Saturday, January 03, 2009

Bellisario - Authority Discussion

Bellisario has a new post entitled, "Turetin [sic] Fan's Crippled [sic] Minded Theology on the Apostles Part I"

It's not hard to identify his thesis: My theology is "crippled" in some way. Let's see if he backs it up, or if this is just another case of assertion mania.

Beneath an image of a black tee-shrt with the logo "CRIPPLED" and a stylized image of a handicapped person apparently smoking from a bong (based on the standard U.S. image for "handicapped parking"), Bellisario writes: "Watch out for Crippled Theology ahead!"

Well, this assertion is less error-riddled than the post title (From a grammatical/spelling standpoint) but is just an assertion.

Bellisario continued: "I had to laugh again when I read TFs latest response to my blog. He once again proves that shows us his crippled-minded theology. Lets looks at some of his responses shall we?"

Again ... just assertions.

I had written: "Having prophets around is quite handy. When they go to heaven, all you have is the memory of their teachings. To make sure that we remembered their teachings accurately, the apostles left us the New Testament Scriptures. In fact, the only things we can definitively say that the Apostles taught are those things found in Scriptures."

Bellisario wrote: "Uhh no. We are not left with just a memory. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide His Church, not just memories. And so we see here how naive this guy is. Jesus, nor his apostles never said that they were going to leave us writings for us to remember them by. As I asked the first time, prove it. Where did they say it? Only in Tfs imagination is where. He cannot see past his 21st century clouded Western lenses. He is truly out to lunch here."

a) Jesus did not say, "The Holy Spirit will guide the Church."

b) Jesus did not say something that means that the Holy Spirit will guide an institution known as "the Church."

c) Jesus did promise the Holy Spirit's guidance, but this promise was not made to "the Church."

d) For example:

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

All of these statements were made to the apostles. Bellisario needs them to be, not to the apostles, but to the church. So, he just makes stuff up, and claims that "Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide His Church." Of course, Bellisario doesn't even attempt to identify which of those three verses (or some other verse) supposedly has Jesus saying that the Holy Spirit will guide the church, he just asserts it. Assertion upon assertion, but nothing to back it up - that's all we see from him. Oh, he can accuse (noting how he wrote: "He cannot see past his 21st century clouded Western lenses" and "He is truly out to lunch here," but Bellisario cannot actually demonstrate these things. The reason is simple: Bellisario just makes stuff up.

I had written: "When one stops viewing Sola Scriptura as a prohibitory rule and starts recognizing it as a practical and logical consequence of "you use what you have and you don't use what you don't have," then one sees the relevance of the fact that the apostles (and their prophetic gifts) being in heaven, not among us."

Belliario responded: "It is not a logical consequence. It is logical to follow what has been taught be Jesus and the apostles, and not by making your own false assumptions which cannot be proven. TF seems to imply here that since Scripture is written that the Oral word jusr cannot exist. We know that is not true because as we stated before the apostles did not believe in Scripture Alone."

1) "It is not a logical consequence."

This is an assertion. Want to bet whether Bellisario backs it up?

2) "It is logical to follow what has been taught be Jesus and the apostles, and not by making your own false assumptions which cannot be proven."

I assume that "be" should be "by." Sola Scriptura is the practice of following what was taught by Jesus and his apostles. Bellisario doesn't identify what he views as a false assumption, but not accepting teaches that cannot be demonstrated to have come from God is not a "false assumption" by any reasonable standard. So, theoretically, by Bellisario's own standard of what is logical, Sola Scriptura is logical.

3) "TF seems to imply here that since Scripture is written that the Oral word jusr cannot exist." (error in original)

Of course, that's not true. As I pointed out to him during our debate, we can present the Word of God in oral form, and we do - when we preach. But no one should assume that because a preacher preaches something it is the Word of God. Instead, we should check whether Scripture teaches what is being proclaimed.

4) "We know that is not true because as we stated before the apostles did not believe in Scripture Alone."

This foolish red herring has been addressed previously. As noted previously, the apostles believed in the authority of Scripture and the authority of living prophets and Jesus. The circumstances today are that there are no living prophets and Jesus is in heaven. Thus, by process of elimination, there is only Scripture as a divine oracle.

I had written: "Only a moron would deny it. For now, that's my proof of the fact that "their case is not the same as the case today." Should Bellisario decide to deny that not having the apostles around changes things, I will happily try to explain to him why not having living prophets/apostles is of significance. Now, someone might try to claim that things are not very different ... but that would be a different claim, wouldn't it?"

