Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ken Temple on who is 'acceptable' for inclusion in his paradigm


Our Reformed Baptist brother in Christ, Ken Temple, and yours truly, have been engaged in some interesting dialogue (at least to me), in the combox of my most recent, prior thread (link). I have started this new thread to address some of the issues raised by Ken, and shall now provide a few quotes for context (quotes in red shall be from Ken's posts, and quotes in blue from my posts):

David Waltz wrote:
Let me ask you a question: what if your interpretation of the NT concerning the possibility of future revelation is wrong?

This is the same kind of skepticism that Dave Armstrong and my friend Rod Bennett, based on Newman and all the RC apologists play with Protestants of "what if your interpretation is wrong?" and "how do you know for sure?" and "how do you know for sure the Early church got the canon right?" etc. etc.

I just don't find that kind of skepticism compelling or practical or healthy, given what I do know about the NT and what it is says.

That kind of doubting leads to madness; and holding your position, means you never settle on anything. (SEPTEMBER 12, 2011 9:40 am POST)

In my subsequent response to Ken, I posted the following:

==That kind of doubting leads to madness; and holding your position, means you never settle on anything.==

Me: You "doubt" that Arminians are correct, that padeo-baptism is correct, that the three-fold ministry is correct, that baptismal regeneration is correct, etc. etc. I suspect that if you and sat down together that many, many more "doubts" would be established. (SEPTEMBER 13, 2011 11:51 am POST)

Later that same day, Ken fired back with:

I am frankly amazed that you put those in house Christian issues on the same level as the doctrinal issues and difference between NON-Christian systems such as JW, Mormonism, Islam, and Bahai'ism. But all of those things are secondary issues within Protestantism and Christendom - even the different ways of interpreting those issues within RC and EO, but Protestant groups have certain takes on all those issues.

But, JW, Mormonism, Islam, and Bahai'ism are all outside of Christianity, and to keep open possibility of further revelation means re-interpreting essentials like the incarnation, atonement, Deity of Christ, Trinity, etc. That is denial essential doctrine vs. secondary, debate-able doctrines and practices.

Don't you see those are on a completely different level?

Though I think RC and EO are wrong and preach a false gospel, RC being worse than EO ( IMO); they are still better than those other 4 false religions. ( SEPTEMBER 13, 2011 1:16 pm POST)

Some issues with Ken's responses:

First, Ken likes 'labels'; as with many apologists, it is a popular tool to identify/label someone who disagrees with you with something, and/or someone, who has been stigmatized by others within your 'club'/paradigm. Unfortunately, the 'labels' utilized by Ken are woefully inaccurate.

Second, Ken ignores the considerable 'common ground' that I have with 'historic' Christianity; in fact, a good deal of my understanding of Christian doctrine has a much greater historical pedigree than Ken's views.

Third (this is the area I am going to focus on in the rest of this post), Ken minimizes the important differences that exist within his accepted 'club'/paradigm; though he has termed his view as the Reformed Evangelical Biblical view, he has on numerous occasions included conservative Arminians and Lutherans in the broader Evangelical Biblical view which is 'acceptable' to him. Basically what Ken has done is establish in his mind what 'common' doctrines must be held, and what doctrines are 'acceptable', for one to be included in his understanding of the broader context.

Now, though Ken has yet to provide an exact, precise list of the 'common' doctrines that must be adhered to, as well as those that are 'acceptable', for one to be in his 'club', I have deduced from our discussions that one of those doctrines that must be 'common' is some form of 'Trinitarianism' which includes an Athanasian/Augustinian understanding of the term homoousios. Unfortunately, scholars within his 'club'/paradigm have pointed out that, "Today most Western Christians are practical modalists" [1]. And further, Calvin's teaching of the autotheos of the Son, which has become quite 'popular' among many who identify themselves within Ken's narrower Reformed Evangelical Biblical view, has recently been associated with "tri-theism" [2]. Fact is, so many of the understandings of 'Trinitarianism' within the Evangelical Biblical view are essentially either neo-modalistic, or neo-tritheistic (depending on how on defines homoousios and "person").

Moving on to the inclusion of Arminians as 'acceptable' members within the Evangelical Biblical view, I would like to reference Dr. Michael Horton's (a scholar within the narrower Reformed Evangelical Biblical view) telling essay, Evangelical Arminians: Option or Oxymoron [3]. I would like to encourage everyone to read this entire essay (links provided in the footnote), and as an enticement, shall provide a few selections:

A number of evangelical leaders met at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School near Chicago two years ago for the purpose of defining the term "evangelical," but many left as confused concerning what that label comprehends as they were when they arrived. It is becoming increasingly difficult to say what an evangelical is and is not. Basically, American evangelicalism divides, from the mid-eighteenth century on, into two traditions: revivalistic and Reformational (as in the 16th century Reformation). While the Great Awakening in America and the Evangelical Revival in Britain were examples of the harmony between reformation and revival, these eventually became rivals as the latter developed an Arminian theology. As the Arminian branch of revivalism gained the popular advantage, evangelicalism became increasingly shaped by human-centered theology on a popular level even while its principal works of systematic theology were reformed.
However, today we see a shift even within the evangelical theological leadership. Pinnock writes, "It is my strong impression, confirmed to me even by those not pleased by it, that Augustinian thinking is losing its hold on present-day Christians." Evangelists are not the only ones preaching an Arminian gospel: "It is hard to find a Calvinist theologian willing to defend Reformed theology, including the views of both Calvin and Luther, in all its rigorous particulars now that Gordon Clark is no longer with us and John Gerstner is retired...So I do not think I stand alone." The drift is on. Pinnock insists that Augustine was shaped by Greek thinking more than scripture and the reformers simply followed his mistakes, but that was acceptable for their time: "Just as Augustine came to terms with ancient Greek thinking, so we are making peace with the culture of modernity."

The purpose of these quotes is not to focus attention on one evangelical theologian's departure from Reformation theology, but to raise the question in very practical terms, "Is it possible to be an 'evangelical Arminian'?" In this article I attempt to defend a negative answer to that important question. (Bold emphasis mine.)

We later read:

The heart of the Reformation debate was, Who saves whom? Does God save sinners? Or do we save ourselves with God's help? The Roman Catholic Church was confused on that question throughout the Middle Ages, sharply divided at the time of the Reformation, but finally determined by the Council of Trent in the mid-sixteenth century that the second answer was better. God's grace is the source, but human cooperation with that grace is what makes God's saving will effective. Thus, God justifies us by making us better and that involves our own participation.

The orthodox Protestants were not over-reacting, therefore, when they regarded the Arminian denials as no different from the positions of Trent, which had declared the evangelicals "anathema." It would have been bigoted for them, therefore, to regard Trent's position as unorthodox if they were unwilling to say the same of a similar "Protestant" deviation.

And towards the end, Dr. Horton does offer some hope to Arminians, Roman Catholics, and "others":

Having said that, it is equally important to realize that this is not a matter of bigotry or denominational pride. We will see non-evangelicals in heaven. As I reflect on views that I used to hold, it is sobering to say the least and it reminds me that the chances are pretty good that I have a good distance to go yet. While we must believe certain essential truths in order to be saved, we are not saved by the amount of doctrine that we know. There will doubtless be Roman Catholics, Arminians, and others in Paradise who were saved by God's grace even if they, like me, did not understand or appreciate that grace as much as they should have. Nevertheless, if we are going to still use "evangelical" as a noun to define a body of Christians holding to a certain set of convictions, it is high time we got clear on these matters. An evangelical cannot be an Arminian any more than an evangelical can be a Roman Catholic. The distinctives of evangelicalism were denied by Rome at the Council of Trent, by the Remonstrants in 1610, were confused and challenged by John Wesley in the eighteenth century, and have become either ignored or denied in contemporary "evangelicalism."

