Monday, November 07, 2011

Reformed Tiber Swimmers

Originally posted on the aomin blog, 07/01/2010

Here's yet another converts tale. A Reformed person swimming the Tiber has made a fallible decision to submit to a self-proclaimed infallible authority. He set out four possible authority options to submit to now that he's decided to leave his Reformed church. The one that appealed to him is the following:

Submit to a form of Christianity that does not subscribe to Sola Scriptura and which has a interpretive authority which can plausibly claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, so as to remove myself as the authority.
The submission to that authority still rests on private judgment, the very thing scorned throughout this conversion story (read it for yourself). Other infallible authorities make claims that their authority rests on plausibility. Who decides which infallible authority is plausible? Why it's none other than our potential convert. Rather than removing himself as the authority, he makes himself his own authority in choosing the correct infallible interpreter. He continues:

This makes the most sense. Catholic and Orthodox ecclesiology takes into account the fact that people will disagree about the content of Divine revelation. Not that disagreement implies errancy or fallibility, but without a magisterium that is supernaturally protected from error, there is no way for me to be sure I am getting the interpretation that is the right one.
It may make sense in theory, but in practice our convert is still left with a Bible to interpret. Neither of these alleged authorities has done a good job in infallibly interpreting the content of divine revelation. A while back I mentioned how Roman Catholic apologist Tim Staples stated "There is a lot of freedom with regard to the interpretation of Scripture." Tim affirmed that even the verses infallibly defined by the Roman Catholic Church "are left open to other interpretations as long as you don't deny that which has been infallibly interpreted." How many verses has Rome defined? Some say only a small handful of verses have an infallible interpretation, others deny the Church has defined the literal sense of any single passage. Roman Catholics aren't even united on a basic issue like the inerrancy of Scripture.

The problem for Roman Catholics is compounded even more, because the church also says that a doctrine can be defined, but the scriptural proofs used to support it utilized by the church's theologians might not actually support it. In other words, one can have certainty for a doctrine, but not have certainty in the scriptural proof texts for that doctrine. The infallibility is in the decree, not in the reasoning to that decree. The Catholic Encyclopedia states, ''the validity of the Divine guarantee is independent of the fallible arguments upon which a definitive decision may be based, and of the possibly unworthy human motives that in cases of strife may appear to have influenced the result. It is the definitive result itself, and it alone, that is guaranteed to be infallible, not the preliminary stages by which it is reached." Note the words of Roman Catholic theologian, Johann Mohler: "Catholic theologians teach with general concurrence, and quite in the spirit of the Church, that even a Scriptural proof in favour of a decree held to be infallible, is not itself infallible, but only the dogma as defined." [Source: Johann Adam Mohler, Symbolism: Exposition of the doctrinal Differences between Catholics and Protestants as evidenced by their Symbolic Writings, trans James Burton Robertson (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1997), p.296].

As to a "a magisterium that is supernaturally protected from error" our Tiber swimmer needs to answer fundamental questions. Isn't this simply a presuppositional claim? On what basis does one determine a church is infallible? It is merely assumed. All sola ecclesia groups assume their authority. In regards to Romanism, when asked how the Roman Catholic Church can establish her authority, notice it's most often proved by the testimony of the Scriptures. That is, they will rarely admit to simply assuming it. Rather they quote a handful of Biblical proof-texts. This is a circular argument. Roman Catholics prove the authority of the Scriptures by the Church, and the authority of the Church by the Scriptures.

In regard to being sure he's got the right interpretation once he joins Romanism, once again he ignores the simple fact that it's his decision to trust in Romanism. He'll never be able to escape himself and his own fallible decisions. His certainty will always be a fallible certainty because he's fallible. He continues:

If I am able to toss out the 7th ecumenical council (as nearly all Protestants do) because it doesn't match my interpretation, where will the tossing out stop? If church councils themselves are to be judged by a 21st century layman, theologically untrained, and unordained Christian like me, what is the point then of church councils other than to provide some really good advise from some really great men from the history of our faith? If they were not being guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit in these councils, with the expectation that all believers should submit to their decisions, then what use are they other than to help me form my own interpretation to submit to? The ecclesiologies that claim to have living, breathing successors of the apostles which are Divinely gifted with the ability to define doctrine in certain situations are the only ecclesiologies that make sense.
I have nothing against the church meeting in council, but this type of argument assumes more than some of the early councils did. Did they think they were infallible? This is pure anachronism. The Fathers did not profess to be the standard of truth, either in or out of council.

This paradigm also suffers from ignoring the church of the Old Testament. God's people were able to discern God's voice and work, this without an infallible magisterium. They knew which books were Scripture (Romans 3:2) without the aid of any infallible authoritative conciliar declaration. Christ and the apostles held the Jews responsible for knowing and properly interpreting the Scriptures. Never once is it recorded in Scripture that the Jews complained that they didn't have an infallible magisterium. It was assumed by the New Testament writers that God's truth was clear.

As conversion stories go, this one was a typical example of someone who bought the claims of Roman Catholicism without applying the same scrutiny to Romanism. It's one thing to tear down sola scriptura, it's quite another to apply the same scrutiny to Romanism. If one is going to argue against the sole infallible authority of Scripture, they should at least work just as hard to apply the same standards of scrutiny to their new infallible authority. Let's try to point this Reformed Tiber swimmer back to the right shore. I'm fairly confident he'll be reading this, so he can begin with this Primer On Roman Catholic Epistemology. He can follow this up with a positive defense of sola scriptura.

47 comments:

Ryan said...

I can't help thinking the real issue is the perspicuity of Scripture. Otherwise, the whole post is open to tu quoque argumentation, as you pointed out.

It seems to me the most generous reading of what the convert is trying to say is that because Scripture is not perspicuous, what must happen is that an individual must decide which of two or more mutually contradictory yet equally plausible interpretations of Scripture is the meaning intended by the author. Hence, the authoritative decision on which interpretation is true rests with the individual. That is what is meant by private judgment. OTOH, the Roman magisterium is perspicuous.

Or so the argument would go, in which case the whole dialogue between RCs and Prots needs to turn what is actually at issue.

Also, his reasoning on what is the point of a fallible council begs the question as to what is the point of a sermon by a local elder.

Thanks for the post.

RPV said...

Yo, man, will you just shut up and drink the Koolaid?

(Sorry, I got little patience for papists who take the claims of the magisterium at face value, but are unable to accept those of Scripture - even after examining them - all the while their own comments and arguments are assumed to be more perspicuous and compelling than Scripture.
These guys are nothing but arrogant dunces.
OK rant over. We will return to our regularly scheduled progamming in a moment.

Bob S.

David Meyer said...

