Thursday, February 21, 2019

Is Theology Poetry? - the nature and necessity of the development of doctrine


In the January 20, 2019 thread I linked to Gordon Carle's doctoral dissertation, "Alexandria in the Shadow of the Hill Cumorah: A Comparative Historical Theology of The Early Christian and Mormon Doctrines of God" (link). The primary content and context of the dissertation, "is a comparative study of the theological and historical development of the early Christian (Pre-Nicene) and Mormon doctrines of God." The post gave rise to a robust discussion concerning which of the two above paradigms has been the more faithful development of the divine revelations recorded in the Old and New Testaments, with a focus on anthropomorphism.

The issue of the development of doctrine has been one of the major topics explored here at AF for over a decade now, with 55 prior posts delving into the subject (see THIS LINK). However, the relationship between anthropomorphism and development of doctrine was not explored until the above referenced thread. My current studies into this topic has brought to light an essay presented by C. S. Lewis to the 'Socratic Club'—an Oxford debating society—back in 1944. 

This essay provides some fascinating contrasts between theology, mythology and poetry; but it is page 10 where the issue of doctrinal development begins. Note the following:

What did the early Christians believe? Did they believe that God really has a material palace in the sky and that He received His Son in a decorated state chair placed a little to the right of His own? — or did they not? The answer is that the alternative we are offering them was probably never present to their minds at all. As soon as it was present, we know quite well which side of the fence they came down. As soon as the issue of Anthropomorphism was explicitly before the Church in, I think, the second century, Anthropomorphism was condemned. The Church knew the answer (that God has no body and therefore couldn’t sit in a chair) as soon as it knew the question. But till the question was raised, of course, people believed neither the one answer nor the other. There is no more tiresome error in the history of thought than to try to sort our ancestors on to this or that side of a distinction which was not in their minds at all. You are asking a question to which no answer exists.

It is very probable that most (almost certainly not all) of the first generation of Christians never thought of their faith without anthropomorphic imagery, and that they were not explicitly conscious, as a modern would be, that it was mere imagery. But this does not in the least mean that the essence of their belief was concerned with details about a celestial throne room. That was not what they valued, or what they were prepared to die for. Any one of them who went to Alexandria and got a philosophical education would have recognised the imagery at once for what it was, and would not have felt that his belief had been altered in any way that mattered...

The earliest Christians were not so much like a man who mistakes the shell for the kernel as like a man carrying a nut which he hasn’t yet cracked. The moment it is cracked, he knows which part to throw away. Till then he holds on to the nut, not because he is a fool but because he isn’t. (Pages 10, 11 - LINK to PDF)

Those who are familiar with John Henry Newman's, An Essay On The Development of Christian Doctrine, will most likely discern his motif of organic development in Lewis' essay.

Before ending, I would like to issue a challenge of sorts: take Newman's famous seven notes concerning doctrinal development—Preservation of Type, Continuity of its Principles, Its Power of Assimilation, Its Logical Sequence, Anticipation of its Future, Conservative Action Upon its Past, and Its Chronic Vigor—and apply them to the two different paradigms contrasted in Carle's dissertation.

Hope to hear from those folk who take up the challenge soon...


Grace and peace,

David

33 comments:

TOm said...

Hello David,
I do not remember what I claimed in the original thread, but I thought to claim that “preservation of type” was lacking in the CHANGE from an embodied God to a totally incorporeal God. I will offer an argument here against the idea that Newman’s thesis is sufficient to explain this “development”/CHANGE. I think I could offer a few points of defense, but I think the non-Catholic argument wins this battle by a good bit.
I will first quote Newman extensively (partially because he references the CoJCoLDS positively –somewhat- in this section of his essay). You and most who have read Newman a few times can probably skip much of this.
The Newman quote:
[quote]
On the whole then I conclude as follows:—if there is a form of Christianity now in the world which is accused of gross superstition, of borrowing its rites and customs from the heathen, and of ascribing to forms and ceremonies an occult virtue;—a religion which is considered to burden and enslave the mind by its requisitions, to address itself to the weak-minded and ignorant, to be supported by sophistry and imposture, and to contradict reason and exalt mere irrational faith;—a religion which impresses on the serious mind very distressing views of the guilt and consequences of sin, sets upon the minute acts of the day, one by one, their definite value for praise or blame, and thus casts a grave shadow over the future;—a religion which holds up to admiration the surrender of wealth, and disables serious persons from enjoying it if they would;—a religion, the doctrines of which, be they good or bad, are to the generality of men unknown; which is considered to bear on its very surface signs of folly and falsehood so distinct that a glance suffices to judge of it, and that careful examination is preposterous; which is felt to be so simply bad, that it may be calumniated at hazard and at pleasure, it being nothing but absurdity to stand upon the accurate distribution of its guilt among its particular acts, or painfully to determine how far this or that story concerning it is literally true, or what has to be allowed in candour, or what is improbable, or what cuts two ways, or what is not proved, or what may be plausibly defended …
[/quote]
TOm’s little bit of comment:
And of course, if we use this “mark” Newman provides and we gauge what church it points to in most corners of the Internet I think many would see “Mormonism.”
We of course know that Cardinal Newman did see “Mormonism” because he continues:
[quote]
—a religion such, that men look at a convert to it with a feeling which no other denomination raises except Judaism, Socialism, or Mormonism, viz. with curiosity, suspicion, fear, disgust, as the case may be, as if something strange had befallen him, as if he had had an initiation into a mystery, and had come into communion with dreadful influences, as if he were now one of a confederacy which claimed him, absorbed him, stripped him of his personality, reduced him to a mere organ or instrument of a whole;—a religion which men hate as proselytizing, anti-social, revolutionary, as dividing families, separating chief friends, corrupting the maxims of government, making a mock at law, dissolving the empire, the enemy of human nature, and a "conspirator against its rights and privileges.
[/quote]
Newman goes on to say that this religions he describes “is not unlike Christianity as that same world viewed it, when first it came forth from its Divine Author.”

Cont…

TOm said...

With that presented I will offer a narrative upon the early church for your consideration and criticism (as I am sure you are more familiar with the material than I am).

Folks like Celsus rigorously condemned Christianity in part because it believed the God was embodied.
Folks like Origin argued that while some simple Christian (and undermining his “we the informed” argument, also Bishop Melito) believed in an embodied God, he knows that God is not embodied for the reasons that thinkers of his day claim it is foolish to believe in an embodied God.
Folks like Tertullian rejected the incorporeal God and spoke against the changes produced by the thinkers of his day to Christianity.
Augustine embraced Greek thought and refused to become a Christian until St. Ambrose explained that informed Christians rejected an embodied God (and Augustine whose mother was a Saint and who grew up either as a Christian or around Christians –I am not sure- was in a position to know what regular Christians believed).

So while “preservation of type” does not specifically mean (at least it means more than this) continuing to be a faith that is at odds with the culture, that is part of the example Newman offered while explaining “preservation of type.” AND staying at odds with the culture is precisely what the rejection of an embodied God did not do.

It is my position that Catholicism before Newman very much embraced the idea that the faith was delivered as it was believed and did not CHANGE or develop. This preservation of Tradition was a part of Catholicism and Newman’s thesis “developed” this some. That being said, the question has long been does Newman’s thesis carry the weight required by CHANGES. I think it a very reasoned position to say, “NO!” for many of the “developments.” I think in the area of divine embodiment, the answer is fairly clearly no. I do not think the considerations C.S. Lewis claims result in the clarity he claims for this development (of course I would because I embrace the ridiculousness of an embodied God).

I also might add that “the Newman council” did not seem to think much of the part of Newman’s Essay where he spoke of not making concessions to be more palatable to those around you. The post Vatican II church of Pope Francis has only more radically embraced this making concessions to the culture around.

I think it is worth noting that I do not propose to weight my tradition with the tools of Newman’s development or the preservation of Tradition. As a faith that claims to restore ancient Christianity and “restore” doctrines never before revealed, the CoJCoLDS could not use a metric like the preservation of Tradition.

Finally, let me say that I do not find reason demands or even suggests that I should put down the problems I see with LDS truth claims and pick up the problems I see with Catholic truth claims. But, I do believe Newman was wise when he said, “10000 problems do not a doubt make.” I would modify this a little and say “10000 problems do not a disbeliever make.” I think the word doubt should be rehabilitated. I have doubts concerning any positive narrative for the coming forth of the Book of Abraham, but I do not disbelieve that SOMEHOW it is inspired scripture. Where I Catholic I would have shoulder a myriad of different problems, but such seems to be the lot in life for folks who try to engage their faith with mind, body, heart, spirit, .... Sometimes I see the truth in "his yoke is light and his burden easy."
Charity, TOm

leeseykay said...

