Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Ironic Missing Relic

A 780-year-old religious relic of St. Anthony of Padua has been stolen, and parishioners at a Southern California Catholic church are praying to the patron saint of lost causes and missing objects for its speedy return.

..."I'm hoping we've got some higher sources who've got our backs here and we can get it back," Magana said. "People here are pretty upset but they're praying. They're praying to St. Anthony for the return of his own object." Source

117 comments:

Andrew said...

Why didn't they just pray to the patron saint of soon to be missing things that this relic would not go missing? Or does the Roman Catholic pantheon of saints have only a theft recovery unit and not a theft prevention unit?

dwcasey said...

irony can be pretty ironic sometimes

James Swan said...

I lost my mp3 player with a few hundred songs on it a few months ago. I know the pain of losing something one worships.

EA said...

Wow! Even more tragic is that Saint Anthony is the Patron Saint of BACON!!

Breakfast diners hardest hit.

herb said...

What if... Just what if Christ Jesus did indeed establish the Catholic Church? What if it is Our Lord's intention that we seek the intercession of the saints? How,upon finding this out on some future date, will you look upon the way you ridiculed His Bride? Thank you

Rhology said...

1 Samuel 5: 1Now the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. 3When the Ashdodites arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and set him in his place again. 4But when they arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. And the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. 5Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor all who enter Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

herb said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful passage of Scripture regarding the sinful acts of the Philistines. Since the Philistines were't Catholics, however, I still wonder if, some day, were the individuals here to find that their mockery had been directed at the very Church established by Christ Himself, how they'd look back upon their actions... thank you.

Rhology said...

the Philistines were't Catholics

That's undeniable, but the point was the irony of a biblically-recorded event mirroring a modern occurrence.
Bowing down to a human-created deity is distinguishable from bowing before a statue of a man...how?


the very Church established by Christ Himself

Christ wanted people to bow down to a statue of a man and talk to that dead man?

Brigitte said...

For once I'm with Rhology. I'll quote you Luther's large catechism on the first commandment, which I just summarized on my blog a couple of days ago. This is how you find that there:

Besides, consider our blindness, which we have been practicing and doing under the papacy up until now.l If anyone had a toothache, he fasted and honored St. Apollonia. If he was afraid of fire, he chose St. Lawrence as his helper. If he dreaded bubonic plague, he made a vow to St. Sebastian or Rochio. There were a countless number of such abominations, where everyone chose his own saint, worshiped him, and called to him for help in distress. Here belong such people as sorcerers and magicians, whose idolatry is most great [Deuteronomy 18:9-12]. They make a deal with the devil, in order that he may give them plenty of money or help them in love affairs, preserve their cattle, restore to them lost possessions, and so forth. For all such people place their heart and trust else where than in the true God. They look to Him for nothing good, nor do they seek good from Him.

herb said...

Our God is the God of the living, not the dead. We are united with Christ even now during this earthly life. By virtue of that unity with Our Lord, why shouldn't we understand ourselves to be mystically conjoined to those members of his Body who are now united with Him in Heaven? For that matter, kneeling before an object or person (say the Queen of England, or a wooden cross) isn't manifestly idolatrous any more than is the tradition of taking a knee before one's beloved as you "pop the question."

To clarify, I understand that Christians disagree about these matters... What I am questioning is the downright mockery, ridicule, and scorn directed towards these practices which, as I said, could one day find validation with the Lord Himself on the day ofJudgment... Then again, it's possible thatCathlics are caught up in an idolatrous system. In that case, however, may the Grace of Our Lord be showered all the more upon those poor souls who were sincerely deceived by apparently valid Papist refutations of Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, etc. Could His Grace, however, pierce through the hard-hearted men and women who go so far as to publicly mock others who claim the name of Christ? I believe it could.... But does that justify their mocking cruelty? I think not. (sorr for the grammar/autocorrect, etc... I am typing on an iPad) thank you

herb said...

Also, Rhology, I don't believe that this particular act on the part of the Philistines "mirrors" any such act carried out by modern Catholics. The only Biblically-recorded event which is somewhat analogous to Catholic practices concerning Holy relics has something to do with the Apostle Paul's handkerchief.... As far as I can tell. Thank you.

Rhology said...

Of course, we've been through all this before.

herb said...

My comment is less about the particular viewpoints of various people who look to Christ as the Messiah... And more about how we treat one another in light of the possibility that each of is to some degree wrong in our understanding... Charity in all things, not mockery. Thank you.

Rhology said...

I was mocking the blasphemous practice of talking to dead people, not so much the poor deceived souls who think that it will do them good.

louis said...

"why shouldn't we understand ourselves to be mystically conjoined to those members of his Body who are now united with Him in Heaven?"

That has nothing to do with praying to those members in heaven for deliverance. No offense, but you're being a little less than honest by representing it this way.

"kneeling before an object... isn't manifestly idolatrous any more than... taking a knee before one's beloved as you "pop the question."

There is a difference between paying worshipful reverence and paying earthly respect. Once again, you are fudging the issue.

"could one day find validation with the Lord Himself"

Or they could find condemnation on that day.

"In that case, however, may the Grace of Our Lord be showered all the more upon those poor souls who were sincerely deceived"

His people perish from lack of knowledge. See also Rom.10:2-3. You shouldn't presume that the Lord will easily forgive idolaters.

"Could His Grace, however, pierce through the hard-hearted men and women who go so far as to publicly mock others who claim the name of Christ?"

There is nothing hard-heared about mocking idolatry.

kaycee said...

Revelation 19:10
Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God.

herb said...

kaycee- If kneeling/bowing were necessarily idolatrous, why would St. John bother including the phrase "to worship him"?

The fact of the matter is that humans can/do kneel bow, prostrate themselves for many reasons and on many occasions. Such acts are not necessarily idolatrous in nature (Though they certainly can be). You cite Scripture w/out any interpretation/explanation of the passage in question, as though it speaks entirely for itself. I can do the same thing, though:

--Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground, prostrating herself before the king, and said, “May my lord King David live forever!”--

Where does that get us?

Thank you.

herb said...

Rhology-
We can't "talk to dead people." Through the grace of Christ, according to His Will, it is possible, though, for there to be a real communion of saints among those alive in Christ by virtue of our union with Him. We can look to those who went before us in the faith as models of virtue and allegiance to Christ. We can be encouraged by the sacrifices they made here on earth as we face trials. We are all members of His Body. And these individuals, the ones you refer to as "dead," are very much alive.

Are you suggesting that it would be impossible for Christ, if it were His will, to allow there to exist a certain fellowship among His followers wherever they may be, on earth or in Heaven? Or are you ridiculing the practice simply b/c you don't believe it finds its basis in the Holy Scriptures?

Also, Rhology, do you really believe that a clear distinction can be made between mocking these practices, and mocking the people who participate in them? If someone's identity is tied up in their faith. And that faith system allows for expressions of faith with which you take serious issue, can you really separate the people from the practice? Seems to me you can't. And that's why I chimed in here in the 1st place. I know full well that you and I don't agree. But that's got nothing to do with the way we speak to one another in hope of reconciliation. Thanks.

herb said...

louis-

In response to what I'd said, you said:

"That has nothing to do with praying to those members in heaven for deliverance. No offense, but you're being a little less than honest by representing it this way."

Catholics seek intercession. Everything comes from God. Those individuals who are now in Heaven, in union with Christ have nothing of their own to offer us. We don't seek deliverance from them per se. We look to them as models of faith, compatriots, and fellow members of Christ's Body. If I am being dishonest in characterizing the communion of saints in this manner, please show me where I'm wrong.

Also, in response to what I'd written, you wrote:

"There is a difference between paying worshipful reverence and paying earthly respect. Once again, you are fudging the issue."

I don't believe that I'm fudging the issue at all. I give the benefit of the doubt to those Christians who went before me in the faith. When they say that worship is due to God alone and that I shouldn't mistake expressions of honor and respect for worship, I believe them.

You also said:

"There is nothing hard-hear(t)ed about mocking idolatry."

If someone says "Yes, I am kneeling. But don't mistake my kneeling here for my directing worship toward an object/statue/icon/relic, etc." How can you deny their testimony. How can you insist that they're guilty of worship when they deny such a thing? Further, where does the Bible teach us to "mock" idolators? Conversion of idolators would be good. Witnessing to idolators is good. Turning the other cheek in the face of persecution that comes at the hand of an idolator would be good. Meekness is good. But mockery of the practices of those whom you've labelled as unGodly seems entirely unBiblical to me. That's why my initial comment was intended to stress that "What if..." The idea that you could possibly mistaken in your assessment of things. Thank you.

Carrie said...

If someone says "Yes, I am kneeling. But don't mistake my kneeling here for my directing worship toward an object/statue/icon/relic, etc." How can you deny their testimony.

So what is the point of kneeling before a statue?

Further, where does the Bible teach us to "mock" idolators?...But mockery of the practices of those whom you've labelled as unGodly seems entirely unBiblical to me.

I'm not sure we are directly taught anywhere, but Elijah's interaction in 1 Kings with the prophets of Baal is one example where idolators were openly mocked.

Beyond that you may want to look to how Paul spoke of the Judaizers (Book of Galatians) or consider how Jesus spoke to the Pharisees/Sadducees. Tough talk against enemies of God can be found in scripture. I would also add that less than gentle terminology was used of false teachers in the NT.

So while meek and humble is good, there is scriptural precedence for "tough love". And idolatry is blatant mocking of the one true God, even if the idolator seems ignorant of what they are doing

John Lollard said...

herb,

I hate to dog pile and I hate to cut in line, but I'd hate even more not asking this.

It seems the common Roman Catholic response to the allegations of idolatry and necromancy regarding prayer to saints is that they aren't dead because God is God of the living not the dead, that it's not worship but honoring, that it's not asking the saints for favors but asking them to pray for favors just like we ask people for favors now, and that it isn't bad because all Christians are part of one big Body that is in communication with one another.

I have a question, and I mean it in all seriousness however whimsical it sounds:

If I were to commission a sculpture of you, if I set this sculpture up in my living room, and if I knelt down before this statute of you and prayed to you - outloud or in my head - extolling your virtues and asking you to help me find my lost pocket watch, would you even be aware that I was doing this?

If I told you that I've been doing this for a month now, are you particularly comfortable with such an arrangement?

Reading your response to Rhology, it would sound like this would be normal. Quotes such as:
- "Through the grace of Christ, according to His Will, it is possible, though, for there to be a real communion of saints among those alive in Christ by virtue of our union with Him."
- "Our God is the God of the living, not the dead. We are united with Christ even now during this earthly life. By virtue of that unity with Our Lord, why shouldn't we understand ourselves to be mystically conjoined to those members of his Body who are now united with Him in Heaven?"
- "Are you suggesting that it would be impossible for Christ, if it were His will, to allow there to exist a certain fellowship among His followers wherever they may be, on earth or in Heaven?"

But there isn't such a mystic union as you are describing amongst his followers on earth. You can't hear the private thought life of other RCs anymore than they can hear yours. If prayer to saints were a simple matter of extending the communion of saints to those who have fallen asleep... then it would be. But it instead involves introducing a new layer where those who have fallen asleep have special abilities to hear our prayers.

When Jesus said that God was God of the living and not the dead, he said it with special reference to the OT saints - such as Samuel. You would have to say Samuel was truly alive in the same way St. Anthony is, and yet Saul's attempt to communicate with Samuel was completely condemned.

In Christ,
JL

herb said...

Carrie-
Hi.
You asked:
"So what is the point of kneeling before a statue?"

Some people kneel to remind themselves of their lowliness. When I go to bed at night, I benefit from kneeling simply to remind myself of my stature before God, that of a sinner entirely hopeless without His grace. When it comes to kneeling before statues, some people assume that sort of posture as they bring to mind the life lived by the person (now united perfectly with Christ in Heaven) whom the statue or icon represents.

Regarding the Bible's teaching concerning mockery, you said:

"I'm not sure we are directly taught anywhere, but Elijah's interaction in 1 Kings with the prophets of Baal is one example where idolators were openly mocked."

Aside from pointing out the fact that you seem to be looking for Biblical justification for mocking other people who call upon Christ as their Savior and Lord, I'd respond to you by pointing out the fact that Catholics don't worship Baal. They worship Christ. Also, Elijah was a bona fide Prophet of God Almighty who was in the business of working miracles on behalf of God. So his open ridicule of the enemies of God seems to be sorta different than just mocking Catholics on a blog.

You also said:

"...Tough talk against enemies of God can be found in scripture. I would also add that less than gentle terminology was used of false teachers in the NT."

I don't have a problem with "tough talk" or speaking truth in love. My challenge to the writers and commenters at this blog wasn't about them holding to their opinions and attempting to express them bluntly to those who disagree. My initial challenge was intended to highlight the fact that they "could be" wrong. And if they are, and they find out some day, how might they feel about having spent time publicly (blogs are public spaces) mocking other Christians. That's all. Jesus said that if you say to a person "You fool!" you are the one in danger of hellfire. We Christians, then, should be very careful to avoid belittling and deriding other Christians.

You also said:

"So while meek and humble is good, there is scriptural precedence for "tough love". And idolatry is blatant mocking of the one true God, even if the idolator seems ignorant of what they are doing."

1st, tough love and making jokes about worshiping mp3 players, breakfast diners and a Roman Catholic theft recovery unit existing among the saints... are very different things. 2nd, if Catholics are guilty of mocking the one true God through their idolatrous practices, does mocking them/their practices in response to their having mocked God make any sense? 3rd, I don't understand how someone could be considered guilty for doing something he's ignorant of doing? Even in court, a person's sentence is determined to the extent he deliberately and willfully committed a crime.

Thank you.

herb said...

Louis, about Romans 10...

St. Paul is speaking of his hope for the Jewish people, that they might be saved Christ. It seems to me to be quite a stretch to suggest that Catholics, who are followers of Christ with different views than you, are in the same situation as those Israelites who, during Paul's day, were actively denying Christ's Messianic identity. Further, Paul affirmed their zeal and worked to share the light with his people, Israel. He didn't do this through public mockery, either.
Thanks.

herb said...

John-

Again, my hope initially was to simply remind some people that they could possibly be wrong about certain things. And I wondered how they'd feel if they found out one day that they had been wrong, after having mocked and ridiculed catholic practices. And it seems that nobody here has said "Wait, there was no mocking going on." One person said he was mocking the practices, not the ignorant people engaged in them. Another person seemed to look for Biblical justification for one Christian mocking the practices of other Christians...

As far as your comments are concerned, thanks for chiming in. You're not cutting. I'm glad that some people are willing to talk this stuff over.

You asked:

"If I were to commission a sculpture of you, if I set this sculpture up in my living room, and if I knelt down before this statute of you and prayed to you - outloud or in my head - extolling your virtues and asking you to help me find my lost pocket watch, would you even be aware that I was doing this?"

John, I have pictures of beloved family members up at work and at home. And I stop and pause and remember these people occasionally. The use of statues and icons arose prior to the days of photography. So as far as creating representations of loved ones, political leaders, etc. were concerned, the early christians' options were quite limited. So first of all, I'd expect you to keep a picture of me in your wallet, if anything. And if I were alive and you were seeking my intercession (regarding a prayer intention or something), I'd expect you to facebook me or text me. Were I to die, though, and be in Heaven with Christ, I don't see why Christ couldn't make it possible for you to appeal to me as one who is alive in Him and perfectly unified with Him, for intercession. You are united with Christ. The Saints are united with Christ. Why couldn't Christ relay/convey the wishes and sentiments of the members of His Body to one another? What's stopping Him?

You also asked:
"If I told you that I've been doing this for a month now, are you particularly comfortable with such an arrangement?"

John, your hypothetical is quite unrealistic. As if you'd do this stuff. And if you did, as if it'd be anything like what the Catholic Church does with statues of St. Joseph or whomever.

You also said:
"But there isn't such a mystic union as you are describing amongst his followers on earth."

Of course there isn't. We're not yet in Heaven beholding the beatific vision. We're not yet clothed with glory. We're subject to the ills of the flesh, etc.
end part 1

herb said...

begin part 2
You said:
"You can't hear the private thought life of other RCs anymore than they can hear yours."

Of course not. And the Magisterium doesn't teach that I can read the thoughts of fellow Catholics.

You also said:
"If prayer to saints were a simple matter of extending the communion of saints to those who have fallen asleep... then it would be. But it instead involves introducing a new layer where those who have fallen asleep have special abilities to hear our prayers."

John, this "new layer" seems to be the hang up that people have. But as I see it, it's a stripping away of layers that takes place. Once a person dies an earthly death and attains the beatific vision, he finds himself in perfect union with Christ for eternity. Therefore, it's by virtue of his perfect eternal union with Christ that he's enabled to perceive of those requests for intercession being made by Christians here on earth.

Further, people seem to assume there's some sort of virtue in envisioning Christ doing His Work alone. But Christ gave us no indication that He wished to be alone. He surrounded Himself with loved ones, friends, disciples. And the Church, His Body, recognized His intention to share His accomplishments, by Grace, with us.

You also said:
"... yet Saul's attempt to communicate with Samuel was completely condemned."

It seems to me that the situation to which you refer is entirely unlike anything that Catholics have in mind as they seek the intercession of a saint, a particular person whose life path carries special meaning to the Christian, for whatever reason. Of course Saul's attempt was condemned.

Thanks, John

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

Hey herb,

As Carrie said, there is definitely biblical precedent for mocking the carved-block-of-stone-and-wood sort of idolatry. Some of Jeremiah's jeremiads in particular, such as Jeremiah 10. Maybe Acts 17 is a better example for the Christian to follow?

You asked the following:
You are united with Christ. The Saints are united with Christ. Why couldn't Christ relay/convey the wishes and sentiments of the members of His Body to one another? What's stopping Him?

Good question. What's stopping him? As you rightly note, I would never dare pray to you, yet if I did, you would never know. You do not have the power to hear my prayers.

Could Christ make it so that you could hear me pray to you? Of course. He just hasn't, and there's no reason to think that he has allowed this of anyone or even that he'd be okay with the idea of you praying to someone other than him. "Your God is a jealous God". Approving the direction of prayer to creatures is not in his nature.

You also said:
And if you did [pray to me] , as if it'd be anything like what the Catholic Church does with statues of St. Joseph or whomever.

What's to stop me from doing exactly what the RCC does with statues of St. Joseph? (Besides the Holy Spirit). Isn't that what you do with statues of St. Joseph? I have had several RC friends tell me what anything they lose they call out "St. Anthony, help me find it!" If I lost my pocket watch, can I not call out "Herb, help me find it!"? Why is that different from what y'all do with Ss. Joseph and Anthony?

You say that the Magisterium doesn't teach that your fellow RCs can hear your prayers, but it does teach that because your argument for why prayer to saints isn't necromancy is that the saints are still your living fellow RCs. So some fellow RCs can hear your prayers - the dead ones.

The meat of the whole thing seems to come down to your comments on Christ working alone. God has made angels, who seem to serve no purpose besides that God was pleased to let some other beings do the stuff he could do himself. If I prayed for a fishing rod and God sent an angel to bring me a fishing rod, then glory to God! If I pray to an angel to bring me a fishing rod? Not a good idea.

If it is to God's good pleasure that the saints who have gone on ahead should intercede for the living even while being before the throne of God, then glory to God. I've no reason to think that his will, but if it were, glory to him.

It's not an issue of God working alone or through agents, it's an issue of the honor of prayer and supplication. Asking God to fix a problem is a form of worship. God alone is due that honor because God alone can find your pocket watch. If God wants St. Anthony to pray for you to find it and wants to pass along the message, then glory to God! That's his prerogative how he chooses to act. "Cutting out the middle man" by adding in your own middle man is diverting the honor of your supplication.

I don't see how Saul and Samuel is entirely different. Samuel was a noted godly man, who had annointed Saul as king and had always given Saul godly counsel in the past. Saul wanted more counsel of Samuel's counsel, and so sought it. Why is that different?

In Christ,
JL

Carrie said...

Hi Herb,

When it comes to kneeling before statues, some people assume that sort of posture as they bring to mind the life lived by the person (now united perfectly with Christ in Heaven) whom the statue or icon represents.

Kneeling isn't a position that people tend to just assume. A person could stand and bring to mind the life of a saint so kneeling has some significance.

Aside from pointing out the fact that you seem to be looking for Biblical justification for mocking other people who call upon Christ as their Savior and Lord,

You called mocking unbiblical and I gave you an example of a Prophet mocking idolaters. Whether we can follow that example or not and to what degree I will leave up to people's own discretion.

I'd respond to you by pointing out the fact that Catholics don't worship Baal. They worship Christ...My initial challenge was intended to highlight the fact that they "could be" wrong. And if they are, and they find out some day, how might they feel about having spent time publicly (blogs are public spaces) mocking other Christians... We Christians, then, should be very careful to avoid belittling and deriding other Christians.

Maybe you are fishing for this answer but I'll give it to you anyway. By default, I do not consider Catholics true Christians. That doesn't mean that I think there are no Catholics who are true Christians but it means I can only judge people by their confession of faith. So, since I consider Roman Catholicism to promote a false gospel then I cannot accept someone who aligns themselves with RCism to be a true Christian. Therefore, I do not have a problem with mocking the idolatrous practices of RCism.

So while I do agree with you that Christians should be careful in how they speak about each other, I think you and I disagree as to who falls under that umbrella. I am only speaking for myself here, others commenting here may agree or disagree.

I don't understand how someone could be considered guilty for doing something he's ignorant of doing? Even in court, a person's sentence is determined to the extent he deliberately and willfully committed a crime.

The idolater is rejecting the one true God, and all people are culpable in their rejection of God, despite what may seem like ignorance (based on Romans 1).

herb said...

John &Carrie-
Thanks for taking the time to talk some of this over. Carrie your most recent comments have shed some light upon your perspective. Thank you for that. Iwill take the time to share a few of my thoughts in response the next chance I get. Right now I'm using wifi @ McDonald's on an iPad so I can't really respond with much. Check back later if you're interested to read my responses to both of you. Thanks again to both of you...

Rhology said...

herb said:
We can't "talk to dead people."

Then why do you talk to people who are dead, asking them for stuff?
Don't do us the disservice of lying about the practice. Stand up for what you believe, man.



We can be encouraged by the sacrifices they made here on earth as we face trials.

That doesn't even get close to covering the extent of the practice, and you know it. What business do you have trying to engage in this kind of doubletalk?



And these individuals, the ones you refer to as "dead," are very much alive.

Not in the same way you're alive.
I suppose an Israelite living under Moses could pray to his dead relative (whom he's just SURE was in Abraham's bosom) and, if caught and questioned about it, could justifiably say "No no, he's still alive."




Are you suggesting that it would be impossible for Christ, if it were His will, to allow there to exist a certain fellowship among His followers wherever they may be, on earth or in Heaven?

Empty hypotheticals don't get us anywhere. THe Scripture says what it says, so let's stay on that level.



do you really believe that a clear distinction can be made between mocking these practices, and mocking the people who participate in them?

Most definitely.
The Roman Catholic Church does too, in its Catechism, as it presents a theology that is different from Islam and yet accepts Muslims into eternal life.
In fact, distinguishing between the -ism and the -ist(s) is essential for rational dialogue.

herb said...

Hi, Rhology-

Please keep in mind the fact that my original comment had nothing to do with all of this. I was just asking people to consider the possibility that they might be wrong about this stuff (at least to some extent)... in hopes that it might cause them to think twice before they so brazenly mock some things other followers of Christ are doing. That's all.

You wrote:
"Then why do you talk to people who are dead, asking them for stuff?
Don't do us the disservice of lying about the practice. Stand up for what you believe, man."

First of all, I don't talk to dead people (Though you insist that I do). And I am standing up for what I believe in (which is what Christ's Church teaches). I pray the Rosary sometimes. Not often enough. And I've prayed something like "St. Dismas of Calvary, pray for me." on a number of occasions. But then again, I'm an "adult convert to Catholicism." I've never considered these things to be "talking to dead people" or "asking them for stuff." Do some Catholics participate in absurd superstitious activities associated with the saints? Yes. Are some Catholics entirely confused? Yes. You're not going to find me disagreeing with you there. And I don't think I said anything to indicate otherwise.

I wrote this:
"We can be encouraged by the sacrifices they made here on earth as we face trials."

To which you responded:
"That doesn't even get close to covering the extent of the practice, and you know it. What business do you have trying to engage in this kind of doubletalk?"

Rhology- "The extent of the practice" unfortunately exceeds the bounds set by the Magisterium. People take things too far. And I'm right there with you criticizing abuses/superstitions. I am not deliberately engaging in doubletalk. Though I'm confused and confounded by some Catholic practices associated with relics, etc. I've never found any direct teaching of the Magisterium to promote any form of idolatry. I'm not defending the abuses/distortions of Church teaching one needn't look far to find.

After I said this:
"And these individuals, the ones you refer to as dead, are very much alive."

You said:
"Not in the same way you're alive."

Yeah, I agree. They're even more alive than we. They're not seeing things through a glass darkly. They're fully united with Christ. It makes sense, then, to assume that by virtue of their unity with Christ, they COULD now be playing roles in the life of the Church that to us SEEM hard to make sense of.
end of 1st part

herb said...

beginning of 2nd part
Also, in response to what I'd written, you wrote:

"Empty hypotheticals don't get us anywhere. The Scripture says what it says, so let's stay on that level."

It's not an empty hypothetical. It's a teaching of the Church concerning the communion of saints and the relationship between the Church Triumphant to the Church Militant.

You wish to direct me back to Scripture. Could you find a specific Biblical passage that speaks directly to this? If you're interested, I could cite a number of Biblical passages that affirm the teaching authority of Christ's Church (within which the Bible itself was born).

I asked:
"do you really believe that a clear distinction can be made between mocking these practices, and mocking the people who participate in them?"

You responded:
"Most definitely.
The Roman Catholic Church does too, in its Catechism, as it presents a theology that is different from Islam and yet accepts Muslims into eternal life.
In fact, distinguishing between the -ism and the -ist(s) is essential for rational dialogue."

I'm talking about "mockery" not rational criticism. You introduce the CCC as though it condones mockery. I'm talking about making jokes about and scoffing at the practices of others. Are you suggesting that the Catechism of the Catholic Church condones mockery of Muslims or non-Catholic Christians?

I will certainly acknowledge the distinction you made between the -ism and the -ist(s). But the -ist will certainly be insulted/hurt if his -ism is mocked and ridiculed. That's what I'm saying. And that is why I am perfectly comfortable with charitable criticism of the -ism, however harsh. Mockery, however, tends to insult the -ist in such a way as to turn him away from even listening to the truth you believe you have a handle upon.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to me.

Rhology said...

herb,

Your first comment said:
What if it is Our Lord's intention that we seek the intercession of the saints?

So no, you brought it up.


so brazenly mock some things other followers of Christ are doing

That's precisely the question, though - do followers of Christ prostrate themselves before statues of dead people and talk to them in a worshipful context?
Nope.



I pray the Rosary sometimes

Does that say "Hail Mary, full of grace"?
Aren't you, you know, talking to Mary? Who is dead? Think, man!



And I've prayed something like "St. Dismas of Calvary, pray for me."

That is talking to a dead person. The prosecution rests, sir.



"The extent of the practice" unfortunately exceeds the bounds set by the Magisterium.

You'd need to provide citation to support this assertion.



Yeah, I agree. They're even more alive than we.

And yet biblically speaking in a very important way, they're dead. Because they died. This is doubletalk.



It makes sense, then, to assume that by virtue of their unity with Christ, they COULD now be playing roles in the life of the Church that to us SEEM hard to make sense of.

That is not the question here, so please do try hard to stay on topic.
Just b/c they may be able to play roles in our lives, it does not necessarily follow that it's OK to talk to them who are dead.



It's not an empty hypothetical. It's a teaching of the Church

You said "Jesus COULD DO THAT". That's an empty hypothetical. Let's talk about what Jesus DID say.



Could you find a specific Biblical passage that speaks directly to this?

It'd be great if you could read the link I cited to you before - you're just rehashing really old ground.
Read it and get back to me.



You introduce the CCC as though it condones mockery.

I'm afraid you've badly lost track of what I was referring to.

EA said...

"making jokes about worshiping mp3 players, breakfast diners and a Roman Catholic theft recovery unit existing among the saints... are very different things."

I mentioned breakfast diners because St. Anthony is, among other things, the patron saint of bacon.

Any idea why St. Wenceslas is the patron saint of sausage and St. Anthony is the saint of bacon?

Also, there's no patron saint of eggs, why not?

herb said...

Rhology-
I'll read the link carefully. But as I said, my original intention was to urge certain people to think twice before they mock other followers of Christ.

I will read the link, though. For now, let me respond to the specific things you wrote. Then I'll check the link carefully.

You asked the following, then answered "Nope":

"Do followers of Christ prostrate themselves before statues of dead people and talk to them in a worshipful context?"

1st, Christians consider "death" to be a mere transition. It's a significant transition. But a transition, nonetheless. No one simply dies and ceases to exist. St. Dismas, then, is not dead- though he did die an earthly death. St. Dismas, as a matter of fact, is in Heaven with Christ and very much alive.

2nd, What exactly constitutes a "worshipful context?" What may appear to you to be worship needn't be such a thing (again, sorry for not having read the link yet).

You also said:
"Does that say "Hail Mary, full of grace"?
Aren't you, you know, talking to Mary? Who is dead? Think, man!"

Yes, the Hail Mary quotes Scripture, and Catholics repeat that greeting found in Scripture as they call upon the Mother of Christ for her saintly intercession. Mary is not dead, though. She's alive. You tell me to think. But I am thinking. I just came to see things differently than you. It's a difference in paradigms that separates us, not a difference in intelligence. A requirement for faithfulness to Christ is, fortunately, NOT a high IQ.

I said:
"And I've prayed something like 'St. Dismas of Calvary, pray for me.'"

and you responded:
"That is talking to a dead person. The prosecution rests, sir."

Who's the Judge? And who are the Jury? As I see it, the Judge is a Catholic and so are the Jury. The Catholic Church is both Judge and Jury in service to Christ... And Catholics don't consider St. Dismas of Calvary to be dead at all (though his body experienced an earthly death).
end of 1st part

herb said...

Beginning of 2nd part
I said:
"'The extent of the practice' unfortunately exceeds the bounds set by the Magisterium."

You responded:
"You'd need to provide citation to support this assertion."

What I believe is readily available. Because what I believe is accepted by faith and is taught to me by Christ through the Magisterium of the Church He established. The Catechism is online. Countless encyclicals are, as well. I needn't provide a citation demonstrating the fact that burying St. Joseph in your yard (upside down) in order to sell your house is an example of a superstitious practice not taught by the ordinary Magisterium. So my assertion (that) "the extent of the practice exceeds the bounds set by the Magisterium" is sound.

You also said:
"And yet biblically speaking in a very important way, they're dead. Because they died. This is doubletalk."

Yes, it is important that saints died an earthly death. But their soul never died. Their self existed perpetually from earthly life to the afterlife. So, this is not doublespeak. They did indeed die. But they're not "dead" in the way you seem to insist that they are. Re-read Mark 12:18-27. That's what I'm saying. Our God is the God of the living. St. Dismas, though he died, is alive.

I also said:
"It makes sense, then, to assume that by virtue of their unity with Christ, they COULD now be playing roles in the life of the Church that to us SEEM hard to make sense of."

And you responded:
"That is not the question here, so please do try hard to stay on topic.
Just b/c they may be able to play roles in our lives, it does not necessarily follow that it's OK to talk to them who are dead."

But that's what my initial comment was attempting to point out... the fact that those individuals who were mocking Catholic practices COULD be wrong. I wasn't even intending to hang out here and have a discussion (though I enjoy it!).

I said:
"It's not an empty hypothetical. It's a teaching of the Church"

You responded:
"You said 'Jesus COULD DO THAT.' That's an empty hypothetical. Let's talk about what Jesus DID say."

Jesus said that He was sending "what my Father had promised" (Luke 24) the Holy Spirit (John 14). Jesus said was that He was building a Church (Matthew 16, Matthew 18). He also sent men out in the very manner according to which the Father had sent Him. "As the Father sent me, so I am sending you." And to these men He granted His authority, going so far as to say that whose sins they forgave were forgiven and whose sins they retained were retained (John 20). He also granted to this Church the authority to expel from among its members the unrepentant sinner (Matthew 18). He also said "Whoever hears you hears me." (Luke 10). I don't judge a "church" according to its doctrine. I judge a doctrine according to the Church. Whatever, then, the Catholic Church teaches definitively in the areas of faith and morals, I accept as coming from Christ Himself. As I said, it's a paradigm shift that led me to this place. Before becoming Catholic, my "ecclesiology" wasn't Biblical at all. My local (non-Catholic) church had no authority to do the things Christ's Church has the authority to do.
Thanks. I will read the info you linked.

Rhology said...

No one simply dies and ceases to exist.

Yes, didn't claim they do cease to exist.


St. Dismas, then, is not dead-

Yes, he is dead.
In the same way that the OT commands us not to talk to dead people (who were yet alive in Christ, as you're saying), we are not to talk to people who are dead (though alive in Christ).
It means sthg when you have to talk to someone by bowing down to a statue, light a candle, pray, inaudibly, with incense, in a religious setting.



What exactly constitutes a "worshipful context?"

Church and prayer corner.
Incense that is also used in worship of God.
Praying inaudibly and expecting the dead to hear you.
It's really not that hard, herb. It's only your obstinacy that's preventing you from admitting the obvious.



Yes, the Hail Mary quotes Scripture

And was addressed by an ANGEL to a LIVING WOMAN. Neither of which is the case when YOU pray it. So, see the problem now? How you're not an angel? How Mary is dead?



Mary is not dead, though. She's alive.

Mary is indeed dead.
You can't talk to her like you talk to living people. Why? B/c she's dead! She is not yet resurrected. Sheesh.



A requirement for faithfulness to Christ is, fortunately, NOT a high IQ.

Nor Scriptural IQ, obviously. But your problem is obstinacy in irrationality.



Who's the Judge? And who are the Jury?

Scripture. God.



And Catholics don't consider St. Dismas of Calvary to be dead at all (though his body experienced an earthly death)... So, this is not doublespeak. They did indeed die. But they're not "dead" in the way you seem to insist that they are.

LOL.
So he died but he's not dead. OK.



Because what I believe is accepted by faith and is taught to me by Christ through the Magisterium of the Church He established.

Yes, and clearly not by Scripture. What I'm saying is that this should bother you.
The Mag is not simply telling you to do sthg on which Scr is silent. It is commanding you to violate Scr. That's huge.


I needn't provide a citation demonstrating the fact that burying St. Joseph in your yard (upside down) in order to sell your house is an example of a superstitious practice not taught by the ordinary Magisterium.

So I'm supposed to trust your individual, private interpretation.
No, I don't think so. I brought up extreme cases of RC idolatry for a reason. How do you know the Mag doesn't think that's OK? Where did they say so?


the fact that those individuals who were mocking Catholic practices COULD be wrong.

Not if they're merely repeating what Scripture says. I daresay there is zero possibility that someone who is repeating Scripture could be wrong.
Also, you seem to be laboring under a misunderstanding about followers of Christ. You are an admitted follower of the Roman Magisterium. That is more than sufficient for me and everyone else here not to consider you a follower of Jesus, since the Mag has commanded you to violate Jesus' commands.
Prove you're on Jesus' side. Come out from among the harlot and join a church that actually believes the Bible.



Jesus said that He was sending...My local (non-Catholic) church had no authority to do the things Christ's Church has the authority to do.

Spare me your burning in the bosom testimony of how you know Rome is the Only True Church, in defiance of the facts. It's not as if this blog hasn't trashed this line of argumentation 100 times already.

herb said...

John-
you said:
"As Carrie said, there is definitely biblical precedent for mocking the carved-block-of-stone-and-wood sort of idolatry. Some of Jeremiah's jeremiads in particular, such as Jeremiah 10. Maybe Acts 17 is a better example for the Christian to follow?"

Biblical precedent is one thing. Instruction for living a virtuous christian life is another. We may be able to find mockery taking place in the Scriptures. But how do those circumstances apply to our circumstance today, especially in light of Christ's Sermon on the Mount? And consider St. Paul's opening remarks to the people of Athens. Despite the rampant idolatry being committed, St. Paul opened his remarks with a word of recognition, almost praise, in saying "I can see that you are very religious." He wasn't mocking them when he referenced all of their various carvings. He was using their context to bring to light the truths that had recently been revealed in Christ. That's a far cry from rank mockery (Which, as I see it, neither you or Carrie have participated in).

you said:
"Could Christ make it so that you could hear me pray to you? Of course. He just hasn't, and there's no reason to think that he has allowed this of anyone or even that he'd be okay with the idea of you praying to someone other than him."

John, it's not like we're just seeking the intercession of any old person who we know was a christian and happened to die. I know you know this. But I'm just stressing the fact that Saints are those individuals whom the Church has canonized and basically recognized as being in Christ's presence. So by continually using me as an example, you're making a serious category shift. Not only am I still alive (so you can e-mail me with a prayer request). But were I to die suddenly, even as a Catholic, you'd not be justified in seeking my saintly intercession.

You wrote:
"'Your God is a jealous God'. Approving the direction of prayer to creatures is not in his nature."

The distinction between prayer and intercession cannot be overemphasized. Saints have nothing to offer apart from grace. In other words, anything they have, was gained by grace through Christ. Saintly merit, then, itself comes by Christ's grace. The saints are praying for us right now (Revelation 8). All you're objecting to is the means by which they're made aware of the needs of the members of the Church Militant. Catholics believe that they're made known mystically, through Christ. Non-Catholics oppose this teaching and believe that such a belief amounts to some form of idolatry.

And sure God is jealous. He's also gracious, going so far as to incorporate women and men into his very body, making them participants in His divine nature (2nd Peter, 1), revealing Himself completely to us through His Son.

You asked:
"What's to stop me from doing exactly what the RCC does with statues of St. Joseph? (Besides the Holy Spirit)."

As I said, I'm not a saint. Nor have I passed from this earthly life. So your parallel doesn't match. And you're right, the Holy Spirit whom Christ promised to His Church would not condone your creation of a statue of me for religious purposes.
end of part A

herb said...

You also asked:
"If I lost my pocket watch, can I not call out "Herb, help me find it!"? Why is that different from what y'all do with Ss. Joseph and Anthony?"

John, again, this is where your continual comparison of me w/ the Saints falls apart. I have mortal flesh. I am currently in Rockford, MI, typing on my Dad's laptop. Were I to die an earthly death and pass into glory, finding myself in the presence of Christ, were you to call something out, due to His omniscience, I'd imagine that it would be possible (however hard to understand) that I could be made known of that plea immediately.

This is really all about means of communication, isn't it? You wouldn't deny that those who die in Christ are with Him intimately and for eternity, even rightly described as corporeally Him (members of His Body), would you? Why, then, do you deny that Saints could play the role described for them in the Catechism upon any grounds other than those related to the means by which the Saints are made known of your requests for intercession?

You also wrote:
"You say that the Magisterium doesn't teach that your fellow RCs can hear your prayers, but it does teach that because your argument for why prayer to saints isn't necromancy is that the saints are still your living fellow RCs."

I don't agree, John. I am using "alive" in two different senses. I am now alive, in a certain sense. Saints, though, have already experienced earthly death and are actually more alive than we here on earth can imagine. So my communication with the Saints shouldn't be confused/conflated with my communication with a fellow Catholic here on earth. They're two very different things (categorically). I can communicate with my wife (a Catholic) here on earth by grace, of course. But my communication with the Saints is made possible by virtue of their perfect communion with Our Lord.

You said:
"So some fellow RCs can hear your prayers - the dead ones."

Live Catholics hear on earth can pray for me according to my requests, as can non-Catholics (Please pray for me, John). In my book, though, there is no such thing as a "dead Catholic." Certainly there are Catholics who die. But they're alive in Christ. This, again, is the paradox that I feel the Sadducees failed to accept...

You also wrote:
"The meat of the whole thing seems to come down to your comments on Christ working alone. God has made angels, who seem to serve no purpose besides that God was pleased to let some other beings do the stuff he could do himself. If I prayed for a fishing rod and God sent an angel to bring me a fishing rod, then glory to God! If I pray to an angel to bring me a fishing rod? Not a good idea."

Interesting insight. But, again, I think you're making a category error here. You've brought up the topic of angels. But angels, aren't women and men, who lived earthly lives and are now in Glory with Christ. Angels are spiritual beings who can, incidentally, assume a form. But they don't have resurrected bodies and are not unified with Christ the way we, by Grace, will be one day. And if you were to pray to an angel to bring you a fishing rod, with full knowledge that God is the One Source of all (both rod and angel), I don't see why that example would necessarily be understood negatively. I think there are a whole host of philosophical suppositions loaded into it.

Read Romans 8:29,30 and think of what I'm sayin. He is the firstborn. Through Him the Saints are glorified. They are, then, His very brothers and sisters. That's what the Apostle says.
End of part B

herb said...

You wrote:
"If it is to God's good pleasure that the saints who have gone on ahead should intercede for the living even while being before the throne of God, then glory to God. I've no reason to think that his will, but if it were, glory to him."

John, Go ahead and read Revelation 8 (Cited above). And you're right, glory to Him.

You also wrote:
"It's not an issue of God working alone or through agents, it's an issue of the honor of prayer and supplication."

Yes. And God is the one who defines just how His People honor Him. It's not up to us to fight over what expressions of honor we do or don't consider just. That's why He left His Church.

You also wrote:
"Asking God to fix a problem is a form of worship. God alone is due that honor because God alone can find your pocket watch."

First of all, I ask people to fix problems for me all the time. I look for all the help I can get. I ask my Dad for help. I ask friends for help and support. And most of all, I look to God, in recognition of the fact that ALL I have comes to me by Him through Grace Alone. Also, I lost a watch once and my brother found it... :)

You also wrote:
"If God wants St. Anthony to pray for you to find it and wants to pass along the message, then glory to God! That's his prerogative how he chooses to act."

You're right. So the question isn't what does the Bible say? The question isn't "What did Christ say about this particular issue?" The question is "What does His Church say?" And before one can find that out, s/he has to identify Christ's Church. How does a person do that? That's another conversation.

You wrote:
"'Cutting out the middle man' by adding in your own middle man is diverting the honor of your supplication."

According to whom? What if I disagree? What if Catholics and Orthodox disagree with you? (Remember our talk about consensus?). Who says you're right? Who can adjudicate? Either we identify the Church with the real authority or we're stuck with 2 options, hold to our respective doctrines and break communion with one another. Or water down our doctrines in an effort to retain communion.

You wrote:
"I don't see how Saul and Samuel is entirely different. Samuel was a noted godly man, who had anointed Saul as king and had always given Saul godly counsel in the past. Saul wanted more counsel of Samuel's counsel, and so sought it. Why is that different?"

John, Samuel himself criticizes Saul for doing what he did. It was an altogether unrighteous thing for Saul to do Out of impatience and fear he sought the counsel of a Spirit... not THROUGH God, but b/c God had not answered Him quickly enough or to his satisfaction. Once again, ideally, we seek saintly intercession through Christ, not behind His back or out of fear and impatience. For example, if I were to pray to Christ and feel that He didn't answer me, then try to pray to a bunch of saints to grant me the stuff Jesus apparently didn't want for me, it would utterly violate everything the communion of the saints stands for.

I always enjoy discussing these things with you, John. Thanks most sincerely...
end of part C

herb said...

Rhology-

The ONLY reason I follow the Magisterium is b/c I believe that Christ intended for me to do so... for the Magisterium to instruct on His behalf. If I am wrong in doing so, my God have mercy upon my soul.

I understand that we see things differently. And I do appreciate the time you've invested in this conversation. And please pray for me.

thanks.

Rhology said...

You have faith, herb. I'm glad that my faith is based on the Scripture. Thank God.
There's still time for you.

EA said...

"Yes, it is important that saints died an earthly death. But their soul never died. Their self existed perpetually from earthly life to the afterlife. So, this is not doublespeak. They did indeed die. But they're not "dead" in the way you seem to insist that they are."

So, in all seriousness, this defense boils down to the practice of Catholics "praying to the dead" does not run afoul of the OT proscription of praying to the dead since the dead are alive in Christ.

By this rationale the souls of the evil are "not dead" either so this defense proves too much since both the righteous and the unrighteous rise to everlasting reward or condemnation.

Rhology said...

But their soul never died.

Herb doesn't know that. For all he knows, every single one of these alleged saints is in Hell, or perhaps still in Purgatory.

EA said...

"For all he knows, every single one of these alleged saints is in Hell, or perhaps still in Purgatory."

The standard Catholic reply is that since the Church has declared these people Saints they are by definition, in heaven.

John Lollard said...

Hey herb,

It's getting kind of long, and I'd hate to be an inconvenience to James Swan or any of the other Beggars All people, but I did want to respond to you briefly.

Your responses to me and Rho seemed to be repetitions of two main points: you're a living sinner and not a dead saints, and the saints aren't really dead anyway.

Firstly, I am not sure to what extent deceased Christians are cognizant of themselves at this moment. There seem to be some who are awake and aware before the throne of God as per Revelation, but that isn't a typical arrangement. The language most used of Christians who die is that they "fell asleep", and that they are awaiting the final resurrection and judgment. I will gladly be corrected on that regard, however, by any wiser brethren.

That said, no you aren't dead and you aren't a "Saint" (btw, the New Testament uses this term to refer to all believers, which is what it means in Rev 8). And you have now established a category difference between you and me - and the "Saints". Earlier, your defense was praying to the Saints was like asking your brethren to pray for you. But it isn't like that, because the saints have a special ability to hear these prayers and to answer these prayers and not only that - but now they have special privilege to receive these prayers.

It's blapshemous to treat you in the way the Saints are treated. Your response seems to be that the Saints are a different category is why they can receive it. Think about that.

Several times to Rho and me, you have reasserted that the saints aren't dead. Like I said, then neither was Samuel when Saul called him up. What Saul did is still necromancy, whether Samuel was more alive than us or not. Consulting the dead was forbidden, outright, with no provisions for if they were really "alive" after death or not. Hence why all the mediums were cut off from the land, and hence why the RCC forbids ouija boards.

The other main point is, yes, the means of communication. Really, it's the deciding factor. As we have noted, you can't hear my prayers whether I spoke them or not. You need to be in the room to hear them. God doesn't, though, as God is omniscient and searches my heart continually. Right now, God knows everything from my location to the worries hindering me. You don't, not really even if I told you.

Yet you claim those who have gone on ahead also have this power. That sounds to me like investing them with divine abilty.

If it isn't, if you're not claiming they're omniscient, then how on earth can they hear you?

Why on earth is it only saints in addition to God who can hear my prayers? Why don't you have this power?

Really, the options seem to be either idolatry or necromancy. Or maybe both at the same time.

It's also, as you mentioned, a category error. Directing prayer to the tool and not the Craftsman is disordered and perverse. Just like you recognize the category difference between me praying to you and you praying to St. Dismas (btw, a name I've always wanted for my son), there's an even huger difference between you praying to a "lucky" thief and praying to the all-glorious, eternal, only true God.

In Christ,
JL

Carrie said...

The standard Catholic reply is that since the Church has declared these people Saints they are by definition, in heaven.

Right, everything hinges on the Church being right.

But if they are wrong, yikes! Idolatry, necromancy, and what else will be added to their transgressions.

herb said...

All-
I hope that James Swan (or anyone else) isn't bothered by the length of this conversation. If that is the case, as I've said to you before, John... anybody is welcomed to e-mail me for further sharing at: herbert.vanderlugt(at)gmail.com

Carrie, about what you'd written (a couple days ago now):

You said:

"Kneeling isn't a position that people tend to just assume. A person could stand and bring to mind the life of a saint so kneeling has some significance."

This is true. But the fact that this is true doesn't negate the fact that someone could kneel in other contexts w/out them necessarily expressing worship (as a result of their kneeling).

You also said:

"You called mocking unbiblical and I gave you an example of a Prophet mocking idolaters. Whether we can follow that example or not and to what degree I will leave up to people's own discretion."

