Sunday, June 29, 2008

Looking for substantive alternatives to Newman’s ‘Theory of Development’.

The last few threads here at AF have been explorations into the complex issue of the development of doctrine. As with virtually every theological construct, one is confronted with numerous competing theories, the range of which lies between two radically different conceptions. Joseph F. Kelly eloquently sums up these two extremes:

On the right, some Christians claim that all the Church can do is adhere strictly to the plain meaning of the biblical texts and eschew any notion of development of doctrine or even of ministry, since development is merely a euphemism for abandoning rigid biblicism.

On the left, other Christians claim that the gap between the modern world and the world in which the Bible came into existence is so vast that modern Christians cannot truly understand the Bible and they are thus not bound by it. For these people, Christian doctrine or teaching is what modern Christians determine it to be, with no normative reference to the Bible, or, for that matter, any earlier period of Christian history
. (Joseph F. Kelly, “Introduction” in R.P.C. Hanson, The Continuity of Christian Doctrine, p. ix.)

We have explored an advocate of the extreme right (Darby), as well as some interesting thoughts from Cunningham and Calvin, and are waiting for Chris to present an example, or examples, of the extreme left. In between the two extremes lies Newman’s famous theory, which, since its publication in 1845, has had more than its fair share of critiques (especially outside of the RCC, though not exclusively). I have read a good number of these critiques (e.g. Brownson, Cunningham, Darby, Faber, Moberly, Mozley, Palmer, Salmon), and via these readings have come to an understanding that Newman’s theory is in need of some improvement and ‘development’ (though Karl Rahner has made some important contributions in this area which I hope to explore in a subsequent post). However, I think it is important to point out that while I have come to appreciate some of the “difficulties” which have been raised by Newman’s critics, I could not help but notice that none of them provided an even remotely adequate replacement theory. And I am not alone in this assessment. The noted patristic scholar, R.P.C. Hanson observed:

Mozley not only does not solve Newman’s problem; he does not even realize it exists. He is still in the world of thought of in which Bishop Bull in the seventeenth century answered Petavious...On this point of development, however, Newman looks like a man of the modern day, whereas Mozley seems not yet to have to left the seventeenth century. The same can be said of George Salmon’s book The Infallibility of the Church (1888). In destructive criticism of Newman’s arguments in favor of the Roman Catholic Church, it is superb. In advancing a constructive alternative to Catholic doctrines of development, Newman’s or any other, it is rudimentary. (R.P.C. Hanson, The Continuity of Christian Doctrine, pp. 24, 25.)

A little bit later in the book, Hanson states an important dictum that all of us need to keep in mind: “If doctrine can be repudiated, there must be some norm whereby that repudiation takes place” (Ibid., p. 32).

So, with this in mind, I am going to request from my readers alternatives to Newman’s theory of development. The said alternatives can be submitted in three different forms: first, as a post in the combox of this thread; second, as a new thread sent to me via email that if approved will be posted under the author's name here at AF; and third, as a link to a thread in another blog.


Eagerly looking forward to your alternatives.


Grace and peace,

David

158 comments:

Anonymous said...

David
However, I think it is important to point out that while I have come to appreciate some of the “difficulties” which have been raised by Newman’s critics, I could not help but notice that none of them provided an even remotely adequate replacement theory.

Rory
I guess I haven't grown to appreciate properly the inadequacy of what we have been pleased to call "Newman's theory". The main "problem" most critics with which I am familiar seem to have have with is not with the theory at all. The problem is where the theory leads. I have never heard of a critique of his principles.

To be fair, if Newman's so-called theory led to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Missouri Synod, or Southern Baptist Convention, a larger number of Catholic critics would be coming forward. His theory is little more than a slight development of those which already ring true to me from Sts Vincent and Irenaeus. It meets the requirements one might expect if the Church Christ founded should last for so long as we think it has. It leads to Rome in my opinion, and if I do not mistake myself, if it led to Geneva or Salt Lake, I would follow it to that conclusion.

The "problem" in my opinion, is that the "theory" permits the one true church to define beliefs in the Latter Days which were undefined in former days. It threatens to take away a club with which the Church's detractors want to wield more freely by suggesting that the Church cannot formally define a doctrine at any point without its being considered a novelty. Nevermind that every church father believed more than Calvin did about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Since doctrine can't develop, the Eucharist of the Fathers cannot be more fully explained by transubstantiation, instead it must wilt back to the faithlessness of the disciples who left our Lord saying, "How can he give us huis flesh to eat?"

Without some prompting, I am not aware of much at this time that I want to tweak in regard to Newman's way of explaining how Christ's Church would arrive at defined doctrines of Nicea in the 4th Century, or Pius XII in the 20th Century. If Nicea is good, his is the best explanation for it I have seen. Otherwise, I don't see how to slam the door on the Arians. The Protestants, with their claims of perspicuous Scripture, are in my very confident opinion, naive about how difficult it is to put away Arius without development and an authoritative council. Newman seemed to sense this and probably knew it very well.

Rory

Chris said...

Hi David,

Part 1 of my discussion of DD may be read here. It is a summary of Newman's argument. Part 2, on the 19th-c. liberal Anglican critique, will be posted within a day or two. Depending upon how ambitious I'm feeling when that's done, I might also add a third post on the subject expressing my own views.

Best,
-Chris

Kepha said...

I love the challenge. I'll be posting your challenge on my blog.

I posted an interview with Justice Scalia that you might be interested in. He talks about his belief in "originalism" (interpreting the Constitution historically) versus the modern understanding of a "living Constitution" (the meaning of the Constitution develops over time). Incredibly intriging!

Ken Temple said...

John 1:1 and 14 puts Arius away in one stroke.

Iohannes said...

I look forward to seeing what comes of this challenge. I am reading Newman at present, and hope to get to Mozley soon. I have so far seen little in the way of substantial interaction with the latter's critique, so if you could point out places to find it, I would be grateful.

William Witt has given some thought to development and the different views on it; you might try contacting him. His blog is:

http://www.willgwitt.org/

Also, Peter Toon wrote a study of development from a Reformed Anglican perspective:

http://www.anglicanbooksrevitalized.us/Peter_Toons_Books_Online/Doctrine/devdoc.htm

For other critiques, I would look for analysis of Newman's assumptions about antecedent probabilities. Also, it might be helpful to compare his thought on development with that of other intellectuals of the time. Development was in the air in that era, from Hegel to Darwin and Marx. It is said that if Darwin hadn't come up with his theory, someone else soon would have. The same is probably true of Newman. Maybe in his case it would have been a disciple of Moehler?

Iohannes said...

PS For an interesting application of the modern Catholic hermeneutic of development, see Klaus Schatz's work on Papal Primacy, especially the first 40 pages or so. He illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of the development theory by putting it into practice as a Church historian dealing with a fairly specific question.

R. E. Aguirre. said...

The link that iohannes posted on Toon's summary of the Protestant response to Newman is broken. It is-

-http://www.anglicanbooksrevitalized.us/Peter_Toons_Books_Online/Doctrine/devdoc.htm

Which is an excellent survey of the Protestant response including a response from Toon himself.

In principle, Newman's main thrust in my opinion still stands. Moreover, a working replacement theory has not been put forward from the Protestant camp.
_______________

R.E. Aguirre
Regulafide.blogspot.com

Anno Paolino.

R. E. Aguirre. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R. E. Aguirre. said...

Apparently the link is too long.

Add _Online/Doctrine/devdoc.htm to the end of the link in my last comment for the correct URL.

David Waltz said...

Hello Rory, Chris, Ken, Kepha, and R.E Aguirre,

Very busy day with my visiting 7 year old grandson. After he finally went to bed, watched the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials I had recorded on my dvr and then thought I would quickly check my email and blog before retiring for the evening for some much needed sleep. Anyway, just wanted to thank everyone for their contributions to this new thread, and hope to find some time tomorrow to respond in cogent manner. For now, I must limit my comments…

First, to Rory: Though I still find Newman’s theory of DD the best on the plate, it is in certainly in need of refinement.

Second, to Chris: Nice summary of Newman’s DD, though there are a couple of important aspects I think should be added; I will try to do so as soon as I get some free time.

Third, Kepha/Iohannes: Thanks for the links, especially to Dr. Toon’s book. Hope to print it off later this week and read it Sunday afternoon. I am quite sure that I will have some forthcoming comments.

And lastly Aguirre: Welcome to AF! I briefly stopped by your blog and shall shortly add it to my links.

Sorry to all for the brevity, but this grandpa is just plain tired. It is nice having our grandson visiting us, but must admit that I am looking forward to this Sunday.


Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

Kepha,

I am not sure that your Bible/Constitution analogy works in quite the way you see to want it to...

If I am misunderstanding you, I apologize, but... I don't know if Antonin Scalia (a Roman Catholic) would say that his "originalist" stance would apply to the God-breathed Scriptures in the same way that his "originalism" stance applies to the US Constitution... Perhaps you think his stace on the Constitution is exactly how he feels about the Bible... I am not sure, but I find it hard to believe that a bright RC such as Justice Scalia would be so daft... Maybe, just maybe... he sees these things differently?

Do you think you are expressing the author's (Justice Scalia's) intent when you *seem* to be suggesting that his "originalism" should apply to the Scriptures?

As I said... if I am misunderstanding you, I apologize... if I am not misunderstanding you... I don't see the point of your post at all... could you explain it?

IC XC
BC

Kepha said...

BC, you wrote:

Perhaps you think his stace on the Constitution is exactly how he feels about the Bible... I am not sure, but I find it hard to believe that a bright RC such as Justice Scalia would be so daft... Maybe, just maybe... he sees these things differently? Do you think you are expressing the author's (Justice Scalia's) intent when you *seem* to be suggesting that his "originalism" should apply to the Scriptures? As I said... if I am misunderstanding you, I apologize... if I am not misunderstanding you... I don't see the point of your post at all... could you explain it?

I have no idea what Justice Scalia's personal beliefs concerning interpreting God's Word are. Although it is interesting that Justice Scalia said:

"What a weird notion: that a document changes it's meaning from decade to decade, and it's gonna be up to the judges to decide what it means, especially when this document makes an exception to democratic self-governance. When this document says, 'no,' even if the people want to do certain things, they can't do it. I think it's a very strange notion that what those things are is going to be decided from time to time by unelected judges. It seems to me the normal way anyone reads a text is, you know, 'What does it mean?' And if it's an old text, 'What did it mean when it was written, or when it was adopted, which is why you have glossaries, for Pete's sake."

You bring up a good point, though; he may very well break consistency when it comes to God's Word, I don't know.

As for the point of my blog entry, please understand that it has nothing to do with Justice Scalia's personal beliefs on the issue of the development of doctrine and the "living Magisterium" (I don't know what they are), nor is it about the Bible and the Constitution. The point I made is about hermeneutiucs.

What I find crucial in Justice Scalia’s interview in regards to contemporary Catholicism is his critique of “living”/”development” as hermeneutics. In other words, Justice Scalia has pointed out that a fundamental change has occurred in American constitutional hermeneutics. This change is the exact same change that has taken place in Catholic hermeneutics regarding both the Bible and Tradition (what Keith Mathison calls “Tradition III.”). In the case of the Sumpreme Court, as Justice Scalia points out, a tremendous amount of power is assumed by the judges, because it now rests upon them to decide whether or not a particular interpretation of the Constitution is a legitmate development. In the case of the Magisterium (the Pope and those bishops who agree with him), a tremendous amount of power is likewise assumed, because it now must judge whether or not a particular interpretation is a legitimate development.

The question that I’m left with is: Upon what basis does the Magisterium (the Pope and those bishops who agree with him) change the way that it interprets the deposit of Faith? The concern that Justice Scalia has regarding the increase in power of the judges as well as the radical change in hermeneutics is the same concenr I have regarding the Papacy.

Anonymous said...

Kepha,

I don't think that Justice Scalia has to "break consistency" to see the interpretation human-authored US Constitution by the Justices of the US Supreme court as different (in some pretty important ways) to the Church's interpretation (which they claim is guided by the Holy Spirit) of God-breathed Scripture... if he is breaking consistency, as you seem to suggest he would have to according to his "originalist" approach to the Constitution, then why would you showcase the opinion of such a daft person? It doesn't make much to cite him as an authority if he's so daft, does it? Unless your point is to prove that he is daft... I can't be sure...

Perhaps your comparison between Divine Revelation and the US Constitution simply isn't analogous enough?

IC XC
BC

Apolonio said...

Scalia is right in that a document does not change its meaning. However, there is a difference between what the author means and what the sentenced used by the speaker means. I think Scalia gave an example where he said that if a wave spells out "I love Sally" on the beach, it means what it means. But that's simply not right. How the heck would you know the wave's intention? Plus, waves have no intentions.

Take the example
Billy: Are you going to Apolonio's party?
Sally: I have dance rehearsal.

What does the sentence used by Sally mean? Well, that she has dance rehearsal. However, what she means, from the context, is that she cannot go to the party. In other words, she implied she cannot go. This is what linguistic philosophers call "implicatures." Or take the example

Sally: "Apolonio is a pig."

Now, "is a pig" does not have a different meaning. "Pig" means the mammal with such and such a property. However, what Sally *intends* or implies is that Apolonio is dirty, etc. That's why you cannot simply know what the sentence means. You need to know the context and the intention of the author or speaker.

Now to the Scriptures. Now we can understand why it is stupid how some people would limit understanding the Scripture through the use of grammatical-historical method or historical-critical method. They are valuable but what is important is trying to understand the intent of the author. Since we're talking about Scripture, the author is God. So how do we know about God? Life with Christ. And Christ is known through the Church. In fact, one can argue that the authors of the Scriptures is the People of God or the Church (John, Paul, Mark, etc). So how would we know what the intent were? Through the Church.

Finally, since revelation by its very nature is living, then the context of Scripture is the context in which Christ is speaking to the reader. So when Billy reads "Sell everything you have and follow me," it could mean to join the seminary. Revelation is dynamic that way, unlike the static worldview of those who don't like development.

Hopefully what I said above is an ongoing discussion on justifying "change of hermeneutics."

Iohannes said...

Apolonio,

Are you aware of the difference between "Originalism" and "Strict Constructionalism," or that between "Original Meaning" and "Original Intent"? Scalia's philosophy of interpretation is more nuanced than it often gets credited with being. Here is one of his explanations of it:

The theory of originalism treats a constitution like a statute, and gives it the meaning that its words were understood to bear at the time they were promulgated. You will sometimes hear it described as the theory of original intent. You will never hear me refer to original intent, because as I say I am first of all a textualist, and secondly an originalist. If you are a textualist, you don't care about the intent, and I don't care if the framers of the Constitution had some secret meaning in mind when they adopted its words. I take the words as they were promulgated to the people of the United States, and what is the fairly understood meaning of those words.

Kepha said...

BC,

I'm sorry I continue to be so unclear. I am not comparing "Divine Revelation and the US Constitution." What I tried to point out to you in my immediately preceeding post was that the issue is one of hermeneutics.

Kepha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Apolonio said...

iohannes,

in one of my seminars, a classmate of mine was writing on scalia and reading from his paper, scalia is more nuanced. scalia does not think that the original intent of the framers is the norm of interpretation but the original public meaning of the text. Randy Barnett has a good book on "new originalism."

My main point was that understanding Scripture is understanding the intent of the author and that is why simply knowing the meaning of a particular sentence is a horrible way of interpreting the text. Rather, what is needed is life with Christ, life with the Church.

Anonymous said...

Kepha,

I don't think I am misunderstanding you...

I'm sorry I continue to be so unclear. I am not comparing "Divine Revelation and the US Constitution." What I tried to point out to you in my immediately preceeding post was that the issue is one of hermeneutics.

No apologies needed...

What the issue seems to be for me is you seem to imply that Scalia (your example) is being inconsistent because, as a devout Catholic, he doesn't see the need to utilize the same originalist hermeneutic for Divine Revelation that he does as a Justice of the Supreme Court when reading the US Constitution.

I say that the analogy that you seem to be going for is far from perfect... so far that it's comparing apples and oranges... which makes the point that you seem to be going for... largely moot.

If I am misunderstanding you, I apologize... if not... how is Scalia being inconsistent?

Are you saying the hermeneutic for the Justices and the Constitution (that Scalia seems to favor) should be the same as the hermeneutic that the Magisterium utilizes for the Bible? If so... I disagree...

Why should these things be the same (if you think they should)?

IC XC
BC

IC XC
BC

Iohannes said...

Apolonio,

Thanks for the clarification. I agree that the historical critical method is not the be all and end all of Scriptural interpretation. I also agree that Scripture must be read in light of the reality of the incarnate Christ, and the reality of the Church he founded. We find the meaning of Scripture within the life of the Church, not apart from it.

Nevertheless, to couch the matter like this does not bring us much closer to a solution for the thornier points of doctrinal disagreement. Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox share the principle above, as do Christians from the churches of the magisterial reformation. All three groups, however, apply it differently.

Earlier I mentioned Klaus Schatz's work on Papal Primacy as illustrating the strengths and weakness of the development theory by putting it into practice. What is helpful about his work is that he deals with a fairly narrow question and is able to address all the major historical facts that bear on it. His perspective is also notable: he is a Jesuit church historian trained at the Gregorianum, and he accepts the modern RC teaching on the Papacy and the wider Magisterium.

If Schatz is correct, it seems the issue for the development thesis is bigger than simply the determination of what the author (or authors) of Scripture intended. The beginning to his work shows what I mean:

The further question whether there was any notion of an enduring office beyond Peter's lifetime, if posed in purely historical terms, should probably be answered in the negative. That is, if we ask whether the historical Jesus, in commissioning Peter, expected him to have successors, or whether the author of the Gospel of Matthew, writing after Peter's death, was aware that Peter and his commission survived in the leaders of the Roman community who suceeded him, the answer in both cases is probably "no."

But for a responsible hermeneutic this does not provide a negative response to the underlying question, which encompasses more than the perspective of Jesus himself and that of the New Testament. Even if they were not "aware" of such an office, that does not mean that the figure and the commission of the Peter of the New Testament did not encompass the possibility, if it is projected into a Church enduring for centuries and concerned in some way to "secure" its ties to its apostolic origins and to Jesus himself.

If we ask in addition whether the primitive Church was aware, after Peter's death, that his authority had passed to the next bishop of Rome, or in other words that the head of the community at Rome was now the successor of Peter, the Church's rock and hence the subject of the promise in Matthew 16:18-19, the question, put in those terms, must certainly be given a negative answer.


He proceeds to show that there is strong evidence in favor of St. Peter having been at Rome, but then says:

Nevertheless, concrete claims of a primacy over the whole Church cannot be inferred from this conviction. If one had asked a Christian in the year 100, 200, or even 300 whether the bishop of Rome was the head of all Christians, or whether there was a supreme bishop over all the other bishops and having the last word in questions affecting the whole Church, he or she would certainly have said no.

After this he makes a critical observation: "But are these the right questions?" He says that in order to understand the development our need need is not "critical historical knowledge, but historical hermeneutics." And so he suggests that under a proper hermeneutic, the facts (or probable facts) he has acknowledged are not prejudicial to the later development of the Papacy, or to the legitimacy of the Vatican I definition. He is clear that it ultimately comes down to how we will interpret the evidence.

Here the difference (broadly speaking) between two of the views on development takes shape. The scenario in which a Christian in the year 100 or 200 or 300 is asked about a later doctrine is helpful. Take, for example, the Monothelite controversy. One view holds that if you asked the early Christian what is the right doctrine on the matter, he may not have an answer ready to hand, but he could arrive with reasonable confidence at the correct position through an analysis and elucidation of what was already known from Scripture and Church teaching. The answer of two wills would follow (if using the language of the Westminster Confession can be excused) as a good and necessary consequence from his existing knowledge of and about Christ. Next ask the same Christian about the later forms of papal supremacy. He may say that the teachings he has received "encompass the possibility," but it is hard to see him granting that the papal doctrine follows with the same necessity of the Christological doctrines. (Though if he is persuaded by arguments like Newman's premised partly on speculation about antecedent probabilities, he might see an increased likelihood for the truth of papal supremacy.)

Regardless of the view one takes, it does not seem quite accurate to put the matter as a choice between development or no development, or between static and dynamic conceptions. Everyone acknowledges development; the difference is in how to explain it. Likewise, everyone sees both constant and fluid aspects to the Church's response to the revelation of Christ. It is in our understanding of the nature and scope of development that we need to work towards more agreement.

Apolonio said...

Iohannes,

Let's take your example of the Monothelite controversy. To simply say that the person in 100 will know the answer to the controversy through current teaching of that day and scripture is wrong to me. One, I have a hard time trying to give truth attribution to counterfactuals. The probabilistic answer may be the right one, I don't know. Two, you are assuming, I think, that development is simply a logical development and I don't think that's the case in many Christian doctrines. To limit development that way, it seems to me, is simply a static way of understanding revelation. That's simply contrary to the logic of the Incarnation which blew our minds away. It is not that we should say anything logically inconsistent with past doctrines, but it's much more than simply logical consistency (necessary consequence). Fourth, the person in 100 may not know the answer because it may be that the answer to the monothelite controversy involves the prayer life and study of the Church in 200, 300, etc.

Iohannes said...

Apolonio,

Thanks for your answer. My comment to Frank's post on dynamism at the Conscious Faith might do a better job showing where I am coming from. But for one point of clarification here, on the assumption that one does not necessarily "know" the logical implications of everything one knows, I would not say that the Christian in 100 would know the answer. The answer, however, would be accessible to him, even if his reasoning and insight should never grow in sanctification to the point of actually finding it.

The problem right now is that I am failing to see how the "logic of the Incarnation" requires your position. Reformed thinkers are rumored to start saying "Covenant" whenever they run into difficulties, and I get the feeling that Catholic theologians sometimes do the same thing, except they say "Incarnation." Of course I am not saying this is the case with you, but I am having trouble understanding the connection you profess to see.

Apolonio said...

Pretty much I think that the concept of "revelation" denotes more than simply "logical development." Maybe the distinction between intension and extension is analogous. The "extension" of revelation is not limited to doctrines that logically follow each other. I think this is the most intuitive simply because the Incarnation is not a "logical development" in that it necessarily had to follow from the Old Testament. It was the freedom of God.

Iohannes said...

Thanks again for the answer. I will comment on your longer posting at the Conscious Faith blog shortly.

Ken Temple said...

Chris wrote under a previous post:

Even Athanasius, that great champion of Trinitarian orthodoxy, fielded something of an ecclesiastical mafia in order to accomplish his theological ends. Nicene orthodoxy was also advanced by such dubious means as systematic book-burning. The very importance that has been attached to Trinitarian orthodoxy in the subsequent history of the church can have been affected not a little by Constantine and his political agenda to unite church and empire. The list goes on, but you get the idea. Where "development" was clearly intended to support totalitarian regimes and to consolidate the power of the few over the many, what is there but sheer, blind assertion to assure us that these are legitimate and logical outworkings of an apostolic deposit?

David, what is your answer to Chris' points he makes here? (posted at older post "The Trinity and Development of Doctrine".

Did Athanasius use a mafia?

Did the Nicean context squelch opposition by book burning?

I have never heard these arguments before. I have read that Cyril was particularly political and angry and not above reproach in the way he ran the Council of Ephesus against Nestorius; and the subsequent state Church after 380 AD under Theodosius and Justinian 500s was oppressive toward pagans, heretics, Jews, Monophysites, Nestorians, non-Chalcedonians; and Nicea was not about the canon, I know; but what about this charge that Chris brings up about Athanasius and then later, the state government book burning? His whole argument sounds like Da Vinci Code and Elaine Pagels charges - that Trinitarian Christianity got the political power and wrote the histories and got rid of the other "Christianities" (Gnosticism, Arianism, etc.)

I agree with Chris on Vatican I and that the Papacy is not infallible; but I disagree that the Bible is not infallible; the Bible is inerrant and infallible in its original documents.

Ken Temple said...

Whatever the nuances are between "original intent" and "the public understanding of the text at the time"; it is clear that Scalia on the constitution and in hermeneutics of the Bible, the search for the author's original intention is one of the main truths of the science of interpretation.

We must struggle to find the author's intended meaning by the historical- grammatical, contextual, law of non-contradiction rules of hermeneutics.

Ken Temple said...

One of the biggest problems with Newman's DD is that he even admitted that Vincent of Lerins' principle (always= "antiquity", everywhere= "universality", and by everyone, ="consensus" - Commonitory 2:4-6 and ff) "is hardly available now, or effective of any satisfactory result."

"It does not seem possible, then, to avoid the conclusion that, whatever be the proper key for harmonizing the records and documents of the early and later church, and true as the dictum of Vincentius must be considered in the abstract, and possible as its application might be in his own age, when he might almost ask the primitive centuries for their testimony, it is hardly available now, or effective of any satisfactory result. The solution it offers is as difficult as the original problem." ( P. 27 Development of Doctrine)

This is a flat contradiction of Trent and Vatican I, which both asserted that there was a "unanimous consent of the fathers" in their magisterial interpretation and that all who go against mother church are anathema.

Vincent of Lerins also wrote: "Certainly all means progress[development of doctrine]. . . . yet on the condition that it be real progress, not alteration of the faith. For progress requires that the subject be enlarged in itself, alteration, that it be transformed into something else."

Vincent of Lerins, A Commonitory, 23.54.

Penance, indulgences, treasury of merit, prayers to the saints, ex opere operato grace was an alteration and corruption of repentance.

Mary's perpetual virginity was an alteration and corruption of Matthew 1:18-25 and 13:53-58 (and all the other Gospel parallels about Jesus' brothers and sisters)

Adding mediators and Mary doctrines was a corruption of I Timothy 2:5-6.

Thinking Mary is sinless and immaculately conceived was an addition and corruption of Luke 1:28; 1:46; and Romans 3:23.

All the papacy development was an addition and corruption of I Peter 5:1 where he himself calls himself "fellow-elder"; and a corruption of Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5-7 and ff; I Timothy 3; Acts 20:17-28 and I Peter 5:1-4 -- where we see that each local church was ruled and taught by a plurality of elders. Even I Clement agreed with this; Jerome and Polycarp also.

So, some sort of combination of Darby, Cunningham, and Calvin are the best and most Biblical alternatives to Liberalism (Chris); Mormonism (Tomnossor); and Newman and Roman Catholicism (most everyone else here,(? I think).

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken (and Chris),

Ken posted the following:

>>Chris wrote under a previous post:

Even Athanasius, that great champion of Trinitarian orthodoxy, fielded something of an ecclesiastical mafia in order to accomplish his theological ends. Nicene orthodoxy was also advanced by such dubious means as systematic book-burning. The very importance that has been attached to Trinitarian orthodoxy in the subsequent history of the church can have been affected not a little by Constantine and his political agenda to unite church and empire. The list goes on, but you get the idea. Where "development" was clearly intended to support totalitarian regimes and to consolidate the power of the few over the many, what is there but sheer, blind assertion to assure us that these are legitimate and logical outworkings of an apostolic deposit?

David, what is your answer to Chris' points he makes here? (posted at older post "The Trinity and Development of Doctrine".

Did Athanasius use a mafia?

Did the Nicean context squelch opposition by book burning?>>

Me: “Book-burning” on the part of the orthodox party occurs much later than Chris seems to imply. For a number of decades the Arians were in power. I suspect that any real, systematic burning of Arian literature probably occurred during the reign of emperor Justinian (but all this is from memory; need to check into this in greater depth later—after my grandson departs).

As for the “mafia” comment, in real sense this could be said all the bishops of the larger bishoprics. There is no question that both sides used the eranarii (mobs) to influence the councils (especially the local ones). Also, many of the larger bishoprics had the local town militia/army at their disposal. Yet with that said, once the ecumenical councils began, it came down to votes. (Once again, I highly recommend Ramsey McMullen’s book Voting About God; now available in a “limited preview” HERE.)

Ken also posted:

>>This is a flat contradiction of Trent and Vatican I, which both asserted that there was a "unanimous consent of the fathers" in their magisterial interpretation and that all who go against mother church are anathema.>>

Me: Agreed, but I (and most modern RCC scholars) do not consider such assertions as falling under either the strict dogma or moral categories; as such, such statements are not guarded by the gift of infallibility.

Wish I had more time, there is so much more I would like to comment on, but my grandson is strongly urging me back to my grandpa duties. (I am really looking forward to Sunday afternoon!!! [grin].)


Grace and peace,

David

Iohannes said...

Ken,

As a confessional Presbyterian I agree with the thrust of your assertions. Nevertheless, I would qualify a few of them.

On the idea of alteration and corruption, I think Mozley was right to speak of corruption through exaggeration. In most errors there is usually a kernel of truth. Even when the errors verge on what looks blasphemous to me--as in the case of the more far out ideas on Mary--I think we can see where they are coming from, even if we cannot allow that they are legitimate.

Also, I would be reluctant to call some of the things corruptions that you have identified. The perpetual virginity of Mary is a pious belief shared by many Christians, including many of the early Protestants. I would not have it elevated to the status of dogma, nor would I quarrel with those who do not share it, but I am not ready to jettison it. The episcopal system, too, is not necessarily in contradiction to an underlying presbyterial polity. Calvin was not opposed to all forms of episcopacy, and if the episcopate is understood in the terms of Bishop Lightfoot's Dissertation on the Christian Ministry, it looks like a helpful development, possibly with apostolic recommendation. The distinction of bishop from presbyter isn't jure divino like the distinction between presbyters and deacons, but I am not sure that that makes it illegitimate. Even Roman primacy, pentarchy, the system of provinces, metropolitans, etc., may be appropriate if the circumstances of the Church make them expedient. They are then rather like the distinction between senior and associate pastors--an arrangement justified "by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word."

