Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Responding to "Gabriel Serafin" Regarding the Religion based on the Word

A poster using the handle "Gabriel Serafin" wrote:
Protestantism is a religion based on a book. But Jesus Christ did not hand out Bibles, He established a Church and gave her authority to teach. God gave us the Bible through His Church; thus the Catholic Church defined the Canon of Scripture in the first place. "Bible-only Christians" who dismiss the teachings of the Catholic Church are simply living in a state of ignorance and false understanding of Christianity. James White is merely one voice among thousands of voices spreading a cacophony of noise and confusion against the Church that was established by Christ. Without the Catholic Church you have no Bible.. 
I reply:

The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible.  The fact that Jesus himself did not "hand out Bibles" is hardly a compelling point, given that he frequently quoted from the old testament Scriptures and commanded his theological opponents to "Search the Scriptures."

Moreover, the final book of Scripture is the Apocalypse, which describes itself as "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him ... ." (Revelation 1:1)  Us folks who follow the Book know this, or at least we should.  So, while it would be inaccurate to say Jesus "handed out Bibles" he certainly gave us the Bible, not only by virtue of being the Word made Flesh, and the capstone of the prophets ("God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" Hebrews 1:1-2) but also by delivering this final Revelation to John by the hand of an angel ("... sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw." Revelation 1:1-2) just as also the Pentateuch was delivered ("it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator" Galatians 3:19).

You may say that Jesus established a church, and indeed Jesus did.  But Jesus did not establish a church headed by some other man, but rather he is the head ("gave him to be the head over all things to the church" Ephesians 1:22; "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church" Ephesians 5:23; "he is the head of the body, the church" Colossians 1:18).  Jesus did not tell us that the bishop of Rome is to be a second head - as though when a husband is bodily absent some other man can fulfill that husbandly role with his wife.

In fact, the apostolic writings provide us with zero documentation of any papacy.  There wasn't one.  Christ did establish his church, but modern Rome is not that church.

In fact, the implied conception of "the church" is foreign to the New Testament scriptures.  The expression "the church" in Scripture can refer to various things, such as the local body of believers or to the entire category of all believers.  It is faith that defines the church, though - not the other way 'round.

Christ built his church on himself, the Rock and our only Rock:
  1. "He is the Rock" Deuteronomy 32:4; 
  2. "he forsook the God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation" Deuteronomy 32:14; 
  3. "Of the rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee" Deuteronomy 32:18; 
  4. "except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?" Deuteronomy 32:30; 
  5. "There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God." 1 Samuel 2:2; 
  6. "The LORD is my rock" 2 Samuel 22:2; 
  7. "The God of my rock, in him will I trust" 2 Samuel 22:3; 
  8. "who is a rock, save our God?" 2 Samuel 22:32; 
  9. "the LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation." 2 Samuel 22:47; 
  10. "The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me," 2 Samuel 23:3; 
  11. "The LORD is my rock" Psalm 18:2;
  12. "who is a rock save our God?" Psalm 18:31;
  13. "The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted" Psalm 18:46;
  14. "O LORD my rock" Psalm 28:1;
  15. "be thou my strong rock" Psalm 31:2;
  16. "thou art my rock" Psalm 31:3;
  17. "I will say unto God my rock" Psalm 42:9;
  18. "He only is my rock and my salvation" Psalm 62:2;
  19. "He only is my rock and my salvation" Psalm 62:6;
  20. "In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God" Psalm 62:7
  21. "thou art my rock" Psalm 71:3;
  22. "they remembered that God was their rock" Psalm 78:35;
  23. "Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation" Psalm 89:26;
  24. "the LORD is upright: he is my rock" Psalm 92:15;
  25. "my God is the rock of my refuge" Psalm 94:22;
  26. "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation" Psalm 95:1;
  27. "he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel" Isaiah 8:14;
  28. "thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength" Isaiah 17:10;
  29. "whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:" Matthew 7:24;
  30. "Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock" Luke 6:47-48;
  31. "This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner." Acts 4:11;
  32. "Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed" Romans 9:33;
  33. "for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:4; 
  34. "To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, " 1 Peter 2:4; and
  35. "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.  Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed." 1 Peter 2:6-8.
Yet against that backdrop, you will foolishly assert that Peter is the Rock of Matthew 16:18?  Why, because Peter's name means "rock"?  Do you not know that Peter is called "Bar Jona" because of his relationship to his fleshly father Jona?  If so, then why do you not understand that Peter is called Peter because of his faith in the Rock, namely in Christ.

