Saturday, April 04, 2009

John of Damascus vs. An Allegedly Ecumenical Council

This is a video response (as usual, audio only) to a post by Matthew Bellisario (link). Although Bellisario starts off his post by saying "Once again we see that Turretin Fan is clueless when it come to Biblical exegesis," he fails to back it up, not identifying any exegetical errors or even providing any of his own exegesis, but simply quoting from a work attributed to John of Damascus.



In addition to what is in the video, let me add this:

According to Bellisario, John of Damascus wrote this:
I worship the image of Christ as the Incarnate God; that of Our Lady (thV qeotokou), the Mother of us all, as the Mother of God's Son; that of the saints as the friends of God. They have withstood sin unto blood, and followed Christ in shedding their blood for Him, who shed His blood for them.
(the Greek transliteration there is for the term "the Theotokos")

One question for Bellisario, since he quoted these words, does he accept them? Does Bellisario worship "the image of Christ" and the image of "Our Lady" and the images of "the saints"?

Notice that I said "worship" just as Bellisario has quoted John of Damascus. I'll even give Mr. Bellisario a bit of a break, since John of Damascus seems to suggest that he does not worship the image itself but the the thing the image represents. So, does Mr. Bellisario worship (in addition to Jesus) Mary and the martyrs? Because most Romanists won't actually admit this - they'll claim that they only worship God.

-TurretinFan

21 comments:

natamllc said...

TF,

needless to say, I suppose, I would be surprised if Bellisario concluded that your exegesis of Scripture was on par with his, seeing yours clearly has one additional component that seems lacking in his, the Holy Ghost of God giving His own lucid clarity of meaning and intent!

Throughout history, there has always been a void between God's own and the devil's, even though the demons themselves know God's own, accusing them and attacking them, while those they work through against God's own, do not know who it is they oppose! Hmmmmmmm!!

Psa 108:1 (A song and a psalm by David.) Our God, I am faithful to you with all my heart, and you can trust me. I will sing and play music for you with all that I am.
Psa 108:2 I will start playing my harps before the sun rises.
Psa 108:3 I will praise you, LORD, for everyone to hear; I will sing hymns to you in every nation.
Psa 108:4 Your love reaches higher than the heavens, and your loyalty extends beyond the clouds.
Psa 108:5 Our God, may you be honored above the heavens; may your glory be seen everywhere on earth.
Psa 108:6 Answer my prayers and use your powerful arm to give us victory. Then the people you love will be safe.
Psa 108:7 Our God, from your holy place you made this promise: "I will gladly divide up the city of Shechem and give away Succoth Valley piece by piece.
Psa 108:8 The lands of Gilead and Manasseh are mine. Ephraim is my war helmet, and Judah is my symbol of royal power.
Psa 108:9 Moab is merely my washbasin, and Edom belongs to me. I shout with victory over the Philistines."
Psa 108:10 Our God, who will bring me to the fortress or lead me to Edom?
Psa 108:11 Have you rejected us? You don't lead our armies.
Psa 108:12 Help us defeat our enemies! No one else can rescue us.
Psa 108:13 You are the one who gives us victory and crushes our enemies.

Now, so that my point is taken clearly, here is some more citation of Scripture to underscore that point. Here's a demonic response:::>

Mat 8:28 After Jesus had crossed the lake, he came to shore near the town of Gadara and started down the road. Two men with demons in them came to him from the tombs. They were so fierce that no one could travel that way.
Mat 8:29 Suddenly they shouted, "Jesus, Son of God, what do you want with us? Have you come to punish us before our time?"
Mat 8:30 Not far from there a large herd of pigs was feeding.
Mat 8:31 So the demons begged Jesus, "If you force us out, please send us into those pigs!"
Mat 8:32 Jesus told them to go, and they went out of the men and into the pigs. All at once the pigs rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

I have to say, the time is nearer than when we first believed, "to punish us before our time?"

Equally nearer for those used of the demons, too!

This is not a cause for you or me ceasing and desisting when one objects to our exergetical assertions of the Truth of the matter, either in debate or evangelical discourse. No, on the contrary, it gives more encouragement that our exergesis is on point and the Truth is indeed being established. It makes sense then that there would rise objections to it as has clearly been the case risen against it now and most certainly objections will rise against it after now.

Ben said...

TF,

Good video as usual. I came across this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WFc40U7Iz4&feature=channel_page

I thought you would be interested in it.

Kyle said...

The historical problem with the Council of Hieria's claims to ecumenicity is that no patriachs, nor the Pope, were present, either in person or by legate. (The patriachate in Constantinople was vacant, while Muslims had taken control over Antioch, Alexandria, & Jerusalem.)

