Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wisconsin, Irish, German, and Other Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandals and Pope Benedict XVI: Collection of Factual, Non-Agenda-Driven Articles


[ source ]


Wisconsin Sexual Abuse Scandal

Vatican Statement on the "Murphy Case" (Fr. Federico Lombardi, Zenit) [25 March 2010]

Fr. Lombardi explains Vatican response to sexual abuse by Wisconsin priest (Catholic News Agency) [25 March 2010]

The Pope and the Wisconsin sex abuse scandal: I smell a stitch-up (Damian Thompson, Telegraph.co.uk) [25 March 2010]

New York Times and the Catholic Church (press release by Bill Donohue, Catholic League President) [25 March 2010]

The Pope and the Murphy case: what the New York Times story didn't tell you (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture) [25 March 2010]

Vatican defends action in case of Wisconsin priest abuser (John Thavis, Catholic News Service) [25 March 2010]

I am angry and sad about this new round of exposure of sins and crimes (Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, What Does the Prayer Really Say?) [25 March 2010]

The Church is not trying to cover anything up (Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Times [of London] Online) [26 March 2010]

Avvenire: New York Times Contradicts Itself (Zenit) [26 March 2010]

The Lie of the New York Times (Fr. Daren J. Zehnle, Servant and Steward) [26 March 2010]

NYTimes vs. Pope Benedict: Paper Seeks to Implicate Pope in Abuse Cases (John Jalsevac, LifeSiteNews.com) [26 March 2010]

A Response to the New York Times (Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, National Review Online) [27 March 2010]

Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI and "The Murphy Case" (The Benedict Blog) [27 March 2010]

NYT Unfairly Cites Pope's Role (Bill Donohue, Catholic League press release) [29 March 2010]

Dour, unhinged, and factless, Maureen Dowd seeks papal whipping boy
(Carl Olson, Ignatius Insight Scoop) [29 March 2010]

Accusations that Pope Complicit in Abuse Cover-Up Fall Flat (James Tillman, LifeSiteNews.com) [29 March 2010]

Setting the record straight in the case of abusive Milwaukee priest Father Lawrence Murphy (Fr. Thomas Brundage, JCL, Catholic Anchor Online) [29 March 2010]

Judge of Abusive Priest Corrects 'Sloppy and Inaccurate' New York Times Smears against Pope (Kathleen Gilbert and John Jalsevac, LifeSiteNews.com) [30 March 2010]

Benedict and the Media (Joseph Lawler, American Spectator) [30 March 2020)

Reports blaming Pope for mishandled sex abuse case are inaccurate, Church judge reveals (Catholic News Agency) [30 March 2010]

Cardinal Levada to NY Times: Reconsider 'attack mode' against Pope Benedict (Catholic San Francisco) [30 March 2010]

Murphy Case: NYT Never Talked to Judge (Elizabeth Scalia, The Anchoress: A First Things Blog) [30 March 2010]

Cardinal Ratzinger an Evil Monster? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register) [30 March 2010]

Clarity and Spirited Defense re Pope (Elizabeth Scalia, The Anchoress: A First Things Blog) [30 March 2010]

Cardinal Levada Responds to NY Times (Elizabeth Scalia, The Anchoress: A First Things Blog) [31 March 2010]

New York Daily News urges ‘Fairness for the Pope’ (Catholic News Agency) [31 March 2010]

Pope's Critics Lack Evidence (Bill Donohue, Catholic League) [31 March 2010]

Milwaukee Archbishop on Murphy Case: Says Mistakes Were Made, Not by Rome (Zenit) [1 April 2010]


German Sexual Abuse Scandal

German bishops publicly ask forgiveness for sex abuse (Catholic News Agency) [24 February 2010]

German bishops set up office to deal with abuse cases (Catholic News Agency) [26 February 2010]

Priestly celibacy is not the cause of sexual abuse, reaffirm German bishops (Catholic News Agency) [1 March 2010]

Pope's brother directed Regensburg choir after abuses took place, clarifies bishop (Catholic News Agency) [6 March 2010]

Church responding decisively to new sex abuse reports, official says (Catholic News Agency) [8 March 2010]

Vatican voices support for investigation of German clerical sex abuse (Catholic News Agency) [8 March 2010]

Pope gives full support to German bishops' plan for responding to abuses (Catholic News Agency) [12 March 2010]

The effort to implicate the Pope (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture) [12 March 2010]

Pope's former archdiocese clarifies details of abusive priest's placement (Catholic News Agency) [13 March 2010]

Vatican: Pope was 'completely extraneous' to Munich sex abuse decision (Catholic News Agency) [13 March 2010]

Accused Munich priest resigns in sex abuse case wrongly linked to Pope (Catholic News Agency) [17 March 2010]

Pope Benedict Transferred Paedophile? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register) [13 March 2010]

How to write a news piece on the German abuse scandal and the Pope’s involvement (Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, What Does the Prayer really Say?) [17 March 2010]

Fair and Balanced??? Not at CNN (Padre Giovanni Trigilio, The Black Biretta) [17 March 2010]

Judging, judgment, and the "fable of the silent Pope" (Carl Olson, Ignatius Insight Scoop) [19 March 2010]

Bluster masquerading as reason [Christoper Hitchens] (Rex Murphy, National Post [Canada] ) [20 March 2010]

Vatican paper editor defends Pope from Fr. Hans Küng's sex abuse criticism (Catholic News Agency) [22 March 2010]

Pope has no further ties to case of abusive German priest, repeats Fr. Lombardi (Catholic News Agency) [26 March 2010]

New York Times Tries to Keep Flame Alive (Bill Donohue, Catholic League) [26 March 2010]

New York Times again seeks to link Pope to abuse scandal (Catholic Culture) [26 March 2010]


Irish Sexual Abuse Scandal


Irish bishops meet with abuse survivors to prepare for meeting with Pope (Catholic News Agency) [9 February 2010]

Abuse survivors are ‘top priority’ on agenda of Irish bishops’ summit with Pope (Catholic News Agency) [15 February 2010]

Pope finds weak faith at source of Irish clerical sex abuse (Catholic News Agency) [16 February 2010]

Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland (Pope Benedict XVI) [19 March 2010]

The church should resist mood for a wider inquiry (David Quinn, The Independent [Ireland] ) [19 March 2010]

Papal letter to Ireland urges abuse victims to look to Jesus Christ’s healing power (Catholic News Agency) [20 March 2010]

Aide: Pope Against Culture of Silence (Zenit) [21 March 2010]

Media Attacks Mounting against Pope over Irish Abuse Letter (Hilary White, LifeSiteNews.com) [22 March 2010]

Landmark Pastoral Letter Sparks Mixed Reactions (Michael Kelly, The Catholic World Report) [22 March 2010]

The End of Euphemism: Benedict XVI and the corruptions of Catholic Ireland (George Weigel, National Review Online) [22 March 2010]

The Press and the Pope's Letter on Sex Abuse (Zenit) [23 March 2010]

Archbishop describes Pope’s response to abuse crisis as ‘strong and clear’ (Catholic News Agency) [24 March 2010]

Irish bishop apologizes to abuse victims and retires from post (Catholic News Agency) [24 March 2010]

Holy Father accepts no excuses for clerical abuse, affirms cardinal (Catholic News Agency) [25 March 2010]

Archbishop Rowan Williams should think twice before commenting on the Catholic sex abuse crisis… (Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph) [3 April 2010]

The Archbishop of Canterbury eats his words (Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph) [4 April 2010]

Archbishop of Canterbury apologizes for saying Church in Ireland ‘has lost all credibility’ (Catholic Culture) [5 April 2010]

Pope accepts resignation of Irish bishop, former papal secretary (Catholic Culture) [24 March 2010]

Pope accepts resignation of another Irish bishop (Catholic Culture) [21 April 2010]

Pope accepts Kildare Bishop's resignation
(Garry O'Sullivan, The Irish Catholic) [22 April 2010]

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General / Extreme Anti-Catholic Media Bias / American Sexual Abuse Scandal / Tucson Abuse Case / Non-Catholic Clerical Abuse Statistics


"The myth of the pedophile priest" (Philip Jenkins, Zenit) [11 March 2002]

Scandalous Sexual Misconduct Committed by Protestant Clergy (edited by Dave Armstrong) [13 October 2005]

"It Ain't Just Catholic Priests": More Resources on Shocking Statistics of Sexual Abuse and Molestation by Protestant (and Orthodox & Jewish) Clergy (Dave Armstrong) [5 November 2007]

Benedict on a mission of healing (Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, National Post [Canada] ) [16 April 2008]

Benedict kept ahead of sexual-abuse issue (Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, National Post [Canada] ) [21 April 2008]

Links to Articles Concerning the Catholic Pedophilia Scandal (Dave Armstrong) [22 April 2008]

Victims of abuse recall meeting with pope (Patricia Rice, Saint Louis Platform) [25 April 2008]

Vatican Sets Record Straight on Sexual Abuse (Abp. Silvano Tomasi, Address to the United Nations) [22 September 2009]

US Prelate: Church Doing More to Keep Children Safe: Study Shows Sharp Decline in abuse Cases (Zenit) [17 November 2009]

Vatican Note on Sexual Abuse of Minors (Fr. Federico Lombardi, Zenit) [9 March 2010]

Vatican: Abuse Scandal a Problem for Society (Zenit) [9 March 2010]

Pope showed wisdom and firmness against abuses as CDF prefect, says Msgr. Scicluna (Catholic News Agency) [13 March 2010]

Our German Shepherd Under Attack
(The American Catholic) [13 March 2010]

Vatican rushes to Pope's defense against calumnious press (The Benedict Blog) [14 March 2010]

Due to Pope's rigor, sex abuse victims are rendered justice, writes Italian bishop (Catholic News Agency) [15 March 2010]

Promoting Justice, Prosecuting Paedophiles (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register) [15 March 2010]

Pope Seen as a Leader Ridding the Church of "Filth" (Zenit) [16 March 2010]

Benedict XVI's Condemnation of Sexual Abuse Crisis (Zenit) [16 March 2010]

Will Ratzinger's past trump Benedict's present? (John L Allen Jr, National Catholic Reporter) [17 March 2010]

If the Pope is responsible, what about the Secretary of Education? (Carl Olson, Ignatius Insight Scoop) [17 March 2010]

Criticism of Catholic Church is unfair (Bill Donohue, CNN.com) [19 March 2010]

In Defense of the Catholic Clergy or Do We Want Another Reign of Terror? (Elizabeth Lev, Politics Daily) [21 March 2010]

The myth of pedophile priests (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head) [22 March 2010]

The Real Problem Beneath the Pedophilia (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head) [22 March 2010]

“A step comparable to a parent who denounces his or her own child”: A different perspective (David Schutz, Sentire Cum Ecclesia) [22 March 2010]

Mexican archdiocese notes firm condemnation of abuse by Pope Benedict (Catholic News Agency) [22 March 2010]

Clergy Sexual Abuse: Separating Fact, Fiction, and Anti-Catholic Bias (Scott P. Richert, About.com) [23 March 2010]

Audit reveals decrease in US cases of clerical sexual abuse (Catholic News Agency) [23 March 2010]

Media Mostly Ignore Sex Abuse Data (Catholic League) [24 March 2010]

Six important points you don't hear about regarding clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church: More myths than facts in Catholic clergy sexual abuse discussions
(Thomas Plante, Psychology Today) [24 March 2010]

Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal and Cover-Up Fully Exposed and Explained (The Catholic Knight) [24 March 2010]

Clerical abuse reports being exploited to discredit Catholics, Elizabeth Lev charges (Catholic News Agency) [24 March 2010]

A Response to Christopher Hitchens' "The Great Catholic Coverup"
(Sean Murphy, Catholic Education Resource Center) [24 March 2010] -- copious documentation and footnotes

Pope's critics must get their facts straight (Abp. George Pell, The Australian) [24 March 2010]

Sexual abuse is society's problem, too
(Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture) [25 March 2010]

Cardinal Ratzinger acted powerfully against abusers, says Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Damian Thompson, Telegraph.co.uk) [26 March 2010]

Keeping the record straight on Benedict and the crisis (John L Allen Jr, National Catholic Reporter) [26 March 2010]

President of the Italian Senate condemns 'unmerited' attacks on Pope Benedict (Catholic News Agency) [27 March 2010]

'The Pope Must Resign'? Bishops Respond (National Catholic Register) [28 March 2010]

Why can't the media treat the Pope fairly? (Andrew M. Brown, Telegraph [UK] ) [28 March 2010]

Spreading the Big Lie: Why did the Washington Post choose Palm Sunday to publish an ignorant and malicious piece by Sinead O’Connor on abuse in the Catholic Church? (George Weigel and Rev. Jay Scott Newman, National Review Online) [29 March 2010]

Weigel: NY Times trying to discredit Church using sex abuse (Catholic News Agency) [29 March 2010]

Scoundrel Time(s) (George Weigel, First Things) [29 March 2010]

Prelate: Church has no hiding place for pedophiles (Zenit) [29 March 2010]

