Friday, July 13, 2007

Uncle Davy's Flea Market

I see that dear old Dave retreated in record time, covering his tracks in a flurry of choice adjectives:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/07/steve-hays-sophist-extraordinaire.html

That's fine. One less thing for me to waste my time on.

And why does he think I'd want to "dialogue" with him? Armstrong is not, and never was, an official spokesman for the Church of Rome.

Dave runs a roadside flea-market for old sofas with rusty springs poking through the upholstery and B&W TVs with vacuum tubes and rabbit ears. His arguments go back to Bellarmine, dumbed down by Frank Sheed and repackaged by Dave Armstrong.

Oh, I forgot to mention his miracle water hot tubs. I take it that Peter Popoff is his business partner.

But even though Armstrong was unable to offer a substantive reply, some of his commenters did make the effort.

“Scripture is very clear successors are not self appointed (unlike protestantism) and that this anointing carries the authority and power of the Apostles themselves, see Acts 8 with Peter and John for example.”

Nick | 07.10.07 - 6:06 pm | #

i) So Nick thinks that Acts 8 was an ordination ceremony? That’s a very creative interpretation. Unfortunately for him, it’s a bit too much of a good thing. For in that event, the Pope has a surfeit of rivals who may legitimately lay claim to apostolic succession.

Remember, as Nick himself points out, that the Samaritans were ordained (his interpretation) by St. Peter (as well as St. John). So the Samaritans were successors to St. Peter. Therefore, Samaria, rather than Rome, has a far more direct claim to be the See of St. Peter.

ii) And that’s not all. Acts 8 is simply an extension of Acts 2. So, consistent with Nick’s interpretation, we must also treat Pentecost as a mass ordination ceremony. Hence, Jerusalem, rather than Rome, has a far more direct claim to be the See of St. Peter.

iii) Notice, moreover, the universality of the promise (2:17-18,38-39). So, if we, according to Nick’s reasoning, equate the gift of the Spirit with the charism of Holy Orders, then Nick has just supplied us with a prooftext for the Protestant doctrine of the universal priesthood of all believers. We are all successors to St. Peter! We are all incumbents of the papal office! So who needs the Pope when, according to Nick’s irresistible logic, every Christian is his own Pope?

Just think of the possibilities! I, too, can wear an ermine-lined bathrobe and don a pair of papal slippers—made of silk, satin, gold thread, and ornamental rubies!

Moving along:

[[ Ken, listen to what Karl Keating says regarding parallels with pagan traditions: “Once, in a debate with a prominent anti-Catholic controversialist, I asked, ‘Are you married? Yes, I know you are. And when you were married, was your bride wearing a white gown, and did she carry a bouquet of flowers? You say she did. And did the two of you exchange vows and then rings? You're nodding your head. Well, it seems that in your marriage ceremony you engaged in four pagan acts, since the white gown, the bouquet, the vows, and the ring are all taken from pre-Christian pagan rites. Are we to conclude that your brand of Christianity is pagan at its roots?’ My opponent smiled and promptly changed the subject.” ]]

Ben M | 07.12.07 - 3:43 am | #

Wow! What a knockdown argument!

It does, however, suffer from a wee bit of an equivocation—you know, one of those fatal equivocations that invalidate a poorly formulated argument from analogy.

Pagan customs which carry over to something like a western wedding ceremony are entirely expendable. The absence of a white gown, bouquet, and wedding rings would not invalidate the marriage. One could just as well get married in a traditional Jewish ceremony.

By contrast, the very point at issue is what constitutes a valid ordination ceremony, without which you cannot have apostolic succession, valid sacraments, or the one true church. Here, the parallels between Catholic priestcraft and pagan witchcraft, Catholic sacramentology and sympathetic magic, are not incidental and expendable, but essential and constitutive.

“Also, the bible itself has many ‘striking’ parallels to pagan religions! The most familiar of these would of course be the ‘flood traditions’ and the numerous ‘creation myths’.”

i) Yet another fatal equivocation. As far as flood traditions are concerned, this is a case of multiple-attestation. The same event is recorded in Scripture and extrascriptural documents. The fact that the same event has more than one historical witness is hardly analogous to the intellectual dependence of Catholic sacerdotalism and sacramentology on pagan exemplars.

And there is no creation myth which clearly parallels Gen 1-2. That claim is loosely made from time to time, but it disintegrates under closer inspection.

We can run through other “parallel,” if need be.

ii) Where, moreover, does Ben think he’s going with this argument? Is he admitting that Catholic theology is, indeed, indebted to pagan theology—but attempting to blunt the force of this admission by claiming that a Protestant is in the same boat?

That’s a suicidal tactic, for—if valid—it would only succeed in disproving your opponent’s position by disproving your own.

11 comments:

  1. "Just think of the possibilities! I, too, can wear an ermine-lined bathrobe and don a pair of papal slippers—made of silk, satin, gold thread, and ornamental rubies!"

