Friday, November 19, 2010

TurretinFan on "Formal Insufficiency"

I have not looked in on TurretinFan's (hereafter, TF) blog for a number of weeks now, but a couple of recent posts by Colin Smith concerning Cornelius Van Til and the Trinity (FIRST; SECOND) at the AOMIN blog, brought back to mind an older post of mine that touched on Van Til's controversial doctrine of the Trinity, while sharing a few of my reflections on a debate between TF and William Albrecht (LINK to the thread: Is God a being or a person?). I went back and read anew the thread, added another update, linking to Colin's new posts, and then headed over to TF's blog, reading his most recent contribution: Formal Insufficiency - An Insult to Jesus—the rest of this post will assess TF's musings.

[TF] Those Roman Catholics who think that the Scriptures are an insufficient rule of faith and life - that the Scriptures are not clear enough to stand sola Scriptura as the way by which we know God: please consider that the Gospels give us verbatim teachings of Jesus himself in his own words.

TF doesn't actually believe that ALL Scripture is clear, rather, I suspect he believes what the Westminster Confession of Faith teaches on the matter:

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them. (ONLINE TEXT - bold emphasis mine.)

Now, for the record, I have requested from TF (on at least two occasions) a list of "those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation", a list he refused to give me—I make the request again—hopefully this time TF will provide this very important list.

[TF] It's bad enough that you are not satisfied by the Holy Spirit's teaching through the entirety of the Inspired Holy Scripture, but that may be less self-evidently divine. In other words, while you are to blame for not being satisfied with the divine teachings of the law, the prophets, the evangelists, and the apostles, we can understand that perhaps you do not understand that the Bible is the Holy Spirit speaking to us through men.

Is TF truly "satisfied by the Holy Spirit's teaching through the entirety of the Inspired Holy Scripture"? TF under his "About Me" states that he is "Reformed" and "Ecclesiastically Presbyterian", which probably means that he subscribes to the Westminster Standards. IMO, it is equivocal to berate another for not being "satisfied by the Holy Spirit's teaching through the entirety of the Inspired Holy Scripture", while belonging to a denomination that requires its members to subscribe to extra-Biblical confessions and catechisms.

[TF] But are you going to seriously say that Jesus' preaching, recorded in the Gospels, is not clear enough for people to read it, understand it, and trust in Christ alone for salvation? Is God's own word, not spoken through prophets under inspiration but spoken directly by the God-man Himself not clear enough?

Obviously not for those who belong to confessional denominations.

[TF] Don't you think that's a little insulting?

I would not say that the view which TF is attacking is "insulting", rather, I would say it accurately reflects the doctrinal and theological battles/developments, and the proliferation of denominations and sects, during the nearly two thousand years of Christian history.


Grace and peace,

David

64 comments:

Nick said...

David said: Now, for the record, I have requested from TF (on at least two occasions) a list of "those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation", a list he refused to give me


I got a treat for you, check out this thread (basically, search posts by me, Matthew, and TFs responses to us).

Here is what TF admitted on this subject of perspicuity:
"we may be able to identify some things as essentials clearly and identify other things as non-essentials clearly, we don't think we can create a precise list"

Overall, he basically admitted that the doctrine of Perspicuity means that all the doctrines necessary for salvation are clearly stated in Scripture *BUT* it's not clear which of those doctrines are essential. In other words, it's like saying Scripture contains all essential saving knowledge, but we're not sure when sifting through the knowledge which is essential. So, for example, the Bible can clearly state Jesus Resurrected and Jesus ate fish, but it's unclear which of those, if either, are "essential".

It is a coherent position, but ultimately of no value and thus a serious problem. At that point, the Catholic position is vindicated.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

This is a very interesting post.

Nick's information is also invaluable. If this is true (and I have no reason to doubt either of you).... than there is more tongue in cheek speaking from those who claim the reformed tradition than I originally thought.

It seems to me there is allot of inconsistency in their positions on this matter.

Thanks David for this post I am about tempted with your permission to re-post on my site in hopes that it would draw people's attention to the excellent points both you and Nick have made.

Peace be unto you.

Ken said...

Here is a stab at some of the gospel essentials that one must believe in order to be saved; that are clearly taught all through the Bible. (Genesis, Isaiah 53, Gospel of John, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews) Basically, 1. God is Holy and Sovereign and Just and condemns sin. (Genesis 3; Isaiah 6; 40; 57:15; 59:1-2, Psalm 51; Romans chapters 1-3) 2. Sin is an affront to God and all are guilty with sin and rebellion in their hearts; and there is no hope unless God saves us. (Romans 3:9-26) 3. No human cannot merit or pay the penalty or price for this rebellion/guilt/pride/sin in the heart. No rituals or religious works are good enough to cleanse the heart. They cannot wash the heart. (Mark 7:1-23) 4. God calls everyone to repent and turn to Christ and trust Him and His work on the cross as the perfect substitute and the one who proved His sacrifice was sufficient by raising Him from the dead. (Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19; I Cor. 15:1-9; Acts 17:30-31) This is included recognizing the need for grace/propitiation/mercy – Luke 18:9-14 – “Oh God, propitiate me!” (satisfy the justice of God against me for my sin) (Usually translated “have mercy on me!) It also includes recognizing that I cannot do works or rituals to gain God’s righteousness; no prayers to Mary or indulgences or giving money to the poor or fasting enough will do it. (Romans chapters 4-5; book of Galatians) It recognizes that one is saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:1-9); and justified by faith alone (Romans 1:16-17; 3:28; chapters 4-5; Galatians).

Hamza Yusuf admits that “I stand condemned” and “in theological terms, we all fall short of the glory of God” – “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 - in part 2 of these interviews – three parts – this is part 2. Interesting that he quoted the Bible here rather than the Qur’an.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqAKGo-s7bg&feature=related

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God – all humans are sinful and unable to clean themselves up and be good in order to be accepted by God – no one can earn any merit; we need the merit /justice/goodness/ righteousness of another.

God has the perfect merit and perfect goodness and perfect righteousness/justice. He took our place on the cross. We deserved justice / punishment / hell for our sins – He was the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. ( John 1:29)

Ken said...

Why did Allah substitute an innocent ram / lamb/ goat for the sinful human/Abraham’s son? Hamza Yusuf, in the Eid-Ghorban (Eid Al Adha) sermon that GV19 linked to at his site; missed the main point of the Eid e Ghorban – “we have ransomed you with a mighty sacrifice”. Qur’an 37:107/108 (Genesis 22:1-18) Hamza Yusuf emphasized what we humans should do – “be good” , “give up something for Allah”, “renew your commitment”, “be better” etc. Whereas the point is what God did for the sinful humans. We could not work or do anything; God had to do it for us.

So, you sacrifice an animal now, once a year at the end of Haj and give the meat to the poor. What is the meaning of this? Remembering Abraham and what he did. Ok. What else? It was test. Yes. (Genesis 22:1 agrees with that.) What else? Is the only thing you can say is that “we don’t have to sacrifice our first born son or only son anymore?” Does Islam really teach that? Think about that. That is not the Jewish or Christian (original meaning, more than 600 years before Islam started.) according to the bible, God would never require that of anyone else, (human sacrifice was against the law – Leviticus 18) it was a unique event of a test for Abraham, to prophesy about the coming Messiah, who would come from the seed of Abraham and bless all the nations(Genesis 3:15; 12:3; 15:1-6; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10), and that God would be the one to give His only unique Son, as a display of grace. “Since you have not withheld your only unique Son of your love” (Genesis 22:12, 16) , - is a picture of what God would do in Christ.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. Genesis 22:7-8
God will provide the lamb. God Himself will do the work. John 10:17-18

Mark 10:45 “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” The word ransom, is the same root as the Qur’anic word for ransom in Surah 37:107/108 – Hamza Yusuf completely ignored the main message of this event; the substitutionary sacrifice and atonement of the innocent victim being slaughtered and killed in the place of the guilty human.

Ken said...

Christ died for His enemies (Romans 5:6-11) – sinners, helpless, wicked, ungodly. The Grandverbalizer 19 even admits that greater love is one dying for His enemies. Christ died for sinful humans, His enemies, from all nations, tribes, languages, peoples (Rev. 5:9; 7:9-10). Awesome and beautiful! There is no racism or ethnic superiority in true Christianity!

