Saturday, July 09, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha") in Mark and Luke (RSV)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine, published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]
===============================================

MARK

1a) Mark 4:5

Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil;

1b) Sirach 40:15

The children of the ungodly will not put forth many branches; they are unhealthy roots upon sheer rock.

2a) Mark 4:11

And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables;

2b) Wisdom 2:22

and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hope for the wages of holiness, nor discern the prize for blameless souls;

3a) Mark 5:34

And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."

3b) Judith 8:35

Uzziah and the rulers said to her, "Go in peace, and may the Lord God go before you, to take revenge upon our enemies

4a) Mark 9:48

where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

4b) Judith 16:17

Woe to the nations that rise up against my people! The Lord Almighty will take vengeance on them in the day of judgment; fire and worms he will give to their flesh; they shall weep in pain for ever.

5a) Mark 14:34

And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch."

5b) Sirach 37:2

Is it not a grief to the death when a companion and friend turns to enmity?

6a) Mark 15:29

And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads, and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days,

6b) Wisdom 2:17s

Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;

LUKE

1a) Luke 1:17

and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Eli'jah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."

1b) Sirach 48:10

you who are ready at the appointed time, it is written, to calm the wrath of God before it breaks out in fury, to turn the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob.

2a) Luke 1:19

And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.

2b) Tobit 12:15

I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One."

3a) Luke 1:42

and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

3b) Judith 13:18

And Uzziah said to her, "O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, who created the heavens and the earth, who has guided you to strike the head of the leader of our enemies.

4a) Luke 1:52

he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree;

4b) Sirach 10:14

The Lord has cast down the thrones of rulers, and has seated the lowly in their place.

5a) Luke 2:29

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;

5b) Tobit 11:9

Then Anna ran to meet them, and embraced her son, and said to him, "I have seen you, my child; now I am ready to die." And they both wept.

6a) Luke 2:37

and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.

6b) Judith 8:6

She fasted all the days of her widowhood, except the day before the sabbath and the sabbath itself, the day before the new moon and the day of the new moon, and the feasts and days of rejoicing of the house of Israel.

7a) Luke 6:35

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.

7b) Wisdom 15:1

But thou, our God, art kind and true, patient, and ruling all things in mercy.

8a) Luke 7:22

And he answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.

8b) Sirach 48:5

You who raised a corpse from death and from Hades, by the word of the Most High;

9a) Luke 9:8

by some that Eli'jah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen.

9b) Sirach 48:10

you who are ready at the appointed time, it is written, to calm the wrath of God before it breaks out in fury, to turn the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob. [Elijah: see v. 4]

10a) Luke 10:19

Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you.

10b) Sirach 11:24 [incorrectly listed by Akin (or Nestle?) as 11:19]

Do not say, "I have enough, and what calamity could happen to me in the future?"

11a) Luke 12:19

And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.'

11b) Tobit 7:9 [incorrectly listed by Akin (or Nestle?) as 7:10]

So he communicated the proposal to Raguel. And Raguel said to Tobias, "Eat, drink, and be merry;

12a) Luke 12:20

But God said to him, `Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?'

12b) Wisdom 15:8

With misspent toil, he forms a futile god from the same clay -- this man who was made of earth a short time before and after a little while goes to the earth from which he was taken, when he is required to return the soul that was lent him.

13a) Luke 13:27

But he will say, `I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!'

13b) 1 Maccabees 3:6

Lawless men shrank back for fear of him; all the evildoers were confounded; and deliverance prospered by his hand.

14a) Luke 13:29

And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God.

14b) Baruch 4:37

Behold, your sons are coming, whom you sent away; they are coming, gathered from east and west, at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the glory of God.

15a) Luke 14:13

But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind,

15b) Tobit 2:2

Upon seeing the abundance of food I said to my son, "Go and bring whatever poor man of our brethren you may find who is mindful of the Lord, and I will wait for you."

16a) Luke 18:7

And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?

16b) Sirach 35:16-17 [incorrectly listed by Akin (or Nestle?) as 35:22]

He whose service is pleasing to the Lord will be accepted, and his prayer will reach to the clouds. The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds, and he will not be consoled until it reaches the Lord; he will not desist until the Most High visits him, and does justice for the righteous, and executes judgment.

17a) Luke 19:44b

. . . because you did not know the time of your visitation."

17b) Wisdom 3:7a

In the time of their visitation . . .

18a) Luke 21:24

they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

18b) Tobit 14:5

But God will again have mercy on them, and bring them back into their land; and they will rebuild the house of God, though it will not be like the former one until the times of the age are completed. After this they will return from the places of their captivity, and will rebuild Jerusalem in splendor. And the house of God will be rebuilt there with a glorious building for all generations for ever, just as the prophets said of it.

18b) Sirach 28:18

Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not so many as have fallen because of the tongue.

19a) Luke 21:25

"And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,

19b) Wisdom 5:22

and hailstones full of wrath will be hurled as from a catapult; the water of the sea will rage against them, and rivers will relentlessly overwhelm them;

20a) Luke 24:4

While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel;

20b) 2 Maccabees 3:26

Two young men also appeared to him, remarkably strong, gloriously beautiful and splendidly dressed, who stood on each side of him and scourged him continuously, inflicting many blows on him.

21a) Luke 24:31

And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.

21b) 2 Maccabees 3:34

And see that you, who have been scourged by heaven, report to all men the majestic power of God." Having said this they vanished.

22a) Luke 24:50

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.

22b) Sirach 50:20s

Then Simon came down, and lifted up his hands over the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, to pronounce the blessing of the Lord with his lips, and to glory in his name;

23a) Luke 24:53

and were continually in the temple blessing God.

23b) Sirach 50:22

And now bless the God of all, who in every way does great things; who exalts our days from birth, and deals with us according to his mercy.

---------------------------------------

See also (from Nestle-Aland list):

Mark 1:15 and Tobit 14:5
Mark 6:49 and Wisdom 17:15
Mark 8:37 and Sirach 26:14
Mark 9:31 and Sirach 2:18
Mark 10:18 and Sirach 4:1 (?)
Luke 10:17 and Tobit 7:17 (?)
Luke 10:21 and Sirach 51:1
Luke 13:25 and Tobit 14:4
Luke 15:12 and 1 Maccabees 10:29 [30]
Luke 15:12 and Tobit 3:17

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Most Influential and Meaningful Books In My Life

This survey or "meme" has been making the rounds, and everyone's doing it, so here is my shot (I'm curious about your answers, too; please share):

How many books do I own?

2200-2300

. . . virtually all used or purchased at a deep discount; I once got a bunch for free from a Catholic library which was scaling down. I've been attending the AAUW used book sales every year since 1985, and we also have some great used bookstores around here, such as the one mentioned below. A Baptist pastor friend of mine used to have a great used Christian bookstore, too.

The most spectacular purchase I ever made was at a suburban library sale that I only attended this one time. It was about ten years ago, and they had a complete set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1985 edition) for $75. Wow!

Another great "book story" occurred two years ago at one of the AAUW sales. I was particularly looking for primary Luther works, and the Lord provided, as He so often has these many years, book-wise (knowing that I couldn't afford new books, and that I needed books for my apologetics and research purposes). Sure enough, after I waited a good hour and a half to get near the front of the line at the beginning, I looked down and there were thirteen volumes from Luther's Works, the 55-volume set in English. I had never seen any of them used before. So I swooped them up. I was sitting on the floor looking through them and a lady came up to me and asked me who Luther was. Then I noticed that they were not priced. So I asked one of the workers what they would cost. She told me $1.00 each. We had to pay cost-and-a-half the first day, so each cost $1.50 for a big, long hardcover (even many other similar books at the same sale were priced $5 or more). They go for about $20-$25 used on the Internet. I got 13 of 'em for $19.50: less than the price of one new hardcover. Now that is good stewardship of one's money!

