Saturday, August 25, 2012
The only reason wolves would hesitate to kill humans is if they fear humans, which would only be the case if wolves are hunted by humans. But that's what "conservationists" oppose.
I'd like to get your take on This Imputation (logizomai) Article. To me, this is what everything comes down to. This might sound arrogant, but I believe there's somewhat of a 'conspiracy' on the Protestant (especially Reformed) end to run away from the plain Biblical teaching on this matter.
Devin Rose cites D.A. Carson on Romans 4:3-5, “The passage is notoriously complex” (pg 50)
Then he says:
This is quite an astonishing admission by a well respected and very conservative scholar, since Protestants teach that the Bible alone is the only inspired source for Christian teaching, including the idea that Scripture clearly teaches all essential doctrines (i.e. Scripture is “perspicuous”). So, from the get to, Carson has not only admitted that Romans 4 is “notorious complex,” but also that Paul does not clearly state Christ’s righteousness is imputed. This should leave room for a long pause to consider the implications of these admissions: the chief proof text for Justification by Faith Alone, Romans 4:3, does not, by their own admission, clearly teach what they need it to teach.
Right from the start, Rose is guilty of misrepresenting what the doctrine of Sola Scriptura actually teaches. Here is what it actually says about “perspicuity”:
All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
Bryan Cross is “out there” saying things like this:
“when the participants do not exercise the discipline to withhold criticism of prima facie appearances or impressions of their interlocutor’s position, without first confirming that these appearances or impressions are accurate characterizations of their interlocutor’s position. Charity calls us to avoid setting up straw men of our interlocutor’s position, and so it calls to refrain from a shoot first ask questions later approach to our neighbor’s position. That’s a virtue necessary for fruitful rational dialogue”.
And yet that is the very thing that Devin Rose does. He sets up a straw man about perspicuity, and when one New Testament scholar says that a particular verse is “notoriously complex”, he is talking not about the doctrine itself, but the exegesis which goes into following the concept through the Scriptures.
Much of what Rose reports afterward is the in-house discussion, wherein naturally there is some disagreement. That disagreement does not undermine the central truths of the Scripture (“those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them”).
“Imputation of Christ’s righteousness” is not one of “those things” “necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation”. It is rather one of those things which “by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture”, and it is a way of understanding how Christ’s work actually saves us.
* * *
Rose refers to “a serious lack of integrity and honesty in Protestant scholarship and thinking when approaching and speaking on this subject”. This is hogwash. Later on, he talks about “‘drive by’ exegesis”, failing to realize that incredible amounts of work on this topic have already been done by those we understand as “the Reformed Orthodox”, those theologians of the 17th century who explored this question every which way.
Lane Keister notes on one such question, “You need to read some of the older Reformed exegesis here.” I haven’t read it all, but knowing “the older Reformed exegesis”, it is very thorough and not in the least dishonest.
Carson’s article is a very thorough and honest exegetical treatment of this word and topic. Very few people have the ability to do the type of exegesis that Carson did. And there is no need to re-invent the wheel.
In dismissing John Owen, Rose says: This ‘analysis’ of Owen is some of the most in-depth philosophically that I’ve found (I only quoted a portion for brevity), but Biblically it holds no weight. He literally invents a distinction and projects it right onto the Bible. His “antecedent” distinction (i.e. speaking of a quality possessed beforehand) has no basis in Scripture; he invented it simply to make Imputation work.
First, since when is a Roman Catholic averse to a philosophical treatment? But that’s not the real issue with Owen.
Carl Trueman notes that in Owen’s multiple and complex arguments in favor of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, that he “is working within an established framework of standard [Reformed] Orthodox responses to criticisms of the mainstream position”.
>“As is typical of Owen, however, this lack of originality in the basic trajectories of argument does not prevent him from engaging in significant theological elaboration, of a kind which lays bare the sophisticated underlying structure of the Reformed Orthodox theology to which he is committed, particularly as it finds its ground in the doctrine of the Trinity, specifically the covenant of redemption and its determinative impact upon both the history and the order of salvation.”
