Skip to comments.Luther and Erasmus: The Controversy Concerning the Bondage of the Will
Posted on 01/01/2006 4:48:03 PM PST by HarleyD
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For a Protestant, this "priesthood" is one of the most grievous errors of the Roman Catholic church.
No man stands between the Good Shepherd and His sheep.
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy... Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." -- 1 Peter 2:1-10;24-25
"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings,
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy...
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." -- 1 Peter 2:1-10;24-25
One Shepherd. One salvation.
"All Christians are priests, and all priests are Christians. Worthy of anathema is any assertion that a priest is anything else than a Christian." -- Martin Luther
Calvin, like many who followed his train of thought, had a profound misunderstanding of what happens at a Catholic Mass. It is not surprising that this misunderstanding continues. The Mass is not a separate sacrifice that adds anything to Christ's one time sacrifice - it is a participation in, or re-presentation of Christ's one sacrifice. It enables us of 2006 to share in the graces that Jesus has made attainable through His one offering - which, being that He is God and eternal, is an eternal self-offering to the Father in heaven. We, as part of the Body, join in Christ's eternal offering. Thus, Calvin is clearly beating up a strawman by claiming that Catholics set up an altar that belittles the One Sacrifice of our Savior. It does the opposite by making it present for us today!
Thus Paul says, that "Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us," and bids us "keep the feast" (1 Cor. 5:7, 8).
And we will continue to celebrate the Mass, remembering what Christ did, until He comes again.
We don't see priests as standing between us and God, but making God and His graces visible to us through the sacramental actions that we partake in. Christ acts through these men so that we HEAR that our sins are forgiven. Do Calvinists baptize themselves? Do Calvinists read the Scriptures, a book written by men? I would say that my separated brothers also access God through men, as well.
"Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence." -- St. Francis de Sales
Shame on Frank. Mary is not our parent.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." -- Galatians 3:22-26
"But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." -- Galatians 3:22-26
There is a somewhat different perspective expressed on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website that discusses how the tension between Hellenistic thought and Christianity was resolved.
The spread of Christianity would have been impossible without the Roman Empire that turned the Mediterranean into a big Roman lake. Christianity never took deep roots in the Semitic world but Islam did. Christianity eventually flourished in that Greco-Roman culture of the Roman Empire once a systhesis had been worked out. There were many points of contact that made that possible.
Not even in the slightest. Where one man prays, there is a church. Where one man repents, there is forgiveness. Where one man believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is salvation.
Do Calvinists read the Scriptures, a book written by men?
Ah, there, my separated brother, is our great divide. You elevate the traditions of men over the word of God.
Am I? Wasn't the Bible written by human beings inspired by God? Thus, God deemed that He would reveal Himself through men. Thus, I am thinking that you ALSO access God through the words that Matthew, Mark, Luke, etc., used to express God's Word. Scripture was written by men. We, you and I, BOTH access God through Sacred Scriptures. Of course, the Word of God, in its totality, is NOT Scripture, but Jesus Christ, correct?
I did not express myself clearly. The blind faith of science is the scientific method itself. That if an effect can be reproduced every time it is tried, then it is a "hard fact", -- is the deductive scientific method and it requires just as much faith as the Incarnation. Now, once a scientist has faith in his method, he produces proofs, that, for example, men cannot walk on water. Likewise, once a theologian has faith he produces proofs that, for example, men who steady their spiritual gaze on Christ can walk on water. Faith and reason necessarily interoperate in theology and they interoperate in science, just as much.
Moreover, reason cannot start absent faith, -- theorem cannot be proven absent axiom. But faith can start absent reason, as we see in children.
I believe in the Incarnation and the Resurrection, like most Christians, since childhood, because my parents taught me (even though my childhood education in the atheist Soviet Union had its defects). In fact, even as a an adult, I experience my faith in Church before I can articulate it, and I hear the scripture before I read it. When I read the scripture it is to confirm my oral impression of it as I heard it from the pulpit, refresh my memory, or, like here, to argue a point. I think this is fairly common among both Catholics and the Orthodox, that they are stronger in the internalized scripture than they are in bookish prooftexting.
