Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What they knew and when they knew it: the Roman Catholic position on the papacy

In comments below, Matthew Bellisario made the following accusation of me:
Bugay is nothing more than an ex-Catholic with a chip on his shoulder as well as a historical revisionist who places his faith in the historical "scholars" of his choice. Quite simply, he has no faith in God, but only in his own ability to wade through the historians who he thinks agree with him, nothing more. Quite sad indeed.
This really isn't about me personally, but I'm willing to put this up for discussion. But I am most interested in talking about "historical revisionism," especially in the context of the papacy, and especially in the wake of my post below, to the effect that the papacy should be abolished. Especially with knowledgeable Catholics who really know what they believe.

Another commenter, from that same thread, accused me of being "clueless as to what [Roman Catholic] positions actually are."

Well then, in this post and in future posts, I want to state, as clearly as I can, using sources that are as reliably Roman Catholic as I can find, as to what the Roman Catholic position actually is.

I've already started to do that. In a recent post, I introduced Father Adrian Fortescue and listed the four "theses to be proved" from his book "The Early Papacy: to the Synod of Chalcedon in 451." These are:

1. The pope is the chief bishop, primate, and leader of the whole Church of Christ on earth.

2. He has episcopal jurisdiction over all members of the Church.

3. To be a member of the Catholic Church, a man must be in communion with the Pope.

4. The providential guidance of God will see to it that the Pope shall never commit the Church to error in any matter of religion.

According to Fortescue, Catholics don't really have to prove that there was an early papacy, because they believe what they do, really, on the authority of the "living authority" today. But nevertheless, he said, "we have all the evidence we can require that the Catholic Church in the first four and a half centuries did believe what we believe about the papacy" (pg 30).

I'm working on posts that look at of each of these issues, because it is important to understand what the early church believed -- "What they knew and when they knew it," to paraphrase a famous Watergate-era senator.

Fortescue said that these four things are all things that the earliest church believed. And he said also that "development" was simply a matter such that "when a point of faith is disputed, when some heresy arises, the Church makes her mind clear by defining more explicitly what she has always held." (35)

So his assumption is that, not only were there snippets and glimmers of a belief in a papacy, but that the four beliefs above were fairly widespread, and only when one of these "points of faith" was "disputed," then did "the Church make her mind clear by defining more explicitly what she has always held."

But all of this depends on something else, he said. "All of this depends further on three more theses, into which we cannot enter here." (Pg 51)

These three theses that he did not touch are:

1. "That our Lord gave these rights to the Apostle St. Peter."

2. "That St. Peter must have a successor in them."

3. "That his successor is the Bishop of Rome."


He said, "To establish these here would take too much space. We must be content to prove our four points directly as set out at the beginning." And of course, as I related, Fortescue said, for some reason, that Catholics get to presuppose some things about "the Church":
All we suppose, before we come to the Church, is that our Lord Jesus Christ was a man sent by God and whom we must follow if we wish to serve God in the proper way; that he founded one visible Church, to which his followers should belong; that this Church is, as a matter of historic fact, the communion of Rome (not, however, supposing anything about the papacy, but supposing only visible unity and historic continuity). This much must be presupposed and therefore does not rest on the authority of the Church. All else does. (Pgs 26-27, the parenthetical note is Fortescue's).
I will grant part of this presupposition to Catholics. I will grant that "Jesus Christ was a man sent by God whom we must follow if we wish to serve God in the proper way." I also understand that Christ founded a church, but I will contest the statement that "his followers should belong" to it.

But I would rather say, Christ promised to build a church, an "assembly," against which the gates of hell would not prevail, and his true followers de facto belong to this assembly, which is also called "his body". That is, once individuals "repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:15 NIV) or they "Repent and [are] baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" [Acts 2:38] or they "Believe in the Lord Jesus" [Acts 16:31] or they "see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn" to be healed by God [Acts 28], that Christ himself makes that person "a member of the church" and that this invisible church is the true church.

See John 4:23 for clarification -- "But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." That is the "one true church" And as Paul said, it is "us who believe" are the church, the body of Christ (Eph 1:18-19). If anyone wants to contest what I've said here, I'm open to it. But if you want to claim for the church anything more than this, you have to argue for it.

And I will strenuously contest that the church is, "as a matter of historic fact, the communion of Rome." It is vital for Roman Catholics to prove that point, and not to simply assume it.

Let me pause here to ask if any Catholics believe that I have (aside from how you might argue with my characterization of the church) stated this improperly, or if I have misrepresented anything?


Given that Fortescue has listed his "four theses to be proved" separately from the "three more theses" he provided, and given that he says "That our Lord gave these rights to the Apostle St. Peter," it seems that the Catholic argument could be stated more succinctly if we state the three theses in the context of the first four, to come up with something like this:

1. Our Lord gave these rights to the Apostle St. Peter:

1a. To be the chief bishop, primate, and leader of the whole Church of Christ on earth.
1b. He has episcopal jurisdiction over all members of the Church.
1c. To be a member of the Catholic Church, a man must be in communion with the Pope.
1d. The providential guidance of God will see to it that the Pope shall never commit the Church to error in any matter of religion.

2. That St. Peter must have a successor in these rights.

3. That St. Peter's successor is the Bishop of Rome.
Now, do any of you Catholics out there disagree that this is what Roman Catholics of 1920 believed about the papacy? I grew up as a child of Catholic parents whose understanding of Catholicism was shaped in the 1950's, "the real Catholic Moment," according to Patrick Buchanan. And I very much believed these things to be true.

Am I mischaracterizing any of this? Do you think that Fortescue is somehow not reliable reporter of what Catholics believed in the 1920's? (or the 1950's? Or ever? Given that he was a prolific writer for The Catholic Encyclopedia.) That he didn't know what he was talking about?

Do any of you thoroughly knowledgeable Catholics, you "Catholic Champions" have anything to add to this. Do you wish to contest anything as I've portrayed it here? The last thing I want is to be "clueless." Have I represented your case properly?

120 comments:

natamllc said...

Ha! Just a brief quip to the quip.

I am sure that that you are not clueless, you wish you were, except that that you now have an ability to debate em' from personal experience and not from a rote? :)

herbyv said...

John, It's herb checking in with you. Hope all is well! I know that this is just a minor point- not exactly related to your article. But I just wanted to say that if you say "Catholic" instead of constantly saying "Roman Catholic," won't people know exactly what you mean? After all, there are plenty of Catholics in full communion with Rome who are NOT technically ROMAN Catholics, after all. So if for nothing else, for their sake, it might be more accurate to simply refer to Catholics as Catholics. Maybe not. This is just how I see it.

I know many non-catholics say "Wait, I'm Catholic... just not ROMAN Catholic." But if such a person were standing on the sidewalk and a passerby said "Where's the nearest Catholic Church?," this non-ROMAN Catholic wouldn't honestly say "Sure, the Free Methodist Church is just around the corner." Do you see my point (actually, I stole that point from St. Augustine)? thanks. herbert vanderlugt

Nick said...

The problem with Beggars All is that many of the "contributors" are not engaging in apologetics most of the time. Rather, these contributors operate more along the lines of an (overly) biased news network.

They seek out 'scandals' to publish, often irregardless for accuracy or fair play, and they present this "information" as if a genuine apologetics argument in itself. Genuine apologetics seeks to present an actual argument, and back it up with real evidence. All too often, the "evidence" given around here is nothing more than appealing to whatever "scholar" says what you're looking to hear - which is a fallacious appeal to authority, especially since one can hunt down a scholar to validate almost any claim. This is especially in poor taste when the "scholar" of choice at that time is not faithful to his own tradition (e.g. a liberal/modernist).

This is also why I've repeatedly said James Swan is more of a historian (with a generally honest track record in that department) but not an apologist in any true sense. He can quote sources and knows where to find information, but he hasn't shown himself to have any track record of making an argument and backing it up with Scripture or logic.

And worst of all, often when confronted by an honest objection from an outsider, the original antagonists either don't respond or spin the discussion onto a tangent.
Proof of this is how often the conversation goes silent immediately after I post something. For example, see this recent post from just yesterday.

Off the top of my head, I already have a few solid arguments to make for the Papacy in the early Church, but based on how things usually go around here, I'm pretty sure folks around here will pretend they didn't see it. Anyway, here goes:

(1) This link presents a straightforward argument for why Canon 6 at Nicea actually supports the Papacy.

(2) The Council of Epehsus has this speech on record for one of it's sessions:

"Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [i.e. Rome] said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Cœlestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic faith. For they both have kept and are now keeping intact the apostolic doctrine handed down to them from their most pious and humane grandfathers and fathers of holy memory down to the present time, etc."
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.x.xv.html

That's a quote from a primary source, not one's "scholar of the day". If the teachings of this quote were truly as outrageous as Protestants (and most EO) think, then this quote would have gone down in infamy and utter outrage at the time.

Jae said...

@Nick, I wholeheartedly agree with you, you hit it right on the mark however, the replies we received from our brothers here were basically a DENIAL in nature and even sometimes comical in their philosophy of circular reasoning (obviously from Dr. James White) most especially when faced with SOLID WRITTEN HISTORICAL FACTS.

But I really symphatized with them because they don't have an organic, living , apostolic authority to depend on...since they are all equal, it's just to each his own....very sad, indeed!

May all be ONE! (Jesus)

Peace.

John Bugay said...

All right, so you all are in agreement (a) with Fortescue's portrayal of the papacy, and my characterization of it?

Jae said...

@John Bugay, "That is the "one true church" And as Paul said, it is "us who believe" are the church, the body of Christ (Eph 1:18-19). If anyone wants to contest what I've said here, I'm open to it. But if you want to claim for the church anything more than this, you have to argue for it"

I'm with you however, the picture you portrayed was still lacking in substance. Right off the bat, Paul said in I Corinthians 1:10 to ". . . be PERFECTLY JOINED together in the SAME mind and in the SAME judgment."

I don't see God calling his people with similar beliefs to align themselves BUT rather He is calling His people to belong to a society which we called the Church as ONE Body with ONE- same set of beliefs.

Jesus gave us His FOUR Marks so as not to be led astray (esp in this modern world).

1. THE CHURCH IS ONE:

The Church is ONE (Rom. 12:5, 1 Cor. 10:17, 12:13, John 17:11, John 17:21, John 10:16 CCC 813-822)

Jesus established only ONE Church, not a collection of differing churches. His Church also teaches just ONE set of BELIEFS and doctrines, which must be the same as those taught by the apostles (Jude 3). This is the unity of belief to which Scripture calls us (Phil. 1:27, 2:2). As also confirmed by Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 1:10. Besides these verses would otherwise be meaningless without the UNITY and FULLNESS of His Truth.

2. THE CHURCH IS HOLY:

The Church of the apostles was holy. Because the Church is holy then all her members are called saints or holy ones (Acts 9:13, 1 Corinthians 6:1, 16:1,)

One might point out that there are members of the Church, including the clergy and even popes, who did not, do not, and will not lead a holy life. Does it contradict the statement that the Church is holy? No, when we say that the Church is holy, we mean among other things that she had the all-holy God as her author. Eph 5:25 – 27

3. THE CHURCH IS CATHOLIC:

The third great historic mark, or note, of the one true Church is that this Church is Catholic. Catholic means "Universal." It refers as much to the FULLNESS of the Faith she possesses as to the undeniable extension in both time and space that has characterized her virtually from the beginning. The Church is catholic because (1) Christ who sits at the right hand of God, far above ALL rule and authority and power and dominion (Ephesians 1:21) is present in her as her Head and because (2) He sent her on a mission to the WHOLE human race (Matthew 28:19).

4. THE CHURCH IS APOSTOLIC:

Finally, the Church that issued from the commission of Christ to the apostles was apostolic. Christ founded the Church upon the apostles and whence the Church is apostolic (Ephesians 2:20, Revelation 21:14) and she continues transmitting what those apostles received from Christ until His Second Coming, through the guidance of Holy Spirit to apostles and their successors (the college of bishops) in union with the bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter.

Cont.

Jae said...

Cont.

