Friday, September 28, 2018

Unity and the Christian Church: Part 3b - the Catholic Tradition


In the combox of the previous thread here at AF, the Reformed Baptist, Ken Temple, raised some concerns about Irenaeus', Proof/Demostration of the Apostolic Preaching. Ken wrote:

the parts about baptism that you brought out from "the Proof of the Apostolic Preaching" (found in recent years from an Armenian copy, right? - not found in the Philip Schaff collection of EFC) - could they not be interpreted in the way that we usually handle Acts 2:38 and Titus 3:5 ? (link)

Ken is correct that the Proof/Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching is not found in the Ante-Nicene Fathers series edited by Philip Schaff, and that the four English translations I am aware of are based on an Armenian manuscript discovered in 1904. Note the following from CCEL Staff Writer, Emmalon Davis:

Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching is a second century guide for Christian converts. After disappearing for nearly two millennia, an Armenian copy of St. Irenaeus' guidebook was discovered in 1904. Current versions of this ancient text have been translated from the Armenian, a language which greatly resembles the Greek in which it was originally transcribed. St. Irenaeus wanted to set out the main points of the Apostolic message, which was handed down to the Church from Old Testament Scriptures. St. Irenaeus explains the doctrine of Christianity as it was understood by the educated believers of his day. He defends the grounds of belief and aims to demonstrate the truth of the ancient Biblical prophecy. As a result, his project is both theological and historical. Even today, St. Irenaeus' book of guidelines serves to help Christians find salvation and refute heretics. (LINK)

I am not aware of any published Patristic scholar—e.g. John Behr, Everett Ferguson, J. N.D. Kelly, John Lawson, Iain M. MacKenzie, J. Armitage Robinson, Joseph P. Smith—who references the Proof/Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, that has questioned the authenticity and/or reliability of the Armenian manuscript. I concur with Dr. Joseph P. Smith, who wrote:

AUTHENTICITY. That the work here presented to us is really, as the manuscript describes it, the "Proof of the Apostolic Preaching" of Irenaeus, is certain on internal grounds. The title and the name (chapter 1) of the addressee agree with the information given us by Eusebius; the work reflects the conditions of the end of the second century, and its manner and many of its turns of expression agree with Irenaeus's known writings, and with his views and preoccupations; the parallels with Adversus haereses are many and striking... (Irenaeus, Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, trans. by Joseph P. Smith, S.J., Newman Press, pp. 5, 6.)

Now, Ken seems to question the authenticity of the Proof/Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching because of its description concerning the nature of Christian baptism (Ken, please correct me on this if I have misunderstood you). Note the following:

THE RULE OF FAITH

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

Keeping in mind Dr. Smith's assessment that, "the parallels with Adversus haereses are many and striking", one should expect to find "baptism for the remission of sins" and baptism as, "rebirth unto God" (i.e. regeneration). One clearly finds such parallels in Irenaeus' Against Heresies (bold emphasis in the following quotes is mine):

1. It happens that their tradition respecting redemption is invisible and incomprehensible, as being the mother of things which are incomprehensible and invisible; and on this account, since it is fluctuating, it is impossible simply and all at once to make known its nature, for every one of them hands it down just as his own inclination prompts. Thus there are as many schemes of “redemption” as there are teachers of these mystical opinions. And when we come to refute them, we shall show in its fitting-place, that this class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God, and thus to a renunciation of the whole [Christian] faith.

2. They maintain that those who have attained to perfect knowledge must of necessity be regenerated into that power which is above all. For it is otherwise impossible to find admittance within the Pleroma, since this [regeneration] it is which leads them down into the depths of Bythus. For the baptism instituted by the visible Jesus was for the remission of sins... (Against Heresies, 1.21.1, 2a - ANF 1.345)

But it is evident from Peter's words that he did indeed still retain the God who was already known to them ; but he also bare witness to them that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, the Judge of quick and dead, into whom he did also command them to be baptized for the remission of sins; and not this alone, but he witnessed that Jesus was Himself the Son of God, who also, having been anointed with the Holy Spirit, is called Jesus Christ. (Against Heresies, 3.12.7 - ANF 1.443)

And inasmuch as man, with respect to that formation which was after Adam, having fallen into transgression, needed the laver of regeneration, [the Lord] said to him [upon whom He had conferred sight], after He had smeared his eyes with the clay, "Go to Siloam, and wash ;"  thus restoring to him both [his perfect] confirmation, and that regeneration which takes place by means of the laver. And for this reason when he was washed he came seeing, that he might both know Him who had fashioned him, and that man might learn [to know] Him who has conferred upon him life. (Against Heresies, 5.15.3 - ANF 1.543)

Before ending, I would like to provide a selection from the esteemed Lutheran scholar, R. C. H. Lenski, who I believe does an excellent job in addressing how one is to interpret Acts 2:38, which is directly germane to Irenaeus' understanding of "baptism for the remission of sins":

Baptism is pure that conveys grace and salvation from God through Christ: it dare not be changed into a legal or legalistic requirement that is akin to the ceremonial requirement of Moses such as circumcision. God does something for us in baptism, we do we do nothing for him. Our acceptance of baptism is only acceptance of God's gift.

This is emphasized strongly in the addition: "for or unto remission of your sins." It amounts to nothing more than a formal grammatical difference whether εἰς is again regarded as denoting sphere (equal to ἐν), R. 592, or, as is commonly supposed, as indicating aim and purpose, R. 592, as better still as denoting effect. Sphere would mean that baptism is inside the same circle as remission; he who steps into this circle has both. Aim and purpose would mean that baptism intends to give remission; in him, then, who receives baptism aright this intention, aim, and purpose would be attained. The same is true regarding the idea of effect in εἰς this preposition connects remission so closely with baptism that nobody has as yet been able to separate the two. It is this gift of remission that makes baptism a true sacrament; otherwise it would be only a sign or a symbol that conveys nothing real. (R. C. H. Lenski,  The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles, pp. 107, 108.)

A few sentences later, Dr. Lenski then asked the following question:

And how can Ananias in 22:16 say, "Be baptized and wash away thy sins!" as though the water of baptism washed them away by their connection with the Name? (R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles, pp. 107, 108.)

Shall end here for now. Hope to have part 4 of this series ready for posting early next week.


Grace and peace,

David

46 comments:

Ken Temple said...

Do you think water baptism actually causes forgiveness to be bestowed on a person, or are they forgiven / justified when they repent and believe, and then are baptized as a result and fruit of their already being born again and desire to follow the Lord in baptism?

There is too much NT teaching that contradicts the idea that one is not forgiven of their sins until they get baptized in water.

The phrase in Acts 2:38 "for the forgiveness of sins" was wrongly applied in later centuries as "in order to get forgiveness" rather than a natural result of true repentance and faith.

following the Lord in obedience in baptism is part of the results of true repentance and faith.

when that misunderstanding got combined with infant baptism and priestly powers of ex opere operato - that was a big problem and wrong direction.

For centuries, people relied on their infant baptism to save them. Getting wet and having words spoken over you does not cause Grace to come into the soul.

Peter said, "cleansing their hearts by faith" Acts 15:8-9

That is how a Baptist would see the early creeds of "one baptism for the forgiveness of sins" = one baptism for an adult, after they repent and trust in Christ as savior and Lord, and a symbol of the reality of what happens on the inside; (death and resurrection) - there are too many other verses that teach forgiveness comes from God by repentance and faith (conversion on the inside).

John 5:24
Eternal life is promised if you believe. Passed out of judgment into eternal life = forgiveness.

Romans 5:1
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God." (forgiveness of sins, resulting in peace with God) We get baptized as a result of that.