Granted, Christ also changes us and makes us into His friends, (John 15:13) - "If anyone is in Christ,he is a new creature, the old things have passed away, behold new things have come." 2 Corinthians 5:17 (see also Romans 6:6; Colossians 3:1-17; Ephesians 4:1-32) the disciples were believers, disciples, followers, so they had become His friends, by the grace of God changing them. Christ died for His enemies and changes them into His friends.

Here are some sermons filled with the essentials that one can find by reading the bible, and so, it shows it is formally sufficient.
Many messages on the essentials of the gospel:
http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Gospel/Essays/John-Piper-on-the-Gospel/

Quest for Joy by John Piper
http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/resources/quest-for-joy

Good message on Luke 18:9-14
http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/resources/this-man-went-down-to-his-house-justified

Ken said...

Deuteronomy 12:30-31
Leviticus 18:21

human sacrifice was against the law; therefore the test for Abraham was a unique event; and it would never mean that without this; God would still require us to sacrifice our sons.

GV19 -
Does Islam say, "without Abraham's obedience, we would still have to sacrifice our sons today" ??

The Bible is sufficient for us to read the relevant passages and understand it; the basics of the gospel.

Of course, God still has to open up the mind and heart in order to receive these truths. Luke 24:45; 2 Cor. 2:14; 4:3-4; John 6:44; Acts 16:14

John 3:27 - "A man can receive nothing unless it has been granted to him from above."

Reginald de Piperno said...

Here is a stab at some of the gospel essentials that one must believe in order to be saved

You're wasting your time, Ken. Just for starters, we have no reason to take your word for it that any partial list that you provide consists solely of things that must be believed.

Secondly, a partial list of things that must be believed in order to be saved is worthless: if we do not have a list of everything that must be believed in order to be saved, then obviously there will be some even amongst your coreligionists who will get some things wrong, and who will suffer eternal consequences as a result.

Nick is absolutely correct: the doctrine as formulated is worthless. It does no one even a tiny bit of good to say, "There are things that you must believe in order to be saved. They are perfectly clear in this book. But there are also unclear things taught in this book, and there are also things that are perfectly clear in this book that you don't have to believe, but I can't help you distinguish the full list of things you need to believe from the things you don't need to believe, and there are no rules for distinguishing them, either."

Yeah. Thanks for that…but no thanks.

Of course, Reformed folk typically follow up with the claim that no such list is necessary, but that's palpably ridiculous. To tell people that there are things you *must* believe in order to be saved but that it is *impossible* to provide a comprehensive list of such things is just sadistic:

"You're going to hell unless you believe certain things!"

"Oh no! Tell me everything I have to believe in order to be saved!"

"I can't!"

"Auuuugggh!"

No thanks.

RdP

Ken said...

Reginald,
It appears you rejected and ignored what I wrote without even reading any of it, except for the first line. I guess by "some of the essentials", I was trying to be humble; ok - the above is the full essentials (with one added below) in order to be saved. How is that?

I did think of another, belief in the Deity of Christ - John 8:24 - "Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins."

there may be others, but I reserve the right to add more from the Bible, if you can think of other essentials for salvation.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Ken,

It still doesn't work. Why should anyone take your word for it that this yours is a complete list? Why should anyone take your word for it that your list is correct?

Your list has at least one glaring omission, by the way…which only reinforces the point.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Ken,

You wrote:

there may be others, but I reserve the right to add more from the Bible, if you can think of other essentials for salvation.

First you said that your list was partial. Then, perhaps stung by my reply to that, you adjusted your claim and said that your list was complete. But you were unable to finish that post without adding to your original list and reserving the right to continue to add to it. Isn't there something wrong here?

My intention is not to browbeat you. My intention is to point out the problems with what you are trying to do, and I hope that your subsequent reservations imply that you recognize at least some of them, too. Even if you succeed in producing such a list that you yourself are satisfied is both complete and error-free, we have no reason to take your word for either of those conditions even on your own terms. The problems with the Reformed doctrine of perspicuity are not so easily surmounted.

Peace,

RdP

Reginald de Piperno said...

Nick,

Thanks for the TF link. Aside from being reminded of "Who's on first?" I found the evasions amusing and appalling all at the same time.

RdP

Nick said...

Reginald,

Yes, I know what you mean. Until that discussion with TF, I had no idea just how convoluted the perspicuity issue *truly* was.

I would have never dreamed that there really existed a dogma like that. But it just goes to show how heresy will manifest itself with folks asserting and defending the most astonishing things.

And you make a good point, this isn't to beat down Ken, but rather to try to get him to see the very real danger in the doctrine he's embraced. A partial-complete list of essential doctrines, organized according to the individual's tastes is the furthest thing from a Sufficient Rule of Faith.

David Waltz said...

Hi Nick,

Along with Reginald, I too would like to thank you for the "List of Things Necessary to Salvation" LINK; I was, obviously, totally unaware of this thread (and its 129 comments). I have not finished all the comments yet, but sense that an adequate apologia of TF's position will not be forthcoming—it seems we are witnessing yet another Reformed epistemological dilemma—in addition to the fallible, partial list of "things necessary to believe for salvation", there is also the, "fallible collection of infallible books", that R.C. Spoul mentions in his "Hath God Said?" lecture series (tape TH 11.23/24 side A "Inspiration and the Canon of Scripture"; see also page 58 of the study guide). [I briefly touched on this issue in one of my combox posts in THIS THREAD.]

I am now thinking of devoting a thread(s) to Reformed epistemology after I finish my deification series.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi GV19,

So good to see you back; you posted:

>> Thanks David for this post I am about tempted with your permission to re-post on my site in hopes that it would draw people's attention to the excellent points both you and Nick have made.>>

Me: I have no problem with you reposting the material I have written on your blog. As for Nick's contributions, I will, of course, let him answer for himself.

Now, with that said, it seems to me the difficulties we are discussing concerning Reformed epistemology are transferable to Sunni epistemology. Though I am not at this time ready to do so, I would like to, in the near future, discuss this issue with you.

BTW, are you familiar with the following hadith that I linked to in the combox of another thread:

=="Awf ibn Malik reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, 'The Jews split into 71 sects: one will enter Paradise and 70 will enter Hell. The Christians split into 72 sects: 71 will enter Hell and one will enter Paradise. By Him in Whose hand is my soul, my Ummah will split into 73 sects: one will enter Paradise and 72 will enter Hell.' Someone asked, 'O Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), who will they be?' He replied, 'The main body of the Muslims (al-Jama'ah).' Awf ibn Malik is the only one who reported this Hadith, and its isnad is acceptable." And in another version of this Hadith the Prophet (Peace be upon him) goes onto say that the saved sect, "...Are those who follow my and my Sahaba's path" (Tirmidhi, vol. 2, pg. 89)== [LINK]


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Reginald,

It is a pleasant surprise to see you show up, and contribute, in this thread. Your ongoing dialogue with Ken is very interesting (IMHO).


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

Your list has at least one glaring omission, by the way…which only reinforces the point.

What is that?

The Virgin Birth, maybe; yes, I would include that also - That Jesus is Messiah and Son of God are understood in what I wrote. Yes I reserve the right to add to the list whatever is in Scripture and has a crucial relationship to the issue of eternal salvation. I reserve this right, because I cannot think of everything so fast, and the comboxes can only hold so much. I can see why Turretinfan took the approach he did.

My sheep hear my voice. John 10 The voice of God is in the Scriptures.

Ken said...

And you make a good point, this isn't to beat down Ken, but rather to try to get him to see the very real danger in the doctrine he's embraced. A partial-complete list of essential doctrines, organized according to the individual's tastes is the furthest thing from a Sufficient Rule of Faith.

How is it dangerous? Paul said to the Philippian jailer - "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved" Acts 16:31

Romans 10:9 says to confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you shall be saved."

Those are pretty honed down and bare-bones summaries. Mine is same thing.

Irenaeus Against Heresies 1:1:10 and 3:4:2 also - basic pre-Nicean/Apostles Creed summaries of doctrinal confession.

It is not organized according to one individual's taste - don't understand why you say that. It's pretty standard gospel content. I named a lot of the essentials; granted I left out some and as we move along, adding some more. I am not infallible.

