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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Is there a New Testament Priesthood?

In an earlier article I wrote on the Protestant inability to worship God since they lack a priesthood and cannot offer sacrifice. That was mostly a philosophical argument based on Natural Law. In this article, I'd like to talk about the Biblical evidence for the New Testament Priesthood, with the goal of helping Catholics have a deeper appreciation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Protestants object to the office of the New Testament Priesthood for various reasons, but their main argument against the priesthood is that they say it isn't taught in Scripture. However, the reason why they don't see evidence for it in Scripture is because they either don't know what to look for or they are so hardened that they cannot concede anything to the Catholic side. 

Many Catholics claim that the English term "priest" comes from the Greek term for "elders" in the Bible, presbuteros, and while that's probably true, I think more needs to be shown than just a name. Because of this, I'm offering the following three points to lay a solid foundation for the office of priesthood in the New Testament.

The first point to consider is that the Last Supper was a Sacrifice: 
1 Corinthians 10: 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.
Most of the time when people think about the Eucharist, they turn to 1 Corinthians 11, missing out on the importance and beauty of chapter 10. Here Paul is explicitly placing the Eucharist in a sacrificial context. He starts off comparing the Eucharist to the Israelites who eat the sacrificial food, and how partaking makes one in union, "communion," with that deity you're sacrificing to. Paul then compares this directly to the pagan sacrifices that involve eating and drinking, further confirming the connection between the Eucharist and sacrifice. The Council of Trent appealed to this very passage and pointed out how verse 21 contrasts "the table of the Lord" with "the table of demons," in which it is clear that "table" here refers to sacrificial altar. And this is confirmed even in Malachi 1:6-7, which explicitly says "the Lord's table" is the altar of sacrifice. Thus, since the Eucharist is a Sacrifice, then those who offer the Eucharist must be priests

The second point to consider is that Jesus is identified as holding the priesthood of Mechizedek, a priesthood characterized by offering bread and wine:
Hebrews 5: 7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Genesis 14: 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High.
It is interesting to note that there is relatively little said about Melchizedek. All the Bible really says is that he blessed Abraham and that he offered bread and wine. That's a strikingly tiny amount of information to give for such a mysteriously important figure. But just this tiny amount of detail says a lot, for it's plain that Jesus' institution of bread and wine hearkens back to this offering of bread and wine by Melchizedek. Thus, Jesus telling the Apostles to offer bread and wine in the manner He showed them was plainly Jesus instituting a priesthood of His own. This is why the Council of Trent infallibly decreed: "If any one saith, that by those words, Do this for the commemoration of me (Luke xxii. 19), Christ did not institute the apostles priests; or, did not ordain that they, and other priests should offer His own body and blood; let him be anathema" (Session 22, Canon 2).

To add to the above, when Jesus said "Do this in commemoration of me," the term "commemoration" is not some generic term for "remember," but is a term used only a few times in the Bible, particularly in the context of offering sacrifices. Of the four times it appears in the New Testament, one of those times is Hebrews 10:3, speaking of the Old Testament sacrifices. 

In the OT texts, where the term appears in 5 verses, Leviticus 24:7 and Numbers 10:10 plainly refer to Sacrificial contexts. The other 3 verses are interesting. First, Wisdom 16:5-6 NRSV speaks of the situation of Moses making the Bronze Serpent on a pole (Num 21:4-9) as being a reminder of God's law and mercy. This isn't a sacrificial context, but it certainly hearkens directly to Jesus' sacrifice (Jn 3:14-15). The final two verses appear in the "introductions" to Psalm 38 and Psalm 70, which some translations list as verse 1, while others list them as verse 0. The ESV has both of these "introductions" as saying "for the memorial offering," which is taken to refer to Psalms recited during specific sacrifices.

The third point to consider is that the Bible has parallels the three orders of priesthood in the Old Testament.
Exodus 19: 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

1 Peter 2: 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
In 1 Peter 2, the Christians are called to share in a royal priesthood, a 'priesthood of all believers,' which corresponds to the royal priesthood of Exodus 19. Many Protestants have mistakenly taken this "royal priesthood" to mean everyone is equally a priest, but this simply cannot be for reasons I'll now explain. First, consider that it has already been shown that Jesus is the High Priest of the New Covenant, just as there was a High Priest (Aaron) in the Old Covenant. This shows that not all priests are of the same rank. Second, we know that there was a Levitical priesthood that was lower rank than the High Priest but superior rank than the 'priesthood of all believers,' and thus we'd expect this second rank (sacrificial priests) of priests to be paralleled in the New Covenant along with the clear presence of the first (High Priest) and third rank (Royal Priesthood) of priests.

This is also confirmed by the fact that even after Moses calls them a royal priesthood, he goes onto differentiate between a class of priests and laypeople:
Exodus 19: 21 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the Lord to look and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them.” 23 And Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 And the Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest he break out against them.”
So clearly there is a second class of priests, and these are the sacrificial priests, usually the patriarch of a small clan of Israelites, who offered the actual sacrifices. This corresponds directly to the Bishops and Priests in the New Covenant who offer the actual sacrifices for their spiritual children, the laity. 

And the New Testament warns laity not to cross that priest-laity line, as Jude 1:11 notes that there will be disobedient Christians who model after Cain, Balaam, and Korah's rebellion. All these situations were sins involving the priesthood. Korah's rebellion is the most noteworthy here. It is found in Numbers 16, where a deacon named Korah got upset and gathered a group of friends and rebelled (v3): "They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?" Moses rebukes Korah and says to him that he should be thankful that he is a deacon but that he should not seek to raise himself to the level of a priest (v10)! This is the very thing a Protestant would say against the Catholic clergy, "you raise yourself above everyone else; everyone is equal!" The only way Jude's warning of a modern Korah's rebellion makes any sense is if there will be Christians who try to usurp the second rank of priesthood.

With these three points laying the foundation, one can then proceed to link the office of priest with that of the New Testament term "elder." For example, these New Testament elders are ministerial priests, given a special role for spreading the Gospel (Romans 15:15-16 uses the Greek word for "priest"). Also, Jesus giving the Apostles the power to forgive sins (Jn 20:21-23) hearkens back to the Levitical Priests in charge of dealing with sins whenever an Israelite sinned and came to them for forgiveness (Lev 5:5-6). This also corresponds to the elders given the charge to care for the sick (James 5:14-15), which hearkens back to the Levites dealing with diseased Israelites (Lev 14:2). And lastly, Revelation 5:8 speaks of how the elders (presbuteros) engage in priestly work of interceding for the saints on earth as well as offering sacrificial bowls of incense, something which the Levitical priests were in charge of doing (Ex 25:29). So it would be quite a mistake to think that the elders/presbyters in the New Testament merely held a managerial role, as Protestants think.

Final Note: this article draws heavily on two good articles I came across, one by Jimmy Akin and another by Nicholas Hardesty. Special Thanks to them.

200 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nick,
The word "priest" does not come from the word "elders" in the Bible, presbuteros". If the NT writers were teach that there was an office of priests in the church they would have used the word hiereus, which is the Greek word for priest.

Secondly, there is no example of a priest in the NT celebrating a mass. Isn't Paul the only one who mentions the Lord's supper outside of the gospels?

The bottom line is this: no office of priests in the church of NT nor any examples of a priest doing a mass in the NT.

cwdlaw223 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Restless Pilgrim said...

>The word "priest" does not come from the word "elders" in the Bible, presbuteros". If the NT writers were teach that there was an office of priests in the church they would have used the word hiereus, which is the Greek word for priest.

I think you misunderstood the point being made. The assertion is often made that the English word "priest" is a descendant of the Greek word "presbyteros".

Although a possible alternative etymology is given, the "presbyteros" root is primary etymology in the Online Etymology Dictionary.


> Secondly, there is no example of a priest in the NT celebrating a mass.

Here's the High Priest doing it: Mark 14:22 and again Luke 24:27,30-31,35.


> Isn't Paul the only one who mentions the Lord's supper outside of the gospels?

What significance do you draw from the fact that Peter, James, Jude and John don't explicitly mention it?

You've mentioned before that you've studied history. You should therefore know that even in the early centuries details of Catholic worship are scant, both because of persecution of the Church and the intimate nature of the liturgy. We only really start to see details of the liturgy come out as the Catholic apologists defend the Church against accusations of orgies, cannibalism etc.


> The bottom line is this: no office of priests in the church of NT nor any examples of a priest doing a mass in the NT.

Your response didn't actually address the content of Nick's article. Would you care to comment on the three points he made?

Daniel said...

"If the NT writers were teach that there was an office of priests in the church they would have used the word hiereus, which is the Greek word for priest. "

Rom 15:16

That I should be the minister (leitourgon ie. someone who does the leiturgia which is to say he who does the liturgy )of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering ( hierourgounta ie hiereo ergon in verb form, "priest-service" or "temple-service" used as a verb) the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles (ie "the Gentile's sacrifice") might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

I don't know what to say Anonymous...see you at Mass?

Steve Martin said...

We're all priests (says the New Testament).

The only real sacrifice needed is the ones that we might make every once in a while for our neighbor (on those rare occasions we'd get outside of our comfort zones.

For righteousness sake, Jesus made the only acceptable sacrifice. Thanks be to God.

Barbara said...

Steven and Anon

I found this article very useful
http://jimmyakin.com/library/the-priesthood-debate

cwdlaw223 said...

Good post Barbara.

Anonymous -

Why must everything be in the Bible? The Bible doesn't make this claim and indicates the opposite?

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw,
Never said everything is in the Bible. Just remember that if its not in the Scripture its not apostolic. The office of the priest in the RCC is not a biblical or apostolic position.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
Paul is not referring to an office of priest in the church in Rom 15:16. In fact that reference in Rom 15 has nothing to do with the Lord's supper either.

Daniel said...

Steve,

We are all priests! Amen!

Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph 1546: Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.” The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly [Tota credentium communitas, qua talis, est sacerdotalis]. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be... a holy priesthood.” [sacerdotium sanctum]

We all do the liturgy (Greek leitourgia from from leito- "public" and ergos "that works"...the work the people do in common.

That's why it's so common in Catholic history for the priest to have his back to the people--he is leading all of us in our priestly ministry by praying the mass. That's why mass is so participatory (we stand, we kneel, we read, we cross ourselves, we pray--it's not a spectator sport.)

And what is so special about the elder that we call a priest? (Old English preost probably shortened from the older Germanic form represented by Old Saxon and Old High German prestar, Old Frisian prestere, all from Vulgar Latin *prester "priest," from Late Latin presbyter "presbyter, elder," from Greek presbyteros)

Because as John Chrysostom says, " But why speak I of priests? Neither Angel nor Archangel can do anything with regard to what is given from God; but the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, dispenses all, while the priest lends his tongue and affords his hand."

And amen again! " Jesus made the only acceptable sacrifice"

As Malachi said, " For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts."

Breaking that up piecemeal:

"For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same..." Means Everywhere and always...

"my name shall be great among the Gentiles;" Means worship will be Christian not Jewish.

"...incense shall be offered unto my name..." Catholics and Orthodox actually do this.

"...and a pure offering..." Means Literally, a perfect sacrifice, which our friend has already said is Christ's work on Calvary.

How is Christ's one time sacrifice made continuously present to the Father?

That's how Catholics describe the Mass. If there is a protestant liturgical act that you could point to and say, "Here! This is our pure offering!" I would love to hear it.

"...for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts." Heathen is the same word translated as Gentiles above. Means, "...for my name shall be great among the Christians (or Gentiles), saith the Lord of hosts.

Anonymous said...

Restless,
It might be true that "The assertion is often made that the English word "priest" is a descendant of the Greek word "presbyteros" but not biblically. There are different Greek words for priest and presbyters. They are not the same things.

Jesus is not doing a "mass" at His supper.

Since you know that "even in the early centuries details of Catholic worship are scant".. then its improper to assume it was a RC mass.

The OT priesthood does not exist in the NT in the same way. Jesus alone is the Great High Priest.

There is nothing in I Cor 10 or in any last supper accounts were someone is a priest. That goes way beyond what is written. In fact there is no mention of an alter in any of the supper accounts.

Barbara said...

Anon
you Siad
Paul is not referring to an office of priest in the church in Rom 15:16. In fact that reference in Rom 15 has nothing to do with the Lord's supper either.
-----------------
“I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty [literally, "the priestly work"] of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

Paul tells us that because he has been given a calling as a professional minister of Christ, he has a priestly work of preaching the gospel so that the Gentiles may be an offering — a sacrifice to God. This is not something only he has. Every elder in every church has that same “priestly work” of preaching the gospel. So Paul here conceives of the office of the New Testament minister as a priestly office. Notice that the hearers of the gospel in this passage are not depicted as priests, but as the sacrifice to God. Paul draws a distinction between himself and his work of preaching the gospel, and his readers and their duty of hearing it. It is the minister, not the congregation, who is here pictured as priest.

Barbara said...

Anon
you said

It might be true that "The assertion is often made that the English word "priest" is a descendant of the Greek word "presbyteros" but not biblically. There are different Greek words for priest and presbyters. They are not the same things.
---------------------------
A passage revealing the fusion of the offices of Old Testament elder and Old Testament priest is Revelation 5:8, where we read:

“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

Here we have the twenty-four heavenly elders (presbyteroi) depicted as offering incense to God in bowls, just as the Old Testament priests did with their own gold incense bowls (Num. 7:84-86).

It is especially important to note that this was a function only priests could perform, as indicated a few chapters later, in Numbers 16, which records the story of Korah’s rebellion. This story concerns precisely the issue which is before us today: Whether the fact that all believers are priests means that there is no ministerial priesthood. Korah said it does mean that, and he gathered a rebellion against Moses and Aaron to usurp the priesthood from them. Numbers 16:1-11

After this you can guess what happened. The men loaded up their censers and tried to offer incense before the Lord, but God caused the earth to open its mouth and swallow up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, then he caused fire to come out of the Tabernacle and swallow up the two hundred and fifty men offering incense, showing that they were not to be priests, not the ones to offer incense, even though God had said that in one sense the whole congregation were priests.

Thus, in the Old Testament God was willing to kill people that are not priests who offer incense to him. So when we see the elders (presbyteroi) doing so in his heavenly temple, we must infer that they are priests. A fusion of the office of elder and priest has taken place.

Anonymous said...

