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LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM
The Coming Home Network ^ | Brian W. Harrison

Posted on 03/24/2008 3:36:37 PM PDT by annalex

LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM

by Brian W. Harrison

As an active Protestant in my mid-twenties I began to feel that I might have a vocation to become a minister. The trouble was that while I had quite definite convictions about the things that most Christians have traditionally held in common—the sort of thing C.S. Lewis termed "mere Christianity."

I had had some firsthand experience with several denominations (Presbyterian, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist) and was far from certain as to which of them (if any) had an overall advantage over the others. So I began to think, study, search, and pray. Was there a true Church? If so, how was one to decide which?

The more I studied, the more perplexed I became. At one stage my elder sister, a very committed evangelical with somewhat flexible denominational affiliations, chided me with becoming "obsessed" with trying to find a "true Church." "Does it really matter?" she would ask. Well, yes it did. It was all very well for a lay Protestant to relegate the denominational issue to a fairly low priority amongst religious questions: lay people can go to one Protestant Church one week and another the next week and nobody really worries too much. But an ordained minister obviously cannot do that. He must make a very serious commitment to a definite Church community, and under normal circumstances that commitment will be expected to last a lifetime. So clearly that choice had to be made with a deep sense of responsibility; and the time to make it was before, not after, ordination.

As matters turned out, my search lasted several years, and eventually led me to where I never suspected it would at first. I shall not attempt to relate the full story, but will focus on just one aspect of the question as it developed for me—an aspect which seems quite fundamental.

As I groped and prayed my way towards a decision, I came close to despair and agnosticism at times, as I contemplated the mountains of erudition, the vast labyrinth of conflicting interpretations of Christianity (not to mention other faiths) which lined the shelves of religious bookshops and libraries. If all the "experts" on Truth—the great theologians, historians, philosophers—disagreed interminably with each other, then how did God, if He was really there, expect me, an ordinary Joe Blow, to work out what was true?

The more I became enmeshed in specific questions of Biblical interpretation—of who had the right understanding of justification, of the Eucharist, Baptism, grace, Christology, Church government and discipline, and so on—the more I came to feel that this whole-line of approach was a hopeless quest, a blind alley. These were all questions that required a great deal of erudition, learning, competence in Biblical exegesis, patristics, history, metaphysics, ancient languages—in short, scholarly research. But was it really credible (I began to ask myself) that God, if He were to reveal the truth about these disputed questions at all, would make this truth so inaccessible that only a small scholarly elite had even the faintest chance of reaching it? Wasn’t that a kind of gnosticism? Where did it leave the nonscholarly bulk of the human race? It didn’t seem to make sense. If, as they say, war is too important to be left to the generals, then revealed truth seemed too important to be left to the Biblical scholars. It was no use saying that perhaps God simply expected the non-scholars to trust the scholars. How were they to know which scholars to trust, given that the scholars all contradicted each other?

Therefore, in my efforts to break out of the dense exegetical undergrowth where I could not see the wood for the trees, I shifted towards a new emphasis in my truth-seeking criteria: I tried to get beyond the bewildering mass of contingent historical and linguistic data upon which the rival exegetes and theologians constructed their doctrinal castles, in order to concentrate on those elemental, necessary principles of human thought which are accessible to all of us, learned and unlearned alike. In a word, I began to suspect that an emphasis on logic, rather than on research, might expedite an answer to my prayers for guidance.

The advantage was that you don’t need to be learned to be logical. You need not have spent years amassing mountains of information in libraries in order to apply the first principles of reason. You can apply them from the comfort of your armchair, so to speak, in order to test the claims of any body of doctrine, on any subject whatsoever, that comes claiming your acceptance. Moreover logic, like mathematics, yields firm certitude, not mere changeable opinions and provisional hypotheses. Logic is the first natural "beacon of light" with which God has provided us as intelligent beings living in a world darkened by the confusion of countless conflicting attitudes, doctrines and world-views, all telling us how to live our lives during this brief time that is given to us here on earth.

