Happy New Year

Yesterday was the First Sunday in Advent - which is also the first day of the Liturgical Year for Catholics.  So...


I'll also be posting shortly with more information on the Advent season.


LCMS Statement on Declared Righteousness

> Scott,
> Thanks for sharing your former Lutheran background
> in that you were born LCMS moved to WELS and now
> with the Church of Rome.
> May I have a question?

sw: Certainly.

> When you were a Lutheran, did you believe in
> what is called universal objective justification,
> the teaching of both synods that God has
> declared already the whole world to be righteous
> already, by the fact of the resurrection?
> Specifically this is summarized in LCMS-1932 Statement
> Article 17. Namely...
17. Holy Scripture sums up all its teachings regarding the love of God to the world of sinners, regarding the salvation wrought by Christ, and regarding faith in Christ as the only way to obtain salvation, in the article of justification. Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ, Rom. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Rom. 4:25; that therefore not for the sake of their good works, but without the works of the Law, by grace, for Christ's sake, He justifies, accounts as righteous, all those who that is, believe, accept, and rely on, the fact that for Christ's sake their sins are forgiven. Thus the Holy Ghost testifies through St. Paul: "There is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," Rom. 3:23, 24. And again: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law," Rom. 3:28.
> LP continues:
> I have bolded the words of concern. Did you believe
> this? Do you believe this now?
> It is understandable if you do not, but a surprise if you still do.
> Thank you for your answers in advance.

To be quite honest with you, I had not heard of this precept while I was a Lutheran nor until you just brought it to my attention.  Did I believe that way as a Lutheran?  No.  Do I believe that way now as a Catholic?  No.   Without reading more context it sounds a lot like universal salvation - which is something I have never adhered to.  That being said, I do believe that Jesus Christ redeemed the whole world through His Sacrifice on the Cross - but there's a difference in redeeming and declaring righteous.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
(Romans 5:19 KJV)
This verse says "many" shall be made righteous, not the whole world. 

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
(2 Corinthians 5:18-21 KJV)
Here again, the prayer is that we be reconciled to God that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.   The previous verse also indicates the limit to whom this righteousness is given - it is "if any man be in Christ..." obviously then, the context is telling us that those NOT in Christ are not included in this statement.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV)
The next verse referenced also does not imply the whole world:

Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
(Romans 4:25 KJV)

This is especially true again when we look at the context, and you need go no further than the immediately preceding verse:

But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
(Romans 4:24 KJV)

Note, it is "to whom it shall be imputed, IF we believe on Him..." 

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: ...Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
(Romans 3:23-24; 28 KJV)

Well, a verse skipped in this reference betrays the "whole world" concept:

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
(Romans 3:25 KJV)

Note, it says, "through faith in His blood..." so it is not just given to all, but to all who have faith.

So, every verse cited by LCMS-1932 Statement, Article 17, when read in context does not say this declaration of righteousness is given to the whole world.  Each passage has explicit limitations set upon them.  Unless there is more to this LCMS Statement, it appears to be imputing something to the text which is not there.


Romanism and Bigotry

Recently the discussion of the use of the terms "Romanist," "Romish" and "Romanism" have been discussed here and elsewhere.  Several non-Catholic bloggers joined in to object to Dr. Beckwith's blog entry on the subject, including myself.  Many Catholics have used these or similar terms, but typically in different context.  Many other Catholics are offended when non-Catholics, especially those who attack our Faith, use the terms as apparent slurs.  The saddest part is that even when these non-Catholics are told these terms are taken by many as hurtful and bigoted, rather than doing the charitable thing they entrench and defend themselves and point to out-of-context references when they simply could just avoid using these terms.  Why insist upon using them when these apologists know the terms are offensive to some and there are many other acceptable terms available?  To continue using the terms in the face of such knowledge of offense can only be seen as what it is, bigotry.  

The above being said, does that mean EVERY use of such terms are bigoted?  No, it does not!  As the non-Catholic bigots would be quick to point out, there are several places they can point to where Catholics have used the terms, some even embracing them - but in context one can clearly see that when a Catholic uses the terms, they are not being hateful bigots!  In fact some may use the terms in the face of bigotry to stave off or dissuade the bigots from continuing.  For example, I could say that since I am in communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope that I am papist - however for a non-Catholic apologist to say to me "You Papist," that would most often be taken as a bigoted slur.   

I was born and raised in the Lutheran Church (LCMS and later WELS) and I was taught at a very young age that the very term "Lutheran" used to be considered a bigoted slur - but those who followed the teachings of Martin Luther eventually embraced the term - so much so that it became accepted by virtually everyone - including "Lutherans."  Perhaps the same thing may happen with the terms of "Romanist," "Romish" and "Romanism," but as for now - except in limited situations, these terms are seen as offensive by many.  

It would seem the best approach for Catholic apologists to take is to refrain from being "offended" by the use of such terms.  Beyond a casual pointing out the fact that some take those words to be offensive, just consider the source and move on.  In my experience those non-Catholic apologists who do continue to use the terms only make themselves look bad to Catholics and semi-unbiased readers who may be following along - however though that is one way of "winning" - our goal should be to get them to act more like Christians rather than getting them to entrench into non-Christian behaviors.

Feel free to add your comments.


Authority of the Church

In a recent post from Alan/Rhology on Beggars All, he said:

>> sw: So you're confirming (again) that your local
>> church is acting like a "little magisterium" again.
> AR: Well, I'd agree that in this case it was a little
> magisterium

sw: Thank you.

> AR: except my church actually practices biblical excommunication.
> When was the last time yours did?

sw: All the time. Some excommunications are automatic, like if one
participates in or assists in procuring an abortion, the excommunication
is automatic.

> AR: And of course, I'm not claiming Rome is totally wrong in
> EVERYthing, so in this case my church and yours coincide.

sw: So you twice concede that your church acts as it's own
"little magisterium" and then next you say...

> AR: (That) Doesn't make my church a little magisterium.

sw: Wait! You just said TWICE that it DID!

>> sw: So, in YOUR concept of "church" it happens at YOUR
>> church, but not in other churches, like MY church. I see.
>> How consistent is that?

> AR: This makes no sense. It happens in mine. It happens
> rarely if ever in yours. How is that a question of consistency
> on my part?

sw: Well, 1) "I'd agree that in this case it was a little magisterium."
Then 2) "...so in this case my church and yours coincide."
Then 3) "(That) doesn't make my church a little magisterium.
Then 4) "It happens in mine... rarely if ever in yours..." (but you
concede it does happen, even if you don't realize how often).
You're bouncing all over this one! Perhaps you want to take
back some of what you said so that you can be consistent?

>> sw: The authority was clearly given to the Apostles in
>> Matthew 18, and that authority lies with their successors.

> AR: Where does Matt 18 say that about their successors?

sw: This has been documented many, many times, but I will
do so again. First off, NO passage from Scripture is to be
read in a vacuum from the REST of Scripture! Matthew 18
does not mention succession, however succession IS part of
Scripture - and undeniably so.

sw: To begin with, Jesus said: "18"As (A)You sent Me into
the world, (B)I also have sent them into the world."
John 17:18
. So, as the Father sent Jesus, He sent His
Apostles. Jesus selected bishops - and thus, so should
they and so DID they.

sw: In Acts 1:20-23 we see the successor to Judas' bishoprick
selected. Some non-Catholics try to say, "but Judas' successor
had to be a witness to the ministry of Jesus," and they cite
verse 21 as their prooftext, which is fine and good. For THIS
successor they wanted one with those qualifications, but
Matthias is NOT the only other one called an Apostle in the
New Testament! St. Paul was not with them throughout Jesus'
ministry, in fact he persecuted the early Catholics! Barnabas
is also called an Apostle (Acts 14:14) as well as Apollos being
included in "us apostles" (1 Cor. 4:6-9) and within that same
context St. Paul "sends out" (literal meaning of "apostle") St.
Timothy in the same way he himself was sent out to teach
(see verse 17). Therefore this imagined condition being put
upon all who would be called "apostle" or "bishop" is simply

sw: In short, apostolic succession is not an invention of the
Catholic Church, it is quite scripturally sound and scripturally
based. So again we must urge those reading this whose
"teachers" or "leaders" or "elders" are not in valid succession
to the Apostles - flee from them!

