Friday, October 19, 2018

Unity and the Christian Church: Part 5 - Reflections from two Independent Baptists—Kent Brandenburg and David Cloud


In this post, I will be re-publishing the reflections from two Independent Baptist pastors concerning the issue of unity and Christian Church. First, from Kent Brandenburg (originally posted January 6, 2012):


>>Last week, I happened upon a website (link) providing some 35 sermons from the last two years of the "Word of Truth Conference". One of the sermons in particular caught my eye: John 17 and Unity, delivered November 10, 2010 by pastor Kent Brandenburg (link). I have done a good deal of study on this chapter, so I sincerely wondered what an independent Baptist pastor had to say. What I learned from his sermon was that he agreed with my understanding on many key points. In an effort to stimulate others into taking in the entire sermon, I shall provide a few extracts:

Beginning ff-

John 17 and unity. Anyone who wants to understand unity between Christians must consider Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17. I think this is an important point: Biblical separation and Biblical unity will mirror each other. Obviously Biblical separation will never violate Biblical unity; Biblical unity will never violate Biblical separation.

8:54 ff -

What's the unity that Jesus Christ was praying for here? All right. If we're going to understand what unity is, that unity is the unity that he wants between people, is the unity in this chapter.

12:05 ff-

The unity we desire should be the same as what the Lord Jesus Christ prayed for here...

Do you want the unity that Jesus prayed for?

What was it?

13:27 ff -

Some believe Jesus prayed only for a spiritual unity. When I read commentaries on John 17, almost every single commentary differs on what they believe Jesus was praying for here. I'm talking about, if I read 25 commentaries, I can read 25 differences on what they think Jesus was praying for here. Is the Bible something we can't understand? Is the Bible not perspicuous? And I think it kinda drives me crazy; I mean, how, how is it that we can have so many opinions about what he is praying for here? How do I know that 26, let's say I am at number 26, why is 26 right? Why are the 25 wrong, and I am right? Can you know? Because I mean as you read the commentaries there are so many different viewpoints, how could people, how could we be sure that people can even know based on that.

15:01 ff -

Some believe Jesus prayed for a spiritual unity found in their position in Christ...Ummm so he prayed only for people in Christ to have spiritual unity is what their belief is in John 17. Others assert this is a practical unity among all believers. All believers have a practical unity. Some teach that. OK. But I'm just telling you some people teach that. In order to have it they concluded a need to coalesce around a few important doctrines with which true Christians should and will agree; and the number is shrinking. The number is increasingly smaller, until you can put the doctrines on the head of a pin that you have to agree on, basically to have what the Bible teaches on unity; and really what's on the head of the pin is blurry, you can't even quite make out what, what it is.

23:44 ff -

If there's unity between all believers, I don't see it.

[End of extracts]


Amen!!!>>



The second is from David Cloud (originally posted December 9, 2010):


>>Now, back to Tuesday's email. The author of the email was David Cloud, an independent Baptist author, lecturer, minister. The email that I received was also published online at Cloud's "Way of Life Literature" website (HERE). Cloud, as so many Protestants of the period delineated above by Hollman, does not like Meiderlin's now famous phrase; from his email/online essay, we read:

The modern evangelical philosophy is often stated by the dictum, “In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity.”

Though commonly attributed to Augustine, it was actually first stated by the 17th-century Lutheran Rupertus Meldenius (a.k.a. Peter Meiderlin).

It became the rallying cry of the Moravians, who did many good things but retained such Roman heresies as infant baptism and a priesthood and promoted unity above the absolute truth of God’s Word.

It was adopted by the Fundamentalist movement of the first half of the 20th century. As a movement Fundamentalism focused on unity around “the fundamentals of the faith” while downplaying the “minor issues.” The objective was to create the largest possible united front against theological modernism.

This dictum has also been an integral philosophy of New Evangelicalism. They might stand for ten or twenty or thirty “cardinals,” but they refuse to make an issue of the WHOLE counsel of God. Particularly when it comes to one’s associations, they believe that there are “non-essentials” that should not get in the way of unity.

Many Independent Baptists are buying into this error.

And a bit later:

There is no support in the Bible for the “in essentials liberty” doctrine. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to teach converts “to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat. 28:20).

The Apostle Paul reminded the elders at Ephesus that the reason he was free from the blood of all men was that he had preached the WHOLE counsel of God (Acts 20:27). The more plainly you preach the whole counsel of God, the less likely it will be that you will join hands in ministry with those who hold different doctrine.

Paul instructed Timothy to keep the truth “without SPOT, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 6:14). A spot is a small, seemingly insignificant thing. That particular epistle contains commandments about such things as the woman’s role in ministry, which is widely considered a “non-essential” today. Paul taught Timothy to have an entirely different approach toward such teachings.

In 1 Corinthians 11:2 Paul said to the church at Corinth, “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in ALL things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” This passage deals with hair length and the Lord’s Supper, which are widely considered to be “non-essentials” today, yet Paul praised the church for remembering him in all things.

We know that not all doctrine has the same significance and weight, but none of it is “non-essential” in any sense.

I challenge anyone to show me where the Scripture encourages the believer to treat some doctrine as “non-essential” or to “stand for the cardinal truths and downplay the peripherals.”

Some try to use Romans 14 to support this philosophy, but Romans 14 does not say that some Bible doctrine is non-essential. It says that we are to allow one another liberty in matters in which the Bible is silent! The examples that Paul gave were eating meat and keeping of holy days. Those are things that the New Testament faith is silent about. There is no doctrine of diet in the New Testament, so it is a matter of Christian liberty.

This reminds us that the only true “non-essential” is a personal opinion not based solidly upon Scripture.

Jude instructed every believer to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). As Jude didn’t delineate what part of the faith is to be defended, the obvious meaning is that whatever aspect of the faith is under attack at a particular time, God’s people should rally to its defense rather than pretend that it is a “non-essential.”

Since the Bible doesn’t identify a “non-essential” doctrine, who is to say what this might be?

The fact is that once one adopts the “non-essentials” philosophy, his list of “non-essentials” tends to grow as time passes and as his associations broaden.>>


Kent and David have given us plenty to ponder...


Grace and peace,

David


67 comments:

Rory said...

From Independent Baptist to Catholic...is not as far of a journey...as from most other non-Catholic traditions. Did Jesus disagree with the Father about anything? Did the Son think the Father was okay to follow only most of the time? Dave...maybe you should rethink in "non necessariis"? I think I am with the anti-Catholic Mr. Cloud. Unity involves everything, given the prayer of John 17.

David Waltz said...

Good morning Rory,

Yesterday, you wrote:

==I think I am with the anti-Catholic Mr. Cloud. Unity involves everything, given the prayer of John 17.==

I concur. Yet, with that said, I can honestly think of only one denomination—which has a membership of over 1 million souls—that actually holds the exact same beliefs concerning "everything": Jehovah's Witnesses.

Now, within the RCC paradigm, a number of doctrines/practices/teachings remain 'undefined'; as such, there exists considerable diversity.

==Dave...maybe you should rethink in "non necessariis"?==

As Protestantism continues to divide over what constitutes "Necessariis", I think one could argue that the RCC actually makes more sense out of Peter Meiderlin's dictum than the children of the Reformation.


Grace and peace,

David

Dennis said...

Hi Dave & Rory,

Good article. In practise though there remained and remains a level of obscurity around the things that still cause division between the Catholics, Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox. There also seems to be areas where the Development of Doctrine followed different trajectories as in theories of the atonement.

So as much as I believe in John 17's picture of unity, I believe there were defficiencies in transmitting the truths to subsequent generations. A large part due to the heavy persecution. Eg many books were burned during the time of Donatis. This helped cause disunity, not to mention time taken to communicate across the ancient world and cultural factors.

The problem with the Reformers was that they didn't want to review their Confessions with regard to how the Apostolic churches viewed their interpretations. Once they made their minds up, that was it. For example the Lutheran contact with the Orthodox. http://www.pravoslavieto.com/inoverie/protestantism/luther/luther_had_his_chance.htm

This shows a blatant disregard of Holy Tradition.

However, it is difficult to know how far from "essentials" some of these developed doctrines are. For example, monasticism developed a few hundred years after the Apostles. How many ascetic practises are required by "average Joe" Christians ? How many sacraments were actually present at the beginning ? Sure I think that some of these developments came by the Holy Spirit but have some been elevated beyond what is edifying. For example, Brennan Manning gives a good account on the guilt around fasting on Fridays.

So as much as the Reformers were in error rejecting Holy Tradition, Apostolic churches may have the error of elevating localised traditions to the status of "necessary for salvation".

I would suggest that maybe the Catholic Charismatic Movement may have a better balance of holding onto some of its traditions lightly while elevating Scripture and the easily identifiable necessities of the Eucharist, grace, baptism, faith, confession and works of mercy.

Cheers
Dennis

Rory said...

Hi Dave...

David Waltz
Now, within the RCC paradigm, a number of doctrines/practices/teachings remain 'undefined'; as such, there exists considerable diversity.

Rory
In my opinion, if the Lord tarries His coming, the next definitive teaching of the Church will be about how to know when the Church is teaching definitively!

People today think the Church defined the Assumption of our Lady in 1950. Does that mean it was okay before to 1950 to ignore the Feast of the Assumption on Aug. 15th, a holy day of obligation, and a first class feast, in the Roman Rite? Churches and chapels had already been named after the Assumption of Mary.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, published in 1913, it would have been sinful for a Catholic to deny the Assumption of Mary: "Today, the belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is universal in the East and in the West; according to Benedict XIV (De Festis B.V.M., I, viii, 18) it is a probable opinion, which to deny were impious and blasphemous."

