Saturday, April 26, 2014

Reply to Ken Temple's Extensive (Anti-Catholic) "Review" of Rod Bennett's Book, Four Witnesses: Part III



By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong

[see Part I: The Amazon Review]
[see Part II]
[link to the article being critiqued below] 
Introduction:

Page 11 – Rod is wrong about the meaning of Sola Scriptura.   “Raised in a strong, Bible-believing branch of Protestant Evangelicalism, I was taught to glory in the famous Reformation rallying cry of “Sola Scriptura” – the fiery conviction that the Bible and the Bible alone constitutes the basis for Christian belief.”

This may be the sentiment and mis-understanding that Rod, in his experience, felt, and this is a very common idea about what Sola Scriptura is, but it is incorrect.  Rather “Sola Scriptura” says that the Bible is the only infallible rule for faith, doctrine, and practice for the church.  It does not say it is the “only” basis for Christian belief; rather it is the  “only infallible rule”.   So, Protestants believe in secondary authorities that are good and useful, but not infallible, such as local church elders/teacher/pastors/overseers, whose ministry is to teach the Scriptures properly and interpret the Scriptures properly(but we can never claim that any human is infallible); also consulting church history, historical theology, great writers and theologians of the past, ancient creeds, ancient councils, doctrinal statements, good exegetical commentaries. 

That's fine (it's what I understand the definition of sola Scriptura to be and how I define it in my two books against it); however, Rod may have been using the word "basis" in the sense of "[implied, infallible] rule of faith". In any event, Rod, on the same page and the next one, acknowledges that the best Protestants did indeed make recourse to history:

Even Luther and Calvin -- the very men who taught us Sola Scriptura in the first place -- knew and respected these venerable saints whom ancient custom has given the title Fathers of the Church. They quite often used the writings of early giants like Ambrose and Augustine to bolster their various arguments.

Thus, Ken leaves a false impression (by the ever-present selective citation) that Rod thinks Protestantism teaches an absolute, Bible-Only view. This is untrue.

Page 11 – When discussing the various Evangelical groups and churches Rod was a part of, he talks about the Evangelical spirit of always seeking to base things on the pure New Testament Church.  He states,  “Not one of them had ever sent me back to any first or second-century documentation for evidence.”

But on the same page, what Ken conveniently omits is the sentence immediately before the one above, where Rod also made reference to these groups "whose publicly announced intention was 'to restore the pure Christianity of the early Church.' " Thus he shows that his own experience with Protestantism was not a phenomenon of Bible Only with no Church history whatever (only inadequate particular knowledge of that history). Things must be interpreted in context. Ken ignored the context both before and after Rod's statement that he knocked down (likely misunderstanding it in the first place). Or he saw the context, but chose only to cite things that give an impression that Ken wishes to create, rather than what Rod actually was trying to express. This will not do. Readers can see through this dubious technique, once it is exposed for what it is.

p. 14 -  Seems to imply that the early church fathers were more clear than the Scriptures themselves. 

I don't see that he implied it at all. He commented on the fathers'  "clear, unambiguous teaching . . . the actual doctrine of primitive Christianity set down in black and white." He made no comparison of that with Scripture. It would be like someone saying, "wow, this river here is so clear!" and someone else concluding that he therefore thought it was clearer than some other particular river. Maybe so, but that can't be determined by a self-referential statement of that sort. Ken assumes it because it is what he imagines Rod to be saying, according to the usual caricature that Catholics think Scripture is an utter mystery that no one can figure out (I exaggerate some, but not much).

Ken then makes a point about the equivalency of elders and bishops in 1 Clement, claiming that "overseers/bishops (Greek: επισκοποις - episcopois ) is the same office as elders (Greek: πρεσβυτερους - presbuterous)." I already dealt with that argument at length in Part I; also offering various clear New Testament evidences of ecclesiastical hierarchy. No need to reiterate it here, except to note one thing.

He tries to enlist St. Irenaeus in favor of his notion expressed above (Against Heresies, 4:26:5). But elsewhere the saint is very clear as to the primacy and "pre-eminent authority" of the Roman See, with which "every Church should agree". That sure sounds like a higher level of authority of the Roman bishop in relation to other bishops. He possesses the primacy. The Roman See is preeminent because it was founded by Peter and Paul, and Irenaeus also makes reference to "apostolical tradition" which has been passed down through apostolic succession (cf. 4:26:2). It's Catholic all-around, and very foreign to a Protestant outlook:
Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre-eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere. (Against Heresies, 3, 3, 2; ANF, Vol. I)

p. 54 – “the church had been preaching the gospel, saving souls, and founding congregations all over the Near East for at least ten years before a single line of the New Testament was written.”  While this is technically true, it seems the way it is framed is to make the reader downplay the importance of the written word.

Not at all. That is Ken's hostile and cynical assumption. When the Catholic makes any point at all about Scritpure that is contrary to sola Scriptura, then it is said that they are denigrating the Bible. We're gonna hear this false charge till Kingdom Come. The Protestant of Ken's sort can't seem to grasp that by saying Tradition and Church are also authoritative with Scripture, it's not required to be "against" Scripture. The fact remains that Tradition and Church played a supremely important role, especially during the period that canonization was still taking place. 
For the anti-Catholic Protestant like Ken, in order to truly respect and honor Holy Scripture, one must adhere to sola Scriptura. He acts as if the Bible and sola Scriptura are almost identical, and that no one could possibly respect the Bible without holding to the late-arriving, unbiblical notion of sola Scriptura. But this is completely false and an untrue "equivalence." That leads to silly statements like the above. The Bible is revered if it is regarded as the inspired, infallible, revelation from God; it's not required to believe it is the only infallible source of authority (which it itself does not teach, and massively contradicts!) in order to revere it.

Ken then goes on to make trite, inane, rather silly and logically circular arguments about tradition and Scripture. I'm afraid I don't have the patience to deal with them (having done so many times before), seeing that they are not directly addressing Rod's arguments. I'll have to refer readers to my two books on sola Scriptura (one / two), and web page on the same topic. 

Clement mentions 1 Corinthians in his letter – 1 Clement 47 . . . Clement quotes from OT and NT passages . . . 
Big wow. This is quite a minimalistic statement, and proves little or nothing with regard to the overall thrust of Ken's argument. What he neglects to tell his readers is that St. Clement of Rome cites, alludes to, or names as authentic, only ten books out of the 27 in the New Testament (Matthew, John, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, James, and 2 Peter). See Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, From God to Us: How We Got Our Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974), chart on p. 109.
So all of Paul’s letters and for sure the 3 synoptic gospels and Acts were already written by this time, along with 1 Peter. These are almost 30 years before Clement.

Great; I'm absolutely delighted that Ken pointed this out, as it is a great aid to the Catholic argument. Assuming this is true, why, then, Does St. Clement show no knowledge of Mark, Luke, Acts,  2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 2 Timothy, Philemon, 1 Peter, and five other NT books? Ken apparently assumes that he does merely because they were already written, but that doesn't follow. Obnly the hard evidence of what we know establishes his point, not bald assumptions that because a biblical book exists, therefore everyone in the early Church was aware of it.

Rod seems to emphasize that Clement had nothing to go by except the claim that he was taught by Peter himself and everything was all oral and in their memories and hearts.

No; Rod emphasized that the canon was incomplete, so that Tradition and Church were that much more important as a result. The fact remains that from what we know, Clement knew about or used in his letters, only ten out of 27 New Testament books. That's not exactly a "grand slam" bit of information for sola Scriptura in the 1st century Church.

p. 62 – “. . . the proud city of Rome must learn to look where Clement looked – to the simple man to whom the Good Shepherd said, “Feed My sheep.” Rod is trying to build the case that the deposit of correct doctrine was in the person of Peter, in his office as bishop of Rome or "Pope", in Rome, passed on to Clement, and that that was the solution to the problem of disunity and Gnosticism at the time of 1 Clement. Rod seems to imply that Clement is a "living voice" of authority and can solve the disunity problems by commanding obedience.

Absolutely. St. Irenaeus made the same argument some 100 years later, as we have seen. St. Irenaeus always grounded his anti-heretical arguments in apostolic succession and the fact that no heresy could trace its beliefs back to the beginning in unbroken succession. That was sufficient in his mind to prove falsity of the belief, even if biblical argumentation is not yet introduced. The argument is already won against the heretic, by that fact. And it works against Protestants, too, in instances where they hold to doctrines that started in the 16th century and have no pedigree in Church history.

I Clement has a passage that teaches that justification is by faith alone, . . . (1 Clement 32)

Here is a classic case of Ken's constant technique of citing one aspect of a thing while ignoring other equally relevant passages that contradict his assertion based on the half-truth presentation that he thinks is compelling. It's cute and amusing but intellectually detestable. In the same book it's stated: "For her faith and hospitality Rahab the harlot was saved" (12:1). That ain't faith alone. It's faith and hospitality (a work) leading to salvation.  And again, St. Clement shows an emphasis not unlike St. James: 

Let us therefore cleave unto those to whom grace is given from God. Let us clothe ourselves in concord, being lowlyminded and temperate, holding ourselves aloof from all back biting and evil speaking, being justified by works and not by words. (30:3)

Keeping God's ordinances and commandments is directly tied to salvation (just as it is at least 50 times in the Bible):

Receive our counsel, and ye shall have no occasion of regret. For as God liveth, and the Lord Jesus Christ liveth, and the Holy Spirit, who are the faith and the hope of the elect, so surely shall he, who  with lowliness of mind and instant in gentleness hath without regretfulness performed the ordinances and commandments that are given by God, be enrolled and have a name among the number of them that are saved through Jesus Christ, through whom is the glory unto Him for ever and ever. Amen. (58:2)

So much for that silly argument . . .


