Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17

John 17:20 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

Our friends in Rome like to point out that Jesus prayed in His "high priestly prayer" at the Last Supper that His followers would be in "complete unity", that they would "all...be one, Father..." So, they ask, why aren't Sola Scripturists joined together in perfect unity, as one institution, the Church? Did Jesus' prayer fail? Don't you Calvinists always say that God's will is always performed successfully?

We respond (for example, here, said far better than I ever could) that the unity Christ prayed for was not organisational or institutional in nature, but rather spiritual, as God builds together the Body of Christ into spiritual union with Christ. Presumably, RCs and Eastern Orthodox do not accept this identification of the unity Christ prayed for, but rather insist that the unity is institutional and organisational in nature. Let us see whether their contention holds water.

1) It has been proven over and over again on this blog alone that this claimed unity within Eastern Orthodoxy and Rome does not exist in reality.

2) Our opponents criticise the Calvinistic doctrine of God's preservation of His saints, once justified, as a violation of the free will of each person (not to mention other points of Calvinism, such as irresistible grace). Yet the very building of an institutional unity into a group of disparate and different people who have sinful tendencies, in order to bring an answer to the prayer of the Lord Jesus, would require "violation" of their free will. I mean, Protestants are creatures "blessed" with free will, and just look how organised they are, in their sin! (There are RCs who are more Augustinian and who are less; this would be an argument against the latter and against EO-dox.)

3) On that same topic, take a look at John 17:15 - "I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one."
Isn't it RC and EO dogma that God does not preserve His believers, but that they can in fact fall out of a state of grace? Didn't Jesus' prayer thus fail here (on RC and EO presuppositions)?

4) More pointedly, apparently the fact that we Sola Scripturists are not in communion with the RCC or the EOC is not an obstacle to our eventually landing in Heaven.
Whenever the Sacrament of Baptism is duly administered as Our Lord instituted it, and is received with the right dispositions, a person is truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ, and reborn to a sharing of the divine life, as the Apostle says: "You were buried together with Him in Baptism, and in Him also rose again-through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead".

Baptism therefore establishes a sacramental bond of unity which links all who have been reborn by it. But of itself Baptism is only a beginning, an inauguration wholly directed toward the fullness of life in Christ. Baptism, therefore, envisages a complete profession of faith, complete incorporation in the system of salvation such as Christ willed it to be, and finally complete ingrafting in eucharistic communion.

Though the ecclesial Communities which are separated from us lack the fullness of unity with us flowing from Baptism, and though we believe they have not retained the proper reality of the eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Orders, nevertheless when they commemorate His death and resurrection in the Lord's Supper, they profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and look forward to His coming in glory. Therefore the teaching concerning the Lord's Supper, the other sacraments, worship, the ministry of the Church, must be the subject of the dialogue.

23. The daily Christian life of these brethren is nourished by their faith in Christ and strengthened by the grace of Baptism and by hearing the word of God. This shows itself in their private prayer, their meditation on the Bible, in their Christian family life, and in the worship of a community gathered together to praise God. (source, emph. mine)
Or:
For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ... Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ's disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. (source, emph. mine)
In short, we Sola Scripturists are, by virtue of RCC's ex cathedra statement, united with Christ and thus on our way to Heaven (unless we commit a mortal sin, of course, but our Sola Scriptura convictions, refusal to participate in transsubstantiated Eucharistic suppers, and failure to join RCC are obviously not mortal sins, else they wouldn't have talked about being united with Christ, etc).
And my EO debate counterpart believes I am not headed to Hell as well.

Now, since we are united with Christ but not in communion with institutional RCC or EOC, since Christ prayed that His disciples would be united with Him, and since the RC and EO claim that Christ's prayer for unity would certainly not fail to be granted, we can conclude that Christ's prayer has either not yet been granted or that the unity He had in mind was not institutional / organisational unity. Either of these conclusions declaws the original argument cited at the beginning of this post.

(Also see TurretinFan's recent dealing with this passage and similar topics.)


152 comments:

Matthew Bellisario said...

Rhology wrote, "More pointedly, apparently the fact that we Sola Scripturists are not in communion with the RCC or the EOC is not an obstacle to our eventually landing in Heaven."


My response,
Wow, you are really reading into the texts here. You appear to assume that just because someone receives a valid baptism that the Catholic Church assumes they are going to be saved. Just because Protestants are considered to receive a valid baptism, and they are united in that sense to the Body of Christ does not mean that you are automatically going to heaven. The Catholic Church also never says that if you willingly reject the Church, the Eucharist, the papacy, etc, that you are going to heaven. Where on earth did you come up with this? None of the texts you quoted supported the above statement you made.


You also have come to an erroneous conclusion by saying, "In short, we Sola Scripturists are, by virtue of RCC's ex cathedra statement, united with Christ and thus on our way to Heaven (unless we commit a mortal sin, of course, but our Sola Scriptura convictions, refusal to participate in transsubstantiated Eucharistic suppers, and failure to join RCC are obviously not mortal sins, else they wouldn't have talked about being united with Christ, etc)."

The Catholic Church does not say that it is not a mortal sin to blaspheme against Our Lord in the Eucharist. You must read these statements by the Church in the proper context. But since you don't do that with the Scriptures, or with the Church Fathers, why would anyone think you would attempt to do it with Church documents or statements?

The fact is, all the Church is saying in the quotes you provided is that you are united to Christ in your baptism, and that you receive grace from it, and therefore it is is possible that you may be saved. However, if with clear knowledge, you obstinately and willingly reject core moral teachings, doctrines, and practices of the Christian faith, then you are not going to heaven, even if you have a valid baptism.

Matthew Bellisario said...

You made an erroneous statement by saying, "refusal to participate in transsubstantiated Eucharistic suppers, and failure to join RCC are obviously not mortal sins, else they wouldn't have talked about being united with Christ". How do you come up with this conclusion? The quotes you provided are talking about baptism. You can have a valid baptism and be united with Christ in baptism, and afterwords still be a heretic and go straight to hell because of knowledgeable, willful and obstinate denial of a serious doctrine of the faith. You really should quit putting up these posts on Catholicism and focus on something that you are familiar with.

Just because you are referred to by the Church as a separated brother does not mean you are getting a free ticket to heaven through a valid baptism, despite your incessant, obstinate, denial of central, core, Christian beliefs and morals.

Finally I would suggest reading the entire document you quoted from. The document you quoted from is a decree on ecumenism. The whole purpose of the document is to look at the uniting apects of all Christians. You seem to have missed the whole purpose of the document, which was written at the beginning.

It says, "For it is only through Christ's Catholic Church, which is "the all-embracing means of salvation," that they can benefit fully from the means of salvation."

The whole reason the Catholic Church is working for ecumenism is to get separated people like yourself into the Church so you can actually benefit from the graces Christ has merited for you in the Church, through all of her sacraments, etc. The document is basically saying that you have a limited chance of salvation by only having a valid baptism, reading scripture and reflecting on the supper in your separated way. Thus the Catholic Church is calling for ecumenism to get you to accept full communion with the Church, not to convince you to stay in your separated state with your limited chance of salvation.

Rhology said...

You appear to assume that just because someone receives a valid baptism that the Catholic Church assumes they are going to be saved.

1) Private interpretation.
2) You apparently didn't read the excerpts from RC statements I pasted. Try again.
3) We are brethren with you. Your own Catechism says so. Treat us like it.



The Catholic Church does not say that it is not a mortal sin to blaspheme against Our Lord in the Eucharist.

Um, that's precisely what I said. Thanks for the second.



The document you quoted from is a decree on ecumenism. The whole purpose of the document is to look at the uniting apects of all Christians. You seem to have missed the whole purpose of the document, which was written at the beginning.

Since it furthers my precise point, how does this do anything but bolster my position?


The whole reason the Catholic Church is working for ecumenism is to get separated people like yourself into the Church

Ex cathedra statement, please. I don't trust the mere word of bloggers.

David Waltz said...

Hi Rhology,

Another interesting post, you wrote:

>>…the unity Christ prayed for was not organisational or institutional in nature, but rather spiritual, as God builds together the Body of Christ into spiritual union with Christ.>>

Me: So, anyone one untied with our Lord is a member of “the Body of Christ”, and part of the “one, true, Church”. Certainly, you must be aware that this is an important teaching of the RCC—just Google “the mystical body of Christ”…

You also penned:

>>More pointedly, apparently the fact that we Sola Scripturists are not in communion with the RCC or the EOC is not an obstacle to our eventually landing in Heaven.>>

Me: You must also be aware of the RCC and EO teaching that Prots lack certain sacramental benefits to found only among those who have valid “orders”; so, I would say that obstacles do exist, but that they are not insurmountable obstacles.

Next, if the oneness of Christ pertains ONLY to the spiritual, how can the following be fulfilled:

“…that the world may believe that thou hast sent me…that the world may know that thou hast sent me” (vv. 21, 23).

The Bible is quite clear that the “world” cannot understand “spiritual” things; as such, I am hesitant to limit the oneness spoken of in John 17 to the spiritual ONLY.


Grace and peace,

David

Rhology said...

Hi David,

Thank you.

Certainly, you must be aware that this is an important teaching of the RCC—just Google “the mystical body of Christ”...

Is that equivalent or nearly equivalent to "the invisible church" in your understanding? That's what *I* meant :-D but I'm not all that familiar with "the mystical body of Christ" in RCC.


I would say that obstacles do exist, but that they are not insurmountable obstacles.

It would seem, according to Lumen Gentium, that they are not obstacles that need be remedied FOR ENTRY INTO HEAVEN, which was my target.


The Bible is quite clear that the “world” cannot understand “spiritual” things; as such, I am hesitant to limit the oneness spoken of in John 17 to the spiritual ONLY.

I'm not sure I understand, so my tentative response is that the world sees this as now-former members of the world are born again.

Peace,
Rhology

David Waltz said...

Hello again Rhology,

You posted:

>>Certainly, you must be aware that this is an important teaching of the RCC—just Google “the mystical body of Christ”...

Is that equivalent or nearly equivalent to "the invisible church" in your understanding? That's what *I* meant :-D but I'm not all that familiar with "the mystical body of Christ" in RCC.>>

Me: That is how I have understood it—“mystical Body of Christ” = the “invisible Church”, and “militant Church” = “visible Church”. If I am all wet on this, perhaps others can enlighten me…


>>I would say that obstacles do exist, but that they are not insurmountable obstacles.

It would seem, according to Lumen Gentium, that they are not obstacles that need be remedied FOR ENTRY INTO HEAVEN, which was my target.>>

Me: Agreed, that is also my understanding of LG.

>>The Bible is quite clear that the “world” cannot understand “spiritual” things; as such, I am hesitant to limit the oneness spoken of in John 17 to the spiritual ONLY.

I'm not sure I understand, so my tentative response is that the world sees this as now-former members of the world are born again.>>

Me: Interesting point; with this in mind, do you think the world can discern a difference between born again/regenerate Christians and ‘moral’ Jews, Muslims, Bahais, etc. ???

Grace and peace,

David

Rhology said...

do you think the world can discern a difference between born again/regenerate Christians and ‘moral’ Jews, Muslims, Bahais, etc. ???

Yes, though certainly not perfectly. Certainly in biblical categories - they shall know them by their love, by the fact that they are disciples of Jesus and no other, etc.

Richard Froggatt said...

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070629_responsa-quaestiones_en.html

Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community"

John said...

Whatever kind of unity John 17 is talking about, we know one thing: it is a highly visible unity. So visible that "the world will know that you sent me and have loved them".

So I'm afraid some vague spiritual unity doesn't fit the text at all.

I don't know what unity Orthodoxy is being accused today of not having (the link doesn't work). Whatever it is, I'll bet its some minor temporary bagatelle.

I don't know how this unity is supposed to be a violation of free will. We *want* unity.

Is keeping his church away from the Evil One, the same as allowing them to leave of their own will? Of course not.

I can't speak for Rome, but Orthodoxy has no dogmatic opinion about where you may or may not be going. You are wandering outside of the biblical commands and categories as far as we are concerned.

Is it just me, or are these objections getting more and more strained?

Rhology said...

So visible that "the world will know that you sent me and have loved them".

So I'm afraid some vague spiritual unity doesn't fit the text at all.


But that visible unity doesn't exist. So I guess Jesus' prayer wasn't answered. QED.

Rhology said...

I don't know how this unity is supposed to be a violation of free will. We *want* unity.

Is keeping his church away from the Evil One, the same as allowing them to leave of their own will? Of course not.


I love how the irony between these two has escaped John here.

Edward Reiss said...

David,

"You must also be aware of the RCC and EO teaching that Prots lack certain sacramental benefits to found only among those who have valid “orders”; so, I would say that obstacles do exist, but that they are not insurmountable obstacles."

To be fair, the Orthodox do not think you guys have valid orders, either. I don't want to go over this again, but your statement here seems to imply unity between the EOs and RCs which does not actually exist. I would also think that the different doctrines between the EOs and RCs are as "insurmountable" as those between the EOs and prots, or RCs and prots. For example, RCs teach that grace is a created, infused accident into our nature, while the EOs see grace as an uncreated energy of God. While I am sure this can be finessed (by RCs, the EOs I speak with don;t seem interested) the same is true of any other issue. If we use language that is vague enough I suppose we can make a created accident into an uncreated energy.

My point is that there are quite a few very, very, VERY serious differences between the EOs and RCs, and I think they are at least as problematic as those between the RCs and prots.

John said...

"I love how the irony between these two has escaped John here."

No irony here at all. "they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." -1Jn

"But that visible unity doesn't exist. So I guess Jesus' prayer wasn't answered. QED."

It exists in the EOC. I don't think the world is generally speaking looking at EOC and saying those folks are theologically divided.

David Waltz said...