It is not dangerous because they are all Scripture.

Also, the command to teach and disciple (Matthew 28:19) shows that eventually, if we teach the Bible and not man made traditions, we will cover all the essentials. The Trinity, the Fatherhood of God, Almighty creator and invisible; these are also understood in this. The Trinity is not grasped until someone takes the time to explain it though; and a true believer grasps it/receives it/apprehends it by faith, though not comprehending it fully.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Ken, you wrote in reply to my observation that there is at least one serious omission from your list:

What is that?

See? That's what we're talking about. :-) But you still haven't hit the one that I have in mind. And I'm not simply trying to trip you up. It's pretty disappointing that you would consider evasion (as exercised by TF) as (apparently) a prudent measure. Because that evasion only serves to demonstrate the fundamental irrationality of the Reformed doctrine of perspicuity.

Reformed Protestant: "There are certain things that you must believe in order to be saved, and they are clearly taught in the Bible."

Non-Protestant: "Swell. What are they?"

Reformed Protestant: "I don't know."

????

That's just plain ridiculous, and I hope that you can see that.

RdP

Reginald de Piperno said...

And I should add that I know my little pseudo-dialogue does indulge in a bit of caricature, but the fundamental force of it remains if the Reformed Protestant refuses to identify *all* of those "clearly taught" requirements:

Reformed Protestant: "So those are some of the things that you must believe. But there might be others."

Non-Protestant: "Okay, what are they?"

Reformed Protestant: "I don't know."

????

RdP

Ken said...

Once you name it; and it is biblical and clearly related to salvation, it doesn't matter if I am unable to name it right now; if I agree, then that just proves I am not perfect; but the Bible still is.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Ken,

Of course you will. I'm certainly not attacking you. I don't expect you to be perfect; you're human. And of course the Bible is perfect (depending upon what is meant by that, of course). What is not perfect, and what is just plain wrong, is the silly Reformed doctrine of perspicuity.

RdP

P.S. What you left out is the Holy Trinity :-)

Jamie Donald said...

It's bad enough that you are not satisfied by the Holy Spirit's teaching through the entirety of the Inspired Holy Scripture (emphasis added).

In addition to RdP's critique above, TF's position is basic question begging. What is the entirety of Scripture? How does one from the Sola Scriptura standpoint refute Marcion's canon for example?

TF, and his coreligionists, in other places have stated that the Scriptures are either 1) a discovery by the Church, or 2) an artifact that results from the deposit of faith, but not an article of faith.

I can and do believe "1." The Holy Spirit led the Church to properly discern the Scriptures. But regardless of how you "slice and dice" the discovery process, it amounts to Tradition. If you subscribe to the "discovery" concept and you bind souls to the contents of that discovered Scripture, then by definition, you accept Tradition; a binding Tradition.

If you subscribe to "2," then you need to be able to explain why there were competing writings which may or may not have been written under the authority of the Apostles, but not accepted into the body of Scripture. In the early Church it was not clear. This is a historical fact. For example, Clement's letter to the Corinthians was read at their liturgies for over 100 years after he wrote. It was read alongside other writings which we now define as Scripture. The "artifact of faith" concept means that the belief existed first and the writings were selected later. Again, this selection is none other than Tradition. If you bind souls to the contents of the selection, then once again, you hold to a binding Tradition.

Ken said...

Reginald,
Yes, I left out the Trinity at the beginning, but eventually, I mentioned the doctrine later:

at Nov. 20, 2:30pm
Also, the command to teach and disciple (Matthew 28:19) shows that eventually, if we teach the Bible and not man made traditions, we will cover all the essentials. The Trinity, the Fatherhood of God, Almighty creator and invisible; these are also understood in this. The Trinity is not grasped until someone takes the time to explain it though; and a true believer grasps it/receives it/apprehends it by faith, though not comprehending it fully.

That is part of the essentials, but usually the doctrine of the Trinity is not grasped until later; but a true sheep does not fight it; once he/she is taught, they received it; and it flows out of the Deity of Christ and the incarnation and Virgin Birth - that is why one of the clearer verses on the necessity of belief in the Deity of Christ for salvation is John 8:24.

Ken said...

Jamie,
Nice to see you comment here - do you just look and read all this time; or just happen to look in suddenly after not visiting these blogs for a while?

there are many understandings of "tradition" - the apostles oral teachings at the time while the Scriptures were still being written ( 48 - 70 AD; Jude - 80 AD; I personally believe John, 1-3 John, and Rev. were all written prior to 70 AD; but many believe they were written in the period of 80-96 AD.

Those traditions/teachings (2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6; I Cor. 11:2; I Cor. 15:1-9; Jude 3) are all the teachings that Paul and other apostles wrote in other letters (Romans, Galatians, I Cor.) but he didn't write all of the contents to the Thessalonians at the time that the 2 Thess. letters were written. Eventually, all that is necessary was written down for all the churches and for us. But because of persecution, burning the Scriptures by the Romans, and that they were written to individual churches and places, it took a while for them to be collected under one "book cover". As Dr. White has pointed out, many scholars believe the Christians are the one who invented the codex form of binding which eventually became the form for future book binding.

So, in that sense, that kind of tradition is good, (and what Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Athanasius meant, that Protestants agree with - the rule of faith doctrinal statements that are Scriptural) and it was once for all delivered (deposited, one of the verb forms of the concept of tradition) to the saints.

But that is not the same as traditions that add to the word of God or are the RCC's interpretations of Scripture or dogmas that come centuries later, etc. those are man-made and wrong/bad traditions - Matthew 15/Mark 7/ Colossians 2:8

Reginald de Piperno said...

Yes, I left out the Trinity at the beginning, but eventually, I mentioned the doctrine later:

Ken,

Your self-defense here is unnecessary, since I wasn't trying to trap you and since I question neither that it is an essential nor that you know this. The problem isn't with any specific omission in a mere combox. As we've said repeatedly, the problem is with the Reformed doctrine of perspicuity. It does not and cannot work. Protestants can never and will never agree on the contents of such a list, which demonstrates the worthlessness of the doctrine. On the other hand, some (like TF) refuse to offer any list…which likewise demonstrates the worthlessness of the doctrine.

That is the real problem, not the fact that you originally and accidentally omitted the Trinity from your list.

RdP

Jamie Donald said...

Ken,

Thank you for the kind words. I read as often as I can, but my time to actually get the comments written out (and often thoroughly researched) just is not in my schedule as much as I'd like it to be. It's been incredibly busy on my end. I trust you and your family are well.

As far as an early date for the books in Scripture, I agree with you. I have also read the same as you and Dr White concerning the concept of the codex, or bound collection of books, instead of scrolls being first employed by Christians.

But these beliefs truly don't matter. First, you didn't truly interact with what I put forth. I wasn't questioning when certain writings were actually penned, nor the mechanical means by which they were collected. As I pointed out there were other writings which competed with what we acknowledge as Scripture. These writings were read in the liturgies. Many of them were either purported to be written by Apostles (such as the Gospel of Thomas) and others by close associates of the Apostles (such as Clement's letter). What you're not doing is showing the process of sifting through these collections and determining (or discovering) inspired from not inspired.

This is pretty important stuff. As a pastor, you bind the souls of your congregation to what you believe consists the Scripture. From previous interaction with you, this binding is in accordance with what you believe to be the Church's function in binding and loosing; namely to bind souls to the Scripture for salvation. If you're going to do that, then you had better get it right. Being "relatively sure" or "confident" is not enough. To bind a soul, you must be absolutely certain.

So what is the discernment process for sifting through the collection of writings to learn what is and is not inspired? If the discernment is complete upon the death of the last Apostle (when we both agree that public Revelation ended), then Sola Scriptura is possible without any binding Tradition. However, you have admitted in the past a level of universal uncertainty in the early Church to a date which is at least 100 years after the death of the last Apostle. Since this discernment/discovery process lasted so long, and since you are binding souls to the result of the same discovery/discernment process, you must subscribe to some form of binding Tradition.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of Allah, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord...

David thanks for the response. It's amazing that on a thread about Turetinfan and Formal Insufficiency that a certain person feels it appropriate to vent their frustration and inability to grasp Islamic theology known.

