Monday, January 11, 2010

Definition of Perspicuity

William Whitaker (A.D. 1548-1595) defines the Christian doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture this way:
First, that the scriptures are sufficiently clear to admit of their being read by the people and the unlearned with some fruit and utility. Secondly, that all things necessary to salvation are propounded in plain words in the scriptures. Meanwhile, we concede that there are many obscure places, and that the scriptures need explication; and that, on this account, God's ministers are to be listened to when they expound the word of God, and the men best skilled in scripture are to be consulted.
- William Whitaker, Disputations on Holy Scripture, First Controversy, Fourth Question, Chapter I

The Westminster Confession of Faith similar states:
VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
- Westminster Confession of Faith (1646), Chapter 1, Paragraph 7

- TurretinFan

117 comments:

SP said...

I don't see how William Whitaker's definition is any different than the Catholic understanding of the material sufficiency of scripture outlined here.

The only difference, I believe, would be Whitaker's definition of 'church' when it comes to interpreting 'obscure' passages.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Hey, what are you doing using Whitiker and some kind of 'confession' to explain your position? Sola scriptura!

Mark P. Shea said...

I love it when Calvinists get going on the incredibly elaborate explanations of "perspicuity". It has the same, completely unconscious, hilarity as watching a materialist laboring to persuade an audience to change their minds and admit that there is no such thing as free will.

I don't care who you are. That's funny!

Ryan said...

Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

No commentary needed.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

@Ryan:

And yet, tens of thousands of protestant denominations can't decide on much at all. Also, the psalm you cite can be read in more than one way. I may take it to mean that 'only the simple' or 'even the simple'.

No MORE commentary needed.

steve said...

Mark P. Shea said...

"I love it when Calvinists get going on the incredibly elaborate explanations of 'perspicuity'."

Explain how Whitaker's definition was "incredibly elaborate"? Seemed like a pretty lean definition to me. Do you think a definition of "perspicuity" should have absolutely no qualifications?

Do you think the Catechism of the Catholic Church is unqualifiedly perspicuous?

Turretinfan said...

SP:

I think you might want to re-read the definitions.

LOL:

Are you really so uninformed as to think that sola scriptura implies what you are suggesting? If so, let me recommend you read Whitaker's Disputations on Holy Scripture (the book from which the definition above was taken).

Mark:

Since a mind that finds an elaborate explanation of perspicuity to be amusing should similarly find hilarty in a lengthy explanation of the simplicity of God, therefore, that your day may be jolly (link).

Ryan:

Good point.

LOL again:

Unlearned and unstable men wrest both the simple and difficult Scriptures to their own destruction.

Steve:

:) Indeed. One paragraph is hardly an overwhelmingly elaborate definition.

DrOakley said...

LOL:

Just wondering when you folks are going to stop with the "tens of thousands of denominations" falsehood? It has been shown to be a gross falsehood repeatedly, I'm just wondering when the memo will get around?

Mark:

I hope folks will compare the citations TurretinFan posted with, say, the torturous reasoning of Indulgentiarum Doctrina and then ponder your incapacity to provide much in the way of meaningful refutation of Reformed writings. I would hope that you would consider such an obvious inconsistency, but the years have not given me a lot of reason to nurture such an expectation.

james

Ryan said...

Lothair wrote:

"And yet, tens of thousands of protestant denominations can't decide on much at all."

Is this supposed to render inert what God said? Or what?

A misuse of a perspicuous source is not the fault of the perspicuous source.

"I may take it to mean that 'only the simple' or 'even the simple'."

Neither of those words are in the passage, so why you would take it to mean anything other than what it says. You're my best, present example of my above answer.

God's word gives understanding to the simple. It doesn't say anything about who else it can or does give understanding to.

John Bugay said...

Ryan: You quoted Lothair: "And yet, tens of thousands of protestant denominations can't decide on much at all."

You should not grant him this number, because it is not true. If he wants to argue for this number, he should be forced to do so.

See this article for details:

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=2218

Ryan said...

John,

I'm aware that, and the fact that source he cites is the one which says the RC "church" is responsible for the 5th most killings of martyrs and has 200+ factions itself. I read that post maybe a week ago. But the central point I was trying to make was that, even if what he is saying were true, and even if all those groups claimed to affirm sola scriptura, it's irrelevant to Scripture's perspicuity.

Thanks for the friendly tip anyways, though.

Anonymous said...

Does the fact that James 2:24 is substantially clearer and more direct than the vast majority of verses in the Pauline letters give you pause at all, sport? Not to mention most of Matthew?

I mean, if I posited that the essential parts of the Scriptures are clear enough that the unlearned could understand them, but that the Scriptures also contained some more obscure passages on which the common believer would be wise to listen to the counsel of Scripture experts, there is just about zero chance I'd end up with a sola fide position.


P.S. Yes - I'm familar with the various Reformed interpretations of James. And those arguments are certainly interesting, thought provoking and worthy of serious engagement. But simple and direct they ain't.

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

Anonymous, as neither James nor Matthew contradict Paul, the answer to your question(s) is no. Rather than change the topic of discussion, however, perhaps, when you read Psalm 119:130, you should continue to read on to verse 169. Maybe that will help.

SP said...

I agree that the follow is perspicuous from scripture:

1) Justification not by faith alone
2) Baptismal regeneration
3) The Eucharist
4) Apostolic succession
5) Mary as the Mother of God
6) Petrine primacy

…etc…

Since the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived profess those doctrines you must either say that those doctrines A) Are not essential or B) Scripture is not perspicuous after all.

Which is it?

Ryan said...

SP wrote:

"Since the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived profess those doctrines..."

C. Your argument is, at best, an argumentum ad populum fallacy, and Scripture is perspicuous, as the authors of Scripture claim.

Is this really the best "C"atholic apologists have to offer?

Turretinfan said...

SP:

Well, if the majority vote came out that way...

But of course, that's not the way that we judge the matter.

And yes, I think most Reformed folks would agree that those doctrines (certainly not as stated in such a simple form as you've proposed) are essential doctrines (except, of course, that Jesus is God - which is implied by Mary's title that you've identified).

By the way, please see the Arianism thread where folks like LOL are trying to claim that Jesus' divinity itself isn't perspicuous.

I assume you disagree with them.

-TurretinFan

SP said...

TFan.

To me, Jesus' divinity is perspicuous but I once had a very revealing discussion with an Islamic man that claimed that the bible itself teaches that Jesus is not God. (He pointed to the fact that Jesus never claims to be God).

