Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mr. White's method of disputation: part 3 - confusion and misdirection

It seems that my recent two threads on Basil 'the Great' are finally beginning to 'wind down' a bit after some 174 comments; and so, I thought I would return to the litany of derogatory/inflammatory comments that were directed towards me by James R. White in his August 30, 2012 Dividing Line program.

In the second installment (link) of my series, "Mr. White's method of disputation", I cited a number of patristic scholars who took exception with Mr. White's claim that, "In the early Church, as was mentioned before, the difference between homoousios and homoiousios is, is a HUGE gap." In this installment, I will focus a bit more on Mr. White's failed attempt to defend his original words.

Once again from the August 30, 2012 Dividing Line program, at the 29:30 ff. mark, Mr. White quotes the same selection from Athanasius that I provided in my August 29, 2012 post (LINK):

"Those who deny the Council altogether, are sufficiently exposed by these brief remarks ; those, however, who accept everything else that was defined at Nicaea, and doubt only about the Coessential [homoousios], must not be treated as enemies"—Now, now, let me just stop right there. That's not what I was talking about, and David Waltz knows it. He knows it! He's not a stupid guy. He knows that's not what I was talking about. He knows I'm talking about someone in the 'Elephant Room' who has a very different view of things. He knows that's not what I am talking about.

Two important points: first, the "someone in the 'Elephant Room'" (who was being discussed by the panel that Mr. White was a part of), was being examined concerning whether or not he espoused the doctrine of monarchian modalism, and most certainly NOT for whether he held to homoiousios; and second, Mr. White in the original context clearly stated, "In the early Church, as was mentioned before, the difference between homoousios and homoiousios is, is a HUGE gap."

Mr. White's original context concerning "the difference between homoousios and homoiousios",  was "the early Church", NOT "someone in the 'Elephant Room'." Further, even if the context for the statement in question had actually been "someone in the 'Elephant Room'", "the difference between homoousios and homoiousios" was not an issue for the gentleman in question (i.e T.D. Jakes).

And yet, somehow, I was/am supposed to "know that's not what he was talking about"—AMAZING...

Mr. White continued with:

Athanasius is addressing, is, is people who accept what Nicaea said, but they have reservations; and his whole argument is going to be there's no reason for your reservations because if you say, "of like essence"—reason with me here—you're actually agreeing with what I am saying.

Once again, two important points: first, if Mr. White's statement was in fact concerning "someone in the 'Elephant Room'", then his example from "the early Church" would seem to exonerate T.D. Jakes; and second, notice that the same example from "the early Church" makes Mr. White's original assessment nonsensical, for how could "the difference between homoousios and homoiousios" be "HUGE" if the primary difference between the homoousians and homoiousians was merely semantics. In fact, Mr. White in his own book, The Forgotten Trinity, stated:

Instead, the "of a similar substance" group [i.e. homoiousians] should be seen as a subset if the "same substance" group [i.e. homoousians]. (Page 187.)

Indeed Mr. White, indeed. With statements like that (which falls in line with the assessments of the noted scholars I cited in THIS PREVIOUS THREAD), why does Mr. White seem surprised that I had difficulty with what he said during the panel discussion, namely:

In the early Church, as was mentioned before, the difference between homoousios and homoiousios is, is a HUGE gap.

I honestly don't 'get it'; Mr. White's two statements are not compatible—one of them is inaccurate.

More later, the Lord willing.

Grace and peace,



Drake Shelton said...


A bit off topic, sorry: As you probably know I am very interested in the counter reformation and the Jesuit order. I have been reading a bit on the Council of Trent and came across the 17th session. It seems the Reformation was making serious headway in the Roman Church until the speech by Archbishop Reggio who complained that the Church's change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday was indicative of her authority over the scripture.

This was an occasion for me to re-read my written material on the change from Saturday to Sunday and I found a contradiction. The WCF uses Acts 20 to prove the change of worship claiming that the breaking of the bread was sacramental. Yet when discussing the time when the sunday sabbath begins, Thomas Shepard, English puritan, who wrote the most prolifically on this issue, denied that this was sacramental pointing to verse 11 and others where this was simply a meal. Moreover, Joh 20:19 says that the disciples were not coming together on Sunday to change the sabbath day, but for fear of the Jews, "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled ****for fear of the Jews****, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you."

