Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Annunciation: Does it Indicate that the Blessed Virgin Mary is an Extraordinary Human Being, Chosen by God, and Already in a Sublime State of Grace? (Dialogue with a Lutheran, + Ridiculous and Groundless Personal Attacks Documented)



This dialogue occurred at Cranach: The Blog of Veith: a Lutheran site, in the combox for the post "Mariology," in comment numbers 21, 25, 27, 186, 187, 188, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 198, 199, 201, 203, 206. I have arranged all these comments (no words changed or edited out!) in order to make it a coherent, flowing, back-and-forth dialogue. 

Tom Hering's words will be in blue.

* * * * *

Mary as an examplar is Law, accusing us of falling short in the humility and obedience departments. Though why she should be made an examplar is beyond me, 

Why should the Apostle Paul be an exemplar: also being chosen by Grace alone as every Christian is? But he urged his followers to imitate him and follow his example (as I documented in #180 above).

as she was chosen by grace alone: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you … Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.” No reason for this is given in the Annunciation, no deserving qualities in Mary are mentioned, just “God’s favor” – unmerited grace.

Exactly! Where’s the beef? You actually think that Catholics would deny this?

I do call Mary “blessed among women,” but for the sole reason that she bore Our Savior. Yes, she received God’s favor, but so have all of the elect – and they, too, because of grace alone.

I don’t know anyone else who has been “hailed” by an angel [Lk 1:28]. Do you?

The Greek word is chairo, “greetings, rejoice, be glad.” I definitely see how this greeting indicates God has favored Mary above all women, but I don’t see how it indicates He has favored her on account of special qualities.

Baptist Greek scholar A. T. Robertson writes about Luke 1:28:

“‘Highly favoured’” (kecharitomene). Perfect passive participle of charitoo and means endowed with grace (charis), enriched with grace as in Ephesians. 1:6, . . . The Vulgate gratiae plena ‘is right, if it means “full of grace which thou hast received“; wrong, if it means “full of grace which thou hast to bestow“‘ (Plummer).”

(Word Pictures in the New Testament, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1930, Vol. II, 13)

Greek scholar Marvin Vincent noted that even Wycliffe and Tyndale (no enthusiastic supporters of the Catholic Church) both rendered kecharitomene in Luke 1:28 as “full of grace” and that the literal meaning was “endued with grace” (Word Studies in the New Testament, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1946, 1887 edition [New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons], Vol. I, 259).

Likewise, well-known Protestant linguist W. E. Vine, defines it as “to endue with Divine favour or grace” (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., four volumes-in-one edition, 1940., Vol. II, 171).

All these men (except Wycliffe, who probably would have been, had he lived in the 16th century or after it) are Protestants, and so cannot be accused of Catholic translation bias. Even a severe critic of Catholicism like James White can’t avoid the fact that kecharitomene (however translated) cannot be divorced from the notion of grace, and stated that the term referred to “divine favor, that is, God’s grace” (The Roman Catholic Controversy, Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1996, 201).

Of course, Catholics agree that Mary has received grace. This is assumed in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception: it was a grace from God which could not possibly have had anything to do with Mary’s personal merit, since it was granted by God at the moment of her conception, to preserve her from original sin (as appropriate for the one who would bear God Incarnate in her very body).

Thus, the angel favored Mary because she was full of grace, and being in that state was due to a special act of God. She had the special qualities; they came from God.


Gabriel had to tell Mary, “Do not be afraid.” What sinless person would fear the Lord, much less the Lord’s messenger? 

Angels were universally feared, because they are extraordinary creatures, and out of the ordinary. I don’t see that Mary’s reaction would be any different from anyone else’s, whether she is sinless or not. One can be sinless, but still if one had no previous encounter with an angel, then they would tremble and fear. That’s not sin. It’s being a human being, responding to the extraordinary.

Nice generalization, but the verse doesn’t say, “Don’t be afraid. I know I’m an extraordinary visitor, but I’m a heck of a nice guy.” No, Gabriel tells Mary to be unafraid for a specific reason: “‘You have found favor with God.’” Which clearly indicates Gabriel knew that Mary, like any other sinful human, would be afraid she wasn’t in good standing with God. And rightly so. (Don’t you see how God’s grace toward Mary was amazing?)

Yes, it is. All grace is amazing, but the grace He gave to the Blessed Virgin Mary is more amazing, arguably, than any other instance, since He made her full of grace. God is so good! Isn't God amazing, to use a human being in such an incredible way to bring about the incarnation of our savior and redeemer and Lord, Jesus Christ? God didn't necessarily have to become man or even (theologians and spiritual masters have speculated) choose the cross and all the agony involved in Jesus' passion. He could have simply proclaimed that we were all saved, or that those who accepted His free grace were saved. But He didn't do that. He chose to suffer and die for us, and He chose to use a created human being, Mary, to bear God Himself in her womb and to be the Mother of God. It is sublime beyond all words, how God does things like this. This is why we venerate Mary so highly: because she is a witness to and example of God's grace and love for His creatures like no other human being.

Many millions of Protestants put out statues of Mary at Christmastime, because they can't deny that the birth of Jesus was such an incredible event. And every birth I know of entails a mother, who is not exactly an insignificant player . . . We honor every mother of a baby, for all that she has done, and gone through. Yet when it comes to honoring the mother of Jesus Christ: a created human being who had God Himself in her womb for nine months, and who lived with Jesus for about thirty years before He was known to the world, the Protestant balks, on the ridiculous grounds that this must be idolatry, or, at the very least, that it must somehow detract from our adoration and worship of God. This is an insufficient spirituality and insufficiently biblical as well.

You have yet to convince me from Scripture that Lutheranism (or Protestantism in general) is “insufficiently biblical.” Show me the verses and passages I asked you for. The ones that prove your not just adding your imaginings to God’s Word. As I said, I’m waiting.

* * *

Was Mary exceptionally humble and obedient? Sure. But what believer wouldn’t be in response to a supernatural visitation like that?

That doesn’t follow, either, since Satan and all the fallen angels were in the presence of God. That didn’t stop them from being disobedient, did it? You underestimate the strength of human (and demonic / angelic) free will by quite a wide margin.

What I carefully said @ 27 was (note the emphasis this time), “Was Mary exceptionally humble and obedient? Sure. But what believer wouldn’t be in response to a supernatural visitation like that?”

The thrust of this seems to be, “big wow: Mary was obedient. Who [of believers] wouldn’t be after an angelic visit?” But this is wrongheaded. We have free will. It is not a foregone conclusion at all that human beings will be obedient simply because an angel (or God) visits them.

For example, look at Jonah. The Bible says that “the Word of the Lord came to Jonah” (Jonah 1:1). He disobeyed: “But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:3; cf. 1:10). Then when he finally did what God told him to do, he was “displeased” and “angry” at the good result (Jonah 4:1).

Adam and Eve had direct contact with God in Eden. Nevertheless they rebelled. So being with God (more more fabulous and wondrous than being with an angel) didn’t preclude the negative result and the rebellion. The first Eve said no to God; the second Eve said yes. What the Church fathers en masse marveled at and rejoiced over, you (and indeed many Protestants, for inexplicable reasons) regard as a ho-hum.

Thus, Mary is to be given credit for saying “yes” to God. That is the credit that can go to her, just as we are credited with all good and righteous acts, even though they are all ultimately due to God and His grace. As St. Augustine said (paraphrase), “merit is God rewarding His own gifts.”

I mentioned Satan’s rebellion, even though he had been in God’s presence. Satan was a “believer” at one point. How could he not be? He was with God, as His greatest angel! He was in a state even higher than we will be if we get to heaven. But he decided to rebel. How can someone rebel if they haven’t been in the camp from which they are rebelling? Therefore, your reiteration of your talking about a “believer” is irrelevant, since Satan was (just as Judas was). He used to be like the good angels now are.

“Big wow”? No, I consider it quite amazing that God puts a new heart into a believer, i.e., one who has received the gift of faith in Christ alone (the Christ that Mary looked forward to). And that this new heart responds spontaneously in humility and obedience. Amazing – full of grace indeed!

