Friday, April 08, 2011

A Different Perspective on Trueman & Romanism

Food for thought: Carl Trueman & A Need For A Contemporary Polemic Against Romanism.

41 comments:

Pilgrimsarbour said...

This is what I posted over on Ron's site:

In his original article which got this whole ball rolling, I think Dr. Trueman intended to convey to us some reasons that Catholic converts give for moving Romeward. It wasn't his intention in the article to go beyond what those folks had stated to him, though TurretinFan missed that in his post and added a number of other "reasons" of his own--none with which a Catholic would agree. The whole "I love idolatry" is a bit over the top as a generalisation, in my view. Catholics insist, for example, that they don't worship Mary and that the (dead) Saints intercede for them. Whatever the practices of individual Catholics, official RCC doctrine does not recognise prayer to the Saints (or Mary) as worship. All I am suggesting is that we speak out to them that it looks like worship to us, but understand that they don't see it that way. If they said, "Yes, we worship the Saints," then I'd say we have real problems with that and solid Scriptural evidence to back us up.

Regarding a need for a contemporary polemic against Romanism, as much as my Catholic friends would protest, things do and have changed within that communion. If certain practices have changed, for example, not eating meat on Fridays, there would have to be a constituent doctrinal basis for the change, wouldn't that be true?

Christ's Church has always had to face the same old tired errors and heresies afresh for each generation. I am convinced that nothing in this life will be fully resolved in this regard, and Trueman's call for new works and fresh approaches, in my view, only echoes the reality that Christ's Church finds herself in from generation to generation. I don't believe it is a lack of comprehension or ignorance on Trueman's part that moves him; no, it's the recognition that when it comes to sin, error and heresy, everything old is new again for Christ's Church until He comes in glory.

Blessings in Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

Ken said...

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2011/04/carl-truemans-reasons-for-moving.html

Turretinfan did not mean that people knowingly think and say "I love idolatry", but rather that the sinful heart of humans, as Calvin said, "is an idol factory", and backed up in Scripture; - the sinful heart of man loves idols and clings to them, but the man is decieved and thinks, "I am not an idolater", but in reality they are.

The root of my gluttony is loving the pleasure of food so much that it has become an idol that has replaced my love of God, so that when a conflict comes, when I choose food over pleasing God, that is an idol. Colossians 3:5 ". . . covetousness/greed, which amounts to idolatry". Philippians 3:19, "whose god is their stomach"(cf. Romans 16:18); Ezekiel 14:3-6 - "they set up idols in their hearts."

They want something they can control. Aaron said to the children of Israel, "behold (the golden calf) this is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt" (you can see and touch and feel him now)- Exodus 32:1-4 ff. So, being able to feel and touch and see the relics and statues and icons and other "devotional helps" is really idolatry; but the RC or former Protestant doesn't see it; he or she is deceived.

Officially, they say "no"; but in reality, they are involved in idolatry with worshiping the bread and wine and prayers to Mary, etc.

Turretinfan said...

"The whole "I love idolatry" is a bit over the top as a generalisation, in my view."

I think you haven't thought carefully about it.

A. Is what they do idolatry?

B. Do they love what they do?

-TurretinFan

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I think a sign of not thinking carefully, for example, is ascribing to all Catholics the idea that they worship saints. Trueman's call is to interact with real Catholic teaching on this matter, not invent opinions based solely upon our speculative observations. The catechism does not support the idea that Catholics are to worship saints.

A. Is what they do idolatry?

Perhaps in some cases, yes (esp. Latin America), but not as a matter of RCC dogma.

B. Do they love what they do?

I suppose most do. Not everyone from any communion is fully engaged 100%.

Carl says this...

The Catechism is pretty careful on such and we need to be careful to accuse Catholicism of sins it does commit rather than those we merely think it commits. And we must distinguish between official teaching and what individual Catholics may do or believe.

In addition, we need to

...understand Catholicism on its own terms as a necessary prerequisite to offering a compelling argument to waverers as to why Protestantism is better.

Do you disagree with these prerequisites?

Turretinfan said...

"I think a sign of not thinking carefully, for example, is ascribing to all Catholics the idea that they worship saints."

Really? Great to know what you think.

"Trueman's call is to interact with real Catholic teaching on this matter, not invent opinions based solely upon our speculative observations."

There's plenty of "real Romanist teaching" to interact with, without inventing opinions etc. That real teaching includes teaching commanding the worship of Mary and exhorting the worship of martyrs and saints.

"The catechism does not support the idea that Catholics are to worship saints."

Thanks for your opinion. However, your opinion is wrong.

See CCC 957 and 1173 regarding the veneration of martyrs.

See CCC 487, 971, 1172, 1370, 2043, 2146, 2177, 2675-79 regarding veneration of Mary.

See CCC 61 regarding the veneration of saints.

(and before you complain that not all of those entries use the word "veneration," please note that the index of the Catechism indicates that they relate to that topic)

I asked "Is what they do idolatry?"

You replied: "Perhaps in some cases, yes (esp. Latin America), but not as a matter of RCC dogma."

Again, you are wrong. Of course, they don't use the word "idolatry" to describe their own practices, but they make and bow down to statues (2nd commandment idolatry) and they give worship to Mary and other mere creatures (1st commandment idolatry). Moreover, they clearly ascribe divinity to and worship as God the bread in the Eucharist (first commandment idolatry).

In response to my question: "Do they love what they do?"

You replied: "I suppose most do. Not everyone from any communion is fully engaged 100%."

Thanks for that concession, at least. Why would they join in what they hated? I'm sure there are some whose consciences trouble them when they pray to Mary, but if they really loathed the idolatry of the mass, they wouldn't go to mass.

"The Catechism is pretty careful on such and we need to be careful to accuse Catholicism of sins it does commit rather than those we merely think it commits. And we must distinguish between official teaching and what individual Catholics may do or believe.