63 comments:

Clint Ufford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clint Ufford said...

Where in the Bible does the Bible say that the Bible is only infallible source? Or, where does the Bible rationalize, explain, and prove sola Scriptura?

Mark Alan said...

Cliff,

I think just after the passage where it says "sola scriptura" is the infallible way to interpret Scripture in order to come up with one's own ideas, beliefs, and doctrines they wish to accept and follow.

I'm pretty sure it's in there :-)...NOT!

Adomnan said...

It's in the Book of Bluster. Sola Scripturalists quote from it endlessly.

Mark Alan said...

Yeah! That's the one, Adomnan.

I think that book is referenced in the Gospel of Whatiwant.

Adomnan said...

Dave: Here is a classic case of Ken's constant technique of citing one aspect of a thing while ignoring other equally relevant passages that contradict his assertion based on the half-truth presentation that he thinks is compelling.

Adomnan: Everything Ken does is "classic": Raw prooftext dumping. Oddball interpretations he lays down as fact. Endlessly repeating points that have been refuted while ignoring the refutations. Mere assertion as argument. Refusal to apply real intellectual effort. Insufferable, yet guileless, obtuseness. Unreflecting reversion to the Fundamentalist "Reformed" default position, as if this offbeat, eccentric "tradition" had some commanding authority. Round and round the track with no progress, no insight, no real engagement with another point of view.

No wonder Rod Bennett told Ken in effect, "No more theological debates! I'm done." Wise man.

A vision of hell: A never-ending theological argument with Ken Temple. The most unnerving thing is that this would be Ken's heaven.

Bornacatholic said...

Dear Mr. Armstrong. I just read your three part response and I learned much in doing so.

Great job.

Dave Armstrong said...

Thank you! God bless.

Ken said...

What does that picture have to do with anything?
What is it? A Pope?

It's a pretty scary picture.

What is the connection to the subject?

I am reading over all three of your responses and thinking about how to respond.

Dave Armstrong said...

It was a painting mocking the papacy by Francis Bacon: a fit symbol for the mocking that anti-Catholics do. Their lies are far more scary and sinful than this painting is.

Bearing false witness violates even the Ten Commandments. It's a very basic, grave sin.

Ken said...

How are consistent Protestants

(you call us "anti-Catholics", but that is not a proper label - I don't care how many 30-60 page papers you write, and I have read your argument on that issue, and we debated that issue years ago - it is doctrine, not people, that I am engaging)

How is it bearing false witness, when it is sincere belief that the RCC condemned itself at the Council of Trent and committed the same sin/doctrinal heresy as the Galatians? (Galatians 1:6, 8-9; 2:4; 2:16; 2:21; 3:1-5, etc.)

It was the RCC that condemned the teachings of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and others first. "Let him be anathema" is upon the people also. It was the RCC that first pronounced judgment.

And it does not matter if Vatican 2 softened the language to "separated brethren", because it seems like a real contradiction.

If Rome admits they were wrong in Trent and repents of that,

(But they can never do that because they backed themselves into a corner by the 1870 decision - they can never admit a mistake in doctrine without destroying the whole historical claim of their own infallibility.)

then they can talk about "separated brethren", but it really does seem like a contradiction.

So, there is no deliberating lying or bearing false witness by biblical Protestants.

Dave Armstrong said...

Been through that 100 times, Ken, explaining it over and over to you. It's yet more evidence that you either don't grasp Catholic arguments, or if you do, you refuse to interact with it.

You don't WANT to see certain things, so you DON'T. Its really that simple. The will can blind the mind.

Thus, it is extremely important what we accept into our will and as premises, or else we're in big trouble. That's the case with you and Catholicism.

You just don't get it, and refuse to allow anyone to explain to you WHY this is so.

Ken said...

You don't WANT to see certain things, so you DON'T. Its really that simple. The will can blind the mind.

That is what you have done with my arguments in part 1 of your review, as I have pointed out many problems with your analysis over at your part 1 of my review of Rod's book. You just ignore them; and I have shown mistakes you have made in your review.

Dave Armstrong said...

Yes I do, because I've been through this runaround with you many times, where you repeat things and don't properly interact with your opponent.

Once Adomnan catches wind of your replies, he may be willing to spar a few rounds with you, or maybe not.

I have established priorities in my work, which includes not debating anti-Catholics, excepting rare instances. Time is short, and the harvest is ripe. St. Paul commands us to avoid foolish controversies and unfruitful conversations.

Currently, I'm working on a project you would probably agree with: my Victorian King James New Testament:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2013/11/books-by-dave-armstrong-victorian-king.html

As you have said, White and Swan think I'm not worth their time anymore. The difference is that they think I am dumb or mentally ill or wicked as a person.

What I think about you and them is not that you are dumb or evil or psychotic, but rather, that you (as fellow Christians and brethren in Christ) are all victims of bad thinking: meaning that you have adopted false premises and built systems on top of those. It's all sincere, and sincerely, profoundly wrong.

It's a problem of dumb ideas and falsehoods, not evil or profoundly stupid people.

Dave Armstrong said...

I like you as a person; you seem to me to be a cool, pleasant guy. But you are much better than your theology. It's the anti-Catholic theology that you have adopted in the past few years that makes you impossible to dialogue with: just as has been the case with every other anti-Catholic I have ever attempted to dialogue with for 24 years.

Absolutely no exceptions. Thus it is rational to cease trying to reinvent the wheel when nothing is ever accomplished by it -- except that others can see the bankruptcy of anti-Catholic arguments, which IS valuable.

And that's why I keep the old papers online and have the book available of my "debates" with Bishop "Dr." [???] White:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2013/10/books-by-dave-armstrong-debating-james.html

Adomnan said...

I've had visitors for the past ten days and noticed Ken's comments just today.

I don't want to expatiate on his opinions about the canon of scripture and the early church's rule of faith. There is nothing new or interesting in what Ken has to say about these things.

I will, however, reply (once again) to Ken's point that the first-century church had two ministerial offices rather than three. My comments will be under the first of Dave's three posts about Rod Bennett's book.

As for Ken's response in this thread, I note how well it illustrates Ken's method of "argumentation":

Ken: "How is it bearing false witness, when it is sincere belief that the RCC condemned itself at the Council of Trent and committed the same sin/doctrinal heresy as the Galatians? (Galatians 1:6, 8-9; 2:4; 2:16; 2:21; 3:1-5, etc.)"

Adomnan: This is "raw prooftext dumping."

If I were to waste my time dealing with Ken's accusation here against Trent, I would: a) have to look up the six prooftexts that Ken adduces but does not bother to quote; b) quote them here; c) make conjectures about how Ken interprets these passages, based on my understanding of his heretical theology, and why he thinks they contradict Trent; and d) refute my own conjectures about Ken's interpretations of these passages together with my surmises about Ken's unstated take on Trent's teachings. And I would have to do all this drudgework because Ken doesn't bother to spell things out. He just sprays prooftext numbers around like a squid sprays ink, looking to us to clean up his mess.

Now who in his right mind would engage in such an absurd "exchange"? Yet this is what Ken expects his interlocutors to do over and over.

Ken: "It was the RCC that condemned the teachings of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and others first. 'Let him be anathema' is upon the people also. It was the RCC that first pronounced judgment."

Adomnan: This is "mere assertion as argument."

Does Ken want us to believe that Luther, Calvin and Zwingli did not condemn the teachings of the Catholic Church until after Trent? Has he ever read anything at all about the Reformation? Does he actually expect anyone to respond to such fact-free fantasy, to such "mere assertion"?

Dave Armstrong said...

He just sprays prooftext numbers [of Bible passages] around like a squid sprays ink, looking to us to clean up his mess.

This is an absolutely classic word-picture, English at its finest, and fits Ken's method to a tee. Great job! ROFL

Mark Alan said...

ROTFLOL!! Good one, Adomnan

Ken said...

And Dave's raw proof-texting dump, with mistakes:


Bishops (episkopos) possess all the powers, duties, and jurisdiction of priests [Me: no such thing as NT priests as a church office; all Christians are priests - 1 Peter 2:4-10; Rev. 1:6; 5:10] , with the following important additional responsibilities:

1) Jurisdiction over priests and local churches, and the power to ordain priests: Acts 14:22
[sic: Acts 14:23]
; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; Titus 1:5.

2) Special responsibility to defend the Faith: Acts 20:28-31; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 1:9-10; 2 Peter 3:15-16. [ probably meant 1 Peter 3:15-16, but those are exhortations to all believers to defend the faith.]

3) Power to rebuke false doctrine and to excommunicate: Acts 8:14-24; 1 Corinthians 16:22; 1 Timothy 5:20; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:10-11.