Lets just focus my question to a single doctrine...baptism. Do you agree that baptism is essential?

Ryan,

I wrote:

"Since the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived profess those doctrines..."

You wrote:

C. Your argument is, at best, an argumentum ad populum fallacy, and Scripture is perspicuous, as the authors of Scripture claim.

Can you account for why most Christians who have ever read the bible are not Calvinists if the bible is 'perspicuous?'

Is this really the best "C"atholic apologists have to offer?

For one thing I am not an "apologist." For another thing, it would be nice if these questions could be answered.

Ryan,

Why does every Church father who ever wrote about John 3 interpret John 3 to be talking about baptism? Why did the Reformers break from this? Is baptism not essential or is scripture not perspicuous?

Zwingi famously stated that ALL of the doctors of the church, prior to him I guess, erred on baptism. How is that possible if scripture is perspicuous?

Pretty simple question.

Turretinfan said...

"Lets just focus my question to a single doctrine...baptism. Do you agree that baptism is essential?"

Baptism is a practice.

-TurretinFan

SP said...

PS.

The Zwingli citation:

“In this matter of baptism — if I may be pardoned for saying it — I can only conclude that all the doctors have been in error from the time of the apostles. . . . All the doctors have ascribed to the water a power which it does not have and the holy apostles did not teach.”

"On Baptism"

SP said...

TFan.

So baptism is not essential?

(I just realized that asking this very question is a splinter in the perspicuity argument as many fathers, if not all of them, taught that baptism is indeed essential in order to be justified....something they gleamed from scripture)

Turretinfan said...

SP:

Are you unfamiliar with the distinction between doctrines and practices?

-TurretinFan

SP said...

TFan.

It seems that you are obfuscating.

Is baptism essential. Yes or no?

Whether it a doctrine or practice makes no difference according to the definitions of perspicuity you provided.

Here are those definitions:

First, that the scriptures are sufficiently clear to admit of their being read by the people and the unlearned with some fruit and utility. Secondly, that all things necessary to salvation are propounded in plain words in the scriptures. Meanwhile, we concede that there are many obscure places, and that the scriptures need explication; and that, on this account, God's ministers are to be listened to when they expound the word of God, and the men best skilled in scripture are to be consulted.
- William Whitaker, Disputations on Holy Scripture, First Controversy, Fourth Question, Chapter I

The Westminster Confession of Faith similar states:

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

I see nothing in those definitions about a distinction between doctrine and practice.

And, please, don't tell me that baptism isn't doctrinal! Its a sacrament instituted by Christ. It is the reason why my reformed Baptist friends don't go to church with my reformed Presbyterian friends.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

@TF:

When did baptism become a 'practice' and not a 'doctrine'? Tell me when the distinction began. I think it can be easily argued that the distinction is an innovation and not Biblical.

Turretinfan said...

LOL:

So you think that the distinction is an innovation and not Biblical, eh?

Very interesting. Thanks for participating in the discussion.

-TurretinFan

Ryan said...

SP,

If you're making an apology against the perspicuity of Scripture, you're an apologist. As to your questions:

"Why does every Church father who ever wrote about John 3 interpret John 3 to be talking about baptism?"

I don't know, and it doesn't matter. The ECFs were fallible, God's word is not. Moreover, God's word claims to be clear, even to the simple. Do you not recognize that Psalm 119:130 proves the perspicuity of Scripture? Why not? What else can it possibly mean?

"Why did the Reformers break from this?"

Because Scripture does not support the RC concept of baptism. Thornwell wrote:

"Is it more incredible that an outward ordinance should be invalidated than that the precious truths which it was designed to represent should be lost? Is the shell more important the substance? And shall we admit that the cardinal doctrines of the Gospel have been damnably corrupted in the Church of Rome, and yet be afraid to declare that the signs and seals of the covenant have shared the same fate?"

The answer to his questions: no. You'll have to do better than irrelevant insinuations.

SP said...

TFan,

It seems to me that the definition of perspicuity is a moving target depending on which way the wind is blowing.

I think you need to petition the general assembly of your particular American Reformed Presbyterian church that they need to vote on ammending the WCOF to reflect that only 'doctrines' are plain and clear in scripture.

So, in response to my question, you are saying that baptism is non-essential right?

Turretinfan said...

SP:

"It seems that you are obfuscating.

Is baptism essential. Yes or no?"

Actually, vague questions phrased in yes/no format obfuscate.

When ask whether baptism is essential, what do you mean by that. Do you mean, for example, that is necessary to have a full understanding of the symbology etc. of baptism? or do you mean that is necessary (in some sense) to be baptized to be saved? or what?

There is certainly a sense in which baptism can be said to be essential (one Lord, one faith, one baptism), but vague questions lead to obfuscation, not clarity.

SP said...

Ryan,

I don't know, and it doesn't matter. The ECFs were fallible, God's word is not.

So, apparently, God allowed his church to be wrong about baptism for 1600 years or so (and even today most Christians are wrong about baptism). Yet God’s word is clear even to the simple?

Moreover, God's word claims to be clear, even to the simple. Do you not recognize that Psalm 119:130 proves the perspicuity of Scripture? Why not? What else can it possibly mean?

It seems that you are proof-texting an innovative doctrine into the text. That is easy to do. Anything can be proof texted. Take the prosperity gospel. Doesn't Scripture say of the righteous man that whatever he does prospers (Ps 1:3)?

Besides, ss not this a clearer text that proves that scripture is anything but perspicuous?

"So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures." (2 Pt 3:15-16).

"Why did the Reformers break from this?"

Because Scripture does not support the RC concept of baptism.


Actually, we are talking about a Reformed 'concept' not a Catholic concept. And merely asserting something isn't proving it.

Thornwell wrote:

"Is it more incredible that an outward ordinance should be invalidated than that the precious truths which it was designed to represent should be lost? Is the shell more important the substance? And shall we admit that the cardinal doctrines of the Gospel have been damnably corrupted in the Church of Rome, and yet be afraid to declare that the signs and seals of the covenant have shared the same fate?"


Uh, so instead of proving your argument you are going to start showing me quotes of anti-Catholic people?

The answer to his questions: no. You'll have to do better than irrelevant insinuations.

Ryan. My questions are extremely relevant. You'd do well to think about them instead of just dismissing them because I am a Catholic.

SP said...

T Fan.

When ask whether baptism is essential, what do you mean by that.

I don't know how I could be any clearer. Just use the definition of 'essential' that the Reformed give when they say that scripture is perspicuous on the 'essential' doctrines.

