Sunday, August 26, 2007

Schlepping off

(Posted on behalf of Steve Hays.)

Perry Robinson is still on the warpath. Here’s the latest example:
Now suppose further he [James White] is right, just for the sake of argument. Perhaps he is thinking that Sola Scriptura logically precludes these kinds of incidents and is therefore superior. So the idea is that Protestantism conceptually precludes these kinds of errors. But does it?

Take the Filioque. It is enshrined in the vast majority of Protestant confessions as an article of faith/de fide. And yet I at least can’t see how it can be justified via Sola Scriptura. And yet laymen and clergy alike are required to some degree or another to subscribe to it. (For my Protestant readers, just imagine a candidate for ordination being in a conservative Protestant denomination and denying it upon examination. Watch the sparks fly.) If we let White’s argument on the Assumption, go through then he has some ’splainin’ to do for he is in relatively the same position as he charges Catholics.

Why doesn’t he howl and complain about the Filioque? Why is it part of the Confession he subscribes to and he requires his congregation to subscribe to? It will do no good to complain that it isn’t important. All the more reason to exclude it, especially when it is part of a core area of theology, namely the Trinity. The last time I checked, the Trinity was no ancillary doctrine and White doesn’t think papal supremacy is a sufficient basis for altering doctrinal statements.

Moreover, the Filioque was added to the Creed and suscribed by the force of papal perogatives alone. If ever there was a doctrine to set aflame the hearts of a Protestant, this seems like a good candidate. Either Sola Scriptura doesn’t logically preclude the innovation and codification of major theological error or very few if any Protestant bodies have been using it correctly in relation to the doctrine of God. So, why don’t Catholics go banging on White about the Filioque?

I can’t speak for James White, but Perry’s objection has already been dealt with:

Bray specifically discusses the relation between Sola Scriptura and Double Procession. And he’s critical of the EO position.

But we can extend this to other doctrines. Take a look at the doctrine of Creation Ex Nihilo. Apart from the Apocrypha, there is in fact very little support for it and nothing explicit in Scripture. Sure plenty of passages say that God made all things but the surface grammar is compatible with a belief in eternal matter. And without an appeal to tradition to normatively fix its meaning White is up an exegetical creek. In fact, some significant scholarly literature on the matter indicates that it derives from Gnosticism and was appropriated by various post-Apostolic Fathers.
Once again, though, Perry’s objection has already been dealt with:

Evidently, Perry’s tactic is to scrape up whatever mud he can find and hurl it at sola Scriptura to see if anything sticks. And, in the process, he acts as if he’s leveling novel objections which would leave a Protestant speechless.

Why is Perry schlepping off? Why doesn’t he do his homework? Before he raises an objection, why doesn’t he bother to do a bit of research in order to see if his objection has already been addressed?

If there are preexisting answers in the public domain, shouldn’t he at least acknowledge the answers and interact with the answers? Or has he become too indolent and partisan to crack the books or even click his mouse to acquaint himself with the opposing literature?

1 comment:

  1. Orthodox writes:

    "Not much point responding to this since Triablogue has renamed itself Monologue and is censoring all dissenters. Still, the ostrich head in the sand method can be effective."

    It's amazing how dishonest you can be. You're only one of a very few to be "censored," which should say a lot given how many unbanned bad posters come through here from time to time.

    Your comments won't be missed, mind you.