What’s the last book I bought?

The Beatles: Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn, 1988 (used for $15; like new condition, at the marvelous John King Books in Detroit, which has four floors and 900,000 or so books)

What’s the last book I read?

Chrionicles, Vol. 1, Bob Dylan, 2004.

What an amazing poetic and "romantic" mind . . . When you see how the man thinks and describes things, you realize the extraordinary imagination he draws from, for his lyrics. He makes connections between things and free associations that would never have crossed my mind in a million years. That's why, of course, the book was so interesting to me ("I couldn't put it down"), because of trying to enter into another mind so different from mine. I definitely have a romantic and semi-mystical outlook, too, but I could never put certain non-rational, ethereal aspects of it into words as Dylan does. That's the genius of poetry: to give word and expression to deep longings and feelings of a non-rational sort. The closest I can get to that deep wellspring is in certain nature photographs I have taken (some of which I have posted on this blog).

What are the five books that mean the most to me?

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis (1952)

Lewis is my favorite writer. I read this in the late 70s, before I seriously started my own apologetic writing and evangelism. It has influenced so many. The role it played in my own life was to give me a simple but thoughtful introduction to a "thinking man's Christianity." Thus it was a key step prior to apologetics proper; rather, it showed me how rationality and faith were not antithetical to each other (one of the foundational principles of the apologetics enterprise). At the time I was in college and was attending an evangelistically-oriented Lutheran church, which was great for newly-committed Christians of the low church evangelical variety (this particular church was far more "evangelical" than Lutheran) but not quite as good for developing the Christian mind (though it did have a great little bookstore of numerous Lewis and Bonhoeffer books). Moreover, the book influenced my nascent ecumenism, since it was an attempt to present what all Christians had in common. This always stuck with me, in my Protestant days, and since my conversion to Catholicism. I have emphasized ever since (it has even become one of my leading "themes") that ecumenism or Christian unity and apologetics are harmonious and complementary, not in contradiction.

Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell (1972)

. . . the book that atheists and agnostics love to hate (and also some Christian apologists or apologist-bashers who mock it because it is introductory in nature). But an introduction is just that; one shouldn't expect more from something than what it purports to be. Everyone has to start somewhere, so I find such attitudes rather condescending and unappreciative. As it was, this book (which I read in 1981) almost singlehandedly provoked an explosion of interest on my part, in historical apologetics (previously I had read only the more philosophical style of apologetics, of C.S. Lewis, and Francis Schaeffer in 1980 when I was attending Inter-Varsity in college: Wayne State University in Detroit).

Thus, this work profoundly influenced what turned out to be my career. After I read this, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Before that time, I didn't, at age 23 and with a relatively worthless (both ideas- and job-wise) degree in sociology nearly completed. 15 years later, I completed my first book of Catholic apologetics, entitled A Biblical Defense of Catholicism. It was originally modelled (especially in its early version, which compiled a lot of other peoples' apologetics) after McDowell and also James Cardinal Gibbons' book, Faith of Our Fathers. It was intended to provide "biblical evidence for Catholicism" (the name for my website, begun in 1997), in the same way that McDowell had marshalled historic evidence on behalf of Christianity in general, because people think the Bible is opposed to Catholicism, the way they often think that history disproves Christianity itself.

The Gravedigger Files, Os Guinness (1983)

In the vein of Lewis's wonderful Screwtape Letters, this book by a brilliant evangelical thinker takes the concept of that book one step further by applying a searing analysis to various pitfalls and shortcomings in modern Christianity, from a profoundly Christian and historically long-sighted sociological perspective (influenced a lot by the well-known Lutheran sociologist Peter Berger). When I read this in the early 80s I was already involved in cult research and apologetics and street apologetics. In 1982 I had written an extensive critique of the "name-it-claim-it, hyper-faith / God always heals movement in charismatic circles (now on my website). I had also majored in sociology in college, so I could relate to the analysis. But the courses I took were thoroughly secular. Needless to say, Christian sociology is infinitely more thought-provoking and explanatory (not to mention, interesting) than the secular variety.

The Spirit of Catholicism, Karl Adam (1928)

The best introduction to Catholicism, in my opinion, if one is looking for a treatment of wide scope and vision (also the assessment of Lutheran-then-Orthodox historian Jaroslav Pelikan). It draws you in and doesn't let you go. It's irresistible. I doubt that an anti-Catholic would allow himself to be thus enraptured, but for someone with an open mind on the subject, this book will provide a sense of the majesty and profundity of the Catholic Church's teaching. It played a key role early in my journey towards the Church in 1990. I described it in my conversion story in Surprised by Truth as "a book too extraordinary to summarize adequately. It is, I believe, a nearly perfect book about Catholicism as a worldview and a way of life, especially for a person acquainted with basic Catholic theology."

Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, by John Henry Cardinal Newman (1845)

This is the book which put me over the edge and convinced me to become a Catholic. It is widely considered the leading treatment on the subject of development of doctrine (my favorite area of theology, and a large emphasis in my apologetics), particularly in its Catholic application or interpretation. I wrote about this book, too, in my published conversion story:

This book demolished the whole schema of Church history which I had constructed. I thought, typically, that early Christianity was Protestant and that Catholicism was a later corruption (although I placed the collapse in the late Middle Ages rather than the usual time of Constantine in the fourth century).

Martin Luther, so I reckoned, had discovered in Sola Scriptura the means to scrape the accumulated Catholic barnacles off of the original lean and clean Christian "ship." Newman, in contrast, exploded the notion of a barnacle-free ship. Ships always got barnacles. The real question was whether the ship would arrive at its destination. Tradition, for Newman, was like a rudder and steering wheel, and was absolutely necessary for guidance and direction. Newman brilliantly demonstrated the characteristics of true developments, as opposed to corruptions, within the visible and historically continuous Church instituted by Christ. I found myself unable and unwilling to refute his reasoning, and a crucial piece of the puzzle had been put into place -- Tradition was now plausible and self-evident to me.

In another paper recounting my conversion from a more technical theological / historical perspective, I wrote, following Newman's analogical reasoning:

One need not posit an absolute break of continuity in order to equate the present Catholic Church with the "Church" of the early centuries. One need only understand the true nature of development, whereby doctrines can grow in the sense that they are more clearly understood, and more deeply and thoroughly explicated, while not undergoing any essential transformation. But Protestantism requires a radical change of principle, and hence, fails the test of what constitutes a true development, in Newman's analysis. Besides, corruption can just as easily consist of subtraction as addition. Corruption entails a departure from normalcy and precedent.

Furthermore, it is instructive to realize that what we now consider orthodox in early Christianity, is simply the position of the Roman apostolic see, which was proven right again and again on this score, far beyond coincidence, given the multiplicity of heretical sects in the early centuries, and the thousands of competing Christian denominations today.

Honorable mention: G.K. Chesterton: Orthodoxy, (written, incidentally, 14 years before GKC's conversion to Catholicism), Louis Bouyer: The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, Thomas Howard: Evangelical is Not Enough.