In addition, we need to

...understand Catholicism on its own terms as a necessary prerequisite to offering a compelling argument to waverers as to why Protestantism is better.

Do you disagree with these prerequisites?"

Yes, of course those are helpful aids to a proper rebuttal of Romanism.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

So, let me ask you this more narrowly:

A. Is it the sin of idolatry to worship a piece of bread as though it is God?

B. Do Romanists do that?

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"1) Idolatry is by definition an internal phenomenon: God has been replaced with something else in one's heart and allegiance."

One problem with that claim is that the commenter has the wrong definition of idolatry. There can be an idolatry of that sort, but that is a tertiary sense of the term. The term primarily refers to worshiping by use of images. The term secondarily refers to the worshiping of gods other than God. The term has a tertiary sense that corresponds to what your commenter is talking about. Of course, he would like that to be the only sense, but c'est la vie.

"2) Catholics are not replacing God with anything else at the Mass, since we believe that the bread and wine are no longer there."

Wishing that the bread and wine are God (and even sincerely and zealous believing it) doesn't make it so. And I suspect that deep down a lot of those in the Roman communion realize that the hocus pocus of the priest hasn't worked a miracle.

But whether they believe it or not, that which the priest holds represents God, it is not God. And consequently, as a matter of objective fact, they are worshiping a mere creature, as though that creature were God. (which is idolatry of the first commandment variety - the secondary sense of the term)

"3) We are worshiping God at Mass, not bread and wine, by the very definition of transubstantiation (itself a doctrine so maligned and despised by many non-Catholic Christians)."

This is just a repetition of the allegations at (2). God is not subject to their definitions. The Truth is outside and beyond them.

"4) If anyone (I speak rhetorically) is confusing bread and wine with God, it is Lutheranism, since they think that both are literally present together after consecration. But they, too, would say they worship God, not bread and wine, and thus, are unfairly accused of idolatry (though Calvin accused Luther and Lutherans of precisely that)."

If Lutherans are also idolaters, that does not excuse those in the Roman communion.

And, of course, these comments fail to deal with the primary, obvious sense of idolatry, inasmuch as those in the Roman communion worship God by making images not only of Christ, but also of the Father and the Spirit.

Nor do these comments address the idolatry of offering to Mary, the martyrs, and the saints the honor and glory that is due to God alone (such as by offering prayers to them, seeking the intercession of them or of their merits, or the like).

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

James Swan:

Rome takes sin extremely seriously. He'd probably have to do at least three extra hail mary's for that kind of sin.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"But I understand what you're saying. You really don't care what I think. That's all right."

That's not actually the case, just so you know. It's just that your thinking things about the situation isn't very persuasive to me. I do appreciate that you took the time to comment, even though your comment took the form of disagreement.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr. Fan. I am afraid that your argumentation suffers from a bit of inconsistency. Let's try to clarify things.

First, in regards to your definition of idolatry, I am afraid that your definition is the definition is in error. You claim that the primary definition of idolatry is worshipping by use of images. Please show me where in the Scriptures that is the primary definition. For that matter, I would settle for any dictionary in existence that has your definition as a primary definition.

Second, your definition fails because as human beings, we can only communicate through images created by word, print, or our hands. All attempts to interact with God is by making use of those images. Bound by flesh, we can not escape the human filter. Thus, according to your definition of idolatry we should not attempt to worship Him at all because the only way we can worship Him is through the use of symbols, analogy and metaphors. If your iconclasm goes that far, you had better tell James White to purge the Alpha and Omega symbol from his website and scratch out the word "Holy" off all of your bibles.

As for your objection about Catholics worshipping the Eucharist, your argument is similarly muddled. Am I to understand that if Christ is really present in the Eucharist, you think that it would be sinful to adore Him in the Eucharist? Or is your argument merely resting on the notion that Christ is not present in the Catholic Eucharist, only in the Protestant version? Assuming for the moment that Jesus Christ is really and substantially present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist why should we not worship Him there? As St. Augustine wrote in Ennarations on Psalms 98, not only do we not sin in adoring Christ present in the Eucharist, we do sin by not adoring Him there.

Finally, how is the honor we show Mary and the saints any different than calling yourself the fan (idolizer) of Turreitini and adopting his avatar in lieu of your real face? I worship Mary no more than you worship Turrettini. I honor her and the saints, but I do not worship them. Not all honoring constitutes worship. if that were the case, we had better pull down the Statue of Libery, scratch Washington's face off of the quarter, and rename ourselve after numbers instead of saints. More importantly, we had better delete the Fourth Commandment from our Bibles, After all one could misconstrue the honor we show our parents as worship.

TF, you can mislabel the honor and veneration we show our saints all you want, but you can never transbustantiate that veneration into worship of them.

God bless!

Ken said...

לַהֲדֹם
= לַ"L" = "at"; הֲדֹם = "hadom" = footstool. Psalm 99:5 and 9 - both have the "L" preposition. "at the footstool of His feet" and "at His holy hill". לְהַר

"L" = "at"; הַר = "har" = hill

Augustine's sermon on Psalm 98 is Psalm 99 in English.

He didn't know Hebrew (as even Augustine admitted in his disputes with Jerome; and He didn't like Greek, as he also admitted, and he did not know Greek very well either. He and Tertullian before him contributed a lot of good things, but the reliance upon Latin rather than the original languages of the God-breathed Scriptures was a devastating mistake for the Church in history.); it is obvious - God does not say "Worship His footstool for His feet"; rather it says "worship [the Lord] at His footstool for His feet." Worship the Lord at His holy hill. ie "at the temple" or "at or in the earth, on the hill, the temple", etc.

Anyway,
1. Augustine was wrong on Psalm 99 - the Hebrew is clearer than his commentary. Hence, again; the great need for the Reformation and the clarity it brought in separating the good of Augustine from his mistakes and extra biblical traditions.

