Friday, May 14, 2010

The Apostolic Succession as a Solution to Ambiguous Scriptures Challenge

In a comment box at the GreenBaggins blog, Jason J. Stellman sets forth a simple but important challenge (link to comment).

The challenge is this (paraphrased):

If "apostolic succession" is the solution to multiple competing Scriptural interpretations, then what is the solution to multiple claims to "apostolic succession"?

Let's suppose for the sake of the argument that there is some ambiguity in Scripture that we would like to resolve. Suppose further that we try to resolve it by resorting to "apostolic succession." We will encounter multiple claimants:

1) Mormons (who claim to have living apostles)
2) Roman Catholics (who claim to have a living successor of the Apostle Peter)
3) Eastern Orthodox (who claim to have a plurality of bishops that have succeeded the apostles)
4) Other "Orthodox" groups, including the Nestorians, Monophysites, etc.

It does not appear that the answer can come from any disputed Scripture, because that would introduce a circle. I have heard some folks claim it is history, but if disputes over Scripture are fierce, disputes over History are often even more fierce.

I would respectfully submit that there is no neat answer to the challenge. By whatever skeptical rule one denies that Scripture is the rule of faith, one's own rule of faith will perish.

- TurretinFan

114 comments:

Mike Erich the Mad Theologian said...

Also the ultimate appeal to apostolic succession is always circular. If you derive it from Scripture you make Scripture the authority. But if you derive from the teaching of whoever you claim as an authority then you have to believe the authority to accept their teaching.

Coram Deo said...

Rome's neat solution to the proposed dilemma would be, I suspect, to retreat to the infallible teaching authority of the Magisterium.

Since Rome is the universal church, and her infallible teaching Magisterium's emanations are binding on the consciences of men, when she declares apostolic succession for the Papacy from Peter, by definition she is right. This is because Rome is always right, because she is infallible (just in case anyone missed that point).

She could also argue more convicingly for apostolicty than the LDS, for example, by pointing authoritatively to being comparatively much more ancient as an extant faith tradition.

However this argument would fall short over and against the EOC's similar claims in this area, yet against the EOC interlocutor the intrepid Romanist would likely invoke the "universal consent of the fathers" as to Rome's primacy; i.e. quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est.

Just don't expect them to provide any actual proof for the validity of this claim.

Of course against this claim one could readily point to the advent of Newman's "development of doctrine" theory which was fully embraced by Rome in the 19th century (much to the dismay of Trent and Vat. I) - not to mention the novelty of "living tradition"...and you thought only the LDS had living apostles!

In Christ,
CD

David Waltz said...

>>I would respectfully submit that there is no neat answer to the challenge. By whatever skeptical rule one denies that Scripture is the rule of faith, one's own rule of faith will perish.>>

Me: And I would respectfully submit one is ultimately left with nuda scriptura and individual interpretation—any appeal to the so-called “subordinate authorities” is hollow if Scripture alone is the rule of faith—fact is each sect and/or school of theology has it’s unique “subordinate authorities”, which ultimately brings one back to nuda scriptura. Now, don’t misinterpret me here—I am not saying that nuda scriptura is fundamentally flawed; but rather, that the 16th century notions of sola scriptura have demonstrably been proven, via the event(s) of history, to be next to worthless.


Grace and peace,

David

Andrew Preslar said...

TF,

Historically and theologically, the (related) principles of the Petrine Primacy and the Ecumenical Council effectively address the problem of doctrinal (and disciplinary) discord among the particular churches which enjoy Apostolic Succession.

Andrew

Tom said...

At a previous job I had back in the 1990s, one of the ladies I worked with was an Egyptian Coptic Christian. I used to always enjoy listening to her explain how Rome is in schism becuase it broke away from the one, true Church (hers) at the Council of Chalcedon!!

Tom said...

"Historically and theologically, the (related) principles of the Petrine Primacy and the Ecumenical Council effectively address the problem of doctrinal (and disciplinary) discord among the particular churches which enjoy Apostolic Succession."

Yes, by saying that the world would truly be a great place if everyone else agreed with me and my Pope!

Turretinfan said...

David:

They're hollow as a way of giving certainty. But that wasn't their purpose.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Historically and theologically, the (related) principles of the Petrine Primacy and the Ecumenical Council effectively address the problem of doctrinal (and disciplinary) discord among the particular churches which enjoy Apostolic Succession."

a) Petrine Primacy and the Ecumenical Council are insufficient as demonstrated by the Council of Constance.

b) There is no alleged ecumenical for hundreds of years after the apostles.

c) Petrine primacy is moot once Peter is dead. What you really mean is Roman primacy - but the early church doesn't have a doctrine of Roman primacy beyond a primacy of honor or dignity (since Rome was the seat and crossroads of the Roman empire).

d) Petrine primacy and ecumenical councils have to come from somewhere. Where do they come from? It's not really a solution to simply say "you appeal to petrine primacy and ecumenical councils."

e) And, of course, those views don't directly address a theory like that of the Mormons.

-TurretinFan

John said...

If you're going to throw Mormon claims to having apostles in our face, then we would have the right to throw Mormon claims to a different canon of scripture in the sola scriptura position's face. So in the name of sanity, you should forget that stupidity, since clearly they have no plausible claim to succession just like they have no plausible claim their scriptures are inspired. Fair enough?

Turretinfan said...

"If you're going to throw Mormon claims to having apostles in our face, then we would have the right to throw Mormon claims to a different canon of scripture in the sola scriptura position's face."

We're equipped to deal with folks who have a different canon from us. We have to deal with them all the time.

"So in the name of sanity, you should forget that stupidity, since clearly they have no plausible claim to succession just like they have no plausible claim their scriptures are inspired. Fair enough?"

See, that's the difference between your apologetic and ours. We *could* just claim that you guys are stupid, like you do to the Mormons, but we actually go beyond that.

-TurretinFan

John said...

Ok, you want to play the silly game, I throw the book of Mormon in your face. Now we'll see if you're equipped or can go beyond bare faced claims. Go at it.

BTW, Mormons don't even claim apostolic succession, so nothing to refute here.

Turretinfan said...

"Ok, you want to play the silly game, I throw the book of Mormon in your face. Now we'll see if you're equipped or can go beyond bare faced claims. Go at it."

This isn't the place for that discussion.

"BTW, Mormons don't even claim apostolic succession, so nothing to refute here."

I guess you don't know much about Mormonism.

-TurretinFan

John said...

OK, Mormons have succession within their own line of apostles, but not from THE 12 apostles.

Which is very relevant to mentioning the book of Mormon. If you can't see the difference between claiming succession and claiming succession from the actual 1st century apostles, then I guess you can't see the difference between the bible and the book of Mormon either.

Mike Erich the Mad Theologian said...

Being from Utah I and there is absolutely no question that Mormons claim Apostolic Succession. One can argue various claim of Apostolic Succession but only if you have already concluded Apostolic Succession is true. But where do you derive that from. If you take it from the infallible teachings of the Magisterium you are being viciously circular. If you try to establish it from Scripture then you make Scripture the standard and if I can interpret Scripture enough to see you are right I can interpret it enough to argue you are wrong.
As for the unity of the Catholics or the Mormons or any other group any one can draw a circle and call it unity. I am in unity with everyone who agrees with me.

John said...

"If you take it from the infallible teachings of the Magisterium you are being viciously circular."

Let's say for the sake of argument I took it from a Magisterium. How is this more viciously circular than a sola scripturaist appealing to scripture?

steve said...

John said...

"Let's say for the sake of argument I took it from a Magisterium. How is this more viciously circular than a sola scripturaist appealing to scripture?"

It's viciously circular unless the operating premise is either evident or self-evident.

John said...

Ahh well, what is evident is the issue at dispute.

Mike Erich the Mad Theologian said...

Let's say for the sake of argument I took it from a Magisterium. How is this more viciously circular than a sola scripturaist appealing to scripture?

I am convinced that there are good apologetic reasons for believing the Scriptures are the Word of God. I started out as an agnostic and came to believe Christianity because of the evidence. But to declare the Scriptures as uninterpretable (or as the Mormons incorrectly translated) and argue for some other authority as superior to Scripture then you are cutting off the limb you are standing on. If you can produce an argument that would convince an agnostic of the truth of your Magisterium without recourse to Scripture I will be glad to discuss the issue on that basis. Otherwise you are simply circular in your argument.

natamllc said...

TF

for the sake of sanity, mine, would you kindly locate the inference by Stellman at Green Baggins? What day did he post that that you paraphrased that started this volley in here? I have been tracking the comments for some time now and there are over 490 comments posted on that one topic.

There are some really fair and good exchanges going on over there by the way! I hope as much and more over here? :)

John said...

One agnostic in the entire world converted without the scriptures, and you are ready to toss it in for the Protestant camp. Who would have thought it would be so easy. Romans 1 says such people are out there.

Mike Erich the Mad Theologian said...

I said I would discuss it on that basis, not that I would accept it. My point is not if you can produce an example you are right, but that it you cannot produce an example your claim should not even be considered. If you have not evidence you should be thrown out of court.

Mike Erich the Mad Theologian said...

Further note: Being convinced by the general revelation in nature (Romans 1) is not the same as being converted by the truth of the Magisterium and is not even relevant to the discussion. But general revelation cannot convert but only condemn (Romans 1:18-20; 3:9-18)but only Christ can save (Romans 3:21-28)and for that Scripture is necessary (Romans 10:17).

Turretinfan said...

NatAmLLC: It is comment 330 (May 12 was the date, I think) that is Stellman's that I'm quoting.

Turretinfan said...

"Romans 1 says such people are out there."

Romans 1 doesn't say there is anyone converted by the light of nature.

Turretinfan said...

"OK, Mormons have succession within their own line of apostles, but not from THE 12 apostles."

and?

"Which is very relevant to mentioning the book of Mormon. If you can't see the difference between claiming succession and claiming succession from the actual 1st century apostles, then I guess you can't see the difference between the bible and the book of Mormon either."

Do you know Mormon doctrine well enough to know their answer to that?

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

TF,

thanks and keep up the good fight of faith there and here. It has been insightful to read, learn and come to a better understanding of the herectical doctrines I am being delivered from.