Hello Edward,

You wrote:

>> To be fair, the Orthodox do not think you guys have valid orders, either. I don't want to go over this again, but your statement here seems to imply unity between the EOs and RCs which does not actually exist.>>

You must be aware that on December 7, 1965 Pope John Paul the VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople both lifted the excommunications of 1054: Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration

You must also be aware of the “JOINT COMMISSION FOR THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE ORTHODOX CHURCH”. The following documents

The Mystery of the Church and of the The Eucharist

Sacrament of Order

Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church

[ Note the comments concerning John 17:21.]

These documents demonstrate that both sides recognize each others bishops as having valid apostolic succession—as such, I cannot begin to fathom how you can maintain the EO Churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople believe that Catholic holy orders are not valid—it makes no sense to me…

Grace and peace,

David

Edward Reiss said...

David,

"These documents demonstrate that both sides recognize each others bishops as having valid apostolic succession—as such, I cannot begin to fathom how you can maintain the EO Churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople believe that Catholic holy orders are not valid—it makes no sense to me…"

I do not see the demonstration. What I see when I read the documents is a document which any church which claims AS could affirm, while also affirming another church's AS is not valid. Perhaps you could show me where I am wrong?

I would also point out that all this talk of unity goes against the simple fact that the EOs and RCs are not in communion with each other. As the documents state in several places, sharing communion is th eunity of the Church.

Again, perhaos you could show me from these documents where I am wrong, but I just don't see it. Thus I stand by my claim that the EOC does not recognize RC orders.

John said...

"These documents demonstrate that both sides recognize each others bishops as having valid apostolic succession—as such, I cannot begin to fathom how you can maintain the EO Churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople believe that Catholic holy orders are not valid"

The reason is, because (a) The EP cannot define things for Orthodoxy all by himself. So pointing to documents emanating from the EP is only one data point for what Orthodoxy believes. (b) Orthodoxy can't separate mechanistic AS from the succession of passing on the faith. If Rome hasn't passed on the Faith, it is problematic for it to have succession, since they are the same thing. (c) Orthodoxy can't separate mechanistic succession from the One Church. The idea there can be succession outside the One Church is a contradiction in terms for Orthodoxy. And again, it is problematic at best for Orthodoxy to say Rome is part of the One church.

Alex said...

John, the point that I have made to Edward is that the Orthodox are not all in agreement with each other on the status of the RCC or the *validity* (this term would certainly need some unpacking) of her sacraments. This has been demonstrated to Edward, but he prefers to live in a fantasy world so as to pursue a defeated opinion. Along with the links David supplied, and the earlier links I had provided, just glance through some of the literature published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press and you will find a range of argumentation. You'll also find a range of various arguments on ekonomia, even up to the possibility of women's ordination (which would never happen in the EO). This is not to say that the EOs think that we are in communion with them, which is a separate issue in some minds from sacramental validity. Of course there are others who disagree, but to say that there is unified belief among the EOs that the Catholic Church's sacraments are invalid is intellectually dishonest and demonstrates that it is a waste of time to continue any discussion on the matter with him. I already have two toddlers and a third child on the way; I do not have the energy to raise Edward too.

Alex said...

In fact, there is disagreement among the Orthodox on the OCA's canonical status and validity. So there you have it. However, be that as it is Edward's arguments against AS and the unity found therein still fails when the counter-claims attempt to support Protestantism.

Lvka said...

How are Protestants united in spirit, without being also united in faith? :-\

Orthodoxy is not just united as an institution, but also as a faith. (We're not like Anglicans). The same goes for Catholicism and Monophysites.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"Orthodoxy is not just united as an institution, but also as a faith. (We're not like Anglicans). The same goes for Catholicism and Monophysites."

The same can be said of individual protestant churches. For instance, the LC-MS is united in faith and united as an institution. Basically , you are comparing EOdoxy with "protestantism"--the first is a confession, that latter is not as there is no such confession as "protestantism".

So, I could turn the tables on you by pointing out how unified the e.g. ILC is in faith and practice as compared to the gaggle of churches which claim AS.

John said...

"So, I could turn the tables on you by pointing out how unified the e.g. ILC is in faith and practice as compared to the gaggle of churches which claim AS."

It's an easy line to glibly throw out, but I don't think it stands up to examination. When the west started to go off the track, the east knew it because they had departed from the tradition. The rule of faith was functioning, even if a segment of the church chose to disregard it.

But what happens if parts of LCMS want to take a different path? Either you slam them over the head with the Augsberg confession, which is really a betrayal of sola scriptura if you're not willing to argue from first principles. Or else the new faction takes LCMS or parts thereof away from historic Lutheranism, for the very same reasons that other protestant groups are not Lutheran - because they came to different interpretative conclusions.

In point of fact, LCMS has to depart from sola scriptura. As some have commented, "One of the observations made by one who entered the LCMS ministry in 1920 was that “‘the doctrinal stance of the Synod rested quite heavily upon the opinions of the fathers.’ Walther, Stoeckhardt, Pieper, and Lehre und Wehre were ‘constantly quoted as authorities in theological matters’”

"This is not the only manner in which the Missouri Synod has relied on the writings of men. It has been the observation of this reviewer over the years that the Missouri Synod has repeatedly quoted their constitution, when they should have been quoting the Bible."

and more..... After a time there was a tendency toward väter theologie in the LC-MS and Wisconsin Synod. That is to say that there was a heavy reliance on the sixteenth and seventeenth century Lutheran fathers for explanation of Scripture passages instead of doing one’s own exegesis"

So yes, LCMS has done pretty well in keeping doctrinal unity. But they did so by abandoning Sola Scriptura, and living on our side of the fence to follow tradition.

Try holding it all together for 2000 years whilst remaining true to sola scriptura, then we might have something to talk about.

Rhology said...

It exists in the EOC.

It also exists in the OPC, the PCA, the SBC.

Rhology said...

I would also bet in the Coptic Church.

Alex said...

Protestants also admit that at least some heresy can be found among the faithful as if this is part and parcel to being an adherent to sola scriptura. This obviously is the case because their confessions are radically at odds with one another in some instances, and two contradictory beliefs cannot both be right, yet they speak of each other as true believers and not as heretics or schismatics. Edward and Rhology's argument might mean something if this were different, but they do believe that they are all unified whereas their doctrines prove differently. EO and Catholics do not believe that we are unified, so these arguments against us are simply worthless.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

I don't think you understand Sola Scriptura. For some reason you take it to mean Scripture is the *only* authority. This is not true. The existence of the Augsberg Confession shows that there are lesser authorities. Perhaops you believe you know what Sola Scriptura means than the ones who teach it? It doesn't seem that way from here. Once again I suggest you refrain from quote mining and learn about what others believe. Then your critique will have some force.

Now back to the point. Lvka is comparing one confession which uses an authority structure shared by several confessions to an authority structure which has several confessions. This is apples and oranges. The correct comparison us either to similar authority structures or individual confessions.

Edward Reiss said...
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Edward Reiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

"Edward and Rhology's argument might mean something if this were different, but they do believe that they are all unified whereas their doctrines prove differently."

No we don't believe we are all unified. Where did you get that idea?

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

"Along with the links David supplied, and the earlier links I had provided, just glance through some of the literature published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press and you will find a range of argumentation."

I asked this of Dave, too. Could you point me where in the documents Dave cited it says that the EOC believes the RCC has valid orders?

Alex said...

Are other "Christian" denominations heretics then?

bkaycee said...

Why did some of the Churches with AS in the Book of Revelation contain some heresy?

Were they not unified?

Did the Lord tell them that the remedy was to bend the knee to pope in Rome?

bkaycee said...

What did Augustine mean when he said, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."?

Alex said...

There are no errors in the dogmas of the Church, they are infallible. Protestants do not believe that their pseudo-church cults are infallible; hence their confessions and doctrines are fallible and prone to error depending upon whether or not they just happen to get them right. These doctrines and confessions are opposed to each other in some instances which would mean that if any of them are right, only one of them would be right, or they are all wrong. Within Catholic dogma there is diversity. That which is proclaimed de fide is not a non-essential. It is part of the domain of the Church to distinguish between what is essential for orthodox belief from that which is heretical. Protestants acknowledge this and also proclaim what they find to be essential from the non-essential. Protestants state that Scripture is the ultimate authority upon which doctrine must be in accordance with. However, it is their fallible opinions which rule the day.

The brutal honest fact is that Protestants are sola-my personal interpretation-scriptura in practice. They do not believe that these interpretations are infallible, but in practice it does equate to self-assumed infallibility. Instead of claiming that their knowledge is infallibly certain, they claim that Scripture’s teachings themselves are certain. It is true that Scripture’s teachings are certain indeed, but that does not mean that the sola scriptura adherent can ever proclaim that they know infallibly what that teaching is. Without knowing infallibly, at the most they can know with probable certainty. They can know with a good deal of certainty, but they are always prone to error. The honest individual will note that one could very well argue that while Scripture is inerrant, this would not automatically indicate that the fallible person applying Scripture is going to do so faithfully to the text. Saying that Scripture is the final authority might sound nice because while Scripture is useful for correcting, it still needs a living breathing person to apply it, and here is where the trouble begins. As a thought experiment, if the person/body applying Revelation to a particular doctrine is fallible, then there is a probable chance that he has erred in his doctrine. If the person/body applying Revelation to a particular doctrine is infallible, then there is zero probable chance of erring. Of course we are assuming that there could be a person/body that is infallible. For the sola scriptura believer, it is actually the fallible individual's conception which stands as the final authority.

The point of the issue is that while Scripture is useful for teaching and correcting, first it must be known with certainty what is even to be considered Scripture, and secondly it must also be applied to distinguish the heterodox from the orthodox. The Protestants who preach the undefined essentials v non-essentials for unity are nothing more than doctrinal minimalists who have floating standards which is entirely based upon popular opinion. Hence the radical changes we see for example in issues of disordered sexual immoralities, contraception, and the like.

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

"There are no errors in the dogmas of the Church, they are infallible."

Which infallible church, yours, the EO's? In two threads all you have done is simply assume your church is "the" church. Well, it isn't--depending on the church to which one belongs. So long posts about the wonders of the infallible church (which by happy coincidence is always the writer's church...) don't really matter because no one except the ones in your club believe that.

Also, I would like the citations for which I asked. You claimed the documents David cited show the EOC says the RCC has valid orders (which is a stand in for valid sacraments, as there cannot be one without the other--right?)

So, please cite the particular sections which back up Dave's and your claims.

John said...

"The existence of the Augsberg Confession shows that there are lesser authorities. Perhaps you believe you know what Sola Scriptura means than the ones who teach it?"

There's a difference between the baloney you pronounce and reality. There's also no unanimity in what sola scriptura looks like in reality. If sola scriptura allows lessor authorities, then I'm a sola scripturaist who wonders why you aren't following my lessor authorities, who after all are frequently supported by 2nd century sources compared to your 16th century sources.

If these lessor authorities have AUTHORITY, then you have to follow them unless they absolutely and unquestionably, without possibility of contradiction, are in opposition to the bible. Since this is rarely the case, the claim basically collapses down to either our position if you are honest (except with an odd choice of very late secondary authorities), or solo scripture, where so-called authorities are nothing more than opinions that can be discarded as easily as the daily newspaper.

John said...

"It also exists in the OPC, the PCA, the SBC."

And which one of these do you claim to be THE true church that Jesus described in John 17?

That's right, none of them! So enough with the silly arguments.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

Instead of just going around and around on this, since you know what we believe about SS, why not just dhow from our confessions you are right about SS and I am wrong? It is my contention you don't know what you are talking about--that you have some trite definition of SS that you insist is the only real SS and dismiss it based on this faulty understanding by you. Well, since I am bound by the Book of Concord, go ahead and show me where I am wrong.

You can find an English Translation here:

http://www.bookofconcord.org/

Also, the source you gave in your previous post is not from an LC-MS theologian, but from a synod with which we are not in fellowship, the WELS. They have a different approach and insist they are closer to the truth than the LC-MS, sort of like the Old Calendarists in Orthodoxy. I am sure you would not accept a quote by me from Old Calendarists to "prove" the canonical Orthodox Churches don't follow Holy Tradition! Yet you do so for my church. Remember about forcing templates on your opponents? Here is a good example of that.

This just goes to show that I am right when I say you don't know much about regarding Lutheranism, and that you are quote mining and so miss a lot of details and nuances.

So, to reiterate, please show from the Book of Concord that the way *we* use SS is contrary to our beliefs--*not* the definition *you* arbitrarily say is SS mind you, but the way *we* define it.

Rhology said...

"It also exists in the OPC, the PCA, the SBC."

And which one of these do you claim to be THE true church that Jesus described in John 17?


All of them.
But of course, I only mentioned it to show how silly it is to trumpet superior unity in EOC. Comparing denomination to denomination, EOC to SBC, the unity is very similar. Compare OPC to EOC and OPC has you beat. It destroys your argument.

Of course, you'd know all this if you'd actually read the post. I'm just sorta waiting for ppl to actually interact with what the post said.

John said...

Edward: From my point of view, what you claim to believe about sola scriptura is inherently nonsense, for the reasons I already stated. I know full well what you claim to believe, I just don't believe it makes any sense. Anybody who claims to have secondary authorities either follows them like we do, thus nullifying the legitimacy of protestantism, since we might just as well claim the same thing, or they toss them aside at a whim thus nullifying the very concept of an authority.

And I've already shown that from the BoC. I brought up the "on, with or under" issue, and you weren't willing to defend that as dogma. Well, is the BoC an authority for you or not? You brought up a supposedly semi-plausible verse for it, so now if that's an authority, you need to defend "in, on or under" to the ends of the earth. But no, you were willing to toss that little formula to the waves as a mere explanation. Or at least it seemed like it, I couldn't quite get a definitive statement about it. Is that a rock solid formula that you MUST defend? You did defend your position by saying it is an AUTHORITY, right? You know what AUTHORITY means, right?

John said...

"And which one of these do you claim to be THE true church that Jesus described in John 17?

All of them."

No cigar, since they don't have unity with each other.

You're beat either way. If you say all of them are the true church of John 17, you lose because they don't have unity with each other. If you say only one of them you lose because firstly you don't believe it, and secondly, nobody else in these denominations believe it either.

