If the Foundations Be Destroyed, What Can the Righteous Do?

Faculty_VanDrunen_PrintVersionDavid VanDrunen has written a piece on God’s gift of the civil government, entitled Ministers of God for Our Good: God’s Gift of Civil Government. It originally appeared in Evangelium, Vol. 13, Issue 5, and is now available on Westminster Seminary California’s site.

Readers familiar with VanDrunen’s work in social ethics know that he is an advocate of Natural Law, Two Kingdom theory, and Kline’s Common Grace Order.  Readers also are aware of the politically tyrannical times in which we live, times in which the pertinent political decisions no longer are about proverbial but important issues such as abortion and gay marriage, but whether preachers will be soon able to faithfully preach against sodomy from a book that may be a “hate book”, or whether Christians can evangelize Jews. Therefore, an essay about an institution that God has appointed for the Christian’s good could only purport to assuage legitimate worry over our leviathan state. Yet an essay written from VanDrunen’s doctrinal perspective leaves one puzzled as to the solution to our political problems. In the end the reader is not left with any comfort that VanDrunen’s version of the biblical magistrate provides proper restraints against the evil the State might impose. Ponder this last paragraph:

As the Scriptures teach and as the church has acknowledged, civil magistrates are ordained by God and to be received by us as a gift from him. Of course, civil magistrates often fail in the tasks entrusted to them, and thus it is helpful to close this article by remembering that civil authority is legitimate, but always limited. Though civil authority is a good, it is not an unmitigated or ultimate good. Though it suppresses wickedness in the world to some degree, it can never provide salvation. Thus, even while Christians remain humble and obedient citizens in whatever country they have been placed, they remember that their true citizenship is in heaven. Like the exiled Israelites who looked forward to being rescued from Babylon and returned to the Promised Land after seventy years, Christians today look forward to the time when Christ returns and establishes that eternal kingdom in which righteousness and peace dwell. Until then, we gratefully receive God’s provision of civil government, with whatever justice, peace, and prosperity accompanies.

VanDrunen is right that Christians may serve as civil magistrates and that God uses them to do good for his people and for all people generally. But magistrates often do evil to Christians and we deserve to know what we may do about it. The reader only learns from VanDrunen that the State is a legitimate institution whose officers are appointed by God, that we ultimately have our citizenship in heaven, and that as we pilgrim here under the current tyrant we may but pray for him and strive to live in peace–under his tyranny. Strangely, but to VanDrunen’s credit, he does not shy away from this subject’s N.T. locus classicus, Romans 13, which elaborates the magistrate office as a minister of God that avenges God’s wrath against true evil, and with the Christian’s good in mind. One would think, then, that he should expound on the topics that this text broaches–namely, the body of law the magistrate should administer, how he distinguishes good from evil, and a doctrine of Christian civil disobedience when the magistrate doesn’t do the church good. But the essay fails to deliver on these questions and issues as much as it fails to offer civic hope for the gospel. A “proper perspective on political life” for the Christian in New Covenant times living under political tyranny turns out to be blank-check obedience to the current king as we wait for heaven, for there is no recourse regarding a divine sanction and blueprint for Christian political reform.

The reason for such despondency is that VanDrunen believes in the myth of religious neutrality, at least in the public square. What follows is a tour through VanDrunen’s essay to trace how this religious neutrality affects each attempted biblical justification to neutralize the idea of a Christian society.

After a few introductory paragraphs, VanDrunen dives into a Christian approach to government. Regarding the anonymous Epistle to Diognetus written in the mid-second century, VanDrunen writes

The very fact that this letter is addressed to “his excellency, Diognetus,” is significant, for it suggests that the author considers high government officials worthy of honor and worthy recipients of appeal. The author of this letter claims that Christians are in many ways indistinguishable from the rest of the world in terms of external appearances. Christians do not live in their own cities, speak their own language, or follow their own customs. Instead, they obey established laws and acknowledge the constitution of their own commonwealth. Yet, in a rather paradoxical series of statements, the author explains that Christians, though belonging to civil society in many important ways, at the same time do not belong to it. They are citizens of this world, yet also foreigners, because they are also citizens of heaven. Though they work and live in civil society, the ultimate meaning of their lives far transcends it.

Why it is “significant” that early Christians honored the office of civil leaders is unknown. Every party to this debate agrees that God appoints civil leaders and they should draw respect by their constituents. A suspicion arises that this is not mentioned to establish the premise that magistrates are legitimate, but rather to hint that any magistrate–no matter his character, policies, or how he took office–is legitimate and worthy of honor.

