Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Low in Anti-Catholic "Humor": St. Thérèse of Lisieux as Hitler / John Bugay Tries to Justify it Based on Historic Anti-Semitism / Steve Hays' Rank Ignorance of the Biblical Scope of "Blasphemy" and Sophomoric Dismissal of Kittel's Lexicon




If you'd like to see the extremely offensive and blasphemous original image, posted by John Bugay, click here. Don't blame me if you make the mouse-click and view it and don't like what you see. You were forewarned.



[IMPORTANT NOTE (REMOVAL): as of 8:20 PM, 11-30-11, after an entire day defending vociferously this outrage, Bugay removed the Hitler mustache (though nothing else in his satire), under pressure from his pastor and others. Blog regular Paul Hoffer had contacted his pastor and provided contact info. for others to do so. Bugay's explanation appears on his blog post near the top, in all italics. It does not, however, contain any direct apology to Catholics: neither for the outlandish Hitler portrayal, nor absurd defenses of it all day long on his blog and mine, nor for the numerous other mockeries and insults remaining in the post, in his combox, and my combox. It's one thing to do something (the right thing) in obedience to authorities, but begrudgingly or under protest; quite another to sincerely change one's mind and heart, with a desire to make amends. I have objected to this in my combox:

How about an apology and a retraction, and explanation, after defending it all day, putting Catholics down en masse, as if it were the strangest thing in the world that we would have the slightest objection, and all your cronies doing the same? . . . show the true fruits of repentance . . . If you had a true change of heart, and now think it was wrong and never should have been done, then by all means let us know. We would respect that.
Nevertheless, this is a big step, and a positive development, even if a reluctant one by John, and I am happy to commend and thank him for it.  [second link]

Bugay had even mocked our outrage, saying it was fake: "I am amazed at the feigned outrage in the response to these images, for what is absolutely a minimal amount of photo enhancement . . ." This still remains in the post, right at the top. It's clearly an insult and shot at our honest reactions: hardly a loving attitude. I think he needs to go the whole way: not just the minimal amount to get the heat off of himself. The post continues to mock Catholics all over the place, and Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, and Blessed Pope John XXIII as well. I would contend that these things also violate the spirit of the Scripture and Francis Schaeffer quotes that he deemed sufficient to require removal of the Hitler garbage.

Second Note (12-6-11; one addition on 12-7-11):  I have been informed that now I am being blasted for keeping the image up. My policy is that I document error and derogatory bigotry, etc. unless there is a full retraction and renunciation: in which case I am happy to remove the documentation. As I explained in my note above, it is not clear to me (at all) that this is an instance of full repentance, because the fruits of that are not apparent.

I think there was probably some change of mind (per Bugay's disclaimer), though, if so, it was nowhere near adequate or sufficient, in accordance with the outrageousness of the act. We can only go by what we see, since we can't read hearts. That is what the "fruits of repentance" is about (Matt 3:8; 7:16-20; 12:33; 21:43; Lk 3:8-9; 6:43-44; 8:14-15; Gal 5:22; Heb 12:11). This is Christianity 0101.

It looks like Bugay simply removed it because he was told to by his pastor and others, not because it was inherently (rather self-evidently) outrageous and uncharitable. He had been vigorously defending it for days. He hasn't renounced anything else about it: all the accusations towards us, including supposed "feigned" outrage, or the mocking of Cardinal Newman or Pope John XXIII, or the prior refusal of charitable donations for his ailing wife, and wholesale mockery and insulting of those who would do so. He continued insulting my readers afterwards; calling us, e.g., "swine" and (again) a "rogue's gallery." He even has made a ridiculous, outlandish argument that he got the idea for the mustache from the shadow in the photo as it is on my blog.

Therefore, since his "removal" is not the same as a complete repentance and change of heart (since it shows no outward proof of those things), I keep it up, so as to document the anti-Catholic mentality. In order to remove the image and all the talk surrounding it, I would have to see a complete renunciation and fruits of a genuine change of heart. I don't see that at all. I see nothing except his doing what his pastor told him to do: the very bare minimum of charity extended towards us. It seems to me like he was "sorry that he got caught," and is covering his rear end: but little more. I made the plea above for him to go the whole way, but it was roundly ignored.

It is self-evidently ludicrous, furthermore, to make out (as another anti-Catholic is currently doing) that we are now mocking St. Therese because we didn't remove the mocking image. This person thinks (in some goofy alt-"logical" schema) that we (whom he calls "vipers") have expressed "bogus outrage" and that "No one who made a stink about it was really offended," and referred to "the entire episode you guys pretended to be upset about" (my italics). At the same time (a mere six sentences later!) he made the following utterly contradictory remark to blog regular Paul Hoffer: "I would agree with you and your friends that the picture was offensive." Which is it?  I guess it depends on whether it is an odd-numbered date or not, and on the barometric pressure (between sunrise and noon) and humidity (after midnight, but before the owls come out). But it's high comedy, whatever the view/anti-view/view of this singularly insightful heart- and mind-reading luminary is at any given time.

Unfortunately, targets of relentless bigotry and smear campaigns have to document what happens, lest people refuse to believe that such outrages occur at all (or don't learn from them). Hence, African-Americans have documented the sad history of racist stereotyping. Jews have shown how they were caricatured and mocked in Nazi Germany, to arouse hatred towards them (I've been to museums in the Detroit area that do both things).

Likewise, we Catholics (at least apologists like myself) must demonstrate at times (in the worst cases, at least) how our religion is contemptuously treated. If there were genuine repentance, then sure, I would take it down. I always do that if someone changes their mind. Failing that, there is little choice but to leave it up. Bugay continues to refuse to exhibit the genuine and obvious fruits of repentance: the most elementary exercises of the Christian faith after committing a serious sin.

There is no evidence whatever that Bugay feels any differently about the whole incident than he ever did. Otherwise, he would cease calling us "swine" and so forth. It is all of a piece: how he has behaved and talked. The same attitudes that produced the blasphemous "satire" are still evident. The tree is known by its fruits. If we start seeing radically different fruits from Bugay, then we'll talk seriously about complete removal. Thus far, he has spoken out of both sides of his mouth; at one point making a sweeping "apology," then when asked to clarify exactly what he was apologizing for, stating that he was retracting nothing. On 12-7-11, he reiterated his refusal to acknowledge that he has done anything wrong, in this entire sad sequence of events: "I have not been unkind to anyone through this. My conscience is clear." A person's behavior is interpreted in the context of, and in light of, his or her behavior in the immediate past.

Third "Update" Note (12-6-11): The latest charge coming from the usual suspects is that looking for genuine repentance and its fruits is retrograde "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth" ethics. I say that it is our opponents who are being proponents of "cheap grace" (many Calvinists have decried this tendency in Protestantism today) and contending (if not by word then by action) that (biblical) repentance need not show any fruits or change of behavior. St. Paul taught quite otherwise:

1 Corinthians 5:4-5 in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, [5] you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.


After the person repented, then Paul counseled that "you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him" (2 Cor 2:7-8).  Elsewhere Paul connects outward deeds as the fruit of true repentance: ". . . perform deeds worthy of their repentance" (Acts 26:20). Our Lord Jesus said, "Bear fruit that befits repentance" (Matt 3:8). And again: "repent and do the works you did at first" (Rev 2:5). Bugay has not, sadly, exhibited these fruits. He continues to act as before.]

* * * * *

[original post follows]


John Bugay posted this caricature of my blog at Cryablogue, complete with additional middle school toilet humor. It's an instant classic (in terms of documentation of anti-Catholic vitriol, contempt, and bigotry) and apparently considered funny as all get-out in these troglodyte circles. Notice how they leave Protestant C. S. Lewis unscathed (too bad he couldn't be changed into Mao or Stalin, or maybe Jerry Lewis or Jerry Lee Lewis: to follow the juvenile "humor"). Nice touch there . . .

Right-click on the photo and select "View Image" for a larger, full-screen version.

* * *

Bugay has now tried to justify his "satire":

I am amazed at the feigned outrage in the response to these images, for what is absolutely a minimal amount of photo enhancement, certainly in response to some not-so-good-natured ribbing, richly enhanced with exaggerations and enhancements of its own. (11-29-11)

Not only was there nothing excessive or wrong whatsoever in what he did, but he also has to pretend that our responses are "feigned." Then he went on (in my combox) to explain the complex ethical  rationale behind his garbage:

. . . be sure you understand the symbolic meaning of the artwork in question. . . . official Rome distances itself from Roman Catholic policy toward the Jews over the centuries. And my point simply is, so long as Roman Catholics make excuses and dismiss official Roman Catholic behavior over the centuries, every single Roman Catholic -- from the least to the greatest -- is tainted by this "excused" and unconfessed official Roman sin. (11-30-11)


Asked why St. Thérèse in particular should be held up for ridicule and ludicrously portrayed as Hitler, Bugay wrote:

Merely that she is tainted by Roman escapism, the same way the rest of you are. (11-30-11)

He later watered this down (slightly):

I am not attributing any guilt to her -- but when the organization is sullied, it reflects badly on all the members. (11-30-11

And later, in the combox below:

I suggest, in a visual way, that she, as a Roman Catholic, is tainted by (a) Rome's policy toward the Jews in the 19th century, and (b) by Rome's continuing failure to take any official responsibility at all -- shifting the blame to "her children".

I see. So "guilt by association" justifies drawing a Hitler mustache on a godly woman and a saint: implying that she has anything to do with a murderer of millions of people: one of the most wicked men to have ever lived.

I guess, then, that every Protestant today is "tainted" by the "excused" outrages and tortures and many thousands of murders / executions that have occurred under Protestant auspices: especially in England, where the Calvinists and Puritans in John's heritage flourished: producing, for example, The Westminster Confession that he and all Calvinists are so fond of. I have documented these horrors in great detail on my web page: Protestantism: Historic Persecution and Intolerance.

England, under Butcher King Henry VIII, Good Queen Bess and other monarchs was a place where a person could have his heart cut out while alive, his intestines slowly drawn out, other outrages not fit to describe in mixed company, done to him, and then arms and legs and heads cut off, simply for the "treasonous" crime of being a Catholic (remember the final scene in Braveheart?). Most folks familiar with European history know what the English did to the Irish for several centuries (I have Irish blood myself). See the gory details on the page above. Isn't it wonderful to hear both sides of the story for a change?

Bugay is fixated on the scandalous historic treatment of the Jews (which was quite as prevalent in Protestant countries: hence mostly Lutheran Germany hosted the Holocaust). I don't know anyone who would deny it. Yet why is it that he would dwell on sins of many hundreds of years ago, while there was tremendous heroism during the Nazi Holocaust within the last seventy years? It is estimated that Pope Pius XII saved some 800,000 Jews: more than any other organization. I have collected many papers about this:


Hitler's Pope? (Donald Devine)

Blaming the Wartime Pope (Kenneth Woodward)

Nazi Policy and the Catholic Church (Karol Jozef Gajewski)

Pope Pius XII and the Jews (Margherita Marchione)

Pope Pius XI [not Pius XII] and the Nazis (Jimmy Akin)

Was Hitler a Christian? (Answers in Action)


Bugay carps in the revised version of his outrageous post:

But Roman Apologists will make every excuse to maintain Roman infallibility, while excusing 'the Church' for any and every one of its officially egregious behaviors over the centuries. Roman Catholic evasiveness is truly staggering.

Just as he lied about me recently, implying that I had never dealt with Orthodox arguments against the papacy (what a joke!); now he is doing it again (insofar as I am an apologist, and his present target): insinuating that I have never dealt with this. But I have, long since (more than three years ago):

Anti-Semitism in the Church Fathers and Historically Among Catholics: Resources and Recent Catholic "Institutional Repentance"

So much for my own "evasiveness". Does this mean I am spared from having a Hitler mustache now, because I freely admit that Catholics (like every other group of sinful human beings) have sinned terribly in the past?

Bugay also seemed at first to be ridiculously denying that in this "satire" St. Thérèse  was supposed to look like Hitler (though it was always possible that he was just playing around, as he is prone to do, and as he now has confirmed):
. . . please note that it is C.S. Lewis, a famous teacher, who is threatening to crack Dave's knuckles with a ruler". Lewis is the one with the open mouth. St. Therese's mouth is obviously closed. You certainly don't know how to interpret satire.

And Paul Hoffer, how dare you accuse me of such a truly blasphemous and abominable behavior as to "draw a Hitler moustache". That's a ridiculous assertion. All that I did was to darken the shadow under her nose -- which naturally exists in the existing photo! (11-30-11)


One "Mr. Fosi" appeared to agree with the denial:

John has denied that charge, so I don't grant that he did draw a Hitler mustache on the pic. (11-30-11)


But Bugay then freely admitted it was supposed to look like Hitler. Brian wrote in the combox below:

It's bad form to draw a Hitler mustache on St. Therese.

Bugay replied:

Brian, I agree. It's bad form. I am "using an absurd example to communicate something that is absurd".

Later Bugay explained on my blog:

This was obviously a "tongue in cheek" comment: . . . There is a scholastic difference between "drawing" and using the burn tool in photoshop. But you'll just trumpet it, to be able to trumpet something. Doesn't matter if you're accurate about it.
And later at Cryablogue:

It was an attempt at humor in the midst of this discussion, an attempt to trade on the amphiboly between "drawing a moustache" and "darkening a shadow" which naturally exists using a photoshop tool.  (11-30-11)

And again in my combox below:

It wasn't a "denial that it was a Hitler mustache" It was a denial of the method -- which I thought to be a trade on words which I thought could possibly lighten the mood. It was a trade on the methods "drawing" vs "using a photoshop tool".

Yes, the intention in both cases was to put a Hitler mustache there. No, I do not think anyone is a moron. Yes, it is in bad taste. No it is not blasphemy. Yes, the bad taste was intended to illustrate bad taste in other contexts, specifically those perpetrated here and in official Rome.


But despite all, Mr. Fosi was still giving the line that John had no intention to make it look like Hitler (replying to Paul):

You are still saying there is one. It looks pretty similar to the way it looks on Dave's blog header. It may be sketchy but I'm going with John's denial on this one.

Fellow anti-Catholic Mr. Fosi thought it was a denial (since he reiterated this twice); yet if we do the same thing, we don't care about truth or accuracy. Fosi can make the mistake and that's fine, because he's an anti-Catholic. But if we do (and who knows when Bugay is serious or not? His so-called "serious" work is as ridiculous as his farce), we are morons. In any event, if we take John at his present word that it is what we all thought it was (a Hitler mustache), then above he is joking around about his blasphemy, thinking it is the most lighthearted thing in the world (and Fosi was quite serious and misinterpreted what Bugay says was "obvious"). It's yet another instance of Bugay calling good evil. This is becoming a big theme with him.

Paul Hoffer has described the defamation as "blasphemous." Steve Hays (webmaster of the site where this appeared) objected, stating:

His satire would only be blasphemous if it were directed at God (specifically, the one true God). It isn't possible to blaspheme mere men and women. Your complaint reflects Catholic idolatry. (11-30-11)


In stating this, he exhibits his massive ignorance of how the Greek words blaspheemeo [βλασφημέω](Strong's word #987), blaspheemia [βλασφημία] (#988), and blaspheemos [βλάσφημος] (#989) are used in Holy Scripture. They are often applied to men or angels. Hence Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (one-volume) states (p. 107):

It may be directly against God . . . or angelic beings (Jude 8-10; 2 Pet. 2:10-12). . . .

Persecuting Christians is also blasphemy (1 Tim. 1:13). The community has to suffer blasphemy (Rev. 2:9; 1 Cor. 4:13; 1 Pet. 4:4). Opposition to Paul's message is necessarily blasphemy (Acts 13:45 [+ 18:6]) because it attacks its basic content.

. . . A bad action is blasphemy either because it resists God's will or beings Christianity into disrepute (1 Tim. 6:1; Jms. 2:7; Rom. 2:24; Tit. 2:5).

Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (ten-volume set) elaborates:

3. But the Christian, too, is in danger of giving cause for blasphemy. Denial of Christ in persecution would be such. Hence Paul can say of his activity as a persecutor: αὐτοὺς ἠνάγκαζον βλασφημεῖν. Even in partaking of idol meats Christians in bondage could see blasphemy (1 C. 10:30), as distinct from Paul. Violation of the obligation of love even in such matters ὑμε͂ν τὸ ἀγαθόν (R. 14:16) could expose to scandal. False teaching is blasphemy when it perverts from the way of truth (2 Pt. 2:2; R. 3:8). The blasphemy does not have to find verbal expression. Any bad or unloving action can contain it, either because it resists the holy will of God or because it causes the enemies of Christianity to calumniate it (1 Tm. 6:1; Jm. 2:7; R. 2:24; Tt. 2:5). The basis is clearly set out in 2 Cl., 13, 2–4.

(Vol. 1: 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley and G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (624). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans)

Likewise, The New Bible Dictionary (1962, "Blasphemy", p. 159):

God is blasphemed also in His representatives. So the word is used of Moses (Acts 6:11); Paul (Rom. 3:8; 1 Cor. 4:12; 10:30) . . . because these representatives embody the truth of God Himself (and our Lord in a unique way) an insulting word spoken against them and their teaching is really directed against the God in whose name they speak (so Mt. 10:10; Lk. 10:16). . . . 

The term is also used, in a weaker sense, of slanderous language addressed to men (e.g. Mk. 3:28; 7:22; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Tit. 3:2). Here the best translation is 'slander, abuse'.

Even immaterial things can be blasphemed, such as the "word of God" (Titus 2:5: "discredited" in RSV), "good" [acts] (Rom 14:16), "teaching" or "doctrine" (1 Tim 6:1), "the way of truth" (2 Pet 2:2), "matters of which they are ignorant" (2 Pet 2:12). Follow the Strong's word links for comprehensive documentation of usage.

Zondervan Dictionary of Bible Themes (#5800: "Blasphemy") also shows a wide application of blasphemy in the Bible:

God blasphemed indirectly

Rejecting his word and his servants blasphemes God Ne 9:26 See also 2Ch 36:16; Ps 107:11; Isa 5:24

Defiling sacred things blasphemes God Lev 22:1-2 See also Eze 20:27-28; 22:26; Mal 1:6-13

Despising the poor blasphemes God Pr 14:31 See also Am 2:7; Jas 2:5-7

Speaking against his people blasphemes God Zep 2:8-11; Ac 9:4-5 To persecute the church is to persecute Jesus Christ; Ac 26:9; 1Ti 1:13; Rev 2:9

Slandering celestial beings blasphemes God 2Pe 2:10-12; Jude 8-10

(M. H. Manser, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1999)

All of this, but Hays, Bugay, and our esteemed anti-Catholic Calvinist brethren are supposedly the masters of the Bible, and we Catholics, biblical illiterates. Hays doesn't even know the plain definition of a common biblical word. And so he says stupid, ignorant things about it. All we have to do is go to the Bible and Protestant Bible reference sources to refute him beyond all reply. Hays' answer to all this on his blog (the first sentence, within four minutes of my posting it there), was:

Needless to say, Kittel is notorious for its semantic fallacies, so Armstrong illustrates his massive ignorance of basic lexical semantics (e.g. James Barr). Put another way, Armstrong commits the word=concept fallacy. If you want to defend Kittel, that's your funeral. I'll send flowers.
BTW, this highlights one of Armstrong's chronic methodological fallacies. He will prooftext Catholic dogma by copy/pasting the occurrence of the same English word in a concordance.

