Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sports Mad America

Sports have a stranglehold on the heart and mind of our culture and people need to be made aware of this. As predicted by the Popes of the last few centuries, as Secularism continued to take hold, mankind would begin to think less about the eternal dimension of their life (especially religious obligations) and focus solely on the temporal aspects (life's pleasures). While fewer and fewer parents have the energy or willpower to get to Mass on Sunday, pray as a family, or even eat together, they have almost limitless energy for getting up early on Sunday to watch football or get their kids to practice every night so that they can play in the game by the end of the week. Anyone who takes a step back and looks at this situation can see the insanity - and sinfulness - of it all.

Unfortunately, I have to make this disclaimer, though most people reading should already understand this: Sports are not evil, and in fact some benefits can be derived from them. Popes have even suggested that, within key limits, sports are a good outlet for males and foster bonding, which is true. The problem is most people don't take this in the proper context, and as a result end up eclipsing the more important aspects of life (i.e. religion and family).

Those who think that history does not repeat itself need look no further than the pagan Empires of Greece and Rome, which had their own sports teams and arenas. What is often forgotten about in our secularized culture is that sports originally were centered around worship of the human body and pagan gods. In other words, it's origins center around idolatry. But being secularlized doesn't mean the 'religious pagan aspect' has totally vanished, for there still remains a "cult of the body" (i.e. worship of athletic talents and good looks) that is alive and stronger than ever today. This is thanks to the break down of family, loss of religion, the advent of mass media, mass transportation, as well as the rise of feminism. Today sports have become an unhealthy and even unChristian obsession, including a very pagan and idolatrous dimension.

Cross-referencing the subject of man being made in the Image of God and thus naturally inclined towards union with God, the Catechism speaks on the sin of idolatry:
Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. (CCC#2113)
Such elements are clearly present in the modern concept of sports. This paragraph, likewise, cross-references to the subject of sports:
If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for its sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports. By its selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception can lead to the perversion of human relationships. (CCC#2289)
Not only is the "cult of the body" (a form of idolatry) present, but "the perversion of human relationships." The latter naturally lends itself to creating relationships along the lines of competition and success, leaving the 'weak' and 'loser' to be neglected as humans. This entails that if one isn't good at sports or good looking, they're naturally 'inferior' and not worth relating with. How often do we see cities and schools exalted or mocked based simply on how good their sports team is? And notice how modern "heroes" are not the Catholic saints, but the celebrities and sports stars. We even regularly hear people call their favorite celebrity or sports star their "idol" (which culturally has gone beyond a simple expression).

For all of our modern obsession with science, what our culture refuses to tell us - blinded as it is by sin and deviance - is that sports are fundamentally unnatural. The body was never meant to undergo regular sessions of 'cardio workouts' (which unnaturally speed up and slow down the heart) and recreational running/jogging (which wear out and damage knee and ankle joints), much less getting hit and elbowed in the face (e.g. basketball), or even slam-tackled (football). Contrary to the notion that sports promote "good health," sports related injuries are very common, and often these injuries far outweigh any health benefits. Yet what is the most common response? It's right out of paganism: "at least he got hurt doing what he loved" - as if sacrificing on the pagan altar of pleasure and (not so common) victory was worth the cost of the injury. We all know people who have been injured playing sports (often simply doing routeing moves), and even though we don't bring this up for the sake of being sensitive, we (and they know) that the injury wasn't worth it. I know people young and old who have had to have serious surgeries and will carry these injuries the rest of their life, be they damaged joints, metal rods in their arms/legs, concussions, etc. I feel sad when I hear them talk about how much pain they're in or how they cannot do this or that simply because of an old sports injury (it pains me even more when they refuse to accept the fact it wasn't worth it). Good health is simply a matter of good eating, good company, spiritual exercises, and activities like simple walks - no sports required. 

To make matters worse, there are even sports where the primary goal is to injure your "opponent" (e.g. boxing, cage fighting). Any Christian should be able to see the total barbarism and unChristian spirit such violent and dehumanizing events, but sadly many don't. This can even be carried over to many "extreme sports" that are by definition centered around dangerous activities (e.g. jumping off cliffs), which are also sinful because they treat life without sacredness and put pleasure and success as the ultimate goal. And what many parents don't know is that even if the sport isn't about hurting the other team, there is always a troubled child on the opposing end that has no problem taking out his anger or frustration on your child (and all it takes is one time). That alone should have parents be on extreme caution. 

Along the lines of debasing the value of life and relationships comes the loss of shame and decency. For example, cheerleading is often thought to be an innocent sideline sport to football, but really cheerleading is of pagan origin and not really about sports at all. It's origins are from female flaunting of their body to stimulate sexual temptations in order to 'urge on' their men, but astute Catholics can see this is wrong and degrades women. A similar (even more disturbing) thing can be said about how people are taught to act and behave in the locker room, particularly getting undressed infront of other people as if it's no big deal (when in fact it's very damaging). It is well known that many very lewd jokes and gestures go on in locker rooms precisely because of the fact people are undressed (and even shower) in front of eachother, where not only is shame and decency totally abandoned, it even fosters temptations like child abuse. This is right out of pagan Greek and Roman sports, where pedophila and homosexuality were encouraged in their changing rooms.

Next there is the time commitment. Do the math: If a child has practice 3 days per week from 5-6pm, with a game on the weekend, then 4 days of that week are effectively blocked out, including missing out on family meals and busy weekends. Not only that, but the child comes home too tired to do homework or other family activities. Just as serious is the fact one of the parents will likely have to do the driving, meaning one of the parents also must be gone during the important hours at the end of the day when their family needs them most. This isn't rocket-science, the results are plain: the entire household is thrown into serious chaos with just a single child in sports. Now add to this this, say there are 2 or 3 children in sports, and you've exponentially increased the chaos in the family. That's the reality, and it's totally insane.

Who is to blame here? Ultimately, the parents, who see nothing wrong with it and even encourage it. But most parents simply don't know any better, and get their conditioning (no pun intended) from the schools and media. This is undoubtedly because we live in an age where pleasure seeking is the highest good, and religion (i.e. worship of God) is an afterthought. The result is smaller families (so there is more time and money to "have fun") and less of a long-term outlook on life. And the media simply plays on these fantasies. Just look at how much hype there is surrounding games, including the hours leading up to the game purely speculating on what will happen, as well as hours after the game repeating what already happened. A typical NFL game is about 3 hours long, including tons of advertisements full of sin and vices, with a 1-hour 'pre-game' show and 1-hour 'post-game' recap. That's 5 hours in front of the TV for what really isn't that important, and often takes priority over Mass.

The school system actually does society a great disservice in this regard, because they are designed to not teach children about religion and higher duties of life, and have no problem flooding families with numerous year-round after school sports activities. And this leads to another problem, which is conditioning society to think about College in terms of sports-scholarships and good athletic programs. Think about it: how many colleges are tightly wrapped up and consumed with sporting events while promoting virtue and moderation are not even on the radar? Many big name modern Colleges are literally built around their massive athletic programs and the revenues that flow from it. Is that really what College is about? No wonder the College environments are so full of sin and children are so confused; it's because the philosophical environment is one of secularist hedonism. Ironically, the very term "gymnasium" has historically meant a place for intellectual exercises and growth, where as in America the term is exclusively used for physical activities.

The last important aspect I will look at is is the influence of feminism. With the rise of 'woman-power' came the 'competition' to be as good as (or better) than males at everything, including sports. As a result, women's sports needed to be equally funded and promoted. The result was that women began acting more and more like men, and lost their sense of femininity both physically and psychologically. Even the uniforms they have to wear often amount to immodest dress, with short shorts, sports-bras showing, etc. People say sports help reduce health problems like obesity, but what they don't realize is that most health problems are the result of mothers not being available for their kids at home. Think about it, if a child doesn't have time for family dinner, then the parent is forced to have them eat fast food, give them unhealthy sports drinks and snacks, and abandon the rest of the family at home to physically and emotionally fend for themselves. The mistakes and ramifications of the past generations have been sadly seen and felt, which is why more women today are rejecting the feminist role which looks down upon motherhood and caring for family.

There are very practical cures for this disease that I believe are worth sharing, and which people will agree with if they simply stop and let the initial shock pass. First of all, don't be on someone's agenda: if they schedule games on Sunday, don't participate; if they demand a strict practice regimen that makes them more of a parent than you, don't participate. Families need to be strong enough to say "No" and even get themselves off the rat-race and hamster-wheel if they're currently on it. Second of all, do the math: calculate how much time it consumes and whether you and your family really have the energy for it; consider whether it will prevent a parent from being able to take care of the rest of the family; consider the cost of gas and eating out; and consider the risks to health and development. You will see there really isn't enough time and energy. Third, put your Catholic faith first: this means promoting family time, promote decency, watch as little TV as possible, promote the father's role as head of the family, and promoting activities that foster large families. The result of this will force sports into their right and natural place as a backyard or neighborhood activity.