I have no objection to Owen’s pursuit of the implications of “Reformed Orthodox theology”. It’s true that not everyone accepts it. And it’s likely that there are honest objections to it.
But Devin Rose’s is not an honest objection.
On the flip side, none of these objections do anything to explain what Reymond calls “Rome’s tragically defective representation” of justification. Rome is not just wrong, it is tragically wrong, and it has doubled-down [authoritatively, because it can do nothing else but assert its own authority].
Devin Rose takes the argument form that “Protestantism has conflicts, therefore Rome is correct”. But that is very wrong. One of the chief complaints that Protestants have been having with Bryan Cross over at Green Baggins and other places is that Bryan (following Rome) never puts forth an argument for Rome’s supposed authority. The only thing forthcoming on that score is something akin to Newman’s statement that “it is not a violent assumption” to assume that the Roman Catholic Church is somehow today the bearer of the authority that Christ gave to the apostles. And if you don’t hold to that assumption, anything you say is “begging the question”. Everything a Protestant says is “Begging the question”, and that is the response over there.
But that is a violent assumption, in today’s environment, where we know so much more about the earliest church than Newman ever could imagine.
In asking for an argument for the authority of the papacy, the CTC guys have put up the “Papacy Roundup”, articles full of assertions and “philosophical” treatments of why there is some necessity for Roman style of authority. Philosophically, it is argued that there is some need for some authority who can “infallibly” posit “the formal proximate object of faith”. But never argument either from Scripture or history that such a thing was ever provided by God, or required by God. Nor that the historically-developed Roman Catholic Church was ever the bearer of the Apostles’s authority.
Rome is very much like the emperor with no clothes. Strutting around, without any Scriptural or historical foundation for itself, beyond the fact that it inherited the vacated seat of power in Rome in the fifth century. Prior to that, there was no agreement that Rome, as a church, had any authority outside of its sphere of influence.
The Protestants rightly rejected that.
Getting back to Nick:
If people are really interested in a theological novum, this is it. It's a red-herring to suggest Augustine's view of "righteousness" was the real issue if the very notion of imputation is not being addressed.
Augustine’s was the prior “novum”. His is a foundational error. The issue that I’ve brought up is to show specifically one place where Rome’s supposed “infallibility” is undermined, and specifically how it is undermined. McGrath does a very good job of detailing the problem. In order to maintain its “infallibility”, Rome must have the temerity to argue that even though Augustine made a mistake, and Roman dogma at Trent followed Augustine’s mistake, “we still got it correct because we have the authority to define it as such”.
So much for the “formal proximate object of faith”, and its foundation in error.
If Rome is not what it says it is (i.e., if Rome is not “infallible”), then all the disputing Protestants in the world don’t make Rome what it says it is.
Friday, August 24, 2012
(1): From a Reformed point of view, justification by faith alone is the article by which the Church stands or falls.
I don't think I need to defend this premise, because no Reformed person I've ever met contests it. Luther said it, and prominent Reformed people say it all the time (see, for example, here). Or just google it.
The meaning of "justification by faith alone" here is not "justification by fides caritate formata, i.e. faith informed by agape. Therefore, "justification by faith alone" is here referring to justification by the extra nos imputation of Christ's righteousness.
1. Yes, we say this, and in fact I have said this, but it's not a doctrinal articulation. In the same way that "Sola Scriptura", "Sola Fide", Soli Deo Gloria" were slogans. They were short-hand for things. They were sound-bites. They were not doctrinal articulations.
So no, "you don't need to defend this premise", except that -- and this is the thing you frequently do -- you need to take on the best theologians of Protestantism -- and that means someone like Turretin, or the WCF, or Bavinck -- folks who are thinking through all the ramifications of these doctrines. And not the articulations of the popular masses.