I think this should be understood to be saying that in 1913, it would been barely okay to have reservations about the event. But it would be a sin against faith to affirm certainly that Our Lady was not assumed. What then happened in 1950? It was an affirmation of an event that for Catholics was already sinful to deny. Maybe 1950 was the definitive definition of a definition?

There are Catholics in good faith, and I am one, who think I have the liberty to doubt teachings of the Second Vatican Council. Other Catholics in good faith, affirm that nobody has that liberty. I can appreciate their position. This "definition business" needs cleared up. Similarly, there are Catholics who think that people like me need to get on board with Pope Francis on climate change and immigration.

There is a good joke in the Evelyn Waugh novel, Brideshead Revisited, written shortly before Pius Xii's definition of the Assumption of Mary. The crowd that thinks I need to agree with Pope Francis about the environment and politics would not be able to get the joke. Rex Mottram is a wealthy and ambitious Canadian who wants to marry into a respectable English Catholic family of considerable means. This is the background to his instruction from a priest who is doing his best to instruct a rather obtuse Rex into the Catholic faith.

When the priest asks Rex what it might mean if he looked out the window and the sun was shining, while at the same time the pope said that it was raining. Rex thought for a moment, and came to the brilliant (as he thought) conclusion, and he stated that it would mean that "it must be raining spiritually". It is hilarious because Rex mistakenly thinks that EVERYTHING a pope ever says has to be true somehow. The priest was trying to help him understand the limited scope of papal opinions that have to accepted by the faithful. Obviously, the priest was unsuccessful.

In my opinion, Rex Mottram sits in the pews of many of our Catholic churches today, insisting that even if the pope speaks about things that have nothing to do with Apostolic Traditon, we still have to find a way to believe it. I don't think it would hurt the Church to finish the First Vatican Council which affirmed that popes can teach infallibly. I believe that we can. The next Council needs to affirm when and how popes can teach fallibly.

By the way...how 'bout them Cougs!

Always a Washingtonian,

R

Rory said...

Hi Dennis.

You wrote:

"So as much as I believe in John 17's picture of unity, I believe there were defficiencies in transmitting the truths to subsequent generations. A large part due to the heavy persecution. Eg many books were burned during the time of Donatis. This helped cause disunity, not to mention time taken to communicate across the ancient world and cultural factors."

I appreciate that you would defend Tradition as would I. The difference is that I do not believe that Christ's prayer was or has been ineffectual. Can we have doubts about whether the prayers of the Son of God are answered? I believe that this august prayer of the Son of God, revealed to us by the Holy Ghost, is answered. I cannot hold to "John 17's picture of unity", without finding it historically. If this unity doesn't exist in history, I lose my faith in the claims of the obviously human author, unassisted by divine revelation, of John 17. It would follow that his other claims about Jesus would be doubtful.

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Dennis and Rory,

Thanks much for your responses, they have certainly given me 'food for thought'. As I ponder over your respective reflections I cannot help but keep in mind an important point raised by Kent, who said:

>>When I read commentaries on John 17, almost every single commentary differs on what they believe Jesus was praying for here. I'm talking about, if I read 25 commentaries, I can read 25 differences on what they think Jesus was praying for here. Is the Bible something we can't understand? Is the Bible not perspicuous? And I think it kinda drives me crazy; I mean, how, how is it that we can have so many opinions about what he is praying for here? How do I know that 26, let's say I am at number 26, why is 26 right? Why are the 25 wrong, and I am right? Can you know? Because I mean as you read the commentaries there are so many different viewpoints, how could people, how could we be sure that people can even know based on that.>>

After acknowledging 26 different interpretations of John 17, Kent then raises one of the most important questions one can ask: "Can you know?"

IMO, that very question pertains not only to the interpretation of John 17, but also to the all important question that everyone today should ask: where is the one true Church that our Lord Jesus Christ founded? Phrased Biblically, which of the hundreds of churches in our day is truly, "the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15) ???

"Can you know?"

Looking forward to your further thoughts...


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Hi Dave.

There are certainly hundreds of churches which decline to affirm that they are the one true church, the bride of Christ the King, with His delegated officers whom all the faithful are obliged to follow. For what reason would anyone think that the searcher should consider the possibility that a church that says it isn't the one true church, is the one true church? Most of these churches and "ministers" know they can't claim to be the one true church, and don't even believe in the concept. Of course there are 25 different interpretations of John 17.

I would suggest that all of these interpretations of John 17 be divided up like this:

1)One interpretation that holds that one true church is visible and has officers that all faithful Christians are obliged to follow.

2)Twenty-four other interpretations that agree to deny this kind of unity for themselves. The important common characteristic of all these interpretations has to be that they won't believe in one true visible church with officers to whom the faithful are obliged in obedience. These would also need to allow for much more freedom in choosing your own church with officers that you are free to disobey, even to the point of leaving and going to another church!

It doesn't even take any faith to know where the one true Church isn't. Immediately the smoke and confusion is dissipated when the searcher for one true church has reduced the numbers from hundreds or more likely thousands of claims to test, to a mere handful. On the other hand, if you hold to one of the twenty-four interpretations, why search? You won't find what doesn't exist. Go wherever you want to church.

I believe that the question of which church one is obliged to obey, is of such importance to souls that it would be to question the goodness of God to conclude that one cannot know which is the true church. Would Christ have ascended to the right hand of His Father, and leave so little evidence of His Church? In the Day of Jesus Christ, when all hearts are judged, will anyone be able to claim they went to a false church, or to no church, because the true church is unknowable?

Rory

Rory said...

The necessary visibility of the church that would redeem the nations was prophesied by Isaias:

"And in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go, and say: Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall come forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Is. 2:2,3 and Mic. 4:1,2)

The necessary visibility of the church that fulfills those prophecies is declared by Jesus Christ:

"You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid." (Mt. 5:14)

Consideration for these Scriptures makes it a necessity for the follower of Christ to search for "the city on a mountain" which is described by Jesus and the prophets. There is city on a mountain into which all nations flow, and Christ says of this mountain, it "cannot be hid." It doesn't seem like a city composed of all nations, that "cannot be hid" should be difficult to identify.

I would go further than saying people can have knowledge of "the house of God, which is the church of the living God." I would have to say that many will be culpable for ignoring the plain evidence of fulfilled prophecies of Christ and the Prophets about the one true visible church with officers to whom one is obliged to obey in all revealed matters of faith and morals. Post-Resurrection history is the story of how and why peoples and nations have obeyed or opposed the legislation and rule of the Church of Christ the King, a city which "cannot be hid".

Ken said...

And a bit later:

There is no support in the Bible for the “in essentials liberty” doctrine. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to teach converts “to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat. 28:20).

Didn’ You mean “non-essentials” ?

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Earlier this morning, you posted:

==And a bit later:

There is no support in the Bible for the “in essentials liberty” doctrine. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to teach converts “to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat. 28:20).

Didn’ You mean “non-essentials” ?==

The above quote is from a David Cloud article that he originally posted back in back 12-09-10 (I linked to this article in my opening post in this thread; here it is again: LINK).

Now, I think Dr. Cloud probably meant "non-essentials", but I did not think it appropriate for me to make a change in the original post.

With that said, Dr. Cloud himself enlarged his original post (4+ years later), and made the following change:

>>I challenge anyone to provide a solid Bible foundation for the “in essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty” doctrine.>> (LINK)

Hope this has been helpful...


Grace and peace,

David

P.S. What do you think about Dr. Cloud's overall assessment?

Dennis said...

Hi David,

In regards to the true church, I would pretty much agree with this article by Richard Neuhaus https://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/04/the-one-true-church, except I would change the claim by the RC to a claim that all the churches in Apostolic lineage could make. I would also say that the church is "opaque" rather than clearly visible due to the competing claims of the RC, EO and OO and the rise of Protestantism.

The things held in common is the "rule of faith", & fairly certain. The other Christians are ecclesial communities as described in the article.

I believe infallibility resides in the Holy Spirit and the Church makes the correct doctrinal statements when the Spirit is not thwarted by politics or ecclesial power plays.

Cheers
Dennis

Ken said...

P.S. What do you think about Dr. Cloud's overall assessment?

I disagree with him.
I think that the statement “ in essentials unity in nonessentials liberty”, is a good general and wise Principle to live by especially since there is 2000 years of complicated history that has produced lots of different traditions and doctrines and dogmas and issues that churches disagree with each other on.

Just take over complicated history leading up to the great schism of 1054.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_s9Rcsg5UI

Ken said...

Also I think this evening though Monophysitism is wrong ( that Christ only has one nature that is human nature was swallowed up by his divine nature after he rose from the dead which is what I think they teach ) ( correct me if I’m wrong ),
Even though the Coptic Church and the Armenian church and that Jacobite Syrian church taught that and I guess they still teach that the heavy-handedness of the Byzantines and the government against those groups before the Arabs Conquered and Islam took over the whole area of the middle east and north Africa - the harshness by which the byzantine leaders treated them created a bitterness that lead to welcome to the Muslims to take over .
So there needed to be a balance of doctrine and truth and also mercy in love . They did not have much mercy and love it seems .

Ken said...

Typo from using sound microphone on the keyboard :
Should have been:
Also I think that even though Monophysitism is wrong

Ken said...