Hi Tom, Dave, etc.

Tom, thank you again for sharing your always respectful and thoughtful misgivings about the Catholic faith, while confiding the difficulties with your own.

You concisely state your position on Catholic beliefs regarding doctrinal development as follows:

It is my position that Catholicism before Newman very much embraced the idea that the faith was delivered as it was believed and did not CHANGE or develop. This preservation of Tradition was a part of Catholicism and Newman’s thesis “developed” this some. That being said, the question has long been does Newman’s thesis carry the weight required by CHANGES. I think it a very reasoned position to say, “NO!” for many of the “developments.”

Your second point, whether Newman's theory successfully demonstrates that authentic Catholic doctrine has been appropriately developed organically, as from seed to flower, is certainly able to be questioned. It would appear to me for instance, that the bishops meeting with the Pope in Rome this past week, are hoping to find a way to say that the legitimacy of homosexual activity has "developed" from other truths of the Catholic faith. This would be in clear violation of Newman's principles. Development cannot be used as a cover for contradiction.

If I understood correctly, your first point shows that the very idea of doctrinal development is in itself, a corruption of its own principles. By saying that prior to Newman, that "Catholicism...very much believed that the faith was delivered as it was believed and did not change or develop," you are charging Catholicism subsequent to Newman with embracing a novelty and a contradiction.

I would be interested in what others might be able to think of with regards to documentation from church fathers who recognize the principle that through wrestling against recognizable heresy, the Church has been able to refine and clarify doctrines that were previously more obscure, giving answers to questions that had not been previously asked. When time permits, I would hope to find some evidence along those lines.

In the meantime, I would propose with the thought of Lewis in mind, that perhaps the question of doctrinal development was obscure to many Catholics for centuries. But I think it is doubtful that if faced with the questions that had arisen in Newman's day, if Catholic theologians of previous ages could have disagreed. The alternative, that Catholic Tradition arrived completely developed, is static, and only needs preservation, would, in my opinion, have been indefensible to an Ambrose, Aquinas, or any of the great popes.

I think Lewis' idea about whether the question had been asked is pertinent here. But I would also point out that when the time came to consider the question, the Church instinctively and more definitively moved to give cautious approval to Newman's ideas at the First Vatican Council. Prior to Newman, I know of no one who had ever been reproved for the "heresy" of believing in development of doctrine. Since then, I would suggest there is less excuse.

After taking pains to disallow improper development or corruption, the Fathers of Vatican I approve of, and even pray for healthy doctrinal development at the end of Session 3, ch. 4:

"May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding."

I do not believe that such a prayer would have been condemnatory or heretical to any of the great Fathers or theologians of the Catholic Church. But perhaps it would not have occurred to them to pray in such a way.

Rory

TOm said...

Hello Rory,
Thank you for your response. You asked a question that I will offer a little towards an answer.
Rory:
By saying that prior to Newman, that "Catholicism...very much believed that the faith was delivered as it was believed and did not change or develop," you are charging Catholicism subsequent to Newman with embracing a novelty and a contradiction.

I would be interested in what others might be able to think of with regards to documentation from church fathers who recognize the principle that through wrestling against recognizable heresy, the Church has been able to refine and clarify doctrines that were previously more obscure, giving answers to questions that had not been previously asked.
TOm:
I know I have come across “development” language in the ECFs, probably because David or someone pointed me to it. Here is from St. Vincent de Lerins in the 5th century:
Is there to be no development of religion in the Church of Christ? Certainly, there is to be development and on the largest scale. Who can be so grudging to men, so full of hate for God, as to try to prevent it? But it must truly be development of the faith, not alternation of the faith. Development means that each thing expands to be itself, while alteration means that a thing is changed from one thing into another.
The understanding, knowledge and wisdom of one and all, of individuals as well as of the whole Church, ought then to make great and vigorous progress with the passing of the ages and the centuries, but only along its own line of development, that is, with the same doctrine, the same meaning and the same import.
The religion of souls should follow the law of development of bodies. Though bodies develop and unfold in their component parts with the passing of years, they always remain what they were. There is a great difference between the flower of childhood and the maturity of age, but those who become old are the very same people who were once young. Though the condition and appearance of one and the same individual may change, it is one and the same nature, one and the same person.
The tiny members of unweaned children and the grown members of young men are still the same members. Men have the same number of limbs as children. Whatever develops at a later age was already present in seminal form; there is nothing new in old age that was not already latent in childhood.
There is no doubt, then, that the legitimate and correct rule of development, the established and wonderful order of growth, is this: in older people the fullness of years always brings to completion those members and forms that the wisdom of the Creator fashioned beforehand in their earliest years.
If however, the human form were to turn into some shape that did not belong to its own nature, or even if something were added to the sum of its members or subtracted from it, the whole body would necessarily perish or become grotesque or at least be enfeebled. In the same way, the doctrine of the Christian religion should properly follow these laws of development, that is, by becoming firmer over the years, more ample in the course of time, more exalted as it advances in age.
In ancient times our ancestors sowed the good seed in the harvest field of the Church. It would be very wrong and unfitting if we, their descendants, were to reap, not the genuine wheat of truth but the intrusive growth of error.
On the contrary, what is right and fitting is this: there should be no inconsistency between first and last, but we should reap true doctrine from the growth of true teaching, so that when, in the course of time, those first sowings yield an increase it may flourish and be tended in our day also.
TOm: That is actually more Newman sounding that I remember!!!
It is somewhat interesting that Newman spoke of the “rule of St. Vincent de Lerins” and as I remember it not being able to SIMPLY apply it AND did not speak of this development idea present in St. Vincent de Lerins.
Cont …

TOm said...

This doesn’t change the fact that Rome was initially skeptical of Newman’s thesis, that Oresetes Bronson at the behest of more than one bishop produced his anti-Newman writings, and that the way Catholicism is defended in places like Catholic Answers typically denies “doctrinal development” even when scholars claim it has happened.
This also does not address what I think is present. The early church was a smorgasbord of ideas and theologies. They did not act like their job was to preserve Tradition in the absence of revelation. They edited the Biblical texts if they thought the Johannine Comma should be there and was not. Tertullian openly embraced “the new revelation.”
It was later that there began to be a narrative that Tradition was once delivered. What does DEVELOPMENT while adamantly declaring there is no new revelation look like? I think Newman and St. Vincent offer their idea (without explaining what the mechanics of error prevention looks like), but there have been competing thoughts for sure. I think most of these competing thoughts neglect to deal sufficiently with the history, but again does Newman deal SUFFICIENTLY with the history is an open question. Rejecting the idea that Catholicism is God’s church and is somehow error free removes a host of problematic pieces of data that must be fit into a Newman or a “Liberal Catholic” or a “Modern Sedavacantist” framework.
Now perhaps more important to this discussion you said,
Rory:
Development cannot be used as a cover for contradiction.
TOm:
What could be a more perfect example of contradiction? Where once Jews and Christians believed God was embodied, latter they DEMAND it is ridiculous to believe God is embodied and He in fact is totally incorporeal.
Also you said, Rory:
It would appear to me for instance, that the bishops meeting with the Pope in Rome this past week, are hoping to find a way to say that the legitimacy of homosexual activity has "developed" from other truths of the Catholic faith.
TOm:
I do not think Pope Francis believes the Catholic Church is what I was taught the Catholic Chruch was as I researched her with you, David, and Catholic Answers. If Pope Francis understands Catholicism correctly, the Catholic Answers just 10 years ago was “heretical Catholic Answers.” Alternatively, those who disagree with the Pope Francis sees Catholicism if they are right, are “more Catholic than the Pope.”
I think I have told you that I think the strongest pro-Catholic position is no longer the one were extreme Vatican II skepticism is rejected. I now think the strongest pro-Catholic position is the one in which one is skeptical of Vatican II and of Pope Francis. Which is not a good Catholic thing because the conservative read of Vatican II with Pope John Paul II (and Benedict) was a stronger position than any Catholic position that can be embraced today.
Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom and Rory,

