Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saudi Arabia challenges Roman Catholic web hegemony


A few months ago, His Grace wrote about Vatican City having spent $740,000 in applications for control of the top-level domain extension ‘.catholic’ (and the equivalent in the Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese alphabets). The objective was to be able 'to authenticate the Catholic presence online’. The Vatican planned to permit only those ‘institutions and communities that have canonical recognition’ to use the extension, ‘so people online – Catholics and non-Catholics – will know a site is authentically Catholic’.

Some Roman Catholics thought this a jolly good idea. But His Grace wrote at the time:
The thing is – let’s be honest – that ‘.catholic’ would be owned exclusively by the Latin Rite Church of the Western Empire. Its own claims to universality are not shared by the Reformation churches or those of the Orthodox East: we are no longer in an age of cultural and religious unity or linguistic and liturgical uniformity under the authority of the Pope in Rome. The application to own ‘.catholic’ simply because ‘we decided we were best suited’ is the claim of medieval Christendom. It is the Roman Catholic Church which calls itself Catholic, and has done so since the Emperor Constantine pushed through the requisite religio-political formulae to establish politician-bishops at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, whose task it was to quell the rise of the Arian Christians and, indeed, to obliterate them. Since most of the history books of the time were written by (Roman) Catholic clergy, and most of the libraries were owned and run by monks, it is unsurprising that 'Catholic' became synonymous with 'catholic', and Western canon law became systematised and widely inculcated by missionaries of the Nicene vision.
His Grace needed to raise £115,000 in order to contest the Vatican’s application, so he assumed the granting of the domain was a fait accompli.

But it transpires that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has come to the rescue of all those Christian groups who consider themselves to be part of the Universal Church of Jesus Christ, despite the Roman Catholic Church insisting they most certainly are not. In filing a formal objection, the Communication and Information Technology Commission of Saudi Arabia says:
This application is sensitive as the term CATHOLIC which has been applied-for as a gTLD string represents the multitude of Christians across the world.

The term has been incorporated into the name of the largest Christian communion, the Catholic Church (also called the Roman Catholic Church). However, many other Christians use the term "Catholic" to refer more broadly to the whole Christian Church regardless of denominational affiliation. Other Christian communions lay claim to the term "catholic" such as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church.

We do not believe that the applied-for gTLD string (.catholic) should be under the control of one church which cannot, and does not, represent every catholic communion.

Further, we believe that any and all gTLD applications for any name in relation to religion or a specific community should be presented to the whole of that community for evaluation before an application is denied or granted. If this cannot be accomplished then such names should be restricted completely from being used as gTLD's.

Failure to do so would give the use and control of an important religious name to one group, unjustly elevating its influence above others and permit that group to solely represent a spectrum of different churches.

The current applicant cannot demonstrate that it possesses a monopoly over the term "catholic" nor can it demonstrate that its intended ownership of that term is accepted by Catholics around the world.

To allow this string to be registered may be offensive to many people and societies on religious grounds.

Therefore, we respectfully request that ICANN not award this gTLD string.
It is kind indeed of an Islamic Gulf state to ride to the rescue of Christian heretics and separated brethren worldwide. It is true that the Vatican 'cannot demonstrate that it possesses a monopoly over the term "Catholic"', and it is equally true that 'Many other Christians use the term "Catholic" to refer more broadly to the whole Christian Church regardless of denominational affiliation'. It is worth noting that the Kingdom has also complained about bids to create top-level domains for .islam, .halal and .ummah on similar grounds (does the Saudi Royal Family read His Grace, perchance?).

The Church of England is, of course, Catholic and Reformed, but doubtless would be prevented by the Roman Catholic Church from using (say) 'Cranmer@Reformed.Catholic'. So, His Grace is deeply appreciative that the vastly wealthy Muslim Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen fit to throw a few meagre pennies (relatively) at this thorny Christian issue. It is now for secular ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to arbitrate between the competing theologies and conflicting histories in order to determine an official global ecclesial orthodoxy.

Allah works in mysterious ways.

216 Comments:

Blogger John Telfs said...

presumably this move is to prevent a Sunnior Shi'a Islamic group from exlusively using .Islamic.

25 August 2012 at 11:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Right then fellows, who’s to join his His Grace today in sampling his punch that has been maturing over the last few weeks. Features the bitter fruits of simmering resentment...

25 August 2012 at 11:42  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Inspector: Reformed catholics (and I imagine the Eastern Orthodox) reserve the right to resent this attempted act of linguistic imperialism on the part of the Roman Catholic Church. Imagine if the EO church attempted the domain name ".orthodox", effectively claiming a monopoly on orthodoxy.

Likewise, Rome does not have a monopoly on catholicism. It would be very easy for them to apply for a less controversial domain name, like .rcc, .rcatholic or .romancatholic, if they really consider this a good use of an enormous amount of money.

25 August 2012 at 12:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

In an ideal world with a fair wind, Thomas Keningley you would of course be quite correct in what you ask for in your second paragraph. An issue that is of greater concern than the use of the suffices is to prevent their misuse. Can’t have them falling into enemy hands now. That would never do...


25 August 2012 at 12:10  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

The Church of England is not Catholic.

Silly statement.

25 August 2012 at 12:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Indeed lovechild, but they need to think they are to justify setting themselves up in the first place. One views it as the illegitimate child taking on his fathers name to improve his lot (...Er, no offence old chap...)

25 August 2012 at 12:44  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr John Knox's lovechild, you are indeed correct in your assertion "'The Church of England is not Catholic.' Silly statement.", as any Anglican who can recite the Nicene Creed will attest.

25 August 2012 at 12:47  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Of course we aren't Catholic, we are catholic! We are not a name, we are universal, something which the Vatican is anything but given how it declares itself to be not in communion with so many different denominations!

25 August 2012 at 13:05  
Blogger Roy said...

John Knox's lovechild said...

The Church of England is not Catholic.

The only thing that really matters about a church is that it is Christian.

25 August 2012 at 13:29  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This is much ado about nothing. Let Rome have the extension '.catholic' for itself. The old meaning of the word has been buried by time. 'Catholic' (whether capitalized or not) is now nothing more than a new appellation for Rome. By applying the word to itself, the RCC has destroyed the word's ability to communicate the very universality that it claims.

I am not sure who would be hurt by this - other than those who might want to reach back for some semblance of Roman historicity without picking up Roman doctrine in the process. 'Reformed and Catholic' is an oxymoron. One can be Catholic in doctrine or Reformed in doctrine but the affirmation of the one precludes the other. All else is self-deception. There is no way to split the difference between darkness and light.

carl

25 August 2012 at 14:37  
Blogger Terry Hudson said...

I agree.

Let them have it.

Much rather be known as a 'Christian' than a 'Catholic' anyway.

No offence...

25 August 2012 at 14:51  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl said ...

"One can be Catholic in doctrine or Reformed in doctrine but the affirmation of the one precludes the other. All else is self-deception."

Yes, the Reformation settlement did leave matters rather up in the air and wanted the best (or worst) of both worlds.

"There is no way to split the difference between darkness and light."

Indeed. Return to the one true Universal and Apostolic fold all you who desire to be C/catholic!

25 August 2012 at 15:18  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Carl Jacobs: There is nothing inconsistent about being "Reformed and Catholic", and the magisterial reformers at least would have seen themselves as such- Catholic: in continuity with the church throughout history, but Reformed: critically examining the received traditional doctrines through the lens of Scripture, concluding of course with the great doctrine of sola fide.

Dodo: ""There is no way to split the difference between darkness and light."

Indeed. Return to the one true Universal and Apostolic fold all you who desire to be C/catholic!"

Hmm. From what I understand, the Roman Catholic view on Protestants seems to be that because we are baptised with a Trinitarian formula, we are Christians (even ones in schism). Seems hard to sustain the claim that we are "darkness" to your "light" if we are regenerated by baptism (something I don't believe, I hasten to add).

25 August 2012 at 15:42  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

That miserable old ranter my Dad recited the Nicene creed.

Did that make him a Catholic?

There are 40,000 protestant denominations or thereabouts. 14 new ones every week. If they all recite the Nicene creed are they all Catholic?

How can people who subscribe to a heresy with a place name in its title be Catholic?

Ridiculous.

25 August 2012 at 15:57  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Thomas Keningley

There is nothing inconsistent about being "Reformed and Catholic"

Certainly you are correct if we presume the word to mean 'universal.' But that is not my understanding of how "Reformed and Catholic" is commonly used. It commonly refers to a via media between Geneva and Rome. Despite all the 'middle way' talk, a man eventually has to confront Trent. To be Catholic is to submit oneself to Trent. There is no common ground between the Reformation and Trent.

carl

25 August 2012 at 16:01  
Blogger non mouse said...

Thank you, Your Grace.

He does indeed work in mysterious ways! Now we have the prospect of His wondrouse deconstruction of the unholy Romans and the Other. Once more they are at war, but this time in a "Virtual" "domain." It's almost amusing.

Both being oblivious of the integrity of the languages they exploit, neither sees the irony ... that strength in the aether is at once more and less spiritual (of words, but not of breath). Vain as ever, they try to increase the power of men within the Kingdom of God.

Deus Vult! The sooner they demolish each other, the better off the rest of us will be -- both spiritually and materially. Providing, of course, that they take the marxists with them... :)

25 August 2012 at 16:01  
Blogger non mouse said...

regrets: that should be 'wondrous.'

25 August 2012 at 16:03  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

John Knox's lovechild: "There are 40,000 protestant denominations or thereabouts. 14 new ones every week. If they all recite the Nicene creed are they all Catholic?"

Interesting. I'm sure every Protestant who has spoken to a Roman Catholic apologist has heard this claim or one like it, and there are obvious problems with it. But I'd like to draw attention to just one: it's false. I don't know whether you are honestly incorrect or deliberately lying, but it must be one of the two.

If we go to the World Christian Encyclopedia, we find that in global Christianity there are 33,820 denominations/paradenominations. But this is of all Christians round the world! Indeed, the list in the WCE cites 242 Roman Catholic denominations in 2000! If you acknowledge that, then your whole claim to have preserved unity falls. Of the 11,830 denominations, 8,973 are listed as "Protestant" (although I dispute even this number, as it includes non-Trinitarian groups.) Even prima facie, your claim holds no water whatsoever.

Carl Jacobs: Yes indeed. So it is merely a dispute over words. I regard myself (and the gospel, for that matter) thoroughly anathematized by Trent.

25 August 2012 at 16:24  
Blogger Berserker said...

As an outsider in matters Church, what I think matters is strength of belief, Whether there are three branches of the Catholic church or none at all is rather silly.

The wonderful poet, Christina Rossetti who was to some extent Tractarian, believed that simplicity had gone too far. There was no compromise for her. She would not attend the opening night of Wagner's, Parsifal because it celebrated a Pagan God. She gave up playing chess because she liked the feeling of winning too much. Yet her unflinching depiction of emotional deprivation in her poetry found only perhaps in Byron as well, is quite shattering. For Evangelicals like her the inner life held supreme.

In today's world of surfaces, it is worth remembering that the meaning of God is not to bring Man to civilisation but to seek within.

Oops, a long way from Saudi Arabia!

25 August 2012 at 16:25  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Berserker

In today's world of surfaces, it is worth remembering that the meaning of God is not to bring Man to civilisation but to seek within.

God is not a convenient abstraction that has been found useful for facilitating man's personal journey of self-discovery or self-actualization. Men don't assign meaning to God. Rather it is God who gives meaning to men.

carl

25 August 2012 at 16:51  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

What's a "Roman Catholic" denomination?

Do they mean a rite, like Maronite?

I think there are about 23 of those.

There are lots of rites in the Catholic church but no protestants.

25 August 2012 at 17:41  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

Are Orangemen Catholics?

;)

25 August 2012 at 17:44  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Rite of the Holy Sepulchre commonly called the Carmelite Rite is the liturgical rite that was used by the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre, Hospitallers, Templars, Carmelites and the other orders founded within the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. (Wiki)

25 August 2012 at 17:48  
Blogger John Magee said...

Dhimmi's always show gratitude when Islam grants them a crumb or two or if given whole loaf of bread like the one in this article will clap their hands with glee and say "Allah works in mysterious ways".

Yes Allah, not the to be confused with the Allah Middle Eastern Arab Christians worship and have since the early Church, but the Allah of the pagan moon god of Medina does work in mysterious ways. Especially when the pagan Allah guides his fanatic followers using high jacked jets into skyscrapers full of innocent people while the "pilots" scream ALLAH AKBAR!

Or the pagan Allah who inspire his followers to blow themselves up in a market place full of shoppers in Israel, Iraq, Afghanistam or some other dreary Muslim cess pool. And later the mothers of these suicide bombers are proud their son are daughter did this terrible deed and they calim they know their dead child is in "heaven" with Allah.

Some Anglicans, and those of others faiths too, alive today who visit this Blog will live to see a in Britain within 40 years or so when Muslims are the majority in London and most British cities and Islamic Law of Sharia will be sharing sharing it's retrograde brutality with all Britons. I picture a future Archbishop of Canterbury who does everything he can to placate a large minority or majority Muslim population in the UK hoping he keeps his miter (mitre for the Greek speakers)on his head if he dares have the courage to speak up for persecuted Christians in Britain.

Is dhimmitude (the Muslims system of controlling non muslim popuklations) creeping in to this Blog?

The C of E is "catholic"? I have never seen a sign in front of an Anglican Church in England that says (using St George as an example): St George's Anglican Catholic Church". Maybe such signs exist? Are they in union with Rome? In the USA there is an Anglican Rite allowed by the Pope that does have such signs.

Why has there never been an Anglcan Cardinal?

Why have the Eastern Orthodox broken off almost all ties with the Anglicans over the C of E ordaining priestesses?

25 August 2012 at 18:00  
Blogger John Magee said...

John Knox

Ulster Orangemen are definately NOT Roman Catholics or even "catholics" for that matter. But Catholics can like oranges.

25 August 2012 at 18:02  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

John Magee

Indeed!



25 August 2012 at 18:11  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

JK'sLovechild: "What's a "Roman Catholic" denomination?

Do they mean a rite, like Maronite?

I think there are about 23 of those.

There are lots of rites in the Catholic church but no protestants."

If you want to know the WCE's definition, go get it out from a library- I retrieved numbers from a secondary source. They are denominations in the same sense that the 9,000ish (not 40,000 as you falsely claimed) Protestant denominations are denominations.

"...but no Protestants."

Really!? No Protestants in the Roman Catholic Church? Well I never... :P

Seriously though, there are quite a lot of Roman Catholics "protesting" Roman Catholic doctrines, from purgatory to justification to hell to social issues (e.g. homosexuality, abortion etc.). Given this, which seems to be an undeniable fact, Rome's supposed unity seems rather like a smokescreen to me.

25 August 2012 at 18:29  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Carl Jacobs said ...

"Despite all the 'middle way' talk, a man eventually has to confront Trent. To be Catholic is to submit oneself to Trent. There is no common ground between the Reformation and Trent."

Quite right, there is no via media between Truth and Falsehood. Trent reestablished and reaffirmed the doctrines of Apostolic Christianity. The authority of the Council came direct from Christ as statedin scripture. The protesters were invited but refused to attend. How difficult is it to submit to accept divinely sanctioned authority?

Thomas Keningley said...

"Seriously though, there are quite a lot of Roman Catholics "protesting" Roman Catholic doctrines, from purgatory to justification to hell to social issues (e.g. homosexuality, abortion etc.)."

Protesting? Have they left the Church and set up their own denomination? The Church is 2000 years old. It has always had theological differences. These are resolved by the Magisterium, by Coucils or the Pope.

"Given this, which seems to be an undeniable fact, Rome's supposed unity seems rather like a smokescreen to me."

The Catholic Church is by definition united. One accepts its dogma's and, subject to a proper informed conscience, its authoritative teachings or one is out of communion with the Church.

Rome just doesn't go with fallen men and women relying on their own independent interpretations of the Gospel. Just look where its led protesters!

"And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."

25 August 2012 at 19:22  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Dodo: "Protesting? Have they left the Church and set up their own denomination? The Church is 2000 years old. It has always had theological differences. These are resolved by the Magisterium, by Coucils or the Pope."

No they haven't. But they do explicitly defy the RCC on teachings upon which it has spoken by one of the above, and remain in communion with Rome.

"The Catholic Church is by definition united. One accepts its dogma's [sic] and, subject to a proper informed conscience, its authoritative teachings or one is out of communion with the Church."

Given the context of my discussion with JKL, that's a bait and switch. If the point is that there are lots of Protestant denominations, then that hardly seems important to anything. If the point is that Protestants are doctrinally disunited, then the same can be said of Roman Catholics, who sometimes manage to remain in communion with Rome despite high profile repudiations of its dogma! If you're claiming a spiritual unity, and that those who knowingly deny the dogmas of Rome are excommunicated whether or not it is known that they are, then Protestants can claim the same thing- if you deny certain doctrines then you are outside of the church.