RPV,
Your comment is outrageous. I did not "take the claims of the magisterium at face value" and "not accept the claims of scripture" "even after examining them".
You know nothing about me and are making an ad hominem. Calling me an arogant dunce may feel good, but it certainly does not exibit the love of Christ to someone who has nmade this move to the Catholic Church because he desires the truth. You can argue whether I have found the truth or not, that is fine, but questioning my motives, inteligence, and calling me arogant is out of line. I am surprised your comment got through.

-David Meyer (the "Reformed tiber swimmer" in question)

David Meyer said...

Ryan,

You are correct that for me, the issue began with perspicuity. Your middle paragraph of your comment I agree with 100% (except the last sentence).

As far as tu quoque, Bryan Cross answered that quite well here:
http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/05/the-tu-quoque/

Properly answering the tu quoque is intelectually above my head. Being aware of this limitation in myself is another reason the perspicuity reason you (quite nicely) elucidated was so powerful for me. I could read BRILLIANT Reformed men on both sides of many issues/interpretations. Men that I KNEW were far more brilliant and godly that I (Doug Wilson/Sproul Sr and Jr./Horton/Leithart etc.).

Here are 2 things this article missed I think (or I did not comunicate properly about my motives perhaps):

1. I reached a point where the only options on the table (yes, through my CHOICE) were those options which claimed to be infallible. (BTW, At that point, I still agreed personally with Reformed theology far more than Catholic. Particularly on the doctrines of grace.)

2. I never did, nor do I think the Cathiolic magisterium is perspicuous or can be infallibly known to be infallible. That is sillines to my mind. I never claimed that, and I dont believe it. My belief in the infallibility of and submission to the Magisterium is similar to how I know Christ rose from the dead, and my faith in the resurection, there is a mix of
A. history,
B. Tradition (in the form of scripture and the church fathers)
C. plausability (human reasoning on my part)
anfd most importantly...
D. FAITH which has been given by grace from God.

That is why I believe the resurection, and the situation is quite similar with the magisterium. (although history and tradition play a larger % role I think)

No one will deny that NO REFORMED teacher worth the title would ever claim infalibility. Yet what I was seeing in looking into history, Tradition, Scripture, and yes, even my own reason, was that whatever Church Christ left us, it claimed the ability to define doctrine and forgive sins IN HIS NAME. I dont see any Reformed church doing that. To my mind this simple fact proved they could not be the Church.
Am I trusting my reasoning and my brain synapsis to come to this conclusion? YES! But a tu quoqoe that does not make. Because once this basic info of history, scripture, reason and tradition has been processed, what I am choosing puts an end to further choice (other than apostatizing from Catholocism). It puts an end to it because I no longer am choosing what to believe about each and every doctrine like I was as a Reformed guy.

cont...

David Meyer said...

...cont

THAT CHOOSING between doctrines was just the way it was when I was Reformed. That cannot be denied by any Reformed person! That is how it is. In the end, the Reformed Christian needs to sit down with his bible, pray, and decide what to believe.
Comparing that daily choice of doctrines with being a Catholic is just not accurate. I no longer wonder what view of the Lord's Supper is correct, or whether paedocommunion is right or wrong, I HAVE ANSWERS from the Church. That's right, from a body that claims to be THE one Church founded by Christ. It might not be, I might be decieved, (wouldnt be the first time!) but it at least PLAUSIBLY claims to be the Church and to decide doctrine. And just as I would never submit to a church that disbelieved the ressurection, I would never submit to one that believed the church to be fallible and invisible.
Is that my choice? Yes. And if that make it a tu quoque situation, so be it. I dont think it does though, because it is the differnece between

A. examining the evidence, praying, and cementing a choice for submission to the magisterium, after which doctrinal choices cease.

And

B. examining the evidence, praying, reaching a doctrinal decision. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. etc. etc. etc.

Keep in mind also that my "examining the evidence" included me coming to the conclusion that historically and scripturally the magisterium seems to be what she claims to be.

The point of a council should be to decide something, and for Christians to submit to the decision as to Christ. So it was at the first council in Acts, so it should always be. Your comparison with a local elder's sermon is way off. The former has the authority of Christ, the later may or may not.

Finally, I wonder why you guys didnt just post to my blog your questions or at least inform me you were reposting this old article from AoM. Even at the original posting in July 2010, no one even bothered to inform me they were posting it. If people care about changing minds and not just talking amongst themselves, it would be nice to actually inform people when you are admonishing them.

Peace to you guys,
I pray we can all be unified in one visible body some day, however that happens. If you want to have civil discussion about this topic, I am game.

-David Meyer

Constantine said...

Hi David,

Thanks for sharing your searching with us. And I am sorry that you have felt insulted. That should never happen.

As a former Roman Catholic, I find that there are irreconcilable differences within the operation of the Magisterium and therefore discount it as non-apostolic.

For example, one of Calvin's complaints was that every pope after Eugenius IV (1431-1447) is a schismatic. That is because the Council of Basle, duly constituted in it origins and operations by two popes, lawfully deposed Eugenius. Because the council relied on church tradition and the edict of the Council of Constance (1414-1418) (Sacrosancta) which proclaimed the superiority of council over pope, this was the legitimate right of the Magisterium. However, Eugenius, due to the aid of secular princes was able to keep his political authority and illegally overrode the authority of the Council. So how can any Roman Catholic today make any claim to “Tradition” or continuity when all their bishops and priests have been consecrated in a schismatic tradition? I don't think that can be resolved, David.

Just one more example. The infallible Council of Trent and Pope Pius IV stand in direct opposition to the infallible First Vatican Council and Pope Pius IX. Here's what I mean. After Trent, Pius IV issued a creed know as the “Creed of Pius IV” or the “Tridentine Creed”. This is one of only four (4) “authoritative” creeds in all of Roman Catholicism and binds every Roman Catholic. That creed stipulates, “I also admit the Holy Scripture according to that sense which our holy mother the Church hath held, and doth hold, to whom it belongeth to judge of the true sense and interpretations of the Scriptures. Neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.” (http://www.the-latinmass.com/id108.html). Yet, Vatican I disregarded the “unanimous consent” requirement and picked just one interpretation of Matthew 16:18 to buttress it's claims for the papacy. (BTW – an archbishop and seminary professor published a paper warning VC1 against its intended move, but to no avail.)

So David, I guess my question to you is, why would you rely on a Magisterium which is clearly built on a schismatic tradition and which has shown itself so willing to violate its own “Tradition” without the slightest qualm?

Jesus Christ did leave a church without error guided by His Holy Spirit. But He told us that while we can feel the workings of the Spirit, just like the wind, we cannot tell from whence it comes. (John 3) So please don't look to Rome for truth.