In another thread on the same blog, Edward said:

> Ed: Their (Catholics) argument is based on the authority
> of the Majesterium, it becomes an existential problem as
> to whether or not they even have the right authority
> without severely begging the question. Unless they can
> find some irrefutable epistemological formula to prove
> the pope et al. are the true church, they are left with
> that bugaboo, "private interpretation" to determine which
> authority to follow. Thus they are no better than the
> prots, despite the protestations of the RCs.

sw: We see the old, "they're no better than us" argument, as
if that were a valid argument. It's not! If we're both wrong
about this - then we both go to hell! The fact of the matter
though is based in the Scriptures I quoted to Alan above.
There truly IS valid apostolic succession in THE Church which
Jesus Christ built. Outside of communion with that succession
you are following impostors who are there to "fool, even the
elect" and/or have been fooled themselves into believing they
are on the right path. However, if apostolic succession is
real, and I believe I've made a pretty good foundational case
for that, then we must reject any who are not part of that
succession and/or in communion with that succession. These
other teachers/elders are preaching a "different gospel" and
should be avoided at all cost. Even if it means going against
family and friends - you must follow the Truth.

> Ed continues: Also, once they start arguing over history,
> what the Scriptures or the Fathers say about the pope,
> they are behaving just like those "chaotic" prots who
> supposedly lean on their own understanding. They are, in
> so borrow a phrase, starting with orthodoxy and
> establishing authority. If their interlocutor is a prot, they
> just keep waving the authority card in his face because
> they can say their church is the real deal (which I do not
> believe, of course) because it is "older", but when the
> opponent is EO (Eastern Orthodox), their situation is
> different because they make similar claims based on
> similar arguments, but the EOs have a different outcome.
> Just watch a discussion between an EO and RC about
> e.g. papal infallibility or divine simplicity vs. essence/energies,
> and you will see that when they cannot just wave the
> authority card to stop discussion, they have a hard slog
> justifying their beliefs on purely rational grounds.

sw: Well, for one thing when the discussion is with someone
from Eastern Orthodoxy, yes - the discussion IS different
because they too have valid apostolic succession. What
they lack is communion with the See of Peter. You are
not from Eastern Orthodoxy, so I'll save that discussion
for one who is (and I am in a paused debate at the time
of this writing with someone from Orthodoxy). The point
is, what we may say to Orthodoxy is different from what
we'd say to Protestants - that's a given - but the position
of Protestantism is EVEN LESS than that of Orthodoxy, so this line of argument does not help Edward's cause. I am
also in a private discussion currently with a friend of mine
who is seriously considering the move to Orthodoxy, I
only bring this up to let you know, I am quite familiar with
dealing with discussions and apologetics with Orthodoxy.
I may share some of those discussions on my blog after
making anonymous my friend's name, or at least my
responses to him. But back to the point, you're not of
the Orthodox persuasion, so to throw that into the mix
at this point is nothing short of a distraction tactic. As
I deal with you, I will be dealing with a Protestant and
will draw upon my own experiences and insights from
when I too was a Protestant. THIS discussion is about
authority and distinguishing the differences between
Catholic and Protestant authority - let's stick to that,
shall we? That being said, you appear to be conceding
the Catholic position to a point when you say we wave
the authority card because we're older. That argument
does indeed have merit, but it is not our only argument.

> Ed continues: I think this is usually a problem with

> arguments from authority--unless everyone accepts
> the authority they are pretty useless. Hence the
> constant skirmishing with RCs stating that prots are
> bound by "private interpretation" while they are only
> following a God-ordained authority. Well, what if it
> isn;t a God-ordained authority, and what if there are
> other choices we can base om the same criteria?

sw: Well, therein lies your burden of proof! Prove to us that God didn't ordain the first Catholic bishops and then they, through the Holy Ghost, ordained the succession of bishops throughout history to this day. There are other points for me to raise, but for now this one should suffice.

>> Ed concludes: If they were consistent, they would say
>> that there is chaos among those who claim an infallible
>> authority.

sw: First off, don't you claim to cling to an infallible authority?

sw: Second, the "you're as bad as we are" argument is not a valid one.

"EA" wrote:
> Lay Catholics (as well as others) are divided over

> issues like abortion, where is the INFALLIBLE teaching
> on that? There are encyclicals and various other
> writings from individual theologians which are not
> infallible, but there is no ex cathedra teaching on it,
> yet there is controversy on an issue of faith and morals.

sw: Let me just say, there's not an infallible ruling on absolutely every matter of faith and morals. As legalistic as the Catholic Church can be at times, to make such a ruling on absolutely everything which touches upon faith and morals would become so cumbersome and overwhelming. No, such rulings come about when the Church deems it is absolutely necessary. If there are ordinances in place which already cover the ground, then there the need for an infallible ruling is diminished.
sw: In the specific case of abortion, mentioned above, Canon Law is quite clear and specific on the matter, Can. 1398 "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication." By "latae sententiae" that means it is automatic. There is no "debate" on this! If you procure (or even particiapate in) an abortion, you are excommunicated and must be reconciled to the God through the means provided by Him in His Church - there's no way around this! Sure one MAY argue, but Canon Law remains in force and once a person has procured an abortion, they are not in communion with the Church and sin even greater if they ignore this fact and continue on without proper reconciliation, as if this great chasm of faith has not occurred in their life.



Sola Scriptura and RC Sproul

I actually started this article a bit ago, but when the "Protestant Canon of Scripture" discussion started leaning toward a sola scriptura discussion, I held off a bit before posting it.  I post it now:

My Response:

Sproul writes: "The Bible does not have specific text that suggests that the Bible alone is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice."  There are others, in fact a non-Catholic friend of mine on the Locutus Webboard asked about sola scriptura at NTRMin and "DTK" openly stated "no where in the Bible are these answers stated as posed," but it is rare to see a proponent of sola scriptura, in so many words flat out admit there is no specific text which suggests the Bible alone is (their) final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  Kudos for RC Sproul on that.  He goes on to say, "Those who delight to point this out, however, typically Roman Catholics and the eastern Orthodox, typically miss the point. First, their energies more often than not are aimed at the Anabaptist error that we call solo Scriptura."  First off, let me say I do not delight in this for it is a sad truth he speaks here.  How many millions have been bamboosled by the lie of sola scriptura?  There can be no joy in knowing how many souls have been taken down this false path. 

The next point I'd make is "sola" and "solo" are really two conjugations of the same word in Latin, one has masculine form the other has feminine form.  When put with the feminine noun of "scriptura" - only "sola" is appropriate.  Secondly, being Latin, "scriptura" would not be capitalized.  This isn't really against what RC Sproul is saying, just how he's saying it - and I can accept what he's saying, these are just a couple pet peeves of mine.  For the sake of the argument, I'll "make no more hay" over the use of "solo scriptura" in this response.  Sproul uses this differentiation between those who use Scripture as their final authority and those who would essentially use Scripture as the only authority.  In actuality, those whom he would say adhere to the Anabaptist error are indeed adherents to sola scriptura - whereas a more accurate term for folks like Sproul would be fina scriptura since Scripture is not the only authority but it is the final authority.  In that respect whether you're calling it sola or solo scriptura - it is a-historical as well as reprehensible and ignorant to cling to the "sole" authority concept.

