Monday, September 28, 2009

Beckwith: Aquinas Was Close Enough on Mary's Immaculate Conception

"During my September 3 dialogue with Timothy George at Wheaton College, we briefly discussed St. Thomas Aquinas' denial of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, which later became a dogma of the Catholic Church. One of the points I made was that St. Thomas' understanding of Mary's holiness was far from the Protestant view. In fact, for St. Thomas, Mary, though not conceived without original sin, it was removed by God after she was conceived (technically, after she was "animated"). She was also was the recipient of an abundance of grace so that she may be protected from all actual sin. So, St. Thomas' view, though not the view currently held by the Church as dogma, contained within it some of the same logic on which the Church's dogma is based." [source]


Well, if you rub the edges of a square down for a while, you can eventually fit it in the round hole.

66 comments:

Turretinfan said...

He didn't actually believe in the doctrine of the immaculate conception, but because he didn't believe what "Protestants" believe, that's good enough for a Romanist.

Nick said...

Nobody is rubbing a square peg down here; the information given by Beckwith was fair and straightforward.

The key to looking at this fairly is to realize there are are three 'views' under consideration here:

1) Sanctified at the moment of conception and protected from actual sin.

2) Sanctified in the womb shortly after conception and protected from actual sin.

3) Born without sanctification in the womb (and likely even guilty of actual sin).

Views 1 & 2 are much closer to eachother than view 3 (the Protestant view). There is no covering over the fact that 2 is not the same as 1. The only 'nuance' is that the idea of how conception works was not constant (eg when the body was 'animated' by the soul in the womb). But this factor only serves to bring view 1 and 2 closer together, because view 1 is more 'sophisticated' as to it's understanding of such nuances.

Thus, all in all, the two charges leveled by Swan and TF are overblown.

Burk Braun said...

How about she was just an ordinary woman who got knocked up and told a little fib about it?

EBW said...

Two prayers from Aquinas:
1) To the most blessed Virgin Mary
"...I pray also that, at the end of my life, you, Mother without compare, Gate of Heaven, and Advocate of sinners, will not allow me, your unworthy servant, to STRAY FROM THE HOLY CATHOLIC FAITH"
2) A prayer at the time of death
"...Never have I said anything against You. If I have, it was in ignorance, and I do not persist in my ignorance. If I have taught anything false, I leave correction of it to the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
"
Aquinas rubbed his own edges before anyone got to his square !

James Swan said...

Poor Aquinas- Even though he was such a brilliant person, he misunderstood the clear teachings of Tradition handed down from the Apostles. It wasn't like Romanists were just allowing such an non-Biblical idea like "immaculate conception" to roll through church history picking up steam as it went along. No, The apostles taught it, and those they taught it to taught it. Why Aquinas couldn't get it right means either he willfully disapproved of certain aspects of it, or he was just ignorant. He was probably just ignorant- perhaps he missed that day in class when the "Traditions" were expounded on.

Alex said...

Like all those brilliant Protestant Reformers who thought that coitus interruptus was immoral in light of the sin of Onan. Only if they had the real understanding of Sacred Scripture like the understanding of modern Protestants who can better determine morals. It seems that for them and the Jews sola scriptura was not very useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

For the proponent of sola scriptura, the perspicuity of the bible is self evident; yet ignore the fact that a thing is only biblical until the majority of proponents of sola scriptura decide that it is no longer biblical.

Turretinfan said...

Alex:

You know very well that the doctrine of perspicuity relates only to those things which are necessary to be known for salvation.

If you can show me even ONE theologian from the beginning of time until just before you learned to speak that thought that a proper understanding of Onan's sin was something necessary to salvation, you will cease to appear to be a dishonest spokesman for your religion.

Alex said...

I'll just post over here what Turretinfan decided not to post on his own blog (where he regularly withholds comments, I guess it is his part in being an honest spokesman for his religion).


No, it is not obvious to me that this is not an issue necessary for salvation. Tell me, can a practicing homosexual be saved? Can someone who acceptingly engages in bestiality be saved? If you answer no to any of those questions then you must show me where scripture says that only some forms of purposefully disordered sexual acts are allowable for the elect, but not others. It is apparent here that you are the one who is being disingenuous. Please, can you provide me with a passage from scripture which details a list of those things which are necessary for salvation? It seems obvious to me that you Protestants make up what falls under perspicuity as you go along.

And yet the problem continues because your rule of faith alone is not very useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work as evidenced here. It amazes me that modern Protestants maintain this theological fantasy that only certain gospel truths are necessary for salvation, while other gospel truths are not. Meanwhile, they cannot point to any text in their sole rule of faith which positively states this. Under this theological framework, here is a prime example of a rule-less rule, invented by the ever-changing traditions of protestant men.