In the rest of the paragraph (and essay) we see VanDrunen’s religious neutrality, starting with the comment about Christians being indistinguishable from the rest of the world. Religion is internal, not external; hence, customs (save cultic customs) should be common between Christians and anti-Christs. We must pause to ask, Why can’t Christians live in their own cities? Must I choose as the playground for my children a neighborhood full of blasphemous pagan children running about ?  Such things  are technically external, no?.  Moreover,  I’m not sure that the ultimate meaning of our lives “far transcends” the work and life we have in civil society. After all, whether we eat or drink we so to the glory of God, and what can transcend that? I’m afraid we can’t have work and play devoid of religion.

However, there can be little doubt that the adoption of Christianity as the official state religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century had a profound impact on how Christians thought about civil government. As time went on, Christians became much less prone to doubt the legitimacy of civil government-as in the days of the early church-and much more prone to forget its limitations. The idea of “Christendom”-church and state dwelling harmoniously as a unified Christian society-held the minds of many Christians through the Middle Ages and produced some heated debates that could not have otherwise taken place. Among these debates were those between “imperialists” and “papalists,” those who believed that ultimately the pope was to submit to the Christian emperor and those who believed that the emperor was to submit to the pope.

At this point VanDrunen’s readers cannot make much of what it means for Christians to forget the state’s limitations, for we haven’t seen what these are yet. Oddly–and tellingly–this is the only paragraph where VanDrunen mentions the limits of the state, but the limits he has in mind are those that keep the State from being a savior! In his system, Christianity means salvation, the stuff of redemption of souls. Since the State and civic square are not salvific, there can be no business of a Christian government, culture or society. Yet, if the State is not checked by God’s law, that is precisely the role it invariably assumes: a messiah! How can a man who has done extensive graduate work in law and theology–the same subjects he now teaches–not know this? Only God’s law can keep the state in its proper role as administrator of civic justice and protector of the church. Remove God’s law from the magistrate and you have a State Messiah that tyrannizes the freedoms of its citizens.

It is also strange to see a Reformed Christian put the word Christendom in quotations as if the word is disagreeable, or the concept of the state and church dwelling harmoniously is taken from anywhere but the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Sections 2-3 of chapter 22 declare that the magistrate is to maintain “piety” in the common wealth, and ” to take order that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordainances of God duly settled, administrated, and observed.” As we shall see, VanDrunen does not countenance such an idea of Christendom. Yet, I’m afraid we can’t have a church/state paradigm devoid of religion, at least from a Reformed perspective.

We now turn to the VanDrunen’s key section on the biblical teaching on civil government.

Many people have seen the origin of civil government already in the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. When God declared that Cain’s punishment for the murder of his brother was that he would be a restless wanderer on the earth, Cain cried out that this was more than he could bear, because anyone who found him would kill him. The Lord answered that there would be vengeance upon anyone who killed Cain. It seems that Cain’s great fear was that there would be no system of justice to protect him, and God’s answer addressed precisely this problem. Little coincidence it is that immediately after this dialogue Cain goes forth and builds a city, for God provides justice in a sinful world through civil society. God did not promise salvation to Cain, but he did assure him that justice would not be absent. Here we find a first glimpse at the role of civil magistrates in this world.

Here is the entrance of Kine’s Common Grace Order. Note the last two sentences: there is a common order and a cultic order. God’s provision for Cain is a civil provision, not a redemptive one. More on this later, but this distinction between the civic and the cultic is misconstrued for a secular/sacred dichotomy that will unfortunately develop into a radical separation between natural and inscripturated ethics–and all of this is driven by the myth of religious neutrality.

We now move through the redemptive covenants with which VanDrunen will try to exemplify and solidify this distinction/separation.

Genesis 9 communicates a similar message. After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah, which is recorded in this chapter. God makes no mention of salvation from sin as he enters into this covenant. Rather, this covenant is made with all people and all living creatures indiscriminately, and it promises the continuation of somewhat normal life on earth. One of the provisions of this covenant is that no one is to kill another person, and that anyone who does will be subject to capital punishment. Rather than destroying life, human beings are to cultivate life. The command that God gives here, to be fruitful and increase in number, echoes the commands of the original creation mandate in Genesis 1. Despite the fall into sin, man retains the God-given tasks of working, procreating, and caring for creation, tasks which can and will happen only as there is some measure of justice in the world. Here again, Scripture gives us a glimpse of the task of what we now know as civil government.