What amuses me about subjects like these is that most people avoid talking or blogging about them because they are "too controversial." But really, it's topics like these that many Catholics are eager to hear about and which promote proper thinking about faith and life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Filioque proved in Revelation 22:1

[Update 4-21-12, big find by Steven in the comment box]

The other day I decided to look into the Filioque - the part of the Nicene Creed that says the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father "and the Son" - and as I was casually looking at how the Greek term "proceeds" is used in the New Testament, I came across a fascinating verse in Revelation 22:1. It turns out other people have noticed this as well, but to my amazement I couldn't find any Catholic apologetics articles spreading the news. One blogger who is Eastern Orthodox and strongly advocates reuniting with Rome based on many good arguments actually made some brilliant observations about Revelation 22:1, which I think deserve more recognition and thus will reproduce here along with my other findings. As I continue to look into this verse, I believe this verse has the potential to move mountains in terms of steps to bringing the Eastern Orthodox back into communion with the Catholic Church. I say this because I've become convinced this verse is solid Scriptural proof that the Filioque is true.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What would Mr Robinson Do? (Did St Maximus really abandon Rome?)

The Sixth Ecumenical Council assembled in 680 A.D. to deal with the Monothelite heresy. In the course of condemning this error, the Council also condemned various men who played a role in propagating this heresy, including Pope Honorius. Throughout history, Protestants and Eastern Orthodox have pointed to this situation as definitive proof that the Pope is not infallible, and that he can even be overturned by an Ecumenical Council. On the surface, that sounds like quite an indictment, but the details reveal a different picture. (NB: The example of Honorius is a favorite for Catholic agitators because it's one of the extremely few situations in 2,000 years of Church history where they have any hope of making a case against the Papacy.) Now, many Catholics have already written in defense of Honorius and how this example doesn't undermine the Papacy, so I only want to touch upon certain key details rather than write a lengthy post repeating what's already been done in service to the Church. In particular, I want to address an objection made by an Eastern Orthodox apologist named Perry Robinson in his article, "What would Mr Newman Do?"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Augustine: The (Lost) Fourth Chapter?

It is not uncommon for Eastern Orthodox (and even some Protestants) to say Saint Augustine was one of the worst heretics in all of Church history. Of course, some don't go so far as to make that an explicit charge, but they'll make all sorts of allusions to the fact, often by saying a certain teaching is one of the most pernicious heresies ever and connecting that back to something Augustine taught.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The definitive Paul vs James debate: the end of Protestantism is near!

I happened across one of the most astonishing admissions in the history of Reformed Protestant scholarship. One of the most renowned Reformed scholars, Dr. Buchanan, said this in his 400 page tome, The Doctrine of Justification:
'There is not in all the Scriptures,' says one [opponent], 'an instance in which one man's sin or righteousness is said to be imputed to another. There is not in all the Bible one assertion that Adam's sin, or Christ's righteousness, is imputed to us; nor one declaration that any man's sin is ever imputed by God or man to another man. Having followed (the Hebrew and Greek verbs) through the concordances, I hesitate not to challenge a single example which is fairly of this nature in all the Bible.'
These are bold statements, and may seem to imply a denial of the doctrine, as well as a criticism on the term, by which it has been usually expressed; but we refer at present only to the latter. Every reader of his English Bible, without the aid of critical scholarship, may discover,—and it has never been denied, so far as we know, by any competent divine,—that the verbs in question are applicable to cases, in which that which is imputed to any one was personally his own beforehand,—that one man, for instance, who is righteous, is reckoned and treated as righteous; and that another man who is wicked, is reckoned and treated as wicked. But the question is, Whether the same verbs may not be equally applicable to other cases, in which that which is imputed to him was not personally his own, and did not previously belong to him, but became his only by its being put down to his account?
The debt due, and the wrong done, by Onesimus to Philemon, were not chargeable against Paul personally or previously, but he became chargeable with them simply by their being imputed to him: 'If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account,' or 'impute that to me;' 'I will repay it.' In like manner, 'He, who knew no sin, was made sin for us,' and 'bore our sins in His own body on the tree,'—not that our sins were chargeable against Him personally or previously, but they became His by imputation on God's part, and voluntary susception on His own. If it be said, that the mere word 'impute' is not employed in this case, it may be asked, whether there be any other which could more accurately express the fact, if it be a fact; and whether the word itself is not used in a parallel case, when God is said 'to impute righteousness without works,' as often as 'He justifieth the ungodly?' (Part II, Lecture XII, Proposition XVII)
This quote is astonishing for in it contains a hidden admission that Protestantism is founded upon a grand scam, one of the greatest cover-ups in Christian history. This admission by Buchanan actually surpasses the admission by Dr Albert Barnes (which I also commented upon Here).

Buchanan starts off by quoting an opponent who claims that the Bible never teaches: (a) Adam's sin was imputed to us; (b) Christ's Righteousness was imputed to us; (c) our sins were imputed to Christ. Further, the opponent claims there is not a single example of the Biblical Greek or Hebrew terms for "impute" ever being used in such manner.

"These are bold statements," Buchanan admits. And Buchanan says this for good reason: this claim, if true, refutes the entire doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone.

Notice how Buchanan proceeds to "address" this objection. He begins by admitting that the term "impute," as used in Scripture, is often applied to situations where someone is imputed (or reckoned) to be (or have) something that he actually was (or actually did have). In his words, the Bible uses "impute" in such a way as to say someone who is actually righteous is reckoned and treated as righteous. The only question, Buchanan proceeds to raise, is whether "impute" is used to mean something is imputed to someone that doesn't actually belong to that person. Here is where the great scam takes place.

As Buchanan's sole and definitive proof that the Bible uses "impute" to support the Protestant position, Buchanan references the situation of Philemon 1:18, where Paul tells Philemon to "charge" (impute) any debts of Onesimus to Paul's account instead. What Buchanan hides from the reader (recall he said this was basic enough for a layman reading an English Bible) is that the term for "impute" in Philemon is the Greek word ellogeo, which is only used one other (non-relevant) place in Scripture! In other words, this isn't even the same Greek word for "impute" - the Greek word logizomai - that the New Testament uses almost 40 times, and which Paul uses about 30 times, including when speaking of "reckoned as righteousness". It is a classical scam of bait-and-switch: starting off speaking of one issue, but then shifting the focus onto a second (unrelated) issue.

By Buchanan's own admission, though totally indirect, he couldn't even come up with a true counter-example to what his opponent originally charged. And if that wasn't enough, he "concludes" by admitting that even though the term "impute" is never actually used in the cases of Adam's sin to us or our sin to Christ, we none the less can assume (fallaciously begging the question) that this concept is taught using other language. I've seen this very same argument and logic used by Charles Hodge, James White, and William Webster, to name a few.

When I say this is one of the biggest cover-ups in Christian history, I don't say that lightly. This is about scholars who end up shamelessly hiding the truth, even in the midst of unwittingly admitting their Justification thesis is bad, and in a desperate attempt to defend it they end up employing the most absurd and false arguments. This information is so damning that as the word continues to spread, more and more 'aware' Protestants will leave Protestantism, while their apologists will eventually have to face up to these facts as well. It is because of issues like these that I believe we are living in the last days of Protestantism.

Help spread the word!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The blasphemous foundations of Mormonism

Mormonism is a popular subject right now, not only because a popular presidential candidate named Mitt Romney is a Mormon, but most especially because the Mormon church has a major internet campaign going to promote Mormonism. More and more advertisements (especially on Google and major social networking sites) are promoting a church that appears welcoming and offers a very family friendly environment. Sadly, many will be deceived by Mormonism's glitter, but a semi-informed individual will not be caught off guard. The purpose of this post is to point out serious problems within Mormon theology and practice. Some of these you might have seen before, while others you might not have seen. The errors in Mormonism easily rival the errors of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One of my BIGGEST finds ever - a Protestant scholar refutes Sola Fide!

In the middle of writing another post refuting Sola Fide, I came across a popular Protestant Commentary that said something I never thought I'd see in a Protestant Commentary.

Presbyterian theologian Albert Barnes wrote a hugely popular Commentary on the New Testament. Though he apparently later on taught some unorthodox Protestant doctrines, his reputation became somewhat tarnished, but his Commentary does not seem to have received much criticism considering it's still widely popular. When I took a look at what he said in regards to Romans 4:3, I nearly fell off my seat. Since his comments are relatively long for this short post, I'll condense it and add my own emphasis (Full Source Here):
Abraham believed God - The faith which Abraham exercised was, that his posterity should be like the stars of heaven in number. This promise was made to him when he had no child, and of course when he had no prospect of such a posterity. See the strength and nature of this faith further illustrated in Romans 4:16-21. The reason why it was counted to him for righteousness was, that it was such a strong, direct, and unwavering act of confidence in the promise of God.

