Monday, April 6, 2009

Ecclesiastical anarchy

Steve Hays, over at Triablogue, responded to my last post in the comments section of THIS THREAD, via a NEW THREAD which he posted yesterday. The comments section of this new thread is proceeding down an a different (though related) tangent, due to the first comment penned by BJ Buracker, a Presbyterian who seems to take the visible church much more seriously than the ecclesiastical anarchists who have attempted to address his questions. Though this tangent is interesting, I would like to address Steve’s remarks directly—hence my new thread. Steve posted:

DAVID WALTZ SAID:“The Bible teaches us that schism is SIN; Calvin teaches that schim is SIN; and yet, Protestantism as a whole has now for hundreds of years functionally ignored this SIN.”

i) You’re indulging in some highly anachronistic equivocations. The NT is talking about NT churches, overseen by apostles. To break with that sort of church would represent a revolt against apostolic authority and apostolic doctrine.

Steve’s comments are based on some very tenuous presuppostions: first, Steve assumes that the pattern portrayed in Scripture concerning the “NT churches overseen by apostles” is ‘descriptive’ and not ‘prescriptive’, as such, the post-apostolic church should not seek to duplicate the apostolic church; second, apostolic authority cannot/was not passed on by the apostles to successors.


It’s tendentious and anachronistic of you to simply reapply those strictures to various denominations–including your own–100s of years down the line.

Early Church history presents a record for us that is quite contrary to what Steve would have us to believe.


A denomination is not “the church.” No one denomination is “the church.” At best, various denominations exemplify the church in different times and places. The church doesn’t have just one address–unless you mean the headquarters (which are located “upstairs”).

Once again, the early Church tells a different story; organic continuity via espiscpal succession was an important ‘mark’ in determining the Catholic churches from the schismatic and heretical ones. That organic continuity has continued down to our day in both branches of the Catholic Church (Western and Eastern).


Sometimes it’s sinful to break with a preexisting denomination and start a new one. At other times, it’s morally incumbent on the faithful to break with a preexisting denomination and–if need be–form a new one.

A brief stroll down through history reveals the sects which have embraced Steve’s dictum—examples include: Gnostics, Modalists, Melitians, Donatists, Arians (after 381), Pelagians, Monophysites, Monothelites, et al. (Augustine in his, The Heresies, lists no less than 88 sects which ended up rejecting the organic Catholic unity.)


ii) However, if you wish to frame the issue in terms of schism, then I’ll happy to concede that the church of Rome committed sin when it broke faith with the pattern of the NT church and began to develop a series of unscriptural innovations. That’s why I don’t belong to a schismatic denomination like the church of Rome.

If Steve is correct on this, then one must conclude that we have no “true” Christian churches from the middle of the second century until the 16th century.


“And Calvin, like historic Chirstians before him, understood that the visible Church has real authority, authority to form creeds and confessions; authority to discipline, et al.; and if history teaches us anything, when that authority is ignored, heresy and schism abound.”

i) The church has the authority to teach revealed truth (i.e. biblical revelation). The church also has the authority to discipline members who deviate from revealed truth in faith and conduct. The church has no authority over and above the truth. Rather, the church is subject to the truth.

Amen! From the Second Vatican Council we read:

…this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that is proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith. (Dei Verbum, II.7.)


“One Evangelical scholar, who has a good grasp of history, wrote…”

i) Yes, you like to trot out that quote whenever you can. It’s part of your divide-and-conquer strategy. To drive a wedge between 16C Protestantism and 21 Protestantism.

That, however, proves nothing–except the existence of discontinuities (as well as continuities) between two different eras. Things change. The mere fact that things change does not, of itself, indicate whether the change is for the better, the worse, just as good, or just as bad.

I did not drive the “wedge”, it is merely a historical fact. And as for Dr. Lane’s essay, to date, I have not read anyone who has cogently addressed the issues he has raised.


ii) Calvin is not our rule of faith. The Protestant Reformers are not our rule of faith. Scripture is our rule of faith. We are not called to be faithful to Calvin (or the pope). We are called to be faithful to God.

Yep.


Calvin is not an authority-figure. He is not a prophet or apostle.

