Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The special pleading of Sola Ecclesia-ists' claims to unity

A favored argument against Sola Scriptura frequently used by our friends in the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church is "Just look at Protestantism! It's a mess, of 22,000 25,000 30,000 33,000 58 gazillion denominations!"
What are they saying? Mostly that Sola Scriptura as a rule of faith is insufficient to bring about institutional, organisational unity to the church of Jesus Christ. And of course, Christ would obviously want His church to have institutional, organisational unity! Evidently, setting the Scripture alone up as the sole infallible final rule of faith for the church doesn't accomplish what it's supposed to. Ergo, Sola Scriptura is false.

I've created this crude and very maladroit drawing to illustrate.


Let's analyse, then, the alternatives of Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy.
Now, we of course like to accuse them of Sola Ecclesia; that is, we contend that their sole infallible final rule of faith is Whatever The Church® Says. But they don't like it when we say that, so let's be conciliatory and lay the contention aside. Their "real" rule of faith is Apostolic Tradition, which includes written and unwritten tradition from the apostles, both in Scripture and in other places such as the lived-out faith of the church, the liturgies, the writings of church fathers down through the years, etc.
Notice that, like the Scripture, this too forms a corpus with limits. The Da Vinci Code is not part of Apostolic Tradition. Neither is the Qur'an, nor is The Audacity of Hope (though, depending on which Roman or EO priest you ask, that last one might be close). We and others have contended many times, rightly, that the limits to the Roman and EO Canons of Scripture are not only poorly defined but actually non-existent. It is also indisputable that one's presupposition of an infallible interpreter (whether she be Rome or EOC) will govern which little-t traditions are actually accepted, promoted if you will, to Big-T Sacred Apostolic Tradition, thus forming the basis for Roman or Orthodox dogma, leaving the little-t traditions to rot by the wayside, relegated to "Well, he was just speaking as a private theologian" or "That was just his opinion" status.
But let's leave all of that aside and grant that there is one big and awe-inspiring God-given Verbum Dei corpus of Scripture and Tradition that is the proper rule of faith for the church of Jesus Christ.

The problem is obvious - Rome, sedevacantists, traditionalist Catholics, Pope Michael-ists, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, and various other churches with incompatible teachings all appeal to this set and limited corpus of Scripture and Tradition. It would appear that the criticism against Sola Scriptura of multiple denominations applies to the Roman and EO rule of faith as well.

The Romanist or Orthodox might object: "But we're not in communion with those schismatics/heterodox/heretics!" Now, 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. Such special pleading is just...special.

So let me break this down as clearly as I can. "The Protestant Church" does not exist. Self-named "Protestant churches" vary so widely in doctrine and authority as to make points of comparison impossible to ascertain. If you want to compare unity and disunity, compare the adherences to the competing rules of faith. Or compare churches, like the Roman Church to the Southern Baptist Convention or the Pope Michael Catholic Church to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. What do we find, if we do this? How different from each other are the churches that hold to Scripture alone as rule of faith, and how different from each other are the churches that hold to "Sacred Apostolic Tradition" as rule of faith? Answer that and you'll know one reason why we consider all this talk about how Tradition and Magisterium make for superior church unity to be just that - talk.


105 comments:

David Waltz said...

Hello Rhology,

Interesting post; rather than share my own thoughts at this time, I thought the following would be of interest:

“Eight years in a Jesuit university taught me many things about Catholicism, including the following: I discovered the breadth of Catholic thought. At least at the academic level, Catholic theology is certainly not monolithic. Among my Jesuit professors I found those who held to a very conservative version of historic orthodoxy and others who were quite liberal. Yet they all remain committed to their Catholic identity. It's a phenomenon illustrated by the introduction my Presbyterian mentor at the university gave to two Catholics scholars having a debate over an important theological issue. He remarked, "The amazing thing about you Catholics is that you can have serious disagreements over key theological issues, yet at the end of the day you stay Catholic. When we Presbyterians disagree, we just start a new denomination." At the risk of being simplistic, perhaps at the bottom of all this is the fact that Evangelical theology is fundamentally rooted in ideas while Catholic theology is always understood as a function of the church. Or, to say it differently, for Evangelicals, theology created the church while for Catholics, without the church, there is no theology. It was also at SLU that I really began to encounter the connection between the church and social justice, a connection that is birthed through seeing all theology as incarnational.” (Dr. Brad Harper, online interview: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2006/bharper_intervw_nov06.asp)


Grace and peace,

David

Louis said...

David,

So where, then, is unity? Take two Roman Catholics who disagree greatly over major issues, but who still belong to the RCC. Then take two protestants, one OPC and one PCA, who agree on nearly everything, but obviously belong to different denominations. Where is the greater unity?

Edward Reiss said...

"'The Protestant Church' does not exist."

This is an excellent point. I also find it interesting that, when convenient, there is such a confessional thing as "protestantism" which can be rejectd, yet there is at the same time no unity within "Protestantism". In other words, depending on the rhetorical needs of the moment, "Protestantism" can be used to expressed a confession or can refer to a hopeless gaggle of confessions.

I also agree that merely stating "we follow Apostolic Succession" is not enough, and is more often used to wave away history of the Scriptures. E.g. "Why should I take YOUR interpretation seriously? We follow teachers in Apostolic Succession (TM), so what you say is of no import at all."

My experience, though, is that if you don't allow this claim to be simply assumed--i.e. point out that there are several Apostolic Trains from which one could choose--that the RC/EO or who ever has a hard time slogging through an discussion when he or she is unable to just shout "Apostolic Succession". For instance, which is official Apostolic Doctrine (TM)?

Grace is a crested accident infused into our nature, or grace is an uncreated energy of God with which we may cooperate toward theosis?

Both have Apostolic Pedigree (TM). And as you pointed out, if doctrinal divisions among prots are proof that Sola Scriptura is insufficient for doctrinal unity, doctrinal differences among those who claim Apostolic Succession is proof AS is insufficient for unity. Tthey don't get a free pass "just because".

Edward Reiss said...

David,

Interesting story, but it posits doctrinal disunuty with a more political unity in its place.

Is that really better?

Rhology said...

I found those who held to a very conservative version of historic orthodoxy and others who were quite liberal. Yet they all remain committed to their Catholic identity.

A perfect example of another related phenomenon - the willingness of these Sola Ecc faith traditions to include even those with incompatible beliefs into the fold, all for the sake of false, visible "unity". You can have it.

louis said...

"A perfect example of another related phenomenon - the willingness of these Sola Ecc faith traditions to include even those with incompatible beliefs into the fold, all for the sake of false, visible "unity". You can have it."

Exactly, because what is most important to the RCC is allegiance to the Roman Bishop, not to any doctrine of God.

Darlene said...

Rho,

You sure have been AMPIMG it up lately. What's gotten into you?

Darlene

Rhology said...

Romans 1:14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.


On a more down to earth note, I have ideas sometimes and other times I don't. :-) I happen to have been having numerous ideas recently, and the time to blog 'em, so there you go. And in all seriousness, I find the "gospel" of Rome and EOC so dastardly that the obligation becomes a weight on my heart. Further, I can't count how many times I've heard this particular objection, and I find it absolutely ridiculous.

Alex said...

The Catholic argument shouldn't be that difficult to follow. It doesn't take any special kind of intellect to grasp what the Catholic is saying regarding our unity as opposed to the variant confessions, doctrines, and creeds found amongst the pseudo-churches in Protestantism. Sure there is going to be diversity within the parameters of defined teaching. The mysteries of God are more than what our intellects can fully grasp. The Magisterium does infallibly tell us definitively when we have stepped outside the faith into heresy. The Church in her Magisterium has recognized this authentic and authoritative role from the beginning when she would appeal to Scripture (which God defined through her) and Tradition in maintaining orthodox teaching. Protestant’s fallible confessions, doctrines, and creeds in themselves are opposed to one another. They recognize that they only teach sound doctrine in so far as their fallible faith community’s subjective reading of Scripture just happens to be right, and they can’t all be right unless the principle of non-contradiction doesn’t hold. The fact that even Protestants realize the importance of defining doctrine is self-evident in that every pseudo-church I have encountered has some statement of faith where they apply their interpretation of Scripture to their own peculiar body of doctrine. Even the teaching that only the main things (whatever they might be) are required for belief is a two fold fallible doctrine: 1) a Christian must believe A, B, and C, and 2) a Christian does not necessarily have to believe X, Y, and Z; either way we are being told what we ought to believe. According to Church teaching Catholics must believe the de fide teachings of the Church. If we disagree we cannot justly call ourselves orthodox Catholics because we will be in heresy. Even if we sincerely struggle with believing that the Church has erred in a teaching, as Catholics we submit to her authority and not as the Protestant who ultimately submits to his own fallible authority, and therein lays the difference. If the Magisterium’s role in defining dogma is nothing more than hopeful scholarly fallible guesswork as we see in Protestantism, then wouldn’t it be incumbent upon us to move where we perceive the “Spirit” (which we might be confusing with our own fallible certainty) to be leading us and join the faith community that conforms more to our understanding of Scripture? Or we could weigh the relevant differences between the two faith communities competing for our membership, and what we find lacking in the community of our ultimate choice we can dismiss this as a non-essential. Do Catholics engage in private interpretation? It depends on what you are referring to. Everyone to a certain degree as a rational agent interprets information. Catholics do not deny this. What a Catholic does say is that you cannot interpret something which goes against the de fide teachings of the Church.

Rhology said...

Alex,

Relevance?

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

But which "majesterium"; yours? the Copts', the EO's, the Armenians', the Sedevacantists'?

As I stated before, you don't get a pass "just because". If different interpretations show a source of authority is insufficient, then it applies to you, too, because there are different trains of Apostolic Succession all claiming to be *the* Apsotolic Succession.

To paraphrase what you wrote:

"[AS Churchs'] fallible confessions, doctrines, and creeds in themselves are opposed to one another"

So, you are in the same boat as the supposedly inferior prots. I suppose one will have to (GASP!) use "private interpretation" to choose between the competing and (EEEK!)contradictory claims of Apostolic Succession!