I pray that God will work in your spirit, David.

Peace.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

David Meyer said:

You can argue whether I have found the truth or not, that is fine, but questioning my motives, inteligence, and calling me arogant is out of line. I am surprised your comment got through.

You've made your conversion testimony public on the Internet. You should expect hostile, unreasonable invective. That's the nature of discourse on the Internet. If you find it too overbearing, then I recommend reducing your online presence.

BTW., although I disagree with the manner in which Bob S. made his comment, Scripture regularly comments on not only motives and arrogance, but also intelligence. Consider not only Jesus, Paul and others on self-ambition, religious pride, internal love of money, the internal heart condition of various individuals and groups, etc., but also the Jewish wisdom literature and its scathing critiques of stupidity. These issues are fair game, despite how often they are abused by others in these kinds of discussions.

As for the comment "getting through," the comments here are not pushed through a moderation que. You can request that James delete it if you feel so inclined, although Beggars All has often enough let ridiculous, abusive comments through simply because there are only so many hours in a day, and babysitting comment boxes is fairly low on the priority list.

2. I never did, nor do I think the Cathiolic magisterium is perspicuous

What do you mean by this? I don't know how you're using the term perspicuous in this context, and it might be confusing to others reading your posts here.

Yet what I was seeing in looking into history, Tradition, Scripture, and yes, even my own reason, was that whatever Church Christ left us, it claimed the ability to define doctrine and forgive sins IN HIS NAME. I dont see any Reformed church doing that. To my mind this simple fact proved they could not be the Church.

What exegetical argument can you make for this position? Your concept of IN HIS NAME seems to carry with it certain philosophical and theological freight, and given the critical importance this plays in your position, I'd be interested in the supporting argumentation you'd use to defend it.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Comparing that daily choice of doctrines with being a Catholic is just not accurate. I no longer wonder what view of the Lord's Supper is correct, or whether paedocommunion is right or wrong, I HAVE ANSWERS from the Church.

I think it's a bit prejudicial to characterize the Protestant position as a "daily choice of doctrines." Since there are no polling data that could support such a contention, and I'm not aware of anyone who daily decides such things--the default position seems to simply believe, for better or worse, whatever your denomination or tradition believes--I question whether such a characterization is accurate.

Catholicism has its own set of unresolved questions. For example, to my knowledge, the question of Molinism or Thomism has yet to be resolved in any sort of definitive manner. The relationship of divine providence to the human will seems relevant to matters of "doctrine." Would it be better to say that you think certain kinds of doctrine need to have answers, and that only Catholicism provides the answers? Otherwise, I think the situation of not having "ANSWERS" applies to all denominations, simply because any true theology will have elements of mystery at the periphery.

If you do think that certain kinds of "ANSWERS" need to be provided, I'd ask how you delineate which kinds of answers a denomination should provide.

I'd personally answer that question by realizing the kinds of doctrinal questions Scripture wants us to ask. For example, Jesus sometimes answers the question his interlocutors should have asked, or simply gives the answer that is required or appropriate, rather than the kind of answer his opponents desired. We need to align our desire for doctrinal "ANSWERS" similarly, and set our expectations about the kinds of answers we will receive on these subjects based on how Christ and God desire us to relate to them.

And if that make it a tu quoque situation, so be it. I dont think it does though, because it is the differnece between

A. examining the evidence, praying, and cementing a choice for submission to the magisterium, after which doctrinal choices cease.

And

B. examining the evidence, praying, reaching a doctrinal decision. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. etc. etc. etc.


I believe the issue is that your first decision is a doctrinal decision, so whatever critique applies to decisions of the Protestant will also apply to the decision of the Catholic. I don't think the question was ever about whether doctrinal decisions are repeated or not. Your distinction here strikes me as a level confusion.

But perhaps you had something else in mind, or I've misunderstood your position.

Finally, I wonder why you guys didnt just post to my blog your questions or at least inform me you were reposting this old article from AoM.

Your testimony is a matter of public record. If you do not want people to discuss it without informing you first, why have you made it public? I'm not aware of any moral or ethical principle that requires an individual to inform someone else that they are critiquing a position they've taken in a public medium. (Indeed, if you became popular enough, it would be impossible to have everyone check with you first before interacting with your comments, much like it would be impossible for the Pope to answer every request for people to interact with his published works.) For example, I've had a Reformed blogger lift a comment I made and publicly mock it, using it as yet another pretext to strike at another Reformed minister. Yet despite the inappropriateness of his behavior, his error lay not in his public interaction with my public comment, but with his unreasonable critique of that comment.

Ryan said...

David,

If you don't think that the Roman magisterium is perspicuous, then I don't really understand the arguments you made in the OP. You're the authority in interpreting the statements of the Roman magisterium in the same sense that you would be the authority in interpreting the statements of Scripture (assuming neither is perspicuous).

Denying sola scriptura doesn't help you out, for ecclesiastic differences still occur just as interpretive differences occur. The issue is whether the wrong interpretations (i.e. the interpretations of statements whose meaning not intended to be read that way by the authors of the statements) can be discerned. If neither Scripture nor the Roman magisterium is perspicuous, then you're still in the same trouble Mr. Cross et. al. allege Protestants are in.

Later on you admit that all this may "make it a tu quoque situation." But then there's no reason to disagree with the OP's point, and there's no reason to continue attacking Protestantism on any of these fronts about which we've been speaking. That's a point which shouldn't be put off if this dialogue is to be beneficial.

Your reasons for thinking that the Roman magisterium is apostolic and councils should be thought of as conscience-binding are separate issues to the sphere of the arguments against which the tu quoque objection is made by Protestants. Only after we have agreed that if such arguments are made against Protestants, then similar arguments can be made against RCs can more fundamental arguments be examined. Otherwise, there's a chance someone's going to appeal to these objections as fallbacks which would hurt rather than help the dialogue.

Ryan said...

Continued...

Mr. Cross does not deal with the issue of perspicuity in that post, so I think he too misses the critical point.

For example, he doesn't really interact with the idea that one must interpret the teachings of the Roman magisterium as well as Scripture; that is, he doesn't mention perspicuity, so the reader has no reason to think that understanding Scripture cannot bind the conscience in the same way understanding the Roman magisterium [allegedly] can.

In his response to Q5, he says that "One rightly becomes a Catholic by an act of faith in which one believes all that the Catholic Church teaches, even if not fully understanding it, on the ground of the apostolic authority of the Church’s magisterium." But unless perspicuity (or lack thereof) prevents that Protestant from switching "Scriptures" for "the Catholic Church['s magisterium]" and "divine" for "apostolic," the "problem" for Protestants disappears.

