Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Creeds, Schmeeds, Who Needs'm?"


I happened upon a website today that described the faith statement of an "emerging looking" church. They had the Nicene and Apostle's creeds on their site and said that their faith comes from the ancient truths expressed in these creeds. Yet when I read further down and came to their "contemporary statement of faith" they stated that "we believe neither baptism or the Lord's supper has any merit in obtaining eternal salvation." Yet, the Nicene Creed states "we believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins." The early church believed that one needed baptism to begin the process of salvation and believed that baptism was not symbolic but regenerational for the sinner.


So what's my issue here? I respect the right for anyone to state their views regardless of how divergent from mine. However, to wave the Creeds around like a flag but deny the very doctrines they espouse doesn't make sense to me.
I am intrigued by the ancient/future church movement as I have talked about before because those folks are taking an honest unbiased look at the early church with its creeds and making statements like "the Call" which I blogged on before. These are folks who I hope and pray will eventually feel the call to Rome as they learn more about the early church which was Catholic in creed, practice and name as well. But for a church to advertise their belief in the Apostles and Nicene creeds on their website displayed with a celtic cross, and then go out and create your own contradicting statement of faith.....I just don't get it. It's like saying "creeds, schmeeds, who needs'm." What do you think?

21 Comments:

Blogger St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

Some modern 'christians' actually subscribe to some of the ancient heresies that the creeds were developed to combat.

October 18, 2006 11:06 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Hey St. Jimbob!
yeah, and even that Gnostic stuff keeps rearing its ugly head in every generation. satan never tires of using the same old methods to deceive folks

October 19, 2006 7:42 AM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Perhaps what you're seeing is another manifestation of the "buffet theology," model in action.

This model tends to be more a function of modern western zeitgeist than any particular theological bent.

I often have employed it in the past, myself: rationalizing my disobedience under the guise of "personal conviction."

Because living according to the Gospel involves obedience, I remain inclined toward setting aside the cross and taking up convenient doctrine.

May God grant us each insight sufficient to recognize this in ourselves when we are so tempted. May He grant us wisdom, strength and grace to choose the cross.

Humbly,

--Theo

October 19, 2006 9:27 AM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

Tiber,

Seems like we had a similar conversation before about the meaning of Baptism, but I can't remember where for certain.

Anyway, as a Reformed Baptist, I wholeheartedly can state what the Nicene Creed says. The question isn't the term "Baptism" but how it is defined Biblically.

What method of interpretation should we use? Do we interpret the Biblical text in light of what we believe centuries after Nicea making the Bible say what we already believe, or do we practice exegesis going to original sources thereby making Nicea subserviant to the Biblical Text?

A recent series on Baptism was done in the Reformed Baptist Theological Review against paedo-baptism. An exegesis of Colossians 2 was provided demonstrating that Baptism is a work of the Spirit in the proclamation of the Gospel. A "circumcision" made without human hands and a Baptism of the Spirit uniting a man to Christ's Life.

"then go out and create your own contradicting statement of faith"

Don't assume that simply because you believe the actual rite or sacrament of physical baptism contributes to salvation means that everyone else ignores the Biblical meaning of it. The contradiction is only between your RC understanding and ours, not necessarily the Bible's definition and ours.

God Bless

October 19, 2006 3:02 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

This is posted for Theo who is apparently having trouble with HTML tags. He e mailed it to me to post to Howard.

Howard:



I am saddened and humbled to have to offer you this correction.



What you report as "exegesis of Colossians 2" is in fact, eisegesis.



Here is the complete passage:



"In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature of the flesh, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead."

2 Col 11,12 NIV



Saint Paul does not define "baptism" as "A 'circumcision' made without human hands..."; rather, he identifies this "circumcision made without human hands ... done by Christ" as the combination of burial with Christ Himself by Baptism and resurrection by faith.





Paul does not define baptism in the passage; however, given the insight of this and relevant scripture, were we to derive a definition for baptism in Paul’s words here, then it would be:

--- Baptism: The act that appears to outside observers as the ritual immersion of a penitent, yet in reality joins the penitent with Christ Himself in His paschal burial, and thereby conveys the benefits of His paschal sacrifice (forgiveness of sin) to the penitent.



