Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On trusting your own eyes and your own mind, vs believing what the Roman church tells you to believe

Because of work and family constraints, I haven't been able to participate in some of the comments that have come up below. But something has come up which I think illustrates a key, foundational difference, and it is something that needs to be emphasized.


In the Paul Hoffer thread, I asked: How much better would it be for you to work for clarity in these matters? Doesn't your Catholicism bind you to honesty? Or does it rather bind you to blind partisanship?

Truth Unites … and Divides responded: That such questions are reasonable makes it suitable to assume the latter.

And the truth is, the whole Catholic theological structure is set up to perpetuate "the latter":
With regard to the Catholic Church, [the leading assumption] is a blatant form of revisionism. This is evidenced by Pius IX’s method articulated in his Letter, “Gravissimas inter,” to the Archbishop of Munich-Freising, Dec. 11, 1862, reiterated in Pius XII’s statement in Humani Generis, “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.”

This is further explained in a variety of sources. One Roman Catholic theologian wrote, “We think first of developed forms for which we need to find historical justification. The developed forms come first and the historical justification comes second.” (“Ways of Validating Ministry,” Kilian McDonnell, Journal of Ecumenical Studies (7), pg. 213, cited in Carlos Alfredo Steger, “Apostolic Succession in the Writings of Yves Congar and Oscar Cullmann, pg. 322.) ...

Aiden Nichols, “The Shape of Catholic Theology” (253) notes that for the last several hundred years, according to these popes, “the theologian’s highest task lies in proving the present teachings of the magisterium from the evidence of the ancient sources.” One internet writer called this method “Dogma Appreciation 101” (related in a discussion of his studies in a Catholic seminary.) Nichols calls this, “the so-called regressive method,” and notes that Walter Kasper (now a Cardinal) has traced the origins of this method to the 18th century.
One can't stress this enough. For those of you who interact with Roman Catholics at any level, and you can't seem to understand why they see things as they do, you can know that, at its heart, there is a difference in the way that they look at things, and this difference has its roots deep in history, and it comes from the highest levels.

The earliest church did not make its decisions this way.

Earlier, Paul Hoffer had said: If one is going to assent to being a Catholic, then one must assent to its teachings or else one should not call oneself a Catholic.

This is my understanding of the way it works, and this is why I ultimately rejected the whole thing.

[The way in which one assents to its teachings leaves quite a bit of room for disunity, as is shown in the Alexander Greco thread below. It is said that "unity in the faith" is the kind of unity that Christ desires. Protestants would say that we have unity in Christ -- unity in the Gospel ("Christ died for sinners" -- and as we turn to him in faith and repentance -- yes, we are drawn to do so by grace -- we receive the new birth, adoption, union with Christ. This is the unity for which Christ prayed in John 17. This is His prayer, answered.)]

To accept unity around the pope is to have to accept a whole lot of things that were created by and are sustained by a false system. The distinctively Roman Catholic doctrines themselves have become a false system. If you recall, God's primary complaint against Israel is that they were whoring after false gods. They were seeking a kind of "fullness of the faith" that God simply did not provide.

PH: However, once one accepts by a reasoned faith the truth of the teachings of the Church, then there is no room for doubting the validity of them for doubt is the opposite of faith. Thus, "the Church as a living, dominically instituted authority that is divinely preserved from error under certain conditions” is a item of faith which allows no doubt.

Consider the doctrines it "proposes for faith, which allow no doubt" -- the Assumption of Mary, papal infallibility, the Immaculate Conception of Mary. As I looked into these, they were so far-fetched and so "without basis in history" that I took them as clear evidence that the Roman church "could not be what it said it was."

PH: Interjecting the notion of Catholic theologians tends to obfuscate issues as the extent of a theologian' authority depends on their relationship to the Magisterium. Even Pope Benedict takes pains to distinguish between what his personal views as a theologian and his pronouncements in his capacity as pope.

It is true: there is a distinction between what a theologian says (it has no "binding" force") and what "the Church" pronounces as "dogma."

But there are two things to note on this:

1. I brought up "theologians" because this is what this pope actually said.

And 2., this is how the process actually works: it is not the job of the theologians to understand what the true meaning of the Scriptures was, not to understand what the earlier doctrines and theologians were saying. It is actually their job to begin with current "Catholic teaching" and, precisely as these popes articulated, "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.” Again, one writer, who went through this process in a Seminary, called this "Dogma Appreciation 101".

The Roman Catholic process is not one of finding truth. It is one of defending itself, by "picking and choosing" -- things out of context if necessary -- bits and pieces that it thinks support its doctrines in history.

This is one reason for the existence of the the contorted view that some things are "implicitly found" in Scripture. To counter this, the Protestants (following Irenaeus and others) say, "Scripture interprets Scripture".

Here's an example of that: the Catholic Church posits a statement like this:
And indeed it was wholly fitting that so wonderful a mother should be ever resplendent with the glory of most sublime holiness and so completely free from all taint of original sin that she would triumph utterly over the ancient serpent.
Now, is it better to believe what the Scriptures (as a whole) say about Mary? Or should we go with "the Church's" take on this? This is not rocket science.

[For some background, see first of all, Turretinfan's article on "fittingness" as a kind of standard by which "fittingness" counts as part of this "elevation to divine revelation". See also his article on some of the early sources of Marian dogma.]

It truly would be "fitting" if Scripture actually saw it as "wholly fitting" that Mary should "be ever resplendent with the glory of most sublime holiness." But Scripture does not see Mary that way. Eric Svendsen, for example, did a thorough exegetical analysis of every single mention of Mary in the New Testament, and while Mary did end up appearing "with the disciples" in Acts 1, it was not because of some imagined "Immaculate Conception". It was because she went through the process that many of the other disciples went through, and she herself became a disciple. Eric concludes:
"Taken together, [Marian passages in the New Testament] portray Mary as someone who initially receives the word of God with great enthusiasm; who hen struggles to understand her true role vis-a-vis the conflict between her role as mother of Jesus (in which she exercises her will over him) and her new role as servant of Jesus (in which she humbly submits to his will); who at times gets it right, while other times not; who at times even opposes Jesus' mission and sides with those who deem Jesus "insane"; and who then finally becomes a full-fledged disciple."
Now, a "plain reading" of the Scriptures will not tell you that the writers of the New Testament, either implicitly or explicitly, thought that "it was fitting" that God should have protect Mary from sin via an "immaculate conception." An exegetical study like Eric's simply confirms, over and over again, that the impressions one receives about the person of Mary in the New Testament, from "a plain reading of Scripture," are indeed accurate impressions.

PH: What you of hit upon here is the the reason that it would be impossible for me to be a Protestant, because your use of private judgment factors in human doubt. If there is doubt, there is faithlessness. Period. What certainity/certitude of the truth does Protestantism have there is room to doubts the tenets for which an adherent to it holds?

This is a clear instance in which I would rather read God's word, and exercise "private judgment," and believe my own eyes, and trust in my the ability to understand that God gave to me, than what the Roman church tells me to believe. And if in this one instance, one sees reason to reject the Roman teaching, then one must reject all of the authority of the Roman church.

[Note: This post is about the specific differences in the ways that Catholics and Protestants accept sources of authority. It is not intended to bring up issues within Eric Svendsen's study, which is an honest and fair treatment of Mary in the New Testament. Any derogatory comments about him or his work will be immediately deleted.]

144 comments:

Matthew Bellisario said...

Well said Bugay. Trust in yourself, not the God, or the Church God gave you. The fact is you would have rejected Jesus and the apostles to their faces because you would have misinterpreted Sacred Scripture to then like you do to us now. You see when one believes something because God told them to believe it, like, "For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed, " then that is true faith. When one depends on their own arrogance and their own reason to determine what they will and will not believe, then that is not faith, but pride. And so we see that you fit perfectly into the Scripture passage that says, "After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him." You trust your own eyes and see with your man-centered faith, as for me I will trust in the Lord God who sent His apostles to preach the Gospel, and who also said He would build His Church, which is the bulwark of truth.

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Bugay, I do not have time to interact with your article until the weekend, but thank you for showing through this article that the Protestant notion of sola fide is a front for a "me, myself and I" mentality. The idolatry of self promotion that you pitch offers no contest to an act of real faith. To quote Msgr. Knox, "Faith is not something which you have got a hold of, it is something which has got a hold of you.

John Bugay said...

Thank you for your comments Gentlemen.

Matthew, I can accept "For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed," without accepting either the doctrine of Transubstantiation, without accepting "the sacrifice of the Mass" (neither of which were believed by the earliest church.)

Paul Hoffer: Nor is this a "me, myself and I mentality." But thank you for providing the straw-man caricature. It is always useful to have such examples around.

Of course, there is far more to it than the extremes that either of you are proposing. (I can't thank you enough for coming here and spouting off in your own prejudicial ways. What instruction can be gained from your knee-jerk reactions!)

The Westminster Confession of Faith adds both flesh and perspective to what I've said:

CHAPTER XXV.
Of the Church.
I. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.
III. Unto this catholic and visible Church, Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world; and doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.
IV. This catholic Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.
V. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error: and some have so degenerated as to become apparently no Churches of Christ. Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to his will.

The Roman church, of course, is one of those that are "less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced."

Within this context, though, is always the admonishment to "test everything and hold fast to what is good."