I shall end this post with my summation of Ken's minimizing intra-paradigm tendencies: IMHO they are highly subjective, and at times, inaccurate.



Grace and peace,

David


Notes:

[1] Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity, 2004, p. 3.

[2] Laurent Cleenewerck, His Broken Body, 2007, p. 324. (See also THIS THREAD, for some further reflections.)

[3] Links to Dr. Horton's essay: Reformation Online; Modern Reformation.

45 comments:

Ken said...

I am still very, very amazed that you don't see the massive chasm of difference between

JW, Mormonism, Islam, Bahai'ism on the one-hand
(your sort of open-ness to them and your openness to the possibility that there is written revelation after the 27 books of the NT)

vs.

RC, EO, Protestantism on the other hand. - they all agree with Hebrews 1:1-3; chapters 7, 8, 9, 10 (once for all and "consummation of the ages"- 9:26) and Jude 3, at least that revelation was final with Christ, His once for all atonement, and His apostles (with some others who wrote under apostolic authority -ie the 27 canonical books) who wrote down the traditions and teachings; although RCs and EOs say that some original original apostolic traditions were not written down, but come out later in the teachings and worship, liturgy of the church.

Yes there are differences within Christendom, and some very significant, but your whole emphasis is doing the tu quoque (you too !) method of argumentation, rather than answering directly.

You are a mystery and unique, for sure!

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks much for responding (and so quickly); you posted:

==JW, Mormonism, Islam, Bahai'ism on the one-hand
(your sort of open-ness to them and your openness to the possibility that there is written revelation after the 27 books of the NT)

vs.

RC, EO, Protestantism on the other hand. - they all agree with Hebrews 1:1-3; chapters 7, 8, 9, 10 (once for all and "consummation of the ages"- 9:26) and Jude 3, at least that revelation was final with Christ, His once for all atonement, and His apostles (with some others who wrote under apostolic authority -ie the 27 canonical books) who wrote down the traditions and teachings; although RCs and EOs say that some original original apostolic traditions were not written down, but come out later in the teachings and worship, liturgy of the church.==

Me: JW's also agree with your above RC, EO, Prot 'list'.

==Yes there are differences within Christendom, and some very significant, but your whole emphasis is doing the tu quoque (you too !) method of argumentation, rather than answering directly.==

Me: I honestly believe that I have answered you more directly than you have return. I have provided you (in the Beggars's All combox, on at least 3 occasions now) a fairly detailed list of my core beliefs, and shall suggest, once again, that what I believe is Christian doctrine. For you to question my Christianity based on my belief that the canon MAY NOT (please note the MAY NOT) closed is a bit troubling to me.

That Dr. Horton excludes Arminians as fellow Evangelicals, maintaining that they in essence teach a "false gospel"; this is contra your view, and would seem to demand more concern on your part—keeping in mind, of course, that Dr. Horton is adamant on his position, while I am not.

Further, this brings back to mind Dr. Hodge's assessment of Trent and justification: he maintains that the official teaching of Trent does not teach a false gospel; once again, this is contrary to your position.

I just don't understand you at times Ken; I cannot help but think that some of the issues that you tend to minimize are more important and direct than my view that the canon MAY NOT be closed...anyway, those are my thoughts on this for the moment.


God bless,

David

Ken said...

what if your interpretation of the NT concerning the possibility of future revelation is wrong?

If Christ is the way, the truth, and the life; and He died for sinners, rose from the dead, was born of the virgin Mary, ascended to heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, etc. and if He has the living water that satisfies the soul so that one may never thirst again - why would you entertain such a notion?

What does it mean "once for all" so often repeated in Hebrews chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10 and Jude 3 ??

the 3 quotes you use as a tool to deflect argument are interesting.
1. the statement that modern western evangelicals tend to modalism is true only because the modern churches don't study theology or the doctrine of the Trinity, very few pastors teach on the doctrine of the Trinity or church history.

It is not something wrong with the doctrine; rather it is a neglect of truth and doctrine.

2. About Calvin and "auto-theos". I had never heard of this until your past blog post on it that you linked to. Obviously, he did not mean for it to be taken as "Tri-theism" - so someone "associated" it with Tri-theism means that they are saying, "it seems that it could lead or imply Tri-theism". Since you know better than I, Calvin would not agree with that; why is that a good point?

Why have most people never even heard of this? I did not have time to read all of Warfield's work; where in Calvin's institutes did he write this?

3. Horton and many Reformed folks are saying that Arminians are not consistent, and therefore don't deserve the label of "Evangelical", since the term "evangelical" was originally with the magisterial Reformers - Luther, Calvin, Zwingli. - that seems to be his major point; it seems to me. But I don't want to be too harsh on them. I think the Arminians are wrong and inconsistent; but the good ones are sincere and I think we can disagree without consigning each other to the flames; the same way that Dr. White has a good relationship with Dr. Michael Brown, the Messianic Jewish Arminian/charismatic.

Those issues are still small and minor compared to your openness to the possibility of future revelation, and the Bahai faith,
Which would mean that Islam is a stepping stone to that;

also, your sympathy toward Mormonism is weird, IMO.

I am glad for the modern separation of church and state and that we can debate things, rather than torture and burning at the steak, like the way Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Wycliff (Posthumusly), Hus, Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley were treated; the way Luther would have been treated, and the way Servetus was treated; and the Salem witch trials were wrong also.

We have an improvement on that in the west; and an improvement on Islam.

That was the original context of my question - about the burning and destruction of the great library of Origen and his student after him.

You never really answer the question - wasn't the Arab Muslims aggressive warfare on Byzantine, and Persia from 622 - attacking the Meccan caravans, etc. - to - 630 (battle of Tabuk, led by Muhammad) -900s - N. Africa, Spain, Persia, Levant, then later the Turks on the rest of Byzantine up until 1453 and beyond; wasn't all of that unjust, and wrong? And the way the world is today proof of that?

Ken said...

Dr. Horton's offer of hope at the end of his article was good and I would rather emphasize that aspect of it.

But it seems to me, that he goes too far; as did Clark and others, and the guy Red Beetle (Monty Collier) on the internet.

I think the spirit and attitude of John Newton in this article is better, and Reformed folks like me need it.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/09/12/how-calvinists-should-engage-in-controversy/

Hodges - I would need to go back and study that again; I remember that I did not really understand it last time I read it (a while back).

Is it sort of like the "Federal Vision" ? It all seems to be based on infant baptism and the idea of an external covenant community on earth, and that that visible community is easier to "see" than if one is truly born-again on the inside.

I am grateful for the baptist and free-church contribution to the entire questions. Burning of heretics was wrong, after NT was the final revelation; who ever does it.

Some Muslims want Sharia law; if they get it in certain areas, they will force the other Muslims to tow the line, and submit; then they will seek to expand and fight all the kafers and mushrakeen; - Surah 8:38; 9:5; 9:29.

They admit that Islamic permits no conversation away from Islam. The Hadith in both Sahih Al Bukhari and Sahih Al Muslim say this. "If anyone leaves his Islamic religion, kill him."

They admit no new churches are allowed; no evangelism. That means no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion, no freedom to think or question. I read today of several Hadiths were Muhammad got angry over people's questions.

Man! Yuk !

that is why I asked you about the destruction of the library after the Muslims invasions - and you said the pact of Omar was merciful for the times. Yuk !
Istaqfr'allah ! (May God forgive you!)

That is what prompts more questions for you to explain yourself.

Lord, have mercy on us and on civilization!

Since you are open to more revelation and Islam and Bahai'ism - this means you can change at any time, since there is always the possibility that you will evolve in your religion.

Even though you spelled out things clearly (in your mind) several times before here and at Beggar's All; your calm neutral way of justifying that Islam could be ok and a step in between Christianity and Bahai'ism prompted me to ask you again.

Ken said...

on Charles Hodge - what do Horton and other Reformed folks think about his view of Trent?

