Monday, May 31, 2010

Childlike Dependence On A Church Hierarchy

Matthew Bellisario writes:

Agree using what means? Your own intellect and historical criticism? Again, how are you going to determine if the Johannine comma is part of the canon or not? If it is not in the earliest manuscripts, should we include it in the Bible or not? Catholics know the answer, do you?...

The 100,000 dollar question is who is going to be the authority that is going to decide what historical account is correct? Who is going to decide what manuscripts are the closest to the original? You have to answer the question about the Johannine Comma. Is it part of the canon or not. If or if not, why?

I've seen a lot of Catholics make unreasonable claims about an alleged need for an infallible church to tell us what to believe. But Matthew Bellisario's use of the Johannine Comma is one of the worst examples I've encountered. Those of you who are familiar with the evidence pertaining to the Johannine Comma should know that it's not difficult to judge whether the passage is authentic. And even if it was difficult to judge, we'd make a decision in the same manner in which we make decisions about the text of patristic documents, papal documents, conciliar documents, etc. We don't need a ruling from an infallible church to arrive at a reliable conclusion.

"Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature." (1 Corinthians 14:20)


  1. "Childlike Dependence On A Church Hierarchy"

    I think faithful Catholics would say that that's a feature, not a bug.

  2. Truth Unites... and Divides,

    I agree. That's why I included 1 Corinthians 14:20 in my post. The Bible commends childlikeness in some contexts, but condemns it in others. Matthew Bellisario's behavior falls into the latter category.

  3. Guys, I forgot the name of that former Catholic apologist who a few months ago came to the conclusion that Catholicism could not be what its apologists claim it to be and is now searching for which Church to go to. He was criticized by Dave Armstrong on his blog at the time. The guy also implied that his deconversion was no thanks to the Triabloggers. I'm looking for his blog. I thought I saved it in my favorites. Anyone know his name and blog? Once I hear the name, I'm sure I'll recognize it. I'm interested in where he is now in his theological and historical investigation.

  4. AP, might have been Jay Dyer

  5. Perhaps you are thinking of David Waltz?

  6. If it is not in the earliest manuscripts, should we include it in the Bible or not? Catholics know the answer, do you?...

    You mean sorta like what Sixtus V tried to do with the Vulgate? :)

    Toward the middle of April 1590, it was announced that Sixtus V’s new version of the Latin Vulgate had been circulated to cardinals and ambassadors. Several months later on August 27, Sixtus V died. Steimueller notes that several days later (September 5, 1590) ‘the sale of the Sistine Bible was forbidden and all available copies were destroyed.’ Upon his return to Rome in November of the same year, Bellarmine found that the Sixtine Vulgate was still the subject of serious discussion. Gregory XIV, who had succeeded Urban VII (who lived only several days after his election to the papacy), faced conflicting opinions as to the future fate of the error–laden translation. Brodrick reports the following to be the actual language of Bellarmine as he counseled Gregory XIV:

    Bellarmine: During the year 1591, while Gregory was debating what he should do about the Bible of Sixtus the Fifth in which very many regrettable changes had been made, some men, whose opinions had great weight, held that it should be publicly prohibited. I did not think so, and I showed the Holy Father that, instead of forbidding the edition of the Bible in question, it would be better to correct it in such a manner that could be published without detriment to the honour of Pope Sixtus. The result could be achieved by removing inadvisable changes as quickly as possible, and then issuing the volume with Sixtus’s own name upon it, and a preface stating that owing to haste some errors had crept into the first edition through the fault of the printers or some other persons. See James Brodrick, S.J., Robert Bellarmine: Saint and Scholar (Westminster: Newman, 1961), pp. 116–117.