Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let's Make Up Rules and then Apply Them 500 Years Later

Here's a primitive outline, thrown together in about 2 minutes, of typical rule inventing of a Romanista soldier as compared to Romanist Worldview Headquarters. The following is based on an argument against my position on Luther and the canon.

Romanist Worldview Headquarters: Trent infallibly declared the contents of the Canon. Previous to that, there was freedom to express opinions on canonicty. See, we're not so bad. Previous to infallible declaration, enjoy your speculations.

Romanista response: Luther taught sola fide, which is a false gospel, so he was a heretic, and wasn't allowed like Cajetan the freedom to express an opinion on the canon.

Romanist Worldview Headquarters: Justification was defined at Trent, so Luther can't be chastised for sola fide.

Romanista response: C'mon, Luther was declared a heretic, so he didn't have any right at all.

Romanist Worldview Headquarters: Romanism never condemned Luther by name at Trent, and no official judgment on Luther exists by which a loyal Catholic is bound.

Romanista response: Luther is still a heretic, and took books out of the Bible.

Romanist Worldview Headquarters: We don't have a rule that says heretics should be chastised for doctrines not yet infallibly defined, or that we can take a later rule and apply it to them to declare their opinion heresy.

Romanista response: I don't care, I'm protecting you, so stop giving me a hard time. Don't you remember Exsurge Domine?

Romanist Worldview Headquarters: Was Exsurge Domine an infallible document?

Romanista response: Well no... but... Luther took books out of the Bible! Do something about it!

Romanist Worldview Headquarters: Would you like a rule that says: Luther was a heretic, and even if he did what our leading sixteenth century Romanista Cajetan did, Cajetan was OK, and Luther was not?

Romanista response: Yes! Perfect! Please, declare that rule!

Romanist Worldview Headquarters: Our infallible council meets on and off and every few hundred years. If you can wait, maybe we'll put something together.

Update: Here's another 2 minutes of thoughts on this issue:

As far as I can recall, none of the Reformers are named in Trent's infallible declaration.

It was Hubert Jedin, the German Catholic historian from the Universities of Breslau and Bonn, a specialist on the history of the Council of Trent that pointed out Roman Catholicism never condemned Luther by name at Trent, and that no official judgment on Luther exists by which a loyal Catholic is bound.

This makes the "What to do with Luther" rather interesting from a Roman Catholic perspective. Gregory Sobolewski has compiled quite a book addressing this issue: Martin Luther: Roman Catholic Prophet (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2001). Sobolewski traces more recent Roman Catholic scholarship and their positive attitudes toward Luther. It was interesting to read how many Roman Catholic scholars don't think Luther was a heretic. Some go as far to point out how spiritual and necessary Luther was to the Roman church.

It's true Trent didn't declare Luther a heretic in their statement. However, in 1564 the Tridentine Index of Books condemned Luther's writings. Here's the closest you get to the goods on Luther. Still, this doesn't help the Romanista that tries to argue Luther's can't comment on the canon while Cajetan and Erasmus can. Why Romanistas try to make up there own rules is just another example of how people reason from their heart, not history, or even consistently with their own worldview.


Rhology said...

Well, they certainly seem to be accelerating...1870, 1960 - maybe we're only ~40 yrs away from the next one, in which they declare that all is One and Jesus was the exemplar of how to love everyone, so let's just love everyone.

Ryan said...


zipper778 said...

This does seem to be the attitude of the Magisterium. Such a sad system. Always going back and forth on what it believes and expects its followers to believe. The Luther issue is a clear one that shows that Roman Catholicism's position on it is simply a human one and is nothing but mere opinion, just like many of their false doctrines like the eucharist, Mary, and purgatory.

Alex said...

I'm sure that the masturbation endorsing Steve Hays would agree with you.


Tania said...

^...Predictable. You didn't deal with anything in the article. You just want to runaway from what was said and argue about something else.

Alex said...

What is predictable is that you continue to give one of your own a pass on his promotion of evil. God certainly must be more offended at me, right?

James Swan said...

Alex, I think you need a "time out."