Bellisario wrote: "We can see here who the moron is. It is the one who invents new doctrine and tries to pass it off as authentic. TFs proof is a personal attack. The fact is the means the apostles used to guide the Church and establish it is the same today, other than the fact that they were the last to proclaim Divine Revelation. The means however that God uses to guide the Church, which is by Divine Guidance through his Holy Spirit is the same. The Church wrote some of it down guided by the Holy Spirit which is Sacred Scripture. TF just cannot grasp this concept, so he has to invent a new concept, one which Jesus, nor his apostles ever taught."

1) "We can see here who the moron is."

Finally, something I can agree with.

2) "It is the one who invents new doctrine and tries to pass it off as authentic."

Again, something I can agree with.

3) "TFs proof is a personal attack."

That's not true. My proof is that the apostles and prophets died and went to heaven and Jesus ascended into heaven. Only a moron would not recognize that this is a change from the time of the apostles. On top of that, while I used the word "moron" my comment evidenced the fact that Bellisario had not denied it ("Should Bellisario decide to deny it ...") and my use of "moron" was applied only to such a person as would deny that things have changed. Bellisario admits that things have changed. Apparently, though, careful reading and logic are not the strong points for Mr. Bellisario.

4) "The fact is the means the apostles used to guide the Church and establish it is the same today, other than the fact that they were the last to proclaim Divine Revelation."

I guess to Bellisario, in a debate over the available sources of divine revelation, it is a minor detail that the apostles were in the era when additional divine revelation was being proclaimed. I would hope that most rational people would realize that if there are other sources of special divine revelation then than now, that's an important difference, not just a minor change. But, apparently Bellisario thinks it is small.

5) "The means however that God uses to guide the Church, which is by Divine Guidance through his Holy Spirit is the same."

a) Note that this is an assertion that builds on the previous assertion that Jesus said the the Holy Spirit would guide the church.

b) Note that Bellisario doesn't substantiate this assertion, either.

c) Given that the Holy Spirit and Apostles (by the authority of the Holy Spirit) guided the Church by the Apostles preaching in person and writing letters, and since having them preaching in person is impossible (since they are absent from the body), but we still have their letters, it seems like Bellisario should be advocating Sola Scriptura, if he did not assume that there was some additional way in which the Holy Spirit guided "the Church."

6) "The Church wrote some of it down guided by the Holy Spirit which is Sacred Scripture."

No, individuals (and sometimes groups) wrote down Scripture. For example, most of Paul's epistles were written by him (or by his assistant, with Paul's own personal signature to confirm that it was Paul's letter). But Scripture is a body that goes beyond the New Testament church, for most of the Bible was written before Jesus' incarnation. Those Old Testament books were not written down by the Congregation of Israel, but by the prophets beginning with Moses.

Of course, the individuals who wrote it down (mostly apostles) were guided by the Holy Spirit, indeed the Holy Spirit inspired these writings of theirs. It is the same Holy Spirit who guided the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah that guided the Apostles to pen the completion of Scripture.

7) "TF just cannot grasp this concept, so he has to invent a new concept, one which Jesus, nor his apostles ever taught."

Another of Bellisario's assertions. The only thing (besides' Jesus personal teaching and the personal teaching of those inspired by God as prophets/apostles - which are no longer with us) that the apostles and Jesus relied upon as infallible was Scripture. It was their only other source of infallible authority. The "new concept" here that has been invented is the additional supposed source of authority of the "Holy Spirit guiding the Church."

Bellisario continued: "Then Tf admits that the apostles didn't believe this yet gives a poor excuse. Lets take a look."

Well, we see that Bellisario is not afraid to state his opinion of the explanation given, but it is a lot easier to call an explanation a "poor excuse" than to actually demonstrate such.


I had written, initially quoting Bellisario's own words:
5) "The apostles didn't practice Scripture alone, but, they didn't have to."

They used what they had, just as we do. To say that they didn't practice "Scripture alone" is a bit like saying that Moses didn't accept the book of Hebrews as canonical. It's a trifling evasion of the issue through the employment of anachronism. And even if a Gerry Matatics browbeat me into providing a sound bite that "Moses didn't accept the canonicity of the Book of Hebrews," it really wouldn't change anything.