Satan and Judas were believers at one point? When did Satan or Judas ever trust in Christ for forgiveness?

When did Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or Daniel ever trust in Christ for forgiveness? Were they not “believers”?

We’re talking about Mary. Are you going to address my questions and statements @193-194 directly, or are you going to continue to try to change the subject?

I did so, and am continuing to do so. My reply in #195 was exactly on-topic; dead on topic. It was a rhetorical question, based on the logical technique of reductio ad absurdum: not changing the subject at all. You just didn’t grasp the logic of it (and so ignored the burden of answering).

In this case, the logic was that you would be required to deny that Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel were believers, by your definition of the term. Since that is patently absurd, and proves too much, your initial premise and definition collapse; hence you declined to answer, having been stewed in your own juice, so to speak, and chose rather to pretend that I was off-topic, rather than that you were off-logic and off-Scripture.

It’s literally a textbook example of illogical and non sequitur thinking: fit for a textbook in logic (I took that course in college).

Show me the Scripture that says she was full of grace before the annunciation.

Luke 1:28. Because she is already in this state (“O favored one” — RSV), the angel hails her as such.

Show me this special pre-annunciation act of God in Scripture.

It follows logically from Luke 1:28 and (especially) from what kecharitomene means. It's a perfect passive participle, that shows a “completed action with permanent result” (Smyth), and denotes continuance of a completed action (H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar, Harvard Univ Press, 1968, pp. 108-109, section 1852:b; also Friedrich Blass and Albert DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament, Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1961, pp. 166, 175).

Show me the Scripture that says she received these before the annunciation. 

Just did.

You can’t. 

I not only can, but did. What can’t be shown in Scripture (if you want to play that game) is the foolish notion of sola Scriptura: that only the Bible is the infallible rule of faith, to the exclusion of an infallible Church.

Asking you to convince me of RC teachings from Scripture alone is not a “game” – not for a Lutheran. Besides, having looked at your website, and seeing that you present yourself as a biblical RC apologist, you should have no problem at all making your arguments from Scripture – at least primarily. I’m waiting. 

* * *

So I would go further and argue her humility and obedience were not, in fact, special qualities. 

Duly noted. Mary really threatens you, doesn’t she?

Threatened? Not in the least. I am, however, amused by the number of times you’ve claimed or suggested that Lutherans (or Protestants or Evangelicals) are afraid, or weak in faith.

The humble handmaiden of the Lord . . . We must flee from her in terror, lest our faith in God be imperiled!!! You must have a very weak faith, if you are so scared of losing it merely from venerating God’s greatest created human being, just as Scripture says we should honor the heroes of the faith (Hebrews 11), precisely because they reflect the work and glory of God.

Rather, they were the normal response of a believer – a saint and sinner who looked forward to the coming of her Savior – when (A.) faced with an angel and (B.) fear of condemnation was allayed.

Mary’s humility is exhibited throughout the biblical accounts where she appears. Many Protestants who deny every Catholic and traditional (patristic, apostolic, biblical) doctrine about her wouldn’t dream of denying that, of all things. But you will have no talk of any extraordinary qualities of Mary! She only bore God in her own womb. Nothing to write home about . . . 

Seems to me you have to imagine an awful lot to support the idea of Mary’s immaculate conception.

I have several arguments from Scripture. It takes faith to believe, like all Christian doctrines. The Christian (and Catholic) faith is not merely philosophy and epistemology, but a religious faith: a spiritual thing. It can’t be reduced to logic (though it is never inconsistent with that). Faith is a supernatural gift granted by God’s grace. God will grant anyone the eyes to see the truths of Mariology, if they are willing to grant them at least as possibilities.

I considered them more than possibilities back when I was RC myself. The only thing about Mariology that God opened my eyes to was the absurdity of it. :-)

* * *

I can’t “prove” the Immaculate Conception in some airtight sense, but there are a lot of things that can’t be proven in that sense. I think the Catholic can demonstrate enough to show that the doctrine is plausible and not opposed to Scripture or reason at all.

* * *

I have no doubt that Mr. Armstrong believes “Catholics need only to show the harmony of a doctrine with holy Scripture.” But that’s not going to cut it with me – not from an apostle to the Protestants ( ;-) ) who wants me to believe he’s truly biblical. More biblical than any non-Catholic. I know full well that anything – anything – can be “harmonized” with Scripture if you’re clever enough.

* * * * *

I also had the following brief exchange in the same combox (#10, #183) with a person ("Jerry") of unknown denominational affiliation:

An additional insight from the Lutheran theology of the cross (vs the Roman Catholic and others theology of glory) is that Jesus in His complete humility was born to a big nobody. There is and was nothing in Mary to be adored, not even humility.

That’s interesting. Why in the world, then, does an angel say to Mary, “Hail, O favored one . . .” (Lk 1:28)? Since when does an angel “hail” a human being?

Why does Mary say “henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48)? You certainly don’t do that. So is Mary a liar, writing inspired Scripture about how she shall be regarded by posterity? in addition to being a “big nobody” (only bearing God the Son, after all, a trifle if ever there was one . . . ).

I later wrote on my Facebook page more comments about this:

Well, if he meant (technically) by "adored" what we do (i.e., reserved for God alone), he may have been saying that we shouldn't worship or adore anything in her, which we agree with, of course. But we venerate her and her attributes, because God made her what she is, and she said "yes" to Him.

Mary's yes is to her credit. It came by God's grace, but He grants us free will, so she could have said "no" just as Eve did.


If Mary had said no, God wouldn't have chosen her in the first place; He would have simply chosen someone else whom He knew in His foreknowledge would say yes.

* * * 

Alas, the inevitable personal attacks (sans answers to my arguments) started appearing. One "fws", who had replied to some of my earlier comments in the same thread (thought he was a nice and friendly guy), stated:


hmm.  he made a series of posts over there. not one links back to the discussion here...... no need to wonder why.  This man is sort of.. um.. crazy? dilusional? [sic] not sure what word to use. (#231; 10-10-11 as with all the following comments)
[Note from Dave: This post was later removed. But of course fws's rant was removed with neither retraction nor apology.]

Todd, another regular Lutheran posted on this blog, was fair-minded enough (actually consulting the facts of the matter) to correct that right away (seven minutes later):

FWS (@231), sorry, but every single one of those posts on Dave's blog links back to Veith's blog. Jumped the gun there, pardner.(#231)
[Note: the numbers of posts starting with #231 changed due to fws' removal of the original #231]

Then the illustrious Tom Hering couldn't resist getting in his ignorant barb:

Frank @ 231, the interesting thing is, I was never informed by Mr. Armstrong that he'd be posting my name and comments on his blog. Don't know if anyone else (you, Dr. Veith, . . .) received that courtesy. (#232)

Tom Hering again:

James @ 234, I understand the wild west nature of the internet. I just found it interesting that Mr. Armstrong doesn't follow the protocol he himself said was the right one to follow. (#234)

Nathan Rinne, a Lutheran friend with whom I have started cordial and constructive dialogues, defended me from these attacks, noting that I had made it crystal clear in the same combox, all of four days ago, as I write, on 10-6-11 (I know that's ancient history, but anyway . . . ), how I would be using dialogues engaged in on this Lutheran blog::

Tom,

In comment #71 Dave had said:
Please Note: whenever I do any public dialogue, I always post it on my blog, and always post both sides. And I almost always post all my opponents’ words. If not (rarely, or if so, just a little editing), then I provide a link where they can be read in their entirety. If you object to that, just let me know, and I won’t interact with you, and don’t bother dialoguing with me, because I want my readers to see both sides (being the socratic teacher that I am), and it is wearisome to take out one side of a dialogue because a person refuses to let it be somewhere else online. Let it be known now, lest I catch flak (because some people don’t like that and seem to lack the courage of their convictions, from where I sit). [bolding my own, in the original comment]

fws, re: your comments in 231, I'm a bit surprised you'd say what you did.... :  in the graphic that Tom provided in post 225, it shows that David had linked back to this discussion even at that point.  You can go there now and see he has done this with all of the posts that he has created as a result of this discussion, as he warned he would do.

