Monday, May 10, 2010

The Bryan Cross Method Alert

There is another long, long post going on at Greenbaggins. Bryan Cross and the usual gang from Called to Communion have shown up to try and to take advantage of some of the less theologically astute brothers and sisters over there.

I've made several long posts, including what follows below, in slightly edited form:

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Bryan Cross Method Alert
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I know that Bryan Cross has said that it's unkind to speak about him in the third person, and no doubt the words argumentum ad hominem will escape from his keyboard coming up here.

But for you Reformed folks who are trying to figure him out, what I'm about to say may seem unkind precisely until the moment when one of your children, or one of your church members, or even a Westminster-trained pastor that you may know, becomes enamored with and traipses off to Rome. At that point, then, ask, what is the real unkindness?

What I'm about to do is to look not at Bryan Cross the person, but rather, the method he uses.

Since I’ve written this, I see that Ron Henzel, in post #238, has provided a brilliant response to Bryan, in which he untangles all of the assumptions that Bryan throws out without an ounce of warning that he is, indeed, making assumptions. I'm convinced that Bryan's method of argumentation is inherently dishonest, and I say why below. But again, Ron Henzel in #238 has done a brilliant job of untangling Bryan's assumptions, and I’d very much encourage that everyone read that comment as an example of how really to have a discussion with Catholics.


Let me start by asking, do any of you play chess, at any serious level? If you do, and if you've come across Jeremy Silman's work, which talks about the need to look for "imbalances" in the position.

An imbalance is an opportunity within a position that one can use to create an advantage for oneself, on a particular area of the board, even though the second player may have advantages in other areas of the board. This is why a Queen sacrifice might work to enable a person to achieve a checkmate. While the opponent's Queen is off on another part of the board -- and still very powerful there -- the first player is enabled, by a sacrifice, to destroy a key defender or deflect a defensive piece away, enabling his own pieces to enjoy a temporary and in some cases, an overwhelming superiority in the more crucial part of the board, and thus, to Checkmate the King.


There are incredible imbalances in the Catholic vs. Protestant discussions, and Bryan Cross and his allies try to take advantage of this in discussions just like this one.

Francis Turretin noticed just such an imbalance in all of these discussions of Catholic vs. Protestant. Here is how he described it:

Thus this day the Romanists (although they are anything but the true church of Christ) still boast of their having alone the name of church and do not blush to display the standard of that which they oppose. In this manner, hiding themselves under the specious title of the antiquity and infallibility of the Catholic church, they think they can, as with one blow, beat down and settle the controversy waged against them concerning the various most destructive errors introduced into the heavenly doctrine. (Vol 3 pg 2)


John Henry Newman, too, gave Catholics some advice, which is easily used in conjunction that imbalance that Turretin wrote about. At its heart, Newman's "theory of development of doctrine" is itself founded on that very assumption. As Newman says:

Till positive reasons grounded on facts are adduced to the contrary, the most natural hypotheses, the most agreeable to our mode of proceeding in parallel cases, and that which takes precedence of all others, is to consider that the society of Christians, which the Apostles left on earth, were of that religion to which the Apostles had converted them; that the external continuity of name, profession, and communion, argues a real continuity of doctrine; that, as Christianity began by manifesting itself as of a certain shape and bearing to all mankind, therefore it went on so to manifest itself; and that the more, considering that prophecy had already determined that it was to be a power visible in the world and sovereign over it, characters which are accurately fulfilled in that historical Christianity to which we commonly give the name. It is not a violent assumption, then, but rather mere abstinence from the wanton admission of a principle which would necessarily lead to the most vexatious and preposterous scepticism, to take it for granted, before proof to the contrary, that the Christianity of the second, fourth, seventh, twelfth, sixteenth, and intermediate centuries is in its substance the very religion which Christ and His Apostles taught in the first, whatever may be the modifications for good or for evil which lapse of years, or the vicissitudes of human affairs, have impressed upon it.