Logic of course has its limits. Pure "armchair" reasoning alone will never be able to tell you the meaning of your life and how you should live it. But as far as it goes, logic is an indispensable tool, and I even suspect that you sin against God, the first Truth, if you knowingly flout or ignore it in your thinking. "Thou shalt not contradict thyself" seems to me an important precept of the natural moral law. Be that as it may, I found that the main use of logic, in my quest for religious truth, turned out to be in deciding not what was true, but what was false. If someone presents you with a system of ideas or doctrines which logical analysis reveals to be coherent—that is, free from internal contradictions and meaningless absurdities—then you can conclude, "This set of ideas may be true. It has at least passed the first test of truth—the coherence test." To find out if it actually is true you will then have to leave your logician’s armchair and seek further information. But if it fails this most elementary test of truth, it can safely be eliminated without further ado from the ideological competition, no matter how many impressive-looking volumes of erudition may have been written in support of it, and no matter how attractive and appealing many of its features (or many of its proponents) may appear.

Some readers may wonder why I am laboring the point about logic. Isn’t all this perfectly obvious? Well, it ought to be obvious to everyone, and is indeed obvious to many, including those who have had the good fortune of receiving a classical Catholic education. Catholicism, as I came to discover, has a quite positive approach to our natural reasoning powers, and traditionally has its future priests study philosophy for years before they even begin theology. But I came from a religious milieu where this outlook was not encouraged, and was often even discouraged. The Protestant Reformers taught that original sin has so weakened the human intellect that we must be extremely cautious about the claims of "proud reason." Luther called reason the "devil’s whore"—a siren which seduced men into grievous error. "Don’t trust your reason, just bow humbly before God’s truth revealed to you in His holy Word, the Bible!"—this was pretty much the message that came through to me from the Calvinist and Lutheran circles that influenced me most in the first few years after I made my "decision for Christ" at the age of 18. The Reformers themselves were forced to employ reason even while denouncing it, in their efforts to rebut the Biblical arguments of their "Papist" foes. And that, it seemed to me, was rather illogical on their part.

 

LOGIC AND THE "SOLA SCRIPTURA" PRINCIPLE

Thus, with my awakening interest in logical analysis as a test of religious truth, I was naturally led to ask whether this illogicality in the practice of the Reformers was, perhaps, accompanied by illogicality at the more fundamental level of their theory. As a good Protestant I had been brought up to hold as sacred the basic methodological principle of the Reformation: that the Bible alone contains all the truth that God has revealed for our salvation. Churches that held to that principle were at least "respectable," one was given to understand, even though they might differ considerably from each other in regard to the interpretation of Scripture. But as for Roman Catholicism and other Churches which unashamedly added their own traditions to the Word of God—were they not self-evidently outside the pale? Were they not condemned out of their own mouths?

But when I got down to making a serious attempt to explore the implications of this rock-bottom dogma of the Reformers, I could not avoid the conclusion that it was rationally indefensible. This is demonstrated in the following eight steps, which embody nothing more than simple, commonsense logic, and a couple of indisputable, empirically observable facts about the Bible:

1. The Reformers asserted Proposition A: "All revealed truth is to be found in the inspired Scriptures." However, this is quite useless unless we know which books are meant by the "inspired Scriptures." After all, many different sects and religions have many different books, which they call "inspired Scriptures."

2. The theory we are considering, when it talks of "inspired Scriptures," means in fact those 66 books, which are bound and published in Protestant Bibles. For convenience we shall refer to them from now on simply as "the 66 books."

3. The precise statement of the theory we are examining thus becomes Proposition B: "All revealed truth is to be found in the 66 books."

4. It is a fact that nowhere in the 66 books themselves can we find any statements telling us which books make up the entire corpus of inspired Scripture. There is no complete list of inspired books anywhere within their own pages, nor can such a list be compiled by putting isolated verses together. (This would be the case: (a) if you could find verses like "Esther is the Word of God," "This Gospel is inspired by God," "The Second Letter of Peter is inspired Scripture," etc., for all of the 66 books; and (b) if you could also find a Biblical passage stating that no books other than these 66 were to be held as inspired. Obviously, nobody could even pretend to find all this information about the canon of Scripture in the Bible itself.)

5. It follows that Proposition B—the very foundation of all Protestant Christianity—is neither found in Scripture nor can be deduced from Scripture in any way. Since the 66 books are not even identified in Scripture, much less can any further information about them (e.g., that all revealed truth is contained in them) be found there. In short, we must affirm Proposition C: "Proposition B is an addition to the 66 books. "

6. It follows immediately from the truth of Proposition C that Proposition B cannot itself be revealed truth. To assert that it is would involve a self-contradictory statement: "All revealed truth is to be found in the 66 books, but this revealed truth itself is not found there."