Are there other modern critiques of that position?

Seems inconsistent for a Presbyterian and Reformed theologian and against both Luther and Calvin.

Confusing to me.

Ken said...

They admit that Islamic permits no conversation away from Islam.


oops; typo


should have been:

They admit that Islam permits no conversions away from Islam.

Ken said...

Me: JW's also agree with your above RC, EO, Prot 'list'.

no; they have a radical re-interpretation of many things; rejection of the Deity of Christ, rejection of the Trinity; rejection of the bodily resurrection of Christ; rejection of eternal hell-fire; and THEY played with the text of Scripture in several places, especially John 1:1 and Colossians 1:15 and some other places, falling under the anathema ( It seems to me) of Rev. 22:18, in principle with adding or subtracting to God's word, as in Deut. 4:2 and Proverbs 30:5-6

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

In your last round of comments, you posted:

==If Christ is the way, the truth, and the life; and He died for sinners, rose from the dead, was born of the virgin Mary, ascended to heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, etc. and if He has the living water that satisfies the soul so that one may never thirst again - why would you entertain such a notion?==

Me: Because of what is written in the NT concerning role of prophets/revelation and the full unity of Church. I do not believe that Jesus prayer to his Father in John 17 has become an actual reality. Directly related to this is the Ephesian passage which speaks of the necessity of, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, which are given to the Church, "till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (ASV).

==What does it mean "once for all" so often repeated in Hebrews chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10 and Jude 3 ??==

Me: The passages in Hebrews refers to the finished work of Jesus Christ, whilst Jude 3 speaks to the faith that was delivered to "the saints"; here is the text:

Ἀγαπητοί, πᾶσαν σπουδὴν ποιούμενος γράφειν ὑμῖν περὶ τῆς κοινῆς ἡμῶν σωτηρίας ἀνάγκην ἔσχον γράψαι ὑμῖν παρακαλῶν ἐπαγωνίζεσθαι τῇ ἅπαξ παραδοθείσῃ τοῖς ἁγίοις πίστει.

Many commentators point to the Greek word ἅπαξ as being absolutely "once", something that cannot be repeated; however, we know from other uses of ἅπαξ in the NT (e.g. Phil 4:6; 1 Thess. 2:18) that this patently false. Though ἅπαξ can mean only one time/once, it certainly does not have to carry that connotation.

cont'd

David Waltz said...

cont'd

==About Calvin and "auto-theos". I had never heard of this until your past blog post on it that you linked to. Obviously, he did not mean for it to be taken as "Tri-theism" - so someone "associated" it with Tri-theism means that they are saying, "it seems that it could lead or imply Tri-theism". Since you know better than I, Calvin would not agree with that; why is that a good point?==

Me: This is one of those 'thorny' issues that can be (and has been) debated over, and over. For sure Calvin would deny that he understanding of the Godhead is not tritheist, but many EO theologians see this as a hollow assertion, refusing to take Calvin in his own words.

This happens all the time in theological discussions; for instance, you (and so many others) adamantly maintain that Trent's teaching on justification constitutes a "false gospel" because it teaches "works-righteousness". Dr. Hodge, the gents involved with ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together project), the LCT (Lutherans and Catholics Together project) documents on justification, and, of course, numerous Catholic theologians repudiate this charge.

Bottom line: just because someone claims something, it does not necessarily make it so.

==Why have most people never even heard of this? I did not have time to read all of Warfield's work; where in Calvin's institutes did he write this?==

Me: It may not be well known among Reformed Baptists, but it has been a topic of considerable interest among conservative, Reformed Presbyterians.

==Horton and many Reformed folks are saying that Arminians are not consistent, and therefore don't deserve the label of "Evangelical", since the term "evangelical" was originally with the magisterial Reformers - Luther, Calvin, Zwingli. - that seems to be his major point; it seems to me.==

Me: I think Dr. Horton is saying much more than that Ken; note the following from his essay:

==The orthodox Protestants were not over-reacting, therefore, when they regarded the Arminian denials as no different from the positions of Trent, which had declared the evangelicals "anathema." It would have been bigoted for them, therefore, to regard Trent's position as unorthodox if they were unwilling to say the same of a similar "Protestant" deviation.==

Dr. Horton believes (and I think he is wrong on this) that Trent's position is teaching a "false gospel"; he maintains that, "the Arminian denials" are "no different from the positions of Trent". So, if Trent is teaching a "false gospel", then if one is to be consistent, and not " bigoted", one must also affirm that the Arminian position is also a "false gospel".

Now, with the above in mind, I am more than just a bit troubled by your statement: "Those issues are still small and minor compared to your openness to the possibility of future revelation". That you would construe the teaching of a "false gospel" as "small and minor" is more than a bit odd; IMHO, it is the view that the canon may not be closed which is the actual "small and minor" issue.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

That you would construe the teaching of a "false gospel" as "small and minor" is more than a bit odd; IMHO, it is the view that the canon may not be closed which is the actual "small and minor" issue.


Wow.

I am not talking about something like Charismatics or Pentecostal type ongoing revelation or "guidance" etc. - I disagree with that also.

But - we are talking about completely different religions that gut Christianity of its original meaning.


You still think Mormonism, JW, Islam, and Bahai'ism are possibilities in the possibility of revelation begin ongoing after the NT.

You still don't see the difference between these 4 completely different religions and

Christendom - Protestantism, EO, and RC

?

That is really amazing.

Ken said...

This happens all the time in theological discussions; for instance, you (and so many others) adamantly maintain that Trent's teaching on justification constitutes a "false gospel" because it teaches "works-righteousness".


At the time of Trent, in 1545-1563; they obviously thought they were responding to Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli on justification by faith alone, and they condemned it and anathematized justification by faith alone. Without taking the time to cut and paste and find the details that others have written whole books on, it seems to me that they did say, basically -

"We condemn the Protestants doctrine of justification, because they say God declares one justified by faith alone, and if anyone says that good works are the fruits and results of true faith, we condemn that also, for good works are the necessary cause of more grace that adheres to the soul and contributes to final justification before God also includes ontological change in the person’s soul and must be cleansed and perfected, hence the need for purgatory, where they undergo satis passio, even for most, if not all believers, in the RC system."

[granted this is my paraphrase of what I understand the synopsis of the whole issue, put simply and succinctly as much I know how to at this time.]


Dr. Hodge, the gents involved with ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together project), the LCT (Lutherans and Catholics Together project) documents on justification, and, of course, numerous Catholic theologians repudiate this charge.

Granted that I have not studied all the details of Hodge and his view; however, it doesn’t seem logical or consistent for Dr. Hodge to be put in the same larger group with the ECT and the LCT on every issue and point on the broader issue of justification. But I could be wrong on that; I have not had time to study that stuff deeply; and probably won't for a while. What do other conservative Presbyterians like Michael Horton think and write or say about Dr. Hodges’ position?

What kind of Lutherans were they who signed the agreement?

Did the Missouri Synod Lutherans sign it?

No.

They have my respect.

The Lutheran World Federation signed it. The “Evangelical Lutheran Church in America” is the American liberal body that is part of that confederation. I have no respect for them whatsoever because of their view that homosexuality is not always sin and they allow the ordination of homosexuals. They have apostatized from the faith and so, they have no honor or credibility left - therefore in my mind, they disqualify themselves from any respect from other Bible believing Christians. How dare they even retain the word “evangelical” in their name!

Ken said...

While the RCC and EO has a false gospel of salvation; the JWs, Mormons, Islam, and Bahai have a false god concept altogether, since they all deny the Deity of Christ and the Trinity; therefore the divide is even wider from them.

Ken said...

Also, the Roman Catholic Church, by signing that joint declaration, is implicitly admitting that Trent made an error, and the whole infallibility of the RC Church in history, papal infallibility, conciliar infallibility, whatever; it all falls with a big boom, because of this.

steelikat said...

