Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Roman “Church” still misunderstands the Reformation

The Roman “Church” still misunderstands the Reformation; and whether it does so intentionally, as we see among the Called to Communion gang, when they constantly say that it “is simply a voluntary association of like-minded people” which then reduces to chaos, or whether it does so unintentionally, as in the case of all of those unschooled minions who believe whatever “the Church” tells them, the result is the same.

In 1950, G.C. Berkouwer wrote in his work “Conflict with Rome,” in a chapter entitled “Unshakable Authority?” that:
To the mind of Rome, there is a causal relation between the Reformation of the sixteenth century and the tensions of modern times. At bottom [for Roman Catholics who don’t want to truly understand the Reformation] they are one and the same revolution: that of the subject against the legitimate authority given by God. The moment this revolution was proclaimed the tensions arose that were ultimately discharged in the chaos of the modern world.

The problem thus posited ought to alarm every Protestant if it is really possible to demonstrate convincingly that Rome accepts the authority of the church and the Reformation does not.
It’s time to note here that the definition of the word “church” already is at question. Or it should be. I’ve often believed that to really understand “the definition of the word ‘church’, one ought to try to understand ‘what they knew, and when they knew it.’” That is, to go back and ask the people who made up the church -- in the year 35, in the year 50, in the year 100, in the year 140 -- “describe the church for us. Tell us what it is, how it operates,” and how these things came into being”.

The modern Roman Catholic, following Roman Catholics of the last several centuries, is not content with that method. The modern Roman Catholic wants to start with the conceptions of Roman authority, as they are defined today, and to anachronistically read that authority back onto the people of an earlier time.

That is, modern Roman Catholics say of the ancients, “they believe what we believe, only they just didn’t know it.”

That is the biggest line of BS the world has ever known.

Some astute Roman Catholics recognized this, and so they sought to hide that awful truth [that the Roman conception of authority is BS] in a metaphor. “They believed [Roman authority] it in seed form.” Acorn and oak.

But that metaphor (like all metaphors) breaks down in real life. In real life, an acorn immediately sends down a strong and straight taproot, and it sends up a straight and tall trunk, and the shape of that oak seedling is very much the same as it will be for the rest of its life. It does grow branches in time. But it is as straight as it is ever going to be. There is no semblance at all to the twisted and contorted chains of doctrines that Rome has assembled over the centuries, which it calls its “infallible teaching”.

Berkouwer continued:
But the situation is quite different. The Reformation did recognize and accept authority. In reaction to an objectivistic conception of authority the Reformation did not reject all authority. But it did oppose the absolute ecclesiastical authority claimed by Rome. ... When the Reformation had to determine its position in the church of all ages it was not led by a confused subjectivism to prefer relativeism to absolutism, but it had a conception of the church entirely different from the Roman view. When the Reformers called the authority of the church ‘relative,’ they understood its original sense, ‘in relation to.’

The Reformation refused to detach the structure of the church from the revelation transcending it. Ecclesiastical authority was relative, i.e., it stood in an absolutely dependent relation to the Word of God which alone made it possible for the church to exist.

On this point the Reformation denied the Roman view. The struggle of the Reformers was not directed against authority and stability. It was not a revolution of individualism, but the establishment of the life of the church in the Word of the living God. The issue was the truly free and liberating authority of God.
What prompted me to bring this up was something that Ryan said down below, in comments to Nick.
We receive a multiplicity of blessings by faith. These blessings are given to every child of Abraham. You don’t avoid my point that you are collapsing all the spiritual blessings into one blessing by appealing to a contextually irrelevant difference between my understanding of the nature of saving faith and your own. Also, since I have already explained in what manner regeneration can be said to be not merely incidental to justification but rather an instrumental cause of it and in such a way that is fully consistent with the Reformed position, to be honest, I think your first paragraph was a swing and a miss. It didn’t really address any of the points it should have and seemed to have been intended to take us away from exegesis.
* * *

Pastor Lane Keister at Green Baggins has posted an item, and the comments from the Roman Catholics here have illustrated this Roman tendency to just say “nuh-uh” to what is genuinely said, and to assign their own parroted meanings to is being said, regardless of what is actually being said. I’ll let you look at Tom Riello’s comments, but here is the incredibly helpful and instructive “proof” that Lane started with:
Owen starts with something that Roman Catholics, Reformed and even Rationalists all agree on: the divine origin of natural revelation “declares itself to be from God by its own light and authority…: without further evidence or reasoning, without the advantage of any considerations but what are by itself supplied, it discovers its author, from whom it is, and in whose name it speaks…common notions are inlaid in the natures of rational creatures by the hand of God, to this end, that they might make a revelation of Him…, are able to plead their own divine original, without the least contribution of strength or assistance from without” (discussing Romans 1, in Owen, vol 16, p. 311). Muller’s comment on this: “If such a view of natural revelation is assumed, how much more ought its logic apply to Scripture!” (vol 2, p. 268). Then comes the killer quotation from Owen:

Now, it were very strange, that those low, dark, and obscure principles and means of the revelation of God and his will, which we have mentioned, should be able to evince themselves to be from him, without any external help, assistance, testimony or authority; and that that which is by God himself magnified above them…should lie dead, obscure, and have nothing in itself to reveal its Author, until this or that superadded testimony be called to its assistance (Owen, p. 311, quoted in Muller, pp. 268-269).

The substance of the argument, then, is that if natural revelation is acknowledged to be of divine origin and authority without the support of the church, then why shouldn’t special revelation also be acknowledged to have divine origin and authority without the support of the church, especially since the latter is much clearer than the former, and is given by God a higher priority and authority than natural revelation? Why would God not make natural revelation depend on humanity, but then make a more important revelation depend on humanity? Revelation is of God from first to last. God requires no human crutch to make His revelation authoritative. It is authoritative because of its Divine Author.

38 comments:

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"The modern Roman Catholic wants to start with the conceptions of Roman authority, as they are defined today, and to anachronistically read that authority back onto the people of an earlier time."

I wrote this comment on this post The Road to Rome:

"I have noticed that for some/many of these "deaf" converts to Catholicism they have a desire for an infallible human authority figure in their lives. I've seen this repeatedly in blog conversations with them. It all goes back to "authority" and how Sola Scriptura is woefully inadequate for them.

Although people hate being psychoanalyzed (which I usually don't blame) I would like to know if there's an accessible paper about the hungering mindset of people who need an infallible human authority in their lives.

It's also curious to me the qualitiative differences between the convert to Rome and most of the other Catholic laity. The convert to Rome is giddy about having an infallible Pope and an infallible Magisterium for their authority figures, while the vast majority of the other pew-sitters are cafeteria Catholics who are their own popes.

Go figure."

John Bugay said...

while the vast majority of the other pew-sitters are cafeteria Catholics who are their own popes.

So you are talking about the 90-or-so percent of Roman Catholics who practice birth control, having decided for themselves that it wasn't really what the pope said it was? And the "cultural" Catholics who, according to Carl Trueman, "are Catholics because they were born that way and, providing they can get to Mass at Christmas and Easter, their Catholicism does not really interfere theologically with their daily lives in any significant way."

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2010/11/protestant-amnesia.php

BBB said...

The substance of the argument, then, is that if natural revelation is acknowledged to be of divine origin and authority without the support of the church, then why shouldn’t special revelation also be acknowledged to have divine origin and authority without the support of the church, especially since the latter is much clearer than the former, and is given by God a higher priority and authority than natural revelation?

Wow, that's very insightful and significant. Natural revelation is considered by Paul to be authoritative and clear enough to make us accountable to God, even though we have no infallible teacher or argument to show this revelations authority. Natural revelation is often seen as unclear, leading to many different conclusions and "chaos" among scholars, but this accountability remains.

Which means that there can be disagreement and "chaos" on the interpretation of Scripture, but it can still be clear enough for us to be held accountable.

Never thought of it that way. I wonder how this interacts with Mike Liccione's argument.

John Bugay said...

Hi BBB, welcome to Beggars All.

Wow, that's very insightful and significant.

That's John Owen for you. And of course, Muller.

I wonder how this interacts with Mike Liccione's argument.

I haven't gotten that far. But I'm sure it handles it very well.

steelikat said...

Good analysis!

louis said...

I'm not sure the analogy is all that great. Natural revelation is enough to inform you that there is a God, and leave you without excuse, but it is not enough to lead one to saving knowledge. One could easily then say the same about scripture.

john said...

Don't forget I WAS a practicing devout RC. At least three Priests told me that if every Catholic that attends Mass were told If you do not or cannot believe EVERYTHING the RCC teaches then leave the Catholic Church the following Sunday there would only be a couple or three dozen people who would be at Mass out of the two or three hundred people that attended before.

I also believe that many converts from Evangelical Churches to Rome come to perceive the theological differences in Protestant Christianity as chaos and anarchy with everyone disagreeing and little unity and that because of this "Sola Scriptura" is a failure and proves to be a man made doctrine otherwise if Sola Scriptura were true then there would be unity among Protestants.

These Evangelical Protestants who "swim the tiber" and convert to Rome develop what I call "a rage for order" in their psyche in a an attempt to what they perceive is the chaos, anarchy, and lack of unity among Protestants.

