Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reflection on the Sola Scriptura Debate #1

From John, EO commenter:

Rhology, in my final statement: Also sounds alot like Reformed Baptists - visible unity which faces occasional division. Does David display any recognition of this fairly-obvious fact?

John, commenter: Its not clear to our side how disputes within Reformed baptists could show "who are approved may become evident'. When we resolve disputes it does in fact tell us something because we recognise the one unity. (sic) (source)

What could this possibly mean? It is amazing how Sola Ecclesia-ists like John don't get it. Is John a cradle EO who has simply never troubled himself to peer with any degree of depth into the way Sola Scripturists live and do church? Has he never read any blog like Al Mohler's blog? Kevin DeYoung's blog? Green Baggins? TeamPyro? Bueller?
What about Josh Harris' books about the church? 9Marks books? John MacArthur's books? What about catechist resources such as the Westminster Shorter Catechism? Even the Baptist Faith and Message 2000? Maybe my pastor's book on church discipline would be a good place to start. ANYthing, really.

Or perhaps John is a convert who turned to EOC b/c he saw the illusion of greener grass on the other side. He never saw the way that people who really for real believe the Scripture operate to find out just who is approved, but he figured that those guys in EOC who talk a good line about never having problems with unity, never fighting amongst themselves or going into schism over a tiny little issue like what calendar one uses or whether one uses leavened or unleavened bread in the Eucharist, never squabbling over church land or finances. None of that - all that stuff is restricted to the Protestant world. Those idiots, those guys who just split and call each other heretics at the drop of a hat!

See, the EO has to choose which way he wants to take the objection. If he wants to make it "Eastern Orthodoxy vs Protestantism", he's making a category mistake, comparing one church to hundreds. Of course that one church is going to look better, just as if I compared United Methodist unity to that of Rome, the Copts, Maronites, Eastern Orthodoxy, Nestorians, etc.
If he wants to make it "Eastern Orthodoxy vs Reformed Baptists", then how does his church come out a clear victor in the unity department? Again, visible unity which faces occasional division, just like EOC. If he wants to make it "Sola Scriptura churches vs non-Sola Scriptura churches"... never mind, he doesn't want to do that.

So, how is it actually done? Read the Bible with understanding, interpret it properly, and subject any and all teaching, tradition, action, etc, to it. To help with boiling it all down to bite-size chunks, the easier to examine and keep all in one place, use helpful documents like catechisms, confessions of faith, etc (which you subject to the Scripture at all times, if there's a question). To quote John from above, when we resolve disputes it does in fact tell us something because we recognise the one unity - the unity is SPIRITUAL, in the Gospel, and that spiritual unity is imperfectly but still substantially represented and reflected in the visible church.

The objector might challenge us that the Scripture is insufficiently clear for this. Why? B/c of the "33000 denominations" problem. Fail. What he really means is that he doesn't understand the role of the Scripture and the role of the church. If the Scr is unclear, then so is any other text. Why single out the Scripture for your challenges of insufficient clarity? I've read some church writers from the 2nd and 3rd centuries - they're LESS clear than the Scripture most of the time. I've read some John Cassian, read some John Damascene, some other stuff here and there. Why are they magically easier to understand and more conducive to unity among believers than God-inspired Scripture? I certainly didn't think they were.
The answer, of course, is not that when God breathes something out, it's automagically obscure and beyond understanding. The answer is that the Scripture convicts our EO friends of sin and disobedience, and instead of facing up to that fact, they throw out the "it's unclear!" smokescreen.

48 comments:

John said...

Well dear oh dear, have I read Green Baggins or TeamPyro?

My rejoiner would be whether you've read Basil, Irenaeus or Augustine or Chrysostom. Of course you've already admitted to reading < 1% of the Church fathers, so we know your answer to that. But apparently my education is not complete until I read Alan's pastor's book on Church discipline, Amazon sales rank 1,910,110.

Apparently I am to compare Orthodoxy as "one church" and compare it to Reformed Baptists as one church.

But as I keep pointing out, Reformed Baptists do not make the claim to be the "one church", nor could they make a credible claim to do so.

So its a bit like discussing what is the best government of the United Kingdom. Is it Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom, or is it the Anarchist Federation of the UK? One of them claims to be the government and has a credible claim to being so. The other one doesn't claim to be the government, and claims that there isn't even a legitimate government. Now whatever the pros and cons might be of the Anarchist Federation's position, we would hardly consider comparing them as a contender for the government with Her Majesty's Government. If there is a Government, its pretty clear which one it would be. If there's not a government, well that's a different argument. Nor would it make sense to say oh well, Her Majesty's Government is only one among many possible governments, there is also the Revolutionary Anarchist Workers, the Anarchist Trade Union Network and the Anarchist Youth Network. None of them claim to be the legitimate government either. No matter how good or wonderful they may be or their policies might be, the one thing they are not is the Government, and neither are Reformed Baptists the one Church.

John said...

Alan recognises one "spiritual" unity in the gospel, which is all very well, but its not not actually the topic at hand. Alan quotes what I said about 1Cor. 11:19 "there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident", but we're not told how the myriad of factions among Protestants make it evident to anyone who is approved. By contrast, the factions caused by Arianism, Montanism, Marcionism, Gnostism etc are now showing us that Orthodoxy was approved, and those other things were not. Alan seems to think there was some Remnant of proto-Protestants in history, but judging by the fact he can't identify where they were, all I can see is that they weren't approved.

Alan goes into a sermon about the sufficiency of scripture. Which is a bit ironic when what was quoted was 1Cor. 11:19, which is essentially Paul telling us that reality and experience in the Church can tell us who is approved. Factions themselves can lead us to discover who is approved. This is hardly a unique thought in scripture. It's also found in the Acts 5:38 thesis "if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them;". It's also found in the Acts 15 Jerusalem Council decision making process, where when it came down to the Church's experience of what God was doing in the Churches, versus the biblical command to be circumcised, it was experience that won. There's a biblical test for you if you care to apply it.

I'm asked why single out scripture for lack of clarity when Church Fathers can be hard to understand. Well it comes back again to 1Cor. 11:19. Some interpretations of scripture have shown themselves to be approved. Arian interpretations for example have shown themselves not approved. The Church Fathers are a witness to these kinds of things that Alan is perfectly capable of figuring out if he read them to that end.

And the more time that goes by, the more I become convinced that the interplay between scripture and human beings inevitably leads to the Orthodox interpretation. Sola scriptura would not lead me to abandon Orthodoxy, it would only make it more difficult and arduous to find my way here.

Rhology said...

My rejoiner would be whether you've read Basil, Irenaeus or Augustine or Chrysostom.

Which is a red herring, since your challenge was how MODERN EVANGELICALS settle these questions. Try again.



But apparently my education is not complete until I read Alan's pastor's book on Church discipline, Amazon sales rank 1,910,110.

And as we all know, Amazon sales ranks determine book worth. Hmm, has Joel Osteen's book left the top 10 yet?



Apparently I am to compare Orthodoxy as "one church" and compare it to Reformed Baptists as one church.

Unless you want to be more honest and count the semi-autonomous branches of EOC as separate churches, yes.
By what measure, precisely, would you figure EOC is one church and Ref Baptists are NOT one church? I'd really like to know.



Reformed Baptists do not make the claim to be the "one church", nor could they make a credible claim to do so.

Moving the goalposts. Sigh. You're introducing the concept of The One Church, when AGAIN that was not the original point made. Stop it. Stay on point.



One of them claims to be the government and has a credible claim to being so.

You must've read some other post and mistakenly commented here.



Alan recognises one "spiritual" unity in the gospel, which is all very well, but its not not actually the topic at hand.

I think I know a LITTLE better than you what the topic of the post I wrote was.



but we're not told how the myriad of factions among Protestants make it evident to anyone who is approved.

Maybe you should read my post.



By contrast, the factions caused by Arianism, Montanism, Marcionism, Gnostism etc are now showing us that Orthodoxy was approved

By contrast, the factions caused by Mormonism, liberalism, Emergentism, Federal Vision etc are now showing us that Reformed Baptist-ism was approved.

Poorly done, John. I leave these 2 comments not even sure you understand what I'm talking about.

John said...

" your challenge was how MODERN EVANGELICALS settle these questions. "

Never mentioned anything of the kind. What I queried was how factions within Protestantism shows anything to be approved.

"You're introducing the concept of The One Church, when AGAIN that was not the original point made."

When we compare the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to Protestantism's factions, that is ALWAYS the point. Now you're going to tell us what our point is?

