Thursday, March 18, 2010

DavidW on Gnosticism and Calvinism

I've been interacting some on DavidW's blogpost about his comparisons of Gnostic predestination and Calvinistic predestination.  He swears up and down that Calvinism is dressed-up Gnosticism, and I already corrected him on his point, told him:
My response is basically that you're committing a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Alot of EOC doctrines resemble Mormonism; that doesn't mean they're related. Looking at it the other way, all the ancient heretics held to doctrines that EOC would accept as well - that's what makes heretics so dangerous. They creep in, sound the same in almost everything, but secretly introduce destructive heresies, subtly, drawing away disciples after them. So this point of yours in principle proves too much. Otherwise stated, it proves nothing. 
 DavidW today laid out 5 questions on this topic he'd like me to address.  Let's see how well he did.

David,
1) No, it's not a tu quoque. I don't grant that Calvinistic predest is of Gnostic derivation, remember? Rather, I derive Calv predest from Scr, which preceded Gnosticism. So, that's wrong.

2a) "early church writer" means "someone in the early church who wrote". Nothing more or less.
The entire reason I use that term is to point out your question-begging distinction between "Church Fathers" and "heretics". You test everythg by the church; well, what if those whom you now identify as heretics had won the struggle? Then the men you now identify as CFs would be heretics, to you.
This is the problem with the Sola Ecclesia position; the only way you can judge the heretics of old to have been wrong is b/c the modern church is the group that won out, that won the power struggle. Not so for me - I can and must judge anyone and everyone and their teaching by the Word of God, which does not change.

2b) at least one early Church Father who believed in predestination
I've given you three many times - Jesus, Peter, Paul.
This business about early church writers and the dissent that existed between them is an internal critique of the EO position. It doesn't have any bearing on Sola Scriptura.

3) I've identified your arguments as committing the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy (and am still waiting for a rebuttal). I can demonstrate that my doctrines are drawn from Scriptural exegesis. The ball's in your court.
You said:
If the Gnostic doctrine is not the same as the Calvinist doctrine, surely you should be able to explain how they are different.

Gosh, let's see. Oh, I know - one's Trinitarian and Christian, the other isn't. One's drawn from Scriptural exegesis, the other isn't.
From your own post:
their own selves (who are saved by nature)

Nope, saved by the grace of God. Fail #1.


Faith, then, is no longer the direct result of free choice, if it is a natural advantage.

Define "direct", "result", "free", and "choice".
Besides, Calvinism teaches that the regenerate man DOES freely choose - he chooses God b/c his nature has been changed and he's been given a new heart. Before that, he always freely chooses death and sin, b/c his nature is dead in sin and he hates God, his Enemy.
Fail #2.


Ye are originally immortal

Yet Calvinism teaches we are born dead in sin, and w/o God's intervention we will go to Hell forever.
Fail #3.


he also, similarly with Basilides, supposes a class saved by nature

It's so funny how you want to equate the Trinitarian God of the Bible with the Gnostic "nature". Why would you do that?
Fail #4.


In this way also they make a twofold distinction among souls, as to their property of good and evil

And yet the Bible teaches, and Calvinism of course affirms, that "there is no one good, no, not one." Fail #5.
(BTW, why are you citing the heretic Tertullian?)


For this reason it is that they neither regard works as necessary for themselves, nor do they observe any of the calls of duty, eluding even the necessity of martyrdom on any pretence which may suit their pleasure.

1) Calvinism teaches that God works thru means. Fail #6.
2) Calvinism teaches that man is responsible and called to "be holy as your Father in Heaven is holy". I am obligated to follow the entire law of God. Fail #7.


a rigidly deterministic scheme

Perhaps you're confusing Calvinism with HyperCalvinism? I'm pretty sure you've been corrected on that before, but you seem not to be a big fan of taking correction. Fail #8.
Now that, friends, is a lot of fail.


4) Irenaeus says They have also other modes of honouring these images... Seems like he's not a big fan of ANY honoring of images. I can certainly see where he's coming from - why not honor Christ? If you say "we already do", are you denying you could do so more? Or have you honored Him enough already? Let someone else get their snout in the trough, as it were.


72 comments:

Jnorm888 said...

1.) Calvinism is dressed up gnosticism. And we are not the only ones saying this. A good portion of Calvinism comes from Saint Augustine in his older years. And this is where you find these teachings in christianity. It starts with the late Augustine. If it wasn't for Augustine, then you wouldn't be teaching what you are teaching.
Augustine, Manichaeism and the Good

2a.) To assume that the bad guys won is to believe in some type of total apostasy. But Scripture says otherwise.

1 Corinthians 11:19
"For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."

And thus, church fathers are fathers for a reason, and heretics are heretics for a reason. If Jesus is whith the church always...even unto the end of the age, and if the gates of Hades will not prevale against the church.....then ultimately the truth will prevale. But you are denying such a thing.

The God of Scripture is also the God of History. You are only shooting yourself in the foot by going down this rabbit trail.


2b.) What's up with the cop out? You know exactly what he meant by that? So why are you playing games? How old are you? Are you some kid? You sure are acting like one! You know very well that Arminian protestants read the same passages as you, and yet they know that Jesus, Peter, and Paul didn't teach such a thing. They can point to them as being teachers of Arminianism. And so the issue is one of interpretation. The only ones you can point to is Saint Augustine(in his later years) and his followers after him.

This is the point.

And as far as the fathers go, yes there was some dissagreements, but nothing like what you see in modern times among the disputes in protestantism. If you read the fathers, then you will see more agreement than disagreement....on alot of issues.


3.) Your's came from Augustine, but you didn't know it. You are only hiding behind exegesis for Arminian protestants do exegesis too. And so, it's more than just that.



4.) I know a number of Supra's that follow Gordan Clark, and they are "hard determinists". They don't see themselves as hyper Calvinists. And so, Calvinism is made up of two camps of determinism. "Soft determinism"(compatibilism), and "hard determinism (pure determinism)

And so, no, he wasn't wrong about Calvinists for calvinism is a deterministic system. Normally, the calvinists I know make a distinction between "fatalism" and "determinism".


5.) Tertullian went wrong in his later years. Not his early years.







ICXC NIKA

Acolyte4236 said...

Jnorm,

A slight correction. Soft determinism is the thesis that determinism is true and determinism is compatible with moral responsibility and freedom. Hard determinism is the thesis that detrminism is true and it is incompatible with moral responsibility and determinism. Consequently, both Infralapsarianism and Supralapsarianism are species of soft determinism.


On another point, the reasoning trying to show that moral responsibility and freedom are compatible with determinism in Augustine mirrors exactly what the Pagan Plotinus in his Enneads wrote nearly two centuries prior to Augustine. The soul that falls is determined to do so, but chooses freely to fall nonetheless and is therefore responsible. This is significant since Augustine's dying words were quotes from Plotinus' Enneads.

As for the victors won out, this goes to the canon too, since the victors won out on the canon of Scripture over against say Marcion or others who rejected everything from Hebrews to Revelation. This is not a profitable line of reasoning for Rhology's position it seems.

As for the Irneaus citation, well,I'll deal with that in a separate post.

Acolyte4236 said...

Jnorm,

Addendum

Hypercalvinism then isn't supralapsarianism,but is a distinct thesis that denies the genuinness of the outward call of the gospel to non-elect.

Vox Veritatis said...

Rho,

Regarding 2b), there's also John Gill's The Cause of God and Truth. See Part IV.

The whole book is really one big collection of arguments. Part I refutes common Arminian misinterpretations of Scripture, and Part II makes a Scriptural argument for the Doctrines of Grace. Of course, if someone actually wants to evaluate the Scripturalness of Calvinism rationally, instead of treating exegesis as a black box which can neither be evaluated, understood, nor trusted, then Gill is a good source for many arguments to consider.

godescalc said...

I commented on the other thread regarding tu quoques and Irenaeus as iconoclast. Just jumping in here because...

...Jnorm, are you seriously using Augustine as your punching bag here just so you can get at the Calvinists? Calling Augustine a heretic and a Gnostic is not only totally not cool, but your "proof" proves no such thing. Augustine flatly repudiated Manichaeanism and developed his doctrine in order to rebut Manichaean challenges to the Faith... but his doctrine is supposedly tainted with Gnosticism by the mere fact of being developed to prove the Gnostics wrong? Or is it because he agreed with them on such shockingly Gnostic ideas as equating the Good with the Beautiful, or viewing Evil as a disruption of the Good? Or because he seeks and uses points of contact between Manichaean and Christian ideas for the purposes of dealing with a Manichaean argument... like equating "sin" with "wickedness"? Totally Gnostic. And as for "mortality" = "penalty" - call a Church council! We have to anathematise St. Augustine right now, for the crime of reading Paul's letter to the Romans. (And then there's the idea that Augustine's concept of "concupiscence" only had sexual overtones because of crossfertilisation with Manichaean concepts... hello? Ever read the guy's Confessions? They're only his most famous work.)

What your link actually proves (or claims to) is that Augustine's Christian thought was biased towards the common ground Christianity and Manichaeanism had as a result of arguing with Manichaean ideas, and that his doctrine developed in a certain way because of his focus on using this common ground to refute Manichaeanism and defend Christianity. That's not quite the same as "Augustine ripped off his doctrine from the Manichaeans", which is what you need it to prove for "Calvinism = Gnosticism" purposes.

(This is leaving aside the issue of your implied equation of Manichaean = Gnostic, which I think is slightly dubious, though I may be wrong. Is there even any evidence that the Manichaeans believed in predestination, anyway?)

Further: if Augustine is some kind of Typhoid Mary of Gnostic doctrine, why on earth did no Ecumenical Council levy some censure against him and his works?

