Saturday, November 16, 2013

Luther, Contraception, and Onan's Sin

Over on the CARM boards a Roman Catholic posted the following:
Council or Protestant Reformer? Here's a little quiz for your Thursday afternoon. Please identify the author of the following doctrinal quotations. Is it from a Catholic Council or a Protestant Father?
What followed were a series of quotes with two choices: a Roman choice, or a Protestant choice (all the quotes though were from Protestants). The goal appears to be to demonstrate that certain historically important Protestants held to particular Roman beliefs. This sort argument really is, in essence, futile. Protestants don't follow earlier Protestants as infallible interpreters. Nor is it surprising to find that the earliest generation of Protestant reformers may have still held to particular Roman beliefs on various things. Roman Catholics are quick to point to an infallible "development of doctrine" to explain their inconsistencies with earlier periods of church history. It's a double standard then to demand that Protestant doctrine did not (or could not)"develop" further away from Romanism as history progressed. So, while some of the quotes accurately reflected the beliefs of the Protestants being cited,  some of them were historically misleading, and when placed back in context said something much different than what the Roman church believes.  Here's another quote and choices:
6. Contracepting as a violation of the natural law

“Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest or adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes into her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed.”

a. First Vatican Council
b. Martin Luther
This quote is a favorite of Roman polemicists. To my knowledge, it's one of the few quotes (if not the only explicit quote, or rather from the only explicit context in Luther's writings) from Luther on the subject of contraception. The quote does indeed accurately reflect the fact that Luther was not an advocate of contraception. On the other hand, the use of it by Roman polemicists displays a double standard.

Context
Luther's comments are in regard to the law in which compelled a brother-in-law to take the childless widow of his deceased brother as his wife in order to carry on the lineage and name of the deceased brother (Duet. 25:5-10). Luther went through the story of the brothers Onan and Er, and Er's wife Tamar. Er was executed by God for being "wicked in the Lord's sight" (Gen 38:7). The father of Er and Onan (Judah) requests Onan fulfill his duty by taking Tamar as his wife and producing offspring. Onan though engaging in sexual activity with Tamar, "spilled his seed on the ground" to avoid pregnancy.

Of this situation and the law in question Luther states:
This is one of those laws; it was preserved and handed down from one to another by the very great patriarchs, a law truly difficult and troublesome beyond measure. For even if you are unwilling, it compels you to marry a wife left by a brother without offspring, although you may have no love or desire for her. Indeed, it seems impossible to love with chaste and conjugal love a woman whom you yourself do not choose or desire, unless this is done in mad lust. And what if she is sterile, like the woman of whom mention is made in Matt. 22:25? Therefore it was a very harsh law. But even in these ceremonial matters there is consideration of Christ, who must be sought in them. (LW 7:19)
Judah directs his son Onan to marry his brother’s wife. Onan does this unwillingly and for this reason seems to have treated the poor woman rather unkindly; or, since he was forced to join her to himself, he still refused to sleep with her. For he was not able to bear the vexation of this law. Therefore Tamar, who is by nature very fertile, does not conceive from these two brothers, Er and Onan. Perhaps other sins played an additional role. The end of both men testifies that their evildoing was outstanding. For the Lord killed both of them in the same year, unless we are to say that Onan, the second one, was killed at the beginning of the second year, when he was 12 years old and was being pressed by his father to marry Tamar. (LW 7:19-20)
Therefore Judah says to Onan: “Go in to your brother’s wife”—for this is the force of the Hebrew word, namely, to join a close relative to yourself, not simply to contract matrimony—“that you may raise up offspring for your brother.” This was the purpose of the law. The brothers or surviving relatives had to be concerned that the name of the dead brother was not destroyed in the land. For everyone in Israel was obliged to leave sons. But the exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches, follows. (LW 7:20)
Luther then states:
Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime to produce semen and excite the woman, and to frustrate her at that very moment. He was inflamed with the basest spite and hatred. Therefore he did not allow himself to be compelled to bear that intolerable slavery. Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore God punished him.
And this is what I meant when I said that the probity of those who kept this law was outstanding. For it is a great burden to serve another by raising up and preserving descendants and heirs, to beget children for others, to rear and nourish them, and to leave them a patrimony—and all this in the name of a dead brother. The world knows nothing at all of such love. It is a great annoyance to be only a guardian and tutor of wards, which customarily takes place nowadays according to Roman law. How many complaints and what perfidy are found there throughout the whole world! For it is a difficult task and a mark of outstanding love to be faithful and diligent in protecting the goods of others. Accordingly, this law includes the most ardent love. That worthless fellow refused to exercise it. He preferred polluting himself with a most disgraceful sin to raising up offspring for his brother. But Judah also sins. Therefore a horrible punishment will soon follow. (LW 7:20-21)
The context certainly demonstrates that Luther was against the means of blocking pregnancy even while he considered the law demanding the pregnancy as "truly difficult and troublesome beyond measure" and harsh.  Those who were able to fulfill it Luther describes as fulfilling a great love. Luther elsewhere comments that under normal marital circumstances, "Be fruitful and multiply" is more than a command from God; it's actually a divine ordinance (LW 45:18).