Forgive my lack of participation in the combox of this thread; I am rereading Newman's An Essay On The Development of Christian Doctrine, along with Blake Ostler's Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God. I will also be heading down to Lincoln City later this morning, so I will not be posting any detailed reflections until this weekend. Until then, thought I would share the following selections from my current readings:

>>Further, Bishop Bull allows that "nearly all the ancient Catholics who preceded Arius have the appearance of being ignorant of the invisible and incomp1rehensible (immensam) ; nature of the Son of God;" an article expressly taught in the Athanasian Creed under the sanction of its anathema. (John Henry Newman, An Essay On The Development of Christian Doctrine, 1878 edition, p. 18)>>

The following is the broader context of the Bishop Bull quote:

>>There remains now, if I remember aright, but one difficulty to be solved, and that well worth the trouble. We have reserved the solution of it until now, because it does not occur in one or two ancient writers only, but runs through the remains of nearly all the primitive fathers. I confess that this was at one time a stumbling-block to myself, and therefore I think it my duty to attempt to remove it out of the way of others. Nearly all the ancient Catholics, then, who lived before the time of Arius, appear not to have been aware of the invisible and immeasurable nature of the Son of God. For they repeatedly speak of the Son of God as if, even in His Divine Nature, He were finite, visible, comprehended in some definite space, and circumscribed, as it were, by certain limits. For, when they would prove, that He, who in former times appeared and spoke to the patriarchs and holy men under the Old Testament, being distinguished by the name of Jehovah, was the Son of God Himself, they commonly employ the following disjunctive argument ; that He who appeared was either the Son of God, or a created angel, or God the Father, That it was not a created angel which appeared] they infer from this, that He is called by the Holy Spirit Jehovah and God. Again, that it was not the Father they prove from this, that He is immeasurable, filling all places, and comprehended in none ; and therefore that it were impious even to imagine that He Himself had appeared in some definite place, or narrow corner of the earth ; as if, forsooth, that very thing might be predicated rightly and without danger of the Son of God. By a like process of reasoning they also teach that the Son of God is visible. (George Bull, A Defense of the Nicene Creed, pp. 594, 595)>>

I had completely forgotten about Newman's brief quote from Bishop Bull, and I am pretty sure that I did not read the fuller context until yesterday. Quite interesting!!!

Will be finishing the reading of the two books I mentioned above during our brief trip to LC. Will share my musings this weekend. Hope you guys will check back in...

Grace and peace,

David

leeseykay said...

Hi Tom...

Thanks for your first post. St. Vincent of Lerins! Of course.

And for your second...that needs a reply...

Tom
This doesn’t change the fact that Rome was initially skeptical of Newman’s thesis, that Oresetes Bronson at the behest of more than one bishop produced his anti-Newman writings, and that the way Catholicism is defended in places like Catholic Answers typically denies “doctrinal development” even when scholars claim it has happened.

Rory
Brownson seemed in genuine opposition. I don't know if it was because they disagreed, or because they could foresee the problems it could and did create in the environment of the late 19th Century. Newman opposed the definition of papal infallibility on the grounds that it would be abused and misunderstood. I agree that neither Newman's development nor papal infallibility has been properly appropriated by the Church. Both Newman's theory and the infallibility doctrine have been horribly abused. I think they are both true, but the damage done by simplifications of the nuanced teachings could argue that it might have been better if neither had come to light when they did.

Tom
This also does not address what I think is present. The early church was a smorgasbord of ideas and theologies. They did not act like their job was to preserve Tradition in the absence of revelation. They edited the Biblical texts if they thought the Johannine Comma should be there and was not. Tertullian openly embraced “the new revelation.”

Rory
I have not studied the Johannine comma. Assuming the worst, I do not see how it is critically important to any argument anyway. I certainly do not think the biblical texts were routinely edited. What other texts do you have in mind? Do you think the Scriptures have been edited so as to favor Catholic orthodoxy? They sure did a poor of job of "corrupting" the Scriptures to benefit Catholic orthodoxy, if I can believe what Mormons and Protestants have to say about their interpretations of these allegedly edited Scriptures.

Tom
It was later that there began to be a narrative that Tradition was once delivered. What does DEVELOPMENT while adamantly declaring there is no new revelation look like? I think Newman and St. Vincent offer their idea (without explaining what the mechanics of error prevention looks like), but there have been competing thoughts for sure. I think most of these competing thoughts neglect to deal sufficiently with the history, but again does Newman deal SUFFICIENTLY with the history is an open question. Rejecting the idea that Catholicism is God’s church and is somehow error free removes a host of problematic pieces of data that must be fit into a Newman or a “Liberal Catholic” or a “Modern Sedavacantist” framework.

Rory
Catholic development looks a lot like Latter-day Saint continuing revelation. We can't call it apostolic revelation because it does not come from, but builds on the Apostolic deposit. It isn't infallible like those truths which come from the Apostles. LDS can say that we don't have continuing revelation, but we would say the same about you. LDS Latter-day revelation lacks the note of infallibility just like Catholic "Latter-day revelation".

continued...

leeseykay said...

Tom
Now perhaps more important to this discussion you said,
Rory:
Development cannot be used as a cover for contradiction.
TOm:
What could be a more perfect example of contradiction? Where once Jews and Christians believed God was embodied, latter they DEMAND it is ridiculous to believe God is embodied and He in fact is totally incorporeal.

Rory
The second Person of the Trinity certainly has a body. No where are Catholics required to believe that the LDS view is ridiculous. The Catholic Church does not think it is impossible or ridiculous for God to have a body. But clearly, the body is superfluous to whatever makes God God. Even Mormons believe that the Holy Ghost is God without a body. Certainly, the move away from complete anthropomorphism is significant. But it is not a perfect contradiction. Just ask the Muslims if they think Catholic teaching is anthropomorphic.

The Muslim teaching about God is that He cannot be a man. The Catholic teaching about God is that God can be a man, but doesn't have to be. The LDS teaching agrees with the Catholic, except they insist the two members of the Godhead have bodies, while one does not. Catholics of course, say that one member of the Godhead has a body, and two do not.

The most significant point that Muslims, Catholics, and Mormons agree upon is that whatever makes God God, it can't be corporeal. That should open the door to allowing the Scriptures which teach about God's infinity, eternity, and changelessness to be interpreted in a literal way that leaves us comforted with understanding the divine nature to be transcendent.

I can offer a much more perfect example of contradiction than what you propose. The Church has taught for centuries that sodomy is a perverse sin against nature that cries to heaven for vengeance. Now, it is beginning to appear that we are supposed to understand that through a deeper understanding and development of the Gospel, sodomy might be an acceptable lifestyle. That would be a contradiction. It would also be truly ridiculous.

Tom
Also you said, Rory:
It would appear to me for instance, that the bishops meeting with the Pope in Rome this past week, are hoping to find a way to say that the legitimacy of homosexual activity has "developed" from other truths of the Catholic faith.
TOm:
I do not think Pope Francis believes the Catholic Church is what I was taught the Catholic Chruch was as I researched her with you, David, and Catholic Answers. If Pope Francis understands Catholicism correctly, the Catholic Answers just 10 years ago was “heretical Catholic Answers.” Alternatively, those who disagree with the Pope Francis sees Catholicism if they are right, are “more Catholic than the Pope.”
I think I have told you that I think the strongest pro-Catholic position is no longer the one were extreme Vatican II skepticism is rejected. I now think the strongest pro-Catholic position is the one in which one is skeptical of Vatican II and of Pope Francis. Which is not a good Catholic thing because the conservative read of Vatican II with Pope John Paul II (and Benedict) was a stronger position than any Catholic position that can be embraced today.
Charity, TOm

Rory
When time allows, I look forward to addressing this. I won't forget!

God bless.

Rory

leeseykay said...

Tom

I do not think Pope Francis believes the Catholic Church is what I was taught the Catholic Chruch was as I researched her with you, David, and Catholic Answers. If Pope Francis understands Catholicism correctly, the Catholic Answers just 10 years ago was “heretical Catholic Answers.” Alternatively, those who disagree with the Pope Francis sees Catholicism if they are right, are “more Catholic than the Pope.”

