Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Turretinfan Puts Holes in the Argumentation of Roman Catholics and Bryan Cross’ article at “Called to Communion”. (Part 2)


In the combox, # 441 – at “Called to Communion” -
http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/11/solo-scriptura-sola-scriptura-and-the-question-of-interpretive-authority/comment-page-9/#comment-5307
Bryan Cross responded to Turretinfan's excellent questioning and it is here where Bryan became more explicit in his "organic natural necessity" of ideas argument.

Bryan wrote:

. . .
One of those other kinds of necessity is called ‘natural necessity’ (necessitas naturalis). For example, that an acorn becomes an oak tree is not a logical necessity, but it is a natural necessity, even though many contingencies could prevent this particular acorn from becoming an oak tree. Given the ordinary conditions, the acorn would naturally become an oak tree. That is the natural end of an acorn, given its nature, and it will necessarily move toward that end, unless other factors interfere. (In that respect, the result does not follow in just the same way a conclusion follows by necessity from premises in a deductive argument.) So likewise, the results of sola/solo (described by Mathison) follow from it over time by natural necessity, because of what it is by nature (i.e. each individual retaining ultimate interpretive authority).


Turretinfan's excellent questioning exposed this hole in Bryan Cross’ argument.
In Part 1, we saw that ideas do not spawn other ideas as a natural organic necessity, as in a seed growing into a plant or an acorn growing into a tree, or a fertilized egg growing into a baby in the womb. We are not saying that ideas or philosophies or doctrines do not have consequences in actions and affects; obviously ideas have consequences, and the evil philosophies have produced evil actions. But Bryan Cross was arguing that the idea of Sola Scriptura was a seed that of natural necessity produced increased levels of Solo Scriptura as time goes on; or “that it is more and more manifested as time goes on”. He leaves out the facts of :
1. The analogy is hard to prove that ideas produce something by nature necessarily from their essence as if they were DNA or organic material.
2. Other Sociological/political/cultural factors in history. (see below)
3. The free choices of people – whatever one’s view is – the Augustinian/Luther/Calvin/Edwards view that men are free to act without coercion from the outside according to their desires, but those desires are in bondage to sinful motives, always tainted by sin in some way until God frees the will in regeneration. (John 8:34; John 1:13; 3:1-8; 6:44; Acts 16:14; Ephesians 2:1-4) The other view is the Libertarian free will view; that man has the moral ability to choose good over evil, even without the special grace of regeneration. Whatever one’s view is, the article is still leaving out that factor. The Reformation was a reaction against Sola Ecclesia and the false doctrines of indulgences and the lack of basing teachings and practices on the Scriptures, and the neglect and eclipse of the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Romans and Galatians. By Cross’ reasoning, one could argue that the Reformation and Sola Scriptura came naturally and organically from Sola Ecclesia and Apostolic Succession, but this is not true. A reaction to a philosophy or idea is not the natural consequences in the sense of organic material like a seed or fertilized egg, but it is a consequence in the sense of historical reality and fact. It was a reaction against the Roman Catholic Church; and mere fact and reality of history.
2. Other Sociological/political/cultural factors in history. Solo Scriptura has increased because of the increase of other factors, (not organically or naturally from Sola Scriptura); but mostly from the political freedoms (separation of church and state), increased affluence and literacy, the collapse of the feudal system; the collapse of the states unified with the Pope and the founding of separate political countries in Europe, etc.
Turretinfan writes:

“Calling solo scriptura the "true nature"[Fn9] of sola scriptura in the sense of being the practical outworking of it, runs into the problems above. To the extent that people accept "free will" it is tough to ascribe the outworking to the ideology apart from the people. The revitalization of sola scriptura during the time of the Reformation [Fn10] was also accompanied by a number of other sociological factors and the rise of a number of ideologies (such as views on personal liberty and equality) and influences (increased affluence and literacy) that are hard to link to specific causes.

. . . The combination of a collapse of feudalism in favor of more democratic forms of government, together with a rise in literacy, can at least intuitively explain a general increase both in lack of respect for authority (both civil and ecclesial) and an increase in confidence in one's own abilities (if one is an illiterate serf one may not feel as qualified to interpret Scripture as if one is a merchant who can read and write in three languages).