Conclusion
I've always been puzzled why Roman Catholic polemicists use this proof text from Luther as in basic agreement with the tenets of Romanism. Romanism actually endorses a method of birth control (natural family planning). That is, Rome has said that contraception is wrong and contraception is right. This is typical of Romanism.

I find this double standard fascinating. While Rome's defenders will cite Luther as being against birth control, Rome herself teaches that a method of birth control is allowed (NFP). If Roman Catholics really wanted to be consistent in their argument against Protestants on this issue, Roman Catholics would embrace "Quiverfull" ideology.

I'll certainly grant the following:

1. Previous generations of those people falling under the general heading of "Christianity" (including Romanism and Martin Luther) were typically against birth control.

2. A large number of people today falling under the general heading of "Christianity" practice birth control. One Roman apologist notes 90% of Protestants use it, and 80% of Roman Catholics use it. The Washington Post controversially claimed 98% of Roman Catholic women use contraception. One Gallup Poll concluded "Eighty-two percent of U.S. Catholics say birth control is morally acceptable, nearing the 89% of all Americans and 90% of non-Catholics who agree."  Statistics probably will never provide absolute certainty on how many Roman Catholics use contraception, but they certainly do suggest that the majority of Roman Catholics practice methods of birth control outlawed by the church. An article from Catholic Answers sums this up well by stating, "And I’ve discovered, sadly, that many Catholics disagree with the teachings of the Church on the issue of contraceptives."

Factor in that the minority of Roman Catholics attempting to be faithful to their church follow the prescribed method of birth control (NFP), couldn't one conclude that the majority of Roman Catholics today are probably at odds with the beliefs of Roman Catholics during Luther's day and Martin Luther as well?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Roman Catholics continue to give bad witness to Muslims




Pope Benedict XVI praying to a statue of Mary.  Even though Roman Catholics say, "we are not worshipping Mary, we are not giving her Latria, we are only asking her to pray for us and giving her "hyper-dulia" (extra veneration and honor).  Well, it looks like worship to me.  It is wrong; and it has been a bad witness to Muslims for centuries.  


The Muslim quotes Surah 5:116-118.  

I left a comment:  

Indeed, this is exactly why Muhammad thought the Trinity was “Father, Son, and Mother”, as Surah 5:116 and 6:101 and 5:72-75 makes clear.
Because of the churches at that time had “left their first love” (Rev. 2:4-5) and they later exalted Mary too much and prayed to her and had icons and statues.
Those practices which included heretical churches and nominal Christians and also later developed into full blown Roman Catholicism and the iconography emphasis in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and other Oriental Orthodox Churches were a terrible witness to the Muslims.
Even to this day, most Muslims don’t even know what the Trinity is.
Since Muhammad and whoever compliled the Qur’an did not accurately know the doctrine of the Trinity, this proves that the Qur’an is not God’s word.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Melanchthon's Prayers for the Dead

Over on the CARM boards a Roman Catholic posted the following:
Council or Protestant Reformer? Here's a little quiz for your Thursday afternoon. Please identify the author of the following doctrinal quotations. Is it from a Catholic Council or a Protestant Father?
What followed were a series of quotes with two choices: a Roman choice, or a Protestant choice (all the quotes though were from Protestants). The goal appears to be to demonstrate that certain historically important Protestants held to particular Roman beliefs. This sort argument really is, in essence, futile. Protestants don't follow earlier Protestants as infallible interpreters. Nor is it surprising to find that the earliest generation of Protestant reformers may have still held to particular Roman beliefs on various things. Roman Catholics are quick to point to an infallible "development of doctrine" to explain their inconsistencies with earlier periods of church history. It's a double standard then to demand that Protestant doctrine did not (or could not)"develop" further away from Romanism as history progressed. So, while some of the quotes accurately reflected the beliefs of the Protestants being cited,  some of them were historically misleading, and when placed back in context said something much different than what the Roman church believes.  Here's another quote and choices:
4. Praying for the dead is not prohibited