We are CONSISTENT in what we say. We ARE the true church and we DO have unity, thus we fit the criteria of John 17. You're trying to play one side to win one argument, then the other side to win the other argument. But playing both sides against the centre is the sign of a failed argument.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"From my point of view, what you claim to believe about sola scriptura is inherently nonsense, for the reasons I already stated."

No, you created your own version of SS and then declare it nonsense. You have shown zero indication that yo uunderstand anything, which makes it rahter amusing that you try and take a superior attitude. IOW, yo uare creating a strawman.

"I know full well what you claim to believe, I just don't believe it makes any sense."

No, you don't know which is why you don't bother to read any sources. A quick perusal would show your false dichotomy to be exactly that. But who needs proof when posturing is available, right?

(On a side note, it is really apparent that argument from authority is all John has--and he uses it to interpret other traditions too).

All you have done is create an image of SS and its relation to confessional documents in your mind, which bears no resemblance to what you purport to argue against. it is rather easy to argue against a position when you get to make both sides, John.

"Anybody who claims to have secondary authorities either follows them like we do, thus nullifying the legitimacy of protestantism, since we might just as well claim the same thing, or they toss them aside at a whim thus nullifying the very concept of an authority. "

There is more than the choices you offer here, and the fact you would advance it as such only shows that you think you know things you don't really know. Hence the charge of a false dichotomy. There are many more choices, many more. This would be cleared up if you just read some sources. But as I said above, you would rather posture. But hey, if you have to create half-truths to support your beliefs, go ahead and do so.

Edward Reiss said...

"We are CONSISTENT in what we say. We ARE the true church and we DO have unity, thus we fit the criteria of John 17."

Any particular church can claim they are the true church. This does not logically entail saying other churches are NOT church at all.

Also the fellowship within EOdoxy is not so clean as to make your contention facially accurate. May the Armenians receive Communion? Ask certain bishops, yes ask others, no. Ask certain monks, no, ask others, yes. So, strictly speaking, the EOdox are not united on fellowship with the Oriental Orthodox which means you are *not* consistent.

Unless you can show several patriarchs and a lot of bishops say the OO are in fellowship. But that would mean the monks of e.g. Mt. Athos are wrong.

BTW, I love how th RC and EOs here make high sounding theoretical arguments which fall apart upon looking at what is practiced.

(And I still hope Dave or Alex will get back to me on the clear statement that the EOs recognize RC orders....)

I guess one will just have to decide for one's self just like those terrible prots.

John said...

"No, you created your own version of SS and then declare it nonsense."

You had a chance to show that Lutheran dogmatic statements were provable from scripture, and you failed. Your fellow Lutherans say you weren't holding to sola scripture. I think we can all see what's going on here. What you claim is a viable rule of faith, and what your confession is able to achieve on the ground are not the same. It's all very well asking me to read some pie in the sky sources you recommend, when your confession can't actually live it.

" May the Armenians receive Communion? Ask certain bishops, yes ask others, no. Ask certain monks, no, ask others, yes."

Demonstrate that any Armenians are receiving communion in Eastern Orthodoxy. I think you don't know what you are talking about.

Lvka said...

I'm afraid I have to repeat here the first part of my question, which wasn't addressed yet:

how can Protestants be united in spirit, without being united in faith?

Lvka said...

And to give another spin to the second part of my question:

why is it that there are only 3 religions who abide by tradition (RC, EO, MP), as opposed to an entire plethora of religions sheltered under the umbrella of Protestantism?

L P said...

John,

Your fellow Lutherans say you weren't holding to sola scripture.

I am certainly not saying that about Edward's comments.

You are making a conclusion from the controversy of what happened a long time ago to the LC-MS and deducing this is true for all Lutheranism.

You have to understand that part of Protestant thought is to fight false doctrine in its ranks. They do this more than they do it in RC or EO.

I don't think you understand Sola Scriptura.

Indeed, I do not think you understand what Lutherans say about Sola Scriptura.

What you think is that what we have is solo scriptura.


Here is a short but not exhaustive summary:

1. It means that SCripture is the final arbitter in matters of Christian faith and practice. For example, when Scripture is silent we are to be silent. Hence, in Lutheran circles, you see people crossing themselves, you see people not crossing themselves. What is not in Scripture is not necessarily forbidden.

2. It means Scripture rules over reason. Scripture is to be confessed and rules over what reason suggests.

3. It means Scripture is a Means of Grace, that is where God is guaranteed to be found. His HS is with his Word - it converts the soul. Hence, mytical experiences are looked with suspicion etc.

LPC

Lvka said...

For example, when Scripture is silent we are to be silent. Hence, in Lutheran circles, you see people crossing themselves, you see people not crossing themselves. What is not in Scripture is not necessarily forbidden..


Like with Mass, You mean?...

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"It's all very well asking me to read some pie in the sky sources you recommend, when your confession can't actually live it."

In other words, you don't care what our confessions say, you already know what we do every day which obviously is not what the confessions say. And this belief by you that we don't follow what we believe is based on your knowledge of what we teach about SS. Unfortuneatle for you, though, it is easy to show that you have an erroneous understanding of SS. Yours is a convenient, polemical version of SS, not the genuine article. This can be shown by the mere existence of the Confessions (or other prot confessions), because if your definition of SS is correct, then the alleged 'inventors" of SS are less informed about it than...you!

Sorry, but I will pass.

Besides LPs statements about your arguments, I will add that the cites you supplied are documents from a church with which the LC-MS is not in fellowship, which makes your "fellow Lutherans" quip proof positive that you really don't know what you are doing--due to schism *they are not my fellow Lutherans*. (And I do not rejoice in the schism).

Then you make the following demand:

"Demonstrate that any Armenians are receiving communion in Eastern Orthodoxy. I think you don't know what you are talking about."

So, you cannot be bothered to refer to our confessional documents to learn what we believe about SS because you supposedly know so much about Lutheranism, but I am supposed to document something I hear from my EO friends all the time--OOs are communed in parishes and seminaries.

Sorry bud, but your poor sourcing on things which I can check--the teachings of my own church--mean I don't have to do your homework assignment. I will take my friends' statements over yours, because I can see how you operate compared to my friends. It is quite clear that you really *don't* know what you are talking about, and not only that, you choose to remain in the dark about what we believe and hold fact to your erroneous beliefs about us instead apparently for reasons of argument and not reasons of seeking the truth.

But hey, it is a feee country...

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"how can Protestants be united in spirit, without being united in faith?"

Unless you want to say that only within EOdoxy are people saved, you will have to admit that there is some kind of unity even among Christians who do not share each-other's confession. Put another way, you would have to maintain that e.g. RCism is only a little better than worshiping Zeus. I.e. you have toi throw out "extra ecclesiam nulla salus".

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"why is it that there are only 3 religions who abide by tradition (RC, EO, MP), as opposed to an entire plethora of religions sheltered under the umbrella of Protestantism?"

Those three don't follow "Tradition", but their own "tradition". Or do you believe the RCs have valid orders?

IOW, all you have is an arbitrary grouping of churches. I could make another grouping:

Why are there only a few churches which believe the Real Presence (Lutheran, RC, EO, Anglican (maybe)), as compared to the gaggle of thoe who don't?

Why are there so few churches with a single infallible teacher (RC), as opposed to those which do no have a single, infallible teacher (everyone else)?

Why are there so few churches which teach Essence/Energy as a theological center (EODox) as compared to the many churches which teach Divine Simplicity (western Christendom)?

Within each grouping, including yours, the grouping sounds OK until you begin to examine it more closely.

for example, if your claim above is correct, "the" tradition boils down to mutually exclusive apostolic succession, verneration of Mary (though even here the RCC has a different approach...), and veneration of saints (some of whom were sainted for teaching theologies which contradict thte other churches--e/e and Divine Simplicity, for example).

In other words, upon investigation "the" tradition is thin gruel indeed.

Lvka said...

Ed,

(1). I didn't say anything about Protestants going to hell in a hand-basket... all I did was to express my wonder at how there can be unity in spirit without there being unity in faith (which is what our author here claimed).

(2). We're comparing algorithms to reach the truth, not the truths we reach by using them: namely, Sola Scriptura vs. Scripture understood in the light of Holy Tradition.

[Anyway, it's too late to complain now, since the author of this article chose to enter the game... the unity-vs-disunity-game... he can't back down now, and neither can You].

John said...

"What you think is that what we have is solo scriptura."

No, I think you waver between solo scriptura, and full blown tradition following. More of the latter than the former.

"when Scripture is silent we are to be silent."

And what is scripture silent about? What about "in, with and under"? Is scripture silent about that or not?

"What is not in Scripture is not necessarily forbidden."

And in this you differ to your Reformed brethren for whom whatever is not in Scripture is forbidden in worship. Which is why you don't find them crossing themselves.

So why aren't you silent about the scripture's silence about whether you should be silent about those things it is silent about?

John said...

"In other words, you don't care what our confessions say, you already know what we do every day which obviously is not what the confessions say".

I already saw you distance yourself from "in, with or under", which your confession says, so we have all the documentation we need.

"So, you cannot be bothered to refer to our confessional documents to learn what we believe about SS because you supposedly know so much about Lutheranism, but I am supposed to document something I hear from my EO friends all the time--OOs are communed in parishes and seminaries."

I documented what you guys are doing. You just don't happen to accept it because it was published in a Lutheran publication from a source you are in schism with, despite the fact that the source itself documents that opinion from someone WITHIN LCMS.

So how is this comparable to your completely undocumented claim? And if per se your claim is true and some Armenians are communed, how does that even help your case? It's just you throwing out there something completely irrelevant to distract attention.

John said...

"Unless you want to say that only within EOdoxy are people saved, you will have to admit that there is some kind of unity even among Christians who do not share each-other's confession."

"some kind of unit" is not the unity of John 17. I have "some kind of unity" with all sorts of people, it doesn't make it have anything to do with the topic at hand.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

I am not going to go over your accusation that I "ran away" from anything, as it is just another example of your lack of knowledge about Lutheranism which you seek to impose on those who actually know something about it. You simply don't know enough to make any judgments about Lutheranism, and the way you have argued and the "source" you used show that rather plainly. why should I, or anyone else, take lessons on Lutheranism from someone who cannot even get the basics right, such as you?

You didn't "document" anything except that someone somewhere said something which you found amenable in your quote mining operation. Big deal. Worse for you, though, all you did was attribute something to my "fellow Lutherans" which they are not, something you should have checked before making such a show of your "proof". This is just another example of your lack of knowledge with a dollop of sloppiness. That such a basic mistake is not acknowledged by you only confirms you are not intellectually honest. It must be difficult for you to kick against the goads. I mean, if I make a mistake I admit it, for some reason you will not. A little intellectual honesty goes a long way, John. Try it some time, you might actually like it. It also may allow your opponents to think you are more than just argumentative and that you actually have something to say.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"We're comparing algorithms to reach the truth, not the truths we reach by using them: namely, Sola Scriptura vs. Scripture understood in the light of Holy Tradition. "

Then because of the brute facts of disunity among the churches which use "Scripture understood in the light of Holy Tradition" we have to conclude it is no better at fostering unity than SS because of the lack of unity among the AS churches. So, if multiple denoms is "proof" of something wrong with SS, the same is true of your model. That seems rather elementary.

And comparing one church within a system to all the churches using another system is bogus.

Lvka said...

Ed,


I'm comparing three churches situated within an epistemological paradigm to countless others found within another paradigm, on a unity-vs-disunity basis.

And I still don't get what the ``united in spirit, but not in faith" mantra is all about...

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"I'm comparing three churches situated within an epistemological paradigm to countless others found within another paradigm, on a unity-vs-disunity basis. "

And my point is that the churches you cite within your paradigm are not united. You don't get a free pass just because you chose one paradigm over another--depending on the "paradigm" one chooses, different churches are left out. And even withing your paradigm the differences are such that I fail to see the commonality. Specifics matter.

Regarding "countless" denominations. I am not sure there is much difference between e.g. an EV "free" church and a Baptist church. One can usually move from one to another and not change one's doctrine. The same is not true of moving from e.g. EV "free" church to a Presbyterian church. This is because among the various protestant churches there are large groupings which share more with each other than with those in another group, and crossing those lines quite often means a doctrinal change not unlike moving from the RCC to Lutheranism, or from EO to RC:

Lutherans
Reformed
Anabaptist
(Modernists)

There are differentiations within these groups, but "countless" critique goes too far because it seems to count all Anabaptist churches as individual denominations, and also accrues them to Lutherans and Reformed under the rubric of "protestantism" as of that word has a confessional meaning. As I said above, I don't think it is fair to count various Anabaptist independent or micro churches as individual denominations as doctrine may not be the reason for the church to exist. For instance, the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) does not consider itself as an institution to be "the" Church, so membership in that institution is not necessary for a church be *be* church, even if the teachings are pretty much identical.

Among the Lutherans the only meaningful divisions are between traditionalists and modernists. The same for the Reformed. In fact, reformed and Lutheran modernists are quite often in altar and pulpit fellowship with each other. So one would rightly say that e.g. LCMS and ELCA count as different denominations with different interpretations of Scripture, but not the LCMS and the Lutheran Church Canada, which are in fellowship. I suspect both types are counted in the "countless" denominations, which is why I suspect its provenance.

Anyway, there is your unity--it is confessional just like the Eos and RCs, and similar divisions occur among the Churches.

Lvka said...

Then let me help you a bit, Ed:

(1) Luther vs. Calvin vs. Zwingli on the Eucharist.

(2) Luther vs. Calvin vs. Arminius on free will.

(3) Anglicans/Episcopalians vs. Calvinist/Reformed/Presbyterians vs. Puritans/Congregationalists on bishops.

(4) Luther and Anglicans vs. the rest on sacraments. (Baptismal re-generation).

(5) infant baptism vs. believer baptism.

(6) Jehovah's Witness and Oneness Pentecostals vs the rest on divine unity/trinity.