I'm going to butt in with some rigorous language that I believe might help the discussion. Please don't take my purely logical points as an implication that I believe in the possibility of new revelation or the joint declaration on justification or anything else:

1. The proposition that new revelation is possible does not necessarily imply a departure from orthodoxy as long as it includes the caveat that any such new revelation cannot contradict previous revelation.

2. "Also, the Roman Catholic Church, by signing that joint declaration, is implicitly admitting that Trent made an error..."

The explanation given is not that Trent made an error, but that Protestants in general have misunderstood Trent (on justification). I think the same people who say that would say that many Roman Catholics, even theologians, sometimes misunderstood Trent as well.

If one grants the proposition that what the document describes as acceptable Roman Catholic doctrine--"We (the Roman Catholics signers) believe X" and "We (all signers) agree together that Y" steps outside the bounds of what Tridentine teaching allows, it would be correct to say that the ecumenical statements you mentioned are implying that Trent made errors. The Roman Catholic signers and proponents of the statements do not grant that proposition.

Ken said...

1. The proposition that new revelation is possible does not necessarily imply a departure from orthodoxy as long as it includes the caveat that any such new revelation cannot contradict previous revelation.

Thanks Steelikat, for your contribution to the discussion.

I agree with your statement as is; but David Waltz is open to the possibility that Bahai'ism might be the fulfillment of the second coming of Christ, which also means that Islam was a stage of revelation between Christianity and Bahai'ism (according to doctrinal Bahai belief - they hold that Jesus and Muhammad and the Buddha even are revelations of God to different peoples at different times, etc. but that Bahai'ism fulfills them all and completes them all and will bring in world peace.

That requires a radical contradiction to all that we know of NT revelation and sound doctrine and truth; and to me, obviates any kind of orthodox Christianity in the heart of a person who decides that Bahai'ism is the fullfillment of the NT.

The other stuff about Trent I don't understand, as to why and how could the RC's sign something like that, that would agree with a Protestant view of justification. But the signers of the Lutherans are liberals, so who knows what they really believe. The ECT is somewhat different; just not wanting to address details about justification and work together against abortion and homosexuality, it seemed to me.

I realize the RCs don't allow Trent to be thought of as contradicted by it; but they also don't think Vatican 2 is a contradiction of Trent; yet it seems to me clearly that it is.

To say it is just "updated language" - as Jimmy Akin and I think, Dave Armstrong says, is just wrong. It seems like a real contradiction without admitting it.

steelikat said...

"David Waltz is open to the possibility that Bahai'ism might be the fulfillment of the second coming of Christ..."

I guessed there might be a context that I was unaware of. I guess I need to read Waltz's other writings to really understand much of what you guys are talking about.

"that would agree with a Protestant view of justification."

The document doesn't say that the Catholic signers agree with a Protestant view of justification or vice versa. The document attempted to delineate where the agreements and differences were in regards to justification. For every aspect of justification, there were three paragraphs: one stating the distinctly Lutheran view, one stating the distinctly Roman view, and finally a paragraph stating the points of agreement. Of course the number of points of agreement surprised everybody. :-) Nevertheless, there were still plenty of points of disagreements in the document, roughly two thirds (two paragraphs out of three) deal with aspects of Justification they explicitly did not agree on.

I agree with you that the ECT was pretty vague and avoided details.

There is nothing official or defining about those documents, they are just some Protestants dialoging with some Roman Catholics. It's interesting that many important Roman Catholics seemed to be trying to integrate as much of the Reformation doctrine of Justification as possible without strictly contradicting Trent. Who knows what will come of it? I like to be positive and hopeful when it comes to things like that.

"To say it is just "updated language" - as Jimmy Akin and I think, Dave Armstrong says, is just wrong."

Without a doubt it is more than just "updated language."

Thank you for those good points and clarification.

David Waltz said...

Hi steelikat,

So good to see another contributor weighing in; you wrote:

==I'm going to butt in with some rigorous language that I believe might help the discussion. Please don't take my purely logical points as an implication that I believe in the possibility of new revelation or the joint declaration on justification or anything else:

1. The proposition that new revelation is possible does not necessarily imply a departure from orthodoxy as long as it includes the caveat that any such new revelation cannot contradict previous revelation.==

Me: Precisely.

==2. "Also, the Roman Catholic Church, by signing that joint declaration, is implicitly admitting that Trent made an error..."

The explanation given is not that Trent made an error, but that Protestants in general have misunderstood Trent (on justification). I think the same people who say that would say that many Roman Catholics, even theologians, sometimes misunderstood Trent as well.==

Me: Exactly, and some pretty bright, well informed, conservative Prots have acknowledged this (e.g. Charles Hodge, A.N.S. Lane, Matthew C. Heckel).

==If one grants the proposition that what the document describes as acceptable Roman Catholic doctrine--"We (the Roman Catholics signers) believe X" and "We (all signers) agree together that Y" steps outside the bounds of what Tridentine teaching allows, it would be correct to say that the ecumenical statements you mentioned are implying that Trent made errors. The Roman Catholic signers and proponents of the statements do not grant that proposition.==

Me: Once again, spot on.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello Ken,

In your response steelikat, you posted:

==Thanks Steelikat, for your contribution to the discussion.

I agree with your statement as is; but David Waltz is open to the possibility that Bahai'ism might be the fulfillment of the second coming of Christ, which also means that Islam was a stage of revelation between Christianity and Bahai'ism (according to doctrinal Bahai belief - they hold that Jesus and Muhammad and the Buddha even are revelations of God to different peoples at different times, etc. but that Bahai'ism fulfills them all and completes them all and will bring in world peace.

That requires a radical contradiction to all that we know of NT revelation and sound doctrine and truth; and to me, obviates any kind of orthodox Christianity in the heart of a person who decides that Bahai'ism is the fullfillment of the NT.
==

Me: I suspect that your above assessment is more of a 'knee-jerk' reaction, rather than solid, thoughtful, critique of another position, based on an accurate understanding of the said position you are evaluating. For instance, your suggestion that the Bahai position, "requires a radical contradiction to all that we know of NT revelation and sound doctrine and truth", is spacious, for the Bahai Faith fully accepts not only the NT, but also the OT, as authoritative (i.e. part of the Bahai 'canon' of accepted revelation). But further, given that you are a Prot, and accept a number of doctrines that were pretty much 'unknown' among the members of Christendom for centuries, a good portion of the very content of your body of "sound doctrine and truth" remains suspect in the eyes of the majority of professing Christians.

And perhaps even more importantly, a good number of the major theological doctrines held by Bahai Faith have had prior support from within the Christian paradigm; as such, I think you should reconsider the use of the term "radical".


Grace and peace,

David

steelikat said...

David,

Thank you. I don't want to leave the impression that you and I agree on those issues. I just wanted to suggest some clarifying definitions.

Whether they are right or wrong, we must presume the RC theologians who signed those documents sincerely do not believe they were contradicting Trent. I cannot have a well-informed or pertinent opinion on that question. "Boy, if they weren't contradicting Trent they sure seemed to be stretching Trent to its limits" would be my comment from the peanut gallery.

Since God cannot reveal contradictory things it's logically impossible for Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam to all be Divine Revelation. If Bahai says Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are all Divine Revelation that fact alone disqualifies Bahai from consideration as your speculative "further revelation."

David Waltz said...

Hello again steelikat,

Thanks much for responding; you wrote:

==I don't want to leave the impression that you and I agree on those issues. I just wanted to suggest some clarifying definitions.==

Me: Understood; and for the 'record', I was pretty sure in my own mind that you and I probably differed personally over these issues.