"Rome just doesn't go with fallen men and women relying on their own independent interpretations of the Gospel. Just look where its led protesters!"

For a start, it normally does, given that a tiny number of scriptural passages have been infallibly interpreted by Rome. But when it doesn't, it goes with one fallen man, or a council of fallen men, and declares that interpretation infallible.

Unfortunately, they have (infallibly) anathematized the gospel by accepting an erroneous doctrine of justification. And then there's that old problem of the interpretation of Magisterial pronouncements, themselves the subject of intense debate- Rome doesn't eliminate the finality of communication being with the individual.

25 August 2012 at 20:52  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Thomas Keningley said...

"But they do explicitly defy the RCC on teachings upon which it has spoken by one of the above, and remain in communion with Rome."

You'll need to provide some examples. Who are they andwhat teachings are you referring to? Surely not the few feminist nuns in America and other assorted 'radical' Catholics openly questioning homosexuality, abortion and contraception?

"If the point is that there are lots of Protestant denominations, then that hardly seems important to anything."

You think not? Just look at the variety of theological positions on justification and array of teachings on morality. Your "solas" have canonised individuals and raised them above the Church.

"If the point is that Protestants are doctrinally disunited, then the same can be said of Roman Catholics, who sometimes manage to remain in communion with Rome despite high profile repudiations of its dogma!"

The point is they do not break away and set up alternative churches.

"If you're claiming a spiritual unity, and that those who knowingly deny the dogmas of Rome are excommunicated whether or not it is known that they are, then Protestants can claim the same thing- if you deny certain doctrines then you are outside of the church."

Except protestants are such a varied bunch who knows what they believe. And if one church doesn't suit you find one with a minister that does.

... a tiny number of scriptural passages have been infallibly interpreted by Rome ... it goes with one fallen man, or a council of fallen men, and declares that interpretation infallible."

Fallen men, yes. Sinful men, yes. However, do reflect on the meaning of Matthew 16:18. Jesus didn't promise a sinless priesthood - He promised the protection of the Holy Spirit.

"Unfortunately, they have (infallibly) anathematized the gospel by accepting an erroneous doctrine of justification."

Er, no. They have made clear the correct understanding of the Gospel - just as the Church was authorised and intructed to do.

"And then there's that old problem of the interpretation of Magisterial pronouncements, themselves the subject of intense debate- Rome doesn't eliminate the finality of communication being with the individual."

That's why its a living, breathing faith that grows and develops.

25 August 2012 at 21:31  
Blogger John Magee said...

Thomas Keningley

There has also been a LOT of Protestants fleeing the rapid trend toward radical liberalism by the old mainline or mainstream Protestant Churches since the late 60's. The hemorrhaging from some of these denominations, in particular the Presbyterians, the Episcopalians, the Methodosts,as well as the the United Church of Canada has been as high as 60% since 1970.

What is the church attendance for the C of E on any given Sunday these days? Perhaps 5% at the most? The Evangelicals give these people a new home and others, mainly Episcopalians and Lutherans, find a home in Eastern Orthodoxy and the RC Church.

On the other hand, for RC's Mass attendance has slipped below 20% in many traditionally Catholic areas and countries like Quebec in Canada, Ireland, Italy, Belguim, Latin America, etc.

That does not mean these or RC's (or most Protestants) have left their faith. They have become lazy. It's not a good omen but it doesn't mean the end of the Church (churches) in the above mentioned places. When these people face a terrible personal tragedy they end up back at the foot of the cross. At least temporarily. But they still have their faith. I hope they pass it on to their children but it doesn't look like it anymore.

Churches must give their people familiarity, comfort, and the truth in the Gospels not trendiness. People instinctively know that being a Christian is not about finding the easy road down life's valley with it's landscape full of sorrow and pain for each of us.

For those of us who do attend church. Who wants to go to a church where you are insulted because of some guilt about supposed stuff your ancestors may or may have not done, have your moral values trashed, and then sit in the pews and be brainwashed by some radical leftist clergy and suggested who to or told how to vote?

Few average worshippers want this sort of thing and that's why they are fleeing these kinds of formerly traditional churches in droves or not going to church any longer.

25 August 2012 at 21:56  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

"You'll need to provide some examples. Who are they and what teachings are you referring to? Surely not the few feminist nuns in America and other assorted 'radical' Catholics openly questioning homosexuality, abortion and contraception?"

They might be examples; my grandmother's priest didn't believe in purgatory. The reality on the ground seems to be that many (churchgoing, even ordained) Catholics deny the official dogma of their church.

"You think not? Just look at the variety of theological positions on justification and array of teachings on morality. Your "solas" have canonised individuals and raised them above the Church."

The overwhelming majority of Protestant denominations agree on the mode of justification. In any case, what we have "canonised"/recognised is the material sufficiency of Scripture, which is where protestant doctrinal standards are to be found. You don't need a Magisterium to know whether the Bible teaches God's existence. Likewise, you don't need one to tell you how to be saved- the Bible is sufficiently clear.

"The point is they do not break away and set up alternative churches."

So what? If they are in doctrinal schism with the church, that kind of institutional "unity" is just a smokescreen.

"Fallen men, yes. Sinful men, yes. However, do reflect on the meaning of Matthew 16:18. Jesus didn't promise a sinless priesthood - He promised the protection of the Holy Spirit."

How do I know what this passage means if Scripture isn't perspicuous? In any case, I don't accept your (thus far unargued) exegesis of the passage.

"Er, no. They have made clear the correct understanding of the Gospel - just as the Church was authorised and intructed to do."

Where/when was it authorised/instructed to do that? How? The RCC's infallible doctrine of justification is in direct contradiction to that of Scripture.

25 August 2012 at 22:14  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

John Magee: I agree with a large part of what you have said. I deplore the liberalism of some areas of Protestant churches (a liberal theology espoused by not a few Catholics, I might add).

Churches should faithfully preach the word, although it may not be fashionable, and that way the church will grow, by God's power, through the work of the Holy Spirit, preaching Christ!

But I would appeal to my fellow Protestants- before looking to Rome for moral leadership, remember that the gospel is more than simple morality, and one could be morally upstanding and completely wrong about the gospel, as I believe the church of Rome (and Eastern Orthodoxy for that matter) is.

25 August 2012 at 22:27  
Blogger non mouse said...

Further, Your Grace, thank you for addressing the issue of hegemony in the aether. It has serious implications -- from which (as your post suggests) RCC and Islam seek to profit and (as we know) the marxists also do.

It's common knowledge that earthbound powers and dominions already collect our personal information for use at their will. But another application of this controlling mechanism affects all levels of education.

Right use of online educational aids has undeniable advantages; however, we might increase our awareness of the downside. Text(book)s, with somewhat unwieldy note-taking systems, are increasingly available online for sale and rent. They can be four times cheaper than the material versions; indeed, it sometimes seems that publishers intend to price textbooks off the market. This aspect of information control is dangerous to consumers: especially under the authoritarians identified above.

I suggest the path leads backwards from democracy--towards negation of the advances initiated when printing was invented, and when our fathers championed freedom of the press and vernacular languages. The Masters know that control of "virtual" information is simple and easy to hide. Really, they have a neu way of smashing the presses--the educational ones.

The Masters not only choose what information will be available, when, and for how long.
Another control factor lies in computer and internet access: not everyone can afford it.

Even when they can, it's interesting that many students are resistant to the evanescent, ethereal sources: they actually prefer physical books. It would be valuable to see analysis of why. Is it because they can't afford web access; because books are 'ownable,' durable, heritable objects; or because the new generations are increasingly suspicious of media manipulation in their world?

I say they should be very wary. That's an unholy trinity out there.

25 August 2012 at 22:52  
Blogger bluedog said...

Keep up the good work, Thomas Keningley.

25 August 2012 at 23:44  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Thomas Keningley. Look old fellow, you seem to have the wrong opinion about us Catholics. Those of us who adhere to Rome's teachings are not automatons who are commanded by Rome. They are as they are, teachings. Plenty of malcontent in the ranks indeed, but we remain Catholics. It is though perfectly clear that we achieve salvation through our own efforts, and not just by membership of the church.

Of course the Magisterium sets the highest stands. 100% if you will, but the Inspector is confident that 70%+ is a pass. And why? Well it’s blatantly obvious that we are natural born sinners and we will pay the price for that in our bodily death. So, you hard-line protesters, lighten up a bit and enjoy your time on this earth. Now, in the grand plan for us who do not go down the road of evil, where is the harm in that ?


25 August 2012 at 23:46  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

John Magee

For your post of 25 August 2012 @21:56 you have my respect and admiration.

Thomas Keningly said ...
On the "solas":

" ... what we have "canonised"/recognised is the material sufficiency of Scripture, which is where protestant doctrinal standards are to be found."

But that actually contradicts scripture! Besides, you've ommited the accompanying "solas" which, taken together, give licence to individual interpretations. And please do not tell me there are no hugh gulfs between protestants in their doctrine - those that have doctine!

On Matthew 16:18:

"In any case, I don't accept your (thus far unargued) exegesis of the passage."

Be honest, the arguments are well known to both of us and no doubt you have answers to all my points. For me, the verses are pretty self-explanatory and also based entirely on a reasoned understanding of human nature and the need for leadership.

"Feed my sheep" as Jesus commanded Peter and handing him "the keys of the kingdom of heaven" with authority to "bind upon earth" and "loose upon earth".

As I said earlier, if some group is in "doctrinal schism" with official teaching on matters of faith and morals the Church will act. If clergy or members of Holy Orders, if they continue to hold such positions, they will be silenced so as not to confuse and mislead the faithful. If 'professional' theologians, a modernist group in the 90's who tried to dominate the Church, they will not to be permitted to teach at Catholic Universities or speak on behalf of the Church. If private individuals the Church will use other forms of private influence.

How offensive - to act decisively to guard the Truth of the Gospel and the traditions of the Apostles. And what an intrusion on the private liberty and personal understanding of individuals as they read their bibles.

26 August 2012 at 00:25  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

Another good night it seems.

You are inspired, Sir. Inspired, I say!

26 August 2012 at 00:28  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

How is one to argue with such contradiction? First Dodo says ...

As I said earlier, if some group is in "doctrinal schism" with official teaching on matters of faith and morals the Church will act. If clergy or members of Holy Orders, if they continue to hold such positions, they will be silenced so as not to confuse and mislead the faithful. If 'professional' theologians, a modernist group in the 90's who tried to dominate the Church, they will not to be permitted to teach at Catholic Universities or speak on behalf of the Church. If private individuals the Church will use other forms of private influence.

Right after which he writes to OIG ...

You are inspired, Sir. Inspired, I say!

Which can only be a reference to OIG's statement that ...

Look old fellow, you seem to have the wrong opinion about us Catholics. Those of us who adhere to Rome's teachings are not automatons who are commanded by Rome. They are as they are, teachings. Plenty of malcontent in the ranks indeed, but we remain Catholics. ...

Of course the Magisterium sets the highest stands. 100% if you will, but the Inspector is confident that 70%+ is a pass. And why?


One just shakes the head in amazement. Where exactly does the disagreement originate if not in 'private liberty and personal understanding' - the self-same private liberty and personal understanding that he just condemned as Protestant?

Here we have a Magisterium acting as infallible interpreter and a Roman Catholic demanding submission to the infallibility of that Magisterium, even as he praises another Roman Catholic for rejecting its teachings. Should he not be warning this wayward Roman Catholic of the consequences of 'doctrinal schism' instead?

And then we have this amazing statement which likewise receives praise as being inspired, but deserves special mention.

It is though perfectly clear that we achieve salvation through our own efforts

No, we don't. That is the lie that is at the center of Roman Catholic sacramental justification. It is the lie at the heart of every false Gospel that man may devise. The man who believes it will die in his sin.

And there isn't any purgatory to account for the difference.

carl

26 August 2012 at 00:56  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl

Do lighten up! You really fail to understand the joy of Catholicism and our ability to laugh at ourselves. Is their no room for humour in your faith system?

The Inspector makes some outrageous statements. Go behind his humour. He has an understanding that obedience to the Church, as representing the word of God, is one of the fundamentals of Catholicism - he's said it often enough.

Catholics are not unthinking automatons simply commanded by Rome. We think; we discuss; we disagree and some of us are malcontented. The Magisterium does set the gold standard and the Church accepts we all fail and we have the sacraments to strengthen us. None of us are perfect and we all sin - we repent, we make a firm purpose of amndment, we are forgiven and we soldier on.

Now, 'private liberty and personal understanding' is completely different. It permits one to decide for oneself what is consistent with God's law and what is not. If I thought the Inspector was advocating a wilful disregard of the Church's clear teachings I would take issue with him and I have done so in the past.

Salvation is through our relationship with Christ, cooperation with grace and the assistance of the Holy Spirit. We have to play our part too and actively resist temptation and act according to Jesus' teachings. Catholics believe our salvation is through an ongoing cooperation with God.

26 August 2012 at 01:33  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

iNSPECTOR: 23:46
I find myself warming towards you inspector...keep this up and I will toss Doodles over for you:)

26 August 2012 at 05:56  
Blogger William said...

Dodo

"Do lighten up! You really fail to understand the joy of Catholicism and our ability to laugh at ourselves. Is their no room for humour in your faith system?"

Do lighten up! Carl was merely pointing out the contradictions in your posts so that we can laugh at you too. It seems we're all laughing now.

26 August 2012 at 09:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Ouch.

26 August 2012 at 10:54  
Blogger non mouse said...

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26 August 2012 at 11:15  
Blogger non mouse said...

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26 August 2012 at 11:32  
Blogger non mouse said...

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26 August 2012 at 12:50  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

It would seem that most people are commenting here are in fact robots who do no require sleep, a fatal mistake on my part! I shall do my best to respond as briefly as possible (ironic given that pointless paragraph I just wrote.)

Inspector: I am well aware that Catholics aren't automatons inspector, I know plenty of very lively, thoughtful Catholics who think carefully through their faith. Doesn't stop them being wrong, nevertheless... Seriously though, from what I've understood from Dodo (he can correct me if I've misunderstood), the pass mark in terms of behaviour may not be 100%, but in doctrinal terms if you are aware of a RCC doctrine and refuse intellectual assent, then you are out of communion with the church- is that right Dodo? So 70% in doctrinal terms isn't enough if any one point is a conscious rejection of such doctrine. And don't worry Inspector, I'm not too dour and miserable!

Dearest Dodo: "But that actually contradicts scripture! Besides, you've ommited [sic] the accompanying "solas" which, taken together, give licence to individual interpretations. And please do not tell me there are no hugh [sic] gulfs between protestants in their doctrine - those that have doctine!"

You can assert that, but you should probably argue for it. As for me, 2 Tim 3:15-17 seems enough to demonstrate the material sufficiency of Scripture. And to be honest, apart from sola scriptura, I don't see what sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus or soli Deo gloria have to do with individual interpretation- they're doctrinal assertions. There are gulfs in Protestant doctrine, but I don't subscribe to some nebulous "Protestant" doctrine, I subscribe to "Reformed" doctrine, well epitomised in the XXXIX articles, for example, as well as Reformed confessions like Westminster.

If you don't want to pursue the Matt 16 text then we won't. But as for individuals dissenting, I presume, for example, Anthony Blair has been excommunicated then, given his unrepentant position on homosexuality? I presume he does not receive mass at his local church? I should be interested to know...

26 August 2012 at 13:28  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Thomas Keningley

Silly Protestant. You should know you can't understand Sacred Scripture. The keys were not given to you, and you don't have access to the content of Sacred Tradition, anyways. Therefore your 'readings' will inevitably be wrong. (Churlish, sir! How dare you suggest that Sacred Tradition has neither content nor provenance. The Magisterium itself is of course both the deposit and holder of Sacred Tradition.)

Now, the Pope has helpfully defined infallible meanings for a few verses in Scripture to help us on our way. Granted, they all deal with establishing the infallibility of the Pope, but don't you see how helpful that is? Roman Catholics have someone to settle disagreements. Protestants don't.

Well, yes, you might have thought the Magisterium would have come up with infallible interpretations for more than six or seven verses in 1500 years. But, you know, infallible interpretations are only required to settle specific controversies, and in that period there just haven't been that many controversies requiring infallible interpretations. Besides, the RCC has councils and bulls and such, and they count as well. Remember, the infallible declaration of a dogma may be correct even if the the justification for the dogma is wrong.

You have much to learn. I suggest you locate the Pope and follow him. Your responsibility stops at following his pronouncements. After all, you can't understand Scripture. That's what you need him for. If he turns out to be wrong, well, you can't help that. You would just be able to say to God "I was only following that Pope you put over me."