In short, what this long couple of sentences says, is that The Roman Catholic Church itself was the promise of the Old Testament -- itself is the fulfillment of the very promises of God to provide a kingdom -- and that it has all the power and authority that one would expect. And further, "we don't have to prove this," he says. “We merely assume continuity,” and leave it to “positive reasons grounded on facts [that] are adduced to the contrary” to be able to persuade us that our assumptions are not valid.

That very thing comes up all the time in this thread. Notice the phrase, "the Church that Christ founded," first used by Bryan in comment #42 (used again in 74 and in various places by some of the others from “Called to Communion”). Several of the Protestant writers have commented on it, but they have not provided an explanation of it.

Here is a sense of its use:

So we need a way of distinguishing confessions of the Church that Christ founded, from confessions made by the equivalent of mere theological clubs …


So when Bryan Cross uses the word "church," he intends it to mean "The Roman Catholic Church and the Visible Hierarchy." Notice how this works in Bryan Cross's statement from Comment #232:

Regarding John 16:13, the unanimous tradition of the Church has been to understand that Christ’s promise (regarding the Spirit guiding into all truth) was not limited to the Apostles but also applied (through them and their successors) to the whole Church.

There is implicit in this statement that "the Church" in this statement was, and continues to be, "The Roman Catholic Church and the Visible Hierarchy." But Bryan doesn't tell you that's his definition of "the Church". He merely assumes that to be the case.

But what's worse, Bryan doesn't care if you misunderstand. He is relying on a technique known as "mental reservation," by which he may say things in such a way that his readers may draw false conclusions from them. But if they do draw false conclusions, that's not his fault.

This principle is clearly articulated by a Roman Catholic Cardinal within the context of an offical investigation document, which shows clearly how the Roman Church dealt with sexual abuse victims. I've written about it:

Mental reservation is a concept developed and much discussed over the centuries, which permits a churchman knowingly to convey a misleading impression to another person without being guilty of lying.


Now, let me give an application of this, because Jason Stellman, a participant in that discussion, and someone that I've interacted with much in the past, has fallen hook, line, and sinker for it. It is something that I’ve noticed and written about in the past, and for it, I’ve been accused of being “uncharitable.” But take a look at what he himself has written:

Often Protestants fear that unless they can poke holes in the Catholic’s claim that Benedict XVI is a literal, historical successor of Peter, then we’ve lost the argument and have to start praying to Mary and abstaining from meat on Fridays. Now I’ll probably take some heat for this concession, but I will come out and admit that I think apostolic succession is more plausible than not. I mean, whether or not the early church invested the practice with as much significance as Catholics today do, my guess is that the church in Rome was at one time led by Peter, and it has had a leader from then to now, which means that the historical claim is actually true …


This is an incredibly naïve statement, coming especially from someone who ought to understand what he is saying here. Others, in cluding Andrew McCallum, have argued against this notion in these comments, not only from the early church, but during medieval times when the worst offenders of popes were still a part of the “official succession.”

In truth, “Apostolic Succsssion” is chock full of holes, and an honest assessment of that practice will show this to be the case. This is not only my view that this view is “incredibly naïve” – note the comment in Francis Sullivan, S.J., “From Apostles to Bishops:

Admittedly the Catholic position, that bishops are the successors of the apostles by divine institution, remains far from easy to establish. It is unfortunate, I believe, that some presentations of Catholic belief in this matter have given a very different impression… (Sullivan, 13)


Referring to the ARCIC I document, (an ecumenical dialog between Rome and the Anglican church), he said,

To speak of “an unbroken line of episcopal ordination from Christ through the apostles” suggests that Christ ordained the apostles as bishops, and that the apostles in turn ordained a bishop for each of the churches they founded, so that by the time the apostles died, each Christian church was being led by a bishop s successor to an apostle. There are serious problems with such a theory of a link between apostles and bishops.” (13)