2. Augustine did not mean any transubstantiation type of doctrine or literally bowing before bread and wine as if they had become Christ - nowhere does he say this kind of thing. He just says that since Christ is both God and man (His human nature is "of the earth"), then it is appropriate to worship Him - which Protestants do without the transubstantiation idolatry and genuflecting, etc. - He is in heaven sitting at the right hand of God the Father; He is not in the bread or wine. The bread and wine are symbols/representations of His once for all sacrifice for sin.

Turretinfan said...

"I am afraid that your argumentation suffers from a bit of inconsistency."

Let's see if you demonstrate any inconsistency (that is to say, if you back up your claim).

"Let's try to clarify things."

Things weren't unclear, even if they weren't to your liking. Let's see if your arguments add clarity, however.

"First, in regards to your definition of idolatry, I am afraid that your definition is the definition is in error."

I'm not surprised that you would take such a position, but your position lacks merit.

"You claim that the primary definition of idolatry is worshipping by use of images. Please show me where in the Scriptures that is the primary definition. For that matter, I would settle for any dictionary in existence that has your definition as a primary definition."

All you are doing here is asking a question. You haven't added any clarity, nor have you actually demonstrated any inconsistency.

"Second, your definition fails because as human beings, we can only communicate through images created by word, print, or our hands. All attempts to interact with God is by making use of those images. Bound by flesh, we can not escape the human filter. Thus, according to your definition of idolatry we should not attempt to worship Him at all because the only way we can worship Him is through the use of symbols, analogy and metaphors. If your iconclasm goes that far, you had better tell James White to purge the Alpha and Omega symbol from his website and scratch out the word "Holy" off all of your bibles."

Your objection here (notice you still haven't identified any inconsistency in the argument), is premised on your faulty understanding of the term "images." You've wrongly defined that term, and it is only your wrong definition of the term that leads to the absurd results you posit.

"As for your objection about Catholics worshipping the Eucharist, your argument is similarly muddled."

a) You haven't shown that any of the other arguments are muddled. If you showed that this argument was muddled, it would be your first such demonstration.

b) Let's see if you do demonstrate that the argument is muddled.

"Am I to understand that if Christ is really present in the Eucharist, you think that it would be sinful to adore Him in the Eucharist?"

a) Again, a question.

b) And, no, that's not what I said. What I said was wrong was to worship bread as though that bread were God. It's a remarkably simply argument, not one lacking in clarity.

[cont'd in part 2]

Turretinfan said...

[cont'd from part 1]

"Or is your argument merely resting on the notion that Christ is not present in the Catholic Eucharist, only in the Protestant version?"

a) Again, another question.

b) And again, a question that misstates the issue. The issue is whether the bread has become Christ, not whether Christ is "present in the Eucharist." If the bread had become Christ, everything would be fine. You could legitimately worship Christ as Christ. But instead, you are worshiping bread as Christ. This should not be hard for you to grasp.

"Assuming for the moment that Jesus Christ is really and substantially present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist why should we not worship Him there?"

See above. If what was bread had really become God, you would not be worshiping bread, and therefore the objection would be moot.

"As St. Augustine wrote ... "

We'll debate what Augustine wrote another time.

"Finally, how is the honor we show Mary and the saints any different than calling yourself the fan (idolizer) of Turreitini and adopting his avatar in lieu of your real face?"

Even if this were true, it wouldn't show my argument to be inconsistent or unclear. At best it would prove me a hypocrite. And if I prayed "hail turretins" in my daily devotions, you would have a legitimate excuse.

"I worship Mary no more than you worship Turrettini. I honor her and the saints, but I do not worship them. Not all honoring constitutes worship. if that were the case, we had better pull down the Statue of Libery, scratch Washington's face off of the quarter, and rename ourselve after numbers instead of saints. More importantly, we had better delete the Fourth Commandment from our Bibles, After all one could misconstrue the honor we show our parents as worship."

Not all honor constitutes worship, and yet that doesn't mean that your religious veneration of Mary (assuming you follow your church's teachings, which I don't know) isn't worship.

"TF, you can mislabel the honor and veneration we show our saints all you want, but you can never transbustantiate that veneration into worship of them."

And that rhetorical flourish on your part marks the end of your arguments. Your arguments failed either to identify any inconsistency or to clarify the matters.

As for your question regarding the meaning of idolatry, may I suggest you begin to enlighten yourself by examining the definitions of its root words eidolon and latreia.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Reverend Temple: Here is Ennarations 98(99):8 in its entirety:

"O magnify the Lord our God” Psalm 98:5. Magnify Him truly, magnify Him well. Let us praise Him, let us magnify Him who has wrought the very righteousness which we have; who wrought it in us, Himself. For who but He who justified us, wrought righteousness in us? For of Christ it is said, “who justifies the ungodly.” Romans 4:5 ...“And fall down before His footstool: for He is holy.” What are we to fall down before? His footstool. What is under the feet is called a footstool, in Greek ὑ ποπόδιον, in Latin Scabellum or Suppedaneum. But consider, brethren, what he commands us to fall down before. In another passage of the Scriptures it is said, “The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool.” Isaiah 66:1 Does he then bid us worship the earth, since in another passage it is said, that it is God's footstool? How then shall we worship the earth, when the Scripture says openly, “You shall worship the Lord your God”? Deuteronomy 6:13 Yet here it says, “fall down before His footstool:” and, explaining to us what His footstool is, it says, “The earth is My footstool.” I am in doubt; I fear to worship the earth, lest He who made the heaven and the earth condemn me; again, I fear not to worship the footstool of my Lord, because the Psalm bids me, “fall down before His footstool.” I ask, what is His footstool? And the Scripture tells me, “the earth is My footstool.” In hesitation I turn unto Christ, since I am herein seeking Himself: and I discover how the earth may be worshipped without impiety, how His footstool may be worshipped without impiety. For He took upon Him earth from earth; because flesh is from earth, and He received flesh from the flesh of Mary. And because He walked here in very flesh, and gave that very flesh to us to eat for our salvation; and no one eats that flesh, unless he has first worshipped: we have found out in what sense such a footstool of our Lord's may be worshipped, and not only that we sin not in worshipping it, but that we sin in not worshipping. But does the flesh give life? Our Lord Himself, when He was speaking in praise of this same earth, said, “It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing.”...But when our Lord praised it, He was speaking of His own flesh, and He had said, “Except a man eat My flesh, he shall have no life in him.” John 6:54 Some disciples of His, about seventy, were offended, and said, “This is an hard saying, who can hear it?” And they went back, and walked no more with Him. It seemed unto them hard that He said, “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, you have no life in you:” they received it foolishly, they thought of it carnally, and imagined that the Lord would cut off parts from His body, and give unto them; and they said, “This is a hard saying.” It was they who were hard, not the saying; for unless they had been hard, and not meek, they would have said unto themselves, He says not this without reason, but there must be some latent mystery herein. They would have remained with Him, softened, not hard: and would have learned that from Him which they who remained, when the others departed, learned. For when twelve disciples had remained with Him, on their departure, these remaining followers suggested to Him, as if in grief for the death of the former, that they were offended by His words, and turned back. But He instructed them, and says unto them, “It is the Spirit that quickens, but the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63 Understand spiritually what I have said; you are not to eat this body which you see; nor to drink that blood which they who will crucify Me shall pour forth. I have commended unto you a certain mystery; spiritually understood, it will quicken. Although it is needful that this be visibly celebrated, yet it must be spiritually understood.

