Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Was Irenaeus’ view of Scripture and Tradition the same as the magisterial Reformers?


In the Scripture and Tradition in the early Church Fathers and Ken Temple, Mike Liccione and Randy on Scripture and Tradition threads we have been exploring the relationship between Scripture and Tradition in the early Church Fathers. In this thread, I am going to focus specifically on Irenaeus’ view. I will start with a quote from a 19th century Anglican scholar:


There was, however, another aid which he looked upon as of the most certain and most important utility, so far as it extended, and that was the baptismal creed, which he regarded as infallible for leading to the right sense of Scripture upon fundamental points, and according to which he thought all Scripture ought to be interpreted. [I.ix.4] It is evident, therefore, that he regarded the tradition of the Church, to that extent, as divine and infallible. (James Beaven, An Account of the Life and Writings of S. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons and Martyr, 1841, p. 139.)


I think all will agree that the magisterial Reformers (as well as modern day Evangelicals who embrace their view) never argued that “the tradition of the Church” could be termed “divine and infallible”.

Now, what was in Irenaeus’ “baptismal creed”, his “rule of faith”, his accepted “tradition of the apostles”?

Beaven in the quote above referenced a selection from Against Heresies (I.ix.4). Below is a recent (1992) translation of the passage, and the translator’s note:


In the same way, anyone who keeps unchangeable in himself the Rule of the Truth[23] received through baptism will recognize the names and sayings and parables from the Scriptures, but this blasphemous theme of theirs he will not recognize. For even if he recognizes the jewels, he will not accept the fox for the image of the king. He will restore each one of the passages to its proper order and, having fit it into the body of the Truth, he will lay bare their fabrication and show it is without support.

[23] In A.H. Irenaeus speaks of Tradition as “the Rule of the Truth,” but in Proof 3 he calls it “the Rule of the Faith.” So these terms are used as synonyms for Christian Tradition. In the concrete, Irenaeus applies “Rule of the Truth” to the Sacred Scriptures (2.25.1; 2.28.1; 4.35.4) and to the preaching of the Church (Proof 3), which is also known as the body of the Truth (2.27.1; Proof 1). This Rule of the Truth forms a harmonious picture (1.8.1). It also serves as a criterion of Truth (1.9.4; 1.10.1). N. Brox…also holds that the Rule of the Truth is in Irenaeus not a Creed, but is the entire faith believed and preached by the Church. It is ipsa veritas.
(Irenaeus, Against Heresies – Book 1, trans. by John J.Dillon, Newman Press, p. 48 – endnote p. 182.)


We now turn to Irenaeus’ The Proof of Apostolic Preaching, for his most comprehensive presentation of “the rule of faith:


THE RULE OF FAITH

3. So, lest the like befall us, we must keep strictly, without deviation, the rule of faith, and carry out the commands of God, believing in God, and fearing Him, because He is Lord, and loving Him, because He is Father. Action, then, is preserved by faith, because unless you believe, says Isaias, you shall not continue; and faith is given by truth, since faith rests upon reality: for we shall believe what really is, as it is, and, believing what really is, as it is for ever, keep a firm hold on our assent to it. Since, then, it is faith that maintains our salvation, one must take great care of this sustenance, to have a true perception of reality. Now, this is what faith does for us, as the elders, the disciples of the apostles, have handed down to us. First of all, it admonishes us to remember that we have received baptism for the remission of sins in the name of God the Father, and in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became incarnate and died and raised, and in the Holy Spirit of God; and that this baptism is the seal of eternal life and is rebirth unto God, that we be no more children of mortal men, but of the eternal everlasting God; and that the eternal and everlasting One is God, and is above all creatures, and that all things whatsoever are subject to Him; and that what is subject to Him was all made by Him; so that God is not ruler and Lord of what is another’s, but of His own, and all things are God’s; that God, therefore, is the Almighty, and all things whatsoever are from God.
(Irenaeus, The Proof of Apostolic Preaching, trans. by Joseph P. Smith, S.J., Newman Press, pp. 49, 50.)


Is further commentary on Irenaeus’ position really needed?


Grace and peace,

David

45 comments:

Mike L said...

David,

As you have noted in the past, I did a major post on just this topic. The central question I debated with "Ioannes," a conservative Presbyterian, is this: on the shared assumption that the connections Irenaeus makes between Scripture, the Rule of Faith (RF), and the bishops in apostolic succession (BAS) reflects the consensus of the early Church, is it an authentic development thereof to claim that the interpretations of BAS are necessary for interpreting Scripture and the RF together in a manner binding the whole Church? I of course argued in the affirmative. Ioannes countered by arguing, through textual analysis of AH, that for Irenaeus, either Scripture or Tradition, of which latter the RF was taken as the normative summary, is formally sufficient for expressing the full doctrinal content of the deposit of faith. Thus, for Ioannes, there is little evidence that the early Church saw any need to posit the BAS as a teaching authority with the exclusive status of sole "authentic interpreter" of either Scripture or Tradition. The only roles of such authority are to hand on what's been handed on and to teach what anybody who receives it can see as "rationally necessitated" thereby. In short, the Magisterium is justifiable only if unnecessary as a criterion of orthodoxy.

There are really two issues at stake here. One is whether Ireneaus and the early Church thought a BAS magisterium necessary not merely for the sake of Church unity, but also for the right interpretation of Scripture and Tradition. The other is whether, even if they did not think in such terms, Vatican II's way of relating Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium in Dei Verbum 8-10 is an authentic development of what they did think. Ioannes of course says no in both cases. I hold, rather, that whether or not they explicitly saw a BAS magisterium as necessary for maintaining and certifying "right interpretation," DV 8-10 merely works out the inner logic of what they did think.

That's the debate I'd like to see you address in greater depth.

Best,
Mike

Ken Temple said...

I never read or saw or understand Irenaeus saying that tradition is something that can be later expanded on and treated as infallible.

the biggest problem for the RCC apologetic is that you want the right to take "the faith" and "the rule of faith" and "the tradition" and just because the early fathers used those terms to refer to the most basic doctrines of the faith of content that make one a Christian that became the early creeds; - you seem to want to read back into that time period the 5th-21st centuries of RCC dogma and development. That is the main thing I don't see in Irenaeus or Tertullian or Athanasius or any one else; say up to 500 AD. (so far) I only pick that date to make it easy.

