PR: I wasn’t aware that I bore any burden to inform people who presume to write on a topic of which they are not informed.
SH: If you accuse your opponent of being uninformed, then you bear a burden in making good on your claim.
It’s one thing to say something’s the case, quite another to show it.
PR: Perhaps it might be better to educate themselves before making claims.
SH: Once again, this assumes what it needs to prove.
PR: Secondly, there is no shortage of literature on Orthodoxy just as there is on Calvinism. Take up and read. The point is, you are hardly a reliable source for information about Orthodoxy. If people want to learn Calvinism, then they should Calvinist literature and not primarily or exclusively material from its critics or the popular media. The same goes for Orthodoxy. Got it Sparky?
SH: In other words, Robinson can be safely ignored. If you want reliable information on Orthodox theology, skip a low-level popularizer like Robinson and read John Meyendorff or Timothy Ware instead.
Thanks, Perry, for reminding everyone of how irrelevant you are to this debate. Now go home and take your own advice. Got it Sparky?
PR: There was no “tactic” of labeling, except with the stated goal of brining to mind to my readers the fact that you suffer from major theological problems even by your own standards.. And God forbid I should classify someone’s position. If you disagree with the classification, then give an argument rather than whine about it.
SH: To the contrary, it’s a very transparent tactic. Perry wants, at all cost, to avoid the bar of exegetical theology. So he tries to bait his opponent into making some allegedly heretical admission.
My rule of faith is divine revelation. Perry’s rule of faith is Cyril of Alexandria.
PR: How about human personhood?
SH: A rather broad question, don’t you think?
PR: Is Jesus a human person?
SH: A deceptively simple question:
Jesus is a theanthropic person, which makes him a complex person. So it would be misleading to discuss his personhood in atomistic fashion.
There is, in the person of Christ, a full set of human attributes along with a full set of divine attributes.
PR: Are human persons an instance of a nature?
1.Is this an exegetical question or a philosophical question?
To say that a human person is an instance of a nature is somewhat Platonic.
Human beings share certain attributes in common. That’s what makes them human.
So they exemplify certain properties.
2.What does this have to do with Chalcedon, anyway? Chalcedon doesn’t use the word “person.”
“Person” is an English translation of a Greek word, in tandem with a number of other Greek words, which carry a lot of conceptual baggage due to the early Christological controversies. So this is one of the systematic equivocations running through Perry’s interrogation.
3.All that matters, for me, is NT Christology, and whether the creeds are true to NT Christology.
Perry’s line of attack is a diversionary tactic, to distract attention away from the litmus test of NT Christology.
Perry’s problem is that he is dissatisfied with revelation. He wants to elevate a variety of speculative philosophical distinctions to the status of dogma.
PR: If Jesus is a divine person, do you think he has genuine human experiences and consciousness?
1.To say that Jesus is a divine person is simplistic. Jesus is a theanthropic person. His personhood is characterized by a full compliment of divine and human properties.
2.The divine nature qua divine does not experience the human nature qua human. But we can predicate genuine human experiences and consciousness of the unified subject.
3.The Incarnation is a unique event. Since the hypostatic union is sui generis, it is a fundamental mistake to extrapolate from the Incarnation to humanity in general.
PR: You seemed to have some reservations at the least, if not disagreements with an affirmation of those points in the past. This was your basis of dissent from the Chalcedonian position and you admitted that my position represented the historical position in question while yours did not.
1.I do not concede that your position represents the historical position. One would have to be a patrologist by training to offer an informed opinion on that question. And there is disagreement even among the pros, which suggests the absence of a uniform historical position.
2.You’re frustrated because I refuse to walk into an ambush. You set a trap, and I walk around it.
3.Do I dissent from the Chalcedonian position?
Here is what the creed of Chalcedon has to say:
“So, following the saintly fathers, we all with one voice teach the confession of one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and a body; consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity; like us in all respects except for sin; begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer as regards his humanity; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, acknowledged in two natures which undergo no confusion, no change, no division, no separation; at no point was the difference between the natures taken away through the union, but rather the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being; he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son, God, Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as the prophets taught from the beginning about him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ himself instructed us, and as the creed of the fathers handed it down to us (http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/incac2.htm).”