Barbara,
Is Paul claiming he has an office of priest in the church? If he is, then he never mentions it as an office in any of his statements on the leadership structure of the church. In fact no apostles does either.

Here is what the word "priest" means in Rom 15:16 from a Greek lexicon of the NT- "A public servant, minister, such as those in Athens who performed or administered the leitourgíai (3009), the public functions.
Spoken of a priest in the Jewish sense (Heb. 8:2; Sept.: Neh. 10:39); of Paul as a minister of Christ and the gospel (Rom. 15:16).

Zodhiates, Spiros: The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament. electronic ed. Chattanooga, TN : AMG Publishers, 2000, c1992, c1993, S. G3011

He is not saying he is "father Paul" or anything like that. Rather he is explaining how he looks at himself as a minister of the gospel.

Anonymous said...

Barbara,
Your priests are modeled after the OT and not the new. There is no office of priests in the NT but there was in the OT. That office in the OT was done away with when Christ came. Now all believers in Him are priests and not just a select few as there are in your church.

Daniel said...

"We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle."

We (Christians)

Have an altar (thysiastērion ie a thing where you have a thysia, a sacrifice or a sacrificial victim)

Whereof they (the Jews who serve in the temple)

Have no right to eat...

Anonymous, what DO Christians eat on a table that has a sacrificial victim, that the Highpriest --who can go into the holy of holies where the Real Precense (shekinah) is --can't touch?

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
Is the writer of Hebrews speaking literally or metaphorically in 13:10?

Daniel said...

The first Catechism called the Didache (circulated while the Apostle John was still alive) says this at 13:3 :

pasan oun aparchn gennhmatwn lhnou kai alwnov, bown te kai probatwn labwn dwseiv thn aparchn toiv profhtaiv, autoi gar eisin oi arciereiv umwn.

"Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests."

So the prophets (which is to say those who have the authority to speak for God) are Christian's ἀρχιερεύς...our 'arch-ἱερεύς'...our 'arch-hiereus'

Daniel said...

All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean--"All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."?

Anonymous said...

Where does the NT call the leaders of the church prophets? Where are they called 'arch-hiereus'?

Daniel said...

"If he is, then he never mentions it as an office in any of his statements on the leadership structure of the church."

This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being [found] blameless.

Daniel said...

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers...


And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];


Anonymous said...

Where is the office of priest mentioned in those scriptural quotes?

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

You said that if it's not in scripture it's not "apostolic."

Please tell me the basis for your position above even though scripture itself doesn't state that position? Are you not imposing a man made standard for Apostolic teaching?

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw,
Something is not apostolic unless its something that the apostle taught All that we have from the apostles is found only in the NT. In regards to priests in the RC sense its not in the NT.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

So you reject any oral tradition handed down by the Apostles on the basis that it's not written down? Where does any Apostle list the 27 books and assert this is ALL we taught?

You state that it must be ALL in scripture but what's the basis for this position? Scripture doesn't specifically state such position.

Daniel said...

There is no office of priests in the NT but there was in the OT. That office in the OT was done away with when Christ came. Now all believers in Him are priests and not just a select few as there are in your church.

First, that 'select few' bit is factually incorrect. You must have missed my previous post:

Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph 1546: Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.” The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly [Tota credentium communitas, qua talis, est sacerdotalis]. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be... a holy priesthood.” [sacerdotium sanctum]

So not only does the Catholic faith also believe in the priesthood of the faithful, but we specifically call it a SACREDOTAL PRIESTHOOD.

Your logic is this: Everyone is a priest therefore no one is a priest.

It doesn't compute frankly.

In fact, I disagree with "That office in the OT was done away with when Christ came...."

The priesthood hasn't been abolished--it has been fulfilled. The priesthood is part of the law, which won't pass a way not a jit nor a tittle. But the law is fulfilled in a Christian priesthood, that at its root is applicable even in the sacredotal sense to all of the faithful.

But that there is an office of a presbyter isn't really a question. First, we aren't all universally elders--some of us are drinking spiritual milk, being babes in the faith.

We know there is an office of a prebyter because one is ordained to be a presbyter.

"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: "

and


"And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed."

In other words, there is a imposition of hands by the leadership that designates one is officially an elder.

How can you officially be an elder unless you ordained to the office of elder?

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw,
Can you name just one "oral tradition handed down by the Apostles on the basis that it's not written down?" Just one example will help.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
There is no "SACREDOTAL PRIESTHOOD" i.e. " religious belief emphasizing the powers of priests as essential mediators between God and humankind" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sacerdotalism) in the NT.

Daniel said...

Anonymous, I'm really stunned.

I assumed you were going to the altar in your church to pray to God for our souls that we might become Calvinists?

Does no one have the authority to approach God to ask for grace to be given to someone else?

Daniel said...

Can you name just one "oral tradition handed down by the Apostles on the basis that it's not written down?" Just one example will help.

That Christ was fully God at the Incarnation, not when the Holy Spirit decended upon Him in the form of a dove at His baptism.

Restless Pilgrim said...

Steve,

Like Anonymous, you didn't really interact with anything in Nick's article. You just made a series of belief statements on priesthood, some of which the article itself also affirmed: "We're all priests (says the New Testament".

What points in the article itself do you dispute?

Thanks,

Restless Pilgrim

Anonymous said...

Where is this oral tradition not written down--"That Christ was fully God at the Incarnation, not when the Holy Spirit decended upon Him in the form of a dove at His baptism" to be found? What apostle said this?

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

You said: Can you name just one "oral tradition handed down by the Apostles on the basis that it's not written down?" Just one example will help.

Answer:

(1) Apostles Creed,
(2) Nicene Creed,
(3) the doctrine of the Trinity,
(4) the doctrine/concept of the Hypostatic Union,
(5) the doctrine of the real presence in the Eucharist

Based in scripture and given to Christ's Church through tradition. Scripture isn't a recipe which is why tradition is necessary to fully comprehend Apostolic teaching.

What you fail to comprehend is that IF ROME IS WHO SHE STATES SHE IS THEN ONLY SHE HAS THE POWER TO PROPERLY INTERPRET SCRIPTURE, NOT YOU AND SHE CANNOT ERR WHEN IT COMES TO TEACHING FAITH AND MORALS. The members within the Church can err, especially within their own lives, but not on behalf of the Church. There is no supernatural in your beliefs.

Now back to my question:

Where does any Apostle list the 27 books and assert this is ALL the Apostles taught?

You state that all of their teaching must be in scripture. WHAT'S THE BASIS FOR THIS BELIEF SINCE SCRIPTURE DOESN'T MAKE SUCH A PROCLOMATION.


Anonymous said...

Daniel,
A mediator is one "One that mediates, especially one that reconciles differences between disputants." http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mediator

No one is a mediator except the Lord Christ. Only He has that authority because only He could bring the parties together. All that we can do is to present the gospel to people with the hope that those who hear will believe and be reconciled to God through Christ.

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw,
How do you know that the apostles orally spoke of
"(1) Apostles Creed,
(2) Nicene Creed,
(3) the doctrine of the Trinity,
(4) the doctrine/concept of the Hypostatic Union,
(5) the doctrine of the real presence in the Eucharist"???
What were the names of the apostles who spoke these specific doctrines and creeds? Where did they orally speak of these things?

I know what Rome states in regards to interpretation of Scripture. One of the problems is finding where she has done so. Where is this exegesis of the Scripture to be found so I can see how she does interpret Scripture?

The only thing we have of the apostles teachings is found only in the NT and nowhere else.

Daniel said...

I really don't understand your objection to the sacredotal priesthood in the NT...

Does not the Bible say:

et ipsi tamquam lapides vivi superaedificamini domus spiritalis sacerdotium sanctum offerre spiritales hostias acceptabiles Deo per Iesum Christum?

Daniel said...

A mediator is one "One that mediates, especially one that reconciles...

"And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;"

cwdlaw223 said...
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cwdlaw223 said...

"The only thing we have of the apostles teachings is found only in the NT and nowhere else."

What is YOUR BASIS FOR THIS BELIEF? Where did you come up with it? Scripture doesn't tell you that the "only thing" you have of the Apostles are found in the NT. Scriputre is the medium for the teaching just as oral tradition is a medium.

Tell me where you come up with this limiting idea that all apostolic teaching must be written down? It certainly isn't from scripture.

What level of proof would satisfy you that the Apostles taught and practiced the Mass? It has to be written down in the NT or else it didn't happen? (It is in scripture but it obviously is sufficiently detailed for you).

Restless Pilgrim said...

> No one is a mediator except the Lord Christ.

When you pray for a friend you are mediating.

(Also, please don't forget about the other thread - I'd like to hear your answer).

Anonymous said...

When you pray for someone you are not mediating. Only Christ can do that. Only Christ mediates the new covenant. When we pray for someone you are interceeding, petitioning before God to do something.

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw223,
Please give me an example of an oral apostle teaching by an apostle outside of Scripture. Your previous list is not proof since there is no way to verify it.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

You probably also believe that co means equal.

Restless Pilgrim said...

> When you pray for someone you are not mediating...you are interceeding, petitioning before God to do something.

I think you're imposing a particularly restricted meaning upon "mediate". The Free Dictionary lists "intercede" as a synonym for "mediate".

Just so we're clear we're not denying that Jesus has a unique kind of mediation. We're just saying that others mediate too (but not in the same way because of the unique role of Christ).

Daniel said...

Please give me an example of an oral apostle teaching by an apostle outside of Scripture. Your previous list is not proof since there is no way to verify it.

What an odd request.

You want us to provide evidence of an unwritten tradition passed on from the Apostles, but said evidence cannot be oral testimony of what has been handed down to me from my Church because it's not verifiable--wait for it!--because it wasn't written down.

cwdlaw223 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

Prove that scripture is scripture!

You are the one asserting the positive (i.e., All Apostolic Teaching is in Scripture) so you bear the burden of proof on this issue.

What's the basis for your assertion that ALL Apostolic Teaching is in Scripture?

How do you know that All Apostolic Teachins is in Scripture?

Anonymous said...

Ok. What else is apostolic teaching? What else did the apostles teach?

Daniel said...

"Ok. What else is apostolic teaching? What else did the apostles teach?"

That it's desirable to baptize babies.

Anonymous said...

What apostle said-"That it's desirable to baptize babies"?

Daniel said...

"What apostle said-'That it's desirable to baptize babies'? "

All of them.

Anonymous said...

Where? What documentation do you have?

Where did Andrew teach he supports infant baptism?

Daniel said...

I imagine my quip 'all of them' isn't going to be sufficient for you.

So, let me ask:

1. Is it desirable to baptize babies? As a Calvinist, I'm sure you'll say yes.

2. Was doctrine delivered once and for all?

3. Where the apostles guardians of the same deposit of faith that was 'given once for all'?

4. Does Scripture say to baptize adults only? Babies? Scripture says 2 things that are a clue to what was revealed to the apostles: a) that 'whole households' are baptized which implies children though not necessarily infants and b) that circumcision finds its fulfilment with baptism (Col 2:11-12), and circumcision was done to infants.

a) is speculative, and b) is appealing to typology--a system of biblical hermeneutics you reject when Catholics do it with Mary and the Ark.

So we can rightly conclude that infant baptism (being doctrinally correct) was taught by all Apostles, and the tradition was maintained without a specific command in Scripture to do it that way.

Anonymous said...

Number of problems with infant baptism. One is that it denies repentance and belief on the part of the infants. Secondly, there are no examples of it in Scripture. Third it produces baptized unbelievers which is a scourge on the church. The church is full of baptized people who have never committed themselves to Christ and yet consider themselves Christians.

BTW-- Lutheran professor, Curt Allen, after intensive study of infant baptism says, "There is no definite proof of the practice until after the third century," and he says, "This cannot be contested."
Catholic professor of theology, Haggenmacher, writes, "This controversy has shown that it is not possible to bring in absolute proof of infant baptism by basing one's argument on the Bible."

Daniel said...

Dude, what friggin church do you go to?

The only Reformed tradition that I'm aware of that denies infant baptism is the Reformed oriented Baptist churches--but they deny double predestination--heck, most of the baptists are 4 point Calvinists anyway!

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

How do you know that ALL Apostolic teaching is in scripture? You asserted the positive that ALL such teaching is in scripture so step up and tell us how you know this fact? Scripture didn't tell you that fact/condition about scripture.

cwdlaw223 said...

The present Catholic attitude accords perfectly with early Christian practices. Origen, for instance, wrote in the third century that "according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants" (Holilies on Leviticus, 8:3:11 [A.D. 244]). The Council of Carthage, in 253, condemned the opinion that baptism should be withheld from infants until the eighth day after birth. Later, Augustine taught, "The custom of Mother Church in baptizing infants is certainly not to be scorned . . . nor is it to be believed that its tradition is anything except apostolic" (Literal Interpretation of Genesis 10:23:39 [A.D. 408]).

Baptism is/was the new circumcision. Believer's baptism is fine, but it's not the EXCLUSIVE method of baptism. Someone has to historically ignorant to claim believer's baptism is the exclusive manner of this sacrament.

There will always be someone who comes along and ignores history for an alleged "better" interpretation of history.

Anonymous said...

We know its all in Scripture because there is no evidence for any outside of the NT.

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw,
Your arguing against the Scripture and early church history on infant baptism.

Restless Pilgrim said...

Like Daniel, I'm now rather intrigued as to what denomination Church you go to, so if you want to ignore this post that's fine because I'd be much more interested in hearing that answer. Anyway...


In the Old Covenant, a Jewish boy entered into Covenant with the Lord through the sign of circumcision a few days after birth. How strange would it have been to explain to a newly-converted 2nd Century Jew that his future sons would have to wait over a decade before he could enter into the New Covenant through the sign of Baptism?


> One is that it denies repentance and belief on the part of the infants.

Why would this be a problem for Baptism and not for circumcision?


> Secondly, there are no examples of it in Scripture.

Why would assume that "entire households" would exclude the children? Where does that assumption come from?

When Joshua spoke about his "household" (Joshua 24:15), should we assume he wasn't talking about his children below the age of reason?


> Third it produces baptized unbelievers which is a scourge on the church

Should Jewish parents withhold circumcision to prevent the scandal of having atheistic, bacon-eating Jews who is circumcised?

Restless Pilgrim said...

...oh yes, and for what it's worth...