I replied:

I'm happy to be in the company of hosts of Bible scholars who continue, amazingly enough, to cite Kittel, despite your searing wisdom, thus showing themselves to be miserable sufferers of (what was it?): "massive ignorance of basic lexical semantics." Right.


Helmut Koester wrote:

. . . the violent attacks of James Barr . . . are not really justifiable; decisive though they may be, his remarks are aimed at a few articles of the [TDNT] that are hardly convincing anyway . . .

(Paul and His World: Interpreting the New Testament in its Context, Fortress Press, 2007, p. 242, footnote 11)

Likewise, E. F. Harrison, editor of Baker's Dictionary of Theology, Wycliffe Bible Commentary, and many exegetical books of his own, and founding faculty member of Fuller Theological Seminary:

Almost universally, the value of this work has been cordially recognized. To be sure, it has had its critics, notably James Barr, who finds too much dependence on etymology, some unwarranted intermingling of philosophical-theological judgments with those which are linguistic, too much emphasis on words in isolation rather than consideration of the demands of context, as well as too great a readiness to move from word to concept and to put Hebrew and Greek concepts in contrast to one another. These and other objections point out dangers for those who work in the biblical languages as the basis for exegesis and biblical theology, but it is doubtful that Barr's strictures can be said to invalidate the Kittel method or render nugatory the solid results achieved by its use.

(Introduction to the New Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1971, p. 57)


The very distinguished evangelical Bible scholar Marvin R. Wilson shows himself also to be guilty of "massive ignorance of basic lexical semantics" -- since he (oddly enough, given Hays' infallible pronouncements) offers a third critique of Barr's criticism of Kittel (after praising several aspects of it):

. . . Barr's position fails to be fully convincing. By downplaying any distinction between Greek and Hebrew manners of thinking, Barr does not take into adequate consideration such nonverbal aspects as the historical, cultural, and social-psychological setting from which the respective thought derives. Furthermore, he gives the impression that one may translate from one language to another without any major loss. This is not necessarily the case, however, for words may have a particular cultural and historical development within their own language.

(Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989, p. 7)

Frederick W. Danker notes other relevant scholarly considerations:

Editor Friedrich accepted the rebuke [from Barr] and vols. 5 (1954) through 10 (1978) reflect more acquaintance with philological realities. David Hill heeded some of Barr's admonition but tilted in the direction of TWNT in Greek Words with Hebrew Meanings: Studies in the Semantics of Soteriological Terms (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967).

(Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study, Fortress Press, revised edition of 2003, p. 121)

Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning state that Kittel, notwithstanding Barr's criticisms,:

. . . remains a gold mine of primary source information and should not be ignored.

(Interpreting the New Testament Text: Introduction to the Art and Science of Exegesis (Crossway, 2006, p. 158)

Noted theologian Thomas F. Torrance defended Kittel's methodology and was a critic of these sorts of criticisms from Barr:

. . . Torrance regarded Barr's thinking as a kind of "linguistic formalism" or nominalism that equates reality with linguistic usage . . . Torrance himself characterized James Barr's position . . . as an "outstanding example of . . . nominalist scepticism." . . . Torrance insists, against Barr, that we must not neglect "the fundamental principle of hermeneutics advanced by the Greek Fathers that we do not subject realities to the terms referring to them., but subject terms to the realities to which they refer . . ." (Torrance, Royal Priesthood, p. x) . . . He called Barr a "brilliant philologist whose ideas cannot be ignored, although they are often rather exaggerated" (Royal Priesthood, p. x). . . . Torrance asserted that Barr's approach mistakenly "treated language independently as something having significance in itself . . . and not primarily by reference to the realities beyond which they are meant to direct us" (Royal Priesthood, p. x).

(Paul D. Molnar, Thomas F. Torrance: Theologian of the Trinity, Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2009,  p. 333)


It's a nice sophistical (and altogether typical) attempt by Steve to deflect the discussion away from the biblical range of "blasphemy" onto methodological deficiencies (real or imagined) of Kittel. He can't escape his whopper, so he tries to obfuscate and get the spotlight off of his silly error and onto something else. It's classic tactics of sophistry.

If he says that Kittel defined words too rigidly (he certainly didn't here, as my citations show), then Steve simply comes in and says that the three Greek words can never possibly apply to human beings (or angels or things) in any sense of "blasphemy". So he is just as dogmatic, except it is from prior convictions that he brings to the Bible in order to eisegete it and bolster his errors of category and woodenly seeing idolatry under every rock.

True to form, Hays wrote another sophistical, obscurantist post, filled with non sequiturs, and never touching the heart of our dispute: whether blasphemy in Scripture applies to creatures and things, as well as to God. I showed that it clearly did. He can't refute that, so he switches the subject and obfuscates, like all good sophists do. Hays seems to think it is a bombshell to point out what I already did in this paper, above. So he writes:

Poor ol’ Dave needs a crash course on lexical semantics. Let’s give him a few pointers: . . .

3) In Biblical usage, “blasphemy” has a secular meaning, viz. slander, calumny, defamation.

4) In Biblical usage, “blasphemy” also as a religious meaning, viz. impiety, sacrilege.

I guess that's why (many hours ago, in a long day of disputes) I cited (above) the New Bible Dictionary, stating the same thing:

The term is also used, in a weaker sense, of slanderous language addressed to men (e.g. Mk. 3:28; 7:22; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Tit. 3:2). Here the best translation is 'slander, abuse'.

What he neglects to see, however, is that blasphemy can apply to people and even objects, precisely because of their connection to God, or as His representatives.  His extreme anti-Catholic Calvinist either/or mentality won't allow him to see that (he collapses it into inherent idolatry). Earlier today he denied that this was the case. But it's simply not presented that way (according to his opinion) in the Bible. Because I showed him that and he had no ready answer, he started attacking Kittel as a source (attempting to poison the well), and I had to spend time showing how his is not everyone's opinion, by any stretch. I consider what the actual linguists and Bible scholars say about it: not what an unpublished, wannabe-scholar teaching assistant like Hays dogmatically bloviates on and on about.

Bugay summarized on Cryablogue all of this sort of scholarly counter-evidence to Hays' claims:

Rhetoric, Dave. Unlike at your hovel, we have standards here.

Bugay then deleted the lengthy E. F. Harrison citation above, and turned off the comments before I could post the Danker citation. Too much refutation of Hays' inanities, I guess . . . These are the heights and absurdity that these anti-Catholics will scale, in order to avoid admitting that they were dead-wrong about the meaning and range of "blasphemy" in Holy Scripture.

* * * 

It occurred to me that there is a huge double standard here in terms of what an anti-Catholic can do to a photo of a Catholic, and what a Catholic can do. Note how there are loud complaints from our anti-Catholic friends now about how our disgust at this juvenile display is altogether excessive, even "feigned" -- according to Bugay. How dare we complain that a saint (indeed one of the holiest of all time) was made to look like Hitler!!! Yet if we look at how anti-Catholics typically respond to any satire or humor, no matter how harmless, they yell and squawk louder than a stuck pig, and for precious little reason. The classic example is James White. I merely stretched a photo of him (in the late 90s), and he nearly imploded with prideful, bombastic-ego pique. Here it is. Note how terribly outrageous and disrespectful this is. Can you think of any possible thing more insulting than this?:



You would have thought the sky was falling down, according to Bishop White. And so he writes:

He has years of history in posting distorted pictures of me, cartoons, . . . In some ways it is simply pitiful, in others shameful. (7-12-07)

I had some harmless fun with other photos: making one look like a negative, another a weird yellow color, some take-offs of his stuff, etc.:
 






But the anti-Catholic ego can't take any of that. At the same time, White's professional caricaturist has done two satirical drawings of me, complete with many lies (one / two). Eric Svendsen (formerly very active and prominent anti-Catholic online) did a National Enquirer satire of me that had a child growing out of my chest and a supposed connection with Holocaust deniers (scroll down to bottom right). At one time an entire fake blog, supposedly my own, was put up: literally filled with slanders and mockery. That person was an anonymous coward  and has never been discovered. White's artist also portrayed Patrick Madrid being stoned for idolatry. Gene Bridges, an associate of Steve Hays, had a field day, seriously comparing me to dictators like Castro and the tyrant in North Korea (complete with photographs).

All of that is fine and dandy, yet I simply stretch out a photo of James White or do other harmless, lighthearted stuff such as seen above, and he hits the roof and acts as if I have lost all credibility as an apologist altogether because I did such dastardly, wicked, utterly indefensible, unconscionable things. He can't take any criticism; he seems to have no comprehension of self-deprecating humor or laughing at oneself.

But if we object to outrageous and hyper-slanderous Hitler comparisons, Bugay condescendingly writes: "I am amazed at the feigned outrage in the response to these images, for what is absolutely a minimal amount of photo enhancement, . . ." and "You all really should be concerned about other things." There is a double standard here as wide as the Grand Canyon.



* * *

186 comments:

Brian said...

Well, as ridiculous and inappropriate as it is, that approach is actually much more compelling than their actual arguments for protestantism.

Southern Byzantine said...

It's interesting to see how those who espouse the doctrine of total depravity provide such vivid and compelling demonstrations of its effects...

Maroun said...

You know something Dave?Thank God for you and for your blog . Because when i see these things , i remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ , when He told His disciples that they persecuted and hated Him and they will do the same with them , with His Church,whith His body . They called our Lord Beelzebul , so no wonder if they also transform st Therese of Lisieux into Hitler ...
May God forgive them and may He open their eyes and minds , so that they could see and understand what they are doing...
GBU

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Dave, When I saw Mr. Bugay's blasphemous artwork (See, CCC 2148) against St. Therese, I thought of this quote from her, "Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing." - Story of a Soul, Chapter VIII.

Instead of nursing his hatred for the Catholic Church and her children, Mr. Bugay's time would be better spent meditating on 1 Cor. 13 and St. Therese's Little Way.

God bless!

Adomnan said...

Very disturbing.

This is not a decent or normal way for a man to behave under any circumstances. But how can he spend his time insulting and provoking strangers when his wife is so sick? Who does that? I hope she doesn't see these things.

Dave Armstrong said...

I think this shows more than anything else that John and all his friends need our prayers. We tried to show charity through financial support, but we all know how that went.

Blessedly, anti-Catholics have no ability to prevent our prayers and penitential works on their behalf. And these paltry efforts at "humor" and contemptuous mockery are no match for the intercessory power of St. Thérèse in heaven. She loves John just as much now as she did before he decided to mock and detest her. Probably more so, because she sees the tormented soul underneath the bluster.

Thanks for the kind words, Maroun.

Dave Armstrong said...

John C. Hathaway made a great comment over at the original post on Cryablogue:

***

I don't know the background of the dispute, but your caricature of my patroness, St. Therese of Lisieux, "The Little Flower," is offensive on so many levels I can't count them.

By captioning your caricature with a reference to "knuckle-rapping" teaching nuns shows your complete ignorance, since Discalced Carmelites are a contemplative order, not a teaching order.

To compare "the Little Flower," who said, "In the heart of Jesus, I shall be love," to Hitler is obscene.

You've obviously never read Story of a Soul, one of the greatest spiritual works of all time. Therese was raised in a devout family, entered Carmel at 15 and died of TB at 24 after intense suffering. She was so advanced spiritually that, even though she was never a fully professed nun, she was made assistant novice mistress as soon as she was eligible, and was informally tasked with teaching all the novices.

She based her spirituality entirely on the Gospels, the Imitation of Christ, and John of the Cross. With few exceptions, she didn't read any other theological or spiritual works.

One of the Popes called her the "Greatest Saint of Modern Times," even before she was canonized, and, when Bl. John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church, he said that she is perhaps the greatest doctor, even though she only left us one short book, because she essentially gave the Church a new doctrine in her "Little Way" of holiness by "doing small things with great love."

I pity you.

John of the Little Way, OCDS

John Bugay said...

You guys are a hoot.

Paul Hoffer said...

Since Mr. Bugay is not willing to remove the blasphemous picture and apparently is now justifying it I would urge folks here to contact Mr. Bugay's pastor, Rev. Matthew Koerber at City Reformed Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pa.:

City Reformed Presbyterian Church
3524 Blvd of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Office Phone: 412-720-7014

pastormatt@cityreformed.org

Perhaps Mr. Bugay's pastor can explain to him the difference between satire and blasphemy.

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

Here is a copy of the e-mail I sent to Mr. Bugay's minister.

Reverend Koerber, I am writing to you to see if you would prevail upon one of your members, John Bugay, to remove a visually offensive picture that he has put up on his apologetics website depicting St. Therese of Lisieux with a Hitler moustache. See, http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/11/dave-thanks-for-memories.html What Mr. Bugay calls “good natured ribbing”, I would call blasphemous and sacrilegious particularly when one has ever studied the life and writings of the “Little Flower”. To defame one of God’s holy ones in this fashion is a blasphemous act and has no place in legitimate apologetic endeavors. If Mr. Bugay believes that the Catholic Church and those who follow its teachings are in error, he certainly has the right and the obligation to vigorously oppose such errors, but linking a cloistered nun who preached a Gospel of steadfast love for Jesus Christ with a deprave madman who caused the extermination of millions should not countenanced. I beg you to talk with Mr. Bugay and ask him to remove the picture.

I would be happy to discuss the matter with your further, if you wish. My number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.

God bless!

~Paul R. Hoffer
Spes mea Christus.

John Bugay said...

Before you all call or write, be sure you understand the symbolic meaning of the artwork in question.

Keep in mind that you all have to "go to confession" and actually confess, in some detail, your sins.

Along with the blogpost in question, I've included links to a series I wrote on "The Popes Against the Jews". Essentially, official Rome distances itself from Roman Catholic policy toward the Jews over the centuries.

And my point simply is, so long as Roman Catholics make excuses and dismiss official Roman Catholic behavior over the centuries, every single Roman Catholic -- from the least to the greatest -- is tainted by this "excused" and unconfessed official Roman sin.

Good day, Gentlemen.

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Bugay, engaging in TAOisms does not give warrant to your actions. You claim that you posted the picture of Saint Therese with a Hitler moustache out of a sense of "good natured ribbing" and then when you are called on it, you post stuff about how some popes treated Jews in the past and use that as your justification for the picture. if decrying alleged past papal misconduct was your objective all along, why didn't you say so in the first place?

If that is not enough, you then call your artwork satire. Ok. I can understand the play on names between Bl. JHN and Alfred E. Neuman, but apparently you weren't aware that the figure was used in Germany during WWII with the words "Tod den Juden" underneath it. So much for your social commentary on anti-Jewish bigotry.

BTW, what vices, follies, abuses and shortcomings of St. Therese were you holding up for ridicule or to shame. John Hathaway pointed out the flaw of comparing St. Therese, a contemplative nun, with a nun from a teaching order. Satire has to have an element of truth in it for it to be actual satire.

Frankly, if satire is a weapon of wit, your attempt to engage in it by drawing a Hitler moustache on a saint like Saint Therese shows you are using an exceptionally dull blade.

God bless!

John Bugay said...

Paul Hoffer: what vices, follies, abuses and shortcomings of St. Therese were you holding up for ridicule or to shame.

Merely that she is tainted by Roman escapism, the same way the rest of you are.

And the "good humor" also included (which were not reproduced here), a line from a biography on "Good Pope John", while still a papal nuncio, using a bit of scatological language himself.

Dave is the one who is choosing to continue to escalate these things, as if my not wanting to take money from him, and finding interactions with [most of] you as distasteful as stepping in dog poop, had some major global consequences. Dave is, and always has been, ridiculous and nonsensical in that regard.

Dave has put up posts probably totalling 50,000 words on two genuinely minor things, and he portrays these things as if we are talking about nuclear holocaust.

You all really should be concerned about other things.

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Bugay, since you imply a familiarity with her writings, would you be so kind to provide us with numerous examples how St. Therese was tainted with Roman escapism, whatever that supposedly is, or how drawing a Hitler moustache on her face constitutes social commentary on such?

John Bugay said...

I do not imply a familiarity with her writings.

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Bugay, If you are not familiar with her writings, how can you accuse her of Roman escapism? Or for that matter, how could you claim that you were engaging in legitimate satire without knowing what her views were?

God bless!

John Bugay said...

Paul, the Roman Catholic Church had very specific anti-Jewish policies at the turn of the century. She was "a member of the organization".

I am not attributing any guilt to her -- but when the organization is sullied, it reflects badly on all the members.

That's why the Penn State trustees were so eager to get rid of Joe Paterno.

But officially, Rome doesn't even think it has any guilt in the matter.

If you want to associate yourself with the KKK, thinking it is not guilty of anything, you, as a prospective member, would still inherit the all the associations that go along with that organization.

Brian said...

Bugay,

This really isn't a complex of an issue here. It's bad form to draw a Hitler mustache on St. Therese.

John Bugay said...

Brian, I agree. It's bad form. I am "using an absurd example to communicate something that is absurd".

Let's put this into some context. As I wrote in my blog post,

The Vatican reports: "in the 19th century, a false and exacerbated nationalism took hold. In a climate of eventful social change, Jews were often accused of exercising an influence disproportionate to their numbers. Thus there began to spread in varying degrees throughout most of Europe an anti-Judaism that was essentially more sociological and political than religious." But what the Vatican fails to report is that it was a pope, and a work sanctioned by a pope, (approved of and distributed by the Vatican’s own theological journal – and reprinted with the explicit approval of the pope at the time) and a report by the “Holy Office of the Inquisition”, that made these charges, that led to this “sociological and political” anti-Semitism.

Is the great nation of the United States sullied by its official policies of 19th century slavery? You bet. Is the great nation of the United States sullied by its official abortion policies of the 20th century? You bet.

Do every-day Germans today go around saying, "Adolph Hitler did many great things for our nation"?

I don't think so.

If you were to come across some Hitler youth who wanted to say that Hitler did great things for the nation of Germany -- brought them out of the funk caused by WWI and the Wiemar agreements, put the nation "back to work", etc., sure you could find "good things" he did.

But would you, personally, be out defending those "good things"? Or would you rather be working to put them into the larger context of his overall life's work?

Dave Armstrong said...

As of 11:54 AM EST I have greatly expanded the original post, to incorporate replies to the spin now dizzily taking place.

First I examine Bugay's ridiculous rationale for doing this: historic anti-Semitism. I show that this is a double standard, since Protestants have the same skeletons in their closet as anyone else: if not worse ones, and in light of heroic catholic behavior during the Nazi Holocaust.

Having taken this tack (he is critiquing the winking at of anti-Semitism by making St. Thérèse look like Hitler: ha ha: so funny!), Bugay then turns around and denies that he was doing so at all ("All that I did was to darken the shadow under her nose"). Right. Steve Hays and "Mr. Fosi" later concurred with this imbecilic desperate spin and sophistry.

After that I explain the biblical definition of blasphemy: which Steve Hays claimed was confined to God alone (hence we were being idolatrous in applying it to a person). Wrong! Dead wrong! I gave citations from Little Kittel and New Bible Dictionary and biblical documentation (Strong's lexicon) of the three related biblical Greek words having to do with blasphemy.