He says the tradition is truth and based on truth; but the content and individual doctrines are all things based in Scripture, and all the main issues of the creeds that Protestants agree with.

He emphasizes faith and holding on that faith that one received at baptism.

Now, granted, he seems to have a view of baptismal regeneration here; granted the early church does seem to have that. But that is also based on the language of Acts 2:38 ("be baptized for the forgiveness of sins"; I think their exegesis is wrong; leaving out the importance of repentance, and that infants cannot repent or believe, and that it is saying repentance is what really brings forgiveness of sins, based on faith in Christ did; and that water baptism is the result of true repentance and faith - or "be baptized because of, or based on the forgiveness of sins"), Titus 3:5 ("washing of regeneration") and John 3:5 ("must be born of water and of Spirit"). Because it is based on the language of some phrases of those verses, does not mean that the early church got the right interpretation and application of those verses completely right.

The great mistake of the early church was emphasizing the external rights and ceremonies and good works of fastings, charity, penance, etc. and elevating them over deeper teaching of "justification by faith" in Romans and Galatians.

Irenaeus obviously does not mean the recipient of baptism got the rule of faith in an ex opere operato way without learning, study, going to catechism or discipleship class first, etc.

And, I did not claim that Irenaeus view of Scripture was the exact same as the magisterial reformers ( Luther and Calvin); but that his view and Tertullian and Athanasius (using Matthew 28:19 and basic outlines of pre-Nicean, pre-apostles creed kind of doctrinal statement); but that all three of them have something closer to Sola Scriptura at their time period, than what the modern RCC holds to today.

Your post on Scott Hahn and others show that RCC disagrees with other on the material sufficiency view, the supplemental view (partim partim) and the development view. (Newman, Vatican 1, etc.)

Mike makes a good point, but "working out the inner logic" of what they thought is another way of giving the RCC or EO in the bishops in centuries later the right to develop and add and expand doctrine. the problem is they over-developed and added things so foreign, they corrupted the original deposit.

The presbyters or bishops never had the right to "go beyond what is written" ( I Cor. 4:6) or add to the faith once for all delivered to the saints ( Jude 3); but they were exhorted to hold to the deposit ( 2 Timothy 1:14) and be devoted to the apostles teaching (Acts 2:42); the only evidence we have of what all that is, is the written Scriptures, sufficient to equip the presbyters in the church. ( 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Ken Temple said...

". . . baptismal creed, which he regarded as infallible for leading to the right sense of Scripture upon fundamental points, . . . "

Where does Irenaeus call it "infallible" ??


David wrote:
I think all will agree that the magisterial Reformers (as well as modern day Evangelicals who embrace their view) never argued that “the tradition of the Church” could be termed “divine and infallible”.


The problem here is one's modern understanding of what "tradition" is, according the RCC (which means all the doctrines and dogmas that the RCC has in centuries later after Irenaeus deemed as "sacred infallible tradition"); then reading all of that back into it; vs. Irenaeus' very simple doctinal statement, that the Early church taught to baptismal candidates, all things that Protestants and Evangelicals can agree with, (except for the interpretation of what those verses above on baptism actually meant in the Scriptures.)

Paul Pavao said...

Actually, Irenaeus' "most comprehensive" presentation of the rule of faith is in Against Heresies I:10 (quoted at http://www.christian-history.org/irenaeus-rule-of-faith.html).

I don't mind his thought about the rule of faith being called "divine and infallible," but if you're trying to say that tradition as given by the Roman Catholic Church is also divine and infallible, that's a crazy leap.

The faith was "once for all delivered to the saints." Irenaeus says it's to be preserved unchanged, not added to. To quote:

"In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and
the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one
and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now,
and handed down in truth.
" (A.H. III:3:3)

And again:

"Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for
no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does
one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who
can say but little diminish it.

"It does not follow because men are endowed with greater and less degrees of intelligence, that they should therefore change the subject-matter [of the faith] itself." (A.H. I:10:2-3)

It's apostolic tradition that is inspired and authoritative, not anything the church adds afterwards. Not "anyone of the rules of the church" is allowed to change that tradition, handed down in the rule of faith.

Irenaeus wrote around A.D. 185. The Council of Nicea, in A.D. 325, adapted their creed from the rule of faith of the church in Caesarea, as given in Eusebius' letter to Caesarea (which I read in Socrates Scholasticus' Ecclesiastical History, found in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, series 2, volume II).

In 325, the rule of faith had not grown. In fact, Caesarea's rule of faith and the Nicene Creed is even shorter than Irenaeus' longer rule of faith given in A.H. I:10:1. Tertullian gives a rule of faith, too, though I can't remember where off the top of my head (though I have it quoted at http://www.christian-history.org/rule-of-faith-quotes.html). Tertullian's is short like the Nicene Creed is.

Anyway, to take their statements about the rule of faith and apply it to all the RCC's additions to the rule of faith is to commit a heresy that would have horrified the pre-Nicene churches. As Irenaeus would have put it, they would have stopped their ears and cried, "Iu! Iu! Pheu! Pheu!"

Martin said...

I don't mind his thought about the rule of faith being called "divine and infallible," but if you're trying to say that tradition as given by the Roman Catholic Church is also divine and infallible, that's a crazy leap

What is the difference between "the rule of faith" and Catholic Tradition with a "T"?

David Waltz said...

Hi Mike,

Nice summation of your previous dialogue with “Iohannes”. My thoughts on
the two issues at stake are as follows:

First, did Ireneaus and the early Church think a BAS magisterium was necessary not merely for the sake of Church unity, but also for the right interpretation of Scripture and Tradition?

IMHO, yes. The authority and importance of episcopal succession in Irenaeus’ thought is multi-faceted, and inter-related. Not only do the bishops of the apostolic churches preserve “that tradition which originates from the apostles”, but they, “have also received the certain gift of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father.” Irenaeus asks the following question: “Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question?”

I suspect that non-Catholics will attempt to interpret Irenaeus’ three-fold appeal (Scripture, Tradition and BAS) differently than Catholics, but I maintain they do so due to presuppositions and /or traditions which flow from the Reformation era.

Second, even if they did not think in such terms, Vatican II's way of relating Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium in Dei Verbum 8-10 is an authentic development of what they did think.