In fact, while it is difficult to attribute weight to various forces, those forces on their face have more explanatory power with respect to the changes seen in the Reformation and post-Reformation period in terms of attitude toward authority than does sola scriptura, as such - since sola scriptura has to do with infallible authority, not authority in general.

In summary, Turretinfan writes:

The assertion that solo scriptura proceeds by natural necessity from sola scriptura hasn't been established but merely asserted. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to demonstrate nature necessity with respect to an ideology, particularly because it involves mixing human beings and the ideas.

The alleged consequences don't actually seem to be tied to sola scriptura in any concrete way. In fact, it seems that to tie the consequences to sola scriptura the deck must be stacked against sola scriptura by creating a multi-church abstraction to compare to a single church. Similarly, the arguments presented to deny that the creeds (or whatever) have any real authority are demonstrably wrong in that they would imply that any subordinate authority is not a real authority.

With respect, most of the criticisms of the article seem to be missed, such as the criticism that the article fails to address the trade-offs of the Roman Catholic system. The cost of avoiding anarchy to Hobbes was tyranny. He thought it was worth it, but most folks today disagree. At any rate, one must at least consider the trade-offs before one can conclude in favor of an alternative.”


18 comments:

Principium Unitatis said...

Ken,

The assertion that solo scriptura proceeds by natural necessity from sola scriptura hasn't been established but merely asserted.

That's correct. This assertion is not one of the premises of our argument. (It is something I said in a combox.) Our argument does not depend on whether my assertion (about solo proceeding from sola by natural necessity) is true. So showing that it is a mere assertion doesn't poke any 'holes' in our argument.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Ken said...

Yes it does. The comboxes exposed it because the Protestants were patiently exposing it by their questions and points. Especially Turretinfan's logic and arguing with you guys on your own terms.

You demanded precise questioning and following your philosophically based system of argumentation.

Turretinfan's good questions exposes what the real premise of your argument is - a dogmatic assumption that "one comes from the other, naturally" - the quote from Louis Bouyer also reveals this. "the later was somehow contained in the former". (he was saying Liberal protestantism was contained inside of conservative Protestantism, which is untrue, as we have shown.

This seems to be the way you guys answer everything:

"Whatever we say goes" - like a Pope.

I am not trying to be harsh or "snarky" or pugnacious, but honestly, this is the way all of you, or most of you seem to argue at Called to Communion. You just go, "no, that is not a refutation", or "you are not on the subject" (you mentioned "apostolic succession" 26 times (by my counting) in your article, and Tim Troutman said, "that is not on the subject, so we will not allow your comments" or "that does not poke holes in our argument", etc.

You seem to just "declare" things dogmatically and unilaterally like your Magisterium.

Ken said...

OOPs, I left something out that with it, will hopefully, make it clearer:

"you are not on the subject" (you mentioned "apostolic succession" 26 times (by my counting) in your article, and Tim Troutman said, "that is not on the subject,
when I tried to argue about the issue of apostolic succession
Tim just said,
"so we will not allow your comments" (he was better in personal emails, but just unilaterally declaring "no, we don't accept that" seems wrong.

or

now your "that does not poke holes in our argument", etc.

Principium Unitatis said...

Ken,

There are nine premises in our argument. They are listed out by number in section IV.A. The claim that solo follows from sola is not one of them.

(The charitable approach is to let those who have constructed the argument state, verify, or deny, what are the premises of their argument.)

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Edward Reiss said...

Ken,

From your article:

(I use "you" to refer to you, while acknowledging it was a team effort)

"However, as we shall argue below, there is no principled difference between sola scriptura and solo scriptura with respect to the locus of “ultimate interpretive authority:” sola scriptura, no less than solo scriptura, entails that the individual Christian is the ultimate arbiter of the right interpretation of Scripture. This implies that what Mathison calls ’solo scriptura‘ is in fact a more clearly distilled manifestation over time of the true nature of sola scriptura. Moreover, we shall show that the only way to avoid the solo/sola position (and the unbiblical consequences to which it leads) is by way of apostolic succession."

