Monday, June 29, 2009

Ken Temple, Mike Liccione, and Randy on Scripture and Tradition


A robust dialogue in the combox of the Scripture and Tradition in the early Church Fathers THREAD has produced (to date) 63 comments. I am going to attempt to summarize some of the more salient points that have been made, and due to the length restrictions of the combox, I have chosen to construct a new thread to do so—I will add some of my own thoughts immediately following the individual summations. (Note: to Chris and others who have been participating—I have singled out Ken, Mike and Randy in this thread because of my interest in the relationship between Scripture and Tradition—hope you know that have appreciated your contributions as well.)

First, Ken Temple –

Ken’s reflections and arguments flow from the presuppositions that are consistent with his Reformed view of sola scriptura—i.e. Scripture is both materially and formally sufficient for determining all necessary doctrine/s. This position has been termed the “ancillary view” by A.N.S. Lane, and Ken believes that it the best candidate for the view held by the early Church Fathers. Ken attempts to defend this position in his June 26, 2009 9:18AM POST (reposted today HERE). Ken pretty much sums of his position with:

If you keep reading, following his argument, all the way down to 3:5:1, you get the ancillary view. By itself, 3:4:1 seems like the coincidence view; but when he fleshes his thinking all the way out; he says, "since we do have the faith in the churches, let us resort to that Scriptural proof, which the apostles wrote down for us"…

This shows that the Gnostics were wrong about their interpretation of the Scriptures, and their claim to have secret knowledge to secret oral tradition left by the apostles (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1:8:1 ) This is the method the RCC apologists employ claiming that the apostles taught orally on Mary and transubstantiation, but it did not come out until centuries later; it was secret and oral, but not written down in the Scriptures. No evidence or proof of any such thing.


My thoughts –

Because Irenaeus urges his readers to “resort to that Scriptural proof”, Ken concludes that this constitutes evidence that he held to the “ancillary view”, rather than the “coincidence view”. Along with so many patristic scholars, I must disagree with Ken on this for a couple of reasons: first, an important aspect of the “coincidence view” is the appeal to Scripture; and second, Irenaeus’ also invokes apostolic tradition and succession which is NOT part of the “ancillary view”, but is an essential ingredient of the “coincidence view”.

Concerning Ken’s comments about “the method the RCC apologists employ claiming that the apostles taught orally on Mary and transubstantiation”, I reject the view that the apostles passed on constitutive ‘oral tradition/s’ that is/are NOT materially contained in Scripture. It is my belief that Marian doctrines, transubstantiation, et al., are consistent theological deductions that are implicit in the original deposit. I do not believe that the apostles were preaching that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven any more than they were preaching the Trinitarian reflections found in the Nicene Creed. (More on this a bit later.)

Second, Mike Liccione –

Dr. Liccione summed his position in his June 24, 2009 7:33 PM POST. From that post we read:

My own position is that Scripture alone is not materially sufficient, but that Tradition is materially sufficient if Scripture be viewed properly: as the most normative record of Tradition. That's compatible with both Trent and Vatican II, which are usually seen as being in mutual tension on the question of the sources of revelation.

Mike’s position is neither the “ancillary view”, nor the “coincidence view”, but rather, it is known as the “supplementary view”. A.N.S. Lane wrote that according “to this view tradition does not just present the content of Scripture in a different form but also supplements it.” I pointed out to Mike that many important Catholic scholars reject this view (SEE THIS THREAD FOR EXAMPLES), as do I.

Third, Randy’s position –

I will let Randy correct me if I am wrong, but in his on going dialogue with Ken, I have yet to see him weigh in on which view of Scripture and Tradition he endorses. I hope that Randy will take the time to articulate his position in the combox of this thread. (BTW, I am truly enjoying your responses to Ken—your and Ken’s charity are stellar examples of how one should conduct themselves on the internet.)


Looking forward to the continuing reflections of all who have taken an interest in this on going dialogue.


Grace and peace,

David

71 comments:

Ken Temple said...

Thanks David for a good discussion:

you wrote:
I must disagree with Ken on this for a couple of reasons: first, an important aspect of the “coincidence view” is the appeal to Scripture; and second, Irenaeus’ also invokes apostolic tradition

But nothing beyond Scripture, as Against Heresies, 3:4:1 to 3:5:1 shows.

and succession which is NOT part of the “ancillary view”, but is an essential ingredient of the “coincidence view”.

"apostolic succession" - in order for this to be the same kind of what the modern RCC believes, one must show that Irenaeus teaches that presbyter/bishops who are ordained by the other bishops or presbyters are going to always forever be in an infallible office kind of thing on into the future.

All he was saying was "at the time" of his battles with the Gnostics, he showed that all the churches believed in the OT God Almighty, the Father, the creator of all things; creator of matter; and matter is good.

That is the main reason he and Tertullian were using the bishops and presbyters argument and tracing them backwards from their time. Protestants agree on that issue, that Gnosticsm was wrong and the leaders were right on that issue, they were teaching right. The EFCs don't seem to be taking it beyond that. Athanasius does not do it either against the Arians and Tropoci. He uses Scripture of the double nature of the scope of the Deity of Christ and the humanity of Christ; and the Trinitarian forumula in Matthew 28:19; among lots of other verses.

I have not found that anyone taught that modern view of apostolic succession that RCCs are teaching today. So, Protestants understand the responsibility for local churches to ordain and appoint elders/bishops/pastors/teachers - Acts 14:21-23; Titus 1:5; I Timothy 3; I Peter 5:1-5; Ephesians 4:11-12.

the issue for us Protestants is that it is possible for the church in the future to go wrong on some things and then later those smaller things grew into bigger things. Paul had to rebuke the Galatians churches for "so quickly deserting Him who called you by His grace" (Gal. 1:6) and 5 out of the seven churches in Rev. 2-3 have drifted away from the Lord and are going to be judged ( I will come and remove your lamp stand 2:5; I will come and make war against them 2:16; I will kill her children with pestilence . . . 2:21-25; "I will come as a thief" 3:3; "I will spew you out of My mouth" 3:16, etc.)

I don't go much by these categories; coincidence, ancillary; supplemental, developing, etc. - they tend to over-generalize - we need specific references and contexts.

Ken Temple said...

It is my belief that Marian doctrines, transubstantiation, et al., are consistent theological deductions that are implicit in the original deposit.

They do not seem to be consistent theological deductions nor implicit in the text of Scripture; they are a stretch; too embarrassing for the RCC magisterium to admit; for then their whole claim and edifice comes crashing down.

I do not believe that the apostles were preaching that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven

Good; but I got that feeling from other RCs at Dave Armstrong's site.

any more than they were preaching the Trinitarian reflections found in the Nicene Creed. (More on this a bit later.)

I would think they did, based on Matthew 28:19 and all the texts that have "there is only one God" with texts that point to "Deity of the Son" and the Deity of the Holy Spirit. That issue, the Trinity with the Deity of Christ and Deity of the Holy Spirit; we can or should all see is implicitly there in the texts themselves. But the RCC Mary and Pope and transubstantiation and treasury of Merit and ex opera operato stuff is not even implicitly there; at all.

I Timothy 2:5 clearly demolishes any ideas of mediators after people die; and those calling Mary co-redemptrix should be ashamed of going against this Scripture.

I Peter 5:1 (fellow-elder)and 2 Peter 1:12-21 proves that Peter was not the first pope.

Matthew 1:18-25 and all the passages on "brothers and sisters of the Lord" completely annihilates arguments that the PVM is implicit in the text.

Many other texts show that bowing down before statues and talking to icons and lighting candles and praying to these creatures is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Again, the Trinity is much much easier to see as implicit in the text, than the RCC distinctive doctrines that Protestants have trouble with.

Randy said...

David,

Sorry for sidetracking the discussion on your blog. Ken gave me a link to this blog. I kind of jumped in and never did address the main thread. That is bad form.

As for which view I support. I would tend towards the supplementary view. I know many Catholics want to say every doctrine has to be in scripture at least in kernel form. I am OK with that but I question it's value. The kernel can look so different from the seed that it is only meaningful to those already convinced. Besides, if you say liturgy was passed on outside scripture then you have an exception anyway. I don't think scripture was given to us to remove anything. That somehow anything not included was deemed unimportant. The canon was defined to deal with false epistles and gospels that came up. Even today people try and read all sorts of things into what the church did not say. We need to be careful. Infallibility protects her from defining false doctrines. It does not protect her from defining incomplete doctrines.

Mike L said...

David:

I would not describe my own position as the "supplementary" view, for I do not believe that Tradition supplements Scripture or vice-versa. Rather, I believe that Scripture, through its acceptance by the Church as the normative written record of apostolic tradition, became and remains an invariant and irreformable norm for transmitting Tradition. But it was not only prior to the canon's coalescence, but also after inscripturation, that non-scriptural Tradition regulates the interpretation of Scripture.

That is why I deny that Scripture is materially sufficient for transmitting tradition. I do not deny that Scripture can be interpreted in such a way as to exhaust the doctrinal content of Tradition, which is what some Catholic theologians mean by 'material sufficiency'; but Scripture can function that way only from an extra-scriptural standpoint formed by Tradition.

Best,
Mike

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave.

Thanks for this helpful summary. I am watching closely but am thinking I am undecided at this time. I do not think the Church has decided at this time either which makes me willing to claim only to believe what the Church teaches...or shall teach...whatever it might be!

I certainly agree with you and against the Traditionalists who believe in an oral Tradition that wasn't mentioned for hundreds of years by any Church Fathers such as the Assumption or Immaculate Conception. I see these doctrines resulting from the Christological controversies and from generations of reflection on the Incarnation.

There have always been objections that we address our Lady as Mother of God. Though she was not the mother of His divine nature, He was God in her womb, and I believe this is what rightly leads to the defined teachings regarding the single person chosen by God the Father to carry His only Son inside of her.

This great mystery leads to the questions that are answered easily by those who believe in the formal sufficiency of Scripture. Mary was a sinner because Romans says all have sinned. Mary died and her body corrupted because the Scripture is silent on the direct question. But I don't think we arrive at Mary by looking at Mary alone in the Scripture. We arrive at Mary by also looking at Christ and Redemption history.

The formally sufficent end up being minimalists who are "assuming" there was no assumption. But why assume corruption of Mary's body when the Catholic Church has the odoriferous bodies of dead saints who weren't even the Mother of God that have never decayed naturally? Of course, formal sufficency of Scripture as one's only authority doesn't permit this information to have any weight in considering how heroic sanctity might not merely redeem the soul and spirit, but somehow our earthly bodies as well. I think it is questionable if the doctrine would have been defined in 1950 if the Church did not have benefit of seeing what has happened to other saints who were highly devoted to the Holy Eucharist and who carried Christ for at most 20 minutes a day. If the Eucharist has such power to sanctify, what would it mean to literally have God's blood mixing with your own for nine months?

Rory

Anonymous said...