You would have a conniption if James White put together an in-depth "argument" on the phrase "To Jesus through Mary". It is a popular slogan, not the articulation of a doctrine.
So from unpacking (1) we can see that: ... (2) From a Reformed point of view, justification by the extra nos imputation of Christ's righteousness is the article by which the Church stands or falls.
2. I'm not denying it was important. But you need to "unpack" the doctrine as it exists in the confessions, not a popular understanding of it, or worse, your own caricature of it.
(3) Augustine goofed on justification by claiming that justification was by infused righteousness; the whole medieval world followed him in his goof for a thousand years, and the Council of Trent ratified this error infallibly. (source)
3. Augustine clearly misunderstood the Hebrew notion of hasdiq; as the LXX translated it (there is a range of meanings in any translation) Augustine stepped further away from the original meaning, the term "make righteous". And yes, the net effect was that the concept of "infused righteousness" became a concept in Christian understanding for the first time. (Why don't you make a big deal about this theological novum?)
And I'm not the one saying this, it is Alister McGrath, at Oxford, who spent years studying this in the original languages, and whose work was checked by some of the most knowledgeable scholars in the world.
If you want to contest this, it would seem to me that the "logical" thing to do would be to contest McGrath's findings at a factual level. Simply saying, "this doesn't fit with our paradigm so it's wrong" ... I'm sure you are aware of a named logical fallacy named for this.
(4) As soon as the whole Catholic Church adopted Augustine's goof, the Catholic Church fell, and remained fallen for a thousand years. [from (2) and (3)]
4. As I said above, the church did not fall. Christ did not become inoperative in the world because of Augustine's mistake. No doubt he worked around it. Your characterization "the Catholic Church fell" is a straw man in several respects. First, it assumes that "the Catholic Church" structure is the one that Christ put in place; it assumes that the whole church is dependent upon the word of one theologian; and it assumes that "the church" is dependent upon doctrinal articulations.
(5) "The truly catholic church has always been." [R. Scott Clark (source)]
5. I agree with Clark. And keep reading what he says: That it has not always been visible as it was in the Reformation does not mean that there has not always been a remnant or that the church has not at times been profoundly corrupted. There is an developmental understanding of the church that avoids both the trail of blood historiography and its Romanist alternative.
* * *
Then Bryan says:
So this leaves us with a Reformed version of the Baptist trail of blood, in which ecclesial deism is denied by positing a continuous but historically invisible succession of persons holding "justification by the extra nos imputation of Christ's righteousness" for a thousand years, even though there is no historical record that any such persons ever existed during those thousand years.
So, when Clark says there is a church "that avoids both the trail of blood historiography and its Romanist alternative", and you omit that part of his sentence, but immediately say "this brings us with a Reformed version of the baptist trail of blood", how is it that you are not being the dishonest one here?
We are far from agreed on what your definition of the church is, or should be.
And as for your characterization that "there is no historical record that any such persons ever existed during those thousand years", do you believe that the dogma quoad se [doctrines in themselves] and dogma quoad nos [as they have to do with us] are identical with one another and perfectly correspond at every single point?
If you believe that, you have to make that argument.
If Augustine truly made an error, it is more intellectually honest to say that he made that error, than to explain it away. You are the one trying to explain it away.
Bryan has yet to articulate a positive case for his statement that the Roman Catholic Church is "the Church that Christ Founded".
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Augustine goofs on justification; the whole medieval world followed him in his goof, and the Council of Trent ratified this error infallibly.
The error started with the fifth-century theologian Augustine. The Hebrew Scriptures were written in Hebrew. Later they were translated into Greek. Augustine knew only a little Greek, and he worked primarily in Latin. It was Augustine’s misunderstanding of a Hebrew (Old Testament) concept that led to 1000 years of medieval speculation, and finally the codification of Augustine’s mistake at the Council of Trent.
The following article goes into some detail on this entire process.
