Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Snipings of an apostate

Recently Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries linked to a blog by the name of Crossed The Tiber, an apostate from the faith to Roman Catholicism.
I went on over there and took a look at this post in which the Tiber Jumper (his own self-appellation) compares Sola Scriptura to the Islamic doctrine of the Qur'an (which is a bogus and wrongheaded comparison and reveals that the Jumper understands little about the Islamic doctrine of the Qur'an). Dr. White mentioned that he might get some time the following week (which he did here) to respond, but I thought I'd take a look at the Tiber Jumper's blog and personal conversion story.
I left two comments, actually, and then tried a third a little later.
Then the Tiber Jumper emailed me to explain why he refused to post my comments - apparently he had "tired" of the debate and didn't want to debate the issue anymore.
Just as an example, one of the comments had been in response to his bringing up the Canon of Scripture as an argument against Sola Scriptura. I asked the "White Question": If an infallible Magisterium is necessary to produce the Canon of the NT, how did a pious Jewish man living in 50 BC know that Isaiah and 2 Chronicles were inspired Scripture?

The question is an impossible one for the Roman Catholic, and the Tiber Jumper didn't even want to give it a shot. Instead, he canceled the posting of my comment but continued to allow more comments from others, which took 1 of 2 forms:
1) Other RCs writing to support him
2) Other Protestants offering no argument but just sniping or saying little of substance

So, why did the Tiber Jumper disallow my comments on that article and also on this one?
I responded to his email. Here are two excerpts:

And now you refuse even to POST my comment w/ a very relevant question. It is relevant b/c one of the arguments that you raised against SS is the question of the Canon. You claim that an infallible *human* authority is necessary to establish the extent of the Canon. Yet the question reveals that the pious Jewish believer living in 50 BC knew the extent of the Canon *without* an infallible Magisterium. It is an important point against your position - if he knew the OT Canon w/o one, what makes one necessary for me today? And you didn't want to post it b/c you were afraid of some kind of attack in return? If that is the case, why even bring up things like that at all? Why even have a blog such as you have? Why call it Crossed the Tiber? Why not "Roman Catholic Thoughts" and restrict your posts to Roman Catholic subjects, staying away from polemics altogether?


In closing, I don't buy your stated reasons for demurring. I don't necessarily believe you are lying to me, but you are certainly inconsistent, and that is a shame.
I don't think you are "evil", any more than any other heterodox person out there. I think you are an apostate, and that is more of a shame. I don't bear you any ill will at all but rather the best will, that you would return to the faith of Jesus Christ and His apostles.
You are welcome here, Tiber Jumper. I won't delete your comments.


Steve P said...

This is my first time to yout blog. I look forward to reading some more.

You brought up a good point on about the Jumpers Blog. He's complaining that people are leaving nasty comments. , but yet the only comments he leaves for us to read are the ones that are 'for' his position. Are we to believe that every comment sent to him by someone with a different view point has been nasty? I have a hard time believing that.

Steve P said...

Sorry, meant "your blog". not "yout".
Can get the html tag right, but I can't spell. lol
God Bless

Rhology said...

Exactly right, Steve P.
My comments were not nasty. He just didn't want to talk about it WITH ME anymore.
And...he has to realise that making posts like that opens him up to receive opposing viewpoints.
At the end of the day, what's the big deal if you get nasty comments? As I wrote to him elsewhere in my email:

On my own blog, I think it is far more effective to my own position to allow such a person free rein to express themselves. If they do so abusively, it goes a long way towards making my own points. You prefer to do it differently; I can't guess at why, though it is very strange that you gratuitously decided to take on Dr. White in your Islam blog, dealt w/ a few "Protestant" types in the combox (and a guy who posted twice in Arabic) and then spontaneously decided not even to post my comment.

David Bryan said...

Just a comment...modern notions of "infallibility" and "ex cathedra" aside, since that would be reading specific stuff back into history that wasn't there...

Would this Jewish peasant have taken the time to read all through the Tanakh and thus make an informed decision regarding whether or not those books were legitimate...or did he take the word of the Sanhedrin, who sat in Moses' seat (and presided over Jamnia) and who declared x list of books to be the canon?

I'm not saying the infallibility thing can be compared, but there was a teaching authority structure within Judaism that was honored to a degree even by Christ, and it was used within the context of that community to declare to the faithful Israelites (among other things) what the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures was.

Shame he doesn't want to debate anymore, but I understand. He's probably spent hours doing it, like some people I know and am. ;-)

Rhology said...

Thing is, there's little there that I would disagree w/. The problem and question is on *infallibility* of the human authority. Was that Jewish teaching authority infallible? The claim is that an infallible authority is needed for the formation of the Canon of Scripture. The candidate is the Jewish "teaching authority" (whatever that would be). Were they infallible? They "defined" the Canon, after all.