"I think I know a LITTLE better than you what the topic of the post I wrote was."

Well I thought the topic was commenting on the topic addressed by what I said. How would you know more about the topic I started than I would?

"By contrast, the factions caused by Mormonism, liberalism, Emergentism, Federal Vision etc are now showing us that Reformed Baptist-ism was approved."

How? Again, we aren't told.

Poorly done, Alan. I leave these 2 comments not even sure you understand what I'm talking about.

Rhology said...

What I queried was how factions within Protestantism shows anything to be approved.

Oh, well that's even easier. The ones that teach heresy (of which there are many) show themselves not approved.
Kinda like when the Council of Chalcedon's canons were released to the church at large. Lots of churches accepted its canons, and lots didn't, and thus schismed. You can say "they broke away from THE ONE TRUE CHURCH®" all you want, and I can say the same thing - these "Protestant" groups who have embraced heresy have schismed away from the One True Church, and that OTC is identified by its doctrine, whether it agrees with the Bible or does not. See? Same structure. Your claims of superiority on this count are specious.


When we compare the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to Protestantism's factions, that is ALWAYS the point.

Apples and oranges, special pleading. How many times do we have to go over this? Compare the same things. "Protestantism" is not A church. Why not just go whole hog and compare the unity of EOC to EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD? That would have the same level of honesty.
It's becoming clear you don't understand the issue either. I can't believe you're that dense naturally; my suspicion is that your theological precommitments cloud your reason.


How? Again, we aren't told.

Um, b/c those guys embrace, you know, unbiblical theology?

John said...

"The ones that teach heresy (of which there are many) show themselves not approved."

How does the existence of the faction show those in heresy that they are in heresy? Paul says there are divisions among YOU so that those who are approved may become evident among YOU. The people in the factions are the same "you" who will realise their non-approved status via the faction. But you haven't told us the Protestant mechanism for this.

" I can say the same thing - these "Protestant" groups who have embraced heresy have schismed away from the One True Church, and that OTC is identified by its doctrine"

But that is NOT what Paul says. Paul says the mere fact of the faction shows who is approved, not that by analysing each person's doctrine do you see who is approved.

"Protestantism" is not A church."

Reformed Baptists are one of Protestantism's factions, so when I compare them to EO, I am comparing the "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to Protestantism's factions" as I just said.

Lvka said...

You still haven't answered my question as to how there can be unity in "spirit" without unity in *faith*...

Rhology said...

How does the existence of the faction show those in heresy that they are in heresy?

1) That's not the point of the reference to factions in 1 Cor 11.
2) Proof is not the same as persuasion. I can demonstrate conclusively from the Scr that Jesus is and always has been God, but that doesn't mean the devoted Jehovah's Witness will be persuaded, b/c the issue is not intellectual. They need a change of HEART to accept what the Scripture says. Nevertheless their break from the church that teaches the truth about God's nature is a demonstration.
Just like you'd have to say about Chalcedon and the churches that didn't accept Chalcedon. Once again we see how you have nothing to lord over the Protestant. Nothing.


Paul says there are divisions among YOU so that those who are approved may become evident among YOU.

Yes, and then they go out from us b/c they were never really of us. Simple.


Reformed Baptists are one of Protestantism's factions

1) Equivocation.
2) No response to the fact that Protestantism is not a church. Your attempted equation has failed.
3) EOC is one of "the church of the 6th century"'s factions, one of the ones that did accept Chalcedon. And there are others that DIDN'T. You're a rival faction to them. The same criticism can be leveled at EOC.




Lvka,
You still haven't answered my question as to how there can be unity in "spirit" without unity in *faith*...

The unity IS in faith - in the Gospel. If you believe the Gospel, you're in union with Christ and in faithful unity with His Body all over the world. In my missionary service and in travels, I have experienced this first hand from ppl who aren't in my particular denomination. And who cares?
Don't jump all over that until you clean your own house.

John said...

"that doesn't mean the devoted Jehovah's Witness will be persuaded"

That's not what Paul is talking about.

Paul says there are divisions among YOU so that those who are approved may become evident among YOU.

The same people who have the divisions will become aware of who is approved, by the fact of there being a faction.

"Yes, and then they go out from us b/c they were never really of us."

These people haven't "gone out".

"No response to the fact that Protestantism is not a church. "

Since the statement you are commenting on refers to " within Reformed baptists " and not to Protestantism, major non-sequitur.

"You're a rival faction to them. The same criticism can be leveled at EOC. "

You don't even understand what's going on yet do you? The criticism of Protestants is not that divisions crop up, it is that nothing is ever resolved by them with any authority. Protestants keep revisiting the same old problems as if the problem was a brand new one, sometimes lurching one way, and sometimes the other. The factions never lead to resolution, which is the opposite of what Paul says is to occur.

Rhology said...

These people haven't "gone out".

Then, again, it sounds just like RefBaps and EOC - visible unity which faces occasional division. If they didn't go out, then they weren't a serious schismatic or heretic, now were they? So what's your problem? It sounds like you want to make RefBaps look bad no matter what, even if you can't give any good reason.


The criticism of Protestants is not that divisions crop up, it is that nothing is ever resolved by them with any authority.

1) Um, actually that IS the criticism I hear most often. Just FYI.
2) Apparently to you the Bible doesn't have any authority to resolve such problems. But NON-God-inspired writings and teachings DO. See, if you look under enough rocks, you eventually find the cockroach nest!


Protestants keep revisiting the same old problems as if the problem was a brand new one

1) Gosh, that's crazy. So do Muslims and Hindus against each other, and EOdox and RCs against each other.
2) "Protestants" is a virtually meaningless concept, especially for this context. Why do you keep talking about it?
3) You know, the first 4 or 5 Ecum Councils kept having to deal with Christology. Crazy! It's like people keep revisiting the same old problems! Arianism was a major problem for the church for multiple decades. Athanasius had to keep revisiting the same old problems.

Your problem is that you've never asked your own position the same questions you're asking of mine. Your mind is among the most closed I've ever seen.

John said...

"Then, again, it sounds just like RefBaps and EOC - visible unity which faces occasional division."

But RefBaps don't have a mechanism whereby the dispute can be turned into a net gain, so that the Church can see who is approved.

"If they didn't go out, then they weren't a serious schismatic or heretic, now were they?"

Not necessarily. They just got a chance to mend their ways, and maybe they'll take it.

"Apparently to you the Bible doesn't have any authority to resolve such problems."

Since the problems arose through differing interpretations of the bible, how is the bible going to resolve something that it was instrumental in?

"Gosh, that's crazy. So do Muslims and Hindus against each other, and EOdox and RCs against each other. "

Not comparable since Protestant Churches often find themselves on differing sides of issues as the membership drifts one way or the other. Right now Southern Baptist Churches are often anti-Calvinist where they were previously Calvinist. Protestant Churches are often drifting in their theology, moving their shopping carts to different sides of the aisle. EOdox churches are not drifting all the time like this.

""Protestants" is a virtually meaningless concept, especially for this context. Why do you keep talking about it?"

It's a handy term to encompass churches which share these characteristics. That you belong to only one of those churches doesn't alter the point at all. Reformed Baptist churches are included. You can consider all comments addressed directly to them if you like.

"You know, the first 4 or 5 Ecum Councils kept having to deal with Christology."

Not the same points of Christology however, and we're not revisiting those decisions any more. Contrast this to Triablogue where they are happy to contradict traditional Christology when it suits them.

Lucian said...

By "faith" you mean basically a combination of Sola Fide and Sola Gratia, Anselmian atonement and missionary activity?

Rhology said...

But RefBaps don't have a mechanism whereby the dispute can be turned into a net gain, so that the Church can see who is approved.

?? Church discipline. Preaching. Bible Study. Studies of comparative religion. Seminary. Book publishing. Sheesh. The list goes on. You don't know what you're talking about, but thanks for stopping by.


Not necessarily. They just got a chance to mend their ways, and maybe they'll take it.

Oh, and that's WAY better than RefBaps! Haha, right.


Since the problems arose through differing interpretations of the bible, how is the bible going to resolve something that it was instrumental in?

Since the problems arose through differing interpretations of tradition, how is tradition going to resolve something that it was instrumental in?


Not comparable since Protestant Churches often find themselves on differing sides of issues as the membership drifts

Not comparable since "ancient churches" often find themselves on differing sides of issues as the membership drifts...


Right now Southern Baptist Churches are often anti-Calvinist where they were previously Calvinist.

Right now EO Churches are often anti-Calvinist where they were previously Calvinist (see Cyril Lucaris).
Right now EO Churches are often iconolatrous where they were previously iconoclastic.