7. Could it be the case that Proposition B is true, but is not revealed truth? If that is the case, then it must be either something which can be deduced from revealed truth or something which natural human reason alone can discover, without any help from revelation. The first possibility is ruled out because, as we saw in steps 4 and 5, B cannot be deduced from Scripture, and to postulate some other revealed extra-Scriptural premise from which B might be deduced would contradict B itself. The second possibility involves no self-contradiction, but it is factually preposterous, and I doubt whether any Protestant has seriously tried to defend it—least of all those traditional Protestants who strongly emphasize the corruption of man’s natural intellectual powers as a result of the Fall. Human reason might well be able to conclude prudently and responsibly that an authority which itself claimed to possess the totality of revealed truth was in fact justified in making that claim, provided that this authority backed up the claim by some very striking evidence. (Catholics, in fact, believe that their Church is precisely such an authority.) But how could reason alone reach that same well-founded certitude about a collection of 66 books which do not even lay claim to what is attributed to them? (The point is reinforced when we remember that those who attribute the totality of revealed truth to the 66 books, namely Protestant Church members, are very ready to acknowledge their own fallibility—whether individually or collectively—in matters of religious doctrine. All Protestant Churches deny their own infallibility as much as they deny the Pope’s.)

8. Since Proposition B is not revealed truth, nor a truth which can be deduced from revelation, nor a naturally-knowable truth, it is not true at all. Therefore, the basic doctrine for which the Reformers fought is simply false.

CALVIN’S ATTEMPTED SOLUTION

How did the Reformers try to cope with this fundamental weakness in the logical structure of their own first principles? John Calvin, usually credited with being the most systematic and coherent thinker of the Reformation, tried to justify belief in the divine authorship of the 66 books by dogmatically postulating a direct communication of this knowledge from God to the individual believer. Calvin makes it clear that in saying Scripture is "self-authenticated," he does not mean to be taken literally and absolutely. He does not mean that some Bible text or other affirms that the 66 books, and they alone, are divinely inspired. As we observed in step 4 above, nobody ever could claim anything so patently false. Calvin simply means that no extra-Biblical human testimony, such as that of Church tradition, is needed in order for individuals to know that these books are inspired. We can summarize his view as Proposition D: "The Holy Spirit teaches Christians individually, by a direct inward testimony, that the 66 books are inspired by God. "

The trouble is that the Holy Spirit Himself is an extra-Biblical authority as much as a Pope or Council. The third Person of the Trinity is clearly not identical with the truths He has expressed, through human authors, in the Bible. It follows that even if Calvin’s Proposition D is true, it contradicts Proposition B, for "if all revealed truth is to be found in the 66 books," then that leaves no room for the Holy Spirit to reveal directly and non-verbally one truth which cannot be found in any passage of those books, namely, the fact that each one of them is inspired.

In any case, even if Calvin could somehow show that D did not itself contradict B, he would still not have succeeded in showing that B is true. Even if we were to accept the extremely implausible view represented by Proposition D, that would not prove that no other writings are inspired, and much less would it prove that there are no revealed truths that come to us through tradition rather than through inspired writings. In short, Calvin’s defense of Biblical inspiration in no way overthrows our eight-step disproof of the sola Scriptura principle. Indeed, it does not even attempt to establish that principle as a whole, but only one aspect of it—that is, which books are to be understood by the term "Scriptura."

The schizoid history of Protestantism itself bears witness to the original inner contradiction which marked its conception and birth. Conservative Protestants have maintained the original insistence on the Bible as the unique infallible source of revealed truth, at the price of logical incoherence. Liberals on the other hand have escaped the incoherence while maintaining the claim to "private interpretation" over against that of Popes and Councils, but at the price of abandoning the Reformers’ insistence on an infallible Bible. They thereby effectively replace revealed truth by human opinion, and faith by an autonomous reason. Thus, in the liberal/evangelical split within Protestantism since the 18th century, we see both sides teaching radically opposed doctrines, even while each claims to be the authentic heir of the Reformation. The irony is that both sides are right: their conflicting beliefs are simply the two horns of a dilemma, which has been tearing at the inner fabric of Protestantism ever since its turbulent beginnings.