I think it is important to note the particular rhetorical ploy that Bellisario (and Matatics) have tried to employ. They want to cast the issue in terms of that word "only," as though Scripture should have to expressly say, "and when there are no prophets, you don't use them as a rule of faith," instead of identifying several rules, all of which we accept, when they are available. But we don't have prophets today - we don't have God speaking from the sky, we only have Scripture. What Bellisario seems to overlook is that even though the Apostles accepted the living prophets, Jesus himself, and visions from God, they didn't accept the "Infallible Authoritative Tradition" of alleged ability to generate new doctrines over time. We phrase our doctrine "Sola Scriptura" simply because we don't have Jesus and the Prophets among us. If we did, it would be "Jesus, Scripture, and the Prophets alone.
Bellisario responded: "No they used what Jesus told them they would have for all time and that is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that He Himself would also guide the Church and never mentioned that once the Church was established we all have a different means to be guided by. This is completely fabrication. Once again there is no reason to believe this. TF seems to forget that Jesus promises these things, but we can see that TF is no Scripture scholar as he claims, but forgets all of the passages that contradict him, or he invents new interpretations of passages that don't pertain to his beliefs at all."

1) "No they used what Jesus told them they would have for all time and that is the Holy Spirit."

a) Again, Bellisario asserts rather than demonstrating. We are left guessing what his claim is based on.

b) We think that he is basing it on the following passage:

John 14:16-18
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

c) If so, Bellisario is wrong. There are two senses in which this prophecy could be understood. Neither of these, however, is directed to "the Church" being infallble in its teachings. One way is that this prophecy refers personally to the Apostles. The other way is that this verse refers to all believers. The Romanist will usually acknowledge that in John 14, Jesus hadn't established his church yet, so whoever Jesus is talking to, it cannot be "the Church." So, the "you" cannot be "the Church" as an institution.

2) "Jesus said that He Himself would also guide the Church and never mentioned that once the Church was established we all have a different means to be guided by."

a) Another of Bellisario's undemonstrated assertions - does anyone view this guy as scholarly?

b) "He Himself would guide the Church"? Does Bellisario mean that the person of Jesus would guide "the Church"? There is certainly no promise of that.

c) Possibly Bellisario is simply referring to the Trinity guiding "the Church," this being a variant on his original claim that the Holy Spirit would guide "the Church." That assertion is already refuted above.

d) Jesus himself taught from the Scripture (Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.), as did Paul (Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,). So - no - teaching from Scripture is not some different means.

3) "This is completely fabrication."

Let the reader judge who fabricates and who demonstrates from Scripture and reason.

4) "Once again there is no reason to believe this."

Let the reader judge who gives reasons to believe what is written, and who boldly asserts with billowing words.

5) "TF seems to forget that Jesus promises these things"

Bellisario seems to conflate what he thinks he remembers Jesus saying. Bellisario doesn't actually point to any promises Jesus made, so that we could check whether they were to the apostles, all believers, or "the church" (as an institution - I keep mentioning this "as an institution" because "all believers" is the Reformed definition of "the church" but it is not the definition that Bellisario is using)

6) "but we can see that TF is no Scripture scholar as he claims,"

I don't claim to be a Scripture scholar. Although I appreciate that Bellisario seems to have unconsciously assumed that I am Scripture scholar from the fact that I continually direct the reader to Scripture, I just claim to be a believer with the Holy Spirit in my heart and a Bible in my hand.

7) "but forgets all of the passages that contradict him,"

Bellisario hasn't identified any such passages. It would be one thing if Bellisario brought up passages that "contradict" what I wrote - it is quite another for Bellisario just to assert bluntly that I have forgotten passages that he cannot (or at least does not) name.

8) "or he invents new interpretations of passages that don't pertain to his beliefs at all."

Well, at least Bellisario can be said to have tried to back up this claim with his last few posts. But the problem is, Bellisario's posts were mostly just assertions, as we have demonstrated. Although the application of the text to Romanism may not have been made before there was Romanism, nevertheless the text of Romans 14 does relate to Christian liberty in things indifferent - and the celebration of days and the eating of meats are things indifferent, according to God (though not according to Rome, as we have demonstrated).

I had written: "The claim is not that the "use what you have and don't use what you don't have" principle changed, but that it remained the same. The only thing that changed is that the apostles and prophets stopped providing us with prophecy, and consequently all we have today (in terms of revelation from God) is the Scriptures."