Sullivan goes on to outline some of these “serious problems.” One of these problems was articulated very succinctly by Raymond Brown in “Priest and Bishop”:

The claims of various sees to descend from particular members of the Twelve are highly dubious. It is interesting that the most serious of these is the claim of the bishops of Rom to descend from Peter, the one member of the Twelve who was almost a missionary apostle in the Pauline sense—a confirmation of our contention that whatever succession there was from apostleship to episcopate, it was primarily in reference to the Pauline type of apostleship, not the Twelve. (Fn 53, pg 72)

In the end, the Newmanesque assumption that Sullivan makes – the “unproved assumption” where he stakes his ground, is further back but still there:

Although development of the church structure reflects sociological necessity, in the Christian self-understanding the Hoy Spirit given by the risen Christ guides the church in such a way that allows basic lstructural development to be seen as embodying Jesus Christ’s will for his church.”

This is what I meant in my comment above to Andrew McCallum, that he “leaves too much money on the table.” Bryan Cross assumes far too much. But Sullivan here articulates the official Roman Catholic fallback position.

Historical study has passed Newman by. The ground of this fight IS no longer on Roman assumptions of its own “divine institution.” I’m doing a series on Joseph Ratzinger’s “Called to Communion,” and he himself can only say that the papacy was “faithfully developed” during the first five centuries of the church. He himself yields far away from what Newman intended. I believe he has been forced to do so by the sheer weight of the historical evidence.

The Protestant/Catholic discussion IS AND MUST BE, in Newman’s words, “on positive reasons grounded on [historical] facts” that absolutely fly in the face of the pure, ungrounded assumption that Bryan Cross makes and that Jason Stellman has freely conceded to them.

We cannot yield this assumption to Bryan Cross and his gang. We must force them to argue on level ground. We must make them come out from behind their unproven assumption and stand on historical ground. As Sullivan has made clear, and as Ratzinger has made clear, Rome itself is forced to kick the “assumption” can further down the road.

Since I’ve written this, I see that Ron Henzel, in post #238, has provided a brilliant response to Bryan, in which he untangles all of the assumptions that Bryan throws out without an ounce of warning that he is, indeed, making assumptions. This method of argumentation is inherently dishonest. But again, Ron Henzel in #238 has done a brilliant job of untangling these assumptions, and I’d very much encourage that everyone read that comment.

56 comments:

John Bugay said...

Sorry if this post is long. The issues have taken centuries to develop. It will take a long time to untangle them. But I'm convinced that, just as the printing press helped Luther spread his views about the need for Reformation, the Internet and the ability to link discussions like this will greatly help to clarify things for many, many people for whom Roman Catholic assumptions just simply cloud issues, rather than clarifying them.

Soli Deo Gloria

Carrie said...

But what's worse, Bryan doesn't care if you misunderstand. He is relying on a technique known as "mental reservation,"

On a side note I am so glad you mentioned this. Someone on CARM once pointed out this term and a few months ago I was trying to find it but could not remember it. Now it is bookmarked, thanks!

Edward Reiss said...

In mt experience, challenging the embedded assumption of the RC advocate causes them to have little to say. I think this is because the core argument is that the RCC is the church (TM), all else is commentary. Once the assumption is removed all we have left is commentary of varying quality.

I never heard of "mental reservation", but I have seen it in action. I am guessing this is why, when the epologist is pushed into a corner, it is always his opponent who misunderstood.

John Bugay said...

Hi Carrie -- I'm glad you found it helpful. I've pulled out my copy of Pascal's "Provincial Letters," and I'm going to give them a look, on the topic of "casuistry."

Thanks for your comment Edward. I put this up first at Greenbaggins, in response to some of the Catholic commenters over there. But I wanted more Protestants to see it and to understand what was happening. I don't know that too many Protestants who tangle with Catholics understand what it is that you called the "embedded assumption" of the Roman Catholics. But Bryan Cross is so good at it, that he provides a "textbook example" to learn from.

