Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Unloading 35 Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 17/35

Steve Ray has a list of 35 loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). This is number 17/35. I'm trying to provide the answers in a common format, for easy reference.

17) Who may authoritatively arbitrate between Christians who claim to be led by the Holy Spirit into mutually contradictory interpretations of the Bible?

Simple Answer(s):

1) Scripture

2) The Elders/Church

Important Qualification(s):

1) What is meant by "authoritatively" is not spelled out. The Scripture is the infallible authority in the sense of being a standard. But the elders/church are a fallible authority in the sense of being judges who apply the infallible standard.

2) There's no reason to suppose that Christians are going to resolve all their disputes in this life. God hasn't promised that.

3) The Roman Catholic church also can't promise that it will resolve all the disputes.

4) The fact that the people claim to be "led by the Holy Spirit" is really irrelevant to the question. However, of course, the Holy Spirit will not lead two Christians into contradictory views.

- TurretinFan

49 comments:

Blogahon said...

2) The elders of which church?

Turretinfan said...

What do you mean, "which church"?

natamllc said...

I would say in the most simplistic way and one that has, one, a sure Word attached to it, two, by personal speculation at this time since I am replying to your post, "death" settles all disputes.

It's that unknown factor that the Scriptures typically guide one so prudent enough to consider it.

The Bible in those portions that don't seem to be of much or any dispute from the Old and New, whether of purely the Greek texts or of earlier, describes persons coming back from the grave or the effects of death.

There is one verse that seems to guide me to accept your claims above, TF, both one and two, prior to your qualifiers:

Act 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

Now, knowing from experience, by the medium of experiences, whereby I have experienced the knowledge of, I have known in my lifetime several Popes of Rome. I have know first hand and personally the Cardinal of Washington D.C. at his residence. He potentially could be up to the job, soon enough?

None of them have come across to me as one demonstrative, with great power, proclaiming with such, the resurrection of Christ from the death experience at the hands of godless men such as I am.

The question then has to be asked, "what" and "Who" caused those people read about in Acts 4:33 to experience such "great Grace"?

SP said...

You said, "2) The Elders/Church."

Which elders of which Church?

- sorry, will try to stay logged in under SP.

Turretinfan said...

I read "which church" the first time, but I'm still not clear what you mean by the question.

SP said...

The question was:

17) Who may authoritatively arbitrate between Christians who claim to be led by the Holy Spirit into mutually contradictory interpretations of the Bible?

Your second answer was:

2) The Elders/Church

Which church arbitrates between Christians and mutually contradictory interpretations of the bible?

To give an example, do the elders of the CREC in Houston decide or do the elders of the PCA in Houston decide?

SP said...

...or do the Lutheran elders or Methodist elders or Baptist elders etc.

Turretinfan said...

Why are you making this an either/or?

Matthew Bellisario said...

A "church" that can't infallibly decide core doctrines revealed by God in Sacred Scripture is a useless "church." That is why the authority given to the Catholic Church, and that given to God's Word share in the same authority which was given by God Himself, not one authority above the other. Pastor Billy Bob and pastor Heimi Blanco can debate all day as to what a passage of Scripture means, yet neither of them can infallibly decide who is correct.

Turretinfan said...

MB wrote: "A 'church' that can't infallibly decide core doctrines revealed by God in Sacred Scripture is a useless 'church.'"

You boldly state your opinion, but you have no warrant for it. There's no good reason to criticize God's church as useless, simply because it is not infallible. There is plenty that a fallible church can do, just as there is plenty that fallible elders can do.

MB: "That is why the authority given to the Catholic Church, and that given to God's Word share in the same authority which was given by God Himself, not one authority above the other."

So you claim, but you refuse to consider the evidence that shows that your church contradicts the Scriptures.

MB wrote: "Pastor Billy Bob and pastor Heimi Blanco can debate all day as to what a passage of Scripture means, yet neither of them can infallibly decide who is correct."

Nor can either of them raise the dead. There are lots of things they cannot do.

In fact, no need to pick on pastors - even two Cardinals don't claim to be able resolve disputes between themselves - and in your church laymen like yourself feel it within your power to disagree with cardinals of your church.