And if that doesn't work, there is always Purgatory.

carl

26 August 2012 at 14:26  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Didn't Ananda Coomerswamy write a book on the Vatican II being a herecy

Robert Bauval has also noted a Freemasonic takeover within the Vatican

Should catholics professing the one true faith not dissociate themselves with the Vatican

26 August 2012 at 14:34  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

This is a most interesting thread. On one hand we have the Roman Catholics who have no trouble accepting our flawed state of existence and the other, the ‘reformed’ Christians full of the fire and brimstone the one true church left behind centuries ago. And look, to paraphrase what it might say of the Inspectors bottle of single malt, “definite hints of guilt and angst present”.

I put it to you protesting Sirs, that our very beings are NOT the sin before God you would have us all believe. I further put it to you that we are under test on this earth as to whether what is true in our hearts are worthy of salvation. From what the Inspector remembers of the parable of the talents, it was the lad who hid his money in a hole in the ground and who presented his own father with exactly the same amount back that had his face slapped ! Translates – get out there and do something with the free will you are given. You will achieve and you will disappoint, but you will LIVE...

One is of the opinion that salvation is open to ALL who adhere to Christ, not just those of us capable of discussing it at degree level. Perhaps if this message was given more prominence, even a TV advertising campaign, you might start to see more people turning up at church again...


26 August 2012 at 14:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

I put it to you protesting Sirs, that our very beings are NOT the sin before God you would have us all believe.

What then is the point of the Cross? Why should we be under condemnation? Why should we fear hellfire? Why did Christ have to offer Himself as atonement for Sin if what you say is true? Dodo, this is where you rush in and tell me about Catholic humor and outrageous statements.

I further put it to you that we are under test on this earth as to whether what is true in our hearts are worthy of salvation.

'Worthy' of salvation. Not of grace, then, but of worth. For the necessity of grace implies a lack of worth. The man who is worthy does not require grace. And how does a man become 'worthy' in the eyes of God such that he might be saved from the sin that is evidently not the very essence of his being before God in any case? He works. Er, he 'cooperates.'

Roman Catholicism writ large.

carl

26 August 2012 at 15:09  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Thomas Keningley. After Carl’s disparaging humour, it is only right for the Inspector to suggest you might find everything you need from Calvinism.

First, you will need bibles, lot’s of them. One for each room, including the smallest, and a pocket one to be with you all the time. Remember, you will need to consult them every hour or so, as there is nothing you are allowed to do unless the bible okays it. Second, how’s your finger, if you don’t mind the Inspector asking ? It will need to be in good shape as you are going to be doing a lot of pointing with it. An awful lot. Third, how smug are are you. Smuggish is not good enough, you will have to be ‘real smug’ as our American cousin would put it. Along with that, you will also be mean of spirit, ‘real mean of spirit’. If you come across anyone actually enjoying life, it will be your responsibility to dampen it down. Life is far too serious – I say, stop that grinning now.

So, here it is then, Calvinism. just sign here. Oh yes, one problem, you will have to be pre-destined ( ! ). But we won’t worry about that for now...

26 August 2012 at 15:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl’s. You would split hairs on the use of ‘worthy’ and ‘grace’ ?

One wonders if there actually was a word with the sentiments of what we now call ‘grace’ in Judea 2000 years ago. Ah, you say it’s in your bible ? Inspector understands old chap. {...THROWS ARMS UP IN AIR...}

26 August 2012 at 15:31  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Thanks for the information Inspector, however I've been an unreconstructed Calvinist for quite a while now. I type this atop my sofa constructed solely of Bibles, although I'm slightly uncomfortable that Sony wouldn't make my laptop from recycled Bible pages (not to mention uncomfortable due to sitting on hardback Bibles, but that is surely a salutary discomfort!)

I considered Roman Catholicism, but I realised I couldn't do anything without the Pope's say so, and people got upset when I wouldn't let him leave the house, and his hat kept getting caught on the door frames, which was difficult. We tried video-link but you know the elderly and computers...

As for the rest of it, well I was going to read it but instead I decided to go and kick some children as they were outside playing in the park and looked in danger of having fun, which is, as we both know, a damnable error.

However I've just realised that it's mid-afternoon, so as a Catholic you will presumably be drunk by now anyway. :P

26 August 2012 at 16:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Good Lord !

A fellow has a few hours to go before he can enjoy the company of John Barleycorn. High standards maintained here, old chap...



26 August 2012 at 16:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Dodo, you there? A chap has just had the most awful shock. Seems to be another Calvinist on site. As if one in the world wasn’t enough. Has furniture made from bibles, don’t you know...

Will wager this fellow has a cat too. We have long established the connection between extreme protesting and that accursed animal beloved of the Devil, what !

26 August 2012 at 16:51  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Actually Inspector, there you're wrong. I have a dog. They're much more effective as pack animals to carry the Bibles around you see. Also, a cat would scratch the large wooden stake I have in the back garden, rendering it unstable and unfit for purpose...

I presume, however, as a committed Anglican, that our friend His Grace is a Calvinist, seeing as the XXXIX Articles enshrine doctrines such as double predestination.

26 August 2012 at 17:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Don’t think our host would appreciate the Calvinist association Mr Keningley, Anglo-catholic he would be, very High Church.

Always had problems with predestination personally. No need for it, you see. One truly believes our creator has given us a free hand, even if that involves our eventual destruction by our own hand...

Are you quite sure about your catless status ? One has placed so much stock on that theory...

26 August 2012 at 17:27  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Inspector: Well historically Thomas Cranmer was certainly Calvinist/Reformed in his doctrine, and he certainly believed in predestination. Given the total depravity of man, from which he would never choose God of his own will, God's sovereign choice is absolutely necessary, as good old Augustine, Aquinas and the Dominicans (I believe) would tell you.

Well I checked the whole house, but unfortunately still no cat. Worse, my dog is not even a murderous pit bull: he's a Labrador.

26 August 2012 at 17:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Mr Keningley, Given the total depravity of man, from which he would never choose God of his own will,. You are reformed protesting alright – no doubt about that !

Rather harsh on (civilised) mankind, one would say. There are those of us who have no problem in accepting a creator, and living their lives as a creator would have us do. But maybe we have a key concept of protesting here: The idea that man cannot possibly voluntarily live that way, and given the opportunity would lie and cheat as well as any Arab.

Then again, you may have a point with it as a generalisation, what with the evils of abortion and militant feminism and secularism rife and apparently driving forces of our society. Our politicians are for the most part, hell bound, one sincerely hopes...

Labradors are fine animals. An unquestioning love of man, and trusting too. Wish one could find a woman like that. {SNIFF}. Cats out there, you are heartless creatures plotting your owners demise, when you are not wrecking their romances. {A BIT OF PERSONAL BITTERNESS THERE...}


26 August 2012 at 18:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

We have long established the connection between extreme protesting and that accursed animal beloved of the Devil, what !

You have missed the proper correlation. The cat is not beloved of the Devil. The cat is beloved of the woman. Acquire the company of the later, and you will often acquire the affliction of the former. It's a 'thorn in the flesh' thing. Every blessing comes with a curse.

As for the 'disparaging humour' I will admit that paragraph four was perhaps slightly sardonic. But the rest of that post was nothing more than a compendium of arguments in defense of RC doctrine that have been presented to me personally by Roman Catholics. I didn't invent any of it.

carl
who notes the lack of a 'u' in the proper spelling of 'humor.'

26 August 2012 at 18:24  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

Twenty years ago when on pilgrimage in the Holy Land, I observed that the following categories of nomenclature of Christians were in use

CATHOLIC actually meant ORTHODOX

LATIN meant ROMAN CATHOLIC

and

PROTESTANT or EVANGELICAL all the rest.

It was rather like the different understanding of the word "chapel" in the British Isles. In England and Wales, Chapel usually means Protestant Non-Conformist (Methodist, Baptist etc).
In Scotland or Northern Ireland "Chapel" is generally used to denote a Roman Catholic place of worship.

Of course, the Eastern Orthodox Churches regard the Roman Church as having led a (very successful) revolution against the doctrines of the Catholic Church, as expressed in the Seven great Councils and Holy Tradition
by the novelties of the insertion of the filioque in the Creed and the assertion of the papal claim to universal jurisdiction. The patriarch of Rome, they believe, is entitled to a primacy of honour but not of administrative superiority.

Ironic that Allah should join in refuting that claim.

26 August 2012 at 18:39  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
John Knox's lovechild said...
'The Church of England is not Catholic'.

If that was so, why does it say in the Book of Common Prayer, 'one catholic and apostolic church'?

I have no problem with the term when it is used in its original meaning, not as a name description for a denomination. Wiki states; "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general"

26 August 2012 at 18:43  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Interesting discussion thread. On my way up to Derbyshire on Friday (visiting family), I went past the village of Eyam- interesting place with a footnote in history, but one which speaks of humanity and sacrifice.

26 August 2012 at 18:52  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Hmmm. Cat beloved of woman, you say. Might explain why she was so upset when it ‘disappeared’. Better give it back I suppose. Now lets see, it’s in one of these trunks around here...

26 August 2012 at 19:22  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Inspector and Thomas,

I have two Labradors and there are quite a handful, but are much nicer that cats. Perhaps Mr Inspector, needs the assistance of a match-maker?

26 August 2012 at 19:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Cat beloved of woman has but a short time on this earth, if the inspector gets his hands on it...

26 August 2012 at 20:23  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

I can throw another "rebel" Catholic example into the mix.

There's more than one Catholic Church (i.e. parish, rather than strictly speaking denomination) in Belfast which regards Vatican II as the work of the devil (not always in the rhetorical sense of that phrase either), and refuses to have anything to do with it. I've always found them fascinating, as it seems to me that their position is not enormously different from some early "Reform" Christians, who saw late medieval developments (usually those at Lateran II) as being extras offensive to tradition, but didn't otherwise diverge into what we would recognise as Protesantism.

There's one in South Belfast which is also suitably liberal - so, not necessarily in rebellion, but I think sufficiently departed from the kind of orthodoxy Dodo himself might be used to.

26 August 2012 at 20:24  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector knows of only two Catholic cats in existence, and they are both owned by the Pope. It takes much time, effort and devotion to turn a cat papist. Problems with it renouncing the Devil, apparently, and predestination too, one might add...




26 August 2012 at 20:51  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

AIB said ...

"There's more than one Catholic Church (i.e. parish, rather than strictly speaking denomination) in Belfast which regards Vatican II as the work of the devil (not always in the rhetorical sense of that phrase either), and refuses to have anything to do with it.

In what way and sense doE this parish refuse to have anything to do with Vatican II?

26 August 2012 at 21:18  
Blogger John Magee said...

Mr Integrity

Most Protestants say the Apostle's or Nicean Creed at their services on Sunday. However none of their churches existed in the early 4th century AD when the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine called for a meeting of all the Church's Bishops, Latin and Eastern, at Nicea in what is today Turkey to write a statement of belief we now call the Apostle's or Nicean Creed. In 325 AD when the Creed was written there were Bishops and a Pope but no Protestants around. We all know they didn't appear on the scene for another 1,200 years and far away from Nicea in Northern Europe. Pope Gregory the Great wouldn't exist for another almost 300 years when he would then send Augustine, a Catholic Benedictine monk from his monastery in Rome, to Canturbury and mostly pagan England in the late 500's AD.

Which came first? The Catholic St. Augustine of Canterbury who left Rome to become the first Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury in 595 AD or King Henry VIII's national church which he set up in the late 1520's AD?

That's easy isn't it?

26 August 2012 at 21:54  
Blogger Francis Horner said...

Your Grace

Are you sure that your information is correct - this seems to be a comment by the Saudis, not a formal objection. Anyone can make a comment and about 10 others have done so including a Lutheran pastor and someone from an unofficial CoE point of view:

https://gtldcomment.icann.org/comments-feedback/applicationcomment/viewcomments

26 August 2012 at 21:59  
Blogger John Magee said...

Does anyone remember the Greeks and the Trojan Horse? We all know the saying: "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts". When a Muslim Saudi King, who represents the home of Islam, does anything to aid Christians (of course Christians can't build churches or say public prayers, or even wear a cross in public in Saudi Arabia). I say "Beware of a Muslim King doing any Chrisian's a favor"... It will come back to bite you someday in ways you can't imagine yet!

26 August 2012 at 22:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

John Magee is right. What damn business is it of the Saudis anyway. They are onlookers as to what happens in the Christian west, and that includes the WWW...

26 August 2012 at 22:40  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

So much for the weasels theory that the Catholic Church is in cahoots with Islam!

Now, Calvinism is a strange cult. What kind of a God do they believe in? Before people are born they are predestined for Heaven or Hell. It doesn't matter what they actually do during their lives. It makes no difference. They are God's automatons, as it were. No free will. Totally depraved and either saved or damned - they have no say in the matter.

What sort of God would predestine mankind to all this misery when the outcome for each individual is set in advance? I mean, why go to all this trouble?

It must be ressuring for Calvinists believing with absolute certainty they are Heaven bound no matter what they do. Of course, they may just be wrong. They may be predestined for Hell, again regardless of what they do. Who knows?

No, I'll stick with Catholicism and 2000 years of orthodox Christianity's understanding that salvation is available to everybody if we cooperate through free will with the Holy Spirit and become members of Christ's Body, His Church, where we are fortified. We are not utterly depraved but weakened, and with God's grace, our response and through Baptism and the sacraments, cooperate with His call.

27 August 2012 at 00:13  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Dodo:

It refuses to use vernacular liturgy amongst other things - but when I said "of the devil" I was actually directly quoting the priest-in-charge.

They thought, and openly expressed to me that they believed that Vatican II was an ungodly council that was leading the Catholic Church astray.

27 August 2012 at 00:26  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Also Dodo:

It occurs to me that your mocking of Calvinism might be a little misplaced.

You after all, believe in a Church predestined to always avoid error. God's institutional automata?

27 August 2012 at 00:45  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

AIB

You don't believe in the promise of Christ to His Church?

God cannot commit error!

The Church is not God's institutional automata but His Shephards who make mistakes as men but not in matters of doctrine and dogma. Through study, tradition, prayer, human effort and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the Church cannot err.

27 August 2012 at 00:55  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

AIB

Is the parish you refer still a part of the Catholic Church? As I understand it, no church can refuse to use the new order of the Mass.

27 August 2012 at 00:59  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Dodo:

They still have Mass in Latin and Irish. They remain - as far as I am aware - members of the Roman Catholic Church. They just do things the way they always did them. Actually - that's really quite an Irish position on obedience to Rome. Following in the footsteps of St. Patrick and all that ;)

---

On "guarantees" whether personal or ecclesial, I observe only that Christ's death and resurrection guarantee salvation and the eventual triumph of His Church. I find the logic behind Calvinistic pre-destination and Catholic magisterial inerrancy to be largely similar: they take that guarantee, posit it in legal terms, and work backwards in order to make statements regarding inerrancy. Putting it crudely: the Calvinist does so for the Christian individual (brushing to one side those who were saved and fell away), whilst the Catholic does so for the corporate body of the Church leadership (brushing aside the radical shifts in doctrine and discipline that it has presided over, as well as more than a few rogues).

Both, it seems to me, can adduce portions of Scripture to their defence, but neither are explicitly articulated there in the form that their modern adherents understand.

27 August 2012 at 02:21  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Dodo:

Perhaps, though, you might be able to answer a genuine query that has just popped into my head in the context of the spate of posts between John Magee, yourself, Avi and David & Hannah Kavanagh.

Do you see the Old Testament Temple as having possessed a similar Magisterium? Or is it a unique attribute of the New Covenant? If it did possess a kind of Magisterium - when did it lose it? Simply at the coming of Christ, or when it began (from a Christian perspective) to lead people away from holiness pleasing to God?

27 August 2012 at 02:27  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I rescind my previous kind Christian comment to inspector.Sometimes in a Christian mellow moment I think I should show some camaraderie to other Catholics on this site but I find them so objectionable that they almost cause a crisis of faith.

I wish the Protestants and atheists on this blog could witness some real Catholics like the wonderful missionaries I know who live in the third world in poverty and struggle to help the "coloured people" of the third world.

Praise be to God for cats..for Pope Benedict for restoring their profile as a superior species and for protecting vulnerable nurses against the cruel inspector.

27 August 2012 at 03:10  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 August 2012 at 05:14  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

AIB

Both, it seems to me, can adduce portions of Scripture to their defence, but neither are explicitly articulated there in the form that their modern adherents understand.