On the other hand, the patriarchs of Antioch, Alexandria, & Jerusalem weren't present, either in person or by legate, for II Nicaea ...

Turretinfan said...

Thanks, Ben. Yes, I follow GNRHead's post with interest in view of some of the endorsements he's received (link).

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Kyle,

There are a number of interesting problems for the council (as well as for the anti-council). As you hinted at, the bishops of Antioch, Alexandria & Jerusalem had been captured by (and were in the custody of) the Saracens.

But, the bishop of Ephesus (Theodosius) presided over the council, and we know that Paul (together with Priscilla and Aquilla and Apollos) founded the church at Ephesus, which makes it an apostolic see (even if it is not one of the major five).

Interestingly, while the seat of Constantinople was vacant during much of the council, the patriarchiate was filled on the last day of the council by patriarch Constantinus.

-TurretinFan

rsolis89 said...

TF,

Do you plan on watching the documentary that Fr Pacwa is going to release?

Ben

Anonymous said...

Who was the papal Legate at the Council of Dordt? Wha patriarch attended the Concil of Dordt?

So much for the Council of Dordt's claims to ecumenicity, NAY!, Legitimacy!

Turretinfan said...

Dear Anonymous,

The Council of Dordt was a regional (Dutch) council. Hence, no need either for papal legates or for ecumenicity.

But, of course, since Rome was already apostate at that time, had one tried to form an ecumenical council, one would not have included any papal legates.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Dear Ben,

That will probably depend on the cost of the documentary. Obviously, such a documentary is not where I'd direct anyone interested in learning about the Reformation, but I may want to view it to see where it falls within the polemical spectrum of which it is neccessarily a part.

-TurretinFan

Anonymous said...

Even if I grant that the Pope was a heretic at the time of Dordt, that still leaves the problems involved with the absence of a Patriarch or his Legate. During this time era, the Patriarch was a political ally with the Reformers. There would have been absolutely no problem with the sending of such a representative as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire had every reason to send the Patriarch and/or his Legate to stir up trouble for the Pope and the Habsburgs.

Dordt's Legitimacy is still in question.

Turretinfan said...

There's no need to have a patriarch of one of the major five sees present to make a council "legimate". That's true whether one simply goes by Scripture, or whether one goes by the practice of the ancient church.

-TurretinFan

orthodox said...

Err... what is the point of this post? A word game over what J of D means by a particular term? Why is that interesting?

Turretinfan said...

The issue of the fact that John allegedly "worships" Mary and the martyrs is really an aside. It is, however, an important one, since we often see both idolaters and iconodules claiming that they only worship God. John of Damascus (if these writings are truly his) does not seem to have been so bashful.

If he doesn't feel the need to play word games, why do folks today?

-TurretinFan

Ben Douglass said...

If [St. John of Damascus] doesn't feel the need to play word games, why do folks today?

If St. John of Damascus uses the verb proskuneo then its semantic domain would be sufficiently wide to encompass what modern Catholics call veneration.

Turretinfan said...

Ben, I agree that proskuneo is broad enough to encompass both of the categories of worship that Roman Catholics give, and that's part of my point. :)

And, indeed, Proskuneo is the verb that John Damascene uses here.

But more significant is that the translators both ancient and relatively modern recognize that he's talking about worship, not something other than worship, even if some modern Roman Catholics feel the need to play word games and not call both forms of worship by the name of "worship".

-TurretinFan

orthodox said...

I've seen Russian works that say they worship the saints but reject the propriety of venerating the saints because only God should be venerated.

Which word is used is irrelevant, the issue is that there is a distinction.

Turretinfan said...

I've seen lots of interesting Russian works.

Nevertheless, what is important is that although there is a distinction posed by those who try to worship representations (both among modern icondules and, sometimes, even in writings attributed to John Damascene) there is no such distinction in Scripture.

-TurretinFan

orthodox said...

No distinction between the respect given to men and that given to God? Shame on you TF.

Turretinfan said...

No, "Orthodox," shame on those who give religious proskuneo to anyone but God.

Ryan said...

This entire discussion hangs on a limited understanding of the English language. The English word "worship" is very broad, especially in its older uses. It could simply mean the honor one gives to distinguished persons. For example, in the KJV translation Luke 14: 10: "But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee."

John of Damascus makes it clear in several places that we do not adore images as gods, nor do we adore the Theotokos or the saints this way; rather, our honor toward them is relative to the degree that we see God's glory reflected in them. All men are made in the image of God- that is the sole basis by which we give honor to anyone aside from God.

Turretinfan said...

Ryan:

I hope you don't imagine that we say that you worship the saints or Mary by saying that they are gods/goddesses. Instead, we suggest that you give religious worship to them, and that such worship should be reserved for God alone.

-TurretinFan