I'll delete any more comments on masturbation. If the subject so concerns you, I suggest starting your own blog (if you don't have one already). Post on the subject as often as you wish on your own blog.

Tania said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Swan said...

I don't want to start deleting posts, but any further mention of his pet topic will be dumped.

James Swan said...

Well, they certainly seem to be accelerating...1870, 1960 - maybe we're only ~40 yrs away from the next one

You know, I don't keep up with any rumblings for a future council, however, the more they say infallibly, the more work they'll make for Roman Catholic apologists and scholars.

Tania said...

I'm sorry! I'll delete my last post.

James Swan said...

I'm sorry! I'll delete my last post.

No that's ok, I meant posts by Alex.

Andrew said...

Thank you, James. That was getting tiresome. I enjoy reading this blog, and the ensuing comment wars; but I was getting irritated having to wade through distasteful comments that had nothing to do with the actual topics of the blog posts. Thanks again.

Tania said...

Oh, alright. I wasn't too sure if you were directing that post at me. But I think you're right in that we should probably ignore his taunts or insincere remarks. And I don't want to cause an argument and derail your thread any further.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

What in the world is wrong with that guy? Now I'm convinced that there is a serious mental problem at work here. In any case, it's clear that Alex is need of our prayers.

Thanks, James, for shutting that whole thing down.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

typo: Alex is in need of our prayers.

Pilgrimsarbour said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lvka said...

Justification was defined at Trent, so Luther can't be chastised for sola fide.

The divinity of Jesus was defined at Niceea, so Arius can't be chastised for Arianism.

Origen and a few other writers were condemned a few hundred yrs after their deaths at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

-- Are you sure you want to continue this?

James Swan said...

Are you sure you want to continue this?

Why not? On the question of the canon, various theologians held different canons, yet none of them is chastised like Luther is.

Robert Sungenis:

As regards infallibility, it is true that only at the council of Trent did the canon finally become infallible and irreformable, and that is because Trent made it crystal clear it was doing so. The Council of Florence did not use the key words in its formulation that Trent finally used. Granted, Catholics during the time of Florence had to give their assent to what Florence decreed, but this did not mean, for sake of conscience, that a Catholic could not contest what Florence said about the canon. This is why even Cardinal Cajetan contested Florence's canon list. So yes, Luther could contest the canon prior to Trent and do so quite legitimately. But this would only force the Church to make the final decision, and it did so in 1563, after which Luther would have been bound to obey it.

Catholic Encyclopedia:

"Catholics as a matter of fact do not feel in any way distressed either by the restrictions, on the one hand, which infallible definitions impose or, on the other hand, by the liberty as to non-defined matters which they enjoy, and they can afford to decline the services of an opponent who is determined at all costs to invent a grievance for them."

"The Catholic believer who has real faith in the efficiency of Christ's promises will not doubt but that the Holy Ghost Who abides in the Church, and Whose assistance guarantees the infallibility of her definitions, will also provide that any definition that may be necessary or expedient for the safeguarding of Christ's teaching will be given at the opportune moment, and that such definable questions as are left undefined may, for the time being at least, be allowed to remain so without detriment to the faith or morals of the faithful."

Turretinfan said...


Of course, Arius lived to see the council of Nicaea and didn't stop teaching what he was teaching after the council defined things. So, the Romanists could still blame him.

But hopefully, you see that the whole RC standard of waiting for definition is bunk. Arius was just as wrong on an essential doctrine before Nicaea as he was after Nicaea.

Nicaea condemned his heresy because it was wrong - it did not become wrong because they condemned it. Nevertheless, you have to keep in mind that Mr. Swan is using Rome's own arguments against her here - he's not adopting them as his own.

- TurretinFan

Lvka said...

Luther's ideas were already condemned in his own life-time at the diet of Worms. He didn't retract. ("Here I stand, I can do no other").

James Swan was presenting two ideas, I attacked them both. (That something doesn't exist as dogma until it's "defined" by a synod; and that synods never condemned people who weren't any longer alive to see the decrees).

Lvka said...

Mr. Swan is using Rome's own arguments against her here

And I pointed put that he fails to do that.

Turretinfan said...

No, you didn't.