My hope in making a comment or so in here, if there is such a thing [by me], is that those who base their "learned" reasonings/logikos in their synergistic presuppositions will have another far less learned perspective, which the Holy Spirit can use, if they care to read and ponder my views of this debate, to see the error in judgment and reasonings/logikos as it is clearly being explained by you and the varied group of mindsets with yours, which is parenthetically God's Mindset, all fully enlightened by the same Holy Spirit.

Peter did write:

1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
1Pe 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.


Ok, I will go to the timeline and read how Stellman developed his thinking to that point and consider that as well as what followed and then come back here and explain what I believe is being missed, which is, for my part, what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian Church, 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.

One should take note by those words, "God inspired", the two authorities are conveyed which is equally clear by how and what you also teach based on what you have also learned and received and heard and seen, too.

natamllc said...

TF,

I would have a word of clarification?

You wrote over at Green Baggins:

"....What a far cry that procedure is from the procedure that was used to provide the only Scriptural example of apostolic succession, namely the replacement of Judas by the criterion of those who were Jesus’ disciples during his ministry from the Baptism of John to the Ascension and chosen by lot!...."

My initial thoughts, as I believe they were because of the Holy Spirit moving upon my spirit as I pondered the proposition put forth for this debate yesterday was there "as well as" here:

Act 13:1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Act 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
Act 13:3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Act 13:4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

and

at Acts 15 and the first Council.

Basis those other two, would I be correct in your view to hold to those two as well as what occurred in Acts 1?

And as a further note, I am coming entirely from the mindset as a California Indian, whose father was a Pomo Indian and whose mother was of Irish/Swedish decent.

Unlearned as I am with regard to a lot of these great theologians down through time from the 1st Century forward to minds such as yours, I am wondering if I am making to much of this by putting into the mix those two other occurrences, Acts 13 and Acts 15 where we see being "set" in the Body, the Church on earth "authority" as guided and directed from Heaven itself through the One Spirit, the Holy Spirit?

natamllc said...

CD

I want to ask you a question basis what you wrote, here:

"....Since Rome is the universal church, and her infallible teaching Magisterium's emanations are binding on the consciences of men,....".

Doesn't that make plain there is an "exception" to that rule in the Magisterium's body in chief?


I would think, from where I sit, and, parenthetically, I have met with and talked to the Cardinal of Washington D.C. before, that once you are graduated to the office of Cardinal, things and opinions differ within the "club" membership privately as someone described her as being?

natamllc said...

Tom:

"....Yes, by saying that the world would truly be a great place if everyone else agreed with me and my Pope!...."


Might I edit that to mean this?

Yes, by saying that the world would truly be a great place if everyone else in my household agreed with me and my Pope/Me!


:)

natamllc said...

METMT:

"....One can argue various claim of Apostolic Succession but only if you have already concluded Apostolic Succession is true...."

Doesn't that beg the question?

How can one "conclude" Truth unless "Truth" Himself is involved in the conclusion?

And the conclusion doesn't come freely or quickly for most I would assert.

I assert that basis Hebrews 6:3.

natamllc said...

METMT:

".... I started out as an agnostic and came to believe Christianity because of the evidence...."

Yes, precisely!

Question:
Isn't that this/these admonition/evidences, here:

Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

and

2Pe 1:2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2Pe 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
2Pe 1:4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
2Pe 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
2Pe 1:6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
2Pe 1:7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
2Pe 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe 1:9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
2Pe 1:10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

natamllc said...

John:

"....One agnostic in the entire world converted without the scriptures, and you are ready to toss it in for the Protestant camp. Who would have thought it would be so easy. Romans 1 says such people are out there....".

Wow! That's quite a mouthful! How did you say you came to that understanding?

Turretinfan said...

"I am wondering if I am making to much of this by putting into the mix those two other occurrences,"

Those two other occurrences are important, though they are not examples of an apostle succeeding a prior apostle.

natamllc said...

Yes, agreed.

I was addressing the pinion of "succession's authority".

It seems to me, if there was a time during the days of the Apostles, that the Holy Spirit would, He too, knowing the end from the beginning, would want to establish this sort of argument, "apostolic succession", these two occasions that came to be would be good times to do so?

As I have indicated already, I believe the issue is settled at Acts 20, which if I recall from comments Brian made over at Green Baggins, he was using those Scriptures there as a platform for it, if I understood his argument clearly?

John said...

1Th. 2:13 Paul praises them for receiving his message that they heard, and treated it as the word of God, and not the word of men. I take it that since they might have been tempted to treat it as the word of men it was probably Paul's message and not just him reading the old testament. Apparently then they were converted by a non-scriptural message then.

natamllc said...

John,

".... receiving his message that they heard,...".

Question:
Which translation of that verse are you reasoning from?

Here's ESV:
1Th 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

I simply want to note the words "we" and "us" and the phrase: "not as the word of men", which is quite different than the singular bent you have put on the meaning.

Also, the implication is that the same "Holy Spirit" is at work in this region where these Gentiles are and they are experiencing persecutions because of "His Work" at work in them there in their region as the Believing Jews were experiencing also in their communities, as He was at work in them too.

Amazing isn't it, that the Holy Spirit's work is the same and His fruit in these True Believers brings about the same or similar persecutions with fundmentally different ethicities?

Anyway, if you would comment I would be interested in knowing from what Translation you were working from?

John said...

I was paraphrasing from the NASB, but the point is that they heard the message from a magisterium of sorts - the apostolic preachers, and not from scripture. That was the challenge was it not? Or do you want to change the challenge now it has been met?

Turretinfan said...

Paul preached from the Scriptures.

John said...

So do those with apostolic succession. Point?

Turretinfan said...

Those to whom Paul preached would not be examples to satisfy MEtMT's challenge: "If you can produce an argument that would convince an agnostic of the truth of your Magisterium without recourse to Scripture I will be glad to discuss the issue on that basis."

John said...

The context of 1Th 2:13 is people who received Paul's oral message as the word of God, not Judaism of the OT. We are talking about conversion to Christianity, right?

Turretinfan said...

Uh ... every preacher preaches orally. The point is?

ChaferDTS said...

" The context of 1Th 2:13 is people who received Paul's oral message as the word of God, not Judaism of the OT. We are talking about conversion to Christianity, right? "

The content of Paul's oral doctrinal teaching are now presently found in the New Testament. The context of his oral doctrinal teaching did not differ from his written doctrinal teachings known as Paul's epistles. There is presently no new doctrinal revelation since the New Testament was completed in 95ad when the book of Revelation was written. Since then we have the apostolic teachings of the Apostles in the OT and NT Scripture for the church as it's sole infallible rule of faith.

John said...

ChaferDTS: The challenge presented was to show that people would believe the Christian message outside of it being written down in scripture. So that is the point that I established, and your assertions really have nothing to do with what is being discussed.

TF: Paul wasn't just preaching orally, rather his listeners were accepting his oral and extra-scriptural message as the word of God. i.e. people believing stuff that wasn't written down as scripture. And that was the challenge presented.

natamllc said...

John:
The context of 1Th 2:13 is people who received Paul's oral message as the word of God, not Judaism of the OT. We are talking about conversion to Christianity, right?

Me:
John, the premiere pinion is Acts 15 and a letter that was crafted after much debate and first sent back to Antioch and now here in the comment box a long time after. That one letter has been read far and wide the world over, by now, don't you suppose? Its legacy is something similar to the woman who broke the perfume box and drenched Jesus and swelled up the air with smells of Glory. Her deed too is spoken about, again, now, in here! :)

The New Covenant was in diapers and the baby was pooping and wetting and things were starting to stink, especially in that arid dry and hot climate! :)

If you were to take that trajectory, the letter in Acts 15 that was then sent back to Antioch and coupled with this interesting verse, here: Act 15:32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.

....and then overlay that with the main substantive content, setting aside the qualifications for leadership roles and the baby grew, of Paul's Epistles, Peter's, James', John's and Jude, you will see the "heart" of the message sent, that letter crafted in all their epistles.

It really comes back down to the original two relationships decreed by God, that separate the sheep from the goats; "Love God as He loves you and love your neighbor as yourself with His love not yours".

Then, to come back to the Old Testament, primarily Jeremiah and Ezekiel, you see nothing varied from the relationship God established with the Jews and reestablished time and again as the Old was coming to an end which brought about the beginning of the New.

What's the change, then? The change is where the Holy Spirit resides now because of Christ and the Blood He shed on that cursed tree, which is different than where He has been from the beginning, Genesis 1:2.

I will break here because of length and quote from Dr. J.V. Fesko's writings because he has a way with words that, in my view, is so beautiful in conveying this issue you have raised.

With that I want to reiterate I am mindful of TF's paraphrase of Stellman's challenge.

natamllc said...

Quoting from Dr. J.V. Fesko, Justification, Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine, page 286:

"Like Jeremiah before him, Ezekiel also prophesied of how God would vindicate His name: "I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules" (Ezek. 36:26-27). Here we see another aspect of Jeremiah's earlier prophecy that was latent but that Ezekiel brings to the surface. Jeremiah prophesied that God would make a new covenant with his people and write his law upon their hearts. Ezekiel's prophecy explains the way in which God would write his law upon the hearts of his people and what the resulting effect would be. God would place his Spirit within his people, which would produce the effect that his people would obey his law. The net effect of this Spirit-produced obedience would be that God's name would be vindicated among the nations by the obedience of his people."

Let me ask you to do something now. Read that quotation from Dr. Fesko's book and "count" just how many times he repeats this phrase: "his people"?

Now, "....multiple competing Scriptural interpretations...." and

".... multiple claims to "apostolic succession"...".

"solution"? Ah, quoting Dr. Fesko now, "The net effect of this Spirit-produced obedience would be that God's name would be vindicated among the nations by the obedience of his people."

For me that question, Stellman's challenge, is moot in light of "Who" is doing "what" to "who" that results in the net effect worldwide, God vindicating His Name among the nations.

Isn't He doing just that, now, John? Or is Our God sleeping like the gods of Baal?