I did not have a difficulty understanding Calvin, I am irritated by his intellectual arrogance and sloppiness of exegesis. Like I said before, I think he is a better philosopher than he is a theologian, as he constructed an internally consistent, albeit heretical, picture of a god. He does not understand the scripture he quotes, and I am left with the impression that he does not care very much, happy to present the first excuse that turns up when the scripture does not agree with him. I pointed out several examples in my previous posts.
In this discourse about the Eucharist, we see that same regrettable quality. First, an argument out of his own head is made: "cross of Christ is overthrown the moment an altar is erected". Then, a series of quotes from St. Paul are offered, describing the Cross. They say nothing about the Eucharist, but it appears that Calvin's reasoning is rooted in the writings of St. Paul. The underlying assumption is that the Eucharist is an additional sacrifice that adds something to the Cross. A chat with a local priest would have disabused Calvin of that notion, but such a chat would require Calvin to shut up and listen, not his strongest suit. Toward the end, he gets around to the real issue, that the Eucharist connects to the same one and only Cross St. Paul is talking about. This is also typical for his method, that first the strawman is fought with great fanfare, then the real stumbling block is mentioned in passing, inaccurately (what "application"?) and briefly, and dismissed sloppily. No mention is made of John 6, nor of 1 Corinthians 11:23-29, where the connection between the Altar and the Cross is made explicit, but instead 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 is given. Well, surprise: it is misquoted. "Gar to pascha emon yper emon etuthe Christos", "even like our pasch/eucharist for us sacrificed Christ" does not call Christ our pasch, but rather explains the sacrifical character of the eucharistic feast, just like the parish priest would have told him.
"I think this is fairly common among both Catholics and the Orthodox, that they are stronger in the internalized scripture than they are in bookish prooftexting."
Having taught Bible study in my parish, I agree with you. Catholics often know the stories, the parables, the events of the Bible, but often couldn't tell you book, chapter, or verse if our lives depended on it. Of course, shame on us for not learning all those inerrant chapter and verse numbers.
This quoting without understanding is a mark of a true Calvinist.
ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood
(1 Peter 2, quoted in full in your post)
Question: if we are all royal priesthood, who are the sheep? Since when "royal" describes a crowd?
One Shepherd. One salvation
Salvation is one, but St. Peter was charged to shepherd the sheep. Need scripture for that?
"Behold your mother".
Absolutely, Dr. E, not to mention onerous dogma. That is not only how I see it, it is very much how I experienced it, suppressed it, experienced it, suppressed it, experienced it, etc, again, and again, and again.
This argument is as old as the end of the 1st Century (at least I'm pretty sure it is), and it will not die, because it cannot die.
As I make my way out of the maze I have been trying to steer my way through, it is God's voice that comforts and guides me. St. Paul's instruction is a fine adjunct too.
St. Paul left his gentiles in the Loving Arms of Our Christ he preached Crucified, Who would no more narrow the gate, than take back His words, that even 'those who were not against Him, were for Him.'
I was under the impression that new Saints are declared every year, is that true? I am assuming that the Church would have to adjudicate in favor of the private miracles for that to happen. Off the top of your head, do you happen to know where JPII stands in the process? As an outsider, I always liked him.
FK: "Since they did not have in vitro technology, why can't science disprove a virgin birth 2000 years ago?"
How are you going to disprove it? It was not observed by science. All of science's hypothesis, laws and theorums are based on observation. Using observation, they come to a conclusion on what will LIKELY happen in a similar circumstance, either from the past or the future. Since science did not observe and record the Christ's conception, science cannot disprove anything.
Consider the following: Somewhere in the world, in the year 1478, someone dropped a hammer. Under your argument, no scientist today could possibly tell us what happened next. Did it fall to the ground? Did it hover in mid-air? Or, did it sprout wings and fly around the room? No one can tell us because a scientist wasn't there to observe it. Imagine further that we line up 1,000 scientists and give them the same hypo. How many would agree with you and say "no one can know what happened to the hammer", and how many would agree with me that it fell to the ground?
FK: "I have seen all of this on this thread in one form or another. Most of the time, it has been exactly like Spurgeon puts it here."
Thanks for letting us know we have been wasting our time trying to tell you that we don't come to God alone about a thousand times...