Problem is, they are explicitly revealed in the NT as NOT infallible, specifically in the case of teaching men to do things that "nullified the commandment of God" (Matt 15, Mark 7). So no, they weren't infallible.
Thus, the OT Canon was known w/o an infallible authority.

By extension, the NT Canon...


And yeah, he may have spent lots of time debating. But why shut down ONLY my comments? And he doesn't have a problem debating OTHER people - just look at the comboxes for the posts to which I linked. The guy's just inconsistent. You, my friend David Bryan, by contrast, do not act like him. There may come someone (myself, OF COURSE, excluded [yeah right]) who wants to debate for a long period of time, and you may take him up on it or not. But at least you say so. The Jumper just picks and chooses what to post in his combox, and it raises many suspicions.


Anonymous said...

Looking at the tiberjumper's site, i don't see the claim that an infallible authority is needed for the formation of the Canon of Scripture. All i see is the claim that rome set the canon. i guess rome can go and change it then?

Of course, since they deny the authority of the bible, they don't care whether the canon is correct. but we KNOW that scripture alone is our authority and we know that they cant add to it or take from it. all thats in it belongs in it and nothing else belongs

Rhology said...

The Jumper said:

--I posted it as an object lesson to show the logic, or lack thereof, of using the Bible to authenticate itself.

--The honest truth is that we all accept the Bible as God’s Word because a church 1700 years ago said it was. Whether we admit it or not it has become a permanent and not necessarily conscious part of a believer’s perspective regarding the Bible

--In no way is my point to demean Scripture, for Catholics are the ones who originally told the world which Scriptures should be considered inerrant and infallible.

Those quotes, along w/ an extensive a priori understanding of what the Jumper's position is, led me to characterise his position that way...

Anonymous said...

I think the issue for us followers of the "Great Tradition" is that, whether or not it can be nailed down when such authority is speaking "infallibly," the Holy Spirit is expected to be present in the Church to such a degree that the believer can not only trust the Holy Spirit, can not only trust the Scriptures, but can also trust the Church as the "clear enough" instrument through which those things are communicated to the faithful.

We are then left scratching our heads when non-catholic groups accept the near-total consensus of said Church regarding the canon of Scripture, but not the near-total consensus of the same regarding other doctrines, even though the criteria be the same...

Rhology said...

Kind of like how I'm left scratching my head when you say stuff like that, since you can't tell me in many cases whether Group X is part of the Church or not and you can't tell me whether Book X is part of Scripture or not, and in particular you can't tell me why Tradition X is Holy Tradition or not or why Council X is an "Ecumenical Council" or not.
I just don't see how that's any better...

Anonymous said...

You're right, I suppose, to point out the "messiness" of a lot of the "finding out process" of truth within the Church. Comes with the territory, I suppose.

Regardless...it's still clear that many things--the canon of the New Testament, for example--were (eventually) attested to by the vast majority of the leaders of the Church over a lengthy period of time, and this was seen as the Holy Spirit's "stamp of approval" on that doctrine--in this case, the list of books as "The New Testament."

What, then, do we do with other doctrines who have enjoyed a similar--if not a greater!--unanimity of acceptance within the Church? If we state that the acceptance of the canon within the Church is the basis by which we know that the Holy Spirit has inspired these books and not others, how can we say that doctrines like the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which were even more strongly and universally attested to by the Church (and from greater antiquity to boot) are somehow off?

Same criterion, different conclusion...

Rhology said...

Yes, the NT Canon was attested to by the Church, which is one way we *recognise* the books as inspired by God.
The problem w/ your Real Presence example is threefold:

1) The earliest witnesses (the Scriptural ones) don't agree w/ your interp of the Real Presence.
2) The ECFs meant sthg different from (at the very least) the Roman Catholic understanding of the Real Presence.
3) The Canon of Scripture is not only attested to by the Church but is apprehended also by understanding the *nature* of Scripture itself. That understanding is derived from Scripture, from which we derive our doctrine.
It's clearly important to you to make the Church the author of Canon, but she cannot determine that which God Himself determined by breathing out certain books and not others. How could the Church affect that?

Finally, I wasn't referring to "messiness" of finding out stuff in the past. I was referring to TODAY.
TODAY you can't tell me whether non-Chalcedonians are in the Church. TODAY you can't tell me why the Council of Hieria wasn't an Ecumenical Council or why the many references in the ECFs to Scripture being the only sure guide and rule for faith are not Holy Tradition, or at least beyond a "The Church says so" or a "That's not how we've understood that."