(7) Seventh Day Adventists vs. the rest on the Sabbath, eating pork, etc.

(8) Peace churches vs. the rest on peace/war.

(9) Pentecostals/Charismatics vs. the rest on gifts of the Holy Spirit (glossolalia, prophecy, etc)

(10) Instrumental worship vs. non-instrumental worship [non-denom.]; high-church vs. low-church [Luth., Angl., Presb./Calv.]; etc.

(11) etc.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

First, this is just a laundry list of :differences". You did not address my major point, which is that there are large groupings within the prots. I understand that for rhetorical reasons you want to maximize the number of denoms, but laundry lists such as the one you supplied are not too useful.

Second, those all track the divisions I already noted--divisions which have parallels for your paradigm, too.

For instance: RC vs.EO vs. OO on the persons of the trinity. (A really big one, BTW!)

EC vs. Eastern Rite Catholic vs EO on filioque

RC vs. EO vs. Old Calandarists on the date of Easter.

EO vs. RC on the simplicity of God

EO vs. RC on crated grace vs. uncreated energies

EO vs. RC vs. O on legitimate train of Apostles

EO vs. EO on the patristic revival

EO vs. EO on ecumenism

EO vs. EO on autocephaly of the OCA

EO vs. EO on non-canonical bishops (i.e. who is *the* bishop in charge of NYC?)

I could go on, but I think this shows that it is possible to choose differences and make one side look more divided than it actually is. And I think you over estimate the unity within your own church if you are going to use examples such as "Peace churches vs. the rest on peace/war" Also, if your paradigm is so great, I don't see why you have so many divisions, especially on major issues such as the persons of the Trinity. Even if that was the only one, if you guys cannot agree on who God is there does not seem to be much use for your paradigm.

JWs etc. are not protestants in any meaningful sense, since they are not church--even the liberal churches deny them that. If they are, in another thread I linked to several EO groups who are pro gay and ordain women etc., and they would belong to you and make you that much more divided. So I sugest that a laundry list is insufficient.

And i will reiterate that I fail to see that you guys do better, and certainly no better than *within* a confession as opposed to *among* confessions.

John said...

"Then because of the brute facts of disunity among the churches which use "Scripture understood in the light of Holy Tradition" we have to conclude it is no better at fostering unity than SS because of the lack of unity among the AS churches."

You continue to confound the rule of faith as found in say Eastern Orthodoxy, with the broad category of "scripture and tradition" as practiced by any number of groups. That's about as valid as me confounding Lutheran sola scriptura with Harold Camping sola scriptura.

But the question for you is whether you can distingish your sola scriptura methodology from all the other groups who come to different conclusions: reformed baptists, Weslians, Anglicans, Church of Christ, independent baptist, charismatic, pentacostal, and so on and so forth. I don't think you can, because they all broadly sign up to the same basic methodology.

Lvka said...

Ed,

in the list I gave You, I chose not to repeat denominations; each point was meant to introduce not just a different name, but also a different doctrine, characteristic of that new name:

1. Lutheranism.
2. Calvinism.
3. Arminianism.
4. (Ana)baptists.
5. Adventists.
6. Pentecostals.
7. Jehova's Witnesses.
8. Anglicanism.
9. Restorationism.
10. Peace churches.
11. Puritans, Congregationalists, etc.


In Your list, however, the three names stay conspicuously the same: and this is because the difference between us is easy to comprehend: the Roman Catholics, speaking Latin, like the Romans, use a single word, procession, to refer tom two different concepts; the same for Monophysites and Nestorians: their Semitic languages use also a single word for two different notions: person and nature. (So the differences between us seem to be more cultural or linguistical rather than doctrinal).


Furthermore, Protestants are also heretical, but in a hidden manner: they preach the sixth ecumenical synod, but they also preach predestination; they preach Chalcedon, but they also preach that Mary isn't the Mother of God; and so on.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John writes:

You continue to confound the rule of faith as found in say Eastern Orthodoxy, with the broad category of "scripture and tradition" as practiced by any number of groups. That's about as valid as me confounding Lutheran sola scriptura with Harold Camping sola scriptura.

Which is exactly what Catholic and Orthodox apologists do. They lump all Protestants together and claim that they all practice Sola Scriptura.

Perhaps you have a more sophisticated critique to offer. But I'm not hopeful given that you go on to write:

But the question for you is whether you can distingish your sola scriptura methodology from all the other groups who come to different conclusions: reformed baptists, Weslians, Anglicans, Church of Christ, independent baptist, charismatic, pentacostal, and so on and so forth. I don't think you can, because they all broadly sign up to the same basic methodology.

So, on the one hand, Protestants practice different kinds of Sola Scriptura. But, on the other hand, their methodologies are indistinguishable.

Lvka said...

They lump all Protestants together and claim that they all practice Sola Scriptura.

I didn't do that, otherwise, I would've added Mormons & liberals into the mix, who obviously don't practice "Sola Scriptura".

But Jehovah's Witness and Oneness Pentecostals, on the other hand, do practice Sola Scriptura, that's why I mentioned them.

[And I didn't mention the gay dissenters either, so I don't know why Ed felt compelled to throw them in my face either].

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

I already explained about the broad categories, and that people can move between several on your list with little or no change in doctrine. And your inclusion of JWs just goes to show you want to cast the net as far as possible. I can say this because even the liberal churches are not in fellowship with them, but I guess it is important to have as big a list as possible.

"In Your list, however, the three names stay conspicuously the same"

They are just names, Lvka. Just look at the various theologies listed here which call themselves Orthodox:

http://aggreen.net/other_orthodox/other.html

Two can play the laundry list game. If you tack JWs on us, I will tack on "The Orthodox Catholic Church of America" on to you. This sect ordains women. And just because they have the word "Orthodox" in their name does not make their theology any more orthodox or Orthodox. What matters is a different teachings, not different names.

As I have also been saying, you guys--the RC, EO, OO--cannot even agree on the persons of the Trinity, from which all the unity of the sacraments etc. flow. So, if your system is so superior, why can't you guys decide between Monophysitism and the Filioque? You guys are not in fellowship, and there is also resistance the reunification between EO and OO. Have you ever read orthodoxinfo? I suppose yo uowuld say he is wrong. How come they didn't get the memo that there are no significant differences I wonder? I suppose that is just another division we should over look because he has the word "orthodox" on his website.

You see, Lvka, you guys are divided too, no matter how much you try and patch it over. Division is division, even if you guys use fewer words.

Finally, your list confuses churches which have basically the same theology. Examples are Calvinism and Puritans, Congregationalists etc., Anabaptists, which is a broad category which included Baptists, EV free churches etc. I don't know what "Peace Churches" are. But if prots are responsible for all the off-the-wall churches, the EOs are responsible for all the churches from the website I cited above, which makes your point moot.

"Furthermore, Protestants are also heretical, but in a hidden manner: they preach the sixth ecumenical synod, but they also preach predestination; they preach Chalcedon, but they also preach that Mary isn't the Mother of God; and so on."

Lutherans, Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed etc. teach Mary is Theotokos. Make up you mind--either prots are hopelessly divided, or it is a description of a confession. You cannot have it both ways. You can't just switch gears when the moment suites you.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"And I didn't mention the gay dissenters either, so I don't know why Ed felt compelled to throw them in my face either"

If you tack JWs on prots, you are responsible for the EOdox whackos. You don't get a free pass.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

I didn't do that, otherwise, I would've added Mormons & liberals into the mix, who obviously don't practice "Sola Scriptura".

It's actually not obvious from your list(s) whether you have excluded liberal traditions. If you have, I'll take your word for it.

But Jehovah's Witness and Oneness Pentecostals, on the other hand, do practice Sola Scriptura, that's why I mentioned them.

What makes you think Jehovah Witnesses practice Sola Scriptura? You do realize they are subject to the whims of the Watchtower Society?

I don't know enough about Oneness to tell either way, although since they deny some key aspects of the Trinity, I am not aware of any Protestants on your list who would claim unity with them. It seems awkward to include a group that no one claims to be part of the Church anyway.

Rhology said...

I don't know enough about Oneness to tell either way, although since they deny some key aspects of the Trinity, I am not aware of any Protestants on your list who would claim unity with them. It seems awkward to include a group that no one claims to be part of the Church anyway.

Apparently you haven't figured it out yet, Matthew. If an Internet RC or EO says so, they're Protestant. You need to just accept that.

Edward Reiss said...

seststyMatthew,

"What makes you think Jehovah Witnesses practice Sola Scriptura? You do realize they are subject to the whims of the Watchtower Society?"

Interestingly, this makes their authority structure closer to the RC system than that of any protestant sect....

David Waltz said...

Hello Edward,

Sorry about my late response, but I just did not have the time for the internet over the weekend.

On Saturday, you wrote:

>>(And I still hope Dave or Alex will get back to me on the clear statement that the EOs recognize RC orders....)>>

Me: IMO, it does not get much ‘clearer’ than the actual removal of the excommunications. Each side (RC and 14 EO communions) now embraces each other as ‘communicant’.

The following selection makes little sense if the context/setting is that each side does not consider the each other’s orders as valid:

== At the opening session, the two Co-Presidents of the Commission, His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper (President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) and His Eminence Metropolitan John of Pergamon (Ecumenical Patriarchate), expressed their joy and thankfulness to God for the continuation of the theological dialogue between the two Churches. They reaffirmed the goal of the dialogue as stated at its beginning in 1980: “The purpose of the dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church is the re-establishment of full communion between these two churches. This communion, based on unity of faith according to the common experience and tradition of the early Church, will find its expression in the common celebration of the Eucharist.”== (COMMUNIQUE.)

But, if you still have doubts, why don’t you contact Patriarch Bartholomew directly:

http://www.patriarchate.org/contact

[His All Holiness Bartholomew Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch (the official title), speaks fluent English.]

Grace and peace,

David

Rhology said...

Each side (RC and 14 EO communions) now embraces each other as ‘communicant’.

What if I were to reply, as a member of a Southern Baptist church, that, have no fear my non-Sola Scripturist friends, my church holds that everyone who's not a member of a Southern Baptist church is a schismatic/heterodox/heretic too? Would that make our Romanist or Orthodox friends feel better?
Or would that make them criticise us even more strongly: "See? You Sola Scripturists can't even hold communion with each other!"? Yep, my money's on that one, too. We're darned if we do and darned if we don't, but somehow if the Romanists or Orthodox don't hold communion with these other churches, that's just fine.


why don’t you contact Patriarch Bartholomew directly:

Oh yes, I'm SURE he'll be writing you back directly. Please. David Waltz, I can't believe you said that. Either you're hopelessly naive or you're being disingenuous.

David Waltz said...

Hello Rhology,

You wrote:

>> What if I were to reply, as a member of a Southern Baptist church, that, have no fear my non-Sola Scripturist friends, my church holds that everyone who's not a member of a Southern Baptist church is a schismatic/heterodox/heretic too? Would that make our Romanist or Orthodox friends feel better?
Or would that make them criticise us even more strongly: "See? You Sola Scripturists can't even hold communion with each other!"? Yep, my money's on that one, too. We're darned if we do and darned if we don't, but somehow if the Romanists or Orthodox don't hold communion with these other churches, that's just fine.>>

Me: ??? I sincerely don’t understand how your comments are related to the question of whether or not the EO churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople consider RCC holy orders valid. Perhaps you could explain further…


>>why don’t you contact Patriarch Bartholomew directly:

Oh yes, I'm SURE he'll be writing you back directly. Please. David Waltz, I can't believe you said that. Either you're hopelessly naive or you're being disingenuous.>>

Me: IMO, other options than the two you suggested exist. Perhaps the Patriarch himself would not directly answer such questions, but I have little doubt that someone under his authority would do so. BTW, did you see the “60 Minutes” piece on “The Patriarch” that aired last night? (Go to the “60 Minutes” online site to view if you have not - http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6001717n) It sure seems to me that Bartholomew is significantly more accessible than you think…


Grace and peace,

David

Edward Reiss said...

David Walz,

It is typical for an EO bishop to allow his flock to commune at a RC altar?

If not, despite the lifting of the exocmmunication, you are NOT in communion, which means your orders are NOT valid by EO lights.

Compare an Antiochian communing at a Russian Orthodox altar, or an OCA altar--the question answers itself because it would not even be asked.

I am actually amazed RCs would argue that the two respect each others' orders when it is quite obvious *from the behavior of the EOC* that this is not the case.

Since objectively you are not in communion with the EOC, it is not valid to just say "The EOC and RCC say such and such..." because you two are not united.

David Waltz said...

Hello again Edward,

You said:

>>I am actually amazed RCs would argue that the two respect each others' orders when it is quite obvious *from the behavior of the EOC* that this is not the case.>>

Me: ??? Then what in the wide-wide-world does “excommunicant” and “communicant” mean/entail? Have you invented a new definition that I am unaware of???

What I find interesting is the fact that the highly esteemed Reformed theologian, Charles Hodge, defended the validity of the Roman Catholic ministry (see THIS THREAD, and Hodge’s two essays linked to therein), yet you would have us believe that the 14 EO churches that sided with the Patriarch of Constantinople’s decision to left the excommunication of 1054 (churches that have much more in common with the RCC than a Presbyterian), maintain that the ministry of this now un-excommunicated church is invalid. Hmmmm…


Grace and peace,

David

Edward Reiss said...

David Waltz,

If you would answer my question it would pull the issue away from a theoretical framework to a real world framework.

Here is the question again:

It is typical for an EO bishop to allow his flock to commune at a RC altar?

If not or if so, the issue answers itself.

John said...

"You do realize they are subject to the whims of the Watchtower Society?"

If you get to discount JWs who are "subject to the whims of WTBTS", then we get to discount Papists who are "subject to the whims of the Pope". Which is what we've been saying all along: you can't lump us with a group which has a very major addition to their rule of faith.

What's it going to be? Do you accept being in the JW camp on this issue or not?

John said...