You misunderstand. The line from Spurgeon does not say "...turn to thee of myself ALONE ..." I know you have said many times that you do not come to the Lord alone, and I have always accepted that as your position. However, the difference is that under your view, some of it IS from you because you make the final decision. You have tools from God to use or reject, but in the end you decide one way or the other. That is what I was referring to, and that is what I disagree with.
"Moreover, reason cannot start absent faith, -- theorem cannot be proven absent axiom. But faith can start absent reason, as we see in children."
I remember going through a bit of a "crisis" as I got into the higher levels of calculus in college.
Things had changed from a neat world where, for instance, one could multiply length x width of a rectangle and have an "exact" area (of course the italics are there because one can never have an exact area of an actual rectangular surface due to the limitations of measuring the lengths and determining the precision of a right angle) -- to a much messier world where one was dealing with irregular objects.
At the very least, with a theoretical rectangle, one can calculate an exact area in a way that the average mind can visualize. I remember talking to the professor at the time, asking him if the problems we were solving really gave an exact calculation of the area of a surface with irregularly curved edges, or whether it was just an estimation -- even in a theoretical, perfect world situation.
He thought a minute, and then replied: "What is important is not that it is exact. What is important is that it is consistent." In other words, he was differentiating clearly between consistent reproducibility and truth, even in a discipline as "hard" as mathematics. (He was a Christian -- a conservative Catholic, as I recall -- incidentally.)
And of course, even the consistency of reproducibility depends on the conditions, even as specified in theoretical problems. Newtonian physics is perfectly servicable for ordinary everyday life (and according to Newtonian physics it is, of course, impossible for a man to walk on water), but it breaks down as a tool for explaining other situations -- thus the development of quantum mechanics, relativity, etc... And of course the highest levels of theoretical physics today almost resemble philosophy and metaphysics more than they resemble what we think of as a reproducible science.
Certainly the evolutionary biology that I learned demanded incredible amounts of axiomatic faith. The only way one could be attuned to seeing the faith involved in evolutionary biology was if one had a sense of the authority of revelation that was powerful enough to force one to step back and look at it more objectively.
You are exactly right that reason, and even observation for that matter, require faith (i.e. working assumptions or axioms) as a starting point. The fact that these axioms produce working results reinforces the wisdom of trusting them, but by definition an axiom is an unprovable proposition that one chooses to trust in.
Likewise, ones direct experience of God together with the historical experience of the Church reinforces the wisdom of trusting the starting axiom or working assumption of Christianity -- that is, the deposit of faith once delivered, Holy Tradition in its entirety, that we in faith accept and believe.
Not even close! Scientific method is restricted to creating working models, through observation and experimentation. Within a defined environment, the model works. Thus, the Ptolemaic navigational system works today as it did in the 2nd century A.D. although it is factually wrong.
Clearly, today we know for certain that the Sun is not located between Venus and Mars. But his system predicts positions of heavenly bodies because it was tailored to observed motions and expressed (described) by mathematical fourmlae. Mathematics is simply a system of expressions that describe a relationship of terms, whether they are real or not. That relationship is absolute, i.e. a straight line is defined by two points.
There is nothing to disbelieve science: it either works, in which canse we "believe" it (more like "accept" it), or it doesn't work, in which case we discard it, "disbelieve" the reasoning behind it and reject it as false.
Faith is "evidence of things unseen" says +Paul; it is hope; it is not something you can observe, systematize and define so that it may "produce" desired effect on demand, repeatedly.
There is something known as conditioning that does not require reason, but simply programs a living creature nor matter how high or low to a set of responses. It's not a matter of reason or faith, but simply of rewards. Feels good; feels bad.
With all due respect to your professor, an area of any shape can be calculated if proper expressions are integrated. An expression is broken every-diminishing derivatives and an exact area is theoretically possible in a theoretical world. In the real world, the precision is carried to practical limits. So, the answer is -- theoretically -- yes; practically no. And his observation is realistically correct: consistency is much more important for most applications.
Of course one uses integration. That is what the professor and I were discussing.
Exactly what means do you personally use to confirm the exactness of a result arrived at by integration?