Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Discussion on Apostolic succession at Visits to Candyland blog

There's an interesting discussion going on over at Visits to Candyland.

73 comments:

Paul said...

Jennie,
I do have a bit more on succession from additional ECFs'
I don't want to wear out my welcome at Visits to Candyland. I will start posting some here when they shut the thread down there.

Jennie said...

Ok Paul. That's great.

Paul said...

Well,
Since Elena shut Kelly's thread down I will continue here.

Jennie wrote:
'The Didache just shows, as many of the Church Fathers' writings do, that the early church didn't believe the way the RCC does."
Elena wrote:

"I just need to sneak one little thing in here. What all of the references to the EFC and the Didache has done is to show that some writings can be pulled out of context and misused against Catholics. I read quite a bit of David T. White's stuff this afternoon and it seems as though he has made it a mission to prove that the early church was Protestant. Even the reformers didnt' claim that!

I guess I would as Jennie, Paul DOW what are you trying to prove here? Who has the most anti-Catholic references on their bookshelves? Who has the most free time to post that stuff? And I'm sure you'd all write the "if they only had eyes to see" ad hominem again.

But the truth is we're not willing to take secondary sources third hand and out of context as proof.

It's not compelling or persuasive but most importantly it's not convincing.

Unbiased sources might work better for you if you're striving for that."

October 30, 2009 6:31 PM

Paul said...

"I just need to sneak one little thing in here. What all of the references to the EFC and the Didache has done is to show that some writings can be pulled out of context and misused against Catholics. I read quite a bit of David T. White's stuff this afternoon and it seems as though he has made it a mission to prove that the early church was Protestant. Even the reformers didnt' claim that!"
-----------------
Elena,
Perhaps you could demonstrate where I have engaged in taking "some writings can be pulled out of context and misused against Catholics." I would be more than willing to defend the use of the ECFs' as well as any citations I posted.
I don't recall posting anything written by David T. White but I would certainly be willing to take a look at it.

Paul said...

"I guess I would as Jennie, Paul DOW what are you trying to prove here? Who has the most anti-Catholic references on their bookshelves? Who has the most free time to post that stuff? And I'm sure you'd all write the "if they only had eyes to see" ad hominem again."
------------------------
Elena,
How would you define "anti-Catholic"?

Could it be equated with a term like "anti-protestant" or "anti-Bible-believer"?

Could a source that you have used in the thread i.e Dave Armstrong be called "anti-Evangelical"?

Paul said...

"But the truth is we're not willing to take secondary sources third hand and out of context as proof."
-------------
I'm not sure what to say about this charge. As I recall I used New Advent for all of my ECF quotes, and provided links directly to the source. I don't recall ever hearing that New Advent was an "anti-Catholic" organization. As far as them being "secondary sources", I think all of the folks I quoted are dead so it's a little difficult getting a primary source.
Again, since I gave you links to my sources on the ECFs' perhaps you can point out where I have misused them.

Jennie said...

The post I put up from 'Catholic but not Roman Catholic' should help explain the way we look at the Early Church Fathers.

Paul said...

Yes, I think it will. I am reading some comments posted at Triablogue by Jason Engwar now.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/10/riding-high-in-saddle.html

Paul said...

Jennie,
Bryan Cross is reviewing Keith Mathison's book here:

http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/11/solo-scriptura-sola-scriptura-and-the-question-of-interpretive-authority/

Check this out:

"Bryan,

In a typical Roman Catholic fashion you fall back on apostolic succession in the comment sections of this post. I would be interested in knowing who the apostolic successor of Peter from the time of his death until Gregory? Even your own ecclesiatical community cannot answer that question, leaving a five century hole in your system. Furthermore, where was the center of Rome and who was the Pope during the Avignon period? Did the Pope have the authority, as the apostolic successor of Peter, or did the counsel that chose which of the three Popes would be Pope? Furthermore, have you read what Ireneaus meant by “apostolic succession?” Seems to me that this would be important since your entire argument hinges on the veracity of it. Did Irenaues mention the church of Rome in his exposition?

cont.

Paul said...

"The absence of support for Roman Catholic adaptation of such dogma actually makes Rome look like a usurper. How could you believe that you have unity in dogma in Rome when transubstantiation was not even formulated or articulated until Radbertus Paschasius in the 9th Century. It was not official Roman Catholic dogma until the Fourth Lateran Counsel. In fact, prior to this counsel variations of explanation of the significance of the Eucharist were held and tolerated in the church of Rome. What about Limbo. It is dogma for so many centuries and then all of a sudden the Pope waves his magic wand and it disappears. Explain that one to your readers. How could Jesus say, “Not one jot or tittle will pass away,” but the Pope can add or remove them at will?

How can you be so arrogant as to attack Protestantism when you system is a fraudulent version of ecclesiastical unity. It is, in reality, a deceitful institution of equivocation and human authority. The Reformers understood the abuses and have marked them sufficiently in their writings, but, as is true for so many in this world, it is far easier to adhere to human religion than to Christ.

Nicolas T. Batzig.

Jennie said...