Hays is now desperately trying to spin that away, in order to cover up his abominable stupidity on the matter (now documented for posterity).

I'm sure much more folly will follow. These guys are in this up to their necks now, and they can't ever admit they are wrong, where Catholics are concerned, so this will be a truly amazing "ride" before it is all over.

Their bigotry and ignorance alike will be manifest for one and all to observe. I'm sure my post will spread like wildfire. It was put up late last night and it already has 36 shares on my blog and no doubt many more will occur on the cross-posted Facebook and Twitter entries.

Dave Armstrong said...

This is fascinating to watch. Having denied that he intended to make a Hitler semblance (with Hays and another guy agreeing that he denied it), Bugay now admits that he did indeed intend to do that, and was using the absurd to illustrate the absurd.

These clowns will make total fools of themselves before this is over (if indeed it is possible for them to be bigger fools than they already have been for years).

Brian said...

Brian, I agree. It's bad form.

Thank you. I am fairly certain that this was the whole point.

Now, your attempt at justifying resorting to such bad form was only muddling things as they are a separate issue.

John Bugay said...

Dave: This was obviously a "tongue in cheek" comment: And Paul Hoffer, how dare you accuse me of such a truly blasphemous and abominable behavior as to "draw a Hitler moustache". That's a ridiculous assertion. All that I did was to darken the shadow under her nose -- which naturally exists in the existing photo!

There is a scholastic difference between "drawing" and using the burn tool in photoshop.

But you'll just trumpet it, to be able to trumpet something. Doesn't matter if you're accurate about it.

John Bugay said...

Brian -- It's no separate issue. It's a whole cloth.

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Bugay, given that the KKK was a Protestant organization that was both anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish as well as anti-black which happened to lynch one of my ancestors because he was Catholic shopkeep who refused to stop selling groceries to blacks would not be a very good example for you to use with me. My family has supported, fought and died defending abolition and civil rights in this country for over 200 years

But that said, you seem to discount BL JPII's "Tertio millennio adveniente" or the International Theological Commission's "Memory and Reconciliation". Why not point us towards similar documents issued by your denomination for its own conduct towards Jews before chiding me about something that happened in the past. How much apologies for past wrongs do you want from the Church in order for you to be satisfied?

And yes, as Brian put it, it is bad form to draw Hitler moustaches on Saint Therese.

God bless!

Brian said...

Mr. Bugay,

If I walk up to someone and punch them in the face because I disagree with them, it is irrelevant how correct I am in regard to the disagreement. It is bad form to go around punching people in the face.

There are multiple issues being discussed here. One of them was your artwork which you agreed was bad form. You may have brilliant reasoning for doing it, but it still remains its own issue. Stating that they are a "whole cloth" does not somehow change that.

Dave Armstrong said...

Bugay has now clarified that his denial that it was a Hitler mustache was more tongue-in-cheek game-playing. Thus I have revised that section in my paper, writing in part:

"Fellow anti-Catholic Mr. Fosi thought it was a denial (so it seems); yet if we do the same thing, we don't care about truth or accuracy. Fosi can make the mistake and that's fine, because he's an anti-Catholic. But if we do (and who knows when Bugay is serious or not? His so-called "serious" work is as ridiculous as his farce), we are morons. In any event, if we take John at his present word that it is what we all thought it was (a Hitler mustache), then above he is joking around about his blasphemy, thinking it is the most lighthearted thing in the world (and so was Fosi, if he was merely playing, too, or else he was serious and misinterpreted what Bugay says was "obvious"). It's yet another instance of Bugay calling good evil. This is becoming a big theme with him."

John Bugay said...

It wasn't a "denial that it was a Hitler mustache" It was a denial of the method -- which I thought to be a trade on words which I thought could possibly lighten the mood. It was a trade on the methods "drawing" vs "using a photoshop tool".

Yes, the intention in both cases was to put a Hitler mustache there. No, I do not think anyone is a moron. Yes, it is in bad taste. No it is not blasphemy. Yes, the bad taste was intended to illustrate bad taste in other contexts, specifically those perpetrated here and in official Rome.

And Dave, I take back my statement about interacting with you being like stepping in dog poop. That is far too mild of a metaphor. Interacting with you is much messier, in very many ways.

John Salmon said...

You liken a great saint to Hitler, and you're the offended party, Mr. Bugay?

John Bugay said...

John Salmon, I don't "liken" a "saint" to Hitler.

I suggest, in a visual way, that she, as a Roman Catholic, is tainted by (a) Rome's policy toward the Jews in the 19th century, and (b) by Rome's continuing failure to take any official responsibility at all -- shifting the blame to "her children".

If you were to read my actual blog post, you might find some references in the materials that illustrate some very, very bad "official Roman policies" vis a vis the Jews.

So no, I'm not "the offended party" either.

Consider this documented episode:

Unfortunately for the Jews, one of Carnival’s [that is, the public celebrations prior to Lent] most popular features was the ritual degradation of the people of the ghetto. Among the first historical references we have to such rites is a description from 1466, when for the amusement of the Romans, in festivities sponsored by Pope Paul II, Jews were made to race naked through the streets of the city. A particularly evocative later account describes them: “Races were run on each of the eight days of the Carnival by horses, asses and buffaloes, old men, lads, children, and Jews. Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them, and at the same time, more amusing for the spectators. They ran from the Arch of Domitian to the Church of St. Mark at the end of the Corso at full tilt, amid Rome’s taunting shrieks of encouragement and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily ...

Where is the *real* "bad taste"?

John Salmon said...

Placing a Hitler-esque mustache on St Therese, as you finally admit to having done, sure looks like likening to me. What you've done is ignorant, foolish, unchristian-words fail me.

Have you the slightest shred of evidence that that Therese was an anti-Semite? Otherwise, your "logic" is just as evil as it appears. I'd be equally justified in painting a similar mustache on any Lutheran's photo because of Luther's well-documented anti-Semitism. That would indeed be grotesque.

You have started an ugly controversy with an ugly act-best to admit you were dreadfully wrong and then be quiet.

Dave Armstrong said...

At 2:45 PM EST I added another section to the post documenting the huge double standard: showing how I merely stretched out a picture of Grand Poobah of Anti-Catholic Luminaries, Bishop Jame White, and some other photo modifications, and did some counter-caricatures of his own caricatures, and he hit the roof and nearly exploded in prideful egoistic rage.

But when we see the current true outrage, we are overreacting in the extreme; indeed, even "feigning" our responses, according to Bugay. Anti-Catholics are always, ALWAYS about double standards.

Individual Catholics have committed sins in the past concerning Jews; Protestants never have, or if they have, there is no relation to an individual Protestant because they simply say "we're not them," or "that was the Lutherans," or even "I'm not a Protestant" or insipid, vacuous denials of any connection to Luther and Protestant origins (appeal to ahistoricism), etc. I've heard it all through the years.

Any sane person with half a brain cell in their head knows that virtually every Christian group has serious sin in its past: the reason being that human beings are sinners (DUH!!). The Calvinist believes in original sin and temptation, just as we do, yet he wants to wink at his own denomination's history of terrible sin while condemning that in Catholic environs.

John Bugay said...

Dave, when we speak of a "double standard", at its root is a phenomenon that we have described, by which there are almost two versions of the Roman Catholic Church -- it's been described this way:

Catholic epologists bifurcate The One True Church® into a phenomenal church and a noumenal church. They conveniently relegate all the bad stuff to the phenomenal church. That’s just a shell. A simulacrum.

No matter how bad the church becomes, that can never impinge on the real church. For the real church is an inner, ethereal, indetectible, unfalsifiable quintessence of one true churchliness.

The real church is a suprahistorical entity which requires no historical evidence commensurate with the scope of its historical claims. The real church is impervious to historical counterevidence. The real church is a timeless, spaceless, airtight ideal.

It doesn’t matter how much actual disunity you have in the church of Rome. That can never count as evidence against the unity of the church. Rather, any degree of disunity, however, wide and deep, is shunted off to the phenomenal shell of the church. That can never penetrate the essence of what makes the church “one.”

Likewise, it doesn’t matter how unholy the Roman church may be in practice. However corrupt, in time and space, from top to bottom, that only pertains to the outer shell of the church. For the True church remains spotless underneath the accumulated layers of turpitude.

The True church is indefectible. But not for a minute should that be connected with the actual performance of the church. No matter how error-ridden the Roman church may be in the actual administration of its internal affairs, each and every declension, however large or small, is automatically reassigned to the accidental shell of the church, while the unseen substance of The One True Church® remains intact and inviolate.


It is Rome, and Rome's definition of "the Church" which shapes these discussions in a way that you find so uncomfortable.

Dave Armstrong said...

I added more lexical material about "blasphemy" in the NT from Kittel, TDNT (10-volume) and Zondervan Dictionary of Bible Themes at 4:00 PM EST.

Hays has been informed of all this data in a post over there. Let's see if he'll keep it (and engage in sophistry and spin to try to escape his earlier erroneous dogmatic statement) or delete it. I'll give 50/50 odds for either thing happening.

What he won't do is admit that he blew it, and that is because I showed that he is wrong, and that can NEVER, repeat, NEVER happen! :-)

If he actually did that, it would be a first, and seeing that would be like witnessing a volcano or solar eclipse . . .

Dave Armstrong said...

Sure enough, Hays had an "answer" within four minutes:

"Needless to say, Kittel is notorious for its semantic fallacies, so Armstrong illustrates his massive ignorance of basic lexical semantics (e.g. James Barr)."

Adomnan said...

Anti-Semitism? KKK? The Southern Baptist Convention in the twenties was the KKK at prayer. Luther, the founder of John Bugay's reformation, called on the rulers of Germany not only to humiliate Jews but to wipe them out, a proposal that his countrymen carried out four centuries later.

But none of that matters to this ranter, because none of that can be used as grist in his anti-Catholic mill. Luther is a great hero to him, which shows how much the barking hypocrite really cares about anti-Semitism.

Adomnan said...

Hays: "Needless to say, Kittel is notorious..."

Right. "Needless to say." Naturally we're all contemptuous of "Kittel," and Onan Hays is the expert on all things exegetical. That also goes without saying. Just sayin'.

Adomnan said...

John Bugay's quote: "Likewise, it doesn’t matter how unholy the Roman church may be in practice. However corrupt, in time and space, from top to bottom, that only pertains to the outer shell of the church. For the True church remains spotless underneath the accumulated layers of turpitude."

This is quite close to the Protestant "simul justus et peccator," except that it's inverted. The Protestant is supposed to be righteous on the outside (clothed or covered with it), but corrupt on the inside, like the whited sepulchers of which Jesus spoke. Here, on the other hand, the corruption is on the outside (the outer shell, the layers, the covering) and the holiness on the inside: Two versions of the same Protestant misconception.

This is just an observation in passing. I don't want to get into an in-depth analysis of yet another Protestant pathology.

Dave Armstrong said...

I had to enter into a big digression due to Hays' obfuscation of the NT meaning of "blasphemy" issue. I cited several scholarly sources backing up the notion of an application far wider than just referring to God, including Kittel.

Hays then attacked Kittel as a source, as if it were totally discredited. I, in turn, produced five prominent Bible scholars who thought otherwise (all added to my post now). Hays became increasingly sophistical, then silent.

Bugay then deleted the lengthy E. F. Harrison citation I had posted, and turned off the comments before I could post the Danker citation. Too much truth and too much refutation of Hays' inanities, I guess . . . These are the heights and absurdity that these anti-Catholics will scale, in order to avoid admitting that they were dead-wrong about the meaning and range of "blasphemy" in Holy Scripture.

Mock, ignore, make dumb sweeping comments that are easily blown out of the water, obfuscate, engage in sophistry, and at length delete stuff that is becoming increasingly embarrassing to one's pretensions . . .

That's the anti-Catholic method!

Adomnan said...

Bugay's tactic of seeking out Catholic sins of the past, real or imagined, and claiming these justify his anti-Catholic bigotry and convict us Catholics of the "taint" of adhering to our faith is the same tactic the anti-American Left uses. Like Bugay, the hard Left focuses on the sins of America's past, which are many: slavery and the slave trade (with all the suffering those entailed), oppression of American Indians, intolerance (e.g., the KKK, which was a huge organization in the twenties) and on and on. They even hate us for our current "oppression" of Muslims in foreign wars.

The anti-American Left "blasphemes" this country: burning and spitting on its flag. They would love to paint Hitler mustaches on the faces on Mount Rushmore. They tell us we should be ashamed to be Americans because of the "taint" associated with American history and its current reality. And if any patriotic American denies this, the Left says they are in denial or escapists or vile apologists for evil.

But, you know, for all that, I love America and venerate its instituions and its great men; and I know that America's good far outweighs its bad. The same thing is true of the Catholic Church, which, in fact, has a better record in its nearly 2000 years of history than the United States has had in its 235 years.

Bugay is like an old Stalinist or Maoist and like the outraged al-Qaida supporters and the rabid Left nowadays: a dealer in propaganda, lies and half-truths and defamation. Just as they extol the virtues of their Stalins and Maos and bin Ladens, he extols his Jew-hating Luther and totalitarian Calvin.

Bugay even uses the most worn-out old slander of the Left: Compare the other side to Hitler.

Most Americans scoff at the Left's anti-American propaganda. Bugay's anti-Catholic agitprop is equally laughable. And we take his forays into polemics no more seriously than we do the much more amply documented indictments of Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky or Michael Moore.

Dave Armstrong said...

Excellent analogy . . . the tactics of lying are well-nigh universal, whether it is this sort of rotgut, or Lutheran and English anti-Catholic propaganda in the 1500s or racist stereotypes in the minstrel shows and in popular culture in America until just 40 years ago, or Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda in the 1930s, or Democratic smearing of Republicans (Bork, Thomas, Reagan, Bush, Cain): all the same garbage.

The whole idea is to make one's opponent look as ridiculous and goofy as possible, so that those on the fence will dismiss the caricature: mistaking it for the real thing.

The devil never comes up with anything new. The lying campaigns that he ultimately orchestrates (as the father of lies) are all droningly similar.

I must say, though, I was still surprised by the Hitler mustache on St. Therese. I give Bugay a half a point for idiotic originality. You'd think he would have at least drawn it on Cardinal Newman. But no: he is ridiculous and imbecilic enough to give a woman a mustache.

This is not effective or funny satire by any stretch of the imagination: whatever one's theological views. It is juvenile and stupid: just what I would expect from Bugay . . .

I am a longtime fan of satire (National Lampoon, Monty Python, Saturday Night Live, The Wittenberg Door, Rush Limbaugh, etc.). I know good satire when I see it, and bad satire (strictly on an artistic level). This is atrocious satire: embarrassingly mediocre.

Adomnan said...

Turretinfan: "The old maxim that you become what you worship seems especially apt here."

Amen! And so what are the "truly Reformed" becoming? What do they worship? They worship an anti-god who damns himself in his own son and splits his divinity into warring factions.

Given what they're becoming, is it any wonder they behave the way they do over at Triablogue?

The one good thing about the Calvinist god is that, unlike al-Qaida's Allah, it's toothless and inert, and I don't see it reviving. I think it's dead.

Adomnan said...

John Bugay: I've written a good bit on The Roman Catholic Hermeneutic, which is very much a backward way of using Scripture.

Yes, the dreaded "Roman Catholic Hermeneutic," so inferior to John's hermeneutic, which allows him to interpret Paul's "faith is imputed as righteousness" as "faith is NOT imputed as righteousness, but Christ's righteousness, which Paul never mentions, is."

I know, I know, I'm very tiresome. I shouldn't point this out again until we first have a looong, meandering discussion of how "sola scriptura" works and how, properly applied, it makes possible the exegetical magic of finding "the imputed righteousness of Christ" in texts that neither mention such a thing nor allude to it.

But you don't really care whether "the imputation of Christ's righteousness" is in the Bible or not, do you, John? Not really.

Dave Armstrong said...

The removal was indeed due to John's pastor:

"I have consulted with a number of people, including my Pastor, and the general sense was to remove the item in question"

That's good, and an excellent Francis Schaeffer quotation was also good (my good friend Steve Ray studied with him, and Schaeffer was enormously influential in my own Christian development and love of apologetics).

But as of yet, there is no apology for the tremendous offense caused to Catholics or the outrageous defenses of the scandalous "art" that took place all day today.

Nevertheless, this is a big step, and a positive development, even if a reluctant one by John, and I am happy to commend and thank him for it.

It's good to know that John does have a pastor, to whom he is accountable, unlike Steve Hays: where no one has any idea where he goes to church or who his pastor is: at least not the last time I checked, when he was giving me a hard time for supposedly not being accountable: whereas my parish is accessible within three mouse clicks on my blog.

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Bugay, whatever was your reason(s) for doing so, I also wanted to thank you for removing the offensive picture. I will be praying that things go well for you and your wife in regards to the marrow donor.

God bless!

Dave Armstrong said...

I will pray towards that end as well. John can refuse our tangible gifts of charity if he wishes to, and question the motivations for same, but can't prevent our prayers for his wife's well-being, which we offer out of the same Christian love.

I was a bone marrow donor myself. I know what that's about. The chances of success and positive prognosis are very good and there are a lot of grounds for hope. The technology for the procedure was new when I did it in 1995; I'm sure they have improved since then, and have learned a lot more.

Dave Armstrong said...

As for the darkness above the mouth of St. Therese that John mentioned, in his notice of removal, that was because I like very high-contrast black-and-white photos and helped design my blog a few years back, with the photos at the top. The designer liked that, too, and I thought they came out very sharp.

Dave Armstrong said...

I have made a note of the removal of the Hitler mustache, right at the top of the post. I think John still has a considerable ways to go: certainly for me to take my post down.

He has merely arrived at self-evident ethics of charity: the bare minimum: not showing a holy woman as having anything to do with Hitler.

I wonder what John's pastor would think of his refusing charitable donations, and mocking and demeaning the motives of those who gave them or were going to do so? Or of his buddy's analogy to the same people as the king of Sodom?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

This is my first look at this new issue today. I'm saddened by what I've seen and read, but I think it's compounded because of the memories I have associated with the name Therese. As you know, I was raised Catholic, as was my mother, and that was her name. Today is the 38th anniversary of her death. I'm always a bit introspective at this time of year, so I found this whole thing to be a little painful on a number of levels. And I'm always amazed by how much it still hurts all these years later.

Roberto Jung said...

I wish to state categorically that the Hitler-St. Thérèse "satire" was bizarre, reprehensible, and preposterous. Grave sins of particular individuals do not disqualify the church to which they belong, or the church which they lead, from teaching the truth. We might as well become Docetists if we want to adopt this attitude, not to mention throw out Matthew 23:1-3.

Also, from Dave's post:

"Just as he lied about me recently, implying that I had never dealt with Orthodox arguments against the papacy (what a joke!) ..."

I, rather than John Bugay or one of his comrades (all of whom we must fervently pray for), was actually the one who made a number of comments on your recent post about Eastern Orthodoxy. I was hoping to get back to you at some point in the next month regarding all the links you provided. I had expressed the view that it seemed that you hadn't covered some particular Eastern Orthodox arguments, but I had actually missed some of your work on this topic. I apologize for any harm done and will endeavour to read for the first time/examine again the posts and book under your name related to Eastern Orthodoxy.

