Tuesday, August 03, 2010

DavidW changes his position, and 2 conversations

DavidW of Pious Fabrications, who debated me on Sola Scriptura, has changed his position on the Scripture.  Before, he thought there were some minor factual errors in Scripture, but now says he no longer thinks that.

That's good news.  Full stop.

It also brings up an interesting question for an EO like him, which I asked but which he declined to answer - Why is it "your position" at all? Why didn't the EOC inform your position authoritatively on this? Are you "working thru it" or something? Why? Just repeat what the EOC teaches on the topic!
...Unless it doesn't teach sthg monolithic on the topic. In which case, I have to question what good EOC's teaching authority is to you in real life.

Anyway, so that's one conversation I've been having.
The other is over at Catholic Nick's place.  Nick is an interesting fellow - he's debated TurretinFan and brought up an interesting post on 2 Tim 3:16-17 which is far from injurious to Sola Scriptura, but still warrants some more careful thought.  So kudos to him on that, and to be honest, from that post and from previous interactions on Beggars All, I'd taken him for a cut above the typical Roman epologist.  Unfortunately, his blindness to his rampant special pleading in this combox has reduced my respect for him significantly. 

Two things:
1) He will not recognise or deal with the fact that the RCC has acceded to the wishes of hetero couples who were duly and properly married and who consummated the marriage, in some cases even having children together(!), and who wanted to get an annulment.  As Nick said An annulment means a valid marriage never took place to begin with; a divorce is the severing of a valid marriage.  Indeed. Yet taking what is a divorce by any measurement and renaming it an annulment is not honorable nor good.  Still less is subsequent chest-thumping about how Rome teaches divorce is wrong and never grants divorces.  Nick has not even attempted to deal with this.

2) He has, OTOH, attempted to deal with his special pleading with respect to "interpretive authority".  Let's see how well that's turned out for him by examining a few snippets (and of course anyone can read the whole thing by following the link):

Nick:  (Protestantism) has no way of correcting the problem.
Me: That's just silly. We have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to illuminate. That's more than enough.
Or will you retreat to more special pleading? It's not like "Sacred Tradition" has a much better track record.
 
Nick:  yet *MY* point is that Protestants "illuminated" in such a manner cannot agree on what Scripture is really saying on this subject,
Me:  Um, remember what you just said? How someone who disobeys a teaching says nothing about the integrity of the teaching itself?

Nick:  If the Church teaches X, then any member who teaches other than X is being disobedient.
Me:   If the Scripture teaches X, then any member who teaches other than X is being disobedient.

Nick:  The situation you are describing is not Church teaching but an *abuse* of Church teaching.
Me:   So nick, what authority do YOU have to call what real priests do "abuse"? How very Protestant of you...Sometimes ppl disobey what the Scr says. We call them "disobedient".
You claim when ppl disobey what the Mag says, they're "disobedient".

Nick:  You're blind, utterly blind, to the fact regenerate pastors DISAGREE on what the Scripture SAYS. One pastor thinks Scripture SAYS Divorce is ok, while another pastor thinks Scripture SAYS divorce is not ok. WHICH PASTOR IS CORRECT? Answer: In Protestantism, BOTH. Both pastors are functioning as their personal, stand-alone, magisterium.
Me:   Let's look at it another way, Nick.
You're blind, utterly blind, to the fact baptised and ordained priests DISAGREE on what the RC Magisterium/tradition SAYS. One priest thinks the Magisterium/tradition SAYS Divorce is ok, while another priest thinks Magisterium/tradition SAYS divorce is not ok. WHICH PRIEST IS CORRECT? Answer: In RCC, BOTH. Both pastors are functioning as their personal, stand-alone, magisterium of what the Magisterium/tradition says.
 
Nick:  But Protestants cannot agree on whether the Bible forbids it or not, and the quote I gave of John Piper's Church says: "The same freedom of conscience applies to each of the other pastors as well" in regards to each pastor deciding for themself if it is a sin or not.
Me:   And RCs cannot agree on whether Sacred Tradition/Magisterium forbids it or not, since some do divorces and some don't. And some annul marriages post-coitus and some don't. So, since your position is not any better, what is your point?
 