Another problem is that you are using 2 fundamentalist Baptists to talk about unity in every area and for them that would probably include things like King James only version and pre-tribulation pre-millennial eschatology and adult baptism etc. besides other protestant distinctives that you are with disagree with ) and so just using them kind of hides the fact that they would demand unity in those areas. ( of course all of you and Roman Catholics & eastern orthodox and oriental orthodox that completely disagree with and also Lutherans and Presbyterians on the issues about baptism and Lord supper , etc.)

So I don’t really see the point of using these to fundamentalists Baptists to talk about unity in every area when they would demand that all of you also submit to their areas of what they believe true unity is.

Therefore of the principle “ in essentials unity in nonessentials liberty and in all things charity” is a good principle and it seems to be a practical application of Ephesians 4 verses 15 and 16 the Phrase “speaking the truth in love”.

Rory said...

Ken
Another problem is that you are using 2 fundamentalist Baptists to talk about unity in every area and for them that would probably include things like King James only version and pre-tribulation pre-millennial eschatology and adult baptism etc. besides other protestant distinctives that you are with disagree with ) and so just using them kind of hides the fact that they would demand unity in those areas.

Rory
Because Catholics disagree about Bible translations and eschatology, do we have to believe that fundamental Baptists are necessarily wrong about everything? Both sides share the belief that "the non-essentials diversity" claim is claptrap when applied to people who like to pretend that they have essential unity with people they won't go to church with.

Everybody believes in the "non-essentials diversity" principle to some degree, including Catholics and fundamental Baptists. The problem is when "non-essentials diversity" is claimed to exist between people who won't even go to church together! If they have essential unity with somebody else, they should either yield up their non-essentials, and stop their damnable schisms. Or they should proclaim themselves the one true inheritor of the promises to Christ's church.

Far from being the answer to Christ's prayer in Jn. 17, as they claim, they are a scandal. They keep forgetting that this unity principle is supposed to be a positive thing when observed unbelievers. Hundreds of Luther's disunited and uncooperating offspring having "essential unity" while being unwilling to go to church together makes "the world believe that thou hast sent me"? (Jn. 17:21) On the contrary, it is an insult to the kind of unity for which our Lord prayed, to assert that it exists between people who won't even go to the same church.

Neither fundamental Baptists, nor Mormons, nor Jehovah's Witnesses, nor Seventh Day Adventists are guilty of making a mock of Christ's prayer in John 17. Assuredly, their claims to authority over the kingdom of God is otherwise problematic. But Catholics should respect them for avoiding the absurd claim of most of Luther's children, that they have essential unity with those they won't go to church with.

Ken Temple said...

Rory,
The issue is not "they won't go to church with"; rather the authority of the local church to handle it's own affairs on smaller matters. This was the point of Cyprian and 86 bishops against bishop of Rome Stephen in 287-258 AD - the bishop in Rome had no right to assert authority over another area on church discipline and re-baptizing former heretics issues.

Cyprian and those 86 bishops from all over the empire wrote:

No one has the right to set himself up as "bishop over all other bishops". (7th Synod of Carthage in North Africa, 258 AD) see below

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iv.vi.i.html

We can go to church with others, but membership and local church authority is different issue than just "going to church together"

Rory said...

Okay Ken,

So the Catholic Church is NOT the city on a hill, into which all nations flow, that cannot be hid. I understand that no one should be Catholic.

So as a follower of Cyprian (not St. Cyprian) what do you propose that fulfills Jn. 17?

Ken Temple said...

It seems Ephesians 4 describes a process that is still going on.

until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:13-16

Obviously, since I think Evangelical Protestantism of Calvinistic / Reformation Baptist Churches are the closest thing to the NT ideal; then there should be a recognition of that and repentance and return to Biblical Christianity. But I don't have much of a problem with conservative Presbyterian Churches - allow for freedom on the issue of infant baptism, properly taught, as conservative Bible believing Presbyterians do.

The question you and all of us have to ask is that given Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17, why has God sovereignly allowed all the disunity?

1 Corinthians 11:19

For there must also be factions (αἱρέσεις - haireseis - where we get our English word, "heresy" from) among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

Certainly, unity has to be around truth. If we sincerely believe the RC Church left the truth of sound Biblical Doctrine (John 17:17; Ephesians 4:1-16); then we can never see how converting to the Roman church is the answer. There are just too many man-made traditions and problems. (Indulgences, merit of works added to faith & sacramental rituals as merit that might lead to justification after death and then after purgatory; purgatory itself, over-exalting Mary, NT priests, praying to Mary and statues, trafficking in relics, infant baptismal regeneration, Transubstantiation, Papal doctrines and dogmas, PVM, 1854; 1870, 1950, etc.)

Beyond that, I don't know. I am learning not to be so idealistic, to be more realistic, and just trust God with His Sovereignty.

Psalm 131
"I do not try to figure everything out; things too high and amazing to me."


Rory said...

Ken Temple
The question you and all of us have to ask is that given Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17, why has God sovereignly allowed all the disunity?

Rory
So from your point of view, God has sovereignly decided to refuse Christ's prayer in Jn. 17. I am not trying to be a wise guy. I appreciate the concession...

I could go further...but I don't need to unless you push for more. From a Reformed Baptist perspective, you admit disunity. I am satisfied.

Dennis said...

Hi Ken,

You make some good points about the Coptics. I found a nice Youtube video that describes their position on the Ecumenical Councils. This to me indicates that Councils only function in obedience to the Holy Spirit. If He is grieved, then there is uncertainty. https://youtu.be/bJcUWLH4klg I would agree with them that the first couple of Councils are certain and binding.

You rightly observe that the church had issues back then as well. However I think your comment on coming into the unity of the faith is off centre. It might not be too difficult to come to unity when there are some differences but where & who draws the lines ? And who decides what the essentials are ? Why reject the wisdom of the Pentarchy on areas of agreement. Nothing modern comes close. So instead of moving toward unity, since the 4th and 5th centuries the church has been splitting and since the 16th, it nhas disintergrated.

As to God allowing disunity, He allows all sorts of stuff. It doesnt mean that's His prime desire. There is no "hidden desire for disunity if He clearly revealed in Christ that He wants unity.

Why has there bean a large number of converts to the RC & EO lately, why h as there been a Vatican 2, why are the EO & OO & RC in dialogue now ? Why are Protestants in dialogue ? It is the Holy Spirit. But the move to unity is not a move to reject the ancient churches. God will bend our "stiff necks" as much as He can without breaking our heads off.

Cheers
Dennis

David Waltz said...

Hello Dennis, Ken and Rory,

I am finally back home after an eight vacation down in SoCal. I have been following your recent posts, but other than one post whilst gone, I have refrained from further commenting until I got back. In this post, I would like to focus on Ken's October 27, 2018 2:40 PM comment.

Ken wrote:

==It seems Ephesians 4 describes a process that is still going on.==

Indeed it does. I have been reflecting on the Eph. 4:11-14 passage for decades now. My studies into this passage have uncovered a number of differing interpretations, two of which have emerged as Biblically and historically more internally consistent than the rest. The first I have termed as the 'divine development' position. This view holds that the faith delivered by Jesus and His apostles is being guarded and developed—i.e. more clearly understood—via the divine assistance of the Holy Spirit. In this divine process, the rise of heresies (1 Cor. 11:19) has played on important role in the development of the faith. The Catholic Church is, IMO, the best representative of this position; though, as Dennis has pointed out, one should not exclude the EO and OO churches.

The second I have termed the 'divine restoration' position. This view maintains that the Bible predicts a deep, widespread apostasy from the faith delivered by Jesus and His apostles. An apostasy so deep and widespread that a restoration (not a mere reformation) was needed to heal this "falling away" (2 Thess. 2:3). IMO, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the best representative of this position.

Now, before ending this post, one important point needs to be made about the Eph. 4:11-14 passage. Most interpretations of this passage virtually ignore the importance of the various offices/gifts provided by Jesus and the Holy Spirit to bring to fruition "the perfecting of the saints", the "work of the ministry" and the "edifying of the body of Christ"—i.e. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

There is no indication that any of those above listed offices/gifts would cease before their intended goal is reached. IMO, few churches are able to adequately account for the need and continuation of those said offices/gifts apart from the RCC and LDS churches. To separate the ongoing function of apostles and prophets from the rest—limiting their role to the first century only—sure seems to me to be a prime example eisegesis, rather than exegesis.

Must end here for now. Will try to return before the end of day, but it may be tomorrow before I can do so.


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Ken Temple
Certainly, unity has to be around truth. If we sincerely believe the RC Church left the truth of sound Biblical Doctrine (John 17:17; Ephesians 4:1-16); then we can never see how converting to the Roman church is the answer. There are just too many man-made traditions and problems. (Indulgences, merit of works added to faith & sacramental rituals as merit that might lead to justification after death and then after purgatory; purgatory itself, over-exalting Mary, NT priests, praying to Mary and statues, trafficking in relics, infant baptismal regeneration, Transubstantiation, Papal doctrines and dogmas, PVM, 1854; 1870, 1950, etc.)

Beyond that, I don't know. I am learning not to be so idealistic, to be more realistic, and just trust God with His Sovereignty.

Psalm 131
"I do not try to figure everything out; things too high and amazing to me."

Rory

So the indentification of a city on a hill, into which all nations flow, that cannot be hid, is "too high and amazing" for you to figure out? On the contrary, you propose that the Bible alone is easily understood without taking any concerns for what the Christians who preceded you believed or practiced. You are like my history professor in Bible school, finding nothing acceptable that qualifies as the city on a mountain predicted by Christ and the prophets. Like him, you can't find a plausible way to make history fit your Bible interpretations.