Dozie said...

"I think this is because the core argument is that the RCC is the church (TM), all else is commentary. Once the assumption is removed all we have left is commentary of varying quality".

The truth that the Catholic Church is the one true Church, the Church professed in the Christian Creed, is the one thing that is impossible to refute. So, that leaves where you started - kicking and screaming.

John Bugay said...

Good job Dozie. Way to illustrate the use of the assumption.

Edward Reiss said...

Dozie,

{The truth that the Catholic Church is the one true Church, the Church professed in the Christian Creed, is the one thing that is impossible to refute. So, that leaves where you started - kicking and screaming."

No it isn't.

So, when will you be converting? I have offered as much evidence as you did. So when will you be converting?

But more seriously, this is really the argument advanced by RCs. It has nothing to do with interpreting the Scriptures or the Fathers or history, but the bald assumption that since the RCC is the Church the RCC is right. Does a Father say something contrary to RC teaching? Obviously we need to ask the Magisterium for the "correct" interpretation.

The convenient circularity of this approach should be obvious.

Dozie said...

To my knowledge, no protestant sect claims to be the Church founded by Christ. However, they also deny that the one true Church entrusted to Peter by our Lord is the Church headed by the Bishop of Rome. So, the best protestants can do is say, "the baby is not ours and it is not theirs; cut it into two..."

I am yet to see what a sensible argument against the claim of the Catholic Church looks like. Protestants are fond of speaking in back alleys and in closets (mainly because they are incoherent and largely superficial) and therefore are incapable of making claims strong enough and intelligent enough to attract the attention of reasonable authorities and individuals in the Catholic Church. I sincerely wish they have a way of intelligently speaking up rather than making absurd claims behind keyboards and "singing to the choir" conferences.

dtking said...

Two can play this game...

I am yet to see what a sensible argument looks like for the claim of the Roman communion. Romanists are fond of speaking in back alleys and in closets (mainly because they are incoherent and largely superficial) and therefore are incapable of making claims strong enough and intelligent enough to attract the attention of reasonable authorities and individuals in Protestant churches. I sincerely wish they have a way of intelligently speaking up rather than making absurd claims behind keyboards and "singing to the choir" fellow religionists.

Edward Reiss said...

Dozie,

"To my knowledge, no protestant sect claims to be the Church founded by Christ."

Perhaps that is because your thinking about "church" is sectarian? Where did Christ or the Apostles, or even the ECFs claim that to be considered church a sect must claim to be the church(TM)?

"I am yet to see what a sensible argument against the claim of the Catholic Church looks like. Protestants are fond of speaking in back alleys and in closets (mainly because they are incoherent and largely superficial) and therefore are incapable of making claims strong enough and intelligent enough to attract the attention of reasonable authorities and individuals in the Catholic Church."

Do the ex-RC priests who are now LC-MS Lutherans I know count as reasonable?

Of course not, because by fiat you have defined all critiques of the RCC as being unreasonable. It may be convenient for you, but it is not at all convincing.

This is the very thing this blog post is about, BTW. The unspoken, embedded assumption that the RCC is The Church (TM). Well, it is not, because among other things it makes up doctrines (Immaculate Conception) out of thin air, and is free to "develop" in any way is wishes--re-interpreting the past to suite the new interpretation along the way.

Constantine said...

John,

Several more great posts. Thanks again.

One reason why Catholics hold to the errant label of "the one true church" is that their hierarchy has hidden God's teaching from them. They therefore ascribe to man abilities that God the Father has strictly circumscribed in His Word, thereby appropriating undeserved glory to their institution.