Bellisario wrote: "Once again prove this absurd assumption. I see a Church that has been left guided by God Himself. No the Scriptures are not all we have today. Can you see how crippled this theology is? There is nothing in the Scriptures that tells us any of these assumptions Tf is trying to get us to buy into."

1) "Once again prove this absurd assumption."

Are we supposed to think that "use what you have and don't use what you don't have" is absurd? I will let the reader judge. This common sense principle is reflected in Scripture:

Ecclesiastes 1:15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

2) "I see a Church that has been left guided by God Himself."

I see God guiding his church (all believers) infallibly by the completed Bible, and fallibly by the teachers of the church. That human teachers are fallible is taught in Scripture, and that the Scriptures are infallible is taught in Scripture. There is, however, no Scriptural doctrine of "institutional infallibility" for "the Church."

3) "No the Scriptures are not all we have today."

It is true that it is not all we have today, but it is all we have that is infallible (which is what Bellisario meant to dispute, we hope). We have teachers, but teachers are fallible - there are even false teachers, like Benedict XVI.

4) "Can you see how crippled this theology is?"

The implicit argument here is that a theology that has only the Bible (and not the teachings of Rome) is "crippled." But Scripture says that Scripture is able to thoroughly furnish the man of God unto every good work. It sounds like God thinks Scripture is pretty enabling. So which is it? A throughly furnished (2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.) theology that is able to make one wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. ) through faith in the Jesus of the 4-in-1 gospel? or a crippled theology? What does Scripture say? What does Romanism say? Let the reader test the spirits, which is of God, and which opposed to his revelation ("1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.").

5) "There is nothing in the Scriptures that tells us any of these assumptions Tf is trying to get us to buy into."

One has to admire Bellisario's boldness in making assertions. On the one hand, he knows full well that all my doctrines are derived from Scripture (and from no other source of authority) and yet he tries to assert that I get doctrines from somewhere else. It is a very bold unfounded assertion, but it is an unfounded assertion, nonetheless.

I had written: "The church today is still guided by the Scriptures, as it was then. The apostles themselves no longer personally guide the church. So, no - it is not "the same means today" as then, at least in respect to the personal guidance of the apostles. Still, since the Apostles left behind the New Testament, and since they did so for our instruction, it is almost as if they were still here."

Bellisario replied: "Wow, this guy is really delusional. No the apostles did not believe in Scripture Alone. No the Church which is an extension of the apostles is still guided by God's direction and they never told us they were leaving only a written testimony behind to remember them by. It sounds as if TF is comparing God's Divine Revelation and the Holy Spirit to his Grandmother's memoirs or something as if its just some written diary we have of a of what was once a living person. This type of rationalisation is typical from the rationalist, modernist, secular thinkers of our day. They deny anything they cannot see. If you look at TF, he holds onto his Scripture because it is all he can see. HE forgets that Jesus is living, and that the Holy Spirit is living, and they are not dead nor mute. What did Jesus teach to us while He was here? He taught Himself. What did He give to the apostles to pass down? They gave the living Jesus Himslef. That is why the Church teaches that Jesus is the Word and the living Word is what has been given to us. It just so happens that TF redefines the Word into a written one only."

1) "Wow, this guy is really delusional."

Now, that is an example of using a personal attack in place of an argument. It amounts to another of Bellisario's blustering assertions, but - as usual - he does not back it up.

2) "No the apostles did not believe in Scripture Alone."

This canard has been addressed several times above.

3) "No the Church which is an extension of the apostles is still guided by God's direction and they never told us they were leaving only a written testimony behind to remember them by."

a) The church is an extension of the apostles? That may be Rome's claim, but it is not the teaching of the apostles.

b) "The Church" (i.e. Rome) claims to be "guided by God's direction" but there is no Biblical basis to accept their claim.

c) One wonders why Bellisario thinks that the apostles need to tell us that they are leaving only a written testimony behind to remember them by. Does Bellisario think that the apostles had some other available medium? Furthermore, of course, for the first generation that survived the apostles, they could remember what the apostles personally told them. They could even communicate that to other people, just like I can communicate (orally) what the Bible says to other people. It can happen that way, but oral transmission isn't a reliable way to pass down information over generations. That's generally why people write important things down.

4) "It sounds as if TF is comparing God's Divine Revelation and the Holy Spirit to his Grandmother's memoirs or something as if its just some written diary we have of a of what was once a living person."