Do you mean, for example, that is necessary to have a full understanding of the symbology etc. of baptism? or do you mean that is necessary (in some sense) to be baptized to be saved? or what?

Now you are getting back to the doctrine of baptism. Good.

Do you think that the doctrine of baptism is perspicuous in scripture? And do you think that a proper understanding of baptism is essential?

Turretinfan said...

SP:

"Besides, is not this a clearer text that proves that scripture is anything but perspicuous?"

No, just the opposite. The conventional sense of Peter's words is that some parts of Paul's writings are clear, some are hard, and unlearned and unstable men wrest all of them to their own destruction.

Perhaps, however, you haven't carefully read the definitions above!

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Do you think that the doctrine of baptism is perspicuous in scripture?"

That men are to be baptized as part of the Christian life is clear.

"And do you think that a proper understanding of baptism is essential?"

If by proper, you mean "right in every regard," then clearly no. Perhaps some aspects (I'd rather not try to decide which ones) are essential.

-TurretinFan

SP said...

Typically when somebody posts a blog with an effort to explain something they don't retreat from questions.

Ryan said...

“So, apparently, God allowed his church to be wrong about baptism for 1600 years or so (and even today most Christians are wrong about baptism). Yet God’s word is clear even to the simple?”

So what if this were true?

”It seems that you are proof-texting an innovative doctrine into the text. That is easy to do. Anything can be proof texted.”

Even Arianism! :/

Regardless, you did not answer the question. What else can Psalm 119:130 mean other than that Scripture is clear even to the simple? Hello?

“Take the prosperity gospel. Doesn't Scripture say of the righteous man that whatever he does prospers (Ps 1:3)?”

Yes. So? Do you disagree?

2 Peter 3:16 does not say Paul’s letters are impossible to understand, so no – especially not since God inspired Psalm 119:130. You can twist this verse to your destruction (hello, irony!), but it says nothing against perspicuity.

”Actually, we are talking about a Reformed 'concept' not a Catholic concept. And merely asserting something isn't proving it.”

Your attempts to divert the discussion to baptism is a sign of desperation. I will stick to the topic, thank you.

”Uh, so instead of proving your argument you are going to start showing me quotes of anti-Catholic people?”

If he makes my point for me, sure. By the bye, isn’t anti-Catholic a epithet is simply a thought-stopping term, just like neo-Catholic?

I’ve not “dismissed” your questions. I’ve answered them. If you will please return the favor, now, explain what Psalm 119:130 means.

SP said...

So, you agree that whether baptism is regenerational and whether adults or children should be baptized, and whether one should be immersed or sprinkled is not perspicuous in scripture?

Turretinfan said...

"Typically when somebody posts a blog with an effort to explain something they don't retreat from questions."

Usually when honest questions are posed, the questioner doesn't mind clarifying what he means.

Turretinfan said...

"So, you agree that whether baptism is regenerational and whether adults or children should be baptized, and whether one should be immersed or sprinkled is not perspicuous in scripture? "

Try to remember this important distinction:

All essential things are perspicuous; not all perspicuous things are essential.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

You are running circles around the Scripture, rather than addressing the question.

Luis Berkhof discusses the DOCTRINE of baptism [Systematic Theology, 626] and gives a fair histoy of the Christian rite. Martin Luther also held that baptismal water possessed a divine status and effects regeneration. The mode of baptism is disputed among protestors, but there appears to be a 'magikal' connection between the Water that one is immersed in and the Blood that is the source of the purification [Systematic Theology, 629].

Also, are ony men to be baptized?

Turretinfan said...

"You are running circles around the Scripture, rather than addressing the question."

Am I, now?

Louis Berkhof is certainly worth reading. I'm glad you have an interest in that regard.

"Also, are ony men to be baptized?"

We're getting a bit far off the topic of the definition of perspicuity. But yes - we don't baptize angels, animals, inanimate objects, or intangible things.

-TurretinFan

SP said...

“So, apparently, God allowed his church to be wrong about baptism for 1600 years or so (and even today most Christians are wrong about baptism). Yet God’s word is clear even to the simple?”

So what if this were true?

If scripture is perspicuous than how did every church father get baptism wrong from their reading of scripture?

Regardless, you did not answer the question. What else can Psalm 119:130 mean other than that Scripture is clear even to the simple? Hello?

Am I going to have to exegete every verse that you can summon in order. Firstly, the Psalm does not say that every Christian doctrine will be clear to the simple.

2 Peter 3:16 does not say Paul’s letters are impossible to understand, so no – especially not since God inspired Psalm 119:130.

You are just casually subverting 2 Peter 3:16 to Psalm 119:130 so that your 'system' stays in tact. (PS...It is not the Catholic position that Paul's letter is impossible to understand. If you have to resort to blatant straw men than perhaps you should rethink your position)

Your attempts to divert the discussion to baptism is a sign of desperation. I will stick to the topic, thank you.

Please. Baptism is just one obvious example that scripture is not perspicuous and you know it. You simply cannot account for the fact that there is so little agreement about baptism within Christiandome while you claim that the simple will understand everything so you dismiss it and go about citing random 18th century polemicists.

I'll note that you didn't even bother to address the Peter citation which explicitly calls Paul's teaching 'difficult to understand.' Simply spoof texting your pet Psalm over it doesn't count. Neither does creating a straw man.

Turretinfan said...

"If scripture is perspicuous than how did every church father get baptism wrong from their reading of scripture? "

Again, see the definition of perspicuity. It's not a claim that every nuance of every doctrine is clear.

SP said...

TFan.

Is justification by 'faith alone' a nuance of doctrine or something absolutely essential?

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

I'll pretend you didn't understand the question. I meant, are women to be baptised? And what of children?

Turretinfan said...

yes

Turretinfan said...

"Is justification by 'faith alone' a nuance of doctrine or something absolutely essential?"

Nuance. However, the practice of trusting in Christ alone for salvation is essential. Thankfully, many have done the latter without understanding the former.

-TurretinFan

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

Using only the perspicuous Bible, give me some references to infant baptism. If infants are to be initiated into the Church with water, give me the Biblical basis for why.

Turretinfan said...

LOL:

As tempting as your request is:

1) Demonstrating infant baptism from Scripture is way off topic;

2) Whether or not infant baptism is taught by the Bible is one thing - whether it is clearly taught is another thing.

3) And even if it is clearly taught, infant baptism is not an essential doctrine of the faith.

Ryan said...

Sp,

“If scripture is perspicuous than how did every church father get baptism wrong from their reading of scripture?”