But our pastors have an infallible rule of faith that is really infallible: the Holy Scripture, the ground and pillar of the faith.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Two Cardinals don't have to agree on a doctrine, that is what the Church is for, the infallible one that Christ gave us. Prove that the Catholic Church contradicts the Scriptures, just saying so doesn't make it so.

Matthew Bellisario said...

FT wrote, "You boldly state your opinion, but you have no warrant for it. There's no good reason to criticize God's church as useless, simply because it is not infallible. There is plenty that a fallible church can do, just as there is plenty that fallible elders can do."

I never said that God's Church was useless, you put your own words in my mouth. You say there is plenty thy can do, yet they can't infallibly determine what God's Revelation means. That seems pretty important to me.

Turretinfan said...

MB wrote: "I never said that God's Church was useless, you put your own words in my mouth."

Sure you did, you wrote: "A 'church' that can't infallibly decide core doctrines revealed by God in Sacred Scripture is a useless 'church.'"

MB wrote: "You say there is plenty thy can do, yet they can't infallibly determine what God's Revelation means. That seems pretty important to me."

That is evidence that your priorities differ from the priorities of God in giving us a fallible church. It is not an argument.

MB wrote: "Two Cardinals don't have to agree on a doctrine, that is what the Church is for, the infallible one that Christ gave us. Prove that the Catholic Church contradicts the Scriptures, just saying so doesn't make it so."

I have pointed out contradictions before - and I will again. You, however, insist that interpreting the Scriptures in any way contrary to your church is interpreting them wrongly. Therefore, you prevent us from helping you see the contradictions.

As for your comment, "Two Cardinals don't have to agree on a doctrine, that is what the Church is for, the infallible one that Christ gave us."

(1) Christ didn't give us an infallible church, he gave us a fallible church.

(2) While churches do settle doctrinal disputes, that is not their only, or even their primary, purpose.

(3) Your church settles internal disagreements by "infallible" means extremely rarely. For example, it is highly unlikely that your own personal disagreements with the bishops of your own church will ever be settled via an allegedly infallible mechanism.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

MB: "useless"



TF: So you claim, but you refuse to consider the evidence that shows that your church contradicts the Scriptures.

Nat: MB, what a useless comment you have made.

From it I can safely conclude you haven't spent nearly the time in the Sacred Infallible Writings as you have in the fallible writings of the RCC. Your whole premise is wrong and because of that your mountain, from your perception, is really a mole hill and the mole has died already!

Consider the Infallible God and fallible man He was speaking too and why? The "why" part I would leave for you to go and read about.

Here's what I am referencing:

Act 14:1 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed.
Act 14:2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
Act 14:3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Act 14:4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles.

Now, when you weigh what is being put over in those Verses for our consideration, you get a sense the trajectory has two frameworks, one, Infallible and two, fallible.

Now, here is how He addressed it at his time in history and how he testified to it, which I might say, undermines your "useless" comment:

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.

This is long and explanatory. I would note from it one part:

"....then in Jerusalem....".

Huh? I thought Saint Peter, upon whom the RCC rests came from Jerusalem?

It is not the "Church of God/Christ" that is infallible here, but God and Christ. We are left with the Infallible Holy Spirit to guide us, the Church, through this fallen world, fallible souls that we are as well, obviously aware of both our own fallibilities but, also the fallibilities of others, such as yourself.

Blogahon said...

TFan,

Why are you making this an either/or?

TFan.

If Elders at the Reformed Baptist church come to a different conclusion than Elders at the Presbyterian Church on the topic of predestination or baptism, for example, who arbitrates between them?

Matthew Bellisario said...

"That is evidence that your priorities differ from the priorities of God in giving us a fallible church. It is not an argument."

Oh really, now God doesn't care that his Holy Writ can't be infallibly interpreted? The Church is infallible, because Christ said it was. It seems that your priorities are seriously flawed if you think God does not care that His Word can't be infallibly interpreted.The fact is you are and your "church" is going against the testimony of Scripture. Christ said that whatever Peter binds is bound, that means his binding is infallible. That directly carries over the the Petrine office clearly established in Scripture, and carried on to the entire Church. Simply put, your church can't teach any of God's Word infallibly, the real Church can.

natamllc said...