Part II:

But that brings us to the question of the Eucharist which I think we win without Tradition anyway on Scripture alone. It is very discouraging to try to reason with people who don't believe anyone believed the current Catholic belief in the Real Presence until Aristotle finally came to the rescue and left them no way out.

Since they don't see any literalism in Chrysostom speaking of communion as "fixing our teeth in His flesh", and they don't give any creedence to why the enemies of the Church were calling us cannibals, I think it is fair to say that the Aristotelian formula was necessary because they won't believe any other formula of words to express what we mean.

EVERYTHING else that comes before is figurative. It is crazy to me. I can see how, because faith is lost, how that the Catholic can move from believing in the Eucharist as we do now to disbelief. But how does one explain that practically overnight, the entire world accepted without a whimper, after a thousand years, that a symbol is a reality, and that reality is now "God in your mouth". It strecthes credulity. Sure there were ignorant peasants but there were brilliant theologians and monasteries overflowing with devout brothers who overnight decided to change their minds and believe in something their mothers and fathers would have been horrified at? I could as soon believe in the proverbial monkeys of Mike Myers flying out of an inconvenient place. It doesn't take into any consideration that living prople who really cared were alive at the time, while rejecting any formula short of Aristotle as historical evidence for the current belief. And then they have the gall to complain that we are philosophizing!

Anyway...off my soapbox. I think I am pretty open-minded about everything except formal sufficency on the Protestant side, and I don't think I could defend the two-source view from the Catholic side which would posit an oral tradition of the Assumption that was never mentioned until the time of John the Damascene. (Maybe he wasn't being literal! Nevermind.)I am not saying it is impossible, and at times I even tend to believe in the story of the Apostles at the tomb of Mary. But in my heart, I think it just came to the place where it was impossible for the faithful to believe that Our Lady sinned and rotted in the ground for it.

So Dave, have I explained myself enough to be categorized? Does this sound like material sufficency? I dunno. Prolly not. Very good stuff here. Thanks again.

Rory

Randy said...

Dave: It is my belief that Marian doctrines, transubstantiation, et al., are consistent theological deductions that are implicit in the original deposit.

Ken: They do not seem to be consistent theological deductions nor implicit in the text of Scripture; they are a stretch; too embarrassing for the RCC magisterium to admit; for then their whole claim and edifice comes crashing down.

Me:Are you saying that the pope and the bishops don't believe in the MArian doctrines and are just maintaining them because they feel embarassed about denying them? I would suggest reading them. This pope has written a lot and many bishops have as well. Read what they have to say about Mary and the Eucharist. It is obvious they are motivated by sincere belief and not embarassment.

It is truly bizarre that you say ot is not even possible to deduct transubstantiation from scripture. There is no scripture passage clearer than John 6. The fact that you can miss the point of it so completely is a real indictment of you exegetical ability. It means your anti-Catholic bias is strong enough to overpower even the clearest of texts. Your human tradition influences your thinking more than the bible.

David Waltz said...

Hi Randy,

I thought it best to respond to you first (and then Mike), before I attempt to address Ken’s substantial comments.

First, thanks much for taking the time to inform me on your take concerning Scripture and Tradition; in a later post I would like to delineate some of issues I have with the “supplementary view”, and why I prefer a combination of the “coincidence” and “developing” views.

Second, concerning the issue of “sidetracking”, I would like to point out that I had/have no problem/s with the direction the combox went in the other thread—I actually enjoyed the dialogue.

Third, I want to thank Ken for providing you with the link to my blog—you are certainly a welcome addition to the posters here at AF.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks much for responding to my “summation”, and clarifying your position. I agree with your comment, “that non-scriptural Tradition regulates the interpretation of Scripture.” You then wrote:

>> That is why I deny that Scripture is materially sufficient for transmitting tradition. I do not deny that Scripture can be interpreted in such a way as to exhaust the doctrinal content of Tradition, which is what some Catholic theologians mean by 'material sufficiency'; but Scripture can function that way only from an extra-scriptural standpoint formed by Tradition.>>

From my readings, references to the “material sufficiency” of Scripture always pertained to the content, and not the transmission—I had not read anyone else who applied “material sufficiency” to the “transmitting” of tradition. But with that said, your clarifications seem to place your view very close to mine.

In a subsequent thread, I plan to type up some excerpts from Albert Cardinal Vanhoye’s essay, “The Reception in the Church of the Dogmatic Constitution “Dei Verbum’”, in Opening Up the Scriptures – Joseph Ratzinger and the Foundations of Biblical Interpretation. If you have not already read this essay, I think you will find Vanhoye’s reflections quite interesting.


Grace and peace,

David

Randy said...

David,

Thanks for the welcome.

I don't think I will be the best defender of the “supplementary view". I guess I don't have a strong opinion on the question and just picked one. My feeling is we need to embrace both anyway. We need to convince ourselves that both have Jesus as their ultimate source and both have God protecting them from corruption.

Protestants often feel that many of the catholic beliefs are not completely without biblical support but they are not comfortable putting so much emphasis on a few key texts. Of course, their own tradition has a few key texts. When you talk about justification there are a few verses in Romans that they feel very comfortable making the window through which they view all scripture about salvation. But making Matthew 16 the window through which all scripture about the church is viewed seems like you are making too big a deal of a few verses.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the biblical connections that are shown for the so-called "unbiblical" doctrines don't feel right to a protestant exegete. He has to rethink his view of tradition before he will accept it.

Once he does trusts tradition then limiting the scope of tradition is no longer an issue. The limits themselves are interpreted by tradition so that can seem like cheating. I can feel the assumption is beyond scripture. The answer is the church has concluded that it isn't. So the church is making rules for itself and acting as its own referee. It seems to have limited value.

Ken Temple said...

Randy wrote:
Me:Are you saying that the pope and the bishops don't believe in the MArian doctrines and are just maintaining them because they feel embarassed about denying them?

Not exactly; however the 1870 Infallibility Dogma backed them into a corner and after that point, they could never admit a mistake in doctrine, even if there really is a mistake in the past; which the anathemas on Hononrius for centuries clearly show that the 1870 dogma of infalliblity is wrong; that is the main one that they cannot admit was wrong; for it would bring down everything else.

It is that attitude of "we have never made a mistake in doctrine in history" that I am talking about.


I would suggest reading them. This pope has written a lot and many bishops have as well. Read what they have to say about Mary and the Eucharist. It is obvious they are motivated by sincere belief and not embarassment.

I will grant you that, ok; I think my above answer is more of what I was talking about; the historicity of the papal doctrines and dogma and the development of it is the weakest of all Roman Catholic doctrines; yet it is the one that seals all the others in history so that no one can question anything. It is the most tyrannical and dictatorial thought/doctrinal system ever created.

It is truly bizarre that you say ot is not even possible to deduct transubstantiation from scripture. There is no scripture passage clearer than John 6. The fact that you can miss the point of it so completely is a real indictment of you exegetical ability.

That one is more understandable; I am willing to adjust my statements on that issue: I can see how people can get that meaning from John 6. I still disagree that it is that "clear", but I can see how many Christians in history got the "real presence". But I was talking about the transubstantiation development from Radbertus to Aquinas ( 800s - 1215) more.

The issues of accidence and essence and appearance and genuflecting before it and ex opera operato and the tablernacle and laws on how to dispose of left over bread and wine and that the laity are not even allowed to partake in the cup -- those are the things that are "goofy" and ridiculous and no where in the text.

But, I can see a "real presence" in the sense that Calvin said - that believers commune with the spiritual presence of Christ in the Lord's supper by faith and if they examine themselves first and confess their sins and reconcile with others, etc.

Ken Temple said...

"If is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life"

John 6:63

This verse makes his meaning and intention more clear.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

When in the history of Christendom do we first see the interpretation of the verse from St. John's "Bread of Life Discourse" that you seem to be advocating here?

Blessings,
BC

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

After getting back from a run, closely followed by lunch, I have been re-reading your first post, pondering over the approach to take in responding. I have read a considerable amount of material concerning the issue of apostolic succession, by authors of varied backgrounds (e.g. conservatives, moderates, and liberals from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Presbyterian communions), and if there is anything I have learned it is that scholars can read and interpret the same material quite differently. With that said, the initial approach I have decided to take is to address comments that you submitted which I have deemed to be a bit imprecise, and then suggest that you read a fairly recent address of Benedict XVI that specifically entails the issue of apostolic succession. You wrote:

>> "apostolic succession" - in order for this to be the same kind of what the modern RCC believes, one must show that Irenaeus teaches that presbyter/bishops who are ordained by the other bishops or presbyters are going to always forever be in an infallible office kind of thing on into the future.>>

I think it is important to point out that apostolic succession, as understood by Catholics, does not teach that rightfully/properly ordained bishops/elders are infallible. And though teaching is an important aspect of the episcopate, Catholics tend to attach more importance (individually speaking) to the sacramental nature of the office.

>> All he was saying was "at the time" of his battles with the Gnostics, he showed that all the churches believed in the OT God Almighty, the Father, the creator of all things; creator of matter; and matter is good.>>

IMHO, Irenaeus said much more than this—for instance, one of his arguments was that the Gnostics differed among themselves, while “the Catholic Church possesses one, and the same faith throughout the whole world”. Further, this oneness/unity is preserved via three, inseparable aspects: Scripture, tradition, and “the successions of the bishops”.

Before proceeding any further with my own comments, I want to give you the link to Benedict XVI’s address—I think it is a good read. Get back to me after you have had a chance to read it, and we shall continue the dialogue. LINK TO BENEDICT XVI’S ADDRESS .


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

So good to see you back! Thanks much for your kind words, and taking the time to type up your thoughts—they were, as always, well written and insightful.

As for whether or not your position “sound[s] like material sufficiency”, I think it does; “material sufficiency”, as I understand it, requires Tradition to faithfully interpret and transmit the original deposit of faith. I believe that both you and I are quite close to what Dr. Liccione wrote yesterday:

>> I do not deny that Scripture can be interpreted in such a way as to exhaust the doctrinal content of Tradition, which is what some Catholic theologians mean by 'material sufficiency'; but Scripture can function that way only from an extra-scriptural standpoint formed by Tradition.>>


Grace and peace,

David

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken.

I am wondering how you are so certain that you are right regarding John 6. Is your belief really based on sola scriptura, or is it just a tradition of simple incredulity. I suggest you are the victim of a half millenium of faithless presumptiveness that springs upon one verse and interprets it in a way that wasn't understood by anyone else that was present in the way you say we should understand it now.

You quote John 6:63 in your Bible(6:64 in Catholic Bible) as the reason why you believe Jesus was speaking figuratively when He said that "His flesh and blood was meat indeed".

"If is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life" John 6:63 (64)

You affirm that "This verse makes his meaning and intention more clear."