Well I came from Rome and I can tell you Roman "unity" is an illusion, Rome just hides it better than Evangelicals do. For example what does an American Convert from midwestern Evangelicalism to Catholicism have in common with an Italian-American Catholic who can trace their Catholicism back for generations, an Irish-American Catholic from Boston MA whose immigrant family fled British suppression of their Catholicism in Ireland, a Portugeuse-American Catholic whose devotion to Mary confirms an Evangelical Christians worst nightmares of Roman "Mariolatry", or a Haitian/South American Catholics devotion to VooDoo and Pagan Santeiria, but still Prays the Rosary devoutly and faithfully attends Mass every Sunday and daily Mass. What does a "white bread" former Evangelical convert to Catholicism have in common with all this? Roman "unity"? If you believe that then I'll sell you a bridge real cheap in Brooklyn. The fact is Roman unity is a joke.

zipper778 said...

Don't forget all of the religious orders that Rome has that are just as different from each other as many of the Evangelical denomInations are from themselves. Roman unity is like you said, just an illusion.

Ben m said...

How did the early Christians achieve unity?

Rhology said...

Ben m,

They didn't.
1 Cor 11:17-21. More than half the epistles of Paul. Revelation 1-3. 1-3 John.

Constantine said...

How did the early Christians achieve unity?

Simple. They were all Roman Catholics.

I'm surprised Rhology missed that.

:)

Peace.

Ryan said...

louis wrote:

"I'm not sure the analogy is all that great. Natural revelation is enough to inform you that there is a God, and leave you without excuse, but it is not enough to lead one to saving knowledge. One could easily then say the same about scripture."

Easily, huh?

John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

louis said...

Ryan,

Good point, but it doesn't really address the analogy with natural revelation. One can consistently argue that both natural revelation and scripture need additional information to be understood fully.

Ryan said...

louis,

"Good point, but it doesn't really address the analogy with natural revelation."

Yes it does. You said it can easily be said Scripture isn't enough to lead one to saving knowledge, whereas John said the whole purpose of Scripture is to lead one to saving knowledge. So you were wrong to attempt an analogy between natural revelation and Scripture on the grounds of saving knowledge. Period.

"One can consistently argue that both natural revelation and scripture need additional information to be understood fully."

Show me.

Ben m said...

Rhology,

I asked how did the early Christians achieved unity and you responded:

They didn't. 1 Cor 11:17-21. More than half the epistles of Paul. Revelation 1-3. 1-3 John.

Now is that really your idea of disunity? How do these passages show the NT Church itself was divided? Where in NT do we read of the bishops being divided?

And how do you define unity?

Constantine,

Simple. They were all Roman Catholics.

It is simple: The NT Church was essentially Roman and Catholic.

St. Paul says (Rom. 1:8) that the Roman Church’s faith was “being reported all over the world”. Term for this world-wide or universal faith is the word "catholic."

Fr. Paul also tells us that “all the churches of Christ” were in communion with these Roman Catholics. Rom 16:16

Imagine that! Communion with the Roman Church is straight out of the NT! Simple! ;)

louis,

Natural revelation is enough to inform you that there is a God, and leave you without excuse, but it is not enough to lead one to saving knowledge. One could easily then say the same about scripture.

Yep.

“Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Rock, 3:14-16):

St. Jerome to Paulinus:

“In the holy scriptures you can make no progress unless you have a guide to show you the way.” Letter 53, 6


And this guide is never to be the sheep’s private understanding, which always leads to error and is just a power grab for prideful individuals. But this is nothing new. Listen to St. Augustine:

“Your design clearly is to deprive Scripture of all authority, and to make every man's mind the judge what passage of Scripture he is to approve of, and what to disapprove of. This is not to be subject to Scripture in matters of faith, but to make Scripture subject to you. Contra Faustum, Book XXXII, ch. 19

This is why every single Christian from NT times to our day had to be properly catechized . Even the greatest doctors and saints such as Jerome and Augustine had to be instructed in the Catholic faith by others! Why even the very apostles themselves had to catechized!

The heretical sheep on the other hand have ever sought to teach and to shepherd themselves.

louis said...

Ryan,

I guess I overlooked the fact that the argument was specifically about the canon. Either it is or it isn't from God. On the other hand, if the argument is about our knowledge of God, then pointing to natural revelation does nothing to shore up the perspicuity of scripture.

Ryan said...

Ben m, if you agree with what louis said, please respond to the two Johannine passages I cited which indicate otherwise.

louis, could you expound up what it is you are arguing? I fail to see what relevance natural revelation has to Scriptural perspicuity.

louis said...

"I fail to see what relevance natural revelation has to Scriptural perspicuity."