The foundation stone is Christ, as it is written:

  • "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste." Isaiah 28:16
  • "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 3:11

Yes, there is some secondary sense in which we are built on the apostles (all of them, together with the prophets): "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;" (Ephesians 2:20) but notice who is the one rock on which everything else is built: it is Christ.

The Bible did not come from "the Catholic church" it was delivered to the prophets and the apostles.  Most of the books were delivered in the Old Testament period, before "the Catholic church" even claims to have existed.  The rest of the books were delivered by the apostles and the evangelists.  The claim the Scriptures make about themselves is that they are God-breathed ("given by inspiration of God" 2 Timothy 3:16) not church-breathed.

When Paul wrote the epistle to the Galatians he expressed it this way: "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)" (Galatians 1:1).  Those are not the words of someone who needs to run it past the church, or even past some imaginary 1st century pope.  Instead, Paul received divine revelation from Christ and was inspired to hand it on to us in writing.

God used many people, including unbelieving Jews, to preserve the text of the Bible for us. We are thankful for God's providence in that regard.  Nevertheless, their role in preservation of the Scriptures is no endorsement of their theology.

Indeed, those in the English-speaking world ought rather to say that we received the Scriptures despite Rome, rather than because of Rome.  Wycliffe's translation of the Bible (from the Vulgate!) was suppressed, as was Tyndale's translation from the Greek.  To be a Bible translator in those days was to risk persecution, yet men did the work necessary to get God's word into the language of those in England.

The idea that "the Catholic Church defined the Canon of Scripture in the first place" is laughable.  Rome's first "infallible" definition of the canon of Scripture was at Trent - after Luther's death.  That's hardly "in the first place."  Moreover, even if one goes back all the way to the North African Councils that came the closest to the Tridentine canon, they weren't the first canons of Scripture to be provided.  Athanasius managed to provide a canon of Scripture before the north Africans.  Moreover, it is plain that others before him (such as Origen) had a canon of the Scripture.

Who is living in a state of ignorance about Christianity?  Those who follow the teachings of Christ and the apostles, which are set forth in Scripture?  Or those who instead following the teachings of Rome, whether or not they contradict what Scripture teaches?

James White is merely one voice among thousands of voices, one witness amongst a great cloud of witnesses. Yet referring to his appeals to the authority of Scripture as "cacophony" suggests that the author of the comment has a confused idea about Scripture.

Would that "Gabriel Serafin" would cast aside his mistaken idea that Christ's church is founded upon Peter and instead recognize that Christ's church is founded upon Christ, the true Rock of our salvation.



Lee Gerrietts said...

Enjoyed the post. Particularly as I read Deut. 32 last night as part of my reading. I never had thought about the references of the Rock in the old testament as an argument against RCC teaching (though I'm sure now it's a common one). Thanks for you efforts.

Natamllc said...

As usual TF, this is a calculated seasoned and excellent response to a faulty idea of the fallacy of Church origins promoted by the RCC.

As I read this piece I was recollecting just how God establishes the facts as we now know them, the Word of God, by revelation from the Holy Spirit by inspiration to men of God, of course, who, in turn, wrote the Word of God or orally spoke it and another wrote it out, that that has come down through the generations to this very day for our learning and admonition, so that we, too, will present our very life to God in our generation and live before Him according to the very Word of His Grace, the 66 books of the Bible.

Take a couple of examples from Scripture itself that I am convinced are part of the mindset the Apostle Paul drew from that Luke recorded as his exchange with and in exhortation to the Ephesian elders found at Acts 20 where he commends them to God and to the Word of His Grace (Acts 14:3 and 20:32).

Remember Moses? Remember Jeremiah?

With Moses, God Himself, with His own Hand wrote on two tablets of stone that that He gave to Moses, the Ten Commandments. After Moses threw down the tablets in a fit of anger because of the idolatry of the children of Israel and broke them up, he then had to write on the second set of tablets the same Ten Commandments that God Himself wrote out on the first set of tablets.

With Jeremiah, God directed him to write on a scroll Words of judgment against the house of Judah and he then sent an emissary to Jehoiakim the king of Judah for him to read. Through a series of events the king hears the Words of God that Jeremiah dictates from God Himself and had written on a scroll (Jeremiah 36).