Tom, regarding your comments in 226, I am sure that Dave Armstrong, while totally admitting his RC bias, would say that he has arranged the discussion as best he can - trying to be as "objective" as a human being can be.

I actually appreciate his approach.  I understand if others do not.  Its definitely not for everyone. That said, I think that he needs to get back here and answer everyone's questions.  : ) (#236)

Tom Hering admitted sheepishly:

Nathan @ 237, good enough. Though it's still not the personal notification Mr. Armstrong thinks he deserves. (#239)

fws (Frank Sonnek) decided to make himself look truly foolish by carrying his groundless gripe and clueless observations about my supposed character over to my blog. In the combox for this post, he wrote:

dave armstrong has "rearranged" this dialog beyond recognition. This is simply not an accurate reflection of the exchange. He ignores the context of the entire dialog which involved many persons. (10-10-11)


I responded:

I did no such thing. All I did was present the dialogue back-and-forth between myself and Tom Hering. I explained at the top of the post, my usual method of editing such exchanges from comboxes. All the original posts are also linked at the top, if anyone wants to go read, including other comments that may have touched on the topic. (10-10-11)

I had explained in the opening paragraph:

I have arranged all these comments (no words changed or edited out!) in order to make it a coherent, flowing, back-and-forth dialogue. 

Then in a combox for another paper, drawn from recent dialogues with Lutherans, Frank blasted me again:

dave, I take back what I said about your being honest. I note that you dont [sic] bother to show the link to the dialog over at Veith's site. there is a good reason for that isnt [sic] there? (10-10-11)

My reply to these (again!) truly surreal, completely non-factual accusations:

Thanks for your honesty.

I linked to the entire thread ("Mariology") right at the top. I also repeatedly linked to the individual comments of opponents (the link is in the date given after the comment). (10-10-11)

Frank Sonnek continued to rant over at the Cranach blog; issuing one apology (thanks), but continuing in his irrationality:

nathan @ 246 Dave Armstrong used my byline without my permission and pulled my comments out of their context. I do appologize [sic] for the factual error that says he did not link back to here. But I do not appologize [sic] for being offended at the way he used my comments. So who owes an apology to whom Nathan? How he used the dialog here over at his sight [sic] is dishonorable Nathan. I was extremely disappointed to see that, and I actually expected a far higher standard from brother Dave. (#263)

Tom Hering gives a big clue as to why the dialogue with him went nowhere, and why he now chooses to insult:

In my discussions with Roman Catholics, now, my attitude toward them depends on how loyal they are to the seat of the Antichrist. But what else would you expect from a Lutheran who takes the whole of his Confessions seriously? (You could check out the subject index in the Kolb Wengert edition of the BOC. One-and-a-half, fine print pages of references to statements on the Pope, and on those loyal to the Pope’s authority. They ain’t pretty. :-D ) (#270)

Further personal attacks occur in the combox for this post (all from Frank Sonnek = fws, at the time of writing. Sonnek removed his post where he publicly wondered if I was "crazy" or "dilusional" [sic]; then reiterated that I was "delusional" in the combox here. Very cute, isn't it: take the insults down on the Lutheran site and say them again on the Catholic blog (directed towards the person who runs it) . . .I made several new comments over on the same combox ("Mariology"):

fws had the original comment #231 removed, because he described me in three (shall we say) “negative” ways. He has since (on my blog; dunno if he also did here; I think not) retracted one allegedly factual charge, after being shown repeatedly that it wasn’t so. The other two things he has not retracted, and in fact, repeated one of them on my blog just a few minutes ago. I won’t repeat it, in deference to the blogmaster’s decision to have this disgraceful material removed here. . . .


fws (231), I would strongly advise you to have that comment deleted by a moderator of this forum, if at all possible, as soon as possible. 

fws replied in (current) #253: 

. . . @ 234 done. thanks for the suggestion. 

Note that all we have is the recommendation of removal, to cover up what was said, rather than a Christian recognition that it is slander and a disgrace to discourse. The slander was quite public; the removal was (almost) secret, minus retraction or apology. It reminds me of how the New York Times will say something stupid on the front page, then (if forced) retract it two weeks later on page C34 or something . . .

As I was writing this, fws (aka Frank Sonnek, in his comments on my blog), wrote in one of my comboxes, reiterating one of the charges that he removed here. This proves that he hasn’t changed his views in the slightest, but he removed the post to cover his you-know-what.

This is what pagans and worldly-wise sorts do; it’s certainly not Christian ethics: calling a man [censored] and [censored] because there is an honest disagreement, then removing it so no one will see, then (like a fool) stating it again on the person’s blog, so that it can’t be removed.

I want to publicly thank and express my admiration for “Dust” — for his integrity and fairness in speaking up repeatedly against the hogwash and personal nonsense that ruined what could have been (and even was, in isolated instances) a constructive (and fun) discussion; also thanks to Nathan Rinne: a Lutheran who is able to talk to a Catholic rationally and pleasantly, minus any hint of insult or hostility (he spoke up, too, against some of the slander). My next project will be to reply to his critique of my critiques of Chemnitz. I look forward to it.

Many thanks again to the host, Dr. Gene Veith, for allowing me to speak freely on his site, and to present what Catholics believe. I wish him many blessings in his important work. (#284)
Oh, cool. When I went back to my blog, I now see that fws has finally seen fit (under pressure) to apologize for the additional two slanders. Great! Thank you, fws; that was the right thing to do. Again, I won’t repeat that here, but if someone wants to see it, here is the link. He goes on, of course, in the same comment and others, to blast me over and over, but whatever . . . We must accept and love people at the spiritual level they are at. He could bring himself to apologize on my blog, but not here. That is something, anyway. I am glad to see it. I wish fws abundant blessings. (#285) * * * I do find it just a wee bit odd that fws stated at 12:01 PM (just 53 minutes ago) on my blog, that one behavior of mine “does appear in fact to be [x].” Then all of 25 minutes later on my blog, he wrote, “I agree and appologize that it is wrong to use words like [y] and [x] directed at anyone dave. it is hurtful and serves no useful purpose.” It may change again in another 25 minutes. Who knows? But I accept the apology! We gotta forgive 70×7 after all, right? If he does it 68 more times, I’ll forgive him 68 times. (#286)
Actually it gets even weirder (by the minute). In the same post (on my blog) where fws apologized for calling me x, he left open the distinct possibility that I may still be x. Some apology, huh?:
In that case you know what you did was wrong. And if you dont know that, then the other alternative is that you are [x].
So I’m either a deliberate liar or something else (x). This is considered by fws to be Christian charity, I suppose. It couldn’t possibly be that A) he misunderstood, and/or B) that it was an honest disagreement. They do happen at times! (#287)

The "Mariology" combox then exploded (#288-304 at the time of writing) with a bunch more psychoanalyses of my character and its supposed grave and manifest deficiencies, with "Dust" the only one even remotely siding with my perspective on things (i.e., in terms of this controversy; not theology). He's not fooled by all the melodramatic histrionics:

Just sayin, when some of the non-regulars, or some of the non-golden ones on this blog, say things that offend some of the regulars, they are accused of twisting words, or they get bombarded with a 100 questions off topic usually, and if they don’t relent or concede, then come the insults, and the threat of censorship or the threat of pulling the plug, yadda, yadda, yadda.

My point is that this is what seems to me to be happening with Dave. They don’t like what he is saying, they don’t like his style, they ask 100 questions and expect immediate replies, they bombard with pages and pages of replies, they try and control his conversation, then when he responds in ways that are interpreted by them to be mean-spirited or whatever, and in my opinion are not mean spirited, then the level gets personal and insults such as crazy or delusional, yadda, yadda, yadda…it’s happened to you [Grace: another person frequently attacked on the site] and that is my point of similarity with this situation with Dave. (#303)

What breath of fresh air!: the rare individual who is able to be objective and fair-minded and not automatically take the party line. He saw that something was wrong and called out the people who did it. It matters not that they were fellow Lutherans and I was a Catholic. It was the principle; the ethics of the situation. Someone was being treated most unfairly and absurdly and he denounced it. I think 99% of forums online would be much better places for conversation if they were moderated by people like "Dust." But alas, it is not so. 

