Thursday, December 17, 2009

Antidote to John Calvin's Institutes (IV,19:4-13) [Confirmation: in the Fathers and in Biblical Proofs / Laying on of Hands / Anointing Oil]

See the introduction and links to all installments at the top of my John Calvin, Calvinism, and General Protestantism web page; also the online version of the Institutes. Calvin's words will be in blue throughout. All biblical citations (in my portions) will be from RSV unless otherwise noted.

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Book IV

CHAPTER 19

OF THE FIVE SACRAMENTS, FALSELY SO CALLED. THEIR SPURIOUSNESS PROVED, AND THEIR TRUE CHARACTER EXPLAINED.

OF CONFIRMATION.

4. Nature of confirmation in ancient times. The laying on of hands.

It was anciently customary for the children of Christians, after they had grown up, to appear before the bishop to fulfil that duty which was required of such adults as presented themselves for baptism. These sat among the catechumens until they were duly instructed in the mysteries of the faith, and could make a confession of it before bishop and people. The infants, therefore, who had been initiated by baptism, not having then given a confession of faith to the Church, were again, toward the end of their boyhood, or on adolescence, brought forward by their parents, and were examined by the bishop in terms of the Catechism which was then in common use. In order that this act, which otherwise justly required to be grave and holy, might have more reverence and dignity, the ceremony of laying on of hands was also used. Thus the boy, on his faith being approved, was dismissed with a solemn blessing. Ancient writers often make mention of this custom. Pope Leo says (Ep. 39), “If any one returns from heretics, let him not be baptised again, but let that which was there wanting to him—viz. the virtue of the Spirit, be conferred by the laying on of the hands of the bishop.” Our opponents will here exclaim, that the name of sacrament is justly given to that by which the Holy Spirit is conferred. But Leo elsewhere explains what he means by these words (Ep. 77); “Let not him who was baptised by heretics be rebaptised, but be confirmed by the laying on of hands with the invocation of the Holy Spirit, because he received only the form of baptism without sanctification.”

It may be granted that Pope St. Leo the Great was talking about the special case of the Donatists, not all Catholics.

Jerome also mentions it (Contra Luciferian). Now though I deny not that Jerome is somewhat under delusion when he says that the observance is apostolical, he is, however, very far from the follies of these men. And he softens the expression when he adds, that this benediction is given to bishops only, more in honour of the priesthood than from any necessity of law.

Here is what St. Jerome wrote (it's always good to read a thing rather than a mere report of a thing: especially from a hostile party):

Don't you know that the laying on of hands after baptism and then the invocation of the Holy Spirit is a custom of the Churches? Do you demand Scripture proof? You may find it in the Acts of the Apostles. And even if it did not rest on the authority of Scripture the consensus of the whole world in this respect would have the force of a command. For many other observances of the Churches, which are due to tradition, have acquired the authority of the written law, as for instance the practice of dipping the head three times in the layer, and then, after leaving the water, of tasting mingled milk and honey in representation of infancy; and, again, the practices of standing up in worship on the Lord's day, and ceasing from fasting every Pentecost; and there are many other unwritten practices which have won their place through reason and custom. So you see we follow the practice of the Church, although it may be clear that a person was baptized before the Spirit was invoked.

(Against the Luciferians, 8 [A.D. 379] )

We have already seen (including the previous installment) the opinions of four Church fathers on confirmation. Here are several more:

Pope Cornelius

And when he was healed of his sickness he did not receive the other things which it is necessary to have according to the canon of the Church, even the being sealed by the bishop. And as he did not receive this, how could he receive the Holy Spirit?

(Fabius; fragment in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History 6, 43:14 [A.D. 251] )

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

After you had come up from the pool of the sacred streams, there was given chrism, the antitype of that with which Christ was anointed, and this is the Holy Spirit. But beware of supposing that this is ordinary ointment. For just as the bread of the Eucharist after the invocation of the Holy Spirit is simple bread no longer, but the body of Christ, so also this ointment is no longer plain ointment, nor, so to speak, common, after the invocation. Further, it is the gracious gift of Christ, and it is made fit for the imparting of his Godhead by the coming of the Holy Spirit. This ointment is symbolically applied to your forehead and to your other senses; while your body is anointed with the visible ointment, your soul is sanctified by the holy and life-giving Spirit. Just as Christ, after his baptism, and the coming upon him of the Holy Spirit, went forth and defeated the adversary, so also with you after holy baptism and the mystical chrism, having put on the panoply of the Holy Spirit, you are to withstand the power of the adversary and defeat him, saying, ‘I am able to do all things in Christ, who strengthens me’.

(Catechetical Lectures, 21:1, 3–4 [A.D. 350] )

Serapion

[Prayer for blessing the holy chrism:] ‘God of powers, aid of every soul that turns to you and comes under your powerful hand in your only-begotten. We beseech you, that through your divine and invisible power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you may effect in this chrism a divine and heavenly operation, so that those baptized and anointed in the tracing with it of the sign of the saving cross of the only-begotten . . . as if reborn and renewed through the bath of regeneration, may be made participants in the gift of the Holy Spirit and, confirmed by this seal, may remain firm and immovable, unharmed and inviolate. . . .’

(The Sacramentary of Serapion 25:1 [A.D. 350] )

St. Ephraem

[T]he oil is the sweet unguent with which those who are baptized are signed, being clothed in the armaments of the Holy Spirit.

(On Joel 2:24 [ante A.D. 373] )

Pacian

He would likewise be permitting this to the Apostles alone? Were that the case, He would likewise be permitting them alone to baptize, them alone to baptize, them alone to Confer the Holy Spirit . . . If, then, the power both of Baptism and Confirmation, greater by far the charisms, is passed on to the bishops.

(Epistle to Sympronian, 1:6 [A.D. 392] )

Pope Innocent I

That this power of a bishop,however,is due to the bishops alone,so that they either sign or give the Paraclete the Spirit . . . For to presbyters it is permitted to anoint the baptized with chrism whenever they baptize . . . but (with chrism) that has been consecrated by a bishop; nevertheless (it is) not (allowed) to sign the forehead with the same oil; that is due to the bishops alone when they bestow the Spirit, the Paraclete.

(To Decentius, 3 [A.D. 416] )

This laying on of hands, which is done simply by way of benediction, I commend, and would like to see restored to its pure use in the present day.

That's a start. There is plenty of biblical support for it (as there is for all the elements of confirmation).

5. This kind of confirmation afterwards introduced. It is falsely called a sacrament.

A later age having almost obliterated the reality, introduced a kind of fictitious confirmation as a divine sacrament. They

"They" being at least ten Church fathers, including St. Augustine, as I have documented . . .

feigned that the virtue of confirmation consisted in conferring the Holy Spirit, for increase of grace, on him who had been prepared in baptism for righteousness, and in confirming for contest those who in baptism were regenerated to life. This confirmation is performed by unction, and the following form of words: “I sign thee with the sign of the holy cross, and confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” All fair and venerable. But where is the word of God which promises the presence of the Holy Spirit here? Not one iota can they allege.

Really? That's odd that Calvin could think that. I guess he doesn't know his Bible very well:

1 Samuel 16:13
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.

Acts 8:17-20
Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, "Give me also this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!

Acts 9:17 So Anani'as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

Acts 13:2-4
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleu'cia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them;

How will they assure us that their chrism is a vehicle of the Holy Spirit?

Just as it was for Samuel, when he anointed David. Anointing with oil is often associated with some sacred purpose in Holy Scripture (Ex 28:41; Lev 16:32; 1 Sam 10:1; Is 61:1; Lk 4:18; Acts 10:38).

We see oil, that is, a thick and greasy liquid, but nothing more.

That's the problem: Calvin too often denies the supernatural power of God and the power of physical things to convey grace. It is a Docetic tendency (the antipathy to matter as a means of grace).

“Let the word be added to the element,” says Augustine, “and it will become a sacrament.” Let them, I say, produce this word if they would have us to see anything more in the oil than oil. But if they would show themselves to be ministers of the sacraments as they ought, there would be no room for further dispute. The first duty of a minister is not to do anything without a command. Come, then, and let them produce some command for this ministry, and I will not add a word. If they have no command they cannot excuse their sacrilegious audacity.

All the elements of confirmation are amply supported by Scripture, as I have shown in a long paper. Here is a summary of what Scripture supports:

1) The Holy Spirit can "descend" upon persons.

2) The Holy Spirit can be "given" as a "gift" to persons by God the Father.

3) The Holy Spirit can be "received" by persons.

4) The Holy Spirit can be "poured out" to persons.

5) The Holy Spirit can "fall on" persons.

6) A person can be "baptized" with the Holy Spirit.

7) A person can be "filled" by the Holy Spirit.

8) A person can "receive" or be "filled with" the Holy Spirit by means of the human
instrumentality of laying on of hands.

9) A person can be "sealed for the day of redemption" by the Holy Spirit, as a "guarantee of our inheritance."

10) A person can be anointed with oil in order to be commissioned or set apart or consecrated.

11) A person can be anointed with oil in order for the "Spirit of the Lord" to come "mightily upon" them.

12) Authoritative persons (popes, apostles, prophets) preside over this giving and receiving of the Holy Spirit.

13) And these authoritative persons in the Church do this by the laying on of hands (Peter, John, Paul).

14) And they do this by anointing with oil (Samuel and David).

15) We know from other evidences in Scripture that bishops are the successors of the apostles.

For this reason our Saviour interogated the Pharisees as to the baptism of John, “Was it from heaven, or of men?” (Mt. 21:25). If they had answered, Of men, he held them confessed that it was frivolous and vain; if Of heaven, they were forced to acknowledge the doctrine of John. Accordingly, not to be too contumelious to John, they did not venture to say that it was of men. Therefore, if confirmation is of men, it is proved to be frivolous and vain; if they would persuade us that it is of heaven, let them prove it.

I have done so. The Church has long since done so. But since when is Church authority or the authority of the Church fathers of any use to Calvin if only he disagrees with anything he sees from either source?

6. Popish argument for confirmation answered.

They indeed defend themselves by the example of the apostles, who, they presume, did nothing rashly. In this they are right, nor would they be blamed by us if they showed themselves to be imitators of the apostles. But what did the apostles do? Luke narrates (Acts 8:15, 17), that the apostles who were at Jerusalem, when they heard that Samaria had received the word of God, sent thither Peter and John, that Peter and John prayed for the Samaritans, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, who had not yet come upon any of them, they having only been baptised in the name of Jesus; that after prayer they laid their hands upon them, and that by this laying on of hands the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit.

How is that a disproof of confirmation? It is exactly the same thing: laying on of hands in order for a person to receive the Holy Spirit. The state of life of a young person coming of age is analogous in this instance to a new convert.

Luke repeatedly mentions this laying on of hands. I hear what the apostles did, that is, they faithfully executed their ministry. It pleased the Lord that those visible and admirable gifts of the Holy Spirit, which he then poured out upon his people, should be administered and distributed by his apostles by the laying on of hands. I think that there was no deeper mystery under this laying on of hands, but I interpret that this kind of ceremony was used by them to intimate, by the outward act, that they commended to God, and, as it were, offered him on whom they laid hands.

As usual, Calvin wishes to water down the power and essence of the physical act and means, just as he does with the Eucharist and baptism.

Did this ministry, which the apostles then performed, still remain in the Church, it would also behove us to observe the laying on of hands: but since that gift has ceased to be conferred, to what end is the laying on of hands?

For confirmation and extreme unction and ordination.

Assuredly the Holy Spirit is still present with the people of God; without his guidance and direction the Church of God cannot subsist. For we have a promise of perpetual duration, by which Christ invites the thirsty to come to him, that they may drink living water (John 7:37). But those miraculous powers and manifest operations, which were distributed by the laying on of hands, have ceased.

According to whom? Certainly not the Bible. If Calvin thinks that the laying on of hands no longer conveys the Spirit or ordination or healing, then he has a huge problem with the Bible, and a lack of faith. The problem is altogether his, not ours. Here again, he rather spectacularly exhibits his radical lack of faith in the miraculous.

They were only for a time.

Scripture nowhere states that they were to cease. When folks try to come up with some, any biblical rationale for this notion, it is some of the worst eisegesis imaginable.

For it was right that the new preaching of the gospel, the new kingdom of Christ, should be signalised and magnified by unwonted and unheard-of miracles.

Indeed; they were greater then for this purpose, but they did not cease.

When the Lord ceased from these,

How do we know that He did? Calvin assumes what he needs to prove. He argues against the miraculous as atheists do today.

he did not forthwith abandon his Church, but intimated that the magnificence of his kingdom, and the dignity of his word, had been sufficiently manifested. In what respect then can these stage-players say that they imitate the apostles?

In every respect or aspect or element that confirmation involves.

The object of the laying on of hands was, that the evident power of the Holy Spirit might be immediately exerted. This they effect not.

Not every passage of the reception of the Holy Spirit indicates spectacular manifestations. The Day of Pentecost itself was a very specific, one-time occasion: the point after which all Christians were to be filled with the Holy Spirit. St. Paul's own case (Acts 9:17-18) was not spectacular. In Acts 8:17-18, some sign is perhaps implied by Simon's reaction, but nothing is explicitly stated.

Nor must we conclude that because this primitive sort of confirmation was often accompanied by tongues in the apostolic period, that it must always be at all times. We may believe that miracles were more manifest in apostolic times without having to necessarily discount the essence of the rites and ceremonies with which they were associated. The signs and wonders are (quite arguably) not essential to the rite.

Why then do they claim to themselves the laying on of hands, which is indeed said to have been used by the apostles, but altogether to a different end?

It's not an altogether "different end": the goal in both cases was reciving the Holy Spirit. Calvin's arguments are often proportionately weak, to the degree that he has an innate hostility to the thing he is critiquing. His arguments on this score lack basic logic and cogency.

7. Argument confirmed by the example of Christ. Absurdity and impiety of Papists in calling their oil the oil of salvation.

The same account is to be given were any one to insist that the breathing of our Lord upon his disciples (John 20:22) is a sacrament by which the Holy Spirit is conferred. But the Lord did this once for all, and did not also wish us to do it.

Catholics don't disagree with that, which is why we don't imitate the practice.

In the same way, also, the apostles laid their hands, agreeably to that time at which it pleased the Lord that the visible gifts of the Spirit should be dispensed in answer to their prayers; not that posterity might, as those apes do, mimic the empty and useless sign without the reality.

It is Calvin who absurdly claims that the practice is an "empty and useless sign." Just because he lacks faith in what is demonstrated by biblical example, and in God's power, doesn't mean that everyone has to be so faithless. Why should we have to suffer from his limitations and shortcomings?

But if they prove that they imitate the apostles in the laying on of hands (though in this they have no resemblance to the apostles, except it be in manifesting some absurd false zeal),

Laying on of hands has all sorts of biblical and apostolic warrant. We've seen passages above regarding the Holy Spirit. The same applies to ordination (Acts 6:1-6; 13:1-4; 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6). I have no idea what argument Calvin thinks he is making here.

where did they get their oil which they call the oil of salvation? Who taught them to seek salvation in oil?

1 Samuel 16:13, with Samuel and David, would be a clear example of something like that. Anointing and salvation are sometimes conjoined. For example:

Habakkuk 3:13 Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, for the salvation of thy anointed. . . .
Preists in the Old Covenant were anointed for the purpose of consecration (Ex 28:41; 40:15; Lev 4:3, 5, 16; 6:22; 8:12; 16:32; Num 3:3; 35:25). Even the tabernacle and the altar were anointed (Lev 8:10-11; Num 7:1, 10, 84, 88). The righteous (by strong implication, the saved) are anointed in some sense by God (Ps 45:7; Heb 1:9; 1 Jn 2:20), as are God's "servants" (Ps 89:20). Prophets (pretty holy people; certainly among the saved) are described in the same way (Ps 105:15). Jesus Himself was described as "anointed . . . with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 10:38). So there is a definite correlation there.

Who taught them to attribute to it the power of strengthening?

The Bible writers. Unfortunately, that seems insufficient for Calvin.

Was it Paul, who draws us far away from the elements of this world,

He does?

and condemns nothing more than clinging to such observances?

Where?

