Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Bryan’s excellent adventure continues

Bryan Cross has been amply criticized in these pages for failing to disclose either the historical method or the factual basis for his claim that “the Roman Catholic Church” is “the Church that Christ Founded”.

Recently in a comment, he provided the first linkage I’ve seen that, in his mind, provides some kind of evidence that the Roman Catholic Church is what he always simply assumes it to be:

The motives of credibility indicate the location and identity of the Church Christ founded, and they are accessible to human reason.

Note the phrase “motives of credibility”. Here’s what that means, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

These testimonies are unanimous; they all point in one direction, they are of every age, they are clear and simple, and are within the grasp of the humblest intelligence. And, as the Vatican Council has said, "the Church herself, is, by her marvellous propagation, her wondrous sanctity, her inexhaustible fruitfulness in good works, her Catholic unity, and her enduring stability, a great and perpetual motive of credibility and an irrefragable witness to her Divine commission" (Const. Dei Filius) . "The Apostles", says St. Augustine, "saw the Head and believed in the Body; we see the Body let us believe in the Head" [Sermo ccxliii, 8 (al. cxliii), de temp., P.L., V 1143]. Every believer will echo the words of Richard of St. Victor, "Lord, if we are in error, by Thine own self we have been deceived—for these things have been confirmed by such signs and wonders in our midst as could only have been done by Thee!" (de Trinitate, 1, cap. ii).

Here the concept is found in CCC 156:

What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe "because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived". So "that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit." Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church's growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability "are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all"; they are "motives of credibility" (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is "by no means a blind impulse of the mind".

But these things “indicate the location and identity of the Church Christ founded”.

Bryan’s excellent adventure continues.


  1. Thanks for your work John,

    Any chance that you or the other Triabloguers might want to offer some responses to the "paradigm presentation" on Stellman's blog. I think it would be helpful to many readers, although I don't know if it would give Stellman more credibility than he actually deserves.

    1. Thanks Unknown. Any particular questions you have, or specific things you'd like to see addressed?

  2. Thanks John, (my name is actually Robert; I guess my Google account does not have my name attached...)

    It's a huge subject with many points, but he is essentially going through and addressing whether a proto-Roman Catholic paradigm or proto-Protestant paradigm on justification is more likely to give rise to all that the NT says on the subject. Clearly, he is acknowledging that the fully developed Roman view of justification did not exist in the early church but is a development of something earlier. A couple issues he really hasn't addressed are:

    1. As a Roman Catholic, does he have the right to even believe that only a proto-Roman paradigm and not the fully developed view existed prior to the NT?
    2. Is it sufficient in Romanism to affirm only a proto-Roman paradigm or must one affirm everything else that goes with it today, such as indulgences and penance?
    3. Do we test our "paradigm" by what we think it should give rise to in the text or are we to first develop our paradigm from the text?

    If you visit his blog, he has been posting on this about once a week since November, walking first through passages from the gospels and then through Romans to define and defend Roman Catholicism, although at times it seems as if he is thinking that he is putting a unique spin on it. When pressed on what the logical implications of his posts seem to be, namely that Christ's work is insufficient to save, he basically accuses people of misunderstanding Roman Catholicism and begging the question. A post on that whole "begging the question" idea would be helpful, I think, if you haven't written one, since that seems to the be last stand for all the CTC guys. Of course, anything else you see as you read over some of the posts would be helpful as well, I think. I know you are a busy man, but it would be helpful for those of us less versed in Romanism to see where Jason and the CTC guys are actually presenting RC theology accurately or not. My sense throughout Jason's postings is that he is presenting a very Protestantized view of Romanism that is stripped down in a way that may make it more plausible to Protestants who have not been exposed adequately to the intricacies of Roman theology and practice. Thanks for any help you can give!

    1. Robert, I'll give this a look, Lord willing, when I get a chance.