* * *
Historically, according to Alister McGrath (professor of Historical Theology at Oxford), “it will be clear that he medieval period was astonishingly faithful to the teaching of Augustine on the question of the nature of justification, where the Reformers departed from it” (“Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification ”, Third edition, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, ©2005, pg 216). However, the key to this was that Augustine's understanding/translation of iustitificare, a Latin term which he held to mean “to make righteous” was “a permissible interpretation of the Latin word”, it was “unacceptable as an interpretation of the Hebrew concept which underlies it.”
As McGrath (“Luther’s Theology of the Cross,” Oxford, UK: and Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, ©1985, 1990) pointed out elsewhere:
There are two aspects to Luther’s discovery of ‘the righteousness of God’. The first relates to the nature of this righteousness: Luther discovered a ‘wonderful new definition of righteousness’ which stood in diametrical opposition to human understandings of iustitia. The second relates to the mode by which this righteousness comes to the individual: man cannot perform good works which are capable of earning justification on a quid pro quo basis, but he can totally abase himself, and cry out to God for grace.
This is one of those McGrath statements that has been picked out of his various works and used by Roman Catholics with some glee, noting that, “the Protestant understanding of the nature of justification thus represents a theological novum.” It is a novum because, after Augustine got it wrong, Luther was the first one to get it right. The “infallible” Roman church had gotten it wrong for a thousand years and counting.
One Roman Catholic blogger specifically asked,
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Kruger's latest smackdown of common myths about the NT canon:
Keep stories like this in mind when the media cites "hate crimes" to justify its war on heteronormative values.
Then Jen McCreight said it for me, more eloquently and clearly than I could have. This weekend she wrote How I Unwittingly Infiltrated the Boy’s Club & Why It’s Time for a New Wave of Atheism, which was so well received (and quite rightly) that she wrote a brief follow-up: Atheism +. And Greta Christina and others have taken up the banner: Atheism Plus: The New Wave of Atheism. I am fully on board. I will provide any intellectual artillery they need to expand this cause and make it successful.
There is a new atheism brewing, and it’s the rift we need, to cut free the dead weight so we can kick the C.H.U.D.’s back into the sewers and finally disown them, once and for all. I was already mulling a way to do this back in June when discussion in the comments on my post On Sexual Harassment generated an idea to start a blog series building a system of shared values that separates the light side of the force from the dark side within the atheism movement, so we could start marginalizing the evil in our midst, and grooming the next generation more consistently and clearly into a system of more enlightened humanist values.
Since then I blogged On Sexual Harassment Policies and Why I Am a Feminist (which smoked out a few of the dregs who attempted to defend their anti-humanist atheism), but closer to my growing thoughts on what separates us, and ought to separate us, within the movement was my post on (Not) Our Kind of People, which wasn’t really about any moral divide (since lots of people who aren’t my kind of people are nevertheless my people as far as basic values go, and I know they would agree; we just enjoy different company), but it paralleled my more private thinking about the evil among us. Then I read Lousy Canuck’s account of the whole abuse of Surly Amy at TAM and elsewhere, which enraged me (I had previously only known parts of that story). It shows the dregs will now publicly mock humanist values, and abusively disregard the happiness of their own people. Well, that starts drawing the battle lines pretty clearly then.
It’s perfect. It illustrates that we’re more than just “dictionary” atheists who happen to not believe in gods and that we want to be a positive force in the world. Commenter dcortesi suggested how this gets atheists out of the “negativity trap” that we so often find ourselves in, when people ask stuff like “What do you atheists do, besides sitting around not-praying, eh?”
We are…Atheists plus we care about social justice,Atheists plus we support women’s rights,Atheists plus we protest racism,Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.