EOdox churches are not drifting all the time like this.

But churches that were PREVIOUSLY PART OF "EOC" have drifted, and then they either went out (Coptics, Nestorians) or they didn't and you still deal with them (Old Calendarists).
You have not shown anything superior. The more you talk, the more you fail, and it's sad to see.


You can consider all comments addressed directly to them if you like.

You are constrained by intellectual integrity to address ONE church. Don't say "Protestants" anymore. Just don't.

John said...

"Church discipline. Preaching. Bible Study. Studies of comparative religion. Seminary. Book publishing. Sheesh. The list goes on. "

All of which could lead you deeper into heresy, since RefBap don't claim to be uniquely led by the Spirit.

"Oh, and that's WAY better than RefBaps! Haha, right."

RefBaps in heresy won't get a chance since they don't have an authority who can tell them to mend their ways.

"Since the problems arose through differing interpretations of tradition, how is tradition going to resolve something that it was instrumental in?"

Through the unique charisma given to God's church.

"Not comparable since "ancient churches" often find themselves on differing sides of issues as the membership drifts..."

That's why they need to discuss the issues with the other churches and come to a concilliar decision. When they don't do that they leave the Church.

"see Cyril Lucaris"

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/ca4_loukaris.aspx

"Right now EO Churches are often iconolatrous where they were previously iconoclastic."

http://www.amazon.com/Epiphanius-Salamis-Doctor-Iconoclasm-Deconstruction/dp/1933275286

"But churches that were PREVIOUSLY PART OF "EOC" have drifted, and then they either went out (Coptics, Nestorians) or they didn't and you still deal with them"


We "deal" with them? ???

"You are constrained by intellectual integrity to address ONE church. Don't say "Protestants" anymore. Just don't."

Why should I address comments to only one group, when it applies much more widely? I don't see any need to thus constrain myself, especially since you don't disavow all protestant groups anyway.

Rhology said...

All of which could lead you deeper into heresy, since RefBap don't claim to be uniquely led by the Spirit.

1) So can what are thought to be ecumenical councils, church declarations, taking the Eucharist, reading early church writers, even church fathers.
2) You'd just complain about sthg else if I DID claim that RefBaps are uniquely led by the Spirit. It's disingenuous to make the claim for yourself and then act like it'd be a bad thing if *I* did it.
3) Do you realise how many questions you've left unanswered? You have to answer the exact same questions. When are you going to start?


RefBaps in heresy won't get a chance since they don't have an authority who can tell them to mend their ways.

Non-Chalcedonians in heresy won't get a chance since they don't have an authority who can tell them to mend their ways. They broke away.
And you could break away too in the future, and all the while you'll be claiming, just like the Copts, that you're in the One True Church, and those *other guys* are just fools.


"Since the problems arose through differing interpretations of tradition, how is tradition going to resolve something that it was instrumental in?"

Through the unique charisma given to God's church.


1) Which you know thru tradition. Begging the question.
2) So the answer to your question: Since the problems arose through differing interpretations of the bible, how is the bible going to resolve something that it was instrumental in? is Through the unique charisma inherent in the Bible being God's revelation of Himself.

See how you have nothing, over and over again?


That's why they need to discuss the issues with the other churches and come to a concilliar decision. When they don't do that they leave the Church.

Yep, same as RefBaps. Thanks again!


Epiphanius-Salamis-Doctor-Iconoclasm-Deconstruction

How is this supposed to be a rebuttal to my pointing out the obvious fact that EO Churches are often iconolatrous where they were previously iconoclastic? Why else the councils of Hieria, the council of Toledo, etc?


We "deal" with them? ???

Yep. You can't decide whether they're part of the church or not, you can't decide whether you have communion with them, you quibble over land and places in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre...


I don't see any need to thus constrain myself, especially since you don't disavow all protestant groups anyway.

Well, it's not as if we needed more proof that you're intellectually dishonest.

John said...

"1) So can what are thought to be ecumenical councils, church declarations, taking the Eucharist, reading early church writers, even church fathers."

No, the overall tendency of partaking those things is to take you out of heresy. Following the Church discipline of self-proclaimed Ref Baps could lead you into heresy, even by the standards of Ref Baps.

"2) You'd just complain about sthg else if I DID claim that RefBaps are uniquely led by the Spirit. "

Let's wait till you make the claim. Don't predict what I might or might not do.

"3) Do you realise how many questions you've left unanswered?"

No.

"And you could break away too in the future, and all the while you'll be claiming, just like the Copts, that you're in the One True Church, and those *other guys* are just fools."

Whatever I might do in consultation with the rest of the church is that much better than what you do as an individual. You seem to think you can equate what the vast majority of the Church thinks with what you as an individual decides. That's not a good argument.

"1) Which you know thru tradition. Begging the question."

The charisma abiding in the Church today is not the same as tradition.

" is Through the unique charisma inherent in the Bible being God's revelation of Himself. "

which caused the problem in the beginning. You don't avoid the circle by restating the problem.

"See how you have nothing, over and over again?"

No.

"Yep, same as RefBaps. Thanks again!"

RefBaps don't even know who is in the visible Church. Even if you define the visible church as RefBaps (which RefBaps don't), you don't even know where all RefBap churches are, so you are not in any position to do that. And even if you could, you're Baptists! Baptists don't do that. Putting forward an argument about what you theoretically could do, but that you don't do and would never do is not a good argument.

" the obvious fact that EO Churches are often iconolatrous where they were previously iconoclastic? Why else the councils of Hieria, the council of Toledo, etc?"

Toledo was an EO church? :-)

Churches were Arian as well. That's not actually a good argument.

"you can't decide whether you have communion with them"

Really. Perhaps you can point out where anybody thinks they are in communion.

"Well, it's not as if we needed more proof that you're intellectually dishonest."

If you can tell us why RefBaps are in a superior epistemological position than other Protestants, then I could consider the claim, but as far as I see you aren't and you don't, so I stand by my statement that you share your problems with Protestants in general.

Rhology said...

No, the overall tendency of partaking those things is to take you out of heresy.

Warning! Tautology approaching!
This is true unless you're on the side that gets ruled AGAINST and refuse to accept the council's decision. You WERE part of the church, now you're not (ideally speaking, anyway). Just like when a RefBap church excommunicates someone for heresy. For the 20th time you have failed to show any superiority.


Let's wait till you make the claim. Don't predict what I might or might not do.

Don't need to, I've talked to many EOdox over the yrs.


"3) Do you realise how many questions you've left unanswered?"

No.


Let me help you - a lot.


Whatever I might do in consultation with the rest of the church is that much better than what you do as an individual.

Just b/c YOU say so? Give an argument.
Athanasius contra mundum? Hello?


" is Through the unique charisma inherent in the Bible being God's revelation of Himself. "

which caused the problem in the beginning. You don't avoid the circle by restating the problem.


Haha, you're one to talk about that!
Tradition and its inability to take control of sinners' wills by the thousands and FORCE them to assent is what caused YOUR problem in the beginning.
All that to say, you're barking up the wrong tree, completely. The problem isn't which source of information you appeal to; the problem here is human sinful nature. Anything you say is a problem with Scripture with respect to the problem of individual interpretation is a problem for any tradition or communication from a church. It boggles my mind that you don't understand this.


RefBaps don't even know who is in the visible Church.

Don't be stupid. Of course we do - they're the ones on the membership rolls. Seriously, man.


Even if you define the visible church as RefBaps (which RefBaps don't)

Um, the ones in the VISIBLE church, we certainly DO define as those who are members of the VISIBLE church. The tautology has whizzed by your head.


you don't even know where all RefBap churches are

Why is that important? Do YOU know where ALL EOCs are? Of course not.


Toledo was an EO church? :-)

Um, remember how the Rome/EO schism of 1054 was in, you know...the year 1054?


Churches were Arian as well. That's not actually a good argument.

Actually, that's precisely my argument - churches were Arian as well.
Visible churchiness matters for naught. What matters is the INvisible church, and who holds to Scriptural truth and who doesn't. That's why your paradigm is totally jacked up.


Really. Perhaps you can point out where anybody thinks they are in communion.

Sure. Here.
Don't blame your ignorance on me.


If you can tell us why RefBaps are in a superior epistemological position than other Protestants

There are generally speaking two categories of Protestants, for the purposes of this question. Sola Scripturists and non-SSists.
RefBaps do NOT have a superior epist position to the former, and a much better epist position than the latter. And the latter's positions matter not at all to me; let them defend their own position.