Jnorm888 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jnorm888 said...

Acolyte4236,

Thanks for the corrections.



godescalc,


What I said about Saint Augustine is true. All you have to do is compare his early works with his later works.

You can also compare his later works with the rest of christiandom both during his lifetime as well as before his lifetime. Some years ago, I have done just that but stopped mid-way through. So yes, I am standing by what I said.

Also, I called Augustine a "saint"....not a "heretic". Was Saint Augustine in error? Yes! In Orthodoxy, we don't have infallible saints. Saints can error, and he did on a number of issues.







ICXC NIKA

L P said...

I do not think on the basis of predestination doctrine Calvinism is gnostic. Rather, in so far that some Calvinists follow Zwingli when it comes to the doctrine of baptism and the supper, that is where the gnostic tendencies may be obvious.

LPC

godescalc said...

Was Saint Augustine in error? Yes! In Orthodoxy, we don't have infallible saints.

Fair enough, I can see that. (Actually I think it would have been wise to at least put out some official advisory on his works anyway, Gnostic or not, as Calvin wasn't the first casualty of his predestinarian tendencies - there was the whole predestinarian controvery in the 9th century as well.)

What I said about Saint Augustine is true. All you have to do is compare his early works with his later works.

Fair enough, but most people won't be willing to read through large quantities of Augustine just to find out whether he's really that much of a Gnostic or not. A reader's digest would be nice, or just a few hints - what is it that convinced you personally that Augustine stole the idea of predestination from the Gnostics?

Rhology said...

Jnorm,

You know, you might have the won the prize for "Orthodox apologist who demonsrates the least familiarity with the Reformed position" for this year. Almost all your arguments are first-level stuff, pop-apologist stuff. It's as if you've never talked to a Protestant who knew anything before now. You ought to be ashamed, and rather than type, you ought to read.


To assume that the bad guys won is to believe in some type of total apostasy

Ignoring the position that a remnant remained.



1 Corinthians 11:19
"For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."


That's funny; I cite that verse a lot. How does the EO position allow room for this to occur?



church fathers are fathers for a reason, and heretics are heretics for a reason

Duh, that's kind of my entire point. I've even identified the reason - the modern EOC says they are. Now, how could you have known who was right at the time?



.then ultimately the truth will prevale.

Remnant.



2b.) What's up with the cop out?

Oh, appealing to the Scripture? You're right, I have no idea what got into me.



You know very well that Arminian protestants read the same passages as you, and yet they know that Jesus, Peter, and Paul didn't teach such a thing.

You know very well that RCs read the same traditional passages as you, and yet they know that the ECFs taught doctrine that agrees with papal infallibility.


And as far as the fathers go, yes there was some dissagreements, but nothing like what you see in modern times among the disputes in protestantism.

How many times do I have to insist that you not compare EOC to "Protestants", which is a nearly meaningless term?
Is it that you're too ignorant to know that this makes no sense? Or are you scared of comparing apples to apples? I think it's more likely that you're just ignorant, which is sad. Do more reading, less expressing your ignorance.



5.) Tertullian went wrong in his later years. Not his early years.

How do you know that? And how would you have known that in Tertullian's time?


Was Saint Augustine in error? Yes!

How do you know that? And how would you have known that in Augustine's time?

Acolyte4236 said...

Godescale,

I’ll agree with you that the claim of Gnostic derivation for Augustine is probably false. As for Manicheanism, Augustine’s predestinarianism doesn’t derive in terms of it philosophical sources from Manicheanism. That said, there are remnants of the latter in Augustine, particularly in his concept of the instability of matter.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t problematic sources for Augustine’s gloss. There are namely Origen with whose commentaries he was sufficiently familiar and dependent on. Consequently the similarity to Gnostic predestinarianism comes through Origen and Augustine’s familiarity and dependence on Plotinus’ Enneads.

I commented on the other thread regarding tu quoques and Irenaeus as iconoclast. Just jumping in here because...

As for pentalty = mortality, well in ethical theory there is more than one notion of pentality. It could be a consequential meaning or a vindictive one.

As for sex and concupiscence, what Augustine thinks is not that sex is evil but that libido or concupiscence is manifested most potently in the body in those areas in which we exercise the least control, namely in our sexual organs. So libido is transferred through sexual procreation even though sex itself isn’t sinful. It s just that it is always accompanied by libido.

As for the Confessions, that is one of his earliest works and contains not a few doctrines borrowed from Platonism. So much so that Augustine has to repudiate them later one. There are some though that he does not repudiate such as his believe in a universal spirit or soul for all living things, which is not the Hly Spirit, but something else. This along with his view of the archetypal man and such he holds to his dying day.

Many of the same philosophical principles that Augustine derived from Platonism, either Origin or Plotinus show up in the Reformed doctrine of God and other places in Reformed theology and such guide and structure Reformed exegesis. Augustine inverts Origen’s predestination of all souls to the One such that instead of all persons being predestined on the basis of being their nature, only some are predestined to the Good in that only those elect have the proper nature. This is why Augustine says that the non-elect can only be said to be human in a metaphorical way as opposed to those elected to glory. Retractationes 1, 10, 3.

You ask why there was no ecumenical council to condemn some of Augustine’s views. There’s a simple reason for this. The only thing known to the East of Augustine’s works were his Anti-Manichean works, specifically his work on free choice and the last few chapters of his work on the Trinity. This was pretty much the case until the 14th century or so. And since the ecumenical councils were in the East and they had bigger fish to fry, it just never came up.

Edward Reiss said...

Jnorm,

"And as far as the fathers go, yes there was some dissagreements, but nothing like what you see in modern times among the disputes in protestantism."

St. Justin said that the Logos was begotten as an act of will by the Father--which is pretty much Arian as it makes him a creature. He also said Jesus Christ is a distinct and subordinate God--again, pretty much the Arian positionSt. Athanasius disagrees as does the council of Nicea. That is a pretty big difference, and as such refutes your position re: "The" Fathers' disagreements. Basically, appeals to "the Fathers" by you are really appeals to the authority of the Church to which you belong because "the" Fathers disagreed on a host of issues.

* Was Christ 50 when he died?
* Is Millennialism true? (earlier Fathers pretty much say "yes"--and later this is condemned as a heresy)

I could multiply the examples. So just say what you eman: You believe your Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, so what it says the Fathers, Scripture or even history means is true no matter what the actual Fathers' words say.

This constant arguing against "protestantism" when it is convenient to lump everyone together, and then in a different context talk of all the hopeless division within this uniform "protestantism" you argue against is not at all compelling.

Jnorm888 said...

Rhology,


I am a former Arminian protestant. I was raised Baptist, and in highschool to about my first year in college I was heavily influenced by old school pentecostalism as well as with the charismatic movement.

I started reading the church fathers about a year later in 1997/1998......I read a little bit of Martin Luther before then, and I was a fan of Hank Hanegraaff as well. But all that went out the window when I started reading the works of the pre-nicene, nicene, and early post nicene fathers, nonfathers, schismatics, and heretics. I tried to become EO around that time, but eventually got sidetracked......it's a long story, and I am leaving some details out, but to make the long story short. I followed David Bercot's online ministry from 1997/1998 to about 2003 when his fellowship in Tyler Texas fell apart. I joined an Anglo-Catholic (oxford movement parish) within the ECUSA, and when the convergence movement (convergence of the streams movement) started to fall apart.....that's when I decided to look east again.

I know my share of various forms of protestantism. And yes, I know different kinds of calvinists. I know 4 Supras. 3 out of the 4 are hard determinists. Two out of the 4 are full-preterists. They reject ""any"" idea of free will, and unlike other calvinists I know, they point the finger at god when it comes to the origin of evil. And 1 out of the 4 is very outspoken against the common calvinistic view of common grace.

There are different kinds of calvinists and so what maybe true for one.....may not be true for another. I know Infra's, Supra's as well as some that refuse to choose either one.

Will I make a mistake every now and then? Yes, but when I talk about calvinists.......I am mostly talking about "real" people that I know.







ICXC NIKA

Rhology said...

Given your low level of interaction, I have reason to doubt your level of knowledge and understanding, to be perfectly honest. You seem not even to have thought of these questions before. I'm sorry, but that's the way it is. I almost started down the path to EOC too, but was stopped short when I started asking of EOC the same questions that she was asking of Sola Scriptura. Asking the same questions of EOC or any other position that attacks Sola Scriptura is a like a vaccine against apostasy - you start seeing how the other position, far from being greener grass, is actually barren wasteland.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology,

If there was a remnant, then we need to establish that this was so on factual basis and not on an ad hoc basis to save Protestantism. That is, we need some reason for thinking there in fact was such a remnant that believed and practiced your faith in the main. So for example we’d need a reason to think there was such a remnant in the fourth century or the fifth or sixth or tenth. Can you identify an actual group of people that qualify as a remnant with your beliefs and practices in any given period prior to the Reformation and late medieval scholasticism? If not, then the appeal to a remnant is ad hoc.

Second, in the NT, the remnant that survives is the church and not part of the church. The church is the remnant taken out of Israel to which the gentiles are added and grafted in. The church then is society of people that are the remnant.

Third, the fact that the church survived for three hundred years under persecution when it was on the short end of the power stick seems to cut against your hypothesis that the winners of the power struggle won out. In any given major theological controversy in the Constantinian and post-Constantinian era, the orthodox party was on the short end of the power stick and for quite some time. They didn’t “win” purely because of power considerations. So it doesn’t follow that if the heretics had won the struggle that we would identify them as fathers. More to the point, the judgments of councils weren’t forgone conclusions merely dictated by those who had power. At Nicea for example, most of the bishops were some form of semi-Arianism, that is they in reacting to the previous error of Sabellianism were on guard to distinguish between the Father and the Son, even if they didn’t have the most perspicuous means of doing so at hand. When they heard Arius’ defense for themselves, they swung over to Alexander’s side. This kind of thing occurred at a good number of general councils.