Steve needs to say this, for Calvin wrote:

"Still, I do not deny that the Lord has sometimes at a later period raised up apostles, or at least evangelists in their place, as has happened in our own day."


iii) We need to avoid the twin dangers of idolizing the past or idolizing the present. We can’t assume that what’s newer is better, and we can’t assume that what’s older is better. We have to measure these things on a case-by-case basis, with the Bible as our yardstick.For you to accentuate a contrast between the past and the present gets you nowhere with me, for the contrast does not, of itself, point in the direction of which era was right.

And the resulting “fruit” of Steve’s dictum: ecclesiastical anarchy.


iv) I think your basic problem, David, is that you simply transferred your membership from one authoritarian cult (the Watchtower) to another authoritarian cult (the church of Rome). You changed names, but the framework is the same. You have never bothered to question the underlying framework. You’ve been using the same paradigm throughout.

My-oh-my…the Catholic Church is a cult???



Grace and peace,

David


ADDENDUM - Just moments ago, I came across the following in an online book:

"An especially pernicious tendency in contemporary America is the growth of independency. A multitude of churches exist which militantly proclaim their autonomy. They arrogantly boast of no connection or common government with any other ecclesiastical assembly; it is as though they believe that schism is a virtue. An outgrowth of independency is the development of an entire industry of para-church agencies and self-appointed ministers.

Membership in the church is viewed as a matter of small significance: a person may attend regularly without ever joining a church anywhere or incurring any particular obligations. Members are free to adopt virtually any belief or lifestyle, according to their own individual preferences. Even open scandals and doctrinal aberration are allowed to continue without any corrective action from the church. In the last analysis, the situation in these so-called churches is nothing short of ecclesiastical anarchy. A proper resort to church courts and scriptural confessionalism could cure churches from these maladies of independency." (Kevin Reed, Biblical Church Government - bold emphasis mine.)

33 comments:

John Bugay said...

The Catholic Church is worse than a cult. It is a teacher of cults. It is a mutant disfigurement of the one true body of Christ.

Keep in mind I am speaking of the government and the doctrines of the Catholic Church. I do understand why people are attracted to it. Satan masquerades as an angel of light.

Anonymous said...

"Keep in mind I am speaking of the government and the doctrines of the Catholic Church."

Then you must mean that the early church too was under Satan's direction, given that many of their doctrines are the very ones the Catholic Church continues to teach even unto this day.

There is one mutant disfigurement of the One True Body of Christ, and that is the heresy of Protestantism.

The fact that they are perpetually split into even further multiple sects is simply a nature of that heresy of disfigurement which they continue to perpetuate in honor of the evil one which their heresy serves!

John Bugay said...

"Then you must mean that the early church too was under Satan's direction, given that many of their doctrines are the very ones the Catholic Church continues to teach even unto this day."

Anon -- Paul warned the Ephesians, "after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them..."

It is naive to think that, all through time, everything that the Catholic Church has taught is doctrinally pure.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bugay,

I find it hard to believe that the true nature of justification (which your co-religionists tend to see as one of... if not THE most important Christian doctrine) was not really understood until the 16th century...

No one really *got* the point of the Bible until the Reformed came along to 'get it' for us...

Talk about things that are 'hard to believe.'

BC

Anonymous said...

John Bugay,

It's amazing that the Satanist Cult that you so abhor is the very same which brought about the Doctrine of the Trinity (unless the Council of Nicaea were actually comprised of a bunch of Protestant ministers -- fortunately, they weren't since if they were they would have just ended up in endless & pointless debates to the point of schism as even the conduct of the ETS itself has proven -- instead, it was held by Bishops of the Catholic Church) and, not to mention, the Canon of the New Testament, which you and yours continue to honor.

Beware though --

Perhaps the books that actually taught genuine Christianity were burned by the bishops of the Church then in order to defile its genuine teachings by the very books you deem inspired by God!!!

Satan has indeed won!!!

muhahahaha!!!

Well, I'll let you and yours fulfill your destiny which your Master had set for you since the 16th Century.

That never-ending need to split again & again for the nth time in saecula saeculorum is simply the mark of the beast which your faith is actually based on -- the fact that it continues to degenerate & tear asunder the One Body of Christ lies amongst the many proofs for such a fact.

Whereas the One, Holy, Catholic Church which has existed since time immemorial as Christ is its Founder continues to exist regardless of its enemies both within & without, surviving even history's worst, tested by the passage of Time itself through the many centuries, as gold tested in fire!

