Thursday, September 05, 2013

No Roman Catholic can deal with 2 Peter 1:12-18 and 3:1

It seems that no Roman Catholic can deal with this:

I left this comment twice over at Jason Stellman's blog here. (below is an expanded version of the original.)

 If apostolic succession was there from the beginning in the way that Rome defines it; why does Peter (the suppossed first bishop of Rome and suppossed first “Pope”) not mention it in his second epistle, when he should have – in 2 Peter 1:12-18 and 3:1, when he speaks of
a. knowing that he is about to die;  (verses 12-16)
b. wanting to be diligent to leave something with the believers that will enable them to “stir up their sincere minds” and “remember the truth” when he is gone? (verses 12-16 and 3:1)

Seems Peter especially would have at least mentioned the other presbyters and/ or bishops (addendum to be clear as what I meant:  presbyters/elders who would have the charism of apostolic succession and infallible teaching and able to solve all disunity problems and interpretation differences, as Roman Catholics claim that has been passed down in all history, in an unbroken chain beginning with Peter) who would take his place when he is gone; and that they would able to help the believers be able to learn truth and be reminded of the truth; and be there to help solve disunity problems and differences of interpretation. Instead, he does no such thing.  (Addendum:  I didn't mean that there were no other presbyters or teachers or pastors; sorry for that lack of clarity.  There obviously were a college of presbyters/elders - 1 Peter 5:1-5)

This a clear proof that it is the writting (Scripture alone) 2 Peter 3:1 – "this is the second letter I am writing to you", by which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder” – in other words, after I am gone (1:12-17), you will have something, somethng solid, a text, a writing, a Scripture, that you can read in order that you can stir up your minds in the truth - And that argument from 2 Peter 1:12-21 and 3:1, points to Sola Scriptura in principle.

I asked Jason Stellman, "how do you deal with that in 2 Peter?" and he and others don't seem to grasp the enormity of the supposed first Pope leaving out the teaching that his office would have successors, who would be able to teach the believers after he gets executed by Nero around 67 AD.  That is a major teaching to leave out, if it is true, it seems to me.  I think it is devasting to the whole Roman Catholic claim that Peter was the first Pope and that God intended the office of Peter in the bishop of the church in Rome to then to be succeeded by another infallible interpreter who would be able to shepherd and guide the church and give the infallible interpetation, and that that office would be passed down all through history.

29 comments:

John said...

tobeeri 33Hmm, what 3:1 says is that he wrote this down to remind them what was SPOKEN by the apostles. If anything, it would point to his written command as supplementary to the oral teaching.

"This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words SPOKEN beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior SPOKEN by your apostles."

Nick said...

There is no indication that there would be no Church leadership after Peter is dead. That's assuming too much, and it's downright false given other Scriptures.

In Peter's 1st Epistle, he makes it clear in ch5 that there are Governing Elders in place. And he even mentions Silvanus and Mark there.

In 2 Peter 2, he begins by warning that "false teachers" will arise among the flock, indicating there will be true teachers there as well.

Your exegesis of these texts is also assuming way too much, such as 3:1 suggesting Sola Scriptura, despite the facts (a) Peter's Epistles don't contain that much information, and (b) 2nd Peter was doubted as Scripture at various points in the Church history, including by Luther himself.

Ken said...

No one denies that the prophets and apostles preached and spoke and taught orally - and Jesus taught orally, (26-30 AD) - but whatever we needed was written down - 48-69 AD or Jude (80), John's writings either pre-70 AD or 80-96 AD.

Peter is writing around 67 AD before he gets executed by Nero; most of NT has already been written by then, so he is referrign to the writings of the prophets in the OT and the writings of the NT - we don't know what they spoke unless we have the writings.

Scripture is "God speaking" anyway. Peter does not have to write, ""the words written beforehand" by the holy prophets and apostles in order for him to mean by "spoken" - the written words that are the spoken words that were later written down.

29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

31 But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God:

32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

Matthew 22:29-33

Ken said...

Nick wrote:
There is no indication that there would be no Church leadership after Peter is dead.

Never claimed that. What I am saying is that if the RCC doctrine is correct about apostolic succession and an infallible interpreter in the elders/presbyters/episcopais, Peter would have indicated that, since he is the alleged first Pope, but instead he points them to writings.