David: the only people excommunicated in 1054 were some papal legates, and the then Patriarch of Constantinople. That's why lifting these excommunications is nothing more than an acknowledgment on both sides that the events of 1054 were foolish. In fact, the events of 1054 don't even rank as important events in the historical documents of the time. The lack of communion between Rome and the other Patriarchates, while rooted in some measure in 1054, now go well beyond that. If you think we have exchanged diptychs, it should be pretty easy for you to demonstrate. But of course, such is not the case.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John writes:

If you get to discount JWs who are "subject to the whims of WTBTS", then we get to discount Papists who are "subject to the whims of the Pope". Which is what we've been saying all along: you can't lump us with a group which has a very major addition to their rule of faith.

What's it going to be? Do you accept being in the JW camp on this issue or not?


The objection as Lvka is framing it is, broadly stated, whether all adherents of all variants of Sola Scriptura can claim unity. The Jehovah Witnesses do not even fall into that category. In fact, they are a species of the infallible interpreter plus infallible tradition model.

In other words, I was offering a mere factual correction within Lvka's framework, which was not a comment on the broader issue on the table. If you want to correct Lvka for trying to lump Jehovah Witnesses into our camp, that's fine with me.

bkaycee said...

The objection as Lvka is framing it is, broadly stated, whether all adherents of all variants of Sola Scriptura can claim unity. The Jehovah Witnesses do not even fall into that category. In fact, they are a species of the infallible interpreter plus infallible tradition model.

Yes, in fact JW's are an offshoot of the Arian Heresy (Christ was created and less than the Father) that Pope Liberius signed onto in the 4th century.

David Waltz said...

Hi Edward,

You posted the following:

>>It is typical for an EO bishop to allow his flock to commune at a RC altar?

If not or if so, the issue answers itself.>>

Me: No, it is not typical. But in all honesty, I fail to understand how this lends any clarity to the original issue that I was responding to: the validity of episcopal ordination (i.e. “holy orders”) concerning the bishops of the RCC in the eyes of major churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople. From the 18th we read the following that you penned:

>>David,

"You must also be aware of the RCC and EO teaching that Prots lack certain sacramental benefits to found only among those who have valid “orders”; so, I would say that obstacles do exist, but that they are not insurmountable obstacles."

To be fair, the Orthodox do not think you guys have valid orders, either. I don't want to go over this again, but your statement here seems to imply unity between the EOs and RCs which does not actually exist.>>

Since my initial response to your above charge, the focus of our dialogue has been deflected from the major premise—as such, I humbly submit that you are asking the wrong question/s. Whether or not members of an EO church would “commune at a RC altar” as a practice says little to whether or not that same EO church would deny valid episcopal ordination/succession to the bishops of the RCC. Once again, it is this issue (i.e. valid episcopal ordination/ succession) that I was addressing. So in my mind, the questions that need to be asked are:

Do the EO churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople teach/believe that the episcopal ordination/succession of the bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome are invalid?

If so, when did valid episcopal ordination/succession of the bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome cease?


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello John.

You said:

>>David: the only people excommunicated in 1054 were some papal legates, and the then Patriarch of Constantinople.>>

Me: Yep.

>>That's why lifting these excommunications is nothing more than an acknowledgment on both sides that the events of 1054 were foolish. In fact, the events of 1054 don't even rank as important events in the historical documents of the time. The lack of communion between Rome and the other Patriarchates, while rooted in some measure in 1054, now go well beyond that.>>

Me: Yep. The letters of complaints read by each side are readily available online; and though I am no expert on such matters, I do not think that much has changed, doctrinally speaking, since then (apart from a certain clarity that Palamas added to EO theology).

>>If you think we have exchanged diptychs, it should be pretty easy for you to demonstrate. But of course, such is not the case.>>

Me: Nor have I argued for such; see my last post to Edward for clarification.


Grace and peace,

David

Edward Reiss said...

Daid Waltz,

"Since my initial response to your above charge, the focus of our dialogue has been deflected from the major premise—as such, I humbly submit that you are asking the wrong question/s. Whether or not members of an EO church would “commune at a RC altar” as a practice says little to whether or not that same EO church would deny valid episcopal ordination/succession to the bishops of the RCC."

Separating valid orders from sacramental validity is not something the EOs do. There are no valid orders where fellowship with the canonical church is lacking. Valid orders are required for canonically valid sacraments. Since you do not have valid orders (and you have offered nothing to show that the EOC does believe this of the RCC)your sacraments are of *questionable* validity at best. God *may* through a special grace allow RC sacraments to be what the RCC claims them to be, but in the EOC they are valid because the EOC is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Body Of Christ etc.--which the RCC is not because the patriarch of Rome is not in fellowship with the other patriarchs. Valid orders are how one can know one is in the true church, one cannot know this in the RCC, one can only hope it is true because the RCC is not not within the visible, canonical boundaries of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church--their according to them.

As you answered my question in the following way "No, it is not typical." (For EO bishops to allow their flock to commune at RC altars) Well, if the orders are valid, why wouldn't they? The RCC believes EO orders are valid, so as I stated the question answers itself. There is a "one way" respect of orders, yours to theirs.

"Do the EO churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople teach/believe that the episcopal ordination/succession of the bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome are invalid?"

Yes, because RC bishops are not in fellowship with EOC bishops. Remember that list of canonical churches from the canonical OCA? Your church is conspicuously absent. In other words, "communion", in the sense of the Sacrament and in the sense of unity, does not exist between the RCC and the EOC because you two ar enot in fellowship.

Part of the problem is that you keep arguing from abstractions, while I am arguing from concrete reality. Objectively you are not in fellowship, so claims of valid orders require more proof than the vague notions and arguments from silence you have offered so far.

David Waltz said...

Hello Edward,

Thanks for responding, you posted:

>>Separating valid orders from sacramental validity is not something the EOs do.>>

Me: I would add the qualification: within the communion of EO churches. As for churches outside of the EO communion, that is a different matter.

>>There are no valid orders where fellowship with the canonical church is lacking.>>

Me: Are there EO ecumenical documents to support this? If so, could you please cite them (thanks much in advance).

>>Valid orders are required for canonically valid sacraments. Since you do not have valid orders (and you have offered nothing to show that the EOC does believe this of the RCC)your sacraments are of *questionable* validity at best. God *may* through a special grace allow RC sacraments to be what the RCC claims them to be, but in the EOC they are valid because the EOC is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Body Of Christ etc.--which the RCC is not because the patriarch of Rome is not in fellowship with the other patriarchs. Valid orders are how one can know one is in the true church, one cannot know this in the RCC, one can only hope it is true because the RCC is not not within the visible, canonical boundaries of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church--their according to them.>>

Me: Here is the primary difficulty with your above assertions—the RCC claims to be “the one, true Church”, and yet, with that claim, the RCC also affirms that the EO bishops have valid episcopal succession/ordination.

>>As you answered my question in the following way "No, it is not typical." (For EO bishops to allow their flock to commune at RC altars) Well, if the orders are valid, why wouldn't they? The RCC believes EO orders are valid, so as I stated the question answers itself. There is a "one way" respect of orders, yours to theirs.>>

Me: I cannot answer to the practices of the respective churches on this matter—historically speaking practices can, and do change; practices are reformable, so I personally do not spend much time on differences of practice.

>>"Do the EO churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople teach/believe that the episcopal ordination/succession of the bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome are invalid?"

Yes, because RC bishops are not in fellowship with EOC bishops. Remember that list of canonical churches from the canonical OCA? Your church is conspicuously absent. In other words, "communion", in the sense of the Sacrament and in the sense of unity, does not exist between the RCC and the EOC because you two ar enot in fellowship.>>

Me: Once again, EO bishops are not in communion with the Bishop of Rome, yet this very fact does not preclude those bishops from having valid succession, ordination, and sacraments.

>>Part of the problem is that you keep arguing from abstractions, while I am arguing from concrete reality.>>

Me: ??? What makes you think that the affirmation of valid orders to bishops of churches outside of full communion is an abstraction?

Do you think that all the valid ordinations of those bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome became invalid with the excommunication of three papal legates in 1054? (Excommunications that have been rescinded.)

I am attempting to come to grips with the actual history of this matter of valid ordination, succession, etc, concerning the historic episcopate. I do not believe that this is an “abstraction”, but rather, is quite objective in nature.


Grace and peace,

David

Edward Reiss said...

Davis Waltz,

"Once again, EO bishops are not in communion with the Bishop of Rome, yet this very fact does not preclude those bishops from having valid succession, ordination, and sacraments."

It does by EO lights, if not by RC lights.

"Do you think that all the valid ordinations of those bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome became invalid with the excommunication of three papal legates in 1054? (Excommunications that have been rescinded.) "

They became invalid when, by EO lights, the Patriarch of Rome left the One True Church to follow his private interpretation of the Tradition. The idea that there is a valid succession not in fellowship woith the One True Church is simply not EO ecclesiology.

But again, let us take this discussion out of the theoretical:

Where do a simple majority of Patriarchs and/or bishops say RC orders are valid?

You will look in vain, because it is a simple fact you are not in communion with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, which, by EO lights, your church has left to follow innovations such as the Filioque.

"I am attempting to come to grips with the actual history of this matter of valid ordination, succession, etc, concerning the historic episcopate. I do not believe that this is an “abstraction”, but rather, is quite objective in nature."

It is an abstraction because you are separating it from _praxis_ and _koinonea_ (the EOs do not share communion with you) and the ecclesial fellowship which grows out of the praxis/koinonea combination. In other words, you are treating "valid orders" as a sort of intellectual category with properties, and then saying the RCC has certain of those properties so its orders are valid by EO lights. The EO do not treat validity as such an abstraction, but as objectively teaching the truth while **at the same time being in fellowship with the canonical patriarchs and the bishops under them**--the diptychs. They cannot be separated, and your church, by being separated, fails to have valid orders on that account. No "koinonea" no valid orders.

John said...

"Here is the primary difficulty with your above assertions—the RCC claims to be “the one, true Church”, and yet, with that claim, the RCC also affirms that the EO bishops have valid episcopal succession/ordination. "

Yeah, I think that is also a relatively recent thing.

Do a search on Cyprianic vs Augustinian views of valid succession and valid orders. The idea that valid orders are inseparable from the valid church is called Cyprianic. The idea they can be separated is called Augustinian.

David Waltz said...

Good morning Edward,

I have, just moments ago, provided a reply to your last post directed my way. Due to the length, I have posted my response at ARTICULI FIDEI. Please feel free to comment there.

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

In an effort to stimulate some interest in the new thread at AF, I would like to provide the following selection:

>>From the “Balamand Statement” we read:

12) Because of the way in which Catholics and Orthodox once again consider each other in relationship to the mystery of the Church and discover each other once again as Sister Churches, this form of "missionary apostolate" described above, and which has been called "uniatism", can no longer be accepted either as a method to be followed nor as a model of the unity our Churches are seeking.

13) In fact, especially since the Pan-Orthodox Conferences and the Second Vatican Council, the rediscovery and the giving again of proper value to the Church as communion, both on the part of Orthodox and of Catholics, has radically altered perspectives and thus attitudes. On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to His Church—profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops—cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches. In this context it is clear that rebaptism must be avoided.

14) It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavor of the Sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, n. 27).>>


Grace and peace,

David

Lvka said...

What makes you think Jehovah Witnesses practice Sola Scriptura? You do realize they are subject to the whims of the Watchtower Society?

The "Watchtower" publications represent for the Jehovah's Witness what the Book of Concord represents for Lutheranism or what the Christian Institutes and Westminster Confession represent for Reformed Calvinism.

Again, contrary to Your protests, I did NOT randomly "throw" ALL of Protestantism "in Your face", but ONLY the Sola Sciptura groups.

Unitarians, for instance, are an old Protestant sola-scriptura sect still extant today (not to mention that some of the very first Ana-baptists denied the divinity of Christ): so you can't simply pretend that non-trinitarianism is this "weird thing" that belongs only to JWs or Pentecostal freeks. Sorry. It's sadly an ancient part of sola-scriptura Protestantism.

And I hardly doubt that women ordination to either priesthood or the bishoprick has any foot in bi-millennial Church tradition. (Show me a single case of a single women being made either priest or bishop anywhere in the world occupied by Catholics, Orthodox, Monophysites or Nestorians, in all of those two thousand yrs of Christianity, and I'll eat my hat).

Rhology said...

Here you go, Lvka. With or without mustard?


But they were excommunicated!!!

I don't hear you accepting the same obvious retort when YOU mentioned Unitarians and deniers of Christ's divinity. It's just more and more special pleading, piled higher and deeper.

Lvka said...

Rhology,

I'm comparing algorythms here: NOT ALL 'Protestants' groups abide by the algorythm of Sola Scriptura, and NOT ALL self-called 'Orthodox' or 'Catholic' Churches abide by the algorythm of Tradition.

If I'm being fair to You, then I think You should also try being fair to me (and to Yourself as well).

[What's next? Throw in Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Presbyterians into my camp as well? Seriously!]

Rhology said...

If I'm being fair to You, then I think You should also try being fair to me (and to Yourself as well).

Um, that's been my entire point this whole time. *I'm* the one pointing out the paucity of your claims to superiority. I'm glad to see you've finally seen reason.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Lvka writes:

The "Watchtower" publications represent for the Jehovah's Witness what the Book of Concord represents for Lutheranism or what the Christian Institutes and Westminster Confession represent for Reformed Calvinism.

Does the Book of Concord claim to be inspired by the Holy Spirit? No. Did Calvin claim to be a prophet? No. Does the WCF operate under Provisional Infallibility? No.

I don't see the comparison.

Again, contrary to Your protests, I did NOT randomly "throw" ALL of Protestantism "in Your face", but ONLY the Sola Sciptura groups.

Who are you responding to at this point? I think you're getting some wires crossed.

Unitarians, for instance, are an old Protestant sola-scriptura sect still extant today (not to mention that some of the very first Ana-baptists denied the divinity of Christ): so you can't simply pretend that non-trinitarianism is this "weird thing" that belongs only to JWs or Pentecostal freeks. Sorry. It's sadly an ancient part of sola-scriptura Protestantism.