You’re repeating questions I’ve already answered.

”Am I going to have to exegete every verse that you can summon in order. Firstly, the Psalm does not say that every Christian doctrine will be clear to the simple.”

You’ve cited several verses, I’ve cited one. Quit whining.

If God’s word is not clear to the simple, how can it give them understanding?

”You are just casually subverting 2 Peter 3:16 to Psalm 119:130 so that your 'system' stays in tact.”

Ok, as you’ve brought up sola fide: Paul wrote to the whole of Rome, even the uneducated slaves. How much more can we who are educated understand the clarity of God’s word?

“It is not the Catholic position that Paul's letter is impossible to understand. If you have to resort to blatant straw men than perhaps you should rethink your position”

But I haven’t, so this point is moot.

”Please.”

If you say put a cherry on top, maybe :)

“Baptism is just one obvious example that scripture is not perspicuous and you know it.”

Prove it.

Ryan said...

2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

The only reason one would have trouble understanding or accepting the gospel - i.e. those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation - is if he is unregenerated (verses 4-6, cf. Ephesians 2:1-3).

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF: 'As tempting as your request is..'

Actually, you're not tempted, you're scared...

Turretinfan said...

LoL wrote: "Actually, you're not tempted, you're scared..."

Now I'm not only not scared but also not tempted.

steve said...

SP said...
I agree that the follow is perspicuous from scripture:

1) Justification not by faith alone
2) Baptismal regeneration
3) The Eucharist
4) Apostolic succession
5) Mary as the Mother of God
6) Petrine primacy

…etc…

Since the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived profess those doctrines you must either say that those doctrines A) Are not essential or B) Scripture is not perspicuous after all.

*************************************

I look forward to the polling data to substantiate your claim. For example, can you point me to the polling data from, say 13C Lombardy? Is that in the Vatican Secret Archives?

SP said...

So, basically, scripture is perspicuous but not when it comes to practice (including sacraments) or "nuance" of doctrine.

Thanks for the explanation.

Turretinfan said...

SP:

I'll stick with the definitions presented in the post, thanks.

-TurretinFan

SP said...

You mean the definitions that kept on moving because the definitions you provided say absolutely nothing about 'practices' vs 'doctrines' nor 'essentials' vs 'nuance' etc...

But thats fine. I really at this point see absolutely no difference between the definitions you posted and the material sufficiency of scripture that has long been understood in Catholicism.

steve said...

I'm still waiting for SP's polling data from 13C Lombardy.

Turretinfan said...

"I really at this point see absolutely no difference between the definitions you posted and the material sufficiency of scripture that has long been understood in Catholicism."

Whitaker 1

Bellarmine and Stapleton 0

natamllc said...

Steve,

needless to say, you should enjoy the wait, but, don't stay up to late!

When you poll my Indian Reservation, now that the Protestant reformers finally made it, we are tipping the count in favor of dumping the RCC! My guess is, give the Reformation a chance on all the other Rancherias and Reservations the RCC brought under their spell and the polling data there too will be in favor of the dumps to donuts!

SP said...

I'm still waiting for SP's polling data from 13C Lombardy.

Yeah Steve. Because, you know, if the world of never ending sophistry its reasonable to ask this of me.

The people of 13 century lombardy were obviously just simple bible calvinists affirming the five solas all day.

nata,

What is the name of your indian reservation?

Turretinfan said...

"The people of 13 century lombardy were obviously just simple bible calvinists affirming the five solas all day."

That's a bit sophistical, don't you think? It's not as though the two options are modern Roman Catholic or modern Reformed.

In fact, the folks of the 13th century were (at least those we know) not fully in either camp. That variance is explainable and justifiable within the Reformed worldview, but not within the Roman Catholic worldview.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

SP

while I have nothing to hide, I am not so sure your request is germane to the definition of perspicuity?

steve said...

SP said...

"Yeah Steve. Because, you know, if the world of never ending sophistry its reasonable to ask this of me."

You ticked off a hand-dozen doctrines (and insinuated that you could cite other examples) which, according to you, "the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived profess."

That's a very sweeping, very specific claim. So I'd like to see your documentation. I'm sure you wouldn't presume to make a claim like that unless you could back it up with commensurate evidence.

So why not begin with 13C Lombardy. Or perhaps you'd prefer 9C Umbria. Take your pick.

What did the questionnaire look like that papal pollsters used when they went door-to-door to interview 13C Italians in Lombardy? What questions were on the survey? How did the respondents answer? What were the percentiles? What about the internals of the poll?

SP said...

nata.

I am only curious because of your statements regarding how the Catholic Church and the reservation. Thats all.

Steve.

You know as well as I do that there were many theological novums that were introduced during the Reformation that were breaks from orthodoxy. There is a reason that Lutheran justification was such a paradigm shift. There is a reason that Henry 8th breaking from papal communion was a big deal. There is a reason

That is all I am saying.

Rather than focus on the meat of my argument, that scripture is not perspicuous based on the simple fact so many people read scripture and come to such different conclusions, you act is if my point cannot be granted unless there were some polls taken throughout every age.

Well Steve, I guess you win because there aren't any 'polls' that I can cite.

Incidentally, I recently read the quite a volume of 12th century Cistercian writing from St. Bernard of Clairvaux but I guess I cannot make any determination about his theology or that of his contemporaries because there is no polling data.

natamllc said...

SP,

thanks for understanding.

I think I would say this about the perspicuity of Scripture this way because of your constant point of the variety of understandings of those who read the Scriptures, cited by you again to Steve:

"....Rather than focus on the meat of my argument, that scripture is not perspicuous based on the simple fact so many people read scripture and come to such different conclusions,...".

Your religion rests with you doing something. I understand that to be works righteousness.

My Religion rests with what God does. I understand that to be My Savior saving me leaving me with nothing to do to gain that Righteousness because that Righteousness is a Gift of God and defined another way as "Eternal Life".

Rom 5:17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.


Who needs to be clear here, God or man?

The just shall live by Faith. You cannot live by this Faith until God gives it to you hence our understanding, by "Faith alone".

It seems to me the crux of this debate rests there as we see with the brilliance of the Apostle Paul and these verses, which the rest of the Apostles attest in their own writings:::>

Rom 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,

and

Rom 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages
Rom 16:26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith--
Rom 16:27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

The emphasis I give to those two verses is the "obedience of faith".

Now, consider the papacy and the system brings you to Rome and one Pope at a time under the current tenure of the current pope.