Ken Temple said...

"this class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God,"

= "that baptism which symbolized a regeneration to God"

like Jesus saying:

"This is My body" actually means "This bread represents or symbolizes My body which will be given for you on the cross"

Ken Temple said...

Acts 22:16 καὶ νῦν τί μέλλεις ἀναστὰς βάπτισαι καὶ ἀπόλουσαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας σου ἐπικαλεσάμενος τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ

‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

the participle, ἐπικαλεσάμενος is an adverbial participle, "by calling upon His name" - your sins are washed away by your repentance and faith (calling upon His name) and the baptism in water is a symbol of that true repentance. Just as 1 Peter 3:21 says - the true baptism is an internal one of "an appeal to God for a good conscience" (repentance and faith) and the baptism symbolizes that before witnesses in the church or before church members.

Ken Temple said...

If Irenaeus (in all the other passages you cited from Against Heresies) believed that forgiveness of sins was not granted by God until the actual water baptism took place, well, then he was wrong.

Seems to be a wrong interpretation of Acts 2:38

I am not doubting "The Proof of the Apostolic Preaching", I don't know. I was just pointing out the reality of the Armenian copy and the late date in which is was found.

But the whole emphasis of those passages and other ECF - IF they thought it was baptismal regeneration, well, that is an example of an early church mistake in which they are wrong and fallible; but it is unclear to me that they fully believed that in the way it is usually thought.

Remember we had that discussion about Tim Kauffman's articles; and IMO, he poked a lot of holes in the idea that they all actually taught Baptismal regeneration.

Especially, IMO, it seems to me that Justin Martyr was saying that when a person is illumined (repentance, faith, conversion), then they are baptized.

Ken Temple said...

Your whole series is about early church unity.
You made no comment on my comment in the combox of your first article, that Jesus also rebuked the Pharisees for teaching wrong, in Matthew 16:12 and for adding man made traditions in Mark 7 and Matthew 15; so therefore, when He said to obey what they teach on the chair of Moses in Matthew 23, He is assuming when they just read the law of Moses and interpret it properly, not if and when they teach wrongly. There is no indication that Matthew 23:1-2 means some kind of Roman Catholic ex cathedra kind of idea that was developed centuries later and culminated in the 1870 dogma. Roman Catholic apologists take the Vatican 1 1970 dogma and read it back anachronistically into Matthew 23:1-2.

Also,
If the mono-episcopacy is true and first century, why didn't the apostle Paul use that in his argument with the Corinthians in order to solve the problems of disunity and factions in chapters 1-4?

Instead he said at the end of that argument about the factions, "do not go beyond what is written", and "I have applied this to me and Apollos, so that you may learn not be arrogant/ prideful in regard to one against the other" (the whole main issue from 1:10 to 4:7 - factions, "I am of Paul", "I am of Cephas", "I am Apollos", and "I am of Christ", etc.

I Corinthians 4:6-7

6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. 7 For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Seems to me, he points them back to Scripture.

Sola Scripture in principle, even though the rest of it is still in process of being written.

Rory said...

Part 3A and 3B seem closely linked.

I had pondered the possibility of replying to Irenaeus' view of the primacy of Rome here at 3B. After I decide for 3A, something makes me think, why not both?

Hi Ken.

For purpose of this discussion it does not matter who is right about what Irenaeus meant regarding the primacy of Rome passage.

But the important question to be answered is about how the Church which survived the Roman persecutions subsequently understood the matter. Almost immediately afterwards, the bishop of Rome begins to assert authority over other churches and bishops. What a Catholic could see as a proper development of Irenaeus' thought, you cannot possibly accept. Whether you are right or wrong about Irenaeus, the problem remains for non-Catholics that the Christians who survived the persecution of the Roman Empire embraced the Catholic way to interpret Irenaeus.

You brought up Tertullian. He left the Catholic Church in part for the very problem we are discussing. Only a few decades after St. Irenaeus suffered martyrdom we see what I consider to be development and what you must accept as corruption: "I hear that an edict has been issued, and that a peremptory one. The Sovereign Pontiff, indeed, the bishop of bishops puts forth his edict...

It so happens that Tertullian disagrees with the bishop of Rome on a point of authority to remit sins. His criticism of the Roman Church is more pointed some chapters later where we read him opposing the idea that the keys of authority given to Peter were passed on to the Church in any way, denying any prerogatives to the successor of Peter as the Roman bishop. Speaking of him he described sarcastically, but accurately, as "bishop of bishops", he writes:

"As for your present decision (to remit the sins of adultery and fornication after penance), I want to ask on what grounds you assume this right for the Church. Is it because the Lord said to Peter 'Upon this rock I will build my Church, to thee I have given the keys of the kingdom of heaven', or: 'Whatsoever thou shalt bind or loose on earth shall be bound or loosed in heaven,' that you therefore presume that the power of binding and loosing has come down to yourself also, that, to the whole Church akin to Peter? Who are you to alter and subvert the plain intention of the Lord when he conferred this upon Peter personally? 'Upon thee,' he says, 'I will build my Church. And he said, 'Whatsoever thou shalt bind or loose, not what they bind or loose.'"

The first quote is from De Pudicitia, ch. 1. The second quote is from ch. 21 as translated in a volume called Early Latin Theology, S.L. Greenslade, editor, published by The Westminster Press, 1956

Not long after this, Tertullian's fellow African, St. Cyprian is at odds with Pope Stephen over Stephen's decision that where there is the correct matter, form, and intention, heretical baptisms are valid and not to be repeated should the individual seek entry to the Catholic Church. The popes are exercising so much authority even before the Council of Nicea that the non-Catholic Christian is forced to admit that ecclesiastically, the apostolic teaching was subverted very very early.

Ken, even if you have understood Irenaeus correctly, I would urge you to consider that the apostasy claims of groups like the LDS are reasonable if the body of Christians who survived the persecutions (identified as Catholic) misunderstood Irenaeus. Likewise, the apostasy claims of groups like the LDS are reasonable if those who tried to oppose Rome (the Empire or the Church), like Tertullian and the Montanists, underwent early extinction.

David Waltz said...

Good afternoon Ken,

You were quite busy yesterday. Will try to address all your contributions, but in may be tomorrow before I can do so. I shall begin with the following you asked:

==If the mono-episcopacy is true and first century, why didn't the apostle Paul use that in his argument with the Corinthians in order to solve the problems of disunity and factions in chapters 1-4?==

Because Paul was essentially the bishop/overseer (ἐπίσκοπος) of the Corinthian Church. While the apostles were alive they functioned in what would later be termed exclusively as the office of bishop/overseer. During the apostolic period the threefold ministry was composed of the apostles, the presbyters/elders, and deacons. (Don't forget the fluidity of the terms used to describe the three separate offices—the apostles were also termed bishop, deacon, presbyter/elder and the presbyters, bishops.)

As for whether not the monepiscopacy "is true and first century", note the following excerpt from my 'Monespiscopacy and the early Church' thread that was published back on Feb. 10, 2015 - LINK:

==The fact that the terms elder/presbyter (πρεσβύτερος, presbuteros) and bishop (ἐπίσκοπος, episkopos) are certainly both used for some of the same individuals who filled the 'office' of what later can to known exclusively as elder/presbyter has virtually no bearing on whether or not there was a third office which was above it/them. I can think of no better representative of this view than the man who established beyond any reasonable doubt that those two terms were used interchangeably in the NT and early CFs: J. B. Lightfoot. His Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (1868), The Christian Ministry (1868) and massive 5 volume work, Apostolic Fathers (1885-1890) established him as one of the top scholars who has written on this topic. And to my knowledge, there is not one scholar who has successfully questioned Lightfoot's monumental contributions on this issue.

