Link was down, but Google has a cached version.
Interesting, that the man which you (and I, to be clear) extoll, for his courageous witness to Christ in the face of violent Muslims, is a Captic Orthodox priest who, as such, holds to many views (on justification, Mary, and other issues) which, you would say, put him outside the camp(s) of those who supposedly preach the "true, Biblical Gospel."
*Coptic* Orthodox priest, that is!
Christopher,I realize that as a newbie convert you think everything that's new to you is new to everyone else. Try not to flaunt what a greenhorn you are.I cut Coptic Christians some slack, given their socialization, and what they're up against.You don't enjoy the same mitigating factors.
Steve:I'm not a "newbie convert." If you read my past comments carefully, on numerous different threads here now at Triablogue, you will see that I've stated, more than once, that I *returned* to the Catholic Church last year, after years as a committed "Reformed Baptist." Someone who was baptized in the Catholic Church is not a "newbie convert," upon returning to her-- and I've been back for almost a year npw, seeing the Biblical truth and coherency of Catholic teaching, and the often radical, often ahistorical, subjectivism of contemporary Protestantism (Reformed and Arminian) more and more clearly.I'm not so sure that as a Coptic Orthodox priest (who is part of a theological legacy much closer to apostolic Christianity than Reformed Protestantism), the brave Father here would either want or recognize the "slack" that you, thinking yourself to be charitable (just like me, when I was a Calvinist!), grant him.
for almost a year *now*, that is (typing late at night...)
However, I'm fairly sure that the Father would forgive you for your "charitable" attitude toward him... just as I forgive you for your less charitable attitude toward me and other Catholics who practice (believe and live out) their Catholic faith.
Christopher Lake said:I'm not a "newbie convert." If you read my past comments carefully, on numerous different threads here now at Triablogue, you will see that I've stated, more than once, that I *returned* to the Catholic Church last year, after years as a committed "Reformed Baptist." Someone who was baptized in the Catholic Church is not a "newbie convert," upon returning to her-- and I've been back for almost a year npw, seeing the Biblical truth and coherency of Catholic teaching, and the often radical, often ahistorical, subjectivism of contemporary Protestantism (Reformed and Arminian) more and more clearly.Well, I wouldn't exactly say "almost a year" is a long time!Hm, I'm curious, but how much RCC doctrine did you study before you "returned" to the RCC? Still, even if you studied quite a bit, doubtless you've discovered something about the RCC and/or what it teaches which has persuaded you to "return" to the RCC. Perhaps it wasn't new knowledge or information, but a new spin on the knowledge or information you don't think you had previously considered. So in that sense you'd still be a relatively recent convert or reconvert (as the case may be) to Catholicism.I'm not so sure that as a Coptic Orthodox priest (who is part of a theological legacy much closer to apostolic Christianity than Reformed Protestantism), the brave Father here would either want or recognize the "slack" that you, thinking yourself to be charitable (just like me, when I was a Calvinist!), grant him.The locus of comparison is biblical truth. Steve is saying he'd cut Zakaria Botros some slack insofar as where's Botros is misaligned to biblical truth. But he's saying you don't enjoy the same mitigating factors because (for one thing) you were exposed to much more biblical truth at Mark Dever's church than Botros was (at least as far as we can tell). We could add other things such as the fact that you're familiar with our blog and our voluminous debates with various Catholic apologists. Plus you have ready access to many other fine online resources about the Bible as well as books in English which, it would seem, Botros doesn't have (again at least as far as we know). In fact, the English language alone is blessed with a plethora of fine resources about the Scriptures, worldviews, other religions, and much else besides which isn't available in most other languages of the world including the version of Arabic spoken in Egypt, which I take is Botros' native tongue. Anyway, bottom line: "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required" (Lk 12:48b).However, I'm fairly sure that the Father would forgive you for your "charitable" attitude toward him... just as I forgive you for your less charitable attitude toward me and other Catholics who practice (believe and live out) their Catholic faith.I don't know how you can forgive Steve on behalf of other Catholics?You're assuming Steve has had a "less charitable attitude" toward you. But I don't see how you can infer his attitude toward you from his comments alone? Isn't only possible to take what's said or stated by Steve? How do you discern his attitude?Besides, even if he did have a "less charitable attitude" toward you, is that a sin against you? What if there are good reasons for him to have a "less charitable attitude" toward you? After all, there could be good and non-sinful reasons for someone to have a "less charitable attitude" toward someone else. For example, a parent might have a "less charitable attitude" toward their child (from the child's perspective) if their child is misbehaving and needs to be disciplined.Of course, the standard of "charity" is what's biblically licit or illicit. But is using harsh words always biblically illicit?