Is it really true that because this covenant does not mention salvation from sin that it has no redemptive qualities? Is it true that this covenant is made with all people, sinners and saints? No and No. The flood came against sin;  to say “neither will I again smite any more every thing living” is to say “In mercy I will withhold a form of my wrath against your sins.” Sounds redemptive– partial, and progressive, but redemptive. Moreover, to think that a reference to “man” in the text implies a common covenant (regenerate and unregenerate) rather than a religious one is unsound. God’s covenantal words here follow His being pleased by a covenant family’s religious sacrifice: “And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart…” Furthermore the command to bear children can only be seen as a command to populate the earth with Christian families, just as it was to our first parents. God’s covenants are always religious, always redemptive, and always made with his people. Again, there is no religious neutrality in the Noahic Covenant.

Some time later, God made a covenant with Abraham, and here he did what he did not do in the covenant with Noah, namely, set apart a special people for himself and promise them eternal salvation. But despite the promises that Abraham and his family received, they did not turn their backs on the world in regard to temporal matters. Genesis records many stories of Abraham interacting with the kings of the lands where he wandered, and he even consorted with several of them in rectifying a particular injustice that was done to his nephew Lot (Gen. 14). Later, the righteous Joseph took a high position in the royal court of Egypt and used his position to preserve the peoples of that land when faced with a devastating famine. The covenant families of Jacob and his children gladly took refuge under the civil protection of Egypt. This story of Joseph illustrates not only that God’s redeemed people may serve as civil magistrates, but also that God uses magistrates to do good for his people and for all people generally.

While it is true that God explicitly sets out a special people for himself in the Abrahamic covenant, it is not true that a special people is not involved in the Noahic covenant. Reformed theology sees a unity of the covenants, not a compartmentalization of them. The Adamic covenant was made with Christians and the Noahic does not interrupt this covenantal component. True, the Noahic covenant has more common features and common language than the Abrahamic, and the Abrahamic uses more particular language about the redemptive community. But this difference is seen as one of degree, not quality. Nor is this difference one of secular and religious. Before we continue, the reader should not miss the fact that the kings who favored Abram praised God for Abram’s deeds (Gen 14:8-20), stating that the political favor won by Abraham for the secular Kings’ benefit was done by God. Again, no religious-neutrality.

Between the time of Moses and Christ, the situation of God’s people changed in some important ways. In the covenant with Moses, God did something different from what he did in the Abrahamic covenant and from what he would do in the new covenant: he constituted his covenant people as a geopolitical nation, giving them a land of their very own and a system of laws to guide their civil life. When they arrived in the land of Canaan, God’s covenant people were no longer to cooperate with kings of other nations but to exterminate them. There is no space here to consider exhaustively the reasons for God’s administering things in this way, but surely they relate in part to the fact that the Promised Land of Canaan was to be a foreshadowing of the eternal heavenly kingdom in which God’s people were no longer to mingle with pagans, but be decisively separated from them.

At this point in redemptive history VanDrunen agrees that there is no religious neutrality in the public square. This is because the nation of Israel was cultic. It is interesting that the laws which define this cultic nation were also the laws that God drove out non-cultic nations for breaking (Lev 18:24-28; cf. Deut 9:4-5). Moreover, we should also note that the such laws provided for the foreigner to be in the land while not under Israel’s more strict cultic laws. We therefore have a legitimate separation between “church and state” that should be appreciated. It is with this appreciation in mind that we can make sense of something that VanDrunen’s system cannot: namely, that a redemptive nation’s civil laws were to be a model to other “non-redemptive” nations (Deut 4:6-8)!

This is consistent with the fact that when the people of Israel stepped away from the Promised Land, their attitude toward the rulers of the lands around them was often positive and not necessarily hostile. This is evident in the friendly relations that kings David and Solomon had with foreign rulers, such as Hiram, King of Tyre and the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 5 and 10). More telling are the instructions in the letter that Jeremiah wrote to the Israelites who had been carried into exile in Babylon. These exiles were not to resist the Babylonian government, but to live humbly under it. Jeremiah instructed them to build houses, get married, and have children. He told them to pray for the peace and prosperity of the city in which they lived. Jeremiah even explained that if that [sic] the city had peace, so would they-Babylon’s civil government would be their protection! Outside of the Promised Land, these exiles found themselves again in a situation like that of Abraham and the patriarchs, before the days of Moses. They were to live at peace with their neighbors as far as possible and acknowledge the legitimacy of civil magistrates, reaping the benefits of the social order they provided. Yet, just as Abraham, they knew that they were a people set apart by God for eternal life, and thus they recognized that this life in Babylon was one day going to come to an end when God restored the fortunes of his people (Jer. 29:1-14).