Rory

I agree. Is it a sin to "be more Catholic than the pope"? Where does the Church ever endorse the idea that every sitting pope is always the most orthodox Catholic in the entire world? I do not know where that derisive expression originates. I suspect that it comes from parties who hate Catholic Tradition, and who want to badger faithful Catholics for being disagreeable about assenting to popes who have been imprudent or unfaithful to their callings as vicars of Christ. In the case of Pope Francis, you have to choose to be more Catholic than him, or more Catholic than all of the popes before him. If you follow the novelties of Pope Francis on the death penalty, or divorce and remarriage marriage, or the rights of states to protect their borders, or socialism, or whether hell is eternal, you are calling yourself more Catholic than an army of 260 plus popes whose authority the Holy Father disregards. He obviously doesn't understand the limit to his own authority, or the continuing authority of his predecessors.

I have no qualms about disregarding the ravings of any man, even if it is my pope, when he seems to have lost all sense of the faith of his fathers. That said, he is so far as I can tell, my father, the Holy Father. I do not know what happened in his life to our poor pope. He is such a mess.

Sometimes disorientation of the mind comes from bad formation, sometimes from bad actions. Sometimes from both. In any case, Pope Francis' apparent beliefs can cause a lot of damage simply because he is recognized by most as the pope. The faithful who recognize him as a pope who has lost his way, should try our best to minimize the harm he does to souls without rancor, malice, or the bitter zeal which one can see around the internet, and which can easily swell and darken our own souls.

Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.

Rory

---more tomorrow hopefully. Thanks.

leeseykay said...

Tom

I think I have told you that I think the strongest pro-Catholic position is no longer the one were extreme Vatican II skepticism is rejected. I now think the strongest pro-Catholic position is the one in which one is skeptical of Vatican II and of Pope Francis. Which is not a good Catholic thing because the conservative read of Vatican II with Pope John Paul II (and Benedict) was a stronger position than any Catholic position that can be embraced today.
Charity, TOm

Rory

Who is qualified to say what is or is not "a good Catholic thing"? It is a Catholic truth that God uses evil to work things out for good, for His glory, and for the salvation and sanctification of souls. That said, I understand your meaning. The crisis in the Church makes it difficult to talk to people about the faith without scandalizing them by being "more Catholic than the pope." But just for fun, I want to argue that the current crisis in the Catholic Church is not only "a good Catholic thing", but it is an amazingly good Catholic thing.

What is a stronger position, when prophesies prove to be false, or when they come true before one's eyes? Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the children a few months before the revolution in Russia that saw an inept monarchy shattered and a godless dictatorship take its place. Our Lady promised that if a pope would not consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that the errors of Russia would spread through the whole world. Now, after generations of refusal by eight popes to perform this ceremony as requested, we now have a pope who has imbibed many of the same errors that came with Lenin and the Bolsheviks.

In the 19th Century, a far-seeing Pope Leo XIII was already warning the world about the dangers of class warfare and the socialist doctrine that would supposedly bring about a just and lasting earthly paradise. By the end of World War II, Soviet domination had encompassed nations that had been Roman Catholic, in Poland, Germany, Hungary. The Communist regime in Hungary even had the temerity to have an absurd show trial of Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty, an heroic figure who had opposed totalitarian Nazis before the communists came. He languished in prison for almost a decade before he was freed in the failed Hungarian revolt of the mid 50's. After that, he was a prisoner of sorts in the American embassy, which they dared not violate.

It isn't much remembered today, but Catholics around the world were stunned and outraged at the way Catholic citizens were suppressed in Eastern Europe, and wherever the hammer and sickle clashed with the cross of Jesus Christ. There was a letter written for the pope from Sister Lucia of Fatima containing a message which has never been published concerning the messages received at Fatima. It was to be read no later than 1960. Traditional Catholics can be reasonably confident that it was a re-iteration of the plea of the Mother of God for the pope to perform this consecration ceremony that I have mentioned.

----continued



leeseykay said...

A word about this ceremony...It is my understanding that it might take up to five minutes. If it took five days it would be worth a try, would you not think? It reminds me of that gentile king who came down to see Elisha, or maybe it was Elijah in the hopes of having his leprosy cured. The prophet wouldn't see him, but told him to get in and out of the Jordan River seven times. The king was flabbergasted, and would have refused to do this. He complained that he could have saved himself a trip and jumped in the river back home. How was jumping in a river going to cure leprosy? But his servant wisely prevailed upon the proud king to give it a try, and of course, he was cured, not because of any special medicinal powers in the Jordan, but because he obeyed God.

It seems like the popes, until now, have agreed that the errors of Russia have been penetrating world culture and the results have been moral chaos and a drastic decline in Christian civilization. They saw the "leprosy" but they had their own ideas about the cure. The case of Pope John XXIII is the most telling. He was the pope in 1960, at the height of the Cold War, who read the secret of Fatima that was in his office. He is reported to have read it, folded it up, and declared that the message was not for "our times" (1960).

His answer to the errors of Russia was to call a great ecumenical council that would examine the role of the church and the Gospel of Christ as it applied to all peoples around the world. He even arranged with the Khrushchev regime to allow Russian "bishops" (KGB) to attend the Council. Naturally, after three years of discussing all manner of social issues facing modern man, there were council fathers clamoring for some kind of statement condemning atheistic communism. The Russian tanks had in all of their memories rolled into Hungary to crush Catholic freedom fighters who thought the West would come to their aid. Castro was came into power in Cuba during the Council and so did the Thirteen Day Missile Crisis. How could they have an ecumenical council with a document, Gaudium et Spes, about the Church in the Modern World, and have not one word against communist world domination?

The answer, it has been revealed later, is that in exchange for allowing the Russian agents who were also bishops to attend Vatican II, that Rome agreed that there would be no commenting about the relations between Catholics and communism. Even if there weren't any dogmatic problems, the Council was a political farce. The vicar of Christ should have known better than to think he could negotiate "the Evil Empire" as one of our great presidents called it. Maybe he might have tried the five minute ceremony? Maybe?

I haven't mentioned that in addition to Russia spreading her errors throughout of the world unless this ceremony were performed, we are also informed that when the pope does do the ceremony that Russia will be converted, and a great period of peace will follow. I suppose it would be a disappointment to try the ceremony and nothing happens? But we are also talking about five minutes where the bishops of the world can stay home instead and unite themselves with the ceremony in spirit. That, or four years where the bishops of the world have to journey back and forth to Rome for meetings where it had been agreed that they couldn't even mention Russian communism!

Oh, there is one more warning attached to a papal failure to obey our Lady of Fatima's request. There would be a "diabolical disorientation" in the Catholic Church. Am I discouraged to see a smiling pope tenderly holding a gift crucifix overlaid with the evil emblem of an evil ideology? It is disconcerting and alarming. You probably haven't seen the photos. Yes, the pope has a crucifix with a hammer and sickle in one ugly, blasphemous portrayal of our Lord's redemptive suffering.

leeseykay said...

I need to type a long section of an article written a long time before the events at Fatima. It is a comment By Dom Prosper Gueranger upon the epistle reading for the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost. As winter darkness approaches in most of the places where this epistle will be read, the Church year is winding down. We have recently finished the Feasts of Christ the King, All Saints, and All Souls. Soon we will be returning to the beginning, Advent, anticipating like the Old Testament Saints the coming of "THE DESIRED OF ALL NATIONS". (Hag. 2:8)

If the Lord tarries His Second Advent, we might live to see the Church march us through the Joys and Sorrows and Glories of the history of our Lord's Incarnation and Nativity, and the signs that were given to the little family of Bethlehem that they were participating in the event for which the entire Creation waited and for which Creation was made. We will follow Jesus as He selects His Apostles, and establishes the future priesthood whose Last Supper on Holy Thursday is the gift of His holy sacrifice on Calvary's hill, of which their converts will partake, that they may become...Him. With desire, He desires...this Holy Banquet.

After Good Friday, we rejoice for eight days of first class feasting as we rejoice in seeing our good Jesus foiling the best laid plans of the devil on Easter. The Ascension follows...forty days later of course, always on Thursday, followed ten days later by the great Feast of Pentecost. It helps, but you don't have to be terribly literate to appreciate and love the dramatic pageant that our Holy Mother Church brings before us every year. How can we not love such a wise, holy, and tender loving Mother? As the chaste spouse of their Lord Jesus Christ, many of her children would understandably die for her honor, especially after the coming of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. And so the long season after Pentecost comprises at least twenty-three Sundays and is filled, as church history is filled, with soul stirring accounts of the triumphs of God's kingdom in souls and in society.