Or to continue with the Protestant argument in Q3, one could point out that 3 possible errors one could come to regarding the discernment of which interpretation is true are: (1) The inquirer could think that there are two equally possible but mutually contradictory interpretations of Scripture. (2) The inquirer could think some statement in conflict with an interpretation of Scripture is authoritative when in fact it's not. (3) The inquirer could simply have a lapse in understanding or reasoning. Etc. A denial of Scriptural perspicuity is necessary to rebut (1) in particular.

He also doesn't address the tu quoque pertaining to the "subordinate authority" of local elders. You do, so I'll deal with that below.

I think that is sufficient. However, I have responded to a few posts at CtC in which Mr. Cross and a co-blogger of his do interact with private judgment and perspicuity:

http://unapologetica.blogspot.com/2011/11/private-judgment.html

I hope you see how all this relates to the rest of your response. For instance:

- You say: "Because once this basic info of history, scripture, reason and tradition has been processed, what I am choosing puts an end to further choice (other than apostatizing from Catholocism)."

That is precisely what the Protestant can claim when he "chooses" sola scriptura. If there's a problem for sola scriptura here, then there's a problem for you. Hence the tu quoque. Interpretation is only a relevant issue if Scripture is not perspicuous but the Roman magisterium is.

- You say: "Your comparison with a local elder's sermon is way off. The former has the authority of Christ, the later may or may not."

If local elders may not have [inherent] authority and it not be a problem to the Roman Magisterium, then Protestant confession may not have [inherent] authority and it not be a problem for Protestantism. Hence &c.

David Meyer said...

Constantine said:
“Thanks for sharing your searching with us. And I am sorry that you have felt insulted. That should never happen.”
Thank you for apologizing. I take unity among Christians super seriously, so I prefer a ad hominem free environment, otherwise why bother with Christianity at all. Thanks for the spirit of your comment.

“As a former Roman Catholic, I find that there are irreconcilable differences within the operation of the Magisterium and therefore discount it as non-apostolic.”

You give 2 examples. Very interesting first point. I looked into that situation before my conversion, and was not convinced as you are that there is a problem (other than abuse of power and extreme papal naughtiness). I would counter Calvin (and you) by asking if you think the Magisterium was the valid authority of the Church up till Eugenius IV. If you say no, then who care what he did, he is just a man with no divine authority anyway. If you say yes, then that would mean the Church went 1400 years without the gates of hell prevailing, and then suddenly failed. I don’t see a third option for you to take, and I cant see that you would want to take either of the ones I just presented. If the pope is the highest authority in the Church, as I believe is stated in scripture and tradition, then your first example of Eugenius IV fails. He may have done what he did for evil reasons, but the authority of the keys was still rightfully exercised. Although an embarasing time in Church history, all the examples I have run up against of bad popes still are consistent with what the magisterium says about itself regarding teaching error in faith or morals.
There, resolved.

Cont…

David Meyer said...

...cont...

Constantines second example was the Tridentine Creed.
“This is one of only four (4) “authoritative” creeds in all of Roman Catholicism and binds every Roman Catholic.”
Nope. Everything the Magisterium says is authoritative and needs to be obeyed. Just because something is not inspired (scripture) or said to be divinely revealed, does not mean it is not authoritative and binding. You are misunderstanding a very basic point here. Anyway, your point is that the creed requires adherence to the “unanimous consent of the fathers” yet Vatican I disregarded the unanimous consent requirement by only using one example from scripture to back up papal claims? The fatal flaws here are 1. The papal claim does not ride on that verse, it can’t because the papacy existed before it was written. 2. The unanimous consent of the fathers (taking into account that some are silent on the issue) is that Matt. 16 and Isaiah 22 among other verses are quite consistent with papal claims. 3. It is a well known fact that the verses or fathers used to give examples of a doctrine do not in themselves prove or support the doctrine. Does Vatican I reference Isaiah 22? I don’t know, and I don’t care, because Isaiah 22 is what Jesus is referring to in Matt. 16. For the Magisterium the content of a doctrinal pronouncement is not dependent on the verses given in its support. I knew that even as a Protestant, if you need supporting evidence I can look it up and provide it, just ask. But this shoots your second point down.
“Jesus Christ did leave a church without error guided by His Holy Spirit. But He told us that while we can feel the workings of the Spirit, just like the wind, we cannot tell from whence it comes.”
If he left us a Church that cannot be seen and is invisible as you clearly point out here, then I would renounce Christianity immediately. That situation would be an utter joke, and prove his promise in the NT about the gates of hell not prevailing to be a lie.
Jesus said to “go to the Church” and gave men his authority to pass down (as you and Calvin admit in your first point above regarding succession). He explicitly gave them the power to forgive sins. The invisible church you describe can’t do those things.
“So please don't look to Rome for truth.”
Tell me where the Church is then. Give me an address of a successor of the apostles that I can go to and obey. If you cannot do that, then don’t tell me not to look to Rome.
“I pray that God will work in your spirit, David.”
Thank you. I am grateful for your prayers! Lord knows sinners need them.

Nick said...

The Tu Quoque ("You Also") argument basically states whatever one person asserts can be equally asserted by their opponent, thus resulting in a "stalemate".

Let's say two pastors (a Baptist and Presbyterian) are debating infant baptism with eachother using Scripture. At this point, it's strictly the personal opinion of one pastor against the other, in which case neither side 'wins'.

It would boil down to this:

Presbyterian Pastor: "You are not an authority, so you cannot authoritatively interpret Scripture in regards to infant baptism."

Baptist Pastor: "YOU ALSO (Tu QUOQUE) are not an authority, so YOU cannot authoritatively interpret Scripture."

---

Now let's say that Paul came down from Heaven at that moment and stood alongside the Presbyterian, so that the Presbyterian had Scripture and Paul attesting to infant baptism. It's no longer a Tu Quoque situation, because the Baptist doesn't have the living Apostle on his side. The new situation becomes the Apostle authoritatively interpreting Scripture versus a Baptist pastor with no authority interpreting Scripture.

The Baptist cannot respond "Tu Quoque" because there is no commonality here: it's an authoritative interpreter of Scripture versus a non-authoritative interpreter.

In the context of a Catholic-Protestant debate, the Catholic believes the Magisterium carries the "authority to interpret" of the Apostles, where as no Protestant believes their pastor carries the "authority to interpret" of the Apostles and thus there is no Tu Quoque.

The only argument on the table at that point is whether the Magisterium is who they claim to be, to which the Catholic and Protestant have both fallibly come to their own conclusions, just as they both fallibly came to their conclusions about Scripture, but even that's not a TQ situation.