According to Fr. Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D. the Lectionary used at the mass after 1570 deleted 98.2% of the OT (save for the Psalms which were read responsively between readings), and 78% of the NT. (The USA edition post Vatican II only omits 96.3% of the OT and about 42% of the NT.) (Because Catholics were discouraged from private Bible study, the Lectionary was their only way of hearing God’s Word, and then, only at the Mass.) What that means is that Catholics are not familiar with God the Father's sweeping indictment of man's inability to do anything like administer His church on the earth (Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Psalm 103:14); His finished work not requiring any agency on man’s part (Isa. 46:10; Lam. 3:37; Daniel 2:21; Jer. 31:31-34 (repeated in Hebrews 8 and 10)); His refusal to share His glory with a church, magisterial or otherwise (Isa. 48:11); and His intention to draw His people to Himself (Jer. 32:40; Eze. 36:27) without any outside help.

Therefore, the real “one true church” is the one foretold by God through the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 31:31-34. Said writings occurring about 100 years before the Republic of Rome was established and about 6 centuries before there was a Christian church in Rome. (Of further interest in this passage is God’s promise to “forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more”, which has devastating consequences for the RC sacrament of Reconciliation/Penance.)

Therefore, the “one true church” was created by God, “before the foundations of the earth” (Eph. 1) and not after the establishment of a city in Italy.

Therefore I told you these things long ago;
before they happened I announced them to you
so that you could not say,
'My idols did them;
my wooden image and metal god ordained them.' (Isaiah 48:5)

Peace.

Andrew said...

John, It will take me a while to digest all of this, but it was a good post. I was thinking that you should invite James Swan to post on this blog. He's pretty good too:P
Thanks again for the good material.

Rhology said...

Andrew,

The padawan have united to force the Master into hiding. He won't be speaking again for a good long time. Bwa hahahahahahahahhahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Ha.

John Bugay said...

Andrew: I was thinking that you should invite James Swan to post on this blog. He's pretty good too:P

I love that James Swan guy!

John Bugay said...

Constantine: Therefore, the real “one true church” is the one foretold by God through the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 31:31-34.

the “one true church” was created by God, “before the foundations of the earth” (Eph. 1) and not after the establishment of a city in Italy.

Excellent points!

John Bugay said...

Rhology: The padawan have united to force the Master into hiding. He won't be speaking again for a good long time. Bwa hahah...aaa. Ha.

I'm really hard pressed to try and top this one. ;-)

Ben M said...
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Ben M said...
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louis said...

“The Catholic Church alone is the body of Christ”.

Ben, you are illustrating perfectly the very point John was making. You almost have to be joking to post this now.

The catholic or universal church IS alone the body of Christ. But that catholic church has very little to do with entity that today resides in Rome.

Edward Reiss said...

louis,

"Ben, you are illustrating perfectly the very point John was making. You almost have to be joking to post this now."

It has become almost like a self-parody. The interesting thing is that simply refraining from embedding the assumption that every time Christ, an Apostle or a Church father says "Catholic Church" he means the RCC does not mean the RC apologist cannot argue against any other communion. It just means that he either has to acknowledge this assumption or find better arguments.

BTW I have seen this same phenomenon in other forums.

Ben M said...
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Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Let me start by asking, do any of you play chess, at any serious level? If you do, and if you've come across Jeremy Silman's work, which talks about the need to look for "imbalances" in the position."

I used to play when I was in high school and college. I actually played in tournaments and my record against players rated "Expert" was 1 1/2 - 1 1/2. A .500 winning record. Not bad.

But I haven't played tournament chess in many, many years.

"Now, let me give an application of this, because Jason Stellman, a participant in that discussion, and someone that I've interacted with much in the past, has fallen hook, line, and sinker for it. It is something that I’ve noticed and written about in the past, and for it, I’ve been accused of being “uncharitable.”"

Yeah, I remember your interactions with Jason Stellman. Here's what I don't understand: If I have my information correct, Stellman was one of those who brought charges against Dr. Peter Leithart for being a FV advocate. And FV is purported to be one of those doctrinal positions that moves Protestants closer to the RCC. So why would Stellman be against FV but yet be very sympathetic to the RCC?

There must be a reason, but I don't get it.

P.S. P-K4! (jus' kidding!)

John Bugay said...