“Now, as regards the adversaries' citing the Fathers concerning the offering for the dead, we know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead, which we do not prohibit”

a. Council of Ephesus
b. Phillip Melanchthon
This snippet is from Melanchthon's Apology of the Augsburg Confession. The problem with the statement as its presented is that Melanchthon (and the Lutherans) mean something different than Roman Catholics do when it comes to prayer for the dead. A lack of a context causes historical distortion. The entire context of Melanchthon's comment is in regard to those who perform ceremonies of masses to liberate souls from purgatory. Melanchthon's quote says (in a broader context):
Now, as regards the adversaries' citing the Fathers concerning the offering for the dead, we know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead, which we do not prohibit, but we disapprove of the application ex opere operato of the Lord's Supper on behalf of the dead. Neither do the ancients favor the adversaries concerning the opus operatum. And even though they have the testimonies especially of Gregory or the moderns, we oppose to them the most clear and certain Scriptures. And there is a great diversity among the Fathers. They were men, and could err and be deceived. Although if they would now become alive again, and would see their sayings assigned as pretexts for the notorious falsehoods which the adversaries teach concerning the opus operatum, they would interpret themselves far differently.
One can actually find examples from Luther as well allowing prayers for the dead. What Melanchthon and Luther both emphasized though was that such prayers are not to be linked to purgatory. For these Reformers, both stood against the Roman notion that such prayers can alter the state of the departed. Why do the Romanists pray for the dead? ...To help in their eventual completed salvation, to beseech God to have mercy on the souls of those in purgatory.  That was the historical context in which Melanchthon and Luther defined what was proper and improper prayer for the dead.

As Luther said, Praying for the souls in purgatory with "vigils and requiem masses and yearly celebrations" are, according to Luther, "the devil’s annual fair." In his Preface to the Burial Hymns (1542), he states, "Accordingly, we have removed from our churches and completely abolished the popish abominations, such as vigils, masses for the dead, processions, purgatory, and all other hocus-pocus on behalf of the dead" (LW 53:325).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Catholic Borg Explains Theological Flaws to a Protestant Star Fleet Officer

I found this one on the Roman Catholic CARM board:



The posted link to this video was to a site called Angelqueen.org, but it appears that  the video was taken down. I thought the clip was humorous, but also very telling as to how some Roman Catholics think of themselves. As I've come to understand Rome's zealous followers, they think they are united like like the Borg, but actually are far from it.

I've maintained a series of posts on this blog called Blueprint For Anarchy. These hundred + posts demonstrate the lack of unity within Romanism. To date, I have 105 entries, and I'm not actively looking for content. I simply post stuff I come across. Had I been actively looking for material, I could have a new post every day for this series.

My favorite to date is when a staff apologist from Catholic Answers stated 70% of Roman Catholics do not understand the Eucharist. The irony is that Pope Benedict said, "The Eucharist is like the beating heart that gives life to the whole mystical body of the Church: a social organism entirely founded on the spiritual but concrete link with Christ."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Frank the Hippie Pope

This is making its way across the Internet... It's probably a tad disrespectful, but it does reflect in essence what many of us on the other side of the Tiber think of some of the statements from the new pope.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Calvin: A right understanding of the Lord's Supper is a requisite for salvation?

Over on the CARM boards a Roman Catholic posted the following:
Council or Protestant Reformer? Here's a little quiz for your Thursday afternoon. Please identify the author of the following doctrinal quotations. Is it from a Catholic Council or a Protestant Father?
What followed were a series of quotes with two choices: a Roman choice, or a Protestant choice (all the quotes though were from Protestants). The goal appears to be to demonstrate that certain historically important Protestants held to particular Roman beliefs. This sort argument really is, in essence, futile. Protestants don't follow earlier Protestants as infallible interpreters. Nor is it surprising to find that the earliest generation of Protestant reformers may have still held to particular Roman beliefs on various things. Roman Catholics are quick to point to an infallible "development of doctrine" to explain their inconsistencies with earlier periods of church history. It's a double standard then to demand that Protestant doctrine did not (or could not)"develop" further away from Romanism as history progressed. So, while some of the quotes accurately reflected the beliefs of the Protestants being cited,  some of them were historically misleading, and when placed back in context said something much different than what the Roman church believes.  I'd like to highlight a few of these quotes in a few blog entries. Here's the first quote and choices:

1. A right understanding of the Lord's Supper is a requisite for salvation
“As the holy sacrament of the Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ has long been the subject of several important errors, and in these past years been anew enveloped in diverse opinions and contentious disputes, it is no wonder if many weak consciences cannot fairly resolve what view they ought to take of it, but remain in doubt and perplexity, waiting till all contention being laid aside, the servants of God come to some agreement upon it. However, as it is a very perilous thing to have no certainty on an ordinance, the understanding of which is so requisite for our salvation, I have thought it might be a very useful labour to treat briefly and, nevertheless, clearly deduce a summary of what is necessary to be known of it.'
a. Council of Trent
b. John Calvin
The quote appears to have the polemical value of demonstrating that while contemporary Protestants supposedly do not think a correct understanding of the Lord's Supper is all that important, Calvin says it is important and "requisite for salvation." The underlying assumption is that Rome teaches a correct understanding of the Lord's Supper is requisite for salvation.  Well, if this is what this question is supposed to imply, a staff apologist from Catholic Answers stated 70% of Roman Catholics do not understand the Eucharist.

Here is the document this Calvin quote is taken from. When Calvin implies a right understanding of the Lord's Supper is a requisite for salvation, he's talking about the wrong way of understanding the Lord's Supper being the way Rome understands it. If you scroll through the document, notice Calvin painstakingly details Rome's abhorrent errors. When Calvin finally gets to other Protestant views, he doesn't classify them as he has Rome's understanding. Calvin clearly thinks Rome's view is wrong.

Of Protestants, Calvin goes on to say:
First, I beseech all believers, in the name of God, not to be too much scandalized at the great difference which has arisen among those who ought to be a kind of leaders in bringing back the light of truth. For it is no new thing for the Lord to leave his servants in some degree of ignorance, and suffer them to have debate among themselves—not to leave them for ever, but only for a time to humble them. And indeed had every thing till now turned out to a wish without any disturbance, men might possibly have forgotten themselves, or the grace of God might have been less known than it ought. Thus the Lord has been pleased to take away all ground of glorying from men, in order that he might alone be glorified. Moreover, if we consider in what an abyss of darkness the world was when those who have shared this controversy began to bring back the truth, we shall not wonder that they did not know every thing at the beginning. The wonder rather is, that our Lord in so short a time enlightened them that they were themselves able to escape and draw others out of that sink of error in which they had been so long immersed. But no better course can be taken than to show how matters have proceeded, because this will make it appear that people have not so much cause to be scandalized at it as is commonly supposed.
Calvin then goes on to describe the views of Luther and the Swiss theologians, in a quite evenhanded tone:

Both parties failed in not having the patience to listen to each other in order to follow the truth without passion, when it would have been found. Nevertheless, let us not lose sight of our duty, which is not to forget the gifts which the Lord bestowed upon them, and the blessings which he has distributed to us by their hands and means. For if we are not ungrateful and forgetful of what we owe them, we shall be well able to pardon that and much more, without blaming or defaming them.
What's interesting to me about this document from Calvin is that he doesn't completely throw Luther and Zwingli under the bus. Rather, he points to their contributions against Romanist error, and explains what he feels were their shortcomings. Calvin looked forward to a day in which "concord" would be "fixed" among the Protestant leaders. He doesn't appear at all to be saying in this document that either Lutherans or Zwinglians lacked salvation because of their view of the Lord's Supper. The point again is that the incorrect view of Lord's Supper, the view that if held is against salvation, was, for Calvin, the Roman Cathoic view.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Comparing Dr. Sippo to Dr. White?