Interesting you should say this. I became a Calvinist simply from studying Scripture. In fact, I was convinced fully three years before I even knew what to call myself. I had never heard the term 'Calvinist' until a Presbyterian pastor I knew gave me an apologetic written by some guy named Jonathan Edwards. That was the first time I ever heard of something called the five points. And here I found I had already believed them for three years.

carl

27 August 2012 at 05:17  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Cressida
"I wish the Protestants and atheists on this blog could witness some real Catholics like the wonderful missionaries I know who live in the third world in poverty and struggle to help the "coloured people" of the third world."
Yes I know some Catholics in Thailand. I have a Catholic step mother-in-law. The Catholics here are a minority and a lot nicer than the Catholics in the West.
I also knew an ex-Catholic Irish priest livng in Bangkok but that's another story.

27 August 2012 at 06:00  
Blogger wallygreeninker said...

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

27 August 2012 at 08:44  
Blogger William said...

Some excellent comments from AIB

Have we established that the Roman Catholic church isn't as unified as Dodo would have us believe yet?

By the by, I have "witnessed" some amasing Catholics who have indeed taken Christ at his word and given their lives away for the sake of others.

27 August 2012 at 08:49  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

This thread shows the nonsense schism and heresy generate.

For it is claimed above that protestants are Catholics, indeed that Catholics are protestants; and that to be a Catholic it suffices to read the Anglican prayer book.

And that Saudi Arabia is Anglican or some such thing.

27 August 2012 at 09:13  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

JKL - Which thread are you reading? Certainly not this one! And would you stop using capitals when you talk about Protestants beng catholic, as doing so makes you look a numpty!

27 August 2012 at 09:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Two babies in a maternity ward. One is predestined for heaven, the other, as the bible really does tell us, would have been better off not being born at all. Calvinism in a nutshell. A cruel trick played out on a scorned creation by a heartless God ? Hardly – merely the bizarre thoughts of Calvin himself.

And yet, when it comes to facing down this nonsense, where are the rest of the protestant boys ? Youthpasta, Belfast, where are you on this ?

Is there really a protestant gentleman's agreement not to bicker amongst yourselves and to save your sanctimonious indignation purely for Rome ?

27 August 2012 at 10:30  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Hardly something that you Catholics try to do, eh Inspector? (before you disagree, look back not only through this thread but through the last year's threads to see that it is hardly a "protestant gentleman's agreement" but one that you Catholics (please note the capital "C") quite happily lean to when it suits you)

However, as to your question I am completely in disagreement over predestination as it is in direct opposition to free will, as I have said several times before in various threads.
Thankfully this disagreement does not lead to us falling out of communion with one another or each declaring that the other is not a proper church, it simply means that we disagree and thus express our disagreement in a different format of church, generally referred to as denominations.

27 August 2012 at 11:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Stone the crows Youthpasta !

You still managed to get a dig in at Rome !

That apart, one sees then that doctrinal differences between the protesters are as of nothing compared to the original protesting which has been going on for five hundred years. One is facing a rail journey today and will chew over that...

27 August 2012 at 11:38  
Blogger IanCad said...

OIG @10:30 wrote:

"Is there really a protestant (sic) gentleman's agreement not to bicker amongst yourselves and to save your sanctimonious indignation purely for Rome ?"

The sheer number of Protestant denominations should immediately refute this assertion.

Augustinian/Calvinistic Predestination theology is an outgrowth of the unbiblical doctrine of Original Sin.

The Reformation did not cure all ills.
To parpahase J.A. Wylie (Stern Calvinist that he was.) :
"Protestantism did not emerge fully awake after Eight Hundred Years of darkness."

Is there not in the Catholic Catechism something to the effect that "God predestines no man to go to Hell"?
Well, you've got that right, although the notion of an eternally burning Hell is not supported by scripture. And indeed, has been refuted by the CofE Doctrinal Commission.

27 August 2012 at 11:48  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

I thought I wasn't going to have to comment further on this thread, but Dodo, you flagrant misrepresentation of Calvinism left me unable to resist.

"Now, Calvinism is a strange cult. What kind of a God do they believe in? Before people are born they are predestined for Heaven or Hell."

This bit is at least a vaguely accurate representation of Calvinism, doctrine represented in Romans 8, 9, John 6, Ephesians 1, 2 Thessalonians 2, for example.

"It doesn't matter what they actually do during their lives. It makes no difference. They are God's automatons, as it were. No free will. Totally depraved and either saved or damned - they have no say in the matter."

False. It absolutely matters what we do in our lives, it is just that we are predestined to do it. You are confusing fatalism with determinism. As for automatons, this is a false comparison, as we have consciousness and a will, even if it is causally determined. We have no say in the matter in the sense that, of ourselves, we would in no wise choose to follow God! Predestinarian theology is not only found in Calvinism, but also in various Catholic groups and writers- Thomists (e.g. Dominicans), Augustinians, as well as the now excommunicated Jansenists. Careful at whom you point the finger, therefore, as you are accusing your fellow Catholics just as well.

"What sort of God would predestine mankind to all this misery when the outcome for each individual is set in advance? I mean, why go to all this trouble?"

Well, as I have already said, the God of Thomas, Augustine etc. But as Paul says in response to a similar question in Romans 9: "But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?"

"It must be ressuring [sic] for Calvinists believing with absolute certainty they are Heaven bound no matter what they do. Of course, they may just be wrong. They may be predestined for Hell, again regardless of what they do. Who knows?"

Not how it works. Calvinists believe that God calls all those he predestined to belief in His Son, and anyone trusting in Christ is saved, but that belief is simply evidence that you were in the first place predestined.

"No, I'll stick with Catholicism and 2000 years of orthodox Christianity's understanding that salvation is available to everybody if we cooperate through free will with the Holy Spirit and become members of Christ's Body, His Church, where we are fortified. We are not utterly depraved but weakened, and with God's grace, our response and through Baptism and the sacraments, cooperate with His call."

Well you have yet to establish that that is indeed the belief of Orthodox Christianity for 2000 years, and there is much evidence to the contrary within and without the Roman Catholic Church I'm afraid.

27 August 2012 at 11:49  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

IanCad: "Augustinian/Calvinistic Predestination theology is an outgrowth of the unbiblical doctrine of Original Sin."

All very well for you to assert that, but you'll forgive me for not accepting you un-evidenced assertions.

"the notion of an eternally burning Hell is not supported by scripture. And indeed, has been refuted by the CofE Doctrinal Commission."

Ok, if you just want to play the assertion=argument game, let me have a go too.

The notion of an eternally burning Hell is the clear teaching of Scripture, and indeed has been clearly established by the works of numerous eminent theologians. Wow, that was fun.

27 August 2012 at 11:56  
Blogger TrT said...

So Catholic doesnt mean "likes pope" and Orthadox "doesnt"?

27 August 2012 at 12:11  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thomas:

We have been here many times on this blog.

The Bible is replete with teachings refuting the doctrine of Predestination.

Joshua 24:15.
"---choose you this day whom ye will serve;--"
Oh, so you do have a choice then?

1 Corinthians 10:12.
"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall---"
So I can fall?

Revelation 3:11.
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."
A false preacher can come along and persuade you to accept error instead of truth?

Luke 9:62.
"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Free to come. Free to leave.

You wrote:

"The notion of an eternally burning Hell is the clear teaching of Scripture--"

With all due respect, it most certainly is not.

Briefly, much error can be avoided by recognizing that the words Eternal and Everlasting should be understood, in most cases, as having the suffix Until after them.

The doctrine of Hell has served the Roman Church well. More money has been poured into the coffers of the Vatican through this piece of mumbo-jumbo than, perhaps, any other means.

It is analagous in many ways to today's Global Warming Industry.

A caste of priests. Slippery and silver tongued.
A credulous and largely ignorant public.
An arcane liturgy invented by the above priestly caste.
The fiction that large sums of money can serve to alleviate the problem.


Romans 6:23.
"For the wages of sin is death;---"

Again, we've been here before.
When you're dead you're dead.

27 August 2012 at 13:43  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Ian: "Joshua 24:15.
"---choose you this day whom ye will serve;--"
Oh, so you do have a choice then?"

So what if you have a choice? That doesn't mean that your decision isn't predetermined. The idea that this choice is in some sense libertarian-ly free has to be read into the text, it can't be read out of it.

"1 Corinthians 10:12.
"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall---"
So I can fall?"

If you read the text then you'll see it says "him who thinks he stands firm...", it doesn't say that person is actually regenerate.

"Revelation 3:11.
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."
A false preacher can come along and persuade you to accept error instead of truth?"

That just shows that you don't actually understand the Calvinistic doctrine of perseverance. How does that teach against predestination?

"Luke 9:62.
"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Free to come. Free to leave."

Nothing to do with freedom. Everything to do with fitness. You're reading your preconceptions into the text, not out of it.

"Briefly, much error can be avoided by recognizing that the words Eternal and Everlasting should be understood, in most cases, as having the suffix Until after them."

In that case I presume you don't believe that heaven is eternal? Or, just until it finishes?

"Romans 6:23.
"For the wages of sin is death;---"

Again, we've been here before.
When you're dead you're dead."

Resting on atheistic, physicalist assumptions about what death is- is it the destruction of the whole person or separation of body and soul? According to the Bible, it's the latter...

27 August 2012 at 14:16  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thomas,

We have added minutely to the vast writings on Predestination.
We are not going to settle it.
I have said my piece. You have made a response.
Let others make of it what they will.

On the other hand, let me asssure you that I know that Heaven will be eternal. We do have to apply some judgement to our scriptural interpretations.

Your final paragraph I agree with. The subject though was Hell, not death prior to the Judgement.

27 August 2012 at 15:26  
Blogger John Magee said...

Cressida

"I wish the Protestants and atheists on this blog could witness some real Catholics like the wonderful missionaries I know who live in the third world in poverty and struggle to help the "coloured people" of the third world"

When I hear "real Catholics", or "real Protestants" I immediately recognize a lecture is coming about how the REAL Catholics and REAL Protestants who live their faith quietly by supporting their families and helping their immediate neighbors in their everyday lives are going to be trashed by some left wing radical liberal who hates their own Civilization religion, and country and all the good they represent and have done for the world by an arrogant self-righeous snob who has never most likely never volunteerd to do charity work in their lives.

I'm not saying this could be you.

What are your views on Liberation Theology? The Vatican condemns this preverted mix of atheistic Marxism and basic Christianity based dominated by class hatred. A few of these foreign missionaries you admire believe in the class hatred of Christomarxism. Do you?

Do you help immigrant "coloured people" who live near you or even poor white neighbors? Unless you do don't lecture the rest of us about "real" Catholics or "real" Christianity

There is an old saying that has been used too often but it's true, "charity begins at home".

You don't have to know foreign Catholic missionaries to to know REAL Catholics or REAL Protestants. They great majority of Christians who are busy working hard every day at a real job supporting their families and paying the taxes for the welfare state that supports a lot of these "coloured people" who chose to come to Western welfare states to live off the fat of the land at expense of other hard working indigenous white people's sweat.

Real Catholics and Protestants take care of their families and immediate neighbors first which is the best any of us can do.

By he way to use the words "coloured people" is considered and degrading and racist by blacks these days.

27 August 2012 at 17:33  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

John Magee:

Cressida essentially was talking about action. Doing things to improve the lot of our fellow neighbour. Liberation Theology does indeed focus quite a bit on that - but as you're aware, it goes quite a bit further both in terms of *how* we should serve our neighbour (through the radical redistribution of wealth - hence the Marxism), and the fact that serving our neighbour - that is, the material facts of life - are pre-eminent in Christianity (hence the charge of influence by atheism).

Not being a fan of either reductionist materialism or Marxism, I can't say I disagree with your zeal in opposing them.

But I don't think Cressida was even remotely close to talking about such things. She's talking about one's obligation to one's neighbour - taught not by Marx but by Our Lord, who seemed to put quite a bit of importance on doing so (cf. the Parable of the Sheep and Goats).

In that sense, what we have here is not a clash of ideologies but a difference of mindset. Cressida is talking about practice: what fruits your beliefs bring forth. You have leapt to thought and idea - what it is permissible to think. What we think, is of course intimately connected to what we do and why we do it, but I think in this specific instance, Cressida is entirely on the money by highlighting the fact that many of the Christians who embody faith are actually... well... doing stuff.

I'm sure you know of some yourself.

27 August 2012 at 18:09  
Blogger John Magee said...

Belfast

I'm not against missionary work. I thank God every March 17th, St. Patrick's day and on February 14th, the feast day of Saints Cyril & Methodius and all their missionary work so long ago. Those brave and devout Catholic missionaries (Sts. Cyril & Methodius were from Greece) converted my pagan Celtic Irish and pagan Czech ancestors to the Catholic.

I have a sceptical mind about mixing left wing politics and class hatred in the name of religion with "Christian" missionary activities in the 3rd world. So does the Vatican.

If your're not asking questions your're not thinking.

27 August 2012 at 19:39  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Can I just say that the use of the terms "predestination" or "predetermined" are the MOST UNHELPFUL terms to use in this discussion. Both words intimate that there is no choice in the matter.
The simple fact is that we do have a choice, because free will is ESSENTIAL to the Christian understanding of a loving Creator God.

HOWEVER! Alongside freewill we have an omniscient God who can see everything. He exists OUTSIDE of time, so he can see the end of time at the same "time" as the beginning. The problem comes when we try to describe the non-linear with the linear (and vice versa). In addition, God knows us so well, down to the very atoms we are made from, that he knows how we will act throughout our lives, what will lead to progeny and what that progeny will be created from and thus how they will be, repeating until Judgement Day.
All this has EVERYTHING to do with God being omniscient and NOTHING to do with choice or destiny.

27 August 2012 at 20:21  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

IanCad. Well done Sir, to question the predestination stance of that fellow Keningley. He’s trying to bang a square peg into a round hole. There really is no other way of putting it. It just goes to show that you can screw almost anything you want out of the bible, with is why this man should he ever need help on the spiritual side will consult a Catholic priest. Of course, he could look it up in the bible himself - but then again, if the old waste pipe is giving you trouble, you consult a GP and not the penguin book of symptoms...

Bravo, Youthpasta. The Inspector has removed your name from his ‘People to be Ignored’ list !

Good show both !

27 August 2012 at 21:15  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

John Magee:

I didn't think that you were against missionary work. As it happens, I'd include just the kinds of "small things" you decribed earlier as being the bread and butter of the Kingdom of God. There again, it's about putting faith into practice - or faith as practice.

I just think your suspicions are misplaced with regards to Cressida.

27 August 2012 at 21:21  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Cressida is such a feminine woman. Tossed around by her hormones and thankfully, as she tells us, with a strong man who understands. That kind of woman arouses the Inspector, what !

27 August 2012 at 21:27  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Youthpasta: "Can I just say that the use of the terms "predestination" or "predetermined" are the MOST UNHELPFUL terms to use in this discussion. Both words intimate that there is no choice in the matter."

How do they intimate a lack of choice? Why can you not have a predetermined choice? Also, predestined ("προώρισεν") is a word used in the Bible, so a bit odd to call it unhelpful.

"The simple fact is that we do have a choice, because free will is ESSENTIAL to the Christian understanding of a loving Creator God."

If by "free will" you mean an Aristotelian libertarian free will (LFW), then I deny this. Show me from the Bible that LFW is in this way essential? But if you don't mean LFW, then free will can be predetermined. You also need to square our supposed free will with our fallen state- is it somehow unaffected by the fall?

"In addition, God knows us so well, down to the very atoms we are made from, that he knows how we will act throughout our lives, what will lead to progeny and what that progeny will be created from and thus how they will be, repeating until Judgement Day."

This seems incompatible with a LFW concept, as in that paradigm none of our choices can be explained solely with reference to previous causal factors. So if you aren't talking about LFW, then your concept of free will would seem compatible with predestination.

"All this has EVERYTHING to do with God being omniscient and NOTHING to do with choice or destiny."

Unfortunately for you the Bible constantly talks about God ordaining events, or working them out according to the counsel of his will, normally in quite exhaustive terms.

Inspector: Yes, I'm always screwing those things out of the Bible, like:

"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." Rom 8:29-30

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." Eph 1:3-6

"But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thes 2:13-14

"All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away." John 6:37

"At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."" Matt 11:25-27

I don't know how anyone (like Augustine or Thomas Aquinas) could possibly be predestinarian given those passages...

27 August 2012 at 21:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Keningley old chap, and there we have the difference between Catholics and Protestants. The Protestants wanted to throw everyone a bible and say,”Here it is, make of it what you will”. The Catholics maintained that the bible itself was not the course to chose to salvation ON IT’S OWN, and that it was far too involved for the layman to interpret. Hardly surprising now that this man still sides with that advice.

Incidentally, the Inspector was privileged to have a Carmelite education. Unsurprisingly, RE was a speciality. (...God help those poor unfortunates in comprehensive schools who receive RE. The Inspector knows at least two of there teachers in this locality. No bloody idea of what they are on about. They only went into it to find answers to their own personal questions, like “I’m sure there is something in paganism”). Anyway, much was discussed including the Reformation in detail. We were, after all, Catholic lads in Protestant England. We never were introduced to pre-destiny.