Interestingly, this very verse has been cited by Christian theologians for over 1,700 years as an example of the agreement between St. James' epistle and those of St. Paul. While deciding upon what should be considered scripture, the council of Hippo (circa 397) agreed that both Paul and James assert that salvation comes through faith that is demonstrated in concrete action. ...which moves us rather nicely back to our discussion about how one can know what is scripture.



Howard, I hold your zeal for the Gospel and the desire for truth that motivates you in high regard. I most solemnly and humbly pray you to examine with righteous honesty, your pre-conceived notions--this personal papacy that manifests in so much of your writing.



I write this with so great a sense of my own failings, that I also humbly pray for the mercy of Christ, who alone is worthy to judge any soul whom God has created. Today, of you hear His voice, harden not your heart.



With peace,



--Theo

October 19, 2006 7:48 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Howard and Theo for visiting my blog. Go to it in love boys!!

October 19, 2006 7:49 PM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

"Go to it in love boys!!"

I agree with Tiber. :-)

Theo couldn't be farther off. Theo, if you would like, I will send you or upload a copy of the article from the RBTR (not here obviously). Your response never addressed anything I actually stated, not even your view that I defined Baptism as circumcision was really accurate.

There is simply no way to debate that on a Blog. You read the text and then read into it your definition of Baptism after admitting that Paul didn't define it. So instead of letting the text define Baptism, you imposed your view. That was my original critique.

God Bless

October 19, 2006 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Well, I just entered a tome into this interface, only to see it vanish when I went to proof it. Though it might have been serendipity, I'm inclined to consider that the Holy Spirit might be prompting me to brevity.

----

For now, I limit my response to these:

--You appear to misunderstand the meaning of "derive," confusing it with "define."

--Any conclusion derived from many sources cannot contradict the sources--rather it must affirm them.

Please re-read the previous with the above understanding.

Pax,
---Theo

October 20, 2006 11:30 AM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

Theo,

You said I did eisegesis. I did not actually offer an exegesis for you to critique. I was simply saying that the context of Col 2 is Monergistic. Would you like to read the arguments before you say RBs do eisegesis?

Then you did exactly what you accused me of. You took an external definition that you admitted Paul didn't give. Then you forced it into the text.

I know full well that RCs believe in Baptismal regeneration. This is no surprise to me. Even the church of Christ believes in that. Mormons believe in that. Are they all regenerated too?

"this personal papacy that manifests in so much of your writing."

Personal Papacy? Simply because I do not let an external co-equal authority to God's Word override the plain meaning of God's Word? So in essence, you want me to exchange what you see as one papacy for another? I see your papacy as muting the clear voice of God. You literally have tons of external documents that one could spend a lifetime combing through to know what Scripture means. I will take Romans 8 any day.

Of course you will say "which moves us rather nicely back to our discussion about how one can know what is scripture." To which I have already argued and have not received answers. For instance you accuse me of having a gnostic understanding of how the canon comes about. Yet when I ask how does the Magesterium know infallibly, the question is only moved back one. A RC must start with Rome's claims about herself in order to come to the conclusion that Rome is what she claims. You may call it the "spiral argument" as some have done with me in the past, I simply know a circle when I see it.

As I have said before on that subject, if it is possible to know just one book is canonical, then the RC argument fails. We both have agreed that men have recognized Scripture before an "official" canon, therefore the argument fails.

You also keep mentioning the council of Hippo (circa 397). Is this council infallible? If so, which parts? Is it authoritative? If so, is it canon law or ......

My point is, Do you actually accept the canon pronounced by Hippo?

BTW: since I have to have an infallible index of which books are canonical, I am now going to demand the same of you for consistency sake. Please produce for me an infallible list of Traditions, Papal Pronouncements and teachings, ect.

God Bless

October 20, 2006 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Howard wrote:
"As I have said before on that subject, if it is possible to know just one book is canonical, then the RC argument fails."

Frankly, Howard, I'd not replied to the above before, simply because its logic is beyond my grasp.

To my best (albeit limited) ability to follow your "argument," is appears not an argument, but pure assertion.

--It is not a syllogism.

--It appears to assume the correctness of its supposition in its conclusion and vice versa: i.e.: that those who "know" what is and is not scripture do so because they know it.

--It is patently false: Christians did *not* know what is and is not scripture until Hippo. This we know by their own records. Neither assertion to the contrary nor wanting for it to be otherwise alter the truth.

