Saturday, February 28, 2009

One “good” rant deserves another…

Yesterday, the anonymous blogger who goes by the appellation “TurretinFan” (“Tur8infan” at AOMIN), double posted a new thread with the title “Misquoting Athanasius” at the Thoughts of Francis Turretin and Alpha & Omega Ministries blogs.

Now, I am in agreement with TF concerning the misuse of spurious writings to bolster ones apologetic and/or theological position(s). However, the value of the double posted thread is significantly diminished by the all too apparent double-standards at play.

First, there is a double-standard concerning ‘anonymous’ posting. Just a few days ago, James White, who a few months back added TF to his “Team Apologian” (individuals authorized to post on the AOMIN blog), had the following to say on his “Dividing Line” program:


and, of course, there are those people out there that uhhh just really have personal issues with me I guess, for whatever reasons, that have, you know, go runnin’, gone running over to that blog, they’re just going to have to change their, their uhhh, uhhh, policy and not allah, allow anonymous posters; uhhh, cuzz there are people attacking me personally; and, and you, you know how there are people out there, they, they don’t have the guts to call this program, they would never face me in public; uhhh, they would never debate, uhhh, but you know, but they’re very brave behind keyboards, their’s a whole bunch of them like that, and they’re sad little people, and so they go running over there and, and spew their venom toward, toward me, and so on and so, but you know , if it’s anonymous, it’s anonymous, you know, and uh, eh, eh it should be given exactly as much weight as well as anything anonymous is given…(February 19, 2009mp3 - 5:12 – 6:02.)

The second double-standard concerns TFs plea to “Roman” apologists to, “stop using spurious and pseudographic quotations to try to bolster your cause.” He then stated: “When Alpha and Omega Ministries discovers an error in a quotation from the church fathers, we're not afraid to fix the mistake…”

Unfortunately, when I pointed out the misuse of a quote erroneously attributed to Luther by anti-Roman apologists, I saw no attempt(s) to “fix the mistake” by the more prominent offenders (though to his credit, TF did respond on his blog).

And there was this THREAD, where in the COMBOX, I pointed out that James White was guilty of using the same spurious quote.

Finally, there is the ongoing erroneous portrayal of Athansius as an advocate of sola scriptura, and as a ‘proto-Protestant’ who supposedly:

For a time even stood against the Roman See under Liberius, the bishop of Rome who gave in to the pressures placed on him. Truly it was said of him, Athanasius contra mundum, “Athanasius against the world.” What an amazingly Protestant attitude was displayed by this bishop of Alexandria. (James R. White, “Sola Scriptura and the Early Church”, in Sola Scriptura!, gen. ed. Don Kistler, p. 42.)

[I have dealt with these two last issues in the following threads: FIRST; SECOND; and THIRD.]


So, I would like to end my little ‘rant’ with a plea of my own: clean up your own house before taking a broom to someone else’s. Our Lord put it this way:

Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:4 – NASB.)


Grace and peace,

David

98 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

I don't think I have told you that I have heard from an old friend from Bible college days. In fact he now teaches at the school.

It amazes me to compare the toleration of my dispensational Baptist friend to the Catholic faith with the almost universal repugnance that has been my experience in every contact with Reformed covenant theology Calvinists. There is an openness and friendliness with my very committed dispensationalist friend that makes it seem that in spite of our differences, we can still have regard for one another. But it seems like with those Reformed guys, whether they're Presbyterians or Baptists, there is never any civility. They just disdain and despise us as idiots or deliberate deceivers.

I don't have any sense of obligation to them at this time. But I think you do some good service by keeping a few of the influential among them occupied with their own house, and although I have no desire at all to renew acquanitances with any of them, I applaud you, and assure you of my prayerful support of your persevering attempts to help them understand why you are not one of them.

Sincerely,

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

An informative and much appreciated post! You said:

>> It amazes me to compare the toleration of my dispensational Baptist friend to the Catholic faith with the almost universal repugnance that has been my experience in every contact with Reformed covenant theology Calvinists. There is an openness and friendliness with my very committed dispensationalist friend that makes it seem that in spite of our differences, we can still have regard for one another. But it seems like with those Reformed guys, whether they're Presbyterians or Baptists, there is never any civility. They just disdain and despise us as idiots or deliberate deceivers.>>

Me: Indeed, it seems to me, that apart from the new movement termed “Reformed Catholicism”, very few ‘traditional’ Reformed types display charity in their dealings with ANY who disagree with them (see my Baptist vs. Baptist thread for just one example).

>>I don't have any sense of obligation to them at this time. But I think you do some good service by keeping a few of the influential among them occupied with their own house, and although I have no desire at all to renew acquanitances with any of them, I applaud you, and assure you of my prayerful support of your persevering attempts to help them understand why you are not one of them.>>

Me: Thanks Roars. I sometimes feel like a ‘lone voice in the wilderness’… So much of the material produced by internet apologists (Catholic and Protestant) attempts to make the issues ‘personal’. I prefer to focus on methodology when dealing with aggressive apologists, particularly their use of double-standards.

Grace and peace,

David

Voice in the Desert said...

The problem I have with this particular approach (with respect to dispensing with the quoting of those texts in the Works of the Fathers that clearly indicate support of the Romanist view) is that we seem to want to dispose almost entirely with a major portion of that which rightly constitutes our Defense of the Faith.

Also, how is one supposed to distill the point of seemingly large works of the Fathers themselves without having to write an entire expose (even a tome) concerning them in the Defense of the Faith so focused on those particular works written by them?

It seems to me, because of restraints imposed by time and so forth, one has to necessarily resort to simply quoting select passages in those Patristic texts in order to convey a point in their defense.

If this is wholly unacceptable to you, then what would you suggest in its stead?

Ken Temple said...

David,
1. Dr. White did not write or say (he has addressed this issue several time on the Dividing Line)that Athanasius was a Protestant or a "proto-Protestant", but rather opposing Arianism and the bishop of Rome at that time (Liberius) and defending sound doctrine based on Scripture alone - John 1:1 (and many other Scriptures in his writings against the Arians’ doctrine) - was a "Protestant attitude" on the issue of Arianism vs. Scripture, Athanasius had a protestant attitude.

He never claimed that Athanasius was a "proto-protestant" in all areas, such as the issue of mono-episcopate bishops or baptismal regeneration. He constantly says, "we must accept the early church writers and leaders for what they are; neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant."

2. The spurious Luther quote - I did not see where Dr. White was using it to bolster Protestantism in the same way that Athanasius is used by Roman Catholic apologists. Roman Catholics use those spurious quotes to bolster their view that Athanasius believed in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary and they claim that he actually called her, “ark of the covenant”.

From the RC apologists:
"Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296–373) was the main defender of the deity of Christ against the second-century heretics. He wrote: "O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O [Ark of the] Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides" (Homily of the Papyrus of Turin)."

The issue was mis-quoting the early church fathers or spurious quotes from the early church fathers, since we both are interested in what they believed and we both believe there was a period of post-canonical history where the early church was more Biblical (not claiming they were perfect in every doctrine; and we are not claiming that they got every doctrine correct, for example, they do seem to very quickly interpret baptism in a "baptismal regeneration" way; and that does not seem biblical to most Protestants) and not Roman Catholic; “catholic yes, but Roman Catholic, no”.

Luther was not an early church father, so for this point, using his quote about the snow and dung does not communicate the same importance of showing an early church father more on the side of Protestantism or more on the side of Roman Catholicism.

If anything, RC use the Luther quote to criticize a mis-understanding of the doctine of justification by faith alone; they accuse Protestantism of not believing that God also changes us - changes us from dung to something beautiful (sanctification) - Romans 8:29; 2 Cor. 5:17, Hebrews 12:14, etc., which is not true.

TurretinFan did pointed out how the Luther quote could have been started from piecing together what he said and/or wrote about several Scripture verses. What I am saying is that the Luther quote is not an exact quote,(and no one has found it yet exactly in his writings) but it does seem to be a summary of an amalgamation of his thoughts on the verses mentioned below. Even if it does prove later to be a real genuine quote, it only illustrates a point about justification by faith alone being Biblical; it does not marshal historical points on the early church father’s quotes issue that Protestants have with using spurious works that are attributed to Athanasius or another church father.

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2008/04/snow-covered-dung-heap-luther-langland.html?showComment=1207754700000#c6904638556845099440


Michael,

If Luther did say it, Gieler (being a German priest from Strasbourg) would seem to be the mostly source from which Luther might have derived it.

TJ,

Yes - that is the interesting thing. The Scriptures speak of the cloaking of Christ's righteousness (Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. ) and of converting appearance to that of snow (Psa 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.), and as well speaks of the dirtiness of our own righteousness (Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.). Thus, it would not be a stretch to use the analogy attributed to Luther.

-TurretinFan

3. on the issue of anonymous blogging, you have a good point here; but TurrentinFan may have a different, and personal reason for that; and is probably not the same reasons why so many are anonymous on blog comment sections and just make a passing statement and then leave. Dr. White was complaining about the “drive by” anonymous comments that people made about him. TurrentinFan at least does not seem to do trolling or “drive thru” comments, and he is willing to engage in debate, as is clear by several formal debates with Roman Catholics.

David Waltz said...

Hello VitD,

I am a bit confused with some of the content of your response; you wrote:

>>The problem I have with this particular approach (with respect to dispensing with the quoting of those texts in the Works of the Fathers that clearly indicate support of the Romanist view) is that we seem to want to dispose almost entirely with a major portion of that which rightly constitutes our Defense of the Faith.>>

Me: TurretinFan is correct concerning the use/misuse of SPURIOUS quotes from the “Works of the Fathers”—I side with him on this issue. However, with that said, I did not, and do not wish to imply that any of us should dispense “with the quoting of those texts in the Works of the Fathers that clearly indicate support of the Romanist view”. My view of the Church Fathers is that they are proto-Romanists (i.e. Catholics in the real sense), and not proto-Protestants.

>>Also, how is one supposed to distill the point of seemingly large works of the Fathers themselves without having to write an entire expose (even a tome) concerning them in the Defense of the Faith so focused on those particular works written by them?>>

Me: Excellent point, and this is but one of the reasons why I believe that the issue of doctrinal development is so important.

>>It seems to me, because of restraints imposed by time and so forth, one has to necessarily resort to simply quoting select passages in those Patristic texts in order to convey a point in their defense.>>

Me: Like the Bible, the corpus of the Church Fathers, can, has, and will be misread. This is why I believe that one must look beyond the texts themselves for a correct interpretation—there are just too many plausible trajectories if one is restricted to the foundational material alone.

>>If this is wholly unacceptable to you, then what would you suggest in its stead?>>

Me: Unless I have totally misread the intent of your post, I suspect that you and I would agree more than we would disagree; however, if I have misread your post, please let me know.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Always a pleasure to see you commenting here; you posted:

>>1. Dr. White did not write or say (he has addressed this issue several time on the Dividing Line)that Athanasius was a Protestant or a "proto-Protestant", but rather opposing Arianism and the bishop of Rome at that time (Liberius) and defending sound doctrine based on Scripture alone - John 1:1 (and many other Scriptures in his writings against the Arians’ doctrine) - was a "Protestant attitude" on the issue of Arianism vs. Scripture, Athanasius had a protestant attitude.

He never claimed that Athanasius was a "proto-protestant" in all areas, such as the issue of mono-episcopate bishops or baptismal regeneration. He constantly says, "we must accept the early church writers and leaders for what they are; neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant." >>

Me: You are correct Ken, he did not use the precise term “proto-Protestant”, but I submit that the phrase “an amazingly Protestant attitude” implies, in essence, a similar concept. If it does not, then James’ comment seems devoid of any substance.

>>2. The spurious Luther quote - I did not see where Dr. White was using it to bolster Protestantism in the same way that Athanasius is used by Roman Catholic apologists. Roman Catholics use those spurious quotes to bolster their view that Athanasius believed in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary and they claim that he actually called her, “ark of the covenant”.>>

Me: The misuse of Athanasius can, has, and will take many forms—I wish to make it clear that I support none of them.

