Saturday, May 21, 2016

Rod Bennett on Marcus Grodi's Coming Home Network, again

There is nothing much new here, if you have listened to Rod Bennett in his previous testimony on the Coming Home Network, and other lectures that are on you tube and catholic web-sites (some are radio interviews and question and answer pod-casts); and if you have seen and read my previous blog posts on my friend (both here at Beggar's All, and at Apologetics and Agape).

See here for my series on Rod Bennett's first book, Four Witnesses.   (Part 1)

Part 2

Part 3

See here for Rod's lecture on the Great Apostasy in "the Four Witnesses Brought Me Home".

See here on Timothy Kaufman's refutation of Baptismal Regeneration and the way Rod uses Justin Martyr to bolster the claim that baptismal regeneration was an early unanimous belief.

Rod became a Roman Catholic in 1996, and has now gone on to write several more books.

His newest book is The Apostasy That Wasn't.

Even though both sides repeat a lot of the same arguments; I still think it is important for me to repeat the Protestant responses and apologetic answers to the Roman Catholics who keep making these claims.  Even though this is all a repeat of many issues that Protestants and RCs keep debating, I wanted to have these points here together in one blog article with Rod's lecture, because it seems good to me.

Again, nothing is meant as a personal attack; I am merely defending the historic Protestant Evangelical position against the Roman Catholic Apologetic arguments. 

Rod Bennett's recent appearance on Marcus Grodi's "Coming Home Network", again.
with comment box

Below is most of my response (edited and developed from the combox comments at the chnetwork site, not at the You Tube link) to Rod's interview and responses to some Roman Catholics who commented.  I am not repeating the RC arguments here. In order to get the Roman Catholic comments, go the link and see the comboxes.

Issues revolving around church history, Sola Scriptura, the canon, and tradition:

Rod is right in that our Southern Baptist Mega Church did not teach us about church history, and it did not prepare us to understand church history.  But knowledgable Protestants do not have that "great apostasy" view like the Mormons, JWs, or "the Fields of the Woods" (A. J. Tomlinson, founder of Church of God that later splintered into the Church of God of Prophesy and the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee,etc.) Rod tells that story of "The Fields of the Woods" and Tomlinson in his latest book, The Apostasy That Wasn't, and in his lecture, "The Four Witnesses Brought Me Home".  He may have mentioned that in his first book, but I don't remember for sure.  Another group that likes to promote the "Great Apostasy" theory are the the Seventh Day Adventists (who teach that Sunday Worship is the mark of the beast and was done by Constantine).  Another common view of "The Great Apostasy" is like the liberal and conspiracy theory views of Dan Brown of the DaVinci Code fame or "the Christ of history vs. the Christ of faith" paradigm.   Knowledgeable Protestants just don't have that view, that Rod tries to lump in with those false groups.  But Rod is right that some, in fact too many, Evangelicals are ignorant of church history and many of the Evangelical free church types, many Baptists, and Charismatics and Pentecostals do see church history wrongly as in the "Great Apostasy" theory.  I remember in seminary, when some one called this the "BOBO" theory, "Being true in the NT, then, "Blink Off sometime after NT was finished, Blink On with Luther".
Knowledgable Protestants who believe the Bible and appreciate church history appreciate Ignatius, Polycarp, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Athanasius, Augustine, Jerome, the Cappadocian fathers, Anselm, etc. But they were not infallible; they made some mistakes.
Knowledgable Protestants don't say "the church went totally bust" or "went off the rails", etc.
At first, I thought Rod was saying that Constantine did make Christianity the state religion, rather than that is what many Evangelicals (and others also) believe.  It is a common mistake repeated a lot, even in history books.   A couple of the RC commenters helped me see Rod was not saying that.  

Polycarp and Relics:
Rod mentioned what happened after Polycarp was burned at the stake. If one reads the account carefully, (The account of Polycarp's martyrdom is available at or ) it does not say that after they buried them, they took out his bones next year for exhibition or stored them in a reliquary in a church for exhibition, or prayed to Polycarp, or kissed his bones, etc. It says that they honored his remains by gathering them up after he was burned, and then they buried them.  I think Timothy Kauffman makes a good case for understanding that "depositing" just meant burial.     See Timothy Kauffman's excellent article on this issue of the early church and relics here.  

They remembered him the next year on the anniversary of his martyrdom, but the text does not indicate that they brought out his bones for exhibition or veneration or kissing them or staring at them or praying before them. And the passage does not say they prayed to Polycarp for him to pray for them.

The Proto-Evangelium of James and Mary:

Rod mentions the Proto-evangelium of James.  The Proto-evangelium of James was mentioned and used as a basis for the Marian dogma of the Perpetual virginity of Mary, etc. It is Gnostic tinged, since it implies that Jesus just "popped out" from inside of Mary, without the normal pains of childbirth and passing through the birth canal. This is a problem of Roman Catholicism - basing a dogma on a non-canonical writing. It is a Gnostic idea to think that Jesus was not born in the normal human way that we all are - after all, He was 100 % human, and that is a dogma that Protestants agree with the RCC on - Jesus is 100% God and 100 % man - the God-man; the second person of the Trinity who became flesh/human. (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8)

Athanasius, canon, Sola Scriptura

Much of Rod's new book, The Apostasy that Wasn't, was about Athanasius and his fight to defend Nicene orthodoxy and the Arian heresy.  However, Protestants love Athanasius and his fight against Arianism. He also wrote: "they (the Arians, the heretics) have the buildings, but you have the faith" (Letter 29) The heretical Arians held the external buildings and priesthood and bishoprics for some 60 years. Protestants agree with Athanasius and others who resisted Arianism. To try and imply that Protestants think the early church went completely off is wrong.
Athanasius also wrote:
"in these alone (the 27 books of the NT) are the doctrine of godliness" (that is Sola Scriptura in seed form). (Letter 39) "Alone" = (Greek, "mono" = alone, which in Latin, "Sola")
And, Athanasius also wrote, "the holy and God-breathed Scriptures are self-sufficient for the preaching of the truth." (Contra Gentiles, "Against the Heathen", 1:3)
Athanasisus also wrote:
"Vainly do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded Councils for the faith's sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things . . . " (De Synoodis 6)
The Mass and Eucharist:
Rod claimed that the Didache has a Roman Catholic mass in it.  The Didache does not have anything in it that implies transubstantiation or a RC mass. It does not even imply the "real presence" in the Eucharist.  The word Eucharist is used, but that is not a problem in itself. Protestants would use it, if it was not for the all the RC and transubstantiation associations with it because of the centuries of man-made traditions added to it.  It just points to "thanksgiving" and being thankful for the Lord Jesus' atonement on the cross.  Using the word "Eucharist" in the early writings, does not mean backloading the word with all the development of the meaning of the Lord's Supper that slowly takes place over centuries all the way up until 1215 AD. 
General church history and the "great apostasy" question:
The corruptions that people like John Wycliffe in the 1300s, Jan Hus in the 1400s, and Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin in the 1500s objected to was a very slow process of an emphasis on externals, penances, works, rituals, visiting shrines and relics, and the addition of man-made traditions like purgatory and praying to dead saints, indulgences, transubstantiation, Marian dogmas, Papal doctrines, priestly ex opera operato powers, etc. that had eclipsed or hidden the true teaching of Scripture on justification and sanctification; and understanding the distinction between the two.
Rod's main point is that many Evangelicals and cultic groups both seem to think that there was a great apostasy with Constantine around 313 AD - 325 and afterward.   It is true that many Baptists and free church Evangelicals and Charismatics probably are ignorant of the details of church history and wrongly think there was a complete apostasy with Constantine.  But this idea get mixed up with cultic groups and liberal theology and Rod does an effective job of lumping them all together.  