Which Classical Composer Are You? (Quiz)

  • My #1 result for the SelectSmart.com selector, Which Classical Composer Are You?, is JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH - German "A Titan in the History of Art"
  • #2 ANTONIN DVORAK - Czech - "Founder of the Czech national school"

    #3 SERGEI RACHMANINOFF - Russian American - "The Voice of Slavic Pessimism"

    #4 MUZIO CLEMENTI - Italian -"The Father of the Pianoforte"

    #5 GEORGE GERSHWIN - American - "Rhapsody in Blue"

    6 Haydn

    7 Schumann

    8 Mozart

    9 Liszt

    10 Chopin

    11 Brahms

    12 Schubert

    13 Mendelssohn

    14 Tchaikovsky

    15 Debussy

    16 Beethoven

    Here is some trivia about my results:

    My guess for my match was Bach, but he is actually not among my very favorite composers. He's great, of course (I particularly love Switched-On Bach, which was for many years, if not still, the biggest-selling classical album), but my favorite classical genre is German Romantic and Post-Romantic (Wagner, Beethoven, Mahler) -- having played trombone in a very good high school orchestra, and being a lover of brass. Wagner and Mahler weren't even among the choices, and Beethoven came in last on my list.

    The other funny thing is that my second guess as to whom I might be like was Dvorak. So I guessed my first two closest matches. I wanna see if anyone else can do that! I figured that I would be like them inasmuch as my temperament is easy-going and not the "moody, bombastic, unpredictable artistic temperament" quintessentially exemplified by Beethoven. Not many composers seemed to be very happy people (Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Schubert immediately come to mind on that score), and I consider myself fairly happy and happily married (as Bach and Dvorak were: and both were committed Christians).

    Also notable is that I least resemble in personality the composers I like the best. I suppose this might be a variation of the old "opposites attract" thing. I've often thought that if I knew the musicians I admire most (both classical and rock), that I probably wouldn't care for them much in person. Wagner was a scoundrel, womanizer, and insufferably arrogant. Beethoven was, well, Beethoven: lovable and adorable from afar and 180 years after his life, but quite the eccentric, Kierkegaard-like tormented character during his lifetime. If I had been a deaf composer, I'm sure I would have been just as irascible. What tremendous suffering this poor man went through . . .

    Rock musicians often offer the same scenario: my favorite singer is Van Morrison, who is notoriously irascible and unapproachable (though one might argue -- as Van certainly would -- that avoiding so-called "music critics" is entirely justifiable and warranted). I'm a Beatles nut but I doubt that I would have got on well with John Lennon or George Harrison (Ringo and Paul would be different). Brian Wilson? Hah! I love Bob Dylan. Nope; we would clash for sure. Same for Bono of U2. Some exceptions seem to be Neil Young, who seems like a very nice guy, and local Detroit heroes Bob Seger and Stevie Wonder, who are known as great, friendly guys. Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix? You see what I mean. Hendrix was a really nice man but always seemed to be in a "purple haze." Fascinating subject to ponder . . .

    I love Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, and Brahms. They're all in my top ten or close to it, but low on my list above. Stravinsky, Ives, Bruckner, and Sibelius aren't on the quiz list, either. As I said, I like Bach, but he might not even make my Top Ten, if I sat down and made a list. Nor would Dvorak (despite his New World Symphony, which I've always loved, and which I played in high school). #3-10 on the list above aren't among my favorites, either, though I love certain of their works (particularly Chopin -- Military Polonaise, etc.; I used to play his Minute Waltz at 11 years old: the height of my piano accomplishments -- and Liszt's symphonic poems).

    So the list above is almost exactly inversely proportionate to my tastes in classical music. Only Mendelssohn fits in about where he should be. :-) As a last note of trivia: I played his Reformation Symphony in high school also, back when I was a nominal Protestant at best. Less than a year out of high school I converted to evangelical Protestantism. Playing that piece would have had a great deal more meaning by the mid-80s, after I had read some Church history and Bainton's famous biography of Luther.

    But the high, vaguely-Christian (in parts) Romanticism of Wagner led me in a roundabout way to Christianity, somewhat like C.S. Lewis was led to Christianity via his love of Romanticism (as I've written about elsewhere). God uses anything in our life. He knew I loved music and the outdoors. So he utilized that Romanticism and what might be called a "nature mysticism" (which Lewis, Kreeft and others have developed into an "argument from longing / for heaven") to draw me to Himself.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Eric Svendsen Hits The Nail on the Head (Extreme Critics) / Condemnation of Pathetic Personal Attacks Against Svendsen

    For once I wholeheartedly agree with anti-Catholic apologist Eric Svendsen (one of my very harshest critics); except for the word "hate," which I almost always think is too strong and inappropriate in all but the most extreme situations. Of course, this observation will be greeted by his cohorts as profundity and proof of the worth of his own ministry.

    But (dare I say this?) when I express similar things about ludicrous attacks coming my way (and it is rather obvious that I have been personally attacked -- especially in the last year -- as much as Svendsen or James White or any other apologist I know: Catholic or Protestant), it is "proof" that I am filled with pride, utterly lacking in humility, a narcissist, suffering from a persecution complex, etc. In any event, apart from that curious double standard (not to mention also that Svendsen himself engages in the much the same kind of personal attacks that he decries when others do it to him) and the "hate" rhetoric, the following observations are dead on:

    The God of All Comfort



    . . . Defending the faith can be a thankless, discouraging job. The people who happen to disagree with your views somehow feel at liberty to engage in hate-fests against you personally. To respond back only incites them further in a never-ending and futile attempt to get them to read your views rightly (gasp!) rather than constantly distort them as they always do. . . .

    "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." John 15:18-20

    Indeed, the "world" in many of these instances refers not to the secular world at large, but to the religious world. . . .

    "Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets." Luke 6:22.

    I was going to respond to the grossly uninformed hate-fest that is taking place against me at the Crowhill discussion forum--where both Roman Catholics and Roman Catholic wannabees are dining sumptuously on slander and gossip--but Pedantic Protestant beat me to it.
    Having been subject myself to a huge "slander-thread" filled with personal attacks, on the same board, some months ago (led by an Orthodox polemicist who goes by "Nevski", who thinks I don't work for a living and pretend to be a scholar when I am not), I'm curious as to what is taking place over at the Crowhill board. Let's go look (c'mon over there with me). If Svendsen is being lied about the way, for example, that James White is often ridiculously lied about and slandered by some Catholics (as if he is the devil incarnate and drinks bat's blood every night), I will defend him too (just as I did, James White). It doesn't matter to me what Svendsen thinks of me. If something is wrong, it's wrong, and ought to be condemned.

    So what do we find? First, "dormitantius" ("Moderator" no less! Catholic):

    And a little child (Eric Svensen) shall lead them, right? Not quite; Svensen is just too goofy to be taken seriously.


    [mere ridicule and character-assassination rather than argument]

    Then, "Retro Rosco III" (Anglican, I believe)

    . . . folks like White and Svendsen . . . I'd wager that there is more idolatry and works-righteousness in their system than one could ever dream of in Rome. Why should anyone ever take them seriously?

    [ditto; also, we shouldn't be accusing others of Pelagianism and idolatry when we Catholics and Anglicans are often falsely accused of the same]

    . . . For example, I think the evidence is overwhelming that because of their views on baptism (not to mention communion) White and Svendsen's claims to unhold the soteriology of the reformers is "untenable." They clearly have another Gospel.

    [Baptist soteriology is different; yes, but this is an erroneous definition of the gospel, which, biblically-speaking, is (literally) the "Good News": the life, death, atonement and propitiatory sacrifice for our redemption on the cross, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus, not fine-tuned soteriological theology]


    . . . he not only has betrayed the Reformation, but he is not even a orthodox christian in the most basic sense (i.e. affirming the Incarnation and the Trinity).


    [I have little patience for Svendsen's errors, especially about the Blessed Virgin Mary, and (of course) his anti-Catholicism, but this goes way too far. He affirms the Incarnation and Trinity, even though there might be some quasi-Nestorianism* there, from what I have seen. Let's have some semblance of accuracy and fairness to theological opponents, for heaven's sake!]