Nick:  It follows from the fact each pastor is operating as their own magisterium and you can't see that
Me:   It follows from the fact each priest is operating as their own magisterium (fallibly, individually interpreting what the Magisterium says) and you can't see that.
It follows from THAT fact that each parishioner, including you, is operating as their own magisterium of what the priest said the Magisterium said, and you can't see that, either.

Nick:  If a Church document teaches Marriage is permanent, then the priest (who contradicts) is wrong.
Me:   OK, now watch how I take the same thing and apply it to my situation:
If the Bible teaches Marriage is permanent but divorce is permissible under certain specific circumstances, then John Piper is wrong.
What's the difference here?
 
Nick:  Divorce is forbidden very clearly in official Catholic teaching. It doesn't matter how many priests disobey, the dogma doesn't change. Period.
Me:   Divorce is permitted under certain circumstances very clearly in Scriptural teaching. It doesn't matter how many pastors disobey, the dogma doesn't change. Period.
See how you're just engaging, over and over again, in special pleading?


Nick:  The Bible is for the most part "plain English" and can be comprehended by the average reader. The problem arises when two Protestants point to the same verse(s) and come to polar opposite dogmatic conclusions.
Me:   Magisterial declarations are for the most part "plain English" and can be comprehended by the average reader. The problem arises when two RCs point to the same decree(s) and come to polar opposite dogmatic conclusions.
Uh oh - you've got a problem.
Or lookie here:
Sacred Tradition is for the most part "plain English" and can be comprehended by the average reader. The problem arises when one Romanist and one Eastern Orthodox point to the same passage(s) and come to polar opposite dogmatic conclusions.

10 comments:

lozeerose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lozeerose said...

(Delete/repost to make sure I followed the comments for this.)

Rhobology, I would like to point out two quick issues. Further discussion of both is better suited for a forum other than Blogger's combox (email or maybe IM chat perhaps - ever try Disqus?), which can be a pain.

The Church indeed teaches on the permanence of marriage. Nick alluded to the difference between divorce and annulments when he made the statement that an annulment is a finding that states the Church, after much investigation, finds that the marriage invalid due to some impediment such as being forced into it, lack of proper form, etc. A divorce is a legal (not Canonical Law) definition of the couple's status civilly. The Church does not grant divorce no person can break a valid marital bond sans death. Divorce, however, is accepted if a spouse and/or their children are found to be in some immediate harm (not always physical) but neither is allowed to remarry until the bond is broken by death (1 Cor 7:10-11). Let's quickly visit the one of the Scripture verses that is often cited by those who "allow" divorce and remarriage:

"But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (Matthew (RSV) 5:32)

The original Greek word used for unchastity refers to illicit (invalid) marriages (as in Leviticus 18:6-16 or contracted with Gentiles). Sometimes we also see this same word translated as fornication. Pornea is better translated as sexual immorality and the most common example of sexual immorality is sex outside of marriage. Thus, Jesus in Mt 5:32 makes reference that only the those husbands and wives not married in the eyes of God can divorce because there was never a marriage in the first place.

On to the item of "interpretive authority." You will not like this simple argument and have surely heard it before but...if there is only one God (in this case the Holy Spirit), then can there be various, differing (sometimes drastically) interpretations of Scripture? Also, if you are inspired by the Holy Spirit and I as well, then how is your interpretation valid and mine not? Also, St. Paul mentions in (the famous) 1 Tim 3:15, "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth," which church does is he speaking of? And shouldn't that church be united in her dogmatic teachings and carry some authority to do so?

Truly marinate on these questions. Again, I would prefer to converse via some other, formatting friendly medium.

Vox Veritatis said...

Lozeerose,

I am a fellow Protestant who shares Rhology's disdain with the RCC's claim to "interpretive authority," so your statements have relevance to me as well.

You will not like this simple argument and have surely heard it before but...