And let’s take this thesis out for a drive concerning Arminianism. Arminius was a Calvinist theologian and then the reason why “Calvinism” won out and pushed the Arminians out of the Reformed church and that Calvinism isn’t understood as Arminius glossed it was because the “Calvinists” had more power. Really?

Further, and it is not the case that the only way we can discriminate between heretics and fathers is by power. There are lots of other ways. Your comments conflate issues of knowing and issues of normatively adjudicating the matter for the whole church. I can do the former all by myself. I could know that Nestorius was wrong or Arius was wrong without a church council. I couldn’t morally and ecclesiastically obligate others to go along with it if they don’t recognize my good reasons for thinking so.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (cont.)

Second, the continuity of tradition is also another means for knowing. Unlike Catholicism and Protestantism, we don’t adhere to the notion of doctrinal development. So a given expression has to be conceptually found in the prior tradition. It cannot be a conceptual development that was somehow implicit but teased out later.

Third, it has to be something found as taught in all the churches that were founded by the apostles, namely all of the major sees as part of their tradition. It can’t be a local or regional belief.

Fourth, your thesis won’t help you in the case of deciding the canon. How will you appeal to scripture to discriminate between fathers and heretics on the question of the canon? Did Marcion loose out because he had less power? How about those who rejected everything from Hebrews to Revelation? Some rejected certain epistles of Paul as authentic. So I can’t see how your position here is somehow superior even if your gloss were correct but perhaps you can clarify it for me.

When you speak of church fathers, I think there is an equivocation going on between us. We are using it in terms of official teachers of the church and teachers for example in specific areas who have been judged by the church to teach and express the faith of the church authoritatively. You seem to be using the term as meaning something like a university professor, someone well informed as an instructor, but not as a judge.

You remarks that RC read the same passages and “know” that they teach Roman distinctives. Well I suspect you are using the term “know” in a loose sense, because they can’t know what is false. Second, plenty of liberal or moderate exegetes who are competent in the languages disagree on your reading of various passages. What ecclesiastical authority (not argument) is competent to judge the matter to bind the consciences of all whether they agree with the judgment or not? If you don’t think there is such an authority in your church do you think it is acceptable to match an absolute commitment to revisable confessional doctrines?

You ask how we know that Tertullian went into error and repudiated the church. Well for one because Tertullian himself says that he repudiated his former beliefs in the church in favor of the female prophetesses. Second because the church judged that it was so, just as the PCA judged the Federal vision to be in error according to the Reformed standards. If the judgment of the PCA carries no informative content then I am not sure why the PCA would engage in such behavior.

You ask how we know and would have known at that time that Augustine was in error. Well first given the paucity of sources that Augustine can cite from the preceding tradition to justify his doctrine. Augustine pretty much admits that his teaching isn’t found in the previous tradition. This is well documented in works by Brown, Ogliari, Weaver, et al on Augustine’s theology. This was a point upon which Augustine was directly challenged on more than one occasion.

Jnorm888 said...

Edward Reiss,


I am sticking by what I said. When I say "protestantism" ....I am including all of it.

Lutherian, Reformed(Congregational, Prespyterian, and Episcopal), Anabaptist(Ahmish, Mennonite), Baptist, Methodhist, Holiness, Word of Faith nondenominational churches, Pentecostal(including oneness), Adventists(1st day, 7nth day, worldwide church of god armstrong, and jehovah witnesses), modern day mega churches.......etc.



The dissagrements of the fathers is nothing like that found within protestantism. Did they disagree about somethings? Yes, but they agreed on more things then what they disagreed on.


Justin Martyr wasn't an Arian. The language found in the pre-nicene age was a little different from the post nicene due to the Arian conflict. Justin wasn't alone in the pre-nicene era in saying that. But he wasn't Arian for he saw the Logos as being Eternal. And so it was a matter of the Father begetting the Logos Eternally freely.

In the post Nicene world the language was changed to one of Nature. Either way, the Logos was still seen as Eternal.

I've already dealt with chillism many of times. I don't feel like going over it again right now. But I said what I said for a reason, and I am sticking by it.


Have a good weekend







ICXC NIKA

Jnorm888 said...

Rhology,


I've already dealt with your questions over and over and over again for years with different people.

I get bored answering the samethings over and over and over again.





ICXC NIKA

Acolyte4236 said...

Edward,

Actually this is a mistake. Athanasius also says in a few places that the Son is begotten by an act of will of the Father and Athanasius was no Arian. What Justin would need to say to qualify as Arian would be that the Son’s volitional generation from the Father was on the same level as an exterior act of will as creation, but Justin doesn’t say that.

Justin’s subordinationalism is problematic because it is confused between two possible positions. Given the baggage of the terminology that Justin inherits, its clear why he has this problem. There is no distinction between person and nature in Platonism (or Aristotle or the Stoics for that matter) and so he tends to think of persons as instances of nature so that the only way to distinguish is in terms of subordination. Justin is right in so far as the Son is generated from the Father, but just so long as that generation isn’t creation as the Arians thought, it is more unclear than heterodox. Likewise, Justin goes out of his way to also say that there is a kind of equality between Father and Son and this is something the Arians did not say in any of their factions.

As for the reference in Irenaeus on the age of Jesus, I think some care should be exercised. First there are two reasons why he says this. First he is turning the Gnostic exegetical method against the Gnostics in a sort of ironic twist. Second, he is trying to demonstrate the Pauline doctrine that Christ recapitulates human nature in himself and so all ages. Even if Irenaeus is wrong (and assuming he isn’t being ironic) the theological point is still valid. Second, what is relevant is not if Irenaeus says things that are mistaken, but if we have a method for discriminating between erroneous views that isn’t sola scriptura. Just noting that this or that father says something mistaken by itself won’t purchase anything in terms of an argument.

A for Millenialism, Justin notes that not all Christians agree on that point so there is a measure of laxity in the church on that score. I am not sure how that by itself supports your thesis.

To put the shoe on the other foot for a moment, its quite clear that Melancthon and later Lutheran theologians disagreed with Luther. How did the Lutheran church judge who was right and by what authority did they do so? Why is Melancthan’s teaching genuine Lutheranism and Luther’s views aren’t?

Second, you’d think that after five hundred years of using the same text and the same canon if Sola Scriptura were true, we’d begin to see convergence even on the more exterior points of theology between the Reformed and the Lutherans, but we don’t. We see the exact opposite. That is, if the text were perspicuous and a fair number of Lutheran and Reformed scholars were so as well then they’d be able to figure out which side was correct on say baptism. What do you offer as an explanation for this?

Acolyte4236 said...

Jnorm,

To be fair I don’t think some of the sects you mention can be classed as Protestant. Certainly the Word of Faith isn’t a denomination or tradition. And the Adventists, Armstrongist, and the Witnesses certainly do not describe themselves as Protestant but deny it. And theologically and historically they do not derive from the Reformation bodies. These sects more or less sprung up out of the ground

The same is not true for say the Amish, Quackers, Mennonites, etc. of the Anabaptist tradition who are quite Protestant.

Rhology said...

then we need to establish that this was so on factual basis and not on an ad hoc basis to save Protestantism.

The remnant argument doesn't save or hurt "Protestantism", whatever "Protestantism" is. I'm defending Sola Scriptura, just FYI.
Anyway, the remnant argument is an internal critique of EOC. Doesn't touch Sola Scrip's position at all. The Bible is true whether ppl believe it or not.



Can you identify an actual group of people that qualify as a remnant with your beliefs and practices in any given period prior to the Reformation and late medieval scholasticism? If not, then the appeal to a remnant is ad hoc.

Can you identify an actual group of people that qualify as a remnant with true OT beliefs and practices in any given period prior to the revival of Hezekiah? How about the rise of the Judges?



Second, in the NT, the remnant that survives is the church and not part of the church.

Correct; and I'm simply arguing that you would've misidentified the church. They'd be visible in their locality, like the NT represents.
And it's question-begging to say that you have a great deal of evidence to the contrary, when you lack polling data from that time period. You have a few dozen writers if that, and a few dozen writers might, or might not, properly represent the laity.


the fact that the church survived for three hundred years under persecution when it was on the short end of the power stick seems to cut against your hypothesis that the winners of the power struggle won out.

I don't think I've talked much about time periods, and certainly not much about the first 3 cent. More thinking of later times.



They didn’t “win” purely because of power considerations. So it doesn’t follow that if the heretics had won the struggle that we would identify them as fathers.

Actually, they DID win b/c their views won out. Again, internal critique of EOC - why take the orthodox party's word over the heretics' word, since we're talking about who the correct infall interper is? I don't get to question the infall interper, whomever it ends up being, you know, 'cause they're infall.



the judgments of councils weren’t forgone conclusions merely dictated by those who had power.

Like Toledo? Hieria?



it was because the “Calvinists” had more power. Really?

You're equivocating on the term "power". What I am trying to help you see is the logical outworkings of your a posteriori paradigm of judging good councils from bad councils, only to go back and define the faith based on the good councils, not on the bad ones that you've arbitrarily written off.



I could know that Nestorius was wrong or Arius was wrong without a church council.

You're an individual layman, and those guys were bishops and patriarchs. You're saying you were free to be a Protestant?



Fourth, your thesis won’t help you in the case of deciding the canon.