This is why some times I am hesitant to comment (as I don't want your threads hijacked by myself or others).

David you mentioned the lone narrator report that you gave was dealt with in amazing way by Imam Al Ghazali (raheemullah) and I recommended a book "the boundaries of theological tolerance" translated by Sherman Jackson.

"Now, with that said, it seems to me the difficulties we are discussing concerning Reformed epistemology are transferable to Sunni epistemology."

That is correct (to a degree). We have Surah 3:7 that establishes that the the Qur'an will have what are the basic and what are the allegorical.

In fact it's interesting that Ahl Sunnah Wal Jammah has had many madhabs that eventually came down to four...with the Humbali madhab unfortunately dying out...

You can also read roots of synthetic theology in Islam by Mustafa Ceric.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

as far as Ken, I'll keep it short and sweet.

Ken , Sheikh Hamza Yusuf has spent 20-23 years living in the middle east, Mauritania, Morocco, Yemen, Dubai, Sudan. Your in Georgia and he is in California.

He lives and teaches in Hayward California (Zaytuna-the first Muslim University in the United States)

Sheikh Hamza does not say anything (including quotes from the New Testament) without some thought behind it. So I would be careful cherry picking anything or getting tickled by the Holy Spirit.

You (and your reformed allies) are MOST WELCOME to get in touch with him.

However, with me your just spinning your wheels.

Ken said...

Grandverbalizer19 -
What does it mean? "We have ransomed you with a mighty sacrifice." Surah 37:107/108

فدیه

فدا

same concept in Mark 10:45 - "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom فدا for many."

they asked for a list of Scriptures that are essential for salvation. I provided many. The message of the gospel on how to be saved from sin and hell is important - salvation.

Ken said...

Jamie,
History is history - that is all we have. There are no other inspired books. I don't have to have infallible certainty - only God has that kind of quality. There is no need for such skepticism, "what if?" and "how do you know for sure?" etc. - the RCC gives me no comfort or assurance of anything better, given all the mistakes and additions it has made to the original deposit of faith, given by the apostles. The early church did a good job of discerning and sifting. Origen, around 250 wrote of the same 27 books, a century earlier than Athanasius in his famous Festal Letter # 39 in 367. He said, "these are the fountains of salvation" and "in these alone (the concept of Sola Scriptura is clear) is the teaching of godliness." Good enough for me!

I told you the difference between Biblical tradition (2 Thess 2:15) and false tradition (Matthew 15/Mark 7/ Colossians 2:8) - I can read I Clement and see it has some good things to say, especially that it shows that elders and episcipoi were the same office, as Titus 1:5-7 shows, along with Acts 20:17 and 28 and I Peter 5:1-4; but it does not have the quality of being "God-breathed". Neither does Shepherd of Hermas nor the so-called "Epistle of Barnabas" (full of goofy things) [different than the 14 century fraudulent "Gospel of Barnabas".]

Ken said...

Jamie,
The gospel of Thomas is easy to see it is false. the saying that women have to become like men in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, condemns it easily.

Ken said...

Reginald de Piperno wrote:
As we've said repeatedly, the problem is with the Reformed doctrine of perspicuity.

Just asserting that doesn't prove your point.

It does not and cannot work.

Works pretty good for all conservative and Reformed, doctrinal Protestants. (about things essential for salvation; not secondary issues, which are the things churches disagree over)

Protestants can never and will never agree on the contents of such a list, which demonstrates the worthlessness of the doctrine.

Actually, Protestants are quite unified on the essential doctrines for salvation; which I pretty much think I covered. Remember, we are talking about for salvtion, not baptism or spiritual gifts or presuppositional apologetics vs. evidentialist or Arminian vs. Calvinism on election and God's sovereignty or elders vs. bishops vs. congregational church government or 24 hour 6 day young earth vs. old earth or Pre-Mill. vs. A-Mill vs. Post-Mill, etc.

On the other hand, some (like TF) refuse to offer any list…which likewise demonstrates the worthlessness of the doctrine.

It doesn't demonstrate the worthlessness of it, only that he is more careful than I am. I gave you a list of the clear things, for salvation. Most all Protestants would agree with that list.

That is the real problem, not the fact that you originally and accidentally omitted the Trinity from your list.

You have not demonstrated the problem in my mind. You say, "it doesn't work". What do you mean by that? Work to produce what? Does the RCC list of de fide dogmas for salvation actually work? How do you know they work? They certainly did not produce unity, for Luther and Calvin and all the Protestants after them did not fall in line, so it didn't work. And there is great disunity in the Roman Catholic Church today - there is more external uniformity, but not much real spiritual unity. Reformed Protestants may have even more real spiritual unity on the essentials than Roman Catholics do.

Ken said...

David Waltz wrote:
TF under his "About Me" states that he is "Reformed" and "Ecclesiastically Presbyterian", which probably means that he subscribes to the Westminster Standards. IMO, it is equivocal to berate another for not being "satisfied by the Holy Spirit's teaching through the entirety of the Inspired Holy Scripture", while belonging to a denomination that requires its members to subscribe to extra-Biblical confessions and catechisms.

That is for membership in their local church, not about eternal salvation from sin and hell. Big difference. For example, Dr. White is a baptist and TF is Presbyterian, but they both (and I also, as a baptist), agree on all the essentials for salvation. We disagree on infant baptism, and probably theonomy (TF seems to lean a little toward it, though not clearly stated); but we agree on the essentials for salvation. And they would also agree that there are many other Protestants, non-Reformed who are saved and agree on the basics of what is required for being saved.

Ken said...

Gospel of Thomas, logion 114 - proves it is a false document and not written by the apostle Thomas; a later forgery with Gnostic influence.

114) Simon Peter said to Him, "Let Mary leave us, for women are
not worthy of Life."
Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her
male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you
males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the
Kingdom of Heaven."

Reginald de Piperno said...

This will be my last comment (extended over two physical comments, thanks to Blogger limits) on this post, lest I become odious in the eyes of our gracious host.

Furthermore, the Powers that Be at Blogger have just gone crazy in their restrictions. Apparently one is no longer allowed to post links to comments on blog posts, because the URLs are too long. This is absurd for a discussion forum, and makes it harder to…you know, discuss things. So I need to quit before my irritation with this limitation gets out of hand :-)

Ken wrote:

Just asserting that doesn't prove your point.

You wrote that in response to this remark of mine: “As we’ve said repeatedly, the problem is with the Reformed doctrine of perspicuity,” something that I said by way of excusing you from fault with regard to the difficulties you have had in providing a complete list of things that you say are necessary to believe in order to be saved. Are you saying that the problem really is with you, and not with what you believe? I seriously doubt it.

Works pretty good for all conservative and Reformed, doctrinal Protestants. (about things essential for salvation; not secondary issues, which are the things churches disagree over)

And yet in this thread you have been demonstrably unsure about providing The List of things which a man must believe in order to be saved. You began with “a stab” at some of those essentials; when the rather obvious weakness of this was pointed out, you reversed course and said that your first list was actually complete. But uncertainty returned before you even got the latter comment posted, and you reserved the right to change your mind again later.

Meanwhile, as was shown, TF is absolutely panic-stricken at the thought of providing The List. He just refuses to do it, pretending that this is a course of moderation. But it isn’t. It isn’t because he knows as well as you do yourself that not even Reformed people agree about those essentials.

Furthermore, it is a question-begging qualification to suggest that the Reformed doctrine of perspicuity “works pretty good” for Reformed folks. You may recall that the doctrine doesn’t claim to be relevant only for Reformed folks; rather, the WCF’s language unambiguously asserts that anyone (Reformed or not, educated or not) can readily discover the things that must be believed in order to be saved. So the fact not only that the Reformed can’t and won’t agree about The List but that Protestants in their entirety cannot do so categorically demolishes the value of the doctrine. It is worthless.

Actually, Protestants are quite unified on the essential doctrines for salvation; which I pretty much think I covered.

With all due respect, this remark seems to me to be absurd, given the fact that you aren’t even sure that you provided The List. “Pretty much” is pretty inadequate, in my opinion, when one is discussing things that must be believed in order to be saved. A single deviation would land someone in hell. And you’re not 100% sure about The List—a List of things which are just absolutely clear in the Bible (if the doctrine in question is true)???