RC Sproul goes on to say:
Sola Scriptura, like the Scriptures themselves, recognizes that God has gifted the church with teachers and pastors. It recognizes that the church has progressed and reached consensus on critical issues in and through the ancient ecumenical creeds. It affirms with vigor that we are all standing on the shoulders of giants. But it also affirms that even these giants have feet of clay. And there is where the Bible does in the end teach sola Scriptura.

I missed something there...  where does the Bible teach sola scriptura?  Let's try to get this straight, the Bible allegedly affirms "these giants have feet of clay," and supposedly from that "this is where the Bible does in the end teach sola Scriptura (sic)."  This is a complete non-sequitur.  Just because an authority has "feet of clay" (man), that is not an affirmation of anything being a sole or even final authority.

Sola Scriptura (sic) is a biblical doctrine not because the Bible says so. That would be a tautology- the kind of argument we find in that collection of lies the Book of Mormon. Instead the Bible is our alone final authority because it alone is the Word of God. It has been attested, authenticated, by God Himself. Miracles serve as the divine imprimatur, the proof that this is a message of God. This is how Nicodemus reasoned when he said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2). This is also how Jesus Himself reasoned when He first forgave the sins of the paralytic lowered through the roof. In response to the unspoken charge that He had blasphemed, Jesus told the man, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house” (Matthew 9:1-8).

Let us first ask how finding the explicit teaching that Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice is a tautology.  A tautology is a needlessly repeated statement which does not provide additional force to the comment (eg. "a necessary requirement" or "one after the other in succession" or "to reiterate again" how about "joint cooperation?").   If there were a passage in Scripture which said, "Scripture is the final authority on all matters of faith and practice" where's the tautology?  The point is, whether it is a tautology or not, it is not recorded in Scripture, period.

I'll leave the accusation upon the Book of Mormon alone for now not that I disagree, just that it seems an emotional and unsupported appeal to stir up anti-Mormonism.  The appeal would have substance if he gave us a couple of examples of these lies.  Unsubstantiated claims (whether I agree with them or not) should be avoided - so I am.

This brings us to the statement, "the Bible is our alone final authority because it alone is the Word of God."  And we must ask, where does the Bible itself teach that the Bible alone is the Word of God?  God spoke through the Prophets, was every word they spoke inscripturated?  Scripture itself also promises that the Holy Ghost would be with His Church, guiding the Church to all truth until Jesus returns again in glory - is the Holy Ghost mute?   Sproul uses Nicodemus as an example of Scripture teaching that Jesus is of God based upon the miracles Jesus did, "for no man can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."  Again with the non sequitur!  The fact that one does signs and wonders does not automatically equate to God being with him or the voice of God speaking through him!  Scripture even tells us that Pharoah's magicians performed signs and wonders matching Moses up to the final plague, does that mean Pharoah's magicians were with God because they performed signs?  The Beast/AntiChrist of Revelation 13 is mortally wounded and heals itself! 
"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing." [2 Thes. 2:9-10]
So signs and wonders are not the true sign that someone is with God or not!  They could be, but based on that alone you have a 50/50 chance.

Sproul goes on to say:
I would be quite content to add as a second infallible and inerrant authority the ancient creeds of the church under the following conditions. First, those who gathered to formulate these creeds would need to have their message authenticated by miraculous works. Let them raise men from the dead.

We must answer to Sproul with 2 Thes. 2:9-10. 

Sproul continues:
Second, we must add those creeds to our Bibles. If both sources are equally authoritative, why do we separate them?

Why must these be added to the Bible?  Sproul already concedes there is no Scripture which states or even suggests that the Bible alone is the final authority on matter of faith or practice, so why insist upon this "solo" mentality? 

Sproul even states:
In like manner, I’d be content to add as a second infallible and inerrant authority the statements of the Pope when He speaks ex cathedra. First, however, let him raise men from the dead. Second, let us add his words, assuming he would even tell us what they were, to our canon.

We must answer to Sproul with 2 Thes. 2:9-10 again.  Signs and wonders do not a prophet make!  Signs and wonders do not equivocate to one who speaks for God.

Next Sproul echos the same tome which anyone who has been around apologetics at all has seen:
But wait, there’s more. I want an authoritative list, in both instances of what these messages are. Ask someone Orthodox to show you exactly where you can read their infallible tradition and you will receive slippery ooze. Ask someone Roman Catholic for a list of infallible papal or consiliar statements, and you will receive the same.

Now, whereas we do have lists - no pope or council has seen it necessary to have an infallible list of dogmatic teachings.  You can turn to Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitionum (Sources of Catholic Dogma) or Dr. Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma as rather exhaustive lists; but let us ask RC Sproul to provide us with the authoritative list of books which should be compiled into what he now calls The Bible!  In asking us to provide such lists, he defeats his own position because Scripture alone does not provide us with the authoritative list of what IS Scripture!  In fact, when on the subject of sola scriptura, as the Protestant final authority, it is a bit of a diversion to throw out a table-turning question to Catholics, or a red herring tactic to divert attention from where sola scriptura lacks even the capability to declare what necessarily comprises the Canon of Sacred Scripture.  On the other hand, Catholicism does not declare a single final authority in all matters.  For some matters, even most, Scripture is sufficient; however Scripture is silent on many matters, especially those involving moral decisions with modern technology, such as cloning and in vitro fertilization.
I will add, whether or not the Catholic Church has an infallible list of infallible documents has no bearing on the sola scriptura debate.  I maintain that the Scriptures are inerrant, however I would not say they are infallible.   People come up with fallible interpretations of Scripture all the time - which does not affect the inerrancy of Scripture - but Scripture does not interpret itself and even warns us that Scripture is hard to understand and can be interpreted to ones own destruction (St. Peter speaking of St. Paul's Epistles, 2 Peter 3:16).

Sproul begins to wrap it up here:
Finally, there is this problem. In both instances, Rome and Orthodoxy, you run headlong into the problem of the infinite regress. That is, those who are less strident in their views on tradition, who deny that tradition carries additional content to the Scripture, instead argue that tradition gives an infallible and inerrant interpretation of Scripture. Okay. Where then can we find an infallible and inerrant interpretation of the interpretation? Assuming we could succeed there, of course, we would need an inerrant interpretation of the interpretation of the interpretation. Ad nauseum.

All Sproul provides here is a slippery slope argument.  The fact of the matter is, Scripture itself tells us that the Holy Ghost would be with Jesus' Church until the end of the age.  Did "the age" begin or end in 1517?  No, and if we were to accept it "began" there - then we'd have to also accept that for nearly 1500 years the Holy Ghost was not with His Church - or that His Church did not exist for that period of time.  Either way, it would make the promise of Scripture to be false for "until He returns again" does not exclude that 1500 year period.

And Sproul concludes this article with:
No, the Bible is God’s Word. It is perspicuous, understandable. It says what it means and means what it says. It is attested by the miraculous power of God. And it is all these things, alone. It alone, all by itself, equips us for every good work. Flee anyone who tells you that more is required to understand, or more is required to obey.

Again, we must remind Sproul of his concession - The Bible does not have specific text that suggests that the Bible alone is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  Nowhere does it teach that it (the Bible) alone, all by itself, equips us for every good work. Miracles alone are not absolute evidence something comes from God.

In short, not only does Sproul concede this debate from the onset - his rationalizations are proven to be illogical and not competent to stand under criticism.  Anyone who has believed what RC Sproul teaches on this subject should flee from him.


What the

All I can say is "what the heck" is this all about?! Former New Jersey Governor McGreevey (you remember him, the one from the truck-stop gay encounters, who left his wife, two kids and the Catholic Faith to be with is gay "lover") is in training to be an Anglican "priest."


Protestant Canon of Sacred Scripture

This entry is a continuation from here. The previous discussion was really about another topic initially and drifted to one about the Canon of Scripture - so rather than continue under the "Works and Grace" series, I am starting this new thread which better entitles the canon discussion.