Unfortunately, you have wrestled with high and amazing questions with the assumption that Scripture is easy to understand while history and the identification of the one true church, with officers to whom you obedience, are what is high and amazing. St. Peter warns the faithful about how St. Paul's letters are easily misunderstood. Could it be that maybe it would be better if the faithful simply ask the officers to whom they owe obedience, to teach them the truths that have been passed down to them from Apostolic times. St. Paul further admonishes the faithful about the value of sacred tradition, whether it come by word of mouth or by letter.

You know the passages, and I truly fear that you will not give them the proper heed. Instead of going to all the sources of revelation including the 73 books of Scripture and Sacred Tradition, your principles force you to declare that the City/Kingdom/Church prophesied in both testaments, described as "a city on a mountain, into which all nations flow, that cannot be hid" is hidden from you!

I am pretty sure there are more Catholics in India (around 16 million) than there are Reformed Baptists in the world. What if it were the reverse? How about if from the times of the Apostles, Reformed Baptist churches had successfully spread their message over the entire globe. Reformed Baptists have had the attention of both friends and foes for 2,000 years until now. Let's say the whole world today continues to pay keen attention to the leadership and direction of the Reformed Baptists churches. Would you be arguing that the unity prayed for by Christ is hidden? Would you be saying that the city on a hill is too high and amazing for people to identify?

Rory

Ken Temple said...

Rory wrote:

So from your point of view, God has sovereignly decided to refuse Christ's prayer in Jn. 17. I am not trying to be a wise guy. I appreciate the concession...

Since the reality of the world since 431-451 AD (The Assyrian Nestorians and Monophysites - Coptic Church, Jacobite Syrian, Armenian Church), 1054 (the EO), and the 1517 ( to the Council of Trent) Protestant Reformation is real reality in this world, for some reason, God has not answered the prayer of Jesus yet. (or the answer is that the unity is those churches that go back to the Apostolic doctrines of Scripture Alone (the NT doctrines), but that we are humans and may have some minor points wrong and some secondary issues wrong with each other. (like Reformed Baptists and Presbyterians and Reformed Dispensationalists and Reformed Continualists (www.t4g.org)

But also, in addition to that: God does not answer lots of prayers with a "yes". Sometimes, it is "no" and sometimes "wait", etc. I guess your point is that Jesus as the eternal Son- the Father should answer that prayer. Ok, but history shows He has not yet. It is still in process.

I could go further...but I don't need to unless you push for more. From a Reformed Baptist perspective, you admit disunity. I am satisfied.

yes, ok.

Ken Temple said...

Now, before ending this post, one important point needs to be made about the Eph. 4:11-14 passage. Most interpretations of this passage virtually ignore the importance of the various offices/gifts provided by Jesus and the Holy Spirit to bring to fruition "the perfecting of the saints", the "work of the ministry" and the "edifying of the body of Christ"—i.e. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

There is no indication that any of those above listed offices/gifts would cease before their intended goal is reached.


The office of apostle definitely ceased, since the apostles died. I see no good reason to argue that that gift / office is still around today. (except for "apostle of the churches" = missionaries who evangelize and start new churches in new areas.)
John Piper has a good commentary on the difference between "apostle of Jesus Christ" vs. "apostle of the churches":

What It Means to Be an Apostle
Let's go back now and look more closely at what he says. In verse 1 Paul calls himself an "apostle." The word means "one who is sent." This is most obvious in John 13:16 where Jesus says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, neither is an apostle greater than the one who sent him." In the New Testament the word "apostle" had a general and particular usage. In the general sense it was used, for example, for representatives sent out by a church on a mission. In Philippians 2:25 Paul calls Epaphroditus "your apostle and minister for my need." He had been sent by the Philippian church on a mission to give Paul their gifts. And in 2 Corinthians 8:23 the men who were appointed by the churches of Macedonia to help Paul take money to the poor in Jerusalem are called the "apostles of the churches," that is, men appointed by the churches to represent them in this mission. In this sense we could call Tom Varno our apostle when we send him out to Uganda in a few weeks.

But in Galatians 1:1 Paul explicitly denies that he is an apostle merely in this general sense: "Paul an apostle, not from men or through men." Do not class me with those who come with letters of recommendation from men. I was not made an apostle by any council or church. Rather, as verse 1 continues, "through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead." The one who sent Paul on his mission is Christ. So Paul is "an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God" (2 Corinthians 1: 1).

That meant for Paul that he was something very different than a congregational representative from Antioch. He says in 1 Corinthians 9:1. "Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" And in 1 Corinthians 15:8–9 he says, "Last of all, as to one untimely born, Jesus appeared also to me. For I am least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, for I persecuted the church of God." From these two texts we can see that "apostle" in the more particular sense means one who had seen the risen Christ, and not only had seen him, but as the word implies, had been sent or commissioned by him (Acts 26:16–17; Galatians 1:16). See his message on Galatians 1- link below:

https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/to-deliver-us-from-the-present-evil-age

continued

Ken Temple said...

David Waltz wrote:

There is no indication that any of those above listed offices/gifts would cease before their intended goal is reached. IMO, few churches are able to adequately account for the need and continuation of those said offices/gifts apart from the RCC and LDS churches. To separate the ongoing function of apostles and prophets from the rest—limiting their role to the first century only—sure seems to me to be a prime example eisegesis, rather than exegesis.

I am constantly amazed at your positive stance toward Mormonism (LDS), a heretical polytheistic cult and completely false religion. (and also your positive stance toward Bahai - ism)

Piper again, extended from some of above into new comments:

From these two texts we can see that "apostle" in the more particular sense means one who had seen the risen Christ, and not only had seen him, but as the word implies, had been sent or commissioned by him (Acts 26:16–17; Galatians 1:16). This meant for Paul that he was among that unrepeatable band of apostles who together with the prophets of old were the foundation of the church. Ephesians 2:20 says that the church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone." Paul's apostleship was virtually the same as Peter's, for Galatians 2:8 says, "He who worked through Peter for the apostleship to the circumcision, worked through me also for the Gentiles."

Apostles and Prophets are foundational revelatory / revelation gifts. Once Scripture is complete, those offices ceased. Ephesians 2:19-20 shows the church is build upon the foundation of the written Scriptures - prophets (both OT and NT) and apostles (NT - 27 books)

The faith was once for all delivered to the saints. Jude 1:3

Ken Temple said...

Rory wrote:

So the indentification of a city on a hill, into which all nations flow, that cannot be hid, is "too high and amazing" for you to figure out?

If you claim it is the Roman Catholic Church, well, yes, because it is not clear, and full of false doctrines and heresies and traditions of men, so I cannot see it as the shining light on a hill, to which Isaiah 2:1-2 refers to.
If anything, it is easier to see the unity of the Reformed Evangelical groups in www.t4g.org as the city on a hill, if you are going to force some kind of modern example of what Isaiah was prophesying about in Isaiah 2:1-2.

On the contrary, you propose that the Bible alone is easily understood without taking any concerns for what the Christians who preceded you believed or practiced.

Yes, when we understand that only Scripture is infallible and the early church made some small mistakes and grew into bigger ones, and the worst ones are from 600 AD onward to 1517 and 1545-1563 (when the RCC condemned itself for it's condemnation of Justification by Faith Alone, rejection of Sola Scriptura, dogmatizing Purgatory and Apocrypha books, and re-dogmatizing Transubstantiation as de fide)


You are like my history professor in Bible school, finding nothing acceptable that qualifies as the city on a mountain predicted by Christ and the prophets. Like him, you can't find a plausible way to make history fit your Bible interpretations.

I think you misunderstood my point about Psalm 131.
I already think Reformed Baptists and Presbyterians are the closest thing to Biblical NT Christianity. See the kinds of church unity at www.t4g.org

My point is that beyond that conviction, I cannot figure all of history, politics, sin, wars, scandals, problems, disunity out; but to a secondary degree of practical reality, T4g is the closest thing to NT unity, although still in process, as Ephesians 4 indicates, minus the claims that David Waltz about prophets and apostles still going on and side remarks that shockingly put the LDS / Mormons (polytheistic cult/ false religion) in that discussion. They, nor JWs nor Bahai should even be considered in the discussions, since all three of them are just false man-made religions, created a thousand + years after Christ.

Ken Temple said...

Unfortunately, you have wrestled with high and amazing questions with the assumption that Scripture is easy to understand while history and the identification of the one true church, with officers to whom you obedience, are what is high and amazing.

yes.

I think you meant the word "owe" in there.

with officers to whom you owe obedience, are what is high and amazing.

Yes, history, disunity, conflict, wars, scandals, politics, hypocrisy, sins, the sins and heresies of the Popes and other leaders, including Protestants (Luther's "on the Jews and their lies" is an ugly sin and reality and there was no excuse for that; modern scandals, etc.) -yes, those things are "too high" to figure it all out and find a solution to all conflict and wars and politics and motives and sins. Yes.

St. Peter warns the faithful about how St. Paul's letters are easily misunderstood.

To the untaught and unstable. But to the taught and mentally and spiritual and emotionally stable, no.


Could it be that maybe it would be better if the faithful simply ask the officers to whom they owe obedience, to teach them the truths that have been passed down to them from Apostolic times. St. Paul further admonishes the faithful about the value of sacred tradition, whether it come by word of mouth or by letter.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 does not mean a tradition that comes out 500 years later or 800 or 1215 or 1545-1563 or 1854 or 1870 or 1950 years later and then read back into 2 Thess. 2:15.