From the CARM forums:

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
Art is a friend of mine and no fool. Moreover, Alpha and Omega Ministries is not an unbiased source when it comes to Art Sippo. They, and Sippo, go after each other with tongs and gusto.....on both sides.
Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
I spent many years debating Art on-line back when I was of the Protestant persuasion. He can certainly be abraisive, although not much more so than James White and the other folks at A & O Ministries.
A few years ago (2006!) on Patrick Madrid's Envoy Forums I engaged Dr. Sippo on Luther, Luther biographies, and psychology. A good summary of the discussion can be found here: Using Psychohistory To Interpret Luther (A Response To Catholic Apologist Art Sippo. In order to respond to Dr. Sippo, I had to read his posts before the Roman Catholic moderators did. They would frequently edit Dr. Sippo's posts (to relieve them of vitriol), but never ban him from posting. I violated no forum rules, but I was eventually banned from Madrid's forum, and all of my posts deleted. Mr. Madrid actually set up a filter on the Envoy Forums that would stop any posts from aomin.org from posting. Over the years I've found the behavior of many of Rome's defenders to be abominable, both those who claim to be "professional" apologists, and those who do not.

Some of you know that I do post on Dr. White's blog. There is a huge gulf that separates the Internet behavior of Dr. White and people like Dr. Sippo and Mr. Madrid. I'm not exactly sure which "folks" from aomin "2timone7" considers to be "not much more" abrasive than Dr. Sippo. I certainly require documentation. When it comes to ethical Internet behavior, I have no respect for either Dr. Sippo or Mr. Madrid. Dr. Sippo began calling me a "Nazi" and various other names. I've kept up with Dr. Sippo's rants from time to time with The Quotable Sippo Series. I defy anyone to make a list of similar statements from anyone at aomin.org.

On the other hand, to be fair, I abhor some of the ways people dialog here at CARM. Particularly displeasing to me is anyone who claims to be "Reformed" and posts insulting comments directed at Roman Catholics. I hold Reformed people to a much higher standard. Certainly I haven't been perfect on the Internet. I've lost my temper. I've written things that were uncharitable. But the older I get, the more I realize that being "Reformed" means grace, mercy, humility, all provoked by God's holiness. Yes, Romanism is wrong, and those who defend Romanism are defending another gospel. But some of you appear to post like you're fans of pro-wrestling. I challenge my Reformed brothers and sisters to be offensive because of the Gospel rather than being offensive because.. you're just being offensive!


In regard to my interactions with Dr. Sippo on the Envoy Forums, the bulk of the conversation has been preserved on my blog:

I. On Dialoging With Catholic apologist Art Sippo on Luther Scholarship

II. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Father O’Hare’s “Facts About Luther”

III. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Luther Scholarship and Research (Part 1)

IV. Art Sippo on Catholic Historians Grisar and Denifle and Luther’s Demon Possession (part 2)

V. Using Psychohistory To Interpret Luther (A Response To Catholic Apologist Art Sippo (part3)

VI. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo Takes The Time To Thank Me For My Luther Research

VII. Luther Between God and the Devil: Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Heiko Oberman

VIII. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Roland Bainton's "Here I Stand"

IX. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Richard Marius 

X. Catholic Apologist Art Sippo on Catholic Historian Joseph Lortz

XI. A Last Look At Catholic Apologist Art's Sippo's View Of Luther Biographies

XII. Art Sippo on Luther Biographies Revisited: Marius on Denifle 

XIII. Sippo vs Lortz Revisted: Cardinal Ratzinger help Dr. Sippo understand Joseph Lortz

XIV. Sippo, Lortz, Ratzinger, and Luther


Update 11/10/2013

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
I spent considerable time posting on Pat Madrid's Envoy forums and remember many such debates. You are absolutely correct that Art's postings were often edited by the moderator (Patti) because they went overboard. However, there were certainly Protestant posters who went overboard as well and I think that Patti was actually very even-handed in removing vitriol from both Catholic and Protestant posts.
Certainly people on both sides go overboard. Patti though was not "very even-handed. " Patti and Madrid would flat out ban non-Roman Catholics while allowing Dr. Sippo to remain for far worse comments.

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
It was also very clear that Art Sippo and James White were/are, to be understated, not great fans of the other person or his apologetics. I don't think that James White posted often at Envoy (unless he did so under a screen name that was not obvious), but certainly many of his supporters did.
To my knowledge, Dr. White never posted on Envoy, nor does he typically post on discussion forums. I still challenge you to produce comments from Dr. White anywhere near the vitriol put forth by Dr. Sippo.