Justin Martyr wrote, in his Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 106:
“The remainder of the Psalm makes it manifest that He knew His Father would grant to Him all things which He asked, and would raise Him from the dead; and that He urged all who fear God to praise Him because He had compassion on all races of believing men, through the mystery of Him who was crucified; and that He stood in the midst of His brethren the apostles (who repented of their flight from Him when He was crucified, after He rose from the dead, and after they were persuaded by Himself that, before His passion He had mentioned to them that He must suffer these things, and that they were announced beforehand by the prophets), and when living with them sang praises to God, as is made evident in the memoirs of the apostles. The words are the following: ‘I will declare Thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I praise Thee. Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him; all ye, the seed of Jacob, glorify Him. Let all the seed of Israel fear Him.’ And when it is said that He changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in the memoirs of Him that this so happened, as well as that He changed the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means sons of thunder; this was an announcement of the fact that it was He by whom Jacob was called Israel, and Oshea called Jesus (Joshua), under whose name the people who survived of those that came from Egypt were conducted into the land promised to the patriarchs. And that He should arise like a star from the seed of Abraham, Moses showed before hand when he thus said, ‘A star shall arise from Jacob, and a leader from Israel;’ and another Scripture says, ‘Behold a man; the East is His name.’ Accordingly, when a star rose in heaven at the time of His birth, as is recorded in the memoirs of His apostles, the Magi from Arabia, recognising the sign by this, came and worshipped Him.
Look at that, Justin Martyr calling the inspired Gospels the "memoirs of the Apostles." Will Bellisario say that "It sounds as if TF is comparing God's Divine Revelation and the Holy Spirit to his Grandmother's memoirs or something as if its just some written diary we have of a of what was once a living person." Furthermore, in Chapter 105, Justin explains that various things he knows about Jesus were "learned from the memoirs." It's not surprising then that the first order of business in Justin's home church was "the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits ... ." (First Apology, Chapter 67) Furthermore Justin asserted that apostles delivered what was enjoined to them (particularly with respect to the Lord's Supper) "in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels ... ." (First Apology, Chapter 66) Was Justin Martyr "delusional" and suffering "crippled theology" too, in Bellisario's opinion? But surely Bellisario will blush to employ his antics against Justin Martyr.

5) "This type of rationalisation is typical from the rationalist, modernist, secular thinkers of our day."

See above. Furthermore, Bellisario knows that my views on this having nothing to do either with modernity or secularism. His previous accusation of affiliation with Calvin and Turretin demonstrate his (at least subconscious) knowledge of this fact. Apparently, though this is an attempt to assert that something must be wrong, because bad people do it. That logical fallacy is so weak I think even Bellisario could defeat it.

6) "They deny anything they cannot see."

Interesting. As an iconoclast, I am obviously not in that category - in fact one of my criticism of idolaters is that they can only worship what they can see.

7) "If you look at TF, he holds onto his Scripture because it is all he can see."

I like the fact that Bellisario makes Scripture my personal possession. I don't think Bellisario gets, however, that I accept Scripture because of faith in the unseen God, not in a visible church.

8) "HE forgets that Jesus is living, and that the Holy Spirit is living, and they are not dead nor mute."

Bellisario forgets that the Scripture itself is living, or he would not make this comparison:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

("quick" here is the opposite of dead, as in 1 Peter 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.)

But of course, I don't forget that Jesus and the Comforter and the Father are all living, and able to speak. I don't deny them the ability to communicate everything that they want us to know, propositionally through Scripture. Bellisario seems to think it is impossible that the Bible is all God wants us to know - calling such an approach "cripple-minded" (spelling corrected by myself).

9) "What did Jesus teach to us while He was here?"

The only way to be sure you know the answer to that question is to open your Bible. If you get the information second hand, they could (like Bellisario) be changing what Jesus actually taught in order to fit their theology. If you go straight to the Bible, you eliminate the middle man.

10) "He taught Himself."

Actually Jesus said:

John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

And Jesus (as already proven above) taught out of the Scriptures. Jesus constantly relied on Scriptures, even when facing the devil himself after fasting for 40 days straight.

11) "What did He give to the apostles to pass down?"

Again, the only definitive way to answer this question is from Scripture itself.

12) "They gave the living Jesus Himslef." (error in original)

This is confusion. The idea that they pass on Jesus is a figure of speech. Jesus is in heaven. What they have passed down to us is Scripture. Scripture is about Him - about Jesus. So, figuratively speaking, they can be said to have passed on Jesus. Paul spoke, for example, of preaching Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;), and also of preaching the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?). That latter verse especially illustrates what it means to "preach Christ." It means to preach about him - preach that Jesus was the Christ, and so forth.