This is, however, not to cede anything to the establishment of Papal supremacy of jurisdiction, or of the other developments in doctrine that seem to go beyond the Apostolic deposit. An allowable practice or opinion, even one approved by strong and longstanding tradition, is not the same thing as a dogma divinely revealed. If we view the issue from this perspective, I think we can begin to see what sets the modern Roman idea of development apart not only from Protestantism but also from Eastern Orthodoxy. But I may be mistaken, and welcome correction.

Ken Temple said...

iohannes,
Good to see another orthodox Protestant here.

Thanks for your comments and general agreement. I learn a lot from this website.

I can appreciate how the episcopacy developed, and don't have a big problem with it; as long as it is in the context of "with the presbyters"; and there is no jurisdictional authority and no infallibility.

But, it still seems more clear that the local churches in the NT (those passages I already cited) and in I Clement, and Jerome, and even in Polycarp and the Didache, point to a plurality of elders/overseers/bishops/pastors.

Would love to read a good defense of it by an Evangelical Anglican, which are not too many left today. Thanks for that reference; I hope to read that someday.

Apparently, a gifted preacher and exegete and gifted leader could practically make decisions and was trusted in his godly character; so its development was a practical historical process; because always waiting for consensus in a plurality of elders takes much more patience and time. But Scripture should rule over "practical decisions".

Cyprian seems to clearly be against any kind of "bishop of bishops" jurisdictional authority; in his disputes with bishop Stephen of Rome around 250-254 AD. That is a strong argument against the Papacy being a legitimate development.

I have more trouble with the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, even though Luther and other Reformers believed it. Calvin seemed to not want to go one or the other and, as I recall, wrote that those who fight over the issue are stupid or unwise. (something like that)

That just seems to be a pious belief that was left over from R. Catholicism that could not be shaken from them, and the Wesleys also believed that; but it seems to really go against Matthew 1:18-25 and all the Gospel passages on Jesus' brothers. Svendsen's work on heos hou in Matthew 1:25 in "Who is My Mother?" seems decisive against the PVM.

Ken Temple said...

On the idea of alteration and corruption, I think Mozley was right to speak of corruption through exaggeration. In most errors there is usually a kernel of truth. Even when the errors verge on what looks blasphemous to me--as in the case of the more far out ideas on Mary--I think we can see where they are coming from, even if we cannot allow that they are legitimate.

That was a very good paragraph, especially, the phrase, "corruption through exaggeration" - and excellent and spot on description of RCC development on the issues that Protestantism and RCC conflict.

What is the full bibliographical info on Mozley ?? I am surprised I have not heard of him before now in my readings.

Ken Temple said...

Calvin was not opposed to all forms of episcopacy, and if the episcopate is understood in the terms of Bishop Lightfoot's Dissertation on the Christian Ministry,

Interesting; always was impressed with Lightfoot's work on Scripture and Greek and Patristics. Too bad the Anglican Church doesn't have any Lightfoots today!


it looks like a helpful development, possibly with apostolic recommendation.

yes, one can see how it was "helpful", "practical", "pragmatic", "useful". Especially those of us in ministry and in a church planting ministry in tribal leader and authoritarian societies.

The distinction of bishop from presbyter isn't jure divino

"jure divino" - I can guess at "divino" (divine, godly, from God) but what does "jure" mean? Sorry I am not skilled in Latin; but I did take Greek and Hebrew. I now, many years later wish that I had taken Latin and studied more in post M.Div. studies.

like the distinction between presbyters and deacons, but I am not sure that that makes it illegitimate.

seems presbuteros and espiscopais was interchangeable in the passages I cited; and I agree that they are clearly more distinct from deacons.

Even Roman primacy, pentarchy, the system of provinces, metropolitans, etc., may be appropriate if the circumstances of the Church make them expedient.

there it is again, "expedient" - an even better term than "practical". Necessary given circumstances. Yes, I can see how that happened. Especially in church planting and persecution settings, where there is not enough qualified men to make a "plurality of elders".

They are then rather like the distinction between senior and associate pastors--an arrangement justified "by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word."

pretty good argument

Ken Temple said...

"Roman Pentarchy" ??

"Five rulers" ?? -- what does it mean?

Chris said...

David,

Book-burning was commonplace much earlier than Justinian. See here and here. Socrates Scholasticus, in Church History 1.9, transcribes an epistle of Constantine that includes the following order:

[...] if any treatise composed by Arius should be discovered, let it be consigned to the flames, in order that not only his depraved doctrine may be suppressed, but also that no memorial of him may be by any means left. This therefore I decree, that if any one shall be detected in concealing a book compiled by Arius, and shall not instantly bring it forward and burn it, the penalty for this offense shall be death; for immediately after conviction the criminal shall suffer capital punishment.

The Nag Hammadi library seems to have been buried in order to protect it after Athanasius condemned heretics and their books in his Festal Letter of 367 A.D.

-Chris

Iohannes said...

Ken,

Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed reading them, and am sorry that work will keep me from responding at greater length.

On First Clement, the prevailing view of modern scholarship (even among present day RCs) seems to be that there was a plurality of elders in Rome at the time, with Clement being the foremost, and being responsible for certain administrative duties, but probably not in the formal manner of the full monepiscopate that emerged later in the second century.

By Jerome's time episcopal government was nearly universal in the Church. You are right, though, that he witnesses to a plurality of elders in connection with government. e.g. I think Jerome speaks of a plurality of elders in Alexandria, who elected, and probably ordained, their bishop. More interestingly, (if I remember correctly) Jerome points to the distinction of "bishops" and "presbyters" as owing more to ecclesiastical custom than to divine appointment. This is what I meant by distinguishing what is "iure divino"--by divine right--in Church government from what has come about only through custom and prudence.

Lightfoot's Dissertation on the Christian Ministry is excellent. It is a little dated, but its main conclusions have held up over the past century and remain widely accepted. It originally appeared at the end of his commentary on Philippians, but was also published separately. You can find the text at Google Books.

J.B. Mozley is one of the great Anglican scholars of the ninetheenth century. He was Newman's close relation by marriage, and as a young man he was very much involved in the Oxford movement. After the Gorham controversy, which concerned whether a Reformed sacramentology was within the bounds of Anglican orthodoxy, Mozley reevaluated some of his high church positions. Unlike Manning, who was prompted by the Gorham case to convert to Rome, Mozley moved in a more Protestant direction. He was a high Augustinian, and he seems to have been sympathetic to historic Calvinism, though he does not seem to have thought much of the popular Calvinism of his day. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is a good source on him; if you search Google Books, you can find the entry on him from one of the older editions of the Dictionary.

Thanks again for your comments, and sorry I cannot say more right now.

David Waltz said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the correction and the links. Yet even with your references in mind, I still cannot help but wonder how extensive the “book-burning” was throughout the empire after Nicea, for I suspect there remained a considerable amount of sympathy for the Arians in many bishoprics. We must keep in mind that Constantine backed away from his own previous stance, restoring some Arian bishops, plus his banishing Athanasius; and there the subsequent ascendancy and dominance of Arianism, under which we have Jerome crying out, “"the whole world groaned and marvelled to find itself Arian”.

So, once again, though there was some “book-burning” during Constantine’s reign, I doubt it approached the systematic and extensive nature of that during Justinian’s period of rule.

Switching gears a bit, I am looking forward to your completion of the following:

Chris:>>Part 2, on the 19th-c. liberal Anglican critique, will be posted within a day or two. Depending upon how ambitious I'm feeling when that's done, I might also add a third post on the subject expressing my own views.>>

[BTW, I do not mind the delay, for I have little time to delve deeply into anything until Sunday afternoon.]


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

I guess the Roman Pentarchy meant the five centers of Early church that were later called "Patriarchs" or "sees"

Jerusalem (Acts 2, 8, 15)
Rome
Constantinople
Alexandria
Antioch (Acts 13)

Why not -- ?
Ephesus? (John)
Smyrna (Polycarp)

Why not Athens or Corinth or Thessalonika or Philippi?

Chris said...

It's coming, David. I'm about halfway done. But due to other obligations, work is progressing slower than I had hoped. I'll let you know when I get it up.

Iohannes said...

That is what I meant by the Pentarchy; sorry for not being clearer.

There were two justifications for this system, which may have overlapped somewhat: the supposed apostolic origins of the sees; and the historical or current political or religious significance of the cities (sometime called the principle of accommodation?). The reasoning of the disputed canon 28 of Chalcedon is an example of the latter: Constantinople is the New Rome, so it is elevated a status similar to that of the Old Rome. An example of the former is the claim that Rome's preeminent status is permanent and unalterable owing to its status as the city of the martyrdom of Peter (and Paul).

As a Protestant I do not see the basis for the full blown apostolic theory of the Pentarchy. If the arrangement was justifiable, it was due to expediency or human right, not due to divine right. You are right to ask why a city like Ephesus should not have had a patriarch. Ephesus did in fact claim a high status in one period of the early Church. Later, when Constantinople was advanced to "apostolic" status, it was partly by inheriting the status of Ephesus--Constantinople had passed Ephesus as the premier city in the region. Though I think the rationale may have changed later, and I might not be remembering correctly.

Ken Temple said...

Some of the Eastern Orthodox claim Antioch as the primary apostolic see, because of Acts 11:26 and Acts 13 and that Peter was there.

Alexandria has no Scriptural basis, but was an important secular city and tradition says that John Mark preached there and founded the first church there.

I can see how Constantinople would get its apostolic claim from Ephesus and Smyrna.

Jerusalem apparently faded in importance as the gospel spread out to the Gentiles.

Irenaeus mentions Ephesus, when he talks about the church in Rome, and defends against Gnosticism; and he attaches the importance to Rome because of Peter and Paul being martryed in Rome.

So, it seems the combination of the importance of the secular city; along with the martrydoms of Peter and Paul there; that it was the capital of the entire Roman Empire; this is what gives it its great importance.

Ken Temple said...

Yes, "expediency", "practicality", "human right", not divine right. -- your analysis rings true.

Irenaeus started to list more churches, naming Ephesus, but said it would be too tedious to list it all out; the evidence for the Christian interpretation against the Gnostics was enough and clear enough at Rome.

Happy 4th of July to USA folks.

On the fourth, we have been for several years, Watching "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" with Jimmy Stewart as a traditional way to celebrate the moral/Christian basis for our country and culture.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Since y'all are on the subject, I thought I'd transcribe for you one of the more interesting passages in Maurice's critique of Newman's DD treatise:

Hear how Jerome speaks [...] as he is quoted by Mr. Newman. (I take the words just as he gives them; he adduces them as an anticipation in the fourth century of that which was to be developed in the two following). "Writing to Damasus, he says, 'Since the East tears into pieces the Lord's coat...therefore by me is the chair of Peter to be consulted, and that faith which is praised by the Apostle's mouth...Though your greatness terrifies me, yet your kindness invites me. From the Priest the sacrifice claims salvation, from the Shepherd the sheep claim protection. Let us speak without offence; I court not Roman height: I speak with the successor of the Fisherman, and the disciple of the Cross. I, who follow none as my chief but Christ, am associated in communion with thy blessedness, that is, with the see of Peter. On that rock the Church is built, I know. Whoso shall eat the Lamb outside that house is profane...I know not Vitalis, Meletius I reject, I am ignorant of Paulinus. Whoso gathereth not with thee, scattereth; that is, he who is not of Christ is Antichrist.'" Just so; here are the clearest possible indications of the feelings which led to the exaltation of the Roman see. "The East," Jerome thought, "was tearing the coat of Christ." The subtlety of the Greek mind was disagreeable to his taste; the divisions of which it was the occasion, outraged his faith and conscience. He followed as his chief none but Christ; he wanted a personal centre, not the miserable centre of opinion which the Greek heretics were offering; he wanted a successor of the fisherman, not an emperor surrounded by his eunuch; therefore he clings to the see of Peter. He thought he was thus upholding his allegiance to the invisible head; that he was taking the best way which providence offered, of maintaining his position as one of a great living family, not as the professor of a system. [... His witness shows] how utterly unlike the instinct which led men to honour the Roman see was from the theory [i.e. papal supremacy] by which that instinct is justified and crushed. The instinct led men to fly to an outward centre, as a testimony to their minds-- greatly tormented by the sight of men herding and fraternising in the acknowledgement of mere intellectual abstractions-- that there was a living, eternal, invisible Centre, in whom the meanest and the highest, the bed-ridden woman and the learned doctor, might all feel that they had fellowship. The theory, the more it became developed, weakened that testimony the more; when it was proclaimed in terms, "Christ has given his authority to the chair of St. Peter;" then did the hearts of the humble and meek begin more and more to utter the cry, "They have taken away our Lord from his universe, and we know not where they have laid him." That cry may be heard not in the sixteenth century, not in Wittenberg, not in Geneva, but throughout the middle ages; [... etc.] (F. D. Maurice, Epistle to the Hebrews, pp. lxiv-lxv, brackets added.)

TOmNossor said...

I have enjoyed this discussion like the last ones very much. I hope everyone is having a great 4th of July.
I wondered if I should provide a full blown “apostasy” theory in response to David’s original query. I think I will offer a very little associated with this because in my mind against all but the Roman Catholic position (and the very Liberal position of Chris), the apostasy theory stands quite tall. This is because it explains the existence of a church in Christ’s day better than “low church Protestants,” and it offers a less problematic way of rejecting Catholicism and Catholic development. Rather than jumping straight to this let me start with this.

Ken said:
So, some sort of combination of Darby, Cunningham, and Calvin are the best and most Biblical alternatives to Liberalism (Chris); Mormonism (Tomnossor); and Newman and Roman Catholicism (most everyone else here,(? I think).

TOm:
I want to address two things from above. First, a perception I have that may be in error. When I first read the above, it seemed to me that “Biblical alternatives” implied that the following groups were non-Biblical. I am not sure what Chris would say about his paradigm, but as a LDS I would call my theology more Biblical than Protestantism or Catholicism. Where I to become a Catholic, I would call my theology more Biblical than Protestantism. This statement requires some unpacking however.
Both Catholicism and Mormonism reject the idea of sola scriptura. As such there are certainly some peculiarities within both theologies that do not lend themselves to Biblical proofs as well as would be required for a sola scripturian. The two main examples of these IMO are eternal marriage and the perpetual virginity of Mary. I do not think either of these is without scriptural warrant, but I do not think either stands upon its own within scripture.
Acknowledging the above, I think in many a disputed area LDS (and Catholics) theologies are superior to their Protestant counterparts. As a LDS, I would say that as Biblical scholarship has moved forward outside of theological scholarship numerous developments have been very positive for LDS theology. Things like the New Perspective on Paul, the explosion of scholarship on deification, the reassessment of creation ex nihilo, and the recognitions of a few different monotheistic models within the Old Testament at the expense of the metaphysical monotheism embraced by non-LDS Christianity; have IMO demonstrated that modern Biblical scholarship often improves the footing of LDS theology at the expense of Protestant (and often Catholic) theology.
Next, I wish to point out that the difference between Protestant Arminians and Protestant Calvinist is IMO far more concerning than the differences between Social Trinitarians and Augustinian Trinitarians. If these types of differences in interpretation are present (reasonable perhaps, acceptable perhaps) among Sola Scriptura adherents, I find it hard to suggest that Catholic and LDS theology are too far afield to be called Biblical. Perhaps the best response to this would be a subset of the one that I would give if you told me that such and such a LDS believed XYZ. That response from me is that I can represent what I believe and it is my theology that I find superior to all the alternative so XYZ has little bearing on my salvation or the choice of my religious paradigm. This response works less well for the sola scriptura Protestant IMO because theology in Protestantism seems much more important than theology within Mormonism.


The next thing I wanted to mention in response to “sort of combination of Darby, Cunningham, and Calvin” is that the question is what development theory can compete with Newman’s. I have seen a little on this thread that I will comment on shortly, but I am not convinced that Darby, Cunningham, or Calvin sufficiently acknowledge doctrinal development to be considered as offering an alternative. (David or ???, would Alister McGrath be a worthy source for a Protestant theory of development).
Darby seems to critique Newman with some force, but I am not sure where he offers an alternative development theory. Cunningham also seems to point to the Bible as the sole rule of faith and I have not seen where he acknowledges or explains how theology has developed. I think I would say the same of Calvin. Perhaps I have missed much from these guys (that would not surprise me).
On this thread it seems that the Protestant participants acknowledge development. I would also suggest that David’s thread on pre-Nicene Trinity demands that there has been development.
If I understand the development theories being put forth by Protestant’s here, it would seem they say that developing truth concerning the Trinity is valid because scripture demands a Trinity, but developing truth concerning the perpetual virginity of Mary is invalid because this is not something in scripture. Long ago, I asked Chris if those who embraced a view of the Trinity very different from what he thought John’s gospel taught would be hellbound. He said no. I am a social Trinitarian, we have a good JW friend who is an Arian. If we die informed and committed to these views are we in danger of hell? I would suggest that while a three-in-one view of God is the most clear read of the Old and New Testaments, the type of three-in-one view is not clear at all. I think the Social Trinity is a far better read than the Augustinian Trinity, but I can at least acknowledge there are aspects of the NT that can point to Arianism or to an Augustinian Trinity. If the development only of explicitly mentioned things is the type of development that exists, it would seem to me that the Protestant would have to welcome Arian’s into the catholicity because Arianism is a valid NT development (I am pretty sure I can find a Protestant scholar who suggest that Arius was the Sola Scripturian at Nicea rather than Athanasius if that would excite anyone).
I guess what I am saying is that the little bit of development theory I have been able to understand being offered (by the Protestants here) results in something far more like Chris’s liberal Christianity than I think the Conservative Protestants would like to embrace.


Briefly on what I would say as a LDS.
All theologies develop. As humans respond to divine revelation, ideas develop.
During times in the Old Testament and after Christ’s NT ministry there were people who received supernatural public revelation. After about 100AD there were no longer folks heading the Christian Church who received supernatural public revelation. There were still folks with lesser priesthood authority as is obvious from both NT books and writings of the ECF, but nobody had the “keys” to receive supernatural public revelation or lead a worldwide church.
Folks with lesser authority did well preserving and spreading the Christian message. In the absence of unifying “general authority,” local authorities sought a unifying principle. Orthodoxy ultimately became that principle, but in the absence of “general authority” the orthodoxy developed (and the ultimate development of large and larger authorities: monoepiscopate bishops, metropolitans, patriarchs, and the Pope) without revelation to guide its path. Errors were made in this development, but God’s will of preserving the witness of Christ and compiling a sufficient (thought not inerrant or even necessarily complete) Bible was fulfilled.
So as a LDS, I explain the development as the generally good faith efforts of men without the charism of revelation (or infallibility for that matter).

Now, as development theories go, I would suggest the above addresses the historical facts discussed by Darby and Newman well. I do not think a high-theology Protestant has produced a development theory that deals with the facts and produced a single theology. If there are significant problems with Newman’s theory, then Catholicism has severe theological problems too.
I should mention that while I think my apostasy and error theory well explains the development of non-LDS Christian doctrine, it does so by calling it error freely and declaring it a human endeavor. This is perhaps quite a simple copout and other issues certainly exist for me to explain (and there are many more facets to my ideas than just the above). I suspect Chris would embrace something similar to explain (or perhaps more correctly for both of our cases EXCUSE) the development of non-LDS Christian doctrine.

I think I will close here.
Charity, TOm

Chris said...

Hi Tom,

Just one comment on the above. You wrote,

>>here were still folks with lesser priesthood authority as is obvious from both NT books and writings of the ECF...

I have to disagree here. I see no ministerial priesthood in either the NT or the fathers of the first and second centuries. The concept seems, rather, to have emerged at the beginning of the third. The truth, then, is precisely the opposite of what is claimed by the LDS paradigm. Christianity didn't lose a priesthood; it gained one.

Best,

-Chris

TOmNossor said...

Chris,
Thanks for the response. I could have sworn that in response to a comment I made about Titus or Timothy that you said something I considered (at the time) to be quite remarkable. Something to the affect that there are hints of priesthood in some of the books chosen for the NT and such is one of the artifacts of having an organization with priesthood selecting the NT books. Perhaps I remember wrong.
Also, while 1st Clement, the letters of Ignatius, and Polycarp do not delineate all of the responsibilities of priesthood offices, they do seem to speak of Bishops and Deacons in ways inconsistent with these folks being overseers and servants without a position.
If you want a lot more than this, I will need to re-look through From Apostles to Bishops: The Development of the Episcopacy in the Early Church by Francis A. Sullivan. It is a remarkable book in that I think it demonstrates both that the Apostles instituted local leaders with authority and that this developed into monoepiscopal Bishops.
As I reflect upon what you just said, it is almost universally accepted (or so I thought) that monoepiscopal Bishops were in place during the last few decades of the 2nd century in areas throughout the world and much earlier in certain places (like Asia). I think your beginning of the 3rd century is between late and very late.
Charity, TOm

Chris said...

Hi Tom,

I don't recall saying anything about priesthood in the Pastorals. I do, however, think that the Pastorals were written pseudonymously at a somewhat later period than most of the rest of the NT, and that they thus have a more hierarchical view of the church than is typical in NT documents. (They're not monoepiscopal yet, though.)

I should stress that when I say ministerial priesthood didn't emerge as a concept until the third century, I don't mean that there was no hierarchy before then. Rather, I mean that none of the bishops, presbyters, or elders in the first and second centuries presumed to take on the title "priest". When they finally do so in the third and fourth centuries, we find Origen apologizing for it and rationalizing it as a sort of metaphorical title, because he realized it was a clear violation of the teaching of Hebrews. The concept of priesthood continued to develop, until eventually it referred not just to a collection of offices, but to a separate, ethereal entity (much like the Holy Spirit) that is literally passed on from person to person through physical contact. That's the concept the Mormons seem to hold today.

It's also unwise, I think, to see the church as a uniform institution in the early centuries. Rome seems to have adopted the monoepiscopal form a bit later than other churches, and the few hints we have of how worship was conducted outside major urban areas (e.g. the Didache) are suggestive of a more charismatic, democratic kind of faith than we find in the letters of Ignatius. Romans 16, which was probably originally an independent letter addressed to Ephesus, suggests that the early Ephesian church was unusually open to female leadership, even in the role of apostles. Perhaps this is why 1 and 2 Timothy, also addressed to Ephesus, seem so determined to stamp out female agency.

Anyway, my point is just that priesthood qua priesthood doesn't show up till the third century. Best,

-Chris

TOmNossor said...

Hello Chris,
Ok, I think I might understand you much better than I did before.
First, I suspect you are correct that you commented on the authority structure within the Bible and suggested that some of these authority books are a product of Biblical book selection that you think God would have guided differently had He exerted His will more completely upon the compiling of the canon.
Second, Father Sullivan in the book I mentioned makes it very clear that the authority structures within the local churches developed at different times. I do not demand that the confusion concern multiple leaders vs. a single leader is a product of LDS bishoprics, multiple ordained folks, and tenures for bishops that did not last a lifetime; but it is an interesting possibility.

Now regarding the distinction you draw between “authority structure” and “ministerial priesthood,” I do not think we are necessarily worlds apart. I am not familiar with the passages were Origin apologizes for Christians accepting the idea that they are priests in ways TOO reminiscent of the Old Testament priesthood, but I have long made a distinction between priests in the full Old Testament sense and Deacons/Presbyters/Bishops.
I believe there are three New Testament Biblical examples of priests in the full Old Testament sense. There is one main thing that I link to this definition of priest that I remove from the authority structures in the CoJCoLDS (and I have in the past argued it can be similarly viewed as absent in the authority structure in the Catholic Church, but I would be interested to see what Origin is apologizing for AND I know I am on shakier ground for a Catholic view of priesthood than for a LDS view). That one main thing is that the Hebrew and Greek words for priest in the Old and New Testament included in their definition (as I understand them) “one who sacrifices.” In the New Testament there are three uses of “priest” or “Hiereus.” Two are part of the New Covenant and I believe exist today in God’s Church. One is the Great High Priest or Christ. He performs the ultimate SACRIFICE. The other is the Priesthood of all Believers. This group is comprised of all Christians and we are all called to SACRIFICE our time, talent, …. In fact we are all called to sacrifice our all.
Existing side by side within the New Covenant it seems to me that there is an authority structure that consist of folks called Diakoneo (deacon), Presbuteros (presbyter, but in many ways synonymous with “priest” in English), and Episkope (Bishop). I would suggest that the leaders within the Old Covenant were priests who sacrificed in unique ways, but the leaders within the New Covenant are folks with a priesthood that does not sacrifice.

It seems clear that the “offices” mentioned in the New Testament existed side by side with the priesthood of all believers. I would suggest such offices exist today. When I speak of an ordained priesthood within the very early Christian church and within my church today, I mean a group of folks who have authority and tend to their flocks. When I speak of priesthood of all believers, I mean all members of God’s church who sacrifice like priests of old did (though not with vicarious blood).

Concerning Origin’s apology and the Catholic priesthood. I have in the past argued that the Catholic mass in not the RE-sacrifice of Christ and thus the priest who officiates is not a priest, one who sacrifices. I think this is a fair argument, but I will leave this to the Catholics here. I am not sure what Origin is apologizing for, but it may hamper the pro-Catholic argument I have made in the past. I will suggest that the LDS priesthood that officiates during the sacrament and other covenantal ordinances, is not sacrificing and is thus not a “Hiereus” priest. This means that the authority structure present in the Bible and the 1st Century is what I am linking too, not the term Hiereus which does seem to be used later.

Here is a very old thread where I discussed some of this, but I think I covered most of my thoughts above.
http://www.mormonapologetics.org/lofiversion/index.php/t8084.html

Again, your willingness to devalue the authority structure evident in SOME books of the New Testament makes your view far less assailable IMO than the Protestant (I think the bulk of evangelicals essentially adopt this) view where it is all just priesthood of all believers. I am not sure that you do not pay to much for such a less assailable station, but…

Charity, TOm

TOmNossor said...

At the beginning of my last paragraph I more meant to say,
“Again, your willingness to devalue SOME books of the New Testament, where an authority structure is far more pronounced, makes your view far less assailable…”

Charity, TOm

Chris said...

Hey Tom,

I don't want to hijack this thread, so I won't belabor this issue much more. But a quick observation on LDS vs. RC priesthood, I think, is in order. IMO, the LDS claim to priesthood is more objectionable than the Roman claim, precisely because the LDS directly and explicitly link their priesthood to the Old Testament. The Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods are not supposed to be "the authority structure present in the Bible and the 1st Century," as you suggest in your last comment. Rather, they are supposed to be the heirs of the hiereus priests of the Old Testament. Roman Catholics, by contrast, have some room to argue that their priesthood is just a development of the authority held by elders in the early church. (Note the derivation of the English "priest" from presbuteros.) This, IMO, is a much more tenable position in light of what we find in the book of Hebrews.

Here's the Origen quote to which I previously referred:

Most of us devote most of our time to the things of this life, and dedicate to God only a few special acts, thus resembling those members of the tribes who had but few transactions with the priest, and discharged their religious duties with no great expense of time. But those who devote themselves to the divine word and have no other employment but the service of God may not unnaturally, allowing for the difference of occupation in the two cases, be called our levites and priests. And those who fulfill a more distinguished office than their kinsmen will perhaps be high-priests, according to the order of Aaron, not that of Melchizedek. Here some one may object that it is somewhat too bold to apply the name of high-priests to men, when Jesus himself is spoken of in many a prophetic passage as the one great priest, as 'We have a great high-priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God." But to this we reply that the Apostle clearly defined his meaning, and declared the Prophet to have said about the Christ, 'Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek,' and not according to the order of Aaron. We say accordingly that men can be high-priests according to the order of Aaron, but according to the order of Melchizedek only the Christ of God.

If you'd like, we can discuss this a bit more by email. That way we don't hijack the thread anymore than we already have, and if you're interested I can send you a brief paper I wrote on EC priesthood and the LDS a while back. Or I can just let you have the last word here in the combox.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris and Tom,

It seems like an eye-opening discussion from both of you for all of us. I hope your well thought out positions aren't in anyone's mind marginalized merely because one is liberal and the other is LDS. Chris, I have learned not to marginalize Mormons and it took a while. I am still a "work in progress" with regard to you and your bunch. Thanks for your patience.

Tom seems to imply that the consistent Protestant becomes Chris. Dave has said that the consistent Protestant becomes Tom. (Not to say to be either of you fine fellows is to be avoided, but the positions you hold are often considered the farthest from conservative Protestantism). Anyway, it seems like Newman ended up in a Middle Way different from that which he originally sought.

Thanks again for your exchange. I'll be thinking about it.

Rory

Chris said...

Thanks, Rory!

TOmNossor said...

Chris,
I would very much like to read you paper. I certainly lean strongly toward the idea that the priesthood I hold is not a copy of the Old Testament hiereus priests in precisely the way Hebrews suggests is now not necessary because of Christ but that it is still the heir to the authority to lead God’s church on earth via supernatural public revelation. Anyway, I can certainly see how others would declare such distinctions are made by me beyond the evidence (though I have made them for a long time and I do not know any LDS who questioned them and I cannot immediately recall any non-LDS who has addressed them with rigor. Johnny seemed to claim that the Catholic priest is one who sacrifices and the LDS priest is not so Catholicism is the successor of the Jews). I will be happy to read what you wrote.
If you do not remember, my email is “tr” at “dr” dot “com” with the obvious symbols replacing words and quotes gone.
Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hi Chris,

First, I have no problem with the direction/s this thread is taking, for ultimately, the issues that you and Tom have been discussing lie within the overarching topic of DD.

Second, I would like to comment on the following that you recently posted:

>>I should stress that when I say ministerial priesthood didn't emerge as a concept until the third century, I don't mean that there was no hierarchy before then. Rather, I mean that none of the bishops, presbyters, or elders in the first and second centuries presumed to take on the title "priest". When they finally do so in the third and fourth centuries, we find Origen apologizing for it and rationalizing it as a sort of metaphorical title, because he realized it was a clear violation of the teaching of Hebrews. The concept of priesthood continued to develop, until eventually it referred not just to a collection of offices, but to a separate, ethereal entity (much like the Holy Spirit) that is literally passed on from person to person through physical contact. That's the concept the Mormons seem to hold today.>>

Me: Darby (and so many others) point to the writings of Ignatius for demonstrative indications of an emerging distinction between the clergy and laity. I would also argue that there is a strong possibility that Ignatius believed the bishops and presbyters functioned in a priestly capacity, and this via his interesting use of the Greek term thusiastēriov (especially in Phil. 4.) in connection with the Eucharist.