Related, for the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome or seat of Peter and in Communion with all churches...for historical grounds just read the Patristic fathers, Ecumenical council's declarations of early christianity supported and attested it as a "matter of historical fact" (to answer your curiosity).....there are a lot of them. For Academic references look into Encyclopedia Britannica, Atlas or even the plain old dictionary for the "Lists of Popes" from the time of Peter to the present day successor of his "office", Benedict XI...which by the way I hope you understand when Paul said to Col 1:25 - calls his position a divine "office." An office has successors. It does not terminate at death. (viz. Office of the U.S. President)Or it's not an office. See also Heb. 7:23 – an office continues with another successor after the previous office-holder’s death and pass to a successor by "laying on of hands," Deut. 34:9,Sirach 45:15,Numbers 27:18-20,

Acts 1:20 - a successor of Judas is chosen. The authority of his office (his "bishopric") is respected notwithstanding his egregious sin. The necessity to have apostolic succession in order for the Church to survive was understood by all. God never said, "I'll give you leaders with authority for about 400 years, but after the Bible is compiled, you are all on your own."

Acts 9:17-19 - even Paul, who was directly chosen by Christ, only becomes a minister after the laying on of hands by a bishop. This is a powerful proof-text for the necessity of sacramental ordination in order to be a legitimate successor of the apostles.

Peace and Grace.

John Bugay said...

Hi Natamllc, no, while I do have a great deal of personal experience, I still need a lot of books!

John Bugay said...

Hi Herbert, thanks for suspending your "one blog" rule and stopping by.

I've addressed the issue of "Why I Use the Term 'Roman Catholic'" here:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/06/why-i-use-term-roman-catholic.html

Of course it is difficult to qualify this each and every time.

But I have Protestant friends who want to try to use the word "catholic" in the original, proper sense, and I want to try to give them the space to do so.

Besides, you are stuck with "Roman Catholic," as it has been used repeatedly in some of the Tridentine literature and confessions.

The Roman Catholics have provincialized themselves.

[Many of my friends, including James Swan, prefer to use the word 'Romanist' to describe the phenomenon of the Tridentine church, which I think is very accurate, but I don't use it because some Roman Catholics find it to be perjorative.]

John Bugay said...

Jae -- you're doing the very thing that I commented on, and that's assuming that the Roman position is correct, without providing an argument or evidence.

For example:

Jesus gave us His FOUR Marks so as not to be led astray

Then in support of that you've thrown out about 17 different verses, and you just assume that all of these support what you are saying. But I assure you that if one were to examine all 17 of these verses in context, to determine what the author was trying to say to his audience, that very few, if any of them, would really have the meaning you are attributing to them. And in that case, one might accuse you of missing the whole meaning of what the Bible is trying to say.

I've done such an examination of a couple of instances of these, in two places:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/05/pillar-and-support-of-truth.html

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/05/on-being-guided-in-all-truth.html


What you have done provides an excellent example of "The Catholic Hermeneutic," that I've written about here:

http://reformation500.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/the-catholic-hermeneutic/

http://reformation500.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/the-catholic-historical-method/


Summarizing that method:

“theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for it belongs to them to point out how the doctrine of the living Teaching Authority is to be found either explicitly or implicitly in the Scriptures and in Tradition.”


In other words, Protestants will approach the Bible from the beginning, from the perspective that they are trying to find out what the writers were trying to say their original audiences, in context. "What they knew, and when they knew it," in other words.

Catholics will rather begin by assuming Roman Catholicism as a starting point, then going back and trying to find "proof-texts".

This difference accounts for many of the misunderstandings that occur in discussions like these.

I'm going to try to address these instances individually as I am able (in true Turretin fashion).

Meanwhile, you haven't answered the question: Does Fortescue get the papacy right? And have I characterized him correctly?

Matthew Bellisario said...

John Bugay writes, "In other words, Protestants will approach the Bible from the beginning, from the perspective that they are trying to find out what the writers were trying to say their original audiences, in context. "What they knew, and when they knew it," in other words."

This is the problem John, you were not there when they wrote it were you? No, so the only method you have is this historical revisionism in which you try and compose a historical context which seems probable to you. The only problem is you have no way of knowing. Again, you prove my point. You have no faith in God, only in yourself and in your history books. That is not faith.

John Bugay said...

This is the problem John, you were not there when they wrote it were you? No, so the only method you have is this historical revisionism in which you try and compose a historical context which seems probable to you. The only problem is you have no way of knowing. Again, you prove my point. You have no faith in God, only in yourself and in your history books. That is not faith.

As I mentioned, I have tremendous faith in Christ. I do not have faith in the Roman Magisterium. There is a clear distinction, and if you say there is not, then provide some exegetical support for that conclusion.

No, I was not there when Paul wrote, but Paul wrote in a definite context, and we have the means to understand that context and grammar, and having gone through the process of understanding, we can feel safe to say, for example, that when Paul wrote 1 Tim 3:15, analysis of the verse certainly excludes that Paul was talking about the Roman Catholic Church.

Rome, on the other hand, wants to make a pronouncement and simply just assume that the "support" that "the church" provides to "the truth" is nothing other than the "Living Magisterium." But there are three assumptions that I've just listed that need to be demonstrated from the text. Which never are.

When that verse talks about "how one ought to behave in the household of God," as "a pillar and support of the truth," there is a particular meaning there. He is talking about the behavior of individual Christians meeting in the house church environment where those churches gathered.

For Rome, a much later authority, to come along and assign the meaning of the phrase "pillar and support of the truth," to be applying somehow to its own "Magisterial Authority," is a definite anachronism that cannot mean what the Roman document implies that it means.

Again, this is an instance of Rome assuming that it has authority, and then picking-and-choosing Biblical verses that later are superimposed on Rome's doctrine. But there is no way that that was Paul's intention in writing to Timothy.

[And if you still disagree, then provide an exegesis of that verse that clearly comes to the conclusion that Paul had the Roman Magisterium in view when he wrote. And when you can provide exegesis on all 17 of Jae's biblical verses that say, "the original intent of the author conclusively points to the authority of the Roman Magisterium, then you will be in the ballpark of having made the case for Roman authority. Otherwise, I will just concluded that you are blowing smoke.]

herbyv said...

Thanks, John- Yes. I am almost completely a one blog guy. However, especially during the Summer, I'll wander around the Web a little more freely. I'll check your article. And I agree- "Romanist" definitely comes across negatively. Peace, thanks for the response and God Bless.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John writes, "As I mentioned, I have tremendous faith in Christ. I do not have faith in the Roman Magisterium. There is a clear distinction, and if you say there is not, then provide some exegetical support for that conclusion. "

The clear distinction is that you have faith in your own ability to determine history with a degree of certainty which you do not possess. You use this determination to reject the Church in favor of your own interpretation of the the Scriptures. That is not faith.

John wrote, "but Paul wrote in a definite context, and we have the means to understand that context and grammar."

Then why do all of you who are using this method disagree with one another as to what St. Paul means in various texts? I'll tell you why, because your method is flawed that is why.

John wrote, "When that verse talks about "how one ought to behave in the household of God," as "a pillar and support of the truth," there is a particular meaning there. He is talking about the behavior of individual Christians meeting in the house church environment where those churches gathered."

No, he is talking about the Church being the pillar and bulwark of the truth, plain and simple.

John write, "But there is no way that that was Paul's intention in writing to Timothy."

Again, prove it! There are countless Christians that have come before you who disagree with your interpretation John. I am not going to take your word for it. Again, you have faith in yourself, not God.

John Bugay said...

Nick: Philip the Presbyter and Legate was not a part of the main council, and his words did not appear as a part of the official record. He spoke in the third session, an afterthought.

There is no question that language like that was floating around during the fifth century. What's more important is how such things were understood -- or rather, not understood -- in the first, second, and third centuries.

John Bugay said...

Matthew Bellisario: The clear distinction is that you have faith in your own ability to determine history with a degree of certainty which you do not possess. You use this determination to reject the Church in favor of your own interpretation of the the Scriptures. That is not faith.

Prove to me that the Roman Church has authority that I must not reject.

Then why do all of you who are using this method disagree with one another as to what St. Paul means in various texts? I'll tell you why, because your method is flawed that is why.

That's not the case. Those who do not, through the process of historical criticism, reject the authority of the Scriptures, largely arrive at the same exegesis of this passage. In the article I linked to, I cited three commenters, including George Knight, L.T. Johnson, and Philip Towner -- two Protestants and a Catholic -- who largely come to the same conclusion. The method is not flawed -- it is widely accepted now. You, on the other hand, are merely making an assertion based on a (viciously circular) assumption.

No, he is talking about the Church being the pillar and bulwark of the truth, plain and simple.

Context, context, context. He is talking about behavior supporting a local church. If you think otherwise, show me the exegesis.

John write, "But there is no way that that was Paul's intention in writing to Timothy."

Again, prove it! There are countless Christians that have come before you who disagree with your interpretation John. I am not going to take your word for it. Again, you have faith in yourself, not God.


I feel comfortable to say that God has given men the rational capabilities to understand the ancient world in which Paul wrote, and the Gospel that he preached.

The reason Rome's sin is so heinous is that first, it usurped a kind of authority that it did not have, and then it selfishly used that authority to teach faulty interpretations, which people then believed.

I'll give you an "interpretation": The "one true church" that Christ founded did survive the "gates of hell" -- Rome itself providing the message of hell, Christ himself keeping individual believers in his grasp, and the Protestant Reformation the great event freeing large portions of his "one true church" from the lying, devilish message of Roman authority (which has always sought to insert itself between Christ and true believers, who always have had the right to "boldly approach the throne of Grace" without Roman intervention.)

When you say, "prove it," why, again, do you not go to the exegesis I provided and say specifically what's wrong with it?

Again, you make an unproven assertion based on a viciously circular argument.

Rhology said...

Jae said:
1. THE CHURCH IS ONE:

Funny - the guy I referenced earlier this week showed me that Catholic Answers pamphlet.
It would appear you copy/pasted straight from it.

JoeyHenry said...

Bellisario wrote: "The clear distinction is that you have faith in your own ability to determine history with a degree of certainty which you do not possess. You use this determination to reject the Church in favor of your own interpretation of the the Scriptures. That is not faith."

Sir, what about you? How did you know that the modern Roman Magisterium has the correct interpretation? In fact, how do you know that you are correctly interpreting the interpretations of the Roman Magisterium? Are you not guilty of using your own ability to determine your own brand of history with a degree of certainty which you do not possess. Are you not using this determination to accept the modern "Papist Church" in favor of your own interpretation of the Scriptures, early church fathers, and what have you? If in fact, John has no faith... then the logical conclusion is that you too has no faith at all.

Regards,
Joey

JoeyHenry said...

Bellisario wrote: "Then why do all of you who are using this method disagree with one another as to what St. Paul means in various texts? I'll tell you why, because your method is flawed that is why."

What about your own methodology Sir? Why is it that Sungenis can disagree with a the Pope's exegesis considering they both reject Sola Scriptura? Why does Matatics differ with his views about modern liturgies considering he too rejects Sola Scriptura? Why do we see sedevacantists within your ranks -- Molinists versus Thomists, Liberals versus Conservatives and so much more? Why is it that even if these people applies your methodology of looking at an infallible magisterium do we see differences of opinions on how infallible interpretations are interpreted? "I'll tell you why, because your method is flawed that is why."

JoeyHenry said...

Belisario wrote: "Again, prove it! There are countless Christians that have come before you who disagree with your interpretation John. I am not going to take your word for it. Again, you have faith in yourself, not God."

What does this statement prove? Just this: Bellisario won't take John's word for it. He will take the word of those whom he considers as Christians who disagree with John. In the final analysis, it is his own self that determines which truth he accepts or rejects. It is he who decides who he considers are right or wrong. It is Bellisario who privately and fallibly interprets these other Christian's writings and hope he got the interpretation right! It's obviously ironic that Bellisario suffers the same accusation that he throws at John... He has faith in himself, not God.

Rhology said...

Joey,

Your mistake is in thinking that Mr. Bellisario comments here with a sense of intellectual honesty.
If he had any, he wouldn't continue to comment the way he does while leaving fundamental questions unanswered.