Paul,
This is a very interesting subject, because even as a member of a Baptist church that is fairly independent (I say independent because even though we are technically Southern Baptist, we aren't in good graces with the local Association because our leadership doesn't go along with the current church growth initiatives, so we are considered a 'renegade' of sorts, being unapologetically Biblical)I don't believe we are 'solo scriptura.' Our pastor is a Godly man who is growing in wisdom and understanding and knowledge of God, and our other men are the same, so just like a local church of the first century we edify and exhort each other according to scripture and the Spirit in each one. The only thing that is hard is that I think it's hard for our pastor to find like minded fellowship among other pastors. The church growth movement is rampant here.
I haven't read past the intro of the article yet, because it's late, but I'll read some more tomorrow I hope.
I'm not quite sure if what they are concerned about with 'solo scriptura' isn't really something else altogether. If someone is in a local church that teaches scripture and the members are studying and encouraging each other and are truly born again, I don't see that they could go far wrong.

Jennie said...

Paul,
I would be interested in knowing who the apostolic successor of Peter from the time of his death until Gregory? Even your own ecclesiatical community cannot answer that question, leaving a five century hole in your system.
Playing devil's advocate, what about that list of 'popes' that goes from Linus (I think) onwards? I do think I remember reading that Linus wouldn't technically be considered a successor for some reason, but I can't remember why. Also, Peter was never bishop of Rome, even if he was there.

Jennie said...

But what's the significance of Gregory? Why is he calling it a 500 year hole?

Paul said...

"But what's the significance of Gregory? Why is he calling it a 500 year hole?"

Jennie,
The fact is that they have contradicting accounts of the lineage up to the point of Gregory the first. They often boast that they have an unbroken chain of Popes beginning with Peter. Yet this cannot be proven. The Eastern churches make a similar claim. His point regarding the Avignon schism is also very important. They cannot definitively determine which of the three elected popes was the "real' one. In fact there was "no" Pope in Rome for a period of at least 70 years.

Jennie said...

Paul,
Furthermore, have you read what Ireneaus meant by “apostolic succession?” Seems to me that this would be important since your entire argument hinges on the veracity of it. Did Irenaues mention the church of Rome in his exposition?
Is Nicolas referring to 'Against Heresies' which you mentioned in comments under Kelly's post which is linked in my above post?
Here's a link to that part of Irenaeus' 'Against Heresies' on New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm
I'm not clear on what Nicolas is trying to say about Irenaeus, I guess because I don't know the background around what Irenaeus was writing there.

Jennie said...

The fact is that they have contradicting accounts of the lineage up to the point of Gregory the first. They often boast that they have an unbroken chain of Popes beginning with Peter. Yet this cannot be proven.
Got it. So there is no proven unbroken physical chain of popes. The important succession, which you mentioned to Kelly also, at Visits to Candyland, is the succession of Apostolic doctrine which is passed down in scripture, as well as the SAME doctrine being taught and passed down orally.

Paul said...

" Ambrose (c. 339-97): Many times have the clergy erred; the bishop has wavered in his opinion; the rich men have adhered in their judgment to the earthly princes of the world; meanwhile the people alone preserved the faith entire. John Daillé, A Treatise on the Right Use of the Fathers (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1856), p. 197."

Latin text: Plerumque clerus erravit, Sacerdos mutavit sententiam, divites cum saeculi istius terreno rege senserunt; populus fidem propriam reservavit. In Psalmum David CXVIII Expositio, Sermo 17, §17, PL 15:1446.

Jennie said...

meanwhile the people alone preserved the faith entire.

So succession of doctrine passed down through the church members, the body of Christ.

Paul said...

"Is Nicolas referring to 'Against Heresies' which you mentioned in comments under Kelly's post which is linked in my above post?
Here's a link to that part of Irenaeus' 'Against Heresies' on New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm
I'm not clear on what Nicolas is trying to say about Irenaeus, I guess because I don't know the background around what Irenaeus was writing there."

Jennie,
If you look at what I posted (on Kelly's thread) as well as what the Webster/King series explains in Vol.1 & 2 you will see that both Ireneaus and Tertullian explain how Apostolic Succession is "Doctrinal". I will find the pages where W/K refer to this.

Paul said...

"Got it. So there is no proven unbroken physical chain of popes. The important succession, which you mentioned to Kelly also, at Visits to Candyland, is the succession of Apostolic doctrine which is passed down in scripture, as well as the SAME doctrine being taught and passed down orally."

Exactly.

Jennie said...

If you look at what I posted (on Kelly's thread) as well as what the Webster/King series explains in Vol.1 & 2 you will see that both Ireneaus and Tertullian explain how Apostolic Succession is "Doctrinal". I will find the pages where W/K refer to this.

I'd better get busy reading; I haven't gotten very far yet in vol. 1.

Paul said...

Volume I p.136-137.
Volume II virtually all of Chapter 1.
(Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition).

Jennie,
That set can be overwhelming at first. What I found very helpful was to get familiar with all the different sections for reference purposes. Then when I first received the series in 2002 I read through all of Vol 1&2 without reading most of the footnotes (which are absolute treasure). Then I re-read all of vol I again with the footnotes and then most of Vol. II as well as all of Vol. III.