I have written all this because it seems essential to a good understanding of the commentary I have mentioned about the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, to have the context of the church calendar in mind. Finally, as the darkening days of December approach, and the Church Year comes to another end our Holy Mother cannot fail to reflect for her children upon the coming end for each of us, some of whom will not live to see another entire year. We must redeem the time, because "the days are evil", according to St. Paul. The epistle, which I will not quote, is from Ephesians ch. 5. During this season, it is also a time to consider what the Church teaches about herself in the end times. This is the background for the encouragement that she gives to us not to lose courage, to keep the faith, to not be bitter, but "giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God and the Father."

---to be continued

leeseykay said...

Italics belong in the text and are indicative of reference to the words as used in the epistle, Ep. 5:15-20. For your convenience, the English translation can be seen here: http://drbo.org/chapter/56005.htm

Dom Gueranger

As the nuptials of the Son of God approach their final completion, there will be, also, on the side of hell, a redoubling of rage against the bride, with a determination to destroy her. The dragon of the Apocalypse, the old serpent who seduced Eve, will cast out water, as a river, from his mouth--that is, he will urge on all the passions of man, that they may league together for her ruin. But do what he will, he can never weaken the bond of eternal alliance; and having no power against the Church herself, he will turn his fury against the last children of the New Eve, who will have the perilous honour of those final battles, which are described by the prophet of Patmos.

It is then, more than at all previous times, that the faithful will have to remember the injunction given to us in to-day's Epistle. They will have to comport themselves with that circumspection which he enjoins, taking every possible care to keep their understanding, no less than their heart, pure, in those evil days. Supernatural light will, in those days, not only have to withstand the attacks of the children of darkness, who will put forward their false doctrines; it will moreover, be minimized and falsified by the very children of the light yielding on the question of principles; it will be endangered by the hesitations, and the human prudence, of those who who are called far-seeing men. Many will practically ignore the master-truth, that the Church never can be overwhelmed by any created power. If they do remember that our Lord has promised to uphold His Church even to the end of the world, they will still believe that they do a great service to the good cause by making certain politically clever concessions, not weighed in the balance of the sanctuary. Those future worldly-wise people will forget that our Lord needs no shrewd schemes to help Him to keep His promise; they will entirely overlook this most elementary consideration, that the co-operation which Jesus deigns to accept at the hands of His servants in the defence (sic) of the rights of His Church, never could consist in the disguising of those grand truths which constitute the power and beauty of the bride. They will forget the apostle's maxim, laid down in his Epistle to the Romans, that to conform oneself to this world, to attempt an impossible adaptation of the Gospel to a world that is unchristianized, is not the means for proving what is the good, and the acceptabe, and the perfect will of God. (Rom. 12:2) So that it will be a thing of great and rare merit, in many an occurrence of those unhappy times, merely to understand what is the will of God, as our Epistle expresses it.

---Dom Prosper Gueranger, Vol. 11, Time After Pentecost, Book 2, pp. 426, 427, St. Bonaventure Publications (2000)

leeseykay said...

True Catholicism has never been stronger. Scheming popes and filthy bishops are in the Church. But they are not the Church. Do I wish there was not a diabolical disorientation in the Church? God's will be done. If the popes won't do the ceremony, then yes, let the Church seem to be dying in the eyes of the world. Let it appear that if Satan didn't defeat Christ in His passion, the devil seems to be defeating Christ's Church in her passion.

We are promised that a pope will eventually have the humble wisdom to obey the Blessed Mother in this matter. Until then, confusion and darkness reign. But Our Lady's Immaculate Heart shall triumph over the Evil One. The devil is crushed under her heel. O God help me when it happens to be with the saints militant or triumphant, or even suffering. Let me be one of Yours, who "understood what is the will of God" in his own times, that God provided. The very angels could be envious of the one who stands with Christ in these our times, unyielding to the old siren song that our poor modern world thinks to be unique to itself. Oh what a privilege, what an opportunity for such a tiny remnant of us. It can seem lonely sometimes in this world. But we are like Gideon's little army. We must shout with all faith, for the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. Like Gideon's little band, we will see a vicious enemy routed and our good God and Father, glorious and triumphant. In addition, we will see Our Lady, Queen of Peace, serenely immaculate beside her Son's Holy Bride all arrayed in her own royal and chaste beauty, with a strength of spirit, and a heart of love, that hell could never fathom.

I don't think it would be better any other way. God knows how to save and sanctify, and He knows how to make His children love His good will, teaching us to give "thanks to God always for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God and the Father."

Thanks for your patience. My flowery expressions aren't arguments I know. But I don't have better arguments than that my faith is beautiful, and so it seems like it needs to be adorned with hearty expressions of true joy and thankfulness for God's gifts to us. How can I talk well about what I love without betraying myself? I am a little embarrassed because I surely don't want my musings to make anyone think about me. Please no. I might end up in hell. THAT is the truth. Pray for me that I be saved. Nobis quoque peccatoribus.

God bless,

Rory

PS: This is why it is unwise to tell LDS, without qualifying what we mean, that we don't have continuing revelation. It is easy to get a false impression about what that means.

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

Back from Lincoln City...

I finished rereading Ostler's Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God, and I am up to page 259 in my reread of Newman's An Essay On The Development of Christian Doctrine. I would now like to share my thoughts concerning some of your recent comments. In your Feb. 23 post, you wrote:

==I do not remember what I claimed in the original thread, but I thought to claim that “preservation of type” was lacking in the CHANGE from an embodied God to a totally incorporeal God. I will offer an argument here against the idea that Newman’s thesis is sufficient to explain this “development”/CHANGE. I think I could offer a few points of defense, but I think the non-Catholic argument wins this battle by a good bit.==

My understanding of Newman's “preservation of type” allows for a shift in emphasis from God's theophanies—manifestations given to men and angels—to an emphasis on what makes God GOD—i.e. a shift from 'accidents' to 'substance'. It also allows for a more definitive understanding of the nature of God's theophanies—i.e. what is figurative and what is literal. For example, what aspects of the following passage are figurative, and which are literal:

In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.
Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.
There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.
And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.
The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.
Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. (Psalms 18:8-14)

Now, back to what makes God GOD. The Book of Mormon is emphatic that Jesus Christ was fully God (i.e. "one God" with the Father and Holy Ghost), yeah, "the Eternal God", before taking on a human body. As such, I think one must consider that it is not corporeal form which makes each member of the Godhead GOD. I ask: what attributes/properties makes the Father, Son and Holy Ghost "one God"?

I think the early Christians were asking such questions when they reflected on the Scriptures. Though God in a very real sense manifested Himself in corporeal human form, did that human form contribute to His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence—attributes clearly affirmed in the Bible and LDS Triple Combination.

cont'd

David Waltz said...

cont'd

Back to Newman's “preservation of type”. From his section on this note, we read:

>>This [preservation of type] is readily suggested by the analogy of physical growth, which is such that the parts and proportions of the developed form, however altered, correspond to those which belong to its rudiments. The adult animal has the same make, as it had on its birth ; young birds do not grow into fishes, nor does the child degenerate into the brute, wild or domestic, of which he is by inheritance lord. Vincentius of Lerins adopts this illustration in distinct reference to Christian doctrine. "Let the soul's religion," he says, "imitate the law of the body, which, as years go on, developes indeed and opens out its due proportions, and yet remains identically what it was. Small are a baby's limbs, a youth's are larger, yet they are the same.">> (John Henry Newman, An Essay On The Development of Christian Doctrine, 1878 edition, pp. 171, 172)

As the early Christians began to reflect on what makes God GOD, did those reflections—i.e.—"the parts and proportions of the developed form"—"however altered, correspond to those which belong to its rudiments"?


Grace and peace,

David

TOm said...

Hello David and Rory,
I am going to try to catch up with some responses. If I miss something I really shouldn’t feel free to point at it.
David, I think your Bishop Bull quote means that as Bishop Bull surveys the ECF he sees God the Father as non-embodied and God the Son as ALWAYS/ETERNALLY embodied and that thus there was a development at Nicea that asserted that God the Son in His divine nature was just like God the Father, non-corporeal.
I think we have more witness to an embodied God than Bishop Bull appears to acknowledge. As we have looked through Paulsen’s essay and some of the other discussions, rather than the close to zero witness, I think we see a rapid change brought on by how ridiculous it was to believe in an embodied God.
Rory:
Brownson seemed in genuine opposition. I don't know if it was because they disagreed, or because they could foresee the problems it could and did create in the environment of the late 19th Century. Newman opposed the definition of papal infallibility on the grounds that it would be abused and misunderstood. I agree that neither Newman's development nor papal infallibility has been properly appropriated by the Church. Both Newman's theory and the infallibility doctrine have been horribly abused. I think they are both true, but the damage done by simplifications of the nuanced teachings could argue that it might have been better if neither had come to light when they did.