Italian bishops back Pope, deplore media attacks (Catholic News Agency) [30 March 2010]

To Whom Shall We Go? (Abp. Dolan) [30 March 2010]

U.S. bishops profoundly grateful for Pope's work in combating sexual abuse (Catholic News Agency) [30 March 2010]

US Bishops Laud Pope's Response to Child Abuse (Zenit) [30 March 2010]

MSNBC Libels the Pope (Bill Donohue, Catholic League) [30 March 2010]

NBC Apologizes for MSNBC's Hit on the Pope (Bill Donohue, Catholic League) [30 March 2010]

Going for the Vatican Jugular (Bill Donohue, Catholic League; NY Times Op-Ed page ad) [30 March 2010]

Pope Benedict being 'scourged at the pillar,' says New York archbishop (Catholic News Agency) [30 March 2010]

Holding the New York Times accountable (Catholic Culture) [31 March 2010]

The dictatorship of relativism strikes back—and goes nuclear (John Stephenson [Lutheran], Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology) [31 March 2010]

Holy Week's Sore Loser: Christ's Victory Over Sin Chafes Forces of Evil (Elizabeth Lev, Zenit) [1 April 2010]

Cardinal Scola Addresses Sexual Abuse Crisis (Zenit) [1 April 2010]

Attempts to Censor Donohue Fail (Catholic League) [1 April 2010]

Bishop defends Vatican’s handling of Tucson abuse cases (Catholic Culture) [1 April 2010]

Bishop Kicanas' response to Star's questions (Arizona Daily Star) [1 April 2010]

Support for our Pope — From the East
(Robert Moynihan, Inside the Vatican) [1 April 2010]

Vatican Goes on the Offensive (Catholic League) [2 April 2010]

New story trying to implicate Pope Benedict is “misleading” says the Vatican (Catholic News Agency) [3 April 2010]

Fr. Lombardi on Teta Case (Vatican Radio) [3 April 2010]

Vatican responds to media distortions on Tucson abuse cases (Catholic Culture) [5 April 2010]

Benedict XVI and the child abuse crisis: the Telegraph's view (Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph) [5 April 2010]

Gay Cover-Up Must End (Catholic League) [5 April 2010]

Vilifying the Vicar of Christ is Nothing New (Judie Brown, American Life League) [5 April 2010]

The Pope is vilified; Polanski indulged (Dominic Lawson, The Independent) [20 April 2010]

You stitched up the Pope and this is how you did it, law professor tells New York Times (Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph) [21 April 2010]

Jewish Advice: Be Proud You Are Catholic (Danielle Bean, National Catholic Register) [21 April 2010]

Pedophilia is not linked to celibacy, but homosexuality, says Cardinal Bertone (Catholic News Agency) [13 April 2010]

Cardinal Bertone correct in linking clerical sex abuse and homosexuality, says psychiatrist (Catholic News Agency) [16 April 2010]

Vatican: Letter endorsing abuse cover-up shows why Curia was reformed (Catholic News Agency) [16 April 2010]

Anti-Catholicism and the New York Times (Pat Buchanan, CNSNEWS.com) [6 April 2010]

Cardinal Ruini speaks on Pope Benedict and 'cleaning' of the Church (Catholic News Agency) [15 April 2010]

Canon lawyer: New guide on responding to abuse shows Church is serious (Catholic News Agency) [12 April 2010]

National Review editor responds to Maureen Dowd's latest attack on the Church (Catholic News Agency) [8 April 2010]

Sins of priests cannot be applied to entire Church, cardinal says of abuses (Catholic News Agency) [7 April 2010]

Rabbi calls media coverage of Church abuse scandal one-dimensional (Catholic News Agency) [7 April 2010]

The Lessons of the Scandal: Hypocrisy and Discipline (Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture) [13 April 2010]

When Should a Bishop Expose a Priest to Civil Authority? (Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture) [20 April 2010]

Sexual abuse is society's problem, too (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture) [25 March 2010]

Journalists abandon standards to attack the Pope (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture) [10 April 2010]

How Pope Benedict handled abuse: two revealing case studies (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture) [17 April 2010]

Church will act against sex abuse, pope promises victims (Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service) [21 April 2010]

Catholic Church Among ‘Safest Places’ for Children (Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Catholic Exchange) [10 April 2010]

An Open Letter to Hans Küng (George Weigel, First Things) [21 April 2010]


Uploaded on 26 March 2010. Latest update: 21 April 2010

98 comments:

Andrew Preslar said...

Dave,

Thanks for this post. I have been trying to gather similar material, in order to better understand the situation.

Although it pales in comparison to the horror of child abuse, it is depressing to see the manner in which Protestant ideologues, such as Carl Trueman of Westminster Theological Seminary, use this tragedy as a means of scoring points in their personal debate with the Catholic Church.

That kind of thing is sick, as well as illogical. The arguments (or insinuations) of Trueman and his ilk could just as easily be used to undermine the integrity of the institution of the family (due to domestic child abuse) and the anarchic, Protestant ecclessial community, wherein everyone does what is right in his own eyes (including widespread child molestation).

Dave Armstrong said...

Yep. Well, as we know, any stick used to bash the Catholic Church will be utilized. This one is particularly effective, because if we object to the unfairness of the critiques and note that we aren't isolated at all in these problems, then we are accused of topic-switching and minimizing the real problems that exist in our ranks.

So we are expected either to sit and say nothing in our defense, no matter how outrageous the charges or media coverage, or if we respond, then we get a bunch of other crap.

This is one reason why Jesus urged us to look at our own sins and our own house first, rather than that of others.

Protestants have contended for centuries that Catholic intolerance is unique, too, as if they didn't have similar problems and scandals, historically. And that is why I document their historical intolerance (with an entire web page): not to make out that we were specially tolerant, but to show that we weren't the only ones who thought and acted as we did in the Middle Ages.

Same thing here. The Catholic Church is being singled out as if we are the only ones who have a problem of sexual abuse in our ranks. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And now, beyond that, there is the deliberate attempt to go after the Holy Father, because it is understood that he is the top man, so that if he is discredited and lied about, then there can be immense ramifications for Catholicism itself. It is greatly desired that the pope and the top levels of the Church hierarchy are implicated, so that the entire religion can be "refuted" as a big sham and wickedness (which is what the anti-Catholics have held all along anyway).

None of this should surprise anyone.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

First, I think it would behoove us to acknowledge at the outset that everyone has an agenda when they write. I don't subscribe to the non-agenda driven theory.

Having said that, it makes no sense to me to pick on Carl Trueman and his "ilk." As far as I can tell he is dead-on in his assessment. And knowing him personally, he does not spend any time discussing this issue outside of the context in which it is raised.

He is not one, for example, to talk at any length regarding Catholic doctrine, much less Catholic scandals in a worship service setting. His sermons are always expository in nature. No, if it is needful, he discusses Protestant and human condition behavioural issues, if connected to and within the context of his sermons. He is much harder on his own "house" than on any other. The written articles for Reformation 21 and others, of course, are in a more academic context.

The problem, as I see it, is this: until Evangelicals get responses from Catholics which don't appear to us to be justifications for inaction, or worse, enabling, on the part of the RCC hierarchy, I'm afraid you're going to get a lot more of the challenging questions and demands for answers from all quarters.

"You guys have these problems too" is not a rational response to our questions, and frankly, makes you seem inappropriately defensive regarding the scandal.

And what complicates the problem is the RCC claim to be the "One True Church." In addition, many Catholics have told me that the Church is perfect and never in need of reformation, which in our view, and in light of these developments, strikes us as absurd.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

And now, beyond that, there is the deliberate attempt to go after the Holy Father, because it is understood that he is the top man, so that if he is discredited and lied about, then there can be immense ramifications for Catholicism itself. It is greatly desired that the pope and the top levels of the Church hierarchy are implicated, so that the entire religion can be "refuted" as a big sham and wickedness (which is what the anti-Catholics have held all along anyway).

It would be my hope that individual believers would not use the sinful behaviours of others to bolster their doctrinal disagreements. But let's be fair. I have had to contend personally with such attacks from Catholics, defending Luther against attacks which are meant to discredit him and nullify what I personally believe. It doesn't matter to them that I find my doctrine in the Scriptures, not in following Luther, Calvin or others. Since it serves their purposes to discredit the Reformers, then my beliefs, they think, have been thoroughly discredited.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: It doesn't matter to them that I find my doctrine in the Scriptures, not in following Luther, Calvin or others.

Adomnan: Oh. I thought you were a Calvinist. Thanks for the correction.

But then why do you use the monicker "Pilgrimsarbour"? The New England Pilgrims were Calvinists. It's confusing. Maybe it's not a reference to them?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

And thank you, Andrew, for that interesting article by Father Jonathan Morris at Fox News. I wish it could have been more specific; "Protestant denominations" is quite broad. I am, of course, most interested in stats involving conservative Evangelical denominations since liberal Protestant problems in this area are well known to us. The full embracing of homosexuality by many liberal Protestant churches, for example, is a primary reason why many people are leaving these denominations in droves.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

"Calvinism" is shorthand for Reformed theology. If I call myself a Calvinist (which I generally do not--others often do) it's because I subscribe to the doctrines of grace as indicated in the Scriptures and systematically put forth by men such as Calvin. This doesn't mean that I "follow" Calvin. I'm certain there are things with which I would disagree with Calvin, if I were as familiar with him as some people are. As it is, I do not feel a weight of necessity to be "fully versed" in John Calvin's teachings. If I had my "druthers," I would prefer to be called merely a Christian, a disciple of Christ, a conservative Christian, or a Reformed believer.

Regarding my moniker, it is a reference to Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, in which Christian, in his journey to the Celestial City, comes upon a place of rest called "Pleasant Arbour."

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: I subscribe to the doctrines of grace as indicated in the Scriptures and systematically put forth by men such as Calvin. This doesn't mean that I "follow" Calvin.

Adomnan: I would say that people who believe they are just being scriptural are in fact following a tradition that is not really founded on the Bible, but on the speculations of men like Calvin. Often they aren't aware of how much they are basing their beliefs on ideas that are tacitly, even unconsciously, assumed and never challenged.

Unscriptural ideas that are ascribed to the Bible but really come from Luther, Calvin and others include key concepts like penal substitutionary atonement, the so-called imputed righteousness of Christ (Melanchthon) and a reading of Paul that sees his "works of the Law" as being generic good works or human efforts rather than works peculiar to Judaism (the Law, Torah). "Symbolic" understandings of the sacraments would also fall into this category. In the Bible, sacraments were effective.

Adomnan said...

Re the New York Times's current campaign against Pope Benedict XVI: It will be interesting to see if Protestant fundamentalists will try to climb on the Times's anti-Catholic bandwagon. Given that the NYT is an atheistic, highly "progressive" publication with little credibility in the conservative community, it would hardly be consistent for any kind of conservative suddenly to take it seriously.

The NYT's very ambitious goal -- which this nearly bankrupt rag is unlikely to pull off -- is to create a trumped-up scandal (about a "cover-up" like Nixon's) that will force the Pope to resign, with the hope that he'll be followed by someone more "progressive."

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Tim,

The problem, as I see it, is this: until Evangelicals get responses from Catholics which don't appear to us to be justifications for inaction, or worse, enabling, on the part of the RCC hierarchy, I'm afraid you're going to get a lot more of the challenging questions and demands for answers from all quarters.

You got that in several of the articles, which detailed how things have gotten a lot better since the new very strict criteria that were implemented around 2003. Notice that the recent allegations (the German and Wisconsin stuff) are all about events of quite a while ago. So yes, it was despicable. No one denies that. But I don't see anyone praising inaction or trying to justify what happened. That's certainly not my purpose. The Wisconsin and German scandals are being trumpeted (clearly) precisely because it is thought that the pope was implicated.

I should make it clear, too, that most of this comes from liberal, secular anti-Catholicism, which is cultural and emotional in nature rather than theological and doctrinal.

"You guys have these problems too" is not a rational response to our questions, and frankly, makes you seem inappropriately defensive regarding the scandal.

I don't do that in order to justify, but (as always) to provide balance, just as I explained is the reason why I discuss the sins of historic Protestantism. IOW, it is not trying to rationalize any actual sins committed; only to counteract the huge misimpression that somehow, these sins are far, FAR more prevalent within Catholicism than they are in Protestant or general cultural circles.

Personally, I haven't tried to minimize anything at all. When the first scandal hit I had links to many of Rod Dreher's articles, which were some of the hardest-hitting,. most bitter ones (so much so that he later left the Church over the issue).

IMO, these scandals flow from the lack of faith that results from liberal pastors, and from active homosexuality. It is the fruit of liberalism in the Church and inaction regarding same. In most cases, bishops are to blame (as I see it). Bishops have total jurisdiction in their own domain. Popes don't try to run everything from Rome. That's not how it works.

And what complicates the problem is the RCC claim to be the "One True Church."