Irrelevant, since this is an internal critique of EOC, as I've said.

Rhology said...

We are using it in terms of official teachers of the church and teachers for example in specific areas who have been judged by the church to teach and express the faith of the church authoritatively

Exactly. You choose who they are, then you appeal back to them to show that you've always blvd what the church has taught. It's incredibly circular.



You remarks that RC read the same passages and “know” that they teach Roman distinctives. Well I suspect you are using the term “know” in a loose sense, because they can’t know what is false.

Now wait a sec. YOUR remarks that EOdox read the same passages and “know” that they teach EO distinctives. Well I suspect you are using the term “know” in a loose sense, because they can’t know what is false. Now, who's right and how can we know?



What ecclesiastical authority (not argument) is competent to judge the matter to bind the consciences of all whether they agree with the judgment or not?

Good question. I answer that with Scripture, but I suspect you're stuck.



Well for one because Tertullian himself says that he repudiated his former beliefs in the church in favor of the female prophetesses.

1) And maybe he represented a lot of the church at that time. You don't know, do you?
2) Given EO doctrine, how could anyone know at the time whether he was on the right track?



JNorm888,
I'll believe you've talked about this on a decent level with diff people when you demonstrate some familiarity with the other side. You have no business blogging on the topics you do.

Jnorm888 said...

Acolyte4236,

True,

But some Baptists, Pentecostals, and Cambellites (churches of christ) also deny being protestant. But depending on the source, they are still considered protestant anyway.

But you are right. I should only stick to those groups that are accepted as being protestant by the one in whom I am talking to.







ICXC NIKA

Jnorm888 said...

Rhology
"I'll believe you've talked about this on a decent level with diff people when you demonstrate some familiarity with the other side."



Sometimes it's hard talking to you Rho. The way you seem through the keyboard.......nevermind. You do push peoples buttons. You know that, right?


Rhology:
"You have no business blogging on the topics you do."



That's not what the people who e-mail me say. Your arguments isn't the problem. The problem is your mood and attitude. When I feel up to it......I might take the time to give a detailed answer. But I'm not gonna go back and forth with you. For I know that such a thing is nothing but a waste of time.






ICXC NIKA

Tim Enloe said...

That's a good question: what does "Protestant" mean? According to what I've read, the term originally was used by the Lutherans at the 1529 Diet of Speyer, and, being a Latin term (pro + testare) it connoted a positive stand for something definite, not a negative position of criticism only or some vague morass that could embrace things as diverse as the sola Scriptura of the Reformers and ongoing revelation of the Word Faith types.

I know Anglicans who refuse to accept the term "Protestant" of themselves, and also some "Anabaptist" type groups who prefer to use "Evangelical" instead of "Protestant." (Not that "Evangelical" is any clearer these days, since it also originally referred to the Lutherans). I'm not sure Perry is right to say Anabaptists are "Protestants." They didn't stand for a whole lot that the Reformers did, but rather radicalized most of the Reformers' teachings in ways that the Reformers themselves soundly condemned.

So what is a "Protestant"? It's interesting to me, as a 10+ year veteran of these Internet wars, to see how much heat and how little light is too frequently shed by failure to be clear about terms. It's like just slinging around the term "sola Scriptura." What does that mean? Does it mean Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith (Luther and Calvin) or Scripture is the only rule of faith, period (Anabaptists, most Modern so-called "Protestants")? Likewise "sola fide." Does that mean a position that embraces Luther's and Calvin's high view of the sacraments without the feeling that the "only" is being compromised by "works," or does it embrace only groups who claim to be "more consistent" than the Reformers were and who brazenly assert that, e.g., infant baptism is a "work" of man?

Inquiring minds want to know, if for no other reason than trying to keep such conversations as these from turning into simple spitting matches.

Edward Reiss said...

Acolyte,

Fair enough. My point, though, is that it is pretty easy to make facile comparisons to heresies and swat aside the other guys explanations or clarifications. It is like saying "Gnosticism is A through G, Calvinism holds to B and D, therefore Calvinism is Gnostic..." I don't think that is a strong argument at all.

Calvinism is accused of being "dressed up gnosticism". That isn't true based on the arguments advanced. And if the arguments advanced prove Calvinism is "dressed up Gnosticism", then Orthodoxy is "dressed up" Arianism.

Both comparisons are facile, and ISTM all these accusations of "gnosticism" et. al. are really attempts at "ground preparation" so one can simply wave away what the other guy says. "Who cares what you say, you are Gnostic anyway..."

Edward Reiss said...

Jnorm,

You didn't define "Protestant". Let me use another word so I can lump you in with others with which you have disagreements. Let's call them the "Ancient Churches"

Orthodox, RC, Nestorian, Monophysite, New Catholics, Old Believers, Sedevacantists, (Insert various non-canonical EO Churches...)

It is pretty easy to arbitrarily group churches if we don't care about theology, too. Churches who claim they are institutionally infallible:

Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Mormons, Jehova's Witnesses, etc.

Your argument is still facile. Lutherans and e.g. Anabaptists have very little in common theologically yet you group them together arbitrarily, and then you will turn around and say that protestantism is divided when you ram two different theologies together. Rather convenient for you, even if it is ridiculous.

And if you want to group according to authority claims, then you are in bed with the Mormons who claim infallibility, who are thus not in bed with us.

From my perspective, it just makes it look like you (i.e. JNORM) don't have any real arguments and prefer to just posture by labeling your opponents with labels they don't accept.

godescalc said...

Acolyte,

thanks for the clarifications! I never knew all that about Augustine.

I’ll agree with you that the claim of Gnostic derivation for Augustine is probably false....Augustine’s predestinarianism doesn’t derive in terms of it philosophical sources from Manicheanism.

Good to know, I'd say this is the most important point of contention.

Regarding concupuscence, libido, sex, and the Confessions... as you say, what Augustine thinks is not that sex is evil but that libido or concupiscence is manifested most potently in the body in those areas in which we exercise the least control, namely in our sexual organs - my point is that you don't need theology and philosophy to explain this! You just need to read his autobiography. His view of concupiscence strikes me as reflecting his own experience and struggles, as much as the theology and philosophy he absorbed.

Jnorm888 said...

Edward Reiss,

Please correct me if I am wrong:

1.) Are you a Lutherian?

2.) Is Rhology a Baptist?

Do you view Rhology as being protestant? Yes or no

Are modern mainstream protestant churches in North America and western Europe protestant?

Do you view Pentecostal and charismatic churches as being protestant?

What about Anglican/Episcopal, Prespyterian, and Congregational?

Do you view the churches of christ as being protestant?

What about the Methodist and Holiness churches?

Ok, I will leave out the Oneness Pentecostals, and Adventists (1st day, 7nth day, worldwide church of god, and Jehovia witnesses) Eventhough they too have a North American protestant ethos.


I know You don't like it when I group different protestant denominations and groups together as being protestant, but in North America Lutherians are not the only protestants in town.

Yes I know that the classical Reformers didn't like the Anabaptists, but in North America, they are still seen as being protestant anyway. Infact, most of the groups I listed are seen as being protestant in some form or another.

By the way.....I don't have a problem with your list of "ancient churches." I do have a problem with your other list.



And my point for doing what I did was to show that the disagreements of church fathers is not to the same degree as the disagreements within modern protestantism,.......especially in North America.

Now I never denied disagreements among the fathers. I just deny that they were to the same degree to what we see now within modern protestantism....both mainline and nonmainline.

That is what I deny. And that is what I will stand by.







ICXC NIKA

Jnorm888 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jnorm888 said...

Tim Enloe,

I agree. The term protestant or evangelical was mostly in connection to Lutherianism. While the term Reformed was mostly in connection to Zurich and Geneva.

The radical reformers were hated by almost everybody (I'm exaggerating)

The Church of England wanted to be in the middle of both Catholicism and protestantism (lowercase p)

The Lutherians still considered Anglicanism as being Reformed anyway.

And so yes, it is tricky....for I know of Baptists, Pentecostals and churches of christ that refuse to call themselves as well as their group "protestant". But I also know of some that don't mind the label.


When I use the term "protestant". It is mostly in a generic sense.....lowercase p.

I 100%ly agree with you about Sola Scriptura and Sola fide. I still remember the fued John Macarthur had with Zane hodges and them over the issue of "Sola Fide".


You are a breath of fresh air. You seem very level headed....as well as someone that seems capable of moving an argument forward. Just like you......I am tired of seeing the samething over and over and over again. It's get boring, and it seems like a waste of time to spend the time to answer the samethings over again when you know that the otherside isn't in it to move the argument forward.

Take care and may you have a blessed weekend!







ICXC NIKA

Edward Reiss said...

Jnorm,

"I know You don't like it when I group different protestant denominations and groups together as being protestant, but in North America Lutherians are not the only protestants in town."

I wouldn't mind so much if you were a bit more consistent. On the one hand, you fuse differing theologies into "protestantism" and then charge "protestantism" with division. In other words, "protestantism" is not a confessional label, and you are using it as such when it is convenient for you.

Now, to answer your question, I do not consider myself a protestant the way tyou use the term. It does not reflect my beliefs.

"And my point for doing what I did was to show that the disagreements of church fathers is not to the same degree as the disagreements within modern protestantism,.......especially in North America."

Except that there are real divisions among the church Fathers. Sorry, but that is just a brute historical fact.

But let's look at it a different way. What the th e"protestant" confession of the Lord's Supper? Wjat is the "protestant" confession about Baptism? What is the "protestant" confession about the canon?

Basically, there is none.

And now, what is the Ancient Church confession a bout papal infallibility? What is the ancient church confession about purgatory? What is the ancient church confession about divine simplicity?

