Monday, December 20, 2010

Francis Beckwith, Still a Protestant at Heart

Here's a bit of private interpretation from a Mega-Convert:

"A former professor of mine, a well-known Lutheran theologian, told me in private conversation several weeks ago that he was upset that I had returned to the Catholic Church while in the middle of my service as president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), arguing that my public reversion could have harmed ETS irreparably. Because it was a matter of conscience that forced me into the confessional earlier than I had planned,[1] I was tempted to respond like the founder of his denomination did at the Diet of Worms, “There I stood, I could do no other.” The irony was indeed delicious, but I simply thanked him for his counsel and bid him peace. Apparently, unlike the Word of God, schism is not a two-edged sword." [source]

Here's some Choice questions for this super-convert:

When the Roman Catholic apologist asks, “how can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that your church is right?,” we should counter with a similar question: “How can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that Rome is right?”

When the Roman Catholic apologist asks, “How do you know you’ve picked the right denomination?, we should respond by asking, “How do you know you’ve picked the right infallible interpreter?”

36 comments:

SGcer said...

Rome could deny all day that private interpretation is unnecessary, but they could not easily get away with the obvious that they themselves use private interpretation.

They are such an excellent example of Double standardness.

Viisaus said...

In a similar manner, some bitter Sedevacantist RCs are now asking whether John Henry Newman (whom they denounce as a liberal forerunner of Vatican II) ever really gave up his "Protestant" mentality.

Actually Newman was seen already back in his own times as a sort of hybrid chameleon, neither truly Protestant nor truly Romanist:

http://www.traditioninaction.org/ProgressivistDoc/A_131_Nw-Anglic.html

"One cannot help but wonder what kind of conversion Newman made to Catholicism. It is known that when a person converts, he must abjure the errors of the false religion from which he is coming and profess the truths of the Catholic Church that oppose those errors. Newman did not take this position toward Anglicanism. He conferred a continuous admiration to the so-called Church of England.

Doing this, he was a promoter of false ecumenism, which does not aim to convert heretics and bring them to the bosom of Catholic Church, but allows them to remain where they are, and even praises their supposed qualities.

Newman's role as a precursor of Vatican II ecumenism is demonstrated by the two documents we present below."

Pastor Aaron said...

Converting to RC or Orthodox has been the cool thing to do for a few years. In my circles (Methodist) Anglican is the siren song these days. Asbury Seminary has an issue with faculty and students essentially looking to the Anglican Communion. I still would send people back to your comment about reading the Word with both hands and all your mind.

Ben m said...

James writes:

When the Roman Catholic apologist asks, “how can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that your church is right?,” we should counter with a similar question: “How can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that Rome is right?”

James, we might begin by looking at the obvious.

Unlike ALL Protestant churches, the Roman Church is:

a. actually found Scripture, and thus a part of Scripture.
b. praised by Scripture (Rom. 1:8).
c. proclaimed universally by Scripture (Rm 1:8).
d. Unified, per Scripture, with “all the churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16).
e. destined, per Scripture, to crush Satan: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under YOUR feet.” (Rom 16:20).

This prophecy has yet to be fulfilled.

Therefore, ALL Protestant churches are, by the explicit testimony of Scripture, excluded from even the possibility of being the true church! Ironic isn’t it? ;)

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

“How can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that Rome is right?”

“How do you know you’ve picked the right infallible interpreter?”


Thanks James Swan for these return questions.

Thanks BenM for your response. They've already been considered and rejected for their error.

steve said...

Ben,

1. Your prooftexting falsifies the Avignon papacy.

2. What is "actually found in Scripture" is a set of 1C Roman house-churches to which Paul refers, not a 21C denomination which calls itself the church of Rome. Paul wasn't writing to Benedict XVI.

3. Paul also has lots of swell things to say about the church of Colossae. So is that The One True Church®?

4. In historical context, "the world" is limited to parts of the Roman Empire. That's hardly "universal."

5. You quote a prediction that uses the word "soon," you say it has "yet to be fulfilled" (2000 years later), and you infer that this somehow falsifies all Protestant churches. Care to turn that into something resembling a logical argument?

Bruce said...

@ Ben M,
Would this be the *SAME* letter, to the *SAME* church of Rome, where St.Paul warned them that:

"You, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them [the Jewish branches], and with them became a partaker of the root [Is.11:10] and fatness of the olive tree... Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith... If God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you... Toward you goodness, if you continue in his goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off." Romans 11:17-22

The Church of Rome believes that while other branches of the church may fail, there is no possibility that SHE of all the branches can be broken off. In fact, Rome claims to be the Tree itself, and no mere branch.

So what's it going to be?

If Paul writing to the church at Rome somehow validates the modern Romish Church claim to BE that same church (despite her rejection of the apostolic gospel defended in the first 11 chapters of this letter), then of course his warning applies as much to her as to any church. And indeed, in anathematizing the very gospel proclaimed by Paul, she has been a dry, broken stick on the ground for above 450 years now.

If, however, the present Romish Church exempts herself from the dire warning issued directly to the Romans by Apostle St.Paul, this is manifest evidence that the Romish Church, with all her popes and prelates, verily rejects the Word of God.

PeaceByJesus said...