Indeed, the Gates of Hell SHALL not Prevail!

David Waltz said...

Hell John,

You wrote:

>>The Catholic Church is worse than a cult. It is a teacher of cults. It is a mutant disfigurement of the one true body of Christ.>>

Me: I was taught from my youth the above, and by extension, that the ‘children’ which came out of the Catholic Church in the 16th century were no better, for they retained a substantial amount of the dogmas taught by the Church they broke away from.

>>It is naive to think that, all through time, everything that the Catholic Church has taught is doctrinally pure.>>

Me: That the Catholic Church has taught error is fact ALL knowledgeable Catholics readily acknowledge—where we differ from our separated brethren is that we also acknowledge that the Holy Spirit has led the Church via the Ecumenical Councils (and on very rare occasions through ex cathedra pronouncements from the Bishop of Rome) into greater clarity concerning the interpretation of the original deposit of on “faith and morals”. It is via this greater clarity that the Church can confidently reject the numerous heresies which Satan has inspired down through the centuries of time.


Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

David,

The Catholic Church has NEVER taught error.

Where it concerns matters of Faith & Morals, its teachings have ever remained distinctly faithful to the Apostolic Deposit.

Where it has erred are those personal matters on the part of an errant pope, bishop or other member of the clergy.

Perhaps you might consider greener pasture elsewhere if you should happen to think that the only thing that differentiates the Catholic Church from the manifest heretical sects of Protestantism is merely the above (flawed) statement you've made concerning it.

Otherwise, you're just avoiding what may very well be an inevitable fate.

Might as well defect now than later.

David Waltz said...

Hello Anonymous.

Perhaps you could direct me to the/that body of infallible and irreformable Catholic Teachings which lie outside of the Ecumenical Councils and Papal ex cathedra promulgations.


Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

There's a distinct difference between the development of Catholic Teaching as opposed to a 'mutated' or, even worse, erroneous teaching.

However, the Church had never taught anything infallibly which was not genuinely & essentially Apostolic in origin or even stood oppose to the Apostolic Deposit or, worse, taught something heretically contrary to it.

If you should happen to believe that there were/are actually errant doctrines of the Church, let me save you some torment (as well as time) and suggest to you that perhaps you might be better off not remaining within the bosom of the Catholic Church.

I am well acquainted with the various mediaeval crimes of certain corrupt clergy of certain periods, but the fact that their own crimes were not such that they happened to taint the infallible Apostolic Teachings of the Catholic Faith should only give further proof that the Holy Spirit stands guard over her yet, where even today the Church continues to exist as that One, Holy, Catholic Faith even after centuries of turmoil both within and without.

I can't say the same for the sects of your heretical companions here, which sects only continue to be split even unto multiple variations thereof.

Perhaps it might be best to join the faith of certain companions which you might have more in common with?

Although, I can't say that it is actually faith per se, but heck, any heresy these days is as good as the True Faith, no?

Anonymous said...

David,

I am thinking that is probably some list... it might take him a while to compile it. ;)

BC

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Perhaps, just perhaps... you didn't read very clearly what David wrote?

Can you provide an example of an infallible and irreformable Catholic Teaching which lies outside of the Ecumenical Councils and Papal ex cathedra promulgations?

I am not sure that David ever even hinted that the Catholic Church taught something erroneous as a matter of doctrine or dogma nor bound the souls of all Christians with said error... is that what you understood him to be saying?

BC

David Waltz said...

Hello again Anonymous,

You said:

>>However, the Church had never taught anything infallibly which was not genuinely & essentially Apostolic in origin or even stood oppose to the Apostolic Deposit or, worse, taught something heretically contrary to it.>>

Me: You seem to be attributing something to me that I have not written, for I concur with what you wrote above. Now, back to my original question to you: how does one go about determining what are the infallible and irreformable dogmas outside of those taught of the Ecumenical Councils and Papal ex cathedra promulgations?


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi BC,

You posted:

>>I am not sure that David ever even hinted that the Catholic Church taught something erroneous as a matter of doctrine or dogma nor bound the souls of all Christians with said error…>>

Me: Precisely—for the record I make a CLEAR distinction between dogmas that are infallible and irreformable, and the teachings by Popes, bishops, doctors of the Church, et al. which are not part of that special work of the Holy Spirit.