IMHO, I think I have provided clear evidence that James (and others) have misused Athanasius on key issues (even the Baptist scholar, D.H. Williams, agrees with me on this).

In ending, the intent of my initial post is this: make sure you are in full compliance with the standards you call others to submit to.


Grace and peace,

David

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi David,

One of the problems with Mr. Fan's (would he be considered a Pseudo-Turrettini since he posts anonymously?) attack is that he hasn't reviewed the actual text in question. He is merely googling what he thinks are references to it without verifying it. For example in one of the posts that Rev. Temple mentions, Mr. Fan cited to works by both Virginia Burrus and David Frankfurter as claiming that a pseudo-St. Athanasius wrote the quote. If he had gotten Burrus' work, he would have found that she is merely an editor of a book that contains a portion of previously mentioned work by Frankfurter. So there are not two citations, but merely one and Mr. Frankfurter does not state why he believes that it was written by a pseudo-Athanasius.

Thus far, I have discerned that there are both authentic writings by Saint Athanasius pertaining to virginity and those that which are considered dubia or spuria. Here are some of the ones most scholars do acknowledge as authentic (I apologize for the spelling because I do not know how to change fonts):

First) Letter to Virgins [Coptic] Epistula ad uirgines (Ep. virg. Copt. or Ep. virg. 1) 2147 (Clavis Patrum Graecorum)

Letter to Virgins) On Virginity Syriac and Armenian] Sermo de uirginitate (Virg. or Ep. virg. Syr./Arm.) 2145

(Second) Letter to Virgins [Syriac] Epistula ad uirgines (Ep virg. 2 or Ep virg. Syr.) 2146

Partial Treatise on Virginity [Coptic, Fragmentary] Tractatus acephalus de uirginitate 2149

Letter to Virgins [Arabic, Fragmentary] Epistula ad uirgines 2154

Letter of Consolation to Virgins [Fragmentary] Epistula exhortatoria ad uirgines apud Theodoretum (Ep. virg. Theod.)

Teachings and Commandments Concerning Virgins [Coptic, Fragmentary] Praecepta ad uirgines (Praec. virg.) 2148

Now without comparing each and every one of these citations (some of which have not been translated in English that I have found yet) against the particular work, how does he know that the particular text in question is actually spurious?

Now there is one thing that Mr. Fan is correct about-the work in question is not correctly labeled. Lefort's "L'homelie de St. Athanase des papyrus de Turin" does not translate from the French into English as Saint Athanasius' "The Homily of the Papyrus of Turin." It actually translates as "The Discourse of Saint Athanasius" from (or found in) the Turin papyri (plural), the Turin reference is a reference to the great museum in Turin that has substantial holdings of Eygptian papyri spanning over 3000 years. The problem with the translation is that French does not have a plural for papyrus. One has to look at the word "des" (de + les) to see that the reference is to a plural of the word.

I hope to have my hands on LeFort's work from Le Museon amd translations of the authentic works this weekend to do the due diligence that Mr. Fan should have done before writing his piece. I will let you know what I come up with here and on my own blog.

Ken Temple said...

David,
Thanks for the friendly greetings!

The "amazing Protestant attitude" means the specific attitude that Athanasius had against Arianism and in his defense of Nicea and the doctrines of the Deity of Christ and the Trinity.

Athanasius had a protestant attitude ( a Sola Scriptura attitude) on this issue.

Athanasius wrote:
"Vainly then do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded Councils for the faith’s sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things; but if a Council be needed on the point, there are the proceedings of the Fathers, for the Nicene Bishops did not neglect this matter, but stated the doctrine so exactly, that persons reading their words honestly, cannot but be reminded by them of the religion towards Christ announced in divine Scripture. . . ."

On the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia. (De Synodis) 6

What we are saying is that Athanasius had a "protestant attitude" in his battle against the Arians, on this specific issue; not that he was a Proto-Protestant in every other area of doctrine or attitude.

Do you see the difference? (between his attitude on one specific doctrinal issue vs. every attitude he had on all matters.)

Ken Temple said...

Paul,
Are any of those texts you listed, in the standard works of the Early Church Fathers?

here ?
http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

or
www.newadvent.org
?

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rev. Temple:

Nope to either. Apparently, people are not interested in the virtue of virginity anymore.

Some of the works are found in Migne's works in Greek and Latin though. LeFort published most of them in French. Fortunately, I still do read French and am getting access to old issues of Le Museon. Professor David Brakke and others have published most of them in English in various magazines and books also over the years. I will be getting access to them too.

BTW, I have already gotten ahold of one of the Pseudo-Athanasius' citations and determined that it does not refer to the same work as the so-called "The Homily of the Papyrus of Turin." I anticipate being able to clear some of this up or if nothing else shed some light on the matter somewhat soon.

Voice in the Desert said...

Dear David,

The point of my original comment is that we can, ourselves, present an entire expose on various works of the early fathers themselves; however, to do that would needlessly involve long hours and seemingly endless number of pages since it seems the whole corpus of Patristic Literature are more so in favor of the Romanist view.

In view of the time constraints, limited space and so forth in a given exchange with even our most fierce detractors, we are left with the most convenient, less-time consuming option and that is presenting a variety of passages from those works of the early fathers that would prove our point.

Although, admittedly, it may seem unsatisfying since we are left with utilizing what amounts to but a small portion of what actually is a very huge arsenal if we were actually able to present entire tomes on various works of the fathers themselves; yet, this might be all too constipating for our audience and too voluminous for their taste (as well as their attention span, given the attention span of a typical audience is around 10 minutes -- at least, this is what the current research says).

Again, I'd appreciate what you would propose instead of our having to present what may seem but a list of patristic quotes.

Yet, it is not unlike the proof-texting that occurs amongst certain folks who happen to cite various passages in Scripture itself in favor of a particular interpretation.

Thanks.

Ken Temple said...

Other Early church fathers mention virginity; (and they published those in the standard set)

so,

that those works were not included possibly points to the fact that many of them were not even discovered when the ECF set was first published

Some are Arabic, so they could not have been extant before the 6th-7th Centuries. the others are Coptic.

The problem is not virginity per se, all agree that God's standard is to be a virgin before one is married ( I Thess. 4:1-8; I Cor. 7, Genesis 24) rather the exalting of it with special vows and orders that gives the impression that those folks are holier than married folks. This also gives the impression that salvation is attained to by these "good works" rather than by faith in Christ alone; by grace alone. That is the great danger of the Roman Catholic emphasis on these things.

Ken Temple said...

David,
Where is your articles on D. H. Williams and Athanasius?

Ken Temple said...

oops -
should have been -

Where are your articles . . . ?

Ken Temple said...

Oh yeah, I did a search and found the D. H. Williams articles regarding Athanasius and the early church.

I remember now. . . I even posted several times during that time.

Wow. how my memory needs jogging.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rev. Temple, I am well aware of the desire and efforts of some mid 19th century and 20th century Protestants to deflower the Blessed Virgin. I am writing a post about that as well (which is why I have not been commenting too much lately).

As for your other points...considering that Athanasius was the Patriarch of Alexandria, it would be natural that things would be copied into Coptic or Arabic (which may be a generalization for Syriac).

As far as these writings being "discovered," that reflects a rather Anglo/Euro-centric bias, doesn't it? These writings were certainly known in the East all these centuries, some of which had extensive commentary. Is it their fault that we WASP-types didn't get off our collective tushies to go find them or take the trouble to translate them? Considering that these areas were taken over and suppressed by Moslem invaders, who knows what other authentic texts are out there waiting to be re-discovered. Just so you are aware, some of the Turin papyri have been sitting there since 17th and 18th centuries just waiting for someone to read them.

Does the fact that some Western scholar did not get around to translating a text until the 20th or 21st century affect a writing's truthfulness or authenticity? Does not new research aid us in ourstanding our past? Considering that the Dead Sea scrolls have not been fully translated or published for general consumption, does that make them of less value to us? What is the point then of Protestants trying to decipher older MS concerning the Scriptures? After they weren't "discovered" until recently? Maybe we should stick to using the the Clementine Vulgate since newer translation based on discovered texts are verboten.

Ken Temple said...

efforts of some mid 19th century and 20th century Protestants to deflower the Blessed Virgin.

She was truly married to Joseph; and they had a normal, sexual marriage after the virgin birth of Christ - Matthew 1:18, 1:25; "brothers and sisters of the Lord" in all four gospels - so it was not a new Protestant effort and there is nothing negative about sex in marriage. Your "deflower" comment carries with it a very negative connotation, like a teenage jock seducing a virgin in the back seat of a car in the 60s ff to today.

I reject that negative connotation and it seems very biblical to understand it the way I have expressed.

Ken Temple said...

As far as these writings being "discovered," that reflects a rather Anglo/Euro-centric bias, doesn't it?


I see your point; but I did not intend it as a bias or slam or negative against the Coptic Christians, etc.

These writings were certainly known in the East all these centuries, some of which had extensive commentary. Is it their fault that we WASP-types didn't get off our collective tushies to go find them or take the trouble to translate them?

I was not trying to make a judgment in that way you are taking this; only an observation of our lack of knowledge of these things; and the difficulty of the seeming necessity for every layperson to either to be able to reseach all of this stuff

or

just "trust the Magisterium in Rome" (no; I cannot trust a group that thinks it is infallible and said and did the things it has done in history and bows down before statues of Mary - sorry - they should repent of that and repudiate it completely.)

--and you must know that the Quran is the first full book written in Arabic in history (632 AD - Muslim claims - and later compiled and revised under Uthman 650s exaclty - ?)

There are some fragments of poems, but not much else before the Quran. A lot of the Coptic and Arabic early material reflects the asceticism/virginity/simon stylites and desert fathers attitudes that gained influence in subsequent centuries - monks, celebacy, that also overshadowed the simple Biblical gospel of grace through faith in Christ alone.

That Muhammad incorporated some of the Gnostic gospels into the Quran and the fact that they have the idea of Jesus not really being crucified (similar to Basiledes idea that Jesus was not crucified), reflects Gnostic thought; and the over-emphasis on virginity and perpetual virginity of Mary and that those sources are only in Coptic and Arabic may indicate a common base of Gnostic thought and emphasis.

Syriac is a cousin language of Arabic, but not Arabic. The old Syriac is the ancient form of the modern Assyrian language ( some Assyrians still around in Iraq and Iran today.) That was the closest equivalent to Aramaic, which is why Mel Gibson hired Assyrians to help with the language for the movie, "The Passion of the Christ".

David Waltz said...

Hi Paul,

A very informative and impressive post! Thank you so much for taking the time to research this issue in greater depth. You wrote:

>>Now without comparing each and every one of these citations (some of which have not been translated in English that I have found yet) against the particular work, how does he know that the particular text in question is actually spurious?>>

Me: I am not by any stretch an expert on the corpus of Athanansian manuscripts (either the history, or the number of such texts). Do you know if there are experts/scholars who believe the work is authentic?

>>I hope to have my hands on LeFort's work from Le Museon amd translations of the authentic works this weekend to do the due diligence that Mr. Fan should have done before writing his piece. I will let you know what I come up with here and on my own blog.>>

Me: Excellent! This is getting very interesting—don’t forget to post your continued research here (or at the very least, the appropriate link(s) to your blog).


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Does the fact that some Western scholar did not get around to translating a text until the 20th or 21st century affect a writing's truthfulness or authenticity?

No, but the lack of it in Greek may indicate something - we have the other works of Athanasius in Greek, right?

It just may indicate that someone later wrote these writings under the Pseudonym of "Athanasius".



Does not new research aid us in ourstanding our past? Considering that the Dead Sea scrolls have not been fully translated or published for general consumption, does that make them of less value to us?