Turretinfan, your problem resides in your inability to articulate the proper meaning of human sexuality.

Alex said...

I now posted this twice and just now caught this error which shold read:

And yet the problem continues because your rule of scripture alone is not very useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work as evidenced here.

Turretinfan said...

"It amazes me that modern Protestants maintain this theological fantasy that only certain gospel truths are necessary for salvation, while other gospel truths are not."

Does it amaze you when you read it in the church fathers?

Are you only amazed when it is in the mouths of those who you count as enemies?

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

I take it that you have decided to avoid my questions.



Sola Scriptura: Worry not, if you like the sin, just pretend it isn't an issue necessary for salvation. Besides, once saved always saved.

Turretinfan said...

It's sad to see more dishonest portrayals of sola scriptura. Intentionally speaking falsehood, even about the doctrine of folks who you think are heretics, is probably still a mortal sin in your religion.

If I thought your question was sincere or in good faith, I'd answer it, as I have answered many of your questions in the past.

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

Turretinfan: If you can show me even ONE theologian from the beginning of time until just before you learned to speak that thought that a proper understanding of Onan's sin was something necessary to salvation, you will cease to appear to be a dishonest spokesman for your religion.

Me: How about Martin Luther who said:
Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime to produce semen and excite the woman, and to frustrate her at that very moment. He was inflamed with the basest spite and hatred. Therefore he did not allow himself to be compelled to bear that intolerable slavery. Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore God punished him . . . That worthless fellow refused to exercise love. He preferred polluting himself with a most disgraceful sin to raising up offspring for his brother.

(Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 38-44; 1544; LW, 7, 20-21)

I guess Turretinfan would say that this is a description of the elect.

Here is another example of the moral bankruptcy resulting in the Protestant notion of sola scriptura. One really cannot know what is sinful and what isn't. Yet we are told that scripture alone is sufficient and not just useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Righteousness is really only what a Protestant says it is. In fact, a Protestant can't even really tell you whether or not masturbation is sinful; just ask the masters logicians at Triablogue.

The Protestant notion of Sola Scriptura and what is deemed necessary for salvation is very much like the Burger King slogan of "have it your way."

Alex said...

No you have not answered many of my questions in the past, you ignore them and selectively post some comments without any discernable standard.

You have yet to tell me what is necessary for salvation and where Scripture delineates this, and how some gospel truths are necessary while others are not. Where does God say that some forms of disordered acts are in keeping with the saved elect whereas others are not? So as you told me: excuses, excuses.

Burk Braun said...

Salvation?

Salvation is a delusion- impossible, irrelevant, imaginary. Good luck trying to define it to everyone's satisfaction. Perhaps you would be better off living life you have, in the here and now.

Turretinfan said...

Alex:

Are you seriously unable to understand the challenge I gave you?

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

Do you have anything meaningful to add, or are you just buying time.

Turretinfan said...

Well, your response quoting Luther was so far from the mark that I was trying to figure out whether you were simply trying to stir things up, or whether you seriously thought that Luther was claiming that one has to know what Onan's sin was, in order to be saved.

I think only a lunatic would think the latter, but perhaps ...

Alex said...

It would seem that you do not understand the situation, or you purposefully choose to favor disordered sexual acts. That Luther believed coitus interruptus to be a detestable sin can not be disputed (unless Swan has some other rational, I guess). In your view it would seem to be the case that disordered sexual sins are not relevant to salvation. I’m sure that this is great comfort to all practicing homosexuals, and those who engage in other disordered sexual sins.

Turretinfan said...

Alex:

Why not just apologize for misrepresenting sola scriptura? Then we can get on to whether or not you've misrepresented something I've wrote. After all, you'll be hard pressed to find support for your outlandish claims in something I wrote.

-TurretinFan

Burk Braun said...

How about tending to your own sexualities, rather than to that of others? Or would that be too depressing?

Turretinfan said...

Burke:

I suppose one could apply a similar question to lots of things. Here's an example: "How about tending to your own ideas, rather than to those of others? Or would that be too depressing?" or "How about tending to your own homicidal urges, rather than to those of others? Or would that be too depressing?" or better yet "How about tending to your own rights, rather than to those of others? Or would that be too depressing?"

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

Protestants use as a proof text the following passage to prove their novel doctrine of sola scriptura: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

However, there are many sins which Protestants overlook because in their fallible interpretation of Sacred Scripture they either do not believe Scripture condemns the offensive act, or they claim that the condemnation of the act itself is not an issue necessary for salvation. If Scripture alone is sufficient, not just useful, for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work, and yet one cannot even know depending upon their novel interpretation of the text whether masturbation or coitus interruptus leads one to righteousness, Scripture alone on a practical measure has not been very useful. That man can sin against God through engagement in disordered sexual acts which have been roundly condemned since the time of Onan, but now virtually all Protestant sects have embraced such sinful acts proves once again that at the practical level Sola Scriptura is a blueprint for anarchy.

