Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Orthopods

Some Orthodox epologists have been piling on Josh Brisby over at his blog:

http://joshbrisby.blogspot.com/2008/04/debate-weastern-orthodox-part-9-reader.html

Keep in mind that their questions were originally addressed to Josh, not to me, and they sometimes quote him. Josh and I might phrase things differently or answer things differently, so I don’t presume to speak for him, but only for myself.

“If Reformed soteriology is plain in the scripture, then it has always been plain and no Christian in history is exempt from adhering to it without ‘denying the gospel’. Why then do you refuse to anathematize Augustine, the Cappadocians, Athanasius, Ignatius, Justin, Irenaeus, Anselm, indeed every father of the ancient church as they clearly and openly rejected both sola fide and sola scriptura, not by denying fide or scriptura, but by denying sola. And why do you not also grant such leniency to those today who espouse the same things as those fathers did regarding those doctrines, but rather say that they may be saved only if they do not consciously reject them. Both groups consciously reject them, but why is only the second group anathema?”

i) This question has nothing to do with where the truth lies. It’s just a debater’s ploy, a way of trying to put psychological pressure on his opponent. It’s irrelevant to the truth of falsity of Evangelicalism as over against Orthodoxy.

ii) Something can be objectively evident without being subjectively evident. To some extent we are products of our social conditioning. For example, Anselm didn’t know Greek and Hebrew. He was dependent on the Vulgate.

iii) It’s ultimately up to God to apportion blame. He knows the mitigating and aggravating circumstances in each particular case.

“How do you know for sure that exegesis is better?”

i) How does an Orthodox believer “know for sure” that Orthodox exegesis is better?

ii) Does God oblige us to “know for sure” whose exegesis is better? Or does he oblige us to make the best use of the evidence at our disposal?

“Especially considering that the vast witness and testimony of those who were heirs and even contemporaries of the apostles are against many of the Protestant interpretations that you (and I) have held.”

i) Canadian is conflating two distinct issues. Even if the “heirs” constitute “vast” testimony, it doesn’t follow that the “contemporaries” constitute “vast” testimony.

In his opinion, how many of the church fathers were contemporaries of the apostles? And what specific interpretations do they witness to, at variance with Protestant exegesis?

ii) How does Canadian define an “heir” to an apostle? Does he mean an immediate successor? If so, how many of the church fathers were “heirs”?

Or does he mean “heir” in the attenunated sense of apostolic succession, so that an Orthodox bishop of the 21C is just as much of an heir as Clement of Rome?

iii) When he appeals to contemporaries of the Apostles, that’s an appeal to primitive tradition. Such an appeal implicitly concedes the principle that earlier historical testimony enjoys greater prima facie value than later historical testimony.

If we apply that principle to Holy Tradition, then ecumenical councils are too late to be evidentially germane.

“Question 1: Now you've changed your mind on one of these and need a new denomination.”

To the contrary, Josh switched from one preexisting denomination to another preexisting denomination.

“Is this church hopping part of God's big plan? If not, what went wrong?”

Yes, “church hopping” is part of God’s big plan. There are no unforeseen contingencies in God’s big plan. Everything happens according to plan.

Evidently, Orthodox is an open theist. God was caught off guard by Josh’s “church hopping.”

“Question 2: Thinking about the numerous 'falling away' verses, (you know what they are, Heb 6:4, James 5:20 etc etc). Do you agree that taken in isolation, they are most naturally interpreted to mean someone can fall away?”

i) ”Taken in isolation,” Jn 14:28 is “most naturally interpreted to mean” that Jesus is a lesser being than God. Does Orthodox subscribe to Aryan hermeneutics?

ii) Calvinism doesn’t deny that “someone can fall away.”

“If so, how do you know that interpreting these verses through the lens of your understanding of other verses is more correct than interpreting these other verses through the lens of these verses?”

Since the question is predicated on the false assumption that, in Calvinism, “someone” can’t “fall away,” there is no other “lens” to “correct” the Reformed understanding of Heb 6, &c.

“Question 3: If apostolic succession within the concept of ‘one catholic church’ is in no way a good argument, how would someone know in the 2nd century what is the true faith among a whole bunch of religious sects, many claiming the name of Christ and many claiming pseudopigraphal writings of Jesus and the apostles?”

Not everyone in the 2C would know the true faith. There were 2C reprobates who belonged to heretical sects. God doesn’t shield everyone from spiritual deception and self-deception. Only the elect.

“Question 4: Read the parable of the sheep (Luke 15:4, of the woman with coins (v8) and the parable of the ungrateful son (v11). Jesus is painting a picture for us of what God is like. Does this picture fit in with the reformed picture of a God who decides to damn most people because of his choice?”

i) Does the parable of the prodigal son “fit in with the picture of a God” who won’t forgive anyone apart from Calvary?

ii) Calvinism has no official position on what percentage of humanity is elect or reprobate.

“Question 5: What books about Eastern Orthodoxy have you read? Do you think it is enough to truely understand Orthodoxy?”

i) What books about Reformed theology have you read? What books about Protestant canonics have you read? What commentaries on the Apocrypha have you read?

ii) Yes, I think I’ve read enough to understand the claims of Orthodoxy.

“Question 6: Can you point to any church father, priest, bishop or church between the apostles and the reformers whose church you would be more or less happy to have been in theologically? “

I often attend churches I don’t completely agree with. I often consult theologians and Bible scholars whom I don’t completely agree with.

“Question 7: What went wrong practically speaking when the church came to recognize the deutero-canon?”

It’s wrong to insistent that something is the Word of God when it’s only the word of man.

“How do you know the same thing didn't go wrong with the Jews?”

Rom 3:2.

“Question 8: How do you know Esther is scripture?”

i) How do *you* know that Esther is scripture?

ii) Sometimes we don’t *know* things. Sometimes we merely *believe* them on the basis of the best available evidence.

This is a good occasion to make a larger point. What are our duties to God? God often commands his people to do things which fall short of knowledge.

Take the OT law code. There were a number of capital crimes in the OT. The accused was put on trial. Witnesses were summoned.

The judge himself did not observe the crime. He was dependent on second-hand evidence. Witnesses can be mistaken. Witnesses can lie. An innocent man can be convicted.

Yet the Jews were duty-bound to execute a man convicted of a capital offense. The Jews were obligated to carry out their judicial duties on the basis of evidence which could be misleading or erroneous.

So God can oblige us to do something even in cases where the evidence may let us down. Our moral and spiritual responsibilities aren’t contingent on my being right all the time.

iii) Suppose, for the sake of argument, that we mistakenly include Esther in the canon, because we went the best available evidence, which happens to point in the wrong direction.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t follow the evidence. Our obligations to God do not require apodictic proof.

“Question 9: Do you agree that the Church at the time the NT canon was settled was very similar to Eastern Orthodoxy? If not, why not.”

This is deceptive. The de facto question of when the NT canon was settled is distinct from the de jure question of how the NT canon ought to be settled.

“If so, why do you trust implicitely the decisions and tradition of the Church that you so deeply distrust today?”

i) I don’t accept the decisions and traditions of the church as a package deal. I open the package, sift the traditions, and reexamine the decision-making process.

ii) Moreover, the case for the NT canon isn’t limited to external attestation.

“Question 10: What was the new covenant rule of Christian faith in first century churches before they had NT scripture and when apostles were not present (for whatever reason)? Do you agree that it was oral tradition?”

i) ”Tradition” is a loaded word. Even the Orthodox don’t equate every tradition with Holy Tradition. We’re talking, at most, about oral *transmission*, not oral *tradition*.

ii) An oral mode of transmission was never a rule of faith. That confuses a temporary, utilitarian process with a theological criterion.

“If so, what went wrong when the Church never discarded this rule of faith that it had from the beginning?”

i) The modality of oral transmission was never the “rule of faith.” What was “discarded” was not the rule of faith, but a process—a mode of transmission.

ii) There’s an obvious difference between St. Paul telling me something, and a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of somebody who said he heard St. Paul say something.

iii) There’s a reason why the Apostolic kerygma was committed to writing. There’s a reason we have a NT.

“1.) Why did you ignore his quotes of Protestant scholars? I noticed over at Trioblog that they tried to make the new testament seem as if it didn't quote the DC or paraphrase the DC, but that still doesn't deal with the many protestant scholars who said the opposite. He gave lots of quotes from Protestant scholars and they were never dealt with.”

i) Which quotes by which scholars on which particular topics were “ignored”?

ii) We saw Dyer deliberately quoting Bruce out of context.

iii) Whether or not the NT ever alludes to the Apocrypha is a red herring. The question is how a literary allusion functions. How does a NT writer treat his sources? What is their prior reputation?

“2.) Why would you point to the ‘science of textual criticism’ in regards to ‘authentic books and inauthentic books’? You are aware what the Liberals have done to most of the Biblical books you accept by using the science of textual criticism.”

Strictly speaking, “textual criticism” is used to authenticate or inauthenticate a text, not a book, viz. the Long Ending of Mark.

“The traditional Reformed arguments against the DC(deuto-canon) books are used by Liberals against the PC(protocanon books) books.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with historical criticism. But liberals operate with liberal presuppositions when they use historical criticism.

“3.) You know historicaly the evidence would support the opposite conclusion. It would be more accurate to say that ‘all jews’ before the first advent didn't embrace the D.C. books. “We know that many did embrace the DC books.”

Tell us specifically what pre-Christian Jews canonized the Apocrypha. Give us names and dates.

“The dead sea scrolls have many D.C. books...so they obviously embraced some of them before the first advent.”

This is equivocal. “Having” many books in your library is not the same thing as canonizing a book. I have books by atheists in my library. I don’t confuse them with the Bible.

“But one could also say that some jews only embraced the first five books.”

Which Jews? Is this an allusion to the Sadducees? If so, then that’s a popular misconception of what they believed. Cf. F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture, 40-41.

“This is true too. The jews were not in agreement about the books before 150 A.D.”

Where’s your evidence?

“4.) Do you think you misunderstood Jay's LXX argument? You called it a ‘source fallacy’? But wouldn't it be more likely that they actually used the LXX as their Old Testament text? I mean, if they often quoted from it then it would mean that they often read it.”

You’re equivocating between the content of the Old Greek version and the content of Christian copies of the LXX.

When codices of the LXX include Christian books like Barnabas, Hermas, or 1-2 Clement, does this mean the Jews originally included Barnabas, Hermas, and 1-2 Clement in their OT canon?

I understand that many Orthodox believers are ignorant about the textual history of the LXX, but when their ignorance has been repeatedly corrected, and they continue to peddle the same erroneous arguments, then it’s difficult to acquit them of dissimulation.