This I boldly declare, not of myself, but from the Lord: Those who call oil the oil of salvation abjure the salvation which is in Christ, deny Christ, and have no part in the kingdom of God.

This doesn't follow. Scripture calls baptism the water of salvation (Jn 3:5; Acts 2:38-41; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 3:21; cf. Mk 16:16). What's the huge difference?

Oil for the belly, and the belly for oil, but the Lord will destroy both. For all these weak elements, which perish even in the using, have nothing to do with the kingdom of God, which is spiritual, and will never perish.

More antipathy to matter . . . Christ's blood was matter. In Romans 5:9 St. Paul said that "we are now justified by his blood." In Romans 3:25 he refers to "an expiation by his blood." Ephesians 2:13 is similar: " in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ." In Hebrews 9:14 it states that "the blood of Christ" will "purify your conscience from dead works." Also, 1 Peter 1:18-19:

You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, [19] but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

The incarnation involved matter. What does Calvin have against it? He is reviving remnants of the ancient heresy of gnosticism. Where does he get off saying that spirituality is all about spirit and not about matter, as if the latter is inherently a bad thing and can never be mixed with the former? His thought is radically unbiblical.

What, then, some one will say, do you apply the same rule to the water by which we are baptised, and the bread and wine under which the Lord’s Supper is exhibited?

Calvin does, because for him, neither is salvific, even though Scripture says that both are. He would rather place his own arbitrary tradition above Scripture and Sacred, Apostolic Tradition.

I answer, that in the sacraments of divine appointment, two things are to be considered: the substance of the corporeal thing which is set before us, and the form which has been impressed upon it by the word of God, and in which its whole force lies. In as far, then, as the bread, wine, and water, which are presented to our view in the sacraments, retain their substance, Paul’s declaration applies, “meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them” (l Cor. 6:13). For they pass and vanish away with the fashion of this world. But in as far as they are sanctified by the word of God to be sacraments, they do not confine us to the flesh, but teach truly and spiritually.

This is clear (and convincing) as mud, like most of Calvin's sacramental thinking . . .

8. Papistical argument, that Baptism cannot be complete without Confirmation. Answered.

But let us make a still closer inspection, and see how many monsters this greasy oil fosters and nourishes. Those anointers say that the Holy Spirit is given in baptism for righteousness, and in confirmation, for increase of grace, that in baptism we are regenerated for life, and in confirmation, equipped for contest. And, accordingly, they are not ashamed to deny that baptism can be duly completed without confirmation.

Salvation being a lifelong process, and one of growth of sanctification, we would fully expect this. One doesn't simply rest on baptism, as if it were like a Protestant one-time altar call, which saves for eternity.

How nefarious! Are we not, then, buried with Christ by baptism, and made partakers of his death, that we may also be partners of his resurrection?

Yes, but relationship with God has to grow and be maintained, as indicated in many passages, especially from St. Paul.

This fellowship with the life and death of Christ, Paul interprets to mean the mortification of our flesh, and the quickening of the Spirit, our old man being crucified in order that we may walk in newness of life (Rom 6:6).

Then why does Paul continue to talk of an ongoing suffering for Christ?:

Romans 8:17 (KJV) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

2 Corinthians 1:5-7 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. [6] And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. [7] And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

2 Corinthians 4:10-11 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. [11] For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

Galatians 6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

What is it to be equipped for contest, if this is not? But if they deemed it as nothing to trample on the word of God, why did they not at least reverence the Church, to which they would be thought to be in everything so obedient?

Calvin talking about respect for Church tradition is about like a shark counseling respect for a dead fish that he is about to devour.

What heavier charge can be brought against their doctrine than the decree of the Council of Melita? “Let him who says that baptism is given for the remission of sins only, and not in aid of future grace, be anathema.”

We don't deny that it imparts ongoing graces, so this is a non sequitur.

When Luke, in the passage which we have quoted, says, that the Samaritans were only “baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16), but had not received the Holy Spirit, he does not say absolutely that those who believed in Christ with the heart, and confessed him with the mouth, were not endued with any gift of the Spirit. He means that receiving of the Spirit by which miraculous power and visible graces were received.

This is eisegesis. The text doesn't inform us of this little detail that Calvin dreams up.

Thus the apostles are said to have received the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), whereas Christ had long before said to them, “It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Mt. 10:20).

The disciples are obviously in a different category than a group of Samaritans. So Calvin's attempted analogy doesn't fly. In any event, the disciples acted very differently afdter the Day of Pentecost. They went from a disorganized, demoralized, cowardly group, to bold proclaimers of the Gospel, who turned the world upside down and (save John) died for their faith as martyrs.

Ye who are of God see the malignant and pestiferous wile of Satan. What was truly given in baptism, is falsely said to be given in the confirmation of it, that he may stealthily lead away the unwary from baptism.

More illogical "either/or" thinking and gross caricature of Catholic doctrine . . .

Who can now doubt that this doctrine, which dissevers the proper promises of baptism from baptism, and transfers them elsewhere, is a doctrine of Satan?

Anyone who can read a Bible minus Calvin's jaded, heretical interpretive lens . . .

We have discovered on what foundation this famous unction rests. The word of God says, that as many as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ with his gifts (Gal. 3:27).

That''s right. That is regeneration. But Calvin denies that. So who is he to lecture us about the benefits of baptism. We believe there are far more than he believes himself. No one could fail to be amazed by the inner contradictions and lack of cogency in his views on baptism and all the sacraments.

The word of the anointers says that they received no promise in baptism to equip them for contest (De Consecr. Dist. 5, cap. Spir. Sanct). The former is the word of truth, the latter must be the word of falsehood. I can define this baptism more truly than they themselves have hitherto defined it— viz. that it is a noted insult to baptism, the use of which it obscures—nay, abolishes: that it is a false suggestion of the devil, which draws us away from the truth of God; or, if you prefer it, that it is oil polluted with a lie of the devil, deceiving the minds of the simple by shrouding them, as it were, in darkness.

It is the stated lack of faith in God's power and the miraculous (as Calvin has expressly stated) that leads men into darkness, not confirmation, which gives them a fuller measure of the Holy Spirit.

9. Argument, that without confirmation we cannot be fully Christians. Answer.

They add, moreover, that all believers ought, after baptism, to receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands, that they may become complete Christians, inasmuch as there never can be a Christian who has not been chrismed by episcopal confirmation. These are their exact words. I thought that everything pertaining to Christianity was prescribed and contained in Scripture.

Why would he think that? We believe that all Catholic doctrines can be verified by Scripture either directly or indirectly, or by deduction (material sufficiency), and that no Catholic doctrine is out of harmony with Scripture, or contradicts it, but we don't believe that all things are explicitly laid out in Scripture (as Protestants habitually do, in their belief in sola Scriptura). And we believe this because Scripture itself teaches us this:

John 20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;

John 21:25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

1 Corinthians 11:2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.

Philippians 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.

2 Timothy 1:13-14 Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; [14] guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

2 Timothy 2:2 and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Now I see that the true form of religion must be sought and learned elsewhere than in Scripture.

No; it must be in conformity with Scripture. The Church is the interpreter of Christian doctrine, in line with Sacred Tradition and apostolic succession. It is Calvin who has consistently failed to offer biblical support for his novelties, and failed to grapple with Catholic support for our theology. Not far above, for example, we saw how Calvin stated that miracles have ceased. certainly such a notion is nowhere found in Scripture. There is no indication whatever that miracles were to cease altogether or in large part.

Yet Calvin believes this, with no biblical warrant. With confirmation, to the contrary, there is a great deal of biblical support, of all its particulars and elements. They don't have to all be together in one place to be believed. Even the biblical proof for the Holy Trinity is not of such an explicit nature, that it can be found all in one place, wrapped up in a neat little package. Deductions and much deeper study have to be made.

Divine wisdom, heavenly truth, the whole doctrine of Christ, only begins the Christian; it is the oil that perfects him. By this sentence are condemned all the apostles and the many martyrs who, it is absolutely certain, were never chrismed, the oil not yet being made, besmeared with which, they might fulfil all the parts of Christianity, or rather become Christians, which, as yet, they were not.

It is blatantly obvious that Calvin has no inkling of the place of sacramentalism in the Christian life. He only begrudgingly accepts baptism and the Eucharist as sacraments, but even then, only in a gutted, redefined sense. So obviously, he will fail to grasp confirmation and the other four sacraments. He pits matter against spirit, so these rites make no sense to him, and he can only put them down. What he retains is made only an empty symbolic gesture.

Though I were silent, they abundantly refute themselves. How small the proportion of the people whom they anoint after baptism! Why, then, do they allow among their flock so many half Christians, whose imperfection they might easily remedy?

Corruptions in practice do not disprove the doctrine itself.

Why, with such supine negligence, do they allow them to omit what cannot be omitted without grave offence? Why do they not more rigidly insist on a matter so necessary, that, without it, salvation cannot be obtained unless, perhaps, when the act has been anticipated by sudden death? When they allow it to be thus licentiously despised, they tacitly confess that it is not of the importance which they pretend.

Because (insofar as real and not exaggerated abuses occurred) men are sinners. This is why we need grace and the sacraments in the first place: to aid us poor sinners and help us to be saved and to get to heaven. God thought more than just preaching was required to do this. Supernatural power was also necessary.

10. Argument, that the Unction in confirmation is more excellent than Baptism. Answer.

Lastly, they conclude that this sacred unction is to be held in greater veneration than baptism, because the former is specially administered by the higher order of priests, whereas the latter is dispensed in common by all priests whatever (Distinct. 5, De his vero). What can you here say, but that they are plainly mad in thus pluming themselves on their own inventions, while, in comparison with these, they carelessly contemn the sacred ordinances of God? Sacrilegious mouth! dare you oppose oil merely polluted with your fetid breath, and charmed by your muttered words, to the sacrament of Christ, and compare it with water sanctified by the word of God?

How eloquent. Calvin could at least condemn all the fathers who agree with the Church, if he insists on demonizing confirmation. But that would be too honest; too real, and would go against his pretensions of having the fathers always on his side. Before we go further, however, let us look at an official Catholic declaration on confirmation, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, rather than going by Calvin's nonsense and vain imagination of what he falsely believes the sacrament to be:

1303 From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:

- it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!";
- it unites us more firmly to Christ;
- it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
- it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
- it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross:

Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.[St. Ambrose, De myst. 7, 42]


What terrible, sacrilegious beliefs! Has anyone ever observed such outrageous impiety?! About baptismal graces, the same source states:

VII. THE GRACE OF BAPTISM

1262 The different effects of Baptism are signified by the perceptible elements of the sacramental rite. Immersion in water symbolizes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal. Thus the two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit.65

For the forgiveness of sins . . .

1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.66 In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam's sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.

1264 Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, "the tinder for sin" (fomes peccati); since concupiscence "is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ."67 Indeed, "an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules."68

"A new creature"

1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte "a new creature," an adopted son of God, who has become a "partaker of the divine nature,"69 member of Christ and co-heir with him,70 and a temple of the Holy Spirit.71

1266 The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:
- enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;
- giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
- allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.
Thus the whole organism of the Christian's supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.

Incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ

1267 Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: "Therefore . . . we are members one of another."72 Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body."73

65 Cf. Acts 2:38; Jn 3:5.
66 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1316.
67 Council of Trent (1546): DS 1515.
68 2 Tim 2:5.
69 2 Cor 5:17; 2 Pet 1:4; cf. Gal 4:5-7.
70 Cf. 1 Cor 6:15; 12:27; Rom 8:17.
71 Cf. 1 Cor 6:19.
72 Eph 4:25.
73 1 Cor 12:13.


Thus it can readily be observed that Catholicism is not denigrating baptism in any way, shape, or form, over against confirmation. We feel no need so absurdly pit one thing against another, as Calvin so often has a great need to do, for some odd and inexplicable reason. Confirmation (so the Church teaches) is not even strictly necessary for salvation; nor is baptism incomplete without it. Hence the Catechism states in #1306: " without Confirmation and Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious . . ." Once again, then, we see how Calvin has distorted what Catholics believe. He wouldn't be Calvin if he didn't do so, and anti-Catholicism would not be the irrational, slanderous thing that it is.

But even this was not enough for your improbity: you must also prefer it. Such are the responses of the holy see, such the oracles of the apostolic tripod.

I don't see any documentation. Would it put Calvin out to provide that once in a blue moon?

But some of them have begun to moderate this madness,

Nothing is more "madness" than falsehoods, because the devil is the father of lies. How often he is ultimately behind Calvin's thought has been undeniably evident throughout this critique. But I don't accuse him of the knowing, deliberate deception that he constantly accuses Catholics of.

which, even in their own opinion, was carried too far (Lombard. Sent. Lib. 4 Dist. 7, c. 2).

Lombard taught that there are seven sacraments. If indeed he thought there were excesses in confirmation, then that could only be in practice, since he accepted it in and of itself, and since in this same section he stated that it was instituted by the Holy Spirit through the instrument of the apostles (see, Catholic Encyclopedia, "Confirmation"). That hardly bolsters Calvin's antipathy to the sacrament.

It is to be held in greater veneration, they say, not perhaps because of the greater virtue and utility which it confers, but because it is given by more dignified persons, and in a more dignified part of the body, the forehead; or because it gives a greater increase of virtue, though baptism is more effectual for forgiveness. But do they not, by their first reason, prove themselves to be Donatists, who estimate the value of the sacrament by the dignity of the minister?

No, because Catholic statements of this sort are invariably nuanced and meant in a specific sense. Those who neither accept nor understand Catholic thought often then misinterpret what is being stated. No doubt that is what is occurring presently.

Grant, however, that confirmation may be called more dignified from the dignity of the bishop’s hand, still should any one ask how this great prerogative was conferred on the bishops, what reason can they give but their own caprice?

When the Council of Trent proclaimed definitively on the sacrament of confirmation, it did not appear to make it superior to baptism at all. It offered just three canons on the question, but provided fourteen on baptism.

The right was used only by the apostles, who alone dispensed the Holy Spirit. Are bishops alone apostles? Are they apostles at all?

Bishops are the successors of the apostles, as can be shown from the Bible itself.

However, let us grant this also; why do they not, on the same grounds, maintain that the sacrament of blood in the Lord’s Supper is to be touched only by bishops? Their reason for refusing it to laics is, that it was given by our Lord to the apostles only. If to the apostles only, why not infer then to bishops only? But in that place, they make the apostles simple Presbyters, whereas here another vertigo seizes them, and they suddenly elect them bishops.

I would suspect that it is because of the one-time solemnity of confirmation as a re-dedication of one's life to God, and because of the uniqueness of receiving the Holy Spirit in fuller measure. Bishops use the ceremony of laying on of hands to ordain priests (the power of ordination), so perhaps that is the rationale here: the laying on of hands by a bishop is also the means of the sacrament of confirmation, where one receives further power from the Holy Spirit.

Lastly, Ananias was not an apostle, and yet Paul was sent to him to receive his sight, to be baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17).

And to have his sins remitted (Acts 22:16: a fact that Calvin conveniently omits). Doctrines develop. We wouldn't expect to see every particular later adopted by the Church to be explicitly present in the Bible itself. If that is true even for Christology and the theology of the Trinity, how much more should we expect it to be the case for sacramental rites? We see Church authority and Sacred Tradition and bishops in Scripture. We see the "right" of the Church to set policy, in the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). This is all that is necessary for the Church to later determine that bishops alone administer this sacrament (unless they delegate the responsibility to a priest).

I will add, though cumulatively, if, by divine right, this office was peculiar to bishops, why have they dared to transfer it to plebeian Presbyters, as we read in one of the Epistles of Gregory? (Dist. 95, cap. Pervenis).

Because that is within their power and prerogative, just as Jesus delegated His authority to His apostles and said, "he who receives you receives me" (Matt 10:40; cf. Jn 13:20). If even Jesus can delegate His authority through representatives, certainly bishops can do the same, as they have far less authority than Jesus in the first place. But by analogy and Jesus' own example, they can do so.