Why are you so reluctant to just present this allegedly overlooked Deuterocanonical book? I DID go through that series of posts, and did not see what you're referring to. I DID present you with the decree from Trent defining the canon to be according to the old Latin Vulgate. What's missing? All you did was point us down another rabbit hole of a two year old conversation. If I missed this elusive Deuterocanonical book, enlighten me. I have respectfully asked you now a number of times to just provide the name of this book.

Alan, you were asked to provide us with the canon God allegedly provides you defining the Canon of Sacred Scripture - you're evading your responsibility to present this canon - which somehow you have straight from God, assuming you're not willing to give credit where credit is due, namely that God used the Catholic Church to provide you with this canon.

Comparing apples to apples, I can show and HAVE SHOWN you the Canon of Sacred Scripture as defined by the Holy Ghost through the Catholic Church - your challenge is to demonstrate you arrive at YOUR canon outside the Catholic Church.

Your attempt to distract this challenge and "table turn" has not and will not work. You resort to vulgarity and have clearly demonstrated you have lost another round in our debates in doing so.

That being said, your challenge to me regarding a canon of infallible teachings HAS BEEN ANSWERED! I do not deny we do not have such a list. I have explained to you that the Church has not seen the need for such an infallible list. We have the definitions available to us in several sources, a couple of which have been brought to your attention (Denzinger's and Ott's compilations).

So no, we're NOT "as bad" as you are! We HAVE a defined Canon of Sacred Scripture - infallibly declared so at Trent. You have only that what you have received FROM US (minus a few books which Luther chose not to include). You might argue that St. Jerome expressed reservations regarding the Deuterocanonical books - and you'll get no argument from me there - I agree, he DID express concerns, but the book in question ARE part of the canon he ultimately published and ARE what make up what was defined by the Church and were included in the decrees at the councils of Rome, Carthage and Hippo prior to his publishing of the old Latin Vulgate.

In summary, you are still left with the open challenge to document the Canon of Sacred Scripture as something other than what you have received through the Holy Ghost's working in the Catholic Church. You are still left with the challenge to document this alleged Deuterocanonical book which was "passed over in silence" by the Council of Trent.

Yours truly in JMJ,


Decree from Trent regarding the Canon of Sacred Scripture:
If anyone does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions, let him be anathema. Source.

Works and Grace IV

Alan, aka "Rhology" is continuing the discussion on Works and Grace, but what really started from a discussion on "Roman" Catholic vs. "Catholic" alone being appropriate or not and was started from a comment made on my blog regarding something James White said on his blog. It then also branched out into Alan's personal attacks and probes about me. We see this quite often, unfortunately, that when confronted one of the first things these (typically Calvinist) apologists do is go into character assassination instead of dealing wholly with the point(s) of discussion. Well, enough of an introduction, on with this response to Alan. I will say too, on this matter I think we've about reached an end.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Seen Scott Windsor's imprimatur?

My Response:
Scott Windsor does not give imprimaturs.

Alan wrote:
Scott Windsor has responded to some of our recent interactions on his blog, in two parts. I'll address this first part here and then go on to the other post later.

> sw: It was YOU who referred to the Eph. 2 post

Yes, that's what's commonly called an "example". An "illustration". I apologise for using a concept that's apparently unfamiliar to you.

My Response:

Alan, save the sarcasm. I fully understand what examples and illustrations are, but how could I not respond to that when you posted it, linked it and made it part of what you were saying to me? If I had skipped over it you likely would have accused me of avoiding that discussion. The point is, you brought it up and then accused me of introducing differing subjects when I merely responded to the subjects YOU raised!

Alan wrote:
My question related to that post was very, very specific. You then responded to the Eph 2 post itself, which is not what I asked about. That is what I mean by your failure to follow the line of argumentation, and then you project your failure onto me and accuse me of shotgunning and partaking with Satan. Again, knock yourself out.

My Response:
Again, I could not just ignore what you wrote in your Eph. 2 posting when you explicitly referenced it as an example. I suppose I could have, but to what end?

Alan wrote:
> sw: Since when does a "boldfaced word" indicate
> an internal critique? Boldfaced words mean emphasis.

Sigh. The bold word indicates a critique. If you weren't so busy acting offended, you might remember that I've already explained this to you.
-Here's the original comment from me.
-Mr Windsor's is right after, where he says: "Your use of "Romanist" in a truly bigoted fashion (related to another thread going on here and on my blog too as well as White's) is noted...but even make sure we take note by using bold text?"
-My next comment explains: "I put "from Romanists" in bold b/c I was trying to help you understand what I'd said. It appeared you hadn't followed that I was noting an inconsistency between what you'd said and what *other* ppl have said many times in the past."
-Mr Windsor ignores my explanation and offers this: "For example, if I were using a term like "Prottie" here - and someone expressed to ME that it was a bit of a bigoted term - I would respect them and refrain from further use - I would not go on and not only use it, but bold face it as well!"
-I responded in the next comment: "And again (see how boldface imparts emphasis?), I bolded "Romanist" to try to be helpful and direct attention to my meaning." And then I even explained it AGAIN: "Thus you are showing that you care not for the argument that *OTHER PEOPLE* have often made *IN THE PAST* here on this blog, that private, individual interpretation is useless. That is the extent of my point here."

My Response:
1) You first state that a bold word indicates a critique then in the same context you AGREE WITH ME and say "see how boldface imparts emphasis?" So, critique or emphasis?

2) I am not offended. I apologize if I have made it appear so. It takes a bit more than what you have dished out to "offend" me.

3) No matter how you slice it - "Romanist" is a bigoted word. So, to steal a line from Meredith Wilson, "You watch your phraseology!" Why you folks see the need to defend the usage of such a word is beyond me.

Alan wrote:
-Mr Windsor seems finally to get it: "I can't speak for "*OTHER PEOPLE*" - but as for me, the only times I would have to be concerned about "private interpretation" is if I am interpreting something contrary to an already defined teaching"

If only you'd kept right on that train of thought, but no, it's apparently more amusing to vilify me. Whatever, have fun with that.

My Response:
As for vilifying you, I was just pointing something out - but hey, if the shoe fits.

As for "finally gets it," I stand by what I said and have not wavered from that statement. Private interpretation is used by us ALL - we only get into trouble if our private interpretation is contrary to an already defined interpretation. Frankly, I don't know of any Catholic who would disagree with that statement. Well, "only" is a big word there, let me amend that - we could also get ourselves into trouble if our private interpretation, regardless of validity, is scandalous.

Alan wrote:
> sw: As I pointed out, there were at least 5 different topics
> among those 8 questions.

Yes, b/c YOU RESPONDED TO THE EPH 2 POST, Mr Windsor. Sauce for the goose and all that.
And there aren't 5 diff topics. They're all directed at taking your comment that "works" in Eph 2 refers to "works of the OT Law", so I was asking you if you attempt to fulfill the OT Law since Eph 2:10 says we're created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Since "works" = "works of the OT Law", it should be obvious to any reader that, if you believe that, you'd better get right on top of obeying the OT Law!
I note in passing that you've never put fwd any answer beyond "Christ fulfilled the OT Law for us"...as if you completely forgot the original context of the question - Eph 2. It's yet another thread of the argument you've lost track of, but I'll look at your other post on that topic.

My Response:
And if you're going to use the "Eph 2 post" as an example, I would be remiss to NOT respond to it!

I already enumerated the 5 different topics - we don't need to go through that again.

You're still confusing "works" here too. You seem to not distinguish between "good works" (which are works done in the state of grace) with "works of the Law" done outside the state of grace.

Now, if there's a question you believe I've overlooked or failed to answer, I assure you, I have not done so on purpose. If you believe I've been incomplete in answering, just ask the question again and not merely make an unsupported allegation.