The king burns the scroll.

God, then, after that has Jeremiah do it again just exactly as before, writing down exactly the same Words of judgment and sends them back to the king.

It seems the devil's war is against God's Words, God's people and God's Christ in them, to destroy all three. Unfortunately for Satan and the adversaries of God and His people, they will be destroyed instead!:

Psa 143:12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.


Heb 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
Heb 2:15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

Eric Hettinger jr said...


Philip said...

You find Catholic claims absurd because you embrace a fundamentally different ecclesiology. Your "church" and my "Church" are two entirely different things, it too often seems. I speak of the Mystical Body of Christ, the supernatural communion sustained by the glue of the Spirit and participation in the bread-turned-Flesh and wine-turned-Blood: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ" (I Corinthians 10:16)?

We believe the Church is the very Body of Christ, "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23). The Church is the "the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Timothy 3:15), of which we "lively stones" (I Peter 2:5).

Through the waters of regeneration we are incorporated into the Mystical Christ: "For as the Body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one Body, being many, are one Body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the Body is not one member, but many" (I Corinthians 12:12-14).

Christ, the God-Man, is inseparable from His church. So indivisible are they that the Lord, pained by the deaths of the martyrs, demanded of Saul, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me" (Acts 9:4)?

Philip said...

***We believe the Church is the very Body of Christ, "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23). The Church is "the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Timothy 3:15), of which we are "lively stones" (I Peter 2:5).

Natamllc said...


let me ask you something based on this from Scriptures:

Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Are there Jews that you know of who have converted to the Roman Catholic Church?

Philip said...

My wife is a Jew who converted to Catholicism.

Natamllc said...

So, Philip, you hold to the RCC as Christ's Body? How do you reconcile the verse then?

I would be interested in how you treat the Word to Jews and Gentiles and what God is saying through Christ's Apostle, Paul?

Philip Primeau said...

What is so puzzling? Jew and Gentile are united in the Church, the Body of Christ; both find salvation in that mystical communion.

"For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby" (Ephesians 2:14-16).

Natamllc said...


I believe it is your ecclesiology that is found wanting. You haven't done anything here to address my point, yet, to explain it.

As TF pointed out above, Christ is the "Head" of this Church you speak of as yours; your church that you believe to be the one and only "true" Body of Christ, the Holy dwelling places of the Most High.

Let's go a little further, then?

Are you familiar with God's revelation about Christ's Church found at 2 Samuel 7 or 1 Chronicles 17? It would be of interest to me to see how you treat that revelation and blend what the Holy Spirit reveals to King David in those Scriptures to justify the Roman papacy or her Magisterium or your religious expression in praying to Mary, Jesus' mother, the virgin girl spoken about in the Scriptures?

When I read the Scriptures and read TF's comments, I can easily blend the Word of God into his writings.

When I read the Scriptures and read what you are asserting about your faith in here in response to TurretinFan's article above, about your belief about that church that comes from Rome, I cannot easily blend the Word of God with your writings and intent by them.


How do you reconcile what is being taught in those Scriptures found in 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17, then, with your church's teachings? I would think if God was going to introduce transubstantiation or the worship of the mother of Jesus or a papacy or her Magisterium, or the collection of relic bones of saints of old, those Scriptures would have been the best place to settle these matters and make plain to Jew and Gentile God's intent about Christ's Church as we, who hold to the Protestant Scriptures understand He has made plain by the Holy Spirit to us?

1Ch 17:11 When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom.
1Ch 17:12 He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever.
1Ch 17:13 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you,
1Ch 17:14 but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.'"
1Ch 17:15 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.
1Ch 17:16 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, "Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?
1Ch 17:17 And this was a small thing in your eyes, O God. You have also spoken of your servant's house for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, O LORD God!


2Sa 7:27 For you, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, 'I will build you a house.' Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you.
2Sa 7:28 And now, O Lord GOD, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant.
2Sa 7:29 Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord GOD, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever."

Philip Primeau said...

"Our Humble God doesn't need your papacy or magisterium or relic pratices to restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish His own in this fallen world."

I couldn't agree more. God does nothing out of necessity. God doesn't need anything or anyone. Popes and relics and all such creations are for our benefit, like the Bible (though obviously on a different level).