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

John Bugay: "For those of you who interact with Roman Catholics at any level, and you can't seem to understand why they see things as they do, you can know that, at its heart, there is a difference in the way that they look at things, and this difference has its roots deep in history, and it comes from the highest levels.

The earliest church did not make its decisions this way.
"

Hence, the Reformation. Ad fontes.

"To accept unity around the pope is to have to accept a whole lot of things that were created by and are sustained by a false system. The distinctively Roman Catholic doctrines themselves have become a false system."

The Pharisees created a false system.

A hard boot to the backside to symbolize emphatic rejection of the Pharisees' false system.

"The Roman Catholic process is not one of finding truth. It is one of defending itself, by "picking and choosing" -- things out of context if necessary -- bits and pieces that it thinks support its doctrines in history."

Ha!! This is precisely what I pointed out in their specious criticism of John Bugay's citing of Professor Peter Lampe. See the "Intellectual Inconsistency in the Infallible Magisterium" thread.

John Bugay said...

Matthew: ... His Church, which is the bulwark of truth.

You have misused this again. Remember, before you can know what a Scripture verse means, you have to know what it says.

And in context this verse is directed to a local church, and the "bulwark of truth" is their behavior, which supports and holds up the truth of the Gospel.

John Bugay said...

Truth: A hard boot to the backside...

I love this phrase!

Matthew Bellisario said...

Bugay says, "And in context this verse is directed to a local church, and the "bulwark of truth" is their behavior, which supports and holds up the truth of the Gospel."

You mere personal opionion, nothing more. Again, you have great faith in yourself, nothing more.

louis said...

Protestants do tend toward a "just me and my bible" mentality, but that error was not the position of the Reformation church, and that is not the position of Reformed and truly biblical churches today. Thank you, John Bugay, for drawing attention to our confession on this point, and for your able defense of the faith on this blog.

As for the papists, I used to think you guys at least had something interesting to say, and frankly you challenged my thinking on some matters, but at this point you are just recycling and endlessly repeating the same old straw-man arguments, without really interacting with our position on things.

John Bugay said...

You mere personal opionion, nothing more. Again, you have great faith in yourself, nothing more.

Matthew, that is not correct. It is an exegetical analysis of the text.


Louis, thanks for your comments and encouragement. You know, some time ago there was a big deal made about it being a "Catholic Moment." This was somewhat based on the fact that John Paul II was a decent and outgoing man who put a winsome face on Catholicism while working to reign it in from some some of the less "traditional" views of Vatican II to some of the more "traditional" views. (Both of which, as we have seen, are "legitimate" "interpretations" of "infallible" "teachings" and both parties admit themselves to have the "correct" "interpretation").

But with the anniversary of the Reformation coming up, I believe we will be seeing a true "Protestant Moment," when information like this tends to become disseminated fairly instantly, and people of many different Protestant traditions will have their belief in the Gospel confirmed not only by current events and teachings, but also by the Holy Spirit providing that inner guidance that He provides.

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

Matthew, that's the kind of unsupported rot that I'm no longer going to tolerate from you.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John says, "Matthew, that is not correct. It is an exegetical analysis of the text."

No it is not John, and I can quote hundreds of people who interpret it differently that you do, including many Church Fathers. their exegetical analysis is not the same as yours. Their ecclesiology is not even close to yours.

Tim Enloe said...

It's important to recognize in all of this that the anti "private judgment" arguments, when they are not based solely on the caricature of "me, myself, and my Bible alone in the woods," are still problematic because they assume a lack of competency of the individual believer, united to Christ by faith, to hear the voice of the Shepherd.

Catholics put "the Church" - a bureaucratic institutional hierarchy - between the individual believer and Christ because they do not have faith that Christ's sheep can hear His voice without some sort of ever-present human oracle to mediate that voice. Contra this, we Protestants assert that all individual Christians are united DIRECTLY by faith to Christ, and DIRECTLY by faith participate in Him and all His benefits. We have official ministers, but they are precisely that: ministers, not magisters. There is nothing qualitatively different about a minister and an ordinary layman - the office of minister is simply a delegated authority for purposes of external order. The minister does not posses a superior relationship to Christ, who he, the minister, then mediates to the people, poor rootless, wandering lambs who would be lost without him.

The final incoherence of the anti "private judgment" argument is shown in the simple fact that while they define "private judgment" as trusting yourself rather than a source outside of yourself, what the Protestant is actually saying is that he does, in fact, trust a source outside of himself - Christ and His Word. The Catholic apologist fools himself into thinking he doesn't have the "private judgment problem" merely because he prejudicially believes the Protestant is only trusting in himself while he, the Catholic, is trusting an authority outside himself. This is a specious distinction, and need never bother any Protestant who really understands what the Protestant view of Christianity is about.

Matthew Bellisario said...

John says, "Matthew, that's the kind of unsupported rot that I'm no longer going to tolerate from you.
"
What are you talking about John. OI quotes your confession and pointed a difference in ecclesiology. YOu are a coward. I will adress it on my blog, and then you can't hide form it.

zipper778 said...

Wow Matthew Bellisario. Your cold words and name calling do nothing but push me away from Roman Catholicism. It really makes me realize more and more that Roman Catholicism installs religious pride rather than pious worship.

Tim Enloe is correct. When we trust Jesus DIRECTLY through His Word and go DIRECTLY to Jesus, there is no need for a middle man. Roman Catholics have to trust in themselves that they correctly understand the Roman Cathoic Church. What if they're mistaken on key dogmas?

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can go to the Father except through Him.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Zipper, you can blame your rejection of Jesus and His Church on anyone or anything you like. But when judgement day comes, you wont be able to hide behind such nonsense. I called John a coward, because evertime something gets posted that is critical of his position that he does not like, he erases the comment. Yet, his buddies get on here and make all of the insulting comments towards Catholics that they want and nothing heppens. This is cowardly, plain and simple. I feel sorry for you if you think that justifies you in rejecting Jesus and His Church.

zipper778 said...

Matthew, I know that we don't know each other but you're making a big mistake in thinking that I reject Jesus. I've accepted Him as my Lord and Savior a long time ago and my hope is to be a living sacrifice so others can see Him through me. I never said that your words/actions were the only thing that pushes me away from Roman Catholicism, but when I see not only a lack of substance (or proof) in Roman Catholicism, but also a poor attitude in so many Roman Catholics, there is nothing left to attract me to it.

I do not fear judgement day for one reason. My Lord Jesus Christ is my advocate. There is nothing that I can give to save me from judgement, but Jesus can save me.

Plus, you're the only one condemning me right now Matthew. The Roman Catholic Church calls me "seperated brethren" ever since Vatican II so ever if you were correct, I'm okay on judgement day.

Thankfully all I need is Jesus' sacrifice and not an Earthly church to save me.

God Bless you Matthew.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Matthew Bellisario writes:

I called John a coward, because evertime something gets posted that is critical of his position that he does not like, he erases the comment.

A conveniently unverifiable piece of slander.

Rhology said...

Bellicosario said:
John says, "Matthew, that is not correct. It is an exegetical analysis of the text."

No it is not John, and I can quote hundreds of people who interpret it differently that you do, including many Church Fathers. their exegetical analysis is not the same as yours.


As if that follows.
I can quote 100s of people who disagree.
ERGO
You did not engage in exegetical analysis of the text.

Well done, Matthew.

John Bugay said...

Matthew, you are free to participate here; we just don't want you to be your usual insulting self. Try and restrain your baser urges and we will get along fine.

dtking said...

… Pius XII’s statement in Humani Generis, “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.”

Given this explicit prescription of Pius XII in Humani generis, I don’t see how the Romanist can avoid the practical import that their theologians have been called upon to exercise private judgment (i.e., personal investigation and discrimination) in order to find support for the dogma of the magisterium. To paraphrase the import of Humani generis, the magisterium defines and then the theologians find. Proof for dogma has thus been relegated to the realm of after-thought, when for years Romanists have contended in so many words the following…“Don’t you know that the pope and/or teaching authority (magisterium) of Rome thoroughly studied and consulted the best minds in our communion before the definition of such and such a dogma???” Well, if so, why is there a need for the theologians to find in the sources [plural, not singular] of revelation the proof for dogma?

The words of Cyril of Jerusalem come to mind, and I don't recall any Romanist ever explaining the meaning of his words. All they do is claim “out of context,” without ever explaining what his words do mean in context…

Cyril of Jerusalem (318-386): Keep this seal in mind at all times. I have spoken of it summarily, touching the main points, but if the Lord grant, I shall discuss it more fully later, to the best of my power, with proof from the Scriptures. For in regard to the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not even a casual statement should be delivered without the Scriptures, and we must not be drawn aside merely by probabilities and artificial arguments. Do not believe even me merely because I tell you these things, unless you receive from the inspired Scriptures the proof of the assertions. For this saving faith of ours depends not on ingenious reasonings but on proof from the inspired Scriptures. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 61, Catechesis IV.17 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, Inc., 1969), pp. 127-128.

Can you imagine any pope saying, “Do not believe even me merely because I tell you these things, unless you receive from the inspired Scriptures the proof of the assertions?”

Turretinfan said...

MB writes: John says, "Matthew, that is not correct. It is an exegetical analysis of the text."

No it is not John, and I can quote hundreds of people who interpret it differently that you do, including many Church Fathers. their exegetical analysis is not the same as yours. Their ecclesiology is not even close to yours.


Count the fallacies:

1) Ipse Dixit

Bellisario just saying "no it's not" is a non-argument.