When I said something about mocking being unBiblical I didn't mean to imply that mocking wasn't found in the Bible. What I meant was that the New Testament authors never instructed Christians to mock others or their unGodly practices. When Christ summarized the Law and the Prophets, as you know, He said to love God above all else and love our neighbor as our self. That's what I'm getting at. I'm thinking of Matthew 25. I'm thinking of the Sermon on the Mount. We're to love one another as christians... and even go so far as to love our very enemies (which, for you would include those who hold to what you consider to be another Gospel, such as Catholics).

You also wrote:
"So, since I consider Roman Catholicism to promote a false gospel then I cannot accept someone who aligns themselves with RCism to be a true Christian."

You use the word "true" to modify the word Christian. So even though you don't consider Catholics to be true Christians, do you consider them to be "Christians" in some more basic sense of the word? For me, I don't consider Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses to be True Christians, nor do I consider them to be Christians at all. For me, though, when someone looks to Christ as Messiah and Son of God, the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity through whom all things were made, I consider that person a Christian at least in a basic sense of the word (even if they understand the Atonement in terms different from mine).
end of part 1

herb said...

You also wrote:
"Therefore, I do not have a problem with mocking the idolatrous practices of RCism."

I guess this is what I'm saying seems unBiblical to me. I can understand scoffing even (in private) at what you consider to be blasphemous practices of Catholics. I can understand you speaking in very condemning terms as you criticize what you consider to be blasphemous Catholic practices. But mockery, like that of the Roman Guards who put a crown of thorn on Our Lord's head and wrapped Him in purple, is something entirely different than harsh criticism. I'm all about harsh criticism if one is willing to discuss the topic thoroughly after having condemned it... Condemnation followed by retreat, however, saddens me.

You also wrote:
"So while I do agree with you that Christians should be careful in how they speak about each other, I think you and I disagree as to who falls under that umbrella."

Carrie, Who determines how broad the umbrella is? Does it include anyone who's baptized? Does it include only those who were baptized as adults? Does it include only those who hold to salvation by faith alone? Who says? As a Protestant, I could have made my own determinations concerning these matters, then found the church group which best aligned with what I'd already decided upon. But in doing that, I realized that I'd have deserted the picture of the Church painted within the pages of the New Testament. I had to identify the Church Christ founded, not the church which best jived with what I'd concluded about Scripture's teaching...

You also said:
"The idolater is rejecting the one true God, and all people are culpable in their rejection of God, despite what may seem like ignorance (based on Romans 1)."

Again, Carrie, Catholics don't understand themselves to be practicing idolatry. They sincerely don't believe themselves to be offering worship to anything other than God. So I don't believe that it's fair for you to label their actions in a manner out of accord with their own self-understanding. In Romans 1 St. Paul describes a whole bunch of terrible things of which humans are guilty. The antidote to this, however is Christ, the God-Man to whom Catholics look for salvation.

Thanks, Carrie.
end of part 2

Rhology said...

But the fact that this is true doesn't negate the fact that someone could kneel in other contexts w/out them necessarily expressing worship (as a result of their kneeling).

But a church is NOT a different context.



When Christ summarized the Law and the Prophets, as you know, He said to love God above all else and love our neighbor as our self

Loving you means trying to turn you away from your idolatry by many different means.
Mockery is not necessarily exclusive of love.


Who determines how broad the umbrella is?

The Scripture.
I know, I know, your answer is "the Magisterium". That's one of the ways to know you're not under the umbrella.
Yet all these questions are really getting away from the question of this thread.


As a Protestant, I could have made my own determinations concerning these matters,

Thankfully, your miconception of what it means to be Protestant and to follow the Scripture is not binding on anyone else. One could wish, however, that you had accurate ideas before you made critiques.



Catholics don't understand themselves to be practicing idolatry.

And many rapists don't understand themselves to be raping.
I mean, hey, she looked like she wanted it.
You're asking the wrong question.



They sincerely don't believe themselves to be offering worship to anything other than God.

By praying to someone else who's not God. I'm sure God really appreciates that, really feels glorified by that.



The antidote to this, however is Christ, the God-Man to whom Catholics look for salvation.

This is a false statement based on the idea of the treasury of merit, which is a Magisterial teaching.

Carrie said...

Herb,

I started a response but had to go out and now I see Rhology has answered. I will post my answer anyway although Rho has a way of being much more concise.

Since we are are at impasse as to the significance of kneeling and since I don't care enough about mocking to continue discussing it, I will ignore that part of your comment.

I would like to answer some of what you said, though.

You use the word "true" to modify the word Christian. So even though you don't consider Catholics to be true Christians, do you consider them to be "Christians" in some more basic sense of the word?

I use "true Christian" to distinguish from how the term Christian is sometimes used in discussion of world religions. I guess as far as Catholicism claims to follow Christ it would fall into the Christian bucket as opposed to Muslim, Buddhist, etc. But I personally don't consider Catholicism a Christian religion, I would consider it pseudo-Christian.

Carrie, Who determines how broad the umbrella is?

God.

Does it include anyone who's baptized? Does it include only those who were baptized as adults? Does it include only those who hold to salvation by faith alone? Who says?

Christians are followers of Christ, but not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom (Matt 7:21).

I define "Christian" as anyone who has been chosen by God for eternal life (true followers of Christ). Is there anyway to know for sure who those people are? No, only God knows for sure.

So the question for me is, how can I best judge who is or isn't one of God's chosen (a Christian, or true follower of Christ)? Well, I look for a proper confession of faith (what they believe about Christ) and evidence of the Holy Spirit (think Acts 11). Catholicism fails a proper confession of faith so I don't consider it Christian.

As a Protestant, I could have made my own determinations concerning these matters, then found the church group which best aligned with what I'd already decided upon. But in doing that, I realized that I'd have deserted the picture of the Church painted within the pages of the New Testament. I had to identify the Church Christ founded, not the church which best jived with what I'd concluded about Scripture's teaching.

Your thinking is backwards to me. You are giving the Church authority over scripture by believing that you have to find the Church to believe what scripture says.

I would challenge you to go back through Acts and see how people came to faith and what they did after. They didn't go searching for the One True Church, they fellowshipped with other believers in Christ.

Again, Carrie, Catholics don't understand themselves to be practicing idolatry. They sincerely don't believe themselves to be offering worship to anything other than God. So I don't believe that it's fair for you to label their actions in a manner out of accord with their own self-understanding. In Romans 1 St. Paul describes a whole bunch of terrible things of which humans are guilty. The antidote to this, however is Christ, the God-Man to whom Catholics look for salvation.

It doesn't matter what Catholics sincerely believe, the sin of idolatry will be their responsibility if they are not in Christ. Unfortunately, the fact that they engage in those idolatrous practices gives me little hope that they are in Christ.

PeaceByJesus said...

Maybe its here :

herb said...

Carrie-

Again thanks for your time. I have a couple of things to say about what you've most recently written. I also started reading the conversations that Rhology linked earlier. I'll finish reading that stuff as time allows. But for now, allow me to respond to some of what you wrote:

"Christians are followers of Christ, but not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom (Matt 7:21)."

I affirm this along with you. The question here is not whether or not certain people who claim to be Christians will find themselves unable to enter the kingdom. There's no argument there. The question is about whom you consider to be a Christian, even in the broadest sense of the term.

Which is why you wrote:

"I define 'Christian' as anyone who has been chosen by God for eternal life (true followers of Christ). Is there anyway to know for sure who those people are? No, only God knows for sure."

I agree with you here up to this point. That's why I feel that it's so important for us to treat each other charitably. I hope that I've done so. You and Rhology and John L. have been very good to me during this discussion and I am thankful for that. Because even when we disagree, we are still kind to one another as people.
end of 1st part

herb said...

You also wrote:

"So the question for me is, how can I best judge who is or isn't one of God's chosen (a Christian, or true follower of Christ)? Well, I look for a proper confession of faith (what they believe about Christ) and evidence of the Holy Spirit (think Acts 11). Catholicism fails a proper confession of faith so I don't consider it Christian."

And this is where I have so many questions for you. Allow me to vent for a moment, respond if you wish... Who determines what a "proper confession of faith" is? I know you'll say "God." But when I question a little further, you'll likely look to the Scriptures (Remember, also, that Catholics would do the same. Once we're there, though, our interpretations of Scripture will conflict with one another). Also, however, now you're looking to men to mediate God's message. You would possibly deny that charge. But as I see it, you're in the same boat as a Catholic, really (as I see it)... due to the fact that the difference isn't whether or not we're following the teachings of men (Apostles, NT Authors, etc.)... we BOTH are.... but whether or not the teachings which comprise the deposit of faith are limited to that which was inScripturated. So where I accept the current Magisterium's definitive teachings concerning matters of faith and morals. You believe that the Holy Spirit operated for a time through the Biblical authors to get His point across and then, in some manner left the Scriptures among the Faithful to provide the mainstay for the Christian religion (Hopefully that's a fair characterization of your position). Yours is, in a sense, a narrower view of God's activity (The word "narrow" shouldn't be understood as being derogatory, though). Whereas, a Catholic believes that the very same Holy Spirit who inspired the Apostles to allow for converts NOT to be circumcised in Acts 15, continued to act in the Church all the way through the Council of Trent and beyond, in the face of threats from without to the Church's doctrinal purity and faithfulness to its Head.

But the issue of Sola Scriptura really was the most central problem that I recognized in Protestantism (as I experienced it) because of this: To be a Sola Scriptura Christian is to NOT be a Sola Scriptura Christian. That is, If I follow Sola Scriptura, I will realize that it is unScriptural to look to Scripture in that manner. I know that Rhology dismissed my previous comments about my "discovery" of a truly authoritative Church as so much "bosom burning," etc. But I feel that those passages I cited (among others) do speak to a visible, public Church, which rules out nearly all of Protestantism. Beyond that, without the visible, public Church you all condemn, you'd not even have the Scriptures today. It took Councils and Bishops (a hierarchy) to identify/recognize those particular books which were indeed Theopneustos, and faithfully deliver them to you today.

Thanks again.
end of 2nd part

PeaceByJesus said...

Directing prayer to the tool and not the Craftsman is disordered and perverse.

To substantiate that PTDS (prayer to departed saints) is Scriptural, i request showing, from the Bible (and in order of importance)

1 provide just one example, among the multitude of prayers in the Bible, where anyone besides heathen prayed to anyone else in heaven but the Lord.

2 provide one place where exhortations, commands or instruction or descriptions on prayer directed believers to pray to departed saints or angels. ("i.e. "After this manner pray, Our mother, who art in heaven...")..

3 show where believers in Christ cannot have direct access to God in heaven, and that you meet saintly secretaries in the holy of holies instead of directly communing with Deity.

4. show where any insufficiency exists in Christ regarding immediacy, ability, or compassion that would require or advantage another intercessor in heaven between Christ and man, besides the Holy Spirit. (Ex. 25:22; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 2:18; 4:15,16; 7:25; 10:19-22; etc.)

5 if believers can pray to the departed saints for help in their Christian life, then show why they cannot call upon saints for salvation, and where the Bible supports that.

6 show where departed souls in heaven are taking prayer requests addressed to them.

7 show where the departed are given the Divine attribute of omniscience, so they can hear and process an infinite amount of prayer. (Ps. 65:2; 139:4; Prov. 15:3)

8 provide where any communication between believers on earth and heavenly beings besides God took place apart from a personal visitation, either by men being caught up to heaven or by angels coming to earth. (Jdg. 13; Mk. 9:2-9; Rev. 4:1ff;)

9 show where anyone else is called "Queen of heaven" other than Jer 44:17 (“But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven,” who was a heavenly object of devotion and prayer.

10 show where another basic necessary practice has zero affirmative examples and is contrary to whatever is stated on the issue.

EA said...

"Beyond that, without the visible, public Church you all condemn, you'd not even have the Scriptures today. It took Councils and Bishops (a hierarchy) to identify/recognize those particular books which were indeed Theopneustos, and faithfully deliver them to you today."

This should be a topic of its own but, could you tell us when the RCC definitively identified the books that make up the canon of scripture?

Thank you.

Carrie said...

Hey Herb,

I will answer you, but I probably won't have time today. Just wanted you to know I did see your comment, though :)

herb said...

EA-
Hello. You asked:

"Could you tell us when the RCC definitively identified the books that make up the canon of scripture?"

1st of all, Scripture was Scripture before the Church definitively labelled it as such. The WHEN is simply incidental.

When the late Walker Percy was asked why he had been received into the Roman Catholic Church, it is said that he answered, saying: "What else is there?"

WHEN the Church finds it necessary to recognize something definitively is neither here nor there. Whether or not it has the authority to do so is what's at issue.

That's why it doesn't matter to me whether the Immaculate Conception, for example, was defined in 354, 1054, or 1854. It's still the same authoritative Church speaking on Christ's behalf ("He who hears you, hears me."). The Holy Spirit didn't leave the Church, just as God never deserted His People, Israel (despite them being a stiff-necked people, at times)...

Therefore, I don't care WHEN the Church defines something, because whenever it does so, it does so according to the Holy Spirit.

You know as well as I do what events took place which led up to definitive recognition of the Canon of Scripture. And if you don't know, Wikipedia probably presents a fair enough outline.

Thank you.

herb said...

Hello, PeaceByJesus-
You wrote:

"To substantiate that PTDS (prayer to departed saints) is Scriptural, i request showing, from the Bible (and in order of importance:"

Please understand that I would be happy to ATTEMPT to respond to each one of your points (as best I can, according to the constraints you've imposed). I would be happy to share my thinking/rationale with you...

But before I do that, I would like to point something out. You're asking me to use a Catholic book to substantiate a Catholic practice. And the fullness of the Christian faith isn't limited to the texts of Scripture. It's incarnational. That's why the Scriptures themselves don't teach us that everything a Christian should believe is found explicitly in the Bible. That is an extra-Scriptural requirement you're bringing to the table.

I heard it said recently that all Christians believe in Jesus. But that Catholics believe in Jesus AND His teachings. And that's why Catholics don't constrain the Word of God by limiting His expression to the Biblical texts.

Lastly, on another website I read a line recently. It goes something like this: "When I submit only when I agree, the one to whom I submit is me."

So even if you can accept some of the reasoning I share as I attempt to respond to your points, understand that we're barking up the wrong tree, this tree of historical/scriptural intellectualism. Christ's Church calls you to submission not because you've come to agree with it (as if mere human intellect is at the root of all of this). Christ's Church calls you to submission because He established One Church, which is why, as I said in a previous comment, when asked why he'd become Catholic, Walker Percy responded with the question: "What else is there?"
Thanks.

EA said...

"Therefore, I don't care WHEN the Church defines something, because whenever it does so, it does so according to the Holy Spirit."

Um, actually, it does matter when these things are defined. Here's why. One of the arguments that Catholics use regarding the Magesterium is that Catholics are free to speculate on any number of theological points as long as it conforms to Catholic teaching. Certain avenues of speculation are open to Catholics at one point of history and closed to Catholics after those points are ruled upon by the Magesterium. For example, Conciliarism was openly advocated by theologians and members of the clergy during the 14th through 16th centuries and defined as error at the Fifth Lateran Council. So what was once permitted is now out of bounds. So it does matter when things are defined.

PeaceByJesus said...

You're asking me to use a Catholic book to substantiate a Catholic practice.

Which infers that therefore the interpretation of Rome must be correct, to which i will respond that.

besides the fact that it took over 1400+ years after the last book was written for Rome to provide a finalized infallible canon, and which was not exactly the same as Hippo, etc., or that of the Orthodox,

and that Scripture was established as being of God essentially due to its heavenly qualities and Divine attestation, with the bulk of Scripture being established without an assuredly infallible magisterium and before Rome infallibly declared that she was such,

according to your logic we should all submit to Judaism, as unlike for Rome, the Scriptures clearly affirm that that they were the instruments and stewards of Holy Writ. (Rm. 3:2; 9:4,5)

But as seen by the Lord's reproof of them for teaching contrary to Scripture, (Mk. 7:6-13) and His reliance upon Scripture and the manner of Divine attestation that it sanctions in establishing truth claims, (Jn. 5:36; 39; 14:22; Lk. 24:44) then the supreme transcendent material on faith and morals are the Scriptures, as they alone are established and affirmed to be wholly inspired of God.

"Traditions" such as creeds, etc. have their place, but only as subservient to Scripture, and teachings which have not its warrant and corroboration are only of men.

And the fullness of the Christian faith isn't limited to the texts of Scripture. It's incarnational. That's why the Scriptures themselves don't teach us that everything a Christian should believe is found explicitly in the Bible.

And upon what basis can we have assurance that the RC teachings from this ethereal, amorphous thing called oral Tradition are true? That the magisterium is infallible whenever it speaks in accordance with its infallibly declared (scope and content-based) formula? And is your understanding of its teachings infallible?

And who said all doctrine must be explicitly in the Bible? Not the Reformers if you at least know of Westminster, which recognized,

“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture... and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.”

SS does not hold that all that can be know is written in Scripture, (2Cor. 12:4; Rev. 10:4) but that nothing is to be added to the closed canon, or held as equal in authority to it.

That is an extra-Scriptural requirement you're bringing to the table.

Rather, teaching that the basically bottomless source of oral tradition is equal to or the same as Scripture whenever you declare it so is what is contra-Scriptural, and by such you join the ranks of cults who do likewise, and also require implicit assent of faith it their magisterium.

You have ZERO examples of anyone praying to anyone else in heaven but the Lord, and ZERO substance in instructions on who to pray to in heaven, and ZERO warrant that any insufficiency exists in Christ as intercessor, or the believers ability to access the Lord in prayer. Etc.

PeaceByJesus said...

I heard it said recently that all Christians believe in Jesus. But that Catholics believe in Jesus AND His teachings.

You must be new in this business to try something like this. RCs evidence the most ignorance of Scripture and variancein basic doctrines and moral views, and Scripture is what Paul reasoned out of, (Acts 17:2) and whose teaching were proven y them, (Acts 17:11; 28:23) and exhorted Timothy to look to, (2Tim. 3:14-17)

And again, supposing a church magisterium channels some mysterious truths which are not in or warranted and corroborated by Scripture but equal to them is cultic. The devil claimed insider knowledge as well. (Gn. 3:5)

You can claim conflation with Scripture for the teachings of the IM, but the infallible status of its teachings is not based upon that, but because it spoke on faith and morals to the whole church. That is not why the ruling in Acts was of God.

And that's why Catholics don't constrain the Word of God by limiting His expression to the Biblical texts.

Likewise the Pharisees supposed they were teaching the Word of God, and while this cannot be restricted to the Scriptures, it is the latter that we prove all things by, including the teachings of a magisterium which effectively exalts itself as the supreme authority over Scripture, based upon its infallible interpretation if Tradition, Scripture and history, and thus rendering itself as beyond reproof. According to its interpretation, only its interpretation can be right in any conflict, and require implicit obedience.

"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." (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)

“Absolute, immediate, and unfaltering submission to the teaching of God's Church on matters of faith and morals-----this is what all must give..”
“The Vicar of Christ is the Vicar of God; to us the voice of the Pope is the voice of God. This, too, is why Catholics would never dream of calling in question the utterance of a priest in expounding Christian doctrine according to the teaching of the Church;”

“He is as sure of a truth when declared by the Catholic Church as he would be if he saw Jesus Christ standing before him and heard Him declaring it with His Own Divine lips.” — Henry G. Graham, "What Faith Really Means", (Nihil Obstat:C. SCHUT, S. T.D., Censor Deputatus, Imprimatur: EDM. CANONICUS SURMONT, D.D.,Vicarius Generalis. WESTMONASTERII, Die 30 Septembris, 1914 )]

"...the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors." - VEHEMENTER NOS, an Encyclical of Pope Pius X promulgated on February 11, 1906.

PeaceByJesus said...

Lastly, on another website I read a line recently. It goes something like this: "When I submit only when I agree, the one to whom I submit is me."

So you did not agree to submit to Rome, to make a fallible decision to obey an infallible magisterium as you fallibly understand it to be infallible (how many are?) and what it all means?

Or are you different from those nobel souls who have a heart to obey truth, and so hear preaching of the the word, and search the Scriptures to verify it? (Acts 17:11)

Christ's Church calls you to submission not because you've come to agree with it (as if mere human intellect is at the root of all of this).

What you mean is that you agree to submit to a specific church which declares it is the one true church, even when you find fault with its decisions.

This may be allowed in certain contexts, but does not make authority infallible, (1Chron 21:1,6) but yours is not based upon what you ascertain from the Bible, but you submit to Rome based upon its own claim to warrant implicit submission. On one had that is.

Christ's Church calls you to submission because He established One Church,

No, the Scriptures, which were not the product of a formal magisterium, and as regards the bulk of them, were established as being Scripture before Rome had a church, call for submission to Christ's Church, which itself is Biblically defined, based upon conformity to Scripture in salvific faith and its manner of supernatural attestation.

The true gospel effects manifest transformative regeneration, and by which the church has its members, while the institutionalized "church" has a form of conversion, but excels in rituals without a real Scriptural relationship, and thus it looks to and thinks of men above that which is written, (1Cor, 4:6) both living and departed.

But submission to other than God and that which is wholly inspired by Him is conditional, as even the apostles exampled, (Jn. 5:29) the highest material authority being the Scriptures.

But what Rome has done is exalt herself above the Scripture, disallowing that she can be wrong when she speaks infallibly, which she has declared herself to uniquely assuredly doing.

when asked why he'd become Catholic, Walker Percy responded with the question: "What else is there?"

Thank God the "else" is not some autocratic entity, but the church of the living God, whose authenticity does not rest upon formal decent and their own declaration, anymore than that of a true Jew does, (Rm. 2:28,29) but upon faith out of poor and contrite heart, (Ps. 34:18) in the Lord Jesus to save the damned and destitute sinner by His blood, not their merits or that of the church - faith in which Rome fosters - and are baptized, and as part of the visible church, normally commemorate His death, and are led by men of such faith.

PeaceByJesus said...

I lost my mp3 player with a few hundred songs on it a few months ago. I know the pain of losing something one worships.

How often that is applicable to me. Whatever is our chief object of spiritual affection, source of security, or object of allegiance, is our god, at least at that time.

You can tell what a soul worships by how they react when threatened with the loss of it.

herb said...

EA-
I said:
"Therefore, I don't care WHEN the Church defines something, because whenever it does so, it does so according to the Holy Spirit."

and you responded:
"Um, actually, it does matter when these things are defined... So what was once permitted is now out of bounds. So it does matter when things are defined."

I'm simply saying that IF the Church retains the authority to speak on Christ's behalf, the Church can speak on His behalf whenever the Church sees fit, whether it be 325, 451 or 1950.

Catholics believe that Christ is faithful to His Church. And that He's not a polygamist. Therefore, when the Church speaks, Christ speaks.

So the Church spoke definitively concerning the Canon, most explicitly at Trent. From that point on, Catholics were no longer free to speculate about the nature of any one book of Scripture, as defined by the Church. Obviously this became necessary as a reaction to Protestant reconsideration of the deuterocanonical texts of Scripture.

I can imagine some 2nd century Christians discussing Christ's relationship to the Father and to the Spirit. And those Christians would have been free to disagree with one another in some ways and be open to questions that were not yet spoken to definitively. Later, after the Church had spoken authoritatively (concerning the Trinity), the boundaries of orthodoxy were defined, and there wouldn't be so much room for discussion any longer.

My point about WHEN the Church speaks authoritatively was meant to direct the attention away from WHEN and toward what's really at issue: Whether the Catholic Church has the authority to speak on Christ's behalf.

Thanks.

herb said...

PeaceByJesus,
you wrote:
"besides the fact that it took over 1400+ years after the last book was written for Rome to provide a finalized infallible canon, and which was not exactly the same as Hippo, etc., or that of the Orthodox."