The Catholic then points out that the Protestant situation can never have authoritative interpretations of Scripture (and thus a Christianity with no dogmas), only highly respected opinions, where as the alternative, a Magisterium via Apostolic Succession, has evidence in Scripture, History, and is plausible and results in a Christianity with dogmas.

David Meyer said...

“You've made your conversion testimony public on the Internet. You should expect hostile, unreasonable invective. That's the nature of discourse on the Internet.”
No. You are wrong. That is not how humans discourse with each other. They treat each other with respect. And when someone is disrespectful, I will point it out, each and every time I feel like taking the time to point it out. I do not “expect hostile, unreasonable invective”, I expect respect, and I try to give respect. Especially and particularly from those and to those who claim to be followers of Christ.

“If you find it too overbearing, then I recommend reducing your online presence.”

I have. But what I find strange is that you think I am the one who should reduce my presence online, not the one who insulted my person. Your priorities seem backwards. You even compare his comments with scriptural imprecatory passages which insult. Need I even comment on that comparisons outrageousness? What would have been better is for you to admonish Bob S. privately, delete his comment, and apologize to me, but instead here we are spilling ink. Waste of time.

Ryan said...

Nick, would you mind defining what it means to "interpret" and then what it means to interpret with "authority"?

David Meyer said...

Mattew Shultz,
I had said:
“2. I never did, nor do I think the Cathiolic magisterium is perspicuous”

you said:
“What do you mean by this? I don't know how you're using the term perspicuous in this context, and it might be confusing to others reading your posts here.”
You are right, I was very unclear. What I was meaning by perspicuous was, as I said “perspicuous or can be infallibly known to be infallible.”
In the context of the tu quoque charge, what I am saying is that of course nothing is perspicuous if you keep pushing it. If I hold up 5 fingers and ask “how many?” You could keep asking “what do you mean?” forever if you choose. You could ask what 5 means, have me teach you English, question mathematical principles of quantity, etc. That is the sense in which the Magisterium is not perspicuous.
BUT, notice in my example, that you can keep asking for clarification. THAT is the difference that I see between the Reformed and Catholic paradigm.
Now this comment will go a long way to answering some of Ryan’s points as well.
And Ryan, honestly, a lot of what you said went over my head. As I said before, I am a layman, and am not prepared to splice syllogisms about the tu quoque. I can refer you to Bryan Cross to defend that in a very thorough philosophical way, but for me, and many other Reformed converts to Catholicism, our experience simply does not scream tu quoque. If syllogisms are deemed necessary, then I concede the argument to you. You win. But a vast swath of humanity is convinced by something other than syllogisms. I didn’t come to Christ through a syllogism and I didn’t become Catholic for one. Doesn’t mean my reasons were bad though.
What I have mainly gone off of in my conversion is personal experience. And my personal experience of being “inside” the Reformed paradigm and “inside” the Catholic paradigm is that there is no tu quoque to speak of as a Catholic. The night and day comparison of having a LIVING Magisterium to having a BOOK, is… well… night and day. When I was Reformed, I would cry out to God in prayer for guidance in finding the truth of doctrine X, Y, and then Z. I did not want to lead my children astray into heresy. But in the end, the more I cried out to God, the more I realized that at other points in Church history, and even in scripture itself, I would have received an authoritative answer from men God had ordained. This is what I meant by “in His Name”, that Jesus should be able to still speak today through his men as he did through the Jerusalem council, or St. Paul, or Peter, etc. But there is NO PLACE for that type of authority in Reformed theology. The best doctrinal advice in the Reformed world is “this is what I think the Lord is saying, but you need to prayerfully study and let the Lord guide you.” Compare that to my current bishop, or the pope, who tell me exactly what God wants me to believe, with authority. And with hell as a consequence for unbelief. THAT is what the Church looks like. That does not prove the RCC is the Church, but it does (for me) demolish the tu quoque, because my 2 experiences have been polar opposite. What does the Bible say about masturbation? Contraception? Divorce? The Lord’s Supper? Baptism? The Magisterium tells me to obey them. They don’t suggest I listen to their opinion. Reformed elders tell me to decide for myself, or worse, to listen to their opinion. To me that is a world of difference. No tu quoque possible.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

No. You are wrong.

I wasn't making a claim about how discourse should be conducted, but what is normal--expected in that sense--in online interaction.

But what I find strange is that you think I am the one who should reduce my presence online, not the one who insulted my person.

I already said I disagree with Bob S.'s comment.

I don't see why I should speak to Bob S. I only respond to comments I find worth engaging. Dull and empty insults generally don't qualify. They aren't worth my time. And they aren't worth yours either.

You even compare his comments with scriptural imprecatory passages which insult. Need I even comment on that comparisons outrageousness? What would have been better is for you to admonish Bob S. privately, delete his comment, and apologize to me, but instead here we are spilling ink. Waste of time.

I stated that his behavior was wrong. However, I mentioned Scriptural examples of why it is appropriate to question motives, intelligence, etc. That's not an excuse for rudeness, but it is a reminder that we are called to examine our motives and whether we've properly grasped the conceptual issues involved in such matters as important as conversion. It is not an approach wholly out of bounds, for our hearts often set themselves on something and then ask our minds to find supporting reasons.

I don't have administrative rights to delete Bob S.'s comment.

I raised several issues I find important related to your claims about the tu quoque and the "ANSWERS" given by the Magisterium in contrast with Protestantism. Some of those were eaten by the spam filter, but those are now they are available, if you want to discuss them. (Of course, I understand if you feel that there are too many issues to discuss at once. It's the nature of these blog posts to be outnumbered.)

Nick said...

(1) To interpret is using one's Reason to take in information and make sense of it.

(2) To authoritatively interpret is a matter of delegated authority to bind the conscience to a given interpretation.

There is no "struggle" between (1) and (2) because they vary only in degree, not in 'essence'.

A classic example I use is Christ's words "This is My Body". Interpreting (#1) this phrase we see Christ is saying something about the bread He picked up, identifying it with His body. What sort of identification is not clear, for various reasonable meanings are possible.

Now the question is, is this situation of "Christ's Body" critical for the Christian identity and lifestyle? Without an Authoritative Interpreter, we're stuck with informed opinions on that question, some saying it's essential, others saying it's non-essential, some saying it's literally Christ's body, some saying it's purely symbolic.

The only way to raise that question out of the "opinion" category is if there is an Authoritative Interpreter (e.g. an Apostle, Magisterium, Council) that addresses it one way or the other.

In some ways, it's like the nature-grace distinction.

Ryan said...

Nick,

"What sort of identification is not clear, for various reasonable meanings are possible."