27 August 2012 at 22:32  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Well yes, Inspector, heaven forbid that the laity should read the Word of God! They might not understand it, or even worse, they might understand it and realise it doesn't require them to pay for the release of their souls from purgatory! With regard to your religious education, I don't suppose at the time of the Reformation that predestination was a primary issue of contention. My understanding is that it wasn't until the Jesuits appeared that Catholicism began to have dissenting voices from unconditional predestination, and as I said, Thomists like the Dominicans would hold to it still.

27 August 2012 at 22:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Thomas. One thing the Carmelites made sure we understood was that they were nothing to do with episcopal Roman Catholicism. They were an ancient order of men who adopted the Christian rites on their creation. With even older religious orders, who of course were monks, virtual hermits as such, they didn’t even have their own priest, and might have to trudge half a day to the nearest church for the mass. These orders really came into their own when the pope allowed them to consecrate their own priests, and they never looked back. Consequently, the Inspector, impressed by by all this, tends to be that way of thinking. In other words Catholicism, unencumbered by parochial responsibilities.

Now, if members of other orders such as Augustinians and Dominicans flirted with aspects of predestination, that really is their business. They are independent organisations and owe nothing to Rome other than the allegiance they have given and do give. Incidentally of all the religious orders in place before the reformation, not one has ever rejected the pope as God’s apostle on this earth.


27 August 2012 at 23:09  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

It's rare for protestants to so openly disgree in public. Take away their rebellion against Rome and what is left?

Calvinism is a faith without hope. God judges us by what we act. Bit how we behave is determined by God - before we are born. Man is totally depraved and unless God has already decided to intervene and give individuals grace that cannot be resisted, we're on a predetermined course for Hell.

God has decided. All the teachings of Jesus and His parables urging Christian conduct, love of others and vigilance, count for nothing.

28 August 2012 at 01:31  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

AnonymousInBelfast said...

"Do you see the Old Testament Temple as having possessed a similar Magisterium?"

In a word - no.

As I understand Judaism the Torah was the prescribed word of God. The Sanhedrin applied it judiciously. The High Priests carried out the ritual requirements. There was no one denomination as such. Rabbis and competing schools disagreed, for example, about bodily resurrection and life after death.



I think Matthew 16:18 answers that particular question - as does various writings of St Paul.

Christianity is not based on a written set of laws given by Christ. He revealed the true path to God and to justification. Christ mandated the Apostles to preach and teach this message of salvation in His name, with His authority, and to lead humanity to the Kingdom.

"If it did possess a kind of Magisterium - when did it lose it?"

Well, I don't think it did.

Jesus declared a particular Judaic system and school to be a perversion of the Law of God.

"Simply at the coming of Christ, or when it began (from a Christian perspective) to lead people away from holiness pleasing to God?"

The constant theme of the Old Testament is that the Jews were incapable of sustained holiness, isn't it? That their rituals and sacrifices somehow missed the point. Isn't that what the prophets taught?

The Messiah had to come to transform man. I would say Judaism was going astray at the time of Christ - when the "oral law", allegedly given to Moses and passed down by word of mouth, started to achieve prominence. Just read what Jesus said about this.

28 August 2012 at 01:37  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Why do bits of posts randomly dissappear from time to time?

Please insert:

"Or is it a unique attribute of the New Covenant?"

Before the response:

"I think Matthew 16:18 answers that particular question - as does various writings of St Paul."

28 August 2012 at 01:42  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 August 2012 at 02:01  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

It's rare for protestants to so openly disagree in public.

...

You really don't know much about Protestants, do you? The most bitter opponents of Calvinism are Protestant, and they do not shy away from public pronouncements. I know this from personal experience.

Take away their rebellion against Rome and what is left?

The truth of the matter is that we hardly think about Rome at all. Your Papal bulls and Councils only matter to us in an apologetic context.

carl

28 August 2012 at 02:03  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Carl

Perhaps you should have read some of the encyclicals alongside your bible before concluding Calvinism was the correct path. Did you? If not, why not? Odds on you come from a protestant background.

28 August 2012 at 03:20  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Christian missionaries have made little headway in Thailand- coloured people or not.Of coursed Thailand escaped colonisation.I once knew a Christian missionary who went to Nepal. He returned after he had changed his religion.

28 August 2012 at 04:48  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Magee you really are a disgusting ignorant American racist.How dare you call yourself a Catholic or a Christian.Frauds like you are not worth the nose pickings of a coolie in a rice paddy.You know nothing about me ...so keep your personal vicious opinions to yourself, you frightful virulent geriatric jew hater!

28 August 2012 at 07:51  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

"coloured people" a term used by me ironically to highlight the racists on this site. Of course everyone knows irony escapes those of the thick fugged brain category of Magee. What a joke,dumkopf giving lectures on Christian kindness or racism.
The Catholic Church should be more discerning about who they accept as converts.

28 August 2012 at 08:27  
Blogger William said...

"It's rare for protestants to so openly disgree in public."

"How dare you call yourself a Catholic or a Christian. Frauds like you are not worth the nose pickings of a coolie in a rice paddy."

The Protestants may be disagreeing, but the Catholics appear to be at each other's throats. So much for Catholic unity slapping itself on the back and saying what a great day it's had.

Is this another example of Dodo's Catholic humour? (it's with a 'u' Carl), or are we about to get a "no true Scotsman" reply?

28 August 2012 at 10:13  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Inspector: Seems rather a lot more serious than you make out. You see, the Augustinians and Dominicans are simply taking their cue from Augustine and Thomas (Thomism, described by Vat. II as "the Perennial Philosophy"). Isn't Thomas' teaching that of Rome? Isn't he the Angelic Doctor? And as for Augustine, well, we all know how important he is to Western Christianity. I don't think you Roman Catholics can duck the predestination issue quite so easily.

Dodo: "Calvinism is a faith without hope. God judges us by what we act. Bit how we behave is determined by God - before we are born. Man is totally depraved and unless God has already decided to intervene and give individuals grace that cannot be resisted, we're on a predetermined course for Hell."

Yep, that seems to be quite a good summary of the first 9 chapters of Romans at least.

"God has decided. All the teachings of Jesus and His parables urging Christian conduct, love of others and vigilance, count for nothing."

Woah, woah, woah. On what basis do you say that? Our conduct is important, not least as God may have decreed to use it to adorn the gospel and bring others to the faith, or to bring glory to His name. Seems to count for quite a lot to me...

28 August 2012 at 11:31  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Dodo

I've often seen you refer to Matthew 16:18 in the context of this debate. I'm not sure its obvious that it implies the inerrancy of the Church, or even Peter himself. As far as I can see, it's a confirmation of Peter, and a promise that neither he nor the Church would ultimately be defeated. If it's a commission it's one soon failed by both Peter and the whole body of disciples in abandoning Christ. I actually think that's quite important: the Church can make a complete mess of things, but can still be turned back to God through repentence and Grace. It's because of those things that it will never fail.

Well done by the way for persevering. It ain't easy when your getting questions from every quarter; and though we don't agree on every point, I know that you argue from a conviction in faith, and with the well-being of others in mind.

28 August 2012 at 12:20  
Blogger bluedog said...

'The Catholic Church should be more discerning about who they accept as converts.' says Cressida de Nova @ 08.27 about the wretched Magee.

It appears that in de Nova's BCBG world one can only become a Catholic by inheritance. Conversion is akin to being in trade.

Sentiments not unlike those embodied in the Inspector's recent comment, since deleted, that there were second and third order Christians. A reasonably inventive term for Protestants, but in itself arrogant and scarcely Christian, although evidently Catholic.

28 August 2012 at 13:04  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Umm, Dodo, don't know if you've noticed but Carl has admitted to being a Calvinist. Last time I checked Calvinism was considered part of Protestantism.

28 August 2012 at 13:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Thomas. You set such great store in predestiny that the least this fellow can do is to bone up on it, and return to it in the future.

Be seeing you...

28 August 2012 at 14:05  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

OIG:

(In Darth Vader voice)

"There is no escaping your destiny"

28 August 2012 at 14:13  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Many thanks, Inspector.

28 August 2012 at 14:17  
Blogger William said...

OIG

"You set such great store in predestiny that the least this fellow can do is to bone up on it"

That sounds rather dangerously Protestant to me Inspector. I think that you need to chat to your priest first before you do any "boning up".

Here's a starter question you can ask him:

How do you reconcile God's absolute sovereignty with man's free will?

28 August 2012 at 14:22  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

William: "How do you reconcile God's absolute sovereignty with man's free will?"

What do you mean "free will"? In this kind of question, defining terms is absolutely essential. And, given your definition of free will, how do you know man has it?

28 August 2012 at 15:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

I say fellows, this predestination business is all a bit of a revelation to this man. You see, he had no idea it was such driving force.

Rather like visiting (protestant) neighbours, and being on good terms with them for years, and then one day, being introduced to mad granny who had been living in the attic all along but had never been mentioned before. Well, that’s how it seems at the moment. Won’t be doing any boning until next week when back at work. Like to do this kind of thing during quiet periods there.

William. Can’t see any problem there. God has given man a probably unique opportunity to live freely in His creation. What is all too apparent is that if we, and that includes our politicians, turn away from God, we suffer.


28 August 2012 at 15:26  
Blogger William said...

Thomas

"What do you mean "free will"?"

Here's a working definition: the ability to choose between good and evil.

"And, given your definition of free will, how do you know man has it?"

I'm not sure that this is knowable (or provable), but I would take my evidence from the Bible which speaks of God's justice; rewarding those who choose good and punishing those who choose evil. If God is just, I cannot see how He could punish those who did not choose evil of their own volition.

28 August 2012 at 15:41  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

William: Thanks, that clears up where the discussion is a bit more.

"Here's a working definition: the ability to choose between good and evil."

Okay, how do you square that with Biblical passages such as John 8 and Ephesians 2, where man is depicted as dead and enslaved? Or Genesis 6:5: "The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." It seems to me that the human will is fallen and dead, and thus while freely choosing evil, will/can never choose good.

"I'm not sure that this is knowable (or provable), but I would take my evidence from the Bible which speaks of God's justice; rewarding those who choose good and punishing those who choose evil. If God is just, I cannot see how He could punish those who did not choose evil of their own volition."

Yes, but choosing something of your own volition (=will) doesn't seem to imply that that volition is free, which is the point at issue. I accept that humans have a will, but am not sure that it could be described as free in any meaningful sense. I would describe it as fallen.

28 August 2012 at 16:16  
Blogger William said...

Thomas

I have had to go out, but would like to give it some thought and come back to you later.

28 August 2012 at 16:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Perhaps you should have read some of the encyclicals alongside your bible ...

Why should I give equivalent authority to papal encyclicals?

... before concluding Calvinism was the correct path. Did you? If not, why not?

Because the pronouncements of the Magisterium are not Revelation. I judge the pronouncements of the RCC by Scripture, and find those pronouncements wanting. That's why I am not a RC.

Odds on you come from a protestant background.

I come from a Lutheran background. Technically a liberal Lutheran church. Then I married into a conservative Lutheran church. Then I got into a bible study and started asking questions my pastors couldn't answer. That's how I ended up a Calvinist. Three years later, I discovered I there was a label to describe me.

carl

28 August 2012 at 18:46  
Blogger OldJim said...

This argument pains me - it's so OLD and there's such little dissection of concepts.

William asks a pertinent question - how to reconcile God's sovereignty with man's free will. This is precisely one of the confused queries that precipitated the reformation. The question only occurs if you accept rank nominalism and deny the analogia entis. If the Creator can be talked of in the same terms as those in which we talk of the creature, then the question becomes valid, but the point is that if God is The Good then the creature is confined to participation or non-participation and non-existence - "the wages of sin is death" - no conflict of "power" can occur.

Once this is understood, I think Augustine's "irresistible" and Aquinas' "Intrinisically efficacious" grace can be seen for the distractions that they are.

The battle lines were more or less drawn by Erasmus and Luther - either all men are empowered to respond to the call or to continue to will destruction, or men are brought to respond or left to their own destruction. Even if Augustine and Aquinas are misread as quasi-predestinationists, it will be seen that their treatments of concepts like Charity and Relationship are gravely contrary to that understanding of grace. As for the Jansenists, in the end they proved to be just rank heretics, in soteriology Calvinist, in Ecclesiology Concilliarist, their practices eventually leading to some of the more questionable liturgical decisions taken in the aftermath of vatican II.

The truth is one that most informed Catholics and Calivinists kinda know - these systems are Christians' only real choices. Luther was a Calvinist, and Melanchthon and Arminius' compromises are more or less Catholic soteriological orthodoxy redevivus - with a side order of 16th C anti-Catholic potshots. Youthpasta, your fence is no less a fence for men having sat on it for a long time.

28 August 2012 at 19:06  
Blogger OldJim said...

Having said that, I wish Calvinists no personal animosity - these things can become heated. Almost all Calvinists I have read and talked with are good people and which is more profoundly faithful and dutiful people, and from what I have seen the denizens of this blog who subscribe to these characteristic doctrines are no exceptions.

I remain convinced that they are wrong. I one day aspire to know enough to be able to talk psychologically, historically, theologically, about the divergences; and to explore the possibility that the catholic doctrine too could be better expressed or thought through - being as it is more often an attempt to hold together several disparate "non negotiable" axioms rather than a monolithic confession. I admit that I am far from this vaunted ambition and hope that I can approach these matters with sufficient humility.

In the meantime, I am far from thinking that belief in predestination is so erroneous as to be damnable. More often than not it is found to be about defending doctrines surrounding the sovereignty of God, the "gracedness" of grace, and the need for humility and gratitude which are perfectly consonant with the deepest Christian concerns. Of course, I think that communion with the pope, acceptance of the faith entire, and frequent reception of valid sacraments are the safest means by which to remain close to Christ, but I won't press the matter and do not believe that God will insist on it, as if the matter were legalistic and not about intention and relationship.

I wish you all well and hope that I will be able to join you in heaven. Where we can all agree that God would but crown his gifts, even if our understandings differ in what exactly that entails :)

28 August 2012 at 19:22  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr OldJim @ 19.06 & 19.22, wonderful posts.

If only the other Catholics on this blog could be so generous in spirit. They seem to regard us Protestants as untermensch.

28 August 2012 at 21:51  
Blogger William said...

Thomas

For what it's worth here are my thoughts:

In John 8, Jesus is telling the people in the Temple that they are unable to recognise Him for who He is because they are under the dominion of their father the devil and a slave to sin (not much freedom there). However, it could be argued that these people have some choice in this. Indeed Jesus says in verse 44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.". It's not clear to me that these people have not made a choice, only that they are unable to see Jesus for who He is because they are under the devil.

Looking at Ephesians 2, I agree that the passage describes a state of slavery (i.e. not freedom) due to our sin, but the key part for me is verse 8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith." which suggests that although God has provided the means by which we are set free from this slavery (i.e. His grace) it is through our faith in Christ (which is our decision) that this is enacted. This seems to me a "free" choice - all be it one provided by God.

You say

"Yes, but choosing something of your own volition (=will) doesn't seem to imply that that volition is free, which is the point at issue. I accept that humans have a will, but am not sure that it could be described as free in any meaningful sense. I would describe it as fallen."

You describe our will as fallen rather than free. I would say that Jesus' death has allowed us to choose Him/Life/Good/God, but that it is our decision. In one sense this is not a free choice because it is completely on God's terms, but then we come back to how do we reconcile God's sovereignty with our free will. A question (derived from nominalism) that caused the reformation according to OldJim, who seems to be a most venereable Catholic.

28 August 2012 at 22:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Bluedog, They seem to regard us Protestants as untermensch.

Not at all, man’s best friend. One sees protestants as brothers in Christ. You see, this man has always been about the spirit of Christianity rather than it’s mechanics....


28 August 2012 at 22:27  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

OldJim

I'll echo bluedog's sentiments. Those were generous and insightful contributions.

Dodo

Don't know if you're still following this thread, but you might want to go and check the comments discussion under the blasphemy case in Pakistan. A number of your compatriots are talking about Vatican II in terms not enormously unlike my West Belfast priest.

28 August 2012 at 22:31  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

William: Thanks for your response.

In John 8, Jesus is telling the people in the Temple that they are unable to recognise Him for who He is because they are under the dominion of their father the devil and a slave to sin (not much freedom there). However, it could be argued that these people have some choice in this. Indeed Jesus says in verse 44"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires." It's not clear to me that these people have not made a choice, only that they are unable to see Jesus for who He is because they are under the devil.

The pertinent question is not whether or not these people have a will (lacking some kind of mental capacity), but whether or not that will is free, and as I think you have accurately noted, the passage describes us as slaves of sin. Slaves are (by definition), not free!