All these groups (cultic groups, liberal theology, semi-cultic groups (Seventh Day Adventism), and uninformed Evangelicals), even though totally unlike one another, seem to blame everything on Constantine.  Anti-Trinitarian groups, cultic groups, historical revisionism as in the Dan Brown Da Vinci code type of thinking, and a lot of liberal theology (the whole "separating the Christ of history from the Christ of faith" liberal paradigm).  We don't say the early church went off the rails completely - At least not until the Council of Trent ( 1545-1563) - that is where the Roman Catholic Church knowingly condemned the doctrine of justification by faith alone; and only then did it become a completely false church.

Athanasius is claimed to have had a high view of Mary as arc of the covenant: 

A Roman Catholic named Anthony cited from a work attributed to Athanasius called, “the Homily of the Papyrus of Turin”. 

There is some doubt about the work that has been attributed to Athanasius called, "The Homily of the Papyrus of Turin" - it was found more recently and was unknown in the west for centuries. It is not part of the standard works of the early church fathers and was not in Migne's Patrology.
"I wonder whether this is spurious or genuine. The name of the document is not itself frightfully reassuring. It suggests attribution to Athanasius based on a single copy (probably in Coptic-Sahaddic not Greek) from the 6th century or so. As far as I can tell, it was unknown to the Western church as part of the Athanasian corpus and has become known via the journal Le Muséon in 1958." (Turretinfan, at his blog,) ( with my editing for clarity.)
Even if that can be proven it was from Athanasius himself, it is just his private opinion. It carries no weight at all as authoritative. We can accept the good and Biblical things from the fathers, and reject the man-made traditions and opinions as just that. They are not infallible. Only Scripture is infallible.

Back to issues of Tradition, Canon, Sola Scriptura, church, and the Trinity:

Rod and another Roman Catholic commentator mention sacred tradition, and as we all know, their main text for that is 2 Thessalonians 2:15.  
Sacred tradition of the apostles was all eventually written down. 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6; (very early epistles - 51-52 AD - it is reasonable to assume that the things he was teaching orally and not written down yet at the time, were later written down in other letters like Romans, Colossians, the pastoral epistles, etc.) 1 Corinthians 11:2; 15:1-9, Jude 3. 

The harmonization of sound exegesis of passages such as Jude 3 (the faith was once for all delivered to the saints), 2 Peter 1:3-4 (His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness); and John 17:8 (Jesus praying to the Father, "the words You gave Me, I have given to them" - to the disciples), John 17:17 (Your Word is truth), John 14:26 (the Holy Spirit will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you), and John 16:13 (The Holy Spirit will guide you into all the truth), with 2 Tim. 3:16-17 (All Scripture is God-breathed; and is sufficient to equip the man of God for every good work), and 2 Peter 3:16 (Peter considers all of Paul's letters as Scripture), and Hebrews 1:1-3 (in the last final days, God has spoken decisively and finally through His Son) - all of these together strongly implies that everything we need was written down for us, and that with the death of the apostles, there will be no more revelation.  
A Roman Catholic claims that the Trinity is only known through later tradition (meaning the interpretation of the church, in RC understanding), church councils and creeds.
Athanasius speaking of the Holy Trinity - well, since the Holy Trinity is scriptural and we Protestants agree with that, and Athanasius was writing against the heresies of the Arians, Sabellians, and Tropici, that is not a good example of something that becomes particularly Roman Catholic that Protestants disagree with, that is called as part of the "Rule of Faith" or "the Tradition". The Rule of Faith or "the tradition" spoken of by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, and Athanasius are all doctrinal statements based on the organization around the Trinity, that are similar to the Apostles Creed, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, etc. that Protestants agree with that are in infallible Scripture.
On the "canon" of Scripture. All of the 27 NT books and letters were God-breathed / inspired, the moment they were written from around 45 AD to 96 AD, with most written before 70 AD. They were individual scrolls written to different places by different authors and from different areas. The form of a codex was not even in existance in the first century. A simple codex - flattening out the sheets of papyri and tying more than one book together - which later became basis for book making with a binding. 'canon" originally just meant "standard", "rule", "law" before it came to mean "list". They were canon or standard already because they were God-breathed at the time of the writing of them in the first century. Just because it took time to even know about them(some areas would not have known about every NT book until enough time passed for all the areas to communicate with one another about all the different books), then discern them all as Scripture, and then gather them together in one "codex", does not make that in itself some sort of infallible act. It is true and correct, but it was a natural part of a process of history. Irenaeus and Tertullian (around 180-220 AD) list most all of the 27 NT books in their writings. Before then, we just don't have anyone writing the volume that they wrote to quote from all or most of the books. What we have that is extant from writers earlier than those 2 are very small works and short letters. (Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Didache, Hermas, Justin Martyr)

Although the word Trinity, and homo-ousias (same substance) and hupostasis (for person of the 3 persons formula for the Trinity) are not words for the Trinity in the NT (though hupostasis is used for Jesus' nature/ being in Hebrews 1:3, the word was later adopted for the person that is "existing under" the one substance (ousia); although those words are not employed in the text of the NT in the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine is Biblical in that the concept and doctrine is taught by harmonizing all that Scripture says about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (and based on Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 and Matthew 3:13-17, and others). That is the proper role of theological development, or proper interpretations, which the Roman Catholic Church calls tradition also. (beyond the revelatory traditions that were apostolic, as in 2 Thess. 2:15 and 1 Cor. 11:2, etc.) There is proper doctrinal and theological development, and then there is improper (additions, corruptions), which is what the RC dogmas about Mary (beyond the ones Protestants agree with such as the Virgin Birth of Christ), Popes, indulgences, purgatory, penances, trafficking in relics, prayers to Mary and dead saints, priests, ex opere operato powers, Transubstantiation, etc. - these are man-made traditions that are not in the early centuries and not biblical.