    *"Jesus is both God and man; therefore, we must use the proposition some of Jesus is God....Mary cannot be said to be the mother of all of Jesus, but only of his humanity...Mary is the mother of some of Jesus; for Mary could very well be (and indeed is) mother of only the non-God part of Jesus....The fallacy again lies in not making the proper distinction between the humanity and deity of Christ. No one in the first century worshipped the body of Christ per se, but rather the person of Christ who happened to be embodied...." (Eric Svendsen: Evangelical Answers, pp. 179, 242 --- Svendsen defender JohnBugay replies: "This quote is an accurate quote, but it is taken within the context of a 'logic exercise.' And as I pointed out, he apologizes for using such terms as 'some of Jesus.' " -- [7-5-05])

    "Quickbeam of fangorn" (Catholic) then writes concerning the last quote: "I have to agree with your post."

    Quickbeam: "If he rejects them [statements on the Theotokos] he is not a christian." (7-5-05)

    Retro Rosco III: "Well, at a minimum the phrase 'some of Jesus is God' is bad logic, even in a 'logic exercise.' If he affirms the phrase as true, QB is right, he simply isn't a christian. And if he has to apologize for such terms, why did he use them in the first place? . . . a heretic by the standards of basic christian orthodoxy . . . And not just heresy by the standards of Catholicism, but of Classical Protestantism as well.." (7-5-05)

    [I submit that Svendsen's problem is not that he isn't a Christian, but that (perhaps due to reflexive anti-Catholicism) he doesn't properly understand the notion of the Theotokos and fine points of orthodox Christology, or else doesn't know how to write about it without lapsing into unintended serious heresy, or at least what might be understandably interpreted as prima facie heresy. this was true of some orthodox Church Fathers, and even popes at times (such as Honorius). It is indeed possible that he has strayed far enough to be considered a Christological heretic (anything's possible for us fallen men), but to publicly question even whether he is a Christian at this point is, in my opinion, a rather rash judgment, to put it mildly]

    Sadly, this is a typical three-days' work in character assassination and slander on an Internet Discussion board, which is why I have participated virtually nil on any board (Catholic, Protestant, or Rastafarian) for coming up to two years now. It happens on all sides, and we should condemn it on all sides. Only when folks start protesting against lack of charity and fairness to opponents amongst their own parties can we hope that anything will substantially change on Internet discussion boards.


    ***

    What philosophy do you follow? (Quiz)

    Here's my results:

    You scored as Divine Command. Your life is directed by Divine Command: Your god and religion give you meaning and direction.


    Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.?

    --King James Version of the Bible

    More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...

    Divine Command

    100%

    Existentialism

    70%

    Justice (Fairness)

    60%

    Utilitarianism

    50%

    Hedonism

    45%

    Kantianism

    45%

    Apathy

    15%

    Strong Egoism

    5%

    Nihilism

    0%

    What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
    created with QuizFarm.com

    What Kind of Apologist Are You? (Quiz)

    You scored as Evidentialist. You are an evidentialist! Apologetics primarily consists in showing the good reasons one has to believe the claims of Christianity. You consistently confound unbelievers with your knowledge of history, science, and Bayesian computation that you learned from John Warwick Montgomery, Gary Habermas, and Richard Swinburne.

    Evidentialist

    80%

    Classical Apologist

    60%

    Reformed/Presuppositional Apologist

    47%

    Fideist

    23%

    Atheist

    0%

    What kind of apologist are you?
    created with QuizFarm.com

    Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    On the Scandal of a Church Outrageously Claiming to be a Church

    From another blog. Various interlocutors will be in different colors.

    --------------

    I don’t think that the Lewis “trilemma” is properly or analogously applied to the claims of the Catholic Church (as a purely logical matter). On the other hand, I do find it noteworthy that the Catholic Church is far and away the most controversial, hated, despised Christian body (which characteristic of disciples of Jesus was predicted by Jesus Himself). I regard that as strikingly analogous to the reactions to both Jesus and the early Christians. Radical truth claims have a way of creating controversy and strong opinions one way or the other.

    The deeper question is: would we expect a priori (in attempting to step back from our “sectarian” vantage points and looking at this thing with as much “theoretical objectivity” as we can muster up), that the claims of the Christian Church (whatever it is; however defined) would cause such a “controversial, polarazing” reaction, or would we expect the one True Church (assuming that this is a valid, biblical claim and category) to elicit yawns and “ho-hums” (or even laughter, as the case may be)? Clearly, the actual reaction was always closer to the former choice.

    So then when we come to the Catholic Church, I think it is significant that it is our claims which always seem to be the focus of controversy. We get accused of all sorts of things, precisely because we are “confident” (aka “triumphalistic” from a more cynical viewpoint) enough to make the claim in the first place: one which appears to me to be a rather routine, particularly Pauline one, in Holy Scripture. In other words, the claim itself is the bare minimum prerequisite for being considered a contender for what the claim asserts. Most other Christians, meanwhile, want to either avoid it (a sort of ethereal “ecumenism”) or let it die the death of a thousand qualifications (settling for the unbiblical, anti-incarnational notion of the “invisible church,” etc.). The only serious rival as a claimant (whether true or false: I’m not yet discussing that) is Orthodoxy.

    In my own opinion, Orthodoxy can make a halfway-credible claim if it is not set forth as oppositional to the Catholic Church (either anti-Catholic or more ecumenical but still exclusivistic). My reason for that is early Church history. For example, the East split off of communion with the West on at least five separate occasions prior to 1054. In EACH case, it was wrong, by BOTH the later Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic) criteria. The prevalence of much heresy in the East, at the highest levels (while Rome never officially adopted heresy) also mitigates against an Orthodox claim to preeminence over against Rome. So any claim to be the one True Church must deal with the facts of these early controversies and how each “side” chose (because historical continuity is essential to apostolic succession and preservation of orthodox doctrine).

    Since Orthodoxy cannot make a credible claim that excludes Catholicism, in effect its claims collapse into simply asserting one institutional Church prior to 1054. At that point, Roman primacy and the historic papacy make it a slam dunk case for the Catholic Church (since we have continued the ecclesiological pattern of the first Millennium to the present, with the papacy and Councils). But I don’t wish to get into Orthodox-Catholic polemics (which is why I deliberately avoided the recent 643-comment thread). I’m simply giving the case I would make in a nutshell.

    We do not necessarily deny these statements outright, but we are not convinced they fairly represent Holy Tradition, at least as they presently seem to be understood.

    How does one determine what actually represents Holy Tradition, if this is not determined by some authoritative Church interpreting same? The problem is that on one hand, mere private judgment is exercised (which has a host of difficulties, both biblically and historically, not to mention logically). On the other, the historic ecclesiological claim of being One True Church cannot plausibly be made by anyone other than the Catholic Church (per my reasonings above, but also much more evidences that I could produce).

    That gets us right back to the rival claims and whether they are qualitatively equivalent. I say they are not, And I say that without the slightest trace of “triumphalism.” I simply believe that no Church besides the Catholic Church can make this claim without massive self-contradiction or else such a lack of plausibility as to make it impossible to set forth even the claim without running into a host of difficulties which are unable to be rationally defended.

    Once this is understood (I accepted it after having read Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine), it is seen that the choice is not so much the “best” one, but rather, the only plausible one. If difficulties with individual Catholic dogmas remain, then one has to realize that one’s own private judgment is insufficient to judge such a massive thing as the Catholic Church, with the overwhelming weight of Tradition behind it. One has to submit at some point, in faith, as matter of intellectual duty, and obedience to the leading of grace and faith, once having understood and accepted the types of things I outline above. Note that I don’t say that everyone understands Catholicism sufficiently to make such a commitment, and there are many reasons for that. My case here doesn’t require a judgment that all non-catholics are dishonest or insincere in their convictions (absolutely not!). But I am saying that once one grasps these issues (IF in fact how I described them above is the correct way of analyzing these matters), it is incumbent upon them to either become a Catholic or set forth some compelling counter-argument as to why they should not.

