Saturday, June 20, 2009

June - Sexual Depravity "Pride Month" - Part 16

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

1 Corinthians 6:13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

1 Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

1 Corinthians 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

Papist Propaganda

1718, from Mod.L. propaganda, short for Congregatio de Propaganda Fide "congregation for propagating the faith," committee of cardinals established 1622 by Gregory XV to supervise foreign missions, prop. abl. fem. gerundive of L. propagare (see propagation). Modern political sense dates from World War I, not originally pejorative.


That's all well and good, but I actually want to highlight one of the recent propaganda (modern sense) items provided by a few papists on the word "papist." One of those items is that word was originally conceived by those persecuting the papists.

1534, "adherent of the Pope," from M.Fr. papiste, from papa "Pope," from Church L. papa (see pope).


Notice the actual etymology - not a term of English coinage but a borrow word from Middle French. Moreover, while the term certainly was employed at times when the papacy was resolutely opposed in England, the "persecution" as it is sometimes characterized was not principally religious in nature.

Papists were perceived as a political threat to at least some of the folks in the English Monarchy, especially Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. This was not simply a pretense to put down Catholicism, but a genuine and legitimate concern coming out of the medieval period during which the popes and their minions frequently meddled in the political affairs of Europe.

So, in short, no. The term "papist" was not coined as derogatory term, nor need it carry derogatory connotations. It does not (contrary to the most bizarre piece of propaganda I recently received) mean "pope worshiper." Although some people do use it in a derogatory manner, you will not find this blogger using it that way, but rather in a way that is descriptive of ecclesiology. Yes, some dictionaries have seen fit to label it as derogatory, but hopefully any sincere papists who read this blog will not fall prey to propaganda but will look to the intention of the word, which highlights an important difference in church structure between us.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Springboarding off of Hays Against Molinism


Steve Hays (Calvinist) wrote: God's freedom is sui generis. It doesn't fall into either model of human agent theory, whether libertarian or determinist.

GodIsMyJudge (Molinist) wrote: Determinate and indeterminate seem like mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories. Are you suggesting there is some third category we don't know about or perhaps this is a logical paradox?


God's Will not Like Man's Will:

GodIsMyJudge's question misses part of the reason for Steve's comment. God's will is not like man's will. There is an analogy, but it is not a correspondence. God's will (his secret will - his decree of Providence) is not something time-bound. It is not something that begins from existing circumstances and produces a choice that is responsive to the circumstances in which it finds itself. It itself determines all circumstances. The decrees of God are his eternal purposes according to the counsel of his will, whereby - for his own glory - he has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.

The will's decision itself (that is to say, the decree of God) is not something that comes to pass. It is an eternal purpose of God. There was never a time when it was not.

Sometimes, for analytical purposes, we treat it as though we viewed it as active, but it is not. There is no time before God's will chooses what it chose - it is an eternal decree.

Relation to Knowledge of God:

This issue has a bearing on the discussion of the knowledge of God. What GodIsMyJudge seems to have overlooked is that in both the Molinist and Calvinist understanding, God's decrees are eternal - they do not come to be. The order that we discuss is simply a logical order - not a temporal order.

Thus, the Calvinist logical order is as follows:

1) Natural Knowledge
2) Decree
3) Free Knowledge

Whereas the Molinist logical order is as follows:

1) Natural Knowledge
2) Partial Decree
3) Middle Knowledge
4) Rest of Decree
5) Free Knowledge

Comparison to Human Will:

But both Molinists and Calvinists agree that this is simply a logical not a temporal order.

In contrast, human wills (in both systems) operate with temporal order:

1) Nature
2) Circumstance
3) Decree

That is an order that is both logical and temporal. First, there is our nature. This is something that is a given. Next, we and our nature encounter a specific circumstance. Sometimes that circumstance is largely of our making, other times we had nothing to do with the circumstance. Finally, in the circumstance, we make a choice.

Observation about Molinism:

Oddly enough, although Molinism advocates "Libertarian" free will (as opposed to simple, Calvinistic free will), Molinism essentially makes man's decree a product of his nature and his circumstance, such that if the same nature is placed in the same circumstance man's decree will be the same.

Functionally, that sounds quite deterministic. The Molinist insists that the choices are free in a "libertarian" and "indeterminate" sense, but it really isn't apparent how that is possible or even credible. In the Molinist regime, it really looks like man's choices are essentially the product of his circumstances.


I don't want to get too sidetracked by pointing out the apparent inconsistency of Molinism. I understand (I think) the rationale behind GodIsMyJudge's question: he'd like to have Steve say that God has libertarian free will, to open the door to the idea that man could also have libertarian free will. The problem, however, is that while God and man both have wills - they operate in very different ways. In fact, even saying "operate" is a word that is only analogous when speaking of God's will.