So then as I suspected, the issue is about the perspicuity of statements. You seem to be using the Roman magisterium as that which dictates which of two or more equally possible but mutually contradictory interpretations of Scripture is what was intended by the author. But that presupposes Scripture isn't perspicuous, a point with which Protestants disagree.

All that is to say that though what I say cannot bind your conscience, but what Scripture says can, if it is perspicuous. That "if" would be the point of contention, but that was my original point: "the whole dialogue between RCs and Prots needs to turn [to] what is actually at issue."

Would you agree with that?

Ryan said...

David, your reply seems to indicate you think Scripture is not only not perspicuous but that it also isn't materially sufficient. Since you do not seem inclined to engage my previous points and since I am too busy to enter into a discussion about a different subject, I suggest we stop here with the realization that future dialogue needs to keep in mind the fundamental issues at which Protestantism and Roman Catholicism are at odds, i.e. perspicuity (and for some RCs, material sufficiency).

dtking said...

The Romanist states: "A classic example I use is Christ's words "This is My Body". Interpreting (#1) this phrase we see Christ is saying something about the bread He picked up, identifying it with His body. What sort of identification is not clear, for various reasonable meanings are possible."

Now, notice what James Cardinal Gibbons, former Archbishop of Baltimore says of this passage by way of contrast:

"I beg you to recall to mind the former text relative to the Promise and to compare it with this. How admirably they fit together, like two links in a chain! How faithfully has Jesus fulfilled the Promise which He made! Could any idea be expressed in clearer terms than these: This is My body; this is My blood?
Why is the Catholic interpretation of these words rejected by Protestants? Is it because the text itself is in itself obscure and ambiguous? By no means; but simply because they do not comprehend how God could perform so stupendous a miracle as to give His body and blood for our spiritual nourishment."

Lesson learned? Never make the mistake of expecting Romanists to argue consistently.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr. Swan, I have been busy with court matters and school work, but I do must take issue with your assertion that OT Church did not have a magisterium. Ex. 18:21-24, Num. 11:16-17 and numerous other passages in the OT clearly show that Israel was governed by an authoritative magisterium.

God Bless!

Nick said...

Ryan,

Here is why I don't believe the issue with Catholics and Protestants can come down to perspicuity, and that's because Protestants cannot agree what is perspicuous and what's not.

For Luther, he condemned Zwinglians for their symbolic view of the Eucharist, the Anabaptists on infant baptism, etc. In most of those cases, it was precisely a situation of "equally possible" interpretations.

And the issue isn't about Catholics "presuming Scripture is NOT perspicuous," but rather Protestants presuming that it IS, contrary to the reality of the disunity problem.

Nick said...

Mr King,

I don't believe that quote goes against what I said, for Bishop Gibbons is speaking within the context of a Catholic framework (notice he said: "I beg you to recall to mind the former text relative to the Promise and to compare it with this"), where as my example applied to a strictly "neutral" playing field.

Within the playing field of Protestantism, interpretations of "This is My Body" range from just shy of Transubstantiation to purely symbolic. And linguistically, that language could logically apply to any of those.

If one sees "This is My Body" in connection to a promise of another text, like John 6:52, then plainly it will all connect and be clear. Interestingly, this is why Protestants have sought to not make Christ's words in John 6:52 even merely plausible.

Ryan said...

"For Luther, he condemned Zwinglians for their symbolic view of the Eucharist, the Anabaptists on infant baptism, etc. In most of those cases, it was precisely a situation of "equally possible" interpretations."

According to Luther? Or is that your conclusion? If the latter, to repeat the point I made in our discussion on my blog, the misuse of a sufficient/perspicuous source isn't an indication of the nature of the source. See my response to David's citation of Mr. Cross here:

//Or to continue with the Protestant argument in Q3, one could point out that 3 possible errors one could come to regarding the discernment of which interpretation is true are: (1) The inquirer could think that there are two equally possible but mutually contradictory interpretations of Scripture. (2) The inquirer could think some statement in conflict with an interpretation of Scripture is authoritative when in fact it's not. (3) The inquirer could simply have a lapse in understanding or reasoning. Etc. A denial of Scriptural perspicuity is necessary to rebut (1) in particular.//

As for who presumes what, I again stress that I'm only trying to show what should be the topic of debate, not so much debate the topic itself.

Nick said...

I'm not sure what you're getting at. The historical record is plain that Luther condemned views of the Eucharist and Baptism that he felt were sacrilegious interpretations of Scripture. This isn't "my conclusion," it's a fact.

The charge of "misuse of perspicuous source" was something Luther tossed at his opponents and his Protestant opponents tossed back. Whether a given text is perspicuous is often a subjective call.

Ryan said...

My question was whether it was Luther or yourself who concluded both his and Zwingli's beliefs were "equally possible." Maybe I just misunderstood what you meant by "equally possible." I assume Luther's condemnation means he thought Zwingli's beliefs could not possibly be Scripturally grounded, which was why I thought it was your conclusion rather than Luther's.

Edward Reiss said...

Nick et. al.

"Here is why I don't believe the issue with Catholics and Protestants can come down to perspicuity, and that's because Protestants cannot agree what is perspicuous and what's not."

This is a good succinct distillation of the RC argument. Unfortunately, if we apply it consistently, the RC will be forced to rely on his own private judgment.

What this argument boils down to is that if there are different interpretations of something, that something is not clear and so cannot be an authority. The severe fault in this argument is threefold:

1) Any disagreements within a group about the thing being interpreted will by necessity mean that the thing interpreted is now not clear, and hence the hermeneutic of clarity fails--and if one's choice of a church is dependent upon clarity one must per force justify one's choice by other means, and the only way to justify it is through private judgment.

Also, much of this argument by RCs boils down to pointing to the unity in their own denomination, and wondering that other denominations are not united. The EOC plays this game, too. In fact, anyone could play this game. Of course a particular denomination is more united than all the other denominations. So this argument fails.

2) If we need an interpreter to understand e.g. the deposit of faith, how do we determine the interpreter infallibly? The answer by even Newman is one must use one's private judgment. The question then arises why private judgment is sufficient to choose an authority, but not to interpret the Bible.

3) Any claim by the RCC to be the One True church is denied by the EOC, which makes this claim for herself. Thus, if at any point they use the same authority--ECFs, tradition, history, apostolic succession etc. etc., we must per force assume that due to different interpretations that all those arguments are pretty useless to determine truth. Since RCs do not assume those arguments are useless, the presumption is that their arguments from unity are not arguments from principle but from convenience.

James Swan said...

Hello Mr. Swan, I have been busy with court matters and school work, but I do must take issue with your assertion that OT Church did not have a magisterium.

