Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Tradition Of Limbo

In light of recent news stories about Limbo (such as here and here), some of you may be interested in the quotes, links, and other material in an article I wrote on the subject last year.


  1. >One of the reasons why I believe in universal infant
    >salvation is because it was a widely held belief
    >among the earliest church fathers, including fathers
    >from a wide variety of backgrounds, dispositions,
    >and locations.

    Wow. This is so.... Orthodox. But if Orthodox believe in stuff for the same reasons, Jason won't be a happy camper at all.

  2. Orthodox writes:

    "This is so.... Orthodox. But if Orthodox believe in stuff for the same reasons, Jason won't be a happy camper at all."

    You're mistaken, as we've seen in multiple threads that you've left after having been refuted. In addition to discussing the Biblical data, I've cited widespread support for my view of infant salvation from second century sources. In contrast, you've repeatedly ignored or minimized the Biblical data, have dismissed ante-Nicene sources on the basis that we supposedly don't know much about what they believed, and have made your argument for Eastern Orthodox doctrine based primarily on sources from the fourth century and later. My focus has been on the Biblical and earliest patristic sources, whereas yours has been on later patristic sources. And when even later patristic sources contradict you, you tell us that they must have been relying on their own personal interpretation rather than following the mind of the church, you tell us that some Eastern Orthodox believe in a form of doctrinal development that would allow for your doctrines to not be understood early on, etc. You make higher claims about the history of your doctrines than I make about mine. You claim that your denomination is the one true denomination, that all Christians of the first millennium were part of your denomination, and that its teachings have always been the same. Yet, despite making higher claims about the history of your doctrines, you produce less evidence.

  3. Ya Jason,

    Da church dat vent out on a limb did broke its head.
    Da church dat did not go out on a limb did not break its head.
    Dat church den become da true church because it have many heads left.
    Dat goes to show dat many heads are better dan vun head.

  4. You're still appealing to the Church fathers as an authority. How do you feel about Ignatius' presentation on the role of the bishop in the church? Something tells me you will reject that, being as you are inconsistent in all your ecclesiology.

  5. It would only be inconsistent for Jason to do that if Sola Scriptura meant that Scripture only was the authority and that other authorities/traditions were unappealable and/or if Jason appealed to them as infallible authorities. Orthodox, you continue, after having been corrected multiple times, to trade in that straw man.

    Sola Scriptura simply means that Scripture is the only infallible authority for the faith and practice of the church/the believer. Other authorities are allowed to inform our judgment and even ground our practice as long as they are not viewed as infallible. I can appeal to whomever I wish among the church fathers, if I believe, based on Scripture, their argument to be sound. The same is true of those from the High Orthodox Protestant era or Particular Baptistery.

    There are, for example, no less than five different views on the subject of infant salvation within Reformed and for that matter largely Protestant theology as a whole, as defined by Warfield. Why five views? Because there is too little Scripture chasing the subject, so everybody appeals to either a different set of authorities in addition to Scripture and/or uses a different reasoning process. For example, Presbyterians with their doctrine of covenant children are more likely to either believe in universal infant salvation or follow the WCF on covenant children, excluding those not born in the covenant. Particular Baptists, who deny the doctrine of covenant children are likely to take an agnostic view.

  6. Orthodox said:

    "You're still appealing to the Church fathers as an authority. How do you feel about Ignatius' presentation on the role of the bishop in the church?"

    As Gene has explained, your suggestion that Evangelicals can't appeal to the church fathers is false, and you've been corrected on that point repeatedly. Why are you so dishonest? Just as we appeal to the church fathers as "an authority", we also appeal to archeology, Josephus, Tacitus, and other sources to define and clarify the context of scripture. Eastern Orthodox do the same with their rule of faith. To determine when particular church leaders lived, which documents they wrote, the meaning of what they wrote, etc., Eastern Orthodox rely on "authorities" outside of the Eastern Orthodox rule. For example, when you appealed to lexicons to define Greek terminology in a recent thread, a lexicon is something outside of the Eastern Orthodox rule of faith. Why do these things need to be explained to you?

    Maybe I shouldn't answer your question about Ignatius until you answer the many questions I've asked you in other threads, questions you've ignored. I don't know what you mean by "the role of the bishop in the church". Are you referring to the monarchical episcopate?

    If you knew much about church history, perhaps you'd know that Ignatius presents just one view of church government among others in the early patristic literature. Just as Ignatius is an early source, so are other sources who support a different view. The monarchical episcopate doesn't seem to have developed in some regions, such as Rome (as probably reflected in Ignatius' letter to the Romans), until sometime in the second century. As I documented in an earlier thread on apostolic succession, a thread you participated in, there was a variety of views of church government among the early patristic Christians. Ignatius' view of bishops might be apostolic in the sense of having been considered acceptable by the apostles, but other views could plausibly be apostolic as well. It seems that many issues of church government were left to the judgment of individual communities, much like the issues we read about in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8. I consider the monarchical episcopate one acceptable view among others.

    If you're suggesting that I shouldn't appeal to the church fathers if I don't agree with Ignatius' view of church government, then you'll need to explain why. In an earlier thread, I gave you examples of early patristic sources, such as Papias and Hermas, disagreeing with what you believe. As we could expect, you ignored the examples I cited. If you can disagree with such early patristic sources, why can't I?