Nevertheless, taking your assertion as honest and assuming you actually mean what you say, then your assertion can be tested--and I would hope this is an exercise you have long-ago mastered:

Let's try a test scenario:

Ivanna B. Right approaches you with a "Gospel" she has just written. She assures you that it is the only scripture: the true Word of God--it says so right in the text itself.

When you politely inform Ivanna that you know otherwise--in fact you know what is and is not scripture, she responds, "Yeah, Well how do *you* know?

Please explain to Ivanna how you, Howard, know that *anything* from the shortest verse, to any single book of the Bible is indeed Scripture, and that what she has written, is not.


With sincere hope and prayers for your blessing in Christ,

--Theo

October 23, 2006 3:19 PM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

Theo,

Cool stuff. Now where are getting somewhere.

You said, "To my best (albeit limited) ability to follow your "argument," is appears not an argument, but pure assertion."

I do believe that you agreed earlier that people believed the Scriptures were Scripture before Hippo. Not all of them of course. There was no infallible index, as you believe we need. Now you are saying, "Christians did *not* know what is and is not scripture until Hippo". I will stand corrected by this last statement as to your belief. I assume you believe that no one knew any book to be God’s Word until Hippo.

How do you Know Hippo was right? Because they told you so? If you argue from history and facts and reason, how will I know your arguments are water tight and infallible? Do I need infallible knowledge or ability to evaluate your arguments to arrive at an infallible conclusion? What if you are deceiving me like a Mormon missionary?


"-It appears to assume the correctness of its supposition in its conclusion and vice versa: i.e.: that those who "know" what is and is not scripture do so because they know it."

"To my best (albeit limited) ability to follow your "argument," is appears not an argument, but pure assertion."

As I stated plainly earlier, I did not make a case for that. Many have done that already.

Also, how do we know the Magesterium is right? Do you have some gnostic knowledge of their correctness? What arguments did they put forth that were not gnostic? At some point God is going to have to speak and somebody or group is going to have to hear. If they (RC Magesterium) use sound arguments, and Protestants used the same arguments, that still would not be good enough for you until Protestants have an infallible blessing for the same arguments.

Your argument that no one knew God's Word until Hippo astounds me. So for well over a thousand years, no one knew if the Books of Moses were Scripture? When Jesus held men accountable for "What God said to you", those men could easily reply with "Well Jesus, nobody has an infallible index of Scripture, therefore we don't know if the Pentateuch is Scripture." Is that really your assertion?

A RC once explained to me that the RC church is the true church because Matthew 16 says so. When I asked how did he know Matt 16 was Scripture, he said because the church was infallible according to Matt 16. See anything slightly circular here?

So the difference between us is that he starts with the authority of Rome and I start with God’s Word. Both are starting places. Both claim historical evidence is on their side. Both claim to be internally consistent. I simply start with God’s Word.

"When you politely inform Ivanna that you know otherwise--in fact you know what is and is not scripture, she responds, "Yeah, Well how do *you* know?"

I have done this many times sir. This scenario happens to me in real life all the time. Last summer a RC interrupted me while I was talking with 2 Mormon missionaries. The RC proceeded to argue with the missionaries about Scripture and the Book of Mormon. It came down to my external authority verses your external authority. Both sides were looking for an external infallible fuzzy. Then from there they came to their circular conclusions.

Your viewpoint only moves the question back one. I simply start that God is able to speak and His people are able to hear. I do not mean this in a Gnostic sense as you seem to think is the only other possibility. I do not think there needs to be some group of infallible people that needs to tell me with infallible authority what God’s Word is. God is capable of speaking just fine without them.

BTW: Since you require of me to have an infallible index for what books are Scripture, is it not fair to demand the same of your Traditions that you believe is the Word of God? Do you believe in the same Canon as that pronounced at Hippo? I am beginning to wonder.

God Bless

Howard

October 23, 2006 10:12 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

I wrote:
Let's try a test scenario:

Ivanna B. Right approaches you with a "Gospel" she has just written. She assures you that it is the only scripture: the true Word of God--it says so right in the text itself.

When you politely inform Ivanna that you know otherwise--in fact you know what is and is not scripture, she responds, "Yeah, Well how do *you* know?

Please explain to Ivanna how you, Howard, know that *anything* from the shortest verse, to any single book of the Bible is indeed Scripture, and that what she has written, is not.