BTW, your unanswered question count just keeps rising. It's kind of pitiful to watch...

John said...

"You WERE part of the church, now you're not (ideally speaking, anyway). Just like when a RefBap church excommunicates someone for heresy."

How is the concept of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church coming together and making a decision, and then you refuse to accept the decision, equivilent to some random RefBap congregation excommunicating you? How can you even begin to equate those two concepts?

"Just b/c YOU say so? Give an argument.
Athanasius contra mundum? Hello?"

Athanasius was not really contra mundum. That's an exaggeration. We know that because when the mundum gathered together in council it agreed with Athanasius.

Why is the church better than you as an individual? There are both theological and practical reasons. The practical reason is that two heads are better than one. And individuals are prone to their own peculiar biases. The theological reason is that having a high regard for your own abilities is prone to self-deception and pride, whereas looking to the views of a lot of holy men is far more likely to be tapping into men led by the Spirit. Would the Spirit even lead someone in a different direction who so prideful as to think they are the only one led in the right direction? I think not. And that's why Paul extolls the Church in his letters that they agree among one another. That in itself is a command.

"Tradition and its inability to take control of sinners' wills by the thousands and FORCE them to assent is what caused YOUR problem in the beginning."

We have some problem? First I heard of it.

"the problem here is human sinful nature. Anything you say is a problem with Scripture with respect to the problem of individual interpretation is a problem for any tradition or communication from a church."

(a) It's not the human experience that differing interpretations are caused by one person being in sin and the other person not being in sin.

(b) Even if that is true, it doesn't help you since invariably those with different interpretations invariably don't think they are the ones in sin. So this only makes the individualism of sola scriptura worse as it removes even more objectivism.

(c) You're thinking about this problem at a very abstract level, when our objection is to a large extent not on that level. Yes, on an abstract level, all communication suffers the problem of sinful human beings. But the problem is that many issues are simply not expressed sufficiently clearly in scripture for everyone to come to the same conclusions, and that is a fact regardless of the sinfulness of the reader.

(d) Given (c) it's not correct to say that the individual is equivalent to the many, because the many lack the individual foibles of the individual that are caused by among other things the sinful nature.

(e) It's not correct to say that a clear statement from the Church is equivalent in interpretational problems to an ambiguous statement in scripture. Sola Scripturaists continually try and obfuscate this.

(f) Given that sola scripturaists usually end up disavowing solo-scriptura, and claiming that things like tradition can have (subordinate) authority, its not even clear why any of this should contradict sola scriptura. If tradition has authority, even subordinate authority, then clear subordinate authorities must clarify ambiguous primary authorities.

John said...

"Don't be stupid. Of course we do - they're the ones on the membership rolls. Seriously, man. "

So produce for me the world wide RefBap membership roll. Or at least tell me how one could in theory acquire it.

"Um, the ones in the VISIBLE church, we certainly DO define as those who are members of the VISIBLE church"

But RefBaps don't claim that only RefBaps are the visible church. Give up the obfuscation.

"you don't even know where all RefBap churches are

Why is that important? Do YOU know where ALL EOCs are? Of course not."

You made this comment of "same as refBaps" in response to my statement "That's why they need to discuss the issues with the other churches and come to a concilliar decision. "

So how are you going to discuss stuff with other RefBaps if you don't even know where they are? Not that RefBaps would ever do that, but you wanted to pretend as if you would.

And yes, EOC does know where all other EOC churches are. We can ask the Patriarchates for all the autocephelous churches. And we can ask them the names of all their bishops.

"Visible churchiness matters for naught. What matters is the INvisible church, and who holds to Scriptural truth and who doesn't. That's why your paradigm is totally jacked up."

(a) If it mattered naught, you wouldn't be trying to be a member of it.

(b) I don't believe for one moment that you, or anyone else, finds out what the canon is without the instruction of the visible church.

(c) Whether you like it or not, your thinking is heavily influenced by the visible group you are in. Given that, one ought to hope there is a visible church that can do so with authority, otherwise you are just tossed by the waves you live in.

(d) You are aiming for reductio ad absurdum. Just because individual local congregations can have problems doesn't prove that the catholic church has no authority. If it did we could push the argument for doing away with the local church altogether.

"Sure. Here.
Don't blame your ignorance on me."

Can't see it. Can you be more specific?

"There are generally speaking two categories of Protestants, for the purposes of this question. Sola Scripturists and non-SSists."

Which historical protestant groups are not SSists?

"BTW, your unanswered question count just keeps rising. It's kind of pitiful to watch..."

Since I'm answering you line by line, I think the count must be about zero.

Rhology said...

How is the concept of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church coming together and making a decision, and then you refuse to accept the decision, equivilent to some random RefBap congregation excommunicating you?

B/c it's ONE CHURCH excomming you, each time.


We know that because when the mundum gathered together in council it agreed with Athanasius.

Well, in a council that you accept NOW. They also gathered and issued the Confession of Smyrna, and got the Pope to sign on.
More question-begging from you.


And individuals are prone to their own peculiar biases.

And groups NEVER are. They NEVER perpetuate their own groupthink thru the establishment of bad traditions which then get ingrained into the collective consciousness from fear and peer pressure, and become dogma. Yeah, never. Yeah.
Your problem is that you set it up as a question of individual vs group. Two problems:
1) I have a group to appeal to as well. So what?
2) I want to know what is TRUE, not what some group thinks.


Would the Spirit even lead someone in a different direction who so prideful as to think they are the only one led in the right direction?

Would the Spirit even lead some group in a different direction who is so prideful as to think they are the only one led in the right direction?


And that's why Paul extolls the Church in his letters that they agree among one another. That in itself is a command.

We've been over that. Why retrace old failures?


(a) It's not the human experience that differing interpretations are caused by one person being in sin and the other person not being in sin.

?? Are you being serious? I think you might want to reread what you wrote and restate it.


it doesn't help you since invariably those with different interpretations invariably don't think they are the ones in sin.

As if self-awareness of sin or untruth is the measuring stick, the standard for truth.


(b) Even if that is true, it doesn't help you since invariably those with different interpretations invariably don't think they are the ones in sin. So this only makes the individualism of sola scriptura worse as it removes even more objectivism

(b) Even if that is true, it doesn't help your church since invariably those with different interpretations invariably don't think they are the church in sin. So this only makes the individual-church-ism of Sola Ecclesia worse as it removes even more objectivism.


But the problem is that many issues are simply not expressed sufficiently clearly in scripture for everyone to come to the same conclusions

But the problem is that many issues are simply not expressed sufficiently clearly in conciliar documents or in tradition for everyone to come to the same conclusions. We've been over that too, you know. It's sad how you never learn anything, you just keep repeating the same garbage over and over.


(e) It's not correct to say that a clear statement from the Church is equivalent in interpretational problems to an ambiguous statement in scripture.

Oh, based on your personal, individual, foiblistic interpretation?
If I play your game, I simply respond with the naked assertion that the "clear statement from the Church" isn't clear at all, and we get nowhere. That's why this stupid argument is not only stupid but also a conversation-killer.

Rhology said...

So produce for me the world wide RefBap membership roll.

So produce for me the world wide EO membership roll.


But RefBaps don't claim that only RefBaps are the visible church. Give up the obfuscation.

I don't see the problem.


So how are you going to discuss stuff with other RefBaps if you don't even know where they are?

1) So how are you going to discuss stuff with other EOdox if you don't even know where they are?
2) I know how to find where a lot of them are.
3) As if the early church would have been able to get even close to this standard of yours. They didn't have Twitter, you know. Not even email!


And yes, EOC does know where all other EOC churches are. We can ask the Patriarchates for all the autocephelous churches

1) Prove it. Do so.
2) Cool. And I can ask the pastors to network together and find all the RefBap churches. Yawn.


(a) If it mattered naught, you wouldn't be trying to be a member of it.

It matters for naught in the context of this debate, is what I meant.


(b) I don't believe for one moment that you, or anyone else, finds out what the canon is without the instruction of the visible church.

Well played, b/c I never claimed that.


(c) Whether you like it or not, your thinking is heavily influenced by the visible group you are in.

(c) Whether you like it or not, your thinking is heavily influenced by the visible group you are in.


(d) You are aiming for reductio ad absurdum. Just because individual local congregations can have problems doesn't prove that the catholic church has no authority.

A church has authority in that it holds to the truth of God's teaching. A church that loses its love of Jesus loses its lampstand - read Revelation 1-3. Kthxbye.


Which historical protestant groups are not SSists?