What you provided is not an argument, but a question (a series of questions, actually). An argument is a series of declarative statements that attempts to justify a claim, which is the conclusion of the argument. Questions do not convince, nor do they have logical consequences - but these are both properties of arguments. So instead of asking a series of questions, perhaps you could present a series of arguments. If you wish to convince this particular infidel (who is under the anathema of the infallible magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church) of the error of his ways, you will need a little more in the way of convincing argumentation.

lozeerose said...

Oh boy. Vox, I often find that many of your persuasion, and I don't mean Protestant (I mean unable to hold a cordial discussion/debate due to a lack of coherent statements), attack irrelevant and insignificant portions of a statement in order to deflect from addressing the actual point.

These questions are a method of engaging and eliciting a response from the recipient of said questions that requires them to think and analyze prior to countering. You did not think - your ilk rarely does.

Anyway, allow me to address my own questions for you then:

1. If there is only one God (in this case the Holy Spirit), then [how] can there be various, differing (sometimes drastically) interpretations of Scripture? There cannot. Please see the following verses:
Jn 10:16 - there will be one fold and one shepherd.
Eph 4:3-6 - one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father
Rom 16:17 - I urge that there be no divisions among you
1Cor 1:10 - I urge that there be no divisions among you
Phil 2:2 - be of same mind, united in heart thinking one thing
Rom 15:5 - God grant you to think in harmony with one another
Jn 17:17-23 - I pray that they may be one, as we are one
Jn 17:23 - that they may be brought to perfection as one
1Cor 12:13 - in one spirit we are baptized into one body
Rom 12:5 - we, though many, are one body in Christ
Eph 4:4 - one body, one Spirit, called to be one hope
Col 3:15 - the peace into which you were called in one body
Mt 16:18-19 - upon this rock I will build my Church (singular)
Mt 18:17 – tell it to THE Church; if he refuses to listen even to THE Church… (must be visible)
2. Also, if you are inspired by the Holy Spirit and I as well, then how is your interpretation valid and mine not? We cannot have two valid interpretations of dogmatic Truths. Truth IS regardless of personal belief. You can believe that you can fly under your own power, this does not make it true.
3. Also, St. Paul mentions in (the famous) 1 Tim 3:15, "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth," which church is he speaking of? The church which is "one, holy, catholic and apostolic."
4. And shouldn't that church be united in her dogmatic teachings and carry some authority to do so? I spoke to "one" of unitive character of the Church above. With concern to the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic:
THE CHURCH (one, holy, catholic and apostolic)
Mt 16:18-19 - upon this rock I will build my Church
Mt 18:17 - if he refuses to listen even to the Church…
Mt 28:18-20 - go baptize and teach all nations
Mk 16:15-16 - go to whole world and proclaim gospel
Lk 10:16 - whoever hears you, hears me; rejects you, rejects me.
Jn 14:16, 26 - Holy Spirit with you always, teach/remind you of everything
Jn 16:13 - Spirit of truth will guide you to all truth.
1Tim 3:15 - Church is the pillar and foundation of truth.

The Church is the body of Christ
Col 1:18 - He is the head of the body, the church.
1 Cor 12:20-27 - you are Christ's body, individually parts of it.
Eph 5:30 - we are members of His body.
Rom 12:4-5 - though many, we are one body in Christ
1 Cor 6:15 - Don't you know your bodies are members of Christ?

Apostolic Church
Jn 15:16 - Jesus chose special men to be his Apostles
Jn 20:21 - Jesus gave the Apostles his own mission
Lk 22:29-3 - Jesus gave them a kingdom
Mt 16:18 - Jesus built Church on Peter, the rock
Jn 10:16 - one shepherd to shepherd Christ's sheep
Lk 22:32, Jn 21:17 - Peter appointed to be chief shepherd
Eph 4:11 - church leaders are hierarchical
1Tim 3:1, 8; 5:17 - identifies roles of bishops, priests, deacons
Tit 1:5 - commission for bishops to ordain priests

lozeerose said...