While it may be technically be true you do not explicitly say solo scriptura flows from sola scriptura, you do say above that the former is a distillation of the latter. You have also stated that the consequences of an idea are worked out over time. Given that, it is perfectly fair to say you believe one organically came from another, i.e, saying solo scriptura is a direct, natural descendant of sola scriptura seems a fair--distillation--of your argument. Indeed, you state they are organically the same, only expressed differently over time.

Edward Reiss said...

One more thing on Apostolic succession. Unless you can prve your apostolic succession is the true one, and not the EO apostolic succession, then you are just as circular. Keep in mind the EOs don;t think you have Apostolic Succession, and that you left the Church about 1000 years ago.

Welcome to the circle.

Ken said...

Bryan,
My "yes it does" is not in answer to whether or not it was one of your 9 premises of section 4; rather it was in answer to your last statement:

So showing that it is a mere assertion doesn't poke any 'holes' in our argument.

Yes, it does poke holes in your argument, because it exposed that assertion in the combox. I did not say it was one of your starting premises in the article.

All I am saying it that Turrentinfan's questioning and your answers revealed something that you did not have in your article.

That is what you invited people to do - come and have a discussion and debate in the comboxes and Tim Troutman keeps repeating, "no one has refuted the argument", etc.

Turretinfan did poke holes in your argument.

Ken said...

Edward,
Thanks for your comments! Good stuff!

Alex said...

"Keep in mind the EOs don;t think you have Apostolic Succession, and that you left the Church about 1000 years ago."

Edward,

There are many churches lumped in the EOs which would disagree with you. Maybe you can start a list of EOs which have publically stated that the Catholic Church has lost its Apostolic Succession. Secondly, can you name the EO churches which the Catholic Church has determined lost Apostolic Succession?


Sincerely,
Troll

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

"There are many churches lumped in the EOs which would disagree with you. Maybe you can start a list of EOs which have publically stated that the Catholic Church has lost its Apostolic Succession. Secondly, can you name the EO churches which the Catholic Church has determined lost Apostolic Succession?"

The *canonical* EO churches are not in communion with the RCC. That is enough evidence. For the EOs, there is no other EO "lump" than the canonical churches , i.e. the Eastern Rite churches in fellowship with the pope are not canonical, so they are not in the Church.

I would also point out it is an open question within the canonical EO churches whether the West even worships the Trinity. They think _filioque_ is a heresy, plain and simple.

And if you want to gainsay that, or point to other "lumps" you will undermine the argument that RCs are merely pointing to Apostolic Succession and not making choices like prots. This is because determining which church that claims "true" apostolic Succession becomes an historical and theological question--like it is with protestants--and not a matter of pointing to one's communion and then declaring everyone else as less than a true church. The canonicl EO churches make the same claims you do, and deny your succession. They even use similar arguments you use against prots to show you are not in the "real" church.

So, all the posturing about "we are different from prots because our choice is based on apostolic succession" assumes far too much, and in fact undermines the article in a critical way: the RCs cannot simply assume that their church is the "true" church and then extrapolate from there, which is precisely what the article does.

Alex said...

Edward,

I don't even know what article you are talking about. I assume it is the one over at Called to Communion. I haven't read it.

Back to my questions.

You made two claims:

A) The EO (whoever they are in your own mind) state that the Catholic Church does not have Apostolic Succession. I stated that there are many churches (meaning those variant national titles, e.g. Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox) which define themselves as Eastern Orthodox, and not all of them would agree with your claim. Which churches make up in your mind the Eastern Orthodox? Give us a list. It doesn't have to be a complete list, the main churches will do. Also, provide the documentation.

B) You made the claim that the Catholic Church holds the position that the EOs have lost Apostolic Succession. Can you provide that document, or did you fabricate it out of thin air? You are adamant that my church believes that the EOs do not have Apostolic Succession, so it should be easy for you to prove it.

Of course you could do what Turretinfan does when I press him for an answer to his outrageous claims by running from them and just calling me a troll instead. Its your choice.

Sincerely,

Troll

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

You can find a list of canonical EO churches here:

http://www.oca.org/PDF/DOC-PUB/SB/2006/06.07worldwide-churches.pdf

You will note your schismatic church is missing, as are the Eastern Right churches. Thus, it is not "in my own mind" but how the canonical EO churches identify themselves. So, I will take the word of the canonical EOC over yours as to who is in and who is not in the Canonical Orthodox Church. (Note, I do not accept their claims to be *the* church!)