He's really sort of a pathetic figure.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Do any of you thoroughly knowledgeable Catholics, you "Catholic Champions" have anything to add to this. Do you wish to contest anything as I've portrayed it here? The last thing I want is to be "clueless." Have I represented your case properly?"

I'm not Roman Catholic, but I think John Bugay gets kudos and praise for asking this question. He is not wanting to misrepresent Catholic positions and so he is asking for clarification and correction.

It is striking that I have not seen this polite courtesy extended to John Bugay by his Roman Catholic interlocutors as he extends to them.

John Bugay said...

Joey: I don't recall seeing your name before in the comments here. Welcome to Beggars All and thank you for the contribution you are making.

Truth: Thanks for your kind words.

Constantine said...

To pick up on what JoeyHenry has already so nicely started, it’s amusing to note that Bellisario castigates Mr. Bugay for “not being there” while relying on a supposed 2,000 year tradition of “people who weren’t there either” as his proof. “Has God not made foolish the wisdom of this world!”

Good work, John. I suspected you would touch a nerve with this topic but you are doing yeoman’s work! Keep it up!

Peace.

John Bugay said...

Thanks Constantine. Can you email me? it's johnbugay at the Gmail address.

Nick said...

John B,

Philip the Presbyter and Legate stood at the Council as the Pope's representative (hence Legate). You don't deny the historicity of the quote, which is good...but you say it was an "afterthought" so as to strip it of any authoritative force.

The fact is though, the sessions were not 'afterthoughts', but rather what was part of the regulation of how the council. It's fallacious and overly simplistic to think a council's worth and weight consisted solely in the main decree. The other sessions mention the Pope's authority, and even a letter from the Pope himself was read to the attendees.

You said: "There is no question that language like that was floating around during the fifth century. What's more important is how such things were understood -- or rather, not understood -- in the first, second, and third centuries."

As I originally said, "language like that" would have been met with a storm of objection and scandal if it weren't teachings passed on by Christian Tradition. There was a clear historical hierarchy of bishops, particularly the Bishop of Rome, and the second Alexandria, the third Antioch, and later Constantinople.

What's interesting here is the unconscious revisionism going on when the Protestant speaks, since none of these councils and decrees and hierarchy of bishops and other such topics they spoke of resembles anything like that of Protestantism.

Your only option is to take on what is effectively Mormon (or Luther's implicit) outlook to Christendom, and that is that it (largely, if not entirely) fell away shortly after the apostles.

Nick said...

Let me reiterate: there was nothing "Protestant" about the Ecumenical Councils. It's a simple matter of looking at the Council documents as primary sources.

If you believe the true Church largely fell away before 325AD (i.e. Nicea), then at least have the integrity to come out and say it.

John Bugay said...

"Language like that" was totally rejected (by Cyprian and Firmilian) when, in one of the earliest attempts, "pope" Stephen tried to claim some sort of "petrine primacy" for his own.

Some years prior to that, Tertullian responded with derision when Callistus (I believe) tried to make that kind of claim. Callistus is not on record, but you can just hear the sarcasm from Tertullian's pen.

You'll point to two sentences from a letter of Ignatius to "prove" that Rome had some kind of religious leadership. But you'll ignore the fact that if Rome had that kind of leader, and leadership, it would have been a tremendous slight for him not to have named the name of a person in leadership there.

And you'll ignore the topic of the rest of the letter (!), namely, his very firm belief that individuals in the Roman church had political connections to have him released from any kind of death sentence, and his fear and pleading that they might do so.

The same thing could (and will) be said about the un-named writer of 1 Clement. "Tradition" holds that he was a real leader, but in reality, the letter is from a collective group of elders, to another church where there are elders and no bishop.

Nor is it the case that, as Fortescue said, "Clement commanded" the Corinthians. The entire form of the letter is a "symboleutic," or a letter of political persuasion. The writers of that letter may seem to have preferred to have "commanded," in reality, they seemingly recognized their own impotence to affect that situation.

I could (and probably will) go on and on with such examples.

But in truth, no "pope" or "papal legate" had any genuine authority until (a) they became toadies of the emperor, and (b) the empire was conquered militarily, leaving the "popes" to be the only administrative structure in town.

One of the reasons anyone at all the Bishops of Rome could get away with claiming such things is because of the

Rhology said...

The other sessions mention the Pope's authority, and even a letter from the Pope himself was read to the attendees.

Wow! I bet they do that kind of thing at World Council of Churches meetings too. Must mean the Pope is regarded as the Romanists regard him at WCC meetings.


"language like that" would have been met with a storm of objection and scandal if it weren't teachings passed on by Christian Tradition.

How could you prove that?



There was a clear historical hierarchy of bishops, particularly the Bishop of Rome

It's not clear when the monarchical episcopate didn't appear in Rome until ~150AD. When lists of Popes differ on whether Peter was the 1st Pope or whether Linus was.


none of these councils and decrees and hierarchy of bishops and other such topics they spoke of resembles anything like that of Protestantism.

Sure they do. For example, the Reformed are Trinitarian, appeal to the Holy Spirit's guidance, believe in one God, hold that churches have authority, read the Bible, etc. You're being unnecessarily narrow for your own purposes.
Further, the whole point of this post is showing that they weren't like modern RCs either. Were in some respects, weren't in others.



Your only option is to take on what is effectively Mormon (or Luther's implicit) outlook to Christendom

Or just hold that the early church was the early church, and leave it at that, and follow and obey God's Word.


there was nothing "Protestant" about the Ecumenical Councils.

If their writings occurred today, they wouldn't be Romanists! Of course, the squishy liberal modern RCC would just embrace them as "fellow travelers" or "maybe-separated (but we're not sure) brethren" or sthg like that, but since they didn't hold to all of Roman dogma...


If you believe the true Church largely fell away before 325AD

Here you go.
It'd probably be helpful for you to read the OT sometime soon - the people of God largely fell away from the truth for centuries at a time.

Peace,
Rhology

John Bugay said...

Let me reiterate: there was nothing "Protestant" about the Ecumenical Councils. It's a simple matter of looking at the Council documents as primary sources.

No one ever said they were "Protestant." But thank you for introducing that straw man.

But in reality, there were no popes in charge, there was no doctrinal unity, and in the case of Ephesus (431), decisions were arrived at and enforced largely by the means of Cyril's gang of thugs.

If you believe the true Church largely fell away before 325AD (i.e. Nicea), then at least have the integrity to come out and say it.

I'll just say there were major misunderstandings and failures to agree doctrinally on a lot of things.

To try to suggest that there was doctrinal and administrative unity is a far, far stretch.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John wrote, "I feel comfortable to say that God has given men the rational capabilities to understand the ancient world in which Paul wrote, and the Gospel that he preached.

The reason Rome's sin is so heinous is that first, it usurped a kind of authority that it did not have, and then it selfishly used that authority to teach faulty interpretations, which people then believed."

God gave you a rational faculty John yes, but you are using it to usurp His teaching and the pillar which He founded here on earth, the Church. Your sin is heinous in the eyes of God since you are the one setting yourself up as the authority over God and his Word. The Catholic Church is not guilty of anything of the sort. Unfortunately you and your intellectually dishonest cohorts over here seem to be content with thinking that you are the enlightened ones and everyone else is wrong.

It is not a question of having faith, it is a question of who or what you have your faith in. You are a perfect example of how Satan behaves, following your own pride to determine for you what you will and will not believe. It doesn't even have anything to do with Scripture, since you don't follow that either. All I can say is, keep up the good work here. The more Catholics that stop by and read your nonsense the more their Catholic faith is reinforced. I will keep praying for you that you return to the one true faith that you have obstinately rejected.

John Bugay said...

you are using it to usurp His teaching and the pillar which He founded here on earth, the Church.

Does it occur to you that you are begging the question that we were just discussing?

Your sin is heinous in the eyes of God since you are the one setting yourself up as the authority over God and his Word.

My sin certainly is heinous in the eyes of God. But that is between God and me, and I have a Savior whose blood washes me clean and whose word makes me genuinely clean.

I am not setting myself up as an authority; rather, I am an avid reader and student of God's word.

The Catholic Church is not guilty of anything of the sort.

Rome tries to make itself the mediator between God and man -- that is clearly a role only held by Jesus Christ.

The rest of your comment really isn't worth responding to, because it's so far afield from reality.

For what it's worth, I'll take my chances and continue to believe that our efforts here bring more people to their senses than to "reinforce their Catholic faith."

natamllc said...

John and Matthew,

not wanting to go deep, I will just walk on water, here:

Matthew wrote: The clear distinction is that you have faith in your own ability to determine history with a degree of certainty which you do not possess. You use this determination to reject the Church in favor of your own interpretation of the the Scriptures. That is not faith.

I would say that is a fallacy Matthew in light of these Words Paul wrote to those he was sent too:

Eph 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles--
Eph 3:2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you,
Eph 3:3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.
Eph 3:4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
Eph 3:5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.


Here we see Paul direct them to consider what they heard and what he has written to them. One can only conclude Paul realized that readers of what he was writing plus the Gift of Faith working within them, received by hearing, was sufficient enough for them to develop their own personal "family" relationship with Our Invisible God.

That being said, it is simply your fallacy Matthew to write what you wrote charging John lacks the same ability as those Paul wrote to cited above.

Paul also wrote: Php 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.


It seems to me we can turn the table on you and charge you with a lack of Faith to believe what was written is sufficient enough for the personal family relationship all of God's children are called into when they are given the gift of Eternal Life after hearing and believing the Gospel?

Matthew Bellisario said...

Unlike you guys, I listen to everything St. Paul said and wrote, not only the parts that I personally agree with or perceive to be true based on my own reasoning.

John Bugay said...

Paul said, "I came to you determined to preach nothing but Christ and him crucified." So the problem is not that you listen to "everything Paul says." The problem is that you listen to everything else.

Matthew Bellisario said...

The problem is you listen to nothing that he says, and when you can't figure out what he is saying you make something up.

natamllc said...

John

methinks Matthew is a little annoyed with Reformation thinkers?

Matthew: and when you can't figure out what he is saying you make something up.

See, he thinks we have to figure things out, instead of receive the Grace of God in Truth:::>

Ecc 7:13 Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked?
Ecc 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.


As Habakkuk wrote so we realize and preach:

Hab 2:2 And the LORD answered me: "Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
Hab 2:3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end--it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
Hab 2:4 "Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.

John Bugay said...

natamllc, I think you rightly perceive his frustration, which is evident from his inability to interact with the material. If he thinks that Luther and Calvin and the other Reformers "made things up" then he obviously hasn't read the things they wrote.

Jae said...

@ Rhology and John Bugay, deny it all you want, twist it all you want but the FACT REMAINS, for pete's sake you can't even put a reply on the sources I listed that even the old dictionary much less Encyclopedia Britannica doesn't agree with you and lend a credence of support.

We keep on putting SOLID evidences on the table but so far NONE of yours to support your claim....all you do is just play BLIND and throw some prejudice slur (esp Rhology)!

Look at some of Rhology's vaunted logic : Matt said, "there was nothing "Protestant" about the Ecumenical Councils."

Rhology replied, "If their writings occurred today, they wouldn't be Romanists!"

Firstly, I gave you the benefit of the doubt and you still keep on calling us "Romanist" but now, you really showed your true face ... BIGOTRY IN ACTION fellows! ...if not for the love of Christ ...ahhh, nevermind you're not even worth it.

Hah, but you are right though and I truly understand your frustration because NONE of the Patristic Fathers'writings, Early Ecumenical Councils, Academic references seem to agree even slightly with your version and hearsays in wide range of topics from the Primacy of Peter to the Eucharist as real Body and Blood of Christ... so the only thing left for you to do is play ***!

Oh, by the way since you are so seemingly confident of your educational prowess, do you mind if I ask, what is the level of your education? Just to make sure you don't treat me like a child (to put mine on the line...I have PhD in Mathematics with God's help!)

Peace.

Jae said...

@ Rhology, if you agree with the declarations of the early Ecumenical Councils as inpired, before what? Fifth century? Is that your cut-off date for “traditional Christian orthodoxy? Then there is NO, absolutely NO reason to think that the "Apostasy" of the Church didn't begin for 400 years than there is to believe it began in the very first century of her existence.