It seems that the content of the passage is irrelevant and secondary to some imaginary demand that all theologians must assertively affirm that not only are disordered sexual sins inherently immoral and are necessarily related to salvation, but they must specifically demand that the sin of Onan be considered as such an offense in order for the Protestant to consent to the fact that the act itself is evil.

Turretinfan said...

Alex:

As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, the concept of Sola Scriptura is nothing new.

Leaving that aside, and moving on, your straw man that the sufficiency of Scripture for instruction in righteousness demands that all Scripture be clear on every detail to every person is laughable at best. You know that's not the Sola Scriptura position - I know that's not the Sola Scriptura position.

And you wonder why your comments get rejected?

David Waltz said...

Hello James,

You wrote:

>>You know very well that the doctrine of perspicuity relates only to those things which are necessary to be known for salvation.>>

Who decides the list of “those things”?

What is YOUR list?


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi TF,

You posted:

>>As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, the concept of Sola Scriptura is nothing new.>>

And repeating an error does not make it true.

“In the ante-Nicene Church, the notion of sola Scriptura does not exist. But then there is also no notion of a tradition which is superior to Scripture, or which alters the essential content of the apostolic message as it is deposited in Scripture. There is simply no way of imagining possible conflict between the Christian Scripture and the Christian tradition—and, therefore, no necessity to choose between them.” (Albert Outler, “The Sense of Tradition in the Ante-Nicene Church”, in The Heritage of Christian Thought: Essays in Honor of Robert Lowery Calhoun, edited by Cushman and Grislis: New York, N. Y., 1965, p.29)

“The fathers of the church spoke as they did because they regarded themselves as interpreters of the Scriptures. Therefore they are not to be made a substitute for the Scriptures; nor can the Scriptures be understood apart from the authoritative interpretation which tradition places upon them...if tradition is primitive, Protestant theology must admit that ‘Scripture alone’ requires redefinition.” (Jaroslav Pelikan, Obedient Rebels, Harper & Row: New York, N. Y., 1964, p. 180)

“The divine Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as opposed to human writings; and the oral tradition or living faith of the catholic church from the apostles down, as opposed tothe varying opinions of heretical sects—together form one infallible source and rule of faith. Both are vehicles of the same substance: the saving revelation of God in Christ; with this difference in form and office, that the church tradition determines the canon, furnishes the key and true interpretation of the Scriptures, and guards them against heretical abuse.” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 1981 ed., vol. 3, p. 606)


More to come…

David Waltz said...

>>Several publications by evangelicals have argued that the doctrine of sola scriptura was practiced, though implicitly, in the hermeneutical thinking of the early church. Such an argument is using a very specific agenda for the reappropriation of the early church: reading the ancient Fathers through the leans of post-Reformational Protestantism…Witness the recent attempts to find a “patristic principle of sola scriptura” in Irenaeus[3] or in Athanasius, from which the conclusion is reached, “Sola scriptura has long been the rule of believing Christian people, even before it became necessary to use the specific terminology against later innovators who would usurp the Scriptures’ supremacy in the church.”[4]

…Scripture can never stand completely independent of the ancient consensus of the church’s teaching without serious hermeneutical difficulties…The issue, then, is not whether we believe the Bible or whether we will use the Tradition—the real question, as the patristic age discovered, is, Which tradition will we use to interpret the Bible? (D. H. Williams, Retrieving the Tradition & Renewing Evangelicalism, pp. 229, 234.)

Notes:

[3] J. Armstrong ed., Roman Catholicism: Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites Us, (Chicago: Moody, 1995), 40. In his essay, Tom Nettles seems oblivious to the crucial distinction between written and oral authority in Irenaeus when he says, “The Scripture is that which is ‘handed down,’ that is, tradition.” W. Robert Godfrey also poses the problem of the “divide” between Roman Catholics and Protestants as the “Word of God” versus “church traditions.”

[4] In Sola Scriptura! The Protestant Position on the Bible, ed. D. Kistler (Morgan, Penn.: Soli Deo Gloria, 1996), 53. The essay entitled “Sola scriptura and the Early Church,” exhibits very limited familiarity with patristic doctrinal history such that it claims Athanasius stood against Liberius’, bishop of Rome (p. 42), whereas in fact, Athanasius sought the protection of Liberius’ successor, Julius, during his exile, and he, of all the Greek fathers, remained the most intimate with Rome after Julius’ death in 352. There is hardly a case for a proto-opposition between “Protestants” and “Roman Catholics.” Moreover, it is striking White argues that Athanasius makes no appeal to unwritten tradition, and yet in the very citation offered as proof of this point (Oration Against the Arians III.29) Athanasius refers to Mary as Theotokos, bearer of God; an Alexandrian tradition which few Protestants would espouse!>>

Turretinfan said...

