Saturday, April 30, 2011

Continued Discussion on Wrong Use of St Augustine?

This is a response to “Ken’s” comment in the combox on his question or assertion from his original article that Catholics have somehow taken St. Augustine wrongly.
Paul Hoffer wrote: I think that St. Augustine had a pretty good reason for believing that the earth was God's footstool: Isaiah 66:1: "Thus says the LORD: The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool."  
"Ken" replies: Yes, so? I didn't say that "the earth is not God's footstool", per Isaiah 66:1. It is obviously metaphoric language about the awesomeness and greatness and vastness of God - "where is a house you can build for Me?" (Read the rest of Isaiah 66:1-2ff). My point is that the Hebrew of Psalm 99 does not say "worship the footstool", rather it says "worship at His footstool" - worship [the Lord] at His footstool", ie, in the earth, at the holy hill (v. 9) - ie, the temple. Hebrew has a definite article marker for the direct object. אֵ֥ת If the Psalmist here had meant "worship His footstool", he would have used the definite direct object marker. בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ For example, there above is Genesis 1:1 and it has the direct object marker that shows the object of the verb. the heavens and the earth are the direct object of God's creation. Psalm 99:5 and 99:9 do not have the direct object marker, so Augustine was wrong on that. It uses the "L" indirect object preposition "to" or "at". The bible is clearer than the Early Church fathers.

It would appear that “Ken” has missed Paul’s point - AND - misses a nuance of his own research.  First off, Paul’s point - God Himself declares the earth IS His footstool! (Isaiah 66:1)  St. Augustine AGREES and declares that even His footstool deserves adoration.
Secondly, “Ken’s” own research says the “‘L’ indirect object preposition ‘to’ or ‘at’” is to be read in this context so look at this!  Worship is to be given TO God’s footstool, that’s exactly the same as St. Augustine’s interpretation!  Then if we look at the term “at” - this can also mean “in the direction of” - so taken that way, worship in the direction of (or TOWARD or TO) God’s footstool is still contextually in line with what St. Augustine said!

“Ken” continues: Same goes for the Matthew 5 and Acts 7 passages you cited above - there is no contradiction with what I am saying with these passages of Scripture. It does not say "worship the earth" or "worship His footstool"; even Jesus says "do NOT swear by heaven or the earth, for it is His footstool".

“Ken” only furthers the points I made above.

You may fashion an argument over how Real of a Presence he believed was present in the Eucharist here, but what you can't argue about is that he was talking about something else.
We worship the Lord in Spirit and truth - Jesus is 100 % God and 100 % man - Augustine was wrong on the Hebrew, but right on the worship of Jesus Christ.

This is precisely my point from my earlier post!  Even IF St. Augustine was wrong about the “footstool” (which “Ken” above says he does not deny that the earth IS rightly called God’s footstool, by God Himself) it is a non sequitur regarding the worship of Jesus Christ.

He says one who eats must worship first. He never actually says, "worship the bread and wine"; but He means the partaker in the Lord's supper or Eucharist, is worshiping Christ, because Christ was human also; but Augustine does not actually say in this context that they are "worshiping the bread and wine" [which supposedly, in RC believe, became Jesus after the priest uttered the words in Latin].

First off, the language is not the issue.  The words of consecration can be in Greek, Latin, English, Ukrainian, whatever.  It’s not the language, it’s the use of HIS words as HE commanded we use.  Second, “Ken” has it sort of right here - we don’t worship bread or wine - we worship Jesus Christ.  There is no “supposedly” here, that IS what Catholics believe.

On this, Turretinfan was right, it is "hocus pocus" and ridiculous.

Oh ye of little faith!  It is our Lord and Savior’s own words which “Ken” and “Turretinfan” find so ridiculous!  The fact of the matter is “hocus pocus” is likely a variation on “hoc est enum, corpus meum” (Latin for “This is my body”, the words “hoc est” and “corpus” are near homonyms).  “Ken” and “Turretinfan” as well as innumerable others, don’t seem to have faith enough in our Lord to believe Him when He declares the bread and wine to BE His body and blood.  He doesn’t declare, “This represents My body and blood,” no, “This IS My body” and “This IS My blood.”  The Eucharist is not a mere symbol or representation or sign, rather it IS Jesus Christ, as He Himself declares it to be.  
I have no problem with "real presence" as His spiritual presence for believers by faith in communion with Him, as I understand Calvin's view.

The matter “Ken” still seems to have a problem with is that a “spiritual presence” is still REAL!  As I said in my previous post, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are “spirits” - and I don’t think “Ken” denies THEIR reality!  The issue really boils down to folks like “Ken” not able to accept our Lord’s word that after the consecration the bread IS His body and the wine IS His blood.  I pray that one day he, and those others, are granted the faith necessary to accept this fundamental truth of Christendom.