Me too. :) I'm saying I misread the post.

Ben m said...

if you agree with what louis said, please respond to the two Johannine passages I cited which indicate otherwise.

Ryan, the Johannine writings as indeed all the NT writings were written by the Church for the Church. They were written primarily for believers who had already been catechized. That was the intended audience.

St. John was certainly not laying down some kind of rule or teaching here regarding Scripture vis a vis faith, but simply reminding these early believers of the truths they had already learned through oral instruction as catechumens, viz, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and that they had life by belief in his name.

Keep in mind also Paul’s words in Romans 10:17: “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the [spoken] word of God.”

The Greek word here for hearing is Akoe, from the root, Akouo meaning “to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf.” This is where we get the word acoustic.

The Greek word for “word” (of God) is Rhema, meaning “that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word.”

Rom 10:17

Thus, as it has ever been, it is the living voice of Christ, speaking through his one Church, to which Christians must listen and give assent.

Constantine said...

It is simple: The NT Church was essentially Roman and Catholic.

Of course it was. How could I have missed it? The apostles were married just like today's priests. The apostles were priests. John's Gospel was really written in support of sacerdotalism instead of against it. And the fact that “Roman Catholic” is an oxymoron....oh well.

St. Paul says (Rom. 1:8) that the Roman Church’s faith was “being reported all over the world”. Term for this world-wide or universal faith is the word "catholic."

Ah, yes. And it was Aquila and Priscilla who facilitated that, wasn't it? (Acts 18:2). Since you undoubtedly adhere to apostolic succession and since there is no record of Peter ever being in Rome, do you think Aquila or Priscilla was the first “pope” of Rome?

Fr. Paul also tells us that “all the churches of Christ” were in communion with these Roman Catholics. Rom 16:16

I'm surprised at you Ben. You know that Christ forbid His followers from being called “Father” (Matthew 23:9) and since Paul was personally instructed by Christ (Galatians 1:12) do you believe Christ would contradict Himself?

BTW – Romans 16:16 says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the churches of Christ send greetings.” I take it that you think being in communion with Rome means that they bowed down to the Cardinals, Pope, Curia, etc. I don't see that here. Paul just says the other churches greet Rome.

Imagine that! Communion with the Roman Church is straight out of the NT! Simple! ;)

It's always interesting how Roman Catholics cast their current situation back 2000 years and pretend as if it was just all the same. But the very idea of “church” is anachronistic in that sense. According to recent historical and archaeological evidence about the first century “Palestinian Jesus Movement” (i.e. the environment in which Jesus would have lived and worked) “we have not encountered the term Christian or the concept church. These two nouns are clearly anachronistic within first-century Jewish phenomena.” (Charlesworth, James H. The Historical Jesus: An Essential Guide. Abingdon Press (January 2008)).

Of course, that means that Jesus didn't found a “church” and that his disciples would have departed from His teaching had they. And because the Roman church was so highly Jewish, if they were indeed a “church” in any way even remotely similar to today's “Roman” church it would clearly have been an organization outside the work of the Holy Spirit.

And it is almost certain that the “church” or “gathering” at Rome was not started by an apostle, which plays the very devil with “apostolic succession”, don't you think?


Yes, yes. To be deep in history....

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

John Bugay said...

Ben M: You make some assumptions that need to be challenged.

the Johannine writings as indeed all the NT writings were written by the Church for the Church.

The Johannine writings indeed all the NT writings were theopneustos, given by God to the church.

In the first place, you are not going to get to come here and simply assume that "the Church" is what you think it is. If you want to argue for that position you are welcome to do so, but just so there is no confusion, you must define your term(s) before just throwing them out like this.

Second, the Apostles were a unique, living voice, foundational to the church (Eph 2:20, Rev 21:14), and once their "voice" was silenced through death, their "living voice" continued in the New Testament scriptures:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/search?q=cullmann

The church [small "c"] understood the difference between the authoritative "living voice" of the Apostles, and the "traditions of the church." So the idea of a canon -- "covenant documents," according to Kostenberger, shows that the church itself understood the difference between the time of "the foundation" of the church -- the Apostolic era -- and what followed.

The oral tradition had a normative value in the period of the apostles, who were eye-witnesses, but it had it no longer in 150 after passing mouth to mouth (Cullmann, 88-89).

So in fixing the canon of the New Testament, the church understood the uniqueness of the Apostolic voice, and from that time on


The Greek word for “word” (of God) is Rhema, meaning “that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word.”

The "living word" is the Scripture preached by His ministers.

http://www.puritansermons.com/gouge/gouge1.htm

See also the WLC:

Q. 155. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ; of conforming them to his image, and subduing them to his will; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions; of building them up in grace, and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.