"Who decides the list of “those things”?"

God

"What is YOUR list?"

See previous answer.

"And repeating an error does not make it true."

Indeed, it does not. Thankfully, the historical evidence of the fathers practicing Sola Scriptura is abundant, notwithstanding the fact that not everyone agrees.

-TurretinFan

Burk Braun said...

Hi, TF-

You don't seem to have a clue about what is going on here. The church/tradition/superstition says that there is an afterlife. While the point of this concept is originally to provide solace to the living and the dying, believers can't seem to resist bending this, as all other religious doctrines, into a means of social control, promulgating that those people or those behaviors approved by those in power go to heaven, and those that don't to hell.

The scripture can be read any way one likes, either supporting those who love their brethren and are tolerant of them, as well as those who hate them and do them harm. The vast range of scripture supports any view and action on wants to take. Thus the question always comes down to what action you want to take- what judgement you make. And in your judgement is read your humanity.

Best wishes!

David Waltz said...

Hello again TF,

You posted:

>>"Who decides the list of “those things”?"

God>>

And what is God’s list?


>>Thankfully, the historical evidence of the fathers practicing Sola Scriptura is abundant…>>

Only to those with “a very specific agenda for the reappropriation of the early church.”

Protestant patristic scholars without out such an agenda (e.g. Kelly, Lane, Schaff, Williams, et al.) form a unified consensus against your selective reading of “the fathers”.

“What was new here? Not the idea that the Bible, being God-given, speaks with God’s authority—that was common ground to both the Reformers and their opponents, and was indeed at that time an unquestioned Christian commonplace, like the doctrine of the Trinity. Nor was there anything new in the Reformer’s insistence that Bible reading is a sweet nourishing activity for Christian people. What was new was the belief, borne upon the Reformer’s by their own experience of Bible study, that Scripture can and does interpret itself to the faithful from within...From the second century on, Christians had assumed that the traditions and teachers of the church, guided by the Holy Spirit, were faithful to the biblical message, and that it was safe to equate Church doctrine with Bible truth.” (J. I. Packer, “‘Sola Scriptura’ In History and Today”, God’s Inerrant Word, ed. James Montgomery, pp. 44-45.)

“Some have argued that the Reformation was basically a return from the supplementary to the coincidence view of tradition…The error in attributing the coincidence view to the Reformers lies in the neglect of their ecclesiology. They did allow for an interpretative tradition not adding to Scripture but did not see either this tradition or ecclesiastical teaching as infallible…There are two important differences between this view and the classical coincidence view of Irenaeus and Tertullian. These patristic writers were concerned to show the identity of ecclesiastical with apostolic teaching while the Reformers sought to do the opposite. Furthermore they accepted the inherited faith because it was apostolic tradition whereas the Reformers accepted the (traditional) creeds only because they believed them to be scriptural. This is a significant difference…Unlike the coincidence view the sola scriptura did not involve the unqualified acceptance of any tradition or of the teaching of any church and Scripture remained, formally as well as materially, the ultimate criterion and norm…The Reformers attitude to tradition was neither the coincidence nor the supplementary view but the ancillary view.” (A.N.S. Lane, “Scripture, Tradition and Church: An Historical Survey”, Vox Evangelica, Volume IX – 1975, pp. 42, 43.)

Turretinfan said...

"And what is God’s list?"

You mean you want me to discern the contents of the list and provide them for you? I'd be hesitant to try to do that for you.

As for the motivation issue, I wasn't referring to the secondary sources, but the primary sources. I'm sure there are scholars with all sorts of various motivations.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Burk:

I tend not to debate Scripture with atheists. See my previous comment to you.

But for the others here, note the common ground you share with this guy. You both treat the Scriptures as though it were ambiguous or lacking in authority.

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

“Leaving that aside, and moving on, your straw man that the sufficiency of Scripture for instruction in righteousness demands that all Scripture be clear on every detail to every person is laughable at best. You know that's not the Sola Scriptura position - I know that's not the Sola Scriptura position.”