And further, some essays concerning the nature of the priesthood in the OT and it’s continuity into the NT by Ray Sutton and James Jordan offer some insightful reflections from Protestants who argue for a “ministerial priesthood” in the NT. (See Ray R. Sutton, “Covenantal Hierarchy” Parts I & II in Covenant Renewal, Vol. V.8, 9 / Aug. and Sept. 1991; and James B. Jordan, “Peter as High Priest”, in Biblical Horizons, No. 68 / Dec. 1994.)



Grace and peace,

David

TOmNossor said...

Rory,
Thanks for the kind words. I try not to marginalize anyone just because of the paradigm they embrace. I really think Greg Stafford (a Jehovah’s Witness) has won a debate with James White (of course perhaps I marginalize James White. And when he begins by saying that Greg Stafford does not really represent Jehovah’s Witness thought, but James White does know what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe I am further prejudiced against him). BTW, I think there are strengths possessed by JWs and they also should not be marginalized.

I do not presently see things within Chris’s position that I can stand up and say are internally inconsistent. If the development of doctrine that is the introduction of Newman’s theory into Catholic theology is consistent with what Newman’s theory calls a valid development (and there are not too egregious of errors within Newman’s theory), then it seems to me that a Newman view of Catholicism is also internally consistent. And if the religion I embrace (as opposed to the religion many critics and probably some LDS claim is Mormonism) is properly called Mormonism, then it is also (as best I can tell) internally consistent. I cannot at this time personally say this for a Conservative Protestant paradigm.

Charity, TOm

Chris said...

David,

Thanks for the references and the note on Ignatius. I'll look into them.

-Chris

Chris said...

David and others,

The next part in my series on Development is up over on my blog.

Best,

-Chris

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

I have a couple of questions about your latest blog post.

I don't quite understand the implication of Newman's alleged "teleological" view of history. I thought teleology was the method by which some, myself included, would draw the conclusion from design in nature to purpose in nature, and from purpose to a Creator.

Would a teleological view of history perceive the existence of God through examination of human history?

Secondly, and perhaps less importantly, about Adam Smith. You said that he taught that left to itself, without government interference, a free market would be guided as by "an invisible hand". That would have to be God, right?

I was thinking that he merely taught that the free exchange of goods and services between independent parties IS a fair price. I thought his theory attacked the always popular idea of a so-called fair and just price that would make manipulation by government or God unnecessary. I haven't read Smith, but I certainly don't see his disciples of the next generations upholding that view of the reason for why laissez faire economics "works".

Government interference in the interest of fair prices, or balanced exchange of exports and imports is simply an unjust way of favoring the consumer over the producer or vice versa. Either way, it is simply unjust. But you are saying he saw God as the arbiter of the fair price? As with the teleological historian, I don't quite understand.

I hope I appreciate your post, and have a bit more to say later. I am reading some very fun English historical novels of the period that now seem to be possibly relevant to the whole thread of English thinking during the day. I am recommending these to family and friends everywhere, so why not you too. I think you might like Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels, on English politics, and the Barchester series, on the Church. You'll see a lot of what you are talking about (Whigs and Tories, High Church and Low Church) with heroes and villains love stories and mysteries and moral dilemma and more. If you as a student don't have time now, maybe you would enjoy them later. Anyway...gotta go.

Thanks for clarifying my misunderstandings.

Rory

Chris said...

Hi Rory,

I'm not familiar with the use of "teleology" you mention. When I speak of a "teleological" view of history, I am referring to the view that history is moving gradually toward a definite end-point. (A goal or end-point is called a telos in Greek; thus the term "teleological".) Most nineteenth century Brits prior to Darby were postmillennialists, who believed that the millennium would be brought about by human effort and by the gradual progress of Christian civilization. This is linear, directional history, in contrast to the endless cycles of Greek and Oriental philosophy.

As for your question about Adam Smith, Smith was a deist. He believed that God was the clockmaker, who had created the universe to be a self-regulating system in which he would not need to interfere. The idea of the universe as a self-regulating system, I think, has strong roots in Newtonian physics. Newton had opened to the world a universe governed by invisible, almost magical forces that held everything in equilibrium. As other thinkers looked at their various disciplines through a Newtonian lens, they began to see these kinds of forces and self-regulating systems everywhere. When Smith speaks of the "invisible hand", he isn't speaking of direct divine guidance. Rather, he's using it as a metaphor for the natural market forces that hold a capitalist economy together much better than any government regulation could do. Presumably these forces were set in place by a Creator, but the Creator is no longer directly involved in their operation.

Now, when I say that Hare and other Whig theologians applied this view of providence to doctrinal development, I do not mean that they were deists or non-interventionists. They did believe that God continues to be the living, active governor of the world, and that he is directly involved in the life of the church and the believer. But in terms of how they understood the operation of providence in guiding development, I think they were much more apt to see it in terms of laws and self-regulating systems than of direct divine orchestration of every event. When God intervenes, it is as a loving and completely gracious interaction with the believer rather than as a conductor orchestrating a symphony or a director directing a play.

Hopefully that clears things up a bit. Thanks for the book recommendation. Best,

-Chris

Ken Temple said...

but as a LDS I would call my theology more Biblical than Protestantism or Catholicism.

no offense, but -- I don't see how when LDS is Polytheistic - a plurality of gods, each with their own planet, (Joseph Smith’s Kolob planet, that God was once a man, etc. many goddesses; etc.

Christianity is Monotheistic; Trinitarian Monotheism. I realize that modern Mormonism has tried to soften the polytheism and reword Mormonism into something closer to Evangelicalism (How Wide the Divide, by Stephen Robinson and Craig Blomberg) and ignore it or say that those aspects of it are just the private thoughts and writings of Joseph Smith (King Follet’s Discourse) and Brigham Young and others. (Lorenzo Snow, Ezra Taft Benson, many others) Anyway, I have read enough statements from them and many other of the "apostles" and “prophets” and leaders of LDS; and it just cannot be Biblical at all because of the polytheistic nature of it; even if you explain that the other gods are gods of other planets or galaxies, etc., and the attempt to try and make the Bible affirm polytheism seems really absurd and ridiculous.


“All the gods of the nations are idols; but the LORD made the heavens.” Psalm 96:5

I Corinthians 8:4-6 also confirms this. I realize that there is the Mormon interpretation of these verses, but this is actually eisegesis (reading into the text) and mis-interpretation, along with Mormon spin on Psalm 82 and John 10:30-39; and 2 Peter 1:4.

I am not trying to be combative or “mean”; but really; come on; Mormons need to admit that LDS is polytheistic and that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and other “apostles” and “prophets” clearly taught this. Joseph Smith said that all Christian groups in history were wrong and that he was restoring the original church.

The Triune God of the Bible calls you to repentance from polytheism and a wrong view of who God is, a wrong view of who Jesus is ( “the spirit-brother of Lucifer” ) and a false gospel. (Acts 17:30; Matthew 3:8; Mark 1:15; I Corinthians 15:1-9; I Thessalonians 1:9-10)

“There is only one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.” I Timothy 2:5-6

Some quotes from the web-sites below.
Robinson's definition of what can be used to determine orthodox doctrine, the canonized Standard Works, and their interpretation by the living prophets was discussed earlier. It is significant that he does accept two additional statements, that while not canonized, "they are so widely accepted by Latter-day Saints that this technical point has become moot." (24) They are, first, Lorenzo Snow's couplet, "As man is, God once was; as God now is, man may become", (25) and Joseph Smith's sermon at the funeral of King Follett, in which the prophet taught that God is an exalted man. (26)
http://www.lds-mormon.com/hwtd.shtml


http://www.lds-mormon.com/book_of_abraham.shtml

In the early 1800's a young Mormon prophet pretended to receive from God a description of astronomy that included an explanation for solar radiation... According to Joseph Smith [in the Book of Abraham], the sun gets its light from God's home planet, a world Joseph called Kolob. No evidence supporting this hypothesis exists. None.
There is no significant, measurable influx of mass or energy pouring into the sun from any source outside our solar system. Accordingly, the absence of evidence supporting Joseph Smith's hypothesis is compelling evidence against his claim to divine revelation. Presumably, God knows how the sun shines, and Joseph Smith did not. It seems a simple conclusion to say, therefore, that Joseph Smith was not inspired by God when he wrote the Book of Abraham."

This web-site appears to be from an honest person who grew up Mormon but is asking honest questions. It is not from the Tanners, or James White or Walter Martin or Bill McKever, etc.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I realize that your comments were directed to Tom, but as one who has spent a considerable amount of time in Mormon studies, I could not restrain myself from jumping into the fray.

You wrote:

>>Robinson's definition of what can be used to determine orthodox doctrine, the canonized Standard Works, and their interpretation by the living prophets was discussed earlier. It is significant that he does accept two additional statements, that while not canonized, "they are so widely accepted by Latter-day Saints that this technical point has become moot." (24) They are, first, Lorenzo Snow's couplet, "As man is, God once was; as God now is, man may become", (25) and Joseph Smith's sermon at the funeral of King Follett, in which the prophet taught that God is an exalted man. (26)>>

Me: There are very good reasons why Robinson did not include the above two sources as authoritative for determining ‘official’ CoCJoLDS doctrine. The following collection of quotations I have compiled into a file on my harddrive should explain why I say this (forgive the length, and note that not taken the time to italicize book titles):

OFFICIAL DOCTRINE - INFALLIBILITY

“…I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such.” (Joseph Smith Jr., History of the Church, Vol. 5.265.)

…if anything should have been suggested by us, or any names mentioned, except by commandment, or thus saith the Lord, we do not consider it binding.( Joseph Smith Jr., History of the Church, 3:295.)

“Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.” (Joseph Smith Jr., in Oliver Cowdery, An Address to All Believers in Christ, p. 31 –cited in B.H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 1.163.)

“How important for the Prophet's disciples to know that not every voice heard by the spirit of man is the voice of God; that not every impression made upon the mind is an impression from a divine source. There are other influences in this God's world than divine influences. There are men-originated influences, and even satanic influences, as well as divine influences. It was important that these disciples be made aware of these facts, that they may not stumble in matters of grave concerns. How impressive the object lesson in this Toronto journey incident! The matter of the journey itself, and its object, were of small importance, but the lesson that came out of the experience was of great moment. It concerned the Prophet as well as his followers to learn that lesson. It is to the Prophet's credit that he submitted the matter to God for the solution. It is doubly to his credit that he boldly gave the answer received to his disciples, though it involved humiliation to him. But one will say, what becomes of certainty even in matters of revelation and divine inspiration if such views as these are to obtain? The answer is that absolute certainty, except as to fundamental things, the great things that concern man's salvation, may not be expected. Here, indeed, that is, in things fundamental, we have the right to expect the solid rock, not shifting sands, and God gives that certainty. But in matters that do not involve fundamentals, in matters that involve only questions of administration and policy, the way in which God's servants go about things; in all such matters we may expect more or less of uncertainty, even errors; manifestations of unwisdom, growing out of human limitations.” (B.H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 1.166.)


I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whisperings of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p. 150.)

Do not brethren, put your trust in man though he be a bishop, an apostle, or a president. If you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support is gone; but if we lean on God, He never will fail us. When men and women depend on God alone, and trust in Him alone, their faith will not be shaken if the highest in the Church should step aside. Perhaps it is His own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that His Saints may learn to trust in Him, and not in any man or men. (George Q. Cannon, Millennial Star, 53:674-74.)

Charles W. Penrose:
At the head of this Church stands a man who is a prophet…We respect and venerate him; but we do not believe that his personal views or utterances are revelations from God. (Millennial Star, no. 54, March 1892, p. 191.)

Charles Penrose stated:

We do not believe in the infallibility of man. When God reveals anything it is truth, and truth is infallible. No President of the Church has claimed infallibility. (Improvement Era 1912 Sep: 1045.)

George Q. Cannon:
The First Presidency cannot claim, individually or collectively, infallibility. The infallibility is not given to men. They are fallible. (Gospel Truth, 1:206.)

President J. Reuben Clark:

We are not infallible in our judgment, and we err, but our constant prayer is that the Lord will guide us in our decisions, and we are trying so to live that our minds will be open to His inspiration. (Church News, 31 July 1954, 8.)

But there are many places where the scriptures are not too clear, and where different interpretations may be given to them; there are many doctrines, tenets as the Lord called them, that have not been officially defined and declared. It is in the consideration and discussion of these scriptures and doctrines that opportunities arise for differences of views as to meanings and extent. In view of the fundamental principle just announced as to the position of the President of the Church, other bearers of the Priesthood, those with the special spiritual endowment and those without it, should be cautious in their expressions about and interpretations of scriptures and doctrines. They must act and teach subject to the over-all power and authority of the President of the Church. It would be most unfortunate were this not always strictly observed by the bearers of this special spiritual endowment, other than the President. Sometimes in the past they have spoken “out of turn,” so to speak. Furthermore, at times even those not members of the General Authorities are said to have been heard to declare their own views on various matters concerning which no official view or declaration has been made by the mouthpiece of the Lord, sometimes with an assured certainty that might deceive the uninformed and unwary. The experience of Pelatiah Brown in the days of the Prophet is an illustration of this general principle. (DHC, vol. V, pp. 339–45.)



There have been rare occasions when even the President of the Church in his preaching and teaching has not been “moved upon by the Holy Ghost.” You will recall the Prophet Joseph declared that a prophet is not always a prophet.

To this point runs a simple story my father told me as a boy, I do not know on what authority, but it illustrates the point. His story was that during the excitement incident to the coming of Johnston’s Army, Brother Brigham preached to the people in a morning meeting a sermon vibrant with defiance to the approaching army, and declaring an intention to oppose and drive them back. In the afternoon meeting he arose and said that Brigham Young had been talking in the morning, but the Lord was going to talk now. He then delivered an address, the tempo of which was the opposite from the morning talk.

I do not know if this ever happened, but I say it illustrates a principle-that even the President of the Church, himself, may not always be “moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” when he addresses the people. This has happened about matters of doctrine (usually of a highly speculative character) where a subsequent President of the Church and the people themselves have felt that in declaring the doctrine, the announcer was not “moved upon by the Holy Ghost.”

How shall the Church know when these adventurous expeditions of the brethren into these highly speculative principles and doctrines meet the requirements of the statutes that the announcers thereof have been “moved upon by the Holy Ghost”? The Church will know by the testimony of the Holy Ghost in the body of the members, whether the brethren in voicing their views are “moved upon by the Holy Ghost”; and in due time that knowledge will be made manifest. I refer again to the observations of Brother Brigham on this general question. (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., “When Are Church Leaders’ Words Entitled to Claim of Scripture?”, in Top, Dahl, and Bowen, Follow The Living Prophets, pp. 231-232.)

I have tried to suggest the meaning of the scripture which says that what the Priesthood says when “moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” is itself scripture. I have tried to indicate my own thoughts as to some of the limitations which attend the exercise of this principle, both as to those who are entitled to have their words taken as scripture, and also as to the doctrines that might fall from the lips of those not possessing the special gift and endowment. I have shown that even the President of the Church has not always spoken under the direction of the Holy Ghost, for a prophet is not always a prophet. I noted that the Apostles of the Primitive Church had their differences, that in our own Church, leaders have differed in view from the first.

I have observed that the Lord has his own ways of communicating his mind and will to his prophets, uninfluenced by the thoughts or views of men as to his proper procedure; that sometimes he evidently speaks with an audible voice, but that at other times he speaks inaudibly to the ear but clearly to the mind of the prophet. I quoted how the Prophet Joseph worked as he received revelations and how his countenance changed in appearance at such times. I have tried to explain briefly how, as Joseph said, a prophet is not always a prophet, but is a prophet only when acting as such, and that this means that not always may the words of a prophet be taken as a prophecy or revelation, but only when he, too, is speaking as “moved upon by the Holy Ghost.” (Ibid., p. 241).


“With all their inspiration and greatness, prophets are yet mortal men with imperfections common to mankind in general,” explained Elder Bruce R. McConkie. “They have their opinions and prejudices and are left to work out their problems without inspiration in many instances.”

Thus the opinions and views, even of a prophet, may contain error, unless those opinions and views were inspired by the Spirit. Inspired scripture or statements should be accepted as such…

Well, the point of this is that prophets are men and that when they act by the spirit of inspiration, what they say is118the voice of God; but still they are mortal and they are en- titled to and do have private opinions. Unless these are inspired and unless they accord with the revelations, they are just as subject to being in a field by themselves, as anyone else in the Church. What I really ought to do is, not talk about General Authorities, but talk about bishops and elders, because the principle is precisely the same where everyone is concerned. (“Are the General Authorites Human?” p. 5.) (Ibid., p. 118.)


The books, writings, explanations, expositions, views, and theories of even the wisest and greatest men, either in or out of the Church, do not rank with the standard works. Even the writings, teachings, and opinions of the prophets of God are acceptable only to the extent they are in harmony with what God has revealed and what is recorded in the standard works. When the living oracles speak in the name of the Lord or as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, however, their utterances are then binding upon all who hear, and whatever is said will without any exception be found to be in harmony with the standard works. The Lord’s house is a house of order, and one truth never contradicts another. (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 765.)

Wise gospel students do not build their philosophies of life on quotations of individuals, even though those quotations come from presidents of the Church (Bruce R. McConkie to Eugene England, letter of February 19, 1981.)

"It has always been hard to recognize in fallible human beings the authorized servants of God. Paul must have seemed an ordinary man to many. Joseph Smith's cheerful disposition was seen by some as not fitting their expectations for a prophet of God.

Satan will always work on the Saints of God to undermine their faith in priesthood keys. One way he does it is to point out the humanity of those who hold them. He can in that way weaken our testimony and so cut us loose from the line of keys by which the Lord ties us to Him."

Topics: keys, authority

(Elder Henry B. Eyring, "Faith and Keys," Ensign, Nov. 2004, 28.)

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Living Prophets for a Living Church – Published for the Use of College Students in the Church Educational System (1974)

[Harold B. Lee]

All that we teach in this Church ought to be couched in the scriptures. It ought to be found in the scriptures. If we want to measure truth, we should measure it by the four standard works, regardless of who writes it. If it is not in the standard works, we many well assume that it is speculation, man’s own personal opinion; and if it contradicts what is in the scriptures, it is not true. This is the standard by which we measure all truth. (IE, Jan. 1969, p. 13.) (p. 66)

A friend…wished to know whether we…considered an honest difference of opinion between a member of the Church and the authorities of the Church was apostasy…We replied that we had not stated that on honest difference of opinion between a member of the Church and the authorities constituted apostasy; for we could conceive of a man honestly differing in opinion from the authorities of the Church and yet not be an apostate but we could not conceive of a man publishing those differences of opinion, and seeking by arguments, sophistry and special pleading to enforce upon the people to produce division and strife, and place the acts and counsels of the authorities of the Church, if possible, in a wrong light, and not be an apostate, for such conduct was apostasy as we understood the term. We further said that while a man might honestly differ in opinion from the authorities through a want of understanding, he had to be exceedingly careful how he acted in relation to such differences, or the adversary would take advantage of him, and he would soon become imbued with the spirit of apostasy, and be found fighting against God and the authority which He had placed here to govern His Church. (George Q. Cannon, Deseret News, 3 November 1869, p. 457. Italics added.) (p. 81)

Teachings of the Living Prophets – Student manual Religion 333 [pages 17, 18.]

(4-2) The Standard Works Should Be Used to Judge the Truth of All Teachings (1982)

Once a volume of scripture is included among the standard works, it takes on added significance. It becomes a binding document which is part of the standard by which the truthfulness of all other statements can be measured.

“The Lord has given us in the standard works the means by which we should measure truth and untruth. May we all heed his word: ‘Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures, for a law, to be my law to govern my church.’ (D&C 42:59.)” (Harold B. Lee, “Find Answers in the Scriptures,” Ensign, Dec. 1972, p. 3.)

Elder Harold B. Lee taught that if something a person says contradicts the scriptures, we may know that it is false (see “The Place of the Living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,” in Charge to Religious Educators, p. 111). President Joseph Fielding Smith also taught that principle:

“It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teaching of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man's doctrine.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:203) [Teachings of the Living Prophets – Student Manual Religion 333, pp. 17, 18.]

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A. Roger Merrill
While individuals have the responsibility to live in such a manner that the Holy Ghost may assist them in discerning truth, the following criteria taught by the Brethren may be useful to Sunday School leaders, teachers, and students in learning and teaching accurate doctrine:
1. Is the doctrine clearly expressed in the standard works of the Church? President Hinckley said, "[The standard works] provide the standard by which all gospel doctrine is measured" (regional representatives' seminar, Apr. 5, 1991).
2. Is the doctrine found within the official declarations, proclamations, or statements of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles? President Boyd K. Packer stated: "Only [the] standard works, official statements, and other publications written under assignment from the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles are considered authorized publications by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled [1991], introduction).
3. Is the doctrine clearly taught or discussed by current general Church leaders in general conference or other official gatherings of the Church? President George Q. Cannon said, "We have the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; but all these books, without the living oracles and a constant stream of revelation from the Lord, would not lead any people into the Celestial Kingdom of God" (Gospel Truth, sel. Jerrald L. Newquist, 2 vols. [1957–74], 1:323).
4. Is the doctrine found in the general handbooks or the presently approved curriculum of the Church? Elder M. Russell Ballard said, "Teachers would be well advised to study carefully the scriptures and their manuals before reaching out for supplemental materials. Far too many teachers seem to stray from the approved curriculum materials without fully reviewing them. If teachers feel a need to use some good supplemental resources beyond the scriptures and manuals in presenting a lesson, they should first consider the use of the Church magazines" ("Teaching—No Greater Call," Ensign, May 1983, 68).
If the doctrine or idea in question meets one or more of these criteria, we can generally be confident that it is one of the official doctrines of the Church.


http://www.lds.org/pa/display/0,17884,5950-1,00.html


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>




Approaching Mormon Doctrine

SALT LAKE CITY 4 May 2007 Much misunderstanding about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revolves around its doctrine. The news media is increasingly asking what distinguishes the Church from other faiths, and reporters like to contrast one set of beliefs with another.
The Church welcomes inquisitiveness, but the challenge of understanding Mormon doctrine is not merely a matter of accessing the abundant information available. Rather, it is a matter of how this information is approached and examined.
The doctrinal tenets of any religion are best understood within a broad context (see here and here), and thoughtful analysis is required to understand them. News reporters pressed by daily deadlines often find that problematic. Therefore, as the Church continues to grow throughout the world and receive increasing media attention, a few simple principles that facilitate a better understanding may be helpful:
· Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted.
· Some doctrines are more important than others and might be considered core doctrines. For example, the precise location of the Garden of Eden is far less important than doctrine about Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. The mistake that public commentators often make is taking an obscure teaching that is peripheral to the Church’s purpose and placing it at the very center. This is especially common among reporters or researchers who rely on how other Christians interpret Latter-day Saint doctrine.
Based on the scriptures, Joseph Smith declared: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
· Because different times present different challenges, modern-day prophets receive revelation relevant to the circumstances of their day. This follows the biblical pattern (Amos 3:7), in which God communicated messages and warnings to His people through prophets in order to secure their well-being. In our day, President Gordon B. Hinckley has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the family in our increasingly fractional society. In addition, the Church does not preclude future additions or changes to its teachings or practices. This living, dynamic aspect of the Church provides flexibility in meeting those challenges. According to the Articles of Faith, “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”
· Latter-day Saints place heavy emphasis on the application of their faith in daily life. For example, the active participation of Latter-day Saints in their community and worldwide humanitarian programs reflects concern for other people. As Jesus Christ declared, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
· Individual members are encouraged to independently strive to receive their own spiritual confirmation of the truthfulness of Church doctrine. Moreover, the Church exhorts all people to approach the gospel not only intellectually but with the intellect and the spirit, a process in which reason and faith work together.
· Those writing or commenting on Latter-day Saint doctrine also need to understand that certain words in the Mormon vocabulary have slightly different meanings and connotations than those same words have in other religions. For example, Latter-day Saints generally view being born again as a process of conversion, whereas many other Christian denominations often view it as a conversion that happens in one defining moment. Sometimes what some may consider an argument or dispute over doctrine is really a misunderstanding of simple differences in terminology.
Journalists, academics and laymen alike are encouraged to pursue their inquiries into the Church by recognizing the broad and complex context within which its doctrines have been declared, in a spirit of reason and good will.

http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=970af549db852110VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD&vgnextchannel=f5f411154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD



Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

Ken Temple
no offense, but -- I don't see how [Tom's claim that LDS are biblical] when LDS is Polytheistic - a plurality of gods, each with their own planet, (Joseph Smith’s Kolob planet, that God was once a man, etc. many goddesses; etc.

Christianity is Monotheistic; Trinitarian Monotheism.

Rory
Exactly. That is why Moslems and Jews accuse you of polytheism. They would say that three in one is not monotheism. "But they don't understand", you would rightly object. This is what I think the Mormons say about those who call them polytheists.

The business about becoming gods is all eschatological anyway. Mormons do not currently worship each other, nor is there any evidence that they will worship each other in eternity. It seems to me that we who would say we are the children of the early church fathers need to be careful about throwing stones at the Mormons for their beliefs about the future status of the sanctified man: "...following the only true and stedfast Teacher, the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through his transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself." (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Preface to Book 5)

Many other church fathers could be cited who used language similar to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to indicated the exalted and glorified status of the redeemed in heaven. I do not believe that this makes the church fathers, or Mormons guilty of the kind of polytheism condemned in Scripture. They, like us, ARE polytheists to the perception of Jews and Moslems.

As for what might be some of the activities of the redeemed, I don't know a lot. God has told us it is beyond what has entered our hearts and thoughts what He has prepared for those who love Him. Having planets might be pretty tame compared with the reality. The sound of it doesn't do a lot for me, but to each his own. Since when does having a planet make you God?

One of their last prophets virtually denied on national TV that they teach that God was once a man. If they did believe it, it wasn't irreformable. You have to cut them the same breaks you cut yourself. You have admitted that from your perspective the early church began to err in a lot of ways. Nevertheless, you think the Church continued right up to the Reformation where a lot of the problems you see were rectified. Quoting L. Snow to them as thought his ideas were irreformable, is like quoting Aquinas on Transubstantiation to you. Who is Lorenzo Snow to them? He is the same as Thomas Aquinas to you. Like you, they don't believe their church is infallible, and if we would be fair, they ought to get to develop doctrine just like everybody else.

Ken Temple
Joseph Smith said that all Christian groups in history were wrong and that he was restoring the original church.

Rory
And you would find fault with that? Of course they disagree with all of the other churches, but how is that a weakness? Who starts a new religious community while saying the one true religious community already exists?

If Mormonism were true, and I don't believe it is, it would not be because it is so different from my beliefs. What kind of an argument is it that insists Mormons must be wrong because they have some unique beliefs? I don't know what you call it, but it seems unreasonable to me. Can a Jew reasonably dismiss Christianity because we fail to keep the Saturday Sabbath, or because we introduce into the strict monotheism of the Old Testament, God as Father, having a Son? I suggest that as bizarre as some LDS ideas strike us, they cannot be dismissed merely on that basis. Revealed truth has always brought surprises, and since they claim advanced revealed truth, they get to bring some new ideas to the party.

You would be mistaken to think that I am somehow pro-LDS. I haven't even read the Book of Mormon all the way through. Although I can not permit my prejudices to be an argument, I find many of their teachings to be distasteful and revolting. I have often found the people themselves to be infuriatingly arrogant in their stubborn ignorance about my faith. I haven't read all of the Book of Mormon. I have read much of it. But I refuse to do as they suggest, and read prayerfully, asking God if the Book of Mormon were true. My faith forbids that it could be true. Before I could possibly approach God with such a question, they would first have to convince me that my Church is false. In this they have failed as miserably as the Reformers did.

Mormonism could never have gained a foothold except in the noxious ecclesiastical atmosphere created by enemies of the Church like Darby, who misled people into assuming that the Catholic Church failed in history. If they ever come up with anything more persuasive, I would not then turn up my nose at Jospeh Smith because he said my church was wrong! He had better think the Catholic Church and all other churches are wrong!

The sun's radiation? Who cares about that? Like all Protestants, they don't believe in infallibility even if it was about something important. Every prophet and teacher can err. That does not make the LDS Church false, unless it makes Protestant churches false too.

Rory

Ken Temple said...

David,
I appreciate both you and your comments and I appreciate Tom's contribution; although I strongly disagree with it.

But, really, Ok, so you can compile a bunch of quotes that is trying to gut Mormonism from its polytheism, God was once a man, and calling all of those cultic, non-Biblical, unorthodox teachings as "imaginative, non-canonical" statements of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, etc.

So, what are really saying? As a convinced Roman Catholic, are you saying that they are just a another valid stream of developing their own doctrines, and another branch of orthodoxy?

You are very nice; but is the quest for truth found by being nice, or being real and honest with the facts? The official statements in the four Mormon scriptures have elements of these things, and the other writings and sayings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young show us how they interpreted those things. I don't think we can separate out the official statements of the LSD from their interpretations of their official statements. It seems that they are admitting that their founders were "out there" and not compatible with Orthodox Christianity and trying to change the game plan and direction, without admitting it is a change.

Do you really think Irenaeus was teaching what the Mormons taught when he quoted from Psalm 82? (I posted that on another thread, after you posted tons of material from the ECF on "becoming like gods", which the Eastern Orthodox interpret a certain way also, (theosis); and I don't remember you answering.)

You seem to just be relativistic and unwilling to come down on an issue.