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
That's also about the time period that I learned about your work, James, and Beggars All. I can't honestly say that I agree with you real often, but I do believe that you go to great lengths to honestly research Luther's writings, provide source materials, and to confirm/refute what people say about Luther. That is a worthwhile effort and I commend you for doing it.
Thanks for the kind words. Once again though, I would caution you to be careful with defending Dr. Sippo by comparing him to Dr. White. There simply isn't any comparison. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but Dr. Sippo actually debated Dr. White in person. As Dr. White recalls, Sippo gave his opening presentation. Then, Dr. White got up to give his opening statement. Dr. Sippo then left the room and went for a coke. From Dr. White's blog:

Finally, someone asked Art Sippo if he had, in fact, left our debate during my presentation. He says he did not. I say he did. I say he used the restroom and got himself a Coke as well. And it seems that is how Madrid recalled it as well, for he wrote back on May 26th on his blog,

Item: Another way Sippo didn’t follow debate etiquette was by leaving the dais and going to the bathroom . . . during one of White’s periods to speak.
Item: As moderator, I could have done a more rigorous job of corralling Sippo, such as not letting him go to the bathroom during White’s remarks, but then, human physiology is what it is, and when the body imposes certain demands, one sometimes must accede to them, no matter what may be happening. Let he who is without physiological demands cast the first stone.

Earlier Madrid had confirmed Sippo’s sitting upon his desk swinging his legs, and he dismissed this as merely representative of “how Art was feeling that day.” So, if I produced a Glock and dispatched my opponent, I could dismiss this as simply being representative of how I was “feeling” that day? Odd, I doubt I’d get away with that. Anyway, let me add another incident from the debate. During the very rigid cross-examination we stood behind podiums that were placed in front of our desks (which is why Sippo could step back and sit on his desk and swing his legs and make faces and gestures to the audience). At one point he asked a question that had as its basis a number of false presuppositions, which I pointed out. When it came time for him to respond, he came back to the podium and began, “Well, of course, no Protestant can answer that question anyway…” and went on to comment without even bothering to respond to what I had actually said. This was his attitude throughout. Now, what would fit with this kind of behavior—my recollection of Sippo’s trip to the Coke machine (the door was to my right…I can remember hearing the Coke machine sound as the can came tumbling down) or his claim to have been intently listening to a presentation for which he hasn’t the first shred of respect and refers to dismissively all the time as the mere rantings of a “prot”? And as to just “having” to go, somehow I have managed to take care of the needs of nature so that I did not have to miss a word any of my opponents have ever said in fifty six debates so far. I’d think Sippo, an M.D., would be able to do the same thing.

Default

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
Everybody has their perspective, but I have to disagree with you here. As a Protestant posting at Envoy, I saw very many of my posts edited by Patti when I went overboard and got too personal or too inflammatory. I also saw plenty of Art's posts edited for the same reasons (his posts probably more often that mine--lol). I saw this with respect to other posters of various religious affiliations. You may argue that it was a good idea or a bad idea for Patti to moderate the forum in that fashion (there are valid arguments both ways), but she was certainly even-handed in how she went about doing that.
The difference between your recollection and mine is that Dr. Sippo was simply edited. I was banned, and broke no rules, at all. Other than having some aomin.org links removed, my posts were never edited by Patti (to my recollection) because I strove to abide by the rules. I know of other people as well that were simply banned, while Dr. Sippo was allowed to continue his insulting tirades.

Quote Originally Posted by 2timone7 View Post
I remember one time when I said that I was working on posting a short piece on the faith/works debate and especially how I saw James fitting into that debate and, ahead of time, Patti encouraged me to post what I believed and assured me that she would be watching to see that comments from some of the more assertive Catholic posters remained civil and charitable. I have much respect for how Patti moderated that forum and I truly miss being able to discuss things there.
I have a track record of attempting to abide by rules on whichever forum I'm participating on. Why do you think Patti and Madrid banned me from Envoy, but never edited one of my posts? Why do you think these words from Dr. Sippo were not edited by Patti on the Envoy forums?

“First of all, I support the ban on Mr. Swan. He is arrogant and no friend of the truth. he acted quite poorly on this board and has some nerve complaining about my "vitriol." His idea of a "Catholic theologian with a positive assessment of Luther" was Fr. Josef Lortz, who had been a card carrying Nazi before and during WWII. Fr. Lortz was a big fan of Hitler's book Mein Kampf and saw the Third Reich as a chance to get the Church "back on track" with its historical agenda which had been derailed by all those Roman policies since the 13th Century.”
I'll tell you exactly why I was booted: it's because the folks over at Envoy back then could not tolerate cogent counter-arguments. After my friend Algo posted some materials based on Dr. White's argumentation demonstrating the futility of the Roman Catholic worldview, he was booted and the forum ceased being a public forum for a while.