Authoritative Church
Mt 28:18-20 - Jesus delegates all power to Apostles
Jn 20:23 - power to forgive sin
1Cor 11:23-24 - power to offer sacrifice (Eucharist)
Lk 10:16 - power to speak with Christ's voice
1Rom 5 - bringing obedience
Mt 18:18 - power to legislate
Mt 18:17 - power to discipline

Infallible Church
Jn 16:13 - guided by Holy Spirit into all truth
Jn 14:26 - Holy Spirit to teach & remind them of everything
Lk 10:16 - speak with Christ's own voice
1Tim 3:15 - Church called "pillar and foundation of truth"
1Jn 2:27 - anointing of Holy Spirit remains in you
Acts 15:28 - Apostles speak with voice of Holy Spirit
Mt 28:20 - I am with you

Perpetual Church
Is 9:6-7 - of Christ's government there will be no end
Dan 2:44 - God's kingdom shall stand forever
Dan 7:14 - His kingdom shall not be destroyed
Eph 3:21 – to him be glory in the church to all generations for ever and ever.
Lk 1:32, 33 - no end to Christ's kingdom
Mt 7:24 - Jesus is like a wise man who built his house on a rock
Mt 13:24-30 - let wheat & weeds grow together until harvest
Mt 16:18 - gates of hell will never prevail against Christ's church
Jn 14:16 - Holy Spirit will be with you always
Mt 28:19-20 - I am with you all days

Vox Veritatis said...

Lozeerose,

Allow me to restate the points I made in the above comment.

1) In the context in question, you asked questions, but did not present arguments (despite claiming to have presented an argument in that particular instance).
2) Questions do not have logical consequences.
3) There are some Protestants (of whom I am one) that will not be convinced of the "interpretive authority" of the RCC unless presented with convincing argumentation.

Now, my comment has apparently not set well with you. You have not claimed that I have said anything that is untruthful and erroneous. So perhaps you think I have violated one of the Gricean maxims, perhaps the Maxim of Relation, in particular. However, I would deny that even this is the case. Putatively, you are trying to persuade Rhology of the wrongheadedness of his way of thinking. However, as a fellow (and quite like-minded) Protestant, I simply wish to make the point that such methods are ultimately unpersuasive. As I have stated before, questions cannot rationally persuade. At most, they can get one to think, and perhaps even doubt, one's own position. However, they cannot rationally persuade someone to believe something else. For rational persuasion, argument is required. Putatively, you wish to persuade us of the interpretive authority of the RCC magisterium. So, you should provide arguments for your position, if you wish to persuade the Protestants in this neck of the woods. If pointing this out is such a bad, horrible thing, then I guess I am guilty as charged.

Oh boy. Vox, I often find that many of your persuasion, and I don't mean Protestant (I mean unable to hold a cordial discussion/debate due to a lack of coherent statements), attack irrelevant and insignificant portions of a statement in order to deflect from addressing the actual point.

I will note that you have made quite a number of gratuitous assumptions. You claim that:

1) I am unable to hold a cordial discussion/debate
2) I did not make coherent statements
3) I "attack irrelevant and insignificant portions of a statement in order to deflect from addressing the actual point"

These are somewhat significant allegations, and it would be nice if you could prove them. As for each of them:

1) You have had no previous discussions/debates with me in the past, so it seems hardly reasonable for you to claim that I am unable to hold a cordial discussion. This is quite a gratuitous assumption on your part, unless you are privy to some information of which I am unaware.
2) Please show which of my statements were incoherent. I would be quite interested to know which of the things I said previously made no sense.
3) My point is revelant, for the reasons explained above. If you want me to answer questions, I am amenable - but you were the one who claimed to be presenting an argument, not me.

These questions are a method of engaging and eliciting a response from the recipient of said questions that requires them to think and analyze prior to countering.

Perhaps, but then they are not arguments. If you wish to demonstrate your claims, you need to make one.

You did not think - your ilk rarely does.

More gratuitous assumptions:

4) In replying above, I did not think.
5) My "ilk" rarely thinks.

Perhaps you would care to show how you know that I "did not think" in writing the above comment? I think my explanation clearly demonstrates a cogent train of thought behind it. Perhaps you could also tell me who/what my "ilk" is? I would be very interested to know who comprises this group, since I am not sure of its identity myself. However, this seems a very implausible claim (to know that "my ilk" does not think), since you do not know me.