Louis, Edward -- thanks for your responses here.

Truth -- I can't answer your question about Jason Stellman. I used to like him a lot. But he seems to have become curious about Catholicism, and then somewhat enamored with that system. With respect to the FV, I think it's plain to see that many of the Reformed denominations are rejecting it pretty thoroughly. I think Jason is attracted to the authoritarian structure that doesn't (seemingly) leave room for questions when it comes to discipline. (Among other things).

If you go to www.anand-topalov.com tomorrow, you'll be able to watch, live, the 12th game in a 12 game World Championship match. I'm rooting for Topalov, the Bulgarian. (My grandfather was from Bulgaria). Topalov is the challenger, though he's slightly higher rated at the moment. (He's played in more tournaments, and Anand has played in fewer.) The score is tied 5.5-5.5 right now.

Edward Reiss said...

Ben M,

Stringing together a lot of quotes with the key word "Catholic" in them, and then immediately pretending this by necessity means the RCC is just the sort of legerdemain this post is about. Do you have no sense of irony?

Regarding quotes. I asked you if you read the works from which you were citing Luther. I did not see an answer. Did you read them or not? And by read them I mean whole sections, not necessarily the whole work.

I will also ask if you have read the works you cite now.

And please, no mental reservations.

louis said...

Ben, you do realize that Augustine was writing 1600 years ago, don't you?

As far as Romans 16:20, that is no different from what the Apostles tell all Christians. The Son of God came "to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). Thus all who are in Christ are victorious over satan. Christ tells the Christians in Philadelphia, for example, that "I will make those of the synagogue of satan... come and bow down before your feet" (Rev. 3:9).

Notice too that Paul tells the Roman Christians that they better "not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare [the Jews], neither will he spare you.... Otherwise you too will be cut off" (Rom. 11:20-22).

Can there be any greater pride than to claim it is Rome, rather than Christ himself, that is the guarantor of satan's defeat?

Richard Froggatt said...

Ben:

"And most certainly not after the establishment of cities in Germany or Switzerland!"

You've really dealt the death blow to Protestantism here. As soon as someone claims this then it will be felt.

Regarding your use of Augustine, you really beg the question.

Example:

Nothing can be truer than that: For repentance and forgiveness of sins to be preached in his name. But where? Some say, Here, look! or Look, there! But what does Christ say? Do not believe them. False Christs and false prophets will arise and say, Here he is! There he is! (Mt 24:23-24).

Where Ben, where?

Ben M said...
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Edward Reiss said...

Ben M,

I asked you if you read the works from which you were citing Luther. I did not see an answer. Did you read them or not? And by read them I mean whole sections, not necessarily the whole work.

I will also ask if you have read the works you cite now.

Will you scurry away like you did on the Luther thread?

louis said...

It's time for the Proverbs 26:4 rule to kick in. Bye all.

Lvka said...

Hello there, my Reformed friends! :-)

Richard Froggatt said...

Ben,

You did better with your last two posts. My question would be this; how will Satan be crushed? wasn't this already done by Christ?

Richard

Viisaus said...
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Viisaus said...

"Hello there, my Reformed friends! :-)"

Nice try, Lvka.

But "via media" midway compromise is not always acceptable, let alone a rule we always follow.

Athanasius and his followers were not content with semi-Arianism, nor did they saw it a great improvement over "pure" Arianism.

Btw, did you just indirectly concede that EO soteriology is semi-Pelagian?

Viisaus said...

And where was this supposed EO sense of moderation hiding during the quarrel over icons?

Iconodulic bigots like Theodore Studite refused to make any compromises with iconoclasm, to make any concessions to their position.

To them, simply having pictures in churches while not worshipping them (the practice then widespread in Western Europe) was not enough - they wanted the whole cult of icons in all-or-nothing package.

(Thus they totally disregarded the fundamental Pauline principle of respecting the hesitations of "weaker brethren" - according to which, if some people would feel pious scruples against proskuneoing icons, they should not be forced to do so.)