It seems that you can't help seeing how someone could interpret our Lord's words literally. After all, many were scandalized because they had the same incredulity as you at the notion of a literal interpretation. After Jesus makes His "meaning and intention more clear" those who couldn't believe in a literal interpretation left Him anyway. Why? Because they didn't interpret Jesus to be saying that His words were figurative. They understood Him just as St. Peter did. He was saying that His words were true. That is why they left...because they couldn't believe it. That is why when Jesus asked the Twelve if they would leave Peter didn't say, "Of course not, you have explained the figurative meaning of your words." No. Peter was simply resigned to whatever teaching Jesus might give including those you would call "goofy."

"Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (Jn 6:69 Douay-Rheims)

In context, it doesn't make sense why, if Jesus is pleased with disciples that are scandalized at a literal interpretation of John 6, that He didn't call those proto-Calvins and proto-Zwinglis back to Him to tell them how right they were in rejecting the possibility of a literal interpretation.

Regards,

Rory

Randy said...

If is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life" John 6:63

Was Jesus refering to HIS flesh when he says "the flesh profits nothing"? Does that not prove too much? Does it not mean the cross is worthless? No, Jesus is talking about OUR flesh. He knows our flesh will have a hard time accepting this truth. But our spirit needs this truth and that is more important.

So even you favorite verse in the discourse does not fit your interpretation. It is making Jesus a gnostic. That is what makes this passage so clear. Only one interpretation comes close to fitting the text. That does not stop people from simply insisting on another one no matter how many irrational positions they have to embrace. That is always an option. That is why Sola Scriptura can't work. Sin darkens our intellect and we can't see the most obvious biblical injunctions. I am sure you have noticed that in other people. When you admit that you are no better then you are in the place of humility that we need to be to open ourselves up to the mothering of they church. Because a children don't just need to read their family story and their family rules. They need a mother to clarify those rules.

Randy said...

Not exactly; however the 1870 Infallibility Dogma backed them into a corner and after that point, they could never admit a mistake in doctrine, even if there really is a mistake in the past; which the anathemas on Hononrius for centuries clearly show that the 1870 dogma of infalliblity is wrong; that is the main one that they cannot admit was wrong; for it would bring down everything else.

How much do you know about recent church history? Vatican II? The new mass? Does this seem like a church leadership living in fear of contradicting prior decisions? I don't think so. That is a good thing. Infallibility is not burden placed on the pope. It is a burden taken by God and removed from the pope. God guarentees that certain definitive teachings will not contain error. The pope guarentees nothing. He can't. He is just a man. So it frees him from the fear of wrecking the church. This is a good thing because if popes could have wrecked the church it would have happened many times over the centuries.

Ken Temple said...

Randy,
on John 6 -
there are just so many verses in the whole passage beginning in verse 22, all the way through 71; that it is too much for the comboxes.

If you study the whole thing, it shows that "eating My flesh and blood" (v. 53-54) is equal to believing(v. 29, 35, 40,47, 69), being drawn by the Father (44, 65), coming to Jesus(v. 35, 37, 44), trusting, beholding the Son (v. 40); so that is not the only verse ( 63) in my exegesis. I include the entire section, not just verses 53-61 and your emphasis and they later historical development of transubstantiation from Radbertus in 800s to Aquinas in 1215 AD.

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him, and I will raise Him on the last day"
v. 44

is parallel with

"he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise Him up on the last day." v. 54

The drawing of the Father, resulting in some coming to Jesus and believing, trusting, thirsting, hungering for Him and all He is (trusting in Him as Word, the Savior, the Lord, the Messiah and His death on the cross - the giving of His flesh and blood); the work of God on the inside brings true believers all the way so that they persevere and are "raised up on the last day".

I reject your charge of Gnositicsm and making the cross worthless.

We remember the literal physical incarnation (the bread of life that came down of heaven) and the historical real crucifixion, physical, by celebrating the Lord's supper and looking back and examining ourselves and trusting in his once for all death on the cross; His grace keeps us abiding in Him - ongoing trust; we are eating the bread and drinking the wine as symbols of that powerful work for our salvation.

So, I am not Gnostic; verse 63 is not the only verse I look at; and it is the RCC interpretation that took the illustration that Jesus was using too far into superstition and idolatry and just plain goofiness.

Just as Jesus used the literal water to teach spiritual truth to the Samaritan woman (John 4) and a literal vine to teach spiritual truth to the disciples ( John 15:1-16); He uses literal bread and wine to teach spiritual truths about His incarnation and crucifixion; and that trust must be in all that He is and did for us on the cross.

Ken Temple said...

David,
You did not seem to me to deal with Irenaeus in 3:4:1- 3:5:1.

Don't you see that if we just stay in context there and keep reading, it is saying that the only way to know what the tradition is; one has to "resort to the Scriptural proof", as to what the "tradition" is.

This is what Luther and Calvin and Huss (on some of the same issues, not all) and Wycliffe and others did on testing RCC doctrines that were not Scriptural.

They went to the Scriptural proof and found that Papacy is wrong, faith alone justifies, but also changes us and sanctifies us and does not stay alone, but results in good works; that transubstantiation was wrong; that indulgences and purgatory and merit and treasury of merit and Marian doctrines, practices and dogmas were all wrong; that the RCC priesthood and ex opera operato was wrong.

bishops and presbyters were not infallible - good - therefore they could go wrong in the future. Just because they got it right on Gnosticism in Irenaeus, Tertullian, and against Arians and Tropici with Athanasius, does not mean they got it right with Luther and Calvin and justification, etc.

The bishop of Rome was only not infallible and no one heard of such a doctrine until centuries later. Cyprian was right in his rebuke of Stephen; Tertullian, in his rebukes of Callistus, shows that he did not think there was any "infallible" characteristic or doctrine or anointing in the bishop of Rome. and Irenaeus was right in his rebuke of Victor.

Ken Temple said...

MHO, Irenaeus said much more than this—for instance, one of his arguments was that the Gnostics differed among themselves, while “the Catholic Church possesses one, and the same faith throughout the whole world”.

Yes, and Protestants have always agreed with the ancient "catholic church" (universal) church of the early centuries, in its stand against Gnosticism, Arianism, Modalism, Pelagianism, etc. It is anachronistic apologetics to use that unity and the way Irenaeus bolsters his argument against those heresies, and then say that because the presbyters and bishops were unified and right then, that that means that they are right on all of the other future things that Evangelicals began questioning as Scriptural.

Further, this oneness/unity is preserved via three, inseparable aspects: Scripture, tradition, and “the successions of the bishops”.

Show me the specific Irenaeus quotes on that. The one you gave before did not work; for it left out the rest of Irenaeus' argument - 3:4:1 to 3:5:1.

Even so, that still does not mean that the tradition can be expanded to include those other things (Pope, Mary, indulgences, trans., purgatory, etc.); nor that the future successions of presbyter/bishops will get the doctrine right. If they don't keep resorting to the Scriptural proof, they will go off tract, which is what they did.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for responding; you wrote:

>>You did not seem to me to deal with Irenaeus in 3:4:1- 3:5:1.

Don't you see that if we just stay in context there and keep reading, it is saying that the only way to know what the tradition is; one has to "resort to the Scriptural proof", as to what the "tradition" is.>>

The context begins with the preface of chapter 3, and the most important point (IMHO) that Irenaeus is attempting to establish is that there is NO material difference between Scripture and the tradition found/preached, via succession, in the apostolic churches. Building on this foundation, Irenaeus states that the Gnostics “consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition” (3.2.2). So, Irenaeus can, and does, appeal to two authorities (Scripture and tradition), arguing that the two are the same. He most certainly is NOT saying “that the only way to know what the tradition is; one has to ‘resort to the Scriptural proof’”, for chapters 2-4 of book 4 argues that one CAN turn to the tradition found in the apostolic churches via succession for “the only true and life-giving faith”. He even goes so far as to ask the question: “For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings” (3.4.1)? He answers his own question with: “Would it not be necessary [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches” [i.e. the bishops]?

I may be dense, but me thinks Irenaeus is pretty clear here—right?


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

OOOPS...typo in my last post...

>>for chapters 2-4 of book 4 argues>>

should read book 3 !

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

You posted:

>> This is what Luther and Calvin and Huss (on some of the same issues, not all) and Wycliffe and others did on testing RCC doctrines that were not Scriptural.

They went to the Scriptural proof and found that Papacy is wrong, faith alone justifies, but also changes us and sanctifies us and does not stay alone, but results in good works; that transubstantiation was wrong…>>

Concerning “faith alone justifies”: this (once again) is a Catholic teaching—correctly understood. The phrase itself is not found in the Bible—in fact, the negative equivalent IS: “You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24 – NASB)

Yet with that said, there is, once again, a Catholic affirmation of the phrase “faith alone justifies”.

“Justification takes place ‘by grace alone’ (JD 15 and 16), by faith alone, the person is justified ‘apart from works’ (Rom 3:28, cf. JD 25).” [SEE SECTION C IN THIS DOCUMENT.]


For other Catholic affirmations, SEE SECTION 4 HERE.



Concerning “transubstantiation was wrong”, see the recent posts by Rory and Randy—good stuff.



Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

The context begins with the preface of chapter 3, and the most important point (IMHO) that Irenaeus is attempting to establish is that there is NO material difference between Scripture and the tradition found/preached, via succession, in the apostolic churches.


That's fine for tradition at that time, and it does not contradict Protestant Evangelical Christianity; the problem is, the RCC wants to, and did expand it out beyond Scripture - all of the things that separate us on the RCC are not in Scripture at all; although you have your proof -texts for some of them. They go back into time and claim that those later things are earlier in seed form or secret oral tradition that was not written down, something that Irenaeus rebukes the Gnostics for. The RCC appeal to secret oral tradition that was not written down is Gnostic in principle.


Building on this foundation, Irenaeus states that the Gnostics “consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition” (3.2.2). So, Irenaeus can, and does, appeal to two authorities (Scripture and tradition), arguing that the two are the same.

Since they are the same at that time; and they are all a Nicene/apostles/athanasian creed kind of doctrines, there is not contradiction with historic Protestantism and we are "deep in history" also. Newman was wrong on that and Evangelicals should not be duped by that apologetic.

He most certainly is NOT saying “that the only way to know what the tradition is; one has to ‘resort to the Scriptural proof’”,

I disagree; since we do have the Scriptures, he says, let us resort to that Scriptural proof that tells us what the "tradition" is. (which is the doctrinal Trinitarian formula / rule of faith / God the father Almighty/ same God in OT as NT and not a demiurge and matter is good, etc.

for chapters 2-4 of book 3 argues that one CAN turn to the tradition found in the apostolic churches via succession for “the only true and life-giving faith”.

yes, but at the time they are the same thing. You and RCC apologetics is trying to make the point that today's oral tradition beyond Scripture, using such passages as 2 Thess. 2:15 and 3:6; then reading Mary, Pope, indulgences, purgatory, penance, treasury of merit, mediators, etc. back into those passages; claiming that they are back there in Scripture and claiming that when Irenaeus speaks of tradition or "the rule of faith", who are claiming those things are there in Irenaeus, when they are not.