"[Jesus] came to save all through himself; who through him are reborn in God: infants, and children, and youths, and old men" - Against Heresies 2:22:4, A.D. 189

"For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as newborn babes, even as the Lord has declared: 'Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven'" - Fragment34, A.D. 190

Anonymous said...

I go to a non-denominational church.

Circumcision and baptism are not the same things nor do they signify the same things. The Old Covenant had a physical means of entrance which was circumcision of the male. The New Covenant has a spiritual means of entrance: one must believe and be saved (Acts 16:31. Water baptism is a sign to others that you are identifying with Christ in His death and resurrection.

Paul uses the idea of a spiritual circumcision in a number of passages. In these passages he is not speaking of a physical circumcision that the OT Jews practiced.

Anonymous said...

The whole families argument would not necessarily involve children. You also have to keep in mind what the 2 scholars I quoted said.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

Seriously, what's the basis for your belief that everything the Apostles taught is in scripture?

Did someone tell you this?

Scripture doesn't tell you this.

You just make this assumption on your own without any Apostolic support?

You are presuming that that everything must be in scripture. I want to know WHY YOU MAKE THIS PRESUMPTION.

You know nothing about early Christian history. Name two people in the 5th or 6th Century who advocated believers baptism only? Step up and prove your case.

Even Calvin wasn't against this practice:

Calvin calls this claim (of believer's baptism only) "shamefully untruthful", noting that "there is no writer, however ancient, who does not regard its origin in the apostolic age as a certainty"(Inst.4, 16, 8). In his footnotes, Calvin cites Irenaeus, Origen, and Cyprian among some of the early advocates for infant baptism(Inst.4, 16, 8). It can be confidently said that by the second century the practice of baptizing infants had become "normal" if not "universal"(McGrath 443).

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

1,400 years demonstrates your pillars of faith (justification by faith alone, sola scriptura and believer's baptism) DID NOT HAPPEN AND CERTAINLY DIDN'T HAPPEN ALL AT ONCE WITH ANY BELIEVER OR GROUP OF BELIEVERS (NOT EVEN THE MAGESTERIAL REFORMERS). Of course, you claim the unknown early Church was like you and yet the Roman Catholic position emerges from history.

Why did the Roman Catholic position emerge? You're just smarter than 1,400 years of history? You have better exegesis?
Conspiracy?

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw,
Actually its you who has to prove from Scripture and early church history for infant baptism. Here is what you are up against:
"Lutheran professor, Curt Allen, after intensive study of infant baptism says, "There is no definite proof of the practice until after the third century," and he says, "This cannot be contested."

Catholic professor of theology, Haggenmacher, writes, "This controversy has shown that it is not possible to bring in absolute proof of infant baptism by basing one's argument on the Bible."

Never said that "that everything the Apostles taught is in scripture."

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

If you truly understand Jewish culture and Jewish family life and how it intersected with Christianity, please explain why Mary is called the Queen mother.

Should be easy for you to answer if you understand your history and the Davidic Kingdom.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

My proof:

(1) scripture does not prohibit infant baptism,
(2) old covenant and new covenant parallels between circumcision and baptism,
(3) it is more likely infant baptism was the correct Apostolic practice because that practice was definitively the ONLY PRACTICE OF CHRISTIANITY FROM 201 AD - 1,400. If believer's baptism was the SOLE MEANS of baptism there would have been a huge outcry in history (which we don't have) when you start to see more documentation of early Christianity,
(3) if Rome is who she says she is, Rome is correct about infant baptism.

What do you have? A pure guess and history against you. You have to presume that Christianity went flying off the rails after 201 AD and yet you have no facts other than your interpretation of scripture.

You most certainly said ALL Apostolic teaching must be in scripture. Are you now backing off your position?

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw,
Show me one verse where Mary is called queen of heaven?

I said the only apostolic teachings we have from the apostles is found only in the NT and nowhere else.

You failed in producing any apostolic teaching of the apostles outside the NT.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

You don't know Jewish history or the importance of a mother when her son is crowned king. If you did, you would understand why Mary, the mother of Jesus (the new Davidic King), is called queen. I figured you wouldn't 'know this fact.

How do you know the "only" apostolic "teaching" man "has" s found in the NT? Is there some requirement this information be written down? Where does the NT state this requirement?

You state this affirmative fact, so explain the basis for your viewpoint.

After you provide the basis or proof for your position I will once again answer your question.

Restless Pilgrim said...

> "The whole families argument would not necessarily involve children. You also have to keep in mind what the 2 scholars I quoted said."

How is this anything other than an appeal to an authority? I could post statements by Athiests saying that the Bible is a fabrication, doesn't mean it's true.

Also you didn't give me a reason. I ask why you #assume# "household" doesn't include children? Why do you come to the text worth that assumption, especially when you consider Irenaeus' words.

Was Joshua not referring to his children when he spoke about his "household"?

Anonymous said...

Many problems with infant baptism as I have shown. Pouring water or immersing an infant in water and saying some words does nothing to the infant but get him wet. The reason is that the baby is not engaged spiritually. The baby cannot follow Christ and no one can follow Christ for another.

New Testament baptism requires belief and understanding. This is something a baby cannot do.

There is nothing in any texts of baptism that mentions children.

Those scholars have shown that there was no definitive proof of infant baptism before the 3rd century. No proof of it in Scripture.

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw,
Keep in mind you are the one asserting something that the apostles said outside of the NT. You need to produce this if true. If you have no proof then all we have from the apostles is found only in the NT. Without proof you have nothing.

Again, where did Jesus call His mother His queen? Where do the apostles say this?

cwdlaw223 said...

You are the one asserting the NT is the "only" teaching by the Apostles. Where do you get this idea from? Scripture? You are the one limiting their teaching, not me. You bear the burden of proof for your position.

Let's hear why you hold this position? Tell us.

Assume someone is reading the Bible for the first time, how would you prove to them, or convince them, this is the "only" teaching by the Apostles.

I will prove my position after you prove yours. Mine is much easier to prove.

Go read scripture and Jewish history and you will understand that for a Davidic King the Queen is the mother of the King. Where does scripture say Mary had two arms and two legs? Or that she was human?

Jesus was the King. A 1st Century Jew who converted to Christianity would know the Queen would be his mother. Who might that be? MARY!

Scripture was never, ever to be the only or complete Apostolic teaching for everything related to Christianity. You put this man made clamp on scripture which is why you bungle so many interpretations of it. You also are ignorant of the Jewish parallels found in Christianity because scripture doesn't come straight out and tell you. I truly wonder if you want Jesus to have a do over and avoid parables since parables don't always specifically state the point trying to be made. You have to think and infer the points.

Anonymous said...

There are no teachings of the apostles outside the New Testament. If there were you would have more than 27 books in your New Testament.

Again, where does Jesus call Mary His queen? Where do the apostles?

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

I think you need to step back even further and tell us how you know which books are in the Bible? How do you reconcile this epistemological problem? Scripture is not self authenticating (unless your James White :). So how do you know what IS scripture?

Or will you cop out like Sproul and claim you don't know for sure and it's a fallible collection of books?

A Catholic can know this fact based upon the fact of tradition and the claims made by the Catholic Church throughout time. If the Catholic Church IS WHO SHE SAYS SHE IS, her use, declaration and most importantly PRESERVATION of scripture is correct. You probably think there are proto-Protestant churches protecting scripture without penalty of death if caught with such writings. The financial cost was minimal and no threat of death existed post 35 AD.

Anonymous said...

If there were other teachings of the apostles then your NT would have more than 27 books. The fact that it does not shows there is nothing else that we have of the apostles. Its all in the NT.

Where did Jesus call Mary His queen? Where do the apostles call her queen of heaven?

Restless Pilgrim said...

Did you not see my quotation from Ireneaus?

Anonymous said...

Yes. It does not prove infant baptism.

Restless Pilgrim said...

Care to explain that statement?

How are infants "reborn in God" ? And why does Irenaeus talk like Baptism actually does something?

Anonymous said...

Don't know. Don't know what is the context.

cwdlaw223 said...

WHY do you presume that their ONLY teaching must have been written down? Even scripture references preaching, not writing, as the dominant means of communicating apostolic teaching.

Paper was expensive and most of the population was illiterate, but you keep forcing a written standard upon scripture. Why do you fhis and what's the basis for this standard? You never have answered this question.

The Apostle and Jesus don't call her Queen just as they don't use the words "trinity" or "justification by faith alone" or "sola Scriptura". If you understood Jewish culture you would understand why she MUST be the Queen.

cwdlaw223 said...

Restless -

He doesn't get that scripture is incomplete and not meant to be a recipe. Even when Christ commands him to do something ( ex. Drink his blood and eat his flesh) he claims that is spiritual or symbolic. That's what progressives/liberals do.

Of course, his man made deductions from scripture that lead to sola Scriptura and justification by faith alone are crystal clear and everyone else is wrong and the Church failed for 1,400 years.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

How do you even KNOW what is scripture? Did a list fall down from heaven outside of Rome?

Daniel said...

Yes or No: A Christian has to do something to deserve baptism?

Actually, that's phrased ratherly sloppily...no one really deserves it in a sense.

Yes or No: A Christian has to do something to warrant baptism?

Anonymous said...

yes.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

How do I know what is scripture? That's easy, because the Church founded by Christ, endowed with the Holy Spirit, continuous throuhgout recorded history and still alive today tells me so!

I don't presume to have all knowledge or even come close. I'm an awe of Rome after living a logical falsehood many years as a Protestant.

(1) How do you KNOW what is scripture?

(2) WHY do you presume that their ONLY teaching must have been written down? Even scripture references preaching, not writing, as the dominant means of communicating apostolic teaching.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

That's a work! You are now preaching a work religion. Man cannot work for his baptism in your world. Be careful.

Only in Protestantism would a Protestant tell Luther and Calvin they were wrong on baptism!!! (Of course, Zwingli probably did that anyway).

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw,
Only teachings based on the NT are considered apostolic. That eliminates the Marian dogmas, purgatory, indulgences, infant baptism etc as being apostolic.

cwdlaw223 said...

Daniel & Anonymous -

I think a better question for Anonymous is the following:

Is baptism symbolic? If so, where does scripture say its merely symbolic.

If you admit there is no reference in scripture that baptism is symbolic (which you must) you also have to admit there is no reference in scripture that asserts baptism is exclusively reserved for believer's. Of course, you also go up against 1,200 years of history and need to claim the early church was only baptizing believers and then this practice went flying off the rails after 201 AD and wasn't "recovered" until Zwingli (not Calvin or Luther for that matter).

cwdlaw223 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cwdlaw223 said...

"Only teachings based on the NT are considered apostolic. That eliminates the Marian dogmas, purgatory, indulgences, infant baptism etc as being apostolic."

I know you keep saying this, but WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR YOUR BELIEF THAT THE "ONLY" TEACHING IN THE NT ARE CONSIDERED APOSTOLIC?

I can claim pigs can't fly all day long, but that doesn't indicate why I believe they can't fly.

Where do you get this "only" concept from? Scripture tell you this? History?

You have never answered this question. All you state is that it is. You don't even go so far as to state it must be, you just say that it is. Why?

cwdlaw223 said...

It also eliminates the doctrine of the Trinity, Hypostatic Union, the Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, Sola Scriptura, Justification by Faith Alone, etc., etc. None of the above are DIRECTLY stated in scripture.

Your epistemological blunder is that you assume scripture is complete and doesn't need an interpreter or that the only deposit of faith is in the text.

Pure theological insanity with that position which is why you can never fully grasph apostolic teaching.

Restless Pilgrim said...

> Yes. It does not prove infant baptism.

Care to explain that statement?

How are infants "reborn in God"? And why does Irenaeus talk like Baptism actually does something?

Anonymous said...

You tell me. Where did he get the idea from Scripture? Book, chapter and verse please.

Daniel said...

I want to elaborate on circumcision and baptism a little bit:

We see a spiritual promise given to the fathers in circumcision, similar to that which is given to us in baptism, since it figured to them both the forgiveness of sins and a physical act done to the body. Can we not agree that Christ--in whom both of these ordinances reside--is the foundation of baptism, so must he also be the foundation of circumcision?

For Christ is promised to Abraham, and in him all nations are blessed. To seal this grace, the sign of circumcision is added.

There is now no difficulty in seeing where the the two signs agree in what they are and what they do, and where they differ in what they are and what they do. The promise, in which we have shown that the power of the signs consists in both of those ordinances as the promise of the paternal favor of God, of forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. They are both about regeneration. The foundation on which the completion of these things depends, is the same for each.

So internally, baptism does what circumcision does (at minimum--I'm not speculating at this time if it does more).

Internally, it does what it does by the same means (Christ).

Externally, it is different.

Should rules for who receives it be based on the principles of the internal reality or the outward sign?

cwdlaw223 said...

Where are these words in scripture?


"sola Scriptura" or "justification by faith alone"

Book, Chapter and Verse!

Restless Pilgrim said...

>You tell me. Where did he get the idea from Scripture? Book, chapter and verse please.

Please don't deflect the issue.

The issue isn't where in Scripture Irenaeus got this belief (which wasn't an issue since he, as a good Catholic, also believed in Sacred Tradition).

The issue was whether or not anyone prior to the 3rd Century believed in infant baptism. Irenaeus' position is perfectly consistent with later Church history.

It's like the Papacy question all over again. You can assume a hermeneutic of discontinuity, demanding incredibly explicit evidence for every doctrine in every century, but as we have pointed out before, you're going to run into problems with your own doctrines...

cwdlaw223 said...

Restless -

"You can assume a hermeneutic of discontinuity, demanding incredibly explicit evidence for every doctrine in every century, but as we have pointed out before, you're going to run into problems with your own doctrines..."

Well stated!

In Anonymous' world everything was Protestant and then went flying off the rails Catholic after 200 AD and then was Protestant again after 1,400. He views scripture as an all encompassing book even though scripture doesn't make this claim and he has no basis to place this condition upon scripture other then he likes the idea.

Joe said it best when he made an ananlogy to scripture and holy tradition when it comes to soduko. You get a certain amount of numbers to start in soduko (i.e., scripture) and the rest can be deduced from those numbers (i.e., tradition). In Anonymous' world, all of the numbers in soduko are CLEARLY referendced in scripture (even though he can't agree with Luther or Calvin on infant baptism).

Anonymous said...

It is an issue where in Scripture Irenaeus got this belief. Otherwise is just another man made teaching.