2) Non Sequitur

It does not follow that because other people have a different analysis, that John's analysis is not an analysis.

3) Appeal to Numbers

Lots of people disagree with John, perhaps, but that doesn't mean John's wrong.

4) Appeal to Authority

The appeal might be licit, except that Bellisario himself doesn't recognize their authority whenever they disagree with his interpretation of what his church teaches.

5) Red Herring

The fact that other people have a different ecclesiology than John doesn't have any direct effect on whether John's exegetical analysis is correct.

An impressive collection of fallacies, but a complete waste of time and space here.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Yet, his buddies get on here and make all of the insulting comments towards Catholics that they want and nothing heppens. [sic]"

Every criticism of the Romanists becomes an "insult," while Bellisario hypocritically hurls actual insults. For example:

"What are you talking about John. OI [sic] quotes [sic] your confession and pointed [sic] a difference in ecclesiology. YOu [sic] are a coward. I will adress [sic] it on my blog, and then you can't hide form [sic] it."

-TurretinFan

Alexander Greco said...

Tim:

Your analysis of Protestant ecclesiology is very naive in practice at the church level. The reality is that when there is a disagreement in the local church over an issue of doctrine, externally the parties involved seemingly appeal to Scripture, but the controlling decision in the matter is really a result often on democratic fiat of the majority of decision makers of those in power. It is really an expression of politics above anything else. If the people do not wish to be subjected to the decision, they splinter off into another church.

Your analysis of Catholic ecclesiology simply misses the mark. There is a lot more to Catholic ecclesiology that must be ignored in order to give any worthy consideration of your argument.

natamllc said...

Doesn't the facts in evidence reveal the "god" Matthew has for his God?

Equally, I would remind what Jesus said long before the 1400s and the advent of the Reformation that seems to continually be called into question:

Mat 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Mat 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Mat 7:17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
Mat 7:18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
Mat 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Mat 7:20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.


A sure sign of which "foundation" is laid inside one's heart is by that that comes out of one's heart and conveyed through their arms down through their fingers and onto a computer screen so we can read and judge for ourselves just what kind of fruit is being produced by the tree.

Another way of saying that is this way:

Pro 18:20 From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
Pro 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Rhology said...

the controlling decision in the matter is really a result often on democratic fiat of the majority of decision makers of those in power

And that never happens in RCC or EOC. Ever.

Alexander Greco said...

And that never happens in RCC or EOC. Ever.

Yes, Rhology, it does. Look at how certain bishops handled the abuse scandals. Let's just not pretend that there isn't issues of authority in Protestantism by creating imaginative theories. That's all I'm saying.

Rhology said...

So, yes, it does happen. So why even bother mentioning that it happens in Prot churches?

It's a HUMAN condition, not a PROTESTANT one. Thank you for retracting your point.

Alexander Greco said...

If you consider that a retraction of my point, then the point I was making didn't find a seat in your mind.

Rhology said...

So let's try this again.

Your analysis of RC ecclesiology is very naive in practice at the church level. The reality is that when there is a disagreement in the local church over an issue of doctrine, externally the parties involved seemingly appeal to Scripture, Tradition, or Magisterial proclamations, but the controlling decision in the matter is really a result often on democratic fiat of the majority of decision makers of those in power, and of course Magisterial proclamations are the very definition thereof.

...

So, in sum, there was nothing to it. Thanks, Alexander.

natamllc said...

Alex,

do you not err anachronistically when you write this way?

It is really an expression of politics above anything else. If the people do not wish to be subjected to the decision, they splinter off into another church.

You make a slight that this is some strange event among those of the One True Reformation?


I will tell you that there is no one on our side in this debate who would foolishly charge Barnabas as a heretic or John Mark, both of celebrity distinguished by their separation from other men of the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints.

The "unity" you are so desperate in us embracing is a unifier the Scriptures do not have us hold to or require us to teach.

Consider these Words of Revelation carefully asking yourself why such diversity and variety within the understanding of the One True Church unified through Christ by One Spirit to the Father:

Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
Rev 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."


The wonderful sense of unity is there! The beauty of the Body of Christ is Her true diversity and variety of essence and being and without losing Her diverse quality She shines forth the Glory of Her God and that is Her unique quality of the beauty of Holiness which is why we of the Reformed traditions do not separate Justification from Sanctification in understanding Salvation as One True Faith. When we are saved by the Gracious Hand of God we are indeed saved. And it is upon this that we proceed onto maturity, if God permits!

Go figure, Alex, if you want to?

Matthew Bellisario said...

TF says, "Every criticism of the Romanists becomes an "insult," while Bellisario hypocritically hurls actual insults."

Hey TF, people like Rhology calling me names like "Bellicosario" etc, thats not insulting? Wake up and open your eyes for a change instead of burying your head in the sand acting as you and your buddies are the epitomy of Christian piety.

No double standards here, move along or we will delete you.

John Bugay said...

Matthew Bellisario, you are a standard unto yourself.

Alexander Greco said...

So let's try this again.

Your analysis of RC ecclesiology is very naive in practice at the church level. The reality is that when there is a disagreement in the local church over an issue of doctrine, externally the parties involved seemingly appeal to Scripture, Tradition, or Magisterial proclamations, but the controlling decision in the matter is really a result often on democratic fiat of the majority of decision makers of those in power, and of course Magisterial proclamations are the very definition thereof.

...

So, in sum, there was nothing to it. Thanks, Alexander.


What??? Now I see your confusion.

No, in the case of catholics it is a matter of discipline is often today a result of power politics; whereas for the protestant the same not only applies to discipline, but also on the doctrinal level.

Rhology said...

Papal infallibility. The Assumption of Mary. The Immaculate Conception. The wranglings around Nicaea and Chalcedon.

It just goes on and on. Don't be so naïve. You're looking at your own church with rose-colored glasses. I'm apparently more willing to be consistent in my view of the ENTIRE human race as depraved.

Turretinfan said...

"Hey TF, people like Rhology calling me names like "Bellicosario" etc, thats [sic] not insulting?"

Oh, does that bother you? I'll ask him to stop doing that. (consider yourself asked, Rhology)

"Wake up and open your eyes for a change instead of burying your head in the sand acting as you and your buddies are the epitomy [sic] of Christian piety."

Did I say that? Did I say anything close to that? No.

- TurretinFan

Alexander Greco said...

The "unity" you are so desperate in us embracing is a unifier the Scriptures do not have us hold to or require us to teach.

Do protestants in general believe this? That Christ could care less whether or not the body is unified under His headship? It seems to me that a body which contradicts itself over what is de fide seems to be a very disordered body.

Besides natamllc, why are you addressing me if, "It seems your head is so far embedded underneath the sand you are blinded to the fate that awaits you?" I would think that you would consider me a hopeless cause now.

Alexander Greco said...

Papal infallibility. The Assumption of Mary. The Immaculate Conception. The wranglings around Nicaea and Chalcedon.

It just goes on and on. Don't be so naïve. You're looking at your own church with rose-colored glasses. I'm apparently more willing to be consistent in my view of the ENTIRE human race as depraved.


Which is fine except when we consider the office, or God's appointed task to the individual, merely looking at their humanity is not enough. Otherwise, the human writers of Scripture would fall under the same condamnation.

natamllc said...

TF,

I just don't figure you as the type who could survive with your head buried in the sand!

Could you?

Don't answer that!

Rhology said...

Alexander,

And we're right back to the article that y'all have never dealt with in any depth. I'm done here.

Alexander Greco said...

Condemnation...sorry

Matthew Bellisario said...

Tf says,
Count the fallacies:

1) Ipse Dixit

Bellisario just saying "no it's not" is a non-argument.

No, its not becasue the Church given to us Jesus tell us its not. Bugay is giving us his own personal interpretation. The Saints of the Church do not agree with him, that the argument.

TF says, "2) Non Sequitur

It does not follow that because other people have a different analysis, that John's analysis is not an analysis."

Again, the fallacy is yours, I never said John's was not an analysis, I said it conflicted with those who are counted as Saints (Church Fathers) among the Christians who came before him. Nice try.


TF writes, "3) Appeal to Numbers

Lots of people disagree with John, perhaps, but that doesn't mean John's wrong.
"

Again, its not the numbers in and of themsleves, its the caliber of individulas who agree with the Catholic position, and disagree with Bugay's position that matters. The mere fact that no one has John's ecclesiolgical outlook in the ancient Church, which is the Catholic Church, tells us he is wrong. I never said that "the numbers" as if a majority determines truth in the strict sense. The problem with numbers is that someone has to determine who is right in their interpretation, and I am sure not going to take yours or John Bugay's word for it like you want me to. Its not going to happen. Again, thanks for demonstrating how you take people out of context. Do you wonder why no one takes your quotes of the Church Fathers seriously?

Tf writes, "4) Appeal to Authority

The appeal might be licit, except that Bellisario himself doesn't recognize their authority whenever they disagree with his interpretation of what his church teaches."

This is a flat out lie here. It is well known that I agree with every offical dogmatic and doctrinal statment the Catholic Church teaches. Again, you simply demonstrate that you do not want to understand, or do not understand how and what the Catholic faith teaches and demands from the faithful. The fallacy is yours.

TF writes, "5) Red Herring

The fact that other people have a different ecclesiology than John doesn't have any direct effect on whether John's exegetical analysis is correct."