These are no small matters BTW, and I could add more.

Since the ancient churches are just as divided--complete with differing interpretations about what "the" Fathers said--as "protestants" this division tells against their truth claims.

And the fact you disagree with my second group doesn't matter. My list is no different in kind from your practice of lumping different theologies under a name "protestant" and then being shocked there is theological division. It is in fact quite ridiculous.

Jnorm888 said...

Edward said:
I wouldn't mind so much if you were a bit more consistent. On the one hand, you fuse differing theologies into "protestantism" and then charge "protestantism" with division. In other words, "protestantism" is not a confessional label, and you are using it as such when it is convenient for you."



In everyday conversations, newspaper, tv, books.....etc. The 3 main categories for christendom is protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox.

And so, I came at the issue with that in mind. I don't know. Maybe you are upset that I don't use the term "protestant" for Lutherians only. If this is the case.....then I am sorry.
If you only want me to call Lutherians protestant, then what should I call Rhology? What should I call all the others?
What name should I give them if you don't want me to call them "protestant"?


Edward said:
"Now, to answer your question, I do not consider myself a protestant the way tyou use the term. It does not reflect my beliefs."


So you only want me to call Lutherians protestant? Is that your belief?

Do you only want me to call Lutherians, Anglicans, Church of Scotland, and the Dutch protestant?
Is this your belief?

I already know you don't want me calling Anabaptist(Mennonite, Amish...eventhough alot of modern Mennonites are evangelical now) Oneness Pentecostals(eventhough T.D. Jakes, and others are embraced by many evangelicals and charismatics), and Seventhday Adventists(eventhough Barnhouse and them saw them as evangelicals and not a cult anymore) protestants. I already know you don't want me calling them protestants

So do you only want me to call Lutherians (including the pietist movement and higher criticism), Anglicans (including all the sects and movements that came from her....like Puritans, and from them Congregational puritans, Prespyterian puritans, Episcopal puritans, and from puritanism came English separatists and from them the Baptists. Then you have the otherline of Methodist, Holiness, Pentecostal), Church of Scotland, the Dutch Reformed,....etc

According to you, who or what is a protestant? Will you consider "Calvery Chapel" a protestant church? What about Joel Osteen and his church?


Edward said:
Except that there are real divisions among the church Fathers. Sorry, but that is just a brute historical fact.



I already admitted there were disagreements. But there is no way in the world I will agree that the disagreements and division of the fathers were to the same degree and level as modern fragmented protestantism. For it's not like having division on "some" issues. In protestantism you can have disagreements and divisions on dozens to hundreds of different theological issues.
I'm not gonna budge, so we mind as well move on and talk about something else...or at least get back to the issue at hand.


Edward said:
"But let's look at it a different way. What the th e"protestant" confession of the Lord's Supper? Wjat is the "protestant" confession about Baptism? What is the "protestant" confession about the canon?
Basically, there is none."



I agree, there isn't one protestant confession of faith about these issues. There are alot of different "protestant" confessions of faith....that touch on these issues.

So who is a protestant in your eyes? What groups are protestant in your eyes?

Jnorm888 said...

Edward said:
"And now, what is the Ancient Church confession a bout papal infallibility? What is the ancient church confession about purgatory? What is the ancient church confession about divine simplicity?
These are no small matters BTW, and I could add more.
Since the ancient churches are just as divided--complete with differing interpretations about what "the" Fathers said--as "protestants" this division tells against their truth claims."



Yes the ancient churches you listed are divided and disagree. But even when it comes to the ancient churches....the level of our disagreements and division is to a lesser degree than what is found within modern protestantism.

It is a matter of degree. For we have more things in common. If you are truely a Lutherian then I probably have more things in common with you than I would with Rhology. And so it is a matter of degree.

And yes, my disagreement with your 2nd group listing does matter.






ICXC NIKA

Edward Reiss said...

Jnorm,

"Yes the ancient churches you listed are divided and disagree. But even when it comes to the ancient churches....the level of our disagreements and division is to a lesser degree than what is found within modern protestantism."

No, it is not. In fact, the divisions within "protestantism" are not as severe as is often claimed.

It can broadly be described thus:

Lutherans
Reformed
Anabaptists

Compare:

RCs
EOs
Nestorians
Monophysites

Your "unity" boils down to mutually exclusive claims of Apostolic Succession and veneration of the saints.

BTW, are "protestants" Christian in your view? If so, how much disagreement is there among Christians? Quite a lot. Again, it depends on where one draws the boundaries.

You see, lumping unlike theologies together and then stating there is division is, at best, a tautology, and not a point at all. At worst it is an attempt to change the subject because one does not have anything useful to say.

As to "degree", this is also an arbitrary distinction. There is less of a "degree" of difference between Lutheran Christology and EO Christology than between Lutheran Christology and Calvinist theology. And yet, you group Lutherans and Calvinists together and then point out there is division.

To put it succinctly, I don;t accept your arbitrary groupings, and thus the supposed points which flow from them. It doesn;t matter that there is division among protestants, because there is division among the Ancient churches, too--and in big issues such as Christoloogy, which call into question whether the apparent unity in other places is real or only semantic. The divisions among the EOs may seem less important to you, but when there is schism within the EOC it appears it is important enough to break fellowship. So again it seems you are just making arbitrary distinctions and then making exceptions for your own team when it is convenient for you. Not a very compelling critique of "protestantism", which is an arbitrary grouping by you.

Assert that the division among "protestants" is a meaningful argument all you like. But if division counts against protestants, it counts against Christianity as a whole.

Edward Reiss said...

Jnorm,

"So who is a protestant in your eyes? What groups are protestant in your eyes?"

I would answer, but you seem to want to see it in a confessional sense. I say this because you are hung up on all these divisions.

In other words, it doesn't matter from where I stand how I define protestants. I never mean it in a confessional sense. So even if I have a long list of churches your point still misses the mark--the theological divisions are a given and they are irrelevant. There is no such thing as "protestant theology", in other words--except in the most general and non-specific terms. Compare "Christian theology".

Or compare the triadologies of Rome and the EOC. Should we conclude that that is not an important issue and then go on and say that the divisions within
"protestantism" show fatal flaws within "protestantism"? That sounds rather arbitrary to me.

Jnorm888 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jnorm888 said...

Edward said:
"No, it is not. In fact, the divisions within "protestantism" are not as severe as is often claimed."


Oh yes it is. Back when I was protestant, I refused to partake of communion in MOST protestant churches. And I refused to join/become a member of alot of protestant churches because I strongly disagreed with them on some issue I thought was important. And I wasn't alone! I knew, as well as still know....alot of protestants with high convictions on a number of issues....that prevent them from joining churches....and so they are either alone or group up in house church gatherings.

The issue is very severe! Back when I was protestant, my conscience had NO PEACE for years! And all because of what I knew about the Sacraments(Mysteries).


Edward said:
"It can broadly be described thus:
Lutherans
Reformed
Anabaptists"




Most of the groups I mentioned either come from or split off from the 3 you mentioned......yet you won't recognize them as being protestant? Why? Is Rhology a protestant? I know alot of Reformed that refuse to call Calvinistic Baptists Reformed. They don't see them as being Reformed....and so they make the distinction, that one can be a Calvinist(embracing TULIP) while at the sametime not really being Reformed. And yes, I know that Rhology see's himself as a ""Reformed"" Baptist.....whatever that means.

And yes, making a list of groups does matter, for it will show that the division among protestants is far greater than that of the ancient churches. And you know this.

And so, what I said still stands. The division/disagreements one will see in the fathers can not be compared to that found within modern protestantism. For the divisions found in modern protestantism is far far greater and thus not the same. If I compared the disagreements among the fathers with all the writers of the different protestant traditions that you and I both mentioned.....then we will see that the differences within the protestant traditions is far far far far far greater.







ICXC NIKA

L P said...

Jnorm888

The division/disagreements one will see in the fathers can not be compared to that found within modern protestantism. For the divisions found in modern protestantism is far far greater and thus not the same. If I compared the disagreements among the fathers with all the writers of the different protestant traditions that you and I both mentioned.

The problem with comparisons is that it is very anecdotal and subjective. Comparative religion suffers heavily in this regard such that its comments or pronouncements are highly unreliable.

Let me give an example.

Hindu religion also has rosaries, incenses, candles and scapulars so much so that there seems to be a connection with the way the RC and EO use these gadgets.

For instance, both RCs, EO and Hindus burn candles in front of the statue/icon of their saints/gods.

Shall we conclude that these pagan gadgets actually copied by the ancient fathers from Hinduism as Christianity got corrupted?

But the reverse can be true. May be the Hindu faith copied these from the ancient Christians etc.

It is not conclusive.

LPC

Jnorm888 said...

LP,

I see that you are taking this back to the original topic.

I agree, that just because a group does or believes something doesn't mean that they got it from another group with similar beliefs or practices.

I also agree that the reasons why a group believes or practices something may be different from why another group may practice or believe in something.

In regards to the issue at hand. The finger is pointed at Saint Augustine, and so, one must find where he got it from......what influenced him in his later years? Was it a combination of things? Probably so. Did he regress or re-embrace some of his old manichaen beliefs? Maybe so in some places.
Was he influenced by Plotinus? Maybe so in a number of places.
Did he have a couple "private" revelations in how he later interpreted Scripture? Maybe so in a few places.

And so, it might be a measure of all the above.


Saint Augustine is the link.....and so....one will have to look at him.





ICXC NIKA

Lvka said...

The algorithm of Sola Scriptura yields more doctrinal disunity than the one called Tradition. -- This was JNorm's point, and this conclusion is inevitable.

Rhology said...