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Excellent observations, Viisaus.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"I'm rooting for Topalov, the Bulgarian. (My grandfather was from Bulgaria). Topalov is the challenger, though he's slightly higher rated at the moment."

I'm sorry, John, but Topalov lost even though he played the white pieces. Maybe next time.

Here's the report.

Ben M said...
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Edward Reiss said...

Ben,

"I answered yes to your questions in my previous response to you."

Since you read them I am surprised you didn't notice you took Luther out of context--an old sport for RCs. Perhaps you are just following tradition.

You cited Luther thus:

"Now I or ANYONE who speaks the Word of Christ may freely glory that his mouth is the mouth of Christ. I am sure that my word is not mine but the Word of Christ. Then my mouth must also be His whose Word it speaks"

This quote was cited to prove Luther saw himself as having the authority to bind consciences.

Luther is not saying that because he is Luther he has authority to bind consciences, but because he speaks the word of Christ. He is not saying anything intrinsically controversial at all, except if you consider any criticism of the RC doctrines at th etime.

"For since I am certain of it, I shall be your judge and even the angels’ judge through this teaching (as St. Paul says [1 Cor. 6:3]) so that whoever does not accept my teaching may not be saved - for it is God’s teaching and not mine."

Since Luther's teaching is Christ's teaching, again there is nothing wrong here. Consider how Jesus said that the generation from Sodom and Gomorrah will rise up and condemn the present generation. once again, this is not a really controversial thing to say.

It is the same for the rest of your Luther quotes. Your use of them says more about your theological commitments and polemical purposes than they do about Luther. This is plain even from the limited context you supplied. (I had a wider context in mind, but you still showed you misquotes Luther).

Now, by a fortuitous coincidence, we can see the same operation at work in all your latest quotes. They say more about your theological commitments than about what is said. You are simply making the assumption that when a Father says "Catholic Church" that he means the RCC. And as a further irony, that is the very topic of this post. RC epologists and their hangers on are accustomed to just making this assumption and trying to argue from that point.

So, here is something you may not know. The only one's who think the RCC is the one True Church are the RCs. So no one outside the RCC really cares how you read your theology back into history, the Fathers and the Scriptures. It just doesn't fly. Anyone can make such bold assumptions:

As any schoolboy knows, the RCC arose at Trent when it anathematized the true Gospel received from the Apostles. The RCC, having hid the true Gospel under a bushel of false traditions and rank sophistry, has almost forfeited the right to even be called a church...

{insert quotes which say this is so, especially from theologians who agree with it)

This kind of game is over now.

Richard Froggatt said...

Ben,

What in the world does baptism have to do (with regards to Basil) with the current un-written traditions that we are asked to believe?

Ryan said...

This post could have been much shorter.

1. f4 e6
2. g4 Qh4#

John Bugay said...

Ryan, I'm bummed. Topalov lost. (My grandfather was an immigrant from Bulgaria.)

Ben M said...
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Ben M said...
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John Bugay said...

Well silly me! Why, any schoolboy knows that the Fathers could only have been referring to either the “Calvinist Catholic Church,” or the “Lutheran Catholic Church!” ;)

Ben: How about the just plain "universal" [catholic] church? There is only one church, after all. And it has nothing to do with Rome at this point.

Edward Reiss said...

Ben M,

You are failing to take into consideration the context, despite your claims. He says he or anyone who speaks the word of Christ may glory he speaks the word of Christ. It does not say that everything Luther says can bind the conscience because of who Luther is. Does Luther think he is right? Sure, so does the pope, and so do you. The binding here is due to his speaking the word of Christ, if he doesn't there is no indication he has such a high opinion of himself. You don't think he spoke the word of Christ because of your theological commitments, so you import all kinds of motives into his statements which are not there. But your theological commitments need to be expressed beforehand or you will look rather ridiculous.