Ken Temple said...

The business about becoming gods is all eschatological anyway.

So, if each faithful Mormon man evolves into a god with his own planet and many wives (goddesses) - remember that is the reason why they believed in polygamy, because of the man becoming a god and procreating a new planet, etc. The only got rid of polygamy because of pressure of from the US government and lack of statehood. They still continued to teach (and still do) that in the afterlife (celestial heaven, and other levels) that men will become gods on other planets, just as the god of this world, Elohim, came from Kolob and became a god and procreated this planet.


Mormons do not currently worship each other,

Because they have not evolved into god-like status yet.

nor is there any evidence that they will worship each other in eternity. It seems to me that we who would say we are the children of the early church fathers need to be careful about throwing stones at the Mormons

I am not throwing stones, as you are using a false analogy from John 8 and the stoning of the adulterous woman; but rather talking about false doctrine. I never said anything about executing or the death penalty, etc. I realize you are using "common speech" but it is inaccurate.

for their beliefs about the future status of the sanctified man: "...following the only true and stedfast Teacher, the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through his transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself." (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Preface to Book 5)

That is about the second person of the Trinity, God the Son, becoming man, not a human becoming God, and not the Father procreating Jesus in a natural, physical way; which Mormonism also taught.

We can agree that believers in Christ will be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29, 2 Peter 1:4); but that is talking about moral, communicable attributes;the proof of this is in the context, he is talking about moral holiness, as he lists those godly qualities in verses 5-11 and contrasts our partaking of the divine nature with the "corruption that is in the world". Also, Ephesians 4:20-24 also shows the same thing, that the new self is "created in righteousness and holiness of the truth"; not becoming a god with their own planet and a bunch of wives; as the Mormons teach (secret temple ceremonies, etc.) -- we do not become gods or God, and that is not what Irenaeus had in mind at all.

Ken Temple said...

Rory
Exactly. That is why Moslems and Jews accuse you of polytheism. They would say that three in one is not monotheism.

you are correct here; that is what they think. But it is mostly because Christians treated the Jews wrong in Europe for centuries; and because Christians have never interacted with Muslims as people much in history (very few) and these communities are kept separate by their own orthodox communities and ideas of separation that perpetuates the mis-understandings.

"But they don't understand", you would rightly object. This is what I think the Mormons say about those who call them polytheists.

I can see your point; but still Trinitarian Monotheism is a far cry from polytheism; and which one does the Bible teach? Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I had a great time with my grandson during the last two weeks, but must admit that it is sooooo nice to get back to my ‘normal’ [grin] life.

You wrote:

Ken:>>I appreciate both you and your comments and I appreciate Tom's contribution; although I strongly disagree with it.>>

Me: And I sincerely appreciate your continued presence here.

Ken:>>But, really, Ok, so you can compile a bunch of quotes that is trying to gut Mormonism from its polytheism, God was once a man, and calling all of those cultic, non-Biblical, unorthodox teachings as "imaginative, non-canonical" statements of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, etc.>>

Me: One of my most basic premises when examining any paradigm is that one must let the competent scholars of each said paradigm to represent their own view/s, rather than relying on polemical (dare I say “anti”) opposing apologists to faithfully represent them.

Ken:>>So, what are really saying? As a convinced Roman Catholic, are you saying that they are just a another valid stream of developing their own doctrines, and another branch of orthodoxy?>>

Me: There is only one “valid stream”; if one accepts the claims of the RCC, one must reject all others. But, once again, if one is not 100% sure of their current choice, and makes a decision to put their paradigm to the test, then one needs to be as objective as humanly possible.

Ken:>>You are very nice; but is the quest for truth found by being nice, or being real and honest with the facts?>>

Me: Amen Ken.

Ken:>>The official statements in the four Mormon scriptures have elements of these things, and the other writings and sayings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young show us how they interpreted those things. I don't think we can separate out the official statements of the LSD from their interpretations of their official statements. It seems that they are admitting that their founders were "out there" and not compatible with Orthodox Christianity and trying to change the game plan and direction, without admitting it is a change.>>

Me: The clear rejection of Brigham Young’s “Adam-God” theory speaks volumes to how one is to approach other “personal” theological reflections by the rest of the LDS presidents. One cannot take the ‘easy road’, picking and choosing certain statements from the non-canonized statements an/or writings which lend support to ones personal view, while rejecting the mitigating ones.

Ken:>>Do you really think Irenaeus was teaching what the Mormons taught when he quoted from Psalm 82? (I posted that on another thread, after you posted tons of material from the ECF on "becoming like gods", which the Eastern Orthodox interpret a certain way also, (theosis); and I don't remember you answering.)>>

Me: Yes and no. Yes in the sense that Irenaeus and Mormons believe that redeemed mankind will become what Jesus Christ is; and no, due to the fact that Irenaeus’ theology proper is quite different from Mormonism, especially concerning the doctrine of creation ex nihilo.

Ken:>>You seem to just be relativistic and unwilling to come down on an issue.>>

Me: That may seem to be the case, but my actual goal is to be as honest, and objective as possible with each paradigm that is being discussed. In this attempt, I think it is extremely important not to use argumentation and/or methodologies that I would be unwilling to us on my own paradigm. (For what is worth, I have seen the use of way too many double-standards by apologists that I try to avoid them like the plague—I suspect that my perceived “relativism” stems, at least in part, from this.)

In ending, I hope that I do not frustrate you too much, for your presence here is not only appreciated, but it a very real sense, a needed one.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Mormonism could never have gained a foothold except in the noxious ecclesiastical atmosphere created by enemies of the Church like Darby, who misled people into assuming that the Catholic Church failed in history.

I really do see the point you are making; and it is a good point. However, the reason for it (along with the protestant principles of the right of private interpretation and what you call "noxious ecclesiastical atmosphere", created by "Luther's rebellion") was the results of history in Europe, where people were killing each other over religion for centuries; and because of the RC practices of physically punishing heretics (Council of Florence, Inquisitions, etc.)

The US with its separation of church and state, AND also the results of people being disasisfied with Protestant denominations; the freedom to explore heretical ideas; the knowledge that these groups and people could not join an orthodox church without repenting of their weird ideas; the principles of freedom in the USA; the combination of these things created lots of other religious groups and cults, LDS, Unitarianism, JW, Christian Science, new age movement, Hare Krishnas, Word of Faith movement, etc.


If they ever come up with anything more persuasive, I would not then turn up my nose at Jospeh Smith because he said my church was wrong! He had better think the Catholic Church and all other churches are wrong!

I understand the point you are making, and this seems to be the main point that Dave is making by this whole thread on "looking for an alternative" view of development and the whole Newman thesis that history has to make sense in a teleological way = working out in a linear progress and goal in history. Chris made a good point about the 19th Century English protestants being Postmillenial.

Anyway, the only way to solve it is not to try and find a theory of history that is the most ideal; but rather to open the Scriptures up and interpret them by the rules of the historical context, paragraph context, rules of grammar and literature and genres, and the rule of non-contradition from a God who is perfect and does not lie and cannot contradict himself. (analogy of faith)

We know Scripture is infallible, but history is not. History is history, warts and all.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Your last post was very good and makes a lot of sense...

We know Scripture is infallible, but history is not. History is history, warts and all.

How do we know that Scripture is infallible (inerrant)?

And...

How do we know what comprises the Scripture without worrying about running into said warts?

Blessings,
BC

Ken Temple said...

Thanks Dave for that last post. This is just a never-ending black hole of discussion; it seems.

I will have to stop for now; I took up too much time from my work to make these comments.

I was a little frustrated with your approach; but I will just have to back off for a while; let others comment, and come back. I don't have all the quotes prepared as you do.

Chris said...

I just posted Part 3 of my series, on Matthew Arnold's critique of Newman. Arnold's views are in many respects quite similar to my own.

Ken Temple said...

BC,
you asked,
"How do we know Scripture is infallible?"

Because it is God-breathed. 2 Tim. 3:16-17. If is God-breathed, it is infallible. Also John 17:17; Psalm 119; Proverbs 30:5-6

"How do we know what comprises the Scripture without worrying about running into said warts?"

Very well worded question; which is again back to the issue of the canon and the historical process and the RCC claim that it "authoritatively decided what was and what was not canon".

Since the warts don't affect the issue of the canon, and they internal qualities of the books testify to themselves, and they proclaim the gospel; it is not necessary to drive oneself mad by the skepticism of "how do you know they got the right books, if they got other things you think wrong, like baptismal regeneration, etc."

Let each one be convinced in his own mind. Romans 14:5

Ken Temple said...

Another example is the Church's teaching on the identity of God the Father. Brigham Young believed and taught the Church that Adam was God the Father. For Brigham, Elohim was not God the Father, but God the Grandfather. Mormons today, if they acknowledge the doctrine was ever taught, like to dismiss it as a quirky opinion of Brigham Young, and not the doctrine of the Church.

Adam-God, however, was publicly and extensively taught by "the Lord's mouthpiece," whom God would have "removed . out of [his] place" had he been teaching false doctrine. The doctrine became widely known and opposed in the public press, giving Young ample opportunities to correct any error of misquotation or misunderstanding. But he never claimed to have been misquoted or misunderstood on this doctrine. Rather, Brigham went right on preaching this doctrine on numerous occasions spanning nearly twenty-five years, and including entire General Conference addresses devoted to the subject, despite the heavy opposition. Mormon apostle Orson Pratt, too, had difficulty accepting the doctrine - for which he was chided and berated by his fellow-apostles, and told he needed "to get a revelation that bro. B. Young is a Prophet of God" (Minutes of the Council of the Twelve, April 5, 1860). In face of all these facts it is utterly untenable to contend that Adam-God was never the doctrine of the Church.

Nonetheless, nearly one-hundred years after Brigham Young's death, during the October, 1976, General Conference of the Church, President Spencer W. Kimball condemned the Adam-God "theory" as false doctrine. "We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine" (Ensign, November 1976, p. 77). "

While they repudiated Brigham Young's believe in the Adam-God theory - it still does not get rid of real polytheism and real false doctrine.

This not only proves that Mormonism was wrong, and Brigham Young was a false prophet, but that it is in no way the true church and no way infallible, for it admits its mistakes and falls as a legitimate development of doctrine.

At least they repudiated it; but it should indicate that Brigham Young was wrong about many other things also.

This is what the RCC is not willing to do; admit a mistake in doctrine in the past; for it would cause the whole thing to crumble.

Ken Temple said...

Since protestantism makes no claim to be a living infallible voice; whereas both RCC and LDS and JW do; (or almost infallibility, and ability to change and get new revelations (LDS, JWs with their 1914 prediction of second coming proving false.) then Evangelical Protestantism with Sola Sciptura, the Doctrine of the Trinity, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Glory to God, Sola Christus

is the legitimate development of doctrine and not an exaggeration, and not an addition, corruption, or alteration of the original canonical Scriptures.

Ken Temple said...

that one must let the competent scholars of each said paradigm to represent their own view/s,

The LDS just don't seem very competent at all, especially in the areas of archeology and that Joseph Smith claimed to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics and it turned out to be something not at all like what he claimed; Also - the book of Abraham, as Chris point out. Nothing in that area comes even close to being competent.

TOmNossor said...

Ken, David, and Rory,
Thank you for discussing my religion without resorting to some of the unkindness that I occasionally see and thank you for presenting some of the things I would (were I as good at it as I wish I was).
After I made the comment that seemed to incite Ken’s reply, I specifically commented on areas in which I thought modern Biblical scholarship was vindicating LDS theology. I of course did not mention Adam-God as an area where modern scholarship is vindicating LDS theology. This is for two reasons, nobody I know believes what has been called the Adam-God theory and two, I know of very little within Biblical scholarship that could be said to be vindicating this theory.
My point about the strength of LDS theology AND the strength of JW theology is an attempt to demonstrate that the type of sola scriptura unity that must be God’s will if Protestants who condemn the theology of others (other Protestants, Catholics, LDS, and JWs) are most correct is just untenable IMO. A response that condemns Mormonism as unbiblical does very little to weaken that point (especially since in many cases I have in mind Protestant Biblical scholars when I speak of some of this). And for this LDS who embraces a theology that is much different than the one critics would like to suggest I must, this response does little to blunt my conviction that LDS theology is Biblical theology.
The view of prophets as infalliable has been questioned or condemned by numerous LDS prophets starting Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. I also think the view that theology is of first importance is similarly questioned or condemned virtually from the beginning of Mormonism to today. I personally enjoy theology and find that we/I have a compelling and beautiful theology. When folks tell me how problematic a theology is that I do not embrace, I am not overly excited.

As I have said throughout my presentation on this board, there are reasons to reject Mormonism. It is very easy to hang your hat on one or more. I personally find only one causes me any genuine trouble, but it is quite simple to take many of them and trumpet them for all they are worth. I hope my handful of problems with Protestantism and smaller subset of smaller problems with Catholicism are not a trumpet I use to turn a blind eye to what is wonderful within both paradigms.

I hope that as a seeker, I have “become as a little child” sufficient that God (generally through my intellect as that is how I perceive the majority of my walkings) has lead me to the paradigm in which He desires me to be and in which I presently see the greatest fidelity to scripture and history. What I know is that those who cannot see how I am able to come to the conclusions I have are missing something.

So let me end by saying two things.
1. This thread is about development paradigms. It does not seem to me that anyone (with the possible exception of Chris, but I think his comments are actually of a different nature. And I would say his non-development paradigm and my non-development paradigm are largely similar) commented on my non-development paradigm and my accusation that with Darby, Cunningham, Calvin, or …(McGrath???) we still do not have a development paradigm that makes sense of even half the data Newman’s does.
2. And two, though it is off subject and perhaps not important, I find that the theology I embrace as a LDS theology is well defined by Blake Ostler’s three books and numerous writings. In the areas I mentioned and in some others, modern Biblical scholarship (as opposed to systematic theologies produced by Protestants and Catholics) points to strengths within the LDS theology as it relates to what the Biblical authors (in the opinion of many non-LDS scholars) actually embraced as their theology. Often this theology as defined by Ostler is well represented in LDS though from Joseph Smith to modern prophets. Often this theology is a minority view found with a similarly long history. However, it is the theology that I find superior to anything else I can embrace. It is significant that often the response to a list of areas where I believe my theology is being vindicated is a list of other things within Mormonism that I may or may not embrace at all. The most agreed upon thing by all within this thread seems to be that everyone’s theology has developed. I wonder why Mormonism is refused any ability to re-think our theology (especially when theology plays such a small role in LDS thought generally). Seems like a double standard to me.

Charity, TOm


P.S. Chris, I have started reading your essay. I doubt it will have near the effect upon me that your various presentations about the BOA. This is a subset of another issue that you have thought deeply on that I had not seen others comment on previously. It is a good thing that I have met God (and probably other things not so flippant, but...) so I need to embrace some kind of view that has more certainty than I think you offer me {grin}.

TOmNossor said...

Ken, David, and Rory,
Thank you for discussing my religion without resorting to some of the unkindness that I occasionally see and thank you for presenting some of the things I would (were I as good at it as I wish I was).
After I made the comment that seemed to incite Ken’s reply, I specifically commented on areas in which I thought modern Biblical scholarship was vindicating LDS theology. I of course did not mention Adam-God as an area where modern scholarship is vindicating LDS theology. This is for two reasons, nobody I know believes what has been called the Adam-God theory and two, I know of very little within Biblical scholarship that could be said to be vindicating this theory.
My point about the strength of LDS theology AND the strength of JW theology is an attempt to demonstrate that the type of sola scriptura unity that must be God’s will if Protestants who condemn the theology of others (other Protestants, Catholics, LDS, and JWs) are most correct is just untenable IMO. A response that condemns Mormonism as unbiblical does very little to weaken that point (especially since in many cases I have in mind Protestant Biblical scholars when I speak of some of this). And for this LDS who embraces a theology that is much different than the one critics would like to suggest I must, this response does little to blunt my conviction that LDS theology is Biblical theology.
The view of prophets as infalliable has been questioned or condemned by numerous LDS prophets starting Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. I also think the view that theology is of first importance is similarly questioned or condemned virtually from the beginning of Mormonism to today. I personally enjoy theology and find that we/I have a compelling and beautiful theology. When folks tell me how problematic a theology is that I do not embrace, I am not overly excited.

As I have said throughout my presentation on this board, there are reasons to reject Mormonism. It is very easy to hang your hat on one or more. I personally find only one causes me any genuine trouble, but it is quite simple to take many of them and trumpet them for all they are worth. I hope my handful of problems with Protestantism and smaller subset of smaller problems with Catholicism are not a trumpet I use to turn a blind eye to what is wonderful within both paradigms.

I hope that as a seeker, I have “become as a little child” sufficient that God (generally through my intellect as that is how I perceive the majority of my walkings) has lead me to the paradigm in which He desires me to be and in which I presently see the greatest fidelity to scripture and history. What I know is that those who cannot see how I am able to come to the conclusions I have are missing something.

So let me end by saying two things.
1. This thread is about development paradigms. It does not seem to me that anyone (with the possible exception of Chris, but I think his comments are actually of a different nature. And I would say his non-development paradigm and my non-development paradigm are largely similar) commented on my non-development paradigm and my accusation that with Darby, Cunningham, Calvin, or …(McGrath???) we still do not have a development paradigm that makes sense of even half the data Newman’s does.
2. And two, though it is off subject and perhaps not important, I find that the theology I embrace as a LDS theology is well defined by Blake Ostler’s three books and numerous writings. In the areas I mentioned and in some others, modern Biblical scholarship (as opposed to systematic theologies produced by Protestants and Catholics) points to strengths within the LDS theology as it relates to what the Biblical authors (in the opinion of many non-LDS scholars) actually embraced as their theology. Often this theology as defined by Ostler is well represented in LDS though from Joseph Smith to modern prophets. Often this theology is a minority view found with a similarly long history. However, it is the theology that I find superior to anything else I can embrace. It is significant that often the response to a list of areas where I believe my theology is being vindicated is a list of other things within Mormonism that I may or may not embrace at all. The most agreed upon thing by all within this thread seems to be that everyone’s theology has developed. I wonder why Mormonism is refused any ability to re-think our theology (especially when theology plays such a small role in LDS thought generally). Seems like a double standard to me.

Charity, TOm


P.S. Chris, I have started reading your essay. I doubt it will have near the effect upon me that your (and others) various presentations about the BOA have. This is a subset of another issue that you have thought deeply on that I had not seen others comment on previously. You seem to have responses for some of the things for which I often see no responses. It is a good thing that I have met God (and probably other things not so flippant, but...) so I need to embrace some kind of view that has more certainty than I think you offer me {grin}.


**********************************************************************
I tried to post this independent of the above, but it seems to tack on here.



Hello Ken.

You said:
The LDS just don't seem very competent at all, especially in the areas of archeology and that Joseph Smith claimed to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics and it turned out to be something not at all like what he claimed; Also - the book of Abraham, as Chris point out. Nothing in that area comes even close to being competent.

TOm:
Ok then!
I think you are radically mis-informed and I doubt Chris would even agree with what you just said.
You have already been directed to the essay by two Evangelical scholars. I think it was you who responded by quoting them as saying that they have not been convinced to become LDS. That was neither the point of their essay or your being directed to it. Instead, the point of their essay was to disillusion folks from saying what I quoted from you above.

Joseph Smith by all accounts (at least pre-BOM) was a horrible student, non-scholar, and generally slow. But, for whatever reason, LDS continue to plumb the depths of his thought and find amazing things. These are LDS who are trained in Archeology, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Semitic languages, and numerous other relevant disciplines. As well as folks such as myself who know volumes about how to align microprocessors in a semiconductor manufacturing plant, but little relevant to our discussions. Still, I know enough to believe that when I say the BOA is a problem that is still large despite the work of professional and competent LDS Egyptologists AND much of the other stuff that critics enjoy discussing are not problems that are large, I am not speaking as one not “very competent at all.”

Charity, TOm

Chris said...

>>It is a good thing that I have met God (and probably other things not so flippant, but...) so I need to embrace some kind of view that has more certainty than I think you offer me {grin}.

If you've met God, then you don't need me or anybody else to offer you pre-packaged certainty. You've got plenty of your own. So instead of spending your paradigm-points on one that offers lots of certainty, you might as well save them up for one that's a little more consistent with the empirical data! *raspberry*

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I appreciate very much that you gave your best answer to my question...

You believe Scripture is infallible because you read on the translated pages of a supposedly ancient letter from the Apostle Paul to someone called Timothy that Scripture is 'God-breathed' and, therefore, infallible. And you decided that this letter is also Scripture because of what another Apostle (Peter) says about this "Paul's" writings... that is you decided that Peter wrote the letter and that his letter too was "God-breathed," etc...

You comment about the warts... they don't affect the canon... cause Ken says so... ok...

"Let each one be convinced in his own mind." [Romans 14:5]

Indeed... let each one convince himself in his own mind... ;)

BC

Chris said...

I think what BC means, Ken, is that your argument is circular. If the Bible isn't infallible, then 2 Tim. 3:16 could be in error. (Especially since, according to most scholars, it is a pseudonymous document not really written by the Apostle.)

Ken Temple said...

I think what BC means, Ken, is that your argument is circular. If the Bible isn't infallible, then 2 Tim. 3:16 could be in error. (Especially since, according to most scholars, it is a pseudonymous document not really written by the Apostle.)

Chris,

I realize that BC thinks my argument is circular; it was apparent by the way he answered

“You believe” . . . you read . . .
supposedly ancient letter . . And you decided . . . that is you decided that . . . “

You comment about the warts... they don't affect the canon... cause Ken says so... ok...

Indeed... let each one convince himself in his own mind...

But his main point, I think, is that if we use our mind and depend on evidence and the history of the early church to trust Scripture, we Protestants are leaning on our own understanding, (thus violating Proverbs 3:5-7) since we do it apart from trusting the bishops and priests and popes of the same church that discovered the canon and announced it as “canon” on other issues, and we don’t trust their successors in the centuries that followed to get other doctrines right, and we don’t believe that they are infallible.

He is mainly saying that my faith is based on myself and subjective.

I think you mean “most unbelieving scholars” don’t believe Paul wrote the Pastorals.

Since BC is a Roman Catholic, I doubt he would agree with the skepticism and anti-supernatural bias that those unbelieving scholars have who doubt that Paul wrote pastoral epistles around 63-67 BC, before his martyrdom under Nero. BC would probably agree that the apostle Paul wrote them.

Those unbelieving, skeptic "scholars" (those that follow the presuppositions similar to John Dominic Crossan, Robert Funk, the other Jesus Seminar fellows, Schleiermacher, F. C. Bauer, Bultmann, Debelius, and others such as Paul Tillich, Karl Barth, etc. ) carry no weight with me.

Even John A. T. Robinson, who was an unbeliever in Christ, believed all the NT was written before 70 AD. Redating the NT. (1976)

Donald Guthrie lists 12 famous skeptic scholars who doubted Pauline authorship; but 20 believing scholars who affirmed it. (p. 15, The Pastoral Epistles, Tyndale NTC series, IVP, 1957, 1984.)

J. N. D. Kelly, in his commentary, comes down on it by Paul in 63-64 AD. (p. 36, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, Baker, 1963.

Dan Wallace, a very intelligent, believing scholar on 2 Timothy:
http://bible.org/page.php?page_id=1340

Dan Wallace on I Timothy, where he deals with the Pauline authorship, authenticity and date.
http://bible.org/page.php?page_id=1337#P37_5795

D. A. Carson, and Doug Moo, both very intelligent scholars also believe that Paul wrote it. http://www.monergism.com/1%20Timothy.html

F. F. Bruce’s classic, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? Is available on line:
http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/ffbruce/ntdocrli/ntdocont.htm

Obviously, the larger number of an opinion does not make something true; popularity of a beleive does not prove its true; so the number of scholars is not the decisive factor in this issue, without examining their reasonings and presuppositions for rejecting Paul as the author. The believers in Christ are edifying and uplifting to the saints and the faith and joy in God. The skeptics and scoffers pull down faith. You mentioned you chose only those parts that "uplift" and are encouraging" and positive. (not your exact words, but something like that.) Why trust people who start a priori with an anti-supernatural bias?

If there is a God and He is true, and He does not lie and He is perfect and good; and if He sent Jesus Christ into the world, then His own affirmation (Jesus' view of Scripture, for example, John 10:33-34; Matthew 4, 15, 22:29; John 5:39-40; Luke 24:25-27; 24:44-47; and many others) of the OT Scriptures as inerrant and true, and his commission of His apostles to be lead into all the truth; these truths together - this is a much more "encouraging" belief that embraces Jesus Christ as the risen Son of God from the dead, who will come again and judge the living and the dead; and who is the only one who makes sense out of life and death.

Chris said...

>>I think you mean “most unbelieving scholars” don’t believe Paul wrote the Pastorals.

It's not just "skeptic scholars". Even Luke Timothy Johnston and Ben Witherington III have more or less conceded that Paul didn't write it, though they offer as an alternative hypothesis that it might have been penned by Luke at Paul's behest.

Ken Temple said...

With that knowledge, my opinion of them as conservative scholars diminished.

Chris said...

I just put up the final installment in my series on the Broad Church critique of Newman. Maurice was a little closer to the evangelical tradition than Arnold was, so this may interest readers more than my last one.

Iohannes said...

Mr. Waltz,

Have you heard of a book by Owen Chadwick called From Bossuet to Newman?

Here is a summary from the publisher:

The coming of modern historical research had religious consequences, especially in the more traditional churches to which history was very important and which themselves helped to create the historical sense. In this classic work, long unobtainable but now revised with a new introduction, Owen Chadwick traces the development of the notion that change in Christian doctrine was both possible and legitimate. Bossuet in the seventeenth century represented the opinion that Christian doctrine never or hardly changed: Newman in the second half of the nineteenth century saw that its expression necessarily changed in a changing society. This book shows how one opinion changed into the other, and explains the difficulties and tensions behind Newman’s attempt to persuade an inherently conservative institution to face reality. In so doing it thus illuminates one vital aspect of the arrival into European thought of a distinct historical sensibility.

David Waltz said...

Hi Iohannes,

Yes, I own and have read this work (in 2000 or 2001). I just now pulled it off of the shelf, and cracked it open—in my reading of the book, I did some extensive underlining, and added some notes in the margins. Though not as broad in its scope as Dr. Toon’s book, what if does cover, it covers in greater depth (especially the Newman period). If I were to produce a ‘top 20’ books on DD, it would probably land somewhere between 10 – 15 on the list.

Another excellent book in this genre is Aidan Nichols, From Newman To Congar – The Idea of Doctrinal Development from the Victorians to the Second Vatican Council.


Grace and peace,

David

Iohannes said...

Thank you for the answer and the recommendation. There are so many books to read; if only I had more time and discipline.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Chris says:

Even Luke Timothy Johnston and Ben Witherington III have more or less conceded that Paul didn't write it, though they offer as an alternative hypothesis that it might have been penned by Luke at Paul's behest.

Rory asks:
So Mr. Witherington, Ben III, thinks that Mr. Johnston (Luke) wrote the pastorals? Heh. You don't have to answer.

If the letters attributed to St. Paul were written at his behest, that would be a close enough connection for me. I take it that there must be some kind of grammatical and writing style stuff going on that makes it unlikely that the author of the pastorals was also author of other letters which seem more certainly to have been written by San Pablo?

Sometimes I think I use very different styles myself. Also, there needs to be taken into consideration the element of time. Do I write the same way now as I did fifteen years ago. I dunno. However, I trust that as our penmanship can be almost flawlessly analyzed to determine authorship, so can individual styles. Everytime we write, we probably leave a pretty reliable trace of our identity.

I have no reason to doubt these fellows to have been "conservative".

Rory

Kepha said...

You've been quite, David. How's the reading going? I can't wait to read your reflections.

David Waltz said...

Hi Kepha,

My DD readings are proceeding along on about a book every other day pace. Right now I am finishing up James Orr’s The Progress of Dogma. I am waiting for a few books I have ordered to arrive (should be later this week), but may post a new thread after I finish Orr’s book, and then Philip Schaff’s The Principle of Protestantism.

For now, let me just say that after reading Dr. Toon’s book, and the liberal authors that Chris recommended, I am convinced more than ever of the importance that one’s presuppositions play in determining one’s view of DD.

Thanks much for your continued interest. Hope I can put together a comprehensive post by the end of the week.

Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

what are the main presuppositions of the John Henry Newman DD and Roman Catholicism?

What are the main presuppositions of Darby, Calvin, and Cunningham?

What are the main presuppositions of the liberals?

What are the main presuppositions of the Mormons and their DD understanding?

Anonymous said...

I have a sinking suspicion that Ken is going for Sola Scriptura being among the 'biblical presuppositions' of Darby, Calvin, and Cunningham... and everyone else has built their house on a foundation of sand...

I hope you are well anyway, Ken.

Blessings,
BC

Chris said...

Ken,

When I read Newman's book, it seemed to me that his most basic presuppositions were that the Bible is infallibly true and so is the Trinity.

Best,

-Chris

Ken Temple said...

Chris,
Yes, but he has more presuppositions than those; the main one being that there has to be a "living voice" all through history of infallibly guiding the church; so it goes beyond the infallibility of the Bible to a infallible interpreter of the Bible (the Church (RCC) and Pope) and if one does not have that, he assumes that history does not make sense and there is no certainty and you should become an atheist/skeptic/liberal because he asserts, "to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant".

It seems to me. Don't you think, David?

He presupposes the infallibity of the RCC and through the DD theory is able to read it back into history by the acorn and trees analogy; as if doctrine and history and ideas are organic living, biological things. (to me; that is kind of like Al Gore's dumb statement, that the Constitution is a "living, breathing document"; changing and growing. (he and other liberals are against interpreting a document according to the original author's intended meaning.)

Good biblical interpretation seeks to always have as its goal, "the discovery of the original author's intended meaning.

TOmNossor said...