You make a good point here; but that true principle does not prove that those works are actually from the pen of Athanasius himself; [it seems]being dated much later.

What is the point then of Protestants trying to decipher older MS concerning the Scriptures? After they weren't "discovered" until recently?

good point as a general principle. But in Scriptures, we are only looking for Greek or Hebrew or the little Aramaic in Daniel, etc. Other languages are translations made later.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for responding. You wrote:

>> What we are saying is that Athanasius had a "protestant attitude" in his battle against the Arians, on this specific issue; not that he was a Proto-Protestant in every other area of doctrine or attitude.

Do you see the difference? (between his attitude on one specific doctrinal issue vs. every attitude he had on all matters.)>>

Me: I think understand what you are saying. With that said, I am not convinced that Athanasius’ apologia is non-Catholic. Like Paul, Catholic apologists adapt their defense of the faith when faced with varying needs/situations. Since Arius and his supporters were members of the same Catholic body of believers, Athanasius could not make the same sort of appeals as an Irenaeus in his apologia against the Gnostics.


Hope this makes sense…

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hey Ken,

You said:

>> Oh yeah, I did a search and found the D. H. Williams articles regarding Athanasius and the early church.

I remember now. . . I even posted several times during that time.

Wow. how my memory needs jogging.>>

Me: You and me both! Glad you were able to find the threads.


Grace and peace,

David

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Rev. Temple, If my "deflower" comment was too negative, I apologize. I should have made it clear that that is was in a theological sense as opposed to some carnal sense.

As far as your other comments, I will be posting on this by this weekend on my site, but briefly, Scripture records that Joseph took Mary to be his wife, but Scripture nowhere records them actually having sex. You are merely inferring from the text that they did.

There are a number of inferences from the text of Scripture that suggest that they never did either. No mention of children when Jesus went to the temple, no mention in Mark that Jesus was "A" son of Mary, only that He was "THE" Son of Mary, the implication of Num. 30:6-8 (Take a look at Kiel and Delitzsch's commentary) the fact that while on the cross Jesus gave Mary into Saint John's care, etc.,

As far as whether a work is in Greek or not does not determine whether a work was written by Athanasius or any early father. Language that a manuscript is written in is a factor that scholars weigh in determining the work's authenticity, but it is not sine qua non of the process. For example, Matthew apparently was first written in Aramaic, but we have no such copies. We have texts written in koine instead. Does that make Matthew unauthentic? Paul's letter to the Phillipians is speculated to be a composite of three letters, but yet does that make it unauthentic? We have no autographs of the NT but we do not doubt its authenticity.

Some of the works of Athanasius were in Greek, some of them though were written in Coptic. Some of his authentic works on virginity are in Greek,I named them earlier, they were not translated by the 19th and 20th century translators for whatever reasons. Maybe Protestants didn't want folks to see Catholic notions written by the ECF's, may Catholics for the opposite reason. I hope to find out because some of these works are in French and I do read French (not so good anymore, but good enough), I found them and will be made available to me read this weekend.

Thanks Dave for the kind words. I will certainly give you the heads up when I got the stuff--I will share too! As far as your question, thus far, I have not yet determined whether anyone holds that the "Discourse" fka as the Homily of the Papyrus of Turin is authentic, but I did exclude one of TF's authorities who he claimed said it wasn't. The Cleveland Public Library was kind enough to let me read a Pseudo-Athanasius that was in their special collection and it is far different from the one being challenged. The preface notes did indicate that there was a copy of one of Athanasius' works on virginity that is only in Sahidic and Coptic that Lefort translated that has been determined to be authentic. The problem is that I have found citations to a bunch of translations he published from the Papyri of Turin that could fit the bill. I will try to whittle the list down.

Wish me luck!

Paul Hoffer said...

To all, I see that Mr. Fan has posted another article on his website and it appears that he has obtained a copy of the 1958 edition of the Le Museon where the quote is taken from. Good for him! I am very glad that he has taken the time to review the magazine. It's unfortunate that he did not take the time to do that prior to writing his earlier piece. From what he is saying, it appears that the article does not claim that the text is either authentic or spurious. I hope to see for myself and will report my findings.

God bless!

Ken Temple said...

As far as your other comments, I will be posting on this by this weekend on my site, but briefly, Scripture records that Joseph took Mary to be his wife, but Scripture nowhere records them actually having sex. You are merely inferring from the text that they did.

The implication from those Matthew texts (1:18 - before they came together" and 1:25 - the Greek "heos hou" - "until" is very strong and seems obvious, and a no brainer. Same for all the "brothers and sisters of the Lord" passages. Mary had other children after Jesus.

There are a number of inferences from the text of Scripture that suggest that they never did either. No mention of children when Jesus went to the temple, no mention in Mark that Jesus was "A" son of Mary, only that He was "THE" Son of Mary, the implication of Num. 30:6-8 (Take a look at Kiel and Delitzsch's commentary) the fact that while on the cross Jesus gave Mary into Saint John's care, etc.,

These are weak arguments and the first one is from silence, weaker still. Not very convincing at all.

As far as whether a work is in Greek or not does not determine whether a work was written by Athanasius or any early father.

That was not really my point.

Language that a manuscript is written in is a factor that scholars weigh in determining the work's authenticity, but it is not sine qua non of the process. For example, Matthew apparently was first written in Aramaic, but we have no such copies.

We don't really know that for sure; it is just a conjecture and a theory; mostly from Irenaeus' statement.

We have texts written in koine instead. Does that make Matthew unauthentic?

no; either way, Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic, doesn't matter - you are right on that point.

Paul's letter to the Phillipians is speculated to be a composite of three letters, but yet does that make it unauthentic?

Never heard of that theory; I have heard that maybe 2 Cor. is like that, but not Philippians. no, 2 cor is still authentic.

We have no autographs of the NT but we do not doubt its authenticity.

True

Ken Temple said...

I don't have access to the Kiel and Delitzsch commentary, so I cannot really interact with that point that you make.

David Waltz said...

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the heads-up; I will check out TFs new thread shortly.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

The Kiel and Delitzsch commentaries are available online for free download/s (pdf):

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=Delitzsch%20Commentary%20AND%20mediatype%3Atexts


Enjoy!


Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

Mr. Temple,

You wrote:
The implication from those Matthew texts (1:18 - before they came together" and 1:25 - the Greek "heos hou" - "until" is very strong and seems obvious, and a no brainer. Same for all the "brothers and sisters of the Lord" passages. Mary had other children after Jesus.

I simply don't buy that "heos hou" means "until" in the sense that you (and folks who put serious stock "Svendsen's Rule") seem to think it does. I know of no good reason to think that "heos hou" went through of some of limiting of it's semantic range during the dates which seem arbitrary set by Svendsen... give me more than Reformed apologists on this subject and I will take it more seriously...

What you are citing as "obvious" most certainly has not been obvious too all readers of Scripture from the beginning of the Christian Faith...

Show me more...


Pax
BC

Anonymous said...

The implication from those Matthew texts (1:18 - before they came together" and 1:25 - the Greek "heos hou" - "until" is very strong and seems obvious, and a no brainer. Same for all the "brothers and sisters of the Lord" passages. Mary had other children after Jesus.

I do not read Greek so I would refer readers to Robert Sungenis's rebuttal to Eric Svendsen re: heos hou.

http://catholicintl.com/epologetics/dialogs/marysaints/svend-heos1.htm

Is there a word for blood siblings in Aramaic. Did not Semitic cultures of the time consider cousins their brothers and sisters?


Peter P

Ken Temple said...

http://www.answering-islam.org/Books/Tisdall/Sources/chap4.htm

This is a good work on the sources where Muhammad got his information in constructing the religion of Islam.

In the "Christian" influences, lots of the sources for Muhammad's mis-understanding came from:

1. the lack of true gospel in the eastern churches close to Muhammad. Syria, Egypt, N. Arabia ( modern Jordan), Najran ( a part of modern day Yemen).

2. The gnostic and Apocryphal Gospels in the east and Deserts of Syria and Egypt; and the false doctrines of exalting virginity above marriage and the false doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, and the sects that did actually worship Mary with cakes, Collyridians.

3. Even the "orthodox" - contributed to Muhammad's misunderstanding with the "Theotokos" ("God bearing one"; that Jesus was God from conception; this is much better than "Mother of God") title for Mary being misunderstood and abused; and the statues and the popular "worship" ( hyper-dulia) of Mary; which even today looks like idolatry to Muslims. The pictures of John Paul 2 and Benedict XVI bowing down before large statures of Mary continue to be a stumbling block for Millions of Muslims.

The RCC (and the Eastern Orthodox if they bow down in front of icons and pray to her and treat her as a mediator - all of this is wrong and unbiblical) should repent of this!

A lot of the Gnostic and Apocryphal sources are in Coptic, Syriac and/or Arabic; but no NT was translated into Arabic until around 931 AD ! Shame on the church of the 5th-8th centuries and on up to the Reformation for developing false doctrines and dogmas about Mary, indulgences, transubstantiaton, Popes, etc. and the bad witness they have been to the unreached Muslim world!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Temple,

You are way off base, sir.

Truth offends... I don't care what Muslims (or anyone else) thinks about that.

You're way off base... and the writer of the article is WAY OFF BASE as well... they betray the fact that they know next to nothing about Catholic/Orthodox theology...

hyperdulia DOES NOT carry the weight of the modern protestant understanding of worship... no matter what James White says...

BC

Ken Temple said...

the Perpetual Virginity of Mary thing was not a unanimous belief - contra Peter and BC. This is another proof that Trent and Vatican I are wrong on their "according to the unanimous consent of the fathers" statement.

No sir, BC, you are way off base.

Tertullian
Tertullian apparently didn't believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary. He writes that Jesus' brothers were "really" his brothers, his "blood-relationship" (Against Marcion, 4:19). Elsewhere, Tertullian comments:

"Behold, there immediately present themselves to us, on the threshold as it were, the two priestesses of Christian sanctity, Monogamy and Continence: one modest, in Zechariah the priest; one absolute, in John the forerunner: one appeasing God; one preaching Christ: one proclaiming a perfect priest; one exhibiting 'more than a prophet,' - him, namely, who has not only preached or personally pointed out, but even baptized Christ. For who was more worthily to perform the initiatory rite on the body of the Lord, than flesh similar in kind to that which conceived and gave birth to that body? And indeed it was a virgin, about to marry once for all after her delivery, who gave birth to Christ, in order that each title of sanctity might be fulfilled in Christ's parentage, by means of a mother who was both virgin, and wife of one husband." (On Monogamy, 8)

Tertullian says that Mary is representative of both ideals, monogamy and continence. She represented virginity for a while, then represented monogamy within marriage. The latter seems to *replace* the former, as something distinct from it, which is a denial of the perpetual virginity doctrine.

Ken Temple said...

Truth offends... I don't care what Muslims (or anyone else) thinks about that.

The Marian dogmas and bowing down before statues are NOT truth - it is wrong to put up stumbling blocks to the Muslims.

You obviously do not care about evangelism and missions - this is one of the reasons God allowed Islam to conquer the Middle Eastern churches - because the early church had drifted from the Bible and the message of the pure gospel.

Ken Temple said...

Another proof that Trent and Vatican I were wrong on their "according to the unanimous consent of the fathers" statement.

Basil

Contrary to what Roman Catholics often suggest, there were many people in the early centuries of Christianity who rejected the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary. Though the doctrine was popular among the later church fathers, there was opposition to it even in those later centuries. The church father Basil commented that the view that Mary had other children after Jesus "was widely held and, though not accepted by himself, was not incompatible with orthodoxy" (J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines [San Francisco, California: HarperCollins Publishers, 1978], p. 495).

From Jason Engwer, "Catholic, but not Roman Catholic" series.

Ken Temple said...