Wow these keep getting better. Again, the fact that John's understanding of the Church is unheard of largely until the pretended "reformers" came along, proves his position is flawed. So this fact does have a direct effect on whether he is right or wrong. No fallacy here accept your flawed understanding of what I said.

TF writes, "An impressive collection of fallacies, but a complete waste of time and space here."

We can see who wasted their time and space here.

Matthew Bellisario said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

Wow, Bellisario really outdid himself on that one. How he takes himself seriously boggles the mind.

John Bugay said...

Let's keep to the topic of how doctrines are arrived at, etc. The personal stuff isn't helpful.

natamllc said...

Alex,

with all due respect, Besides natamllc, why are you addressing me if, "It seems your head is so far embedded underneath the sand you are blinded to the fate that awaits you?", it is a courtesy provided me from My Gospel given to me from My Lord!

I do honor His Word.

There is no living breathing soul or spirit being that came into existence on his own. None of us are self-existent as Our Creator.

He knows the heart. I don't.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

If you would like for me to refrain commenting directly to you, I will?

Matthew Bellisario said...

Doctrines are arrived at by Jesus Christ preaching the Gospel,and then giving the apostles authority and infallibility as a Church to do so as well. We see some of what they preached is written down in Holy Writ, to give the Church a written testimony, but to separate the Holy Writ from the living voice that gave it,is to commit idolatry.

The fact remains, that if 3 professing Christians sit down and read the Bible together and disagree about what Jesus meant in a particular passage, who is going to decide who is right? That is the question. Its not based on numbers, or based on if we can find a certain interpretation written someplace in ancient history, although those help to bolster one's faith. We may not even have access to historical documents to give us some of these answers with any real accuracy. Arre we going to base out faith on the opinions of what a historical thinks about some historical fact? Who is going to decide?

Sorry for the mispellings, I am writing quite quickly. I know TF loves to point out people's spelling errors.

John Bugay said...

Matthew, we don't have Jesus here teaching in the flesh. To be sure, his own followers did not agree on what they heard anyway. Jesus did call attention to the fact that "they have Moses and the prophets."

That should always be a starting point.

Alexander Greco said...

So the existence of other sects which have fallen into schism proves the charge of doctrinal disunity in Catholicism? Or does it prove doctrinal disunity in those who appeal to Tradition? It would be the second. However, we also appeal to union with the Pope and Magisterium, along with Scripture, as the proper rule of faith. Even if you rashly lump Catholics, EOs, and every fringe group together under the banner of "Tradition," your argument is fallacious due to misclassification. Clearly when EOs, Pope Michael Catholic Church, etc. do not appeal to the same rule of faith that the Catholic Church does. Otherwise, we could say that Islam is a sola scripturist religion if they believed in the Q'ran as being the sole rule. Therefore, we could say, "Look at the disunity in Sola Scripturists." Obviously, the object of which their rule appeals to is different. Incidentally, in protestantism, we do find folks appealing to the same rule, yet formulating and promulgating different doctrines. Meanwhile, we are also told that these different doctrines really aren't all that significant because they are just non-essential. Well then, what are the essentials? How do I know if the differences between my local protestant church from another protestant church down the street are merely non-essential, and I just haven't been duped into denying an essential doctrine? So much for the Bible alone being a judge, it just sits there on the table and says nothing. Dr. So-and-so says that the Bible teaches X and that is why the local church teaches X, but Dr. This-and-that over at the other church says differently. Meanwhile, if you do not believe or adhere to the Catholic Church, you are either a heretic, schismatic...

You said it here: If you want to compare unity and disunity, compare the adherences to the competing rules of faith.

Sorry Rhology, but your argument doesn't hold.

Alexander Greco said...

Not at all natamllc. One day, God willing, we will be kneeling next to each other at the altar rail at my Church.

Alexander Greco said...

To be sure, his own followers did not agree on what they heard anyway.

Exactly, but then the Church decided. Much like how protestant churches decide today. The difference between Catholics and Protestants here is that the Magisterium, as God's instrument, decides without error.

John Bugay said...

Asking "Who decides?" is not the most important question if you understand that the Holy Spirit is guiding. To be sure we have a standard in Scripture. But on what basis does the Holy Spirit guide? Has he bound himself to a system in which he is beholden to, say, the pornocracy popes? The God of the universe would not put himself in that position.

Tim Enloe said...

Alexander,

The word "naive" means "inexperienced." I've been a Protestant all my life, and for almost half my life now, I've been reflecting seriously upon what it means to be a Protestant on the practical, day-to-day level. So it is not likely that I am "naive" about these matters. "Wrong," perhaps, but not "naive."

This problem of definitions aside, you are relying upon a caricature of Protestantism on-the-ground. You say:

The reality is that when there is a disagreement in the local church over an issue of doctrine, externally the parties involved seemingly appeal to Scripture, but the controlling decision in the matter is really a result often on democratic fiat of the majority of decision makers of those in power. It is really an expression of politics above anything else.

I will agree that it is "politics" if you will allow me to use the classical definition of "politics" as "free and equal people rationally deliberating with each other about truth." Where you're mistaken is in imagining, apparently, that this process of deliberating the meaning of the Scriptures is not something that Christ, the Good Shepherd whom we all access DIRECTLY by faith, is not Himself underwriting and guiding. You are, of course, aware that Holy Scripture teaches that wherever two or three are gathered in His name, there He is in their midst, and also that the Spirit guides believers into truth.

But this is neither an infallible process nor one that produces an instantaneous result. The Old Testament is full of remarks about the Lord allowing His people to go astray temporarily - sometimes even very badly - and the New Testament as well warns us that heresies (disagreements) will arise within the church. The mere fact that Protestants debate with each other about the meaning of Scripture, and the mere fact that some are wrong proves nothing save for the truth of Paul's words, "There have to be differences among you to see which of you has the Lord's approval."

In other words, your mistake is in assuming that when Protestants debate the meaning of Scripture, there is NOTHING BUT mere human debating going on. Thus, I am neither naive in what I say about the workings of Protestantism on-the-ground, nor wrong.

If the people do not wish to be subjected to the decision, they splinter off into another church.

Ah, but this is the caricature. It is very true that sometimes this happens. I have myself witnessed it in some churches that I grew up in. However, to portray this as the NORM of Protestantism on-the-ground is radically wrong and radically uncharitable.

You say my argument is unworthy of consideration because it caricatures Catholic ecclesiology. I am not immune to errors or caricatures, and will admit that I need others to help me understand my mistakes. Prhaps you can enlighten me, then, as to the errors of my statement.

Matthew Bellisario said...

JOhn writes, "Has he bound himself to a system in which he is beholden to, say, the pornocracy popes?"

OK, I'll disregard the insults here. It seems that erased my comment for far less earlier, but let me continue. Let me propose a question to you John? If hypothetically, a Christian was to go to a town where there were no professing Christians, would it be enough to drop off some Bibles in their language to teach them the Christian faith? Maybe we can start here.

Alexander Greco said...

John, your rhetoric fails on a number of levels. For starters, it fails to properly consider how the Holy Spirit guides the Magisterium. You have the operation backwards. God is not beholden to the Magisterium, anymore than God was beholden to the sinful creatures he used to give us his Word in Scripture. The Magisterium, when promulgating de fide doctrines of the Church are beholden to the Holy Spirit.

Other than that, your description of the papacy as a pornocracy is nothing more than a vile attempt at provocation. You should be ashamed.

Tim Enloe said...

Alexander, while I'm awaiting your reply, I'll say that your last remark to John basically proves my point about Catholicism. You say that the Magisterium is beholden to God and is guided by the Spirit. I think everyone here knows that's what Catholics believe about the Magisterium. But you should consider the fact that what your statement implies is that the Magisterium is placed BETWEEN Christ and the ordinary believer, and mediates Christ to the ordinary believer. Thus, the ordinary believer is not DIRECTLY connected to Christ by faith, and does not DIRECTLY possess Him and all His benefits by faith, but needs an infallible human oracle to get these things for him.

That's exactly what I said the Catholic position amounted to, but you took exception to that characterization.

John Bugay said...

When is the earliest case of non-apostles making an infallible, magisterial decision?

Turretinfan said...

Bellisario:

"Pornocracy" isn't an insult.

The period in the papacy starting in 904 A.D. and continuing for a few decades, when the papacy was more or less openly controlled by a number of women of low morals.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said...

Tim says, "But you should consider the fact that what your statement implies is that the Magisterium is placed BETWEEN Christ and the ordinary believer, and mediates Christ to the ordinary believer. "

So Jesus should not have placed the apostles between Him and other men right? They were the Church, they were BETWEEN.

Alexander Greco said...

Tim,

What you have presented is a hypothetical idea of what Protestantism should be. Experience, even admittedly your own, bears the truth out that this is not the actuality of Protestantism. There are authorities in Protestantism because the Bible alone is hardly an active judge. It must be applied, and at that point whoever retains power in the Protestant circle of "three" is the middleman.

You say that the Magisterium is beholden to God and is guided by the Spirit. I think everyone here knows that's what Catholics believe about the Magisterium. But you should consider the fact that what your statement implies is that the Magisterium is placed BETWEEN Christ and the ordinary believer, and mediates Christ to the ordinary believer. Thus, the ordinary believer is not DIRECTLY connected to Christ by faith, and does not DIRECTLY possess Him and all His benefits by faith, but needs an infallible human oracle to get these things for him.

