritative/leadership special priesthood; all the saints/believers in Christ are priests. ( I Peter 2:1-10; Rev. 5:9-10) Church leaders are elders/pastors/teachers/overseers, not priests. ( Acts 20:17-28; I Peter 5:1-5; I Timothy chapter 3; Titus chapter 1, Acts 14:21-23; Ephesians 4:11-12) There is no credible relation here. The OT priesthood was fulfilled in Christ. He is the one mediator between God and man; not Mary nor priests nor dead saints. I Timothy 2:5-6) Some people have the gift of celibacy, ( I Corinthians 7:7-9; Matthew 19:11-12; but all the other apostles were married ( I Corinthians 9:1-5; and I Tim. 3 and Titus 1 seems to assume that all the elders would be married. So, there is no NT command or mandate for an organized institution of celibacy or monasticism.

The Protestants have no institution of celibacy or monasticism. Islam is rigorously anionic or iconoclastic in its religious art. Strict Islam takes a dim view of music and
dance and vain pastimes; so too Calvinism.

There are some extremes in some in history, but Reformed churches are nothing close to the extremes of Wahabi / Salafi / or Shiite Iranian Islam.

Ken said...

Both faiths put primary the emphasis on the Book.

True, but in different ways. The Haddiths and Tafsirs and Sirat and Suna in Islam are actually closer to the Roman Catholic views of traditions in addition to canonical Scriptures; and the Shiite Imamate is actually closer to Roman Catholic priesthood and Papacy. Shiite shrine visiting is closer to RC and EO pilrimages.

The Protestants treat the Bible
as the Muslims treat the Koran, as the actual Logos,
That is just false and untrue. There is a clear distinction between the Living Word from all eternity and the God-breathed written word. But the written word is the God-breathed product of the Living Word, Jesus, through the work of Holy Spirit; and the Father. All three persons of the Trinity are involved in giving us the Word of God. (John 17:8 – for the Father giving His words to Jesus, then Jesus giving His words to the apostles.)

the Divine Word made manifest, whereas in Catholic
and orthodox Christianity Christ himself is the Logos, not the text.

Both faiths emphasize predestination and the sovereignty of God.
Yes, but they are quite different from each other. In the Bible, God is sovereign, but cannot commit sin or lie or do injustice. (Titus 1:2; I John 1:5; Heb. 6:18; Hab. 1:13; Romans 9:14) In Islam, Allah is the very best deceiver. (Qur’an, Surah 3:54; 8:30; 10:22) Allah can do whatever he wants, even sin and lie; in Christianity God cannot do what is contrary to His nature. In Islam, Allah’s mercy is arbitrary; even a good Muslim has no assurance of Allah’s mercy; everything is “Ensh’allah” ( If God wills); but in the Scriptures, God’s love and mercy are based on His nature and character, and His work of justice against sin at the cross and love for sinners from all nations. (the atonement; Revelation 5:9) Redemption has a basis in God’s holiness and both His justice and love “kissed” together at the cross.

Both are nominalist. There is also a strong Unitarian theme in Protestantism, a rejection of the Trinity, That is totally untrue.
which recurs repeatedly in more radical forms of Protestantism. What are you talking about here? Unitarianism Universalism are not even Christians and they anathematized themselves. They have nothing to do with Reformed or Biblical Christianity.

This article seems to support the thesis that Islamic typologies within Calvinism are not coincidental.

No, it is merely pointing out the problems in church history and the lack of credible evangelical, gospel witness and the false doctrines that contributed to the rise of Islam.

Rhology said...

I believe it's Norman Geisler in his book on Islam that says that the Islamic doctrine of the Qur'an is more comparable to the Christian Logos doctrine than to the Christian doctrine of the Bible.
Ken, would you agree?

Ken said...

Rhology wrote:
I believe it's Norman Geisler in his book on Islam that says that the Islamic doctrine of the Qur'an is more comparable to the Christian Logos doctrine than to the Christian doctrine of the Bible.
Ken, would you agree?

Yes, even Muslims agree with this; and Abdul Saleeb wrote that chapter in their book, quoting from Muslim scholars, chapter 5 on the Qur'an.

"Whereas in Christianity in the beginning was the Word and Word became flesh, in Islam in the beginning was the Word and the Word became a book!" (Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb. Answering Islam. Baker Books, 1993, p. 98.