If you go back and look at the context of De Decretis (Defense of the Nicene Definition) 27, it is all about explaining Scripture. "this view was transmitted from Father to Father" just means the proper interpretation of the Deity of Christ and the Trinity, which Athanasius explains and Protestants agree with that. Athanasius (about 300-373 AD) mentions Origen, who was about a century before him. (250 AD) The quote does not go against Sola Scriptura, it merely is testifying that the Nicene Creed was Biblical. He was condemning Arianism and Sabellianism (Modalism) and Protestants agree with that. So that quote is not saying Creeds or Bishops or fathers are above Scripture, it is only saying that the fathers properly interpreted the Scriptures on that issue - the issue of the Deity of Christ and the Trinity, which is all Biblical.
The To Serapion, On the Holy Spirit, against the Tropici heretics, 1:28 quote, is in Athansius' work on the Holy Spirit against the heretical group called the Tropici, and if you look at the context of that also, he is quoting Scripture about the Deity of the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity, and so the Tradition, the teaching and faith of the universal church at the time was the sound doctrine about the Trinity, which Protestants agree with, so that, (and the other quotes) do not exalt some extra-Biblical tradition above Scripture, but rather are expressing the proper interpretation of infallible Scripture.
Here is more of the full quote: (It is all based on Matthew 28:19 and 2 Cor. 13:14, and Ephesians 4:6: 

28. But, beyond these sayings, let us look at the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached, and the Fathers kept. Upon this the Church is founded, and he who should fall away from it would not be a Christian, and should no longer be so called. There is, then, a Triad, holy and complete, confessed to be God in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, [based on Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14] having nothing foreign or external mixed with it, not composed of one that creates and one that is originated, but all creative; and it is consistent and in nature indivisible, and its activity is one. The Father does all things through the Word in the Holy Spirit. Thus the unity of the holy Triad is preserved. Thus one God is preached in the Church, ‘who is over all, and through all, and in all’ [ Ephesians 4:6] — ‘over all’, as Father, as beginning, as fountain; ‘through all’, through the Word; ‘in all’, in the Holy Spirit. It is a Triad not only in name and form of speech, but in truth and actuality. For as the Father is he that is, so also his Word is one that is and God over all. And the Holy Spirit is not without actual existence, but exists and has true being. Less than these (Persons) the Catholic Church does not hold, lest she sink to the level of the modern Jews, imitators of Caiaphas, and to the level of Sabellius. Nor does she add to them by speculation, lest she be carried into the polytheism of the heathen. And that they may know this to be the faith of the Church, let them learn how the Lord, when sending forth the Apostles, ordered them to lay this foundation for the Church, saying: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ [ Matthew 28:19 ] The Apostles went, and thus they taught; and this is the preaching that extends to the whole Church which is under heaven.  (Athanasius, To Serapion, against the Tropici heretics,  Book 1:28, Translated, intro, and notes by C.R. B. Shapland.) 
It is the same principle for the other 2 quotes; they are not exalting some kind of extra-biblical man made tradition over Scripture, but Athanasius is saying the proper interpretation of Scripture about the Deity of Christ and the Trinity is passed down by the fathers.

Athanasius' work Decretis or Defense of the Nicene Definition you can find it at
Prayers to the dead:
A Roman Catholic commenter claims that praying to the dead is early and good. 
No; Scripture is clear and forbids praying to the dead. Pray only to God. The angel rebuked John several times for worshiping the angel. Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9. 
The issue of Mary:
Mary is more honored by us (Protestants) by teaching what Scripture says about her and her faith and humility, but that she admitted she was a sinner and needed salvation ( Luke 1:46) and that Jesus was born of the virgin. (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-37; chapter 2) Matthew 1:25 is clear - "until" 'εως 'ου = heos hou = "until, and after that, no more". Mary and Joseph had other children after Jesus. Matthew 12:46-47; 13:55-56; Mark 3:32; 6:3; John 7:5-10; Luke 8:19-20; Galatians 1:19
 Praying to Mary and thinking she is a co-mediatrix, is a clear violation of 1 Timothy 2:5 - for there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ . . .

In later centuries, the church was wrong on over-exalting Mary and praying to her and having icons and statues to her later. The New Eve statements (Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian) are not a big deal. God used her as the channel / instrument to bring the Messiah into the world.
But the other stuff about Mary, which developed later, especially after Athanasius, Totally wrong. Mary was a godly woman and Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, but she was not perpetual virgin and we should not pray to her. Prayers to her are later anyway, but they are still wrong. She was not sinless, nor Immaculately conceived, nor bodily assumed. These are all man-made traditions.

"Theotokos", as originally meant, about Jesus being God from conception (and thus pre-existent before the conception in the womb of Mary) was right; but Nestorius was right in that people will get the wrong impression and think Christians are saying Mary brought God into existence, which is exactly what Muslims thought by hearing this, and even to this day, the Muslims still misunderstand and think Christians worship Mary and over-exalt Mary and the Qur'an thought Mary was part of the Trinity because of your church's error and man-made traditions. (The Qur'an, Surah 5:116, with 5:72-78) puts Mary, Jesus, and God as the Trinity, with Surah 4:171 - "say not three", etc.)

A Roman Catholic asks, "How do you think the Church Fathers read the Scriptures regarding Our Lady?
Many of them said she sinned. Origen, Chrysostom, Tertullian, Basil, Cyril of Alexandria
Tertullian said she had a normal marriage after Jesus was born. She was not perpetual virgin.
Basil the Great:
Basil commented on the sword of Luke 2:35-36 stating, “Even you yourself [Mary], who hast been taught from on high the things concerning the Lord, shall be reached by some doubt. This is the sword” (Basil of Caesarea, Letter, 260, 9 italics mine).
Cyril of Alexandria (A. D. 376 – 444) also taught that Mary sinned in severe ways thereby holding to a position in opposition to an immaculate conception:
“For, doubtless, some such train of thought as this passed through her mind: ‘I conceived Him That is mocked upon the Cross. He said, indeed, that He was the true Son of Almighty God, but it may be that He was deceived; He may have erred when He said: I am the Life. How did His crucifixion come to pass? and how was He entangled in the snares of His murderers? How was it that He did not prevail over the conspiracy of His persecutors against Him? And why does He not come down from the Cross, though He bade Lazarus return to life, and struck all Judaea with amazement by His miracles?" The woman, as is likely, not exactly understanding the mystery, wandered astray into some such train of thought” (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, Book 12).

1 Clement, elders and bishops, and NT priests and Latin:

One RC wrote:
I mean, up until the late 4th century, the Epistle of St. James had not even been quoted in the west.