TBC

Paul Hoffer said...

cont.

Now I think it is great that you own a fancy Hebrew dictionary and all, but I think I will rely on the Scriptures themselves if that is o.k with you.

Isaiah 66:1: "Thus says the LORD: The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool."

Our Lord and Savior Jesus himself states at Mt. 5:34-35: "But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God's throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King."

St. Stephen before his martyrdom repeats the words of the prophet at Acts 7:49: "'The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool. What kind of house can you build for me? says the Lord, or what is to be my resting place?'"

Now I realize that there are passages that also talk about the Ark of the Covenant being the footstool of God (1 Chron. 28:2; Psalm 132:1), but again the Ark is a created thing, thus Augustine's argument does not falter. That said, if Jesus, Our Lord, says the earth is God's footstool, then I will accept his "opinion" over your fancy dictionary. It is truly distressing to me that you would go to such lengths to refute the Catholic position that you would rely upon a Hebrew dictionary over the Word of God itself. I will pray that God remove that sort of bigotry from your heart.

As for the second part of your argument, I have put Augustine's words up here for all to see. You may fashion an argument over how Real of a Presence he believed was present in the Eucharist here, but what you can't argue about is that he was talking about something else.

Thus, if God truly is in the Eucharist as Augustine writes, then it is entirely appropriate for us to bow down and worship Him there. Now, Mr. Fan doesn't disagree with that view; what he disagrees with in responding to my questions is a secondary issue of whether He is present in the Eucharist. That is a separate argument altogether. Thank you for clarifying that Mr. Fan!

I will try to respond to Mr. Fan's comments more directly but I have a great deal of homework to get done first.

God bless!

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I regret that I have forgotten the rule about not mentioning the name, or quoting from, a certain Catholic e-pologist on this site. By way of explanation, I was zealous to hear what a Catholic had to say in addition to what non-Catholics have to say about issues surrounding the eucharist and the veneration of saints.

(And all the Reformed folks say) "Pick another Catholic."

Paul Hoffer said...

I wrote: "I am afraid that your argumentation suffers from a bit of inconsistency."

You wrote: Let's see if you demonstrate any inconsistency (that is to say, if you back up your claim).

I respond: The inconsistency of your postings is that you give the impression that you agree with your fellow Protestant writers who would deny that it is appropriate to adore the Eucharist when in fact you only deny that Christ is present in the Catholic version of the Eucharist. Otherwise, you would agree that it is appropriate to render the Eucharist adoration.

I wrote: "First, in regards to your definition of idolatry, I am afraid that your definition is the definition is in error."

"You claim that the primary definition of idolatry is worshipping by use of images. Please show me where in the Scriptures that is the primary definition. For that matter, I would settle for any dictionary in existence that has your definition as a primary definition."

You responded with: “All you are doing here is asking a question. You haven't added any clarity, nor have you actually demonstrated any inconsistency.”

I respond: I wrote “let’s try to clarify things.” I never said that I was providing the clarification, I was asking you to provide it. The clarity I sought is the source for your claim that the “primary definition” of idolatry is ‘worshipping by use of images.’ I am not aware of any biblical text or dictionary that supports your designation of primacy to your opinion.

I wrote: "Second, your definition fails because as human beings, we can only communicate through images created by word, print, or our hands. All attempts to interact with God is by making use of those images. Bound by flesh, we can not escape the human filter. Thus, according to your definition of idolatry we should not attempt to worship Him at all because the only way we can worship Him is through the use of symbols, analogy and metaphors. If your iconclasm goes that far, you had better tell James White to purge the Alpha and Omega symbol from his website and scratch out the word "Holy" off all of your bibles."

You responded: “Your objection here (notice you still haven't identified any inconsistency in the argument), is premised on your faulty understanding of the term "images." You've wrongly defined that term, and it is only your wrong definition of the term that leads to the absurd results you posit.”

I reply: And I note that you still haven’t provided any citation to any source that suggests that your definition of idolatry is the primary one to be given to the term either by Scripture or any standard dictionary. As to the inconsistency in your argument, it is this-image can be understood either as a picture or phyical representation of a person or object or as a symbol, represention, idea or concept of a person or thing. The image of the Alpha and Omega brand on James White’s website is just as much of an image of Christ as the Eucharist is for Catholics. Accordingly, how is my definition of image absurd?

I wrote: "As for your objection about Catholics worshipping the Eucharist, your argument is similarly muddled."

