Friday, May 14, 2010

The super-super-super-Magisterial magisterial authority

louis said:
It's almost as if he thinks those scripture passages are perspicuous or something.
He also evidently thinks he understands Marbury v. Madison, but unless an infallible interpreter explained it to him, I'm not sure how he can.


Paul Hoffer said:
Louis, your comment about perspicuity is ill-placed. There are many doctrines (or at least broad outlines) upon which most Christians can agree upon (sic). Where the perspecuity (sic) of Scriptures falls by the wayside is when there are disputes between Christians as the Scriptures can not arbitrate the dispute. Two people can have sincere differences over the regenerative properties of baptism, paedo-baptism, etc. How does reliance on Scripture help when both parties rely upon them? Fortunately, the Scriptures does point to the fact that through the intervention of God Himself, a magisterial authority was established that people could take such disputes to. 

Paul Hoffer, your comment about perspicuity is ill-placed. There are many doctrines (or at least broad outlines) upon which most Christians can agree. Where the perspicuity of Magisterial declarations and "clarifications" falls by the wayside is when there are disputes between Romanists of different opinions as the Magisterial declarations and "clarifications" can not arbitrate the dispute. Two people can have sincere differences over the (in)errancy of the Scripture, at what point in the development of the unborn baby it's OK to decapitate and dismember the baby, to what extent the Church should have material wealth, etc. How does reliance on Magisterial declarations and "clarifications" help when both parties rely upon them?

One wonders whether Paul will be so quick to tell us that the Magisterial declarations and "clarifications" do point to the fact that through the intervention of God Himself, a super-Magisterial magisterial authority was established to which people could take such disputes.  And then when there are disputes about what the super-Magisterial magisterial authority says, whether Paul will posit a super-super-Magisterial magisterial authority.  And then whether he'll later posit a super-super-super-Magisterial magisterial authority...

What is really ironic is that in this kind of argumentation that Paul uses here and that RCs ignorantly use all over the place, they echo atheists as well.  Here's a recent example:
Whateverman said:  It matters that other Christians wouldn't agree with your attribution (of God's influence) because that demonstrates the subjectivity of the assertion.
My response there:  You know, there are ppl who think they can float by Yogic meditation. Their mistaken thoughts of gravity's application does not mean that gravity is subjective. You're making man the measure of truth. I'd recommend making logical argumentation the measure of truth, myself.


And that's what I'd recommend for our Romanist friends like Paul Hoffer.  For one thing, when you argue like an atheist, but you're a theist, and when you denigrate the clarity of what God spoke, just like atheists do, shouldn't that raise a bit of a red flag?


12 comments:

David Waltz said...

Hello Rhology,

Forgive me in advance, but I found your post confusing. You wrote:

>> You're making man the measure of truth. I'd recommend making logical argumentation the measure of truth, myself.>>

Me: I thought “logical argumentation” is of man—more specifically, is not the science of logic an offspring of the ancient Greek philosophers?

>>And that's what I'd recommend for our Romanist friends like Paul Hoffer. For one thing, when you argue like an atheist, but you're a theist, and when you denigrate the clarity of what God spoke, just like atheists do, shouldn't that raise a bit of a red flag?>>

Me: My goodness, I cannot think of one theological school of thought that does not in some degree/sense “denigrate the clarity of what God spoke”. Perhaps one could begin an exploration into “clarity” with the clear statement in Scripture that, “there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things”.


Grace and peace,

David

Rhology said...

I thought “logical argumentation” is of man

Is it? Does not logic flow out of God Himself? Is He not a logical being?
What I'm trying to say is that proof is not the same as persuasion, and Paul H seems to think it is.


My goodness, I cannot think of one theological school of thought that does not in some degree/sense “denigrate the clarity of what God spoke”.

Hmm, well, I can't say I follow what you mean here. Could you elucidate?


Perhaps one could begin an exploration into “clarity” with the clear statement in Scripture that, “there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things”.

At any rate, this is not what Paul H was saying. He was saying that disagreements = necessary lack of clarity, leading to the need for a Magisterium, which itself would of course be magically immune to being misinterpreted or misunderstood by fallible human beings.

Peace,
Rhology

The Space Bishop said...

Could you point me to a list of things that catholics have disagreement over the meaning of various things the magisterium teaches?

I'm think that the things that you have listed are not disagreements about what the magisterium teaches but rather examples of catholics who simply say that the magisterium is wrong. Which- if right- would undermine your argument as there is a difference between people coming to different interpretations of the magisteriums teachings and people who are in disagrement with the magisterium. Hence it would be good to have some documented examples of catholics taking an offical teaching of the magisterium and taking it to mean contradictory things.