Reflections such as these from a Catholic onlooker may seem a little hard or unyielding to some—ill-suited, perhaps, to a climate of ecumenical dialogue in which gentle suggestion, rather than blunt affirmation, is the preferred mode of discourse. But logic is of its very nature hard and unyielding; and insofar as truth and honesty are to be the hallmarks of true ecumenism, the claims of logic will have to be squarely faced, not politely avoided.

 

Fr. Brian Harrison is currently teaching at the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico in Ponce.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism
KEYWORDS: fallacy; harrison
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To: Freedom'sWorthIt

We are not saying that the books in Luther’s OT canon are not inspired, just that the canon was truncated by him


51 posted on 03/24/2008 9:24:08 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Freedom'sWorthIt

We are not saying that the books in Luther’s OT canon are not inspired, just that the canon was truncated by him


52 posted on 03/24/2008 9:24:10 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; HarleyD; wmfights; fortheDeclaration; DarthVader
a direct product of the Church.

Affirmed by the Church Universal at large in the world 300-400 years after the writing of it . . .

But T'was NOT a product of

the political power-mongering RELIGIONISTS in Rome lording it over all the other Christian serfs.

Thankfully.

Though the rubber histories, rubber logic of the RC edifice's magicsterical persistently begs to differ!

Clearly, we have another pontifical effort to shove the revisionist rubber history, rubber Bibles and rubber logic of the RC political power mongers down the collective throat of the rest of the world.

Of course, that includes the standard issuance of special dispensations; special indulgences and special issuances of sackcloth and ashes for the charisteristic wailing and whining and abuse button sitting exercises so !!!!TRADITIONAL!!!! for RC edifice reps. I wonder how many encouragements for Prottys to go commit suicide there will be in this thread.

Is it just me or is it tooooo early for another edition of this nonsense?

53 posted on 03/24/2008 9:32:12 PM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: Alex Murphy

Methinks some folks have an obsession or an addiction or both . . . .

to nose twisting and ear twisting . . .

so that when the vicim cries !OUCH!

they can wail in abject self-pity about how unfairly they have been treated and how horribly their favorite idols have been maligned.

Shouldn’t such threads come with free barf bags?


54 posted on 03/24/2008 9:47:37 PM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: annalex

Ok more later on this. The writer didn’t mention Luther - he discussed John Calvin.

Will have to rejoin the discussion later.

Found this good explanation of the History of the Canon of scripture.

Luther isn’t mentioned in that either.

http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=697


55 posted on 03/24/2008 9:48:12 PM PDT by Freedom'sWorthIt
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To: annalex

Just some final scripture passages which we agree are the Infallible Word of God:

16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[b]

Our RIGHTEOUSNESS *which fits us for heaven....if from Jesus Christ - and is ours BY FAITH! JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN, THE RIGHTEOUS WILL LIVE BY FAITH.

More tomorrow..good night


56 posted on 03/24/2008 9:56:40 PM PDT by Freedom'sWorthIt
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To: annalex; Alex Murphy; blue-duncan; wmfights; Quix; Alamo-Girl; Gamecock
INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
CHAPTER 7
THE TESTIMONY OF THE SPIRIT…

"Nothings therefore can be more absurd than the fiction, that the power of judging Scripture is in the Church, and that on her nod its certainty depends. When the Church receives it, and gives it the stamp of her authority, she does not make that authentic which was otherwise doubtful or controverted but, acknowledging it as the truth of God, she, as in duty bounds shows her reverence by an unhesitating assent. As to the question, How shall we be persuaded that it came from God without recurring to a decree of the Church? it is just the same as if it were asked, How shall we learn to distinguish light from darkness, white from black, sweet from bitter? Scripture bears upon the face of it as clear evidence of its truth, as white and black do of their colour, sweet and bitter of their taste...

IOW, spirit recognizes spirit.

57 posted on 03/24/2008 11:03:50 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: annalex; Alex Murphy; blue-duncan; wmfights; Quix; Alamo-Girl; Gamecock
I meant to add...

"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." -- 1 Corinthians 2:10-12


"As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." -- Isaiah 59:21


58 posted on 03/24/2008 11:09:16 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
As soon as any "intelligent opposition" shows up, let us know.

What? No verse of Scripture to sanctify petty vindictiveness?

Oh, that's right. Tourettes doesn't manifest itself until the sufferer becomes frustrated.

59 posted on 03/25/2008 3:45:30 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: annalex

How can you understand Hebrew mysticism with Greek logic?