Paul, in your profession, I would assume you're required to read carefully. I assert: you need to apply the same careful reading skills you've acquired when visiting here.

Of course the Jews had a religious authority over them, I never stated they did not. Did you not notice my repeated use of the qualifier "infallible"?

James Swan said...

I don't believe that quote goes against what I said, for Bishop Gibbons is speaking within the context of a Catholic framework (notice he said: "I beg you to recall to mind the former text relative to the Promise and to compare it with this"), where as my example applied to a strictly "neutral" playing field.

As I read Gibbons, he appears to be arguing Protestants do in fact see the clear sense of the passage, but reject it because they can't "comprehend" it:

Why is the Catholic interpretation of these words rejected by Protestants? Is it because the text itself is in itself obscure and ambiguous? By no means; but simply because they do not comprehend how God could perform so stupendous a miracle as to give His body and blood for our spiritual nourishment."

Pastor King pointed out a valid inconsistency. The simple truth is that those on your side of the Tiber do a fair amount of "private interpreting." The whole we have an infallible interpreter paradigm rings hollow.

EA said...

Paul Hoffer said: "Ex. 18:21-24, Num. 11:16-17 and numerous other passages in the OT clearly show that Israel was governed by an authoritative magisterium."

Paul,

Do you interpret the above verses as attributing or endowing the "OT Magisterium" with authority, Infallibility, or both?

Thanks

Constantine said...

David,

Your tone has certainly changed from a searcher to a defender! Was all this searching stuff just a ruse?

David Meyer writes,

“I would counter Calvin (and you) by asking if you think the Magisterium was the valid authority of the Church up till Eugenius IV. If you say no, then who care what he did, he is just a man with no divine authority anyway. If you say yes, then that would mean the Church went 1400 years without the gates of hell prevailing, and then suddenly failed.”


You are begging the question. The question is whether or not such a thing as a Magisterium has ever existed before the 12th century. So when you ask if the “Magisterium was the valid authority of the Church up till Eugenius IV” you assume what is yet to be proved.


DM once more,


“If the pope is the highest authority in the Church, as I believe is stated in scripture and tradition, then your first example of Eugenius IV fails.”


Again, you are begging the question and this time ignoring history. Remember, the Council of Constance – which concluded a decade or longer before Eugenius was selected as pope - issued its infallible decree, Sacrosanctum, which said indisputably that the Council was the highest authority in the Church. So the question to you is, if a sacred, ecumenical council can decree that any such council is the highest authority in the church, by what authority do you contradict it?

DM, yet again,

“Everything the Magisterium says is authoritative and needs to be obeyed.”

OK, I’ll bite. Which Magisterium do you obey? The one that said you cannot invoke the Scripture save for the “unanimous consent of the Fathers” or the one that picks one interpretation out of many and gives it authority? I would like to know if you follow Trent or Vatican I in this regard? If “everything the Magisterium say is authoritative” how do you resolve a direct conflict?


Here we go again,

” The fatal flaws here are 1. The papal claim does not ride on that verse, it can’t because the papacy existed before it was written.

Well, you tell me what this quote means from the Canons of Vatican I: “Chapter 1 On the institution of the apostolic primacy in blessed Peter We teach and declare that, according to the gospel evidence,a primacy of jurisdiction over the whole church of God was immediately and directly promised to the blessed apostle Peter and conferred on him by Christ the lord.” The footnote in support of this refers specifically to Matthew 16.

…and again,

“2. The unanimous consent of the fathers (taking into account that some are silent on the issue) is that Matt. 16 and Isaiah 22 among other verses are quite consistent with papal claims.”


That is so vague as to be ridiculous. Some of the ECF’s thought that Matthew 16 referred to Peter’s profession of faith; others that it referred to Christ Himself; others to the apostles as a whole. So when you don’t even specify what “papal claims” are in light of the diversity of Matthew 16 throughout church history, you show you don’t even understand the issue.

…one last time,


Tell me where the Church is then. Give me an address of a successor of the apostles that I can go to and obey. If you cannot do that, then don’t tell me not to look to Rome.


Since you obviously believe that that papacy, with all of its heresies, discontinuities, its contradictions still represents apostolic succession there is no point. If you adhere to a position that has absolutely no basis in Scripture or Christian tradition, you will not be swayed by evidence.


Go to Rome, quickly, David.

That’s where you are more comfortable.

Peace.

David Meyer said...

"Go to Rome, quickly, David.

That’s where you are more comfortable."

Well, I can tell when I am not wanted. So see ya.
BTW, This post is a re-post from Swan from 16 months ago. So I have already gone to Rome and was recieved into the Catholic Church since last December thank God. And theologically, I was more "comfortable" being Reformed. Comfort had nothing to do with my conversion. A search for the truth did. And I am still open to the truth. If someone shows me where I am wrong, I have proven time and time again by my actions that I will change.

As for your other comments, I will skip them. You are so wrong on Matt. 16 and the "unanimous consent" issue so badly, I dont wish to pursue further conversation here.
By way of explaination: the fathers agreed on Matt. 16.
You give 3 options of their interpretations, but many of them accepted multiple options, seeing no contradiction (Peter's faith AND Christ are the rock, etc.) The Catholic catechism even accepts multiple options as being non contradictory. Because they are not contradictory! Can there be a contradiction between a king and his prime minister? If so, then the fathers disagreed on Matt. 16 as you say. Obviously I disagree. Not to mention the fact that "according to the gospel evidence" (from your Vatican I quote) Peter was given the keys to the kingdom and Christ prayed that his faith would not fail so he could strengthen his brothers, things only Peter recieved, and things which the Fathers point to as showing his primacy. I mentioned Christ's reference to Isaiah 22 earlier, ever read it? No "Rock" is mentioned. The rock is not central to what Christ is doing in Matt. 16!

Peace to you Reformed brothers, I hope we can be unified under one hierarchy some day, whatever that may be. For now though, perhaps you could just start by uniting the dozens of Persbyterian denoms. That would be a good first step. Shouldnt be to hard! ;-)

-David Meyer

RPV said...

Mr. Meyers,

My comment was in general concerning Roman apologists, not you particularly because I didn't know that was who James was talking about.
That's not to say that we haven't seen you in action over at Green Baggins. Need I say, you didn't acquit yourself too well and one might be distinctly unimpressed with your apologetic specifically, as well as in general?

Likewise if my sarcasm can be forgiven, it only sums up what James nails:

The Roman position is inconsistent, contradictory and hypocritical.

Nevertheless we repeatedly get guys like Bryon Cross who are supposed to be intellectual heavyweights arguing this specious position.
Repeatedly (as in BC showed up over at Jason Stellman's blog mouthing the same old party line diligently in regard to the PLeithart case in PNWPresbytery. Some things never change and it gets real old. I would have thought there has been some development in his position.)