He even goes so far as to ask the question: “For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings” (3.4.1)?

Yes, they had the "tradition" or "rule of faith" at that time, the trinitarian doctrinal formula, even without Scripture. Problem is you guys are reading Mary and Pope and indulgences and grace as a substance and trans. back into that. You cannot and should not do that.

He answers his own question with: “Would it not be necessary [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches” [i.e. the bishops]?

Sure, at the time, no problem; the problem is the churches and bishops later went too far and started adding things.

I may be dense, but me thinks Irenaeus is pretty clear here—right?

Clear for my viewpoint, yes. (smile)

Ken Temple said...

Concerning “faith alone justifies”: this (once again) is a Catholic teaching—correctly understood.

( I realize "correctly understood" is "according to RCC interpretation, etc.)

Then why did they not recognize it in the Bible when Luther and others started pointing these things out. The RCC reacted in an authoritarian "lording it over", dictator/tyrannical fashion, and without Frederick the Wise of Saxony, they would have executed Luther for heresy; as they did Huss and Wycliffe (posthumusly).

It took the RCC too long to even grant some kind of understanding of "faith alone" as this document you are citing is very recent with some of the Lutherans. Shame on them for taking so long to at least get that much right; even though it does not go far enough on imputation and Christ's righteousness and the bondage of the will.


The phrase itself is not found in the Bible—in fact, the negative equivalent IS: “You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24 – NASB)

Yes, but we have a very good exegetical explanation for all that. James means that just claiming faith ( "if any one says, "I have faith"); but if there is no change, fruit, good works as a result of faith, then that faith is not real, being dead.

Yet with that said, there is, once again, a Catholic affirmation of the phrase “faith alone justifies”.

Good; but it does not go far enough and Trent still stands as condemning the Reformation.

“Justification takes place ‘by grace alone’ (JD 15 and 16), by faith alone, the person is justified ‘apart from works’ (Rom 3:28, cf. JD 25).” [SEE SECTION C IN THIS DOCUMENT.]

That is good; but it took the RCC too long, as I said; and even that is not far enough; for they still have merit, treasurey of merit, penance, indulgences, mortal and venial sins teachings, purgatory, no definite assurance, NT priestly sacerdotal ex opere operato powers, papal teachings and dogmas, Marian dogmas, relying upon her to save oneself; praying to her; bowing down before pictures of her and talking to the pictures and statues, transubstantiation, etc.. These are religious ceremonies and traditions of men that the RCC teaches that you have to keep doing so it is really not "faith alone in Christ alone"

Ken Temple said...

Rory wrote regarding John 6 and transubstantiation:

That is why they left...because they couldn't believe it.

I answered most of what Rory writes with my last post in response to Randy about John 6 and transubstantiation.

True, they could not believe in Christ, because God was not drawing them (v. 44, 65). Luther was right against Erasmus in the bondage of the will. see also (John 8:34, Titus 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Romans 6:6-7; 6:16-18)

Those that withdrew were not drawn or converted on the inside, so they did not continue. Those that continue to trust in Christ and follow Him are the ones who have been drawn by the Father and by His grace awakening them and giving them a new heart, they continue to follow Him.

He was talking about his flesh and blood that would be given at the cross and "eating" and "drinking" are illustrations of embracing Him and the cross and believing and trusting in Him and all that that incarnation (the living bread that has come down from heaven) and atonement meant.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Would you say that when our Lord said, "the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world..." - that He thinks said flesh "profits nothing?"

Blessings,
BC

TOm said...

Hello all,
Was the absence of a Mormon commentator actually lamented in the previous thread?
I have been following the last few threads and have really enjoyed them. I wish I could say the opinion I am about to offer was the result of the last few threads, but it was merely solidified by the last few threads. Part of my reason for breaking my silence is that I do not see Chris here and I want comment about what his position means to me.

I share with Chris and Ken concerns about the Catholic position. Is development appropriate? If it is, is the Papacy really present in seed form within the very early church? I share with David, Rory, and Randy (and Chris) a concern for the dogmatism present within Ken’s tradition. I follow Chris when it comes to rejecting the authority and the dogmas (some of the dogmas) defined by the authority that Catholics embrace. I follow Catholics when it comes to seeing authority in the early church and in the Bible. I am closer the Catholic and Ken when it comes to my view of the value of scripture than I am to Chris, but certainly I do not embrace the boldest views of inerrancy present within Catholic and Protestant traditions.

Concerning the original question, I think that I embrace a material sufficiency of scripture with an existence of an authority whose roll is to interpret scripture. Of course with an open canon and an embracing of the potential of future revelation, I do not follow the Catholic who embraces the “coincidence view.” In fact while I would not suggest the term irreformable has much place in LDS thought, I would say that to some extent I think LDS supplement our scripture with teachings of authorities. But these extra scriptural (not anti-scriptural IMO) views are not as binding (as irreformable) as our the scriptural views contained within the four standard works.

I offer the above just so I can to some extent answer the questions posed by this thread.

Back to Chris:
IMO the existence of Chris is the death blow to Ken’s position. Chris has taken the view that we can search for truth within the scriptures unmored from the authority purportedly established by Christ to its logical conclusion. Assuming Chris would not castigate Ken for believing scripture teaches against homosexuality, I think Chris has the more consistent view. I suspect neither Chris nor Ken would be willing to speak harshly of woman at church who didn’t wear hats (or stay covered however Paul might have meant that). Why not? Chris I suspect would point to Paul’s culture and say that God was not concerned with woman remaining covered and then turn around and say that Paul’s culture is responsible for the teachings on homosexuality too. I do not know what Ken would say.

I remember telling Chris that the Bible spoke of the importance of authority in books like Titus or Timothy or ??? (I do not remember at the moment). He said that an authoritative hierarchy choose the books to be included in the Bible so such is to be expected. Not the response I suspected, but the logical outgrowth IMO of the Protestant position.

Chris is IMO the Protestant position that reason must recon with. I am uncomfortable with believing as he does and might find myself worshiping with Ken if I could not be a LDS or a Catholic, but if it was all about internal consistency I think Chris is the Protestant.


Now, I mentioned that I have Catholic problems. I also readily see Mormon problems (Chris is a very informed critic of what I consider to be the biggest Mormon problem the BOA). But, I can see ways out of most of the historical problems Protestants hang upon Mormons and Catholics. I cannot see a way out of the problem that Chris exemplifies for Conservative Protestantism.
The view of scripture that Ken embraces does not lead to the doctrinal dogmatism demanded by Ken. Chris’s existence IMO clearly shows this.

Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

Would you say that when our Lord said, "the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world..." - that He thinks said flesh "profits nothing?"

Blessings,
BC

No, he is talking about giving his physical flesh on the cross -the atonement. That verse 51, also includes the incarnation, the physical reality of God becoming flesh. The incarnation and the atonement are one time for all time historical events that are not repeatable.

The RC mass comes close to repeating these two events and contradicting reality and history and the Scriptures which say "once for all", several times in Hebrews 7, 9, and 10 and Romans 6:10 and 1 Peter 3:18.

Ken Temple said...

IMO the existence of Chris is the death blow to Ken’s position.

Welcome back Tom.

How is the existence of Chris a death blow? I don't see it. Chris thinks he can interpret anything any way in his own self; no hell, no wrath of God against sin; homosexuality is not sin in his view; "all you need is love" (John Lennon) and "image there's no heaven" ( John Lennon)

If you hold on to the Word of God as inspired and infallible; and seek to interpret it properly, it does not lead to Chris's position, just because we reject the RCC magisterium.

Ken Temple said...

But in this, the third book I shall adduce proofs from the Scriptures, so that I may come behind in nothing of what thou hast enjoined; yea, that over and above what thou didst reckon upon, thou mayest receive from me the means of combating and vanquishing those who, in whatever manner, are propagating falsehood.

. . .
For the Lord of all gave to His apostles the power of the Gospel, through whom also we have known the truth, that is, the doctrine of the Son of God; to whom also did the Lord declare: “He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me, and Him that sent Me.”

From the Preface of book 3 of Irenaeus' Against Heresies

Ken Temple said...

1. We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith
(See 1 Tim. iii. 15, where these terms are used in reference to the Church.)

For it is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed “perfect knowledge,” as some do even venture to say, boasting themselves as improvers of the apostles. For, after our Lord rose from the dead, [the apostles] were invested with power from on high when the Holy Spirit came down [upon them], were filled from all [His gifts], and had perfect knowledge: they departed to the ends of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things [sent] from God to us, and proclaiming the peace of heaven to men, who indeed do all equally and individually possess the Gospel of God. Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.

2. These have all declared to us that there is one God, Creator of heaven and earth, announced by the law and the prophets; and one Christ the Son of God. If any one do not agree to these truths, he despises the companions of the Lord; nay more, he despises Christ Himself the Lord; yea, he despises the Father also, and stands self-condemned, resisting and opposing his own salvation, as is the case with all heretics.

From Against Heresies, 3:1:1-2 by Irenaeus

Ken Temple said...

1. When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: [living voice] wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.”

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3:2:1

These are also common methods of RCC apologetics: To accuse the Scriptures of being ambiguous and unclear and "too hard" therefore one must trust the RCC magisterium to come up with the right interpretion.

also, that there was a secret oral tradition, viva voce "living voice" . another RCC method.

Randy said...

If you hold on to the Word of God as inspired and infallible; and seek to interpret it properly, it does not lead to Chris's position, just because we reject the RCC magisterium.

It does not lead you there but it does lead Chris there. Isn't that a problem? Even if you assume you are 100% right does not the fact that your rule of faith leads many people to a wrong faith mean it is deeply flawed?

Randy said...

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him, and I will raise Him on the last day"
v. 44

is parallel with

"he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise Him up on the last day." v. 54


This is a big trick. To find a parallel and then assume that means you can throw out the verse you don't like. It's just nonsense but you see it from evangelicals all the time because they are desperate to avoid the clear meaning of the text. Parallels mean the verses should be viewed together. They should shed light on one another. It does not mean it is not literal. It does not mean you can just ignore the one and assume it means the same as the other. Jesus here is paralleling the life of faith and the sacramental life. They are 2 sides of the same coin. It does not follow that you can ignore what He says about sacraments and just look at what He says about faith.

Paul even uses the death and resurrection of Jesus as a parallel for the dying of the old self and the bringing to life of the new. Does that mean the death and resurrection are just symbols. It is just silly. But why do we go there with John 6? The parallels are valid but they don't help you at all in escaping Jesus point. That we are to eat His body and drink His blood.

TOm said...

Ken,
Thanks, for the welcome.
The reason I think Chris provides problems for you is that I think he has consistently followed the type of thinking the reformers initiated.
Now, the reformers attempted to guard against Chris’s path, but I do not see any roadblocks that cannot or should not be dismantled (for consistency) once one embraces the views the reformers espoused.
Scripture unmoored from tradition does not IMO clearly teach many things that you would demand are necessary to be orthodox in ones Christianity.