To help Jnorm, I care not at all whether you call me a Protestant or not. Call me a Calvinist Baptist or a Reformed Baptist. Call me a Sola Scripturist. Those are labels I'll gladly accept.

Rhology said...

Lvka, suffering from amnesia, said:
The algorithm of Sola Scriptura yields more doctrinal disunity than the one called Tradition

1) So now the claim is transformed from "Tradition yields unity and SS leads disunity. Booyah" to "Tradition yields MORE unity than SS does."
2) Or does it?

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"The algorithm of Sola Scriptura yields more doctrinal disunity than the one called Tradition. -- This was JNorm's point, and this conclusion is inevitable."

no, it doesn't because the categories of "Sola Scriptura" and "Tradition" are arbitrary. As was pointed out by Tim, different groups approach "Sola Scriptura" differently so no matter what you guys say they are not using the same "rule". For one example, some use the "regulative principle" and others do not, and this different rule entails different outcomes. In other words, to group all SS churches together is to fall into the (ahem) word-concept fallacy, because you are assuming that because they say they follow Sola Scriptura they are all following the same rule--but they aren't.

Regarding Tradition, there is no need to stop at RCs, EOs amd Monophysites. The Church of Sweden and the Anglican Church also believe in Apostolic Succession. So I suppose we can group them with the EOS, RCs and Monophysites since they follow the same rule. The differences, to borrow Jnorm's argument, are minor.

In other words, the categories are arbitrary--though not useless. And to use these arbitrary categories as an argument is rather silly.

Edward Reiss said...

Jnorm,

"Most of the groups I mentioned either come from or split off from the 3 you mentioned......yet you won't recognize them as being protestant?"

Because I don't see their theology as being very different. It is sorta like the "Old Believers" in the Russian Church. Is there really a significant theological difference between the various EV churches? Most will fall into the Anabaptist category.

"And yes, making a list of groups does matter, for it will show that the division among protestants is far greater than that of the ancient churches. And you know this."

And you are still making the basic mistake of treating "protestantism" as a confessional title, lumping different theologies under that title, and then saying that because we see different theologies the "protestant confession" is disunited. Thus, what still "stands" for you is that grouping different things under a title means the things remain different. Big deal.

I will recant if you can provide a coherent "protestant confession" things might be different.

Lvka said...

1) I didn't forbid you to add High-Church Anglicanism to the list of tradition-oriented Churches. (Though the way things are going, there probably won't be any High-Church Anglicanism soon, sadly...)


2) There's a reason why neither Catholicism nor Monophysism created a denominational and dogmatical big-bang the way Sola-Scriptura Protestantism did.

Tim Enloe said...

Jnorm,

As you say, I would like the arguments to move forward rather than continually stagnating on the level of food fights because of unclear terms and unexamined prejudices that pass under phrases like (for Catholics) "What has always been believed...") and (for Protestants) "What Scripture plainly teaches."

As a Protestant, I believe that the term should have a definite meaning and not be allowed to function in a general or a reductionistic manner that close analysis shows merely to serve partisan interests.

I don't quietly pass over the typical Catholic apologetics slurs about "Protestantism, and I think I'm largely in agreement with Edward on the reductionistic and fallacious nature of that use of the term. Likewise, I don't quietly pass over the tactic of many Reformed people in trying to reduce "Calvinism" to merely "the Five Points" or the Reformation to merely "the Five Solas," resulting in begging the important questions and a triumphantly labeling of those who disagree with them as dislikers of "plain" biblical truth.

A lot of Reformed people involved in controversies on the Internet like, for instance, to press the argument that their little marginal sub-group (which can validate itself only by glorying in how much opposition to its "plain truth" it is receiving) is really the only "consistently Reformed" one because they reject the Magisterial Reformed view of the sacraments as "adding works" to the "sola" of sola fide. Others like to pretend that the "sola" of sola Scriptura entails only one possible way to view the category of "tradition" - that is, as a necessarily corrupting influence that has to be at all times countered by "not-tradition," i.e., "the plain meaning of Scripture."

Lost in this morass of sloppy and question-begging thinking are several important facts about basic Reformation theology as it was articulated in the 16th and 17th centuries. For one, there is the fact that the Reformers believed that pastors stand ministerially in the place of Christ, so when an infant is baptized, it is Christ, not man, who is doing the baptizing. Thus, infant baptism is not a "work" being added to the "sola" of sola fide. Likewise, the "sola" of Sola Scriptura does not for Luther and Calvin entail the rejection of all "tradition" in the name of "Scripture alone." Such would be impossible, etymologically, because the very word "tradition," from the Latin tradere, means "to hand down," and therefore, by the handing down to others of the very position "sola Scriptura," Protestants hold a sort of "macro" tradition that informs the evaluation of "micro" traditions. And of course, the writings of the Reformers are liberally sprinkled with appeals to all manner of authorities outside of Scripture, whether the classical Greeks and Romans, Medieval theologians, creeds and councils, or even each other's writings. The confusion of "sola" Scriptura among Protestants who engage in Internet polemics is massive, and if you are a Catholic, you both need to be aware of that and of your own facile attempts to turn that confusion into some kind of "disproof" of a "rule."

As Edward said, the "word-concept" fallacy is at work confusing matters in many of these disputes. The problem exists on both sides, and I have found over the years - first with Catholics, then with Protestants - that it is very difficult to get either side to face up to their own peculiar guilty misuses of terms. The worst kinds of traditions are those that we think we don't have because we've never bothered to ask ourselves the hard questions about our own views.

Tim Enloe said...

I realize that I better say my last comment isn't meant as an "attack" on anyone, because usually when I talk that way, it starts being buzzed around that "TGE is attacking us again." That's not my intent. These are critical issues of Reformation-identity, rooted in deep historical and theological contexts and not mere trifling, forgettable, momentary disputes on blogs in the 21st century. As long as a given forum is kept "open" enough for just about anyone to comment, it OUGHT to be the case that disagreement for the sake of clarification should NOT be immediately suspected of some kind of craven motivations of irrationality, hatred, or disloyalty to Truth.

I hope, at any rate, that what I said doesn't get taken that way, as it's not my intent. Paul says to "examine all things carefully and hold fast to that which is good." I take it that he would not wish the defenders of the Reformation only to demand this of others but never of themselves.

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"There's a reason why neither Catholicism nor Monophysism created a denominational and dogmatical big-bang the way Sola-Scriptura Protestantism did."

Lutherans have a specific doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Could you outline all the Churches which Lutheranism has spawned? I would also like some kind of historical documentation as well.

For instance, what is the organic relationship between Sola Scriptura as understood by Lutherans and Anabaptists? What is the rule used by each group?

If you cannot show such an organic relationship as well as a relationship of rules, isn't your claim falsified?

Jnorm888 said...

Rhology said:
"1) So now the claim is transformed from "Tradition yields unity and SS leads disunity. Booyah" to "Tradition yields MORE unity than SS does."
2) Or does it?"



I'm trying to be nice to you. But it's real hard when you pull kindergarten stunts like this. You know very well that the number of splits within protestantism is far beyond that of the ancient churches. Heck, the splits among Baptists alone is probably more than the ancient churches. When I was young......my Baptist church split/schismed twice on me.

The chart you made in your link for protestantism should include hundreds if not thousands of more groups.
But lets look at some of the Baptist groups:
1.)Allience of Baptist Churches
2.)American Baptist Association
3.)American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A
4.)Baptist General Conference
5.)Baptist Bible Fellowship International
6.)Baptist Missionary Association of America
7.)Cooperative Baptist Fellowsip
8.)Conservative Baptist Association of America
9.)Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International
10.)General Association of General Baptist Churches
11.)General Association of Regular Baptist Churches
12.)Independent Baptist Federation
13.)Independent Baptist Fellowship International
14.)Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America
15.)Interstate & Foreign Landmark Missionary Baptist Association
16.)Institutional Missionary Baptist Conference of America
17.)National Association of Free Will Baptists (I like these guys)
18.)National Baptist Convention of America, inc
19.)National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., inc
20.)National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
21.)National Primative Baptist Convention U.S.A
22.)North American Baptist Conference
23.)Original Free Will Baptist Convention
24.)Primative Baptist
25.)Progressive National Baptist Convention, inc
26.)Reformed or Sovereign Grace Baptists
27.)Separate Baptists in Christ (General Association)
28.)Seventh Day Baptist General Conference
29.)Southern Baptist Convention
30.)United American Free Will Baptist Church
31.)United American Free Will Baptist Conference
32.)Unaffiliated Free Will Baptist
33.)World Baptist Fellowship ocal associations

I left some out, and this was only in America.....not the planet. I also left out most of the generic fundamentalist churches that are Baptist in ethos....with names like "covenant(put your city name here)" this or "(put your city name here)Bible Church" that.

And this is just the Baptists. If I include all of protestantism...then we will see that the amount of disagreement and division is far greater. It is far greater! And when we add alot of the different movements going on right now within protestantism...like extreme partial preterism, full-preterism, tri-theism, people denying the eternal generation of the Son......etc.
Then there is no way you can sit around and pretend that the amount of division is the same. It's not.

Yes, we have division, but protestantism has it 10 to a 100 times greater.





ICXC NIKA

Edward Reiss said...

Jnorm,

"And this is just the Baptists. If I include all of protestantism...then we will see that the amount of disagreement and division is far greater."

What happens if you include "all of Christianity" or "all monotheists" or "all religions which originated in the Middle East" etc. You have not escaped your arbitrary argument at all.

Here is my laundry list:

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

So I suppose EO tradition is unclear because "Pride Church" is pro gay and since they have Orthodox in their name, Orthodoxy is responsible for them.