I gave you a list of the clear things, for salvation. Most all Protestants would agree with that list.

So much for “quite unified.” :-)

to be continued…

Reginald de Piperno said...

I give up.

Blogger has gone insane. There is a 4096 character limit, but I cannot post a comment with 3300 characters because the URI for it is "too large."

Ken, I enjoyed the conversation, but I am moving on. If the forum is going to make it absurdly difficult for me to discuss things, I see no point in arguing with Blogger as well as with you.

God bless you.

RdP

Reginald de Piperno said...

And thanks to David for his cordial hospitality.

Ken said...

Reginald,
I hope you check back - the "URL too large" thing - just ignore it and go ahead and post - it has been giving that sign for a while and it doesn't mean a thing. Press forward with your post and it will work. It gives me that sign also on my longer posts, but it still works.

Ken said...

GV19 -

How come you cannot answer this simple question? -

Does Islam say, "without Abraham's obedience, we would still have to sacrifice our sons today" ??

If yes, why?

What are the theological reasons?

If no, then what was the reason for the substitution?

The original story is from the Bible, Genesis 22 (there are no textual variants as to Isaac). The Qur'an gets it from the Bible. The Bible tells us the meaning of the substitution - "God will provide the Lamb". pointing to the passover (Exodus 12-14); the temple sacrifices (Lev. 1-5; 16-17; I Kings 8) -

John the Baptist said, of Jesus "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." John 1:29

I am not hijacking or frustrated - rather taking the opportunity about the essentials of the gospel (which is the issue that DW and TF are talking about) and sharing and asking questions of you who read this blog, since you banned me from your blog, and apparently cannot deal with this issue. (smile)

David Waltz said...

Hi Reginald,

Just moments ago, I restored one of your posts that Blogger had placed into the 'Spam' folder; it seems that there was more to the post, but you gave up attempting to get it published. Arrrrgh...I too have experienced similar problems with Blogger in the combox—the following are a few suggestions: first, with longer URLs linking to separate comments in the combox, I merely link to the actually thread (which is short), and then provide the date and time of the post one is referencing; second, If you would like to provide a detailed analysis of the Reformed position on the "essentials", epistemology, etc. (and/or interactions with Ken), perhaps to could produce a more exhaustive post and place in on your on blog, providing a link that can be placed either here in the combox, or I could create a new thread with the purpose of providing the link; and third, if you do feel lead to create a more detailed post, and would like to keep it here at AF, I would be more than willing to do so in a new thread with you as a guest contributor.

In ending, I too am getting frustrated with Blogger; but then, it is free, and quite easy to learn and use, so I am somewhat hesitant to switch to something else at this time.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Reginald,

In your last post, you wrote:

>>And thanks to David for his cordial hospitality.>>

Me: I would like to thank you for taking the time to contribute—not only have your contributions been cordial as well, but informative and insightful. I would also like to join in with Ken and request that you, at the very least, "check back in", and perhaps consider one or more of the suggestions that I recommended to you above.


God bless,

David

Jamie Donald said...

Ken,

If you think I'm suggesting that either the Gospel of Thomas or Clement's letter are inspired, then you have misread me completely. I am most definitely NOT asking you to defend the choice to have them outside of the canon of Scripture. What I AM asking you to do is to defend the process by which they were removed while other writings were included.

You wrote, History is history - that is all we have. There are no other inspired books. I don't have to have infallible certainty. History is what happened. There have been plenty of cases in history where wrong choices were made. Nicholas attacking Japan and breaking the Russian economy would be a remarkably bad choice which resulted in Soviet control, Stalin's purges, and a host of other terrible occurrences. History is history only means that it happened--not that it was right and proper for the action to have occurred. Certainly, your defense of the Scripture is stronger than saying, "These are the books which were chosen, and if different books were selected, I'd call them 'scripture'."

There are no other inspired books. This is a very definitive statement. But to immediately follow it up by saying that you don't have to be certain about it means that one of those two statements must be false. Either you are certain of a definitive statement; or if you are not certain, the statement is not definitive. Which is it, Ken? Are you certain, or is the statement that there are no other inspired books not a certainty?

If you are certain (and I hope that you are), then you subscribe to a binding Tradition by default. Please do not put words in my mouth by saying something similar to, "but the RCC has gone too far ..." I did not say you subscribed to the Catholic Tradition. But the simple fact that you bind souls to a the results of a process which (according to your last post) could not have been completed prior to 250AD means that you subscribe to some form of binding Tradition. If you are not certain, then what business do you have of binding souls to an uncertainty? You may say that you don't need to be certain, but I place such a high value on the eternal outcome of a human soul that I must be.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Heh.

Well, Blogger has a weird way of saying "Comment submitted," because the several times I tried to submit that comment it failed either with a Google server error, or with the "Your comment is too long, you windbag!" warning.

(Okay, it didn't say I was a windbag…even though we all know I am)

Here is the conclusion of my previous comment:

Ken wrote:

You say, "it doesn't work". What do you mean by that? Work to produce what?

Here is what the WCF says: “those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.”

If that was actually true, it ought to be child’s play to provide a list of all and only “those things.” But the falsity of it is clear in that Protestants absolutely disagree about such things. So, to answer your question, the doctrine does not work in the sense that no one can tell us what “those things” actually are: all of them, with no omissions and no extras whatsoever. I suppose a more precise way to say it is: the doctrine is false.

And the effect of this is that Christians are left to decide for themselves what “those things” are. And that is just plain wrong (besides being divisive, as the history of Protestantism shows).

Does the RCC list of de fide dogmas for salvation actually work? How do you know they work?

First off, attempting a tu quoque here does not get you off the hook for the problems in what you believe yourself. :-)

Secondly, the Church does not pretend that literally every Catholic must be able to explicitly profess adherence to literally every dogma, because She understands that not everyone is gifted with the time, talents, and treasure necessary to know and understand them all. Intellectual ability is not a prerequisite of saving faith; it is sufficient that a man sincerely intend to believe all that the Church professes. Consequently your tu quoque fails, in that the Church neither claims that all dogmas are readily accessible to all men nor that they are required to explicitly believe all of them. Explicit faith is definitely to be preferred, and laziness in pursuit of it is certainly culpable, but men are not called to things that are beyond their gifts.

[Catholic dogmas] certainly did not produce unity, for Luther and Calvin and all the Protestants after them did not fall in line, so it didn't work.

I wonder whether you think (mistakenly, as it turns out, though I do not blame you for it) that the primary fault of the Reformed doctrine of perspicuity is its effects upon unity? No. That is a serious effect, certainly. But what I had in mind is more the fact that Protestant disunity about those essentials that are allegedly guaranteed by this “perspicuity” demonstrates the epistemological weakness of the doctrine.

Getting back to what you said in the last quotation: Catholic dogma does not possess the intrinsic power to compel submission. If men (like Luther and Calvin) sin by refusing to exercise the divine virtue of faith, that is a fault on their part, not a defect on the part of the Truth.

Reformed Protestants may have even more real spiritual unity on the essentials than Roman Catholics do.

My paraphrase: “All the people in this tiny room—who happen to agree with [most] of what I believe—have more unity than a billion Catholics.”

Heh. Well, any sufficiently-small group of self-selecting individuals would indeed have a high degree of unity. Yes. But that is a poor measuring stick for truth, in my opinion.

Thanks to Ken for the conversation, and to David for salvaging part one of my comment.

RdP

Reginald de Piperno said...

Well David,

Perhaps part two of my comment got caught in the spam collector as well. If so, I'd be grateful if you rescue it. If not…well, since I got the same server errors (HTTP code 414, which I never heard of before), I'll take it as a sign to quit while I'm ahead, or to stop digging the hole any deeper or whatever.

RdP

David Waltz said...

Good morning Reginald,

Just moments ago I checked Blogger's spam folder, and restored yet another of your posts.

Have greatly appreciated your participation; hope you know that you are always welcome at AF (even if Blogger thinks otherwise [grin]).

May you and yours have a great Thanksgiving holiday.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

Jamie wrote:
If you think I'm suggesting that either the Gospel of Thomas or Clement's letter are inspired, then you have misread me completely. I am most definitely NOT asking you to defend the choice to have them outside of the canon of Scripture. What I AM asking you to do is to defend the process by which they were removed while other writings were included.