Correct, and as i was able to pointed out before if 1Jn. 5:13 appeals to a believer's finite human understanding in offering assurance of one's authenticity is a Christian, of the like should be true regarding the Church. And as first John provides evidences of authentic faith for believer to judge himself by, so the New Testament does regarding the Church. To whose gospel and preaching Roman in particular stands in great contrast, although the Church's as a whole comes short as well.

Rome does allow for PI in determining if Rome is the true church, but once a person does that, he/she is not to do search the Scriptures in order to ascertain the veracity of infallible teachings of Rome:

"The intolerance of the Church toward error, the natural position of one who is the custodian of truth, her only reasonable attitude makes her forbid her children to read or to listen to heretical controversy, or to endeavor to discover religious truths by examining both sides of the question."

“The reason of this stand of his is that, for him, there can be no two sides to a question which for him is settled; for him, there is no seeking after the truth: he possesses it in its fulness, as far as God and religion are concerned. His Church gives him all there is to be had; all else is counterfeit..he must refuse to be liberal in the sense of reading all sorts of Protestant controversial literature.”

“Holding to Catholic principles how can he do otherwise? How can he consistently seek after truth when he is convinced that he holds it? Who else can teach him religious truth when he believes that an infallible Church gives him God's word and interprets it in the true and only sense?” (John H. Stapleton, Explanation of Catholic Morals, Chapter xxiii. the consistent believer (1904); Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor Librorum. Imprimatur, John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York )

Ben m said...

Steve,

1. Your prooftexting falsifies the Avignon papacy.

No, because papacy or no papacy, Scripture still assigns pride of place to the Roman Church!

2. What is "actually found in Scripture" is a set of 1C Roman house-churches to which Paul refers, not a 21C denomination which calls itself the church of Rome. Paul wasn't writing to Benedict XVI.

Whether the Roman Church celebrates the Eucharist in house-churches or in St. Peter’s Basilica, underground in the catacombs, or in open-air fields, she is nevertheless always the one unified "Church of Rome" to which the apostle wrote.

3. Paul also has lots of swell things to say about the church of Colossae. So is that The One True Church?

Agreed. And who denies it? But to go even further, Paul says that the faith of the Thessalonians was, like that of the Roman Church, known throughout the world. (1 Thess. 1:8). Yet where is the church of Thessalonica today? Where is its “faith” which was so well known? Where is the church of Colossae, or for that matter, any of the other NT churches Scripture mentions? They are lost in history, along with their “faith.” But who does not see that divine providence has willed that the Roman Church and her “faith”, which the apostle praised, should abide, as indeed it has?

Ben m said...

4. In historical context, "the world" is limited to parts of the Roman Empire. That's hardly "universal."

No, perhaps not in a geographical sense. But in an ecclesiastical sense, yes. For the Roman faith is “proclaimed” to, and received by, “all the CHURCHES of Christ.”

“Your faith is being reported all over the [Christian] world” Rom. 1:8

5. You quote a prediction that uses the word "soon," you say it has "yet to be fulfilled" (2000 years later), and you infer that this somehow falsifies all Protestant churches. Care to turn that into something resembling a logical argument?

When I said “Therefore, ALL Protestant churches are, by the explicit testimony of Scripture, excluded from even the possibility of being the true church,” I was referring to the combined force of ALL the passages I cited. Perhaps I could have been clearer.

But regardless, the point is really that Scripture teaches the Roman Church will crush Satan, and this alone suffices to falsify the Protestant system, a system which, in perfect antithesis to Scripture, condemns the Roman Church. And how like Satan, who himself must undoubtedly hate and condemn the Roman Church, knowing as he must, how it is that under this Church he is destined to be crushed!

And again, this prophecy regarding the Roman Church has yet to be fulfilled!

You ought to be thinking about that folks. You can be quite sure that Satan is!

PeaceByJesus said...

Ben, you have ah, tried this before and your attempt exposed as "wresting the Scriptures," which can be to to you're own damnation. (2Pt. 3:18). The idea that historical linkage establishes validity is itself rebuked in the book of Romans. (2:28,29, etc.)

Your invocation of the book of Romans to validate Rome is akin to taking its name in vain.
---------------------------------------------------

Unlike the RC churches, the church in Rome,

A. recognized that the Jews were distinctly gives stewardship of Scripture, thru who it Christ came, and thus are a part of Scripture. (Rm. 3:2; 9:4,5)

B. that they actually had an incontrovertible physical historical lineage to Abraham.

C. that God would keep His covenant with Abraham by saving all Israel, including the "natural branches" by turning the remaining remnant back to faith at the end. (http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/israel-chosenorforgotten.html)

D. but that none of the above conferred formulaic assured infallibility to them.

E. that they were not the first or alone in being commended for their universally known faith. (1Thes. 1:4-10)

F. and that being greeted by all the churches of Christ did not denote supremacy over them anymore than the churches of Asia as well as "all the saints" greeting the Corinthian church made them the head. (1Cor. 16:19; 13:13) Or "all the saints..chiefly they that are of Caesar's household" saluting the Phillipian church made them the head. (we can imagine who Rome would like to use that one .