Jennie said...

Thanks for the advice on how to read the series, Paul. It is rather overwhelming. I think I'll go through and read some of the notes just for fun, and look through the set to get an overview of what's in it, as you suggested.

Jennie said...

Bryan Cross writes,
Catholic critics of sola scriptura have argued that sola scriptura is essentially a denial of ecclesial authority, and hence that sola scriptura necessarily leads to a fragmentation in which each person interprets Scripture as seems right in his own eyes. In this way, they argue, sola scriptura is largely responsible not only for the separation of Protestants from the Catholic Church, but also for the vast number of schisms between Protestants. But a relatively recent book has given Protestants a way of replying to these criticisms, by seeking to accommodate the Catholic critics’ legitimate concerns while simultaneously repudiating their vision of the relation between Scripture and Tradition. That book is titled The Shape of Sola Scriptura, by Keith A. Mathison, the associate editor of Tabletalk.
Cross may bring this out later, but sola scriptura is not a denial of ecclesial authority, only a denial of their authority OVER scripture.
Sola Scriptura is not responsible for the separation of Protestants from the Roman Catholic church; the Roman Catholic church hierarchy and it's failure to uphold the truth and authority of scripture is responsible for the separation of Protestants and Catholics.
Sola Scriptura is not responsible for 'the vast number of schisms between Protestants'. A falling away from Sola Scriptura is responsible for the great majority of sects which call themselves Christian but are in reality heretical. There are very few truly Biblical Christian denominations.

Mathison begins his criticism of solo scriptura by pointing his readers to the widespread “hermeneutical chaos and anarchy” caused by the existence of conflicting interpretations of Scripture. Why is this “hermeneuetical chaos” a problem? One primary reason, according to Mathison, is that the divisions and disagreements between Christians undermine the credibility of Christians and the gospel.
Well what about the widespread hermeneutical chaos and anarchy within the Roman Catholic church caused by the conflicting interpretations of the interpretations of scripture AND 'oral tradition'?

Paul said...

" Constitutions of the Holy Apostles: Let him that teaches, although he be one of the laity, yet, if he be skilful in the word and grave in his manners, teach; for “they shall be all taught of God.” See ANF, Vol. VII, Constitutions of the Holy Apostles Book 8.32, p. 495.

Greek text: Ὁ διδάσκων εἰ καὶ λαϊκὸς ᾖ, ἔμπειρος δὲ τοῦ λόγου καὶ τὸν τρόπον σεμνός, διδασκέτω• «Ἔσονται γὰρ πάντες διδακτοὶ Θεοῦ.» PG 1:1132-1133.

Jennie said...

I can't quite picture how 'solo scriptura' would actually work. It seems to me that if a person is a born again Christian then he/she will be in God's word, which teaches that not to abandon gathering yourselves together (as the body of Christ), so he/she will pray for and be given a congregation to meet with in order to be encouraged and edified by other believers. He/she will be learning from the word and from other believers continually, which presupposes the presence of the Teacher and Comforter, the Holy Spirit. They will not be in danger in this way.
On the other hand, if someone is a born again believer and is NOT in the word or is disobedient to the word and doesn't gather together with other believers consistently, then they are in danger of falling away, but they are not so much a danger to other believers, not being in contact with them.
Then again, if a believer is in the word and goes to a church that begins teaching false doctrine that believer will most likely try to speak out for the truth, and then if no one listens he/she will eventually leave and prayerfully find another church that does teach the truth. If he/she instead falls away along with the false church, the whole church is castaway.
The presence of the Holy Spirit, the word, and other like-minded believers is a good guarantee of safety from error.
The lack of these means the person or church is lost and is not a part of the body anyway. They need salvation.

Jennie said...

Another scenario would be if an immature Christian is in a Biblical church; during discussion in Sunday School or Bible study, etc. other mature Christians will correct any misunderstandings expressed by the less mature one(s).

Jennie said...

Paul,
" Constitutions of the Holy Apostles: Let him that teaches, although he be one of the laity, yet, if he be skilful in the word and grave in his manners, teach; for “they shall be all taught of God.” See ANF, Vol. VII, Constitutions of the Holy Apostles Book 8.32, p. 495.

That's great, and very encouraging. I love it when I see that I am likeminded with the early Christians, and likeminded with brothers and sisters in Christ here and now too; that goes along well with my post above called 'They Shall All Be Taught By God'.

Jennie said...

As I continue to read Bryan Cross's article, it occurs to me that there is no such thing as 'solo scriptura' (as opposed to 'sola scriptura'); instead there is only a failure to follow scripture, which itself (as the voice of God) establishes authority founded upon itself: bishops (pastors and elders) to teach and guide and discipline, and fellow believers meeting to exhort and encourage each other IN the word AND the Spirit (see Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.). If believers are not under the authority of a church and being accountable to other Christians, they are not following scripture at all.

Jennie said...

Then there are whole churches that are not following scripture, or are in disobedience to much of scripture; these churches would not be considered 'sola scriptura' churches. It is not 'sola scriptura' but disobedience that causes division.