That's it, you are not a canonical church, and thus you are not in *the* Church, and the reason you are not in *the* Church is because the Patriarch of Rome left communion with the One Holy Catholic and Orthodox Church and thus became schismatic, and quite possibly a heretic. It is quite simple, and conveniently for me, it blows the "we are only looking at apostolic succession" argument out of the water. You are not just looking at apostolic successon, but evaluating claims like any prot which undermines the exception for RCs in the article. RCs have to establish their apostolic succession as true over and against all others or they are just another sect claiming to be "the" Church, like the Mormons do.

"You made the claim that the Catholic Church holds the position that the EOs have lost Apostolic Succession. "

I never made such a claim. You will look in vain for one. Therefore I am not "adamant" about it--you simply made a basic mistake. (Will you man up and admit it, or go on and play rhetorical games via claims by asking for "proof" of something I never said?)

I claimed that they--the EO--say *you* lost apostolic succession. This is "proven" by the fact you are not a canonical church, ergo *you* are not in the Church, and your sacraments are not canonically valid.

Sound like a familiar argument? It should. But I bet you will want another exception for yourselves.

And if you are going to make believe you have something on me, it would behoove you not to make such a basic mistake as above and go on about what I need to prove, just try reading what I said instead of looking for a cheap rhetorical "victory".

WillieTheShirtMaker said...

Don't be ashamed of the gospel, bros!

Ken said...

Is there any doubt?

Alex said...

Edward,

I never made such a claim. You will look in vain for one. Therefore I am not "adamant" about it--you simply made a basic mistake. (Will you man up and admit it, or go on and play rhetorical games via claims by asking for "proof" of something I never said?)

I thought that you had made this claim before and I looked and could not find it, therefore due to the lack of evidence I must admit that I made a mistake. So we agree, the Catholic Church does not claim that the EOs do not have apostolic succession.

Moving on to the other point, you stated as a means of disproving Catholic apostolic succession from the view of the Orthodox:

…and your sacraments are not canonically valid.

If the sacraments are valid, then there must be apostolic succession in at least some sense of the term. My argument has been, and continues to be, that there are Orthodox who disagree with you. As I have stated, your gross factual error is not a universal belief throughout the Orthodox, and yet you continue to display utterly and obnoxiously arrogant ignorance in disagreeing with me without providing a shred of evidence. To disprove your universal claim, all I have to do is provide one example which disagrees with you. Here it is from the same source which you have provided as true Orthodox:

Concerning Roman Catholic orders: Within the OCA Roman Catholic clergy generally are received into the Orthodox Church through "vesting"; that is, they are not ordained anew. While there are some Orthodox Christians today who would not follow this practice, there is evidence that this was in fact the practice in Russia several centuries ago. One must also keep in mind that the practice of the Orthodox Church on this issue has been subject to change from time to time and place to place, often depending on situations appropriate to the setting.

Concerning the Eucharist: Many Orthodox Christians do view the Roman Catholic Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ; others today would not subscribe to this. The answer is linked to whether one believes that Roman Catholicism is "with grace" or "devoid of grace."


http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=200&SID=3

So I will ask you in the same immature adolescent fashion which you asked me, “Will you man up and admit it, or go on and play rhetorical games” that you were wrong and that the Orthodox are divided.

For further reading on these issues, go to the below link and by all means educate yourself:

http://www.scoba.us/resources/orthodox-catholic.html


Sincerely,
Troll

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

First, good for you admitting your mistake.

Second, take a look at your own posts before you whine about mine.

In short, grow up and stop posturing.

I will also state up front that I do not accept EOdox claims.

You also failed to deal with the brute fact that the RCC is not listed among the canonical churches. Instead you take Fr. Matusiak's subtile statements based on "Economea" as some sort of endorsement of RC sacraments as such. That is wrong, and you got it wrong because you don't know what the EOs are saying when they talk of grace or of what the practices were at different places and times.