Does the Church have the authority to speak on Christ's behalf or not? All of the issues you raise are interesting. But they're beside the point.

you continued:
"and that Scripture was established as being of God essentially due to its heavenly qualities and Divine attestation, with the bulk of Scripture being established without an assuredly infallible magisterium and before Rome infallibly declared that she was such,"

As I said, Scripture is Scripture whether or not Rome recognizes it as such. But the Church is the organization established by Christ, with the Holy Spirit as its guarantor, responsible for settling these disagreements among women and men. If your Church can't declare something and conclude by saying "thus saith the Lord." then your Church is not the Church spoken of in the New Testament, the Church established by Christ.

you also wrote:
"according to your logic we should all submit to Judaism, as unlike for Rome, the Scriptures clearly affirm that that they were the instruments and stewards of Holy Writ. (Rm. 3:2; 9:4,5)"

I am confused by this statement. We're Christians, not Jews. The Church established by Christ is the New Israel, with its own Covenant in His Blood.

you also wrote:
"But as seen by the Lord's reproof of them for teaching contrary to Scripture, (Mk. 7:6-13) and His reliance upon Scripture and the manner of Divine attestation that it sanctions in establishing truth claims, (Jn. 5:36; 39; 14:22; Lk. 24:44) then the supreme transcendent material on faith and morals are the Scriptures, as they alone are established and affirmed to be wholly inspired of God."

The Scriptures are not "alone" affirmed. The Church Christ established is promised the same Holy Spirit through whom the Scriptures came to be. The Church is the pillar and ground of truth, guaranteed by Christ Himself with a foundation built upon the Apostles and Prophets with Christ as the chief Cornerstone. The Church is infallible according to the Scriptures because it is the very Body of Christ.

you also wrote:
"'Traditions' such as creeds, etc. have their place, but only as subservient to Scripture, and teachings which have not its warrant and corroboration are only of men."

Who's to say that your interpretations of Scripture are valid? Catholics affirm every word of Scripture, when rightly interpreted. Our disagreement isn't about the nature of the Scriptures. Our disagreement is about who fulfills the role of speaking with the authority of Christ when disagreements arise. As I see it, all you can do is break communion with those with whom you disagree. Either that, or compromise your doctrine in order to retain public unity. Catholics, on the other hand look to the definitions of the Magisterium to settle matters of faith on Christ's behalf.
end of 1st part

herb said...

you also asked:
"And upon what basis can we have assurance that the RC teachings from this ethereal, amorphous thing called oral Tradition are true?"

Jesus conferred the Keys to the Apostles. And said that whatever they bound on Earth would be bound in Heaven. The Apostles, accordingly, appointed successors. Those successors to the Apostles bear the responsibility to speak definitively on matters of faith and morals.

"That the magisterium is infallible whenever it speaks in accordance with its infallibly declared (scope and content-based) formula?"

PeaceByJesus, I want you to know that I can understand your incredulity. There were a whole bunch of Catholics who separated themselves from the Church in response to Vatican 1. And, as you know, there have been a whole bunch of Catholics who've taken issue with certain things they understand Vatican 2 to have implied. Don't think that I'm just sitting here acting like this is all so simple if only you all would understand it! It's not that way. It's hard to accept a lot of this. To this day, I struggle with certain things. But I am convinced that Christ established the Catholic Church, foreseeing its flaws and warts, but loving it nonetheless.

You also asked:
"And is your understanding of its teachings infallible?"

No. However, though I can't put the Bible on a witness stand (as Chesterton famously pointed out), the Church and its Magisterium, comprised of living men, can (and does) speak in response to issues as history unfolds. Without such a Magisterium, as I see it, we're stuck with an ever-dividing network of denominations. Whereas, with a Magisterium retaining the very authority to speak on behalf of Christ (in all humility), we needn't settle for schism or doctrinal compromise.

You also quoted me, asking:
"And who said all doctrine must be explicitly in the Bible?"

The reason I asked you that question is because you're list of requests seemed to be predicated upon that very idea. I realize, to some extent, what the Reformers taught. I know that Luther and Calvin both held to a very high view of the Church. The Church authority, however, to which they appealed, seemed to, to a great extent, be themselves, however, which disturbed me.

You continued:
"Not the Reformers if you at least know of Westminster, which recognized,

'The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture... and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.'"

First of all, if the "Reformers" had any means of being unified themselves, I'd find their case far more compelling. However, the only thing it seems they really agreed upon was that they all loathed the Catholic Church. Grouping the "Reformers" together and then appealing to the WCF doesn't make sense to me. Do all Protestants hold to the WCF? Is it truly Magisterial? And if it's subservient to Scripture, why do I need it? And can the authors of the WCF speak to matters of faith and morals today? Did they appoint successors? And with what authority did they speak? Do they speak on Christ's behalf?
end of 2nd part

herb said...

You also wrote:
"SS does not hold that all that can be know is written in Scripture, (2Cor. 12:4; Rev. 10:4) but that nothing is to be added to the closed canon, or held as equal in authority to it."

When was your Canon closed (finally)? The exposition of Scripture, as I see it, is only as good as its expositor. Because there is an equation at play here: you + Scripture = sound doctrine. I can't see how to avoid that equation. So if you put anything in the place of the "you" other than a divinely-guided body, your doctrine is questionable. That's why it seems that Rob Bell, for example, is preaching a Gospel that says something like "I don't really know much of anything for sure. But I do know that Christ loves you and He died for you and the whole world!" Now, I am not taking issue with the substance of that "Gospel Message." However, it isn't really something that provides a basis for speaking definitively in condemnation of particular sins and/or violations of God's law. It seems to me, though, to be the logical reductio to the non-Catholic Christian Biblical Hermeneutic.

Also, you wrote:
"Rather, teaching that the basically bottomless source of oral tradition is equal to or the same as Scripture whenever you declare it so is what is contra-Scriptural, and by such you join the ranks of cults who do likewise, and also require implicit assent of faith it their magisterium."

I don't see it this way. The Church cannot contradict its own teaching. And since it's been defining matters of faith and morals for 2,000 years, it is quite restricted in its ability to alter things. It may, however, as it sees fit, speak to modern issues. It is, in a sense, a "bottomless source" in that it could speak perpetually to an issue as questions arose. But would you expect anything else from the Teaching Authority promised by Christ Himself? Secondly, the Magisterium's Source, the well from which it draws, if you will, is the very deposit of faith given to the Church, not some amorphous things, as you suggest. Christ said so much when He said that "as the Father sent me, so am I sending you."

How should we look to the Teaching Authority put in place by Christ, then? Just as we look to Christ. And that's where the scandal arises in the mind of the non-catholic. Because her worldview makes no such room for any temporal authority despite the fact that Christ's very words to that effect are faithfully recorded in the Scriptures.

Finally, you wrote:
"You have ZERO examples of anyone praying to anyone else in heaven but the Lord, and ZERO substance in instructions on who to pray to in heaven, and ZERO warrant that any insufficiency exists in Christ as intercessor, or the believers ability to access the Lord in prayer. Etc."

I wouldn't expect to have such a thing. Because prior to Christ's work on the cross, His harrowing of hell, and His glorious ascension, such a thing wouldn't have been possible. But what I do have, however, is the NT affirmation of the undeniable fact that the Church is the very Body of Christ, conjoined to Him mystically. The 2 have become 1. And the Church, fulfilling her mission to speak on His behalf, has approved of the practice of seeking the intercession of the saints who are now united with their Head in Heaven by virtue of their unity with Him.

Thank you.

...and again, please feel free to e-mail me to spare everyone of my rambling!!! herbert.vanderlug(at)gmail.com
end of 3rd part

PeaceByJesus said...

Does the Church have the authority to speak on Christ's behalf or not? ...If your Church can't declare something and conclude by saying "thus saith the Lord." then your Church is not the Church.

You have missed the point, which is not that the church has no authority, for i affirmed the magisterium, and that it can speak infallible truth, but the basis for truth claims, and of Rome's assertion to be the OTC, and for her formulaic infallibility by which she declares it.

The Scriptures are not "alone" affirmed. The Church Christ established is promised the same Holy Spirit through whom the Scriptures came to be....The Church is infallible according to the Scriptures because it is the very Body of Christ.

The Scriptures alone are affirmed to be wholly inspired of God as the "supreme transcendent material" source on faith and morals, which was what i was referring to, as nowhere are we promised that all that the magisterium ever will speak to the whole church on faith and morals will be infallible, including Rome's assertion that it is and will be.

I am confused by this statement. ["according to your logic we should all submit to Judaism,..]

If you were not then perhaps you would not have responded as you did, which makes the fundamental mistake of holding that the instrumental source of Scripture forever makes its ecclesiastical progeny the infallible interpreter of it. And if that were a true principal then we would have to submit to the Jews, who in particular are affirmed in Scripture to have been the instruments and stewards of holy Writ.

The same faulty logic is used in support of oral Tradition, that since Scripture came out of it then Tradition is also wholly inspired, but such logic would make all that the instruments of Scriptural revelation spoke to be as Scripture, and would also make Mary divine (indeed Rome comes close to doing so). Etc. And it ignores how Scripture came to be established as being from God.

Who's to say that your interpretations of Scripture are valid?

Who are say that the church is true, or the apostles, or Jesus? The answer is (in review) that God first established Truth by His powerful attestation, as He did with Moses, and which affirmed the faith of Abraham, and what He wrote became the standard by which further truth claims as well as men of God were examined by, and which further revelation complimented. The Lord Jesus exhibited the same as did the apostles.

In short, while comprehensive doctrinal unity was ever a goal not realized, essential truth claims are established by their conformity with Scripture, and warrant from them, and by the corresponding fruit it effects.

Most essential is the gospel message, and It is the evangelical gospel which shut up man as damned and morally destitute of any means to escape his just eternal punishment or gain glory by, and in need of a day of salvation by faith in the risen Lord Jesus to save sinners by His blood and righteousness, that has manifested far greater fruits of regeneration, in quantity as relates to its size and in quality 9even in its present poor state: http://www.peacebyjesus.com/RC-Stats_vs._Evang.html), than its institutionalized counterpart, whether it be Catholic or Protestant. And i speak as a former devout RC.


Catholics affirm every word of Scripture, when rightly interpreted.

By an entity which interprets itself to be planter earth's uniquely infallible interpreter, though by common consent it has defined very little infallibly, while failing to provide an infallible list of all infallible interpretations, leaving RCs to judge between multitudes of potentially infallible statements, while allowing varying degrees of dissent in non-fallible teachings

(http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/papalinfallibility.pdf
http://www.cwrc-rz.org/thlarchive/thla-024.php
http://www.catholicplanet.com/TSM/general-magisterium.htm)

PeaceByJesus said...

As I see it, all you can do is break communion with those with whom you disagree. Either that, or compromise your doctrine in order to retain public unity. Catholics, on the other hand look to the definitions of the Magisterium to settle matters of faith on Christ's behalf.

In reality, the latter is true on a smaller scale in evangelical churches, while surety of doctrine in Rome's is quite limited.

Most of what RCs believe and practice is from the Ordinary mag. and what it teaches requires some interpretation, while what ever parameters it does provide still leaves the RC with much liberty to interpret the Scriptures.

RCs are forbidden to interpret the Scriptures contrary to the "unanimous consent of the fathers," (V1) but which is a rule Rome herself does not literally follow, but being autocratic, she can define them as well as what "unanimous" means. (http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/ray4intro.html)

Cardinal Manning:
It was the charge of the Reformers that the Catholic doctrines were not primitive, and their pretension was to revert to antiquity. But the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine...

I may say in strict truth that the Church has no antiquity...Primitive and modern are predicates, not of truth, but of ourselves. (Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: Or Reason and Revelation (New York: J.P. Kenedy & Sons, originally written 1865, reprinted with no date), pp. 227-228

To be sure, it is the function of the magisterium to judge truth, but it does not do so as one that possesses a formulaic assuredly infallibility, or that otherwise is a supreme authority over Scripture, but as men whose position and judgments are dependent upon scriptural warrant and corroboration.

"And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures." (Acts 17:2)

"But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God...By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left," (2 Corinthians 6:6-7)

Such must be in proportion to one's claims, and Rome effectively claims power to add her writings to the canon of Scripture by making her nebulous traditions equal to it (though she disagrees somewhat with the EO's who also equate the same), and requiring implicit assent to the fiats of her infallible magisterium.

RCs maintain an organizational unity despite extensive things RCs do and can disagree on, which is more than they overall know, as their basic unity is not in doctrinal commitment but a basic trust in the RC institution which fosters hope of eternal life thru her power and one's own merit, with an ambiguous idea of Divine mercy, for even the most nominal RCs like Ted Kennedy.

By coddling such RC effectively compromises for the sake of a unity of quantity, while any unity that is based upon implicit trust in the IM is not a Biblical one but its that of cults, and is inferior in quality to that which is based upon a Berean type heart and method.

Those who in practice hold to the supremacy of Scripture do have formal divisions, many of which could be prevented by a centralized authority, and which they should not be opposed to in principl (suprised?)

But while they also allow a limited degree of interpretations in some areas, as does RCm, yet they overall are committed to such core truths as are articulated by the Apostle's Creed, and the supremacy of Scripture and salvation by grace thru faith, not merit. And which unity is shown by their common contention against recognized cults, which like Rome, make another source or authority equal to or superior to Scripture.

PeaceByJesus said...

As the Christian life of most evangelicals began with a scripture-based experience of regeneration, resulting in religion based on a Scripture-based relationship with Christ, w/ denomination being less important, so such believers can more easily find fellowship in other churches of evangelical faith, with a "unity of the Spirit " (Eph. 4:3) which arguably is greater than their divisions, or can be.

Jesus conferred the Keys to the Apostles. And said that whatever they bound on Earth would be bound in Heaven. The Apostles, accordingly, appointed successors.

And who says that Rome is that church??? Why not the EO? Which Tradition is right about Papal jurisdiction and power, or the IM, etc? As for binding and loosing, why did Rome largely bind the laity for centuries from studying Scripture, while loosing authorities to torture heretics (and i am not talking about the exaggerations that abound)? Or must binding and loosing be more narrowly defined, so as to excuse much as not being what Rome "really" taught?

RCs attempt to convince us from Tradition, Scripture and history that Rome's claim is true, while at the same time telling us we cannot rely upon fallible human reasoning in order to know the truth.

The fact is that if Rome's IM was dependent upon Scripture for her claimed authority, then it would make Scripture superior, but instead it is based upon her interpretation of Tradition, Scripture and history, though even the arguments behind infallible decrees are not themselves necessarily infallible. But as she claims to be infallible when speaking according to her infallibly defined criteria, this excludes her being wrong about her declaration that she can err.

PeaceByJesus, I want you to know that I can understand your incredulity....But I am convinced that Christ established the Catholic Church, foreseeing its flaws and warts, but loving it nonetheless.

That is not really the issue, nor is it the necessity of the magisterium, nor that it can speak infallibly, but Rome's assured infallibility and the basis for establishing truth is.

Meanwhile, multitudes of now former RCs have found life by faith in the Evangelical preaching and gospel (far far more than convert to Rome). The closest Rome can come is with her marginalized Charismatic RCs, but they are an admixture at best.

You also asked:
"And is your understanding of its teachings infallible?"

No... the Church and its Magisterium, comprised of living men, can (and does) speak in response to issues as history unfolds.


And so have evangelical type churches, whose people show more unity in truth on moral issues that those Rome counts as members. I can agree on the viability of a centralized authority, but which must be established and maintained Scripturally, which excludes Rome's claim to infallibility, but relies upon Scriptural "manifestation of the truth" to persuade souls, with its power to discipline.

you're list of requests seemed to be predicated upon that very idea. I realize, to some extent, what the Reformers taught.

The idea of the supremacy and sufficiency of Scripture, rightly understood, did not begin with the Reformers, but is found in Scripture. Which also established the principle of progressive revelation which provided for additions to it, until it would be manifest that it was settled.

PeaceByJesus said...

Do all Protestants hold to the WCF? Is it truly Magisterial? And if it's subservient to Scripture, why do I need it? And can the authors of the WCF speak to matters of faith and morals today?

If we define Christians according to the source in which the name first appears, (Acts 17:26) then we should do so with Protestants, which would at least eliminate those who hold another source of revelation as being equal with Scripture, or an authority over it, or additions to it. And insofar as at least the aforementioned WTC statement is concerned, then i say would most every evangelical church, from Southern Baptists to Calvary Chapels, hold to it in principal. Not that it is not open to some interpretation, as are Rome's plethora of pronouncements.

As to whether it is truly Magisterial, it is an expression of ecclesiastical magisterium, which exists wherever the church does, as Christ gave the gifts and offices to His body, which, as seen in the churches in Rev. 2+3 and Paul's letters, can be quite diverse, but have the transcendent sure word of Scripture, out of which they rebuke reprove exhort.., "that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (2Tim. 3:17)

And inosofar as they preach out of what is written, and manifest the truth, they are speaking on Christ's behalf, as did the whole church which went forth in evangelism, speaking the word.

The most clarity would pertain to things which God has made clear enough for unity, while Rome herself has infallibly defined very little, and has much that allows some dissent and interpretation - including predestination.

How do we know who are wolves, speaking perverse things, and who are sheep? Like as you judge souls based upon Rome's various teachings, so we look to Scripture and its proofs. And thus despite formal divisions, an affirmation of core truths exists among those who hold to SS, most of which we agree on with you, while the same share a common contention against cultic aberrations.

As for successors, practically speaking, those who in leadership who make manifest the truth, (Col. 4:4) wherever they are, are to ordain others, but as seen with John the Baptist, whose authority the Lord invoked when His own was challenged, it is not formal transference that really establishes authority, but Scriptural attestation and its promised effects.

In addition, we see no evidence of apostolic succession in Scripture after Judas, which was to restore the original number of apostles, and which required personal discipleship by Christ, and which was chosen by the O.T. means of prayerful casting lots, (which precluded long deliberations and politics, resulting in Rome's "unbroken succession" being broken for up to 3 years).

But for the apostle James (Acts 12:2) no successor is even inferred, which is incongruous, nor is a successor for Peter evident.

Instead, churches, which God can anywhere raise up to continue His church, from living stones who like Peter, effectually confess Christ, follow the principle of leaders ordaining leaders.

As for why you need such, it is not so you can implicitly submit to them, but because as scripture establishes, God has ordained leadership, and given different gifts. And while one can come to faith just by reading Scripture, overall it requires various degrees of interpretation, and so it materially provides for the magisterium. Yet it commends lovers of truth who prove things by that which is established as being from God.

PeaceByJesus said...

You also wrote:
"SS does not hold that all that can be know is written in Scripture, (2Cor. 12:4; Rev. 10:4) but that nothing is to be added to the closed canon, or held as equal in authority to it."

When was your Canon closed (finally)? The exposition of Scripture, as I see it, is only as good as its expositor. Because there is an equation at play here: you + Scripture = sound doctrine.


When was the to closed and how is a real question, which answers this. The Lord affirmed the Palestinian triparte canon, (Lk. 24:44) and other texts and show they knew what Scripture consisted of, all without any apparent formal conclusion (Jamnia is a theory) or assuredly infallible magisterium. In time the 66 books of Scripture were established, due to the same manner real men of God are. But again, according to your logic, since the Jews gave us the Old Testament Scriptures, then we need to submit to their understanding. But if such is conditional, then so is Rome's claim to authority.

I can't see how to avoid that equation. So if you put anything in the place of the "you" other than a divinely-guided body, your doctrine is questionable.

Who says Roman Catholicism is the divinely-guided body, that her interpretation is right, including her idea of what constitutes a church? One that relies upon Scriptural manifestation of the truth or that declares that her interpretation must be correct according to a different basis, which Rome's really is.

And in reality, your submission to Rome is that of you + whatever Rome says = sound decision. Not that you can really be sure you made the right decision based upon your fallible human reasoning, but you can be sure by implicitly submitting to her, and then impugn the Holy Spirit for calling souls “noble” for ascertaining truth claims by the Scripture. Or you can use your private interpretation to explain that away.

That's why it seems that Rob Bell..

Who is overall censured by evangelicals, those who hold to the supremacy of Scripture and its basic literal historical hermeneutic. The issue comes back to how was the authority of John the Baptist Jesus, the apostles established? They had a Jewish heritage, as did children of the devil, but it is because it was because God made them manifest they were from Him, by conflation with Scripture and Divine attestation, which the evangelical gospel has historically evidenced while Rome overall produces churchians.

The Church cannot contradict its own teaching. And since it's been defining matters of faith and morals for 2,000 years, it is quite restricted in its ability to alter things.

Now we are approaching the absurd. Where are you James, et all? Rather, it is not restricted from defining non-unanimous consent of the fathers as unanimous, and defining history to conform to her doctrine. Keep reading this blog and its sisters for “higher education.”

It is, in a sense, a "bottomless source" in that it could speak perpetually to an issue as questions arose.

I meant Tradition has no known bounds.

Secondly, the Magisterium's Source, the well from which it draws, if you will, is the very deposit of faith given to the Church, not some amorphous things, as you suggest.

Think of what you are saying. While i known of no precise infallible definition of Tradition, it is is oral, with no tapes or records, and though it may be expressed in writings, the fathers are not all uniform in belief, and Rome picks and chooses which apostolic traditions to keep, from veneration of images to baptismal formulas to instrumental music to liturgical dates to the immaculate conception and preservation and perpetual virginity to purgatory to papal infallibility.

Then you have things like religious liberty, the avocation of torture and “waging war after the flesh” for spiritual purposes.

PeaceByJesus said...

How should we look to the Teaching Authority put in place by Christ, then? Just as we look to Christ. And that's where the scandal arises in the mind of the non-catholic. Because her [non-catholic] worldview makes no such room for any temporal authority despite the fact that Christ's very words to that effect are faithfully recorded in the Scriptures.

Rather, we look to the Scriptures to see Christ, which did not require an infallible magisterium for its establishment, but which establishes the magisterium. And while again, we should not be opposed to a central authority, Biblically established, any more than we oppose local authority. But as for giving it temporal authority to rule over those without, and the use of the sword of men to compel obedience to her, then that is out of the question in this age of grace.

"You have ZERO examples of anyone praying to anyone else in heaven but the Lord, and ZERO substance in instructions on who to pray to in heaven, and ZERO warrant that any insufficiency exists in Christ as intercessor, or the believers ability to access the Lord in prayer. Etc."

I wouldn't expect to have such a thing.


And that is the problem. You can only attempt to extrapolate it by way of analogy between human relations on earth, but there are boundaries to that, while requiring such for a basic practice in the light of the utter absence of support amidst the multitudinous occasions when it could have been exampled or taught militate against sound exegesis and supports cultic interpretations which rely upon such extrapolations and arguments from silence.

please feel free to e-mail me to spare everyone of my rambling!

This is extensive on my part also, but i would rather it be public.

herb said...

PeaceByJesus-
I am just writing a quick note to let you that I've read what you wrote... but since i don't have the internet at home, I am unable to respond right away. I will certainly respond to what you've shared (FWIW) as soon a I get the chance. Thanks for taking the time to reach out to me. I do appreciate it and would love to continue the conversation. You'll just have to be patient with me b/c of my lack of internet...

thanks.

herb said...

PeaceByJesus,
I have read your comments a few times over. I am going to attempt to respond to a few things you said. But please remember this. My original intention in commenting on this thread was to possibly get some individuals to consider the fact that public mockery is a poor means of a evangelization... and also to consider the possibility that they could possibly be wrong in some serious ways. If you'd like to keep discussing this stuff, as I said, I am happy to share with you my perspective (FWIW).

Earlier I wrote: Does the Church have the authority to speak on Christ's behalf or not? ...If your Church can't declare something and conclude by saying "thus saith the Lord." then your Church is not the Church.


And you responded with this: "You have missed the point, which is not that the church has no authority, for i affirmed the magisterium, and that it can speak infallible truth, but the basis for truth claims, and of Rome's assertion to be the OTC, and for her formulaic infallibility by which she declares it."



You say you "affirm" the Magisterium. And grant its ability to pronounce infallibly. That makes sense to me. That's Biblical. Would I expect anything less from Christ's Church? No. So my question to you, then, is who exactly makes up this Magisterium? If Rome isn't the OTC, fine. But then where is the OTC? How could I seek the counsel of its infallible Magisterium? When I was not yet Catholic, I was seeking to find a Body which claimed to be Christ's Church. I was seeking to find the Church capable of speaking on behalf of Christ (ie. speaking with something other than human opinion, something categorically different). I came to see Protestant teachers/congregations as being limited, unable to offer anything other than human opinion.