MB,

well for myself I will say I am sorry I assumed you would put more weight into the Scriptures and less weight into the RCC doctrines.

I believe Jeremiah has your number?

::::>

Jer 17:1 "The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars,
Jer 17:2 while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills,
Jer 17:3 on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory.
Jer 17:4 You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever."
Jer 17:5 Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.
Jer 17:6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

Matthew Bellisario said...

I can't believe that you put more stock in your own judgment than that of Christ who established the Church. I believe Jesus has your number.

natamllc said...

Matthew,

come on?

Please cite where you see me in my writings in here put more stock/confidence in my personal judgment than Christ, His Historical Church and what He continues doing, "building His Church, adding daily such as should be saved?"


You speak of a "historicity". I speak from what Christ is doing now in the local Church He is actively governing and in my life. I speak of Who He is now, John 17:3. I draw from daily friendship and fellowship and relationship with both Him and with members of His Body, those people He has added me too and adds others too regularly as He has me.

Cite for us where I have written about my judgment in taking stock in my personal life?

Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
Rom 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Rom 7:16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.
Rom 7:17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
Rom 7:19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Rom 7:21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,
Rom 7:23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Rom 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Rom 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

and

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
Rom 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Turretinfan said...

"If Elders at the Reformed Baptist church come to a different conclusion than Elders at the Presbyterian Church on the topic of predestination or baptism, for example, who arbitrates between them?"

Usually, no one does. In fact, I can't recall anyone even looking for such arbitration in practice.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

MB wrote: "Oh really, now God doesn't care that his Holy Writ can't be infallibly interpreted?"

When did he ever? For over a thousand years the Jews got by without an infallible interpreter of Scripture. And the New Testament church has been getting by without one for twice that.

MB wrote: "The Church is infallible, because Christ said it was."

No, he didn't. Nor does he approve of you putting words in his mouth.

MB wrote: "It seems that your priorities are seriously flawed if you think God does not care that His Word can't be infallibly interpreted."

Again, see my comment above. All your assertion shows is the lack of alignment between your priorities and Christ's priorities.

MB wrote: "The fact is you are and your "church" is going against the testimony of Scripture."

Thankfully, me and my church are able to be Reformed according to the Scripture. Yours isn't. If what was saying were true and you could show it, we'd alter our beliefs to match the Scripture. You know your church won't do that, no matter how many times we demonstrate her errors.

MB wrote: "Christ said that whatever Peter binds is bound, that means his binding is infallible."

a) No, it doesn't.

b) Peter's power of binding is not about interpretation of Scripture.

c) Your own church says it is about discipline. Are you going to suggest that your church is infallible in matters of discipline? That's certainly not the view of most Roman Catholics.

MB wrote: "That directly carries over the the Petrine office clearly established in Scripture, and carried on to the entire Church."

The "Petrine office" isn't even mentioned in Scripture, much less "clearly established" there. And while you may carry things off to various places, the Scriptures don't support your eisegetical labours.

MB wrote: "Simply put, your church can't teach any of God's Word infallibly, the real Church can."

A bold assertion on your part, but - as I noted above - you have no good reason to believe this.

MB wrote: "I can't believe that you put more stock in your own judgment than that of Christ who established the Church. I believe Jesus has your number."

a) You don't speak for Jesus.

b) You put more stock in your own judgment than in the testimony of Scripture. You ought to think about that before casting stones at NatAmLLC.

- TurretinFan

Blogahon said...

TFan.

Can you flesh out what you meant when you said that the arbiter of disagreements in interpretation is 'the elders of the church?'

Turretinfan said...

I'm not really sure what's unclear about the statement itself. One of the roles of the elders is to teach - thus those who are unclear (or who have a disagreement) can go to the elders to try to resolve that disagreement.

Blogahon said...

TFan.

You don't think it creates any problem whatsoever with your position that different elders at different churches in any given town will interpret scriptures differently?

Turretinfan said...

"You don't think it creates any problem whatsoever with your position that different elders at different churches in any given town will interpret scriptures differently?"