Viisaus said...

"Secondly the use of images has been defended by the entire ecumenical Church in her Ecumenical Councils. I personally find it sickening to see this iconoclastic mentality still breeding hate and discontent by people calling themselves Christians today."

Now here's a chance for Protestants to educate themselves!

What Mr. Bellisario is referring to is an intellectually and morally decrepit Dark Ages "ecumenical" council held in 787 AD, Nicaea II.

On the link below you may find the entire acts of this wretched council - spiced with some non-nonsense Protestant commentary!

You will learn just how puny the Scriptural and patristic case of image-venerators was and is:

http://www.archive.org/details/seventhgeneralc00mendgoog

Matthew Bellisario said...

Viisaus wrote"What Mr. Bellisario is referring to is an intellectually and morally decrepit Dark Ages "ecumenical" council held in 787 AD, Nicaea II."

Who am I going to believe? The entire ecumenical Church, or an individual who has made himself the judge over the entire Church? I think I will stick with the Church, her Councils and her Saints. As far as the "Dark Ages" and the decline of morality goes, I think maybe he should look at his own generation before he attacks those Saints who died for the Christian faith for the survival of orthodoxy in those times.

Protestantism has been a destructive force in society since its establishment in the 1500s. The population decline and the decline in family morality can be directly attributed to their individualistic, selfish mentality. Just look at how they now change their interpretation of Scripture to promote their love for contraception. It even flies in the face of their Protestant heroes like Luther and Calvin who never tolerated that type of Scriptural interpretation. Like I said, I will follow the ecumenical Church, not an individual who thinks he can judge an entire Church council on his own authority.

Viisaus said...

"There is also a strong Unitarian theme in Protestantism, a rejection of the Trinity"


There is at least one strong, logical reason why "no true Protestant" could deny Jesus Christ's divinity.

Namely, such a denial would directly contradict that fundamental tenet of the Reformation - the salvation by faith in divine Christ's perfect, once-for-all sacrifice on the cross.

It's only self-righteous PELAGIAN cultic types who are prone to deny His divinity because they think they can be righteous enough to save themselves!

If Jesus was not God, then we have no perfect sacrifice made for our behalf, and we must EARN our salvation instead.

No true Protestant who believes in salvation by faith could agree with this idea. But Unitarian--Socinian-Pelagian apostates from the Gospel of Grace well might.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Rhology wrote, "I guess Vatican II neglected to take your airtight reasoning into account when they called us separated brethren."

What part of separated don't you understand? Do you think this is a get of hell card? Let me give you a hint. You don't want to be separated from Christ at judgment day. Anathema Sit!

Viisaus said...

"The Haddiths and Tafsirs and Sirat and Suna in Islam are actually closer to the Roman Catholic views of traditions in addition to canonical Scriptures; and the Shiite Imamate is actually closer to Roman Catholic priesthood and Papacy. Shiite shrine visiting is closer to RC and EO pilrimages."


Good points - one can produce this sort of guilt-by.-association quite easily, and the proverbial sword cuts both ways.

Traditional Muslims are NOT believers in "sola qurana" - from a description of pre-Kemalist Turkey:

"Secondary to the Koran in form YET PRACTICALLY OVERPOWERING IT are the traditions: the “unread revelations,” the “uninspired record of inspired sayings.” They refer “not only to what Mohammed said and did, but what he allowed others to say unrebuked.” As was inevitable, the mass of these traditions is very great and their influence is proportionate. Any statement of Mohammedanism based upon the Koran alone is sure to be misleading. That together with the traditions must be understood in order to gain a clear and accurate conception of what the religion is. It is due to this fact that Mohammedanism has adapted itself with such marked success to the most varying conditions."

http://armenianhouse.org/bliss/turkey/03-religions.html

Rhology said...

Matthew,

'Tisn't the "separated", but the "brethren" that makes no sense.

Reasonable sit!

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Turretinfan said...

Mr Bellisario wrote: "What part of separated don't you understand? Do you think this is a get of hell card? Let me give you a hint. You don't want to be separated from Christ at judgment day."

I guess that shows what words can mean when one takes them out of context. In context, it means "separated from full communion" but in Mr. Bellisario's hands ... wow ... such ignorance of his own religion.