    That’s the point that Cardinal Newman arrived at. No one said it is easy. It wasn’t for Newman, or for anyone who has stood at that crossroads (I thought I was going insane at some points on my journey; I couldn’t believe I was even considering such a thing).

    To judge the Church by the hatred of the world may be a valid point, but if that is so, I don’t see how 20 million dead Russian believers and the deliberate terror unleashed on the Orthodox Church under the Communists can be ignored. There are very few serious contenders for such intense hatred of Christians or the Church.

    Good point; however, I think that the Communists would have killed whatever Christians they found, just as the Nazis killed Polish or German Catholics if they got in the way at all. The Christians to be gotten rid of in this instance just happened to be Orthodox. That doesn’t prove that these Orthodox were killed or hated specifically because they were claiming to be the One Church, so much as it proves the anti-Christian and ruthless nature of Communism.

    My point had more to do with the hostility towards the Catholic Church precisely for claiming to be the One True Church. I don’t think there is any question that we receive more flak for our claims than anyone else. As we make more claims than anyone else in the first place, this is to be expected, I suppose. But it is not insignificant.

    I don’t think any of my present argument is compelling, by the way. These are just some rudimentary considerations thrown out for discussion. I have many other arguments that I would submit as much more potentially compelling in favor of Catholicism.

    My perception is that the specific OTC [One True Church] issue is of an intramural type within Christianity. Even there, in my corner of the Evangelical world it seems as if such hostility as exists is related to differences in theology and practice, more so than from the OTC claim. On the other hand the hostility of the Modern American Secular Humanist seems to me to be significantly greater towards Born-Again Evangelicals. Catholics, after all, used to vote Democratic in large numbers. “You Must Be Born-Again” seems to strike a rawer nerve than “We’re the One True Church”.

    I agree that anti-Protestantism is a huge phenomenon also (having been a campus missionary as a Protestant, how well I know firsthand!). My argument was specifically related to being despised because of making the claim to be the true Church (per the topic of this thread, after all). I think it is a good point that the evangelistic emphasis in evangelicalism is also quite threatening to people. The hostility towards the Catholic Church comes relatively more so from other Christians. Secular anti-Catholicism is quite a different animal, though there are significant intersections with Protestant and Orthodox anti-Catholicism.

    Theological / Epistemological "Either/Or" Reasoning and C.S. Lewis's "True Myth"

    Here is an exchange with an Orthodox acquaintance of mine:

    I don’t have the book with me (I usually to quote from things when name-dropping), but the general point is that Lewis had two different modes, or phases, when it came to truth. One was the “true myth” idea that Tolkien used on him that was the turning point in his becoming a believer, and the other was this either/or liar/devil thing. The either/or thing was a function of his getting involved in apologetics, but he didn’t come to believe in Christianity because of the liar/devil thing, he came to believe because of the “true myth” thing.

    In any case, the either/or argument doesn’t appeal to me whether it’s the deity of Christ, the papacy or Reformed doctrines. While reason is necessary, I don’t find such harsh logic either attractive or appropriate when it comes to discerning Christian truth. But that may just be me. I realize it appeals to a lot of other people.


    It’s interesting that you adopt the “either/or” reasoning in the very act of condemning it (or at least frowning upon it in your own case). You can’t knock it on the one hand and then turn around and use it in the very act. What you have done in effect is create yet another dichotomy that doesn’t have to exist. It isn’t necessary. You don’t have to choose (by adopting “either / or”) between “either / or / liar / devil” and “true myth.” And the reason is that they are two equally valid modes of reasoning (which is why Lewis used them both).

    God used the “true myth” insight for Lewis because he was interested in mythology and romanticism and was (apparently, by God’s grace) looking for connections between that interest of his and the claimed truths of Christianity. So he came to see that the Resurrection could be a true occasion of that particular “phoenix” or “gods becoming / interacting with men” motif in mythology. By the same token, that doesn’t men he had to rule out the laws of contradiction. The fact of Jesus’ Resurrection doesn’t necessitate accepting every such instance. One has to be discriminating as to evidence and credibility, and now we are smack dab back into the “either / or” that you claim you don’t care for (while using it to make your statement of protest and choice).

    It seems to me that the Orthodox approach would be much more like what I am describing: accepting various modes of reasoning and reflection (along with non-rational mysticism, etc.) and not forcing one to make unnecessary choices and pit things against each other unnecessarily. It’s the Protestants who specialize in that (as Fr. Louis Bouyer argued at length in his classic, The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism).

    Maybe that’s another dividing line between those who become Orthodox and those who become Catholic. There are things which some people demand an either/or for,

    It’s not so much that people demand it, but that the laws of logic and of thinking do not allow any other way for rational men. You act as if logic is a mere arbitrary choice of human beings. But then you use it throughout this response because there is no other way to rationally communicate and make arguments, where various truth claims are concerned.

    whereas Orthodox are more than happy to shrug and say, “I don’t know.”

    Agnosticism is a far different thing from denying the laws of logic which are inherent to a sensible, non-absurd thinking process. You can claim to not know something, or claim that it canot be known by anyone, without knocking knowledge itself and how it must ordinarily be arrived at by us mere mortals.

    . . . Anyway, like I said before, you can’t scratch an itch you don’t have. This is why I appreciate you documenting your journey [a recent convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism], because I can compare it to my own journey, compare it to my own Burning Questions and/or lack of having similar Burning Questions as you, and better understand why you became this and I became that.

    Indeed; that’s why all conversion stories are helpful to those in all parties. They help us sort out our own beliefs and things we might be questioning or otherwise wondering about.

    . . . In the end, though, the biggest problem is that if things are going to be put this way, then I don’t see what sort of meaningful discussion can take place between Catholics and non-Catholics.
    Claiming that one thing is or might be or probably is true somehow mitigates against constructive discussion? How, pray tell? I think the choice is either to think in logical terms or to not attempt discussion with those who differ from us at all (this is what Lewis would say: to argue is to presuppose the laws of logic and there is your “either / or” again: if by that — broadly speaking — we mean the law of contradiction, a=a, and a is not b). If logic is tossed because it is “divisive” then inter-communication becomes as meaningless and futile as arguing why my preference for chocolate ice cream proves that yours for vanilla is “wrong.” If everything is relative like that, or (I should say: pun intended) merely a matter of personal taste, then we simply can’t talk. Why would anyone bother to do what is done here or on any such forum? All we can do is sit and enjoy our ice cream the way we want it, and leave everyone else to theirs. All choices are equally valid. Individual choice would be bliss. I don’t think theology works like that, and I doubt that you do, either.

    We aren’t forced to make a rigid choice. My example of how to communicate to the non-Christian or non-Catholic (as the case may be) has always been St. Paul on Mars Hill (Acts 17). Note how he made various connections with his hearers: to find common ground. That is an example of the “true myth” or more “ecumenical” mode of persuasion or thinking. But then he started narrowing down choices to the one true God (the either/or or apologetic and generally “rationalistic” mode). He had to do that to avoid religious relativism. He couldn’t just say, “you have your gods, and I have my one God and isn’t it wonderful and let’s all get along. It’s all equally great and true and happiness-producing” He had to confront them with the error of their ways, and proclaim the truth that they needed to hear. So he used both approaches. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

    It’s just so dam[n] combative and I think the combativeness is part of the reason we all find ourselves in this position in the first place.