God bless all participants in this madness.

Roberto Jung said...

"Docetists" above should read "Donatists".

Dave Armstrong said...

Pilgrimsarbour,

I'm sorry this was painful for you, due to the name association. What a terrible time to lose your mother. We'll see our loved ones again one day, and we can always take solace in that.

Roberto,

I wasn't referring to you in the instance I am talking about here. What you inquired about was fine because it was all cordial and inquisitive. John Bugay was mocking my work and saying I had never dealt with early views of the papacy and was scared of it, blah blah blah, and I responded, saying I had written a book, and dialogued with Orthodox for years, etc.

He made some crack about putting that kind of thing on my front page (a sort of dare), and I noted with amusement how it actually was on my front page, because I had (coincidentally) just put up a paper on that very thing.

That was from a private conversation I had with someone else, not you. I only posted my side of it for that reason.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Dave and all, I thought I would put my two cents in on the blasphemy issue. I was criticized for referencing Clarke's commentary on blasphemy. Dave was criticized for using several others. Yet, for all their criticism, Messrs. Hays and others failed to demonstrate that those lexicographers were in error on this occasion.

For that matter, it appears that there are several variations of 1 Cor. 4:13 in Greek on the internet.

This one is from the Greek Orthodox Bible:


βλασφημούμενοι παρακαλοῦμεν· ὡς περικαθάρματα τοῦ κόσμου ἐγενήθημεν, πάντων περίψημα ἕως ἄρτι.

This one is from the one Mr. Hays used:

δυσφημούμενοι παρακαλοῦμεν· ὡς περικαθάρματα τοῦ κόσμου ἐγενήθημεν, πάντων περίψημα ἕως ἄρτι.


Now the problem here is that the two texts are not the same.

The Latin Vulgate reads:

blasphemamur et obsecramus tamquam purgamenta huius mundi facti sumus omnium peripsima usque adhuc.

The Douay-Rheims version reads:

We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now.

Some other versions, including the NAB, translate the word as slandered, defamed, reviled, insulted.

Considering the variations here, it is rather unfair for Hays, et al., to criticize our translation of the word as blasphemed given the context of the passage, especially when there is no official definitive Protestant text.

This argument highlights the problem with sola scriptura. How does one know which version of the Greek text was inspired by God and preserved inerrantly for one to translate and interpret especially when the average Protestant, Calvinists included, do not have the skills to discern which autographs are inerrant and inspired?

God bless!

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Paul,

My case for blasphemy of men and regarding objects, in addition to God (as you started arguing earlier today or late last night), was never dependent on 1 Cor 4:13 alone, but rather, on the totality of the three Greek words related to blasphemy (all with the same root).

The case is beyond all argument, n my opinion, but Hays sophistically labors on in a new post. He saw that he was in trouble and so changed course and started blasting Kittel, so that I had to spend time demonstrating that reports of its complete demise (so that only idiots stuck in the dark ages use it anymore) were quite exaggerated.

There is a textual dispute because some lexical sources have one of these words at 1 Cor 4:13 whereas others do not. But that doesn't sink the case, anyway, so it's neither here nor there, because there are many other relevant passages: more than sufficient to establish our case. I cited all Protestant references (as I generally do in any dispute with Protestants), so possible Catholic bias was not in view at all.

I believe that the main underlying problem (as I noted in a new comment added to my post tonight) is that Hays, like most Calvinists and many other kinds of Protestants, is unable to grasp biblical and Hebraic "both/and" thinking.

Thus, for him, any veneration or honor whatever paid to one of God's creatures, that bear His image and carry and convey His grace, MUST be idolatry. There is no comprehension of God working in and through His vessels. Louis Bouyer noted this "dichotomous tendency" in his classic, The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism.

Conversely, any sense of blasphemy of a person is (in this wrongheaded mindset) idolatry by the same token, because that can ONLY have to do with God and nothing else: not because the Bible says so, but because fundamentalist man-made tradition says so.

Okay; well, as I have provocatively stated in the past: almost all Protestants actually have a sense of the holy and of sacred space and place, despite themselves. If anyone doubts this, I would ask them to conceive in their mind spitting on what was determined to be the true cross, or in Jesus' tomb, or to bulldoze over some significant spot in the Holy Land and make a parking lot or 7-11 store there.

No one would do that. Why? It's because it is sacred and is so because of its connection to God and the earthly life of our Lord and Savior. And that is what blasphemy of things and persons associated to God has to do with. Anyone can intuitively grasp that. One can only unlearn it through a knee-jerk, know-nothing fundamentalism that wipes out all such subtle but necessary distinctions, and takes no account of the biblical worldview in the setting in which any given book was written.

Dave Armstrong said...

Paul,

I meant to ask you in my last comment: was John Bugay's church affiliation freely made available on one of his sites, or did you have to dig for it?

It is refreshing to see anti-Catholic accountability to a pastor. I don't think I have ever seen it before in 15 years online. Something positive was actually accomplished. A long ways to go, but hey, thank heavens for progress of any sort in this sordid field . . .

Roberto Jung said...

Dave:

I'm glad we cleared that up! :)

But I would like to see your response to this and this. Are the contents of the two posts what were alluded to or cited?

Spoils23m said...

Greetings,

While I sit here reading... quite literally amazed at this discussion... I still can't help but wish that John would take a crack at addressing Adomnan's posts on St. Paul and imputation...

Is it just me?

Dave Armstrong said...

Roberto,

No, it was later stuff that Bugay kept bringing up during our recent controversies.

I'm not gonna debate him because:

1) I don't engage in actual back-and-forth socratic debates on theology with anti-Catholics anymore (since they are either incapable of it or unwilling),

and

2) his arguments in particular aren't, I think, worthy of any response, because of their inevitably convoluted, misinformed nature. It's not serious discussion, even if I still debated anti-Catholics.

I got into a discussion with an Orthodox person recently that was good because that is serious discussion and interaction with a position that at least is fairly self-consistent and has a legitimate historical pedigree.

Dave Armstrong said...

your ever so Christ-like cataloguing of my sins

Ah, so now you are admitting that your rants in 2010 are worthless (sins?), and have decided to move the date up from 2005?

Like I said, if you actually cease running down Catholicism in your usual manner (except for liberal Catholic historians that you -- just like Bugay -- love), and converts and apologetics, and those of us who actually do this for a living, etc., etc., then I'd be happy to remove the material, but you never stop. It's been a year now. Maybe it is at long last out of your system.

If you don't like what you say, then stop saying it in public! It seems ridiculously simple to me . . .

But you despise me because I simply broadcast what you feel compelled to express in public venues (since I think it is its own refutation) . . . it's a very odd psychology that is difficult to understand. If anyone ever figures it out, please let me know!

You run down my faith and I help you spread the message and this offends you . . . Huh??!! You should be happy for the extra exposure if you think you are offering such profound truth.

It's like James White claiming for 16 years now that he whipped me in our first debate by mail, and chirping on and on about what a dolt I am. Why, then, doesn't he post the same debate that I have had up for 14 years? If I did such a rotten job, as he claims, and am such an idiot, he would jump at the opportunity, since he loves debates, and loves bragging about his stellar performances. But he won't touch it. I think folks can figure that out.

But if you are perpetually ashamed of your own writing online, don't you have to decide at some point to throw in the towel and call it a day?

Roberto Jung said...

Dave:

"No, it was later stuff that Bugay kept bringing up during our recent controversies."

Ahh, OK. :)

"I'm not gonna debate him because:

"1) I don't engage in actual back-and-forth socratic debates on theology with anti-Catholics anymore (since they are either incapable of it or unwilling),"

No one can fault you for making such a decision. Completely understandable.

"and

"2) his arguments in particular aren't, I think, worthy of any response, because of their inevitably convoluted, misinformed nature. It's not serious discussion, even if I still debated anti-Catholics."

But this leaves the impression, though unintended, that Catholic apologists can't or don't want to respond. For those wishing to wrap their heads around these matters but don't have the time or resources to buy dozens of history books, replies to the above-linked and other posts would be invaluable.

"I got into a discussion with an Orthodox person recently that was good because that is serious discussion and interaction with a position that at least is fairly self-consistent and has a legitimate historical pedigree."

Exactly. That's why anti-Catholics are so tedious--the alternative they propose is about as credible as Mormonism.

Do post that discussion if you can, and consider engaging with Joseph Suaiden or Laurent Cleenewerck. A lot of us want to see conversations of substance take off. But anti-Catholic polemics will sap so much time and energy out of any reasonable individual, which means, of course, that Catholic apologists can never get to the real issues.

Dave Armstrong said...

But this leaves the impression, though unintended, that Catholic apologists can't or don't want to respond.

1) I'm just one apologist. I don't represent the whole class. :-)

2) With over 650 posted debates (including many scores with anti-Catholics), I don't think folks have the impression that I am afraid of anyone (and they would be right). But if they think I don't want to, they are entirely correct.

3) I am responsible for how I spend my time before God, and I aim to make the most of it.

4) I still make an exception for historic anti-Catholics, like Calvin, Chemnitz, Luther, and Whitaker.

For those wishing to wrap their heads around these matters but don't have the time or resources to buy dozens of history books, replies to the above-linked and other posts would be invaluable.

I can only do so much. Only 24 hours in a day. But there are always my 2600 posts and 26 books.

As for discussions with Orthodox, they don't interest me much. I may start up with it again with this one friend, if he wants, but I haven't done much for about ten years. My view is that we are very close already, and the ones who usually want to debate are of the anti-Catholic variety, that I don't engage anymore anyway.

If you personally are on the fence, I don't think the likelihood is that reading 20 more debates will make you decide. It will be the Holy Spirit that will nudge you if you are truly desiring to follow truth where it leads. It doesn't usually come in the end by rational argument alone, though it sort of did with me (development of doctrine). I think that is a relative rarity, though.

Ben said...

Re: The Jews having been made to "race naked through the streets" of Rome.

Whatever the actual truth of this strange and unhappy story may turn out to be, this much seems certain: "naked" ought not to be taken here as implying fully unclothed - good grief what revolting crassness the Church has been accussed of!

No, according to these sources, runners were actually wearing some sort of loincloth. And in any event, such "naked"(but not "nude") running seems to have occured only "sometimes").

Re: Sins of the Holy See toward our Jewish brethren. By no means do I wish to justify or try to minimize genuine wrongs...

But for the sake of balance and context, I think we should all spend a few moments reflecting on some of the lesser known aspects of the Jewish-Vatican relationships.

John Bugay said...

Roberto Jung: You might want to start with this book: How Can the Petrine Ministry Be a Service to the Unity of the Universal Church?

It is a work where various Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican scholars and clerics discuss exactly what the title says.

It doesn't take into account someone who would simply say, "there is no Petrine ministry". I believe that an exceptional case for this position has been, and can continue to be made.

But the point from which they start indicates that there is a broad consensus of agreement on the "scholarship" that has been decried in "apologist" circles, even among such high ranking (and knowledgeable-in-this-area) clerics such as Minnerath.

John Bugay said...

Spoils23m said... While I sit here reading... quite literally amazed at this discussion... I still can't help but wish that John would take a crack at addressing Adomnan's posts on St. Paul and imputation...

Hi Chris, I took some time to look at this, and I intended to respond to it, but other things took over. I may still get back to it because it's so important.

But the bottom line for me, as I said, was that, if I get to use the historical doctrine of Sola Scriptura, instead of Adomnan's definition of Sola Scriptura, it's not a hard thing to do.

J.V. Fesko's work Justification goes into quite a bit of detail about this doctrine, as well as addressing the objections of N.T. Wright at a highly exegetical level.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Dave, I agree 100% with you about the fact that blasphemy extends to the Church, saints aacred things. I brought up 1 Cor. 4:13 because Mr. Hays tried to argue that I was not reading the text correctly when in fact he had based his argument on a variation of the text that did not even have the word "blasphemed" in it rather than deal with the text I was using.

I smiled when I read this in the follow up article that Mr. Hays wrote:

Concepts aren’t necessarily reducible to dictionary definitions. For instance, looking up “Calvinism” in Webster’s is no substitute for the Westminster Confession of Faith.

What I found funny about Mr. Hays' statement is that my argument was not based on a dictionary but on the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2148. I cited to Clarke's Greek Commentary merely as a Protestant corroboration for the Catechism. As I was just writing a comment, I used the first text that came to mind where an individual was blasphemed-1 Cor. 4:13.

As a further support for our use of the word blasphemy, I would note that blasphemy was at one time a criminal offense in most states of our country at its founding that was specifically aimed at people who denigrated the Bible or any central tenet of Christianity, defaced churches, or defamed ministers. Many of those laws are still on the books, but rarely are they enforced here-except for the abuse of a corpse which is an offense that arose out of the jurisprudence on blasphemy.

Schaff's Encyclopedia has a bit more on the matter:
http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc02/htm/iv.v.cxxxv.htm

Here is a case where a person was prosecuted for defaming the Bible:

http://candst.tripod.com/case07.htm

God bless!

Spoils23m said...

John,

Thanks for answering my post. I think that this is an important issue to look at. As you well know, my problems with some Reformed understandings of reprobation, penal substitution, and imputation are some of the biggest misgivings I have about Reformed theology as a whole.

FWIW, I think that Adomnan is asking you the right questions to get to the heart of this issue.

Adomnan wrote:
...how 'sola scriptura' works and how, properly applied, it makes possible the exegetical magic of finding 'the imputed righteousness of Christ' in texts that neither mention such a thing nor allude to it.

You wrote:
...if I get to use the historical doctrine of Sola Scriptura, instead of Adomnan's definition of Sola Scriptura, it's not a hard thing to do.

You may have your doubts about how seriously we Catholics can (on a spiritual/intellectual level) can really take the Scriptures, but... certainly you believe that you and the other Reformed folk that you "hang out" with here on the "interwebs" do, no?

I am very curious as to what definition of Sola Scriptura one would have to use to show that the St. Paul (or any other writer of Scripture) teaches the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the "account" (or whatever word you like) of the unconditionally and individually elect believer.

I know that Reformed theology teaches some version of Sola Scriptura... although, I have to be honest with you, I have having a harder time pinning it down lately. I used to think that it could be defined like this:

"Scripture if the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church in matters of doctrine and practice."

Now you may agree with that definition, so far as it goes. The definition is obviously not infallible because SS is not defined for us in the Holy Writ (unless you contend that it is, but... I have never heard this claimed by anyone). I feel as though the same is true about the correct application (historical or otherwise) of the doctrine...

But I think this really misses Adomnan's point. Whatever one believes about SS or it's correct application... I would like to know if you think that St. Paul or any other writer or compilation of passages teaches that the unconditionally and individually people who are numbered among the elect have "the righteousness of Christ imputed to them" (their accounts or ledgers or whatever analogy that you like). Do you? If so, where does the Bible... what combination of passages teach this in any way that could be called "perspicuous?"

I will see what I can do about the book that you mention, but, as you know... I live in Mexico... getting books like that here is an expensive enterprise.

I am sorry for the health problems that your family is going through, and I pray that they get better.

IC XC
Chris

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Chris, Imputed righteousness is something that is not taught in the Bible. God's grace is infused and is able to actually clean and recreate a new heart in us as opposed to forensic justification which is the notion that God merely takes an eraser to our "account" and erases our sins. Protestants love to cite to Rom. 4:6 and its related phrase in Psalm 32 to support this notion but in parsing them to support their notions with proof texts, they neglect to read the Scriptures as a whole.

This is demonstrated by Psalm 51 (NAB) which states in part:

Psalm 51:3-4 -- Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
and from my sin cleanse me.

"Have mercy on me" is better translated as "Grace me". The sinner here is asking for something real, not for a cosmic cooking of the books. The cleansing referenced here requires an inner change of heart. Our sins are not merely covered up or erased from some heavenly book of accounts (reckoned-is an accounting term for balancing the books). God actually gives Christ's righteousness to us not merely imputes it to us. The Catholic view which is the Scriptural view, is that God's grace is real (as opposed to a Pelagian sense of grace that Calvinists believe in) and is powerful enough to actually blot out our sins and remove them. The view that God just declares us righteous by "covering our sins up" through an heavenly accounting trick of cooking the books denigrates the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, who continues the work of Christ through His work of justification and sanctification by infusing His grace into our souls and changing the inner person and the role of the Church which is the vehicle through which grace is given to us through the sacraments.

Psalm 51:9-11 Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. You will let me hear gladness and joy; the bones you have crushed will rejoice. Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my iniquities.

Clearly, we are purged and filled up internally, not just covered up externally. Protestants love to explain this passage away rather than deal with the reality that grace is infused, cleans us, washes us, fills us with joy and actually removes our iniquities. The Protestant notion of grace is a sort of cheap grace.

Psalm 51:12 A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit.

The word create here is bara, the same word used at Genesis 1:1. God creates something here in us (not justs "covers" us). God is so powerful that He brings about a real metamorphosis in ourselves.

The notion that forensic justification or Christ's righteousness is merely imputed to us is a lie made up by people who proclaim that God is sovereign, but deny that He has any real power to work through the sacraments. God is not a bookkeeper but a Creator.

God bless!

Adomnan said...

Bugay does not make coherent arguments, Roberto Jung. He quotes and emotes. As Dave put, his stuff has a "convoluted, misinformed nature." Why should anyone want to interact with that?

Now, if you want to pick through Bugay's stuff and find something in it you think raises a valid point, you can summarize it and ask about it over here. Better not to refer to Bugay at all. Someone might choose to respond.

On one issue, though, the early papacy, I'll save you the trouble. Bugay's thesis is that scholars have concluded that Rome did not have a monarchical bishop until the middle of the second century or later. He concludes from this that there was no Petrine ministry in Rome.

This is a non-sequitur. Even if there were a number of presbyter-bishops in Rome who were equal in administrative power (each over his own house church), evidently one of these presbyter-bishops could have held the Petrine office. The Petrine office is not about the administration of the local Roman church. It is an office for the whole church. It just happens to coincide historically with the office of monarchical bishop of Rome, at least since the middle of the second century. Therefore, Bugay's assumption that no monarchical bishop in Rome would imply no Petrine office is false.

Adomnan said...

Let's look at what one scholar actually says about the organization of the early Roman church. Fr. Francis Sullivan is a Catholic priest who wrote a book called "From Apostles to Bishops." He maintains, as do the scholars whom Bugay favors, that the episcopate is the result of a post-New Testament development. I find Sullivan's position too liberal and ecumenical. However, let's see what he concludes. Commenting on Hegesippus's list of Roman bishops, which was compiled in the middle of the second century, Sullivan writes:

"Arguing from the fact that the clergy of Rome could provide Hegesippus with the names of men who at this time were thought of as having succeeded one another as 'bishops' of their church from the beginning, most scholars now conclude that these men must have stood out as the principal leaders and teachers in the Roman church. When the presbyters came together for a community celebration of the Eucharist, one of them must have presided, and most likely this would have been the presbyter recognized as the most competent leader and teacher. At what point in time the 'presiding presbyter' began to be called a 'bishop' and to be recognized as the chief pastor of the church of Rome, we do not know. It is certain, however, that by the time of Anicetus, that is, not long after the middle of the second century, this development had taken place in Rome , as it had in Corinth and in all the other churches Hegesippus visited on his way fromn the East to Rome."

So Sullivan, who postulates a post-NT development of the episcopacy -- which, by the way, is hardly disconcerting when you consider the NT was written while the Apostles were still around and that bishops are their "successors" -- nonetheless concedes that Rome always had a "presiding presbyter."

Now, come on. What is the difference between a "presiding presbyter" and a "monarchical bishop?" Aren't these just two ways of referring to the same person? What is a bishop but a priest who presides over several congregations in a city? And who would the Roman church have regarded as "most competent leader and teacher?" It would have been the man whom Peter appointed as his successor and after him those who succeeded in the Petrine office, the same apostolic succession that Clement's letter to the Corinthians (written 90 AD or earlier) describes so precisely.

In short, whether Rome had a monarchical bishop from the beginning or a "presiding presbyter," the city was always the place where the Petrine office was situated (after Peter arrived there), and the presiding presbyter-bishop always held that office in successsion from Peter. This is the only scenario that accounts for all of the evidence.

Adomnan said...

The third sentence in the first of my last two postings should begin: "As Dave put it,..."

John Bugay said...

The "gap" is sufficient that you are out of the realm of "immediate, Divine institution" and into the mid- to late-second century with episcopal "succession", and into the fourth and fifth centuries before the bishops of Rome begin asserting themselves outside of the region.

It is sufficient to say "no Divine institution," therefore Rome's definition of what the church is fails, and the Reformers are perfectly justified in throwing the leadership situation out the window.

Dave Armstrong said...

I just discovered that TAO has a blog entitled "Reformed Boor." Is that not priceless? LOL

http://reformedboor.blogspot.com/

Adomnan said...

Ah, if only he were a "reformed" boor.

Adomnan said...

Roberto Jung,

After reading Bugay's vacuous response to my posts, can you see why no one wants to engage him?

Still, since it will only take a moment, here's a brief refutation:

1) Bugay's lie: "no immediate, divine institution" of the Petrine office. The reality: Matthew 16:18.

2) Bugay's lie: "no episcopal succession until mid to late second century." The reality: 1 Clement 44, written IN ROME in the 90s or earlier: "Our Apostles also knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the title of bishop. For this cause, therefore, since they had received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have been already mentioned, and afterwards added the codicil that if they should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministry. We consider therefore that it is not just to remove from their ministry those who were appointed by them, or later on by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church."

Are we supposed to believe that Peter, who Clement tells us resided and died in Rome, didn't do this in Rome? How else would Clement know about apostolic succession?

3) Bugay's lie: "The bishops of Rome didn't assert themselves outside their region until the fourth or fifth century." The reality: Clement intervenes in the Corinthian church in the 90s, even sending representatives to straighten out the situation in Corinth and report back to Rome "for (Clement writes) you will give us joy and gladness if you are obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit." (See 1 Clement 63-65).

And from Ignatius of Antioch (115-117 AD), writing to Rome: "You never have envied anyone. You taught others. I desire that those things should stand fast which you enjoin in your instructions." (No assertion outside Rome, eh?) He also writes that, after his martyrdom, the bishop of Antioch (and so Syria) will be "Jesus Christ alone -- and your love," thus acknowledging Rome's jurisdiction over Antioch.

Finally, Bugay harps about some "gap" we're supposedly obliged to acknowledge because a Lutheran scholar named John Reumann back in 1973 said there was gap. The weight of this "argument" I'll leave for you to judge. However, I should point out that Reumann was talking about a historical gap, that is, a gap in documentary evidence for the Petrine ministry. Bugay, in his typically stupid way (sorry to sound harsh, but that's what it is), distorts Reumann's alleged evidential gap into an actual gap in the existence of the Petrine office.

John Bugay said...

Just off the top of my head:

1. There is no exegetical way at all to get from Matthew 16:18 to "Rome", "Successors", "The Roman Catholic Church", etc. So you are left using, yep, "the Roman Catholic Hermeneutic", to read later concepts back into an isolated biblical verse.

2. Yes, 1 Clement was written in Rome, but really, it wasn't from a guy named "Clement", it was written from "The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth". We have a first-person account of leadership in the ancient Roman church from the Shepherd of Hermas, who speaks of the "presbyters who preside". There is extensive documentation of a network of house churches in Rome, with no one of the presbyters in charge. This is not to say that responsible men didn't continue to be appointed to position of leadership. (Although, to read Hermas's words, they were not responsible, and he's got a lot of worse things to say about them).

3. The style of 1 Clement is a "symboleutic" letter -- this is a well known and documented rhetorical style. The purpose is to persuade, not to assert. Caragounis is one who believes that whoever wrote 1 Clement wanted to assert, but simply did not have the power or authority to do so.

As for Ignatius, who lauded bishops in other cities, merely addressed his letter to the Romans, indiscriminately to "the church which presides in the place of the district of the Romans" -- "bishops" (likely thought to be more of a "senior pastor" in the small house churches of the day) were addressed in all other of Ignatius's letters. But not to the Romans.

Finally, Reuman's "gap" was detailed in the 2004 Puglisi book that I linked to above. Minnerath was also a part of that "ecumenical discussion", and it was generally agreed that everyone agreed on all the historical facts. Don't forget John Meier's statement to the effect that the Roman Catholic Church did not have a credible historical account of the early papacy.

Spoils23m said...

Paul,

Thank you for your response, mate. I have enjoyed your blog for quite some time now.

I wanted to make sure that you knew that I do not agree with John nor his Reformed coreligionists on their doctrine of imputation, nor the other distinctives that I pointed out.

John,

I wanted to pose a quick question to you based on what you said in your last post, if that's ok.

You wrote:
It is sufficient to say 'no Divine institution,' therefore Rome's definition of what the church is fails, and the Reformers are perfectly justified in throwing the leadership situation out the window.

Returning to my questions (which were based on Adomnan's challenge to you), would it be alright for me to posit (re: the imputation of Christ's alien righteousness to the unconditionally and individually elected believer, etc.) that:

"It is sufficient to say 'no biblical assertion (of imputation as you understand it),' therefore 'Geneva's' definition of what the gospel is fails, and the Catholics are perfectly 'justified' (pardon the pun) in throwing Reformed idea of the gospel out the window."

What is your opinion on this scenario?

IC XC
Chris

Adomnan said...

Bugay: J.V. Fesko's work Justification goes into quite a bit of detail about this doctrine, as well as addressing the objections of N.T. Wright at a highly exegetical level.

Adomnan: I was expecting this. It's like the time when I discussed the issue with Ken Staples, who at least admitted forthrightly that he interpreted Paul's "faith is imputed as righteousness" to mean "faith is NOT imputed as righteousness." Ken said in the end: I can't explain it. Go read this book (not Fesko's). It's all in there.

Bugay still says he may get back to this because it's so important. Well, if he does decide to tackle the subject in any detail, I can assure you his disquisition will be one of the biggest steaming piles of gobbledygook and sophistry that you ever saw. Why? Because there just is no such thing as "the imputation of Christ's righteousness" in scripture and no amount of verbal acrobatics can change that.

Finally, Roberto, don't waste your money on Fesko's book. It's garbage.

Adomnan said...

I see that it is Spoils, not Roberto, who is contemplating buying Fesko's book.

John Bugay said...

Chris (Spoils) -- even though the phrase "Christ's righteousness is imputed to you" doesn't appear that way, word for word, in the Scriptures, doesn't mean the concept isn't there. A tremendous amount of biblical exegesis went into arriving at that concept (and I know it is a Reformed doctrinal statement, but I haven't studied the process of how they arrived at it.)

The papacy fails because, essentially, the Roman Catholic definition of the word "Church" is based on an assumption -- and a lot of "Roman Catholic Hermeneutic", reading after-the-fact concepts back into earlier texts, when there is no such warrant for them.

spoils23m said...

John,

What I guess I am really getting at is this...

Adomnan is saying that "there is no exegetical way at all to get from Romans 4:3,9 to "Geneva", "the imputation of the alien righteousness of Christ to the account of the unconditionally and individually elect person", "the Reformed gospel", etc. So you are left using, yep, "the Reformed Protestant Hermeneutic", to read later concepts back into an isolated biblical verses.

At least from what I can tell... (feel free to correct me). How would you answer someone claiming this?

IC XC
Chris

Spoils23m said...

John,

What I guess I am really getting at is this...

Adomnan is saying that "there is no exegetical way at all to get from Romans 4:3,9 to "Geneva", "the imputation of the alien righteousness of Christ to the account of the unconditionally and individually elect person", "the Reformed gospel", etc. So you are left using, yep, "the Reformed Protestant Hermeneutic", to read later concepts back into an isolated biblical verses.

At least from what I can tell... (feel free to correct me) this is what Adomnan is doing. How would you answer someone claiming this?

IC XC
Chris

John Bugay said...

Chris, I am leaving work now, an i have a long drive, but I will have something for you likely at T-blog in the morning, Lord willing.

Paul Hoffer said...

Dave, Due to all of the comments, I missed your question. Mr. Bugay has posted on his personal website his affiliation and the name of his church. All I had to do was type in the name of the church and its website came up. While I do not agree with most of what he writes, I do respect the fact that Mr. Bugay takes ownership of his words.

Mr. Bugay, I want to add my thoughts to Adomnan's about your arguments on the "late" emergence of the papacy. Basically, your arguments do not hold water with me because you foist third century notions of what a bishop is on the office of bishop as set forth in the NT. You conflate the trappings of the office with the office itself.

Apostolic succession, pure and simple, is the authority of passing on the deposit of faith from an apostle to another person (teaching office) and the ability to minister the sacraments (presiding) and the authority to appoint successors (administration). The reality of AS is confirmed in Chapter 44 of the first Letter of Clement:

Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry."

Now if the Roman church was run by a presbyterial council without a bishop then, why would Clement state what he did? Is there anything in Clement that negates the authority of the three-fold office. If there is no episcopal office, who were those men succeeding?

The AS lists of Hegesippus and Irenaeus show that AS as taught by the apostles was followed. The fact that the four gospels exist show that AS was practiced. The fact that the office of the bishop came to be recognized as the successor of the apostles in each and every church before the end of the apostolic age is proof of its validity. The pastoral letters themselves show that the Apostles appointed men in their place. Now you can focus on the trappings that the office has come to have, but do not insult our intelligence and argue that the office never existed from apostolic times.

You like to cite to Enos, Brown and others in support of your notions, but aside from failing to study the counter-arguments of others who disagree with them or even addressing them in any sort of coherent fashion, you fail to consider that the authority of the Church has never resided in its scholars, but always with its faithful and the shepherds who came from their ranks. Why not take the arguments asserted in any magisterial documents of the Church rather than out of something written as a sounding board for ecumenicism? Address what the Church actually holds rather than the discussions of scholars who can never offer anything that is binding on the faithful.

As for Petrine primacy, you can argue all you want, but the belief that Peter appointed someone to take his place (which is all that is) was universally recognized in the early Church. The fact that the importance of that office grew over years is again different from the existence of the office. the former can not be disputed, while the latter has always been reviewed throughout the history of the Church. I find it interesting that when Calvinists argue about the office of the papacy as the petrine office has come to be known, the arguments always revolve around bad popes, inquisitions, anti-semitism and never actually discuss the nature of the office itself. Again, anachronistic argument when one gets to the heart of things is no argument at all.

God bless!

Spoils23m said...

John,

Thanks for continuing the discussion...

You wrote:
The papacy fails because, essentially, the Roman Catholic definition of the word "Church" is based on an assumption -- and a lot of "Roman Catholic Hermeneutic", reading after-the-fact concepts back into earlier texts, when there is no such warrant for them.

All of one's theological definitions are based on assumptions (presuppositions) about what certain things mean, etc. Reformed Protestantism isn't free of reading things into texts either, from where I sit. I think that one must also consider the consistency of a worldview when assessing it... and on it's own terms.

As far as your problem with gaps goes... it doesn't affect my view all that much. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. You seem to think that you've shown the papacy and the Roman Church to be farce worthy of being tossed out the window. I disagree that you have done this... I am not sure that all of the scholars that you cite on the papacy share your conclusions either... nor do I think them the only conclusions that can be drawn from what I have seen of the research that you cite.

IC XC
Chris

Dave Armstrong said...

Whatever, Tim.

In any event, I would be happy to move towards removing some of your older papers (your big oft-expressed desire) if we could ever seriously talk about it.

I have no desire to "torment" anyone for what they claim are past transgressions now gotten over. The problem is that I truly don't see that you really have gotten over them: witness, e.g., the crazy rhetoric of the many 2009 papers I have: extreme, caricatured, bitter stuff against Catholicism and Catholicism, converts, apologists (all the usual suspects).

I guess I would have to see you write a big juicy paper about Catholicism where you truly exhibit serious change from your past arguments and polemical methods. If I saw that and saw a clear, genuine renunciation of past tendencies, and a legitimate heartfelt effort to cease that and to act differently, then yes, I would be more than delighted to remove most or even all of those old papers, because I honor heartfelt change and a person trying very hard to do better. We have all gone through that. I admire people who can do so.

But I have to be convinced with hard (and sustained) evidence. The last thing I want is to be persuaded that there was real change, remove the material, and then here you are again saying the same stuff, running me down, distorting what I believe and have taught, misrepresenting what happened in some miserable past "debate" etc., or simply presenting it in such a one-sided way that people think I am a moron from how you report what I allegedly did.

You have persistently attacked me (first by name and then much more subtly, where I know you are referring to me but many others wouldn't) as the supposed poster child and exemplar of all that you see is drastically wrong with both Catholicism and what you call "pop apologetics." This is what I detest the most (the equivalent of your disgust that I still have old arguments of yours up). You have grievances and principles; so do I. Obviously, I think mine are far more reasonable, just as you feel about your position.

I do refer myself as a "popular apologist" (meaning, directed to the masses), but of course that is not what you mean; your meaning is contemptuous and derogatory: as if apologetics apart from academia is a worthless and unsavory (and almost inherently dishonest) exercise.

Lots of people think that (for various reasons that I have critiqued through the years). But the idea doesn't fly: too much of a proud history of lay apologetics (folks like Lewis, Chesterton, Muggeridge, Thomas Howard; many others). I think even Pascal would qualify.

Dave Armstrong said...

[continued]

The problem of removal can be seen in, e.g., my replies to your big 2004 thesis on conciliarism. Since you keep talking about it and distorting what both my argument and method in that was, I am more or less forced to keep it up as documentary evidence. This is what I mean: a prime example. You keep talking about me. Therefore, I want to keep this stuff online so people can see what actually happened, as opposed to your jaded, one-sided report of what happened. You want to get rid of all this past stuff but still talk about it. I say that if you keep talking about it, it must (quite obviously) remain up, for the reasons just explained.

I have a perfectly rational, sensible perspective on this, from my side. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but principled. I'm trying to defend the Catholic Church. You keep running it down; I keep defending it. Stop running it down, and you won't ever have to hear from me again. But thus far you haven't stopped (unless you have finally undergone your long-awaited sea change this past year). Therefore I don't stop defending it, and myself, as the occasion arises, and when my views are again distorted and grossly caricatured.

What is so complicated about that? If you were on the receiving end of your never-ending vigorous polemics, you would act the same way! :-) But you want to dish it out and expect people to lay down and die, and delete all your old papers, simply because you ask them to, while you go on as you always have . . .

So again, to summarize what I think is necessary for removal:

1) serious discussion, minus all the passive-aggressive elements,

and

2) real and sustained evidence of change and renunciation regarding these things that your critics object to (I have for 12 years).

Adomnan said...

Bugay: 1. There is no exegetical way at all to get from Matthew 16:18 to "Rome", "Successors", "The Roman Catholic Church", etc

Adomnan: Well, that takes care of that.

Bugay: 2. Yes, 1 Clement was written in Rome, but really, it wasn't from a guy named "Clement", it was written from "The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth".

Adomnan: Sez you. Dionysus, bishop of Corinth, writing to Soter, bishop of Rome, about the year 170, refers to a letter from Rome to Corinth as "written to us by Clement." Since Dionysus had access to the Corinthian archives, I'll go with him rather than you.

Bugay: We have a first-person account of leadership in the ancient Roman church from the Shepherd of Hermas, who speaks of the "presbyters who preside".

Adomnan: Hermas does apparently speak in terms of a college of "presiding presbyters," each presiding over his own house church. Sullivan acknowledges as much. However, this does not preclude a presbyter-bishop who presided over all the rest when they came together. Thus, Sullivan again: "When the presbyters came together for a community celebration of the Eucharist, one of them must have presided, and most likely this would have been the presbyter recognized as the most competent leader and teacher."

Bugay: There is extensive documentation of a network of house churches in Rome, with no one of the presbyters in charge.

Adomnan: Yes, and this is precisely why it would be anachronistic to expect the holder of the Petrine office to "preside" over every house church. Presidency included presiding over the liturgy. Languages other than Greek were no doubt used in some house churches in this most cosmopolitan city. Thus, no one man could preside over every Roman congregation's liturgy in the first century.

Nevertheless, when presbyters, each of whom presided over his own house church, came together for a joint liturgy -- which they regularly did -- there was one who presided over all of them.

Bugay: 3. The style of 1 Clement is a "symboleutic" letter -- this is a well known and documented rhetorical style. The purpose is to persuade, not to assert.

Adomnan: Then why did Clement send representatives to straighten out the situation in Corinth and report back to him? The letter is more than just meant to be persuasive (although it is of course that). It demands obedience, as the citation I gave above shows.

Bugay: As for Ignatius, who lauded bishops in other cities, merely addressed his letter to the Romans, indiscriminately to "the church which presides in the place of the district of the Romans".

Adomnan: Sullivan's comment on this: "We can draw no conclusion from the absence of any mention of a bishop of Rome in this letter, as the letter does not mention presbyters either, and it is hardly likely that Ignatius would have imagined that the church of Rome had no presbyters."

Bugay: "bishops" (likely thought to be more of a "senior pastor" in the small house churches of the day) were addressed in all other of Ignatius's letters. But not to the Romans.

Adomnan: If that were the case, then the churches in the cities to which Ignatius wrote, and the very large church of Antioch itself, would have had only one "small house church" per city.

Bugay: Finally, Reumann's "gap" was detailed in the 2004 Puglisi book that I linked to above.

Adomnan: Is Puglisi's reference to the book entitled "Peter in the New Testament," edited by Raymond Brown and first published in 1973? Reumann contributed to that.

In any case, Reumann spoke of an evidential gap, which you distorted into an actual gap.

Adomnan said...

Bugay: A tremendous amount of biblical exegesis went into arriving at that concept (and I know it is a Reformed doctrinal statement, but I haven't studied the process of how they arrived at it.)

Adomnan: I imagine there would have to be "a tremendous amount of biblical exegesis" to justify as biblical a doctrine that doesn't appear in the Bible in any way, shape or form -- and that is in fact flatly contradicted by the what the Bible "simply says" -- to refer once again to Bugay's professed exegetical ideal.

Too bad the Reformed "gospel" isn't "simply said" in scripture. You'd think it would be, if it were true, wouldn't you? I mean, if anything should be simply said, it's the gospel, right?