60 posted on 03/25/2008 3:48:31 AM PDT by ovrtaxt (Member of the irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.)
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To: ovrtaxt
He starts out asking the right questions, but ends up relying on Aristotelian Greek logic to arrive at a false conclusion about a decidedly Hebrew subject.

How so?

61 posted on 03/25/2008 3:55:31 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: blue-duncan

That’s quite a list of non-sequiturs you’ve got going there! It’s a veritable tribute to Ronald Reagan’s quip about people who “know so much that isn’t so.”

For example: You equate the Bible with “The Word of God.” You even say “Without the Bible we could not know these things.”

If this is true, how do you explain the story of Simeon in the temple?


62 posted on 03/25/2008 4:09:55 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: annalex
Where is that written?

It doesn't have to be written for those who have the spirit of troof for it gives them rears to hear!

63 posted on 03/25/2008 4:15:23 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: papertyger
Here are the 'right questions'- The more I studied, the more perplexed I became. At one stage my elder sister, a very committed evangelical with somewhat flexible denominational affiliations, chided me with becoming "obsessed" with trying to find a "true Church." "Does it really matter?" she would ask. Well, yes it did. It was all very well for a lay Protestant to relegate the denominational issue to a fairly low priority amongst religious questions: lay people can go to one Protestant Church one week and another the next week and nobody really worries too much. But an ordained minister obviously cannot do that. He must make a very serious commitment to a definite Church community, and under normal circumstances that commitment will be expected to last a lifetime. So clearly that choice had to be made with a deep sense of responsibility; and the time to make it was before, not after, ordination.

Okay, these are a good start. But the obvious answer is so much simpler than he makes it. The true church is the corporate body of individual believers. Jesus said something very simple- 'wherever two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in their midst.' It's amazing how complicated we've made that by coming up with a priesthood, 'full-time ministers', offices, ministries, etc etc ad nauseum.

Here's my contention- if we gather together to edify the Body of Christ (one another), leadership will arise naturally from the relationships that emerge. Gifts and talents will be made manifest, and a degree of weight will be attributed to the words of those who deserve it.

In my opinion, Luther stopped way too soon. He simply replaced one corrupt hierarchy with another- and it persists to this day.

As for me and my family, we meet in homes with other believers. We have the Lord's Supper (a meal), we worship, we pray together, we teach or encourage or just talk with one another about life and the victories and challenges that we encounter.

And this type of ecclesia produces spiritual independence- we rely on Jesus Himself rather than some man or institution who presumes to insert himself between the Bridegroom and His bride.

If this arrangemet sounds 'risky', as if we're going to go off the deep end (a common argument), ask yourself this-- do you really trust the Holy Spirit to keep those that He has sealed? Or does He need man's help?

64 posted on 03/25/2008 4:16:59 AM PDT by ovrtaxt (Member of the irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.)
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To: Quix

65 posted on 03/25/2008 4:37:03 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: ovrtaxt
How can you understand Hebrew mysticism with Greek logic?

By applying it. Where are you suggesting logic isn't up to the task?

66 posted on 03/25/2008 4:44:43 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: annalex; Alex Murphy
Will do, please suggest the list of them.

Here am I. Send me. ;O)

67 posted on 03/25/2008 5:16:21 AM PDT by HarleyD
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To: papertyger

“If this is true, how do you explain the story of Simeon in the temple?”

He along with Anna knew their Old Testament prophecies.

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.


68 posted on 03/25/2008 5:18:06 AM PDT by blue-duncan
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To: Quix
Affirmed by the Church Universal at large in the world 300-400 years after the writing of it . . . But T'was NOT a product of the political power-mongering RELIGIONISTS in Rome lording it over all the other Christian serfs.

Amen.

69 posted on 03/25/2008 5:25:05 AM PDT by fortheDeclaration ("Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people".-John Adams)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; Alex Murphy; Gamecock; Ottofire; Quix; Alamo-Girl; blue-duncan; wmfights; ...
The trouble is that the Holy Spirit Himself is an extra-Biblical authority as much as a Pope or Council.

This is one of the most appalling displays of ignorance I have seen in writing-and I mean this in the most kindness sense.

These articles are all the same...."the Bible is the inspired word of God, but we don't really know what is inspired...except that we do know what was inspired...but what we mean is the Church knows what was inspired...except the Church didn't know what was inspired until we confirmed what was inspired at Trent then everyone knew what was inspired although what we were quoting from as inspired was inspired until the Church officially said that stuff wasn't inspired..."