Howard replied in part:
----


"BTW: Since you require of me to have an infallible index for what books are Scripture, is it not fair to demand the same of your Traditions that you believe is the Word of God? Do you believe in the same Canon as that pronounced at Hippo? I am beginning to wonder."

-----

Howard,

I hope you can forgive my not answering you in detail regarding infallibility and canon; however, as you have already dismissed as "irrelevant" the distinctions between cannon, dogma, tradition (with a small "t"), Sacred tradition, doctrine, ex-cathedra, I'm disinclined to explain in depth. In this instance, I shan't again answer according to the folly of the questioner.

Returning to your comments directly, I unfortunately must ask you for clarification, as my limitations seem to somewhat inhibit my following you.


You write, "...you require of me to have an infallible index for what books are Scripture..."

Perhaps I have utterly misunderstood your belief. If so, please forgive me and my presumption. I'd gathered from your writing that you dogmatically believe and assert that all of the books and only the books that appear in "protestant" Bibles is Scripture.

Was I mistaken?

If so, What then do you understand to be true?

Do you understand that "index" you acknowledge as The Word of God is just as fallible (i.e.: valid or not valid) as any other?

There is a quasi-Baptist Congregation in this region that regularly posts advertisements in the newspaper, in which their pastor proclaims that there is no Scripture but the four Gospels as they appear in the first KJV. They also assert that the remaining books prove this.

Or, do you understand the "index" that you deem to be Scripture is utterly open to debate? ...that you do *not* recognize "an index" of what is and is not Scripture? Can Scripture be whatever the believer deems it to be?

I suspect not, or you would have no difficulty with the Deutorocannon and would consider those who live according to the Book of Mormon no more or less followers of Scripture than Reformed Baptists.

Or do you understand something else?

You already know exactly what I believe to be Scripture and why I believe it. Could you please enlighten me as to your understanding? This could greatly help me avoid misunderstanding you and subsequently offering comments based upon my presumption rather than knowledge of your point of view.

Respectfully and with renewed prayers for God's blessings upon you in all that you do; I remain your brother in Christ,

--Theo.

October 24, 2006 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Theo said...

I wrote:
"When you politely inform Ivanna that you know otherwise--in fact you know what is and is not scripture, she responds, 'Yeah, Well how do *you* know?'"

Howard replied:
"I have done this many times sir. This scenario happens to me in real life all the time. Last summer a RC interrupted me while I was talking with 2 Mormon missionaries. The RC proceeded to argue with the missionaries about Scripture and the Book of Mormon. It came down to my external authority verses your external authority. Both sides were looking for an external infallible fuzzy. Then from there they came to their circular conclusions."

I reply:

Howard, the closest thing I see to an answer is, "It came down to my external authority verses your external authority. "

That answers a question that nobody has asked: "*Why* do you believe the word of God can be known?." It does not answer the questions, "How do *you*, Howard know what books are and are not the Word of God?" and "How do *you*, Howard know that your list is the only correct list?"

Let's make it simple:

Please list the Books that are Scripture.

Please tell us whether or not the list you post is is the only correct list. (If you believe the list can change or is not the same for everyone, please also describe the process by which everyone knows it to change or each knows his own version.)

Please tell how *you*, Howard know this.

Lest you misunderstand, let me also explicitly define "please tell us how you know" as "please tell us the precise process by which you know what is and is not Scripture)

----


Howard, I would be remiss were I not to point out that these questions are fundamental and clear. I have thus far attributed your misunderstanding them to the difficulties associated with paradigm acclamation and the difficulties of language itself; however, should you persist in obfuscation and evasion, I fear I will conclude that you do not seek truth, but actually flee from it. May you prove my fear to be unfounded nonsense.


With humble prayers,
---Theo.

----

Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart! God is the source and fountain: the very wellspring of a river of grace, ever pouring out, free to all though more precious than gold. You may take it or reject it. I pray you come to the water. Jesus shall slake your thirst.

October 24, 2006 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Howard wrote:
"You said I did eisegesis."

To which I reply:

No, I did not.

Please follow carefully: You wrote, "An exegesis of Colossians 2 was provided demonstrating..." I understand that you are reporting on "an exegesis", and what it demonstrates.

I wrote: "What you report as "exegesis of Colossians 2" is in fact, eisegesis."

Howard continued:
"I did not actually offer an exegesis for you to critique."