11. Answer continued. Argument, that confirmation has greater virtue.

How frivolous, inept, and stolid the other reason, that their confirmation is worthier than the baptism of God,

I deny the premise; Calvin has not sufficiently established that the Church even teaches this. I have provided strong indications that it does not at all.

because in confirmation it is the forehead that is besmeared with oil, and in baptism the cranium. As if baptism were performed with oil, and not with water! I take all the pious to witness, whether it be not the one aim of these miscreants to adulterate the purity of the sacraments by their leaven. I have said elsewhere, that what is of God in the sacraments, can scarcely be got a glimpse of among the crowd of human inventions. If any did not then give me credit for the fact, let them now give it to their own teachers. Here, passing over water, and making it of no estimation, they set a great value on oil alone in baptism. We maintain, against them, that in baptism also the forehead is sprinkled with water, in comparison with which, we do not value your oil one straw, whether in baptism or in confirmation.

So now Calvin denigrates oil, as if somehow it has less worth or value in and of itself than water? I suppose it is as silly and expected as any of his other numerous false dichotomies.

But if any one alleges that oil is sold for more, I answer, that by this accession of value any good which might otherwise be in it is vitiated, so far is it from being lawful fraudulently to vend this most vile imposture. They betray their impiety by the third reason, when they pretend that a greater increase of virtue is conferred in confirmation than in baptism. By the laying on of hands the apostles dispensed the visible gifts of the Spirit. In what respect does the oil of these men prove its fecundity?

By scriptural testimony.

But have done with these guides, who cover one sacrilege with many acts of sacrilege. It is a Gordian knot, which it is better to cut than to lose so much labour in untying.

In other words, split off from whatever we disagree with, causing schism. That is Calvin's and Luther's and Zwingli's and the Anabaptists and the English "Reformers'" solution, as if such a thing can be sanctioned to the slightest degree from Holy Scripture, which everywhere condemns division and schism.

12. Argument from the practice of antiquity. Augustine’s view of confirmation.

When they see that the word of God, and everything like plausible argument, fail them, they pretend, as usual, that the observance is of the highest antiquity, and is confirmed by the consent of many ages.

This, in fact, is true, as has been shown.

Even were this true,

It is true (which is probably why Calvin expends little energy trying to refute the patristic evidence: he knows it is a hopeless endeavor).

they gain nothing by it.

This is great sophistry: knowing something is the case (so that no argument can be made against it), one simply acts as if it doesn't matter, anyway, if it is true.

A sacrament is not of earth, but of heaven; not of men, but of God only. They must prove God to be the author of their confirmation, if they would have it to be regarded as a sacrament.

That is easily done by Scripture, where all of the essential components of confirmation are evident. Since God is the ultimate author of Scripture, this shows that it is in compliance with His will.

But why obtrude antiquity, seeing that ancient writers, whenever they would speak precisely, nowhere mention more than two sacraments?

This is an extraordinary claim, since it is easily refuted. The claim is that only baptism and the Eucharist are referred to as sacraments by the fathers. St. Augustine refutes this himself (if we must get legalistic about use of the actual word "sacrament"):

. . . there remains in the ordained persons the Sacrament of Ordination; and if, for any fault, any be removed from his office, he will not be without the Sacrament of the Lord once for all set upon him, albeit continuing unto condemnation.

(On the Good of Marriage, 24:32 [A.D. 401] )

He uses the word also of Holy Matrimony:

Undoubtedly the substance of the sacrament is of this bond, so that when man and woman have been joined in marriage they must continue inseparably as long as they live, . . .

(Marriage and Concupiscence 1:10:11 [A.D. 419] )

In marriage, however, let the blessings of marriage be loved: offspring, fidelity, and the sacramental bond. . . . The sacramental bond, which they lose neither through separation nor through adultery, this the spouses should guard chastely and harmoniously.

(Ibid., 1:17:19)

Perhaps St. Augustine was given to imprecision. In any event, Calvin got his facts wrong. His own favorite Church father puts the lie to his claim.

Were the bulwark of our faith to be sought from men, we have an impregnable citadel in this, that the fictitious sacraments of these men were never recognised as sacraments by ancient writers.

We have seen quite otherwise. The proof's in the pudding.

They speak of the laying on of hands, but do they call it a sacrament? Augustine distinctly affirms that it is nothing but prayer (De Bapt. cont. Donat. Lib. 3 cap. 16).

In this section, Augustine uses the word "sacrament" in a broader sense; nevertheless, in context, he agrees exactly with what Catholics mean by the sacrament of confirmation (all its essential components):

1) The Holy Spirit is "given."

2) The Holy Spirit is received by the laying on of hands.

3) This reception occurs in the Catholic Church only.

4) The reception need not be accompanied by miracles.

Here is the complete section 16 from the Schaff (Protestant) translation of the Church fathers:

But when it is said that "the Holy Spirit is given by the imposition of hands in the Catholic Church only, I suppose that our ancestors meant that we should understand thereby what the apostle says, "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." For this is that very love which is wanting in all who are cut off from the communion of the Catholic Church; and for lack of this, "though they speak with the tongues of men and of angels, though they understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though they have the gift of prophecy, and all faith, so that they could remove mountains, and though they bestow all their goods to feed the poor, and though they give their bodies to be burned, it profiteth them nothing." But those are wanting in God’s love who do not care for the unity of the Church; and consequently we are right in understanding that the Holy Spirit may be said not to be received except in the Catholic Church. For the Holy Spirit is not only given by the laying on of hands amid the testimony of temporal sensible miracles, as He was given in former days to be the credentials of a rudimentary faith, and for the extension of the first beginnings of the Church. For who expects in these days that those on whom hands are laid that they may receive the Holy Spirit should forthwith begin to speak with tongues? but it is understood that invisibly and imperceptibly, on account of the bond of peace, divine love is breathed into their hearts, so that they may be able to say, "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." But there are many operations of the Holy Spirit, which the same apostle commemorates in a certain passage at such length as he thinks sufficient, and then concludes: "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will." Since, then, the sacrament is one thing, which even Simon Magus could have; and the operation of the Spirit is another thing, which is even often found in wicked men, as Saul had the gift of prophecy; and that operation of the same Spirit is a third thing, which only the good can have, as "the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:" whatever, therefore, may be received by heretics and schismatics, the charity which covereth the multitude of sins is the especial gift of Catholic unity and peace; nor is it found in all that are within that bond, since not all that are within it are of it, as we shall see in the proper place. At any rate, outside the bond that love cannot exist, without which all the other requisites, even if they can be recognized and approved, cannot profit or release from sin. But the laying on of hands in reconciliation to the Church is not, like baptism, incapable of repetition; for what is it more than a prayer offered over a man?

Let them not here yelp out one of their vile distinctions, that the laying on of hands to which Augustine referred was not the confirmatory, but the curative or reconciliatory. His book is extant and in men’s hands; if I wrest it to any meaning different from that which Augustine himself wrote it, they are welcome not only to load me with reproaches after their wonted manner, but to spit upon me.

Spitting is unnecessary; all I need do is ask readers to see if the above contradicts my summation of it.

He is speaking of those who returned from schism to the unity of the Church. He says that they have no need of a repetition of baptism, for the laying on of hands is sufficient, that the Lord may bestow the Holy Spirit upon them by the bond of peace. But as it might seem absurd to repeat laying on of hands more than baptism, he shows the difference: “What,” he asks, “is the laying on of hands but prayer over the man?”

Indeed it is; so what? He is teaching that the Spirit is received in a special sense in this manner. I don't see Calvin retaining any such ceremony or sacrament. So why does he think Augustine (who believed in all seven sacraments) supports his case?

That this is his meaning is apparent from another passage, where he says, “Because of the bond of charity, which is the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit, without which all the other holy qualities which a man may possess are ineffectual for salvation, the hand is laid on reformed heretics” (Lib. 5 cap. 23).

That doesn't overcome what has been established above. It may not be confirmation as we know it in every minute particular, but it is similar enough to be seen as corroborating evidence for the general principle. That is the case (in fact, usually the case) for many doctrines in the fathers; it is nothing by any means unique to confirmation. St. Augustine, in this additional section of On Baptism; Against the Donatists, that Calvin refers to, makes reference to a letter from St. Cyprian (to Pompeius).

The editor (probably Philip Schaff) even mentions in a footnote: "Cyprian, in the laying on of hands, appears to refer to confirmation." So even though the same editor doubts, like Calvin, that St. Augustine refers to confirmation in this portion, he contends that another father over a hundred years earlier, did do so. Yet Calvin insists that it was a nonexistent rite in the early Church.

St. Cyprian's letter referred to (Epistle LXXIII: to Pompey) provides (more than once) an explicit sanction of something altogether like confirmation:

Or if they attribute the effect of baptism to the majesty of the name, so that they who are baptized anywhere and anyhow, in the name of Jesus Christ, are judged to be renewed and sanctified; wherefore, in the name of the same Christ, are not hands laid upon the baptized persons among them, for the reception of the Holy Spirit? Why does not the same majesty of the same name avail in the imposition of hands, which, they contend, availed in the sanctification of baptism? For if any one born out of the Church can become God’s temple, why cannot the Holy Spirit also be poured out upon the temple? For he who has been sanctified, his sins being put away in baptism, and has been spiritually reformed into a new man, has become fitted for receiving the Holy Spirit; since the apostle says, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” He who, having been baptized among the heretics, is able to put on Christ, may much more receive the Holy Spirit whom Christ sent. Otherwise He who is sent will be greater than Him who sends; so that one baptized without may begin indeed to put on Christ, but not to be able to receive the Holy Spirit, as if Christ could either be put on without the Spirit, or the Spirit be separated from Christ. (5)

But further, one is not born by the imposition of hands when he receives the Holy Ghost, but in baptism, that so, being already born, he may receive the Holy Spirit, even as it happened in the first man Adam. For first God formed him, and then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. For the Spirit cannot be received, unless he who receives first have an existence. But as the birth of Christians is in baptism, while the generation and sanctification of baptism are with the spouse of Christ alone, who is able spiritually to conceive and to bear sons to God, where and of whom and to whom is he born, who is not a son of the Church, so as that he should have God as his Father, before he has had the Church for his Mother? (7)

13. The ancient confirmation very praiseworthy. Should be restored in churches in the present day.

I wish we could retain the custom, which, as I have observed, existed in the early Church, before this abortive mask of a sacrament appeared. It would not be such a confirmation as they pretend, one which cannot even be named without injury to baptism, but catechising by which those in boyhood, or immediately beyond it, would give an account of their faith in the face of the Church. And the best method of catechising would be, if a form were drawn up for this purpose, containing, and briefly explaining, the substance of almost all the heads of our religion, in which the whole body of the faithful ought to concur without controversy.

Catholics (and Lutherans) are known for their catechisms, not Calvinists. But of course, the entire confirmation process is of this nature, too, insofar as there is usually a great deal of instruction associated with it.

A boy of ten years of age would present himself to the Church, to make a profession of faith, would be questioned on each head, and give answers to each. If he was ignorant of any point, or did not well understand it, he would be taught. Thus, while the whole Church looked on and witnessed, he would profess the one true sincere faith with which the body of the faithful, with one accord, worship one God.

In other words, Calvin, typically, can comprehend only verbal, rational instruction. He is lost to mystery, sacrament, and the supernatural. Everything is in his head only. So we have the instruction and the power and miracle of the Holy Spirit coming in fuller power, whereas Calvin wants to have only the former and not the latter. In so doing he takes away the very power that will help the budding disciple carry out his resolve and walk with God, learned in classes of systematic theology.

Were this discipline in force in the present day, it would undoubtedly whet the sluggishness of certain parents, who carelessly neglect the instruction of their children, as if it did not at all belong to them, but who could not then omit it without public disgrace; there would be greater agreement in faith among the Christian people, and not so much ignorance and rudeness; some persons would not be so readily carried away by new and strange dogmas; in fine, it would furnish all with a methodical arrangement of Christian doctrine.

That's all fine and dandy, but it is not the essence of confirmation, which is the coming in greater power of the Holy Spirit, equipping the saints for ministry.

114 comments:

Giovanni A. Cattaneo said...

Funny Calvin seems to not treat God as supreme being but rather as the Universe's Mechanic.

Adomnan said...

Calvin:"...they are welcome not only to load me with reproaches after their wonted manner, but to spit upon me."

Adomnan: I spit on Calvin (at his invitation).

Who can take this sneering, profane reprobate seriously? In passages like this, one can see that Calvin played at religion, which was merely a rhetorical exercise for him. His mocking tone (typical of a certain kind of French sensibility) contrasts strikingly with the piety and reverence of the Fathers.

Dave Armstrong said...

As I have said, my respect for Calvin (what relatively little I did have) -- particularly as a thinker, systematic theologian, and logician -- has dwindled dramatically since I started doing this critique. When one observes over and over how he handles opposing arguments: the sophistry, the half-truths, the circular arguments, the ubiquitous straw men, the self-contradictions, the either/or mentality, the cynicism and disdain, it is most unimpressive.

And he seems to utterly lack the warmth and "humanness" that are the finest qualities of Luther (whatever else one might think of him).

There are good Calvinist Christians today who don't exhibit these tendencies at all, but Calvin's personality and modus operandi definitely set the tone for that whole school of thought. I see so much of Calvin in the anti-Catholic Calvinists I run across today.

Adomnan said...

Dave: I see so much of Calvin in the anti-Catholic Calvinists I run across today.

Adomnan: Yes. Conservative Lutherans will sometimes resort to the angry bluster, overstatement and cavalier attitude toward consistency and logic that characterized Luther, as if they've drunk too much beer. Pastor Paul McCain is an example of this. I suspect that much of Luther's theology was worked out in a tavern.

This is preferable to Calvin's cynical mockery, which is so foreign to the religious spirit. Luther's piety, though neurotic and boozy, was at least heartfelt. Whenever Calvin tries to sound pious, it reeks of insincerity, just like the "Calvinists" nowadays. You know that when they use adjectives like "precious" and "glorious," they're describing a particularly absurd and ugly Calvinist opinion.

Dave Armstrong said...

Yep, yep, yep.

Ken said...

Try some other expressions of Biblical Calvinism:

http://www.desiringgod.org/

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/

http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/

http://www.9marks.org/

http://www.desiringgod.org/Events/NationalConferences/Archives/2009/

Dave Armstrong said...

As I said:

"There are good Calvinist Christians today who don't exhibit these tendencies at all . . ."

Unfortunately, many of the Calvinists online are of the viciously self-defeating, clueless anti-Catholic variety.

Y'all have a huge PR problem.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Try some other expressions of Biblical Calvinism.

Adomnan: 1) Calvinism isn't biblical.

2) We're speaking of Calvin's cynicism and impiety. Not necessarily every "Calvinist" is cynical and impious. Karl Barth was a Calvinist of sorts, and he's okay (although often wrong). Many do, however, have a blind, arrogant and self-deluding style like Calvin's.

Piper is impossible to read. His exegesis is shallow and self-referential. His scholarship is negligible. He never examines his premises. And when he tries to sound pious, he's bathetic and falsely sentimental.

Ken said...

Calvin himself was just a man; not infallible of course.

But the teachings of Calvinism, the glory of God, God's Sovereignty is thoroughly Biblical:
"The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Westminster Confession of Faith

I Cor. 10:31 - "whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God"

Romans 11:33-36
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Ephesians 1:4-6 - "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him; In love . . .

to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. "

"He works all things after the counsel of His will" Ephesians 1:11

Romans 9:13-23 - "who are you, O man, to complain against God?" (v. 20, summary)


What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!

. . .
So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
. . .
So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

You will say to me then, " Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?"

On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?

Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

Romans 9:13-23

Ken said...

Calvin is only Cynical toward the ability of humans to do anything that can merit salvation; (which is very Biblical) and he is "impious" towards the externalisms, and cult and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church - relics, Marian practices and external rites, etc. - yes -

Interesting definition of Impiety here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impiety

Impiety is classically a lack of proper concern for the obligations owed to public religious observation or cult. Impiety was a main Pagan objection to Christianity, for unlike other initiates into mystery religions, early Christians refused to cast a pinch of incense before the images of the gods, among whom were the protective deified Emperors. Impiety in ancient civilizations was a civic concern, rather than religious. It was believed that it could bring down upon the whole res publica the wrath of the tutelary gods who protected the polis."