I don't see how sin disproves that. That argument fails, just by looking at, e.g., the Galatian and Corinthians churches in Scripture.

In addition, many Catholics have told me that the Church is perfect and never in need of reformation,

I don't know what Catholics you meet. I don't believe I've ever heard a Catholic say such a ridiculous thing in my 20 years as a Catholic. Some of these might be referring strictly to doctrine. We could say that, just as we say that the apostolic deposit was whole and entire and doesn't change (except for non-essential development). I don;t see how any sane, conscious person, however, could say that about morals and conduct, etc.

which in our view, and in light of these developments, strikes us as absurd.

It is absurd (if meant in the second, moral sense). I just don;t know where you hear these things. Can you give me a few examples from written sources? I'm curious.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Tim,

Thanks for your comments, by the way. I wish I had 100 thoughtful, intelligent, committed Protestants like you commenting here all the time.

I have had to contend personally with such attacks from Catholics, defending Luther against attacks which are meant to discredit him and nullify what I personally believe.

Many may in fact do that. People do lots of stupid stuff all the time. I had a dispute with Matthew Bellisario when I thought he was smearing Martin Luther unfairly. Then he started attacking me personally. Well, fine. Truth is truth. I defend anyone I think is being unfairly treated, no matter how much I may disagree with him. That is my record. And you know this.

The reason I point out unpleasant facts about the "Reformers" is not because I think it disproves Protestantism, but because it disproves commonly-held myths about the founders of Protestantism, or early Protestants as a whole, which are in turn used to discredit Catholicism.

It's about facts and truth and fairness (hearing both sides). Period. I do think, however, that truth and personal character are not completely unrelated. There is a reason for the early Christians being pretty saintly, holy people, after they were indwelt with the Spirit and regenerated at Pentecost and/or at baptism.

In any event, many people misunderstand my motivations for dealing with the early history of the Protestant Revolution. There is no reason why this should be so, as I have explained it 20 times at the least.

Anyone can comprehend my stance on this by reading the Introduction to my Luther book:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2008/04/books-by-dave-armstrong-martin-luther.html

I also explained in detail my position on this in my paper: Why I Sometimes Write About "Bad" & Scandalous Stuff Concerning Early Protestant Leaders (aka "Reformers"):

Excerpt:

***

[M]y purpose is to point out the double standard. It is within the context of the abominable treatment that Catholics receive (esp. from anti-Catholics) and the endless trumpeting of all of the faults of Catholic history, that I bring these things up.

My point is: if you (Protestants) insist on misrepresenting our beliefs and practices and grossly overemphasizing the things we actually have done wrong in the past, then at least have the intellectual consistency and fairness of mind to also be upfront and honest about the skeletons in your closet. And explain why the double standards are applied.

But beyond that apologetic/polemical purpose, it is also true that I simply like to examine things in history that don't "fit into the accepted grid," so to speak.

It's similar to how Rush Limbaugh talks about his show: the culture, academia, the entertainment industry, the media, etc. are overwhelmingly liberal, so he comes along (back in 1988) and gives a politically conservative presentation and it is Chicken Little. But then he notes how he is one relatively lone voice, so why the big fuss?

It was because his position was not supposed to be heard at all. It was held down because of prejudice and misinformation and the assumption that liberalism is the only "respectable" position, the only one worthy to be heard and promulgated on a mass scale.

Well, it is like that with many Protestants. Their version of Christian history gets broadcast in Christian circles, while ours is pilloried and mocked and presented only in the most jaded, distorted terms.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

So a guy like me comes around and "turns the tables" by not only giving our side of famous issues that we are looked down for (Galileo, Crusades, Inquisition, Honorius, the excommunication of Luther, etc.), but also examining some of the scarcely-known "skeletons in the closet" of Protestants, such as the present topic, Luther's espousal of the death penalty, Calvin's distortions of the very teachings of Trent in his effort to "refute" them, Zwingli's secret concubine, the widespread theft of Church property, sanctioned by anti-Catholicism, etc.

I should think all of this is obvious (i.e., why I would do this at all), but I suppose it is worthwhile for me to explain where I am coming from in these matters once in a while.

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/05/why-i-sometimes-write-about-bad.html

***

Likewise, I don't point out Protestant sexual abuse statistics to disprove that Catholics have this sin in our ranks, or that we are not sinful, but to demonstrate that we are not uniquely sinful, which is often the thrust of so many articles about this horrid stuff.

It doesn't matter to them that I find my doctrine in the Scriptures, not in following Luther, Calvin or others.

I don't know who the "them" are to which you refer. For my part, I do historical analyses for the reasons I give above, and because I love history and finding obscure facts in the first place. I deal with the scandalous stuff but I also find things like 50 areas where Calvinists and Catholics can agree. Imagine an anti-catholic writing a paper about 50 ways in which Calvinists and Catholics agree! :-) That just doesn't happen.

Since it serves their purposes to discredit the Reformers, then my beliefs, they think, have been thoroughly discredited.

Many Protestant polemicists have tried to discredit Catholicism because of the Crusades, Inquisition, whoring popes, the moral degeneracy and corruption of the 16th century (that no one denies), and a host of other things. Jack Chick invents all kinds of myths.

Therefore, my position is that if Protestants wish to be cynically selective or to distort the historical facts and exaggerate sins (the "Inquisition killed 8 million people" ludicrous fact-annihilating mentality), then I will retort by simply telling the truth about actual facts of Protestant history.

My hope (like yours) is that both sides could forget about that and simply talk theology from the Bible. That's my specialty, you know: "biblical evidence for Catholicism." But it is so rare to find anyone who wants to do that. Look, e.g., at my most recent exchange, with the guy who accused me of doing the "worst exegesis ever" regarding 1 Timothy 3:15. I tried my hardest to engage him in biblical, theological discussion, but he wanted no part of that. It's there for all to see on my blog. I gave at least 20 different biblical arguments, but he concluded that I offered him no substance at all.

So biblical discussion can hardly take place if one side is utterly unwilling to do it, simply because there are serious, historic disagreements.

Instead, so many people on both sides want to engage in personal attack and talk about old sins or pretend that certain sins are only present on one side and not the other. That simply won't do, and as long as I am around, I will expose it for what it is.

Dave Armstrong said...

I am, of course, most interested in stats involving conservative Evangelical denominations

I provide plenty of those in my two fact-soaked papers:

Scandalous Sexual Misconduct Committed by Protestant Clergy

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2005/10/scandalous-sexual-misconduct-committed.html

"It Ain't Just Catholic Priests": More Resources on Shocking Statistics of Sexual Abuse and Molestation by Protestant (and Orthodox & Jewish) Clergy

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/11/it-aint-just-catholic-priests-more.html

In the first paper I cited examples from an article that detailed clergy abuse:

http://www.reformation.com/

It categorized 838 examples of offenses as follows:

***

147 Baptist Ministers

251 "Bible" Church Ministers (fundamentalist/evangelical)

140 Anglican/Episcopalian Ministers

38 Lutheran Ministers

46 Methodist Ministers

19 Presbyterian Ministers

197 various Church Ministers

***

By any reckoning, at least half of these cases occurred in circles you would consider "conservative" (the first two groups alone comprise almost half of the cases).

I also list a bunch of additional articles that give statistics. It is a very widespread problem.

For example, in the article, "Breaking Faith"
by Lynn Vincent - Cover Story of World Magazine on March 30, 2002, it is stated:

***

. . . No current theological breakdown of offending pastors exists, but a 1984 Fuller Seminary survey of 1,200 ministers showed one in five theologically conservative pastors admitting to some sexual contact outside of marriage with a church member, while over two-fifths of "moderate" and half of "liberal" pastors owned up to the same.

A Journal of Pastoral Care article summarizing a 1993 survey of Southern Baptist pastors showed 6 percent acknowledging sexual contact outside of marriage with someone in the congregation. Roy Woodruff, executive director of the 3,000-member Association of Pastoral Counselors, estimates that about 15 percent of pastors "either have [violated] or are violating sexual ethical boundaries."

http://www.peacemakers.net/clergysexualabuse/protestantsfacesexabuse.htm

By contrast, the percentage of Catholic priests known to have committed these horrendous sins are usually estimated at 1-2%.

Yet we are pretty much the only ones accused in secular media outlets. Why? I think I know why, but why do YOU think that is, seeing that these problems can be found everywhere, including in "conservative" or "evangelical Christianity"? The Bakker and Swaggart scandals were examples of this. That was what many people associated with "Christian sexual sin" until the priest sex scandals hit.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I came to my doctrinal convictions from the Scriptures long before I knew anything of John Calvin and his teaching, so your analysis fails in that respect. This is true for many Reformed people I know who found the doctrines of grace while reading the Scriptures, having limited-to-no knowledge of Reformed theology, or Reformation history and its players for that matter. Again I see this (apparently) RCC idea that no one can see these things in the Scriptures unless led by the hand to read the Reformers or their modern counterparts first. I reject that notion out of hand. It would be the same thing if you told me about an event or something you had discovered in your spiritual life and I said, "No. It didn't and couldn't happen that way." Wouldn't you think I was calling you a liar regarding your own (admittedly subjective, which makes it worse) life experience?

I seriously doubt (and I hope it's true) that conservative Evangelicals will jump on the NY Times bandwagon; we generally hate the damned thing. The thought of being in any way aligned with them is disgusting to us. I can't speak for everyone, of course.

I had conversations a few years ago with several Catholics and EOs in chat rooms who hold to the perfect Bride of Christ/Church paradigm. I didn't copy those conversations, though, so I can't pull up anything to support my statements on this. It was before I had my blog and started reading the current blogs that I read now, including yours, Dave. I cannot point to anything recent other than to recall hints of this from time to time in the comments of Matthew Bellisario and a guy named Dozie.

At any rate, I want my Catholic friends to know that I am sorry to hear of these terrible things. You may be surprised to hear that most, if not all of the Reformed brethren I know have no desire to trample on Catholic doctrine because of these behaviour scandals, with the exception of the doctrines on celibacy. Most that I know think it's bad argumentation and bad form to fault unrelated doctrines merely because of the bad behaviour of a church's adherents, even its hierarchy. As I have said before, though, this works on both sides of the Tiber. Dozie, in particular, is especially guilty of this "Luther and Calvin were bad so your theology stinks" paradigm, but would be aghast at any similar charge from our direction.

For now, though, consternation remains for us about what has been and what is being done about it. Hopefully newer information will be emerging that will help to clarify things, and perhaps the linked material is a good step toward this.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I don't have any particular problem with the statistics you have here. I can't confirm anything one way or the other. I have stated before that I do not want to make broad characterisations about the behaviours of adherents in various denominations. I even apologized once in print, you may recall, for stating that the sex abuse cases seemed to be more prevalent in the RCC than in Protestantism.

I'd like to know, though, about the disposition of these men. Were they outed and excommunicated? Were they reported to the police? How many repented, and were they restored to fellowship? And what percentage actually retained their official positions? Or were they systematically shuffled off to some other church where they could continue their heinous activity? These are the issues that must be addressed. You're going to have a tough time, though, finding anyone who wants to own Swaggart and Bakker, et al. Most of us Reformed folks think of those types (as well as the prosperity gospel gurus) as apostates and false believers.

As for why the RCC is the particular target of the secular ire...it's the biggest organisational and institutional target. It's big business. And you know how the leftys hate corporations. Like "big tobacco" and "big oil," it's like "big religion" or something. At least, that's as far as my thinking takes me at this point. What do you think? And remember, sexual abuse is far worse in their minds than strapping bombs to your body and blowing up people just so you can have your 72 vegans, or whatever the hell it is those people think they're going to get for obeying their "god."

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I came to my doctrinal convictions from the Scriptures long before I knew anything of John Calvin and his teaching, so your analysis fails in that respect.

I meant to indicate that I was addressing Adomnan regarding this particular point.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Not to make too light of this bad situation, but it's good to know that the Presbyterian offences are the lowest. If we're speaking of PCA or OPC, I suspect the reason is partially because of the stringent accountability and oversight that a non-independent denomination has. As it stands, I am unaware of any cases involving the OPC or the PCA. I could be wrong.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Most of us Reformed folks think of those types (as well as the prosperity gospel gurus) as apostates and false believers.

I meant to also say "false teachers."

But it's late. I shouldn't be up blogging at 4:13 a.m., and I expect I'll make more mistakes.

Good night, er, morning.

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pilgrimsarbour said...

A proud boast? No. I did not save myself, nor can anyone ever do so. Hear the words of the penitent disciple of Christ:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died;
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!


Text: Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
Music: Lowell Mason, 1792-1872
Tune: HAMBURG, Meter: LM

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Calvin’s doctrines, like those of Pelagius, actually deny the need for God’s grace! In neither system are we obliged to pray daily, “Forgive us our trespasses."

That's utter rubbish. All (at least conservative) Protestants pray daily for forgiveness. Every Lord's Day there is a special appointed place in the worship service for corporate prayer for forgiveness, followed by assurance of God's grace from the Scriptures. Reformed theology emphasises the necessity of repentance in the life of the believer.