Weigh that with this reasoning of Paul based on what he clearly states and repeats, Romans 1:5 repeated at Romans 16:26, here:::>

Php 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

The just shall live by Faith and not a faith of our own. No, the Faith is the Faith once delivered to the Saints. It is this Faith we live in as we contend earnestly with it to bring this Gospel of the Kingdom to every creature for a witness and then the end shall come.

Geoffrey Miller said...

"I love it when Calvinists get going on the incredibly elaborate explanations of "perspicuity". It has the same, completely unconscious, hilarity as watching a materialist laboring to persuade an audience to change their minds and admit that there is no such thing as free will.

I don't care who you are. That's funny!"

Mr. Shea, why do you have to be so belligerent all the time? It's not a good witness to our faith.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Whitaker says, '... God's ministers are to be listened to when they expound the word of God, and the men best skilled in scripture are to be consulted'.

This means that those men who are most familiar with their own sectarian Traditions are to be the ones who tell the protestants what to think about the texts. It even looks as if Whitaker had some kind of Magesterium in view.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF said: 'Are you really so uninformed as to think that sola scriptura implies what you are suggesting? If so, let me recommend you read Whitaker's Disputations on Holy Scripture (the book from which the definition above was taken).


My answer is always the same. Why do I need to read Whitaker at all? Why not just rely on the Bible? Sola Scriptura!

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF Said: 'Usually when honest questions are posed, the questioner doesn't mind clarifying what he means'.

And of course, TF defines an 'honest question' as one he is capable of answering.

SP said...

nata.

What you did was not prove the perspicuity of scripture but rather you changed the subject to a topic that you believe favors the Reformed interpretation of scripture.

Can you tell me the name of the Indian reservation? I am honestly just curious if there is anything I can read about it in terms of the history of the involvement with the Catholic Church. You seemed to have said that many years ago the Catholic Church came and evangelized your people. I am curious about that.

It doesn't seem to me, based on the things you have said here, that you have much of an understanding of what the Catholic Church actually teaches.

steve said...

SP said...

“You know as well as I do that there were many theological novums that were introduced during the Reformation that were breaks from orthodoxy.”

i) There was a break with the status quo–which is hardly synonymous with “orthodoxy”–unless you wish to beg the question.

ii) Objecting to Protestant theology because it’s allegedly innovative is obsolete. That’s a throwback to the type of argument we find in Bellarmine and Stapleton. The pretension that you can trace all Catholic dogmas directly back to primitive tradition.

That went out the window with Newman. Roman Catholicism also has its share of theological innovations. Are you Rip Van Winckle?

“There is a reason that Lutheran justification was such a paradigm shift. There is a reason that Henry 8th breaking from papal communion was a big deal. There is a reason.”

Well, that nicely undercuts your claim. For centuries, ever since Augustine of Canterbury, England had been Roman Catholic. But overnight, Henry VIII broke with Rome. And notice that the vast number of his loyal royal subjects made the transition without a peep. The week before they were Roman Catholic. A week later they were Anglican. And the “vast majority” of them continued to go about their business as usual as though nothing momentous ever happened. So their beliefs were pretty flexible, when it comes right down to it. They could switch from Roman Catholicism to Anglicanism without missing a beat.

“That is all I am saying.”

No, that’s not all you were saying. Indeed, that’s very different from your original claim. If you think that’s all you were saying, then you lack the intellectual aptitude to follow your own argument. You are now substituting a very different claim from your original claim.

Your original claim was, “Since the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived profess those doctrines…”

You’re now substituting a claim based on the alleged existence of Protestant innovations. But that’s not the same claim. If you can’t tell the difference, I guess I’ll have to explain your own argument to you. Here are two different propositions:

i) Protestants don’t believe some things that the vast majority of Christians have always believed.

ii) Protestants believe some things which the vast majority of Christians have not believed.

These are two very different claims. For example, a theological innovation wouldn’t have to contradict any prior belief. It could simply add to a prior body of beliefs.

steve said...

[SP] “Rather than focus on the meat of my argument, that scripture is not perspicuous based on the simple fact so many people read scripture and come to such different conclusions, you act is if my point cannot be granted unless there were some polls taken throughout every age.”

The vast majority of Christians until the modern era weren’t reading the Bible. Most of them were illiterate. Most of them didn’t know Latin. Most of them didn’t own private copies of the Bible, whether the Vulgate or LXX or vernacular translations. So your claim is absurdly anachronistic.

“Well Steve, I guess you win because there aren't any 'polls' that I can cite.”

Yes, I win. And I win even though I’m playing by your rules. You’re the one who made sweeping historical claim. Historical claims require historical evidence–evidence commensurate with the scope of the claim.

“Incidentally, I recently read the quite a volume of 12th century Cistercian writing from St. Bernard of Clairvaux but I guess I cannot make any determination about his theology or that of his contemporaries because there is no polling data.”

Well that’s just pitiful. Once again you’re unable to follow your own argument. You’ve gone from what “the vast majority of Christians believe” to some Medieval monk or Scholastic theologian.

What in the world makes you think that’s a representative sample group? Just the ability to read and write put Bernard in a tiny tiny cultural elite.

Or take Aquinas. He was an Italian nobleman. He grew up in a monastery. He was literate and highly educated (by the standards of the day). How is that comparable to the situation of an ignorant peasant with his folk superstitions?

Or let’s take a different example. Consider the state of Polish Catholicism after the collapse of Communism. Turns out that a lot of outwardly devout Polish Catholics weren’t all that devout once their common enemy was gone.

SP said...

Roman Catholicism also has its share of theological innovations.

Name one.

steve said...

I'd add, at the risk of stating the obvious, that the perspicuity of Scripture doesn't mean that you can accurately interpret Scripture regardless of how inaccurate the translation you're using may be. Before the modern era, most literate Western Christians read the Vulgate. But that's hardly a test-case for the perspicuity of Scripture.

steve said...

SP said...

"Name one."

Read what current pope, in his autobiography, has to say about the state of the debate leading up to formal definition of Mary's Assumption (Milestones, 58-59).

SP said...

Steve.

Debate in the Church before a dogma is solemnly defined does not prove that the dogma was an innovation.

There was certainly a lot of debate about predestination during the Reformation and among the Reformers. Do you thus concede that Calvinism is an innovation?

steve said...

SP said...

"Debate in the Church before a dogma is solemnly defined does not prove that the dogma was an innovation."

That's exactly what the debate was over, which is why I referred you to Ratzinger's first-hand account.

"There was certainly a lot of debate about predestination during the Reformation and among the Reformers. Do you thus concede that Calvinism is an innovation?"