Protestants don't claim unity with those who deny the Trinity. I might as well claim that the heretics of the early church are "sadly an ancient part of Catholicism and Orthodoxy." If you want to lump groups under Sola Scriptura that we don't claim unity with (and, I would argue, don't consistently follow Sola Scriptura given the clear demonstration of the Trinity within Scripture), it's only fair to lump groups under your religious authority structure that you don't claim unity with and/or who inconsistently follow the Church and Tradition.

Lvka said...

Ed, Mat, and Allan,

it's not about "excommunication" or "claiming (dis)unity with"... it's about the algorithms used.

I don't "claim unity" with either Catholics, Nestorians, or Mono-physites... but I didn't deny that the four of us use the same algorithm: Tradition. -- So I don't see it fit for you to divert the issue from sameness of method to 'mutual recognition'. -- The groups You dislike use the same approach as You, eventhough they do not reach the same conclusions as You.

John said...

"Does the Book of Concord claim to be inspired by the Holy Spirit? No. Did Calvin claim to be a prophet? No. Does the WCF operate under Provisional Infallibility? No."

Neither does the weekly edition of The Watchtower claim inspiration. Your point is?

"Um, that's been my entire point this whole time. *I'm* the one pointing out the paucity of your claims to superiority. I'm glad to see you've finally seen reason."

So you've lumped us with women priest groups, and we've lumped you with Jehovah witnesses. Sounds like we're still ahead. And is this exchange really proving something for your side?

Rhology said...

I don't "claim unity" with either Catholics, Nestorians, or Mono-physites... but I didn't deny that the four of us use the same algorithm: Tradition.

Exactly my point. So you have to say that "Sola Scriptura produces anarchy" is just as accurate as "my own rule of faith produces anarchy". Ergo, stop using that argument. Thank you. QED.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"So you've lumped us with women priest groups, and we've lumped you with Jehovah witnesses. Sounds like we're still ahead. And is this exchange really proving something for your side?"

The point is, *if* you link us with JWs, we are free to link you with kooky EO groups. Both are equally arbitrary when arguing from authority structures to determing which is "true". Lvka threw JWs in there gratuitously, as is common when EOs and RCs want to "show" how chaos grows out of SS. So we are free to gratuitously thrown in any wacky group which claim EO AS to "prove" EOdoxy is a chaotic mishmash of denominations because its authority cannot foment unity.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Finally, it is clear from Lvka's own statements that his own "algorithm" causes chaos just like SS does--the AS churches ar enot united and in fact have contradictory theologies even if on the surface they appear to be the same. He tried to lessen the differences by concentrating n names, and limiting the jurisdictions which use AS (which is another reason to use the EO wackos to "up the number"...) to ones he fonds amenable, but it won't work, because it is possible to lessen differences among SS churches, too just like one can increase them. Lvka's problem is that he didn't have a consistent reason to exclude the LBGT EO denoms without appealing to something besides his own church.

The point is that this particular argument, which boils down to "SS is wrong because we can see all the divisions" is a species of special pleading because unless one compares ones communion to all the churches which use *any* authority structure--including AS or a prophet, etc. This does not prove protestantism, of course, what it does is show that this argument is really lame. And as dross such as this is abandoned, more substantive issues will come to the fore. That is if the EO/RC apologists will let go of their special pleading, which in my experience they are more often then not loath to do. I think this is because it allows the EO/RC to simply wave away prot concerns, which is convenient but bogus.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John writes:

Neither does the weekly edition of The Watchtower claim inspiration. Your point is?

The point is fairly obvious. I said the Watchtower Society does claim certain kinds of inspiration while the Protestant documents (and their authors) Lvka listed don't.

If you disagree, it's time to explain why, rather than just blankly asserting that the Watchtower Society doesn't claim inspiration.

Of course, it goes without saying that the merely "weekly" output of the Watchtower society is not on the same level as something as important as the WCF.

So you've lumped us with women priest groups, and we've lumped you with Jehovah witnesses. Sounds like we're still ahead.

The "lumping" has been more complicated and involved more groups than that. You're either being careless or disingenuous with your characterization of the issue.

And the Jehovah Witnesses are, if anything at all, to be lumped with Catholics and/or Orthodox.

If we are to take Lvka's approach, it causes about the same level of egregious disunity on both sides--we all get anti-Trinitarians, pro-homosexual groups, etc. to deal with.

And is this exchange really proving something for your side?

If it "proved" something to you, you would have to jettison a popular argument against Protestantism and Sola Scriptura. Should we be surprised you don't find this exchange convincing?

What would be surprising is if you did find that the Protestants had successfully defended themselves against the charge of disunity.

Lvka said...

Ed,

it's not about kooky-ness, it's about method.

Ed and Allan,

within the two groups (sola scriptura Protestants and traditional Orthodox/Catholic groups) we then proceed to measure the level of dogmatic unity vs. disunity [not kooky-ness].

Ed,

when I said that the three groups remain the same I meant that the differences are themselves grouped and not at random. (There are no Catholics denying the filioque, for instance; and no Orthodox affirming it or understanding it the same way that Catholics do).

Lvka said...

Ed,

I also don't understand Your insistance on the JWs for at least two reasons:

1) They're not the only non-trinitarian sola-scriptura Protestants out there: Oneness Pentecostalism, Unitarianism, and some early Anabaptists go hand in hand with them.

2). The Book of Concord, the Institutes of the Christian Religion, and the Westminster Confession of Faith are de facto infallible, since no Lutheran or Calvinist would ever dream of contradicting them.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"when I said that the three groups remain the same I meant that the differences are themselves grouped and not at random."

And by grouping things differently, I could (and did) do the same thing with EOs and RCs. Your comments on the Filioque show this rather clearly. You would have a point if E.g. there was a ot of ferment among Lutherans or Presbyterians about the Filioque. There isn't, so any difference is not because individual churches have different interpretations of e.g. the Filioque, but that different confessions mayhave different interpretations of the Filioque--just like your crew. In other words, you keep comparing individual churches in your group to different churches in another group. This allows you to claim division, but it is an apples to oranges comparison as well as special pleading because the same critique could be placed on your church.

Regarding JWs, they are not protestants, no one that I know of is in fellowship with them. Thus they are ruled out of court. And if you insist on including them, it is trivial (again, as I have shown) to tack a bunch if wackos on you. Of course you will protest, but I think that is just your special pleading coming to the fore again.

Regarding th BoC being "de facto" infallible"--what does that have to to with anything? In any case, one subscribes to the BoC not because one believes it is infallible, but because one is lead by the Spirit to see it is a true exposition of Scripture. That is totally different from the EO/RC claims of infallibility, or the Watchtower's or the Mormons'. LCMS Lutherans are not bound by the latest proclamation of an authority but by the Scriptures as interpreted by the confessions--we can always go ad fontes, where you cannot. Again, you are comparing apples to oranges, and apparently something either has complete unquestioned authority or none at all. We don't see it that way.

Now hopefully you guys will avoid these kinds of lame arguments in the future.

Lvka said...

we can always go ad fontes, where you cannot.

...but it just-so-happens that You don't... (at least not against your own presumably-non-infallible-and-at-any-time-improvable foundational documents).


(And please ceise talking about `mutual recognition`, since that's not the topic under discussion: JWs are Protestants by the very definition of the word, and they also practice sola scriptura; and the same holds true for Oneness Pentecostals, Unitarians, and the early Anabaptists). -- There are indeed Protestants who do NOT practice sola scriptura: Mormons, because the Book of Mormon is not an exposition of scripture, but actual extra-biblical material; and liberals, who do not even believe in the bible, let alone in the bible alone.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

I explained about the BoC in my previous post, and all you do is reassert your opinion as if it is fact.

Oh, and assertions do not make proof. Which brings us to the JW hobby horse you have been riding. You said "JWs are Protestants by the very definition of the word".

Really? *By the very definition?*

No, by *your* definition they are protestant, not by the usual use of that word. (Which expands and contracts depending on the needs of the moment--it is OK to speak about protestantism as if it is a confession while later asserting there is no unity among them: make up your mind please...) You are not a pope and have not advanced any evidence supporting this conclusion except to say it over and over a few times, so I will treat it as the rhetorical play it is.

In any case, you have not even rebutted my main point: you guys are as divided as any "protestants"--and I suppose we can count any and all churches, RC, EO, Copt etc. which claims AS to "prove" your "unity" is simply not real--i.o.w. AS is useless for unity because there is no unity among the different churches making contradictory claims to be "the" church. So, since your "algorithm" causes division which we can readily see, I await you to follow your conscience and leave your church since any system which has so many divisions is obviously false.

Or, stop using this silly argument and we can get to more substantive issues.

John said...

"The point is, *if* you link us with JWs, we are free to link you with kooky EO groups."

Why, since kooky EO groups don't conform to our rule of faith? That's about as legitimate to us linking you to the book of Mormon.

"the AS churches ar enot united and in fact have contradictory theologies even if on the surface they appear to be the same. "

That's because you're lumping in different things and pretending they are the same, as if I linked you to the Book of Mormon. There are more nuances to our rule of faith than simply "tradition".

John said...

"I said the Watchtower Society does claim certain kinds of inspiration while the Protestant documents (and their authors) Lvka listed don't."

You're comparing apples to oranges in dredging through every statement the WTS has made and comparing that to a concise statement of faith of Protestantism. In any case, the WTS has never flatly claimed inspiration. Instead it makes various claims of authority and guidance. I could dredge up Martin Luther and his quotes "If your Papist annoys you with the word ('alone'), tell him straightway, Dr. Martin Luther will have it so:, and he is a doctor above all the doctors in Popedom."

Jehovah's witnesses are under the impression all their doctrines can be derived from scripture, and the fact they are influenced by the WTS is no different in kind to Protestants' influence by Martin Luther.

"If it "proved" something to you, you would have to jettison a popular argument against Protestantism and Sola Scriptura."

LOL... WHY? We still claim the true church is visibly one, "so that the world may believe that You sent Me". You believe the church is not visibly one. Nothing said so far altars that one bit. Nobody has even attempted to respond to this simple fact, with all the side issues.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John writes,

You're comparing apples to oranges in dredging through every statement the WTS has made and comparing that to a concise statement of faith of Protestantism.

I didn't make the argument that the confessions of Protestantism are comparable to the literature put out by the Watchtower. Lvka did when he earlier wrote:

The "Watchtower" publications represent for the Jehovah's Witness what the Book of Concord represents for Lutheranism or what the Christian Institutes and Westminster Confession represent for Reformed Calvinism.

So, thanks again for correcting Lvka for me.

In any case, the WTS has never flatly claimed inspiration. Instead it makes various claims of authority and guidance.

I never said they flatly claimed inspiration. I noted that they ascribe to Provisional Infallibility.

LOL... WHY?

What is it with Eastern Orthodox apologists and arrogance? So much more Simon the Pharisee than Jesus.

We still claim the true church is visibly one,

The argument has been answered on its own terms.

Other arguments could also be fielded, such as how your concept of "visible" unity is indefensible from Scripture's definition of unity, but that's for another thread.

Lvka said...

Protestantism is, by definition of the word, an umbrella term that denotes all the various Christian denominations which separated from Rome, or (subsequently) from other Protestant denomimations before them. -- And that's also precisely the reason why I didn't focus on Protestantism in my comments, but specifically on those Protestants who use Sola Scriptura (since it is sola scriptura and tradition that are specifically under the microscope here).

Lvka said...

As a peripheral explanation to your continued amazement and bewilderment, I will give You two reasons for my insistance on Unitarianism:

1. it has a 500 year old history in my home country, Romania, and in the neighbouring country of Hungary.

2. Pentecostalism is, along with Islam, the fastest-growing faith on Earth, so the present & future danger of the Oneness movement cannot be ignored.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"Why, since kooky EO groups don't conform to our rule of faith? That's about as legitimate to us linking you to the book of Mormon."

The EO kooks claim AS, which is your "rule of faith", which means the similarity is a good one. You are, once again, comparing a single denomination within AS to all denominations which use SS and declaring SS brings about division.

Lvka,

"Protestantism is, by definition of the word, an umbrella term that denotes all the various Christian denominations which separated from Rome, or (subsequently) from other Protestant denomimations before them. "

And we claim JWs and Mormona etc. are not Christians, which means by your own definition JWS are not Protestant. This is where fellowship--which you have ignored--comes into play.

So *by drefinition* your lumping JWs in with Lutherans and baptists is wrong. Finally, you arbitrarily stop with Rome. Why not go all the way back to EOdoxy and say she is the mother of all schisms? Basically, there comes a time when you are no longer "responsible" for divisions, and fellowship is a good place for this. IOW, if church A breaks fellowship with Church B, there is no real reason to blame Church A for the problems of Church B.

And, you are still dividied--you have not even refuted that, instead you want to spend a lot of energy trying to pin JWs on prots while ignoring your own kooks for no apparent reason. IOW, you have tacitly admitted you are divided, which makes this particular argument used against prots rather reversible and therefore not very useful.

Matthew, the argument is popular because it allows the EO or RC apologist to wave away any an all claims of any protestant. This allows the EO or RC to claim superiority and avoid argumentation. Since it is so convenient, they are loath to give it up, so you see the trench warfare regarding JWs--as if JWs can be tacked on to protestants, it becomes rhetorically easier to claim Scripture is unclear and then to discredit SS. Of course, this requires a willful ignorance of their own divisions, which they always portray in the most minimalist terms. It is actually a good debating ploy if one lets then get away with it.

John said...

No, AS is not our rule of faith. It's one of a number of prerequisites necessary to having tradition, in the same way as parchment is a prerequisite to a sola-scripturaist having a copy of the scriptures. That doesn't make parchment your rule of faith, nor even the sole prerequisite to having the scriptures. I may as well lump you with Muslims since you both use parchment.