I basically swore off of Internet discussion boards (of all kinds: even Catholic) eight years ago, precisely because there is very little worthwhile discussion that occurs, where there are major disagreements. I had a vain hope that a semi-scholarly Lutheran site would be different (at least temporarily, if nothing else) -- sometimes blogs offer a higher standard of conduct -- and might perhaps be a place where some mutual understanding could occur; so I tried for a while. But I was wrong. It was eventually the same old same old (though at times there was some halfway decent discussion):

1) Theological disagreement.

2) Insults begin; "feeding frenzy" and gossip- and slander-fest against the one person who is the "outsider."

3) Three-ring circus.

4) I try in vain to speak out against it (as did two Lutherans in the thread).

5) More insults and charges of "immoral equivalence," hypocrisy, plus the obligatory sanctimonious lectures without the slightest inkling of what had actually occurred, or that the side that initiated the hogwash had any fault whatever. etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum. ZZZZzzzzzzz. 

Thank heavens that "Dust" could see through the mud and mire and condemn these silly tactics. It renews my faith in Lutheran humanity. But I've learned my lesson about forums once again.

I clarified my position over against further charges:


. . . fws asked me a bunch of questions along similar lines in #143. I politely declined to answer in #144:
Discussing Luther’s fine points on this matter is a huge discussion, involving all sorts of intricacies. I’m afraid (for lack of time and desire: I still have lots of questions directed towards me to answer in this thread, and I’m leaving shortly for a big bike ride), I’ll have to refer you back to my four papers on the topic. Scroll to "Luther and the Blessed Virgin Mary" on my Luther and Lutheranism web page [gave link]. There you will find the most excruciatingly detailed explanations (and debates). As with the quotes I was asked to produce, my thoughts on this are in those papers. And you can see the opinions of many Lutheran scholars on the matter.
fws had stated in #48: “I simply don’t believe they are valid quotes. they are either mis translations or bogus Dave.” I asked, in #209 (quoting the above): “What is your opinion now, after I thoroughly documented all three citations?” Since it was embarrassing that the quotes turned out to be quite authentic, fws didn’t want to touch that, so he switched the discussion in his “reply” in #214 and #215 back to the controversy over what Luther meant, that I had already politely declined to delve into in #144. I’m under no obligation to engage in discussions that I have neither desire nor time for, and which I have dealt with at great length in the past, in any event. So I provided the link to access the four papers I have written. You in turn, scoff at that perfectly reasonable scenario and cynically conclude that I am unable to answer. That’s fine. Believe whatever you wish. I declined long before fws took an ugly turn and started throwing out epithets (joining veterans Grace, Brigitte, yourself, Tom Hering, and Todd in the insult and factually-challenged accusation sweepstakes), so it had nothing to do with that. It was simply a “time-management” and “been there done that” issue. (#310)

One last reply to a person who asked that his words not be recorded (the equivalent of wiping the dust off my feet upon departure):

It is true that I respond strongly to lies and slander. You neglect, too, to acknowledge that fws has now apologized for what he wrote, and agrees that it was wrong and indefensible. So you can hardly object to my objections to his charges now that he agrees that they were indeed very bad.

Since I have visited this place (about a week ago), I’ve been accused of seeking to slander Luther (by yourself; retracted), being a fabricator of quotations (indirectly by Todd; retracted: I think), of being a bald-faced liar, regarding finding my own research source that [someone else] first discovered from me, being “crazy” and “delusional” (fws; retracted under pressure), dishonest (fws and Tom Hering), everything under the sun (Todd, fws), and an idolater and a host of the usual anti-Catholic accusations (Grace). And that’s just in one week.

Then several people lied about how I didn’t notify anyone that I was cross-posting on my blog, and what a huge hypocrite I was because of that, whereas I had made a very clear statement right in the thread (#71) that I was gonna do that; and whoever didn’t like it shouldn’t bother talking to me. Then I was accused of cynical editing to make my opponents look stupid. And I was accused of not making links back to this site (fws retracted that as well). Now there are all sorts of wacko psychoanalytic analyses and Pharisaical judgments of my character.

Real hospitality there. But I’m not supposed to utter a word of protest about that. I’m just supposed to lay down and die and lick all of your feet, because you are Protestants and I am but a lowly ignorant papist and all around wascally wascal who pulls the wings off of flies and steals babies’ candy (and their mothers’ purses, too).

You expect me to not have any harsh words in reaction to all that rotgut? Then after I responded strongly and didn’t take any of this crap, I was put in the same box as the persons who made the false accusations (you, Todd, fws all have implied this). Sorry, that is simply not true. But it is Internet group behavior; clone behavior. It’s always the same, no matter what the dispute is.

I used to be a moderator of the Coming Home Network forum for three years. I know the dynamics of how all this works. I kicked out at least two Catholics because they were anti-Protestant, and we didn’t stand for that. We didn’t allow personal attacks at all. Nor would this kind of nonsense be allowed on my blog, which has been running for over seven years. I don’t have to babysit. Everyone voluntarily chooses to act like Christian adults.

Your claim (sarcastic or not) was that I supposedly have a big “wound” and “emotional trauma.” This is not true. Insults never affect or upset me personally, in the emotional sense. If they did, I would have gotten out of the business of being an apologist long ago, because it is an occupational hazard. I’ve been called every imaginable thing, believe me. They do upset me in terms of my strongly believing that they are a disgrace in terms of supposed Christian discourse and an example to the nonbeliever.

You can call it a dodge [refusing to discuss the fine points of Luther's view of Mary] if you like, because you insist on putting a biased, negative spin on it. My explanation was perfectly sensible. I had written on it before; it was complex; I had a lot of other things to reply to, etc. Without the hostility, all of those reasons would be perfectly acceptable and accepted. But when there is ill will, the pretense of supposedly being scared and unable and all the rest is brought up.

Furthermore, it was off-topic. If you look at the initial post, it was about Catholic Mariology. I came here to give a Catholic counter-reply (Dr. Veith’s post was largely in response to me in the first place) and clear up several misconceptions about what we believe. That was on-topic. Yet no one chose to interact with my long reply; no one would touch it with a ten-foot pole. Instead, we got diversions into all sorts of extraneous topics that you expect me to answer to the nth degree. Luther’s Mariology is a whole different ballgame. I talked about it for a while, but I am not obligated to do it indefinitely.

fws also brought up original sin repeatedly. I was willing to post a lengthy excerpt giving the Catholic definitions of that and concupiscence. No interaction at all. I even asked fws later what he thought the differences were between our view and yours. No reply. But I am no more obligated to go into an intense discussion about original sin than I am to discuss Luther’s Mariology in a thread about what Catholics believe about Mary and how they arrive at their conclusions. It seems to me that this is all quite self-evident, but hostility wipes that out.

Authenticity was the issue because fws made it the issue: claiming that the [three Luther] quotes were possibly “bogus.” He made the charge; I answered it. Then when I asked if he accepted them as genuine, rather than admit that he blew it and had egg on his face (since the quotes were from Luther's Works, Gritsch, etc.), he switched topics to Luther’s Mariology and the meaning of the texts rather than their authenticity (which I had already politely declined to discuss, appealing to my four papers).

The thing about proving the authenticity of citations was why I came in the first place: because my basic trustworthiness as a researcher was being attacked, and I ran across that on Google (you yourself first brought up my name here). So I spent a lot of time on two Luther quotes; then fws attacked three more that I had mentioned in passing. (#322)


Back to your (and my) regularly scheduled program . . .I'm sure further attacks will occur after #322 [they did], but you can go there and read them if you like. I need to get back to my regular work now.




***

54 comments:

Ben said...

“The only thing about Mariology that God opened my eyes to was the absurdity of it.”

And how, Tom, do you know it was in fact “God,” who 'opened your eyes' and not perhaps, a certain somewhat lower being? ;)

Dave writes:

“Yet when it comes to honoring the mother of Jesus Christ: a created human being who had God Himself in her womb for nine months, and who lived with Jesus for about thirty years before He was known to the world, the Protestant balks, on the ridiculous grounds that this must be idolatry, or, at the very least, that it must somehow detract from our adoration and worship of God. This is an insufficient spirituality and insufficiently biblical as well.”