4) Power to bestow Confirmation (the receiving of the indwelling Holy Spirit): Acts 8:14-17; 19:5-6.
[if there is faith and repentance, through apostles in those contexts, yes; bishops/presbyters, no]

5) Management of Church finances: 1 Timothy 3:3-4; 1 Peter 5:2.

Ken said...

1) Jurisdiction over priests [no such thing as NT priests as church office] and local churches, and the power to ordain priests [no such thing as NT church office of priest]: Acts 14:22
[sic: Acts 14:23]
; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; Titus 1:5.

Adomnan said...

Ken, maybe Dave is picking up bad habits from reading your stuff? I mean, he is responding to you, and if you can embellish your comments with a decorative fringe of chapter and verse numbers, why can't he?

Seriously, though, Dave's citations of scripture are directly relevant to the points he's making, while yours often seem scattered at random from a prooftext jar you keep by your computer.

Ken: "no such thing as NT priests as a church office; all Christians are priests - 1 Peter 2:4-10; Rev. 1:6; 5:10"

Adomnan: Given that these passages in 1 Peter and Revelation are quotations from the OT (Exodus 19:6) referring to the people of Israel way back then, it follows from your reasoning that there was no such thing as OT priests.

Too bad no one told Aaron that.

By the way, you do know that the word "priest" is just a shortened form of "presbyter," don't you? Thus, your repeated assertions that there is no such thing as NT priests as church office translates to "there is no such thing as NT presbyters as church office."

As the Puritan poet Milton wrote, "New presbyter is but old priest writ large."

Ken said...

Exodus 19:5-6 - "you are a kingdom of priests" - are applied to the whole nation of Israel - not just the special ministers who are called priests and Levites. All the covenant community was to be a "holy people", "a kingdom of priests" - in the midst of the pagan nations, in order to be a light to the nations. (Isaiah 49:6; Psalm 67; 96:3)

So your argument fails.

Ken said...

By the way, you do know that the word "priest" is just a shortened form of "presbyter," don't you?

Yes, I knew that, but it is another example of the problems of the bad translations of Greek words into Latin in corrupting the meaning of words. They didn't translate the meaning of πρεσβυτερος , rather it was corrupted and changed into a different word.

others examples:
musterion - into sacrament
repent - into "do penance"
greetings, favored one - into "full of grace" and developed into Mary being able to dispense grace.

see Allistar McGrath, Introduction to Christian Theology, p. 40-41

Dave Armstrong said...

One of my Facebook posts:

"THE APOSTLE PAUL SAYS HE IS A 'PRIEST'? WHERE?!"

Well, it is Romans 15:16. And is this in Catholic versions only? Nope. I'm using six versions to put together my "Victorian King James Bible" and consulting two additional ones, and the lone Catholic version (Rheims) doesn't translate "priest." Nor does King James. But the other six translations do (the Greek word is "hierourgeo" [Strong's word #2418]):

MOFFATT: as a priest of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the service of God's gospel. My aim is to make the Gentiles an acceptable offering, consecrated by the holy Spirit.

20TH CENTURY NT: that I should be a minister of Christ Jesus to go to the Gentiles—that I should act as a priest of God's Good News, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be an acceptable sacrifice, consecrated by the Holy Spirit.

YOUNG'S LITERAL TRANSLATION: for my being a servant of Jesus Christ to the nations, acting as priest in the good news of God, that the offering up of the nations may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

NASB: . . . ministering as a priest the gospel of God . . .

WEYMOUTH: that I should be a minister of Christ Jesus among the Gentiles, doing priestly duties in connexion with God's Good News so that the sacrifice—namely the Gentiles—may be acceptable to Him, being (as it is) an offering which the Holy Spirit has made holy.

RSV: to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Goodspeed also has "priest" and Rotherham Emphasized has "priestly." It looks like others would follow this pattern as well but I'm too lazy to look 'em all up. These eight (not a one, Catholic) are sufficient to establish my point.

So if anyone tries to tell you that priests are never mentioned in the New Testament, tell them Paul called himself one.

Dave Armstrong said...

From my book on the Eucharist:

St. Paul’s Reference to Himself as a Priest and Use of Sacerdotal Categories

The future universality of the priesthood is clearly indicated in the Old Testament:

Isaiah 66:18, 21 For I know their works and their thoughts, and I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see my glory, . . . And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the LORD. (cf. 56:3-8)

Zephaniah 3:9-10 Yea, at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord. [10] From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering.

Malachi 1:11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. (cf. Jer 33:14-22)

St. Paul also casually assumes that priests are still operative under the New Christian Covenant, by referring to the table of the Lord (or altar) and contrasting it with the table of demons, in a eucharistic context:

1 Corinthians 10:14-21 Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols. [15] I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. [16] The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? [17] Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. [18] Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? [19] What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? [20] No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. [21] You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (cf. 9:13)

Catholic commentary elaborates upon St. Paul’s analogical teaching in this passage:

[H]e argues that if the Christians would keep the unity of Christ, they must not sacrifice to devils, because they could not (consistently) "drink the chalice of the Lord and the chalice of devils; be partakers of the table of the Lord and the table of devils." Now, it seems to me that the Catholic doctrine of the Sacrifice is remarkably borne out by these words. The Jews, says St. Paul, are made partakers of their altar, by "eating of the sacrifices;" the heathens, in like manner, of theirs, by their idolatrous and diabolical offerings. The argument surely requires of us to understand that Christians are made partakers of a true altar, by eating of a true Victim, as the Jews of their typical, and the heathens of their false altars. It is an argument from analogy, and presupposes identity of character in the several terms brought into relation with each other. . . . How were the heathen partakers of the "table of devils," but by sacrificing to them? Refer these words back to those with which the passage opens. "The chalice of benediction," &c; and I think you must admit that they support the doctrine of a Sacrifice not commemorative merely, but as real as the antithetic sacrifices with which it is contrasted. But a Real Sacrifice implies a Real Presence.

(Frederick Oakeley, The Church of the Bible; or, Scripture Testimonies to Catholic Doctrines and Catholic Principles, London: Charles Dolman, 1857, 171)

Dave Armstrong said...

[T]hose who partook of the meats which were offered in sacrifice under the old law . . . eat of the victim. By doing so, they participated in the sacrifice; they associated themselves in the worship of Him to whom this sacrifice was offered, that is, God. . . .

The chalice of devils is the chalice of devils, because its contents have been sacrificed to devils. The table of devils is denominated so, because meat has been sacrificed upon it to devils. Therefore, the Eucharistic chalice is "the chalice of the Lord," because its contents have been sacrificed to the Lord, and the Eucharistic table is "the table of the Lord," because the Eucharistic bread has been sacrificed upon it. . . . it must be said, if the argument be complete and conclusive, that the partaking of the Eucharist according to this passage makes Christians worshippers of God, because the Eucharistic food and drink have been truly offered in sacrifice. . . .
There must be some element of similarity running through them as the ground of comparison, and the foundation of argument. And this can be no other than that contained in the proposition, that the three equally involved the rite of sacrifice in the strict and literal sense of the word.

(H. E. Dennehy, The Church of the First Three Centuries, London: Charles Dolman, 1861, 127-129)

St. Paul is in this same priestly thought-world in another of his utterances:

Romans 15:15-17 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God [16] to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. [17] In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.

The Gentiles are “offering“ a “priestly service”. The Greek word is hierourgeo: Strong’s Concordance defines it as “to be a temple-worker, i.e., officiate as a priest (fig.): -- minister.” The online version of this classic reference work states: “to minister in the manner of a priest, minister in priestly service.” It also notes (from Joseph Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon) historical etymological definitions of “to be busied with sacred things; to be perform sacred rites” (from Philo), and “used esp. of persons sacrificing” (from Josephus).

Dave Armstrong said...

Baptist Greek scholar A. T. Robertson, in his famous work, Word Pictures of the New Testament (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1930. six volumes; under Romans 15:16; vol. IV, 520), provides the basic definition: “to work in sacred things, to minister as a priest.” Likewise, Marvin Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament (four volumes; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887; rep. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1946; vol. III, 174) states, for the same passage:

Ministering (ierourgounta). Only here in the New Testament. Lit., ministering as a priest.

Offering up (prosfora). Lit., the bringing to, i.e., to the altar. Compare doeth service, John xvi. 2.

Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament defines it as:

‘to perform sacred or sacrificial ministry.’ In Josephus and Philo it always means “to offer sacrifice” and often has no object. (hierourgia means “sacrifice” and hierourgema the “act of sacrifice.”)

(Kittel, 354)

A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture provides further helpful analysis:

The essential point in every explanation is to realize that the sacrificial terms used here are metaphorical, and that therefore this verse cannot be quoted against the existence of a specially consecrated priesthood in the Church when Paul wrote . . . The difficulties lie in the analysis of the metaphors. . . . To bring the Gentile world as a worthy sacrifice to the altar of God is probably all that Paul meant to say. For the same idea cf. Is. 66:19 f.