Jennie said...

Brian Cross quotes Keith Mathison:
Is there any way to ever resolve the hermeneutical chaos and anarchy that exists within the Protestant church largely as a result of its adoption of radical individualism? Most Protestants do not seem to have taken this question seriously enough if they have considered it at all. If we proclaim to the unbelieving world that we have the one true and final revelation from God, why should they listen to us if we cannot agree about what that revelation actually says? Jesus prayed for the disciples that they would be one (John 17:21a). And why did He pray for this unity? He tells us the reason, “that the world may believe that You sent me” (17:21b). The world is supposed to be hearing the Church preach the gospel of Christ, but the world is instead hearing an endless cacophony of conflicting and contradictory assertions by those who claim to be the Church of Christ. This is the heart of the hermeneutical problem we face in the Church today.5
Has Keith or Bryan studied even a little bit of Church history and observed the many differing opinions on various issues of doctrine, including full blown controversies in which each side is calling the other heretics? This took place all through church history: catholic (universal)church history, Roman Catholic history, and protestant church history. What is so different about it now? Why is Mathison pointing at fellow protestants and forgetting all this history and forgetting or not realizing that Roman Catholics even now have many controversies going on between themselves?
I myself have only scratched the surface on church history and I have seen all these things.
Sola scriptura doesn't cause controversies. The extent to which we fail to study scripture and abide in Christ and fellowship together is the extent that we fail to be unified.

Paul said...

Jennie,
I agree with your conclusion 100%. Sola Scriptura does not cause controversies. It's Scripture-Plus that leads to disharmony.

Jennie said...

Cross states:
According to Mathison, then, when each person is deciding for himself what is the correct interpretation of Scripture, Scripture is no longer functioning as the final authority. Rather, each individual’s own reason and judgment becomes, as it were, the highest authority, supplanting in effect Scripture’s unique and rightful place. Can we avoid this result simply by letting Scripture interpret itself? According to Mathison, the answer is no:(Mathison states:)
All appeals to Scripture are appeals to interpretations of Scripture. The only real question is: whose interpretation? People with differing interpretations of Scripture cannot set a Bible on a table and ask it to resolve their differences. In order for the Scripture to function as an authority, it must be read and interpreted by someone. According to “solo” Scriptura, that someone is each individual, so ultimately, there are as many final authorities as there are human interpreters.9

It occurs to me that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of Scripture. It is not there for us to take bits here and there to make up doctrines and then in turn to take more bits and pieces from it to use as talking points to support our arguments. The purpose of scripture is to reveal God to us; it is God's voice telling us about Himself. The more we study the whole of it and are guided by the Spirit through prayer, the more we will understand. The scripture DOES interpret itself, by one part giving clarity to another, and by the Spirit speaking to us through it. The Bible isn't just a book; it's the living voice of God that interacts with those who are being drawn by His Spirit. We shouldn't be finding doctrines outside of scripture and then trying to prove them using scripture; we should be filling ourselves with scripture. 'Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.'

Jennie said...

Another thing occurs to me. It may be (correct me if I'm wrong) that the more important a doctrine is for salvation (being made right with God through the gospel) the more clearly it is stated in scripture. Hard to understand passages may be giving doctrine that is not essential for salvation, but those who are more mature may wrestle with these passages and be given understanding by the Holy Spirit as needed.
I think a local church can function very well this way, with the pastors and elders teaching and guiding, and the mature Christians helping the younger Christians, and each helping with the gifts they have been given by the Holy Spirit. Churches don't need some kind of central magisterium to dictate doctrine to them. All born again believers have the Spirit to interpret the word, and if they seek God in His word with all their hearts and obey Him by staying accountable to other believers, they should be safe.

Jennie said...

Here's a good passage:
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

If we lack wisdom, we ask God directly, not some magisterium. God deals with us directly. We must have faith 'that God is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.' If we don't have faith, we can ask for that too. 'Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief.'

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie wrote:

"I think a local church can function very well this way, with the pastors and elders teaching and guiding, and the mature Christians helping the younger Christians, and each helping with the gifts they have been given by the Holy Spirit. Churches don't need some kind of central magisterium to dictate doctrine to them. All born again believers have the Spirit to interpret the word, and if they seek God in His word with all their hearts and obey Him by staying accountable to otherbelievers, they should be safe."
-----------------------------------

Jennie, it's funny that you should say this, because I was thinking the same thing too. God has placed within the church various peoples with various gifts. If each person operates under his God-given gifts, the body would function beautifully. The problem lies when people try to operate under a gift for which they have no calling or anointing. That is what causes a lot of confusion in churches. For example, when people who have no gift of teaching, or prophecy try to teach or prophesy, the end result is confusion. People need to operate under their particular gifts to be successful in ministry. I for one do not have the gift of tongues or miracles. Can you imagine me wasting my time trying to speak in tongues or faking some miracles? What deception that would be! And yet people, who are not gifted in these areas try to perform such things, without God's anointing, with disastrous results! If your gift is children's ministry, then do it. If your gift is the arts, then stick with that. If your gift is writing, stick with that. If your gift is giving comfort to others, then stick with that. There are more than enough gifts to go around without people fighting with each other and being jealous, and trying to supplant other people's gifts.