It seems that the later Roman Catholic Church adopted aspects of Roman paganism into its cultic system.

It is right to be "impious" towards the unBiblical external cult of the Marian goddess, transubstantiation idolatry, and veneration of relics of the Roman Catholic Church.

Calvin was not cynical toward God Himself or the Word of God, the Scriptures, nor was he impious toward true worship or godliness or the Scriptures; but against human ability to merit himself to God; the false sacramental system and relics and ex opere operato saderdotal Roman Catholic Church, yes, and rightly so.

On Piper, you obviously have not listened to him or read him much.

Most of your comments descend into ad hominem also.

Ken said...

1 Samuel 16:13
Acts 8:17-20
Acts 9:17
Acts 13:2-4
Acts 19:6
Historical narratives tell us what happened. They do not say, “You can now repeat these actions and there will always be guaranteed results in the same way as we see in the Scriptures. That is the problem with ex opera operato RC theology – and that is what Tetzel and Leo X and Ignatius Loyola are guilty of. Tetzel and Leo X sinned just like Simeon did in Acts 8, trying to sell God’s grace; and teaching the poor people that they could buy God's grace, to built their earthly kingdom and opulent and gaudy buildings, full of idols. Ignatius Loyola said “whatever we say is white, even if your eyes it appears as black, it is white, because we say it.” ( I paraphrase) Utter insanity!

How will they assure us that their chrism is a vehicle of the Holy Spirit?

Just as it was for Samuel, when he anointed David. Anointing with oil is often associated with some sacred purpose in Holy Scripture (Ex 28:41; Lev 16:32; 1 Sam 10:1; Is 61:1; Lk 4:18; Acts 10:38).

Again, historical narratives. Learn how to do proper exegesis, Dave.

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

oops - Exodus 28:41; Lev. 16:21 is law.
Isaiah 61 is prophesy.

The rest are historical narrative.

Ken said...

"We see oil, that is, a thick and greasy liquid, but nothing more."

(Calvin, who was right about this in the RC ritualistic church and full of idols of Mary and other saints)

Dave A. wrote:
That's the problem: Calvin too often denies the supernatural power of God and the power of physical things to convey grace. It is a Docetic tendency (the antipathy to matter as a means of grace).

All those texts

(in your first group -1 Samuel 16:13;Acts 8:17-20; Acts 9:17;Acts 13:2-4;
Acts 19:6)

are historical narrative, which means they are recording what really happened in history; yes, the Spirit came and spoke and did things there. We know this because it says it, the text is infallible as God’s Word. So Calvin does not deny the supernatural power of God.

But a RC priest who does the external ceremony – nothing happens. The bread remains bread and the wine remains wine. The cradle Catholics and converts go through the ceremonies – ie confirmation and baptism, and other dead rituals, nothing happens. Dead legalism and external rites, rituals.

You cannot take historical narrative passages and use them that way. Your exegesis is atrocious. It is like Charismatic Chaos.

This is also not Doceticsm – Docetism was the heresy that Jesus seemed to have a body but really didn’t – Calvin and Protestants fully believe in the real historical body of flesh and blood of Jesus and the real resurrected glorified body. It is not antipathy to matter as a means of grace, (that God used in His sovereignty in the Scriptures), but an antipathy to matter as an instrument in a mechanical way of formulas and rituals in the hands of an “alter Christus” (another Christ) in the RC priesthood and ex opera operato ideas of controlling matter and animistic rituals and false religion, which is what Roman Catholicism is as its core in the sacramental theology, Marian practices, dogmas, ceremonies, rituals, use of relics, etc.

Dave Armstrong said...

James 5:14-16, about anointing people, praying for them, for healing and salvation, is NOT narrative.

Calvin denies its force by claiming that we no longer possess such powers. He doesn't have enough faith in God's power to believe the passage.

Dave Armstrong said...

Your exegesis is atrocious. It is like Charismatic Chaos.

Then what does that make Calvin's, since I have refuted him time and again in this critique?

Ken said...

1) The Holy Spirit can "descend" upon persons.
. . .
2) . . .

11) A person can be anointed with oil in order for the "Spirit of the Lord" to come "mightily upon" them.

“can” is the operative word in statements 1-11. Of course; we all believe that. But there is no guarantee that it will happen in a mechanical way like your priesthood doctrine, ex opere operato , apostolic succession doctrines.


12) Authoritative persons (popes, apostles, prophets) preside over this giving and receiving of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, in Scripture.

13) And these authoritative persons in the Church do this by the laying on of hands (Peter, John, Paul).
Yes, it happened when they did it in Scripture.

14) And they do this by anointing with oil (Samuel and David).
We believe the historical narrative of the Scriptures. Yes.

15) We know from other evidences in Scripture that bishops are the successors of the apostles.
No; the Roman succession corrupted this by false doctrine and false practice. There is no guarantee that later bishops or elders down the line will “hold to the faith once for all delivered to the saints”. Your bishops later corrupted the original deposit.

Ken said...

You are right in that James 5 is not narrative - that verse was not in the section I was dealing with.

Maybe you mention that verse later, but I have not gotten that far.

It is not a guarantee for healing - you are making the same mistake the word of faith Charismatics/Pentecostals make now.

Ken said...

Then what does that make Calvin's, since I have refuted him time and again in this critique?

You just claim and assert this; but you did not refute him at all. No one has the time or energy to go through your tedious "tomes". I just happen to pick out a few as I had a few minutes to interact.

Adomnan said...

Ken: But the teachings of Calvinism, the glory of God

Adomnan: Calvinism lies about the glory of God. Calvinism says, "Soli Deo gloria" (To God alone the glory), but the Bible teaches that God shares His glory with His children. It's called "glorification."

Calvinism also lies about what you call "the sovereignty of God." Paul does not teach the predestination of individuals to glory or damnation, but only the predestination (i.e., planning) of the Church as a community.

"Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?"

Being a "vessel of common use" does not mean being damned. In the context, Paul is talking about individuals who became the bearers of the promise given to Abraham (e.g., Jacob instead of Esau). Esau was not damned; he simply was not the individual to whom God entrusted the promise for future generations. There is nothing wrong with being a "vessel of common use."

"What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?"

This verse actually demonstrates free will. If God were the cause of the wickedness of the "vessels of wrath" (a different group from the "vessels of common use"), then why would He have to have "much patience" and "endure" them? You only endure with much patience what you aren't responsible for and can't change. This proves the vessels of wrath (like Calvin) are responsible for their own destruction, not God.

Ken said...

If James 5 is a guaranteed power of the bishops/priets of the RC church today, then why don't they just visit every single sick person in the hospitals in the world and heal everybody?

because it is not guaranteed.

Again, your view here is like the "hyper-faith" of the "word of faith" (Copeland, Hagin, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hill, etc.) - all Goofballs and nutcakes.

Ken said...

12) Authoritative persons (popes, apostles, prophets) preside over this giving and receiving of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, in Scripture.

OOPs, there are no Popes in Scripture.

Ken said...

Benny Hill,

oops, I meant "Benny Hinn".

I am making too many mistakes, trying to comment fast and keep up.

Your volume is too much to read and interact with.

Ken said...

God holds the vessels of wrath accountable for their own sin, true, but God is the one who destroys in eternal judgment in hell by His own wrath.

There is no injustice with God; never.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Calvin is only Cynical toward the ability of humans to do anything that can merit salvation;

Adomnan: Calvin is congenitally cynical and mocking, like Voltaire and other French Enlightenment figures. That's why, even when he was a boy, his schoolmates called him "the accusative case."

And the Bible teaches that human beings do merit salvation, as when Paul writes in Philippians "Earn your salvation in fear and trembling." This verse is often misleadingly translated as "Work out, etc." The word Paul used ("katergasesthe") means "earn, achieve with effort" and so "merit." I go with the Bible, not Calvin.

If course, we merit salvation only through God's grace and assistance.

Ken: Calvin was not cynical toward God Himself or the Word of God, the Scriptures,

Adomnan: You're completely lacking in discernment, Ken. Calvin made a mockery of scripture. He treated it like a clay nose, twisting it into any shape he saw fit. You can see this when he puts forth very questionable opinions as if they were incontrovertible. I think he was a fake, personally, and deliberately misled people. Although I concede that the first person he deceived may have been himself.

I like your observations on "impiety" from Wikipedia; i.e., that it is "a lack of proper concern for the obligations owed to public religious observation or cult." I agree, and I've made the argument that the phrase "believes in Him who justifies the impious" in Romans 4 actually means "believes in Him who justifies the man (the not yet circumcised Abraham in this case) who lacks concern for the obligations owed to Jewish cult." However, there is a Christian concept of piety ("eusebeia") in the New Testament, and it is this Christian piety that Calvin lacks.

Ken: Most of your comments descend into ad hominem also.

Adomnan: There's nothing wrong with ad hominem comments, especially when discussing evil men. Would you take me to task for making ad hominem comments about Lenin? In my opinion, Calvin is at Lenin's moral level: a blind, self-serving fanatic and revolutionary who had no respect for established institutions.

Adomnan said...

Ken: You can now repeat these actions and there will always be guaranteed results in the same way as we see in the Scriptures. That is the problem with ex opera operato RC theology –

Adomnan: Ken, do you really think that people in ancient times would have bothered to perform rites that didn't accomplish anything? And why should anyone nowadays carry out an "ordinance" (like baptism or communion) that is just a mime show, a "symbolic" enactment of something that occurs apart from the ordinance in people's minds and has only the loosest and vaguest relationship to the rite enacted?

Get a clue. No one today is interested in empty, ineffectual observances, and certainly nobody in ancient times would have wasted a moment on such nonsense. Ancient people, including Jews and Christians, performed sacraments because they saw the sacraments as actually doing what they were purported to do. For them, ALL rites were "ex opere operato." Otherwise, they wouldn't have bothered with them. They didn't have that chasm between ceremonies and realities that is so characteristic of modern society and that contributes to the meaninglessness and pointlessness of so much modern discourse, much of which has degenerated to mere vacuous gestures and cant.

The Catholic Church faithfully preserves the ancient import of the sacraments as effective.

It is incredible to me that many Protestants appear to believe that the ancient Jews built a huge temple and spent enormous sums on daily sacrifices there just to "symbolize" some future event. What a ridiculous notion!

Calvin, who called some Catholic ceremonies empty, succeeded in replacing them with rites that are truly empty: an abomination of desolation.

Adomnan said...

Ken: No one has the time or energy to go through your tedious "tomes".

Adomnan: I went through Dave's commentaries on the Institutes and learned a great deal from them. Dave has presented Calvin's work in "bite-sized" portions with appropriate commentary and criticism. No doubt many have been exposed to Calvin in detail as a result of Dave's effort who would never have bothered to read Calvin's rants otherwise. Why should you, a Calvinist, object to Dave's bringing the Institutes to light? Do you think they should languish in darkness or be picked over just by Calvin's slavish acolytes?

And as for "tedious," Ken, that term would better fit your mindless sloganeering and repetitious, utterly predictable, Johnny-one-note defenses of all things fundamentalist. Your favorite tactic is to pile up Bible verses that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. Or am I being ad hominem?

Dave Armstrong said...

It is not a guarantee for healing - you are making the same mistake the word of faith Charismatics/Pentecostals make now.

If I or the Church thought that, you would be right, but since we don't, you ain't!

I refuted hyper-faith in 1982. It's one of the oldest papers of mine that I have up on my site. So you can spare me the lectures about that.

Dave Armstrong said...

You just claim and assert this; but you did not refute him at all.

Your pontificating disagreements are a greater honor to me than the most overflowing compliments. They pretty much guarantee that I must be doing something right.

No one has the time or energy to go through your tedious "tomes".

But you have plenty of time and energy to come comment here at extreme length, don't you?

Adomnan said...

Ken: God holds the vessels of wrath accountable for their own sin, true, but God is the one who destroys in eternal judgment in hell by His own wrath.

Adomnan: As usual, you've misread Paul. "The vessels of destruction" whom God has "endured with much patience" are the Gentiles whom God is now -- that is, in Paul's day -- justifying through Christ.

Your problem, Ken, is that, like Calvin, you fundamentally don't care what Paul actually meant. You'll never spend a single moment trying to discern that. You only care that you can find some verse to twist to fit a preconceived notion, a reading you've adopted for other reasons and that you impose on the Bible (whether it really fits or not).

That's why it's essentially a waste of time to dialogue with you about the Scripture. You simply don't care what the Bible truly teaches. You can make it say absolutely anything you want. If you're challenged, you merely repeat.

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks for your very kind words, Adomnan. I appreciate it, especially since nothing (in the apologetics world) has ever tried my patience as much or has been as tedious to me as answering Calvin.

Only my usual intense drive to finish anything I am working on has allowed me to endure Calvin's atrocious reasoning and (as you say) incessant cynical mockery of Catholicism and much of Tradition. Pretty soon it'll be over with, and I look forward to distilling what I have into a much more compact and usable book, that can, hopefully, be of some use to a few folks who actually want to compare Calvinism and Catholicism and decide which conforms more to Holy Scripture and sound reasoning.

I should be done in time (at least with the comprehensive online stuff) to appropriately honor Old Man Calvin's 500th birthday!

Dave Armstrong said...

Benny Hill,

oops, I meant "Benny Hinn".


Is there all that much of a difference? And now we know your late-night viewing habits. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

I am making too many mistakes, . . .

Never were truer words said . . . :-) :-) Confession is good for the soul and the first step to recovery.

Dave Armstrong said...

If you're challenged, you merely repeat.

Bingo! It's all about mantra and slogan, and not at all about true dialogue. I think Ken should stick to preaching and leave actual disputation to others who have some inkling of how it is properly done.

Better yet, stick to (as Bishop White partially does) Muslim outreach and cease the folly of defining brothers in Christ as not that.

Ken said...

Dave A. wrote:

But you have plenty of time and energy to come comment here at extreme length, don't you?

You left out my next sentence:
I just happen to pick out a few as I had a few minutes to interact.

Ken said...

I came back 2 hours later to be overwhelmed with too much to respond to.

I should have not tried, I guess.

That is why I don't even read your stuff anymore; (too much, no time, and overwhelming with other comments of ad hominem ) and tedious and there is no way to interact with it all in the comboxes) from my perspective it is also repeat and mantra and the same accusations you and Adomnan leveled against me. Catholic apologetics is the same thing - repeating the same arguments for your perspective. If you think you have the truth, why and how could you change your answers? I don't get that charge that you both made.

Your answers and arguments don't change either, even your RCC claims infallibility - it theoretically should not change either. (although "no salvation outside the church" before Vatican 2 and then Muslims and atheists can be saved without Christ is a real change and a massive contradiction).

I did try a little, but it is too much and no more time.

Yes, Dave, I do believe confession is right and the first step toward recovery.

Dave Armstrong said...

That is why I don't even read your stuff anymore

Oh, goody! Promise?

Ken said...

There's nothing wrong with ad hominem comments, especially when discussing evil men. Would you take me to task for making ad hominem comments about Lenin?

This is an interesting comment.
Stalin, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Jeffery Dahmer, Charles Manson, Pol Pot, Bernie Madoff - same.

Are you willing to put Tetzel and Borgia Popes and Pope Leo X in that category also?

Jesus said we are all evil though, without God's grace.

Matthew 7:11 -- "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children . . . ?"

I was just as wicked (selfish, prideful, arrogant) in heart and potential as these men. Given the same opportunities and circumstances, I may have done the same kinds of evils. (I hope not, but this is the point of the gospel; we are all evil sinners; only God's grace and providence stopped us from doing and thinking more evil.)

Those who say, "I thank you God, that I am not that" are like the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14.

Your (Adomnan) comment about the Temple and sacrifices - obviously we don't believe they were just symbols in the OT times, they worked when there is repentance and faith, etc. but don't you believe they all pointed to the future Messiah? ( John 1:29) -

and furthermore - in an ultimate sense they did not work - for Hebrews chapters 7-10 tells us this.

Hebrews 9:9 "which is a symbol for the present time"

9:24 - a copy of the true one

10:1 - a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things . . .

10:4 - "for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins"

etc.

Dave Armstrong said...