Restless Pilgrim said...

>It is an issue where in Scripture Irenaeus got this belief. Otherwise is just another man made teaching.

There are two issues with this:

1. It misses the point of my posting these quotations. An assertion was made concerning the historicity of Infant Baptism prior to the 3rd Century so I presented Irenaeus as a partial refutation.

So, you can call Irenaeus an idiot, a heretic or whatever you want, but the point is that he is witnessing to Christian baptismal belief in the Second Century.

2. This is unrelated to my original reason for posting, but your response assumes Sola Scriptura. Irenaeus (like the other Fathers) did not hold to this doctrine. He, like the others, believed in Sacred Tradition.

This is particularly ironic given that Irenaeus is one of our earliest witnesses to the canon of Sacred Scripture. So, if you have to ask yourself why you'd accept his witness concerning the Gospels but not his witness concerning baptism...

Restless Pilgrim said...

Oh yes, and it also begs the question: who were the people disputing what Irenaeus said? Would you want to throw your lot in with the Gnostics?

Anonymous said...

He does not mention infant baptism in that quote. There in no Sacred Tradition of infant baptism before the 3rd century.

Daniel said...

So we are at a bit of an impasse.

Tell me Anonymous: Scripture doesn't explicitly say to baptize infants, and it doesn't explicitly forbid it.

A case of varying degree of persuasiveness can be made for either.

But I'm not interested in that (for right this second). I'm interested in what verse says that we are allowed to do everything not forbidden in Scripture OR the verse that says that we are forbidden to do anything not explicitly commanded.

Which verse is that?

Michael Taylor said...

Nick,

I've blogged a response to the 1 Corinthians 10:16-21 portion of your article. I may or may not get to the other two points.

Its good to see you defending your faith for a change, rather than attacking mine. :-)

http://fallibility.blogspot.com/2013/05/does-1-corinthians-1016-21-prove-roman.html

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR YOUR BELIEF THAT THE "ONLY" TEACHING FROM THE APOSTLES IS IN THE NT?

Is this from the tradition of men that you get this teaching from? You assert this belief, why do you support this limiting belief?

Furthermore, how do you know what is scripture? Man made traditions tell you that?

cwdlaw223 said...

All -

The biggest question that Anonymous must face is why does the Roman Catholic position emerge in history? Assume we know nothing about early Christianity from 35-200 AD. Everything thereafter is Roman Catholic to the core.

You don't have any concept of justification by faith alone, sola scriptura, baptism is symbolic, believer's baptism is the exclusive method, the Eucharist is symbolic, etc. Not one of these Protestant practices emerge from history.

Why? Conspiracy? Cover up? Dinosaurs? Meteors? Aliens?

Why? Because truth emerges!!!

cwdlaw223 said...

Daniel -

Good question. This gets to the epistemological heart of Anonymous. He keeps stating that the only apostolic teaching is found in the NT but he doesn't state why he believes this condition of such teaching.

He might prefer that all of the teaching be written down, but that's a man made preference. His "only in scripture" requirement must be from God for him to be consistent in his beliefs. He also can't articulate what IS scripture without a man made tradition (ironic).

Once you twist scripture into a cook book, you get a lot of bad recipes producing stale food.

Michael Taylor said...

Daniel

You asked>>I'm interested in what verse says that we are allowed to do everything not forbidden in Scripture OR the verse that says that we are forbidden to do anything not explicitly commanded.<<

I haven't read all the comments in this thread so forgive me for presuming, but it sort of sounds like you're presenting the old canard that sola scriptura is self defeating since sola scriptura itself lacks any explicit scriptural testimony, or am I missing something?

If so, then let me take a crack at this problem this way:

1. First, I don't think we have to come up with any such verses in order for sola scriptura to be true. (I'll explain that below).

2. But we can anyway.

The reason for 1 is that, properly speaking, sola scriptura is not a doctrine that we derive from the Bible (as that would be circular reasoning); rather it is a principle from which we derive all other doctrines.

Let me give you an analogy. Prior to receiving the 10 commandments, Moses had no divinely inspired writing to go on. So there was no "text" that could tell him, in so many words, "nothing beyond what is written" (as we now have in 1 Cor. 4:6).

And yet Moses was immediately and instantly aware of the divine authority of the tablets he received. The version of sola scriptura that seems to be in your mind would suggest that Moses had no basis for accepting those two tablets as authoritative since he would have needed scriptural warrant for that assumption prior to accepting the. But of course there were no scriptures yet, so....I think you can see where I'm going with this.

But that's not how Protestants have historically understood sola scriptura. We're not claiming that there must first be a text that says, "nothing but the text" in order to know that we're not exceed the authority of scripture. Rather it is the very character of scripture itself (like the 2 Tablets) that leads us to argue for taking scripture as our starting point, or principle.

As for point 2 above, it just so happens that there are many texts that either witness to the sola scriptura principle or even directly state it. I've argued in a blog article that 1 Corinthians 4:6 is precisely one such text. I'd be honored if you would take a look at it as time permits.

http://fallibility.blogspot.com/2011/05/nothing-beyond.html

Mike Taylor





Daniel said...

Mike,

Thank you for your follow up question.

I was speaking more towards the doctrinal sufficiency of Scripture.

In order for all doctrines to be explicitly or even implicitly derived from the Bible alone without tradition then the Bible would have to contain the hermeneutical principle for its correct interpretation.

Scripture alone requires a tradition of the correct hermeneutical principle.

But why stop there?

Why not have Scripture interpreted based on traditions beside the tradition of hermenutics (like the traditions found in the historical record, for example)?

And even if you HAVE an answer for why one SHOULDN'T go to extraBiblical traditions beyond the correct hermeneutic, that answer isn't derived soley from the Bible.

So we're back to square one.

Now take all that and contrast it with Catholicism that says that Scripture and Tradition are united--in one flesh if you will--in the sum deposit of faith delivered once for all.

The summation of Divine Wisdom isn't contained in the written Word--it overflows it! So should not the Divine Wisdom in its entirity (Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience, etc.--and yes, I'm stealing John Wesley's quadrilateral lol--be consulted for clarifying a doctrinal position?

We answer in the affirmitive.

cwdlaw223 said...

Michael -

Nobody objects to taking scripture as a starting point. That's not the end game with sola scriptura (assuming one can even define it - See Mathison).

You implicitly assert there must be "nothing but the text" for sola scriptura to logically work. Why? Because the doctrine violates itself and therefore violates the rule of non-contradiction. There is not text which states you must not exceed "scripture." In fact, such implied text doesn't even exist because it would denegrate the concept of a deposit of faith. In your world the ONLY deposit of faith must be in scripture but scripture, nor tradition, states that's the only deposit of faith.

Do you believe that scripture is self defining? If so, sola scripture would have a better logical chance at success. The problem is that scriputre is not self defining no matter how much one says that it is self defining. There is no index that came down from heaven (unless you're Mormon :)). It also helps you get around the "what is scripture" problem if scripture were self defining. That's a massive epistemological problem for Protestantism that cannot be solved. Scripture itself becomes defined by a tradition of men, but traditions of men are rejected in the scripture.



Michael Taylor said...

Daniel

Could you clarify this for me?

>>In order for all doctrines to be explicitly or even implicitly derived from the Bible alone without tradition then the Bible would have to contain the hermeneutical principle for its correct interpretation.<<

I'm not sure I'm following you. Could you explain why this must be the case? (It sounds like your saying that the hermeneutical principal for correct biblical interpretation is either entirely in the Bible or entirely outside of it. Naturally I am wondering why it couldn't be present in both.)

>>Scripture alone requires a tradition of the correct hermeneutical principle.<<

Flesh this out for me. I'm not sure what you mean by this.

>>Now take all that and contrast it with Catholicism that says that Scripture and Tradition are united--in one flesh if you will--in the sum deposit of faith delivered once for all.<<

Yes, we know the claim. The problem, however, is that in order to know what is/what is not "Tradition," on needs to add in infallible Magisterium which itself cannot be proven by the totality of scripture, tradition and Magisterium without infinite regress or circular reasoning...but I digress.

>>We answer in the affirmitive.<<


Hmmm. I think most historically-minded Protestants would agree that there is a roll for tradition and scholarship in coming to a proper understanding of scripture. But we say that, of the three, scripture alone is inspired, infallible and ultimately authoritative. So it's not that we have no traditions; rather it's that we don't put tradition on par with scripture. (That is, we follow Jesus and the Apostles who subordinated all traditions and teachings to scripture).

Gotta run...

Mike

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
No verse needed for a "verse says that we are allowed to do everything not forbidden in Scripture OR the verse that says that we are forbidden to do anything not explicitly commanded."

If you do something that is forbidden by Scripture it is sin. If you do something that Scripture does not teach then it is not scriptural or apostolic. It is not of Christ.

Daniel said...

Anonymous, what brand of wine do you use for communion?

Mike, I'll work on a response Sir.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
Where does the Scripture use the word wine at the Lord's supper?

Daniel said...

We know it was wine because Paul says: "For in eating every one taketh before [other] his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken."

Anonymous said...

That doesn't prove anything.

Restless Pilgrim said...

>He does not mention infant baptism in that quote.

...but he talks about infants being "reborn in God". How do you think Irenaeus thought that happened? Well, he gives us the answer in the second quotation I cited...

When speaking about Baptism, he cites John's Gospel where Jesus talks about being "born again through water and the spirit".

Now, I understand you're going to disagree with Irenaeus' interpretation of that passage from John, but it seems pretty clear that he associates being reborn with Baptism. It therefore makes perfect sense that in the former passage he's talking about infants being "reborn in God" through Baptism. And, given what we find later in history, this is entirely consistent.

Oh, and he's what Hippolytus wrote about twenty years later:

"Baptize first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them" - The Apostolic Tradition 21:16, A.D. 215


> There in no Sacred Tradition of infant baptism before the 3rd century

We're just back to the same situation we had with the Papacy. Unless a doctrine is explicitly articulated in each century, you refuse to accept that it was believed. As we've said many times, if you were to apply that standard to your own doctrines you'd really be in trouble.

"Repent, and be baptized, every one of you...for the forgiveness of your sins... For the promise is to you and to your children" - Acts 2:38–39

Daniel said...

Mike,

I'm saying the Bible doesn't tell us something important for two things: doctrine and practice.

To my knowledge, Scripture doesn't tell us: if Scripture is silent on a belief, if the belief is ok to belief or if the belief is forbidden to believe.

For example, I believe that it is correct to say that the Father and Son are consubstational in seperate persons. I believe it is a heresy to say the Son is a different role or mode of the Father.

Next, Scripture doesn't tell us: if Scripture is silent on a practice, if the practice is ok to do or if the practice is forbidden to do.

Think barrier method birth control.

The Bible is silent on how to deal with issues where the Bible is silent.

"The problem, however, is that in order to know what is/what is not "Tradition," on needs to add in infallible Magisterium which itself cannot be proven by the totality of scripture, tradition and Magisterium without infinite regress or circular reasoning..."

Yes, but we don't have a regress.

We start with God--then God built a Church, the pillar and bulwark of truth--that would be led to 'all truth.' That Church was given authority. And after the Church came to be, they wrote the rest and compiled all the Scriptures.

And the Greek word that the Bible translates as inspired is 'God-breathed'--but the Bible isn't the only thing God-breathed. The apostles are! In John 20:22.

The Bible also isn't the only authority either. Peter has the keys to the kingdom. The Apostles have the authority to bind and loose. That isn't exactly subordinate to Scripture, if Scripture as we know it didn't exist yet.

Here's another place that illustrates my point:

All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Paul could mean:

A) All Scripture to include Scripture that hadn't been writen yet.

B) All of the Scripture that existed up until the point that Paul penned those words.

C) All of the Scripture that Timothy had known from his childhood that Paul references in the v. 15.

The use of the word 'all' speaks strongly to A or to B; the immediate context of the verse exactly before it speaks strongly to C.

Whatever the answer is, the answer doesn't infallibly come from the Bible.

And then as cw has pointed out, how do you even figure out what does and does not go in the Bible?

Doctrine? If you use doctrine to determine canon, you can't appeal to the contents of the canon to determine doctrine without the fallacy of circular reasoning that you cautioned me against moments ago.

Written by a prophet? Who is a prophet? John Calvin calls Baruch a prophet and then quotes from Baruch. Wisdom 2 I think it is is a prophecy of Christ.

My Liberty University professors tell me that the NT canon was settled at Carthage in 397. (Professor Schultz's Theology 104 class--using as a text, Libery Professor's Etzel and Guitierrez's book).

That's fine by me. But the OT canon of Carthage and the NT canon of Carthage are identical in every way to the OT canon of Trent and the NT canon of Trent.

Was there any Christian Church (not an individual) between 33AD and 1499 AD that used the exact Protestant canon of today's Bible?


cwdlaw223 said...

How do you know something is not Apostolic simply because it's not perfectly described in scripture for you?

HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS AND WHAT's the basis for this knowledge?

You just want it to be?

cwdlaw223 said...

No Protestant has yet to establish their belief that Apostolic teaching is ONLY in the NT. What's the basis for this position?

They don't know but like the idea? It has to be like that because of personal preference? The angel Moroni told them?

Anonymous said...

"born again through water and the spirit" is not about baptism but to the need for cleansing. When used with the HS it usually refers to renewal or spiritual cleansing. See Ezek 36:24-27.
Just because “he associates being reborn with Baptism” means that he is correct. If you were to read further in John 3 you would find that Jesus teaches the necessity of belief to be born again.
What we see in these early quotes is drifting away from New Testament teaching on baptism. These quotes cannot be supported by Scripture. This is why it’s not wise to let church fathers determine doctrine. They are not infallible and have erred.

Restless Pilgrim said...

> "born again through water and the spirit" is not about baptism but to the need...

Well, I did say that I didn't expect you to agree with his exegesis!

Honestly, you wasted a lot of words there on an utterly tangential point. You think the great apologist of the 2nd Century was a bit of thicky when it came to theology, I get it.

(I guess we can also add Hippolytus to that list too)

The point I was making that Irenaeus saw "being born again" as referring to Baptism. Hence, when he talks about infants and children being "reborn to God" he's talking about infant Baptism, which you had previously disputed.


> What we see in these early quotes is drifting away from New Testament teaching on baptism.

So heresy was already rampant by the Second Century? The Apostles really must have done a crummy job.