I also wrote: The Scriptures are not "alone" affirmed. The Church Christ established is promised the same Holy Spirit through whom the Scriptures came to be....The Church is infallible according to the Scriptures because it is the very Body of Christ.


You responded, saying: "The Scriptures alone are affirmed to be wholly inspired of God as the "supreme transcendent material" source on faith and morals, which was what i was referring to, as nowhere are we promised that all that the magisterium ever will speak to the whole church on faith and morals will be infallible, including Rome's assertion that it is and will be."



As a Catholic, I believe the Scriptures are inspired. I also believe the Holy Spirit indwells the Church, however. So we don't disagree about the nature of the Scriptures. We disagree upon the nature of Christ's Church. Does the Bible refer to itself as the "supreme transcendent material source on faith and morals"? What about the Body of Christ? Surely the Body of Christ is "material." Is Christ's Body not inspired, transcendent and supreme? As for a promise being given to the Magisterium. Christians have never taken the words "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven" as so much rhetoric. Again, we agree about the nature of the Scriptures. But we do not agree about the meaning of certain passages of Scripture. So, without some sacramental means of retaining unity, we are left to go with 1 of the 2 options I mentioned earlier. We must either 1) break communion or 2) water down our doctrine so as to retain visible unity.

Thanks again for your patience. And thanks for taking the time to discuss this stuff with me.

PeaceByJesus said...

Thanks for trying to comprehend it all.

My original intention in commenting on this thread was to possibly get some individuals to consider the fact that public mockery is a poor means of a evangelization...

Basically true, but in exposing manifest presumption it can have its place, as Elijah exampled. (1Kg. 18:27)

And it is Rome which promotes herself as supreme, to whom all churches are to submit, and relegates evangelical churches as not even worthy of the name "church."

You say you "affirm" the Magisterium. And grant its ability to pronounce infallibly.

Ability is not the same as Rome's assuredness, which is the real issue. But when i grant the mag. can speak infallible truth, i am not limiting it to that office.

What makes a statement on faith amnd morals infallible is not conformity to a scope and content-based criteria, but Scriptural proof, conflation with Scripture and its manner of attestation of truth.

Which does narrow things down as to what we might consider to be completely infallible statements, while 1Jn even offers a criteria by which souls may objectively judge themselves as possessing eternal life. (1Jn. 5:13)

So my question to you, then, is who exactly makes up this Magisterium?

In the universal sense it is made up of all regenerated believers who are gifted and occupy the office of teacher, and evidence this by establishing truth after the manifest Scriptural manner.

On the local visible level it is made up of the same.

If Rome isn't the OTC, fine.

It is not, as Rome claims a formulaic infallibility, that does not rest upon Scriptural warrant and its manner of corroboration, but while she may invoke Scripture and history, she essentially relies upon her claim that her assertion of infallibility is infallible, excluding any possibility that scripture or history could prove her wrong.

But then where is the OTC?

The one true church cannot be one organic body, as if it is uniquely true then it can only consist of true born again believers, which is only true of the universal church.

This must have visible expression, and it does, but the Bride of Christ is not made up of just Baptists.

PeaceByJesus said...

How could I seek the counsel of its infallible Magisterium?

There is no assuredly IM, but you can seek out your local Mag., and go higher in your denom. While a general overseership might be possible after the death of the apostles, and i have already remarked on apostolic succession, the Scriptures do not establish a perpetrated Petrine papacy, and though was the leader among brethren, and exercised a general pastoral role, not once in any letter to the churches are they called to submission to Peter as the supreme head of the church, contrary to the demigod Rome has made his office into. And Israel wanted a king also...

When I was not yet Catholic, I was seeking to find a Body which claimed to be Christ's Church. I was seeking to find the Church capable of speaking on behalf of Christ (ie. speaking with something other than human opinion, something categorically different).

When i was yet an active Catholic, after have been manifestly born again, and then having taught CCD and served as a lector, and trying to find life in the charismatic movement, i was seeking a body that did the deeds of the church in Acts, with commitment to sound doctrine, neither of which Rome did despite its claims, and disqualified itself as speaking on behalf of Christ by acting and teaching contrary to the Scriptures. The church i ended up joining at that time, as a result of evident answer to pious prayer, had its shortcomings but it preached on sin, righteous and judgment, and the need for a day of salvation, and by such conversions had its members. And i knew from experience the dramatic difference between profession and possession, Rome manifesting the former, and which i had as a devout Roman Catholic before conversion.

I came to see Protestant teachers/congregations as being limited, unable to offer anything other than human opinion.

No Berean you, by which heart and method you could have seen the validity of teachings, which, like that of Acts 15, were substantiated by Scripture and the attestation is testifies to in establishing truth. Meanwhile, based upon faith and works, I came to see Roman Catholicism as being limited, unable to back up its claims, and unworthy of the exaltation it presumed, though i left not due to any bitterness with Rome, but to the sincere desire of a disciple. Not that i think i have been a great one.

So we don't disagree about the nature of the Scriptures. We disagree upon the nature of Christ's Church.

We do, authenticity based upon (most essentially) transformative Scriptural gospel faith versus infallibly claiming its interpretation of ethereal Tradition, history and Scripture is. The Jews invoked Abraham as their father, to which John the Baptist replied that God could raise up children from stones.

Does the Bible refer to itself as the "supreme transcendent material source on faith and morals"?

Just as much as the church, but..

What about the Body of Christ? Surely the Body of Christ is "material." Is Christ's Body not inspired, transcendent and supreme?

Yes, but not wholly inspired of God, which is the key issue, and not as supreme over the Scriptures, any more than the Jewish mag. was.

As for a promise being given to the Magisterium. Christians have never taken the words "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven" as so much rhetoric.

No, Rome has wrested this to loose such things as the Inquisition, etc., and bind the Bible from the common people such as heard Jesus gladly, (Mk. 12:37) and souls who preached its salvation. But one thing the Scriptures show is this as exercising discipline by spiritual means. (1Cor. 5:5; 1Tim. 1:20)

So, without some sacramental means of retaining unity, we are left to go with 1 of the 2 options I mentioned earlier. We must either 1) break communion or 2) water down our doctrine so as to retain visible unity.

PeaceByJesus said...

Correction: "perpetrated" Petrine papacy should read "perpetuated," though that is what Rome perpetrated.

PeaceByJesus said...

So, without some sacramental means of retaining unity, we are left to go with 1 of the 2 options I mentioned earlier. We must either 1) break communion or 2) water down our doctrine so as to retain visible unity.

“Sacramental means? Do we need to get into what is constitutive of a sacrament and exclude Protestant peace makers from being agents of grace? In any case, division because of truth is better than unity in error, and while denominations are the result of divisions, not always necessary ones, yet their magisterium prevent splits all the time, and even in their formal divisions there is a basic unity of the Spirit among born again evangelicals, based upon a common regenerative conversion by which they have their members, while their real spiritual division is with those who hold to an ecclesiastical authority that is higher than Scripture, and thus preach a false gospel that basically makes membership in their particular organic church necessary for salvation.

As for Rome, its magisterium does promotes unity, but that would be among a small number if restricted to assent of faith to the IM, and which means of unity is cultic, while its overall unity is not due to a magisterium providing clear, consistent comprehensive doctrinal teaching, and common consent to such as a whole, but due to Rome successfully selling itself as spiritual life insurance company, conveying hope of salvation for the most nominal of Roman Catholics, by affiliation with her. Thus identification with Rome itself is as a sacred thing, despite a diversity of views, both in things they may disagree on and on things that might not, but which Rome effectually allows.

In addition, like the division because of commitment to truth among Prots, Rome's magisterium also causes division, but with even her closest alliance it is primarily due to her unique claim to power, despite the EOs common commitment to Tradition.

But as said, uniy itself is not a goal, but the means of unity must be Biblical, that of the result of Scriptural “manifestation of the truth,” (2Cor. 4:2; 6:4-10) versus requiring implicit assent of faith to a self-proclaim infallible magisterium. If the ground opened up and swallowed all the Protestant then you might have a case, but as it is, i dare say if it were not for the preaching of the evangelical gospel and your church of Rome was all there is, then the kingdom of God would be very much smaller.

PeaceByJesus said...

Furthermore, rather than clarity, the transformation of gospel of “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2Cor. 1:3) into a gospel of a vast autocratic organization has resulted in the promulgation of a plethora of prolix pronouncements* that has not translated into the perspicuity or consistency which is often inferred, as the debates among Roman Catholic apologists and scholars reveal.

Moreover, Rome has also watered down doctrine so as to gain and retain visible unity and this, and its lack of clear, consistent doctrinal teaching is especially manifest by Vatican Two. As stated by http://www.the-pope.com/wvat2tec.html:

These sixteen documents are entitled "Constitutions", "Decrees", and "Declarations", distinctions which in the practical order are meaningless. Despite the "pastoral" nature of the Council, two of these are labeled "dogmatic". In total then number some 739 pages of fine print and reading through them requires, as Father Houghton has remarked, "a sufficient supply of anti-soporifics". (Vatican I runs to 42 pages of large print, and the Council of Trent to 179 pages).[17] Their tone is "prolix in the extreme" and as Michael Davies states, "much of their content consists of little more than long series of the most banal truisms imaginable."[18]

Conservative Novus Ordo Catholics who object to the drastic changes call them "abuses" that result from the "misinterpretation" of Conciliar teachings. They point to many fine and orthodox statements in support of their contention. Those on the other hand who are on the forefront of the Revolution - the Liberal post-Conciliar Catholic - can justify almost anything they wish by recourse to the same documents.

It is then the ambiguity of the Conciliar statements which allows for any interpretation one wishes.

Thanks again for your patience. And thanks for taking the time to discuss this stuff with me.

Likewise

*(Alexander III alone is said to have issued thirty-nine hundred and thirty-nine decrees and Innocent II over five thousand, (General Legislation in the New Code of Canon Law, p. 42) and just the papal "Bulls" from 540 to 1857 is said to fill forty-one volumes, (http://www.biblestudymanuals.net/infallible_interpreter.htm) and there is much more than this.)

herb said...

PeaceByJesus-
I come here occasionally, not to look for something to attack, but to more closely consider the perspective of those who find themselves in the tradition from which I came (My heritage is very much Reformed, though I was a Baptist- my old pastor was a 5 point Calvinist Baptist). So when I showed up and saw what I considered to be public mockery of Catholicism, I thought I'd chime in. Little did I know a month later I'd be engaged in a discussion that deals with a whole host of issues.

This conversation has very little to do with the "ironic missing relic." But as long as you're discussing this stuff here (rather than e-mailing me privately, which you're still welcomed to do), I'll stick around.

Working tirelessly to "comprehend it all" is part of the reason I came to be Catholic. I came to realize that "understanding" and "comprehending" aren't what faith is about. For a time I was under the impression (I read a lot of Greg Koukl's stuff, and love CS Lewis) that Christianity was about intellect. But I soon realized that the Apostles followed Christ even when they didn't understand Him. And b/c He said "He who hears you, hears me" I came to look for those who speak on His behalf. I accept what the Magisterium of the Church teaches on faith, not understanding. But I don't check my own mind at the door. It's faith seeking understanding, right? So at my confirmation I publicly stated that I accept all that Holy Mother Church teaches by faith... b/c even though I don't know everything she teaches, I affirm it nonetheless.

I want to attempt to share with you my thoughts about what you're saying so that, at the least, you can see how I can be Catholic despite the objections you and others raise. It's a challenge because you present so many different points each time I write (I'm not complaining). It's hard to process it all, though. Because I begin to respond, then I'm introduced to a whole different set of propositions to consider! I will do my best. But that's why I offered up my e-mail so that the conversation isn't restricted to the formatting (and public nature) of a blog thread.

So far, as I see it, the picture you're painting has 2 major weak points:

1st- Nearly everything you present is based upon the unBiblical philosophical/paradigmatic notion that the Christian faith is PRIMARILY a Biblical faith. It's not, though.

2nd, Your affirmation/recognition of the Church's Magisterium is, as I see it, nonsensical. You say there's an authoritative Magisterium, capable of speaking on behalf of God Almighty. Then you describe that Magisterium in terms similar to those you'd use to describe a Church without a public, visible, recognizable Magisterium (In other words, what I'm saying is that a host of similarly-minded pastors and preachers, in no visible communion with one another, doesn't replace a single, unified, public, identifiable body of Catholic Bishops who, when necessary, can speak on behalf of God Almighty to settle matters of dispute). I once heard the challenge I'm trying to present phrased sorta like this: "(Considering the way you described the Magisterium), if there WERE no Magisterium at all, what would be different?" So, what I'm asking is this: If there were no Magisterium, in what way(s) would things be any different?

[It works the same way in regards to the Church. You say there's a Church. Then you define it in terms that comport with there being no church at all. Individual persons in various degrees of communion with one another do not constitute a church (according to the formula found in the early creeds).]

more later, peace to you!

PeaceByJesus said...

This conversation has very little to do with the "ironic missing relic."

It does, as the practice of of praying to departed saints flows from the Catholic premise that the Christian faith is not primarily dependent upon Scripture, but a supreme magisterium.

Because I begin to respond, then I'm introduced to a whole different set of propositions to consider! I will do my best. But that's why I offered up my e-mail...

Well, i feel this way others may be edified or want to contribute, as the faith was “not done in a corner. (Acts 26:26) But if James thinks it best to go elsewhere, we could go here. http://peacebyjesuscom.blogspot.com

I would add that, examining something else which Rome taught, if only by the Ordinary magisterium, shows how things have changed:

We furthermore forbid any lay person to engage in dispute, either private or public, concerning the Catholic Faith. Whosoever shall act contrary to this decree, let him be bound in the fetters of excommunication. — Pope Alexander IV (1254-1261) in “Sextus Decretalium”, Lib. V, c. ii:

Quinisext Ecumenical Council, Canon 64: That a layman must not publicly make a speech or teach, thus investing himself with the dignity of a teacher, but, instead, must submit to the ordinance handed down by the Lord, and to open his ear wide to them who have received the grace of teaching ability, and to be taught by them the divine facts thoroughly.

If anyone be caught disobeying the present Canon, let him be excommunicated for forty days.

“the Church forbids the faithful to communicate with those unbelievers who have forsaken the faith they once received” — St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica

I soon realized that the Apostles followed Christ even when they didn't understand Him.

Sometimes, but not initially, nor did He foster an unthinking faith. What Scripture makes clear is that only the Lord is worthy of implicit faith, and yet He gave them powerful manifest reasons to believe, by showing both Scriptural textual substantiation for His claim, as well the supernatural attestation which Scripture shows God giving to truth claims, especially to such men who added new complimentary teaching to Scripture. (Mt. 22; Lk. 24:44; Jn. 5:36,39; 14:11; cf. Acts 10:38; 17:2; 18:28; 28:23)

Moreover, rather than requiring blind faith in Him, the Lord asked a LOT of questions which required thinking and judgment, and placed His disciples in the midst of doctrinal conflict with the Jewish magisterium — and in which they saw Him reprove them for teaching unScriptural things — all of which fostered a faith that was based upon examination.

They thus could trust him when they did not understand, though He sometimes chastened them for not understanding lessons and Scripture, (Lk. 24:25) while submission by simple or “blind” faith was more as regards His personal dealings with them. (Jn. 13:7; 21:21,22)

In contrast, based upon “the Scriptures and the power of God” it teaches of, i find Roman Catholicism as lacking the warrant for the implicit faith it requires, but i see the Scriptural substantiation and the power of God manifest in the historical preaching of the evangelical gospel and the revivals it has helped to spawn, and in churches that preach it and its accompanying truths, if not wholly perfectly or to my full satisfaction (which aspect extends to me as well).

PeaceByJesus said...

But I don't check my own mind at the door. It's faith seeking understanding, right?

You do by giving assent of faith which treats the IM as if it were God, or Scripture itself, as you blindly submit to it regardless as to whether its has any warrant from anywhere, though you may trust that it does.

Nor (according to some) are you in general to seek to examine Rome as the noble Bereans examine the preaching of the very apostles.

“But the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine...Historical evidence and biblical criticism are human after all, and amount to no more than opinion, probability, human judgment, human tradition...I may say in strict truth that the Church has no antiquity. It rests upon its own supernatural and perpetual consciousness. Its past is present with it, for both are one to a mind which is immutable. Primitive and modern are predicates, not of truth, but of ourselves.” — Henry Edward Manning, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: Or Reason and Revelation (New York: J.P. Kenedy & Sons, originally written 1865), pp. 227-228.

"The mere fact that the Church teaches the doctrine of the Assumption as definitely true is a guarantee that it is true.” — Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1988), p. 275.

“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.” (1904); Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor Librorum. Imprimatur, John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York)

“...having discovered the authority established by God, you must submit to it at once. There is no need of further search for the doctrines contained in the Christian Gospel, for the Church brings them all with her and will teach you them all. You have sought for the Teacher sent by God, and you have secured him; what need of further speculation?"

“He is as sure of a truth when declared by the Catholic Church as he would be if he saw Jesus Christ standing before him and heard Him declaring it with His Own Divine lips.”

“...outside the pale of Rome there is not a scrap of additional truth of Revelation to be found.”

“He willingly submits his judgment on questions the most momentous that can occupy the mind of man-----questions of religion-----to an authority located in Rome.”

“Absolute, immediate, and unfaltering submission to the teaching of God's Church on matters of faith and morals-----this is what all must give..” — Henry G. Graham, "What Faith Really Means", (Nihil Obstat:C. SCHUT, S. T.D., Censor Deputatus, Imprimatur: EDM. CANONICUS SURMONT, D.D.,Vicarius Generalis. WESTMONASTERII, Die 30 Septembris, 1914)

“It follows that the Church is essentially an unequal society, that...the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors.” — VEHEMENTER NOS, an Encyclical of Pope Pius X promulgated on February 11, 1906.

“In a word, keep before your eyes this great rule, that in obeying your confessor you obey God. Force yourself then, to obey him in spite of all fears...But you say, if I am damned in consequence of obeying my confessor, who will rescue me from hell? What you say is impossible." St. Alphonsus De Liguori, True Spouse of Christ, p 352, Benziger Brothers, NY

If you disagree with any of the above, then that is just one more of the continuing examples of the lack of perspicuity and uniformity under the IM and its subsidiaries.

PeaceByJesus said...

So at my confirmation I publicly stated that I accept all that Holy Mother Church teaches by faith... b/c even though I don't know everything she teaches, I affirm it nonetheless.

That is manifestly dangerous. The Old Testament Scripture was established without an assuredly infallible magisterium, and in its totality it does NOT promise that whatever the magisterium will ever teach on faith and morals to the church universal will be infallible, but it does affirm Scripture as being wholly God-breathed.

You join the Mormons and so-called “Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. in your implicit assent to mere mortals, even if you justify it as trusting God to gift them with being infallible. You can argue that cults do not have the historical warrant of Rome, but that does not assure veracity, but by examining them against Scripture we can see that they are in critical error, and which is the result of exalting men above that which is written, (1Cor. 4:6) as is true of Rome, as well as making other writings of equal authority.

1st- Nearly everything you present is based upon the unBiblical philosophical/paradigmatic notion that the Christian faith is PRIMARILY a Biblical faith. It's not, though.

That is due to your faith in Rome, and some Roman Catholics would disagree with you, but while that it is clearly not the case for the New Testament church, it is for Rome. And by rejecting the supremacy of Scripture and making itself the supreme authority based PRIMARILY upon its nebulousTradition, the it makes itself an autocratic entity that is its own authority.

In contrast, as said, Jesus and the apostles and church rested upon Scripture and the type of supernatural testimony it affirms in establishing their authority. And the principal in Scripture is that of revelation being written, and becoming the authority against which further revelation was examined by, and which it complimented.

Partial list of references to Divine written revelation being written (Scripture) and references to it: Ex. 17:14; 24:4,7,12; 31:18; 32:15; 34:1,27; 35:29; Lv. 8:36; 10:10; 26:46; Num. 4:5,37,45,49; 9:23; 10:13; 15:23; 16:40; 27:23; 33:2; 36:13; Dt. 4:13; 5:22; 9:10; 10:2,4; 17:18,19; 27:3,8; 28:58,61; 29:20,21,27; 30:10; 31:9,11,19,22,26; Josh. 1:8; 8:31,32,34,35; 10:13; 14:2; 20:2; 21:2; 22:9; 23:6; 24:26; Jdg. 3:4; 1Sam. 10:25; 2Sam. 1:8; 1Ki. 2:3; 8:53,56; 12:22; 2Ki. 1:8; 14:6; 17:37; 22:8,10,13,16; 23:2,21; 1Ch. 16:40; 17:3,9; 2Ch. 23:18; 25:4; 31:3; 33:8; 34:14,15,18,21,24; 34:30; 35:6,12; Ezra 3:2,4; 6:18; Neh. 6:6; 8:1,3,8,15,18; 9:3,14; 10:34,36; 13:1; Psa. 40:7; Is. 8:20; 30:8; 34:16; 65:6; Jer. 17:1; 25:13; 30:2; 36:2,6,10,18,27,28; 51:60; Dan. 9:11,13; Hab. 2:2;

Mat. 1:22; 2:5,15; 3:3; 4:4,6,7,10,14; 8:4,17; 11:10; 12:3,5,17; 13:35; 19:47,8; 21:4,13,16,42; 22:24,29,31; 24:15; 26:24,31,54,56; 27:9,34; Mark 1:2,44; 7:3,10; 9:12,13; 10:4,5; 11:17; 12:10,19,24,26 13:14; 14:21,47,49; Lk. 2:3,22,23; 3:4; 4:4,8,10,16,17,20; 5:14; 7:27; 10:26; 16:29,31; 18:31; 19:46; 20:17,28,37,42; 22:37, 24:22.27,32,44,45,46; Jn. 1:17,45; 2:17; 3:14; 5:39,45-47; 6:31,32,45; 7:19,22,23,42,52; 8:5,17; 12:14; 10; 34; 12:14,16; 15:25; 20:31; 21:24; Acts 1:20; 2:16-21,25-28,34,35; 3:22; 7:42; 8:28,30,32; 7:42; 3:33; 13:29,33,39; 15:5,15,21; 17:2,11; 18:24,28; 21:24; 23:5; 24:14; 26:22; Rom 1:2,17; 2:24; 3:4,10; 4:3,17,23; 8:36; 9:3,13,15,17,,33; 10:5,11,15,19; 11:2,8,26; 12:19; 14:11; 15:3,4,9,21; 16:16,26,27; 1Cor. 1:19,31; 2:9; 3:19; 4:6; 9:9,10; 10:7,11; 14:21; 15:3,4,45,54; 2Cor. 1:13; 2:3,4; 3:7,15; 4:13; 7:12; 8:15; 9:9; Gal. 3:10,13; 4:22,27; Eph. 3:3,4; Col. 4:16; 1Thes. 5:27; 2Tim. 3:15; Heb. 7:28; 8:5; 10:7,28; 13:22; 1Pet. 1:16; 5:12; 2Pet. 3:15,16; 1Jn. 2:21; 5:13; Rev. 1:3,11; 22:6,7;10,18,19

PeaceByJesus said...

This did not mean that the faith of the church was not also based upon the oral word of God, but that itself was manifested as being so by conflation with Scripture and its means of establishing truth, and we know what was preached because of the oral preaching which was written down. And SS affirms both “preaching the Word” (Acts 8:4) as regards its truths, and the principle of progressively revelation, in adding Divinely inspired words to a yet open canon.

But to hold another source of revelation as equal with Scripture (versus dependent upon it for verification) would be to add to a finished canon, and to hold amorphous oral tradition — which, due to its nature has no known beginning or end or means of testing it for corruption, which it is most supremely liable to — as equal to Scripture based upon the judgment of an autocratic “infallible” entity that cannot be corrected by any man, allows fables to pass for truth.

Thus while the validity of any preaching must be established by conformity to Scripture, yet the authority for Rome's infallible decrees are really itself.

you describe that Magisterium in terms similar to those you'd use to describe a Church without a public, visible, recognizable Magisterium...If there were no Magisterium, in what way(s) would things be any different?