Let me remind him: "It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church." (UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO, Section 3)

But why do I have to be the one educating Bellisario in Romanism? Why can't some of you folks who claim to believe Rome's doctrines do that so he doesn't display this sort of nonsense here?

Dozie said...

"In context, it means "separated from full communion" but in Mr."

Unlike Protestantism, the Catholic Church takes very seriously the theology of the "Church". The Church is the body of Christ such that separation from the Church is separation from Christ. This is not new theology and if you are comfortable being separated from Christ, that is your choice.

Dozie said...

"For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church."

I wonder if Mr. Turr believes and accepts the above statement - that whatever good is found in separated communions is derived from the grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church.

A teaching moment: When the Catholic Church talks about the Church, she is talking about herself and not the Reformed Communities.

God used Judas to accomplish his plan; heck, He has used the devil to accomplish his purpose (remember Job?). That God uses Protestantism to accomplish his goal is not in itself any consolation.

Turretinfan said...

Dozie:

Vatican 2 refers to separated brethren as "Christians" and it says that the separated "Churches" (yes, it calls them "churches") are a "means of salvation."

It also states: "For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect." (Same section of the same document)

What Bellisario (and apparently you as well) fail to understand is that imperfect communion does not equal damnation to hell.

Of course, Vatican 2 was a departure from historical Romanism, but that's another issue for another day. Neither you nor Bellisario (to my knowledge) consider yourselves "traditionalists."

-TurretinFan

Lvka said...

Jesus has God as His Father and Mary as His mother: that's the Christian Truth which in their debased minds they distorted (and I personally have no expectations from heretics, much less non-Christians as far as understanding our faith is concerned: they should feel free to ask us in what it consists, or otherwise shut the hell up).

Yes, Islam is a blend of Judaism, Arianism, Nestorianism and Gnosticism [Docetism, to be more precise].

Lvka said...

As far as the One God and the Trinity are concerned, here's the Orthodox view on these.

Dozie said...

"Vatican 2 refers to separated brethren as "Christians" and it says that the separated "Churches" (yes, it calls them "churches") are a "means of salvation."

The question was: Did you understand the implications of the quote (below) you gave and seemingly accepted?

"For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church."

You said you were teaching Catholics their own theology, but I think you failed to read the above statement with open eyes.

Turretinfan said...

Dozie:

You must not be familiar with my website (Thoughts of Francis Turretin) if you think I accept the teachings of Rome, whether from the Tridentine era or the Vatican 2 era.

If you think one has to be a Roman Catholic to understand Roman Catholic theology, then you are mistaken.

-TurretinFan

Ken said...

Turretinfan:
You understand RCC doctrine very well and do excellent research -

Don't you think the RCC is inconsistent, and has a real contradiction between the Trent/Vatican I/no salvation outside of the church era

vs.

Vatican II - present era; and "separated brethren" and Muslims and atheists possibility of salvation without Christ??

Turretinfan said...

Ken:

Thanks for the kind words, though I'm sure there are a number of areas of Roman theology where my knowledge could be significantly improved.

To answer your question, though - yes. The attitude of Rome pre-Vatican 2 and post-Vatican 2 seems remarkably different.

Folks within Rome seem to respond to that in one of five ways:

1) Apathy

Nominalism is a huge issue in Roman Catholicism. Nominal folks really couldn't care less.

2) Liberalism/Modernism/Pluralism/Inclusivism

Some folks view the change as a good thing, and don't see it as problematic for Rome to change her views on salvation to be more friendly to non-RCers.

3) Ignorance

A few folks seem unwilling to admit that Vatican 2 has a different take on things. It's hard to chalk this up to anything other than ignorance.

4) "Radical" Traditionalism

A significant number of folks (though whether that is thousands or 10's of thousands or more I can't say) reject Vatican 2 and say that it is not a valid council.

5) Jesuitical Evasion

A number of folks have pointed out that Vatican 2 never employs the sanction of anathema, and therefore should not be considered as defining any new doctrines. Thus, while it is a legitimate council, it is not an infallible council, and its views may (at various points) be wrong. This seems a bit contrived, to say the least, but one can find things in what Ratzinger/B16 has written to try to build a case along those lines.

-TurretinFan