Furthermore, God shares His power with His creatures because He loves them, and love moves out of itself, sharing its wealth. Similarly, being Love itself, God moves out of Himself, working wonders through lowly bones and scraps of tunic. To deny this reality is to deny the plain testimony of Scripture (which, given your view on the eucharist, is not particularly surprising). You hold to the literal meaning of the text only when it's convenient.

As for Catholicism in general: I do not recognize the church you describe. Sure, I see the word "Catholic," but nothing you say resembles my experience in the pews. The institutions and sacraments and mysteries of the Catholic Church have never done anything but strengthen my faith and bring me into closer communion with the Eternal Godhead. Attending daily Mass, receiving the Word and Body of Christ as the sun rises up, watching incense rise up to the Triune one with the first rays of the day . . . how beautiful is the Catholic faith, how wonderful is our God!

Natamllc said...


This is going nowhere now: "...Popes and relics and all such creations are for our benefit, like the Bible (though obviously on a different level). "

So, you have conveniently replaced the First Commandment and the Two Great Words/Works for mankind with that sentence, that is, "adding" to them!

Enough already, then!

Exo 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
Exo 20:2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Exo 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me.
Exo 20:4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Exo 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Exo 20:6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Mar_12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
Mar_12:31 The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

Yet with that, those two great Words/Works, none of it is possible without this and it is to this end God speaks His Word, sending His Holy Spirit to His Elect and Works the Work that no man can work of themselves:

Joh 17:24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Joh 17:25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
Joh 17:26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

Philip Primeau said...

That is why I qualified the statement with "obviously on a different level." God reveals Himself most decisively in the Incarnation and then in Holy Scripture. All other means are dwarfed by the Word made flesh and the Word made word. Nonetheless, the Divine works through all manner of creation, as amply demonstrated by Scriptures which you blithely decide to ignore.

You have quoted many verses from the Bible, none of which I disagree with or view as conflicting with the vast majority of orthodox Catholic practice. God is not opposed to images: Moses wielded an image of a serpent; there were carved cherubim on the Ark; archaeology reveals icons depicting the great events of Israel's history within Christ-era synagogues. And so on.

You are being extreme, letting your iconoclasm blind you to the essential goodness of the material world. I recognize there is danger in the creation of icons and statues; in recognizing our spiritual fellowship with Mary and the other saints; with relics and the papal office. These can all be used wickedly, used to lead Christians astray. But that is only when they are divorced from the Triune God: when they cease to be means of communion and start being ends in and of themselves.

Anyway, I pray that you receive health and happiness, and that the Lord be always with you. God bless!

Philip Primeau said...

Ah, so you are a fallen away Catholic! I suspected as much. Unfortunately, many Catholics have been ruined by the rotten modernism that has infected the Church during the 20th century. I am very sorry for your bad experience. My experience growing up Catholic was also quite unfortunate, which is why, when I began to explore Christ in my late teens, I originally explored various Protestant congregations (Baptist, Methodist, Anglican). It was only with much study and prayer that I realized that, for all its flaws, the truth of God resides most fully in the one, holy, universal, and apostolic Church.

I do not find Catholicism burdensome in the least. Just the opposite, actually. I find most aspects of the Church -- from her sacraments to her doctrines to her institutions -- extraordinarily useful, godly, and beautiful. My main difficulty is with the Mariolatry that exist in certain circles, as well as the subtle but definite drift away from Augustinianism and toward (semi-)Pelagianism. Also, I question the exact role the bishops, and the Successor of Peter especially, were meant to play in the Church.

However, these doubts and misgivings are few in comparison to the doubts and misgivings that I experience when considering your "True Biblical Christianity," which I find, in light of Scripture and history, neither true nor Biblical. Typically, those Protestants I find most enjoyable and convincing are "high church" folks with a developed ecclesiology and a deep appreciation for tradition, liturgy, and sacramental life. This notion of radically primitive Christianity, as embraced by certain evangelicals, I find indefensible. No wonder it is largely restricted to the Anglo world: it is the product of our rampant and hideous individualism! "Jesus and me" is not Biblical. (That is why I appreciate this blog -- FT has a good sense of Church history, even for a Prot!)

Interestingly, the lines from Matthew you quoted are among my favorite in all Scripture. They do not conflict with my Catholicism in the least. I encounter that gentle yet powerful Jesus every morning in the Eucharist, which is His body.