Also, your claim that the RCC doesn't have a confession is simply wrong--the CCC, the infallible pronouncements of the pope etc.

There are quite a few teachings one must adhere to to be Catholic.

You are attempting to use the "there are a lot of interpretations of Scripture so Scripture is not a sufficient authority..." argument when your own system, an infallible teacher, has different interpretations of what is supposed to be the one tradition handed down by the Apostles. Put another way, if e.g. Lutheranism is wrong because other groups interpret Scripture differently, the RCC is wrong because others interpret the Apostolic deposit of faith differently while all are claiming true AS.

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

ISTM he is just trying to re-assert the typical argument from authority, but does not realize that the way he uses it actually undermines his position. So, in my opinion he made a relevant but self-refuting argument.

Jnorm888 said...

Rhology,

You still don't know what you are talking about. GOA, OCA, and ROCOR are all in communion with one another. And so, it is not the samething as the other groups you listed. Plus, I highly doubt you even know what we mean by Holy Tradition.


Edward Reiss,

I disagree with most of what you had to say.





ICXC NIKA

Darlene said...

Well Rho, ya know, the preacher C.H. Spurgeon once said, "Some men can be so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good."

Now, have a cup of tea (or your favorite beverage) and RELAX just a bit. Afterall, God is in control. He is still holding the universe together and all things are summed up in Jesus Christ.

Nothing will fall apart if you take some time off - ya know, just for a couple of days. :)

John said...

Yes, the most glaring silliness here is that Goarch, OCA and ROCOR are all the Eastern Orthodox Church, and so are not divided. It speaks volumes that you had to split these off to try and make an equivalent argument.

As for the Copts, recent dialog between EO and them has basically concluded that we have no genuine differences, doctrinally speaking. So since this article is willing to assume there is an apostolic tradition, you haven't really proved this as a source of disunity.

Catholics of various stripes: Well would you concede the papacy has supreme, universal jurisdiction in the 1st millenium church, or a belief in papal infallibility? No you wouldn't, so that's not an argument against the tradition either.

So what exactly have you ended up proving? Nothing at all that I can see.

Edward Reiss said...

Jnorm,

"I disagree with most of what you had to say."

So?

John,

"As for the Copts, recent dialog between EO and them has basically concluded that we have no genuine differences, doctrinally speaking. So since this article is willing to assume there is an apostolic tradition, you haven't really proved this as a source of disunity."

First, the EOC has not been in communion with the Copts for over 1000 years, and you are not in communion today. That is 1000+ years of objective "disunity" among churches which claim Apostolic Succession which cannot just be waved away by "pie in the sky" claims of reunion. In other words, in objective terms you are not united, so the point made stands.

Second, your infallible authority (or the Copts') made a mistake lasting 1000+ years. How can an infallible authority do that? And if as you say there ar eno doctrinal differences, why the wait? (It is because there still are some--depending on the EO one asks...)

"Yes, the most glaring silliness here is that Goarch, OCA and ROCOR are all the Eastern Orthodox Church, and so are not divided. It speaks volumes that you had to split these off to try and make an equivalent argument."

Yes, that is a mistake. But it does not really affect the point. Shall we enumerate the non-canonical Orthodox churches claiming AS to up the number?

Facts are facts: there is *objective disunity* among churches which claim "true" Apostolic Succession. So, if objective disunity disproves the truth of a system of authority, EOs and RCs, Copts and Armenians are all in the same boat as prots. I note your critique, such as it is, only attempts to lessen the divisions, not to deny them. You have not offered a reason why an exception should be granted fo rthe divisions among the AS churches as well as within them should count for less than divisions among prots.

I don't know if you in particular have relied on the argument from authority, but if e-apologists from the AS churches didn't depend so much on an argument from authority, this would not be such a big deal. The fact it is used in just about every controversy and that it is completely reversible reversible shows how hollow it is.

So, for all those who say we should not depend on our own standing:

Why is your AS better than anyone else's AS?

And I would like to see the argument advanced without protestant style appeals to Scripture and the Fathers. After all, we should not rely on our private interpretation, right?

Jnorm888 said...

Edward Reiss,

The Armenians and the Copts are in communion with eachother. And at one time, the Georgians were OO too, but now they are in communion with us, and so they are EO.

I think you should stop before you make more silly mistakes. Your point doesn't stand. And the real reason why EO and OO are not in communion today is because there is dissagreement on both sides as to the proper method of going about the "how" in uplifting the anathemas(in regards to some of the canons/decrees). There are two different views on how to do it. There are EO and OO that say we need an Eucemenical council to do it. While other EO and OO say that what is needed is just a common regional gathering/synod on both sides.

And the only reason why this kind of talk is possible is because "monophysitism" is not exactly the same as "miaphysitism". Alot of the modern OO are able to embrace the creeds of the ancient councils, they just have a problem with some of the canons/decrees of those same councils. It took Rome centuries(in some cases a thousand years) to embrace some of the canons/decrees, and so, it may take a long time for the OO's as well.


But what you said is still not the same, for what's going on within EO as well as with EO and OO is still not the same as what we see among """all""" of protestantism.....including the groups you call cults....like the sda's, JW's, Worldwide Church of God(Armstrong), Oneness Pentecostals, Word of Faith, Christadelphians, Uniterians, Uniterian Universalists, Quakers, Shakers,.......etc. And I still dissagree with most of what you had to say.






ICXC NIKA

Jnorm888 said...

Edward Reiss,


There are a few Ethiopians, Indians, and Coptic OO's that attend my parish. There are certain rules in place....canon law.....that allow for this when they don't have a parish near by.

The same is true in regards to seminary, for a good number of OO's in America also attend EO seminaries here.

And so the situation is not the same as what you see among "all" of protestantism.






ICXC NIKA

Edward Reiss said...

Jnorm,

I am not making silly mistakes--I don't think the OO are in full communion with the EOC, though I am willing to be corrected. And if it is true that the Armenians are in fellowship with the EOs while the Copts are not, then you guys have some serious issues with fellowship.

Perhaps you don't understand the point under discussion:

Claims are often made that protestants are divided because their authority--Scripturre--does not engender unity in doctrine.

The brute fact is that the same is true of the churches who claim apostolic succession.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Thus, as long as there are significant divisions between churches which claim apostolic succession the point stands. Quibbling about this church being in fellowship with that church, while not being in fellowship with a third church, only prove the point:

Apostolic succession does not engender unity even among those who claim to be in fellowship.

"But what you said is still not the same, for what's going on within EO as well as with EO and OO is still not the same as what we see among """all""" of protestantism.....including the groups you call cults....like the sda's, JW's, Worldwide Church of God(Armstrong), Oneness Pentecostals, Word of Faith, Christadelphians, Uniterians, Uniterian Universalists, Quakers, Shakers,.......etc. And I still dissagree with most of what you had to say."

Firdt, you are neglecting the RCC. This is not only about EOdoxy. To wit, why is EOdox succession true and not the RC succession?

Regarding your laundry list, I can also site the various EO splinter groups which claim AS but ordain women, or do other things which the canonical EOs don't.

Here is a link:

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

If you want to lump the Unitarians and the JWs with us, I will lump you with the "Pride Church International" which is "Creedally Orthodox" and is for GLBT.

How about the Chaos in the Ukrainian Church?

As I said in a different context, two can play the game of name dropping and spurious connection, as well as listing schisms to "prove" an authority structure is not effective in promoting unity.

Finally, you have still not advanced a reason for your succession as opposed to the RC succession to be true. You are also trying to change the subject with the typical bogus association of any splinter group with "protestantism". Of course, I have no doubt you want an exception for the "Orthodox" splinter groups, and I am confident you have reasons for rejecting them. But I can do that, too. The problem is that you just assume your succession is true, just like a Lutheran assumes his confessions are true. If you advance reasons these Churches are not Orthodox and your communion is right, I will advance arguments as to why e.g. JWs are not Christians and why my communion is right.

In other words, we will use the same tools.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

You are in the same boat. This trope which is pulled out is as applicable to you as it is to e.g. Lutherans. Pretending otherwise does not change the reality that you don't get a pass "just because".

Edward Reiss said...

"And so the situation is not the same as what you see among "all" of protestantism."

From your previous post, your definition of "protestantism" is so broad that it is pretty useless. Thus your point loses its force.

John said...

" the EOC has not been in communion with the Copts for over 1000 years, and you are not in communion today."

Nobody ever made the claim that sola scriptura is the only possible source of disunity. The claim was that sola scriptura is the source of doctrinal disunity. Having failed to show doctrinal disunity, this rebuttal fails.

"How can an infallible authority do that?"

(a) communion has nothing to do with infallible authorities. (b) ask the copts.

"Shall we enumerate the non-canonical Orthodox churches claiming AS to up the number?"

What for? All that would do is prove what we already know - that there are other sources of disunity besides sola scriptura.

"So, if objective disunity disproves the truth of a system of authority, EOs and RCs, Copts and Armenians are all in the same boat as prots."

Since the topic is doctrinal authority, then the disunity of interest is that caused by doctrine, isn't it?

"And I would like to see the argument advanced without protestant style appeals to Scripture and the Fathers. After all, we should not rely on our private interpretation, right?"

And you accuse us of straw men definitions of sola scriptura? Here is a straw man definition of private interpretation if ever I saw one.

David B said...

My thought is that this idea has some merit when one begins to go down that road, but in the end, it doesn't hold water.

The different Presbyterian groups would, indeed, be much like differing Orthodox jurisdictions, and some more distant Presbyterian groups even could be compared to the Orthodox groups that have separated themselves in schism from the local church they were originally a part of.

I would posit, however, that your diagrams of sources of authority (misguided though they may be, as Scripture guides and defines sacred apostolic tradition) nevertheless show a further problem: the question isn't so much, "Is one group divided as opposed to another?" as much as it is, "To what degree and over which (and how many) issues are said groups divided?"