Orestes Brownson makes an important point regarding the charge of “idolatry” leveled against the Church.

Btw, I’d like to ask our Protestant friends, why the objection to images and statues? The earthly sanctuary of the Jews contained the Ark of the Covenant which, as anyone can see , had graven images of cherubim facing each other atop the Mercy Seat. If statues were permitted the Jews under the old law, why should they be forbidden to Christians under the new?

Adomnan said...

Tom Hering: "I know full well that anything – anything – can be 'harmonized' with Scripture if you’re clever enough."

Agreed! That's the whole problem with Protestants' personal interpretation of scripture. They can impose any meaning they want -- clever or not -- on the text and so the text ultimately doesn't matter.

Tom Hering: "Which clearly indicates Gabriel knew that Mary, like any other sinful human, would be afraid she wasn’t in good standing with God. And rightly so. (Don’t you see how God’s grace toward Mary was amazing?)"

This begs for a reductio ad absurdum.

By your logic, it would have been appropriate (perhaps even more appropriate) for God to have chosen Herodias or Salome to be the mother of the Redeemer. After all, these wicked women were more sinful than Mary, and so God's grace to them would have been all the more amazing. If the angel had made the annunciation to Salome after she had finished playing with John the Baptist's head, Salome could certainly have exclaimed: "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a WRETCH like me!"

The greater the sinner, the more amazing the grace, right?

In any case, we Catholics believe it was most appropriate for God to choose the holiest woman to be the mother of Christ. But, given that Lutherans consider God's grace to be the greater -- or more "amazing," to use your term -- the more sinful its beneficiary is, then wouldn't the unholiest woman in the world be the most appropriate choice?

Dave Armstrong said...

:-) Another classic!

Brian Crane said...

The Greek word is chairo, “greetings, rejoice, be glad.”

Couldn't it be validly said that "chairo" is a greeting given to royalty? I believe that is what was written on the cross: Hail (chairo) king of the jews (John 19:3.)

Frank Sonnek said...

dave armstrong has "rearranged" this dialog beyond recognition. This is simply not an accurate reflection of the exchange. He ignores the context of the entire dialog which involved many persons.

Dave Armstrong said...

I've documented the personal insults that are now rampant on the same thread, from many commenters, following the last set of three asterisks (centered). This was updated at 7:15 PM EST, 10-10-11.

I note with gratefulness three posters (all Lutherans) who stuck up for me against all the nonsense and double standards: Dust, Nathan, and (with regard to one false charge), Todd.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Frank,

I did no such thing. All I did was present the dialogue back-and-forth between myself and Tom Hering. I explained at the top of the post, my usual method of editing such exchanges from comboxes. All the original posts are also linked at the top, if anyone wants to go read, including other comments that may have touched on the topic.

Adomnan said...

Dave, I read your contributions to the dialogue at Dr. Veith's blog and was very impressed by your patient, charitable and informative witness there. Kudos!

I was also struck by the following statement by Mr. Hering, the very same person who pointed out that anything could be harmonized with scripture:

"Paul makes it clear we’re to trust in Christ alone, who took the punishment for our disobedience upon himself, and credited us with his perfect obedience."

Not only does Paul not make these things "clear," he doesn't teach them at all. "Trust in Christ alone" is a vacuous, sloganistic phrase that Paul never uses. Paul's "faith" is not "trust." It is assent to what God has revealed, because God has revealed it. We don't "trust" what God has revealed as true; we accept it -- if we have faith (not "trust"!). If fact, trust in God, though present in the New Testament, is usually called "hope" and is something very different from the "trust" (fiducia) that Protestants invented.

But that empty phrase is the least of the whoppers that Mr. Hering is palming off on Paul. Christ did not "take the punishment for our disobedience;" that is, the Father did not "impute" our disobedience to Him and punish Him for it to "satisfy" some misdirected wrath. This is an unbiblical lie.

Finally, neither Christ nor the Father "credited us with his perfect obedience." Why does this falsehood continue to be disseminated so widely? It is nowhere in the Bible. Christ's obedience is never "credited" to anyone but Christ in the Bible.

So many of these "Biblical Christians" don't read the text they claim to value so highly with any care or seriousness. But why should they? As Mr. Hering says, if you're clever enough, anything can be "harmonized" with the Bible, even the most evident lies.

These particular lies, which constitute the pseudo-gospel of the Reformation, are not even defended with "cleverness" by those who profess them. They are just repeated mindlessly and accepted unthinkingly by people who don't even try to understand the texts they claim to rely on.

I cannot believe that anyone can study the Bible in earnest and conclude that the Father "punished" Christ or that Christ's obedience is credited to anyone else. There is something missing in their reading, no matter how often they move their eyes over the pages; namely, insight.

On the other hand, why worry about it? There are always going to be half-conscious people in the world who think they've figured everything out when they've figured nothing out. Unfortunately, these are the very people who are most eager to share their delusions with others.

Frank Sonnek said...

"ridiculous and groundless personal attacks documented"....

You would be more effective Dave by avoiding this posture may I suggest?

No one cares enough about you or your work to want to make it about you personally might I suggest?

Arguments about points of doctrine on Mary just do not interest non Romanists very much Dave. It is just that simple.

Dave Armstrong said...

This from the man who is now on record, describing me as "crazy" and "dilusional" [sic] and "dishonest."

My point, as always, in documenting these attacks, is not about me (who cares about me? I agree!), but rather, to show how folks go right to personal attack when they have run out of rational arguments. I'm attacked because I defend Catholicism and critique Protestantism. PERIOD.

Having exhausted such arguments, several people on this site decided to attack me instead. I'm a liar, dishonest, crazy, and an all-around wascally scoundrel. Let them continue. It doesn't bother me one bit personally. I simply document it and they harm their own case and work towards undermining their own credibility.

But I think it is a disgrace insofar as these people are Christians, and writing publicly about another Christian. This sort of thing will never stop unless it is roundly condemned.

I am happy to note that two Lutherans in the thread have spoken up about it. But observance of elementary, rudimentary Christian ethics always seems to be a minority view in these farcical group "discussions."

Dave Armstrong said...

I better document an earlier insulting Frank Sonnek post here, lest he decide to remove that one, too:

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

Frank Sonnek said...

"ridiculous and groundless personal attacks documented"....

You would be more effective Dave by avoiding this posture may I suggest?

No one cares enough about you or your work to want to make it about you personally might I suggest?

Arguments about points of doctrine on Mary just do not interest non Romanists very much Dave. It is just that simple.

Tue Oct 11, 11:21:00 AM EDT

Frank Sonnek said...

i asked Dr Vieth to remove my brief comment from his site because I felt my words were inappropriate, unkind, unfair, and you are right... not the way christians should address each other.

So you are saying it was wrong to have dr Veith remove those offending words?

Why?

Frank Sonnek said...

Well now Dave.

It appears that you are ascribing rather dark inner motives to me that are simply untrue.

And you have now documented that haven't you.

So you to can be lacking in charity cant you? We are all sinners Dave.

And we all need forgiveness that is alone in Christ our dear Lord.

I would encourage you to ponder this as you prepare for your private confessions dear brother.

We bear the burdens of one another's sins for the sake of Goodness and Mercy.

Good grief man! You seem to take glee in not only catching someone sinning but then you trumphet it about.

May I ask you this please dear brother Dave:

What is your intent and purpose in doing that? what is the Godly goodness and mercy you feel is going to be done and result from such a tactic?

I know that I will carefully considering my own behavior in my own preparations for Holy Confession and Absolution. Sadly Dave, this week you are not the only one I have grieved by not controlling my tongue.

Lord have mercy.

Frank Sonnek said...

Dave,
May I also point out that sometimes your choice of words is less than irenic.

You say things like "I proved you were wrong" where that other person would accept no such conclusion.

And often you chose words that would provoke a negative emotional reaction if that same way of speaking was directed at your own person.

I will assume that your purpose is not to provoke just such a response so you can then document that response and discredit the character of that other person.