You see, I am a firm believer in this, the "resurrection of the dead" as is recorded in Romans 10 reiterated by Paul, here:

Rom 10:6 But the righteousness based on faith says, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down)
Rom 10:7 or "'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
Rom 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
Rom 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Rom 10:11 For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."
Rom 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
Rom 10:13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

And to tie up the loose ends, I end with TF's glib, "...Paul preached from the Scriptures.", by these words, too:

Rom 10:14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
Rom 10:15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"

Oh yeah, and one last point. You should go through Chapter 10 of Romans and count how many Old Testament books Paul is speaking from, to see what TF meant, "Paul preached from the Scriptures."

If you are lazy, just ask me and I will tell you, quoting each of them!

John said...

I have no idea what you think you've proven in the context of this disagreement.

John said...

I might add that the point of difference between apostolic succession and sola scriptura is not whether scripture is quoted, it is the authority of the leadership to authoritatively teach scripture's meaning. Clearly the apostolic explanation of scripture goes well beyond simple exegesis of the old testament texts. So if the challenge is about showing that people would believe in the religion outside of a purely exegetical explanation of scriptural texts, surely that point is well established.

natamllc said...

John,

the difference is simple.

Dead people don't prove anything.

Monergists are dead people.

Synergists, with a faith that apostolic succession authority still exists even in these days we debate this stuff, teach people more about Truth than Truth Himself taught about Himself.

Why, for the life of me I believed I needed to venerate Mary the way I foolishly did and why no Nun or Priest of mine ever asked me to read a Bible, pray to the Holy Spirit to guide my understanding of it as I read it and then come back with understanding or questions or both and have fellowship, sweet fellowship is beyond me and rather moot now.

I guess your point is well taken by me though. I wasn't trying to prove anything to you John. I was just laying out an understanding of the Scriptures in hopes God would be gracious enough with you to show you something about apostolic succession. It was only necessary until God, Himself, in Union with the Holy Spirit and Christ said: [my loose paraphrase of what they decreed] "enough now has been written, let's guide them to end this portion of this life and start breathing on them and guiding them to Truth in the Written form of Truth as Truth was demonstrated to some", as an example, here:

Luk 24:25 And He said to them, O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe on all things which the prophets spoke!
Luk 24:26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into His glory?
Luk 24:27 And beginning from Moses, and from all the prophets, He explained to them the things about Himself in all the Scriptures.

Now, that is what Acts/Luke to Revelation/John does also. Now we can read the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit within us will explain to us the things about Him in all the Scriptures, both the Old and the New.

The unique aspect of this, the New Testament writings,[the Gospels, Acts/Luke to Revelation/John], is by their good works done, by oral preaching and by writing letters about Him. . Though He left them in bodily form back then, He remained with them and is still with those of us today, after being born again and who gather in His Name, as is taught, here:

Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.

and here:

1Co 5:3 For as being absent in body, but being present in spirit, I have already judged the one who has worked out this thing, as if I were present:
1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being gathered together with my spirit also, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

So, accept my apology if I wasted your time John?

Oh yeah, one thing more, John. When I wrote this above: "....The New Covenant was in diapers and the baby was pooping and wetting and things were starting to stink, especially in that arid dry and hot climate! :)..." I mean to say, even today, there are many coming to Christ and as new born again babes in Christ, they too poopoo and wet and whine and whether or not they are in arid dry hot places or cool moist coastal regions, they still stink!


Just a digression of personal privilege here about "mother" Mary, as you know, there is some major issues with the theology of the RCC and the Reformed about her role in Biblical Born Again doctrine.

Here's an interesting verse, for what it's worth, that I thought is interesting in capturing our view of "motherhood" as it relates to growing up into the fullness of Christ:

Rom 16:13 Greet Rufus, the chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

That understanding is akind to what Jesus was saying here when He said this most famous thing while hanging on that cursed tree:

Joh 19:26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"
Joh 19:27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

John said...

If I understand what you're saying now, you're saying that none of the authority arguments matter because the Spirit is going to do what he is going to do anyway.

So I take it we're not going to hear any arguments from you about sola scriptura authority?

BTW, if monergists are "dead people", I pray that some day you guys would get regenerated. Good luck.

natamllc said...

John,

"....If I understand what you're saying now, you're saying that none of the authority arguments matter..."

Whose arguments?

Whose authority?


I don't believe I am saying that. I am arguing for "Authority" as it is established here:

Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Here is an argument for Authority from two sources, one, God directly; two, the Word of His Grace.

I would expand that a bit.

One, God directly; well that is because the "free" gift of Eternal Life is now I "get" to have a personal loving relationship with God, God My Heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Cf. John 17:3.

Two, the Word of His Grace; well that is because God, in His Great Wisdom, directed by the sanctification work of the Holy Spirit, has left us a complete, written record, the 66 books of the Bible to assist us in maturing in this life, Eternal Life.

These Books help us see and understand the invisible side of "Life", "life", "life" and "life" as we pass our time out of this world to the next.

Each part, the pneuma, the pusche, the soma and the sarx are addressed in precise detail so that every Godly man can be:

2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
2Ti 3:17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Of course I understand that your "Bible" has other additional writings and your religion embraces a papacy and her magisterium.

As for being Monergistic, well, we do have to be regenerated first, before we can espouse this doctrine! :)

John said...

natamllc: As far as I see this discussion has wandered off into waffle, motherhood and apple pie, unless I'm missing something.

And no I don't embrace a papacy.

And you did say that Monergists are dead people. You are a monergist apparently, ergo....

natamllc said...

waffles and apple pie, hmmmm,

could you direct me to where I discussed those sweet meats?

Motherhood, yes, as I referred.

You are a RC?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I don't see how the RC's and the EO's are going to resolve Pastor Stellman's question without disagreeing with each other.

It's a very interesting question and I think both Pastor Stellman and TurretinFan for posting it.

Turretinfan said...

"TF: Paul wasn't just preaching orally, rather his listeners were accepting his oral and extra-scriptural message as the word of God. i.e. people believing stuff that wasn't written down as scripture. And that was the challenge presented. "

What part of Paul's message was extrascriptural? How do you know this?

-TurretinFan

John said...

Baptism for example, which wasn't taught in any scriptures Paul could have been preaching from at that point in time. But I think it is fairly safe to assume he taught baptism, don't you?

Turretinfan said...

"Baptism for example, which wasn't taught in any scriptures Paul could have been preaching from at that point in time. But I think it is fairly safe to assume he taught baptism, don't you? "

a) Are you ready to disagree with those who say that Baptism was shadowed in the Old Testament?

b) What makes you think that Paul could not have been preaching from Luke's gospel? We have good reason from Acts to believe that Paul had personal contact with Luke.

-TurretinFan

John said...

(a) Shadowed is not the same as taught. If you are willing to accept "shadows" as a convincing standard of exegesis, we have a lot more talk to do on the Marian teachings.

(b) Convincing arguments have been made that Luke and Acts were written around the time Acts ends around 62AD. This is after Paul makes his missionary journeys, and the letters to the Thessalonians, which is most likely written around 50AD, or 12 years earlier. There are various other reasons for believing Thessalonians, and indeed most of the Pauline epistles precede Luke, such as Paul's seeming lack of knowledge of them.

And besides which, the book of Luke doesn't teach Christian baptism. Acts does, but that book can hardly precede the events which it describes, such as Paul's contact with the Thessalonians.

Turretinfan said...

As to (a) is it your position that Paul did not explains the types to people?

As to (b), there's lot of speculation, but the bottom line is you don't know.

John said...

(a) isn't the argument and challenge presented here that people wouldn't believe unless it is clearly and perspicuously taught in scripture? I can explain to you the "types" that lead to apostolic succession from scripture, but will you accept it?

(b) We can only go by probabilities right? I don't think you're going to find a single scholar who thinks Luke precedes Thessalonians.

In point of fact, since you are the one who denies the plain meaning of the text here, as well as Paul's admonition to follow the oral traditions, the burden would be on you to show it is at least likely, if not certain that these oral teachings were known by Paul to be in scripture. Since you can't even show it likely, and in fact all scholars that I know of consider it unlikely if not certainly not true, your position must fail.

Turretinfan said...

"isn't the argument and challenge presented here that people wouldn't believe unless it is clearly and perspicuously taught in scripture?"

No. The question was: What part of Paul's message was extrascriptural? How do you know this?

"I can explain to you the "types" that lead to apostolic succession from scripture, but will you accept it?"

a) The existence of types is not carte blanche for typology.

b) Interpreting the New Testament as though it were not the final revelation of Christ is the wrong hermeneutic.

"We can only go by probabilities right?"

Well, you're stuck trying to appeal to alleged probabilities because you don't have facts on your side.

"I don't think you're going to find a single scholar who thinks Luke precedes Thessalonians."

Actually, you'll find plenty* of scholars that think that. One obvious reason: Paul appeals to Luke 10:7 at 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

"In point of fact, since you are the one who denies the plain meaning of the text here, as well as Paul's admonition to follow the oral traditions, the burden would be on you to show it is at least likely, if not certain that these oral teachings were known by Paul to be in scripture."

LOL I don't deny the plain meaning of the text. You're the one adding to the text that the traditions are extrascriptural.

"Since you can't even show it likely, and in fact all scholars that I know of consider it unlikely if not certainly not true, your position must fail."

LOL

- TurretinFan

* Obviously, "plenty" is a value judgment.

John said...

"No. The question was:...."

Well, it seems to me this thread is a continuation of the challenge to show that someone would be "convince an agnostic of the truth.. without recourse to Scripture". That has been shown.

"The existence of types is not carte blanche for typology."

That is what our hypothetical agnostic could have thrown in Paul's face if that is what you are saying Paul brought to the table. You've now been forced into the corner of refuting your own argument. If Paul's scriptural references can't stand on their own feet, you lose.

"Interpreting the New Testament as though it were not the final revelation of Christ is the wrong hermeneutic."

I'm not sure of your point. Historical-grammatical exegesis would dictate that we interpret Paul within the historical setting in which he writes. If that setting is the non-existence of New-Testament scriptures, then that is the context we must interpret what he says.

"Well, you're stuck trying to appeal to alleged probabilities because you don't have facts on your side."