You gave the following counter example:

"Concerning Roman Catholic orders: Within the OCA Roman Catholic clergy generally are received into the Orthodox Church through "vesting"; that is, they are not ordained anew. While there are some Orthodox Christians today who would not follow this practice, there is evidence that this was in fact the practice in Russia several centuries ago. One must also keep in mind that the practice of the Orthodox Church on this issue has been subject to change from time to time and place to place, often depending on situations appropriate to the setting."

Notice he does not say they are validly ordained.

The "change" he speaks of is the Orthodox practice of "Economea". This means a bishop can suspend the strict adherence to a canon for a "good" reason. Hence, at times a RC priest can be accepted without ordination, at other times he cannot. A patriarch can also use "Economea", as can any other bishop.

It all "depends".

The canons call for a priest to be ordained by a bishop in communion with the canonical Orthodox Churches. Depending on the circumstances this may be waived. However, the waiving is not a recognition of the validity of the RC ordination, but "Economea"--an exception--because, as I said, the canons call for an Orthodox ordination.

Edward Reiss said...

Fr. Matusiak also said "Concerning whether Roman Catholicism is considered a heresy: Orthodox Christianity in general would view certain aspects of Roman Catholic teaching as heretical."

Well, that settles things, because the Orthodox don't believe they teach *any* heresy as a church. And heresy is a reason not to be in fellowship with the RCC--which objectively they are not--and this means they don't have apostolic succession (which is the main point) because apostolic succession only exists in the One Holy Catholic and Orthodox Church, which excludes the Patriarch of Rome as we have already seen.

In the article you cited Fr, Matusiak mentions grace. Whether a RC priest has "grace" is a different matter from his validity as a priest, because the EOs do not say that God does not work in e.g. the RCC, but that the RC sacraments are still not canonically valid and there can be no assurance they work. This is because the RCC is in schism and heresy. One can be a heretic and in a heretical church body and have grace, but one is still not in the canonical Church, and if a bishop who is heretical ordains priests their ordination is not valid because he is in schism from the one true church--see above.

Concerning the validity of the RC sacrament you cited "Concerning the Eucharist: Many Orthodox Christians do view the Roman Catholic Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ; others today would not subscribe to this. The answer is linked to whether one believes that Roman Catholicism is "with grace" or "devoid of grace."

Notice he does not say the sacraments are valid, only that roman Catholicism--which teaches heresy--may distribute the body and bloof of Christ depending upon if it is *devoid* of grace or not.

The EOs wont even definitively say if Lutheran communion is not the body and blood of the Lord--but a Lutheran Eucharist, like a RC one, is not canonically valid because the Lutheran minister, like the RC minister, is not ordained in apostolic succession. If the RC or Lutheran minister *was* ordained into apostolic succession *there would be no question at all* about the validity of the sacrament--even if the priest is a heretic. The EOC believes it has apostolic succession, which RCs and Lutherans both lack, so we hear of "grace" rather than "they are valid". It is really as plain as that.

"So I will ask you in the same immature adolescent fashion which you asked me, “Will you man up and admit it, or go on and play rhetorical games” that you were wrong and that the Orthodox are divided."

I do not think Fr. Metusiak's writings--vaguely worded as they are--refute my position. In fact, it is trivial to show he *does not believe the RCs have apostolic succesion* because there is a legitimate question as to whether or not there is even grace in the RCC. There is *no* such question for the Orthodox among themselves.

Regarding division, like any organization, one can find a lot of opinions within EOdoxy. To show I am wrong, you would have to show that a significant number of EO bishops and patriarchs believe the RCC has valid apostolic succession and therefore valid sacraments. (Basically, the RCC says the EOdox have valid succession and valid sacraments even if they are not formally in communion with the pope--they do not return the favor). From this discussion, it seems to me yo uare unaware of how Eodoxy works, which is why you mistook what some EOdox claim may be the grace God bestows on e.g. RC communion as some sort of plenary endorsement of the validity of RC orders. It is not so.

Darlene said...

Edward,

You have spoken accurately and precisely. As an Orthodox catechumen and having had many discussions with the parish priest regarding other faith traditions, I can say that you have spoken rightly.

The Orthodox Christian is not permitted to take the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church under any circumstances, because it would be considered breaking fellowship with the Orthodox faith.