>This is why it’s not wise to let church fathers determine doctrine.

...and should instead trust your interpretation of Scripture.


They are not infallible and have erred.

Catholics (Coptic and Orthodox) don't assert that they're infallible. As I've mentioned several times before we look to the consensus patrum.

Anonymous said...

What did the bishops of Rome say about infant baptism in the 1st 3 centuries?

Michael Taylor said...

Daniel,

I want to respond to a couple of things you said. Let's start here:

>>I'm saying the Bible doesn't tell us something important for two things: doctrine and practice.<<

I disagree. I think scripture tells us everything we need to know for both, either by direct teaching, or by giving us the principles by which we can reason to the most probable position. In other words, it is *sufficient* but not *exhaustive.* It sounds to me like you won't except its sufficiency unless it is also exhaustive.

What concerns me here, is not so much your reasoning, but your attitude. It seems like the unspoken assumption here is an implicit belief on your part that God somewhere has given us exhaustive truth. You don't find it in scripture alone, but you seem to think you've found it in scripture + tradition + magisterium.

But does Rome even go this far? I know Rome believes that it has the fulness of truth. But that doesn't mean Rome is claiming to have exhausted all truth and all mysteries. There are some things Rome leaves undefined. In fact there are some things Rome simply isn't sure about.

For example, a Thomist is free to hold to unconditional election. But a Molinist can reject that and still be within the pale of Catholic orthodoxy. In fact, a Molinist can hold a mutually exclusive view--namely that election is conditional.

Clearly both views cannot be true in the same way at the same time. But in Rome, you can hold to either view without fear of the anathema. Why? Because the magisterium has (perhaps wisely) decided not to endorse on view over and against the other.

In other words, what concerns me here is what seems to be your apriori need for no ambiguities, and so you think you've found that in Rome's infallible magisterium. But have you really?

>>To my knowledge, Scripture doesn't tell us: if Scripture is silent on a belief, if the belief is ok to belief or if the belief is forbidden to believe.<<

This is an old debate: Are we free to do/believe what is not explicitly forbidden? Or are we limited by only what scripture explicitly affirms? The answer, I think, comes to us from looking at the way Jesus himself used scripture. He was once accused of doing what was wrong on the Sabbath. But he appealed to David's use of the showbread to give him a Biblical precedent for allowing his disciples to pick grain. (See Matthew 12:1-8 for Jesus' case-law approach to scripture).

The point here, of course, is that we can actually read scripture too restrictively. Many in my camp do precisely this: "I don't see dancing mentioned in the context of New Testament worship," therefore they conclude the Bible must be against it. But they forget the David danced before the ark of the Lord. Using Jesus' method above, one might reasonably conclude that dancing could be part of a worship service, so long as it is balanced out with other biblical principles such as doing all things "in order" as Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 14:40).

It may very well be that in some cultures dancing of any sort is "out of order." But I have a hard time believing that about every culture, especially Mediterranean cultures and African cultures.

In any event, sola scriptura, rightly understood, presupposes Jesus' own view of the Bible. When the Pharisees confronted him, his response wasn't, "use your common sense," or "what does Rome say," but rather, "Have you not read?" (Matthew 12:3). Sola scriptura says that should be our approach as well.


Michael Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Taylor said...

Daniel,

Here is the other piece I wanted to respond to:


>>Yes, but we don't have a regress.

We start with God--then God built a Church, the pillar and bulwark of truth--that would be led to 'all truth.' That Church was given authority. And after the Church came to be, they wrote the rest and compiled all the Scriptures.<<

I presume this a nutshell version of the "spiral argument," which goes more or less as follows:

1. Start with the Bible-as-history. (Don't assume it's Divine authority).
2. On the basis of its historical reliability, reason to the Trilemma: Jesus was either liar, lunatic or Lord.
3. Conclude he was Lord, and therefore whatever he says goes.
4. He said he would establish a church and endow it with all the rudiments of what we see in Roman Catholicism, including the charism of infallibility.
5. Since we have to believe premise 4 (since Jesus is Lord, not liar or lunatic), then we can now believe what this church says ("He who hears you hears me").
6. This church (The Catholic Church ®) determines the canon, tells us it is inspired, and also tells us that Tradition is equally the Word of God, etc.


And so it goes. I trust, however, that you can see the crucial premise here is #4. If you're a Roman Catholic already or strongly inclined to becoming one, then you're bound to interpret the Bible as Rome does. But if you're not, you probably won't.

The problem, as I see it, is that you can't claim to have an infallible reading of the still "historically reliable Bible" at this point in the argument, precisely because you have not yet determined that Jesus founded an infallible church that can now tell you it is infallible, that the Bible is inspired (not just historically reliable) and that Tradition is also the Word of God.

So either you must assume what you're hoping to prove (vicious circularity) or you need to have an infallible interpretation of the Bible (premise 4) above which safeguards your belief that the Catholic Church ® is the very church Christ founded and that it has all the authority Rome claims for itself.

Absent a fallible interpretation of the historically reliable Bible, all you are left with is a more or less probable reading of the Bible--not an infallible one.

So the entire case for infallibility rests with your own, private, fallible, interpretation of the Bible-as-history.

But why should anyone trust you (or himself) for that matter with the proper handling of premise 4 above if having an infallible interpreter is the only reliable way of determining what we ought to believe and what we ought to practice?

I ask, because you have no such infallible interpreter in place when you get to premise 4. You're in the same boat any Protestant is. You're actually no better off. In fact, you're worse off by far because you've fallibly determined that you need an infallible interpreter to overcome your fallibility, which is simply absurd to begin with.

cwdlaw223 said...

Michael -

Many people have parts of truth. You can fallible agree with the doctrine of the Trinity even though its an infallible doctrine.

Your argument doesn't make sense. Every person must make a determination for themselves in the Catholic view. Man can resist grace or not.

Protestants are not anywhere close to the same boat as Catholics. Protestants are shipwrecked and at the bottom of the sea with man made anchors holding them back (ex. sola scriptura, justification by faith alone, etc.).

You do not believe in the supernatural, do you?

You have to admit church failure when you look at history and yet that goes against scripture. The most logical position from history is either Rome is correct or Jesus is a liar, unable to protect the Church he founded and therefore not the Messiah.

cwdlaw223 said...

I was a Protestant and after someone explained to me what Rome actually teaches (as opposed to incorrect teaching explained by Ps) I converted.

The Reformation happened over money (no priestly tax), sex (new reasons for divorce) and authority/nationalism (man wants nobody but himself in charge). The spark of the Reformation never, ever started over legitimate THEOLOGICAL abuses/changes by Rome. The spark was abuses by people within Rome who were not following the teaching OF Rome. Massive difference. Rome hasn't changed its faith and morals.

Protestantism has spiraled down to theological relativism as predicted by Rome during the Reformation. Once the "state" replaced the Church morality became relative. We have the reformers to thank for the progressivism/liberalism they unleased on society.

Anonymous said...

It's sad you apostated. You don't understand the causes of the Protestant Reformation in which the reformers were left with no choice but to start anew and bring the gospel back to the people.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

You don't know history.

When are you going to answer my question as to the basis for your belief that apostolic teaching is ONLY in scripture? Where do you get this belief from? State it. It isn't from scripture or implied from scripture. Nobody denies scripture is apostolic teaching, the problem is that you deny any other form of teaching could possibly be apostolic.

Your theology is really no different than Mormonism. Both are based upon Church failure and a new man made "gospel" for the people off the back of Catholicism.

You are great at one to two sentence statements which is why you are unable to provide any logical explanation for the basis for your belief that the only apostolic teaching is found in scripture.

You forget that Catholicism emerged first, not your theology which nobody every dreamed up until after 1,400

Restless Pilgrim said...

> What did the bishops of Rome say about infant baptism in the 1st 3 centuries?

Before we topic jump again, what is your opinion now given our recent exchange? Given what I've said about Irenaeus' belief about being "born again", does it make sense to assume that when he talks about infants being "reborn in God" he's referring to infant baptism?

(Calvin thought so in his Institutes...)

Anonymous said...

If he is then he is mistaken. Scripture does not teach that.

Restless Pilgrim said...

> If he is then he is mistaken. Scripture does not teach that.

I don't mind you rejecting him (that's a separate issue). I simply wanted to show that a good case can be made for infant baptism in the Second Century.

Anonymous said...

How does it follow that the writings of one man that has nothing to do with infant baptism directly means that the entire church was practicing infant baptism?

I have already shown you 2 scholars who say this was not the case at all.

Restless Pilgrim said...

>How does it follow that the writings of one man that has nothing to do with infant baptism directly means that the entire church was practicing infant baptism?

I'm well aware of your hermeneutic of discontinuity and how it operates. But, again, you're misunderstanding the point that I was trying to make. I was simply providing evidence that infant baptism was present in the Second Century.


>I have already shown you 2 scholars who say this was not the case at all.

I really am puzzled with the way you approach stuff like this. You hold up a couple of people who happen to agree with your point of view as though that were the final word on the subject. You do realize that there are other scholars who disagree with them, right?

As I've pointed out many times, scholars such as Bart Ehrman make many statements about the Bible based on their scholarly research...it doesn't make those statements true.

As a case in point (and the entire point of this particular line of dialog) your scholars somehow overlooked (or explained away) the witness of Irenaeus in the Second Century.

I was simply correcting that oversight. This is why it pays to read the primary sources.

cwdlaw223 said...

Only a progressive would put more weight/faith in 20th Century academics over an eye witness in the 2nd Century. Anonymous balances the evidence backwards by giving more weight to the present than the past.

He still can't explain his position that Apostolic teaching is only in scripture and avoids answering this question like the plague.

Daniel said...

And Irenaeus isn't just some guy. He studied under the Apostle John's disciple, Polycarp.

He was made a Bishop in France. He communicated personally with at least two popes (even convincing Victor not to excommunicate the entire East over a liturgical calendar issue ).

And then his writings were preserved by the Church as its sharpest sword against the Gnostics.

Michael Taylor said...

CWD>>Your argument doesn't make sense. Every person must make a determination for themselves in the Catholic view.<<

So then my argument does make sense, because that's exactly what I'm saying about "premise 4." At his point in my argument, no one can yet appeal to an "infallible interpreter" or "the church Christ founded" as a decisive factor for determining the meaning of scripture or which doctrines and practices are those we are to affirm, at least not without begging the question.

In other words, when you were still considering the claims of Rome as a Protestant, you had to decide for yourself whether or not those claims conformed with the Bible since you did not yet have the luxury of an infallible interpreter to depend on. In yet other words, you had to depend upon your own *fallible* reading of the Bible and church history. That's what I mean when I say we're all in the same boat at this point in the "spiral argument" that Rome's apologists frequently make (I know, because I used to make it) in order to prove things like the infallibility of the Magisterium and the inspiration of the Bible. (Trust me, been there, done that, wore out the T-shirt).

If that's the case, then when we come to the texts of the Bible and the historical sources, each of us has to make a determination as to whether or not those sources confirm or deny Rome's claims.

I once *thought* I knew what Rome taught and rejected it as a happy-go-lucky Evangelical. Then I began to study church history and read Rome's apologetical works, and I decided that Rome really was "the one, true, church." So I converted. Three years later I joined a religious order, was ordained a transitional deacon, and planing my ordination to the priesthood, when God intervened decisively in my life and prevented me from sinning against him before I could begin performing the idolatrous sacrifice of the mass.

Needless to say, during my formation I began reading church history and scripture *formally* (i.e., in seminary and academic settings) rather than the cut-and-paste anthologies of Jurgens and the "Fathers Know Best" series of "This Rock" magazine (of which I was a charter subscriber). I studied Greek and Hebrew and so that I could read the Bible in its original languages. I studied Reformational and Counter-Reformational texts and came to the conclusion that "it wasn't always thus," and that I indeed had been lied to. I had a crisis of conscience and realized that I no longer believed what Rome taught on a number of issues.

So here I stood at "premise 4" of the spiral argument--namely, the claim that the Lord Jesus founded a Church and endowed it with infallibility and all the rudiments of what we find in Roman Catholicism, and decided that neither Scripture nor Tradition, supported that claim.

In other words, I did a 180. I went from anti-Catholic Evangelical, to zealous defender of Catholicism, to nearly a priest, to coming to my senses again. I eventually returned to my Evangelical roots, discovering what I had never truly understood in the first place--the Reformation solas, the suppressed side of church history, and the clear teaching of scripture.

In other words, I came to reject "premise 4" in the spiral argument that lead me to embrace Romanism. I saw that it was a faulty premise based on a misreading of both the Bible and church history.

And if I could see it and do a 180, then in theory so can anyone, Lord willing.

Daniel said...

"I disagree. I think scripture tells us everything we need to know for both, either by direct teaching, or by giving us the principles by which we can reason to the most probable position. In other words, it is *sufficient* but not *exhaustive.* It sounds to me like you won't except its sufficiency unless it is also exhaustive."

1) Formally sufficient?
2) Materially sufficient?
3) Sufficient for all of God's truth knowable by man?
4) Sufficient for salvation in that the entire treasury of truths which it is necessary to believe in order to be saved is therein contained?

Sola Scriptura is by no means exhaustive. Exhausting maybe, if you've ever tried to use only Scripture to convince your fellow Calvinist on here, Anonymous, of the desirability of infant baptism.

As for sufficiency, let me be very quick to say very loudly: sufficiency is not the same as necessity. It is not necessary to have, or to hold, or to read a Bible--or even a single verse from it--to be saved. Of the last 2000 years of history, I wouldn't be surprised that if one were to randomly sample illiterate villagers, both you and I would be more pleased with their theology than the entire faculty of Yale Divinity School.

So certainly it stands to reason that if less than the Bible is sufficient for salvation, then more than the Bible is sufficient as a matter of course.

But ultimately the specific point that I was addressing is this: Is the Bible alone sufficient for definitively distinguishing between orthodoxy and heresy every time in history that a controversy arises?