No more than God's Word is BETWEEN Christ and the believer. God's Truth is communicated to the Church in the de fide teachings of the Magisterium of the Church. God's Grace is communicated to the Church through the Sacraments. Christ's sacrifice is communicated to the Church by Himself in the Mass. Yes, your argument is a poor characterization indeed.

Alexander Greco said...

I find it insulting when you can't even accurately portray my beliefs when you tell me I'm wrong.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Pastor King: "To paraphrase the import of Humani generis, the magisterium defines and then the theologians find. Proof for dogma has thus been relegated to the realm of after-thought...."

Undergraduate psychology students are taught a phenomenon called "confirmation bias." What Pastor King is illustrating is "confirmation bias" employed by the Magisterium's theologians. E.g., they pick and choose among the writings of the Early Church Fathers.

Of course, the same charge could be leveled at Protestants. But this charge is defused and bereft of its explosion due to what Tim Enloe (I think it was Tim Enloe) said about properly weighting the various arguments. But the blindly partisan Catholic is hampered in his ability to weight arguments because he is unable to conceive that the Magisterium is fallible and wrong on occasion.

On a side note: I heard a former atheist say that it didn't matter how good and strong and better the arguments were and are for Christian theism over atheism. Because what mattered is that she didn't want them to be true. And what mattered the most is what she wanted. And if she didn't want something to be true, then it wasn't true. At least for her.

Same thing for some, or many, of the Catholic interlocutors on this blog and elsewhere. It doesn't matter how good and strong and better the Protestant arguments are than the Catholic arguments. And that's because the blindly partisan Catholic doesn't want them to be true. And if they don't want something to be true, then it's not true for them.

And that also explains why you frequently get bluster, ad hominem, non-sequiturs, fallacies, complaints about tone, red herrings, and other junk from these blindly partisan Catholics. What else do they have?

It's really a sad state of affairs.

So sad that Protestants might justly be deemed as wasting their time with such blindly partisan Catholics. The only potential value would be for lurkers and for posterity who might read a post and thread after its electronic shelf life.

Tim Enloe said...

Alexander,

First let me say that I am in no way attempting to be insulting. What I have said thusfar about the Catholic system is, at least, the classical Protestant understanding of that system. Catholics may want to argue that that understanding is wrong, but then, we argue that your understanding of us is wrong. There's not necessarily any insulting going on in all of this, though surely individual people may be insulting in their attitudes. My attitude is not one of wishing to give insult, I assure you.

Second, I have not at all presented a merely hypothetical Protestantism. It is utterly untrue that the way you described Protestant activities on-the-ground, that is, disagreements lead inevitably to splits because there is no authority save for a book that can't speak for itself, is a gross misrepresentation. I did not say ALL Protestant churches I grew up in did that; I said SOME did. In fact, thinking back on the somewhere around 15 churches or so that I was a part of at various times in my life (mostly due to my parents moving all over the place), I only observed one church split, and it was over a matter of personal animus between an elder and my dad, who was the pastor.

If you want to establish your point as a universal one and discredit my portrayal as merely hypothetical, you're going to have to go do some very serious legwork surveying many thousands of Protestants from all manner of backgrounds and compile a formal study on church splits. Are you prepared to do that? Alrighty then, retract your gross generalization.

Third, your view of "authority" in Protestantism is defective. It is untrue that the only "authority" is the Bible. Read any classical Protestant confession of faith on this and you will readily see that there are subordinate authorities, both in terms of written documents that norm the community's confession and behavior and in terms of officially-appointed ministers. This is not a matter for rational debate - don't imagine that you actually have a serious point in saying that there are no "authorities" in Protestant circles except for the Bible. You don't have a serious point, but merely a commonplace rhetorical one that is utterly lacking in substance.

Fourth, I take your point that grace is communicated through the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments. This is a belief well-enshrined in Protestant confessions of faith, though there are many who improperly and wrongly fear the bogeyman of "Romanism" who are always trying to expunge or reinterpret the confessional language at these points.

Still, we don't think that the sacraments or the Word come BETWEEN Christ and the believer. The believer is united to Christ DIRECTLY by faith (alone); the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments are "means of grace," or loci (places) where the Lord graciously condescends to meet with us and outfit us for the work of His kingdom.

I will, of course, accept any statement you make about your own personal beliefs as being an honest self-report. But as for the official teachings of your Church, ask yourself - or better, ask your priest or bishop - if you NEED him and his ministrations in order to get to Christ. Ask him if you possess all things that Christ has by faith (alone), apart from works, the works being demonstrations of your faith. If he's an orthodox Catholic, he'll say yes to the first and no to the second, my point is established. Quite regardless of what your own personal beliefs are, you are not the standard of orthodox belief in Catholicism. The Magisterium is, and the Magisterium is (as history and present practice proves) incorrigibly addicted to clerical power and mediation.

Rhology said...

Alexander,

You just resorted to exactly the same special pleading I pointed out in the post. Try again.

Alexander Greco said...

Tim,

First of all my comment about insults was directed at John.

Secondly, I never claimed that the only authority for Protestants is the Bible. I said the exact opposite. What my claim is that the direct relation to Christ which you are claiming is false.

Thridly, there is no need in me showing that prostestant bodies splinter because we see the existence of various groups which have slintered. They didn't appear out of thin air Tim. Some over very minor disagreements in doctrine, some major disagreements, some disciplinary, etc.

Regarding the other comments (without going thru and doing all sorts of corrections to your conception of Catholic teaching on justification, the sacraments, etc. because I lack the time to do so), tell me this, does someone need the Word of God for salvation?

Alexander Greco said...

Alexander,

You just resorted to exactly the same special pleading I pointed out in the post. Try again.


I'll wait for a more substantive reply. Try again.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Rhology writes, "You just resorted to exactly the same special pleading I pointed out in the post. Try again."

How was his retort special pleading? He pointed your error out which proves that those outside the Catholic faith like those groups who broke away in the past are not appealing to the same authority. Its not special pleading.

In case you don't what it is ,

Special pleading is a form of spurious argumentation where a position in a dispute introduces favorable details or excludes unfavorable details by alleging a need to apply additional considerations without proper criticism of these considerations themselves. Essentially, this involves someone attempting to cite something as an exemption to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. without justifying the exemption.

That definition does not fit in Alex's response.

John Bugay said...

Alexander, I asked a question.

natamllc said...

Well, Alex, having been to RCC benches on not a few occasions it probably isn't likely you will be appeased with your hopes for our mutual meeting together at your Church's bench.

However, I want to commend you for continuing to debate with us.

I noticed of the many, one thing I wanted to offer a Biblically Scriptural rebuttal to with these verses from Paul's personal educating letter to Timothy, here:

1Ti 5:21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.
1Ti 5:22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.
1Ti 5:23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
1Ti 5:24 The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.
1Ti 5:25 So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.


These Words of the Scriptures, which cannot be broken, are because of your words, here:

Well then, what are the essentials? How do I know if the differences between my local protestant church from another protestant church down the street are merely non-essential, and I just haven't been duped into denying an essential doctrine?

I would say that the essential thing is dealing with the sinner! The good works can fool you, every time.

As the Apostle taught, some sins are painfully obvious and the tree can be dealt with in like manner, obviously and that regardless of the good works done in the Name of Christ or, in your case, the RCC.

However, some sinners hide their sins behind their good deeds and works so that they are not so obvious and they never experience the Sanctification work of the Holy Spirit even though Christ's sufferings, death, burial and resurrection provides for it. We call this the communion of the Saints! Here the Shepherds and lambs and sheep mingle and the work of Ministry is perfected!

It is one's heart and their roots that are the essentials that plague all religious practice!

The change that happens to one's heart is a God thing, not a man thing!

The Apostle Peter wrote this to bring the Elect to a state of perpetual "rest" because the heart is so deceitfully wicked, who can know it?:

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.


Like the saying goes, "you can't judge the book by its cover". You have to judge by the fruits and this judgment is the Work of Grace through Faith by the Work of the Ever Present Spirit of Christ in Truth daily experienced.

You must be born again. This is not decision theology, it is a Work of the Spirit!

You must then pick up your cross daily and follow Him wherever He will lead once you are born again.

The True Church is God's ordained gathering hole like the local bars are a well for drunkards!

Blogahon said...

John,

I guess this means that you'll be burning your copy of the WCOF? I mean, you don't want somebody else to do your thinking for you do you?

Matthew,

At this point John is winning. He is not winning on the strength of his argument but on the fact that he gets you riled up and angry, which is what he wants to do in the first place.

It is much better to maintain charity in these discussions even when none is given to you.

Also remember that these aren't good arguments to begin with and they really do not threaten the Church at all. These are merely the rantings of a select few who seem content with publishing their musings to the same handful of people all day long. Ever notice how it’s the same cheerleaders that are present on this blog, Tfan's blog and Triablogue? It is literally about half a dozen people who like to get their ears itched over trying to score points against Christ's church.

Lastly, I can dig up threads where John Bugay has hurled invective much worse than any you have used here so his rebuke of you is not without irony.

In summary, it’s nothing to get in a twist about. Truth is on our side. The only emotions we should feel in these discussions is sadness and pity.

Keep up the good fight.

Matthew Bellisario said...

That is true, its the same few people over here, and Alex and I mistakenly think they will one day actually listen to reason. We explain the Catholic faith over and over thinking they are one day going to actually listen and quit misrepresenting it, yet the day never comes. What is the definition of insanity?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Blogahon: "Truth is on our side."