I believe that Irenaeus’ doctrine of the Trinity was defective (he, as ALL of the ante-Nicene Fathers, was clearly a subordinationist), as such further development was needed; so too with his doctrine of Scripture, Tradition, and BAS—greater clarity concerning both has come via development.

Hope I have contributed something useful...

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Paul,

Welcome to AF! You wrote:

>>Actually, Irenaeus' "most comprehensive" presentation of the rule of faith is in Against Heresies I:10>>

Me: I thought to myself when I typed the words “most comprehensive” that someone might bring up AH 1.10—but, in Proof 3 we find elements of the “rule” not found in the various summations of the “rule” found throughout AH. Probably not the best wording though…

You also posted:

>> I don't mind his thought about the rule of faith being called "divine and infallible," but if you're trying to say that tradition as given by the Roman Catholic Church is also divine and infallible, that's a crazy leap.

The faith was "once for all delivered to the saints." Irenaeus says it's to be preserved unchanged, not added to.>>

Me: Does this mean that you object to the formulations of the Nicene Creed and the Chalcedonian Definition? (Hope you are NOT saying that they did not ADD to the “rule”.)


Grace and peace,

David

Randy said...

Now, granted, he seems to have a view of baptismal regeneration here; granted the early church does seem to have that. But that is also based on the language of Acts 2:38 ("be baptized for the forgiveness of sins"; I think their exegesis is wrong; leaving out the importance of repentance, and that infants cannot repent or believe, and that it is saying repentance is what really brings forgiveness of sins, based on faith in Christ did; and that water baptism is the result of true repentance and faith - or "be baptized because of, or based on the forgiveness of sins"), Titus 3:5 ("washing of regeneration") and John 3:5 ("must be born of water and of Spirit"). Because it is based on the language of some phrases of those verses, does not mean that the early church got the right interpretation and application of those verses completely right.

So the early church did not have the doctrine of salvation right? They based it on scripture but got it wrong? Stunning admission. It begs the question of how we can know we have it right.

The great mistake of the early church was emphasizing the external rights and ceremonies and good works of fastings, charity, penance, etc. and elevating them over deeper teaching of "justification by faith" in Romans and Galatians.

I am not sure they elevated them over "justification by faith". They just didn't see them as contradictory. Neither do Galatians and Romans. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. That comes from Gal 5:6.

When do you think these errors began. Did they start with Irenaus? Did they go back to Polycarp and Ignatius abd Clement? Did they go back to John and Peter? Who messed up the gospel?

David Waltz said...

Hi Randy,

You wrote:

>> I am not sure they elevated them over "justification by faith". They just didn't see them as contradictory. Neither do Galatians and Romans. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. That comes from Gal 5:6.>>

Me: Agreed. As you probably know, Augustine’s doctrine of justification places a heavy emphasis on Gal. 5:6.

Have you read HIESTAND’S ESSAY yet?

I think you may find some of the threads IN THIS LINK ‘interesting’, especially THIS ONE.


Grace and peace,

David

Paul Pavao said...

Martin,

If Catholic tradition (I don't mind it being a capital T if you want) contains only what the apostles taught, or what it can be reasonably argued they taught, then there's no difference.

If it contains things that the RCC claims it received by revelation afterward, then there's a big difference.

I believe the quotes I gave above establish that the rule of faith was never meant to add to what the apostles taught.

Paul Pavao said...

David,

I'll just let the which is more comprehensive thing go. I just thought A.H. I:10:1 was longer. If you considered it, your opinion can stand.

As to your question on my objections to the formulations of the Nicene Creed, I'd withhold my opinion if it were A.D. 325. I'd just lean into the bishops' opinions and agree in much the same way Eusebius of Caesarea agreed.

But it's not 325. We can see the results of their decision.

It appears to me you're using their decision to justify further RCC tradition. That includes things like celibacy for priests, the right of the pope to speak ex cathedra, transusbstantiation, the immaculate conception, the perpetual virginity of Mary, etc., etc., etc.

Or do you not include those things? I would definitely object to those, whereas I would only worry about adding homoousios to the creed, even though that's obviously part of the ancient teaching of the church.

I'm not sure what the Chalcedonian definition would include. The only additions to the actual Nicene Creed are obviously harmless and apostolic: "one holy and apostolic church," "forgiveness of sins," "resurrection of the dead," etc.

I think the things that get called Roman Catholic tradition--even by Roman Catholics--are way past what could be called apostolic, including the authority of the Roman pope.

David Waltz said...

Hello again Paul,

Thanks for responding; you wrote:

>>As to your question on my objections to the formulations of the Nicene Creed, I'd withhold my opinion if it were A.D. 325. I'd just lean into the bishops' opinions and agree in much the same way Eusebius of Caesarea agreed.>>

Me: That’s pretty much my take on the whole of doctrinal advancement during the course of the Church’s history.

During the Gnostic controversy, I would have sided with “the bishops' opinions.”

During the Arian controversy, I would have sided with “the bishops' opinions”, formulated at Nicea and Constantinople.

During the Nestorian and Monophysite controversies, I would have sided with “the bishops' opinions”, formulated at Ephesus and Chalcedon.

During the iconoclast controversy, I would have sided with “the bishops' opinions”, formulated at Nicea (II).

Etc., etc. up to Vatican II.


>>But it's not 325. We can see the results of their decision.>>

Me: Not quite sure what you mean; could you clarify/expand a bit?

>>It appears to me you're using their decision to justify further RCC tradition. That includes things like celibacy for priests, the right of the pope to speak ex cathedra, transusbstantiation, the immaculate conception, the perpetual virginity of Mary, etc., etc., etc.>>

Me: It is about development for me—have you read John Henry Newman’s, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine?

>>I'm not sure what the Chalcedonian definition would include. The only additions to the actual Nicene Creed are obviously harmless and apostolic: "one holy and apostolic church," "forgiveness of sins," "resurrection of the dead," etc.>>

==We, then following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead (theotEti) and also perfect in manhood (anthrOpotEti); truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial (homoousiov) with the Father according to the Godhead (theotEta), and consubstantial (homoousiov) with us according to the Manhood (anthrOpotEta)...(Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, vol. 2, p. 62.)==

Me: This is the first time in a creed (to my knowledge) that homoousios is used to describe the “Manhood” of Jesus.

