FRANCIS J. BECKWITH SAID:
“My point was not to say that an Arian reading of Scripture is superior or equal to the orthodox view. It isn't. What I was saying is that I can see how someone could read Scripture that way and not be irrational in doing so.”
i) No. You made a much stronger claim than that. You said “What Bryan is saying is really uncontroversial: the Arian reading of Scripture is not obviously irrational. It is, of course, heretical. But that does not mean that a fully informed person of good will, with knowledge of the languages, could not have come up with the Arian reading of Scripture” (660).
ii) Moreover, you were coming to Bryan’s defense, and he said, among other things, that “The Arians were able to affirm all the verses that you cite. In addition, Scripture itself does not specify which verses are the hermeneutical standard for interpreting other verses. This is why Scripture alone was not sufficient to resolve the Arian controversy” (654).
iii) On top of that we have Liccione’s statements, such as “What I do hold is that, in the absence of appeal to church authority, there is no way to establish it as de fide rather than merely as one rationally defensible opinion among others. I could generalize the same point to many other theological positions that either have been or are controversial. This is why I am a Catholic not a Protestant. As I read church history, Protestantism of whatever variety has no way, even in principle, to distinguish consistently between propositions that call for the assent of divine faith and propositions expressing plausible opinions which might well turn out to be wrong” (667).
And you left a subsequent comment (677) in which you signaled your agreement with Liccione.
iv) So there’s a common pattern here. You three are trying to play a game of chicken with Evangelicals. You introduce the deity of Christ as a wedge issue or pressure point to leverage our assent to the Magisterium. You then argue that, on the basis of Scripture alone, the Arian interpretation is plausible or rationally defensible such that Scripture alone is inadequate to fend of a heretical Christology like Arianism. You then double-dare the Protestant to choose between the Catholic rule of faith or the Protestant rule of faith. He can only stand by sola Scriptura on pain of admitting Arianism as a valid interpretation of NT Christology.
v) That’s the dilemma you’re trying to pose for Protestants. However, there’s a catch. For your argument, if it is a genuine dilemma, cuts both ways inasmuch as it requires the Catholic apologist to make the exegetical case for the Arians. To concede the legitimacy of their reading, within the hermeneutical constraints of sola Scriptura.
Of course, you think that you can blink before your dragster sails over the cliff by invoking the Magisterium as a deus ex machina to override the "plausible" or "rationally defensible" Arian interpretation of Scripture. But before you get to that point you have to form an opportunistic alliance with the Arians and their modern counterparts.
That tactic makes Catholic apologists Jehovah's Witnesses just under the surface. The only thing that restrains you from becoming cult-members is the makeshift barricade of the Magisterium. Like pushing a wardrobe against the bedroom door as a tornado approaches the house.
vi) If you now want to climb down from that self-defeating perch, you’re free to do so. But if you retract that argument, you thereby forfeit your objection to sola Scriptura.
“It is sometimes difficult to do--and I am certainly guilty of having violated this precept throughout my life--but my rule of thumb in reading others is to always read the person in the most charitable way possible. That is, to read the person in a way that suggests a stronger argument than if I read the person in a less than charitable way…So, in the spirit of the principle of charity I suggest above, I assume the mistake was the consequence of hurrying to make a point without being careful.”
Your idea of “charity” is to coax your target into lowering its shields so that you can fire your Romulan disrupters on the unarmed ship. No doubt it would make things easier for you if only your opponents unilaterally disarmed while you fire away with impunity. Well, that’s not going to happen.
You’re not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. We’re under no obligation to be gullible for your benefit.
You’re a stereotypical cage-phase convert/revert. It isn’t enough for you to walk away from Evangelicalism. No, you’ve come back with your matches and gasoline to burn the house down so that no one else will be victimized the same way you were, when you, too, were just another deluded adherent of sola Scriptura.
Fine. That’s your prerogative. And we reserve the right to defend our home.