Actually, 1 Clement 23:3 seems to be combination of James 1:8 and 2 Peter 3:4, and Clement of Rome is western, and dated at 96 AD. Also a strong case for patristic witness to 2 Peter.
Even if it can be proven Athanasius did write the Homily of the Papyrus of Turin, it is just his opinion. It just does not sound like him, when I read his other writings.
You are right, I am not infallible; but neither is any human - no bishop of Rome or "Pope" was ever infallible, not matter how much your RC Church claims it.
Only Scripture is infallible (as opposed to interpretations later in history, non-apostolic traditions, creeds, church councils, bishops, priests, etc.), because it is revelation from God, and only God is infallible. Since God is infallible and perfect, it is a function of His attributes; and Scripture is His Word, therefore Scripture is infallible. Since man makes mistakes, he and Popes and bishops cannot be infallible, since they are human.

An RC commenter seemed to claim I was saying that 1 Clement taught Sola Scriptura.  I did not say 1 Clement taught Sola Scriptura, rather I was responding to his claim that the epistle of James was not even quoted in the west until the late 4th Century.
One RC wrote:
I mean, up until the late 4th century, the Epistle of St. James had not even been quoted in the west.
And my answer was:
Actually, 1 Clement 23:3 seems to be combination of James 1:8 and 2 Peter 3:4, and Clement of Rome is western, and dated at 96 AD. Also a strong case for patristic witness to 2 Peter.

1 Clement (96 AD) is actually proof that each church had a plurality of elders, and understood that the office of elder and overseer (bishop) was the same. 1 Clement 42-44. This confirms the clear teaching of Scripture in Titus 1:5-7 (elder and bishop same office/person); Acts 14:23 (elders - plural - for each church); 1 Peter 5:1-4 - each elder is to oversee and shepherd (pastor) the flock. Peter is "fellow-elder", not a Pope nor a "bishop over all other bishops", (a false doctrine that came along centuries later.) Acts 20:17 (elders) - Acts 20:28 - each elder is to oversee and shepherd the flock. Clement does not claim any special office for himself, never says "I am Pope" or "bishop over bishops" and writes "from the church at Rome" "to the church at Corinth". He was right to rebuke the schism and rebellion in the Corinthian church for deposing the elders because of jealousy, for they had no good reason to rebel against their church elders.
There was no hierarchy of one bishop over the college of elders, until Ignatius, who comes a few years after Clement. ( Ignatius, around 107-117 AD) Even so, it was a practical practice, Jerome around 400 AD, agrees that bishops are elders and elders are bishops, and calls what Ignatius and others after him did, as "custom", rather than revelation/in Scripture. (commentary on Pastoral Epistles).

The problem in Latin Christianity (later, Tertullian and Cyprian) was the conflating of the term of priest in the OT with the idea of elder in the NT. A priest in the OT (Kohen) was translated in the NT and Clement as heireus, priesthood as heirosunaes 'ειρωσυνης (in 1 Clement 43:2, which you quoted). In the NT, an priest is the Greek word heireus / 'ειρευς where that word in 1 Clement is derived. The Hebrew for that was Kohen כהנ and yet both Hebrew and Greek had other words for "elder" ( Greek: presbuteros / πρεσβυτερος ). There was another Latin term for those that offered the sacrifices in the temple (the priests). Latin = sacerdos, where we get "sacerdotal" from.
But in English and in Roman Catholicism, the elder/ presbuteros and the priest / Sacerdos got combined into "priest" because they (what later became Roman Catholicism exemplified in the Mass and Transubstantiation - mainly developed from 800s AD to 1215 AD) wanted to combine the ideas of offering sacrifices with the office of elder. But in the NT, there is no sacerdotal office in the NT church, as Jesus was and is our mediator/ high priest, and priest according to the order of Melchizadek (Hebrews 5, 7) and He offered the last and final sacrifice, Himself.  And when the NT does refer to priests and priesthood, aside from Christ, it is talking about all believers in Christ who are priests who offer spiritual sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to God.  (1 Peter 2:5-10; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10)  There is no special NT office of priests for the churches, as it was for Israel in the OT. 
Since elder in the NT was NOT a sacerdos, it was wrong for the Latin development of the word into priest, rather than to keep the two words separate and clear.
Clement is pointing out that there was jealousy, envy and strive over the OT priests in the OT times; and there was jealousy and strive against the elders/bishops in the church of Corinth, but he is not saying that elders/bishops are priests like in the OT. The Corinthians were wrong to allow the presbyter-overseers to be deposed, and Clement rightly rebukes them for that; but Clement was not teaching any mono-episcopate or NT priesthood; and he clearly affirmed that elders and overseers (episcopos, translated sometimes as "bishop") are the same office, just as Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 14:23; and Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3, 5 show. The NT, 1 Clement, the Didache, and the Shepherd of Hermas show that the earliest NT and earliest in church history local church government was a plurality of elders and they were all expected to be shepherds (pastors) and overseers and there was no mono-episcopate; and definitely no "bishop over all other bishops". The mono-episcopte developed from Ignatius onward, and it grew to a bishop over a larger area, and then, centuries later, evolved into the claims of the bishop of Rome (as "Pope"), but the East never accepted such a claim.
He clearly teaches that they are the same office, if you read 1 Clement 42 to 44 fairly.
especially this section of paragraph 44:
"For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behavior from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honor." I Clement 44:4-5

Conclusion:  Rod is wrong.
Those early pious beliefs or side comments (like using the word Eucharist, or "Catholic" or the "Mary as the New Eve" comments by Tertullian, Irenaeus, and Justin Martyr, or the respect shown to Polycarp's bones, or that they seem to teach baptismal regeneration, or the mono-episcopate from Ignatius onward, or the conflating of the Latin creation of the word priest from the Greek presbuteros that developed, etc.)  by early church fathers that RC developed into later dogmas, are not things that mean a complete apostasy of the whole church in the early centuries (Constantine or a little later) at that time. The church existed even in the time of Wycliffe, Hus, Luther, though it has drifted far and was full of corruption.  The real apostasy does not come until the Council of Trent in 1545-1563.


Arvinger said...

Unfortunately, the post contains a standard surface-level treatment of many discussed issues, repeating the standard Protestant arguments which were dealt with long ago. Just to address some issues out of many:

"Sacred tradition of the apostles was all eventually written down." - presupposition not supported by a single Biblical verse, classic example of a fallacy of assuming a specific doctrine to prove it. Although references to oral teachings are numerous in the New Testament (2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Timothy 2:2, Philippians 4:9, 3 John 1:13-14), nowhere does Scripture teach that all of these teachings were written down. In fact, even in last of his epistles St. Paul refers Timothy to oral teachings rather than his letters (2 Timothy 2:2).