Methodist. Liberal Presbys. Liberal Lutherans. Congregationalists. Unitarian Universalists. Anglicans. Certain charismatics. 7th Day Adventists. The list goes on and on.


I think the count must be about zero.

Since you're not, the count is probably around 8-10 by now. Go back and check all the times you've asked a question that I've turned back on your position. You need to deal with those.

John said...

"B/c it's ONE CHURCH excomming you, each time."

So you don't understand the theological difference between the concepts of One Holy Catholic Church and some random congregation. Looks like you have some homework to do. Maybe 1% of the Church Fathers wasn't enough for you, huh? Better keep reading.

Its a bit like disclaiming any understanding of the difference between the bible and Moby Dick. Its ONE BOOK each time, but one is claimed to be unique theologically speaking, and the other is not. There can only be ONE holy catholic church, but there are many congregations.

"Well, in a council that you accept NOW."

If there was a council... ANY council, then it wasn't really contra mundum now was it? Are you going to withdraw that silly statement, or are you only going to go kicking and screaming?

"And groups NEVER are."

We don't disclaim bias. In fact we claim it. We are biased towards what the Spirit leads us to. Necessity for lack of bias is the mission impossible you have signed up for, not us.

"1) I have a group to appeal to as well. So what?"

Since you've already conceded you can't be unbiased and that you are beholden to the biases of your group, then you'd better have a good argument why your group's bias is better than someone else's. But you don't.

"2) I want to know what is TRUE, not what some group thinks. "

Everything you know comes via the conduit of "what some group thinks". The question is what group you are going to hitch your wagon to.

"Would the Spirit even lead some group in a different direction who is so prideful as to think they are the only one led in the right direction?"

We believe what we believe because that is what the catholic consensus was. You can't say it is prideful to agree with the consensus the way I can say it is prideful for your claim to the right to individual interpretation. That's a stupid, stupid comparison and retort.

"We've been over that. Why retrace old failures?"

Well you threw in the towel over there, so...

"?? Are you being serious? I think you might want to reread what you wrote and restate it. "

I've never heard anyone say who was converted from one part of Christendom to another, that they have changed their position because before they were in sin, and coming out of sin improved their interpretation. If your sin theory of interpretation was correct we'd be hearing that all the time.

"As if self-awareness of sin or untruth is the measuring stick, the standard for truth."

You just made it the measuring stick! You told us that the sinful nature is the cause of poor interpretation. Therefore the only true measure of the validity of interpretation is to look inside oneself to see if one's interpretation is biased by sin.

"(b) Even if that is true, it doesn't help your church since invariably those with different interpretations invariably don't think they are the church in sin. So this only makes the individual-church-ism of Sola Ecclesia worse as it removes even more objectivism."

We don't claim the right for individual interpretation by individual churches, so your parallel between the right of individual interpretation by persons and by churches is an unwarranted one. Individualism is the problem of your theology, not ours.

John said...

"But the problem is that many issues are simply not expressed sufficiently clearly in conciliar documents or in tradition for everyone to come to the same conclusions."

We never claimed they are. Sufficiency in all its forms is the problem for those without authority. If it warrants it, we can call an ecumenical council, you can't. At the Jerusalem council, existing authorities were insufficient. That is the point.

"We've been over that too, you know."

You ended that exchange with some ad-hominem and vague references to your blog.

"If I play your game, I simply respond with the naked assertion that the "clear statement from the Church" isn't clear at all, and we get nowhere. "

But the Church keeps clarifying until it is clear enough to enough people to keep unity. In Protestantism you keep splitting up until there enough churches to satisfy all viewpoints. Your obstinate response is stupid because it assumes (again) your individualism where you get to decide what is clear enough. But for us, the Church recognises problems of lack of clarity and deals with them as necessary.

"1) Prove it. Do so."

You don't know that the churches keep diptychs? More history homework for you.

"Cool. And I can ask the pastors to network together and find all the RefBap churches. "

And then you can hold the first RefBap ecumenical council. Oh wait, RefBaps don't believe in the authority of ecumenical councils.

Do you think before putting out this stupid stuff?

"Well played, b/c I never claimed that."

You claimed that the visible church matters for naught when it comes to knowing the truth, did you not? Well I'm calling you on that, and you bailed again.

"(c) Whether you like it or not, your thinking is heavily influenced by the visible group you are in."

Right, so since you conceded that, you'd better hope that there is a group you can belong to that can influence you from a platform of authority. Otherwise you have consigned yourself to influence in the manner of being tossed by the waves of whatever group you are in or whatever leaders you are under.

"A church that loses its love of Jesus loses its lampstand - read Revelation 1-3. Kthxbye."

Still not understanding the difference between a congregation and the universal church?

"Methodist. Liberal Presbys. Liberal Lutherans. Congregationalists. Unitarian Universalists. Anglicans. Certain charismatics. 7th Day Adventists. "

So you're saying that liberal Presbys are "historical protestants". And Unitarians too? Amazing.

How about you document that historical Anglicans don't claim to hold to Sola Scriptura, before I take this ramble too seriously. Or perhaps is your criteria for SS, is those who agree with you on everything? LOL.

Rhology said...

So you don't understand the theological difference between the concepts of One Holy Catholic Church and some random congregation.

I understand it, but I see no reason to grant it.


There can only be ONE holy catholic church, but there are many congregations.

Couldn't've said it better myself. Thank you. Invisible/visible distinction expressed quite well.



If there was a council... ANY council, then it wasn't really contra mundum now was it?

It was contra quite a lot of people. And you missed it - the council decided AGAINST ATHANASIUS.



Since you've already conceded you can't be unbiased and that you are beholden to the biases of your group, then you'd better have a good argument why your group's bias is better than someone else's.

Since you've already conceded you can't be unbiased and that you are beholden to the biases of your group, then you'd better have a good argument why your group's bias is better than someone else's.



We believe what we believe because that is what the catholic consensus was.

But that consensus is imaginary, and tautological. You schism from those who disagree and then yell "We're the One True Church! You disagree, so you're not!" and they're yelling the same thing. See, ANYone can do that! LDS and JWs and tons of cults do it too, and you share more characteristics with cults than I'm sure you'd like to admit.



Individualism is the problem of your theology, not ours.

Please, stop being so dense. Please let me know how YOU PERSONALLY know anything your priest tells you without using personal private individual interpretation.



If it warrants it, we can call an ecumenical council, you can't.

1) OK, then call one. Prove it.
2) Whom would you invite to such a council?
3) Have you never heard of the Southern Baptist Convention? Annually SBC churches send their reps to one place to meet. Why is that not similar?



But the Church keeps clarifying until it is clear enough to enough people to keep unity.

1) And every statement has to be interpreted by the individual.
2) Notice how you again put Scr in 2ndary position, even though it is self-interping and the Holy Spirit is active in interping it in the heart of the believer. Seems you'll stop at nothing to reduce the Scr in importance and preeminence. No surprise.



In Protestantism you keep splitting up until there enough churches to satisfy all viewpoints.

There is no "you". I'm not all Protestants. Talk to ME.
Tell you what, I'm going to demand that you defend all the actions performed by Copts and Nestorians, since their relationship to you is the same as most Protestants' to me.

Rhology said...

You don't know that the churches keep diptychs? More history homework for you.

So no proof. Just a vague wave of the hand. Noted.



And then you can hold the first RefBap ecumenical council. Oh wait, RefBaps don't believe in the authority of ecumenical councils.

London Baptist Confession of 1689. Pop quiz - that confession has
a) final authority
b) secondary authority to the Scripture
c) zero authority
for RefBaps. Let me know your answer.



You claimed that the visible church matters for naught when it comes to knowing the truth, did you not?

How about quoting me?



you'd better hope that there is a group you can belong to that can influence you from a platform of authority.

I have faith that God works thru His Spirit in the church as He said He would. I'm sorry that's difficult for you to understand.



"A church that loses its love of Jesus loses its lampstand - read Revelation 1-3. Kthxbye."

Still not understanding the difference between a congregation and the universal church?


Begging the question that your church is "the universal church".
You know, JUST MAYBE every congregation in your church had its lampstand removed.



So you're saying that liberal Presbys are "historical protestants". And Unitarians too? Amazing

Yes, they have historical ties to Protestantism. Speaking of not doing one's homework...



How about you document that historical Anglicans don't claim to hold to Sola Scriptura, before I take this ramble too seriously.

Ask an Anglican.

Peace,
Rhology

John said...

"I understand it, but I see no reason to grant it."

Well we knew that already. This discussion is about the problems inherent when you do not grant it.