May I suggest that there IS a dynamic you create with your writing style that is not one that makes the other side feel respected as you yourself would like to receive respect.

Again Dave, this IS in fact, the pot calling the kettle black. I often have done the same thing and I probably will continue to sin in the same way. And it IS sinful to do this.

The Golden Rule is what you and I aim for as christians Dave. That is an impossibly high standard. None of us except One named Jesus could live up to this standard.

Yet this is what you and I are told and commanded to do. Dave, we are to make the object of our discourse feel loved in all we do. As st Paul says, there is no commandment against doing this.

We can practice doing this now with each other. I want you to feel loved, honored, and respected with all I say and do towards you dear brother.

Lord have Mercy.

Frank Sonnek said...

Ah, one more thing Dave, my friends call me "frank" and not "sonnek'. Please feel free to call me Frank.

Adomnan said...

Frank Sonnek: "whether mary died or not matters as much as whether mary was assumed into heaven or not.

"And that doesnt really matter either. why would it?"

Since you've just admitted you're not interested in the answer, why even ask the question?

Adomnan said...

Frank Sonnek: "You took Tom Herrings comments to places where he would never take them."

As Socrates did with the sophists.

Frank Sonnek said...

adomnan

yeah non romanists would be interested in the topic of whether or not Mary is coredemptrix.

the assumtion and perpetual virginity and immaculate conception... not so much...

Frank Sonnek said...

adomnan.

Frank Sonnek: "You took Tom Herrings comments to places where he would never take them."

adomnan :As Socrates did with the sophists.

frank: how so? I don't see any similarity.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Mr. Sonnek:

You wrote:

I dont think swan really cares.

whether mary died or not matters as much as whether mary was assumed into heaven or not.

And that doesnt really matter either. why would it?

Me: I take it from your response that you have never taken the time to learn "WHY" the Catholic Church found it necessary to even promulgate Marian dogmas throughout history. Pope Pius XII was not just sitting in his papal apartments one day thinking how he could make a name for himself by cooking this the thing up. I don't see emphasized as it should be, but there is theology behind the Assumption and the other Marian dogmas.

Here is my understanding WHY the Assumption matters. Dogmas are lights on our path of faith leading us to a deeper understanding of God's mystery. CCC 89. All Marian dogmas are theological reflections on the mysteries of the relationship between a loving God and His Creation and what the Incarnational reality of Christ Jesus means for each of us. Mariology is Christology realized.

With respect to the dogma of the Assumption we see how Mary assumed into heaven by the power and grace of God. We are not capable of doing anything without that grace but yet by the power of that grace, we too can do all things in Christ and will join Him body and soul in heavenly glory. We see the result of what leading a life full of grace will lead us as is promised in the Scriptures.

The Assumption emphasizes that we as creatures, too, have a role to play in God’s salvific plan. We all are called to vocation just as Mary was called to vocation to be the theotokos and by being called to vocation, that association continues in heaven. That is what the “Communion of Saints” we profess is all about. Mary’s vocation on earth, her intimate association with her Som, the way she lived her life in union with God and her mission which continued even after Our Lord was crucified as witnessed in the Gospel of John (Jn 19:25-27) all illustrate the unique role of Mary in the Incarnation, one that continues to this day. On earth, she was the generous associate of her Son (LG 61). The Assumption shows us that this association continues in heaven. Mary is indissolubly linked to Christ both on earth and in heaven. (LG 56).
"Taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside her salvific duty ... By her maternal love she cares for the brothers and sisters of her Son who still journey on earth" (LG 62).

The Assumption is a further proof of the hope in the promise of the resurrection of the dead. The Assumption of Mary is the exclamation point at the end of the promise of immortality for all human beings as it highlights the unity of body and soul, their respective dignity and fulfillment as the goal of God’s salvific plan.
That is why Mary is called at CCC 972, the "eschatological icon of the Church" (CCC 972.


All Marian dogmas provide for a better self-understanding of the person Jesus Christ. Mary’s perpetual virginity is proof that Jesus is true God . As theotokos, she is proof that Jesus is true man. The dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption show how we are to follow Jesus Christ. The Immaculate Conception shows us that following Christ means to be called and predestined and commissioned. It demonstrates and illustrates the truth contained in the paradox that we are predestined and yet are capable of exercising our free will with the aid of God's magnificant graces. The Assumption shows us the promise of things to come-that through grace alone, we can lead a life that bears fruit.

I am sure that Dave and some of the more apologetically eloquent folks here can better explain things than myself, but I could not leave this discussion without providing an answer to your "why".

God bless!

Frank Sonnek said...

Paul Hoffer

I appreciate your gentility in explaining all this to me.

You actually did a pretty good job it looks to me. Of course there are organic reasons in Roman theology to develop all this stuff.

I think it is probably all those other things that would interest me more than these relatively recent developments in Roman theology.

I really am failing to see how anything beyond the virgin birth and the fulfillment of messianic prophecy have anything to do with christology as pertains to Mary in any essential fashion at all.

If you want to dispute this, feel free to point out how Lutheran christology is defective. Now that would be a discussion I would be interested in Paul.

Sincerely and fraternally,

frank

Frank Sonnek said...

Paul H

I think my point is that all the things you mentioned in your post that are essential christian dogmas can be known very well without the Roman version of mariology.

Show me where I am missing something here brother.

So then I am back to... why does any of that really matter?

Spoils23m said...

Interesting discussion!!

I really reading Dave and Paul's posts here (and in other places), but I must say that I simply love reading Admomnan. He was kind enough to point me in the right direction a few years back on PSA, and I am very grateful for that.

Frank... I think you're probably asking on of the right questions as far as Christology goes. I might frame the question a bit differently... flip it... What does a more Lutheran Christology offer that a more Catholic Christology doesn't? I would be interested in how you might address that question, if you have time.

IC XC
<')))><

Spoils23m said...

*really enjoy READING

Not enough time to proofread, I guess...?? ;)

IC XC

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Frank: (Try 3 on typos)

You wrote:

I think my point is that all the things you mentioned in your post that are essential christian dogmas can be known very well without the Roman version of mariology.

Me: No doubt that there are essential Christian dogmas that can be known very well without Catholic Mariology. My point is that Mariology allows them to be known better.

Grace and peace to you and yours!

Spoils23m said...

Paul,

I sure with the J. Prejean were here to add a CrimsonCatholic tinge to this discussion... don't you?

IC XC

Spoils23m said...

*Adomnan

I guess that I am batting 1,000 today.

Frank Sonnek said...

Paul and spoils23m

" What does a more Lutheran Christology offer that a more Catholic Christology doesn't?"

Evangelical catholic (lutheran)Christology offers NOTHING that is not catholic. I would be interested to hear from you where you feel that Lutheran Christology is not as fully catholic and apostolic as Roman Christology and why you feel that is so.

I would point you to Martin Chemnitz' masterful work "the Two Natures of Christ" to see the most elaborate expression of Evangelical catholic Christology. f

And for the official Christology that all who call themselves Lutheran catholics bind themselves to as their very own confession, you can review what our public Confession says here:

http://bookofconcord.org/sd-person.php

And here:

http://bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php#article3

There is nothing in Evangelical Lutheran Christology then that is not profoundly supported by the Church Fathers. You can read the "catalog of testimonies" that are an integral part of the Book of Concord to verify that this is so for your own self.

Here: http://bookofconcord.org/testimonies.php

I suggest that precisely is why Evangelical catholic (lutheran) theology IS catholic in any meaningful sense of that word "catholic".

We Evangelical catholic christians are minimalist. We do not reject Holy Tradition. If you read the conclusion to the "Catalog of Testimonies" you will see that we Lutherans are far from not honoring the witness of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church.

I would note that precisely where Rome would direct our attention to the work and person and "immaculate" conception of the Most Holy and Blessed Virgin, Lutherans would instead beg the Holy Church to rather direct ALL attention to the Blessed Work, Immaculate Conception, Blessed Incarnation, Life and Holy Death and glorious Resurrection of our dear and sweet Lord Jesus.

I would note that counter to this focus that the Lutherans beg all to have, the E Orthodox, the Reformed and the Romans all tell Lutherans that there is more, much more, than the Lutheran obsession with the Life and Work of Christ.