==Whether they are right or wrong, we must presume the RC theologians who signed those documents sincerely do not believe they were contradicting Trent. I cannot have a well-informed or pertinent opinion on that question. "Boy, if they weren't contradicting Trent they sure seemed to be stretching Trent to its limits" would be my comment from the peanut gallery.==

Me: If you could read just one book on this particular issue, I would recommend A.N.S. Lane's book, Justification by Faith - in Catholic-Protestant Dialogue (2002); IMHO, this work is a real gem.

==Since God cannot reveal contradictory things it's logically impossible for Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam to all be Divine Revelation. If Bahai says Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are all Divine Revelation that fact alone disqualifies Bahai from consideration as your speculative "further revelation."==

Me: Unequivocally, I too believe, and affirm, that "God cannot reveal contradictory things". However, as with the Christian paradigm, it is impossible to speak of 'one' Islam, or 'one' Buddhism; we must speak of Christianities, Islams, and Buddhisms.

Just as we have sects within the Christian paradigm who do not recognize numerous other branches of Christendom as truly Christian (e.g. Reformed Baptists like Ken Temple who deny that the RCC and EOC are Christian churches), the same is true for Islam, which has over 70 sects.

I cannot help but think of Judaism during the advent of our Lord; numerous sects (e.g. Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots, Philo types, et al.) were competing with each other—could any make the claim that the represented the 'true' faith of Judaism? How many of those in Jesus day believed that Christianity was 'contradictory' to Judaism, such that it was impossible for Christianity to be Divine Revelation?

Anyway, just some food for thought...


God bless,

David

Ken said...

David,
What you are basically saying is:

Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes, Philo group, Zealots of NT day = Reformed, Evangelical, RC, and EO of today.

the Pharisees, Saducees, etc. were all rebuked by Jesus and Jesus gave the true interpretation of the OT in the NT, thus fulfilling it, etc.

All Christian groups reject Bahai'ism of today.
All Jewish groups rejected Jesus in NT day. (except for the disciples and "regular simple Jews", but also Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathema.)

Therefore, the Christian groups are wrong; and Bahai'ism is right, and like Jesus, since the Christian groups reject Bahai'ism, and the Jewish groups rejected Jesus in His day.

Since the Jewish groups were all wrong, and Jesus was right; it is possible we are all wrong, since Protestants, EO, and RC agree on the Trinity, Deity of Christ, crucifixion for sinners (disagreement on what the atonement means, but all agree that some kind of atonement was accomplished for sinners), resurrection; one must repent and believe in Christ, (disagreement over justification and sanctification, but some basic agreement), etc. - since there is some general agreement (like in Geisler and MacKenzie's book on RC); if Bahai'ism is true then all of Christianity is wrong.

That obviates everything - the cross, resurrection, Trinity, Deity of Christ, repentance and faith in Christ; everything.

Bahai's may claim the NT is part of their Scriptural canon, but if they do like Muslims did (affirming the Injeel (Gospel), but not knowing much about it and M. never read it, and got his info from hearsay and oral tradtions and Apocryphal Gnostic infancy gospels, then that affirmation of the NT doesn't mean much.

Do Bahai'is interpret the NT the way Christians do?

Since you are making that parallel, you are gutting Christianity of all the understanding of the cross and incarnation that it has believed for 2000 years. It is a radical re-definition of everything to subscribe to the bahai faith.

Rory said...

There is no question that despite whatever schools of thought or truly divisive sects existed in the Holy Land at the time of Christ, according to the Gospel, the ecclesiastical disasters of the Old Testament never had the effect of overturning the hierarchical offices established under Moses. It was to the "faith of Moses", if you will, still enduring, that the Holy Family adhered and to whom the Son of God addressed Himself during His earthly sojourn. Before they crucified Him, Christ similarly prepared a society that would from humble beginnings, grow and fill the earth, enduring to the end of time.

One simple act, the Apostolic injunction in the New Testament to "lay on hands", a distinctively physical action, (which I would argue was also priestly and sacerdotal) was established whereby the original founders who had walked with Christ, could perpetuate their own offices. No one, apart from having hands laid upon them by those with links to the Apostles, could possibly be heirs of the Apostles. If Jesus and His Apostles had expected for the Church to grow through the independent raising up of previously established bodies of believers here and there following a leader lacking any kind of Apostolic continuity, the laying on of hands of the New Testament is superfluous.

All of us here would confess I think, that the New Covenant is founded on more sure promises than the Old Covenant. Together with my convictions about the durability of the "Church" of the Old Testament against all appearances, the physicality of the New Covenant, with its delineated offices given by laying on of hands makes me fear to depart for some community of well-meaning souls that came into being through theological differences or critical analyses of external problems in the Catholic Church. One may argue that we cannot be sure that Catholic bishops and priests have an unbroken chain of ordinations reaching back to Sts. Peter and Paul. But we DO know that nobody else even makes such a claim.

I am not theologically adequate to argue with the followers of Bahaullah, Mohammed and their open canon. I am not theologically adequate to argue with the sons of Calvin, Luther, and their closed canon. I don't see a dime's difference between all four. They ALL forego the first principle of "residing in God's house all the days of our lives". If any of them are right, there have been many periods since the times of Moses when there was no house in which to reside! Few of the faithful understand all of the theological points on all sides anyway. Most are inacapable.

Where is "My Father's House" today? The main lesson to be learned from all of Scripture and its long historical record is easy (as it should be) and directs us assuredly to the tabernacles of God. If we want to die in the one true church established by God, centuries or millenia after its establishment, we can't be confused by claims of obsolescence or apostasy. Follow the line of authority established by the founders, whether it be Moses and Aaron, or Christ and His Apostles. That principle worked for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph during the usual upheavals and confusions of their particular day. It will give us a clear vision too.

Rory

Rory said...

Part Two...

Let us try to imagine the other four groups and where they would go to church.

1) Muslims? After the Trinity is defined? No where, right? Would they see any continuing value in baptism or the Lord's Supper anymore? But what do I do? Islam is still centuries away.

2) Bahai Faith? I am thinking they would want to bridge the gap that Muslims could probably not cross. But would it be based on a continuing belief in the necessity and validity of the ordinances of the Christians? Would a good Bahai in 350 want to be assured of baptism and a pastor with a pdeigree to the Apostles? If so, at what point does this become unnecessary? 450? 550? 650? I am less sure of this group than the others.

3) Calvin and Luther can be bunched together here I think. In what year is it okay to stop worrying about this business of what Catholics call Holy Orders? It seems like they are still with me in 350. But maybe you don't care whether Athanasius' is validly ordained? Is that important to you? If not, what about Ignatius and Irenaeus? You differ with them then, about the need to follow the line of bishops from the Apostles, even in the first century? If it was important in 350 that Athanasius was validly ordained, what has happened in the interim that Holy Orders may be safely ignored now?

I tie this in with the search for unity. Visible unity has never been lost from the Church founmded by Christ. I know where I would go to church in every time and place from the times of Moses until today. The Christian groups I mentioned have fallen so far from achieving visible unity, that they don't even care where I go to church, as long as it isn't the only one with a claim to be the one, true, visible Church. They despise visible unity. The Mohammedans (I say that with respect, encompassing all groups that accept the Okaran as inspired)? I don't think they quite understand the quandary of our pilgrim who is deciding how to "dwell in God's house all the days of his life". I don't think they have grappled with why Christ set up a church with baptisms, laying on of hands, and other necessary ritual ceremonies, only to let it waste away (according to them). There needs to be some kind of indication for when those who are following this Church that claims to be Apsotolic became wrong.

That is the context of my dime's worth of difference. None of the parties can do any better than the other at telling me where to go to Church for the last two thousand years.

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

In your 09-23-11 (12:38 PM) post you wrote:

==David,
What you are basically saying is:

Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes, Philo group, Zealots of NT day = Reformed, Evangelical, RC, and EO of today.

the Pharisees, Saducees, etc. were all rebuked by Jesus and Jesus gave the true interpretation of the OT in the NT, thus fulfilling it, etc.==

Me: Not exactly, but 'close' enough.