No, I'm not. ;-)

(just teasing, but whenever I see the word "Blogahon" I think it's internetese for "Blowhard." Hee, hee, hee, ha, ha, ha, ho, hee, hee. Dat's a good one, even if I do say so myself!)

natamllc said...

Matthew,

again, you raise an issue that is not in Scripture!

You wrote: So Jesus should not have placed the apostles between Him and other men right? They were the Church, they were BETWEEN.

Agreed, these people were thrust into a firestorm kinda like the ones burning now in several states in the United States. They woke up to the firestorm they were not expecting the following day!

Or the survivors of the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers or the Pentagon in 2001 realizing what just happened, after the fact.

Those earliest Apostles were "fast tracked" to deal with the pending revelations forthcoming upon them. It was a God thing quite out of their control.

It is interesting to note a reality of this point when you consider that it was a 33 and a half year old man, the Son of God, Eternal, standing on the shores of Galilee that says this to some older crusty old fishermen:


Joh 21:3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Joh 21:4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
Joh 21:5 Jesus said to them, "Children, do you have any fish?" They answered him, "No."


As I said to Alex, you must be born again! And if you do not become as a little child you too will not enter into the Kingdom of God.

There is only one gate to Heaven and only one way you begin the journey in, "you must be born again"!

John Bugay said...

Sean, you may want to scroll up, I quoted WCF in one of my first comments.

As for invective, I get as excited as anybody, but to compare anything I have done with what MB does here is not a good comparison.

Blogahon said...

Truth,

"Blogahon" is my wife's blog. Thank goodness its a private blog! Wouldn't want all the haters to come by doggin on pictures of the kiddos!

Blogahon said...

John,

As for invective, I get as excited as anybody, but to compare anything I have done with what MB does here is not a good comparison.

Do you really want to go there?

If you want I can do this: I can go throughout my files o' links from the past and copy paste some things that you've said compared to things that MB has said here. I'll leave the author of those comments hidden. Then, everybody can judge for which of the comments are the worst and then I'll reveal who said what?

Sound like a fun game?

Maybe not?

Yes, we all get worked up from time to time, even the best of us.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Bellisario: "What is the definition of insanity?"

Answer: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again in trying to reason with Matthew Bellisario, Blogahon, Dozie, Paul Hoffer, Alexander Greco, Jae, et al and expecting different results.

John Bugay, you're out of your mind working with this cast of characters. You'd have more success reasoning with a chimpanzee or a fat pig than these guys.

Blogahon said...

John Bugay, you're out of your mind working with this cast of characters. You'd have more success reasoning with a chimpanzee or a fat pig than these guys. - Signed Truth Unites and Divides

Is this the type of insult that gets deleted here?

Turretinfan said...

"Is this the type of insult that gets deleted here?"

:eyeroll:

Matthew Bellisario said...

Never, they don't insult Catholics over here.

Matthew Bellisario said...

TF, ":eyeroll:"

What, are you a 12 year old girl?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Is it an insult if it's true?

Anyways, I was just having fun, laughing happily at the mental image. Sorry, you didn't find the image of John Bugay talking to a chimpanzee or talking to a pig funny.

Turretinfan said...

Bellisario:

Do you think it's a little hypocritical to complain about insults and then make that kind of comment?

-TurretinFan

Blogahon said...

Sorry, you didn't find the image of John Bugay talking to a chimpanzee or talking to a pig funny.

It would be funny if he didn't do it whenever he talked to you and T Fan!

BELLY LAUGH!!!!

I should take my show on the road...

Matthew Bellisario said...

TF. "Do you think it's a little hypocritical to complain about insults and then make that kind of comment?"

No, I don't mind insults, I just don't like double standards like the one here in moderating comments.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Jerk.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Blogahon,

That's more like it. Let's try to have some fun and levity once in a while.

Instead of the mean, nasty stuff.

Rhology said...

You people have got to be kidding.

[[Unsubscribing]]

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

Bellisario:

The entirety of your complaint then is that your insults get removed and other insults stay up. What sort of complaint is that? What difference is it to you which insults stay up?

Or better yet, why don't you stop insulting people?

-TurretinFan

Blogahon said...

By the way, we are having our first son later this year. The old me would have gone for a Reformed name like Knox, Calvin or Luther. But now since we are Catholic I need to find a perfect papist name. Maybe ya'll can help me?

Maybe something like: Benedict Xavier de Sales Our Lady of Guadalupe Patrick?

Another benefit to being Catholic: Cooler name possibilities.

Turretinfan said...

Alex wrote:

"I find it insulting when you can't even accurately portray my beliefs when you tell me I'm wrong."

If we are going to convert ever objection into "I find it insulting ..." ...

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Blogahon,

Out of one side of your mouth you say:

It is much better to maintain charity in these discussions even when none is given to you.

And then, out of the other side of your mouth:

These are merely the rantings of a select few who seem content with publishing their musings to the same handful of people all day long. Ever notice how it’s the same cheerleaders that are present on this blog, Tfan's blog and Triablogue? It is literally about half a dozen people who like to get their ears itched over trying to score points against Christ's church.

In addition to your inconsistency, the visitor statistics for this blog don't really bear out your characterization.

In summary, it’s nothing to get in a twist about. Truth is on our side. The only emotions we should feel in these discussions is sadness and pity.

Spare us the sanctimonious piety.

I've had a hard time taking your posts seriously ever since your arguments were utterly and completely crushed over at Triablogue. What you've posted here merely confirms that evaluation.

Alexander Greco said...

If we are going to convert ever [sic] objection into "I find it insulting ..." ...

What?

Turretinfan said...

Blogahon:

Name him after Alexander VI or Honorius I ... why stop at fallible saints, when you can name him after an infallible pope!

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"ever" should be "every"

Do you understand now, or does your brain need more help?

Alexander Greco said...

Out of one side of your mouth you say:

It is much better to maintain charity in these discussions even when none is given to you.

And then, out of the other side of your mouth:

These are merely the rantings of a select few who seem content with publishing their musings to the same handful of people all day long. Ever notice how it’s the same cheerleaders that are present on this blog, Tfan's blog and Triablogue? It is literally about half a dozen people who like to get their ears itched over trying to score points against Christ's church.


M. Schultz does have a point here.

Turretinfan,

Instead of narrowly focusing your critique to Bellisario, why not also apply it to those in your camp along to yourself?

Tim,

I think we are talking past each other. Some of the beliefs you have attributed to me are not what I hold. I accept blame for not being clear.

Blogahon said...

Thank you for your contribution Mr. Schultz.

Alexander Greco said...

Do you understand now, or does your brain need more help?

My brain needs lots of help.

Blogahon said...

Greco,

Well, maybe everybody should agree on the definition of what is and is not insulting.

Name calling = Insulting and lacking of charity.

Pointing out that it really is the same handful of people that go around and cheerlead these threads is simply an observation.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

TurretinFan to Alexander Greco:

"Do you understand now, or does your brain need more help?"

This is a gracious offer of assistance.

And such offers also make me laugh!

Turretinfan said...

"Instead of narrowly focusing your critique to Bellisario, why not also apply it to those in your camp along to yourself?"

How about you save that kind of advice for someone who is interested in hearing it from you? I'm certainly not interested in your advice about who and how I critique. I think your perceptions are faulty, and I question your motives in providing the advice.

- TurretinFan

Blogahon said...

TFan.

Thanks for the recommendations!

Alexander Greco said...

How about you save that kind of advice for someone who is interested in hearing it from you? I'm certainly not interested in your advice about who and how I critique. I think your perceptions are faulty, and I question your motives in providing the advice.

Okay, sounds good. I'll just pretend that you could substantively back up the above rhetoric.

Turretinfan said...

Blogahon:

So are you against insulting? Bellisario has made it clear that he is not.

-TurretinFan

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Blogahon: "But now since we are Catholic I need to find a perfect papist name. Maybe ya'll can help me?"

How about Richard after saint Richard?

And then for his middle name in honor of the office of Pope, you could use the name "Head".

Then his name would be "Richard Head Patrick."

Lovely!

Turretinfan said...

"My brain needs lots of help. "

Oh, well, in that case: any objection can be turned to "I feel insulted that you would not properly answer my argument ...".

But at some point, it's just silly to claim to be insulted about the way in which your opponent argues.

There are legitimate complaints, no doubt - like my complaints about your friend Bellisario (ok, my judgment is probably a little biased after the "12 year old girl" item).

- TurretinFan

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

OK, enough of this clownery for one day. I think we have all destroyed this blog post.

Turretinfan said...

Yes, we know Bellisario. Your lack of manners is becoming something of a running joke.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Blogahon writes:

Name calling = Insulting and lacking of charity.

Pointing out that it really is the same handful of people that go around and cheerlead these threads is simply an observation.


Unfortunately, it's hard to take your reply seriously, as you gave an "observation" that described this blog as "merely" "rantings" of an irrelevant, enclosed community of "literally" a "dozen" uncritical ("cheerleaders") members who "get their ears itched" (a Biblical allusion not in keeping with separated-brethren doctrine) who treat this whole enterprise as something of a game ("score points" and, again, "cheerleaders").

And, as I said, the statistics of the blog don't support your characterization. Your observation is still both insulting (by your stated standards) and inaccurate.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Yours as well JWF!