And we compare a number of SS denominations to us, because you are the ones who claim the church subsists in a number of denominations, and not just one. We're just holding you to your claims in the context of John 17 "that the world may know that thou hast sent me”. If the Church subsists in a number of congregations who are not in communion, then the world knows no such thing.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"No, AS is not our rule of faith. "

Well, SS isn't our rule of faith, either. As, like SS, is used for shorthand. The rule of faith is the Gospel proclamation, which we find in the Scriptures by the prophets and Apsotles. St. Irenaeus said this too, BTW, so it wasn't just made up.

You really need to bone up on Reformation Christianity, as your lack of knowledge is pretty stunning.

"If the Church subsists in a number of congregations who are not in communion, then the world knows no such thing."

Unless you are willing to say only EOs are Christians, then this simply falls apart, as there is no such thing as a Christian not in the Church, which is Christ's body. If you want to assert that it is trivial to find EOs who disagree with this proposition, which is I suppose another example of all this unity we keep hearing about.

Regarding the Lutheran teaching on this, we believe that wherever people are gathered around Christ and his word, we find the Church. As Jesus himself said "wherever to or three are gathered in my name..." So you would also have to assert that non Orthodox cannot gather in Jesus' name. If you want to, go ahead, I don't believe that is EO teaching but if it is just the teaching of your denomination and not *the* Church. In other words, it is a biblical definition of church, not one arrived at via philosophy and academic theology.

Oh yeah, unless just believe your assertion your church as *the* Church your church fails the unity test, too, as there are other claimants to the title of "original church". You know, the thread topic. Also, any church can claim the visible unity yo do for your church. IOW, this argument is so silly and reversible it is a waste of time for you to use it. There is a lot of twisting and turning to make it come out right, but the intricate dance makes the outcome less, not more sure.

Lvka said...

Ed,

your zeal and fervor are admirable, but they don't change the definitions from the dictionary.

Lvka said...

Ed,

given Your definition of a church, how exactly do you exclude the Judaizers, non-Trinitarians, etc from being a church?

Orthodox can at least say that their faith is the true religion. and that it possesses the fulness of truth, without relegating seekers to look elsewhere also.

Rhology said...

Calvinists can at least say that their faith is the true religion. and that it possesses the fullness of truth, without relegating seekers to look elsewhere also.

Lvka said...

Is that credo-baptist Calvinists, paedo-baptist Calvinists, or both? And does it include the N.P.P. or not?

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

Your questions are purly rhetorical in nature, it seems to me. But let me boil things down for you:

1) JWs are not Trinitarians. That is reason enough for them not to be protestants. This the fellowship issue I keep bringing up but which you want to ignore.

2) I am not going to discuss judaizers with you, because you are still stuck on JWs which you insist are prots, despite no prot accepting them. I can understand why you would want to do so, but then you arbitrarily exclude the churches which claim to be Orthodox. I.e. you simply act like they are not there and prefer to argue about JWs.

As for non-trinitarians, please see above.

BTW, there are quite a few EOs who would say the RCC is non-trinitarian because of the filioque. This is another example of all that unity you supposedly possess that makes your so much better than e.g. the LCMS.

Also, are the Old Calanderists right or the New Calendarists?

More unity.

I know, I know, that's different just because...

IOW, you have not addressed the divisions within your own communion as well as within the AS churches in general, so all your various arguments against protestants based on divisions, 20,000 denominations etc. are quite invalid until you can show you are united--but you are not united. As someone famous said, take the plank out of your eye and you will see clearly to cast the speck out of your neighbors'. I await your principled rejection of the EOC for all these divisions and for spawning all those false churches. Taht is if you are making a principled argument as opposed to a rhetorical one.

"Is that credo-baptist Calvinists, paedo-baptist Calvinists, or both? And does it include the N.P.P. or not?"

An analogy for the EOC is the patristic revival vs. the trads. Or how about ecumenists vs. non-ecumenists? How about the EOs who believe it is a calumny to say God punishes people for eternity as opposed to their ultimately being saved? How about Dr. kalimros' views of the West, as opposed to more sympathetic views of the West?

You have divisions, too. It is quite obvious it is so, and it is quite obvious you don't know how to respond to the critique to level at protestants except to keep adding to your laundry list--while ignoring your own divisions.

As someone famous said, take the plank out of your eye and you will see clearly to cast the speck out of your neighbors'. I await your principled rejection of the EOC for all these divisions and for spawning all those false churches.

You won't do so, of course, because this argument by you is not a principled argument, but a rhetorical argument.

Lvka said...

1).

The "Witnesses" are ... not alone in rejecting the Trinity [Oneness Pentecostals and Unitarians do the same] ... AND (most importantly) they ALL do so on a sola-scriptura basis: ALL of these sects believe in the Protestant Canon of sixty-six books, which they approach on sola-scriptura basis, completely detached from all traditional presuppositions. They ALSO believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone, apart from any works done by us.

They use the SAME exegetical or interpretative method as You, and yet --whether you like it or not-- arrive at totally different conclusions than you do.

The women-ordaining groups you mentioned DON'T use tradition as their tool for determining whether women can be ordained or not (because there's no woman-priest or woman-bishop anywhere in Church history/tradition).

2).

The Filioque, with all its faults, is much more tollerable than either Oneness, JWs, or even Calvin's 'autotheos' and 'aseity' of the Son (which denies the Son's eternal sonship & the Nicene Creed)

3).

Orthodox use both calendars: Old and New. And we don't have a problem with that. [Being an 'Old Calendarist' is *NOT* the same as being on the Old Calendar]. -- which isn't to say that the Old-Calendar-schismatics are not included in our hermeneutic group of "tradition-based" churches.

4).

Orthodoxy doesn't tolerate syncretism or inter-communion, if that's what you have in mind.

5).

you arbitrarily exclude the churches which claim to be Orthodox.

I also "arbitrarily exclude the churches which" don't use the sola-scriptura hermeneutical method from among those that "claim to be [Protestant]". (liberals, Mormons, etc).

6).

No, my argument is not "rhetorical"
And I didn't speak of "20,000 denominations" either: see one of my first comments on this thread, where I tried to logically gather those denominations into about a dozen or so groups, based on their *fundamental theological beliefs*.

Lvka said...

How can my srgument not be principled when I'm the only one here actually discussing the principles at stake: tradition and sola scriptura?

Origen was condemned at the 5th Ecumenical Synod, along with all that hold to his teachings, so anyone who does not hold to that anathema goes against the history or tradition of the Church.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

1 I simply reject your repeated assertion that the JWs and non-trinitarians are protestants. Your porpoition is historically, theologically and logically silly. I have given ample reason to reject this assertion by you. If you want to keep this assertion you are welcome to it, but it does not make your claims more forceful to me, as you are just being argumentative.

You insist the are the same
exegetical method. They are not. Or if they are, the LGBT Orthodox church belongs in your category, which you would reject.

2 is gone because 1 is wrong.

3 I gave more examples of divisions in this thread, which map a lot of the divisions you state regarding prots. As I keep saying, you just sweep your divisions under the rug in favor of shibboleths like JWs.

4 A simple question will take care of this:

Can anyone outside EOdoxy be saved?

Yes or no.

And a "yes" does not entail syncretism--that is just another shibboleth to cover up the serious divisions within your communion. and no matter which you state, there are Orthodox who will say the opposite.

Such is your "Unity".

5 You still ignore the divisions within Orthodoxy, which brings us to

6 If the principle is that divisions show a church or group of churches are false, then to be consistent with the principle you should cease to be EO, the "mother" of all the various churches, the church which spawned Arianism, Monothelitism, Eutycheanism, Monophysitism and which initially approved of Pelagius as well as the progenitor of RCism. I.e. The EO divided in the past and spawned all further divisions from its "algorithm".

But since this is not a principled argument, despite your protests, you won't leave the EOC. And i don't think you should for that reason, because it is an unreasonable and rhetorical argument, no matter how many times you claim the contrary.

Lvka said...

How exactly DON'T the Oneness Pentecostals and the Unitarians use Sola Scriptura? (You already offered your explanation with regard to the "Witnesses", which left me completely unconvinced, but I won't ask You to re-write it because there would obviously be no point in doing that).

Lvka said...

Can anyone outside EOdoxy be saved?

Yes, but that's up to God to decide: we don't encourage that; as far as we're concerned, there's no [guaranteed] salvation outside the Church.

Lvka said...

I've also explained to You why those who ordain women can't be traditional (because they use a different method than tradition).

On the other hand, You've offered thusfar NO reason why non-trinitarians supposedly DON'T use sola scriptura. -- You've based your opinion solely on "kooky-ness" and "mutual-recognition"... but you haven't exactly shown what either one of the two has to do with SS.

Lvka said...

Arianism was based on Greek philosophy: Greek philosophers said that different prepositions correspond to different natures, and the Arians simply took that and applied it to liturgical expressions like "glory TO the Father, THROUGH the Son, IN the Holy Spirit" -- but the Holy Bible and the Sacred Tradition don't contain this teaching (regrading prepositions).

Rhology said...

Is that credo-baptist Calvinists, paedo-baptist Calvinists, or both? And does it include the N.P.P. or not?

Is that Latin rite EOdox, new Calendarists, old Calendarists, or both? And does it include the OOC or not?

Lvka said...

I was talking strictly about Eastern Orthodoxy there, Allan. (Just like You were talking strictly about Calvinists).

Rhology said...

Apparently you don't know that Calvinism carries with it both paedo and credo. You just can't escape the special pleading.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

The vast majority of your objections can be taken care of in a few sentences. In fact, I don't really have to formulate a detailed rebuttal because you supplied one for me.

"I've also explained to You why those who ordain women can't be traditional (because they use a different method than tradition).

On the other hand, You've offered thusfar NO reason why non-trinitarians supposedly DON'T use sola scriptura"

Non-trinitarians don't use Sola Scriptura, even though they claim to. Just like your statement that those who ordain women don't use Tradition, thogh they claim to. Here is how you supplied the rebuttal to your own argument:

You yourself said Arianism was based on Greek Philosophy. If that is so, you have refuted your own claim regarding the JWS and Sola Scriptura, since the doctrine is not based on Scripture, but upon philosophy.

QED

Rhology,

Don't you know that any divisions within e.g. EOdoxy aren't important divisions? Only prot divisions are fatal to truth claims. Get with the program!

Lvka said...

Calvin and Luther baptized babies. It was the Anabaptists that were the first to raise objections to that. (Luther had polemics with all: Calvin, Zwingli, the Anabaptists).

You're not a Calvinist: You're a Baptist with a Zwinglian (and not Calinist) view of the sacraments which believes in predestination. -- That's why I was befuddled by Your "Calvinists are the true religion" line.

Lvka said...

Ed,

it seems like we have a problem of communication here:

Arianism and the JWs --though reaching the SAME conclusion-- DO NOT have the SAME foundations for their beliefs.

Likewise, [but in an *inverted* manner], JWs and trinitarian Protestants, --though having the SAME hermeneutical system-- DO NOT reach the SAME conclusions.

Clearer now?

Lvka said...

What BOTH Greek philosophy AND sola-scriptura have in common is that they're NOT part of Tradition.

Traditional Churches haven't yet succumbed into non-trinitarianism; but non-traditional churches have.

Still not clear enough?

Lvka said...

You also haven't told me what part of tradition is used by those who ordain women as an excuse for what they do.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"Arianism and the JWs --though reaching the SAME conclusion-- DO NOT have the SAME foundations for their beliefs. "

None the less, you contradicted your original point. If the JEs base their teachings on philosophy and Scripture, they do not follow SS.

Arianism, in what ever form, is a philosophy with some christian overtones. It is an attempt to rationalize the revelation. It says what God can and cannot be according to human understanding. If you want to argue the Scriptures teach Arianism, you are welcome to do so, but I don't want to get into that here as yo useem to bring up arguments willy nilly and stick to them long after they are shown to be rathe ruseless.

"What BOTH Greek philosophy AND sola-scriptura have in common is that they're NOT part of Tradition."

You need to read St. Irenaeus more closely. He said the Tradition was written down by the Apostles. Also, SS does not say that all that is true is in the Scriptures, but all that is necessary for salvation is in the Scriptures.

"We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith." (Against Heresies, 3:1.1, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p. 414.)

Perhaps you have a ready answer, but the point is that your glib claim is not to be taken at face value.

"You also haven't told me what part of tradition is used by those who ordain women as an excuse for what they do."

After you show me where Arianism is taught in the Scriptures. If yo uwant to use "Sola Scriptura" as refering to anyone who claims to use the principle, the same goes for AS.

Pretty soon you will have to use *real* arguments, Lvka. :-)

Rhology said...

Ah now Lvka wants to educate me on whether Reformed Baptists are Calvinists or not. Nice evasion of the question. You know, you already conceded my point; I'm not sure what you're still doing here.

Lvka said...

No, Ed, the Witnesses do not use philosophy: they simply use sola scriptura.

And the Arians did not use sola scriptura, they used Greek philosophy.

We also believe that everything necessary for salvation is found in the Scriptures, but only when these are understood in the light of holy tradition.


------------------------------
Rho,

Reformed Baptists are Reformed Baptists, and Reformed/Calvinists are Reformed/Calvinists: I'm not saying that You don't have points of convergence, I'm just amazed at Your sloppy use of terms.

Lvka said...

Ed,

it's not about "claiming" to use an algorithm: the algorithm is known, and anyone can see whether someone uses it or not, based on its contents or definition: and the JWs *DO* use Sola Scriptura: I wouldn't waste your time if I thought they were merely pretending to: I've seen them in action, and that's indeed the method they systematically employ.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"No, Ed, the Witnesses do not use philosophy: they simply use sola scriptura."

Show me where their doctrine is in Scripture beyond a reasonable doubt and I will believe you. For your point to be true you would have to say that the Scriptures teach Arianism. If they don't it is obvious the JWs don't use SS. Ut us really as simple as that.

Oh, Irenaeus knocks your case down, too.