Well hang on now. The FACT is that Paul says his oral teaching is the word of God, and that his listeners need to hold to the oral teachings. The CLAIM put forward by you is that we can ignore this admonition of Paul because the oral is contained within the written. If we are going to ignore unsubstantiated CLAIMS, then I win. If we want to explore the possibility of your claim being true, then you lose on probabilities. Either way you lose.

" One obvious reason: Paul appeals to Luke 10:7 at 1 Thessalonians 5:18."

Wrong, you're thinking of 1 Timothy 5:18. Nobody is denying that 1 Timothy was much later, more around the time of Luke. Care to give it another shot?

ChaferDTS said...

"You're the one adding to the text that the traditions are extrascriptural. "

TF, you have it exactly right. He fails to see the doctrinal oral teaching did not differ in content from what we now have in the New Testament. Very sharp eye ! We would not find any unknown written doctrinal oral traditions there at all. Roman Catholicism meanwhile wont ever tell us what all these unwritten oral doctrinal teachings are at all ever. I personally consider Papal infallibility one of the most useless doctrines ever. When one looks to find out how many claimed infallible pronounce have been made by the Pope it shows hardly any at all and fails to give to the people what it claims it has. It claims alot and shows us very little in that regard.

John said...

"He fails to see the doctrinal oral teaching did not differ in content from what we now"

I notice you don't say that the oral teaching differs to what they had THEN. Or in other words, you are conceding that my interpretation of Paul is what he meant in context, but you have some further knowledge that he didn't about what would end up in the New Testament. That still leaves me following the New Testament, and you claiming to have subsequent revelation.

Also, save complaints about the papacy for someone who cares, like maybe a Roman Catholic.

natamllc said...

Oh John,

after TUAD commented above, I am of the impression now you are EO? Or am I wrong again?

You don't embrace the papacy, so you aren't RC. And if you are RC then you would be considered an oddity among the RCC.

From whence do you hail then?

One of the things that I find remarkable with the discussions with you, is that fact that God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are UNCHANGING, THE SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER.

When you add that component to the mix, every Author of the Scriptures, from Moses to John, the similarities or "fruits" are not of any extreme variance, don't you suppose?

God has been God all along. His intent and purpose have not varied at all, not one iota. There have come revelations at various times along the timeline of History and the pathway of this life. It has always been our response and conformity or deformity to it that reflects the "fruits" of the revelations as they have come to pass.

That the conformity and similarity and subject matter of the writings tightens up from Acts/Luke to Revelation/John, conveying the sense of the four Gospels, attests to God's unchanging Character being the Same in every generation and His influences show up in those happily accepting and receiving Him and His Word as it came forth in written form or orally.

I leave off again with this one verse and ask you to consider the outcome in all your speaking and writing, John. Can it be said of you by those who learn and receive from you or hear and see your life that their life comes face to face with the God of Peace or your human reasonings?

Php 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

I can tell you as a matter of fact that I pray daily and sit in Their Glorious Present, sometimes for hours just enjoying Their Glory.

I can also attest to the fact that as I have learned from TF here in this blog, when I go to that closet and come into that stillness and depth of Presence, there is a sense of confirmation from Them as to the things taught hereon by him.

I know that will not affect TF one bit but encourage or edify him. He is a Man of God, a seasoned Trooper, disciplined, measured and tempered and a scholarly work he produces in here continually.

So I am asking you John, are you arguing for God and His Wisdom or what?

And can you tell me, are you Eastern Orthodox, Orthodox or what dox?

ChaferDTS said...
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ChaferDTS said...

"I notice you don't say that the oral teaching differs to what they had THEN. "

What is rejected is unwritten oral doctrinal traditions that cant be traced back to the apostles. The New Testament writings were still being written. Hence once the NT canon was written and the apostles died off the Scripture were to be the sole infallible rule of faith for the operation of the Christian Church. The RCC and others can't show any of it's claimed unwritten oral doctrinal traditions. As there is no new revelation given today outside of what is in Scripture.

"Or in other words, you are conceding that my interpretation of Paul is what he meant in context, but you have some further knowledge that he didn't about what would end up in the New Testament. That still leaves me following the New Testament, and you claiming to have subsequent revelation."

There is no new revelation being given today once the New Testament Canon was completely written and all the apostles died off. What is rejected is any claimed unwritten oral doctrinal traditions. In passages such as 2 Thes 2:15 the tradition there is defined as the Gospel which is presently located in the New Testament. In general , the doctrinal oral traditions preached by the Apostles was the gospel itself and as I said before it is now located in the New Testament which we presently have.

"Also, save complaints about the papacy for someone who cares, like maybe a Roman Catholic. "

Roman Catholics,Pentecostals in some cases, Adventist, Mormons and Jehovah Wittness have the same common problem with a claimed infallible authority such as a Pope or claimed apostles or prophets like they have. Apostolic Succession in reality is doctrinal and not through the episcopate or a line that is claimed through Peter or a new apostle or prophet out of the blue sent to restore the entire church like Mormons or Jehovah Wittnesses claim .

ChaferDTS said...

Eastern Orthodox also claims " apostolic succession " as well but it's claims like that of Roman Catholicism can't be proven either. We have all these differen groups claim apostolic succession and yet great and serious doctrinal disagreements are found with them.

John said...

"Hence once the NT canon was written and the apostles died off the Scripture were to be the sole infallible rule of faith for the operation of the Christian Church. "

So you reject 2Th 2:15. Where is the scripture that abrogates that commandment? Why are you trying to convince me of this extra-scriptural doctrine about the abrogation of Paul's teaching in order to prop up a doctrine that there are no extra-scriptural doctrines?

"There is no new revelation being given today ..."

But you are claiming some new revelation in between when 2Th was written and today. Where is that revelation abrogating his commands?

"In passages such as 2 Thes 2:15 the tradition there is defined as the Gospel "

No it doesn't. It says because you were called through the gospel, you should hold to the traditions. Nothing about the traditions being the same as the gospel. Those little prepositions and conjunctions like therefore etc have meanings, and we can't let you get away with just conflating and misrepresenting the text to suit your own agenda. If he'd meant "the gospel", he would have said that. Why would he say "hold to the gospel, whether the ones we taught you orally, or the ones written"? Did have multiple gospels, some delivered orally, others in writing? You want to make it so we can disregard Paul's teachings if they don't fit your definition of the core gospel. There is the beginning of liberalism.

John said...

Yes natamllc, I am Orthodox.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with the rest of your post. Something about my postings being remarkable because God is unchanging.

John said...

" We have all these differen groups claim apostolic succession and yet great and serious doctrinal disagreements are found with them. "

Yeah... and the point would be what? Nobody ever claimed that the mechanistic laying on of hands results in correct doctrine. We claim that succession is a pre-requisite to true church, not a panacea. These straw men don't make us think you actually know what you are attacking.

Turretinfan said...

John:

It's worse than that. Not only do the Latin claim to have Apostolic Succession, so do the Nestorians and Monophysites. Arius himself was ordained in Alexandria.

Yet it would seem that the 7 Ecumenical Councils require you to view them as heretics notwithstanding their claim to apostolic succession - a claim that as to the mechanism of laying on of hands is apparently identical to that of your bishops.

And, as well, those same councils (particularly the Sixth) have condemned particular bishops who are in within the succession lists of the major sees.

I'm not sure how EO claim to apostolic succession is supposed to be any better than the Latin claim.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Well, it seems to me this thread is a continuation of the challenge to show that someone would be "convince an agnostic of the truth.. without recourse to Scripture". That has been shown."

Not at all!

I wrote: "The existence of types is not carte blanche for typology."

John replied: "That is what our hypothetical agnostic could have thrown in Paul's face if that is what you are saying Paul brought to the table. You've now been forced into the corner of refuting your own argument. If Paul's scriptural references can't stand on their own feet, you lose."

I didn't say Paul had carte blanche. You really seem confused about the use of typology. It's never been arbitrary, not for Paul - not for us.

I wrote: "Interpreting the New Testament as though it were not the final revelation of Christ is the wrong hermeneutic."

John replied: "I'm not sure of your point. Historical-grammatical exegesis would dictate that we interpret Paul within the historical setting in which he writes. If that setting is the non-existence of New-Testament scriptures, then that is the context we must interpret what he says."

My point is that what was expressed obscurely was made clear through Christ. He fulfills the shadows and types.

I wrote: "Well, you're stuck trying to appeal to alleged probabilities because you don't have facts on your side."

John replied: "Well hang on now. The FACT is that Paul says his oral teaching is the word of God, and that his listeners need to hold to the oral teachings."

Where does Paul say his oral teaching is the word of God?

We (both us and you) haven't heard Paul proclaim God's word orally.

"The CLAIM put forward by you is that we can ignore this admonition of Paul because the oral is contained within the written."

No. That's not the claim.

"If we are going to ignore unsubstantiated CLAIMS, then I win."

What exactly do you think that you win? Let's assume I had made the claim you state above. You win the fact that I cannot ignore the oral teachings of Paul. Now what? Am I supposed to go back through time to go listen to Paul preach? Obviously not.

So, then, what? We both know you can't provide us with any authentic oral teachings of Paul, except what Scripture records.

"If we want to explore the possibility of your claim being true, then you lose on probabilities. Either way you lose."

See above.

I wrote: "One obvious reason: Paul appeals to Luke 10:7 at 1 Thessalonians 5:18."

John replied: "Wrong, you're thinking of 1 Timothy 5:18."

You're right. That was my mistake.

"Nobody is denying that 1 Timothy was much later, more around the time of Luke. Care to give it another shot?"

I suppose I could point out that Timothy is already a co-author of 1 Thessalonians by the time 1 Thessalonians is written, which suggests a greater degree of maturity than the young Timothy to whom 1 Timothy was written.

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

- TurretinFan

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

John: "Yeah... and the point would be what?"

The point was elaborated on in the post. It's worth reading again.

"If "apostolic succession" is the solution to multiple competing Scriptural interpretations, then what is the solution to multiple claims to "apostolic succession"?

By whatever skeptical rule one denies that Scripture is the rule of faith, one's own rule of faith will perish."

It's like shooting a gun that's curled around and pointing back at the shooter.

If "apostolic succession" Churches want to shoot down Sola Scriptura, they end up shooting themselves in the face.