    There is a good combativeness and a bad combativeness (if you know what I mean). What we all surely know is what lousy, disrespectful arguing and apologetics on the Internet looks like. But the problem there, 90% of the time (I would venture to guess — it has sure been my own experience with lots of folks) is lack of charity, not a too-rigid approach to logic. It’s not logic that turns people off (rightly-understood) but a certain “cold logic” which is not accompanied by charity, and is accompanied by judgmentalism and condescension. That is perceived (rightly so) as pompous and arrogant and therefore, the person will not be open to hearing what the presenter is trying to share. But we mustn’t throw the baby out with the dirty bathwater.

    So, in all things charity, but also we must argue our positions. Why? Well, biblically-speaking, because this is our model. Both our Lord Jesus and St. Paul engaged in very serious, “controversial” discussion. They gave reasons for things, and opposed false positions, and made no bones about it. Both were also ecumenical (which defeats another false dichotomy: the “apologetics vs. ecumenism” canard). Paul spoke of those who hadn’t heard the gospel being judged by their consciences (Romans 1 and 2). Jesus was very kind and complimentary towards the Roman centurion and Samaritan woman at the well, etc. He told the parable of the Good Samaritan. He said that the kingdom would be given to the Gentiles as well as to His own group: the Jews. He was inclusivistic, not exclusivistic.

    I think the causes of lack of religious certainty or assurance ultimately lie elsewhere (in many places). Some people seem to feel quite confident in their beliefs (I am numbered among those, in case anyone didn’t know that :-), and others struggle more. That doesn’t make them lesser persons or inferior; it is just something that is their cross, by temperament, experience, education, position in life and pressure of friends and peer groups, or whatever it might be. One might say having less certainty leads to greater humility. I don’t think it is an ironclad connection, but there is certainly some truth to that.

    Anyway, I’m starting to ramble. Hopefully, I’ve added something to the discussion.

    You may have missed it in [another post] when I said:

    And I apologize for the way I put my original statement. I shouldn’t have called it “flawed.” I should have just said it didn’t appeal to me or something. Didn’t mean to be contentious.

    It seems to me that the Orthodox approach would be much more like what I am
    describing: accepting various modes of reasoning and reflection (along with
    non-rational mysticism, etc.) and not forcing one to make unnecessary choices and pit things against each other unnecessarily.

    Yup. And I simply felt like the article was forcing me to make an unecessary choice. That was the only point in my posting.

    Orthodox-Catholic Reunion: Some Preliminary Thoughts

    This is a brief exchange from the Pontifications blog, with a person of unknown affiliation (presumably non-Catholic) and an Orthodox:

    Can you envision any way that communion could be achieved between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy that does not entail the Eastern Orthodox being in submission to Rome?

    Sure: an arrangement which basically allows the Orthodox to give at least hypothetical “lip service”, so to speak, to papal primacy and supremacy and infallibility (?), while in practice it basically governs itself with little interference — much like Pope John Paul II has already proposed. It might be somewhat similar to the Queen of England, who is “sovereign” but who has little real political power.

    I think the main thing in a reunion is an acknowledgement by both sides that distinctives and variations in theology and liturgy are permissible. I think there is a way that, e.g., the filioque can be harmonized with an Eastern understanding, just as several early Eastern Fathers had no trouble doing. Nor do we have to quibble about the fine points of the consecration or purgatory, etc. — i.e., on the broader ‘ecumenical” plane. We need to first acknowledge each other as more or less equal brothers in Christ. As far as I am concerned, the Catholic Church has pretty much already done that with regard to the Orthodox, without compromising its self-understanding. It is many of the Orthodox who want no part of the West, having inherited a particularly vehement anti-Western, anti-Catholic outlook. That can only be cracked by God’s grace, as it goes far beyond mere theology.

    I’m sorry Dave but these montras [sic] really don’t give any explanatory role as to the separation.

    They weren’t intended to. The question was specifically about the pope’s role in a reunion (”Can you envision any way that communion could be achieved between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy that does not entail the Eastern Orthodox being in submission to Rome?”).

    You just don’t understand the philosophical theology that separates the two bodies.

    If I don’t, you have not demonstrated this, so yours is simply the usual unsubstantiated charge (which seems endemic on the Internet among all schools).

    Until you get there, you’re never going to see the filioque as anything else than “verbal trifles.”

    But of course I said no such thing. Here is what I wrote:



    I think there is a way that, e.g., the filioque can be harmonized with an Eastern understanding, just as several early Eastern Fathers had no trouble doing.

    When you see the Neo-Platonic grid, much like Arianism, that the filioque is built on, then just maybe you’ll understand the Orthodox objection, till that time, you’ve provided little-to-no competency in the subject to be able to make a judgement.

    I stand by the above statement. If prominent Eastern Fathers agree, then I think it is possible for Orthodox today to do so, if only they are willing. “A man convinced against his will retains his original belief still.”

    This anti-western and anti-catholic charge only holds in order to discredit or to stave off making an argument.

    Why would anyone think any Orthodox are “anti-western”? Surely nothing in, e.g., your post, would ever give such an impression, right?

    Nothing more than poor rhetoric in order to hide behind poor argumentation.

    Believe what you will. I think reunion is possible; I long and hope and pray for it, and I gave my opinion as to what it might conceivably look like. But if you wish to think that Catholics are so far gone that reunion is not possible, then I think you are part of the problem, not the solution. God would not want to see His One Church divided: that much is clear. So we must work towards ending the scandalous division as much as it is possible.

    . . . I see it as providential that all the theology just was done in the East, and they had the privilege of working through these issues. Where the West, in adopting Augustinianism as its model by the various Frankish theologians (and the subsequent tradition), lapsed back into the sickness of religion instead of its cure.

    . . . Every major heresy hunter holds to my view and not to Rome’s: Irenaeus, Athanasius, Basil, Cyril, Maximus, John of Damascus, Photius, and Gregory Palamas. These are the men I stand with.

    . . . 1) I’ve read your interactions with various Orthodox writers on your website, and they are truly, well…let’s just say you don’t have a grasp of the problem, or you have not demonstrated so yet in writing. More specifically, the grid that surrounds the Greek Triadological model and the essence/energy distinction.

    That may be, but again, it has little or nothing to do with the subject at hand.

    2) Christ’s Church is not divided. You cannot divide Christ’s Church no more than you can divide up Christ. As St. Augustine says in the Tractates on the Gospel of John, Christ and his Church make up one whole Christ.

    I couldn't agree more.

    3) None of the Eastern Fathers, except perhaps those who were still in some sense a slave to Origenism, could be profited forth as a defense of the filioque. Collapsing the Nous into the One as a first principle in order to make the Nous the cause of a divine person as a way to stave off Gothic Arianism is not the solution. It is the same presuppositions as Arianism: deity is defined as causality. The Neo-Platonic system is flexible enough to license such a move. Tweak it a little bit here or a little there and you think you’ve solved the problem, where in actuality it is only resituated.

    From the paper, A Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue on Filioque, by William Klimon (hosted on my site since 1997):

    [I then cited a great portion of that paper: mostly about the patristic understanding of the filioque and related matters]

    Is this the sort of analysis from my website that led you to conclude: "let’s just say you don’t have a grasp of the problem," and is all this consistent with your claim: "None of the Eastern Fathers, except perhaps those who were still in some sense a slave to Origenism, could be profited forth as a defense of the filioque"? I eagerly look forward to your reply.

    5) I’m sorry to see Dave that you confuse argumentation and debate with being anti-western.

    Hardly. Argumentation is what it is. Anti-western bias and anti-Catholicism is what it is. It is perfectly consistent for an anti-Catholic, anti-western type to make arguments. They may be good or bad ones (usually the latter), which is a separate question, but he can make them. And he can also try to answer our arguments. Now there's the rub, and that which made me tire of trying to reason with the anti-Catholic variety of Orthodox long ago. They have always ignored truly grappling with Catholic arguments, in my experience. True dialogue cannot take place unless a person truly understands the opponents' view and attempts to seriously interact with it. It helps, of course, for there to be mutual respect. I have tremendous respect for Orthodoxy (always have), but anti-Catholic Orthodox (NOT ecumenical Orthodox) do not return such respect and good will, and so dialogue becomes impossible.