As Christopher has conceded in other metas, obedience to RCC orthodoxy isn't uniform across the RCC laity nor even across various RCC ordained priests. This is likely true for Copts as well (since they are people too).From what I have read of this man Zakaria Botros, it could very well be that he isn't as close to "orthodox" as Christopher wants him to be. It could well be that the average TriB reader has more in common with the man than Christopher does.All speculation of course, but it is worth at least as much as Christopher's attempt to align himself (and his Church) with the man.
Patrick, you wrote: "The locus of comparison is biblical truth. Steve is saying he'd cut Zakaria Botros some slack insofar as where's Botros is misaligned to biblical truth. But he's saying you don't enjoy the same mitigating factors because (for one thing) you were exposed to much more biblical truth at Mark Dever's church than Botros was (at least as far as we can tell). "The "at least as far as we can tell," in the above, is interesting to me, although perhaps not in the way that you intend it! :-) Patrick, your definition of "Biblical truth" (your words) is predicated upon your personal interpretation of the Bible, as influenced by the theology of men (the Protestant Reformers) whose Biblical exegesis is quite often at odds with the Biblical exegetes of the 1st-15th centuries. (I can provide much evidence, in this direction, from the Church Fathers-- much more than I have been provided, or directed to, by anyone on this blog, for the contention that "St. Athanasius and St. John Chrisysostom held to Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura.") The Coptic Orthodox Father's definition of "Biblical truth" is likely to be quite similar to the general Biblical exegesis of the exegetes of the 1st-15th centuries (given that he *is* Coptic Orthodox, and given that early, medieval, and pre-Reformation patristic theology tends to be much more "Catholic/Orthodox" than Protestant)-- placing the Father much closer, theologically, to men like St. Polycarp and St. Ignatius of Antioch, who were taught, respectively, by an original apostle (St. John) and by the apostles' immediate successors.All of which is to say, Patrick, other than by the Protestant "right" to private, personal interpretation of Scripture (which is what "Sola Scriptura" eventualy collapses into), by what criteria does any Protestant have the right to judge that I was exposed to more "Biblical truth" at Capitol Hill Baptist Church than the Coptic Orthodox priest has been exposed to in his lifetime? At the time that I was a member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, I thought that I was being exposed to solid, Biblical truth, and indeed, I did hear many great Biblical truths taught and expounded upon there. In the end though, if I had actually heard more Biblical truth at CHBC than I eventually found in both Catholicism and Orthodoxy (in their Biblical interpretation/exegesis and in their historic practice and tradition), then I would have simply continued on in a church with the basic theology of CHBC. (I left CHBC because of a career-related move, but I went to another "solidly Calvinistic" church in another state, which is where, after two years, I ended up returning to the Catholic Church.) (continued in next comment, Patrick...)