As to the Eucharist and Didache, Didache does identify the Eucharist as fulfillment of a prophecy from Malachi 1:11, which says about pure sacrifice which will be offered "in every place" - thus, Didache emphasizes sacrificial character of Eucharist. Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and sacrificial character of it are taught by numerous Church Fathers whom Protestants have to dodge focusing on those who are more ambiguous in their writings (like Dr White did in the debate with Dr Sungenis on the Mass). As Theodore of Mopsuestia put it: "when Christ gave the bread he did not say "this is the symbol of my body", but "this is my body".(...) We ought (...) not regard them merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit" (Catechetical Homilies 5:1).

Prayers for the dead are indeed early and good, we find request for prayers on the tombstone of Abercius, a 2nd century bishop of Hierapolis. We find prayers for the dead also in the teachings of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Epiphanius of Salamis and St. Augustine, while the doctrine of purgatory is clearly taught in earliest commentaries on 1 Corinthians. Ambrosiaster regarding 1 Corinthians 3:15: "He says ‘but only as through fire’ to show that this salvation does not come without any penalty. He does not say ‘he will be saved through fire’, which would mean that be his own merit he is not burned up by the fire and is saved, being tested by the fire. When he says ‘but only as through fire’, he shows that though he will be saved, he will nevertheless suffer the penalty of fire, so that, being cleansed by fire, he might be saved and not be tortured by eternal fire forever, as the faithless are." Comments of Origen and St. Augustine on this passage also support the doctrine of Purgatory. No matter how Protestants try to interpret 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Paul distinguishes those who receive a reward directly, because their works withstood test of fire, and those who are saved, but only as through fire because their work were burnt up (wood, hay, straw).

Arvinger said...


Regarding councils and sola scriptura - it is impossible to prove by Scripture alone that, for example, monoenergism is a heresy, yet it was condemned by the Third Constantinople. The doctrine of monoenergism was deliberately formulated vaguely to provide a compromise between Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Christians - because of its vagueness it is impossible to prove it wrong from Scripture. Here we have a condemnation of Christological heresy which relies solely on authority of a Council. Similarly, it is impossible to prove from Scripture that monotheletism is a heresy, since Scripture does not speak about Jesus in terms of his wills.

Mary was not a sinner, such interpretation of Luke 1:46 is contrary to Luke 1:28, where we learn that Mary is kecharitomene - the only other form of this word we find in Ephesians 1:6 in reference to saved Christians. This means that Mary was already saved before the Cross, which is possible only in case of her sinlesness and Immaculate Conception. Also, it is impossible to explain why Mary is surprised by prospect of giving birth to a child in Luke 1:34 if she intended to know Joseph. We also see clear prophecy of Mary's virginity in Ezekiel 44:1-3 - St. Augustine, St. Jerome and St. Ambrose of Milan all interpreted these verses as referring to Mary and her virginity. The issue of alleged "brothers" of Jesus was explained over and over again - the Greek word adelphos does not mean only brother, but also cousin or relative, and in Aramaic (most likely original language of Matthew's Gospel) there was no separate word of "cousin", so it makes sense that Greek manuscripts translated the phrase referring to Jesus' cousins as "adelphos". Even Luther argued that it cannot be concluded from Matthew 1:25 that Mary and Joseph engaged in intercourse after birth of Jesus.

On the other hand, which Church Father explicitly taught the doctrine of double imputation (of righteousness of Christ to the believer and our sins to Christ on the cross) together with eternal security?

Ken said...

In the debate linked to below, from around the 1 hour mark to 1 hour and 8 minutes, Dr. White's questions to Mitch Pacwa answer your first objection.
When I have time I will flesh it out more. the fact that the RCC has never dogmatically declared any words of the apostles that are not in Scripture shows that all that we needed was written down. (which Pacwa admitted was true - that there are no apostolic oral traditions that have been dogmatically defined as words of the apostles) What Pacwa is trying to say is that centuries later interpretations are "traditions" that are developed as new issues and questions are raised, and he tries to carefully parallel those RC doctrines and dogmas with the doctrine of the Trinity. But Pacwa admitted that the doctrine of the Trinity is based on sound exegesis of Scripture.

Ken said...

Thanks for your responses!

I will try to interact with more of what you have written, as I have time.

Arvinger said...

I think you have missed my point, Ken - I did not argue that the doctrine of Trinity is not explicitly taught in Scripture and we rely on authority of the Council, I agree with you that it is based on sound exegesis of Scripture. Scripture explicitly teaches deity of the Father, deity of the Son and deity of the Spirit, there is no question about it. However, specific Christological teachings like two wills of Christ, condemnation of monoenergism and condemnation of monotheletism byt Third Constantinople are not provable from Scripture alone (especially in the case of monoenergism, which, as I said, was deliberately vaguely defined to provide a compromise between Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians), thus these teachings are relying on authority of the Council.

Ken said...

I confess I don't know much about "mono-energism" - I need to study that.

But I know about Mono-theletism (the heresy that Jesus has only one will). That seems easy, along with the 2 persons of Christ, that He had two wills, because He surrendered and submitted His human will in the Garden when He prayed, "Not My will, but Thy will be done" (Luke 22:42) That is clear enough in Scripture, in my opinion.

I think that the Byzantine Emperors Justinian (527-565 AD) and Heraclius (Emperor 610 to 641 AD) (and probably others between them) were too harsh against the Copts, Monophysites, Jacobite-Syrians and Armenians, and that created a bitterness among those groups with the unfortunate result that they at first welcomed the Arab Muslims when they invaded the Byzantine Empire and fought the Chalcedonian Creed Byzantine troops quartered there, but the people were mostly Monophysite. when Islam conquered in 636 AD onward.

That is one of the big mistakes of the early church - the complete unity between religion and politics and military might.

As to your very first point that you make about the issue of questioning that everything we need for ministry, doctrine, etc. was written down, and those verses I supplied seem to imply that. That point is strengthened when we understand the promise to the disciples in John 14 and 16 - "the Spirit will lead you into all the truth" and "the Spirit will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you", etc.

These 2 articles flesh that out more, as we see that the RCC has never infallibly defined any words as coming from the apostles that is not already in Scripture, and the rule of faith that functioned in the early church was a doctrinal statement, organized around the 3 persons of the Trinity, per Matthew 28:19, and whenever it is fleshed out and explicated in the early church (see in second article) it is always a doctrinal creed in content that is all Biblical truth. There is nothing in these lists of "the rule of faith" or "the tradition of the apostles" that is a particular doctrine or seed of a later Roman Catholic particular doctrine that Protestantism disagrees with. The context, especially in Irenaeus and Tertullian is against Gnosticism, which Protestantism also agrees that Gnosticism is heresy and wrong. the context of Athanasius is mostly against Arians and the Tropici (who denied the Deity of the Holy Spirit), which Protestantism agrees with. These fathers and writers may have mentioned other things in other contexts (like the "Mary as the New Eve" statements, or the word Eucharist, or the word "cath- holic", etc. but those peculiar pious beliefs are not part of the rule of the faith, when it is explicated.