Well, there's a first time for anything, so if you wish to classify predestinarians like Isaiah, Solomon, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. John, &c., as theological innovators, then I guess I'll have to suffer the stigma of being too innovative in my theology.

Not to mention a little thing called the "New Covenant," which, by definition, is innovative in contrast to the "Old Covenant."

Come to think of it, the Abrahamic covenant was innovative for its time. So that makes Abraham a proto-Protestant schismatic–by breaking ranks with the Mother Church of Ur.

Turretinfan said...

Lothair of Lorraine:

Your last three comments above seem to reflect a lack of interest on your part in addressing sola scriptura for what it is. We can't force you to face the actual issues, but we encourage you to try.

As for your remarks:

"TF defines an 'honest question' as one he is capable of answering."

I assume you realize that this sort of grandstanding insult doesn't actually persuade even the folks on your side of the Tiber.

"My answer is always the same. Why do I need to read Whitaker at all? Why not just rely on the Bible? Sola Scriptura!"

The explanation in the original post answers that question. Your jibe is aimed at what sola scriptura isn't.

"This means that those men who are most familiar with their own sectarian Traditions are to be the ones who tell the protestants what to think about the texts. It even looks as if Whitaker had some kind of Magesterium in view."

Leaving aside the chaff, yes - the Reformed doctrine of sola scriptura has a place for something similar to what your church calls the "ordinary magisterium" (as distinct from the extraordinary magisterium).

-TurretinFan

steve said...

As I recall, the Sanhedrin seemed to think the Christian movement was a theological novum. Indeed, I have it on good authority that the first church was a splinter-group from Judaism, comprising 120 members in all.

SP said...

Steve,

Your modus operandi of trying to get little 'gotchas' and diverting the issue might earn you chest bumps from your buddies but others can see right through it.

The sand you stand on is constantly shifting.

First you say, "Gee, Rome has a lot of innovations and this is evidenced by the fact that doctrines were debated."

And then you switch to, "Well our innovations, although also debated, are biblical and there is a first time for everything."

You present a gigantic waste of time.

Turretinfan said...

SP had written: “You know as well as I do that there were many theological novums that were introduced during the Reformation that were breaks from orthodoxy.”

Steve had responded: "Roman Catholicism also has its share of theological innovations." (emphasis mine)

Now, SP, you seem to have lost your way in the discussion.

steve said...

SP said...

“Your modus operandi of trying to get little 'gotchas' and diverting the issue might earn you chest bumps from your buddies but others can see right through it.”

i) My modus operandi consists of responding to you on your own terms.

ii) ”Little gotchas”–as in you bandy factual assertions which evaporate on contact the moment they’re challenged.

iv) Far from diverting the issue, I held you to your own words. You chose to frame the issue the way you did, so I responded in kind. Your inability to present a counterargument is a backdoor admission that you lost the argument. And it was your very own argument!

v) If others can see right through it, then present your evidence.

“The sand you stand on is constantly shifting.”

To the contrary, you’re the one who tries to change the subject when your original argument goes south.

“First you say, ‘Gee, Rome has a lot of innovations and this is evidenced by the fact that doctrines were debated.’”

Are you consciously dishonest, or is dishonesty an involuntary reflex on your part?

I cited an example from the current pope, according to which what was at issue was precisely the lack of primitive traditional attestation for the Assumption of Mary. And that was an intramural debate within Catholicism. That wasn’t a Protestant allegation.

“And then you switch to, ‘Well our innovations, although also debated, are biblical and there is a first time for everything."”

I haven’t said if Protestant theology is innovative in any particular respect. I simply performed a reductio ad absurdum on your criterion.

John Bugay said...

Geez Sean, is somebody else calling you dishonest? I guess he's not calling you dishonest; just suggesting that you fit one of two categories: "consciously dishonest" or "reflexively dishonest." Whew, you can now say you've gotten out of that one.

SP said...

Yes John.

It seems that Reformed epologists often resort to calling people 'dishonest' when they do not draw the same conclusions as themselves.

I noticed that you still haven't shown where I lied on GB...or anywhere else...but I expected as much.

The rest of this thread, I think, stands on its own. The problems with the Reformed position has been adequately challenged and unanswered.

Turretinfan said...

"The problems with the Reformed position has been adequately challenged and unanswered."

That means the opposite of what you surely intend. Would you mind succinctly stating what problems with the Reformed position have been identified? After all, you began by stating that the only difference was the definition of "church." You later suggested that you haven't changed your initial position.

-TurretinFan

John Bugay said...

I noticed that you still haven't shown where I lied on GB...or anywhere else...but I expected as much.

I'll do this on my own timetable, not at your pestering. I'd say that you've wasted not only my time up to this point, but that of several others who have tried to deal honestly with you, only to find themselves dealing with your nonsensical claims.

SP said...

TFan - I don't think that the definition you provided from Whitaker is any different to the definition of the material sufficiency of scripture that I linked.

Would you mind succinctly stating what problems with the Reformed position have been identified?

I note that when pressed on the issue you retreated into a position that scripture is not perspicuous on 'practices' such as baptism or 'nuances' of doctrine. Neither of those qualifiers exist in the definitions that you provided so it seems that the perspicuity of scripture is somewhat muddier than originally presented.

There is also no criteria offered for what constitutes 'essential' doctrine in the first place. One plow boy's 'essential' is another plow boy's ‘nuance.’

There is also no attempt to answer to why it is that such a perspicuous scripture had rendered so many varying doctrinal opinions.

John.

On your own timetable. Sure. I’ll be holding my breath. Being accused of being ‘dishonest’ by Steve Hays, who the other day couched Francis Beckwith as a JW sympathizer, and by you, isn’t really something I lose sleep over.

Turretinfan said...

1) "it seems that the perspicuity of scripture is somewhat muddier than originally presented"

No, not really. The mud that's been cast at the definitions has been washed off.

2) "There is also no criteria offered for what constitutes 'essential' doctrine in the first place."

From the original definitions (have you read them yet?): "those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation"

3) "There is also no attempt to answer to why it is that such a perspicuous scripture had rendered so many varying doctrinal opinions."

That question blames Scripture for the varying opinions. With respect to the the necessary things, the problem is in men, not Scripture.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

SP,

you got any ali blood in you? You have been hammered in here quite a bit and you still want more?

Ok.

You asked:::> "....nata.

What you did was not prove the perspicuity of scripture but rather you changed the subject to a topic that you believe favors the Reformed interpretation of scripture....".

Help me understand the change you see?