And it - The word "it" here evidently refers to the act of believing. It does not refer to the righteousness of another - of God, or of the Messiah; but the discussion is solely of the strong act of Abraham's faith, which in some sense was counted to him for righteousness. In what sense this was, is explained directly after. All that is material to remark here is, that the act of Abraham, the strong confidence of his mind in the promises of God, his unwavering assurance that what God had promised he would perform, was reckoned for righteousness. The same thing is more fully expressed in Romans 4:18-22. When therefore it is said that the righteousness of Christ is accounted or imputed to us; when it is said that his merits are transferred and reckoned as ours; whatever may be the truth of the doctrine, it cannot be defended by "this" passage of Scripture.

Was counted - ἐλογίσθη elogigisthē. The same word in Romans 4:22, is is rendered "it was imputed." The word occurs frequently in the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, the verb חשׁב chaashab, which which is translated by the word λογίζομαι logizomai, means literally, "to think, to intend," or "purpose; to imagine, invent," or "devise; to reckon," or "account; to esteem; to impute," that is, to impute to a man what belongs to himself, or what "ought" to be imputed to him. It occurs only in the following places: Psalm 32:2; Psalm 35:4; Isaiah 10:7; Job 19:11; Job 33:10; Genesis 16:6; Genesis 38:15; 1 Samuel 1:13; Psalm 52:4; Jeremiah 18:18; Zechariah 7:10; Job 6:26; Job 19:16; Isaiah 13:17; 1 Kings 10:21; Numbers 18:27, Numbers 18:30; Psalm 88:4; Isaiah 40:17; Lamentations 4:2; Isaiah 40:15; Genesis 31:16. I have examined all the passages, and as the result of my examination have come to the conclusion, that there is not one in which the word is used in the sense of reckoning or imputing to a man what does not strictly belong to him; or of charging on him what ought not to be charged on him as a matter of personal right. The word is never used to denote imputing in the sense of transferring, or of charging that on one which does not properly belong to him. The same is the case in the New Testament. The word occurs about forty times (see "Schmidius' Concord)," and, in a similar signification. No doctrine of transferring, or of setting over to a man what does not properly belong to him, be it sin or holiness, can be derived, therefore, from this word. Whatever is meant by it here, it evidently is declared that the act of believing is what is intended, both by Moses and by Paul.

For righteousness - In order to justification; or to regard and treat him in connection with this as a righteous man; as one who was admitted to the favor and friendship of God. 
While Barnes says other things here that I did not quote (for the sake of brevity) that could be sufficient to keep him within the realm of Protestant orthodoxy on this matter, what I have quoted ultimately cripples the Protestant attempts to point to Romans 4 as proof for Sola Fide. In regards to what I did quote and highlight, I have been saying these same thing for years (see This Document as one of many examples), but not getting much feedback from Protestants (or even Catholics!). I and a few other Catholics have been striving to point out that the Hebrew and Greek terms popularly translated as reckon, count, impute, etc, speak principally about what something is in itself and thus being treated according to what that object really is. It is a term that has nothing to do with "transferring" or even (graciously) counting something other than what it really is. Now that I found a Protestant theologian who says this in a popular commentary, I see this as confirmation of what I and other Catholics have been saying all along. I would just hope many Catholics reading this get on board and spread the word!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Protestant show stopper: Psalm 106:30f

If you want to pull the rug out from out under a Protestant, ask them to tell you what Psalm 106:30-31 means,
Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stayed.
And that was counted to him as righteousness [ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην] from generation to generation forever.
As will be shown, this is one of the most devastating verses for Sola Fide in the whole Bible. It's right up there along with James 2:24 and Romans 10:9-10 (see this article and this article). I personally believe it has more to offer than those other passages because it hits the Protestant where he least expects it.

Most people have never seen Psalm 106:30-31, and the tiny minority of Protestants who do know about it keep it under tight wraps. Why? Because it targets one of their most "sacred" passages in Scripture, Romans 4:3-5 quoting Genesis 15:6 (Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness - ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην), and utterly demolishes their entire understanding of it. (In case you didn't notice, both verses use the identical Greek phrase for "credited as righteousness".)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Does Saint Paul have his own "Not by Faith Alone" verse?

In Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV) we read:

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness*, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Plainly read: to be "saved" you must "confess" and "believe". Obviously, "salvation by faith alone" is ruled out here. But surely there is a Protestant answer to this, for now it appears Saint Paul has his own "Not By Faith Alone" verse (since we already know Saint James has his own)!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Little Flower and the Death Penalty

In her famous biography, The Story of a Soul (selling millions of copies even today), St Therese of Lisieux (affectionately referred to as "The Little Flower") recounts a time in her life when she first became conscious of her duty to look out for the salvation of her fellow citizens:
In order still further to enkindle my ardour, Our Divine Master soon proved to me how pleasing to him was my desire. Just then I heard much talk of a notorious criminal, Pranzini, who was sentenced to death for several shocking murders, and, as he was quite impenitent, everyone feared he would be eternally lost. How I longed to avert this irreparable calamity! In order to do so I employed all the spiritual means I could think of, and, knowing that my own efforts were unavailing, I offered for his pardon the infinite merits of Our Saviour and the treasures of Holy Church.

... I said in all simplicity: "My God, I am quite sure that Thou wilt pardon this unhappy Pranzini. I should still think so if he did not confess his sins or give any sign of sorrow, because I have such confidence in Thy unbounded Mercy; but this is my first sinner, and therefore I beg for just one sign of repentance to reassure me." My prayer was granted to the letter.

The day after his execution I hastily opened the paper, La Croix, and what did I see? Tears betrayed my emotion; I was obliged to run out of the room. Pranzini had mounted the scaffold without confessing or receiving absolution, and the executioners were already dragging him towards the fatal block, when all at once, apparently in answer to a sudden inspiration, he turned round, seized the crucifix which the Priest was offering to him, and kissed Our Lord's Sacred Wounds three times. . . . I had obtained the sign I asked for, and to me it was especially sweet. (Chapter 5)
Look at this beautiful act of Love and Mercy that brought true Peace to all parties involved! This "little giant" of a Saint sure knew how to put things in perspective and bring justice and peace to society! But how can this be if she stood by and let him receive the death penalty? How could this Doctor of the Church fail to uphold the sanctity of life? Something must be wrong.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Habemus altare! - We have an Altar!

[UPDATED: See the quote at the end.]

Most people are aware of the slogan "Habemus Papam!" when a new Pope is elected; it means "We have a Pope!" In the case of this post, I'm going to be taking a look at Hebrews 13:10, in which "Habemus altare" appears in the Latin Vulgate translation of the first few words of that verse:
We have an altar whereof they have no power to eat who serve the tabernacle.
While Catholics have pointed out this verse various times in history, particularly against Protestants who reject the Mass is a Sacrifice, I felt it necessary to comment upon it myself since I've not seen a detailed examination of it, only casual references.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The wishy-washy "Protestant-ethos" in Eastern Orthodox moral teaching

[I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted. I've been very busy (and still am). I'm not the type to post too frequently (I believe it leads to burn-out), but a few posts a month is not asking too much. It seems that I have a lot of posts in the "drafts" box that I never seem to have the time to finish up, and though this post was not an exception, I want to post something so I've decided to post what I do have on this subject.]

Posts like these cause me heart-ache because they discuss problems that really shouldn't exist, but do. In this instance, I've been delving more deeply into various official Eastern Orthodox websites trying to find "definitive" answers to common moral problems, particularly abortion, divorce, and contraception. In each case I find answers that are a mixture of indecisiveness, uncertainty, and wishy-washy reasoning that resembles the Protestant ethos where morality is subjective and "based" more on the individual level of Priest-Bishop-Patriarchate than that of a unified and definitive voice for Christendom.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Examples of Individuals Losing Salvation in Scripture

One of the most effective ways of refuting the Protestant (particularly Calvinist) heresy of Eternal Security (aka Once Saved Always Saved) is to point out some examples of individuals in Scripture who at one point in their life were saved but then lost their salvation through grave sin (whether they repented or not is outside the scope of this brief article). The following list is by no means exhaustive, and I welcome any suggestions for other examples.

King Uzziah:

I have to credit Dave Armstrong (bookmark him!) with pointing this example out to me a while ago. 2nd Chronicles 26 records the following about this man:
3Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. 4And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. 5He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper. ...  16But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. ... 20And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the LORD had struck him. 21 And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the LORD.

Clearly, there was a time when Uzziah was living in God's favor, with no indication this was disingenuous. Yet, he "grew proud, to his destruction" to the point he was struck by God and never healed. (This is in contrast to those who have sinned and have healed after repenting.) This can only signify that Uzziah lost his salvation, and goes directly against the Protestant notion that good works will automatically flow. I'm sure there are similar situations for other OT Kings who at one point lived uprightly but then became corrupt.