Me: First of all, your characterization of my argument is laughable, and not to mention entirely intellectually dishonest.
I hope everyone realizes that what was once until very recently thought to be a condemnable sinful act not found among the elect even by those who believed that Scripture alone is the sole rule of faith, now this same act is believed to be in accordance with righteous activity of the elect by present day proponents of sola scriptura. At the same time we are told that scripture is clear on matters pertaining to salvation. Luther agreed with the universal belief that God condemned Onan for a sinful act, and put him to death. The question of coitus interruptus certainly is a salvific issue. The perspicuity of Scripture as the sole rule of faith as evidenced in this example either isn’t helpful for Protestants now, or wasn’t helpful for them prior to the new understanding of the sin of Onan. The fact that Turretinfan wants us to believe that the Protestant position concerning certain matters for which God had possibly put someone to death isn’t necessarily pertinent that Scripture be clear on them, and that we too could possibly be incurring the wrath of God for similarly evil acts, proves that sola scriptura doesn’t do what it claims to do.

“But for the others here, note the common ground you share with this guy. You both treat the Scriptures as though it were ambiguous or lacking in authority.”

Me: Once again your characterization of our argument is laughable, and not to mention entirely intellectually dishonest. Protestants are the ones who in practice treat the Scriptures, which we are told are clear regarding those things which are necessary to be known for salvation, as if they were ambiguous with their flip-flop in the clear teaching against coitus interruptus.

Constantine said...

Alex wrote:

You have yet to tell me what is necessary for salvation and where Scripture delineates this

Response:

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

Alex wrote:

Where does God say that some forms of disordered acts are in keeping with the saved elect whereas others are not?

Response:

God says that all the acts of fallen man are “disordered”. (Gen. 6:5, Psalm 143:2, Jeremiah 17:9) and that there is no “ordered” human act (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:10). This inability on man’s part is what necessitates God’s “electing” those whom He chooses.

Is it likely that a member of the elect can be a criminal? St. Paul was a murderer – and God chose Him to write two-thirds of the New Testament. St. Peter was a blasphemer and attempted murderer. God chose him. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” John 15:6.

Peace.

Constantine said...

Alex,


“Flip flops” regarding coitus interruptus pre-date Protestantism by 1500 years.

Here are just a few examples:

Ø There was no explicit prohibition in Jewish law against contraception.

Ø Epiphanius is the first Christian writer to deal with the topic (4th century), and his condemnation comes in the very narrow context of attack on coitus used in Gnostic ritual sex; not sex in general.

Ø Whereas at the time of Jerome there was specific legislation against abortion, including punishments, there is a glaring lack of any for contraception.

Ø In the sixteenth century, the Capuchin preacher St. Laurence of Brindisi said that Onan’s sin was his “state of mind”, not his physical act. The Catechism of Peter Canisius fails to mention contraception at all, let alone coitus interruptus in particular.

Ø In the seventeenth century, St. Francis de Sales rejected Laurence’s view and blamed Onan’s punishment on his specific act. But other notable Catholic theologians (Ledesma, Sanchez, etc.) preferred Laurence’s opinion and rejected Frances.

Ø In the 18th century, St. Alphonsus Liguori completely ignored the story of Onan and referred to coitus’ first cousin, Amplexus reservatus, as a venial sin. And this is was only because it was seen as a means to pleasure, not contraception.

Ø In the 19th century, Rome showed no inclination to combat birth control in France - coitus or otherwise.

Ø In the 20th century, Rome affirms the “rhythm method” of contraception; a doctrine staunchly rejected by St. Augustine.

So the doctrine of contraception changed constantly long before the Reformers. And a fact that may interest you, Alex, is that the Protestants actually helped the Catholics maintain a modicum of consistency in their doctrine.

One Catholic historian describes it thusly:

On contraception Calvin stayed explicitly with the old Catholic doctrine, and Luther held an Augustinian view of sexuality that did not encourage change… The Catholic moralists were not eager to appear to abandon a moral doctrine of the Fathers if the Protestants still held it.”

(John T. Noonan, Jr. Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986. P. 353)


So it is very obvious that Roman teaching has been the “blueprint for anarchy” in this area. And that the Reformers saved Catholics from even more of it.

Peace.

Turretinfan said...

Alex:

I've adequately demonstrated that you've repeatedly (in this very conversation) argued against sola scriptura by misrepresenting sola scriptura. You are unable to address sola scriptura for what it is, insisting instead on burning straw men. You also refuse to acknowledge or withdraw your mischaracterizations, and so (for the moment) I'm through with trying to engage you in dialog on this.

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

Turretinfan, You know you really could just describe where and how I’m misrepresenting your belief on sola scriptura instead of just asserting that I am. Our major contention with Protestants is that you all misrepresent Catholic teachings and beliefs, yet we still come on here to enlighten you. It seems to me that you are just looking for excuses now.

Constantine, I do not have your book so I really can’t comment on it except to say that some people thoroughly disagree with your analysis:
When professor John T. Noonan wrote his book in 1966 on the history of the teaching on contraception, he expected that he might trace the teaching to the mid-eighteenth century. He found the doctrine against contraception taught by Clement of Alexandria at the end of the second or the beginning of the third century. In other words, the encyclical rightly refers to the "constant teaching of the Church" (n.10).