    I guess we can label people what we want as long as they don’t hold to our view eh?

    The point is not arbitrary labeling but descriptive, reasonable ones. There is such a thing as anti-Catholicism, and it affects how people reason (or, "reason"). You are clearly anti-western, as shown by such statements as in your reply to Diane: "Where the West, in adopting Augustinianism as its model by the various Frankish theologians (and the subsequent tradition), lapsed back into the sickness of religion instead of its cure."

    Or perhaps when someone believes they have good reasons for thinking that Rome fell from the True Church they can be called anti-western too.

    Indeed, because this is a ridiculous, unsustainable position, and is specifically anti-western and pro-eastern. The catholic (little c) Church is just that: neither eastern nor western, but universal. That's how it was in the first millennium.

    Perry [Robinson] and I have written plenty on our blog (that is down right now) and have had very good dialogue with just about everyone that has participated there.

    Great. I don't see "good dialogue" here; sorry.

    So anyone is free and able to see the free interaction that is given without participants falling into sad polemic of “anti-western” or “schismatic.”

    You have introduced the polemics and divisiveness. I am trying to find common ground between east and west; Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Mine is essentially a positive, ecumenical endeavor, but you are seeking to perpetuate sad, unnecessary divisions and mutual recriminations.

    In fact, I don’t think those words have ever been used there. Why is that Dave?

    You don't have to use the word if you have the concept. If you give me your URL, I could easily prove that. But you already have in your responses here, so it isn't necessary.

    6) I believe re-union is possible too, but only when Rome is ready to let go of parts of Augustinianism that they have dogmatized [mistakenly] as part of the deposit of faith.

    Good for you (first part); the second part is debatable as to whether it occurred and whether it needs to be a matter of controversy in a reunion.

    Your brother in the One Church (which includes both Catholicism and Orthodoxy in some mysterious fashion),

    Dave

    -------------------------------------

    For a thorough examination of anti-western (not to mention schismatic) tendencies in the east and in Orthodoxy, see the series of articles by Dr. Philip Blosser:

    Petrine jurisdiction exercised in the ancient Church

    The Eastern Schism revisited

    The Eastern Schism: a postscript

    Eastern Orthodoxy's Witness to Papal Primacy: The Acacian Schism of 484-519

    Papal Primacy and the Photian Schism of 879-880

    Also, see my three papers:

    A Response to Orthodox Critiques of Catholic Apostolicity

    Dialogues on Orthodox Anti-Catholicism, Fr. Seraphim Rose, and Ecumenism

    Indefectibility and the Anti-Ecumenical Orthodox Claim to Exclusive Ecclesiological Preeminence

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    Pride, Unregenerate Blather, and Going to the Dark Side (All in a Day's Appraisal of My Work)

    Or to quote Errol Flynn (a movie actor from the 30s, for all o' y'all young whippersnappers), "my wicked, wicked ways" . . . I ran across this when looking over the blog of one Kerry Gilliard, who I once considered a friend, or at least a friendly acquaintance (when I was on his discussion board some years ago). At one point he was considering whether Catholics were Christians. Alas, at length he adopted a negative assessment. Sad, isn't it? So here (quite predictably, given his newfound viewpoint) is what he wrote about yours truly (in its entirety, lest I be accused by our subject of cynical use of ellipses), on his blog (wonderfully charitable stuff; very Christlike and reflecting well upon the Reformed tradition, isn't it?):

    =======================================

    05/01/05

    Noah gettin' drunk off his own grapes.....

    09:28:55 pm, Categories: life and stuff, theology and stuff, 680 words

    Dave Armstrong.
    http://ic.net/~erasmus/ and http://socrates58.blogspot.com

    There's a name I don't mention much because I don't feel like responding back to a 30-page 'debate' where he'll cite one article about 700 words in length, divide it up by sentences and type 200-1000 words in response to each sentence and call it a 'debate'. I first encountered Dave in 1998, when he joined my apologetics discussion list in my pre-Calvinistic days. Discussions with Dave are part of the reason I created the RCC-Evangelical discussion list on the site. If you check the 99 archives, you'll see many articles from his site dumped on the list as well as much argumentation from him during the life of the list.

    Dave's generally a nice guy most of the time. I've seen him get quite nasty with folks, likewise, I've seen folks get nasty back at him. Likewise, I've seen some of his arguments have truck-sized holes in them (and no, I haven't taken the time to interact with them because I don't have the time to...), but that's typical of most Catholic apologists whose works and articles I've read through.

    Anyway, hitting his blog and his apostolate website tonight, I looked at the amount of endorsements from both Catholic and non-Catholic folks that he had posted in the margins of his blog as well as on separate pages dating all the way back to 98 on his site. Some of the ellipses on some of the comments draw a raised eyebrow from me (because folks...can make... you say.... anything.... with dots in-between....), but that aside, I was reminded of a conversation I had with Tony earlier today.

    In his wisdom, he told me that one of the major fights that most pastors have is against pride. "Watch out for people who love you TOO much" he told me. Watch out for it because what they're doing is elevating you and treating you like you can do no wrong. Likewise, if people start to 'like you'.... be careful. It's only one small step between being liked and believing it. He told me "Once you start believing that you ARE good, you'll begin your downfall and it will be a very fast one at that."

    Pondered these thoughts much, I did. Read portions of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith at Borders' today, I did. Many parallels between Anakin and what Tony told me, did I see.

    And Dave's blog reminded me of them tonight.

    Whether Dave is saved or not isn't my place to pass judgment. I do highly doubt that someone who fights so ardently against sola fide can be saved, but that's just my scripture from my soteriological grid talking.

    Me, being a natural attention seeker, I do have a bit of an ability to spot pride - even pride shrouded in false humility ("Look at how HUMBLE and willing to dialogue I am! Look at what others say about me! My writings speak for themselves!"). Just an observation - and a right one, I think. If Dave's unregenerate....well, that would explain a lot. If he is, but just woefully misled and misleading others into Catholicism... that would explain a lot too.

    I debated recently (but decided not to) on putting up comments I get via e-mail from folks praising my work on TC dot Com and givin' me props. After all, what man doesn't need affirmation ? I decided no. Though the site is my ministry given to me by the Lord for the purpose of spreading His name and glory, it's not my ministry. It ain't about me at all.

    The first duty of the Christian - to serve God and enjoy Him forever. It's all about Him. So Glory to God alone for whatever help my ministry site can be to folks. If I died in an accident today, the advancement of the kingdom is no way dependent upon me nor am I not replacable. God will and can raise up people from the ashes of the books on my shelves who can do a much better job than I.

    =====================================================

    Of course I could respond to much of this, but why bother, you know? I'm finally learning that it is futile to do so. Kerry's mind is made up, or else he wouldn't have published such a judgmental, substanceless (he, of course, having no time to actually refute anything I write), purely prejudicial rant. Of what use is it to argue against a charge that has no rational basis, anyway, and is based wholly on subjective feelings and prior sectarian bias? And if I did try to answer all the nonsense above, Kerry would likely simply answer: "see how prideful Dave is because he is defending himself?! He can't accept any correction!!!!" It's all very convenient: all wrapped up in a nice little box with a snazzy bow.