I came back 2 hours later to be overwhelmed with too much to respond to. . . . (too much, no time, and overwhelming . . . no way to interact with it all in the comboxes) . . . it is too much and no more time.

Now, let us put an end to this asinine nonsense by the same method I have always used. Invariably, when an anti-Catholic accuses me of writing too much, he is writing more than I am, in the same context.

Now, you want to go after my critique of Calvin. It's one of my "tedious tomes" that is far too overwhelming to read. I get the fifth degree from anti-Catholics if I ever decline to answer line-by-line one of their ridiculous tomes (like King's and Webster's books on SS) where I am expected to type all their garbage and respond to it: taking all that time.

If I refuse, I am a coward. Yet when I take on Calvin line-by-line, I get mocked as a pretender, pseudo-academic (and I replied to the silliness of these charges) and now, "tedious" and overwhelming in volume. I could do absolutely anything, and the Know-Nothing replies and spin will be against me every time.

If I saved James White's life from an out-of-control car, no doubt I would be accused of being a self-righteous papist, trying to save myself by filthy works, with all the wrong motives.

So what do you expect me to do? I at least give Calvin the courtesy of presenting ALL of his own words on my Catholic site, to reply to them. I don't see any of you clowns doing that with any Catholic writers.

When Erasmus replied to Luther at great length in his Hyperaspistes (as I excerpted on my site), Luther stated twice that he hadn't even read it, and would not. Prior to that, he had concluded that Erasmus was an atheist and Epicurean, anyway, so why bother?

In that effort (the Calvin critique) I do whatever is necessary. Sometimes I wrote far less than he does in the overall mix (as in the last few installments); other times more, since he makes a bogus charge and has to be answered at length in order to do it adequately.

But whatever I do: a lot or a little, I can be sure that someone like you will bash my efforts with the same nitwit charge: I write too much, or I write too little and am a coward, or I am anti-Protestant or a sophist or (you name it).

Ken said...

I sometimes look at your titles, but I have not been able to read your stuff anymore.

No, I don't promise. (smile)

I like arguing too much. (like you) (smile)

Ken said...

Dave,
I didn't mean by "tedious" that you shouldn't try to do what you do (from your point of view, you are doing something noble) or that you should write shorter posts, (necessarily), etc. It was not meant in the way you are taking it.

I was only stating facts about time and energy and the nature of the thing- it is too much to read and study and argue with every line against your arguments in your comboxes.

You obviously believe you are right and doing something noble for the RCC and so to critique Calvin is something you set out to do.

I will concede that you and Adomnan overwhelmed me (not by any Biblical argument or evident reason, but just by the nature of these comboxes and work schedules and the lack of time to fully debate these issues) and I have no more time to interact with this.

But, I do sincerely want to investigate Adomnan's critique of "Soli Deo Gloria" and do research on what Calvin had to say about glorification in Romans 8:17-18, 8:21, and 8:30 and 2 Timothy 2:10-12; I Peter 4:13 and how he explains that in light of "Soli Deo Gloria". I suspect it will be Revelation 21-22 and the eternal state; I John 3:1-3 - the beatific vision, etc.

I may come back later and comment on that.

Ken said...

But you are "anti-Protestantism"; that seems to be the main emphasis of your web-site. You sincerely hope to bring more Protestants over the Tiber River just like your experience and similar ones of other former Evangelicals like Scott Hahn and Rod Bennett and Francis Beckwith, Mattatics, Sungenis, etc.

Dave Armstrong said...

And now let's have some fun with this, and show how ridiculous you are being. You have now complained about how much I write (and Adomnan, in this thread). It's overwhelming and you don't have time. Yet you keep doing it, and running off your mouth, including gratuitous insults of me, which is against the blog rules (as we try to be civil around here, and are 99.7% of the time, when anti-Catholics aren't here to bring us down to the mud).

Alright. You make the charge; I document how many words were actually written. I will add all of the words up from your first comment to my previous post. I'll include all words cited from the other guy as well. Since both parties are doing that it should be a wash:

1A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 08:23:00 AM EST): 339 words

2A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 08:27:00 AM EST): 260 words

3A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 10:44:00 AM EST): 198 words

4A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 10:48:00 AM EST): 17 words

5A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 10:54:00 AM EST): 325 words

1B) Dave (Tue Dec 22, 11:02:00 AM EST): 40 words

2B) Dave (Tue Dec 22, 11:05:00 AM EST): 26 words

6A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 11:08:00 AM EST): 201 words

7A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 11:11:00 AM EST): 56 words

8A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 11:14:00 AM EST): 60 words

1C) Adomnan (Tue Dec 22, 11:16:00 AM EST): 264 words

9A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 11:19:00 AM EST): 64 words

10A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 11:22:00 AM EST): 26 words

11A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 11:25:00 AM EST): 30

[Including: "Your volume is too much to read and interact with."]

12A) Ken (Tue Dec 22, 11:27:00 AM EST): 35 words

2C) Adomnan (Tue Dec 22, 11:41:00 AM EST): 347 words

3C) Adomnan (Tue Dec 22, 11:59:00 AM EST): 274 words

4C) Adomnan (Tue Dec 22, 12:13:00 PM EST): 147 words

3B) Dave (Tue Dec 22, 12:15:00 PM EST): 67 words

4B) Dave (12:19:00 PM EST): 69 words

5C) Adomnan (12:28:00 PM EST): 163 words

5B) Dave (12:29:00 PM EST): 141 words

6B) Dave (12:33:00 PM EST): 57 words

7B) Dave (12:39:00 PM EST): 66 words

13A) Ken (02:02:00 PM EST): 42 words

14A) Ken (02:28:00 PM EST): 191 words

[Includes: "I came back 2 hours later to be overwhelmed with too much to respond to . . . (too much, no time, and overwhelming with other comments of ad hominem . . . it is too much and no more time."]

8B) Dave (02:36:00 PM EST): 13 words

15A) Ken (02:47:00 PM EST): 290 words

GRAND TOTALS

A) Ken "Preacher" Temple: 2134 words

B) Dave "Good Ole DA" Armstrong: 479 words [22% of Ken's total or 4.46 times less than his]

C) "Rocky" Adomnan: 1195 words [56% of Ken's total]

D) Dave + Adomnan's words: 1674 [78% of Ken's total, so Ken outwrites us BOTH by 1.27 times]

Yet KEN is wringing his hands about how "overwhelming" all of our verbiage is, and how impossible it is to keep up with us . . .

Same old same old with anti-Catholics. I write too much, yet somehow the anti-Catholics who invariably outwrite me in any given context never write too much; in fact far too little (for the errors and abominations and blasphemies of The Great Harlot and Beast and Antichrist can never be fully dealt with: so innumerable and ghastly are they). . .

Dave Armstrong said...

Even now it continues on: "I will concede that you and Adomnan overwhelmed me . . . by the nature of these comboxes and work schedules and the lack of time to fully debate these issues) and I have no more time to interact with this."

One might reply, "if you don't have time to PUT up, then by all means SHUT up . . . "

Adomnan said...

Ken: from my perspective it is also repeat and mantra and the same accusations you and Adomnan leveled against me.

Adomnan: I can make other accusations, if you'd like.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Are you willing to put Tetzel and Borgia Popes and Pope Leo X in that category also?

Adomnan: No. Tetzel wasn't so bad. Much of what he's accused of, he never said. For example, he never said "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul out of Purgatory springs." That was just Protestant propaganda.

There was nothing morally objectionable about Leo X. He led a life of moral rectitude, with far higher standards than many of the monarchs of his time. He was a patron of the arts and of scholarship. Perhaps he was a somewhat ineffectual ruler, in part because of his mildness and culture, but he was no worse a leader than, say, Jimmy Carter. At any rate, it was a question of a defect of character, not of morality.

Similarly, much of what has been written about the "Borgia popes" is propaganda, as well, some of it originating with Protestants and some with political enemies (e.g., Julius II). Alexander VI was hardly exemplary, but he did some very good things. For example, he attempted to stop the enslavement of Native Americans and the slave trade and he sought to moderate the severity of the Spanish Inquisition.

None of these men could even remotely be compared to a Hitler or a Stalin.

And you'll note that I didn't compare Calvin to Hitler to Stalin. I compared him to Lenin, a less malevolent revolutionary fanatic.

Ken: Jesus said we are all evil though, without God's grace.

Adomnan: Where did He say that?

Are you trying to say that the ordinary man, with his petty sins and failings, is as guilty as Pol Pot or Jeffrey Dahmer? That's absurd. God overlooks such "all too human" defects. God is no perfectionist. That's a Calvinist delusion. Just more pseudo-pious, mindless buzz.

Ken: I was just as wicked (selfish, prideful, arrogant) in heart and potential as these men. Given the same opportunities and circumstances, I may have done the same kinds of evils.

Adomnan: Really? Heads in your fridge?

Ken, if people thought you were that bad, they wouldn't let you near the children.

True humility is an honest assessment of one's shortcomings and sins, not an exaggerated self-abasement. Only the most evil want to eat people and commit mass murder.

This is an example of the false feeling of Calvinists. It's as dishonest to exaggerate your evil as it is to minimize it. Self-deception never served anyone, not even self-abasing self-deception.

Ken: Don't you believe (the Temple sacrifices) all pointed to the future Messiah? ( John 1:29) -

Adomnan: No. It would be true to say that the Messiah was the perfect sacrifice, culminating and transcending some (not all) of the sacrifices of the Old Testament (i.e., Day of Atonement, Passover). However, all of the sacrifices reflected the "eternal idea" of sacrifice, which was the true pattern. This is the heavenly sacrifice of Hebrews.

Furthermore, the ancient Hebrews did not consciously connect their sacrifices with a future Messiah. They were thought to expiate sin of their own power (ex opere operato). It's true that the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 was compared to a sin offering (expiatory sacrifice), but that was an isolated example, not typical of the Hebrew understanding. And even in Isaiah 53, the Servant is not viewed as the point or true victim of all sacrifices, but only as an example of one kind of sacrifice.

Adomnan said...

Ken: and furthermore - in an ultimate sense (the Temple sacrifices) did not work - for Hebrews chapters 7-10 tells us this.

Hebrews 9:9 "which is a symbol for the present time"

9:24 - a copy of the true one

10:1 - a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things . . .

10:4 - "for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins"

Adomnan: The position of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews was that the OT sacrifices "worked," but they were "weaker" and less perfect than the sacrifice of Christ.

Hebrews 10:

1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

2For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

3But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Adomnan: So, Hebrews states that OT believers were indeed "purged" by their sacrifices, but they were not made "perfect." When he writes that the blood of bulls and goats cannot "take away" sins, he means they cannot take away sinfulness ("the conscience of sin") definitively. They did, however, purge sins every time they were offered, just as the Torah claimed.

Adomnan said...

Dave: Thanks for your very kind words, Adomnan. I appreciate it, especially since nothing (in the apologetics world) has ever tried my patience as much or has been as tedious to me as answering Calvin.

Adomnan: You're welcome, Dave. Without your series, I would never have read so much of Calvin. I don't know why Ken the Calvinist has a problem with that. Only your commentary enabled me to swallow Calvin's tedium pill.

Ken said...

Adomnan: Where did He say that?

Jesus said it in Matthew 7:11 - I quoted that, "If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to you."

as far as being as wicked as other famous sinners, I clearly said, "in heart and potential" (not in actuality carrying anything like those things out) - given the same circumstances, - I don't know if you understand how depraved and selfish we all are, in the heart and roots of the thoughts and attitudes - Genesis 6:5.

Ken said...

B) Dave "Good Ole DA" Armstrong: 479 words [22% of Ken's total or 4.46 times less than his]

I was talking about the total of your article (the post itself), and your demand that you have made in the past that in order to properly critique you, one has to answer every line of an article and not just pick out a few pertinent things. You left out your article; you only include your comments in the combox.

Ken said...

Adomnan wrote:
And the Bible teaches that human beings do merit salvation, as when Paul writes in Philippians "Earn your salvation in fear and trembling." This verse is often misleadingly translated as "Work out, etc." The word Paul used ("katergasesthe") means "earn, achieve with effort" and so "merit." I go with the Bible, not Calvin.

this is why Roman Catholicism seems semi-Pelagianism at best, and even Pelagian at times. You confirmed it here. It is a clear contradiction to Phil. 3:9 and Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 4:1-8; and Gal. 2:16.

In context, it means, "work out" not "work for"; you are wrong. It definitely does not mean "earn" - that is contra Romans 4:1-8.

This is why Roman Catholicism seems like a works righteousness system and is a false doctrine at its core and at enmity to the gospel of Christ. Galatians 2:21

Dave Armstrong said...

I was talking about the total of your article (the post itself), . . . You left out your article; you only include your comments in the combox.

Nice try, Ken. You should have been a politician, with your mastery of spin. Why is it that I always know exactly how you will respond. I absolutely KNEW you would say this.

But it doesn't fly. Among your complaints was the following:

I came back 2 hours later to be overwhelmed with too much to respond to.

That was clearly in reference to our combox comments, not the original post, or else you wouldn't have phrased it that way. Yet you outwrote both of us, and always expect us to interact with your tomes.

I do line-by-line because that is the most honest way to dialogue. It doesn't allow one to arbitrarily skip over what can't be answered. It takes a lot of work and some guts to be willing to tackle everything an opponent throws one's way.

Pick-and-choose is often the route of intellectual cowards. Not always, but many times. We all have time commitments. But we see plenty of anti-Catholics who could outwrite a Tolstoy with nine lives. They could do line-by-line and a true debate if they chose to do so.

I showed respect to your hero Calvin by citing every single word of his and responding to everything I possibly could respond to, literally taking months to do so. Thank heavens I'll be done with his tripe tomorrow: at least Book IV. That'll be my greatest Christmas gift this year: being rid of having to deal with his nonsense.

I'm not scared at all to present his side, too, because I think he loses, by the continued weakness of his arguments and exposure of all his rhetorical and sophistical trickery.

Let the readers decide. But this has been a true debate, in any event. And all you can do is mock that by saying I write way too much. Never mind how Calvin goes on and on with his lies and distortions. That's fine: it's all for Holy Mother Protestantism: the "Biblical" Form of Christianity.

Ha! LOLOLOLOL

Ken said...

Merry Christmas Dave and Adomnan !

About that specific combox statement I made, You are right Dave, I wrote more words in the comboxes.

Now that things calmed down a little and there is more time to go back and read; it does not feel so overwhelming.

Aside from our spirited sparing and personal styles that irritate each other; the RCC apologetic cannot answer the charge that it seems semi-Pelagian and even Pelagian by teaching that a person must earn and merit his salvation (Adomnan's take on Philippians 2:12).

You did not answer the problem with taking historical narratives and making them into commands; and the ability of God doing something ( He can) and turning it into "He did" in RCC sacramentalism.

I don't consider that statement about your exegesis a personal insult, just a fact that it is wrong to take historical narrative (it happened) and turn them into commands.(now do that also; or imitate that) Unless the context indicates.

Your exegesis is still atrocious and you did not refute Calvin at all.

You never answered the fact that James 5 is about healing and if it is guaranteed, by RC priests and bishops, (but the Scriptures says elders); then why don't the priests and bishops just go out and do their ex opere operato anointing with oil and prayers for all the sick people in all hospitals today?

If you say that it is under God's Sovereignty and is not a guarantee every time; then that is the Protestant position. Sometimes God heals, sometimes He does not.

And we believe the Scriptures, that says, "If you confess your sins, they are forgiven." All Christians have the authority to say that to people - that is preaching the gospel - If you confess (repent of) your sins and trust Christ as Savior and Lord; then you are forgiven.

Acts 13:38-39

"Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,

and through Him everyone who believes is freed [justified]from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses."

Notice here it is faith alone [apart from works] in Christ alone [no Mary or Pope or other mediators] that brings justification.

Also, no one dealt with Jesus' statement about our sinfulness in Matthew 7:11 - he calls us all "evil". Genesis 6:5 also.

Adomnan said...

Ken: In context, it means, "work out" not "work for"; you are wrong. It definitely does not mean "earn" - that is contra Romans 4:1-8.

Adomnan: There you go again, Ken, piling up Bible verses that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Neither this verse in Romans, nor any of the others you cited, has anything to do with earning or not earning salvation. You bring that understanding to the Scriptures and read it into certain verses. That's called eisegesis.