(Orchard, 1079)

Thus, Paul has called himself a priest -- using two different terms. We get the word liturgy from litourgos (Strong’s word #3011; cf. #3008, 3009, and 3010). Strong’s online, for word #3008 (litourgeo) applies it to, among other things, “priests and Levites who were busied with the sacred rites in the tabernacle or the temple.” The author of Hebrews applies one of these terms to priests in the old covenant sense in Hebrews 9:21; 10:11 and to Jesus as high priest in 8:2.
Given the central motif in the New Testament of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, it stands to reason that the Sacrifice of the Mass would be associated with the Eucharist, as the central rite of Christian worship.
St. Paul also casually assumes the continued existence of altars among Christians (1 Cor 10:14-21), and altars are mentioned in the New Testament in other places (apart from the many mentions of altars in heaven), as well:

Hebrews 13:9-12 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited their adherents. [10] We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. [11] For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. [12] So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.

Therefore, if the cross is overthrown by an altar (as John Calvin argues in his Institutes: IV, 18:3: “the cross of Christ is overthrown the moment an altar is erected”), then the New Testament is against the cross. Far more plausible is a state of affairs whereby Calvin has grossly misunderstood New Testament teaching; otherwise, Christianity (all Christianity: not just Catholicism) and the Bible alike are a mess of abominations and contradictions.

Dave Armstrong said...

The Sacrifice of the Mass is hearkening back and making present (by God’s power alone, not “magic”) one supreme, sublime sacrifice. We agree with Protestants that Jesus performed His sacrifice once, forever, and also that the sacrifice is eternally present, because it was an act of God, Who is outside of time, as well as an act of man. That’s why Jesus appears even in heaven as a slain lamb.
Masses are not innumerable sacrifices, but one and the same, brought to us, transcending time (as God does). The New Testament (above all, in St. Paul) also refers to our participating in His sacrifice, too, in some sense: a thing not dissimilar to the notion of the Mass:

Romans 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.

Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

2 Corinthians 1:5-7 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. [6] If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. [7] Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

2 Corinthians 4:8-12 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 6:14 But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:17 Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

Philippians 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Ken said...

The apostle Paul's use of the terms in Romans 15:16 are applied to his evangelism of the Gentiles (non-Jewish nations) (see larger context, especially Romans 15:18-21; and earlier Romans 15:7-13) so that when come to know the true God in Christ and they are then worshiping the true God, it is they who are the "offering" so to speak, because now they are worshiping the true God. So, the application is the same as from Exodus 19:5-6, 1 Peter 2:4-10; Rev. 1:6; 5:10 - when we preach and evangelize and disciple new people that they turn come to know and worship the true God, it brings more worship and glory to God, which is the ultimate purpose of true evangelism and missions. There is nothing about sacramentalism or sacerdotalism in the Roman Catholic sense here. No talk of eucharistic sacrifice, or special office of NT priests. It is about evangelism and missions and people coming to worship the true God.

So, you didn't make a very good point at all, in some 4-5 com boxes. You failed in your argumentation.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "So, you didn't make a very good point at all, in some 4-5 com boxes. You failed in your argumentation."

Adomnan: You attempt to address only one of many points that Dave made, and then you dismiss everything he wrote with "mere assertion as argument" and with "a refusal to apply real intellectual effort." Classic Ken.

But the fact remains that in Romans 15:16 Paul describes his ministry as a priesthood and himself as a priest. So your mere assertion that no minister in the NT is called a priest is false, and "you failed in your argumentation."

Paul would not be in the least disconcerted with being called a priest (that is, hiereus, not presbyteros in this instance), given that he refers to his own ministry as priestly. Moreover, this reference in Romans 15:16 does indeed have a "sacramental or sacerdotal" (liturgical) meaning because, according to Paul, the whole Christian community (including the former pagans he has sanctified) are offered up to God in the Eucharist: "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion in the blood of Christ? And the loaf of bread that we break, is it not a communion in the body of Christ? And as there is one loaf, so we, although there are many of us, are one single body, for we all share in the one loaf." (1 Cor 10:16-17)

Paul then goes on, as Dave pointed out, to equate the offering of the body and the blood to a sacrifice. ("Now compare the natural people of Israel: Is it not true that those who eat the sacrifices share the altar?" 1 Cor 10:18) Thus, the Gentiles in Corinth have indeed been sanctified by participation in the Eucharist and are indeed being offered up by Paul the priest. Romans 15:16 is no mere metaphor. It is very much an actual, sacramental, sacerdotal reality.

The people of God, as the Body of Christ, are offered up to God along with Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice.

By the way, how would you like it if we just dismissed every point you made with a sweeping judgment of "failed"? We certainly could, because you hardly ever make any valid arguments, but we nevertheless show you the courtesy of treating your largely obtuse comments as worthy of actual refutation.

Adomnan said...

Here is an example of Ken's "insufferable, yet guileless, obtuseness":

Ken: "Exodus 19:5-6 - 'you are a kingdom of priests' - are applied to the whole nation of Israel - not just the special ministers who are called priests and Levites. All the covenant community was to be a 'holy people', 'a kingdom of priests' - in the midst of the pagan nations, in order to be a light to the nations. (Isaiah 49:6; Psalm 67; 96:3)"

Adomnan: No kidding. This supports my argument, of course.

Let me spell it out really, really slowly, simply, step by step, and somewhat repetitiously:

Certain Protestants, like you, claim that verses in the NT that call the Christian community a holy or royal priesthood imply that the Christian community does not have a ministerial priesthood.

You are claiming that the "priesthood of all believers" described in 1 Peter and Revelation proves "there is no such thing as priests as a church office." Got it?

(I know it's odd for me to repeat your own argument back to you, but it seems necessary in view of your incomprehension and inattention even to your own reasoning.)

The problem with your "argument" -- now listen up; this is the crucial part -- is that these references to a priesthood of all believers are actually taken from the Old Testament, WHERE THEY WERE APPLIED TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. (Reread the part in capitals; it's important.)

Now, it is the simplest logic that if "priesthood of all believers" implied no ministerial priesthood in the New Testament, then the very same designation would also imply no ministerial priesthood in the Old Testament. Can you wrap your head around that one, Ken?

Therefore (this is called the logical conclusion), since we know that the Old Testament had a ministerial priesthood, it follows that referring to the community of God (whether Christians now or Israel of old) as a priesthood of believers does NOT in fact imply that said community lacks a ministerial priesthood.

Or, to put it even more simply, the inane Protestant argument that "priesthood of believers" entails no ministerial priesthood is patently false.

So please stop using it. If you want to say there is no ministerial priesthood in the New Testament FOR OTHER REASONS, then go ahead. We can deal with those, too.

Now watch Ken continue to cite these "priesthood of all believers" verses in 1 Peter and Rev as "proof" that there is no Christian ministerial priesthood, just as if nothing had been said to counter that argument. That's what he does, "endlessly repeating points that have been refuted while ignoring the refutations."

Dave Armstrong said...

I made a very similar argument, Adomnan, in my One-Minute Apologist:

PRIESTS

We are all priests. There is no special class set apart from others in the Church

Initial reply

The Bible teaches that there is such a thing as clergy, who are set apart from lay members of the Church, and also gives indication of priestly function.

Extensive reply

The priesthood as we know it today is not a strong motif in the New Testament. But this can be explained in terms of development of doctrine: some things were understood only in very basic or skeletal terms in the early days of Christianity. This is even true of doctrines accepted by all, such as the Holy Trinity or original sin. The canon of the biblical books was slow to formulate (four centuries). Also, it has been argued that priesthood was a subdued feature of primitive Christianity because it had not yet finally separated from Judaism; therefore, the authority of Jewish priests was still accepted. Acts 2:46 describes the Jerusalem Christians as “day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes”. The Apostle Paul was presenting offerings in the temple around the year 58 (Acts 21:26), acknowledged the authority of the Jewish high priest, described himself as a Pharisee (Acts 23:5-6), and observed Jewish feasts (Acts 20:6).
But one can indeed find evidence in the Bible of a Christian priesthood. Jesus entrusts to His disciples a remembrance of the central aspect of the liturgy or Mass (consecration of the bread and wine) at the Last Supper (Lk. 22:19: “Do this in remembrance of me”; Paul may also have presided over a Eucharist – Acts 20:11). These same disciples were (like priests) models of a life wholly devoted to God, as a matter of lifelong calling. Jesus had chosen and “appointed” them, and they had become His “friends” (Jn. 15:15-16). He was their sole master (Mt. 6:24). There was no turning back in their ministry (Lk. 9:62), and they were called to a radical commitment involving even leaving possessions and their entire families (Mt. 4:22, 19:27; Lk. 14:26). The priest-disciple must accept hardships and privations and embrace self-denial (Mt. 8:19-20, 10:38, 16:24, etc.), and (if so called) celibacy, for the sake of undistracted devotion to the Lord (Mt. 19:12; 1 Cor. 7:7-9). They served the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 3:5, 9:19; 2 Cor. 4:5), and dispensed sacraments (1 Cor. 4:1; Jas. 5:14), including baptism (Mt. 28:19; Acts 2:38,41). A universal priesthood of “offering” (sacrifice) extending to “every place” in New Testament times is prophesied in Isaiah 66:18,21 and Malachi 1:11.
Protestants sometimes cite 1 Peter 2:5,9 (cf. Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 20:6) to the effect that all Christians are priests. But Peter was citing Exodus 19:6: “you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The problem with this is that the older passage couldn’t possibly have meant that there was no priesthood among the ancient Hebrews, since they clearly had a separate class of priests (Leviticus: chapters 4-7, 13-14). This is even seen in the same chapter, since Ex. 19:21-24 (cf. Josh. 3:6, 4:9) twice contrasts the “priests” with the “people.” Thus, it makes much more sense to interpret 1 Pet. 2:5 as meaning a people “specially holy” – like priests; a separate, holy, “chosen” people, as is fairly clear in context, in both parallel passages. The notion of “spiritual sacrifices” (faith, praise, giving to others) applies to all Christians (Phil. 2:17; Heb. 13:15-16).