>>I think the things that get called Roman Catholic tradition--even by Roman Catholics--are way past what could be called apostolic, including the authority of the Roman pope.>>

Me: Yes and no; allow me to explain—I do not think that any of the apostles were preaching that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were the one God, and that all three were homoousios, etc. etc. The doctrine of the Trinity is clearly (IMHO) a development of the apostolic deposit. This development acts as a template of sorts for the whole of Christian doctrine—i.e. doctrine develops—that which is implicit in the apostolic deposit becomes explicit via development.


Grace and peace,

David

Randy said...

Thanks David,

Thanks for the links. Facinating reading. I am a little disappointed that Catholic publishers don't think DD is a subject for popular theology. It is quite abstract and requires analyzing large quantities of hisotical data. It just seems to be a powerful argument for the Catholic faith. By extension it shows the supernaturnal action of God in His church and therefore implies Christianity is true. But how can one make the big picture clear? It is clear to me and Newman made it clear to those able to understand him. But we need an artistic breakthrough to find a way to make the argument clear to the common ploughboy. It seems such a book would be hard to write but I would hope somebody gets a shot at it.

Paul Pavao said...

Well, we're probably at an impasse.

I do not think that the Trinity is clearly a development of the apostolic deposit. Whatever is a development, I'd reject.

Homoousios as a word may not go back further than Athenagoras, who talked about the essence of the Father and Son being the same (or maybe that was Theophilus). However, Justin's illustrations about one torch lighting another make it clear he thought the same way.

On the Chaledonian issues, yes, I definitely would reject the decisions of that council. I think the separation over the nestorian and monophysite controversies were bad things.

The disagreements were ridiculous, and they should never have even been discussed except over coffee. They certainly should not have been a cause of division or formed into a creed.

On the other hand, it doesn't really matter because after Nicea there really wasn't anything I'd call a church anyway--at least not on a grand scale. The history that Socrates Scholasticus wrote, taking up where Eusebius left off, is simply awful. Very few of the bishops described in his history were even Christians, much less worthy prelates.

As Cyprian says, don't let the people think that they will avoid being stained by the contagion of an ungodly prelate.

There's just no reason to give credence to beliefs that didn't come from the apostles. It's one thing to explain the Trinity a little deeper, it's completely another to invent new doctrines and claim they have authority.

Anyway, thanks for your time. I'm not interested in discussing whether one church, no matter who it's founded by, can rule over others and decree new doctrines for Christians everywhere.

Have a good day.

Ken Temple said...

David,
What is your definition or the official one, of "subordinationist" ?

Ken Temple said...

Me: Does this mean that you object to the formulations of the Nicene Creed and the Chalcedonian Definition? (Hope you are NOT saying that they did not ADD to the “rule”.)

They did not add content or ideas or reality or truth that is new, because the ideas were in Scripture, if not the exact words; see Piper on Athanasius.
He argues that biblical ideas must be communicated in non-biblical language; ie homo-ousias.

Also, if some of the EFC were indeed subordinationists, they are over-ruled by Scripture, Philippians 2, "who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (held onto as a right), but emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant. . . "

Ignatius, who is more ancient than Irenaeus, was not a subordinationist, he clearly calls Jesus Christ, "our God".

Ken Temple said...

During the iconoclast controversy, I would have sided with “the bishops' opinions”, formulated at Nicea (II).

One of the more clearly times when the bishops got it wrong.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

You posted:

>>David,
What is your definition or the official one, of "subordinationist" ?>>

In THIS EARLIER THREAD, I provided selections from some prominent, scholarly works, which defined the term “subordinationism”—I have re-posted two of them below:

SUBORDINATIONISM. Thus we call the tendency, strong in the theology of the 2nd and 3rd cc., to consider Christ, as Son of God, inferior to the Father. Behind this tendancy were gospel statements in which Christ himself stressed this inferiority (Jn 14, 28; Mk 10, 18; 13, 32, etc.) and it was developed esp. by the Logos-christology. This theology, partly under the influence of middle Platonism, considered Christ, logos and divine wisdom, as the means of liaison and mediation between the Father’s position to him. When the conception of the Trinity was enlarged to include the Holy Spirit, as in Origen, this in turn was considered inferior to the Son. Subordinationist tendencies are evident esp. in theologians like Justin, Tertullian, Origen and Novatian; but even in Irenaeus, to whom trinitarian speculations are alien, commenting on Jn 14, 28, has no difficulty in considering Christ inferior to the Father. (M. Simmonetti, Oxford Encyclopedia of the Early Church, II.797.)

SUBORDINATIONISM. Teaching about the Godhead which regards either the Son as subordinate to the Father or the Holy Ghost as subordinate to both. It is a characteristic tendency in much of Christian teaching of the first three centuries, and is a marked feature of such otherwise orthodox Fathers as St. Justin and Origen. (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 2nd ed., p. 1319.)


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Do you think Ignatius was a sub-ordinationist?


Ignatius, who is more ancient than Irenaeus, was not a subordinationist, he clearly calls Jesus Christ, "our God".

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

You wrote:

>>They did not add content or ideas or reality or truth that is new, because the ideas were in Scripture, if not the exact words; see Piper on Athanasius.
He argues that biblical ideas must be communicated in non-biblical language; ie homo-ousias.>>

Me: For one who is a Trinitarian, “they” (the early councils and creeds) made the implicit in Scripture explicit. However, for one who is an Arian or Socinian, “they” introduced pagan, Greek philosophical elements which distorted the Scriptural teaching.

>>Also, if some of the EFC were indeed subordinationists, they are over-ruled by Scripture, Philippians 2, "who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (held onto as a right), but emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant. . . ">>

Me: The exegesis of Philippians 2:6 is one of the most hotly contested ones in the NT—if you would like, I could provide you with quotes from NT scholars who support an Arian exegesis of the passage.

>>Ignatius, who is more ancient than Irenaeus, was not a subordinationist, he clearly calls Jesus Christ, "our God".>>

Me: The fact that Ignatius calls Jesus Christ, “our God”, does not prove that he was not a subordinationist—even Arius and most Arians after him call Jesus Christ “God”.

Ignatius also wrote:

==Be not deceived with strange doctrines, nor with old fables, which are unprofitable. For if we still live according to the Jewish law, we acknowledge that we have not received grace. For the divinest prophets lived according to Christ Jesus. On this account also they were persecuted, being inspired by His grace to fully convince the unbelieving that there is one God, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, who is His eternal Word, not proceeding forth from silence, and who in all things pleased Him that sent Him. (To The Magnesians, 8.2)==

The “one God” of Ignatius is not “Jesus Christ His Son, who is His eternal Word”.

Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Arians called Jesus "God" or "a god"? -- they said, "there was a time when he was not"; that He was a created being.

no exegesis of theirs of Philippians 2 is good or right or valid.

Ken Temple said...

David,
Thanks for the definitions of subordinationism and other things and answering questions.

Jn 14:28; context - the incarnation and His going away - the ascension to heaven. The Father is greater in the sense that He did not become flesh and be incarnated; Jesus is returning to Him; and will come again. Only in that sense is the Father greater. the Father sends the Son. Difference of roles. Jesus prays to the Father while on earth.

Mk 10:18 - this one is an eastern way of saying "if you think I am good, then I am also God; because only God is good. If you are willing to call Me good; then you should be willing to call Me God; because I am God. John 1:1
That one is easier than John 14:28, but even that one is not insurmountable.

Mark 13:32 - again, becasue of the incarnation, Jesus humbled Himself and by taking on a human nature; voluntarily and temporarily laid aside some privileges. But before His ascension, He prayed for the rejoining with the Father and the same glory that He had before the world was. John 17:5

Being with the Father and at His right hand, surely He shares in the knowledge of His second coming now. That was talking about while He was on earth.

so, the Scriptures are able to over-rule any false and goofy ideas that ECFs had.

they just don't seem to be that big of a problem.

Ken Temple said...

Dr. White's discussion of Newman and the Development of Doctrine answers a lot of the issues and roots of the main issue here.
( pp. 80-85 of The Roman Catholic Controversy)

"So we agree with Rome that doctrine does develop. But we strongly disagree about how it develops." (Ibid, p. 83)

His point about the Granville-Sharp rule and Titus 2:13 is a great example of valid and exegetical historical development.

I understand that because you were coming from a Jehovah's Witness (Arian theology on Christ) and that you needed much more depth reading in church history and historical theology to over-come all that background and thinking; but I cannot understanding putting the Doctrines of the Deity of Christ an the Trinity on the same level of lack of clarity or textual evidence or sound exegesis as the lack of evidence, texts, sound exegesis for Marian dogmas or the Papacy. The chasm of difference between them is massive.

Furthermore, do you really think that the Deity of Christ and the Trinity was additions of pagan and Greek philosophical ideas into the text?

Is not John 1:1 enough in Greek, to prove that it was not from pagan ideas or Greek philosophy, but from the inspired text itself?

Since you are lover of books, I would recommend, Basics of Biblical Greek by William Mounce and Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, by Daniel Wallace.

Mounce quotes from Daniel Wallace on p. 28-29 about John 1:1.

He shows that the word order and issues of the Predicate nominative and the lack of the definite article show that the Greek itself teaches

against Sabellianism ( and so also, later, against, Modalism)
and against Arianism
and
affirmed orthodoxy

It was the text of Scripture itself that determined how the Deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity would develop; not an infallible magisterium to authoritatively decide.

Ken Temple said...

Also, Dr. White's recent discussion of the Papacy and Matthew 16:13-19 with Matthew Bellisario on the DL; and the compilation of articles and videos, that Turretinfan put together

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3360

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3357

on these same issues show that we are stronger exegetical and historical grounds that show the chasm of massive difference between the exegetical and theological and historical grounds for the Deity of Christ and the Trinity

vs. the alleged Biblical and sparse and late historical grounds for the Papacy.

Ken Temple said...

oops; left out the word "on".

. . . we are on stronger exegetical and historical grounds . . .

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

Hello all,
I have still been following the discussions here. I have read through Ken’s criteria for determining doctrine from scripture and I have read this thread. Since I am the Mormon let me make comments in two directions.

Ken still maintains that there is a difference between the development of the doctrine of the Trinity and the development of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. Having read through much on the development of the Trinity and Ken’s scriptural exegesis methods, I still do not see how to draw a line in a consistent way that will get one to Ken’s theology. Either JWs who apply Ken’s methods are sufficiently Christian or they are not. If they are not, then there must be additional criteria to define what is a valid scriptural truth and what is not. The only additional criteria that I think works is the authority of the Church. Ken’s method produces JWs, Chris, me, Armenians, and many others who I think Ken would not believe should be viewed as “on the right path.”
I continue to be quite convinced that to be an orthodox dogmatic Christian one must embrace a doctrine of authoritative development. This leaves me convinced that the Reformation introduced many problems for Christians. If the Reformers were correct that Catholic Church could not be salvaged as Christ’s church then whatever they did didn’t produce Christ’s Church either. If the Reformers were wrong and the Catholic Church could reform, then today’s Catholic Church COULD be Christ’s Church. Either way, the churches built upon the Reformation do not in my view have a solid foundation to claim that they are closest to what Christ envisioned for His Church.
Cont…

TOm said...

Now, Ken said ( bold mine):
I never read or saw or understand Irenaeus saying that tradition is something that can be later expanded on and treated as infallible.

the biggest problem for the RCC apologetic is that you want the right to take "the faith" and "the rule of faith" and "the tradition" and just because the early fathers used those terms to refer to the most basic doctrines of the faith of content that make one a Christian that became the early creeds; -you seem to want to read back into that time period the 5th-21st centuries of RCC dogma and development. That is the main thing I don't see in Irenaeus or Tertullian or Athanasius or any one else; say up to 500 AD. (so far) I only pick that date to make it easy.

He says the tradition is truth and based on truth; but the content and individual doctrines are all things based in Scripture, and all the main issues of the creeds that Protestants agree with.


My bolding may or may not have changed Ken’s point. (I know he was saying that there is doctrinal development he considers perversion from the 5th century onward and that Catholics should not claim that the terms “rule of faith” and “the tradition” should not be used to justify this. I am not too concerned about this because I am convinced that without development we don’t get to the 5th century – see above). My query however is, does the Early Church really embrace development?