“5.) “My question is: Do you think it is possible that the Jews rejected the D.C. books in 150 A.D. because the christians were using them to convert them to christianity?”

i) This isn’t a case of what’s “possible.” It’s a case of what the evidence points to.

ii) Why would Jews reject (or eject) the Apocrypha on those grounds, but not reject OT books containing OT prophecies (e.g. Isaiah, Daniel, the Psalter)?

iii) What probative evidence do you have that the Jews rejected the Apocrypha after 150 AD?

“6.)If the 1st century church didn't have 100% uniformity in regards to the books of the Bible, and if the churches after them didn't have 100% uniformity of Bible books then what makes you think that the Church today should have 100% uniformity?”

Because Orthodox epologists typically claim that Orthodoxy confers an epistemic advantage over the Protestant position.

“7.) You said that the D.C. has historical errors. Liberal Prots say the samething about the Protocanon itself.”

And conservative Protestant scholars have argued them down. We’re waiting to see you do the same thing.

“Plus I have seen Roman Catholic Apologists (Like my friend Phatcatholic) show that the D.C. doesn't have the historical errors as you claim.”

Funny, since I was quoting from a Roman Catholic scholar (Fitzmyer) on the historical errors in Tobit.

“Just as things can be explained away in the Protocanon.....the samething can be done for the Deuto-canon.”

If it can be done, do it. Don’t say it, show it. For example, do you think Solomon wrote Wisdom?

“8.) The differences in the canon of scripture among the Byzantine and Slavic rites is not great. Yet you make it seem as if it is. 4th Maccebees is in the Apendix of one. The same might be true in regards to the Prayer of Manessah. Other than that the only other differences don't really matter to this conversation.”

The Orthodox church has been back and forth on the canon throughout its checkered history:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/03/history-of-apocrypha.html

“The Eastern Orthodox have a different understanding of what the word ‘Canon’ means.”

Just as Solomon had a different understanding of what the word “monogamy” means.

The Orthodox church gives you a buffet a canons to choose from.

“Our understanding is more Church Historic.”

Their understanding is more Church phantasmagoric.

“You can find it in the Ancient Church.”

Since the church fathers didn’t agree on the canon, where in the ancient church are we to look?

70 comments:

  1. "Why then do you refuse to anathematize Augustine, the Cappadocians, Athanasius, Ignatius, Justin, Irenaeus, Anselm, indeed every father of the ancient church as they clearly and openly rejected both sola fide and sola scriptura, not by denying fide or scriptura, but by denying sola."

    Rebuttal: "It was Irenaeus who stated that while the apostles at first preached orally their teaching was later committed to writing in the Scriptures and the Scriptures have since that day become the pillar and ground of our faith. His exact statement is as follows: "We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith" (Alexander Roberts & W.H. Rambaugh Translators, The Writings of Irenaeus, Against Heresies (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1874), 3.1.1)."

    From: http://www.christiantruth.com/solascriptura.html

    Great post Steve.

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  2. The Orthodox church gives you a buffet a canons to choose from

    No, she doesn't. (present tense) The Canons (Old and New) were settled towards the close of the first millennium.

    where in the ancient church are we to look

    Not ancient, just Church. (Just like you do with the NT Canon; no difference).

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  3. “If Reformed soteriology is plain in the scripture, then it has always been plain and no Christian in history is exempt from adhering to it without ‘denying the gospel’."

    I answered this here:
    http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/2008/04/influence-of-greco-roman-culture-on.html

    "No, she doesn't. (present tense) The Canons (Old and New) were settled towards the close of the first millennium."

    Not so in the Greek Church where, as Steve has showed, the extent of the OT is still debated.

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  4. There is no Orthodox Church in the world where the Canon is (still) debated.

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  5. Lvka said:

    "The Canons (Old and New) were settled towards the close of the first millennium."

    I have yet to see you interact with the Metzger material I cited.

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  6. "There is no Orthodox Church in the world where the Canon is (still) debated."

    Chanting your assertion won't help you. The catechisms in the Greek Orthodox Church contradict each other as to the status of the DC's.

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  7. No, she doesn't. (present tense) The Canons (Old and New) were settled towards the close of the first millennium....Not ancient, just Church. (Just like you do with the NT Canon; no difference).


    The Orthodox Church is a collection of regional churches, some of which possess differing opinions on the canon and with catechisms that vary in their listings of the canonical books.

    And you have yourself admitted this in the comboxes of this very blog.

    So, the "Church" has a "canon" that's the same - except when it's not.

    Do you think about the things you say before you write them, or are your fingers autonomous with respect to your higher brain functions?

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  8. “If Reformed soteriology is plain in the scripture, then it has always been plain and no Christian in history is exempt from adhering to it without ‘denying the gospel’. Why then do you refuse to anathematize Augustine, the Cappadocians, Athanasius, Ignatius, Justin, Irenaeus, Anselm, indeed every father of the ancient church as they clearly and openly rejected both sola fide and sola scriptura, not by denying fide or scriptura, but by denying sola. And why do you not also grant such leniency to those today who espouse the same things as those fathers did regarding those doctrines, but rather say that they may be saved only if they do not consciously reject them. Both groups consciously reject them, but why is only the second group anathema?”

    1.This question confuses our position. The Reformed ordu salutis isn't the issue. The issue is "what constitutes a credible profession of faith."

    2. In Reformed theology, we draw a distinction between a saving profession of faith and a credible profession of faith.

    3. Any number of confessions can provide the basis of a credible profession of faith - and only a few of them are Reformed. We accept Arminians, Lutherans, and Evangelical Anglicans without difficulty - so the possession of "clarity" with respect to specifically Reformed soteriology isn't needed for a credible profession of faith.

    4. And we cut the Fathers some slack for the same reason we
    cut six year old children some slack with respect to mathematics. We don't expect first graders to comprehend Algebra 1 and we don't expect 7th grade students to comprehend Calculus.

    5. As a matter of fact, we do find some interesting things in the Fathers.

    I wonder who all said these things:

    Justification by Faith:

    "Now since the Jews kept turning over and over the fact, that the Patriarch, and friend of God, was the first to receive circumcision, he wishes to show, that it was by faith that he too was justified. And this was quite a vantage ground to insist upon (periousiva nivkh" pollh'"). For a person who had no works, to be justified by faith, was nothing unlikely. But for a person richly adorned with good deeds, not to be made just from hence, but from faith, this is the thing to cause wonder, and to set the power of faith in a strong light" (The Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul The Apostle to the Romans, Homily 8).

    "Now to prevent your saying, How, when liable for so great sins, came we to be justified? he points out One that blotteth out all sins, that both from Abraham’s faith, whereby he was justified, and from the Savior’s Passion, whereby we were freed from our sins, he might confirm what he had said" (The Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul The Apostle to the Romans, Homily 9).

    "Then, as they made great account of the Patriarch, he brings his example forward, and shows that he too was justified by Faith. And if he who was before grace, was justified by Faith, although plentiful in works, much more we. For what loss was it to him, not being under the Law? None, for his faith sufficed unto righteousness" (Homilies on Galatians, Chapter 3).

    "Attend to this point. He Himself who gave the Law, had decreed, before He gave it, that the heathen should be justified by Faith" (Homilies on Galatians, Chapter 3).

    "Then, that they might not turn round, and object that, true it was Abraham was justified by Faith, for the Law was not then given, but what instance would be found of Faith justifying after the delivery of the Law? he addresses himself to this, and proves more than they required: namely, not only that Faith was justifying, but that the Law brought its adherents under a curse" (Homilies on Galatians, Chapter 3).

    "Now as the Scripture says, "the just shall live by faith," thus repudiating salvation by the Law, and moreover as Abraham was justified by Faith, it is evident that its efficacy is very great. And it is also clear, that he who abides not by the Law is cursed, and that he who keeps to Faith is just" (Homilies on Galatians, Chapter 3).

    "As the grace of the Spirit could not possibly descend on the graceless and offending, they are first blessed the curse having been removed; then being justified by faith, they draw unto themselves the grace of the Spirit. Thus the Cross removed the curse, Faith brought in righteousness, righteousness drew on the grace of the Spirit" (Homilies on Galatians, Chapter 3).

    And what of these:

    Irenaeus (A.D. 180) An Interpretation of the word "all" in 1 Tim 2:6
    "He came to save all, all, I say, who through him are born again unto God, infants, and little ones, and children, and young men, and old men....Jesus is the savior of them that believe; but the Lord of them that believe not." (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 291-292).

    Cyprian (A.D. 250)
    All the sheep which Christ hath sought up by His blood and sufferings are saved...Whosoever shall be found in the blood, and with the mark of Christ shall only escape...He redeemed the believers with the price of His own blood...Let him be afraid to die who is not reckoned to have any part in the cross and sufferings of Christ. (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 292).

    Eusebius (A.D. 330) In response to "He gave himself up for us all"
    To what "us" does he refer, unless to them that believe in Him? For to them that do not believe in Him, He is the author of their fire and burning. The cause of Christ's coming is the redemption of those that were to be saved by him. (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 292).

    Ambrose (A.D. 380)
    Can He damn thee, whom He hath redeemed from death, for whom He offered Himself, whose life He knows is the reward of His own death? (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 293).

    Epiphanius (A.D. 390) In a debate with certain Pagans who did not believe...
    ...Thou art not of the number of them who were bought with blood, O Manes, because thou deniest the blood...He gave his life for His own sheep. (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 293-294).

    Hieronymus (Jerome) A.D. 390
    Christ is sacrificed for the salvation of believers...Not all are redeemed, for not all shall be saved, but the remnant...All those who are redeemed and delivered by Thy blood return to Zion, which Thou hast prepared for Thyself by Thine own blood...Christ came to redeem Zion with His blood. But lest we should think that all are Zion or every one in Zion is truly redeemed of the Lord, who are redeemed by the blood of Christ form the Church...He did not give His life for every man, but for many, that is, for those who would believe (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 294).

    I can supply them for unconditional election too - so "every father of the ancient church" is quite the overstatement...

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  9. Well, instead of occupying Yourself with the opinion of mere mortals, look to (content of) the Bibles of the Greek Orth. Church printed in the last ... X yrs. (I mean, Bibles come before Cathechisms, right? -- You know, Hierachical Church and al, that). And then ask Yourslef this simple question: with what has this exactly affected the content (or list of contents) of Greek Orth. Bibles? Or the Vesperal readings from the Old Testament, taken from the Menaions? How can I, as an Orth. Christian (or an honest person, in general), go to the Litany-Vesper service on the eve before a Great Feast, read from Solomon or Sirach or whatever ... and then go to a random Prot. internet-site (say, "3ablog", for instance) and say (or write): "You know what? We do that ... but we don't really mean that" ... I mean, it kinda sounds like: "Oh, come on, honey! ... You *know* she didn't mean anythintg to me, ... right?". :-\ I can't lie to You guys, sorry. (Yeah, yeah ... I know, I know ... better to tell a lie that brings a smile than a truth that might bring a tear).