I cannot think of any scripture that teaches it is ok for woman not to be covered in church, but I think Chris could build a case that if God is love then homosexual love is not forbidden. So one passage against woman being uncovered and zero in favor of woman being uncovered. Many passages against homosexuality against a tangential reading of many passages that emphasize love.
Also, some Protestant’s views of scripture (especially from >100 years ago) are less built upon facts than the view of Morton Smith and “Secret Mark.” Since scripture does not define the canon, perhaps “Secret Mark” should be part of the canon.

I just think that there is too much of conservative Christianity (Catholic and Protestant) that lacks foundation when one unmoors from Tradition.


Charity, TOm

TOm said...

I wanted to insert myself into another aspect of this discussion too if I can.
As I understand the “Coincidence View” it would involve the pointing to scripture and tradition and the suggestion that the deposit of the faith is present in both, but that scripture is not “formally sufficient.” Lacking “formal sufficiency” to me means that well meaning folks can have different ideas on what scripture is trying to communicate. (I think all do admit this, but Ken might say that the “essentials” are clear enough).
Tradition in the “Coincidence View” as I understand David to be espousing it is more than just the oral words passed from the Apostles through the writing of the ECF to us. (I think Ken tilts at a windmill when he calls Catholic Tradition that same thing as the Secret Gnosis of the Gnostics). But Tradition is the teaching of the ECF and the Church who use the authority (and Holy Spirit conveyed by that authority) to pull out of scripture the doctrines that are important for any given controversy. So, at the Arian controversy Athanasius and the majority of the Bishops used Tradition to define truth. Both in their appeal to the more ancient practices of worshiping Jesus Christ AND in the utilization of their authority to define dogma contra Arius they were appealing to Tradition.

A quick side note:
Hans Boersma (a Protestant scholar, at least he was 2-3 years ago) argued that Arius was the Sola Scriptura Christian at Nicea. Arius came at Scripture with an attempt to be unmoored from presuppositions, to adopt a “neutral” position. Athanasius came at Scripture with the intention of following “The Rule of Faith.”
The lecture is titled:
Begotten Not Made? Athanasius and the Creeds.


Some of Ken’s responses to David didn’t indicate to me that Ken was completely addressing the Coincidence View. This is probably just my error, but let me offer my perspective.

Ken said that Scripture and Tradition both contained the gospel when Irenaeus lived, but what Catholics call Tradition now includes things that are not part of scripture. I think David’s position is that the church functions today as it did in Irenaeus’s day. Scripture contains the revelation of God, but Tradition is necessary to define in more clear terms what that revelation is. Thus both scripture and Tradition contain the deposit of faith. This is true for the largely accepted definitions of the Trinity AND for the Catholic Marian doctrines.

To me, Ken requires that the definition of the Trinity is enough obvious in scripture, but the Marian doctrines are not enough obvious. While I can recognize gradations of obviousness, I fail to see how we can know what is clear enough and what is not clear enough.


I would also say that if anything in scripture is clear and undisputed it is that woman should cover their heads in church. Other things like the different ways of aligning the importance of Christ with monotheism (ways like Arianism, Modalism, Augustinian Trinitarianism, Social Trinitarianism, and …) are far less clear.


I think I am rambling!
Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Well hello Tom!

So good to see you back at AF; having a knowledgeable Latter-day Saint contributing helps (forces?) the rest of us to refine our thoughts.

You wrote:

>>As I understand the “Coincidence View” it would involve the pointing to scripture and tradition and the suggestion that the deposit of the faith is present in both, but that scripture is not “formally sufficient.” Lacking “formal sufficiency” to me means that well meaning folks can have different ideas on what scripture is trying to communicate. (I think all do admit this, but Ken might say that the “essentials” are clear enough).>>

Your understanding of CV is pretty much the same as J.N.D. Kelly, A.N.S. Lane, D.H. Williams, and many other patristic scholars. Those who hold to CV appeal to the Scriptures as much as those who hold to “formal sufficiency”, but they do so with an established tradition as a “rule”.

As for the clarity of the “essentials”, Lane’s observation is worth repeating:

“It was this belief in the clarity of Scripture that made the early disputes between Protestants so fierce. This theory seemed plausible while the majority of Protestants held to Luthern or Calvinist orthodoxy but the seventeenth century saw the beginning of the erosion of these monopolies. But even in 1530 Casper Schwenckfeld could cynically note that ‘the Papists damn the Lutherans; the Lutherans damn the Zwinglians; the Zwinglians damn the Anabaptists and the Anabaptists damn all others.’ By the end of the seventeenth century many others saw that it was not possible on the basis of Scripture alone to build up a detailed orthodoxy commanding general assent.”

You also wrote:

>>A quick side note:
Hans Boersma (a Protestant scholar, at least he was 2-3 years ago) argued that Arius was the Sola Scriptura Christian at Nicea. Arius came at Scripture with an attempt to be unmoored from presuppositions, to adopt a “neutral” position. Athanasius came at Scripture with the intention of following “The Rule of Faith.”
The lecture is titled:
Begotten Not Made? Athanasius and the Creeds.>>

I concur with Boersma, and would like to add that when the later Arian, Maximus, debated the great Augustine, and the two agreed to stick to Scripture alone, Maximus carried the day, besting the esteemed saint.

[BTW, do you have a link to Boersma’s lecture?]


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Ken wrote:
If you hold on to the Word of God as inspired and infallible; and seek to interpret it properly, it does not lead to Chris's position, just because we reject the RCC magisterium.

Randy responded:

It does not lead you there but it does lead Chris there.

Chris did not hold on the idea that Scripture is infallible and inerrant and the final authority; he rejected all authorities, both RCC and historical church authorities and the Scripture. So, he did not "hold on" to the word of God, the Scriptures, which Paul exhorted Timothy to; and so Chris' method is not protestant, for the true Protestants did not reject the Bible itself. I mean by thinking it has some good principles in it (God is love; love your neighbor; do not judge, etc.), but that it is not inspired and we can sit in judgment over it and decide what we think is true and what is not true.

Isn't that a problem? Even if you assume you are 100% right does not the fact that your rule of faith leads many people to a wrong faith mean it is deeply flawed?

No; liberals do not follow the rule of faith; they reject not only the RCC magisterium and history of authority, but the Scriptures themselves as inspired and infallible and inerrant. Evangelicals believe in inspiration and inerrancy; we respect God and the Scriptures; we also believe in qualified teachers/pastors/elders to shepherd the flock and teach properly. Liberals believe in none of those things; except their own higher critical scholars who hold presuppositions of skepticism toward the inspiration of Scripture.

Ken Temple said...

Arius came at Scripture with an attempt to be unmoored from presuppositions, to adopt a “neutral” position. Athanasius came at Scripture with the intention of following “The Rule of Faith.”

When I look at John 1:1-5; study the Greek, it is obvious that it was Athanasius who held to something closer to Sola Scriptura and Arius could not handle, "and the word was God".

Also, Athanasius' argument against the Tropici in "To Serapion: Four Discourses on the Holy Spirit; was a Sola Scriptura method of argumentation, especially when he identifies "the tradition" as Matthew 28:19, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit". Book 1:28-29

Ken Temple said...

This is a big trick.

Randy,
No; because you also left out all the other parallels throughout John 6:29-71 that shows that "faith" and "believing" are the main issue.

Jesus calls His own incarnation "the bread of life who came down out of heaven"

Do you think He means a literal bagel or loaf of bread or a giant flat bread taftoon coming down out of heaven? obviously not.

and uses "faith", "believe", "behold", "drawn", "comes to Me", "thirsts and drinks", "hungers and eats" all parallel to one another.

To eat His flesh and drink His blood means to believe and trust in His incarnation and His atonement; and we celebrate the Lord's supper as symbols looking back on those two historical real events for our salvation.

Ken Temple said...

Your understanding of CV is pretty much the same as J.N.D. Kelly, A.N.S. Lane, D.H. Williams, and many other patristic scholars.

These 3 are all 3 Protestants; so what keeps them from extending the "tradition" out and developing it out later in history with the additions that the RCC did?

Because they know that even though the traditon and rule of faith at the time of Irenaeus and Tertullian and Athanasius (a little later) had the basic Trinitarian materials based on Matthew 28:19 and other Scriptures which teach monotheism and that the Father is God; the Son is God and the Spirit is God and they are all three persons in personal relationship with one another; what keeps them Protestant must be that they understand that Irenaeus and Tertullian and Athanasius never said that the church authorities had the right to take Scripture any way they wanted to and add those things in the future and then claim that they are the authority, therefore "whatever we say goes".

TOm said...

David and all,

Here is the MP3 of Boersma requiring $5 payment. I am sure I got it for free somehow about 2-3 years ago.
http://www.regentaudio.com/begotten_not_made_athanasius_and_the_creeds?category_id=85


Also, is my understanding of what Tradition is within the CV correct? I have leapt beyond where I previously was when I claimed that Tradition included the Holy Spirit guiding the authorities who stand in the place of the Apostles. This seemed necessary when David claimed that he did not believe the Apostles taught the assumption of Mary and yet this was the Holy Spirit guided consistent outgrowth of the CV’s use of Tradition and Scripture.

Charity, TOm

TOm said...

Ken and all,
You argued that you do not believe Arius was the Sola Scriptura Christian at the Council of Nicea and that the Athanasian view flowed reasonably enough from scripture. It does not surprise me that this is your view. I think the Athanasian view is a good read of the Bible if one demands that the Bible teaches Metaphysical Monotheism (which I think both Arius and Athanasius believed/demanded) and one is willing to accept the difficulties of 3=1 (I know there are more sophisticated ways of delineating the difficulties for a human mind to understand the Trinity, but …). I think the Arian view does not perfectly deal with the Biblical witness of Christ’s divinity, but it is less able to deal with the witness of the preceding 3 centuries of Christ worship. I personally am a Social Trinitarian and do not believe the Bible teaches a Metaphysical Monotheism but rather a Monotheism derived from the foundational divinity of God the Father and the oneness of communion between Father, Son, and Spirit.

I expect you will tell me why my view of what the Bible says is wrong. I doubt your words will convince me where so many others have not. But, it is not my point to determine the truth/falsity of various Biblical doctrines. My point is that the Bible does not present a clear enough picture of the Trinity for you and I to agree. I assure you, I am sincere. I am quite convinced you are too. It is not about multiplying heretics (your, I do not care about how many false teachers there are argument). It is about the fact that regardless of what criteria one places over the valid Biblical interpreters (theological degrees, sincere intent, Greek language skills), there are differing opinions on issues as basic as the Trinity. The Bible without Tradition and/or authority does not produce a oneness of faith if oneness is unity behind the orthodox (or some single heterodox) Trinity belief. I do not see how this cannot be radically clear.