There are many reasons to answer this with a negative and I suspect Ken and James White and many Catholics (implicitly and some Catholic explicitly like Orestes Brownson) would answer with a negative.
I enjoyed David’s post here:
http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2009/01/gregory-nazianzen-early-theory-of.html

I agree with what Randy said here:
I am a little disappointed that Catholic publishers don't think DD is a subject for popular theology. It is quite abstract and requires analyzing large quantities of hisotical data. It just seems to be a powerful argument for the Catholic faith.
I have often wondered why popular Catholic apologist insist on reading the ECF and the scriptures as if they are writing about modern Catholic theology. It seems to me that against a Protestant it would far simpler (and truer to the texts) to acknowledge seeds of the Trinity, seeds of XYZ, and the defective nature of the author’s theology when compared to the developed doctrine. Then orthodoxy becomes what as a Catholic I would believe it really is: a developed truth guided and guarded by the Catholic Church.

It seems to me that development is almost a taboo for the Catholic apologist. Is this because, “it is quite abstract and requires analyzing large quantities of historical data?” Or is this because it is so foreign to the Catholic self-understanding inherited from the ECF that it cannot be admitted?

What would St. Vincent de Lerin’s say of Newman’s theory? What of Irenaeus or Tertullian or ??? Would Gregory Nazianzen recognize Newman’s theory as valid?
Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Wow, you have been busy the last couple of days! I have some limited time this afternoon to attempt to address some of your comments, but full responses will have to wait until tomorrow (the Lord willing).

You posted:

>>Arians called Jesus "God" or "a god"? -- they said, "there was a time when he was not"; that He was a created being.>>

“In the Thalia and in a letter to his ally Eusebius, Arius called the Son “strong God” and “full God”. (Gregg & Groh, Early Arianism – A View of Salvation, p. 66.)

In his letter to bishop Alexander of Alexandria, Arius wrote:

Our faith from our forefathers, which also we have learned from thee, Blessed Pope, is this: — We acknowledge One God, alone Ingenerate, alone Everlasting, alone Unbegun, alone True, alone having Immortality, alone Wise, alone Good, alone Sovereign; Judge, Governor, and Providence of all, unalterable and unchangeable, just and good, God of Law and Prophets and New Testament; who begat an Only-begotten Son before eternal times, through whom He has made both the ages and the universe; and begat Him, not in semblance, but in truth; and that He made Him subsist at His own will, unalterable and unchangeable; perfect creature of God, but not as one of the creatures; offspring, but not as one of things begotten; nor as Valentinus pronounced that the offspring of the Father was an issue; nor as Manichæus taught that the offspring was a portion of the Father, one in essence; or as Sabellius, dividing the Monad, speaks of a Son-and-Father; nor as Hieracas, of one torch from another, or as a lamp divided into two; nor that He who was before, was afterwards generated or new-created into a Son, as thou too thyself, Blessed Pope, in the midst of the Church and in session hast often condemned; but, as we say, at the will of God, created before times and before ages, and gaining life and being from the Father, who gave subsistence to His glories together with Him. For the Father did not, in giving to Him the inheritance of all things, deprive Himself of what He has ingenerately in Himself; for He is the Fountain of all things. Thus there are Three Subsistences. And God, being the cause of all things, is Unbegun and altogether Sole, but the Son being begotten apart from time by the Father, and being created and founded before ages, was not before His generation, but being begotten apart from time before all things, alone was made to subsist by the Father. For He is not eternal or co-eternal or co-unoriginate with the Father, nor has He His being together with the Father, as some speak of relations, introducing two ingenerate beginnings, but God is before all things as being Monad and Beginning of all. Wherefore also He is before the Son; as we have learned also from thy preaching in the midst of the Church. So far then as from God He has being, and glories, and life, and all things are delivered unto Him, in such sense is God His origin. For He is above Him, as being His God and before Him. But if the terms ‘from Him,’ and ‘from the womb,’ and ‘I came forth from the Father, and I am come’ (Romans 11:36;Psalm 110:3; John 16:28), be understood by some to mean as if a part of Him, one in essence or as an issue, then the Father is according to them compounded and divisible and alterable and material, and, as far as their belief goes, has the circumstances of a body, Who is the Incorporeal God. (Athanasius, De Synodis , Councils of Ariminum and Selucia, 16 – NPNF second series 4.457, 458.)

cont'd

David Waltz said...

cont'd from previous post...

Like so many of the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers, Arius reserved the title “the one God” for the Father alone, but applied the term “God” to the Son (and some CFs, to God's adopted/redeemed Sons); for instance, Irenaeus wrote:

“...there is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all, and the Son, and those who possess the adoption. Since, therefore, this is sure and steadfast, that no other God or Lord was announced by the Spirit, except Him who, as God, rules over all, together with His Word, and those who receive the Spirit of adoption.” (Irenaeus, Adv. Her. 4.Pref.4 - 4.1.1 ANF 1.463).

And Justin wrote:

== Then I replied, “I shall attempt to persuade you, since you have understood the Scriptures, [of the truth] of what I say, that there is, and that there is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things — above whom there is no other God — wishes to announce to them.”==(Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 56 – ANF 1.223.)

Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

". . . that there is said to be, another God . . . "

"said" = "called" ?

Couldn't Justin be understood to be saying here, "there is someone else who is called "God" in the Scriptures, who is Jesus Christ, pre-incarnated as "the Angel of the LORD" ?

In context, it does not seem to mean that Justin thinks there are two Gods, but that the Father is called God and the Son, Jesus Christ, is called God; and that He appeared as the "Angel of the LORD" in the OT, which many Protestants see that and interpret it that way, especially events like the Captain of the Lord's host at the end of Joshua 5 and beginning of 6, where Joshua bows to him and then the LORD speaks and gives commands in 6:1ff.

Ken Temple said...

In the long quote from Athanasius, who is quoting Arius, I did not find Arius calling the Son, God. Where is it?

It seemed like a classic definition of what we all understand Arianism to be.

What does begotten mean ?
How can we use that word, when there is not "birth" ?

It seems that Luke 1:34-35 says the reason Jesus is called the Son of God, because He was born of the Virgin Mary and conceived by the Holy Spirit.

The word, "mono-genes" - has been in recent years, translated "only unique one" - from "mono" = "only" and "genes" = kind, sort -

John 1:1 - the Logos in eternity had no beginning, always with God and God Himself.

seems His "being begotten" is mostly about the virgin birth, His entering into time and becoming flesh.

(The other short quote, I see it.)

What does "Monad" actually mean?

What does "subsistences" actually mean? three hypostasis ?