    How could you forget the hat? The pointy hat is the best part!

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  2. That’s a suicidal tactic, for—if valid—it would only succeed in disproving your opponent’s position by disproving your own.

    Given the way that RC apologists so flippantly chuck the Bible to one side when it suits them, I don't think suicidal tactics really bother them all that much.

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  3. I didnt mean that to be an ordination ceremony, I indented it to show the Apostles have the authority and power (in this case to confer the Holy Ghost), and that Christian layman does NOT have such authority and power. That passage is actually describing the Catholic Sacrament of Confirmation.

    I just happened to drop by here and see these comments about me. For anyone interested in the full story they should read Dave's comments on his Catholic page and see him take Mr Hays behind the woodshed.

    -Nick

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. I didnt mean that to be an ordination ceremony, I indented it to show the Apostles have the authority and power (in this case to confer the Holy Ghost), and that Christian layman does NOT have such authority and power. That passage is actually describing the Catholic Sacrament of Confirmation.

    This, of course, confuses an example with a mandate. It also misses the whole point of the laying on of hands: to validate the movement of the church from Jerusalem to Samaria by the same dispersement of gifts via the same apostles. This is a narrative strategy for Luke, and it's a historic strategy for the Spirit's movement. The next movement will be the conversion of the first Gentiles. The point of the narrative is not to establish the rite of confirmation; it's to establish the historic movement of the church's growth from one phase to the next.

    The church was also using lots to select officers at this point in its history. So, Nick, should we do this too? Does Rome cast lots for its officers?

    And in confirmation, there's a bishop involved, and oil. Who here is the bishop and where is the oil?

    The Samaritan church was in its infancy too. Yet, in Roman Catholicism, this is the rite of Christian maturity. This church was not mature enough to recognize false professors like Simon Magus among them.

    Claiming this is Catholic "confirmation" is a stellar example of reading Scripture anachronistically.

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  6. Notice also that, according to Nick's interpretation, it is confirmation rather than baptism that confers the Holy Spirit. So, according to Nick, Acts 8 actually contradicts the Catholic dogma of baptismal regeneration.

    Hence, his sacramental interpretation of Acts 8 is at odds with Catholic sacramentology.

    Keep up the good work, Nick!

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  7. Completely off topic:

    Bill Dembski co-wrote a mathematics paper that debunks the "Jesus Family Tomb" statistics:

    http://web.ecs.baylor.edu/faculty/marks/Research/EILab/Resources/Tomb/Jesus_Tomb_Math_Dembski-Marks.pdf

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  8. Hence, his sacramental interpretation of Acts 8 is at odds with Catholic sacramentology.

    No, that would be your interpretation of Nick.

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  9. Semper Reformanda7/14/2007 12:06 AM

    Steve's interpretation of Nick is at odds with Catholic sacrementology? That doesn't even make sense. Please explain. Does Nick's interpretation invalidate baptismal regeneration or not?

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  10. There are rumors still to this day that William S was gay. Some of his work has been under speculation that he was in fact writing to a man not a woman. The academics have just been given some key infomration to his sexulality

    Not at all. In Acts 8, the Holy Spirit is not given until the laying on of hands.

    Nick specifically construes "confirmation" in Acts 8 to be the giving of the Spirit.

    On this, he is quite correct, for the Holy Spirit was not given @ Samaria until well after the initial group had been baptized.

    However, this is at odds with the Catholic rite of baptism and baptismal regeneration, for it is there that the Spirit is given to the communicant and it is in confirmation that this grace is strengthened. If there is any tension here, it is in the incoherence of Catholicism.

    Nick wrote:

    I didnt mean that to be an ordination ceremony, I indented it to show the Apostles have the authority and power (in this case to confer the Holy Ghost), and that Christian layman does NOT have such authority and power. That passage is actually describing the Catholic Sacrament of Confirmation.

    Catholic sacramentology places the conferring of the Holy Spirit at baptism, not confirmation.

    HOW IS THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM CELEBRATED?

    Christian Initiation

    1229 From the time of the apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages. This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.

    ...

    1241 The anointing with sacred chrism, perfumed oil consecrated by the bishop, signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who has become a Christian, that is, one "anointed" by the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king.41

    ...

    1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte "a new creature," an adopted son of God, who has become a "partaker of the divine nature,"68 member of Christ and co-heir with him,69 and a temple of the Holy Spirit.70

    Confirmation

    1316 Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.

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  11. "I just happened to drop by here and see these comments about me. For anyone interested in the full story they should read Dave's comments on his Catholic page and see him take Mr Hays behind the woodshed."

    Ha. This coming from a guy who can't even exegete a passage of scripture. If the best that Catholics can do is drive-by potshots, I have to wonder why they even bother embarassing themselves.

    By the way, where's the infallible interpretation of Acts 8 that I presume the Vatican has provided for us? You wouldn't want to be guilty of private interpretation, right?

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