You no like?
It's called logic/reason, the ability to follow and make a reasonable argument rather than rest in assertions and infallible pronuciamentos from an infallible magisterium on the supposed basis of an infallible revelation which is as dark and obscure as the magisterium's obfuscations are clear and transparent.

Evidently God in his Word cannot make himself understood, but it's not a problem with whatever the pope says.

Again, fwiw, I was born and raised in the roman communion, much more I do not appreciate being lied to in the name of the truth, the Lord Jesus Christ, who tells us many things plainly in Scripture.

Among them that some are so blind they cannot see even as they protest vehemently to the contrary.

Bob Suden

Nick said...

RPV/Bob,

You should be careful about painting Catholics as ignoramuses who blindly follow an old guy in Rome. I've been making strong Scriptural arguments for Catholicism on my blog and begged people over here to address them but nobody has of yet. So until then, please dont play the "it's called logic/reason, the ability to follow and make a reasonable argument" card.

Pete Holter said...

Hi James!

Do you have some examples in mind when you say that “others deny the Church has defined the literal sense of any single passage”? I ask because these “others” sound like they’re clearly wrong. But maybe I’ve misunderstood what these others are trying to say.

I’m glad you let Bob Suden post his original comment. It invites a freedom to discuss what’s on our hearts, and we Catholics need to hear the curses that the LORD gives to Shimei for our good, to humble us.

Would Rhology like to respond to me on that other post? I have some time now. Maybe he’s already responded, but I don’t remember what that post was. Or has he already left for Europe?

Constantine! I didn’t know you were Catholic. How did I miss that? Come back! Come back!

Welcome to the Church, David Meyer!

In Christ,
Pete Holter

RPV said...

Nick,

No. it's worse than that. I am bold to say that anyone who believes the roman line has been given over and blinded to the truth as it is in Christ and in the Scripture.

Two, I don't know what is going on over at your blog and a zillion others, I only know what I see here and at Green Baggins sporadically. Nor am I obligated to chase down a million rabbit trails. Time is short and if somebody can't cogently articulate their position in 25 words or less here when it comes up, I don't bother wasting my time/they're not ready for prime time.

Three, your recent email to me privately touting the discovery at your blog of the "frank admission by James Buchanan" that imputation is not taught in the Scripture demonstrates again that somebody has reading comprehension problem. Rather is the idea/concept/doctrine taught?

But the roman church denies good and necessary consequence to begin with and yes, I do have a hard copy of Buchanan's Justification.

Still all this is not the point of the original by James:
Private judgement is an inescapable aspect of the human condition and if it is such a fretting and damning leprosy that papists make it out to be, they hardly escape their own condemnation when it comes to choosing their religious affiliations.
Somewhere somehow, no matter how ignorantly or carelessly, every member of the roman communion exercises their private judgement to either join or remain in the church.

If they are looking for a silver bullet to slay protestantism, hint: 1. they need to keep looking and 2. they ain't gonna find it.

cheers

Rhology said...

Pete Holter,

Sorry man, got a lot on my plate just now. I am back from Europe but my wife had surgery yesterday and I'm swamped. I'll try to get back to it though.

James Swan said...

Pete Holter said...
Hi James!Do you have some examples in mind when you say that “others deny the Church has defined the literal sense of any single passage”? I ask because these “others” sound like they’re clearly wrong. But maybe I’ve misunderstood what these others are trying to say.


Hi Peter,

The comment I made was based on the following:

"To the best of my knowledge the Roman Catholic Church has never defined the literal sense of a single passage of the Bible. [Raymond E. Brown, The Critical Meaning of the Bible (New York: Paulist, 1981), p. 40.]

See also the quotes found here:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/07/we-have-apostolic-tradition-unofficial.html

Keep in mind, to me it doesn't matter if Brown is "clearly wrong" or not. It's enough for me that the infallible interpreter still needs to be personally interpreted.

Brigitte said...

Gentlemen, if I may once more humbly interject that all of us might agree if we kept our eyes on Christ's cross. HE is also the rock and capstone, and the confession of him is what the entire church is built upon (and Christ is also the one about whom we have heard nothing in this entire thread).

When David Meyers speaks of faith:
"D. FAITH which has been given by grace from God", we must see that is not some "supernatural" conviction of whatever it is that I am supposed to believe and therefore it is right (burning in the bosom among the Mormons), it is the trust in CHRIST and what He has actually done, objectively.

As a Lutheran, I will submit to all once again the need to check the Book of Concord for ways of agreeing in Christ.

Ryan should admit that what Nick said about Luther's views on baptism clash with Baptist/Reformed heavily and that this represents a unnecessary and harmful departure. (I know Nick is not Luther's friend. Still.)

I also agree with David Meyers on civil discourse. Make it passionate but make it open and fair. Informing people when you are discussing them, is proper.

(Lectures over. Thank you.)

Perspicuity of scripture is an important point. To deny it, is a slander of God's word.

Pete Holter said...

Thanks, James!

Let me just say that I am happy that Father Brown is no longer on the PBC as they work on preparing their document on the truth and inspiration of Sacred Scripture. I’m hopeful for this new doc.

Welcome back, Rhology! I hope your wife only had a minor surgery and is recovering well. We can forget about that exchange then, that’s fine. But send me an email at papist.pete.for.Jesus through gmail if you ever want to pursue an exchange that I hope would be mutually edifying. That goes for all you turkeys (coming from a fellow turkey)!

Brigitte! Bring your Lutheran love for Jesus into the Catholic Church and let’s worship together! Why not?

Love,
Pete

Brigitte said...

Pete, I am in the Catholic church.

Ryan said...

"Ryan should admit that what Nick said about Luther's views on baptism clash with Baptist/Reformed heavily and that this represents a unnecessary and harmful departure."

...I thought I did?

Brigitte said...

Sorry, maybe reading 40 entries too quickly.

D'artagnan said...

As another lucky convert, I must say that the Jesus you worship is a very cruel God to have given authority only to a book in a world that couldn't read, nor afford a book.

the fact that he forced his own mother, who you say was of no importance, to watch him suffer and die on a cross is almost sadistic.

I hope and pray one day you can turn from the pride and ignorance that is truly Luther's fruit, and humbly seek to find the One church Christ started.

Brigitte said...

D'artagnan, you don't sound that much different from Richard Dawkins.

Ryan said...

"I must say that the Jesus you worship is a very cruel God to have given authority only to a book in a world that couldn't read, nor afford a book."

I must say that the church you worship is a very cruel authority to have neither made it a priority to teach their parishioners how to read nor provided God's word for them.