Keith Matthison has a whole book on it, Given For You - and an article - they (the bread and wine) are not "mere symbols", but they are at least symbols/representations/signs.

I’ll not get into responding to Matthison at this time, though I can and will at some point.  It should be sufficient for now that “Ken” is simply wrong even when it comes to this semi-compromise of “but they are at least symbols/representations/signs.”  Yes, they are “at least” these things, but they are much, much more - for they ARE His body and blood - and I’m sure “Ken” is not, at this time, willing to accept this fact.  Again, one day I hope and pray he is given the faith to accept this fundamental truth of Christendom.

Ken said...
Augustine is unclear as to if he is saying "it is ok to worship the host of the Eucharist" or "it is ok to worship Christ, who is "from the earth", since He received His human nature from Mary, which is represented/signified/symbolized by the bread and wine.

I beg to differ.  St. Augustine is quite clear in the fact that he is speaking to the adoration of the Eucharist when he says (as “Ken” also quotes and comments on a bit later) “And because He walked here in very flesh, and gave that very flesh to us to eat for our salvation; and no one eats that flesh, unless he has first worshipped.”  There can be no denying that St. Augustine is referring to the Eucharist here.  “Ken’s” attempts to rationalize his way out of the plain reading of the text is utterly futile.

Next “Ken” quotes a from St. Augustine’s Exposition and I will put St. Augustine’s words in teal to distinguish from “Ken’s” comments, and I will also break and indent to more clearly exhibit who is saying what:

Augustine's pertinent comments on Psalm 99 are in paragraph 8, but it is on verse 5.
8. "O magnify the Lord our God" Psalm 98:5. Magnify Him truly, magnify Him well. Let us praise Him, let us magnify Him who has wrought the very righteousness which we have; who wrought it in us, Himself. For who but He who justified us, wrought righteousness in us? For of Christ it is said, "who justifies the ungodly." Romans 4:5 ..."And fall down before His footstool: for He is holy." What are we to fall down before? His footstool. What is under the feet is called a footstool, in Greek ὑ ποπόδιον, in Latin Scabellum or Suppedaneum. But consider, brethren, what he commands us to fall down before. In another passage of the Scriptures it is said, "The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool." Isaiah 66:1 Does he then bid us worship the earth, since in another passage it is said, that it is God's footstool? How then shall we worship the earth, when the Scripture says openly, "You shall worship the Lord your God"? Deuteronomy 6:13 Yet here it says, "fall down before His footstool:" Psalms 98:5 and, explaining to us what His footstool is, it says, "The earth is My footstool."  Isaiah 66:1  I am in doubt; I fear to worship the earth, lest He who made the heaven and the earth condemn me; again, I fear not to worship the footstool of my Lord, because the Psalm bids me, "fall down before His footstool." I ask, what is His footstool? And the Scripture tells me, "the earth is My footstool." In hesitation I turn unto Christ, since I am herein seeking Himself: and I discover how the earth may be worshipped without impiety, how His footstool may be worshipped without impiety.
[“Ken’s” comment: Here he wrongly thinks that the footstool itself may be worshiped.]

St. Augustine is explaining to his readers the fact that Scripture tells us to “fall down before His footstool” - and such a “falling down” is a sign of worship and/or adoration.  Note, the passage cited from Deuteronomy speaks solely to worshipping God, and in context commands we are to worship no other god.  St. Augustine points out that even though Deuteronomy says this the passage from Psalm 98, upon which he is expounding at this time, it says that we are to “Exalt the Lord our God, and adore his footstool, for it is holy.” Psalm 98:5 (or 99:5, depending on which version of Scripture you’re looking at).  His point is, if we are to fall down before (a sign of worship) even just His footstool, then we should not hesitate to worship that which IS His body and blood when he said, “and no one eats that flesh, unless he has first worshipped.”  St. Paul tell us that those who do not discern the Eucharist IS His body and partake of it unworthily eat and drink upon themselves the judgment (see 1 Cor. 11:23-34).

For He took upon Him earth from earth; because flesh is from earth, and He received flesh from the flesh of Mary.
[this is true, as to His incarnation; and we can worship Christ in spirit and truth and eat the Lord supper's without bowing down in front of it as if it changed into Christ].  

Again, the words of St. Paul speak quite loudly against “Ken” here!  

And because He walked here in very flesh, and gave that very flesh to us to eat for our salvation; and no one eats that flesh, unless he has first worshipped:
[“Ken’s” comments: He doesn't say "worshiped Christ who is the bread and wine, after it was transformed or changed, etc.]

Well, “Ken,” yes, that’s precisely what St. Augustine is referring to here!  I understand the Calvinist’s need to differ here - but to deny what St. Augustine has clearly stated here - well, you’re denying St. Augustine himself and to try and say St. Augustine is NOT referring to the Eucharist here is a denial of both Sts. Augustine and Paul.

we have found out in what sense such a footstool of our Lord's may be worshipped, and not only that we sin not in worshipping it, but that we sin in not worshipping.