Adomnan said...

Me: By the way, you do know that the word "priest" is just a shortened form of "presbyter," don't you?

Ken: Yes, I knew that, but it is another example of the problems of the bad translations of Greek words into Latin in corrupting the meaning of words. They didn't translate the meaning of πρεσβυτερος , rather it was corrupted and changed into a different word.

Adomnan: Wrong again, Ken. Latin has separate words for a priest in the sense of a person who offers sacrifice (sacerdos, equivalent of Greek hiereus) and a priest in the sense of an elder (presbyterus, a word borrowed from Greek, or the fully Latin senior). The ancient Latin translation of 1 Clement, for instance, uses "seniores" for "elders," "sacerdotes" for "priests/hiereis," and "pontifex" for "high priest."

To borrow your censorious language, it is evil, corrupt ENGLISH, not Latin, that confuses priest as sacrificer and priest as elder.

So please apologize to the Latin language, which you have slandered in your ignorance.

And you might also consider abandoning the use of English. It's corrupting your thought.

Ken said...

Can you wrap your head around that one, Ken?

Yes, I understand what you are saying.

Therefore (this is called the logical conclusion), since we know that the Old Testament had a ministerial priesthood, it follows that referring to the community of God (whether Christians now or Israel of old) as a priesthood of believers does NOT in fact imply that said community lacks a ministerial priesthood.

It does, because a special class of priests like Kohen and Levites is not repeated for NT church government; the use of presbyter and episcopas and shepherd are the words. And the book of Hebrews has too many details about the sacrificial system and does not mention any special class of Levites or priests for the NT church, therefore, it is not to brought into the NT church, since also Christ was sacrificed once for all. The "once for all time" phrase repeated several times in the book of Hebrews demonstrates this.

Ken said...

Adoman wrote: Latin has separate words for a priest in the sense of a person who offers sacrifice (sacerdos, equivalent of Greek hiereus) and a priest in the sense of an elder (presbyterus, a word borrowed from Greek, or the fully Latin senior). The ancient Latin translation of 1 Clement, for instance, uses "seniores" for "elders," "sacerdotes" for "priests/hiereis," and "pontifex" for "high priest."

Thanks for that Latin lesson! So, if the Latin translated elders as "seniors" (the automatic spell check -correct thingy keeps changing the Latin word. Just to let you know - I typed it correctly as you did, but it changed it to the English word.); then why didn't they keep it that way later? Why the evolution to "priest" ?

And, when does the Latin word sacerdotes begin to also be applied to NT worship and echarist celebration?

I have heard of "sacerdotalism" - so I can see that as the root word. This is a problem with RCC and priests as sacerdotes, re-presenting / re- offering the eucharist as a sacrifice. That was wrong, and un-Biblical. It is a memorial, symbol, remembrance of the once for all sacrifice, and spiritual presence/communion with true believers who confess their sins and restore fellowship.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "It does."

Adomnan: I'm sorry, Ken, but you may be too dense for this conversation to continue. I feel like I'm trying to reason with a three-year-old. On the one hand, you say you understand my simple point that verses about "believer priesthood" don't imply that there is no ministerial priesthood. And then you say they do!

You cannot rely on the "believer priesthood" passages to make your argument. You have to set them aside. They do not support your thesis of no ministerial priesthood for the reasons I gave and you claimed you "get."

Ken: "a special class of priests like Kohen and Levites is not repeated for NT church government; the use of presbyter and episcopas and shepherd are the words."

Adomnan: It's "episcopOS," not "episcopAS." How many times do I have to tell you that?

Clement said there was a special class of NT priests like the kohen and Levite. I've already shown that from 1 Clement 40-41 and 44. In fact, he applies the same words to them, kohen (hiereus) and Levite.

Dave demonstrated conclusively that the Apostles were priests and that anyone who presides over the Eucharistic sacrifice is a priest. You merely ignored that, as is your wont.

Ken: And the book of Hebrews has too many details about the sacrificial system and does not mention any special class of Levites or priests for the NT church

Adomnan: As Dave showed, and you ignored, the Book of Hebrews says we Christians have an altar from which we can eat. This is a reference to the Eucharistic sacrifice, because it is eaten as "a reasonable and unbloody sacrifice." It is not a reference to Jesus's actual bloody sacrifice described early in the book, because no one "eats" that. Moreover, the author of Hebrews also makes reference to the Eucharistic sacrifice in Heb 9:20 when he alters a citation from the Septuagint from "Behold the blood of the covenant that God has made with you" to "This is the blood of the covenant, etc." By replacing "behold" with "this is," The author is adapting the Eucharistic formula found in Paul and Luke, showing that he is very much aware of the Eucharistic significance of Christ's sacrifice, an awareness that becomes explicit in chapter 13 in the passage about the altar from which only Christians eat. For the author of Hebrews, there was certainly a NT sacrifice (the Eucharist) and consequently a class of priests who offered the sacrifice.

In Hebrews, "ephapax" does not mean "one time." It means "definitive." Big difference. Now, Christ's bloody sacrifice did occur only one time, but it's not even that which is the focus of Hebrews: It is the eternal sacrifice made in heaven. That was the definitive, the archetypal, sacrifice, which the OT sacrifices foreshadowed. Christ's bloody sacrifice on the cross reflected it as an historical event; and the NT sacrifices make it -- the eternal sacrifice -- present again and again in time.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Thanks for that Latin lesson! So, if the Latin translated elders as "seniors" (the automatic spell check -correct thingy keeps changing the Latin word. Just to let you know - I typed it correctly as you did, but it changed it to the English word.); then why didn't they keep it that way later? Why the evolution to "priest" ?

Adomnan: It's English that uses the same word for elder and sacrificing priest, not Latin.

I know why English does this, but I'm not going to tell you because it's beside the point and I'm getting tired of trying to explain the obvious to you. It's an issue of zero relevance to what's important in this discussion.

Ken: And, when does the Latin word sacerdotes begin to also be applied to NT worship and echarist celebration?

Adomnan: Clement is already applying the word to the eucharist celebration (or its Greek equivalent "hiereus"). The usage predated him. He didn't invent it.

The earliest surviving Latin theologian, Tertullian, uses it frequently, as a matter of course.

So, in Latin, it's always been used.

Ken: It is a memorial, symbol, remembrance of the once for all sacrifice, and spiritual presence/communion with true believers who confess their sins and restore fellowship.

Adomnan: It is called an "anamnesis" in the New Testatment, which is not just a memorial, but a memorial SACRIFICE, like the Passover.

You ignore that communion is an eating of the Body and a drinking of the Blood. Why the eating and drinking?

Besides, in sacrifices that included communion (eating of the victim), the communion was part of the sacrifice. Since the Eucharist is a communion with the sacrificed victim, it is necessarily a communion sacrifice. It is not something other than the sacrifice.

Adomnan said...

I looked into the origin of the Latin version of 1 Clement, the one that uses "seniores" for "elders" and "sacerdotes" for sacrificing priests. Scholars date it back to the second century in Rome. It was a very early translation of the Greek original.

Adomnan said...

The Perseus online Greek English dictionary defines "anamnesis" as "memorial sacrifice" in the Eucharist passage in Luke, based on the word's meaning of memorial sacrifice in the Septuagint:

ἀνάμνη-σις ,

2. memorial sacrifice, LXX Nu.10.10, cf. Ev.Luc.22.19.

The Perseus definition is taken from "A Greek-English Lexicon," Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott. This is the standard Greek lexicon.

Therefore, Luke says Jesus commanded the Apostles, "Do this as my memorial sacrifice."

Case closed. The Eucharist is a sacrifice according to Jesus Himself, who constituted the Apostles as sacrificing priests.

Dave Armstrong said...

You have the patience of Job, Adomnan.

Adomnan said...

Not to go too far afield, but the reason that some Protestants reject the idea of the Eucharist as sacrifice is that they have a false understanding of what a sacrifice is.

A sacrifice is an offering of something to God, which is sanctified by God accepting it. In a communion sacrifice, God shares the gift, now made holy, with His worshippers, making them holy.

Thus, the Eucharist is a communion sacrifice: The bread and wine are offered to God. They are then accepted by God and made holy, transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. The offering thus becomes the Body and Blood of Christ (and is still, of course, being offered). God then shares this holy offering with us in communion, making us holy.

That's how sacrifice really works. No one could have any objection to the Eucharistic sacrifice correctly understood.