Alexander Greco said...

But at some point, it's just silly to claim to be insulted about the way in which your opponent argues.

Well, if it makes you feel any better Turretinfan, I also get insulted when a Catholic knowingly misrepresents a Reformed Protestant's view on Sola Scriptura as being the same thing as Solo Scriptura.

Alexander Greco said...

(a Biblical allusion not in keeping with separated-brethren doctrine)

M Schultz, can you provide what you understand this "doctrine" (which has never been defined) means? I find that its use is often entirely innaccurate.

Turretinfan said...

AG:

I realize that you have a very strong sense of trying to be fair. That's one good quality I see in you.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Yours as well JWF!"

Duly noted.

Turretinfan said...

Obviously, this is not my blog. May I nevertheless suggest that we roll up all the off topic comments (including my own). If any on-topic comments remain from any of the RCs, I'd be happy to answer them, but I'm not sure I could find them amid the rest of the stuff.

Alexander Greco said...

AG:

I realize that you have a very strong sense of trying to be fair. That's one good quality I see in you.

-TurretinFan


Thanks Turretinfan. I greatly appreciate it!

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Alexander,

What do you mean by "defined"? As I am sure you are aware, Unitatis Redintegratio speaks to the term, and the context in which it is used, in some detail:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_unitatis-redintegratio_en.html

The presumption of the document seems to take an attitude at odds with characterizing the Protestants here as those who would reject the clear and obvious apostolic witnesses of Timothy, possibly even to his face, in favor of "myths" (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

I haven't read the whole document, though, so I could be missing something.

natamllc said...

Alex,

"My brain needs lots of help."

That is your problem here; and I might say the problem with Catholicism too.

You feel your brains need fixing.

We don't think our brains need any work at all.

Why?

Why use our brain when we have been given the Mind of Christ?

Remember it is He who is tasked with building His Church.

It is a glorious thing!

1Co 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1Co 2:15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.
1Co 2:16 "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.


Only one who was dead in their trespasses and sins and then God made them alive in Christ would ever understand such essentials of the Faith once delivered to the Saints!

Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
Eph 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
Eph 4:19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Eph 4:20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!--
Eph 4:21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
Eph 4:22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
Eph 4:23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
Eph 4:24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.



Now, of course, not everyone in Christ takes advantage of all the Promises of God, which is to their shame and discredit.

It is a terrible thing to waste, the Mind of Christ, when once you have access to Him!

Turretinfan said...

Tim wrote: "But you should consider the fact that what your statement implies is that the Magisterium is placed BETWEEN Christ and the ordinary believer, and mediates Christ to the ordinary believer."

Tim,

Clearly, we have direct access to God through Christ, notwithstanding Bellisario's response.

What if in place of Bellisario's response, someone appealed to the fact that the Word, Sacraments, and Prayer are means of grace? Would your position change?

-TurretinFan

John Bugay said...

Hey, I go into a meeting, and there are 42 comments; I come out and there are 120. Wow.

Alexander Greco said...

M. Schultz:

It has been some time since I have read the document. If my memory serves me well, it didn't give any dogmatic definition of what separated brethren means. Setting this aside, Protestants reject the apostolicity of the Catholic Church, as well as de fide teachings. I don't think that the document denies this. I'll read it again in light of your comment.

Alexander Greco said...

Tim wrote: "But you should consider the fact that what your statement implies is that the Magisterium is placed BETWEEN Christ and the ordinary believer, and mediates Christ to the ordinary believer."

Tim,

Clearly, we have direct access to God through Christ, notwithstanding Bellisario's response.

What if in place of Bellisario's response, someone appealed to the fact that the Word, Sacraments, and Prayer are means of grace? Would your position change?

-TurretinFan


My argument is:

There isn't any less access to the Father through Christ in the Catholic Church.

dtking said...

So Jesus should not have placed the apostles between Him and other men right? They were the Church, they were BETWEEN.

Jesus did not place his apostles between believers and God, nor did his apostles. In fact, this is the very thing that Augustine pointed out to be characteristic of at least some of the donatists.

Thus the very point you own, Augustine repudiated explicitly...

Augustine (354-430): Here the very painful thought occurs to me that I should remind you that Parmenian, who was once a bishop of the Donatists, had the audacity to state in one of his letters that the bishop is the mediator between the people and God. You can see that they are putting themselves forward in the place of the bridegroom; they are corrupting the souls of those others with a sacrilegious adultery. This is no mean case of presumption, one that would strike me as totally incredible had I not read it. You see, if the bishop is the mediator between the people and God, it follows that we must take it there are many mediators, since there are many bishops. So then, in order to read the letter of Parmenian, let us censor the letter of the apostle Paul where he says, For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tm 2:5). But between whom is he the mediator, if not between God and his people? So between God and his body, because the Church is his body. Truly monstrous, therefore, is that pride which has the audacity to set up the bishop as mediator, guilty of the adulterous fallacy of claiming for itself the marriage of Christ. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Newly Discovered Sermons, Part 3, Vol. 11, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermon 198.52 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1997), p. 220.

Augustine went on to say a little later in the same sermon: And that is what these people are neither afraid nor ashamed to say, that the bishop is a mediator between God and men. Sure, that man is a mediator, but in the party of Donatus, to block the way, not to lead the way, as Donatus himself did; he introduced his own name, you see, to close off the road to Christ. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Newly Discovered Sermons, Part 3, Vol. 11, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermon 198.55 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1997), p. 222.

Thus even Augustine rejected that paradigm.

John Bugay said...

David, thanks for that clarification from Augustine contra the fairly bold statement by Alexander Greco.

One of the most unfounded claims I've seen in this thread is that the Protestants here do not understand Roman Catholicism. It's true that none of the Protestants here has studied under 16th century Jesuits, but we are well-educated, dedicated people who have interacted -- some more closely than we would have liked -- with a system that we choose to reject.

It amazes me, as I write these posts, that the original topic is rarely interacted with. I DO know Catholicism, and further, I've described it accurately.

If the Catholics here are somehow hesitant to admit that "yes, this is the way the Catholic Church does things," well, then, we're not responsible for your lack of self-esteem, or your wanting to sugar-coat these processes that are very much unpalatable even to 21st century Roman Catholics.

As I write this, the first comment out of Matthew Bellisario's word processor is an insult: "Trust yourself Bugay. You would have rejected the apostles to their faces." Then he spit out a much misused (but dogmatically stated) platitude about "the Church, which is the bulwark of truth."

If you want to behave that way, fine, but not here. I don't know that Bellisario ever adds anything of value to the discussions here. And Alexander Greco has somehow changed from name-caller to prima-donna.

Most of the Catholics who visit here simply remind me of fish out of water sucking in the air. There can be no possible response from Catholics to the Reformation other than impotent rage.

I would caution my Protestant brethren, for their own sakes, about flinging insults at these folks. But Matthew Bellisario -- you are the most bellicose, sorriest excuse for a Roman Catholic that I have ever seen. I can be rough, but I've never insulted people the way that you do. And Alexander Greco -- I don't care one whit about your sense of fairness. This is a Protestant board, and you don't get to come here and shanghai the discussion with your whining. And Sean Patrick -- I've already told you what I think of you. You maybe should read your own "Called to Communion" posting guidelines.

We bend over backwards to interact in a decent way with you guys. You don't need to be here.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Wow guys. Thanks for all the edification. I'm ready for my shower now.

Alexander Greco said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Bugay said...

Bye Alexander ...

natamllc said...

Pastor King,

again you find and publish such patristic wisdom!

Sure, that man is a mediator, but in the party of Donatus, to block the way, not to lead the way, as Donatus himself did; he introduced his own name, you see, to close off the road to Christ.

I can perceive Augustine must have understood by that sermon and those words cited above at least, in part, just what Jesus experienced during His Glorious Ministry while He too defended the Faith:::>

Luk 11:45 One of the lawyers answered him, "Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also."
Luk 11:46 And he said, "Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
Luk 11:47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.
Luk 11:48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs.
Luk 11:49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,'
Luk 11:50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,
Luk 11:51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.
Luk 11:52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering."
Luk 11:53 As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things,
Luk 11:54 lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.


I suppose just as with those when Jesus said that, these men with Augustine's words are insulted too?

dtking said...

natamllc,

While I am grateful for what you intend as a kind gesture, I don't think that it's helpful to those with whom we are in dispute to express such sentiments to one another as those who are on the same side of these issues.

I hope you receive this with that sense of propriety.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"On trusting your own eyes and your own mind, vs believing what the Roman church tells you to believe"

Well, here's a recent news article about folks in Belgium trusting their own eyes and their own mind vs. blindly believing what the Roman Church tells them to believe:

Belgium: Amid sex scandals, de-baptism gains favor
Child sex abuse, and other church failings, lead Belgians to formally renounce religion.

Excerpts:

"BRUSSELS, Belgium — Faced with ever-more harrowing revelations of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergymen, Belgians are turning in record numbers to apostasy — formally breaking with their religion through a process of “de-baptism.”

“It has increased enormously since the cases of child abuse. It keeps going up,” said Bjorn Siffer, deputy director of Flemish Humanist-Secular Society. “We know from the bishops' secretaries that they can’t cope with all the requests they are getting for de-baptism.”

Siffer says 80 people ditched Catholicism during a single “de-baptism day” in Antwerp in June and a similar number dropped out of the Church in an event earlier this year in the western city of Kortrijk.