Ben said...

John Bugay: There is no exegetical way at all to get from Matthew 16:18 to "Rome", "Successors", "The Roman Catholic Church", etc.

Ben: But I guess there is an "exegetical way" to get from Scripture to this and this? ;)


John Bugay: There is extensive documentation of a network of house churches in Rome, with no one of the presbyters in charge.

Ben: No real chief - just a bunch of "hang around the fort Indians"? ;)

But think about this: since SS. Peter and Paul were bishops - and of the Church of Rome - were they not to have any successors?

John Bugay said...

Chris: a couple of OT references illustrating how this works:

Psa 71:16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.

Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Jer 23:6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Eze 16:10 "I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk.

Eze 16:11 "I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck.

Eze 16:12 "And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.

Eze 16:13 "Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty.

Eze 16:14 "Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you," says the Lord GOD.

Dan 9:24 "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.

Zec 3:4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, "Take away the filthy garments from him." And to him He said, "See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes."

Zec 3:5 And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.

John Bugay said...

The bar is set high, for the level of righteousness that is required to get into the Kingdom of Heaven:

Mat 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Mat 5:18 "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Mat 5:19 "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 5:20 "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

This does not say "the imputed righteousness of Christ" in those words specifically, but something like "the righteousness of Christ" is required.

John Bugay said...

God's method is to work by imputation:

Rom 4:6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

Rom 4:7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered;

Rom 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin."

Those who are His get "righteousness apart from works" imputed to them.

John Bugay said...

Rom 5:15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

Rom 5:16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

Rom 5:18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.

Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,

Rom 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

Gal 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Phi 3:9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

Heb 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

John Bugay said...

Is the exact phrase, "imputed righteousness of Christ" in there? No. God gives a whole lot to believers, though.

Spoils23m said...

John,

Thanks for the list of passages that you have offered to me in order to show the biblical basis for this teaching.

You wrote:
Is the exact phrase, 'imputed righteousness of Christ' in there? No. God gives a whole lot to believers, though.

I just wanted to be sure that you knew that I wasn't asking for the "exact phrase," at any point. I just want to know where you think the Bible asserts the concept that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer, etc... I will read the passages carefully about what God is giving here... From what I can tell, this is all the exegetical convincing that you (at least) would need to be convinced that this teaching is asserted in the Bible, no?

IC XC
Chris

John Bugay said...

Chris, someone here would require the "exact phrase" if I didn't make this disclaimer.

From what I can tell, this is all the exegetical convincing that you (at least) would need to be convinced that this teaching is asserted in the Bible, no?

I don't know that for certain but it seems like a good start.

Adomnan said...

It's typical of Protestants that, when challenged to prove from the scripture a doctine like "the imputation of Christ's righteousness," they cough up a bunch of verses that prove nothing of the sort. It's called "obfuscation" and "misdirection."

Psa 71:16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.

Adomnan: The New Testament's "righteousness of God" is not Christ's personal righteousness. It is God's faithfulness to His promises, the way He is righteous.

Moreover, this verse says nothing about "imputation" and so is beside the point.

Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Adomnan: This verse speaks not only of righteousness but of salvation as a garment. Does that mean that Christ's salvation is imputed to us while we remain inherently unsaved?

Compare Revelations 19:7-8: "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints."

Jer 23:6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

A reference to God's faithfulness, his saving righteousness. In any event, if applied to Christ, to say that "the Lord is our righteousness" is not at all to say "the Lord's righteousness is imputed to us while we remain sinners."

Eze 16:10 "I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk.

Note remarks on "clothing" above. The Protestants like to pretend that this clothing analogy implies that one will look clean to God on the outside, while remaining filthy inside. I don't think so.

Eze 16:11 "I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck.

More clothing analogies. See above.

Eze 16:12 "And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.

Ditto.

Adomnan said...

Eze 16:13 "Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty.

Ditto. If this proves imputed righteousness, I'll eat my hat.

Eze 16:14 "Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you," says the Lord GOD.

Etc.

Dan 9:24 "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.

Uh. I don't see even a tenuous connection of this passage with the notion of imputed righteousness. Does anybody (except John)? Does John?

Zec 3:4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, "Take away the filthy garments from him." And to him He said, "See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes."

Well, if this proves that righteousness is only on the surface, a mere covering of something dirty underneath, then it also proves that iniquity (the filthy garments) are likewise merely superficial.

In fact, this verse shows that the Bible can speak of intrinsic states like iniquity and righteousness as garments, which undermines all the Protestants' misuse of garment language.

Zec 3:5 And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.

Same.

Adomnan said...

Bugay: The bar is set high, for the level of righteousness that is required to get into the Kingdom of Heaven:

Adomnan: "The bar is set high" and so this proves the "imputed righteousnes of Christ?" You've got to be kidding. This is what passes for exegesis among the Reformed?

How about I say this: "The bar is set high," and so this proves the "propitiated sanctification of the Holy Spirit?" Have I coined a new doctrine? Like you, I'm just taking words I find in scripture and stringing them together to form new sentences, which is apparently the method you Reformed use.

Bugay: This does not say "the imputed righteousness of Christ" in those words specifically, but something like "the righteousness of Christ" is required.

Adomnan: John thinks that "something like the righteousness of Christ" is required, and so that obviously proves there is an imputed righteousness of Christ. Well, maybe there's just "something like it," whatever that means, or maybe it's not really "required," or maybe....Never mind!

Adomnan said...

Bugay: God's method is to work by imputation:

Adomnan: There, you see, I told you. The Reformed "hermeneutic" is to find subjects and predicates in different passages of the Bible and then string them together and see if they come up with a new doctrine to their liking. Paul uses the predicate "is imputed," and while he doesn't use the subject "Christ's righteousness," he does speak of Christ and he does speak of righteousness. So that's close enough: We'll just put that all together and come up with a new doctrine: Christ's righteousness is imputed. Et voilà, as Calvin would say.

Of course, don't pay attention to the fact that Paul writes that "faith is imputed as righteousness," and not that Christ's righteousness is imputed. "God's method is to work by imputation," and so anything he does, He must impute. Or something like that. At least we're not exegeting using that stupid Catholic hermeneutic.

Adomnan said...

None of the rest of John Bugay's quotes from the Bible have anything to do with imputed righteousness, except conceivably the following:

Phi 3:9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

Although this passage doesn't speak of imputation, the 16th century Anglican Hooker used it as his whole argument for the Protestant doctrine. Interestingly, Hooker largely ignored the other passages Protestants cited, apparently realizing that they weren't probative.

Hooker's contention was that Phil 3:9 posited an "alien" righteousness because it contrasted "my own righteousness" with another righteousness ("that which is through faith in Christ").

He was mistaken, however. The original Greek is more accurately translated as follows (a nuance that the New Jerusalem Bible captures, by the way): "and be found in Him, not having as my righteousness that which is from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, etc." Thus, there is no contrast between "MY OWN righteousness" and an alien righteousness. Rather, either "righteousness" is potentially "my own," (Paul's in this case).

In any event, while this passage described Paul's situation, it does not apply to ours. Unlike Paul, we do not choose between the righteousness of the Law (Judaism) and Christianity. Paul is telling us about his dilemma as a Jew converting to Christianity.

However, the passage is of direct relevance to us (beyond any interest we might have in Paul's personal history) because it speaks of a "righteousness from God." Elsewhere in Paul, "the righteousness of God" always refers to a quality of God Himself: His faithfulness to His promises. This verse shows that Paul also conceived of a righteousness that God imparts to us. He does not refer to this imparted -- we Catholics also say "infused" -- righteousness as "the righteousness of God" (with God in the genitive case with no preposition), but as "righteousness FROM God," using the Greek preposition "ek."

That this cannot be a merely passive or imputed righteousness -- it is in any event, not the "righteousness of Christ" -- but must be transformative is shown by what immediately follows: (having this righteousness,) "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death so that I may attain unto the resurrection of the dead, not as though I had already attained or were already perfect, but I follow after so that I may attain since I have been captured by Christ."

Ben said...

Just thought I'd pass this along...

Another aspect of the "imputed righteousness" doctrine.

Robert Sungenis in "Not By Bread Alone" (p.334) quotes para. 3 of this this passage from Augustine, followed by just a couple sentences from Aquinas here.

Sungens' immediate follow-up statements are excerpted here.

Thus are presented the essence of the two opposing views of Christ's righteousness - in a nutshell.

And who are we to believe: the Church and the Fathers, or the private and ahistorical opinions of the self-proclaimed Reformers?


Btw, re my comment about SS. Peter and Paul above being bishops: see this and this

Constantine said...

The esteemed Mr. Hoffer writes,

I want to add my thoughts to Adomnan's about your arguments on the "late" emergence of the papacy. Basically, your arguments do not hold water with me because you foist third century notions of what a bishop is on the office of bishop as set forth in the NT. You conflate the trappings of the office with the office itself.

Apparently Mr. Bugay's arguments would have held water with Cardinal Newman, who wrote,

“While Apostles were on earth, there was the display neither of Bishop or Pope.” I wonder, was he “foisting”? I further wonder what NT Newman was reading since it obviously is not the official Hofferian one. Hmmm.

Likewise, Bugay is inline with the theological faculty at Notre-Dame:

“Peter was a figure of central importance among the disciples of the Lord…Nevertheless, the terms primacy…and jurisdiction…are probably best avoided when describing Peter’s role in the New Testament. They are postbiblical, indeed, canonical, terms.” (Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology at the (Catholic) University of Notre Dame, Fr. Richard McBrien)

And a Jesuit scholar, Klaus Schatz:

“A judicial superiority of one church over another, or certainly anything like papal primacy of jurisdiction, was completely foreign to Ignatius or Irenaeus [in the second century], or even Augustine [in the fourth]…In particular, all kinds of thinking in categories of hierarchical subordination or superiority will lead us astray.”


So, true Roman Catholic scholars acknowledge the historical fact that the papacy is not apostolic and came long after the apostles were dead.

Peace.

Constantine said...

Mr. Hoffer,

Apostolic succession, pure and simple, is the authority of passing on the deposit of faith from an apostle to another person (teaching office) and the ability to minister the sacraments (presiding) and the authority to appoint successors (administration).

But the only biblical example of Apostolic succession is Paul to Timothy. Timothy was the bishop of Ephesus. Therefore, to truly follow “apostolic succession” we must become Eastern Orthodox.

Peace.

Ben said...

But the only biblical example of Apostolic succession is Paul to Timothy.

So are you admitting at least one "biblical example" for Apostolic succession?

Constantine said...

The AS lists of Hegesippus and Irenaeus show that AS as taught by the apostles was followed.

That's fantastic.

Here's an excerpt from a more recent work:

1. Linus. “What Linus’s actual functions and responsibilities were can only be guessed, for the *monarchical, or one-man, episcopate had not yet emerged in Rome. (p. 7)
2. Anacletus: “While his existence and leading position need not be doubted, the fact that the monarchical episcopate had not yet emerged at Rome makes it impossible to form any clear conception of his role. (p. 7)
3. Clement 1: “While Clement’s position as a leading presbyter and spokesman of the Christian community at Rome is assured, his letter suggests that the *monarchical episcopate had not yet emerged there, and it is therefore impossible to form any precise conception of his constitutional role.” (p. 8)
4. Evaristus: “While there is no reason to doubt that he held a leading position in the Roman church, nothing is in fact reliably known about him, and in view of the late development of the *monarchical episcopate at Rome his role as a church leader there can only be surmised.” (p. 8)
5. Alexander 1: “Virtually nothing is reliably known about him except that he held a leading position in the Roman church, and in view of the late emergence of the *monarchical episcopate at Rome his constitutional position as a leader of the community remains obscure.” (p. 9)
6. Sixtus I: “…as with other leaders of the Roman church in this period, no clear conception can be formed of his role in its government.” (p. 9)
7. Telesphorus: “As with other popes of this period when the *monarchical episcopate was slowly emerging at Rome, it is impossible to form any clear picture of his constitutional role.” (p. 9)
8. Pius I (c. 142-c.155). “The later 2nd cent. Muratorian Canon…states that he was the brother of Hermas…author of the widely popular visionary summons to repentance known as The Shepherd. This latter work contains hints of disputes about rank among church leaders which suggest that the *monarchical episcopate was now a reality at Rome.” (p. 10)

Kelly, J.N.D. Oxford Dictionary of Popes with new material by Michael Walsh. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.

So the role of all of the successors can only be the object of pure speculation. If the apostles taught anything like what Rome claims today, it certainly wasn't evident to their followers.

Peace.

Dave Armstrong said...

See my new paper:

Blasphemy Against Creatures and Immaterial Things in Scripture (Not Just Against God) / New (?) Analogical Biblical Argument for Veneration of the Saints and Angels from the Disapproval of Blasphemy of the Same

Many thanks to Steve Hays: without whose dogmatic (and flat-out wrong) disapproval of blasphemy of persons and things in Scripture, I wouldn't have discovered all this great data and developed a new (I think, pretty cool) argument for veneration of the saints! Thanks Steve! Just like the heretics of old spurred the fathers onto new apologetics arguments . . .

Dave Armstrong said...

But the only biblical example of Apostolic succession is Paul to Timothy.

Really? Just about everyone knows how Judas (a disciple chosen by Jesus) was replaced by Matthias
(Acts 1:20-26). Since Judas is called a bishop (episkopos) in this passage (1:20), then by logical extension all the apostles can be considered bishops (albeit of an extraordinary sort).

If the apostles are bishops, and one of them was replaced by another, after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, then we have a very explicit example of apostolic succession in the Bible.

Dave Armstrong said...

Apparently Mr. Bugay's arguments would have held water with Cardinal Newman, who wrote,

“While Apostles were on earth, there was the display neither of Bishop or Pope.”


Is that so? I guess I'm weird, but in my writing I try to actually give the source info., so folks can check context. As it is, you have pulled this out of context, so that you think it proves what it does not at all.

As author of a recent 655-page collection of his quotes, I know a little about Cardinal Newman. You picked the wrong place to try to pull this stunt. The key word is "display". You seem to have missed that. In context, it all becomes very clear:

***

While Apostles were on earth, there was the display neither of Bishop nor Pope; their power had no prominence, as being exercised by Apostles. In course of time, first the power of the Bishop displayed itself, and then the power of the Pope. . . . St. Peter's prerogative would remain a mere letter, till the complication of ecclesiastical matters became the cause of ascertaining it. . . . When the Church, then, was thrown upon her own resources, first local disturbances gave exercise to Bishops, and next ecumenical disturbances gave exercise to Popes; and whether communion with the Pope was necessary for Catholicity would not and could not be debated till a suspension of that communion had actually occurred. It is not a greater difficulty that St. Ignatius does not write to the Asian Greeks about Popes, than that St. Paul does not write to the Corinthians about Bishops. And it is a less difficulty that the Papal supremacy was not formally acknowledged in the second century, than that there was no formal acknowledgment on the part of the Church of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity till the fourth. No doctrine is defined till it is violated.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

And, in like manner, it was natural for Christians to direct their course in matters of doctrine by the guidance of mere floating, and, as it were, endemic tradition, while it was fresh and strong; but in proportion as it languished, or was broken in particular places, did it become necessary to fall back upon its special homes, first the Apostolic Sees, and then the See of St. Peter. Moreover, an international bond and a common authority could not be consolidated, were it ever so certainly provided, while persecutions lasted. If the Imperial Power checked the development of Councils, it availed also for keeping back the power of the Papacy. The Creed, the Canon, in like manner, both remained undefined. The Creed, the Canon, the Papacy, Ecumenical Councils, all began to form, as soon as the Empire relaxed its tyrannous oppression of the Church. And as it was natural that her monarchical power should display itself when the Empire became Christian, so was it natural also that further developments of that power should take place when that Empire fell. . . . a new power had to be defined; as St. Paul had to plead, nay, to strive for his apostolic authority, and enjoined St. Timothy, as Bishop of Ephesus, to let no man despise him: so Popes too have not therefore been ambitious because they did not establish their authority without a struggle. . . . supposing the power to be divinely bestowed, yet in the first instance more or less dormant, a history could not be traced out more probable, more suitable to that hypothesis, than the actual course of the controversy which took place age after age upon the Papal supremacy. It will be said that all this is a theory. Certainly it is: it is a theory to account for facts as they lie in the history, to account for so much being told us about the Papal authority in early times, and not more; a theory to reconcile what is and what is not recorded about it; and, which is the principal point, a theory to connect the words and acts of the Ante-nicene Church with that antecedent probability of a monarchical principle in the Divine Scheme, and that actual exemplification of it in the fourth century, which forms their presumptive interpretation. All depends on the strength of that presumption. Supposing there be otherwise good reason for saying that the Papal Supremacy is part of Christianity, there is nothing in the early history of the Church to contradict it.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

It follows to inquire in what this presumption consists? It has, as I have said, two parts, the antecedent probability of a Popedom, and the actual state of the Post-nicene Church. The former of these reasons has unavoidably been touched upon in what has preceded. It is the absolute need of a monarchical power in the Church which is our ground for anticipating it. A political body cannot exist without government, and the larger is the body the more concentrated must the government be. If the whole of Christendom is to form one Kingdom, one head is essential; at least this is the experience of eighteen hundred years. As the Church grew into form, so did the power of the Pope develope; and wherever the Pope has been renounced, decay and division have been the consequence. We know of no other way of preserving the Sacramentum Unitatis, but a centre of unity.

(Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Part I: ch. 4, sec. 3)

Adomnan said...

Constantine, are you Orthodox or Reformed?

Constantine: Apparently Mr. Bugay's arguments would have held water with Cardinal Newman, who wrote,

“While Apostles were on earth, there was the display neither of Bishop or Pope.” I wonder, was he “foisting”? I further wonder what NT Newman was reading since it obviously is not official Hofferian one. Hmmm.

Adomnan: So what? Pope and bishops are successors to Apostles and so not contemporaneous.

Constantine: Likewise, Bugay is in line with the theological faculty at Notre-Dame:

“Peter was a figure of central importance among the disciples of the Lord…Nevertheless, the terms primacy…and jurisdiction…are probably best avoided when describing Peter’s role in the New Testament. They are postbiblical, indeed, canonical, terms.” (Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology at the (Catholic) University of Notre Dame, Fr. Richard McBrien)

Adomnan: So what? They're saying "avoid the terms in Biblical discussions" because they don't occur in the Bible. They'd no doubt also say "avoid the term 'Trinity'" in Biblical discussions, because that doesn't occur either.

Still, I don't agree that "primacy" is not Biblical. Matthew calls Peter "first" in Matthew 10:2: "protos Simon." "Protos" is an adjective, not an adverb, and so Simon is described as first of the Apostles (not just first listed). Protos is primus in Latin. So, Peter is primus, that is, primate. Hence "primacy" is biblical.

Yes, I dare to disagree with "the theological faculty of Notre Dame." Please don't report me!

Constantine: And a Jesuit scholar, Klaus Schatz:

“A judicial superiority of one church over another, or certainly anything like papal primacy of jurisdiction, was completely foreign to Ignatius or Irenaeus [in the second century], or even Augustine [in the fourth]…In particular, all kinds of thinking in categories of hierarchical subordination or superiority will lead us astray.”