The Protestants got the notion of sacrifice wrong. For some reason that I can't fathom, they decided that a sacrifice was not an offering that made the victim and the worshippers who partook of it holy, but rather a punishment by God of an innocent victim to which others' sins had been transferred. The purpose of this punishment was supposedly to satisfy God's anger or justice.

This Protestant notion of sacrifice is an utter fabrication. No sacrifice in the history of the world was ever thought of as the punishment of a victim. In particular, Old Testament sacrifices were not punishments. (Driving off the scapegoat is not a sacrifice; the scapegoat is not offered to God.) Just because the victim is killed does not mean that it was punished. If a lamb is killed for dinner, is the lamb being punished? If a lamb is killed for sacrificial communion, how is it being punished? And why would anyone want to eat something that was made unclean and laden with sin anyway?

Well, given that the Protestants had this false notion of sacrifice, they rejected the sacrifice of the Mass, imagining that it entailed the repeated punishment ("sacrifice" in their understanding) of Jesus Christ by the Father, just as they mistakenly thought the Father had punished Jesus on the Cross. That is why the heresiarch Calvin wrote, as Dave cited, “the cross of Christ is overthrown the moment an altar is erected." Calvin fantasized that the cross was the place where the Father poured out His wrath on the Son. This was a blasphemous, and fatal, error; but it accounts for the absurdly exaggerated Protestant abhorrence of the Eucharistic sacrifice. They were willing to entertain the "damnation" of the Son by the Father, but only as a one-time event.

It was Calvin who overthrew the cross of Christ by elaborating (or handing on from Luther) a blasphemous fable that perverted the meaning of the cross. Nobody before them had ever toyed with this notion, so destructive of the entire Christian faith including belief in the God of the Bible, until the "Reformers" invented it, seemingly under the inspiration of the devil.

Nobody who believes that God punished an innocent man for the crimes of others can possibly be a Christian.

Adomnan said...

Dave: You have the patience of Job, Adomnan.

Adomnan: I may be running out of patience, Dave, as evinced by the fulminations at the end of my last posting. Unless Ken brings something new to this discussion, it may be best to try to drive him off, like the scapegoat. Bringing up penal substitution has proven apotropaic in the past, although sometimes only after a few more rounds of useless exchange.

I think that engaging him served a purpose, because it helped us illuminate some points that may be of interest to third parties. But that purpose having been served, it's time to move on.

Dave Armstrong said...

Absolutely; these exchanges -- usually fruitless and futile in their immediate aim of persuading our anti-Catholic opponents -- are always of value for onlookers; those on the fence, those with more open minds who seek to follow evidence and truth wherever it leads; also Catholics who may be wavering or lacking confidence in some respects.

So it's not in vain at all. This is all preserved and can be accessed by a link on my blog. But it does require extreme patience to DO. We all tire of reinventing the wheel and doing basic spade work over and OVER again. Kudos for all your great work and the time put into it!

Ken is not absolutely without hope. At one time he wasn't anti-Catholic. By God's grace we can possibly get him at least back to that position, if not into the Catholic Church itself.

Mark Alan said...

Dave, Adomnan and Ken

I would really like to thank you guys for posting an extremely interesting, informative and stimulating debate! Seriously. I learned a lot from reading these posts and I have to admit, being able to read the words versus hearing them allows one to focus on what is truly being said, or even misrepresented. It makes me realize how effective an anti-Catholic can be against an uninformed Catholic, or lax Catholic who doesn't recognize the sophistry and "double speak" that is being used against them, in order to pull the Catholic away from their Faith. It sure has inspired me to study my Catholic Faith that much more!

I appreciate Ken's politeness in his responses. It's actually pleasant to read from someone who disagrees while maintaining a charitable stance.

Adomnan and Mr. Armstrong, you two make one heck of a team! Keep up the great work! I'll try to put some more money in the kitty when the paycheck comes in because debates like this are what Catholics truly need to see.

God Bless all of you!

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks! You might also be interested in my exchange with an extremely acrimonious, insulting anti-Catholic (most unlike the polite and gentlemanly Ken in that regard), about Mary's Assumption and 75 unrelated things (he's a rabbit trail type):

http://www.setonmagazine.com/latest-articles/bible-assumption-blessed-virgin-mary

Mark Alan said...

Wow! After reading that link, I would say that you must have spoken with my neighbor up the street.

Question: Could (2)Samuel 22:31 be used to support the Immaculate Conception? I'm using the Douay-Rheims version but the RSVCE uses "perfect" in place of "immaculate".
Thanks

Dave Armstrong said...

I don't see any connection myself.

Mark Alan said...

Okay, thanks. I was just wondering since it seems as though David is saying something to the effect that God's ways are immaculate. So I thought maybe that it could be supportive of making the BVM "immaculate" since she was His way, His plan to enter into the world. Oh well....read too much into that one LOL!

Thanks Mr. Armstrong

Ken said...

Mark Alan,
Thanks for your encouraging words!

Adoman,
Maybe later when I have more time, I may make some more comments on more of what you wrote.

You wrote: Nobody who believes that God punished an innocent man for the crimes of others can possibly be a Christian.


Just one point, which bears repeating. the way we understand penal substitution is that God the Son voluntarily wanted to come and take the punishment for us, out of love for sinners. (Romans 5:8 - God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.")

There was unity of purpose between the Father and the Son and the Spirit in redemption's plan of saving people from all nations. Both the Father and the Son did it out of love.

" Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” " Galatians 3:13

Isaiah 53:6 - "All of us like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way, but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us to fall on Him."

Isaiah 53:10 - "if He would render Himself a guilt offering"

I know we discussed that before years ago, but it bears repeating here, in my opinion.

Adomnan said...

Mark Alan,

Thanks for the kind remarks. I'm happy that you found my exchange with Ken informative. Like Dave, I engage in these exchanges for the benefit of third parties, because I believe Ken himself is so immersed in his way of thinking that he's unreachable.

The exchanges can be useful to me, too, by inducing me to consider an interesting topic in greater depth.

Ken sometimes raises good questions, and he's usually polite (politer than I am). The problem with him, though, from my point of view, is that he doesn't follow up. He largely ignores the points his opponents make and merely doubles down on what he has said before, with no new arguments. He also likes to cite unexegeted prooftexts that don't say what he thinks they say. That's typical of Fundamentalist argumentation: Fundamentalists assume that others read into scriptural passages what they read into them, when they have merely brought their prejudices and traditions of men to bear on the passages. They take away from the Bible only what they bring to it. They miss what is actually there.

I'll illustrate these points when I respond to Ken's latest posting.

Adomnan said...

Ken, to me: "You wrote: 'Nobody who believes that God punished an innocent man for the crimes of others can possibly be a Christian.'"

Adomnan: Right. A "god" who has to discharge his anger on someone innocent to satisfy himself is not the God of the Bible.

I would make an exception, however, for Catholics who mistakenly believe that the Church teaches penal substitution. It is lamentable that they believe this, but all Catholics have an implicit faith in the Church's teachings that makes up for unintentional errors in belief. They probably casually picked up penal sub from surrounding Protestantism and mistook it for true or uncontroversial teaching. (Obviously, they didn't think very deeply about it, but such is life.)

Ken: "Just one point, which bears repeating. the way we understand penal substitution is that God the Son voluntarily wanted to come and take the punishment for us, out of love for sinners. (Romans 5:8 - 'God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.')"

Adomnan: Jesus was not "voluntarily" punished by the Father, because the Father didn't punish Him at all. Jesus would not have gone along with something so stupid, voluntarily or not. Nor would the Father have proposed such an absurdity.

No one disputes that God loves man and that Jesus incarnated, suffered and died out of love for man. That in no way implies that the Father punished the Son, as you must know.

Ken: "There was unity of purpose between the Father and the Son and the Spirit in redemption's plan of saving people from all nations. Both the Father and the Son did it out of love."

Adomnan: "You always hurt the one you love?" "This hurts me more than it hurts you?" Yes, I'm familiar with the sentiments.

Whose side was the Holy Spirit on when the Father and Son split? He couldn't have stayed with the Son, because how could the Son be damned and separated from the Father if He still had the Holy Spirit? Does that mean that the Holy Spirit also poured His wrath out on Jesus, as the Father did? Or was He neutral and refused to take part? Does the Spirit have wrath, or just the Father? Maybe the Spirit was more like the mother in a dysfunctional family with an abusive father: in denial and trying to ignore Dad beating Junior. That would make the Holy Trinity the perfect model for the dysfunctional child-abusive family, wouldn't it?

Ken, quoting scripture: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” " Galatians 3:13

Adomnan: The Father did not curse the Son. The Son became "a curse," but only according to the Jewish Law, not in the eyes of the Father. Whether sin was imputed to Him or not -- and it wasn't -- He would still be "a curse" as defined by the Law, simply because He was "hanged on a tree." In short, in "Law parlance," "became a curse for us" equals "was crucified for us." It does not imply that sin was imputed to Christ or that the Father punished Him. Innocent or guilty, a hanged man under the Law would be a curse on the land and for those who hanged him. The fact of being "a curse" (for others, not himself!) has nothing to do with the hanged man's guilt.

Adomnan said...

Ken, quoting Isaiah 53:6 - "All of us like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way, but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us to fall on Him."