    Just one thing, though (I couldn't resist): as a matter of simple comparison (rather than defending myself against charges that I am filled with pride). Kerry likes James White's blog, along with Eric Svendsen's and Steve Hays' blogs (wow, what a surprise and shock). One thing James White has written quite a bit about lately is irrational attacks on him, of a purely personal nature (which I have publicly denounced more than once, and thoroughly disagree with, as sinful). Among these attacks are accusations of a wanton pride. Here are some examples of such asinine attacks on White's person and character, from some Catholic fool with a "wild tongue," who goes by "John6jmj" [White's words will be in blue; his various critics' and slanderers' words will be in red]:

    He can't answer those questions because he thinks he is a god. He is a pretex evangelist. Any obedient Catholic in this forum can defeat James White in a debate using the Catechism. James White IS a straw man with no moral courage.

    (John6jmj's Weekend MeltDown, 6-25-05)

    White responded in the same article (quite rightly and justifiably, in my opinion):

    . . . this fellow says I can't answer these questions because I think I'm a god? If there is a semi-rational person left on Envoy, someone would have to say, "Excuse me, but are you not feeling well, john6jmj? You are acting rather...odd." But no, that kind of inane accusation will be allowed to stand. All in service of mother church, you know.


    So far so good. But then White couldn't resist indulging in a little judging himself, immediately after he points out that this is wrong (the very next sentence and section):

    Apolonio Latar then chimed in. Apolonio is a young man. I guess he's studying
    philosophy in college. He has entered into the "Put the name of a famous philosopher, and then an obscure one, in at least one out of three sentences" phase of being omniscient (remember being omniscient when you were in college?). There is a reason why "sophomore" means what it means.

    The very word "pride" has been used to describe White, as he chronicles (this time from a Catholic who uses the nick "Scholastic"):

    IMO, this man has some serious issues, especially with his pride.

    (To the Catholic "Scholastic" on PlanetEnvoy, 4-16-05)


    White again answers properly:

    Why is it that you folks are so consistent in 1) not citing anything from my published works, but 2) always including personal ad-hominem by 3) people who do not know me? You do realize that such tactics reveal, to the serious minded person, anyway, that your case is weak?

    Then Catholic Dr. Art Sippo makes the same charge (which White describes as "losing control"):

    Patrick, go tell White I think he is a BIG BABY! A WIMP! That will get him to debate because he is so full of pride.

    (The Brave RC Apologists at Envoy, 6-10-05)

    Now my question to my old "friend" Kerry is this:

    Why is it wrong for these three Catholics to accuse James White of "pride," being a self-perceived "god," etc., whereas it is perfectly acceptable and right and proper for you to accuse me of the same sin?


    White described this as "ad hominem," which is certainly the case. Why does it somehow cease to be that simply because a Calvinist makes the charge against a so-called "unregenerate" Catholic? Whether I am "saved" or not by his criteria is irrelevant to the ethical question before us. It's wrong, no matter whom the charge is directed against. That's why I condemn it when it is directed towards White (even though he hypocritically makes the same charge, such as against my friend Apolonio Latar, above). Those in Kerry's party ought also to condemn it when it is wrongly used by those in that camp. But when it comes to Catholics, anything goes.

    Oh, and another thing: didn't Kerry (the "natural attention seeker," so he says) notice all the negative comments about myself that I also publish on my blog sidebar? And that is something that White habitually does, too, as seen above. He knows that apologetics always breeds harsh (usually unjust) criticism. The point is that "controversial" people (i.e., those who take a strong stand on anything) will always elicit strong opinions, both pro and con. The Bible says that leaders in the Church ought to be spoken well of, but also that Jesus' disciples would be lied about and persecuted: that they should fully expect this and rejoice. We see both things. The sad part is that today much of this immoral conduct is by Christians attacking other Christians (and reading them out of the faith before they do so). What a great victory for the devil!

    In any event, the mere fact that I post comments of both sorts proves nothing (let alone profound pridefulness and hubris) other than that I am fulfilling both biblical expectations. Some people won't like what I write, or myself, personally (thus suggesting that I might be doing something right, per Jesus), and others will (thus suggesting that I might be doing something right, per Paul). And if I am doing something right (if indeed, this is so), that might perhaps persuade a few more folks to read my blog (which is the goal of any blogmaster and apologist and writer, after all; maybe Kerry wants no one to read his, but he would be in a lonely minority)!

    Saturday, July 02, 2005



    Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990): "This life in us, . . . however low it flickers or fiercely burns, is still a divine flame which no man dare presume to put out, be his motives ever so humane and enlightened. To suppose otherwise is to countenance a death-wish. Either life is always and in all circumstances sacred, or intrinsically of no account; it is inconceivable that it should be in some cases the one, and in some the other."

    (Something Beautiful for God, New York: Harper & Row, 1971, 29)

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    My Malcolm Muggeridge Page Greatly Expanded

    I was very excited tonight to find a considerable amount of new material on the Internet about journalist, author, social critic, TV personality, and notable Protestant and then Catholic convert Muggeridge for my web page: Malcolm Muggeridge: The Iconoclast. For years, it was pretty slim pickin's, looking for Muggeridge info. on the Net. I tried every now and then, ever since I started my website in 1997, and was always disappointed, until now. The page has probably four to five times as many links as it did, and a couple of new photographs too.

    Some of the highlights of the new additions include a downloadable PDF version of his book, A Third Testament, fourteen excerpts or articles from Muggeridge, an audio file of his appearance on William Buckley's Firing Line, in 1980, many new biographical articles, eight reviews of Gregory Wolfe's Malcolm Muggeridge: A Biography, and also excerpts from it, information on one-man shows by Peter Stockbridge and Dale Fincher, and two BBC radio show audio files. I also added some books to the bibliography and linked all but one of the list to the amazon.com pages.

    I hope you enjoy reading and listening, as much as I did finding all this. You'll never be disappointed with this prophetic, brilliantly insightful man.

    Thursday, June 30, 2005


    A photo of G.K. Chesterton that I found while surfing the Wikipedia. Who could fail to like a guy with hair like this? He looks like a cross between Bozo the Clown and Jerry Lee Lewis. LOL

    Theological and Apologetics Links From Wikipedia

    Wikipedia entries:

    Scott Hahn

    Peter Kreeft

    Jimmy Akin

    Karl Keating

    Patrick Madrid

    William Lane Craig

    Norman Geisler

    Gary Habermas

    Francis Schaeffer

    Josh McDowell

    Walter Martin

    Lee Strobel

    Catholic Answers

    Apologetics

    Presuppositional Apologetics

    Evangelism

    Philosophy of Religion

    Christian Philosophers

    Arguments for the Existence of God

    Arguments Against the Existence of God

    Cosmological Argument

    Teleological Argument

    Ontological Argument

    Moral Argument

    Transcendental Argument

    Problem of Evil

    Theodicy

    Anti-Catholicism

    Anti-Protestantism

    Christianity

    Trinity

    Jesus

    Catholic

    Roman Catholic Church

    Catholic Reformation

    Papal Infallibility

    Second Vatican Council

    Pope John Paul II

    History of Christianity

    Church Fathers

    Eastern Orthodoxy

    Eastern Orthodox

    Orthodox

    Protestant Reformation

    Protestantism

    Martin Luther

    John Calvin

    Calvinism

    Hyper-Calvinism

    Christian Evangelicalism

    Evangelicalism

    Bible

    Traditionalist Catholic

    Catholic Traditionalist Movement

    Lapsed Catholic

    Indult Catholics

    Catholic Charismatic Renewal

    G.K. Chesterton [excellent overview]

    C.S. Lewis [equally excellent]

    John Henry Newman [fabulous]

    Ronald Knox

    Hilaire Belloc

    Development of Doctrine

    St. Augustine

    Thomas Aquinas

    Malcolm Muggeridge

    Blaise Pascal

    John Wesley

    Christian Writers

    Socrates

    Plato