But no doubt you'll tell me that Protestants don't actually do these things. I see a pattern emerging.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: I came to my doctrinal convictions from the Scriptures long before I knew anything of John Calvin and his teaching, so your analysis fails in that respect.

Adomnan: American evangelicalism is saturated with Calvinist/Reformation ideas. (Calvinism is not just predestinationism, of course.) You don't have to be familiar with the sources to have been exposed to the ideas, which are on TV, on the radio, the Internet, in tracts handed out on the street, etc. The basic facts are taught in high school history books. I, a Catholic with no interest in Calvin, knew about his ideology and, of course, the evangelical pseudo-gospel just by growing up in America. It would be truly remarkable if you had managed somehow never to come across any of this before picking up a Bible.

Pilgrimsarbour: I see this (apparently) RCC idea that no one can see these things in the Scriptures unless led by the hand to read the Reformers or their modern counterparts first. I reject that notion out of hand.

Adomnan: The fact is that nobody, absolutely nobody in all of history, believed in Reformational teachings before Luther (principally) and the other Reformers invented them. Nobody discovered them in the scriptures, although millions of men and women had read the scriptures (including all of the Church Fathers). So it is evident that, by whatever route they came to you, notions like penal substitution and the imputed righteousness of Christ (non-existent before the Reformation) could not have come to you from simply reading the Bible.

Otherwise, wouldn't there have been untold thousands of Luthers and Calvins, like you, before there was a Luther or a Calvin?

You picked up these concepts, probably half unconsciously from your environment, and then you read them into the Bible.

Leaving aside the extreme unlikelihood that the Bible contained key ideas that no one noticed until the 16th century, I can tell you that I have read the Bible and that it does not contain your doctrinal convictions. If you had not brought these convictions with you one way or another, you would never have found them in the scriptures, just as Ignatius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, the Cappadocians, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine, etc., etc., never found them.

Dave Armstrong said...

I think Ben means by "denying the need for grace" our view that it is an ongoing thing to receive it (IOW, progressive sanctification and infused justification, as we believe).

The Reformed say that salvation is received and is a past event, whereas we say it is an ongoing, day-to-day process of increasing in grace.

But as I have studied both systems, I think that practically speaking, there are many similarities. This is why I chose Book IV of the Institutes to interact with, because it had to do with ecclesiology and the sacraments, since I felt that our two belief-systems are so close on the other issues (again, in practical terms of how they work out) that there was little need to spend all that time on it.

Dave Armstrong said...

Why don't we try to talk with Pilgrim rather than "at" him? Let him explain his own beliefs. We can disagree and critique, but there is a way to do it that doesn't offend people, no? We don't like folks telling us what we believe, when they get it wrong, so let's try to do the same with others.

How much one is influenced by tradition in adopting their views, consciously or not, is a subjective judgment (and I do agree that Protestants pick up all kinds of Protestant traditions, while usually denying that they do).

We can bandy that about, but in the end I agree with pilgrim that we have to have discussions about biblical teaching and do comparative exegesis. If pilgrim thinks his views are eminently scriptural over against ours, then let him defend them as such, and we can discuss what the Bible actually teaches, with mutual respect and charity.

That is a proper way to go about it because it is going back to the earliest starting-point or premise where all Christians can agree (since all regard it as inspired revelation).

I am concerned that we treat our Protestant guests with special courtesy, since so few post here in the first place. It's slow enough as it is around here. Grubb is only an infrequent visitor now. Ken Temple went anti-Catholic, and he knows I ain't interested in interacting with those anymore, so he is mostly absent.

I guess I am the relatively more ecumenical sort, even though I issue my share of hard-hitting critiques of Protestantism.

I always have to be controversial no matter what! When I put out my Luther book I was accused of being a "Luther-hater" by some Lutherans, while some Catholics accused me of compromise and being soft on Luther when I pointed out areas of agreement (one-third of the book).

Of course, what I am about is simply following the truth: wherever it leads. So I criticize and disagree when I think it is necessary and note agreement and lack of conflict where that occurs. But demonstrated (historical) truth sometimes has a way of alienating people from all parts of the spectrum.

Adomnan said...

I don't doubt that you and the other Reformed pray for forgiveness, Pilgrimsarbour. After all, Jesus commanded us to.

I don't understand what your motivation is, though, aside from merely obeying an unfathomable command, given that you believe all your sins, past and future, have been forgiven. Why should you pray for something God has already accomplished? Wouldn't that imply some doubt that He has done what He promised to do?

It seems simple to me: If God has forgiven your sins, there's no point in asking Him to forgive them again.

Dave Armstrong said...

And I appreciate pilgrim's comments about the scandal. He is being very gracious to us, and thoughtful, in light of these tragedies in our midst. All the more reason to return the favor by lessening the Catholic polemics a bit, so he can enjoy his time here that much more, and we can actually come to know each other better as fellow Christians.

I guess I am urging both sides (mostly my own, which is only proper) to talk in the same way that conservatives and liberals in government need to learn to talk with each other, rather than doing spin and boilerplate, preaching to the choir, and trying to score points all the time.

I think I can see where both sides are coming from (having been an evangelical Protestant myself, too, though not a Calvinist) and am trying to find a sensible middle ground of approach and method (not of theology!) for all of us to occupy in these combox discussions.

Pilgrim is not an anti-Catholic. He doesn't approach things like those of that sub-group that we have observed, and that I have had exchanges with (well, attempted ones) in the past. He has always been gracious to me, even in hostile environments where it would have cost him to do so; thus I am sensitive more than I usually am to the goal of treating him courteously here. I don't want dialogues with him to go the way so much Protestant-Catholic discussion goes on the Internet: talking past each other and accomplishing little.

Perstanze?

Adomnan said...

Dave, my last post was a little snarky, I admit. I posted before I read your suggestions about ecumenism.

I wouldn't mind discussing specific Reformed beliefs with Pilgrimsarbour, but maybe it would be better for me to abstain and let someone who is less dismissive take over.

Dave Armstrong said...

Adomnan:

As I understand it, the Reformed position holds that we are to grow in sanctity, which is a day-by-day thing involving asking God's forgiveness when we sin. It is below the level of salvation itself, which is regarded as a done deal, that can't be lost, but it is still very real for the Reformed person.

This is where I say the two systems are practically indistinguishable. We categorize justification and sanctification differently, in the abstract, but it works out the same in practice.

The Catholic asks God's forgiveness on an ongoing basis, and so does the Reformed Protestant. But we think a serious sin can endanger our state of grace and indeed, possibly our salvation if left unrepented of. They do not think that, because of irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints (oe eternal security in Baptist-type circles).

OTOH, Calvin and Luther both make it clear that fruits of righteousness MUST be present in a Christian's life, so that if they are not, eventually it can be an open question whether the person really had been saved / justified / regenerated.

So I say the two approaches work out the same in the end: in real life: both sides urge an ongoing relationship with God, good works, the fruits of righteousness, and ongoing willingness to repent of our sins and have them forgiven by God.

We'll see who actually is saved in the end. Calvin taught that no one could know for sure who was elect. In the meantime it is our responsibility to follow God and obey His commandments. Neither Luther nor Calvin were antinomians.

Dave Armstrong said...

I don't want to stifle discussion, Adomnan. Feel free. I have seen many times how you have a soft side, too. :-) I just wanted certain things to be kept in mind, so that our Protestant friend is not offended or will want to leave.

It is difficult in some ways for all of us to talk across the sad Protestant-Catholic divide (it takes a lot of work and effort) but we have to find a way to do it or else Satan wins a victory by attaining more division in Christian circles.

Adomnan said...

What does "perstanze?" mean, Dave? Is that a stab at Italian?

Capisci?

Dave Armstrong said...

I see so many parallels to the fiasco that is Congress and national politics. If I were there I would do all I could to foster bipartisanship (the way Obama said he wanted to in his campaign). Likewise, in theological matters I try to be as ecumenical as I can without compromising any of my Catholic principles or beliefs.

How to do both things is tricky and involves lots of fine lines, but I am firmly convinced that it is possible.

Dave Armstrong said...

Perstanze means "understand" doesn't it? Is that Italian or German? LOL Maybe it's German, huh? :-)

Dave Armstrong said...

I did a quick search in both languages (online translators) and no results, so maybe it is a made-up thing, or Yiddish or sumpin'. But I have heard that a lot.

Adomnan said...

German has "Verstehst du?" or "Verstehen Sie?". The second one -- both mean "Understand?" --sounds a bit like "perstanze." Maybe that's what you've heard.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hi Dave,

I would agree, of course, with the concept of the need for the continual receiving of grace. Of course, I would say that it is grace for daily living, for honouring God in my behaviour as a disciple of Christ, as a child of the King; for sanctification, not for justification, as you well know.

As far as responding to Adomnan and Ben, we have been over all of this before so I have nothing new to add. They are wrong in much of their assessment of Protestantism in general, and Reformed theology in particular. We just see things way too differently to ever have any meaningful discussion. Neither of them seems able to distinguish between American Evangelicalism (broadly speaking) on the one hand, which is Arminian and generally dispensational, and Reformed theology (or "Calvinism," as they prefer to call it) on the other. They lump everything together under the category "Protestantism" or "heresy" and are happy to do so. In their world there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the theology of Jack T. Chick and that of B.B. Warfield. All Protestants are cut from the same cloth, and no amount of special pleading to the contrary on my part will suffice to change that.

In addition, in Adomnan's world, the Holy Spirit can never speak to an individual's heart, drawing him to Himself through God's Word, the Scriptures. It has to be that history, or society, or some other human mechanism has brought about my "conversion." And yes, salvation comes through Christ's representative body on this earth, His Church. Of course, we define "Church" differently, which is no surprise, and I don't fault him for that as he is being consistently Roman Catholic in espousing that perspective.

But in addition, he and I can't even agree on basic definitions of theological terminology in common usage today. We can't make any progress since he has his own unique understandings of these things. We're all "fundamentalists" in his view, which is, frankly, rather intellectually lazy, especially since I took pains previously to explain the differences.

And I have already broken (many times) my policy of not interacting extensively with anonymous commenters, that is, no profile, no blog, etc.

Hey Dave, maybe both you and I need to embrace "Promise Keepers?" ;-)

Blessings in Christ,

Tim

Dave Armstrong said...

SIGH. I think you are painting with a broad brush, just as you say your critics are. I observe shortcomings on both sides of this. But I don't want to get into the middle of that. I've said my piece.

Promises? Yeah, I've made resolutions and have later changed my mind or have fallen short of my intentions (or the resolution was unrealistic in the first place). I haven't, however, ever broken a "vow" or "oath" in my life because, to my knowledge I have only made one (my marriage) and that is still going strong after 25 years and running.

Yet it is still bandied about that I have supposedly broken nonexistent (i.e., non-marriage) vows, in the usual quarters. Nuthin' I can do about that. Some folks need insignificant diversions and fictional fantasies and myths to keep their minds occupied. I have far more important things to do.

But I do like mythology (Lord of the Rings, Wagnerian opera . . .), so I can even appreciate that on some level . . . :-) I suppose I have become a mythical figure, who does all kinds of mythical things that I never did. Perhaps I have wings and can fly. That would be fun! If a myth about me must be made up, at least it could be a fun one, huh?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hey Dave, maybe both you and I need to embrace "Promise Keepers?" ;-)

That was a throw-away line for light effect. Didn't mean to get all up in your grill, bro (my kids hate it when I say that kind of thing, and I always make sure I say it with as much formal, white suburban dialect as I can muster).

Now regarding the issue of prayer:

Aside from the fact that it is commanded by Christ Himself and the apostles, I pray because it is the way God has ordained that we communicate with Him. If I want to know and understand Dave Armstrong better, the best way to do that is to talk to him. Likewise, we grow closer to Christ and know and understand Him better by talking to Him, and He to us through His Word. Without that communication, our growth in Christ is sure to be stunted. It is cause and effect, but it's not God who is effected by my prayer; it's me.

Why specifically ask for forgiveness when it has already been granted? Because I need to be consciously aware of the ways in which I have offended Him on a daily basis. He has paid for my sins in a specific point in time, and from all eternity. But I only sin in a linear way in time; He has paid for sins I have no idea I will commit yet. I can think of it this way: every sin I commit is in a very real sense one more excrutiating agony I caused him on the cross all those years ago from my perspective.

Although it is a only a quote from the movie Shadowlands, it adequately expresses C.S. Lewis' thoughts on the matter:

"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time--waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God, it changes me."

I don't believe I can "change God's mind" through prayer as He is immutable. But what I can do is acknowledge my sins in real time which leads to my repentance in real time. I'll grow, through His grace, and be a better representative of Christ which is befitting a child of the King. Prayer changes me.

Adomnan said...

I'm not perplexed that Reformed people pray. There are lots of reasons to pray. As you suggest, Pilgrimsarbour, it's simply a way of conversing with God.