In my experience, it's simply not. You'll get no argument from me that the principles laid out in the written Word will cause someone to arrive in the orthodox position. But what the Bible can't do for every issue in controversy is distinguish between the orthodox position and the heretical. Anonymous can make a good case for a 'believer's baptism' at the expense of infants. I believe that his case is wrong--but it's simply not a matter of finding some overlooked verse that will settled the issue definitively for two differing parties who both place their trust in the authority of the Bible. Pronouncements of Ecumenical councils in communion with Rome have always solved every theological controversy presented to it in the first 1000 years of Christianity for those who accept the authority of the Council. In fact, I would posit that never once in the last 500 years of Protestantism, has the Bible ever solved a theological controversy among conflicting parties who both see the Bible as authoritative: the schismatic leaves to start his own church while still appealing to the same Bible that the other party claims authoritatively refutes him as a heretic.

"What concerns me here, is not so much your reasoning, but your attitude. It seems like the unspoken assumption here is an implicit belief on your part that God somewhere has given us exhaustive truth. You don't find it in scripture alone, but you seem to think you've found it in scripture + tradition + magisterium."

Perhaps that was theological imprecision on my part. I am trying to convey that the deposit of the revealed Divine Wisdom in its entirety is found in Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium. I took you to mean that you believed that that the entire revealed deposit of faith rests in 66 of Scripture alone. If I am reading you rightly, then you can't disagree with my assertion that we possess that deposit, but you can only clarify by alleging that in either our other 7 books, Tradition, and Magisterium, we possess something that contradicts not compliments the deposit of faith abiding in those 66 books.

Daniel said...

"But does Rome even go this far? I know Rome believes that it has the fulness of truth. But that doesn't mean Rome is claiming to have exhausted all truth and all mysteries. There are some things Rome leaves undefined. In fact there are some things Rome simply isn't sure about."

For example, a Thomist is free to hold to unconditional election. But a Molinist can reject that and still be within the pale of Catholic orthodoxy. In fact, a Molinist can hold a mutually exclusive view--namely that election is conditional.

Clearly both views cannot be true in the same way at the same time. But in Rome, you can hold to either view without fear of the anathema. Why? Because the magisterium has (perhaps wisely) decided not to endorse on view over and against the other."


Yes, but only the Magisterium has the authority to both allow teaching both views as theologoumena, and forbid teaching both views as fact.

"In other words, what concerns me here is what seems to be your apriori need for no ambiguities, and so you think you've found that in Rome's infallible magisterium. But have you really?"

But everything ambiguous remains ambiguous unless someone has the authority to authoritatively discern between them. Some of those ambiguities are important, others are not. Oneness Pentacostalism is fine and dandy until you one day realize that the implications of their beliefs is that the Father was crucified on Calvary! Or the debate on this thread on infant baptism--either we are making a mockery of the Mystery of Baptism by allowing something forbidden, or those who deny it to infants are putting a millstone on their own necks, so to speak. Even if we don't know epistimologically how we know that it's really bad to say the Father was crucified and that it's not so bad to be a Molinist or an Arminian, even if I'm firmly in the Thomist camp as you yourself are in the Calvinist, we nevertheless do know when an ambiguous belief has potential for error and when it has potential for danger.

Daniel said...

>>To my knowledge, Scripture doesn't tell us: if Scripture is silent on a belief, if the belief is ok to belief or if the belief is forbidden to believe.<<

This is an old debate: Are we free to do/believe what is not explicitly forbidden? Or are we limited by only what scripture explicitly affirms? The answer, I think, comes to us from looking at the way Jesus himself used scripture. He was once accused of doing what was wrong on the Sabbath. But he appealed to David's use of the showbread to give him a Biblical precedent for allowing his disciples to pick grain. (See Matthew 12:1-8 for Jesus' case-law approach to scripture).

The point here, of course, is that we can actually read scripture too restrictively. Many in my camp do precisely this: "I don't see dancing mentioned in the context of New Testament worship," therefore they conclude the Bible must be against it. But they forget the David danced before the ark of the Lord. Using Jesus' method above, one might reasonably conclude that dancing could be part of a worship service, so long as it is balanced out with other biblical principles such as doing all things "in order" as Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 14:40).

It may very well be that in some cultures dancing of any sort is "out of order." But I have a hard time believing that about every culture, especially Mediterranean cultures and African cultures.

In any event, sola scriptura, rightly understood, presupposes Jesus' own view of the Bible. When the Pharisees confronted him, his response wasn't, "use your common sense," or "what does Rome say," but rather, "Have you not read?" (Matthew 12:3). Sola scriptura says that should be our approach as well.
.

But that's my point. The Pharisees had read of David and the shewbread and held to the authority of Scripture and they still managed to bungle it, and then rejected God's authority that was abiding in the person of Jesus of Nazareth while still holding to the authority of their Scriptures.

cwdlaw223 said...

What you are saying is that Christ was incapable of creating a Church that is infallible in its teaching and the Holy Spirit does not guide the Church consistently.

You also have to admit that the canon is merely the preference of men since there is no real church with infallible teaching. All we were left with were non-original writings and no guidance but our own thoughts (and pray we have access to the written word and can read).


You also have to conclude that ALL doctrines are fallible (ex. Trinity, Hypostatic Union, Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, etc.). Will you admit that all teaching on this earth is fallible (I.e, not free from error)? That the cannon is a fallible collection? Sproul will love you for that one.

Luther/Knox/Zwingli were all Catholics priests. People lose their faith all the time and replace it with themselves while ignoring the supernatural.

cwdlaw223 said...

Matthew -

Do you believe scripture is "clear" on who should be baptized? If so, how can you square Zwingli vs. Calvin/Luther?

If the Reformers found the real gospel, why and how did the Roman position emerge in history? Or, how did we go off the rails after the 3rd Century and then find it again in the 15th Century?

Clint said...

Have any of you realized yet that arguing with anonymous is pointless?

All of you are putting effort into your comments and you display that your intelligence is above average. Sadly though, you are only wasting time and energy. Anonymous is not a worthy opponent in the sight of any serious debater. His comments are of a poor quality whereas yours are not.

He is nothing but a brick wall. You show him great biblical and historical proof for Catholicism being real Christianity and in response his reply is always a base "that doesn't mean anything," "this doesn't mean that," or "nope." There is no convincing an irrational toad that the stars are beyond our ozone.

His mindset is that the 66 book Bible (a canon that didn't exist until the 16th century) is the origin and preservation of literally all true Christian teaching and that it must be understood in a scientific manner over the centuries. He believes this even though the Scriptures never specify which texts are canonical, which means Tradition has to be necessary, and ultimately then his extreme view of Sola Scriptura very easily collapses. He believes what he believes even though it makes Jude 3 impossible. Cwdlaw's Mormon remarks are rather fitting.

Anonymous refuses to register a username, he doesn't post any real content, he thinks he knows better than the fathers, and he continues the same comments on every post to where it's a viscous cycle that will never end. If this were my blog I would not allow any unregistered commenters and I would have banned him a few posts ago.

He will remain in his heterodoxy unless God helps him embrace the orthodox faith and Church.

Daniel said...

If Anonymous is objectively right in his beliefs, then I'm determined to make him a better Protestant by having him shore up any weaknesses in his argumentation.

If he is wrong, then I hope he'll see the that and get new beliefs.

I could probably go back in my email archive from 2004 until 2009 or 10 and quote myself saying nearly everything he has said...except on infant baptism.

The only reason I began my conversion process is because conversations EXACTLY like this one went on for a solid FIVE YEARS EVERY DAY before my heart began to change and I began to rethink my assumptions.

Even if he doesn't change his doctrine, by changing his style from what's at present to argumentation in the style of Mike, he'll be a better evangelist for it.

cwdlaw223 said...

Daniel -

Took me six months of getting clobbered by a Roman apologist to convert. Different time frame for everyone. He'll convert. Keep praying.

cwdlaw223 said...
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cwdlaw223 said...

Brick walls eventually break! Most Protestants refuse to engage. I thank him for engaging even if he is obstinate most of the time. I prefer to avoid spiritual ping pong and focus on the HOW and WHY of knowledge.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

Why aren't you Eastern Orthodox? You no longer have the Papacy issue or Marian dogmas that seem to bother you so much.

Michael Taylor said...

>>What you are saying is that Christ was incapable of creating a Church that is infallible in its teaching and the Holy Spirit does not guide the Church consistently.<<

Help me understand how this follows from what I was saying. Who ever said Christ was incapable of creating an infallible church? And whoever said the Holy Spirit does not guide the Church consistently?

Also, you've completely side-stepped the issue of your own fallibility when coming to judge Roman interpretations of scripture and church history prior to becoming a Roman Catholic.

If you think otherwise, then I would ask you to prove papal infallibility to me. Walk me through the reasoning process that gets you from point A to point B.

In fact, if you or any of your co-religionists are up to the task, perhaps we could formally debate this proposition. What say you?

cwdlaw223 said...

"Also, you've completely side-stepped the issue of your own fallibility when coming to judge Roman interpretations of scripture and church history prior to becoming a Roman Catholic."

Answer: Under your logic, ever single thought, interpretation or conclusion about scripture is fallible. You pose a situation of infinite regression and that the human mind is incapable of completely understanding something that is free from error.

I don't deny my own fallibility, however, my own fallibility doesn't lead to infinite regression. In fact, under that scenario I could never know that scripture is infallible because my thinking is always fallible.

Scripture is the teaching of God in a written form. If God created a Church and endowed it with the Holy Spirit to guide said Church, how is the teaching of this Church any different in terms of infallibility than scripture? Only the mediums for the teaching change, not the infallible message.

You "know" that scripture is infallible because it comes from God. (Scripture isn't self attesting or claims to be infallible). IF Rome claims who she says she is, her teaching on faith and morals would (by deduction) have to be infallible.

As you know, Rome makes tremendous claims of being the one true Church on this earth.

"If you think otherwise, then I would ask you to prove papal infallibility to me. Walk me through the reasoning process that gets you from point A to point B."

Answer: What level or proof would satisfy you? Scientific proof? Can't do that. Mathematical proof? I can't do that either.

Let's assume that Rome is wrong about papal infallability and Mary, why aren't you Eastern Orthodox? They remove any problems you might have with papal infallability and Mary. (The real issue is never papal infallability or Mary. It's the Mass and authority).

cwdlaw223 said...
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Michael Taylor said...

CD>>I don't deny my own fallibility, however, my own fallibility doesn't lead to infinite regression.<<

Agreed. What I meant to say was that if one is going to ask (as many in Rome do) what good an infallible Bible is without an infallible interpreter, then we get to ask how you know there is such a thing as infallible interpreter to with the infallible Bible. Those RCs who attempt to answer the question, usually give something like "the spiral argument" I described earlier. I admit I was once hooked by that argument. Then I got a MA in philosophy and started to notice holes in the logic.

Long story short, you cannot reason to an infallible conclusion from only more or less probable premises. Virtually everything rides on Matthew 16:18-19 and a few other passages, as well as a smattering of ECF quotes that might suggest a belief in the infallibility of the church (but probably do not).

The infinite regress objection kicks in when we point out that if Rome is going to posit that in order to know that P is revealed (K>P) one must first be infallible, then by a second application of that same logic, we would have to conclude that knowing P, requires that we first know that we know P (KK>P). And a third application would imply that we must know that we know that we know P (KKK>P). The only way to break the regress is to posit that it is possible to know P, without first knowing that we know (infallibility).

In other words, if you need an infallible decree of the pope to know Mary was immaculately conceived, then, by this same logic, you need an infallible decree that the pope is infallible. But then you would also need an infallible decree for your infallible decree and so on ad infinitum. The only way out of this pickle is to simply claim that you can know Mary is Immaculately conceived without an infallible decree.

>>Answer: What level or proof would satisfy you? Scientific proof? Can't do that. Mathematical proof? I can't do that either.<<

But something convinced you (and many others) that Rome is (under certain conditions) infallible. An argument was made, and the logic made sense to you or else you would never have become Catholic. Certainly you wouldn't have become Catholic if you were convinced at the outset that the argument for infallibility was weak or even wrong, right?

>>Let's assume that Rome is wrong about papal infallability and Mary, why aren't you Eastern Orthodox? They remove any problems you might have with papal infallability and Mary. (The real issue is never papal infallability or Mary. It's the Mass and authority).<<

I reject Eastern Heterodoxy's mariology as well (She is the All-Holy one, as I'm sure you know). Since the Eastern Church doesn't share our Augustinian doctrine of original sin, they don't see a need to preserve her from it, hence no Immaculate Conception. EO's have their own doctrine of infallibility, which I reject for the same reason I reject Rome's. Some things in Orthodoxy are far more congenial to my way of thinking (the Trinitarian focus, for example), but on the whole, the traditions of men are equally problematic in their churches. Only Protestantism has any principled hope for true reform since only Protestants claim to be fallible in principle (even if not always in practice). Once you belong to a church that thinks it is infallible, you can never truly get rid of false doctrines and practices. They become part of the tradition and so you are stuck with them. Protestantism often invents its own traditions too. But it at least has a way out, at least in theory. Neither Rome nor EO have a way out, not even in theory.

Anonymous said...

Well said.

cwdlaw223 said...

Michael -

I did not know about the Catholic faith. I never had it explained to me. All I had was false truths that are NOT Catholicism. It's like someone claiming you know things from the Angel Moroni. That certainly isn't your position and if someone claimed that about your beliefs you would immediately know they were wrong and out of their minds.

The conclusion of your premise is everything is fallible, including scripture. Man is incapable of having any infallible truth with your premise and therefore couldn't even know that God is infallible.

If God himself interprets scripture through his Church it has to be infallible. Otherwise, God is not God. Your position of infinite regression is wrong because you presume all interpretation can't be free from error.

Will you admit the doctrine of the Trinity is not free from error? You have to under your worldview.

Once you reject that Christ created a Church that is infallible in teaching faith and morals you open the door for theological relativism and destroy the gospel and Christ himself. How can you not see the logical conclusion of your worldview is theological relativism? Every man has authority for himself only. Why not chose the Catholic position? Because you have better exegesis? More knowledge? Better resources?

Keith Mathison writes an article in this months TableTalk magazine and asserts that there is an infallible interpretation from God of the scripture. Are you going to admit he's wrong? I think he's right, the problem is Keith doesn't state who has this infallible interpretation.

cwdlaw223 said...

If Christ created a Church on this earth and endowed it with the Holy Spirit the ONLY logical position is that Church would interpret scripture infallibly. Anything else is illogical. God is alive and in his Church and doesn't allow half truth or lies. You know scripture must be infallible because of the source (scripture doesn't make this claim). Just as the interpretation of scripture must be infallible because of the source.