We Lutherans plead guilty to this charge. We say that there is no way to calm a terrified conscience burdened by the accusation of the Law of God as to our sinfulness than alone to focus that conscience on the Works of Christ alone. And so that is our very narrow focus and the entire point of our confession and contribution to the church catholic.

Frank Sonnek said...

Note to all, especially Dave Armstrong:

If you really want to engage any Lutheran who is serious about being a Lutheran, I would suggest that the ONLY way to do this is to become familiar with THE Book that contains the sum total of ALL Lutheran Theology that is binding to a Lutheran. You will find that in the Book of Concord. Here:

http://bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php

Almost every Lutheran Child memorizes Luther's Small Catechism. This is the Lutheran public Confession that is intimately familiar to ALL Lutherans. I would be challenged to think that any of you would find anything in this Small little Catechism that is not fully catholic and wholesome. Our teachings are that simple and that catholic.

Then the next document a Roman christian should read should be the Augsburg Confession of 1530. Again I really doubt that any Roman christian here would really find alot to not rejoice in in reading that Confession. And it is this Confession that is that preeminent Confession that Lutherans claim.

Then to see where Lutheran catholics disagree, and profoundly so with Rome and the Scholastics, one should read the Apology/Defense of the Augsburg Confession and maybe the Roman Refutation to the Augsburg Confessions. you can find that here:

http://bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php

I would LOVE to engage a knowledgeable Roman christian to work with me through the Apology. I really would welcome this actually. Let me know if any of you would be up to this task.

To be able to argue against the Apology would be to truly be able to master how to do apologetics with Lutheran catholic christians.

Frank Sonnek said...

I guess my overall point here is one that the great Roman catholic christian Chesterton made.

His suggestion was that in order to fruitfully debate and disagree, a gentleman should first seek to identify all points of agreement.

Only then can one properly profitably discuss points of disagreement.

You can ONLY do this with Lutherans by becoming familiar with the Lutheran Book of Concord.

Frank Sonnek said...

I hope you are all clear that Luther is no more authoritative for Lutherans than is the pronouncements of Pope Benedict are for us.

But agreement with the Book of Concord is what literally identifies us AS Lutherans and allows us to recognize others as fellow Lutherans. Only that.

Adomnan said...

Frank Sonnek: "yeah non romanists would be interested in the topic of whether or not Mary is coredemptrix.

"the assumtion and perpetual virginity and immaculate conception... not so much..."

Adomnan: "Mary, Another Redeemer?" was merely the title of White's book. I understand that he critiqued all the major Marian doctines in it, including the assumption, perpetual virginity and immaculate conception. (I haven't read White's book myself, because I'm not interested in junk theology written by charlatans with fake doctorates; but I have seen references to its contents.) Swan discussed the assumption on Dr. Veith's blog. It's obvious these non-Romanists are interested in many points of Marian doctrine aside from the Apostolic tradition that sees her as the New Eve (i.e., coredemptrix).

And, again, there were at least three "non-Romanists" -- Dust and Nathan were two of them whom I recall -- in that blog discussion who were in fact interested in Catholic teaching on Mary. Why do you deny that?

Maybe what you want to say is that YOU are not interested in Marian doctine. Fine, but you can't speak for all "non-Romanists." And don't forget those non-Romanists, the Orthodox and Anglicans.

Adomnan said...

Frank Sonnek: "You took Tom Herrings comments to places where he would never take them."

adomnan :As Socrates did with the sophists.

frank: how so? I don't see any similarity.

Adomnan: Socrates called himself a midwife of truth. He would ask the sophists to explain what they thought certain virtues were, like justice. Through analysis of their answers and further questions and analysis (dialogue), Socrates would "lead their comments to places where they would never take them;" that is, the final definition of a virtue resulting from dialogue would be very different from what they had proposed at the start, although they might not accept it.

That's what Dave did with Tom Hering's comments, in my opinion.

Frank Sonnek said...

adomnan\

yeah you got me there. I was really intending to speak for Lutherans like myself. I would have no way to speak for Anglicans or the EO or other sects within the Holy Catholic Church.

I am not entirely sure what point of fact or opinion we are debating just now Adamnan.

I was attempting to provide a sense as to what is of interest to Lutherans who identify with the Lutheran Confessions consciously.

Lutherans tend to not be interested unless a doctrine has some very very direct importance to the Work of Christ. It is really that simple Adamnan. So things like the assumption of Mary and her perpetual virginity are just not really not very important to Lutherans for that exact reason.

Again, we Lutherans are apostolic christians who rever holy tradition but in the most minimalist way you could imagine as a Roman believer.

Here minimalist would mean, precisely so, that you can think of Lutheran theology as a hub and spoke structure. the hub is the very Person and Work of Christ. ALL other doctrines, whether it is about the authority of scripture, the sacraments, mary, the Law of God or whatever you can think of must be a spoke that is in direct support of that hub. You can push what I am saying here as radically as you wish to and you will not be able to push it too far Adamnan.

I am presenting all this to you as orientation and not as a point of debate.

I am suggesting that if you can grasp what I just wrote, you really are grasping the basic core organic idea of what Lutheranism is about and so you will also be able to understand why particular differences exist between Rome and the Lutherans and also where and why Rome and the Lutherans are in full agreement.

Since the internal structure of Lutheran theology is hub and spoke,to prepare side by side lists of what Lutherans believe vs say Rome or the reformed or the EO will not yield a real or cogent understanding of the differences.

I hope this is helpful information.

You can go to the online Book of Concord to see more what I am talking about here. Especially the Small Catechism.

Frank Sonnek said...

Adamnan

dr veith , myself , nathan dust and more than a few others engaged dave on the topic of mariology.


I was speaking about the interest in this topic in a relative way. I can speak for the Lutherans there when I say that mariology, except for the virgin birth and the fulfillment of messianic prophecy are very very far down the list of what is important in Lutheran theology.

that is just a fact.
Deal with it brother.

Adomnan said...

I should clarify that Dave and Tom Hering were discussing topics other than "virtue." It was Socrates who characteristically dialogued about virtue.

In any event, Dave, it seems to me, prefers to use the Socratic method of dialogue/critique, which necessarily moves the mind from one "place" of understanding to another.

Frank Sonnek said...

adamnan on tom herrings comments.

My impression is that dave took Tom Herrings comments and his own responses over to his own site, and then he greatly modified his own part of that discussion with Tom Herring.

This does not strike me as a fair way to use the comments of someone.

Frank Sonnek said...

adamnan

so the difference is that the sophists and socrates were in the same room together debating. the Sophists could not complain that socrates was mischaracterizing their thoughts or was taking what they were saying out of context.

He was not quoting them in their absence and then commenting on what they said without affording them a chance to approve of how they were being quoted.


This is not what our friend Dave has done with Tom;s comments.

Frank Sonnek said...

again adamnan, the internet is sort of the wild west in terms of etiquette and good manners.

So we need to constantly refer to the Golden Rule here.

I suggest that means that we treat someone elses words as their exclusive property. if we quote them this probably means that we quote with permission and treat the comments of others like we would legally treat copyrighted text, and then for good measure we ask for permission to quote wherever possible.

This is a very high standard isnt it. I imagine that if you were to ask our host here Dave, he would be really pleased if everyone would treat him and what he writes with the level of respect. So that is what we should aim for right?

Frank Sonnek said...

so now we can have a debate about what is proper on the intenet in some legalistic letter of the law fashion. or....

we can explore what the golden rule that is to show goodness and mercy to others as we would in our hearts desire wish to have it done to us in a perfect world. And i suggest that it is this second standard we should strive for even though it is quite impossible to do it complete justice.

Adomnan said...

Spoils: "I really (enjoyed) reading Dave and Paul's posts here (and in other places), but I must say that I simply love reading Adomnan. He was kind enough to point me in the right direction a few years back on PSA, and I am very grateful for that."

Thanks, Spoils, I very much appreciate hearing that. I used to think that my postings about PSA were pretty much writing on water, or preaching to the choir. I'm happy to hear they had some impact.