The tradition of "The Great Church," guiding as it does the practice and doctrine of the Catholic and Orthodox communions, does not solve the problem of absolute, airtight doctrinal unity and unity of praxis, obviously. Granted. However, it seems to me that on issues of things like "penance from dead works, and of faith towards God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and imposition of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment" (Heb 6.1-2) -- things which seem basic to the faith, according to the pauline writer -- the catholic confession are much more united than the various protestant confessions. If given the choice of being divided either over the nature of communion and/or baptism or being divided over something as minor as a calendar, I'll take the calendar in a heartbeat, if I have to.

The question, then, is not "who's divided and who's not," but rather,

(1) "Does the tradition at least serve to narrow the range of issues on which we can be divided (thus shrinking the number of actual divisions, as is actually the case)?"

and

(2) "Are the issues over which we are divided issues that have been addressed in centuries past, or are they issues with which we must deal without the benefit of precedent?"

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"The claim was that sola scriptura is the source of doctrinal disunity. Having failed to show doctrinal disunity, this rebuttal fails."

The AS churches are in doctrinal disunity. I don't now how you can say the AS churches are in doctrinal unity. It is simply not true.

Is the RCC in communion with the Antiochene Church?

(BTW, there is no "official" unity between the OO and the EOs).

There are schisms aplenty, doctrinal ones too.

Perhaps you are arbitrarily limiting the churches who are in AS? Well, that won't fly, because I can limit churches who follow SS the same way.

Now to the point. The AS churches claim that doctrinal disunity among prot churches proves that the Scriptures are insufficient for teaching, unclear etc.

The claims advanced by the AS churches are that AS churches, as opposed to prot churches, are unified. This breaks down because *the AS churches are no more unified than the prot churches*. it is a simple, brute fact.

"Since the topic is doctrinal authority, then the disunity of interest is that caused by doctrine, isn't it?"

As I said, the AS churches are doctrinally divided too. Thus, the "doctrinal authority" of AS does not guarantee doctrinal unity, period. This means that critiques based on the doctrinal disunity of prots applies to AS churches, too. Or, you are hoist on your own pretard.

I don't think the topic is doctrinal authority so much as the bogus argument employed by the AS churches that Sola Scriptura leads to doctrinal division and for that reason it is wrong. Well, for all appearances so does AS causes doctrinal disunity, so it must be wrong, too.

And you have not explained why your particular AS is better than anyone else's. A mere assertion yours is correct is--insufficient--to take it at face value.

Now a side note:

ER "Shall we enumerate the non-canonical Orthodox churches claiming AS to up the number?"

John "What for? All that would do is prove what we already know - that there are other sources of disunity besides sola scriptura."

First, he was quibbling about a couple of minor errors which do not impact the point.

Second, as is the habit of RCs and EOs, a simply laundry list is sufficient to "prove" the inadequacy of SS. Well, I can make a laundry list, too, full of AS churches.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. You do not get an exception "just because".

Hey, pretty soon you will have to discuss issues and not pretend As solves doctrinal issues...

Matthew Bellisario said...

This post is a joke. Trying to compare the theological disunity between Orthodox and Catholic Churches to the mangled theological meltdown of the Protestants isn't even remotely comparable.

Valid apostolic succession and Sacred Revelation given to us in Tradition and Scripture facilitate a common understanding of basic Christian doctrine which will never be reached by the Protester. They give us by and large a common understanding of..

1. Concepts of sacraments including the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, Eucharist, Baptism, etc, and how they lead to one's salvation.

2. Leading to similar views of grace, salvation and justification.

3. Veneration of the Saints.

4. A similar living of the Gospel as demonstrated by the Saints of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

By and large Catholics and all Orthodox churches ,including the Oriental Orthodox are very close in understanding the basic doctrines of Christianity. The same cannot be said of the many divided doctrines of basic Christian theological concepts of the Protesters. There is no comparison, say what you will.

Edward Reiss said...

David B,

"However, it seems to me that on issues of things like "penance from dead works, and of faith towards God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and imposition of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment" (Heb 6.1-2) -- things which seem basic to the faith, according to the pauline writer -- the catholic confession are much more united than the various protestant confessions. If given the choice of being divided either over the nature of communion and/or baptism or being divided over something as minor as a calendar, I'll take the calendar in a heartbeat, if I have to."

The RCC teaches grace is a *created* accident infused into our nature. The EOC teaches grace is the *uncreated energy* of God with which we participate.

The RCC teaches Divine Simplicity, the EOC teaches the Essence/Energies distinction.

There are real, substantive differences between the EOC and RCC. That is not surprising because you two are *not in communion*. I will just mention in passing the filioque, various authority issues tied up in Roman dogma, the Immaculte Conception (something unnecessary given EO theology), the original righteousness of Adam. I could mention more--these are very serious issues.

I am aware that RCs like to say there is a lot of unity between the East and West, unfortunately, the EOC does not return the favor, which is just another example of the disunity between the two. And since you both claim to be "the" Church, it makes simple appeals to AS totally inadequate for establishing your authority to those outside your respective communions.

I would also like an answer to my question:

Is nominal unity with different theologies really better?

David B said...

"[Quotes various dogmatic differences between Catholics and Orthodox]--these are very serious issues."

Absolutely. Note that I didn't say that there was total doctrinal unity between churches that hold to apostolic tradition.

"I am aware that RCs like to say there is a lot of unity between the East and West, unfortunately, the EOC does not return the favor, which is just another example of the disunity between the two. And since you both claim to be "the" Church, it makes simple appeals to AS totally inadequate for establishing your authority to those outside your respective communions."

You are correct that we do not return the favor, and such is the case for the reasons you enumerated. I do not use AS as a "silver bullet" to "prove" some sort of fictional, night-and-day contrast between the two groups in the original post, but rather to point out the benefit of said tradition. Some problems we just shouldn't still be dealing with.

"I would also like an answer to my question: Is nominal unity with different theologies really better?"

Again, unity is unity; I won't be calling for RC/EO unity yesterday. So no, it's not better. My point is, however, that, were groups who hold to AS to seek union with one another, there would be much less ground to cover than if AS were not a narrowing element in the equation. Rome is, as you point out, the furthest afield, but development of doctrine (something both your church and mine shake our heads at in amazement) tends to lend itself to such things. The EO and the OO are virtually identical in practice, and doctrine is now mutually communicable, given the prevailing of cooler heads these past few centuries. The fidelity to AS has much to do with the fact that these separate communions have remained so similar for 1600 years.

Edward Reiss said...

David,

"Note that I didn't say that there was total doctrinal unity between churches that hold to apostolic tradition."

But depending on the doctrines enumerated, the "unity" could be greater or lesser.

"I do not use AS as a "silver bullet" to "prove" some sort of fictional, night-and-day contrast between the two groups in the original post, but rather to point out the benefit of said tradition. Some problems we just shouldn't still be dealing with."

OK. I don't have a problem with EOs or RCs using AS, it is just the "silver bullet" assumption, which is more often than not just a way to avoid any discussion. I also think differences among prots are exaggerated while differences within and among the AS churches are minimized in an arbitrary way. For example, isn't there very, very broad agreement between e.g. Baptists and EV Free churches? ISTM one could pass from one to another and make little or no change in one's beliefs. The same with Dutch Reformed and some Presbyterian churches. (Liberal churches will fellowship with anyone, so I consider them a different group all together..) Lutherans are divided, but the only meaningful division is between trads and libs. For example, the LCMS is a member in a world wide association of churches with which it is in altar and pulpit fellowship---which means agreement in doctrine. For what ever reason though, in polemical discussions *any* division in a prot church is dis-positive proof of fatal flaws, while the serious divisions within and among AS churches are waved away. I can see why one would want to do that for rhetorical reasons, but it is not strictly speaking an honest way to proceed. When we couple that with the constant appeals to authority I think you can see why divisions within AS churches become an issue.

Regarding "unity is unity". Well, if e.g. the RCC is said to be more unified because RCs are in fellowship with the pope, but RCs are not doctrinally unified, I am not sure such a unity is useful.

David B said...

My apologies. The "unity is unity" comment was poorly worded. I meant by that that unity has consequences; I don't want the EOC to paint itself into a corner it shouldn't be in by getting in bed with the RCs on every dogmatic issue. Unity is unity; there's no "kind of" unity, and for better AND for worse, sacramental unity has consequences.

L P said...

Protestants disunited?

I find this astounding.

Take any two protestants who disagree with each other and they both will agree to disagree with RCs or EOs, where can you get more unity than that?

LPC

John said...

"Is the RCC in communion with the Antiochene Church?"

No, because the RCC doesn't follow scripture and tradition, they follow scripture + tradition + a papacy. Scripture and tradition are found in scripture and tradition as authorities. The papacy is not in either as a source of authority.

" This breaks down because *the AS churches are no more unified than the prot churches*. it is a simple, brute fact."

Only if you want to argue that universal jurisdiction of the papacy is part of the tradition of the church in the first millennium. But do you *really* want to go down that path? Didn't think so. So the issue comes down to AS churches that actually follow the tradition of the early church.

" Thus, the "doctrinal authority" of AS does not guarantee doctrinal unity, period. "

Nobody every claimed that AS guarantees doctrinal unity. That's a straw man.

"Well, for all appearances so does AS causes doctrinal disunity, so it must be wrong, too."

Sounds like a cause and effect fallacy here. We know that scripture doesn't answer the questions clearly that divide SS churches. But do you really want to argue that tradition isn't clear on there being a universal papacy from the early church?

"Well, I can make a laundry list, too, full of AS churches."

Except that we do not claim AS as the sole criteria. You are the one claiming one criteria - SS, so its pretty easy to pin down the cause there. We don't claim AS is the sole criteria for the true church, so making a list of churches claiming AS, is to divide up the world in a way that we don't. We argue that ALL our criteria lead to unity, not just one or two of them.

Jnorm888 said...

Edward Reiss,

I said the Georgians are in communion with us, not the Armenians. The Armenians are in communion with the Copts.