Looking at Ephesians 2, I agree that the passage describes a state of slavery (i.e. not freedom) due to our sin, but the key part for me is verse 8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith." which suggests that although God has provided the means by which we are set free from this slavery (i.e. His grace) it is through our faith in Christ (which is our decision) that this is enacted. This seems to me a "free" choice - all be it one provided by God.

But the very next verse affirms that this grace through faith is not of ourselves but as a gift of God. We were dead in transgressions and sins, not sick, but dead. The thing is, you have managed to read your view into this text- that our decision for Christ is free- but not to show it from the text, the very point at issue. I believe faith must be preceded by regeneration, so that we can exercise faith.

You describe our will as fallen rather than free. I would say that Jesus' death has allowed us to choose Him/Life/Good/God, but that it is our decision. In one sense this is not a free choice because it is completely on God's terms, but then we come back to how do we reconcile God's sovereignty with our free will. A question (derived from nominalism) that caused the reformation according to OldJim, who seems to be a most venereable Catholic.

How has Jesus death allowed us to choose him? I can actually agree with that, in this manner- Jesus death purchased the gift of faith for us, so that it can be applied to by the Spirit to those whom God has sovereignly chosen before time owing to no merit of their own, such that they then infallibly choose to follow Him. The thorny question I think Arminians (I don’t know if you are one or not) have to answer is this: why do you believe but another person, who has heard and understood the gospel, doesn’t? Are you better than them? Or is it because of God’s sovereign grace?

OldJim: I'm still having some trouble comprehending your first post, I'll respond when I think I've got a better grasp of what you're saying. :)

28 August 2012 at 22:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 August 2012 at 00:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

I think people get hung up on the idea that a free choice must allow for the potential of at least two outcomes. This is the philosophical presupposition that causes the heartburn. "If I can only make one choice then I am a robot. I must be free to choose either way or there is no actual choice." The problem is found not in the reality of the choice but in the sin nature that dictates the choice. Man makes a free choice to sin. It is not possible for him to make any other choice because he cannot escape his nature. That's why God must intervene. Unless God changes a man's nature, he would never escape the dictates of sin. This is why we are called a slave to sin. We do what our master demands. We do it freely because we love its demands. But we could never do otherwise.

carl

29 August 2012 at 00:05  
Blogger Chauntrye Pryste said...

Matthew 25, my dears, Matthew 25.

29 August 2012 at 00:34  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

What if free will were only possible by the intervention of God?

That without outside and divine intervention we live in a deterministic universe destined to entropy?

And if so, what would that free will constitute? I suspect it would be this: remain in the world, and so be destined with it to entropy, or else choose to be under God, and so no longer be bound by that destiny, but instead fully accept the destiny of God.

Don't much know if that amounts to predestination or not, and to be honest it's not something I'm going to get het up about - but it might be a helpful (or useless) way of looking at the "problem" in a different light.

29 August 2012 at 01:23  
Blogger William said...

Thomas

"But the very next verse affirms that this grace through faith is not of ourselves but as a gift of God. We were dead in transgressions and sins, not sick, but dead."

Here's the verse:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

Paul is saying that we cannot boast about being saved by grace through faith because it comes from God and is not something that we can attain through anything we do. Salvation (a gift from God) is through faith. This does not preclude faith being a choice.

"I believe faith must be preceded by regeneration, so that we can exercise faith."

Why?

"How has Jesus death allowed us to choose him? I can actually agree with that, in this manner- Jesus death purchased the gift of faith for us, so that it can be applied to by the Spirit to those whom God has sovereignly chosen before time owing to no merit of their own, such that they then infallibly choose to follow Him."

I would say that Jesus death purchased the gift of salvation for us that can be applied because of our belief.

"The thorny question I think Arminians (I don’t know if you are one or not) have to answer is this: why do you believe but another person, who has heard and understood the gospel, doesn’t? Are you better than them? Or is it because of God’s sovereign grace?"

I do not know why others have not accepted the gift, nor do I know why I have.

29 August 2012 at 01:49  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Carl, if we are free only to choose sin then how on earth are we able to choose to follow Christ? The very nature of true worship is choosing to do so. If we cannot choose to worship but are merely preprogrammed/predestined to either worship or not then it is no longer worship!

29 August 2012 at 08:31  
Blogger IanCad said...

YG,

Had we but world enough, and time, then I could further confuse the issue of Predestination by adding yet more to it.

Suffice to say that Bluedog also speaks for me in his praises of OldJim on this subject.

For fellows whom it hurts to think. It is good to have someone along to do the heavy lifting.

29 August 2012 at 09:01  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

OldJim, which fence is this?

29 August 2012 at 10:37  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Youthpasta

[I]f we are free only to choose sin then how on earth are we able to choose to follow Christ?

How free was Lazarus to to walk out of his tomb on his own volition? By nature man is spiritually dead. He cannot and will not respond. God then is the necessary prior actor. He makes you a new creation. He gives you spiritual life. Therefore you are able to exercise faith and believe. This then is the essential equation: "Regeneration precedes faith."

carl

29 August 2012 at 12:40  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

The Lazarus question is only 1 that we will truly in Glory.
In the example you try and make from it, the ONLY way that God is Love is if He gives us the freedom to choose to worship. If He dictates to us to do so then He is not Love, because Love is gracious, kind etc and doesn't force itself on anyone. t is freely given and open to rejection.

29 August 2012 at 13:22  
Blogger William said...

Carl

God then is the necessary prior actor. He makes you a new creation. He gives you spiritual life. Therefore you are able to exercise faith and believe.

Are you also able to reject faith and/or disbelieve?

29 August 2012 at 15:00  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

William:

Paul is saying that we cannot boast about being saved by grace through faith because it comes from God and is not something that we can attain through anything we do. Salvation (a gift from God) is through faith. This does not preclude faith being a choice.

Yes. Grace and faith come from God, not something we can attain. But if faith is a choice that comes from me in my natural state, then it’s a work, and something I can boast in!

As for why I believe that regeneration must precede faith, I think this is clearly taught in John 3, where Jesus speaks to Nicodemus, saying that you can neither see nor enter the kingdom of God until you are born again, and that this rebirth is at the Spirit’s pleasure, not something comprehensible; blowing where he wills, as the wind. Furthermore, 1 John 5:1 reads: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God”. It is important that being born of God is before believing that Jesus is the Christ (the verb “has been born” being a completed anterior action).

Acts 16:14 shows this even more evidently. The passage from Ephesians once again shows this clearly: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions”. It is clear- we were dead, and we were made alive. A dead person cannot believe, any more than Lazarus could ask to be revived. It takes God’s sovereign initiative.

I would say that Jesus death purchased the gift of salvation for us that can be applied because of our belief.

But that makes belief into a meritorious work! Which is the very thing that the passage in Ephesians is opposing!

I do not know why others have not accepted the gift, nor do I know why I have.

Seems to me that either you accepted it because of something which is in you (and thus you have grounds for boasting) or you accepted it because of something outside of you, which could only plausibly have been the regenerating work of God’s Holy Spirit.

29 August 2012 at 16:43  
Blogger John Magee said...

If presdestination is part of God's plan why did he give us his Son Jesus Christ who came to redeem the entire human race from original sin?

How can people believe in the concept of predestination, another of these insane "chosen people" theories, when the God of the universe loves all his children equally?

Predestination is an arrogant concept that condemns babies to hell.

How evil is that?

29 August 2012 at 16:49  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Youthpasta:

In the example you try and make from it, the ONLY way that God is Love is if He gives us the freedom to choose to worship. If He dictates to us to do so then He is not Love, because Love is gracious, kind etc and doesn't force itself on anyone. t is freely given and open to rejection.

But from our freedom to worship we would never of ourselves choose to do so! This is the problem! We are dead in our transgressions and sins. Death is not something you can choose to stop doing!

He doesn't force us to worship against our will, rather he renews our will so we cannot but desire to worship.

Which is more loving- to rescue a drowning man even though he struggles against you, or let him have his freedom and drown?

29 August 2012 at 17:09  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

John Magee: Your comment is so bizarre that I can't even tell if it's serious or not.

Predestination is part of God's plan to save his people. He predestined his elect to have Christ die for them and have the Spirit regenerate them. Christ didn't die only for our original sin, but for all of our sin, past, present and future. This is the clear teaching of Scripture.

God does love all his children, but not all people are God's children. "Insane chosen people theory?" The Bible is the narrative of God's chosen people, so I have no idea what you're on about.

What has any of this got to do with babies? Do you even care about rationality, or are you just so blindly prejudiced that you won't listen to anyone who disagrees with you, instead plug up your ears and call them names?

29 August 2012 at 17:15  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thomas,

So it's back to the unbiblical doctrine of Original Sin again is it?
One error to explain another.

The Apostolic Church knew nothing of such inventions.

29 August 2012 at 17:38  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Thomas,

Our congregation member John Magee suffers from a phobia of a certain religion and group, so he slipped in a reference to 'chosen people' on this thread regarding Christian theology, in order to have a little attack on one of his pet subjects, namely Jews and Judaism.

So that you can all continue with this discussion, the best response seems to me is as per Cressida De Nova's pithy reply to him above.

29 August 2012 at 17:45  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

IanCad: Unbiblical? Really?

So what about:

Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned-

5:18-19 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Ephesians 2:3 ,among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Genesis 5:3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.

Job 15:14 What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?

Plus Paul's innumerable references to our sarx, our flesh, which opposes God and godliness and desires sinful things. Where did that nature come from? Did we each individually fall? Does this mean it's possible not to fall?

29 August 2012 at 18:25  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Also, IanCad, if you had actually read my comment then you might have realised that original sin was entirely peripheral to the matter at hand. I'm disinclined to respond to those who can't even be bothered to accurately represent me.

29 August 2012 at 18:27  
Blogger William said...

Thank you Thomas for taking the time for your explanations.

I am not sure how a decision to believe/put your faith in something/someone can be considered works, but you have given some explanations of scriptures to me that I have found difficult to understand.

As far as I can see, ultimately everything comes from God. He can do as He pleases (save who he wants), but His essence is love and He "... so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

I think that this is key and seems to imply a choice that we can all make - for if He loves the world, then that includes everyone.

29 August 2012 at 18:29  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

William: Thanks for your reply.

He can do as He pleases (save who he wants), but His essence is love and He "... so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." I think that this is key and seems to imply a choice that we can all make - for if He loves the world, then that includes everyone.

I would hesitate to say that God's essence is love. I agree that God is love, but God is light, God is Spirit and "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty" seem equally absolute statements, so I would be careful about absolutising love to the expense of other divine attributes.

As for John 3:16, I think that "world" in John's gospel refers more to the badness of the world than the bigness of it- John consistently refers to the world in ways such that it cannot mean "every single individual ever to have lived." And I do believe that the Bible teaches that God loved and set His heart on a particular people before the World began, choosing them to be saved through His Son. Once again, I don't believe that you have proved that we have the ability to choose God- just because we have a choice to make doesn't mean we have the ability to pick both options!

29 August 2012 at 19:02  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

William

Are you also able to reject faith and/or disbelieve?

Salvation is from beginning to end an act of God. It is God who predestines. It is God who calls. It is God who justifies. It is God who glorifies. It is God who gives men the gifts of repentence and faith. Man is a passive agent in all of this. In the end it is God who calls a people to Himself, and saves them, and insures they never fall away. So the answer to your question is two-fold.

The Elect will be called. (We commonly call this Effectual Calling.) They will hear the call and they will respond to it in faith. They will hear the voice of their Shepherd. They will follow Him, and they will never follow another. Not one of those given to the Son by the Father will be lost. Instead, they will be raised up on the Last day, and the Son will give them eternal life.

The Non-Elect will be called, but they will respond according to the sin nature. They will never follow. They will never repent. They will never respond in faith. They will die in their sin.

The difference between the Elect and the Non-Elect is the prior act of God in the lives of the Elect. God gives them life. He gives them repentence. He gives them faith. He gives them a new nature. He insures His work is carried through to accomlish the end He desires. He guarantees that not even one will be lost. None of this depends upon man.

That is why it is written "Salvation is of the Lord."

carl

29 August 2012 at 19:10  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thomas,

To state that Original Sin is only peripheral to the debate on Predestination is like declaring that alcohol is but incidental when discussing drunkeness.

The Bible verses that you have quoted are indeed, well used in the promotion of the doctrine of Original Sin.

However, a closer and more critical survey would bring the unprejudiced reviewer to a much different conclusion.

Taking your first reference, (Romans 5:12) we should view it only in the full context of the text that would require us to read from verse 12 to verse 21.
Through the lens of 1 Corinthians 15:21-23 the death we all face through Adam's sin will be seen as the result of his fall. It does not impute to man the inability to resist sin through the strength of Christ.

Psalm 51:5, as you cited, is another common prop that is misunderstood. Perhaps it would be easier to refute it as a support for OS by simply declaring that you are understanding it through the process of eisegesis rather than the less creative system of exegesis.

That Christ came in the flesh, was like us in all ways. That no man is punished for another's sins are well understood concepts that should eliminate any temptation to flirt with OS.

Forgive the repetition but OS & PD were doctrines unknown to the Apostolic Church. They are, primarily Augustinian concepts not invented until the Fourth Century.

29 August 2012 at 19:56  
Blogger John Magee said...

Keningsley

I am refering to Predestination, as defined by John Calvin who interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others. That is the "chosen people" I refered to in my post.

That to me is condemning babies to hell.

You are talking about the concept that all events have been willed by God and I agree.





29 August 2012 at 20:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

One is following this predestination presentation with great interest. The Inspector lives in a town which has more than its fair share of thickos. People who dress badly, speak poorly, have never had a thought in their lives. Drugs and reckless drinking might feature in their lives. They also fornicate and commit crime if / when they can. No doubt Calvin would have seen similar in his lifetime and asked himself whether these people are deserving of salvation. Now, he would have a point, and maybe the whole lot are divinely marked down to be binned at the end of their time here.

But the important thing to realise, at least from this Catholics view, is that any of them can turn their lives around and repent. They are not on some excluded list. They are de facto predestined for oblivion, but it is of their own choosing. None of them here could ever say they have not heard of Jesus, the worst of them would have heard about Him in prison as well as school and the media – they don’t have the excuse that the faithful kept the word from them...

29 August 2012 at 20:02  
Blogger OldJim said...

So much I want to say. I can only ask your patience, and apologise for the length at which I am writing.

Those of you who spoke well of my posts: it is very kind of you.
Thomas keningley: Not your fault at all, reading my post back I aimed for brevity at the expense of clarity.

The way in which I wanted to examine this was focusing on the claim that there is some sort of direct conflict between a claim of libertarian free will and God’s Sovereignty, as though, if I might slightly simplify the idea, this was a zero-sum game. What I would say is that Christians tend to subscribe to the following views:

1) God is Goodness and the standard of goodness (“And He saw it, that it was good”), Love (“God is Love”), Being (“I Am That I Am”), and Reason (“The Logos became man”) itself in a completed way that we cannot fully understand this side of the veil.

2) The fall is a defection from the fullness of being, a violation of God’s will and the cause of all subsequent violations. Evil is not a positive thing but a deprivation of Good or a deviation from God’s will.

29 August 2012 at 20:04  
Blogger OldJim said...

The question is, if God is transcendent, how do we apply these terms to him? Early Christian attempts stressed the Via Negativa. Human justice is but a pale imitation of Divine Justice, so rather than say “God is Just” and apply our cheapened, earthly concept to Him, we should say that God is nothing that we can mean by injustice.

In medieval theology, Christians used the analogia entis, that is, God can be understood by analogy to our human state. The words aren’t used univocally, i.e. they don’t mean merely the same thing as they mean for us, but they equally cannot be used equivocally, first because in the merely natural order we are still distorted and not destroyed images of God, and more firmly because in the supernatural order God has revealed himself to us. He is not wholly inaccessible to us, for He became man and dwelt among us. This analogy of being has a wealth of biblical precedents: God’s Love for His Church is like the love of a man for his bride (Song of songs, parable of the bridegroom etc.), God’s Forgiveness is like that of a father for his prodigal son, and so on. In fact, the principle is embedded in the very nature of Scripture itself, where the Old Testament as a whole stands as a type or analogy of the Incarnation, and Christ’s earthly parables stand as analogies of the Kingdom which is both here now and coming after death.

The analogia entis was attacked during the reformation. God had to be understood as properly transcendent, the argument ran. Thinking of him in our own terms could border on idolatry. To give but one example, if our reason in some way reflected God’s Reason, then the pagan philosophers could be used by the Catholic Church to refute what reformers saw as the plain word of scripture. In theory, then, when we talked of God, we should use the words perfectly equivocally. In practice, when we talked of God’s will, I think the reformers began to speak univocally, as though God’s will was the same sort of thing as ours, and they could consequently be in conflict.