We find nothing terribly wrong with this paragraph, but nothing in it terribly persuasive for his thesis either. When a nation is punished with exile for breaking God’s  gracious and freedom-giving laws, it must wait for God’s restoration–which Israel did. To say they were instructed by God (through the prophets) to be content as captives is not to endorse the permanence of captivity, nor the form and laws of the government holding the captives. Indeed, in captivity they awaited the restoration of the kingdom when God’s law would go out from Jerusalem into all the world (Micah 4:2 ff.) We also note that at times they did reject pagan laws, such as Daniel’s experience in Babylon–something troublesome for the “be content in Babylon” thesis.

With the death and resurrection of Christ, God brought to an end the old covenant with Israel and inaugurated the new covenant with the church. The situation of God’s new covenant people with respect to civil government in many ways resembles that of Abraham or the exiles in Babylon. God gave his New Testament people no special land of their own, no system of civil laws, and no instructions about exterminating their enemies. He entered into covenant with a church, not a nation. The church abides in many nations, not one. It mingles freely with its neighbors, even if not Christian. As Paul explains, though the church is to dissociate from so-called “brothers”-professing Christians-who persist in immorality, this does not mean cutting off relations with immoral people “of this world” (1 Cor. 5:9-11). Similarly, believers are generally to remain in their station in life, freely buying and using the things of this world, though without becoming engrossed in them (1 Cor. 7:17, 29-31). As part of this basic attitude, Christians are to submit to civil magistrates and recognize them as a beneficial gift of God.

If God did not give any land to the church (meaning Christians), to whom did he give it? Does VanDrunen propose that in the New Covenant (which is greater than the old) God has given land either to pagans or to no one in particular? But God did give his New Testament people a land: the earth (Matt 5:5; Eph 6:3; Rom 4:13). Do we really need explicit NT verses to prove this? To say that we do would be to argue for the faulty hermeneutic of VanDrunen, which we shall presently expose.

Throughout the essay,VanDrunen’s way of establishing a normative political policy regarding interaction between Christians and pagans is to examine what is indicative both in the language of particular covenants and in the history during these covenants. While it is true that what is commanded by God in his covenant is binding, it is not true that only that which he commands in a particular covenant is binding  (e.g., the Ten Commandments were not reiterated in the Noahic covenant). Nor is it true that we can gain normative information by looking at historical data. This is to commit the naturalistic fallacy, claiming that what is the case ought to be the case.

Covenant theology sees a unity of the covenants, and it teaches the “carrying over” of covenant attributes to the next. Without God’s modification or recension of an attribute of a previous covenant, we should presume a continuity in the subsequent. Interestingly, it is this principle that constitutes much of the force behind paedobaptist’s (VanDrunen included) argumentation for baptizing covenant children. VanDrunen is making too much of what was the case for the early church, for her Messiah had just come to usher in the kingdom. The political goals and implications of that kingdom are never treated by VanDrunen, as he merely points out early first century indicatives. We affirm with VanDrunen that in the new covenant God entered into covenant with a church, not a nation. But has God ever entered into covenant with a “nation”? It seems that God enters into covenants more basically with people, and that their religion and ethics invariably work themselves out into national governments and politics. But even if we take “nation” in VanDrunen’s sense, we remember that the Great Commission has us applying God’s law to “all nations” (Matt. 28:18. ff).

We agree that in the Mosaic Covenant God detailed political law for Israel, but we also recall that as WCF 19.4 teaches the general equity (or principles) of these laws are still binding “on any other [nation] now”.  Again, the elephant in the room is that nations today are trampling on God’s standard of justice. And once again VanDrunen merely reminds us to “submit to civil magistrates and recognize them as a beneficial gift of God.” One final paragraph by VanDrunen before we conclude.