Since 2 Thessalonians was written around 52 AD, and is one of the earliest NT documents (Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, maybe Mark and James are the only ones earlier)

and Scripture is still being written; it is easy to see the "word by mouth" as those truths that were preached in the early decades but were later all written down in the 27 books of the NT, since 2 Peter 1:3-4 says that "we have been given every thing we need for life and godliness" and that the God-breathed Scriptures are sufficient to equip the man of God for the work of ministry in the church. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

I live in 2018 - much later - I don't owe any obedience to those Popes of 500 AD beyond to today - the current Pope - Francis; who seems very liberal, leftist; the one who has "higher priorities like Global warming, rather than investigating the pedophile/homosexual scandals in his priesthood" (a Cardinal or bishop or prelate recently said that, wow !! *#$@#$##! !!!!); and does not even know that homosexuality is a sin. ( the "who am I to judge? comment)

But I submit to my own local Baptist church and its elders; so I sincerely believe I am being Biblical.

Ken Temple said...

Since 2 Thessalonians was written around 52 AD, and is one of the earliest NT documents (Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, maybe Mark and James are the only ones earlier)

and Scripture is still being written; at that time

Ken Temple said...

Rory wrote:

You know the passages, and I truly fear that you will not give them the proper heed. Instead of going to all the sources of revelation including the 73 books of Scripture and Sacred Tradition, your principles force you to declare that the City/Kingdom/Church prophesied in both testaments, described as "a city on a mountain, into which all nations flow, that cannot be hid" is hidden from you!

I am not sure all points of Isaiah 2:1-2 was meant to be taken literally. It is not a matter of being "hidden" anyway; because I put the truth of Christ and the gospel truth, Biblical doctrine, as clear and unhidden, but that the church unity issue is in a different realm of reality, because of the realities of history.

I can see the aspect of the message of the gospel going to all nations and people from all nations being saved, (per. Rev. 5:9; 7:9; Matthew 28:19)

But I think "the city on the hill" is about Jerusalem and the temple.

But the temple was destroyed in 70 AD.

I think Jesus was alluding to that in Mark 11:23 - "this mountain" - see context from verse 15 and 17 about the temple.
Matthew 21:43 - 45 indicates the church will get the kingdom. But we are still in process of bearing good fruit; we are not without problems, sins, disunity, issues.

So, I can see the church, as fulfillment, but it is spread out in all nations, and the idea of a universal church of believers is the only way to understand that, IMO - Augustine, Protestant theology (rather than a specific local church or particular denomination)

Rory said...

Ken Temple writes (to Dave)
I am constantly amazed at your positive stance toward Mormonism (LDS), a heretical polytheistic cult and completely false religion. (and also your positive stance toward Bahai - ism)

Rory
A completely false religion? Is that like total depravity in a religion? They are wrong about every thing, just like the unsaved person is bad in every way?

It seems to me like Dave is only pointing out an area where their ecclesiology makes sense. It doesn't necessarily mean that either of us are close to becoming LDS.

In further defense of Mormonism, which claims the church apostasized early, why would one expect, if they contend for an apostasy, that they would agree with Catholics about the triune God?

You should not be amazed that there are people who reject the way you go about finding religious truth. You think it is easier to read the Bible and find all your doctrines and then see which church matches your beliefs. Others of us think it is easier to identify the one true church founded by Christ and accept whatever it teaches.

History doesn't bear out the theory that every sincere and reasonably intelligent searcher for the truth is going to read your short Bible and arrive at the same beliefs. All of history shows that your method only proliferates pride and division while "masters" of the Scripture systematize their clever follies.

A little humility is in order before deciding we don't need anybody to tell us what to accept and what we can safely reject from those who came before us. The Ethiopian eunuch needed help, and so do we all. Nobody is being asked to believe what doesn't make sense. All of the Catholic doctrines you find so offensive have explanations that demonstrate that they just don't pop up out of nowhere in 1950, 1870, or any other date prior to the Apostles.

The truths that the Catholic Church claims to have been revealed by Christ and the Apostles are truly stupendous. When one realizes how perfectly the sacramental life of the Church meets all the psychological needs of fallen man, one is left pondering with wondrous awe at the goodness of our God. I wish I could be more eloquent.

to be continued...

Rory said...

Hi again Ken.

You really think it is easy on the basis of sola scriptura to dismiss the Catholic claims for the Eucharist in John 6? Another easy slam dunk for the Reformed Baptists? If I ever were to make my way to Protestantism again, I could never say that.

Why did Jesus let the crowd go away for knowing the truth? According to you, they were right. According to you, they misunderstood the Lord to be explaining the Eucharist as literal. Why didn't He call them back, and applaud their instinct for knowing that He couldn't make His flesh and blood literal meat and drink? Do we not need to ask what Jesus didn't like about that group. Like...Maybe they were wrong? Could it be that He wants us to believe that He wills to do things in us and for us that go beyond the imaginations of souls without faith?

to be continued...

Rory said...

hey again...

You complain about Mary too. The only reason we believe all the things about her that you hate is because of the holiness of her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Why is it so hard to think that a person who bares God in her womb, might be influenced by His physical Presence? There is a good saying in the Church liturgy or a hymn somewhere that remarks that "He Whom the world cannot contain, was contained in the Virgin's womb." Is it not necessarily wonderful in the strictest sensed of the word? Catholics believe we are divinized and given eternal life through the Holy Eucharist which stays with us for a few happy minutes. What MUST we think of her who was privileged to carry Him in her womb for nine months? What MUST you believe? Other than no human father, a normal pregnancy?

Was Jesus an ordinary baby who only makes his sinful Mom uncomfortable? Why is it so faithless of us to think that the presence of Christ in their lives had such a profound sanctifying effect upon His Mother and foster-father? It seems your religion is impoverished and wants to take away so much that is good, and beautiful...and true too.

Why do you think that St John the Baptist leapt for joy in His mother's womb at the approach of Mary and Jesus? How do you even account for that? According to St. Elizabeth, the babe leapt at hearing the voice of "the mother of my Lord." Are we supposed to think the Holy Ghost is giving us nothing to ponder about maybe Mary being special? Why do you think He tells us about the effect of the voice of Jesus' mother?

You are so certain that Mary had the wounds of original sin on her soul. Why? Where in the Scripture does it teach you that the Mother of God was just like everybody else, a sinner, born in sin, and conceiving Jesus Christ in sin? I admit we don't have the Immaculate Conception explicitly. But we can't demand that the Scriptures be explicit when they give us these and so many other kinds of hints that Mary will be exalted, because she was humble, as we see in the Magnificat, where she also realizes that "all generations will call her blessed". And all to the glory and praise of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

I could never go back from the Catholic faith. When the Catholic ponders the Scripture, he cannot help but wonder and speculate as to what they imply. I don't think Protestants ponder what Scripture says about Mary. I don't they like what the Scripture makes possible and that is why they demand explicit texts.

But the Scriptures aren't a creed. They are meant to be mined for hidden treasures by faithful and loving children who with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, for generation after generation, arrive at delightful truths that have been implied by the deposit of revelation. After centuries these develop into beautiful and rich garden of many flowers. It is absurd for you to name dates when the full flower opened up to imply any particular flower in the garden never existed until that moment. One can see many more flowers on the way already. And some poor Protestant will be gloating about how the doctrine of the Queenship of Mary only came out in 2050 AD. Did you never notice how the kingly sons of David have their mothers for queen? Surely there is no significance in that though?

Thanks for your consideration, Ken.

Rory

Ken Temple said...

Hi Rory,
Thanks for all your continued thoughts and challenges.

On John 6, the main points for me for why I don't think Jesus is talking about the Lord's Supper there - is the context is not even about the Lord's supper - the whole flow of the entire section is much larger than verses 53-56, where Roman Catholics focus their attention.

Notice verse 66 - "as a result of this" - points back to verse 65, which is about election and effectual calling/drawing.
and verse 65 - "for this reason"
points back to verse 64 - the true believers vs. false "believers" - not real faith in Christ. (see C. Michael Patton's article below and the connection to John 2:23-25)

These point to election and effectual drawing / calling - regeneration - back up to verse 44 also.

Notice the repeat of the phrase, "and I will raise him up on the last day" (v. 39, 40, 44) = the sufficiency of God's grace to draw all the way to faith and perseverance and holiness and glorification at the resurrection of the dead at the judgment/last day. (John 5:28-29)

The point from verse 26 onward is that Jesus is talking about faith in Him - "I am the bread of life" - the one who comes to Me will never hunger, and the one who believes in Me will never thirst" (verse 35) - coming to Him, thirsting, hungering, beholding Him - these are all metaphors for true faith - the same for eating His flesh and drinking His blood - He uses graphic language in verses 53-56 to describe what true faith is - totally trusting Him and taking all of Him and His work on the cross for one's salvation.

He is also deliberately driving false disciples away. They just wanted bread to fill their tummies.

Besides that, verse 63 indicates that He is speaking spiritually and symbolically, not "fleshly" or physically or focused on outward appearances.

Also, verse 62 is about Jesus' ascension back to heaven. Transubstantiation seems to contradict the necessity of His physical glorified body at the right hand of the Father after His ascension and session and intercession for us.

Besides all that, C. Michael Patton expresses other reasons why the Roman Catholic interpretation is wrong here. Rather than me retyping or typing up quotes, I offer that article, which I just finished reading and it is very good for the over-all context of why Jesus does this many times in His ministry - He lets people go - only the true believers keep on coming after Him in hunger and thirst in faith - as Peter says at the end in verse 68-70 of John 6.

https://credohouse.org/blog/why-i-dont-buy-the-roman-catholic-interpretation-of-john-6-in-defense-of-transubstantiation

The other big thing for me is that in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, and 1 Cor. 11 - the Lord's supper or true Eucharist (thanksgiving) passages - Jesus is in His incarnational body there in time and space, so when He says "this is My body" and "this is My blood", He cannot mean it becomes His flesh and blood literally because He is sitting right there with them in His pre-crucified incarnational body. There are not two incarnations! (or thousands or millions all over the world in history at the same time) The Reformers talked about this issue of the "Ubiquitous nature of Jesus' body" - it is a contradiction to the historical nature of the Lord's supper and the law of physics and that Jesus is in His glorified body in heaven at the right hand of the Father.