    ReplyDelete
  10. or are your fingers autonomous with respect to your higher brain functions?

    LOL :-) Well, ... You know about us Orth. and our de-centralized Church, and all those auto-cephalous and auto-nomous churches. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was trying to follow the train of thought in the paragraph Lvka wrote at 2:51 but then I figured out there is no spoon.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well, instead of occupying Yourself with the opinion of mere mortals, look to (content of) the Bibles of the Greek Orth. Church printed in the last ... X yrs.

    1. Are Orthodox Bibles printed by angels and sent down from heaven or printed by mere mortals?

    2. I'm afraid you'll have to give us an actual figure to work with instead of X years.

    3. Your original argument was that the canon was settled in the first millenium. Has the printing press been used for over 1000 years, or are you now changing your argument?

    4. The content of what's printed on a printing press tells us nothing about the canonicity of a book or text or text-form. Protestants have printed books that included the Apocrypha as well, but that doesn't mean they believed them to be canonical any more than it tell us that a particular translation and no other is canonical or inerrant. Modern translations include the long ending of Mark - but that doesn't mean the long ending is canonical.

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  13. I was trying to follow the train of thought in the paragraph Lvka wrote at 2:51 but then I figured out there is no spoon.

    [Picard] THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS![/Picard] :D

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  14. So we've got some cowards here who comment on what I say, but have banned me from responding. That speaks volumes.

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  15. You're such a liar, Orthodox. Nobody is preventing you from replying on your own blog. Here's an idea, craft a response on your own blog and leave a URL for us to look at it. If you would at least make the pretense of playing nicely, you might just get your ban lifted one day. It's really very simple.

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  16. Steve,
    Thanks for your comments.

    "This question has nothing to do with where the truth lies. It’s just a debater’s ploy"

    This is a diversion. The question was to inquire about a perceived inconsistency in the use of the anathema. It's easy to toss out anathema's at folks that someone has no affection for or connection to.

    "It’s ultimately up to God to apportion blame. He knows the mitigating and aggravating circumstances in each particular case."

    Exactly. And I was challenging the fact that, in the debate, blame WAS being apportioned--and inconsistently at that.

    "Does God oblige us to “know for sure” whose exegesis is better? Or does he oblige us to make the best use of the evidence at our disposal?"

    So then why the anathema's?

    "Such an appeal implicitly concedes the principle that earlier historical testimony enjoys greater prima facie value than later historical testimony."

    No. It just trusts the following scripture was fulfilled from the beginning, and that the practice and beliefs of the early Christians are critical to give context to what was practiced and believed by the apostles:
    2 Timothy 2:2
    And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
    I am saying that the same Spirit that was in the apostles (they were the earliest church) must be in the church until the end of the age.

    "If we apply that principle to Holy Tradition, then ecumenical councils are too late to be evidentially germane."

    But we are not applying that principle. The councils are considered part of Holy Tradition because the Spirit had not stopped glorifying Christ in the Church which is the fullness of him who fills all in all. Tradition is not seen as a remembrance of the distant past, but the truth preserved in the Church by the ever present Spirit. So the testimony of early Christians is important to see what the Spirit was teaching the Church, same for the conciliar period, and later generations.

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  17. "Here's an idea, craft a response on your own blog and leave a URL for us to look at it. "

    http://orthodox-thoughts.blogspot.com/2008/04/triramblings.html

    ReplyDelete
  18. Protestants have printed books that included the Apocrypha as well, but that doesn't mean they believed them to be canonical

    I know this, but we're not like You. (We don't do that sort of stuff). The Bibles that we have are actually read in Churches and Moasteries (throughout the world and throughout history). It's an organic thing. That's why I keep pointing You NOT *JUST* to Bibles but also to Menaions (twelve books, one for each month, that contain the "meet" of the daily services [including Scripture readings] -- the "skeleton" is to be found in Octoichs), ... and to the Psalter (which has Psalm 151) and to various Church services throughout the day, contained in the Book of Hours (which have the Prayer of Manase), and to Church prayers generally (the prayer for people who travel begins by asking God to guide them through his holy Angels just like He did with Tobie through the angel Rafael), etc. Our religion settled pretty much as we have it today towards the end of the first millennium and beginning of the second. [So did Judaism and Catholicism]. (That's when the Books I've mentioned received a final form also).

    We don't keep those Books for keeps sake, (otherwise we would do the same with the NT DC also); and our OT Canon isn't wobbling for the same reason that the NT one isn't either.

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  19. CANADIAN SAID:

    “The question was to inquire about a perceived inconsistency in the use of the anathema. It's easy to toss out anathema's at folks that someone has no affection for or connection to...I was challenging the fact that, in the debate, blame WAS being apportioned--and inconsistently at that… So then why the anathema's?”

    As I said at the outset, I’m only answering for myself, not for anyone else. So there’s no inconsistency on *my* part.

    “No. It just trusts the following scripture was fulfilled from the beginning… I am saying that the same Spirit that was in the apostles (they were the earliest church) must be in the church until the end of the age.”

    2 Tim 2:2 is not a prophecy about the church age. It’s not a prophecy at all.

    It’s’ a command. It says nothing about the “church age or the presence of the Holy Spirit.

    So your prooftext doesn’t prove what you what it do.

    i) It involves a single link between what Paul taught and Timothy heard (from the lips of Paul).

    ii) Then *Timothy* is to select those who are entrusted with the message. Not the Patriarch of Constantinople or the Metropolitan of Moscow.

    2 Tim 2:2 is not a blank check for apostolic succession.

    “The councils are considered part of Holy Tradition because the Spirit had not stopped glorifying Christ in the Church which is the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

    If you beg the question in favor of Orthodox ecclesiology.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What I was getting at in my previous comment was the importance of the lex orandi for the lex credendi in the Orth Church.

    And here's some historical background about the definitivation of the OT Canon in the Orth Church, taken from the Cath Encyclopedia hosted at the NewAdvent site:

    On the other hand, the Oriental Church imported (from fifth to the seventh century AD) a Western authority which had canonized the disputed books, viz., the decree of Carthage, and from this time there is an increasing tendency among the Greeks to place the deuteros on the same level with the others--a tendency, however, due more to forgetfulness of the old distinction than to deference to the Council of Carthage.

    The result of this tendency among the Greeks was that about the beginning of the twelfth century they possessed a canon identical with that of the Latins, except that it took in the apocryphal III Machabees. That all the deuteros were liturgically recognized in the Greek Church at the era of the schism in the ninth century, is indicated by the "Syntagma Canonum" of Photius.

    The Greek Orthodox Church preserved its ancient Canon in practice as well as theory until recent times, when, under the dominant influence of its Russian offshoot, it is shifting its attitude towards the deuterocanonical Scriptures. The rejection of these books by the Russian theologians and authorities is a lapse which began early in the eighteenth century.


    newadvent.org/cathen/03267a.htm

    ReplyDelete
  21. You originally said:

    "No, she doesn't. (present tense) The Canons (Old and New) were settled towards the close of the first millennium."

    "There is no Orthodox Church in the world where the Canon is (still) debated."

    Now, however, you've reversed yourself:

    "The Greek Orthodox Church preserved its ancient Canon in practice as well as theory until recent times, when, under the dominant influence of its Russian offshoot, it is shifting its attitude towards the deuterocanonical Scriptures. The rejection of these books by the Russian theologians and authorities is a lapse which began early in the eighteenth century."

    ReplyDelete
  22. Steve said,
    "As I said at the outset, I’m only answering for myself, not for anyone else. So there’s no inconsistency on *my* part."

    Then why did you challenge my question in the first place? It was adressed to Josh. You then proclaimed that the question was "irrelevant" and had "nothing to do with where the truth lies" and was just a "ploy". I never charged you personally with inconsistency. I don't mind you challenging it, but you make assertions about my motives and then suddenly back off, saying you can't answer for anyone else.

    "2 Tim 2:2 is not a prophecy about the church age. It’s not a prophecy at all...It’s’ a command. It says nothing about the “church age or the presence of the Holy Spirit."

    I didn't use it in a prophetic sense but in an evidential sense. The text itself can't prove the truth was passed faithfully throughout the ages but I think shows the apostolic intent for that process. I gave the text in response to you declaring that I claimed earlier testimony (patristic) is greater than later. I only attempted to give even earlier testimony (apostolic) that Tradition is not only patristic but apostolic, and therefore continues in the Church through the ages. Earlier in his letter to Timothy, Paul says:
    "Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you."(2 Tim.1:13-14)

    He tells Timothy to guard what he received from Paul, by the Holy Spirit and then implores him to pass this to faithful men who in turn can pass it on. (2:2)
    I am saying that what was passed on MUST be evident in in every age because the guarding power of the Spirit will not be absent from the church at any time (I am with you always). Granted, if you continue on Paul admits that Asia has departed from him, so this isn't a monolithic fortress of faithfullness in all places, but the Spirit's Tradition itself cannot disappear until the Reformation with only accidental salvations a couple times a century in spite of what the church confessed and taught.

    "Not the Patriarch of Constantinople or the Metropolitan of Moscow.
    2 Tim 2:2 is not a blank check for apostolic succession."

    I wasn't discussing or referring to apostolic succession. I was referring to the fact that apostolic Tradition did not disappear at any point in history. We should be able to see what the Spirit caused his people to believe and practice throughout the ages. Faithfulness to it may wax and wane but the content of the Tradition can't disappear and be picked up over a millennium later and reduced to an inscripurated version. Which is what Protestant's often claim.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I don't have time to refute everything, but I do have time to say a few things.


    The Roman Catholic scholar Fitzmyer is a known Liberal. Phatcatholic told me once that in his commentary to the Gospel of John he said that Jesus didn't know he was Divine.

    Also if you read the reviews of his commentary on Amazon.com, you will know that he pretty much rips the book apart. A new christian that read that book would become an Atheist.

    Also you can go to the "Whitehorse inn" website and look at their archive section.

    In the podcast dated "Sunday, November 04, 2007" you will find Dr. Michael Horton giving an interview with Dr. Robert Sungenis.

    And in that podcast Fr. Robert calls Fitzmyer a liberal.

    So who cares if he says Tobit has errors. He will say that about the Protocanon as well.


    Also I am starting to see that the Reformed scholar Dr. Peter Enns was correct about conservative Reformed evangelical apologists picking and choosing from the evidence.


    Also Genebridges,

    The early churchfathers didn't believe in limited atonement in the way that Calvinists believe it.

    You know very well that both Arminians and Calvinists believe that the Atonement is limited in it's application.

    So why in the World were you trying to fool "Orthodox" into thinking that they believed that the Atonement was limited?

    Your trick won't work.



    And for those that don't know where I got the 150 A.D. date just read up on the "Jamnia academy" as well as the "Bar kochba rebellion"


    Steve,

    I think it was you....or it could of been Paul.