Grace and peace,

David

John Bugay said...

for the record I make a CLEAR distinction between dogmas that are infallible and irreformable,

David, for the record, what are those infallible and irreformable dogmas? Where is the "canon" of them? Where is the infallible list of infallible and irreformable dogmas?

John Bugay said...

Anonymous: The Catholic Church has NEVER taught error. Where it concerns matters of Faith & Morals, its teachings have ever remained distinctly faithful to the Apostolic Deposit.

The use of images was prohibited prior to 300 ad. So, is that the Apostolic teaching? Or was the mandate to use icons and images given in 787 at the 2nd Council of Nicea the Apostolic teaching?

Around 250 ad, Cyprian said, "there is no salvation outside of the church." Vatican II permitted virtually anyone to achieve salvation: "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation."

If you look at Cyprian's original source, and later like the Council of Florence, they are pretty much definite, there are NO exceptions. Who was wrong about this? Cyprian and Florence? Or Vatican II?

The Roman bishop Gelasius rejected transubstantiation:

"The sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which we receive, is a divine thing, because by it we are made partakers of the divine-nature. Yet the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease. And assuredly the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the performance of the mysteries." (cited in Schaff.)


Why did the councils of Nicea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon all rule (a) varying degrees of authority for Rome and (b) ALWAYS give the reason for Rome's primacy as political-- that is, because it was the "old Capital"?

Talk about things that are hard to believe. One could go on. All of these existed prior to the first Protestant.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bugay,

Can you give me the official list of the doctrinal teachings of Scripture?

Thanks...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bugay,

By the by... I (BC) am the one who asked you for the list/the "canon" (if you have an affinity for that word) of the "official" (dare I say infallible and inerrant and irreformable??) teachings from the Scriptures... a book which is, according to you and your coreligionists, the picture of perpescuity. This should be a task you can knock out rather quickly...

Thanks again...

BC

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bugay,

Look... I don't have a lot of time here, but I find your argumentation... "interesting."

I realize the other "Anonymous" was the person you addressed you list of "hard things to believe" to, but... come on... really?

So which Ecumenical Councils condemned as heretical the use of images? Which ones then contradicted the earlier pronouncements?

While we're on the subject...

Since the Reformed see the Bible so clearly what's the official Reformed (i.e. the Bible's) position on images??

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/decemberweb-only/12-6-12.0.html

As far as "No Salvation Outside the Church" goes... who cares who you, or Bill Webster or David King or Eric Svendsen or anybody else thinks about what certain statements ***HAD*** to mean?? It's just like you all defining (for US) what "unanimous consent of the Fathers" ***HAD*** to mean and then finding "contradictions" - ugh.

Pope St. Gelasius I (this the Gelasius I assume you are referring to) "rejected" Transubstantiation?? A word that probably wasn't even used for hundreds of years after his death? A teaching defined after that?? He "rejected" it? Strong language there, Mr. Bugay... He rejected it... ok.

Rome's authority was purely "political" all throughout Church History... Got it...

Answer me this... when (among Orthodox Christians) in the first, let's say 1000 years of Christianity was communion with Rome regarded as 1. A bad thing, and 2. Purely "political?"

Just wondering...

Thanks.

BC

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

You asked the following:

>>David, for the record, what are those infallible and irreformable dogmas? Where is the "canon" of them? Where is the infallible list of infallible and irreformable dogmas?>>

Me: The only “infallible list” that I am aware of are the decrees and canons concerning ‘faith and morals’ as contained in the Ecumenical Councils; this “list” excludes items that may be true, but by default are not part of the actual “list” itself.

This assessment is purely from the mind of David Waltz, and is reformable. (I am not trying to be coy here, but rather, as honest and objective as humanly possible.)


God bless,

David

Interlocutor said...

Hi David,
"That the Catholic Church has taught error is fact ALL knowledgeable Catholics readily acknowledge"

It seems your position is naturally that reformable teaching can be in error. Now as I think we've discussed before, RCs are bound to submit to non-infallible/reformable teaching as well (such as canon law or authoritative statements from bishops or pope) - otherwise the demand for an "infallible list of infallible teachings" gains more merit. So do you qualify "error" to mean wrongly, but never to such a degree that it would be harmful to the soul?