And you still haven't dealt with the divisions in your own communion, which undermine your whole argument. You want to exclude the church which ordains women because it does not follow tradition. Well, how do we know that? This way of arguing by you makes you look completely arbitrary.

Lvka said...

For your point to be true you would have to say that the Scriptures teach Arianism. If they don't it is obvious the JWs don't use SS. Ut us really as simple as that.


Ed,

you agreed that at least trinitarian Protestants use Sola Scriptura... and yet their beliefs vary with regard to (for instance) baptismal regeneration, real presence, the office of a bishop, and predestination. Obviously, Scripture can't teach all of them, can it? So, according to You then, not even trinitarian Protestants use Sola Scriptura. And yet You agreed that they do.


Show me where their doctrine is in Scripture beyond a reasonable doubt and I will believe you.

It's not about "beyond a reasonable doubt", Ed: if someone (anyone!) can show that it is POSSIBLE to read the Scriptures in a certain way (or that the Bible CAN be interrpeted in a certain fashion), then his teaching passes the test of Sola Scriptura: that's ALL that's needed! -- The fact that someone else may propose an alternative sola-scriptura-view does NOT invalidate the former one as being also sola-scriptura, as long as both can make their cases `fly` within the possible meaning-range of the naked/bare text.

Rhology said...

It's not sloppy to say that Calvinist Baptists are Calvinists.

Plus, you STILL aren't dealing with the main question, nor are you dealing with the fact that you've already conceded my argument. Maybe you should work on a better set of arguments rather than belaboring this point over and over.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

Two reversible arguments in one post!

"You agreed that at least trinitarian Protestants use Sola Scriptura... and yet their beliefs vary with regard to (for instance) baptismal regeneration, real presence, the office of a bishop, and predestination."

AS churches disagree on --AS!!!, the persons of the Trinity and their relation to each other, whether or not grace is created or uncreated, whether or not Mary was born sinless, whether or not God sends people to eternal punishment, whether or not there is one source or two sources for Tradition, whether or not Augustine's theology is good or not, whether or not RC baptisms are valid etc. etc. When you guys over in AS land straighten out your trinitarian theology as well as the other really major differences, maybe I'll listen to you about all that prot division. Until then, no.

Again, it is quite obvious this is not a principled argument by you, but a rhetorical one. Or else you would have to proclaim your own "algorithm" invalid.

"It's not about "beyond a reasonable doubt", Ed: if someone (anyone!) can show that it is POSSIBLE to read the Scriptures in a certain way (or that the Bible CAN be interrpeted in a certain fashion), then his teaching passes the test of Sola Scriptura: "

If someone can show it is POSSIIBLE to ordain woomen from Tradition it passes the Tradition test. POSSIBLE is a weasel word, as you can just assert that this or that is POSSIBLE, just like I can. Lots of things are POSSIBLE, but they are so unlikely that for practical purposes they are impossible. Arianism is one example, as is justifying womens' ordination. The problem is you want an exception for yourself, and I am not willing to give you one.

But I have already shown how reversible your arguments are. You also keep moving the goal posts.

As Rhology said, yo ukeep proving the point, but you don't seem to realize it.

Lvka said...

I didn't contradict myself, Ed. But You did. (The point of my former comment, in case You haven't noticed, wasn't to show the divisiveness of Protestantism, but rather the inconsistency in Your understanding of what sola scriptura means).


And since there haven't been any women ordained to the priesthood in Christian history, there can be no talk of women-ordination within the realm of tradition.

Alex said...

Ed,

you agreed that at least trinitarian Protestants use Sola Scriptura... and yet their beliefs vary with regard to (for instance) baptismal regeneration, real presence, the office of a bishop, and predestination. Obviously, Scripture can't teach all of them, can it? So, according to You then, not even trinitarian Protestants use Sola Scriptura. And yet You agreed that they do.


I’ve decided to sit on the sidelines and watch how Rhology and especially Edward fail time and again to grasp the big picture. This is exactly what Edward, Rhology et al conveniently overlook. They claim that each believer who holds to the radically contradicting confessions/doctrines/creeds from each of these denominations are all part of the true church. Setting aside EO’s position on this, speaking as a Catholic, at least my Church states that if you do not believe in the de fide teachings of the Church, the unity of faith, you are a heretic, and if you separate yourself from the unity of communion, you are in schism. We are called to one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism (Our Lord and Scripture continuously make reference to this 1 Cor. 1:10). Unity of Faith and Unity of Communion is what the Catholic Church (and Scripture) teaches. The Protestants following their sola scriptura theological fantasy, and knowing the incompatibility of their functionally-at-odds rule of faith due to their unwillingness to profess Scripture’s clear teaching of unity by instead teaching doctrinal minimalism in mere agreement in the basic truths of faith only (whatever their fallible certainty tells them that this is, these fundamental articles of faith change from person to person, or denomination to denomination as the “spirit” leads them), all find its end in truly reducing the Body of Christ (the Church) to doctrinal epilepsy. If we held to the outrageous claims of Edward and the rest of the Protestants, the Body of Christ cannot possibly function. The Protestants collectively do not have one Faith as Irenaeus claimed that the Church throughout the world would proclaim (Adv. Haer. V 20, 1). It is incumbent upon Edward to enlighten us on how the framework of varying confessions/doctrines/creeds can exist side by side in the Body of Christ, or he must label those who disagree with him doctrinally as heretics. Apostolic succession is one of the proofs or marks of the true Church. If you cannot show apostolic succession (for instance, Protestants cannot show apostolic succession), then we can dismiss your claims immediately.

John said...

" The rule of faith is the Gospel proclamation, which we find in the Scriptures by the prophets and Apsotles."

I don't see a distinction between "the scriptures" and "the gospel as found in the scriptures by the apostles". That's trying to create a distinction where there is none. But there is a distinction between the succession and the tradition and the EO rule of faith. They are three separate and distinct categories.

"ou really need to bone up on Reformation Christianity, as your lack of knowledge is pretty stunning."

What am I supposed to lack knowledge on? That Reformed Christians consider the gospel as found in the bible to be their rule of faith? Please. Throwing out ad-hominem, especially on such a gratuitous basis does not help your case.

"Unless you are willing to say only EOs are Christians, then this simply falls apart"

The classification of John 17 isn't "Christians". The bible only knows about the disciples in the Church, which you are not. What you are, I cannot say, but you are not in the biblical categories and not in the category of those who are "one".

"the Lutheran teaching on this, we believe that wherever people are gathered around Christ and his word, we find the Church."

It must be more nuanced than that, since that includes Bahai, JWs and Mormons.

"As Jesus himself said "wherever to or three are gathered in my name..." So you would also have to assert that non Orthodox cannot gather in Jesus' name. "

Well, the question is whether you are willing to go reductionist here and include Bahai, JWs and Mormons. What say you? If you want to, go ahead.

"Oh yeah, unless just believe your assertion your church as *the* Church your church fails the unity test, too"

Ahh, but I and we do believe it, which is the point.

John said...

"Also, are the Old Calanderists right or the New Calendarists?

More unity."

?????

Canonical old and new calendar churches are in unity. What sort of silliness is this now? We didn't say that to be in unity you have to have no differences. Nobody made that claim.

"you have not addressed the divisions within your own communion "

What divisions? I've yet to hear any divisions stated.

"as well as within the AS churches in general"

We don't need to address that, because AS is not our rule of faith, any more being a scripturaist means you need to defend Muslims.

"An analogy for the EOC is the patristic revival vs. the trads. Or how about ecumenists vs. non-ecumenists?"

These are not even issues out in the field. But let's say for the sake of argument they are issues. That doesn't mean we don't have unity.

Now if you're willing to have your children baptised when you visit a baptist church, or vice versa if you are a baptist visiting a presbyterian church, renounce your baptism, then we might have something to discuss. Otherwise it has no comparison to various opinions that may exist among people. We have our dogma and our areas in the realm of opinion, and for you to confuse the two doesn't help your case.

John said...

" Lots of things are POSSIBLE, but they are so unlikely that for practical purposes they are impossible. Arianism is one example, as is justifying womens' ordination. "

Which way do want to run on this? On the one hand you want to be able to just dismiss Arianism and women's ordination as contrary to sola scriptura (despite various scriptural arguments that have been put forward over the years).

On the other hand, when we as EO wanted to dismiss papism as clearly outside the tradition, (which you actually agree on), and thus not required for us to defend, you still insist on lumping us with them as "AS", and needing to defend them.

So which way do you want to run on this? Are you willing to let us rule out churches with teachings that we both agree are outside the tradition, or do you want to be left holding the bag with sola scriptura Arianism and women's ordination? It's high time you said something in this exchange that was actually internally consistent.

Rhology said...

What divisions? I've yet to hear any divisions stated.

You just quoted one - new Calendar vs old Calendar. Sheesh. What does it take, a sledgehammer?

Besides, this debate is not about whether there are divisions within your own church. That is beyond question. The real point here is Sola Scriptura vs Scripture + Tradition - does either produce INSTITUTIONAL unity. Clearly the answer is also no. THAT is the big picture. Think, people.

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

There is a distinction in Lutheran theology between churches which teach the pure Gospel, and churches which teach the Gospel but add or subtract from it. Under God's grace even those churches which add or subtract from the gospel still contain Christians. The key i snot a proper ecclesiology but whether or not the doctrine handed down by the Apostles is there. So, for instance, the RCC is still church because she still have Baptism and Holy Communion, and preaches the gospel of forgiveness of sins and new life in Jesus Christ, though she does so unclearly.

So, we would agree with you that those who add or subtract from the gospel are heterodox, hereitcs etc. But we do not say that because an ecclesial organization teaches error it ceases to be church. The RCC and EOC do so based on their respective, and contradictory, ecclesiologies.

So where is the visible unity? It is in the preaching of the Gospel.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

I don't have a problem with you dismissing the WO EOdox churches. What I object to is the attempt to force e.g. JWs into the protestant camp, where they do not belong. I think this is because you don't know what Reformation SS is, and have a cartoon view of it as subjective interpretation of Scripture. Basically, there are levels of authority in which Scripture is supreme. Thus it is OK to quote councils, ECFs, theologians etc. as authorities, but they don't have the same kind of authority as Scripture. The closest analogy I can think of for EOdox is that some ECFs say things which are not Orthodox, but it does not mean that said fathers have no authority. Also, the decrees of councils have more authority than the canons of the councils, because the decrees are still followed but not all the canons are. For instance, if an EOdox has a Jewish doctor, he would violate the canon of one of the councils. But this does not mean the canons have no authority at all. As to the councils themselves, they do not establish dogma, but teach what was always taught. IOW they do not have the same kind of authority as the _kerugma_ itself.

So, this means it is consistent for a prot who follows Reformation SS to exclude JWs, no matter how many times Lvka trues to tack them on. And the reason they don't fit is the same reason WO EOdox don't fit, they violate the Rule of Faith. (BTW, Arianism violates more than SS, but the very teaching of how who Christ is because of what he did--a creature could not do such a thing.)

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"The point of my former comment, in case You haven't noticed, wasn't to show the divisiveness of Protestantism, but rather the inconsistency in Your understanding of what sola scriptura means."

I don't think you know what protestantism means, nor do you know what SS means. You have, like John, a cartoon version of both which happily for you fits into your pre-conceived notions and polemical purposes.

I have repeatedly shown that no one is in fellowship with JWs, and you yourself admitted they don't use SS, as your own words show. It is not my fault you tripped on your words. Perhaps in the future you should look to understand your opponent instead of going for the cheap rhetorical victory.

Lvka said...

Ed,

I've asked You repeatedly to take the time to explain to me where I go wrong with believing that Protestant faiths like the JWs, Oneness Pentecostals & Unitarians employ Sola Scriptura as their hermeneutical tool.

John said...

"I don't have a problem with you dismissing the WO EOdox churches."

Ok. Well one wonders if there is any bight left in this Jn 17 claim then.

"you don't know what Reformation SS is, and have a cartoon view of it as subjective interpretation of Scripture"

How would you define subjective? As far as I see it is interpretations you don't agree with. I don't know that we can give you a free pass on JWs because you seem to make the same claims about the interpretations of the Fathers which EO hold to.

"Basically, there are levels of authority in which Scripture is supreme."

We could go along with that, except that we say something similar and you don't agree with us. So it seems like your subjective interpretations in real life trump any other level when it suits you.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"How would you define subjective? As far as I see it is interpretations you don't agree with. I don't know that we can give you a free pass on JWs because you seem to make the same claims about the interpretations of the Fathers which EO hold to."

We don't need a "free pass", because the idea is ridiculous. But if you assert it is not ridiculous, then the EO wackos belong to you.
Remember, if it was not for you guys stating the various denominations which use SS prove SS is invalid, there would be no need for us to bring up WO EOs. As I stated to Lvka, it is not a principled argument but a rhetorical one. One used to avoid real issues in favor of a lot of hand waving. I am sure you have a litany of "exceptions" for your own divisions, that is how a sophist works. It would be wise for the AS churches to get a big issues like the trinity or even As itself straight before pointing fingers. You may also simply say your church is "the" church, but anyone can do that.

Oh, I suppose you are not Lutheran or RC because *you* don't agree with what they teach. Of course, that is different...

Lvka said...

...and as I stated, my argument is not rhetorical.

Now could You please stop ducking the question and enlighten us as to why exactly the method employed by the JWs is not sola scriptura?

Thank You.

John said...

"But if you assert it is not ridiculous, then the EO wackos belong to you.
Remember, if it was not for you guys stating the various denominations which use SS prove SS is invalid, there would be no need for us to bring up WO EOs."

The trouble is, JWs bring up various verses to prove their doctrine, such that they have had no problem sucking in a lot of people, some of them even quite intellectual. And these interpretations can't be entirely blamed on the WTS, since many of them gained traction in the Arian dispute.

However, no woman in the history of the church up until the most recent of times has claimed to be ordained a priest in the church, so nobody can claim this is part of the tradition.

So how can you equate a scriptural interpretation that many find plausible, with a church that claims tradition, but has zero traditional support for WO? They just don't compare.