Adomnan: Schatz wants union with Orthodoxy, which we won't get if we insist on papal jurisdictional or judicial superiority. Apparently he thinks a superiority of teaching authority (infallibility) is sufficient.

Rome exercised a jurisdictional superiority over Corinth in the first century.

And if Ignatius did not recognize any jurisdictional superiority of the Roman church, then why did he tell the Romans that the Roman church would be the bishop of Antioch (together with Christ) after his death?

Constantine: So, true Roman Catholic scholars acknowledge the historical fact that the papacy is not apostolic and came long after the apostles were dead.

Adomnan: None of the quotes you provided acknowledge anything of the sort.

Peace, bro.

Adomnan said...

Constantine, Kelly's remarks are not problematical for us Catholics. I already explained how the holder of the Petrine office need not originally have been the so-called "monarchical bishop" of Rome, although he was certainly a leading presbyter-bishop and no doubt presided over the Eucharist, as Sullivan says, when all the presbyter-bishops of Rome gathered together (as they frequently did). That is why, when Rome did develop a monarchical episcopacy, the role devolved on the successor of St. Peter, as Irenaeus, for example, notes.

Given Kelly's assertion that we can't be sure precisely what so-and-so's "functions" were at this remove, how can you assume that so-and-so lacked the Petrine function? In fact, the only reason we have the list of these men starting with Linus is that they were considered Peter's successors.

Adomnan said...

In general, it is absurd to question Catholic doctrines on the grounds of a paucity of historical documents, as Constantine is trying to do, given the fact that only a tiny percentage of documents survive from ancient times. The fact is that information confirming an "early papacy" is abundant compared with what is known about details of, say, the life and policies of such contemporary emperors as Hadrian and Antoninus Pius. This is especially striking given the very small number of Christians in the first and early second centuries.

As Spoils has pointed out, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," a maxim especially true in dealing with ancient history.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Constantine: you wrote:

"Linus. “What Linus’s actual functions and responsibilities were can only be guessed, for the *monarchical, or one-man, episcopate had not yet emerged in Rome. (p. 7) ETC, ETC, ..."

Me: Your assertion from Kelly is flawed from the start. As my friend Adomnan accurately points out, neither AS or the Petrine office are defined or were ever premised as a monarchical or one-man episcopate who exercised control over an arbitrarily determined geographical area. That is a Protestant notion invented in the 19th century. Show me in any Catholic dogma where AS is dependent on the existence of a monarchical or one-man episcopate. You will find none as there is no Catholic dogmatic statement to my knowledge that requires such. St. Peter's authority was exercised as a member of a college of apostles. His successors held their authority as a part of a COLLEGE of bishops. Peter presided in the college of apostles because Christ conferred on him the power of the keys-to bind and loose. His successors had that power as well which was recognized when they actually had to exercise that power.

The fact of the matter that folks were able to identify Peter's successors within the living memory of those who would have known Linus, Cletus, Clement, etc... and the fact that the people against whom the argument of AS was being used were not able to refute it which would have been easy to do if not true merely by going to others who knew these men to obtain contrary evidence certainly rises to the level of circumstantial evidence and not mere conjecture or presuppositions. While it might be difficult to find specific instances where they exercised the authority of the keys, the irrefutable fact is that these men exercised the power of their office by preserving doctrine that was passed down ehich enabled the Church to determine the canonicity of the NT Scriptures and fight off the first heresies, by ordaining new bishops, priests and deacons, and by presiding over sacraments. We know they did exercise their authority because of the very fact of the existence of successors. While I was a prosecuting attorney, I was able to obtain convictions on far less probative evidence than that found in this instance.

Arguing that Rome's claims are false because it can not prove that the successors of Peter acted as monarchical episcopos from the beginning of the Church is a non-starter of an argument because it rests on the fallacious notion that the office had to be held by a monarchical figure who held sway over a geographical area.

As for Bl. JHN having the temerity to disagree with my Hofferian views, I would note that he must have been prescient because we find him later writing:

"I did not distinctly believe in the jus divinum of the Holy See till I joined the Church. I then believed in it as I believed in any other doctrine of the Church, because she was the Church, the oracle of Christ. I believed in the seven sacraments forthwith, because she taught them de fide; and for the same reason I believed in the jus divinum of the Papacy forthwith." – from Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, p.308

Please note that this is a very truncated answer which I hope to expand upon after I am done with school in a couple of weeks. Please also note that I am not arguing against the early existence or the validity of AS or the Petrine office residing with a monarchical epsicopate we call the papacy. I am merely pointing out that geographical considerations and governance are not essential to determining the validity of the office of the bishop.

Ubi est episcopus, ibi est ecclesia!

God bless!

John Bugay said...

On the topic of Newman and the early papacy, what you really have is a willing suspension of disbelief, or more simply, a fiction.

John Bugay said...

This is what passes for exegesis among the Reformed?

No, I am neither an exegete nor a seminary-trained representative of an official church body.

What I am is a believer reading the Scriptures, and understanding a sense of how God does things.

Rest assured that the "exegesis among the Reformed" is much more thorough and knowledgeable, takes far more of the Scriptures into account, and is far, far less susceptible to Adomnan's mocking quips than my simple statements of an ordinary believer using ordinary means.

Jim Paton said...

"Rest assured that the "exegesis among the Reformed" is much more thorough and knowledgeable"

Sola Scriptura isn't biblical John.

Imagine someone claiming that flat earth believers were thorough and knowledgeable scientists. You are nice, but dim.
Thorough and knowledgeable, you cheeky rascal!

John Bugay said...

Jim Paton -- My grand, overall point would be, "Rome's authority is built on a fiction and may be freely rejected".

Therefore, "Scripture Alone" is the sole infallible source of our information about God (to which the church's experience provides helpful, though fallible clarification).

Jim Paton said...

"Rome's authority is built on a fiction"

You're such a menace John. Stop it!

"Therefore, "Scripture Alone" is the sole infallible source of our information about God"

You cheeky monkey. You know fine well that the bible has to state this for it to be biblical. And since it doesn't, you poor chap, it is obvious that you live in a little world called anachronism.

Must be nice in never never land.

How's Bubbles fairing these days?

Adomnan said...

John Bugay: Rest assured that the "exegesis among the Reformed" is much more thorough and knowledgeable, takes far more of the Scriptures into account, and is far, far less susceptible to Adomnan's mocking quips than my simple statements of an ordinary believer using ordinary means.

Adomnan: Translation: "I admit my exegesis is junk and I can't show that the imputation of Christ's righteousness is in the Bible; and it is odd that the doctrine is directly contradicted by Paul. But rest assured nevertheless that some Reformed exegete somewhere has demonstrated that 'faith is imputed as righteousness' really means 'faith is NOT imputed as righteousness.' I'm just not familiar with this very long and convoluted demonstration and so cannot communicate it. Still, I have willingly suspended my disbelief and believe in it implicitly, and so should all of you!"

John Bugay: What I am is a believer reading the Scriptures, and understanding a sense of how God does things.

Adomnan: Notice, people, how John knows that this unbiblical canard is the Bible because he, unlike us, has "a sense of how God does things." This is his way of saying that it doesn't matter to him what the scriptures actually say, because, as a Protestant and "sola-scripturist," he is entitled to interpret anything in the Bible anyway he wants to. Thus, he is entitled to interpret "faith is imputed as righteousness" as "faith is not imputed as righteousness, but Christ righteousness, which is never mentioned, is." After all, he possesses a "sense," a special exegetical organ that the rest of us lack, also known as "the magic glasses."

Adomnan said...

Should have been "any way" in my last post, not "anyway."

Adomnan said...

Actually, "anyway" and "any way" are interchangeable in this context. Never mind.

John Bugay said...

Nevertheless, as I mentioned, I'm not a seminary-trained preacher of the Gospel. What I am is a layman who has dealt in a very personal way with the very nasty curses that go along with leaving Roman Catholicism, in fact, rejecting Roman authority.

I have done so, and my conscience is clear. And now my goal in life is to tell others why they may freely do so.

For anyone who is interested in the Reformed doctrine that we are talking about, here is how it is stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith XI.I:

Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth: not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.

I have absolutely no hesitation about accepting this as an article of faith.

So your efforts (Adomnan) at mockery and intimidation have no effect on me; and for Chris (Spoils23), I've already given you a lot of Scriptural justification. I'm going to be busy, but I'm happy to go deeper into the theological explication of how Westminster arrived at this statement. I honestly have not ever studied that time period, and would love to do so.

Adomnan said...

The Westminster Confession of Faith states:

"not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness"

Paul states:

Romans 4:3: "For what does the scripture say? Abraham put his faith in God, and it was imputed to him as righteousness."

Romans 4:9: "We maintain that 'faith was imputed to Abraham as righteousness.'"

Romans 4:22-24: "That is why Abraham's faith was imputed to him as righteousness. Those words 'it was imputed to him' were written not only for Abraham's sake, but for ours too. It is also going to be imputed to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord."

The WCF flatly contradicts Paul, stating that God does not impute "faith itself...as their righteousness."

Thus, as I have maintained all along, and the WCF article supplied by Bugay confirms, the Reformed position is that when Paul writes "faith is imputed as righteousness," he means "faith is NOT imputed as righteousness, but Christ's righteousness, which Paul never mentions, is."

So the choice is clear: Whom are we to believe? John Bugay and the WCF, or Paul and the Catholic Church?

Dave Armstrong said...

Adomnan: you have a way with words, as always. LOL I understand why you resort to humor very well, believe me. No doubt John doesn't, but (unfortunately) we wouldn't expect him to . . .

But there are dead-on, quite justified humorous comments on the one hand, and clueless, not-so-funny attempts at humor on the other. Our anti-Catholic buddies obviously don't know the difference, and so they describe the former as "mocking" (as any opposition to Reformed TRVTH must be), whereas drawing Hitler mustaches on a saint is merely "absolutely a minimal amount of photo enhancement" and couldn't possibly be construed by anyone as mocking, now, could it?

Yes, John removed it, but not yet with an apology to those of us who objected vociferously to the mockery and contempt of one of the most holy persons who ever walked the earth: comparing her to one of the most wicked men.

but we don't dare use any humor to deal with Reformed soteriological nonsense and bible butchery!

John Bugay said...

You're making a false choice. You have to prove, first, that the Roman Catholic doctrine can be gotten out of Paul. And I'm sure you can't do that. In fact, I'm certain that the WCF doctrine is an exegesis from Scripture. I know that the Roman Catholic doctrine is a mess.

Adomnan said...

Bugay: So your efforts (Adomnan) at mockery and intimidation have no effect on me;

Adomnan: I suspect they are having an effect at some level. It's hard to go on forever ignoring the truth.

Still, I'm not writing this primarily for you but for the others reading these exchanges.

Bugay: and for Chris (Spoils23), I've already given you a lot of Scriptural justification.

Adomnan: Thus you maintain that those scriptures you cited above demonstrate the imputed righteousness of Christ and that "faith is not imputed as righteousness," as the WCF puts it?

Please show us how. The passages hardly speak for themselves.

Adomnan said...

John Bugay: In fact, I'm certain that the WCF doctrine is an exegesis from Scripture.

Adomnan: Ah, but is it a correct exegesis from Scripture? Willing suspension of disbelief?

John Bugay said...

Please show us how. The passages hardly speak for themselves.

I'm going to read up on this. And probably make a few posts on T-Blog. It's not my highest priority right now though.

John Bugay said...

I'm sure the WCF exegesis is correct. Unlike the, uh sense that "Pope" Damasus got that Peter was working through him.

I'm much more willing to believe a Reformed exegesis of Scripture, than the "gut feeling" of a murderer named Damasus who's gut feeling tells him, "Yeah, I really am the king of the world".

Dave Armstrong said...

I have made a link to the Bugay-Adomnan discussion of soteriology here: placed on my Salvation and Justification page, and also in John's (ever-growing) section on the Anti-Catholicism page. Otherwise all this great refutation of Bugay would be lost, since it had nothing whatever to do with the subject matter of the post. :-) How would anyone ever find it?

John Bugay said...

Perhaps you'd be so kind as to tell me what I've got wrong about "development".

And keep in mind that Pelikan died before much of the research was done on the nonexistent early papacy.

You'll be dealing with that topic soon enough. I guarantee you Rome is thinking about it, and I wouldn't be surprised if this historical research was behind the "magnanimous" overtures in Ut Unum Sint.

Dave Armstrong said...

I thought you wanted to get as far away from me as possible? So why do you ask me questions? Several introductions to the topic are found on my development web page:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/11/development-of-doctrine-index-page.html

Jim Paton said...

"Perhaps you'd be so kind as to tell me what I've got wrong about "development"."

"Mental" or otherwise?

"I guarantee you Rome is thinking about it"

There is a carnival somewhere that's missing its fortune teller:¬)

Dave Armstrong said...

LOL Yeah, I always thought Bugay missed his vocation in life: as a carnival barker.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Constantine:

You wrote:

But the only biblical example of Apostolic succession is Paul to Timothy. Timothy was the bishop of Ephesus. Therefore, to truly follow “apostolic succession” we must become Eastern Orthodox.

You forgot that St. Paul also appointed Titus:

I left you in Crete for this reason, that you would set in order the things that were lacking, and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you. (Titus 1:5)

We see something similar at the beginning of Acts where Matthias was appointed to succeed Judas.

AS applies to the whole Church not just the Church in Rome; all bishops, not just the Bishop of Rome. These are but three examples of AS. The bible clearly shows the apostles appointing men to succeed them. Does the NT state any other way that men were to be appointed to the positions of bishop, presbyter and deacon?

Now using your logic, please us how us from scripture alone where Jesus directed the disciples to write a NT canon or that such documents are to be treated as divinely inspired.

God bless!

Adomnan said...

Bugay: And keep in mind that Pelikan died before much of the research was done on the nonexistent early papacy.

You'll be dealing with that topic soon enough.

Adomnan: We dealt with it above.

Now watch Bugay come back with a "No, you didn't." Then I'll say in effect, "Yes we did!" And soon we'll be back in that Monty Python sketch where someone pays for an argument, just gets contradiction ("No it isn't!) and then they go back and forth about whether contradiction constitutes an argument or not ("Yes it does!" "No it doesn't!").

Bugay often makes me think of Monty Python.

I smiled at Jim Paton's British dismissal of Bugay: "You cheeky monkey." From now on, that's how I'll think of John.

Bugay: I wouldn't be surprised if this historical research was behind the "magnanimous" overtures in Ut Unum Sint.

Adomnan: Now the cheeky monkey is a Vaticanologist.

"I wouldn't be surprised:" If he's not surprised that the imputation of Christ's righteousness is contradicted by the Bible, then nothing can surprise him.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Dave, you wrote in regards to this comment thread and M:

Otherwise all this great refutation of Bugay would be lost, since it had nothing whatever to do with the subject matter of the post. :-) How would anyone ever find it?

Me: You don't have a miscellaneous bushwa link?

God bless!

Ben said...

And keep in mind that Pelikan died before much of the research was done on the nonexistent early papacy.

John, the question of the Papacy's origin aside, we do know with absolute certitude that Scripture holds the Apostolic Roman Church in high esteem.

We know further that the Fathers did likewise, and that they appealed to her authority to help settle disputes or confirm / ratify the decisions of other bishops.

You simply have absolutely no reason to oppose yourself to Scripture and the Fathers.

Bugay often makes me think of Monty Python.

Makes me think of a certain other well known inverterate religious hatred.

Adomnan said...

The cheeky monkey continues his relentless onslaught on logic: "I'm much more willing to believe a Reformed exegesis of Scripture, than the 'gut feeling' of a murderer named Damasus who's gut feeling tells him, 'Yeah, I really am the king of the world'."

Bugay doesn't like Pope Damasus and therefore he concurs with the WCF that "faith is imputed as righteousness" means "faith is not imputed as righteousness."

I said at the onset of this discussion that John Bugay did not possess a reasoning faculty.

Adomnan said...

Dave: I admire Adomnan for having the patience of Job in order to engage Bugay at such length. He should get the Medal of Honor for his heroic patience.

No need for a medal. I'm not even scratched, Dave. But thanks for your compliment.

Constantine said...

Paul Hoffer challenges,

”As my friend Adomnan accurately points out, neither AS or the Petrine office are defined or were ever premised as a monarchical or one-man episcopate who exercised control over an arbitrarily determined geographical area. That is a Protestant notion invented in the 19th century. Show me in any Catholic dogma where AS is dependent on the existence of a monarchical or one-man episcopate.

You make this too easy, Paul. I refer you to the “First Dogmatic constitution on the church of Christ” from the decrees of Vatican I:

To this absolutely manifest teaching of the sacred scriptures, as it has always been understood by the catholic church, are clearly opposed the distorted opinions of those who misrepresent the form of government which Christ the lord established in his church and deny that Peter, in preference to the rest of the apostles, taken singly or collectively, was endowed by Christ with a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction.

The “true and proper primacy” is defined by Rome as residing in one person – hence monoepiscopate. If you refer to the Session 3 (24 April 1870) at 10, you will find> “And so we, following in the footsteps of our predecessors, in accordance with our supreme apostolic office, have never left off...” Of course the “we” is the royal “we” so it refers only to the pope and “supreme” is a superlative. Therefore, Vatican I, the Magisterium of the Roman Church and all the bishops in communion with her affirmed, and bound by threat of anathema those who disagreed, a monoepiscopate residing in the bishop of Rome. Please don't tell me that Pius IX was a Protestant.



PH: “Arguing that Rome's claims are false because it can not prove that the successors of Peter acted as monarchical episcopos from the beginning of the Church is a non-starter of an argument because it rests on the fallacious notion that the office had to be held by a monarchical figure who held sway over a geographical area.

It wasn't a non-starter for Vatican I.

PH: As for Bl. JHN having the temerity to disagree with my Hofferian views, I would note that he must have been prescient because we find him later writing:

Great. A schizophrenic.

PH: I am merely pointing out that geographical considerations and governance are not essential to determining the validity of the office of the bishop.

The geographical considerations were, historically speaking, always essential to this definition. Peter was cited as the bishop of “Rome”; later, this bishop was the patriarch of the “West”; and still later of the “Church universal”. To remove the geographic component from the papacy is to do violence to history.

Good luck with school.

Peace.

Constantine said...

BTW, Paul Hoffer. I stand corrected concerning Titus.

Peace.

Adomnan said...

Constantine: The “true and proper primacy” is defined by Rome as residing in one person – hence monoepiscopate.

Adomnan: False. Vatican I's decree is speaking of a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction belonging to the Petrine office. This is not at all comparable to local jurisdiction over a city or region by a monarchical bishop. If it were, then the Pope would be the monarchical bishop of every diocese, instead of the local bishop.

So the Petrine office, a universal ministry, is not dependent on monepiscopacy, which concerns the organization of local churches.

Constantine: Great. A schizophrenic.

Adomnan: Watch your tone. If you want to get abusive, others can be abusive in return. We're all getting tired of the acerbity that has been imported to this blog from Triablogue.

Constantine: The geographical considerations were, historically speaking, always essential to this definition.

Adomnan: While the location of the Petrine office in Rome is providential, it is not essential to the validity of the office. No one is "removing the (providential) geographic component from the papacy."