Ken said...

see my new article: Everything we need was written down, and the promises to the apostles imply this; and the rule of faith in the early church shows this.

with links to other articles at Apologetics and Agape.

Ken said...

As I have time, I will address the other points you bring up.

As for the Malachi 1:11 passage being used a lot by the early church fathers - I think this passage, along with Matthew 5:21-26, in the context of the OT sacrifices, was used in the early church for the principle that Paul lays out in 1 Corinthians 11, that before one takes the Lord's supper/Eucharist, he/she should first reconcile with their fellow man or woman believer in the church body, if someone has something against you. This is what it means to examine oneself first (1 Corinthians 11:28), the warning to not eat and drink in an unworthy manner, (1 Corinthians 11:27), and to recognize the body rightly (recognize the church body of relationships rightly and make those right) before partaking. (1 Corinthians 11:29) .

The Malachi 1:11 passage is about the future message going to all the nations; that the nations will be worshipping the one true God of the OT. the idea of sacrifice is about grain offerings and incense. Is the Roman Catholic willing to say that the "grain offering" points to bread that stays bread ? (and not transubstantiated?) Although the word sacrifice is used, I don't thing it means that sacrifices are to continue among God's people after Christ's final atonement and especially after 70 AD. We can still apply Matthew 5:21-26 to our context today, about reconciliation before worship and before the Lord's supper, without trying to carry the offering and sacrifice of animals literally into our context. If the early fathers meant by using that passage, "a re-presentation of the body and blood of Christ, of the once for all sacrifice", I cannot see that as legitimate. If anything, it points to the sacrifice of praise and sharing with others, among the nations. (Hebrews 13:15-16) and spiritual sacrifices of all believers as priests - 1 Peter 2:4-10.

Ken said...

On Mary as a sinner also, Luke 1:46-47 is clear, along with Romans 3:23. Luke 1:28 is a greeting. It does not mean what RC theology reads back into it. The fact that those early fathers (Tertullian, Irenaeus, Origen, Chrysostom, Basil) mentioned Mary's sins, and her sinlessness was a much later developed theology proves our point. for more on that, see here.

Using Ephesians 1:6 is even worse for you; because in that context, the passage is about other believers in the church of Ephesus, who first were sinners and then got grace. Without that, it is not grace. The passage presupposes that a person understands they are a sinner, under the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:1-9), believes in the atonement of Christ by His blood (Ephesians 1:7), and understands the gospel, repents and believes. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Ken said...

Also, it is impossible to explain why Mary is surprised by prospect of giving birth to a child in Luke 1:34 if she intended to know Joseph.

Because she knows that she has not had sexual relations yet; and the passage is giving Scriptural proof of the virgin conception and birth, up until Jesus is born. She never says she will never know a man. Matthew 1:25 makes that clear, the heos hou / 'εως 'ου phrase (until) proves this, and this has been discussed a lot here at this blog. Go the side bar under the Perpetual Virginity category and you will see lots of articles. That, along with all the passages about the brothers and sisters of Jesus, and that Greek has words for "relative" (sungenis / συνγενις ) and cousin (ανεψιος / anepsios - Colossians 4:10 proves that "brothers" in the NT Greek, cannot mean "cousins".

Ken said...

Using Ezekiel 44:1-3 about Mary as perpetual virgin is one of the goofiest things any one ever came up with. It is allegorical and Gnostic special pleading of centuries later.

James Swan said...

I finally had a chance to read through this. I had forgotten of your relation to Rob Bennett. It's interesting to me how two people took such different paths.

It's amazing to me how much another person can influence us to study what it is we study. Even my Reformation research was the result of challenges.

Perhaps you mentioned this in one of your entries, and i missed it- how long has it been since you spoke with Rob?

Ken said...

The last time we spoke was sometime in 2009, I think. He moved away to another state.

From 1996-2004 we debated a lot, but as I wrote in one of the past posts, he asked me to not debate him anymore about RC issues; and I agreed to that (since also my brother was with us sometimes and he was even closer to Rod, and he didn't want to cause conflict or arguments), since we had pretty much covered everything and hashed everything out for 8 years. From 2004-2009 we only got together every now and then and the subject matter was either good movies, politics, the Beatles, or science fiction (which we both love, but he is much more into in that I am), or if spiritual things came up, it was kept to a Mere Christianity level of discussion.

Ken said...

his first name is Rod.


Ken said...

The other comments you made about prayers for the dead and Purgatory are interesting, etc. but when compared with Scripture, they just don't seem to me (or other historic Protestants) to be correct or Biblical. The doctrine of Purgatory was developed very slowly from side comments off and on in the early centuries. Jacques Le Goff traces it from the Jewish prayers for the dead in Maccabees, to the comment that Tertullian makes about refrigerium (refreshing for the dead), to Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Ambrose, Amrosiaster, Augustine, and finally, he says that Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome (590-604 AD), is the one who laid the last foundation of the doctrine, and then Le Goff says it did not develop much until the 12th Century (1100s) and then it really came into full flower of the doctrine. (page 96, The Birth of Purgatory) After it is all said and done, the early church comments on this early were not the doctrine of Purgatory of the Middle Ages to the time of Luther, with the other things added such as the place and time elements, indulgences, treasury of merit, etc.

Even so, the opinions of Ambrosiaster, Augustine, Cyprian, Tertullian, Origen, etc. are just that - their own human opinions, that we are able to judge by Scripture. Just because there is an early example of prayers for the dead at a grave site, does not mean that it was apostolic or true or Biblical. We can still judge the early fathers and accept the things that are true and Biblical and reject the things that are wrong.

It is interesting to me that you quote Ambrosiaster, for he is one of the clearest writers also on statements of justification by faith alone. Turretinfan quotes six statements of Ambrosiaster about "faith alone". This also shows that people can have tension and internal inconsistencies and even contradictions in their own writings.

James Swan said...

Sorry about the name mishap. I typed that comment sometime around 1 AM.

One of my very good friends is a bright but very... shall we say... "unique" quasi-Pentecostal... have no exact term for him, perhaps modern Schwärmer.

When we get into it, we get into it, so more often than not, we try not to get into it. In fact, I'm seeing him in about an hour.

Cool about the Beatles, I'm very knowledgeable in that area as well.

Arvinger said...

OK, since there are length limitations for comments, I will respond in several parts.