    But anyway. The Jews never had an "official" canon before 150 A.D.

    They didn't have a "church council" like the Christian church did to form a canon. Jamnia was an academy...not a jewish church like council.


    Also your statement about the LXX having other stuff in it only shows the custom of the christian east. The Eastern Church never had a "BIBLE" in the way that the western world thinks today.

    It never had all the books in one place. The Bible books/scrolls were mostly scattered with other church books.



    Things changed after the invention of the printing press.


    and onelast thing. The difference in the canon between the Byzantine and slavic rites is minor.

    We all have the same books in our Bibles. The only difference is how we view certain books. It is the status of certain books which causes one to put one or two in it's appendix.

    I don't see how anyone can call this a major difference.


    Also someone said to "Orthodox" that the nonchaldeconians can go point by point against us. For the most part we don't fight the nonchalcedonians. We are in peace mode right now....on the verge to full communion. Besides, how can they go point by point against us when they mostly agree with us?

    Our theology is mostly the same.







    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  24. Yes, because I wanted You to see that the Church did not change anything from what she received: it's all just the late and fairly recent opinion (no later than the 18th century) of private individuals ("theologians" and "authorities": such words might carry a certain weight in the Western Church, where there's a division between "the Teaching Church" and "the learning Church" [in Cath]; or in Prot, where the "experts" are the new "clergy", but they carry no weight in the East, where Tradition, Councils and Consensus are set above everything).

    The time WHEN these innovations crept in (18th century), and the place WHERE they crept in is NOT accidental: it all happened under the watchful eyes of Peter the Great's westernizing policy, with "Theology seminaries" being build after Western fashion, overseen by Jesuits, the New Year Day was set to January 1 instead of March 1, the boyars were obligated under severe threats to shave their beards and leave their faces blank after the new Western fashion, and even anti-Semitic laws were adopted and applied for the first time in Russian history (1721). It is this time in the history of Russia (which brought bad as well as good things to Russia) in which Russian "theologians" and "intelelctuals" were adopting the New (and Improved) Western View towards certain Books which until then bore to my knowledge no distinctive name (neither in Slavonic, nor in Romanian) -- thanks, Saint Jerome! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. JNORM888,

    Just because someone is a liberal doesn't mean that all of their arguments are bad. In fact, if you go to Steve's page on commentaries he's read, you'll find quite a few liberal commentaries that he says are good:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2004/05/read-any-good-books-lately-3.html

    Often times, a liberal can make some good exegetical or historical points. The point is that one simply has to be discerning when reading ANYONE's commentary.

    "But anyway. The Jews never had an "official" canon before 150 A.D."

    We've been over this before. Jamnia never really established the canon but discussed ritual matters.

    ReplyDelete
  26. JNORM888 SAID:

    “I don't have time to refute everything.”

    Actually, you didn’t have time to refute anything.

    “The Roman Catholic scholar Fitzmyer is a known Liberal.”

    i) True. But you appealed to a Catholic epologist in defense of the Apocrypha. So, among other things, I’m answering you on your own grounds.

    Fitzmyer has served on the Biblical Pontifical Commission, which—I daresay—is not a distinction to which Phatcatholic can lay claim. So my Catholic authority trumps your Catholic authority.

    ii) More to the point, Fitzmyer was trained in the old Jesuit tradition of education. So he has an impressive mastery of the primary sources. I disagree with his liberal presuppositions, but that doesn’t mean his scholarship can be dismissed out of hand.

    “Phatcatholic told me once that in his commentary to the Gospel of John he said that Jesus didn't know he was Divine.”

    Fitzmyer never wrote a commentary on John. Ray Brown wrote a commentary on John, but not Fitzmyer. So either you’re wrong or Phatcatholic is wrong. If you like, we could split the difference and say that you’re both wrong!

    “In the podcast dated ‘Sunday, November 04, 2007’ you will find Dr. Michael Horton giving an interview with Dr. Robert Sungenis.”

    Sungenis hardly represents mainstream Catholic theology or scholarship.

    “And in that podcast Fr. Robert calls Fitzmyer a liberal.”

    “Fr. Robert”? You think that Sungenis is a priest?

    “So who cares if he says Tobit has errors. He will say that about the Protocanon as well.”

    Which is neither here nor there. If the Apocrypha is uninspired, we’d expect it to be erroneous.

    “Also I am starting to see that the Reformed scholar Dr. Peter Enns was correct about conservative Reformed evangelical apologists picking and choosing from the evidence.”

    i) I’ve never been one to dismiss liberal objections out of hand. Rather, I regularly present a counterargument to liberal objections. Hence, there’s nothing the least bit inconsistent about my conduct.

    ii) However, if you want to make that move, then Dyer has been quoting from the liberal Baptist scholar Lee Martin McDonald on the canon. So if you’re going to claim that no one should care what a liberal has to say, then why should Brisby (or I) respond to Jay’s citations of McDonald?

    “But anyway. The Jews never had an ‘official’ canon before 150 A.D.”

    You’re still not offering any evidence for your claim that the Jews rejected the Apocrypha after 150 AD.

    “Jamnia was an academy...not a jewish church like council.”

    I never referenced Jamnia in my response to you. Are you paying attention?

    “Also your statement about the LXX having other stuff in it only shows the custom of the christian east.”

    Which is why you can’t infer the canon of 1C Jews from later codices of the LXX. Thanks for making my point.

    “The Eastern Church never had a ‘BIBLE’ in the way that the western world thinks today.”

    That’s one thing we agree on.

    “The Bible books/scrolls were mostly scattered with other church books.”

    Early Christians quickly transitioned from scrolls to codices.

    “We all have the same books in our Bibles.”

    You’re not interacting with the material I cited by Metzger. Try again.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Often times, a liberal can make some good exegetical or historical points. The point is that one simply has to be discerning when reading ANYONE's commentary.

    How true! My library does not solely consist of Reformed authors. In fact, I was taught Systematic Theology using Thomas Oden's work. Oden is a liberal to evangelical convert. He's also Wesleyan.

    And the exegesis that liberals offer is many times not very different from that of conservatives of any stripe - because Grammatical-Historical exegesis does not select for any particular exegetical conclusions. What differs is the authority that liberals give to the text. Liberals often frankly admit that the Bible teaches one thing but they believe another because of other reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Saint & Sinner,


    That is picking and choosing. Steve will cite him when he rips Tobit apart.....but he won't when he rips the books of Job & Romans apart.


    He can't use that as a rebuttal against me. It won't work. He will have to use a Roman Catholic that will "only" say such a thing about the D.C.' books and not the P.C. books. Or else he will only be wasting his time for such an argument is easy to defeat.


    Whatever bad things you all can say about the D.C.'s(Protocanon) can also be said about the P.C.'s(Deuto-canon)


    Why? Because anyone can find a scholar(mostly liberal) that will say anything Cynical about whatever Bible book you wanna talk about. I can use them against you guys......just as you can use them against me.



    No, if you are going to use Roman Catholic & EO scholars then you will have to use Conservative to moderate ones. Or else it will be ignored.



    You said they didn't nock any books at the Academy of Jamnia around 150 A.D. ok,....it is more like 135 A.D. I'm sorry for being 15 years off.

    When "Akiba ben Joseph" was made head of the Academy of Jamnia. It was under his influence that the Jews "officially" rejected the Deuto-canon.

    He supported "Bar kochba" by calling him the Jewish Messiah. The christians refused to see him as the Messiah and thus the hatred for the Deuto-canon and New Testament books. According to Wiki....and no....I don't really like wicki, and I reject their cynicism in thinking Akiba didn't realy support Bar Kocka in the rebellion.....but one thing they did include was his dislike for christianity and the D.C.'s

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akiba_ben_Joseph

    As quoted from wicki:
    "He has, however, no objection to the private reading of the Apocrypha, as is evident from the fact that he himself makes frequent use of Ecclesiasticus (W. Bacher, Ag. Tan. i. 277; H. Grätz, Gnosticismus, p. 120). Akiba stoutly defended, however, the canonicity of the Song of Songs, and Esther (Yad. iii.5, Meg. 7a). Grätz's statements (Shir ha-Shirim, p. 115, and Kohelet, p. 169) respecting Akiba's attitude toward the canonicity of the Song of Songs are misconceptions, as I.H. Weiss (Dor, ii. 97) has to some extent shown. To the same motive underlying his antagonism to the Apocrypha, namely, the desire to disarm Christians—especially Jewish Christians—who drew their "proofs" from the Apocrypha, must also be attributed his wish to emancipate the Jews of the Dispersion from the domination of the Septuagint, the errors and inaccuracies in which frequently distorted the true meaning of Scripture, and were even used as arguments against the Jews by the Christians."


    And in Michuta's book he says:

    "The first revolt(of 70 A.D.) was a national uprising; this second Revolt would be a messianic movement. By means of Akiba's work, a large number of jews joined in the rebellion. Even Samaritans and pagans joined Bar Cochba in his revolt. However, there was one Jewish sect which refused to join: that obstinate tribe known as christians. The Christians, a majority of whom were still ethnically jewish, were pressed to join in this life and death struggle with Rome, but they refused. To accept bar Cochba as Messiah, as Akiba insisted, would have been nothing short of Apostasy; and because of their refusal to do so, Christians were treated by the Jews as heretics and traitors. It is this same Rabbi Akiba who is the very first writer to explicity and forthrightly reject the inspiration of both the christian New Testament and the books of the Deuterocanon. Akiba's declaration is found in Tosefta Yahayim 2:13 which reads;

    "The Gospel and heretical books do not defile the hands. The books of Ben Sira and all other books written from then on, do not defile the hands."

    Two outstanding points must be drawn from this impious declaration: first, it must have been common knowledge even at this early date that the christians accepted the Deutercanon and used it as Scripture (along with the Gospels), otherwise, there would have been no need to rule against them; secondly that at least some jews must also have shared that acceptance, otherwise Akiba's decree would have been superfluous."
    Here we have a hostile witness confirming through his actions that the earliest christians accepted both the Gospels and the Deuterocanon as inspired and sacred Scripture. It was in this watershed event- the naming of the false Messiah Bar Cochba and the Anathematizing of those who rejected him- which occasioned the very first unquestionable rejection of the Deuteros by a single, widely recognized Jewish authority. It was under Akiba's tenure that a single textual tradition of the Old Testament was first adopted; before this time (as we have shown) a variety of different texts were in use among the jews. It was here, sometime in the middle of the second Christian century, that Judaism first adopted an official normative text(i.e. the Masoretic Text or the MT).


    pages 68-70 from the book "Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger: the untold Story of the lost books of the Protestant Bible" by Gary G. Michuta

    This book is selling like hotcakes...it is sold out at amazon.com


    I didn't really wanna spend alot of time into this. I really gotta get back into research for something else. I'm working on a project (against a Reformed Baptist book) that is eating up most of my time.