You do have me somewhat accurately right, I do favor the reformed interpretation of Scripture.

Nevertheless, that should not diminish your ability to show me in writing in here how I changed the subject and the topic being discussed in this thread.

SP said...

From the original definitions (have you read them yet?): "those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation"

And what the ‘those necessary things?’ Where is that list?

Because Augustine, for example, believed that baptism was necessary for salvation and regenerational. See here.

Augustine would say that holy baptism was one of 'those things' that you say are perspicuous but you don't agree with him. Why not if scripture is perspicuous? If scripture is perspicuous about the ‘necessary things’ why does your idea of ‘necessary things’ differ from this doctor of the church?

That question blames Scripture for the varying opinions. With respect to the necessary things, the problem is in men, not Scripture.

So you do concede that not all men will agree on the 'necessary things' from reading scripture? Thank you. I completely agree. And I agree that the problem is man and not scripture.

How does the following statement differ from the doctrine of the perspicuity of scripture, if at all:

"Scripture contains, in one way or another, all truths necessary for salvation."

natamllc said...

SP,

You asked:::> "....Can you tell me the name of the Indian reservation? I am honestly just curious if there is anything I can read about it in terms of the history of the involvement with the Catholic Church....".

My tribe, one of many, is a California Tribe. Do some research on the "missions" of California and you will get a taste of the errors I sense.

And, again, you are right, I am not very versed with the RCC anymore. I was raise up into that framework as a child and was sent to catechism. Thankfully I convinced my Dad that it "wasn't for me". I have to say, it was a pretty good convincing job for an 8 year old so after winning the award for saying outloud faster than anyone else the Lord's Prayer I didn't finish. We did go Easter and Christmas mass though all the time!

I was touched by the Hand of Grace at 21 and have been involved in active ministry around the world ever since. I am 56 now.

The Reformational framework and mindset that I am coming into now, personally and daily, is somewhat in part, because of where my Church is heading and to a degree, it is in part to this blog and TF. Reformational thinking has been setting me free to Love God and enjoy Him and His people; my brethren in the Faith once delivered to the Saints.

I have been involved in this blog posting thoughts and ideas in here for some time now and I greatly enjoy what happens in here. Knowledge puffs up, Love edifies.

I am about to publish a paper and then agressively go get some dozens and dozens of signatures so that we, the cosigners would empower TF with the authority to pomp anyone who stays at it in here for two years and become totally inept or discouraged by the experience thus elevating them to a special status head and shoulders above the rest! My imagination runs with the idea. But I hasten to say I am sure it won't get far with TF? I might tempt him later in the year seeing a junior college issues degrees after just two years of bovine scatology! :)

SP said...

nata.

Please refrain from cryptic comments about blood and getting 'hammered' etc.

Turretinfan said...

SP: It's hardly your place to tell NatAmLLC what metaphors he can use.

natamllc said...

SP,

geeesh, can't you lighten up a bit?

I was using the boxing metaphor, Mohamed Ali, the boxing champ! I thought it fit your expereince in here seeing you have taken it on the chin quite a bit and you are still asking questions and all.

What, you are runner instead?

SP said...

Well Nata, you explained a lot.
I appreciate it.

I am not very versed with the RCC...I have to say, it was a pretty good convincing job for an 8 year old so after winning the award for saying outloud faster than anyone else the Lord's Prayer I didn't finish. We did go Easter and Christmas mass though all the time!

So, as a child you didn't go finish catechism and your family went to mass twice per year. I am sorry that your exposure was so litte. Its a shame that so many parents don't bother to practice the faith seriously. If I raised my children as 'Catholic' and only took them to mass twice per year than I wouldn't expect them have much of a Catholic understanding either.

Reformational thinking has been setting me free to Love God and enjoy Him and His people; my brethren in the Faith once delivered to the Saints.

I think God is clearly working in your life. Thats great. But it doesn't make you an expert on Catholicism.

Turretinfan said...

NatAmLLC didn't claim to be an expert in Roman Catholicism.

SP said...

Sorry if I over reacted about the blood comment. I didn't get it and was thinking that 'ali' had something to do with Islam or something weird like that.

SP said...

NatAmLLC didn't claim to be an expert in Roman Catholicism

I realize that.

But he has argued against RC from a position of authority in that he was at one time Catholic.

When you poll my Indian Reservation, now that the Protestant reformers finally made it, we are tipping the count in favor of dumping the RCC! My guess is, give the Reformation a chance on all the other Rancherias and Reservations the RCC brought under their spell and the polling data there too will be in favor of the dumps to donuts!

The RCC put the Indian reservations under a 'spell' with donuts?

Seriously?

natamllc said...

SP,

well, you are right again. I am no expert on the RCC. The perspicuity of the RCC is such that I wasn't going for it. At no time while a child in the clutches of the nuns and priests was I ever encouraged to read a Bible. Hmmmmm? Why is that?

The perspicuity of Scripture with the Holy Spirit giving me detailed understanding of His reasonings for this and that, though, however, absolutely has my attention.

It's great to interact with others who have the same Holy Spirit and understanding of the Scriptures as I do.

What does that do for one such as I am?

Well it helps me see that the papacy and the magisterium they purport to be "of God's plan" is false.

There is no Gospel of the Kingdom in preaching Mary and transubstantiation and the various other dogmas of the RCC.

I can sense that you were not raised up a Catholic. Is that correct?

It seems to me from where I sit you were first of another persuasion??

natamllc said...

Sp,

if I might, let me bring you back to my neck of the woods??

I wrote this in response to something you reiterated again to Steve Hays above:::>

"....Your religion rests with you doing something. I understand that to be works righteousness.

My Religion rests with what God does. I understand that to be My Savior saving me leaving me with nothing to do to gain that Righteousness because that Righteousness is a Gift of God and defined another way as "Eternal Life".

Rom 5:17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.


Who needs to be clear here, God or man?...."


Let me ask you again, based on what I said previous to the question, "Who needs to be clear here, God or man?"

SP said...

nata.

It seems to me from where I sit you were first of another persuasion??

Yes. I was raised Reformed Presbyterian.

My 7:35:00 PM comment will be my last word about that.

natamllc said...

SP,

ok, now would you answer my question perspicuiously?

Ryan said...

FYI, SP:

You may want to check out Volume 3 of Webster's/King's set "Holy Scripture," in which they devote 80 pages of adducements from the ECFs affirming the perspicuity of Scripture.

SP said...

Ryan.

Every single ECF quote I've ever read about the so called 'perspicuity' of scripture is really about the material sufficiency of scripture.