And another one:

Irenaeus

Irenaeus refers to Mary giving birth to Jesus when she was "as yet a virgin" (Against Heresies, 3:21:10). The implication is that she didn't remain a virgin. Irenaeus compares Mary's being a virgin at the time of Jesus' birth to the ground being "as yet virgin" before it was tilled by mankind. The ground thereafter ceased to be virgin, according to Irenaeus, when it was tilled. The implication is that Mary also ceased to be a virgin. Elsewhere, Irenaeus writes:

"To this effect they testify, saying, that before Joseph had come together with Mary, while she therefore remained in virginity, 'she was found with child of the Holy Ghost;'" (Against Heresies, 3:21:4)

Irenaeus seems to associate "come together" with sexual intercourse. The implication is that Joseph and Mary had normal marital relations after Jesus was born.

Ibid, Jason Engwer, CBNRC

Ken Temple said...

More evidence against the PVM; ibid, Jason E., CBNRC:

Hegesippus

Contrary to what Roman Catholics often suggest, there were many people in the early centuries of Christianity who rejected the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary. Though the doctrine was popular among the later church fathers, there was opposition to it even in those later centuries. The church father Basil commented that the view that Mary had other children after Jesus "was widely held and, though not accepted by himself, was not incompatible with orthodoxy" (J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines [San Francisco, California: HarperCollins Publishers, 1978], p. 495).

The New Testament evidence is against the perpetual virginity doctrine. Luke, for example, was familiar with Greek words he could have used to express the doctrine, and he used that terminology repeatedly, but not with regard to Mary and her children. Instead of using the Greek term for "only-born" (Luke 7:12, 8:42, 9:38), he used the term "first-born" (Luke 2:7) to refer to Jesus. He uses the word "supposedly" to describe Jesus' relationship with Joseph (Luke 3:23), but doesn't use any such terminology to describe Jesus' relationship with His brothers and sisters. He understood the difference between a "relative" and a "brother", even distinguishing between the two within a single sentence (Luke 21:16), but he repeatedly chooses the term "brother" to describe Jesus' siblings.

The church father Hegesippus apparently didn't believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary. Hegesippus refers to Jude as "the Lord's brother according to the flesh" (church history of Eusebius, 3:20). He refers elsewhere to Symeon, a "cousin of the Lord" (church history of Eusebius, 4:22). We know, then, that Hegesippus understood the differences between the Greek terms for "brother" and "cousin". He chose "brother", and added the words "according to the flesh", to describe Jesus' sibling named Jude.

Ken Temple said...

According to the intro to Jerome's work on the PVM against Helvedius

Tertullian and Victorinus held that the "brothers" of the Lord meant that Mary had other children after the virgin birth of Christ.

Victorinus of Pettau (bishop around 270 AD; died, 303-304 AD)

Against Helvidius.

This tract appeared about a.d. 383. The question which gave occasion to it was whether the Mother of our Lord remained a Virgin after His birth. Helvidius maintained that the mention in the Gospels of the “sisters” and “brethren” of our Lord was proof that the Blessed Virgin had subsequent issue, and he supported his opinion by the writings of Tertullian and Victorinus.

Ken Temple said...

I noticed you call Triablogue the "black hole" of the internet.

I think Dave Armstrong's is even more of a "black hole"; especially since he is by himself, and Triablogue has 5-6 ( ? ) on their team.

DA can put out almost as much material as 5-6 of Triablogue. I am guessing of course.

Dave may even take the time to try and prove me wrong by counting words, etc. (sometimes he does that kind of thing with people who complain of the length of his articles.)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Temple,

What do your quotes from Mr. Engewer (who depends heavily on Webster/King... both non-scholars in these arenas) have to do with what I said... read what I said again perhaps??

BC

Anonymous said...

Mr. Temple,

You attempt (parroting Webster) to define "unanimous consent of the Fathers" to mean whatever you want it to mean as opposed to how the Church has understood the question is silly... let Catholics define their own terms please...

BC

Voice in the Desert said...

Ken Temple,

Does your knowledge of Patristics only extend insofar as it is mutilated and mangled in Jason Engwer's book?

Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Do you have any comments on the Sungenis/Svendsen dialogue to which I directed you regarding "heos hou". Any comments on the notion that the ancient Aramaic language did not have a word that distinguished immediate siblings, from extended family like we have in modern English?

Peter P

Anonymous said...

Three quotes from, Ken below

No, but the lack of it in Greek may indicate something - we have the other works of Athanasius in Greek, right?

It just may indicate that someone later wrote these writings under the Pseudonym of "Athanasius".

You make a good point here; but that true principle does not prove that those works are actually from the pen of Athanasius himself; [it seems]being dated much later.

Once aqain I direct Ken, and others to view the work of other more capable men than I to refute Ken's assertions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjEqckKFaKM

Peter P

Anonymous said...

I hold to the perpetual virginity of our Lady, but not on the basis of the unanimous consent of the Fathers, nor on the explicit testimony of Scripture. In my opinion, it rests on the firm foundation of good doctrinal development.

Many early fathers, reading the biblical text without knowledge of Aramaic logically enough concluded that Mary and Joseph assumed an ordinary marital relationship after the birth of Christ. These would be some of the same pre-Nicene fathers who were also, through no fault of their own, given to a defective Christology.

As David has so clearly presented it, we must admit that Nicene/Chalcedonian Christology did not grow out of a unanimous consent of the Fathers either. The important pieces were clearly there, but the puzzle hadn't been assembled.

The perpetual virginity of Mary is a doctrine that develops out of Chalcedonian Christology. As the Church reflected more and more upon the majesty and holiness of the One who had occupied the womb of the Mother of God, it became unthinkable to imagine that a just and holy man like Joseph would have behaved as though the Blessed Virgin was like any other wife, demanding his rights.

Many Protestants, especially Reformed ones, have correct Christology, but they are uncomfortable with references to Mary as "Mother of God". Mark it down, this is in part why they, like the early fathers who hadn't entertained such reflections, are not scandalized at the idea of Mary and Joseph having children together.

To return to a theme that is always near at hand here at Articuli Fidei. Mary's perpetual virginity is a doctrinal development that is arrested in Protestant circles because they do not take the Chalcedonian implications as they reflect about the Mother of Our Saviour.

Rory

Ken Temple said...

Peter P,
Svendsen won that debate hands down and we praise God for his good work on "heos hou".
Sincerely,
Ken Temple

Ken Temple said...

Yes, King and Webster and Engwer have done a good job of at least calling for balance in the Newman claim that "to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant" - which is a false claim.

They have shown that the deepest parts of history were not Roman Catholic or support of a Papacy over Scripture.

The quotes prove that all of history was not unified on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, and that it is a later development; and a wrong development; a corruption of Scripture.

Chalcedon was good on the two natures of Christ; Mary was bearing God from conception; the virgin birth is true and Biblical; they should have stopped there and they should view her as Prostestants do, the Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He got His human nature from her; and that she is a normal woman, a godly woman, but a sinner and repent of all the statures and prayers to her (which amounts to idolatray and worship); at least the appearance of it - praising her in prayer takes away from the glory that should only go to God. Put away your statues and icons in a worship context -(except for educational purposes of the stories in the Bible; for children and the illiterate). Stop calling her "queen of heaven" and a mediator or co-mediator or co-redemptrix. It is all wrong.

To be deeper in history is to see the fallacy and anachronisms of Newman and the RCC.

Tertullian was deeper and more right on Mary.
Cyprian was deeper and more right on church authority and jurisdiction against Stephen.

Clement was right on a plurality of elders in 96 AD, earlier than Ignatius.

Jerome was deeper and right on the Apocrypha.

Athanasius was right on the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, and Scripture over church authority and councils.

Tertullian was closer to the truth on infant baptism - let them wait until they old enough to understand, repent, and know Christ.

All of these ideas are deeper and older than the later views that the church of Rome much later history forced on the Christian people.

Ken Temple said...

As the Church reflected more and more upon the majesty and holiness of the One who had occupied the womb of the Mother of God, it became unthinkable to imagine that a just and holy man like Joseph would have behaved as though the Blessed Virgin was like any other wife, demanding his rights.

Rory, where do you get the idea that marriage has to have inherently with it a husband who "demands his rights" for sex? Why can it not be a gracious godly and holy thing that both voluntarily and lovingly give to each other as a gift? You have exalted Mary and virginity above marriage; and this, Paul and God said is wrong ( Genesis 1-2; Proverbs 5, Song of Solomon; I Corinthians 7:1-15, Ephesians 5, etc.)

Ken Temple said...

Mary's perpetual virginity is a doctrinal development that is arrested in Protestant circles because they do not take the Chalcedonian implications as they reflect about the Mother of Our Saviour.


Chalcedon is only true because the Bible teaches that Jesus is 100% God from all eternity and became a man, 100% human nature, a sinless and perfect human nature. There is no implication for Mary and there should have more "reflection" on God Himself and Jesus Himself rather than focus on Mary.

"on the glorious splendor of Thy majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate." Psalm 145

"On Your Works and greatness, I will ponder and muse and meditate"
Psalm 105 (summary of several verses)

The development should be "arrested" where the Bible stops; that is the problem with RCC in history.

Ken Temple said...

Nicea and Chalcedon were proper development, communicating concepts in the Scriptural text in new words.

homo-ousias - "same nature" - "I and the Father are one" - with many more verses.

three hypostasis - Father, Son, and Spirit, seeing their personhood and relationships with each other.

Tri - unitas - brought together all the verses on the Oneness of God and the threeness of the personal relationships with the Father, Son and Spirit. (Matthew 29:19, 2 Cor. 13:14, etc.)

Marian doctrines and dogmas are not proper development, because they created new revelation and contradictory ideas to the Scriptures.

Ken Temple said...

Do you have any comments on the Sungenis/Svendsen dialogue to which I directed you regarding "heos hou".

I think Svendsen won the debate hands down.

Any comments on the notion that the ancient Aramaic language did not have a word that distinguished immediate siblings, from extended family like we have in modern English?

The Aramaic argument does not matter, since Matthew ( and all the other NT documents were written in Greek). There are Greek words for "relative" (Luke 1:36) and "cousin" (Colossians 4:10 - anespios) - this proves the whole "brothers means cousins" in Aramaic theory wrong - furthermore, we do not have any Aramic/Hebrew original of Matthew, if indeed there was written first and then later translated into Greek. It is very doubtful. The NT writers explain Aramaic terms, and if we could get back to the oral sitz en lieben and hear what they said in Aramaic, it could easily have been, "son of my father's brother" (cousin) - you would have to prove that they said that in order to prove the "cousin" theory right.

Ken Temple said...

Does your knowledge of Patristics only extend insofar as it is mutilated and mangled in Jason Engwer's book?

Does one have to have read ALL patristics, in both Greek and Latin and have a working knowledge of every single extant writing, in order to form an opinon?

I have read enough and have looked up and tried to read much more context of much of what Engwer and King and Webster cite. I have read a lot of Ireneaus, and Athanasius, some of Augustine and all of the Apostolic Fathers (Clement, Ignatius, Didache, Mathetes, etc)

But, no, I am not an expert and David Waltz has read much more than I; I will admit this.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Temple,

You wrote:
"I think Svendsen won the debate hands down."

Can you name one text on Greek grammar that mentions or utilizes "Svendsen's rule?"

Thanks...

BC

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

You posted:

>> Does one have to have read ALL patristics, in both Greek and Latin and have a working knowledge of every single extant writing, in order to form an opinon?>>

Migne’s Patrologia Latina is 200+ huge volumes, and his Patrologia Graeca 160+ volumes—I suspect that very few individuals have actually read ALL of the volumes, including the vast majority of patristic scholars currently alive.

So, I must in good conscience say that one does NOT have to read all of the extant patristic writings to “form an opinion”.

Now with that said, I know from experience that ones theology greatly influences ones reading of the Church Fathers. (The same must be said of the Bible as well.)

For instance, some recent Reformed writers believe that Clement of Rome and the epistle to Diognetus teach justification by grace alone, through faith alone. However, as I pointed out in THIS THREAD, such a reading is highly suspect.