I think it's primarily a "problem" if one assumes that everyone should have exactly the same views about Scripture. That wasn't the reality in the early church, it's not the reality in the Reformed churches, and even despite attempts to the contrary it is also not the case in your church.

So - no. I think the reality that different people will more or less accurately interpret Scripture is simply a fact. It points to the inferiority of the human mind to the divine, but that's a "problem" that is generic to every possible epistemology.

-TurretinFan

Blogahon said...

I think it's primarily a "problem" if one assumes that everyone should have exactly the same views about Scripture.

I thought scripture was supposed to be perspicuous on the essentials? Can you explain why different churches in town will give different interpretations on biblical soteriology and on the sacraments?

That wasn't the reality in the early church, it's not the reality in the Reformed churches, and even despite attempts to the contrary it is also not the case in your church.

There are different opinions in my church about doctrines that I not yet been defined dogmatically. But once the living judgement of the church defines dogma there is no longer any valid 'disagreement.' Catholics do not sit around and argue about what baptism means, for example. In the early church, once the church solemnly defined Trinity that was it. Any person denying this was a heretic and de facto outside of the church.

How is it that Nicea could dogmatically define doctrine in AD 325?

So - no. I think the reality that different people will more or less accurately interpret Scripture is simply a fact.

You think that people will accurately interpret scripture and this is a fact? Than what do you need elders for in the first place?

Turretinfan said...

"I thought scripture was supposed to be perspicuous on the essentials?"

It is.

"Can you explain why different churches in town will give different interpretations on biblical soteriology and on the sacraments?"

1) Not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is one.

2) Some things in theology relate to explanation rather than substance. That can be the case with respect to nuances in regard to soteriology and sacramental theology.

3) Human tradition is a very powerful blinding agent.

4) It should be apparent that virtually all "Protestant" churches agree that people ought to be baptized in the name of Christ, that believers ought to partake of the Lord's Supper, and that one's hope for salvation should be in Christ alone. Whether or not those things are essential, they are generally matters of broad unity.

"There are different opinions in my church about doctrines that I not yet been defined dogmatically."

There are *also* differences of opinion about things that *have* been defined dogmatically. It is not rare that the definition itself is not so perspicuous that every professing Roman Catholic agrees on its meaning.

"But once the living judgement of the church defines dogma there is no longer any valid 'disagreement.'"

Well, one could say that Evangelicals all agree on the doctrine defined by Scripture. There is no valid disagreement ... but (as with your church's definitions) sometimes people come to different understandings of what is being said.

"Catholics do not sit around and argue about what baptism means, for example."

No, they tend to sit around and argue over which direction the priest is facing (which is a liturgical question that seems to have very little immediate connection to theology, though to hear some folks argue about it, the ad orientem is practically part of the Apostles' Creed. That's partly because of a different emphasis in Roman Catholic thought. Yet I bet if we asked the question: "has the full meaning of baptism been explained and defined dogmatically," the answer would be (among those who are theologically educated) a resounding "certainly not!" That suggests that there still remains room for debate on that particular subject in RC theology (though it is not a big priority).

"In the early church, once the church solemnly defined Trinity that was it."

You really need to read more about the early church if you think "that was it."

"Any person denying this was a heretic and de facto outside of the church."

You surely mean de jure was outside of the church. Many anti-trinitarians de facto remained in the church, which created a rash of problems.

"How is it that Nicea could dogmatically define doctrine in AD 325?"

Imperial support.

"You think that people will accurately interpret scripture and this is a fact?"

Some more accurately and some less accurately, yes.

"Than what do you need elders for in the first place?"

To care for the spiritual needs of the flock - to evangelize - to exercise discipline - and to teach. There are probably some other duties that could also be mentioned.

-TurretinFan

Blogahon said...

I said "Can you explain why different churches in town will give different interpretations on biblical soteriology and on the sacraments?"

You said: 1) Not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is one.

That is an interesting approach.

There are *also* differences of opinion about things that *have* been defined dogmatically. It is not rare that the definition itself is not so perspicuous that every professing Roman Catholic agrees on its meaning.

Can you give me some examples?