This is a serious blow to any RCC idea of some kind of "Papacy" or "infallible interpreter" or "bishop of bishops" at the time of Peter. He was not the first Pope, no. He was an apostle who pointed the people back to the truth of the Scriptures.

John said...

"Peter is writing around 67 AD before he gets executed by Nero"

Does anyone else see the irony that you need to refer to an extra-scriptural tradition in order to make your argument?

" but whatever we needed was written down"

Well... Assuming what you are trying to prove is not the best argument I ever heard.

James Swan said...

oes anyone else see the irony that you need to refer to an extra-scriptural tradition in order to make your argument?

I for one do not deny tradition. history is... history.

I deny Infallible tradition. that's the difference.

Ken said...


I for one do not deny tradition. history is... history.

I deny Infallible tradition. that's the difference.

Yes; listen to James; I agree.

Ken said...

" but whatever we needed was written down"

Well... Assuming what you are trying to prove is not the best argument I ever heard.

I am not assuming that for the specific point about 2 Peter 1:12-18 and 3:1 – as there it seems reasonable to expect Peter would point to an infallible magisterium based on the apostolic succession that would be supposedly left in the other elders/presbyters/bishops, if Peter was the first bishop of bishops.

Do we have any irrefutable evidence of other teachings that can be shown to be from the first century (the lips of Jesus or the apostles), that we need today that were not written down that we can certainly know what the content of that teaching was?

How do we know what the content of that oral teaching was?

The only way to know it is that someone eventually wrote it down. I know some Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox claim that there were secret traditions not written down for the first 300 or 400 years that suddenly “came out” in the writings of some fathers of the 4th century and claimed them as sacred tradition on the same level as Scripture or in the liturgy of the 4th and 5th Century, etc.

That method of just assuming or claiming something as apostolic – claiming it for the first time in the 4th or 5th Century, sounds like a very gnostic method.

As Irenaeus wrote:
“Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures . . . “ (Against Heresies 1:8:1)

1. When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.” (Against Heresies 3:2:1)

Ken said...

Let that sink in - "viva voce" - "by a living voice"; a living oral voice"

Irenaenus speaks directly against the very method that Roman Catholics claim and that EOs claim, at the root of apologetic method against Sola Scriptura.

For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.” (Against Heresies 3:2:1)

student said...

Ken, where in the Bible does it say that the Bible contains ALL that we need to know? And where in the original scrolls of the Bible do we find a list of all the books that are to be included in the Bible? When you say, "No one denies that the prophets and apostles preached and spoke and taught orally - and Jesus taught orally, (26-30 AD) - but whatever we needed was written down - 48-69 AD or Jude (80), John's writings either pre-70 AD or 80-96 AD." are yu suggesting that those words of Jesus and the Apostles are useless, uninspired, or irrelevant?

Sola Scriptura is an invention of the Protestant Reformation.

Jugulum said...

student,

Do you see any difference between "not necessary for the whole Church to know" and "useless, uninspired, irrelevant"?

Ken said...

Thanks Jugulum; well said.

Student,
We have no way of knowing what they said and taught except that which was written down. That was probably one of the means by which the early church recognized the books that were "God-breathed"; and therefore "criterion", "standard", "law", "rule" (the reason they are recognized "canon" is they are the "standard" or "rule").

2 Timothy 3:16-17 gives the principle,

(that the man of God (Timothy, pastors, elders, teachers - may be fully equipped, able to do every good work. - it says that church leaders may be fully equipped to do the work of ministry. This speaks to the sufficiency of Scripture.)

even though Hebrews may have written around the same time or a little afterward (67-68 AD); and it is possible all of John's writings were either before 70 AD or from the 80-96 AD period. Jude, because of verse 3, may have been the last book written, as it says "the faith was once for all time delivered to the saints". Every other book of the NT was already written and it is God-breathed Scripture as soon as it is written. So it was "canon" at the time of writing; it just took a while for the early church to sift and discover all of the writings and put them all under one "book cover", as they were written to different areas and the persecution was certainly a factor in delaying the identifying of all of them all at once. But Irenaeus and Tertullian in 180-200 AD come close to naming almost all of the 27 books of the NT. Origen does, around 250 AD, over 100 years before Athanasius in 367 AD. Athanasius even says

("writes" - hint, take note - he says it becasue he wrote it) -

"in these alone (en toutois monoisis - εν τουτοις μονοις ) is proclaimed the message of godliness"

2 Peter 1:3-4 also gives the same principle, "seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything we need for life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence, for by these, He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises . . . "

Athanasius 367 AD - Festal Letter 39, verse 6 -
6. These are the fountains of salvation, that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone the teaching of godliness is proclaimed. Let no one add to these; let nothing be taken away from them. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures. And he reproved the Jews, saying, Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of me.