The rest of your post is another example of you just reading your theological commitments into what Luther says. Since I don't share your theological commitments, and it is apparent you are misreading his words even in their own bare context, I don't see that you even have a case. Quote away, because from this side of th Tiber you look like you are just posting things without actually reading them--despite your claims. You cannot read Luther so why should I trust your reading of the Fathers you quote? Indeed, even there your theological commitments are so obvious, and the obtuseness of your posts are so clear, that I would assume your posts were written by a prot trying to discredit RCism, if I did not know otherwise. Who in his right mind in a thread stating that RCs simply assume the RCC is "the" Church would post out of context quotes which happen to have the term "Catholic" or "Church" and expect everyone to accept that the RCC is "the" Church? I am actually surprised you would even do that.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Ben M writes:

Well silly me! Why, any schoolboy knows that the Fathers could only have been referring to either the “Calvinist Catholic Church,” or the “Lutheran Catholic Church!” ;)

I realize your denomination has made fantastic, indefensible claims about how the early church is part of its fold, but Protestants make no such claims, so there's no expectation that we should attempt to call them part of the "Lutheran" Catholic Church or the "Reformed" Catholic Church. We can let the fathers stand on their own terms, letting Augustine be Augustine, Ignatius be Ignatius and Clement be Clement. The Christian Church is not bound by denominational lines.

Ben M said...
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Ryan said...

John,

"Ryan, I'm bummed. Topalov lost."

I stopped watching after move 46 of game 9. Too frustrating.

John Bugay said...

Hi Ryan -- do you play chess online at all? And if so, where, and what's your rating.

I go thru cycles. Recently I've played at www.chess.com -- pretty much exclusively 1/2 games, if I can (it's the "slowest" time increment that still counts as "bullet" -- 3/0 games are in the next slower category, and 2/0 is just too fast for an old guy like me.)

Doing it this way, and with fairly constant attention at my games and at the books, I've gotten just barely above a 1700 rating. Of course, that takes a LOT of effort on my part. Usually I don't make it that high.

Edward Reiss said...

Ben M,

You will need to supply more than key-word quotes to prove anything. No one here shares your belief that the RCC is the church. They really don't amount to much. In fact, you just ignored my discussion of how you took Luther out of context and...supplied more quotes.

To put it simply, your reading of Luther was so polemical and off (and this is a RC tradition) that I can have no confidence in the accuracy of your other quotes. Nothing you have written changes that. Indeed, you have changed your argument to whether or not Luther is in fact right. We will differ on that because I don't share your theological commitments, so that is not an effective argument, either. (It is really the same argument--you believe the RCC is right).

So, you can have your circular assumption--the RCC is the true Church because the RCC says it is. It is just very unlikely to convince anyone.

Ben M said...
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Ryan said...

"Hi Ryan -- do you play chess online at all? And if so, where, and what's your rating."

I play on facebook sometimes. My rating (1800) is inflated because the players are poor. I play against the computer more often than not and lose more often than not (Crafty 19.3). I'd say I'm a 1600 usually. It's hard not to fluctuate, though, as you pointed out.

Northwest SD Lutheran said...

What! Did Mr. Cross forget from history the Medici and Borgia Popes that ascended to the Holy See?

It seems that he is trying to launch a bunch of arguments that do not have proof or substance. It seems he is trying to have people build assumptions in their mind by his positions. It is like saying the sky isn't blue although there are shades of blue in the sky. What he is wanting people to do is accept his position by only presenting his piece or distorting of the truth. It is interesting because in John 17:20 it speaks of people believing in Christ through the preaching of the apostles and makes no mention of the RC Church. If someone buys into his position they obviously have not read the Power and Primacy of the Pope which diminishes any such positions.

John Bugay said...

Hi Northwest, yes, he and his gang hold very firmly to a historical understanding of these things that has been pretty much ruled out by recent historical studies of the early church. But they press on out of zeal without knowledge, holding to a form of godliness but denying its power.