I don't bring up PSA much any more, because I've said all that needs to be said about the matter. Nick, of Nick's Catholic blog, had an excellent discussion (on his side of the issue!) of penal substitutionary atonement a while back. Check it out if you're still interested in the topic.

Lately, I've been looking at the (non-existent) Biblical basis for the Reformation idea of the imputation of Christ's righteousness to believers, which is often related to PSA, but is, as you know, a separate notion.

Enough said. It wouldn't be appropriate to get into a long discussion of either of these topics in this thread, which is primarily about Mary.

Adomnan said...

Frank Sonnek: I am not entirely sure what point of fact or opinion we are debating just now Adamnan.

Adomnan: We were debating your assertion that points of doctrine on Mary do not interest non-Romanists very much. Now that you've repudiated that opinion or alleged fact, our debate is over (at least that debate).

Frank Sonnek: "Here minimalist would mean, precisely so, that you can think of Lutheran theology as a hub and spoke structure. the hub is the very Person and Work of Christ. ALL other doctrines, whether it is about the authority of scripture, the sacraments, mary, the Law of God or whatever you can think of must be a spoke that is in direct support of that hub. You can push what I am saying here as radically as you wish to and you will not be able to push it too far Adamnan."

Adomnan: I won't be able to push it too far, no matter how radically I push it? Okay, then, this means that teachings about the Father and the Holy Spirit are merely "spokes that are in direct support of the hub, Christ?" They hold no interest or value in themselves.

Why not make the Trinity the hub? Or perhaps the Father? After all, didn't Jesus say He revealed the Father? He regarded the Father as His "hub," didn't He? Shouldn't we have the same hub as Christ?

My point is that sometimes sweeping statements or metaphors such as yours are more rhetorical than meaningful. Would you really have a problem with someone who said the Father was his "hub" and Jesus a "spoke" who connected him to that hub?

Adomnan said...

Oh, and "we believe in sola scriptura because Christ is our hub" is not a valid argument; that is, "Christ is a hub" does not imply "sola scriptura."

Frank Sonnek said...

adomnan

didnt think you would get it. oh well.

why christ as the hub? because the father points to the Son as the full and final revelation of the entire Godhead to mankind. Because in former times God spake through the prophets but now he has spoken through his son. because Jesus claims that he who has seen the Son has seen the entire Godhead, because the HS points always to the work of the Son, because Jesus says that the entire scriptures are a testimony about His Person, because the Holy Apostles say this very same thing. because even in the Holy Liturgy we are taught about this focus on the Word of God as being Christ when we stand and sing aleluiah at the reading of the Words of the Incarnate Word of God.

I am not understanding your point on Sola Scriptura other than that you are showing me you dont get what I said.

Frank Sonnek said...

Adamnan

again, my intent is not to get you to assent to the Lutheran perspective on how to do theology. I would not pretend to attempt that. I am merely presenting what that perspective is IF you are at all interested in relating your own theology to Lutheran catholic dogma in order to dialog with us in some way that would be productive.

Frank Sonnek said...

adamnan

"Oh, and "we believe in sola scriptura because Christ is our hub" is not a valid argument; that is, "Christ is a hub" does not imply "sola scriptura.""

Ok. Lutherans dont have the same idea of what sola scriptura means as the protestants do. We dont believe in a flat bible that has equal authority throughout. We read scriptures through the twin lenses of the words of Christ and the Apostolic witness.

So if you are interested in nuance rather than arguing against some cardboard idea that does not fairly represent the Lutheran position, then go ahead and brush off what I said exactly as you have. I am attempting to describe a position rather than argue for or against it adamnan. I hope you can appreciate the difference.

I am well aware that we differ and that you agree with hardly any of what I have presented. it is far different from any way you would think isnt it? or is it? enlighten me back please rather than just .....

Frank Sonnek said...

adamnan forgive my failure to capitalizen sacred names as I should. I am working with an english keyboard mapped to portuguese here...

Adomnan said...

Frank: "I suggest that means that we treat someone elses words as their exclusive property. if we quote them this probably means that we quote with permission and treat the comments of others like we would legally treat copyrighted text, and then for good measure we ask for permission to quote wherever possible."

Adomnan: You quoted Dave in one of your postings above. Did you ask his permission?

Frank: This is a very high standard isnt it.

Adomnan: It's an absurd standard, if I may say so. Internet discussions would grind to a halt if everyone had to ask permission of other posters before quoting their posts. Many people spend too much time posting stuff as it is. It would be made ridiculously onerous if things were gummed up with quotation vetting requirements.

I mean, do you resent the fact that I just quoted you above twice in this post? Everyone can see what you posted anyway; it's right in front of their eyes on a public forum. I'm only moving it down so that my readers know which comments I am responding to.

In fact, far from being a "high standard," I'd say your standard was "sinful" because it imposed unnecessary burdens on people. (See. I can sound sanctimonious, too.)

Frank Sonnek said...

adamnan : christ is the hub of Divine Revelation works as to the Lutheran understanding of Sola Scriptura in precisely and exactly this way:

When a Lutheran hears the phrase "Word of God" a Lutheran will now allow even the slightest distance to be made between Christ in his very Person as the Word of God.

So you are exactly right if you mean by saying that Christ as the Hub of all Divine Revelation does not imply a Sola Scriptura as you understand most protestants to mean that term. Lutherans have an entirely different understanding of what that term means.

The best place to expand your understanding of how this unfolds in the implications would be to Read Martin Chemnitz's examination of the council of trent where he talks about accepting 7 kinds of Holy Tradition and rejecting only One.

here is an article that discusses just this point in a more modern context that might interest you:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MDO/is_1_38/ai_n57120477/

Adomnan said...

Frank: didnt think you would get it. oh well.

Adomnan: And here I was afraid that you'd respond with a paean of your own Christocentric piety.

Yeah, I get it. You're really, really down with Jesus. And it's a Lutheran thing.

Now I suppose I could reply that we Romanists are Christocentric, too, and then we could have a long back and forth about who's more Christocentric, Catholics or Lutherans; but I'll pass.

Maybe there's a Pentecostal out there who'll see your "sweet Jesus," and raise you a "precious Lord."

Frank Sonnek said...

adamnan

I would never be sad as a Lutheran for a roman brother to compete at being radically focussed upon the Work of Christ.

That is always way cool. Please do it. Always! I know roman christians who indeed are more full of talking about the Works of Christ than many Lutherans are, and I

Frank Sonnek said...

and I do believe that Rome in alot of places is far more solid in theological content than many many protestants are. after all, you recite the nicene creed every sunday. Roman christians end up memorizing it that way. What could be more excellent and more christocentric than that?

Frank Sonnek said...

adamnsn

now here in brasil roman catholicism is hurting compared to the situation in the usa. here there is alot of syncretism that is winked at by the church. a very huge percentage of roman catholics also practice brasilian voodoo to some extent.

and the crushing shortage of priests means that the roman church has lost track of its members. which makes them easy prey to some really nasty sects that seem pentecostal but are probably not even christian.

and as you know this hemoraging of members in the latin community in the usa is also a serious problem. I hate to see it to be honest. I have words to say when some pentecostal says "before i was a christian" only to tell me that that "before" was when they were roman catholic. ahem.

And so all this strive Dave is intent upon to do catholic apologetics.

I would really love for you all to focus more on things that matter. Like saving your members from becoming penticostals or worse.

Frank Sonnek said...

adomnan
what you are inviting me to tell you that you do good at being sanctimonious. ok. done.

my point was that the Golden Rule is a good test of how we use the words of others and quote them.

I would argume that Dave would not at all be pleased with people useing his words the way he is useing the words of others.

I note that when he is offended when people hurl invective at him he does what? he hurls back. So maybe he uses others words the way he does justifying it by saying others do the same to him. \


I still have noticed that he doesnt like it.

by the way: sanctimonious is to make a show of being morally better than others.

That would be you and Dave.

I fully admit that I am pot calling kettle black whenever I criticize you. But that does not justify anyones behavior or make anything better does it?

So you can stop sanctimoniously accusing me of being sanctimonious ok ? That would be moral progress.