Tom:
The reports of Rome’s “being uncomfortable” I have read would align with the above. I am not sure Brownson’s piece by piece dismantling of Newman’s seven notes would. But, I have come to grips with Newman in general.

I do not think the Biblical texts were routinely edited. I think a good number of ECFs who were so important we have their writings were more than willing to speculate on theological matters. To disagree and argue back and forth. As best I can see for many hundreds of years before Vatican II there was a profound attempt to preserve the faith once delivered. But, I do not think that is as clear in the ECFs. This is important because my point is that Newman’s development theory specifically called into question the differences between Roman Catholic theology and Anglican theology. If you place his development theory over the view I see when I look at the first 300 years of Christianity, I do not think it explains what many of these authors thought Christianity was. Origen (and his teacher Clement of Alexandria) is an important example because he is a big part of the CHANGE that moved to a non-embodied God as I see the debate landscape in the ECF.
I think I will skip Pope Francis for now. He makes me tired.
I hope my next post will be OK. I very much do not agree.
Charity, TOm

TOm said...

Rory, you said, “The most significant point that Muslims, Catholics, and Mormons agree upon is that whatever makes God God, it can't be corporeal.”
David makes a similar point and I think then suggests that “preservation of type” is not violated because the CHANGE/DEVELOPMENT that we are asserting happened was "the parts and proportions of the developed form"—"however altered, correspond to those which belong to its rudiments"?
I think both of you miss that it is not about making the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints palatable to Catholics. I have offered these arguments at Catholic Answers and they don’t work there, but they should.
The Catholic Church rejected with extreme prejudice the idea that God the Father was embodied. It is not that they came to recognize that that which is essential to divinity is not embodiment as LDS should recognize. It is that they wrote and condemned and attacked the mere idea that God the Father was embodied.
It could be argued that a change in emphasis or a deeper realization occurred and the Catholic Church came to realize that divine embodiment was not essential to divinity. But that is not what Origin is saying, not what Augustine is saying, and I do not think that is what the Catholic Church today is saying. They are agreeing with Hellenistic thought that the idea that God has a body is antithetical to divinity. It is unpalatable in the extreme. The dual nature struggles are also associated with tearing Christ’s body from His divine nature. This is not “preservation of type.”
I reproduced a large section of Newman’s “preservation of type” I see the move from believing that God the Father was embodied to believing that anything other than an incorporeal God was unpalatable in the extreme to be precisely the movement from at odds with the culture to in alignment with the culture that Newman claims is not part of “preservation of type” IMO.
I am presently less nuanced than I was a number of months ago when I began this exploration. I do not really understand how you are saying that I should not see this as a glaring violation of preservation of type. It seems very clear to me.

I reject the whole framework and am a LDS. I am happy to grant that that which is essential to divinity in LDS thought is not God’s body. I suspect there are a few incorrect thinkers in LDS history that so emphasized embodiment as to deny what I just said. They were wrong and clearly so IMO. Thus, I do not claim that if I am correct, Catholic and non-LDS Christian misunderstanding in this area will preclude salvation. This type of theological parsing is not IMO properly part of LDS thought anyway.
But I think there was a change in Catholic theology from what the Apostles taught and early Christians believed. This change involved the move to a totally incorporeal God and the rejection of an embodied God. This change IMO was a product of the Greek thought that rejected the idea that it is reasonable to believe in an embodied God. And I do not see how it is “preservation of type.
I hope that is not too horrible.
Charity, TOm

TOm said...

David and Rory,
I just got to go for a bike ride with the dog (new dog 7 months). I was thinking and the below came to me. As I said above, I think what CHANGED/DEVELOPED was that the idea that God was embodied was antithetical to God’s divinity and thus must be expunged from the theology of the church. This IMO is a RADICAL change from what appears to be a common belief that God the Father is embodied. This CHANGE created problems as Christ was being discussed. Ultimately, as Newman relates the laity (those not educated in theological reflection) demanded that Christ was fully divine. And the clergy acknowledged this and set to work on the problem of Christ’s earthly walk. The result was the dual-nature of Christ. I relay this because what I am about to suggest is VERY radical, but I think it should contribute to this discussion.
David said:
As the early Christians began to reflect on what makes God GOD, did those reflections—i.e.—"the parts and proportions of the developed form"—"however altered, correspond to those which belong to its rudiments"?
Could not Francis say:
As we Christians today reflect on what makes human love approach the divine gift of love from God these reflections -i.e- “the parts and proportions of the developed form” – “however altered, correspond to those which belong to its rudiments.” Where the culture of the early church saw only fornication within same sex relationship and rightly condemned such along with heterosexual fornication, we can now recognize the ability to enter into committed and loving partnerships that mirror the Divine love as heterosexual marriage always has (or at least should). Thus, ….
I find Rabbi Sach’s arguments against same sex marriage to be compelling and in truth he changed my mind about where my intellect sans any loyalty to religious authority directed me (I was always on the fence). His ideas which are very Catholic (well very 1950’s Catholic) could be teased out of Tradition and serve as reasons independent of the above “love that approaches divine love” parallel to reject the CHANGE/DEVELOPMENT that I think would mirror the CHANGE/DEVELOPMENT that is the rejections of an embodied God. BUT, it is my opinion that had Bishop Melito and others carried the day and we had 18 centuries of embodiment reflection, there would be parts of Tradition that would be “very Catholic (well very 1950’s Catholic) that could be teased out of Tradition and serve as reasons” to resist the move to an incorporeal God.
“Development” has ALWAYS been a soft word for “change.” And it is true that acorns have the same DNA as oak trees. But I just cannot see how we can stretch Newman’s “preservation of type” into the extreme anti-embodiment of God that the evidence hints at. AND if we do, I do not see any way to draw a line that says well this or that stretch is impossible. I am sure Newman never read Paulsen’s essay. I doubt Newman believed that the earliest Christians believed in an embodied God and this changed. I am sure he was familiar with some of the early church discussions, but the dots are less obvious until someone connects them.
I might mention that there are orthopraxic reasons same sex marriage will not become part of the CoJCoLDS, but unlike some of my co-religionists, I think there is a CHANCE this could happen someday. I think there is a CHANCE it could happen within the Church lead by Pope Francis (I already have a friend at work or brags about his parish and the difference there from normal Catholic parishes with respect to accepting gay people and having gay support groups). I am not sure either will happen and I am not ready to place any bets for either or for timeframes. But, I have determined that this CHANGE would be less problematic for the CoJCoLDS than it would for the Catholic Church. One fellow at Catholic Answers suggests I hold a double standard, but I think we have different foundations that rather clearly produce different degrees of difficulty associated with CHANGE.
Time to think produces obnoxious thoughts.
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...


sorry for being late to this conversation and I just skimmed over comments and I confess I did not the read the article much.

But some comments about development of Doctrine, Newman, etc. reminded me of this from Benedict XVI - IMO, it demonstrates the contradiction of pre-Vatican 2 theology and tradition and Vatican 2 and Post Vatican 2 theology.


https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-emeritus-benedict-says-church-is-now-facing-a-two-sided-deep-crisis

Newman's hypothesis is anachronistic, IMO.

Too many things (man made traditions) went through actually ontological change, in Roman Catholicism.

But Mormonism is polytheistic and a pagan non-Christian religion.

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks much for your last three posts. You have certainly given us much to ponder. I believe the following you wrote is foundational to your position on the issue of doctrinal development concerning the nature of God:

==The Catholic Church rejected with extreme prejudice the idea that God the Father was embodied. It is not that they came to recognize that that which is essential to divinity is not embodiment as LDS should recognize. It is that they wrote and condemned and attacked the mere idea that God the Father was embodied.==

I think a bit of clarification is needed. First, one must distinguish between the type of embodiment that you believe was "rejected with extreme prejudice"—was it a rejection of the Stoic type expounded by Tertullian, or the extreme anthropomorphic type embraced by the desert monks and others? Second, I think it is important to keep in mind that one of the three divine persons of the Catholic Godhead is embodied.