The reason why I mentioned the Georgians, is because they use to be OO as well. But they are now EO.

And what I said about protestantism is still valid, for the praxis of "Sola scriptura" is what helped cause all the other "extra" North American protestant groups I mentioned.






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Jnorm888 said...

Edward Reiss, you said:

Quote:
"If you advance reasons these Churches are not Orthodox and your communion is right, I will advance arguments as to why e.g. JWs are not Christians and why my communion is right."


The arguments you advance can't be with "Scripture only", for you will have to use something else from Holy Tradition in order to do so....as noted by Alister Mcgrath.


Alister Mcgrath in the book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" said:

Quote:
The Problem of Heresy for Protestantism

""Who had the right to decide which were orthodox and which heretical?

This led to a further difficulty as divisions emerged within Protestant constituencies. Itself partly a consequence of the intellectual ferment of the Renaissance, Protestantism found that it could not check this innovative and critical tendency within its own ranks. It had merely been relocated, not neutralized. One particular difficulty was the rise of anti-trinitarianism in Italian Protestant circles, a movement that rapidly gained a following in northern Europe. For Juan de Valdes and others, the doctrine of the Trinity was simply not to be found in the Bible, nor could it be defended on biblical grounds. Protestants who were faithful to the Bible not only were therefore under no obligation to accept this doctrine but had a responsibility to challenge it as a distortion of biblical truth. Forced out of Italy by the Inquisition, many anti-trinitarians settled in the independent republic of the Grisons in southeast Switzerland, where their influence upon Reformed Protestantism began to grow.
In this case, Protestantism was able to deal with such heterdox trends by appealing to the consensus of faith of the church, as set out in the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. Christianity as a whole had declared such teachings to be heretical; Protestantism thus endorsed this pattern of traditional teaching and, in doing so, rejected anti-triniterianism as heretical. But what of other dissident voices within Protestantism that urged teachings that had never been declared heretical in the past by the church as a whole but were nevertheless regarded with intense animosity within certain sections of the movement?"" [1] pages 227-229








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1] pages 227-229 from the book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" by Dr. Alister Mcgrath, HarperOne @ 2007

Jnorm888 said...

Edward Reiss,

Quote:
"The RCC teaches grace is a *created* accident infused into our nature. The EOC teaches grace is the *uncreated energy* of God with which we participate.

The RCC teaches Divine Simplicity, the EOC teaches the Essence/Energies distinction."


What does this have to do with the issue of being in "full communion" with someone?

Modern Byzantine Catholics (uniates)

Believe in uncreated grace as well as the Essence vs Energies (complex Divine Simplicity) distinction and they are in communion with Rome. So what's your point? Also you as a Lutherian are suppose to believe in both created grace as well as simple Divine Simplicity, and you are not in communion with Rome. So what's your point?


Matthew Bellisario,


I totally agree. The post is a joke.





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L P said...

And what I said about protestantism is still valid, for the praxis of "Sola scriptura" is what helped cause all the other "extra" North American protestant groups I mentioned.


I think this is bordering on post hoc ergo propter hoc.

There are many factors why there is a proliferation of denominations in North America and it cannot be attributed to SS as the sole reason for this. For one thing religious freedom is respected in USA, it is seen as a God given right.

SS of course is a good ploy for starting another denomination and to claim that they have a new and the most improve version. It is also part of human nature to divide.

However, this is not exactly a problem for Scripture itself says this...

1 Cor 11:18-19.

Divisions have already existed in apostolic times sometimes these divisions are more profound than others. What the Scripture teaches is unity in the faith and this does not mean uniformity in the faith.

I think it is myth to say that RCs and EOs are more united than Prots over there etc. This is an entirely subjective judgment.

Christianity distinguished itself from pagan religions by the nature of its confession.

1 Cor 11:19 makes such confession more necessary and for the good because we can see the one's color based on what he/she confesses.

LPC

Matthew Bellisario said...

LP says, "Protestants disunited?

I find this astounding.

Take any two protestants who disagree with each other and they both will agree to disagree with RCs or EOs, where can you get more unity than that?"

Perfect example of making a common enemy a point of unification, yet none of you Protesters can agree on simple truths of the faith such as what baptism is, what the Eucharist is, how you are saved, how grace works in your lives. If this is unity, then I want none of it.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John said, "No, because the RCC doesn't follow scripture and tradition, they follow scripture + tradition + a papacy."

Once again, study Catholicism before you make simpleminded generalizations. The Catholic Church does not teach that any of these are really additions to one another. They are all one united deposit of faith. Scripture and Tradition cannot be separated any more than the three persons of the Holy Trinity can be separated. The Orthodox view it much the same, of course with exception to the papacy. Yet in its place the unity of the bishops is held, and this also has a certain place in Catholicism as well. Tradition and Scripture are one and the same deposit of faith. As far as I know, the whole Scripture plus Tradition explanation is an analogous explanation that was used by the Church after the Protesters came along to combat the Scripture Alone heresy. In reality there is really no addition per se, it one deposit of Divine Revelation given in two forms. It is more accurate to say Scripture resides in Tradition. I recommend that you read Pope Benedict XVI's book called God's Word.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"Only if you want to argue that universal jurisdiction of the papacy is part of the tradition of the church in the first millennium. But do you *really* want to go down that path? Didn't think so. So the issue comes down to AS churches that actually follow the tradition of the early church."

According the RC Tradition, the papacy *does* have universal authority. And if their AS is correct, you are simply wrong. Actually, this is the point. You arbitrarily say *your* tradition is *the* tradition. Perhaps you could argue from history, Scripture etc. But that is what prots are accused of doing. And so, your appeal to *your* tradition is no different in kind from a prot appealing to *his* tradition.

Matthew actually makes my point: as he claims his church is in AS, while your church claims it is not. So, how is this different in kind from a Lutheran pointing to the Book of Concord as a correct distillation of *the* Tradition?

"Nobody every claimed that AS guarantees doctrinal unity. That's a straw man."

I didn't say everyone does, but the claim is advanced in most conversations either explicitly or implicitly. The argument you call a straw man is in fact used, and is the topic of the post and this thread. And I think we have done a good job of showing that as an argument it is useless, and that if you say SS causes disunity we can make the case AS does, too using the same "logic".

"Sounds like a cause and effect fallacy here."

Good job!

Now, the argument that SS is the cause of disunity is also a cause-and-effect-fallacy. Why? because the claims advanced that AS brings unity and SS brings division are false on their face. We can see this by the divisions within and among those who claim AS.

John said...

"You arbitrarily say *your* tradition is *the* tradition. Perhaps you could argue from history, Scripture etc. But that is what prots are accused of doing. And so, your appeal to *your* tradition is no different in kind from a prot appealing to *his* tradition."

I don't arbitrarily say my tradition is the tradition. So we can dismiss that straw man. And I'm not complaining about arguments from history, so another straw man. And my tradition is fundamentally different to prot tradition, because prot tradition is less than 500 years old.

"Matthew actually makes my point: as he claims his church is in AS, while your church claims it is not. So, how is this different in kind from a Lutheran pointing to the Book of Concord as a correct distillation of *the* Tradition?"

Because the Book of Concord contradicts the previous thousand years of Christianity. That's not something you can dismiss as being the same in kind. You know, to have a succession, you've got have... like a succession. Get it?

"I didn't say everyone does, but the claim is advanced in most conversations either explicitly or implicitly."

I doubt it. AS is a prerequisite to having the true church, but is not in itself the criteria for the true church. If anyone argues differently, they are just ignorant.

"We can see this by the divisions within and among those who claim AS. "

Again, trying to spit off mechanistic AS from other issues was never the argument.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"And my tradition is fundamentally different to prot tradition, because prot tradition is less than 500 years old."

And it is also fundamentally different from RC tradition. So why should we entertain your claims about your tradition against anyone else's? See?

Also, so you want to use a straw man that my tradition is 500 years old. Well, that is just another claim based on authority, which I don't accept, which makes the claim spurious.

"Because the Book of Concord contradicts the previous thousand years of Christianity. That's not something you can dismiss as being the same in kind. You know, to have a succession, you've got have... like a succession. Get it?"

No John, the neo-platonic system called "Orthodoxy" contradicts the deposit of faith, which is distilled in the Book of Concord, which is infused with the patristic doctrine of Christ and the Sacraments.

Ready to concede?

I don't care how many times you just try and claim you have the "real" succession and so you are the "real" church, because I don't believe it. You are also just arguing from vigorous assertiuon with spurious claims to authority thrown in. So here is a news flash for you: I think your authority claims are bogus and I don't care how many times you make claims to be "the" church because there are other claimants and you just arbitrarily exclude them.

Then there is the fallacy of "It is old and popular, therefore it is true..."

So much for your attempt at an argument from authority.

"AS is a prerequisite to having the true church, but is not in itself the criteria for the true church. If anyone argues differently, they are just ignorant."

Are you a Donatist now? If a heretic is duely ordained into your church by a bishop in AS, he is a priest, period. AS is the whole enchilada--though heretics can be removed if they are discovered. So it matters quite a bit whether or not one is in true AS (which the OO don't have according to official Orthodoxy...) And the RCC says it has the true succession, while yours is tainted by a lack of suficient fellowship with the pope. Why should anyone accept your claims over and against the RC claims?

Just look at all the unity claims of AS bring about!

I also think your posts here are a good example of how apologists from the AS churches argue: it is all really an argument from authority. Unfortunately for you, there is no compelling reason to accept *your* authority over and against someone else's authority. Just look at how you keep trying to re-asserrt your POV based on spurious claims of authority.

Rhology said...

My favorite part of this combox so far is the "___ is sorta in communion with ____, while this other group, though they haven't been, are now..."

Keep it coming. The dance moves are intricate, but the maneuvering is mesmerising.

Also, I don't really see much dealing with the paragraph that begins with "The Romanist or Orthodox might..." and ends with "...just...special", but I expected that.

Alex said...