Why Humanae vitae wasn't received
By July 1998
Issue: Msgr. Vincent Foy

Turretinfan said...

Alex:

I did describe where and how. If you missed it, scroll up and read again.

"Our major contention with Protestants is that you all misrepresent Catholic teachings and beliefs, yet we still come on here to enlighten you. It seems to me that you are just looking for excuses now."

I invite folks to scroll up and try to find Alex mentioning, much less enlightening, us on "Catholic teachings." In fact, his comments are string of attacks on straw men that he presents as though they were the Reformed position.

We will see an apology this time for trying to mischaracterize what he's doing? Don't bet on it.

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

It is apparent that Turretinfan would rather run from his untenable doctrine of men than face scrutiny.

Turretinfan said...

I guess that's as close as we will get to an admission from Alex that he was trying to attack our doctrine (using straw men, but still) rather than trying to enlighten us about his doctrine.

Still - it has been an enlightening experience.

Ben M said...
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Ben M said...
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Constantine said...

Ben,

You wrote:

Election in no way dispenses with the absolute necessity of man's cooperation in the work of salvation.

My response:

Election in every way dispenses with man’s cooperation in salvation. It does not, however, dispense with his cooperation in sanctification.

Perhaps you would be kind enough to explain why our Lord Jesus took quite a different view. In John 6:37-40 Jesus describes His Father’s plan for the redemption of mankind. Why is man’s “cooperation” missing, do you think? Was Jesus mistaken?

How about Jesus’ trainee, the Apostle Paul: “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.” (Colossians 2:13)

It is God who makes his people alive; not God and “cooperative” people.

I would hope that you would notice the problem in Fr. Mersch’s presentation. When he speaks of the “unparalleled grace” in Christ that becomes a “progressive extension to all the faithful” he is negating the significance of Christ.

Peace.

Constantine said...

Ben,

Sorry I didn't add this to the last post.....

Isn't the "absolute necessity of man's cooperation in the work of salvation" the very definition of Pelagianism?

I think it is, which is why, of course, that Augustine had to rely on God's plan of election.

Peace.

Ben M said...
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Ben M said...
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Constantine said...

Hi Ben,


Ben writes:

Election, strictly speaking, does indeed do away with man’s cooperation - initially, inasmuch as it is God alone who chooses whom he will. But those whom he chooses, he chooses to make responsible moral agents.

Response:

God’s election does indeed change man’s will so that man freely chooses God. That is because man is a derivative being who is dependent upon God for his very existence – and not the autonomous agent assumed by Rome. (Philippians 2:13, Acts 17:28). But man’s responsibility is limited to an accounting of his actions on the earth – not on whether or not he gets into Heaven. (See 1 Corinthians 3:14-15). Perhaps a better way to sum this up is to say that God’s chosen are “elected unto salvation” and not unto a “chance at salvation.”

Ben writes:

As for John 6:37-40, I'm certain that your difficulty should resolve itself upon consideration of the profound answer Augustine gives to the question, “who is Jesus?” As Augustine tells us, we too are Christ! Think of the implications!

Response:

Well, certainly you wouldn’t maintain that we are all identical Christ’s – that would be a pretty bold blasphemy. Christ, in the person of God the Father did say, after all, “I will not share my glory with another.” (Isaiah 48:11) So Augustine’s comments should be tempered by context and God’s Word. The fact still stands, however, that in John 6:37-40 (and in many other passages) God requires no action on the part of His people to achieve their salvation.

Ben writes:

Augustine is quite clear here about the necessity of good works for salvation. Yet surely you don’t suppose him to be a Pelagian?

Response:

I wouldn’t assume Augustine a Pelagian. I might assume, however, a shift in context between your interpretation and his. It might be helpful to bear in mind the sequence in Ephesians 2:8-10. Salvation comes by grace, through faith – and that is a gift from God. After that, follows good works.

Augustine mirrors Ephesians here:

For these things are both commanded us, and are shown to be God’s gifts, in order that we may understand both that we do them, and that God makes us to do them, as He most plainly says by the prophet Ezekiel. For what is plainer than when He says, “I will cause you to do”? Give heed to that passage of Scripture, and you will see that God promises that He will make them to do those things which He commands to be done. He truly is not silent as to the merits but as to the evil deeds, of those to whom He shows that He is returning good for evil, by the very fact that He causeth them thenceforth to have good works, in causing them to do the divine commands.

-Augustine, On the Predestination of the Saints 22

You are right that Augustine emphasizes the necessity of good works – but those are the good works done by God, through man. Not done by man for man.

