Wednesday, February 3, 2010
In this new thread, I will attempt to address two issues: first, my affirmation of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed; and second, one of the important reasons why I have difficulty affirming the infallibility of the Ecumenical Councils.
Dave Armstrong, in his last post addressed to me (HERE), wrote:
You imply above (I think) that you accept at least some form of the Trinity. Do not any variations of the Trinity, as you see them, presuppose that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God? There may be all these fine details, as you allude to, but it is still a God in three Persons, no? The word means "Tri-unity" after all.
Until you answer these basic questions or further explain what exactly your difficulties are, I for one have no idea how to go about trying to persuade you of the truth of Catholicism or any kind of Christianity if you are now outside what I would call orthodox trinitarianism: agreed upon by all three branches of Christianity (for the most part).
Earlier, in the same thread, I posted the following (HERE):
As for the Nicene Creed, I have no problem reciting it as we speak; however, I do have reservations concerning subsequent interpretations of the NC, some of which may in fact negate the original intent of bishops who met in 325 and 381.
Now, when I referenced “the Nicene Creed”, I actually meant (following the common usage employed by pretty much everyone) the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. Since this creed it considered by every scholar I have read to be Trinitarian, I am a bit puzzled as to why Dave is questioning whether or not I, “accept at least some form of the Trinity.” So, without getting into “fine details”, I would like to, yet once again, make it crystal clear that I do in fact “accept at least some form of the Trinity.”
Moving on the second issue, the infallibility of the Ecumenical Councils, it is the promulgation of the two respective creeds mentioned in the title of this thread that raises one of the important reasons why I have difficulty in affirming infallibility. I will now attempt to outline the evidence(s).
Fact 1 - Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 deletes portions of the Nicene Creed of 325, even though we read from the “Definition of the faith” of the council of Chalcedon in 451 that:
…we have renewed the unerring creed of the fathers. We have proclaimed to all the creed of the 318 [i.e. Nicene Creed of 325]; and we have made our own those fathers who accepted this agreed statement of religion—the 150 who later met in great Constantinople and themselves set their seal to the same creed. (Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Volume 1, Norman P. Tanner, S.J. editor, 1990, p. 83.)
Fact 2 – The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 is not “the creed of the 318” [i.e. Nicene Creed of 325].
Fact 3 – “No copy of the council’s doctrinal decisions, entitled τομος και αναθεματισμος εγγραφος (record of the tome and anathemas), has survived.” (Ibid., p. 21.)
Fact 4 – “The Second Council of Constantinople, A. D. 381, was not originally a general council”. (Joseph Pohle, The Trinity, English trans. Arthur Preuss, 1912, p. 129.)
In summation, we have a creed from an “Ecumenical” council, that “was not originally a general council”, altering (by deletion) the Nicene Creed of 325; and the 4th Ecumenical council erroneously declaring that the creed promulgated at council of Constantinople in 381 was “the same creed” that was promulgated at Nicea in 325. I submit that such evidence(s) (and the above is only one such example) make the teaching of the infallibility of Ecumenical Councils untenable.
[For those who would like to explore these issues a bit more deeply, I highly recommend that you read R.P.C. Hanson’s treatment, found in his The Seach for the Christian Doctrine of God, pp. 812-820.]
Grace and peace,
P.S. I want all to know that this thread should not be construed as an attack directed at Dave Armstrong; for the record, I sincerely appreciate the substantial effort/work that Dave has produced since the posting of my 01-06-10 announcement, and shall be looking forward to his (and everyone else’s) comments.