Ken,
I do not agree that Newman believed (at least not at the start of his journey to Rome) that there had to be a “living voice” at all. I think Chris’s two points are more than enough to point SOLELY to Newman’s theory.
I could restate what I read from Chris in my words:

Premise #1: The Bible is infallibly true and complete.
Premise #2: The Trinity as defined during the 1st 4 councils is true Christianity
Conclusion: To be deep in history is to cease to be (a Conservative) Protestant.

It has been my position on this thread that with those two assumptions one cannot embrace the clear message of history and be a conservative Protestant.


I would however suggest that Newman while quite married to the Trinity was more willing to evaluate Christianity sans Trinity that Chris suggests. While I have not read Arians of the 4th Century as diligently as I should, I understand that Newman was able to very dispassionately evaluate the universality of Arianism after Nicea. If it were not for the authority of the Catholic Church Newman would be an Arian. I believe that Newman saw his choice regarding the Trinity as a choice between being a Protestant and embracing the Trinity because of an authority structure for which his theology had no room OR being a Catholic and embracing the Trinity because of an authority structure that was part of his theology. One view was hopelessly inconsistent and the other required him to overcome volumes of issues he previously wrote about when he criticized the Catholic Church but was at least consistent.

That being said, I would suggest that one of Newman’s main presuppositions was that the church established by Christ had a mark of divinity ala Matthew 16:18. This “mark of divinity” did not allow for an apostasy. Newman said:

Of course I do not deny the abstract possibility of extreme changes. The substitution is certainly, in idea, supposable of a counterfeit Christianity,—superseding the original, by means of the adroit innovations of seasons, places, and persons, till, according to the familiar illustration, the "blade" and the "handle" are alternately renewed, and identity is lost without the loss of continuity. It is possible; but it must not be assumed. The onus probandi is with those who assert what it is unnatural to expect; to be just able to doubt is no warrant for disbelieving.

He turns the above on Protestantism recognizing that neither the Protestant or the Catholic can accept that “counterfeit Christianity” is all that is available. I do not embrace the term “counterfeit Christianity” myself, but instead suggest that both Conservative Protestant and Catholic Christianity include too much (I think Chris would agree with this). I would then add that both lack the Old Testament and New Testament ability to guide the church through supernatural public revelation (which Christ would reject).

So, something was lost and the result while I would not call it “counterfeit Christianity” was less than that which was present in the Old and New Testament Churches.



Now, there is still the question:
“What are the main presuppositions of the Mormons and their DD understanding?”

Concerning DD the answer seems to me to be quite simple. DD happened at the hands of well meaning men who did not have the charism of revelation OR the charism of infallibility. Thus, the developed doctrines embraces dogmatically by Catholics and Protestants are not the mark of true Christianity NOR are they able to be used as a dividing line between who is Christian and who is not. The Catholic IMO embracing the charism of infallibility and various authorities can make a claim that this development is a mark of true Christianity, but the Protestant IMO cannot.

I think one of my strongest presupposition on a purely intellectual ground is that the BOM exists and must be explained. I believe that all but “the devil did it” explain its existence significantly less well than the position embraced by folks like Brant Gardner or if you are more liberal Blake Ostler (I am closer to Brant AND Blake has jettisoned some of his more liberal views as research has moved forward). I think that the tests one must apply to “the devil did it” theory while RADICALLY different than the naturalistic explanation most critics explore, also explain the existence of the BOM less well than a divine source theory.

With the above, many other intellectual (and spiritual is those should be included) evidences can be decorated about the picture. Together with the BOA and other much less difficult problems a picture emerges that IMO still requires a divine explanation for the CoJCoLDS.

As a LDS (or a Liberal Protestant) DD is easy to explain. Other things are more difficult. But, I still should acknowledge that when I view DD and the development of authority within Catholicism, while I can point to numerous things that I consider to be problematic for the Catholic view and disqualifying for the Protestant view; I would not be a “restorationist in waiting.” Without a restoration, I would be a Catholic.

BTW, I maintain that Biblical scholarship (as opposed to theological scholarship) is increasingly pointing to the “original intent of the authors.” This has been very good for LDS theology.

Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

That being said, I would suggest that one of Newman’s main presuppositions was that the church established by Christ had a mark of divinity ala Matthew 16:18. This “mark of divinity” did not allow for an apostasy. Newman said:

Tom,
Thanks for your interaction with Newman and Mormon understanding of DD in history. Very interesting.

But this part of your point is what you left out of the 3 points that you make in agreement with Chris.

He and other RCC apologists seem to think that the promise that the gates of hades would not overtake the church means development of "infallibility"; in the leadership, leading to mono-espiscopais, ex opere operato priestly power, bishops, the bishop of bishops, bishop of Rome having jurisdiction over all to maintain unity; and eventually the claim is that it lead to the 1870 dogma of the infallibility of the Pope.

Newman wanting certainty in history (not just the bible and faith); but an unbroken chain of apostolic authority, and certainty over which church is the true church, with that presupposition of the church in Matthew 16, is an additional point in the 3 points you and Chris made.

I don't understanding how believing in the inerrancy of Scripture and believing the Trinity as true doctrine and expression of that revelation in the Scriptures, necessarily leads to "to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant".

Ken Temple said...

John Henry Newman wrote:

see my italicized comments, interspersed throughout.

“Of course I do not deny the abstract possibility of extreme changes.

What about slow, subtle changes? (not extreme and very slowly over centuries)

The substitution is certainly, in idea, supposable of a counterfeit Christianity,—superseding the original, by means of the adroit innovations of seasons, places, and persons,

Here, he sounds contradictory to “extreme changes”; and I would add,” ideas, motives, presuppositions, assumptions, doctrines, popular ideas”

till, according to the familiar illustration, the "blade" and the "handle"

Is he using Mark 4:28 to illustrate this? This is similar to the view of history and teleology and the Post-millennial Protestants that Chris referred to of the 19th Century

are alternately renewed,

What does he mean here?

and identity is lost without the loss of continuity.

Yes, that is what happened very slowly with the externals of baptism regeneration added on to the symbolic meaning of baptism, and the growth of the power of the bishops, ex opera operato priestly power, jurisdictional authority over large areas, (Cyprian is much closer to the Bible and Protestantism when he and the N. Africans wrote: “no one sets himself up as “bishop of bishops” around 250-254 AD? External power, ex-communication, church and state married together also helped the development of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is possible; but it must not be assumed.

It is assumed because very quickly the apostle Paul was worried about the Galatians and their very quickly abandoning the gospel of grace for a gospel of human works.

Galatians 1:6 – “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel.” And verses 8-9 he repeats his strongest rebuke of all in the NT – if someone claims an angel came and revealed “a gospel” which is contrary to the gospel he preached ( I Cor. 15:1-9; Romans 3-5). IMHO, both Islam and Mormonism are condemned here. Nothing personal is meant here, Tom; just a point about doctrinal truth consistent with NT and Evangelical Christianity.

The churches in Revelation chapters 2-3 also left the truth, some quicker than others; and God judged them.


The onus probandi is with those who assert what it is unnatural to expect; to be just able to doubt is no warrant for disbelieving.”

I guess this means “the onus of the probability” of slow change, etc. He assumes that doctrine and history and interpretation and church authority is like a plant with a blade and head, and that it is unnatural to expect false teachers to creep in and possibly lead the church astray; when the apostle Paul warned of just the opposite – expect false teachers (Acts 20; I Timothy, Thess.); (Peter – 2 Peter; Jude – his letter) and Paul says that Galatians were already deserting the true gospel by adding circumcision and ceremonies and the requirement to keep the law of Moses in order to be saved. (Acts 15:1-9, ff; the whole book of Galatians) To add water baptism as a requirement for justification, was the same sin that the Galatians were adding, in giving in to the Judaizers and false teachers that had crept in.

where is this? In The Development of Doctrine book?

It is so difficult to understand! Did I understand Newman right?

Can someone write it out, translate it into more modern English?

One of the reasons I eventually give up with old writings is because the way they write is so foreign to today; that I cannot understand it; especially when they throw Latin in and a few other words I have to look up; and also complicated sentence structure. Newman frustrates me because it just takes too much time for me to understand everything he is saying; although I think I get the gist.

Same for Jonathan Edwards, his style is very difficult; but I try sometimes to read with comprehension.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I want to understand what you mean when you say...

Newman wanting certainty in history (not just the bible and faith)...

Can you explain this...

Blessings,
BC

Ken Temple said...

What about slow, subtle changes? (not extreme and very slowly over centuries)

Should have been:

What about slow, subtle changes? (not extreme)

and he ignores that it can be very slow and subtle over centuries

TOmNossor said...

Ken,
Thanks for your response. I hope someone else will comment on Newman’s presuppositions, but here are my thoughts. Again, I believe we all have reasons to reject the views we do not hold. For me my reasons against your view are very present, but I am happy that you are willing to hear from Liberals, Catholics, and even Mormons.

I have not read much of Newman’s pre-Catholic historical work, but James Barker in Apostasy of the Divine Church quotes him (and other Protestant and Catholic scholars). Newman was an established scholar and author while quite critical of Catholicism and Catholic authority. He embarked on these questions quite distant from Rome and concluded as a Catholic.
I read his An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine as a search for a consistent way to embrace the truths that Protestants and Catholics share. When he was done he concluded that to share these truths one must embrace the authority that defined them.

It is true that Newman goes to great length to defend the development of Papal authority. He does this because contra what most (in my experience: Patrick Madrid, Art Sippo, …) modern Catholic apologists say, the Papacy developed over time. I think there are two reasons for this. His first reason as I see it is that having concluded that to be consistent he must be Catholic, he must deal with the criticisms of Catholicism most commonly (and which he once offered) laid before him. The second is more important and is part of his development thesis. He argues that doctrines accepted by Protestants are less evident in the Early Church than the authority of Rome. In fairness to you one of his main doctrines linked to this argument is the real presence in the Eucharist and I suspect you would just say that neither the Real Presence nor the Papacy is valid. That being said, Newman also linked original sin and the Trinity into his development thesis. I would suggest that the doctrine of original sin like the Real Presence is LESS present in the Early Church’s beliefs than is the importance of the Bishop or Rome. Eastern Orthodox do not embrace the Western development of original sin in its Augustinian form like Protestants do (and consistently IMO they are closer to embracing Roman Primacy than original sin AND closer to embracing Roman Primacy than Protestants).

So, while it is true that Newman argues that an infallible authority is a necessity in the development of doctrine, I do not believe he argues this because he came to the table with this as a presupposition. Instead, the infallible authority is integrally linked to the doctrinal development that he would need to embrace were he to attempt to be a Protestant deep in history. Since being a Protestant precludes embracing the authority structure of Catholicism, he must reject Protestantism.


Ken said:
I don't understanding how believing in the inerrancy of Scripture and believing the Trinity as true doctrine and expression of that revelation in the Scriptures, necessarily leads to "to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant".

TOm:
It is my position that the type of dogmatic certainty that conservative Protestants have in these two positions is inconsistent with the witness of history. Arius IMO (and the opinion of some Protestant scholar I could look up if you like) was more of a sola scriptura Christian than Athanasius. Athanasius said that Christianity demands that Christ was God. Arius said that the only way to deal with scripture and reason is to acknowledge that there is one God and that Christ is subservient to Him. History teaches that even the doctrine of the Trinity does not lend itself to dogmatic certainty outside of the authority which defined it in the first 4 councils.

I would suggest that the best read of the Bible is that God is one via a Social Trinity structure.
Greg Stafford would cogently argue that the best read of the Bible is Arianism.
Chris would argue that the Bible is not univocal and there are different Trinity structures depending upon which New Testament (and don’t even think about including Old Testament authors with Angelomorphic Christology and …) books you focus on.

The dogmatic certainty necessary to exclude non-Augustinian Trinitarianism is not present in the Bible or the Early Church. Newman had a choice: reject dogmatic certainty for core doctrines like the Trinity thereby ceasing to be a historical conservative Protestant or retain dogmatic certainty in the Trinity and become Catholic. It seems that he considered Chris and my view very little, but he rejected your view. I do not think it was because he wanted an infallible authority. Instead, he rejected your view because he wanted to have a solid foundation upon which to dogmatically embrace the Trinity and other doctrines. In his opinion and in my opinion Protestantism does not provide this.

Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

BC wrote:

I want to understand what you mean when you say...

Newman wanting certainty in history (not just the bible and faith)...

Can you explain this...


From Tom's assertion about Newman's DD theory:

Premise #1: The Bible is infallibly true and complete.
Premise #2: The Trinity as defined during the 1st 4 councils is true Christianity
Conclusion: To be deep in history is to cease to be (a Conservative) Protestant.

BC,
He wanted more than the first 2 to come to that conclusion.

What I meant was that the conclusion is a big jump; from the first two points; (even Tom added back in Newman's assmption about the church in Matthew 16:16-18; and that is what is the 3rd point, and that that is what would according to him, if the church is "divine"; then it would naturally grown like an oak in history and develop into what it did;

that he, as an Anglican started with an idea about history and apostolic succession that lead him to assume that there must be an "unbroken line of external authority all through history" in order for the bible and faith (and the Trinity) to be true. He is "all or nothing" - he said you must become RC or atheist; that is ridiculous.

The current Anglican church is apostate and heretical (Rowan Williams and Gene Robinson, and Katherine Schilori(?), just to name 3 of many others) because they abandoned Scripture, not because they need an external authority to show that homosexuality is always wrong and sin.

Anonymous said...

Ken

What I was getting at is how you arrived at the Bible and faith being all one needed? Is THAT concept even asserted in the Holy Writ?

I guess I want to understand why you are criticizing what you understand to be Newman's view...

BC

Ken Temple said...

Very good last post, Tom. My, very quick also.

Yes, that is also what Roman Catholic Apologists say, when you get into the details -- (I think that Patrick Madrid and Art Sippo also would make this point when they get into the details; although Sippo quickly resorts to name calling, ad hominem, and anger in his writings)

Dave Armstrong (and my friend Rod Bennett, author of Four Witnesses) makes that point very strong about original sin (repeating Newman) that you are making about Newman. (They say: “if you accept the Trinity and the NT Canon, and also original sin; then you must accept RCC in all other areas because their views on penance, baptismal regeneration, purgatory, (they claim) are more prevalent and earlier than original sin.”)

So, I am familiar with that argumentation; I just don’t think it flies.

They try to do the same thing with Arianism, and Athanasius. I just cannot see it – John 1:1-5 and John 1:14 along with so many other verses is just clear enough to me to take down Arius even without a council. Athanasius even wrote that: “Vainly do they run about with the pre-text that they have demanded Councils for the faith’s sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient about all things . . . “ (De Synodis 6)

I can see how Newman in his own mind came up with that; but just because a doctrine that is clearly there in Scripture (original sin -Romans 5:12, Psalm 51:5) is not explicitly hashed out until Augustine in his dealings with Pelagians and semi-pelagians; does not mean it was not there in the text and in the apostolic deposit. I can see it clearly in the apostolic deposit, because I can see it the Scriptures, however, I cannot see the Marian dogmas, papal infallibility, transubstantiation (that is different than “Real Presence”); NT priests, ex opera operato powers, etc. in the Scriptures; therefore they were not there in the apostolic deposit. The Trinity is clearly there. (Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14) the Deity of Christ is clearly there. (John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1, John 5, 8, 10, 19, etc.)

Monotheism is clearly there. (I Tim. 2:5-6; Deut. 6:5; Mark 12:29; I Cor. 8:1-8; Psalm 96; Isaiah chapters 40-66) (It squashes Mormonism easily, IMHO.)

The same goes for imputation and declaration of justification by faith alone. It is more clearly there in Romans and Galatians and John and Acts than all the Mary dogmas, Papal dogmas, transubstantiation, penance, indulgences, NT priests, etc.

It is clearly there, even Chrysostom, a Greek, shows that justification is like a judge declaring one just.
Ver. 34. “Who is He that condemneth?
He does not say, it is God that forgave our sins, but what is much greater, “It is God that justifieth.” For when the Judge’s sentence declares us just, and a Judge such as that too, what signifieth the accuser? Hence neither is it right to fear temptations, for God is for us, and hath shown it by what He hath done; nor again Jewish triflings, for He has both elected and justified us, and the wondrous thing is that it was also by the death of His Son that He did so. Who then is to condemn us, since God crowns us, and Christ was put to death for us, and not only was put to death, but also after this intercedeth for us? For, “It is Christ,” he says, “that died, yea rather, that is risen from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us.” (John Chrysostom, Homily on Romans; Chapter 15 (XV); Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, 11:455

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf111.vii.xvii.html

Chris said...

Ken,

I don't think I'd go so far as to say that a "developing authority" is one of Newman's presuppositions. Rather, it is the proposition being inferred from the presuppositions I mentioned.

Tom,

I don't think Arians of the Fourth Century is what you think it is. One of Newman's polemical strategies was to place his theological opponents in parallel to historic heresies, and himself in parallel to the champions of orthodoxy. That's what he's doing in Arians. He's not just sort of grudgingly admitting that Arianism was more pervasive than some people realize. Rather, he sees Evangelicalism as a pervasive cancer in the church against which only a few brave Tractarians are willing to stand, and constructs the history of the Arian heresy in a similar manner. It is generally agreed among Newman biographers that Arians is bad history, but brilliant polemic.

>>I would then add that both lack the Old Testament and New Testament ability to guide the church through supernatural public revelation (which Chris would reject).

As someone who was raised Pentecostal, I never understood the appeal of cessationism. If the New Testament is infallibly true, it only makes sense that revelation should continue today. Cessationism seems to spring from a bald lack of faith in the existence of modern miracles rather than from any really logical or biblical argument. I'm presently a bit conflicted as to the extent that miracles and illumination actually exist, but I still think that if revelation of the New Testament variety is to be found anywhere today, it's on the Pentecostal model more than the Mormon one.

Best,

-Chris

Ken Temple said...

BC,
We already went through all that.
If monotheism is true; and God is perfect and all powerful and good and communicates with us; the highest and most perfect communication in history of Himself is when He became flesh in Jesus Christ;

And since Jesus believed and affirmed the OT

and inspired the NT (John 16:13; 2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Peter 3:16)

cannot say, "He is a good moral teacher, and yet not God in the flesh"
(C. S. Lewis' "Liar, Lunatic, or Lord" trilema)

Therefore faith in Him and His word the scriptures (John 17:17) is true;

and that the Scriptures is not by works that get you God's love or grace, but through faith alone in Christ; Romans 4:1-8; especially verse 8; 4:16 shows by faith alone is based on "by grace alone" so you cannot have one without the other; and Romans chapters 1-5; the whole book of Galatians, John "believe in the name of the Son of God, you will be saved"; Acts, etc.

Then it follows that Scripture alone and Faith alone are true; the Trinity is a proper exegetical development of the apostolic deposit; therefore Protestants are also "deep in history" without affirming infallibility of external leadership in a church.

Got to go now and do my work. I spend too much time on this; as usual; but it is fun and stimulating. Why does debate motivate me to work at the debate and apologetics?

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I don't think accepting that God exists - then accepting the Incarnation and the God-breathed nature of the Holy Writ leads to SS... you have yet to show this as a logical necessity...

I disagree with your interpretation of St. Paul's doctrine of justification... that's not news to you...

I spend too much time on these things too...

Blessings,
BC

TOmNossor said...

Ken,
Are you saying that the Homoousian view of the Trinity is so clear in scripture that you are quite comfortable dogmatically declaring that there is NO OTHER WAY to read the Biblical documents reasonably? That those who believe that Bible teaches a Social Trinity (me) are hopelessly deceived and by your best guess non-elect because we lack the discernment God provides to Christians?
Same questions for folks like Greg Stafford.

In my opinion history demands that you are incorrect except if you appeal to a non-intellectual, non-original understanding standard. Something like, “I am regenerated and a member of the elect. It is clear to me that the Trinity is spelled out in scripture. Therefore those who do not see this clearly are non-elect.” To be honest I do not think there is anything to say in response to this, but it is not an intellectual argument IMO. I put my spiritual testimony next to your certainty of being elect and we are at a stalemate.

Now, if I have misunderstood what you say, then perhaps you mean something different, but I have no idea how the witness of history and the witness of present day Protestantism can be used to suggest that the Trinity is clearly taught in the Bible.



You are correct to an extent when you say you do not care if the early church more clearly embraced the papacy than original sin. This was very important for Newman because he realized what I am pointing to above. It seems to me that you reject what I point to above, I just do not see how such a rejection deals with the evidence.



Ken said:
Monotheism is clearly there. (I Tim. 2:5-6; Deut. 6:5; Mark 12:29; I Cor. 8:1-8; Psalm 96; Isaiah chapters 40-66) (It squashes Mormonism easily, IMHO.)

TOm:
Well, LDS virtually always reject the idea that we are not monotheists too. To Moslems and Jews we both look silly.
The BOM has passages of similar force to the Isaiah passages. That being said metaphysical monotheism is not part of the Biblical record according to most Biblical scholars. That God is simple and one and created ex nihilo may be able to explain some of the passages in Duetero and Trito Isaiah, but IMO it radically fails to explain numerous other Old Testament passages and many New Testament passages. Instead, I believe that much of the Old Testament is best explained with a kingship / monolitry monotheism. Ultimately Old and New Testament teach IMO that God the Father is supreme and that other divinities are one with Him and thus there are two senses of “One God.” This IMO is also the message of the LDS scriptures. This is also being embraced by numerous (some say a majority of) Biblical scholars who seek to understand what the original understanding of the Bible is WITHOUT being encumbered by theological scholarship produced by considering the developments that occurred in the Catholic Church.

That God is one is clearly taught in the Bible. The question is not between those who embrace God is one and call it monotheism and those who embrace pagan polytheism (and reject the Bible. The question is how is God one. Chris would say the Bible is not univocal. Virtually all scholars and I would agree with this. However embracing the inspired nature of all of the Bible, I seek the position that best aligns the polytheistic Old Testament statement, the monolitry Old Testament statements (like within the 10 commandments), the Kingship Monotheism Old Testament statements, the more absolute monotheism Old Testament statements (like Deutero and Trito Isaiah), and monotheist and tritheistic statements within the New Testament. It is not impossible that my solution (Ostler’s solution) is not the best in your opinion, but I cannot see any dogmatic certainty that can be found by appealing to the Bible in these matters.


Ken said:
The same goes for imputation and declaration of justification by faith alone. It is more clearly there in Romans and Galatians and John and Acts than all the Mary dogmas, Papal dogmas, transubstantiation, penance, indulgences, NT priests, etc.

TOm:
I believe this battle is over and Protestants have lost. The New Perspective on Paul explains that the Reformers just did not understand Judaism and thought Paul was outlining Christianity against a backdrop that ultimately was not really what was present. Paul’s Christianity is Covenantal Nomism not the “faith alone, grace alone” that Calvin and Reformation theologians believe it to be. “Faith alone” and especially “grace alone” have their place in theology properly understood, but the New Perspective on Paul has dealt the death blow to the Reformation understanding of these doctrines. Not only is it true that this understanding is “theological novem” – Protestant Alister McGrath, never before seen in the history of Christianity until the Reformation; it is no longer a convincing read of Paul in light of the environment in which he wrote.

I enjoy quoting this passage from Reformed Theologian, Cornelis P. Venema. Much latter he will attempt to dismiss the NPP, but if he fails (and I believe he does) then it would seem there is much strength offered to undermine what you claim is Biblical (ESPECIALLY if you seek Original Understanding).

Venema:
When I consider the development in recent decades of what is known as the “new perspective on Paul,” I am newly reminded of those graduate school conversations. One of the more striking illustrations of the gap that obtains between contemporary biblical scholarship and the pulpit or pew is the emergence in biblical studies, particularly studies of the epistles of the apostle Paul, of this new view. Whereas in most Protestant churches, especially Lutheran and Reformed churches whose adherence to their confessions is more than a matter of lip service, the teaching of justification by faith alone remains a matter of special emphasis, Pauline scholars in the last several decades have engaged in a process of thorough- going deconstruction of the doctrine. Indeed, so widespread and influential is this new reading of Paul, which calls into question the Reformation’s understanding of the gospel, that it might be regarded as something of a consensus opinion among contemporary Bible scholars.

However, whatever the gap between academy and pulpit, lectern and pew, this new approach to the interpretation of Paul is so revolutionary and far- reaching in its implications, it seems unlikely that it will not, sooner or later, have a profound affect upon the life and ministry of the church. If the Reformation misunderstood the gospel, as the new view intimates, things cannot go on as before. Not only must this be reflected in a new way of preaching the gospel, but it also has rather obvious implications for the historic division between Protestantism and Catholicism. It will also challenge directly churches whose confessions are the product of, and give summary expression to, the gospel as it was understood at the time of the Reformation.

TOm (ending quote from Venema):
Here is the first in Venema’s series of articles from which the above quotes are taken.
http://www.wrfnet.org/articles/printarticle.asp?ID=566

I think that is enough for now.
After suggesting that metaphysical monotheism is not the best read of the Bible and that numerous scholars agree AND suggesting (by quoting Venema who rejects NPP) that the NPP is also the prevalent view among folks who seek “Original Understanding,” let me again state that the type of dogmatism necessary to declare LDS and JW and Catholic theology wrong is not present within the Bible. Even if one is unable to let go of what they have been taught the Bible says due to the arguments from intelligent Biblical scholars, I think it is undeniable that the Bible does not say what Reformed theologians think it says with any type of force. Ultimately, the Reformed theologian may appeal to the invisible mark of regeneration as necessary for properly understanding scripture, but this is a totally non-intellectual argument against which LDS testimonies (or the most outlandish Newmanian presuppositions suggest-able) stand strong.

Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

Tom,
A lot to respond to there.

There are many answers and rebutals to the New Perspective on Paul.

One of the them, by John Piper is a full book available on line here.

http://www.desiringgod.org/media/pdf/books_bfj/books_bfj.pdf

Sanders, Dunn, and N.T. Wright have not spoken the last word on "the new Perspective on Paul".

Another response is a very large two volume, "justification and variated nomism" by D. A. Carson and Mark Siefrid (sp. ?)

Ken Temple said...

What does your Mormon neighbor believe - or teach - about God?

1) That he is not eternal. “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute this idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see…” (Joseph Smith, Jr. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 2nd rev. ed. [Salt Lake City: Desert Book Company, 1978], 6.305-6).

2) That in his former existence, he was not God, but came to be a flesh-and-bone God through obedience to another God. “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens…” (Ibid.).

3) That he is not omnipotent or omniscient. “God himself is increasing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so worlds without end” (Wilford Woodruff, late Mormon president). Many Mormons teach that there are things that limit God’s omnipotence.

4) That he is not absolute perfection. “He is perfectly just, loving, kind, compassionate, veracious, no respecter of persons, etc. But his perfections are not eternal, but were acquired by means of developmental process” (Mormon philosopher David Paulsen).

5) That he is contingent or dependent. “The prophet taught that our Father had a Father and so on” (Joseph Fielding Smith). God is contingent upon an infinite lineage of gods - he is not prior to nor outside the boundaries of contingency.

6) That he is not the only God. “In the beginning the head of the gods called a council of the gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people in it” (Joseph Smith).

For more information, read Francis J. Beckwith’s helpful article, “Mormon Theism, The Traditional Christian Concept of God, and Greek Philosophy: A Critical Analysis” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 44/4, (Dec. 2001), 671-695. Most of the above quotes can be found in it.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I wonder... in your suggesting (yet again) that people take a look at Piper's book (I am a poet) if you ever got the chance read Don Garlington's response links that I posted to you... He seems to take Piper pretty seriously... yet sees some shortcomings in his exegesis...

On a lighter note... it was nice to see you suggest someone read something that Beckwith wrote!

;)

Blessings
BC

TOmNossor said...

Ken,
On the NPP I have read Venama’s series and read or listened to some stuff by James White in opposition to the NPP. Have you read the books you recommended? Are they persuasive? How much have you explored the NPP? I have also read Judgement and Justification by VanLandingham. He is also critical of the NPP, but its seems that his point is that even the NPP has not dug into the ancient world sufficiently deeply to recognize where Protestant (and Catholic and LDS and NPP) scholars are still conceding too much to post NT developments in language.


Concerning what LDS believe, are you trying to tell me what I believe? That seems at the very least a little presumptuous on your part. Francis Beckwith has IMO matured in his treatment of Mormonism since 2001, but again do you think I should read his criticism of my faith so that I might know what I believe. Since you mentioned him, it should be noted that like Paul Owen, Beckwith has left evangelical Christianity. While I know of no place where Beckwith specifically claims that his interaction with Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity’s inability to respond adequately contributed to his departure, Paul Owen claims precisely this.

Now, I know what I believe and some of Beckwith that you quote I would reject and all of Beckwith that you quote I would qualify. I suggest it is unwise for you to attempt to learn what I believe through reading criticisms of my faith. You will forever be unable to properly judge if I have superior theology when you do this. I personally recommend Ostler’s three volume (eventually to be four volume) Exploring Mormon Thought.

Of course you do not have to understand LDS theology to reject it. You can learn about what LDS believe from critics like Francis Beckwith (a fairly good critic as critics go especially in his most recent contribution to The New Mormon Challenge) 0r from James White (toward the other end of the spectrum). But, from this perspective your rejection of my theology will have approximately zero impact upon me. David’s rejection of my theology continues to influence my worldview because he knows well the entire sweep of this question.

Anyway, I am not sure who you were trying to educate about LDS theology by posting Beckwith’s thoughts, but if it was me I consider that peculiar.
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

The quotes from Mormons was just a good summary that I found that shows the absolute incompatibility of Mormonism with Monotheism, Truth, and Biblical Christianity.

On the NPP,
I have listened to summaries and review articles and am still working through Piper; (I admit I have not finished it - trying to save money by looking at the on line version, but it takes too much time; a book would be easier. Nevertheless, he is convincing to me, along with others who criticize the NPP.