I wonder how much you read. So how does “on the local visible level it is made up of the same” (“regenerated believers who are gifted and occupy the office of teacher, and evidence this by establishing truth after the manifest Scriptural manner”) “and go higher in your denom.” mean that this is no public, visible, recognizable Magisterium? Am i speaking of invisible persons?

Granted, most lack the pomp and ceremony of the psychological priesthood, but we recognize the office of the teacher, of real live ordained ministers both in the “general magisterium” type sense and often in formal denominational offices, and overall evangelical faith also offers plenty of understandable helps which foster far more doctrinal literacy in basic doctrine and the limits of disagreements than typically those in Rome evidence, with their various (often liberal) theological and moral views. And in fact, this can be in Rome's interest, as lack of commitment to doctrinal purity lessens the tendency for division, though most converts to evangelical faith do so because of an experiential spiritual deficiency in Roman Catholicism.

Meanwhile, your rejection of Protestant teaching that is based upon Scripture, and low view of the means the noble Bereans employed to ascertain the veracity of truth claims, and your substitution of such for a self-proclaimed official-sounding ecclesiastical authority it troubling.

You infer that the NT church was looking to Rome for authoritative guidance and correction, and Peter as reigning according to his modern papal counterpart, but where do we see this in Scripture? Thus it is necessary for you that the Christian faith not be primarily a Biblical faith.

We do see the foundational apostles residing at Jerusalem, yet the only formal ecumenical council was not called by Peter, and was about a disciplinary matter, which ruling was manifestly of God, based upon Scripture and the kind of testimony to Truth that it affirms.

None of the letters to the churches reflect the idea of dependance than Rome fosters, and Peter was not even mentioned in Paul's letter to the Romans, and not one mention of a supreme head is made in the letters to the churches in Revelation.

And again, while the foundational apostles, primarily Paul and Peter, did plant, feed and discipline the churches, Rome's leaders do not meet the qualification for an apostle, while her “unbroken succession” of popes suffers absences of up to 3 years, and includes men who would not even qualify as church members in the New Testament church, much less successors to Peter, while the manner of choosing popes, while varied, has never (TMK) been according to Scripture.

PeaceByJesus said...

I could expand on this, but here again you even EOs reject Peters primacy and then some. “...she has separated herself from us by her own deeds, when through pride she assumed a monarchy which does not belong to her office.” (Nicetas, Archbishop of Nicomedia, 12th century)

Orthodox apologist and author Clark Carlton: "The Orthodox Church opposes the Roman doctrines of universal papal jurisdiction, papal infallibility, purgatory, and the Immaculate Conception precisely because they are untraditional." Clark Carlton, THE WAY: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church, 1997, p 135.

You say there's a Church. Then you define it in terms that comport with there being no church at all.

So “This must have visible expression, and it does.” means there is not church?

what I'm saying is that a host of similarly-minded pastors and preachers, in no visible communion with one another, doesn't replace a single, unified, public, identifiable body of Catholic Bishops who, when necessary, can speak on behalf of God Almighty to settle matters of dispute).

I am not opposed to a central overseership, if established after the Scripture manner, in which again, God makes His will manifest as by accordance with Scripture and it attestorial means. But what I'm saying is that a host of visible, similarly-minded pastors and preachers, even if in no formal communion with one another, but holding to the supremacy of Scripture and preaching the gospel which effects manifest regeneration, has not produced anarchy but a basic spiritual unity and widespread conformity in basic truths and a common contention against dissent from it.

And is preferable to a single, unified, public, identifiable body of prelates who, when they deem it necessary, presume they alone can assuredly infallibly speak on behalf of God Almighty to settle matters of dispute, according to their autocratic judgment.

Not in reliance upon Scripture as the supreme judge of doctrine, but while their pronouncements may claim Scriptural corroboration — though infallibility does not necessarily extend to the arguments behind such decrees — their infallibility is assured by conformity to its scope and content-based criteria.

herb said...

PeaceByJesus-

I am going to try to pick up where I left off a while back. You'd written a number of things I hadn't responded to. Here goes... (By the way, I'd be happy to pick this conversation up at your blog at any point in time).

So earlier I said I was confused by your having said this: "according to your logic we should all submit to Judaism..."

And you responded, saying: "If you were not (confused) then perhaps you would not have responded as you did, which makes the fundamental mistake of holding that the instrumental source of Scripture forever makes its ecclesiastical progeny the infallible interpreter of it. And if that were a true principal then we would have to submit to the Jews, who in particular are affirmed in Scripture to have been the instruments and stewards of holy Writ."

Your point would make some sense were it not for the coming of Christ and the establishment of the New Covenant in His Blood (In a sense, though, your comment does hold. Because Catholics view the Church, the Body of Christ, as the New Israel. It was the Pharisees' misunderstanding of Scripture that led to their rejection of Christ Jesus, not their faithful adherence to it. Had they been faithful to it, they would have become, like Saul of Tarsus, Christians!).

What's really at issue here, though, concerns the role the Apostles played in bringing about a continuation/mediation of the work of Christ. Christ said to the Apostles "As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you." To me, this provides a clear justification on the part of Catholics/Apostolic Christians to really accept the definitive statements of the Church as having a divine stamp of approval (East/West schism notwithstanding). That's where I feel that non-Catholic/Apostolic Christian bodies are simply out of the running for someone who is striving to remain true to Scripture. As a Baptist, I knew that I couldn't look to my minister as I'd look to Christ Himself. As a Catholic, however, I believe that the Magisterium retains the ability to speak definitively on Christ's behalf when necessary).

Please don't be personally offended by what I am about to say. But it seems to me that only by redefining the word "Church" in anti-Scriptural terms (and in terms out of accord with those by which Christians understood the Church for 1,500+ years) are you able to "affirm" the words of the New Testament concerning the "Church." You see "churches" and call them a "Church." You see Magisteria (is that the word?) and affirm a single Magisterium. You minimize the importance of something as fundamental to the Christian life as Baptism (a sacrament understood among Evangelical non-Catholics in almost any sense imaginable) so as to redirect focus towards the various doctrines that Evangelicals hold in common. All the while overlooking/denying the fact that (Sola Fide aside) Catholics believe that we are saved 100% by Grace Alone. Further, I'd consider myself an Evangelical. Is that a term reserved for non-Catholics alone? The last I heard, the Evangelical Theological Society had at least one Eastern Orthodox member, but that scholarly body prohibited the membership of active Catholics (Eastern or Western) in full communion with the Pope.
end or part 1

herb said...

beginning of part 2
Protestantism attempted to draw a line in the sand in defiance of Rome. The problem for me, as a Protestant, however, lay in the fact that instead of there being one line in the sand, there were many, now thousands (and there are still more being drawn today). What do I do, draw my own line in the sand? It seems to me that's what so many of us moderns are doing as we draw our lines in the sand outside of Christianity entirely, labelling ourselves as agnostics or whatnot. I will have no part in drawing another line in the sand according to my personal interpretations of Scripture. I will seek the Church that Christ established, and that Church "subsists" in the Catholic Church.

Finally, in regards to your suggestion that (if my reasoning is correct) we should all be Jewish, I have to say that Catholics see continuity, in Christ, through all of Christian history, all the way from Abra(ha)m to Benedict the 16th. There aren't competing groups, each rightfully claiming to be the authors of Sacred Scripture. There is Scripture, God-breathed, produced among the People of God. And that same Covenant People, the Bride of Christ recognizes its visible unity in today's Catholic Church.

You continued: "The same faulty logic is used in support of oral Tradition, that since Scripture came out of it then Tradition is also wholly inspired, but such logic would make all that the instruments of Scriptural revelation spoke to be as Scripture, and would also make Mary divine (indeed Rome comes close to doing so). Etc. And it ignores how Scripture came to be established as being from God."

I think I understand what you're arguing here. However, I see it differently. Oral Tradition has its place. Indeed, Christ Himself affirmed the validity of Moses' Seat (Matthew 23), while warning against the hypocrites who occupy it (Much as He would likely have done during the reign of a particularly rotten Pope, by the way).

Further, the way you're looking at things requires you to pit one divine thing against another. You have an either/or thing going on that I see as unnecessary. Scripture is God-Breathed. And the Apostles themselves are quite literally "God-Breathed," as well (John 20). The question for us, concerns the way that Christians understood the Apostles' Authority to perdure. Did Christ intend for this grand authority to simply fizzle out within a generation of His Ascension? Or does Scripture and Church history indicate that the Church was to carry on, unique in the world, as the only dual-natured organization, having both an earthly/temporal nature as well as a divine/supernatural nature, as does its Head, Christ?

Also, I asked this of you: Who's to say that your interpretations of Scripture are valid?

You responded, asking: "Who are say that the church is true, or the apostles, or Jesus?"

My answer to that question is "Both." Christ appointed the Apostles to be His genuine vicars. Those who rejected the Apostles (not just their message), rejected Christ, thus they rejected God Almighty. Again, it seems that you're asking either/or questions when, due to the fact that Christ's Church is indefectible and necessarily One, it's unnecessary to do so.

You continued: "The answer is (in review) that God first established Truth by His powerful attestation, as He did with Moses, and which affirmed the faith of Abraham, and what He wrote became the standard by which further truth claims as well as men of God were examined by, and which further revelation complimented. The Lord Jesus exhibited the same as did the apostles."
end of part 2

herb said...

beginning of part 3
God is truth. God needn't establish truth b/c He is truth. He may demonstrate the truthfulness of something by means of some sort of powerful attestation, yes. But were Moses or Abram to reject God, it wouldn't have been a result of some sort of shortfall on God's part... or His failure to provide sufficient justification for that which He was asking of those men. Further, over the course of that passage you offered above, you made quite a leap. You began with God's establishment of Truth and, as though you weren't making a transition at all, you began speaking of "what He wrote" in His place. Scripture or "what He wrote" isn't God. You then went on to say that what had been written "became the standard" by which further truth claims... were examined..." Where is that in the Bible? To this day, modern Jews are Talmudists moreso than they are Scripturalists. Yes, the Bible has had a central, special, unique role in the life of the Covenant People of God. But you're suggesting more than that. And that's why I think your apparent "Sola Scriptura" approach to things seems to be and profound demonstration of begging the question (assuming the very thing in question).

You continued: "In short, while comprehensive doctrinal unity was ever a goal not realized, essential truth claims are established by their conformity with Scripture, and warrant from them, and by the corresponding fruit it effects."

That sounds good. But what does it really mean? Again, it overlooks the very thing in question. You say "essential truth claims are established by their conformity with Scripture..." But the question that we're facing isn't whether or not a truth claim should be expected to corroborate (or at least not violate) the Scriptural record... I'm wondering who gets to decide when 2 people read the same text and disagree. In other words, you're talking about "conformity with Scripture" and I'm saying "conformity with Scripture ACCORDING TO WHOM?" When an early Reformer didn't hold to the perseverance of the saints, who's the rightful adjudicator? The same questions persists below, when you say:

"Most essential is the gospel message"

Because I'm still asking "the gospel message" according to whom? Because I hear the Gospel message in Church every Sunday at Mass.

You continued: "and It is the evangelical gospel which shut up man as damned and morally destitute of any means to escape his just eternal punishment"
end of part 3

herb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
herb said...

oops

beginning of part 4
As a Catholic I'm still with you here. Remember, by our own abilities, apart from Grace, humankind is entirely incapable of seeking or pleasing God. You've obviously retained some core Catholic teachings despite the fact that you've left the Church.

you continued: "or gain glory by, and in need of a day of salvation by faith in the risen Lord Jesus to save sinners by His blood and righteousness, that has manifested far greater fruits of regeneration, in quantity as relates to its size and in quality 9even in its present poor state: http://www.peacebyjesus.com/RC-Stats_vs._Evang.html), than its institutionalized counterpart, whether it be Catholic or Protestant."

I personally find numbers anything but convincing these days. I'm more inclined to consider the substance of something apart from its effects as I consider its truthiness. The Super Bowl is doing better than Christ in this modern era, so what? For that matter, Joel Osteen does quite well. What's his version of the Gospel? Maybe we should try that one out because it produces better numbers and happier people...

You added: "And i speak as a former devout RC."

As I imagine it, a devout Roman Catholic can't be anything but a "current" devout Roman Catholic. When someone believes the Catholic Church is the Church Christ established, warts and all, tares and all, he has no choice but to remain within her. When someone such as yourself exits the Church it doesn't mean you weren't devoted to Christ. But it does indicate that you never came to understand the Catholic Church as the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church that Christ established so many years ago. So, while Catholic, you were undoubtedly devoted to Christ, but seemingly unconvinced of the idea that the Church played any necessary part in your identity as a follower of Christ.
more later, peace to you!
end of part 4

herb said...

PeaceByJesus-

I'll continue where I left off... Please remember, also, that I'm just sharing my perspective with you, my understanding of things (FWIW).

part A

I'd also written: Catholics affirm every word of Scripture, when rightly interpreted.

and you responded: "By an entity which interprets itself to be planter earth's uniquely infallible interpreter, though by common consent it has defined very little infallibly, while failing to provide an infallible list of all infallible interpretations, leaving RCs to judge between multitudes of potentially infallible statements, while allowing varying degrees of dissent in non-fallible teachings."

You say that this "entity" interprets itself to be "earth's uniquely infallible interpreter." It's not just this "entity" that views itself this way, however. Throughout the centuries Christianity has been understood as being hierarchical in structure, capable of holding authoritative councils, etc. All along, Christians of any and every sect have understood the claims of the Church to be unique and infallible. You understand the faith in those terms, as well (as containing divinely-revealed truths). However, seeing as how you reject any visible, unified teaching authority, you have come to attempt to force-fit the Scripture's into the seat of Magisterial authority. You charge the Catholic Magisterium with appealing to some sort of amorphous tradition. But how could church authority, as you've described it, be anything but utterly and completely amorphous seeing as how it consists of any sufficiently-inspired local preachers with whom a person happens to be in contact? At least the Catholic Magisterium consists of all bishops the world over in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, which means that one can at least identify the body which claims to be capable of speaking on behalf of Christ. The way you've painted it out to be, the church(es) have a conditional Magisterium comprised of whichever individuals happen to be preaching the "true gospel" (according to you) at any given time.
end of part A

herb said...

beginning of part B
And the fact that the Church hasn't provided an infallible list of infallible interpretations is a moot point, as I see it. I'm not in the position you suggest I'm in. I'm not desperately scrambling to judge between multitudes of possibly fallible teachings. If I have a question, I can go directly to the Catechism. I can go directly to Scripture. I can go directly to my bishop if I need to. I can read encyclicals. At the end of the day, concerning the more weighty matters, I should be able to determine pretty clearly what Church teaching is. I've always found this to be the case. As a matter of fact, personally, the one issue that made the Church appear to me to be a lone voice crying in the wilderness was that of birth control. I was at a point in life during which I was desperately questioning the moral status of various means of birth control. When everyone else was offering suggestions and personal opinions based upon their interpretations of Scripture, the Catholic Magisterium, despite rampant disregard for Catholic teaching on the part of Catholics themselves, remained true to the historical Christian message concerning artificial contraception. Further, would a child approach his mom, saying "Mom, I need you to provide a detailed list of all the things that you do and don't expect of me, specifying which of those things is somewhat negotiable and which of those things is non-negotiable." Relationships simply don't work that way. Why would you even expect that? If one trusts the Magisterium (on account of Christ's divine guidance), why would one expect such a thing of the Magisterium?

This is why, earlier in this conversation, I referred to that comment I'd heard recently that went something like this: "Non-Catholic Christians believe in Christ. Catholics believe in Christ AND what He teaches." I don't see how, apart from submitting to an historically-bound (apostolic) Church (complete with its vestments, its monuments, its hierarchy, etc.) a person can, in a principled, consistent manner, profess to hold to a set of doctrines that is anything other than an ad hoc, opinion-based, a la carte, conglomeration of Catholic teachings which he (infallibly) professes to sufficiently jive with Scripture.
end of part B

herb said...

beginning of part C
I also wrote: As I see it, all you can do is break communion with those with whom you disagree. Either that, or compromise your doctrine in order to retain public unity. Catholics, on the other hand look to the definitions of the Magisterium to settle matters of faith on Christ's behalf.

You responded: "In reality, the latter is true on a smaller scale in evangelical churches, while surety of doctrine in Rome's is quite limited."

You're acknowledging the doctrinal "watering down" that's taking place among evangelicals, then. Well, that watering down is what revealed to me the bankruptcy of Biblicism. How can we, through appeal to the Bible, oppose the watering down of Scripture. As traditional denominationalism dissolves and is replaced by mega-churching, what means does a faithful follower of Jesus such as yourself have to oppose the doctrinal compromise that's already having its way in your congregations? Earlier I referred to Rob Bell. Frankly, I have a great respect and admiration for Rob Bell. He preaches the message of Christ's love like nobody else I've seen. But when it comes to the really heavy intellectual matters (theodicy, etc.), where does he turn? He asks great questions, yes. But Christianity is about tough questions and fulfilling answers (though there really is only one answer, Christ). But seriously, what can you do but say "You're wrong" in the face of doctrinal compromise?

You also said: "Most of what RCs believe and practice is from the Ordinary mag. and what it teaches requires some interpretation, while what ever parameters it does provide still leaves the RC with much liberty to interpret the Scriptures."

I am bound to accept the teachings of the Ordinary Magisterium. So what? So what if there lies some ambiguity in these teachings? If an issue arises, I have a means of appeal that could conceivably go all the way to Rome. Besides, some things are simply paradoxical, beyond our comprehension. For example, as a Catholic I can affirm the human exercise of free will, while affirming Predestination, which, to our minds seems like a violation of basic logic!

Anyways, thanks for listening. i will continue working my way through your comments progressively... and attempting to share with you my personal synthesis of all of this stuff. thanks.
end of part C

PeaceByJesus said...

What's really at issue here, though, concerns the role the Apostles played in bringing about a continuation/mediation of the work of Christ. Christ said to the Apostles "As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you." To me, this provides a clear justification on the part of Catholics/Apostolic Christians to really accept the definitive statements of the Church as having a divine stamp of approval (East/West schism notwithstanding). That's where I feel that non-Catholic/Apostolic Christian bodies are simply out of the running for someone who is striving to remain true to Scripture.

This presumes what needs to be proved, and the proof at issue was based upon the stewardship=infallible interpreter logic that i said would require us to assent to Judaism. You can invoke texts such as Jn. 20:21 the above in support, which is the title of a beautiful Evangelical hymn, but the “you” that verse must be souls who are born again after the Biblical manner, not sprinkled infants supposedly regenerated upon proxy faith, or souls who suppose their merits and identification with Rome will save them, along with belief in the facts of the gospel.

Nor do we see apostolic succession established in Scripture except to maintain the number of the original apostles, and Rome critically fails of the qualifications for apostles, and for unbroken succession of popes.

While as for being sent, the whole church that “was scattered abroad went every where preaching the word,” (Acts 8:4) without any evident commissioning by the apostles, and evangelical faith overall (even in its present comprised state) shows far more fruits of regeneration, and of individual involvement than Roman Catholics overall. If it were larger far more would be done, but “a living dog is better than a dead lion.”

As far as the definitive statements of the “Catholics/Apostolic Churches having a divine stamp of approval, East/West schism notwithstanding,” since East and West contradict each other this schism is standing, as only one can be the one true church. But again, Rome's proof for this claim is not by submission to the only transcendent material authority which the apostle affirmed was wholly inspired of God, but is really by referencing itself. Its perpetuated Petrine papacy of preeminent power is a development, not warranted by the Scriptures, nor does its leadership qualify as apostles.

PeaceByJesus said...

But it seems to me that only by redefining the word "Church" in anti-Scriptural terms (and in terms out of accord with those by which Christians understood the Church for 1,500+ years) are you able to "affirm" the words of the New Testament concerning the "Church."

I affirm that gospel faith in the Lord Jesus is what the church is built upon, and by which it has its members, and ordains leaders, and judges sin and doctrine, though the churches can be quite different, as Rv. 2+3 and the Epistles reveal. And that apostolic succession is not established in Scripture except for Judas, while Romes succession included Judas types, and often by political maneuverings. But as God could raised up children to Abraham from stones, so can He raise up stones, who like Peter, effectually confesses Christ, to continue building His church, while rejecting that institutionalized entity which claims historical formal decent.

It is you who has redefined the meaning of the word "Church" in anti-Scriptural terms, as Rome progressively took an entity in which members were added by preaching which convicted souls of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment, (Jn. 16:9) that they were damned — not saved — because of their works, and destitute of any means to escape their just and eternal life punishment in Hell fire, but were born again by faith in the mercy of God in Christ, on His blood-expense and righteousness, which justified the unGodly, their faith being counted for righteousness,
but an enduring faith that was expressed in baptism, commitment to doctrine, corporate prayer and sharing (often spontaneous),
and were instructed to remember the Lord death by unselfish love toward one another,
and led by mostly married leaders whose authority was based upon Scriptural corroboration with power, and ordaining bishops/elders (same office) and deacons that had manifest anointing and testimony, but not an ostentatious show of such, in either titles or clothing and living.
The closest to which spiritual power i see has been in and the result of evangelical revivals.

But which faith Rome turned into a complicated system of salvation in which infants are said to be justified by proxy faith (or more rarely, adults by their own assent to Rome's formula), but then do works which merit eternal life, which, despite trying to define merit so as not to contradict eternal life being a gift, fosters faith in ones own morality and the power of the Church, which dispenses from its Treasury of merit, stocked with excess merits of saints, etc., and obtaining life by eating, and in practice fostering perfunctory practices, while at death hope is conveyed for even apostate Catholics (Ted K, etc.) that mother church will get them into glory, after a stay in Roman Catholic purgatory.

And over which over which are men which claim to successors to the very apostles but which clearly do not fulfill the Scriptural qualifications, with a papal system whose “unbroken line” includes that of politically elected popes who were impenitent, grossly immoral men (even before election) who could not qualify to be successors to Peter, and in which for a long it seemed that being Italian was almost a requirement.

And under which are various formal classes of clergy, not simply Bishops/Elders and deacons, with a separate class of sacerdotal priests, with nearly all being required to have the gift of celibacy,

While the evangelical church has had and does have its defects, the gospel which effects transformative regeneration is how the church has its members, (1Cor. 12:13) which Rome (and institutionalized Protestantism) denies, and its unity and government are not necessarily superior to any one denomination, while her claim to authority rests upon her claim to be infallible, declaring that it nebulous oral Tradition, history and Scripture warrant that it is infallible when it speaks in accordance with its own infallible defined formula.

PeaceByJesus said...

You see "churches" and call them a "Church."

I do, as denominations can be considered making up the “one church” as Rome calls herself, while she considers others as part of the household of faith. Any one denom can claim assent to some core basics, as Rome requires, while allowing varying degrees of dissent on others, and as having a magisterium of elders which judge doctrine and conduct, which can do so quicker and more effectively than Rome examples.

In short, having been raised in Rome, and treated as a Catholic as a result of conformity to forms of conversion, but never having a manifest day of salvation, but later becoming born again while there (and listening to evangelical radio), and knowing the radical difference, then I look at substance, and Scripturally see that claims to historical decent and outward structure do not establish spiritual authenticity, and that God could raise up a church tomorrow using a stones, who like Peter, effectually confesses Christ... And as a result of being born again by the word of truth, by faith in the Scripture-based gospel, and knowing it the Word of God is alive, then rather than looking to an authority of men as infallibly determining truth, i looked to that which is wholly inspired of God. And as a result, i affirm the magisterium, but not as autocratic and assuredly infallible.

In contrast, you effectively denied Scripture that unique infallible authority and insisted on having authority which asserts it is assuredly infallible, and to which you implicitly submit as to God, which is cultic! You look at outward structure and a form which looks impressive, but so did those whom Christ said were full of dead men's bones, and which system owes much of its spread to unScriptural means, from the unholy use of the sword of men to funding itself by church-sponsored gambling.

You see Magisteria (is that the word?) and affirm a single Magisterium.

The magisterium in the Scriptures was not one single one, but had different levels, which is true in Rome and in certain denominations, and Rome cannot claim to be more than a denomination — and her attempts to make herself the one true church are circular, not Scriptural. I do grant that one centralized authority is Scriptural in principal, but Rome's claim to be it is presumptuous.