I interject:

Yes, I am aware that you did not offer the "exegesis of Colossians 2" itself; rather you offered what you report it demonstrates. I took your report as accurate. Was I wrong to do so?

As for your statement that you did not offer it for my critique, I'm at a loss.

Unfortunately, I cannot account for your motivation in reporting what appears to be your conclusion of what you described as exegesis, nor do I understand what bearing your motivation has upon whether or not the Scripture in question bears it out.

Regardless, your report is that some exegesis of 2 Col done by some person or persons demonstrates that "baptism is a work of the Spirit in the proclamation of the Gospel. A "circumcision" made without human hands and a Baptism of the Spirit uniting a man to Christ's Life."

If whatever document or series of documents you reference "demonstrate" what you claim, I opine that it must be via eisegesis--provided my own humble understanding and the last 1700 years of Church teaching is correct.

Regardless of whatever points are made in our discussions, Howard, I must admit to being taken aback by your frequent misinterpreting plain English; this, knowing you subject Scripture to your private interpretation.

With prayer for God's blessing upon you, I remain,
your brother in Christ,

October 24, 2006 5:23 PM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

"Yes, I am aware that you did not offer the "exegesis of Colossians 2" itself; rather you offered what you report it demonstrates. I took your report as accurate. Was I wrong to do so?"

How could you possibly know that what I read was Eisegesis without reading the article. You did assume that it was eisegesis based on what you already believe about the text. What was ironic is the very thing you had accused me of doing, you did by inserting your definition of baptism into the text.

"Regardless of whatever points are made in our discussions, Howard, I must admit to being taken aback by your frequent misinterpreting plain English; this, knowing you subject Scripture to your private interpretation."

And you subject it to your Traditions. Sola Ecclesia.

I'm sorry, but the myth of this imaginary universal agreement on the church fathers becomes rather a nice way to interpret history. Then again, you don't interpret history. The church interprets church history for you.



I have to ask, are you able to interpret the documents of the church for me? If I have a question about an interpretation by the church, do I go to you or the Pope directly? Will my understanding be correct after either one of you answers my question?

Just so you might understand something, the private interpretation thing doesn't work with me. I am not a typical Evangelical that thinks that Sola Scriptura means it is me and Jesus sitting under a tree. That has never been the definition of Sola Scriptura, just a RC misunderstanding of it. Just because many Protestants behave against the Doctrine doesn't make its truthfullness any less, any more than a RC misinterpreting what the Mass is.

One last point, you stated, " I must admit to being taken aback by your frequent misinterpreting plain English".

Are you saying Scripture is in itself sufficient to speak to this issue without the church infallibly interpreting it? You seem to be arguing for Sola Scriptura by that statement. Are you? You certainly seem to be holding me accountable to the clear and "plain english" of the text.

God Bless

October 25, 2006 12:32 AM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Howard wrote in part:
One last point, you stated, " I must admit to being taken aback by your frequent misinterpreting plain English".

Are you saying Scripture is in itself sufficient to speak to this issue without the church infallibly interpreting it? You seem to be arguing for Sola Scriptura by that statement. Are you? You certainly seem to be holding me accountable to the clear and "plain English" of the text.

I answer:
No Howard. I am talking about the "plain English" of my own pedestrian writing, not Scripture.

Please reread the conversation.

I pray you understand that this is not a debate exercise, but a dialog. Thus far, you've been debating.

To explain:

Successful dialog requires that both parties actually strive to understand the other position.

In contrast, debate exercises are not designed to gain understanding, but to "win" the debated point by scoring points.

One scores points in debate exercises by deflecting criticism and hiding gaps in one's on position, while attacking the other's views (and sometimes the others themselves), erecting "straw-men" of those views: "straw-men" they hope easily to knock down.

Participants seek out semantic loopholes. They seize upon whatever elements of ambiguity they can find in the language of the other, deliberately assign the least cogent interpretation upon them. They then represent their recast interpretation as the actual opposing position. They seldom want observers to understand the other's position; rather they want observers to "understand" their own presentaion of it. They need not necessarily understand the other's position themselves, if they can successfully cast it in their chosen image.

In such exercises, one might argue that the other's horse has an infinite number of legs and "win". Nevertheless, only a fool would start investing in a horseshoe company based upon observing the debate.

In contrast, successful dialog requires that both parties actually strive to understand the other position.

When I ask you to explain how *you* know what is and is not Scripture, I ask because we can’t dialog without the answer.