Well, one could say that Evangelicals all agree on the doctrine defined by Scripture.

And who defines what is defined by Scripture?

No, they tend to sit around and argue over which direction the priest is facing (which is a liturgical question that seems to have very little immediate connection to theology, though to hear some folks argue about it, the ad orientem is practically part of the Apostles' Creed. That's partly because of a different emphasis in Roman Catholic thought. Yet I bet if we asked the question: "has the full meaning of baptism been explained and defined dogmatically," the answer would be (among those who are theologically educated) a resounding "certainly not!" That suggests that there still remains room for debate on that particular subject in RC theology (though it is not a big priority).

Which direction the priest should face is not dogma.

The fact remains that in baptism we do not argue about A) Whom should be baptized and B) What baptism accomplishes.

You really need to read more about the early church if you think "that was it."

"Are they not then committing a crime, in their very thought to gainsay so great and ecumenical a Council? Are they not in transgression, when they dare to confront that good definition against Arianism, acknowledged, as it is, by those who had in the first instance taught them irreligion? "
Athanasius, Defence of the Nicene Definition, 2 (A.D. 351).

"But the word of the Lord which came through the ecumenical Synod at Nicaea, abides for ever."
Athanasius, To the Bishops of Africa, 2 (A.D. 372).

"What the custom of the Church has always held, what this argument has failed to prove false, and what a plenary Council has confirmed, this we follow!"
Augustine, On Baptism against the Donatist, 4:10 (A.D. 401).

GeneMBridges said...

Can you explain why different churches in town will give different interpretations on biblical soteriology and on the sacraments?

Let's put this into context first. You have put this in the context of:

a. Disputes between Reformed Baptists and Evangelical Presbyterisans...

b. Over Predestination and baptism.

c. and then framed this as if these are "essentials" given you words to Tfan.

By way of reply:

These are not essentials to being saved. That is to say:

To be saved, one need not believe a specific version of Predestination, such as differences over the order of decrees (Supra and Infra), or whether Predestiation is "single" or "double."

To be saved, one need not believe in professor baptism or a specific sort of infant baptism. Indeed, infant baptism is generally not construed as a Reformed distinctive, so why would it be an "essential."

Indeed, inferring teachings about the sacraments are essential doctrines is simply a pseudoproblem generated by your sacramentalism. Ergo,it fails as both an internal and external critique of our position.

GeneMBridges said...

And lest you seize upon the opportunity to infer that believing in Predestination is an essential of saving faith, it should go w/o saying that Christ, not Predestination is the proper object of saving faith...so what Tfan has written about essentials is left untouched by your SP (as usual).

Coram Deo said...

TF,

I think it's rather peculiar that Romanists seize upon the strange idea of having an infallible interpreter of the scriptures in their Magisterium, yet the individual Romanist's understanding/comprehension/interpretation of said allegedly infallible interpretation is in and of itself necessarily fallible.

What do they think they're actually gaining by moving their personal epistemological responsibility back one step?

Does the Romanist insist that the allegedly infallible interpretations of their Magisterium are perspicuous and self-attesting while simultaneously arguing that the God-breathed scriptures themselves are not?

Lastly Matthew Bellasario's comments in the various metas here at your blog regularly drip with venom, blind rage, and seething hatred.

You certainly demonstrate considerable patience with someone who in all honesty would have likely been banned by most other blogmasters for bad conduct.

I hope he doesn't visit people's homes and behave in the manner he presents himself here.

In Christ,
CD

Blogahon said...

CD,

I find it curious that Protestants insist on an infallible bible written by the men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but reject out of hand that the Holy Spirit could protect the Body of Christ from error on faith and morals.

SP said...

Lastly Matthew Bellasario's comments in the various metas here at your blog regularly drip with venom, blind rage, and seething hatred.

I agree that the tone he employed on this combox wasn't ideal but I would ask that you be even handed in diagnosing comments whether they be from Catholic or Protestant.

It is unfortunate that people on both sides let themselves slip into this sort of dialog.

Turretinfan said...

I had written: "There are *also* differences of opinion about things that *have* been defined dogmatically. It is not rare that the definition itself is not so perspicuous that every professing Roman Catholic agrees on its meaning."