Secondly, "katergazesthai" most definitely means "earn." Look it up in a Greek dictionary (a real dictionary, not some Evangelical wordbook). The translation "work out" is impossible in modern English. Perhaps "work out" meant "earn" in early 16th-century English when the KJV was done. I don't know. But it doesn't now.

"Earn" -- or the equivalent ("achieve with effort, merit") -- is the ONLY possible translation in this instance.

I just let the Bible speak for itself and base my understanding on that. I don't impose a preconceived understanding on the Bible. Unlike you, I am a true Bible Christian.

And drop the "Semi-Pelagian" stuff. You wouldn't know a Semi-Pelagian if he ate your lunch. A "Semi-Pelagian" was someone who thought an individual could take the initiative in salvation, whereas God always takes the initiative. St. Augustine, the great opponent of Pelagianism, most certainly asserted that salvation was merited. He simply pointed our that our very real merits were God's gifts.

The Scripture often describes salvation as a reward, and a reward is, by definition, merited.

Adomnan said...

Ken: as far as being as wicked as other famous sinners, I clearly said, "in heart and potential" (not in actuality carrying anything like those things out)

Adomnan: So you're saying that, in your heart, you want to eat people like Dahmer and kill multitudes like Stalin or Pol Pot? If so, you should be on medication.

Ken: - given the same circumstances, - I don't know if you understand how depraved and selfish we all are, in the heart and roots of the thoughts and attitudes - Genesis 6:5.

Adomnan: Ken, it's obvious that some people are better than others. Not all men have the depraved lusts of Dahmer, and not all would blithely murder everyone who disagreed with them. Now, you can say that's by God's grace, I suppose. But that doesn't really clarify anything. Everything anyone of us has (except sin) is from God, because He created us.

Yes, the Bible teaches that mankind is fallen, but it does not teach that every person is totally depraved. This Calvinist opinion is an exaggeration, which is to say, a lie; and, like every lie, leads us away from God, not to Him.

Entertaining the opinion of total depravity is a vice, a sin. It is false humility, sets up a false view of the self and your fellow man, and is as evil as pride. True humility is to know oneself, one's defects and one's virtues. It is not an absurd self-abasement.

According to you, every parent who told his children that they were worthless and deserved only the worst would simply be telling the truth! And so abusive, hyper-critical parents would, in fact, be godly!

Adomnan said...

Ken: Jesus said it in Matthew 7:11 - I quoted that, "If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to you."

Adomnan: Jesus is not calling everyone evil here. He is saying that even evil people know how to give good gifts to their children. The verse could equally well be translated: "If even those of you who are are evil know how, etc."

Typical of you, Ken. You wrest one single verse out of context and build a whole doctrine on its misinterpretation.

Adomnan said...

Ken: it seems semi-Pelagian and even Pelagian by teaching that a person must earn and merit his salvation (Adomnan's take on Philippians 2:12).

Adomnan: Ken, It's not "my take." For you Protestants, everything is a "take." You "take" this to mean that, regardless of what it actually means, because you read whatever you want into Scripture and never let it speak for itself.

That is why you claim to love Scripture so much. For you, it is nothing but a collection of questionable statements to which you can give any meaning you care to, any meaning whatsoever. What you truly love are your own opinions which you project onto Scripture.

As for Phil 2:12, I'm just telling you what the Greek word means. Are you saying that I should lie and claim that katergazesthai does not mean "earn," although it most assuredly does, thus distorting the word of God to fit preconceived notions? Honesty itself demands that I translate katergazesthai as "earn." Don't blame me. Blame Paul. He used the word.

Merry Christmas, Ken.

Dave Armstrong said...

Merry Christmas and a blessed new year to you, Ken.

Dave Armstrong said...

it is wrong to take historical narrative (it happened) and turn them into commands.

Of course it is, which is why I never did it.

You never answered [this, that, and the other]. . .

You know my policy about debate with anti-Catholics. I've spent eight months with Calvin, because of his historical importance, in order to try to help others deal with his nonsense, but I'm under no obligation to debate irrational anti-Catholics today. Nice try.

I did go a few rounds with Jason Engwer because he was actually interacting with what I threw out and asked me some relevant questions. That was a rare exception to the rule of anti-Catholic "discourse."

Even then I was mocked and insulted by "Troll" Bridges, Peter Pike, and Steve Hays ("liar", "pious fraud," etc.) at the same time I was having a good conversation with gentleman Jason.

This is what one gets with anti-Catholics.

Even you (certainly a nice guy in real life) have to insult. We can't simply disagree. You have to say I know nothing about exegesis, etc.

That kills discussion immediately, even if I wished to do it anymore with you.

But Adomnan is willing to spar with you. Have fun.

Dave Armstrong said...

Granted, Adomnan has made very strong criticisms of your exegesis, too. I say it should cease on both sides if good dialogue is desired. Just make the argument without the sweeping editorial commentary on the other's abilities or lack thereof.

Dave Armstrong said...

People argue based on their presuppositions. All sides do this. That's what I said about Jason. We disagreed, but I said (with complete sincerity) that he did a good job and answered well according to his premises. The fault lies there. But he argued well and consistently from the false premises, and he was a gentleman.

The problem isn't deliberate lying (even in Calvin's case, I think). It is initial false premises that are not duly examined and discarded.

This is precisely why I stopped debating anti-Catholics. They were unwilling to discuss the crucial fundamental consideration of what a Christian is and whether Catholics are Christians (I was turned down for live chat on that question seven times, including twice by James White).

Without that preliminary, further fruitful discussion is pretty much impossible, because two people have to agree on something before they go on to disagree and hash through differences.

Since they were all unwilling to do that, I saw no reason to continue wasting my time with them, having done more than my share of refuting their errors, anyway.

Dave Armstrong said...

I can also see that one might accuse me of being a hypocrite, talking about not making sweeping charges, while I do not personally debate anti-Catholics any longer.

But it is two different things. I can't change what my experience has been for 12 years online and offline, trying to dialogue again and again with those of the anti-Catholic Protestant (or Orthodox) persuasion.

It was almost universally a failure and a huge frustration. I'm under an obligation to be charitable, but also under the obligation to be a good steward of my time and to avoid the vain, foolish conversation that accomplishes nothing. These are all binding obligations on the Christian.

Therefore, since these dialogues have been fruitless (at least on the on-on-one level, if not the wider pedagogical one) I chose to cease engaging in them anymore.

But anyone can see in the rare "exception" of the exchange with Jason Engwer, that if a person will stick to the topic and avoid the juvenile insults, then I'm the easiest guy in the world to talk to, and it works fine.

That was a glimpse into what Catholic-[anti-Catholic] Protestant discussion could be, if both sides just gave a little bit of effort.

I've never had a problem with the great majority of Protestants who are not anti-Catholic. I have many scores of debates with them posted.

Adomnan said...

Ken, here is a definition of katergazomai from one of the Perseus on-line Greek lexicons.

Look at all the possibilities. You'll see that only "I" is applicable to Phil 2:12, and Ib. actually has "soterian" (salvation) as an object (the example from Euripides), just as Phil 2:12 does. In case of the Euripides example, the meaning is "to earn, to gain by labour, to achieve, or acquire salvation," just as I said.

You will note that there is no definition that is anything like "work out."

Some dictionaries will list "work at, practice" as a rare use of katergazomai. However, this usage ONLY occurs when the object of the verb is a skill or lucrative profession, like medicine.

κατεργάζομαι 1 2 3 perf. -είργασμαι -εργάσθην in passive sense perf. -είργασμαι both in act. and pass. sense

Dep.
I. to effect by labour, to achieve, accomplish, Hdt., Soph., etc.:—so perf. κατείργασμαι, Xen.; but in pass. sense, to be effected or achieved, Hdt., Eur.
b. to earn or gain by labour, to achieve, acquire, τὴν ἡγεμονίην Hdt.; σωτηρίαν Eur.; in pass. sense, ἀρετὴ ἀπὸ σοφίης κατεργασμένη Hdt.
c. absol. to be successful, id=Hdt.
2. c. acc. pers., like Lat. conficere, to make an end of, finish, kill, id=Hdt., Soph., Eur.
b. to overpower, subdue, conquer Hdt., Ar., Thuc.:—perf. pass. to be overcome, Thuc.; κατείργασται πέδον is subdued, brought under cultivation, Aesch.
c. to prevail upon, Hdt., Xen.: —aor1 pass., οὐκ ἐδύνατο κατεργασθῆναι could not be prevailed upon, Hdt.
II. to work up for use, Lat. concoquere, κ. μέλι to make honey, id=Hdt.

Ken said...

Adomnan: Jesus is not calling everyone evil here.

I didn't wrest it from its context; look again at Matthew 5:1-3 - Jesus is addressing large crowds of both the multitudes and His disciples - both believers and unbelievers, so "you" in Matthew 7:11 means everybody.

"When Jesus saw the
crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.

He opened His mouth and began to teach
them , saying,

Matthew 5:1-2

So, that is the context; and the audience.

Ken said...

Adomnan - very good with the on line Greek dictionary and Liddell-Scott - wow - I did not realize that that resource was on line.

Ok, so that is one meaning of the bare dictionary word.

The problem is that the context will determine the meaning, and since God cannot contradict Himself, and Paul doesn't contradict himself, you cannot harmonize your understanding of this verse 12 with verse 13 - and with Romans 4:1-8, especially verses 4-5, where he uses a similar word,

ergozamai

τῷ δὲ ἐργαζομένῳ ὁ μισθὸς οὐ λογίζεται κατὰ χάριν ἀλλὰ κατὰ ὀφείλημα

(Romans 4:4)

the one in Philippians 2:12 is Kat- ergozomai - a more intensified form with the prefix, "kata" with it.

So, your view does not harmonize with Romans 4:1-5 nor Ephesians 2:8-9, nor Romans 3:28 nor Galatians 2:16, nor Galatians 3:1-5.

"Work out" fits well in the context, "for" (gar) in verse 13, because God has worked salvation in us, with God living and working in us, by faith - Philippians 1:29

By grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:5

He who has the Son has the life
I John 5:12

His life is in us as believers, so "flesh it out" ; "work it out" in real life by obedience and good works and striving and working and serving.

Ken said...

Dave,
I also enjoyed your discussion with Jason Engwer.

He was right.

I will try to be more like him in the future.

On your exegesis, again, I did not mean "ability" or "intellectual capacity", but on that specific issue in the way you were taking historical narratives, I meant that that was bad exegesis. It was not personal at all.

If you didn't take them (historical narrative passages) as commands, then what did you do?

You basically said the leaders of the RCC ( Priests, bishops, popes) have authority to do those same things that apostles and prophets did in the narratives. - so you are taking them as commands to the leaders of the RCC to do them also, at least in principle, right?

Ken said...

"work out" what God has "worked in" also fits nicely with Philippians 1:6

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."

See also Philippians 1:27-29

Adomnan said...

Ken: so "you" in Matthew 7:11 means everybody.

Adomnan: If that is the case, then Jesus is also saying that everybody is a child of God, which would contradict Jesus's statements in John that evil people are "children of the devil":

"If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to you."

According to your interpretation, the "your" in "your Father in heaven" must refer to "you being evil," thus implying that the evil are children of God.

I contend that "you being evil" (Greek: humeis poneroi ontes) means "those among you who are evil." WIth this reading, the "you" still refers to everybody, but the evil are nevertheless distinguished from the good and are not necessarily included among the children of God.

However, I wouldn't exclude a reading in which Jesus is making a typically Semitic exaggeration, as when He says elsewhere that no one is good but God (even including Himself as a human being in that "no one"). In that sense, everyone could be called "evil" (that is, "not the absolute good"). Jesus even included Himself among the "evil," understood as the "not good."

Matthew 19: 17: "And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God."

If no one is good but God, that necessarily implies that everyone except God is "evil" (i.e., "not good").

This is a typical Semitic way of speaking, similar to the circumlocution of saying "I love X and hate Y" when one means simply "I prefer X to Y."

Adomnan said...

Ken: "work out" what God has "worked in" also fits nicely with Philippians 1:6


Adomnan: Ken, this remark is just, well, not intelligent. "Work out" and "work in" show up only in the English translation. There is no contrast between "out" and "in" in the original Greek. The prefix of katergazomai (i.e., "kata") has the meaning of "down" or "according to" when used as a preposition, never "out."

Ken said...

Matthew 19: 17: "And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God."

Here, Jesus is actually claiming to be God, because only God is good; and if Jesus is good, then He is God. This is an eastern way of indirect claims by questions, to get them to think, and realize by discovery.

Christ was without sin, per many other verses, so obviously, though fully human, He is not included in the passages about all humans being sinners and evil.

Ken said...

The prefix of katergazomai (i.e., "kata") has the meaning of "down" or "according to" when used as a preposition, never "out."

yes, I know; I was not making the claim that "out" comes from the "kata" prefix; it comes from the context of the passages and the way Paul uses the concepts in the whole book of Philippians. (1:6; 1:27-29; 2:12-13; 3:9) and then harmonized with the other passages on salvation, faith, and grace. Romans 4:1-8; 3:28; Gal. 2:16; 3:1-5; Phil. 3:9; Ephesians 2:8-9, etc.

And, now that you mention it, "according to" fits, "work according to your salvation". Work and obey God, according to, because you are already saved, now obey and work it, flesh it out in real life by good works and obedience, etc.

Ken said...

Calvin:
Oil for the belly, and the belly for oil, but the Lord will destroy both. For all these weak elements, which perish even in the using, have nothing to do with the kingdom of God, which is spiritual, and will never perish.


Dave Armstrong:
More antipathy to matter . . .

Not necessarily; he is speaking against the Roman Catholic ideas of ex opere operato sacerdotal powers - that the RCC priests have inherent power to confer grace, by the mere doing of the ritual and saying the right words,and doing the right rituals; which is superstition and magic.

This is what Luther saw in the problems of rubbing and staring at and praying to and kissing relics and Tetzel and Leo X, that giving money for the building of St. Peter's gains indulgences and forgiveness and gets loved ones out of purgatory or lessens their years in purgatory.


Christ's blood was matter. In Romans 5:9 St. Paul said that "we are now justified by his blood." In Romans 3:25 he refers to "an expiation by his blood." . . .

Here you make a big jump by going from his questioning of the oil of confirmation as a sacrament that confers grace to then accuse Calvin of being against all matter and the blood of Christ and the incarnation. This is not right, Dave.


The incarnation involved matter. What does Calvin have against it? He is reviving remnants of the ancient heresy of gnosticism.

Again, this is an unfair charge and a jump in logic; as you know Calvin (and all other Protestants fully believe in creation and matter as good, and in the incarnation and crucifixion and we adamantly deny gnosticism and anathematize gnosticism as heresy and evil doctrines of demons.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Ok, so that is one meaning of the bare dictionary word.

Adomnan: That definition I provided included every meaning of the word. "Work out" wasn't one of them.

Ken: The problem is that the context will determine the meaning,

Adomnan: So you're saying that, even if a word never has a particular meaning in Greek, it can take on this meaning in a given context? That is absurd and would make language impossible. If every "word" we uttered did not have a range of fixed meanings, but could mean absolutely anything depending on "context," then communication would never take place.

Again, here is another example of you Protestants preferring your "take" on what something "means" rather than caring about what it actually means.

Ken: and since God cannot contradict Himself, and Paul doesn't contradict himself,

Adomnan: Meaningless platitude. What you really want to say is "Ken cannot contradict himself."

Ken: cannot harmonize your understanding of this verse 12 with verse 13 - and with Romans 4:1-8, especially verses 4-5, where he uses a similar word,

ergozamai

Adomnan: First of all, it's "ergazomai."

Secondly, it doesn't matter whether "ergazomai" is "similar" to "katergazomai," whatever that means. "Perfect" is similar to "infect." Big deal. You're not making any kind of point with such a statement.

Ken: τῷ δὲ ἐργαζομένῳ ὁ μισθὸς οὐ λογίζεται κατὰ χάριν ἀλλὰ κατὰ ὀφείλημα

(Romans 4:4)

Adomnan: Translation: "to the one who works (his) wages (or reward) are not credited according to favor (or grace) but according to what he is owed."