    I'm sorry if I can't go back and forth with you. I will let you have the last word.







    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  29. By second revolt he means 135 A.D.

    I added 70 A.D. in that quote. So that people would know what the first revolt was.

    I forgot to add 135 - 150 A.D.

    for the second revolt.



    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete

  30. The early churchfathers didn't believe in limited atonement in the way that Calvinists believe it.


    This doesn't match the original claim.

    But perhaps you'll find this one more convincing:

    If you die in unbelief, Christ did not die for you.

    and

    Since only the elect are saved, it may be accepted that Christ did not come to save all and did not die on the cross for all.

    My point is we can find plenty of material in the Fathers that supports definite atonement. So,the original claim is a patent overstatement.

    You know very well that both Arminians and Calvinists believe that the Atonement is limited in it's application.

    It'd be nice if a (former) Arminian would demonstrate he understand Arminian theology.

    In Arminian theology, the atonement's sufficiency relates to universal benefits applied to everybody namely UPG. "Sufficient for all" does not refer to the infinite sufficiency of the atonement considered by itself. It merely makes men savable or creates a way for men to be saved, depending on the theologian.So, Arminians belief in "limited application" is really just doubletalk. That's why it's called "General" atonement.

    And that's only for the penal substitution model in Arminianism. Most Arminians affirm a different theory of the atonement. They affirm the Moral Government Theory.

    Calvinism affirms penal substitution.

    Plenty of the Church Fathers affirmed that too.

    http://piercedforourtransgressions.com/content/category/5/15/52/

    In Calvinism, sufficiency refers not to universal benefits or extrinsic benefits of any sort, but to the perfection of the Victim.


    So, I honestly don't think you understand either view.

    So why in the World were you trying to fool "Orthodox" into thinking that they believed that the Atonement was limited?

    Your trick won't work.


    You may want to check to whom I was replying. It wasn't "Orthodox."

    And I never said the Fathers believed that the atonement was limited, only that we can find plenty of material in them that can be construed that way.

    But since you mentioned "Orthodox,"he's the one talking about taking texts in isolation and using the "plain meaning of language" for the falling away passages in Scripture.

    By that very standard, we should take the quotes I provided as particular and unequivocal affirmations of limited atonement.

    ReplyDelete

  31. That is picking and choosing. Steve will cite him when he rips Tobit apart.....but he won't when he rips the books of Job & Romans apart.


    No,it's not. Steve doesn't confine himself to the citation of only one side. When he disagrees, he provides reasons to disagree. That's called interacting with the source - something you're not doing.

    No, if you are going to use Roman Catholic & EO scholars then you will have to use Conservative to moderate ones. Or else it will be ignored.

    Oh, I see, truth by stipulation. Rather than defending your position, you'll only listen if we parrot sources sympathetic to your position.

    Tell us, do you feel the same way about Dyer's use of a liberal Baptist scholar, or is your criticism only valid when used against us?

    In that case, the next time you come here arguing exegetically, you should only use Reformed scholarship. No Arminian scholarship is allowed. No Orthodox scholarship is allowed. No Roman Catholic scholarship is allowed.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Steve,


    I didn't mean to call him a priest. It was a typo.

    the "d" is right next to the "f".


    whether or not he wrote a commentary to the Gospel of John maybe true. I was going off of memory. What I do know is that Phat read something of his in which he said Jesus didn't know he was Divine. I could be wrong, but I thought Phatcat said "the Gospel of John."

    I think Phat would know more than all of us. He goes to FSU in Steubinville, OH.

    HE is in his last year of there. I might be wrong, but I think he is getting a master's in Theology.


    Fitzmirer is still a no go.



    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  33. I am saying that what was passed on MUST be evident in in every age because the guarding power of the Spirit will not be absent from the church at any time (I am with you always).

    Okay, and why should we accept the claim that only Rome or Constantinople is the Guardian qua Guardian.

    Moving from your selected text to a theory of apostolic succession in one of those institutions is question begging.

    And what traditions would you have in mind? Can you document them?
    If you can document them, they are written,and if written and apostolic, why aren't they canonized?

    ReplyDelete
  34. You said:
    "Since only the elect are saved, it may be accepted that Christ did not come to save all and did not die on the cross for all.

    My point is we can find plenty of material in the Fathers that supports definite atonement. So,the original claim is a patent overstatement."


    Definite Atonement in regards to Application. Many of those same Fathers that you quoted also believed in free will, resistible grace, Baptismal regeneration, and falling away from grace.

    So it should be obvious they didn't believe in a limited Atonement in regards to "intent".

    It is only in regards to Appilication.




    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  35. "You're such a liar, Orthodox. Nobody is preventing you from replying on your own blog. Here's an idea, craft a response on your own blog and leave a URL for us to look at it"

    See, you're the proven liar. I left the URL on your blog, but you banned it also. Nothing you say can be trusted.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I told him he can have the last word. I gotta go.






    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  37. canadian said...

    “Then why did you challenge my question in the first place?”

    Because it was a diversionary tactic on your part.

    “You then proclaimed that the question was ‘irrelevant’ and had ‘nothing to do with where the truth lies’ and was just a ‘ploy’.”

    Sounds like an accurate description of a diversionary tactic. Thanks for confirming my interpretation.

    “But you make assertions about my motives and then suddenly back off, saying you can't answer for anyone else.”

    Since I said at the outset of my original post that I was only speaking for myself, and not for Josh, it’s nonsensical for you to claim that I’m “suddenly backing off.”

    “I only attempted to give even earlier testimony (apostolic) that Tradition is not only patristic but apostolic, and therefore continues in the Church through the ages.”

    Your prooftext doesn’t say that.

    “I am saying that what was passed on MUST be evident in in every age because the guarding power of the Spirit will not be absent from the church at any time (I am with you always).”

    Then you need to furnish a prooftext that actually says what you want it to say.

    2 Tim 2:2 doesn’t say that what was passed on must be evident in every age. Mt 28:20 doesn’t say that what was passed on must be evident in every age.

    “The Spirit's Tradition itself cannot disappear until the Reformation with only accidental salvations a couple times a century in spite of what the church confessed and taught.”

    i) That’s a big breezy assertion with nothing to back it up.

    ii) And the “Spirit’s Tradition” is Scripture.

    “I wasn't discussing or referring to apostolic succession. I was referring to the fact that apostolic Tradition did not disappear at any point in history.”

    You haven’t established that fact—especially if you identify tradition with oral tradition (“What you’ve heard from me…”).

    “We should be able to see what the Spirit caused his people to believe and practice throughout the ages.”

    Why should we be able to see that? Because you want it to be true? Make-believe is a shaky foundation for faith.

    “Faithfulness to it may wax and wane but the content of the Tradition can't disappear and be picked up over a millennium later and reduced to an inscripurated version.”

    Saying so doesn’t make it so.

    “Which is what Protestant's often claim.”

    You’re resorting to a caricature of the Protestant position. And you aren’t giving us a reason to believe your alternative. Wishful thinking is not an argument.

    ReplyDelete
  38. The E.O. view is very similar to the Arminian one. Infact, Arminianism would feel more at home with many of the Fathers you quoted in support of "limited Atonement".

    The Fathers believed that Salvation was "possible" for Everybody.....But since Salvation is in the Church......it is limited in that sense.

    The early Fathers did not understand it in the Calvinistic sense.

    And you know this.

    And yes I understand Arminian Theology. I know about UPG(universal Prevenient grace)

    Eventhough I'm now Orthodox....my new understanding is still very very very close to Arminianism. Is it modified? yes, becuase of Baptismal regeneration and Anciestral sin.....other than that it's pretty much the same.


    but I gotta go






    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  39. you said:

    "Oh, I see, truth by stipulation. Rather than defending your position, you'll only listen if we parrot sources sympathetic to your position.

    Tell us, do you feel the same way about Dyer's use of a liberal Baptist scholar, or is your criticism only valid when used against us?

    In that case, the next time you come here arguing exegetically, you should only use Reformed scholarship. No Arminian scholarship is allowed. No Orthodox scholarship is allowed. No Roman Catholic scholarship is allowed."


    You didn't understand the point.

    If you are going to use a liberal scholar....then I will call you out on it.

    Why? Because many of them will say that a Proto-canon book is filled with errors as well.

    And where will that get us? Nowhere.

    If he is going to use a liberal Roman Catholic Scholar than get one that only says the D.C. books are filled with error while the P.C. books are inerrent.


    This is what I was getting at. But since this is not the case then why should I pay attention to it?

    All I have to do is show that the same scholar said that a P.C. book was filled with error.

    I mean come on.


    And by the way I do use Reformed Scholars.







    I gotta go




    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  40. JNORM,

    You have a rather skewed view of how to use sources. Namely, you seem to think that it is impermissible to quote a source unless that source agrees with the person quoting it in toto.

    I see you've stated @ Orthodox's blog

    Calvinists don't believe in Baptismal regeneration so why are they quoting the Fathers in support of limited atonement? Calvinists don't believe in free will so why are they quoting the Fathers in support of something that requires a loss of free will?

    Calvinists don't believe in Free Will? I guess you've never read the WCF or LBCF2 on Free Will. Either that, or you're simply dishonest. We do not affirm LFW. We affirm "free will."

    It's not altogether clear the Fathers were referring exclusively to LFW. Only a simpleton would think that.

    It begs the question to say that "limited atonement" requires a "loss of free will." But then, you aren't the brightest bulb in the box.

    Not all the Fathers affirmed baptismal regeneration (Baptism in the Early Church, Carey Publications). They link baptism to the remission of sins. Some do so without affirming baptismal regeneration.

    Not all the Fathers affirmed paedobaptism. So, why would the Orthodox quote the Fathers on paedobaptism?

    Not all the Fathers affirmed...insert here...so why would the Orthodox quote them?

    ReplyDelete
  41. See, you're the proven liar. I left the URL on your blog, but you banned it also. Nothing you say can be trusted.

    Um, no. I can see the URL from this screen. I am not an administrator of this blog, nor owner of this thread.

    ReplyDelete
  42. LFW is free will.


    LFW = Free WILL


    and yes, I have read the WFC.

    Hard Determinism and Combatabilsim is not free will.


    God forcing an "internal" desire on someone is not free will....especially if that "internal" desire is irresistible.








    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  43. Limited atonement is dependant on the idea that free will was lost when Adam fell.

    If you don't have a UPG view and if you have an irresistible grace view..... then you are left with only a limited atonement view.

    That is if you reject Universalism.




    It's something everyone should be able to see through logical deduction.





    JNORM888

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  44. It is too clear that the Fathers were LFW'ers


    Christian determinism is traced back to Augustin in his later years.