Leclerq said many people were also influenced to leave the church because of the decision by Pope Benedict XVI last year to lift the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, who has described Jews as enemies of the Church and denied the existence of the Nazi gas chambers.

Belgium was shaken by the revelation in April that the Bishop of Bruges Roger Vanhegheluwe, one of the country’s best-known clergymen, had sexually abused his own nephew for 13 years, starting when the boy was just 5 years old.

The country was further shocked over the weekend when a Church inquiry commission published the often graphic testimony of hundreds of people who stepped forward to say they had been abused by priests in their youth.

Widespread suspicions that the Church authorities covered up such crimes intensified after newspapers last month published transcripts
of meetings between Vanhegheluwe’s victim and Cardinal Godfried Danneels. Texts show the former head of the Church in Belgium trying to persuade the man, now in his 40s, to hold off on going public with his accusations.

The Catholic hierarchy has hit back, claiming the papers edited the text to carry out a “character assassination”of the cardinal and denouncing police searches of Danneel’s home and other Church properties. However, there’s no doubt that many Belgians have had their faith severely dented.

“With these cases of pedophilia, the Catholic Church no longer enjoys the same esteem among many people,” Cannon Herman Cosijns, episcopal vicar of the Brussels diocese, told French television last month. “It will come back, but this is a difficult time.”

Jae said...

On following a good principle:

On Abortion, it is better to err on the side of life than err on the side of death.

On the Church, it wise for me to err on the side of the Church with historical and theological continuity with the first generations of Christians that followed Christ’s Apostles than err on the side of men 1,517 years later.

To Matthew Bellisario, you are a voice of reason, right on the mark! just don't let your emotions get you even in the face of unprovoked attacks.

Peace.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

John Bugay: "I don't know that Bellisario ever adds anything of value to the discussions here."

Bellisario's value is that folks get to observe the behavior of a Catholic in denial.

"There can be no possible response from Catholics to the Reformation other than impotent rage."

Maybe some Catholics. Thankfully, not all Catholics.

"But Matthew Bellisario -- you are the most bellicose, sorriest excuse for a Roman Catholic that I have ever seen."

Hmmm. Bellicose Bellisario. I see how Rhology combined the two and came up with "Bellicosario".

Tim Enloe said...

TF: I don't understand your question. I've clearly said several times that the Protestant position is that we are united to Christ by faith (alone) and possess all of His benefits by faith (alone). I did also say, to Alexander, that the Word and sacraments are "means of grace." This is traditional Protestant language - only the Radical Reformers believed that baptism and the Supper were just signs not connected (even in the case of the impious) to the realities they signify - but that language, "means of grace," in no way means what Roman Catholics mean if they use that term. Much has been written on this subject these past few years by various Reformed writers, and, just in case someone is wondering, no, it's not an "FV" position to say what I said. It's just Luther and Calvin and the Westminster Confession.

So I'm not sure what you're asking me.

Tim Enloe said...

Alexander, you say we're talking past each other - fair enough. I'll accept my share of the blame if I have not been clear, either.

At any rate, I think I do understand the Catholic teaching on justification and the sacraments pretty well. I've been around this block more than a few times the past 10 years; I'm not a novice at this.

As for your continued generalized claims about the splits in Protestantism, I still insist that you have to do more legwork to prove your point. Protestant divergences are not always about "doctrine" in the sense that that topic gets discussed on apologetics blogs. Sometimes, nay, a lot of times, the divergences are merely cultural and ones of emphasis, as in the multiple varieties of Presbyterian churches that all adhere to the same confession of faith, yet remain visibly separate. Niebuhr is good on this in his The Social Sources of Denominationalism.

The problem I'm getting at is that "Protestantism" as Catholic apologists use the term is just a hopeless mishmash of all kinds of different, and sometimes completely incompatible, systems of belief and life. Generalizations are often useful, of course, and I have never understand the penchant of some Catholic apologists to deny, for instance, that it is possible to generalize about "Catholic apologetics." It is possible to generalize about "Protestants," but one has to be a lot more careful than Catholic apologists usually are when they do it. I mean, sheesh, if it's really true that there are 33,000 different and contradictory things that say they are "Protestant," any generalization from those 33,000 things is going to have to be very, very sophisticated, wouldn't you agree?

Jae said...

Augustine was not against the office of the Bishop because he was a bishop himself in the Catholic Church. What he was warning people against inaccurately attributing "sole mediatorship." It is this elevation of an individual man (Aelius Donatus) — the formation of a "cult of personality" around him — of which Augustine is speaking when he warns against attributing to someone an undue role of bishop as exclusive mediator that usurp the "UNIQUE" mediatorship of Christ.

We are all called to be mediators as Paul urges supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for and behalf of all people. Paul is thus appealing for mediation from others besides Christ, the one TRUE mediator. ( Tim 2:1-2)

In Jesus’ one and perfect mediation (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5), subordinate and secondary mediators are able to participate. In the Old Testament, God used the patriarchs and prophets to mediate His reconciliation with the people of Israel. In the Old and New Testaments, God used angels to mediate His messages and His grace.

Saint Paul says that all Christians are mediators or “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:18-20), sent and entrusted by Christ’s authority to mediate God’s message of reconciliation. Those who receive these ambassadors receive Christ Himself: “He who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me” (Jn. 13:20; cf. Lk. 10:16; Mt. 10:40).

dtking said...

What he was warning people against inaccurately attributing "sole mediatorship."

That's an interesting spin. When I read Augustine, I saw him warning against "many mediators" in contrast to Paul's prescription for "one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

Saint Paul says that all Christians are mediators or “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:18-20), sent and entrusted by Christ’s authority to mediate God’s message of reconciliation. Those who receive these ambassadors receive Christ Himself: “He who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me” (Jn. 13:20; cf. Lk. 10:16; Mt. 10:40).

Ambassadors equal mediators? Please direct me to Rome's official interpretation of 2 Cor 5:18-20, otherwise you're engaging in the kind of private interpretation which Romanism underscores as the danger of Protestantism.

Turretinfan said...

Tim:

I was focused on the expression "mediates Christ to the ordinary believer." I don't know what you meant by it. You were describing the RC position with that phrase. I thought you might be willing to contrast that concept with the concept of the "means of grace."

If you do not wish to, no problem. It was just a question to satisfy my curiosity about your take on the difference.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Jae:

I think Pastor King hit the nail on the head. Augustine's complaint is that if the bishop is a mediator then, since there are many bishops, there would be many mediators, which Augustine insists is wrong.

Augustine, like Reformed believers, held that there is one mediator between God and man. Even the CCC affirms those words, though perhaps not with the meaning that either Augustine or ourselves would give it.

-TurretinFan

Tim Enloe said...

Oh, I see, TF. Well, I am short on time at this moment so alas, I can't expand on what I meant. All I will say is that I mean only to represent the classical sacramental position of Luther and Calvin, which is, as you know, much more robust than a lot of typical Protestants are comfortable with. I.e., Luther says that at baptism, Christ's hands push you down into the water through the hands of the minister, and Calvin says that in the Supper we are drawn up into the heavens to commune with Christ.

This is a much more "realistic" position on the sacraments than a lot of Protestants are comfortable with. In my opinion, one of the reasons many Protestants are snookered by the claims of Rome is because they come from sacramentology-poor churches and are simply blown away by the "realism" of Rome as opposed to the "mere symbolism" of their former churches. I heard R.C. Sproul once talking about this, and he said if only people knew the real Reformed position on the sacraments, they would likely not buy the Roman Catholic arguments.

natamllc said...

Pastor King,

acknowledged, thanks!

dtking said...

Let's look at this one more time...

Augustine was not against the office of the Bishop because he was a bishop himself in the Catholic Church.

No one said he was.

What he was warning people against inaccurately attributing "sole mediatorship."

I don't think so, for he said elsewhere...

Augustine (354-430): Well then, you people, choose the kind of priest for whom you are not obligated to intercede, but on whose prayer you can safely rely. He is our Lord Jesus Christ, the sole priest, the sole mediator between God and humankind, the man Christ Jesus. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Expositions of the Psalms 33-50, Part 3, Vol. 16, trans. Maria Boulding, O.S.B. (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2000), Exposition 2 of Psalm 36.20 (37), p. 62.

dtking said...

For the further edification of our Romanist readers...

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Col. 2:18: Those who supported the Law encouraged them to worship the angels, claiming in this to respect the Law; this affliction persisted in Phrygia and Pisidia for a long time. Hence a synod that assembled in Laodicea in Phrygia forbade by law praying to the angels; to this very day you can see chapels to Saint Michael among them and their neighbors. Those people, then, were giving that advice—namely, those addicted to self-abasement and claiming that the God of all is beyond sight, reach and comprehension, and that divine benevolence must be secured through the angels (his meaning in self-abasement and angel worship). Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 95.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Col. 3:17: Since those people, remember, ordered the worship of angels, he urges the opposite, that they adorn both their words and their deeds with the memory of Christ the Lord. Offer thanks to the God and Father through him, he is saying, not through the angels. Following this law and wishing to cure that ancient malady, the synod in Laodicea legislated against praying to angels and passing over our Lord Jesus Christ. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 99.

Even an ancient witness like Theodoret recognized that prayer to angels was an insult to Almighty God, for it is the by-passing of the only mediator between God and man. But you won't find such examples by internet surfing of Romanist web sites.