Any person or denomination can make the enormous claims made by Rome (most won't), but as a human with free will you must make a determination for yourself. There are plenty of people in this world that ignore truth. I claim you ignore it and you claim I ignore it. I'll take history and the teaching of the Magesterium any day over myself. No one person has enough knowledge to properly interpret scripture. Not can one just focus on soteriology while excluding ALL of scripture.

Pride was the downfall in the garden and the genesis of Protestantism. Man wants God on his own individual terms without regard to history.

The issue comes down to authority. You reject that God is in control in the teaching from the Magesterium.

cwdlaw223 said...

Michael -

I thank you in engaging in an epistemological discussion rather than scriptural ping pong that often occurs in these discussions that go nowhere (but prove the relativism with man interpreting scripture :)).

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

Are you ever going to state the basis for your belief that ALL Apostolic teaching is only in scripture? I keep asking and you keep dodging the question to show support for your conclusion.

Please state the basis for this claim. I'll even give you a pass on how you can know what is scripture even though scripture is not self authenticating and we don't have the originals.

If you come to this conclusion through deductive reasoning, walk us through your thinking.

Everyone agrees apostolic teaching is in scripture. You go one step further and put a clamp on any teaching outside if scripture and deny an oral tradition or deposit of faith.

Michael Taylor said...

>>The conclusion of your premise is everything is fallible, including scripture. Man is incapable of having any infallible truth with your premise and therefore couldn't even know that God is infallible.<<

That's not the argument. Let me try again. If in order to know P, I must first know that I know P, then, by a second application I would need to know that I know that I know P, and so on. As I see it, this is the epistemological pitfall that many fall into when they assert that infallibility is needed in order to know what the Bible teaches.

So here I am confining my marks to that particular argument for infallibility. I'm not ruling out that there may be other good arguments for it. I'm just taking on that one because it usually is part of the "spiral argument" that so many use.

The problem, as I see it, is that when it comes time to prove infallibility (whether of the church or scripture), one inevitably finds appeals to scripture (usually Matthew 16:16-19) for support for the idea that the Bible teaches the infallibility of the church (also 1 Timothy 3:15).

But what is the status of our interpretation of those texts *at this point* in the spiral argument? Is it an infallible interpretation or a fallible one? Clearly it must be fallible. (But that doesn't necessarily mean it's a *wrong* interpretation. Just because we are fallible doesn't mean we're necessarily wrong.)

If I say God is infallible (and his Word), that doesn't make me infallible. I don't have to infallible to say God or the Word is infallible. But I don't have to be infallible to say the Trinity is true either. And that's the point. The church doesn't have to be infallible to teach the truth. The church can make true statements about God and doctrine without itself being infallible.

>>If God himself interprets scripture through his Church it has to be infallible. Otherwise, God is not God.<<

Help me understand how that follows. Why must the church be infallible in order for God to communicate to us? In other words, why can't it be that we can only ever have a fallible understanding of infallible truth? (Remember, "fallible" does not mean "wrong," but just "able to err").

>>Your position of infinite regression is wrong because you presume all interpretation can't be free from error.<<

No. We can come to a true interpretation. But "true" does not mean "infallible." As much as we may think a proposition, P, is true, we have to be humble enough to know our limitations--that we could be wrong. That's essence of fallibility. When you reasoned that the Church is infallible, you probably did so (at least in part) on the basis of Matthew 16:18-19, and the idea that the Gates of Hell won't prevail against it. Fair enough. You may be right. You may be wrong. Either way, you're interpretation is fallible. In other words, it is possible to come to a true interpretation without being infallible.

>>Once you reject that Christ created a Church that is infallible in teaching faith and morals you open the door for theological relativism and destroy the gospel and Christ himself.<<

Again, how does that follow? Further, how has infallibility in Rome staved off theological relativism within Romanism? The polarization *within* Rome between liberals and conservatives, is every bit as diverse as the *splits* within Protestantism. You can pretty much find a mirror image of all the craziness within Protestantism within Rome itself: Liberals? (Check). Charismatics? (Check). Traditionalists? (Check). Snake-handlers? (Probably not--but you do have plenty of weeping-statue chasers and those who can find Jesus on the face of most any tortilla). In any event, I don't see how the claim to be infallibility has done much to unify your communion. Nor do I see how it is logically necessary for coming to a knowledge of the truth.

Michael Taylor said...

CDW>>How can you not see the logical conclusion of your worldview is theological relativism? Every man has authority for himself only.<<

That sounds like a canard to me, and a pretty tired one at that. But then again, how do you escape your own charge? Don't you still have to interpret the fallible interpreter for yourself and make sense of its teaching? Why do liberals still think women can be ordained while conservatives don't? Why are conservatives certain that Rome has infallibly ruled out women priests while liberals are equally certain that Rome has made no such infallible declaration?

>> Why not chose the Catholic position? Because you have better exegesis? More knowledge? Better resources?<<

Because I think it's wrong, plain and simple.

>>Keith Mathison writes an article in this months TableTalk magazine and asserts that there is an infallible interpretation from God of the scripture. Are you going to admit he's wrong? I think he's right, the problem is Keith doesn't state who has this infallible interpretation.<<

I have not read the article so I can't really comment. But clearly the New Testament interpretation of certain OT texts would have to be considered infallible. So I suspect I might agree with him as well.

Gotta run...

Anonymous said...

All you need to do to refute my claim is to produce one document by your church that says this was written by an apostle and it's not in the New Testament. If you fail to produce such a document today that means I am right and you are wrong. Ball is in your court.

cwdlaw223 said...

You keep missing the point. You bear the burden of proof for your own views and stop avoiding giving an answer.

Why do you believe ALL apostolic teaching must be in writing? Is there something special about paper that only you know about? Does pen to paper have some magical power? You are the one starting with the clamp on apostolic teaching, not me. Quit being rude and answer my question in a thoughtful manner.

Give us the basis for your position or just admit you don't know.

The ball is in your court.

Anonymous said...

The mere fact that there are no writings of the apostles outside the New Testament proves my point. You have less than 24 hours to present another writing of an apostle not in the New Testament to prove me wrong. Please don't let me down again.

cwdlaw223 said...

Michael -

Do you agree the definition of the infallible means free From error?

Do you believe the definition of interpreting means to explain the meaning of?

Do you believe that all of scripture is self interpreting?

I suspect we need to get the definitions down and your position about scripture. By definition of the word interpretation, one would not need to be infallible to understand an infallible interpretation. The explanation of what is free from error would be explained in a manner a fallible mind could understand what is being communicated. You believe the words of God are infallible but how could you ever make that statement with your position of infinite regression?

cwdlaw223 said...

Matthew -

How could you ever know anything is infallible in your worldview? It's theoretically possible Joseph Smith or Muhammad were right? Even if Jesus himself showed up and told you scripture was infallible, would it be in your construct?

Anonymous said...

cwdlaw,
Please give me that one piece of written document of an apostle that is not in the NT and you will have shown me that I am wrong. Failure to produce such a document will prove you are wrong and I am right. You have less than 24 hours now. Don't waste it.

cwdlaw223 said...

You are the one affirming a statement that ALL apostolic teaching must be in writing. Where do you come up with that affirmation. Do you not understand the burden of proof?

You can't just make crap up out of thin air on your own. There has to be something that causes you to come to that conclusion. What's the something?


How can I show you oral testimony? I can show you the effect of the oral teaching (ex. The Mass), but I can't show you their teaching just as you can't show me the Apostles wrote down scripture. I would need a time machine to do that.

Quit acting like a spoiled child and tell us why you come to that conclusion! Ball is in your court.

The basic rule of a debate is that the party asserting a statement bears the burden if proof. You aren't asserting a negative so don't give us some crap that you can't prove a negative. You assert a positive.

Anonymous said...

You are half way there. You are admitting by writing "How can I show you oral testimony? I can show you the effect of the oral teaching (ex. The Mass), but I can't show you their teaching just as you can't show me the Apostles wrote down scripture. I would need a time machine to do that." that there is no other writings of the apostles outside the NT. Your failure proves I am right.

My original point still stands where I wrote:
"If there were other teachings of the apostles then your NT would have more than 27 books. The fact that it does not shows there is nothing else that we have of the apostles. Its all in the NT."

cwdlaw223 said...
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cwdlaw223 said...
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cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

How have you proven anything? You are asserting a positive statement that ALL apostolic teaching is in the NT. Why do you take this position?

You are asserting a positive statement. You don't ask an atheist to prove God exists. The burden is on the theist asserting a positive that God exist.

I'm not asking you to prove a negative. I'm asking you to prove a positive which is your statement that ALL Apostolic teaching is in the NT. What's the basis for your position?

Your post is foolish and lacks no substance behind it. It's no different than if I said the Angle Moroni is real. You would ask me the basis for my assertion? If I acted like you I would keep asserting that the Angel Moroni exists without any proof.

There could be two outcomes from your statement that you ignorantly miss:

(1) there were other Aposotolic writings that were lost, or
(2) the Apostles orally taught their followers.

You reject out of hand without any explanation the two positions above

What's the basis for this pillar of your worldview? Deep down you know that if you answer you just made it up on your own (which you did) that it's a man made condition because scripture certainly doesn't support your claim.

Step up and finally answer this question instead of acting like a fool and just stating untruths out of thin air. Show us your reasoning or is this condition just out of thin air? Where did it come from? Who told you this? How did you deduce that ALL Apostolic teaching can ONLY be in scripture?

I'm not almost there, I'm two steps ahead of you looking back trying to help you up.

cwdlaw223 said...

Mathew -

There is a massive difference between Protestants and Catholics when it comes to figuring out what is the official teaching of each church. There is no one Protestant Church. There is one Catholic Church and you can find the official position of the Catholic Church very easily (ex. the Catholic catechism). Can I do the same for Protestants? No way. In fact, Protestants can't even agree on such serious issues as Baptism, the Eucharist, Ecelesiology, Soteriology, etc. The official position of the various denominations are mutually exclusive.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

Will you at least admit that your claim that all Aposotolic teaching is in the NT is a fallible claim?

I have no idea how you could ever try to convert someone (assume they are the elect :)) when they asked you the basis for your position that all NT teaching is in the NT. You would just keep stating that it is without any explanation. If that person were intelligent they would recognize you're full of it and leave.

You can't even find one article on the internet to support your position. You should be ashamed and stick with ignorant Catholics who don't know how to craft a decent argument. You might have a chance with that type of person. You aren't going to get a pass on this website.

Michael Taylor said...

CDW,

When you ask why we think Apostolic teaching is confined to scripture, I'd answer as follows:

1. The only genuinely Apostolic teaching that I know of is found in scripture. You claim to know of other Apostolic teaching. I'm game. Show us what it is.
2. Certainly there was Apostolic teaching outside of scripture. Protestantism has historically affirmed this.
3. But, here we ask two questions. First, is there any reason to believe that the Apostolic teaching outside of scripture differs in content from the Apostolic teaching found in scripture?
4. Second, if Apostolic teaching outside of scripture is different in content, how do you know? And where is this to be found? It is not enough to say that Apostolic teaching can be found outside of scripture in principle; it also has to be shown exactly what that alleged extra-Biblical Apostolic teaching is and where it can be found today.
5. We can also ask how Rome answers these same questions and point out the fact that there isn't a single answer to it.
6. The "material sufficiency" crowd believes that all Apostolic teaching is found in scripture and tradition and that there is no difference in content between the two.
7. Not so the "partim-partim" crowd, who sees the original "deposit" of Apostolic teaching being found, "partly" in scripture and "partly" in tradition.
8. So which view is the "infallibly" defined view? I ask because Rome's view seems to have evolved on this point. Trent clearly affirmed the "partly, partly" view and Vatican II clearly presupposes the "material sufficiency" view. (I don't see how they both can be right, much less infallible.)
9. So the same question you pose to us, we can pose back to you? What, finally, is Rome's position on what actually belongs to the deposit of faith? Does Rome even know? Do you?
10. If, for example, you want to claim that the Immaculate Conception is Apostolic teaching, then perhaps you can answer the following questions for me.
11. How can the teaching be Apostolic if an RC living before 1854 did not have to believe in it? How can the teaching be Apostolic if the bishop of Rome living in the year 400 (date pulled out of the hat), never even heard of such a teaching? Understand that I'm not just speaking of the terms "Immaculate Conception," but rather the concept itself. Where is the evidence for the claim that belief that Mary was preserved from original sin and subsequently lived a sinless life in fact goes back all the way to the Apostles themselves?
12. Would you agree that Paul taught his congregations that Mary was conceived without sin and that she never committed a sin in her life? If yes, on what basis? If not, why not?

I have still more follow-up questions. For now let me simply state that sola scriptura is not the claim that all Apostolic teaching was confined to scripture. In other words, SS is not the claim to be an exhaustive record of Apostolic teaching. Rather, SS is the claim that what we have in scripture is a sufficient record of Apostolic teaching. If you think otherwise, then by all means show us evidence for the existence of Apostolic teaching not found in scripture. We're eager to see what you've found!

Anonymous said...

Michael,
Another brilliant post. You put it so well. I was taking a simpler approach that would show our position to be false by Him producing just one document outside the New Testament to be apostolic. If there is such a document then I would love to see it. Hopefully he will be satisfied with your answer.

cwdlaw223 said...

Matthew -

Thinking something might be true is vastly different than asserting something is true. Might vs. is! Anonymous states definitively that ALL apostolic teaching is in scripture without any support for the positive clamp on teaching. He acts as though it is a rule of faith that ALL apostolic teaching is in scripture.

Do you believe it's a rule of faith that all Apostolic teaching is in (not must be) scripture?

Are you going to agree with my definitions or not for infallible and interpreting? If not, give me yours.

cwdlaw223 said...

Matthew -

Anonymous' posts disagree with your definition of SS. He definitively stated many times that ALL Apostolic teaching was/is in the NT. far cry from your definition.

Will you admit SS is fallible and a way of thinking that is a tradition of men? If not, why not.

I'll respond to the list tomorrow. iPhone not user friendly for a long response.

cwdlaw223 said...

Anonymous -

Your position is idiotic. How can someone produce an oral document? Your position isn't Mathews. He at least understands and wouldn't ask me to produce a square circle like you are doing.

Regardless, how do you know what is Aposotlic? You don't unless you use tradition. So if you use non-apostolic tradition to determine the canon (Luther didn't like James and tried to create his own Bible - but I'm sure you knew that) does that mean the selection is with error?