It is important to note here, St. Augustine repeatedly is reinforcing the Scriptures here in demanding that we worship the Eucharist - and not the bread and wine, but what it has become.  St. Augustine does not tell us to worship the elements, he tells us that it IS Jesus Christ and not only that we SHOULD worship it - we sin in NOT worshiping it.

But does the flesh give life? Our Lord Himself, when He was speaking in praise of this same earth, said, "It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing."...But when our Lord praised it, He was speaking of His own flesh, and He had said, "Except a man eat My flesh, he shall have no life in him." John 6:54 Some disciples of His, about seventy, were offended, and said, "This is an hard saying, who can hear it?" And they went back, and walked no more with Him. It seemed unto them hard that He said, "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, you have no life in you:" they received it foolishly, they thought of it carnally,
[which is what modern Rome has done from Radbertus in the 8th Century to 1215 Ad to nowadays.]

Well, no, this is exactly what folks like “Ken” are doing!  “Rome” (Catholics) sees the spiritual truth and reality of the Eucharist.  What we perceive in the flesh we understand with the spirit.  The bread and wine, though it APPEARS to still be bread and wine, we KNOW because we have FAITH in the SPIRITUAL TRUTH that it IS the BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.  Therefore, as St. Augustine is teaching in this treatise, not only SHOULD we worship it - we sin if we do NOT worship it!

and imagined that the Lord would cut off parts from His body, and give unto them; and they said, "This is a hard saying." It was they who were hard, not the saying; for unless they had been hard, and not meek, they would have said unto themselves, He says not this without reason, but there must be some latent mystery herein. They would have remained with Him, softened, not hard: and would have learned that from Him which they who remained, when the others departed, learned. For when twelve disciples had remained with Him, on their departure, these remaining followers suggested to Him, as if in grief for the death of the former, that they were offended by His words, and turned back. But He instructed them, and says unto them, "It is the Spirit that quickens, but the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63  Understand spiritually what I have said; you are not to eat this body which you see; nor to drink that blood which they who will crucify Me shall pour forth. I have commended unto you a certain mystery; spiritually understood, it will quicken.
[This is what Calvin seems to say in his view - it is a spiritual presence, not a physical presence; and only for believers to commune with Christ by faith.]

As I surmised in my previous article - it would seem that “Ken” does not see a “spiritual truth” as something “real.”  I’m sure he will insist upon the fact (until such time the Holy Spirit softens his heart) that “Holy Communion” is NOT REALLY the body and blood of Christ, but is a symbol or representation of the body and blood of Christ.  

And “Ken” concludes with St. Augustine’s comment from that paragraph:
Although it is needful that this be visibly celebrated, yet it must be spiritually understood.

I conclude in reiterating what I have said above, that which IS spiritually understood as a SPIRITUAL REALITY - that the Eucharist REALLY IS the body and blood of Christ (as St. Paul testifies to in 1 Cor. 11:23-34) it is THIS TRUTH which “Ken” (and others) denies and is why they have, like those who could not accept this from Jesus Himself, turned and walk with Him no more.  THIS would be the “Fatal Flaw” of Calvinism (to steal the title from James White’s first book opposing Catholicism - which was written largely, if not wholly, in response to arguments I was making with him at the time).  Again I pray that folks like “Ken” are blessed by the Holy Spirit to be given the faith to see the REAL TRUTH which Calvinism denies, flee from the lies they’ve been taught and come HOME to that TRUTH which Calvin himself left behind and has drawn countless souls away from.

I also invite “Ken,” or anyone else who wishes to defend him, to respond directly to my comments.  


PS - Let me add, I mean no disrespect in putting his name in quotes.  I do not know “Ken” nor if that is even his real name.  


  1. Yes, that is my real first name.
    Ken T.

    thanks for the interaction. I just saw this tonight (April 30) at almost 11:00pm Atlanta time.

    I am too tired to get into it now; but perhaps, Lord willing; I will try to interact later another day.

  2. Ken writes: Yes, that is my real first name.
    Ken T.

    Thank you for letting me know.

    Ken continues: thanks for the interaction.

    You're welcome.

    Ken continues: I just saw this tonight (April 30) at almost 11:00pm Atlanta time.

    I am too tired to get into it now; but perhaps, Lord willing; I will try to interact later another day.

    Well, I do hope to see your interaction here. You're also not lagging far behind, I just posted the article/response today (April 30th).


  3. Hi Scott

    What you said about Ken's statement regarding the "spiritual" presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I have long thought that this betrayed a disbelief of sorts, even though they will deny this.