In your last post you wrote:

== “Development” has ALWAYS been a soft word for “change.” And it is true that acorns have the same DNA as oak trees. But I just cannot see how we can stretch Newman’s “preservation of type” into the extreme anti-embodiment of God that the evidence hints at. AND if we do, I do not see any way to draw a line that says well this or that stretch is impossible. I am sure Newman never read Paulsen’s essay. I doubt Newman believed that the earliest Christians believed in an embodied God and this changed. I am sure he was familiar with some of the early church discussions, but the dots are less obvious until someone connects them.==

I am currently working on a new post that may soften your current view of Newman's “preservation of type”. I hope to have it up Saturday; but, until then, would like to point out that the polemic against the notion that God the Father in embodied was a very early position within the Christian paradigm—early second century for sure, and perhaps late first century. This coupled with the ardent belief that God the Son is embodied should give one pause for deeper reflection concerning the issue of doctrinal development in the early Church.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

So good to see you back. Interestingly enough, just a couple of days ago I was updating some of my AF links and discovered that Paul Williams' Blogging Theology site had changed its address. After adding the new link, I scrolled through some of the recent posts and saw that Williams had put up a post referencing Todd Lawson's book, The Crucifixion and the Qur'an (link). I see that you had linked to some of my posts on this issue—mentioning the discussions that you and I had—and that Williams, and the other Muslim commentators, completely ignored a good deal of scholarly folk referenced in those posts. It also seems that Williams pretty much ignored his own words from the opening post:

>>Arranged along historical lines, and covering various Muslim schools of thought, from Sunni to Sufi, The Crucifixion and the Qur’an unravels the crucial dispute that separates the World’s two principal faiths.>>

Anyway, on to your comments; you wrote:

==Newman's hypothesis is anachronistic, IMO.==

Not following what you mean by this; could you clarify what exactly in his theory is " anachronistic"?

== But Mormonism is polytheistic and a pagan non-Christian religion.==

I will let Tom respond to this...


Grace and peace,

David

leeseykay said...

I would like to allow the participants here to critique a proposition that I would like you to consider. It is something new that came to me when I couldn't sleep.

It might be proper for the faithful to hold that to be made in God's image and likeness has, in addition to the spiritual aspects of God's nature, a corporal side. I could be willing to think that it would glorify God, the Author of creation, to also consider God's human nature. After all, our bodies are modeled after His, not the other way around.

From the beginning of Creation, it was in the mind of God to join Himself with matter, and so when He Who Is created Adam, He made Adam in the likeness of a nature that would be in every respect suited to bear the Word, when it became flesh, and dwelt among men.

Of course, we call Jesus the Second Adam, or Last Adam, not because Jesus Christ was made after the corporal likeness of Adam, but because Adam was made after the corporal likeness of the future Son of Man. The creature Adam was in every respect made in such a manner, both physically and spiritually, as to be eligible for the greatest gifts His Maker could give, which was himself in Adam, and Adam in Him.

I will try to complete my thoughts tomorrow if I am interrupted this evening...which I kind of expect. To be continued.

Rory

leeseykay said...

It is important that we recognize the Father who eternally begot the Son, and not the other way around. It is important to recognize that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, and not some other order. David has developed this "Eternal Creation" if you will, following the wisdom of Fathers of the Church, in our studies he has shared on the monarchy of the Father. I need to avoid trying to write a book here. If any would quibble on why it is important that we recognize the order of Persons in "Eternal Creation", I would answer briefly that it must be important, because the Son and Spirit have both come to us to reveal that God is One and God is Three and in what way they are.

If it is important to recognize the correct order for eternal creation, I maybe it is important for us, who live in "temporal Creation", if you will to understand the order, drawing fine lines to discern which Person is primarily active in any particular parts. It never occurred to me to draw fine lines as to which of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity is to be considered responsible for creation in time. Maybe some of you have already decided differently than what I am about to propose.

I suggest it is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, who spoke the universe into existence, and Who spoke to Moses at the burning bush, giving as His name, I am, who Is. Suffice to say that Jesus is the most prominent member of the God head active in "Temporal Creation.

Recently I read St. Ambrose say that it was not the Father, but the Son who spoke to Moses out of the bush. That makes me comfortable when I realize he is a doctor of the Church. I have no idea what scholars today might say. His argument comes mainly from Acts 7, where St. Stephen is describing the event. In another post, we will have to examine Stephen's dying words to his executors more closely, because it is used so much to support the Father being corporal, but also to show why we shouldn't make too many assumptions.

St. Ambrose
It was not the Father Who spake to Moses in the desert, but the Son...This then, is He who gave the Law, Who spake with Moses, saying, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob." This, then, is the God of the patriarchs, this is the God of the prophets.

Rory
I will be saying that if this is so, the absurdity of ascribing humanity to the Father is most compatible with the way God was revealed to the Jews, and how the early Christians would naturally have understood. But when the time came to consider not just the "Temporal Creation", but "Eternal Creation", as revealed by the Word of God with the light of the Holy Ghost, it cannot be maintained that the Principle without a principle should be corporeal. It wouldn't be appropriate at all...

I am called. Tomorrow I hope.

R.

leeseykay said...

"Adam...is a figure of him who was to come." (Rom. 5:14)

Adam isn't so much made after the image of the Father, as he was made more fully after the image of the Son, who was to come, in the flesh and nature of Adam. Adam was created for the very purpose of prefiguring the incarnate Son of God.

It was the will of the Father to allow the Son to create a temporal universe that mirrors that which has existed for eternity. We read specifically of the Son that "All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made." In the language of John ch. 1, there is no other reading possible except to ascribe the meaning of the term Word, to the Son, and God, to the Father. A careful reading gives assurance that temporal creation is revealed to be primarily the work of the Son, or Word. What Father does not enjoy the work of a son at play? Jesus is allowed to create, and wow, how it redounds to the benefit of creatures and to the glory of God!

The principle which brought about "Eternal Creation" is the Father. In time, the principle of "Temporal Creation" is the Son. Human children enjoy play, which is always connected to the activity of their elders. This is a figure of the Son of Man "playing" at creation. I don't want "play" to sound irreverent. In this context there is every dignity as the Son's will corresponds with the Father's that the Son should make a way to expand and communicate the eternal happiness of the divine nature which was given to the Son and to the Spirit.

We have heard stories about playmates who bring children home with them, who are adopted in to the family. This is what Christ sets out to do. Without making us eternal, He wills to bring glory to His Father and eternal joy to us by making us adopted children in to the intimacy of the Eternal Family, the Blessed Trinity. It is the only reason for the universe, the only reason for temporal existence at all...In the Old Testament as in the New, it is Christ revealing to patriarchs, prophets, priests, and finally Apostles, the purpose of this "Temporal Creation".

---more soon

leeseykay said...

According to His infinite wisdom, Christ came in the flesh, to reveal the dignity which was being offered to the children of Adam. Although there are hints in the Old Testament, it wasn't until His Incarnation that our Lord, began to reveal that He, the Author of Creation, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was subservient to God, His Father. This idea was shocking, and even revolting to the Jews. God has a God? God was One, but God was Three? This was a paradox that would be resolved/developed through prayer, meditation and the light of the Holy Spirit in Christ's Church.

This is and was the way in which Christ reveals Himself and His Father to us. He introduces His Father mysteriously and gradually allowing those who love Jesus, the Word and their principle Maker, to
grow to see and love His Father, and the Spirit, who had also been mostly hidden before. When Mary and Joseph sought to find Jesus who had been lost from them for three days, they found Him in the Temple. When told that they had been seeking Him sorrowfully, the youthful Jesus, makes an enigmatic reply that they did not understand. "Did you not know I must be about my Father's business?"

Jesus, it is now revealed, loves everyone with a Sacred Heart, a burning furnace of charity, prefigured by the burning bush which was not consumed. But he doesn't instruct those he loves with simple forthright proclamations of the way things are. Loving Joseph and Mary most tenderly, He submits to them as to God His Father, allowing them to ponder His acts and words so as to discover the truth.

The assignment that was given to the Church was to discover that the God who was prefigured by Adam, had Himself been begotten eternally, from the One true God, who had communicated His very existence to two other Persons. In the meantime, it wasn't a sin, or even harmful to think of God as a man in human terms, so long as it didn't through philosophical speculation, lead to a diminishing of the infinite and eternal attributes which Christ claimed for Himself and His Father and the Spirit in both Testaments.