Part of that process was reading and studying the written documents, the evidence. It is obvious from the internal content and character of the writings that they are not “God-breathed” / inspired and therefore not canonical. The process was mostly historical investigation and by internal evidence and external evidence – 1. the internal quality of the writings; 2. Universality – were they being used by all or the majority of the churches in the Greco-Roman world? 3. Antiquity – do they have evidence of being old enough to the apostolic age of 48-80 AD or 48-96 AD? 4. Apostolic – were they written by an apostle or under the authority of an apostle? I Clement is old and goes back to 96 AD, but the internal quality test shows it is not inspired and that it was written after the death of the apostles is another mark against it; it does not claim to come from an apostle, nor have apostolic authority. It has a wonderful statement on justification (32) and proves that the early church still at the time was ruled by a plurality of elders (presbyters) and that the overseer/bishop is the same office/person as elder (44). It does not even claim to be from Clement himself, rather “from the church of Rome”. (verse 1) He points back to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as the apostolic authority of what they should do. (47) How did I Corinthians deal with the problem of disunity and following leaders and splitting into factions because of arrogance and jealousy and strife and selfish ambition, etc. He said, “Do not go beyond what is written” ( I Cor. 4:6) That was Paul’s solution to the faction and jealousy /arrogance problem. And it was not used as inspired by most of the churches, only some.
continued

Ken said...

continued, defending the process

So, the process worked, eventually. Where did the early church get that process? From the writings themselves, especially the requirement to link the written documents back to an apostle – John 17:8; John 14:26; John 16:12-14 – these are promises to the disciples/apostles that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all the truth. The Spirit of God did that through their ministries in teaching and the writings they left behind. Jude says “the faith was once for all delivered to the saints” (verse 3); and that seems to mean that everything necessary was delivered, and the only evidence of all the things necessary for salvation are in the writings and so, it is certain that all the books were written for the churches. That is why I believe that Jude was the last book written, around 80 AD because it seals the whole apostolic deposit as complete. I believe John’s writings were all written prior to 70 AD. The early church got it right because they followed the principles in John chapters 14-17 about the apostles being led into all the truth; - they said, “what is the evidence of the teachings of the apostles?”. They also seemingly applied the principles in 2 Peter 1:12-21; 3:1 to arrive at their conclusions. Peter is claiming that by writing this second letter, he is leaving the churches and saints something that will be able to help them be reminded in the truth and stir themselves up to spiritual growth. If apostolic succession or papal doctrines and/or dogmas were even true, Peter would have mentioned them here. He does not. He points them to his letter. “This is the second letter I am writing to you” (2 Peter 3:1) and “before I lay aside this earthly tent”(2 Peter 1:14), “I will be diligent to remind you in the truth” (2 Peter 1:12-15; and “I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder” , by writing this second letter - 3:1-2), “so that after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind”. (2 Peter 1:15) If there was any kind of RCC apostolic succession, Peter would not have emphasized his written document that would be able to teach them and encourage them after he has died; but he would have said, “follow bishop so and so” (Linus or Anacletus, or Clement, etc. according to RC claims) – yet he did not write that. That is a massive death blow to your doctrines.

Ken said...

Jamie wrote:
“There have been plenty of cases in history where wrong choices were made.”
And
“Certainly, your defense of the Scripture is stronger than saying, "These are the books which were chosen, and if different books were selected, I'd call them 'scripture'."”

Of course there are lots of examples where wrong choices were made, etc. I did not mean that “whatever happened in history is what makes it true or right”. Not at all. Why the need to ask the question of “if different books were selected”, etc. ?? – this is madness of radical skepticism in order to score apologetic points for the RC position of an infallible magisterium/leadership/centuries later Pope, etc.

There is not need to wonder “what if?” etc. because we both agree on the books and we both have studied history enough to know about the false gospels, apocryphal writings, Gnostic gospels, and books like I Clement and the Shepherd of Hermes and the Didache and Pseudo-Barnabas to know that they are not inspired. Also, we have the clear Scriptures, the 4 gospels, the epistles, we have read them and experienced the gospel and the Spirit of God speaking through them and we have the statements of the gospel which I listed above, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31) and Romans 10:9-10 and John 3:16 and John 20:30-31 – “these have been written in order that you may know that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” That is a very clear statement of the essentials, that points to the sufficiency of the written documents. Since we do have that; there is no need to question, “what if there are others that were left out?” or “what if the early church made the wrong choice?”

Ken said...

Jamie wrote:
Which is it, Ken? Are you certain, or is the statement that there are no other inspired books not a certainty?

Certain enough; a moral certainty that God gives us when He says things like “we have assurance” in I John 5:13, Hebrews 3:14; 10:35-11:1; Philippians 1:6; 2 Peter 1:19; 1 John 3:19-24; Hebrews 4:16. God does not require the category of “infallible certainty” – that is impossible for humans to scientifically come to inside of themselves, although spiritual, moral, beyond a reasonable doubt kind of certainty is something felt as “I am absolutely sure!” - and the word of God promises to us, that if we believe we are saved and going to heaven. When someone dies, we have to rely on faith and hope in the gospel for heaven and the resurrection of the dead, based on that person’s evidence of faith in their life.

If you are certain (and I hope that you are), then you subscribe to a binding Tradition by default.

If those are the words you want to use, you are free to use them. Protestants just don’t use that terminology of “a binding tradition”. The Scriptures have the concept of "binding" in Matthew 16, 18 and John 20:23.

The way you are expressing it, even any application beyond the frozen text – faith itself expressed from the preaching of the gospel message in 120 AD, 200 AD, 300 AD, 400 AD, 1200 AD, 1517 AD, or 2010 AD – is somehow an extra canonical tradition. The promises of John 20:23 are for believers today – if we preach the gospel and a person repents and believe in Christ, we can say, “you are forgiven, based on the word of the gospel, the promise of Christ Himself”. No need for a priest; in fact there are no NT priests at all. All believers are priests – I Peter 2:4—10; Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10. The promises of the Scriptures give us the “binding authority” to proclaim the gospel of salvation for others.


Please do not put words in my mouth by saying something similar to, "but the RCC has gone too far ..." I did not say you subscribed to the Catholic Tradition.

ok; and true, you didn't say that; good

But the simple fact that you bind souls to a the results of a process which (according to your last post) could not have been completed prior to 250AD means that you subscribe to some form of binding Tradition.

the documents themselves give us that binding authority to preach the gospel and proclaim forgiveness if there is repentance and faith.

There is so much harmony in all the 27 documents, it is not necessary to wonder if there are more than than, etc.

If that is what you want to call it, that I am binding souls to a binding tradition, then be my guest. No problem.


If you are not certain, then what business do you have of binding souls to an uncertainty? You may say that you don't need to be certain, but I place such a high value on the eternal outcome of a human soul that I must be.

See above. All of the promises of the gospel, that if a person repents of sin and believes in Christ as Savior and Lord (including all the Scriptural content about what all that means), then we can be certain in proclaiming the gospel and sure about the documents that we have that teach us the gospel.

Ken said...

Reginald wrote:

"Here is what the WCF says: “those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.”

If that was actually true, it ought to be child’s play to provide a list of all and only “those things.”"

I did provide a list of "those things". Otherwise they are all there in the 66 book canon. Paul told Timothy the OT was "able to give him wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus". 2 Tim. 3:15

But the falsity of it is clear in that Protestants absolutely disagree about such things.

It is you who have to show this, that is in regards to eternal salvation, where Protestants disagree with other. - Remember again, we are not talking about baptism, or spiritual gifts, or church government, or divorce, or eschatology, etc. or even perseverance - even Arminians and Weslyans agree with us on justification and the Deity of Christ and the Trinity and they believe that "if a person repents and believes in Christ, that person is forgiven and is justified, and we can promise them that God is faithful to His promise of eternal life."

Jamie Donald said...

Ken,

I'm going to start with the middle to end of your last reply, There is not need to wonder “what if?” etc. because we both agree on the books. You have it backwards. The Scripture do not require my assent nor do they require yours. That we agree on the outcome seems to be coincidence at the moment. I have my reason and that is a Tradition guided by the hand of the Holy Spirit. Your reasoning seems to be that it just happened.