G. that they were warned about being cut off by following the error of the Jews. (Rm. 11:22)

H. and thus a church which preaches a gospel which in part or whole promises salvation on the basis of the merit of a believer's works, and tries to make eternal life both a gift and something merited, has not crushed Satan - which promise the letter to them establishes is to believers of Abrahamic faith, not formal lineage - (Rom 2:28,29) but has become the gates of Hell to multitudes who trust in her and their merits to help gain eternal life.

John Lollard said...

Are we so sure Paul isn't talking about these guys?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Andrew%27s_Church,_Rome

I mean, they're located in Rome, so they must be identical to the Church of Rome addressed in the epistle to the Romans.

Ben m said...

PeaceByJesus,

What does Romans 16:20 mean to you? The very opposite of what it says? Look at it again. Order your thinking around it.

Listen to the Holy Spirit, not hiss of the Serpent. Here is Romans 16: 19-20:

For while YOUR OBEDIENCE is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise as to what is good, and simple as to what is evil;

then the God of peace will quickly CRUSH SATAN UNDER YOUR FEET.

Now tell me, under whose feet will Satan be crushed? The Roman Church or some other?

louis said...

"Now tell me, under whose feet will Satan be crushed? The Roman Church or some other?"

Scripture uses that language for all Christians. See Rev. 3:9 for just one example, written to the church in Philadelphia: "Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan... I will make them come and bow down at your feet...."

Plus you have already been referred to Rom. 11:22: "If you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off." Rome is warned, just like every other church, that God's favor is contingent on her remaining faithful.

Ben m said...

louis,

Scripture uses that language for all Christians. See Rev. 3:9 for just one example, written to the church in Philadelphia: "Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan... I will make them come and bow down at your feet...."

I understand that louis, and I agree with you.

But again, Scripture teaches (Rom 16:16) that “all the churches of Christ” are in communion with the Church at Rome (a hugely significant statement by itself!). And to the extent that these churches are and remain in communion with Rome, they too will undoubtedly have a role to play in Satan’s defeat. After all, the Church is ONE!

Plus you have already been referred to Rom. 11:22: "If you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off." Rome is warned, just like every other church, that God's favor is contingent on her remaining faithful.

Seems you’re interpreting this passage such that God’s favor i.e,, grace, is contingent on the Christian’s faithfulness, and that salvation can be lost! So no complete assurance of salvation in this life. Sounds rather un-protestant to me! ;)

But anyway, Rom. 11:22 has to be reconciled with Rom. 16:20, which teaches that Rome is predestined by God's immutable decree to fulfill this prophecy. And if Rome is indeed destined to crush Satan, I don’t see how it could ever become unfaithful! And where does all this leave Protestant theology?

Peace.

steelikat said...

You are confused. It is not true that the lack of "infallible" knowledge as you've defined it requires one to engage in private interpretation of scripture. The magisterial reformation and the bible itself condemn private interpretation of scripture, yet neither the reformation nor the bible would likely say that Frank Beckwith infallibly knows that "his church" is "right" (if by that you mean "infallibly knows that converting to Roman Catholicism was the best thing to do").

I can give you an example that disproves your argument. I myself do not have beliefs about infallibility or the RC church that are like Frank Beckwith's beliefs, yet I take some care to avoid private interpretation of scripture; there are other people who, like me, do not believe in RC infallibility yet do engage in private interpretation of scripture with cavalier abandon; and there are some who are RC believers like Frank Beckwith but who do not engage in ttwo foolish and unbiblical practice of private interpretation of scripture. The two two issues are not necessarily connected--either belief or non belief in RC infallibility can be combined with either indulgence in or avoidance of private interpretation of scripture.

steve said...

Ben m said...

"Now tell me, under whose feet will Satan be crushed? The Roman Church or some other?"

i) Your entire argument is vitiated by a systematic fallacy of equivocation. Paul isn't referring to the 21C Roman Catholic church. He is writing to, for, and about a set of 1C Christian fellowships in Rome.

ii) Paul's statement about crushing Satan isn't set in contrast to other Christians or other churches. He didn't frame that in exclusive language, as if this could only be true of the 1C congregations in Rome.

Indeed, do you think 1C Christians in general succumbed to Satan?

iii) The possessive pronoun ("your") in 16:20 has reference, not to the institutional church, but to the experience of some Roman Christians to whom Paul was writing. The prediction is a prediction of something which will happen to *them*. Those whom Paul singles out in Rom 16. Not something that's going to happen long after the original addressees are dead.

steve said...

Ben m said...

"No, because papacy or no papacy, Scripture still assigns pride of place to the Roman Church!"

No, you can't weasel out of your argument that easily. You have anchored your Scriptural appeal to the city of *Rome*–to the exclusion of other localities.

Therefore, you can't transfer that to the Avignon papacy.

Moreover, it's totally duplicitous for you to isolate "Roman pride of place" from the papacy. As a Roman Catholic, these are inseparable. They rise and fall together.

"Whether the Roman Church celebrates the Eucharist in house-churches or in St. Peter’s Basilica, underground in the catacombs, or in open-air fields, she is nevertheless always the one unified 'Church of Rome' to which the apostle wrote."