Also, you claimed that the Trinity was clear enough, but Marian devotion was not clear enough. I asked how you draw the line. I have not seen and cannot envision an answer from you that I will not believe is a subjective application of Ken’s Rule.
If there is not more than Ken’s ruling, or the ruling of the Biola University Scholars, or some other ruling would not that be very problematic. How can such a condition lead to a doctrine based oneness of the faith?

Thanks for reading.
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

Also, you claimed that the Trinity was clear enough, but Marian devotion was not clear enough.


Trinity - Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; with the Deity of Christ: John 1:1-5, 14 and the Deity of the Spirit - John 14-16, Acts 5:3-5, 2 Cor. 3:16-17, Genesis 1:1-2. There is so much more to this issue; too much for the comboxes.

Rob Bowman's, Why You Should Believe in the Trinity and

James White. The Forgotten Trinity Roman Catholic priest Mitch Pacwa writes an endorsement. So there is great unity on this issue from RCCs and Protestants.

John Piper's chapter on Athanasius, Contending for Our All. is very good at showing how Biblical he was and that some theological terms that are not exact words (like homo-ousias; Tri-unitas; three hupostasis/persona) from the Biblical text actually communicate the Biblical concepts and ideas better.


On Mary - 1 Tim. 2:5 quashes any kind of prayers to her for mediation.

Matthew 1:18, 25 and all the passages of "the brothers and sisters of the Lord" quash all the "perpetual virginity". Everything in the NT is against the sinlessness and immaculate conception dogmas - very late developments; and the Bodily assumption, even RCs admit that there is no scriptural evidence for this at all. this one violates material sufficiency view; which is why they have to have the supplemental and flowering views of tradition waiting as an option when cornered.


I asked how you draw the line.

the above shows how the line was drawn.

Ken Temple said...

For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Psalm 96:5

If there was ever one thing that is the most clear in Scripture, it is that there is only one creator God, eternal, sovereign; and no other "gods" of other planets. Mormon Polytheism is most clearly wrong.

There is an interesting article by Sandra Tanner on the Book of Abraham in the current CRI Journal, by the way.

Good that you at least acknowledge some kind of Trinity (social) with the Father, Son, and the Spirit; and their communion with each other. Since that is clear; the oneness of their natures/substance/essence is not hard to see in the text, especially John 1:1-5, 14 and Philippians 2:5-8 and Hebrews 1:3, 6-8, etc.

Ken Temple said...

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/05/quick-thought-on-transubstantiation/


Good post on Transubstantiation

TOm said...

Ken,
Thanks for replying.

You said:
the above shows how the line was drawn.

TOm says:
Do you mean that if there 7 scriptures for something then it is true?
Do you mean that if James White writes an article in favor of it, it is true?
Or …

I do not believe you have shown the line.

I am not surprised that you argue from scripture, that is what you do. If I was interested in going over the Trinity or Marian Devotion with you I would offer scripture to back up my position (as would the Catholic because we have a commonality in that we all embrace the Bible). I can also acknowledge that if we lined up pro and con scriptures for the Trinity and Marian Devotion that the difference between pro and con for the Trinity would be a more positive number than the difference between pro and con for Marian Devotion. However if we divide pro/con, then woman wearing hats is more positive than The Trinity or Marian Devotion. Or if we confined the Trinity to the question of metaphysical oneness of being that includes Son and Father, then the list of scriptures would disappear.

You have not given me criteria. Criteria are not lists of Biblical scriptures. Criteria are methods to weigh questions. They may involve listing scriptures or they may not. They may involve appeal to authorities at Biola U or they may not. If you will provide criteria, I will evaluate if I believe you have provided a workable set of criteria (in my personal opinion of course) based on what you provide. At this point I do not even know how you determine “clear enough.” It is “clear enough” to Chris that the emphasis upon God’s love overcomes the ancient prejudice against homosexual relations.

So, if you tell me that the criteria involves listing pro and con scripture and then subtracting or dividing, I will offer my criticism. If you tell me the criteria involves appeal to James White or Ken Temple, I will offer my criticism. As I said before I cannot envision a criteria that will do what I think you wish it would, but I will try to evaluate what you provide.

Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I want to say up-front that there is a bit of reticence on part for some of the content of this post that is to follow; but, under the circumstances, I believe that objectivity demands it.

Now, you continue to argue that the doctrine of the Trinity is ‘clear’ teaching of the Bible. I/we have discussed this particular issue in other threads (e.g. TRINITY and SUBORDINATIONISM), so I will try to summarize some of the more salient issues involved: first, this ‘clear’ teaching of the Bible took over 300 years before ‘clearly’ defined (some Reformed scholars argue that it was not until Calvin that full orthodoxy on this issue was reached!!!); second, even after orthodoxy was reached in 381 AD, solid, sola scriptura based, theological alternatives to Trinitarianism presented substantial threats to orthodoxy (many of which were suppressed militarily, and not theologically); and third, contemporary debates between Arian/Socinian adherents and Trinitarians (I have those who maintain a high view of Scripture in mind) suggest that the issue is not nearly as ‘clear’ as you seem to indicate (the Stafford/Bowman, BeDuhn/Bowman, and Stafford/White debates come to mind, as well as the numerous non-Trinitarian websites that keep multiplying—one interesting example can be found HERE).

You recommend Rob Bowman's, Why You Should Believe in the Trinity; I own, and have read this book, and to be brutally honest, found it to be a mediocre work at best—I suspect you would probably agree with me on this after you have had a chance to read Hanson’s THE SEACH FOR THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF GOD.

You then wrote the following:

>>James White. The Forgotten Trinity Roman Catholic priest Mitch Pacwa writes an endorsement. So there is great unity on this issue from RCCs and Protestants.>>

Father Pacwa is NOT a patristic scholar; further, I have read Catholic scholars who ARE, and the level of their work is vastly superior to White’s The Forgotten Trinity. Two good examples are Kasper’s THE GOD OF JESUS CHRIST and de Margerie’s THE CHRISTIAN TRINITY IN HISTORY.

Have so much more to add, but must tend to some mundane chores first.


God bless,

David

Ken Temple said...

I want to say up-front that there is a bit of reticence on part for some of the content of this post that is to follow; but, under the circumstances, I believe that objectivity demands it.

Why the reticence of some of the content?

Now, you continue to argue that the doctrine of the Trinity is ‘clear’ teaching of the Bible.

Yes, one can maintain that it is clear enough once one studies all the Biblical texts that any good systematic theology will cover (Wayne Grudem, Louis Berkhof, Calvin's Institutes) and those other 3 books I mention; but also see that it took 400 years or more to flesh out the details of how to put it all together, with the "homo-ousias" and "three persona" and "three hypostasis" issues and the Monophysite, Nestorian and Modalistic issues.

When you call Bowman's book, "mediocre", are you calling it that because of lack of depth of wresting with the patristic data that the books that you have cited?

Or is is mediocre on its Biblical content?

For a book of that size, and given the Protestant understanding of truth and revelation, the main thing for Protestants is dealing with the Biblical material and exegesis, which Bowman did, as far as I can remember, in a thorough enough way for the average layperson to be equipped with the doctrine of the Trinity.

Along with Dr. White's book and what John Piper has written in his chapter on Athanasius, to me, it is sufficient to defend the Trinity as Biblical.

The fact there were all those speculations and volumes of theorizing from what Irenaeus and Origen and others wrote is fine; but not everyone had the time to read all those books as you do.

In order to equip an evangelical in a Protestant church, wouldn't you say that those 3 works are enough of an introduction to lay people to "defend the faith" (the doctrine of the Trinity) against Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons?


Father Pacwa is NOT a patristic scholar;

Does everyone have to be a Patristic scholar to make any comment or endorsement of a book? My goodness, the "patristic scholars" have not even translated all the Patristic materials yet into English!!


further, I have read Catholic scholars who ARE, and the level of their work is vastly superior to White’s The Forgotten Trinity.

Ok, (without reading these; you seemingly keep trying to put me in the possition where no one can say anything about anything unless he is an expert and has time to read everything. That is the feeling I get.)

But is Dr. White's book sufficient, for the size and purpose, to show and equip lay protestants in the doctrine of the Trinity; that it is Biblical?

so much so that a RC priest can agree with everything in it?

That, to me is good enough for the purpose. He is not trying to be exhaustive and show all the 400 struggle through sub-ordinationism, Arianism, Modalism, Nestorianism and Monophysite - ism.

Ken Temple said...

Your point, it seems to me, is you want them (Bowman, Dr. White) to deal more in depth with the process of struggle of the 400 years and all the evidence of subordinationism, and the Arian and Modalism and Monophyite and Nestorian struggles and battles.

You also imply that the Scriptures are not enough to deal with Jehovah's Witness theology (by reference to Stafford debates and other websites) and that they are not enough to deal with Mormon theology and, for example, Tom's points about the ECFs.

By itself though, are these books enough to show that it is Biblical, without trying to force someone to have to feel like they have to spend 10 more years studying all the untranslated material and subordination material that you provided (which was too much to digest for me) and Arian material and have lots of Latin in the footnotes, (so that we who don't know Latin cannot know what is going on and therefore be forced to rely on them for our understanding.)

I can see that you want to be able to say that it was not as clear as Evangelical Protestants make it out to be; so that you can say that only by an infallible teaching authority of the historical catholic early church were they able to arrive at the "original deposit" and that that reality shows that history beyond that time of 300s-451 AD needs that same teaching authority to solve other problems in the future that will arise; ie (other issues, Mary, trans., indulgences, Cathars, Waldinsians, other heresies, other sects and questions, Reformation era, Trent, 1870, etc.

I see where you are going; and how you think that; with the Newman thesis; of the supposed inherent need for an infallible interpreter. That is one of the main point of all the debates between Protestants and RCs.

Ken Temple said...

Happy 4th of July - I hope and pray that more and more Americans (and immigrants) actually read the Declaration of Independence and watch a movie like "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" to appreciate our freedom and the moral Christian principles and history and culture that even the Deism and Jefferson/Franlkin/Madison (?) came from.

The modern human rights movement is a development (another example of Newman's "acorn to oak" ? - Chris would probably say, "yes!") from basic Christian principles of justice and fairness and that God loves all nations (Revelation 5:9) and does not "favor the face" - James 2:1-14; Luke 20:21 and Acts 10:34-35; Romans 2:11; 3:9; 3:22; 10:12; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:10-11.

I will try to read that book on the Trinity you referred to - I am happy it is on the web. (don't have the funds to buy so many books)

But, I don't really have the time either, but I will try.

Ken Temple said...

Tried to read some that book on the Trinity you linked to by Hanson.

Wow. 800+ pages. I just realized it is not all there on the internet, but is an encourgment to buy it.

Expensive also.

Oh well, the old sayings of "knowledge and money is power" apply again.

But I will try to read more later.