This verse says that those who work are entitled to the wages they earn, Ken. How does this contradict the statement in Phil 2:12 that we earn salvation by working? The two verses are in complete harmony.

However, there is some difference. In Romans 4:4, Paul is speaking of an ordinary workman, who earns his wages. Christians, although they earn salvation by working (according to Paul in Phil 2:12), are not just ordinary workmen entitled to a wage, but are children of God whose status and ability to merit are gifts of God's grace.

Ken: the one in Philippians 2:12 is Kat- ergozomai - a more intensified form with the prefix, "kata" with it.

Adomnan: Frankly, Ken, your arrogance is astounding. I present you with a comprehensive definition of katergazomai from the foremost Greek lexicon, and you impose your own made-up definition (or "take") on the word, preferring your take to what the word actually meant in Greek!

Katergazomai is not just an "intensified" form of ergazomai; it is a word with a specific range of meanings, none of which include "work out" (as understood in modern English).

Ken: His life is in us as believers, so "flesh it out" ; "work it out" in real life by obedience and good works and striving and working and serving.

Adomnan: Your problem, Ken, is that "katergazomai" cannot possibly have the meaning of "flesh it out" in Greek. It can only have the meaning of "earn" in this context. "Flesh it out" is not a lexical possibility. So your invocation of "Christ in us" to explicate this verse is nothing other than a lovely, translucent verbal bubble. Pop!

Ken said...

Adomnan: Secondly, it doesn't matter whether "ergazomai" is "similar" to "katergazomai," whatever that means. "Perfect" is similar to "infect." Big deal. You're not making any kind of point with such a statement.

My point is that "kat-ergazomai" has the same root as "ergazomai" - it just has the intensifier "kata" (according to, or "down") added to it. Your analogy of "Perfect" with "infect" is indeed non-sense. You should at least come up with a better parallel in English of a verb that has the same root meaning with an intensifier suffix.

Again, "according to " fits with the context and concept of sanctification as the results of true faith and salvation, and if the person has no fruit or obedience, then that is evidence that there is no real faith/salvation there in the first place. But since "God is in you, both to will and to work for His pleasure", (v. 13), He gives the power and motivation to obey and grow in grace.

Ken said...

I acknowledged the value of using the Liddell -Scott Greek Lexicon, but that is the standard work for Classical Greek, not Koine Greek.
So, there are nuanced differences.

A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature, Walter Bauer, William Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich, Frederick Danker. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1979. ISBN: 0-226-03932-3.

This is the standard Greek lexicon for New Testament studies. I find that it takes longer to use than Louw and Nida, but gives a more mature understanding. It gives many more examples, and also points out grammatical features of the words, which can be extremely helpful. This lexicon does not attempt to give you a full dictionary definition; instead, it tries to give you the data to allow you to develop your own.
#

A Greek-English lexicon, Liddell, Scott, and Jones. Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN: 0-1986-42261.

This lexicon is for classical Greek, not for New Testament Greek, but it can often give very helpful insights into the meanings of words. Scholars consider it extremely authoritative.

Ken said...

Katergazomai was used by the Romans [Greeks under the Roman Empire, for example Strabo, who lived from around 63 BC to 24 AD] to describe "working a mine" or "working a field" and in each case there were benefits that followed such diligence. The mine would yield precious metals...and the field would yield fruit and crops. (see reference to Strabo below)
Paul's point is that by working out our salvation, believers bring the whole purpose of salvation to completion. In a sense then we are to daily "mine out" of our lives all the richness of the great a salvation which God has so graciously "deposited" within each believer.
Remember that in chapter 1 (Php 1:11-note) Paul said believers had been "filled with the fruit of righteousness" (perfect tense which describes a completed, permanent state) and here using katergazomai Paul is saying "work the field" and bear the fruit of righteousness in your daily Christian walk.
http://www.preceptaustin.org/philippians_212-18.htm#2:12
The Roman [Greek, but under the Roman Empire] scholar Strabo uses the verb katergazomai to describe the extraction of silver from mines with the implication being that intense effort is required to carry mine for precious metal and in this case is motivated by a potential reward.

I cannot find the Greek of this; But maybe this is what they are referring to:

From Strabo, Geography:

But after the Romans got the mastery, the Salassi were thrown out of their gold-works and country too; however, since they still held possession of the mountains, they sold water to the publicans who had contracted to work the gold mines; but on account of the greediness of the publicans Salassi were always in disagreement with them too. And in this way it resulted that those of the Romans who from time to time wished to lead armies and were sent to the regions in question were well provided with pretexts for war.

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/4F*.html

Strabo, Geography, book 4, chapter 6, no. 7. p. 279

Strabo[1] (Greek: Στράβων; 63/64 BC – ca. AD 24) was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.
Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus (modern Amasya, Turkey),[2] a city which he said to be situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black sea. Pontus had recently fallen to the Roman Empire, and although politically he was a proponent of Roman imperialism, Strabo belonged on his mother's side to a prominent family whose members had held important positions under the resisting regime of Mithridates the Great.[3]

Ken said...

I agree with Grubb's comment, thank you Dave for letting us opponents comment here.

I realize I have typed massive amounts in this com-box section.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Now, its off to church and after church, our Christmas Eve tradition of watching "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Steward and Donna Reed. (yes, I realize Frank Capra was Roman Catholic and that aspects of that come through in his movies. Nevertheless, I will agree that his movies are clean and fun and have moral lessons. They manifest the goodness/moral truth/ethical righteousness that both RCs and EOs and Protestants can agree on.

Adomnan said...

Ken: My point is that "kat-ergazomai" has the same root as "ergazomai" - it just has the intensifier "kata" (according to, or "down") added to it.

Adomnan: You're wasting my time now, Ken. "Kata" is not a mere "intensifier" in katergazomai. I gave you ALL the possible meanings of katergazomai, and you are now making up new meanings that you are just pulling out of....the air.

This is a perfect example of how impossible it is to dialogue with you "Bible only" people who feel entitled to impose any meaning you like on any word, verse or passage. As I said before, you don't care at all what the Bible says, because you can give it any spin you care to.

Katergazomai has certain meanings. "Work out" in modern English and "flesh out" are not among them. Deal with it.

Ken is not entitled to make up new meanings for Greek words based on his half-baked construal of the meaning of roots and prefixes. It would be like my saying "per" means "through" and "mit" means "send," and so "permit" means "send through." So, should I permit the package USPS or Fedex?

Adomnan said...

Ken: Again, "according to " fits with the context and concept of sanctification as the results of true faith and salvation

Adomnan: Kata means "according to" when it's used as a preposition, not when it's used as a prefix. You're grasping at straws. In any event, this comment is so vague and off-the-wall as to be indecipherable.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Katergazomai was used by the Romans [Greeks under the Roman Empire, for example Strabo, who lived from around 63 BC to 24 AD] to describe "working a mine" or "working a field" and in each case there were benefits that followed such diligence. The mine would yield precious metals...and the field would yield fruit and crops.

Adomnan: The use of "katergazomai" to mean to cultivate is covered in the definitions I provided. However, this usage ONLY occurs when the objects are such things as "field" and "earth," in a strictly agricultural context. It is not used when the object is "salvation." In this case, the verb means "earn" (as in Euripides). And there is no example of the use of katergazomai in a metaphorical sense to refer to cultivation of anything other than the earth or fields.

Secondly, the use of katergazomai to mean "work ore" is no different from it's meaning of "to acquire by labor," because someone who works ore simply acquires it by labor. So, someone who "katergazetai" salvation simply acquires salvation by labor (i.e., earns it).


More importantly, though, it is unacceptable to impute to Paul a metaphorical meaning of katergazomai in Phil 2:12 with an unstated comparison to agriculture or mining. The metaphors or agriculture or mining are nowhere invoked in the passage.

With an approach like this, you can make absolutely anything mean absolutely anything. For who's to say that any plain statement can't be reinterpreted as some sort of far-fetched metaphor?

Adomnan said...

Ken: I acknowledged the value of using the Liddell -Scott Greek Lexicon, but that is the standard work for Classical Greek, not Koine Greek.
So, there are nuanced differences.

Adomnan: You "acknowledge the value," but immediately dismissed the definition given!

This business of huge differences betweem Classical and Koine Greek is balderdash. Koine was a standardized dialect that differed from Attic Greek in a few matters of pronunciation and a somewhat less strict adherence to grammatical norms (varying with the writer), and hardly at all in matters of meaning. Besides, Liddell-Scott and the other Perseus on-line dictionaries cover usage in the so-called "Koine" period as well, as one can see by the authors they cite.

Ken: A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature, Walter Bauer, William Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich, Frederick Danker. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1979. ISBN: 0-226-03932-3.

Adomnan: I don't have BAGD, and it's not on line. If you have it, then why don't you cite what it says about "katergazomai"? Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if it gave "work out" as a possible translation. However, that would be because the phrase is used in the KJV (and the Douay-Rheims). But my contention is that "work out" could mean "earn" in late-15th, early 16th-century English. It no longer does. And modern Greek-English lexicons can no longer honestly give "work out" (much less "flesh out") as a translation without qualification.

Adomnan said...

In my posting one above the last, "metaphors or agriculture" should be "metaphors of agriculture."

Adomnan said...

Say, Ken, the definition of katergazomai says it can be used to mean "to make honey." So why don't you claim that Paul is aaying that we should "make our salvation into honey in fear and trembling"? Nice metaphor there.

Yeah, What do you think? That should do the trick.

Ken said...

Adomnan: I don't have BAGD, and it's not on line. If you have it, then why don't you cite what it says about "katergazomai"?

Ok - I do have BAGD; from BAGD, p. 421 - "work out - Ti someth. (Pla., Gorg. 473 D
O kateipgasmenos tnv turanvida adikws)
τὴν ἑαυτῶν σωτηρίαν κατεργάζεσθε• Phil. 2:12 (JH Michael, Phil. 2:12: Exp. 9th ser. II ’24, 439-50).

I think Pla. is abbreviation for Plato; not sure about Gorg.
The reference from Strabo was also an example of that usage, obtained from commentaries.

Ken said...

Say, Ken, the definition of katergazomai says it can be used to mean "to make honey."

Obviously, that example was from a context where people or bees are "making honey". Is the word "honey" supplied in that example? Different context.

The same English word "work" can be used in 2 completely different contexts:
1. The pastor worked very hard on his sermon last night.
2. The prostitute worked her trade on streets.

so, "to make honey" has nothing to do with what you are doing, rather sarcastically, it seems.

Lexicographers gather examples from lots of different contexts on how a word is used.

Context is the most important issue. How is the word used. The context of Philippians 1:6, 1:27-29 and 2:13 shows us and points to the meaning of "work out" what God has begun and worked in (for it is God who is in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.)

Ken said...

Also, I already proved the issue from Romans 4:4-5, where "work"

τῷ δὲ ἐργαζομένῳ ὁ μισθὸς1 οὐ λογίζεται κατὰ χάριν ἀλλὰ κατὰ ὀφείλημα

"now to the one who works (ergazomenw) his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due" . .

does mean to earn here in this context and Paul says it is impossible to work for or earn one's salvation.

This is the root of why Roman Catholicism has cut out the heart of the gospel from its teaching; and teaches a false "gospel".

Adomnan said...

Ken: Ok - I do have BAGD; from BAGD, p. 421 - "work out - Ti someth. (Pla., Gorg. 473 D
O kateipgasmenos tnv turanvida adikws)

Adomnan: This citation from Plato is the only aside from Phil 2:12 where "work out" is given as a translation. However, the Plato passage means "the one who acquired the tyranny unjustly." Here, the word has the mean of "acquire by effort."

So I would conclude that BAGD is referring to some superseded early meaning of "work out" as "achieve, acquire by effort." As I said, the phrase no longer has this meaning in modern English. It is simply a nod to the old-fashioned KJV, Douay-Rheims usage.

Adomnan said...

Ken: The same English word "work" can be used in 2 completely different contexts:
1. The pastor worked very hard on his sermon last night.
2. The prostitute worked her trade on streets.

Adomnan: Actually, "worked" in these two senteences has the same meaning; namely, "put out effort."

Of course my reference to "making honey" was sarcastic. The point is that your citation of "katergazomai" in phrases referring to working fields or working mines is equally absurd. The Greek only has this meaning in contexts where fields/earth or mines are specifically mentioned, which is not the case in Phil 2:12. If katergazomai can be translated "work the field" with no mention of a field, then it can be translated as "make honey" with no mention of honey. Both cases are equally impossible.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "now to the one who works (ergazomenw) his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due" . .

does mean to earn here in this context and Paul says it is impossible to work for or earn one's salvation.

Adomnan: No he doesn't. He says a worker is entitled to his wages. That obviously has nothing to do with saying it's impossible to work for or earn salvation. How could Paul say it's impossible to earn salvation by saying a worker is entitled to his wages? The two statements either contradict each other or have nothing in common.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "work out - Ti someth. (Pla., Gorg. 473 D
O kateipgasmenos tnv turanvida adikws)

I think Pla. is abbreviation for Plato; not sure about Gorg.

Adomnan: Pla. is indeed an abbreviation for Plato. Gorg. refers to one of his dialogues, the Gorgias.

I looked up the BAGD reference in Benjamin Jowett's 19th-century translation of the Gorgias, which is available on line, and Jowett rendered it as "he who unjustly acquires a tyranny," just as I did. So, since BAGD considers this usage in Plato to be equivalent to Paul's usage in Phil 2:12, it follows that BAGD understands Paul to be saying, "Acquire your salvation in fear and trembling," which is of course the same as "Earn your salvation in fear and trembling" since katergazomai, when it means "acquire," always means "acquire by labor."

Thus, BAGD agrees with Liddell-Scott and with me.

You'll notice, by the way, Ken, that BAGD doesn't even cast a glance at your "working a field, working a mine" thesis. But I suppose that doesn't matter. BAGD is the standard unless it differs from that most accomplished of Greek scholars, Ken, in which case it's not only wrong, but promoting a "false gospel."

Adomnan said...

A few typos in the first of my written replies above. Should be:

This citation from Plato is the only ONE aside from Phil 2:12 where "work out" is given as a translation. However, the Plato passage means "the one who acquired the tyranny unjustly." Here, the word has the meanING of "acquire by effort."

Dave Armstrong said...

The Bible teaches that there is a sense in which we can save ourselves: contribute to our own salvation:

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Acts 2:38-40 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. [39] For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him." [40] And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation."

2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall;

Now let's watch the Ken spin / eisegetical machine go into action and immediately explain all these away! :-)

We mustn't follow the Bible wherever it leads! No, wee can't have that . . . it's gotta be squeezed into the mold of the Calvinist playbook.

Adomnan said...

Ken: This is the root of why Roman Catholicism has cut out the heart of the gospel from its teaching; and teaches a false "gospel".

Adomnan: Your problem is with Paul, not with me or with Roman Catholicism. Paul wrote, "Earn your salvation in fear and trembling." If this is a false gospel, then Paul preached a false gospel.

It is clear that you prefer your man-made pseudo-gospel to what the Bible actually teaches. I can even tell you when your false gospel was invented: in the early 16th century. Paul never heard of it.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Context is the most important issue. How is the word used.

Adomnan: Once again, this is an absurd statement. Words have a range of meanings in translation, and what meaning from that range applies in a given situation does of course depend on context. However, no one can ascribe a meaning to a word that is not included in its range of meanings. Otherwise, any word could mean anything "in context," and language would be impossible.

Claiming that context can impart even an impossible "meaning" to a word, as you are doing, is just a way for you heretics to interpret the Bible to mean absolutely anything you want. Why do you even bother with lexicons when you can determine everything by "context" with no attention to a word's actual range of meanings?

Ken: The context of Philippians 1:6, 1:27-29 and 2:13 shows us and points to the meaning of "work out" what God has begun and worked in...

Adomnan: Really? Even though "work out," as used in modern English and by you here, is not included in the range of meanings of katergazomai?

And, as I already pointed out and am now forced to repeat because you choose to be obtuse, your contrast between "working out" and "working in" is a pun in English only. There is no "out-in" contrast in the Greek words. So drop this non-existent play on words, or we'll begin to doubt your intelligence. You do realize that you're confounding Greek with English, don't you? Focus!