Ken Temple said...

I understand the parallel of the LDS hierarchical church leadership structure and believing in on-going prophesy and apostles, ok; I see yours and David's point on that ecclesiastical church authority issue; . . . but really

SINCE THEY ARE POLYTHEISTS (many millions of gods ), I just don't see the point of taking them seriously at all. As Dr. White says, "the Mormons / LDS are more far removed from Biblical Christian than Islam is - because Mormonism is polytheism." (my paraphrase from memory.) The details from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young's other sermons and writings about Adam-God, the difference between Elohim and Yahweh; the planet Kolab, etc. God having sex with Mary and procreating Jesus, etc. - these are so ridiculous as to easily dismiss that whole religion.

Ken Temple said...

A little humility is in order before deciding we don't need anybody to tell us what to accept and what we can safely reject from those who came before us. The Ethiopian eunuch needed help, and so do we all. Nobody is being asked to believe what doesn't make sense.

Yes, that is why I have spend years in reading apologetic issues, and more recent years studying church history - I have come to find many others in the past who make Biblical sense to me, and I have been helped by their insights - J. I. Packer, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul, Luther, Athanasius, Augustine, Calvin, Edwards, John Piper, Irenaeus and many others that helped me as a young Christian - Josh McDowell, Norman Geisler, Dan Dehaan, Jerry Bridges, Walter Martin, my first Pastor, Charles F. Stanley, William Carey, Don Richardson, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, and other people who are still alive today who are mentors, pastors and other missionaries, Rev. Ian North and his family, who were missionaries, etc. He was a great missionary in India for 11 years, then a great preacher, like Stephen Olford, and was the minister who married my wife and I.

So, it is just not true that I am all alone relying on my own mind and self. Roman Catholics constantly make that a point in their apologetics, but it has no merit or credibility.

Ken Temple said...

the baby John the Baptist leapt in the womb of Elizabeth because of who Jesus is in the womb of Mary.

We believe in the virgin conception of Jesus. He was born of the virgin Mary, yes. (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke chapters 1-2)

But that Latin phrase that was later said, "before, during, and after birth, she remained a virgin" - "virgin en partu" ( ? I think) - that He just beamed out of her without rupturing her hymen (in the Proto-Evangelium of James) - that is just so ridiculous and seems to be influenced by Gnosticism (that physical things are bad - like sex and natural childbirth with the pains of coming through the birth canal, etc.)

Ken Temple said...

virginitas, ante partu, in partu, post partu

(virgin before, during, after birth)

Scripture is clear on "ante" (before)

But the idea that He just beamed out from her womb and reappeared - physically, without rupturing her hymen is just really ridiculous, and goes against the whole idea of Jesus becoming a human, getting thirsty, tired, being tempted (yet without sin)

and the woman in Revelation 12 cried out in pain.

so there's that too.

---------------------
Irenaeus did not believe in the Perpetual virginity of Mary, as demonstrated in Against Heresies, 3:21:10 and 3:22:4.

The Irenaeus passages imply that Mary was not a virgin after the virgin birth, but they clearly teach that she was a virgin until after Jesus was born.

The parallel of "as yet virgin soil, for it had not rained yet" with
"as yet, a virgin", shows this.



David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I am still playing 'catch-up' after my return from vacation. What time I have had for the internet has been spent in the Unity and the Christian Church: Part 3b - the Catholic Tradition thread, which has seen some new activity over the last couple of days. Though I am engaged in some further research for that thread, I felt compelled to take a break and comment on the following you wrote:

==I am constantly amazed at your positive stance toward Mormonism (LDS), a heretical polytheistic cult and completely false religion.==

Rory's following assessment to the above is an accurate and excellent response:

==A completely false religion? Is that like total depravity in a religion? They are wrong about every thing, just like the unsaved person is bad in every way?

It seems to me like Dave is only pointing out an area where their ecclesiology makes sense. It doesn't necessarily mean that either of us are close to becoming LDS.==

I find the LDS rejection of the RCC claims to be much more consistent than so many other sects which are children of the Reformation. They postulate an early and deep apostasy (which some Biblical texts seem to support), and that a mere reformation will not restore a 'dead tree'. So ecclesiastically and historically speaking, I find their take on the issue of apostasy more consistent than yours.

If I have read your recent comments correctly, you believe the RCC remained a true church until Trent. However, there are two major problems with this view: first, at least two esteemed Reformed theologians—Charles Hodge and A. N. S. Lane—firmly believe that Trent did not "deny the Gospel"; and second, the 19th century Reformed theologian William Cunningham presented solid evidences—for those who accept the Reformed tradition as the true form of Christianity—that the RCC lost its status as a true church in the late 5th/early 6th century. (See this early thread.)

I think you grossly discount the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You call them a "cult", but such a label is not a accurate one. I know for a fact that LDS leadership from the very beginning has allowed and encouraged diversity of thought in a number of areas—considerably more than Calvin allowed in Geneva.

Anyway, though I have much more to say, it will have to wait until later. Back to my research...


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

From some time after my conversion, since first hearing Walter Martin cassette tapes around 1981 and reading his “kingdom of the cults”; I have always understood that all Protestants who Believe the Bible I have always understood Mormonism as a theological cult.

Do you have references for Charles Hodge and Anthony Lane on Roman Catholicism and Trent and their argumentation ?

Did other reformed thinkers criticize them for the position ?
I thought that was the main understanding although certainly lots of corrupting doctrines were especially developed from the 500s and 600s onward until the reformation . ( similar to Cunningham‘s view although not complete apostasy )

Ken said...

The phrase “I thought that was the rain understanding “
Refers to understanding the Roman Catholic Church is condemning it self Trent because it anathematized the doctrine of justification by faith alone .

Ken said...

Main

I don’t know why it changed it to rain

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks much for taking the time to respond to my last post. You wrote:

=From some time after my conversion, since first hearing Walter Martin cassette tapes around 1981 and reading his “kingdom of the cults”; I have always understood that all Protestants who Believe the Bible I have always understood Mormonism as a theological cult.==

I started listening to Martin's The Bible Answer Man program in the mid to late 70's. I have literally dozens of his tapes, four editions of his Kingdom of the Cults, and a half-dozen of his other books, including the massive Cult Reference Bible. I was heavily influenced by him until the early 90s when Dr. M. James Penton (Professor of History and Religious Studies , University of Lethbridge)—during some lengthy personal conversations—exposed a number of inaccuracies in his books, especially concerning the Jehovah's Witnesses. Those conversations instigated an in depth study into Martin's history and apologetic methodological. To make a long story short, I discovered grave problems with his personal life and "scholarship".

==Do you have references for Charles Hodge and Anthony Lane on Roman Catholicism and Trent and their argumentation ?==

See the following threads for Dr. Hodge's take on whether or not the RCC has retained enough Christian truths to remain a 'true' church, and his take on Trent's view of justification—FIRST; SECOND.

For Dr. Lane's in depth reflections on justification, see his following book: Justification by Faith in Catholic-Protestant Dialogue (link to Google Books Preview - HERE).

While on this topic, also take note of the following from Dr. McGrath:

>>It is clear that this condemnation [in Canon XI] is aimed against a purely extrinsic conception of justification (in the Catholic sense of the term) — in other words, the view that the Christian life may begin and continue without any transformation or inner renewal of the sinner. In fact, the canon does not censure any magisterial Protestant account of iustificatio hominis, in that the initial (extrinsic) justification of humans is either understood (as with Melanchthon) to be inextricably linked with their subsequent (intrinsic) sanctification, so that the concepts are notionally distinct, but nothing more; or else both the extrinsic justification and intrinsic sanctification of humanity are understood (as with Calvin) to be contiguous dimensions of the union of the believer with Christ.>>(Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, 3rd ed., p. 343.)


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

This is a pertinent and long article on my friend Rod Bennett's conversion to RC.

https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/rod-bennetts-lecture-the-four-witnesses-brought-me-home/?fbclid=IwAR3Grww0PFrkNU1cIRW2ntIAo2w0n02jwg_13u7dE6XfisCBlpeboN7vvQg

I have also written about him, his conversion, and his book, "Four Witnesses" over at Beggar's All also.
Just go to the category side bar and click on Rod Bennett at both Beggar's All and at Apologetics and Agape, if you are interested.

Ken Temple said...

Thanks David.
Too much to digest right now; but I hope to get to it all as the Lord allows.

Just a few comments that don't require me to go deep into study, etc.

I have always appreciated Anthony Lane, of what little I know.
I have used his book, "Exploring Christian Thought"(it says "Tony Lane" - I assume this is the same guy) a lot over the years, because it is one of the few books on church history and historical theology that is translated into Farsi. (and that is balanced from a Protestant perspective)

I also learned a lot from his article that you have linked to at the bottom of your blog here.
"Scripture, Tradition, and the Church"
I need to go back and read that again. It is a lot to chew on.

Of course, I have heard of Charles Hodge a lot over the years as a great Reformed thinker and Bible commentator and Systematic Theologian, but I have not read much of him. I remember in seminary, one of my Greek professors, recommended his commentary on Romans for theology, but said that others were better on actual Greek and grammar and exegesis, so I got the others; but perhaps I need to get his also.