Regarding Mary - commenting on Luke 1:28 and Ephesians 1:6 you did not address at all the essence of my argument. Kecharitomene and associated verb echaritosen are used only in these two passags in the New Testament - Ephesians 1:6 and Luke 1:28, which as very significant (as even Dr White emphasized in his book). Echaritosen in Ephesian 1:6 refers to justified believers - there is no question that giving the grace described in this verse refers to new birth and justification. The use of the same word for Mary in Luke 1:28 proves, that she was in the state equivalent to new birth/justification/salvation before the sacrifice of the Cross, in fact before Jesus was even conceived - she did not need the Cross for salvation. This is possible only if she was sinless and free from original sin. I have no problem with some Church Fathers being incorrect on Mary's Immaculate Conception and sinlesness (just like Peter Abelard overturned opinion that unbaptized deceased infants suffer pains of hell, which was widely held since St. Augustine), in fact you have to reject mountains of evidence for baptismal regeneration from the writings of the Church Fathers in your soteriology, therefore pointing out that some Church Fathers denied Mary's sinlesness is very inconsistent.

Romans 3:23 does not prove that Mary sinned - Jesus was 100% man, so if you want to apply Romans 3:23 literally to every single human being, you'd have to conclude that Jesus sinned as well, which is of course not the case. So you have at least one exception from Romans 3:23, showing that such are possible and that Paul refers to general sinfulness of mankind, without excluding possibility of exceptions such as Jesus and Mary.

Regarding Luke 1:34, I'm not sure how your response is supposed to refute. The angel announces to Mary future conception of a child, not past or present one - therefore the fact that Mary had no sexual relations up to this point is irrelevant, because the conception was, by the words of the angel, to happen in the future. In that case Mary should expect her and Joseph to be parents of Jesus, but that is not the case - she is surpised, because she dos not know man. That objection of Mary clearly proves that she did not intend to know Joseph in the future, otherwise he would not be surprised by the prospect of future conception of a child.


PeaceByJesus said...

I have not been keeping up with the posts on Beggars All, and wish i had seen the proffered RC apologetic by Arvinger sooner.

"Sacred tradition of the apostles was all eventually written down." - presupposition not supported by a single Biblical verse, classic example of a fallacy of assuming a specific doctrine to prove it.

Actually that sacred tradition/apostolic doctrine (versus preferences) would be written down is supported in principle based upon verses showing that writing was God's means of preservation. As in Isaiah 30:8: Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: (Isaiah 30:8)

And that as is abundantly evidenced, as written, Scripture became the transcendent supreme standard for obedience and testing and establishing truth claims as the wholly Divinely inspired and assured, Word of God.

Meanwhile, that not all sacred tradition of the apostles was eventually written down is a presupposition not supported by a single Biblical verse, a classic example of a fallacy of assuming a specific doctrine to prove it.

SS does not need to hold that all that can be know was written, but that what is necessary is found in Scripture, in its formal and material sense combined.

even in last of his epistles St. Paul refers Timothy to oral teachings rather than his letters

Likewise can a SS preacher, but as with Paul, oral preaching itself depended upon Scriptural substantiation in word and in power.

However, Scripture also provided for new revelation and additional wholly God-inspired writings, neither of which Rome nor SS preachers presume.

Didache does identify the Eucharist as fulfillment of a prophecy from Malachi 1:11 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] , which says about pure sacrifice which will be offered "in every place"

The sure Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles is what the Holy Spirit inspired men to write. But since Scripture is invoked here, then we should go to Scripture on this issue, in which the Lord's supper is never described as a sacrifice for sins, much less at the hands of a separate class of believers distinctively called "priests," which is utterly unseen in the life of the NT church.

Moreover, the body that all believers are called to offer in sacrifice is that of themselves, (Rm. 12:1) while the eucharistic prayer Didache is more Messianic Jewish than Catholic, with no mention of the elements being changed into flesh and blood, but instead refers to spiritual meat and drink.

when Christ gave the bread he did not say "this is the symbol of my body

Nor did He say "this is become/turned into My body," and if this is to be taken literally, then since the Lord said, "This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19) "Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:27-28) then it must be that body, which looked like (even in His resurrected body), and would have tasted like, and scientifically test as, real flesh and blood, and by which souls had assurance was Christ came in the flesh. In reality the flesh and blood of the Catholic Christ of the Lord's supper is reduced to being a flesh and blood that, unlike that of the incarnated Son of God, is contrary the senses and scientific testing.

Nor did David say the water that he explicitly called the blood of men was simply symbolically so, but instead he refused to drink it and poured it out onto the Lord. (2Sam, 23:15-17) Also, Moses even said the Canaanites were "bread" for Israel. And the list goes on.

PeaceByJesus said...

Refutation of Arvinger, Pt. 2.

Prayers for the dead are indeed early and good, we find request for prayers

Absolutely nowhere in Scripture, no matter how early nor late, Show us:

1.Even one example where anyone prayed to anyone in Heaven but the Lord, amid the approx. 200 prayers the Holy Spirit recorded for us in Scripture.

2. Any instruction on prayer to Heaven in which the addressee is anyone God, versus a created being in Heaven.

3. Even one example in which anyone in Heaven but God regularly hear and respond to prayers addressed to them, (elders and angels offering prayers in memorial as a preclude to judgment will not do), versus the Lord Jesus being the only unceasing Heavenly intercessor. (1 Tim. 2:5)

4. One example in which anyone from Heaven but God communicated with those on earth without both being personally present in the same realm.

5. One example in which earthly relations on earth have complete correspondence to those btwn created beings, in contrast to that not being the case.

6. Even one example of a common, necessary, fundamental doctrinal Christian practice for which the Holy Spirit does not provide even one single example, except by pagans in which it is condemned.

7. Even one example in which faithful believers kneel before other believers on earth in obeisance in sanctioned.

8. Why Catholics are exempt from the admonition not to think of mortals "above that which is written." (1Co. 4:6)

9. Even one example in which believers kneel before a statue and praise the entity it represented in the unseen world, beseeching such for Heavenly help, and making offerings to them, and giving glory and titles and ascribing attributes to such which are never given in Scripture to created beings (except to false gods), including having the uniquely Divine power and glory to hear and respond to virtually infinite numbers of prayers individually addressed to them

Which manner of adulation would constitute worship in Scripture, yet Catholics imagine that by playing word games then they can avoid crossing the invisible line between mere "veneration" and worship.

PeaceByJesus said...

Refutation of Arvinger, Pt. 3

while the doctrine of purgatory is clearly taught in earliest commentaries on 1 Corinthians.... No matter how Protestants try to interpret 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Paul distinguishes those who receive a reward directly, because their works withstood test of fire, and those who are saved, but only as through fire because their work were burnt up

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 does NOT teach purgatory, for it not only refers to the judgment seat of Christ, which does not take place until the Lord's return, (1Cor. 4:5; 2Tim. 4:1,8; Rev.11:18; Mt. 25:31-46; 1Pt. 1:7; 5:4) versus purgatory, which has souls suffering commencing upon death, but the suffering is that of the loss of rewards (with the Lord's displeasure), which one is saved despite of, not because of!