“For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13)

Sorry for the delayed response - I had to travel last week.

Peace to you.

Ben M said...

Hello Constantine.

Constantine: [Man] is a derivative being who is dependent upon God for his very existence – and not the autonomous agent assumed by Rome. (Philippians 2:13, Acts 17:28).

Ben: Where does the Church teach that man is an autonomous agent?

Constantine: But man’s responsibility is limited to an accounting of his actions on the earth – not on whether or not he gets into Heaven. (See 1 Corinthians 3:14-15).

Ben: What about the commandments vis a vis eternal life? See Luke 18:18-20 for example.

An official asked him this question, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments...

Constantine: Well, certainly you wouldn’t maintain that we are all identical Christ’s – that would be a pretty bold blasphemy.

Ben: Blasphemy indeed! - in the sense I think you are implying. But again, consider the implications of the Incarnation, and that all Christians are “partakers in the divine nature!”

Constantine: Christ, in the person of God the Father did say, after all, “I will not share my glory with another.” (Isaiah 48:11)

Ben: I’ll let Fr. Mateo respond to this:

“But is it ‘clear,’ as CRI asserts, that God will share his glory with no one? To be sure, there is a divine glory which is the very essence of God, which is himself, that he can share with no created being. Nobody but God can be God.

"But, in a limited way, God does share his glory by sharing his nature with his adopted children, the brothers and sisters of his firstborn Son (Rom. 8:29). This is the teaching of 2 Peter 1:3-4: "His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature." This sharing in God's nature makes us a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).

“Scripture teaches that God bestows this glory of his on his children: "For a sun and a shield is the Lord God; grace and glory he bestows" (Ps.84:12); "Then Jerusalem shall be my joy, my praise, my glory" (Jer. 33:9); "I will put my salvation within Zion, and give my glory to Israel." (Is. 46:13), Christ's Church, therefore, receives his salvation and glory, because the Church is the new Jerusalem, the new Israel (Gal. 6:16; Rev. 21:2, 21:12, 3:12).

“We are now in glory, and we are destined for glory. The texts which witness to this are so numerous, I shall list only some in a footnote,(Romans 2:6-7, 10, 8:18; 1 Cor. 2:7; 2 Cor. 3:18, 4:17; Col. 1:27, 3:1-4;, 2 Thess. 1:11-12;, 2 Thess. 2:14; 2 Tim. 2:10; Heb. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 1:7, 5:4.) so as not to delay the reader here.”

Refuting the Attack on Mary: A Defense of Marian Doctrine, p. 91.

Section: No, it is not "clear" in, CRI's Attack on Mary: Part VII

Constantine: So Augustine’s comments should be tempered by context and God’s Word. The fact still stands, however, that in John 6:37-40 (and in many other passages) God requires no action on the part of His people to achieve their salvation.

Ben: Augustine rightly says that no merits precede God’s initial grace. But afterward, grace is given as a help, so that we may keep the Law (i.e. the 10 commandments), and thus merit eternal life. God therefore does require us to cooperate in our salvation. But our good works are God's grace; so it is ultimately all from God.

Constantine: I wouldn’t assume Augustine a Pelagian. I might assume, however, a shift in context between your interpretation and his. It might be helpful to bear in mind the sequence in Ephesians 2:8-10. Salvation comes by grace, through faith – and that is a gift from God. After that, follows good works.

Ben: Good works do not necessarily follow!

God bless.

Constantine said...

Hi Ben,
Here are a couple of responses to your last post.

Ben: Where does the Church teach that man is an autonomous agent?

Response:
Paragraph 1993 of the Catechism, as just one example, says, “Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom.” (italics in the original) Cooperation implies an autonomous agent; compulsion would imply a derivative being. Additionally the whole sacerdotal system implies autonomy in that lack of your participation generates sin, etc.

Ben: What about the commandments vis a vis eternal life? See Luke 18:18-20 for example.

Response:
Don’t stop at verses 18-20! Read the whole section, verses 18-29. The whole point of this section is that man is not autonomous and that he cannot do anything towards his own salvation. The rich young ruler could not even keep the first commandment and yet he thought he had kept them all! That’s what Jesus means in vs. 27:"What is impossible with men is possible with God." That’s how Jesus taught us about salvation!

Ben: Augustine rightly says that no merits precede God’s initial grace. But afterward, grace is given as a help, so that we may keep the Law (i.e. the 10 commandments), and thus merit eternal life. God therefore does require us to cooperate in our salvation.


Response:
Be careful, Ben! Keeping the Law goes against the entire New Testament! I know you don’t believe Augustine would do that.