That's not something you can validly infer from Paul's statement. You can't begin to show that Paul thought the 21C church of Rome is united to some 1C Roman house-churches. You're not getting that from Paul's statement. So your appeal to Paul is patently bogus.

"Paul says that the faith of the Thessalonians was, like that of the Roman Church, known throughout the world. (1 Thess. 1:8). Yet where is the church of Thessalonica today? Where is its 'faith' which was so well known? Where is the church of Colossae, or for that matter, any of the other NT churches Scripture mentions? They are lost in history, along with their 'faith.'”

Which just goes to show that you can't extrapolate from NT statements about NT churches to subsequent developments. You've undercut your own argument.

"But who does not see that divine providence has willed that the Roman Church and her 'faith', which the apostle praised, should abide, as indeed it has?"

What I see is an organization that employed coercion and deceit to cut in front of other churches and thereby gain an unfair competitive advantage. That's cheating. I also see a shortsighted organization that keeps reinventing itself because, like any merely human organization, it can't anticipate the future.

louis said...

"Scripture teaches (Rom 16:16) that 'all the churches of Christ' are in communion with the Church at Rome"

Actually it says that all the churches of Christ "greet you." Which is wholly unremarkable. But again, scripture uses similar language in many places. See 1 Cor. 1:2, for example: "To the church of God that is in Corinth... called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...." Now there it really does say that all the churches of Christ are in communion with the Corinthian church. That doesn't make Corinth the One True Church.

"to the extent that these churches are and remain in communion with Rome, they too will undoubtedly have a role to play in Satan’s defeat. After all, the Church is ONE!"

Take out "with Rome" and add "with Christ" instead, and this statement is true. Paul is speaking to the church; he is not granting any special privilege to Rome itself.

"Seems you’re interpreting this passage such that God’s favor i.e,, grace, is contingent on the Christian’s faithfulness, and that salvation can be lost!"

We're not talking about individuals here, but about institutions, churches. Churches undoubtedly can have their "light" removed, if they don't continue to be faithful. See Revelation 2-3 for repeated statements of this.

"But anyway, Rom. 11:22 has to be reconciled with Rom. 16:20, which teaches that Rome is predestined by God's immutable decree to fulfill this prophecy."

i. Romans 16:20 has to be reconciled with Romans 11:22, and you have not done that.

ii. Rom. 16:20 applies to all Christians. It is Christ who crushes satan under foot (Gen.3:15). All those in Christ share his victory.

steelikat said...

Steve,

The verse echoes the protevangelium; and the person under whose feet Satan is crushed is, obviously, Christ. So the church under whom Satan is crushed must be the church that has Christ as its head, the universal church. In the context of the obvious reference to the protevangelium, it would seem to be referring primarily more to the catholic church rather than the local church in Rome, or particular individuals there, or a particular denomination.

Don't you see the obvious reference to the protevangelium?

CathApol said...

I don't know if Dr. Beckwith will be responding to this, but let me take a crack at Swan's questions:

When the Roman Catholic apologist asks, “how can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that your church is right?,” we should counter with a similar question: “How can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that Rome is right?”

Simple, while we do not deny private judgment - it is not private judgment that we rely upon. Yes, we make judgments and decisions all the time - but these cannot be contrary to what the Church has already judged or decided.

When the Roman Catholic apologist asks, “How do you know you’ve picked the right denomination?, we should respond by asking, “How do you know you’ve picked the right infallible interpreter?

Here you're asking a different question. No Protestant believes their denomination is infallible. The problem is that many Protestant denominations are at odds with each other and often on very fundamental grounds like the matter of Baptism; most do baptize - some don't. Some insist that baptism must be by immersion, others say sprinkling or pouring is fine.

That being said, Catholics don't have to pick "the right infallible interpreter," there is only one.

Scott<<<

PeaceByJesus said...

What does Romans 16:20 mean to you? The very opposite of what it says? Look at it again. Order your thinking around it. Listen to the Holy Spirit, not hiss of the Serpent.

You mean i can ascertain truth by prayerfully searching the Scriptures with a heart to obey God? As for ordering my thinking around that one verses, that is your error and is what has a hiss to it, as sound exegesis requires comparing Scripture with Scripture, “spiritual things with spiritual.” (1Cor. 2:13)

Here is Romans 16: 19-20: For while YOUR OBEDIENCE is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise as to what is good, and simple as to what is evil;

then the God of peace will quickly CRUSH SATAN UNDER YOUR FEET. Now tell me, under whose feet will Satan be crushed? The Roman Church or some other?

I will tell you.

First, the idea that the promise is a succession of churches with their base in the same geographical location as this church is absurd according to the Book of Romans itself as well as other texts! This is not the Old Covenant but the new, and it is not physical or formal lineage that establishes one as a true man of God nor a body as the one true church (OTC), but Abrahamic-type faith in the apostolic gospel of grace. And which is not one that makes works meritorious for salvation, as per Rome, but is a righteousness imputed by faith.

The error of Rome corresponds to that of the Pharisees, who presumed that physical lineage and formal rituals established authenticity. (Jn. 8:39) However both the Baptist and the Lord Jesus reproved this as presumption, as does the apostle Paul:

"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? {8} Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: {9} And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. " (Matthew 3:7-9; cf. Jn. 8:44; Rm. 2;28.29)

The church exists and endures by faith, and its conformity must be with that which is written most essentially that being the gospel of grace, with its attestation from God, is the basis for the claim to authenticity, by a person of God or a church. And if God can raise up from stones sons of Abraham, He can do the like to build his Church of the born again.