David Waltz said...

Good morning Ken,

Before I begin my comments on your older posts, I would like to address what you wrote earlier today—you said:

>>"said" = "called" ?

Couldn't Justin be understood to be saying here, "there is someone else who is called "God" in the Scriptures, who is Jesus Christ, pre-incarnated as "the Angel of the LORD" ?

In context, it does not seem to mean that Justin thinks there are two Gods, but that the Father is called God and the Son, Jesus Christ, is called God; and that He appeared as the "Angel of the LORD" in the OT, which many Protestants see that and interpret it that way, especially events like the Captain of the Lord's host at the end of Joshua 5 and beginning of 6, where Joshua bows to him and then the LORD speaks and gives commands in 6:1ff.>>

The quote must be read in the light of the extant corpus of Justin’s writings—in those writings the “one God” is reserved for God the Father alone, so when he speaks of “another God”, and “a second”, his subordinationism is clearly evident. In an EARLIER THEAD, we discussed this very issue.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

In your other morning post you wrote:

>>In the long quote from Athanasius, who is quoting Arius, I did not find Arius calling the Son, God. Where is it?>>

It is NOT in his letter to Alexander, but in his Thalia and his letter to Eusebius. Prior to the letter to Alexander, I posted:

>>“In the Thalia and in a letter to his ally Eusebius, Arius called the Son “strong God” and “full God”. (Gregg & Groh, Early Arianism – A View of Salvation, p. 66.)>>

I quoted the letter to Alexander because many are not familiar with what Arius actually taught. When he said the Son was “created”, it was in a qualified sense: he was NOT “created” IN TIME, and “created” for Arius (and some ECFs) was interchangeable with “begotten”.

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Ken,

I am back [grin]…

On the 11th you posted:

>> Dr. White's discussion of Newman and the Development of Doctrine answers a lot of the issues and roots of the main issue here.
( pp. 80-85 of The Roman Catholic Controversy)

"So we agree with Rome that doctrine does develop. But we strongly disagree about how it develops." (Ibid, p. 83)

His point about the Granville-Sharp rule and Titus 2:13 is a great example of valid and exegetical historical development.>>

For Newman, true doctrinal development, in its fullest sense, is found within the Catholic community; for James in is up to individual.

As for the Granville-Sharp rule, the validity of the rule is not as ‘air-tight’ as many believe; Stafford’s written debates with Rob Bowman, reveal the other side to the story.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

More from Ken,

>> I understand that because you were coming from a Jehovah's Witness (Arian theology on Christ) and that you needed much more depth reading in church history and historical theology to over-come all that background and thinking; but I cannot understanding putting the Doctrines of the Deity of Christ an the Trinity on the same level of lack of clarity or textual evidence or sound exegesis as the lack of evidence, texts, sound exegesis for Marian dogmas or the Papacy. The chasm of difference between them is massive.>>

The doctrine of the Trinity is very complex, and the Biblical material on the relationship between the Father and the Son is equally complex, and can exegetically be read in different senses. But, the doctrine of the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven is, as you pointed out, quite different, it is neither doctrinally speaking complex, nor is the Biblical material; rather, it is a very simple issue: was Mary bodily assumed into heaven? It is a YES or NO question, and when raised in the history of the Church, the Church ultimately said YES. If I were to ask YOU the question, what would you answer? If you say it is not important, and you have no opinion, I can understand that; however, it was important (for whatever reason/s) to many within the Catholic Church, and as such, it became a topic for debate and discussion, and finally, definition.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

You wrote:

>> Ken still maintains that there is a difference between the development of the doctrine of the Trinity and the development of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. Having read through much on the development of the Trinity and Ken’s scriptural exegesis methods, I still do not see how to draw a line in a consistent way that will get one to Ken’s theology. Either JWs who apply Ken’s methods are sufficiently Christian or they are not. If they are not, then there must be additional criteria to define what is a valid scriptural truth and what is not. The only additional criteria that I think works is the authority of the Church. Ken’s method produces JWs, Chris, me, Armenians, and many others who I think Ken would not believe should be viewed as “on the right path.”>>

There was a very interesting essay in the Spring 2008 issue of the prestigious Reformed periodical, The Westminster Theological Journal, with the title, “Some Observations On The Theological Method of Faustus Socinus”, written by Alan W. Gomes (a professor at John MacArthur’s Talbot School of Theology). In that essay, Gomes noted:

“There is hardly any insight of the magisterial Protestant Reformation stated with more vigor than Scripture as the sole principium for dogmatics; it is Scripture and Scripture alone that furnishes the material for theological system. However, when one examines the Socinian doctrine as articulated by Faustus himself, one finds little to distinguish it from the classic Protestant position.” (The Westminster Theological Journal, Spring 2008, p. 52.)

Gomes’ observation is spot-on, but is rarely admitted by many of his Evangelical brothers…


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

It is NOT in his letter to Alexander, but in his Thalia and his letter to Eusebius. Prior to the letter to Alexander, I posted:

Yes, I saw that.

I quoted the letter to Alexander because many are not familiar with what Arius actually taught.

Ok, good; that explains why you quoted it. Thanks for that and it was very interesting.


When he said the Son was “created”, it was in a qualified sense: he was NOT “created” IN TIME,

That is just weird and makes no sense.

and “created” for Arius (and some ECFs) was interchangeable with “begotten”.

Ok, but what does that mean, aside from when Jesus was born? see my comments on Luke 1:34-35. "for this reason" - the reason we call Him "the Son of God" is because of the power of the Most High and the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary. The Virgin birth, etc.

Even the concept of "eternally begotten" from eternity past is a difficult concept to even understand. Where in the Bible is "begotten" used for His existence before He became flesh and was born?

Isn't is enough to say He was the eternal Son in the sense He was the logos ( mind, thought, speech, expression) of God, same nature and substance from all eternity past, based on John 1:1-5; 14; philippians 2, Col. 1, Hebrews 1, Rev. 1 and 22, John 5, 8, 10, 19:6, etc.
and the logos was with God in a personal relationship from all eternity; which = Son, in relation to the Father.

Ken Temple said...

Talbot is the seminary of Biola University.

John MacArthur may have gone there, but it is not "John MacArthur's Talbot".

He is President of "The Master's Seminary", which is separate from Talbot.

Ken Temple said...