You certainly aren't Matthew.

Daniel said...

You'll have to excuse me showing up late to the gunfight.

Long story short, you cannot reason to an infallible conclusion from only more or less probable premises. Virtually everything rides on Matthew 16:18-19 and a few other passages, as well as a smattering of ECF quotes that might suggest a belief in the infallibility of the church (but probably do not).

I read that and thought, 'By Jove, that actually makes sense to me--I must be on drugs. But I don't remember taking any drugs...of course some drugs impair memory and and the ability to reason. No no, I know I'm not on drugs even if I don't know that with infallible deductive certainity. But then all deductive reasoning is based on an inductive premise that I'm in a world wear ration deductive rules apply (that I'm not in a dream), and that I have my faculties to follow the rules of logic (that I'm sober).

But then that makes good deductive reasoning contingent upon a inductive premise.

The infinite regress objection kicks in when we point out that if Rome is going to posit that in order to know that P is revealed (K>P) one must first be infallible, then by a second application of that same logic, we would have to conclude that knowing P, requires that we first know that we know P (KK>P). And a third application would imply that we must know that we know that we know P (KKK>P). The only way to break the regress is to posit that it is possible to know P, without first knowing that we know (infallibility).

Do we infallibily know Jesus was infallible? Do we infallibly know that we know that Jesus was infallible? Do we infallibly know that we know that we know that Jesus was infallible?

cwdlaw223 said...

Daniel -

Good post. Matthew at least engages, Anonymous doesn't and he fails to realize his form of sola Scriptura is vastly different than Matthews.

Would be curious to know if Matthew believes the doctrine of the Trinity is a fallible doctrine? I presume the answer is yes since we could be living in the Matrix and God is merely a construct for the power elite to control the masses! :)

Michael Taylor said...

Daniel>>Do we infallibily know Jesus was infallible? Do we infallibly know that we know that Jesus was infallible? Do we infallibly know that we know that we know that Jesus was infallible?<<

Exactly. If we can know that Jesus was infallible without ourselves being infallible, then we can also know he was God without ourselves being infallible, or anything else for that matter--the Trinity, etc.

That's why you Roman folks ought to be able to prove the Immaculate Conception (IC) without an appeal to infallibility. If you make knowledge of the IC depend on infallibility, then upon what does infallibility itself depend?

In other words, if you think you have to be infallible in order to know something is true, then how do you know Rome is infallible, if all you have is your own fallible interpretation of Matthew 16:18-19 (and other supporting verses)? The point is, you ought to be able to prove the infallibility of Rome without yourself being infallible. But then if that works for Rome's infallibility, then why can't it work for every other doctrine you believe?

So far, not one of you has even attempted to answer this question.

And in case CDW is reading, my name is Michael or Miguel, not Matthew.

Thanks,

MT

cwdlaw223 said...

Michael -

Sorry about that!

Please define the word infallible and interpreting so all of us can be on the same page.

I define the words as "free from error" and "to explain the meaning of" respectively. I didn't define infallible as free from all possible error in the universe. Like I said, it's possible we're in the Matrix.

Daniel said...

8. So which view is the "infallibly" defined view? I ask because Rome's view seems to have evolved on this point. Trent clearly affirmed the "partly, partly" view and Vatican II clearly presupposes the "material sufficiency" view. (I don't see how they both can be right, much less infallible.)

Can you clarify what in Trent specifically points to the 'partly, partly' view as you call it? I wouldn't want to respond without reading that section--it's been a while since I've read the whole thing.

cwdlaw223 said...

Michael -

Here you go:

1. The only genuinely Apostolic teaching that I know of is found in scripture. You claim to know of other Apostolic teaching. I'm game. Show us what it is.

Answer: You don't, in fact, "know" from scripture that, say, the Gospel according to Saint Mark (that is, John-Mark, who history and tradition say was a companion and follower of Saint Peter) contained "Apostolic teaching." Bishop Papias of Hierapolis (A.D. 60-130) tells us that Mark is a compilation of Saint Peter's recollections, based on what Eusebius tells us were accounts Papias heard as a young man from individuals who knew Peter and John-Mark. Similarly, you don't "know" that Saint Luke, mentioned briefly in Scripture as a physician and follower of Saint Paul, actually wrote the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles based on the "Apostolic teaching" of Saint Paul. For that matter, we take it that Saint John, the beloved disciple, wrote the 4th Gospel based primarily on Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp, who knew John personally. See, you're following Tradition already!

BTW, if you say that you "know" from the text of, say Matthew, that Saint Matthew wrote the 1st Gospel and that it contains his teachings, then why don't you know from the Gospel of Thomas that Saint Thomas wrote a Gospel that contained his teachings?

2. Certainly there was Apostolic teaching outside of scripture. Protestantism has historically affirmed this.

Answer: Well of course it would be irrational to suggest that the 6 Apostles who never put pen to paper were mute during their public lives, or only conformed their preaching to books that were not extant at the time they lived. The question is, what do you do with that knowledge? If you're a Protestant, the answer is — "nothing."

3. But, here we ask two questions. First, is there any reason to believe that the Apostolic teaching outside of scripture differs in content from the Apostolic teaching found in scripture?

Answer: The issue is not "content" it is "interpretation." For example the Didache was written in the mid-first century, maybe as early as 10 years after the Ascension. We know from history it was used as a liturgical text alongside books of the current New Testament in the early Church. Simply because the Church eventually determined that it was not divinely inspired (a determination made through Tradition, BTW) does not mean it was not an accurate reflection of apostolic teaching, factually. Frankly, its dating suggests it's pretty darn reliable as an historical matter. Neither Roman Catholic nor Eastern Orthodox (nor Oriental Orthodox, for that matter) suggest it is heretical or inaccurate in any way, just not inspired. Among other things, the Didache gives us details about the Eucharist – HOW it was done, not just (as in Acts) THAT it was done – that are both perfectly consistent from the Biblical accounts and makes it clear that the offering WAS A SACRIFICE. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until he has been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice [Matt. 5:23–24]. For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, ‘Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations’ [Mal. 1:11, 14]" (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]

cwdlaw223 said...

4. Second, if Apostolic teaching outside of scripture is different in content, how do you know? And where is this to be found? It is not enough to say that Apostolic teaching can be found outside of scripture in principle; it also has to be shown exactly what that alleged extra-Biblical Apostolic teaching is and where it can be found today.

Answer: Christ never spoke of establishing a Book. He spoke of establishing an "ecclesia" literally a group "called-out." He warned that there would be faithless and even evil individuals among that group, and that he would allow the weeds to grow with the grain, but that the group as a group would be lead in all truth. Historically, the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and even Oriental Orthodox have maintained continuity in praxis (remember, someone else started calling us "Christians"; we called OURSELVES followers of "The Way") and teaching. This is done through action, not merely writing. Everything these descendants of the Early Church do relates back to Scripture – e.g. Eucharist as sacrifice and the earlier reference to Malachi – but is informed by action, praxis, and repeating that which was done before. Doctrine is based on the Bible, but INTERPRETATION is designed to be consistent with the past, particularly the Early Fathers' interpretations – because, as with the testimony of the authorship of the Gospels, they would know best as having known Apostles (or known disciples of the Apostles) and therefore have benefited from the ORAL TEACHINGS of the Apostles (2 Thess 2:15).




5. We can also ask how Rome answers these same questions and point out the fact that there isn't a single answer to it.

Answer: As the teachings of the Apostles were preached and therefore historical events, there are multiple sources – as for any historical event. We think it's a good thing that we have multiple sources for, say, the battle of Antietam. Why is it a bad thing that we have multiple sources for Apostolic teachings?

cwdlaw223 said...

6. The "material sufficiency" crowd believes that all Apostolic teaching is found in scripture and tradition and that there is no difference in content between the two.

Answer: That's an inaccurate description of the concept of material sufficiency. Here's a decent explanation. "The difference here is between a blueprint to make a building, and the bricks of which the building is made. A merely materially sufficient Scripture is like a pile of bricks that can build anything from a cathedral to a tool shed, but the bricks themselves possess no inherent intelligibility (formal sufficiency) in one direction for another. The intelligibility derives from outside the bricks. Conversely, a blueprint is inherently intelligible, and thus has not material but formal sufficiency to create a specific building, whether cathedral or tool shed."

7. Not so the "partim-partim" crowd, who sees the original "deposit" of Apostolic teaching being found, "partly" in scripture and "partly" in tradition.

Answer: If Scripture were inherently self-interpreting, you would not have 40,000+ protestant denominations. Clearly, you need an authority apart from Scripture, if only for interpretation. The Bible never says explicitly that the Sabbath transferred from Saturday to Sunday as a result of the resurrection. Most Protestants go to church on Sunday, though.

8. So which view is the "infallibly" defined view? I ask because Rome's view seems to have evolved on this point. Trent clearly affirmed the "partly, partly" view and Vatican II clearly presupposes the "material sufficiency" view. (I don't see how they both can be right, much less infallible.)

Answer: Vatican II was not a dogmatic council, it was a pastoral council. (Don't worry, most Catholics probably don't really understand this either.) Nothing in VII contradicted Trent, nor could it. Since the dichotomy between "material sufficiency" and "partim-partim" is your construct – which I reject – and in neither case is there anything dogmatic about those two views, even if they were opposed, "infallibility" never comes into question.

9. So the same question you pose to us, we can pose back to you? What, finally, is Rome's position on what actually belongs to the deposit of faith? Does Rome even know? Do you?

Answer: Scripture, actions of the Church (i.e. liturgical norms) the writings of the Fathers, Doctors and Saints, the teachings of the bishops throughout history to the extent they do not contradict the former 3 items.

cwdlaw223 said...

10. If, for example, you want to claim that the Immaculate Conception is Apostolic teaching, then perhaps you can answer the following questions for me.

Okay.

11. How can the teaching be Apostolic if an RC living before 1854 did not have to believe in it?

Answer: Just because something is not dogmatically proclaimed does not mean you don't have to believe it. The Trinity was not dogmatically proclaimed until 360; that didn't mean it was okay to be an Arian.

How can the teaching be Apostolic if the bishop of Rome living in the year 400 (date pulled out of the hat), never even heard of such a teaching?

Answer: A bishop living in the early 5th century would certainly have known and taught that Mary "never committed a sin in her life." Only Protestants (and then only some Protestants – not Luther, for example) believe that the Blessed Mother experienced "actual sin." Just up to 390 A.D. We have Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origin, Hippolytus, Ephrim the Syrian, Ambrose of Milanand Gregory Nanzianzen in accord on the actual sinlessness of Mary.

Understand that I'm not just speaking of the terms "Immaculate Conception," but rather the concept itself. Where is the evidence for the claim that belief that Mary was preserved from original sin and subsequently lived a sinless life in fact goes back all the way to the Apostles themselves?

Answer: The concept of "original sin" is found in the early fathers. "He stood in need of baptism, or the descent of the Spirit like a dove; even as He submitted to be born and to be crucified, not because He needed such things, but because of the human race, from which Adam had fallen under the power of death and the guile of the serpent, and each one of which had committed personal transgression." Saint Augustine elaborated on it , and his elaboration "forced the issue" of how Mary's actual sinless meant, or did not mean, her participation in original sin. As with many things (including the nature of the Trinity) the Church was not of one mind on the subject. It took time.

12. Would you agree that Paul taught his congregations that Mary was conceived without sin and that she never committed a sin in her life? If yes, on what basis? If not, why not?

Answer: Paul would certainly have known and taught that Mary "never committed a sin in her life." Where is there historical evidence of a non-heretical (for other reasons – e.g. An Arian) bishop teaching otherwise?

cwdlaw223 said...

Michael -

My turn:

(1) Okay, if Scripture is the SOLE RELIABLE SOURCE of Apostolic teaching, and it is absolutely sufficient, explain why there are thousands of Protestant denominations who can't agree on the basics such as the Eucharist, Baptism, Eccelesiology and Soteriology?

(2) Also explain why did the Mass emerge as the leading practice (if not the only) of Christians after 250 AD? Did everyone become stupid all of a sudden? Everyone was just wrong?

cwdlaw223 said...

Where are you Michael?

I need you to define the words infallible and interpretation.

Anonymous -

What's the basis for your claim that ALL Apostolic teaching is contained within the NT?

You have yet to explain on this site how or why ALL Aposotlic teaching is contained within the NT. Even Michael doesn't agree with that statement and recognizes the Apostles taught orally.

Michael Taylor said...

CWD,

I'm working on a response to your response. There's a lot there and I'm going to be busy until Sunday, so I might not get back to it until then.

Quick definition of infallibility: divine protection from committing error in matters of faith and morals. Interpretation: Hmmm...rightly discerning the meaning of words as intended by the one who wrote them....

By the way, when I do respond, it will be on my blog as an entry, not here in com-boxes. I'll let you know when I do and you can respond to it if you wish wherever you like.

cwdlaw223 said...

Are you going to answer my two questions or ignore them?

Not sure the definition of infallible contains divine protection. Usually it means free from error. For example, 2+2 is infallibly 4.

Is the doctrine of the Trinity infallible according to you?

I'll presume Anonymous has no idea why he stated ALL Apostolic knowledge in the NT. He just likes it that way so he can put God in a box when he wants him in a box.

cwdlaw223 said...

I'm not against your definition of infallible BTW. Just a matter if when something is free from error vs. divinely protected to be free from error. Subtle difference.

Michael Taylor said...

Cdw:

First off, I think you're confusing inerrancy with infallibility. Traditionally, "inerrancy" means "free from error," whereas "infallibility" means immunity from error.

Infallibility belongs to the order of knowing, and as such concerns our knowledge and certainty. I can assert that 2 + 2 =4, but that does not make me infallible. On the other hand, if Pius IX defines the Immaculate Conception as divinely revealed, then and only then does Rome know "for certain" that it is true. If Duns Scotus claims it is true, he may be right (from the Roman point of view), but that doesn't make him infallible (as he is not the pope or the magisterium). See the dif?

Here is my reply to you. It's on my blog. You can comment on it there if you wish, ignore it, or reply in some other venue. I'm not promising that I will continue the dialogue as I don't have the time to go down every rabbit trail with you.

Here it is:

http://fallibility.blogspot.com/2013/05/reply-to-cwdlaw223-on-bunch-of-stuff.html

cwdlaw223 said...
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