Interestingly enough, though countless authors have cited Lightfoot concerning the use of the terms elder/presbyter (πρεσβύτερος, presbuteros) and bishop (ἐπίσκοπος, episkopos) in the NT and Apostolic Fathers, it is quite rare to find an author who also points out that he believed the monepiscopacy (and the three-fold Christian ministry) had an Apostolic origin. Please note the following from his The Christian Ministry, one of three disertations which were printed with his commentary on Philippians:

>>If bishop was at first used as a synonym for the presbyter and afterwards came to designate the higher officer under whom the presbyters served, the episcopate properly so called would seem to have been developed from the subordinate office. In other words, the episcopate was formed not out of the apostolic order by localisation but out of the presbyteral by elevation : and the title, which originally was common to all, came at length to be appropriated to the chief among them.

If this account be true, we might expect to find in the mother Church of Jerusalem, which as the earliest founded would soonest ripen into maturity, the first traces of this developed form of the ministry. Nor is this expectation disappointed. James the Lord's brother alone, within the period compassed by the apostolic writings, can claim to be regarded as a bishop in the later and more special sense of the term. (Pages 196-197.)

The evidence for the early and wide extension of episcopacy throughout proconsular Asia, the scene of St John's latest labours, may be considered irrefragable. (Page 214.)

It has been seen that the institution of an episcopate must be placed as far back as the closing years of the first century, and that it cannot, without violence to historical testimony, be dissevered from the name of St John. (Page 234.)>>

cont'd

David Waltz said...

cont'd

>>If the preceding investigation be substantially correct, the threefold ministry can be traced to Apostolic direction ; and short of an express statement we can possess no better assurance of a Divine appointment or at least a Divine sanction. (Page 267.)>>

Interestingly enough, even during the lifetime of Lightfoot himself, some folk were evidently attempting to twist Lightfoot's own words, for in the preface of the sixth edition of Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians he penned:

>>The present edition is an exact reprint of the preceding one. This statement applies as well to the Essay on the Threefold Ministry, as to the rest of the work. I should not have thought it necessary to be thus explicit, had I not been informed of a rumour that I had found reason to abandon the main opinions expressed in that Essay. There is no foundation for any such report. The only point of importance on which I have modified my views, since the Essay was first written, is the authentic form of the letters of St Ignatius. Whereas in the earlier editions of this work I had accepted the three Curetonian letters, I have since been convinced (as stated in later editions) that the seven letters of the Short Greek are genuine. This divergence however does not materially affect the main point at issue, since even the Curetonian letters afford abundant evidence of the spread of episcopacy in the earliest years of the second century.

But on the other hand, while disclaiming any change in my opinions, I desire equally to disclaim the representations of those opinions which have been put forward in some quarters. The object of the Essay was an investigation into the origin of the Christian Ministry. The result has been a confirmation of the statement in the English Ordinal, 'It is evident unto all men diligently reading the Holy Scripture and ancient authors that from the Apostles' time there have been these orders of Ministers in Christ's Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.' But I was scrupulously anxious not to overstate the evidence in any case; and it would seem that partial and qualifying statements, prompted by this anxiety, have assumed undue proportions in the minds of some readers, who have emphasized them to the neglect of the general drift of the Essay.

September 9, 1881.>>==

The whole thread is worth reading (IMO), as well as the rest of the threads under the Monepiscopacy LABEL.

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Ken,

Concerning your comments on Acts 22:16, note the following from Dr. Lenski:

Ananias is now encouraging Paul on his own account. He tells him what to do. The two aorist imperatives are causative middles: "get thyself baptized and get thyself washed as to thy sins" (B.-D. 317; R. 808). The action expressed by the aorist participle, "calling on his name," is either simultaneous with that of the aorist imperatives or immediately precedes it, the difference being merely formal. "The name" is Jesus in his revelation; and to call on this name involves faith (Rom. 10:13, 14). This is one of the cardinal passages on the saving power of baptism; see the others, 2:38 discussed at length; Luke 3:3; John 3:3, 5; Tit. 3:5; Eph 5:26. What makes the present passage unmistakably clear is the second imperative. Why was in not enough to say, "Having arisen, let thyself be baptized, calling on his name"? Why was "and let thyself be washed as to thy sins" inserted if baptism and its water did not do this washing to remove sins? The answer has yet to be given.

Was Paul to submit to a mere symbolic ceremony? What lay heavy on his conscience was the guilt of his enormous sin of persecuting the Messiah himself (v. 7). With its water that was sanctified by the Word baptism was to wash away all this guilt, all these sins. This washing away is the ἄφεσις of 2:38, Luke 3:3, the "remission," the "removal" of sins. To be sure this washing away is "picturesque language" (R., W. P.); it is figurative, to speak more exactly, and is appropriate in that baptism has water in connection with the Word, Eph. 5:26. (R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles, pp. 909, 910.)

And H. A. W. Meyer:

Ver.16...let thyself be baptized and thereby wash away thy sins. Here, too, baptism is that by means of which the forgiveness of the sins committed in the pre-Christian life takes place. Comp, ii, 38 ; Eph. v. 26 ; and see on 1 Cor. vi. 11. Calvin inserts saving clauses, in order not to allow the grace to be bound to the sacrament. (H. A. W. Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Acts of the Apostles, 6th edition 1884-1980 reprint, p. 419)

Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Hi Rory,
Thanks for your interaction and responses.

I think everyone I have ever read (scholars and apologists, etc.) on the Tertullian statements were mocking the bishop of Rome.

And Cyprian and 86 other bishops around 257-258 at one of the councils of Carthage wrote:

"no one sets himself up as the bishop of bishops"

and the letters of his and of Firmillian confirm that they did not accept any kind of Roman "Papal" claims.

So, it seems clear that it was not deemed as a valid claim in the early centuries.

Ken Temple said...

http://www.tertullian.org/works/de_pudicitia.htm

A helpful summary of Tertullian's "On Modesty" (de pudicita)

Ken Temple said...

David,
I remember we had this discussion before about the episcopacy.

Ok, so Why did the apostles in the area of south Galatia, appoint a group of elders for each church (Acts 14:21) and leave them to function on their own?

I can understand the point of when Paul speaks to Timothy and Titus, Timothy and Titus (Titus 1:5-7) seems to be the one who can be understood as functioning like a "mono-episcopate". ( 1 and 2 Timothy)

But it seems that after the apostles died, that office ceased, and the data seems to favor more of a plurality of elders for each church, as Acts 14:21; Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-4 indicate.

In the Acts 20 and I Peter passages, it says the elders do the pastoring / Shepherding and overseeing. There is no mention of one person above them, like a bishop over the elders. Rather it says the elders do the work of overseeing (bishoping) and shepherding, teaching, pastoring.

Ken Temple said...

http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/sbjt_073_fall03_merkle.pdf

Good article; and he quotes Lightfoot on elders and overseers being the same.

Also -
"Titus is commanded to appoint
elders but this instruction is missing in 1
Timothy since the Ephesian church already
had elders. Apparently, Paul was with Titus
in Crete but had to leave before he could
appoint elders (cf. Acts 14:23). (d) Since
there is no discussion of the removal of a
bad elder in Titus as there is in 1 Timothy
5:17–25, this again suggests that they did
not yet have elders."

Interesting. Read more and note the discussion with Ignatius' letters.

Ken Temple said...

https://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/acts-2:38

Good article on Acts 2:28 - "repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins"

As the phrase relates to later development in Creeds.