I'm seriously shaken by this. What do you think?

David Waltz said...

Hi Drake,

I had trouble sleeping tonight, so I thought I would check in on AF; to my surprise, I found your post on the sabbath.

It has literally been a good 20 years since I last seriously looked into this issue. I have in my library a little booklet by B.B. Warfield titled, "Foundations of the Sabbath". I checked to see if it was available on the internet, and discovered that it is:

Foundations of the Sabbath

The search for Warfield's booklet led me to a site that I am sure you will find of great interest:

Monergism - SABBATH

Listed at the above site, is a book by Nigel Lee (a Reformed gent whom I believe you have cited in the past on other issues):

The Covenantal Sabbath

And finally (at least for this evening), there is an essay by A.A. Hodge that I think you find helpful:

Sabbath, The Day Changed

Sincerely hope that the above resources are useful for your investigation into this matter.

God bless,


The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

The doors were shut for fear of the Jews: yet Jesus entered the room even though the doors were shut: that's the flow of the text. [Saint Paul is clear on Sabbaths and dietary laws, if you still have doubts].

"The Church" refers to Christ and the Apostles, and "the Scriptures" refer to the OT. They changed it just like they changed the dietary laws of the OT. It's not about the later Church changing the *NT*, if that's what you take his words to mean.

Drake Shelton said...

Lvka, so why did the EC practice the Sabbath for centuries after the apostles?

Socrates Scholasticus, Church History (Book V), Chapter 22. The Author’s Views respecting the Celebration of Easter, Baptism, Fasting, Marriage, the Eucharist, and Other Ecclesiastical Rites:

“For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and atRome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this.”

Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History (Book VII), Chapter 19. A List Worthy of Study, Given by the Historian, of Customs among Different Nations and Churches.

“The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria. There are several cities and villages in Egypt where, contrary to the usage established elsewhere, the people meet together on Sabbath evenings, and, although they have dined previously, partake of the mysteries. The same prayers and psalms are not recited nor the same lections read on the same occasions in all churches.”

Rory said...

"Such is the condition of the heretics of this age that on nothing do they rely more than that, under the pretense of the word of God, they overthrow the authority of the church; as though the church, His body, could be opposed to the word of Christ, or the head to the body. On the contrary, the authority of the church, then, is illustrated most clearly by the Scriptures; for while on the one hand she recommends them, declares them to be divine, offers them to us to be read, in doubtful matters explains them faithfully, and condemns whatever is contrary to them; on the other hand, the legal precepts in the Scriptures taught by the Lord have ceased by virtue of the same authority. The Sabbath, the most glorious day in the law, has been changed into the Lord’s day."

The preceding would appear to be the pertinent portion of the Archbishop of Reggio cited by Drake. The archbishop is noting the absurdity of citing Scripture against the pre-New Testament practise of the Church. The early Christians could not appeal to Ac. 20. But their practise was normative and early Fathers attest to Sunday worship. Can we think that all of a sudden the early Church just switched to an unauthorized day? Why? It would be a pretty universal apostasy I fear. Maybe we might want to re-read our Koran's and Pearls of Great Price?

I suggest this is an example where the Scriptures are only compatible with Tradition. But only by means of Tradition can we know that God wants us to meet on the Sunday now. The Scripture doesn't get us that far as it doesn't on other questions. The normative practise of the Church, especially the pre-New Testament Church answers the question not resolved by Scripture.

I agree with Drake if he is thinking that the Scripture alone restrains affirmation of Sunday worship. I agree with the Archbishop of Reggio on how to resolve the matter. As he explains, the precept of Saturday worship was changed by the Church, as were dietary laws, without biblical warrant, the first Scripture being composed more than a decade after our Lord's Resurrection.

Drake is questioning the day of worship because he is consistent in his rejection of Tradition. If Tradition carries no weight at all, I can see how one would be compelled to entertain the possibility of continued Saturday worship, with exceptions made "for fear of the Jews."


Jnorm said...

We still gather on the Sabbath to worship. It's called Saturday Evening vespers.

And we also gather on the Lord's Day to worship as well. It's called Orthros / Matins and the Divine Liturgy.

What we don't do is rest on the Sabbath day. If possible, we can rest on the Lord's day. But it's not a mandate.

Constantine & Jeroboam?