    I mean come on dude. Must I give all the info away?






    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  45. JNORM888,

    Fitzmyer's personal views are irrelevant to whether the evidence he cites is good evidence or poor evidence. He is not acting in the capacity of a character witness. This is not a case of implicitly trusting him or blindly taking his word for what he says.

    His arguments can be evaluated on their own merits. He has listed a number of putative errors in Tobit. He own opinion doesn't make the claim true or false. That's an objective, factual question which any reader can verify or falsify for himself—if he's suspicious. If you doubt Fitzmyer, double-check his claims for yourself.

    When you react in such a transparently evasive and irrational fashion, you expose the indefensibility of your own position.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Limited atonement is dependant on the idea that free will was lost when Adam fell.

    Only when considered in relation to the other doctrines of grace.

    According to you and Evangelical Arminians, God infallibly foreknows who will and will not believe.

    Yet He offers salvation indiscriminately to everybody.

    All you need to index to LFW is UPG, not the penal aspects of the atonement.

    And there are Calvinists who index the "Free offer" to the atonement's infinite sufficiency.

    God can easily index the penal aspects of the atonement to His infallible foreknowledge of who will and will not believe.

    And you can locate the warrant to believe in the command to do so itself.

    Yet you can still affirm LFW.

    That's just a different version of definite atonement.

    Try again. A doctrine of definite atonement does NOT require the other doctrines of grace, unless you need to have it to construct a warrant to believe. It's just that Arminians don't bother to think it through that way.

    It is too clear that the Fathers were LFW'ers

    Christian determinism is traced back to Augustin in his later years.


    I mean come on dude. Must I give all the info away?


    I see you have a very shallow understanding of the Fathers.

    Learn: before we believed in God, the habitation of our heart was corrupt and weak.

    They that are carnal (unbelievers) cannot do the things that are spiritual...Nor can the unbelievers do the things of unbelief.

    The liberty of our will in choosing things that are good is destroyed.

    Our free will...our human nature is not sufficient to seek God in any manner.

    The Fathers are contradictory among their own writings and with each other. It's yet another question-begging assertion to say that affirmed only LFW.

    ReplyDelete
  47. For the record:


    back in 2001 ...back when I was on crosswalk.com alot...I noticed a post made by a Calvinist about "Ft. joseph Fitzmyer's" commentary to the book of Romans. In Romans chapter 3 he said that some of the church fathers believed in the doctrine of "faith alone". He quoted a half dozen of them. He also said that what they said didn't contradict the council of Trent, and that noone before Luther believed that Faith alone was the rock on which the church stood or fell".


    I was interesting in the idea of some of the fathers holding on to a form of the doctrine of faith alone...so I tried to e-mail him at Catholic University of America (back in 2001)

    I got a responce from one of his University colleagues and he told me that I would have to go the Library and ask for help in regards to his list of church fathers....and what I would call nonfathers...but anyway.


    Years later when I met Phatcatholic, I learned that he(Fitzmyer) was a modernist. So I changed my mind about him.

    I do have a level of respect for him, but It should be obvious that I will not believe him in regards to a book being errent ....just like I will not believe him when it comes to the idea that Jesus didn't know he was divine.



    So just know that you can use him if you want to...but it will only go in one ear and out the other......if you are using him in regards to a Biblical book being in error. Or any other Liberal thing.




    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  48. "Hard Determinism and Combatabilsim is not free will."

    That's wonderful. DEFINE your position to be correct!

    "If you are going to use a liberal scholar....then I will call you out on it.

    Why? Because many of them will say that a Proto-canon book is filled with errors as well.

    And where will that get us? Nowhere."

    Yet again, not everything that a liberal says is wrong. Dismissing their arguments out of hand is just simply sweeping the dirt under the rug. We answer their arguments on the PC. Where are your answers to them on the DC?

    Again, you're defining your position to be correct.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Steve,

    Alot of Liberal scholars say alot of books are filled with error. And alot of them have reasons for saying so.

    When I was a protestant ....I didn't listen to Protestant liberal scholars that late dated the scriptures.

    I didn't believe their claim that Paul didn't write some of the books we atrribute to him.

    I don't listen to them when they say the Gospel of Mathew has errors.

    I don't listen to them when they say the Old Testament(proto-canon) have historical errors.


    So when I see liberal scholars using the same methods for the D.C. books as having errors then I'm not gonna believe it.

    Just like I didn't believe it for the Proto-canon back when I was a Protestant.


    IF we have to believe that some of the D.C. books have errors then you all must believe that many of the Proto-canon books have errors too.

    But what do you do? You explain them away. Yet, for some reason...you won't allow us to do the same in regards to the D.C. books.


    I see a double standard





    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  50. Orthodox has crafted a reply to Steve:

    Yes well this is why there were a lot of Arians. Not because Arians are stupid, but because they didn't interpret scripture in accordance with the tradition.

    So in that case, your statements about the "plain meaning" of Hebrews 6 shouldn't be accepted. Rather "tradition" should be accepted. Either you can make the argument from that text apart from "tradition" or not.

    According to none other than Athanasius, the main problem was that they did not interpret the Scriptures according to their scope.

    Is it your position that the Trinity is unexegeteable from Scripture? If so, from whence did this doctrine come?

    "ii) Calvinism doesn’t deny that “someone can fall away.”

    Obtusity. Obviously the issue is concerning true blue Christians falling away.


    Hebrews 6 never says "true blue Christians" fall away, and that is the "natural" reading of the text, for the "natural" reading is the result of proper exegesis.

    Your original complaint was that we don't believe "anyone" can fall away. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

    A circular argument, since it is based on your interpretation of your scriptures. But if one of these "heretical sects" actually had or has the true faith and true scriptures, then you are the reprobate that God hasn't shielded from self-deception.

    This is utterly incoherent.


    So Mt 7:14 "there are few who find it."


    The emphasis of this text is on the difficulty of finding the way, not the literal number of people who find it.

    But if we're taking Scripture "at face value" and 'according to the ordinary' meaning of words,' then why don't you believe the number of those who find it is very few? And if you do,then why are you castigating Calvinism for affirming this, assuming, for sake of argument, that this is our official position.

    and Matt. 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen” might mean that most are chosen?

    Certainly,there are Calvinists who affirm that the number of the elect is smaller than the reprobate. However,those who affirm otherwise take this in a temporal sense, via the use of analogical language, in which Jesus is describing conditions *in His own day*. The great majority of the people were not walking in the way of righteousness, and the words are spoken of from the standpoint of the immediate moment, not the Great Day of Judgment.(Boettner).

    So, the fact that Calvinism doesn't have an official position on this is proof your original objection was wrong. Calvinism qua Calvinism does NOT teach a God who decides to damn most people because of his choice? It has no official position - contra your original statement.

    "i) Does the parable of the prodigal son “fit in with the picture of a God” who won’t forgive anyone apart from Calvary?"

    It fits perfectly as far as I see. In both cases the Father prepares all that is necessary to receive the sinner home into his care.


    The point of the parable is that the prodigal son is repentant. I guess you missed the *older* son. The banquet was not for him - it never was. That son gets angry with his father for treating the son who went off and defiled himself and shamed the family.

    The parable isn't about how forgiving God is to everybody or how God does all He can and then waits on the wicked, but that God forgives those the audience would not expect to forgive - namely the way the Gospel is applied - not to the self-righteous and for Gentiles as well as Jews. The parable serves to condemn the Jewish leaders, for the younger son is the elect son - the one who goes off and acts like a Gentile. The other son, the self-righteous son is like the Jews,who believed that they could get away with anything because God needed them to maintain the Temple.

    ReplyDelete
  51. "So just know that you can use him if you want to...but it will only go in one ear and out the other"

    Yeah. Just like everything else that we've stated.

    ReplyDelete
  52. "When I was a protestant ....I didn't listen to Protestant liberal scholars that late dated the scriptures."

    We do, and we examine their arguments whereas you are a fideist.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Where are my answers for the D.C.?

    At this time I rely on Phatcat. And other Roman Catholic Apologist....for they have been defending the D.C. alot longer than I have.






    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete

  54. IF we have to believe that some of the D.C. books have errors then you all must believe that many of the Proto-canon books have errors too.


    That's a nonsequitur. It's only true if YOUR rule of faith is true. Think about what you're saying.

    If they are canonical, as are the other 66, and the DC's contain errors, then, yes, it is possible the others do too.

    But that's your rule of faith/canon at work, not ours.

    If the DC books aren't canonical, JNorm, you would expect them to contain errors.

    The others are canonical, so you wouldn't.

    We don't put our fingers in our ears and say "Neener, neener,neener" we listen to the other side and we argue them down.

    No wonder you apostatized to Orthodoxy.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Saint & Sinner,


    When I said listen to Liberal scholars...I meant "believe them".

    I didn't believe them in their claim of the Proto-canon being in error. And yes....I know how to defend the Proto's against Liberal claims......I was a Protestant for many years.


    However, at this time I am still new to the D.C.'s so I make use of how Rome defends them. Sometime's I use tactics from the protestant years.


    Yet, you all won't allow us to defend the D.C. books because some R.C. and maybe E.O. Liberals say that some of them got errors.

    Protestant Liberals do the same in regards to the Proto-canon yet for some reason we are suppose to believe your refutations of them.



    Why is it....that we are suppose to accept your refutations of Liberal scholars...yet we are not allowed to refute our own liberal scholars in regards to the D.C. books?


    I see a double standard.







    JNORM888

    ReplyDelete
  56. Jnorm888 said:

    "But what do you do? You explain them away. Yet, for some reason...you won't allow us to do the same in regards to the D.C. books."

    To the contrary, I've invited you to "explain away" the errors in Tobit. I'm still waiting to hear your explanation for the data which Fitzmyer carefully laid out.

    ReplyDelete
  57. "However, at this time I am still new to the D.C.'s so I make use of how Rome defends them. Sometime's I use tactics from the protestant years."

    Then don't claim that we're using a double-standard. We don't reject their arguments out of hand. We analyze them and give a response.

    If you don't have a response to the specific arguments that we've given right now, then that's fine. Go study up or let someone else answer them.

    But DON'T tell us that we can't level legitimate concerns about these books. For instance, Wisdom (I believe) claims to have been written by Solomon (10c BC), and yet, it uses Platonic imagery (4c BC). That raises legitimate concerns. If one of you guys has an answer, then give it to us. I don't believe that Steve (or anyone else at T-blog) will dismiss that answer out of hand simply because Fitzmeyer has a PhD.

    Show us where his liberal presuppositions are leading him to see the data in such a way that it rules out legitimate authorship or inspiration a priori. Give us something...ANYTHING instead of just stopping up your ears and ignoring our concerns out of hand.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Yet, you all won't allow us to defend the D.C. books because some R.C. and maybe E.O. Liberals say that some of them got errors.