==All Christian groups reject Bahai'ism of today.
All Jewish groups rejected Jesus in NT day. (except for the disciples and "regular simple Jews", but also Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathema.)

Therefore, the Christian groups are wrong; and Bahai'ism is right, and like Jesus, since the Christian groups reject Bahai'ism, and the Jewish groups rejected Jesus in His day.

Since the Jewish groups were all wrong, and Jesus was right; it is possible we are all wrong, since Protestants, EO, and RC agree on the Trinity, Deity of Christ, crucifixion for sinners (disagreement on what the atonement means, but all agree that some kind of atonement was accomplished for sinners), resurrection; one must repent and believe in Christ, (disagreement over justification and sanctification, but some basic agreement), etc. - since there is some general agreement (like in Geisler and MacKenzie's book on RC); if Bahai'ism is true then all of Christianity is wrong.

That obviates everything - the cross, resurrection, Trinity, Deity of Christ, repentance and faith in Christ; everything.==

Me: Before I address the above content itself, I feel the need to 'clear the air' before doing so: the intent of my comments IS NOT TO PROMOTE THE BAHAI FAITH, but rather, it correct misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the Bahai Faith.

Now, I do not believe as a Christian that "the Jewish groups" of Jesus day "were all wrong"; rather, I believe that they got some things right, and some things wrong. Bahai theology teaches the same, not only concerning the Judaisms of Jesus day, but also concerning the Christianties and Islams of our day.

I suspect that you believe what I believe about the Judaisms of Jesus day, and I know that you believe that the majority of the members of Christendom who profess to be members of Christ's Church are not—i.e. a lot of their beliefs are contrary to "the truth", nullifying their claim to be true Christians.

cont'd

David Waltz said...

cont'd

As for "the cross", Bahais believe in the crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross, and that His death had/has atoning value. As for resurrection, they believe in a literal resurrection, but speak so in terms of a 'spiritual body' (as does St. Paul), they do not believe that there are bodies of flesh and bone existing in heavenly realm; and as for the "Trinity" and the "Deity of Christ", both are accepted, but with a more Eusebian/early Eastern understanding, than a Latin/Western understanding.

==Bahai's may claim the NT is part of their Scriptural canon, but if they do like Muslims did (affirming the Injeel (Gospel), but not knowing much about it and M. never read it, and got his info from hearsay and oral tradtions and Apocryphal Gnostic infancy gospels, then that affirmation of the NT doesn't mean much.==

Me: First, not ALL Muslims reject the accepted NT canon, believing (as we have discussed before) that the corruption spoken of in the Qur'an pertains to the interpretation(s) of the NT canon/texts, not the corruption of the canon/texts itself. As for the Bahai's they accept all the traditional 27 NT texts as canonical.

==Do Bahai'is interpret the NT the way Christians do?==

Me: As I stated earlier, one can find historical precedent for the majority of Bahai Biblical interpretations within the 2000 history of doctrinal development/interpretation of Christendom.

==Since you are making that parallel, you are gutting Christianity of all the understanding of the cross and incarnation that it has believed for 2000 years. It is a radical re-definition of everything to subscribe to the bahai faith.==

Me: First, I am doing no such thing; second, as for what the Bahais themselves believe and teach, it would only be radical if NO precedent existed, and that just is not the case.

In ending, I am not trying to 'convert' you, forthat is the farthest thing from my mind and intent; what I am attempting to do is correct misunderstanding and misrepresentations.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

So good to see you back, and commenting. I am heading off for a run on the beach (it is low tide), so my time is limited at this moment. I want to reread your comments, and then plan to share some of my thoughts, but it may be as late as late Sunday afternoon before I do so.

For now, I would briefly like to comment on the following you posted:

==2) Bahai Faith? I am thinking they would want to bridge the gap that Muslims could probably not cross. But would it be based on a continuing belief in the necessity and validity of the ordinances of the Christians? Would a good Bahai in 350 want to be assured of baptism and a pastor with a pdeigree to the Apostles? If so, at what point does this become unnecessary? 450? 550? 650? I am less sure of this group than the others.==

Bahais believe that each new dispensation has new ordinances. The validity of the ordinances of the older dispensations remain in effect until a new dispensation arrives.

More later, the Lord willing.


God bless,

David

Lvka said...

Do you feel particularly attracted to faiths who deny Christ's physical resurrection, David?... :-\

Rory said...

Do you think that the Apostles, or great saints who lived before the Koran was written, would have recognized the Koranic dispensation as the next thing? If we could talk to St. Paul now, he would say we should stop all of our baptizings and recognize the Koran? Christianity was only good until the 600's or so?

Really? Why so short? And how does one dismiss the continuing growth and development of the Church? I am not arguing that it is logically impossible. It just doesn't make sense. Its goofy!!!

No. Not really. I am just saying it seems improbable. It seems inappropriate after everything that God did for us through His Only Begotten Son, dying for us on a Tree, giving us baptism for the remission of sins, and a command to go into the whole world to continue the work.

After the Koran, Christian missionaries continued to reach east (St. Francis Xavier) and West (Our Lady of Guadalupe and the North American missions) to make disciples with miracles accompanying. St. Francis of Assisi went on Crusade and met with the Muslim leaders trying to convert them. He shouldn't have done that right? So where were the Muslim missionaries walking unarmed into the camps of the Christians?

So everything after Muhammed was all in vain? When it was barely beyond its infancy, long before the division of East and West, God suppressed the Christian dispensation?

There was hardly a shred of interaction between Mohammed and any representatives of the Christian kingdom when it was still legitimate. God sent His own Son into the heart of Mosaic Judaism and as a Boy He sat in the Temple, amazing the Scribes and learned men by the answers He gave to their questions. By grace, the Apostle Paul was a convert to the Gospel who had been thoroughly instructed in the doctrine of the Pharisees. Does anyone say that St. Paul failed to understand the Old Covenant?

But if any of the forms of Islam, including the Bahai Faith are true, I cannot understand how we should expect to find the faith of the Apostles come to adulthood through some single prophetic figure in the desert whose knowledge of what he was replacing seems suspect at best. So why if in the replacing of Judaism, God seemed in His Providence so careful to help those discerning the truth to see that the earliest Christians were well-qualified to evaluate the Old Covenant, does He expect His people to recognize this "Gospel of Isolation", come out of the desert with such innocent ignorance proclaiming that Jesus couldn't be Allah because He ate food? I am supposed to follow somebody who is no better informed than that? Really?

Rory said...

Lvka,

In fairness to Dave, I know that he believes in the Resurrection. He would interpret the Koran in such a way as to allow for this, as would, I believe, the Bahais.

Lvka said...

He would interpret the Koran


...but that's not really his business, is it?

Rory said...

I pointed out that our blog host is not necessarily exploring faiths that deny the Resurrection of Christ. He could, and probably does, interpret the Koran in a way compatible with the Resurrection.

Lvka says that interpeting the Koran is none of our blog host's business. That is an interesting idea. I like what Tertullian says about strangers and weirdoes (Gnostics) running around interpreting the Christian Scriptures. None of their business. Agreed!

But that presupposes an established institution to whom it was given to officially interpret after the author is dead. I don't know enough about Islamic history to agree or disagree. Do you think there is an offical interpreter of the Koran, lvka? In any case, I think our blog host is approaching the Koran like Tertullian's Gnostics approached the Scriptures, without regard for any belief in an official interpreter.

David Waltz said...

