Saturday, July 09, 2011

Roman Confusion

Devin Rose posted some less than complimentary thoughts (and Peter Sean Bradley tagged on) about Reformed apologists (myself as an example). Rather than dwelling on the caricature drawn from Les Miserables, I'd like to address one point that seems to be a common misconception:
Under Reformed Protestantism, God has predestined the elect to salvation and the reprobate to damnation. Being a faithful Catholic therefore means, practically by definition, that you are a reprobate. And here’s the kicker: if you are one of the reprobate, many of the passages from the Gospel on forgiving your brother and helping him do not apply (at least as they interpret them). Once you cross the Tiber, you are anathema and damned.
If you leave a gospel-preaching church for Rome, of course we do (or ought) to treat you as lacking a credible profession of faith. Normally, for such a departure from the faith, a Reformed church will provide the Biblical discipline of excommunication.

That discipline, however, is discipline not condemnation. Through excommunication, it is hoped that a person will be brought back to the faith. It is hoped that he will see the error of his ways, repent of his sin, and return to the flock of Christ.

There is certainly no judgment as to the election or reprobation of the person. Only God knows who the elect and reprobate are - moreover, "to him that is joined to all the living there is hope," (Ecclesiastes 9:4) and we hold out that hope even for the most anti-Reformed, anti-Evangelical member of the "Called to Communion" blog.

It is our desire to see those who have apostatized from the church of Christ brought back to her. I realize that pointing out that the church of Rome is a synagogue of Satan is going to make those in the church of Rome unhappy - surely it made the people unhappy to whom the phrase was originally applied. Nevertheless, the point of such comments is to warn those of the danger.

When I tell you that your house isn't comfortable warm, it's on fire, I'm not attacking your house or pouring out vitriol against your air conditioning unit. It's an expression of love to warn those who we care about to avoid danger - not an expression of hatred.

One might think that Mr. Rose would appreciate this, since he wrote:
To their credit, they have this hatred for the Catholic Church (or “Romanism,” as you will hear) because they believe it is leading people away from Jesus and the Gospel. And good for them! If I believed that some church or denomination was doing that, I would oppose it too–perhaps not using their same vitriol and methods–but I would not want people to follow those beliefs.
And Rome does lead people away from the Gospel, encouraging them to trust in Mary, angels, martyrs, and saints and not in God alone - requiring their submission to a man who sits on an earthly throne in an earthly palace, claiming to be the earthly head of the church.

But unto us, there is one Lord (1 Corinthians 8:6).

-TurretinFan

13 comments:

Chris Engelsma said...

I thot it was RCs who believed that no faith had to be kept with a heretic. ?

natamllc said...

Again TF, it is with great joy and amazement that I read this today.

I appreciate just how tempered and measured you are in undertaking the work of reconciliation as one of God's Ministers, even against the backdrop uncovered by the links to beguile your integrity.

With that said, or rather, commented, I would point readers to an amazing story of "reconciliation" from the Old Testament as it pertains to King Manasseh, a grandson of King David.

There probably isn't a soul worse in many ways than he out of all the Old Testament. Some certainly come close?

But, consider these Words of God, enshrined no doubt, to which I suppose your own demeanor for reconciliation models?

Let these Words take your breath away and then breathe those words that follow and rejoice that God is indeed reconciling from the world those that should be saved, even those fallen to the very depths of Satan's earthly realms!


2Ch 33:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem.
2Ch 33:2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.
2Ch 33:3 For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and he erected altars to the Baals, and made Asherahs, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.
2Ch 33:4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, "In Jerusalem shall my name be forever."
2Ch 33:5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
2Ch 33:6 And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
2Ch 33:7 And the carved image of the idol that he had made he set in the house of God, of which God said to David and to Solomon his son, "In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever,
2Ch 33:8 and I will no more remove the foot of Israel from the land that I appointed for your fathers, if only they will be careful to do all that I have commanded them, all the law, the statutes, and the rules given through Moses."
2Ch 33:9 Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.
2Ch 33:10 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention.


...

2Ch 33:12 And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.
2Ch 33:13 He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.
2Ch 33:14 Afterward he built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, and for the entrance into the Fish Gate, and carried it around Ophel, and raised it to a very great height. He also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah.
2Ch 33:15 And he took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city.
2Ch 33:16 He also restored the altar of the LORD and offered on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel.


continued

natamllc said...

continuing:::>

I suppose one can now realize just what the Holy Spirit intends for those He is sent to by these verses:

Joh 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Joh 6:36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
Joh 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
Joh 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
Joh 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
Joh 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."


...

Heb 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Turretinfan said...

NatAmLLC:

Thanks for the encouraging words and the Word that edifies!

C.E.:

I'm guessing some folks think that Vatican 2 ended that stuff.

-TurretinFan

Eric said...

Your commitment to the truth and your love for the lost, make you one of the greatest apologists on the internet. I greatly enjoy reading your blog because of your conviction and clarity. I pray that the Lord continue to use you and that you would not be discourage by those who would malign your character

Devin Rose said...

Turretinfan,

What "church" is it that have I been excommunicated from? And who, under your ecclesiology, would have the authority excommunicate me?

I have not left the gospel of Christ. The very issue at question is what, exactly, is the gospel. Your opinion about the gospel does not define the gospel. It gets nowhere to make such claims. Better to get to the root of it: who has the authority to say what the gospel is and is not? If we say the Bible tells us, then whose interpretation? As Reformed scholar Keith Mathison says, this is the crux of the matter.

As one who once had a strong anti-Catholic-Church bias, I can understand how hard it is for you to employ your reasoning and faith to see the Church as she truly is. Only God's grace can lift the distortion, so I will continue to pray for you.

Turretinfan said...

"What 'church' is it that have I been excommunicated from?"

You would seem to be in a better position to tell me that, than for me to tell you that. If you were under the authority of elders of a Reformed church, I would hope that they excommunicated you upon learning of your apostasy to Rome.

"And who, under your ecclesiology, would have the authority excommunicate me?"

The elders.

"I have not left the gospel of Christ."

Your life does not show evidence of the truth of your claim. God will judge your heart, but we can only judge your deeds. Presently, your deeds reflect your allegiance to Rome.

"The very issue at question is what, exactly, is the gospel."

Maybe the question is only what is not the gospel - and only generally rather than exactly.

"Your opinion about the gospel does not define the gospel."

Obviously.

"It gets nowhere to make such claims."

Some people listen, others don't. It hopefully at least gets people thinking, and encourages them to search for the authoritative answers that Scripture provides.

"Better to get to the root of it: who has the authority to say what the gospel is and is not?"

That's not really the root of it. The root of it is "what is the truth of the matter." To find that answer, you should look to Scripture, not Rome.

"If we say the Bible tells us, then whose interpretation?"

Scripture's own interpretation of Scripture is the authoritative interpretation. But truth is absolute, not relative. While men can misinterpret the Scripture (look at many of Rome's apologists!), the Scriptures themselves clearly proclaim the things that are necessary for us to know to be saved.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Peter Sean Bradley posted some follow-up here:

http://peterseanesq.blogspot.com/2011/07/feel-reformed-apparently-turretinfan-it.html

Mr. Bradley's comments, however, just seem to serve to demonstrate that he's upset. He doesn't appear to offer any new argument to the mix.

-TurretinFan

Devin Rose said...

Who are "the elders" who could excommunicate me?

If you say, the elders of "my" Reformed church, which Reformed denominations, exactly, are you including (or which are you excluding)?

You know little about "my life" except I became Catholic. Are you one of those people who think Mother Teresa is in hell? Don't worry! I'll ask her to pray for you.

You say, look to the Scripture, yet I still don't see a comment over at Called to Communion on the Canon Question, in spite of the fact that you told me you were working on a reply. You haven't demonstrated how you know what books make up the Scriptures.

"Scripture's own interpretation of Scripture." Riiiight. No, it is still _your_ interpretation of Scripture, but now you just pick and choose which passages (which _you_ also interpret in a certain way) you will use to buttress other interpretations of Scripture that _you_ make.

You are in my prayers. Grace is, how do you say it, irresistible, so I'll expect your journey to Rome eventually. God bless.

Turretinfan said...

"Who are "the elders" who could excommunicate me?"

I think my original comment was pretty clear.

"If you say, the elders of "my" Reformed church, which Reformed denominations, exactly, are you including (or which are you excluding)?"

Were you under the authority of elders from more than one? That's not usual in Reformed churches.

"You know little about "my life" except I became Catholic."

You joined the Roman communion. The Roman communion isn't Catholic - it's ultrasectarian.

"Are you one of those people who think Mother Teresa is in hell?"

Well, I don't believe in Purgatory, and she lacked a credible profession of faith, so there are not a lot of other options. There's no limbus matrem for little old ladies who say sweet things but don't trust in Christ alone for salvation.

"Don't worry! I'll ask her to pray for you."

I'm not worried. I'm a little saddened to see you in such superstitious nonsense. But, as far as anyone knows, she can't hear you.

"You say, look to the Scripture ..."

So I do ... again and again. Please do read the Scriptures.

" ... yet I still don't see a comment over at Called to Communion on the Canon Question ..."

Is that what it will take to get you to read the Scriptures? I need to provide some comment on Mr. Brown's article?

" ... in spite of the fact that you told me you were working on a reply."

I also told you it is not a high priority for me. But, you have brought this article to my attention several times now.

"You haven't demonstrated how you know what books make up the Scriptures."

Of course, you should go ahead and read the Scriptures, even before I demonstrate (to your satisfaction) that I know (or more exactly, believe) that the books that you know full well are canonical are - in fact - canonical. You shouldn't wait around for me to prove to you that you should accept as canonical books that you already accept as canonical.

I wrote: "Scripture's own interpretation of Scripture."

You scoffingly replied: "Riiiight. No, it is still _your_ interpretation of Scripture, but now you just pick and choose which passages (which _you_ also interpret in a certain way) you will use to buttress other interpretations of Scripture that _you_ make."

Maybe you would scoff less if I quoted you a church father who says the same thing as I do. But what's the point? Your mind is made up. Even if I quoted from Irenaeus, Tertullian, Basil the Great, Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustine (as I could, see Webster/King Vol. 3, pp. 239-52), you would not alter your position.

"You are in my prayers. Grace is, how do you say it, irresistible, so I'll expect your journey to Rome eventually. God bless."

Of course, contrary to Scripture and even natural revelation your church condemned the following as an error:

1363 13. When God wishes to save a soul and touches it with the interior hand of His grace, no human will resists Him.

(see discussion here)

Devin Rose said...

Re: elders, you failed to rebut CtC's syllogism on why sola reduces to solo. No Reformed denominations' elders have divine authority to excommunicate anyone from the Church. They themselves are not in full communion with the Church. But even if someone gets "excommunicated" from some Reformed denomination, so what? There are hundreds of others just a bit different on this or that that they can join.

Mother Teresa trusted in Christ alone for her salvation. You either have not read what she has written or have a bad memory on this. In fact, everything she did was for Christ, which is why she is a saint.

I read the Scriptures--all seventy-three books--frequently, even daily. I've memorized tons of verses, both as a Protestant and as a Catholic. It was reading the Scriptures that led me to the Catholic Church. So your assumption that I don't read the Bible is false.

I've read the Fathers, too. None of them espouse what you are saying. Sure, divorce them from the Apostolic Tradition that they all praise, and from the glorious church of Rome to which all churches must agree, and from the successors of St. Peter that they lauded, and every other Catholic thing they talk about, and you can then get the out-of-context soundbyte that you say, but for every one of those soundbytes, a landslide of thousands of other passages are utterly incompatible with Protestantism.

You know the holy two-by-four, that God desires all men to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth, yet not all do. He gave us free will, the only way we can truly love.

TF, this will be my last comment to you here. I want to give you a tip. Realize that when you look at the guys over at Called to Communion and call them ridiculous names, people see through it. These guys, it is clear to all but you and a few other, are faithful and intelligent Christians, whose search for the truth led them to Catholicism, in spite of their strong biases against the Church. When you look at them and Mother Teresa and all Catholics with such disdain, people--including other Protestants--see it and are even more drawn to Catholicism.

May Christ unite us in the fullness of the truth!

Turretinfan said...

"Re: elders, you failed to rebut CtC's syllogism on why sola reduces to solo."

See the "Bryan Cross" link on the left-hand column of my main page for my detailed rebuttals to that syllogism.

"No Reformed denominations' elders have divine authority to excommunicate anyone from the Church."

Your assertion is noted. It's not particularly compelling, though. They are elders, and elders have the authority and duty to exercise church discipline (including excommunication).

"They themselves are not in full communion with the Church."

Whether or not that is true is irrelevant.

"But even if someone gets "excommunicated" from some Reformed denomination, so what?"

That's the attitude of someone who doesn't take church authority seriously. Is that really your attitude?

"There are hundreds of others just a bit different on this or that that they can join."

I don't know of any church that allows those who are active members of the Roman communion to "join" without giving up Rome for Christ. So, that doesn't seem like a viable option.

"Mother Teresa trusted in Christ alone for her salvation."

That's not what the evidence shows.

"You either have not read what she has written or have a bad memory on this."

The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book's compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, "neither in her heart or in the eucharist."

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1655720,00.html#ixzz1SlZdP7V6

But is enough for me to note that she never left Rome. That seems to be pretty strong (but certainly not infallible) evidence that God was not leading her into all truth.

"In fact, everything she did was for Christ, which is why she is a saint."

As far as your church is concerned, she has been "beatified" but she hasn't be "canonized," not that any of that really matters.

"I read the Scriptures--all seventy-three books--frequently, even daily. I've memorized tons of verses, both as a Protestant and as a Catholic."

Good for you. Please continue!

"It was reading the Scriptures that led me to the Catholic Church."

You won't find the bishop of Rome mentioned in the Bible. You also won't find Rome's distinctive doctrines and practices there. It's sad to hear you say that you think the Scriptures led you to Rome, but I hope that as you continue to read the Scriptures, you will see that the apostolic faith delivered in them is not faithfully preserved by Rome, but is - instead - undermined through traditions of men.

[cont'd]

Turretinfan said...

"So your assumption that I don't read the Bible is false."

I'm not assuming anything.

"I've read the Fathers, too. None of them espouse what you are saying."

Sure they do - or at least those that I quote do. If they didn't espouse what I am saying, I wouldn't quote them in support of what I'm saying.

"Sure, divorce them from the Apostolic Tradition that they all praise, and from the glorious church of Rome to which all churches must agree, and from the successors of St. Peter that they lauded, and every other Catholic thing they talk about, and you can then get the out-of-context soundbyte that you say, but for every one of those soundbytes, a landslide of thousands of other passages are utterly incompatible with Protestantism."

I hear this kind of thing a lot from folks who aren't very familiar with the fathers. As I always say, if you think something is out of context, provide me with the context! Don't just make general assertions and wave your hands about how non-Protestant the fathers were. They can be non-Protestant while still agreeing with "Protestants" on a variety of issues.

"You know the holy two-by-four, that God desires all men to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth, yet not all do. He gave us free will, the only way we can truly love."

Your teachings on this point are not Scripture's teachings.

"TF, this will be my last comment to you here."

ok

"I want to give you a tip."

:)

"Realize that when you look at the guys over at Called to Communion and call them ridiculous names, people see through it."

Ridiculous names like what?

"These guys, it is clear to all but you and a few other, are faithful and intelligent Christians, whose search for the truth led them to Catholicism, in spite of their strong biases against the Church."

I do question how strong the biases of some of those folks were. But that's really beside the point. They have left the faith that they once professed for Rome. May God have mercy upon them - but they need to repent and return to faith in Christ alone.

"When you look at them and Mother Teresa and all Catholics with such disdain, people--including other Protestants--see it and are even more drawn to Catholicism."

It's a little sleazy of you to suggest that pity is disdain.

-TurretinFan