I run into the same problem with Catholic Answers. They've been looking for a reason to ban me for years, but I keep a low profile, and abide by their rules. I've gotten a number of infractions. One time for alerting the moderators that a Roman Catholic was using abusive hurtful language. I made alerts on around 3 posts, and then I was chastised fur allegedly abusing the alert system. My last infraction was for using the terms "Roman church" and "joining Rome." How silly is that?

As I stated to you previously, I think some Protestant folks here on CARM are disrespectful, and if I were still a CARM moderator, I wouldn't tolerate it. On the other hand, the folks in control here at CARM are not petrified of counter arguments like Envoy & Catholic Answers. Kudos to CARM for allowing people to truly interact on the subject of Rome. You see, when people have the truth, they need not fear counter arguments. You're part of a religion now that often fears to have arguments scrutinized.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Everyday is Reformation Day here on this blog!


As James Swan mentioned in a recent post, "But everyday is Reformation Day here on this blog" !; and as how I had never seen this debate before, it was very encouraging to watch and listen to this with it's spiritual truth.  For it reminds of Luther's famous statement at the end of his work, The bondage of the Will, in answering Erasmus' The Freedom of the Will. (cited below)

Debate on the Bondage of the Will - James White vs. Steven Blakemore (Professor at Wesley Biblical Seminary)



Several Old Testament passages were cited by Dr. White that point to the enslaved will of man:

Genesis 6:5 "And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man upon the earth was great; and that every intention of the imagination of his heart was only evil continuously." 

The Hebrew of Genesis 6:5 is very graphic and emphatic.

וַיַּרְא יְהוָה כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ וְכָל־יֵצֶר מַחְשְׁבֹת לִבֹּו רַק רַע כָּל־הַיֹּֽום׃

The Farsi translation of Genesis 6:5 is also very graphic and emphatic and captures the depth of depravity of the human heart  - 
و خداوند دید که شرارت انسان بر روی زمین بسیار است، و هر تصور از خیال های دل وی دائماً محض شرارت است

As I teach Iranians the Old Testament, I require them to memorize this key verse on the depravity of man.  It is powerful in its teaching in pointing to the enslaved will of man in sin, as seen by even after the flood, Noah gets drunk and sins (Genesis chapter 9) and even after the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his daughters commit serious ugly sins. (Genesis 19) The OT teaches man's depravity in the historical narrative.

It seems Jesus is drawing upon this verse (Genesis 6:5) when He emphasizes the roots of sinful actions come from the heart and the thoughts and imaginations and intentions/motives within the heart - Matthew 5:21-26 (anger and hatred); Matthew 5:27-30 (sexual lustful thoughts and fantasies); Mark 7:20-23 (pride, arrogance, and foolishness are among the sinful attitudes deep in the heart that Mark describes in a much larger list than what Matthew gives us in Matthew 15:19).  The list in Matthew 15:19 is only seven sins, whereas in Mark 7:20-23 there are 13 sins listed.  Don't neglect the gospel according to Mark!  Mark has some very important nuggets of truth that are not in the other 3 more popular gospels.  (For example Mark 1:15 (combining repentance and faith); Mark 9:48 (graphic description of hell) and Mark 11:17 (the emphasis on "the nations"), to cite a few more.)

Jeremiah 13:23  Can the Ethiopian change his skin
Or the leopard his spots?
Then you also can do good
Who are accustomed to doing evil.


The Hebrew word לִמֻּדֵי  (li-mmedai) that is translated "accustomed to" points to something being trained and taught into and learned over a long period of time - so that it is a ingrained habit.  

The Farsi translation of "accustomed" is very strong.  It is the word, "Mo'taad" (معتاد) which is the word that describes drug addition and unbreakable habits.  Our hearts are addicted to sinning.  This translation is very useful in bringing home the truth of the bondage of the will in teaching Iranians who have come to Christ from an Islamic background.  

Jeremiah 17:9  "The heart is deceitful above all else and desperately sick, who can understand it?"  