    You have a nasty habit of misrepresenting what others say and do.

    For example, I never stated that the Fathers believed in limited atonement. Calvinists are very comfortable with the development of doctrine. I simply showed, contra the original claimant, that show that particular redemption, like the other doctrines of
    grace, was not a doctrine invented by the Reformed community. It has been articulated by a respectable number of theologians at various times in church history at varying levels of understanding.

    It's only because you trade, like the Roman Catholics, in the false belief that what you believe today was believed then as it is today that you make that objection. Like Roman Catholics, you read the Fathers (and the Bible) anachronistically. They're a mixed bag. The contradict each other and themselves all the time. The sooner you admit that,the better off you will be.

    And now, you're saying that we don't "allow you" to defend the DC's. This is another patent falsehood. Nobody, not a single person, is preventing you from defending the DC's. What we're doing is answering you on your own grounds. Dyer appealed to Catholic scholarship, so he was answered on his own level.

    If you or he has an argument to rebut Fitzmeyer or anyone else, then by all means feel free to present it and the supporting argument for why this is the case.

    And we've used liberal exegesis ourselves in the past too. The difference isn't in the exegesis; it's in the authority the liberal gives the text.

    There is no double standard at work here at all except in your own mind.

    And it's not as if we need to quote liberals on the DC.

    ReplyDelete
  59. http://orthodox-thoughts.blogspot.com/2008/04/triramblings-2.html

    ReplyDelete
  60. Orthodox has made another reply. The link is found at the bottom of the page if you can't see it.

    In other words another attempt to make a dichotomy between scripture and tradition.

    Not at all. You were the one who argued for taking these texts in isolation, not me. So, I'm
    asking you to make good on the claim.

    But your likelihood of being right always falls in proportion to which you choose to ignore the fullness of scripture and tradition.

    You can be true to tradition w/o tradition being true. So, all we have here is just a viciously circular argument for the ultimate primacy of "tradition."

    "But Athanasius was far from undervaluing the evidence of the Church’s tradition. The organ by which the tradition of the Church does its work is the teaching function of her officers, especially of the Episcopate (de Syn. 3, &c.). But to provide against erroneous teaching on the part of bishops, as well as to provide for the due administration of matters affecting the Church generally, and for ecclesiastical legislation, some authority beyond that of the individual bishop is necessary. This necessity is met, in the Church as conceived by Athanasius, in two ways, firstly by Councils, secondly in the pre-eminent authority of certain sees which exercise some sort of jurisdiction over their neighbours." - prologue in Schaff's Athanasius.

    You're punting from what he said about Arianism's problem to ecclesiology.

    1. This doesn't answer what Athanasius said about the Arian deficiency relative to the doctrine of the Trinity. Try The Letters of St. Athanasius, Concerning the Holy Spirit, Epistle 1 to Serapion
    Athanasius grounds his Trinitarianism in Scripture, not some amorphous "tradition." He grounded the authority of the Nicene Creed in Scripture itself. In Defense of the Nicene Creed he says that "homoousios" is only valid because it is confirmed by Scripture.

    2."Vainly then do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded Councils for the faith's sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things; but if a Council be needed on the point, there are the proceedings of the Fathers, for the Nicene Bishops did not neglect this matter, but stated the doctrine so exactly, that persons reading their words honestly, cannot but be reminded by them of the religion towards Christ announced in divine Scripture." (De Synodis, 6)

    Athanasius explains that scripture is sufficient "above all things", and that the Council of Nicaea is a subordinate authority that reflects Biblical teaching.


    It's possible to exegete various thoughts. The adoptionists had their verses, the modalists theirs, etc.

    This testifies to your low view of Scripture.

    This doesn't answer the question. Is the Trinity fully exegetable from Scripture or not? I gather the answer is "No."

    The fact that adoptionists and modalists use Scripture is irrelevant to whether Trinitarianism is exegetable from it without recourse to "tradition."

    Athanasius disagrees with you:

    The divine Scriptures then consistently show that the Holy Spirit is not a creature, but is proper to the Word and to the Godhead of the Father. Thus the teaching of the saints joins in establishing the holy and indivisible Triad; and the Catholic Church has one faith, even this." (Festal Letter 2.6-7)

    "The teaching of the saints" (ie of the Scriptures) in Athanasius usually refers to Biblical characrtters or writersf, whether of New Testament or Old Testament. (Shapland, The Letters of St. Athanasius)

    "It is plain then from the above that the Scriptures declare the Son's eternity; it is equally plain from what follows that the Arian phrases 'He was not,' and 'before' and 'when,' are in the same Scriptures predicated of creatures." (Four Discourses Against the Arians, 1:4:13)

    "And let them [the Arians] blame themselves in this matter, for they set the example, beginning their war against God with words not in Scripture. However, if a person is interested in the question, let him know, that, even if the expressions [used by those who oppose Arianism] are not in so many words in the Scriptures, yet, as was said before, they contain the sense of the Scriptures, and expressing it, they convey it to those who have their hearing unimpaired for religious doctrine." (Defense of the Nicene Definition, 5:21)

    "Vainly then do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded Councils for the faith's sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things; but if a Council be needed on the point, there are the proceedings of the Fathers, for the Nicene Bishops did not neglect this matter, but stated the doctrines so exactly, that persons reading their words honestly, cannot but be reminded by them of the religion towards Christ announced in divine Scripture" (De Synodis, 6)

    "A Desire to learn and a yearning for heavenly things is suitable to a religious Emperor; for thus you will truly have 'your heart' also 'in the hand of God.' Since then your Piety desired to learn from us the faith of the Catholic Church, giving thanks for these things to the Lord, we counselled above all things to remind your Piety of the faith confessed by the Fathers at Nicaea. For this certain set at nought, while plotting against us in many ways, because we would not comply with the Arian heresy, and they have become authors of heresy and schisms in the Catholic Church. For the true and pious faith in the Lord has become manifest to all, being both 'known and read' from the Divine Scriptures." (Festal Letter 56:1)

    "And this is usual with Scriptures, to express itsellf in inartificial and simple phrases." (Four Discourses Against the Arians, 4:33)


    It says "partakers of the Holy Spirit", for which you have to jump through a great many hoops to make fit the theory that these are not true blue christians.

    Orthodox has never met a question he did not beg. It begs the question to say that "partakers of the Holy Spirit" refers to "true blue Christians." You wanted to take this text in isolation. Okay, exegete that from this assertion of yours from the text.

    It can't be done. In fact, as I recall, in the past you've run from this text to others in order to try to make your case. So, take it isolation, Orthodox, you set the bar, now make good on your claim.

    Hebrews never equates "partakers of the Holy Spirit" with being "a true blue Christian." Rather, Hebrews uses ritual categories of purity and impurity to describe the apostate, cultic holiness. A ritually unpure person could be unregenerate, circumcised of body, but not of the heart. The author of Hebrews never connects the gift of the Spirit here to internal states. Rather, he writes in terms of the Exodus generation's experience - the teaching of the Law, the witnessing of signs and wonders, etc.

    And part of the point here is the audience-Jews, born under the Old Covenant itself, given the date of the letter. His point is that if they neglect what they have witnessed, they will be cut off. The wider point is that, for these particular persons there is one and only one consistent thing for them to do - enter their "rest," the New Covenant. Not to do this is to remain in the Old Covenant, and there is nothing there anymore. So, for this particular audience apostasy has a particular meaning, one which you consistently overlook. The case study in Jesus own time would be the Pharisees, to take one stellar example.

    The application for the reader now is to those who sit under the teaching of the fullness of the New Covenant now, like those who sit in churches all their lives and never convert, those who think that membership in the one true holy apostolic church, however defined, will save them. Apostasy in this age is simply to reject the fullness of the truth one has witnessed and been taught, which puts the residents of the local churches this side of the covenant of grace in functionally the same position as those Jews. The Jews were entrusted with the Scriptures, prophets, witnessed miracles, etc. In the First Century, they were host to the Messiah himself and saw and were taught things greater than the previous generations. In the preaching of the New Covenant, the hidden things of the old era were made plain. To reject such a high level of truth is equivalent to apostasy.. From a Presbyterian perspective, from the New Covenant if one has been baptized. From my perspective, from one's outward profession or from the congregation, which is a mixed multitude. Either way, the end result is the same, you're shown great truth and you reject it, so you're not really any different than the OT apostates of the Exodus generation.

    No, I mean what I say, it's just that you are using an obtuse and false definition of "falling away", as if it means some non-Christian can hang around church for a while and then cease attending.

    1. Really? Can you quote any of us using such a defintion of apostasy?

    2. Are you arguing that everybody that attends church regularly is a Christian or should be considered a Christian? By this logic, if you go to McDonald's weekly, you're a Big Mac.

    By the way, this serves as a great example of the way unbelievers and apostates sometimes draw attention to things that inculpate them. Many an Orthodox E-pologist has castigated us here for siding with "wicked Jews" over the canon of the OT.

    But really, who is siding with "wicked Jews?" The Jewish conceit in the First Century was that they were God's people and therefore right with God if they kept all the outward appertenances of the Law. The believed that because they were keepers of the Temple - and God needed and loved His Temple - and were members of the visible "church" they would be "saved."

    Nice to see the Orthodox making the same argument just with a different version of the church. So, who is really siding with "wicked Jews?"

    Your assumption that you are not one of those who are self-deceived and ignorant of whatever God has to say is entirely circular.

    If true, it would apply equally to you. Nice try.

    Saying it and showing it aren't the same thing.

    It doesn't say "very few", it says "few". That can mean a lot of things, but one thing it doesn't mean is "most".

    Again, this doesn't answer the question. If it means "few" and not "most" then do you believe this,and if you do,then why castigate Calvinists for believing it too?

    I castigate Calvinism for painting a different picture of God than found in Luke 15, where God makes every effort to bring back the lost sheep.

    Luke 15 is not about God making every effort to bring back lost sheep, as if the one sheep represents all of humanity. In the parable, the shepherd goes and brings back a single lost sheep. And He doesn't simply do something like make a nice pasture and then wait for it to come back by it's own free will. There's nothing inconsistent here with Calvinism. In fact, it's squarely in the Calvinist park.

    Try again.

    See how funny it is that you take my words with one hermeneutic, and scripture with a different one entirely.

    The number of the elect to the reprobate, my obtuse friend, is only knowable from that vantage point under any soteriological scheme, even the Libertarian scheme, for, on even if based on foreseen faith, the knowledge of that number depends on the instantiation of those choices, so the aggregate number is only knowable from the totality when aggregated, which is not finalized until the last day.

    This is all irrelevant.

    Yes, your appeal to this text was irrelevant.