SP responded: "Can you give me some examples?"

One example that comes immediately to mind is the canonical status of Septuagint I Esdras.

"And who defines what is defined by Scripture?"

Doesn't that question contain its own answer? Or are you just refusing to let Scripture speak for itself?

"Which direction the priest should face is not dogma."

Undoubtedly it is not.

"The fact remains that in baptism we do not argue about A) Whom should be baptized and B) What baptism accomplishes."

You might be surprised at how many nuances can appear under those two topics.

As to the quotations from Athanasius, I responded to the latter two quotations in this earlier post. But more importantly, the point is that Nicaea (as evidenced by the need for Athanasius' subsequent campaign) was not it. It did not immediately put an end to controversy.

Turretinfan said...

"I find it curious that Protestants insist on an infallible bible written by the men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but reject out of hand that the Holy Spirit could protect the Body of Christ from error on faith and morals."

We have the example in Scripture of the Jews both to affirm the truth of the former and demonstrate that the Spirit does not act as hypothesized under the latter. It is not that the Spirit cannot or could not do it, but rather the Spirit does not do it.

Turretinfan said...

"What do they think they're actually gaining by moving their personal epistemological responsibility back one step?"

They think they are gaining certainty.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"It is unfortunate that people on both sides let themselves slip into this sort of dialog."

Unfortunate is probably not a strong enough word. Of course, it is easier to see faults in the "other side" but everyone ought to strive to express even the strongest disagreements in appropriate ways.

SP said...

TFan.

One example that comes immediately to mind is the canonical status of Septuagint I Esdras.

? Can you elaborate. I am unfamiliar with this.

Turretinfan said...

One group of Roman Catholics read Trent as excluding Septuagint I Esdras from the canon, but others (like Gary Michuta) insist that Trent simply passed over the canonicity of Septuagint I Esdras in silence, thereby leaving it an open question as to whether Septuagint I Esdras might be received as canonical at some future date.

-TurretinFan

GeneMBridges said...

I find it curious that Protestants insist on an infallible bible written by the men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but reject out of hand that the Holy Spirit could protect the Body of Christ from error on faith and morals.

1. One of the problems with comments like this is that it directly overlooks Scripture itself.

Errors in faith and moral occasioned more than one NT letter.
God didn't protect the covenant community (however defined as Israel or the Church) from errors in faith and morals in the OT or NT. Finally, not a one of us,except the sinless perfectionist heretics that have arisen through the ages, argues that He protects any single Christian from errors in faith and morals..

2. We do not deny that such protection is within God's ability. Rather, we deny that He has chosen to do so.

3. The atheists make a similar argument with respect to the problem of evil.

Blogahon said...

Errors in faith and moral occasioned more than one NT letter.

God didn't protect the covenant community (however defined as Israel or the Church) from errors in faith and morals in the OT or NT.


God did protect the Church from error. He gave them the apostles. He breathed on them. Gave them the Holy Spirit. It was the apostolic Church that was writing those letters and correcting the errors that were in the NT churches!

Turretinfan said...

SP wrote: "God did protect the Church from error. He gave them the apostles. He breathed on them. Gave them the Holy Spirit. It was the apostolic Church that was writing those letters and correcting the errors that were in the NT churches!"

A) None of the canonical letters are written by consensus of the apostles. They are generally written (as to human authorship) by a single apostle or an apostle together with one or more elders (as, for example, Paul and Sosthenes wrote 1 Corinthians; Paul and Timothy wrote 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon; and Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians).

B) Some group of the apostles (those that were at Jerusalem) together with the elders of Jerusalem did once write a letter designed to correct an error. The letter was written under presidency of James and was carried by Paul and Barnabas together with Judas Barsabas and Silas. That letter, however, is not part of the canonical Scriptures, although we know its essential contents from Acts.

C) Although we note that the letter included (or at least essentially included) the statement: "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us," that may easily refer to the words of the prophets discussed in verse 15 and following, especially since verse 19 explains that James' sentence is based on the preceding application of old testament prophecy to the facts reported by the apostles. Another reasonable explanation is the fact that the uncircumcized Gentiles received the Holy Ghost (verse 8) as Peter testified.