From the New Testament, I would add Mark 7:20-23 as another very important passage on this issue of sin deep within the heart of mankind.  


Luther to Erasmus:  “I praise and commend you highly for this also, that unlike all the rest you alone have attacked the real issue, the essence of the matter in dispute, and have not wearied me with irrelevancies about the papacy, purgatory, indulgences, and such like trifles (for trifles they are rather than basic issues), with which almost everyone hitherto has gone hunting for me without success. You and you alone have seen the question on which everything hinges, and have aimed at the vital spot; for which I sincerely thank you, since I am only too glad to give as much attention to this subject as time and leisure permit.”  (The Bondage of the Will, 1525; answer to Erasmus' The Freedom of the Will, 1524)
Source: Luther’s Works, 33:294.  See also here in a different translation.
For Luther to call the issues of the papacy, purgatory, and indulgences trifles compared to the bondage of the will and to point out not only the necessity of grace but the sufficiency of Grace in order to be saved, was really saying something major, since Luther wrote a lot of other things against the papacy and indulgences and purgatory!  This shows how important this issue is - "the vital spot".  As others have said, "the main issue of the Reformation" - the sufficiency of grace - that grace alone monergistically causes one to become born again/alive to God and that same grace carries us all the way in justification and perseverance and sanctification until death.  

We see the doctrine of election and justification combined in Romans 8:33-34, and that Christ's intecession for us at the right hand of God keeps us in Him against the accusations of Satan when we sin.  His grace keeps us and the reality of continual repentance and brokeness when we sin proves our faith was real and our justification was God's grace and we are constantly rejoicing in the finished work of Christ for us!  

"Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us."  Romans 8:33-34

Luther was very insightful. He wrote that the issue of the bondage of the will in sin, man’s inability to choose good over evil, without the grace of God, was the main root issue of the Reformation and he thanked Erasmus for focusing in on that.
Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, he who commits sin is the slave of sin.” John 8:34
The root of one act of sin shows that we are slaves to sinning, which speaks to the will within man - the will is enslaved to only do what we want to do, which is to sin.  Even good works are tainted with evil motives of selfishness and pride.  "according to it's lusts and desires"  
John 8:43  "Why do you not understand what I am saying?  It is because you cannot hear My word."    This "cannot" speaks of the inability of the human mind to understand apart from regeneration, which causes the will to be able to then respond in repentance and faith. 
John 8:47  "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God."    One must be "of God" first, before they are able to hear spiritually in the heart.
Romans 6:22 – “but now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God . . . ”  The will is only freed up to be able to choose rightly after regeneration.  See Romans 6:6-7 - "that we should no longer be slaves to sin"
We do not have free will ability to choose or do good without the grace of God. We do have natural human freedom of choice in that we are free to choose as we want to choose; but the question that gets to the root of that issue even deeper is “what does man naturally want, without the grace of God in regeneration?"

James White's book, The Potter's Freedom, in answering Norman Geisler, and which Geisler has never answered; also shows the relationship of the bondage of man's will with the doctrine of God's total free will. 



Ephesians 2:1-3

John 3:1-8 

Titus 3:3-5

Ezekiel 36:26-27

Acts 16:14  "The Lord opened Lydia's heart to respond to the things spoken to her by Paul."  

John 6:44  "No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him."

John 6:65  

Romans 8:7-8 - "the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God; for it is not even able to do so."  - "not able to do so" -  there is the concept of inability again.  


Dr. White did an excellent job of responding to Dr. Blakemore's seeming attempt to take the debate more away from the bondage of the will to Predestination, Election, the decrees of God, supralapsianism and infralapsarianism, and Particular Atonement. I am always impressed with his keen sharpness and readiness and ability to respond to his opponents in debate.  I appreciated how Dr. White showed the freedom of God's will, the He is sovereign and does what He pleases for His glory, based on His holiness, and that He demonstrates His holiness (Isaiah 6) and wrath against sin (Romans 9:22-24).  God demonstrates the fullness of all His attributes, not only His love.  (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:8) 

Dr. White's answers to Dr. Blakemore show how the different aspects of Calvinism all relate to each other, and that they are intimately connected.  

The debate is also here, the 6th debate down. 

Indeed, the issue of the bondage of the sinful human will vs. the freedom of the human will is the "vital spot" of the Reformation.  This was the background behind the phrase, Sola Gratia - "by Grace alone"!