Furthermore, the first 400-500 years of the church are replete with beliefs and practices that Refornmed protestantism rejects...A FACT! The Nicene Creed and Apostles Creed were written by the Councils of Nicea AD 325 and Milan which you guys accepted as part of orthodoxy but at the same time you rejected the doctrine of apostolic succession and episcopal form of the Church which were also part of the those Councils.

Reformed also rejected "Baptismal Regeneration" which is a major declaration of those Councils. Reformed accepts the Christology taught by the Fourth Ecumenical Council (Chalcedon, AD 451), but rejects the teaching of the Fifth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople, 553 AD)....

The question for you then is, why PICK AND CHOOSE?

This pick-and-choose approach to the tradition shows that it is not the fact that an Ecumenical Council declared something definitively that makes it "authoritative" for Rhology and the Reformed. What makes it "authoritative" is that it agrees with his interpretation of the Scripture. On one hand you can't reject the tradition of the early Church coz that would make your position fail to be counted as "traditional christian orthodoxy" but on the other hand again, you can't accept the tradition of the early Church coz in many ways, many important ways that tradition is incompatible with your own Reformed Theology.

So it other words, Rhology is his own little pope and tradition put together (really, honestly that's what you guys are), he just doesn't know it yet!

Peace.

John Bugay said...

Jae -- look up "Martin Luther" in the Encyclopedia Britannica. That should give you all the evidence you need that the Reformation was very badly needed when it occurred.

John Lollard said...

Jae,

"(to put mine on the line...I have PhD in Mathematics with God's help!)"

No way! I'm in a PhD program for physics! I did math in undergrad! What's your area of specialty? Algebra, analysis, topology?

"you can't accept the tradition of the early Church coz in many ways, many important ways that tradition is incompatible with your own Reformed Theology."

I think everyone here can agree that whatever Christ and the Apostles taught is to be believed. I think we'd also agree, anything incompatible with what Christ and the Apostles taught is to be rejected. I see two methods of determining what Christ and the Apostles taught. The Prots here are recommending we do this through study of Scripture and the historical, cultural, and linguistic context in which it was revealed. The Catholic suggests that there was a tradition of what Christ and the Apostles taught handed down through generations.

The problem is that you cannot establish anything as being taught by Christ and the Apostles that is not in the New Testament. You cannot trace your tradition as originating from them. You cannot demonstrate that they even left an oral tradition. The most you can do is point to people in the second, third, fourth centuries violating the teachings of Christ and the Apostles in Scripture and assert that they did this because of some oral tradition that they had.

Compare this to Protestants can demonstrate that linguistically the syntactic structure in John 1:1 means that "theos" is applied to the nature of the "Logos", or that 1st century Jews only understood "resurrection" in the sense of a bodily resurrection and that a "spiritual resurrection" was an oxymoron. That is the contrast.

Sunni Muslims have the exact same concept of tradition as you do, but Sunni Muslims can trace the transmission and origin of their traditions through hundreds of years of purely oral transmission. When a Sunni Muslim says that Muhammad taught that his followers can earn salvation points for killing salamanders, they can back it up with references of who heard Muhammad teach this, who they told it to, who they told it to, etc.

I'm not saying you need that exact same thing, but something even close to it would be nice. Pointing to the appearance of a doctrine somewhere and announcing that it must have been a tradition passed on from the Apostles just doesn't cut it.

Love in Christ,
John Lollard

Jae said...

@ john, I totally agree with you this time....we are not contesting of the much needed reformation of the Church "within"...we acknowledge that there wer abuses and some members wer not being faithful to their vows of holiness however it has nothing to do with the Apostolic Authority and Line of Succession which clearly been practiced for thousands of years.

Why did Luther leave Peter because of Judas? (to have his own - my best guess!)

Peace:)

John Bugay said...

Jae -- "Did you ask yourself even why did I cite the CCC? For the obvious reason you were all quoting catholic "scholar of the day" phenomenon...so, logically to end this part of discussion I quoted from the so called "official", does it makes sense to you?"

So are you saying that Fortescue was somehow lacking in his explanation of the early papacy?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Jae: "(to put mine on the line...I have PhD in Mathematics with God's help!)"

It's funny you should mention this because I just read the following comment earlier today:

"Part of what I find amusing and sad in the overall tone of this debate is the repeated insistence that without a PhD you are unqualified to speak to a matter.

First -- that is intellectual arrogance which I have little respect for. The overall erosion in standards at universities since 1997 especially, calls into question claims of expertise just because you have a PhD.

Second -- a PhD qualifies you to make the statement that you have studied a subject. The statements you then go on to make regarding that subject or other ones reveals if you have gained any wisdom.

Right now I am enjoying immensely (perhaps too much), David Berlinski's The Devil's Delusion. He convincingly demonstrates over and over again that scholarly qualifications (having obtained a degree) is no license to claim you are wise, as he deftly skewers those in the scientific community who think they can make short work of religion by linking their atheism and their arguments with science.

To not believe is what some will do. Please, spare me the intellectual arrogance of just because I don't have a degree, I don't or cannot understand the issues at hand."

From: Here.

Anyways, having a bit of exposure to mathematics myself, the arguments between RC's and Prots seem to me to be arguments over axioms. We just have different axioms. And one big axiomatic difference that gets debated a lot ad infinitum is Sola Scriptura versus Sola Ecclesia.

Prots try to show that Sola Ecclesia is a faulty axiomatic starting point while RC's try to show that Sola Scriptura is a faulty axiomatic starting point.

Out of generousity, I almost want to liken the situation to Euclidean geometry versus non-Euclidean geometry.

Jae,

I just bounced over to John Lollard's blog for the first time. If you have a few minutes, read this post by him titled: Why I'm Not a Catholic.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Jae: "(to put mine on the line...I have PhD in Mathematics with God's help!)"

It's funny you should mention this because I just read the following comment earlier today:

"Part of what I find amusing and sad in the overall tone of this debate is the repeated insistence that without a PhD you are unqualified to speak to a matter.

First -- that is intellectual arrogance which I have little respect for. The overall erosion in standards at universities since 1997 especially, calls into question claims of expertise just because you have a PhD.

Second -- a PhD qualifies you to make the statement that you have studied a subject. The statements you then go on to make regarding that subject or other ones reveals if you have gained any wisdom.

Right now I am enjoying immensely (perhaps too much), David Berlinski's The Devil's Delusion. He convincingly demonstrates over and over again that scholarly qualifications (having obtained a degree) is no license to claim you are wise, as he deftly skewers those in the scientific community who think they can make short work of religion by linking their atheism and their arguments with science.

To not believe is what some will do. Please, spare me the intellectual arrogance of just because I don't have a degree, I don't or cannot understand the issues at hand."

From: Here.

Anyways, having a bit of exposure to mathematics myself, the arguments between RC's and Prots seem to me to be arguments over axioms. We just have different axioms. And one big axiomatic difference that gets debated a lot ad infinitum is Sola Scriptura versus Sola Ecclesia.

Prots try to show that Sola Ecclesia is a faulty axiomatic starting point while RC's try to show that Sola Scriptura is a faulty axiomatic starting point.

Out of generousity, I almost want to liken the situation to Euclidean geometry versus non-Euclidean geometry.

Jae,

I just bounced over to John Lollard's blog for the first time. If you have a few minutes, read this post by him titled: Why I'm Not a Catholic.

Nick said...

John B,

I realized something that I didn't realize in the past after reading your last response.

Concerning the early church, you said: To try to suggest that there was doctrinal and administrative unity is a far, far stretch.

This, to me, is where the real issue rests. It's more about our starting assumptions than anything. To you, there is no such thing as "doctrinal and administrative unity" beyond the doors of each local congregation - to you it's a fiction of the Catholic mind. Given that, of course you're not going to even entertain the possibility of it when you read the Fathers or other historic documents.

From the Catholic end, your outlook is a form of deism, and I can see why Matthew said some of the things he did about you not really having faith. Such an outlook causes your religion to be guided by secular scholars for your truth, since the pastor is nothing but a layman standing up reading out of the bible.

Onto what you said:

(1) Fathers such as St Cyprian did not recoil at such language. But even if one wanted to say he did, that in itself is proof that Popes have been making such grand claims from very early on (Cyprian was 250AD).

(2) Your approach to St Clement's Epistle reflects the deism issue I mentioned above. To you, the Body of Christ is a disorganized group on all fronts, with the only commonality is a mere title "Christian". I would object by saying that even if your analysis is correct (which I deny), you admit leaders in Rome considered themselves to hold power over others. Even if they did not, the fact is there is evidence extremely early on for this. And St Clement's Epistle has been always venerated (even at one time read at liturgy for some Eastern Churches) for being one of the oldest Christian writings.

(3) You spoke of Councils having their force simply by means of military strength and not doctrinal truth. You said: "decisions were arrived at and enforced largely by the means of Cyril's gang of thugs." This seems to repudiate any notion of Ecumenical Council at all as having any bearing on Christian orthodoxy. The only options this leaves are Mormonism or radical, ahistorical Anabaptism.

Until you're convinced that Christ desired doctrinal and administrative unity, and recognize that doctrinal relativism is an abomination, any arguments I make will fall on deaf ears.

Jae said...

@ John Lollard, thanks brother (In Math!LOL)...area of analysis and now algebra (for the kids).

I agree with you somewhat but the problem still remains that whatever we do linguistically the syntactic structure of every verse and passage of the Bible...it still amounts to a HUMAN ACT and INTERPRETATION IS A HUMAN ACT...whether you twist, slice and turn the result is still the same. Let's put it one level up...Why then DO YOU believe that a set of old books is divinely inspired? and infallible? There is no voice from Heaven that say so, there is NO signature, No Seal, NO Logo that you could ever find written or attached from God Himself attesting to the fact...in other words these set of books were written by mere old fallible, sinful and corruptible human creatures like us.

If you believe that the Church "apostasized" right after the deaths of the Apostles like the Mormons do, then you are absolutely right! No contest - and the "true" church appeared only 1,500 years later in the time of Reformation. (for the Mormons it is 1830 years later).

So now the problem is....you have to deal with history (written FACTS) and what God Himself promised to His Church (if as a believer)...that "the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it" (Matt 16:18). A false teaching however small would nullify and forfeit that promise coz heresy/error is from the Dark side.

And John 16:13,when God has promised to guide His church to ALL truth until he comes at the end of time.(dictionary "all" means every single one, wholeness, fullness).

So, until we satisfy those statements without contradiction then I would not have believed like the Mormons do.

By the way, I know the "why" but the "how" has perplexed me....what do you think of the Reformed theology's approach of PICK-AND-CHOOSE technique from my previous post above?


Peace and Grace to you.

Jae said...

@ Truth Unites...

So, sorry my friend if I have offended you with my arrogance...my fault, I apologize and in doing so not in terms with following our Master who is all Meek and humble....you are absolutely right!

It's just my human nature though when a guy without provocation attacks your intergrity and credentials...but no excuses, thanks for reminding me.

Peace and Grace to you.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John Lollard writes, "I think everyone here can agree that whatever Christ and the Apostles taught is to be believed. I think we'd also agree, anything incompatible with what Christ and the Apostles taught is to be rejected."

Then tell John Lollard, where did Jesus or His apostles ever teach Sola Scriptura? If what you say here is a position that you truly hold to, can you prove that Jesus or His apostles ever taught the doctrine of Sola Scriptura? If not, then you should reject it, no? I can tell that Jesus nor any of His apostles ever taught such a thing, nor any of their successors. You had better think over your position Because Sola Scriptura is not compatible with anything Jesus or His apostles ever taught. In fact not even the Jews taught such a thing!

John Bugay said...

Matthew Bellisario: Then tell John Lollard, where did Jesus or His apostles ever teach Sola Scriptura?

Jesus lived on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4)

Nevertheless, you have this backward. The place to start is with Roman claims. If Roman claims can be eliminated as true then whatever is left is what you have to deal with.

John Bugay said...

Nick quoted JB: To try to suggest that there was doctrinal and administrative unity is a far, far stretch.