BBB said...

It seems things are quickly leaving the main point of the post.

Remember what the main argument is...
The substance of the argument, then, is that if natural revelation is acknowledged to be of divine origin and authority without the support of the church, then why shouldn’t special revelation also be acknowledged to have divine origin and authority without the support of the church, especially since the latter is much clearer than the former, and is given by God a higher priority and authority than natural revelation?

Although arguments have been made, I don't see any that have directly refuted this main point. Louis did argue against this point, saying that maybe scripture, like natural revelation, is insufficient to lead one to saving knowledge, but this was addressed by Ryan through John 20:31 and 1 John 5:13.

Ben M's comments seem to focus on the biblical and historical evidence for the Catholic view of authority. This is important, but I don't think it counters the most important (in my mind) result of this argument. It is a counter example (within Catholic theology) to the idea that revelation NEEDS to be confirmed/interpreted by an outside authority to be authoritative and sufficient for moral responsibility.

Whether or not an outside authority (tradition the magisterium, etc.) exists is another question. But it seems to me that if someone claims we NEED an authority to confirm and interpret divine revelation they now must face the problem of natural revelation (paired with the verses Ryan provided).

Unless someone has directly refuted the main point and I missed it.

Constantine said...

Keep in mind also Paul’s words in Romans 10:17: “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the [spoken] word of God.”

Maybe it's just me, but didn't Ben just refer to the "written" word in an effort to make his case for the "spoken" word?

Of course, another stunning aspect of RC epologetics is its utter disdain for the Old Testament. But Christ came to fulfill every "jot and tittle" of the OT (Matthew 5:17-21) so we might oughta know what they say:

1. God said to Moses, "I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Then you are to put them in the ark.” (Deuteronomy 10:2) Didn't God know that the "living voice" of His "church" could carry 10 little commandments?

2. God said, "If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the LORD your God— the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses." (Deuteronomy 28:58-59)

3. Moses's successor, Joshua: "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it." (Joshua 1:8)

4. "Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law." (Joshua 8:34) Why didn't Joshua listen to ol' viva voce?

5. “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left." (Joshua 23:6)

6. "and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go." (1 Kings 2:3)

7. “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you." Jeremiah 30:2

While much more could be "written" but this makes the point. God the Son came to fulfill the words of God the Father. And God the Father commanded His word to be transmitted in writing.

One last question, Ben. This "one true voice of Christ" you mention...does that provide any new revelation for you today?

Peace.

The 27th Comrade said...

@BBB: Louis said that Natural Revelation is insufficient to lead to saving knowledge of God. It just makes men be without excuse, not to have an escape from this situation where they have an excuse. The point of Natural Revelation (in this case), then, is to lead to this knowledge of God.
But Ryan responded—citing the two Johannine verses—that the point of the Scriptures is to lead to a saving knowledge; therefore: if you have Natural Revelation, you have knowledge of God, and if you have Divine Revelation (the Scriptures), you have knowledge of salvation. The point of Divine Revelation (in this case), then, is to lead to saving knowledge.

That’s how I understand it. Then again, I am one of those who respect the validity of simple, blind, gut faith in deciding these matters, so that I am justified in accepting the Scriptures as sufficient and complete—sufficient to lead to saving knowledge, complete in that nothing more need be added to the 66 books—simply because I feel (yea, even believe) that this is the case. Arguments be damned. :o) That, indeed, is the argument that is being placed by the above-cited (even though the way I put it is tarred to the modern mind).

Ben m said...

Constantine,

The apostles were married just like today's priests.

St. Jerome responds:

“For the Gospel had no being before the crucifixion of Christ— it was consecrated by His passion and by His blood. In accordance with this rule Peter and the other Apostles … had indeed wives, but those which they had taken BEFORE THEY KNEW THE GOSPEL. But once they were received into the Apostolate, THEY FORSOOK THE OFFICES OF MARRIAGE."

“For when Peter, representing the Apostles, says to the Lord:” Matthew 19:27 "Lo we have left all and followed you," the Lord answered him, Luke 18:29-30 "Verily I say unto you, there is no man that has left house or WIFE, or brethren, or parents, or children for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life." - Against Jovinianus, Book I. 26.

We also know from Scripture that Paul was celibate and showed a preference for celibacy. And tradition holds that Saint John remained a perpetual virgin.

And what of your church? Does it have any unmarried ministers? Do you have even one who has left “wife … for the sake of the kingdom of God”?

The apostles were priests.

St. Paul calls himself a priest:

“I have written to you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the PRIESTLY DUTY of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an OFFERING acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:16

"Priestly duty" is the Greek Leitourgos meaning “a minister of the temple, of one busied with holy things, of a PRIEST.” The word liturgy comes from this.