I think that's the point.

ChaferDTS said...
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ChaferDTS said...

"Those little prepositions and conjunctions like therefore etc have meanings, and we can't let you get away with just conflating and misrepresenting the text to suit your own agenda. "

The word tradition means that which is handed down. From the context it is be determined what the truth is. And from 2 Thes 2:1-15 it is the peson and work of the Lord Jesus Christ on whom He and includes his death on the cross for our sins and his resurrection the terms of salvation in contrast to rejecting heresy and false teaching that is to take place in the falling away. Excuse me for rejecting " unwritten oral doctrines " that are not recorded for us in Scripture. My agenda is that I reject any unknown hidden doctrines that no fellow believers know about. In contrast the tradition the apostle Paul was known to the people whom he preached to by his spoken words and his epistles. The oral message did not differ doctrinally from that from his epistles or letters. I am defending that his orally taught doctrinal teachings were the same as that found in his epistles and letters to the people whom he preached to there. I have not at all misrepresented the text of Scripture there at all but followed a very clear reading of the passage.

ChaferDTS said...
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ChaferDTS said...

"If he'd meant "the gospel", he would have said that. Why would he say "hold to the gospel, whether the ones we taught you orally, or the ones written"? Did have multiple gospels, some delivered orally, others in writing? You want to make it so we can disregard Paul's teachings if they don't fit your definition of the core gospel. There is the beginning of liberalism. "

Paul taught them the truth and it is the essential message of the Christian faith which is the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This includes but not limited to whom He is and his death on the cross for our sins and his resurrection and the method of our salvation. The word traditions means that which is passed on and the content of this is the Christian faith which is defined by which is the essential teaching of the faith. And this of course is the gospel which is the truth in context of what Paul is speaking of in contrast for others who fall away in the passage and embraced a lie. The context there is between those who fall away and those who embrace the truth. Paul taught one gospel and he defined it as Christ died for our sins and raised from the dead and that justification is by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Those who fall away are those who deny the Christian faith which denies the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The ones who are part of the falling away embraced a lie as stated in the context of the chapter. The gospel message Paul preached orally was the same as that he setted forth his in epistles. I never stated that they are different at all. Contrary to your claims I do follow the teachings of Paul and that of the apostles. Afterall , I have the Old and New Testament Canon. You claim againist me is most unusual. I hold that all the apostles are equals and teachers of the New Testament Church. What I see in your statements towards me has the smell of some aspects of Gnosticism. :( There is nothing unknown of the Christian faith on the essential message of Scripture.

ChaferDTS said...

"But you are claiming some new revelation in between when 2Th was written and today. Where is that revelation abrogating his commands? "

That is not at all what I have said. I deny any new divine inspired revelation outside of Scripture today. What I said Paul's oral teaching and that which he wrote in his epistles taught the same doctrines. And were not different from one another.

"No it doesn't. It says because you were called through the gospel, you should hold to the traditions. Nothing about the traditions being the same as the gospel. "

Read the context of 2 Thes 2:1-15 for this. The traditions are to be held by Christians and warned againist the " falling away " . so in otherwords, those involved in the falling away fell in to heresy or error did not hold fast to the truth and embraced a lie. The truth is the Gospel which is called " tradition " in the passage. Paul taught the the truth of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ on whom He is and also includes his death on the cross for our sins and his physical resurrection and that we are justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. That is the essential content of the Christian faith. Do you have any listing of what doctrinal traditions that Paul taught that is not presently recorded for us in the New Testament ?

John said...

"You really seem confused about the use of typology. It's never been arbitrary, not for Paul - not for us."

I'd like to see your criteria that can show what typology is arbitrary and which is not, as a criteria that could work prior to having the New Testament as verification.

"Where does Paul say his oral teaching is the word of God?"

Already mentioned in this thread: 1Th. 2:13

"So, then, what? We both know you can't provide us with any authentic oral teachings of Paul, except what Scripture records."

No we don't both know that. The Church claims to maintain extra-scriptural teachings that came from the oral teachings of the apostles.

"I suppose I could point out that Timothy is already a co-author of 1 Thessalonians by the time 1 Thessalonians is written, which suggests a greater degree of maturity than the young Timothy to whom 1 Timothy was written."

A stretch since as far as Acts records, Timothy is recorded as "ministering" TO Paul, (Ac 19:22) prior to Paul sending him out. And in the Acts timeline, that is no more than about 5 years after they met, which is not really enough for him to go from being a youth to not being a youth. Besides, this supposed "youth" has been instructed to go and appoint bishops on his own, which is a more advanced spiritual position than simply hanging around with Paul.

Does the rule of faith of the Church come down to thinking about whether Thessalonians came before Timothy? What's wrong with this picture that you need to hang onto this hope to stop your hermeneutic falling apart?

ChaferDTS said...

"So you reject 2Th 2:15. Where is the scripture that abrogates that commandment? Why are you trying to convince me of this extra-scriptural doctrine about the abrogation of Paul's teaching in order to prop up a doctrine that there are no extra-scriptural doctrines? "

No I do not reject 2 Thes 2:15 at all. It is your misinterpretation of it that is rejected. The " tradition " there is the gospel. The apostle Paul taught it orally and in his writings. At the time the oral teachings of the apostles was preached in the early church while the New Testament was being written and used along side with the Old Testament as it's interpreters. There was no difference in the doctrine which Paul preached orally from that which is now recorded in his epistles. In both cases it is the gospel message. For starters , the apostles were the foundation for the church under the chief corner stone the Lord Jesus Christ that is taught in Eph 2:20. Once they died off there were no more apostles or prophets as in about 95ad the entire New Testament was completed. Since that time there is no more new divine inspired revelation by God that is found outside of what is in Scripture. There is no one around today who meets the qualifications of apostleship or that of a prophet of God. In the New Testament were are told to " search the Scripture " and " test all things and hold fast to that which is good " and so forth and that we are to " contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints " . That would be an impossible task to do if there are presently unknown oral doctrinal traditions or teachings which are not presently recorded for us in Scripture. It is Scripture that renders the man of God complete for his task of correcting, teaching and so on. Hence Scripture sets forth it's own sufficient nature for it's use for the man of God and believers. I would hope that you are familiar with 2 Tim 3:15-17 for this. Basically RCC, Adventist, Mormons, Jehovah Wittnesses, Eastern Orthodox and some Pentecostals would have to claim that Scripture is incomplete and hence can't be our only infallible rule of faith for the Christian.

John said...

""If "apostolic succession" is the solution to multiple competing Scriptural interpretations, then what is the solution to multiple claims to "apostolic succession"?"

Apostolic succession is the solution to multiple scriptural interpretations, but not merely the claim to apostolic succession. The solution to multiple claims to succession is the catholic tradition, embodied within the scriptures, the fathers and the ecumenical councils.

And don't tell me you have no abilities to deal with that, since you're living off a canon of scripture that you have inherited from this discernment process.

"It's like shooting a gun that's curled around and pointing back at the shooter."

Sounds to me like what you do when you undercut the mechanism that gives you a canon of scripture.

Turretinfan said...

"And don't tell me you have no abilities to deal with that, since you're living off a canon of scripture that you have inherited from this discernment process."

I have the ability to deal with that - but I also have the ability to deal with Scripture itself.

The problem is that the same skepticism used to try to bring in "succession" undermines succession. We simply reject the skepticism in the first place. So should you!

-TurretinFan

John said...

"At the time the oral teachings of the apostles was preached in the early church while the New Testament was being written and used along side with the Old Testament as it's interpreters."

Okay... so scripture was INSUFFICIENT while the apostles were alive and the New Testament was being written. The OT does not teach the fullness of Christian doctrine.

"t is Scripture that renders the man of God complete for his task of correcting, teaching and so on. Hence Scripture sets forth it's own sufficient nature for it's use for the man of God and believers. I would hope that you are familiar with 2 Tim 3:15-17 for this. "

But now you contradict yourself. Having admitted that scripture was insufficient without the apostles' teaching until the New Testament was complete, you now try to interpret Paul to be saying that scripture IS sufficient, when you've already admitted it was insufficient when Paul was alive and the NT wasn't yet written.

"What I said Paul's oral teaching and that which he wrote in his epistles taught the same doctrines."

But Paul hadn't written all his epistles yet. So what you are proposing is anachronism.

"The traditions are to be held by to the " falling away "

Try coming back with an argument that is at least grammatical. It's the least you can do if you want to argue a fine point of grammar.

"And this truth is the Gospel which is called " tradition " in the passage."

Bluster and assertion. Where precisely does Paul say to hold to only SOME of the traditions they were taught? The subset of ones you seem to think exclude the fullness of his teachings.

"Do you have any listing of what doctrinal traditions that Paul taught that is not presently recorded for us in the New Testament ? "

Well, for a start it would include the correct way to interpret and understand those things that he did write down, and which Protestants can't seem to agree on.

"The word tradition means that which is handed down. From the context it is be determined what the truth is. "

Anything Paul handed down to them is a tradition. Not just the bits you want to label as "Gospel".

"My agenda is that I reject any unknown hidden doctrines that no fellow believers know about. "

Nobody is arguing for hidden doctrines. The only reason you don't know them is wilful ignorance. If you had rolled up to a church in the first century prior to the NT being written, would you write off the doctrines passed on to you because they are oral? That would be stupid.

"The oral message did not differ doctrinally from that from his epistles or letters."

Obviously it didn't differ in the sense of being contradictory. But do you think maybe Paul might have demonstrated for them the appropriate way to hold a church service? Seems obvious he would have. Yet we have no written record of that. It's so incredibly obvious that Paul taught things that he didn't write down, it is excruciating to point out the obvious.

"What I see in your statements towards me has the smell of some aspects of Gnosticism.

Oh wow, so the pre-NT church were gnostics because they relied on passing on the oral teachings of the apostles. Wow oh wow.

John said...

TF: I don't know by what crazy logic you call not believing scripture to be the ONLY rule of faith to be a form of skepticism. If I believe what you do (scripture) plus more, then you are the one who is skeptical.

Turretinfan said...

"TF: I don't know by what crazy logic you call not believing scripture to be the ONLY rule of faith to be a form of skepticism. If I believe what you do (scripture) plus more, then you are the one who is skeptical."