Storms writes:

(5) The view that is most consistent with what we read elsewhere in the New Testament is that Acts 2:38 says nothing about the relationship between baptism and forgiveness but everything about the relationship between baptism and repentance.

Let's look at three lines of evidence.

First, the Gospel of John is explicitly an evangelistic book (cf. John 20:30-31). Yet there is not one word in it concerning Christian baptism (not even John 3:5; see my extensive study of that passage at www.SamStorms.com). If one studies merely through the sixth chapter of John it is clear that faith or belief is stated to be the condition on which we are saved (see John 1:7,12; 3:16,18,36; 5:24; 6:40,47; needless to say, there are countless other texts in John that affirm this same truth).

Together with the rest of the NT, there are almost 150 passages that speak of faith/repentance as the sole condition for justification and forgiveness of sins. If water baptism were absolutely essential for salvation, how do we explain its omission in these numerous texts?"

Ken Temple said...

Rory wrote:

Ken, even if you have understood Irenaeus correctly, I would urge you to consider that the apostasy claims of groups like the LDS are reasonable if the body of Christians who survived the persecutions (identified as Catholic) misunderstood Irenaeus.

I really don't understand the point you are trying to make here. Everything is not dependent on Irenaeus' statement about the church at Rome. He wrote that both Paul and Peter founded the church in Rome. That is a clear historical error. Both Paul and Peter went there much later after the church was already established / founded there.

Peter probably went there as an apostle, but I see the Matthew 16 statement much more connected to the church in Jerusalem and Peter's role there in the first half of the book of Acts.

Peter's preaching on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem and his preaching to the Roman Centurion in Acts 10-11 and his family are examples of the keys of the kingdom - the message of the gospel - when a person repents and believes, the door to salvation and the kingdom of God is opened.

Matthew 18:15-20 expands the power of the church to "bind and loose" - do church discipline.

By Irenaeus' time, the church in Rome was the most prominent because it was in the capital city of the empire and Jerusalem had become insignificant in light of 70 AD and 135 AD (Bar Kokhba rebellion), etc.

I don't see the connection to the Mormon claims, since they are polytheists and don't believe that the Bible teaches that God is the one God of the Universe and created all things ex nihilo - out of nothing.

Informed Protestants don't claim a total apostasy of the church until Trent, so all the RC arguments that try to imply we are like the Mormons, etc. is wrong.

The corruptions in doctrine and practice were very slow and developed over centuries. But there was no entire apostasy until Trent in 1545-1563 by the dogmas that anathematized the doctrine of justification by faith and made / renewed / repeated things like Purgatory and Transubstantiation de fide dogmas. (Transubstantiation was declared de fide dogma in 1215, right?) It seems Trent re-emphasized it to condemn Protestantism.

Ken Temple said...

The text of Acts 15 does not say James is the mono-episcopate or bishop or overseer, rather he is one of the elders (apostles and elders" - Acts 15:6. or even considered one of the apostles as in I Corinthians 15:7 and Galatians 1:19.

It was later history that anachronistically called only one man "the bishop" of so and so church, after the mono-episcopate grew and developed from one man over one church, as in Ignatius' writings, to one man over several churches in an area and then read back into earlier history. (It seems)

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Just got back into town after spending the day over the river. So good to see your continued interest and participation. I have a busy day tomorrow, but will try to start responding to your posts in the afternoon, the Lord willing.


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Hi Ken.

I have seen your misgivings with my propositions and will be convincing you soon how wrong you are. Heh.

Gimme a few days...selling a house...buying a house...leaving an employer of 21 years...thanks for your reply. God bless.

Rory

Ken Temple said...

“I would urge that the participial phrase “calling on his name,” modifies the person designated in the second imperative, “wash away,” as the nearest antecedent. This means that the instrumental cause of Paul’s spiritual ‘washing’ was not his baptism per se but his “calling upon the name” of Jesus that accompanied his baptism, which ordinance was in turn the visible sign of his spiritual “washing.”” (Reymond, Systematic Theology, p. 952)

Indeed, in other Scriptures the Bible connects calling upon the Lord’s name for salvation without any reference to water baptism:

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21; see also Joel 2:32)

“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom. 10:8-13)

https://flockalert.wordpress.com/2009/01/17/nowhere-does-the-bible-teach-that-water-baptism-is-part-of-the-gospel/

Dennis said...

Hi Ken,

I would suggest that these arguments we all participate in are "pre-loaded" with interpretative lenses before our cases are even presented. I believe from your background you are using the lense of "sola scripture" whereas David, Rory & myself would be using some combination of "scripture & tradition" as the interpretative lense in determing what Christians should believe and live. The issue around unity & the "rule of faith", is to determine how Christians used that rule in their post-Apostolic history and compare that to how it squares up with today's Christianity.

The first churches to claim Apostolic authority are the RC, EO and OO churches. They can historically trace their roots to either the Apostles or someone associated with them. As such, do their teachings agree with each other on Christology, baptism, Eucharist, leadership and spirituality ? Apart from the East/ West divide in spirituality issues, I would say they are in agreement on the essentials, which is a different set of essentials than handed on by the Reformers (although this sometimes intersects).

So to come along 1500 years later and make statements asserting that these 1st churches became corrupted and began mis-interpreting scripture, is infantile. One needs to show that each of the 5 Sees of Early Christian Authority, fell away from what they taught & began teaching something else. These Churches almost split over the date of Easter. They split over some obscure reasonings over Christology. Do you really believe they would maintain unity if someone began teaching a different version of baptism or the Eucharist ?

Each of these churches believe baptism is for the remission of sins and the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ in some type of materialised form. They all believe that Gods grace is actualised in material sacraments like water, bread, wine, oil. And why not. He made Himself incarnate. He is Lord over the material creation. This doesn't mean it negates the place of grace and faith in salvation or that salvation becomes automatic.

So to me it seems unnecessary to get into textual criticism and pulling out "Stongs Concordance" or Mathew Henry's Commentary. If I know what these Churches believe, I should try reading scripture through their lense as Jesus commissioned them with the Holy Spirit and prayed for those who would believe though their legacy.

Cheers
DenniB

Ken Temple said...

Dennis,
Thanks for your comments. Most of your comment is generally right about what the early church believed at that time (with the caveat that each issue would have to be looked at more closely and in context, etc.) , but of course, my whole argument is that they were not right nor infallible on some things. (Particularly baptismal regeneration, infant baptism, Eucharist, church government. (these are the exact areas that the Reformers disagreed with each other on - Luther vs. Zwingli on the Lord's supper, etc.) They began to get some things wrong. Unity is important, but at the time the NT Scriptures were written in the first century, the visible unity was a localized church unity (as in the exhortations to church unity in Ephesians 4; I Corinthians chapters 1-4) that is understandable for the times and the principle is true, as far as it goes, even with the clear idea that the church will grow and expand, as what is said in John 17 - also "for those who will believe through your word". (John 17:20-21)

So to come along 1500 years later and make statements asserting that these 1st churches became corrupted and began mis-interpreting scripture, is infantile.

So, Wycliff (1300s), Hus (1400s), then in 1500s -Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Bucer, Tyndale, Cranmer, etc. ; were "infantile"?
I would suggest you choose a different word or idea.

I would suggest that these arguments we all participate in are "pre-loaded" with interpretative lenses before our cases are even presented. I believe from your background you are using the lense of "sola scripture" whereas David, Rory & myself would be using some combination of "scripture & tradition" as the interpretative lense in determing what Christians should believe and live.

Generally true, but . . . your word "should" at the end, I take issue with.