Ken said...


From Origen's Homilies on Joshua, viii. 1. (about 240 AD) (I assumed 250 earlier above)

"So too our Lord, whose advent was typified by the son of Nun, when he came sent his apostles as priests bearing well-wrought trumpets. Matthew first sounded the priestly trumpet in his Gospel. Mark also, Luke and John, each gave forth a strain on their priestly trumpets. Peter moreover sounds loudly on the twofold trumpet of his epistles; and so also James and Jude. Still the number is incomplete, and John gives forth the trumpet-sound in his epistles and Apocalypse; 4 and Luke while describing the acts of the apostles. Lastly however came he who said, I think that God hath set forth us Apostles last of all, [1 Cor. 4:9] and thundering on the fourteen trumpets of his epistles threw down even to the ground the walls of Jericho, that is to say all the instruments of idolatry and the doctrines of philosophers."

Ken said...

For more details on the Origen passage:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/05/twenty-seven-book-new-testament-before.html

John said...

"I for one do not deny tradition. history is... history.

I deny Infallible tradition. that's the difference."

Yet you had to affirm the fallibility of tradition, by assuming the veracity of a tradition. There's a logical fail in there somewhere.

"I am not assuming that for the specific point about 2 Peter 1:12-18 and 3:1"

OH....

I thought from the title of this blog article there was claimed to be some point actually hiding in these particular verses. I guess not.

"Do we have any irrefutable evidence of other teachings that can be shown to be from the first century"

Irrefutable? Is it actually irrefutable that Peter wrote 2 Peter, the subject of this blog article?

Actually, it's a long long way from irrefutable. So.. I guess that standard... whatever it is supposed to mean... isn't that convincing an argument.

"I know some Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox claim that there were secret traditions not written down for the first 300 or 400 years that suddenly “came out” in the writings of some fathers of the 4th century "

You mean like... like how 2 Peter just "came out" in the late 2nd early 3rd century, and there is no extant evidence it existed before then?

Of course, you realise that you and I weren't actually around at the time and we don't even know the full limits of what was and wasn't written down, and when, RIGHT?

Ken said...

Thanks for your spirited debate and challenge.

Yet you had to affirm the fallibility of tradition, by assuming the veracity of a tradition. There's a logical fail in there somewhere.



I don’t see a logical fail in relying on historical facts and evidence that is available. Your attitude seems too skeptical to me. Hard to understand the massive skepticism coming from the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. Always asking, "how do you know for sure" seems like madness. Sola Scriptura does not say we cannot use historical evidence.

"I am not assuming that for the specific point about 2 Peter 1:12-18 and 3:1 "



OH....

I thought from the title of this blog article there was claimed to be some point actually hiding in these particular verses. I guess not.



The title was then fleshed out in the argumentation in the article.

12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.
Here Peter says he is about to die in verse 14 – so his “being diligent” is writing this letter, so that “at any time after my departure” – “you will be able to call these things to mind” – they will be able to do that because they will have the written word – his letter. Along with 3:1 –
“This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder” – he repeats the same themes of “stirring up their sincere minds” (1:13) and “reminder” / idea of remembering (1:12 – “I will always be ready to remind you” and 1:15 – “after my departure, you will be able to call these things to mind” ie, to remember.

End of Part 1
More to come.

Ken said...

Thanks again John for spirited challenge. I noticed you at David Waltz' blog a lot in discussions.
And it is interesting to get another Eastern Orthodox person's perspective, (that is understandable, because Lvkas who comments here is very difficult to understand.)

"Do we have any irrefutable evidence of other teachings that can be shown to be from the first century"



Irrefutable? Is it actually irrefutable that Peter wrote 2 Peter, the subject of this blog article? 

Actually, it's a long long way from irrefutable. So.. I guess that standard... whatever it is supposed to mean... isn't that convincing an argument.



You mean like... like how 2 Peter just "came out" in the late 2nd early 3rd century, and there is no extant evidence it existed before then?