Ad infinitum... It is almost laughable if it was so serious. And this comes from the "great thinkers" of the Church??? Claiming to be wise, they become fools.

70 posted on 03/25/2008 5:28:27 AM PDT by HarleyD
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To: ovrtaxt
But the obvious answer is so much simpler than he makes it. The true church is the corporate body of individual believers.

And that relieves his vocational quandry, how?

I've long maintained a simple answer, as often as not, shows a lack of understanding the question.

Jesus said something very simple- 'wherever two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in their midst.'

Fine, you've established Jesus is in their midsts: and little else. If such passages were so simple, we'd be overrun with "two or three in agreement" lottery winners!

Here's my contention- if we gather together...etc.

The experience of several thousand denominations says you're wrong.

As for me and my family...etc.

That's all very nice, but if your gathetings were the spiritual equivalent of little girls playing "tea party," who or what has the authority to convince you of it?

And this type of ecclesia produces spiritual independence-

What make you sure that's a good thing?

we rely on Jesus Himself rather than some man or institution who presumes to insert himself between the Bridegroom and His bride.

This is what Sartre called "bad faith." You are playing an active role in the situation, yet denying it. You can't have it both ways and maintain credibility.

If this arrangemet sounds 'risky', as if we're going to go off the deep end (a common argument), ask yourself this-- do you really trust the Holy Spirit...

The Holy Spirit isn't at issue: you are. Nutty cults never start out being nutty.

71 posted on 03/25/2008 5:30:04 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: blue-duncan

Do you need me to layout the problem? Either you don’t see it, or you’re avoiding it.


72 posted on 03/25/2008 5:33:06 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: HarleyD

I see everything but a refutation in your post.


73 posted on 03/25/2008 5:37:32 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: fortheDeclaration; Quix
T'was NOT a product of the political power-mongering RELIGIONISTS in Rome lording it over all the other Christian serfs.

I couldn't agree more.

74 posted on 03/25/2008 5:40:20 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: papertyger

Right. Have fun with your religion.


75 posted on 03/25/2008 5:50:15 AM PDT by ovrtaxt (Member of the irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.)
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To: papertyger; Dr. Eckleburg
I see everything but a refutation in your post.

I wasn't refuting anything; I was refering to Dr. E's post. But while we are at it I would agree with Dr. E's post #57 of scripture being self-authenticating and Calvin's excellent article in Chapter 7 of the Institutes.

The Spirit isn't at the same level as the Pope. I hope you don't believe that.

76 posted on 03/25/2008 5:57:32 AM PDT by HarleyD
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To: HarleyD
I wasn't refuting anything; I was refering to Dr. E's post.

Sorry. My mistake. Your first sentence:

This is one of the most appalling displays of ignorance I have seen in writing-and I mean this in the most kindness sense.
makes much more sense in that light.

But while we are at it I would agree with Dr. E's post #57 of scripture being self-authenticating...

authenticated for what? How can the Scripture self-authenticate a claim it doesn't make for itself?

77 posted on 03/25/2008 6:15:32 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: papertyger

“Do you need me to layout the problem?”

There is no problem. Luke says he was waiting “for the consolation of Israel” (Isa. 40:1) and the Holy Spirit designated him as a “measuring” life for the coming of Immanuel. For him to understand who the “consolation” and “light” was he first had to know the scriptures (Isa. 9:2).


78 posted on 03/25/2008 6:16:52 AM PDT by blue-duncan
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Ok...I'm trying to sort through this whole thread. I ask this only as a point of clairification, no more.

Under your "Spirit recognizes Spirit" reasoning, what would be the outcome of the hypothetical below?

A 25 year old man has lived on a tropical island alone for as far as he can remember. Assume he was baptized as a child (thus removing any impediments of Original Sin). He lives an idyllic life, perfectly content. One day, a crate of 100 books appears on his beach. This crate contains, individually bound, the 77 books of Catholic canon. It also contains - the Koran, some Vedic scriptures, Augustine's Confessions, The Summa Theologica, Nichomachean Ethics, Oprah's The Secret, and a bunch of the Christian books recognized as non-Canon (Infancy Gospel, Gospel of Thomas, etc.). Each book in this crate is bound with the same material, and no markings indicate which is which.