PeaceByJesus said...

You see "churches" and call them a "Church."

I do, as denominations can be considered a smaller version of “one church” as Rome calls herself, while she considers others as part of the household of faith. Any one denom can claim assent to some core basics, as Rome requires, while allowing varying degrees of dissent on others, and as having a magisterium of elders which judge doctrine and conduct, which can do so quicker and more effectively than Rome examples.

In short, having been raised in Rome, and treated as a Catholic as a result of conformity to forms of conversion, but never having a manifest day of salvation, but later becoming born again while there (and listening to evangelical radio), and knowing the radical difference, then I look at substance, and Scripturally see that claims to historical decent and outward structure do not establish spiritual authenticity, and that God could raise up a church tomorrow using a stones, who like Peter, effectually confesses Christ... And as a result of being born again by the word of truth, by faith in the Scripture-based gospel, and knowing it the Word of God is alive, then rather than looking to an authority of men as infallibly determining truth, i looked to that which is wholly inspired of God. And as a result, i affirm the magisterium, but not as autocratic and assuredly infallible.

In contrast, you effectively denied Scripture that unique infallible authority and insisted on having authority which asserts it is assuredly infallible, and to which you implicitly submit as to God, which is cultic! You look at outward structure and a form which looks impressive, but so did those whom Christ said were full of dead men's bones, and which system owes much of its spread to unScriptural means, from the unholy use of the sword of men to funding itself by church-sponsored gambling.

You see Magisteria (is that the word?) and affirm a single Magisterium.

The magisterium in the Scriptures was not one single one, but had different levels, which is true in Rome and in certain denominations, and Rome cannot claim to be more than a denomination — and her attempts to make herself the one true church are circular, not Scriptural. I do grant that one centralized authority is Scriptural in principal, but Rome's claim to be it is presumptuous.

PeaceByJesus said...

You minimize the importance of something as fundamental to the Christian life as Baptism (a sacrament understood among Evangelical non-Catholics in almost any sense imaginable) so as to redirect focus towards the various doctrines that Evangelicals hold in common.

And who says i minimize baptism? In Scripture i see souls being born again prior to baptism. (Acts 10:43-47; 11:18; 15:7-9) but expressed by it, as corresponding to Rm. 10:9,10, with it being a “sinner's prayer” in body language. And that as the kind of faith that is counted for righteousness is kind that will effect obedience towards its Object, so baptism as an act of obedience cannot be minimized.

But while baptism can be the occasion that one effectual comes to faith, regeneration is not by proxy faith (the inability of the palsied man was physical, not cognitive), and the requirements for baptism are repentance and wholehearted faith. (Acts 2:38; 8:36,37) Nor is it apart from heart conviction of one's need for salvation by personal faith, and thus evangelical churches regularly baptize converts who were sprinkled by Rome upon assent to her form of conversion, but never had their day of salvation.

And yet Rome allows for baptism of desire, that of perfect contrition (but she has some uncertainty as to the two concepts of attrition and contrition), as well as allowing for the salvation of baptized Protestants. And while many of the latter do marginalize baptism, that is an overreaction to Rome, which made sprinkling and (most typically) proxy faith to be salvific, versus preaching to accountable souls as damned and destitute and needing salvation by personal repentance and faith. (Act. 3:19; 20:21)

PeaceByJesus said...

As a Baptist, I knew that I couldn't look to my minister as I'd look to Christ Himself.

And now you can by looking to the Pope?! Or only when he exercises his formulaic infallibility? The latter is not a Scriptural basis for veracity, while obedience to any mortal in the Bible is conditional, insomuch as they follow Christ or commands are not contrary to God. And we do not know they are by an autocratic authority which determines what is right as superior to Scripture, but one whose veracity is dependent upon manifest conformity to its manner of corroboration, as that of Acts 15 was and is included in Scripture.

When Paul exhorted Timothy to “continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” (2Tim. 3:14) he was referring to one whose preaching was established by Scriptural corroboration (Acts 17:2,11; 18:23) with its manifestation of the truth. (2Cor. 4:2) And thus he proceeds to direct Timothy to the Scriptures, uniquely affirming this material source as wholly inspired of God (Christ having ascended, nor was the church ever given assured formulaic infallibility), and able to make one “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus,” and used by the church so that “the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Tim. 3:15-17)

While the church should manifest God in the flesh, only the material Scriptures are affirmed to be wholly inspired by Him, and giving life to those who believe them.

Uncritically following the last pope as Christ would mean sanctioning a pope who, according to a leading Roman Catholic apologist,

1. Invited pagans to pray to their false gods.
2. Looked the other way while his clerics raped his children, and ordained faggots to say his Masses
3. Shuffled pedophiles and homosexuals from parish to parish, even giving them safe haven at the Vatican.
4. Subjected those Catholic who dare protest to droning quotes from Vatican I and Lumen Gentium about “submission”
5. Watched scantily clad women dance while Mass was being said.
6. Suggested that hell might not exist.
7. Suggested that the Jews still have their Old Covenant
8. Kissed the Koran
9. Made it appear as if God has given man universal salvation by using ambiguous language in official writings
10. Accepted the tenets of evolution.
11. Wrote a catechism that contained theological errors and ambiguities.
12. Changed the canonization laws: marriage laws, capital punishment laws, laws about women’s roles.
13. Went against the tradition by putting women in leadership positions and dispensing with head coverings.
14. Failed to excommunicate heretical bishops and priests who were spouting heresies.
15. Protected Bishop Marcinkus and his entourage of financial hoodlums in the Vatican.
16. Ignored the pleas of a bishop who was merely trying to preserve the tradition (Archbishop Levebre)
17. Exonerated Luther
18. Allowed the Luther‐Catholic Joint Declaration, signed by a high‐ranking Cardinal, to explicitly state that “man is justified by faith alone.”
19. Disobeyed the Fatima request to consecrate Russia.
— http://www.catholicintl.com/articles/Response%20to%20John%20Dejak%20of%20The%20Wanderer.pdf http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2011/04/sungenis-alone.html

But even here the problem is that of laymen judging the head magistrate, and by his interpretation of what the magisterium teaches, and which even then is not based upon Scripture as being the supreme authority on earth. Rome, which made sprinkling and (most typically) proxy faith to be salvific, versus preaching to accountable souls as damned and destitute and needing salvation by personal repentance and faith. (Act. 3:19; 20:21)

PeaceByJesus said...

Protestantism attempted to draw a line in the sand in defiance of Rome. The problem for me, as a Protestant, however, lay in the fact that instead of there being one line in the sand, there were many, now thousands (and there are still more being drawn today). What do I do, draw my own line in the sand? ...I will have no part in drawing another line in the sand according to my personal interpretations of Scripture. I will seek the Church that Christ established, and that Church "subsists" in the Catholic Church.

First, see here about determining lines in the sand (http://www.lazyboysreststop.com/apol44.htm) and how the same reasoning that derives inflated numbers of Protestant divisions can also break down Roman Catholicism into 223 distinct denominations or even 2,942 separate "denominations."

Second, Rome is the one who autocratically defines what the OTC (one true church) is, and that the church exists in her, which does not make her right any more than the Watchtower society.

Third, you have draw a line in the sand according to your personal interpretations of whatever is your basis for choosing to assent to her as constituting the OTC, versus another elitist entity such as the Mormons, who also offer to solve your quest for a source of certitude, seeing you reject the Divinely inspired Scriptures as being the supreme authority.

And while you may argue that fallible human reasoning excludes the Scripture from giving assurance of truth, yet you made a fallible decision to assent to a church that infallibly claims to be the infallible OTC, based upon her infallibly defined formula, assent to which is the only way you must assume you can have assurance of truth.

Fourth, And that whole Rome disallows her greatest competition for souls, that of evangelical Protestant churches, from properly being called churches, yet of late she allows that they are part of the universal body of Christ, and they do baptize, and commemorate the death of Christ, ordain bishops/elders, (but not Rome's unscriptural class of sacerdotal priests etc, and over show forth more fruits of regeneration than institutionalized Rome, which they reprove for her teaching for doctrines the traditions of men.

But like the Pharisees, when you presume autocratic power, who will you allow to correct you? "Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. " (Ecclesiastes 4:13)

Fifth, the primary “line” that Rome uses to assert herself as the OTC is that of the papal power and jurisdiction, which the EO and Scripture as well as history show is a line which she progressively drew, and thus it is Rome which separated herself. And yet while you both claim Tradition as equal to (or the same)( as Scripture, you critically disagree with what it teaches.

Thus you have elitists ecclesiastical entities competing with each others, Rome and like groups, who all preach variants of the gospel that foster faith in their entity for salvation,if one identifies with them, usually involving a prolonged process which preaches the church, versus those who preach the evangelical gospel which usually saved souls the same day they actually heard the message (though their hearts were being prepared), even in the desert. And in which discipleship was by leaders who did not point to some demi-god leader, or foster unity under such Caesariopapacy, or an assuredly infallible office, but whose authority was established by Scriptural corroboration with its testimony to truth, which the evangelical gospel of grace through faith enjoys, and core truth despite its churches lacking a centralized overseership.

Thus, in seeking the church Christ established, i must look to its essence, with its fruit, versus the form of such which is Rome.

PeaceByJesus said...

Finally, in regards to your suggestion that (if my reasoning is correct) we should all be Jewish, I have to say that Catholics see continuity, in Christ, through all of Christian history,...

..And the Pharisees did likewise, and had more substance for so doing, but we understand how Rome sees herself, but the problem is she autocratically sees herself they way she needs to, not a one whose verity is dependent upon Scripture, though she may invoke some, but because she has judged that she is infallible when speaking according to her formula.

Oral Tradition has its place. Indeed, Christ Himself affirmed the validity of Moses' Seat (Matthew 23), while warning against the hypocrites who occupy it..

Mt. 23:2 does indeed, and Scripture establishes that the Word of God can be oral, but lacking cassettes we have no way of knowing what was spoken except by Scripture, which was established as being from God, due to its heavenly qualities and attestation. And those who hold to the supremacy of Scripture do not reject tradition, and wedded to Sola Scriptura is a basic literalistic interpretive hermeneutical tradition, but the difference is that such are established by conformity to Scripture, not at a source equal to it.

As regards the Pharisees, they taught as ones who could make tradition as equal to Scripture when they had no warrant but were contrary to it, and i have no doubt prayer to departed saints falls into that class. Yet Rome's autocratic formulaic infallibility would allows such, but the Lord rebuke the Pharisees, despite them having positional validity. Thus rather than supporting Rome, we see that they were not infallible, and that submission to men is conditional.

You have an either/or thing going on that I see as unnecessary. Scripture is God-Breathed. And the Apostles themselves are quite literally "God-Breathed," as well (John 20)

The critical issue is not whether one, including Rome, can speak some truth which is infallible, as even asserting there is a Creator would qualify as such, but it is the assured nature of it. We are not assured that whatever the church magisterium shall ever teach on F+M to the church universal, will always be infallible.

Did Christ intend for this grand authority to simply fizzle out within a generation of His Ascension? Or does Scripture and Church history indicate that the Church was to carry on, unique in the world, as the only dual-natured organization, having both an earthly/temporal nature as well as a divine/supernatural nature, as does its Head, Christ?

A very valid question! My imperfect answer is that, after Moses died, who, like Christ and the apostles, added new laws, while affirming the faith that was before them, and to which overt supernatural attestation was given, then leaders were bound to teach according to what Moses gave. The Jewish magisterium was critical, but the faith was not preserved due to them possessing assuredly infallibility in faith and morals, and God reproved them by men of that mysterious breed called prophets, whose authority was not based upon formal Levitical decent, but Scripture and the power of God, the two things the Sadducees were ignorant in, and by which prophets (and some true priests) the essential faith was preserved among the remnant.

It is revealing that when Christ's authority was challenged, besides Scripture and His miracles, (Jn. 5:36,39; 14:11) He invoked the baptism of John - one who was outside the class of the Pharisees - whether his baptism was from Heaven or of men, (Mk. 11:28-30) and which was a rebuke to their premise that Levitical lineage and formal decent validate them and their interpretations. (Jn. 8:39) And as John's own words expressed, (Mt. 3:6) that God was not bound by formal structures. And that they could be replaced. (Mk. 12:1-12)

PeaceByJesus said...

Ctnd:

In the Christian era, I see God raising holy but imperfect men to reproved those who presumed to sit in the apostle's seats, or who functioned in a real way to some extent as such, but that authority is not based upon unbroken formal transference, but Scriptural corroboration and its manner of sanctioned attestation. And that to a degree, Huss and Luther and others where types of prophets, whom Rome killed or sought to, as "he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." (Galatians 4:29)

And while i do not see a formal line of successors to the apostles, i see the principal of anointed men of Scripturally manifested faith ordaining others to carry on the faith, and to continue to build the church, despite the failure of an unbroken traceable formal line of decent which you make essential buy i see God as not bound to.

You responded, asking: "Who are say that the church is true, or the apostles, or Jesus?"

My response to that question is "Both." Christ appointed the Apostles to be His genuine vicars. Those who rejected the Apostles (not just their message), rejected Christ, thus they rejected God Almighty.

That response was to your question, “Who's to say that your interpretations of Scripture are valid? “, the issue being what do we judge truth claims by? You answer relegates all as Christ-rejectors who do not assent to Rome, which, will i think that is more faithful to what Rome has historically taught, is your your private interpretation of Vatican Two, which is shared by others, manifesting another area of confusion under the often muddied waters of Rome's magisterium.

However, the problem with your answer is that it presumes what needs to be proven, that Rome represents the vicar of Christ. You left the EO out in the cold, among other claimants, while making an unbroken line of formal ecclesiastical decent necessary to be the OTC, but which premise Scriptural hangs many popes.

You can attempt to prove the need for this type of succession by Scripture, though that cannot provide certitude according to your premise, as that is why we need the assuredly infallible magisterium of Rome. But as said before, looking therein we do not see any evident plans for a successor for Peter, not one for James, and in fact the closest you can get is that of Timothy for Paul. But i do not believe the Holy Spirit would not make choosing a successor for James or Pete quite evident as this is such a cardinal (no pun intended) doctrine according to Rome. But which absence in Scripture joins others things, from Mary's perpetual virginity and unique non-consummated marriage to her sinlessness and assumption, to prayers to the departed.

The fact is that the gates of Hell will not finally prevail against the Church of the living God, as the gospel beats against those gates in the name of the Lord Jesus and rescues the perishing, and bring them into the only one true church, the one that only consists of born again members who hold to the essential faith of Christ as the Son of God, who saves souls by faith in his sinless shed blood, for it is by this faith, with the word of God abiding in them, that believers overcomes the world, the flesh and the devil. (1Jn. 2:14; 5:5) And which i need more of.

But the church of the institutionalized gospel, that does little to convict souls of sin, righteous and judgment, and thus their need for salvation on Christ's expense and credit, and fosters confidence in one's own merits and the power of the church, which is man's most natural theology, becomes one the gates of Hell, having a form of conversion but denying the power thereof, and is not the church of the living God, regardless of its own self-proclamation and renderings of nebulous, changeable inconsistent traditions which it relies upon.

PeaceByJesus said...

You continued: "The answer is (in review) that God first established Truth by His powerful attestation, as He did with Moses, and which affirmed the faith of Abraham, and what He wrote became the standard by which further truth claims as well..."

God is truth. God needn't establish truth b/c He is truth.

I assumed that you would understand that i was speaking as regards persuading men.

Further, over the course of that passage you offered above, you made quite a leap. You began with God's establishment of Truth and, as though you weren't making a transition at all, you began speaking of "what He wrote" in His place. Scripture or "what He wrote" isn't God. You then went on to say that what had been written "became the standard" by which further truth claims... were examined..." Where is that in the Bible?

I meant what Moses wrote, and glad you asked the last ? I supplied an extensive if incomplete list of references 11:19 AM, July 07, 2011, in which you will see (and i am sorry that the RefTagger does not work on posts: see very bottom of this page for pop up viewing) that the norm is for the Word of God to be written, and then become the standard by which further truth claims as well as men of God were examined by, and further revelation complimented.

By its very nature it is the supreme transcendent, material judge of claims to “Tradition,” and of men who claim supreme authority over it, as Rome effectively does, and reveals progressive and complementary revelation within its pages, to the glory of God. Thus the Pharisees were reproved for teaching traditions that were unwarranted or contrary to Scripture, but which reproof an autocratic entity can just dismiss.

To this day, modern Jews are Talmudists more so than they are Scripturalists.

And likewise, Rome, with amorphous Tradition being like the Talmud, but which was a development in both cases, and allows the Jews to justify rejection the Lord Jesus and Rome to justify its inventions.

And that's why I think your apparent "Sola Scriptura" approach to things seems to be and profound demonstration of begging the question (assuming the very thing in question).

That has been your problem with your idea of Rome's assuredly infallible magisterium as supreme over Scripture, while what i said is Scripturally soundly substantiated, including that it was the standard for truth claims. Thus the Lord substantiated His claims by as well as by miracles, as did the apostles, and their oral teaching was manifest to be the Word of God due to conformity to Scripture and what it teaches as regarding manifestation of truth. And thus the noble Bereans examined the veracity of their claims by it.

You can invoke 2Thes. 2:15, but that does not teach a separate stream of revelation that is equal to the Scriptures, as without the Scriptures we have no wholly inspired verifiable authority to test oral preaching, and it is by the Scriptures that we know of His preaching, and that it was Scripture that apostolic messages were of (1Pt. 1:12) and corroborated by, and complimented in adding to a yet open canon. If any man today preaches wholly inspired messages, then how could we tell except by that which we know is established as wholly inspired of God? You can say the Roman church does, but upon what basis if not by holding to the supremacy of Scripture?

Instead, Rome holds to sola ecclesia, in which she is the autocratic judge of all through formulaic infallibility, and even history is what she says it is, and different beliefs of the “father” can be defined as unanimous consent. Etc.

In addition, in a general sense, the whole church then, (Acts 8:4) and evangelical preachers today “preach the Word,” but what establishes it as being the Word is its conformity to what is written, in text and attestation.

PeaceByJesus said...

I'm wondering who gets to decide when 2 people read the same text and disagree.

Before i go one, let me say first ask who what makes your decision to submit to Rome right? You are opposed to souls searching the Scriptures to ascertain the validity of truth claims, as human reasoning is fallible, and insist certitude requires an assuredly infallible magisterium, but you yourself made a fallible decision to trust Rome to do so, and understanding her requires more fallible human reasoning, both on your part and by those of the general magisterium.

You can argue that the church is protected from error in core issues, but how “church” is defined, and how that is accomplished is a matter of interpretation. But what follows below illustrates that God makes essential truth clear enough so that seekers will find it, while allowing deceivers some strong persuasion. And it is those mortals who make themselves perpetually assuredly incapable of error based upon a claimed charism and formula, that are of the latter category.

In other words, you're talking about "conformity with Scripture" and I'm saying "conformity with Scripture ACCORDING TO WHOM?"

Very good question, the answer to which i basically have already given. Why should people heed Moses as a man of God, and the Lord Jesus, and the apostles and deny the Pharisees? How could the prophets rebuke the Jewish magisterium? On the secular level, if the powers that be are ordained of almighty God, how can we disagree with the supreme court?

The real issue is how is authority and veracity established. If we begin with the “father in faith,” we see God revealing Himself to Abraham and calling him to faith, and supernaturally affirming his faith, with its morality, in which sin was an aberration. God does the same with Moses who affirmed the basic faith of Abe but provided expansive legislation, with God's supernaturally attestation seemingly being commensurate with his task and its import. You challenged his authority, and the meek (power under control) man of God prayed, and the ground digested you, or if you rebelled against God's laws then the brethren killed you.

Through him a theocratic and judicial system was implemented, and obedience enjoined, but not unconditionally, as if they were infallible, as if they were like God, as they themselves went astray, and God raised up prophets, and wise men, and scribes (Mt. 23:34) to reprove those who did sit in Moses' seat. But what gave them the right to rebel? What made them different from the sons of Korah? The Jewish magisterium easily could have invoked texts such as Dt. 17:8-13 as inferring infallibility as easily as Rome does from the the authority to bind and loose. And thus like as Rome (and some Protestants taught by her) they killed some who were sent by God to correct them, and would have killed more. But were they not judged as wrong because these “gods” were disobeying the law “given by the hand of Moses,” and that the prophets had manifest affirmation that the hand of God was upon them?

Coming to John the Baptist, where did the authority of this greatest man born of a women come from, outside of being part of the general body of believers, and how could the Jewish magisterium reject him? How was the authority of Christ as being from God become established? How could the scribes and Pharisees be wrong in their expectation of who the Messiah would be and what He would do? What made the message of a tax collector and some lowly fisherman, etc right, and to be the foundation of the sect of the Nazarene, and those who sat in Moses seat wrong? Based upon your basis for submission, there is little doubt that you would have upheld the judgment of those of priestly pedigree.

PeaceByJesus said...

Ctnd:

And seeing as the the authenticity of a true Jew or believer no longer requires unbroken formal decent, but regenerative faith, (Rn. 2:28,29) and that God can raise up children from nowhere, (Mt. 3:9) and replace those who ought to be successors with those who are of true manifest faith to carry on the faith, ordaining others, and has reproved and replaced those who presumed that historical decent and position gives them power to teach contrary to Scripture, as if they were infallible, why must we submit to an entity claim to supremacy does not rest upon demonstrable conformity to Scripture as the supreme authority, and whose unbroken formal decent includes souls who were not even believers, nor fulfill the qualifications for those they claim to be successors of, and who teach as doctrines the traditions of men?

You say who are those outside the Roman magisterium to decide, and i say that you know not the Scriptures nor the power of God in this regard, as the error of your claim for Rome's supremacy is more manifest than the error of the Sadducees was.

In short, God uses formal transference in ecclesiastical offices, but this does not mean unbroken formal decent is required or denotes legitimacy, nor does a claim to be supreme over Scripture, which would allow such to autocratically validate themselves. Rather, God makes both Scripture and its attestation to truth clear enough so that seekers with a Berean type heart find it, while allowing deceivers a sometimes strong degree of counterfeit claims.

This is unsettling, as we want make organizational unity and formal decent to be the ground for validity, and or be able to self-proclaim ourselves as infallible, and thus the OTC, but "the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power," (1 Corinthians 4:20) and it is the Scripture and the power of God that favors the preaching of the evangelical gospel, and churches who do so, and pass it on, and hold the Scriptures as what all must submit to, and not an office or person as infallible, that manifest the strongest likeness to New Testament faith, though all have a way to go.

Because I'm still asking "the gospel message" according to whom? Because I hear the Gospel message in Church every Sunday at Mass.

I am sorry, but i have been there, and was even a lector, and what you are hearing is neither the apostolic preaching of the gospel, or its full import. Though you hear some facts of the gospel out of some very sparse Bible reading, and in a theatrical Mass that is almost over by the time the typical evangelical church is done with the main worship, what truth you do hear is made of none effect by the false hope that Rome overall conveys, which i have expressed already, and besides official teaching, personally inquires of multitudes over the years of what their hope of salvation is, confirms what i expressed. Tragically.

You continued:

"and It is the evangelical gospel which shut up man as damned and morally destitute of any means to escape his just eternal punishment,

You've obviously retained some core Catholic teachings despite the fact that you've left the Church.

That is hardly what is typically taught today, but that Roman Catholic are Christians almost from birth and do not need conversion, while confidence in the power of Rome and one's own morality and works as earning eternal life is fostered.

As for retaining valid Catholic teaching, we are the foremost defenders of such in practical terms relative to our numbers, as such are Scriptural substantiated, and our acceptance is upon that, not Roman Catholicism which progressively departed from Scripture.

PeaceByJesus said...

you continued: or gain glory by, and in need of a day of salvation by faith in the risen Lord Jesus to save sinners by His blood and righteousness, that has manifested far greater fruits of regeneration, in quantity as relates to its size and in quality 9even in its present poor state: ("http://www.peacebyjesus.com/RC-Stats_vs._Evang.html), than its institutionalized counterpart, whether it be Catholic or Protestant."

I personally find numbers anything but convincing these days...