Edward, you are not even engaging the actual argument. The question is how is an infallible Magisterium any better than a fallible council of elders when everything is up to the individual who ultimately decides what he will adhere to? How is the Catholic Church more unified than all the Protestant pseudo-church cults? How does the Catholic Church understand unity?

But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:
- profession of one faith received from the Apostles;
-common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;
- apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God's family. (CCC 813)

Those who do not submit to the authentic role of the Magisterium of the Church are either a heretic or schismatic. There is one set of doctrines that define the parameters in which you can have a diversity of belief, but moving outside of which you will find yourself in heresy. We have de fide teachings of the Church which must be professed and believed. Protestant pseudo-church cults have their own variant doctrines which are at odds with their fellow Protestant cults, yet they still accept each other as true believers. They conveniently relegate any doctrinal differences between themselves as non-essential (which is really a doctrine of men). They do not claim to be infallible, so folks can really shop around until they find the right community of faith which more or less fits their individual doctrinal needs, meanwhile they can dismiss those doctrines they disagree with as “non-essential” (this is certainly what my Calvinist father-in-law pastor does at his own Baptist pseudo-church).

Instead of attacking the notion of unity as defined by the Catholic Church, Edward has only been able to point out that there are competing claims to apostolic succession. So what, Edward? How about you argue against the notion of unity as defined by the Church instead of veering off into a tangent over which Church who claims infallibility actually has apostolic succession?

What we find here is more or less the equivalent to one party arguing that democracy leads to greater collective liberty as opposed to unbridled anarchy, while the opposing party is off in la-la-land arguing that democracy can’t lead to greater collective liberty because there are different claimants to true democracy.

Again, the question is what leads to greater unity? Is it the infallible Magisterium, or sola scriptura? If an infallible Magisterium cannot lead to greater unity than the Protestant pseudo-church cults following sola scriptura, then it doesn’t really matter which Church that claims infallibility is the true apostolic Church. If it cannot be shown that Democracy leads to greater collective liberty than unbridled anarchy, then it doesn’t matter which democratic government truly represents democracy.

Edward fails to comprehend that "other groups claim apostolic succession too, ergo apostolic succession can't be true" is not a valid argument. Other religions also claim that their holy books are the word of God, so does that mean that Scripture can't be true?

John said...

"And it is also fundamentally different from RC tradition. So why should we entertain your claims about your tradition against anyone else's? See?"

No I don't see. I've never seen a protestant who wouldn't dive into church history to prove that a papacy with universal jurisdiction was an innovation.

"Also, so you want to use a straw man that my tradition is 500 years old. Well, that is just another claim based on authority, which I don't accept, which makes the claim spurious."

That's not an authority claim, it's a simple statement of fact, that no scholar ought dispute.

"No John, the neo-platonic system called "Orthodoxy" contradicts the deposit of faith, which is distilled in the Book of Concord, which is infused with the patristic doctrine of Christ and the Sacraments.

Ready to concede?"

No, because we were discussing apostolic succession as a part of our rule of faith, and whether you do or don't think the BoC distills the deposit of faith, it doesn't make its teaching have succession throughout church history.

"AS is the whole enchilada--though heretics can be removed if they are discovered. "

If you look at the context of all I said, I was talking about "mechanistic AS". i.e. The outward signs of AS is not the whole deal.

"it is all really an argument from authority."

I haven't even mentioned authority yet. Though in point of fact, the whole Christian religion is about arguments from authority. If you can't handle that, may I suggest a new age religion for you?

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

"Edward, you are not even engaging the actual argument. The question is how is an infallible Magisterium any better than a fallible council of elders when everything is up to the individual who ultimately decides what he will adhere to?"

That is not the question, because we do not accept you have an infallible majesterium.

The question is, as has been repeated over and over several times, whether or not the critique offered by RCs and EOs--that the divisions among prots show that SS is not a good source of authority--applies to the AS churches. This is rather plainly seen in the post.

"How is the Catholic Church more unified than all the Protestant pseudo-church cults? How does the Catholic Church understand unity?"

Once again you misunderstand. I suggest you look at the diagrams supplied by Rhology--they include more than RCs. This means the question is not the unity of the RCC vs. the disunity of the prots, but the disunity of all the several churches which assert AS as an authority vs. the disunity of the prots. Som it doesn't matter if the RCC is united, that is not the question. The question is whether your authority structure--AS--engenders unity. So far no one has said it does, but that the disunity is not as bad as prot disunity, which is very debatable.

This basic misunderstanding by you of the issue maens the rest of your post, which is proof-by-authority boilerplate which we have all heard before, beside the point.

"So what, Edward? How about you argue against the notion of unity as defined by the Church instead of veering off into a tangent over which Church who claims infallibility actually has apostolic succession?"

Because it is an open question who "the" church is, as the EO claim they are the real church and yo uare not, as we saw in our other discussion; they don't believe you have AS. So, when you just blithely just assume your church is *the* church and argue based on that, you are just arguing from an authority which I, and EOs, and Baptists etc. don't accept. Which makes the argument kind of meaningless. Also, you do so by nothing more than vigorous assertion. Again, we know you believe you are in the "real" church. So what? we don;t believe it. And the lack of any evidence given by your side does not make your position look stronger, but rather that all you *have* is an argument from authority.

Now, I am willing to discuss the issue of this blog post with you.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"That's not an authority claim, it's a simple statement of fact, that no scholar ought dispute."

It is in dispute, and it depends on which scholars one speaks with. I suggest that if you want to argue with someone, you learn something about what they believe instead of counting on trite arguments.

We believe the Lutherans are the true inheritors of the Tradition, that means Rome left the right path. It is as simple as that, and a quick reading of some sources would show this is what we believe. And regarding authority, it is an authority claim, because embedded in the claim is that the RCC has a better claim to be "the" church than Lutherans. We don;t think so. And I bet you do based on--wait for it--authority.

I don't know why you guys think this kind of posturing and argument by assertion works. Really.

"No, because we were discussing apostolic succession as a part of our rule of faith, o, because we were discussing apostolic succession as a part of our rule of faith, and whether you do or don't think the BoC distills the deposit of faith, it doesn't make its teaching have succession throughout church history.
."

*You* say so. Again, you simply assert your authority. Is that all you really have? Let me rephrase your statement and perhaps at last you will see what the issue is:

"..and whether you do or don't think [the teachings of the EOC through apostolic succession] distills the deposit of faith, it doesn't make its teaching have succession throughout church history..."

Your arguments are basically completely reversible.

I mean really, this kind of posturing makes your claims look really suspicious.

"I haven't even mentioned authority yet. Though in point of fact, the whole Christian religion is about arguments from authority. If you can't handle that, may I suggest a new age religion for you?"

The whole Christian religion is about arguments from authority? That's funny, I thought it was about the salvation of mankind. Interesting take you have there, but I think I'll pass.

Your whole argument is one based on authority. You merely assert, on authority, that you church is the real church. You assert, on authority that my church is 500 years old because we don't fit into your categories.

You and Alex are trying to change the subject. I can see why, as it is quote obvious that the trite argument that SS engenders disunity is as applicable to your church if we substitute AS for SS.

Now, perhaps you never used AS as an authority in an argument to wave aside another's claims. If so, the post was not really addressed to you.

John said...

"We believe the Lutherans are the true inheritors of the Tradition, that means Rome left the right path. "

But your succession is from Rome, and if Rome left the right path, you lost the succession. Thus your objection that Lutheran claims to AS are equal to Orthodoxy, is rebutted.

"*You* say so. Again, you simply assert your authority. Is that all you really have?"

You want to discuss specifics? You're a Lutheran, so tell us where in church history before Luther anybody talked about the Lord being "in, on or under" the elements.

"Now, perhaps you never used AS as an authority in an argument to wave aside another's claims."

I may well use it as an argument, but again, it is not a point that stands alone. Mechanistic laying on of hands is not the end of the story.

L P said...

But your succession is from Rome, and if Rome left the right path, you lost the succession. Thus your objection that Lutheran claims to AS are equal to Orthodoxy, is rebutted.

You need to understand that Lutherans do not use AS as an authority for their church. So they do not claim the true church based on the AS etc. because Scripture is clear that the church and her leaders may err and become apostates. They claim they are the visible church because the Word is rightly preached and the Sacraments rightly administered in their midst.

They look at what a church is based on its faithfulness to the apostolic tradition of what the Gospel is, which is kept in the Scriptures. In other words, what they confess about the Gospel.

So for them, you could claim whatever you claim for your church etc, but if your church does not preach the Gospel that for Christ's sake your sins are forgiven alone without works or merits on your part, that is not church.

BTW, they do not deny there may be true Christians in what they call heterodox churches, for only God sees the faith of the individual. Heterodox is the term they use for those who do not subscribe to their Confession of Faith.

LPC

Jnorm888 said...

Matthew Bellisario,

I agree 100%ly in regards to the statement "Scripture resides in Tradition".






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Jnorm888 said...

Edward Reiss,

What you think doesn't really matter. Just so you know.








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Jnorm888 said...

Edward Reiss said:

Quote:
"Once again you misunderstand. I suggest you look at the diagrams supplied by Rhology--they include more than RCs. This means the question is not the unity of the RCC vs. the disunity of the prots, but the disunity of all the several churches which assert AS as an authority vs. the disunity of the prots. Som it doesn't matter if the RCC is united, that is not the question. The question is whether your authority structure--AS--engenders unity. So far no one has said it does, but that the disunity is not as bad as prot disunity, which is very debatable."





Did the Church after the Apostles start off with Sola Scriptura or with AS?

The Assyrian Church of the East(what some call Nestorian) split in the 3rd council, the other nonchalcedonians split in the 4th council (mid 5th century)

Rome split from us around 1054 A.D., (although the split wasn't really final until the 13nth century)

This is the division you mostly see in AS. This is nothing like the division you see within Protestantism.

From the very start, the Protestants were divided. The Lutherians were not in communion with Zwingly, and the later John Calvin and ""Most"" of the Reformed. The Lutherians were not n communion with the Waldensians. The Reformed were able to get them in communion with them, and you all weren't in communion with the Anabaptists either.