Well, since you never make any arguments as to why the Scriptures should be rejected as the entire rule of faith, you can't really be charged with skepticism.

You'd have to have an argument to make a skeptical argument.

-TurretinFan

ChaferDTS said...

"Okay... so scripture was INSUFFICIENT while the apostles were alive and the New Testament was being written. The OT does not teach the fullness of Christian doctrine."

I never stated that at all. You have grossly misrepresented my position there. The Old Testament was sufficient to make " one wise unto salvation through faith in Christ." And with the addition of the New Testament to the Old Testament much more greater light is given. Paul claimed it had all doctrines necessary for salvation was in the OT and able to make one wise unto salvation. Thus the folly of your contradiction of the apostle Paul is shown . Your claim is refuted by one verse in itself. :)

2 Tim 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known [b]the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.[/b]

"But now you contradict yourself. Having admitted that scripture was insufficient without the apostles' teaching until the New Testament was complete, you now try to interpret Paul to be saying that scripture IS sufficient, when you've already admitted it was insufficient when Paul was alive and the NT wasn't yet written."

You have misrepresented what I had stated. I never said Scripture was insufficient without the apostles teachings at all. My position that it was sufficient to make one wise unto salvation through faith in Christ. The New Testament added even greater light to the Old Testament which is also sufficient. You are using dishonest argumentation. The apostles were sent forth by Jesus Christ Himself to instruct the teaching. Nothing in that at all means that the Old Testament was insufficient. The apostles were God's method of teaching the people of God by the Old Testament Scriptures while the New Testament was being written.

ChaferDTS said...

"But Paul hadn't written all his epistles yet. So what you are proposing is anachronism."

The thessalonians whom preach preached to in 2 Thes. 2:15 already had at the very least 1 Thesalonians. The content of the doctrinal teachings were the same and not different from one another as your position logically demands. I would say Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox are the ones guilty of anachronism when it comes to unwritten oral doctrinal traditions . :) All the oral doctrines Paul taught is presently found in his epistles which is exactly what I stated. So your avoided my actual point I made.

"Try coming back with an argument that is at least grammatical. It's the least you can do if you want to argue a fine point of grammar."

You attacking a typo is very poor taste and shows the lack of valid argumentation on your part. What you did was actually irrelevent to the issue and meant as a personal insult at me. How very Christian of you. :(

"Bluster and assertion. Where precisely does Paul say to hold to only SOME of the traditions they were taught? The subset of ones you seem to think exclude the fullness of his teachings."

That was not my argument. Paul taught the Thessalonians to stand fast and hold to the traditions which he taught by his mouth which is orally and from his letter which was 1st Thessanians which he had written to them preveriously. The content of what he taught orally was the same as what was in his previously letter which was part of the NT Scripture. They were the same doctrines. What is excludes is unwritten oral doctrinal traditions which can't be presently found in Scripture. The fullness of his teaching is in all his epistles. It was not different from his oral teachings. Hence the fallacy in your argument. I do not accept doctrinal teachings that are unknown to all believers.

"Well, for a start it would include the correct way to interpret and understand those things that he did write down, and which Protestants can't seem to agree on."

That did not answer my question. In the church fathers different sections of the church had different methods of biblical interpretation. An example of this is seen in Saint Augustine and Origen. I ask you yet again do you have any listing of what doctrinal traditions that Paul taught that is not presently recorded for us in the New Testament ? If you claim to have and know what all these " traditions " are ,then you would able to show me them to me and others who ask for them. Roman Catholicism itself has not dogmatically interpreted any verse in Scripture. Which shows it can not back up things that it claims like that. Before throwing up disagreements clean up the disagreements between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox which each claims apostolic succession and yet have doctrinal differences.

ChaferDTS said...

"Anything Paul handed down to them is a tradition. Not just the bits you want to label as "Gospel"."

What Paul passed on was doctrinal teachings of the Christian faith. Paul did not teach them unknown doctrines which can not presently be found in Scripture. So his tradition is known because we can locate it in his epistles.

"Nobody is arguing for hidden doctrines. The only reason you don't know them is wilful ignorance. If you had rolled up to a church in the first century prior to the NT being written, would you write off the doctrines passed on to you because they are oral? That would be stupid."

If you claim that the doctrines Paul taught orally differ from what is found in his epistles than in practice you are presenting me to believe unknown doctrines. It is this which I reject. I do know of the traditions Paul taught because they are presently located in his epistles for us to see them. I would follow what Jesus said when he said " search the Scriptures " or test what the apostles taught like those in Acts 17:11 to search the Scriptures to find out whether these things were so. The New Testament was completely written by 95ad. The doctrinal oral teachings of the apostles were not different from that which we presently find in Scripture at all.

natamllc said...

John:
Yes natamllc, I am Orthodox.

Me:
Which branch? American, Russian, Greek, what?

ChaferDTS said...

"Obviously it didn't differ in the sense of being contradictory. But do you think maybe Paul might have demonstrated for them the appropriate way to hold a church service? Seems obvious he would have. Yet we have no written record of that. It's so incredibly obvious that Paul taught things that he didn't write down, it is excruciating to point out the obvious."

That begs the question here as contextually 2 Thes 2:15 is doctrinal. What Paul taught doctrinally orally and his letter contained the same doctrines. That is the point being made here. The issue of church service is irrelevent to the actual argument. The RCC nor Eastern Orthodox have not dogmatically defined just what that was anyway for it's memebers. So you are resorting to speculation on that.

"Oh wow, so the pre-NT church were gnostics because they relied on passing on the oral teachings of the apostles. Wow oh wow. "

No where did I say that. I stated that in practice you are following aspects of the Gnostics which wants to claim unknown unwritten doctrinal oral teachings that are not presently located in Scriptures. The early church rejected gnostic types that want to claim a secret type of unknow divine revelation of a claimed oral doctrinal tradition that no one else can confirm in Scripture or trace back to the apostles.

ChaferDTS said...

"Apostolic succession is the solution to multiple scriptural interpretations, but not merely the claim to apostolic succession. The solution to multiple claims to succession is the catholic tradition, embodied within the scriptures, the fathers and the ecumenical councils."

That claim is refuted by the doctrinal disagreements between Roman Cathoicism and Eastern Orthodox and the contradiction of traditions among the church fathers and the very fact that Roman Catholicism has not provided a dogmatically interpretation of the entire bible. In short, it makes claims which can not back up. Do you hold to the claimed apostolic tradition of Irenaeus who claimed Jesus died at 50 years old ? After all, he claimed it was an apostolic tradition.

John said...

"Well, since you never make any arguments as to why the Scriptures should be rejected as the entire rule of faith, you can't really be charged with skepticism."

That's about as rational as me charging you with skepticism for not accepting Matthew as the entire rule of faith, since you accept Luke as well. Silly polemics.

Turretinfan said...

You should read more carefully, John.

John said...

"You have grossly misrepresented my position there. The Old Testament was sufficient to make " one wise unto salvation through faith in Christ." And with the addition of the New Testament to the Old Testament much more greater light is given."

OK, so you are going to ascribe to the term "sufficient" the notion that it makes you "wise to salvation", whilst not encompassing all light.

I guess then when 2 Tim 3:15 says scripture is "sufficient", that doesn't mean it contains all light. There is more light in other places. So you just sacrificed your primary proof text on the altar of winning that argument.

"Nothing in that at all means that the Old Testament was insufficient."

Wonderful. I can then say the scriptures are sufficient whilst ascribing further authority and enlightenment to things outside scripture. Cool.

"All the oral doctrines Paul taught is presently found in his epistles which is exactly what I stated."

That doesn't help you in the historical/grammatical exegesis of 2 Th unless all his oral doctrines are within his previously existing epistles. I can't see any rational person arguing that all Paul's teachings are in 1-2 Thessalonians.

The claim that all Paul's doctrines were later written down is of necessity an extra-biblical claim, and the mere fact of you claiming it is an affront to sola scriptura, since scripture never claims such a thing. Yet your doctrines rely on believing this extra-biblical doctrine.

"You attacking a typo is very poor taste and shows the lack of valid argumentation on your part. "

It didn't look like a typo to me. I never attack pure typos when I can figure out what it means. As far as I see, the sentence didn't make sense, nor could I figure out what you meant.

"The content of what he taught orally was the same as what was in his previously letter which was part of the NT Scripture."

So is it your claim that every single thing Paul wrote down in his letters can be characterised as "Gospel" ? Apparently so. So if "Gospel" has such a wide ranging inclusion of topics, the claim that "the traditions" means "the gospel" is an empty and irrelevant claim since nothing is really outside that category if Paul said it.

"What is excludes is unwritten oral doctrinal traditions which can't be presently found in Scripture."

Here you go again with your extra-biblical doctrines. Since Paul was writing at a time when not all his teachings were in scripture, clearly he meant the opposite of you in his historical context of 2 Th. So you are left arguing that this command has been abrogated, and I am left to ask in what scripture that occurred, or at the very least for you to provide the scripture reference that Paul wrote down everything he taught orally, and that the books we possess contain them all.

John said...

" If you claim to have and know what all these " traditions " are ,then you would able to show me them to me and others who ask for them."

Go buy a book on Orthodox dogma if you want to know. Something like Michael Pomazansky's book as a start.

"If you claim that the doctrines Paul taught orally differ from what is found in his epistles than in practice you are presenting me to believe unknown doctrines".

Nonsense. As if the only means of acquiring and/or passing on knowledge is in writing. Clearly it wasn't, since Paul said to hold to his oral teachings, which even you agreed was the rule of faith in the 1st century church, even when Paul wasn't present at the time. What do you think happened when some potential convert turned up at the Thessalonian church prior to any NT being written? They didn't tell him the gospel because without it being written down it would be hidden and invalid? That they didn't baptise anyone for 30 years waiting for Acts to get written? Obviously not, because then Acts wouldn't have had any references to people getting baptised.

"or test what the apostles taught like those in Acts 17:11 to search the Scriptures to find out whether these things were so"

Those Bereans would have searched in vain to find teachings on baptism, the eucharist, the identity of the messiah, the abrogation of the Mosaic law etc. Yet Paul taught those things, and the Bereans accepted them. Clearly whatever the Bereans were doing was not testing every single doctrine against scripture.