If you get a chance, read the thread, and let me know what you think.


Grace and peace,

David

Voice in the Desert said...

"Migne’s Patrologia Latina is 200+ huge volumes, and his Patrologia Graeca 160+ volumes"

What's so strange is that the secular university I had attended had most of these on their top floor.

Unfortunately, nobody seem to have read them for quite some time as you cannot inspect them without sneezing, given all that dust that had collected on them since.

While I might not have read every one of them made available to me then (I did have research to conduct for my main course of study, after all), I was fascinated by the volumes enough to have read a sufficient number.

Ken Temple said...

BC,
Before the Granville-Sharp rule was discovered, Greek Texts did not mention it; so Svendsen's work on "heous hou" was rather ground breaking.

But that is your name you have given it - "Svendsen's rule" - as far as I can remember, he does not claim a name for a Greek grammar issue under his name.

I don't know how those issues work - the other Greek text author's would need time to incorporate it in their grammars, if that is what they are going to do. So, no I don't know of a Greek text grammar that has that; but it is pretty new. Those kinds of things would take time to incorporate into a "rule".

Anonymous said...

Ken Temple:

Rory, where do you get the idea that marriage has to have inherently with it a husband who "demands his rights" for sex? Why can it not be a gracious godly and holy thing that both voluntarily and lovingly give to each other as a gift? You have exalted Mary and virginity above marriage; and this, Paul and God said is wrong ( Genesis 1-2; Proverbs 5, Song of Solomon; I Corinthians 7:1-15, Ephesians 5, etc.)

Rory:

I don't see how you can think Catholics denigrate marriage when it is one of the seven sacraments. I was not suggesting that husbands inherently must "demand their rights", nor denying that the ideal is for mutual love-giving. In an ordinary marriage, according to my understanding, both husband and wife have rights. In my opinion, the marriage of Joseph and Mary after the virgin birth of Christ was one that was extraordinary, "a gracious godly and holy thing that both voluntarily and lovingly" relinquished thier rights.

But you applaud Nicea and Chalcedon for their conclusions, while failing to appreciate that they used the same methodology, and the same principle of theological progress in the Church, as that which helps the Church to arrive through the same Christology as our Mariology.

In my opinion, doctrinal development is implied with John 16:12, 13: "I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth." There was certainly theological progress after the Ascension of Christ and Pentecost.

Did that theological progress continue? You say no. The Church should have stopped with Nicea and Chalcedon. The problem is that the Christian who approves of principles of progress to arrive at definitions at the Councils, has no explanation for why. So Catholics, continue with the principles that were good before, and which comply with John 16.

But if you believe that progress ended with the last book of the Bible (which is another plausible explanation of John 16), then you have to explain why, if progress stopped, the pre-Nicene Fathers failed to hold to post-Nicene dogma theology. There is historical disruption theologically, that is not explained if the Bible explicitly teaches Nicene dogma. But to this day, many sects take the same Bible which the first and second century Fathers took, and become subordinationists and neo-Arians. Why? Do you think they just want to be wrong? Of course not. It is because the Scriptures alone are inadequate for resolving any doctrinal controversy or leading individuals reading the Church's Scriptures, but cut off from the Church, into all truth.

The teaching which denies continued theological progress in the Church through history (doctrinal development) has no answers for why heretics accept our Scriptures but reject our creeds and councils. Secondly, if theological progress ends with the canon of Scripture, there is historical disruption, and what must be termed heresy, appearing immediately in church fathers who failed to grasp the Nicene/Chalcedonian formulations with their "clear and unambiguous" Scriptures.

History and Scripture drive me straight and quickly to Rome and theological progress first of all. They would drive me to Mormonism or some other movement that explains the historical disruption second. They would drive me to be a Christian looking for a church that is not currently on earth third.

"...let the understanding, the knowledge, and wisdom of individuals as of all, of one man as the whole Church, grow and progress strongly with the passage of the ages and the centuries..."

Vatican Council I, Session three, Chapter 4, April 24, 1870

Rory

Ken Temple said...

David,
This whole subject of justification and DD and all the writings and scholars you reference is very complicated for the comboxes, and requires too much from me to give an exhaustive treatment; but I can point out a few things that seem significant to me. You have obviously read much more than I have on the issue.

You wrote:
“Two dominant themes are to be found in the early Church Fathers concerning justification/soteriology: interior regeneration of the believer, and the ex opera operato nature of the sacraments.”

Here is an area that I would like to understand better, that is, the ex opera operato ideas and when they started and who came up with it. That seems to be later than the first 3 centuries. Am I right in that the issue came out more when Augustine was debating with the Donatists? 4th and 5th Centuries onward.

That is one of the main issues that seems to me that the later Roman Catholic Church drifted from the NT teachings; and created the whole sacerdotal, priestly, sacramental system with penance, indulgences, and external powers of “pronouncement”, that lent itself to eclipse the doctrines of the heart, faith, repentance, justification and created a church that was mostly “external religion”; “going through the motions” and ceremonies that later Huss, Wycliff, and Luther rightly recognized was against the spirit and meaning of the NT.


Your three quotes, it seems to me, proves the Protestant understanding of Church History, that the early church neglected and drifted from the NT writings, especially on the doctrine of justification by faith expressed by Paul in Galatians and Romans.

McGiffert says, they “departed from Paul”.

It is obvious that in asserting justification by faith Clement was simply reproducing Paul’s idea without appreciating what it involved, and that he really agreed with the other Christians of his day that salvation is to be had only by obeying God and his will. That the early Christians should have departed from Paul in this matter is not surprising at all. (Arthur Cushman McGiffert, A History of Christian Thought, vol. 1. 85.)

The fundamental idea at the back of the words dikaiosunē, dikaioumai seems to be the moral qualification which avails before God conceived as a quality of the soul. That is achieved by faith which is fear of God working itself out in obedience. And so Clement can say that we are “justified by works, not by words” ergois dikaioumenoi, mē logois, and insists that we are not justified by pistis alone but by pistis and eusebeia, by pistis and philozenia, by pistis and alētheia. (Thomas F. Torrance, The Doctrine of Grace In the Apostolic Fathers, p. 49 – note: I have transliterated the Greek for my readers.)

It seems to me that Clement has an idea very close to justification by faith alone in the quote that Dr. White points to; and in the other passage, that we are “justified by works, not by words” is the teaching of James and the Reformers ( Calvin, Westminster Confession of Faith, that “we are justified by faith alone; but that faith does not stay alone” – i.e. – true faith results in good works and fruit and repentance and change; and it is not just saying words or professing faith that makes one a Christian, but actually possessing true faith that makes one a Christian.

…while sometimes Clement speaks in the very tones of Paul, as for instance on justification by faith (ch. 32:4), his leading convictions are somewhat different…Clement has moved away from the Pauline gospel into an atmosphere more concerned with moral life, and in particular with virtues of humility and order. Where ethical injunctions are secondary to Paul’s letters, they are primary in Clement. (Cyril C. Richardson, Early Christian Fathers, p, 38.)

Again, Richardson says here that “Clement has moved away from the Pauline gospel” – this is what all Protestants believe; that the early church began to drift away from the Scriptures and were inconsistent.

But Dr. White and King and Webster and others are pointing out that some evidence of Protestant doctrines are there, but they were inconsistent on many areas and doctrines; and the Biblical doctrines that Protestants are zealous for, were eclipsed by the emphasis on moralisms (as seen in those scholar’s that you mention opinions of Clement), asceticism, exalting virginity and Mary, external ceremonies, sacerdotal priestly power, political power in the bishoprics and that later became conflicts between N. Africa and Rome and the East and Rome, which eventually lead to the split of 1054 with Constantinople. It is easy to see how the external emphasis of the Roman Church snuffed out Biblical truth for a while; until it was recovered in the Reformation.

This quote is also very interesting:

Interlocutor wrote:

You may think Chemnitz and other Reformers unfairly used the ecfs in support of their view of justification, but the counterclaim would be they are merely trying to find *traces* of sola fide, and that there's a difference between explicitly denying a doctrine versus being open to correction or being inconsistent/holding varying views on it (which is I believe David King's perspective as I posted before). I guess if you're viewing development from purely a historical perspective, then I don't see it's the case that sola fide is easily and necessarily ruled out. But if you tie development to theological paradigms, then it becomes a different question.

I think he makes a great point here and I agree with him. So, Clement and Mathetes and Ambrosiaster and sometimes Chyrsostom and Augustine and others affirm something close to justification by faith alone at times; but were inconsistent and believed other wrong things about church and priests, etc. that “eclipsed” sound Biblical doctrine for centuries. The Doctrine Development of Rome was wrong; the Doctrinal Development of the Reformers was right, for it recovered sound exegesis of the text of Scripture.

Interlocutor again:
Kind of an aside, I wonder if Jerome's mistranslations (such as "do penance") had a substantial impact on the development in the west?

This is an interesting issue and I have read many Protestants point this out; Luther did in his 95 theses. This is very important, as the doctrine of true repentance based on the Greek text of Scripture, rather than Latin was lost for centuries. It was a grave mistake the Church of the 5th Century onward committed in making the Latin Vulgate the official Bible and getting away from even studying Greek. I cannot find the exact facts on this, but I remember reading it somewhere – something about one of the bishops of Rome even declared one printing of it infallible and had to retract that when they found errors in it; and then they had to print it over. (if you know what incident this is, please give a reference.)

So much for infallibility. Honorius, Liberius, Vigilius, Zosimos, Boniface VIII, etc. (others, but for time, and space, I cut the list short) all prove that the infallibility dogma is wrong. Because of the one example of Honorius clearly teaching heresy and anathematized in official RC documents, as a heretic, Dollinger even said, “it is as clear as the sun at noon day” that this doctrine of Papal Infallibity is wrong and unhistorical and had no precedence. (Johann Joseph Ignaz Von Dollinger, The Pope and the Council, (Boston: Roberts, 1870, p. 61)

Based on all these doctrinal and historical problems with the RCC, they have not developed doctrine properly at all; nor had the Roman Catholic Church fulfilled Jesus prayer that “we all be one” in John 17. Unity must be based on the truth of the Scriptures, “Thy Word is Truth” – John 17:17 – and this is understood in Ephesians 4, that the unity is the unity of the faith and the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth; and RCC has corrupted many doctrines and claimed itself the true church, when it is not.

Ken Temple said...

I don't see how you can think Catholics denigrate marriage when it is one of the seven sacraments.

I realize that for laypeople - the RCC upholds marriage; and that is a holy Sacrament- but only for some people; it is a sin for other people - Mary and priests (except for previously married priests and eastern rite RCs) - but for priests and clergy and for Mary, there is an attitude that virginity and celibacy vows are actually "holier" than marriage. Officially, you would deny this; but all through history, the spirit of this "Gnostic" thought has permeated the RCC. That you think it would be a sin and unfitting for Mary and Joseph ot have a normal marriage after the virgin birth of Christ is the problem; it is filled with Gnostic thought and teaching an attitude of virginity as holier and attaining salvation over marriage and faith. This is unbiblical and wrong.

Ken Temple said...

But you applaud Nicea and Chalcedon for their conclusions, while failing to appreciate that they used the same methodology, and the same principle of theological progress in the Church, as that which helps the Church to arrive through the same Christology as our Mariology.

The later people of the RC Councils and centuries after Chalcedon did not use the same materials and methodology of sticking to the Scriptures and sound exegesis and hermeneutics on Mary, that the previous generations did in Nicea and Chalcedon; sorry; it just does not pass the smell test.

There is proper theological development - increasing in our understanding of the text of Scripture - The Deity of Christ, The Trinity, substitutionary atonement, satisfaction of the wrath of God (Anselm was good on this); justification by faith alone ( Luther and Calvin); total depravity ( Luther's Bondage of the Will slammed Erasmus); Election and Predestination ( Calvin, the Jansenites, Paschal, Reformers, etc.

