Monday, January 09, 2017

What do Catholics and anti-vaxxers have in common?

Some comments I made on Facebook (Jerry Walls):

According to her defenders, the church of Rome is a communion of laypersons who aren't real Catholics, pastored by priests who aren't real Catholics, educated at Catholic colleges and seminaries by professors who aren't real Catholics, overseen by bishops who aren't real Catholics, under the divine authority of a pope who isn't a real Catholic. But it's still the One True Church®. The only real Catholics are dead church fathers and lay Catholic pop apologists who converted to Rome from evangelicalism.

It's funny how Rome's apologists are ignorant of Catholic Bible scholarship. Maybe Bradley should consult the standard Catholic commentaries on John, by Raymond Brown and Rudolf Schnackenburg, to see how mainstream Catholic scholarship interprets monogenes.

Steve, again, you need to understand how biblical scholarship functions within Catholic theology. You seem to approach Catholic theology as you approach your own theological method. If true, this explains why you act as if the Catholic position is completely dependent upon monogenes.

Oh, I didn't suggest that Catholic theology is dependent on accurate exegesis. And that's the problem. Catholic theology is often dependent on traditional interpretations of Scripture that are mistaken. But being traditional, that gets locked in. The development of Catholic theology builds on that false premise.

Even after the original mistake is corrected by Bible scholars, including Catholic Bible scholars, it makes no difference because dogma takes on a life of its own, detached from revelation. 

The same is true for church history. Take the traditional Catholic notion of a 1C monoepiscopate. Even though modern Catholic church historians correct that faulty assumption, it makes no difference because the church of Rome isn't really based on history.

Ironically, one Reformed attempt at being 'catholic' would disagree with Hays' christology and refusal to answer the question: they do answer the question. See,Michael Allen and Scott R. Swain's Christian Dogmatics: Reformed Theology for the Church Catholic.

If that's supposed to be an allusion to the eternal generation of the Son, there is no consensus among Reformed theologians on that issue. You have prominent Reformed theologians who don't affirm it or disaffirm it (e.g. Warfield, John Murray, John Frame, John Feinberg, Paul Helm, Robert Reymond). 

That's because Reformed theology is committed to revealed truth. When traditional interpretations are corrected, Reformed theology may be revised accordingly.

In his commentary on John, Ben Witherington construes monogenes as "only" or "unique". Cf. John's Wisdom, 376n25. I. H. Marshall takes a similar position in his commentary on 1 John. Cf. The Epistles of John, 214n8. So does Craig Keener (who, alongside BW3, teaches at the flagship of Arminian seminaries), in his commentary on John. Cf. The Gospel of John: A Commentary, 1:412-416.

These are three of the most prominent Arminian NT scholars. Presumably, Jerry doesn't think they are heretical for questioning the traditional prooftexts for eternal generation. 

There's nothing idiosyncratic about my position. Rather, that's the mainstream position in modern NT scholarship and Greek lexical semantics. This is only shocking to lay Catholic pop apologists who are deaf to the wider world of scholarship outside the padded walls of their internet echo chamber.

A few basic issues:

i) A question people should ask is how you know something is true. What's your source of information? Is that a reliable source of information? 

ii) Christianity is a revealed religion, so the question is whether a doctrine is properly grounded in revelation.

iii) Yes, Catholic theology evolves. Problem is, the deposit of faith does not evolve. That's supposed to be a once-for-all-time deliverance. Therefore, Catholic theology can't legitimately develop beyond what can be known from the deposit of faith.

iv) I don't pretend that church fathers knew things they were in no position to know. I don't view church fathers as Illuminati, with access to esoteric insight denied the rest of us. I don't have Robinson's capacity for make-believe.

v) A problem in Catholic theological method is frozen accidents. Factual errors that get frozen into place. These become the unquestioned foundation for subsequent developments. 

Robinson is like an anti-vaxxer. Some anti-vaxxers oppose vaccination based on a purported link between vaccination and autism. 

When it's pointed out that the purported linkage has been repeatedly discredited, the rational response would be to withdraw their opposition, since the underlying premise turned out to be faulty. But for anti-vaxxers, that premise has become dogma. It lives on as an indefeasible urban legend. 

Robinson is like an anti-vaxxer who responds by saying, You keep raising problems that just aren't problems for anti-vaxxer methodology. You don't understand how bogus evidence functions in anti-vaxxer methodology. You need to read monographs on the development of the autistic premise in anti-vaxxer tradition.

BTW, notice a tactic by some Catholic apologists. On this post and a previous post, Catholic apologists have resorted to thread-jacking to deflect attention away from the actual topic at hand. Jerry's posts have nothing to do with eternal generation. That's just a decoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment