Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ergun Caner in Others' Books

It is interesting to note how Ergun Caner is described in books other than those books that he himself authored.
In March 2006, I (John) had the unique privilege of interviewing two of today's top Islamic-Christian scholars, Dr. Ergun Mehmet Caner, and his brother, Dr. Emir Fethi Caner. Ergun serves as president of Liberty Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia, while Emir serves as dean of the college at Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Combined, they have addressed tens of thousands of individuals, authored best-selling books, and have been featured on major networks such as CNN and NPR and BBC. But what strikes people most when encountering the Caner brothers is not primarily their scholarship, media exposure, or writings, but their astonishing personal stories about their conversion to Christianity out of a devout Muslim family tradition -- tradition that even included their own father moving to America to build Islamic mosques.
John Ankerburg, Middle East Meltdown, pp. 29-30.
"You have to understand that there are three types of Muslims who come to America. First, there are the cultural Muslims. They're just born into Islam, but they're not devout in any way. The extreme devout, which we were, are orthodox, and you don't have contact with non-Muslims. Surah 5 of the Qur'an teaches that you 'take no friends from among the Jews and the Christians.' So it's a very isolated community from which we came."
John Ankerburg, Middle East Meltdown, p. 30 (quoting Ergun Caner).

Regarding the above, I cannot vouch for whether Caner actually said what Ankerberg quotes him as saying.  However, this does show what Ankerberg apparently understood the Caners' testimony to be.
Ergun was born in Turkey as the son of an Islamic leader. He came to know the Lord as a practicing Muslim after immigrating to America with his family.
Leigh Gray, Loving God, Loving People: Living Out the Vertical in a Horizontal World. p. 106.
When I was in high school, I lived in Vincennes, Indiana. I was lucky to have the coolest youth minister in the world, at least in my eyes, and that was all that mattered. His name was Ergun Caner. He took an interest in me, and we hung out all the time. We would talk after church, sing in the sanctuary long after the service was over, and play tennis after school. He would do those great embarassing things that youth ministers are famous for, like come to your school lunchroom and call you out. He inspected my boyfriends and made suggestions for improvements. I just couldn't get enough of him.
Leigh Gray, Loving God, Loving People: Living Out the Vertical in a Horizontal World. p. 105

I have not heard anything from Ms. Gray regarding whether she is just confused or whether her impression of Caner's biography was based on Caner's own statements to her.  I would be interested if anyone knows whether Ms. Gray has commented.


Friday, February 11, 2011

The Story of Codex 61 aka Codex Montfortianus

The following is taken from "The Story of the Manuscripts," by George Edmonds Merrill (link to book).

Codex 61, or Montfortianus, derives its name from one of its former possessors, Rev. Thomas Montfort, D. D., of Cambridge. It is now at Trinity College, Dublin. This manuscript is of special interest among the cursives from the part it has played in the discussion of the interpolated verse in the First Epistle of St. John (v. 7), the verse of the " Three Heavenly Witnesses." It contains the whole New Testament, written apparently by three or four different hands, and is composed of four hundred and fifty-five paper leaves, only one of which is glazed. This single glazed leaf is the one containing the verse mentioned. A witty Irish prelate, quoted by Scrivener, [Plain Introduction, p. 173, Note.] said of this coincidence :—
We often hear that the text of the Three Heavenly Witnesses is a gloss, and anyone that will go into the College Library may see as much for himself.
When Erasmus published his two earliest editions of the New Testament he did not insert this verse, and was severely blamed for the omission. His defence was that it was not found in the manuscripts used by him, and he pledged himself to insert it in his revisions if any Greek copy could be found containing it. In his third edition he printed the verse (in 1552), saying that he found it in a Codex Britannicus discovered in England. The verse, as printed by Erasmus, is in exact verbal agreement with the text upon this glazed leaf of Montfortianus, and it is wholly agreed that the Codex Britannicus must have been the one now known by this name. The earliest owner of the manuscript whose name we know was Froy, a Franciscan friar, from whom it passed to Thomas Clement; next it was owned by William Chark; then by Montfort; then by Archbishop Usher; from whose hands it came into possession of the college in Dublin. It will be noticed that the name of the third owner was William Chark, and when we come to speak of the next cursive it will be found that he was also at one time the possessor of the Codex No. 69. In 61 the Revelation has been thought to have been copied from 69, when both were in the hands of Chark. Certainly the margins of both copies bear many notes in his handwriting, and it would have been a strong temptation to have had the opportunity of completing 61 by adding the Revelation from so good a source. As it stands, the text of this added Scripture is found to be of higher critical value than any other part of the volume.
By way of appendix, I would like to point the reader to a work that collated this codex. In the introduction, at page 61, the collator suggests that the portion of the manuscript that includes the Johanine Comma is a copy of Codex Lincolniensis, and that the Comma is an unauthorized interpolation to that copy (link to page).

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Augustine on the Presence of Christ

When people try to claim that Augustine held to the modern Roman view of transubstantiation, one particular problem for them may be in dealing with Augustine's comments regarding the presence of Christ. The following are comments from Augustine that demonstrate that he did not hold to the idea of a bodily, carnal, fleshly, physical presence, but instead indicated that the only presence of Christ in his church during this age is divine and spiritual. As in my previous post, I have numbered the quotations for ease of reference.

1. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractate 50 on John (John 11:55-57), §§ 12-13
12. But what follows? “For the poor ye have always with you, but me ye will not have always.” We can certainly understand, “the poor ye have always;” what He has thus said is true. When were the poor wanting in the Church? “But me ye will not have always;” what does He mean by this? How are we to understand, “Me ye will not have always”? Don’t be alarmed: it was addressed to Judas. Why, then, did He not say, thou wilt have, but, ye will have? Because Judas is not here a unit. One wicked man represents the whole body of the wicked; in the same way as Peter, the whole body of the good, yea, the body of the Church, but in respect to the good. For if in Peter’s case there were no sacramental symbol of the Church, the Lord would not have said to him, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” [Matt. xvi. 19.] If this was said only to Peter, it gives no ground of action to the Church. But if such is the case also in the Church, that what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, and what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven,—for when the Church excommunicates, the excommunicated person is bound in heaven; when one is reconciled by the Church, the person so reconciled is loosed in heaven:—if such, then, is the case in the Church, Peter, in receiving the keys, represented the holy Church. If, then, in the person of Peter were represented the good in the Church, and in Judas’ person were represented the bad in the Church, then to these latter was it said, “But me ye will not have always.” But what means the “not always;” and what, the “always”? If thou art good, if thou belongest to the body represented by Peter, thou hast Christ both now and hereafter: now by faith, by sign, by the sacrament of baptism, by the bread and wine of the altar. Thou hast Christ now, but thou wilt have Him always; for when thou hast gone hence, thou wilt come to Him who said to the robber, “To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” [Luke xxiii. 43.] But if thou livest wickedly, thou mayest seem to have Christ now, because thou enterest the Church, signest thyself with the sign of Christ, art baptized with the baptism of Christ, minglest thyself with the members of Christ, and approachest His altar: now thou hast Christ, but by living wickedly thou wilt not have Him always.

13. It may be also understood in this way: “The poor ye will have always with you, but me ye will not have always.” The good may take it also as addressed to themselves, but not so as to be any source of anxiety; for He was speaking of His bodily presence. For in respect of His majesty, His providence, His ineffable and invisible grace, His own words are fulfilled, “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.” [Matt. xxviii. 20.] But in respect of the flesh He assumed as the Word, in respect of that which He was as the son of the Virgin, of that wherein He was seized by the Jews, nailed to the tree, let down from the cross, enveloped in a shroud, laid in the sepulchre, and manifested in His resurrection, “ye will not have Him always.” And why? Because in respect of His bodily presence He associated for forty days with His disciples, and then, having brought them forth for the purpose of beholding and not of following Him, He ascended into heaven, [Acts i. 3, 9, 10.] and is no longer here. He is there, indeed, sitting at the right hand of the Father; and He is here also, having never withdrawn the presence of His glory. In other words, in respect of His divine presence we always have Christ; in respect of His presence in the flesh it was rightly said to the disciples, “Me ye will not have always.” In this respect the Church enjoyed His presence only for a few days: now it possesses Him by faith, without seeing Him with the eyes. In whichever way, then, it was said, “But me ye will not have always,” it can no longer, I suppose, after this twofold solution, remain as a subject of doubt.

2. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 50, John 11:55-57, 12:1-11, §4.
Let them come to the church and hear where Christ is, and take Him. They may hear it from us, they may hear it from the gospel. He was slain by their forefathers, He was buried, He rose again, He was recognized by the disciples, He ascended before their eyes into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and He who was judged is yet to come as Judge of all: let them hear, and hold fast. Do they reply, How shall I take hold of the absent? how shall I stretch up my hand into heaven, and take hold of one who is sitting there? Stretch up thy faith, and thou hast got hold. Thy forefathers held by the flesh, hold thou with the heart; for the absent Christ is also present. But for His presence, we ourselves were unable to hold Him.

3. NPNF1, Contra Faustus, Book 20, Chapter 13
How can Faustus think that we resemble the Manichæans in attaching sacredness to bread and wine, when they consider it sacrilege to taste wine? They acknowledge their god in the grape, but not in the cup; perhaps they are shocked at his being trampled on and bottled. It is not any bread and wine that we hold sacred as a natural production, as if Christ were confined in corn or in vines, as the Manichæans fancy, but what is truly consecrated as a symbol. What is not consecrated, though it is bread and wine, is only nourishment or refreshment, with no sacredness about it; although we bless and thank God for every gift, bodily as well as spiritual. According to your notion, Christ is confined in everything you eat, and is released by digestion from the additional confinement of your intestines. So, when you eat, your god suffers; and when you digest, you suffer from his recovery. When he fills you, your gain is his loss. This might be considered kindness on his part, because he suffers in you for your benefit, were it not that he gains freedom by escaping and leaving you empty. There is not the least resemblance between our reverence for the bread and wine, and your doctrines, which have no truth in them. To compare the two is even more foolish than to say, as some do, that in the bread and wine we worship Ceres and Bacchus. I refer to this now, to show where you got your silly idea that our fathers kept the Sabbath in honor of Saturn. For as there is no connection with the worship of the Pagan deities Ceres and Bacchus in our observance of the sacrament of the bread and wine, which you approve so highly that you wish to resemble us in it, so there was no subjection to Saturn in the case of our fathers, who observed the rest of the Sabbath in a manner suitable to prophetic times.
Alternative translation:
But I do not know why Faustus thinks that we practice the same religion with respect to the bread and the cup, since for Manicheans to taste wine is not religious but sacrilegious. For they recognize their God in the grape; they refuse to recognize him in the cup, as if he had caused them some offense by being crushed and bottled. But our bread and cup, not just any bread and cup, is made sacramental to us by a particular consecration; it was not naturally such, as Manichaeans say in their folly on account of Christ, who is supposedly bound in the ears of grain and branches. Hence, what is not consecrated, though it is bread and cup, is food for refreshment, not the sacrament of religion, apart from the fact that we bless and give thanks to the Lord for every gift of his, not only spiritual but also bodily.
But for you in your myth Christ is presented as bound in all foods, destined still to be bound in your stomach and to be released by your belches. For, even when you eat, you restore yourselves a loss to your God, and when you digest your food, he is restored at a loss to you. For, when he fills you, your intake squashes him. And this, of course, would be attributed to his mercy when he suffers something in you and for you, were it not that he again leaves you empty so that he may escape after being set free by you. How, then, can you set our bread and cup on a par with this and say that an error far removed from the truth is the same religious practice? For your are more foolish than some people who think that, on account of the bread and the cup, we worship Ceres and Liber.

I thought that I should mention this point so that you might notice the folly from which there comes that idea of yours that, on account of the Sabbath, our patriarchs were devoted to Saturn. For, just as we are far removed from Ceres and Liber, gods of the pagans, although we embrace in our rites the sacrament of the bread and the cup (which you praised in such a way that you wanted to be our equals in it), so our patriarchs were far removed from the chains of Saturn, although in accord with the time of prophecy they observed the sabbath rest.

(Works of Saint Augustine, A Translation for the 21st Century: New City Press)

4. Tractate 80 on John (John 15:1-3), At Section 3
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Why does He not say, Ye are clean through the baptism wherewith ye have been washed, but “through the word which I have spoken unto you,” save only that in the water also it is the word that cleanseth? Take away the word, and the water is neither more nor less than water. The word is added to the element, and there results the Sacrament, as if itself also a kind of visible word. For He had said also to the same effect, when washing the disciples’ feet, “He that is washed needeth not, save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.” [Chap. xiii. 10.] And whence has water so great an efficacy, as in touching the body to cleanse the soul, save by the operation of the word; and that not because it is uttered, but because it is believed? For even in the word itself the passing sound is one thing, the abiding efficacy another. “This is the word of faith which we preach,” says the apostle, “that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” [Rom. x. 10.] Accordingly, we read in the Acts of the Apostles, “Purifying their hearts by faith;” [Acts xv. 9.] and, says the blessed Peter in his epistle, “Even as baptism doth also now save us, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer [1 Pet. iii. 21.] of a good conscience.” “This is the word of faith which we preach,” whereby baptism, doubtless, is also consecrated, in order to its possession of the power to cleanse. For Christ, who is the vine with us, and the husbandman with the Father, “loved the Church, and gave Himself for it.” And then read the apostle, and see what he adds: “That He might sanctify it, cleansing it with the washing of water by the word.” [Eph. v. 25, 26.] The cleansing, therefore, would on no account be attributed to the fleeting and perishable element, were it not for that which is added, “by the word.” This word of faith possesses such virtue in the Church of God, that through the medium of him who in faith presents, and blesses, and sprinkles it, He cleanseth even the tiny infant, although itself unable as yet with the heart to believe unto righteousness, and to make confession with the mouth unto salvation. All this is done by means of the word, whereof the Lord saith, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

5a. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Exposition of the Psalms, Part 3, Vol. 16, trans. Maria Boulding, O.S.B., Exposition 1 of Psalm 33, §10 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2000), p. 21.
10. And he was carried in his own hands. How on earth are we to understand this, my brothers and sisters, how is it humanly possible? How can someone be carried in his own hands? A person can be carried in the hands of others, but not in his own. Well, we have no way of knowing what it literally means in David’s case; but we can make sense of it with regard to Christ. Christ was being carried in his own hands when he handed over his body, saying, This is my body (Mt 26:26); for he was holding that very body in his hands as he spoke. Such is the humility of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this humility is what he recommends to us most strongly.
5b. (but compare the added caveat in the second sermon) John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Exposition of the Psalms, Part 3, Vol. 16, trans. Maria Boulding, O.S.B., Exposition 2 of Psalm 33, §2 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2000), p. 24.
In the light of this, what is the meaning of he affected? It means he was full of affection. What could ever be as full of affection as is the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in consideration of our infirmity accepted temporal death amid such violence and degradation, to free us from everlasting death? He drummed because a drum can be made only by stretching a skin across a wooden frame, so David's drumming was a prediction that Christ was to be crucified. He drummed on the doors into the city; and what else are the doors into the city but our hearts, which we had shut against Christ? But from the drum of his cross he opened the hearts of us mortals. He was carried in his own hands; how was this possible? Because when he entrusted to us his very body and blood, he took into his hands what the faithful know about, and so in a sense he was carrying himself when he said, This is my body.

6. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine Part 3, Vol. 10, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermons (341-400) on Various Subjects, Sermon 354, §2 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1995), p. 156.
Now many people receive the sacrament of his body; but not all who receive the sacrament are also going to have the place in his company promised to his members. Nearly all people indeed say the sacrament is his body, because all are feeding together in his pastures; but he is going to come and separate them, and place some on the right, some on the left. And each section is going to say, Lord, Lord, when did we see you and minister to you? or else Lord, when did we see you and not minister to you? Each section is going to say that; to one, all the same, he will say, Come, you blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom; to the other, Go into eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt 25:31-41).

7. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine Part 3, Vol. 7, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermons (230 - 272B) on Liturgical Seasons, Sermon 265A, §§6-7 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1993), p. 244.
If that's the only thing they are willing to hear, why don't they pay attention to what he said himself on another occasion: I and the Father are one? And then they must consider why it was said: The Father is greater than I. As he was about to ascend, you see, to the Father, the disciples were saddened that he would be leaving them in his bodily form; and so he said to them, What I told you: I am going to the Father, has filled your hearts with sadness. If you loved me you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; because the Father is greater than I (Jn. 16:6; 14:28). That amounts to saying, "The reason I am withdrawing from your sight this form of a servant, in which the Father is greater than I, is so that you may be able spiritually to see the Lord, once the form of a servant has been removed from in front of your eyes of flesh."
7. So on the one hand, because of the true form of a servant which he had taken, it was true what he said, The Father is greater than I, because obviously God is greater than man; and on the other hand, because of the true form of God in which he remained with the Father, it was true what he said, I and the Father are one. So he ascended to the Father insofar as he was a man, but he remained in the Father insofar as he was God, because he had come forth to us in the flesh without departing from the Father. What I am saying is, there ascended to the Father the Word which had become flesh to dwell among us (Jn 1:14). And he promised us his continued presence, saying, Behold I am with you all days, until the consummation of the age (Mt 28:20).

8. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine Part 3, Vol. 10, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermons (341-400) on Various Subjects, Sermon 375C, §6 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1995), p. 343.
What a splendid touch, what belief, what insistence! And this is what a woman did, worn out with loss of blood, like the Church afflicted and wounded in its martyrs by shedding of their blood, but full of the strength of faith. She had previously spent her fortune on doctors, that is on the gods of the nations, who had never been able to cure her; to this Church the Lord has presented not his bodily but his spiritual presence. So now this woman who's touching and the Lord who's being touched know each other. But in order that those who needed to know how to obtain salvation might be taught how to touch, he said, Who touched me? And the disciples answered, The crowds are jostling you, and you can say, Who touched me? As though you were in some lofty place where nobody can touch you, is that how you ask who touched you, while you are being jostled continuously by the crowds? The Lord said, Someone touched me (Lk 8:45-46). I felt one woman touching me more than the whole crowd jostling me. The crowd knows well enough how to jostle; if only it could learn how to touch!

9. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine Part 3, Vol. 10, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermons (341-400) on Various Subjects, Sermon 361, §7 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1995), p. 229.
So you are enduring a great storm; you don't want to answer the one who is trying to corrupt you, because you want to be nice to him, since he's offering you a drink; but the tidal wave of that craving is rearing up its crest, and threatening to engulf your heart like a boat. Christian, Christ is asleep in your boat; wake him up, he will command the storm, and everything will be calm. At that time, you see, when the disciples were being tossed about in the boat and Christ was asleep, they represented Christians being tossed about while their Christian faith is asleep. You can see, after all, what the apostle says: For Christ to dwell, he says, by faith in your hearts (Eph 3:19). As regards, you see, his presence in beauty and divinity, he is always with the Father; as regards his bodily presence, he is now about the heavens at the right hand of the Father; but as regards the presence of faith, he is in all Christians. And the reason, therefore, that you are being tossed about hither and thither is that Christ is asleep; that is, the reason you don't overcome those cravings that are stirred up by the gusts of evil persuasion, is that faith is asleep.
10. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine Part 3, Vol. 20, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Expositions of the Psalms (Volume 6), Exposition of Psalm 127, §8 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2004), p. 105.
Now let each one of us discern what kind of fear he or she has. Is it the kind that charity casts out or the chaste fear that abides for ever, for eternity? Each of you must test it now. I will spell it out, and you test it. Our bridegroom has gone away. Question your conscience: Do you want him to come back, or would you prefer him to delay his return? Go on, ask yourselves, brothers and sisters! I have knocked at the doors of your hearts, but he alone hears the reply from within. The answers given by all your consciences cannot reach my ears, because I am only a man. But he, who is absent as far as bodily presence goes, is present in all the power and vigor of his majesty, and he has heard you. If we say, "Look, Christ is almost here! Tomorrow will be judgment day!" how few people will reply, "Good! Let him come!" Those who do react like that are the ones who love much, and if you then tell them, "Oh no; he has been delayed," they will dread any delay, and their dread is chaste fear. And just as chaste fear dreads any delay in his coming, so, when he has come, will it dread his going away. But this fear is tranquil and unworried, another proof that it is chaste fear. We are not likely to be forsaken by him once he has found us, are we? Not anyone who believes in him. After all, he sought us before ever we began to seek him.

- TurretinFan