Ben said...

Cardinal Newman: "It is the absolute need of a monarchical power in the Church which is our ground for anticipating it."

Ben: And I'll take a "a monarchical power in the Church" anytime over an anarchical power (Luther, Calvin et (dictators) al).

Or another way to look at it:

Much better a Pope of Rome than a Pope of, uh, rum!

Cheers! ;-)

Sean Patrick said...

I am glad I missed all of this going down. I was fishing in Louisiana for red fish and speckled trout. As we pulled fish after fish onto the boat I could not help thinking about the apostles being 'fishers of men.'

I think its about time good people stop even reading such blogs as those discussed in this thread where such pernicious behavior is applauded. I would consider it 'blog pornography.' I would call it theological pornography or apologetic pornography but that would be an insult to theology and apologetics.

New Years Resolution: Do not read the musings of these unfortunate men. So many better things can be accomplished with that time.

Dave Armstrong said...

Good advice. As is pretty well-known, I don't debate theology with them anymore: haven't since early 2007. I do document their follies, though. This present example was an extraordinary instance of bigotry.
I certainly don't take any of these clowns seriously.

It has always been a dilemma for Catholic apologists how to deal with nonsense, insofar as people are led astray by anti-Catholicism.

I've often said that if it weren't for the sake of other people who are taken in by this garbage, I wouldn't pay it the slightest attention. No matter how much we may detest this stuff, apologists still have a duty to protect the flock.

That's why I don't regret my dealings with anti-Catholics in the past. I have never enjoyed it at any time: it was always like root canal surgery; pure drudgery. But it's not just about me or about any Catholic apologist in the first place: what we like or enjoy doing. It's about truth and protection of folks who could actually be persuaded by anti-Catholics.

So that is the important flipside of what you say.

John Bugay said...

Adomnan: Please show us how.

John Murray’s account is exceptional:

The righteousness of Christ imputed to believers

Spoils23m said...

John,

Thanks for posting John Murray's case for why it is necessary that the righteousness of Christ must be imputed to the account of the believer in order for justification to be possible.

I will keep thinking on the matter, as, right now, my time is very limited, but... ISTM that one must assume certain things that are particular to the Reformed understanding of things (the Reformed idea of the effects of Original Sin [T], what infused grace MUST be incapable of doing, what "asebḗs" MUST mean, etc...

ISTM that Murray is telling us why we must deduce that, since, "impute" is used in Scripture, and, since God's righteousness is referred to in Scripture, that... if you assume total depravity... you must conclude that, although Scripture never tells us that Christ's righteousness is imputed to the believer... that there is no other way it can be that the elect are justified.

That's what I am seeing so far...

I hope that you and your family are having a good day.

IC XC
Chris

John Bugay said...

Chris -- If you really want to understand the whole Reformed perspective, Turretin has about 20 pages-worth of exegesis. I'm not typing that up...

Spoils23m said...

John,

I wouldn't ever ask you to type up 200 pages of exegesis, much less with your wife being ill.

Please post a link, if you have time.. If I am being honest, my suspicion is that the the Bible cannot be shown to assert the concept that the alien righteousness of Christ is imputed to the "account" (or whatever analogy you like) of the unconditionally/individually elect sinner, and that this is what "justification" essentially is... That being said, if someone (TurretinFan, yourself, David King, etc...) thinks that they have exegesis that shows the Scriptures asserting this concept (not the exact words, but the concept), then I would be more than glad to reconsider my suspicion on this matter... Scripture is important to me... show... if this idea is, in fact, asserted there... I must adhere to it.

I hope that you are having a good day with your family.

Spoils23m said...

John,

One more question... if this doctrinal concept cannot be shown to be asserted in the Holy Writ, in a perspicuous way, via good, solid exegesis... should it be rejected as an unbiblical falsehood, based on whatever understanding of Sola Scriptura that you currently espouse?

I am just curious.

Christopher

John Bugay said...

Two things Chris:

1. There are reams of analysis of this concept. Turretin, John Owen. Fesko interacts exegetically with N.T. Wright's dislike for this concept. The thing to do is not to say "it's not in there", but to go through the analysis and say precisely where these writers are wrong in their reasoning.

2. Why not give some of Rome's claims the same kind of scrutiny, and see how they hold up.

Spoils23m said...

John,

Thanks for responding to my posts.

You wrote:
There are reams of analysis of this concept. Turretin, John Owen. Fesko interacts exegetically with N.T. Wright's dislike for this concept. The thing to do is not to say "it's not in there", but to go through the analysis and say precisely where these writers are wrong in their reasoning.

I am not saying that "it's not in there," John. I am asking for solid exegesis from the Reformed folks who not only think that it's asserted there, but that it's perspicuous.

As I am understanding you, you're saying that one must follow the reasoning of the Reformed exegetes you mention, and, if you share their premises, one must deduce the teaching, as it is not asserted in the Holy Writ. Am I following you correctly?

You wrote:
Why not give some of Rome's claims the same kind of scrutiny, and see how they hold up.

What makes you think that I don't? Believe I am still Catholic seems to be the answer, but I will let you tell me if that is the case.

I am asking you to show that the Scriptures assert the teaching we've been discussing from WITHIN the worldview from which it comes. It could be that you all just "get" the Reformed paradigm, and I just don't, but I am asking for an perspicuous assertion, proved by exegesis of the 'sole infallible rule of faith' of the teaching we've been discussing. Do you think that this teaching is asserted in the Holy Writ in a perspicuous way or not? If so, can this assertion be shown? If not, I am not sure what the perspicuity of Scripture in the light of SS means.

I am trying to understand your position, view your worldview based on it's own presuppositions (as I understand them)... that's what I do with the Catholic Church... I let the Church define it's own terms.

I hope your Saturday is going well.

Christopher

Jim Paton said...

@Cheeky monkey

"The thing to do is not to say "it's not in there"

Yes, that's a great idea.

If you go looking for the words "The boogeywoogey Meister obviously smokes copious amounts of ganja" the thing to do is not to say "it's not in there" Because there is every chance that they might not be. So whatever you do; DO NOT SAY "it's not in there" Man!

You're such a rascal!

Adomnan said...

Spoils,

It seems to me that you don't need to read 20-plus pages of Turretin's "exegesis" to see that the WCF's assertion that "faith is not imputed as righteousness" flatly contradicts Paul's statement that "faith is imputed as righteousness." 2000-plus pages of sophistry are not going to change that fact.

John Bugay apparently believed, or fell for, this doctrine without first examining it. By his own admission, he's just beginning to look into it now and cannot explain it to you or anyone else, including himself. Yet this supposed Bible-believer, who shrugs off flat contradictions of the Bible, has the arrogance to tell others not only that they should believe in this canard of Christ's imputation but that it is the very gospel!

As a professed Bible-believer, Bugay's conscience must be seared by his sudden discovery that his "gospel" contradicts the Bible -- that is, if he has a conscience. He can't brazen his way out of this by linking to drivel on the internet. He must explain himself how "faith is imputed as righteousness" means "faith is not imputed as righteousness," the very gospel that he has come here to preach to us. Preach it, John!

Adomnan said...

Bugay: John Murray’s account is exceptional.

Adomnan: Exceptionally bad.

Murray's argument is essentially this: He presupposes that God must impute Christ's righteousness (a notion never broached in the Bible) to justify people, and then He concludes that He does.

You'll note that Murray does not do exegesis. He merely asserts his a priori ideas and occasionally tacks on a row of chapter-and-verse Bible references that he seldom quotes, much less analyzes. These alleged prooftexts bolster his point only in his own mind.

I was considering taking Murray's assertions, or some of them, and critiquing them individually. If Spoils or anyone out there (besides Bugay or the Triablogue crew) want me to address any of Murray's specific arguments, then I will do so.

But then I thought: Why bother? The fact remains that Murray doesn't even begin to address the outright contradiction between Bugay's (and the WCF's) assertion ("faith IS NOT imputed as righteousness") and Paul's teaching ("faith IS imputed as righteousness"). He ignores it. Let's deal with this before dealing with anything else. If the premise is absurd, all is absurd.

John Bugay said...

Just as a point of order, it doesn't take subscription to WCF XI.I in order to reject Roman claims.

None of this happened in an historical vacuum, either in terms of Reformed history, nor in my own life as well.

Chris, if you'd like to discuss this, please email me. I don't need the rogues gallery here.

Spoils23m said...

Adomnan,

Here is R.C. Sproul's explanation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IapqqQ45Q4w

I feel as though one must be obliged to deduce this teaching based on one's beliefs about Christ having the sins of the elect imputed to Him, 'becoming sin' (II Cor. 5:21, 'harmartia,' etc.), from a Reformed perspective, as I have yet to see any exegesis offered to support the idea that the Bible asserts the concept that Christ's righteousness is 'imputed' to the account of the unconditionally/individually elected sinner.

The elect sinner is at once righteous and the Righteous One is also sin itself...

I have not seen sufficient reason to believe that this has been shown exegetically, nor that it is consistent with SS and the perspicuity of Scripture, as I understand them, but... I am waiting to see why John is convinced that these things are true.

IC XC
Christopher

John Bugay said...

I am waiting to see why John is convinced that these things are true.

Email me.

Ben said...

If Spoils or anyone out there (besides Bugay or the Triablogue crew) want me to address any of Murray's specific arguments, then I will do so.

I say fire away! This is interesting.

Jim Paton said...

"I say fire away! This is interesting."

I agree. Bombs away ginger :¬)

Dozie said...

"Email Me"

Nope.

John Bugay enjoys enjoys insulting the Catholic Church in public; now he wants to discuss Protestantism in private. We are reading along and we are interested in how you respond to reasonable questions asked of you of your faith. This is your chance to give a public defense for some of the nonesense you have decided to believe.

John Bugay said...

Dozie, I cannot possibly do a better job than Murray did. If you want to know why I trust Murray and WCF rather than Rome, well, I think the Roman hierarchy is the most corrupt organization that has ever existed. And so it really is an easy decision. No one here should have any questions about what I think about the Roman hierarchy.

John Bugay said...

For me, the question was, "Rome, right or wrong?" apart from any other consideration. If Rome is not what it says it is, then it is rightly rejected. Where you go after that is a separate question.

Dave Armstrong said...

Well, one goes to hell if one knows it is true and rejects it. In your case, however, if ever there was a case for invincible ignorance, you are the personification of it, when you pontificate ad nauseum on Catholicism.

John Bugay said...

I was a devout cradle Catholic, I left and later became an adult convert. I applied for and was accepted to a seminary to study for the priesthood. Later, after I was married and had several children, I was a part of Opus Dei for several years. I was a far more devout and believing Catholic than almost anyone I knew. Your insistence that I was or am somehow ignorant is terribly misguided. An ongoing instance of your belief in fiction.

Adomnan said...

Bugay: Dozie, I cannot possibly do a better job than Murray did.

Adomnan: Then why ask Spoils to email you? You just admitted he's not going to get anything better from you than he got from Murray. It's not like you're holding back the "good stuff" for those who contact you privately.

John Bugay said...

My point is, I was every bit as knowledgeable and devout a Catholic as anyone here, and then I totally rejected it, with no fear of condemnation, but only faith and trust in Christ alone for my salvation.

I laugh at Rome's anathemas, whether or not they are "reformulated positively." Roman authority is a pure fiction.

John Bugay said...

Chris/Spoils is an old friend of mine. And I am very comfortable to talk to talk with him privately, without casting my pearls before swine.

Adomnan said...

Bugay: without casting my pearls before swine.

Adomnan: Those ain't pearls you're casting.

Bugay: And I am very comfortable to talk with him privately

Adomnan: Then why not send HIM an email?

Adomnan said...

Bugay: Just as a point of order, it doesn't take subscription to WCF XI.I in order to reject Roman claims.

Adomnan: So you reject WCF XI.I?

Adomnan said...

Bugay: No one here should have any questions about what I think about the Roman hierarchy.

Adomnan: Does anyone here have any questions about what Bugay thinks about the Roman hierarchy?

I didn't think so.

Nope. No questions, John.

Adomnan said...

Ben: I say fire away! This is interesting.

Jim Paton: I agree. Bombs away ginger :¬)

Adomnan: Come on, guys, don't make me slog through Murray's dog poop -- to use John's expression ("bull poop" might be more appropriate) -- just for the entertainment value.

If you read the article, you'll see it's a tissue of unfounded assumptions with only the flimsiest "scriptural" window-dressing. Do I really have to bother?

I wrote, if "anyone .... wants me to address any of Murray's specific arguments, then I will do so." That is, is there some specific point Murray makes that you find thought-provoking? Not the whole mind-numbing shebang.

I've got visitors coming in the next few days, and I won't have as much time to indulge in this fun.

Ben said...

Adomnan: I've got visitors coming in the next few days, and I won't have as much time to indulge in this fun.

Ben: Perfectly ok; I understand.

Bugay: without casting my pearls before swine.

Ben: Its really disheatening to see, but John, it seems that you've been infected with that same irrational and inveterate hatred of the Church which infected Luther, and which drove him to endless slanders against her, along with numeroust crude expressions of contempt for all who disagreed with him. See his letter
here (English translation of the (typical for Luther) expression here).

I might note that the editors of Luther (American ed) were carefull to wash out Luther's mouth, at least in the above instance.

But what hatred! How unworthy of the name Christian!

ALL:

I'm not in sympathy with either Karl Barth or Hans Küng, but the following letter of Barth to Kung is very interesting and worth having a look at.

And John Bugay, you might learn a lesson from it about basic humility and charity (see particularly para 3).

Adomnan said...

Bugay: Hah hah.

Adomnan: Defend your false gospel yourself, you coward. Don't hide behind Murray.

Adomnan said...

Spoils: I feel as though one must be obliged to deduce this teaching based on one's beliefs about Christ having the sins of the elect imputed to Him, 'becoming sin' (II Cor. 5:21, 'harmartia,' etc.), from a Reformed perspective, as I have yet to see any exegesis offered to support the idea that the Bible asserts the concept that Christ's righteousness is 'imputed' to the account of the unconditionally/individually elected sinner.

Adomnan: II Cor. 5:21 doesn't imply that Christ had the sins of the world (or the elect) imputed to him. (I realize you're not asserting this; you're noting correctly that it's the "Reformed perspective.")

II Cor. 5:21 would be more accurately translated as "He made the one who knew no sin a sin offering for us." "Hamartia" was the regular translation of the Hebrew word for "sin offering" in the Septuagint; and so this is the word that Paul, who relies on the Septuagint, uses for "sin offering." The same meaning as "sin offering" probably occurs in Romans 8:3: "peri hamartias": "as a sin offering."

The "sin offering" was not a scapegoat. Sins were transferred to the scapegoat in the Day of Atonement ritual, but not to the "sin offering," which, as Paul says in II Cor 5:21, "knew no sin." Christ is never compared to the scapegoat -- not in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which draws parallels between Christ as a victim and the Day of Atonement sin offering, not anywhere.

Given that Christ is equated with the sin offering, He cannot be a scapegoat and there can be no question of other people's sins being transferred to Him in any sense. The scapegoat and the animal that served as the sin offering were diametically opposed, one being offered to God, the other not offered at all, but sent away to the wilderness.

Therefore, the Reformed perspective on II Cor 5:21 is untenable and must be rejected.

Adomnan said...

Spoils23m: Here is R.C. Sproul's explanation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IapqqQ45Q4w

Adomnan: I watched this, Spoils. I think my "favorite" part was, "God looks at Christ and what does He see? Justice? He sees a mass of sinfulness!....This is elementary."

Hoo boy. Sproul's god had better get his eyes checked.

John Bugay said...

Adomnan: Defend your false gospel yourself, you coward. Don't hide behind Murray.

Dozie:You seem to wax strong when talking about Catholicism but when asked about your Protestantism, you want to flee to some private email; how convenient!!

Both of you: this is a fascinating demand, given the way you must hide behind the Magisterium.

Ben: regarding Barth/Kung: Alister McGrath notes that Kung has done “little more than demonstrate that Roman Catholics and Protestants share a common Christocentric anti-Pelagian theology of justification”. And Van Til (“Christianity and Barthianism”, 385), in his criticism of both of these men says “Neither Barth nor Kung depend for the origination and continued existence of human personality upon the iblical idea of creation and providence. When they refer to creation and providence, these are virtually absorbed into Christology”. You are back at advocating pantheists.

Adomnan said...

Bugay: Both of you: this is a fascinating demand, given the way you must hide behind the Magisterium.

Adomnan: Well, you're not "hiding behind the Magisterium," so you don't have that excuse. Answer for yourself, o magisterium of one.

You just want to post your rants and refuse to answer for them. Do that on your own blog.

Adomnan said...

Bugay: You are back at advocating pantheists.

Adomnan: Stop bloviating -- as if you knew what you were talking about. Nobody cares about your "pantheism" shtick.

Ben said...

You are back to advocating pantheists.

Don't be ridiculous, John. I'm advocation no such thing! Again, just thought the letter was interesting; beyond that, I have no great sympathy for either Barth or Kung (although some of what they have written actually isn't bad).

Now here's an article for you and some search results here you might like to look through.

Adomnan said...

Very good link, Ben, thanks, showing how careful and thorough the Fathers were in their exposition of scripture and how faithful to the apostolic tradition -- so unlike Murray's sloppy, superficial "exegesis," which abuses the Bible to prop up conceptions he brings with him and imposes on the text.

Murray does not come humbly and patiently to the word of God. He comes to tell God what He must do.

That's why Murray -- and Bugay -- can blithely read Paul's "faith is imputed as righteousness" as the WCF's "faith is not imputed as righteousness." To them it makes no difference how the text is worded, because they can interpret it anyway they see fit -- even to the point of understanding "is" as "is not."

John Bugay said...

Ben -- interesting that that article on propitiation is looking at the LXX. To be sure, the Old Testament has many instances of God's hatred (of sin, idolatry, etc.) anger, wrath, etc.

However, even if Protestantism were to have made every translation mistake in the world (which they certainly haven't), none of that provides a justification for Rome.

Dave Armstrong said...

I have decided to delete all the recent comments since I opened this combox up again (yesterday). It has gotten out of hand on both sides.

To be fair, I decided to make a clean sweep, including my own comments, and others that stuck to issues rather than persons, rather than pick-and-choose.

I didn't agree with all that was written, and disagreed with two things in particular (defending Bugay a bit and then Luther and Calvin in one respect), but whatever. It's all deleted now. Emotions were running very high on both sides.

If it comes down to free speech vs. charity or "caution," sometimes we have to choose the latter, as the best and most Christian thing to do.

The thread is now closed for good.

We need to stay away from personal stuff as much as possible. I know it's very difficult when our opponents (who are, sadly, brothers in Christ) sit there calling us "swine" and "bottom feeders" and so forth (and I have been associated with dog crap and worse), but we have to try to do better.

I'm becoming increasingly disgusted with anti-Catholic antics, and probably will now choose to ignore it for the most part, or perhaps even totally. I have been merely documenting anti-Catholic foolishness since 2007, when I stopped debating them, for the sheer futility of it. It may now be time to even stop that.

What I have already documented, and (from 1996 to 2007) debated with them is more than sufficient for me to feel that I have done my "apologetic duty" of protecting the flock from this garbage.