Overwhelming, with all the references to other writers who I don't know who they are or don't have enough background on them and their roles in the controversy.

Randy said...

No; liberals do not follow the rule of faith; they reject not only the RCC magisterium and history of authority, but the Scriptures themselves as inspired and infallible and inerrant. Evangelicals believe in inspiration and inerrancy; we respect God and the Scriptures; we also believe in qualified teachers/pastors/elders to shepherd the flock and teach properly. Liberals believe in none of those things; except their own higher critical scholars who hold presuppositions of skepticism toward the inspiration of Scripture.

But when you say liberals don't believe the bible that is really code for saying they read the bible differently than you. The truth is there is nothing objectively wrong with the way Chris reads the bible. Not unless you concede that the bible must be read withing a certain tradition. Essentially your statement here boils down to saying the evangelical tradition of reading scripture is superior to the liberal tradition. I happen to think you are right. I thought so before I became Catholic. That is why I was an evangelical. But I would assert that the Catholic tradition is superior to both.

Now once you get down to comparing which tradition is superior then it no longer makes sense to decode based on which one gives you the "right" answers. Because you only think they are right because you have already arbitrarily chosen the evangelical tradition. You must ask things like: Which tradition is older? Which is most logically consistent? Which has been able to produce unity?

Randy said...

No; because you also left out all the other parallels throughout John 6:29-71 that shows that "faith" and "believing" are the main issue.

Yes they are. But you assume that faith and believing have nothing to do with partaking of the Eucharist. Jesus assumes the opposite. That is why he can parallel them so closely.

Jesus calls His own incarnation "the bread of life who came down out of heaven"

Do you think He means a literal bagel or loaf of bread or a giant flat bread taftoon coming down out of heaven? obviously not.


The connection goes the other way. The physical food of bread becomes the spiritual food of His body. Jesus transforms the lesser into the greater. Why would you assume he would go the other direction? It is just being thick to try and mock Jesus' words.

and uses "faith", "believe", "behold", "drawn", "comes to Me", "thirsts and drinks", "hungers and eats" all parallel to one another.

Exactly. Now listen to Jesus rather than mocking Him. The sacramental life is the life of faith. They are one and the same.

Ken Temple said...

But when you say liberals don't believe the bible that is really code for saying they read the bible differently than you.

It is not "code" on my part for trying to hide or obscure something; we believe the Bible is true and inerrant, liberals don't; they look at it as only a "man-made" document that contains some lofty statements about man's reflections on who God is. We (and you and RCC - we agree with each other on this issue) see it as revelation from the living and true eternal God. That is just a major difference, for the liberals just plainly reject it as coming from God or being inspired or God-breathed. I understand what you are trying to get at, but it does not seem right to put us in the same boat, for they reject everything.

Essentially your statement here boils down to saying the evangelical tradition of reading scripture is superior to the liberal tradition.

Yes, it is superior.

I happen to think you are right. I thought so before I became Catholic. That is why I was an evangelical. But I would assert that the Catholic tradition is superior to both.

That is your assertion; my assertion is that the Evangelical one is superior.

Now once you get down to comparing which tradition is superior then it no longer makes sense to decode based on which one gives you the "right" answers. Because you only think they are right because you have already arbitrarily chosen the evangelical tradition.

Only because God in His providence put me in the path of that tradition, (I grew up in a very liberal Methodist church; but the Lord revealed Himself to me through the Bible and the evangelical tradition. This seems the most biblical. The RCC tradition (those issues that separate us) just don't make sense biblically or logically consistent.

You must ask things like: Which tradition is older?

The current RCC tradition is not what the early church was. The Marian and Papal things are just not even there in the early centuries; it morphed into something foreign. Real presence is there; bishops are there; baptismal regeneration is there; but even those three things in their bare minimum forms of the early post Biblical period are a far cry from what they developed into centuries later. Just because the words "catholic" and "eucharist" are used in the early centuries does not mean they are same thing that the RCC developed them into over the centuries later.

Which is most logically consistent?

Conservative Evangelical Reformed tradition is the most consistent; but of course you can argue that that is subjective. It seems more biblical and logically consistent to me; based on the Bible as the final infallible authority.

Which has been able to produce unity?

the RCC can claim lots of "unity"; but the fact that all of Protestantism broke away from the RCC shows that the RCC itself could not produce unity - it actually is at fault for causing the dis-unity, because they drifted from the Bible and could not even recognize that they did when Luther and Calvin brought the issues up. (Huss and Wycliffe and others also) Even Peter Kreeft, a RC, wrote that the cause of the disunity was the failure of the RCC to preach the gospel.

Ken Temple said...

Exactly. Now listen to Jesus rather than mocking Him.

I am not mocking Him. We believe in all that John 6 and I Cor. 11 and Luke 22 and Matthew 26 and Mark 14 teach on the Lord's supper - that it is a memorial - remembering Him and His death on the cross for our sins; and we seek to examine ourselves, confess our sins, be reconciled with one another, and by that faith, we continue to abide in Him. When Jesus is there in the flesh and holds up a big flat bread, and says "this is My body", He obviously means, "this represents My body", etc. That is much more logically consistent. You cannot have another incarnation, nor another atonement, and the sacrifice of the mass gives the impression of seeking to repeat the sacrifice of cross over and over again. Hebrews chapters 7-10; Romans 6:10 and I Peter 3:18, ( "once for all") along with the gospel parallels I mentioned above; show us and give us confidence, based on the authority of the Scriptures, that your church (RCC) is wrong on this issue.

The sacramental life is the life of faith. They are one and the same.

We have the Biblical teaching and practice of the "eucharist" or Lord's supper. It is part of our life of faith.

Ken Temple said...

Peter Kreeft: He clearly lays the blame for the disunity at the feet of the Roman Catholic Church.

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0028.html


The fourth issue is the most crucial of all. It is the issue that sparked the Reformation, and it is the issue that must spark reunion too. It is, of course, the issue of faith, of faith and works, of justification by faith.

This is the root issue because the essence of the gospel is at stake here. How do I get right with God? This was the issue of the first century church at Galatia, a church Protestants see as making the same essential mistake as the Catholics — preaching the gospel of good works. Protestants dare not compromise on this issue or they would be turning to what Paul calls “another gospel”. Thus his harsh words to the Galatians, the only church for which he has not one word of praise:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel — not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.

How do I resolve the Reformation? Is it faith alone that justifies, or is it faith and good works? Very simple. No tricks. On this issue I believe Luther was simply right; and this issue is absolutely crucial. As a Catholic I feel guilt for the tragedy of Christian disunity because the church in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was failing to preach the gospel. Whatever theological mistakes Luther made, whatever indispensable truths about the Church he denied, here is an indispensable truth he affirmed — indispensable to union between all sinners and God and to union between God’s separated Catholic and Protestant children.

Randy said...

It is not "code" on my part for trying to hide or obscure something; we believe the Bible is true and inerrant, liberals don't; they look at it as only a "man-made" document that contains some lofty statements about man's reflections on who God is. We (and you and RCC - we agree with each other on this issue) see it as revelation from the living and true eternal God. That is just a major difference, for the liberals just plainly reject it as coming from God or being inspired or God-breathed. I understand what you are trying to get at, but it does not seem right to put us in the same boat, for they reject everything.

I am not putting you in the same boat. I am putting you in different boats or differant traditions. I am just saying your tradition is arbitrary and therefore you have no reason to object when somebody chooses a different one. Catholic tradition was begun by Jesus passing on the faith to the apostles. So it is objectively better.

Only because God in His providence put me in the path of that tradition, (I grew up in a very liberal Methodist church; but the Lord revealed Himself to me through the Bible and the evangelical tradition. This seems the most biblical. The RCC tradition (those issues that separate us) just don't make sense biblically or logically consistent.

So it is the tradition where you met Jesus. That does not make it the right tradition. People meet Jesus in many places. I agree that is "seems the most biblical" because when you accept Jesus you connect with church in a much deeper way. When I gave my life to Jesus I marveled at how much more truth was in the preaching and how much more moving the songs were. But I didn't change churches. It was me that had changed. So yes, when we have an experience in a church we can become convinced it is THE true church. Mormons argue that way all the time.

Randy said...

The current RCC tradition is not what the early church was. The Marian and Papal things are just not even there in the early centuries; it morphed into something foreign. Real presence is there; bishops are there; baptismal regeneration is there; but even those three things in their bare minimum forms of the early post Biblical period are a far cry from what they developed into centuries later. Just because the words "catholic" and "eucharist" are used in the early centuries does not mean they are same thing that the RCC developed them into over the centuries later.

Now you are misunderstanding development of doctrine again. The early church tradition grew into modern RCC tradition. Evangelical tradition changes all the time. There is little continuity with the 16 century reformers let alone the early church. At least we make sense of the idea of one faith, one Lord, one baptism.

the RCC can claim lots of "unity"; but the fact that all of Protestantism broke away from the RCC shows that the RCC itself could not produce unity - it actually is at fault for causing the dis-unity, because they drifted from the Bible and could not even recognize that they did when Luther and Calvin brought the issues up. (Huss and Wycliffe and others also) Even Peter Kreeft, a RC, wrote that the cause of the disunity was the failure of the RCC to preach the gospel.

No, the RCC never required church leadership to be perfect for unity to work. What was where the reformers really messed up. No church leaders are perfect so no protestant church avoids a split very long. Whether the reformers were at least partially right is a separate issue. Kreeft has even gone so far as to say they were more right than many of the Catholic players in the controversy. So what? Many saints before them were right but they didn't commit the sin of schism. So the lack of unity is the fault of the protestant principle that every error requires schism.

TOm said...

Ken Said (The italics are Ken’s words if I reproduced this correctly):
Essentially your statement here boils down to saying the evangelical tradition of reading scripture is superior to the liberal tradition.

Yes, it is superior.

I happen to think you are right. I thought so before I became Catholic. That is why I was an evangelical. But I would assert that the Catholic tradition is superior to both.

That is your assertion; my assertion is that the Evangelical one is superior.

TOm says:
And my assertion is that the LDS one is superior (on many issue that is precisely what I believe, the Trinity being one of them).
That being said, Ken is IMO unknowingly advocating for Chris’s position. Chris reads the scripture and boldly claims that he will bring his own judgment to the text. His judgment actually dictates that he can go beyond sola scriptura, but there are two aspects of his view that are much superior to yours IMO.
1. He is quite aware that he brings personal judgments and presuppositions to the texts. He would not assert that his read of the text simply must be superior to all others. He would (I think) acknowledge that others have valid interpretations of scripture that are different from his.
2. He does not suggest that his interpretation of scripture is the dividing line between those on God’s approved path and those not.