Gomes needs to read and listen to John Piper's essay on Athanasius' right?

Also,
I think you wrong that saying

"For Newman, true doctrinal development, in its fullest sense, is found within the Catholic community; for James in is up to individual."

Reformed Protestants are not "individualistic"; "just me and my Bible" types. We are also relying upon the good development of the Trinity in the early church, till 451, etc. (The real catholic church, little c; not Roman Catholic) and in community with all the good protestant material from 1517 on; Luther, Calvin, Puritans, Spurgeon, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, B. B. Warfield, Hodge, Murray, Machen, Sproul, Piper.

It is really unfair to make it seem like we believe that it "up to the individual". No, that is Chris, not us. And Tom is just wrong about us.

Ken Temple said...

Ken’s method produces JWs, Chris, me, Armenians, and many others who I think Ken would not believe should be viewed as “on the right path.”

This is a ridiculous statement.

The thing that stopped the heresies and stopped the "individual" from deciding what he wanted to was the force and heresy trials, persecutions, burnings at the stake of the Roman Catholic Church. (Beginning with the Arian use of the state to persecute Athanasius, then taking root under Theodosius, on through to Justinian, Charlemagne, Inquisition, Crusades,etc.

The persecution of the Arminian Anabaptists and incidents like Servetus were inherited from the Roman concepts of power and politics in the Roman Catholic Church. Thank God that we broke free from all that!

It was not until the separation of church and state and the outworkings of the Protestant Reformation affected that through the Puritans, Pilgrims and others who founded the USA that gave rise to things like Chris' liberal/skeptic/unitarian/universalist view and JWs and Mormons.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

You wrote:

>> John MacArthur may have gone there, but it is not "John MacArthur's Talbot".>>

Bad phrasing on my part—yes, John was a student, not the founder.

Sorry about any confusion.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I need to head out shortly, but before doing so, I wanted some clarification on the following you posted:

>>and “created” for Arius (and some ECFs) was interchangeable with “begotten”.

Ok, but what does that mean, aside from when Jesus was born? see my comments on Luke 1:34-35. "for this reason" - the reason we call Him "the Son of God" is because of the power of the Most High and the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary. The Virgin birth, etc.

Even the concept of "eternally begotten" from eternity past is a difficult concept to even understand. Where in the Bible is "begotten" used for His existence before He became flesh and was born?

Isn't is enough to say He was the eternal Son in the sense He was the logos ( mind, thought, speech, expression) of God, same nature and substance from all eternity past, based on John 1:1-5; 14; philippians 2, Col. 1, Hebrews 1, Rev. 1 and 22, John 5, 8, 10, 19:6, etc.
and the logos was with God in a personal relationship from all eternity; which = Son, in relation to the Father.
>>

Are you in some sense denying the “eternal generation” (i.e. eternal begetting) of the Son by the Father?

Ken Temple said...

No, I am not denying it;

I am just asking questions about where it comes from, mainly --

I confess I don't fully understand it as a biblical concept -- that is, it seems like the Scriptures use the "begotten" language in reference to the Virgin birth, and in quoting 2 Sam and Psalm 2, in Hebrews and Acts 2 and 13, about the virgin birth and resurrection and ascension.

Where is it being used about His eternity?

Was it Origen who first came up with that, "eternally begotten" ?

Even that, I did not understand what that means the first time I read it.

If monogenes means "only unique" or "one of a kind", where is the biblical material for "eternally begotten" or "generated"?

Probably I just have not read enough historical theology on that particular issue.

I believe Christ is eternal, the second person of the Trinity from all eternity, in a love relationship with the Father and Holy Spirit, sharing in glory together, John 17:5, John 1:1 and all the other chapters and verses I mention earlier - Phil. 2, Col. 1, Heb. 1, Rev. 1, 22; John 5, 8, 10, 19:6, etc.

But I don't understand the "begotten" language; if it means "unique", "one and only", as applied to eternity.

(as recent studies on Hebrews 11:17 has generated, because Isaac was the unique son of Abraham, but not his only one; which also influenced the NIV translation to change the traditional translation of monogenes from "only begotten" to "one and only" or "unique" or "one of a kind")

TOm said...

Ken quoted me, TOm said:
Ken’s method produces JWs, Chris, me, Armenians, and many others who I think Ken would not believe should be viewed as “on the right path.”

Ken responded (italics for Ken’s words)
This is a ridiculous statement.

The thing that stopped the heresies and stopped the "individual" from deciding what he wanted to was the force and heresy trials, persecutions, burnings at the stake of the Roman Catholic Church. (Beginning with the Arian use of the state to persecute Athanasius, then taking root under Theodosius, on through to Justinian, Charlemagne, Inquisition, Crusades,etc.

The persecution of the Arminian Anabaptists and incidents like Servetus were inherited from the Roman concepts of power and politics in the Roman Catholic Church. Thank God that we broke free from all that!

It was not until the separation of church and state and the outworkings of the Protestant Reformation affected that through the Puritans, Pilgrims and others who founded the USA that gave rise to things like Chris' liberal/skeptic/unitarian/universalist view and JWs and Mormons.

TOm responds:
I am a little confused as to what direction you are attempting to point.
You say my suggestion that your methodology results in huge diversity in very important theological directions is “a ridiculous statement.”
You then explain how the Roman Catholic Church did a lot of (presumably) horrible things to crush folks who believed that they were the ones who using your methodology correctly (all but your admittedly circular first point which relies on the aforementioned horrible things). You speak of “separation of church and state and the outworkings of the Protestant Reformation” that then give freedom to folks so they come up with various heresies (using your methodology I might add) and don’t get crushed.
So, are you for “heresy trials, persecutions, burnings at the stake” to ensure orthodoxy and against “separation of church and state and the outworkings of the Protestant Reformation?” Or, are you against such things.

It would seem that you admit that without these things, heresies will be widespread using your methodology for sola scriptura. I would certainly agree that without your starting point (that reads into your method a doctrinal statement), then sola scriptura will produce wildly divergent theologies (and even with your starting point there will be numerous other points of contention).

I would also suggest that Catholics have persecuted Protestants, Protestants have persecuted Catholics (and Mormons), and Mormons have persecuted Protestants. Arians persecuted Trinitarians and Trinitarians persecuted Arians. I assume that you do not think we can use who persecuted who to determine truth.
Charity, TOm