Regardless, whether or not you answer this question here is of very little importance compared with whether or not you actually ask it of yourself--and then answer it.

October 25, 2006 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Howard asked:

"How could you possibly know that what I read was Eisegesis without reading the article?"

I reply:

Not having read the article myself, I absolutely cannot assert what you *read* is eisegesis; however, I can (and do) assert that the conclusion you reported was derived via eisegesis.


I offer an illustration... Imagine that someone reports that The Pagan Gazette provided an exegesis of the Gospel of St. John demonstrating that God had the hots for the Earth Goddess Gia, so he sent his son to set up an eternal date. (By the way, I'd guess the odds are about even that someone actually believes something like this.)

Would you need to read the article in question? You don't know what it actually says--you never read it. Yet, even without reading the article, by the reported conclusion you would be confident that chapter 3, verse 16 plays heavily.

Whatever the article might say (and who knows? It might contain a thousand true statements.), you know that the conclusion reported cannot be derived from exegesis.

I have read and understood your report of what the article about 2 Col says. I observe that 2 Col *explicitly* denies the very statement you report as derived from its exegesis (via some of the very same reasoning that was used to justify the epistle's inclusion in the New Testament, no less).

I conclude the statement is actually derived from eisegesis.

You are free to disagree with my conclusion (of course) and I respect your criticism; however, you are mistaken to think I comment a priori out of ignorance or unfounded presumption.


With humble thanks for God's grace and mercy, I remain
your Brother in Christ,

--Theo

October 26, 2006 10:57 AM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

"Would you need to read the article in question? You don't know what it actually says--you never read it. Yet, even without reading the article, by the reported conclusion you would be confident that chapter 3, verse 16 plays heavily."

Interesting illustration but hardly hitting the fundamental assumptions that I have been trying to "dialogue" all along. A more realistic example would be John McArthur's exegesis of John 3:16. He concludes that "world" = every single person ever. I wholeheartedly disagree. Yet, without reading his exegetically based arguments, I am not able to say he is committing eisegesis. It could be that I am wrong and his argumentation would be the correct one. The point is that the Protestant view allows the church to be corrected by Scripture. Your view by your own statement shows that God’s Word cannot correct Rome. As you said, "via some of the very same reasoning that was used to justify the epistle's inclusion in the New Testament, no less."

In other words your epistemology demands that an infallible church tell you ultimately and infallibly what is Scripture and its meaning.

I do want to be clear. I agree that it is the church that determines what is Scripture, but only by her ability to hear the voice her Lord. I do not believe in infallibility for this process. She recognizes the voice of her Shepherd.

You have likened my belief to Gnosticism. Yet was Peter's confession a gnostic one? Your "either or" understanding is simply wrong. There is more to how the church comes to recognize Scripture than some infallible Magesterium or a Gnostic one. You read my post in which I gave an illustration on this subject. So I assumed we were discussing more foundational beliefs.

"Howard, I must admit to being taken aback by your frequent misinterpreting plain English; this, knowing you subject Scripture to your private interpretation."

"No Howard. I am talking about the "plain English" of my own pedestrian writing, not Scripture.

Please reread the conversation."


I apologize. I assumed "private interpretation" and "misinterpreting plain english" were in the same thought. I have to ask though, How does one ever avoid private interpretation?

God Bless

October 26, 2006 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Howard wrote in part...
"I apologize. I assumed "private interpretation" and "misinterpreting plain english"

Dear Howard,

I would be an utter fool not to accept your apology and and fully forgive all misunderstandings. Such is our human condition that we are apt to such under optimal conditions--and these are not optimal.

I regret that my schedule allows me little time to "blog" this morning.

Please know that I appreciate your previous post, and I'm especially heartened and touched by your clear and honest composition.

As soon as possible, I shall try adressing your questions and comments to the best degree my limited understanding and whatever grace we might receive allow.

Until then I remain,
Your Brother in Christ,


--Theo

October 27, 2006 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Once again, I'm writing within the confines of a tight schedule. I'll answer as much as I am able within a fifteen-minute block.
-------


In a previous post, Howard wrote in part...
"The point is that the Protestant view allows the church to be corrected by Scripture. Your view by your own statement shows that God’s Word cannot correct Rome. As you said, 'via some of the very same reasoning that was used to justify the epistle's inclusion in the New Testament, no less.' "

In other words your epistemology demands that an infallible church tell you ultimately and infallibly what is Scripture and its meaning."