Infallible statements can be in "error" in the sense that they may be incomplete articulations (so cannot be contradicted, but expanded upon), but reformable teachings can be in true error as you said and reversed/overridden, so I'm curious as to how you view the nature (or natures if you have a classification of degrees of error) of the potential of that error. If you think non-infallible, but binding teaching can be in error that it can actually harm the soul, that does seem to be in tension with other RC claims (now whether that has actually happened in history despite those claims such as during medieval times with bishops' direction of their flocks is another question).

Interlocutor said...

Just another thought, this is also a bit of an aside, though related since development should always be considered in light of teaching whether it be infallible or reformable, since reformable/erroneous teaching can often guide in the development leading to infallible teaching, but art. 24 of Donum Veritatis is interesting in how it emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between the solid immutable principles and contingent elements of teaching; indicating that recognition of the mixture of the two is sometimes only revealed with time:

“24. Finally, in order to serve the People of God as well as possible, in particular, by warning them of dangerous opinions which could lead to error, the Magisterium can intervene in questions under discussion which involve, in addition to solid principles, certain contingent and conjectural elements. It often only becomes possible with the passage of time to distinguish between what is necessary and what is contingent.

In fact, the theologian, who cannot pursue his discipline well without a certain competence in history, is aware of the filtering which occurs with the passage of time. This is not to be understood in the sense of a relativization of the tenets of the faith. The theologian knows that some judgments of the Magisterium could be justified at the time in which they were made, because while the pronouncements contained true assertions and others which were not sure, both types were inextricably connected. Only time has permitted discernment and, after deeper study, the attainment of true doctrinal progress.”

So related to the above question, I wonder if "contingent" elements that were once taken to be tied to the necessary elements, that have now been deemed to be in error or irrelevant via development, could be/have been in error to such an extent as to harm/mislead the faithful.

John Bugay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Bugay said...

BC: Before the first protestant appears, Rome has got to deal with

The council of Nicea named Jerusalem as the first church of primacy. Rome is pre-eminent in the west, Alexandria is pre-eminent in the east.

The council of Constantinople: "Old Rome has first pre-eminence in honor, but Constantinople was second pre-eminence in honor, because Constantinople is New Rome." (The reason for Rome's pre-eminence was political).

The council of Chalcedon "we also do enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her;"

The story on the papacy, as of Vatican I, was that the "primacy" was given "directly and mmediately" to Peter's "successor".

Patrick Granfield, writing in "The Limits of the Papacy" under the heading of "Theological Development," gives this:

"Only from the middle of the second century can one speak of the "Bishop" of Rome.... The jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome developed gradually... Not until the end of the fourth century did the Bishops of Rome begin to assert vigorously their universal primatial claims. The theoretical foundation for primacy took shape in the century between Damasus I (366-384) and Leo I (440-461)." (pg 33)

What Granfield says is echoed now by virtually every historian. More recent efforts now look for ways to make some theological connection with "Peter" and "Peter's Successor" (when there is no historical connection)

Rome has two problems with this. The papacy, and its authority to "bind and loose," is the primary excuse that Rome gives for all of the "developments" they have effected over the centuries. Not only must they now cite "development" with regard to the early papacy (as opposed to Vatican I's "the primacy was given directly and immediately..." and all of that further boastful language.) But they also now have a living example of papal dogma "developing" before our eyes.

As this is the source of Catholic "authority," there is no legitimacy in this.

David Waltz said...

Hi Interlocutor,

So good to see you back at AF; you posted:

>>It seems your position is naturally that reformable teaching can be in error. Now as I think we've discussed before, RCs are bound to submit to non-infallible/reformable teaching as well (such as canon law or authoritative statements from bishops or pope) - otherwise the demand for an "infallible list of infallible teachings" gains more merit. So do you qualify "error" to mean wrongly, but never to such a degree that it would be harmful to the soul?>>

Me: In matters of discipline and practice, ALL who name the name of our Lord are instructed to, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves” (Heb. 13:17 – see also 1 Cor. 16:16; 1 Thess. 5:12). Bishops/elders functioning in their ‘ordinary’ capacity are not infallible, but out of respect for ministry established by Christ through His apostles, we “submit”.