Then Nick said: This, to me, is where the real issue rests. It's more about our starting assumptions than anything. To you, there is no such thing as "doctrinal and administrative unity" beyond the doors of each local congregation - to you it's a fiction of the Catholic mind. Given that, of course you're not going to even entertain the possibility of it when you read the Fathers or other historic documents.

From the Catholic end, your outlook is a form of deism, and I can see why Matthew said some of the things he did about you not really having faith.


Uh, have you ever read Newman? What I said is pretty much a direct lift from Newman:

Go here and scroll down to section 11
http://www.newmanreader.org/works/development/introduction.html

Again, the six great Bishops and Saints of the Ante-nicene Church were St. Irenaeus, St. Hippolytus, St. Cyprian, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, St. Dionysius of Alexandria, and St. Methodius. Of these, St. Dionysius is accused by St. Basil of having sown the first seeds of Arianism and St. Gregory is allowed by the same learned Father to have used language concerning our Lord, which he only defends on the plea of an economical object in the writer St. Hippolytus speaks as if he were ignorant of our Lord's Eternal Sonship; St. Methodius speaks incorrectly at least upon the Incarnation; and St. Cyprian does not treat of theology at all. Such is the incompleteness of the extant teaching of these true saints, and, in their day, faithful witnesses of the Eternal Son.

Again, Athenagoras, St. Clement, Tertullian, and the two SS. Dionysii would appear to be the only writers whose language is at any time exact and systematic enough to remind us of the Athanasian Creed. If we limit our view of the teaching of the Fathers by what they expressly state, St. Ignatius may be considered as a Patripassian, St. Justin arianizes, and St. Hippolytus is a Photinian.

Again, there are three great theological authors of the Ante-nicene centuries, Tertullian, Origen, and, we may add, Eusebius, though he lived some way into the fourth. Tertullian is heterodox on the doctrine of our Lord's divinity, and, indeed, ultimately fell altogether into heresy or schism; Origen is, at the very least, suspected, and must be defended and explained rather than cited as a witness of orthodoxy; and Eusebius was a Semi-Arian.

12.

Moreover, It may be questioned whether any Ante-nicene father distinctly affirms either the numerical Unity or the Coequality of the Three Persons; except perhaps the heterodox Tertullian, and that chiefly in a work written after he had become a Montanist: yet to satisfy the Anti-roman use of Quod semper, &c., surely we ought not to be left for these great articles of doctrine to the testimony of a later age.

Edward Reiss said...

Matthew B.,

"The problem is you listen to nothing that he says, and when you can't figure out what he is saying you make something up."

Unfortunately, statement by you is based only on your subjective, fallible determination that the RCC is the Church Christ founded. Since others do not agree with your subjective interpretation of which church is the only one Christ founded, argument which say others are using their private judgment while you are not looks like hopeless question begging at best, or laughable sophistry at worst. When you appeal to divisions among the various protestant denominations as evidence that your subjective choice is correct, while waving aside this favorite RC argument when applied to the RCC, it makes it look like your argument is bot based on principle but is purely rhetorical, similar to the way politicians "argue" in an unprincipled way. This is rarely if ever convincing to those outside of your circle.

Now, it seems to me that John Bugay asked RCs to show him where he misrepresented RCism. So there is little in the way of that kind of discussion. Instead we have been treated to the same old-same old RC apologetic boilerplate, which is self refuting if the principle was followed consistently.

Jae said...

@John B, you said, "Jesus lived on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4)"

John, John where art thou? The verse you cited nowhere implies Sola Scriptura or Jesus practicing Sola Scriptura, in fact it proves more to our side...words like "every word" and "from the mouth"....compare that with:

1. "So the, brethren, stand firm and hold to the TRADITIONS which you were taught by us, either by WORD OF MOUTH or by letter." (2 Thess 2:15)

2. "Follow the pattern of the SOUND WORDS which you have HEARD from me. (2 Tim 1:13).

Jesus wrote nothing; he taught the disciples through speaking and example. The apostles did the same, and handed the teaching of Christ on orally to chosen trustworthy men, the bishops, which today is the Apostolic Succession. The concept and importance of hearing is all over the Old and New Testaments, for it is God that we hear, in the living, active, moving, creating Word, speaking and writing through the prophets and the Apostles. The bible has more references to hearing than I can possibly recount.

@ John L...Christ did promise His Church into ALL truth until He comes back...it also means it is an ongoing process from the day He gave His promise to the day He comes back.... there is NO gap in history inspite of sins of men, God is still faithful to His promise.

Don't get me wrong, protestants have a good amount of truth however NOT THE FULLNESS of truth.
Protestant's "to each his own authority to interpret" is not biblical and the many false religions that have grown out of the Reformation lead people away from the truth.

May i add, somebody have said, "Catholics added some Books to the Holy Writ in the Council of Trent?" my, my...IT WAS under the authority of a guy named, Martin Luther who had the books removed and subtracted from the Holy Writ...just ask the Eastern Orthodox Church who split from the Catholic Church in 1100 A.D. (400 years prior to Luther) they have the same number of Books as us. History my friend.

Peace.

John Lollard said...

Hey MB,

Here is what Sola Scriptura is: Scripture is the only thing that is theopneustos. I will believe anything and everything that is God-breathed with inspiration. Anything.

Scripture is the only such thing.

If Rome claims to have another such thing that is God-breathed, then let her prove it. If she succeeds, then I will concede. Until such a time as another God-breathed source is brought forth, I will continue to believe in the only one we have (Scripture) and to subject all other authorities (i.e. the Magisterium) to it.

I don't even think Catholics claim that sacred tradition is God-breathed. Do they?

Since Scripture is the only source of teaching from Jesus and the Apostles, if you want I can go through it showing where Scripture is being used as the final authority (even over that Jewish oral tradition) an yes, where Scripture is described as God-breathed to demonstrate that they taught this, but that'd be such a hassle.

So Scripture is one such God-breathed authority. There exists no others, or provide one.

Love in Christ,
JL

John Bugay said...

Jae -- watch this space. I'm going to discuss a bunch of your "proof texts" in the near future.

Nick: continuing with your charge of deism, here are a couple of definitions:


•the form of theological rationalism that believes in God on the basis of reason without reference to revelation

The WCF: The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

Or:

•The belief in a god or gods who set the universe in motion, then ceased to interact with it...

The WCF: Chapter 3: Of God’s Eternal Decree. 1: God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.


So what you are perceiving here is definitely not "a form of Deism."


Better try something else.

Couple of other points:

(1) I'm going to discuss Cyprian in the near future. Stay tuned.

(2) My approach to 1 Clement reflects deism? Try again. I'm going to go into some more detail here, too.

(3) Cyril's gangs of thugs?

http://www.puritanboard.com/f18/nestorius-council-ephesus-53817/

On Easter Sunday in 429, Cyril publicly denounced Nestorius for heresy. With fine disregard for anything Nestorius had actually said, he accused him of denying the deity of Christ. It was a direct and incendiary appeal to the emotions of the orthodox, rather than to precise theological definition or scriptual exegesis, and, as he expected, an ecclesiastical uproar followed. Cyril showered Nestorius with twelve bristling anathemas…As tempers mounted, a Third Ecumenical Council was summoned to meet in Ephesus in 431 … [it was] the most violent and least equitable of all the great councils. It is an embarassment and blot on the history of the church. … Nestorius … arrived late and was asking the council to wait for him and his bishops. Cyril, who had brought fifty of his own bishops with him, arrogantly opened the council anyway, over the protests of the imperial commissioner and about seventy other bishops. …

They acted … as if it was a war they were conducting, and the followers of [Cyril] … went about in the city girt and armed with clubs … with the yells of barbarians, snorting fiercely … raging with extravagant arrogance against those whom they knew to be opposed to their doings, carrying bells about the city and lighting fires. They blocked up the streets so that everyone was obliged to fee and hide, while they acted as masters of the situation, lying about, drunk and besotted and shouting obsceneties… (Samuel Hugh Moffett, A History of Christianity in Asia, 174).

Jae said...

To All, this is a legit question, what do you think of the Reformed theology's approach of PICK-AND-CHOOSE technique from my previous post above? (read my comments first).

Anybody playing? Rhology?

John Lollard said...

Hey Jae,

"it still amounts to a HUMAN ACT and INTERPRETATION IS A HUMAN ACT"

Amen. God communicates to human beings and usually through human beings. Human beings are faulty and fallacious, and God still works with us and through us. Pretty awesome testimony to the nature of our God :)

"Why then DO YOU believe that a set of old books is divinely inspired?"

Do you want a causal answer, or an intellectual answer? Causally, I believe in a specific set of books as inspired because a person laid hands on me, prayed, I received the Holy Spirit, and this person who prayed then told me that this set of books is the inspired word of God (and no other set). Intellectually, the argument is much longer and more difficult, and is the reason why I read blogs like Beggars All (which provide great historical information).

The idea that the Church apostatized is a contradiction in terms. There was an official hierarchy that set itself up over God's Church and imposed harsh and godless rules on them. If you want to contend that the Roman hierarchy is "the Church", then let me just throw it out there, when you have the leaders of your organization dealing in prostitution, raping pilgrims, murdering Jews, embezzling money from the poor, then "the gates of Hell" have very much prevailed against your organization. Since Christ promised that the gates of Hell would never prevail against His Church, that Church cannot be identical to Rome.

But I don't believe "Church" corresponds to any official organization (though it involves such organizations) but rather the people who are in it. Such people have always been around.

If by the "pick-and-choose" technique you man citing an Eastern Orthodox person on the invalidness of the papacy, then I don't think he's picking and choosing. How can a church with "apostolic succession" that can trace itself back to the original apostles with the oral tradition handed down by them possibly say anyting in disagreement with Rome. How can such a church say that they have never been under the authority of the pope if you think that St. Paul was under the authority of the pope? It doesn't make any sense, and I think it's perfectly consistent to cite such a statement as evidence against Catholic claims.

And you do analysis? That subject is actually the reason why I'm doing physics and not math :P

Love in Christ,
JL

Edward Reiss said...

Jae,

"This pick-and-choose approach to the tradition shows that it is not the fact that an Ecumenical Council declared something definitively that makes it "authoritative" for Rhology and the Reformed. What makes it "authoritative" is that it agrees with his interpretation of the Scripture."

There is some question begging going on here. Is an "ecumenical council" defined according to the RC definition, which requires papal approval, and hence Florence is in, or is it defined by the EOdox definition and hence Florence is out? How does one decide, without using his own private judgment, which definition is correct?

If one has to use one's private judgment, then a major part of the critique you level against prots applies to your own denomination. In other words, you are picking and choosing, something which from your arguments here seems to have a negative connotation.

Basically, you have defined "tradition" as what happens to agree with the church to which you choose to follow. But why follow your church? Why follow the tradition you choose to follow and not another? In fact, I could restate your own point against you in this way: Jae agrees or disagrees with e.g. Florence because it happens to agree with his determination of what the tradition is.

It seems to me Rhology is in no worse position than you are; both of you have chosen a framework within which to interpret "tradition"--a term you use polemically which simply means the teachings your particular denomination follows. I fail to see how your argument, if applied consistently, would not undermine your own position. Merely assuming your church's tradition is the real deal is not in any way a defeater for the position of the most rabid individualist, be he Sedevacantist, Old Believer or "Evangelical Free Church".

Now as to the overall topic, has John Bugay misrepresented RCism? And if so, can it be shown and not just asserted? It seems to me he has at least one prominent theologian on his side. And if he is correct, it would seem that we have another example of division among those who assert an infallible authority is required to settle these things.

Andrew said...

Matthew, we can show you were they said the scripture is God-breathed, infallible, propositional, and understandable revelation. Can you show us where anyone of them said that about the oral tradition of the Roman Catholic Church? If not, your position is eliminated by simple deduction.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John L writes, "So Scripture is one such God-breathed authority. There exists no others, or provide one."

No that is not the case since the apostles themselves preached God's Word by the authority given to them by God when there was no New Testament even in existence. You people are the ones not starting at the beginning. You make assumptions based not on fact, but what you think should have happened. Scripture did not replace Jesus or the apostles! That is nonsense, and the burden falls upon you to prove that this happened, and not just assume it.