Adomnan: Jesus Christ bears our iniquity in the sense that He is the sin offering who takes it away. He is our High Priest, and the High Priest is said to "bear iniquity" not because sin is transferred to him and he is considered guilty of it, but because he makes atonement for it; that is, expiates or removes/cleanses it with sanctified blood.

Thus, Lev 10:17:“Why have you not eaten the sin offering in the place of the sanctuary, since it is a thing most holy and has been given to you that you may bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord?"

And Exodus 28:38: "It shall be on Aaron's forehead, and Aaron shall bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It shall regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord."

And Numbers 18:1: "So the Lord said to Aaron, 'You and your sons and your father's house with you shall bear iniquity connected with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear iniquity connected with your priesthood.'"

And Numbers 18:23: "The Levites shall do the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity."
"
(Thanks, Nick of "Nick's Catholic Blog," for these references.)

Ken, quoting Isaiah 53:10 - "if He would render Himself a guilt offering"

Adomnan: This verse actually proves penal substitution is false, because it depicts the Messiah as a guilt/sin offering. Sins are not transferred to the sin offering, but to the scapegoat. Only the sin offering is sacrificed to God; the scapegoat is not sacrificed at all but sent out to the desert. The guilt/sin offering takes away sin through expiation (cleansing). The sin offering is not punished.

Challenge to Ken: There is a whole book of the Bible devoted to the subject of the atonement. It is called the Epistle to the Hebrews. It explains precisely how the atonement "works," and it has not a hint of penal substitution. How do you account for the fact that the scripture that explains in the fullest detail how Christ's sacrifice atoned for sin never states that sins were transferred to Christ or that the Father punished Him? It also never compares Christ to the scapegoat, although it discusses the Day of Atonement, when the scapegoat ritual occurred (along with the sacrifice of the sin offering). Oversights?

No, the contradictions and incoherence of penal substitution are insuperable. Here is just one more to chew one: Believers in penal substitution claim that Jesus Christ paid our debt to the Father. However, if our debt to the Father was paid off, then the Father did not forgive us. A debt cannot be paid off and forgiven at the same time. To forgive a debt means to forgo payment. So, which was it? Did the Father "forgive us our debts," or was He paid off? I'll go with Jesus: "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."

Mark Alan said...

Adomnan,

That last paragraph is excellent; so simple yet, I would never have thought of His Passion in that way, despite what I know and have learned. I sure have learned a lot from this debate and it seems as if Mr. Armstrong could make another book of apologetics just from this debate across his three postings. This is all very excellent.

Adomnan said...

Thanks, Mark Alan. It's heartening to hear that my efforts to clear up the murk around some of these issues are helpful. The Gospel is profound, but simple. There are no strained, oddball theories or specious legal gimmickry involved.

By the way, I wrote "to chew one" for "to chew on," an easily discernible typo.

Ken said...

In Leviticus 4-5, and 6:1-7, both the sin offering חטאת and the guilt offering אשם are slaughtered.

This is important background to Isaiah 53:10. (along with Lev. 16 - both actions on both animals are combined in Isaiah 53:4-6 and verse 10)

Isaiah 53 includes the background of all of Leviticus 4-5 and 6:1-7 and 16 - the day of atonement.

It is true that the scapegoat is not slaughtered, but sent away to bear the iniquities away.

Isaiah 53 is a developed theology of the work of the suffering Messiah/Servant that includes both the atonement of slaughter and the atonement of bearing/taking away/sending away.

He Himself "bore" our sins in His body on the tree - 1 Peter 2:24 - also Hebrews 9:27-28, the concept of bearing/taking/taking away sins alludes to Leviticus 16:21-22 and Isaiah 53:3-6, and 10.

However, if our debt to the Father was paid off, then the Father did not forgive us. A debt cannot be paid off and forgiven at the same time.

Yes it can. Your argument against penal substitutionary atonement is the same argument that Muslims make.

Obviously, bearing the sins away and bearing the punishment for sin and shedding blood did procure forgiveness, since the NT says that all over the place - "In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins" (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 20; Galatians 1:4; Revelation 1:5-6; Acts 13:38-39; Luke 24:46-47)

Ken said...

So, what does the Roman Catholic view of the atonement of the cross (Romans 3:25-26) mean?

what is that view called, without all the re-presentation of the Eucharist aspects that RCC theology adds to it.

What happened at the historical event of the cross?

a. Was justice done against sin to satisfy God's wrath (Anselm) ?
B. penal substitutionary atonement. ? ( you say no)
C. Christus Victor view?
D. moral example view?
E. Governmental view?

I cannot remember if we actually talked about that several years ago, when we discussed/debated penal substitutionary atonement.

Ken said...

Your explanation of Galatians 3:13, Isaiah 53:6 and 53:10 were not very convincing at all. "The curse" is God's judgment against sin; and Jesus took that for us, in our place. we were guilty and Christ bore our iniquities and carried our sins away. You really watered down "curse" and "bore". There is no power there to take away sin, since you are saying Christ did not take our guilt and sins on Himself. All He is, in your theology, is an example of love, since it seems you deny all transfer of sin to Christ, and His righteousness to us. 2 Cor. 5:21

You have no righteousness.

Ken said...

". . . but the LORD caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon Him" - Isaiah 53:6

You really watered that down and just dismissed the brunt of it away - that the Father caused the guilt/sin/iniquity to encounter/fall upon the suffering servant.



Adomnan said...

Ken: Leviticus 4-5, and 6:1-7, both the sin offering חטאת and the guilt offering אשם are slaughtered.

Adomnan: And chickens. lambs and cows are slaughtered for people's dinner. Are they being punished?

Ken: This is important background to Isaiah 53:10. (along with Lev. 16 - both actions on both animals are combined in Isaiah 53:4-6 and verse 10)

Adomnan: Sacrificial victims are killed. Yes. That is not a punishment. After all, they were going to be killed anyway, for food, if they weren't sacrificed. That's why people raise these animals, you know.

The killing isn't the point of the sacrifice anyway. It's just done to obtain the blood, which, being made holy by being given to God, can cleanse like the altar, the sanctuary and the people from the "dirt" of sin.

When the sacrificed victim is eaten, people also benefit from eating something sanctified.

None of this has anything to do with "punishment."

Isaiah 53:4-6 does not mention either the sin offering or the scapegoat of the Day of Atonement. Isaiah 53:10 mentions only the sin offering, not the scapegoat. References to "punishing" don't allude to the scapegoat, because the scapegoat wasn't punished. It was merely sent out to the wilderness to carry sin away. It was probably just as happy out there as it would have been in some pen, if not happier, because it wouldn't end up as someone's dinner. It would have become a wild goat.

By the way, Isaiah 53:4 explicitly denies that the Suffering Servant was punished by God: "...we thought he was punished by God, BUT..." we were wrong.

Jesus Christ was "punished" (executed) unjustly by evil men, not justly by the Father. You make the Father responsible for the miscarriage of justice perpetrated on Jesus.

Ken: Isaiah 53 includes the background of all of Leviticus 4-5 and 6:1-7 and 16 - the day of atonement.

Adomnan: I agree that the sin offering of Isaiah 53 refers to the sin offering of the Day of Atonement, as well as other sin offerings.

Ken: It is true that the scapegoat is not slaughtered, but sent away to bear the iniquities away.

Adomnan: Yes, it can't be "slaughtered" and offered to God, because it's befouled with sin. God doesn't want it.

Ken: Isaiah 53 is a developed theology of the work of the suffering Messiah/Servant that includes both the atonement of slaughter and the atonement of bearing/taking away/sending away.

Adomnan: No. I see the "atonement of slaughter" in Isaiah 53, but no reference to the scapegoat.

When the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews describes the Day of Atonement and compares it to Christ's sacrifice, he only speaks of the sin offering, not the scapegoat. He doesn't confuse the two things. Why do you?

I'll get my theology of the atonement from Hebrews, not from Ken or Calvin.

Adomnan said...

Ken: He Himself "bore" our sins in His body on the tree - 1 Peter 2:24 - also Hebrews 9:27-28, the concept of bearing/taking/taking away sins alludes to Leviticus 16:21-22 and Isaiah 53:3-6, and 10.

Adomnan: I showed above, using Nick's citations, how "bear sins" simply means "make atonement for sins." It has nothing to do with any imputation of sin to an innocent person and nothing to do with punishment. As usual, you simply ignore this evidence and repeat your opinions without accounting for what others have said to counter them.

Notice how I take each one of your points and analyze it carefully. That should be your approach. You don't win an argument by obstinacy and mindless repetition.

And, yes, I agree that 1 Peter and Hebrews refer to Isaiah 53, but Isaiah 53 does not refer to the scapegoat.

Ken, quoting me: However, if our debt to the Father was paid off, then the Father did not forgive us. A debt cannot be paid off and forgiven at the same time.

Ken: Yes it can. Your argument against penal substitutionary atonement is the same argument that Muslims make.

Adomnan: Well, if it is, then good for the Muslims. They are right about this.

You cannot forgive a sin and be paid off for it at the same time. That is a contradiction in terms. Forgiveness means forgoing payment.