What I find perplexing is that you would pray for forgiveness when you believe you're already forgiven.

Now, you write: "Why specifically ask for forgiveness when it has already been granted? Because I need to be consciously aware of the ways in which I have offended Him on a daily basis."

This mental assessment of the day is not the same as asking for forgiveness. It's called an examination of conscience. You would be consistent if, after identifying your daily failures, you prayed to God asking Him to help you overcome them with His grace. But that's not the same thing as requesting forgiveness.

The Lutherans and Reformed have traditionally defined justification as being in considerable measure simply the forgiveness of sins. Or, at least, forgiveness of all sins, past, present and future, comes with justification. Now you don't need to pray for justification, having achieved it, and so you don't need to pray for forgiveness of sins.

But perhaps when you think of it, you aren't actually praying for forgiveness of sins? You are, as you say, simply examining your conscience and asking God to aid you in your daily struggle with sin.

I agree with you that God doesn't change. He is so immutable that He is not affected in any way by anything we do (being all Act, nothing passive), which is why Christ's sacrifice did nothing for God, only for us. No payment was made to the Father for forgiveness of sins (which would be a contradiction in terms), no penal substitution and no
satisfaction of wrath or justice. Christ was "set forth," as Paul says, as an expiation for our sins. The Father sent the Son to change us, not to affect Himself.

Pilgrimsarbour: "Every sin I commit is in a very real sense one more excrutiating agony I caused him on the cross all those years ago from my perspective."

Adomnan: I disagree. Some Catholics also share the idea that Jesus suffers for every sin committed. But there is no Biblical evidence for this, and it was not taught by the Fathers. Christ defeated "sin in the flesh" on the Cross. He didn't pay the Father for every individual sin, a payment the Father didn't need and didn't want.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: They are wrong in much of their assessment of Protestantism in general, and Reformed theology in particular. We just see things way too differently to ever have any meaningful discussion. Neither of them seems able to distinguish between American Evangelicalism (broadly speaking) on the one hand, which is Arminian and generally dispensational, and Reformed theology (or "Calvinism," as they prefer to call it) on the other. They lump everything together under the category "Protestantism" or "heresy" and are happy to do so.

Adomnan: I don't mind that you assess my (and Ben's) views in this way. Perhaps I do give this impression. However, I am in fact well aware of the differences between Calvinist and Arminian teachings. Arminians are synergists who believe that people cooperate with God's grace in justification and that predestination depends to some extent on God's foreknowledge of this cooperation. Calvinists are monergists who believe that the human will is entirely passive and acted on by God in justification and does not freely cooperate. Predestination, in their view, is an absolute decree of God totally independent of His foreknowledge of cooperation with grace, a oooperation that does not, as already indicated, even occur (in justification, at least) in the Calvinist view.

By the way, both Calvinists and Arminians are "Reformed." It is as improper to apply the term "Arminian" to Lutherans or Catholics or Orthodox or other non-Reformed Christians as it is to apply the term "Calvinist" to members of non-Reformed communions.

So, while I understand these distinctions, I am not personally that interested in focusing on them. Even Catholics can be fairly rigorous predestinarians -- I'm not -- without falling into heresy, as long as they don't espouse predestination to damnation (as the Jansenists did).

What interests me more than these issues is what all the Reformed (both Calvinist and Arminian) and their numerous offshoots (which include Revivalism) have in common: concepts like penal substitution, the imputed righteousness of Christ and a reading of Paul that generalizes his "works of the Law" to refer to good works and human efforts. I also take exception to the Reformed understanding of the sacraments.

So, the fact that I don't focus on your Calvinist distinctives in contrast with Arminianism doesn't mean I am ignorant of them.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: In addition, in Adomnan's world, the Holy Spirit can never speak to an individual's heart, drawing him to Himself through God's Word, the Scriptures.

Adomnan: On the contrary, I don't think anyone comes to Christ without the Holy Spirit drawing him because faith is a gift of God, as Paul writes in Ephesians.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Body and the bond of love. Thus, I believe the Holy Spirit will ultimately draw souls into communion with the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church, however circuitous the route.

Pilgrimsarbour: It has to be that history, or society, or some other human mechanism has brought about my "conversion."

Adomnan: I'm in no position to judge your conversion, and I hope I would never be so presumptuous as to do so. You don't pass a global judgment on our faith as Catholics, despite your reservations and personal convictions, and I won't either.

What I find puzzling is your seeming assertion that you came to specifically Reformed (or Calvinist) convictions simply by reading the Bible, without any exposure to these views. I don't see how that is possible given that so many people read the Bible before Luther/Calvin and none of them discovered Calvinism in it.

Ben M said...
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Pilgrimsarbour said...

Ah, it's useless. This is my last comment on this subject.

"'I know enough of the Gospel; I can read it for myself; what need have I of your assistance?'"

You project that onto me, and certainly onto all Protestants. I know that it's true at least some of the time within Evangelicalism, but not always.

But I have never, at any time in my spiritual journey, believed this. I have consistently sought out help from believers I respect and am in submission to the Word of God and to the elders of my church. I have been corrected regarding doctrinal matters by dear brethren at several points in my life, and I am glad to be corrected by them.

These men are, of course in your view, heretics and illegitimate authorities, so it really doesn't matter to you what I say about them and my relationship to them.

On the other hand, to say that no one can ever understand anything they read in the Bible without first checking it with some mysterious and unverifiable "infallible human interpreter(s)," makes a mockery of language and God's gift of reason.

Be well.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour, your testimony is very confusing. On the one hand, you've told us -- or at least that's how I've interpreted you -- that you arrived at your Reformed beliefs simply by reading the Bible, without any prior knowledge of them.

Now you're saying, "But I have never, at any time in my spiritual journey, believed this. I have consistently sought out help from believers I respect and am in submission to the Word of God and to the elders of my church."

This would certainly suggest that you did not naively approach the Bible and come across Reformed teaching in it, but were in fact guided at all times in your spiritual journey by believers you respect.

I'm not accusing you of inconsistency here. I'm just looking for clarification. When you suggest that someone totally unfamiliar with Calvinist doctrine will find it in the scriptures simply by picking them up and reading them, that does not fit in with historical experience and it doesn't seem to fit your experience either, now that you've described it in greater detail. Perhaps we have misunderstood you?

If, however, you were already familiar with Reformed tenets and then verified them by comparing them with what the Bible taught, we would disagree about whether scripture really witnesses to Reformed beliefs; but at least your account of your experience would be coherent and comprehensible.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: On the other hand, to say that no one can ever understand anything they read in the Bible without first checking it with some mysterious and unverifiable "infallible human interpreter(s)," makes a mockery of language and God's gift of reason.

Adomnan: I can see you're somewhat exasperated by Ben and me, and so I don't take offense at this sweeping statement. However, I think that, on closer reflection, you might agree that you're being unfair.

I affirm that much of the Bible is entirely understandable at first reading and that no interpretation is required, and I wager Ben agrees with me. In fact, the Church assumes as much when she fills her liturgy with passages from the Bible, Old and New Testaments. The priest usually comments on either the Gospel or Epistle reading of the day, maybe both; but he expects the basic message to have been heard and understood. He generally passes over the other readings without comment, because they don't need it.

Indeed, I find even some of the allegedly difficult Biblical writers, like Paul, to be quite clear. When I read Galatians and Romans, for instance, it is evident to me that Paul is combating a trend (called Judaizing by us) that maintains that Gentile Christians had to be circumcised and conform to the Torah to be accounted righteous before God. Paul, in these letters, explains that only faith and baptism are required to possess this righteousness, not Jewish works of Torah.

Yet I find that, as clear as Paul is, there are numberless folks who read all kinds of odd notions into his writings, notions about the "imputed righteousness of Christ" (even though Paul never mentions the "righteousness of Christ" in any of his letters and says that faith, not Christ's righteousnes, is imputed to Christians as their righteousness). They find something called "penal substitutionary atonement" in these letters, too, claiming that Paul preaches that the Father punishes the Son for other people's sins, even though there is nothing of the sort to be found in Paul or anywhere in the Bible. They assume moreover that Paul's rejection of Gentile adherence to Jewish Law implies that God does not take into account how one lives one's life at his tribunal of final justification, conflating Paul's "works of Torah" with good works and human efforts.

So there are all these confusions, emanating from mysterious and unverifiable sources, obscuring what Paul simply and lucidly taught. If only people would read the Bible with an open heart and an open mind, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and free from prejudices, I am convinced we'd be spared these confusions.

Ben M said...
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Ben M said...
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Adomnan said...

By the way, Pilgrimsarbour, if you'd like to have a conversation on this blog with Dave and prefer that I not participate, just tell me, and I'll bow out. I won't be offended. I realize that you feel we're too far apart in our views and approaches for us to have a useful exchange.

Ben M said...
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Pilgrimsarbour said...

Part 1

Gentlemen,

You're making me break my promise! But I think it would be kind of rude of me if I didn't respond. I'd rather be misunderstood and frustrated than rude. I apologise, though, if I have come across as rude.

Without going back and rereading all the comments, I'm not sure how the comment thread took this turn as it seems to have little to do with Dave's initial post. Nonetheless, I will try to answer your questions.

As a very young Christian in college, lo so many years ago, I was reading the gospel of John. While reading chapter 6, I was shocked and taken aback. I said to myself, "Is he really saying that no one can be a disciple of Christ unless God wills it to be so and gives that person to Christ?" Then I had discussions with friends of mine, one of which was "Reformed," though I did not know what that meant at the time. He confirmed for me that I was on the right track, though I understand you think I am not. I would agree, then, that with that new presupposition, everything else in the Bible I read that dealt with election, predestination, etc., was seen through the lens of my new understanding of John 6. I began to wonder what it truly meant that before knowing Christ I was "dead in sins and trespasses" (Eph. 2). I began to see that "you must be born again" (John 3) did not mean "you must born yourself again," which is a typically Evangelical Protestant way of looking at the passage; that is, God has done all He can and now the rest is up to you, which (in my view) certainly places limits on God's omnipotence and immutability. So the switch in emphasis from man's responsibility to God's freedom in mercy, grace and election, began at that point, though the full sytematic ramifications of it all would not work themselves out in my life until many years later.

So yes, it would be an overstatement on my part to claim that the Bible alone was my sole source of Reformed doctrine, which I did not intend to do. I was, however, zealous to convey that I believe fully that the Bible teaches these things, apart from what others have systematically written on them. Again, I realise you do not agree, but I really do not desire to get into a doctrinal discussion about it all right now. Admonan and I are particularly too far afield at this time, and I don't expect either of us to budge. In my view, our differences on the penal substitution issue are an insurmountable obstacle which I am not able to tackle in a coherent and consistent manner at this time.

So I did not mean to overstate my case, and perhaps I did. What I meant to say was that I initially read something which was later confirmed by someone far more knowledgeable than I whom I respected. I realise that you would not read those things in John 6 and other passages, but I am merely trying to clarify what I meant. On the other hand, my Catholic friends would do well to acknowledge reading the Scriptures through the Roman Catholic lens as well, especially concerning passages pertaining to Mary, the Saints, and other Roman Catholic distinctives.

(cont. in Part 2)

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Part 2

I guess, Ben, I really don't understand why you posted all this material on the Satan-ransom concept unless you think this is typical Protestant doctrine. I have never believed, even in my pre-Reformed days, (that is, I was never taught and cannot find it in the Scriptures), that Jesus' death was a ransom paid to Satan. I'm sure there are some Protestants who wrongly think and teach that. I don't know who they are; you may be able to point me to some Evangelical authors (who I suspect are not Reformed). The immediate problem is that the idea seems to create a cosmic dualism mentality--that Satan is on a par with God in his attributes, as if he were (particularly) omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and so forth. Satan is a created, fallen being, not on a par with God. This I learned very early on.

As far as praying for forgiveness when it has already been assured, I would say this: there is always a future expectation and hope which is not fully accessible by the present reality. There is the eschatological reality of the already and the not yet; that is, in this case, redemption as it is accomplished and applied. There is a natural tension between what Christ has accomplished at the cross and its application to us in the fullness of time and into eternity. We remain, after all, both sinners and saints. Simul justus et peccator I think Luther said. I know you don't agree with that statement, but again, just trying to clarify my position.

As another example of the already and the not yet, one might say, the Holy Spirit is called the earnest of our inheritance in anticipatory hope:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory (KJV).

We have Him fully now in our sanctification as He leads us into all truth and causes us to grow in grace and strength in the Lord. And yet we do not have Him fully. He is the earnest, the downpayment, the gurantee of our salvation in Christ which is both now and is yet to come. It's both/and, not either/or. ;-) @ Dave

Likewise, our forgiveness in Christ is both already and not yet. While we are assured of forgiveness, in much the same way as a child asks forgiveness from his father, knowing full well that he has it, nonetheless expresses to his father his sorrow at having disobeyed and disappointed him. The acknowledgement of sin is the first step to the reconciliation which has already been accomplished at the cross of Christ and which will be fully realised at the consummation of all things at the end of history when Christ returns and grants to us our glorified, resurrected bodies.