29 August 2012 at 20:06  
Blogger OldJim said...

So, would the doctrine of libertarian free will necessarily be contrary to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty? I would venture only if God is defined primarily as a Will and then our will is understood univocally with his (i.e. a breach of the analogia entis). If I do good perfectly freely, then I am under God’s sovereignty because I merely participate derivatively in The Good which is God. If I do evil then I act contrary to God who is not merely a will but all Good, Being, Love. Evil doesn’t exist as a power contrary to God, it is a deprivation of Him. So any act of mine that actually breaches God’s will, far from usurping his sovereignty, is a willing towards not only evil but non-existence. This is why I don’t see even pelagianism as a doctrine which undermines the sovereignty of God. Sovereignty is a broader concept than merely God as Will.

The question is whether pelagianism is consistent with Biblical data. I deny that it is. There is not one who does good. I fully assent to the proposition that men have been harmed since the fall, so that we have a propensity towards evil. This we call original sin. It is therefore necessary that God should provide prevenient graces so that we would be capable of performing good. Where I demur from the Calvinist, is that, this grace applied, I insist that men can and do resist the Holy Spirit. God wills that all men, and not all kinds of men, should come to repentance, and the bible informs us that some men are damned. God granted us radical freedom.

29 August 2012 at 20:07  
Blogger OldJim said...


So the question that I imagine that the Calvinist will ask is, sure, I am not your standard Pelagian, but don’t I make co-operation with Grace a work? I deny it. I do not boast that I do good, for it is only by the grace of God, and it constitutes only a participation in that Good which is God. I have nothing over the man who rejects that grace. I feel only sorrow there. I often do the same. If a man throws you a rope as you drown at sea, you do not feel pride that you have caught it so much as gratitude that he threw it. Nor is it common for a man to scorn those who are still floundering to grab a hold.

A question for Calvinists that might do more to further the discussion: When Mary asks Christ to perform the miracle at Cana, and he says that it is not yet time, but relents and performs the miracle, what is happening? It seems to me that it could mean three things: Christ might be acting contrary to his Father’s will, which is absurd, for Christ is both impeccable and a model of obedience. Christ might be saying it merely to make a point, which is absurd because Christ is Truth itself. Or, God’s will might be indeterminate: that is, we must will The Good, but God doesn’t always and everywhere insist on a particular good. Without being flippant, I think I can say that a Christian could equally fly a kite or read to a child, both are consonant with God’s Love, Truth, Justice, and yes, God’s Will.

29 August 2012 at 20:08  
Blogger OldJim said...

Youthpasta, sorry, singling you out was a bit silly. The comment was more or less a silly piece of dramatics. The point I was making is that I think, admittedly controversially, that the theoretical and historical underpinnings of the reformation rely ultimately on the denial of the analogia entis and the subsequent insistence upon irresistible grace.

Obviously many protestants do insist, like me, on libertarian free will, whilst equally vehemently rejecting purgatory, the pope, a living magisterium, a visible church, the seven sacraments and so on. I just think that the ultimate theoretical reason for the rejection of these things is entirely of a piece with the current Calvinist position. Hence “Not quite one thing or another”. I didn’t mean it to be offensive, more an eccentric and friendly joke on my part if you like.

Anonymous in Belfast: You asked, way, way earlier, whether Dodo considered the Jewish people to have had their own magisterium in the previous covenant. I have some thoughts on this, though I hasten to add that I don’t think that they are the stated position of my Church. First, Jesus says that the people must do “all that the Pharisees tell you to do, for they sit in Moses’ seat”. What he tells them to avoid is the Pharisees’ hypocrisy. Doctrinally, we see that the Pharisees, who claimed a magisterium, were largely vindicated. They believed in angels and a life after death when the Sadducees ceased to, and Paul even uses these denominational difference to play politics in a hostile Jewish court. Note also that in John 11:50, Caiaphas says “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish”. John is at pains to point out “He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation.” In other words, even with the words in which Caiaphas reneges on the covenant, becomes traitor to the messianic promises granted to his people, the Holy Spirit will not let him lie on a matter of faith! That, I can say with a smile on my face, is infallibility that a man can believe in! :)

29 August 2012 at 20:25  
Blogger John Magee said...

David Kavanagh

This in answer to your incorrect swipe at me.

I was talking about the "chosen people" in refrence to fundamentalist Christians who believe that 144,000 "chosen people" are predestined to go to heaven based on the Book of Revelation. My dislike of the concept of predestination by a loving God based on some Biblical quotes also include the Protestant Reformer John Calvin's concept of predestination and his belief a "chosen few" (Calvinists or todays Presbyterians) will be the only souls going to heaven preordained in his twisted mind by his God.

That is balderdash.

Calvin condemns the rest of the human race to hell and is called a great Protestant "Reformer"! Today, with his spiritual descendents the Presbyterians allowing a Gay clergy and Gay marriage. The nasty old sod must be rolling in his grave in Geneva.

You can quote me as saying that the concept of predestination as a first class ticket into heaven by a "chosen few" or a "chosen people" is abhorrent to anyone who believes that the universal God loves all his children equally: even sinners.

Please don't post what you imagine I think or stuff I never said.

You are correct, I can't accept the concept of a chosen people by the God of the universe who represents total love of all his children everywhere equally. Does that make me a bigot or the people who call themsleves the "chosen people" or "the chosen few" be they Jews, Christians, or Muslims the bigots?

I posted a few weeks ago posts showing other great civilizations as have had moral codes and ethics similar to Jewish and Christian beliefs and I believe they were good people in God's eyes if they lived those universal ethics or right and wrong. I think God loved those people too. Don't you?

Think about this carefully before you snap at or take yor swipes at me.

29 August 2012 at 20:31  
Blogger John Magee said...

Daavid Kavanagh

For your future refrence about me and my negative feelings about the concept of God's "chosen people" here is a quote from the Christian Bible used all the time by some Christian Fundamentalist claiming THEY ALONE are God's "chosen people" I find their use of this concept as repellent as any quotes from the OT and the people it represents who believe this same concept.

Protestant English Standard Version of The New Testament:

Revelation 7:3–8

"Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the servants of God on their foreheads." And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin
were sealed.

Got it?

29 August 2012 at 20:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

John. One always felt the ‘chosen’ people were the race God used to make his presence known to the world. More of a responsibility, a liability even, than an honour. And as the bible tells us, they were far from perfection in their attitude to the Almighty, golden calf outrage included...

29 August 2012 at 21:51  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

John Magee,

I cannot account for the views that you ascribe to Calvinism, as I am not a Calvinist or a Christian.

I am sure that those who are will be able to deal (or not) with these views and statements. Likewise your post on the Book of Revelation and Christian Fundamentalism, although I am aware that interpreting this book is a source of controversy among Christians.

I think in respect of Judaism, you have either misunderstood or misrepresent (depending on how charitable one is inclined to be) the whole issue of the Jewish people and their chosen status (as Judaism would see it -I am aware of the Christian theology of Supersessionism).

What it is not is a claim to racial superiority or a writ for Jews to be racist towards others [cue your standard line of attack via Rabbi Ovadia Yosef].

I could go on and explain more fully, but I am mindful that the topic on this thread was regarding Christian views on freewill and original sin, so I wouldn't want to hold up Carl Jacobs, William, Thomas and Mr OldJim, Mr Belfast et al, in their illuminating theological and erudite conversations.

So unless you specifically ask for a further explanation, I shall bid you bid adieu on this thread.

29 August 2012 at 21:52  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Inspector,

In your own Inspector like way, you are on the right track there.

29 August 2012 at 21:54  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Dear Lord, TK, I am amazed that you have said that we cannot worship by choice. That means that our worship is no better than being a wind up instrument. Hell, we are lower than the devil-spawn that X Factor and the like produce!
Our worship has NO meaning is it is not by freedom of choice!

Also, by having a God who chooses some to be saved and leaves the rest to damnation, we no longer see God but a god who is NOT love, because no loving god would choose to deny the choice to anyone as to whether they want to be in relationship with him or not.

Your god sounds worse than Allah, indeed he sounds as bad as the god that Dawkins always wheels out when talking about whether God exists!

29 August 2012 at 21:55  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

IanCad:

To state that Original Sin is only peripheral to the debate on Predestination is like declaring that alcohol is but incidental when discussing drunkeness.

I certainly wasn’t basing my argument on it.

However, a closer and more critical survey would bring the unprejudiced reviewer to a much different conclusion.

And I suppose that the “unprejudiced reviewer would be you, by chance? How convenient.

Taking your first reference, (Romans 5:12) we should view it only in the full context of the text that would require us to read from verse 12 to verse 21.
Through the lens of 1 Corinthians 15:21-23 the death we all face through Adam's sin will be seen as the result of his fall. It does not impute to man the inability to resist sin through the strength of Christ.


So you are arguing for original guilt but denying original sin?

Psalm 51:5, as you cited, is another common prop that is misunderstood. Perhaps it would be easier to refute it as a support for OS by simply declaring that you are understanding it through the process of eisegesis rather than the less creative system of exegesis.

I don’t think you’ve quite understood the meaning of the word “refute”. A refutation requires an argument. Please provide one.

That Christ came in the flesh, was like us in all ways. That no man is punished for another's sins are well understood concepts that should eliminate any temptation to flirt with OS.

Firstly, important to understand that the word “flesh” doesn’t have the same meaning in every context- Paul may use it differently to the author of the letter to the Hebrews, and indeed did- for Paul, the flesh is a destructive and corrupt force, in direct opposition to the Spirit.

If you’re saying that being made like us in every way would have to include being made sinful (the human race not originally made that way, of course) well humans are condemned, to a man- was Jesus condemned like us? Humans are, definitionally, limited in knowledge and power- was Jesus? I think if you’re going to take the beginning of Hebrews as your proof-text, then it proves rather too much. Of course, Augustinian Christians believe that Jesus was made as a second Adam, and is in that sense was like us in every way. As for no man being punished for the sins of another, Adam’s sin is imputed to us, so that it is our sin, as much as Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. Unless Christ wasn’t punished for our sins also?

Forgive the repetition but OS & PD were doctrines unknown to the Apostolic Church. They are, primarily Augustinian concepts not invented until the Fourth Century.

Don’t tell it- show it. Once again, assertion without argument.

You haven't dealt with the other texts I provided- probably because they aren't covered in what looks suspiciously to me like a pre-cooked argument reproduced. But here are some more problems for you:

"I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth." Gen 8:21 (In the Hebrew youth includes infancy.)

"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child" Proverbs 22:15a

All scriptures describing the universal extensiveness of sinfulness could be added to this list.

Then you have the problem that infants die. The wages of sin is death. Are the infants being unjustly punished?

Everyone else I have a lot to respond to, and I'm tired. I'll try and get to it tomorrow!

29 August 2012 at 22:12  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Carl Jacobs

I'm not suggesting you accept the arguments in the encyclicals. You should read some - they will not corrupt you, promise!

I find them intellectually challenging and spiritually enriching - just like some of the great protestant theeologians.

How can youchoose without considering the options?

29 August 2012 at 22:59  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thomas,

From Genesis 2:17

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

To Revelation 22:17
"----- Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

And in all the verses in between we are offered the privilege of choice.

It is only through an extreme literalist interpretation of the Bible that Calvinism can be maintained.

We are required to weigh the evidence of scripture.

We can conclude none other but that God is love. Merciful and mighty He came to earth as man. Wholly man. Our pattern and our God and our Judge.

How can it be then, that if our lives are pre-ordained, the judgement would be necessary?

The doctrine of Original Sin compounds its falsity by requiring an unbiblical rite of Infant Baptism in order to save innocent children from burning forever in a mythical eternal Hell.

Calvinism has accreted to itself the appellation "Stern" and, truly, in any srcutiny of the creed one would be hard-pressed to find otherwise.

John Calvin was a mighty man of The Reformation. He lived up to the light granted to him. Rejection of tradition and Justification by Faith are defining Protestant truths that he devoted his life to professing.

That his reputation is sullied by harshness and cruelty is also true.

Servetus was burned by Calvin in Geneva. An act disavowed by Presbyterians, who, as I understand, erected a memorial condemning the act. Which, if nothing else, serves to illustrate the contrast between Rome and the Reformed communions.

I see no such apologies hewn in stone from Rome, at Oxford or Smithfield or any other sites, where men such as Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer and others were burned for their beliefs.

30 August 2012 at 09:20  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

IanCad:

From Genesis 2:17

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

To Revelation 22:17
"----- Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

And in all the verses in between we are offered the privilege of choice.


Missing out the minor events of the fall of man and the restoration of creation, which left us dead and depraved and then saved us from that depravity.

It is only through an extreme literalist interpretation of the Bible that Calvinism can be maintained.

Nonsense. Find me a Calvinist who adheres to an “extreme literalist” interpretation of the Bible, if those words are accorded their proper meanings.

We are required to weigh the evidence of scripture.

We can conclude none other but that God is love. Merciful and mighty He came to earth as man. Wholly man. Our pattern and our God and our Judge.


Very reductionist. For anyone listening: GOD IS NOT ONLY LOVE. He has other attributes. He came to Earth as man, our pattern, our God, our judge and, most importantly, our penal substitute.

How can it be then, that if our lives are pre-ordained, the judgement would be necessary?

Because God pre-ordained it? Because he pre-ordains means as well as ends? You see, he didn’t just predestine you to not understand the doctrine of predestination. He predestined you to not understand it by means of ignoring the passages teaching it and refusal to investigate it without extreme prejudice. By the way, do you believe that God has exhaustive knowledge of the future? Because then you’re wide open for a tu quoque argument about the point of creation.

The doctrine of Original Sin compounds its falsity by requiring an unbiblical rite of Infant Baptism in order to save innocent children from burning forever in a mythical eternal Hell.

Nice to see that you don’t understand the Reformed doctrine of covenant infant baptism either! I won’t trouble to defend it to you, as it would only be based on my extreme literalist hermeneutics anyway, the same literalist hermeneutics that have provided you with a variety of Biblical passages refuting your Pelagianism.

Calvinism has accreted to itself the appellation"Stern" and, truly, in any srcutiny of the creed one would be hard-pressed to find otherwise.

Who cares what your subjective impression of Calvinism is?

John Calvin was a mighty man of The Reformation. He lived up to the light granted to him. Rejection of tradition and Justification by Faith are defining Protestant truths that he devoted his life to professing.

Calvin did not reject tradition out of hand. Rather, he submitted it to Scripture and critically examined it in that light. You are confusing two kinds of tradition that shouldn’t be confused. Sola scriptura does not mean that we throw all tradition under the bus.

That his reputation is sullied by harshness and cruelty is also true.

Servetus was burned by Calvin in Geneva. An act disavowed by Presbyterians, who, as I understand, erected a memorial condemning the act. Which, if nothing else, serves to illustrate the contrast between Rome and the Reformed communions.


Yeah Calvin wrongly burnt Servetus, although Servetus was headed for the stake wherever he was. But so what? What relevance does it have to his theology?

Excuse me if I seem impatient, but it’s very difficult to remain cool and collected when you are being misrepresented and having irrelevancies thrown out to poison the well (like Calvin’s burning of Servetus). I suggest you actually understand Calvinism before critiquing it, and then provide some actual arguments rather than a series of baseless assertions.

30 August 2012 at 10:51  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Some other scattered responses.

John Magee: I am refering to Predestination, as defined by John Calvin who interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others. That is the "chosen people" I refered to in my post.

That to me is condemning babies to hell.

You are talking about the concept that all events have been willed by God and I agree.


Do you not see the inconsistency in that belief- if all events have been willed by God, and some people go to Hell because of their unbelief/sin, then that event was also willed by God. So your version of predestination ultimately ends with Calvin’s anyway. The bit about the babies seems irrelevant- babies could be elect or not elect, what does it have to do with the argument?

the concept of predestination as a first class ticket into heaven by a "chosen few" or a "chosen people" is abhorrent to anyone who believes that the universal God loves all his children equally: even sinners.

Yeah, but I don’t believe God loves all people equally because not all people are God’s children, cf. John 8:31-47. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the Lord Jesus Christ, not me.

Youthpasta: Dear Lord, TK, I am amazed that you have said that we cannot worship by choice. That means that our worship is no better than being a wind up instrument. Hell, we are lower than the devil-spawn that X Factor and the like produce!
Our worship has NO meaning is it is not by freedom of choice!


I think you have misunderstood me. In our natural state, we will never choose to worship God because of our sinful depravity. However, for His elect, God regenerates them by His Holy Spirit (through the preaching of His word) so that they can believe. They believe by a choice, but they could make no other choice, having been born again. This is the doctrine of unconditional election and irresistible grace.