It speaks to those of us who see atheism as more than just a lack of belief in god.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
rogereolson says:August 21, 2012 at 12:13 pm
The Joseph story is always brought up by Calvinists, but Arminians (and the early church fathers and non-Augustinians throughout the ages) have always had a simple explanation. I don’t know why Calvinists don’t seem to get it. God has an antecedent will and a consequent will. In his antecedent will God did not want Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers because that would be wanting them to sin. In his antecedent will he used Joseph’s brothers sin of selling him into slavery to bring about something good. Simple.
I’ll explain it below, but look at this incident from the comments at Green Baggins:
In 164, Turretinfan cites Pope Benedict XVI defending John Scotus Erigena, whose work “On the Division of Nature” (867) had been condemned in 1225 by a local council, and Pope Honorius III described his work as “swarming with worms of heretical perversity” and “ordered that all copies [of his book] should be burned”.
Benedict, as pope, said this about him: “In fact, John Scotus represents a radical Platonism that sometimes seems to approach a pantheistic vision, even though his personal subjective intentions were always orthodox.”
Bryan, without batting an eye, comes up with this (Comment 170):
The aspects of Scotus which Pope Benedicts commends are not the errors for which his work was later condemned. So in no way does his general audience on Scotus call his [i.e. Pope Benedict's] orthodoxy into question.
This is not an actual, and quick, analysis on Bryan’s part. Bryan could care less what was actually said. Instead, Bryan needs to say this: “in no way does his general audience on Scotus call his [i.e. Pope Benedict's] orthodoxy into question”.
So he does say it. And for Bryan, the need to guarantee the orthodoxy of a pope supercedes all else.
Whatever anyone else’s real intentions were, whatever they actually said, “in no way is the pope’s orthodoxy in question.”
It’s his ruling assumption. Whatever the pope says is not in question. This is “the obedience of faith”, and it supercedes even the logic that he professes to profess.
* * *
“Mental Reservation” is the tactic that Bryan has been employing (as I described it in # 195) and above. He is a master of this technique.
I’ve put up two blog posts, talking about how the Roman Catholic Church officially dealt with various sex abuse scandals, relying on “mental reservation”. I’ve cited actual court documents:
Bryan is dealing this way with people:
58.14 One unifying strand in all of the complainants‟ evidence heard by the Commission was the sense of dismay and anger felt by them that their Church, in which they had placed the utmost faith and trust, had in their view, duped and manipulated them over the years and that it had done so in order to preserve its reputation and its assets.
58.19 Marie Collins was particularly angered by the use by Church authorities of ‘mental reservation’ in dealing with complaints. Mental reservation is a concept developed and much discussed over the centuries, which permits a churchman knowingly to convey a misleading impression to another person without being guilty of lying. For example, John calls to the parish priest to make a complaint about the behaviour of one of his curates. The parish priest sees him coming but does not want to see him because he considers John to be a troublemaker. He sends another of his curates to answer the door. John asks the curate if the parish priest is in. The curate replies that he is not. This is clearly untrue but in the Church’s view it is not a lie because, when the curate told John that the parish priest was not in, he mentally reserved to himself the words ‘to you’.
58.20 Cardinal Connell explained the concept of mental reservation to the Commission in the following way:
“Well, the general teaching about mental reservation is that you are not permitted to tell a lie. On the other hand, you may be put in a position where you have to answer, and there may be circumstances in which you can use an ambiguous expression realising that the person who you are talking to will accept an untrue version of whatever it may be – permitting that to happen, not willing that it happened, that would be lying. It really is a matter of trying to deal with extraordinarily difficult matters that may arise in social relations where people may ask questions that you simply cannot answer. Everybody knows that this kind of thing is liable to happen. So, mental reservation is, in a sense, a way of answering without lying.”
Look for this tactic in your interactions with Bryan Cross. It’s there.
The Eucharist does not grant any quasi-magical assurance of salvation. It always demands and involves our freedom. And therefore the risk of losing our salvation always remains; our gaze remains fixed on the judgment to come. (From “Eucharist and Mission”, in “Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church as Communion”, San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press ©2005, German Original Title, “Weg Gemeinschaft des Glaubens: Kirche als Communio” ©2002by Sankd Ulrich Verglag GmbH, Augsburg, pgs 104-105).