You also state that I am just trying to score apologetics points. If over the years of our discussions and e-mails, you feel that way, then you have misunderstood me completely. You should know by now that I seek the truth and defend what I believe to be truth. Your accusation is patently false and I request you withdraw it. You also said that these points being scored were to support the full blown RCC concept of Tradition. While I admit that personally I would like you to come to accept that Tradition, I specifically stated that I was not arguing that point in my previous post. I said that all I was showing is that the canon of Scripture is founded on some form of binding Tradition which makes Sola Scriptura, by definition, untenable. I asked you to not conflate this argument with the full concept of RCC Tradition. Yet you do anyway.

Now to why I say that your reasoning seems to be that it just happened (the formation of the Scripture into a single collection known to all the Church).

You list four requirements that the early Church had to go through in order to discover canon from noncanon; 1. the internal quality of the writings; 2. Universality – were they being used by all or the majority of the churches in the Greco-Roman world? 3. Antiquity – do they have evidence of being old enough to the apostolic age of 48-80 AD or 48-96 AD? 4. Apostolic – were they written by an apostle or under the authority of an apostle?

For the moment, let's assume that one can actually know all four of these requirements without having to resort to some form of Tradition in order to discover that they are how one is to judge Scriptural from non-scriptural. This would be the strongest case to argue from for your position to work. Yet, you also believe that all men and councils have erred and do err. This puts you in the position of having to say that the men who comprised the early Church did not err when discerning the canon. If you say otherwise, then there is uncertainty as to what is and is not Scripture. I believe that these men of the early Church did not err in their process, even though it took them hundreds of years to discover the content of the Scripture. That is the Holy Spirit guiding the process, or Tradition.

Jamie Donald said...

(continued)
But could the early Church have used your four critera? If they could not have used them, then your argument descends from its strongest case to a weaker position. They could not have used your four items. First of all, they did not have the forensic capability to determine whether or not the writings came from the proper time period. We even have early church fathers positing that Jesus was 50 years old at the time of the crucifixion. This demonstrates that the forensic capability to determine dates that well was absent at the time.

What is "apostolic"? Is it the Twelve? or the Twelve plus Paul, James, and maybe a couple others? Do you know that the NT uses a form of the word apostle about 80 times and that the context for its usage is not consistent? In at least one context of usage, Timothy can be called an "apostle." The author of Hebrews is not identified. So there can be no guarantee -- from forensic examination -- that this is an apostolic letter. I know you believe it to have been written by an apostle, which one, and why you think that person is an apostle. But you cannot know this other than by -- yep, Tradition.

I would agree that universality is a good indicator, but I'd advise you to avoid stating it in a "majority rules" fashion. The OT is filled with times when the majority is way off base and only a remnant is saved or preserved. The fathers of the early Church knew this and would balance a universality quality against how God has dealt with men historically.

I would have to say that of your four criteria, only number 1 could be known without some form of external guidance from the Holy Spirit (though I think you still should define what "internal quality" means). To know the others -- and to apply them -- would take, well, Tradition. But as I've pointed out, the early Church could not have applied all four criteria in order to sift through and discover the Scriptures.

I'm not going to get into an exegesis battle with you over your prooftexts which you think seal the concept of Sola Scriptura. I've argued many of those points in the past. It's not my purpose here to do that. I am trying to show you that you need to know what is Scripture before you can use Scripture as a prooftext. I continue to find your reason for denying a binding Tradition to be severely wanting.

Your answer to me, while fleshing out the 4 rules that you believe should be used to judge Scripture, was pretty much a continuation of your "they got it right" argument. You admit that the process took hundreds of years (to at least 250AD by your count) and was well after the direct authority of the apostles was gone due to their passing on. So even with the "they got it right" mentality, you are still left with either claiming certainty which requires a binding Tradition if you are to bind souls to Scripture where our knowledge of what is Scriptural is a result of the process; or you must admit that men can, have, and do err. That you cannot state what is truly Scriptural, yet as a minister, you continue to bind souls even with this uncertainty.

Ken said...

Hi Jamie,
You wrote:

You also state that I am just trying to score apologetics points.

I didn't mean it in a personal way; but rather, this skepticism of "how do you know" (the canon is right; your interpretation is right, ?) is THE main apologetic argument that all Roman Catholic apologetics hinges on, to get sensitive, thinking Protestants/Evangelicals to question their faith and convert to Rome. It is the bottom line method of all - Dave Armstrong, my friend Rod Bennett, author of Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words (Ignatius Press, 2002), (in personal debate with him for about 8 years, face to face, emails, telephone, etc.), Matatics, Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, etc.

Nothing personal is meant - it is the method used, and a clever one - because no human being can have infallible certainty about anything - only God can exercise a mind activity with infallibility as a quality. It is a tactic that can be used about anything and everything and has its roots in the theory of knowledge and epistemology and how do we know what we know. The RCC is "captured by this philosophy" (Colossians 2:8) rather than by Christ Himself.


continued

Ken said...

If over the years of our discussions and e-mails, you feel that way, then you have misunderstood me completely. You should know by now that I seek the truth and defend what I believe to be truth. Your accusation is patently false and I request you withdraw it.

I don't ascribe evil motives to you; I am not saying you are using it as a trick; it is the nature of epistemology and "how do you know what you know?" that is the trick, not you. You are just using a very clever tool in your churches apologetic kit. It is what happened to Newman; it is Descartes methodology in RCC terminology and Cardinal's clothes, so to speak. Sorry I am not intellectual enough to explain it; I hope you understand what I mean without being offended personally.

You also said that these points being scored were to support the full blown RCC concept of Tradition. While I admit that personally I would like you to come to accept that Tradition, I specifically stated that I was not arguing that point in my previous post. I said that all I was showing is that the canon of Scripture is founded on some form of binding Tradition which makes Sola Scriptura, by definition, untenable. I asked you to not conflate this argument with the full concept of RCC Tradition. Yet you do anyway.

It is first step down that road; anyone can see it. But ok, as I said, if you want to call it that, that's ok - but "binding tradition" is not language that Protestants use or understand. When Paul said in Galatians 1:8-9, "as I told you before, so I say to you now" he is "saying", but he is writing. So it is the writing that tells us what he is saying; the writing, the Scriptures are what have authority. He doesn't have to write, "this writing is the final authority on this issue" - just by writing what he wrote is what is binding in itself. Sola Scritpura is taught because of the fact that those 27 were written down and send to churches to lead and teach the Christians. Minister's can bind people's souls to the word, becasue that is what the word says; it is not an extra Biblical thing; John 20:23 applies to all evangelism. If you repent and trust Christ, you are forgiven, if not, you are still in your sins. All believers can say that; there is no special class of priests exists in the NT.

Here is what I wrote -

"this is madness of radical skepticism in order to score apologetic points for the RC position of an infallible magisterium/leadership/centuries later Pope,. . . "


Of course there are lots of examples where wrong choices were made, etc. I did not mean that “whatever happened in history is what makes it true or right”. Not at all. Why the need to ask the question of “if different books were selected”, etc. ?? – this is madness of radical skepticism in order to score apologetic points for the RC position of an infallible magisterium/leadership/centuries later Pope, etc.

I appreciate what Michael Patton has written about skepticism and "how do you know?" etc. and the movie, "What about Bob?" with Bill Murray. You can question everything if you want to. The pope and magisterium give skeptical minds some kind of comfort, I guess. It offers me no comfort or certainty whatsoever.

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/01/why-i-believe-the-canon-is-fallible-and-am-fine-with-it/#more-3727

Ken said...

David,
I think my last 2 posts to Jamie are caught in the spam thing that others have been complaining about.

It doesn't happen often to me,(maybe once before) but now I have experienced it.

Ken said...

Jamie,
The spam blogger thing has caught my last 2 posts to you. I guess they are long.
I did not mean to impute evil motives to you about “using an apologetic tool”. It is nothing personal. The method is the nature of epistemology and the whole question of “how do you know that you know for sure?” That is what Newman did, and all the others who have followed in that kind of thinking. It is the apologetic method of all RCC methods, the hinge of every argument that has convinced many to swim the Tiber.