Ii find such dismissal a typical but theologically driven reaction by Roman Catholics, as they will gladly use stats that show a greater divorce rate (but not abortion) among evangelicals (as if most any of the grounds for annulments were Scriptural), or the greater growth of Roman Catholicism (which is static at best, and due to immigration).

Joel Osteen does quite well. What's his version of the Gospel? Maybe we should try that one out because it produces better numbers and happier people...

Maybe you should try to compare apples with apples, as only a few of the stats are about popularity or happiness, but about moral and doctrinal views, including among priests. And for all the professions of unity among those of the magisterium based upon votes in council, evidence of personal views outside do such indicates this is not the case, much less is that what is effectually taught.

As I imagine it, a devout Roman Catholic can't be anything but a "current" devout Roman Catholic.

But which does not invalidate my testimony as a former devout Roman Catholic, nor your testimony as some sort of Baptist.

When someone such as yourself exits the Church it doesn't mean you weren't devoted to Christ. But it does indicate that you never came to understand the Catholic Church as the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church that Christ established so many years ago

It is good that you allow that one may be devoted to Christ but not Rome, which many of your fellow Roman Catholics would disagree with, but as with multitude others, i was a product of what Rome teaches. If such “do not understand” which is the excuse Roman Catholic apologists offer for the poor spiritual condition and views of the majority of those who ID themselves as Catholic, then either they are obtuse, meaning salvation requires higher than average I.Q., or Rome is an exceedingly poor teacher, or in fact they believe what Rome really does effectually teach, in the interest of numbers and visible unity, with no real Scriptural discipline for widespread dissent.

...seemingly unconvinced of idea that the Church played any necessary part in your identity as a follower of Christ.

No, i am not ignorant of that, or of the part the Jews played, but some degree of validity does not sanction the whole, and in this case overall Rome is more form than life.

PeaceByJesus said...

You say that this "entity" interprets itself to be "earth's uniquely infallible interpreter." It's not just this "entity" that views itself this way, however. Throughout the centuries Christianity has been understood as being hierarchical in structure, capable of holding authoritative councils, etc.

And individual denoms do likewise, but not as "earth's uniquely infallible interpreter," while Rome and the EOs “denominations” have their version, with you both being in critical disagreement over the pope. But using your finite human reasoning, you have decided that Rome is the one true church, a cultic claim.

All along, Christians of any and every sect have understood the claims of the Church to be unique and infallible. You understand the faith in those terms, as well (as containing divinely-revealed truths). However, seeing as how you reject any visible, unified teaching authority, you have come to attempt to force-fit the Scripture's into the seat of Magisterial authority.

What you have done is take my affirmation of basic truths based upon clear and unambiguous declarations in Scripture and make them the veracity of them to be based upon the decree of an infallible magisterium, rather than the latter proving things by the former, as supreme. In Acts 15, their judgment was derived by Scripture, and the manner of attestation which is reveals is given to such salvific truth. Apollos “ mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ,” (Acts 18:28) and Peter did the same, and invoked the miracles spoken of by Joel as attesting to what the gospel truth. (Acts 2:14-40)

You charge the Catholic Magisterium with appealing to some sort of amorphous tradition. But how could church authority, as you've described it, be anything but utterly and completely amorphous seeing as how it consists of any sufficiently-inspired local preachers with whom a person happens to be in contact?

My charge is valid, as oral Tradition passed down over 2,000 years is most certainly amorphous, and by nature highly susceptible to change and which cannot be validated as to its in inerrancy, and needs a material source that one can judge its claims by.

As for the magisterium, i do not reject a visible, unified teaching authority, as the magisterium i described consists of visible converted and manifestly gifted persons, with a basic unity of the Spirit, and unified in core truths we both share and holding to other common evangelical fundamentals, and thus contending against those who deny such core truths as the Deity of Christ and salvation by grace through faith, not confidence in one's worthiness or church and the general exhortations.

Go to evangelical outlets like SermonAudio.com (and hear the likes of Schuller, Camping, etc., condemned, along with Rob Bell's Hell and the perfectly positive preaching of preacher Osteen) or put leaders from evangelical denoms from the s. Baptist to Calvary Chapels together and you will find this, as well as discussion about finer points of these, and limited disagreement in other things, as it true in Rome, whether it is realized or not. But which general magisterium also is manifest in specific formal magisterial offices in a church, as Rome claims for its denomination.

According to your view, this general widespread unity in core truths and a general evangelical message cannot be of the Spirit without Rome's supreme centralized assuredly infallible magisterium, under which it is conveyed that there is a comprehensive doctrinal unity, which there is not. Even in the paper unity of things which are infallible teachings there is interpretation among Roman Catholic theologians, while Roman Catholics understand their leaders differently and also are given much liberty to interpret the Bible in different ways.

PeaceByJesus said...

You say that this "entity" interprets itself to be "earth's uniquely infallible interpreter." It's not just this "entity" that views itself this way, however. Throughout the centuries Christianity has been understood as being hierarchical in structure, capable of holding authoritative councils, etc.

And individual denoms do likewise, but not as "earth's uniquely infallible interpreter," while Rome and the EOs “denominations” have their version, with you both being in critical disagreement over the pope. But using your finite human reasoning, you have decided that Rome is the one true church, a cultic claim.

All along, Christians of any and every sect have understood the claims of the Church to be unique and infallible. You understand the faith in those terms, as well (as containing divinely-revealed truths). However, seeing as how you reject any visible, unified teaching authority, you have come to attempt to force-fit the Scripture's into the seat of Magisterial authority.

What you have done is take my affirmation of basic truths based upon clear and unambiguous declarations in Scripture and make them the veracity of them to be based upon the decree of an infallible magisterium, rather than the latter proving things by the former, as supreme. In Acts 15, their judgment was derived by Scripture, and the manner of attestation which is reveals is given to such salvific truth. Apollos “ mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ,” (Acts 18:28) and Peter did the same, and invoked the miracles spoken of by Joel as attesting to what the gospel truth. (Acts 2:14-40)

You charge the Catholic Magisterium with appealing to some sort of amorphous tradition. But how could church authority, as you've described it, be anything but utterly and completely amorphous seeing as how it consists of any sufficiently-inspired local preachers with whom a person happens to be in contact?

My charge is valid, as oral Tradition passed down over 2,000 years is most certainly amorphous, and by nature highly susceptible to change and which cannot be validated as to its in inerrancy, and needs a material source that one can judge its claims by.

As for the magisterium, i do not reject a visible, unified teaching authority, as the magisterium i described consists of visible converted and manifestly gifted persons, with a basic unity of the Spirit, and unified in core truths we both share and holding to other common evangelical fundamentals, and thus contending against those who deny such core truths as the Deity of Christ and salvation by grace through faith, not confidence in one's worthiness or church and the general exhortations.

Go to evangelical outlets like SermonAudio.com (and hear the likes of Schuller, Camping, etc., condemned, along with Rob Bell's Hell and the perfectly positive preaching of preacher Osteen) or put leaders from evangelical denoms from the s. Baptist to Calvary Chapels together and you will find this, as well as discussion about finer points of these, and limited disagreement in other things, as it true in Rome, whether it is realized or not. But which general magisterium also is manifest in specific formal magisterial offices in a church, as Rome claims for its denomination.

According to your view, this general widespread unity in core truths and a general evangelical message cannot be of the Spirit without Rome's supreme centralized assuredly infallible magisterium, under which it is conveyed that there is a comprehensive doctrinal unity, which there is not. Even in the paper unity of things which are infallible teachings there is interpretation among Roman Catholic theologians, while Roman Catholics understand their leaders differently and also are given much liberty to interpret the Bible in different ways.

PeaceByJesus said...

Last was duplicate, sorry.

Ctnd:
However, I am not opposed to a centralized overseership, but its clams to be assured infallibility, and the problem is that having a supreme centralized assuredly infallible magisterium does not make it right, and while you see it as necessary, i do not, but that it is cultic and actually is more dangerous than preaching which brings souls to conviction and manifest conversion, so that the Scriptures become alive to them, and seek to sincerely please God by obedience to them, despite the reality of divisions this must allow.

At least the Catholic Magisterium consists of all bishops the world over in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, which means that one can at least identify the body which claims to be capable of speaking on behalf of Christ.

And Mormons look to their Living Prophet” and JWs' to their Governing Body” and have more unity, while “full communion” is on paper at best, as despite what concordance they work out in councils by the use of nuance and ambiguous statements for the sake of visible unity (read up on Vatican Two, or how Papal infallibility was instituted), this is not “full communion” in a real sense, and plenty of bishops are in dissent to Rome.

But again, i am not opposed to central magisterium, settling disputes or discipline as necessary, but that does not validate autocratic entities, nor require assured formulaic infallibility. And while you have decided that Rome's authority is valid, in Scripture that is not how authority was established.


And the fact that the Church hasn't provided an infallible list of infallible interpretations is a moot point, as I see it. I'm not in the position you suggest I'm in.

It is not a moot point, as your point is that we need an assuredly infallible magisterium for doctrinal certainty, yet you cannot be certain about what is an infallible teachings unless it is infallibly referred to as such. Bishop Vincent Gasser of Vatican 1, who is quoted no less than four times in the official footnotes to “Lumen Gentium” 25, which treats of infallibility, in replying to some Fathers who urged that the procedures or form to be used by the pope in arriving at an infallible decision, replied:
“But, most eminent and reverend fathers, this proposal simply cannot be accepted because we are not dealing with something new here. Already thousands and thousands of dogmatic judgments have gone forth from the apostolic See; where is the law which prescribed the form to be observed in such judgments?”

So you have potentially thousands (and this was brought up by the Orthodox), and unless you know which ones are infallible, you cannot render the required implicit assent of faith, and might be able to dissent to some degree, and deciding which is which, and understanding them all requires the use of private interpretation who reject. You have an infallible magisterium and we have an infallible Scriptures, and both involve interpretation, but only one is assuredly infallible.

You can respond that you have a living magisterium, but you do not find infallible personal responses to your inquires, and must rely upon non-infallible judgments by communicable prelates who are in the same position as you, hoping to understand what is infallible and what is not, and what it all means, while we seek understanding of the Scriptures by souls who hold Scripture as supreme

PeaceByJesus said...

I'm not desperately scrambling to judge between multitudes of possibly fallible teachings. If I have a question, I can go directly to the Catechism. I can go directly to Scripture. I can go directly to my bishop if I need to. I can read encyclicals. At the end of the day, concerning the more weighty matters, I should be able to determine pretty clearly what Church teaching is.

But the Catechism is not infallible, and makes mistakes a some of your own have noted, nor are your bishops, while at the end of the day you are engaging in fallible interpretations, including as to what is infallible and what it means, or of the opinion of those who are likewise fallible. I fail to see any real difference between looking at Scripture, and the wealth of extensive commentary on Scripture (far surpassing that of Rome) from Henry to Barnes to Clarke, Poole, Gill, JFB, K+D, etc for problematic passages, and contemporary exegetes, all confirming core essentials over the years, and edifying exhortation and insights in others things.

Do i find all uniformity on predestination? No, and the fervent dispute between the Dominicans and the Jesuits on this issue has never been resolved, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregatio_de_Auxiliis) and i do not feel i need to reconcile the respective views of Arminianism and Calvinism, on plead Ps. 131:1,2, and see both as preaching salvation by grace through faith, in contrast to confidence in one's merit or church.

As a matter of fact, personally, the one issue that made the Church appear to me to be a lone voice crying in the wilderness was that of birth control.

Almost 75% of Roman Catholics are in dissent on this, and in practice use such a little less than evangelicals. And Rome is not against BC, but against artificial BC, and i basically concur (being single that i easy). And to be consistent i suppose we also be against natural sweeteners, etc. (pretty much am, but like the sugar). The problem is that of making such unequivocal, so that a married man with AIDS from a blood transfusion would be in sin for using a condemn. But again, being right in some things, which cults also are, does not confer validity to the whole.

I am not a cessationist, but nor do i sanction the extremes of Pentecostalism, while charismatics are sanctioned but more as a tolerated minority in Catholicism as being too close to Protestants (or used to). And many more things on basically non-salvific issues can be compared.

Further, would a child approach his mom, saying "Mom, I need you to provide a detailed list of all the things that you do and don't expect of me, specifying which of those things is somewhat negotiable and which of those things is non-negotiable." Relationships simply don't work that way. Why would you even expect that? If one trusts the Magisterium (on account of Christ's divine guidance), why would one expect such a thing of the Magisterium?

You analogy is constrained, as we are dealing with a magisterial authority, a judicial entity that is necessary for a relationship of obedience to an institution, and yes, if it is going to claim infallibility, and require assent of faith to it, than it needs to just as infallibly define what is and what is not infallible. The Bible itself reveals things which are unconditionally wrong (idolatry) and things in which may be be justified by context (killing,etc.). And even in a family there are some things that are understood as non-negotiable, based upon the authority of the law-giver.

PeaceByJesus said...

This is why, earlier in this conversation, I referred to that comment I'd heard recently that went something like this: "Non-Catholic Christians believe in Christ. Catholics believe in Christ AND what He teaches."

That is a false dichotomy, as in order to even believe in Christ, one must heard the Word, (Rm. 10:17) and the Scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation, and the same states that by this source one can become “perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work, and materially provided for teachers and other offices.

Yet Catholics, rather than receiving the truth from that which is assuredly Divine, can easily be led astray by dependance upon an entity that presumes to infallible, and as if “he that receiveth you receiveth Me” provided assurance that whatever believers taught was God's word, but not as dependent upon the material Source that the Christ invoked in substantiating His claims.

I don't see how, apart from submitting to an historically-bound (apostolic) Church (complete with its vestments, its monuments, its hierarchy, etc.) a person can, in a principled, consistent manner, profess to hold to a set of doctrines that is anything other than an ad hoc, opinion-based, a la carte, conglomeration of Catholic teachings which he (infallibly) professes to sufficiently jive with Scripture.

And why not the Wizard of Oz. Why not the EO? Using your private judgment, you have chosen to put confidence for eternal life in an autocratic entity which can “infallibly” self-define itself as the OTC, and call real changes “reformulations” (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus being just one) and variant patriarchal views as unanimous (http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/ray4intro.html), and will not change certain things it should, as it is against its own bureaucratic self interest.

In addition, your characterization is inaccurate, as the Scriptural illiteracy of Roman Catholicism fosters confusion over what is dogma, for the minority who really want to look into it, and a widely varying, ad hoc, a la carte, conglomeration of opinions which Catholics professes to sufficiently jive with Rome, or as not contradicting her, due to lack of coherent or consistent teaching (was torture or capital punishment always wrong?) The failure of her magisterium is manifested in the censures of the sedevacantists on one side (who even invoke Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio), and the ambiguity of Vatican Two and its use by liberals on the other (http://www.the-pope.com/wvat2tec.html)

And despite your incredulity, for hundreds of years churches and denominations, that were marked by holding in practice to the supremacy of Scripture and the basically literal historical exegesis, have held holding to a set of basic doctrines in a principled, consistent manner, from the supremacy of Scripture itself to and of the death and resurrection of Christ, and repentance and of faith toward God and salvation by grace, to the nature of God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of ordination, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And again, were set in contrast to those who deviate from these, necessitating the rise of the fundamentalist movement against liberalism (even if the former, as usually, had some overreaction, as Rome also arguably exhibited in Trent) as well as the historical constant of opposition by Baptists, etc. to classic cults such as the LDS, WTC. Etc.

In contrast, those who have fallen away are marked by a marginalization of the authority of Scripture and historical literal exegesis, which Rome also suffers from today among its scholars (relegating such stores as Jonah to fables, and denying Joshua's conquests as ordered by God — check your NAB).

PeaceByJesus said...

Ctnd:
I understand the appeal to a centralized authority, and Protestantism, being birthed by division out of necessity (1cor. 11:19) has have suffered due to a lack of overall theological leadership, but Rome has disqualified itself as being such, nor does a centralized authority, which claims unique Divine power to define doctrine, provide assurance that it will. For if you really want unity and rigid doctrinal conformity then the Watchtower socety (AKA “Jehovah’s Witness’s) is the most manifest example.

Given a choice over rendering assent of faith to such an autocratic entity versus the Scriptures really being supreme, with a magisterium relying upon establishing such by debate and demonstrable corroboration by Scripture, then i will trust the latter to teach me what Paul referred to as regards sound doctrine, and able to enlightened one to salvation, and by the use of it to perfect the saints, despite the competition is allows, and the judgment that entails, and your own judgment as to who the OTC is, is fallible as well.



As traditional denominationalism dissolves and is replaced by mega-churching, what means does a faithful follower of Jesus such as yourself have to oppose the doctrinal compromise that's already having its way in your congregations?

To be honest, i am astounded at your the marginalization of the authority of Scripture, and or the idea that the Scriptures are so lacking in perspicuity that one uphold core truth, and overall determine debatable areas and limits in such. We can easily compare the current trend to that which overall marked those who upheld the supremacy of Scripture and its basic literal exegesis and truths, but it is the declension from the latter aspects that marks the doctrinal compromise i see you referring to. How did the apostles persuade souls but by “the manifestation of the truth, commending themselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (2Cor. 4:2)

Your remarks also seem to presume that my beliefs are the result of indoctrination or relying upon Reformation type teaching as something close to infallible, or as assured truth, which i assure you is not the case.

After i became born again, through real ongoing conviction of my need for real life repentance, and by faith in the Lord Jesus to save me by faith, as a free and uncomplicated gift, then besides making good on changing things i had repented of, and could change (though not without some instances of failures), Almighty God also wrought changes in my heart that i did not ask for or expect. Not only was everything basically “new,” from the way i saw nature to the way i saw women, but i had an insatiable hunger to know how to please God according to the Scriptures, which my flesh is opposed to but i knew was Truth. I began reading in Genesis (Numbers did get tough) and an evangelical station had just recently come on the air.

I was a truck driver, and i listened to that a lot, and was eager to get out from underneath bridges so i could continua to hear what was said, but they were preachers from various denominations, from Swindoll to Chuck Smith to McGee and MacArthur etc., but they overall preached a common message, and i had no real problem overall recognizing things that were denominational or allowing for some disagreement, versus core essentials. And being skeptical of man, (Jn. 2:25) i basically understood the Scriptures had to be clear enough to warrant dogma, while limiting variations in others things. And this was before i became part of a “Bible” church, which would not be for 6 years, during which time i sought to serve God in the Roman Catholicism and on my own personal outreach.

PeaceByJesus said...

Ctnd:
I have hardly read any theological books by Reformers/Evangelicals, and only have a HS education as regards formal ed is concerned, and am not that smart, but (only) by God's grace i believe i (and i do not like to say “i” much) have been able to fairly competently defend such things as the Deity of Christ, as well as expose aberrant teaching that is increasing today, from pro homosexual apologists to cults

While i have been blessed to have been taught doctrine, i am opposed to holding to it by uncritical assent, but by prayerful searching of the Scriptures, and i find a unity with others of like heart, and in core truths and limited disagreements, in which our union in Christ is stronger than our divisions. However, those who preach the preeminence of a particular church or teacher have a different spirit.

Earlier I referred to Rob Bell. Frankly, I have a great respect and admiration for Rob Bell. He preaches the message of Christ's love like nobody else I've seen. But when it comes to the really heavy intellectual matters (theodicy, etc.), where does he turn?

A good question, the answer is that while he may profess to hold to supremacy of Scripture, he demonstrably does it in isolation from its manifest means of establishing truth, which is not by relegating historical accounts to being fables, as the official commentary in your official Bible (for America) teaches, or by rejecting clear statements due to subjecting God's justice to our idea of love, as the NAB also does. And yes, Bell is going contrary to a “tradition” of exegesis but which has solid support when we see how the Holy Spirit interprets itself in doctrinal matters, and like in Acts 15, is also enjoys the blessing of God by such bearing much fruit in powerful moves of God, manifesting the gospel of Christ, the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” (Rm. 1:16) versus cults with their evangelism of particular ecclesiastical elitism. Thus, i see authority is something God manifests as being from Him by its concordance with His wholly inspired words, and testimony He gives it, while allowing contemporary Egyptian magicians to duplicate the genuine to an extent, but demonstrable Scriptural power and effects making the difference.

And in such things as Bell you have a good example of the general magisterium of the born again body of Christ responding timely and effectively, as the general rebuke of his universalism by those who hold to the basic literal historical SS school, and even a “big-tent evangelical,” testifies to Paul's affirmation of Scripture's authority “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” And to which classic evangelical commentators concur.

Likewise a wide response was seen to such challenges as the da vince code or the “God delusion,” including by some of lay Roman Catholics.

And in response to Bell's Hell, Rome's teaching on the afterlife is not all that clear and consistent.

PeaceByJesus said...

But seriously, what can you do but say "You're wrong" in the face of doctrinal compromise?

What can Rome officially do, but assert its claim to supremacy and some toothless warning about excommunicating oneself, and in very rare cases, actually doing so, while overall communicating that as long as you ID with Rome she will see you through even if you are liberal, pro-homosexual, etc.

Popular Roman Catholic apologist Robert Sungenis, in explaining his turned to being a type of “prophets,” stated,

There are simply too many doctrinal aberrations and moral laxities in today's Catholic Church that are indefensible. In light of these problems, I have assumed what I believe is the more appropriate position - that of being a prophet of warning rather than one an apologist seeking to exonerate the Church from false accusations. Today many accusations against the Church are quite legitimate and I certainly will not be a party to sweeping them under the rug.

Fellow apologist Gerry Matatics became a sedevacantist, believing all those bishops alleged to have ascended to the papacy subsequent to the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958 up through the present (which would include John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI) are not only counterfeit popes, but are also counterfeit Catholics.

Meanwhile, we can demonstrate that the Word of God is alive, and sharper than any two-edged sword of Rome, by faith in its gospel resulting in manifest regeneration, persuading souls as did the early church, not by claiming formulaic infallibility, even as Apollos "mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ." (Acts 18:28)

Granted we come short in this, and am grieved by the increasing superficiality and compromise of modern evangelism (and am guilty of such myself) as the above are of Rome's.

They see it as declension from what Rome historically taught, and i see as it as declension from Scripture and historical evangelical faith, but while your authority is autocratic and can change what tradition used to teach (or add new things), even if it defines it as revision, the Scriptures do not, nor the power of almighty God on the side of truth, and which has abundant testimony.

If you are going to establish a supreme magisterium, you must do it as being dependance upon Scripture for validation, by text and attestation.

Anyways, thanks for listening. i will continue working my way through your comments progressively... and attempting to share with you my personal synthesis of all of this stuff. Thanks.

It is thought provoking, and takes a while, and it is verbose and not all proof texted or rightly expressed, but i pray you can see where i am coming from , and the essence of my heart, contention and purpose.

herb said...

PeaceByJesus-

Thanks again for your continued comments. Sadly, I figure we're just talking past one another. We have so many irons in the fire. And due to the fact that I don't have the Internet at home, and am unable to respond in a timely manner to the issues you bring up, I feel like this conversation is quite bogged down and would indeed feel more comfortable continuing with things on email if you're so inclined. Because, frankly, I'd be happy to talk these issues over one by one, in-depth and share my perspective with you. But doing so here seems kinda silly to me... not exactly the place for a public heart to heart when it comes down to it.

For the moment, let me respond to this:

You said: "To be honest, i am astounded at your the marginalization of the authority of Scripture, and or the idea that the Scriptures are so lacking in perspicuity that one uphold core truth, and overall determine debatable areas and limits in such. We can easily compare the current trend to that which overall marked those who upheld the supremacy of Scripture and its basic literal exegesis and truths, but it is the declension from the latter aspects that marks the doctrinal compromise i see you referring to."

Please understand that I am not questioning Scripture itself. I am questioning a democratic approach to the interpretation of Scripture. Neither am I questioning Scripture's perspicuity. Baptism, as I said, is a fundamental Christian sacrament. Sadly, Sola Scriptura Christians have darts all over the doctrinal board when it comes to this sacrament. To acknowledge this isn't to impugn Scripture. It's the traditions of men I came to to challenge, not Scripture itself. As a Catholic, I do indeed hold the Magisterium to be the servant of Scripture.

more later. Thanks again!