Our central magisterium is the Holy Spirit, and Him alone. I am tired of churches trying to rule the conscience instead of letting God be God.

All true believers have the Spirit of God who will interpret the Word for us. How this works is that God has given to each believer a measure of the gift of prophecy, HOWEVER, certain revelations He only reveals through His prophets, which are to be disseminated to the body at large for edification. Why God does things this way I do not know, but that is how it has always been done, even in the New Testament. I guess He can trust some of us more with how we handle His Word. He knows who will be faithful to reveal His will, and who would just keep it to themselves and edify no one.

People are opposed to new revelations because they are offended that God did not reveal it to them first, or the revelation may be a challenge to some of their long-standing erroneous beliefs. There is no way God is going to reveal anything to them because they are not open to receive His counsel, but have closed off their minds, preferring rather to hold on to some cherished belief.

Peace.

Jennie said...

Hillary,
I agree with you; sin gets in the way of people using their gifts and helping the church work the way it should. This is even more magnified when there is a magisterium that presumes to dictate their interpretations to people instead of letting the Holy Spirit work in each one. They also presume to allow teachings that are found nowhere in Scripture and are contrary to it to be taught as equal to scripture. This shows that these men do not have the Holy Spirit, and most of those they teach don't either because they have been introduced to a false Christianity that begins with no true justification and regeneration by the Spirit. They are not born again, therefore are not alive and not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. If they don't recognize that a false shepherd's voice is leading them, they are not Jesus' sheep. Jesus says “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. John 10:1-6

Jennie said...

And no one should imagine that the Door is anyone other than Jesus Christ Himself. In the following verse He says:
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
In scripture we are never told to look to anyone other than God for our help and salvation. If someone enters a door other than Christ, they are not entering the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd. I say this because many call Mary the gate or door of heaven. Scripture never calls her this. Jesus is the only door.

Jennie said...

Someone who tells you to enter any other door is a thief and a robber that comes to steal, kill, and destroy. In other words, they are misleading people in order to destroy them. This is because these thieves are led by the father of lies and destruction, who is the enemy of our souls, Satan. He directs people to a false door in order to destroy them. Fear God alone; worship God alone; listen to His word alone; pray for wisdom and seek it only in His word, the scriptures.

Paul said...


Madrid: This is how I know, Mr. White. I can look independent of what I see in Scripture. In fact, I'm not going to even treat Scripture as an inspired document for the moment, just for the sake of argument. I'm going to look at whether or not a man named Jesus Christ lived. Can I prove that historically? Yes. Can I prove that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead and appeared to many people who as eyewitnesses claimed that He died and rose from the dead? I can prove that. In two minutes I can't prove it for your satisfaction, but I think we would all agree that those things are true. I can demonstrate through non-Christian, unbiased sources, in fact sometimes actually biased against the Christian position, that Jesus Christ instituted a church. We can look at the writings of these early Christians, not only the apostles but also the men and women in the post-apostolic era. I can look at the Scripture and see what, independent of whether or not I believe it is inspired, I can look and see a description of the church that Jesus established. All of you know the verse in Matthew 16 verse 18, "On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." Mr. White and I would argue all night long over what the rock is, but the fact is Jesus established a church. The next point is that as I look at Scripture I see that the church is described as having certain functions, certain attributes, certain characteristics, certain jobs that it has to perform, and I can compare and find out, well, historically, yes, I can show that that was done, through the writing of the Scriptures. So if I believe that Jesus is God, and I believe that His promise is true that He founded a church, then I have to say, this is the next step, I have to say, does that church, is there a church today which fits that description which is doing all the things that Jesus said. If that's true, if I can find that, and I have, by the way, it's the Catholic Church, then I know that what is described here in this book is the same church that I see today. So when that church tells me, Jesus said in Luke 10:16, "He who listens to you listens to Me, he who refuses to hear you refuses to hear Me," when I hear that Church speak I know that it is Jesus speaking through the church.

Paul said...

White: God's ultimate authority is determined at the end of the longest, most easily contested chain of syllogistic arguments? That is how one knows God's ultimate authority is through a process—you'll find this on pages 126 through 127 of Karl Keating's book—I think very well done by Mr. Madrid in repeating it—it ends with the statement "The Catholic believes in inspiration because the Church tells him so—that is putting it bluntly—and that same Church has the authority to interpret the inspired text." That is where the ultimate authority lies? I could dispute, quite easily, factually, Biblically, and historically, ever single step that he just took! That is what's being presenting to us tonight as to what is to replace the Christian recognizing the Scripture as God-breathed and hence accepting God's speaking in His Word and the testimony of Jesus Christ as the ultimate authority? That is what we are to replace that with? I certainly hope no one is willing to do that.

http://vintage.aomin.org/SANTRAN.html

Jennie said...