"That claim is refuted by the doctrinal disagreements between Roman Cathoicism and Eastern Orthodox"

No it isn't. I didn't say the mere claim of succession was enough, I said true succession.

" and the contradiction of traditions among the church fathers "

I don't think there is so much contradiction. But the same argument would shoot yourself in the head about the biblical canon.

"and the very fact that Roman Catholicism has not provided a dogmatically interpretation of the entire bible."

I'm not RC, and I don't understand that logic anyway.

" Do you hold to the claimed apostolic tradition of Irenaeus who claimed Jesus died at 50 years old "

Obviously you are a James White lackey. Irenaeus didn't say that, and this statement doesn't fit the criteria for formal Apostolic Tradition anyway. (Just like the apostle's shopping list doesn't fit the criteria for scripture). And I see no reason to doubt what he said, properly interpreted, that Jesus may have been over 40.

John said...

natamllc: Sometimes Greek, sometimes Russian, occasionally Ukrainian.

natamllc said...

John

have you gone?

If not, would be a bit more specific as to which branch of the Orthodox Church you are from?

ChaferDTS said...

"OK, so you are going to ascribe to the term "sufficient" the notion that it makes you "wise to salvation", whilst not encompassing all light. "

Sola Scriptura teaches that Scripture contains all doctrines necessary to be believed for salvation and for christian living in their lives. It is a book with the message of salvation that is to be understood by the people. It does not claim to teach for example how to built a space ship. Your statements indicates to me that you do not know what the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is according to the Westminster Confession of Faith, London Baptist Confession of Faith or the Thirty-Nine Articles of reformation Anglicanism.

"I guess then when 2 Tim 3:15 says scripture is "sufficient", that doesn't mean it contains all light. There is more light in other places. So you just sacrificed your primary proof text on the altar of winning that argument."

Scripture teaches the light of salvation in the passage. You did not deal with my position nor the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. The light of the message of salvation is what is clear by the people. Yet Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox claims Scripture is unclear in all things to the people of God.

"Wonderful. I can then say the scriptures are sufficient whilst ascribing further authority and enlightenment to things outside scripture. Cool."

Church Councils, Creeds , church fathers, tradition, and Pastors/ Elders or any Bible teacher is subject to the infallible Scripture and not equal in authority to it. The problem is Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox place tradition equal to Scripture in authority. And then functionally places the church supreme over Scripture and tradition since it claims to define both.

"That doesn't help you in the historical/grammatical exegesis of 2 Th unless all his oral doctrines are within his previously existing epistles. I can't see any rational person arguing that all Paul's teachings are in 1-2 Thessalonians."

I did follow the historical grammatical exegesis of 2 Thes 2:15 while Roman Catholicism has not dogmatically interpreted that passage for it's members therefore you are engaging in private interpretation which they condemn Protestants for. The doctrines Paul taught orally and in his letter were the same doctrines. You have provided no proof of any different doctrines being taught between what he taught orally there to the thessialians and what he taught his in 2 epistles to them. You can not even provide me with a list of claimed oral traditions that Paul even taught. It is worth noting Irenaeus disagrees with you as well when he said " We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in Scripture, to be the ground and pillar or our faith ( ANF, Vol. I. Againist Heresies 3.1.1. )

natamllc said...

John, sorry.

My computer doesn't update as I am reading the comments. I got to DTS' last comment and typed out my second request and after it accepted it all your additional posts came up and wouldn't you know it, it was your last comment in that string.

OK,


Can you help me understand what the "schism" is then between us?

Stellman's challenge, how would you answer it based on your "faithful" beliefs in Jesus Christ and the Scriptures and the additional oral doctrines your Orthodoxy holds to?

Let me also ask you to qualify the teaching of the Gospel Paul taught. Can you put in your own words and cite references a definition of the "Good News" Paul preached both orally and as is now our firm belief, what is accepted by us at least to be the 66 books of the Bible?

ChaferDTS said...

"The claim that all Paul's doctrines were later written down is of necessity an extra-biblical claim, and the mere fact of you claiming it is an affront to sola scriptura, since scripture never claims such a thing. Yet your doctrines rely on believing this extra-biblical doctrine."

You can't provide me with a dogmatically define list of what these oral traditions are. So the extra biblical claim is really you. Sola Scriptura is taught in 2 Tim. 3:15-17 . :)

"It didn't look like a typo to me. I never attack pure typos when I can figure out what it means. As far as I see, the sentence didn't make sense, nor could I figure out what you meant."

Yeah sure. It was a typo. If it did not make sense then it was a typo. Get a hint. I think I had corrected that post earlier anyway . Besides there is no edit button. I am sure you do your share of typos too.

"So is it your claim that every single thing Paul wrote down in his letters can be characterised as "Gospel" ? Apparently so. So if "Gospel" has such a wide ranging inclusion of topics, the claim that "the traditions" means "the gospel" is an empty and irrelevant claim since nothing is really outside that category if Paul said it."

My claim is all the teachings that are meant to be part of our rule of faith are in Scripture. The tradition in 2 Thes 2:15 is the gospel though you deny it and yet can't yourself provide me with a listing of all the oral traditions Paul taught to them that is not recorded in Scripture.

"Here you go again with your extra-biblical doctrines."

That would be you there. You want to add unwritten oral doctrinal teachings that are not presently located in Scripture and make them part as a rule of faith for believers. You have the extra biblical stuff there.

"Since Paul was writing at a time when not all his teachings were in scripture, clearly he meant the opposite of you in his historical context of 2 Th."

All things that he taught them orally are found in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. he did say by word or by letter which supports what I stated. Care to provide me a listing of all unwritten oral teachings that Paul taught them that are not recorded in Scripture ?

"So you are left arguing that this command has been abrogated, and I am left to ask in what scripture that occurred, or at the very least for you to provide the scripture reference that Paul wrote down everything he taught orally, and that the books we possess contain them all. "

2 Thes 2:15 contradicts you. What he taught the Thessalonians orally were the same as his letter to them. There is nothing there exegetically there for you to claim that the content between the two are different from one another. There are no unknown oral doctrinal teachings which are not found in Scripture. That is the point of issue here.

John said...

natamllc: I don't know what you are, let's say for the sake of argument you are a presbyterian like TF here. Your question is a bit like me asking you to show that presbyterians are more faithful to biblical doctrines than baptists or Anglicans. Presumably you have taken a wide view of the bible and come to that conclusion. I have taken a wide view of the bible and the Christian tradition and come to the conclusion that Orthodoxy is faithful to the apostolic tradition. Since the tradition since the beginning has a notion of apostolic succession: that is that the church fathers ruled out other cults and schisms being the church based on their lack of succession, I thereby use that as one (just one mind you) criterion for contemplating these issues.

As to your last question, I don't think I understand it.

John said...

"Sola Scriptura teaches that Scripture contains all doctrines necessary to be believed for salvation and for christian living in their lives.... It does not claim to teach for example how to built a space ship. Your statements indicates to me that you do not know what the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is according to the Westminster Confession of Faith"

The WCF's definition of what scripture is sufficient for is much wider than a narrow view of what is "necessary for salvation", yet not as wide as to include building spaceships. Specifically it says "The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture" and furthermore that scripture is "The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined".

It seems to me you are trying to obfuscate by ignoring the other issues that are not directly related to salvation, and yet are important for faith and life and various issues of worship and religion.

"Yet Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox claims Scripture is unclear in all things to the people of God. "

Nonsense. Show me a RC or EO document that says scripture is unclear in all things.

"Church Councils, Creeds , church fathers, tradition, and Pastors/ Elders or any Bible teacher is subject to the infallible Scripture and not equal in authority to it. "

Really. And your scripture reference is? What you're telling me is not the picture the bible paints. When the church wanted to know if gentile converts should be circumcised as the bible very clearly teaches they should, the elders came together in the Jerusalem council and made the judgement that the bible was not to be obeyed any longer in this matter.

"And then functionally places the church supreme over Scripture and tradition since it claims to define both."

It only defines both the way that you define what scripture is in your own life. You probably decided the 66 books are going to be the scripture for your life, so I guess that makes you supreme over scripture.

"Roman Catholicism has not dogmatically interpreted that passage for it's members therefore you are engaging in private interpretation which they condemn Protestants for"

Tell someone who cares, like for example a Roman Catholic.

" The doctrines Paul taught orally and in his letter were the same doctrines. "

You keep asserting this teaching, yet you can never quote any scripture to support it. You keep claiming sola scriptura in theory, but you never practice it.

"You have provided no proof of any different doctrines being taught between what he taught orally there to the thessialians and what he taught his in 2 epistles to them."

Why would I need to prove it one way or the other? Paul said to hold to the traditions whether by word of mouth or epistle. I see no need to a-priori pre-judge whether they are the same or different. I just obey both with simple faith, and the theologians can debate whether they are different or not, based on the imaginations of their minds.

"You can not even provide me with a list of claimed oral traditions that Paul even taught."

You haven't explained to me why a list is a necessity for a functional rule of faith. Did the church not function until 66 books of scripture were enumerated? In that case it didn't function for its first 4 centuries of life.

" It is worth noting Irenaeus disagrees with you as well when he said " We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in Scripture, to be the ground and pillar or our faith"

How I supposedly disagree with Irenaeus, we're not told.

John said...

"Sola Scriptura is taught in 2 Tim. 3:15-17 . :)"

Which version of sola scripture are you supporting today? The type the WCF supports, which is that scripture is the sole source of authority in all controversies of religion? In which case appealing to 2Tim is anachronism since not all matters of the Christian religion were enscripturated yet. Or the version whereby scripture only tells you clearly how to get saved, and everything else might possibly have other authority sources? In which case you may know how to get saved, but could be in sin regarding everything in your life.

"My claim is all the teachings that are meant to be part of our rule of faith are in Scripture."

Oh, so your range of sola scriptura belief is expanding now, as you play both sides against the middle. Then we are back to pointing out that if ALL things meant to be part of our rule of faith are in scripture, how could Paul be thinking that everything was also written down in 2Th 2:15, when he is only writing the first books of the New Testament, and all the gospels and grand epistles like Romans are yet to be written.