I have not read D. A. Carson and O'Brien and Siefrid's book; I just know that it is there and is a very detailed and scholarly response.

I have no problem with Beckwith on issues that he agrees with Biblical Christianity on; I have always appreciated his writings against abortion, etc.

I understand the point you make about "the entire sweep of a question"; and David definitely has an entire sweep - some 500,000 books, and he has spent years reading these issues. I have never even heard of the authors that he and Chris are putting up on DD theory, except J. H. Newman.

Anyway, one does not have to know everything before he can comment on something; otherwise we die before we tried anything; because the massive amounts of material are impossible for one human to completely master.

But, on Mormonism, if one reads those statements made by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and the others quoted and James White has also compiled a book, "Where does it say that?" of the photocopies of the original statements, etc. and if you admit that those guys did beleive all that for the first (50-100 years ?) of Mormonism, then they were forced to abandon polygamy, but still believe in it in the celestial afterlife (and men becoming gods), etc. - then it is obvious that Mormonism is trying to change from its original religion and get rid of its objectionable aspects and try to be more acceptable with Trinitarian Monotheistic branches of historic Christianity. (RCC; EO, and Protestants)

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I have been enjoying the continuing discussion while finishing up my DD readings. You posted:

>>what are the main presuppositions of the John Henry Newman DD and Roman Catholicism?>>

Me: 1.) the Scriptures are “God breathed”, and as such inerrant, and materially sufficient; and 2.) the Church is the “pillar and ground of truth”, is the “body of Christ” and indwelt by the HS, and as such is guarded from error in doctrine and morals.

>>What are the main presuppositions of Darby, Calvin, and Cunningham?>>

Me: .) The Scriptures are “God breathed”, and as such inerrant, and materially and FORMALLY sufficient.

>>What are the main presuppositions of the liberals?>>

Me: The Scriptures are human accounts of God’s revelation, and as such, are not inerrant.

>>What are the main presuppositions of the Mormons and their DD understanding?>>

Me: 1.) the “keys of the Kingdom” were taken away from the Church because of apostasy and later restored by God the Father and Jesus Christ via Joseph Smith Jr.; and 2.) God’s “true” Church must have living apostles and prophets to guide the Church.

The above are what I believe to be the major presuppositions pertaining to the groups you mentioned, and given the very nature of presuppositions, it is impossible to either prove or disprove them.

Hope to put up the new thread I have promised either Friday, or Saturday.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Thanks for concise answers.

2.) the Church is the “pillar and ground of truth”, is the “body of Christ” and indwelt by the HS,


Evangelical Protestantism agrees with those doctrines also, - I Tim. 3:15; I Cor. 12, Ephesians 1:22-23; the Holy Spirit indwelling the beleivers who make up the church, John 16:13, Acts 13:1-4; I Cor. 3:16-17

and as such is guarded from error in doctrine
infallibly so

and morals.

RCs would disagree here, if you mean that they don't sin; they are not protected from sinning. I think what you mean is that they are protected from error in teaching a false teaching in regard to morals; ie; homosexuality, abortion, etc.

only other differences is the distinction between the local churches and the universal Church, and the possibility of churches going astray - Galatians 1:6; Revelation chapters 2-3. They are to protect the truth and teach sound doctrine and are exhorted to; but it is not automatic. The protestant sees I Tim. 3:15, "the church as the pillar and bulwark of the truth" as its responsibility to uphold and defend and teach the truth properly; but it does not guarantee that they will get some things wrong, as Galatians 1:6-9 and 2:4-5 ("so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you") clearly shows.

Ken Temple said...

So, the RCC presupposes that the church in history will not go wrong; that throughout all its history; no one can say, "that doctrine you defined by tradition was wrong".

They presuppose perfection in doctrine beyond the Scriptures (adding things to the apostolic deposit); they presuppose that their own interpretation will always be right.

(ex cathedra of course; which then leaves them really without the living voice that can solve all problems by walking in the room at that moment.)

Ex Cathedra statements seem to take centuries to develop; making sure that they cover all the bases; which then leaves them with nothing much except 1215-transubstantiation; 1545-64 (Trent); 1854 (IC of Mary), 1870 (Papal Infallibility) and 1950 (BA of Mary). Oh, and the Counsel of Florence, which was changed by Vatican 2; but they claim it is not a change; only "updating the language".

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

Thanks for responding. First, a clarification: when I wrote, “is guarded from error in doctrine and morals”, I meant doctrinal and moral TEACHINGS as found in the Ecumenical Councils and ex cathedra prolumgations.

Next, you posted:

>>So, the RCC presupposes that the church in history will not go wrong; that throughout all its history; no one can say, "that doctrine you defined by tradition was wrong".>>

Me: Only within the above noted parameters.

>>They presuppose perfection in doctrine beyond the Scriptures (adding things to the apostolic deposit); they presuppose that their own interpretation will always be right.>>

Me: Not material “additions” (the apostolic deposit being delivered “once and for all”), but rather, formal “additions” (though I prefer the phrase, “authoritative interpretation”).

>>(ex cathedra of course; which then leaves them really without the living voice that can solve all problems by walking in the room at that moment.)>>

Me: ???

>>Ex Cathedra statements seem to take centuries to develop; making sure that they cover all the bases; which then leaves them with nothing much except 1215-transubstantiation; 1545-64 (Trent); 1854 (IC of Mary), 1870 (Papal Infallibility) and 1950 (BA of Mary). Oh, and the Counsel of Florence, which was changed by Vatican 2; but they claim it is not a change; only "updating the language".>>

Me: Yes, but developments within the Protestant paradigm also take centuries.


Grace and peace,

David

TOmNossor said...

Ken,
You said:
The quotes from Mormons was just a good summary that I found that shows the absolute incompatibility of Mormonism with Monotheism, Truth, and Biblical Christianity.

And you said:
then it is obvious that Mormonism is trying to change from its original religion and get rid of its objectionable aspects and try to be more acceptable with Trinitarian Monotheistic branches of historic Christianity. (RCC; EO, and Protestants)


TOm:
1. I disagree that Beckwith’s comments represent Mormonism well. I do not even believe that Joseph Smith believed the things that Beckwith seeks to claim he did based upon the quotes he offered. Instead, I believe Joseph Smith within context and within the body of all his teachings believed something quite different (even at the end of his life) than Beckwith is trying to suggest by his selective quotes.

2. Why are you trying to tell me what Mormons believe? I am a LDS, and I am the world authority on what I believe.

3. Beyond this, I am quite aware that within the CoJCoLDS there is a large spectrum of beliefs and very little official restrictions on this spectrum. Protestantism across the many denominations are probably more varied in their belief spectrum and absolutely lack a official body to define what is and is not acceptable within this spectrum. We have already discovered that if I quote NT Wright to you, you will dismiss him as wrong. Protestantism within certain camps is probably less varied than is Mormonism, but since orthodoxy (for Protestants) is a mark of the true church this would be expected.

4. You seem to suggest that Mormonism has changed in its theology over time. It also seems that you suggest this in order to disparage Mormonism and dismiss it. Have we not read enough in the last 1-2 months to see that all theology has developed? Mormonism has the added advantage (or disadvantage) that we believe in continuing revelation and can justify some of our changing theology based upon this. I would suggest some of our theology has developed because like Early Christians we are coming to grips with the revelations we have received.

5. You seem to suggest that Mormonism has changed in order to become more acceptable to historic Christianity. I doubt there is absolutely zero truth to this, but I suspect there is very little. Instead, as we have dealt with what our scriptures actually say (which includes the Bible), we have in some instances moved towards views you find more to your liking. In addition to this, I believe Mormonism ran physically AND THEOLOGICALLY from the Christianity it believes killed our prophet and chased LDS across the country. To the extent we over emphasized the differences we have with those evil non-LDS Christians, we defined ourselves inappropriately. Over the last few decades we have entered into far more fruitful dialogue and IMO corrected some of this over-emphasis (without eradicating some of the most important differences).

6. I would suggest to you that your test of Christianity is orthodoxy. If I told you that Luther believed polygamy was Biblical and preferable to divorce, or that Calvin was a bad guy it would not make you begin to doubt the Christianity of Lutherans or Calvinists. If I believe something that is “acceptable with Trinitarian Monotheistic branches of historic Christianity,” I would suggest that you have no room to malign my Christianity based on my theology. You should celebrate the fact that even a LDS can be directed to truth. Yet it seems that you still attempt to malign my Christianity based upon my theology. And you seem to malign my Christianity in the most remarkable way, by telling me what I believe. Blake Ostler is a much celebrated LDS theologian. While there are certainly folks who do not embrace all of his thoughts, I know of no one who suggests he is not a LDS. I also think that virtually all of the folks who claim to have read and understood what he wrote have celebrated his contribution to LDS thought. I would suggest his books as a source for really understanding LDS thought. He deals with LDS thought that he disagrees with (though he could make his 4 volumes into 8 by doing this more) and thus does not present solely his ideas. And, since he is quite close (I agree with William Lane Craig in 1 place instead of Ostler) to my views you would have a good picture of just how Orthodox and Heterodox I am.


As a Reformed fellow, you believe that God creates babies who are non-elect. He creates their parents knowing that the baby will be abused and die. God then sends this baby to hell so that it might be eternally tormented in accordance with God’s will and omnipotence. God as omniscient knows completely and perfectly every feeling experienced by this tormented baby. But God is perfectly and completely happy.

Now, except to make a point I would not express your theology like I have above. But I think the above better represents what you believe than what you have presented represents what I believe. I could be wrong, but it is clear to me that it is not hard to present your theology in a way that makes it sound quite horrible.

I agree that you do not have to read 500,000 books or even 1700 books to know that you do not want to be a LDS. There are plenty of reasons to not be a LDS and perhaps even some that can be consistently offered while embracing conservative Protestantism (though Paul Owen and perhaps Beckwith felt the tension with doing this).
I do suggest that you have made some very poor arguments against my theology and perhaps should read more books than you have if you want to deal well with my theology. That being said, reading books does not guarantee that one is able or willing to present another’s theology in a way that the other would recognize it. It would however seem to be necessary to read ideas that are pro-Mormon before one can even approach understanding what a pro-Mormon LDS believes.

Charity, TOm

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

Tom seems to acquit himself very ably with his latest post. I would only add a little to it.

As he said, there might be reasons not to be LDS...but if I already were Mormon, there is no way I could be very concerned about what you have brought up.

1) I think the chance is nearly nil that the LDS are moving closer to what you would consider orthodoxy. From nearly ten years of interaction with Latter Day Saints my experience suggests that if they are guilty of anything, it is a desire to distance themselves from us, not the other way around.

Our host, David, has read the Book of Mormon at least six times and I have seen him use the Latter Day Scriptures to confute them when they do stray into more speculative unorthodox territory.

They seem to be desirous of opposing the Nicene Creed. With occasional ferocity, there is always a tendency in my experience, to find them WANTING to deny orthodoxy. I suspect that this stems from a conviction in the LDS conscience that if their faith is true, the creeds have to be in some sense "abominable". There is no undercurrent of trying to make points with what they must consider "apostate Christianity". However, as Tom points out, the desire to oppose "the apostates", has been balanced by a development toward us: "In addition to this, I believe Mormonism ran physically AND THEOLOGICALLY from the Christianity it believes killed our prophet and chased LDS across the country. To the extent we over emphasized the differences we have with those evil non-LDS Christians, we defined ourselves inappropriately. Over the last few decades we have entered into far more fruitful dialogue and IMO corrected some of this over-emphasis (without eradicating some of the most important differences)."

2. The other point is subtler but he made it when he pointed out that "your test of Christianity is orthodoxy".

If we will win intelligent Mormons to our way of thinking, they must know that we understand and appreciate why they are LDS. The same goes for any prospective convert. I can honestly say that I do not disdain LDS theology and thought. I genuinely appreciate the problems in my own beliefs better for seeing the way Mormons deal with them. The problems of evil, free will, predestaintion and creation ex nihilo presented to us by skeptics and agnostics are easily dismissed by Mormons. Of course, the evasions give rise to distinctly LDS difficulties.

But the most important distinction that can never be forgotten about LDS theology is that neither the prophets nor the Scriptures are infallible. More important than teaching sound doctrine (orthodoxy), in the LDS world view is "living sound principles" (orthopraxy).

It ultimately does not matter if they have taught something false. The integrity of their system does not crumble like Catholicism does if it teaches error. They have modern day revelation, and expect more to come. They are not inconsistent if they would question either the prudence or truth of some teaching once widely held among their brethren.

This brings me to my main reason for not being LDS. In my opinion, they forget their own principle, orthopraxy, and incorrectly apply it to their teaching in regards to the total apostasy of the catholic Church. If orthopraxy is all that matters, if the true church is permitted to err in teaching, they have to permit this to occur in "the Former Day Church" as readily as they do for their own. Just as we can't win them by pointing out their errors, we are invulnerable to their charges if they woiuld suggest that our church is false because of a philosophical or theological mistake, even though it be widely or officially taught.

I think Mormons are becoming more aware of the deficiencies behind their theories on the apostasy. The problems would seem to need to center not on false teaching, but false living. In closing, I conclude negatively to the proposal that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the one true visible church. But it is never for the reasons given by those who would with a broad brush dismiss Mormonism as theologically obtuse or inconsistent. It is because I am a believing member of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church which they seldom ever appreciate for its lucidity of doctrine and sublimity of practice.

Subjectively, I know that to live/practice the Catholic faith, is to increase in wisdom, faith, hope, and love. It produces a joy and conviction of its foundation in the beauty, goodness, and truth of God which is interiorly unmistakable. This is my "burning bosom".

What accompanies my "burning bosom" is the objective certainty that every time a detractor of the Catholic faith observes this or that villainous personality who was a shameful adherent to Catholic practice, one can note in the person a similar lack of the true faith. Positively we fall behind no other Christian body in regard to the saints, meaning those Catholics who are canonized by the Church, whose faith is confirmed to themselves and those around them by miracles and wonders in this life and after. Accompanied with heroically sacrificial lives even to the death of the body and will, these who were crucified with Christ testify to the vivifying presence of God's Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church. This is incompatible with any definition of apostasy of which I can conceive. I do not speak for other Christian bodies, though I have been memebers of them. If anyone wants to protest that their visible church has what mine does, I would not contest it. But what I find interesting, is that the pattern I find is not where a Mormon or Protestant will claim that they have what we have, only more. They just don't seem to believe what I can document to my own satisfaction regarding miracles and delectable sanctity in our saints. I don't think Mormons and Protestants really often appreciate the degree of sanctity to which God is pleased in His grace to grant us this side of heaven...Hmmm...maybe it isn't quite accurate to imply that receiving the Body and Blood of Christ into our bodies qualifies as "this side of heaven". Heh.

I am not Mormon because I am something else that I could never, believing as I do in it at this time, relinquish. I am in awe and reverant admiration for Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, instituted at the Last Supper. One Mass is worth more than every sermon ever spoken, and I will not trade the churches of sermons, for the true Church which to my continual surprise and delight, permits, yea, commands and guides us into a unity with Jesus Christ which to the best of my knowledge, results in our becoming as adopted sons and daughters of the Father, to be copies of the divinity owned by the firstborn of the new creation, the God-Man, our Lord Jesus Christ. God help me to increase in faith, hope, and charity, and may others come to know thee O Lord, in the joy of holy communion and by the exceeding wonderful graces of all the legitimate sacraments of Holy Mother Church.

I would that everyone would receive this safe and pure inoculation against the apostasy virus.

Rory
Rory

Ken Temple said...

Me: Not material “additions” (the apostolic deposit being delivered “once and for all”), but rather, formal “additions” (though I prefer the phrase, “authoritative interpretation”).

But 1950 BA of Mary is a material addition; clearly.

1854 is also; just a goofy interpretation of Luke 1:28, which is just a greeting.

1215 is also, it is adding to the Scriptures to say that the bread and wine change into the body and blood of Jesus.

1870 is also a material addition.

therefore, they are all corruptions, flowing from additions and exaggerations.

Whereas Protestant interpretation is there in the Scriptures, imputation is clearly there in the concept of "count", "consider", "declare" - Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:6-8.

It is easier to go with that as a good exegesis than the RCC additions.

Ken Temple said...

Tom,
Thanks for all the info; you are very gifted, intelligent; and knowledgeable.

I admit that what I know about Mormonism comes from Walter Martin, Bill McKeever, James White, Richard Abanes, Ron Rhodes, the Tanners, and that article by Francis Beckwith, etc.

Since, according to you; I don't understand Mormonism, and I cannot spend time reading all those authors you mention;

I will just ask you a few questions:

1. Are there other gods over other planets in the universe? (according to LDS)

2. Can every Mormon man evolve into a god?

3. Will he have his own planet in the celestial future?

4. Will he have multiple wives in the celestial heaven/ future?

5. Did God (the God of this world - Elohim or Jehovah or the Father - you tell me how to sort it all out. In Bible and orthodoxy they are the same) have a flesh and bone body before He became God?

6. Is there a difference between Elohim, Jehovah, and the Father of Jesus Christ in Mormonism?

7. According to Mormonism, were Jesus and Lucifer spirit-brothers before Lucifer fell and became Satan?

8. Is there such a planet as Kolob in Mormonism? If so, what is the teaching about Kolob and Elohim / God ?

9. What does it mean that "Jesus was begotten in exactly the same way as you and I" in Mormon teachings?

TOmNossor said...

Ken,
I kind of like the questions you asked so let me see if I can answer them. I will answer with what I believe to be the best view in light of our scriptures, the present teaching of GA, and the past teaching of GA (in that order). There is no chance of aligning all the teaching of GA from the past and I will make no attempt to do so.

Ken:
1. Are there other gods over other planets in the universe? (according to LDS)

TOm:
I suspect so, but God the Father is supreme and these “other gods” share in His divinity. This sharing is very similar to the sharing in divinity within the Social Trinity except that these gods required Christ and the Holy Spirit to enter the communion with God the Father, and Christ and the Holy Spirit did not require intercessors to enter into communion with God the Father.
I am not sure if you are familiar with the idea of the Social Trinity, but it seems to me that this is the main thrust of the Bible and the LDS scriptures. It is also a popular (though not by any stretch majority) position within Protestant circles.
Added to the one-God-ness of the Social Trinity, I suggest that God the Father is supreme and the fount of divinity.
It is my position that the BOA speaks of ONE head God over all the other gods. I also believe there are volumes of Biblical and extra Biblical evidence that this was the position of the early Jews. Biblical scholars are increasingly recognizing that the monotheism of the Old Testament was occasionally a Kingship Monotheism and occasionally a Monolotry. This fits well with the BOA.

TOm (on others):
Now, the LDS in the pew is almost never going to hear about the possibility of “other gods.” The LDS in the pew will only rarely hear that deification is God’s ultimate gift to us. That being said, a moderately informed LDS will have ideas about gods over other planets. This person at the worst (worst by my standards and yours) will maintain that there is but one God with whom we have to do and that is God the Father. Slightly better this person will include Christ and the Holy Ghost in the one God with whom we have to do.
LDS in and out of church will however make very little deal about the possibilities of other gods until critics bring it up.

Ken said:
2. Can every Mormon man evolve into a god?

TOm:
Every human (man or woman) can evolve into a god/goddess. This is among the strongest messages of the New Testament and one of the strongest theological wins for the LDS. It is also the clear teaching of the Early Church especially folks like Irenaeus.

TOm (on others):
I doubt there is anyone who would suggest that woman are not to become divine. I also doubt there is anyone who would deny a very strong form of deification. I suspect my view and others view is very close here. The question of how we will be deified and what the life of the deified is like will illicit a spectrum of options.

Ken said:
3. Will he have his own planet in the celestial future?

TOm:
I do not know, but I see no reason why not. Those deified will share so completely in the life and attributes of God the Father, it would seem likely to me that they would seek to be creative in ways similar to the ways He was.

TOm (on others): I think most folks would say yes of course. I do not see this in our scriptures and the only Early Church reference that I have found clearly teaching it was a 2nd century Jew (I think). I am therefore not as positive as most LDS probably are.

Ken said:
4. Will he have multiple wives in the celestial heaven/ future?

TOm:
I think those who had multiple wives sealed to them in this life will likely have multiple wives. This is mostly folks who were married to multiple wives over 100 years ago, but there are some folks who are serially sealed (usually after death) to more than one wife. That being said, the communion up and down family lines is also sealing and it is quite similar to the sealing of a husband and wife. We will all be in such close communion we cannot imagine what this will be like. There will still be a special bond between husband and wife, but there will be glorious bonds between all in communion with God. Remember the image Christ offered for His relationship to the church. We are to be one as the Father and Son are one.

TOm (on others):
In the pew very little of this is discussed. The moderately informed have an opinion on some of this. The most upsetting (for you IMO, I am only slightly negative on this) common opinion is that there will be more celestrial woman than celestrial men so this will lead to a polygamy in heaven.

Ken asked:
5. Did God (the God of this world - Elohim or Jehovah or the Father - you tell me how to sort it all out. In Bible and orthodoxy they are the same) have a flesh and bone body before He became God?

TOm:
First, Elohim as a title for God the Father and Jehovah as a title for God the Son is a late introduction in LDS thought and certainly not official or theologically significant IMO. Before the 1900’s it was common to refer to God the Father as Jehovah. It is conventional now not to do this. Although in the pews I cannot remember anyone making a distinction.
Now, my answer to your question is: NO. God the Father an eternity ago was full divine and the fount of divinity. I believe this is quite clearly the teachings of our canonized scriptures. I also believe this is the view espoused in the King Follett Discourse despite the opinions otherwise both in and out of the church. The Sermon in the Grove is the only teaching of Joseph Smith that MAY have advocated that God the Father was not God before He became God. Ostler has (as is necessary because of the text as it has come to us) dealt extensively with the 3 (I think) sources of the Sermon in the Grove and I think his solution is plausible and in far better agreement with the KFD and other scriptures.
I believe that God the Father like God the Son emptied Himself of aspects of divinity so that He might become incarnate. He then took up that which He put down again. After God the Father’s incarnation He possesses a body of flesh and bones in the same way Christ after His incarnation and resurrection possesses a body of flesh and bones.

TOm (on others):
Of all my views, I would suggest the above one is the one lest held by other LDS. Ostler claims that his ideas are having a huge impact upon LDS thinkers (I think even in reference to this) and this is probably somewhat true. But many thinkers do not follow Ostler and most folks who have not studied this at all are solidly of the opinion that God the Father became God and previous to this point in time He had not been divine (at least not divine in a unique and special way).
I will admit that after Joseph Smith (until some peculiar words by President Hinckley) the view that God the Father became God has been the view taught by LDS general authorities. In recent years you do not hear this and we have President Hinckley explaining that it is not taught (which it is not), but that does not mean that it is not generally believed (in my experience).

Ken said:
6. Is there a difference between Elohim, Jehovah, and the Father of Jesus Christ in Mormonism?

TOm:
I answered this some above. Elohim and Jehovah have become terms applied to the Father and the Son respectively, but I do not think there is profound theology behind this and it is a 20th century convention not followed in the 19th century.
God the Father and God the Son are separate and distinct persons (if that is part of you question).

TOm (on others):
There are some folks who make a big deal about the fact that Elohim is a plural construction in Hebrew. This is certainly a minority view, but among LDS apologists it is something you will occasionally hear.

Ken said:
7. According to Mormonism, were Jesus and Lucifer spirit-brothers before Lucifer fell and became Satan?

TOm:
In a certain sense yes and they still are. God the Father is the Father of God the Son and Lucifer and all angels and men. As the architect and creator of the plan for our becoming like Him, He infuses us with His life and is properly called our Father. This is true for Satan and Fallen angels, all of us, and even God the Son. I believe God the Son and God the Holy Spirit possess a unique eternal communion with God the Father than was not mediated in the way our hopefully ultimate communion with Him will be (Christ did not need an atoning savior like we do). That being said, it is clear that God the Father is the Father of God the Son. It is also clear to all that God the Father is a father to all men. And I personally do not think it problematic to claim that God the Father is the father of Satan. The Bible is quite clear that God the Father is the Father of Hitler and all men. I think the Bible also lends support to the view that God the Father is similarly the Father of angels and fallen angels.

TOm (on others):
http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/answering-media-questions-about-jesus-and-satan

Ken said:
8. Is there such a planet as Kolob in Mormonism? If so, what is the teaching about Kolob and Elohim / God ?

TOm:
Kolob seems to be a planet and is perhaps more. I guess I would suggest that since God the Father and God the Son have a body of flesh and bones, this body typically resides near Kolob. I have actually thought very little about this. I am quite convinced that Christ is not limited in omnipotence by being embodied and neither is God the Father.

For the others, I offer the scriptural references to Kolob. It does not seem to be merely a planet necessarily. I would guess that some might say that God the Father grew to be God on Kolob, but I am not sure if I have ever heard this and I doubt I cannot remember hearing the word Kolob in the pews.
http://scriptures.lds.org/en/search?search=kolob&do=Search

Ken said:
9. What does it mean that "Jesus was begotten in exactly the same way as you and I" in Mormon teachings?

TOm:
Here are two quotes that I think are closer to what you are speaking about than the quote you offered:
The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood- was begotten of his Father, as we are of our fathers. —Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:115
In relation to the way in which I look upon the works of God and his creatures, I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father, and also my Savior Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it. —Heber C. Kimball, Journal of discourses, 8:211
(I assume these are correct quotes and are what you are referring to with your question).

It is clear IMO that Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball both embraced the Virgin Birth. What they mean by the above in combination with affirming the Virgin Birth, I cannot say and I actually do not know of a place where this is discussed. The church recently affirmed the Virgin birth in response to questions derived from quotes like the above.

I think it most likely that statements like the above were not aligned with what it means to be born of a Virgin and when Young, Kimball, and perhaps others made such statements, they were thinking incorrectly. They were just wrong.
It would seem that the church supports me in this view and I cannot recall anyone trying to right the above statements with the Virgin birth.

TOm (on others):
One of the greatest men I have ever met in the church knew of these statements and though he thought they were tough (and I do not think he ever tried to reconcile them with the Virgin birth), I think he believed that God the Father had sex with Mary. I do not agree with him. I have never heard anyone else so willing to suggest something like this so I would suggest it is only something that critics concern themselves with, but I know of one example in my 12+ years in the church. This is never discussed in the pews. It never comes up. Most LDS who are aware of the above quotes I think are quite willing to say:
1. Christ was born of the Virgin Mary.
2. We do not know how Christ is the only begotten of the Father in the Flesh.
Or
2. Brigham Young or xyz was mistaken.





I should say something profound here so that I do not close discussing question #9. I am too tired. Pls go re-read question 1 and 2 or something else cool.

Charity, TOm

Anonymous said...

Tom says:

I should say something profound here so that I do not close discussing question #9. I am too tired.

Rory asks:

One question in my mind, if you have regained your strength Tom, is about what Mormons like best: KFD or KFC? (You know what this Catholic would say.)

Best,

Roars

Ken Temple said...

Tom,
I appreciate your honesty and all the work you put into answering my questions.

Wow.

All I can say right now is that "it takes my breath away".

I am tired also; will try to interact with it more later.

peace man,
Ken Temple

TOmNossor said...

Rory,
I actually like the King Follett Discourse just fine. I also unfortunately like KFC too. Now, if I could get Brigham Young and the Pratt brothers to dialogue and edit the Journal of Discourses, that could be a good thing.
Brigham Young said something about the correctness of anything he said where he to go back and edit the record captured by his scribes. To my knowledge he seldom if ever did this. Outside of very direct and forceful supernatural coercion during this editing process, I suspect there would still be some racist comments I would find distasteful, but I wonder if things like the Virgin Mary or Adam-God might have received some clarification or tempering.
Also, in light of the different way the 3 scribes recorded Joseph Smith’s Sermon in the Grove, I would be very interested in seeing this corrected by Joseph Smith. I would however not wish for the SitG to vanish like I would for some of Brigham Young’s most racists statements.

Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

http://vintage.aomin.org/BEGOTTEN.html

James White has compiled some 25-28 statements on Jesus' physical conception (some of them even say, "NOT by the Holy Spirit") and a few them say, that is was by "sexual relations".
Brigham Young
Orson Pratt
Joseph F. Smith
Bruce McConkie
James E. Talmadge


Robert A. Rees served as bishop of the Los Angeles First Ward. He gave a sacrament meeting talk on April 29th, 1990, and provided an article to Dialogue that is found in the Winter, 1991 issue. It is entitled, "Bearing Our Crosses Gracefully: Sex and the Single Mormon." In it we find the following:

Mormons differ from other Christians in our literal belief that we are begotten of God spiritually and that Christ was begotten of him physically. Paul says in Acts that we are God's offspring (17:28-29). We believe that our spiritual conception was sexual just as we believe that Christ's mortal conception was. Elucidating the latter, James E. Talmage says, "That child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law, but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof" (1986, 81).

As President of the Quorum of the Twelve, President Ezra Taft Benson made the following statement:

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the most literal sense. The body in which He performed His mission in the flesh was sired by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph nor was He begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the son of the Eternal Father!" [cited in J. F. McConkie, Here We Stand p. 167]

Ken Temple said...

From James White’s Letters to a Mormon Elder:

http://www.novus2.com/alphamin/LETTERS/MAINPAGE.htm

So we are taught by Mormonism that God the Father was once a man, just like you or me, who lived on another planet. He was in a fallen state. He walked and talked like you and me. We should think that he worshiped the "god" of that world as well, who himself, it would seem, was a man as well. And so it goes back into time. Not only was God once a man, but, as Smith said, He continues in that form, for "if the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit . . . was to make himself visible,-I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form-like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man." This is echoed in the Mormon Scriptures, Doctrine and Covenants 130:22:
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.
And so we see the first two elements of Smith's teaching: (1) the concept of polytheism, and (2) the concept that God was once a man who lived on another planet, and who continues to exist in a physical form.