D) Perhaps more to the point, although at Antioch were found both Paul (as is explicit from Acts 15) and Peter (as is explained in Paul's epistle to the Galatians) those at Antioch still sought for further guidance as to how to resolve the matter of disagreement stirred up by the Judaizers. In other words, they did not treat the apostles as though their words had the authority of Scripture simply by virtue of their being apostles.

So, in short, the Scriptures are the words of God to the churches, not from the church. The writings of "the church" even in its most ecumenical act are not Scripture, nor does even the Roman Catholic church abide by the sentence of James to abstain from blood (don't get me started on how that would impact the error of transubstantiation).

- TurretinFan

natamllc said...

SP,

I happily, yet, with some chagrin, agree with these words:::>

SP: "....God didn't protect the covenant community (however defined as Israel or the Church) from errors in faith and morals in the OT or NT....".

Now why would I say that? Well, to your chagrin I suppose, SP, the RCC has personally been party to the martyrdom of many of the Covenant Community!

Why does God allow His Own people to suffer such crimes against humanity?

Well, the law can only be enforced upon the criminal who acts out of their sin nature and not out of His Divine Nature.

Job 2:9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die."
Job 2:10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

and

Job 13:14 Why should I take my flesh in my teeth and put my life in my hand?
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.
Job 13:16 This will be my salvation, that the godless shall not come before him.

and

But, to sum up the point, I believe these Words from Psalm 139 does it well, don't you think, or not?:::>

Psa 139:17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Psa 139:18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
Psa 139:19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!
Psa 139:20 They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain!

GeneMBridges said...

"God did protect the Church from error. He gave them the apostles. He breathed on them. Gave them the Holy Spirit. It was the apostolic Church that was writing those letters and correcting the errors that were in the NT churches!"

1. The Magisterium is not "the Church." How many times to Romanists remind us of that?

2. The Apostles are not "the Church" nor are the "the Magisterium." They are the Apostles. These are not convertible.

3. All you've done is demonstrate that the authors of Scripture produced inerrant Scripture. You've done nothing to show that God protected "the Church" from error, and further that this protection, if it existed, extended through a papal episcopate from the subapostolic age to the present day. That's a different claim. 1 Clement can hardly be said to be an inerrant document, for if it is, it should be Scripture.

They wrote letters, yet many of those same churches fell into error again and again. Remember, you're not just seeking to defend the existence of a Magisterium; you are also seeking to defend indefectability. It's therefore insufficient to point to the Apostles;you have to show that God protected the target local churches from error. That's a patently false statement. Had He done so, they would not have fallen into error - the same errors that occasioned the letters.

Your statement suffers from a number of equivocations and gaps in reasoning.

Scripture is inerrant - not any elder/bishop and not any collection of them. In fact, a collection is just as likely to attenuate error as prevent error.

natamllc said...

SP/Blogahon,

Lest I unintentionally cause confusion, [which rarely happens with me though :)], I need to note that the quoted portion I made above responding to your comments, was from an earlier comment by GMB commenting on CD's comment on yours.

Here is the full context, which I again say, I agree with it:::>

GMB:
"....1. One of the problems with comments like this is that it directly overlooks Scripture itself.

Errors in faith and moral occasioned more than one NT letter.
God didn't protect the covenant community (however defined as Israel or the Church) from errors in faith and morals in the OT or NT. Finally, not a one of us,except the sinless perfectionist heretics that have arisen through the ages, argues that He protects any single Christian from errors in faith and morals...".

SP said...

When the apostles convened at the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 where they not the church acting with authority over a matter for the whole church?

Turretinfan said...

SP: "When the apostles convened at the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 where they not the church acting with authority over a matter for the whole church?"

It doesn't look like they thought so. They didn't send the letter they generated throughout the world but instead specifically to: "the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia" (Acts 15:23).

But if you think they bound (or intended to bind) the whole church - do you think Rome is wrong not to teach abstention from blood?

- TurretinFan

Raymond said...

Apologies. I had two combox's open at once! More like six or seven! Wrong combox for the last post.

Turretinfan said...

No problem - I've removed it for you.