"The tradition in 2 Thes 2:15 is the gospel though you deny it "

You claim it, but have provided no grammatical defence of this claim. If we look at how tradition is used elsewhere in the epistle:

2Th. 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

Here, the tradition is something to do with how to live your live in an appropriate way, and is not just the bare facts of salvation by faith or something.

natamllc said...

Well John,

that puzzles me that you cannot answer either question succinctly.

But who am I to judge with my long winded hills and dells approach to writing, huh?

Would you gander at a couple of "my Gospel" quotes Paul makes? They look at the nut from two different angles.

Look at Romans 2:16 and 16:25.

The interesting thing here, the writing of the letter to the Romans, as you have kept us focused on, is, "just when was which Writing written"?

Here with Romans, we can simply conclude Paul wrote, or rather dictated written this letter to the Romans at one sitting, that is, he probably got Tertius to come by and they sat down together and he spoke orally to him and he penned what Paul wanted written to the Romans? In one sense "his" Gospel shows severity and in another sense "his" Gospel shows the great Grace and Blessings of God God bestows on His Elect.
How Good News can become bad news to some when they hear it is just beyond me and my pay grade?

Maybe that narrows my request sufficient enough for you to tell us succinctly now your definition of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Surely your Orthodoxy has a message of the Gospel you preach and teach that you would want us to hear orally or by this forum, in writing?

dtking said...

"The tradition in 2 Thes 2:15 is the gospel though you deny it "

You claim it, but have provided no grammatical defence of this claim. If we look at how tradition is used elsewhere in the epistle:...

Here, the tradition is something to do with how to live your live in an appropriate way, and is not just the bare facts of salvation by faith or something.


And this is a grammatical defense by simply equating the meaning of traditions in the plural in 2 Thes 2:15 with the meaning of tradition singular in 2 Thes 3:6? All you’ve done is assumed that the word “tradition” in 2 Thes 3:6 is to be equated with the meaning of its plural form in 2 Thes 2:15.

In the specific context of 2 Thes 2:15, the Apostle has just referred to the gospel in v. 14, and calls the Thessalonians to hold fast to those great doctrines (traditions) by which God had called them “for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” which is ultimately the fullness of salvation,” which is why he exhorts them to stand fast in them whether these same truths were offered verbally in teaching or written in epistle. And with this agrees the ancient exegete Theodoret…

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on 2 Thes 2:15: Keep as the norm of doctrine the words offered you by us, which we preached to you when present and wrote when absent. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2, p. 130.

The singular form of tradition does not bear the same meaning when the Apostles employs it in 2 Thess 3:6, and neither is it an unwritten or unidentified tradition there, for the Apostle spells out that tradition in no uncertain terms in the very context in which he uses it…

6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you;
8 nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you,
9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.
10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

Thus the very context identifies this tradition, not as some unspecified “something to do with how to live your live in an appropriate way,” but the disorder of an unwillingness to work for one’s bread; and that if one is unwilling to work, neither should he eat. So, this is not some unwritten “something to do.” Context matters, once again, as the ancient exegete Theodoret indicates…

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on 2 Thes 3:6ff: The tradition he speaks of is not that in words but in deeds; he also brings out what it is: After all, you yourselves know how you must imitate us, that we were not disorderly when amongst you (v. 7). What kind of disorder is it? We did not eat bread from anyone without paying but by hard work and toil, working night and day, so as not to be a burden to any of you (v. 8): you are well aware that in proposing to you the divine Gospel [Theodoret here referring back to 2 Thess 2:14] we took nothing from anyone; rather, we spent night and day hard at work so as to gain necessary nourishment from it. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2, p. 132.

You see, my friend, in your rush to play Roman apologetics, you have utterly ignored the grammatical context by opting for a “simple-Simon” verbal equation of words under the pretext of “a grammatical defense.” Now, it would be utterly laughable, were it not for the sad reality of either 1) your own laziness as exhibited by an unwillingness to read Scripture in its context, and/or 2) your desire to win some kind of debating point.

Given this example, we understand why you think you need an infallible magisterium.

John said...

natamllc: Are you asking me for a summary of the gospel? Breaking the gospel down to a single sound-bite seems to be a protestant fascination for some reason.

Traditionally, "the gospel" refers to the contents of the four gospels. That's why they are so named. Mark starts his gospel with "the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ." Apparently the coming of the Messiah is the good news.

Augustine's summary of the situation was that "The word gospel means good news, and might be used of any good news, but is properly applied to the narrative of the Saviour. "

Paul seems to summarise the gospel like this:
1Cor. 15:1 "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures".

... which I suppose is a fairly condensed summary of the content of the four gospels, or the narrative of the savior as Augustine put it..

A summary of the gospel is found in Luke:

"Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you a gospel of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

.. which is a particular interesting summary since the angel (literally "news bearer") brought this ev-angel (good news),

The Holman bible dictionary does a survey of what the gospel is in the bible, and their summary of the situation is: "Conclusion The gospel in the NT can be summarized as the message about the kingdom of God established in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, who is enthroned as Lord of all. This good news describes events to which all Scripture points and declares that all principalities and powers are defeated once and for all by Jesus the Messiah. Finally, all of humanity will be judged according to their reception or rejection of this good news."

That seems like a fairly decent summary.

Origen took an even more expansive view. He said "that every divine Scripture is Gospel." meaning that anyone who preaches God's word in fact preaches the gospel, and whoever believes the word thus believes the good news contained therein.

John said...

"All you’ve done is assumed that the word “tradition” in 2 Thes 3:6 is to be equated with the meaning of its plural form in 2 Thes 2:15."

Since its only about 7 verses away, it seems like a fairly decent assumption.

" the Apostle has just referred to the gospel in v. 14"

There's a major difference between referring to other concepts and equating two concepts. You can find God and Satan within a verse of each other too, but that doesn't mean I'd want to equate them.

"which is why he exhorts them to stand fast in them whether these same truths were offered verbally in teaching or written in epistle."

A claim without a grammatical or even logical defense beyond that of mere plausibility.

The previous verse to that says you were chosen "for salvation through sanctification". I could just as easily posit that Paul's point is that since you have received this gospel of salvation, therefore you should hold to the traditions regarding sanctification. And since the only other reference to tradition in this book in 3:6,7 seems to be about personal holiness, discipline and sanctification, a better exegesis would be to equate the traditions with teachings about church discipline and behavior.

"Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on 2 Thes 2:15: Keep as the norm of doctrine the words offered you by us, which we preached to you when present and wrote when absent"

Nothing here about limiting the doctrine to bare or core facts of the gospel.

"The singular form of tradition does not bear the same meaning when the Apostles employs it in 2 Thess 3:6,"

A claim that we await justification for...

"and neither is it an unwritten or unidentified tradition there, for the Apostle spells out that tradition in no uncertain terms in the very context in which he uses it".

This particular tradition is given a label here of not living an unruly life, but we aren't told the details of what that entails. You're assuming again...

"but the disorder of an unwillingness to work for one’s bread"

Do you see that little word "nor"? That introduces a new concept, and another teaching that is distinct from what he said about unruliness.

"in your rush to play Roman apologetics..."

Don't you think I'd have to be Roman Catholic if I was in a rush to play Roman apologetics?

dtking said...

A claim that we await justification for...

My apologies, I provided that justification. I was under the impression that I was dealing with someone who had some reading comprehension, but I see now that I was mistaken.

You've convinced me; you do need someone with infallible interpreting abilities to sit beside you and interpret everything for you all the time.

ChaferDTS said...

"Don't you think I'd have to be Roman Catholic if I was in a rush to play Roman apologetics? "

You used the very same method they do when it comes to the word tradition. You now shown it is possible to be Eastern Orthodox and still use Roman apologetics. It might be of intrest you read the study note of The Orthodox Study Bible which evidently disagrees with what you provided on 2 Thes 2:15. At the rate you are going you may leave Eastern Orthodox the way you left Reformed Baptist. You will I am sure end up becoming a Roman Catholic. The signs are there already in you.

John said...

ChaferDTS: I fail to see how repeating the sentiments of the Greek and Eastern fathers ought to be labeled as "Roman" apologetics.

And I just read what the OSB says at 2Th 2:15 and I have no idea how I'm supposed to disagree.

And I also have no idea why you would imply I would become Roman Catholic, as if I said something that is unlike what other Orthodox people say or unlike what the Greek fathers said.

In short, you're not making much sense today.

natamllc said...

John

not to be a nosy guy, but at least you got some good reference material on the table for us to know and understand from where you are coming from with regard to the Gospel.

I was also asking you to, well, "stand fast" in the Gospel by sharing, or "speaking it forth" in writing what it is about the Gospel that you are willing to stand fast in it, too, and to speak it forth?

Are we just going around in circles now in here?

See here if these verses might induce a reply from you that shows us you also, along with us, share in the same furvor and zeal to "stand fast" in the Gospel and "speak it forth" and orally exhort us with it, the "True Gospel":::>

1Th 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
1Th 2:14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews,
1Th 2:15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind
1Th 2:16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved--so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God's wrath has come upon them at last!

Why to one does the Gospel mean "good" news and to another the Gospel means "bad" news as we see above in those words of Paul?

For me, as an example, this verse touched my spirit and gave me depth of meaning of just what the Gospel message is and what the Gospel message does to me:

Mat 1:20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
Mat 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

My Good Lord, when I read those words it was as if a ton of bricks was lifted off my soul! And I realized that I was lost and had now been found! I realized what I had always known but couldn't articulate to others, "that He saves His people, (me too), from their sins."

Share with us your own "standing fast" in the Gospel that we too might share in your Joy of Salvation?

Lvka said...

0) Mormon claims are historically-speaking false.

1) Apostolic succession is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

(ie, it has the merit of reducing all Christianity to *only* the groups you mentioned... but it doesn't take you *further* to just one...)

Turretinfan said...

Luka,

Thanks for your comments. I agree that the Mormon historical claims are false. Is that the solution? Just "do history"?

Can we also resolve the competing claims of Rome, Constantinople, Ethopia, Armenia, etc. on the basis of an historical investigation?

-TurretinFan