Do you mean that the earliest extant papyri manuscripts that we have are dated at around 200 AD and the earliest explicit quote of 2 Peter by Origen and Clement of Alexandria (as coming from the apostle Peter in 2 Peter)?

However, there are allusions and hints of 2 Peter in 1 Clement (96 AD), which is the earliest extant non-canonical writing, except for the Didache, which usually has a range of dating from 70-120 AD)

Dan Wallace wrote:
“1. The possibility clearly exists that 2 Peter is reflected in several passages in the Apostolic Fathers. …real possibility obtains in at least twenty-two places, the level of likelihood ranging from merely possible to highly probable. The strongest possibilities have been found in 1 Clement, Pseudo Clement, Barnabas, and Hermas, with at least reasonable possibilities in Ignatius and the Martyrdom of Polycarp.”
(see : https://bible.org/seriespage/second-peter-introduction-argument-and-outline)

The three allusions to 2 Peter in 1 Clement 7.6, 9.4, (2 Peter 2:5) and 20.12 (2 Peter 3:18)

Also 1 Clement 23:3 seems to be calling 2 Peter 3:4 “the Scripture” – ‘η γραφη

“Clement’s citation at 23.3 particularly deserves closer examination. “Let not that scripture (‘η γραφη ) be applicable unto us which saith, Wretched are the double-minded, even they that doubt in their heart and say, We have heard these things in the time of our fathers; and lo, we have grown old, and none of them hath happened unto us.” Here is a chimera of two NT verses cited as scripture - ‘η γραφη a description the NT and Clement reserve elsewhere only for divinely inspired texts. No verse in LXX or the apocrypha come close to James 1.8 and 2 Peter 3.4.”

Michael J. Kruger:

“Irenaeus (c. 130–200) in his writings gives us ample reasons to believe he knew and read 2 Peter. We read in Irenaeus:
‘η γαρ ‘ημερα κυριω ‘ως χιλια ετη
(Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:23:2)
and in 2 Peter 3:8:
‘οτι μια ‘ημερα παρα κυριω ‘ως χιλια ετη
—hardly a coincidence. Of course, as some have observed, Irenaeus could have simply been quoting Psalm 90:4.
However, this Psalm reads: (in LXX)
‘οτι χιλια ετη εν οφθαλμοις σου ‘ως ‘η ‘ημερα ‘η εχθες , ‘ητις διηηθε
Irenaeus’s quotation varies widely from the LXX, as does 2 Peter’s, but they are virtually identical with each other. It is highly unlikely that they both would independently diverge from the LXX in the exact same manner, thus inclining us to think Irenaeus was quoting directly from 2 Peter. Our suspicions are confirmed by Methodius in the third century who specifically cites the apostle Peter as the source of the quotation.50 In addition, there are other literary connections between Irenaeus and 2 Peter that space does not allow us to discuss.” (see: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/2peter_kruger.pdf)

Of course, you realise that you and I weren't actually around at the time and we don't even know the full limits of what was and wasn't written down, and when, RIGHT?


That’s true.

James Swan said...

Yet you had to affirm the fallibility of tradition, by assuming the veracity of a tradition. There's a logical fail in there somewhere.

I agree with Ken that your words betray a radical skepticism. History doesn't need to be infallible in order to have veracity. If it must needs be, then let's dump world history entirely, and say one cannot know anything about a previous event unless it comes from an infallible historical tradition.

I came across this same sort of thing in my philosophy undergrad studies. my radical atheist teacher would ask me point blank how I really knew about anything previous to my existence. Certainly he was correct that I had certain presuppositions in play that simply assumed the facts of history. Upon reflection though, what I find ironic is that it's impossible to live on the level of radical skepticism, and even my teacher lived and worked as if certain historical events actually happened.

In regard to Christian history, I can learn about certain facts via the written record produced by Christians as well as by archaeologists who may be atheists.

John said...

"History doesn't need to be infallible in order to have veracity."

I think the point is, you accept tradition as "history" when it suits your faith position. But you reject it as old wives tales when that suits your position.

There is no more "history" to the proposition that Peter was executed by Nero, than there is to a whole lot of other stuff that you reject as the fantasies of the 3rd and 4th century church. It's the inconsistency which is disturbing.

"However, there are allusions and hints of 2 Peter in 1 Clement (96 AD), which is the earliest extant non-canonical writing"

Perhaps. Or perhaps there are allusions to 1 Clement contained in 2 Peter. Or perhaps they both allude to something else unknown.