No, God is the only uncaused cause. He is the only self-existent being, and his choices are eternal - they did not come into being indeterminately or determinately - they simply did not come into being, but always were. Therein lies the fallacy in, under, or behind the question posed by GodIsMyJudge.


June - Sexual Depravity "Pride Month" - Part 15

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

2 Corinthians 12:21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Augustine on 1 John 2:2 and "Whole World"

The fact that Augustine taught limited atonement is something that we occasionally hear disputed. Thus, from time to time, it is helpful to see what Augustine said about one of the key verses in that discussion, 1 John 2:2. Here are two places (the only two that have come to my attention) where Augustine address that verse:

In like manner it is said, on the one hand, "the whole world lies in wickedness," [1 John 5:19] because of the tares which are throughout the whole world; and, on the other hand, Christ "is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," [1 John 2:2] because of the wheat which is throughout the whole world.

- Augustine, Letter 93 to Vincentius (for more see Ancient Voices)

Therefore it is no marvel that he here goes on and shuts the mouths of them that divide the Church of God. For he that has said, "We have Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins:" having an eye to those who would divide themselves, and would say, "Lo, here is Christ, lo, there;" and would show Him in a part who bought the whole and possesses the whole, he immediately goes on to say, "Not our sins only, but also the sins of the whole world." What is this, brethren? Certainly "we have found it in the fields of the woods," we have found the Church in all nations. Behold, Christ "is the propitiation for our sins; not ours only, but also the sins of the whole world." Behold, you have the Church throughout the whole world; do not follow false justifiers who in truth are cutters off. Be in that mountain which has filled the whole earth: because "Christ is the propitiation for our sins; not only ours, but also the sins of the whole world," which He has bought with His blood.

- Augustine, Homily 1 on 1 John (for more see Ancient Voices)

As you can see, in both cases, Augustine views the reference to "whole world" to be the church throughout the world. This is very important to understanding not only the patristic interpretation of this verse, but also the semantic domain of that term "whole world" or even just "world" in the early centuries of the church. It is apparent from Augustine that he saw it as describe a vast geographical expanse rather than referring to each and every person.

Now, just because Augustine said it doesn't make it right. Augustine is not my rule of faith, Scripture is. The point I'm making here, though, is that viewing the expression "the whole world" as simply a broad geographic area and not "each and every person" is a fully reasonable understanding, and one that is consistent not only with Scripture, but with the writings of significant fathers, such as Augustine.


June - Sexual Depravity "Pride Month" - Part 14

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Response to Prophecy Channel

The video below is a response to Prophecy Channel's (PC's) response to Dr. James White. There three main sections to the video, and consequently three main sections to the response:

1. Does Dr. White think only Calvinists are Christians?

No. Dr. White acknowledges that there are non-Calvinist Christians. On the other hand, Dr. White recognizes that not everyone who calls himself a Christian actually is one.

2. Does Calvinism make God the Author of Sin?

Not by the definition of that term found in the Westminster Confession of Faith. But PC has his own definition of "author of sin." Since the term isn't a Biblical term, I'd rather not get stuck on labels. I know "author of sin" has a nasty ring to it, but what's wrong with saying that God is the "author of sin" in some remote sense of ordaining that sin will transpire. Why should that be problematic beyond being susceptible of an ugly label?

2. What about three passages in Jeremiah?

PC raises three passages in Jeremiah that say that some particular sin was not what God commanded or decreed, nor did it enter into God's mind. Three such passages are:

Jeremiah 7:30-31
For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it. And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

Jeremiah 19:5-6
They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.

Jeremiah 32:34-35
But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

PC's problem in analyzing these passages is this: he has overlooked the difference between the Revealed Will (what one should do) and the Secret Will (what one will do). These passages are talking about God's decrees relative to the revealed will: his commandments, not his decrees of Providence.

Furthermore, PC has a problem ahead of him. If he insists that God cannot hold men responsible for things that God has foreordained, he's going to run into a problem:

Acts 2:23-24
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

John 19:10-11
Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

God foreordained that the Jews would deliver up Jesus to Pilate and yet the Jews had not just sin, but a greater sin than Pilate's sin in executing Christ unjustly. That's a greater sin than the rape of a child, as shocking as that might sound. So, are you going to "blame" God for the crucifixion? Or are you going to justify God although he has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass?


June - Sexual Depravity "Pride Month" - Part 13

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Ephesians 5:1-5
1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bigotry and Bellisario

I noticed that Mr. Bellisario has posted against something Dr. White mentioned in passing in a Sunday School lesson. Mr. Bellisario starts his post thus: "James White at Alpha and Omega has once again proven why he is an anti-Catholic bigot." However, when it comes to his critique of what Dr. White said, Mr. Bellisario says: "First of all I would love to know where James White got his information that tells us large amounts of the guards were “practicing” Catholics."