    Whether God was damning most people in the 1st century to hell, or most people at the day of judgement because of God's choice, is entirely irrelevant to the point. The "few find it" was applicable to the 1st century (so you apparently conceed), and the parable of the sheep, the coin and the prodigal son is relevant to the 1st century. If God only chose to condemn because of his own choice most people in the 1st century, the point is the same, which is that this is inconsistent with Luke 15.

    1. Your original complaint was that Calvinism has God damning "most people" by His choice. Steve replied that Calvinism has no official position on that matter. I merely demonstrated the falsity of your assertions further. Your further statements are irrelevant to the reason that we replied.

    2. You've done nothing to prove that Luke 15 is inconsistent with Calvinism.

    The parable is not purely on that topic, as is readily apparent from the previous context, which is the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the coin

    Oh really?

    In the parable of the lost sheep, He leaves the 99 behind and retrieves the one, not every other lost sheep.

    Your choice here is either Calvinism or universalism, for the other choice is that the 1 make 100 and 100 makes every sheep without exception. If you argue that the 99 are "saved" already and the 1 is representative of all of humanity, you still wind up with universalism.

    In the next, the woman rejoices she found one coin. How is this inconsistent with Calvinism?

    In the next, the Father rejoices after one son returns. The other complains.

    These are all marvelous demonstrations of God's mercy to the elect. In fact, at least two of them demonstrate effectual calling.

    The father rushes off to kiss the prodigal son even while he is still far off, and before he even knows if he has repented or not.

    And how is this inconsistent with Calvinism? In this shame based society, scandal attaches to the father for doing this. The son deserved only condemnation, and social convention dictated the father make him wait for him and then take him back, usually as a servant, if at all. And that's the point, the father's love for the son is unconditional - yet the other son complains. That's Calvinism's doctrine of election right there.

    Are you arguing that the prodigal is representative of every person without exception? Where's the supporting argument?

    In Calvinism all the reprobate are condemned, but not all the condemned are reprobate. So, it's insufficient to conclude that the prodigal represents both the elect and reprobate based on his deserving condemnation.

    None of these pictures are reconcilable with a God who condemns lost sheep purely because he chose to.

    Because they don't address reprobation; they address election.

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  61. Let's also keep in mind that in the parable of the lost sheep, the shepherd not only goes in search of the lost sheep, but finds it and brings it back home. He reunites the lost sheep with the rest of the flock.

    This parable is only opposed to Reformed particularism if Orthodox is a universalist.

    ReplyDelete
  62. There are no sacraments in the parable of the prodigal son. So if Orthodox is going to use this parable as his paradigm of salvation, then baptism and communion are expendable.

    The parable of the prodigal son says nothing about theosis. Hence, that is also expendable.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Regardinf repeated claims made on this post that Universalism is the only viable alternative to the doctrine of Calvinism:

    Arians also considered that were we not to subscribe to their opinion, we would have only Sabellianism as an alternative. The same for Monophysites, who say the same thing about us, with regard to Nestorianism. --> So we've heard that before.

    ReplyDelete
  64. LVKA,

    Your comment is utterly irrelevant to what I wrote. My remark specifically targeted the appeal to the parable of the prodigal son as if that were a counterexample to Calvinism. Try not to go off on a tangent the next time.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Since Gene has already addressed some of Orthodox’s comments, I’ll be selective.

    “Obtusity. Obviously the issue is concerning true blue Christians falling away.”

    I appreciate your admission of “obtusity” since your prooftext (Heb 6) doesn’t say that. Try to be less obtuse the next time around.

    “A circular argument, since it is based on your interpretation of your scriptures.”

    Which is how God has arranged things. Individual interpretation is inescapable.

    “It fits perfectly as far as I see. In both cases the Father prepares all that is necessary to receive the sinner home into his care.”

    In the parable of the prodigal son, the Father (representing God) forgives the son (representing the sinner) without redeeming the son. Therefore, if you’re going to use that as a paradigm of salvation, the Cross is superfluous.

    “So Mt 7:14 ‘there are few who find it.’ and Matt. 22:14 ‘For many are called, but few are chosen” might mean that most are chosen?”

    I didn’t state my personal opinion. I merely stated that Calvinism has no official position on the percentage of the elect and reprobate.

    i) For the record, I happen to think the reprobate probably outnumber the elect.

    ii) Moreover, if you think that, according to Mt 7:14 and 22:14, only a small fraction of humanity will be saved, then why criticize Calvinism because, on your (inaccurate) grasp of Calvinism, only a fraction of humanity will be saved?

    “In other words, how they supposedly got into the position of insisting something the word of man is the word of God.”

    By blindly following ecclesiastical tradition.

    “Since there is no canonisation procedure outlined in scripture, how were they to know?”

    There doesn’t need to be a set procedure. Different lines of evidence are probative.

    “Always amazing that protestants give such a broad interpretation of Rom 3:2, and yet would never countenance the idea that the Church holds onto this prerogative.”

    Scripture never transfers the prerogative for establishing the OT canon from the Jews to the Church.

    “Because THE church recognises it as such.”

    Which assumes what you need to prove.

    “Which comes back to the problem of Josh. A few months ago he honestly believed things that allowed him to be a baptist. Now he honestly believes things that doesn't allow him in good conscience to remain a baptist. If sola scriptura were true this would lead us to say that God's revelation is insufficient for church unity. Which is odd, considering the importance that Jesus and the apostles put on unity of the faith.”

    What it means is that the Baptist/paedobaptist debate is not important enough to God for God to explicitly say which side is right. It was well within God’s power to make his will unmistakable clear on this issue if he wanted all Christians to be certain on whether or not infants are proper subjects of baptism.

    Therefore, God doesn’t have a problem with Christian uncertainty on this issue. And if that’s not a problem for God, it’s not a problem for me.

    “Which brings us back to the best available evidence. Quite reasonably I think, the ‘best available evidence’ leads me to reject this church hopping ethos based on shifting interpretations as being God's will.”

    If God disapproved of church-hopping on the basis of doctrinal uncertainties, he could have eliminated the church-hopping by eliminating doctrinal uncertainties. Since he chose not to clearly reveal his will on this issue, he doesn’t have a problem with church hopping on this issue. And if that’s not a problem for God, it’s not a problem for me.

    Either he has a preference, but is unwilling to disclose it, or else he has no preference to disclose.

    “How would we ever know, since scripture doesn't say how it ought to be settled?”

    As usual, you’re being simple-minded. The whole idea of a set procedure for settling the canon is hopelessly artificial and ex post facto. When, for example, Moses wrote the Pentateuch, it’s not as though the children of Israel had a procedure in place to canonize the Pentateuch—as if Moses was putting this up for a vote. When Paul addressed 1 Corinthians to the Corinthian church, it’s not as though the Corinthian congregation had a procedure in place to canonize 1 Corinthians—as if Paul put it up for a vote.

    It’s only because you’re so divorced from the concrete circumstances under which the Scriptures were given that you can even think in such mechanical terms.

    “Now apparently we are told that when the canon was settled, maybe it wasn't settled the right way perhaps?”

    True. In the case of the Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Church, the OT canon wasn’t settled in the right way. You’re finally beginning to catch on—but I’m sure you’ll revert to your default insentience.

    “All you're claiming is that you do individually what the body of Christ claims to do in unity.”

    You must resort to your individual judgment to render that opinion.

    “Since tradition means to pass down, I fail to see the difference between transmission and tradition.”

    No, you want play and bait and switch between “(oral) tradition” and Holy Tradition.

    “So now apparently, all these formative churches who exploded into all the world didn't even have a rule of faith.”

    You’re being obtuse, as usual. I never said they didn’t have a rule of faith. I merely said that orality wasn’t their rule of faith.

    “And to call oral tradition as merely a process, but make written tradition as a rule of faith is special pleading.”

    To the contrary, it’s a Biblical distinction. That’s why we have a Bible in the first. The commitment of God’s revelation to writing for the benefit of posterity.

    Jesus distinguished between the written Torah, which was the true Torah, and the oral Torah of the Pharisees. You, by contrast, prefer to model yourself on the “Christ-denying” Jews. Tsk! Tsk!

    “St Paul didn't visit every church.”

    That’s why he wrote letters. You should read them some time.

    “And one might say there are reasons why some things were not committed to writing.”

    Indeed so! They were ephemeral.

    “The codices of the LXX do not intersperse Barnabas, Hermes and Clement amongst the OT books. Codices include them among the NT books.”

    I’m merely answering Orthodox epologists on their own grounds. I agree with you that the ground you stand on is quicksand.

    “It doesn't make sense that Christians would take a pre-existing Jewish OT LXX, and themselves intersperse some other random Jewish writings.”

    To the contrary, Jay Dyer is quite insistent in claiming that the Apocrypha contain Messianic prophecies. And if some Christians were as naïve as he, then that would be a perfect reason for them to include or canonize the Apocrypha—a step made easier by the separation of the church from the synagogue.

    “I would argue that normal use of language (which is the only sensible hermeneutic I know of), would not imply that your will is excluded.”

    Normal linguistic usage to whom? A 21C reader who filters the language of a 1C document through the grid of his Orthodox theology, or a 1C messianic Jewish reader who caught all of the OT allusions in the usage of Heb 6 & 10?

    “If I gave you a lifetime football pass so that you can always attend games, it doesn't show that you can't sell the pass.”

    And that has soooo much to do with the exegesis of Heb 6.

    “Let's say there as passages talking about falling away and passages supposedly talking about being unable to lose it.”

    Fall away from what? Unable to lose what?

    “How do you prove that one trumps the other?”

    One vagary (“it”) doesn’t trump another vagary.

    And the specifics of one Biblical passage don’t trump the specifics of another Biblical passage, since there’s no apparent conflict between their specific claims.

    “How can you know it is wrong to look at one through the lens of the other and not vice-versa?”

    The problem is not with the clear lens of Scripture, but the tinted lens of Orthodoxy.

    “How can you appeal to sola scriptura in the 2nd century when every sect is claiming their own different writings as scripture?”

    Because Thomas didn’t live to write a mid-to-late 2C gospel (to take one example).

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  66. "By blindly following ecclesiastical tradition."

    And yet protestants keep telling us to blindly follow supposed Jewish tradition.

    "Scripture never transfers the prerogative for establishing the OT canon from the Jews to the Church."

    Which assumes there is a hard break between the OT and NT people of God.

    It also assumes that Scripture actually mentions prerogatives regarding "establishing the canon", which it simply does not.

    "Because Thomas didn’t live to write a mid-to-late 2C gospel (to take one example)."

    As if an individual in the mid 2nd C has the ability to find out who wrote what.

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  67. Because Thomas didn’t live to write a mid-to-late 2C gospel (to take one example).

    Same thing has been said about Second Peter. :-\ Oh, wait ... You don't believe that ... well, ok then. :-/

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  68. Saving Judith and Tobit

    http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2003/0307bt.asp



    JNORM888

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