There is nothing in this statement from which I dissent.
Here is what the Westminster Confession has to say:
“The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man” (WCF 8:2).
There is nothing in this statement from which I dissent.
PR: If nature is not prior to person in the deity, then what exactly do you take the relation to be?
1.Revelation doesn’t say what “exactly” the relation amounts to. The point is not to state the “exact” relation, but to avoid reductionistic formulations.
2.”Nature” is a covering term.
PR: Are they identical?
SH: Identical in what respect?
i) The members of the Trinity share the same set of divine attributes.
ii) However, the members of the Trinity are not the same person. They are not identical with one another.
iii) If you’re looking for an analogy, the members of the Trinity are symmetrical rather than identical, using enantiomorphism as our model of the one-over-many.
PR: If you stand condemned by confessions of your own tradition, even confessions that you may profess subscription to, then I would think you would either undertake to change them in your own religious body, conform to them or remove yourself from them. Perhaps you have some other option handy such as blessed inconsistency though. In any case, I’d think you wouldn’t want to identify yourself with a false view of the Person of Christ.
1.Your conclusion is predicated on a false premise.
2.Even if I were to deviate from the Westminster Confession (or other suchlike) in some respect, contemporary Calvinism generally operates with system subscription rather than strict subscription.
It’s left to the discretion of the session, presbytery, and general assembly to determine the tolerable boundaries of licit dissent.
For example, the Westminster standards say that God made the world in the span of six days, but that is not enforced.
Likewise, when the (original) Westminster standards identify the Pope with the Antichrist, this presupposes a historicist interpretation of 2 Thessalonians and Revelation. But that is not enforced.
Along the same lines, the Westminster Directory of Worship, with its Puritan strictures, is simply ignored in the OPC and PCA.
PR: Moreover, those who read you should be aware of your dissent from Chalcedonian Christology, a Christology to which the Reformation professed fealty so that they are aware that you do not hold the same faith as they do. I would think that would be worth knowing. In fact, marking those out who do is something hardly limited to the Orthodox. Calvinists do it all the time.
SH: You continue to build on a false premise. But a delusional mindset has its own momentum.
PR: And I am just the least bit curious, why by confessional standards someone like yourself gets a pass on heterodox Christology from your co-bloggers but everyone else gets the third degree? Shouldn’t they be grilling you just as they do others, or is Christology just not that important? Is it non-essential in some way? I’d love to see how they square that with the Confessional status of said doctrine.
SH: Aside from your faulty operating assumption, I guess I “get a pass” is because my fellow bloggers are well aware of your devious methods. Indeed, some of them have been on the receiving end of your serpentine tactics.
PR: And if you are a “Biblicist” first and firmly believe your dissenting view, I would think that you’d be more than happy to announce it clearly rather than being defensive about it and having me pry it out of you. And I doubt that most people who read your blog know that you dissent from Chalcedonian Christology that is professed in numerous Reformed and Lutheran Confessions. Christology is hardly a “nook and crany” of Reformed theology, but then again, maybe it is! So much for being “Christ centered.”
SH: I’m not going to play the chump for your impersonation of Joseph Goebbels. You think that by repeating a lie long enough, it becomes the truth.
Perry likes to pose a string of trip-wire questions. He’s frustrated by the fact that I don’t accommodate him by marching through his sophistical minefield. I prefer to walk around it. I don’t let him frame the terms of the debate.
PR: So far I haven’t seen any denial on your part that my classification of you was off target.
SH: You must be suffering from glaucoma. Better get that treated.
PR: In any case, Steve, where is your clear denial of my classification? And where is the clear argument showing that I am wrong?
SH: Notice how Perry, in the grand tradition of a Stalinist prosecutor, likes to lead with a wife-beating question. The onus is then on the defendant in Perry’s little show trial to prove that he didn’t beat his wife.
PR: Guess I was right.
SH: Guess you were wrong.