And so, unlike us and AS, protestantism and Sola Scriptura started out divided.

And no matter what you say Edward, it will never be the same. You can't compare the division we see within protestantism and SS with that of us and AS.

Yes, we both have divisions, but the nature of it is totally different. The very foundation is totally different.

A few dozen divisions with those that hold to AS is nothing like the hundreds to thousands of divisions we see among Solo and Sola Scriptura advocates.








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Dozie said...

"because Scripture is clear that the church and her leaders may err and become apostates."

And if you insist on this, you will quickly see how Protestantism falls apart. Are you saying that the "Three Stooges" of this blog can lose their salvation and thus, that "once saved, always saved" is not a united Protestant teaching?

Edward Reiss said...

John,

LP basically said what I wanted to say regarding the Church. And as I pointed out, you forced a template on us and made like it is the only template, it is not.

Regarding specifics, here is my answer: That is not really our doctrine. It is an explanation of the doctrine, not the doctrine itself. The doctrine itself is that the bread and wine are the body and blood of Christ. So, your challenge is a little off base. But in any case, perhaps this will suffice to show I am not just making this up:

"Article X: Of the Lord's Supper.

Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise."

From the Augsberg Confession.

"Article X: Of the Holy Supper.

The Tenth Article has been approved, in which we confess that we believe, that in the Lord's Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered, with those things which are seen, bread and wine, to those who receive the Sacrament. This belief we constantly defend, as the subject has been carefully examined and considered...."

From the Apology to the Augsberg Confession

"Part III, Article VI. Of the Sacrament of the Altar.

Of the Sacrament of the Altar we hold that bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ, and are given and received not only by the godly, but also by wicked Christians.

...

As regards transubstantiation, we care nothing about the sophistical subtlety by which they teach that bread and wine leave or lose their own natural substance, and that there remain only the appearance and color of bread, and not true bread. For it is in perfect agreement with Holy Scriptures that there is, and remains, bread, as Paul himself calls it, 1 Cor. 10:16: The bread which we break. And 1 Cor. 11:28: Let him so eat of that bread."

From the Smalkald Articles

"Over against this it is taught in the Augsburg Confession from God's Word concerning the Lord's Supper: That the true body and blood of Christ are truly present in the Holy Supper under the form of bread and wine, and are there dispensed and received"

Solid Declaration VII

As should be clear (I could go on), what you wrote is not strictly speaking our doctrine, but an explanation which is useful in only certain circumstances--like a controversy with RCs insisting on their Aristotelean categories to explain the mystery of the Lord's Supper. Unless you want to say that we may never use new ways of explaining things when controversies arise, your question is beside the point.

And on the issue of the Lord's Supper the EOs and Lutherans are in substantial agreement IMO.

Edward Reiss said...

Jnorm,

There is no full blown AS in the early Church. However, we are told that the Scriptures testify of Christ, and he himself was a sort of literalist.

Having said that, your question is beside the point--a point none of the AS churches want to address.

Here is part of the of the original post:

"A favored argument against Sola Scriptura frequently used by our friends in the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church is "Just look at Protestantism! It's a mess, of 22,000 25,000 30,000 33,000 58 gazillion denominations!"
What are they saying? Mostly that Sola Scriptura as a rule of faith is insufficient to bring about institutional, organisational unity to the church of Jesus Christ."

"But let's leave all of that aside and grant that there is one big and awe-inspiring God-given Verbum Dei corpus of Scripture and Tradition that is the proper rule of faith for the church of Jesus Christ.

The problem is obvious - Rome, sedevacantists, traditionalist Catholics, Pope Michael-ists, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, and various other churches with incompatible teachings all appeal to this set and limited corpus of Scripture and Tradition. It would appear that the criticism against Sola Scriptura of multiple denominations applies to the Roman and EO rule of faith as well."

So, if multiple denominations prove Sola Scriptura is an invalid teaching, then multiple denominations and schisms prove that your authority system is invalid.

So, even if we allow arguendo that SS is not Apostolic doctrine, it does not make the particular critique being discussed here--that the divisions in protestantism prove SS is wrong--a valid critique primarily because it is reversible.

IOW, find another argument against SS.

L P said...

Dozie.

I am more speaking about the so called inheritors of apostolic succession doctrine, for example the Pope may be an apostate.

RC Sedevacantists for example believe the same thing, for they claim that the one in the Vatican is that - an apostate.

LPC

John said...

"And as I pointed out, you forced a template on us and made like it is the only template, it is not."

I didn't force a template on you. You claimed I had no way to distinguish the doctrinal claims of Lutherans compared to the Orthodox Church and you were rebutted.

"That is not really our doctrine. It is an explanation of the doctrine".

So now you are distancing yourself from the Book of Concord that states: "under the bread, with the bread, in the bread"?

That's kind of interesting that you put forward the BoC as a statement of the faith, and as soon as you are challenged on it, abandon the BoC. I think that speaks volumes on how viable your alternative turned out to be.

"As should be clear (I could go on), what you wrote is not strictly speaking our doctrine, but an explanation which is useful in only certain circumstances--like a controversy with RCs insisting on their Aristotelean categories to explain the mystery of the Lord's Supper."

How can you distance your statements of doctrine from the statements about the meaning of the doctrine? Raw statements can't be separated from what you understand and explain them to mean in your understanding. And BTW, how do you refute Aristotelean categories with an explanation totally absent from the bible and tradition?

"Unless you want to say that we may never use new ways of explaining things when controversies arise, your question is beside the point."

Nobody else regards this as simply a new spin on an old belief. Nobody else in Christendom is willing to sign off on "in, with or under" as just the same thing as they believe.

"And on the issue of the Lord's Supper the EOs and Lutherans are in substantial agreement IMO."

Compared to many other denominations, maybe. That doesn't mean anybody over here can sign off on the Augsburg confession.

John said...

"There is no full blown AS in the early Church."

Define full blown AS.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"Define full blown AS."

Priests under territorial bishops under patriarchs. "Bishop" meant the same as "Presbyter", for one, in the early Church, as St. Jerome said.

Basically, the system we see now in EOdoxy, RCism and Anglicanism didn't exist.

John said...

""Bishop" meant the same as "Presbyter", for one, in the early Church, as St. Jerome said."

That the terminology hadn't evolved so that chief-presbyter is bishop, doesn't prove there wasn't a chief presbyter/bishop, as the position of James in Jerusalem, as we find in Acts would attest. And the universal agreement of the Fathers in the bishop/chief presbyter model, even from the earliest days dating back to the 1st century, with not a sign of disagreement over some supposed transition, proves that this system was instituted by the apostles.

"under patriarchs."

When the apostles were alive, the church was under the apostles, who functioned similarly. The fact that the early church emerged in all the world with the same sense of order with important apostolic sees, shows that the apostolic teaching and example dictated that this structure should continue.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"I didn't force a template on you. You claimed I had no way to distinguish the doctrinal claims of Lutherans compared to the Orthodox Church and you were rebutted."

You sure did force a template. You said that my church is only 500 years old, and based this on your own template. Basically, the typical argument from authority.

"So now you are distancing yourself from the Book of Concord that states: "under the bread, with the bread, in the bread"?

That's kind of interesting that you put forward the BoC as a statement of the faith, and as soon as you are challenged on it, abandon the BoC. I think that speaks volumes on how viable your alternative turned out to be."

I didn't abandon anything, and your analysis lacks context. I wonder why the rhetorical overkill, John? Is it because your simplistic arguments from authority don't work, so you look for a way to turn the tables? DO yo ueven know how we read the BoC? It is not read like the Scriptures, FWIW.

The statement "under the bread, with the bread, in the bread" is not meant to define the Sacrament, but to rebut Transubstantiation, which states there is no bread, not really. This is because that was the controversy--i.e. the context--at that time. Lutherans affirm that there is bread and wine there too, because the Scriptures say so. Thus, I have not abandoned anything, because we are only following St. Paul.

And it would behoove you to know a little something about your opponent's beliefs instead of mining documents for proof texts.

"Nobody else regards this as simply a new spin on an old belief. Nobody else in Christendom is willing to sign off on "in, with or under" as just the same thing as they believe."

So what?

Anyway, maybe they don't use the words, but the concept is there:

"Thus, the bread of the eucharist is Christ's flesh, and Christ's flesh is the eucharistic bread. The two are brought together into one. The word "symbolical" in Orthodox terminology means exactly this: "to bring together into one."

Source: http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=53

As I said, the phrase "under the bread, with the bread, in the bread" is meant to guard against the RC sophistry of Transubstantiation, but to define the RP. We confess, as I have shown, that the bread *is* the body of Christ and the wine *is* the blood of Christ. "Under the bread, with the bread, in the bread" simply states that bread is there, just as Fr. Hopko states. The RCC claims there is not really any bread or wine present.

Rhology said...

the most glaring silliness here is that Goarch, OCA and ROCOR are all the Eastern Orthodox Church, and so are not divided.

Actually, ROCOR has been divided in various ways at various times, though recently have become more integrated into the rest of EOC, so that part is correct.

John said...

No they haven't. Or should I say, not we haven't.

L P said...

John,

I agree with Edward, we subscribe to the meaning of the words in the BoC and not to the words themselves, because words convey meaning. It is the meaning of the words in the BoC that we subscribe to.

Luther used that language, but it is as Edward said, it was to affirm both body and blood and bread and wine in connection together as St. Paul said in 1 Cor 10:14-16.

Also why do you have to insists that Luther's language must anachronistically comply with some sayings of a church father of antiquity in order for it to be true? It is again argumentum ad antiquitatem on your part.

Here is a simply formula to understand where we are situated when it comes to the Lord's Supper.

Non-Lutheran Prots - there is only bread and wine - no body and no blood.

Roman Catholics - there is body and blood - no more bread and wine.
(I am not familiar with EO view so sorry if I miss you out on this)

Lutheran Prots there is bread and wine - there is body and blood too.

LPC

John said...