No one in their right mind separates the blueprints from the engineers who drew it up, so to speak. God, the engineer, using His apostles, (inspired writers) drew up the blueprints. In order for you to read them and use them properly, you still need the engineers knowledge who drew them up, and quite frankly, none of you have that knowledge. You boobs are trying to construct something in which you have no clue about, with blueprints that you do not know how to read and that are not yours to possess. What a joke!

John Bugay said...

you still need the engineers knowledge who drew them up, and quite frankly, none of you have that knowledge.

Evidently, neither did the bishops and writers of the early church. Did you see my latest post?

And I'm quoting your beloved Newman, who said, in effect, that these early bishops, whom you have said represented "the succession of Bishops who should have known the truth," making a whole bunch of errors.

I actually have more errors to cite.

And so, before there were "boobs" in our generation, there were "boobs" who, as key members of the supposed Magisterium, got things terribly wrong.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Jae: "Don't get me wrong, protestants have a good amount of truth however NOT THE FULLNESS of truth."

Sincere thanks for that.

I think the sentiment in that statement is a good base or foundation to work off of.

And it may be needless to say this, but Protestants have a different perspective. I/we say:

"Don't get me wrong, the Roman Catholic Church has a good amount of truth however NOT THE FULLNESS of truth."

And while I, as a Protestant, am not at all offended by the Catholic statement that Protestants don't have "the fullness of truth", I do hope that Catholics are not at all offended when Protestants say that the Roman Catholic Church does not have "the fullness of truth."

John Bugay said...

Hi Truth: "Don't get me wrong, the Roman Catholic Church has a good amount of truth however NOT THE FULLNESS of truth."


I think there a few things wrong with their view of "fullness of the truth."

Rome genuinely did, officially, anathematize "the truth" of the Gospel. So officially, if someone really truly embraces Tridentine teaching, they have rejected the heart of the truth, the heart of the Gospel (that Christ, by his death and resurrection, saves us totally).

They officially do not permit people to think that Christ's gift is a free gift. Or rather, that "free gift of salvation" applies precisely at one point -- baptism -- and after that, you're on your own in the Catholic system [with the help of grace, to be sure, but it's up to you], either to maintain yourself in "a state of grace" by "doing things" -- most likely running on the "sacramental treadmill" and trying to "emulate the saints" -- that, or you are getting into mortal sin by doing things like missing Mass, practicing artificial birth control and "separating yourself from the life of the Church."

(This is not to say that the average, work-a-day Catholic really understands what Trent teaches, and they may well have genuinely turned to Christ. And I believe He will honor such imperfect kinds of turning to him. But there is not a great deal of trust in Christ when you are actively trying to be a "good Catholic." You rather are trusting in the process, and in your own participation in the process).

So all of the other "accretions" that they call "fullness" -- Mary, Saints, "the sacramental treadmill" -- can genuinely be distracting enough that they turn people away from focusing on Christ.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

John Bugay: "This is not to say that the average, work-a-day Catholic really understands what Trent teaches, and they may well have genuinely turned to Christ. And I believe He will honor such imperfect kinds of turning to him."

Exactly right! I fully agree with you!! There are Heaven-bound followers of Christ in the Roman Catholic Church.



P.S. Do we have to get into the "In spite of, not because of" discussion?

;-)

John Bugay said...

I'd definitely say "in spite of".

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

John Lollard: "So Scripture is one such God-breathed authority. There exists no others, or provide one."

Andrew: "Matthew, we can show you were they said the scripture is God-breathed, infallible, propositional, and understandable revelation. Can you show us where anyone of them said that about the oral tradition of the Roman Catholic Church? If not, your position is eliminated by simple deduction."

Here's a statement by a well-honored historical figure in the Church who seems to be affirming the above statements:

"For our faith rests upon the revelation made to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors. Hence Augustine says (Epis. ad Hieron. xix, 1): 'Only those books of Scripture which are called canonical have I learned to hold in such honor as to believe their authors have not erred in any way in writing them. But other authors I so read as not to deem everything in their works to be true, merely on account of their having so thought and written, whatever may have been their holiness and learning.'"
-Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I.Q1. 8

Rhology said...

Jae,

if you agree with the declarations of the early Ecumenical Councils as inpired, before what?

None of them are inspired.
Most are CORRECT, but only Scr is inspired.


Is that your cut-off date for “traditional Christian orthodoxy?

I don't have a "cut-off date", but John Bugay set out some thoughts on it.
See here also.



the first 400-500 years of the church are replete with beliefs and practices that Refornmed protestantism rejects.

And to faithful RCs. For example, there's no evidence that anyone believed parts of what the modern RCC has defined the Gospel to be.
Not all held to baptismal regeneration.
But this question doesn't matter to me. I want to follow what Jesus and the apostles taught. And they are the earliEST church, earlier than any "father". I'll stick with them. I'm surprised you don't.


at the same time you rejected the doctrine of apostolic succession

Imagine that - subjecting traditions to Scripture!



The question for you then is, why PICK AND CHOOSE?

B/c we follow the Bible.
That's a MUCH better question for you.



What makes it "authoritative" is that it agrees with his interpretation of the Scripture.

No, what makes it "authoritative" is that it agrees with Scripture.



Rhology is his own little pope

You have no idea what you're talking about.
What makes it "authoritative" is that it agrees with your interpretation of the tradition/Magisterial decrees/councils/Papal decrees. Everyone has the interpretation "problem". Don't be so dense.



the problem still remains that whatever we do linguistically the syntactic structure of every verse and passage of the Bible...it still amounts to a HUMAN ACT and INTERPRETATION IS A HUMAN ACT

The problem still remains that whatever we do linguistically the syntactic structure of every verse and passage of the Magisterium...it still amounts to a HUMAN ACT and INTERPRETATION IS A HUMAN ACT.
So, so ludicrous. So blind.

John Lollard said...

Hey MB,

"No that is not the case since the apostles themselves preached God's Word by the authority given to them by God when there was no New Testament even in existence."

Sure, I'll grant that.

The only teachings that we still have that came from Christ or the Apostles during this preaching are contained in the New Testament. You can show me absolutely no Apostolic teachings anywhere that are not in the Bible.

Go ahead and try. Show me that a single "Sacred Tradition" actually originated in the Apostles. Any tradition - I don't care if it's baptism by sprinkling, show me where the Apostles taught it. I dare you.

The way it turns out, you are the one making assumptions based on what you think should have happened. You think the Apostles should have handed down inspired oral teachings and these inspired oral teachings should have been passed along through generations of the Church, and that these oral traditions are identical to the Sacred Tradition of Rome . As it happens, the Apostles didn't, the oral teachings were not handed down, and there's no reason to assume whatever oral teaching the Apostles gave was your Sacred Tradition.

Or prove otherwise.

The only collection of teachings that we can show actually came from the Apostles is the New Testament.

Or prove otherwise.

Love in Christ,
John Lollard

John Lollard said...

TUAD,

Thanks for that quote! I have friends who do graduate studies in Aquinas, so that'll come in handy!

I'm thinking of sending you a fruit basket for linking to my blog, btw :P

Love in Christ,
John Lollard

Matthew Bellisario said...

Lollard writes, Go ahead and try. Show me that a single "Sacred Tradition" actually originated in the Apostles. Any tradition - I don't care if it's baptism by sprinkling, show me where the Apostles taught it. I dare you."

Double dog dare me? I see you guys are fond of Aquinas..

"The Apostles, led by the inward instinct of the Holy Ghost, handed down to the churches certain instructions which they did not put in writing, but which have been ordained, in accordance with the observance of the Church as practiced by the faithful as time went on. Wherefore the Apostle says (2 Thessalonians 2:14): "Stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word"--that is by word of mouth--"or by our epistle"--that is by word put into writing. Among these traditions is the worship of Christ's image. Wherefore it is said that Blessed Luke painted the image of Christ, which is in Rome." (Summa Theologica III, Question 25, Article3 )

Saint Thomas here holds up the Church's doctrinal teaching by the use of Sacred Tradition, and not Sacred Scripture in this particular case.

John Bugay said...

Well, Luke actually painted nothing, and Aquinas thought lots of bogus documents were actually genuine (Pseudo Dionysius, anyone?)

You still didn't provide an actual unwritten tradition from the apostles.

If anything, liturgies from the eastern orthodox go back to the time of Chrysostom, but I don't know of anything that goes back further. Basil lists a number of "practices" such as facing east when you pray, and baptizing by triple immersion -- things that the Roman church no longer does.

In order to come up with its own liturgies and baptismal rites, Rome had to consult the writings of Hippolytus, an "anti-pope," who was the only person who wrote (reliably) about these things. And to bring in Hippolytus, they had to throw out some things like the Tridentine Mass, and things that it had in place for hundreds of years or more.

So John Lollard, it's a safe bet to say that there are no genuine unwritten traditions from the Apostles.

Rhology said...

...and Aquinas is 1000+ years after the fact.

Apparently Bellisario has nothing. What a surprise.

John Lollard said...

Hey John,

"So John Lollard, it's a safe bet to say that there are no genuine unwritten traditions from the Apostles."

I mean, we even have the Catholic Champion here! And the best he thinks he can do is quote Aquinas insisting that tradition were handed on? I want my money back.

Actually, I do know of an example of a "tradition" claiming to be from the Apostles that actually "validates" itself as being from the Apostles. It's from Irenaeus, where he claims that Jesus lived to the age of 50. So there you go, Apostolic Tradition at work! :P

Love in Christ,
JL

John Bugay said...

Hey John Lollard -- one of the founding elders at my church is a Professor of Physics at the University of Pittsburgh. So it's good to see that you are going in the direction you're going.

If you're interested, Yves Congar's work, "The Meaning of Tradition" (which is kind of a condensed version of his much larger work, "Tradition and Traditions" lists about 8 or 10 "traditions" that date back to about the fourth century.

--The Lenten Fast
--Certain baptismal rites
--Certain eucharistic rites
--infant baptism
--prayer facing east
--validity of baptism by heretics
--Certain rules for the election (not selection) and consecration of bishops
--The sign of the cross
--Prayer for the dead
--Various liturgical feasts and rites

So this is "tradition" 400 years after Christ. You have this, and Scripture.

John Lollard said...

Thanks John! Good to know a physicist can be of use to the Kingdom :)

Does Yves Congar argue that these traditions originated in the Apostles? Or does he argue that these are merely traditional practices at the 4th century? Or he is saying that the "tradition" landscape at the 4th century consisted in just these few traditions and everything else was Scripture?

I wrote the book down on my list of books to read. Thanks as always for the great historic information.

Love in Christ,
JL

Nick said...

John B,

I will address your response to me in the new post you made today.

A final note I will add is that you gave a list of 8 traditions which you say date back only to the 4th century. Regarding certain baptismal and eucharistic rites, documents like the Didache and Justin Martry are from the early to mid second century (100-150AD), so that claim is false. Other issues like infant baptism were discussed by folks like St Cyprian, who lived from the early to mid third century (250ad).
I'm not going to go on a tangent discussing these issues, I just wanted to add this as a note.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Bugay writes, "If you're interested, Yves Congar's work..."

Again, you are joke John. Also, I saw you clowns quoted Aquinas earlier. I guess you like to use him when it suits you, but he is bogus when it does not benefit your argument. The fact is, the apostles themselves revealed to us not all of that God revealed them was written down, this has been a belief of the Christian faith since the beginning, and it has been passed down form the beginning. Keep quoting the liberals here John! It does not take long to see the grab ass operation you are throwing together here, and any real Catholic who understands their faith and the history of the Church, can see this trash you are hurling from a mile away.

John Bugay said...

John Lollard -- Here's a link to the Congar book I was talking about. This section sort of picks up on page 33, the list I provided is on pg 37:

The Meaning of Tradition

He basically says, "we know there were some unwritten traditions, we just simply don't know what they were." And of course, this list that he provided can't be traced back any further than Augustine.