Vox Veritatis said...

(continued)

I count five gratituitous assumptions in your first four sentences. That's a ratio of over one gratuitous assumption per sentence. But given that you have made so many gratuitous assumptions in your first four sentences, why should I believe anything else that you have to say? What reason do I have to believe that the rest of your claims are not also simply gratuitous assumptions?

Now, since you insist, I will address your questions.

1. If there is only one God (in this case the Holy Spirit), then [how] can there be various, differing (sometimes drastically) interpretations of Scripture?

Because different people choose to believe different things about what the Bible says. If you wish to assert differently, make an argument.

Please see the following verses

This "scattergun prooftext" method of discourse is particularly unconvincing, for the following reasons:

1) You have not made a claim as to what each of these verses means. Without an established meaning that is relevant to the point at hand, a prooftext has no value. So, if you wish to convince, state what you believe each verse means and why.
2) You have not made an argument for why these verses support your conclusion. Beyond establishing the meaning of each verse, the burden of proof is upon you to show why the meaning supports the conclusion you are trying to reach.
3) Even if you did establish the meaning and demonstrate their relevance in supporting your position, I have no reason to accept such arguments on the terms of the position that you are trying to convince me to accept. On RC terms, Scripture is not subject to private interpretation. Yet, if you were to make such arguments, you would be arguing from your own private interpretation of Scripture. So, even if you were to convince me of the correctness of your position, I would have no reason to accept your Scriptural arguments as sound, because they would simply be of your own private interpretation.

Vox Veritatis said...

(continued)

To bring this home, I'll give an example of why scattergun prooftexting fails as a method of persuasive discourse. I will show, from Scripture, why the magisterium of the RCC should not be believed, trusted, or followed. Of course, I will do this without noting the context of the verses, making an argument for what they mean, or showing how they are applicable to the point at hand.

1 Ti. 4:1-3 - "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth."
Col. 2:18 - "Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind"
2 Ti. 4:3-4 - "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."
Jn. 16:3 - "And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me"
Jude 4 - "For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."
2 Jn. 10-11 - "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works."
Psa. 2:4 - "He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision."
Gal. 1:8-9 - "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!"
2Th. 1:9 - "They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might"
Rev. 14:11 - "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name"
Rev. 19:20 - "And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur."

Vox Veritatis said...

(continued)


2. Also, if you are inspired by the Holy Spirit and I as well, then how is your interpretation valid and mine not?

I claim not to be inspired. I also claim that you are not inspired either.

We cannot have two valid interpretations of dogmatic Truths. Truth IS regardless of personal belief. You can believe that you can fly under your own power, this does not make it true.

I completely agree with you on this statement. And I also believe that you are wrong on many of your theological beliefs.

3. Also, St. Paul mentions in (the famous) 1 Tim 3:15, "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth," which church is he speaking of?

The "church of God, which he bought with his own blood" (Act 20:28). Which is much different, in my book, than what you would refer to as The church which is "one, holy, catholic and apostolic." There are many things in Scripture that speak of "church of God, which he bought with his own blood" which do not apply to the RCC, in my view.

4. And shouldn't that church be united in her dogmatic teachings and carry some authority to do so?

If by "that church", you mean the RCC, then I have no position on the matter. If you mean the "church of God, which he bought with his own blood", then I would agree that theological unity is the ideal. However, just because something should be the case does not mean that it is the case. Case in point: sin.

Rhology said...

lozeerose,

I actually happen to think that a blogger combox is pretty decent for having these kinds of discussions. I haven't seen a better format than just chronological - the indented-thread style used in places like CARM drives me insane. It is impossible to follow.

I once tried Disqus on this forum and hated it. It ate comments, it wouldn't display others, and generally didn't do what it purported to do.

One idea would be for you to respond on your own blog, and then I could respond on my own, etc. Vox might be inclined to do so as well. So that's another option.

Anyway, you have a lot to answer here. My answer is here. Here's hoping you do some thinking before you fire off another unthinking Rome-drone response like your first comments here.