The word "proclaiming" is Hierourgeo, meaning "to minister in the manner of a priest," from Hieron, "a sacred place, temple."

And again, Paul uses very priestly and sacrificial language in saying "the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God". The word offering, "Prosphora", means "that which is offered, a gift, a present. In the NT a sacrifice, whether bloody or not: offering for sin, expiatory offering."
See the interlinear.


… since there is no record of Peter ever being in Rome…

Wishful! ;)

Christ [forbade] His followers from being called “Father” (Matthew 23:9) and since Paul was personally instructed by Christ (Galatians 1:12) do you believe Christ would contradict Himself?

So why then does Paul refer to himself as father? See e.g., Phil. 2:22, Philem. 10, 1 Cor. 4:14–15.

BTW – Romans 16:16 says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.” I take it that you think being in communion with Rome means that they bowed down to the Cardinals, Pope, Curia, etc. I don't see that here.

What does “they bowed down to the Cardinals, Pope, Curia” mean??

Paul just says the other churches greet Rome.

And where does Scripture teach this pattern will ever change?

… Jesus didn't found a “church”

So what then did he found?

And it is almost certain that the “church” or “gathering” at Rome was not started by an apostle, which plays the very devil with “apostolic succession”, don't you think?

Who then founded the Catholic Church at Rome?

As for apostolic succession, it doesn’t require the founding of a church to be valid, since obviously the vast majority of Catholic bishops (who claim apostolic succession) have never founded a single church!

Ben m said...

Constantine,

Maybe it's just me, but didn't Ben just refer to the "written" word in an effort to make his case for the "spoken" word?

So?

Of course, another stunning aspect of RC epologetics is its utter disdain for the Old Testament.

Sounds like some of Luther and Calvin’s old ravings! ;)

But Christ came to fulfill every "jot and tittle" of the OT (Matthew 5:17-21) so we might oughta know what they say:

Indeed.

… God the Father commanded His word to be transmitted in writing.

But where does God say only in writing?

This "one true voice of Christ" you mention...does that provide any new revelation for you today?

No, not “new revelation” to be sure. However, since the Holy Spirit certainly continues to guide the Church into all truth, the Church is thus always being led into a fuller, deeper, and more profound appreciation and understanding of the original deposit of the faith.

Peace.


John,

In the first place, you are not going to get to come here and simply assume that "the Church" is what you think it is.

The Church is not what I think it is, but what Scripture and the Fathers tell us it is. And it has certain distinguishing marks.

Second, the Apostles were a unique, living voice, foundational to the church (Eph 2:20, Rev 21:14), and once their "voice" was silenced through death, their "living voice" continued in the New Testament scriptures:

The written word is not the same as the living voice of an apostle. For one thing, the Bible cannot settle disputes with authority as could the living apostles.

After the death of the last apostle, the authentic living voice of Christ and his apostles continued in the bishops of the Church.

The "living word" is the Scripture preached by His ministers.

But Christ's “living word” and his legitimate ministers can only be found in his one true Church. And this Church, inasmuch as it is Christ (as Scripture and the Fathers tell us), is itself an epistle - a "living epistle" as it were - witnessing to the world:

“You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

louis said...

Ben,

Surely you are not suggesting that the Apostles divorced or abandoned their wives for the sake of the Gospel. Peter and the other Apostles clearly continued being married long after Christ's resurrection. (1 Cor. 9:5). Indeed, marriage is there stated as a "right" of an Apostle.

On the other hand, if you're suggesting that celibacy was the rule for leaders in the church after the Apostles, this is directly refuted by 1 Tim. 3:2, among other things.

Ben m said...

louis,

Surely you are not suggesting that the Apostles divorced or abandoned their wives for the sake of the Gospel.

No, of course not. That would have been an injustice! But there was no injustice here because Christ himself was calling the apostles to a higher order of things, as men totally consecrated to God. Those married apostles on hearing the Gospel and receiving their special calling would surely have made provisions for their wives.

The Fathers understood all this. And they understood well that the advent of the Gospel signaled the passing away of the old order and the beginning the new order of redeemed creation.

Maybe you might find reading Max Thurian’s excellent discussion on the reasons for celibacy (primarily priestly) here helpful. At least highlight the term “new order” and read what he says.

Peter and the other Apostles clearly continued being married long after Christ's resurrection. (1 Cor. 9:5). Indeed, marriage is there stated as a "right" of an Apostle.

Indeed they had the right, but didn’t necessarily avail themselves of it. After all, Paul, who wrote those very words to the Corinthians, was himself celibate. Further, Greek word for “wife” here is gune, which is somewhat ambiguous. It can refer to a married or unmarried woman, or to a virgin. Read what Augustine says here on p. 476 and see here also.