-----

I think the best format for me to address the points above, is to address each point in turn. I'll prefix Howard's text by the letter "H" and prefix my own with the letter "T".

Let's begin:

H: "The point is that the Protestant view allows the church to be corrected by Scripture."
--
T: True.
All Christians, and therefore all Christian Churches recognize scripture as authoritative.
-----


H: "Your view by your own statement shows that God’s Word cannot correct Rome."
--
T: False.
All Christians, and therefore all Christian Churches recognize scripture as authoritative.
-----

H: As you said, 'via some of the very same reasoning that was used to justify the epistle's inclusion in the New Testament, no less.' "

In other words your epistemology demands that an infallible church tell you ultimately and infallibly what is Scripture and its meaning."
--
T: Observing how a church council interpreted a passage of scripture while considering whether or not it should be considered scripture does not equate to "your epistemology demands that an infallible church tell you ultimately and infallibly what is Scripture and its meaning," by any stretch of the imagination. In his treatise on NT cannon, the great Calvinistic preacher Jonathan Edwards (*) acknowledged the cannon of "The bishop of Hippo" as evidence of the cannon as recognized by Protestants.

I tell you plainly, your assertion is in itself false. Part of your difficulty goes back to something you previously asserted is irrelevant; namely, what we mean by so many of the various types of statements that Church leaders, teachers and members make.

I humbly invite you to reread what I wrote previously regarding the important distinctions between debate and dialog.

If you want genuine dialog: If you want to actually know the position of those who you oppose, you will need to resist the debater's urge to assert what you *want* that position to be.

Please let me know if and when you are ready to dialog, and I will do my humble best to serve you with utter honesty and candor.
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Howard, I also look forward to addressing in detail your excellent question regarding how one "avoids" private interpretation. For now, The short answer:
We *don't* avoid it. We are commanded to read and reflect upon God's word. I'll explain in a later post.

With prayer for The Lord's blessing upon you, I remain
Your Brother in Christ,

--Theo

(*) Yale University has an amazing on-line collection of Edwards' sermons and other papers. We Catholics in the United States generally do not realize what great thanks for our religious freedom are due this anti-papist, Protestant motivator of the Great Awakening. But that is another history lesson--and I am lagging as it is.

October 30, 2006 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Howard wrote in part...
"I assumed "private interpretation" and "misinterpreting plain English" were in the same thought. I have to ask though, How does one ever avoid private interpretation?"

I reply...
Indeed, how? That is an excellent question. I also think it is a wonderful question, in that your asking it illuminates a proliferate misconception that is so well entrenched in anti-Catholic rhetoric that many Catholics hold the misconception as well.

The doctrine is not, "You may not privately interpret Scripture," it is, "Scripture is not *subject* to private interpretation." Ironically, this semantic distinction is not mere semantics.

Consider the example of how Mary heard and interpreted angelic revelation: "When they (the shepherds) had seen him (Jesus), they spread the word concerning what had been told them (by God's messenger) about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:17-19)We should expect that as she pondered these things, she did so in light of accepted scripture of her day. Given he actions at the wedding feast, it appears she concluded much.

What distinguishes Mary's private interpretation of God's words with making Scripture subject to private interpretation is illustrated by what someone else did with much of the same revelation: King Herrod.

Mary was not the only person pondering both the ancient scriptures and these new tidings reported from God's own messengers; Herrod also heard the word.

Being a man disposed toward thinking of kingship in political and temporal terms, he pondered and interpreted; and then he subjected scripture to his private interpretation. The result: the slaughter of the innocents.

In contrast, Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple where righteous Simeon declared epiphany--and confirmed their interpretation as being fulfillment of Scripture.

We too are to ponder what God reveals in his word. Yet, whatever we ponder, whatever we conclude about what the Word of God means to us in our private hearts, we are not to *subject* Scripture to that interpretation.

Rather, just as Mary and Joseph presented to the assembly of God's people the very Word of God as given to them, so we must submit the word of God as we know it.

Had Mary and Joseph placed Jesus in the Holy of Holies and testified that he is *the* high priest, they would have been testifying to the truth; however, they would not likely have been doing God's will.

With prayers for our mutual growth in grace, I remain
Your Brother in Christ,
--Theo

October 31, 2006 4:01 PM  

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