From Chapter 4: Monotheism vs. Polytheism

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones . . . "

Amazing false doctrine!

From "Doctrine and Covenants"; so that is official doctrine, not just a statement from a leader like Brigham Young

Anonymous said...

Hey Tom,

What a good guy. Thank you for your sportsmanlike effort at engaging my very weak humor. I was in a pretty silly lemood when I posted that. Anyway to clarify, as a Catholic, my opinion of KFC has no relationship to apostolic tradition, and as regards KFD, I only recently learned that King Follett was some actual person of the 19th century. I had figured he was some king in the Book of Mormon!

Anyway...I don't have a problem with the King Follet Discourse. If I was not Catholic, I would not expect the Restored Church to resemble the apostate church. I would expect some major fundamental errors. I don't understand non-LDS who seem surprised when Mormons aren't cowed at being accused of having major differences with traditional Christianity. Of course Mormons have BIG problems with the non-Restored Church. What would be the point in a Restoration, if the restoration had to follow the premises of the non-Restoration?

Also, Dave is amazing. Not just to be a brown-noser of a friend. His ability to be so clear and brief at the same time is so admirable.

You might be interested about what I wrote him today in a private e-mail about Vatican II in contrast to his own writings. John XXIII had emphasized before Paul VI had declared it, that Vatican II would not be about defining dogma, but about presenting old truths in a new way. I suggest that the "new way" turned out to be a long, ambiguous monologue that is an almost impossible vehicles for infallible definitions.

Now Scripture, I hold as infallible, but it isn't definitive in the sense of which I speak, because it is susceptible to such multiplied interpretation. But everyone understands clearly the Council of Trent, Vatican I, the declaration on the Immaculate Conception, and so on. I think Dave is pretty clear too (definitve without infallibility). There can be no ambiguity in an infallible definition. No one rationally wonders what the Catholic Church teaches regarding infused righteousness, the infallibility of the Church, or Mary's sinlessness. It is clear. No one ever argues about the "correct" interpretation of the declaration about Mary's Immaculate Conception. That is partly why I discern the liberty to question parts of Vatican II.

I had a long chat with one of my daughters today, who has been a holdout against my position regarding what I consider as my liberty to question the teachings of Vatican II, (only in consideration of what popes have thus far declared. If Benedict XVI made an ex cathedra declaration tomorrow that all of Vatican II was infallible, I would be able to abide by it). But as it is, I am not so bound. Anyway, it seems my daughter has succumbed to the logic of accepting what the popes say about their own council. In my opinion, Vatican II is marked by the note of ambiguity, and could not be considered infallible without a papal declaration. But with the presence of clear statements by Paul VI and Cardinal Ratzinger denying the note of infallibility to that one Council, I find myself not only in the company of Archbishop Lefebvre, but the company of popes who have proclaimed, promulgated and supported the validity of the Council, as I do, and as he did, unto this day.

PS: I don't expect anyone else to be much interested in this post. But I still justify it to you in this thread as it is an essential, modern development of Catholic doctrine which has not yet been received willingly by the Church. Believing in doctrinal development as I do, if the Catholic Church is true, I have learned that I must appreciate that an ecumenical council may disqualify itself from making infallible definitions if it declares itself, or the popes that call it declares it to be exempt from the charism of infallibility.

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Finally have some time to comment on the following you posted on 2/18:

>>But 1950 BA of Mary is a material addition; clearly.>>

Me: Are you saying there is no Biblical material to work with to arrive at such a teaching? That, and that alone would constitute a “material” addition.

Shortly after my exodus from the JWs, I started studying prophecy. It was the early 80s, and the topic was a very popular one in Evangelicalism. I distinctly remember reading the Book of Revelation in Bible translations other than the New World Translation, trying to understood the book apart from Watchtower theology, and when I came to Rev. chapter 12:1-6, Mary and Jesus immediately came to mind. Hmmm…Mary in heaven…

At that time, I did not think at all about the kind of body Mary had in heaven (whether spiritual or physical), but I knew Rev. 12 was in some sense referring to Mary in heaven.

Now, I know many EVs have difficulty with the concept of “implicit” teachings in the Scriptures, yet they seem to forget that much of the Apostles use of the OT in the NT was built upon the implicit and not the explicit.

For instance, Matthew wrote:

And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene." (Matt. 2:23 – RSV)

As most know there is no such verse in the OT. Attempts by some commentators to link the quote to Isa. 11:1 and nester; and/or with Nazirite (Num. 6) are rejected by the more objective Evangelical commentators (e.g. William Hendrickson, The Gospel of Matthew, pp. 188-190). Lenski stated:

“The prophets nowhere said even in substance ‘that he shall be called a Nazōraios’ (I have transliterated the Greek).” (R.C.H. Lenski, St. Matthew’s Gospel, p. 87.)

Anyway, once again, I do not think that the BA of Mary is totally devoid of Scriptural material—it is implicitly there.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

You posted:

>> James White has compiled some 25-28 statements on Jesus' physical conception…>>

Was the following included in his list?


You asked about…the birth of the Savior. Never have I talked about sexual intercourse between Deity and the mother of the Savior. If teachers were wise in speaking of this matter about which the Lord has said very little, they would rest their discussion on this subject with merely the words which are recorded on this subject in Luke 1:34-35: “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Remember that the being who was brought about by [Mary's] conception was a divine personage. We need not question His method to accomplish His purposes. Perhaps we would do well to remember the words of Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Let the Lord rest His case with this declaration and wait until He sees fit to tell us more. [(Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde E. Williams (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), 14.]


Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

Good job with the Assumption. As usual, right to the point in what? Five minutes. As usual, it takes me 20 times as long. Here goes though in regards to the Immaculate Conception, formally defined in 1854.

Ken Temple says:
"1854 is also; just a goofy interpretation of Luke 1:28, which is just a greeting."

Rory says:
For those who might not know, Ken is claiming that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which was formally defined in 1854 has no Scriptural support. Knowing that Catholics appeal to a particular verse he offers his arguments for why it doesn't qualify. According to him, it is "goofy" to interpret "full of grace" in Luke 1, as having any theological significance. To him, it is just plain goofy to perceive any theological significance in being addressed, not by name, but with the expression, "full of grace". Why? Because according to him, "it is just a greeting."

I have never been greeted by the expression, "full of grace". (Nor even full of anything else). When people (or angels) use expressions instead of our proper names it is not ordinarily perceived as a meaningless expression, but as a pointed comment upon our character. For instance, when the sergeant calls out to a recruit addressing him thus: "Hey, _____ for brains", you would be mistaken to think of it as "just a greeting". Or when the groom calls his bride "honeybunch" instead of her proper name, we perceive that this is not "just a greeting", but something signifcantly more. Those who merely want to make "just a greeting", with no significant meaning attached, never make up such expressions as "full of grace", "______ for brains", or "honeybunch". If the Angel Gabriel had not intended to communicate some significant and noteworthy comment, he would have said, "Mary".

In my opinion, Ken's preemptive attempt at sweeping away part of the biblical support for the Immaculate Conception by calling it "goofy" of Catholics to perceive in the Angel's greeting to Mary, an exceptional status before God fails miserably until he can offer some more compelling proof than his mere assertion of "goofy" to prove that this was just an ordinary way to say hello.

Ordinary linguistic usage would give us to know that this is Almighty God's comment on some distinct character of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and mother of his only begotten Son. If Protestants think the words of Gabriel have no more significance than the anonymous salutation at a bank teller's window, Catholics are at a stalemate with them. But I am satisfied that they are not only wrong about this particular issue, but "goofy".

But this is not even the first passage that points to the Immaculate Conception. The first passage is in the first book, inside the first three chapters.

Long before 1854, the Fathers of the Church had asked themselves and written about their reflections on the sanctity of the Mother of our Lord. Inevitably, comparisions with Eve arose. If Jesus was the second Adam, was there not a Second Eve?

Why did they so quickly associate Eve with Mary? Because beginning with the words of God to the serpent in Genesis 3, we can grasp the parallel between Eve and Mary: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. He (the seed of the woman) shall crush thy head, and thou shalt crush his heal."

Who would be "the woman" who would finally deliver the One who would crush the serpent. It seems reasonable to suppose it might be Mary, does it not? Jesus even refers to His own Mother as "Woman". Is it impossible to see in Mary, the principle female participant in undoing the harm done to mankind by our first parents. Apparently, without any infallible declarations, the idea of Mary's sinlessness and the importance of her role in redemption was taken for granted by the same Church that gave us the Nicene Creed. The answer is resoundingly in the affirmative to the question of whether or not like Eve, "Was Blessed Mary sinless?"

Irenaeus of Lyons:

And so the knot of Eve's disobedience received its unloosing through the obedience of Mary; for what Eve, a virgin, bound by incredulity (disbelieving God regarding the penalty for eating the forbidden fruit), that Mary, a virgin, unloosed by faith (believing the message of God that she would conceive in her virginity). ---Against Heresies, 3:22:34

Ephrem the Syrian:

"Mary and Eve, two people without guilt, two simple people were identical. Later however, one became the cause of our death, the other the cause of our life."---Op. syr.II 327, found in Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 201

Augustine of Hippo when writing against Pelagius in regards to the universal stain of sin upon all:

"We must except the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for oversoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin." ---On Nature and Grace, 42

Reflecting on Genesis 3 in light of the Gospel opened up a flood of ideas which led to the acceptance by both pre and post Nicene Christians to understand the importance of Mary's role in redemption and the strong possibility of her having been sinless.

Lord willing, we can discuss later in the week the charge that the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist is without biblical support, and finds its roots in an ecumenical council over a thousand years after the birth of Christ.

Rory

Ken Temple said...

Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde E. Williams

No, that is not one of them. But is he more important than Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Joseph Felding Smith, Orson Pratt, E. Snow, Ezra Taft Benson, Bruce McKonkie?

Never heard of that guy.

Your point is understood; that at least some others tried to downplay what they knew that Brigham Young and the others said.

A few of the statements are indeed in the official documents; though not as explicit as some of the sermons, etc.

Truly, it is a "Maze"; as Walter Martin's book title aptly said, "The Maze of Mormonism"

Ken Temple said...

David,
Regarding the Bodily Assumption of Mary --

That’s a valid point about implicit things leading to more development of theology; or trying to find things in the Scripture centuries later that may imply some aspects of a popular doctrine, etc.

It is true that Revelation 12 is used partly for some aspects of the BA of M, but it cannot be consistently applied to every part of the passage. Although she is pictured in heaven, it is Christ alone who is “caught up to heaven”. The woman of Rev. 12 is protected in the wilderness.

One of the big problems with Rev. 12 for the BA of M, is the pain of childbirth in verse 2 implies that her hymen was broken, and that is against the perpetual virginity doctrine, even in childbirth. So to claim it for the BA dogma, is a minus for the PV dogma.

Revelation 12:2

She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

Ludwig Ott wrote: “Mary bore her son without any violation of her virginal integrity.”

“Mary gave birth in a miraculous fashion without opening of the womb, and injury to the hymen, and consequently also without pain.”

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 205. Also Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 3.28.2

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa.TP.ii.TP_Q28.TP_Q28_A2.html

(cited by Geisler and McKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, p. 300.)

What do you do with the 1260 days of protection for the woman? (3 and ½ years) ?

Seems to correspond to the Jewish Wars against Rome, the siege that Rome made on Jerusalem 66 AD- 70 AD; Josephus confirms it and Rev. 11:2 seems to say this and it ended with the destruction and burning of the temple. The Christians had fled to Pella, Eusebius tells us. This would seem to fit better, also based on Rev. 17:9-10, the seven hills being ancient Rome and the 6 kings, five who have died, beginning with Julius Caesar, then Augustus, then Tiberius, then Caligula, then Claudius, then Nero (one is), etc.

So, when I mean there is no textual material for BA of M, I am not saying that RCC don’t try and use something (like Rev. 12 and other verses, like John 21:25); but I mean there is no Scriptural material that is legitimately used by credible and sound exegesis. The lack of Scriptural evidence for this dogma is one of the weakest aspects of RCC; as in all the Marian dogmas. They are all implicitly derived and speculative and imaginative; adding and exaggerating the apostolic deposit; thus corrupting it.

Ken Temple said...

Attempts by some commentators to link the quote to Isa. 11:1 and nester; and/or with Nazirite (Num. 6) are rejected by the more objective Evangelical commentators

But combining Isaiah 11:1 with Isaiah 53:2-3 and Jeremiah 23:5; along with the Jewish people and Pharisees saying several times, "can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (Galilee of the Gentiles, etc.); this makes a lot more sense that Matthew is making a general statement that the prophets in general prophesied that the Messiah would be despised and rejected and that rejected root/branch/non external attractiveness and living in the area of "Galilee of the Gentiles", which was despised by the Jews; overall, this fits well and is not as speculative and adding and exaggerating as the Marian dogmas are.

Furthermore, Jonah actually was from the North in Galilee and he was a prophet to the Gentiles (Nineveh, Assyrians) and this points to the Messiah's love for all the nations, not just the Jews. Jonah pointed to the resurrection and the proclamation of the gospel to all the nations. Luke 24:25-27; 44-47) It was written in the OT.

That, to me is much better exegesis of passages than the Marian dogmas.

Ken Temple said...

Rory,
You are right that Dave is amazing as he gets right to the point and doesn't seem to take much time; and you and I need lots of time to answer back.

Anyway, the IC of Mary is "goofy" because it reads too much into the phrase, "greetings, you who are favored by the Lord". The favor (grace) was to be chosen to be the Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And the basic word for "being bestowed with grace" is also used of all of us who have been chosen for salvation in Christ. Ephesians 1:6. We are sinners and saved by grace. May admitted her need for a Savior. Luke 1:47-48

Genesis 3:15 "between your seed and his seed" -- it does seem to imply a prophesy of the Virgin birth, for there is no parallel in any Semitic languages of "the seed of a woman". But the rest of it is the offspring who would crush the head of the Serpent, not the woman doing the crushing.

There is nothing about sinlessness or being protected from sin in any of these passages.

Anyway, I have read those ECF quotes before; Irenaeus' does not say anything about sinlessness or being protected from sin. Furthermore, he just assumes that Eve was a virgin; Genesis does not say that, and Genesis 2:24-25 implies the opposite. They were not virgins before sin entered in; and it shows that sex within marriage is holy and good.

Augustine and Jerome and others just seem to really "goof up" on this issue.

TOmNossor said...

Ken,
I am not sure responding to your responses matters a whole lot. You replied to my fairly non-polemic responses with standard critic fair. Here I intended “standard fair” to mean the typical assortment of arguments, but “standard critic fair” can certainly mean a response that lacks objectivity and the same allowances one gives to ones own position (i.e. unfair). I think both apply to your response. It is not that you and James White have not created a list of reasons to not be a LDS based on actual quotes of LDS leaders. It is that you seem to stick to the list rather than try to understand how informed LDS deal with these lists. There is even a pretty solid example in your responses to suggest to me that you barely read what I wrote for you argue back at me with something I readily acknowledged.
Rory occasionally mentions that he is writing for the “lurkers.” My “fairly non-polemic response” was a product of my thoughts that there were perhaps not too many lurkers here. That is probably never a good assumption on the internet. My response here will be partially for the “lurkers” that might be present and partially in hopes that I may unmoor you from James White anti-Mormonism. This may be a very foolish goal.

On sexual relations between God and Mary:
The passage you offered in quotes to which I responded did not seem to appear in writings by LDS. I decided it best to find a couple of the most difficult examples of what I thought you were after. Perhaps this was a mistake.
Since I am a LDS, I have come in contact with thousands of LDS. I have been in three wards in my current location (though I have never moved out of the ward boundaries for the first ward, it has just split into two new wards). Previous to this while I was mostly at sea, I was also in three wards. I have found one person who seemed willing to embrace the view that you seem to suggest simply is the LDS view and numerous people who knowledgably reject it. The vast majority of folks would reject it having no knowledge of the passages that are so important to critics and so irrelevant to LDS.
Some recent studies indicate that LDS youth (and I think LDS adults) actually read their Bibles at a rate far above the rest of Christendom. Perhaps this is why we are so universal in our belief in the “virgin birth” rather than embracing statements made by past leaders (that still do not seem to deal directly with their other statements affirming the virgin birth). Based on the LDS.org link I offered you, it would seem that the official position of the church has come down upon the emphasis of the virginity of Mary rather than the other ideas so effective as weapons against the CoJCoLDS.
IMO this is a huge problem for both the damage this weapon (wielded from a Protestant POV) can do, and the honesty of those who wield the weapon. James White knows full well that few LDS believe that the Father had sexual relations with Mary, but he presents this as if it is what LDS should believe. He also likely knows that the church has emphasized the virgin birth to the exclusion of sexual relations in official publication, but he leaves this out. I think this is best labeled as dishonesty. Do you agree?

Ken said:
No, that is not one of them. But is he more important than Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Joseph Felding Smith, Orson Pratt, E. Snow, Ezra Taft Benson, Bruce McKonkie?

TOm:
I think it is quite clear that Harold B. Lee is more important than Orson Pratt in that HBL was President of the Church (often called The Prophet) and Orson Pratt never was and in fact “The Seer” (which James White quotes without qualification) was specifically condemned by the three men who were the First Presidency.

Next, I know of absolutely zero places where Joseph Smith said anything that would suggest he believe that the virgin birth was not a virgin birth. What do you know that I do not? Please provide for me the statements to which you refer from Joseph Smith or retract him from the list.

AGAIN, Do you know of any statements by Joseph Smith that call into question the virgin birth? Was he just included for the force of it all?

HBL is the most recent president on your list other than President Benson. As I mentioned recent teachings are to be preferred to older teachings. (Ostler makes some exception for Joseph Smith to this rule. In my opinion there is reason for this, but I would suggest that doctrines like “Heavenly Mother” could be added to our scriptures at the direction of President Thomas Monson and at this point Joseph’s silence concerning heavenly mother would be of little concern). BTW, I just read through Benson’s words in Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 7. He claims that Mary was virgin before and after the conception of Christ. If he believes the much paired down quote offered by White is in conflict with this statement he gives no indication. I believe ETB (perhaps unlike BY) did not have sexual intercourse in his mind.

Now, I have never denied that I think it likely that past LDS leaders had in mind sexual relations between the Father and Mary when they said some of the things they said. What I strongly affirm is that this is not a prevalent view in the CoJCoLDS. It is not something that we talk about. Our theology has matured. Beyond this, every utterance of the President of the Church is not recorded like in previous years. I believe the leaders of the church have recognized what our critics do with statements that may have been less considered. It is simply impossible to believe all the things captured in the Journal of Discourses. Most LDS do not worry about such things and have no idea there is so much captured that is occasionally strange.
Those who are aware of these things have a choice to make. Do they deal with these things and remain a member of the church or do they choose to leave (leaving is usually a multifaceted decision and I personally believe very few folks leave SOLELY because of the problems critics utilize to begin the destruction of faith or break the damn for those with a number of concerns already. It is my experience and opinion that virtually all of the most informed folks on these issues make the choice to stay. They are not near so damning in the overall picture as they seem to be in the writings of James White.

I have no thoughts that you might choose to be a LDS. I do have thoughts that you might leave behind James White as a guide especially when he is criticizing the beliefs of other. (I have high hopes for The Potter’s Freedom though I have yet to find time to read it). At best White is an uncharitable critic. At worst he is an unchristian deceiver walking hand in hand with the Father of Lies. Francis Beckwith knows this only too well. I saw (on a blog) James White attack him. It seemed that Beckwith suggesting that James White had misunderstood what Beckwith claimed was no match for White repeating his uncharitable read of Beckwith’s words. To speak with White (which I have done, our conversation did not demonstrate the point I am about to make for it was almost totally, “You as a LDS believe this,” “No, I do not.”) is to discover that every word must be carefully chosen for it will be twisted. Christ never fell victim to the Pharisees or Satan when such tactics were attempted upon him, but neither Beckwith nor I are as sharp as the Son of God.

Concerning God the Father’s body of flesh and bones:
Ken, you asked a question which I answered very clearly, “No.” I then explained why I said, “No,” and yet still affirm that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones (just like God the Son has a body of flesh and bones). You then conclude your non-response with:
From "Doctrine and Covenants"; so that is official doctrine, not just a statement from a leader like Brigham Young

TOm:
I most certainly affirmed precisely what was in the D&C. I could have answered your question “No” and offered no clarification. I should have done this since you did not deal with what I said, but quoted White back to me.


I am not particularly concerned with what you and White think Joseph Smith meant in the KFD. I am also comfortable with what previous leaders have made of these concepts and the frank admission by President Hinckley that we do not know much about how God the Father was once a man like us. To me, our scriptures clearly teach that there is a supreme God and that He is God the Father. This IMO is the conclusion one would draw from the BOM and the BOA without the Bible. The Old Testament further strengthens this view especially in light of modern Biblical scholarship. The “Kingship” monotheism within the BOA is far more prevalent in the Old Testament than the “Metaphysical Monotheism” demanded by non-LDS Christianity.

White began his debate with Greg Stafford by effectively saying, even if I lose this debate with Stafford, he is not a really JW so I still win by showing that JWs are wrong. IMO approaches that are many times more charitable and even more honest easily damn Protestantism, Mormonism, and Catholicism. The problem is that those who employ these better approaches seldom turn such things back upon their own paradigm. If they did (or if White did) it would be IMO ever so clear that such approaches remove room for faith in any form of Christianity (with the possible exception of Chris’s liberal Christianity).
David is better at engaging other religions on their own terms than anyone I have ever met. He is Catholic. I seek to follow his example and recognize that there are plenty of reasons to not be Catholic, to not be Protestant, and to not be a LDS; but needing to make a choice I should find the most consistent read of the data with the least problems. In my less informed (than David) opinion that answer is the CoJCoLDS. I suggest that to engage religion as White does and as you seem to be wont to do is to NEVER KNOW which position is strongest in any type of intellectually rigorous way. I may be as wrong as a human can be, but I will attempt to use a good methodology.
I think it is fine to embrace non-intellectually rigorous means for assessing truth. I think God can guide us in ways outside of our intellect, but IMO it makes for empty arguments and virtually undefendable positions.

I think I will close here. Don’t be like James White!
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=2784

James White has a great presentation where he specifically deals with the criticisms of Reformed theology and Calvinism and the problem of the non-elect babies that Tom brought up. (mostly from Dr. Urgun Caner's sermon)

To get the full benefit, one needs to listen to the whole presentation and look at the verses that Dr. White exegetes. Put it on pause and look up the verses; slow down and look at the context of each one.

Also, see the Westminister Confession of Faith and the 1689 London Baptist Confession; they both clearly refute the idea that
"God is the author of sin". Search for them on line.

Ken Temple said...

TOm:
First, Elohim as a title for God the Father and Jehovah as a title for God the Son is a late introduction in LDS thought and certainly not official or theologically significant IMO. Before the 1900’s it was common to refer to God the Father as Jehovah. It is conventional now not to do this. Although in the pews I cannot remember anyone making a distinction.

Now, my answer to your question is: NO.

[true, you answered clearly here, but, IMO, later down you contradicted it; so that is why, to me, your answer is confusing.]

God the Father an eternity ago was full divine and the fount of divinity. I believe this is quite clearly the teachings of our canonized scriptures. I also believe this is the view espoused in the King Follett Discourse despite the opinions otherwise both in and out of the church. The Sermon in the Grove is the only teaching of Joseph Smith that MAY have advocated that God the Father was not God before He became God. Ostler has (as is necessary because of the text as it has come to us) dealt extensively with the 3 (I think) sources of the Sermon in the Grove and I think his solution is plausible and in far better agreement with the KFD and other scriptures.

I believe that God the Father like God the Son emptied Himself of aspects of divinity so that He might become incarnate.

[This seems contradictory to the clear, "no".]

He then took up that which He put down again. After God the Father’s incarnation He possesses a body of flesh and bones in the same way

[ Here you contradict the earlier "no"; so your communication is "gobbly gook" and makes no sense!]

Christ after His incarnation and resurrection possesses a body of flesh and bones.

[A mass of contradiction. impossible to understand.]

Ken Temple said...

Tom,
Sorry for confusing some of the lists, etc. and specifics. (Joseph Smith should not be on the list about Mary and sex; but the KFD does really seem to affirm polytheism and that a man became a God.

I was mixing up issues; partly because the whole Mormon religion seems so weird.

I read your thread; and it just seemed like an admission of most everything (and I appreciate your honesty in that) except that God had sex with Mary; which you deny and answered well, that only a few believe that; and which is affirmed by some in the past; and I understand what you are saying in that that is not official, etc.

It took my breath away, and I was tired, and I was, I admit, lazy to cull through your answers, so to begin with, I tried to find a few of the official statements again.

The big reason was I just did not have time to get to it until now; (see above on your "no", but then later, seemed to back track and contradict it.) -- I quickly cut and pasted and should not have.

I apologize for mixing Joseph Smith in the wrong list of an issue that he did not talk about.

So, now you can answer the above post and the apparent contradiction.

I mean no ill will.

Ken Temple said...

It is simply impossible to believe all the things captured in the Journal of Discourses.


Is not that one of the LDSs official "Scriptures"?

Ken Temple said...

When and where did God the Father become incarnate?

Don't you see how I could be confused on this?

In one sentence, you say "no" and then later you say the Father became incarnate with flesh and bones also, just like Jesus?

What is this?

Ken Temple said...

Tom wrote:

"After God the Father’s incarnation He possesses a body of flesh and bones in the same way Christ after His incarnation and resurrection possesses a body of flesh and bones."

this is what takes my breathe away! So the Father became flesh?

the father "in the same way" as Jesus possesses a body of flesh and bones??

Amazing, shocking doctrine! Again, when and where did this take place? What Scriptures communicate this?

TOmNossor said...

Ken,
Perhaps I am a little close to this question and merely thought I was quite clear. Let’s see.

You asked:
5. Did God (the God of this world - Elohim or Jehovah or the Father - you tell me how to sort it all out. In Bible and orthodoxy they are the same) have a flesh and bone body before He became God?

The answer to this question from my perspective is, “No!”

I believe that before Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, He was God the Son. He did not have a body of flesh and bones and yet he was divine. He then became man through some form of kenotic emptying. Christ who was rich actually became poor. This does not mean that Christ became merely a man because He unlike all other men never sinned. He also was uniquely the one who could carry out the infinite atonement because of His earthly divinity (the BOM is clear on this). So Christ’s incarnation involved an emptying, but also a retention of divinity. It also involved getting a body of flesh and bone (and blood).

So if your question had been about Christ all Christians would answer, “No.” And if the D&C said that Christ had a body of flesh and bones, virtually all Christians would answer, “Yes.”

I maintain that the most clear read of the King Follett Discourse is that John 5:19 is invoked by Joseph Smith to suggest that God the Father became incarnate just like Christ did. Thus when I compare the answers to your questions for God the Son and suggest that the same answers apply to God the Father it is because I believe that some time before God the Son kenoticly emptied Himself and became man with flesh and bones (and blood), God the Father did the same. Now, the comparison can be taken too far. I do not believe God the Father was born of the Virgin Mary who was betrothed to a carpenter named Joseph, but I do believe the KFD teaches us that God the Father was God before He became man. I do believe He did not have a body of flesh and bone until after His incarnation, and yet today (and it would seem from the Bible during the Old Testament times), He had a body of flesh and bones. None of this changed the fact that divinity is something possessed in the Spiritual parts of our existence because LDS clearly believe that Christ was divine before He was incarnate and the Holy Ghost is divine today without a body. So while men who sin and embrace the atonement may require our earthly life to become divine, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit did not.

I hope this clarifies my position and clearly demonstrates why the answer to your question was, “No,” and yet God the Father does possess a body of flesh and bones today as the D&C affirms and the Old Testament teaches. Combined with the view that divinity resides in the Spiritual nature of God, I think the above view makes better sense of the Old and New Testament than does the conventional Christian view with God being immaterial (and impassible, …).

Now, I maintain that LDS monotheism is not metaphysical monotheism. While God the Father is the fount of divinity and supreme, God the Son is a metaphysically distinct person who is homoousain with God the Father as the majority of folks a Nicea conceived the definition of homoousain. The truth that God the Father and God the Son are homoousian is not what explains how God the Father is fount of divinity and God the Son is fully divine. Instead, it is their unity as One God that explains how Christ possesses the divine attributes.

So as a LDS I deny the neo-modalist construct of the Trinity. I believe that this construct is either modalist, tri-theistic, or mystery (read less charitably as bald contradiction). I along with many Protestants and some Catholic theologians am a Social Trinitarian. One may suggest this is polytheism, but this accusation from an Augustinian Trinitarian contains very little force especially compared to the accusation from an absolute monotheist (modern Jew or Moslem) to an Augustinian Trinitarian of polytheism.

Next, comes the question of deification of men. I maintain that we are in the middle of a sea change of views on what the New Testament has actually taught. One decade ago the standard mantra among critics of Mormonism was that there is not truth to the idea that “men become gods.” Today the more informed critics instead say, “the way LDS say men become gods is non-Biblical.” The New Testament and the Early Church taught/teach that men can become gods just as Christ is God. Our divinity will be a product of communion with God the Father (like Christ’s divinity) and the mediation of Christ (and the Holy Ghost) unlike Christ’s and the Holy Ghost’s divinity. I also generally believe that the communion between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is backwards eternal whereas ours will begin in time and proceed for an eternity. Within the loving communion that is One God, these distinctions will be real, but far from the most important aspects of our lives.

So, again I do not believe the limited deification embraced by most non-LDS theologians such that we do not become truly what Christ is, is a good read of the Bible or the ECF. That being said, those who adopt this non-Biblical view together with metaphysical monotheism have some room to call LDS polytheists.

Finally, I suggest that as Biblical scholarship moves forward LDS views are increasingly vindicated. The monotheism of the Old Testament was not metaphysical monotheism. There were components of Kingship Monotheism and components of Monolity (which a henotheism). Kingship Monotheism seems to be a big part of the BOA. Minor hints of Christ in the Old Testament can be well aligned with the above two theories and the knowledge that He who is sent is a perfect representative of the sender. I believe the New Testament very much supports this communal monotheism.