"the council decided AGAINST ATHANASIUS."

Still not contra mundum. Waiting for a retraction on that one.

"then you'd better have a good argument why your group's bias is better than someone else's."

I do have a number of them. One of them is apostolic succession.

"You schism from those who disagree and then yell "We're the One True Church!"

We've never schismed from the majority opinion in the Church, so the analogy with the pride of the individual is not applicable. Waiting for the retraction.

"See, ANYone can do that! LDS and JWs and tons of cults do it too"

No, you and they can't be in in the historical church and do that. You can say others are wrong, but you can't do so from within the historical church. I could say nice try, but it wasn't really.

"Please let me know how YOU PERSONALLY know anything your priest tells you without using personal private individual interpretation."

You're still not understanding the objection.

Nobody's saying that individual interpretation doesn't work much of the time. I talk to you, you talk to me, mostly it works. The problem is when it doesn't work.

For example, I say "The teacher gave a lecture on destructive pests. A large number were present."

When ambiguity arises there are two possibilities: we each decide on our own (schism), or we decide in a concilliar fashion (unity). The concilliar solution won't suffer from the original ambiguity because its purpose was to express without ambiguity what was originally ambiguous.

Asking how I can understand my priest is a stupid and irrelevant retort.

"1) OK, then call one. Prove it."

Done it already. Go back to your history books.

"2) Whom would you invite to such a council?"

Probably bishops.

"3) Have you never heard of the Southern Baptist Convention? Why is that not similar?"

For the same reason it is not similar to the Jerusalem council. The SBC doesn't claim that its Convention has any role in authoritatively settling doctrinal disputes.

"1) And every statement has to be interpreted by the individual."

Irrelevant - see above.

"2) Notice how you again put Scr in 2ndary position, even though it is self-interping"

What verse says it is "self interpreting". And what does that mean anyway? Even the most precise of languages (computer languages) do not self interpret. And the bible, like all things expressed in human language, has the ambiguities of human language.

John said...

"the Holy Spirit is active in interping it in the heart of the believer"

Which doesn't help the current discussion which is about avoiding schisms by having a normative interpretation that the churches and their members can agree on. If professing Christians are all disagreeing on so many points, then either the Holy Spirit isn't solving these problems for us, or else everyone is begging the question by claiming they are the ones led by the spirit in opposition to others. Of course I opt for the third option, which is that the Church is led into the truth, and its historical position as the church means it doesn't beg the question in making that claim in opposition to other cults and sects.

"Seems you'll stop at nothing to reduce the Scr in importance and preeminence."

Seems you'll stop at nothing to reduce Christ's body in importance and preeminence.

You can't or won't seem to recognise that scripture is a product of members of Christ's body. It didn't drop down enscribed on plates of gold from heaven. It comes via members of Christ's body complete with the individual personalities of said people.

"Tell you what, I'm going to demand that you defend all the actions performed by Copts and Nestorians, since their relationship to you is the same as most Protestants' to me. "

I never asked you to defend the actions of all Protestants, so yet another non-sequitur. If you want to say I share traits with Copts, feel free, I don't care, as long as it is accurate.

"So no proof. Just a vague wave of the hand. Noted."

Why be deliberately obstinate in pretending you don't know about a 2000 year old practice?

Here is an article about a patriarch visiting all the churches in the diptychs:

http://byztex.blogspot.com/2009/06/patriarch-kirill-to-make-diptych-trip.html

" Pop quiz - that confession has .."

We were discussing ecumenical councils, not founding documents of various congregations. Obviously sects of protestantism agree about their founding principles. That's tautological.

"How about quoting me?"

Why, you want to wiggle out of it now? You said the visible church matters for naught. When I challenged you on that, you said it matters for naught in the current debate. Since the current debate is about source of authority, sola scriptura or otherwise, and since the canon is an authority, presumably it matters for naught. If you want to do some major wiggling out of your hyperbolic statement, go ahead. I'm sure you need to.

"I have faith that God works thru His Spirit in the church as He said He would. I'm sorry that's difficult for you to understand."

The debate is about the differences between the beliefs of self-proclaimed Christian groups. Waving your hand vaguely about God working without being about to say where specifically he is working, doesn't help. Is he helping the RefBaps or the 7th day Adventists? Since apparently you've accepted this criteria for where the truth is as far as finding the correct interpretation, you've going to have to prove where this criteria is active.

"You know, JUST MAYBE every congregation in your church had its lampstand removed. "

And yet you claim there was no great apostasy where the church vanishes from the earth. But you can't tell us where any church you approve of existed for many random dates. Your maybes do not add up.

"Yes, they have historical ties to Protestantism."

I didn't say people with historical ties to Protestantism. I said Historical Protestants. More obfuscation.

"Ask an Anglican. "

I WAS an Anglican. So no proof. Just a vague wave of the hand. Noted.

Rhology said...

Which doesn't help the current discussion which is about avoiding schisms by having a normative interpretation that the churches and their members can agree on.

Now ask yourself the same question. How did it help to avoid schism when Chalcedon made its rulings? How about 1st Nicea?
How about Hieria?


If professing Christians are all disagreeing on so many points, then either the Holy Spirit isn't solving these problems for us

Precisely! You have what's called an over-realised eschatology, much like Benny Hinn and the faith healing bozos. Ppl are still fallible, and will be until the end of time.


You can't or won't seem to recognise that scripture is a product of members of Christ's body. I

Seems to me you're forgetting something.
Who else is responsible for Scripture? Do you remember?


I never asked you to defend the actions of all Protestants, so yet another non-sequitur. I

Don't be so dense - of course you have. Anyone can read this interaction. You can retract, which is fine, but don't lie to us.


You said the visible church matters for naught. When I challenged you on that, you said it matters for naught in the current debate.

Your allergy to context strikes again.


Waving your hand vaguely about God working without being about to say where specifically he is working, doesn't help. Is he helping the RefBaps or the 7th day Adventists?

Is God helping the Old Calendarists or the New Calendarists?
How about the unleavened bread in Eucharist or the leavened bread in Eucharist party? The Chalcedonians or non-Chalcedonians? How can you detect inductively whether God is "working"?


But you can't tell us where any church you approve of existed for many random dates. Your maybes do not add up.

Now ask the same question about the true people of God, the remnant, during a great deal of the OT.


"Ask an Anglican. "

I WAS an Anglican. So no proof. Just a vague wave of the hand. Noted.


A naked assertion of handwaving does not substantiation make. Thanks!

Rhology said...

The SBC doesn't claim that its Convention has any role in authoritatively settling doctrinal disputes.

It most certainly does. Ever heard of the Baptist Faith and Message?
The Texas Baptists removing themselves from the SBC? They broke off b/c they didn't agree with SBC's position on biblical inerrancy.
At any rate, it's far more biblical to speak of local churches, not "conventions" or even councils. Yes, the NT records one council, and that was called (and decided) by APOSTLES. Aren't any of those around today. If someone teaches heresy, my local church has the prerogative and responsibility to remove him from fellowship if he will not repent. We haven't had to do that since I've been there, fortunately, but we have disfellowshipped several who would not repent of their immoral behavior. that's an exercise in AUTHORITY.


"2) Notice how you again put Scr in 2ndary position, even though it is self-interping"
What verse says it is "self interpreting".


Mark 7:17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)

Psalm 119 does an excellent job of answering your specific question. Mark 7 is an example.
And once again I note your reticence to praise God's Word. Much better to preserve an artificially-contrived need for The Church than to hold up the Word of God! Implicit blasphemy.


And the bible, like all things expressed in human language, has the ambiguities of human language.

What's that? Mangoes has young sevens and the further it flies the much?

John said...

"How did it help to avoid schism when Chalcedon made its rulings? How about 1st Nicea?"

Uh, isn't it obvious? We haven't been arguing much about those things ever since. Seen anybody in the Orthodox church saying that maybe Arianism needs to be reconsidered?

"You have what's called an over-realised eschatology"

Don't know what eschatology has to do with anything.

"Who else is responsible for Scripture? Do you remember?"

Yes, I remember. I remember both, not forgetting one nor the other. You have forgotten one.

"Don't be so dense - of course you have. Anyone can read this interaction. You can retract, which is fine, but don't lie to us. "

Sorry, ad hominem and hand waving is not evidence.

"Your allergy to context strikes again."

Oh, so a blog post about sola scriptura doesn't have the scriptures as context? It doesn't have the arguments put forth in the debate it is referring to as context? It seems like everything you say is a link to a reference to a allusion in which everything has plausibly deniability, and when challenged on it you just resort back to ad-hominem and yet another layer of vague allusions.