Hi Lvka,

It is good to see you back commenting; you wrote:

==Do you feel particularly attracted to faiths who deny Christ's physical resurrection, David?... :-\==

Me: No; what I am "attracted" to concerning "faiths" is consistency in four principle disciplines: intra-worldview consistency (i.e. consistent with its own claims); theological consistency; historical consistency; and philosophical consistency.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

Finally have a bit of time to spend on cyberspace related issues; you posted:

==Do you think that the Apostles, or great saints who lived before the Koran was written, would have recognized the Koranic dispensation as the next thing? If we could talk to St. Paul now, he would say we should stop all of our baptizings and recognize the Koran? Christianity was only good until the 600's or so?==

Me: Very good questions, don't know for sure on this (to be totally honest). However, I cannot help but think of John the Baptist, of whom our Lord said:

"Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Matt. 11:11 - ASV)

Did John the Baptist fully accept the new dispensation? Certain passages in the NT suggest that he did not. I cannot help but think that the issue/s you raise are a bit more complex than this simple beachbum can fully address at this time.

==Really? Why so short? And how does one dismiss the continuing growth and development of the Church? I am not arguing that it is logically impossible. It just doesn't make sense. Its goofy!!!==

Me: From my understanding of the Bahai Faith, grace/s extended by God to those who are truly faithful members of previous dispensations are not lost, they just do not have the extended benefits of the subsequent dispensations.

==No. Not really. I am just saying it seems improbable. It seems inappropriate after everything that God did for us through His Only Begotten Son, dying for us on a Tree, giving us baptism for the remission of sins, and a command to go into the whole world to continue the work.==

Me: I would say, in terms of personal soteriology, that one cannot improve on the core teachings of the Bible; however the question remains, as raised by our theonomic brothers, is God's grace/s limited to a personal level only? Does the Bible provide the same, clear, teachings concerning culture, government, and society, that it does concerning soteriology?

==After the Koran, Christian missionaries continued to reach east (St. Francis Xavier) and West (Our Lady of Guadalupe and the North American missions) to make disciples with miracles accompanying. St. Francis of Assisi went on Crusade and met with the Muslim leaders trying to convert them. He shouldn't have done that right? So where were the Muslim missionaries walking unarmed into the camps of the Christians?==

Me: I think that is happening right now in Europe and the Americas; there are plenty of examples of non-militant missionary work by Muslims in what are traditionally termed "Christian nations".

cont'd

David Waltz said...

cont'd

==So everything after Muhammed was all in vain? When it was barely beyond its infancy, long before the division of East and West, God suppressed the Christian dispensation?==

Me: I think more reflective minds see great good coming from, and continuing, among all the sincere members of the Abrahamic faiths. Immediately comes to mind Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange's reflections in his Our Savior and His Love for Us wherein he finds God's grace extended to mystics, faithful Muslims and even Protestants!

==There was hardly a shred of interaction between Mohammed and any representatives of the Christian kingdom when it was still legitimate. God sent His own Son into the heart of Mosaic Judaism and as a Boy He sat in the Temple, amazing the Scribes and learned men by the answers He gave to their questions. By grace, the Apostle Paul was a convert to the Gospel who had been thoroughly instructed in the doctrine of the Pharisees. Does anyone say that St. Paul failed to understand the Old Covenant?==

Me: Hmmmm...I have this very interesting book, Early Christian-Muslim Dialogue which suggests otherwise.

==But if any of the forms of Islam, including the Bahai Faith are true, I cannot understand how we should expect to find the faith of the Apostles come to adulthood through some single prophetic figure in the desert whose knowledge of what he was replacing seems suspect at best. So why if in the replacing of Judaism, God seemed in His Providence so careful to help those discerning the truth to see that the earliest Christians were well-qualified to evaluate the Old Covenant, does He expect His people to recognize this "Gospel of Isolation", come out of the desert with such innocent ignorance proclaiming that Jesus couldn't be Allah because He ate food? I am supposed to follow somebody who is no better informed than that? Really?==

Me: Good questions Rory, and it would take a new thread (perhaps threads) to do justice to them all. For now, I shall leave you with this: the Qur'an presents God the Father as Allah, and since God the Father did not become man, the fact that our Lord ate food during His earthly sojourn suggests to me that the Qur'an affirms the fact that God the Father did not become man (as the modalists teach).


God bless,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Rory,

One more post before I head off to bed; you wrote:

==I pointed out that our blog host is not necessarily exploring faiths that deny the Resurrection of Christ. He could, and probably does, interpret the Koran in a way compatible with the Resurrection.==

Me: Precisely, and I have previously commented on this in a couple of posts under the "ISLAM" label. (See side bar for link.)

==Lvka says that interpeting the Koran is none of our blog host's business. That is an interesting idea. I like what Tertullian says about strangers and weirdoes (Gnostics) running around interpreting the Christian Scriptures. None of their business. Agreed!

But that presupposes an established institution to whom it was given to officially interpret after the author is dead. I don't know enough about Islamic history to agree or disagree. Do you think there is an offical interpreter of the Koran, lvka? In any case, I think our blog host is approaching the Koran like Tertullian's Gnostics approached the Scriptures, without regard for any belief in an official interpreter.==

Me: I must disagree with you here my dear friend, for when I approach the Qur'an, I do so primarily through the writings of the Bahai Faith; and the Bahai Faith considers its authoritative texts as "official" interpretations of any OT, NT and/or Qur'anic verses that are commented on. This, and I am not saying that I have accepted it, would be analogous to the OT passages commented on/interpreted in the NT.


Grace and peace,

David

steelikat said...

" Does the Bible provide the same, clear, teachings concerning culture, government, and society, that it does concerning soteriology?"

In ten thousand years, all of our contemporary cultures, governments, societies, nations, kings, dictators, and empires will be long forgotten. They will be of interest only to archeologists. The girl who made your latte this morning, however, will not be gone and will not be forgotten. She will be alive and she will be something so unimaginably great, a Goddess whose very presence, if it did not stop your heart, would demolish your every pretense and lay you bare, that you would fall on your face and adore--or at least be strongly tempted to adore. Either that or she will be a demon far more monstrous and terrifying than you could imagine in your worst nightmare--whose devouring hatred would chill your bones if you didn't simply die of fear.

What's more important? Isnt the girl infinitely more important than those silly fleeting governments and societies?

I'm sorry. C.S. Lewis said it better but I can't find the quote.

steelikat said...

"the Qur'an presents God the Father as Allah, and since God the Father did not become man, the fact that our Lord ate food during His earthly sojourn suggests to me that the Qur'an affirms the fact that God the Father did not become man..."

If you are saying anything meaningful here you are saying that the Quran presents Allah as the first Person of the Trinity. That seems pretty unlikely from the peanut gallery. How come no one else before you seems to have noticed that the Quran is Trinitarian?

Ken said...

David Waltz wrote:
As for "the cross", Bahais believe in the crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross, and that His death had/has atoning value.

Can you prove that? The statements by the Bahai apologists in Walter Martin's Kingdom of the Cults say otherwise. Udo Schaeffer, for example. If you say that they accept the 27 books of the NT (which I don't believe, unless they re-interpret everything.) how do they deal with Hebrews 10:10-14 and Hebrews 9:26 where God says the atonement of Christ was the "consummation of the ages" and all throughout "once for all" and all through the NT that one must believe in Christ and His atonement (Rom. 3:25-26) and resurrection from the dead (Romans 10:9-10) and that Jesus is Lord (Yahweh) (also John 8:24); yet Bahai'ism says Jesus was only a manifestation of God for a certain time, a temporary dispensation, replaced by Muhammad who came later and then later replaced by Bahai'allah in the 1800s.