>>Infallible statements can be in "error" in the sense that they may be incomplete articulations (so cannot be contradicted, but expanded upon), but reformable teachings can be in true error as you said and reversed/overridden, so I'm curious as to how you view the nature (or natures if you have a classification of degrees of error) of the potential of that error.>>

Me: “Error” for me is something that is false (i.e. not true); as such, I personally would not place “incomplete articulations” into the category of “error”. As for “degrees of error”, I have not really thought this out, so I am a bit reticent about commenting on this at the present time.


>>If you think non-infallible, but binding teaching can be in error that it can actually harm the soul, that does seem to be in tension with other RC claims (now whether that has actually happened in history despite those claims such as during medieval times with bishops' direction of their flocks is another question).>>

Me: I think John Calvin in his Institutes lends some important ‘light’ on this issue. Concerning the OT church, he wrote:

“I admit that all the prophets who were at Jerusalem when things were absolutely corrupt neither sacrificed privately nor had separate assemblies from the others for prayer. For they had God’s command by which they were bidden to assemble in Solomon’s Temple [Deuteronomy 12:13,11]. They knew that the Levitical priests, although unworthy of that office, because ordained ministers of sacred rites by the Lord [Exodus 29:9] and not yet deposed, still held that office by right.” (4.2.9)

Calvin maintained that the OT church remained a “true” church through all the periods of idolatry and apostasy up to time of the advent of our Lord. There is no question that we have many examples of OT “ordained ministers” teaching things that could (and did) “actually harm the soul”. Where Calvin and I differ is over the extent of idolatry in the OT vs. that of the Church age; with that said, I believe his basic principal is sound (IMHO, he violates his own basic principal).


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

>>So related to the above question, I wonder if "contingent" elements that were once taken to be tied to the necessary elements, that have now been deemed to be in error or irrelevant via development, could be/have been in error to such an extent as to harm/mislead the faithful.>>

Me: Yes. I think my series on subordinationism in the early CFs demonstrates this. Trinitarians can now look back on the Ante-Nicene period and discern many elements in the teachings of Catholic bishops and/or theologians that in a real sense laid a foundation for Arius and his followers to build upon. But, God through His Holy Spirit infallibly led the Church into irreformable truth concerning the Godhead in the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople.


Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

Mr, Bugay,

"'Rome' has got to deal with...!??!"

Ah yes!! Evil Rome THE "Teacher of Cults" Wow!! "A mutant disfigurement of the Body of Christ!!" Goodness! Who, "like Satan" these "wolves" (and "from our own number" no less) about "masquerading" as an "angel of light!!"

Can the people who've been duped by this clever organization (obviously founded by the "Father of Lies") rightly be called "naive?" Or is "reprobate" a better description of such folks? I mean... if THAT be the case... why waste your time? Or do you presume that God won't save His own from among their number? That you must speak to these "totally depraved" and spiritually "blind" people who "hate God" that God might "reach" one of His sheep via you, Mr. Bugay? Is that why you are here? Helping the Almighty save one of His own? Or is it to shame the ones He has "prepared for wrath?" It's hard to say...

I have to admit that as much as your Reformed types (the ones who seem to idolize Svendsen, Webster, King, et al) like to distance yourselves from the like of Jack Chick... when you all go on about "Rome," you sure do sound a lot alike, but I digress.

Now onto more of what "Rome ***has*** to deal with" (according to Mr. Bugay - I am sure they'll get right on it)...

I can't believe you've uncovered Canon VII from the Nicene Council!! How did you get this information that evil Rome has been trying to hide ever since it invented the Papacy about the time of the Reformation? Drat!! ;)

What does the Canon actually say about Aelia? She is called the "Church of first primacy?" Which translation are you using (that might be my problem)?

What is the context of Canon VII (both within the Council itself, within the order of the Canons, and historically?) I couldn't possibly know these things!!

Your references to Constantinople and Chalcedon... fun!

I have no problem with what you quoted from Constantinople (sans the language of what the "Council Fathers" wrote in parentheses)... I am a bit confused by your reference to Canon XXVIII, however, as it has it's own neat little story... which I am sure you know better than I do... :)

Since you *seem* so fond of Fr. Granfield's work... what do you think of his overall opinion on the Petrine Ministry? Have you read the entire work to which you refer? I don't want to accuse you of simply pulling quotes from the man's work that you might have found in a book or paper by Bill Webster (for instance) or anything like that.