Alan wrote:
> sw: Question 4 was asking about my sons (a personal question).

Seriously? Asking whether you fulfilled the circumcision commandments in the OT Law for your sons is "a personal question"?

My Response:
Yes, seriously! How can a question about what *I* have done in *MY* family NOT be a personal question? You could have made it non-personal by asking, "Is it still a necessary law to fulfill to have ones sons circumcised on the 8th day, according to Jewish custom?" No, you asked *ME* about *MY* sons. That's personal. Do you not see that? Seriously?

Alan wrote:
> sw: 5) Question 7 asked about graven images...which is
> wholly a different subject

Oh, the OT Law doesn't deal with graven images? Not even in, say, the 10 Commandments? Like the 2nd one?
Deut 7:5, 25, 12:3 29:17; Num 33:52; Lev 26:30? Aren't those psgs in the OT Law too?

My Response:
The subject was, I thought, "Works and Grace" (the title of the series of posts on my blog responding to you). The subject of "graven images" would fall under a "Thou shalt NOT..." clause - or, in short things you should NOT do, not things you SHOULD do! That would be a NON-work. Can you see now how it is a wholly different subject?

Alan wrote:
> sw: Vague references to entire postings or entire
> threads of discussion don't cut it as documentation.

I told you where to see a couple of examples. You know, as an apologist you're not all that helpful. Don't you ever answer hypotheticals? It's not like it's not a specific hypothetical.

My Response:
Let's see, you don't provide specifics, just vague references to entire threads of discussion and now *I* am the one not being helpful? Why is it you continually attempt to put your flaws upon me? To answer your question though, I avoid dealing with hypotheticals, especially non-specific ones for they lead to open-ended questions with moving targets one can seldom pin down. Such hypotheticals do NOT make for good apologetics - only twisted arguments.

Alan wrote:
> sw: It sure sounds like St. Jerome was unilaterally acting
> in the quote you provided. Did he consult the elders of that
> congregation before acting? Or, did he just walk in and
> start ripping things down? Did he consult with the local
> bishop? Did he consult with ANYONE?

(You're shotgunning again, I note. I brought this up as an EXAMPLE, and you're taking it far afield, if we go by your own standard.)
Why would he consult the elders of a wrongdoing congregation?
Maybe he was very, very certain that such a thing was wrong and acted to communicate its wrongness to that church? Maybe he had consulted with the bishop. And wait a sec, why would he need to consult with the local bishop? I thought Christians and especially bishops throughout history have been in agreement about such important things as images. No doubt he agreed with you and knew his own bishop said images in church are a no-go, and thus figured the local bishop would agree, since bishops in Christ's church bind and loose and all that and have all that unity you like to talk about so often.

My Response:
See what I mean! Even in this rather specific situation, wherein we don't know all the details, the "hypothetical" or "speculated" answers are moving targets. No matter how I responded, you would have found another move/target to choose and attempt to demonstrate how I missed. Thank you for providing this perfect example of why I try to avoid such.

As for "all that unity you (me) like to talk about so often..." when have I discussed "unity" with you - or are you just "shotgunning" again?

Alan wrote:
> sw: There may be some (images) around, but I
> don't "use them" in "worship."

Let the reader judge whether the actions performed by RCs before their images is "using them" in "worship".

My Response:
No, the reader doesn't get to judge my personal intentions behind my worship!

Alan wrote:
One can find SOME of the defined teachings of the RCC in many places. Others are said to be defined but are not. Some, it would be nice if they were, but they're not, such as an infallible list of infall teachings, a list of the infallibly-interpreted Scr psgs, etc.
But for the 3rd time, you say on the one hand that it's the reader's responsibility to figure it out, and on the other decry this individual interpretation if it differs from the RCC's teachings. How can we know who's right here?
IOW, you're asking me to act like a Protestant. It's really weird.
How about you actually exercise some of this humility you claim and submit ALL your work to the Magisterium for the imprimatur? What's so wrong with that request?

My Response:
Again asking about this "infallible list of infallible teachings." The Church hasn't seen the need for such a list, not to mention that such a list would be outdated as soon as another definition is made. I'm not asking you to do anything - I'm telling you (as you've been told before) there ARE lists available for you to look at - you are just insisting upon one, infallible list - when you know such a list does not exist.

As for your request for me to submit my work - that's already in progress. Patience, Grasshopper, patience!

Alan wrote:
Anyway, the main point of this whole thing is that Mr Windsor apparently wants everyone to take his word for it on the question of whether he's submitted to the Magisterium. "Oh don't worry," he says, "I've written to my bishop, and in the past I've had good success getting a response." That's nice, and I'm sure such responses from men who wear such elaborate vestments and who hide and transfer pædophiles and can't decide what to do with obviously pro-baby-murder politicians among their constituents impart warm fuzzies, but from someone who's a little closer to the big-time than an anonymous race-baiting RC commenter like, say, Dozie, I'd like more than his assurance.

I've seen "Dozie" on BA, but beyond that, I do not know much about him (or her). But look at all the diversions you threw into the above statement! First, what's the subject? Works and Grace, right? But that has been diverted to a discussion on whether or not I am subject to the Magisterium. Then you talk about getting responses from men who wear elaborate vestments, as if what a person wears has anything to do with anything here. Next you talk about old news of bishops who hide and transfer pedophiles. Next you talk about alleged inability to deal with pro-baby-murder politicians and warm fuzzies. And finally you talk about some other apologist and state you want more assurance. And you wonder why I mention "shotgunning" and "diversion/confusion" tactics which are truly "tools of Satan," the Father of Confusion. Alan, you've heard the phrase asking, "If the shoe fits?" Well, you're already wearing that shoe!

Alan wrote:
I mean, I'm supposed to let RCC's dogmatic proclamations bind my conscience on pain of mortal sin (or, on pain of somehow wriggling out from under the virtual panacæa of the concept of "invincible ignorance"), but if Mr Windsor relies on his private interpretation to find out whether his own teachings are thus bound, I feel less motivated to do anything more than that.

My Response:
I am sorry that I am not a better example for you. I will try harder, but don't try to blame your lacking on me. When you stand before the Judgment Seat, God's not going to listen to excuses like, "But Scott Windsor didn't say it that way...." No Alan, you have the responsibility to KNOW YOUR FAITH. If I am lacking in any way, shape or form - and I'm sure I am on some points - then SEEK THE TRUTH. There is such a thing as "mortal sin" (a "sin which is unto death" 1 John 5:16-17). There ARE men whom Jesus selected with the authority to forgive sins (John 20:23) so if you're not in communion with one who has such authority... well, I'm digressing into this diversion a bit, and I haven't even touched upon the diversion of "Invincible Ignorance."


White Roman Catholic II

White on "Roman" Catholicism (continued)...

Below I have captured White's blog, which I will put into boxes and then offer my responses to what he says.

11/01/2009 - James White

In a comment left on James Swan's blog (and then removed, I might add), Frank Beckwith noted:
I use the term "Reformation" and "Reformers" even though I do not believe that there was any real Reformation for which the Reformers are morally responsible. Nevertheless, I use the terms out of respect for my Protestant brothers and sisters.
As if the Council of Trent (we won't revisit Dr. Beckwith's comments on Trent in his interview with Greg Koukl) would have done what it did without the Reformation as its background! I'm sure there were plenty of folks in Rome who wanted to keep the money spigot on "full blast" with the sale of indulgences, but that troubling German monk really messed that up. I wonder if the "reformation" of indulgences would have happened without the Reformers?
My response: Was there abuse going on regarding the "sale" of indulgences? Yes. Was this "reformed" by the Church? Yes. So, if this were the only issue Luther had, then why did he remain outside the Church after this "reform" within the Church? The obvious answer is there was far more to it than just a complaint about indulgences. The deeper matter was political and coupled with the fact that Luther was being "used" by the German princes in stirring the Peasants War in their effort to seize Church property and, by force, make Lutheranism the "Church of State" to exercise their will, fully, in Germany. Lutheranism then spread like Communism did in the 20th century.
But again, we cannot be overly surprised at such a comment. Dr. Beckwith has returned to Rome, and we would not expect him to see the Reformation as a time when the light of the Gospel broke through the encrustations of Roman tradition.
My Response: No, Dr. Beckwith and I would both see this time Protestants call the "Reformation" to be a time when a "different gospel" was invented and preached. It was a time when men (often princes) were dressed in sheeps clothing, but inwardly were ravenous wolves who were able to fool many, even the elect, into following these previously unheard of "gospels" of sola fide, sola scriptura, etc.