Moreover, the basis for loss or gain of rewards is based upon the manner of workmanship one built the church with, as in tares or wheat.

Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. (1 Corinthians 3:8-10)

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

Thus Paul speaks of believers being his rewards: "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? " (1 Thess. 2:19; cf. Rv. 3:11) And to the Corinthians, “we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 2Cor. 1:14) And to the Philippians, that being “my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” (Phil. 4:1)

Nowhere does Scripture tell of believers being in a place of suffering for a time commencing at death, but while the tormented postmortem state of the lost is clear, the only clear references to the postmortem place elect souls go to refers to them being with the Lord.

Not only did the penitent criminal go to "paradise" (Lk. 23:43; cf. 2Cor. 12:4; Rv. 2:7) as did Stephen, (Acts 7:59) but so would Paul and co. be with the Lord once absent from the body (Phil. 1:23,24) - even though Paul told the Philippians that was he not “already perfect.” (Phil. 3:12).Likewise he stated to the Corinthians, "We [plural] are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8) and so would every resurrected Corinthian believer (1Cor. 15:51ff) or Thessalonian if the Lord returned in their lifetime, “to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thess. 4:17) - even though in the former case at least believers were in need of greater purification. (2Cor. 7:1)

Faced with the fact that the only texts which clearly speak of the believers postmortem or post-earth existence show it to be with the Lord, the RC must engage in special pleading (the "good thief" somehow became good enough on the cross to enter Heaven directly while others can take centuries), and forcing texts which speak of chastisement in this life, or which speak of the lost, as referring to the postmortem existence of believers.

PeaceByJesus said...

Refutation of Arvinger, Pt. 4

Here we have a condemnation of Christological heresy which relies solely on authority of a Council.

And here we have a condemnation of heresy that is no more certain than that of the Scribes and Pharisees in condemning itinerant preachers and their itinerant Leader who did not have their sanction, and reproved them by Scripture as the supreme authorative source.

The fact is that the OT magisterium had the power to judicially bind and loose, (Dt. 17:8-13) while the spiritual power to bind and loose is afforded to men like Elijah and believers of such faith, (Mt. 18:18-20; Ja. 5:16-18) but Rome presumes the novelty of ensured perpetual magisterial infallibility, which is unseen and unnecessary in Scripture.

Mary was not a sinner, such interpretation of Luke 1:46 is contrary to Luke 1:28 , where we learn that Mary is kecharitomene - the only other form of this word we find in Ephesians 1:6 in reference to saved Christians. This means that Mary was already saved before the Cross, which is possible only in case of her sinlesness and Immaculate Conception

That is absurd! Do you think that Mary was the first one saved before the cross? And that being graced refers to her personal holiness versus being chosen to bear the promised Messiah? And if believers are likewise graced due to being forgiven and regenerated, then why could she not be graced due to the same?

Furthermore, where is the testimony to her being the greatest saint, versus even the new creation Paul, whose sacrificial labor and prolonged suffering for the church the Holy Spirit details at length, in contrast to the brevity given to holy Mary?

Moreover, you are arguing for a profound fundamental exception to the norm, yet while the Holy Spirit characteristically at least notes exceptions to the norm among even less characters, from extreme age or strength or ability, or physical size, etc., or devotion and virtue, and thus at least thrice states that Christ was sinless, yet it nowhere states that Mary was sinless (or a perpetual virgin), and thus the norm is to be presumed.

But Caths insist on special pleading, and extrapolate what they desire out texts which do not teach it.

Even Luther argued that it cannot be concluded from Matthew 1:25 that Mary and Joseph engaged in intercourse after birth of Jesus.

But only the norm is warranted, and which the word for "till" almost always supports.

Regardless, perpetual Marian virginity would not be such a major issue if it were not part of the unScriptural exaltation of her far above that which is written ." (cf. 1Co. 4:6)

And if it were true then Joseph ought to get more praise, not only due to the hormonal differences but because a binding vow could be negated by him (or her father if under his roof) as per the Law. (Num. 13).

PeaceByJesus said...

Refutation of Arvinger, Pt. 5

As for what Caths extrapolate out of kecharitomene, here is part of an extensive examination of the basic argument by one who has quite a resume of scholarship, Robert Dean Luginbill, Ph.D. Greek here:

The phrase "hapax legomenon" is applied to the unique occurrence of a word in a corpus. It is not applied to the every specific form a word may take. In Greek, any given verb can potentially have hundreds of different forms (depending upon how one counts these). Therefore in any highly inflected language – like Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and virtually all of the ancient languages – trying to carry this concept which rightly belongs to core words over to individual forms is ludicrous. The word charitoo is not a true "hapax" in the Bible because it occurs more than 'once' (which is what hapax means), and because of the wide variety of forms any verb or substantive in Greek can manifest it makes no sense to apply this term to an individual form of a word and call it a "hapax" (or, alternatively, one can say such a thing, it's just that saying such a thing is meaningless)...

If a word is a "hapax" only in a particular author or specialized corpus but appears elsewhere in the language, then the value of this "uniqueness" is greatly reduced. When one has multiple contexts to judge from, one is not in the same position as in the case of a true "hapax" where there is indeed only one single context on which to base one's decision about what a word might mean...

Your correspondent does not really quibble with the essential meaning of the verb as reflected in every dictionary and every version, namely, "to bestow grace/favor upon". Where you[r] correspondent falls down – and where he over-reaches the Greek scholars he is consulting – is in his attempt to take a simple verb form and make it bear a meaning it cannot bear...

His translation is "Having been Graced with all Possible Grace both past present and future." Further he says that the "past" part means that "Mary was saved before ever falling in to sin". Clearly, this person's argument is entirely dependent upon making the perfect tense "magical" in the sense of infusing 'perfection,' even if he is trying to couch this lunacy in grammatical-sounding expressions:

Hi Dr. Luginbill--Once again, I have a question for you about "full of grace". You pointed out that Eph. 1:6 uses the same verb and it doesn't mean "full of grace" there, and therefore, "sinless". A Catholic correspondent has found this by some scholar or other; what do you think of his argument?

This argument is silly. Tense stems in Greek (and there are really only three which matter in such things: aorist, perfect, present) reflect 'aspect', which is something we have in English too (i.e., 'I go' = simple point action akin to the Greek aorist stem, vs. 'I am going' = repetitive action akin to the Greek present stem). These are not "magic", and investing them with layers of meaning invisible to the human eye and untranslatable into English is always a huge mistake (or a deliberate attempt to deceive)....

..If the perfect tense could do all the author claims, then every time it says anything abou "knowing" in scripture (for oida is perfective in all of its forms), it would mean "knowing with a perfect knowledge that was conceived in eternity past": such a convention of translation would lead only to utter nonsense (cf. Acts 16:3).