"The possibility clearly exists that 2 Peter is reflected in several passages in the Apostolic Fathers."

Yes, quite possibly. But apparently it doesn't convince the more liberal minded. Therefore it must fall short of your "irrefutable" standard.

The Gospel of Thomas refers to secret teachings. The early church fathers refer to secret teachings. But if EO hint at such thing, it is rejected.

Funnily though, traditions that were in fact written down in the 1st century, like in the Didache, are ALSO rejected by Protestants. Like for example, the EO practice to fast on Wednesday and Friday is shown by the Didache to be a tradition from the apostolic era. So its always a no-win either way.

I mean, what is the source for this proposition about Peter's death? Maybe Clement's epistle to the Corinthians? Which is often considered apocryphal? Why isn't the Didache considered as "history" of what the apostles taught then? In that case it would be "history" that the apostles taught to keep this bi-weekly fast, no?

John said...

I might also observe that if a vague allusion in the early fathers to what might be 2 Peter is good "history" that 2 Peter is authentic scripture, then logically it ought to be good enough if scripture contains allusions to what is EO teaching. Like for example John 20:23 in regards to confession to the clergy, for which I never heard a very convincing Protestant interpretation.

Ken said...

John,
As one who follows Eastern Orthodoxy, would you not agree that if such a thing as the Papacy existed (infallibility in the one bishop of Rome, over all other bishops), 2 Peter 1:12-16 and 3:1 prove that no such thing as the Papacy ever existed, either in the NT books, nor in the early centuries?

John said...

No, I wouldn't agree. The silence in all of scripture is a problem for the papacy, but I don't see anything in these verses that is a problem.

If a pope today uttered the words of 2 Peter, I don't think any Catholic would bat an eyelid about the supposed problem.

PuritanCalvinist said...

I think the point is, you accept tradition as "history" when it suits your faith position. But you reject it as old wives tales when that suits your position.

There is no more "history" to the proposition that Peter was executed by Nero, than there is to a whole lot of other stuff that you reject as the fantasies of the 3rd and 4th century church. It's the inconsistency which is disturbing.


Of course, given your standards, you reject history when it suits your position also. There are all kinds of cooky things that people have believed throughout church history, including the earliest part of church history, such as the notion that Jesus lived to be fifty years old. You would also have to reject all of the citations from Irenaeus already cited by Ken. The Eastern Orthodox church has to arbitrarily pick and choose just as much as Protestant churches do.

I think we have to distinguish between history and tradition. I would say that both sides, given their theology, have to agree that people throughout church history have made errors. The issue is what we accept as true, and what we do not accept as true. For the Christian, that is done from scripture. For the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, that is done via the church.

What really has to be attacked here is the EO claim to authority to be able to solve these problems. Some have pointed out the problem of skepticism, and, indeed, it is a problem for these kinds of systems. The reason is that the church is limited and finite. Why should I accept the Eastern Orthodox church, and not the Roman Catholic church? Why not the Syrian Orthodox Church? The Coptic Orthodox Church? Why not the Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses? All of these groups claim to be able to sort out which traditions to follow, and which traditions not to follow. Why arbitrarily choose one over the other?

Thus, as I have said many times, because of this trusting of the church to know what is the truth and what is not the truth, these denials of sola scriptura are, in essence, rank idolatry of the church. The problem they all run into is the limited, finite nature of the church. The church cannot tell you which parts of history are true, and which are not, because each church says different things, and there is no objective way to historically decide the issue without engaging in the same kind of private, fallible, and unknowable interpretation of history that John is accusing us of. These kinds of positions ultimately lead to postmodernism, because the church is simply not big enough to make these kinds of claims.

For the Christian who begins his worldview with the notion that the Bible alone is the word of God, we can know what is right and what is wrong in history because he has condescended to give us his word in a way we can understand. It is precisely because we allow God's word to correct the church and history that we are able to know things about history-including who was speaking the truth and who was not. Reject that foundation, and you are left with no ability to know anything.

student said...

Then if official Christian documents outside of Scripture are not useless, uninspired, and irrelevant, why do you reject the writings of a man who was alive while the Gospels were being written? He was in full communion with the Church that Jesus Christ established.