So when that church tells me, Jesus said in Luke 10:16, "He who listens to you listens to Me, he who refuses to hear you refuses to hear Me," when I hear that Church speak I know that it is Jesus speaking through the church.
The verse from Luke was Jesus talking to the 70 disciples whom He sent out ahead of Him. Jesus does speak through the church often, but the church isn't the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church; the church is the body of Christ who abides in His word, obeys it, walks in the Spirit, and speaks the truth from His word. If the magisterium speaks things that don't match up to scripture, then they are not speaking for Jesus Christ, but for another spirit, teaching a false gospel. So, on the contrary, it is those who listen to the body of Christ speaking God's truth(directly from scripture) that are listening to His voice.

Jennie said...

Cross quotes Mathison:
Scripture itself indicates that the Scriptures are the possession of the Church and that the interpretation of the Scriptures belongs to the Church as a whole, as a community. In particular it has been entrusted to specially gifted men. … The fundamental point is that Christ established His Church with a structure of authority that is to be obeyed (Heb. 13:7). … The modern Evangelical doctrine of Scripture essentially destroys the real authority of ministers of the Word and the Church as a whole.33

I agree that Christ has gifted men as authorities in the church: pastors or elders, known in early times as bishops or presbyters. Yet there is no mention in scipture of a central magisterium that ruled over the whole church. The Apostles were the beginning foundation, and were never referred to as a continuing office. The local bishops were the authorities over the local churches.
The entire body of Christ interprets the scriptures, and the people are charged with searching the scriptures to be sure what they are being taught is correct. The leaders also ought to guide and discipline the people to be sure they are following the way of Christ accurately.
I'm not sure what Mathison means by the modern evangelical doctrine of scripture; it seems that he is generalizing and not really giving any actual concrete examples of the thing he is concerned about. Certainly there are widespread problems in all church groups, but this is mainly because of a falling away from the Word of God, not from independent interpretations of it.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie wrote:

"I'm not sure what Mathison means by the modern evangelical doctrine of scripture; it seems that he is generalizing and not really giving any actual concrete examples of the thing he is concerned about. Certainly there are widespread problems in all church groups, but this is mainly because of a falling away from the Word of God, not from independent interpretations of it."
----------------------------------

I think Mathison is expressing a fear that if regular folks in the pew become equipped to interpret scripture, then that would undermine the power and authority of the clergy.

I totally disagree. Not every pastor is gifted with the gift of Biblical interpretation or prophecy. Some pastors are good evangelists, some are good administrators, and some are good ministerial helps. All should be teachers. If a person is not equipped with the gift of teaching from the Holy Spirit, then that person has no right going to seminary to be 'trained' to be a pastor. Remember, Paul says that bishops must be apt to teach.

God in His wisdom has diversified the spiritual gifts among the body, and does not limit the spiritual gifts to just the clergy. That has been the pattern throughout the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We see God calling Deborah,a judge of Israel (civil office), to be a prophetess. We see God calling Amos, a cattle rancher, to be a prophet. We see God calling Dorcas, to sew clothing for widows (ministry of helps). We see Jesus calling fishermen, with no ministerial training, to be apostles, and the list goes on and on.

If the spiritual gifts were limited only to the clergy, then God would have called upon only the priests in Israel to fulfill His work.


Peace.

Jennie said...

Hillary,
I think Mathison is expressing a fear that if regular folks in the pew become equipped to interpret scripture, then that would undermine the power and authority of the clergy.

Reading on in Cross's article, I don't think that is Mathison's fear so much as Cross's as a Roman Catholic. I think I agree with Mathison's definition of 'Sola Scriptura', while not agreeing that solo scriptura is the problem in the church today. I think Mathison's view of church authority is good; He seems to believe that the clergy has authority to interpret which supercedes but doesn't negate the interpretive authority of non-clergy. The non-clerical members then have the right and duty to state from scripture any disagreements they have according to their conscience. I'm certainly not an expert on this subject, but it seems right. Cross of course does not agree here and thinks both sola and solo scriptura end in confusion. I believe he doesn't understand how the Holy Spirit works in believers.

Jennie said...

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says:


“ When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.


Pastors and teachers are given their gifts to equip and build up the saints for the work of the ministry. Believers are to help each other grow up in Christ so we will no longer be children who have to be dictated to and who are easily carried away by false doctrines or novel ideas, but are grounded in faith, in the word. All are to be able to handle the word of God well. All have the Spirit, and each is given gifts to be used for the body and for the spreading of the gospel.

Paul said...

Bryan Cross posted some quotes from Jerome:
“Simon Peter, son of John, of the province of Galilee, of the village of Bethsaida, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, ….”

“Christ is not alone in being the Rock, for He granted to the Apostle Peter that he should be called ‘Rock’.”

“For what has Paul to do with Aristotle? Or Peter to do with Plato? For as the latter (Plato) was prince of philosophers, so was the former (Peter) prince of Apostles: on him the Lord’s Church was firmly founded, and neither rushing flood nor storm can shake it.”