I hope that is short enough to make it through and I hope you have a good Thanksgiving holiday.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Had trouble sleeping and was reading Muller's, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics - Vol. 2 - Holy Scripture, and then thought I would check the blog before heading to bed.

Blogger did place 2 of your posts into the Spam folder; I restored both.

Off to bed...hope that you and yours have a great Thanksgiving holiday!


God bless,

David

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of Allah, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

Well gang how are we doing over here? I just wanted to say a VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU! I hope you get to spend the weekend in the company of loved ones, family and in good cheer!

Ken said...

Hi Grandverbalizer19 –
Happy Thanksgiving to you also! I sincerely hope you have a good weekend.

And peace from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Al Masih. Come to Him for true peace – Matthew 11:28-30 You rightly recognize that one dying for His enemies is greater love. Jesus died for sinners, ungodly, rebels, the enemies of God; and changes them into friends (2 Cor. 5:17; John 15:13). He was the final Ghorban قربان , zebh, ذبح sacrificial, innocent, victim. Qur’an, Surah 37:107/108; Mark 10:45; John 1:29; Romans 5:6-11; Hebrews chapters 7-10; Revelation 5:5-9

Did you see my answers to your questions about NT manuscripts ?
You never commented.

Under
An Honest Assessment of Sola Scriptura
http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2010/10/honest-assessment-of-sola-scriptura.html

in the comment box towards the end:

My comments beginning at:
October 29, 2010 6:25 PM

Ken said...

David,
Thanks for restoring those 2 posts!
I sincerely hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend. (even though I still cannot figure out what kind of a "Christian" you are - with adding possibility of Bahai'ism to a Pre-Nicean subordinationism and Deification - who else in the world holds to your views?)

The current Modern Reformation has articles devoted to Sola Scriptura; and a good dialogue between Michael Horton and Bryan Cross.

http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=issuedisplay&var1=IssRead&var2=115

Ken said...

David,
I just read this review of what you are reading. Impressive. I may get this someday. Does it refer back to the early church at all? Or is is confined to the Reformation era?

http://www.monergism.com/0801026180_postreformation_reformed_dogmatics.php

Is this the same Muller that you mention in your blog articles on Development of Doctrine in your dialogues with Chris the Universalist/liberal and Tom the Mormom? (about the time I first start reading your blog, around 2008 (I think)( ?)

David Waltz said...

Good morning Ken,

Sorry about the tardy response to your latest posts, but had a house-full of guests over the extended TG weekend, and I am just now reading my blog again. You wrote:

>>The current Modern Reformation has articles devoted to Sola Scriptura; and a good dialogue between Michael Horton and Bryan Cross.

http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=issuedisplay&var1=IssRead&var2=115>>

Me: Thanks much for the heads-up on this issue. I could not access the articles online so I called MR and ordered a subscription—they told me that sometime later today I would get a pw so I could access all the articles online; I suspect I will be blogging on this issue soon!

>>I just read this review of what you are reading. Impressive. I may get this someday. Does it refer back to the early church at all? Or is is confined to the Reformation era?

http://www.monergism.com/0801026180_postreformation_reformed_dogmatics.php>>

Me: Two of the volumes, Holy Scripture (vol. 2), and The Triunity of God (vol. 4) have pre-Reformation introductions—Holy Scripture, has an intro to the Medieval scholastic period that briefly touches on some of the ECFs, and The Triunity of God does the same for the doctrine of the Trinity. (As I remember, the other 2 volumes do not touch on the ECFs.)

IMHO, the depth and breadth of the information that Muller covers is unequaled by any modern Reformed author.

>>Is this the same Muller that you mention in your blog articles on Development of Doctrine in your dialogues with Chris the Universalist/liberal and Tom the Mormom? (about the time I first start reading your blog, around 2008 (I think)( ?)>>

Me: I believe you are probably thinking of Möhler, a German contemporary of Newman who also wrote extensively on doctrinal development (though completely independent of each other).


Grace and peace,

David

Jamie Donald said...

David,

I echo Ken's appreciation at restoring his lost posts (Maybe Spielberg can make a movie out of it, "Ken Temple and the Raiders of the Lost Posts"). Even in disagreement, I appreciate his perspective and the thought he puts into things.

Ken,

My schedule is becoming busy and I'm likely to return to a mostly-reader status. So this will probably be my final reply on this subject. If you choose to respond to the very short note (well, short for me), then you'll probably have the last word.

I thank you for your clarification. To say that you don't like the particular apologetic method I employ (dislike as in disagree with it), that is much more palatable than saying that I'm attempting to "score points." So I thank you for your explanation.

While I may be asking a question in a similar manner to Newman, I am truly asking for my own reasons rather than echoing his technique.

Please indulge me in an explanation.

In Genesis we are told that we are made in God's image. 1 Corinthians tells us that we will judge angels. Even though Satan as an angel was witness to God's glory, when he rebelled, God did not attempt to save him. Yet the Father offers His Son to save humanity when we are in rebellion. Combined these things mean to me that the human soul is the most important created thing to God.

When we tell someone that in order to be saved they must have faith, then we are binding their souls to what we've just told them. For you to say that it's not you personally binding, but the Scriptures (or for me to say that it's not me, but the Word of God through Scripture and Tradition of the Church) does not change the fact that the soul is bound.

If I am going to take this action, to tell a human soul - the most important created thing to God, that it is bound to any particular idea, then I must be certain. From my perspective, you are satisfied with a somewhat lesser standard; fairly certain. But I can't descend to that level. Eternity is a long time and in my mind the state of the human soul requires more of me in my attempts to evangelize.

Take care, my friend and may God bless you richly this Advent and coming Christmas season.

Ken said...

Jamie wrote:
In Genesis we are told that we are made in God's image. 1 Corinthians tells us that we will judge angels. Even though Satan as an angel was witness to God's glory, when he rebelled, God did not attempt to save him. Yet the Father offers His Son to save humanity when we are in rebellion. Combined these things mean to me that the human soul is the most important created thing to God.

Indeed, angels who have fallen cannot be saved, because the Son of God did not "incarnate" into their form; and because God the Word (John 1:1-5; 1:14-18)became flesh/human in order to save us. Hebrews 2:14-17 The incarnation was necessary in order to save us. In order to save angels/demons, the Son would have to become an angel.

But, also, I think, man is important to God, because man was created in the image of God, man is important to God, to restore that image and so vindicate Himself. (Colossians 3:10-11; Ephesians 1:9-10; 3:8-12; 4:24) Notice Ephesians 3:12 - "in whom, we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him." The Bible gives us all the confidence we need:

"to write and orderly account for you . . . " . . . so that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught". Luke 1:1-4 ESV

NIV = "certainty"

NASB says "so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught."

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you have know you have eternal life." I John 5:13

2 Peter 1:12-21 and 3:1 (read and meditate on these verses) also communicate from Peter himself, who according to your church is the first Pope, yet before he dies, he does not mention anything about the bishop or elders or church leadership and he does not say "ask them for assurance" or "trust in them for the right interpretation", etc. - he leaves a letter so that the believers will have something to teach them and remind them of the truth and because he did write it down, he says, "therefore we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts . . ."

Mine is not a "fairly certain"; it is rather the highest amount of certainty that God expects from humans who will be reading His God-breathed Scriptures. there are many other passages - John 20:30-31 "these have been written that you may know".

With the clear teaching of Scripture, I don't understand the creation of another level of extra-certainty, which is superfluous of the whole infallible RC church/magisterium/pope/ etc. We have the certainty that God requires.

And in fact, because of the mistakes and the errors and the false doctrines that have been added to the Scriptures (Marian dogmas, penance, treasury of merit, indulgences, purgatory, NT priests, Apocryphal books, prayers for the dead, alms giving and good works as required for salvation; infant baptismal regeneration, transubstantiation and bowing down to the consecrated host of bread and wine; praying to statues and icons; having other mediators beyond the one mediator (contradiction to 1 Tim. 2:5) - these things actually take away confidence and assurance and certainty and create a trust in man-made traditions. So, your "certainty" is not a certainty at all for me, even though it claims "infallible certainty", it does not inspire a stronger certainty at all for me.

Thanks for your interaction and sincerity; and I hope the Lord speaks to your heart about these serious issues and that you have a blessed Advent season also.