On the other hand, if you're suggesting that celibacy was the rule for leaders in the church after the Apostles, this is directly refuted by 1 Tim. 3:2, among other things.

Not at all! No one holds to that. Yet Paul did say, “…the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none.”1 Cor. 11:9

So while celibacy wasn’t the rule, it may well have been the norm, for there were undoubtedly many who wished to adhere closely to the teaching and example of Christ and the apostles. Surely many souls, having heard the words "those who have left ... wife … or children for the kingdom of God's sake…” and being aflame with love of God and the spirit of renunciation, would have embraced the Gospel in all its purity, in all its gentle severity. Indeed, we know from the Fathers that from apostolic times on this has been so. God has given the grace to chosen souls to embrace the higher but more difficult way of celibacy. They were mindful of the Gospel, of Christ's words:

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:34-35

So there is Christ’s Gospel, which can never be separated from the cross. And even in the holy sacrament of marriage, “which is honorable in all,” there will always some who find its crosses hard to bear - witness so many tragic divorces!

And sorry about the delay; been a bit busy.

Peace.

John Bugay said...

Ben: Even as recently as the fifth century, celibacy was not mandatory:

As the letters of Leo the Great make clear, there was no bar to a married man being admitted to the clergy, so long as both he and his wife had not previously been married to someone else. Remarriage was entirely prohibited, and a cleric would be expected not to marry once in orders. Continence was an ideal rather than a requirement, and so children could be born to married clergy, even if some rigorists disapproved. (Roger Collins, "Keepers of the Keys of Heaven," pg 89).

louis said...

Ben,

It sounds as if you are saying that the Apostles "made provision" for their wives financially, but abandoned them physically and emotionally, and then proceeded to find other women to travel with them and minister to their needs. Please tell me that's not what you're saying, because it sounds pretty sick.

Ben m said...

John,

Even as recently as the fifth century, celibacy was not mandatory.

A bit of an oversimplification, I think. Here’s something which, though a bit long, I would encourage everyone here to read as time permits. From the Vatican website . See the book here.

louis,

It sounds as if you are saying that the Apostles "made provision" for their wives financially, but abandoned them physically and emotionally, and then proceeded to find other women to travel with them and minister to their needs. Please tell me that's not what you're saying, because it sounds pretty sick.

That’s not at all what I’m saying, louis, since I pointed out that such a thing would be an injustice. If the apostles left their wives, it would have only been at the bidding and direction of Christ. That would hardly constituted an abandonment, any more than this would have constituted an abandonment.

Besides, we don’t even know if the apostles had wives; perhaps some were widowers and others never married.

Now a question to you: why was John the Baptist celibate, why Jesus, why St. Paul, why St. John? Why?

louis said...

"If the apostles left their wives, it would have only been at the bidding and direction of Christ. That would hardly constituted an abandonment"

You keep suggesting things like this. Christ did not bid his Apostles to leave their wives, and there is absolutely no credible evidence whatsoever to the contrary. Period.

"Besides, we don’t even know if the apostles had wives"

Yes we do, and at least some of them did. See for example Matthew 8:14-15, and 1 Cor. 9:5.

"Now a question to you: why was John the Baptist celibate, why Jesus, why St. Paul, why St. John? Why?"

Jesus as the Son of God is an exceptional case. As for the others, some choose not to marry. Paul indicated some practical reasons why this might be the case. So what?

Question for you: Why did God create them male and female, and why did God bless and sanctify marriage prior to the fall, and why command them to be fruitful and multiply, and why did Paul command elders to be the husband of one wife, etc.?

You hold to a twisted Gospel, Ben, one so perverted by the whore of Rome that it's no gospel at all. God does not command ascetism. Poor JP2, sleeping on the floor to atone for his sins....

Ben m said...

louis,

Did you just complain about the asceticism of the "whore of Rome" ??

John Bugay said...

Did you just complain about the asceticism of the "whore of Rome" ??

Ben: when I was a Roman Catholic, my outlook was, "I hope I'm good enough to get to heaven."

When Christ died on the cross, he said, "It is finished," and the curtain in the temple was torn in two.

The Gospel is not, "God gives us a way to be good enough to please him." The Gospel is, "Christ has accomplished our salvation."

So the practice of asceticism is a clear admission that Christ's work was incomplete and inadequate. Hence, the (very pernicious) need to practice asceticism.

You still owe me an explanation for the Luther quote

Constantine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben m said...