King David:

Everyone is familiar with David's infamous sin with Bathsheba (adultery) and Uriah (murder). This was one of the most infamous and tarnishing sins in the OT, particularly because David was such a holy man (1 Kings 15:5). St Paul quotes David's repentance (in Psalm 32) in Romans 4:6-8 and calls that a moment of justification, and since David wasn't converting (for the first time) there, it can only mean his justification was lost. Indeed, Martin Luther's famous document, the Smalcald Articles (enshrined as part of the Lutheran Book of Concord) says this about the matter:
It is, accordingly, necessary to know and to teach that when holy men, still having and feeling original sin, also daily repenting of and striving with it, happen to fall into manifest sins, as David into adultery, murder, and blasphemy, that then faith and the Holy Ghost has departed from them. (Section 3:3:43)
This is very similar in essence to the Catholic teaching regarding Mortal Sin.

St Peter:

In Matthew 26:33-34 we hear Christ reveal that Peter will deny Him three times. We know this denial of Christ was influenced by Satan, but Jesus prayed that Peter would have the grace to repent afterwards and be converted (Luke 22:31-32). This is clear language of losing salvation and recovering it, especially considering denying Jesus is one of the worst sins a person can commit (Matthew 10:33).

Judas Iscariot:

This is one example in which Protestants give much opposition, since they claim Judas couldn't have been saved in the first place, since no true believer could do what he did. On top of this, their favorite proof text is John 17:12,
While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
However, if you read this carefully, it is saying Jesus protected all 12 Apostles, and that one became "lost" (indicating there was a time he was not lost). But that's not all the data we have to consider. In John 6:70-71, Jesus says:
70Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil." 71He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
Here it shows Judas was one of the Twelve, chosen by Jesus. It's impossible to be an Apostle if one is not a true believer. If the Protestant position were correct, the Bible could only have said Eleven were Apostles. Acts 1:17 says Judas "was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry," and Acts 1:24-25 records the replacing of Judas by Matthias, when Peter says they need a person to "take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside." Judas had a place and apostleship, and was originally out with the Twelve, undistinguished, performing the same miracles and having power to cast out demons (e.g. Mark 6:7-13; Matthew 10:1-4). And most of the time when Judas is mentioned, his infamy traces to one thing: his future betrayal of Jesus, not some non-converted status he had the whole time. It is only in John 13 where we see Satan "entered Judas," indicating Judas consented to the betray but up until then Judas was not possessed by Satan.

The final point to consider is a very important detail which a Catholic apologist recently pointed out (bookmark his blog!) in an article he wrote on this subject. Jesus quotes a prophecy in regards to Judas in John 13:18, "But the Scripture will be fulfilled, 'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.'" To share bread with someone in the Hebrew mindset indicates an intimate relationship; something impossible if Judas was never a believer to begin with. But that's not all, most of us forget to look up the prophecy Jesus is quoting, which happens to be Psalm 41:9, which says: "Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me." What a new picture emerges after reading this! Indeed, the idea that Judas was so close to Jesus up until then shows just how serious and enormous the betrayal was, since the worst betrayals are those from the people closest to you. Jesus even calls him 'friend' at the moment of betrayal (Matthew 26:49-50)!

Ananias and Sapphira:

The infamous account of this lie (and subsequent punishment by death) by a newly converted husband and wife is recorded in Acts 5. This story is actually a continuation of Acts 4:32-37, which shows how the first Christian community supported eachother such that nobody was needy. The account begins by contrasting their story to that of Barnabas' (in the previous verses), showing how the couple sold some of their property and were donating (some of) the proceeds to the Apostles for charity. This act makes no sense if they were indeed never believers in the first place, nor does Peter's rebuke of them indicate they were imposters or never true believers. Indeed, the only indication of sin was at the point of laying it at the Apostle's feet, not before, since Peter says the money was theirs all along and were free to use it as they pleased. Lastly, the account says a "great fear" came over the Church as a result of this, indicating this divine judgment was a warning to them; otherwise there would be no need to fear in that regard.

Simon Magus:

In Acts 8:9-24 is the account of Simon Magus trying to bribe the Apostles after seeing the miracles they could perform. In verse 12-13, it plainly says many men heard Philip preach and were converted, and that even Simon Magus "believed and was baptized" and followed Philip. When Peter and John arrived to give the Sacrament of Confirmation, Simon Magus became envious and wanted this 'power'. Peter rebukes him by saying: "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you." Clearly, Simon had fallen away and was in danger of damnation, unless he repented of that sin. The only 'excuse' a Protestant could make is that Simon's belief and baptism recorded in Scripture must have been fake, but this is pure assumption without any warrant in the text. Further, that excuse fails to consider that Peter was rebuking Simon Magus for a specific sin, and told him to repent, not saying that he never believed in the first place.


I found this account by accident, but it's still worthy of mention. Demas appears 3 times in the New Testament: Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:10; Phm 1:24. He is a companion and fellow laborer with Paul, mentioned alongside St Luke, who helped Paul and sent their greetings to the other Christians. Yet Paul says Demas got caught up in worldly affairs and deserted him (cf. 2 Tim. 4:16). There is no reason to think Demas was some scam artist who was pretending to be a Christian this whole time, and we have little reason to think Paul would be so deluded as to not detect such a thing. As with other examples, the apostasy is tied to a specific sin, in this case abandonment in pursuit of worldly affairs (cf. 1 Tim. 6:10). 

The Seven Congregations of Revelation:

In Revelation 2-3, John records how Jesus is judging seven Christian communities in different regions of the Roman empire. The following are some excerpts:
1 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ... 3I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

18"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ... 19 "'I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works

1"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ... "'I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
14"And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ... 15"'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
In each case, God is eager to warn these congregations of impending punishment, and in each case tells them to repent before it's too late. This only makes sense if these are genuine Christians who have grown cold, for the language will not allow any sort of reading that entails they were never truly Christian. For example, the warning often starts out by saying they are doing certain things pleasing to God, which is impossible if they're non-Christians. There are references to "abandoning" their first love, God's servants being "seduced" into immorality, people who have not "soiled their garments," and those who are "lukewarm" rather than purely evil. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Traditionalist Thoughts on Women's Head-Coverings (with an interesting tie-in to Sola Scriptura)

One very unpopular (and thus often forgotten about) subject that has recently caught my attention is the Christian teaching on head-coverings for women. This subject is unpopular because the underlying subject matter is so repugnant to our modern culture. I have always thought the practice of head-coverings was pious and traditional, but mostly done for reasons of modesty and aesthetics. Most males are aware of how distracting and (unfortunately) tempting it can be when women dress immodestly for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But recently I found out there was more to the practice, much more, which touched upon very relevant theological matters.

The practice of women wearing head-coverings goes all the way back to the earliest days of the Church. Though I was aware that St Paul spoke on the practice, I didn't realize the context from which he was framing his lesson was theological.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Did John Calvin believe in "double imputation"?

The more I study historical Protestant documents, I continue to be amazed at how often later generations of Protestants depart from what the Pretend Reformers originally taught. A few months ago I was investigating a quote by a popular Reformed professor claiming Calvin taught the "imputation of Christ's Active Obedience" - yet when I examined the quote in detail and context, it seemed quite clear Calvin did not believe in such a thing.

I just happened to be reading another important passage in Calvin's Institutes (Book 3: Chapter 11) - the chapter which he speaks most 'definitively' on the doctrine of Justification - and was struck by the fact Calvin appears to never have believed in "double imputation" (which would make sense if he didn't believe in Christ's "Active Obedience"). Rather than stating justification consists in the imputation of Christ's Active Obedience to us and our sins being imputed to Christ, as 'traditional' Reformed orthodoxy would have it, it appears Calvin limited justification to the forgiveness of sins only. And the most interesting thing I found is that Calvin's own arguments can be used to refute Confessional Reformed soteriology.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Introduction to Traditionalism