More later maybe tomorrow...Acts 7...the role of the Paraclete in leading the Church in to truth...and finally, how believing that the Father had a body, is merely mistaking Son for Father. Like Joseph and Mary, it was okay for a while for Christians to not understand every detail about Our Lord and His Father's business. No big deal. There is a resemblance between them after all! Who would be offended?

The explanation for why the Father is incorporeal after all, when some Jews and Christian thought otherwise comes naturally with greater and greater insight in to the Son's creation, and the Father's creation, and "their business" (what they do). It is incomparable to the task of taking a sin against nature, which cries to heaven for vengeance, and "developing" it in to a Sacrament.

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hello Rory and Tom,

Want to thank both of you for your recent comments; I found them to be respectful and thought provoking. I will shortly be publishing a new thread which is related to this one; but, understand that some future comments may remain more appropriate for publication here.

Hope to see more participation from both of you as time allows.


Grace and peace,

David

leeseykay said...

Hi Dave and Tom, and thanks to both of you for helping me think this through. Even more, thanks to St. Ambrose who has really opened my eyes. Most of this is for Tom:

I don't say that there aren't any problems with a development of doctrine from an apparently corporal to an incorporal Father. As I might have said above, I think unknowingly, the Old Testaments saints and early Christians "knew", not the Father, but the Son, and His human nature, was like His redemptive crucifixion. Although, not accomplished in time, both were in the plan of God, and thus in a sense eternally accomplished. Christ came in the New Testament in part, to reveal His Father, who had been mostly hidden, and to make us see the goodness and beauty of the love of the Most Holy Trinity, and to invite us to be his brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters of the Father.

I think that is a plausible way of excusing and developing any mistakes made by the faithful of the New Testament era. In the Old Testament, few would have had the light to even think of Father and Son. There is no way we can say of them that many of them believed that the Father specifically had a body. If they believed "God" had a body, I agree, in the senses I have explained. The God who was revealed to them allowed that they conceive of Him corporally, and it turns out that this Person was not the Father, but was sent by His Father. I hope I appreciate your perspective, Tom. But it seems to have left out some important factors that make the situation less contradictory than might appear at first glance. They correctly and appropriately, conceived of an incarnate God. But He wasn't the Father.

I will simply close by saying that it seems like what has been presented should help make it more transitional for you, more possibly a true development. Surely its got a lot more going for it than a sudden sodomy flip flop?

God bless.

Rory



Ken Temple said...

Hi Ken,

So good to see you back.


Thanks!

Interestingly enough, just a couple of days ago I was updating some of my AF links and discovered that Paul Williams' Blogging Theology site had changed its address. After adding the new link, I scrolled through some of the recent posts and saw that Williams had put up a post referencing Todd Lawson's book, The Crucifixion and the Qur'an (link). I see that you had linked to some of my posts on this issue—mentioning the discussions that you and I had—and that Williams, and the other Muslim commentators, completely ignored a good deal of scholarly folk referenced in those posts. It also seems that Williams pretty much ignored his own words from the opening post:

>>Arranged along historical lines, and covering various Muslim schools of thought, from Sunni to Sufi, The Crucifixion and the Qur’an unravels the crucial dispute that separates the World’s two principal faiths.>>


Yes, Ijaz Ahmad took over Paul's old "bloggingtheolgy" site and locked Paul out, and they had a big fight. (after Paul allowed him to come in and be the administrator)

Glad you saw that discussion about Lawson's book. Yes, he kept avoiding the issues that you brought up. Oh well.


Anyway, on to your comments; you wrote:

==Newman's hypothesis is anachronistic, IMO.==

Not following what you mean by this; could you clarify what exactly in his theory is " anachronistic"?


Is that not self-explanatory, from a Protestant viewpoint? His "acorn to oak tree" development hypothesis created a lot of creativity to then read things like Purgatory (400s in a few comments/ opinions by Augustine, but really developed from 600s AD onward beginning with Gregory (Jacques Le Goff, the Birth of Purgatory), Transubstantiation (1215), Trent (1545-1563), Immaculate conception (1854) and Papal Infallibility (1870) back into the early centuries.



David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for taking the time to bring me up to date on the 'Blogging Theology' site, and your clarification of my question to you. In your reply, you wrote:

==Is that not self-explanatory, from a Protestant viewpoint? His "acorn to oak tree" development hypothesis created a lot of creativity to then read things like Purgatory (400s in a few comments/ opinions by Augustine, but really developed from 600s AD onward beginning with Gregory (Jacques Le Goff, the Birth of Purgatory), Transubstantiation (1215), Trent (1545-1563), Immaculate conception (1854) and Papal Infallibility (1870) back into the early centuries.==

It was Newman himself who criticized many Anglican and Catholic theologians of his day for their anachronistic readings of the Church Fathers. Newman's argument was that one should not expect to find fully developed doctrinal readings in "the early centuries". Newman's theory of development consistently argues against anachronism. Have you actually read his entire book on development?

Unfortunately, many current-day Catholic apologists have failed to integrate Newman's sharp criticisms; but then, the same can be said of many Protestant readings of the Church Fathers.


Grace and peace,

David

leeseykay said...

Hi Ken,

Maybe you care about history a little more than lot of Baptists. I have told my church history story here a lot of times, so I won't repeat it again. Instead, I will borrow from Newman a part of a saying that cannot be argued with. My Baptist history professor, laboring under a heavy burden to show otherwise, would have had to agree with Newman: "Whatever history teaches...the history of Christianity is not Protestant." The meaning of the word Protestant in that expression would include Mennonites and others who would object to being labelled as Protestant. Newman was speaking of non-Catholic/non-Orthodox Christianity. They all lack historical continuity to the Apostolic Age.

Let's look at your list of Newman's failures to establish legitimate development regarding Purgatory, Transubstantiation, all of the Council of Trent (!), the Immaculate Conception, and Papal Infallibility. Are you seriously suggesting that up through the patristic age, that the Church believed more like you do now than what Catholics believe now? I wouldn't criticize Newman's theory to have failed unless you are prepared to show us how your own beliefs are closer to the teachings of the post-apostolic church.

----continued

leeseykay said...

1) You deny purgatory and along with it, and apparently, any value to doing penance for the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, the foundation for the necessary existence of a purging for that which was unremitted before death before the Beatific Vision. Do you think history teaches what you believe about that? If you object to purgatory, you have to object to any idea except that no matter how unworthily a regenerated person lives, that they shoot straight in to God's holy presence after death to begin a blissful eternity without experiencing the slightest discomfort that would atone for a poorly lived life. I realize now that I believed in purgatory as a Baptist. Of course I was obliged to reject it in name because Catholics believed in it. But I digress. Moving on...

2) You deny transubstantiation, along with the idea that there is any kind of ontological change to the bread and wine that is consecrated by a minister reciting the words of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper in order that the Christians may "fix our teeth in His flesh". What historical theory develops that concept in to what you believe about the Lord's Supper?

3) You deny the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. You also deny any value to consecrated virginity. You think it absurd that the spouse of Mary would be so awed at the virgin birth and the holiness of the Creator of the universe who chose to dwell in her womb, that he could possibly have considered it inapropriate under the circumstances, to claim the rights of a husband. Do you think the early church believed more like you do about Mary the Sinner having more children with Joseph? Is your historical view of the situation that the early Fathers were more inclined to what you believe or what Catholics believe? Is your view more of the acorn to the oak than the Immaculate Conception?

4) You don't like papal infallibility. Guess what, I am not very fond of it either, at least not without a lot more clarification. That said, I would argue strongly that our view of the need for apostolic succession, the authority of the apostolic churches, Rome in particular, along with a recognition of the bishop of that city as successor of Peter, makes papal infallibility much more possible to maintain as an historical development than what you believe, which is none of the rest that comes from above either.

----continued

leeseykay said...

You wonder why David and I have taken LDS claims seriously. It is because they take church history seriously. Like them, you need some theory, whether you want to call it "apostasy" or not, that explains why "whatever history teaches...the history of Christianity is not Protestant".

Let me say to you Ken, and to Tom, as well as any other lurkers here, that I have little interest in what Mormonism teaches. I have picked up a lot here and there, but it is incidental to the only thing that matters to me, the apostasy question. The same thing applies to all Christians including you and the Catholics. How can they explain how their church gets from what the apostolic churches believed in the 2nd Century to today?

The church that can show themselves to have done it, already has my heart and soul. Were it otherwise, I would submit my judgment in faith to its holy and apostolic teaching authority whether it were Orthodox, LDS, or Baptist, etc.

Regards,

Rory