Thus if you want to lay claim to being of the Biblical church of Roman, especially by using Scripture, claiming some sort of physical or ecclesiastical lineage will not do it, and instead your church must demonstrate it conforms to the Scriptures (and Paul directs the Romans there: Rm. 1:2; 3:4,10; 4:3,17,23; 8:36; 9:13,17,33; 10:11,15; 11:2,8,26; 12:19; 14:11; 15:3,4,9,15,21, 16:26,27; etc.),

But instead what Rome's infallible claim to be the infallible OTC is effectively based upon is her own claim to be assuredly infallible. Argue against that if you want.

PeaceByJesus said...

Part 2.

2. You quote me Rm. 16:20 as if never read it, an dif what i stated is irrelevant, while by “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” we see that besides geography having nothing to do with what constitutes the OTC, there is nothing in the commendations or promises afforded Rome that would make her the head of all other churches, and the fact that none of them are told to look to Rome as such is one reason why your most resort to your extrapolation extreme ecclesiastical eisegesis.

I showed similar commendations before (see here), as invoking the book of Romans seems to be lasted papal polemic for purchase, but the promise of Rm. 16:20 is not unique to the Roman believers, rather Paul is simply telling them as believers the promise which is given to all true believers, that ultimately by obedient faith, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” (Romans 8:37) and thus, “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:13a) And, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. " (James 4:7)

And this is an Old Testament promise given to all believers. Thus it is applies to Protestants as well, whom Rome considers saved.

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 4:2-3)

In the end Stephen, your attempted exegesis by wresting and stretching Scripture is simply a negative testimony for Rome, which would make any Berean type souls turn away from her.

John Lollard said...

"That being said, Catholics don't have to pick "the right infallible interpreter," there is only one."

And that one is the Patriarch of Antioch, of course.

EA said...

"That being said, Catholics don't have to pick "the right infallible interpreter," there is only one.
"


So say the Mormons as well.

steve said...

CathApol said...

"Simple, while we do not deny private judgment - it is not private judgment that we rely upon. Yes, we make judgments and decisions all the time - but these cannot be contrary to what the Church has already judged or decided."

That's far from simple, since it turns on your prior judgment regarding the Roman church as the One True Church.

"Here you're asking a different question. No Protestant believes their denomination is infallible. The problem is that many Protestant denominations are at odds with each other..."

And the Roman church is just one more denomination at odds with other denominations.

"...and often on very fundamental grounds like the matter of Baptism."

Whether for not baptism is "fundamental" begs the question.

"...most do baptize - some don't."

That would be the Salvation Army and...who else?

"Some insist that baptism must be by immersion, others say sprinkling or pouring is fine."

Explain how that is "fundamental."

Ben m said...

Steve,

i) Your entire argument is vitiated by a systematic fallacy of equivocation. Paul isn't referring to the 21C Roman Catholic church.

And never to any Protestant churches! ;)

No, he is writing to the Church at Rome, which was Catholic, which has the tombs of SS. Peter and Paul, and which has been in continuous existence for 2000 years.

He is writing to, for, and about a set of 1C Christian fellowships in Rome.

Yes. These were the Catholic Christians of Rome - the original “Roman Catholics” if you will! And you are correct: Paul was “writing to, for, and about” theses Catholics at Rome. Paul’s words were addressed specifically to them. Romans is not one of the "Catholic Epistles".

ii) Paul's statement about crushing Satan isn't set in contrast to other Christians or other churches. He didn't frame that in exclusive language, as if this could only be true of the 1C congregations in Rome.

Paul did set his words in exclusive language as you yourself just noted! Did you not say that Paul was “writing to, for, and about” the ROMAN CHRISTIANS? That’s sounds rather exclusive does it not?

iii) The possessive pronoun ("your") in 16:20 has reference, not to the institutional church, but to the experience of some Roman Christians to whom Paul was writing. The prediction is a prediction of something which will happen to *them*. Those whom Paul singles out in Rom 16. Not something that's going to happen long after the original addressees are dead.

Surely you aren’t suggesting that the Roman Church had already crushed Satan in the 1st century?

What, prey tell, was the so-called “reformation” about if not that Satan was quite ACTIVE in the Roman Church? And this very blog talks incessantly about how Satan has been hard at work, focusing his efforts on the Roman Church from her very beginning, and continuing to this very day!

No, you can't weasel out of your argument that easily. You have anchored your Scriptural appeal to the city of *Rome*–to the exclusion of other localities.

Actually, it is the apostle who has done the anchoring to Rome, as we just saw.

Ben m said...

Moreover, it's totally duplicitous for you to isolate "Roman pride of place" from the papacy. As a Roman Catholic, these are inseparable. They rise and fall together.

Always the “papacy” with you guys! ;) But I’m not isolating anything; my argument is basically that Rome holds (and continues to hold) a special place in Scripture, whereas Protestantism does not, has not, and cannot!