"Also why do you have to insists that Luther's language must anachronistically comply with some sayings of a church father of antiquity in order for it to be true?"

Shouldn't it comply with something, rather than just be a brand new invention in order to be true?

After all, "this is my body", and "my body is in here", or "my body is with this bread" are not the same thing. You might say it doesn't matter, but if it doesn't matter, why change the formula other than to try and distance yourself from those evil papists?

"Roman Catholics - there is body and blood - no more bread and wine."

Well, actually they say it is body and blood in one sense, and bread and wine in another sense.

"Lutheran Prots there is bread and wine - there is body and blood too."

Does that exegetically make sense? I understand the claim the words should be taken literally. I understand the claim the words should be taken figuratively. I don't understand the claim that blood is mixed with wine.

L P said...

John,

The discussion is now veering off to the Lord Supper and not SS or AS.

1 Cor 10:14-16 is the basis of this affirmation. See Smalcald Articles - Part III, Article VI. I believe it is exegetically sound, in fact that is what made me Lutheran (one of reasons).

Lutherans are not rationalists and between ratio vs scriptura, scriptura trumps ratio. This is what it means for a Lutheran to believe in sola scriptura. Behind this is faith.

Luther in one place if I recall correctly in his usual hyperbole said - if Jesus said I should eat dung, I would most gladly do it because what he commands are only for my good (my paraphrase). What he meant was that he subdues his logic in favor of God's Word.

This is one aspect not considered in the debate and where Lutherans take SS differently over non-Lutheran Prots.

They are happy to be looked at as irrationally absurd but so long as they are Scripturally faithful, they are happy with that.

However, we are straying away now and I am sorry if I have contributed to stirring you away in this direction.

LPC

John said...

"1 Cor 10:14-16 is the basis of this affirmation. "

Where it says that the _bread_ is a sharing of the body of Christ? Not something near the bread, or with the bread or under the bread.

I realise the Supper is not the topic, but this just highlights how those who claim sola scriptura, are really just wedded to a different tradition, not that they are somehow floating above tradition. You are just as much sola ecclesia as anyone else.

L P said...

John,

1 Cor 10:
16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

It is the word "communion" and it what that means. The "in" and "under" is our Confessions way of understanding that word.

To be sola scriptura is not the same as sola ecclesia. These are two different approaches. It is clear, they are different because the approach dictates how faith is practiced. Both of these inform the Christian differently in life, work etc.

LPC

LPC

John said...

So.. the issue of communion in 1Cor 10:16 is nothing to do with God's people communing or sharing in Christ's body, rather it is about the bread being in close proximity to Christ's body?

I would question whether that is even lexically or grammatically possible. Not to mention that the next verse draws conclusions about the people of God being one through participation, not about the wine and blood being one, which makes it exegetically very strained.

Even if we were to admit it a possible interpretation, its a great illustration of the Protestant churches dogmatising an interpretation that is merely one possible one among many.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"So.. the issue of communion in 1Cor 10:16 is nothing to do with God's people communing or sharing in Christ's body, rather it is about the bread being in close proximity to Christ's body?"

It seems you are just looking for issues to raise. I don't see whwee anyone--except you--has said that 1 Cor. 10:16 has nothing to do with God's people sharing Christ's body. Can you show whee anyone but you has posted such a thing? Anywhere in the Lutheran Symbolical Books? I bet no one ever said such a thing in history.

From your previous post it seems you believe we are "just as much sola ecclesia as anyone else". That you would say this betrays a misunderstanding by you of how SS works within Lutheranism, as does your contention that as Christians who believe in SS we believe 1 Cor 10:16 has nothing to do with God's people sharing Christ's body. It is just bizarre, and another example of how you attempt to force others into your template. Here, if we say that 1 Cor 16 teaches that the bread and wine are Jesus' body and blood we per force deny it has anything to say about God's people sharing Christ's body. And if we have creeds and confessions we are just like the RCC and EOC, which is daft. Unless we find the exact words Luther used in the past they must per force be completely new. In each of these cases, you behave as someone who just asserts his POV as fact and expects others to accept these "facts" as, well, gospel truth. In fact, your approach to 1 Cor 10:16 isn't even honest. There is no defense against these claims because they have little to nothing to do with anything real, and everything to do with rhetorical posturing.

And, to get back to the topic of this thread, you still have not shown why your AS is better than RC AS. This makes the argument that SS causes divisions rather moot.

Dozie said...

"I am more speaking about the so called inheritors of apostolic succession doctrine, for example the Pope may be an apostate."

If you did not believe that "apostasy" was possible and real, your initial comment would be unintelligible and therefore nonsensical. And, if you do not believe in apostasy, this is a chance to say so.

John said...

" Can you show whee anyone but you has posted such a thing? "

This is very simple. Either the communion in the verse speaks about the communion between Christ and his people, or it is speaking about the communion between wine and blood. You've claimed that the communion in this verse refers to the latter. We are discussing the specific text of 1Co 10:16. If you want to back away from that claim, or if I've misunderstood your claim, then you are back to being devoid of a verse to support Lutheranism's "in, with or under".

"That you would say this betrays a misunderstanding by you of how SS works within Lutheranism".

Did tens of millions of Lutherans all look at 1Co 10:16 and say "Ah-huh! the Lord's body is in close proximity to, or "in, with or under", the bread and wine"? Or did they get this doctrine from Lutheran tradition. Everyone here knows the answer to that, but if you can't see it, I can't prove it to you.

"And, to get back to the topic of this thread, you still have not shown why your AS is better than RC AS. "

You already conceded that "Rome left the right path". If you've got churches A and B, and you've conceded that church B left the right path, then from what you have already told us, church A has a better claim to AS. You're going to have to make an argument that is both cogent and yet doesn't ignore what you have already conceded.

L P said...

John,

This is very simple. Either the communion in the verse speaks about the communion between Christ and his people, or it is speaking about the communion between wine and blood

You are committing an either or fallacy here.

1 Cor 10:16 explains why it is the bread and wine are body and blood of the Lord, that is not all that is to be said about the Lord's Supper. Of course as you eat the body and drink the blood of, course you are communing with Jesus.

Or did they get this doctrine from Lutheran tradition. Everyone here knows the answer to that, but if you can't see it, I can't prove it to you.

You are generalizing as if Lutherans around the world just swallow anything that was told them by their elders. That is not how it works in Lutheran thought. The BoC is offered to you as a Confession of faith, you are enjoined to be like Bereans, search the Scripture and decide if it complies with Scripture or not. One's inability to untangle the details of Scripture is besides the point. We have a different template, a different paradigm.

You already conceded that "Rome left the right path". If you've got churches A and B, and you've conceded that church B left the right path, then from what you have already told us, church A has a better claim to AS.


Not necessarily, the Anglicans claim AS too so that does not prove your AS is better than anyone else yet.

LPC

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"Either the communion in the verse speaks about the communion between Christ and his people, or it is speaking about the communion between wine and blood"

This is a false dichotomy, plain and simple. The only one making the assertions you do above is you. So, go ahead and argue with yourself. I bet you will win--and lose.

"Did tens of millions of Lutherans all look at 1Co 10:16 and say "Ah-huh! the Lord's body is in close proximity to, or "in, with or under", the bread and wine"? Or did they get this doctrine from Lutheran tradition. Everyone here knows the answer to that, but if you can't see it, I can't prove it to you."

This has no bearing on the issue, and it continues your false dichotomy above. In any case, I answered this objection above. You are apparently ignorant of what was going on. Embedded in this is also a grave misunderstanding of Sola Scriptura, at least as Lutherans practice it, and how we understand Tradition.

It would help if you would allow your opponent to make his own argument and define his own beliefs, rather than you defining everything for him, "refuting" it, and then claiming you have actually proved something. It may be good for an adrenaline rush, but it makes you look uninformed and rather thick.

It is also the tactic of the one who has run out of arguments.

"You already conceded that "Rome left the right path". If you've got churches A and B, and you've conceded that church B left the right path, then from what you have already told us, church A has a better claim to AS."

The EOC left the right path, too. I wonder why you feel free to read things we don;t believe into what I say, and don;t see things we do believe in what I say.

The issue is not which AS church is right, but that stating AS is not as divisive as SS goes against the facts. What goes on, and your posts are ample proof of this, is that the AS apologist simply assumes his AS while ignoring others' claims, looks at the relative unity within his particular sect, and then looks at all the sects using SS and proclaims that SS is insufficient for unity. A neat trick if one can pull it off. But the apologist, like you, can only do this by asserting his church's as is *the* AS.

This last comment also shows that after all this time on this thread, you still don't understand the issue. This does not bode well for your interpretation of other points of contention, like Scripture, or the Reformation--about which you seem woefully uninformed, and especially about what we mean when we haven't said anything.

It would help if you would allow your opponent to make his own argument, rather than you maqking it for him, "refuting" it, and then claiming you have actually proved something.

L P said...

Dozie.

I was trying to be polite, try not to interpret that as a lack of certainty.

Of course I believe that apostasy is possible.

LPC

John said...

"You are committing an either or fallacy here."

I hardly think this verse is a good candidate for the supposition that Paul was being deliberately ambiguous.

But if you want to claim that, it still proves the point that you have dogmatized a dubious secondary meaning.

"you are enjoined to be like Bereans, search the Scripture and decide if it complies with Scripture or not."

The Bereans were told to, and obeyed the command to be baptised, despite its total absence in the scriptures that they had.

And yes, I think "Lutherans around the world just swallow anything that was told them by their elders". They might not claim they do, or aim to do that, but the reality is that they do. It's like Jehovah's witnesses. What they CLAIM is that they just follow the bible, as they find it written. What they do, in my opinion, is swallow what their elders tell them. They find the interpretations proffered to them plausible, and labor under the illusion that they have checked them and confirmed them irrefutably in the bible.

"Not necessarily, the Anglicans claim AS too so that does not prove your AS is better than anyone else yet."

I guess I'll take that as a concession I proved your previous challenge that it is better than "RC AS".