In any case is not the magisterium better as if such a case of contradictory interpretations of the magisteriums teachings arose the magisterium alone can say " A is right and B is wrong" and if disagreements arose as to what is the correct interpretation of that ruling another ruling could be issued and so on and so on. Protestants however dont have recourse to this as by the time of the first disagreement one group has already left.
None of that would be proof that the what the magisterium teaches is true but surely its a better system for arriving at agreement of what is offical doctrine.

Paul Hoffer said...

Rhology wrote:

Paul Hoffer, your comment about perspicuity is ill-placed.

I query:

How so? There is nothing in your article that refutes anything that I wrote unless you are claiming some sort of magisterial authority for yourself.

Rhology parroting my words:

There are many doctrines (or at least broad outlines) upon which most Christians can agree.

I write:

Since you do not mock this, I infer that you do agree with my contention that there is much about the Scriptures that is perspicuous, just not everything.

Rhology, after eating a cracker, rawps:

Where the perspicuity of Magisterial declarations and "clarifications" falls by the wayside is when there are disputes between Romanists of different opinions as the Magisterial declarations and "clarifications" can not arbitrate the dispute.

I respond:

Thank you kindly for making my point for me. A written document, whether it is the Word of God as contained in the Scriptures or a Magisterial document interpreting the Word of God, do not “arbitrate” disputes. Rather, it the Church itself that safeguards and interprets the Scriptures that does the arbitrating.

Squawking some more, you write:

Two people can have sincere differences over the (in)errancy of the Scripture, at what point in the development of the unborn baby it's OK to decapitate and dismember the baby, to what extent the Church should have material wealth, etc. How does reliance on Magisterial declarations and "clarifications" help when both parties rely upon them?

I respond:

Let’s test your hypothesis with the Missouri method. SHOW ME as Space Bishop asked where a Magisterial document(s) of the Catholic Church on these two points you raise here that says anything that would allow two people relying upon it have a “sincere” difference of opinion about abortion or what extent the Church should have material wealth.

Molting your feathers to make a real point, you write:

One wonders whether Paul will be so quick to tell us that the Magisterial declarations and "clarifications" do point to the fact that through the intervention of God Himself, a super-Magisterial magisterial authority was established to which people could take such disputes.

I write:

Using the definition of Magisterium as “The Church's active competence, juridically embodied, to prolong by its witness God's self-communicative self-revelation in Christ, which necessarily inheres in the Church (as the eschatologically definitive community of believers in Christ, founded by him as an hierarchical society, empowered by a mission to bear testimony to Christ), and which demands obedience." (p. 268 Burns and Oates, Herder and Herder, New York, London, 1965) one can find the notion of the Magisterium expressed in the NT from a number of passages (citations only and not recitation of the passages so as to not offend either Mr. Bugay or Louis) to support it, to begin with: Mt l6:15, 18; Mt. 28: 18-20; Lk. 10: 16; Acts 15:6-8, 28; Gal. 4:19; 1 Cor 4:15; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 1:13. So rather than relying on my authority, I would rest my case on the Scriptures and how the Church interprets them.

to be cont.

Paul Hoffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Hoffer said...

cont.

It must be noted that Catholics do not put the Magisterium over the Word of God, rather the Magisterium is the servant of the Word of God. Its role is to faithfully safeguard the truth about God and his plan for our lives which came to full expression in the teaching and saving work of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. It is not to add to God’s revelation or to subtract from it, only to faithfully interpret and apply it to real life situations (CCC 85-86). The Magisterium fulfills this role under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority. (Thus, bringing up stuff about how some Catholics are disobedient by advocating pro-choice agendas is a red herring.) "Faithful and respectful obedience" to the Magisterium is something presupposed (Cf. Romans 1:5; 16:25-26) as the consent given to belief, is a consent not to what is just the word of men, but rather is held to be the Word of God. See, Lumen Gentium 12 & 25.

You write:

And then when there are disputes about what the super-Magisterial magisterial authority says, whether Paul will posit a super-super-Magisterial magisterial authority. And then whether he'll later posit a super-super-super-Magisterial magisterial authority...

I respond:

Unlike Protestantism which bolds that each person is his own magisterial authority, we recgonize that Jesus is the final arbitrer as head of the Church, who is exercising through those that are placed in authority by Him to lead/serve the Church. Thus, the scenario you raise does not occur. If you disagree, prove it that Catholics do not believe in the concept that "the bick stops here."

You write:

What is really ironic is that in this kind of argumentation that Paul uses here and that RCs ignorantly use all over the place, they echo atheists as well. Here's a recent example:

Whateverman said: It matters that other Christians wouldn't agree with your attribution (of God's influence) because that demonstrates the subjectivity of the assertion.

I respond:

Reliance on an existential appeal to one's own self as one’s own ultimate authority does not impress me as a sound notion as you yourself point out and is as subjective as claiming that God’s influence is a subjective assertion. Besides, such argumentation is not really atheistic, but is more pantheistic as Whateverman is merely saying that as far as he is concerned he is his own god.