So, where one draws the line between monotheist and polytheist will certainly make this accusation available for some against others. There IMO is a huge theological space in which to draw this line between absolute monotheist like modern Jews and Moslems and Augustinian Trinitarians. There is a tiny space in which to draw this line between Augustinian Trinitarians and Social Trinitarians. Those who advocated strong deification within a Social Trinitarian structure may widen ever so slightly this small space, but again all Christians are far from absolute monotheists. Ultimately, the question for Bible acceptors is which is Biblical. Here, I think my view shines whether Moslems call me a polytheist or not.

Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

I hope this clarifies my position and clearly demonstrates why the answer to your question was, “No,” and yet God the Father does possess a body of flesh and bones today as the D&C affirms and the Old Testament teaches.

it is about as clear as mud. Sorry, I just cannot grasp what you are talking about.

IMO, you have written "no" and "yes". You seemed to have said, "no He did not have a body of flesh and bones"; and "yes, He did have a body of flesh and bones". One of the most incredible pieces of illogic I have ever tried to grasp.

(no offense; I just cannot get your argumentation or world view or concept of reality.)

When did the Father take on a body of flesh and bones ? This just takes down the whole LDS church in one chop. (no offense).

I will have to read your post later; I read it twice and got a headache.

Does Joseph Smith quote and specifically reference John 5:19 in the KFD? If he does, that is one of the goofiest things I have ever heard. Or is that just a prooftext that Mormons have found and then read the KFD back into it?

(like what RCC does with Luke 1:28 and IC and Rev. 12 and BA of Mary; centuries later.)

It just does not seem to be part of reality and this world. It is so incredible; as I said, "it takes my breath away".

TOmNossor said...

Perhaps this will help:

Ken’s question to TOm:
5. Did God (… the Father …) have a flesh and bone body before He became God?

TOm’s question to Ken:
Did God (the SON) have a flesh and bone body before He became God?



Ken quotes D&C (and TOm has claimed he embraces it as truth):
Doctrine and Covenants 130:22:
The Father has a body of flesh and bones …

TOm asks:
Ken, does God the Son have a body of flesh and bones?


Perhaps you like Patrick Holding have unmoored from Catholicism and many generations of Protestant reformers by rejecting that God the Son has a body of flesh and bones. If this is the case, it might explain why all the confusion. If not perhaps the above questions will clarify my position.

Of course when you ask “When did the Father take on a body of flesh and bones?” It would seem that you do understand.

Joseph Smith does not say John 5:19.
He says:
God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.

I wish I was in a suitable place to tell it, and that I had the trump of an archangel, so that I could tell the story in such a manner that persecution would cease forever. What did Jesus say? (Mark it, Elder Rigdon!) The scriptures inform us that Jesus said, as the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power--to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious--in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again. Do you believe it? If you do not believe it you do not believe the Bible. The scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom and all the combined powers of earth and hell together to refute it.
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

Of course God the Son, Jesus has a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39, John 20:27-28)

You did not answer the question, "When did the Father ever take on a body of flesh and bones?"

You did not clarify at all; it is still as clear as mud; like we are on different planets.

Ken Temple said...

who is Patrick Holding?

Ken Temple said...

Tom,
Don't you see now that if you claim God the Father had a body and bones and flesh; then the whole Mormon system is considered heresy and false doctrine and a cult?

It is not personal; just doctrinal.

Only God the Son became incarnate and entered into time and space and flesh. God the Father is above time and space and has no limitations to planets, etc. He is the creator of all things. Henoism is also false doctrine and whatever other "plurality of gods" you may think (wrongly) that Psalm 82, John 10:33-34; 2 Peter 1:4, and Irenaeus may seem to indicate for you as prooftexts.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Mormons don't have any reason to gain the approbation of those who they believe to be in error. Can't you look at it from the LDS perspective? If it is true, that means that we are false. Simple. If we are true, they are false. Simple. Therefore, they cannot be concerned if we find them to teach false doctrine. Of course! We are in disagreement. You proceed as thought they have some obligation to agree with us in order to validate their case.

Rory

Ken Temple said...

Rory or Dave:
Can you wrap your brain around Tom's
"no" (God the Father did not have a body of flesh and bones) and "yes" (God the Father does have a body of flesh and bones)

Is Tom on Kolob, Mars or 3 Nehi ? (I am joking)

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,

Tom is saying that there was a time before God the Father became incarnate. Like the Son, His deity preceded His incarnation.

Of course, there is no place for such belief in my Catholic faith, or your Protestant faith. But...if Mormonism were to be true, and I deny that it is, it would be more likely than not to differ with us on issues such as "the incarnation of God the Father.

So yes, I think I understand Tom, in saying that there was a time when the Father was without a body, but now is not that time. No. No body, in the past. Yes. A body, in the present.

Rory

Ken Temple said...

When did God the Father take on a body? Where is that in Scripture?

Goofiest thing I have ever heard!

TOmNossor said...

Rory,
First, thanks for answering Ken’s question to you. It was very hard not to answer the question Ken offered. I had high hopes that I was somewhere near as clear as I had thought I was.
To be thought weird and goofy for my views does not concern me overly much. Those who think such things being confident enough in their judgments of these things (things they claim to have difficulty understanding) to boldly declare my religion is the “goofiest thing they ever heard,” is something that I would hope to temper a little with my comments. This hope is not a product of a need not to be goofy, but I hope of a desire to accurately portray the landscape. We will see.

Ken,
Now, I think you understand my position. The next thing that might be desirable would be for you to recognize that seeing Christianity differently than you do is a VERY common ailment. Perhaps it should not illicit the reaction, “Goofiest thing I have ever heard.” To be honest when I came to understand what Calvinist really believe I could hardly imagine that anyone could view God like that. (BTW, it was Rory who said something like, “Does a dog hate the fact that he is a dog instead of a human?” that began to get me towards understanding what it is to believe that certain humans are just non-elect).

You asked:
You did not answer the question, "When did the Father ever take on a body of flesh and bones?"

TOm:
The simplest answer is that I do not know.
LDS scripture explains that in the beginning God the Father was the supreme eternal intelligence, more intelligent than they ALL (this seems likely to be than ALL others cumulatively rather than individually). At this point, it seems clear that God the Father did not have a body. The Bible speaks of creating man in God’s image. The Bible speaks of God’s face, back, and …. I do not believe it is clear if these passages refer to the Spirit Body of Christ or to God the Father, but I would suggest that God the Father was embodied during the bulk of the Old Testament if not the totality of the Old Testament.


Patrick Holding is a critic of the CoJCoLDS. He IMO has taken the similarity (homoousian perhaps in his mind) of God the Father and God the Son to its logical conclusion and declared that while Christ did become incarnate so that He might be Immanuel (God with us), He returned to the heavenly realm and returned to the same state as the Father. Therefore, Patrick theorizes that God the Son is not embodied any longer because to be embodied is to exist in a radically different way than God the Father. This difference between God the Father and God the Son’s mode of existence seems different than what the scriptures declare is truth. I can see his point!!! Of course, Joseph Smith made the same point in the KFD.

I am well aware that the whole Mormon system is considered heresy. If you believed the Bible, you would be a LDS but instead you embrace 4 councils of developed theology and reject the authority that developed this theology. {grin!}

Where does the Bible say that God the Father does not have a body of flesh and bones. It actually does not anywhere. God is Spirit and we must worship God in spirit and truth but LDS recognize that divinity is spiritual without denying that God the Father and God the Son have a body of flesh and bones.
Clement of Alexandria and Origin went to great lengths to explain that the passages in the Old Testament that most clearly spoke of God’s body were to be taken figuratively. Other passages in the Old Testament that spoke of God changing his mind or experiencing emotion were to be taken figuratively. Augustine refused to become a Christian because Christians believed God has a body and he as a pagan seemed to think that was the goofiest thing he ever heard. It was St. Ambrose who explained that only simplistic Christian thought such things. I am content with being a simplistic Christian who believes what the Bible says. What I do not understand is how can one who rejects the authority present in the four fellows I just mentioned and the first four councils can believe that the Bible absolutely precludes that God the Father is embodied. No Christian can believe that an embodied God is ridiculous because they must embrace such a truth about Christ. It would seem that when you find the idea that God the Father is embodied ridiculous, you really just mean that you have become so comfortable with what you have been taught you cannot believe others might see things differently (or even teach things differently).

Ken said:
Only God the Son became incarnate and entered into time and space and flesh. God the Father is above time and space and has no limitations to planets, etc.

TOm:
That the Bible does not teach that God the Father became incarnate at xyz time is certainly true. This is also not elucidated in LDS scriptures either. That being said, an embodied God of the Old Testament is the most clear read of the text. Few Biblical scholars believe that ancient Jews did not conceive of God as possessing a body and passions.

From the above statement (and your previous acknowledgement that Christ still has a body of flesh and bones) it would seem that you believe God the Son is limited radically by His body. I think you are mistaken. Instead, I suggest that God the Father and God the Son both possess a body of flesh and bones, but NEITHER is limited by it as you seem to suggest the Son is. That is a pretty weak Christ you worship!!! Perhaps you misspoke. Unlike James White I will welcome your correction.

Ken said:
He is the creator of all things.

TOm:
I usually just say, “yes, God is the creator of all things, but the question is did He create ex nihilo.” Based on past experience with you reading what I write, I best provide a great deal more of this. Pls do not reproduce part of what I say below and declare I acknowledge both that “God created all things” and that “God created from things that God did not create.”

Most biblical scholars now recognize that the Bible does not teach creation ex nihilo. While a philosophically strict meaning of “all things” would preclude some eternal chaos or non-existence from which to create all things, biblical scholars (almost all being non-LDS) now recognize that the Hebrew (and Greek) thought from before and during the New Testament would not make such a distinction. In fact there are examples of creation of all things from eternal matter. In its totality it would seem that the Bible is an example of just this creation of all things from pre-existing chaos. John 1:3 may be an acknowledgement of just this type of creation.

Outside of John 1:3 there is the Genesis account that most biblical scholars agree does not speak of creation from nothing but rather creation from chaos. And of course outside of these there are other things in support of my view AND more simple examples of “creation of ALL things.” These “more simple examples” either indicate the author had a different understanding of creation than John 1:3 or Genesis offer or that the author was just speaking in a common way and yet not witnessing to creation ex nihilo.
I think Gerard May presents himself well when he shows that before the middle of the 2nd century (in the Bible and outside the Bible) there were non-creation ex nihilo adherents and ambiguous statements that within the surrounding culture could go either way. May thinks the development of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo is a good thing. I think it is another development that one can embrace confidently if one embraces a development theory that is rigorous. But sola scriptura does not give one enough to condemn those who reject creation ex nihilo (it also does not give one enough to demand creation ex materia, but I think this is a stronger position).

Ken said:
Henoism is also false doctrine and whatever other "plurality of gods" you may think (wrongly) that Psalm 82, John 10:33-34; 2 Peter 1:4, and Irenaeus may seem to indicate for you as prooftexts.

TOm:
You seem to take the 3 simplest deification scriptures and claim that these are the source of my Henotheism discussion. My monotheism is not built necessarily at all on henotheism but certainly not mostly on henotheism.

It is ever so clear to me that Protestantism is LOOSING mightily the deification battle be the battlefield scripture alone or scripture and ECF.

A battle that still rages (but I think non-LDS Christianity is loosing) concerns the type of monotheism the Old Testament advocates. Non-LDS Christianity embraces a metaphysical monotheism. God is metaphysically unique and there is only one manifestation of the substance God. This IMO has very little support from the Bible. It is a philosophical theory placed over the Biblical text in hopes of explaining what is there. This philosophical theory is by no means the only available way of aligning the Biblical witness, and it is virtually certain than ancient Jews and New Testament Jews did not have metaphysical monotheism on their mind as they read or wrote the Bible.

I believe that the Old Testament has components of two types of monotheism. Kingship Monotheism which might state that there is ONE supreme God, but there are others who are properly called gods. And Monolitry Monotheism which might state there is one God for us and we will have no other gods before Him, but this does not necessarily preclude the existence of other gods. There are also hints of some type of Communal Monotheism within the Old Testament where the supreme God has a chief regent who is properly called God.

To the above, I add New Testament Communal Monotheism which I would suggest is the most clear monotheism of the New Testament. This is basically the Social Trinity monotheism. There are separate and distinct persons who are God, but they form one divine community and are so perfectly united they are properly called one God.

My view as a LDS is a combination of Kingship Monotheism and Communal Monotheism (with deification thrown in as long as we recognize that the deified are lifted up by the Trinity). I suggest that there is One God the Father who is supreme and is the fount of divinity. In combination with this truth, there is One God who is a divine community consisting eternally of God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Into this community of love we are invited so that we might partake of the divine nature.

So, the three basic deification scriptures that you mention are only a part of the deification picture contained within the Bible (primarily the New Testament). And they are actually a small part of the monotheism I believe is the best read of the Bible.

Let me ask you this:
Have you moved from the critics position of 10+ years ago, “There is no truth whatsoever to the statement, ‘humans can become gods’?” to the view that will dominate LDS and non-LDS discussions 10 years from now, “There is truth in the statement ‘humans can become gods,’ but LDS have a wrong understanding of this?”

Again, that was pretty long!
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

Tom,
Thanks for a very thorough response.

1. So, what hermeneutical principle do you use to distinguish between
these 2 examples:

"the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth" 2 Chronicles 16:9

and

"the hand of the Lord is not so short that it cannot save." Isaiah 59:1

(2 examples of where LDS take God the Father as having a body, etc.)

vs.


in light of Psalm 91:1-4 and Matthew 23:37 that seem to teach that God the Father is a mother hen or chicken or bird?

Is God also a lion?
a literal "lamb" ?

Was Jesus a literal vine - John 15:1 ?

What hermeneutic principle helps you interpret those things consistently and distinguishes the two kinds of metaphor ? (although you don't believe that they are metaphor, at least some of them.)

Is God the Father a literal mother also?
Isaiah 49:15-16


2. God did indeed create all things ex nihilo - out of nothing - Hebrews 11:3 and Romans 4:17

God is invisible, I Timothy 1:17 "invisible, immortal, the only wise God."

Colossians 1:15

3. Jesus resurrection, glorified body is not limited now. It was before the resurrection, but not now. Beyond that it is just a mystery than we cannot fully grasp.

4. We do not become gods; believers in Christ are being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29); which clearly understood as a moral, spiritual, ethical image of holiness and righteousnesses and truth (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-16) not some physical image with planets and multiple wives to have babies and procreate and fill up and populate planets.

2 Peter 1:4, with the surrounding context of the lists of character qualities and escaping the corruption and lusts of deceit is clear. (verses 5-11) The image of God is a moral, spiritual, internal, character image, experienced in our minds, wills, conscience, consciousness, emotions, etc. That was clear in Genesis and the issue of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Psalm 82 is clearly about the unjust rulers and judges who were oppressing the poor and not judging according to righteousness and justice. One should interpret in the context. Political leaders and judges "think" they are "gods"; but they will die like men. (They actually are not gods; and prove of that is because they die and sinned by judging unjustly.

Psalm 96:5-6 and I Cor. 8:4-6 proves this. Augustine, Ambrose, and the 4 ecumenical councils got it right on this issue.

Basically, you have admitted that LDS is a cult, and a heresy, a false religion, because of what it believes; so James White and the late Walter Martin and Bill McKeever, Richard Abanes, Ravi Zacharias and the Tanners are not wrong. (F. Beckwith, Greg Koukle, Watchman Fellowship and H. Hannegraaf also)

I am glad you are not offended by me calling Mormonism "goofy" and "weird". It is the doctrine that is truly strange. I pray that God will open your eyes to see the truth of the Triune God, and the gospel of Jesus Christ alone.

Ken Temple said...

I should have distinguished between the Father and Jesus in these passages:

Matthew 23:37 (Jesus)
but Psalm 91:1-4 that seem to teach that God the Father is a mother hen or chicken or bird?

Is God also a lion? Joel 3:16; Hosea 11:10

Jesus - Rev. 5:5

a literal "lamb" ?
Rev. 5:6; John 1:29

TOmNossor said...

Ken,
#1. The Bible as a whole lends considerable support to the view that God is in fact embodied like human’s are. We are created in his image. Christ came to reveal the Father to us. He who has seen Christ has seen the Father. Interpreting the Bible as a whole it makes no sense to believe that God the Father is a chicken, but it is the most clear read of the text to believe that God the Father is embodied. The strength of this seems quite obvious to me. So my interpretive framework is to take the Bible as a whole and try to determine what makes the most sense.

#2. Biblical Scholars disagree that this is the clear read of the Bible as do I. At best it is a good read of the Bible. At worst it is a very difficult read of the Bible to align with the witness of Genesis and an Isaiah passage that suggests that it makes no sense to suggest that God created the chaos (this unmentioned pre-Genesis creation of the chaos is the only way to make God the philosophically sophisticated absolute creator of all things, but it is at odds with how Jews would speak since they would never suggest God created chaos).

#3. I expected that you would believe that God the Son who possesses a body of flesh and bones is not limited. Now can you acknowledge that if this can be true for God the Son it is no way a logical problem for it to ALSO be true for God the Father. I do not see how an omnipotent being who possesses a body is less omnipotent than an omnipotent being who does not possess a body. In fact, some folks almost sound like they define omnipotence as all power compossible with not having a body. I would merely suggest that I place no such restrictions on omnipotence as these folks do, and that these folks have a mighty unusual concept of omnipotence.

#4. I have been very involved in deification discussions. Christianity is moving away from you because the Bible teaches that men can become gods.
Briefly on your first scripture, since Christ is in the image of His Father, is He also merely an image? To me there are two solid ways of reading the New Testament.
- Christ is the supreme manifestation of divine man, but He is not fully divine like God the Father. Men can become what Christ is.
- Christ is fully divine like God the Father and men can become what Christ is.

I think good arguments can be made for either view both within the New Testament and within the Early Church. I think arguments for the view that Christ is fully divine, but we are not to really be conformed to His image are very difficult to make.

Ken said:
Basically, you have admitted that LDS is a cult, and a heresy, a false religion, because of what it believes;

TOm:
I presume you mean that I have admitted that LDS theology is not DEVELOPED HISTORICAL Christianity. The terms you choose to express this position (especially after reading what Rory has written) further demonstrate the emptiness of words like “cult.” And the similarly polemically charged nature of your other two terms. I am quite convinced that the majority of our doctrinal differences are a product of you embracing developed theology while I embrace what the Bible most clearly teaches.

Ken said:
so James White and the late Walter Martin and Bill McKeever, Richard Abanes, Ravi Zacharias and the Tanners are not wrong. (F. Beckwith, Greg Koukle, Watchman Fellowship and H. Hannegraaf also)

TOm:
The issues I have with the folks you mention is there varying degrees of lack of charity. Their misrepresentation of my faith ALWAYS in the most salacious of directions. Their selective quoting. And some other things that in the worst manifestations seem to be deliberately dishonest in an “end justifies means” respect and in the best is merely misinformed.
I have no issues with them saying, “LDS believe differently than I / We believe.” This I readily admit. But if they are going to try to define LDS theology I think they should either define it in a form least assailable by their arguments or in a middle of the road fashion. Instead most of them most (or all) the time define LDS theology in its easiest to discredit form.
In practice our points of contact are more numerous than our differences, but the differences are real and quite evident to those who study theology below the surface of common practices.

If you thought I was going to say that we believe exactly as you do, then you were certainly mistaken. In my judgment our interpretation of the Bible, history, and all the data available is SUPERIOR to yours. This is why I am a LDS and not a conservative Protestant. I hope you believe that your view is superior to mine. I will say however that your responses are a little long on “cult!,” “heresy!,” and “goofy!” and a little short on both understanding of Mormonism and reasons to reject Mormonism.

Ken said:
I pray that God will open your eyes to see the truth of the Triune God, and the gospel of Jesus Christ alone.

TOm:
I always appreciate prayers. I truly do. And if God communicates to me with radical clarity that I should become a conservative Protestant, I will definitely do so. If this were to happen, I would immediately be in a position significantly less comfortable than I am today because reason would direct me away from Protestantism and yet God would tell me to be a Protestant.

Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

Tom wrote:
I have no issues with them saying, “LDS believe differently than I / We believe.” This I readily admit.

Tom,

I just summarize, without going point by point and copying more of what you wrote. I appreciate you; and I like you and if you lived close by, I would have no problem sitting down with you and having a hamburger with you and discussion things more. Nowadays, when Evangelicals call something sin or false doctrine or a false religion, everyone else thinks we are being “mean” or “uncharitable”.

You did a good job of explaining everything and how you think I have crossed the line from a dialog and discussion and basically, you are saying that I am too judgmental and "mean" on the doctrines of LDS. (by my using terms like “cult”, “heresy” and “false religion”. ) You think LDS claims are equal with other claims on Christianity, the early church fathers, etc. Those terms are not meant as personal attacks, but they are moral judgments (I admit) that Mormonism/LDS is wrong and a false religion. Don’t you believe Hinduism and Islam and Buddhism are wrong and false religions? Your church sents lots of missionaries out, right? You are basically saying, “you can say your views/theology is different, but don’t say “cult”, “heresy” or “false religion” or “polytheism”, that is just too mean and judgmental.”

I say no to the claims that LDS seeks to make from the Bible and ECF; LDS just has no claim on the bible or the ECF at all.

You are an intelligent person, have lots of knowledge; and very cordial in your presentation.

The only problem with all that you are saying is that you want "neutrality" without judgment on the LDS as a heresy, a cult, a false religion.

If LDS believes in many gods, and that God the Father has a body, and all men evolve into gods; then it is a false religion; and we are being dishonest to call it anything other than that. Your description of Kingship Monotheism and the other term Monolitry and Communal Monotheism seem to be fancy made up terms, IMO for Henotheism, which the Bible condemms as another form of “polytheism”, paganism, and made man religion. When the Bible speaks in those terms that some take as “henotheism” (one supreme God over other gods); it is only acknowledging that the nations think there are other gods, in their minds, their worship practices, and the idols they make. The Bible acknowledges that other religions, idols exist. Psalm 96:6 “All the gods of the nations are idols; but the Lord made the heavens.” The same for I Corinthians 8:4-6, Paul is just acknowledging that the pagans, the Gentiles worship other gods and have idols and have false ideas of who the only true God is.

We are called to use our minds; and that means making judgments. We are not to judge hypocritically, as in Matthew 7:1-6; but we are called to discernment. John 7:24, I Cor. chapters 1-2; Galatians, etc. To call Mormonism/ LDS a “cult”, and a “false religion” and a “heresy” is not being “mean”, it is being truthful and making a right judgment.

You have a different "god" than the Almighty creator of all things out of nothing -eternal- Sovereign -Holy God who hates sin. Who is pure Spirit and not flesh and not man. God has personality and emotion, but not body parts or material.

Where do you get the idea that some matter is eternal? (seems to be the implication of denying creation ex nihilo)

The passages about humans being created in God's image, and the other anthropomorphisms about God are obviously metaphorical language.

You had no hermeneutical principle to distinguish between the “anthropomorphisms” for God and the “personifications” (using animal characteristics for describing God – under the shadow of His wings, roaring like a lion, etc.) Just saying, “the whole Bible” is not a good answer. You have not dealt with any of the verses I offered.

Also, if God the Father’s body was some kind of a “flesh and bone body” and Jesus became the image of that; (what it seems you are saying); why did the OT command the Jews not to make any images? (Why were they not allowed to make an upright, normal looking man as a statue?) John 4:23-24 and the verses below show us how to harmonize all the material and “use the whole bible” in a hermeneutically responsible way.


On Spirit and God being invisible, and on creation ex nihilo, you did not deal specifically with Hebrews 11:3, or Colossians 1:15 or I Timothy 1:17.

Neither can your view rightly be harmonized with John 1:18 or I Timothy 6:16.

So, it is I who have interpreted the metaphorical language of God having eyes, and nostrils and ears and hands and walking in the cool of the day rightly as metaphorical, because I take the descriptions of the image of God in Colossians 3 and Ephesians 4 seriously and they inform us what the “image of God” means. I also have stuck to the context of Psalm 82 about the "gods" who will die like men; and I used the verses around 2 Peter 1:4 to properly interpret "partakers of the divine nature". (the character qualities listed in verses 5-11 and the moral separation from sinful corruption and lusts. There is nothing in any of these contexts that lead us to interpret them as physical. In Genesis in the creation context, God is clearly differentiating between the animals and humans. What makes humans different on the inside? The soul, the spiritual capacity for communion with God, moral principles of right and wrong, conscience, consciousness, reason, language, etc. Taking all of these verses together; it seems I am the one who taking the “whole Bible” and allowing the NT to interpret the OT metaphors of God have eyes and ears and hands and walking, etc.

You have a different Jesus than the Jesus of the NT.

How did the Son of God come into existence? (in the past before the incarnation; when He was a "spirit-brother" of Lucifer)

You reject Monotheism and the Trinity (one God in substance and three in person) and the full eternal Deity of Christ.

"Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins." John 8:24

When Paul preached the gospel, or John the Baptist, or Jesus, they did not say,"ok, pagans, (or hypocrites, or Gentiles or Jews who don't accept His Messianic claims) you and your pantheon of gods is a different theology than ours; and let's leave it at that".

He called them to repentance and a turning away from those false gods, idols and false doctrines.

Acts 17:29-31
Mark 1:15
Acts 2:37-46
Luke 24:44-47
Acts 3:19
I Thess. 1:9

The same goes for you; the Spirit of God, speaking through the Scriptures, calls you to repent of the false religion of Mormonism/LDS.

TOmNossor said...

Ken,
I do not think I really accused you of being not nice by making your claims. Instead, I said your words were empty polemics. They contribute nothing to who is correct in their understanding of Christianity.
In addition to this you specifically said that I “admitted that LDS is a cult, and a heresy, a false religion, because of what it believes.”
Strictly speaking this is totally inaccurate. Instead I acknowledged that LDS believe differently than developed Christianity. Where I to think such words added anything to our discussion I would gladly apply them to your theology (with the exception of “cult” because not only is it an empty word for our discussion it has significant pejorative baggage). I would suggest that it would have been more correct for you to acknowledge that as a product of my expounding upon the theology that I hold, you have concluded that I am a heretic. This would still contribute nothing to the strength of either of our positions, but it would be far more accurate.

You still seem to misunderstand me. While I am surely more ecumenical in my theology with respect to how God deals with folks who are wrong (like I think you are), I am not saying I “want ‘neutrality’ without judgment on the LDS.” Nor am I saying that I want “neutrality” without judgment on Protestant Christianity. Instead, I am saying that LDS theology is superior to Protestant theology. As the Bible is better understood outside of 2000 years of developed theology, LDS views are increasingly being embraced by scholars who attempt to uncover not a systematic theology, but an original understanding. This IMO is remarkable in light of the fact that Joseph Smith is quite an unlikely HUMAN source of such insights back in the 1800’s. So while judging people is inappropriate and while I would choose not to use terms that contribute little to mutual understanding (especially in a way that puts those terms in the mouth of my dialogue partner), I judge your theology negatively and thus I reject it.

I have offered a number of bits toward why I believe God the Father has a body is the best read of the Bible. I have offered one and perhaps more bits toward why I believe deification is one of the central messages of the New Testament. I have offered a few bits toward the rejection of creation ex nihilo as a Biblical doctrine.

All that being said, I do not believe that scripture is “formally sufficient.” I think the witness of history supports this, but let me not argue for this now. Instead, because I do not think your opinion vs. my opinion of scripture is going to solve this debate, I point to places where scholars who started much closer to your position than mine are finding that the Bible supports mine. When you say that the Bible teaches “metaphysical monotheism” (which BTW, I have not seen you say, but I assume you believe this) or xyz, I reply that increasingly non-theologians who study the Bible with the purpose of uncovering what it meant within the culture it was written are agreeing with me.

I agree that hamburgers would be good. I suspect we will not agree on lots of other stuff though. I do feel like you let me define what I believed and that has been very good. Thanks!
Yours in heresy!
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

Tom:
Is this a good web-site on LDS doctrine? It has helped me understand a little better what you have been saying.

http://ldsdoctrine.blogspot.com/

Thanks for a good last post. You clarified some things and it was very good. We still disagree, of course. The word "cult" is not meant in a pjorative sense, but the formal understanding of any religion or group or that denies the Trinity and Deity of Christ and salvation by grace alone; the understanding that historic Trinitarian Christianity holds - Trinitarian Monotheism, ex nihilo creation, the eternal Deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit.


I am not saying I “want ‘neutrality’ without judgment on the LDS.” Nor am I saying that I want “neutrality” without judgment on Protestant Christianity. Instead, I am saying that LDS theology is superior to Protestant theology.

Good. You clarified a lot there from my last post. Ok. But, of course, I am saying that Evangelical Biblical Christianity is superior to LDS theology.

All that being said, I do not believe that scripture is “formally sufficient.”

What is your definition and understanding of what "formal sufficiency" is?

Ken Temple said...

What is your definition and understanding of what "formal sufficiency" is?

I am looking for the dictionary definition of this; rather than
the results of that definition;

ie

materials contents sufficient, but

not perspicuous; and so needs an interpreter.

Evangelical Protestants agree that pastors/elders are to work hard at interpreting the Scriptures properly.

So, "formal sufficiency" does not mean, "the book is in front of us and will just jump up and slap us and make it clear." -- NO.

It means that when approached with a humble heart and attention to exegesis and context and language, etc. it will be clear on the main things and most things. But there are some things that obviously are mysteries.

Protestants seem to spend more time in Bible study and wrestling with the text; whereas the RCC has just "spoken from Mt. Sinai" kind of authority. 'whatever we say" -- William Webster's fine chapter in volume 2 of "Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith".

see other articles

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