    It came up recently in a Youtube debate as well, between Turretinfan and William Albrecht (gnrhead) in which TF repeatedly suggested that the presence of Christ was "spiritual" (in such a way that He is not worthy of worship) which leads me to wonder what exactly he means by "spiritual."

    The reason this is an issue is as you have pointed out - Even a spiritual presence should be seen as a Real presence that we are called to worship, so refusing to worship the presence of Christ, because he's only spiritually present leads me to wonder if they reduce "spiritual" to mere psychology.

  4. Scott,
    Your statement "O ye of little faith" makes no sense to me or Protestants like me. Nowhere in John 6 or the Upper Room texts in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or I Cor. 11 say what you and the RCC try to make them say.

    Jesus did not say "by saying/commanding (?) "this is My body" and "this is My blood", that it will change the bread and wine into His body and blood.

    Jesus held up the bread and cup, and said to His disciples, "this is My body" and "this is My blood" - He was in His real body at that time in space and time on earth, holding up the bread and cup; so since He could not be incarnated twice ( or more), and His death is "once for all" - He obviously meant "this bread represents or signifies my body, and this cup represents or signifies the blood of the new covenant", etc.

    To judge the body rightly or "discern the body rightly" does not mean "judge the bread as the literal body of Jesus that has been changed, but no one can see it, etc."; rather in context in I Cor. 11:17-34 - it means to "discern the body of Christ" rightly - that is, discern right by relationships with "one another" and confess your sins to one another before you partake in the supper - be patient with one another, love one another, don't be selfish (remember that thing called context - the context was that there was gluttony, impatience, selfishness, hoarding, and drunkeness at the Lord's supper and Paul was rebuking them for that.)

    27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.

    28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

    29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

    30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

    31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

    32 But when we are judged by the Lord,we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

    33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat [see back up at verses 17 and 18 - "when you come together as a church"], wait for one another—

    34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

    "discerning the body" in v. 29
    is parallel with
    Judging ourselves rightly in v. 31 = "examine yourself before you partake" - confess your sins - Matthew 5 and 18 also talk about this. Make things right with people first, then come and worship.

    Augustine got the Hebrew wrong, and from there went too far with the "footstool" and "earth" etc.

    He was wrong on the Hebrew and application of the footstool to the Lord's human body and nature, but He was right in that we worship the Lord Jesus Christ as God, and that He has both a Divine and Human nature.

    there is a lot more that could be said, especially that Stephen rebukes the Jews in Acts 7 (Quoting Isaiah 66:1-2) for the Jews not seeing the spiritual meaning behind the temple and that they placed too much emphasis on the physical temple, which is what RCC does by trying to take OT physical contexts and put them into the NT ( priests, infant baptism as the same as circumcision, and the cherubim and seraphim as justification for having images of saints and angels to pray to in churches today.

    I also made one comment on your previous post critiquing my article on RC Wrong Use of Augustine.

  5. I should add that the way you use "O Ye of little faith", makes no sense to Protestants because it is applying that Biblical phrase to the Eucharist/Lord's Supper, when Reformed and other Evangelical Protestants fully believe in Christ and His Deity and humanity and the Trinity and in His atonement for the forgiveness of sins, etc. We have faith in Christ. We we celebrate the Lord's supper, we are careful to look at the texts and follow them - examine yourselves - so, if we are worshiping God in spirit in truth; and Christ has ascended to the Father, then the bread and wine are symbols of the once for all death of Christ - "as often as you do this, you proclaim the Lord's death" ( I Cor. 11) - "Do this in remembrance of Me" - it is a memorial of looking back on His once for all atonement for sins.

    So, we have faith, and that phrase is never used in regard to the Eucharist or Lord's Supper.

    And a true believer in Christ, experiences a deep communion with Christ, by faith, spiritually, after examining oneself and confessing sin and making things right with others and worship and prayer. Yes, the spiritual presence of Christ is real by faith in the true believer with the Lord.

    The way you use the phrase, is more in line with Ignatius Loyola's statement, over 1500 years after Christ, "Whatever we say is white, is white, even if to your eyes it appears black." ( I am paraphrasing it) ( In his "Rules for Thinking with the Church") This is proof that the Roman Catholic Church is just authoritarian in an un-thinnking and dictator like style, and that is one of the key reasons why good Christians have objected to its self proclaimed authority and false doctrines. (Hus, Wycliff, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli and onward to today.


Keep in mind while posting:
1) Please respond ON TOPIC to the article at hand.
2) Posts more than 4 weeks old are set to automatically save new comments for moderation - so your comment may not show up immediately if you're responding to an older post.
3) The "Spam Filter" is on - and randomly messages get caught in that filter. I have no control over which messages get caught in the spam filter and those that do must wait for me to mark them as "not spam." A message caught by the spam filter may show up for a moment, making you think it posted, and then disappear. Do not assume I have deleted your comment, it's probably just the spam filter and it will show up.