I suggest you read Ray's "Upon this Rock" as it spends about 100 pages citing ECF about their Catholic ecclesiology and it impossible to read about the ECF's view of scripture without discussing their view on the Church. Even the Whitaker quote that TFan provided appeals to the 'church' when things are unclear.

Turretinfan said...

SP:

Do you understand the difference between material and formal sufficiency?

-TurretinFan

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

SP got it right. Whitaker had no problem with an authority outside the Scriptures, the only question is who and where is that authority to be found.

@TF: Material and formal sufficiency? Unless both these terms can be found within the Scripture and being used to describe the Scriptures themselves, I am again going to have to shout, 'Sola scriptura!' That is, of course, if you are using the terms to defend your position. On the other hand, if you are invoking materal and formal sufficiency to discuss the Catholic perspective, then I am all ears.

I don't doubt material sufficiency at all. Formal sufficiency is another matter. In other words, all truths necessary for salvation are contained in the Bible, but how they are too be understood and practiced requires the Magesterium.

Turretinfan said...

LOL:

Your repeated demonstrations that you don't understand what sola scriptura means are losing their comedic value. Sola Scriptura doesn't mean that we only use the exact words and phrases found in Scripture to express theology. So, in discussing theology we use categories like "formal sufficiency" and "material sufficiency," even though those terms aren't found in Scripture.

"Whitaker had no problem with an authority outside the Scriptures, the only question is who and where is that authority to be found."

Only someone who didn't understand what sola scriptura means would think this was an insightful observation. Everyone who believes in sola scriptura recognizes that there are authorities outside of Scripture.

However, the questions are not only "who and where" but also "what kind."

Ryan said...

Sp wrote:

"Every single ECF quote I've ever read about the so called 'perspicuity' of scripture is really about the material sufficiency of scripture."

Webster/King cite the ECFs views on the material sufficiency of Scripture is a separate chapter of the aforementioned book (~130 pages).

natamllc said...

LOL,

and I am not laughing out loud now,

I would say you are more comfortable with the hay and grains mules and horses eat than the meat prepared by the ants!

Psa 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psa 32:9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.


Or??

Pro 30:24 Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise:
Pro 30:25 the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer;

Del Sydebothom said...

I know I am coming into this conversation rather late, and I may yet regret it. But I couldn't help but be struck by Ryans use of Psalm 119:130 "The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple."

Now, I know no Catholic who would, to my knowledge, disagree with this verse. I nevertheless cannot see how one could use it to prove the doctrine of the perspicuity of scripture. After all, no one, Catholic or Protestant is arguing that every passage of scripture is clear. Seeing as that is the case, it seems to me rather arbitrary to say that the answer to every question necessary for salvation is included within the "clear" passages of scripture.

Now, even if the "unfolding" of God's "words" (which I assume here means the public pronouncement of the Torah) illuminated only one thing, or gave understanding of only one thing to the simple, the passage would be true. Even if that one thing was, say, the teaching the God ought to be worshiped, the passage would be true. The truth of this passage is not dependent upon the Bible being clear enough for the average man can acquire from it an answer to every question pertinent to eternal salvation.

Having said that, it is one of the better passages I've seen in support of your position; "unfolding" connotes a document, and so that this passage is probably referring to something written is, unlike most that refer to God's "word", clear.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Del, you make a good point here, 'After all, no one, Catholic or Protestant is arguing that every passage of scripture is clear. Seeing as that is the case, it seems to me rather arbitrary to say that the answer to every question necessary for salvation is included within the "clear" passages of scripture'.

Who gets to decide what is 'clear' and if I can argue against clarity, then I guess that any doctrine expressed in the verses becomes secondary and even unnecessary.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF said: 'However, the questions are not only "who and where" but also "what kind."

Who: The Magesterium
Where: Rome, though to a great degree within the Greek Orthodox.
What Kind: Those who's Apsotolic Succession goes a little farther back than the 'reformation'.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF Said: 'Sola Scriptura doesn't mean that we only use the exact words and phrases found in Scripture to express theology'.

Here we can agree, which is how the Catholic Church has come to see St Mary in a light more exact that that of the protestants. By not limiting ourselves to the 'exact words and phrases found in Scripture to express theology'. Good point you made here. Thanks for making it.

Also, William Whitaker was an Anglican and so defined the Anglican definition of the clarity of Scripture. To imply that he spoke for Christianity makes you seem rather 'popish'.

Turretinfan said...

LOL:

I thought I told you to go scoff elsewhere.

-TurretinFan

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

Let's discuss Van Til. I have his book 'Christian Apologetics'. Which one of your articles do we discuss his views?

Turretinfan said...

I'm not sure if any of my existing posts would be what you're looking for, as a starting point for that conversation ... there are only two posts tagged with "Van Til."

There are plenty of folks who know more about Van Til than I do.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

Ok, I'll take a gander.

In the meantime, any thoughts on why there are 27 books in the NT? Why not 28 or 26? The reason I mention it, is that Livy [XXVII.37] mentions a procession in Rome to Juno Regina that took place on the Aventine Hill in 207 BC during the Hannabalic War. It struck me immediately. The Vestals were on trial for some irregularity, the Romans were paranoid and ritual expiation was believed to appease the goddess. The procession included 27 maidens who walked along with two statues of Juno Regina. As you well know, the Vestals were admired into the 4th century AD. Your thoughts?

ChaferDTS said...

" William Whitaker was an Anglican and so defined the Anglican definition of the clarity of Scripture. "

The views he presented were /are shared and held by Presbyterians and Reformed Baptist and others who hold to Sola Scriptura. His teaching on it were included in such confessions like the WCF and LBC. It is to be noted that the Church of England did send some representatives to the Westminster Assembly. All the reformers were in general agreement on Sola Scriptura. That is what united them together along with justification by faith only in Jesus Christ. The book Disputations On Holy Scripture by William Whitaker is used by more than Anglicans but also other Protestant groups that likewise embrace Sola Scriptura.

I wish to point out that any writing can be used and abused by anyone. None of that would disprove Sola Scriptura at all. Differences in beliefs is due to our sinful condition and not because of Scripture being unclear. The RCC overstates the manner of unclearness of Scripture. On this point the Reformers were correct in their views on Sola Scriptura. The end result of the claims of the RCC on Scripture being insufficient is the need for a claimed infallible Pope & Church Councils for doctrine or in other cases claimed present day inspired prophets like Mormons, Adventist, Jehovah Wittnesses and some Pentecostals have these days.