You responded: a) You haven't shown that any of the other arguments are muddled. If you showed that this argument was muddled, it would be your first such demonstration.

I reply: I beg to differ but perhaps I could be wrong if you are able to supply that biblical citation or dictionary definition showing that your definition of idolatry is the primary definition.

TBC.

Paul Hoffer said...

Cont.

You wrote: b) Let's see if you do demonstrate that the argument is muddled.

I reply: OK. : Let’s see if I can.

I wrote: "Am I to understand that if Christ is really present in the Eucharist, you think that it would be sinful to adore Him in the Eucharist?"

You wrote: a) Again, a question.

I reply: It is a question that highlights the ambiguity in your argument. Your argument could be either understood as 1) It is sinful for Catholics to adore the Eucharist because Jesus Christ is not present in their Eucharist. 2) It is sinful for anyone to adore the Eucharist even if Jesus Christ is really present in the Eucharist.

You wrote: “b) And, no, that's not what I said. What I said was wrong was to worship bread as though that bread were God. It's a remarkably simply argument, not one lacking in clarity.”

I reply: No your argument is not remarkably simple as it is premised on an enthymeme which you do explain now:

“The issue is whether the bread has become Christ, not whether Christ is "present in the Eucharist." If the bread had become Christ, everything would be fine. You could legitimately worship Christ as Christ. But instead, you are worshiping bread as Christ. This should not be hard for you to grasp.

“If what was bread had really become God, you would not be worshiping bread, and therefore the objection would be moot.

I wrote: "As St. Augustine wrote ... "

You responded: “We'll debate what Augustine wrote another time.”

I reply: I will be done with classes in less than a month.

I wrote: "Finally, how is the honor we show Mary and the saints any different than calling yourself the fan (idolizer) of Turreitini and adopting his avatar in lieu of your real face?"

You responded: Even if this were true, it wouldn't show my argument to be inconsistent or unclear. At best it would prove me a hypocrite. And if I prayed "hail turretins" in my daily devotions, you would have a legitimate excuse.

I reply: I chose not to label you as hypocritical. However, your argument is inconsistent as I perceive the honor you accord Turretin by adopting his name as your “handle” and his likeness as your avatar is quite similar in my mind to the honor we Catholics accord the saints and Mary. As for entreating with Messr. Turrettini, if you believe him to be in heaven and is capable to intercede for you with God as a fellow Christian, what objection could I make since I believe the same thing of Mary and our saints?

TBC.

Paul Hoffer said...

Cont.

I wrote: "I worship Mary no more than you worship Turrettini. I honor her and the saints, but I do not worship them. Not all honoring constitutes worship. if that were the case, we had better pull down the Statue of Libery, scratch Washington's face off of the quarter, and rename ourselve after numbers instead of saints. More importantly, we had better delete the Fourth Commandment from our Bibles, After all one could misconstrue the honor we show our parents as worship."

You responded: “Not all honor constitutes worship, and yet that doesn't mean that your religious veneration of Mary (assuming you follow your church's teachings, which I don't know) isn't worship.”

I reply: Of course, your view depends on how you choose to define worship. I do believe in the Catholic doctrine of the communion of saints and I do pray to Mary and the saints. However, such prayers and venerations are not acts of worship as taught by the Catholic Church or as I understand the terms. As an attorney, I certainly know that the word “prayer” has more than one level of meaning and the manner in which I worship Our God is certainly different than the veneration and honor I show a saint or even Mary. Other than in degree of formality and perhaps efficacy (since I do not know you personally), asking Mary or saint to pray for me is no different than asking you to pray for me. With respect to worship, regardless of your opinion of the Mass, there is simply no comparison between a Mass, which is the highest expression of communal worship for Catholics, which is offered only to God, and any saintly or Marian observance or devotion.

You responded: “Your arguments failed either to identify any inconsistency or to clarify the matters.”

I reply: I sought clarification from you and you provided it-thank you. As for identification of inconsistency, that depends on whether you can show me the primary definition of idolatry is “worshipping using images” rather than the “worship of images”. As for Catholics, we might pray in front of a statue or an icon. We do not pray to them. There is a big difference.

You wrote: “As for your question regarding the meaning of idolatry, may I suggest you begin to enlighten yourself by examining the definitions of its root words eidolon and latreia.”

I respond: And you might do well to look at the definition of “eidololatria” which means the worship of idols, and not an act of worship using images. You have changed the meaning of the word to fit your own personal notions of what idolatry is.

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer:

"The inconsistency of your postings is that you give the impression that you agree with your fellow Protestant writers who would deny that it is appropriate to adore the Eucharist when in fact you only deny that Christ is present in the Catholic version of the Eucharist. Otherwise, you would agree that it is appropriate to render the Eucharist adoration."

Let's say, for the sake of the argument, that what you have identified qualifies as an inconsistency. It is still not an inconsistency in my argument. It's an inconsistency between an impression you got (or are worried someone will get) and my actual position (according to you).

And, remarkably, you're still not properly characterizing my position. Perhaps I bear some of the responsibility for your ignorance on this matter, but I'm not sure how I could have been more clear.

For example, if what you are characterizing as "deny that it is appropriate to adore the Eucharist" is intended to mean "deny that it is appropriate to worship the bread of the Eucharist" then of course I agree with such a denial, and I think if you read back more carefully, you will see that I do.

Moreover, you wrote "you only deny that Christ is present in the Catholic version of the Eucharist" but in fact my argument did not hinge on the broad question of whether Christ is present at all or in any way in the Roman Eucharist, but whether the bread becomes Christ (i.e. whether there is transubstantiation).

Finally, as to "Otherwise, you would agree that it is appropriate to render the Eucharist adoration," well, of course - everyone who is Reformed would agree that if the bread really were miraculously transubstantiated into Christ, then Christ (no longer bread) should be worshiped. I hope you were not laboring under the misapprehension that we Reformed thought that one shouldn't worship Christ!