Which just goes to show that you can't extrapolate from NT statements about NT churches to subsequent developments. You've undercut your own argument.

I can point to the early Church as witness to “subsequent developments.” Rome abides, is praised by the Fathers, termed the “Apostolic See” (a distinction no Protestant Church can ever have), and is appealed to by the early churches (east and west) for decisions on important matters.

What I see is an organization that employed coercion and deceit to cut in front of other churches and thereby gain an unfair competitive advantage. That's cheating. I also see a shortsighted organization that keeps reinventing itself because, like any merely human organization, it can't anticipate the future.

You see only the bad, real or imagined, and then exaggerate it. Augustine spoke of

“those who choose to blame, do so with so envious and perverse a mind, as to shut their eyes to the good, and exaggerate only the evils which either actually exist there, or are imagined.” On Ps. 100

Ben m said...

louis,

Actually it says that all the churches of Christ "greet you." Which is wholly unremarkable.

On the contrary, this greeting is quite remarkable! What Protestant church was ever greeted by “ALL the churches of Christ”? But more importantly, it’s remarkable simply because it is the very word of God, every jot and title of which is remarkable (see Matt 5:18

“ALL the churches of Christ”. There you have it. There is the New Testament pattern for the churches to follow.


But again, scripture uses similar language in many places. See 1 Cor. 1:2, for example: "To the church of God that is in Corinth... called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...." Now there it really does say that all the churches of Christ are in communion with the Corinthian church. That doesn't make Corinth the One True Church.

What? Corinth wasn’t a true church, whereas those of Wittenberg and Geneva were??


Take out "with Rome" and add "with Christ" instead, and this statement is true. Paul is speaking to the church; he is not granting any special privilege to Rome itself.

One cannot be “with Christ” and not be with his Church. And since Scripture praises the Roman Church, it’s clear that, for the early Christians at any rate, one could not have possibly been “with Christ” who had separated himself from communion with the holy Catholic Church at Rome.

Ben m said...

We're not talking about individuals here, but about institutions, churches.

I see. So now the Church is indeed an institution, and not just some conglomerate of warring sects!

Churches undoubtedly can have their "light" removed, if they don't continue to be faithful. See Revelation 2-3 for repeated statements of this.

Revelation also proves that Christ doesn’t abandon his Church, that he immediately intervenes to correct and preserve the faith, that without this constant intervention individual persons and churches cannot help but fall. Faithfulness therefore in not a function of some works-based religion of “private interpretation,” but solely of God’s providential protection.

He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:8.

God remains ever faithful to protect his Church.

i. Romans 16:20 has to be reconciled with Romans 11:22, and you have not done that.

Yet I have. And R16:20 trumps R11:22. You just refuse to accept it.

ii. Rom. 16:20 applies to all Christians. It is Christ who crushes satan under foot (Gen.3:15). All those in Christ share his victory.

If it applies to all Christians, it most assuredly must apply to Church to which it was written p the Roman Church! And yes, Christ crushes Satan, but he does so under the feet of the Roman Church. Indeed, Christ associates himself with the Roman Church in a unique way here!

This is the teaching of Scripture.

Ben m said...

PeaceByJesus,

You mean i can ascertain truth by prayerfully searching the Scriptures with a heart to obey God?

From what I’ve seen, clearly not! LOL

But if you really think you can “ascertain truth by prayerfully searching the Scriptures with a heart to obey God,” will grant this also to the Church Fathers, and to Church Doctors? And how about even to insignificant me?

As for ordering my thinking around that one verses, that is your error and is what has a hiss to it, as sound exegesis requires comparing Scripture with Scripture, “spiritual things with spiritual.” (1Cor. 2:13)

You folks will say anything to avoid the clear implications of Romans 16:20. Who’s saying that there aren’t other important verses to take into account??

But the reason I suggested you should order thinking around that verse is because it speaks to the one of the most important and dramatic events in the whole economy of salvation viz, the crushing of Satan! This verse is therefore of TREMENDOUS IMPORTANCE!

I might add also that it would be easy enough to show that it is Protestants who more than anyone order their thinking around one or two (a handful at the most) pet verses, usually from St. Paul.

First, the idea that the promise is a succession of churches with their base in the same geographical location as this church is absurd according to the Book of Romans itself as well as other texts!

There is not about a “succession of churches” but about a succession of bishops of the ONE Church. And in the unity of that ONE Church, Rome just happens to hold the primacy.

This is not the Old Covenant but the new, and it is not physical or formal lineage that establishes one as a true man of God nor a body as the one true church (OTC), but Abrahamic-type faith in the apostolic gospel of grace. And which is not one that makes works meritorious for salvation, as per Rome, but is a righteousness imputed by faith.

In neither the OT nor the NT are individuals true men of God through lineage. That’s never been the issue.

The issue is that there is only ONE Church in the New Covenant, and this ONE Church is spread all over the world, with all the branch churches united in the bond of peace with each other. But now Scripture also teaches that all these worldwide local churches (“all the churches of Christ”) salute the Roman Church, which is the most eminent of all the local churches.

This is the Scriptural pattern for Churches of the New Covenant. Those who separate from her are not righteous, but are heretics and schismatics.

Ben m said...

