Friday, July 24, 2009

Perspicuity of Scripture Contra Bellisario - Part 1

Introduction

The path to this post is hardly perspicuous in itself. This post is a response to Mr. Matthew Bellisario (link), who is responding to my earlier post (link), which was a response to Mr. Mark Shea's post (link), which was a response to Dr. White's post (link), which was a response to a post by Mr. Mark Shea (link), which made (or at least now makes ... the post has been updated, it seems) reference to an earlier discussion between Dr. White and Mr. Shea (link).

Mr. Bellisario has provided a lengthy response to my post. For a variety of reasons, I think it may be best to address his comments in a series of posts, particularly, since there are some natural divisions in Mr. Bellisario's article, and permit the reader (and the writer) to consider the issue in manageable chunks.

Without further ado:

Mr. Bellisario begins his post:
I ran across another post by one of the "Reformed" apologists who once again has taken many early Church Father writings out of context to try and bolster his case for Sola Scriptura. Of course we all know who these guys are that twist the Scriptures and the Fathers to their own destruction. I wanted to peruse through a post by Turretin Fan and show you just how bad his arguments are pertaining to understanding the Scriptures and Sola Scriptura. He calls one of his latest posts,"Flattening Flimsy Flam", where he insults the Catholic apologist Mark Shea. What is amusing is that his own post is what is really the flimsy flam because his arguments are really bad. Lets look at some of the quotes this guy cuts and pastes for his arguments to defend his position of Sola Scriptura as well as the ease of understanding the Scriptures without the help of apostolic Tradition.
I answer:

1) Obviously, a number of Bellisario's remarks are just chest-pounding about how he's going to criticize my post, how bad he thinks my arguments are, etc.

a) "once again has taken many early Church Father writings out of context"

b) "Of course we all know who these guys are that twist the Scriptures and the Fathers to their own destruction"

c) "I wanted to ... show you just how bad his arguments are pertaining to understanding the Scriptures and Sola Scriptura."

d) "is amusing is that his own post is what is really the flimsy flam because his arguments are really bad"

My response is simply that we will see how much he can substantiate these assertions in the segments that follow. If he can show that the arguments were bad, I'll happily replace or recant them. If not, I'll encourage Mr. Bellisario to be more modest in his claims.

2) Remarks about motive: "to try and bolster his case for Sola Scriptura" / "to defend his position of Sola Scriptura"

Actually, while perspicuity is one aspect of Sola Scriptura, this post was primarily about perspicuity, not about Sola Scriptura more generally.

3) Odd usage: "He calls one of his latest posts,'Flattening Flimsy Flam'" / "his own post is what is really the flimsy flam"

No, actually, I called it "Flattening Flimsy Flim-Flam." The word "flam" is a word, but it has nothing to do with "flim-flam." I have no idea what Mr. Bellisario means by "flam" in his post. Presumably he's just inaccurately aping me.

4) Remarks about tone: "where he insults the Catholic apologist Mark Shea"

No, I don't insult him. I respond to his claims, but I don't insult him.

5) Remarks about ... effort? "quotes this guy cuts and pastes"

It's in the nature of quotations to be cut from the source and pasted into the target. Surely Mr. Bellisario is not suggesting that one should merely paraphrase those one is quoting. In the absence of such an event, however, it seems Mr. Bellisario is just trying to downplay the work involved in transcribing these quotations (in fact, as to the mechanism, it was not a simple "cut-and-paste," but that is neither here nor there).

6) More remarks about motive: "to defend his position of ... the ease of understanding the Scriptures without the help of apostolic Tradition"

This is closer to the mark than item (2) above. Nevertheless, the point of my article was that the important things in Scripture are plain. The necessary things are all manifest. Not everything is equally clear, but the Scriptures were written to be read and understood. Furthermore, the scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation and to thoroughly equip the man of God to every good work.

There was some brief discussion toward the end about the lack of need for additional Apostolic tradition. In fact, as was pointed out in the article, the argument that Scripture is ambiguous and needs apostolic tradition is itself a Gnostic argument, not an Apostolic tradition.

With that, let's move on to the place where Mr. Bellisario will attempt to substantiate his claims regarding the quality etc. of my arguments and quotations.

-TurretinFan

6 comments:

natamllc said...

Simply because, I will stop reading Mr. Bellisario in toto and just deal with each bit as it comes at me.

Here's the first one:

"....bolster his case for Sola Scriptura...."

I am no apologist of yours TF, but, any reasonable person more than the dimwit I am can realize you are not defending yourself or bolstering your own imagination of Scripture, but Scripture itself, praise be to God for which I know He honors you and such as you and your work.

It is clear by virtue of Scripture alone, we agree in Sola Scriptura because that is what Scripture teaches.

It makes perfectly good sense to me, when one is going to have one foot on the Bible and another on doctrines of men by demons and not the Holy Ghost, why this sort of flimsy rhetoric is coming out of one such as Mr. Bellisario.

As for defense and service and being a Good Witness of and for "from" the Truth I point to one of the greatest defenses captured by the inspired pen for the Truth, as in, Jesus, the Light of the World:

Act 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me.
Act 26:14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
Act 26:15 And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
Act 26:16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
Act 26:17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles--to whom I am sending you
Act 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
Act 26:19 "Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
Act 26:20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
Act 26:21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.


Again, it stands to reason Turrentinfan, whether as you are here or as you are, you would be well advised that being known in Rome might produce the same desire at least by Roman Catholics instead of Jews! :)

Now, onto the next portion of Mr. Bellisario's responses:::>.

natamllc said...

Well, at least we are of one mind on some of Mr. Bellisario's response, TF?

I just read this now after submitted before now what I did:

"....2) Remarks about motive: "to try and bolster his case for Sola Scriptura" / "to defend his position of Sola Scriptura"

Actually, while perspicuity is one aspect of Sola Scriptura, this post was primarily about perspicuity, not about Sola Scriptura more generally....".

Well, maybe I am a better dimwit then? :)

natamllc said...

Ok, to this then:

"....6) More remarks about motive: "to defend his position of ... the ease of understanding the Scriptures without the help of apostolic Tradition"....".

Well, I am still looking for your personal defenses here TF. Honestly, if there are some, I would be grateful for one's perspicuous observation, cut and pasted, to draw my attention to them?

natamllc said...

Well, now here's a comment on your words TF:

"....Not everything is equally clear, but the Scriptures were written to be read and understood. Furthermore, the scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation and to thoroughly equip the man of God to every good work....".

For me, its rudimentary that no one reads the Bible and understands it without the assistance of Its Authors!

I recall reading the Scriptures while a Catholic boy and young man and nothing came alive to me. The read was most dry and a bore with drudgery in emotion in doing so.

But once the Word of God came alive within me, I just read it daily now for over 35 years and each day is equally an adventure full of surprise and wonder and joy!

Why is that?

Well, I believe, without something and someone like this story occurring, it will remain a bore to read with drudgery!


Act 8:26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert place.
Act 8:27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship
Act 8:28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
Act 8:29 And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over and join this chariot."
Act 8:30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
Act 8:31 And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
Act 8:32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: "Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth.
Act 8:33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth."
Act 8:34 And the eunuch said to Philip, "About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?"
Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.

It is my testimony that when something very similar happened to me, I too, asked to be baptised! Wow, a good Catholic boy wanting to be baptised! hmmmmm?

Rhology said...

Well, Shea has a bit of a thin skin when it comes to being "insulted".

Turretinfan said...

Well, considering that Mr. Shea calls names so freely, he at least ought to have a thicker skin.