As well as:
Canon XXIX
"Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXIX.

A Christian shall not stop work on the Sabbath, but on the Lord’s Day.


Here the Fathers order that no one of the faithful shall stop work on the Sabbath as do 149the Jews, but that they should honour the Lord’s Day, on account of the Lord’s resurrection, and that on that day they should abstain from manual labour and go to church. But thus abstaining from work on Sunday they do not lay down as a necessity, but they add, “if they can.” For if through need or any other necessity any one worked on the Lord’s day this was not reckoned against him.

Back in my Baptist protestant years I use to argue with Seventh Day Adventists and they quoted Socrates Scholasticus as well. This was one of the reasons why I started to read the Church Fathers for myself way back in 1997/1998

And 10 years later I became Orthodox in 2007.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

In case you haven't noticed, it doesn't say that they celebrated the divine Mysteries ONLY on the Sabbath, but rather that they held services on Saturdays as well, as opposed to others, who only served on Sundays. My guess would be that this was due to the Jewish-Semitic heritage of the Oriental Churches (Ethiopians, Syriacs, Assyrians). The former still keep many Jewish traditions intact, and the latter two still speak Aramaic until today.

Drake Shelton said...


"We still gather on the Sabbath to worship. It's called Saturday Evening vespers."

>>That is not saturday evening. That is Sunday evening, because days begin with evening and then are completed with morning and day, per Genesis 1 and many other places in the OT.

Jnorm said...

It's still considered Saturday when the Sun is up. Some parishes do their Saturday evening vespers at 5pm while others at 6:30pm (still daylight).

And so the sabbath is from Friday at sunset to Saturday at sunset.

My parish is a semetic(Arabic) Parish and so we are use to celebrating Holy Pascha on Saturday night long after the Sun sets. (Which is Sunday morning).

Jnorm said...

Fr. Hopko mentions the sabbath issue in passing here at the 19:30 minute mark to about the 19:55 minute mark.
The Pivotal 11th Century - Part 2

Nick said...

Either I have been blocked from Drake's blog (not sure why) or comments simply aren't going through, but he wrote a response to my article on why Sabbatarianism is to be rejected:

If I understand the motive now, it's because Drake believes that since there is no good *Scriptural* reason to have Sunday as the official day of Christian worship, then this change can only be due to some pernicious and uninspired 'Oral Tradition'.

I'm not sure how he explains that 2nd century sources like Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, and the Didache all say Christians worship on Sunday and not Saturday.

This, to me, just highlights the problem of Sola Scriptura, especially the problem of Essentials/Nonessentials.

Drake Shelton said...


I don't remember blocking you from my blog.

The Sunday passage in Justin's Apology has been shown to be a forgery for a while:

Ignatius of Antioch's writings have been shown to be forgeries by Protestant Scholars for centuries.

Moreover, the Didache has a passage in Chapter 8 that cleary affirms 7th Day Sabbath Keeping,

"But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites; Matthew 6:16 for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week; but fast on the fourth day ****and the Preparation (Friday).*********"

If Friday is Preparation then Saturday is the Sabbath!

Drake Shelton said...

Nick, I just checked my discussions settings in my wordpress dashboard and my blacklist is empty and I also had no deleted or spammed comments from you. I don't get it.

David Waltz said...

Hi Drake,

Earlier today you wrote:

==Ignatius of Antioch's writings have been shown to be forgeries by Protestant Scholars for centuries.==

Since Bishop Lightfoot's (a conservative, low Church Anglican scholar) exhaustive work/volumes on the Apostolic Fathers, most Protestant patristic scholars accept the shorter recension of his epistles as authentic. See the follow online pdf copy for Lightfoot's extension research on Ignatius:

Apostolic Fathers - 2.1

For other online resources, see the following website:

Grace and peace,


P.S. Did you find any of the works on the Sabbath that I linked to of use?

David Waltz said...

Hello again Drake,

I forgot to mention another online website concerning Ignatius:

Jnorm said...

Drake, we still fast on Wednesday(I stop fasting when the sun sets) and Friday(I stop fasting on this day when the sun sets), but that doesn't mean we stop from working on the Sabbath(Friday sunset to Saturday sunset)

Drake, I think you are reading things into words again. Also, everything isn't a forgery. Why you tend to go to these extremes is beyond me.