The purpose of this post is to give an introduction to what it means to be a "traditionalist" Catholic. Unfortunately, the term "traditionalist" today is widely misunderstood, often signifying rash judgmentalism and disdain for all things less than perfect. In reality, this misunderstanding stems from ignorance (on all sides) and a sad (recent) history of mistreatment traditionalists. The truth is, traditionalism is nothing more than true and orthodox Catholicism (it's not technically it's own "category" or "brand" of Catholicism), since traditionalism seeks to promote and preserve what is in fact genuine Catholic teaching and heritage. A list of basic "traditionalist" teachings will help give the reader a better understanding:
  • Plenary inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture; there are no historical, scientific, or theological errors anywhere in Scripture (the only so-called "exception" are minor copyist errors, which are a different issue). Many today are of the heretical camp known as "Modernists" and "Liberals" who cannot accept the idea the Bible is really inspired and thus contains no error, especially since they are of the impression difficulties in the Bible are most logically taken to be actual errors and myths. Unfortunately, these Liberals have entrenched themselves in high enough places as to keep many people confused about the Church's actual (and dogmatic) stance on the subject.
  • The "Traditional Latin Mass" is an eternal treasure and ideal form of Liturgical worship for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. When Pope Benedict issued the Motu Proprio allowing any priest to say the TLM, he made it clear in his Accompanying Letter: "In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful." The main complaint "traditionalists" have with the "New Mass" (Novus Ordo) created in 1970 by Paul VI is not in regards to it's validity - the New Mass is certainly valid since the Church cannot promulgate invalid Sacraments, and it offers to God the eternal glory of Christ's Sacrifice (so anyone who says otherwise is actually in heresy) - the 'issue' is that this mass was not part of a liturgical heritage that has been passed down and perfected through 'organic development', but rather the invention of a modern liturgical committee who basically invented a mass on the spot and with a very limited outlook (and some even say with malicious intent). The content of the "old Mass" has been perfected over time to express all the important and unique facets that define us as Catholics, while much of these prayers and gestures and music have been tossed, forgotten, or downplayed in the "new Mass," with a sad loss of heritage and richness of prayer and theology. To hate the TLM, which many liberals (sadly) do - precisely because it is 'too Catholic' for them - is to hate your Catholic heritage and even implicit cooperation with the powers who hate Catholicism and seek to undermine it.
  • Every doctrine authoritatively taught in prior Councils and Encyclicals and such is still to be held and maintained today. In other words, no official doctrines have been changed or abandoned, no matter how 'unpopular', 'inconvenient', or what any dissident Catholic says (no matter their authority level). Too often, there are many 'inconvenient truths' of Catholicism - which the Church has maintained regardless of opposition - are those that many today have a hard time accepting, from the liberal theologian who cannot accept Jesus really Resurrected, to the Catholic politician who wants to divorce their faith from their politics, to mainstream layman in the pews who wants to engage in contraception.
  • The centrality of the Dogma of the Social Kingship of Christ in Catholic living. Many Catholics today are unaware of this dogma, which states that Christ is not only king of believers and on "spiritual" matters, but that Jesus is in fact King of every person of every nation and His authority and theology influences every aspect of daily living from recreation to economics to civil law to theology. Many are shocked to hear that Christ is King over subjects like civil law and economics because they are taught the 'right way' to live is by "separating Church and State" - what they don't know is that such an idea is condemned by the Church as heresy and undermines Christ's Kingship. But the logic is plain: how can Christian teachings of faith and morals be divorced from one's legal or economical views? Is it suddenly ok to steal because an economics theory allows it or have abortions because a human court permits it? In such situations, the Apostles teach: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29), meaning God's teachings through the Church trump the teachings of mere human authorities.
  • So-called 'little-t' traditions, even if not dogmatic (i.e. 'big-t' Tradition), are none the less very important for maintaining Catholic identity and integrity - in other words, 'little-t' traditions are by no means dispensable, deplorable, or harmful. 'Little-t' traditions are prayers, devotions, art forms, music, etc, that while not absolutely necessary for moral and theological integrity (and can be altered under proper conditions), have been put in place precisely to preserve Catholic identity and culture. For example, the Rosary is a little-t traditional Catholic devotion that is a uniquely Catholic prayer, teaching and fostering uniquely Catholic piety. Externally, little-t tradition is what helps distinguish Catholics from non-Catholics, while internally little-t tradition exists to form the Catholic's mind and soul in how a Catholic is to think and pray. So with the example of the Rosary, while Catholics could abandon this devotion tomorrow without affecting dogma, they would still be negatively affecting Catholic identity and prayer, increasing the risk of Catholic devotion (which sanctifies) being obliterated or replaced by pagan or heretical devotions (which endanger). Another example (of many) is that of holy water, which not only is to help remind us of our Baptismal promises, there are graces attached to the water (by the prayer of the priest), which when used with the proper disposition can cause increase of our sanctification and protection from sin. Sure holy water is not 'necessary' to be Catholic, but it combined with all the other 'little things' adds up to a uniquely Catholic mindset (that in itself fosters sanctification and protection against sin).
Though there are other points that could be made, the above should suffice. Upon examining the above points, many Catholics (especially the younger generation) reading these would already intuitively be in agreement with what was described. In fact, many of these folks would be shocked that such things have to be spelled out, since they're obviously true on their face. The sad reality is, many Catholics are either ignorant of these details, been falsely indoctrinated with errors regarding these things, or are living in defiance of the Church on these matters. This is why traditionalists are marginalized today, because the Truth is never popular, and thus will be attacked by both Satan and those confused or with malicious intent, but the traditionalist path is rewarding and worth it.

In conclusion, it is also worth mentioning that many traditionalists have acted in very uncharitable ways towards their Catholic brothers who are simply not up to speed on traditionalism. This traditionalist triumphalism and arrogance and even verbal attacks have unfortunately scandalized many Catholics, regardless of how 'justified' the traditionalist might have felt. Such an approach is wrong, and does more harm than good. It's an easy mindset for the traditionalist to fall into, but we traditionalists must encourage eachother to not do so. One traditionalist I respect repeatedly emphasized the lack of progress and hypocrisy among many traditionalists was due to the fact they themselves couldn't keep a tight reign on their own sins and weren't themselves working towards an increase in sanctification (James 1:26).

NOTE: So-called "radical traditionalists" (RadTrads) are not really traditionalist or Catholic at all - and must not be confused with traditionalists (as described above) - since RadTrads are characterized as 'radical' precisely because they have indeed gone where no Catholic teaching ever permits, which is to areas like schism from the Pope or even sedevacantism (teaching there has been no Pope for over 50 years).

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    How to use James 2:24 most effectively.

    As everyone is well aware, James 2:24 is a Catholic 'favorite' when it comes to refuting the Protestant heresy known as Sola Fide (i.e. Justification by Faith Alone). What many Protestants and Catholics don't know is that James 2:24 is by no means the only Biblical resource for dealing with Sola Fide, Catholics have many just as effective Biblical texts to deal with that heresy. That said, the purpose of this post is to teach Catholics how to use James 2:24 most effectively, since there are various Protestant "come-backs" to this verse that at first glance might seem plausible. I believe the best method to approach this is to provide a list of bullet points to keep in mind when discussing this verse with Protestants.
    • The context of verse 2:24 is James 2:14-26
    Many people forget the maxim, "prooftext without context is pretext." In other words, be careful whenever a single verse of Scripture is being presented, because ripped from its context it could actually mean something very different. In this case, the Catholic has nothing to fear because the appeal to verse 24 is taking into consideration not only the immediate context, but the context of James' Epistle as a whole. The context of this Epistle, particularly this pericope, is that of Christians who are not living up to their calling as Christians and rather living as hedonists and materialists. Many Protestants fail to realize this when analyzing 2:24, which ends up making their approach seem more plausible than it actually is. It is very important that the Catholic have read James' Epistle (it's very short and easy to read), and especially be aware of what 2:14-26 says.
    • The 'thesis verse' is James 2:14, not James 2:18 (or even 2:24)
    Protestants often claim that James is focused upon "showing your faith is genuine," as 2:18 appears to be saying (more on this later), rather than on "getting saved". If one simply examines James' introduction to this lesson, they will see the Protestant approach is incorrect: "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can [that] faith save him?" The question James is asking is if faith (by itself) will "save" the Christian, meaning the subject very much is getting saved, not proving you are already saved. Since James is talking to "brothers" in Christ, that means they are already believers (James 2:1), so this "save" must be in reference to future salvation rather than conversion (i.e. initial salvation). More importantly, James is asking a question, which he is then going onto answer in verses 2:15-26, so his answer (including verse 24) must be of the same subject matter for it to be coherent and (logically) valid.
    • James is speaking of faith "by itself," not "fake faith"
    The classical Protestant objection is that James is speaking against 'fake faith', which they define as a "faith" that merely recalls facts but does not really have a conviction in the heart. This faith, they say, being a "non-saving faith," never saves in the first place, and thus fails to produce good works, which then goes to prove the "Christian" was never really saved in the first place. Thus, when a Protestant sees James mention "dead faith" and such, they interpret this as an inherently 'sterile faith' that cannot and never did save. While this might sound plausible, the truth is, it doesn't fit at all with what James is talking about, and thus is a false interpretation. In reality, James is never distinguishing between two 'types' of faith, an inherently "saving faith" versus an inherently "non-saving faith". That categorization is totally unbiblical, and the terminology such as 'saving faith' is nowhere to be found; it's wholly made up. This Protestant error can be demonstrated in various ways, particularly by doing a simple 'substitution' of the term "non-saving faith" into anywhere where James mentions faith. Take verse 14 for example: "Can non-saving faith save him?" Now does that make sense? Is James seriously asking if 'non-saving faith' can save someone? Such a question is absurd and hardly needs 12 verses to explain. Another example, verse 17: "So also non-saving faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." So is James trying to prove "non-saving faith" doesn't have works and is dead? Is that really something that needs proving? No. This demonstrates the Protestant approach of two types of faith is plainly false.