I don't think any informed Catholic should be getting their information about what the Council Fathers of Vatican I (or any Council for that matter) meant by certain words (hence my earlier reference to "unanimous consent of the Fathers")... I don't see Mr. Webster (or you, Mr. Bugay) as an authority on such matters? Should I?

Let's take our eyes off of Protestantism and just concentrate on all of the "holes" we can "poke" in the "Roman" schema, shall we?? Obviously Reformed Protestantism is true if "Rome" is proved a liar... this follows logically!!

Be well!!

BC

Interlocutor said...

Hi David,
"Bishops/elders functioning in their ‘ordinary’ capacity are not infallible, but out of respect for ministry established by Christ through His apostles, we “submit”."

Bit confused now - you say this, but then you also say they can teach error that is harmful to the soul. Submission is still virtuous in that case, in both an ordinary and general magisterial context? If we admit they can teach error (in either context), even to the extent that it is harmful to the soul, then isn't there some obligation on the part of the faithful to resist such teaching? Surely the shepherds will have to give account and be more culpable for leading their flock astray, but not sure that would exonerate the faithful for submitting to them based on their authority. Indeed, if there was never dissent or disagreement with ordinary/general teaching, and only submission, how could theology ever progress?

As for degrees of error and the like, this lay RC (who seems knowledgeable enough) seemed to echo what I thought to be the standard view:
"By contrast [to sacred assent], the exercise of ordinary assent includes the possibility of faithful dissent because ordinary teachings admit the possibility of errors. But these errors are limited in extent, such that no error can occur which would lead the faithful away from the path of salvation. Therefore, faithful dissent must be similarly limited, never claiming that the ordinary teachings of the Magisterium are such that any one such teaching or error would lead someone away from salvation."
More details from his articles here and here.

Perhaps another way of asking the question - you think that error could be "harmful to the soul" - presumably this means it could be sinful to hold to it/act on it, but do you think it could ever be gravely so, thus endangering salvation by blind/unreserved obedience?

Interesting citation of Calvin, btw.

David Waltz said...

Hi Interlocutor,

A quick note: my wife has had me busy with numerous 'projects' today, so I have not had anytime to check the links you provided. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to do so, and then relay my thoughts...


Grace and peace,

David

John Bugay said...

BC: Let's take our eyes off of Protestantism and just concentrate on all of the "holes" we can "poke" in the "Roman" schema, shall we??

Too many times the argument from Catholics is precisely the opposite: make fun of Protestantism; therefore, the only thing to do is cross the Tiber. But that ain't right.

The thing you need to do is sell the glories of Catholicism. Show why it's "God-ordained" over everything else.

On the other hand, consider, it's the year 1500. Alexander VI is pope, and the "Borgia popes" have been in charge for some time; the "Great Schism" is not too distant a memory. Half of the priests have "wives and bastard children," -- and it was fully half of them. The illegitimate children of priests are an embarrassment and a social problem.

You are a devout person, working hard to support your family. Someone comes and knocks on your door, selling indulgences, so the pope (who has already stolen much of the money from the church treasury) can raise more money to build a big new cathedral.

What's the right thing to do?

David Waltz said...

Hi Interlocutor,

Finally had some time to read the articles at the two links you provided, and must say, that I thoroughly enjoyed both! IMHO, the two essays pretty much deal with the questions you asked, and I do not believe that I can add much to what Ronald Conte Jr. has written.

With that said, I shall jump to your last paragraph, for it is here that I think I can add something to the solid foundation that Ronald has already laid. You posted:

>>Perhaps another way of asking the question - you think that error could be "harmful to the soul" - presumably this means it could be sinful to hold to it/act on it, but do you think it could ever be gravely so, thus endangering salvation by blind/unreserved obedience?>>

Me: If one knows that an ordained servant of Christ’s Church is teaching error, then it is the duty of that individual to point out the error. But, one must keep in mind that there is a significant difference between an obvious error which actually contradicts irreformable dogma, and mere private opinion on matters that have not been clearly defined.

In ending, I would like to reproduce that last portion of the first essay that you linked to:

>>Is Faithful Dissent Required?

No one can be considered a faithful Catholic unless they give their sacred assent to the infallible teachings of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and Sacred Magisterium. Moreover, no one can be considered a faithful Catholic if they generally dissent from the ordinary teachings of the Magisterium. But is faithful dissent required of faithful Catholics?