I hope this clears a few things up. I'll talk to you fellows anytime. I was just getting frustrated that I was apparently unable to convey my thoughts clearly which may be more my problem than yours. I also was under the impression that no matter what I said about what I believed, you were saying "No, you don't believe that." You don't offend me--merely exasperate! :-)

Dave Armstrong said...

my Catholic friends would do well to acknowledge reading the Scriptures through the Roman Catholic lens as well, especially concerning passages pertaining to Mary, the Saints, and other Roman Catholic distinctives.

Absolutely. I think everyone reads the Scripture according to some sort of lens; or they do not read it at all. It's like eyesight. If you don't have an eye, you don't see. The eye is necessary in order to do so. Likewise, everyone has an interpretive grid or framework or lens in reading the Bible, consciously or not.

I happen to think that the Catholic lens is the clearest by far: super 20-20. :-) The others are, in comparison, quite blurry. You could see the outlines of Scripture well with the vastly inferior lens, but when it comes to fine points and connecting all the dots to get a complete picture the lens isn't acutely focused enough to make them out properly.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I meant to give the Scripture reference in my post above regarding the Holy Spirit as our gurantee. It's Ephesians 1: 12-14.

Randy said...

Good article Dave. You should mention John Allen's two excellent pieces.

http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/keeping-record-straight-benedict-and-crisis

and

http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/will-ratzingers-past-trump-benedicts-present

I think I learned more from those articles than all the other ones combined.

Dave Armstrong said...

I'll have to add those to the list. Thanks much.

Dave Armstrong said...

Actually, the first article you mention, I already had listed (the very last one in my post).

Ben M said...
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Grubb said...

Hey guys,

I know I'm late to the discussion and may not have anything original to add, but I figured I'd join in. Unfortunately I don't have time to read all the previous comments; please let me know if I'm rehashing something that's already been settled.

I don't watch the news much, so I've seen very little of the "scandal". Here was my question when the big child molestation scandal broke 20 years ago and for today: If a pastor is to be above reproach (I Tim 3:2), how does the RCC or any Reformed Church justify keeping a pastor after he's proven to be a child molester or (for some Reformed Pastors) an adulterer? These 2 sins along with a few others are particularly heinous and would dissolve any credibility any pastor/priest has with his congregation. He would no longer be "above reproach".

And it's not enough just to move the clergyman to another location. He must be removed from the clergy altogether. If not, why not?
.

Dave Armstrong said...

I agree, and so does the Catholic Church. The policy now is very strong: such violating priests are removed from active priesthood and in the worst cases, laicized as well.

Why this didn't occur before is a good question, and very troubling to all of us. I have heard that many in the Church (particularly of a more liberal bent) had been naive about these sins and were inclined to adopt a relatively psychological perspective that anyone can be reformed by changing their environments.

I think any organization will be inclined to keep serious problems in the ranks a secret. We were no different. We should have been but we weren't. Such is sin and its dreadful effects.

The origins of the scandal as I see it is a lack of faith, liberalism, and too-widespread homosexual orientation and active homosexuality, leading to sexual sin. It was time to clean house, and now it is being done, thank God. It's too bad that such a horrible scandal had to occur for this to take place, but sadly, that is the human condition.

I had articles posted on wimpy, compromised bishops before the scandal ever hit: one in particular by Catholic layman James Hitchcock. And that is exactly where the locus of the scandal was.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Ben,

This excerpt from the Westminster Confession of Faith may help to clarify what I mean:

5. God continues to forgive the sins of those who are justified. Although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may by their sins fall under God's fatherly displeasure and not have the light of his countenance restored to them until they humble themselves, confess their sin, plead for pardon, and renew their faith and repentance (WCF 11:5, Modern Version).

You and I are in agreement that forgiveness is conditional in the sense that repentance and obedience are necessary components of salvation. Having said that, we believe that the only ones able to please God are the elect, those whom the Father has given to the Son for salvation. You and I would disagree, no doubt, on the ordo salutis. And I don't see repentance and obedience as meritorious works on our part, but rather the real outflowing of what is in the heart of the true believer. Hence these things add to a sense of assurance, which is, admittedly, a subjective thing.

On the other hand, we see forgiveness as being also unconditional in the sense that God does not require repentance before He gives the elect the ability to believe in Him. Once God has given His chosen ones a "heart of flesh" to replace our heart of stone, then we desire to repent and follow Him. We are not required to "clean up our act" before we come to Him to ask Him for forgiveness of our sins. Once we become a follower of Jesus Christ, a baptised believer in Him, an adopted child of the King, we are expected to behave as such. It's both/and, not either/or. ;-) @ Dave again.

Grubb,

This combox has gotten so far afield, I hardly know which end is up anymore! But I'll tell you this:

Some years ago we had an Associate Pastor who committed adultery. He professed repentance but was not as forthcoming with the details as he should have been, and the situation turned out to be much worse than we had thought. He was asked to step down from the ministry and has left altogether to pursue another career, which we thank God for and think is best for the health of our congregation in particular and for the health of the body in general.

Grubb said...

.

Grubb said...

Dave,

Sorry for the blank post. Every time I go to sign in, it says I can't have a blank comment box; and then when I sign in, it posts whatever I typed.

What does "removed from active priesthood" mean? Does that mean he's moved to a clerical position or some position not directly dealing with a congregation while "laicized" means kicked out of the priesthood completely? I presume somewhere in there is the "He has to answer to the local authorities and be tried as a criminal" clause. If not, why not?

I had typed some more but removed it. I'm really not trying to dog pile on the RCC, but I do hope these abuses are handled far better than the ones that came to light in the 80s (or was it the 90s?).


Pilgrimsarbour,

My best friend growing up was a youth pastor at a church where the head pastor committed adultery for years. When it came to light, half the congregation wanted to keep him while the other half didn't. By the grace of God, he repented, reconciled with his wife, and left the clergy without a fight. How can you trust a guy who for years preached one thing and lived another?

Adultery & pedophilia are 2 of the worst sins in our eyes because they betray 2 of the deepest trusts there are: husband-wife & mentor-child. I don't understand half the congregation wanting to keep a pastor who committed adultery for years. Clearly he's a skilled deceiver to keep it from the congregation & his wife for so long that it would be extremely hard to trust him even after he repented. And one could wonder whether his repentance was genuine or if he was just trying to save his job. The same goes for a priest or pastor who abused a child.

That's why a pastor/priest is to be "above reproach". After he loses the congregation's trust, it's monumentally difficult (if possible at all) to get it back.
.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Grubb,

I agree. For us it was never an issue of whether or not he should step down. The Presbytery would not have let us retain him in the light of his betrayal, even if we were inclined so to do. This is not to say that his repentance was nullified; we will never really know if he repented fully or not as that is between him and God. His wife divorced him, or as my Catholic friends say, there was an annulment.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Grubb,

What does "removed from active priesthood" mean? Does that mean he's moved to a clerical position or some position not directly dealing with a congregation while "laicized" means kicked out of the priesthood completely?

Yes; that is essentially what I meant.

I presume somewhere in there is the "He has to answer to the local authorities and be tried as a criminal" clause. If not, why not?

I would hope so. I believe that is part of present policy now, but I couldn't tell you for sure.

I'm with you and pilgrim: any clergy caught doing these abominable sins should be either removed to a remote monastery or removed from the priesthood altogether. He certainly has to immediately be removed from any contact with minors (at least alone with them, anyway).

The Catholic Church is clearly taking a much more hardline approach. It's sad and ineffably tragic that it wasn't realized sooner, but better late than never.

These sorts of sexual sins continue to be present in all areas of society. If it is thought that the problem is only with us, then that is just more head-in-the-sand thinking that will perpetuate the same sort of tragic errors that have already occurred in our ranks.

We have to face this as a huge problem and one that stems from the sexual revolution, which has unfortunately infiltrated every level of Christianity. Any poll (e.g., Barna, Gallup) of Christian circles shows this. I've written posts about it myself in the past.

If we go on pretending that it is only a "Catholic problem" -- and falsely concluding that it flows from celibacy rather than from liberalism, homosexuality, and loss of faith (SIN!) and the after-effects of the Sexual Revolution, then there will be more victims, and that will not solve anything and only produce more suffering.

But it is the devil's diverting tactic if that is what happens. And I'm not accusing you or pilgrim of doing this; just making a general statement.

Randy said...

In my parents reformed church they had a pastor who committed adultery. He resigned but then started a new non-denominational church a few years later. His preaching is better than the current pastor of the reformed church so they have lost quite a few members. My dad things he should respect the authority the reformed church has over him. My mom thinks he should just do whatever he thinks the Holy Spirit wants him to do. Unfortunately it happens all the time.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: On the other hand, we see forgiveness as being also unconditional in the sense that God does not require repentance before He gives the elect the ability to believe in Him.

Adomnan: This doesn't seem logical. Presumably to "believe in Him" is to believe in the Gospel. Well, what is the Gospel? Simply put, it is the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification.

Clearly, you must believe you are a sinner before believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins. But this recognition that one is a sinner, this conviction of sin, is repentance. If one acknowledges oneself a sinner and yet does not turn from sin, then what would be the point in turning to Christ? Can you be forgiven sins that you don't repent? This makes no sense. Repentance must logically precede belief in forgiveness. You cannot be forgiven a sin that you do not reject.

Now, the process of turning from sin completely might take time, but repentance is the acknowledgement of sin with an accompanying will to turn from it; and this takes place in a moment of self-knowledge. It also takes place before the act of faith, which is the recourse of the sinner who has acknowledged his sin.

That is why Peter puts repentance first when he proclaims the Gospel at Pentecost: ""What are we to do, brothers?' 'You must repent,' Peter answered, 'and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the promise of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:37-38)

Repentance precedes forgiveness and the Spirit.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour, from the Westminster Confession: Although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may by their sins fall under God's fatherly displeasure and not have the light of his countenance restored to them until they humble themselves, confess their sin, plead for pardon, and renew their faith and repentance (WCF 11:5, Modern Version).

Adomnan: This is interesting, because the Westminster Confession here is positing something that seems indistinguishable to me from the temporal punishment due to sin that the Catholic Church says remains even when sins are forgiven: "they may by their sins fall under God's fatherly displeasure."

In fact, I would say this is clearly the case, because the Confession regards the sins in question as actually being forgiven ("they never fall from the state of justification"), yet still provoking "God's displeasure" with the consequences this must bring.

Ben M said...
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Maroun said...

Pilgrimsarbour said: On the other hand, we see forgiveness as being also unconditional in the sense that God does not require repentance before He gives the elect the ability to believe in Him.
Are you telling us that God dosent want all men to come to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth? 1 tim 2: 4 ? And how about Jesus crying over Jerusalem Luk.13:34 , O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her own brood under her wings, and ye would not!
Why would our Lord blame the children of Jerusalem,if he didnt chose them and they were not elected?
If you wish , i could give you tens and tens of other verses,but i guess it`s useless,because the more i read what u write the more i realise that you just dont want to accept anything...
I am not trying to be rude,really,nor am i trying to talk at you but with you,but it`s really amazing that some so called christians still believe and insist that Jesus didnt die for all men,nor does he want to save all men...Why is he called the savior of the world in the bible?i dont know,Probably the Holy Spirit made a mistake and should have inspired the writers to write that Jesus is the savior of the ones which he elected,and that he died only for some...
And when st Paul in Rom 5:12-21 , Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:—
13 for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many.
16 And not as through one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment came of one unto condemnation, but the free gift came of many trespasses unto [1] justification. [1) Gr an act of righteousness ; Re 15:4; 19:8]
17 For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and [1] of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ. [1) Some ancient authorities omit of the gift ]
18 So then as through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life.
19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous.
20 And [1] the law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly: [1) Or law ]
21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So sin did reach all men but the grace of Christ cannot?So how could grace abound more exceedingly if sin is more powerful according to your statement?

Grubb said...

Adomnan,

I won't address your entire comment to PilgrimsArbour. I do think you have a problem with your logic regarding justification & repentance. If we're saved by faith and not works (as Eph 2:8-9 tell us we are), then saving grace (faith) comes before repentance (a work), but you seem to be saying repentance (a work) comes before salvation/justification (by faith). I also wanted to address one other thing you said,

Can you be forgiven sins that you don't repent?

Absolutely!! In fact, those are the sins I need forgiveness for the most: the ones I don't or can't repent of adequately. Can you forgive your child if they don't repent? We do it all the time. If you've got a strong willed child (as my brother in law does), this might be the only way you keep your child without beating them within an inch of his/her life.☺ But seriously, forgiving frequently helps the forgiver more than the forgiven.

To quote Paul, "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?" (Matt 7:11) I'm not trying to make a direct connection between this verse and forgiving except to say that if we "evil" dads can forgive our children without them asking, our heavenly dad can do it even better. And Jesus said on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing," (Luke 23:24) even though they didn't ask for forgiveness.