But Anglican succession comes from Rome. They can't pass on better succession than they inherited. So having done the hard work of showing the problem of RC AS, you've also done the hard work of showing the problem of Anglican AS.

John said...

"It would help if you would allow your opponent to make his own argument and define his own beliefs"

I care more about what you actually do, than what you claim to do.

"The EOC left the right path, too."

You would first have to make at least some basic attempt to document that from scripture and tradition.

And in any case, I might not buy your arguments. The point being, not all AS is equal. Mechanistic AS is a prerequisite, it isn't the be-all and end all. The rule of faith is scripture and tradition, and that doesn't distill down to laying on of hands. The comparison is scripture alone versus scripture plus tradition.

And your comments shows that after all this time on this thread, you still don't understand the issue. It's not about all churches that lay hands on bishops, versus all churches that follow only scripture. It is about churches that follow scripture only, versus those who follow scripture and tradition. And not just those who claim to follow it, but those who actually follow it, without appending to it from the pronouncements of "infallible" popes.

L P said...

John.


What they do, in my opinion, is swallow what their elders tell them. They find the interpretations proffered to them plausible, and labor under the illusion that they have checked them and confirmed them irrefutably in the bible.

I respect your conviction no matter how fallaciously you have arrived at it.

I guess I'll take that as a concession I proved your previous challenge that it is better than "RC AS"

If EO has not deviated from the Gospel then may be but we believe it has so Apostolic Succession does not guarantee anything from our paradigm.

LPC

bkaycee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bkaycee said...

Acts 20:28 "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
29"I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
30and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
31"Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.

Apparently, at least in Paul's case, some of those shepherds with AS, WILL Be Wolves.

John said...

" some of those shepherds with AS, WILL Be Wolves. "

Yes, and you can tell who they are because they "draw away the disciples after them"

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"I care more about what you actually do, than what you claim to do."

No, because for some reason you keep making statements about what the confessions say, as well has hermeneutic arguments about the Scriptures, which are quite daft. Not only that, you are immune to correction from an insider. So, you either don't care or you are twisting words.

You also inferred I conceded something just because I didn't state explicitly that I don't think the EOC is on the right path. This is one of the "concessions" I made after you "refuted" me. Here again you just impose what you think I mean and go on and declare a "concession". This is a pattern with you.

Anyway, I choose to go with the more charitable interpretation of your posts, that you lack knowledge rather than that you are malicious.

"It is about churches that follow scripture only, versus those who follow scripture and tradition."

AS is shorthand for the latter. Just like SS is shorthand for the prots.

Once again, you show a lack of understanding.

John said...

"You also inferred I conceded something just because I didn't state explicitly that I don't think the EOC is on the right path."

All I said that you conceded was that Rome left the right path. Then I just assembled the jigsaw from the claims you had already made. Nothing stopping you from expanding your claims if you don't like the picture that emerges.

"Here again you just impose what you think I mean and go on and declare a "concession". This is a pattern with you."

Not good enough. You're going to have to document where I put some concession in your mouth, because it aint true.

"AS is shorthand for the latter. Just like SS is shorthand for the prots."

Oh ok. Well I'll start lumping Harold Camping in with your mob. If you want to lump in as "AS" people who DON'T follow the tradition, but claim to, I'll lump in with you people who claim to get their teaching from scripture, but don't really. I'd still rather be in my boat, than riding in the Harold Camping circus truck.

Lvka said...

Catholics have the same belief (i.e., Catholicism is not just unified institutionally, but also as a faith-system). The same goes for Orthodoxy and Monophysites. -- and as You can see, they're only three Chuches, not 30,000.

Furthermore, how exactly are Protestants united in spirit, without being united in faith?? (I mean, it's not like Reformed Calvinists and Oneness Pentecostals are all actually good ol'-fashioned die-hard Lutherans bickering over minute details...)

L P said...

Lvka.

I am not shy at all about the diversity of protestants. I think it is really a strength. As protagonists to RC and EO, they have a dilemma, who are they going to pick first to take off?

Protestantism is like an archipelago, it is hard to colonize.

LPC

Mariano said...

The issue of oral apostolic tradition is actually stunningly simply, and here I am addressing Roman Catholicism:

Ask a Catholic to quote to you one statement, one sentence or one word, , even one single one, spoken by the apostles which is not found in the Bible but only in their oral traditions.

There is nothing there, no substance, but only a vague claim to oral tradition—but what is the tradition itself? What did they say and not write down? One single statement, anything at all?

aDios,
Mariano

Lvka said...

L.P.,

1) you don't, but Rho here seems to
2) spoken like a true islander :-)


-------------------------

Mario,

the Liturgy, for instance.

Rhology said...

Rho here seems to

Then your reading comprehension is faulty. I haven't even made a statement FOR my position here at all. I've just been laying the smack down on a garbage Sola Ecclesia argument. An internal critique of your position.

Mariano said...

Lvka,
The liturgy contains statements spoken by the apostles which are not found in the Bible?

I would be interested in having you provide these quotations and citations.

aDios,
Mariano

Lvka said...

The form and content of Christian worship, which to my knowledge is described in detail nowhere in the New Testament.

Mariano said...

So there is no liturgy that contains statements spoken by the apostles which are not found in the Bible--agreed.

Now, by the form and content of Christian worship you must mean having the priest perform the mass with his back to the parishioners for centuries until this supposed apostolic tradition is ignored and he turns around--with no biblical backing nor apostolic backing.

Or, the parishioners not partaking of the wine/blood until this supposed apostolic tradition is ignored and centuries later when they do so--again, no biblical backing nor apostolic backing.

Or changing confession from exomologesis to auricular or a thousand other things that have been changed from, if you are correct, the teachings of the apostles themselves (of which we have not one single word quoted anywhere) outside the New Testament?

aDios,
Mariano

Lvka said...

I just thought You were/are a Lutheran (and that subsequently the Liturgy might mean something to you). Sorry.

Lvka said...

The Bible, in both Testaments, has divine services. And we're told to do them. We're even told on which days. But there's no actual description of NT worship anywhere in the NT.

The Bible tells us to do the Liturgy, but it doesn't tell us how. The Liturgy does not consist in reading the entire Scripture. Nor in waging wars (like those we read of in the Bible). Nor in wandering around naked in the park like Adam and Eve. Nor in reciting the psalter from beginning to end. Nor in doing miracles and receiving visions and uttering prophecies (which the Bible also mentions). Nor in merely re-enacting in a few minutes the events of the Last Supper. Nor in washing anyone's feet.

I'm not saying that it's not put together from elements which are ultimately found in Scripture: but which ones and in which order?

And P.S.: I'm not Catholic.

Mariano said...

The issue is whether there is even one single word spoken by the apostles that is quoted in tradition, liturgy or anything else at all outside of the New Testament and the answer, clearly, is "No."

aDios,
Mariano

Lvka said...

The way of serving the Liturgy is one "word" that's not recorded anywhere in the NT. The lives of the Apostles after Pentecost are not recorded in Scripture, but known from tradition. The phrase `first born of satan` is a also a word belonging to an Apostle not recorded in the NT. Etc.

Mariano said...

Ok, thank you, now we are getting somewhere.

Please provide 1) the name of the apostle who stated it, 2) the quote from the apostle and 3) the citation to where it is found for the following:

Apostle's words in the Liturgy.
Apostle's words in the Tradition.
Apostle stating, "first born of satan"

aDios,
Mariano

Lvka said...

Sorry, that was Polycarp actually. The line belonging to the Apostle [John] is “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.” :-)

John said...

"Please provide 1) the name of the apostle who stated it"

For the book of Hebrews, please prove to everybody's satisfaction what apostle wrote it.

Mariano said...

Oh yes, I recall that now and also recall that he is quoted as essentially preaching sermons that consisted of "Little children, love one another."

Yet, of course, nothing at all anywhere near the extent to which we can claim that various detailed traditions come from the apostles.

aDios,
Mariano

PS: John, I do not care to get side tracked; in Hebrews we have the words but not the name which in tradition was have names but no words thus, the New Testament provides the substance while tradition provides arguments from silence.

Lvka said...

We don't have "tomes" of extra-biblical *quotations* of the Apostles; but we do know the way they understood their own words, the way they served the Liturgy, and more or less detailed accounts of what happened to them after Pentecost.

John said...

"the New Testament provides the substance while tradition provides arguments from silence."

What substance and what silence?

If tradition didn't have substance, there would be nothing for you to disagree with.

That the tradition is not verbal, doesn't make it silence, it makes it non verbal.

If non-verbal is silence, then the lack of verbal statement about Hebrew's authorship or authority means it should be discarded. All you have as a basis for accepting Hebrews is the non-verbal tradition that it is authoritative and in some undefined way apostolic. Do you accept this tradition? If so, why?

Rhology said...

What John conveniently neglects to mention is that his challenge cuts against the EO position as well.

John said...

Errr, isn't that the point Rhology? I'm responding to someone who claims an argument cuts against EO, when it cuts against sola scriptura too.

Rhology said...

Not at all, John.
We both agree that Hebrews is inspired by God. We DON'T agree that "apostolic tradition" indeed comes from an apostle. The challenge remains - prove it or admit your blind allegiance to EOC.

John said...

Rhology: just because we've got more stuff than you, doesn't let you off the hook of being consistent in the proof you demand to prove your own stuff. Otherwise whoever accepts the least stuff wins, which would be the atheist. So the challenge remains - prove it or admit your blind allegiance to your own traditions.

Rhology said...

You think atheists accept the least stuff on faith? You have a lot to learn about atheism.

John said...

Last I checked there are no canonical books, traditions or teachings that one must accept to be an atheist, other than the single one which is definition of that moniker.

Rhology said...

John: Otherwise whoever accepts the least stuff wins, which would be the atheist.

Now John: there are no canonical books, traditions or teachings that one must accept to be an atheist, other than the single one which is definition of that moniker.

You are apparently incapable of following an argument with any consistency. You could certainly stand to read my blogposts on atheism over at my blog.