As you've posted so much, I'll have to respond in chunks, this being the first chunk. More to come, Lord willing.

Turretinfan said...

[continuing response to Mr. Hoffer]

"I wrote “let’s try to clarify things.” I never said that I was providing the clarification, I was asking you to provide it."

Oh, I see. I think I may be perfectly satisfied with the level of clarity in my original comments. I'm not sure I see the need for additional clarification.

"The clarity I sought is the source for your claim that the “primary definition” of idolatry is ‘worshipping by use of images.’ I am not aware of any biblical text or dictionary that supports your designation of primacy to your opinion."

I'm not sure I have time or interest to correct this particular defect of knowledge on your part.

"As to the inconsistency in your argument, it is this-image can be understood either as a picture or phyical representation of a person or object or as a symbol, represention, idea or concept of a person or thing. The image of the Alpha and Omega brand on James White’s website is just as much of an image of Christ as the Eucharist is for Catholics. Accordingly, how is my definition of image absurd?"

You've confused categories here.

1) Roman theology does not claim that the bread of the Eucharist is an image of Christ, it claims that it is Christ. The objectionable aspect of Eucharistic adoration is not that God is being worshiped by images, but that a creature (bread) is being worshiped as God (this is the secondary sense of idolatry according to the taxonomy I provided you - a violation of the first commandment, not the second commandment).

2) The bread of the Eucharist does (as a matter of Biblical theology) represent Christ (as does the word "Christ") but neither is an "image" in the sense used in this discussion. Do you really not understand what "image" means in the context of this discussion?

3) An example of idolatry in the primary (second commandment) sense in the Roman religion is the worshiping of Christ using crucifixes and similar images of him. Hopefully you can tell the difference between a crucifix and the word "Christ" or even the symbol of an Alpha and an Omega.

More to come, Lord Willing.

Ron DiGiacomo said...

PA,

Biblical precedent tells us that judgment upon sinful practices such as idolatry does not always require diagnostic inquiry into heart and profession. Practice alone can be sufficient in many cases to deem a practice sinful. Some might say it is possible for one to partake of the mass without committing idolatry - such as in the rare (even extreme hypothetical) case of an ignorant Protestant not knowing he was in a Roman service and consequently not knowing the import of the mass. Without getting into all the possible exceptions - let's be clear that when one actually confesses the bread and wine to be transbustantiated, the idolatrous of practice isn't thereby dismissed by such a profession - rather it's confirmed! Do catch this, PA. What is not of faith is sin. Faith is based upon revelation; so true faith is knowledge. There is no biblical revelation (knowledge) of the truth of the mass, which means that those who practice such idolatry are not getting their belief from God, which means their practice is not of faith, which means it is sin. Card carrying Romanists believe some absurd, dated philosophical notion in order to venerate something they have no basis to believe is the Lord. That, my brother, is idolatry. In the final analyses, worshipping bread and wine without a commandment to do so, or without God telling us that he is in the elements, is a gross idolatry and repugnant.

Turretinfan said...

[continuing response to Paul Hoffer]

You had asked: "Am I to understand that if Christ is really present in the Eucharist, you think that it would be sinful to adore Him in the Eucharist?"

I observed that this was a question, to which you responded: "It is a question that highlights the ambiguity in your argument."

Ambiguity, of course, is not inconsistency. Moreover, it appears that the question introduces its own ambiguity, rather than highlighting any ambiguity in my question.

"Your argument could be either understood as 1) It is sinful for Catholics to adore the Eucharist because Jesus Christ is not present in their Eucharist. 2) It is sinful for anyone to adore the Eucharist even if Jesus Christ is really present in the Eucharist."

Actually, my argument was pretty clear: worshiping bread as though it were God is first commandment idolatry (idolatry in the secondary sense in my taxonomy). Your options themselves introduce ambiguity, and neither of them accurately represents my position.

I had further replied: “b) And, no, that's not what I said. What I said was wrong was to worship bread as though that bread were God. It's a remarkably simply argument, not one lacking in clarity.”

You responded: "No your argument is not remarkably simple as it is premised on an enthymeme which you do explain now:"

a) My argument was this: "For example, the bread and wine are worshiped as though they are God." (see the article of mine for which Ken provided the URL above) That is remarkably simple. It takes real effort to make it ambiguous.

b) The argument isn't "premised on an enthymeme." If you want to say that the argument itself is an enthymeme, I think you're stretching. Clearly it's not a formal syllogism, however. A more formal syllogism would be:

P1) If one gives religious worship to any creature one engages in idolatry (in a secondary sense).

P2) Those in the Roman communion give religious worship to bread and wine.

C) Therefore, those in the Roman communion engage in idolatry.

More later, Lord Willing.

Turretinfan said...

[Continuing response to Paul Hoffer]

"However, your argument is inconsistent as I perceive the honor you accord Turretin by adopting his name as your “handle” and his likeness as your avatar is quite similar in my mind to the honor we Catholics accord the saints and Mary."

It's hard for me to accept your claim that my practices are "quite similar in [your] mind." However, not being a mind reader, I can't know for sure whether you really can't see the difference between what I do with respect to Turretin and what you do with respect to Mary.

"As for entreating with Messr. Turrettini, if you believe him to be in heaven and is capable to intercede for you with God as a fellow Christian, what objection could I make since I believe the same thing of Mary and our saints?"

a) If I did such a thing, you could accuse me of some form of hypocrisy, in that I was condemning in you what I myself do.

b) But, of course, since prayer ought only be given to God, I do not pray to Turretin, just as I exhort you not to do so (both to him and to anyone else who has passed on).

You wrote: "Of course, your view depends on how you choose to define worship."

Well, my argument depends on what constitutes worship, if that's what you mean. Most people seem to intuitively understand the difference between praying to Mary and calling up their friend on the phone or using someone's name as their pen name - even without a rigorously nuanced definition of the term.

You wrote: "I do believe in the Catholic doctrine of the communion of saints and I do pray to Mary and the saints."