If we try to keep the Law, we are under a curse (Galatians 3:10); trying to keep the Law nullifies faith and brings wrath (Romans 4:14); the Law holds us prisoner, it doesn’t save us (Galatians 3:23) and it is not the way to salvation in Christ (Galatians 3:25). The law is not for the righteous but for murderers, and is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:8-10).

Do you really think Augustine meant for us to “keep the Law”? I encourage you, Ben, to read Romans, Ephesian and Galatians. Keeping the law is anathema to a Christian doctrine of salvation.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9.

All of which is further testimony to the fact that salvation is apart from works and by faith alone. It is God’s gift, freely given.

Glory be to God!


P.S. It seems we have gotten off topic here. Thanks to James for his leniency. Nice dungeon, by the way, James!

Ben M said...
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Constantine said...

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the explanation.

Just one question...is it possible for a Roman Catholic to reject God's saving grace?

Thanks,

Nick said...

Constantine: Just one question...is it possible for a Roman Catholic to reject God's saving grace?

Nick: I'd like to offer a quick answer to that question: Yes.
Anytime a Christian sins, hindering their sanctification, they have rejected God's grace (which is given precisely so that they may be sanctified).

Ben M said...
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Burk Braun said...

Hi, Ben-

Sheen sounds like a carnival hypnotist and religious bigot. Standard practice for Catholicism, even up the current day, I guess, but playing on people's suggestibility and telling false tales is simply a pathetic line of work, as you also see among psychics today in refined form. The easy equation of his own organization with goodness, and atheism with evil, well what TV marketer wouldn't want to get away with that?

The grace you allude to is fantasy. The lord accompanying Sheen- is that his imaginary playmate? This relationship with Jesus, dead and gone so long, if he ever even lived ... all purest fancy unworthy of adults, let alone adults capable of philosophy.

It is time to grow up.

Ben M said...
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Burk Braun said...

Hi, Ben-

Is it the finger of god stirring someone's soul when they wish for more money? I think you are reading your own fantasies into your theology, or as your theology. Like a child, indeed.

Burk Braun said...

One might also ask why the church keeps and trains exorcists, if it is so well-versed and allied with science. Indeed why it still traffics in superstitions and miracles of the most varied kinds. Perhaps there has been a decline in ecclesiastical scholarship.

Constantine said...

Hey Nick,

I hope you are well.

My question had to do with losing salvation, not hindering sanctification.

Peace.

Nick said...

Constantine: My question had to do with losing salvation, not hindering sanctification.

Nick: Is there really such a disconnect? (Rom 6:19-22)

Ben M said...
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Ben M said...
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Burk Braun said...

Wow, that really takes some chutzpah- calling the painstaking work of science "miracles". As if the origin of such technical and scientific advances was not the very antithesis of the religious attitude of beseeching the relics of the saints for miraculous intercession.

It just goes to show that religious apologists will stop at nothing and stoop to any depth of inanity to work in a few verses of scripture, and pat themselves on the back.

By the way, Seneca was a smart guy, no thanks to Christianity, reformed or unreformed. He was a stoic.

And of eternal life... we all would like to eat nothing but ice cream and pudding as well. Does that make it likely that a spring of eternal ice cream (or land of Oz) exists either here on earth or beyond? Your reasoning lacks a bit of .. what should we call it.. sense?

But your reasoning does lay bare exactly what religion consists of, which is wish-fulfillment, pure and simple. In the face of a difficult world, an escape into an imaginary world similar to that of video gamers or heroin addicts, except that they do know, in the end, that it isn't real.

Best wishes!

Ben M said...
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Ben M said...
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Burk Braun said...

Hi, Ben-

I recognize that the consequences of religious wishing can be engaged and beneficial, depending on the person involved. However, there have been cases, as you are probably aware, of brides of Christ walling themselves into tiny cells the better to commune with their "spiritual husband" on a long-term basis.

The escapism I speak of is philosophical, granting one's self delusional visions of the hereafter, and indeed of the here an now, for the simple fact that one wants such visions to be true. And that want has no deep significance- it is equivalent to our desire never to be ill or hungry either, expressing our natural will for survival and happiness.

Such escapism is best expressed by your continued belief and apologia with regard to miracles. They simply don't happen, though people are routinely gullible enough to believe them, even from contemporary psychics, charlatans, as likewise from Lourdes and other pathetic institutions of the Church. Never has anyone been cured in a way that could not have happened naturally. Never has a person regrown an arm, regrown an eyeball, or, I would add, been raised from the dead, once truly dead.

The evidence is lacking, and as our standards of such evidence have risen in the course of the Enlightenment, the incidence and elaborateness of such miracles has steadily diminished, until now where we take the apparition of the Virgin on a slice of toast as standing in for those somewhat more substantive miracles of yore.

Ben M said...
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