But as we have pointed out many times, it does not seem that Dr. Beckwith ever viewed Rome's gospel as non-saving and actually false.

My response:

"Rome's Gospel" is fundamentally found in John 3:16. If you believe and are baptized then you will not perish, but will have everlasting life in Christ Jesus. There's more to believing and faith than mere lip-service or a praying of the "sinners prayer." Believing is LIVING the life of FAITH. It is a faith with works which justifies - for faith alone is dead and cannot save.

He (Dr. Beckwith) continued:
What would be really something, by the way, would be finding Madrid, Hahn, Ray, et al using "Roman Catholic" in every single instance the word "Catholic" appears in their writings and blog post as well as employing "Papist" and "Romanist." Just like hip-hoppers who call each other "n**ger" once and a while, we Catholics can refer to each other as "Roman Catholic" every so often. We do it out of love for the Bishop of Rome; you do it out of condescension and derision. You ain't me homie, you can't use "Romie." :-)
Well, there you go. The real problem is not that Rome herself does not use terms like "Roman church" all the time, as she self-evidently does. It is that Dr. Beckwith can read the hearts of others and decide that when they speak of the Roman Church they do so out of "condescension and derision." It matters not if we explain that we believe it is necessary to be specific, as long as we do not grant to Rome her own claims to represent Christ, we are precluded from using the language she herself uses. I'm glad we have gotten that straight.
My Response: Well, one can see that the likely reason Dr. Beckwith pulled that comment was that he likely did not want to get into a discussion about "n**ger" - which, though it IS a valid comparison, can be an inflammatory one. I am not aware of fellow Catholics actually "using" the terms "Papist" and "Romanist" in some fraternal way - other than I have witnessed some friends use the terms in a satirical way or perhaps in such a manner as to embrace the insult. The fact remains that typically when non-Catholics use terms like "Romanist," "Papist" or "Romish," and even at times even just "Roman," the context exposes their, shall we say... less than charitable usage. What we see White doing through all this is rationalizing his way (and the ways of others) so they don't feel less-than-Christian in deliberately insulting Catholics. On the same day, White also posted this to his blog:
So I was directed to a blog article written by one of the first Roman Catholics I engaged, years and years ago (late 1980s), on the subject of Rome’s claims. For many years I tried to correct Mr. Windsor’s misapprehensions and confusion, to no avail (though, in retrospect, I learned a lot myself, which may have been God’s purpose in the extended correspondence and contact).
My Response: For many years I tried to correct White's misapprehensions and confusion, to no avail (though, in retrospect, I learned a lot myself, which was, IMHO, God's purpose in leading me to contact him and challenge myself in my new found faith). I have been able to answer to every single challenge White put before me, and have answered those challenges - White cannot say the same for he has left several challenges and exposed errors unanswered.

He continues to miss the essence of my points. He writes,

That being said, White rightly points out that our communion is with the “Bishop of Rome.” However, he wrongly states it is not with the bishop of Constantinople, Naples, London or Milwaukee - for as much as those bishops are in communion with the Bishop of Rome, we are also in communion with them!

I never said there was no communion with those bishops, of course. I said that it is not communion with those bishops that defines the teachings of the Roman church, as seen with such clarity above. You will not find any dogmatic teachings of Rome that speak of the bishop of Milwaukee in the terms seen above.
My Response: St. Ignatius, 3rd successor to St. Peter at Antioch says it best:
You must all follow the lead of the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed that of the Father; follow the presbytery as you would the Apostles; reverence the deacons as you would God's commandment. Let no one do anything touching the Church, apart from the bishop. Let that celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid which is held under the bishop or anyone to whom he has committed it. Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not permitted without authorization from the bishop either to baptize or to hold an agape (Eucharist); but whatever he approves is also pleasing to God. Thus everything you do will be proof against danger and valid. (Source).
Who can add to that? It is the bishop who approves what the priests and deacons do, and let nothing touching the Church be apart from the bishop. Those are some pretty strong words supporting the Catholic Church and from, as I said, St. Peter's 3rd successor at Antioch who was also a direct disciple under St. John the Apostle.

Mr. Windsor goes on with a number of oft-refuted arguments in support of the papacy (anyone who has watched any of the debates we have done on the papacy over the past 15 years knows how to respond to each of these simple arguments).
My response: Well, first a correction - it's been more than 20 years! I guess White can explain that "over the past 15 years" does not necessarily exclude the previous 5 years - only that he was focusing on the past 15 years, minor point - let's move on. Secondly, if they were so simple, why not refute them quickly again? I posit that last response was a cop-out. Further, what has White to say about the quote from St. Ignatius? Who is White's bishop? Where's the "apostolic" succession - or has White merely followed impostors who were able to fool, even the elect?
In JMJ, Scott<<<

Works and Grace III

Alan, AKA "Rhology" wrote:
> Now, at the risk of inciting your wrath for moving
> to a topic that you yourself addressed in the
> same post as another topic once upon a time, I'd
> like to talk about your reaction to Eph 2.

sw: Well, actually this is more of the topic which I was dealing with in the Works and Grace series on the CathApol Blog. So, no "wrath" from me, as if I had any against you yet to begin with!

Alan continues:
> Notice how, again, "works" appears TWICE in the
> psg. You're proposing that "not as a result of works"
> = works of the OT Law, while "created in Christ
> Jesus for good works" is something totally different?
> Even though they appear one sentence of each other?

sw: Yes, but not absolutely. "Works of the Law" CAN be "good works" if one is in the State of Grace FIRST.

Alan continues:
> On what basis do you conclude that Paul would find
> "works of the Law" to be a bad thing?

sw: I never said "works of the Law" is a bad thing. Please be careful not to put words into my mouth and/or to not create straw man argumentation.

Alan continues:
> Isn't he the guy who calls the Law "holy, righteous, and good"?

sw: Again, I do not call "works of the Law" to be "bad" things. They simply do not justify. "Good works" DO justify, but in order for a "work" to be considered "good" one must already be in the "State of Grace." If you're not aware of that concept, I would be happy to explain it further to you.

Alan continues:
> Don't rush off to your misinterpretation of James, please - stick
> with Eph 2, lest you shotgun off into the tools of Satan again.

sw: James 2 is "on topic" with regard to "works," "faith," and "justification." To ignore what St. James said is to ignore the context of Scripture which God provides His People. Certainly you're not avoiding what St. James said, are you? How have I misrepresented St. James? I "quoted" him! He is the one who says sola fide (faith alone) is dead - not me! He is the ONLY New Testament writer to put the words "faith" and "alone" together and when he does so it is in complete negation of the concept of sola fide! Look at this honestly and then ask yourself "What else did Luther and later Calvin lie to me about?"

Alan continues:
> Focus - on what basis do you switch the two instances of
> "works" to different meanings, one quite good and one quite
> unsavory, in Eph 2?

I did so, above.


Chasing White Rabbits

Alan, AKA "Rhology" said:
> Sorry, I did not mean to mix up priest with bishop.
> My apologies.