Also, by having a God who chooses some to be saved and leaves the rest to damnation, we no longer see God but a god who is NOT love, because no loving god would choose to deny the choice to anyone as to whether they want to be in relationship with him or not.

Looks like your beef there is with God rather than me, as the predestination of an elect is clear in the Bible. But no-one in a sense is denied the choice, so much as their own innate depravity means that they will never choose anything other than rebellion against God unless He intervenes.

Your god sounds worse than Allah, indeed he sounds as bad as the god that Dawkins always wheels out when talking about whether God exists!

Come on, Youthpasta, that’s just well poisoning. God is defined by His own revelation, not by what we imagine He ought to be like.

30 August 2012 at 11:09  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

OldJim: There is A LOT to respond to here, so excuse me if my responses, like your original, are brief at the expense of being clear, and aren’t fully explicated.

I agree with pt 1, that God is source and standard of our human definitions. I disagree with pt 2, that evil is merely a deprivation, a negative. Isaiah 45:7 reads: Forming light, and preparing darkness, Making peace, and preparing evil, I [am] Jehovah, doing all these things.' It seems clear from this passage that God is in some sense the creator of evil without it reflecting upon His essence. The word here translated “prepare” is from the Hebrew word for create found in Genesis 1.

On the subject of transcendence, I disagree with the implicit definition here espoused of transcendence, which means that God is wholly other in such a way that we cannot speak about him in ordinary ways. I don’t think that this Greek concept of transcendence adequately represents the Biblical concept of transcendence, which sees God’s transcendence as representative of His rule, His Lordship, His high exaltation. As for types, analogies and metaphor, I don’t deny that these are useful in illustrating a particular aspect of God or of His relationship with His people, but only insofar as they relate to that aspect.

Who attacked the analogia entis on the grounds you state? Which reformers? I would be interested to read. It seems to me that the key here is the revelation of God in His word. When we want to know what it means to say that God is Just, we look to the Bible to see how God’s justice is defined, either implicitly or explicitly. The same for love. And it is from these definitions that we can begin to understand the human concepts, not vice versa.

As for your definitions regarding God’s will and defection from it, they seem to be more Platonic than Biblical. The Reformers made a distinction in the usage of the word will; it can refer to God’s decrees, which the Bible speaks of as universally efficacious, working all things according to the council of His will. Then there is God’s perceptive will, whereby He morally evaluates human behaviour. But a defection from His moral will is not a defection from His decretive will. This is easily exemplified by the greatest defection from God’s moral will- the murder of His beloved Son- which is clearly a key element of His decretive will. So in one sense it is impossible to oppose God’s will, as the objector in Romans 9 recognises.

Apart from libertarian free will’s questionable coherency in itself, it also raises questions about God’s exhaustive foreknowledge and, more importantly, it is taught neither implicitly nor explicitly in Scripture to the best of my knowledge.
Universal prevenient grace is another concept with little or no Biblical support, whilst efficacious but limited prevenient grace is taught in Acts 16, John 6, Romans 8 etc. Men can and do resist the Holy Spirit, but the question is can they resist His regenerating grace. My answer, and that I believe of the Bible, is no. Whether or not God wills that all men come to repentance is debated even within the Reformed tradition, as the moral/decretive will distinction could be invoked again at this point. Unfortunately, despite your humble denial of the same, if you and another have received the same grace but you follow God in repentance and faith and He doesn’t, then something about you is superior to Him, and you can boast over Him…

30 August 2012 at 11:49  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Christ might be saying it merely to make a point, which is absurd because Christ is Truth itself. Why would it be untruthful to say it to make His point? I don’t understand this claim.

Without being flippant, I think I can say that a Christian could equally fly a kite or read to a child, both are consonant with God’s Love, Truth, Justice, and yes, God’s Will. That’s an equivocation in the use of the word will. Yes, they may both be within His moral will, but because the Bible speaks of God’s exhaustive providence, only one is within His decretive will.

I find your claim about a Pharisaic magisterium highly unconvincing. Sitting in Moses’ seat seems to be a way of saying that they teach what Moses taught, but they don’t do what Moses did. Jesus also corrected their magisterial tradition, e.g. in Matthew 15 as regards the corban rule, which he subjects to Scripture. Caiaphas being guarded from errors in matters of faith seems a wholly unsustainable position which you have read into your chosen passage.

Thank you for your response, Jim, but I must confess that I find it ultimately unconvincing precisely through being unbiblical in its definition and consideration of the key concepts involved. Nonetheless, I’ve certainly learned something from this conversation!

30 August 2012 at 11:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

John Magee

God did not spare the infants at the time of Noah's flood. Was He therefore unjust? God did not spare the infants in Sodom. Was He therefore unjust? God did not spare the infants in Canaan. Was He therefore unjust? Infants are not innocent. They are helpless and without guile. Those are not equivalent.

We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are by nature sinners. We are all of us by nature objects of wrath. Even the littlest of us. There is no age of accountability in Scripture. There is no free pass to those below a certain age. God can save at any age. He can also judge at any age.

carl

30 August 2012 at 13:35  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

Thomas,

The issue of children and infants going to heaven or hell is indeed a major issue, especially if you happen to be a parent or are part of a family who has suffered that devastating loss.

I do find the whole concept of children being "elect or not elect" to be making out salvation to be a God Lottery.

Carl,

Your post is somewhat harsh and lacks the tenderness or Christian compassion, which I think is at the centre of Christ. There are several Bible passages and a great deal of evidence to firmly suggest that children who die, will be received into heaven.

To both of you, your combined posts did prompt me to do so research and actually both Calvin and Spurgeon (two of the leading theologians of Calvinist Christianity) had the following to say in respect of the death of children :

"It has been wickedly, lyingly, and slanderously said of Calvinists, that we believe that some little children perish. Those who make the accusation know that their charge is false. I cannot even dare to hope, though I would wish to do so, that they ignorantly misrepresent us. They wickedly repeat what has been denied a thousand times, what they know is not true.... I know of no exception, but we all hope and believe that all persons dying in infancy are elect. Dr. Gill, who has been looked upon in late times as being a very standard of Calvinism, not to say of ultra-Calvinism, himself never hints for a moment the supposition that any infant has perished, but affirms of it that it is a dark and mysterious subject, but that it is his belief, and he thinks he has Scripture to warrant it, that they who have fallen asleep in infancy have not perished, but have been numbered with the chosen of God, and so have entered into eternal rest. We have never taught the contrary, and when the charge is brought, I repudiate it and say, 'You may have said so, we never did, and you know we never did. If you dare to repeat the slander again, let the lie stand in scarlet on your very cheek if you be capable of a blush.' We have never dreamed of such a thing. With very few and rare exceptions, so rare that I never heard of them except from the lips of slanderers, we have never imagined that infants dying, but we have believed that they enter into the paradise of God."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon He preached on September 29, 1861, a message entitled "Infant Salvation" (#411 in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit).

John Calvin, "I do not doubt that the infants whom the Lord gathers together from this life are regenerated by a secret operation of the Holy Ghost." And "he speaks of the exemption of infants from the grace of salvation 'as an idea not free from execrable blasphemy'" (cited by Augustus Strong in Systematic Theology).

And another quote :

"to say that the countless mortals taken from life while yet infants are precipitated from their mothers' arms into eternal death is a blasphemy to be universally detested" (quoted in Presbyterian and Reformed Review, Oct. 1890: pp.634-51).

30 August 2012 at 15:03  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thomas,

Obviously, the five points of Calvinism (T.U.L.I.P.) are engraved in your mind, and, I'm sure, in your heart.

I submit that however ardently you adhere to these notions you are missing the essence of the gospel.

Christ came to earth to offer salvation for those who would accept it.

The Bible is full of texts emphasizing not only this freely offered gift, but countless other verses that invite us to sup with him or not.

His instructions are clear. Accept the gift and He will, through the Holy Spirit, give us strength to overcome.

Minus the option of choice, what is His sacrifice? To me it would seem in vain, or at least, seriously diminished.

We can go around in circles on this. I appreciate your comprehensive responses and I also reject them.

I am somewhat bemused by your cavalier attitude in regards to the burning of Servetus.
You wrote:

"Yeah Calvin wrongly burnt Servetus, although Servetus was headed for the stake wherever he was. But so what? What relevance does it have to his theology?

I would think it had a direct relevance to his theology. It would appear to me that the merciful teachings of Our Lord and Saviour had little impact on Calvin.

30 August 2012 at 15:19  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Paul Twigg:

I wouldn't like to be quite as dogmatic as Calvin and Spurgeon on this, as it seems to me that the Bible simply doesn't tell us enough for us to know one way or t'other.

IanCad: Obviously, the five points of Calvinism (T.U.L.I.P.) are engraved in your mind, and, I'm sure, in your heart.

I submit that however ardently you adhere to these notions you are missing the essence of the gospel.


Thanks for that. Now for my assertion. You're wrong.

Christ came to earth to offer salvation for those who would accept it.

All Calvinists accept this. We just demure over who can accept it.

The Bible is full of texts emphasizing not only this freely offered gift, but countless other verses that invite us to sup with him or not.

Evidence to me that you still can't be bothered to try and understand that which you are critiquing.

His instructions are clear. Accept the gift and He will, through the Holy Spirit, give us strength to overcome.

Minus the option of choice, what is His sacrifice? To me it would seem in vain, or at least, seriously diminished.


It is you who diminish his sacrifice. I say it accomplished the complete salvation of the elect. What do you think it accomplished?

We can go around in circles on this. I appreciate your comprehensive responses and I also reject them.

I'm sure you do. Just don't try claiming your position is Biblical in future discussions, or that mine is not.

I am somewhat bemused by your cavalier attitude in regards to the burning of Servetus.
You wrote:

"Yeah Calvin wrongly burnt Servetus, although Servetus was headed for the stake wherever he was. But so what? What relevance does it have to his theology?

I would think it had a direct relevance to his theology. It would appear to me that the merciful teachings of Our Lord and Saviour had little impact on Calvin.


Historical and theological context. Firstly, Calvin was principally a legal advisor, although he did want him dead. But if he hadn't burnt him, what would the Catholic church have said about Protestants on that basis. That doesn't excuse it, but I think that it's easy to sit and snipe from our safe modern Western position. If you'd have been there at the time, I doubt you'd have done anything different.

30 August 2012 at 15:29  
Blogger John Magee said...

carl jacobs

Would Jesus Christ, the second person in the Trinity, allow infanticide?

No.

30 August 2012 at 15:40  
Blogger John Magee said...

david kavanagh

As usual you missed my point from the very beginning. I said in earlier posts about the subject of "the chosen people" it's my belief that today, in 2012, anyone or any group that still believes they are chosen by God and still think they are "special" and superior to other INDIVIDUALS who do not share their beliefs are WRONG.

I don't care if they are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or any pagan cult. Or atheist geniuses who think they are superior to all believers.

How can a person claim on one hand they believe in human rights and that all people are equal and then turn around and in private think of themselves as somehow "chosen by God" still, today, in 2012?

I call that hypocrisy and my God hates hypocrites.

As a Catholic/Christian I believe that Christ is the Son of God and all that he taught in the Gospels is the truth but I would never assume that any Christian is somehow "chosen by God" to think of themsleves as an INDIVIDUAL superior to any other person who does not share his/her beliefs.

I do believe God choses certain people to carry out his needs on earth. But hey are not born into a race or ethnic group of "chosen people".

Mother Theresa was chosen by God as an INDIVIDUAL to create a order of nuns to help the "poorest of the poor" and to show the world the true menaing of the Gospels. She was born in Albania and not born into an ethnic group chosen by God.

I loath Islam as an evil cult but I do not think Muslim's as Individuals are any less loved by my God than a Catholic, Protestant, Jew, or pagan or atheist individual.

It is my belief that Christianity is perfection for all the human race because of who Jesus was, and he did for us as individuals, serving a perfect God and the fullfillment of the OT prophecies. But that does not mean Christians are designated, as INDIVIDUALS, and born to be superior to any other person on earth.

We aren't . We are all sinners.

30 August 2012 at 16:03  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

Thomas,

Well, I only pray that you don't ever have to be put into a position where you really, really have to find out 'one way or the other'. Anyway, I can see that you are student and therefore are still learning, as I am still learning today.

Take care my friend and God bless.

30 August 2012 at 16:09  
Blogger John Magee said...

carl jacobs

There is a LOT in the OT which I am glad is not allowed today. Why is this?

Could it possibly be because Jesus Christ gave the entire human race a new start because of his death on the Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension?

I thinks it's called redemption.

You know more about the Bible than I do. Didn't the Apostle Paul get into a ot of trouble with the early Jewish Christians by his wanting to open the early Church to the Gentiles as well as break with the OT dietary laws, end circumcision, and lots of other stuff including stoning of adultresses to death?

I appreciate your input and views.

30 August 2012 at 16:13  
Blogger John Magee said...

Inspector

I am a card carring member of the old curmudgeon club.

It is sad to see youth destroy themselves as followers of the never the ending party the pop culture promises them. It's always been this way but today's vices have reached an all time self destructive mode that would make the Roman Emperor Caligula blush. I hate seeing anyone suffer, even if it is self inflicted. Then there is the ripple effect on the lives of future children of these individuals

Have you seen the photos of the young binge drinking girls throwing up or passed out up in the streets late on a weekend nights? Not one or two but apparently tens of thousands of them. They will be some child's mother someday. What kind of life will those children face? Binge drinking is not "social drinking". A lot of these young girls will end up alcoholics.

Of course these ruined lives because of drug abuse, alcoholism, and sexually transmitted diseases and ruined families will never be made into a serious movie by Hollywood will they?

Hollywood and the pop culture promote these self destructive lifestyles and offer nothing but instant gratification and no hope.

Very sad.

30 August 2012 at 16:43  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

30 August 2012 at 18:47  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

John Magee

Have you been reading the protocols of the elders of zion perchance?

I really could not care less whether or not you dislike the idea of a chosen people or not ;my faith tells me that the covenant with G-d is everlasting and will never be replaced or added to ( see Genesis 17 : 7 , Exodus 31:16-17, Deut 13 vs1).

My issue with you here John is the inference that you think that makes us think we are superior to others, which is not true. That you wish to hold such an ignorant and negative view is extremely infuriating and saddening and the same time.

30 August 2012 at 18:48  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

TK - My "beef" can't be with God as God is love, God is just and God is righteous. None of these things can be true if God chooses who is saved and who isn't without allowing everyone the opportunity to choose to follow Him!

30 August 2012 at 21:24  
Blogger John Magee said...

david kavanagh

No I haven't but I have read what Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a forner Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and Israel said in the October 18, 2010 Jerusalem Post:

Here is what this Jewsish bigot said:

Jerusalem Post

By JONAH MANDEL

LAST UPDATED: 10/18/2010 05:13

According to Rabbi, the lives of non-Jews in Israel are safeguarded by divinity, to prevent losses to Jews.

The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews, according to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator.

“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel,” he said in his weekly Saturday night sermon on the laws regarding the actions non-Jews are permitted to perform on Shabbat.

According to Yosef, the lives of non-Jews in Israel are safeguarded by divinity, to prevent losses to Jews.

“In Israel, death has no dominion over them... With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money.

This is his servant... That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew,” Yosef said.


“Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.

Will you deny he said this?

It is there for the world to read: The Jerusalem Popst October 18, 2010

Sorry if you don't like Jewish bigotry exposed but is fact.

That is why gentiles were created,” he added.

Yosef’s Saturday night sermons have seen many controversial statements from the 90-year-old rabbi. In August, Yosef caused a diplomatic uproar when he wished a plague upon the Palestinian people and their leaders, a curse he retracted a few weeks later, when he blessed them along with all of Israel’s other peace-seeking neighbors.

Look up the anti Christian hatred of the Lubavitcher Hasidic Jews to further enlighten you as to how bigoted Orthodox Jews can be.

Now shut me up up because I tell the truth.

His words NOT mine.




31 August 2012 at 07:30  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

David K,

Just by way of warning, the Yosef quote is John Magee's own stand up act when he encounters Jewish people on this weblog. I think he has used this at least 6 or 7 times in a couple of months.

31 August 2012 at 07:52  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 August 2012 at 09:38  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

John Magee

You need to change the record a bit.

Using one man (who stopped being Israel's Chief Rabbi in 1983) and a community within Judaism to slate the whole Jewish people is odd and disingenuous to say the least. How would you appreciate it, if I took a few quotes from a few Catholic leaders and twisted that round to say the whole Church and Christians are bigoted and full of Anti -Jew hatred?

It took me under a minute to google anti-semitic quotes from the Catholic Church as well as modern day examples of such. Yet I would not consider arguing that because of the views of Cardinal Glemp or Bishop Williamson, that the whole of the Roman Catholic Church is full of bigots who hate Jews.

31 August 2012 at 09:42  

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