I think the label you give to the doctrine is misleading, but I understand that it is not your personal label, but the label your church gives to it.

You wrote: "However, such prayers and venerations are not acts of worship as taught by the Catholic Church or as I understand the terms."

You don't use the label "worship." Of course, your church doesn't have an official position on the semantic range of the English word "worship." Your church does refer to the veneration of Mary as "cultus" (see Marialis Cultus, 1974, for example). That Latin word (from which we get our word "cult") is rightly translated as "worship," even though - for a variety of reasons - other words like "veneration" are often used to express its meaning in official Vatican translations.

You wrote: "As an attorney, I certainly know that the word “prayer” has more than one level of meaning and the manner in which I worship Our God is certainly different than the veneration and honor I show a saint or even Mary."

Yes, I'm aware of the distinctions that are made between the worship of latria and that of dulia or hyper-dulia. It's still worship, however.

To be continued, Lord willing.

dtking said...

The early Church father, Theodoret explains how idolatry is not merely linked to intent, but also to the act...

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466): What is the difference between “an idol” and “a likeness”?
An idol has no reality behind it, while a likeness is an image and representation of someone or something. So since the Greeks mold forms of non-existent beings, such as sphinxes, tritons, and centaurs, and the Egyptian dog-faced and bull-headed beings, he referred by “idols” to representations of the non-existent. By “likenesses” he meant images of things that do exist, like the sun and moon, the stars, human beings, animals, reptiles, and the like. He forbade them to bow down to or worship these, each prohibition being based on good reason. Since people sometimes bow down out of human respect without actually offering worship in their heart, he taught that both actions are idolatrous. Robert C. Hill, trans., Theodoret of Cyrus: The Questions on the Octateuch, Volume 1, On Genesis and Exodus, Questions on Exodus, Question 38 (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 2007) p. 285.
Greek text: Εἴδωλον καὶ ὁμοίωμα ποίαν ἔχει διαφοράν; Τὸ εἴδωλον οὐδεμίαν ὑπόστασιν ἔχει· τὸ δὲ ὁμοίωμα, τινός ἐστιν ἴνδαλμα καὶ ἀπείκασμα. ἐπειδὴ τοίνυν ἕλληνες ἀναπλάττουσι τὰς οὐχ ὑφεστώσας μορφάς, σφίγγας καὶ τρίτωνας καὶ κενταύρους· καὶ αἰγύπτιοι κυνοπρο σώπους καὶ βουκεφάλους, εἴδωλα καλεῖ τὰ τῶν οὐχ ὑφεστώτων μιμή ματα· ὁμοιώματα δὲ τὰ τῶν ὑφεστώτων εἰκάσματα, οἷον ἡλίου καὶ σελήνης, ἀστέρων, ἀνθρώπων, θηρίων, ἑρπετῶν, καὶ τῶν τούτοις παραπλη σίων. τούτοις κελεύει μήτε προσκυνεῖν, μήτε λατρεύειν. οὐχ ἁπλῶς δὲ ἀπαγορεύει ἀμφότερα· ἀλλ' ἐπειδὴ συμβαίνει τινὰς προσκυνῆσαι μὲν διὰ φόβον ἀνθρώπινον, οὐ μὴν καὶ λατρεῦσαι κατὰ ψυχήν, ἐδίδαξεν ὡς ἑκάτερον ἀσεβές. Quaestiones in Octateuchum, Quaestiones in Exodum, Caput XIX, Interrogatio XXXVIII, PG 80:264.

Paul Hoffer said...

Rev. King, I appreciate your insights, however, Catholics do not worship non-existent beings. We worship Christ Jesus under the appearances of bread and wine.

God bless!

dtking said...

...Catholics do not worship non-existent beings...

I am sorry that your reading skills are so challenged. If you had read Theodoret more carefully you would have noted that he includes images of human beings.

Moreover, while I'm at it here, Theodoret goes even further and notes that invoking angels was prohibited by the Council of Laodicea..

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

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

Romanists do invoke angels contrary to Scripture and many witnesses in the early church. Hence, Romanists are not "catholic" in this practice, to say the least.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Rev. King:

If Catholics worshipped human beings or angels or dog-faced entities, your argument would mean something to me. But Catholics do not worship Mary, saints, angels or any mere created thing. We worship the Holy Trinity including the Second Person of that Trinity-Christ Jesus-Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Without doing extensive research on the situation in Phrygia in Theodoret's day, I can not comment on the content or nature of the prayer those folks offered to angels. I suspect those folks were "Angelics" mentioned in the works of Origen and Epiphanius who said that we are not worthy to pray to Jesus so we should pray to and worship angels instead.

However, the nature of the intercessory prayers Catholics make today do not constitute worship as we are asking angels, Mary, saints to pray to God for us. Whatever power they have comes from the efficacy of their prayers, not from themselves. Please note that unlike Angelics, we Catholics do pray directly to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

[Concluding my response to Mr. Hoffer]

You wrote: "Other than in degree of formality and perhaps efficacy (since I do not know you personally), asking Mary or saint to pray for me is no different than asking you to pray for me."

I think most people recognize that there is a real and significant difference between communicating with the living and communicating with the departed..

You wrote: "With respect to worship, regardless of your opinion of the Mass, there is simply no comparison between a Mass, which is the highest expression of communal worship for Catholics, which is offered only to God, and any saintly or Marian observance or devotion."

There is a comparison. The mass takes place on the main (or "high") altar, whereas Marian devotion takes place on a side altar (in a typical Roman church).

"As for identification of inconsistency, that depends on whether you can show me the primary definition of idolatry is “worshipping using images” rather than the “worship of images”."

That doesn't seem logical. I need to educate you in order for my argument not to be inconsistent? That can't be right.

"As for Catholics, we might pray in front of a statue or an icon. We do not pray to them. There is a big difference."

What idolater is so foolish as to think that the idol is actually to be reverenced for itself and not for that which it represents? Only a child, one would think, would make such a mistake.