Secondly, the "tool of Satan" approach I accused you of relates to the fact that you are shotgunning this discussion. If you do not wish to have this label put upon you - then I suggest you stick to the point and avoid distractions and confusion tactics.

> There is one point to most of my post, addressed from
> various angles, and then the 2nd part is devoted to
> answering you on Eph 2. I'm a bit distressed to learn
> you think this is a "tool of Satan" approach

Distraction and confusion are tools of the Father of Confusion. If you use his tools on me, I'll call you on it.

> (in this comment you're hardly a model of restraint
> and civility),

I answered you frankly so that you might see that you were engaging in such "tools" - and to HELP you focus your discussion better.

> especially since you were the one who mixed the
> two issues into one post on this very blog.

Whoa! It was YOU who referred to the Eph. 2 post in the middle of your questioning me about private interpretation! I was RESPONDING to YOUR post from the BA blog!

> You apparently have difficulty following lines of
> argumentation, as I've noticed in 3 different ways
> during even his brief interaction.
> 1) You forgot or neglected to mention who was
> the one who mixed the topics to begin with.

I forgot nothing and didn't think I would have to mention that it was YOU who introduced the Eph. 2 post in the matter of the private interpretation discussion. I am not the one who appears to be having difficulty following the lines of argumentation and after that false accusation, an apology from you would be in order - if you're into being civil, that is.

> 2) You have at least twice shown poor recognition
> of the fact that I was performing an internal critique
> of the RC position, as indicated by, for example, a
> boldfaced word in the first comment you replied to.

Since when does a "boldfaced word" indicate an internal critique? Boldfaced words mean emphasis.

> 3) You are unable to see how my "8 different
> questions" all converge on a single topic - the
> relation of Old Covenant to your exegesis of Eph 2.

As I pointed out, there were at least 5 different topics among those 8 questions. Let me enumerate for you:

1) Questions 1-3 and 8 were all on "works of the Law" vs. "good works."

2) Question 4 was asking about my sons (a personal question).

3) Question 5 asked about how we (Catholics) solved the problem the Jews have regarding having no Temple to perform sacrifices.

4) Question 6 asks why Catholics don't celebrate Yom Kippur?

5) Question 7 asked about graven images.

Now yes, you COULD tie all these together, well, all but question 7 - which is wholly a different subject, as "works of the Law" TYPE questions - but you go
off on WILD tangents ranging from a personal question to a "no Temple" question, to a non-celebration of a Jewish holiday. These are distractions from the subject at hand.

> But if it makes you feel better to go all "you speak
> as Satan speaks!!!!11" on me, I suppose that's
> your prerogative.

I didn't say those words - I said you were using his tools. If you don't want to be so accused, stop using his tools.

> You said:
>> First off, you cited the argument you use - you
>> did not cite a specific example of a Catholic
>> using the argumentation you allege we use.
> The examples are virtually innumerable.

That's beside the point. You presented an unsubstantiated assertion - and I called you on it.

> Example one: We can see that this sole rule of
> faith called "Scripture alone", is shaping up to be,
> "my personal interpretation alone".
> Example two: See the quotes from Steve Ray.
> So, so many comments from RCs in the Beggars
> All comboxes.
> An example from the very thread in which you
> were recently involved.
> It is virtually indistinguishable, at any rate, from
> the RC claim that the Scripture is not formally
> sufficient/perspicuous.

Vague references to entire postings or entire threads of discussion don't cut it as documentation. You provided me with three links, but only one undocumented quote from the first link. I'm not going to be doing your homework for you, Alan.

> You said:
>> For St. Jerome, he was acting in his own
>> personal judgment/interpretation.
> OK, now how do you know that is true? (I'd say
> this is at the very heart of the real issue I was
> targeting when we originally talked.)

It sure sounds like St. Jerome was unilaterally acting in the quote you provided. Did he consult the elders of that congregation before acting? Or, did he just
walk in and start ripping things down? Did he consult with the local bishop? Did he consult with ANYONE?

> You said:
>> For the first quote from St. Irenaeus - I am not
>> sure what your getting at here.
> You use images in worship.

No I don't. There may be some around, but I don't
"use them" in "worship."

> But look, I'm not going to get enmeshed in this
> icon/idol debate here. That's been done before.
> Isn't it interesting, though, how all of a sudden
> you're shotgunning? Hmm...

Hmmmm, it was YOUR "shotgunning" which *I* was pointing out! You're NOW admitting that this topic of icon/idol is a different subject which you do not wish to "get enmeshed in" - so I'll accept that as your concession of introducing distraction topics. I certainly did not bring up this topic originally!

> You said:
>> You rip quotes from their place in time and then
>> you seem to be attacking 21st century Catholics
>> because YOU feel in YOUR perception that
>> there's the same sort of thing going on and
>> you wish to condemn it.
> Now you're claiming mind-reading powers.

No Alan, I am merely responding to your off-topic distractions and pointing out to you how not only are they off-topic, but anachronistic.

> You know, since you brought up this whole
> "tool of Satan" thing, isn't sorcery and magic
> mind-reading/ESP a Satanic activity?

I exposed the "tool of Satan" tactics you were implementing. You can choose to stop using them, or continue using them to your own peril. That's your choice. It has nothing to do with mind-reading, sorcery or ESP.

> Now, at the risk of inciting your wrath for moving
> to a topic that you yourself addressed in the
> same post as another topic once upon a time, I'd
> like to talk about your reaction to Eph 2.

We'll do that in another post. This particular one has enough rabbit holes to confuse even Alice's White Rabbit.


Works and Grace II

Works and Grace II for Alan (Rhology)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Scott Windsor is cool with private interpretation. Why aren't you?

Mr Windsor, thanks for the time!
I just used the Eph 2 post as an example of what I was trying to bring out back at the Beggars All combox. Just to rundown for those who might not have read all that interaction...

Over here at BA, we make various arguments from the Bible against RC dogma. RCs come along and comment, and one of their principal arguments against our position is "That's just your private interpretation. We have an infallible interpreter, and so we can be sure that what the Magisterium says is the valid interp of the Bible, since she is the church founded by Christ and the gates of Hell won't prevail against her. Since you just have your private fallible interpretation, I don't need to pay attention to your contentions".

My Response:
"That's just your private interpretation" may be valid - depending on the context. If you're offering a private interpretation which differs from an infallibly defined definition (dogma) then we would have to reject your private interpretation on that given matter - but you're speaking in hypotheticals to me, and not a tangible conversation for me to comment on.

Alan continues:
He was honest enough to admit, in the 02Nov post, that his apologetic blogging is not submitted to the RCC either (but that he will heretofore make his priest aware of it). I thanked him for his honesty and pointed out that the logical outworking of this fact is that he does not consider this common argument made by other RCs at various times in the past (I am unaware whether Mr Windsor has ever used this ridiculous argument) to be a valid one. I used the Eph 2 post as an example of that, asking Mr Windsor whether he would use that argument to overturn what I'd said in the 2007 post on Eph 2. It looks like the answer is mostly no, but I am a bit quizzical on Mr Windsor's request for specifics (see the end of his post).

My Response:
I did not say I would go to my priest, but to my bishop - and I have written him.

As for the "ridiculous argument" comment - as I said - it may be quite valid, depending on the situation.

Would I use "that's just your personal interpretation" regarding Alan's use of the Eph. 2 post? No, and I answered the Eph. 2 post directly and you largely avoided dealing with what I had to say there. In fact, I get the impression that you're largely into the invalid "bait and switch" tactic - wherein you involve yourself in a discussion and then before it's over you start throwing other topics into the mix to distract and dissuade from the original topic. Such diversions are confusion tactics - and the Father of Confusion is whom you are serving when you sink to such. Stick to the topic at hand, Alan. (This becomes quite clear a little further into this post).