“Since the East, shattered as it is by the long-standing feuds, subsisting between its peoples, is bit by bit tearing into shreds the seamless vest of the Lord…. I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church whose faith has been praised by Paul. I appeal for spiritual food to the church whence I have received the garb of Christ. The wide space of sea and land that lies between us cannot deter me from searching for “the pearl of great price”… Yet, though your greatness terrifies me, your kindness attracts me. From the priest I demand the safe-keeping of the victim, from the shepherd the protection due to the sheep. Away with all that is overweening; let the state of Roman majesty withdraw. My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails. But since by reason of my sins I have betaken myself to this desert which lies between Syria and the uncivilized waste, I cannot, owing to the great distance between us, always ask of your sanctity the holy thing of the Lord.”

“The church [here, i.e. Syria] is rent into three factions, and each of these is eager to seize me for its own. …. I meantime keep crying: “He who clings to the chair of Peter is accepted by me… Therefore I implore your blessedness, by our Lord’s cross and passion, ….. to give an apostolic decision. Only tell me by letter with whom I am to communicate in Syria.”

“The Church was founded upon Peter: although elsewhere the same is attributed to all the Apostles, and they all receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the strength of the Church depends upon them all alike, yet one among the twelve is chosen so that when a head has been appointed, there may be no occasion for schism.”


Notice how he does not provide a source or reference for these.
Continued:

Paul said...

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2009/11/pastor-king-responds-to-bryan-cross.html

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Paul,

Jerome seemed to be in GREAT ERROR. Was he not the one who compiled the Vulgate? Was he not a contemporary with Augustine? Was he not anti-marriage, along with Augustine?

Jennie said...

Paul, you beat me to it :) I was about to post a link to TurretinFan's post too. Now I need to go back and finish reading it.

Paul said...

D.O.W wrote:
"Jerome seemed to be in GREAT ERROR. Was he not the one who compiled the Vulgate? Was he not a contemporary with Augustine? Was he not anti-marriage, along with Augustine?"
----------------
No doubt that Jerome had a very un-Biblical view of Marriage and an Overemphasis on Chastity. This was very common in the years after Athanasius celebrated book "Life Of Antony", which gave monasticism a huge endorsement.
Pastor King's post demonstrates how Jerome is misused by R.C apologists to assert Papal Supremacy as well as Apostolic Succession.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Paul wrote:

"Pastor King's post demonstrates how Jerome is misused by R.C apologists to assert Papal Supremacy as well as Apostolic Succession."
-----------------------------------

I guess if they can't prove it from the Bible, then they will try to find someone to agree with them, to justify their views as 'authentic.'

BTW, do you see how the RCC is getting considerable flack in the news since this health care reform bill?

Jennie said...

Paul,
Did Jerome mention 'the chair of Peter' as referring specifically to the Roman bishop, and if so, why did he have the idea that the Roman bishop inherited this title when Peter was not bishop of Rome and must have been involved in appointing many bishops of other cities?
It sounds to me like Jerome was being flattering and overstating things quite a bit in his language to the bishop.

Paul said...

Jennie,
Pastor King gives a little background to Jerome in his post at Thoughts From Francis Turretin. Some of the ECFs i.e Cyprian believed that the "Chair Of Peter" was occupied by all Bishops including himself. He was in Carthage not in Rome. In fact the deacons of Rome refer to Cyprian as "Pope Cyprian" in letters.

Jennie said...

I see. I'll have to go back and read that again. I wonder then if Jerome thought of all bishops that way, or just Rome. Then RC apologists who use that passage to show the supremacy of Rome are doing it in ignorance or deceptively.

Jennie said...

Bryan Cross says:
Mathison’s position does not allow the Church to have the definitive and authoritative interpretation and teaching of Scripture regarding the marks of the Church. Mathison’s position entails that the authoritative determination of the marks of the Church ultimately and perpetually rests with the individual.
This implication follows from Protestantism’s rejection of apostolic succession. Without apostolic succession, there is within Protestantism no group of persons already having divine authorization to provide the definitive decision regarding matters of doctrine and interpretation, including the marks of the Church. By granting a position in which each individual has the highest interpretive authority in determining the marks of the Church, Mathison leaves himself without a principled distinction between solo scriptura and sola scriptura, and thus his position is likewise open to the individualism and fragmentation that he rightly recognizes result from solo scriptura. Hence for this reason as well, sola scriptura reduces to solo scriptura.

I want to call attention to the part that I put in bold letters because I believe scripture opposes the idea of a central body of men who supposedly can make infallible decisions about doctrine and interpretation. Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to the members of the body of Christ to equip the saints OF EACH LOCAL CHURCH BODY. The pastors and teachers of each local body can deal with these issues. That is the authority established by God, and it is founded on the Word of God. Apparently Cross doesn't believe the Holy Spirit is able to give these gifts as He sees fit and to work in each church and individual to equip them. See the following passage:

Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie,

It's funny how persons who are opposed to sola scriptura, blame sola scriptura for causing confusion within the body of Christ, while they are the ones who are guilty of this very thing.

People who do not uphold sola scriptura are always challenging long-held Biblical doctrines, with the goal of supplanting Biblical doctrines with their own.