13) "That is why the Church teaches that Jesus is the Word and the living Word is what has been given to us."

The way we know that Jesus is the Word is because the Bible tells us:

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

14) "It just so happens that TF redefines the Word into a written one only."

Not true ... see above.

I had written:
This kind of claim just shows that Bellisario hasn't read William Webster and David King's trilogy, "Holy Scripture: the Ground and Pillar of Our Faith," or William Whitaker's "Disputations on Holy Scripture," or William Goode's work on the same subject. In short, the only person who would claim that there is "not one ounce of proof that anyone after [the Apostles]" held Sola Scriptura, is someone unfamiliar with the mountains of proof provided.

Frankly, even if Bellisario did not read those works, he ought to have read my posts in the recent Sola Scriptura debate we had (he and I). In those posts, he would have found oodles of evidence, amounting (at a minimum) to more than a mere ounce. (Link to Debate)
(actual link omitted by Bellisario but reinserted by me)

Bellisario replied: "We all saw the lame evidence provided by him in the debate. The funny thing is, there was no evidence, just many unproven presumptions made by Tf that he never backed up."

I can only give Bellisario the credit that he was clever enough to remove the link to the debate, so that people could not easily see just how much of a liar he is. I encourage the reader to go and check. May I especially exhort the reader to consider the Cross-Examination Questions and Answers portion of the debate. (UPDATE: I should point out that this comment about Bellisario being clever enough to remove the link is tongue-in-cheek. If he were clever enough to do that, he'd also be clever enough to remove the archive of the debate from his own blog, which evidently he did not. He also would have been clever enough to properly use bold to distinguish between his words and mine in his original post. In all likelyhood, Bellisario simply used "cut and paste" to copy over the part of my words that he wanted to dispute, and didn't realize that the link didn't transfer across. Thanks to Mr. Greco for pointing out the potential for people to take this comment of mine as something other than tongue-in-cheek, as well as for detecting a typo in my post, which I have now corrected. Thanks, as well, to Mr. Lankford who found a second typo in the post. Finally, I should point out that I realize that who makes (or leaves up) the most typos is not really the debate at hand. I hope my observation of a few of Mr. Bellisario's grammatical and/or spelling struggles does not unduly district the reader from the issues under discussion.)

I had written: "Those who want to be accused of making their church an idol should use exactly that expression "blasphemers of the Church." If accusing Bellisario's church of erring is equivalent to "blaspheming his church" then I am guilty as charged - and so are Calvin and Turretin (in whose company I am not worthy to be included). The question, though, is this: am I right? Bellisario doesn't seem even to be willing to consider the possibility that his church could make a mistake: even the suggestion is apparently "blasphemy," just as I would consider it blasphemy for someone to say that is possible God made a mistake. For Bellisario, then, "the Church" occupies the place that the Holy Spirit and Scripture occupy in my theology. It is the difference between the anti-Biblical doctrine of Sola Ecclesia and the Scriptural doctrine of Sola Scriptura."

Bellisario replied: "No the Scriptures say that the Holy Spirit guides the Church. We know that Christ's Church cannot error, so it is Tf that blasphemes by saying that it can. What we know to be a fact is that TF will not admit that he makes mistakes because we have seen it time and time again. We all remember the contraception debacle where he and his buddy Bridges tried to change the meaning of contraception and what the Catholic Church taught about it. Look back to my archives in August to see that."

1) "No the Scriptures say that the Holy Spirit guides the Church."

No, they do not (at least not in the sense that Bellisario means). I've discussed this above. The fact that Bellisario repeats his assertion several times doesn't make it any less of an assertion.

2) "We know that Christ's Church cannot error," (error in original)

How Bellisario thinks he knows either (a) that Rome is Christ's church or (b) that Christ's church (as an institution) cannot err, he does not say. It's his assertion, but not a valid argument.

3) "so it is Tf that blasphemes by saying that it can."

Bellisario's apparent rationale is that any error is "blasphemy." Of course, Bellisario should first try to demonstrate that his own position is truth. Upon further investigation, and actually reading the Bible, Bellisario may come to discover both that churches err (and even Rome is not immune) and that not every error is blasphemy, properly speaking (which is good, because all men err).