I don't have a commentary on Thessalonians, but David Garland (BECNT) suggests the traditions in 1 Cor 11:2 included "historical facts related to the gospel story and doctrine drawn from them" (2 Thess 2:15; 3:6; cf Romans 6:17, 1 Cor 11:23, 15:3). "Adherence to these traditions not only strengthens their bond to their apostle, but also to the rest of God's church. Some think that the tradition he has in mind specifically has to do with the participation of men and women in worship or the equality of man and woman, but it is more likely he refers to his teaching in general. The Corinthians' practices should be consistent with this foundational tradition." (512)

David King talks about this in his work on Holy Scripture, and he makes the argument that these "unwritten traditions" were simply that which was later written down in Scripture (pgs 111 ff). I haven't consulted that work for a while, but that would be a better book to put on your list than Congar's.

:-)

John Bugay said...

Matthew Bellisario, the more insulting you are, the greater the cry from you that you really have no idea how to interact with the substance. I almost feel sorry for you. If you weren't so arrogant, I probably would. But I'm glad you show up here, and I'm glad the folks laugh at you.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Hey John, again, any time you want to formally debate a topic, let me know. But we all know that you are not man enough to take up the challenge.

John Bugay said...

I'll tell you what Matthew. My interest lies in continuing to publish the work I'm doing on the early papacy, so let's just keep doing what we're doing for a while: me publishing my work, and you rebutting me and calling me names as you are able, and maybe we'll circle back on this project in a few months.

natamllc said...

John

Matthew didn't get this memo:

Gal 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
Gal 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
Gal 1:5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


But I hasten to say, from your responses to him, you did! :)

Turretinfan said...

"Hey John, again, any time you want to formally debate a topic, let me know. But we all know that you are not man enough to take up the challenge."

Wow. Just wow.

natamllc said...

TF,

that's funny because as I was reading those very words I thought about your debates with him, thinking, hmmmmm, I wonder how well he would do with JB? I suppose JB will do to him like TF "did"!

Was I thinking naughty thoughts then?

Let me echo, wow, wow, just wow!

Turretinfan said...

"I guess you like to use him when it suits you, but he is bogus when it does not benefit your argument."

I don't know whether Bellisario understands what's going on here. It could be that he understands and he's just trolling, but just in case he doesn't understand:

1) We read theologians from Ignatius to Cajetan, for a variety of reasons.

2) We quote theologians from Ignatius to Cajetan, for a variety of reasons.

3) We do not read or quote those theologians as though they were our rule of faith. Our rule of faith is Scripture, not theologians (whether relatively ancient, or relatively modern).

4) We sometimes quote theologians within the context of historical theology. In this context, we are reporting their beliefs.

5) Reporting a belief is reporting the facts. For example:

a) It is a fact that no catholic Christians believed in the bodily assumption of Mary before Nicaea (or at least no such writings can be found).

b) It is a fact that Jerome did not accept the apocrypha as canonical in the strong sense (and neither did Cajetan, following Jerome's lead).

c) It is a fact that Thomas Aquinas did not believe in the immaculate conception.

The facts above are facts that we sometimes bring up in discussion with folks such as Bellisario, who believe the myth that "Catholics have always" believed pretty much what Bellisario believes.

There are other facts that show that the men throughout church history have disagreed with what Mr. Bugay and I believe. For example, Thomas Aquinas had a very high view of the papacy, he seemed to accept the idea that Mary was personally sinless, and he believed in the existence of Purgatory (though he did not believe in a Purgatory like the "state" that JP2 taught - he believed in a Purgatory that was a place).

In any event, what Bellisario seems to miss is the fact that we're not resting our arguments that - for example - the Immaculate conception is false on the authority of Thomas Aquinas. It is false on the authority of Scripture.

We're willing to accept that all theologians make mistakes. So, we don't feel bound to follow what Thomas Aquinas said on anything. When we quote him in the context of historical theology, we're identifying the historical reality of what he believed and taught - not arguing for the rightness or wrongness of what he taught.

That distinction - which is crucial - seems to be totally lost on Belliario. Hopefully this comment will help him figure it out. If not, he'll be doomed to sounding like someone who doesn't understand what's going on.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Saint Thomas here holds up the Church's doctrinal teaching by the use of Sacred Tradition, and not Sacred Scripture in this particular case."

No, the quotation is related to practice/discipline not doctrine.

Notice: "in accordance with the observance of the Church as practiced by the faithful as time went on" which explains the content.

Or look at the section it is found in -- it is found in the section on whether it is right to engage in the practice of adoring Christ using images.

Now, granted that there are theological implications to the practice (also note Aquinas' absurd naivete in thinking that there had been a continuous practice of adoring Christ's image and that there was an image in Rome that was actually painted by Luke). Nevertheless, Aquinas is specifically indicating that the practice of adoring images was something passed down by apostolic tradition (i.e. it was something the apostles themselves did and therefore something that we also do).

Even if we were to grant, in principle, that we ought to continue in the practices of the apostles, notice that the very limited doctrinal field in which they are implicated is the doctrines that are directly effected by whether the practice is maintained.

In other words, apostolic tradition is only incidentally a source for doctrine, inasmuch as doctrine relates to practices that are apostolic practices.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said...

TF incorrectly states, "No, the quotation is related to practice/discipline not doctrine."

Wrong. Tell that to St. John of Damascus and the entire Church that defended the teaching as doctrine. Tell that to those faithful Christians who you are now spitting in their faces, who gave their lives for this doctrine of true Christian faith. When you make stupid, asinine comments like this TF, you should not wonder why most Catholics no longer pay you any attention. Yeah its only a practice, only a discipline. St. Thomas did not believe that, and neither did the entire Church of the 8th century. They were only killing each other over a mere practice. You are so far removed from reality that one has to wonder when you will join the rest of the human race in which you perceive yourself to be so high above. Frankly, you make me sick.

Constantine said...

Fathers such as St Cyprian did not recoil at such language. But even if one wanted to say he did, that in itself is proof that Popes have been making such grand claims from very early on (Cyprian was 250AD).

Well, the “grand claims” story is a mixed bag, to be sure. As to one example, the resignation-then reinstatement-then forced resignation of two bishops of Gaul from this period - Basilides and Martialis. The story is basically that these two men apostasized and were removed by their local churches. The church where Basilides had been bishop elected Sabinus who was soon consecrated by all the local bishops. Basilides and Martialis, thinking better of their earlier apostasy, appealed to Stephen at Rome to reinstate them – which he did. Immediately, another bishop (named Felix) and a local presbyter appealed to Cyprian to overrule Stephen. A local council was held (254) and a letter sent to the Spanish and African churches telling them to disregard Stephen’s earlier decision. “It does not look as if either the church of Spain or the church of Africa took the Roman see as more than one among other influential sees; or held recourse to Rome to be of any more consequence than recourse to Carthage.”
Kidd, B. J. The Roman Primacy to A.D. 461. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1936. pp. 29-30.

And there are several other incidents of similar nature, the length of which precludes inclusion here. Suffice it to say, Cyprian would have “recoiled” at any such language supporting Roman Primacy.

As to the Nicene Fathers, this is interesting:

“If the Nicene fathers had recognized what is called the ‘papal supremacy,’ they could not but have noticed it in this canon. [6th canon of Nicaea, “Let the ancient customs prevail.”] For they were considering the subject of authority, and of such authority as was held, in different areas, by Rome and Alexandria alike…The omission is a proof, if proof were wanted, that the First Ecumenical Council knew nothing of the doctrine of papal supremacy.” (Quoting W. Bright, Notes on the Canons: Nic. 6).” Op. cit., p. 41

While the Nicene Fathers were considering the very topic of authority, they deemed that all of the Apostolic Sees had equal authority with Rome.

That’s what Cyprian really had to say.

Peace.

Constantine said...

Saint Thomas here holds up the Church's doctrinal teaching by the use of Sacred Tradition, and not Sacred Scripture in this particular case.

Do you guys remember when His Holiness earlier upbraided John Bugay for “not being there” with the early church, only to be reminded that he, himself, relies on a 2,000 year tradition of people who weren’t there either?

Well, HE DID IT AGAIN!

His Eminence quotes the Summa citing 2 Thessalonians 2:14 and then says Aquinas is not holding up the “Church’s doctrinal teaching” with Scripture “in this particular case”. Really? What is 2 Thessalonians – tapioca?

And even funnier… The one thing that DIDN’T happen in history - “Wherefore it is SAID that Blessed Luke painted the image of Christ” - is the ORAL component to His Holiness’s quote!

In other words, Bellisario quotes Aquinas to PROVE the deniability of ORAL Tradition.

And this on a “double dog dare”.

Somebody make him stop. I haven’t laughed this hard in years!

Matthew Bellisario said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andrew said...

Matthew, you were asked to provide proof that there are "sacred traditions" which go back to the apostles. You quoted a 13th century theologian's assertion of the same. How does that provide any proof at all? You cannot possibly be that dumb.

John Bugay said...

Matthew Bellisario -- do not insult our guests here.

Alexander said...

Andrew writes to Matthew: You cannot possibly be that dumb.

The very next post John Bugay writes to Matthew: do not insult our guests here.

That's right Matthew. Only Catholics can be insulted here. Only the Elect are allowed to insult us damned Catholics.

natamllc said...

John,

Matthew Bellisario -- do not insult our guests here.

Leave poor Mat alone. We are reformed thinkers knowing full well we deserve far worse, both temporal and eternal in punishments!

Here's a claim I hope in and to my good friend TF, this one's for you!

Psa 143:9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge!
Psa 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Psa 143:11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
Psa 143:12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.

John Lollard said...

Alexander,

I agree with you. Andrew shouldn't have said that. I think we all got kind of giddy. There's no reason to insult MB or anyone. Especially those who are saved by Grace, it makes no sense to see them call someone "dumb" when God chooses the foolish and the weak to nullify the world's perception of intelligence

Titus 3:1,2

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Constantine: "Somebody make him stop. I haven’t laughed this hard in years!"

Laughter is good for the soul.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Alexander writes:

That's right Matthew. Only Catholics can be insulted here. Only the Elect are allowed to insult us damned Catholics.

We let you Catholics insult us in practically every thread you participate in; there's hardly an exchange without insults coming from your camp. Yet when we try to curb this in any fashion, it is immediately deemed a double-standard, even when we do sometimes criticize our fellow Protestants for their behavior.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

On occasion, I don't mind harsh polemics (laced with invectives and insults) between Catholics and Protestants as long as there is more content and substance in the polemic than insult.

If Catholics want to insult Protestants, and to then mistakenly think that their insults are adequate substitutes for coherent, sound, and valid arguments, well, what did I expect?

I expect exactly that! That they have no recourse other than to resort to insults that arises from a bitter fury from having lost the substantive portion of the argument.

Catholic Modus Operandi: "When we can't win the argument [which is the majority of the time], then let's insult the Protestants! Let's derail the debate into a discussion about tone and then hopefully everyone will forget that the Catholics lost the argument. That's the ticket! We can turn a loss into a draw."

Thus, when the Catholics resort to anti-Protestant insults, it's just a tacit admission that they have lost the argument.

I just shrug and smile.

Alexander said...

John Lollard, thanks for the recongition that insults are from both sides. I take this to mean that you would not be in favor of a double standard whereby Catholics are called-out on being insulting and fellow Protestants are ignored.

Matthew S., name one time where you have called out and reprimanded a fellow Protestant on this blog for being insulting. Please show me where this took place; otherwise, you are just continuing in your assult against intellectual honesty. Why should I, or any other Catholic, take you and this blog seriously when it is blatantly obvious that you refuse to acknowledge clear double standards in the way you treat those who disagree with you from the way you treat those who agree with you. If you don't have the intellectual honesty to recognize your own use of insulting polemics, or the accepting approval of those in your camp with a wink and a nod, then why in the world would I believe that you have the intellectual honesty to deal fairly with the actual material? So far, I have only encounter two Protestants who comment on this blog who have acknowledged the use of double standards: John Lollard (so it seems), and another fellow who finally acknowledged his use of double standards after several years of interaction.

I have other Calvinist Protestant friends (even Pastors and Elders) I interact with without any problems whatsoever. Meanwhile, its no secret that Beggars All, Triablogue, and Alpha and Omega have issues with hypocrisy and double standards. Deal with it and reform.

Alexander said...