This is so obvious, I dislike having to reiterate it. But I guess I must. If Ken owes me 1000 dollars, and Bill pays it off for him, then I did not forgive Ken's debt. I was paid off. Similarly, if we owe the Father "punishment" for our sins, and Jesus pays it off for us by being punished in our stead, then the Father did not forgive our sins. He was paid off.

This whole notion of paying the Father for forgiveness is blasphemous and is based on the fable of penal substitution, which is NEVER TAUGHT ANYWHERE IN THE BIBLE.

Ken: Obviously,

Adomnan: Oh, please! "Obviously..."

Ken: bearing the sins away and bearing the punishment for sin and shedding blood did procure forgiveness,

Adomnan: You're using the ambiguity of language to confuse. Yes, Jesus was "punished," but not by the Father. You assumed that because a Hebrew word in Isaiah 53 is translated as "punish" sometimes, that implies the Father punished the Son. But isn't it possible that the Son (the Suffering Servant) of Isaiah 53 was punished by men, not by the Father? -- especially given that Isaiah 53 says quite explicitly that the idea that God judged and punished him was wrong: Isaiah 53:8: "Forcibly, after sentence (i.e., an unjust condemnation by men), he was taken."

Nothing Jesus did "procured" forgiveness, like some sort of
deal or exchange where the Father had to be given something to forgive. "I give you this, and you give me that" is not forgiveness. It's "Let's make a deal."

I mean, how do you "procure forgiveness" anyway? "Forgive us our sins" means "if we 'procure' forgiveness from You the way we 'procure' a good or service, then forgive us"? No, we "procure forgiveness" from God just by asking for it, as Jesus teaches us to do in the prayer He gave us.

Jesus's blood cleanses us not because it pleased the Father to make Him bleed, but because the blood of the Victim is holy, and we are made holy by partaking in it. It's the same way sacrifices worked in the Old Testament: no punishment of a victim, no buying off the Father, no "deals" within the Trinity.

Ken: since the NT says that all over the place - "In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins" (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 20; Galatians 1:4; Revelation 1:5-6; Acts 13:38-39; Luke 24:46-47)

Adomnan: Yes, redemption through His blood is the way that God forgives sins. It's something God gives us. Its not something Jesus gives the Father. We are not "redeemed" from the Father, but from sin, death and the devil.

Adomnan said...

Ken: So, what does the Roman Catholic view of the atonement of the cross (Romans 3:25-26) mean?

Adomnan: There is no single Roman Catholic view of the so-called "atonement," which is an ambiguous English word, by the way, not really corresponding to any single word in the Bible.

Ken: what is that view called, without all the re-presentation of the Eucharist aspects that RCC theology adds to it.

Adomnan: Sorry. I can't leave "all the re-presentation of the Eucharist" stuff out. The Catholic faith is sacramental.

Ken: What happened at the historical event of the cross?

Adomnan: Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification.

Ken: a. Was justice done against sin to satisfy God's wrath (Anselm)?

Adomnan: That's not Anselm's teaching. I don't agree with it, but Anselm taught that Jesus safeguarded the "honor" of the Father, but the Father forgives freely. He's not paid off. It was a feudal concept, reflecting Anselm's time. Its a "quaint" theory, in my opinion. Not at all blasphemous or heretical, like penal sub, but not really biblical either.

Ken: B. penal substitutionary atonement. ? ( you say no)

Adomnan: The Bible says no: "He who acquits the guilty and condemns the righteous is an abomination to the Lord." Proverbs 17:15

Ken: C. Christus Victor view?

Adomnan: That's a valid way of looking at it. Christ fought sin, death and the devil on their own terrain and vanquished them.

Ken: D. moral example view?

Adomnan: Yes, this definitely was an aspect of it.

Ken: E. Governmental view?

Adomnan: I don't know this one, but it's sounds Protestant, legalistic.

Ken: I cannot remember if we actually talked about that several years ago, when we discussed/debated penal substitutionary atonement.

Adomnan: No, I don't think you asked me what my view of the "atonement" was. Well, here it is: Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to provide us with the sacraments, especially baptism and the eucharist, both of which are patterned on His death (and resurrection). So Paul says in Romans 6 that we die with Christ and rise with Him in baptism. And the dependence of the Eucharist on Calvary is too obvious for me to have to detail.

Every rite enacts a prototypical story. No story, no rite. The Passion of Christ is the story that the sacraments enact. No death, no baptism and Eucharist.

Atonement is "expiation," and expiation is the way that the sacrificial rites of the Old Testament cleansed people of sin: What was made holy by the sacrifice made the partakers of the altar holy. Same with atonement/expiation through Christ. Atonement/expiation is something God gives us, through the sacraments. It is not something that we, or Jesus, give God.

The atonement makes no sense without the sacraments. In fact, sacraments ARE the atonement.

Fundamentatist Protestantism rejects sacraments, and so it rejects the atonement. Penal substitution is the counterfeit it puts in place of the real atonement.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Your explanation of Galatians 3:13, Isaiah 53:6 and 53:10 were not very convincing at all.

Adomnan: That's because you didn't understand it, although I tried to make it as simple as I could. If you understood what I said, you'd agree with me.

Ken: "The curse" is God's judgment against sin;

Adomnan: No, "the curse" is a hanged man. A hanged corpse is a curse on the land. I don't believe hanging was even a method of punishment in the Old Testament, and so it could hardly be "God's judgment against sin." It apparently wasn't a Torah punishment, because this verse about a hanged man being a curse shows it was prohibited, a taboo, under the Law.

Ken: and Jesus took that for us, in our place.

Adomnan: Oh, so we're all supposed to be hanged, but Jesus was hanged in our place? That's a new one, and especially odd given that hanging wasn't even a permissible Jewish punishment.

Ken: we were guilty and Christ bore our iniquities and carried our sins away.

Adomnan: Again, you ignored all those passages of the OT that show that "bear iniquities" just means "make atonement." Jesus certainly bore iniquities in that He made atonement, just as the High Priest in the OT "bore iniquities" by making atonement.

Jesus is called "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world," but he's never compared to the scapegoat, who carries sins into the wilderness. I remind you that a lamb isn't a goat. Jesus Christ removes sin, as an expiation does; he doesn't carry it off to some other place.

Christ is never compared to the scapegoat in the New Testament.

Ken: You really watered down "curse" and "bore".

Adomnan: I just used the Bible to interpret the Bible. "Being a curse" equals "being hanged on a tree" equals "being crucified." But I explained this already, and you just jumped over what I wrote by saying I "watered" something down, whatever that means.

I also provided the Biblical interpretation of "bear iniquities," which you didn't bother to try to counter.

Ken: There is no power there to take away sin,

Adomnan: What in the world are you talking about? There is indeed "power in the blood."

Ken: since you are saying Christ did not take our guilt and sins on Himself.

Adomnan: I am saying this is nowhere taught in the Bible. I'm trying to be biblical here, unlike you.

Ken: All He is, in your theology, is an example of love, since it seems you deny all transfer of sin to Christ, and His righteousness to us. 2 Cor. 5:21

Adomnan: The Bible denies all transfer of sin to Christ. Paul speaks of the "righteousness of God," but never of the "righteousness of Christ." Thus, since you evidently mean "Christ's righteousness" by "His righteousness," you are distorting and misrepresenting Paul. Please stick to what the Bible teaches. All you do is gum things up with your empty rhetoric. Try to do some actual exegesis for a change.

2 Cor 5:21 simply says that Christ was a sin offering, which, of course, I accept. Sins are not transferred to a sin offering.

Ken: You have no righteousness.

Adomnan: I have the righteousness from God through Christ (Phil. 3). That's the only imparted righteousness that the Bible speaks of. (By the way, this "righteousness from God" is very different from the "righteousness of God."

It does not matter, Ken, how loudly you insist that penal substitution is taught in the Bible. It simply isn't, and all your distortion, confusion and conflation of sacred texts won't change that.

Why didn't you take up my challenge and prove penal sub from the only book that discusses the atonement exhaustively, namely Hebrews?

Adomnan said...

". . . but the LORD caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon Him" - Isaiah 53:6

Ken: You really watered that down and just dismissed the brunt of it away - that the Father caused the guilt/sin/iniquity to encounter/fall upon the suffering servant.

Adomnan: No, I didn't. I said it means that God caused the suffering servant to "bear iniquities," which, according to all those passages I quoted from the Bible and you IGNORED, means that the suffering servant made atonement for them by becoming a sin offering.

Given that you don't actually exegete the texts you cite, I don't know why exactly you think this verse proves penal sub. I suppose you imagine that "fall on" is somehow a tougher word than "bear" and indicates more aggression from the Father directed at the Son? Well, the Jerusalem Bible translates this verse using the verb "bear:"
"and Yahweh brought the acts of rebellion of all us to bear on him."

Yes, they were brought to bear on Him, so that He "bore" them; i.e., made atonement for them.

Look again at the parallel texts I provided about the High Priest, priests and Levites bearing sin above. And think about them.

To conclude: It is astounding to me that someone can insist that a concept (penal substitution) is found in the Bible that is simply, obviously and totally absent from its pages. I can't see how this is even possible. And yet it is. Look at Ken and marvel.