I think there is a difference between "should" now and "did at that time". If you are arguing that we should all go back to that time and "should" follow that; I disagree completely. But if your argument is that that that is what they believed at that time, that is generally true. My argument is not that the churches became completely corrupt and apostate; (that only happened at Trent in 1545-1563) (the West).

The issue around unity & the "rule of faith", is to determine how Christians used that rule in their post-Apostolic history and compare that to how it squares up with today's Christianity.

the problem is we live today and cannot go back and have that unity again - there are too many other historical events and realities and other doctrines, practices, and dogmas that have made the desire for unity just too complicated. I believe the Byzantine Emperors were too harsh on the Copts and Jacobite Syrians about Monophysitism, and it created a bitterness that set them up to, at least at first, "welcome the Arab Muslims as liberators" (what many history books claim about that time in the 500s & 600s AD)

When you talk about "Scripture and Tradition" - the difficulty lies in that some early church writers just started asserting and assuming and claiming that certain practices were done by the apostles. (for example, Basil of Caesera's list of unwritten traditions that the East still does (all or not ?) but the west does not (some ?). "On the Holy Spirit", 66) Also, as I recall, though Hippolytus (215 AD) is the first to mention infant baptism specifically, and Tertullian may be implying that it was going on in his time (200-220 AD) by his questioning of it and emphasizing "let them grow and know Christ before they get baptized" (my paraphrase from memory), I think Origen is the first one who asserted that infant baptism was a "tradition of the apostles".

Ken Temple said...

Part 2

Do you really believe they would maintain unity if someone began teaching a different version of baptism or the Eucharist ?

Since the splits of OO (issues of 431- 451 AD, and afterward) (Nestorianism and Monophysite) and the split of 1054 (EO), other developments in the west (Transubstantiation - from 800-1215 as dogma and then Aquinas' defense of it, etc. - I don't see how any kind of unity can be "should" practically done, especially since the Pope and Roman Catholic branch considers their understanding of the Eucharist as unchangable and infallible Dogma.

Each of these churches believe baptism is for the remission of sins and the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ in some type of materialised form. They all believe that Gods grace is actualised in material sacraments like water, bread, wine, oil. And why not. He made Himself incarnate. He is Lord over the material creation. This doesn't mean it negates the place of grace and faith in salvation or that salvation becomes automatic.

I fail to see the jump from the incarnation, which all conservative bible believing Protestants believe, to the idea that grace is actualized through material sacraments as in baptism, Eucharist, etc. (water, bread, wine, oil)

Anthony Lane makes a very interesting and insightful comment in his section on the Council of Orange in 529 AD (in his book, Exploring Christian Thought, page 81):

"The canons [of the Council of Orange of 529 AD] affirm our need for grace, but this grace is tied to the sacraments. Free-will is healed by the grace of baptism. With the grace of baptism and the aid and co-operation of Jesus Christ, we have the power to do all that is necessary for salvation, if we so desire. By this time infant baptism was universal, so the teaching on grace [Augustine, bondage of the will, predestination, etc. - which is what the semi-Pelagians in southern France were discussing that lead to the Council of Orange] is pushed back to a forgotten infancy." (Tony Lane, Exploring Christian Thought, p. 81)

I think that is key.

By this time infant baptism was universal, so the teaching on grace is pushed back to a forgotten infancy."

R.C. Sproul quotes and discusses theologians Berkouer and Bavinck that Semi-Pelagianism was condemned at the Council of Orange in 529 AD, but basically says that it crept back in and grew and was common in the whole culture, then Wycliff and Hus and Luther saw the problems, and then a form of Semi-Pelagianism was re-affirmed at Trent, in response to the Reformation.

See specific details in this article:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2011/06/between-orange-and-trent.html

I don't see where I used textual criticism or Strong's concordance or Matthew Henry's commentary.

Ken Temple said...

Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification, by R. C. Sproul. Baker, 1995.

In chapter 7, entitled “Merit and Grace”, R. C. Sproul discusses the issues of merit and grace, Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, the Council of Orange in 529 AD and the council of Trent (1545-1463), which seems to affirm semi-Pelagianism.

“Rome has repeatedly been accused of condemning semi-Pelagianism at Orange [in 529 AD] but embracing it anew at Trent.
Herman Bavinck held that “although semi-Pelagianism had been condemned by Rome, it reappeared in a ‘roundabout way’”. G. C. Berkouwer observed:

“Between Orange and Trent lies a long process of development, namely, scholasticism, with its elaboration of the doctrine of the meritoriousness of good works, and the Roman system of penitence . . . “
Bavinck and Berkouwer are cited by Sproul in Faith Alone, pages 140-141.

The big Problem with the Council of Orange of 529 AD:
Baptismal Regeneration – that baptism in water causes regeneration and gives grace so one may then be able to choose Christ.

Ken Temple said...

Also, in Scripture, sometimes, something does happen when someone is baptized or at the laying on of hands (Acts 8:14-18; 19:6) or for a more incredible OT example - a dead body rose up when a man was cast into Elisha's grave and the dead body touched Elisha's bones. 2 Kings 13:21

(Benny Hinn and other modern Charismatics and Pentecostals use those kinds of examples for justification of many of their practices today)

See also Acts 5:15-16 and 19:11-12

That those things happened is true is one thing. (historical narrative) But those texts never say "repeat that" or that "if you do such and such, grace and salvation will automatically happen", etc.

We believe miracles when the inspired text says it happened; but that is different than believing that automatically something always happens (grace, salvation, etc.) when some physical action or ceremony is done. (baptism, Lord's supper, confirmation, laying on of hands)

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I finally have some time for the internet. There is much to cover, and I am finding it a bit difficult trying to determine where to begin...I shall start with the issue of a three-fold ministry.

You wrote: ==Ok, so Why did the apostles in the area of south Galatia, appoint a group of elders for each church (Acts 14:21) and leave them to function on their own?==

I do not believe that the apostles left "them to function on their own". I am firmly convinced that they retained oversight over the churches/officers they founded/appointed. Once again, we have a three-fold ministry in place—apostles (also sometimes termed elders/presbyters), bishops (also sometimes termed elders/presbyters), and deacons. Ken, do you acknowledge this?

Ken:==I can understand the point of when Paul speaks to Timothy and Titus, Timothy and Titus (Titus 1:5-7) seems to be the one who can be understood as functioning like a "mono-episcopate". ( 1 and 2 Timothy)

But it seems that after the apostles died, that office ceased, and the data seems to favor more of a plurality of elders for each church, as Acts 14:21; Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-4 indicate.==

Andronicus, Apollos, Barnabas, Junias, Silas, Timothy, Titus were not apostles in the same sense that the Twelve and Paul were—in that they were appointed by Jesus—yet they carried out some of the functions of those apostles. What should be call them? How should we classify them? Some folk have used 'lieutenant apostles', which works for me. So, I would argue instead of a four-fold ministry, we have a three-fold, wherein one should classify men like Andronicus, Apollos, Barnabas, Junias, Silas, Timothy, Titus with the apostles (Andronicus , Apollos, Barnabas, Junias are actually termed apostles in the NT). Like the apostles they appointed bishops (also sometimes termed elders/presbyters) and kept oversight over them. Now, the question that needs to asked is: did the function/office of men like Andronicus, Apollos, Barnabas, Junias, Silas, Timothy, Titus continue after the passing of the Twelve and Paul? The NT does inform us either way, but history certainly tells us that it continued, and that the these men were later termed exclusively as bishops.