"How can you detect inductively whether God is "working"?"

I could throw it right back at you and ask how you know through what holy writings God is working. You don't seem to stop to think that half the objections you throw out cut off your own legs.

Read St Vincent again sometime for some idea about how to "detect inductively" as you put it.

"Now ask the same question about the true people of God, the remnant, during a great deal of the OT."

Was there a remnant? Did the bible tell you that? Then there is your proof that they existed. Having fulfilled my part of the bargain, prove that there existed some group you approve of that could plausibly be a remnant.

"Ask an Anglican. "

Ok, I ask an Anglican. Here is one advocating sola scriptura:

http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/life/culture/scripture_alone_what_it_is_and_what_it_aint/

John said...

"They broke off b/c they didn't agree with SBC's position on biblical inerrancy. "

Then they obviously didn't think SBC was authoritative then did they, huh? And has anybody argued they need to accept what the SBC said on the basis of the authority of the SBC? And does the SBC claim authority over all Christendom, or all the worlds baptists? No, and no again.

"Yes, the NT records one council, and that was called (and decided) by APOSTLES."

You need to read your bible more carefully.

Acts 15:6 The apostles AND THE ELDERS came together to look into this matter.

Then it seemed good to the apostles AND THE ELDERS, with the WHOLE CHURCH, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas — Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, and THEY (i.e. ELDERS and WHOLE CHURCH) sent this letter by them, “The apostles and the brethren who are ELDERS, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings. “Since we (ELDERS) have heard that some of our number to whom we (ELDERS) gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, it seemed good to us (ELDERS), having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Therefore we (ELDERS) have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth.“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us (ELDERS) to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: [etc]

[Mark 7:17]

You've got to give up the bad habit of quoting verses and assuming other people see what you see. What am I supposed to see in Mark 7?

[Psalm 119]

Not sure of the point. Do you think we haven't read the Psalms before?

"And once again I note your reticence to praise God's Word."

And once again I note your reticence to praise Christ's body.

"Much better to preserve an artificially-contrived need for The Church than to hold up the Word of God! Implicit blasphemy."

You seem to forget that the Church is described as the body of a divine person. Implicit blasphemy.

The scriptures are the work of ordinary people inspired by God. And the Church is ordinary people indwelled by God. There is no difference in principle.

"Mangoes has young sevens and the further it flies the much?"

????

Rhology said...

Uh, isn't it obvious? We haven't been arguing much about those things ever since.

You have with the non-Chalcedonian. They call you heretics; you return the favor.
How can I know who's right?



"You have what's called an over-realised eschatology"
Don't know what eschatology has to do with anything.


You have too much already, not enough not-yet in your view. You're overlooking obvious problems in favor of a golden-rain-and-daisies outlook.



J: You can't or won't seem to recognise that scripture is a product of members of Christ's body. I
R: Seems to me you're forgetting something. Who else is responsible for Scripture? Do you remember?
J: Yes, I remember. I remember both, not forgetting one nor the other. You have forgotten one.


1) Ah, so erring on the side of God is not good in your eyes. Gotcha.
2) I'm not the one who made the original statement. Try again to shift the blame. Or man up.


I could throw it right back at you and ask how you know through what holy writings God is working.

Are you an atheist or something? Now you're acting like DavidW again! He's fond of acting like an atheist when it suits him.
We agree that the Bible is God's Word. Now, answer the question.



You don't seem to stop to think that half the objections you throw out cut off your own legs.

Anyone can read my extensive interactions with atheists to know you have no idea whereof you speak. Maybe you should get your own blog and show me how it's done. Put me to shame.



Read St Vincent again sometime for some idea about how to "detect inductively" as you put it.

You mean his "by all, everywhere, at all times" statement? How does that help?



Was there a remnant? Did the bible tell you that?

Yes, it told me that.



Then there is your proof that they existed.

You made my argument for me. Thank you.



prove that there existed some group you approve of that could plausibly be a remnant.

My point has always been that I don't have to be able to LOCATE them specifically. Why aren't you willing to accept the OT paradigm?



Ok, I ask an Anglican. Here is one advocating sola scriptura:

Good for him!
And here's one where he's not: http://www.religioustolerance.org/glandon01.htm


Then they obviously didn't think SBC was authoritative then did they, huh?

Right.
One has to wonder now whether it's better to know that an ecclesial body is not the final authority, or to think wrongly that an eccl body is the final authority. Hmm...

Rhology said...

You need to read your bible more carefully.
Acts 15:6 The apostles AND THE ELDERS came together to look into this matter.


OK, fair enough.



What am I supposed to see in Mark 7?

Scr interping itself.



Do you think we haven't read the Psalms before?

Given that your view is so far from the Psalter in Ps 119 (120), I figure I'm being more charitable thinking that you never read it before, actually.



"And once again I note your reticence to praise God's Word."
And once again I note your reticence to praise Christ's body.


1) Where have I failed to give Christ's body the recognition and accolades she deserves? Direct quotes, please.
2) How can you think this is a real answer?


"Much better to preserve an artificially-contrived need for The Church than to hold up the Word of God! Implicit blasphemy."
You seem to forget that the Church is described as the body of a divine person.


Yes, metaphorically. Now, how does this respond to my point?



"Mangoes has young sevens and the further it flies the much?"
????


I'm sorry you're too dense to understand the point.
You said that the bible, like all things expressed in human language, has the ambiguities of human language. I was simply demonstrating that your communication is no different, but you treat the Bible in practice and in argument like it can communicate LESS well than any other communication.

John said...

"You have with the non-Chalcedonian. They call you heretics; you return the favor.
How can I know who's right?"

I think we've covered this ground before, but one thing you have never told us is how you resolve it. Does Christ have two natures, or.. as the non-Chalcedonians say, is the humanity of Christ united with his divinity to form one nature. Solve this problem for us from the scriptures so that we can know who is right. Oh, and make sure it is irrefutable and comprehensible by your average non-theologian in the pews.

"You have too much already"

Still haven't heard what eschatology has to do with anything.

"1) Ah, so erring on the side of God is not good in your eyes. Gotcha."

Erring is always bad. Monophysitism and Eutychianism err on the side of emphasising the divine at the expense of humanity, but they are heresies. Christ's body is human and the church is Christ's body, so any assault on the Church is an assault on Chalcedonian orthodoxy. Erring on the side of the divine is no excuse.

"Are you an atheist or something? Now you're acting like DavidW again! He's fond of acting like an atheist when it suits him. We agree that the Bible is God's Word. Now, answer the question. "

Ahh, obfuscation and filibustering at work again.

Yes, we agree the Bible is God's word, but we don't agree what books are God's word, remember? So my challenge for you stands to tell us how you know through what books God is working without shooting the legs off your own argument.

"Anyone can read my extensive interactions with atheists to know you have no idea whereof you speak."

Off topic. Non-Sequitur.

"You mean his "by all, everywhere, at all times" statement? How does that help? "

One statement? No, he wrote an awful lot more on the topic than one statement. Your <1% absorption rate needs upping a bit.

"My point has always been that I don't have to be able to LOCATE them specifically. Why aren't you willing to accept the OT paradigm?"

The OT paradigm is that the remnant are a subset of the visible and documented people of God. Israel's activities are documented, and the remnant are a subset of the people in that group. There is never a suggestion that the remnant might be some unknown unthought-of group that nobody has even known about.

"And here's one where he's not"

Do you understand the difference between "contemporary" and "historical"? A dictionary might help at this point.

"One has to wonder now whether it's better to know that an ecclesial body is not the final authority, or to think wrongly that an eccl body is the final authority."

So at least you're ending the obfuscation of claiming that SBC meetings are equivalent to the concept of ecumenical councils.

Rhology said...

Does Christ have two natures, or.. as the non-Chalcedonians say, is the humanity of Christ united with his divinity to form one nature.

Two natures.



Solve this problem for us from the scriptures so that we can know who is right.

Let's say I can't solve the problem from the Scr. What does that prove for you?
BTW, you never answered my question - how can I know who's right?


make sure it is irrefutable and comprehensible by your average non-theologian in the pews.

There you go again making man the standard of right and wrong. It's not good enough if Joe Blow can't understand it.
You're a humanist thru and thru, but you're not very self-aware.



Still haven't heard what eschatology has to do with anything.

I'll try one more time. You're conflating the heavenly, the not-yet, the unity of mind and heart and institution that the regenerate WILL HAVE in Heaven, with the now, the already, the earthly.
For more info beyond that, google "already and not yet".