As for how much I had studied of the Catholic Church, before I originally left, I had actually studied a decent amount, compared to many Catholics (I say that with sadness, not hubris)-- I had the Catechism and often referred to it, I had books by contemporary Catholic apologists, I was beginning to look into Thomism--, but in retrospect, partially due to influence from non-Catholic friends, and partially due to poor catechesis in my particular parish, I had had a bit of a "Protestant" approach to being Catholic. In other words, "I'll be Catholic, as long as the teaching of the Church agree with *me*, in my personal reading and interpreatation of Scripture." This thinking, of private, personal interpretation of Scripture, eventually led me out of the Catholic Church, not initailly into Protestantism, but into severe doubt about the truth of Christianity itself, near-nihilism and epistemological skeptiscism. I returned to faith in Christ through the witness of Protestant friends and their local Arminian Baptist church. I wasn't about to go back to the Catholic Church. (!) As my theology became more more Calvinistic, in line with, again, my personal interpretation of Scripture (as influenced by reading Reformed exegesis), I became more openly opposed to what I saw as the "heretical" teachings of the Catholic Church on justification, purgatory, Mary, and other issues.All of this was prior to my truly, deeply engaging with Catholic Biblical exegesis itself (as found in the early Church Fathers), and prior to discovering the extent of the depth to which "Catholic traditions" truly extended back into church history-- as in, back the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. Speaking of which, Patrick, here is St. Irenaeus, on apostolic succession, in the 2nd century, from his work "Against Heresies": “It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about” (Against Heresies 3:3:1 [A.D. 189]).Here, also, is St. John Chrysostom, on Purgatory and offerings for the dead, from the 4th century (illustrating that, contrary to the assertion of one person here, Chrysostom did *not* hold to "Sola Fide"):“Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice [Job 1:5], why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them” (Homilies on First Corinthians 41:5 [A.D. 392]).
One more comment, Patrick-- I did not intend to convey that I was "forgiving" Steve for his sinning against other "consistent," faithful, practicing Catholics in his attitude toward/judgment of them (that they are not "true, Biblical Christians" holding to the "true Gospel"). I can't forgive Steve for how he sins against others. His judgment (and the judgment of the other authors of this blog) of "consistent Catholics," as hlding to a "false gospel," is very clear. It may be a partially *unwitting* sin (my judgment of Catholics was, to an extent, when I was a Calvinist), but objectively sinful judgment it is. With that said, I can't forgive him for it, when it is against others, and I didn't mean to convey that I thought I could. However, given that I do aspire (and, I pray that I much more than aspire!) to be a consistent, faithful Catholic myself, I *can* forgive Steve for his judgment of my salvation, as a so-called "Romanist" (based on his personal interpretation of Scripture)-- and I do forgive him.
Sorry for the typos (again)... not typing on the best keyboard, under the best of circumstances... but the points remain unchanged.
Unfortunately, Christopher, I don't think I have much time to tackle your response since I'm quite busy in school right now. Plus, I think your response, while tangentially related, moves even further away from the post about Zakaria Botros and in fact opens a new debate or two or three. I think we're probably far enough afield as it is.However if you're interested I should note we've had various debates over the years on the topics you raise. If you're interested in how we'd respond as Reformed Protestants, you're welcome to check out the archives. A good way to do that is to search using site:triablogue.blogspot.com followed by whatever term(s) you're interested in. BTW, Jason Engwer is deeply knowledgeable about and has done many fine posts on the early church fathers (among other things relevant to the things you talk about). You might be interested in what he has written too.
Patrick:Thank you for the information; I certainly understand being busy with school (and/or career) and not having much time to engage at length. I will look further into the writings at Triablogue on these subjects. I do have James White's "The Roman Catholic Controversy" and have wrestled with its arguments and found them to be wanting, for various objective reasons. I have also read and heard other Protestant "refutations" of the Catholic Church and its teachings, including attempted refutations of the argument that the early Church was the Catholic Church (or the Orthodox Church-- I considered Eastern Orthodoxy before returning to the Catholic Church).If there had been any way that I could have honestly, legitimately remained Protestant, I would have done so. I returned to the catholic Church, after much reading, study, consideration, and prayer, knowing, as much as I know anything, that it would have been disobedient to God for me to remain a Protestant. I will keep reading (and not just from Catholic and Orthodox sources).