Ken:== http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/sbjt_073_fall03_merkle.pdf

Good article; and he quotes Lightfoot on elders and overseers being the same.==

In the NT local elders/presbyters are also termed bishops/overseers. I have always maintained this, siding with Lightfoot on this issue. However, Merkle ignores the fact that Lightfoot held to the apostolic origin of a three-fold ministry, and that this three-fold ministry continued after the passing of the Twelve and Paul. That is the real issue at hand. I see nothing in the NT that indicates that the three-fold ministry was one that was to cease, but rather that it is the pattern for the Christian ministry that is to continue until the return of our Lord.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Ken,

Next up...

==The text of Acts 15 does not say James is the mono-episcopate or bishop or overseer, rather he is one of the elders (apostles and elders" - Acts 15:6. or even considered one of the apostles as in I Corinthians 15:7 and Galatians 1:19.==

My argument for a three-fold ministry does not rely on James being termed, "the mono-episcopate or bishop or overseer". James is termed an apostle and elder just like others in the NT—e.g. Andronicus, Apollos, Barnabas. At some point, he took on the role of leadership and oversight of the numerous house churches in Jerusalem. What he is termed at that point—senior pastor, chairman, head bishop, etc.—has little bearing on the issue of a three-fold ministry. The real question is whether or not the pastors/elders/presbyters of the numerous house churches in Jerusalem considered him in a leadership role above them. Numerous Protestant scholars say YES. (See THIS THREAD for examples.)


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Ken:==R.C. Sproul quotes and discusses theologians Berkouer and Bavinck that Semi-Pelagianism was condemned at the Council of Orange in 529 AD, but basically says that it crept back in and grew and was common in the whole culture, then Wycliff and Hus and Luther saw the problems, and then a form of Semi-Pelagianism was re-affirmed at Trent, in response to the Reformation.==

What dogmatic decree at Trent taught "a form of Semi-Pelagianism"? For a doctrine/teaching to be "Semi-Pelagian" it must contain a least one aspect of Pelagianism.

In THIS THREAD, I expose the misrepresentation of Sproul concerning the issue of Semi-Pelagianism. The following is from that thread:

>> The major error in Sproul's assessments lies in the fact that he has incorrectly described/understood what actually constitutes semi-Pelagianism. This fact comes as shock to me, for a number of the scholars he has quoted (e.g. Berkouwer, Harnack, Schaff), in his two referenced books above, do define the distinguishing feature of semi-Pelagianism—i.e. the rejection of the belief that preceding/prevenient grace (gratia praeveniens) is necessary for one to accept the Gospel. Sproul has substituted this distinguishing feature of semi-Pelagianism with the notion that it is the rejection of "monergistic regeneration" that makes one's theology semi-Pelagian—to do so is either a case of dishonesty or very shoddy scholarship.>>


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

OOOPS...a typo in THIS COMMENT

>>The NT does inform us either way, but history certainly tells us that it continued, and that the these men were later termed exclusively as bishops.>>

SHOULD READ:

'The NT does NOT inform us either way, but history certainly tells us that it continued, and that the these men were later termed exclusively as bishops.'

Ken Temple said...

Hi David,
Thanks for responses and links and reminders.
I remember that we discussed these issues before (both 1. Mono-episcopate and 2. Sproul and Semi-Pelagianism)

I confess at the time I don't think I kept up with your analysis of Bavinck and Berkouwer on Trent. At the time, I probably got busy with other things and forgot to read all of it, or did not think about it deep enough.

I think I understand better now, however, for me, what is significant is the idea of Roman Catholic teaching on ex opere operato infant baptismal regeneration and initial justification that "heals the soul" (which I completely disagree with) so that as a child grows, he can freely choose the right way and continue in the faith until confirmation (another step in the 7 sacraments system of Roman Catholicism) . Do they believe a child can do penance before confirmation ?

Anyway, what do you think the difference is between
1. Roman Catholic Synergism
vs.
2. Protestant Arminian Synergism

??

What is the difference between the 2 systems?

Dennis said...

Hi Ken,

You wrote: "but of course, my whole argument is that they were not right nor infallible on some things. (Particularly baptismal regeneration, infant baptism, Eucharist, church government".

To me this is a great swathe of Early Christian belief and AFAIK all the 5 Sees of Authority agreed on these issues. Outside the New Testament, how are we to determine how Christians put faith into practise if we don't look at Tradition ? If that practise was corrupted, to even some degree, you need to show why no Councils were held to address these issues. As mentioned, Unity was in such high esteem (as it dovetailed into the unity of faith which confirmed the life of God in the believer), that any minor differences caused expulsions or labels of heresy.

Take Donatis or Montanus for example. Not many differences in their faith & practise and they were labelled heretics. Or take some of the Oriental Orthodox handling of Christology where they were labelled heretics over what could simply be misunderstandings in language or cultural.

So again to come along 1000s of years later and claim they got it wrong, is Infantile. Sorry, but from what I've read, none of the Reformers went deeply into the Patristic writings. They had the right intent to destroy corrupt practises and heretical beliefs but used the wrong "lense". "Sola Scritura", without reference to Holy Tradition, would only partially solve the problems they faced. I'm not sure about some of the other Reformers you mention but certainly Wycliffe, Zwingli & Calvin took and used the lense of "Sola Scritura" to apply their reforms.

If the RCs are so corrupted, why are all the other Apostolic Sees in agreement on Baptism, Eucharist, Sacraments, and to some degree their view of a synergistic life of faith ? Even the RC after Vatican 2 began "looking East" and recognised they had minimalised the path of "theosis" which is the life of God in the believer.

Christ's own will before laying His life down, was that we would come into unity with Him & the Father & that this would be passed to all believers. How can there be unity without agreement. He & the Father is One in all ways.

To assert that this "Life of Faith" was incorrect by the time of the Church Fathers, leaves us nowhere. IF they stuffed up, what were the Ecumenical Councils for ? Just a political ploy ? Oppression of the Gnostics ? Was the ideal of being transformed into God's image just a fantasy ? Are we supposed to enter heaven with a pronouncement of "clean" but not have any change whatsoever ?

Rather than building on what the Fathers had discovered and what the trajectory of the Holy Spirit started, they "wiped the slate clean" and tried to start again because they read the Scriptures individually. How is that "unity" ? It's unity with your own soul, not with the Body of Christ.

Cheers
Dennis

Ken Temple said...

The issue is the understanding of matter and physical things, and does the ceremony/ritual / matter/ physical action cause grace or is it a symbol of the grace that comes to us by true internal repentance and faith ?

Sometimes we see something happens in Scripture (miracles, tongues, healings, etc.); but we don't see grace causing sanctification in an infant today or these things today. (except for claims mostly by Charismatics/ Pentecostals today - I am quite skeptical of their claims, because all I have seen is not credible from that camp.) We have to take the reality and meaning of the ceremony on faith alone today.

It is easy to see how human beings can begin to think the ritual / ceremony / physical matter does something. Whatever the unity there is in the traditional older groups (EO, RC, OO (Monophysite), Nestorian Assyrian, etc.) - it is difficult to know how they understood each of those areas (baptism, Eucharist, etc.) at the time of the era of Nicea 325-Chalcedon 451, etc. - all we have is the writings and the claims that still do and understand things today in the same way they did back then.

Protestants believe in the doctrinal things expressed in those first 4 Creeds on the 2 Natures of Christ and the Trinity, because they are based on clear Scripture, exegesis, theological harmony.

I have been a missionary to Muslims since 1983; and I have seen Muslims think the baptism or the Lord's supper gives some kind of a blessing, etc. - but it does not unless there is true faith.

David Waltz said...