Christ's body is human and the church is Christ's body

Equivocation. Christ's body is human and yet Christ's body is in Heaven, in one place at any one time. The church is Christ's Body SPIRITUALLY, METAPHORICALLY.



so any assault on the Church is an assault on Chalcedonian orthodoxy.

The blinders of an EO drone, everyone.


we don't agree what books are God's word, remember?

Actually, you think there are more than what I think, but you don't think that any of the ones I think are God's Word aren't.
AND we agree that God has in fact spoken.
But we DON'T agree that God has instituted the EOC. So how can you detect inductively where God is working? Be specific.


"Anyone can read my extensive interactions with atheists to know you have no idea whereof you speak."
Off topic. Non-Sequitur.


Um, OK.



One statement? No, he wrote an awful lot more on the topic than one statement. Your <1% absorption rate needs upping a bit.

So which statements? Quote him, and be specific.



The OT paradigm is that the remnant are a subset of the visible and documented people of God.

Yes, but are not themselves documented, much. Perhaps you can locate the "7000 who have not yet bowed the knee to Baal" that God told Elijah about?

John said...

"What does that prove for you?"

It would prove that you're not yet again blowing your own legs off in your terrorist attack.

"There you go again making man the standard of right and wrong."

Last I checked the Church is comprised of men, so any proposed rule of faith for the church would have to be suitable for them. But if you want to live in your ivory tower, be my guest.

"You're conflating the heavenly, the not-yet, the unity of mind and heart and institution that the regenerate WILL HAVE in Heaven,"

You had said "the Holy Spirit is active in interping it in the heart of the believer", to which I replied "then either the Holy Spirit isn't solving these problems for us..." to which you replied "Precisely! You have what's called an over-realised eschatology". So you jumped from affirming the Holy Spirit in helping with interpretation to denying it. And then ignoring what should be the conclusion "or else everyone is begging the question by claiming they are the ones led by the spirit in opposition to others".

So you're claiming the necessity of the Holy Spirit in making you come to an individual decision of what scripture means, and then begging the question that you are the one lucky enough to be one of them.

"The church is Christ's Body SPIRITUALLY, METAPHORICALLY."

Doesn't help you. If its spiritually divine, then it is divine.

"So how can you detect inductively where God is working? Be specific."

You be specific. You're on a spiritual quest to blow your own legs off. Blow away.

"So which statements? Quote him, and be specific. "

Read the entire work from which the quote comes.

"erhaps you can locate the "7000 who have not yet bowed the knee to Baal" that God told Elijah about? "

They were "in Israel", or in other words, within the well-known visible people of God. Not hiding in a cave in Upper Volta.

Rhology said...

Last I checked the Church is comprised of men, so any proposed rule of faith for the church would have to be suitable for them

"Let God be true and every man a liar". God is the standard, and He regenerates whom He will so that those whom He regenerates will no longer be natural men, unable to understand the Scr - cf 1 Cor 2:14-15. That's the nice thing about Calvinism - it's frightfully consistent. If that doesn't work with your paradigm, so much the worse for your paradigm. Maybe you should join a church where it all works. My church'll take you.



You had said "the Holy Spirit is active in interping it in the heart of the believer", to which I replied "then either the Holy Spirit isn't solving these problems for us..." to which you replied "Precisely! You have what's called an over-realised eschatology".

The statement "the Holy Spirit is active in interping it in the heart of the believer" is not equivalent to "the Holy Spirit is active in making 100% sure that everyone who claims to be a believer will express the same doctrine with no aberration ever". He knows whom He has regenerated for real, but there are many who claim it falsely.



They were "in Israel", or in other words, within the well-known visible people of God.

How do you know?

The rest of your comment is handwaving and failures to answer the questions put to you.

Rhology said...

A little more -

Last I checked the Church is comprised of men, so any proposed rule of faith for the church would have to be suitable for them.

See, I trust God to make the truth of His Word sufficiently known to whom He wills to do so. If that means few actually get it, that is expected by Scr - "the gate is narrow and few find it", "Let God be true and every man a liar".
In my view, *God* is the standard of truth and error. In yours, man is. Humanism. It's not very far from there to Soviet humanism, you know - no coincidence what's the majority religion in that country.



So you jumped from affirming the Holy Spirit in helping with interpretation to denying it.

Nothing to here but giggle.



you are the one lucky enough to be one of them.

Is it luck? Or sthg else?



If its spiritually divine, then it is divine.

Actually, "Christ's body" wasn't divine, you know. It was and is human.
More evidence that you're a monophysite in most everything but name.



They were "in Israel", or in other words, within the well-known visible people of God. Not hiding in a cave in Upper Volta.

Israel is a big place. The church is even bigger. Locate them specifically. I'm still waiting.

John said...

"See, I trust God to make the truth of His Word sufficiently known to whom He wills to do so. If that means few actually get it, that is expected by Scr"

By restricting perspicuity to some small spiritually determined group you blow your own legs off. Because you can't know if you are in that special group. After all, good exegesis isn't enough, you have to be elect. But you can't know you are elect by exegesis because it has to be combined with election, which you can't know you are.

"Actually, "Christ's body" wasn't divine, you know. It was and is human."

Ack, Nestorianism raises its ugly head again. Being human in body does not prevent him being divine also. The Word was made flesh, it doesn't say the word aquired flesh.

"though the body remained a body, still it is impassible and immortal, verily a divine body and glorified with divine glory. This is distinctly told us by the blessed Paul in the words “For our conversation is in heaven from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto the body of His glory" - Theororet letter CXLV

"Israel is a big place. The church is even bigger. Locate them specifically. I'm still waiting. "

And Israel is a people more so than a geographical area. When I said the remnant was within Isreal, I am talking about the visible people of God.

Rhology said...

Ack, Nestorianism raises its ugly head again. Being human in body does not prevent him being divine also.

Confusing of the natures again.
Look, you can say Nestorianism all you want, but that doesn't make it really present. OTOH, you are now conflating Jesus' personhood and His nature, and thus His 2 natures. Monophysitic humanist. The titles are adding up on you. Wouldn't you rather be simply a Christian? My church is open to you, you know.


And Israel is a people more so than a geographical area. When I said the remnant was within Isreal, I am talking about the visible people of God.

1) So it should be easy for you to find 'em. Go for it. Still waiting.
2) It's quite telling that you are identifying as the "visible people of God" a bunch of pagans and idolaters. Freudian slip, perhaps?

John said...

"you are now conflating Jesus' personhood and His nature"

I'll wait for the argument before responding to today's hand waving. In the meantime you should probably read up on essence and energies.

"Wouldn't you rather be simply a Christian?"

I don't remember claiming anything else.

" So it should be easy for you to find 'em. Go for it. "
Done it, done it already.

"t's quite telling that you are identifying as the "visible people of God" a bunch of pagans and idolaters. "

Who are we talking about now? Visible Israel were pagans? What silliness are we having today?

Rhology said...

You mention essence and energies, but of course that doesn't cover the area of personhood and nature. So nonresponse.

And yes, the vast majority of visible Israel were pagans, especially at that time. You might read the Old Testament sometime.

John said...

Essence and energies does have a bearing on how two natures come together in one person. Jesus' human body is not the divine essence, but it is divine by energies.

And I'm not aware of the bible ever saying Israel were pagans. Occasionally it criticises them from engaging in pagan practices, but that's not the same thing.

Rhology said...

It was very bad in ancient Israel. When was the last time you read Judges?

Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

1 Kings 19:18 “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Only 7000! Out of 100s of 1000s!


Amos 5:25 “Did you present Me with sacrifices and grain offerings in the wilderness for forty years, O house of Israel? 26 “You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves. 27 “Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.

John said...

And Paul's comment on that episode is "I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be!"

That's why I say you have no cause for making a blanket rejection of Israel as idolaters.

Rhology said...

Um, how is it "blanket" when I specifically have told you no less than twice that God preserved a remnant?

John said...

I said "the remnant was within Israel", and your response was " you are identifying as the "visible people of God" a bunch of pagans".

If you won't let me say the remnant was within Israel without claiming they were "a bunch of pagans", then you have denied the remnant within Israel.

Let's face it, you are jumping from one stupidity to the next, and need to admit you've got mixed up on what you're arguing for.

Rhology said...

you are identifying as the "visible people of God" a bunch of pagans".

Obviously a bit of hyperbole, for the unwise in the audience.
But since you'd made the strong distinction between the remnant and the rest of the visible ppl of God, the facts are not in your favor. Not a particularly good try.