    Given that, James is not speaking ill of faith itself in any way, rather the problem is when good works do not accompany the (already good) faith. Notice the language throughout: "has faith but does not have works," "faith by itself, if it does not have works," "faith apart from works," etc.
    • When James says things like "show me your faith," what does that mean?
    As noted earlier, in order to get the subject off of salvation, Protestants have to argue the context of James is that of displaying your 'true faith' by the outward manifestation of good works (which, as also noted above, they falsely teach will flow automatically from 'true faith'). Because of this, Protestants become fixated on James 2:18-19, claiming the 'faith of demons' James describes is the 'fake faith' that never saves in the first place and thus will not automatically produce good works. But that is not what James is talking about. The phraseology of "showing" is not that of a visible and public manifestation of good works, but rather that of "proving your argument," as in "show me your argument is valid." (Standard Lexicons even indicate that the Greek word for "show" is used metaphorically for proving an argument.) How is this proven? Because when James says "do you want to be shown," he does not get up before them and perform good works, rather he goes on (in 2:20ff) to use Abraham as an example of James' argument. In other words, James is "showing" by "proving his argument," he is not focused on public manifestation of good works to prove that he possesses 'true faith'. This idea will continue to be built upon as we continue.
    • What does James mean by the term "justify"?
    As with the previous analysis, Protestants cannot allow the term "Justify" to be speaking of salvation. Given that, when James uses the term "justify," Protestants claim "justify" in this situation means "vindicate" (i.e. prove to be true), rather than "save". Thus when James says a man is "justified by works," Protestants interpret that as "vindicated by works" (i.e. prove themselves to have 'true faith' by the testimony of their works). While the term "justify" can mean vindicate, ultimately context decides this. In this context, remember back to the first point made: the context is 2:14-26, with the thesis being in 2:14, and the subject matter being future salvation. Thus, when James answers his thesis question on salvation, he must be using "justify" as a synonym for "save". To buttress this point, in verse 2:23, James quotes the epitome of 'salvific-justification', Genesis 15:6 (Romans 4:3), meaning James must be on that same subject - else he would be equivocating with the term justify, going from 'vindicate' in v21, to 'save' in v23, and back to 'vindicate' in v24. (Ironically, using their own biased approach Protestants would be hard pressed why Paul is not using "justify" to mean "vindicate" (rather than "save") in places like Romans 4.)
    • The example of Abraham being 'justified by works'
    At this point, it is clear that Protestants would consider the example of Abraham being 'justified by works' a lesson in how Abraham proved to his fellow believers that he had true faith. Again, the Catholic must keep in mind that all of this is a grand Protestant assumption, by no means proven. But more importantly, this grand assumption goes directly against the following facts:

    (a) James is referencing the famous event of Genesis 22, where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac, yet in this very situation, it was God Who commanded Abraham to do this and it was to be done before God alone (always reference Gen 22:1-2, 9-12), which is why Abraham told his helpers to stay behind (Gen 22:5). If James were thinking as a Protestant here, he picked the worst possible example, for this is the anti-thesis of doing one's works before men. Rather, this is about being justified before God, the very thing the Protestant is trying to get away from.

    (b) The event of Genesis 22 happened years after the event of Genesis 15:6 (which James also quotes). If James is trying to prove good works automatically flow from the person who has "true faith," he again picked the worst example, for here the prime example of a good work doesn't flow from Abraham for many years later! This can only mean the Protestant assumption again fails.

    (c) If James were discussing the nature of 'true faith' versus 'fake faith', why did he use Genesis 15:6 as his prime example? Who on earth would dare question whether Abraham's faith was genuine or not? The text plainly says Abraham's faith found favor with God, who are we or anyone else to question the validity of this? Does Abraham really need to "prove" his faith is genuine? Hardly. Again, the Protestant case doesn't make sense.

    (d) James 2:22-23 indicates Abraham's faith was "active with works" and "completed by works," and that Abraham's work (sacrificing Isaac) fulfilled a Scriptural prophecy encapsulated in Genesis 15:6. In other words, Genesis 15:6 doesn't stand alone, it's has a 'fulfillment'! And to buttress this, this is what the pre-Christian Jews understood as well. For example, in 1 Maccabees 2:52 (an Old Testament book Catholics accept as Scripture but Protestants reject) says: "Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was reputed to him unto justice?" In case you missed it, Maccabees describes the Sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham using the the exact same language ("credited to him as righteousness," "reputed to him unto justice") as Genesis 15:6, including in the Greek (LXX) translation! Many people don't know that.
    • Understanding the meaning of James 2:24, "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone."
    We finally come to the most important verse, and with everything that's been established so far, we can be very confident that the Protestant approach has no merit (and even undermines the sacred text), while the Catholic approach is the only one that harmonizes everything. As with the previous points, God has Providentially inspired this text to be phrased in such a way as to stifle any attempts at twisting it's true meaning (i.e. that the believer can increase in their justification before God by doing good works). The first detail to focus upon is that James is concluding his argument in verse 24 (which he introduced in verse 14) with "you see" (i.e. the thesis is proved). Second, the term "justify" here is distributive, that is it applies twice, once to works and once to faith, and holds the same definition in each case (else it would be equivocation). Thus, when examining the way the verse is phrased, the subject is between works "justifying" and faith (alone) not "justifying," yet if one injects "non-saving faith" into this passage, the argument becomes nonsense: who ever suggested a man is justified by non-saving faith? Or if the Protestant take is to render it as "vindicated," the nonsense remains: James would be "proving" a man is not vindicated by a "fake faith" that by definition doesn't vindicate. Third, the term "alone" here is not an adjective modifying the noun "faith" such as if creating a unique type of faith called "Faith Alone," but rather an adverb modifying the verb "justified." In other words, it is more accurately translated "faith only" rather than "faith alone". Thus, when 'expanding' the original verse, James 2:24 is really saying: a man is justified not only by faith, but also [justified] by works. Astonishingly, some Protestants actually suggest this indicates James is speaking of two types of justification, not realizing he uses the term "justify" once and that it's equivocation to assume he is using the same word to mean "save" once and in the same breath using it again to mean "vindicate".
    • A final but necessary detail: James 2:26, "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead."
    The analogy James gives is sheer brilliance, for it is impossible to miss his point: he is not speaking of two 'kinds' of faith, a fake and a real, but rather only one kind of faith under two 'modes' ('living' or 'dead'). If the Protestant interpretation were correct, James would have to be making a comparison between a fake body and a real body! Faith in itself is good, but apart from good works (e.g. sin, James 2:15-17), the faith 'dies' and no longer saves. This is why Catholics teach Faith only justifies that is 'animated' by Hope and Love (cf. 1 Cor 13:2, 13; Galatians 5:6), otherwise it's belief only (which is good in itself, but not enough). Protestants teach that "true faith" automatically will be accompanied by Hope and Love, but faith is all that's needed for justification (i.e. Hope and Love are incidentally present, essentially just to prove the faith is of the 'real' variety). The Protestant picture, while sounding good, is actually unbiblical and based on various theological errors.
    • Does the Catholic reading of James 2:24 contradict Paul (in, e.g., Rom 4:2-3)?
    The answer is no, and the reasoning is easy: the "works" Paul was speaking against were "works of the [Mosaic] Law" (Rom 3:28ff, 4:9ff), while James was speaking of good works done in union with Christ. (NB: sacrificing one's son isn't even a commandment of the Mosaic Law.) Protestants often miss this simple 'solution' because they refuse to categorically distinguish between "works of the Mosaic Law" and good works in general, done in union with Christ - the 'works' are not the same.

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant

    Many people are aware that the title for this post comes from a statement made by the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism. The sentiment being expressed is that you will not find any reasonable historical testimony in the Early Church Fathers (ECFs) for uniquely "Protestant doctrines." While Protestants might accept various early church teachings, such as the Divinity of Christ, in virtually every case Catholics accept that teaching as well. But the reverse is not true: there are many "Catholic teachings" found in the ECFs that Protestants not only do not accept, they contradict central dogmas of Protestantism (e.g. Sola Fide).

    A popular form of 'damage control' Protestants use in response to this damning realization is to turn around and point to a few doctrines they believe don't have sufficient historical testimony and use that to say the Catholic Church must be false. This approach fails on two main grounds: (a) it doesn't get the Protestant out of the fact they are embracing a radically ahistorical Christian outlook, and (b) when looking at the 'big picture', that is all doctrines, the overall testimony of the ECFs shows the early Church to be very Catholic. Thus, for a Protestant to be fixated on something like the historical testimony for the Immaculate Conception, claiming it was not taught, and use that as their major criteria for rejecting/refuting Catholicism is a distortion of the big picture. No Catholic claims each and every doctrine has the same level of historical testimony, or even that some doctrines are not as well attested to as others; that doesn't mean we cannot form a reasonably solid conclusion on which Christian group today is best candidate for "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church".