You wrote: You know, there are ppl who think they can float by Yogic meditation. Their mistaken thoughts of gravity's application does not mean that gravity is subjective. You're making man the measure of truth. I'd recommend making logical argumentation the measure of truth, myself.

I respond: Frankly as a person who adheres to the notion of “Contra factum non valet argumentum,” I reject your assertion that logical argumentation is the measure of truth. Christ is the way, the truth and the life. PERIOD. Since the Word of God (Christ Himself) shows as a fact that it is to be interpreted by those placed in authority of His Body, no amount of argumentation will prevail against it.

to be cont.

Paul Hoffer said...

You queried:

And that's what I'd recommend for our Romanist friends like Paul Hoffer. For one thing, when you argue like an atheist, but you're a theist, and when you denigrate the clarity of what God spoke, just like atheists do, shouldn't that raise a bit of a red flag?

I respond:

No it doesn’t raise any flags at all. I would suggest to you that parsing the Word of God to come up with your own notions is a far worse denigration than my acknowledgement that while there are many things I do understand in the Scriptures applying the graces God has given me, I do recognize that as a humble sinner, there are things that I do not understand like my namesake points at 1 Cor. 13:9 and that I am thankful to My Lord and Savior Christ Jesus that He gave us the Church in which the magisterial authority rests as an infallible means to gain more understanding of His Word and to grow deeper in my faith.

I look forward to seeing your disproofs.

BTW, Hi Dave W. I hope all is well with you and yours!

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

N.B. Correction: I wrote, "Unlike Protestantism which bolds that each person." It should have been "holds" in the place of "bolds."

God bless!

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Waltz said...

Hello Paul and Rhology,

First to Paul: So good to hear from you, apart from a nasty case of plantar facitis in my left foot (have to run barefoot while it heals), I am doing great (as well as my immediate family).

Now to Rhology, in your response to me you posted:

>> I thought “logical argumentation” is of man

Is it? Does not logic flow out of God Himself? Is He not a logical being?
What I'm trying to say is that proof is not the same as persuasion, and Paul H seems to think it is.>>

Me: Logic, as with all true knowledge, does, in a sense, “flow out of God Himself” via natural revelation. The point I was attempting to make is that you appealed to natural revelation, when the topic at hand was super-natural revelation. Interestingly enough, I have generally observed that many Reformed theologians and philosophers have a very ‘low’ view of what can be discerned from natural revelation—especially the presuppositionalists (e.g. Van Til, Bahnsen, Rushdoony, et al.).

>>My goodness, I cannot think of one theological school of thought that does not in some degree/sense “denigrate the clarity of what God spoke”.

Hmm, well, I can't say I follow what you mean here. Could you elucidate?>>

Me: The fact that most theological schools of thought have felt the need to produce confessions, catechisms, etc. to clarify/elucidate their respective position/s demonstrates (IMO) on a pragmatic and historical level that the theory of perspicuity has certain qualifications that speaks against the very clarity that is being argued.

Dr. Lane’s assessment is worth noting (yet once again):

== By the end of the seventeenth century many others saw that it was not possible on the basis of Scripture alone to build up a detailed orthodoxy commanding general assent. (A.N.S. Lane, “Scripture, Tradition and Church: An Historical Survey”, Vox Evangelica, Volume IX – 1975, p. 45.) [http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/vox/vol09/scripture_lane.pdf]==


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hmmm...

For some reason the link to Dr. Lane's essay was cut-short by Blogger; I shall try again:

LINK

Rhology said...

David,

The point I was attempting to make is that you appealed to natural revelation

I'm sorry, I did not intend to lead you to believe I was doing that. I may have communicated poorly.
I was referring to the fact that not only natural/general revelation is logical, but so is biblical/special revelation. Paul wants to make unanimous human assent (ie, persuasion) the measure of truth. The Bible says that GOD and His Word are the measure of truth, and some humans agree with it and some don't.


The fact that most theological schools of thought have felt the need to produce confessions, catechisms, etc. to clarify/elucidate their respective position/s demonstrates (IMO) on a pragmatic and historical level that the theory of perspicuity has certain qualifications that speaks against the very clarity that is being argued.

So I guess you wouldn't have a problem saying that the existence of large Romanist apologetic organisations like Catholic Answers denigrates the perspicuity of the Magisterium. After all, their existence demonstrates (IMO) on a pragmatic and historical level that the theory of perspicuity has certain qualifications that speaks against the very clarity that is being argued.


By the end of the seventeenth century many others saw that it was not possible on the basis of Scripture alone to build up a detailed orthodoxy commanding general assent.

More appealing to unanimous persuasion. And yet confessional churches will tell you that their confessions are secondary to the Word of God. Of course, that's how their confessions were created anyway - distilling the Scr into confessional format. I don't see how this quotation gets you where you need to be.