Good morning Ken,

Yesterday, you posted:

==...for me, what is significant is the idea of Roman Catholic teaching on ex opere operato infant baptismal regeneration and initial justification that "heals the soul" (which I completely disagree with) so that as a child grows, he can freely choose the right way and continue in the faith until confirmation (another step in the 7 sacraments system of Roman Catholicism) . Do they believe a child can do penance before confirmation ?==

Before I answer your question, would like to share a few thoughts on ex opere operato. First, "the sacraments confer the grace that they signify". Second, the sacraments, "are efficacious because in them Christ himself is at work: it is he who baptizes, he who acts in his sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies. (Quotes are from the online Catechism of the Catholic ChurchLINK.)

A fuller description of the nature of the sacraments from the Catholic view is, ex opere operato Christi.

As for your question, yes, "a child can do penance before confirmation". Note the following:

"Children must receive the sacrament of penance before they receive their first communion..." (link to Vatican letter)


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Ken:== Anyway, what do you think the difference is between
1. Roman Catholic Synergism
vs.
2. Protestant Arminian Synergism

??

What is the difference between the 2 systems?==

It has been quite awhile ago that I last did any in depth research into the Arminian system; most of that research concentrated on the debates between Calvinist and Arminian apologists. As you know, the foundational base for Arminianism is the rejection of the 5 points of Calvinism—i.e. TULIP.

I noticed back then, well before my entrance into the RCC, that Arminianism and Catholicism held in common the rejection of the 5 points of Calvinism. The BIG question for me back then was this: did regeneration come before or after repentance and faith? If before, the logical consequence would be TULIP; if after, the rejection of TULIP must be maintained. After years of intense study and prayer, I became convinced that Scripture teaches that regeneration comes after repentance and faith; rejecting R. C. Sproul's notion of "Holy Rape" and TULIP.

As for the difference between "Roman Catholic Synergism" and "Protestant Arminian Synergism" one must first keep in mind that those folk who have embraced the basic tenants of Jacobus Arminius have in common the rejection of the 5 points of Calvinism; but beyond that, there exists a number of divisions. Some embrace infant baptism, some baptismal regeneration, and some infused justifying grace. With that said, I think the primary difference between "Roman Catholic Synergism" and "Protestant Arminian Synergism" lies in the emphasis that is placed on the role that the visible Church plays in soteriology.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Dennis,

Just wanted to let you know that appreciate both of your responses to Ken—you have given all of us much to reflect on. One thought that immediately came to mind after reading those posts was something that John Henry Newman said in his Apologia Pro Vita Sua. After acknowledging his firm belief that the early Church consistently formulated correct doctrines via the Ecumenical Councils during the theological controversies of first four centuries—Trinitarianism vs. modalism, adoptionism, Arianism, et al.;—he came to the following conclusion:

>>It was difficult to make out how the Eutychians or Monophysites were heretics, unless Protestants and Anglicans were heretics also; difficult to find arguments against the Tridentine Fathers, which did not tell against the Fathers of Chalcedon; difficult to condemn the Popes of the sixteenth century, without condemning the Popes of the fifth. The drama of religion, and the combat of truth and error, were ever one and the same. The principles and proceedings of the Church now, were those of the Church then; the principles and proceedings of heretics then, were those of Protestants now. I found it so,—almost fearfully; there was an awful similitude, more awful, because so silent and unimpassioned, between the dead records of the past and the feverish chronicle of the present. The shadow of the fifth century was on the sixteenth. It was like a spirit rising from the troubled waters of the old world, with the shape and lineaments of the new. The Church then, as now, might be called peremptory and stern, resolute, overbearing, and relentless; and heretics were shifting, changeable, reserved, and deceitful, ever courting civil power, and never agreeing together, except by its aid; and the civil power was ever aiming at comprehensions, trying to put the invisible out of view, and substituting expediency for faith. What was the use of continuing the controversy, or defending my position, if, after all, I was forging arguments for Arius or Eutyches, and turning devil's advocate against the much-enduring Athanasius and the majestic Leo? Be my soul with the Saints! and shall I lift up my hand against them? Sooner may my right hand forget her cunning, and wither outright, as his who once stretched it out against a prophet of God! anathema to a whole tribe of Cranmers, Ridleys, Latimers, and Jewels! perish the names of Bramhall, Ussher, Taylor, Stillingfleet, and Barrow from the face of the earth, ere I should do aught but fall at their feet in love and in worship, whose image was continually before my eyes, and whose musical words were ever in my ears and on my tongue!>> (Apologia Pro Vita Sua, 1978 Sheed and Ward edition, pp. 77, 78.)


Grace and peace,

David

Dennis said...

Thanks David.

Not exactly sure what those other Anglican Divines believed which Henry Newman mentions, but I hope they weren't dismissive of The Patristic witness.

Hi Ken,

I think you may be holding a view of "materialised" grace that may have been an erroneous position held by some of these Apostolic groups in various times and places. I certainly mentioned on another post that growing up in the RC of the 70s, My perception was that baptism automatically made me a Christian. When I asked the priest about the place of faith, he gave me a booklet that so confused me it led me to leave the church.

However, I believe with the Fathers that the sacraments are "actualised" grace. God is there in a specialised way for a specific purpose. However, it takes faith to apply the sacramental grace to our life. For example, the Eucharist is still Christ present but without faith taking it is taking His judgement on oneself, "not discerning the Lords Body". Baptism is still washing away past sin or the inclination to sin, but without faith it also is a judgement on oneself in rejecting so great a salvation.

Remember Paul said that in Moses time ALLwere baptised under the cloud, that includes infants.

So sacraments don,t need to be either talisman or empty symbols.

Cheers
Dennis

Ken Temple said...

Baptism is still washing away past sin or the inclination to sin, but without faith it also is a judgement on oneself in rejecting so great a salvation.

So, since infants cannot repent and have faith in Christ, how does the grace / power apply to them?

Colossians 2:11-12 indicates that the person being baptized must have faith - "through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead".

"having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. "

True faith has to have faith in the resurrection of Christ from the dead, which means the person must understand also that He was crucified and died for sin, and also presupposes some level of content of who Jesus was, what His atonement means, and what that person's sin did to Christ on the cross, etc. - some level of understanding of my own sin, repentance, etc.

Ken Temple said...

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2016/07/a-delightful-australian-anglican-true.html

I was at this conference where I heard this delightful Reformational Anglican from Australia, (Philip Jensen) who explained how the Australian Anglicans were kept from the high church Oxford movement of John Henry Newman, which he explained was more about getting the Anglican church to incorporate external rituals, etc. - miter hats, etc. (smells and bells)

Certainly not the earliest centuries.

Ken Temple said...

anathema to a whole tribe of Cranmers, Ridleys, Latimers, and Jewels! perish the names of Bramhall, Ussher, Taylor, Stillingfleet, and Barrow from the face of the earth,

I recognize the names of the first three and Ussher, but don't know the others.

The problem with Newman is that he is assuming the later Councils are going to get everything right, that somehow they have inherent or guaranteed or infallible power.

I reject that notion. While the first four Ecumenical Councils were right on the Deity of Christ, the Trinity, the 2 natures of Christ, etc. there were problems with some of the details. (unbiblical and Cyril of Alexandria, from what I have read, was immoral and unethical in the way he used political power and mob rule at the Council of Ephesus. I think Nestorius was wrong to say that Christ was 2 persons (or implied it); but he was certainly right that the phrase Theotokos or "God bearing one", in more popular parlance "The Mother of God" would lead to misunderstandings about Mary and lead to over-exalting Mary. He was right on that aspect.

The dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary was wrong, so The second Council of Constantinople in 553 in saying Mary is perpetual virgin is wrong and unbiblical.

Also the 2nd Council of Nicea (787 AD) and its promotion of veneration of images is wrong and unBiblical.