That they have no recourse other than to resort to insults that arises from a bitter fury from having lost the substantive portion of the argument.

Yep, this is exactly the sort of thing that the irrational mushy-headed liberals used to tell one of my former conservative professors when he finally tired of engaging them in substantive argumentation after he explained things more than once and they just refused to deal with the substance in any honest way.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Me: "That they have no recourse other than to resort to insults that arises from a bitter fury from having lost the substantive portion of the argument."

"They" in my sentence above refers to some Catholics.

Anyways, as far as I can tell, when comparing Catholics and Protestants on the Insult-O-Meter, Catholic commenters are FAR more insulting than Protestants.

It's amusing to see Catholic commenters whine when they just get a tiny portion of their own medicine back in their mouths.

Can't take what they dish out. Any Protestant reading this thread surprised by that?

John Lollard said...

"Can't take what they dish out. Any Protestant reading this thread surprised by that?"

To be perfectly honest, I expect Catholics to insult and swear because near as I can tell their standard is to "be okay, eat this cracker, and come back next week". And I expect people saved by the blood of Christ to always return insults with blessings, because we know a higher standard and expect to be judged with mercy. So yes, I think it is perfectly consistent to hold Prots to a higher standard than anyone else.

If for nothing else than to heap coals on their head.

That's my opinion anyway.
Love in Christ,
JL

Andrew said...

Settle down Catholics. I wasn't calling Matthew dumb. I was making a point about one of his posts by asking a rhetorical question. Of course, he would answer "no" to my question. Here's the thing; it was a pretty dumb post. I don't actually think that Matthew is dumb. I think he made an assertion, was asked to prove it, and failed miserably by providing another assertion as proof for his assertion. If one of the Protestants here did that you would, quite rightly, be all over it. You would think it was dumb. You should, because it would be.

Andrew said...

Upon further review, it wasn't a question. I maintain that I wasn't actually calling him dumb.

Alexander said...

"Truth" of course you are going to perceive Catholics as being more insulting. I didn't expect anything different from you. Whites in the Jim Crow south felt that they were being infringed upon by the Blacks. For some folks, perception is reality.

Lollard, as was explained to Bugay from several people already, you might want to investigate how the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the necessity of contrition works. To make a statment like the one you made once is forgivable. To continue to make arrogant and ignorant statements like that over and over causes one to call into question not only your honesty, but also your capacity for dialogue.

Alexander said...

Andrew, I'll accept your explanation, but I don't necessarily buy it unless you will admit to making derogatory comments towards Matthew in the past.

All I'm interested in at this point is a little candor from you guys. If you can be honest with these non-theological issues, then you would certainly gain more of my respect and interest in dialogue for the more substantive issues. Otherwise, why should I cast pearls before swine, so to speak?

Turretinfan said...

"TF incorrectly states, 'No, the quotation is related to practice/discipline not doctrine.'"

See, here's an important difference. I didn't just say "Bellisario incorrectly quoted S.T. for affirming something it doesn't affirm." Instead, I showed why. And all I get in response is the magisterium of one insisting loudly that I'm wrong.

"Wrong."

That's twice the magisterium of one claims I'm wrong.

"Tell that to St. John of Damascus and the entire Church that defended the teaching as doctrine."

I suppose this is a general reference to the back and forth that took place where a very large council condemned John of Damascus, and then a slightly larger one, several decades later condemned the previous council.

Of course, the entire controversy was over a particular practice (the practice of making and using images of Jesus Christ). I can't recall anywhere that John of Damascus explicitly distinguished it as being a doctrine rather than a practice - I can't even recall whether the 7th Ecumenical Council made that distinction.

"Tell that to those faithful Christians who you are now spitting in their faces, who gave their lives for this doctrine of true Christian faith."

Anyone who died in order to worship using a painted board or statue died foolishly, whether God saved them or not. And those who hold up idolaters who died for their idolatry would do well to read the books of the Macabees.

"When you make stupid, asinine comments like this TF, you should not wonder why most Catholics no longer pay you any attention."

For those watching, this is how the magisterium of one announces his anathema - by the laying on thick of the pejorative adjectives.

"Yeah its only a practice, only a discipline."

Here's where the straw man is set up. For purposes of sarcasm and mockery, the word "only" is added, so that the position can be lampooned. Bellisario somehow missed (perhaps while he was trying to think up negative adjectives) where I wrote: "Now, granted that there are theological implications to the practice ... ."

"St. Thomas did not believe that, and neither did the entire Church of the 8th century."

Thomas Aquinas knew the difference between doctrine and practice. He comments on both in his Summa.

"They were only killing each other over a mere practice."

Again, the word "mere" added to make the position lampoonable. But yes, idolatry is a practice. It's an ungodly practice, but it is a practice. And people have been dying for it at least since Exodus 32:37.

"You are so far removed from reality that one has to wonder when you will join the rest of the human race in which you perceive yourself to be so high above."

This is just an insult.

"Frankly, you make me sick."

This is simply another insult.

-TurretinFan

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Alexander writes:

Matthew S., name one time where you have called out and reprimanded a fellow Protestant on this blog for being insulting.

Why would I have to do such a thing on this blog for me to be consistent? For one thing, I haven't been here very long. To begin my stay here by publicly criticizing my fellow Evangelical Christians would be foolish, at best. As it stands, I've made such comments a) in private (as the Bible demands) and b) on public discussion boards (such as over at the old CARM boards).

Of course, even if I met your standard, would that improve the kinds of comments and attitude you bring to these discussions? That seems unlikely. You'd probably just keep claiming intellectual dishonesty in other areas or fields. You are not known for the kind, helpful or meaningful interaction you provide on what we post here.

Please show me where this took place; otherwise, you are just continuing in your assult against intellectual honesty.

"Just continuing" assumes I have been intellectually dishonest on a regular basis. You've never demonstrated that, even though I know your preferred tactic is to insinuate as much (and primary tactic it seems, since you generally refuse to issue and defend arguments of any kind). Until you do, your slander will be dismissed for what it is.

Your response also does not deal with the fact that we still do allow you and your fellow Catholics to insult us all the time, contradicting your claim that, "Only Catholics can be insulted here. Only the Elect are allowed to insult us damned Catholics."

By the way, Alexander, why do you even come to this blog? All you usually offer is condescension and disdain.

Turretinfan said...

Guys - you're feeding a troll.

John Lollard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Yes, I have made such comments in the past, and will again. I wont make sarcasm, or name calling (St. Middle Man) my argument, but when you argue like St. Middle man does, you should be made fun of. But I was not calling him dumb. That much should have been obvious in the first place. That's all I am going to say about that subject on this thread.

Alexander said...

MAtthew S., Denying the facts and wishing them away doesn't make them disappear. Until you display some intellectual honesty, I will not cast pearls before swine. It would be a waste of my time. The irritation you feel towards me is part of the process of becomming aware that you are such a blatant hypocrite.

Why do I still come to this blog? Because occasionally there are good arguments which cause me to think and do some research. Why do I hardly, if ever, interact with you people? Because you and others here are intellectually dishonest, therefore interaction with you would be totally fruitless. So what do I end up doing? I occasionally point out double standards, blatant lies, hasty generalizations (like the one Lollard is now making) and such hoping that perhaps you will become more honest. If you can't do so with these issues, there is no hope that you will do so with the theological issues. Most of the time I just read.

Lollard,

If these Catholics lack contrition, then their confessions are of no avail. How you can go from this select group to condemning the entire Church is troubling. It would be nice if you see this fallacy for what it is.

I would also put up Catholic moral teachings against anything you or other Protestants would offer. As was mentioned elsewhere, you guys struggle with determining whether or not divorce and remarriage is moral, along with the morality of masturbation, in vitro fertilization, embryo adoption, surrogate motherhood, as well as any other modern ethical issue that the Bible is silent on.

Turretinfan, don't you have some more Caner research to do? Maybe you could go picking through his trash and possibly find an old picture of him eating some bacon when he was supposedly a Muslim.

Alexander said...

Thanks Andrew. Would you also say that to censor Matthew's rudeness while leaving up other people's rude comments a double standard?

Alexander said...

By the way, I also got my account deleted from Madrid's website for constantly bringing up his use of double standards, along with his puppet Patty's. I guess the thing that irritated me the most was the fact that they wouldn't own up to it. Mark Shea is the same way. AS long as I follow their lead, I can insult whomever of the opposition I want with nothing more than a symbolic hand-slap. Meanwhile, a Protestant can get on there and question Sippo's rudeness, and next thing you know he has been banned. So I try fabricating insults to later point out the double standard like I did with making references to Bugay's mustache.

If you want to use double standards and be completely dishonest with the oppositions material, then fine. Just own up to it. Seriously, how irritating is it for you guys for some Catholics to keep distorting your view of sola scriptura by pretending that with that theological position you are thereby unable to consult the Church Fathers, theological works, etc. just to score some rhetorical points? Especially considering the fact that your position on sola scriptura has been explained on this blog quite a number of times. Well we Catholics feel the same way with how you distort our teachings even after we have explained them to you over, and over again.

Like I said, if you can't even own up to your double standards, then the more important theological issues would be lost on you.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Alexander writes:

Would you also say that to censor Matthew's rudeness while leaving up other people's rude comments a double standard?

I see, Alexander. As long as everyone can insult freely and call each other hypocrites, liars, dishonest, etc. then there's no moral problem to be addressed.

Btw. How long do you think you'd be welcome as a guest in a home if you entered it and began mocking, insulting and openly criticizing the host's life-practices in front of other guests and their neighbors? Even if their behavior was sinful, your inability to use any form of tact (indeed, you admit yourself to using clandestine methods, forming moral traps as it were), is an invitation to forcibly be shown the door.

So I try fabricating insults to later point out the double standard like I did with making references to Bugay's mustache.

Yet how is it a double-standard? We allow the overwhelming majority of rude comments and behavior at Beggars All (take, for example, your most recent posts here). So far from allowing all Protestant insults and banning all Catholic ones, we think there's a point where a line gets crossed and certain warnings are issued or, more rarely, comments get deleted. You seem to think, however, that there's no difference in degree between, for example, allowing a few insulting comments here and there (or regularly) and allowing Bellisario to continue his regular and repeated insulting, argument-free rhetoric (in this case against a Protestant brother). You also don't allow us to pursue confrontation of methods on our own terms, such as through private channels first with fellow Evangelical Christians.

Andrew said...

Not in Matthew's case, no. He is too often rude and nasty just for the sake of it. Also he makes many rude comments that don't get deleted.

John Lollard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Me: "Catholic Modus Operandi: "When we can't win the argument [which is the majority of the time], then let's insult the Protestants! Let's derail the debate into a discussion about tone and then hopefully everyone will forget that the Catholics lost the argument. That's the ticket! We can turn a loss into a draw."

Thus, when the Catholics resort to anti-Protestant insults, it's just a tacit admission that they have lost the argument."


I missed an important corollary:

"After having lost the substantive part of the argument to Protestants, immediately resort to complaining about the "tone" of Protestants, allege and accuse them of being insulting while being insulting in your insinuations and allegations. Get them stuck in the quagmire of defending against such allegations, and hope that everyone forgets that the Catholics haven't engaged the argument."

That being the case (since I'm onto the tactic), I'll repost John Bugay's sincere questions that has yet to be answered by any of his Roman Catholic interlocutors who instead are more focused on derailing the thread:

"Do any of you thoroughly knowledgeable Catholics, you "Catholic Champions" have anything to add to this. Do you wish to contest anything as I've portrayed it here? The last thing I want is to be "clueless." Have I represented your case properly?"

John Bugay said...

Alexander, I know that the discussions get kind of tense here, simply because of the intensely personal nature of the things we discuss. I've tolerated my share of insults. [God only knows whether the "mustache" thing was in mind when you made your Stalin and Saddam comments, or simply an afterthought to cover some pretty unimpressive insults on your part].

But I'm not going to stop posting the kinds of things I do because I'm afraid someone's going to call me names.

I just believed Matthew crossed a line for anger and derision, and I wanted to draw his attention to it. You can draw whatever conclusions you want. I had more important things to do yesterday than to sit and monitor some kind of insult-meter. That kind of thing is never productive.