Sorry for the delay; couldn’t get back any sooner…

louis,

Christ did not bid his Apostles to leave their wives, and there is absolutely no credible evidence whatsoever to the contrary. Period.

On the contrary, St. Peter says that he and the apostles had left their “homes” and indeed “everything” to follow Christ.

Peter said to him, “We have left ALL WE HAD to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or WIFE or brothers or sisters or parents or CHILDREN for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:28-30.

And how explain the Fathers who held the virtually unanimous belief that those apostles who may have been married under the old law, after having been called by Christ, gave up their marriage rights and lived in perfect continence with their wives?

Jesus as the Son of God is an exceptional case.

Where is the scriptural basis for this assertion?

As for the others, some choose not to marry. Paul indicated some practical reasons why this might be the case. So what?

It was not merely man's choosing, but also the call of God's grace.

10 The disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry." 11 But he said to them, "Not all men can receive this saying, but only those TO WHOM IT IS GIVEN. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs WHO HAVE MADE THEMSELVES EUNUCHS who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to RECEIVE this, let him receive it." Matthew 19:10-12

So celibacy is God's both GRACE and man's cooperation. And clearly God bid the apostles to be celibate, yet they nevertheless freely chose it; they were also always free to reject this grace.

Ben m said...

Why did God create them male and female, and why did God bless and sanctify marriage prior to the fall, and why command them to be fruitful and multiply?

The same God who created, ordained and blessed marriage also ordained and blessed perpetual celibacy for some. As to your question about marriage before the fall, listen to the Fathers:

St. Jerome:

Some one may say, "Do you dare detract from wedlock, which is a state blessed by God?" I do not detract from wedlock when I set virginity before it. No one compares a bad thing with a good. Wedded women may congratulate themselves that they come next to virgins. "Be fruitful," God says, "and multiply, and replenish the earth." Genesis 1:28 He who desires to replenish the earth may increase and multiply if he will. But the train to which you belong is not on earth, but in heaven. The command to increase and multiply first finds fulfilment after the expulsion from paradise, after the nakedness and the fig-leaves which speak of sexual passion. - Letter 22:19.

“As regards Adam and Eve we must maintain that before the fall they were virgins in Paradise: but after they sinned, and were cast out of Paradise, they were immediately married.” - Against Jovinianus (Book I)

St. Cyril of Jerusalem:

“Not daring to accost the man because of his strength, he accosted as being weaker the woman, still a virgin: for it was after the expulsion from Paradise that Adam knew his wife.” - Catechetical Lectures, 12:5:2

St. Augustine:

“And even that children would not have been born in Paradise, but only outside of it, as in fact it turned out. For it was after they were expelled from it that they came together to beget children, and begot them.” - The City of God (Book XIV), 21.

and why did Paul command elders to be the husband of one wife, etc?

According to the Fathers, what Paul (who did not take his own advice here) is saying is that if a bishop is married, he cannot remarry, and that his office carries with it the obligation of marital continence.

Ben m said...

John,

When Christ died on the cross, he said, "It is finished," and the curtain in the temple was torn in two.

What is the significance of the torn curtain?

The Gospel is not, "God gives us a way to be good enough to please him." The Gospel is, "Christ has accomplished our salvation."

Then why bother to pray, or go to church, or read the bible, or avoid sin, etc? What’s the point?

So the practice of asceticism is a clear admission that Christ's work was incomplete and inadequate. Hence, the (very pernicious) need to practice asceticism.

a. How exactly do you define asceticism?

b. There is a Greek word for the term "It is finished.” It is a single word, and it’s used twice in the NT - in John 19:38 and again in John 1930 – tetelestai ( Τετελεσται ).

Note this verb stands by itself; it has neither subject nor object. It has no grammatical referent. I’m afraid you’re just reading your own entire private theological universe into this one Greek word.

You still owe me an explanation for the Luther quote

From Luther’s Table Talk:

Cases of Conscience Pertaining to Marriage. December, 1532. No. 414

Cases for the consolation of consciences belong in confession and not in books. A certain man took a wife, and after bearing several children she contracted syphilis and was unable to fulfill her marital obligation. Thereupon the husband, troubled by the flesh, denied himself beyond his ability to sustain the burden of chastity.

It is asked, Ought he to be allowed a second wife? I reply that one or the other of two things must happen: either he commits adultery or he takes a second wife. It is my advice that he take a second wife; however, he should not abandon his first wife but should provided for her sufficiently to enable to her to support her life….

In such cases in which the conscience was troubled I have OFTEN OFFERED counsel not according to the pope but according to my office, according to the gospel. Nevertheless, I warned the persons involved not to make this judgment of mine public.

I said to them, “Keep this to yourselves. If you can’t keep it secret, take the consequences.” Source .