4) "What we know to be a fact is that TF will not admit that he makes mistakes because we have seen it time and time again."

a) This is another of Bellisario's lies. An example of a mistake I made was my conflating Wycliff with other Reformed Bible translators during the debate. I learned of my mistake, and I even used up some of my limited words in my rebuttal essay during the debate to correct this mistake.

b) Although Bellisario says "we have seen it time and time again," the careful reader will note just that Bellisario has claimed it and asserted it time and time again. Bellisario doesn't seem to see the difference between his assertions and reality, or at least it seems he doesn't wish his readers to see the difference.

5) "We all remember the contraception debacle where he and his buddy Bridges tried to change the meaning of contraception and what the Catholic Church taught about it. Look back to my archives in August to see that."

At some point I'll have to provide an index for that dialog, to permit the reader to see what transpired. If I had more time now, I'd do it right here. However, for the other side of the dialog, the reader may refer to my own August archive. Each of my posts should have a working link to the corresponding posts at Bellisario's blog. So, the reader can see whether Bellisario's report is accurate or inaccurate.

Bellisario concluded: "I will continue the rest of my response later. I am trying to enjoy my vacation rather than wasting more of my time on this guy."

We'll see ... can we look forward to serious, reasoned exegesis of Scripture - or more insulting rhetoric-driven piles of assertions?

-TurretinFan

3 comments:

natamllc said...

TF, again, this thread is long.

So, what I want to touch on, you may have picked up later in the thread. But for now, I want to make a comment on this sentence that I just read:::>

"....TF: This foolish red herring has been addressed previously. As noted previously, the apostles believed in the authority of Scripture and the authority of living prophets and Jesus. The circumstances today are that there are no living prophets and Jesus is in heaven. Thus, by process of elimination, there is only Scripture as a divine oracle."

That one sentence in there: "....The circumstances today are that there are no living prophets and Jesus is in heaven. ....", it seems to me is the meat in the nut Bellisario's spirit personality is attacking.

It stands to reason that if there are no living Prophets in the world today, the RCC is weakened and their foolish notion of the papacy is no longer benign. It become terminal instead. They need people to believe the pope is who he says he is so that that lie is received and they follow him!

Think about it. We read this in the Book of the Revelation:

Rev 20:10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Someone wrote about the "beast" and his relationship with the false prophet, that the "false" prophet is a lying wonder, powerful that way, because of the power the beast gives him, whose power, the beast's, is from the devil himself. The "beast" is the spirit being in the created heavens giving the false prophet the words, and false signs and lying wonders.

Who he, the false prophet uses, when "they" agree to be used by him end up being just like him, only in a human body and becomes culpable with the "false prophet", who is using them in the world.

The beast today needs for people like us to accept that rational Bellisario writes about. Why? Because that keeps the "false prophet" around and useful to the devil, who uses whatever and whoever he can to deceive the nations, keeping them in darkness, blinded to the Light.

It seems to me Bellisario is one such pawn or "false" prophet being used today and they have him caught and caged and are working him against you mightily to distract you from the "Truth".

They keep throwing stuff at you and it is not sticking! They are getting angry and you can sense the intensity of that anger in the subsequent posts by Bellisario against you. You have hit their raw nerve and now they have to stop you.

It bears saying, though I believe this about you, that you should remain ever vigilant in the Face of God, as you do, daily, because the devil indeed roams about on the earth, seeking to devour anyone and everyone he can distract from the Truth of God's Word receiving his lies instead! We know that that is a grave error, whoever receives and believes his lies instead of Truth!!

At least for me, this man, or young man, whichever, is an object lesson for the soldiers of Christ to learn an example by of how deadly serious this warfare is against the Truth and the Church!

2Ti 2:3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
2Ti 2:4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

We can take comfort in the Apostle Peter's word here:::>

Act 2:32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
Act 2:33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
Act 2:34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, "'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,
Act 2:35 until I make your enemies your footstool.'
Act 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."

Turretinfan said...

Messrs. Greco and Lankford,

Thanks for your assistance in improving the post. I have updated it in view of your suggestions.

natamllc said...

TF:

I see God guiding his church (all believers) infallibly by the completed Bible, and fallibly by the teachers of the church. That human teachers are fallible is taught in Scripture, and that the Scriptures are infallible is taught in Scripture. There is, however, no Scriptural doctrine of "institutional infallibility" for "the Church."


Amen to that TF!