We agree that DD does and should occur, but the RCC violated and added to it and corrupted proper doctrine.

Ken Temple said...

http://www.apuritansmind.com/Justification/EarlyChurchJustification.htm

Lots of good quotes on Justification by faith in this article; includes the two David mentioned and others like Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine and others.

The evidence is there, but it was inconsistent in the writings of many with their beleifs in other issues and things. People are fallible and inconsistent.

Anonymous said...

Ken , you do realize that many of the men that you quote to try to support you many of your points of view regarding the things of God were actually Catholic priests?

Rory mentions that you accept Nicea and some other councils. If you were around at the time of Nicea (this council that you judge worthy of your acceptance) would you not have been a lone dissenter when the 13th canon was promulgated?

Peter

David Waltz said...

Hi VitD,

I appreciate your response; you said:

>>What's so strange is that the secular university I had attended had most of these on their top floor.

Unfortunately, nobody seem to have read them for quite some time as you cannot inspect them without sneezing, given all that dust that had collected on them since.>>

Me: Very interesting—what is the name of the university?

>>While I might not have read every one of them made available to me then (I did have research to conduct for my main course of study, after all), I was fascinated by the volumes enough to have read a sufficient number.>>

Me: I have read the Apostolic Fathers (though I used the Loeb series, not Migne’s), Justin Martyr, and a good portion of Irenaeus. For the rest of the CFs, I have pretty much relied on English translations (my Greek and Latin is just not good enough for me to even come close to the speed of my English reading).

BTW, are you still in school?


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks much for your response; you wrote:

>> This whole subject of justification and DD and all the writings and scholars you reference is very complicated for the comboxes,>>

Me: I agree, perhaps some day you and I will be able to meet face-to-face for some serious dialogue…

>>and requires too much from me to give an exhaustive treatment; but I can point out a few things that seem significant to me.>>

Me: I sincerely appreciate that you were able to take the time to share some of your thoughts on this issue.

>>Here is an area that I would like to understand better, that is, the ex opera operato ideas and when they started and who came up with it. That seems to be later than the first 3 centuries. Am I right in that the issue came out more when Augustine was debating with the Donatists? 4th and 5th Centuries onward.>>

Me: From my studies, I am pretty much in agreement with the consensus of patristic scholars who believe that the CFs of the first three centuries linked baptism with regeneration (and the forgiveness of all previous sins). The efficacy the Eucharist is not nearly as clear-cut.

Augustine’s debate with the Donatists primarily concerned the status of the administrator of the sacraments, and not their effects.

>>Your three quotes, it seems to me, proves the Protestant understanding of Church History, that the early church neglected and drifted from the NT writings, especially on the doctrine of justification by faith expressed by Paul in Galatians and Romans.>>

Me: The ‘strength’ of the quotations from McGiffert, Torrance, and Richardson (I would also add McGrath) stem from the fact that they believe, as you do (and most Protestants) that the early CFs did in fact depart from what they believe is the correct understanding of Paul. IMHO, this speaks volumes against those who attempt to identify a non-Catholic understanding of justification in the writings of any early CFs, for our above scholars are quite convinced that such an understanding is just not there.

This read of the early CFs lead the esteemed Reformed scholar, William Cunningham, to his view of an early apostasy (see this THREAD), a view that has dominated much of the Reformed understanding of the early Church.



Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

Trying to catch-up with all the Saturday activity. You also posted:

>>http://www.apuritansmind.com/Justification/EarlyChurchJustification.htm

Lots of good quotes on Justification by faith in this article; includes the two David mentioned and others like Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine and others.>>

First, thanks much for the link (I have added it to my ‘favorites’). Second, as for the quotes themselves, I just don’t see anything in them that is contrary to the teachings expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as the Joint Declaration. If I have ‘missed something’, I would greatly appreciate some correction…


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

David,
Thanks.

In your article on Cunningham, you wrote:

"Viewed from a Calvinistic position, one would have to say that God “regenerated” very few individuals for well over 1,000 years; and the Holy Spirit’s promise to lead the Church into all truth had to wait until the 16th for its fruition."

I don't think that is accurate; individual regeneration is quite a different thing than the whole church institution having a mixture and truth and error; and a totally false church that has no gospel at all.

Even though there are many objectionable things in the RC church, it is still possible for a person to be regenerated by repentance and faith in Christ alone by hearing the Scriptures read - faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of Christ - Romans 10:17

The emphasis in the ECF on living the Christian life by "moralisms" or "obeying" seems to be the emphasis; but in those quotes, the doctrine of justification comes through; so it was a mixture. Don’t you see that people can write a book and have many ideas that are not consistently thought through all the way or missing the implications on one thing, miss the relationship to another thing written in another place; or just not have included explanation of the relationship between the 2 issues?

So, we can believe, as those scholars do; that the church very quickly began to drift and neglect some things and over-emphasize others, but that sometimes in their writings, the good biblical doctrines come shining through. So, we can use those quotes to show that some remnants of sound thinking and biblical doctrine was there; without admitting that they were always perfect or consistent in their writings and emphasis.

It seems to me, that Clement, for example, is clearly expressing justification by faith apart from works (alone) in Romans, Galatians, and Paul in one place; and the evidence of true justification by the fruit of good works in another place, which reflects James’ emphasis. Clement writes these things, not even being aware of the need to systematize the two concepts together in a logical sense.

People can hear the message and repent of sin and believe in Christ, (there were many simple folks all through history who had childlike trust in Christ alone to save them) but they don’t have to be theologians or know everything or how to express it like Calvin or Turretin.

To your point about the Holy Spirit leading the church into all the truth -
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26
"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. [ This shows there was more revelation that was He was going to give later.]
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, . . . John 16:12-13


The promise of being led into all the truth ( John 14:26; 16:12-13) is primarily a promise first given directly to the apostles - and so, since Jesus says in the same general context
in John 17:8 and 17:17 - “For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.”

"Your Word is Truth" ( John 17:17)

This seems to show that Jesus is promising to reveal the whole counsel of God to them and that they would write it down in the Scriptures. Since it is the work of the Spirit to breathe and inspire, (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:19-21) and since we have no evidence of other Spirit inspired revelation outside of the canon, we can safely and properly assert that this is the promise to reveal the NT writings. The truth of the NT writings was there; even there in many Catholic churches chained to a pew (to protect people from stealing it) or a copy that the teacher or pastor or bishop brought to the church each time they met.

In history, there were different times, waves of ups and downs, different levels of mixture with bad doctrine, lack of emphasis on some things, and emphasis on the wrong things, neglect, and outright falsehood; and it was only when Trent officially anathematized justification by faith alone that the RCC became a false church, but even within it; there is some good teaching on ethics, the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the crucifixion and resurrection; but many times these things are lost by the emphasis on Mary and external ceremonies and legalisms of good works as conditions for getting to heaven, and transubstantiation.

Ken Temple said...

"I just don’t see anything in them that is contrary to the teachings expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as the Joint Declaration. If I have ‘missed something’, I would greatly appreciate some correction…"

Does the Catechism or Joint Declaration ever speak of "faith alone" - as many of these quotes do in regard to justification?

Ken Temple said...

the CFs of the first three centuries linked baptism with regeneration (and the forgiveness of all previous sins). The efficacy the Eucharist is not nearly as clear-cut.

But they did not use the formula, "ex opera operato" - when did that phrase first come into use and by who?

I thought I heard someone in a church history lecture say it was Optatus (??).

Ken Temple said...

Second, as for the quotes themselves, I just don’t see anything in them that is contrary to the teachings expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as the Joint Declaration. If I have ‘missed something’, I would greatly appreciate some correction…



The purpose of all those quotes from church fathers is merely to show that justification by faith alone was not totally absent from the early church. Difficult to compare that to the full blown treatments of the RCC Catechism and the JDDJ.

Evaluation of the Joint Declaration on Justification by Roman Catholics and
Lutheran World Federation. Evaluation by Lutheran Church Missouri Synod ( a more conservative Lutheran body not a part of the World Lutheran Federation)

http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/justclp.pdf

8. JDDJ contains an expression of the Lutheran position that
original sin, which remains after baptism, is really sin. It also
includes the Roman Catholic view that original sin is eradicated
by baptism, and that the desire to sin that remains after baptism
is not really sin. JDDJ leaves this historic disagreement, like other
disagreements mentioned above, unresolved.


This RCC doctrine seems really contradictory to the teaching of the Bible. We have to continue to “put off the old man”, be renewed in the Spirit of our minds, and put on the new self. Ephesians 4:21-25; Colossians 3:1-14; I John 1:8-10

9. Accordingly, JDDJ does not address itself directly to disputed
beliefs and practices such as the “meritorious” value of
good works, purgatory, indulgences, the papacy, the significance
of the saints, devotion to Mary, and so forth. Lutherans cannot
speak of consensus on justification as long as these related issues
remain unsettled.

The silence of these issues in this document is like ignoring an elephant in the room. To say that they agreed on justification by faith alone is just like that – ignoring a big elephant.

Ken Temple said...

From the above linked evaluation of the JDDJ. This seems to me to one of the big differences that was not addressed. Again, this relates to the differences that remain unresolved between Protestants and RCs; but it does not correspond exactly to showing that some early church fathers mention justification by faith alone; so just to show that it is there in history is the point; and that we admit that the EFCs were inconsistent or unclear or just did not realize the disconnect.

4. Original Sin?
Behind the Lutheran-Roman Catholic differences on justification
are equally fundamental differences on how original sin is
understood. Differences on one doctrine mirror differences in
others. Lutherans hold that original sin is really sin and that it
remains after Baptism. Roman Catholic doctrine holds that original
sin is eradicated by Baptism and that concupiscence is not
really sin. Avery Dulles raises the issue in his cautionary piece:
“Can unjustified sinners, with the help of grace, freely dispose
themselves to receive the grace of justification, as affirmed in
Trent’s canon 4 on justification? Or are sinners so radically corrupted
that they cannot, even with the help of actual grace, prepare
themselves for justification?”22 The issue came to a head in
Trent’s Decree Concerning Original Sin (Fifth Session), which
calmly anathematized St. Paul: “This concupiscence, which at
times the Apostle calls sin [Rom. 6–8; Col. 3] the holy Synod
declares that the Catholic Church has never understood to be
called sin, as truly and properly sin in those born again, but
because it is from sin and inclines to sin. But if anyone is of the
contrary opinion, let him be anathema.”23 Hubert Jedin, the
great modern Roman Catholic authority on Trent, acknowledges
that problem: “The Council was now brought up against the very
basis of the Lutheran teaching on justification, and one of the
most difficult points of controversy, because Luther’s view seemingly
found support in St. Paul and St. Augustine. . . .The teaching
of canon 5 on concupiscence laid the foundation of the subsequent
decree on justification.”24
An earlier version of the Joint Declaration contained this
bald statement: “Properly speaking, [concupiscence] therefore is
not sin.” This was criticized in some detail, particularly by the
Finnish response, which suggested “that the last sentence (‘Properly
speaking, it therefore is not sin’) be eliminated.” The final
version complies technically, but safeguards the Tridentine substance
by having paragraph 30 say that baptismal grace takes
away all that is sin “in the proper sense” and that is “worthy of
damnation” (Rom. 8:1). There does, however, remain in the person
an inclination (concupiscence) that comes from sin and
presses toward sin. Since, according to Catholic conviction,
human sin always involves a personal element and since this element
is lacking in this inclination, Catholics do not see this inclination
as sin in an authentic sense.
Although this inclination is “objectively in contradiction to
God,” it “does not merit the punishment of eternal death and
does not separate the justified person from God.” Here excuses
for sin are substituted for forgiveness and justification!25

Ken Temple said...

IMHO, this speaks volumes against those who attempt to identify a non-Catholic understanding of justification in the writings of any early CFs,

it was only to show some evidence of some writings in the early church and understanding of justification by faith alone, but not admitting that the author's were even or consistent or had a full blown worked out theology on it. The battles were on other issues - Gnosticism, Deity of Christ, Trinity, persecution, lapsed, etc.