The error of Rome corresponds to that of the Pharisees, who presumed that physical lineage and formal rituals established authenticity. (Jn. 8:39)

No. What establishes authenticity is Scripture, which attests to the purity and primacy of the Roman faith and of Rome's destiny to crush Satan, and also to God’s promise to send the Holy Spirit to be with his Church to guide and protect her till the end of time.

In addition, we have the witness of history, the witness of the Fathers, which speaks of the primacy of the apostolic See – the Roman Church.

But that there is in fact a geographical aspect to the Christian faith is recognized even by Protestants, even if they don't fully appreciate the significance of their own words.

Commenting on Romans 1:8, John Wesley says:

"And the goodness and wisdom of God established faith in the chief cities; in Jerusalem and Rome particularly; that from thence it might be diffused to all nations."

Commenting on the same passage, another Protestant, very highly respected, John Murray, writes:

“And this passage shows that with the diffusion of the gospel went also the report of the faith of the believers at Rome
Source.

Rm. 16:20 is not unique to the Roman believers…

In fact it is! See my comments above about the Catholic Epistles. Again, Rom 16:20 must include the Roman Church, for it is that Church to which it was written!

This unique statement is found only once in the NT. No other local church receives such a particular and explicit promise as this.

PeaceByJesus said...

Yes, we make judgments and decisions all the time - but these
cannot be contrary to what the Church has already judged or decided.


And the one who holds to the supremacy of Scripture does the same,
but proving all things by the only objective source which is assuredly
infallible - the Scriptures.

Your premise is that Rome provides
certainty and eliminates confusion resulting from doing as the noble
Bereans did, even though fallible human reasoning (FHR) and private
interpretation (PI ) must be used.

However,

1. Not all Roman Catholic teachings is infallible and thus can require assent of faith, for as non-infallible teachings of the
Ordinary and General magisteriums may contain error, even if not salvific, then you can disagree with them to a certain degree.

2. The status of all Roman Catholic teaching is not clear, for while some are, many are not, and you cannot be certain how many there are, as there is no infallible list of all infallible teaching.

3. Infallible teaching as well as non-infallible teachings require some interpretation (as does deciding which ones do and to what extent) , a reality which has been abundantly evidenced. This report today is one example.

4. As very little of the Bible has been infallibly defined, the Roman Catholic Bible interpreter has the liberty to adopt any interpretation of a passage that is not excluded with certainty by other passages of Scripture, or by the judgment of the magisterium, or the Church Fathers, or by the analogy of faith — all of which is subject to interpretation That is a great deal of liberty.

5. Roman Catholics widely disagree with each other and the church,
including official teaching and which is implicitly allowed, and even more so on certain core moral and doctrinal issues that evangelicals.

And her official unity is not necessarily any greater than that of any one single Protestant denomination, while unity itself is not the goal of the Godly.

How do you know you’ve
picked the right infallible interpreter?


Here you're asking a different question. No Protestant believes
their denomination is infallible. The problem is that many Protestant
denominations are at odds with each other and often on very fundamental grounds like the matter of Baptism;

That being said, Catholics don't have to pick "the right infallible interpreter," there is only one.

It actually is the issue, as the question is how, upon what basis, is one to ascertain who the assuredly infallible magisterium is?

PeaceByJesus said...

Rom 16:20 must include the Roman Church, for it is that Church to which it was written!

Of course it includes the Roman church. The issue is that it is a promise to all who continue in the faith, else the other texts would be a lie.

This unique statement is found only once in the NT. No other local church receives such a particular and explicit promise as this.

As we shall see, both the particular aspect as well as the hermeneutic is a problem. I have already showed you that the historical argument in invalid, while argument here rests upon Rome in particular being given this promise.

However, the word for "your" (G2257) as in "your feet" is the exact same word as "our" right below it, as in "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." And the "you" at the end is different.

This word is used 4 other times in the N.T. all translated rightly as "ours" in the Roman Catholic DRB as well as the KJV (which two Bible are almost always in concurrence).

In contrast, the word translated "you" (G5216) occurs 360 times in the KJV as "you" or "your" (incld. Rm. 1:8).

Moreover, the word for "shall" is not in the Greek in 16:20, and "bruse" just measn "broken," "bruise, etc. (AndG1161 theG3588 GodG2316 of peaceG1515 shall bruiseG4937 SatanG4567) Thus the DRB renders this a prayer, "And the God of peace crush Satan under your feet speedily."

I do not know what the liberal (as critical Catholics complain) NAB says, but that is irrelevant.

Perhaps a reason can be found to use "shall" and "your" rather than "our," but this would still not be a promise only to these believers.

Furthermore, i am sure this has not been infallibly defined, but is a product of your FHR (Fallible Human Reasoning), and as such, would serve to justify Rome's interpretation of 1Pt. 1:20, although she misinterprets that herself.

But if you want to use your hermeneutic to exalt one church as head due to a possible promise of questionable uniqueness, there is another one the Lord showed me which we can only imagine how you might react to if it was in the letter to the Romans.

Turning to the letter to the Ephesians, cp. 3, we see that.

19 "ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

21: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The "ye" in v. 19 is not there, but it is in v. 22, and thus this could be construed to mean this unique pertained to the Ephesian church. However, as with Rm. 16:20, it is not unique, but pertains to all who believe on the Lord Jesus unto His coming.