One has to chuckle. Bellisario has no idea where Dr. White got his information, but Dr. White is a "bigot" (in Mr. Bellisario's mind) simply for holding to the opinion that it has been rightly said that a large portion of the guards at Buchenwald and Auschewitz were practicing Catholics. That opinion would seem to be justified strictly on the statistical fact of Germany's population being about 1/3 Roman Catholic and the German practice of conscription for military service.

Oh, and Bellisario doesn't stop there. His second point is equally amusing: "Secondly, what does he consider the definition of “practicing Catholics” to be?" Bellisario isn't sure what Dr. White means by "practicing Catholics" but he's sure Dr. White is just being a bigot.

Amazing! Does Bellisario even know the definition of a bigot?

Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition, defines it this way:
1. a person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed, opinion, etc.
2. a narrow-minded, prejudiced person
this term has evolved a bit over the years, but the sense was about the same in 1913, when Webster's gave (after an obsolete sense) this definition:
2. A person who regards his own faith and views in matters of religion as unquestionably right, and any belief or opinion opposed to or differing from them as unreasonable or wicked. In an extended sense, a person who is intolerant of opinions which conflict with his own, as in politics or morals; one obstinately and blindly devoted to his own church, party, belief, or opinion.

That describes Mr. Bellisario, not Dr. White, to the "t." Bellisario is intolerant of opinions that conflict with his own and is obstinately and blindly devoted to his own church. He is prejudiced against anything remotely negative that is said about his church, and will call others "bigots" for holding to their opinions, even before any facts are brought to bear on the subject.

Bigotry indeed, but not from Dr. White. Dr. White simply mentioned an historical fact in passing during a Sunday-school lesson on Matthew 23:37. Ironically, the matter was tangentially related to pointing out that there are some unreasonbly intolerant folks out there who will scream "bigot" (or worse) when you mention that the Jews killed Jesus and even called down his blood on them and their children. Apparently, there are equally bigoted Romanists who will shout "bigot" when you dare to suggest that Roman Catholics were prison guards. Ah, the irony. Nevertheless, we are glad to see that Mr. Bellisario is paying close attention to Dr. White's sunday-school lessons, and we hope that he will get past his prejudice and focus on the main points of that lesson, rather than a single sentence spoken in passing.


*** Update ***

There are a number of radical Romanists upset by a passing remark that Dr. White made about the participation of some practicing Roman Catholics in the atrocities of the Holocaust. They demand an apology.

I wonder if they are familiar with the following facts:

Hitler was baptized as a Roman Catholic and was confirmed on May 22, 1904, at Linz Cathedral. The Roman Catholic church never formally excommunicated Hitler.

On July 20, 1933, the Roman Catholic Church represented by Cardinal Pacelli (who later became Pope Pius XII) signed the Reichskonkordat (Concordat). This document has, as its first article:
The German Reich guarantees freedom of profession and public practice of the Catholic religion.

It acknowledges the right of the Catholic Church, within the limit of those laws which are applicable to all, to manage and regulate her own affairs independently, and, within the framework of her own competence, to publish laws and ordinances binding on her members.

Others have noted that Goebbels and Himmler were also from Roman Catholic families and were apparently confirmed Roman Catholics. Goebbels was even married in the Roman Catholic church. None of them were formally excommunicated.

Were there Roman Catholic priests imprisoned etc. by the Nazis? Absolutely! Most of those were imprisoned at Dachau, where they were permitted to set up a chapel for the practice of their religion within Barracks 26. And, in the fall of November 1945, former SS men from the camp built a Roman Catholic Church and it was subsequently used by them for worship under the American regime that transformed the camp into an internment camp for Nazis.

(see, for example, Legacies of Dachau, by Harold Marcuse)

Was there anti-Vatican sentiment among Nazi heirarchs like Goebbels and Himmler? Of course. But were the Roman Catholics who, like the rest of the population, got involved in the bad deeds of the Germans? I think one would have to be very naive to believe otherwise. No one is suggesting (well - no one in this conversation) that only practicing Roman Catholics were involved or even that practicing Roman Catholics were more involved than Protestants. It is a little interesting that non-practicing Roman Catholics were the leaders of the Nazi organization, but for some reason it seems to trigger a knee-jerk reaction from folks like Bellisario when someone suggests in passing that practicing Roman Catholics were somehow involved.

June - Sexual Depravity "Pride Month" - Part 12

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Colossians 3:5-7
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

June - Sexual Depravity "Pride Month" - Part 11

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

1 Thessalonians 4:2-8
2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

June - Sexual Depravity "Pride Month" - Part 10

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.