Some Catholics are still learning the basic teachings of the Catholic faith. These persons cannot be expected to detect theological errors in the teachings of the Ordinary Magisterium. On occasion, they may think that a particular ordinary teaching is in error, but they do not yet understand the faith well enough to reach such a conclusion with surety. Therefore, all that is required of these growing Catholics is to understand and accept the idea that the ordinary teachings of the Church are subject to possible error, and to later revision or revocation by the Magisterium.

Other Catholics are well versed in the basic teachings of the faith. They continue to seek a deeper understanding of the mysteries of God. This process of learning the faith in an ever more profound way necessarily results, sooner or later, in an understanding that certain ordinary teachings of the Magisterium are in error. To turn aside from such an understanding of truth is to turn aside from Christ who is Truth. Therefore, it is a requirement of the Catholic faith that each and every Catholic, as they continually increase in their understanding of the faith, be willing to acknowledge that some ordinary teachings are in error, and be willing to point out such errors, if they should happen to find one on their own.

Summaries of Related Heresies

It is a heresy against the Catholic faith to claim any of the following:

a) that all teachings of the Magisterium are without error, even the ordinary teachings of the Magisterium
b) that the ordinary teachings must be adhered to in the same manner as the infallible teachings
c) that there is no practical difference in the assent required of ordinary teachings versus infallible teachings
d) that faithful dissent is never possible, as if all dissent were sinful or to be prohibited
e) that obedience to the teachings of the Church is based solely on authority, and not on truth.
f) that conscience has a primacy above the infallible teachings of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium>>


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

You certainly raised some important issues and questions in your last post, and at the end of the post you asked the following:

>>What's the right thing to do?>>

Something that John Calvin wrote in his Institutes comes to mind:

==========

13. SCANDAL IN THE CHURCH NO OCCASION
FOR LEAVING IT

In bearing with imperfections of life we ought to be far more considerate. For here the descent is very slippery and Satan ambushes us with no ordinary devices. For there have always been those who, imbued with a false conviction of their own perfect sanctity, as if they had already become a sort of airy spirits, spurned association with all men in whom they discern any remnant of human nature. The Cathari of old were of this sort, as well as the Donatists, who approached them in foolishness. Such today are some of the Anabaptists who wish to appear advanced beyond other men.

There are others who sin more out of ill-advised zeal for righteousness than out of that insane pride. When they do not see a quality of life corresponding to the doctrine of the gospel among those to whom it is announced, they immediately judge that no church exists in that place. This is a very legitimate complaint, and we give all too much occasion for it in this most miserable age. And our cursed sloth is not to be excused, for the Lord will not allow it to go unpunished, seeing that he has already begun to chastise it with heavy stripes. Woe to us, then, who act with such dissolute and criminal license that weak consciences are wounded because of us! But on their part those of whom we have spoken sin in that they do not know how to restrain their disfavor. For where the Lord requires kindness, they neglect it and give themselves over completely to immoderate severity. Indeed, because they think no church exists where there are not perfect purity and integrity of life, they depart out of hatred of wickedness from the lawful church, while they fancy themselves turning aside from the faction of the wicked.(4.1.13, McNeill ed., pp. 1026, 1027).

==========

Grace and peace,

David

John Bugay said...

David -- Calvin himself noted the differences between what he described in this chapter, a church "where there are not perfect purity and integrity in life," and of course, the church "under popery, [where] one can understand how much of the church remains there. Instead of the ministry of the Word, a perverse government compounded of lies rules there, which partly extinguishes the purle light, partly chokes it."

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

Calvin in book 4 elucidates his thoughts on many important issues pertaining to the Church, some of which include: the marks of a “true” church, schism, and when it is legitimate for one to leave a church. My previous post used the quote from Calvin to shed some light the reasons you explored for “doing the right thing”—reasons which Calvin rejected as legitimate ones. Calvin did not leave the Catholic Church over the Crusades, immoral ministers, scandal, et al., Calvin clearly points to two THEOLOGICAL issues for his case: the sacrifice of the mass, and the claim of the bishop of Rome to be Peter’s legitimate successor, both of which he thought committed the sin of idolatry.

When time allows, I would like to explore in much greater depth those two issues.


Grace and peace,

David