We obviously have very different readings of Holy Writ, human nature, and history. All we can do is respect each other and accept that we are speaking with honesty and goodwill. I appreciate your forthrightness. Your candor is admirable. Please take care and may the love of Christ be always with you. Thanks for your time!

"The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace" (Numbers 6:24-26).

Philip Primeau said...

I was most shocked by how casually the Protestant churches that I explored treated the Eucharist. One congregation served the Supper of the Lamb buffet style, with rice chips and fruit juice! Such is American Protestantism. I can only imagine how Calvin or Luther would abominate such a practice!

I am currently working my way through the Lord's Supper section of Calvin's Institutes. I much enjoy these words of his, although obviously as a Catholic I hold a 'stronger' view of the Eucharist than he did:

"I am not satisfied with the view of those who, while acknowledging that we have some kind of communion with Christ, only make us partakers of the Spirit, omitting all mention of flesh and blood. As if it were said to no purpose at all, that his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed; that we have no life unless we eat that flesh and drink that blood; and so forth. Therefore, if it is evident that full communion with Christ goes beyond their description, which is too confined ... [I]f, indeed, it be lawful to put this great mystery into words, a mystery which I feel, and therefore freely confess that I am unable to comprehend with my mind, so far am I from wishing any one to measure its sublimity by my feeble capacity ...

And though the mind is more powerful in thought than the tongue in expression, it too is overcome and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the subject. All then that remains is to break forth in admiration of the mystery, which it is plain that the mind is inadequate to comprehends or the tongue to express. I will, however, give a summary of my view as I best can, not doubting its truth, and therefore trusting that it will not be disapproved by pious breasts ... The sum is, that the flesh and blood of Christ feed our souls just as bread and wine maintain and support our corporeal life. For there would be no aptitude in the sign, did not our souls find their nourishment in Christ. This could not be, did not Christ truly form one with us, and refresh us by the eating of his flesh, and the drinking of his blood.

But though it seems an incredible thing that the flesh of Christ, while at such a distance from us in respect of place, should be food to us, let us remember how far the secret virtue of the Holy Spirit surpasses all our conceptions, and how foolish it is to wish to measure its immensity by our feeble capacity. Therefore, what our mind does not comprehend let faith conceive, viz., that the Spirit truly unites things separated by space.

That sacred communion of flesh and blood by which Christ transfuses his life into us, just as if it penetrated our bones and marrow, he testifies and seals in the Supper, and that not by presenting a vain or empty sign, but by there exerting an efficacy of the Spirit by which he fulfils what he promises. And truly the thing there signified he exhibits and offers to all who sit down at that spiritual feast, although it is beneficially received by believers only who receive this great benefit with true faith and heartfelt gratitude."

Clearly, Calvin reverenced the mystery of the Eucharist. He appreciated the mystical dimension of the sacrament. The worldly rationalism of the modern era seems to have stolen this from the liturgical lives of so many Protestant sects.

Pete Holter said...

Greetings in Christ, Philip Primeau!

You wrote,

“My main difficulty is with the Mariolatry that exists in certain circles, as well as the subtle but definite drift away from Augustinianism and toward (semi-)Pelagianism. Also, I question the exact role the bishops, and the Successor of Peter especially, were meant to play in the Church.”

I offer the following 5 posts on the Catholic Answers Forums as an encouragement to your desire to see “Augustinianism” thriving in the Church today:

And have you read the following homily from Pope Benedict about his understanding of his own ministry as Pope? I thought you might enjoy it if you haven’t seen it yet.

Be encouraged, my brother!

In Christ,

turretinfan said...

"God is not opposed to images: Moses wielded an image of a serpent; there were carved cherubim on the Ark; archaeology reveals icons depicting the great events of Israel's history within Christ-era synagogues. And so on."

I assume you are referring to Dura Europos.

a) One unique synagogue in an unparalleled town does not "synagogues" make.

b) Those paintings weren't "icons" in the modern sense.

c) The Jewish testimony against making images of God is essentially unanimous.

d) And that's what we object to - not all images absolutely, but all images purporting to be of God or any god or for any object of worship. That's why the brazen serpent was destroyed - when it became an object of worship.

"You are being extreme, letting your iconoclasm blind you to the essential goodness of the material world."

The material word may have been good in its essence before the fall. Moreover, there is nothing unclean about the material world as such. Nevertheless, there is a fundamental Creature-Creator distinction in view of which it dishonors God when we portray him.

- TurretinFan