All you did was post a laundry list of churches. You did not show what if any theological differences exist between them. And if you do show differences, you would have to whow they really matter. Remember, you see a lot in common between th RCC and the EOC (ancient churches..) who have different anthropologies and at least the EOs say triadologies. For you this is not an important difference. In other words, you are still being arbitrary and hanging on to this "argument" like it proves anything. Because if such a list does prove something EOdoxy is false, too--even if you just assert the differences within EOdoxy and between EOdoxy and RCism are somehow not as bad.

Jnorm888 said...

Tim Enloe said...
"Jnorm,
As you say, I would like the arguments to move forward rather than continually stagnating on the level of food fights because of unclear terms and unexamined prejudices that pass under phrases like (for Catholics) "What has always been believed...") and (for Protestants) "What Scripture plainly teaches.""


I agree.


As a Protestant, I believe that the term should have a definite meaning and not be allowed to function in a general or a reductionistic manner that close analysis shows merely to serve partisan interests.

I think it's subjective/relative. For me, growing up it was mostly used in a broad/general sense. In a similar way that lowercase "c" is used by alot of lowchurch protestants when talking about the word "catholic".

I am only having trouble with the word "protestant" now because of Edward Reiss. I could be wrong, but it seems as if Rhology and I have a similar understanding of the word "protestant".

However, I do realize, historically the word was in reference to Lutherans. But in everyday North America....it is used in a different context.

If I was only talking to Edward Reiss, then it would be easier. For I would use his context.

What makes this difficult...is that, you have different protestants on the same board....and so, what might be good for one....may not be good for the other.


I don't quietly pass over the typical Catholic apologetics slurs about "Protestantism, and I think I'm largely in agreement with Edward on the reductionistic and fallacious nature of that use of the term.

I think the term is subjective in North America. It means different things to different protestants.


"Likewise, I don't quietly pass over the tactic of many Reformed people in trying to reduce "Calvinism" to merely "the Five Points" or the Reformation to merely "the Five Solas," resulting in begging the important questions and a triumphantly labeling of those who disagree with them as dislikers of "plain" biblical truth."

Interesting. It might depend on who you talk to. When you say the Reformation....do you mean the Reformed tradition only? Or all the traditions(lutherian, Reformed, Anabaptist, and Anglican/reformed)?




A lot of Reformed people involved in controversies on the Internet like, for instance, to press the argument that their little marginal sub-group (which can validate itself only by glorying in how much opposition to its "plain truth" it is receiving) is really the only "consistently Reformed" one because they reject the Magisterial Reformed view of the sacraments as "adding works" to the "sola" of sola fide.

Are the ones saying this Reformed Baptists and Zwinglian Prespyterians?


Others like to pretend that the "sola" of sola Scriptura entails only one possible way to view the category of "tradition" - that is, as a necessarily corrupting influence that has to be at all times countered by "not-tradition," i.e., "the plain meaning of Scripture."

You would think Keith A. Mathison's book would of changed that. Now I know Baptists and Prespyterians that disagree with "the shape of Sola Scriptura". They feel it is too close to Rome. But even they don't deny the fact that there is a disagreement on this issue among Reformed protestants.

Rhology said...

Jnorm,

Your long list notwithstanding, how do you think that your comment responds to my 2 points?

Jnorm888 said...

Lost in this morass of sloppy and question-begging thinking are several important facts about basic Reformation theology as it was articulated in the 16th and 17th centuries.

I agree. The generation in the 17nth century moved in a more Aristotle/scholastic direction. The 16nth century seemed to be against Sophism and Scholasticism. And some of their Biblical interpretation of a number of passages was different to.

I think the problem is history. Learning about history seems to be a taboo for some. Or if, they do learn about history....then they try to play the sophist and re-interprete everything to make it fit whatever they believe in.



For one, there is the fact that the Reformers believed that pastors stand ministerially in the place of Christ, so when an infant is baptized, it is Christ, not man, who is doing the baptizing. Thus, infant baptism is not a "work" being added to the "sola" of sola fide.


I have a book filled with a bunch of quotes by Luther, but I never saw this before. So was this true for all the Reformers or just some?

I like that. Their view is similar to both Rome as well as to the Slavic Rite within EO (at least from what I heard, I could be wrong about that)

Likewise, the "sola" of Sola Scriptura does not for Luther and Calvin entail the rejection of all "tradition" in the name of "Scripture alone." Such would be impossible, etymologically, because the very word "tradition," from the Latin tradere, means "to hand down," and therefore, by the handing down to others of the very position "sola Scriptura," Protestants hold a sort of "macro" tradition that informs the evaluation of "micro" traditions. And of course, the writings of the Reformers are liberally sprinkled with appeals to all manner of authorities outside of Scripture, whether the classical Greeks and Romans, Medieval theologians, creeds and councils, or even each other's writings. The confusion of "sola" Scriptura among Protestants who engage in Internet polemics is massive, and if you are a Catholic, you both need to be aware of that and of your own facile attempts to turn that confusion into some kind of "disproof" of a "rule."


I agree. But the Anabaptist tradition is just as protestant as the Magistoral one.
And so, What makes the Classical protestant version more valid than the Radical one?

Most modern North American protestants seem to follow the Anabaptist tradition, and whenever Roman Catholics attack Sola Scriptura, some protestants will say....oh that's not what Sola Scriptura means. You don't know what Sola Scriptura means.....etc.

But if there is more than one protestant version of Sola Scriptura.....then who is to say that such and such isn't what sola scriptura mean? The onlything they can say is that such and such is not the classical/magistoral protestant understanding of Sola Scriptura.


As Edward said, the "word-concept" fallacy is at work confusing matters in many of these disputes.

I think it's only a problem when you have different protestant traditions on the same blog/board.


The problem exists on both sides, and I have found over the years - first with Catholics, then with Protestants - that it is very difficult to get either side to face up to their own peculiar guilty misuses of terms. The worst kinds of traditions are those that we think we don't have because we've never bothered to ask ourselves the hard questions about our own views.

It may or may not be a guilty mis-use of a term. For we have to deal with many different groups. And so, what might work for one group.....may not for another.

But I do understand what you mean.






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Jnorm888 said...

Rhology said:
"Your long list notwithstanding, how do you think that your comment responds to my 2 points?"

In regards to point # 1. I could be wrong, but I don't think I made the claim that tradition = 100% absolute unity.

I thought the point I tried to make was that whatever dis-unity, disagreements, and divisions you see among ancient churches. You will see far more of that within protestantism.

That was the whole point.

And in regards to your point # 2. You made it seem as if our division was exactly the same as yours. And that is far from being true.

Yes, we both have divisions. But one is far more greater than the other.

I hope you have a blessed sunday. I gotta hit the sack. Good night!






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Lvka said...

Ed,


it's not about Lutheranism spawning anything; it's about the fact that the idea(s) that begat Lutheranism also begat an entire plethora of completely different beliefs/faiths. -- yet the ideas behind Monophysism and Catholicism didn't do that.


Pro-gay movements are many things, but traditional they're not. Their existence is based on non-traditional re-interpretations of verses like 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:9-10 & Romans 1:26-27. The idea is that the meaning of the Greek words used in the first two passages are basically unknown apart from Tradition; and the last one is re-interpreted non-traditionally by them in the sense that if someone is naturally attracted to the same sex, then that verse doesn't cover that (it only covers, according to them, those who though being naturally attracted to the opposite sex, want to experience new sensations)


You're 45 yrs old !!! :-0

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"it's not about Lutheranism spawning anything; it's about the fact that the idea(s) that begat Lutheranism also begat an entire plethora of completely different beliefs/faiths. -- yet the ideas behind Monophysism and Catholicism didn't do that. "

And I ask for your historical analysis of the organic relationship between Lutheranism and say, the Anabaptists. DSo far you just assert it as if it is self evident, which I don;t believe it is.

"Pro-gay movements are many things, but traditional they're not."

Anabaptists are many things, but related to "the ideas that begat Lutheranism" they are not. If Luther is somehow responsible for Calvinism and/or Zwinglianism, Eodoxy is responsible for the pro-gay EO church which it spawned--it is after all based on the same idea...

Basically, you are going to have to do more than just assert this position of yours.

Lvka said...

There are a few ideas that unite Protestantism into one movement; otherwise it would be impossible to speak of the term Protestantism in the first place. One of them is Sola Scriptura.


I also don't understand why you insist on Anabaptists when there's a movement within Lutheranism that wants to get rid of traditional Lutheran liturgics.


No, you can't make tradition responsible for obviously anti-traditional movements, just like I can't make Sola Scriptura responsible for obviously non-scriptural Christian religions such as Mormonism either.


You're 45 years old !!! :-0

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

"There are a few ideas that unite Protestantism into one movement; otherwise it would be impossible to speak of the term Protestantism in the first place. One of them is Sola Scriptura. "


Protestantism is an historical label and not a confessional one. Your (as well as Jnorm's)argument depends upon it being a confessional label, so your argument is wrong because it is not a confessional label. In fact, your argument that protestantism is divided actually refutes your argument that it is a confessional label, which means your own words refute your own argument.

So, is Lutheran Sola Scriptura the same as Anabaptist Sola Scriptura? No, even though they use the same words. So this "idea" does not unite the two theologies, nor did one theology arise from the other. They are differen ttheologies using the formal principle, just like all those EO schismatics use the EO formal principle as their starting point and thus call themselves Orthodox.

I find it interesting that you want to carve out an exception for your communion though. We call that special pleading.

"I also don't understand why you insist on Anabaptists when there's a movement within Lutheranism that wants to get rid of traditional Lutheran liturgics."