So, what do you think? Can we forgive without being asked to forgive? Can we be forgiven without being asked to be forgiven?
.

Ben M said...
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Grubb said...

Maroun,

Are you telling us that God dosent want all men to come to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth? 1 tim 2: 4 ?

Sort of. What does "all men" mean? It can't mean "every man, woman, & child on earth" can it? It can't mean that, because Paul says, "One of you will say to me: 'Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?' But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' " Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?" (Rom 9:19-21) So if man can't resist God's will, and God wills that "every man, woman, and child" be saved, then we have a problem.

But that's not what Paul meant by "all men" in I Tim 2:4. Gary Long said it well in his analysis of I Tim 2:4, " 'God desires, in harmony with His eternal decree, to save all men without distinction (i.e., without respect to rank, station, race, or nationality) and bring them to the knowledge of the truth.' " In other words, "all men" refers to men from "every nation, tribe, people and language" (Rev 7:9)

So it's God's will that men from every nation, tribe, people, and language be saved and come to a saving knowledge of the truth; and we know from Revelation 7:9 that this will be. So we see how God can desire "all men" to be saved and yet predestine some to heaven & some to hell.

But what are we to do if we take your interpretation of "all men", and assume that God really does want every man, woman, and child to be saved?
.

Grubb said...

How do you reconcile that with what Paul said in Rom 9:11-18, "Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: NOT BY WORKS BUT BY HIM WHO CALLS—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden."

How do reconcile this passage, Eph 1:4-5, and all the passages that Paul refers to predestination and the elect with the fact that God wills every man, woman, and child to be saved? It just doesn't work. Here's what Eph 1:4-5 says, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will."

There's no denying predestination and election; both are specifically mentioned in the Bible.
.

Adomnan said...

Hi, Grubb. How have you been?

Grubb: I won't address your entire comment to PilgrimsArbour. I do think you have a problem with your logic regarding justification & repentance. If we're saved by faith and not works (as Eph 2:8-9 tell us we are), then saving grace (faith) comes before repentance (a work), but you seem to be saying repentance (a work) comes before salvation/justification (by faith).

Adomnan: Paul's references to "works" always denote what he also calls "works of the Law." Works of the Law are not all works or good works or human efforts or anything like that. They are works peculiar to the Jewish Law, like circumcision. In fact, circumcision is the only work of the Law that Paul names explicitly. Works of the Law are special acts, rites, observances that Jews do. No Christians do "works" of this kind at all. Repentance is not a work of the Law because it isn't an act peculiar to Jews like circumcision, but is required of everyone, Jew and Gentile.

Your reference to Eph 2:8-9 doesn't work for another reason. In this passage, Paul is talking about salvation, not justification. "For by grace are you SAVED through faith." Protestants usually say that salvation is not justification alone, but includes sanctification. And sanctification is a matter of "works," including repentance. So if your point is that "works" are excluded from salvation, then you would be contradicting standard Protestant doctrine, which says that repentance (what you call a "work") and sanctification are included in salvation.

(By the way, I think it's unlikely Paul penned Ephesians personally, but the letter does reflect Paul's influence and I believe the unknown author uses "works" in the same way that Paul did in his authentic letters. Eph is truthfully ascribed to Paul because it was written under his auspices, although not by him personally. I hesitate to mention this, because I don't want to get sidetracked into a discussion of the possible Pauline authorship of Ephesians, but that's my view of the matter. For the purpose of my analysis of the meaning of "works" in Eph, it doesn't matter whether Paul was the author or not.)

Adomnan said...

Me: Can you be forgiven sins that you don't repent?

Grubb: Absolutely!! In fact, those are the sins I need forgiveness for the most: the ones I don't or can't repent of adequately.

Adomnan: I think we are using the word "repent" in different ways. For me, repentance means a rejection of sin and a desire and effort to turn away from it. Even if it takes some time to wean yourself from the sin completely or your repentance is in some way inadequate, as long as there is a firm resolution to reject the sin, then you are repenting.

Of course, if the sin is very serious and you continue to engage in it, then there is no true repentance.

What I think should be kept in mind, Grubb, is that the purpose of the Gospel is not so much to free us from the consequences/punishment of sin, but to free us from sin itself. It is not a message that one can sin without consequences. If the Gospel doesn't free from sin (although this is a struggle, not instantaneous), then it hasn't had any effect.

Grubb: So, what do you think? Can we forgive without being asked to forgive? Can we be forgiven without being asked to be forgiven?

Adomnan: Oh, I suppose theoretically we can be forgiven without consciously asking for forgiveness. But what Christian doesn't ask for forgiveness daily? After all, Jesus instructed us: "Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors."

Adomnan said...

Grubb: How do you reconcile that with what Paul said in Rom 9:11-18, "Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: NOT BY WORKS BUT BY HIM WHO CALLS—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

Adomnan: This passage does not refer to predestination or election to glory or damnation. Esau was not a reprobate, as you can see by reviewing his story in Genesis.

What it does concern is which of the two boys, Esau or Jacob, would be the bearer of the promise to Abraham ("God's purpose in election") to redeem the gentiles through Abraham's progeny. The Lord decided that Jacob would be the person through whom the promise was passed on, not his older brother Esau. The passage has nothing to do with the destination after death of either.

Paul provided this example to instruct the Judaizers that Jews, the elder brothers (like Esau), had no monopoly on the promise over Gentiles, the younger brothers (like Jacob). Paul is thus speaking ultimately of communities (not individuals, just represented by individuals) and is not speculating on any supposed predestionation of individuals to heaven or hell.

The fact that Paul quotes the Bible as saying God loved Jacob and hated Esau doesn't prove that Esau was predestined to hell. In Semitic usage, to love X and hate Y is just a way of sayng "to prefer X to Y." The Lord preferred Jacob to be the bearer of the promise made to Abraham, rather than Esau (who would ordinarily be the heir, being senior).

The reference to works and "doing nothing either good or bad" refers to the works of the Jewish Law. The Judaizers claimed they were better than Gentiles and preferred by God because they did those Torah works. Paul is countering that adherence to the Jewish Law has no bearing on God's election of a people. (One can object that the passage refers to all works, not just works of the Law. However, given that the examples are unborn children, it would have been absurd for Paul to write that they hadn't done "works of the Law" when unborn children haven't done anything at all. Nevertheless, works of the Law are what Paul has in mind here.)

Maroun said...

Grubb quoted , " Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?" (Rom 9:19-21).
You know,i am not going to try to explain things from my own head , but i will suggest that you read the homelie of st John Chrysostom on this verse .
Grubb , the verse which you quoted from st Paul , st Paul himself took it from Jeremiah 18:1-11 , so plz go and check Jeremiah 18:1-11 and you will see , that God never ignores our free will , and it is true that He is the ones which fixes and heals and saves , but never against our will , because our God is love and a lover and not a rapist , He will never forces anyone to believe in Him nor love Him , the rapist is the allah of the muslims or Calvin`s god...
And then you spoke about pharoa...Again , it`s because of God`s forknowledge and also because of pharoa , and i will try to explain to you how did God harden and why pharoa`s heart...
Take a hot oven , and put a candle in it , what would happen to the candle , it will melt right? Now instead of the candle , you take a potter made of clay , now instead of melting it will turn hard .
So as you can see , even though the oven is one and the same , but the result was different because of the objects and their relation to the hot oven...
Now i assume that you understood that the oven is God`s heart and the candle is the humble person and the clay is the arrogant...
So plz stop blaming God for our sins and our arrogance , because whenever you take away our free will , which God freely respects , then you automatically put the blame on God...
I hope that you understand what i tried to explain to you.
GBU

Maroun said...

Grubb . Again about the verses which you quoted from Romans 9:19-21 , Listen to the same st Paul , and what he said to Timothy , in 1 Tim 2:20-22 , 20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some unto honor, and some unto dishonor.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, meet for the master’s use, prepared unto every good work.
22 But flee youthful lusts, and follow after righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
So , here again you clearly see , that Neither God nor st Paul which was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the things he wrote to us , never denied our free will,nor our necessary free cooperation with God`s grace...
GBU

Maroun said...

Sorry , but i meant 2 Tim. 2:20-22

Grubb said...

Ben M.,

Grubb, what exactly does "adequately” mean??

I thought you guys were the experts on "adequate" penance. ☺ Don't priests give you penance when you confess to him?

First & foremost, once we commit our first sin we need a savior. Salvation requires faith in the blood that is shed; in the OT it was sacrifices, and in the NT it's Jesus' blood. So I'm not saying if I "adequately" pay for all my sins I can work my way into heaven apart from Jesus' sacrifice. But once salvation is given, there does appear to be an "adequate" amount of repentance to satisfy God's discipline. What I was referring to was the amount of penance that would prevent God from stepping in and disciplining us.

If one of my daughters hit the other, was immediately repentant, and offered to give her sister her allowance & make her bed for a week, I wouldn't feel the need to step in and add any additional punishment, and I would consider the matter resolved & forgiven. If, however, the hitter simply said "Sorry," I would impose some further requirements on her repentance to prove she really meant she was sorry, because she hadn't adequately repented.
.

Grubb said...

Hey Adomnan,

I'm doing well, how are you? Sorry it's been so long since I've visited.

Adomnan: Paul's references to "works" always denote what he also calls "works of the Law."

I'm not sure that's true; you'll have to defend that better than just saying it. But even then, are "works" of the Jewish law that different than "works" of the Christian faith? If so, how? Jews were called to do certain things: circumcision, sacrifices, pray, rest,... Christians are called to do certain things: baptize, spread the Gospel, love,... And Paul even tells us why it's faith through grace that we're saved and not by works...so that we can't boast. (Eph 2:9) If our salvation is tied to our good works in any way, then we can boast that we had something to do with our salvation.

Paul said of the Jews, "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace." (Rom 11:5-6) I know you claim the works here is "works of the Jewish law", but it also applies to the grace given to those who weren't Jews. If we allow our good, Christian works to be a part of our salvation, then "grace would no longer be grace."

"According to the 38th question of the Baptist Catechism, 'Sanctification is the work of God's free grace (2 Thess. 2:13), whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God (Eph. 4:23, 24), and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness (Rom. 6:4, 6).' (This is identical to the Westminster Shorter Catechism question 35.) Regeneration is the new birth, sanctification is the growth that necessarily results from it. Justification is God's declaration that a believing sinner is righteous because of the merits of Christ imputed to him. Sanctification is the believer leaving the courtroom where God has once and for all time declared him righteous, and immediately beginning the process whereby God's Spirit enables him to increasingly conform to Christ's righteousness, both inwardly and outwardly." (Dr. Don Whitney, Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)

Even sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit, so any works that are included in it are His works, not ours. Regardless, you were requiring "works" of some sort as part of the initial salvation (what Reformed Christians call "Justification"), and that's what I was taking exception to.

Did Paul write Ephesians? You won't get an argument from me one way or the other. ☺ While I believe that's an important matter; it's not one I've felt a need to spend lots of time figuring out.
.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: I'm not sure that's true; you'll have to defend that better than just saying it.

Adomnan: I defended it very extensively last year in a long exchange with Nick on this blog.

Grubb: But even then, are "works" of the Jewish law that different than "works" of the Christian faith?

Adomnan: Yes, the Jews practiced circumcision, animal sacrifice, had detailed dietary laws and other taboos, and various rites and holy days that we no longer observe. The animal sacrifices aside, Orthodox Jews still practice these onerous rules, which considerably constrict how they can live. You'll recall that Paul called the Law a burden that even Jews found hard to bear. And he exhorts the Galatians who wanted to start doing "works of the Law": "Christ set us free, so that we should remain free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be fastened again to the yoke of slavery." (Gal 5:1) The Law was the yoke of slavery.

Grubb: Jews were called to do certain things: circumcision, sacrifices, pray, rest,... Christians are called to do certain things: baptize, spread the Gospel, love,...

Adomnan: Circumcision and animal sacrifices were "works of the Law, works of Torah." Praying, etc. are required of everybody, and so are not "works of Torah," that is, works peculiar to Judaism. Nothing that Christians do is a work of Torah, because we are not Jews.

I don't think you get my point. Paul's works/works of the Law are not every action that the Jewish Law commands, they are only those actions that are peculiar to or characteristic of the Jewish Law, the customs and rites. Circumcision is actually the only example Paul gives of a work of the Law. He also speaks of the observance of days and dietary laws, and he would probably categorize these things as "works of the Law," but he never actually calls them that.

Grubb: And Paul even tells us why it's faith through grace that we're saved and not by works...so that we can't boast. (Eph 2:9) If our salvation is tied to our good works in any way, then we can boast that we had something to do with our salvation.

Adomnan: When Paul speaks of boasting, it never refers to boasting of your own accomplishments, it always refers solely to boasting of being Jewish. "As for you, who boast of the Law" (Rom 2:23). Paul even writes that the Jews "boast of God" (Rom 2:17). So he's hardly accusing anyone of boasting of their own "good works." The Jews boast of the Law and of God; that is, of simply being Jewish and under the Law. That's the meaning of boasting in Eph, too.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: Paul said of the Jews, "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace." (Rom 11:5-6)

Adomnan: Paul is not speaking of how one attains salvation here. He is speaking about how God chooses His "remnant." Note that he writes "remnant CHOSEN by grace."