    Consider the following list of doctrines I quickly put together (there are others that I've not included), which I believe far, far more strongly testifies the ECFs were Catholic than Protestant:

    Almost no ECF testimony for Eternal Security, Imputation of Christ’s Active Obedience, The Father pouring out His Wrath on the Son at the Cross, Receiving Christ’s Righteousness by Faith, categorizing Justification as Forensic, etc.
    On the flip side, there is clear ECF testimony for losing salvation by sin, the reality of Free Will, Justification via internal transformation, salvation by ‘works’ (i.e. entering Heaven based on your good or bad works), saving grace being available to all men, church imposed penances for falling into sin, etc (All of these latter concepts are very Catholic, but the former ones Protestants teach are essential for holding to the "true Gospel".)

    The Bible:
    I don’t know of a single ECF who espoused the Protestant Canon or who taught we go around determining canonicity the way the Westminster Confession teaches. There are ECFs who taught the Catholic Canon, and the rest who had a ‘mixed canon’ lean Catholic because they never totally excluded the "Deutero-Canonical" books. (Protestantism teaches the Church cannot even function without the proper canon of Scripture.)

    There is clear Patristic testimony for the three-fold (i.e. distinct) offices of Deacon, Priest, and Bishop. Clear evidence for the binding authority of Ecumenical Councils, for Apostolic Succession (rather than self-appointment), a hierarchy among bishops (with strong examples of the Bishop of Rome being at the top of the list), for the Church and/or diocese having the power to impose disciplinary practices, and encouragement for things such as celibacy and the ascetic lifestyle. (All of these are uniquely Catholic but anathema to Protestant ears.)

    There is clear evidence of the Mass being seen as a Sacrifice, the Bread and Wine being seen as really Christ (even if you want to dispute transubstantiation), Sunday being the normative day of worship (not any day you feel like it), and a structured Liturgy for each region. Further, there are prayers for the dead, veneration of Saint’s Relics, use of images, etc. Clear veneration of Mary as “Mother of God” and Perpetual Virgin, Infant Baptism, Baptismal Regeneration (including interpreting John 3:5 and Titus 3:5 as proof), and clear testimony against divorce and remarriage. (As with the other teachings, these sound much more Catholic than Protestant, with many of them being anathema to Protestant ears.)

    The above list of teachings is a good example of what it means to look at the 'big picture', and this is how one should approach any Protestant challenge on the subject.

    Now, to take that whole list and go trumpeting around a few doctrines and why this or that ECF didn't teach the doctrine - as if that’s the ‘big picture’ - is a distortion of the situation. On any such ‘disputed’ items, what a Protestant might consider weak evidence can be seen as sufficient evidence by Catholics in light of the strong testimony for the ‘big picture’ coming off far more Catholic than Protestant.

    If a Protestant wants to respond to the overwhelming fact the ECFs come off sounding far, far more Catholic than Protestant by saying “so what,” that’s their right, but it’s also an admission of a radical ahistorical paradigm their ‘church’ is embracing. This radically ahistorical paradigm is where the concept of “to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant” comes from.

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Why William Webster's Justification Aritlcle is not Scriptural.

    Reformed Apologist William Webster has an articled titled, "The Biblical Teaching of Justification," in which he seeks to prove his Calvinist views on justification are correct, while refuting and exposing Catholic claims to the contrary. Since Webster has a lot of respect in Reformed apologetics, I thought it necessary and important to confront his errors. Since his article is so long, I will only focus on the portions I believe are most relevant and most erroneous.

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Did Calvin believe in Christ's Active Obedience?

    I've been encountering more and more Calvinists who claim John Calvin taught the concept of Christ's "Active Obedience," and quoting Calvin's Institutes, Book 2, Chapter 16, Section 5.

    One such proponent of this claim was a Reformed apologist and professor, Dr R. Scott Clark, on his blog (Here). Though Clark puts special emphasis on Calvin's use of the phrase "whole course of his obedience," and "whole life of Christ," and "obedience that he manifested in his life," I think Clark is unwittingly putting words into Calvin's mouth and committing a word-concept fallacy. In short, Clark mistakenly thinks that just because Calvin uses the term "obedience," including modifiers such as "whole" and "life," that Calvin must be speaking of Christ's "active obedience" (so called).

    To further buttress his argument, Clark plainly admits (in the comments section) that:
    What is essential here is that Christ did not come to qualify himself to be a Savior. Note how Calvin treated Christ’s obedience as if it were for us (that’s a crucial Protestant theme) not for himself. Those who denied IAO typically (following Anselm) assume that Christ owed obedience for himself, in order to qualify himself to be a Savior on the cross. This wasn’t the framework within which Calvin interpreted Christ’s life and death.
    Basically, Clark denies this "obedience" prior to Good Friday was dealing with Christ having to "qualify" as a worthy and spotless Sacrificial Lamb, and Clark even claims Calvin denied this as well.

    Given this, I think it's important to look at the Calvin quote ourselves, but since it is so long I will only quote portions of it (with my own emphasis and highlights).
    When it is asked then how Christ, by abolishing sin, removed the enmity between God and us, and purchased a righteousness which made him favourable and kind to us, it may be answered generally, that he accomplished this by the whole course of his obedience. This is proved by the testimony of Paul, “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous,” (Rom. 5:19). And indeed he elsewhere extends the ground of pardon which exempts from the curse of the law to the whole life of Christ, “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law,” (Gal. 4:4, 5). Thus even at his baptism he declared that a part of righteousness was fulfilled [Mt 3:15] by his yielding obedience to the command of the Father. In short, from the moment when he assumed the form of a servant, he began, in order to redeem us, to pay the price of deliverance. Scripture, however, the more certainly to define the mode of salvation, ascribes it peculiarly and specially to the death of Christ. ... [Calvin then quotes various passages of Scripture,  Mt. 20:28; Rom. 4:25; John 1:29; Rom. 3:25; Rom. 5:9; 2 Cor. 5:21] ... In the Confession of Faith, called the Apostles’ Creed, the transition is admirably made from the birth of Christ to his death and resurrection, in which the completion of a perfect salvation consists. Still there is no exclusion of the other part of obedience which he performed in life. Thus Paul comprehends, from the beginning even to the end, his having assumed the form of a servant, humbled himself, and become obedient to death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:7). And, indeed, the first step in obedience was his voluntary subjection; for the sacrifice would have been unavailing to justification if not offered spontaneously. Hence our Lord, after testifying, “I lay down my life for the sheep,” distinctly adds, “No man taketh it from me,” (John 10:15, 18). ...  We must bear in minds that Christ could not duly propitiate God without renouncing his own feelings and subjecting himself entirely to his Father’s will. To this effect the Apostle appositely quotes a passage from the Psalms, “Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God,” (Heb. 10:5; Ps. 40:7, 8). Thus, as trembling consciences find no rest without sacrifice and ablution by which sins are expiated, we are properly directed thither, the source of our life being placed in the death of Christ. ...  He therefore suffered under Pontius Pilate, being thus, by the formal sentence of the judge, ranked among criminals, and yet he is declared innocent by the same judge, when he affirms that he finds no cause of death in him. Our acquittal is in this that the guilt which made us liable to punishment was transferred to the head of the Son of God (Is. 53:12). We must specially remember this substitution in order that we may not be all our lives in trepidation and anxiety, as if the just vengeance which the Son of God transferred to himself, were still impending over us.
    When examining this quote, the first thing to keep in mind is that throughout all this, Calvin is commenting, line by line, on the Apostles' Creed. In the section Clark quoted, Calvin was focused upon the part of the Creed relating to Christ's birth, suffering under Pilate, and death. Notice how nothing in the Creed comes anywhere close to advocating "active obedience."

    With that in mind, you'll notice how Calvin is exclusively focused on Christ's suffering in all this, nothing about "keeping the Law in our place," consigning his use of "obedience" entirely to Christ's suffering. All Calvin is saying is that Christ's suffering for us began at His birth.

    The next thing to realize is that Calvin quoted many famous alleged "active obedience" proof texts from Scripture (which I highlighted in bold), notably Rom 5:19, Gal 4:4-5, Mat 3:15, and 2 Cor 5:21, yet Calvin clearly isn't interpreting them in terms of "active obedience"!

    The final thing to take note of is that Calvin explicitly says, "the first step in obedience was his voluntary subjection; for the sacrifice would have been unavailing to justification if not offered spontaneously" and a bit later, "We must bear in minds that Christ could not duly propitiate God without renouncing his own feelings and subjecting himself entirely to his Father’s will." What Calvin explicitly affirms here is precisely what Clark explicitly denied Calvin (and Reformed) as teaching: that Christ's obedience prior to the Cross was precisely to qualify Him as a worthy Sacrifice.