Because Anabaptists have a different theology and a different use of "Sola Scriptura". And the fact you still have not shown an organic relationship between the two tells me you cannot show one. This basically makes your arguments beside the point.

It is also trivial to turn your comment against yourself again. There is a movement within EOdoxy to ordain women, so I don't know why you are hung up on the pro-gay Orthodox.

See how easy it is? Of course, you will want another exception for yourself while ignoring any theological differences among the protestants...

Do you or don't you have evidence of an organic relationship between Lutherans and Anabaptists? If you cannot show one just admit you were wrong.

"No, you can't make tradition responsible for obviously anti-traditional movements, just like I can't make Sola Scriptura responsible for obviously non-scriptural Christian religions such as Mormonism either. "

And you cannot make Luther responsible for Anabaptists. Nor can you make Calvin responsible for Anabapatists. Nor can you make Luther responsible for Calvinists. And unless you can you have not shown that some "idea" unites protestants.

Lvka said...

Ed,

calm down, my (older) Lutheran brother.

The ideas that unite Protestantism are the Solas. Three or five, you name it.

As for Orthodox schismatics, they don't share the same "starting principles" with us, they share the same faith as us, in its entirety. (That's why they're schismatics, not heretics. And why they're called Orthodox, and not by another name, for that matter).

As for women-ordination, we have the same problem as with pro-gay movements: its complete absence from two thousand years of Church history and tradition.

L P said...

Lyka,

The ideas that unite Protestantism are the Solas.

But the point of Edward is that though within Protestantism, these solas are held, they define them separately from the Lutheran Book of Concord which identifies what we mean by sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia.

Let me give an example.

We are saved by grace through faith, that is the Lutheran dictum.

However, within Protestant revivalism it is held this way:

We are saved by faith through grace.

The two are intergalactically different.

Clearly in so far as Protestants today do not adhere to the Lutheran Confessions, they do not agree to the way the original solas are to be taken.

What we mean by Sola Scriptura is that when it comes to article of faith, and when it comes to controversies, we go to Scripture.

If by Sola Scriptura is meant by the way most Protestants mean it today, then we would have to burn our Book of Concord. As you can observe we do not do this.

LPC

Edward Reiss said...

Lvka,

The point is that the allegedly shared solas are different among the different protestant groups. Thus it is illegitimate to lump all protestants together and then say they are divided. Cponsider all Christians say they follow Christ, yet that means different things to different Christians.

An schismatics are not in fellowship with non-schismatics, so the fellowship and unity of the Church is broken--just like your claim about the protestants. This is because of differences which objectively divide the churches, which again contradicts that your faith is the same as theirs. The schismatics would disagree.

Regarding the EOs and womens' ordination, I will use a protestant example. Lutherans baptize infants, Anabaptists do not. So the same standard would apply to Lutherans as you wish to apply to the EOs--which is special pleading.

Lutherans never denied infant baptism, so Anabaptists do not follow the rule Lutherans do even if they say they follow Sola Scriptura. Thus to lump Lutherans in with Anabaptists and then point out "divisions" is just like lumping the EOC in with what ever schismatic group claims to be the "true Orthodox" and pointing out divisions.

This does not prove Lutheranism true any more than your arguments prove EOdoxy to be true. All it shows is that this particular argument against "protestantism" is not really valid.

Lvka said...

Following the same starting-point algorithm does not yield the same resulting conclusions: that's the trouble with Protestantism.

And, when it comes to dogma, whether this dogma is believer baptism or the teaching on homosexuality, Anabaptists, as well as pro-gay activists, *DO* take that issue to the Bible... only that seemingly the Bible uses weird words, whose meaning is otherwise unknown outside of Holy Tradition (as I've explained in my previous comment).

And Anabaptists aren't Lutherans on a different calendar. Unfotunately.

Rhology said...

I don't guess I should be surprised that none of the EOdox in this combox have yet struggled with, let alone figured out, my point in the Special Pleading post. Until you do, whine about "disunity" all you want; your point is still totally neutered.

godescalc said...

...In regards to the issue at hand. The finger is pointed at Saint Augustine, and so, one must find where he got it from......what influenced him in his later years? Was it a combination of things? ... Did he regress or re-embrace some of his old manichaen beliefs? Maybe so in some places.
Was he influenced by Plotinus?...
Did he have a couple "private" revelations in how he later interpreted Scripture? Maybe so in a few places.

Saint Augustine is the link.....and so....one will have to look at him.


I don't believe this. You're admitting you don't have the slightest idea where the Oggster got predestination from, but you feel sure he must have gotten it from someplace bad like the Gnostics, so you're just going to waffle on in ominous terms until you can find something that sticks? You're treating the whole "Calvinism as Gnosticism" thing as an article of faith which you don't have any proof of, but you're sure some will come along any day now. How is taking it on faith that Calvinism = Gnosticism supposed to convince Rho that he's a Gnostic? Or convince anyone else that Rho's a Gnostic?

Also suggesting private revelation takes your entire argument out behind the barn and shoots it in the head. If the Oggster got predestination from private revelations there is no possible way he could have got it from the Gnostics.

John said...

"This is the problem with the Sola Ecclesia position; the only way you can judge the heretics of old to have been wrong is b/c the modern church is the group that won out, that won the power struggle."

Now where have I heard this before. Ahh yes, Bart Erhman and his theories that there were all sorts of early Christians, and the church and canon that won out defines orthodoxy, not because of truth but by mere attrition.

You're a humanist through and through Rhology.

Edward Reiss: "Was Christ 50 when he died?"

No Church Father said Christ was 50. I know what you're going to pull out, but you need to read it more carefully.

Edward Reiss said...

John,

"No Church Father said Christ was 50. I know what you're going to pull out, but you need to read it more carefully."

Nice assertion by you.

I am referring to Irenaeus Against Heresies Book 2, chapter 22. He clearly says Jesus lived until the time of Trajan. I did not "pull anything out", but I just read what he wrote. It is you, not I, who have to say living until the time of Trajan does not make Jesus around 30 years old whe nhe died, which is the normally acceptable age.

Now, I don;t think this disproves "tradition" as such, just that throwing around "the" fathers as proof of one's beliefs is rather bogus.

I also find it interesting that you would argue that no father said this when Irenaeus obviously did. It is an example of reading one's beliefs back into the Fathers instead of letting them speak for themselves. Only a "careful" reading--i.e. one which suits your Church, is the correct one.

Darlene said...

To Tim Enloe:

Sir, you have conducted yourself as a gentleman on this thread. By your words, interaction with others, and kind demeanor, you represent our Lord Jesus well.

Thank you for staying above the fray of childish insults, casting aspersions on the character of others, and avoiding the temptation to damn others souls to hell for not towing a particular line of demarcation.

Such conduct is rare to behold these days esp. on "Reformed" blogs. Perhaps others will learn and imitate your maturity.

God bless you, Tim.

Jnorm888 said...

godescalc,


I know where he got it from. I said what I said....in detail....for a reason. It was a combination of all the above.

1.) In regards to the "maybe" in reverting back in some way to Manichaeism...well, There were pelagians, and semi-pelagians (during the time of Saint Augustine) that accused him of going back to his Manichaeism roots. Some, even quoted some of his earlier works against him in order to show/prove that he changed his mind on these things. And so where there is smoke there is fire.


2.) In regards to the "maybe" of "private revelations", you will notice that even Saint Augustine admitted to changing his mind by means of ""revelation"". In one ""revelation"" he changed his mind about the issue of "faith" being from man when he read a quote of Corintians chapter 4:7 or was that Colosians chapter 4:7? I forgot the scripture, but he was reading Saint Cyprian one day, and Saint Cyprian quoted that scripture in regards to something else, and for some reason it gave Augustine the idea that even "faith" isn't from us but it too is a gift from God.

This changed his Romans chapter 9 interpretation as well as his interpretation of "Predestination". For in his early works you will see that he believed that Predestination was based on God's Foreknowledge of our faith. But this all changed in his later works. In fact, the Calvinistic system is pretty much the same as what Augustine said in one of his latter letters to a group of monks.

So yes, I know exactly where he got it from. I said what I said for a reason. Anyone that read Augustine and was familiar with the era would of known that.


3.) And in regards to the "maybe" in the deterministic influence of Plotinus. This is the onlyone I didn't know about. I knew about the influence of neoplatonism on Augustinian. I just didn't know it was also in this area. And so, I will have to do some more research in this area to see in more detail the influence for myself.


If you want to know for yourself just read his early works and compare them to his latter ones. Then look at what his enemies had to say about him, as well as reading what the Eastern Fathers had to say about Predestination and free will.

Then you will understand, and you won't have to depend on other people spoon feeding you.

For you will know for yourself.


Have a blessed weekend, and palm Sunday!






ICXC NIKA

Jnorm888 said...

And for the record:

Yes, I already know that he didn't do a full commentary on the book of Romans, but he did quote portions of Romans chapter 9 in his letters.









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Jnorm888 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jnorm888 said...

godescalc,


All 3 things influenced Saint Augustine, and so, all 3 played a role.

The onlything I have to do is figure out the influence of Plotinus in all of this, and then sort it all out to which one of the three had the greater influence.

The Manichaen and Plotinus influences are almost in the same family for ancient gnosticism got it's basic framework from Plato.

In this regard, his private revelation about "faith" being a gift from God helped him go in the direction of christian determinism, but he wasn't fully there until latter in life.....for when one reads one of his middle works called "From the Spirit and the Letter" or something like that. I forgot the name of it, but in that letter you will still see signs of "free will". A very limited libertarian freedom, and so he didn't fully change until latter, and so the "private revelations" don't explain everything.







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