Ok, so, my question is, if this man alone found this crate and sincerely desired to know how to live his life, what books would he choose? Am I correct in assuming you believe he would pull the 66 books chosen by Calvin? Again, I am just asking this to clarify my own understanding - nothing more.

79 posted on 03/25/2008 6:22:02 AM PDT by thefrankbaum
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; HarleyD; wmfights; fortheDeclaration; DarthVader

Fascinating . . .

instead of apology, more insult.

More excellent ‘lived theology’

from the marvelously mangled Mother Earth magicsterical, no doubt.


80 posted on 03/25/2008 6:31:03 AM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: fortheDeclaration

Thanks for your kind words.


81 posted on 03/25/2008 6:31:36 AM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: blue-duncan
There is no problem.

I have no problem.

You, on the other hand, have to find the Old Testament verse explaining Lk 2:29 to maintain your man-made doctrine defining "The Word of God."

82 posted on 03/25/2008 6:33:22 AM PDT by papertyger (changing words quickly metastasizes into changing facts -- Ann Coulter)
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To: ovrtaxt
One of the questions I've always had with reasoning like this (I'm being quite sincere here) is how it can be reconciled with 2 things.

1) Creation, as a whole, has order. That is observable every day. Furthermore, it has a hierarchy - the food chain is but the most obvious example. Even individuals within a specific group have a certain hierarchy - the Alpha Male of a Lion Pride is, for lack of a better term, top dog. This is the same as in humans - a family has (normally) a head, a leader. In most cases, this is the father, or grandfather. Mothers and grandmothers have many important roles, and in many cases are the behind the scenes head of house (I think of a sign my mom has - "The Rooster rules the Roost - but I rule the Rooster"). However, there is a distinct order is all levels of Creation - why would His Body not be the same?

2) The image used consistantly in the Bible is that of the "Kingdom of God." Kingdoms, even in Jesus's day, had specific roles and levels for its subjects. It follows that, in the Heavenly Kingdom, there would be a variety of posts, of offices. Not everyone can share the same office. Now, I agree that earthly Kingdom's are corrupt by our very nature. However, Plato's Republic provides an example of the "perfect" Kingdom - when the rulers can know what is best for the whole Polis and seek to achieve it. Each member of the Polis must follow the lead of the rulers in achieving that good. Each member is equal in dignity to the others, but has a very specific role - I see the Chuch in the same light.

Sorry if this is rushed or somewhat incoherent - I need to run but I really wanted to throw this your way and hear your responses. If you need anything clarified, please ask!

83 posted on 03/25/2008 6:33:36 AM PDT by thefrankbaum
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To: HarleyD
The trouble is that the Holy Spirit Himself is an extra-Biblical authority as much as a Pope or Council.

This is one of the most appalling displays of ignorance I have seen in writing-and I mean this in the most kindness sense.

These articles are all the same...."the Bible is the inspired word of God, but we don't really know what is inspired...except that we do know what was inspired...but what we mean is the Church knows what was inspired...except the Church didn't know what was inspired until we confirmed what was inspired at Trent then everyone knew what was inspired although what we were quoting from as inspired was inspired until the Church officially said that stuff wasn't inspired..."

Ad infinitum... It is almost laughable if it was so serious. And this comes from the "great thinkers" of the Church??? Claiming to be wise, they become fools.

INDEED. THANKS Harley

84 posted on 03/25/2008 6:34:15 AM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: Quix
Is it just me or is it tooooo early for another edition of this nonsense?

It IS far too early for another edition of this nonsense, but you just keep posting it!

85 posted on 03/25/2008 6:36:24 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; HarleyD; wmfights; fortheDeclaration
Nutty cults never start out being nutty.

Perhaps often technically true.

But the RC edifice nutty cult sure turned that way rather rapidly . . . not long after rearing it's head in AD 300-400 in various lording it over other Christians of the era . . . and it's gotten worse and worse and nuttier and nuttier ever since.

86 posted on 03/25/2008 6:37:16 AM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: HarleyD
"the Bible is the inspired word of God, but we don't really know what is inspired...except that we do know what was inspired...but what we mean is the Church knows what was inspired...except the Church didn't know what was inspired until we confirmed what was inspired at Trent then everyone knew what was inspired although what we were quoting from as inspired was inspired until the Church officially said that stuff wasn't inspired..."

Your paraphrase indicates you did not understand the article at all, or that you wish to obfuscate it for others.