So it is possible to hold to those understandings of those writers regarding the early church as a whole; but not admit total silence on some mention in writings on a Pauline Prostestant understanding of JBFA.


for our above scholars are quite convinced that such an understanding is just not there.

Anonymous said...

Peter:

Rory mentions that you accept Nicea and some other councils. If you were around at the time of Nicea (this council that you judge worthy of your acceptance) would you not have been a lone dissenter when the 13th canon was promulgated?

Rory:

Hi Peter.

In speaking to Ken I deliberately avoided words like the one you used "accept" to describe the Protestant relationship to a Council. "Approve" would be slightly better. I liked "applaud", because it shows agreement, but not on the same basis that you or I (assuming you are Catholic or Orthodox) would accept the Council of Nicea. Ken wouldn't see the Council as carrying any weight of authority apart from its agreement with doctrine that is already clear from Scripture anyway, if I understand his position correctly.

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Was out for most of today, and now see that you have been quite busy! Some excellent and thought provoking posts. I have a fairly recent English translation (1997) of Optatus’ “Against the Donatists” in my library; I read the book a number of years ago and know that chapter five is dedicated to baptism. Tomorrow morning, I would like to reread the chapter, and then hunt down Migne’s Patrologia Latina text (which I am pretty sure is online). I think I will start a new thread on this, so please try and check in later. Thanks again for your continuing contributions!


God bless,

David

Ken Temple said...

on canon 13 of Nicea - "only one bishop per city"

Protestants, in agreeing with the main issues of Nicea - Chalcedon, on the nature of Christ and the Deity of Christ, his humanity, the Trinity, the Deity of the Holy Spirit; does not necessarily mean that we see every single canon of the councils as "infallible"(as the RCC and EO does) or Biblical.

The move from a plurality of elders to the mono-episcopate of a whole city is part of the historical development of moving from the NT model of a pluality of elders (Acts 14:23 - "elders for every church" - persbuteros and episcopos are the same office - Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17, 28; I Clement 44. Didache, Polycarp also indicate the same thing, by the mention of only 2 offices. 1.Elders/bishops and 2. Deacons)

Jerome even wrote:
The Jerome reference was from his
Commentary on the Epistle to Titus, PL 26:562-563.

Commentariorum In Epistolam Ad Titum,
I am copying it from another book, so I don't know if it is on the standard ECF sets on New Advent or the ccel.org sites.

PL means Patrologiae Latinae (Latin version of the Fathers, Patrictics)-- the Latin Fathers books put together by Jacques Paul Migne (221 Volumes, Paris: 1857-1887). Usually when someone is using this as a source, it means that it has not been translated yet into English or it was not included in the standard volumes of the Early Church Fathers by Schaff and Wace or at the newadvent or ccel.org websites.

"A presbyter, therefore, is the same as a bishop, and before dissentions were introduced into religion by the instigation of the devil, and it was said among the peoples, “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, and I am of Cephas”, Churches were governed by a common council of presbyters; afterwards, when everyone thought that those whom he had baptized were his own, not Christ’s, it was decreed in the whole world that one chose out of the presbyters should be placed over the rest, and to whom all care of the Church should belong, that the seeds of schisms might be plucked up . . . Therefore, as we have shown, among the ancients presbyters were the same as bishops; but by degrees, that the plants of dissension might be rooted up, all responsibility was transferred to one person. Therefore, as the presbyters know that it is by custom of the Church that are to be subject to him who is placed over them so let the bishops know that they are above presbyters rather by custom than by Divine appointment.”

So Jerome admits that the original and Biblical church government, that by Divine appointment was a plurality of elders, and that the bishop being exalted over them was a historical custom, a practical move to make it easier to rule and manage. Jerome clearly distinguishes between “divine appointment” (the Scriptures) and “custom” (a practice that became a tradition latter).


As a matter of practice and management, it was an understandable development as Christianity grew; but it was not a Biblical move or sound doctrinal change.

Even with that change, Cyprian and 80 some-odd other bishops of N. Africa and Asia Minor ( Firmillian being one of the main ones) that Stephen, bishop of Rome was wrong to claim that he was "bishop of bishops". (around 255 AD)



Canon VIII.

Concerning those who call themselves Cathari,[Novatians] if they come over to the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the great and holy Synod decrees that they who are ordained shall continue as they are in the clergy. But it is before all things necessary that they should profess in writing that they will observe and follow the dogmas of the Catholic and Apostolic Church; in particular that they will communicate with persons who have been twice married, and with those who having lapsed in persecution have had a period [of penance] laid upon them, and a time [of restoration] fixed so that in all things they will follow the dogmas of the Catholic Church. Wheresoever, then, whether in villages or in cities, all of the ordained are found to be of these only, let them remain in the clergy, and in the same rank in which they are found. But if they come over where there is a bishop or presbyter of the Catholic Church, it is manifest that the Bishop of the Church must have the bishop’s dignity; and he who was named bishop by those who are called Cathari shall have the rank of presbyter, unless it shall seem fit to the Bishop to admit him to partake in the honour of the title. Or, if this should not be satisfactory, then shall the bishop provide for him a place as Chorepiscopus, or presbyter, in order that he may be evidently seen to be of the clergy, and that there may not be two bishops in the city.

Ken Temple said...

Thanks David for your comments - do you see where someone can see church history as a mixture and struggle, but validly quote from them when Biblical doctrine comes shining through at times, from a Protestant perspective?

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I don't agree with how you read the Bible... why in the world would I agree with how you read the Fathers...

So the reason that you can't find Greek grammars agreeing with Svendsen's seeming arbitrary timeline about when heos hou went from having the wider semantic range that Catholics and Orthodox have no problem with; to the more limited one that Svendsen says was in use during the writing of the NT (that fits nicely with certain Protestant presuppositions about Mary, sex, and children); and then back to the wider semantic range that Catholics and Orthodox have no problem with is because; even though Svendsen has proved his case beyond a reasonable doubt to a majority of Greek scholars... it just hasn't had the time to be implemented yet?

This is more clear proof that Catholics and Orthodox scholars are liars and cheats!! That they are boldly lying to millions of souls daily about these things!! We should shout this from the rooftops!!

Please.

BC

Ken Temple said...

BC,
I have not spoken in that kind of language, ( "liars and cheats", etc.);

But,

If something is accepted as infallible dogma beginning in say, the 6th Century and continuing to 1870 and 1950, etc. in the Roman Catholic understanding and perspective and in the history of EO position on the "seven ecumenical councils"; then obviously they are going to a priori, prepositionally think that the dogma is the truth and the grammar is wrong, because to admit that would be to bring down their whole "infallible church" edifice.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

"I haven't spoken that kind of language, but I agree with the conclusion..." Yeah...

No one is claiming the grammar is wrong!! When did I claim that?!!? I am claiming that I haven't seen any evidence that 'Svendsen's rule' is worth anything!! I thought I made that pretty clear.

Catholics actually disagree with how you interpret the Bible!! Do you not get that?? It's not as if the Magisterium is saying... "we disagree with St. Paul here" - that's just how you understand it... you confuse 'Reformed' with biblical... I don't... and I see no reason AT ALL to see them as the same... none.

"the grammar is wrong..."

You've GOT to be kidding...

BC

Ken Temple said...

Oops . . . in haste I made some mistakes.

I should be clearer –

“. . . then obviously they are going to base their arguments on an a priori, presupposition method and think that the dogma is the truth and the earlier grammar and history is wrong, because to admit that would be to bring down their whole "infallible church" edifice.”


Newman wrote:
“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. “
(An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine [New York: Longmans, Green and Co., reprinted 1927], p. 27)


“The obvious problem with Newman's analysis and conclusion is that it flies in the face of the decrees of Trent and Vatican I, both of which decreed that the unanimous consent of the fathers does exist. “ William Webster, p. 276, Volume 2, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith.


The appeal of Svendsen to the grammar and history of antiquity to that period in historical context is the work of a careful scholar and proper historical study. The appeal to antiquity of this grammar at the time of the NT is, as Henry Edward Manner calls it, “a treason and a heresy”. Here we have a clear a priori rejection of any historical evidence that might go against the infallible pronouncements of the Roman Papacy and RC idea of an “infallible church” that has never endorsed heresy or false doctrine.


“Never was this more blatantly admitted and expressed than it was by the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892) who was one of the leading proponents for the definition of papal rule and infallibility at Vatican I. His words are the expression of sola ecclesia with a vengeance:
But the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine. How can we know what antiquity was except through the Church?…I may say in strict truth that the Church has no antiquity. It rests upon its own supernatural and perpetual consciousness. . . . The only Divine evidence to us of what was primitive is the witness and voice of the Church at this hour (emphasis mine).
(The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: Or Reason and Revelation, New York: J.P. Kenedy & Sons, originally written 1865, reprinted with no date, pp. 227-228)”
(Webster, Ibid, p. 281)

Ken Temple said...

Svendsen did a good job of showing that during that period, of Koine Greek, that was the understanding.

Anyway, the context shows the obvious meaning, as does the brothers and sisters of Jesus and the Greek words for "cousin" and 'relative" in other passages.

What I am saying that you will appeal to a later time in history where the semantic range is wider, ("which RC and EO have no problem with", to paraphrase your words)because it was during that period that the dogmas began and continued say from 550 - 1870 and 1950.

"the appeal to antiquity is a heresy and treason" Manning

This is most clear that no matter what evidence is brought forth, the "infallible church" says, a priori, "It does not matter; whatever we say goes; you are in rebellion".

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Svendsen did a good job... I disagree... show me the hoards of scholars and grammars that support your contention...

I disagree that Svendsen proved his "rule"... I am not agreeing that he's shown it to be there case (and you act as if he has no presuppositions coming to the text on this issue which is PATENTLY RIDICULOUS)...

And I try to avoid quoting Catholic authors when discussing protestant theological terminology... you seem to think Webster is some sort of expert on the meaning of "unanimous consent of the Father" for Catholics... which is also PATENTLY RIDICULOUS.

So... I disagree that Svendsen's rule is true... I don't think he's shown it... I want more that just Svendsen's word on it...

I don't accept Webster as an authority on Catholic theological terminology... period.

Disagreeing with Svendsen/Webster/King/White et al... on biblical interpretation DOES NOT MEAN one disagrees with the Bible... no matter how you slice it.

BC

Ken Temple said...

BC,
I understand that RC disagrees with Evang. Prot. interpretaion of the Bible.

You are implying that "the grammar is wrong" by "the arbitrary timeline", etc., because you can see that languages change in different periods. Classic, Attic, and Koine Greek have different meanings and shades in different periods.

For example, to give an example I am familiar with in another languge(as far I could tell, because it is only used about 11 times in the whole OT), Hebrew, the Hebrew word "aval" means "truly, indeed, yes, but" in pre-exilic books, but in post-exilic books, it meant, "no", or "however".

Svendsen provided lots of evidence that during that period, the heos hous construction meant, "until", with the understanding that the action before it would stop or change.

I cannot make any one come a decision among other Greek scholars in grammars to add this finding.

Furthermore, any Protestant Grammars would be accussed of just being "biased" if they did add it; and if Roman Catholics like Fitzmeyer or Raymond Brown admitted it; (I don't know if these guys are still alive; my only point is any RC scholar that might be willing to admit Svendsen is right; without the a priori presupposition of the infallible church) they are just accused of being liberal.

Ken Temple said...

I want more that just Svendsen's word on it.

To want more is a "heresy and treason", as Manning put it.

no amount of evidence will do; without giving up the whole "infallible church" dogma and be forced to consider that the RCC is wrong in its sweeping claims as the only true historical and biblical church.

Ken Temple said...

I don't accept Webster as an authority on Catholic theological terminology... period.

Ok, but don't you see the 2 quotes Webster gives from Newman and Manning put the RCC in an awkward position?