Just because Acts 15 was right (we know this because it is in Scripture, and the decisions are clearly right by the quotes of the OT of Peter and James and the harmony with the book of Galatians), and just because Nicea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon got it right on Christ and the Trinity, does not mean that correct doctrine will always be proclaimed at future councils.

Ken Temple said...

While I do not think it is right to have images or statues in a worship context, I am not extreme on that as some Reformed folks are - in that many even object to a simple cross at the front of a church, or even object to the Campus Crusade for Christ Jesus Film or any pictures of Jesus, etc. in history books or theological history books. ( I am glad from an archeological point of view, to see large frescos of Biblical scenes (like in the ancient cave churches in Cappodocia, Today in Turkey). Paintings for education to those who could not read is ok by me. I do not see a problem with pictures of Biblical history and pictures of Jesus in historical teaching contexts, as long as the teacher explains that this is just an artists guess or rendition of Jesus and we do not know how He looked; and to emphasize that.

Here is a pretty good article on that issue.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/what-did-jesus-look-like/

Dennis said...

Hi Ken,

You wrote:

"So, since infants cannot repent and have faith in Christ, how does the grace / power apply to them?

Colossians 2:11-12 indicates that the person being baptized must have faith - "through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead".

Yes I agree. Baptism IS completed by faith. When or if the infant comes to have faith, he/she is raised with Christ. I would suggest the first stage is burial/forgiveness of original sin or inclination to sin. Rom 6:3-4. Regeneration prepares the soul to receive the Spirit's guidance to come to faith.

Also, "I heard this delightful Reformational Anglican from Australia, (Philip Jensen) who explained how the Australian Anglicans were kept from the high church Oxford movement..."

To me this is a great burden. You really can't look at the earliest Christian centuries and not see that ritual, in the right context, is sacramental. God is not ashamed of the material creation even though it is fallen. He created it ! So why not use material substances as vehicles of His grace ? He could have made salvation by pronouncement but instead He incarnated His Son.

As mentioned, all the Apostolic Churches have the same type of view of the sacraments. If they had a "protestant view" that denigrated sacramentalism, you need to show which Councils were held to combat the growing sacramental understanding of grace over the centuries. There were none !

Icons, oil, bread, wine, music, different coloured vestments all point to something and have a story. This is human experience. We aren't all supposed to just sit in lecture halls to be "transformed into Christ". Look at learning these days. Teachers, videos, wallcharts, excursions, volunteering etc.

The church was built on Prophets and Apostles. Some of the Prophets lived in caves away from the Jewish community...hmmm...sounds like monasticism to me. The OT had priests & they were still around during Jesus' time. The early church of Acts didn't preach against the priesthood in the Synagogues when they preached salvation. It doesn't seem they were out to tear down the priesthood or remove some of the symbols used in worship. How come all the Apostolic churches ended up with a priesthood and with altars ?

Cheers
Dennis

Nick said...

Way late to this party, not sure if this was addressed.

///For this is my blood of the new testament,
which is shed for many
for the remission of sins.///
-Matthew 26:28

Same Greek phrase "for the remission of sins" as in Acts 2:38. Clearly, Jesus is not saying His blood would be shed because sins were already forgiven - since that would make His death pointless - but rather to cause the forgiveness. Thus, when Peter says Repent (always a precondition for forgiveness) and be Baptized for the "for the remission of sins," it means R&B cause the forgiveness.

https://thisholysword.blogspot.com/2013/03/acts-238-are-you-baptized-because-you.html

Nick said...

As for "calling upon his name" - it turns out this is a well-established Biblical Hebrew Idiom meaning 'engage in liturgical worship'.

http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2018/09/why-calling-upon-name-of-lord-to-be.html

David Waltz said...

Hi Nick,

So good to see you back at AF. Yesterday, you posted:

==Way late to this party, not sure if this was addressed.

///For this is my blood of the new testament,
which is shed for many
for the remission of sins.///
-Matthew 26:28

Same Greek phrase "for the remission of sins" as in Acts 2:38. Clearly, Jesus is not saying His blood would be shed because sins were already forgiven - since that would make His death pointless - but rather to cause the forgiveness. Thus, when Peter says Repent (always a precondition for forgiveness) and be Baptized for the "for the remission of sins," it means R&B cause the forgiveness.==

There is actually a slight difference in the Greek texts between Matt. 26:38 and Acts 2:38. The Greek translated into the English phrase, "for the remission of sins" in Matt. 26:28 is, εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν (eis aphesin hamartiōn); but in Acts 2:38 it is, εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν (eis aphesin tōn hamartiōn). In Acts 2:38 the article is added before hamartiōn, whilst in Matt. 26:38 hamartiōn is anarthrous (i.e. without the article).

Now, a couple of points need to be made. First, the exact Greek phrase in question—εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν—is also used in the following texts: Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; and Luke 24:47. Second, the addition of the article to the above Greek phrase is found only in Acts 2:38. Why the article is added by the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38, and not the others, is a bit of a mystery to me. I spent this morning consulting over a dozen commentaries and Greek grammars to gain some insight into the why; but alas, I found nothing which addresses this issue. With the aforementioned absence in mind, I would like to suggest that Luke, via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, added the article to place on emphasis on "the sins" which are remitted, rather than just "sins" in general. Given the Patristic and Catholic understanding that it is past sins which are remitted via baptism—and that baptism is absent from the Matt. 26:38; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; and Luke 24:47 passages—it makes good sense to me that the article is added to bring one to the Patristic and Catholic understanding: baptism is for the remission of past sins.

But then, this beachbum may have missed something...


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Nick,

Thanks much for the links to your informative post and the Themelios article; more evidences the Bible teaches that salvation is synergistic and not monergistic.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Nick,

Don't know if you have read my October 30, 2018 1:15 PM response, but whether or not you have, I need to bring to your attention (and any other potential readers) that this beachbum did in fact "miss something". My response relied on Greek text published in the United Bible Society's The Greek New Testament - Fourth Revised Edition. I pointed out in my above response:

>>In Acts 2:38 the article is added before hamartiōn>>

The textual apparatus provided in the The Greek New Testament - Fourth Revised Edition (p. 414) shows no indication that a textual variant exists for the Acts 2:38 phrase: εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν (eis aphesin tōn hamartiōn).

However, last night before going to bed, I pulled off of the shelf Nestle-Aland's 27th Edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece to read before I went to sleep. To my surprise, the textual apparatus clearly shows that there is in fact a number of Greek codices which contain a variant reading for the Acts 2:38 phrase, εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν (eis aphesin tōn hamartiōn)—the variant being that the article τῶν IS NOT INCLUDED (see page 326). In fact, more Greek codices exclude the article than those which include it.

With the above in mind, the question that needs to be asked is: which reading is the correct one. Those who support what is known as the 'Minority Text' type position will include the article, whilst those who endorse the 'Majority Text' type will exclude it.

Now, before ending, I need to point out that yesterday, I overlooked the following link that you provided in your October 29, 2018 3:28 PM post:

https://thisholysword.blogspot.com/2013/03/acts-238-are-you-baptized-because-you.html


I read the article this morning and immediately noticed that the author when quoting the Acts 2:38 passage uses the textual variant found in the, "Textus Receptus and the Majority of Byzantine texts", which excludes the article.

Your post seems to endorse the "Textus Receptus and the Majority of Byzantine texts" reading, which leads me to ask: do you believe Majority text type reading is the correct one?


Grace and peace,

David

Nick said...

Hi David, I'm super busy with work so will have to get to this later. In short though, I didn't know there was a textual variant so I've not delved into it much.