"The sole Eucharist you should consider valid is one that is celebrated by the bishop himself or by some person authorized by him. Where the bishop is to be seen, there let all his people be, just as wherever Jesus Christ is present, there is the Catholic Church." -St. Ignatius of Antioch, ca. 35-108 AD

Jugulum said...

student,

Your question makes me wonder--do you think that everything that St. Ignatius wrote is correct?

And do you think everything he wrote is by necessity correct based on him being "in full communion with the Church that Jesus Christ established"?

Also, I am still wondering about the question I asked to probe your first comment. Again: Do you see any difference between "not necessary for the whole Church to know" and "useless, uninspired, irrelevant"?

John said...

"There are all kinds of cooky things that people have believed throughout church history, including the earliest part of church history, such as the notion that Jesus lived to be fifty years old. "

If you're talking about what Irenaeus said, he said that Jesus made it past 40. Actually, taking the best scholarly ranges of possibility, that actually fits within the ranges.

In any case, we're not comparing what one guy or even what a subset thought, we're comparing it to what the whole church thought. For example, only a part of the church, seemingly a minority in the earliest centuries thought 2 Peter was authentic. Even till recent times the Syrian church never accepted it. But the WHOLE church taught what was in the Didache, namely that the bi-weekly fast was an apostolic teaching.

So if we're comparing apples with apples, why do you accept 2 Peter, but don't practice the bi-weekly fast?

"The Eastern Orthodox church has to arbitrarily pick and choose just as much as Protestant churches do."

Yeah, but one BIG difference. We have a theological reason to accept our picking and choosing, namely that we are the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Your church's picking and choosing is just that, baseless.

"For the Christian, that is done from scripture. For the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, that is done via the church."

Scripture itself is a tradition. Something passed down in the church. Both the text itself, and the decision to treat a particular book specially is a tradition. And I'd defy you to prove that 2 Peter ought to be scripture, and James and Jude (not written by apostles), but... oh say the Didache and 1 Clement ought not to be, but prove it without any reference to extra-biblical tradition.

"Why should I accept the Eastern Orthodox church, and not the Roman Catholic church? Why not the Syrian Orthodox Church? The Coptic Orthodox Church? Why not the Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses?"

Up to you, but when I look at the tradition.... aka HISTORY, as its referred to as the Protestants here, one of those choices stands head and shoulders above the others. It's history, yes. I accept the EO church for the same reasons you think Nero executed Peter.

" The church cannot tell you which parts of history are true, and which are not, because each church says different things"

All those churches say different things about what is scripture ALSO. So you don't escape the conundrum one little bit by screaming "SCRIPTURE". Which scriptures? Which church's opinion will you accept on this topic? The Gnostics? Marcionites? Protestants? RC? Mormon? Even as a Protestant, you have to TRY looking to the One Catholic Church, and make your own interpretation of what this church father or that one said, (to the detriment of what the Marcionites, Gnostics, and other groups said).

Joe said...

Hi John.

You said: ....then logically it ought to be good enough if scripture contains allusions to what is EO teaching. Like for example John 20:23 in regards to confession to the clergy, for which I never heard a very convincing Protestant interpretation.

Me: Some Protestants do have "confession/absolution to the clergy"...Lutherans. And in fact use John 20:23 for proof-text.

Certainly a side note to the conversation....

In Him,

Joe

John said...

"Some Protestants do have "confession/absolution to the clergy"...Lutherans. And in fact use John 20:23 for proof-text."

Interesting. Are you a Lutheran? If so, what do you say to Protestants who interpret it differently? If you're not a Lutheran, what do you say to Lutherans about their interpretation?

The problem is, some Protestants like to argue, well you can't prove that any particular thing is apostolic. But when certain interpretations of scripture are universal and early in the history of the church, and Protestants interpret it differently, right there is the very clear value of of tradition to settle the deadlock.

Joe said...

Hi John.

Are you a Lutheran? If so, what do you say to Protestants who interpret it differently?

Yes, I am Lutheran.

To be frank, I say that they are wrong. :)

But seriously, this of course, gets into epistemology, and my reasoning will depend on who I am speaking with. For someone who is open to history/tradition...then one could use that. If one is more allergic to it, then try to go solely off scripture.

Lutherans tend to have a higher view of tradition than most other forms of Protestants...though our view would not rise to the level of Roman or Orthodox, where it is divine revelation as in the case of scripture.

In Him,

Joe