I will give examples. God created us to be a part of and to function within families, yet some Christians teach singleness. Some teach divorce for every cause, while others teach no divorce at all. Some teach it is okay to worship God using idols. By the way, I just finished a little study on the tribe of Dan, and how they used idols to worship God. They had idols and a priest to minister unto them! If you are interested, I can give you the scripture. All these examples are man's doctrines trying to supplant God's doctrines.

Peace.

Jennie said...

Sure Hillary,
I'd like the scripture for the story about the tribe of Dan. Is is on your blog? I can check it out there if it is.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Jennie,

Here is the scripture.

Click on the link here.

A long but interesting account.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

I wonder if this is why the tribe of Dan is not mentioned in the 144,000 of Revelation 7?

A very curious account, and very telling.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

These stories also show what happens when there is no leadership. People will do their own thing and what seems right in their own eyes. The people of Israel at the time had no king, but if they had lived faithfully according to the laws established, then these crimes would not have been committed. Lack of leadership in enforcing the laws led to widespread depravity. See also Judges 19.

The church also needs leaders to guide us as a body in upholding God's law. If pastors and leaders do not insist on teaching sola scriptura as our guide for morality, then chaos and confusion will be the result, as everyone will try to do what is right in his own eyes.

Peace.

Jennie said...

I wonder if this is why the tribe of Dan is not mentioned in the 144,000 of Revelation 7?

I remember reading something about that awhile back; I can't remember what it was. I'd like to look into that.
It is a very interesting story. I see that the Danites were idolaters who took possession of a land that was not their own by means of massacreing the peaceful fellow-Israelite inhabitants, and they propagated the idolatry of one man (Micah) into the idolatry of their whole clan.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Also if you read the story carefully, you will see that they made Jonathan, a grandson of Moses, to be their priest (Judges 18:30). This was highly irregular because the priests were to be descendants of Aaron, not Moses. They had therefore gone and set up their own priesthood, against God's law.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Look also at Judges 17:10 you see Micah referring to his priest as 'father.'

I tell you, these are some of the more ignored passages of scripture. When was the last time you heard a sermon preached out of these obscure passages? These obscure passages are filled with a wealth of information for the wise reader.

Peace.

Jennie said...

Hillary,
I see in Judges 18:31 that the Danites and Micah and others apparently were worshipping as they saw fit using idols they had made (or stolen) all the while the tabernacle of the LORD was at Shiloh where they were supposed to worship and sacrifice to God as He had commanded by His word.
31 So they set up for themselves Micah’s carved image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie wrote:

"I see in Judges 18:31 that the Danites and Micah and others apparently were worshipping as they saw fit using idols they had made (or stolen) all the while the tabernacle of the LORD was at Shiloh where they were supposed to worship and sacrifice to God as He had commanded by His word."
---------------------------------

Yes Jennie. I could not help but notice that too. They had set up a counterfeit religion that was competing with the true religion of God. Although they claimed to worship God, they worshipped God using idols, which is a direct violation of the Ten Commandment Law.

Another thing. Do you notice how they 'consulted' the priest to see if God would give them victory? They were using the priest as if he were a prophet. Instead of consulting God or using one of God's appointed prophets, they chose to seek God through a man whom they have set up themselves. They did eventually get the victory over the Sidonians, but this victory led them to believe that God was blessing them, and so they continued in their idolatry. This is a vivid warning for us Christians who are worshippping God using falsehood and idols. Just because we receive certain victories and favors does not mean that God approves of our worship, or that He is with us.

God was definitely not with the Danites. They were carried away captivity by the Assyrians and became one of the lost tribes. Dan was also expunged from the list of twelve tribes in Revelation 7.

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

See in Judges 19, this same so-called priest took a concubine and allowed her to be raped by the Benjaminites. Actually, the Benjamites wanted to rape this Levite, but he gave his concubine to them instead. This is so similar to the story of Lot, because Lot also almost made the same fatal mistake with his daughters, but God saved Lot and his daughters from being raped.

A very sordid story that makes me shudder.

Jennie said...

A very sordid story that makes me shudder.

Yes, the first time I read it years ago I was very upset. I felt that the story meant that women are not valued as men are (the Lot story is the same, with Lot offering his daughters to the evil men). Someone explained to me that God did not approve of these actions; God's word just reported what happened. Looking at how women were valued by Jesus and the early church showed me the truth about that issue.

Jennie said...

Then of course, look at how the women of the Old Testament are valued, such as Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah, Ruth, and Esther.

Daughter of Wisdom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daughter of Wisdom said...

Christ has a special love for women. He calls the church or His beloved Israel 'women.' He likens the church to women and likens women to the church. Likewise then, men are encouraged to treat their wives in the same loving manner as Christ treats the church, His bride.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

BTW, the church is not the institution, as some people want us to think, but the whole body of believers. Jesus did not come to give His life for some institution, but for real people.

Peace.

Jennie said...

My husband and I were talking about the Judges 18 story, and he told me that the people of Laish that the Danites destroyed were not Israelites but a city that had not yet been conquered by Israel, just to clarify that. The people of Israel had been told to claim their inheritance after Joshua led them into the promised land. I don't know the dates of the passage in Judges. It seems it took some of the tribes a long time to follow God's command.