May we all do so, by and in His grace, and to His glory

steve said...

Ben m said...

“And never to any Protestant churches! ;)”

The fact that Paul isn’t referring to either the modern church of Rome or Protestant denominations does nothing to salvage your argument. It’s just a transparent decoy on your part.

“No, he is writing to the Church at Rome, which was Catholic, which has the tombs of SS. Peter and Paul, and which has been in continuous existence for 2000 years.”

i) Dubious historical claims.

ii) None of which you can prooftext from Rom 16. It’s a typical bait-n-switch tactic on the part of a slithery Catholic epologist.

Paul says nothing about the state of Roman church 2000 years later.

iii) And even if a denomination by that name had a continuous history, that wouldn’t make it the same institution. You might as well say Boston is the same city that Puritans founded in 1630. But, of course, that would be a massive equivocation, considering the drastic differences in population, religion, demographics, economics, &c.

Just for starters, no one living at the time Boston was founded is alive today. There’s been a complete turnover.

Likewise, you could say the Dallas Cowboys has been around since 1960 (or earlier), but the Dallas Cowboys in 2010 is a whole new team, new coach. The works.

Same thing with the church of Rome. No one Paul was writing to in Rom 16 is still here, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Likewise, there are major differences in doctrine and polity.

“Yes. These were the Catholic Christians of Rome…”

Another fatal equivocation. They aren’t “Catholic” Christians of Rome. Rather, they are simply Roman Christians.

“…the original ‘Roman Catholics’ if you will!”

Your argument is strung on a chain of equivocal links. You can’t act as if 1C Roman Christians are interchangeable with Medieval Catholics, Tridentine Catholics, or post-Vatican II Catholics.

“Paul’s words were addressed specifically to them.”

And other Pauline letters are also addressed specifically to their recipients.

“Paul did set his words in exclusive language as you yourself just noted! Did you not say that Paul was ’Writing to, for, and about’ the ROMAN CHRISTIANS? That’s sounds rather exclusive does it not?”

I see that you’re slow on the uptake. So I guess we have to spell it out for you. NT writers often quote or allude to OT passages. Different NT writers may quote or allude to the same OT passage in different NT books.

The fact that a Bible writer is addressing a specific audience doesn’t mean his Biblical citation can’t apply to other Christians.

The question is not whether OT passages often apply to Christians of all stripes. The question, rather, is whether statements in a letter written to the 1C church of Rome (or, to be more precise, a set of autonomous Roman congregations) can be automatically extended to a denomination (i.e. the Roman Catholic church) in the 21C.

Put another way, to say that various OT and NT passages apply to Christians generally doesn’t mean the same passages apply to apostate denominations like the current church of Rome.

“Surely you aren’t suggesting that the Roman Church had already crushed Satan in the 1st century?”

i) You suffer from a lack of reading comprehension. I didn’t apply it to the “Roman Church.” Rather, Paul is addressing Roman Christians in Rom 16. He applies the passage to their situation. Not to an abstract institution, but concrete, timebound individuals.

steve said...

Cont. ii) And, yes, he’s telling them that this promise will come true in their lives. It doesn’t skip over the very audience to whom Paul addressed the promise.

You, by contrast, have upended the promise so as to bypass the promisees in Rom 16, transferring it to an institution, and, what is more, postponing its realization until long after the stated promisees were dead and buried. That isn’t exegesis.

“What, prey tell, was the so-called “reformation” about if not that Satan was quite ACTIVE in the Roman Church?”

You continue to play the same shellgame over the identity of the Roman church. Are you terminally obtuse? Is that you’re problem?

“Actually, it is the apostle who has done the anchoring to Rome, as we just saw.”

In which case it can’t be anchored in Avignon.

“Always the ‘papacy’ with you guys! ;) But I’m not isolating anything; my argument is basically that Rome holds (and continues to hold) a special place in Scripture, whereas Protestantism does not, has not, and cannot!”

i) Except that you use “Rome” as a cipher which you redefine at will.

ii) The Christian faith isn’t tied to a place. Jn 4:23-24.

iii) Roman Christians like Priscilla and Aquila lived in different places. It’s not as they left the promise behind if they had to move elsewhere.

“I can point to the early Church as witness to ‘subsequent developments.’”

Once again, the Catholic bait-n-switch. Pretend to ground your position in Scripture, but immediately switch to extrascriptural appeals. So you tacitly admit that your appeal to Rom 16 is bogus. In fact, you can’t get what you need from Rom 16.

“Rome abides, is praised by the Fathers…”

The church fathers aren’t St. Paul. They can’t speak for St. Paul.

“…termed the ‘Apostolic See’ (a distinction no Protestant Church can ever have)”

A distinction of no consequence.

“…and is appealed to by the early churches (east and west) for decisions on important matters.”

Of course, the church fathers make no claims for the Medieval church of Rome, or the Tridentine church of Rome, or the post-Vatican II church of Rome.

“You see only the bad, real or imagined, and then exaggerate it.”

And given your institutional mindset, of you were 1C Jew, you’d defend the decision of the Sanhedrin to execute Jesus.