Ken Temple said...

Of course we all have presuppositions; but the RCC one is anachronistic, since the dogma was not even proclaimed until 1870; and had no evidence of it in the first 6 centuries (Tertullian (disagreed with Callistus, bishop of Rome), Ireneaus (rebuked a bishop of Rome),Cyprian, Firmillian (they both rebuked Stephen, along with 80 other bishops all over) and even Gregory the Great spoke against the idea of a "bishop of bishops")

RCC takes that idea that was developed late in history and reads it back into early church history. That is a wrong use of history and an invalid use of presuppositional truth.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Just for fun...

What amount of evidence would it take to convince you that the Bible isn't inerrant?

Just thought I would ask...

I know that you'll see where I am going with this...

BC

Ken Temple said...

Yes, I see what you are getting at - the problem is that we both agree that the Scriptures are God's Word and inerrant and infallible, because God is perfect and does not lie; and cannot contradict Himself.

But RCC has a problem in history; Manning and Newman are at least admitting this; especially Manning, he is basically saying, "it doesn't matter what we find; the RCC is still infallible and true."

church and history is full of humans; humans err; RC leaders erred; the whole thing crashes in its claims.

But God does not err; therefore the Scriptures do not err; therefore the issues are different; one is human (RCC interpretations and leadership) and other is Divine and Perfect (God's word).

Infallibility comes from Impeccability.

RCC admits peccability; therefore it is wrong and fallible.

Anonymous said...

Where does the "RCC" admit it's errors in defined dogmas?

BC

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I finished my rereading Optatus and need to get to work on a new thread to discuss the issue of ex opera/e operato; however, before doing so, I wanted to briefly comment on the following that you posted:

>>Thanks David for your comments - do you see where someone can see church history as a mixture and struggle, but validly quote from them when Biblical doctrine comes shining through at times, from a Protestant perspective?>>

Me: I most certainly do. But with that said, one must then come to terms with the issue of doctrinal development. Dr. Raymond Brown’s thoughts on this issue are worth repeating:

“Three different figures, Father, Son, and Spirit, are brought into conjunction in the NT. Some NT formulas join the three; other references unite the Father and the Son; and still other references relate the Spirit to the Father and/or Son. Nevertheless, in no NT passage, not even in Matt. 28:19, is there precision about three divine Persons, co-equal but distinct, and one divine Nature—the core of the dogma of the Trintiy. Greek philosophy, sharpened by continuing theological disputes in the church from the 2nd to the 5th centuries, contributed to the classical formulation of the dogma. On the one hand one may say, the, that the precise Trinitarian dogma is not detectable in the literal sense of the NT, i.e., was not observably understood by first-century authors and audiences. On the other hand, reflection on NT texts played a crucial role in leading the church to the dogma to the dogma of three divine Persons and one divine Nature, a dogma that employed new terminology and embodied new insights as a response to new questions. There is no need to posit new revelation to account for the truth ultimately phrased in the trinitarian dogma, since that truth was already revealed when God sent Jesus Christ and when the risen Christ communicated his Spirit. Yet the development was not simply a matter of logic. In faith, one can claim that the Spirit guided the church as it moved from the NT triadic passages to perceiving and proclaiming the trinitarian dogma. Christians should not be embarrassed to affirm that they depend upon the Spirit’s guidance in such an essential dogma., for that guidance is really an application of Christ’s promise to be with his community and to send the Paraclete to guide them along the way of all truth…If ‘tradition’ implies that first-century Christianity already understood three coequal but distinct divine Persons and one divine Nature but had not developed the precise terminology, I would dissent. Neither the terminology nor the basic ideas had reached clarity in the first century; problems and disputes were required before the clarity came…Precisely because the ‘trinitarian’ line of development was not the only line of thought detectable in the NT, one must posit the guidance of the Spirit and intuition of faith as the church came to its decision.” (Raymond E. Brown, Biblical Exegesis & Church Doctrine, 1985, pp. 31-33 – bold emphasis mine.)

That Protestants can cull quotes from the ECFs that seem to support their interpretations/s of the Bible is a fact that cannot be denied; but if one is being objective, the same must be said concerning the use of ECFs by Arius and the forms of Arianism that have persisted as an ongoing ‘tradition’ within the fabric of Christian history.

Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

Where does the "RCC" admit it's errors in defined dogmas?

I did not write that; rather they admit they are peccable (made sinful errors in life and practice and morals and example) -

since impeccability comes from infallibility

therefore the RCC is fallible.

They cannot legitimately or logically claim "infallibility in doctrine and doctrine; but fallibility in life and character".

This is different than God's word, the Scripture, because though God used fallible human beings, it is the Scriptures that are God-breathed and perfect, not interpretations in church history. The end-product, the Scriptures are God-breathed, not the persons, God inspired the Scriptures, not the men; and He never approves of any of their sins.

Ken Temple

Having issues with the google sign in and forgetting my old password ! getting old.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I don't agree with your premises - therefore, of course, I feel as though your conclusions more than suspect...

BC

Anonymous said...

David,
Interesting quote by Raymond Brown. I understand what you are getting at. Most of what the essence of what he says is true; I would only say that even though the Greek concepts (homo-ousias, three persona, hupostasis, etc.) were not all known in full in the exact formulas, or not all expressed out by the early church; the truth of them is there in the text, not explicitly, but brought out by systematic study of all the relevant texts and forced into categories of expression by the exhaustion of all possible kinds of heretical views of Jesus and the Trinity. The bottom line is that the Trinity is good and proper and legitimate doctrinal development; whereas the Marian dogmas and Papal dogma and transubstantiation and indulgences were wrong and illegitimate attempts of Doctrinal Development.

The Tri-unity is and example of Doctrinal Development, but it is legitimate doctrinal development. It was basically a 451 -year -length Bible study. They exhausted every possibility by refuting all the possibilities of Modalism, Arianism, Sabellius, Apollonarius, Marcion, Valentinus, Basiledes, other Gnostics, Nestorianism, Eutychianism, Monophysite, etc. - the focus on that for 451 years, combating every possible way and option that the “Triad” of one verse (three names/persons/objects (?)/words of “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19); or “God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit” ( 2 Cor. 13:14) or the triad of passages and paragraphs and chapters ( I Cor. 12, Matthew 3; Ephesians 4; John 14-17, etc.)


Greek philosophy, sharpened by continuing theological disputes in the church from the 2nd to the 5th centuries, contributed to the classical formulation of the dogma.

If by “contributed” he means, “the source”, I disagree – the ideas are there in the Scriptures itself - the “logos” in John 1:1, 14 – points to God’s “mind and word” coming out from Him and never separate from Him in eternity past. If by “contributed”, he means “God used Greek culture, language and philosophy” to communicate the truth to the world, then I would agree. I would agree that God used the Greek language and culture to communicate His truth and nature, which is already there and in existence. Greek philosophy may have helped communicate truths; but it was not the source.

Even “nature” / “substance”/”essence”, we can see the concept is there by many verses. “I and the Father are one”. John 10:30; Hebrews 1:3 “the exact representation of His nature”. And “person” is communicated by “the Father loves the Son”; “the Father sends the Son”; “The Spirit is grieved”, “you have lied to the Holy Spirit”; “The Spirit speaks”, “the Spirit prays with groanings too deep for words”.



That Protestants can cull quotes from the ECFs that seem to support their interpretations/s of the Bible is a fact that cannot be denied; but if one is being objective, the same must be said concerning the use of ECFs by Arius and the forms of Arianism that have persisted as an ongoing ‘tradition’ within the fabric of Christian history.

I disagree with that sentiment. But they do try and make those claims, not only Jehovah’s Witnesses, but also, on another issue, plurality of gods - the Mormons, - for example, Tom Nossor’s contributions to this blog.

For me, Arianism is easier to defeat, by John 1:1 (because it has two truths at the same time regarding the nature and person of Christ and relationship to God the Father – 1. “the Word was with God” (personal relationship with)and 2. “the Word was God” (equal in substance/essence ) (along with all the other texts on the Deity of Christ); than Modalism or Monophysitism. Mind you, I don’t think they reflect truth, but they would seem to be closer examples of what you are trying to communicate. Athanasius defeated Arianism by Scripture alone; and it was confirmed by the Counsel of Nicea and that counsel derives its authority from Scripture alone.

Ken Temple

Anonymous said...

Ken,

You said:
This is different than God's word, the Scripture, because though God used fallible human beings, it is the Scriptures that are God-breathed and perfect, not interpretations in church history. The end-product, the Scriptures are God-breathed, not the persons, God inspired the Scriptures, not the men; and He never approves of any of their sins.

So let me see if I get your logic here...

This is different than God's doctrines, the Catholic doctrines, because though God used fallible beings, it is His doctrines which are perfect, not interpretations in church history. The end-product, the doctrines of God are true and without error, not the persons, God is the Guarentor of truth of the doctrines, not the men; and He never approves of any of their sins."


What's wrong with this??

BC

Ken Temple said...

BC wrote:
So let me see if I get your logic here...

This is different than God's doctrines, the Catholic doctrines, because though God used fallible beings, it is His doctrines which are perfect, not interpretations in church history. The end-product, the doctrines of God are true and without error, not the persons, God is the Guarentor of truth of the doctrines, not the men; and He never approves of any of their sins."

BC -
You are assuming that the Roman Catholic doctrines and dogmas, developed centuries later are Biblical doctrines. They are not, pure and simple.

It is easy to believe the Bible is perfect and God’s infallible; it is not easy to believe or trust the Roman Catholic Church, because of all the Mariology, Marian practices and prayers to her and RCs bowing down before statues; Papacy claims, indulgences, rejection of justification by faith alone, the history of the Crusades and the Inquisition, the arrogance of Boniface VIII, the executions of Huss and others; the idolatry of bowing down before bread and wine. (genuflecting), the arrogance and anachronistic apologetics of denying that for centuries Honorius was condemned as teaching heresy and a formal heretic, and yet claiming the 1870 infallibility dogma, etc. The church of Rome must repent of all that stuff (and other things like Purgatory; baptismal regeneration and ex opera operato sacerdotalism, and treasury of merit, etc. but too much to mention here)for any Biblical and thinking Protestant to start trusting its leaders as “from God”.

We both agree that the Bible is perfect and God's word; and we both agree the Trinity, for example, comes from the Bible, at least implicitly; but for the Roman Catholic Church to claim it never made a mistake in developing those doctrines which Protestants are still "protesting" against is like saying that all history is open to continuing revelation, when the canon was closed when the last ink dried on Revelation or Jude (whichever was written last).

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Yup.

I presuppose that the Catholic Church is what She claims to be...

I posit that your Reformed distinctives aren't biblical... divorcing the Holy Writ from it's proper context doesn't lead to good places. :)

I wish you well, however!!

:)

BC

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I wanted to add that I wouldn't even know what the Bible was without the Catholic Church... I can't speak for your experience, but that's mine.

BC

Ken Temple said...

The early "catholic church", yes - the early church of the first five centuries, this is true; (the church of Clement, Polycarp, Justin, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Fermillian, Athanasius, Augustine, Jerome, Chrysostom, Basil, etc.)

After the Trinity and Canon was established;

(that is still not admitting they were all perfect or infallible or right about everything they wrote or did or believed. All things must be tested by Scripture.)

but not the Roman Catholic Church, which is something else altogether - it mutated into something unbiblical.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

It seems to me that you want to have it both ways...

You seem to set arbitrary dates for when things were orthodox... and "tested by Scripture?" My whole point was that I, myself, would not even know what said 'Scripture' was without the Catholic Church.

Your ignorance of Catholic ecclesiology shines through when you use "Roman Catholic Church" the way you do...

Was every Christian that was in communion with the Pope of Rome throughout history rightly called "Roman Catholic?"

I think the waters of historical ecclesiology will start to get even muddier in your answer... but, at least, it will be fin to read. :)

BC