Alan continues:
Have you really never seen that argument used before? Not even once? Never listened to, for example, any of the many debates that James White has done with RCs over the years, wherein the RC apologists use that argument over and over?

My Response:
Alan, I am one of the first Catholics White engaged online, in fact his first couple books on Catholicism (at least) he has (informally) credited to debates between himself and me - of course MY SIDE is never fully utilized in those books, but that's a topic for another discussion. My response to you did not say anything about me never seeing that argument before. I asked you for specific cases so that I would not be commenting on intangible hypothetical arguments which quickly become moving targets.

Alan continues:
Take a couple of examples, and please know that I am trying to be very specific in my question. I don't want to get into an extended debate on the subject matter itself, but rather on the principle of "he was only speaking as a private theologian/individual, not for the entire Church" nonsense.

My Response:
You're the one asking me questions - this debate extends for as long as you are asking me valid and on-topic questions.

Alan quotes:
"Moreover, I have heard that certain persons have this grievance against me: When I accompanied you to the holy place called Bethel, there to join you in celebrating the Collect, after the use of the Church, I came to a villa called Anablatha and, as I was passing, saw a lamp burning there. Asking what place it was, and learning it to be a church, I went in to pray, and found there a curtain hanging on the doors of the said church, dyed and embroidered. It bore an image either of Christ or of one of the saints; I do not rightly remember whose the image was. Seeing this, and being loth that an image of a man should be hung up in Christ's church contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, I tore it asunder and advised the custodians of the place to use it as a winding sheet for some poor person. They, however, murmured, and said that if I made up my mind to tear it, it was only fair that I should give them another curtain in its place. As soon as I heard this, I promised that I would give one, and said that I would send it at once. Since then there has been some little delay, due to the fact that I have been seeking a curtain of the best quality to give to them instead of the former one, and thought it right to send to Cyprus for one. I have now sent the best that I could find, and I beg that you will order the presbyter of the place to take the curtain which I have sent from the hands of the Reader, and that you will afterwards give directions that curtains of the other sort--opposed as they are to our religion--shall not be hung up in any church of Christ. A man of your uprightness should be careful to remove an occasion of offence unworthy alike of the Church of Christ and of those Christians who are committed to your charge." - Epiphanius (Jerome's Letter 51:9)

"Others of them employ outward marks, branding their disciples inside the lobe of the right ear. From among these also arose Marcellina, who came to Rome under the episcopate of Anicetus, and, holding these doctrines, she led multitudes astray. They style themselves Gnostics. They also possess images, some of them painted, and others formed from different kinds of material; while they maintain that a likeness of Christ was made by Pilate at that time when Jesus lived among them. They crown these images, and set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world that is to say, with the images of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest. They have also other modes of honouring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles." (Irenæus, Against Heresies, 1:25:6)

"These men [heretics], moreover, practise magic; and use images, incantations, invocations, and every other kind of curious art." (Irenæus, Against Heresies, 1:24:5)

"the law itself exhibits justice, and teaches wisdom, by abstinence from sensible images" - Clement of Alexandria (The Stromata, 2:18)
"familiarity with the sight disparages the reverence of what is divine; and to worship that which is immaterial by matter, is to dishonour it by sense." - Clement of Alexandria (The Stromata, 5:5)
"Works of art cannot then be sacred and divine." - Clement of Alexandria (The Stromata, 7:5)

We cite these as evidence against the RC contention that the church has been RCC throughout history. RCs most typically respond with "he was just speaking as a private theologian". Do you consider that a valid response? If so, why, since the question is what the Church has believed throughout history, and isn't that response simple special pleading? If not, can you explain the disunity and fragmentation that this disagreement displays in the ranks of RCC?

My Reponse:
First off, you cited the argument you use - you did not cite a specific example of a Catholic using the argumentation you allege we use. That being said...

For St. Jerome, he was acting in his own personal judgment/interpretation. I would say this is a valid example of just that! Pictoral reminders of Jesus and/or the Saints are not idols for worship. St. Jerome's judgment was, by today's standards, an overreaction to the situation. Now, perhaps if we put things in perspective, when the Catholic Church was just emerging from the persecution of Pagan Rome - such images may have been confusing to the converts to Christianity. However, his reasoning - which was his own private judgment, went a bit too far.

For the first quote from St. Irenaeus - I am not sure what your getting at here. We have images which honor the Saint or Jesus Himself. We do not worship images as idols as did the Gentiles of his day.

For the second quote from St. Irenaeus - we do not practice magic or use incantations in some sort of Wiccan sense. I do not know what he means by "curious art." The point is, our "art" is not worshiped as gods/idols. We have no other gods before Him.

For the quotes from St. Clement - no image is divine in Catholic practice.

You rip quotes from their place in time and then you seem to be attacking 21st century Catholics because YOU feel in YOUR perception that there's the same sort of thing going on and you wish to condemn it. I'm not buying your anachronistic argumentation. Keep in mind, in the days of these Church Fathers - idol worship of actual idols was still a very big thing in the surrounding countries. Even in Rome itself, I sincerely doubt all idol worship sudden stopped when Constantine converted.

Alan continues:
Now, on the other topic, your response to my contention with respect to Eph 2, [1] since Paul goes on to mention circumcision, that means that v 10 - "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" is a command to perform the works of the Law, correct? [2] Why does not the RCC do so, then? [3] When was the last time you offered a grain offering? [4] Were your sons (if you have any) circumcised on the 8th day? [5] How have you solved the problem that has long vexed the Jewish people, that you don't have a Temple in which to perform the sacrifices? [6] Why isn't Yom Kippur a big, big deal on the RC calendar? [7] Why is it OK (a propos) to bow down to graven images now even though Joshua wouldn't've permitted Jews to bow down to images of the dead (but no doubt sainted) Moses?
[8] And could you please answer another of the original challenges? - our RC friends are saying that justification is at least PARTLY due to works, ie, justification is not by faith alone, in light of your statement No Catholic argues that works of the Law justify. It sounds like you are saying precisely that. Clarification would be appreciated.

My Responses:
Wow, 8 different questions! You are apparently a bit flustered by my direct response to your Ephesians 2 article and feel the need to distract and throw several topics into the fray all at once. So as to not be accused of avoiding your questions I will answer them this time - but if you continue this (tool of Satan) tactic, then my time for you will have run out. Stick to the topic, focus on one point at a time. You will not continue to get away with such tactics with me.

[1] No. It is a command to perform "good works" and the context is specifically opposing "works of the Law."
[2] Answered above.
[3] Answered above.
[4] My sons have been circumcised, but not according to the Jewish custom.
[5] The Old Covenant has been fulfilled, we are under the New Covenant. Our Sacrifice is offered as Jesus Christ Himself commanded us to "Do this..."
[6] Answered above.
[7] You seem to overlook that Moses himself, at the command of God Himself, had a "graven image" made of a serpent, and all who looked upon that image were healed. Obviously God is not opposed to ALL graven images - just those which people would be using as gods, for He is a jealous God and we are to have no other gods before Him.
Numbers 21: 9And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.
[8] You are mixing "good works" with "works of the Law" again. St. James tells us we are justified by works and NOT by sola fide (faith alone). These works which St. James refers to are NOT works of the Law, but as we would say today - "they are good works done in the state of grace." Without such works, faith is dead; it may exist but without works it is a dead faith and a dead faith cannot save you.
James 2:14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,

16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
Scripture speaks quite clearly here - I could not make it clearer myself. I hope that suffices for the clarification you request.

My request, if you wish to continue discussion with me, is that you stick to a given topic. You closed that posting with 8 questions on 5 topics. I call that "shotgunning" (like the pellets in a shotgun shell), shooting out several topics at once to a) see what sticks and/or b) to distract from the original topic.


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