Ken Temple said...

Those conversations instigated an in depth study into Martin's history and apologetic methodological. To make a long story short, I discovered grave problems with his personal life and "scholarship".


Has anyone written anything on that?

Is there an article on the inaccuracies about Jehovah's Witnesses?

Dr. White seemed to think his section on Mormonism had some issues, and wrote his books, "Letter to a Mormon Elder" and "Is the Mormon my brother?"
But, from what I have read, they basically say the same things, just in different words; but granted I don't know the exact problems that are there.




Ken Temple said...

A significant article by Tony Lane about justification about Thomas Schreiner's book, "Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification"
His comments about Trent and the CCC and the quote by Teresa Liseaux on page 487 of the Catechism of CC is significant.

I am still trying to digest all of this.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/reviews/faith-alone/

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

You requested:

=Is there an article on the inaccuracies about Jehovah's Witnesses?=

I am so glad you asked me this, for it brought back to mind an article that Dr. Penton wrote back in the early 90s that I have a copy of. I did not have a digital copy of it, but thanks to Google, was able to locate it online. The full article is available via the following link:

THE LATE WALTER MARTIN'S SHAM SCHOLARSHIP AND FALSE ORTHODOXY


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Ken
A significant article by Tony Lane about justification about Thomas Schreiner's book, "Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification"
His comments about Trent and the CCC and the quote by Teresa Liseaux on page 487 of the Catechism of CC is significant.

Rory
Hi Ken. If you will bare with me, my books are all packed. We are moving across the country in less than two weeks. I am quite intrigued with how the "Little Flower", otherwise known as St. Therese of Lisieux, has had impact on your evaluation of the Catholic doctrine of justification.

She was a contemplative nun who died in her early twenties of tuberculosis. It seems to me that whatever she might have said about justification could never, ever, possibly have been original with her. She was never anything except little, and simple, and no one that any Catholic would look to for theological definitions.

Online editions of the new catechism, (which has its flaws, catechisms are fallible) are not numbered by the page, but by the entry number. If you could give the entry number I would like to follow up on how St. Therese has influenced Catholic teaching on justification.

She had a little diary, which became a book called, "The Story of a Soul", which I have read twice for devotional purposes. She just wasn't a theologian. No background, no training, no formation that way. But I believe you if you say the new catechism quotes her on justification. The new catechism, while retaining most old truths, likes newness. Anyway, I am confident that any "teachings" of the Little Flower it quotes will be able to be dated back to the Apostles, instead of the 20th Century when she died.

Rory

Ken Temple said...

Rory,
The quote from page 487 of the CCC by Theresa of Lisieuxe is in the section 2011 regarding Merit.
Thanks for asking.

I am still trying to digest your other points and David Waltz' other points.

Ken Temple said...

Under Part Three
chapter three

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P70.HTM

The way the CCC is organized is very difficult to understand. (for me)

Ken Temple said...

It will take me a while to digest all this stuff, I have other practical life matters to attend to.

I read over the criticism of Walter Martin's scholarship and life.
Wow.

I cannot comprehend all of it as I will have to go back over it more thoroughly.

I knew he was married twice, but I did not know three times. (Is that accurate? I have no way of knowing.)
I had heard that there was some controversy over his ordination, but I seem to remember being satisfied by the official answers at the time (before his death) of explanations of that.

Who is Dr. Penton? Is he a Jehovah's Witness or what church affiliation does he have?

Aside from the minute details; it still does not vindicate JWs as a cult and their wrong translation of John 1:1; false prophesies regarding 1914, etc. denial of the Deity of Christ, Denial of physical resurrection, denial that the Holy Spirit is a person.

So, given those realities about them, they are still a theological cult and false religion; so even if WM got some details wrong, he was still basically right.

I could not tell if WM had access to the other details of the court proceeding against Charles Taze Russell, etc. I don't have the main book it is quoting (Jehovah of the Watchtower), but I have 2 ( the 1985 version with Darlene Martin's autograph and special edition; and the HH general editor 1997 version. My understanding is that the Walter Martin family got the rights back and redid the whole thing back closer to the 1985 version under general editor of Ravi Zacharias; I have different versions after H. Hannegraaf and the controversy over his takeover of CRI happened) copies of the Kingdom of the Cults)

I guess this is also why Dr. White does not use Martin's material in his analysis of JWs (debates, DL shows, and smaller articles) and Mormonism - I have heard him over the years, make side comments that the section on Mormonism by WM is not as accurate as he would like, and therefore, he produced his own apologetic materials on his own seeking to go to original sources.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Yesterday, you posted:

==I knew he was married twice, but I did not know three times. (Is that accurate? I have no way of knowing.)==

He was beyond ANY doubt divorced twice, and married three times. Robert and Rosemary Brown provided photocopies of official court records of the two divorce decrees (1951, 1973) in their book, They Lie In Wait to Deceive - Volume III.

==I had heard that there was some controversy over his ordination, but I seem to remember being satisfied by the official answers at the time (before his death) of explanations of that.==

The Browns provide numerous letters from the very churches Martin claims to have received ordinations from, and all but one of those churches denied that they ever ordained him. The one letter that affirmed his ordination (First Baptist Church of Hempstead) did so under the condition that he would not remarry. Upon finding out that he did remarry, that ordination was revoked.

==Who is Dr. Penton? Is he a Jehovah's Witness or what church affiliation does he have?==

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, Dr. Penton was for a number of years the Professor of History and Religious Studies , University of Lethbridge (Canada). He was a former JW (I think he left in his late teens), and during our discussions in the 90s was Anglican.

His book, Apocalypse Delayed, is the most balanced and scholarly work on the JWs I have read (and I have read well over a 50 volumes on JWs). A must read for anyone interested in the JWs.

As for whether or not JWs are a "cult", it depends on ones definition. I am a former 4th generation JW, and though I believe that they are a heretical sect, I personally think the label "cult" is inaccurate. I know many former JWs who believe the same, including Dr. Penton.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Thanks David.
Thanks also for your interaction at my blog, "apologetics and agape". see my latest response. I had to add and edit it several times, so I hope you saw the final edit.

As for calling JW a cult; yes, it is a theological cult.

Ken Temple said...

David,
I really appreciate all the time you take to go into details. I just don't have time to read everything like you have - amazing that you are indeed. I wish I had that patience and time and brain power.

It is enough for me to keep up with what I do do in Islam, Farsi studies and preparing Bible studies for Iranian Christians, and church history and apologetics areas that relate to Reformation vs. RC. (at a level I can comprehend and have time for)
No one has the time to become like a Bryan Cross (Called to communion, etc.) - expert in philosophy, Latin, logic syllogisms, etc. (he just overwhelms normal folks like me with so much of all that jargon - not many has time to do that much study and interact with him.)

But in all honesty, any kind of "Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue" is not understandable to me, since the Vatican has not announced their repentance and repudiation of Trent and all the other man-made dogmas of Purgatory, Transubstantiation, indulgences, penances, de fide dogmas, 1854, 1870, 1950, etc.

Ken Temple said...

Aside from the minute details; and the apparent problems that Walter Martin in his first two marriages, it still does not vindicate JWs as a cult and their wrong translation of John 1:1; false prophesies regarding 1914, etc. denial of the Deity of Christ, Denial of physical resurrection, denial that the Holy Spirit is a person.

Though there may be mistakes in some details, the over-all judgement of the JWs is correct - they are a heretical sect and a theological cult, and not part of Christendom at all.

Rory said...

Ken
It is enough for me to keep up with what I do do in Islam, Farsi studies and preparing Bible studies for Iranian Christians, and church history and apologetics areas that relate to Reformation vs. RC. (at a level I can comprehend and have time for)
No one has the time to become like a Bryan Cross (Called to communion, etc.) - expert in philosophy, Latin, logic syllogisms, etc. (he just overwhelms normal folks like me with so much of all that jargon - not many has time to do that much study and interact with him.)

Rory
It was a grace for me, after seven years of ministry, when I realized I was overwhelmed with Scripture.

Ken
But in all honesty, any kind of "Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue" is not understandable to me, since the Vatican has not announced their repentance and repudiation of Trent and all the other man-made dogmas of Purgatory, Transubstantiation, indulgences, penances, de fide dogmas, 1854, 1870, 1950, etc.

Rory
How can you not understand discussions of Trent? You are the one who says the Catholic Church wasn't apostate until Trent and its doctrine of justification. You are the one who says the Catholic Church had the Gospel until the novelty of Trent.

It is absurd for you to think that the Catholic Church changed its doctrine of justification at Trent. But since you do, of all people, you should understand some dialogue about it between people who think that the Reformers misunderstood what was being said at Trent.

But I guess in addition to perspicuity of Scripture, you hold to perspicuity of Catholic ecumenical councils? It seems to me like you are overwhelmed with an historical theory of the church that forces you into a necessarily negative judgment about the Council of Trent. Are you really certain that neither Charles Hodge, nor any Catholic theologian realizes what you have discovered...that Trent was a novelty?

Ken, those doctrines you don't like all pre-date Trent. There were feast days already for the Assumption and Immaculate Conception long before a formal definition, as were the alleged "man-made dogmas" you complain about while saying that it was okay to be Catholic until Trent. It serves the purpose of this thread to presume you are correct in condemning man-made dogmas. It isn't even debatable to try to defend the Catholic Church until Trent. You need to back way up, and figure out where the Baptists were for over a millenium. If that doesn't work, all that's left for you is Rome or Salt Lake.