The contrast could not be stated in any stronger terms. The high priest offered sacrifices that could “never take away sins” (Hebrews 8:10-14). He stood in the Holy Place, never sitting down, never resting, because his work was never completed. The offerings he made were inadequate to perfect those for whom he made them. But Christ’s sacrifice accomplishes its goal. He does not stand, repeatedly offering His work. His work of atonement is completed. Instead, He is seated, His work finished, the one offering needed to perfect for all time. There is no need for repetition or for “re-presentation,” as the writer points out in verse 18: “Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.” If an offering is still being made, forgiveness remains incomplete. If the offerings cease, forgiveness is a reality.
The relevance of this passage to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass as a “propitiatory sacrifice” is clear. Rome insists that the Mass is the very same sacrifice as that of Calvary, differing only in manner (bloody versus unbloody). Yet it is admitted that the effect of the Mass is limited, and that a person can draw near to the Mass over and over again and still die “impure.” According to their doctrine, it is quite possible for a person to attend Mass every day of his life, commit a mortal sin the hour before his death, and be lost for eternity, despite having approached the Mass as a sacrifice thousands of times. The Roman Catholic response would be that such a person is unlikely to commit such a serious sin because so much grace had already been given him through attendance at so many Masses. The fact remains that God’s grace is said to be channeled through the Sacraments, especially through the Mass. Yet that grace cannot accomplish its goal outside of the cooperation of the person drawing near to worship, and so the possibility of being lost for eternity remains (“The Roman Catholic Controversy”, Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, ©1996, pg 179).
Monday, August 20, 2012
On the one hand, the president of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, would oppose a cure for HIV/AIDS if finding a cure involved animal testing.
On the other hand, the vice president of PETA, Mary Beth Sweetland, is a diabetic and needs insulin which can contain animal products.
You said, “participation is not fusion”, and you have cavalierly sought to dismiss that, but there is far more to it than what you have said here, and the folks deserve to have a clarification:
Here’s the Ratzinger quotation again with my clarifying comments in brackets:
Through baptism, answers Paul, we are inserted into Christ and united with him as a single subject [i.e. the single Mystical Body of Christ of which He is the Head]; no longer many alongside one another [i.e. no longer a mere plurality], but “one only in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:16; 26-29). Only Christ’s self-identification with us, only our fusion into unity with him [incorporation into His Mystical Body], makes us bearers of the promise (pg 33).
This is not an obliteration of the Creator-creature distinction, but an affirmation of our union with Christ — a union in which while we retain our created being, our individuality, our personality, our intellect, our consciousness, our will, etc., we are united to Christ and His family by incorporation into His Body and participation in His divine life.
Yes, Let’s take a further “clarifying” look at what Joseph Ratzinger genuinely means by “communion” and “fusion”:
Communion means that the seemingly uncrossable frontier of my “I” is left wide open and can be so because Jesus has first allowed himself to be opened completely, has taken us all into himself and has put himself totally into our hands. Hence, Communion [capital in original] means the fusion of existences. Just as in the taking of nourishment the body assimilates foreign matter to itself, and is thereby enabled to live, in the same way my “I” is “assimilated” to that of Jesus, it is made similar to him in an exchange that increasingly breaks through the lines of division. This same event takes place in the case of all who communicate; they are all assimilated to this “bread” and thus are made one among themselves--one body (36)
This is not a “one-time” thing that happens “at Communion”. This has eschatological aspects. Speaking of “the institution narrative”, he says:
…. it is the act of entering into that inner core which can no longer pass away. That is why the “preaching” of Christ’s death is more than mere words. [The prayer of ‘institution’] is a proclamation that bears the truth within it. In the words of Jesus, as we have seen, all the streams of the Old Testament—law and prophets—flow together into a new unity that could not have been foreseen. Those words that had simply been waiting for their real speaker, such as the song of the Suffering Servant, now become reality. We could go farther and say that ultimately this is where all the great streams of the history of religions meet together, for the most profound knowledge of the myths had been that of the world’s being built up on sacrifice, and in some sense, beneath shadowy forms that were often taught, it was being taught that, in the end, God himself must become a sacrifice so that love might prevail over hatred and lies. With its vision of the cosmic liturgy, in the midst which stands the Lamb who was sacrificed, the Apocalypse [book of Revelation] has presented the essential contents of the eucharistic sacrament in an impressive form that sets a standard for every local liturgy (from the essay “Eucharist and Mission” in “Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith”, pgs 110-111).