Anyway, I am still waiting on criteria from the 3Jul 7:25AM query I offered you. I really think there are superior and inferior reads of scripture, but much of the time when two folks disagree it is because knowingly or not knowingly they have brought there presuppositions to the text. Objectively one read of scripture is not superior and one inferior in numerous debated areas. Instead different folks bring different presuppositions to scripture and believe it says different things. Both may be sincere, intelligent, educated, familiar (with the scriptures), or …; and yet this does not produce unity of doctrine. Do you have a set of criteria that we can use to produce this unity of doctrine via scripture?
It seems to me that God could not have intended the Bible to produce the type of unity Conservative Protestants suggest is necessary.

Charity, TOm

Randy said...

I am not mocking Him. We believe in all that John 6 and I Cor. 11 and Luke 22 and Matthew 26 and Mark 14 teach on the Lord's supper - that it is a memorial - remembering Him and His death on the cross for our sins;

Not really. You declare Jesus' words to be nonsense and you try and fix them. That is why you end up mocking Him. Jesus could not possibly mean x because that is ridiculous. He must have meant y. But He SAID x. So you are mocking His words.

and we seek to examine ourselves, confess our sins, be reconciled with one another, and by that faith, we continue to abide in Him.

I am sure you try. I know I did as a protestant. But you miss the supernatural grace of the sacrament. Human effort can never make up for that.

When Jesus is there in the flesh and holds up a big flat bread, and says "this is My body", He obviously means, "this represents My body", etc. That is much more logically consistent.

Obvious? It was not obvious to St Augustine. He commented on this very paradox.

You cannot have another incarnation, nor another atonement, and the sacrifice of the mass gives the impression of seeking to repeat the sacrifice of cross over and over again. Hebrews chapters 7-10; Romans 6:10 and I Peter 3:18, ( "once for all")

Gives the impression? Who gets this impression? AntiCatholics who lie about church teaching and those who make themselves dumber and less charitable by reading them. The church does not teach that the sacrifice of the cross is repeated over and over. Just because some love to slander the church and keep repeating that does not make it so.

along with the gospel parallels I mentioned above; show us and give us confidence, based on the authority of the Scriptures, that your church (RCC) is wrong on this issue.

You are not confident becaause of the scriptures. You are confident in spite of the scriptures. Scripture could not be worse on this issue. There is simply nothing that hints at your doctrine and much that flatly contradicts it. Face it. You are not a bible Christian.

The sacramental life is the life of faith. They are one and the same.

We have the Biblical teaching and practice of the "eucharist" or Lord's supper. It is part of our life of faith.

Sure, it is a small part. It is nothing approaching what Jesus was talking about where the Eucharist becomes the center of your walk with God.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Back to my beachbum status after a way too busy 4th of July weekend (I am so glad it is over). You posted:

>>Why the reticence of some of the content?>>

Me: To get from point A (clarity of the Scriptures concerning the doctrine of the Trinity) to point C (clarity comes via authoritative development), I needed to reference point B (the non-Trinitarian position/s). I really don’t enjoy dwelling on point B, it brings back way too many deep, and profound memories. I know from personal experience the strength and lure of the Arian position—but, I suspect that it is difficult for someone who has not ‘walked in my shoes’ to understand.

>>Yes, one can maintain that it [the doctrine of the Trinity] is clear enough once one studies all the Biblical texts that any good systematic theology will cover (Wayne Grudem, Louis Berkhof, Calvin's Institutes) and those other 3 books I mention; but also see that it took 400 years or more to flesh out the details of how to put it all together, with the "homo-ousias" and "three persona" and "three hypostasis" issues and the Monophysite, Nestorian and Modalistic issues.>>

Me: My movement from an Arian position to a Trinitarian one took over 7 years of deep study to achieve. In that process, I read the best material (available in English) on the topic including such authors as the two Hodges, Shedd, Warfield, Barth, Bavinck, Berkhof, Berkouwer, Calvin, Dabney Edwards, Erickson, and Fortman, to name just a few. However, is wasn’t until I started my studies of the Church Fathers, that the ‘balance’ tipped in favor of the Trinitarian position. Without the benefit of the “400 years or more to flesh out the details of how to put it all together”, I may have remained Arian.

Concerning the contributions of Bowman, Piper and White (note that Piper references Hanson’s work), they are adequate for one who is already Trinitarian; but if I would have had to rely on such works to bring me out of Arianism, I am quite sure I would still be an Arian.

And as for Fr. Pacwa’s recommendation, for me it is kind of like ‘preaching to the choir’. Both Pacwa and White are staunch Trinitarians who are not patristic scholars; and I have been told that they became friends after the debates (on other issues) that they had with each other—should anyone be surprised that Pacwa recommended the book?

So, back to my one of my points: something that is CLEAR, should not take over 400 years to develop; nor should it take thousands of pages to defend. Don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying that the doctrine is indefensible, but rather, that it is only implicit in the Scriptures, and not explicit.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

You wrote:

>> Tried to read some that book on the Trinity you linked to by Hanson.

Wow. 800+ pages. I just realized it is not all there on the internet, but is an encourgment to buy it.

Expensive also.

Oh well, the old sayings of "knowledge and money is power" apply again.

But I will try to read more later.

Overwhelming, with all the references to other writers who I don't know who they are or don't have enough background on them and their roles in the controversy.>>



Me: You could always borrow the book from a library for the portions not online. The book is, IMHO, the single most important work on development of the doctrine of the Trinity currently in print—as I mentioned earlier, Dr. Piper references the work (see notes 7, 33, 39) in his lecture on Athanasius.

Sincerely hope you can take the time to read Hanson’s contribution.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

However, is wasn’t until I started my studies of the Church Fathers, that the ‘balance’ tipped in favor of the Trinitarian position. Without the benefit of the “400 years or more to flesh out the details of how to put it all together”, I may have remained Arian.

Concerning the contributions of Bowman, Piper and White (note that Piper references Hanson’s work), they are adequate for one who is already Trinitarian; but if I would have had to rely on such works to bring me out of Arianism, I am quite sure I would still be an Arian.

You make some really good points here. I cannot argue with that.

Ken Temple said...

Is the Mass a re-sacrifice of Christ?

Roman Catholics are quick to say that the Eucharist is not a re-sacrifice of Christ. They want to make it clear that Christ was offered once for all and that the Mass is not a re-sacrifice but a "re-presentation" of the sacrifice. We certainly do not want to misrepresent Roman Catholic theology, but we must ask how it is possible for the Mass to not be a re-sacrifice of Christ when the Mass is called a divine sacrifice (CCC, 1068) that is done over and over again. We are told that "the sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice"; (CCC, 1367); that it is an unbloody offering that is proptiatory, (CCC, 1367); that it can make reparation of sins, (CCC, 1414); and is to be considered a true and proper sacrifice (The Catholic Encyclopedia, topic: "Sacrifice of the Mass"). We must conclude that it is a sacrifice that occurs over and over again and since it is said to be a true and proper sacrifice that is propitiatory, then logically it must be a re-sacrifice of Christ. If it is not, then how can it be called a sacrifice of Christ? Also, how could it be propitiatory if it is not a sacrifice of Christ since it is Christ's offering on the cross that is itself propitiatory?

* "Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people," (Heb. 2:17).
* "and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world," (1 John 2:2).

Ken Temple said...

Criteria are methods to weigh questions. Tom

Tom asked for criteria, methods that help us determine which reading or approach or interpretation of Scripture is the best one or right one.

This is not exhaustive, but a start:

In dealing with Mormonism, step one appears circular and assuming too much; I realize this. Don't know how to solve the problem in the little comboxes. I am not smart enough. Just giving hermeneutical principles, criteria, methods that would help decide between RCC, Protestantism, Mormonism, and liberalism.

1. Based on a thorough study of the whole Bible; (using steps 2-9) granted that we are relying on the 2000 history of Christianity and the church on the issue of the nature of God and Trinitarian Monotheism; and sound exegesis, using Hebrew and Greek, and historical background; assuming that this leads to Trinitarian Monotheism;

2. Presupposition that God cannot lie and cannot contradict Himself. Then, Starting with that presupposition (as the second step) that there is only one God, eternal, creator of all things, sovereign, Tri-une, perfect, cannot lie and cannot sin.

3. God cannot lie; therefore the Scriptures cannot lie or contradict. Because God cannot lie and there is no contradiction in His mind; then the Bible must be ultimately harmonized in such a way so as to have no contradiction between passages, because God is perfect and cannot lie and cannot sin. I John 1:5; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; Isaiah 6, Leviticus 11:44, 11:45; 19:2, Habakkuk 1:13

3. Seek to find the author's intended meaning of a passage at that time. (not your own understanding back into it.) Interpret literally, means "according to literature" (grammar, syntax, context, literary genre, and the author's intention.)

4. Interpret with attention to the original languages, Greek, Hebrew, Aramic of the Scriptures. Those that don't know them will have to rely on sound scholars who are also pastoral and godly.

5. Interpret with attention to the historical background of each book and passage.

6. Interpret according to the literary genre. Poetry is different than historical narrative or didactic epistles, or prophesy, parables, types, hyperbole, proverbs, wisdom literature, Law, personification, anthropomorphisms, similes, metaphors, symbols, etc. All of these must be interpreted as intended by the authors.

7. Interpret in the context of the paragraph, chapter, pericope, book, with the author's purpose of the book as a whole. (ie, the purpose of Genesis as Genesis, Hebrews, Romans, etc.) before jumping to other passages in other parts of the Bible.

8. Then, one proceeds to other verses and passages in the rest of Scripture that are related to the subject in the paragraph, section, pericope that one is studying.

9. Then, after all the relevant texts are gathered and studied and compared, then interpret them in a theologically consistent way that harmonizes -- that God is a perfect being who does not contradict Himself in His own mind, therefore there is no contradiction in His Word.

Ken Temple said...

David,
Thanks for pointing out the references to Hansen in John Piper's article ( I have his book with the same title and it is chapter one on Athanasius)

Listening to his lecture is a great encouragement - he makes some points that I have never heard any other make and it is one of the best lectures I have heard on anything from early centuries of church history.

One of his strong points is that sometimes non-Biblical language expresses the Biblical thought better than woodenly demanding that only the words from the Bible have to be used.

One of the points Piper makes:

4. The truth of biblical language must be vigorously protected with non-biblical language.
Athanasius’ experience was critically illuminating to something I have come to see over the years, especially in liberally minded baptistic and pietistic traditions, namely, that the slogan, “the Bible is our only creed” is often used as a cloak to conceal the fact that Bible language is used to affirm falsehood. This is what Athanasius encountered so insidiously at the Council of Nicaea.

Ken Temple said...

Looks like everyone has run out of steam!

David Waltz said...

Good morning Ken,

I’m still here [grin]. I think each side/position has been pretty much covered—is there some specifics you would like to address and/or see addressed? Personally, I hope you will be able to read Hanson’s book, and would be interested in your thoughts after you have had a chance to do so.

Thinking out loud…if you would like to start a new thread of your own here at AF, I would put it up for you (just send me your opening post via email in a word processing document).

I have truly enjoyed the discussion/s of late and shall be looking forward to further ones.


God bless,

David