Reading the chapter on Bahai'ism in the Kingdom of the Cults again ( pp. 321-331; chapter 10 - 1997 Edition, chapter by Gretchen Passintino); where there are numerous quotes from Baha'allah and explanation of his forerunner, the Bab, etc. and quotes and interviews from modern Bahai's; I honestly don't see how you can make the claims and statements that you make.

on p. 325 when asked if John 14:6 was true, the Bahai said "no, we believe Jesus is only one of nine manifestations of the divine being . . . "



As for resurrection, they believe in a literal resurrection, but speak so in terms of a 'spiritual body' (as does St. Paul), they do not believe that there are bodies of flesh and bone existing in heavenly realm;

So, they reject the "glorified body" of the Christian position, that it is a real 1 to 1 correspondence with the body that died. Geisler was correct in his disagreement with Murray J. Harris on the resurrection, and that view is a serious attack against sound Christian doctrine.

and as for the "Trinity" and the "Deity of Christ", both are accepted,

I seriously doubt that, as all Christian apologetic books that analyze Bahai'ism show.

but with a more Eusebian/early Eastern understanding, than a Latin/Western understanding.

Is that why you are so open to that claim, that the Biblical evidence is for a non-Nicean understanding, not "homo-ousias", but some kind of "homoi-ousias" or "homoian" / and subordination (or whatever you call it) view? That claim gives you room to keep the option open for Bahai'ism?

==Bahai's may claim the NT is part of their Scriptural canon, but if they do like Muslims did (affirming the Injeel (Gospel), . . .

Me: First, not ALL Muslims reject the accepted NT canon,

I think they do; they reject Paul out of hand and automatically, and think that only some parts of the gospels are the original Injeel - whatever they think agrees with the Qur'an is considered part of the true original Injeel and whatever disagrees, they think was a corruption added later by the disciples or writers of the NT books.

believing (as we have discussed before) that the corruption spoken of in the Qur'an pertains to the interpretation(s) of the NT canon/texts, not the corruption of the canon/texts itself. As for the Bahai's they accept all the traditional 27 NT texts as canonical.

Hard to believe that Bahai's accept the 27 NT books as canon, either originally from Baha'allah or the Bab or Shoghi Effendi or today, without lots of qualifications and re-interpretations.

If you are going to quote from the Bab and Baha'allah and Shoghi Effendi, etc. and try to claim they believed in Christ and the NT as the Christians have always, why do the modern Bahai's deny that?

Ken said...

From my comments in the above post on Piper and Cloud and Russell Moore vs. Pat Robertson.

It is hard for me to believe that Bahai'ism teaches that the 27 NT books are canon, that Jesus' death has atoning power (satisfying God's just wrath and accomplishes salvation for sinners from all nations); and that Christ is God in the flesh and Lord-God (Romans 10:9-10) and rose from dead bodily (Luke 24:39; John 20:27-28).

Walter Martin's chapter 10 (by Gretchen Passentino in the 1997 update) on the Bahai in Kingdom of the Cults and Watchman Fellowship and William Miller's critique (he lived in Iran for 40 years and knew Farsi fluently and had interaction with lots of Shiite Iranians and lots of Bahai's also.) - these critiques of Bahai'ism disagree with your assessment.

I know you said before that you thought they were all unfair and inaccurate about the Bahai, but everyone makes that claim about critiques of their religion. Mormons also claim to be Christian, yet they are not. Islam claims it is not violent in its original form, yet it clearly was - Surah 9:29, etc. Everyone says that they are mis-undertsood.

Hard to believe those three Christian critiques are wrong about Bahai'ism.

One would have to be really applying the principle of what Obi Wan said to Luke in Return of the Jedi, "From a certain point of view, so what I told you was true" in order to think and write the way you do. Only by a post-modern kind of thinking, "Bahai'ism is a fulfillment of Christianity, from a certain point of view."

Luke responded, "from a certain point of view !! ?? ".

That seems to be the way you approach things. Difficult to pin down with clarity.

Ken said...
Star Wars footage showing Obi Wan telling Luke that Darth Vader killed Luke's father, Anakin;(in the first movie, A New Hope) yet later it was revealed later that Darth Vader was Luke's father, and then Obi Wan says "it is true, from a certain point of view". ( In Return of the Jedi, the 3rd movie) and it shows lots of contradictions in the prequels - Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith ( movies 4, 5, and 6).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhdk0YOrVCg

from a certain point of view, anything can claim to be true.

Your take on the Bahai faith seems to be a post-modern way of thinking, and also your re-interpretion of the Qur'an on the death of Jesus - that you can claim things, "from a certain point of view"

Lvka said...

The Baha'i faith is a syncretism between Islam and Hinduism, which denies the truth and importance of Christ's resurrection (since it makes no sense in either Hinduism [which believes in reincarnation], or Islam [which does believe in resurrection generally, but denies Christ's particularly]).

David Waltz said...

Hi steelikat,

I am just now getting to the comments you made back on the 26th; in one of your posts you wrote:

==If you are saying anything meaningful here you are saying that the Quran presents Allah as the first Person of the Trinity. That seems pretty unlikely from the peanut gallery.==

Me: I have been over this at length in some of the older posts under the "Islam" label (link).

A quick summation of those posts is that the Qur'an does not address the doctrine of the Trinity, but rather, condemns three heretical views that existed in the historical development of Christianity: modalism, tri-theism, and the worship of Mary.

==How come no one else before you seems to have noticed that the Quran is Trinitarian?==

Me: Once again, I do not believe that the Qur'an specifically addresses the doctrine of the Trinity.

With that said, one book in particular, by a Catholic scholar, has been very influential in my understanding of Qur'an and the doctrine of the Trinity: The Koran In The Light of Christ, by Giulio Basetto-Sani, O.F.M. (1977). [See THIS LINK at Google Books.]



Grace and peace,

David

steelikat said...

"the Qur'an does not address the doctrine of the Trinity, but rather, condemns three heretical views that existed in the historical development of Christianity: modalism, tri-theism, and the worship of Mary."

And as you say, that does not make it trinitarian. If the Quran is not trinitarian, it cannot mean anything to say that the Quran presents God the Father as Allah, unless you are suggesting that it is proto-trinitarian by making the same Substance/Person distinction made by orthodox Christianity, identifying Allah with the the Father as a Divine Person but without taking the next step and specifying that there are three Divine Persons.

Again from the peanut gallery this seems unlikely. I'll reread some of your older articles though.

Ken said...

The writer of the Qur'an thought that the Christians worshiped Mary; and that the Trinity was the Father, Son, and Mother - Surah 5:116; 5:72-75. Surah 6:101

They thought the Christians worshipped Mary because of cultic excess of the Collyridians , who offered wafer cakes to Mary in sacrifice and worship (but they were quite small), but even more because of the excess of the Mary cult and statures and icons and prayers to her in the churches.

Even today, most Muslims still think the Trinity is the Father, the Son, and the Mother.

Just yesterday on the Dividing Line, JW was playing a clip from "the Deen Show", the Muslim host was saying "cats have kittys", "cows have calves" and "dogs have puppys", so how can anyone talk of God having a Son? - implying it is by marriage and sex and biological birth.

Since the author of Qur'an did not even understand what Christians meant by saying "Jesus is the Son of God", nor the Trinity, it is obvious that God did not inspired the Qur'an, and it was not revelation.

The Qur'an denies the crucifixion. Surah 4:157 - clear and simple. This proves it is not an inspired book, as it denies known historical fact that even liberals, skeptics, atheists, and agnostics accept.

Ken said...

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/12/muslims-quoting-coptic-and-roman.html

Muslims quoting Coptic and Roman Catholic sources on the worship of Mary today.

steelikat said...

Ken,

Good point.

David,

If as you say, the Quran is not Trinitarian. That being the case it cannot be divine Revelation. Any (hypothetical) divine revelation post-NT must be at least implicitly Trinitarian and no divine revelation can deny the Trinity. God cannot deny himself.

And I reiterate "hypothetical." For a Christian to respond to the idea that the Koran is divine revelation with any attitude other than immediate dismissal is quite weird. You could not blame Christians for suspecting you are being a contrary Mary just to get attention or something like that. I don't suspect that you are doing that but I recognize that what you are doing is quite bizarre, pointless, and counterproductive to the advancement of the Gospel.