87 posted on 03/25/2008 6:37:40 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
Actually, the Bible is older than the Church--than Christianity itself, even. The Hebrew Bible . . .

Ahhh, there's the switch. The Hebrew Bible is not the entire Bible, merely the Old Testament of the Bible.

88 posted on 03/25/2008 6:39:59 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: HarleyD
Calvin's excellent article in Chapter 7 of the Institutes.

Traditions of Men

89 posted on 03/25/2008 6:41:08 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; HarleyD; wmfights; fortheDeclaration; DarthVader
Something seems to have been lost through the replies . . .

Perhaps an ammended amplified version will help improve accuracy:

The affirmation of the Canon of Scripture was NOT a product of the political power-mongering NUTTY CULT RC EDIFICE RELIGIONISTS in Rome so politically, power mongeringly successful at lording it over all the other Christian serfs of that era. It was a result of God's moving amongst more or less all the loose association of the more or less spiritually equal congregations of that era to formally affirm the Canon.

90 posted on 03/25/2008 6:42:52 AM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: papertyger; Dr. Eckleburg
How can the Scripture self-authenticate a claim it doesn't make for itself?

Did you read Calvin's section 7 of the Institutes? Here is an excerpt:

The summary of this argument is that no matter what reasoning man may try to propose, it is the word of God that convicts a man's heart of sin, righteousness and of judgment. People can argue about the authority of the Church all day long, but unless they believe the word of God, then they're really not Christians. The only reason they believe in Christianity is because of the word of God. That is how the word of God is self-authenicating.
91 posted on 03/25/2008 6:44:02 AM PDT by HarleyD
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To: Petronski

Not paying attention is insufficient excuse for not remembering that this thread was

BEGUN

by another outrageous article from the nutty cult of the RC edifice.


92 posted on 03/25/2008 6:44:36 AM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: Quix

Fascinating . . .

instead of actual response, more insult.


93 posted on 03/25/2008 6:45:59 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: Quix
Perhaps an ammended amplified version will help improve accuracy:

Turns out, not so much.

94 posted on 03/25/2008 6:46:48 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: papertyger

“You, on the other hand, have to find the Old Testament verse explaining Lk 2:29”

It’s called “fulfilled prophecy” and is part of the reason why, like the Bereans, we believe that the scriptures are the self-authenticating word of God.


95 posted on 03/25/2008 6:48:42 AM PDT by blue-duncan
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To: papertyger

Your question was not answered. Instead, the reader is referred to a repeat of a contorted excerpt from the Traditions of Men.

Too bad so sad.


96 posted on 03/25/2008 6:49:09 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; HarleyD; wmfights; fortheDeclaration
How can the Scripture self-authenticate a claim it doesn't make for itself?

Wellllllllll, in contrast to the fallen angel/ watcher/ fallen nephilium/ counterfeit 'miracles' scripted, structured and engineered to deceive earnest simple believers a la 101 hoaxed stuff vis a vis the Magnificent Magical Earth Mother Mary archetype . . .

God Almighty via HIS HOLY SPIRIT enters this time and space in dramatic beyond natural ways to affirm His prophetic utterances with bona fide, authentic GODLY miracles and fulfillments. What was that listing on the other thread--over 300 Messianic prophecies. I don't recall how many have already been fulfilled. And the rest are on the near horizon.

But I can understand that the !!!!TRADITION!!!! bound, political power mongering nutty cult RC edifice has a difficult time keeping up with AUTHENTIC miracles making such a hoopla so chronically over the counterfeit.

97 posted on 03/25/2008 6:56:27 AM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: Petronski
Your paraphrase indicates you did not understand the article at all, or that you wish to obfuscate it for others.

I have heard this argument many times from many sources. The early church fathers never had a problem understanding what the core sets of inspirational scriptures were.

Since you feel that I'm "obfuscating" the issue, can you explain to me and our readers precisely the difference between the inspired scriptures and the writings of the fathers? Specifically it would be beneficial to know how the inspired scriptures and traditional writings are used to formulate doctrine such as Mary's ascension into heaven or purgatory.

98 posted on 03/25/2008 6:57:13 AM PDT by HarleyD
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To: HarleyD

INDEED.


99 posted on 03/25/2008 6:58:55 AM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: HarleyD
I have heard this argument many times from many sources.

And yet you ever understood it. Amazing.

100 posted on 03/25/2008 7:02:23 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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