    I'd say the lesson to take away from this is twofold. First, that Dr Clark didn't accurately represent Calvin's view and words on Christ's obedience (which Calvin limited to passive obedience only), at least not in this quote. Second, that if Calvin truly believed in "active obedience," which is so critical to Reformed theology, then surely he'd have spoken clearly about this ultra critical concept elsewhere in his Institutes (which folks like Clark could then readily quote from).

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    BLOG ALERT - Spam problem - READ

    Something disturbing happened today, about an hour ago. There is a major spam problem out there as many know, and Google/Blogger have done what they can to get rid of it. Unfortunately, Google/Blogger's system sometimes targets innocent Blogs/Accounts. This happened to me.  When I went to my blog, the page said the blog was locked/removed, without any links or process for me to get it back.

    As you can guess, I was in a panic, and quickly sought a solution. It turns out, the "best" solutions were very confusing and circular, only compounding my worry. Luckily, when I logged into Gmail about 15 min later, a Gmail alert told me suspicious activity was detected and I needed to confirm my identity by entering my cellphone number. This worked and unlocked everything. Thank God.

    I urge you to be aware of this, don't panic as I did, and back up your work elsewhere.
    Also, as the Bible says: "Don't put your faith in men," which would be extended to include not trusting technology to "save" what is important to you. I learned today I trust technology too much, which is something I should strive to correct.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    List of teachings Protestants cannot agree upon due to Sola Scriptura.

    The following is a 'open' list of teachings (subject to further expansion) which Protestants cannot agree upon due to the doctrinal relativism caused by Sola Scriptura. Though many Protestants today would "solve" this problem by tossing a lot of these into the "non-essential" category, I believe the doctrinal issues I've mentioned have been clearly seen to cause division among Protestants:
    1. Once Saved Always Saved
    2. Universal versus Limited Atonement
    3. Infant Baptism
    4. Form of Baptism (e.g. full immersion vs pouring)
    5. Whether Baptism is necessary in ordinary circumstances
    6. Whether the Lord's Supper is purely symbolic or some sort of 'real' presence
    7. Divorce and Remarriage
    8. Whether icons/pictures of Christ are allowed
    9. Which doctrines are perspicuous/essential
    10. Whether Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit have ceased
    11. Whether instruments are allowed in church
    12. Female ordination
    13. The "biblical" form of church government
    14. Sunday versus any day worship / Whether the Sabbath is still in force in some sense.
    15. House churches versus dedicated congregational churches
    16. Dispensationalism
    17. Rapture/Tribulation
    18. Imputed Active Obedience
    19. Whether traditional categories like Person/Nature are true/valid
    20. Mary being "Mother of God"
    21. Mary's Perpetual Virginity
    22. Whether Inspiration of Scripture is plenary or limited to faith and morals
    23. Whether one can/should pray to the Holy Spirit
    24. Whether Sola Scriptura applied during the time of Christ and the Apostles
    25. How to define/understand Sola Scriptura, especially as it relates to Creeds and Councils
    26. Should Christians engage in politics, civil service, etc. 
    27. Whether Christians should pray the Our Father
    28. Whether prayer should be only spontaneous
    29. Whether keeping the Commandments is necessary for salvation
    30. Whether illness, suffering, poverty, etc, are due to sin or lack of faith
    31. Whether Free Will and Double Predestination are true or not
    32. Whether Mark 16:9-20, John 8:1-11, etc, are actually part of Scripture
    33. Which translation of Scripture should be normative (e.g. KJV)
    34. Which Protestant denominations are to be considered "Christian"
    Feel free to mention some other examples in the comment box!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    An array of Reformed tetimony of the ahistorical nature of Sola Scriptura

    The following are quotes from well known Protestant Apologists teaching publicly on the subject of Sola Scriptura and admitting the ahistorical nature of it:

    • James White: The main element of [Catholic apologist] Mr. Ray’s misrepresentation of sola scriptura can be seen in just this: the doctrine speaks of a rule of faith that exists. What do I mean by this? One will search high and low for any reference in any standard Protestant confession of faith that says, “There has never been a time when God’s Word was proclaimed and transmitted orally.” You will never find anyone saying, “During times of enscripturation—that is, when new revelation was being given—sola scriptura was operational.” Protestants do not assert that sola scriptura is a valid concept during times of revelation. How could it be, since the rule of faith to which it points was at that very time coming into being? One must have an existing rule of faith to say it is “sufficient.” It is a canard to point to times of revelation and say, “See, sola scriptura doesn’t work there!” Of course it doesn’t. Who said it did? (Source

    •  William Webster: The sixteenth century Reformation was responsible for restoring to the Church the principle of sola Scriptura, a principle that had been operative within the Church from the very beginning of the post apostolic age. Initially the apostles taught orally, but with the close of the apostolic age, all special revelation that God wanted preserved for man was codified in the written Scriptures. Sola Scriptura is the teaching, founded on the Scriptures themselves, that there is only one special revelation from God that man possesses today, the written Scriptures or the Bible. (Source)
    • Joe Mizzi: Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) is the doctrine that the Holy Bible, being the Word of God, is the only infallible rule of faith and practice for Christians in the post-apostolic age. (Source)
    • R.C. Spoul Junior: The Bible does not have specific text that suggests that the Bible alone is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice. ... ... Sola Scriptura is a biblical doctrine not because the Bible says so. That would be a tautology- the kind of argument we find in that collection of lies the Book of Mormon. Instead the Bible is our alone final authority because it alone is the Word of God. (Source)
    • John Piper: Beware of imputing advantage to antiquity. Seventy years after the death of Jesus the churches had neither the collected New Testament nor a living apostle. It was a precarious and embattled time. Neither the experiences nor the teachers of the first 300 years of the church are as reliable as the finished New Testament. The church did not rescue the New Testament from neglect and abuse. The New Testament rescued the early church from instability and error. We are in a better position today to know Jesus Christ than anyone who lived from AD 100 to 300. They had only parts of the New Testament rather than the collected whole. That’s how valuable the fullness of revelation is in the finished Bible. Beware of idealizing the early church. She did not have your advantages! (Source
    • John MacArthur: Jude 3 is a crucial passage on the completeness of our Bibles. This statement, penned by Jude before the New Testament was complete, nevertheless looked forward to the completion of the entire canon: Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. ... ... Also important in Jude 3 is the word "delivered." In the Greek it is an aorist passive participle, which in this context indicates an act completed in the past with no continuing element. In this instance the passive voice means the faith was not discovered by men, but given to men by God. How did He do that? Through His Word--the Bible. And so through the Scriptures God has given us a body of teaching that is final and complete. (Source) 
    • John H. Armstrong: Further, no true advocate of the supreme and final authority of Scripture would assert that the immediate hearers of the preaching of Jesus, or the apostles, were free to pick and choose what they would submit to since they did not receive it in written form. What is asserted in believing that Scripture alone has final and full authority is this: God revealed His Word orally and temporarily through prophets and apostles and then subsequently through the inscripturated text. Oral communication, in this post-apostolic era, is powerful precisely because it relies so faithfully on the "more certain" word of Scripture itself. Thus we conclude, with the Apostle, himself a faithful preacher, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). (Source)
    • Robert Godfrey: [Catholics] will try to say that the phrase “the Word of God” can mean more than just the Bible. I have already granted that. The question before us is whether today anything other than the Scriptures is necessary to know the truth of God for salvation. The Scripture texts I have cited show that nothing else is needed. Our opponents need to show not that Paul referred to his preaching as well as his writing as the Word of God — I grant that; they need to show that Paul taught that the oral teaching of the apostles would be needed to supplement the Scriptures for the Church through the ages. They cannot show that because Paul did not teach that, and the Scriptures as a whole do not teach that! (Source)
    • Greg Bahnsen: The Word of God, which was originally delivered orally, needed to be reduced to writing in order for the rest of God’s people to know about it and for it to function as an objective standard for faith and obedience. Where God had spoken by personal address orally, if that was going to be a standard for the Church at large (for all of God’s people), that oral instruction (as authoritative as it was in itself) needed to be reduced to writing so that it would be an objective standard that governed all of God’s people... God’s Word needed to be inscripturated to govern His people through all generations. (Source)
    Why are these admissions so significant? Because in each case the Protestant is admitting that Sola Scriptura was not practiced in the Apostolic age of the Church; the Apostles didn't go around teaching Christians to engage in Sola Scriptura in word or epistle. Why? Because, as the above quotes show, the full canon of Scripture didn't exist at the time, making the practice of Sola Scriptura functionally impossible. It would be like saying we can write a dictionary (a 'word bible' so to speak) without first having and knowing all 26 letters of the alphabet. To read "Sola Scriptura" into any passage of Scripture would be anachonistic by definition. Thus, whether these well respected Protestant preachers truly realize it or not, by their own logic Sola Scriptura is unbiblical, ahistorical, and unapostolic.