This “fusion” you are talking about becomes permanent. It is no matter that “we retain our created being, our individuality, our personality, our intellect, our consciousness, our will, etc” No one remains an individual in this vision of things. Everyone is “assimilated”.
In the first place, you owe me an apology here for suggesting that I am making some kind of “word/concept” fallacy.
Second, you owe the members of this board an apology for your abject dishonesty in suggesting that “participation is not fusion”, and trying to slough off the rest of all this.
This discussion has a lot of range beyond merely the word “fusion” – there is much more to this – including the notion that “the church is the ongoing incarnation of Christ”, and the whole range of ontological aspects of where “infusion” language leads.
Rome goes even further and incorporates its own hierarchical leadership structure into this ontological soup – the papacy as a permanent part of the “structure” of the body – and that is the tie in with some of these Green Baggins discussions.
You have turned on its head the notion that “we should not attribute to our opponents positions that they will not own”.
You, in fact, are denying Roman positions at this point, for the sake of sparing these folks the full impact of the Roman position so that you can set some sort of “foundational” point for it.
But the Roman self-infatuation, in its desires to perpetuate its grandiose claims about itself, effectively repeats the promise of Satan: “You will be like God.”
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Here I hope to offer a discerning third option.
How about both?
Support CFA for their stand AND love homosexuals and unbelievers (yes, including liberals!). After all, we do believe in both common grace and the antithesis. We believe that being a Christian in the world often means taking a stand for what is right, even if it means our marginalization. On the other hand, as Christians we believe that we should love our neighbors, and not marginalize them (even gays and liberals).
Supporting a Christian business owner is nice, but not necessary for the advancement of the Kingdom.
However, if you think the reaction against the stand of the COO of CFA is ridiculous and non-sense (as it surely is), then go. Go as a person with common sense. Go as an American who believes in freedom of speech. Go in good conscience simply because their waffle fries are pretty good. Go because you think the mayor of Chicago is a moron. Go as a Christian, if you are a Christian, and take a stand for biblical principle. But don’t think that this will advance the cause of Christ in the Gospel. Taking a stand for biblical principle is a must for a Christian, but it won’t save any souls. Yet, it may, in fact, advance the cause of common grace – and there is value to that.
There is a place for the Christian to fight the cultural war. But we need to always remember how and why we fight it. God has given us weapons to fight, as Christians. And its not long drive-in lines at fast food joints. Our weapons are spiritual, they are not carnal. Numbers are good and helpful in fighting the cultural wars, but they do not win the battle. Only the Gospel of God’s free grace in Christ can and will do that.
James J. Cassidy is the pastor of Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Ringoes, NJ. He also serves as Vice President of Reformed Forum and is a PhD candidate at Westminster Theological Seminary.
Killing, letting die and ensuring death
(Note: I am talking of here of intentional ensuring. We also sometimes speak of some action unintentionally ensuring a result. In that case, "ensuring" just means something like "causally necessitating".)
Rachels thinks that this case shows that the distinction between killing and letting die is bogus. Jones is morally on par with Smith.
Rachels is probably right. But the reason for this isn't that there is no morally salient distinction between killing and letting die. It is, rather, that there is no morally salient distinction between killing and ensuring death. What Jones does is ensure death.