Paul is saying that God does not base his choice on whether one adheres to the Jewish Law ("works"), but simply as He sees fit ("grace"). Paul is explaining how God can choose the Gentiles, can include the Gentiles in His "Chosen People." God is not constrained to limit His election to the Jews.

Grubb: I know you claim the works here is "works of the Jewish law",

Adomnan: Yes, I do.

Grubb: but it also applies to the grace given to those who weren't Jews.

Adomnan: This passage applies to God's choice of whom to justify (election), not to the process of justification itself.

Grubb: If we allow our good, Christian works to be a part of our salvation, then "grace would no longer be grace."

Adomnan: Grace would no longer be grace if God refused to include Gentiles in the remnant because they didn't adhere to Jewish practices. Paul is making no allusion to Christian good works here, but is rather explaining how the Law can't limit God's grace. Otherwise, election would be by Jewish works, not by grace (God's free choice).

Or, to put it slightly differently, Paul is saying that restricting election to Jews would limit God's free choice (grace), and so grace would no longer be grace.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: Even sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit, so any works that are included in it are His works, not ours.

Adomnan: This is the same thing that Catholics say. St. Augustine wrote that our merits, whereby we merit salvation, are the gifts of God.

However, you have a false note in your statement, too. While our good works are the fruit of the Holy Spirit, they are also ours. We are not simply puppets manipulated by strings from on high. (Frankly, even if we were puppets, our "puppet" works would still be ours.)

Grubb said...

Adomnan,

For me, repentance means a rejection of sin and a desire and effort to turn away from it.

I'd agree with that, but I also include some form of trying to "make it right" in repentance. If I intentionally break your window, I could reject that anger (the led to the breaking), turn away from it, and (by your definition) be repenting. But I would also include fixing the window as part of repentance.

What I think should be kept in mind, Grubb, is that the purpose of the Gospel is not so much to free us from the consequences/punishment of sin, but to free us from sin itself.

I agree 100%. Although, freeing us from sin will naturally free us from the punishment of sin and many of the consequences of sin (not all, because we're in a world of sinners).

Adomnan: Oh, I suppose theoretically we can be forgiven without consciously asking for forgiveness.

That appeared to be painful for you to say. ☺ But that's the very crux of why we say someone can die without having done penance for some sins and NOT have to be cleansed for them. If you can forgive your child w/o being asked; your heavenly father can do the same.

But what Christian doesn't ask for forgiveness daily?

Agreed, but that's what I was getting at. If I commit a sin of omission that ends up being very hard on another person, simply saying "Please forgive me for my sins" might not be "adequate" repentance by my definition. By your definition it would/might. I guess the difference in our definitions is that mine includes penance, and yours doesn't. Is that right?
.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: Regardless, you were requiring "works" of some sort as part of the initial salvation (what Reformed Christians call "Justification"), and that's what I was taking exception to.

Adomnan: Since sinners repent and turn to God before they are justified, as Peter explained in Acts, they obviously do "works of some sort" as part of initial salvation. These works are produced by God's grace, but not by the grace of justification -- by a prevenient grace. God leads us to repentance, and repentance precedes justification, both logically and as explained in scripture. (You seem to be ignoring that passage in Acts, for example.)

Adomnan said...

Grubb: I'd agree with that, but I also include some form of trying to "make it right" in repentance.

Adomnan: Yes, that's true. I agree.

Me, earlier: Oh, I suppose theoretically we can be forgiven without consciously asking for forgiveness.

Grubb: That appeared to be painful for you to say. ☺

Adomnan: No, not painful. I anticipated that you were going to try to make some generalization that no one need ask God for forgiveness because He can forgive without being asked.

Grubb: But that's the very crux of why we say someone can die without having done penance for some sins and NOT have to be cleansed for them.

Adomnan: Oh, I see. That's the point you're making. Well, you're confusing forgiveness and cleansing/reparation. When you die, the sin is forgiven but you still have to repair it/cleanse it in a "temporal" way. Just as you said earlier that making good the wrong is part of repentance.

Grubb: If you can forgive your child w/o being asked; your heavenly father can do the same.

Adomnan: Sure. But if your child requires discipline because of his misbehavior, you'll administer it even though he's forgiven.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: I guess the difference in our definitions is that mine includes penance, and yours doesn't. Is that right?

Adomnan: No. I absolutely agree with you that repentance entails penance. However, you can certainly say someone has repented if he has turned from his sin with an intention to make good on it, even if he has not yet had time to make good on it.

Thus, the statement, "He repented but was taken from us before he could do penance for his sin," is perfectly reasonable.

Grubb said...

Maroun,

You're making it sound as though Pharaoh hardened his own heart, but that's not what happened. Exodus 7:3 says, "But I will harden Pharaoh's heart" and Exo 9:12 says, "But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses."

Did God make Pharaoh sin? No. Did He harden his heart? Yes. And WHY did God harden Pharaoh's heart? He did it, so that He might be glorified and that His power would be made known to the world. Paul even explains it in Rom 9:17, "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.' "

So plz stop blaming God for our sins and our arrogance , because whenever you take away our free will , which God freely respects , then you automatically put the blame on God

I don't blame God for our sins, but Paul states clearly that God determines who is saved and who isn't when he quotes God saying, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy."

He will never forces anyone to believe in Him nor love Him

He doesn't force us to believe, He allows us to. But He doesn't allow some to. Pharaoh was one. Paul discusses others in Rom 9:21-24, "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?"

People sin of their own free will; that much we agree on. You think man can change his own heart, but he can't. The few places we see someone's heart changing, it's God that does it. I Sam 10:9, "As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul's heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day." Ezk 11:9, "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." Ezk 36:26, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

Paul says clearly that some people were made as objects of wrath and that some were made "for destruction," but even in them God is glorified.

because whenever you take away our free will , which God freely respects , then you automatically put the blame on God.

Predestination refers to one's salvation. If you or I are predestined to salvation, then God's mercy will be so appealing to us, that our heart of flesh has no choice but to choose that path...we're predestined to it. But a heart of stone which is predestined to destruction cannot choose that path.. Many/most of the other actions in our life are done on free will whether we have a heart of flesh or of stone.

Who are you (or who am I) to question why God makes some men for glory and some for destruction? If you disagree with this, it's not me you disagree with but with the Holy Bible.
.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: I don't blame God for our sins, but Paul states clearly that God determines who is saved and who isn't when he quotes God saying, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy."

Adomnan: The purpose of this statement is not to say that God predestines some people to damnation. It is addressed to the arguments of the Judaizers, like most of Romans, and Paul is merely affirming that God will have mercy on the Gentiles, whether the Judaizers like it or not.

Also, the Pharaoh episode, hardening the heart and all that, has nothing to do with predestination to glory or damnation and should not be ripped out of context to shore up this notion. Paul is not speaking of the reprobation of Pharaoh, and just because YHWH is said to have hardened Pharaoh's heart in this instance and for a particular purpose, you cannot draw the conclusion that every time someone sins, it follows that God has hardened his heart: far too sweeping.

You are simply taking an irrelevant Calvinist template and imposing it on this passage. It doesn't work.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: Paul discusses others in Rom 9:21-24, "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?"

Adomnan: Again, you miss the import of this passage because you have your predestinarian blinders on.

First, notice that Paul speaks of some vessels being made for a noble purpose while others are made for a common purpose. To be a vessel made "for a common purpose" is hardly to be damned. There's nothing wrong with being made for a common purpose. Paul is thinking of cases like Jacob and Esau, where Jacob fulfilled the noble purpose, while Esau just turned out to be a more or less ordinary (common) man.

Then, Paul switches topics a bit and speaks of vessels fit for destruction. This is evidently not the same thing as a vessel made for a common purpose, because a vessel fit for destruction -- one that has a flaw in it -- has no purpose, common or otherwise.

So what is Paul referring to? The "vessels fit for destruction" are the Gentiles, as seen by the Judaizers, and sinful Jews. The Gentiles (and sinful Jews) would, if God did not intervene through Christ, be "objects of His wrath" on the coming Day of Wrath. Instead of being destroyed, though, God "bore them with much patients" and has now made them into the "objects of His mercy."

Therefore, the vessels of wrath and the vessels of mercy are not two separate groups (the reprobate and the elect), as the Calvinists pretend. They are one set of people that has moved from wrath to mercy -- "even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles."

Adomnan said...

Grubb: Paul says clearly that some people were made as objects of wrath and that some were made "for destruction," but even in them God is glorified.

Adomnan: Nope. Paul says that people who appeared to be objects of wrath made for destruction turn out, in fact, to be objects of mercy, fashioned for glory. And THAT is how God is glorified, by "making known the riches of His glory to the objects of His mercy."

Adomnan said...

Grubb: Predestination refers to one's salvation. If you or I are predestined to salvation, then God's mercy will be so appealing to us, that our heart of flesh has no choice but to choose that path...we're predestined to it.

Adomnan: Wrong. In Paul, predestination and election do not concern individuals, unless they are particular individuals like Jacob chosen to play a role in salvation history. God predestines, that is, proposes and plans, a church, a community of salvation. And he elects the members of this church for salvation, because they are members of the elect people of the new covenant. It is the church that is the object of election, a community, not individuals. John shows this same understanding when he refers to a local church as the "elect lady" in 2 John 1.

In other words, to be one of the elect is nothing other than to be a member of the Catholic Church, the Chosen People of the New Covenant. The concepts of election and Chosen People are exactly parallel in the Old and New Testament. When Paul speaks of election, he has the example of the Chosen People in mind.

In Paul, both predestination -- a rather charged, cumbersome term to translate a Greek word that might be better rendered simply as "planning" -- and election have as their objects communities, not individuals. It is very wrong to misapply them to individuals and think in terms of the election of individuals to glory or damnation. This is to misunderstand and misrepresent Paul's intent.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: Who are you (or who am I) to question why God makes some men for glory and some for destruction? If you disagree with this, it's not me you disagree with but with the Holy Bible.

Adomnan: No, if I disagree with this, as I do, it's not the Holy Bible I disagree with, but rather your misinterpretation of the Holy Bible, which is the result of an unreflecting a priori application of Calvinist categories that distort and falsify Paul's message.

Dave Armstrong said...

Remember the original post way back when? :-)

I've added about 25 new articles to it, as of 6:30 PM EST Wednesday, 3-31-10. More to come. Gotta run right now . . .

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Armstrong said...

Okay, guys. I just set up a new Open Forum:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/04/open-forum-1-april-2010.html

And (necessity breeds invention!) I have devised a way to have one going at all times:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-method-for-ongoing-open-forum.html

So please move this discussion now, and any others not related to any particular blog post, to the current Open Forum.

Thanks! This helps you, it helps me, and it makes it easier for readers looking for specific topics in searches. If we keep the comments topically organized, then they can be of more benefit to others, since they will be easier to access.

Dave Armstrong said...

I wrote the following on the CHNI board:

***

I think this time the attacks are so ridiculous and extreme that they are almost immediately a self-parody. The policy is backfiring. Apparently the media thought it had a chance to actually bring down a pope (which again shows a profound incomprehension of how Catholicism works). There was hubris and triumphalism and some kind of mood that the Church could be destroyed and discredited in the eyes of many millions of people, just as the media attempts to destroy people in general that it doesn't like (observant Christians of all stripes, pro-lifers, those who hold to traditional morals -- above all, sexual ones --, etc.).

It's not working, because the Holy Father simply is not guilty of what these guys are claiming. The truth is the exact opposite: he has done more than anyone to make sure these horrendous crimes do not occur. The parallel, again, with Venerable Pope Pius XII is striking: the very person who is a hero in fighting a great evil, is castigated as one of the supposed instigators and enablers.

Lies have a way of refuting themselves over time. There is plenty of blame to go around, but the last person anyone should be pointing to is Pope Benedict XVI. The articles I have compiled demonstrate this over and over.

In a way, this is good insofar as we can get the facts out. How many read them, though, is another story. We have to be content with knowing that if someone truly wants the facts, they are there, with a little searching. My collection is one place where people who want to hear both sides can start.

Fiann said...

Fr from our rallying champion in the battle against cultural and racial oblivion, the Roman Church plays more the role of some lowly jackal, scavenging for scraps. This Church and its supporters delight in crowing over the fall of its old rivals while a far greater enemy struts around our lands unopposed by these bitter myopic opportunists. What do we hear from them all the live long day? "I told you so!" Where is the more courageous and necessary cry to our rulers about the foul crimes they are committing against our nations? Nowhere. All we get is a few pathetic murmurs here and there, like that Cardinal a bit ago, later passed off as gaffs or unacceptable heresy by the hierarchy. The Church of Rome will do nothing for us.