Ken said...

Adomnan:
I just let the Bible speak for itself and base my understanding on that.

So, are you confessing that the Bible is perspicuous, clear?

Are you confessing that there is no need for the magisterium of the RCC to help you get the interpretation right?

Ken said...

Dave,
Since you have already pre-judged anything I would write as “eisegesis”, then what is the point of trying to explain these passages to you?

You already dealt with some of this in many other articles you have written in the past.
Here is one example; that shows the different ways we approach the Scriptures on salvation, assurance, the warnings, and exhortations.

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/01/catholic-exegesis-of-biblical-passages.html

We also touched on these issues here. Other Calvinists contributed to the conversation.
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2009/07/great-calvinist-post-about-assurance-of.html


The way the Calvinist deals with warnings and passages about our role in salvation vs. the way the Roman Catholic has interpreted them, gets to the root of the difference between the two schools of theology. The RCC is man-centered, externals and rituals are emphasized, and what the external rituals of the church, mass, priests, and relics and prayers to statues do; the other, the Calvinist system, is God-centered and interprets the warnings as means for the elect and obedience and heeding the warnings as evidences of real faith. The RCC interprets works as conditions for salvation. Adomnan even admits that you are “earning your salvation”. Amazing. The Calvinist interprets works as results and evidences of true salvation.

The Roman Catholic believes in mortal sin after a true believer is really a true believer, (initially justified by baptism in the RCC, or a convert to RCC), but final salvation (going to heaven -- passing through purgatory and doing satis passio and eventually entering heaven) is dependent on their working and going to mass, confession, doing good works, giving to the poor, etc.

The Calvinist believes in the warnings of Scripture to believers, but interprets them through God’s sovereignty and power to keep the believers, but it is not an automatic thing where we don’t need any exhortations to persevere. If there is no fruit, that is reason to believe that there is not really life there in the first place, even though many think they are true believers from their experience of something like saying the sinners pray or walking the aisle in a church service, etc.

God is more powerful than humans (so He ultimately keeps His own); and humans can deceive themselves into thinking they are justified and saved, when they are not really. (therefore the warnings) The good works, fruits, perseverance are evidence that one really does have true faith and life in themselves. They persevere because they truly have a real spiritual relationship with the Lord.

Those that do not persevere and leave the faith, show that they never really had it. Jesus said, “I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” Matthew 7:23

Ken said...

Part 2
So, on 2 Peter 1:10 – God exhorts the believers to work and put forth effort (v. 5) to add good fruits and works to their faith(verses 5-9), so that they prove that they were actually elected and called (effectual, internal calling – I Cor. 1:23-24; Romans 8:28-30; 2 Timothy 1:9). God uses warnings and exhortations to work (same as Philippians 2:12-13) as the means by which the elect /true believers persevere to the end.

Acts 2:38-40 – “be saved from this perverse generation” (NASB)–
σώθητε ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς τῆς

σώθητε (Sothnte) is Aorist passive Imperative – “be saved” - or “let God save you” – but obviously we both believe we do the believing and repenting, but the Calvinist believes God gives the power to repent by changing the heart and will first – Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Acts 5:31

by repentance and faith in Christ, and the evidence of true faith on the inside is that one wants to be baptized and enter the church and grow. God saves us by His grace alone, but we also believe that we must exercise faith and repentance, we do it by our wills, but we say that God worked on our wills and changed us by His Spirit first and brought us all the way to saving faith, so that He gets all the glory and He supplied all the power. “those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:30 God brings the predestined all the way to glorification. A truly justified person will be glorified. It makes sense that we have a logical system by which to deal with the warning passages; namely that works are the evidences, results and fruits of true justifying faith; and the warnings are the means by which we actually go through to prove that we were justified. Those that don’t persevere prove they never were, they just thought they were.

I Timothy 4:16 – same idea. God is the one who saves by grace and His power alone; but Paul exhorts Timothy to keep serving and teaching and preaching and being diligent because these are the means by which he perseveres to the end and proves his salvation and the means by which others in the church will keep persevering and prove they were saved and also the means by which others will be evangelized and be saved.

Ken said...

Dave wrote:
We mustn't follow the Bible wherever it leads!

Are you also saying it is clear and that you don't need your RCC infallible magisterium?

Ken said...

Adomnan:Words have a range of meanings in translation, and what meaning from that range applies in a given situation does of course depend on context.

Yes, that is what I meant. We agree on that.

Adomnan said...

Ken: So, are you confessing that the Bible is perspicuous, clear?

Adomnan: I see you're changing the subject.

The Bible is clear in the case under discussion; i.e., Paul is clearly saying, "Earn your salvation in fear and trembling." There's no doubt about that, as I've demonstrated.

It doesn't necessarily follow that the Bible is clear in every case. Besides, while I do believe it is possible for a very well educated and objective layman to understand on a literal level what a Biblical writer is saying in most cases, he can do so only if he is aware of the historical context, intent of the author, and perhaps certain grammatical and lexical facts. Most people do not have the background and time -- and perhaps not the intelligence --- to do this research. In many historical eras (e.g., the Reformation period), they didn't even have the means to do it. Interpretations by amateur exegetes like Calvin are examples of prescientific, essentially uninformed exegesis.

For these reasons, the vast majority of people must rely on the authority of the Church to interpret the Bible. For them, the text -- Paul is exceptionally difficult -- is often unclear in fact, even if much of it is theoretically accessible with great effort and insight.

The great majority of people who attempt to interpret Paul on their own will get him completely wrong. Failure is almost guaranteed in the case of Protestant fundamentalists like you because your presuppositions are all wrong and you cannot evaluate the texts objectively.

As for me, I have always found that the Church's interpretation coincides with my own careful and scientific investigation, which of course corroborates my belief that the Holy Spirit guides the Church.

While remaining open to any interpretation theoretically and for the sake of argument, I also take the Church's interpretation as normative, where an authoritative interpretation exists.

Finally, I would say that the Church's guidance has often provided me with the key insight to understand passages in Scripture. In other words, my own analysis simply confirmed in detail what the Chruch teaches.

Ken: Are you confessing that there is no need for the magisterium of the RCC to help you get the interpretation right?

Adomnan: There are instances where more than one interpretation of a scripture is possible. The Church's magisterium enables me to know which of the possible interpretations is the correct one.

For example, Jesus says, "The Father is greater than I." On the face of it, this can be interpreted as meaning that Jesus Christ is saying He isn't God in the sense that the Father is (i.e., is less than the Father) or else that Jesus is here speaking of His human nature alone. Because of the magisterium's guidance, I know I must reject the first possible interpretation. In other words, the Church sets the parameters of my interpretation.

And I should add that authoritative interpretation by the magisterium is necessarily to maintain unity within the Church. Without an objective interpretation that all accept, there would be no way to reconcile differences. So that even if I didn't personally need the guidance of the magisterium (and I do!), a magisterium would still be necessary for the unity of the whole community.

Ken said...

Adomnan wrote:
And, as I already pointed out and am now forced to repeat because you choose to be obtuse, your contrast between "working out" and "working in" is a pun in English only. There is no "out-in" contrast in the Greek words.


θεὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ἐνεργῶν ἐν ὑμῖν καὶ τὸ θέλειν καὶ τὸ ἐνεργεῖν ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐδοκίας.

verse 13 - for God is the one working in you, ἐν ὑμῖν (in you) both to will and to work for good pleasure.

The "in" aspect is clear here in Greek - "en" ἐν -- for (gar) tells us the reason why we can work and put forth effort, etc. so it the "out" has to supplied - yes, I understand that aspect, as salvation is in the accusative case - direct object, but it does not have "for" (work for or earn). So, we put forth effort and work our salvation, based on God's grace and power in us, both to will (He gives us will power) and "to work" - the power to work; then it is reasonable and rational and good to interpret it as, "work out" your salvation, since God does the drawing and changing and gracious operations on the inside of us. 1:6 - He who began a good work in you (there is the "in" again -- ἐν ὑμῖν ), will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. God will work on us and keep on working on us and perfecting us in sanctification and ultimately to glorification ( Romans 8:28-30; 8:17); so our responsibility is to "work it out", because God has "worked it in us" and gives us power and motivation to keep pressing on. That does not mean that we don't need exhortations and warnings and effort.

John MacArthur has three very good sermons on Philippians 2:12-13

www.gty.org

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/50-19

God at work in you, part 1
You can find parts 2 and 3 easy under Philippians.

Adomnan said...

Ken: The RCC is man-centered, externals and rituals are emphasized,

Adomnan: I know this remark is directed toward Dave, but I want to comment on it because it shows perfectly why it is so difficult to communicate with you.

This statement is a meaningless generalization. What does it mean to be "man-centered" instead of "God-centered"? There are untold possible interpretations of both of these epithets. For example, when God became man in Jesus Christ, wasn't God Himself "man-centered"? But it doesn't really matter how you answer this question, because the charge you are making about "centeredness" is vague, equivocal and, in the end, mere bloviation. If you want to make a criticism of Catholicism, make a precise criticism. Don't just bloviate. Why should anyone respnod to mere bloviation?

You say religious rites are man-centered. Well, given that the sacraments were made for man, not for God, I suppose they are in some sense. But so what?

You're back to "Soli Deo gloria" -- "Glory to God alone," when the Bible teaches glorification of man; i.e., Glory not only to God but to man. Oh, that "man-centered Bible"!

Adomnan said...

Ken: Adomnan even admits that you are “earning your salvation”. Amazing.

Adomnan: No. I don't "admit" it. I quote Paul who SAYS it. Astounding.

Adomnan said...

Adomnan:Words have a range of meanings in translation, and what meaning from that range applies in a given situation does of course depend on context.

Ken: Yes, that is what I meant. We agree on that.

Adomnan: And "work out" in your sense of "flesh out" is not one of the possible meanings.

Adomnan said...

Ken: then it is reasonable and rational and good to interpret it as, "work out" your salvation,

Adomnan: No, it isn't. Katergazomai does not have the meaning "work out" (in the modern sense of that phrase) in its range of meanings. It is a lie to substitute a false interpretation for an accurate one. All your irrelevant blah blah does not change that. You are simply lying.

You are imposing a meaning on the word that the Greek does not allow. And you don't care, because your Protestant fundamentalist profession trumps any fidelity to the truth or the Bible.

Ken: John MacArthur has three very good sermons on Philippians 2:12-13

Adomnan: No, he doesn't. John MacArthur has never given a good sermon on anything. He is an ignorant obscurantist and fanatic, and anyone who relies on him as an authority is being had.

I suspect you got your nonexistent "out-in" contrast from that glib sophist.

Adomnan said...

Ken: - yes, I understand that aspect, as salvation is in the accusative case - direct object, but it does not have "for" (work for or earn).

Adomnan: What? "Work for salvation" requires "for" in English. "Katergazomai soterian" (Earn salvation) does not have a preposition in Greek. So what? What are you talking about?

Dave Armstrong said...

Adomnan wrote: Adomnan: Calvinism lies about the glory of God. Calvinism says, "Soli Deo gloria" (To God alone the glory), but the Bible teaches that God shares His glory with His children. It's called "glorification."

This is exactly right. Here are many biblical instances of God sharing His glory with men or (to put it another way) giving them glory, too:

Psalm 8:5 Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor.

Psalm 63:11 But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall glory;

Psalm 64:10 Let the righteous rejoice in the LORD,
and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart glory!

Psalm 85:9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.

Psalm 149:4-5, 9 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with victory.
[5] Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches. . . . [9] . . .
This is glory for all his faithful ones. Praise the LORD!

Proverbs 16:31 A hoary head is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.

Proverbs 28:12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory; . . .

Isaiah 17:3 . . . and the remnant of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel, says the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 60:1-2 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.[2] For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.

Isaiah 60:4 . . . the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.

Lamentations 3:17-18 my soul is bereft of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is; [18] so I say, "Gone is my glory, and my expectation from the LORD."

Ezekiel 10:19 And the cherubim lifted up their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight as they went forth, with the wheels beside them; and they stood at the door of the east gate of the house of the LORD; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them.

Ezekiel 11:22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

Daniel 2:37 You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory,

Daniel 5:18O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnez'zar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty;

Mark 10:37 And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."

John 5:44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

John 17:22The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,

Romans 2:6-7, 9-10 For he will render to every man according to his works: [7] to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; . . . [9] There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, [10] but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

Romans 5:2 Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

Romans 9:22-23 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction,
[23] in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory,

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 2:12 to lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

1 Peter 5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. (cf. 5:4)

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

Ken said...

a specific example of "man-centeredness" - that a person (man, human) can do a good work to earn salvation or get out of purgatory. Father Stravinskas admitted it.

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=1749

Dave Armstrong said...

I just put up a new paper about this; also one will be up soon about our working for and participating in our own salvation, in and by the grace of God.

Ken said...

you probably have no problem with this stuff, but . . .

More specific examples of the "man-centeredness" (focus on Mary and statues and etc.) of the rituals, idols, externals, rituals, of the Roman Catholic Church:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htue99RxwU8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifkxqx6Z4mY&feature=related

St. George idol fell and head broke off:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EowU21YzGr0&feature=related

St. George idol restored:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASpi78mGQMg&feature=related

There are many other pictures all over of Roman Catholics bowing down before statues and kissing the feet of statues and praying to the spirit of the statues. There are also plenty of pictures of John Paul 2 and Benedict XVI bowing down or raising their hands in worship toward giant statues of Mary.

National shrine of the Immaculate Conception
http://www.kintera.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=etITK6OTG&b=309286&ct=160569

More shrines and giant statues of Mary
http://www.mothersshrine.com/grounds/index.php

Adomnan said...

Ken: There are many other pictures all over of Roman Catholics bowing down before statues and kissing the feet of statues and praying to the spirit of the statues.

Adomnan: You appear to be complaining about what you see as "statue-centeredness," if anything, not "man-centeredness."

I wish you could at least get your terms right.

Calvinists always fall back on the statue thing in the end. I point out that Paul wrote, "Earn your salvation," and now we're talking about statues.

Adomnan said...

Ken: a specific example of "man-centeredness" - that a person (man, human) can do a good work to earn salvation or get out of purgatory. Father Stravinskas admitted it.

Adomnan: And I'm "admitting it" as well. What of it? Paul said, "earn your salvation" in Phil 2:12, as I have demonstrated beyond any doubt; and I believe Paul -- not you.

Why do you despise us simple Bible believers? Because we don't come to the Bible with an elaborate "theology" that enables us to deny what is written in plain Greek, as you do?

You have a curious ability to ignore what it right in front of your eyes. Actually, it's a disability, called "spiritual blindness."

Marylee said...

John MacArthur & Pretrib Rapture

Who knows, maybe John (Reformedispy) MacArthur is right and the greatest Greek scholars (Google "Famous Rapture Watchers"), who uniformly said that Rev. 3:10 means PRESERVATION THROUGH, were wrong. But John has a conflict. On the one hand, since he knows that all Christian theology and organized churches before 1830 believed the church would be on earth during the tribulation, he would like to be seen as one who stands with the great Reformers. On the other hand, if John has a warehouse of unsold pretrib rapture material, and if he wants to have "security" for his retirement years and hopes that the big California quake won't louse up his plans, he has a decided conflict of interest. Maybe the Lord will have to help strip off the layers of his seared conscience which have grown for years in order to please his parents and his supporters - who knows? One thing is for sure: pretrib is truly a house of cards and is so fragile that if a person removes just one card from the TOP of the pile, the whole thing can collapse. Which is why pretrib teachers don't dare to even suggest they could be wrong on even one little subpoint! Don't you feel sorry for the straitjacket they are in? While you're mulling all this over, Google "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" for a rare behind-the-scenes look at the same 180-year-old fantasy.

Ben said...

Adomnan wrote: Alexander VI was hardly exemplary, but he did some very good things.

Ben: And according to Wikipedia, even Alexander's sins may have been much exaggerated.

Check out this section and this section (paying particular attention to the notes). Then cross reference with the "Quotes about" section here.)

Is this some strange stuff folks, or what...?