Everything you are saying about history doesn't necessarily make you have to be Catholic. You have wondered why David and I tend to give some regard to ecclesial bodies that seem less plausible to you than the Catholic Church. I think it is because we have taken to heart the "safe truth" of John Henry Newman. Newman didn't allege that history safely proves the Catholic faith.

And this one thing at least is certain; whatever history teaches, whatever it omits, whatever it exaggerates or extenuates, whatever it says and unsays, at least the Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth, it is this...to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.

You can close your eyes and talk about God's sovereignty in history and how you don't have to understand it. I couldn't very easily believe in the goodness of a God who so arranged human affairs that His revealed truth is only to be found where historical evidence points elsewhere. It seems to me that you lack a faith that is both compatible with revealed truth, and with the whole period of these days since Apostolic times. We can't have both history and revelation? I think it could be argued that revelation itself offers compelling reasons for assuring that the Christian can find a way to trace his pedigree all the back to Pentecost.

Take care,

Rory

Ken Temple said...


Rory wrote:
How can you not understand discussions of Trent? You are the one who says the Catholic Church wasn't apostate until Trent and its doctrine of justification. You are the one who says the Catholic Church had the Gospel until the novelty of Trent.

It is absurd for you to think that the Catholic Church changed its doctrine of justification at Trent. But since you do, of all people, you should understand some dialogue about it between people who think that the Reformers misunderstood what was being said at Trent.


I did not say that - what I meant was that 1. I did not understand the Lutheran-Catholic dialogues, and 2. (David W. is implying that they agreed on major things) because Rome did not repent of Trent after the "Catholic-Lutheran" Dialogues, it shows they conceded nothing really. And Rome plays sophistry games with words between what it accepts and the difference with formal ex cathedra statements - which amounts to nothing, except for the absurd claim that they are right in 1215, 1545-1563, 1854, 1870 (anachronistically applied back into all of history), and 1950.

Those things before Trent are corruptions and eclipsing of the heart of the gospel, but it was not until Trent that the RCC became a completely formal heretical church because of knowingly condemning something clear in Scripture.

Plus, most of the Lutherans in that group are liberal and homosexual affirming. (Lutheran World Federation, "Evangelical Lutheran Church in the USA") They have zero credibility with me.

see my comments in the com boxes here:
https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2018/11/04/the-righteous-shall-live-by-faith-alone/

Ken Temple said...

Newman's "to be deep in history" statement really means:

What Newman ultimately meant that was to be deep in his development theory that anachronistically reads all the dogmas developed from 500s and 600s AD up to the 1870 Papal Infallibility dogma - reading all of that back into early church history; but it was not there. (Reading PVM 553 AD, Purgatory, Transubstantiation 1215, Trent 1545-1563; 1854 (ICM), 1870 (PI) back into early church.

Ken Temple said...

I read some of Tony Lane's book years ago, but did not understand it. So, I am just going off my memory and what seems right to me. (about not understanding the Lutheran - Catholic dialogues)

Rory said...

K. Temple
Those things before Trent are corruptions and eclipsing of the heart of the gospel, but it was not until Trent that the RCC became a completely formal heretical church because of knowingly condemning something clear in Scripture.

Rory
Ken...So from your point of view, a valid church can have all kinds of man-made dogmas, which are antithetical to revelation. All a valid church has to do to remain so is to refrain from having an ecumenical council that defines once and for all the errors that it has always taught in a less officious manner? This seems a little inconvenient for you since the only church that ever formally defines anything in a council is the Catholic Church.

Neither Mormons nor Jehovah's Witnesses have troubled themselves to formally announce their opposition to your gospel. Why do you condemn them today for their informal mistakes of less than two centuries, but accept Catholic heresy for a thousand years until a formal declaration? Why do you accept Catholic heresy (ante-Nicene Church Fathers to the Schoolmen and beyond) until it is finally formally declared at Trent? Since you accept pre-Tridentine Catholicism, maybe you ought to refrain from condemning to cult status, those who don't even have a vehicle for formal declaration of what you consider heresy?

Again, Ken. I am not pushing you to Rome. You hate popes and purgatory and limbo and Mary and prayers to the saints. Fine. You will never be Catholic. Just don't try to pretend it only started after Trent. It doesn't fly.

Ken
Plus, most of the Lutherans in that group are liberal and homosexual affirming. (Lutheran World Federation, "Evangelical Lutheran Church in the USA") They have zero credibility with me.

Rory
Yeah. But you raise a different problem among modern Lutherans. I don't care too much about reconciling with them until they repent either. Homosexuality is incredible to Catholics attached to eternal Rome. It is one of four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. If we could get that far, I would probably lose any lurkers here while trying to defend eternal Rome against "St." Paul VI, "St." John Paul II, and Francis, and all their homosexual friends in the hierarchy.

So my job, long term at least, ain't easy either. But yours is impossible. Back to the subject. Since you insist that Rome was okay until a formal declaration at Trent, it seems like you have to allow the plausibility of other ecclesiastical communities (LDS, JW, SDA, Islam, Bahai) that similarly preach a false gospel informally, while refraining from formal definitions, as Catholicism did for hundreds of years before the Council of Trent. Is heresy tolerable until it is formally pronounced in an ecumenical council?

My mention of those attached to the Koran was deliberate. We already note how you feel about Catholic devotion to Mary and the saints. Okay. Don't be Catholic. You still need to see where your principles should lead. You don't seem to see that your theory of history opens doors that should be far more distasteful to your sensibilities than anything traditional Catholicism would offer you.

Ken said...

Hi Rory,
Your argumentation does not make sense to me at this point. Maybe I am not too smart to grasp it.

This is a good summary of the issues of Sola Scrptura vs. RC claims.

https://turretinfan.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/response-to-bryan-cross.pdf

Rory said...

Ken,

The theme of this discussion is unity. Where does one go to church in 1500 AD? From what you have said previously, you think it would be okay to go to the Catholic Church for a few more generations because it hadn't formally pronounced its opposition to the Gospel. I have missed it if you have said anything to the contrary.

We have offered two insoluble problems with this preposterous position.

1) It has been suggested that perhaps you misunderstand the Council of Trent, along with many Reformers old and new. This would be the reason David cited Charles Hodge and others as non-Catholic authorities you should respect who affirm that Trent does not deny the Gospel. It would also explain the possible value to having discussions with those who are trying to understand the Catholic position better.

The problem is that if this is your position you would need to re-evaluate your idea that the Council of Trent marked a change in the teaching of Catholics regarding justification.

2) It seems that you deny that the Catholic Church only ratified what it had been teaching perpetually at the Council of Trent. But with that you seem reluctant to take the bait when I mock the idea that up until Trent, Catholics taught the true Gospel. Was Trent a novelty or not? Which was it? Informal truth followed by formal error, or informal error followed by formal error?

The problem with your approach to the apostasy question is that it allows man made dogma and undefined errors to be tolerable until they are formally defined. Here are your own words:

Those things before Trent are corruptions and eclipsing of the heart of the gospel, but it was not until Trent that the RCC became a completely formal heretical church because of knowingly condemning something clear in Scripture.

You keep talking about purgatory and sola scriptura. That isn't pertinent since you apparently accept Catholic heresies until they are canonized in an official way that no other ecclesiastical body even uses. You don't allow so much slack to Mormons or to Valentinians. You judge them by a different standard than you do the Catholics. Why?

Why are you so tolerant of a thousand and more years of informal Catholic error? Please let us leave off talk of Mary or statues. That doesn't make the historically safe truth of Newman unsafe. We know you refuse the Catholic Church today. What doesn't make any sense is why you accept the Catholic Church before it became a completely formal heretical church.

What doesn't make any sense to us is that you allow such a loose standard to be applied to pre-Tridentine Catholicism, but not for other heretics yesterday or today, that never formalized their errors.

Ken Temple said...

Where does one go to church in 1500 AD?

obviously in the west, at the time, the main churches were Roman Catholic churches, pertinent to their specific area, culture, language - Germany is different than England and / or Italy.

But in the east, it was EO churches. In Coptic Egypt (under Islam), all people knew was the Coptic church.

One can be a true Christian and have messed up doctrine and messed up churches.

Wycliff(1300s), Hus (1400s) Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Tyndale, Ridley, Cramner, Latimer, etc. all grew up Roman Catholic. But they saw the problems, and tried to help; but the leadership was too arrogant and heretical to realize the centuries of barnacles of heresies that had grown on them.

Ken Temple said...

Luther was a Roman Catholic until the Roman Catholic Church condemned him and excommunicated him. But he was right on those issues. (Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide)

Ken Temple said...

Please let us leave off talk of Mary or statues.

why?

Ken Temple said...

The problem with your approach to the apostasy question is that it allows man made dogma and undefined errors to be tolerable until they are formally defined. Here are your own words:

Those things before Trent are corruptions and eclipsing of the heart of the gospel, but it was not until Trent that the RCC became a completely formal heretical church because of knowingly condemning something clear in Scripture.

I would say that the reality of history is just that - we have to go by what we know and what information has come down to us. Just because people were not able to articulate (or that it was hidden and eclipsed by all other stuff that over-shadowed it - Purgatory, praying to Mary, penances, indulgences, treasury of merit, priests, etc.) justification by faith alone in the 600s onward, does not mean that there was no church at all or that the doctrine did not exist or that there were no true believers.

When heresies and struggles and issues happen, just as the principle applies, that Tertullian wrote about, using 1 Cor. 11:19, history and issues and expansion creates the context for new insights, understandings, and explicit theological formulations.

"For there must also be factions (heresies, differences, disunity, disputes) among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you."