In Sermon 198, Augustine provides this comment from the (pagan) idolaters of his day: “We,” they say, “don’t adore images, but what is signified by the image.” Doesn't that sound just a little like your line?

You wrote: "And you might do well to look at the definition of “eidololatria” which means the worship of idols, and not an act of worship using images. You have changed the meaning of the word to fit your own personal notions of what idolatry is."

You began by claiming that you were asking a question because you were unaware of the definitions supporting my taxonomy. Now, you are (without substantiation) accusing me of changing the meaning of the word. That's a very interesting combination of approaches. Do you really, honestly believe that I came up with my own personal definition of idolatry?

-TurretinFan

Ron DiGiacomo said...

Paul,

Romanists will say they do not pray to Mary but rather they ask Mary to pray for them. They will also say they do not worship an image of Jesus (found in bread and wine) but rather they worship Jesus himself who becomes the elements. We get it.

The issue with respect to bread and wine is that there is no biblical basis to worship these elements because there is no biblical basis to believe that Jesus becomes bread and wine. But tabling those issues for argument’s sake (because we're not likely to agree unless someone abandons his core convictions), certainly you do not believe that statues become Jesus, yet Romanists have no problem kneeling before them, now do they? Is to knowingly kneel before a statue-likeness of Jesus while praying to God through the true Jesus a violation the Second Commandment? I’m sure you will say that such a practice is not necessarily sin, given that it's a common practice in Romanist rituals. However, would it have been acceptable for a Jew to kneel before a statue of Messiah prior to the incarnation while praying to God? If that would have been sin, then why may a Romanist do the same thing today? Please don’t tell me that it’s because modern day statues are a better likeness than what a Jew could have fashioned under Moses. Now if you wish to assert that a Jew prior to the incarnation was permitted to fashion a statue of Messiah and bow before it, then I’m willing to rest my case on the basis of your disregard for OT law and your arbitrariness.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello TF:

You wrote: Do you really, honestly believe that I came up with my own personal definition of idolatry?

I respond: If your primary definition of idolatry is worshipping using images, yes.

God bless!

dtking said...

Without doing extensive research on the situation in Phrygia in Theodoret's day, I can not comment on the content or nature of the prayer those folks offered to angels.

Yes, I underscore your admission that you do not know what you're talking about, but then proceed offer your uninformed suspicion any way. Romanists are not inclined to show restraint when it comes to their superstitious biases.

Your excursion into the heretical notions of the "angelics" is but a red herring as an attempt to dismiss the testimony of Theordoret as an ancient witness against the invocation of angels. Besides, Epiphanius of Salamis (310/320-403) informs us in his Anacephalaeosis that the sect of the Angelics had "entirely died out" by his day, and he preceded Theodoret in time. Moreover, Theodoret makes it clear that he was addressing people like today's Romanists, who have billboards along roads urging people to invoke the angel "St Michael."

The Council of Laodicea was clear...

Council of Laodicea (363-364 A.D.), Canon 35: Christians ought not to forsake the Church of God, and depart aside, and invocate (οὐνομάζω) angels, and make meetings, which are things forbidden. If any man therefore be found to give himself to this privy idolatry, let him be accursed, because he hath forsaken our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and betaken himself to idolatry. For translation, see James Ussher, An Answer to a Challenge Made by a Jesuit (Cambridge: J. & J. J. Deighton, 1835), p. 406.
Greek text: Ὅτι οὐ δεῖ Χριστιανοὺς ἐγκαταλείπειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ἀπιέναι, καὶ ἀγγέλους ὀνομάζειν, καὶ συνάξεις ποιεῖν, ἅπερ ἀπηγόρευται. Εἴ τις οὖν εὐρεθῇ ταύτῃ κεκρυμμένῃ εἰδωλολατρείᾳ σχολάζων, ἔστω ἀνάθεμα, ὅτι ἐγκατέλιπε τὸν Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ εἰδωλολατρείᾳ προσῆλθεν. Synodus Laodiciae, Canon XXXV.

According to this council, to invoke an angel was to call down upon one's self a curse (ἀνάθεμα), because that act itself is to have "forsaken our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and betaken himself to idolatry."

You see, this is only difficult for a Romanist to grasp because he presupposes his superstition because Rome tells him so. So yes, the early church considered the invocation of angels to be idolatry.

Turretinfan said...

The ark of the covenant is not an exception to Pastor King's point, both because the ark is not a representation of God. Moreover, the notion that "the Jews" bowed down to the ark is a little absurd when one considers that the ark was placed within the holiest of holies - visible only to the high priest and even then only once a year.

There was a time when the Jews did look on the ark, and as 1 Samuel tells us, 50,070 died as a result (or just 70 if you go with the New Vulgate).

- TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Yes, before the ark.

Turretinfan said...

"Protestant" Teacher Discusses Subject of Holy Places
John 4:20-24
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Turretinfan said...

"Protestant" King Hoshea Imitates the Calvinists

2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

Turretinfan said...

I've already pointed out that only the most stupid idolaters think the idol is the thing being worshiped. They all claim to be worshiping something by means of the image, except in the most extreme cases.

Of course, then again, those in the Roman Communion really do worship the bread, thinking it is God.

Turretinfan said...

Maybe his friend, Pilgrimasarbour, can talk him into obeying the rules.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I try to find friends within many differing theological stripes. I know this annoys some people. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean that I necessarily have actual influence with any of them.

Turretinfan said...

When one's friends are the enemies of the gospel and of the messengers of the gospel, one can find oneself in awkward positions.

Nevertheless, I hope you have more influence than you think. Perhaps you can even bring him to Christ through your friendship with him. I would rejoice to see that.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

TF,

Well, I'm no stranger to awkward positions. My session told me there would be days like this interacting with people online.

As for the actual witty retort I was going to post, I'd rather not escalate this discussion into further unpleasantness. ;-)

Be well.

PA