Echoing Jesus’ own command to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, Paul instructs all believers to submit to the governing authorities. The reason is that God has ordained their authority, so that resisting them is resisting God himself. Though Christians are often tempted otherwise, we ought not see this as a burden, but as a blessing, for Paul explains that the magistrate is God’s servant for our good. He exists to be an agent of wrath and punish the evildoer (Rom. 13:4)-in other words, to bring about that justice on earth that God promised to provide already in Genesis 4 and 9. Contemporary Christians living in the First World often complain about the cultural degeneracy and political misdeeds of their own societies. Surely it is sobering to consider that the Roman government that Paul described as a blessing from God and worthy of obedience was filled with far greater injustices than First World Christians today endure. Paul reiterates the thrust of his concerns in 1 Timothy 2:1-2. Here, in telling Christians to pray for all people, he especially exhorts them to pray for kings and those in authority. For what purpose? Paul says that we should pray for them in order that we might live peaceful and quiet lives, in all godliness and holiness. When civil magistrates do their job-even to some extent-we are enabled to pursue our work and worship in ways that would be virtually impossible otherwise.

At what point may we pronounce this perspective as one that calls good evil and evil good? Is it a “blessing” to submit to wicked magistrates simply because God ordained them? What if they are unlawfully elected and therefore usurpers of their office? Is it a blessing for a child to submit to his abusive father’s molestation? After all, parents are an ordained authority over their children. These questions may require sensitive and nuanced answers but they are not irrelevant to the topic. However,  it would appear that details cannot be discussed on VanDrunen’s antinomian paradigm because there are no answers to such questions, at least in theory. Only vague generalities, contracted verses, and pietistic platitudes are given to tyrannized Christian citizens.

The “job-even to some extent” that magistrates are to do cannot and will not be religiously neutral.  When the magistrate decides to outlaw what Christians are commanded to do and legislate that which brings judgment on a land, we are indeed to pray: we are to pray for such man to be removed from office, and to pray for the magistrate to honor God’s revealed law so that we might have peace. When did peace ever come at the expense of, or the neutralization of, Christianity? Biblically, peace and joy are linked with righteousness, and when the magistrate outlaws righteousness and favors wickedness he is not legislating  peace, for peace is not religiously-neutral.

We conclude by looking at the last part of the paragraph with which we began, VanDrunen’s closing words:

Like the exiled Israelites who looked forward to being rescued from Babylon and returned to the Promised Land after seventy years, Christians today look forward to the time when Christ returns and establishes that eternal kingdom in which righteousness and peace dwell. Until then, we gratefully receive God’s provision of civil government, with whatever justice, peace, and prosperity accompanies.

VanDrunen’s essay raises unanswered and uncovered questions and issues and thus fails to properly and biblically explain how magistrates are truly God’s ministers who bring divine justice against evil for the good of the Christian. It is not unwarranted to call it outrageous that an expert in law and theology can introduce this subject without also addressing the following:

  1. The source of law that should govern the magistrate in the pluralistic society he advocates. Rulers in New Testament times were called “lawless” (Matt. 2 Thess. 2:3; c.f. Mark 6:18), and such begs the question never answered. Even more peculiar is that VanDrunen is a staunch advocate of Natural Law, and has published a book on this subject. Even though we disagree with Natural Law, he at least could have enlisted it as a standard of justice.
  2. A Christian view of civil disobedience–especially when it is broached in the Scripture (Acts 4:18-20; Acts 5:29). Calling Jesus the King of king and Lord of lords wasn’t exactly humble submission to the Roman Emperor (Acts 17:7).
  3. How religious neutrality can exist, practically or theologically. Even a casual reader of the Scripture will notice such contrary statements, such as Jesus’ claims that one is either for or against him (Matthew 12:30), that no one can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24), and James’ statement that friendship with the world is enmity against God (James 4:4).

Given the data that VanDrunen has provided us about this subject, if a magistrate today is good toward Christians, is it purely accidental to his thesis. On his model, we must assume that a magistrate is God’s minister of justice simply by virtue of the tile “magistrate.”  Whether King David, Nero, or Barack Obama, the magistrate is a gift.

The Psalmist in 11:3 asks, If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? Nothing, says Westminster California.


In a future post, we shall review VanDrunen’s book, “A Biblical Case For Natural Law”.

Until then, our readers would benefit from reading this exchange on Christ and Culture between VanDrunen’s colleague, Michael Horton, and Douglas Wilson.

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48 thoughts on “If the Foundations Be Destroyed, What Can the Righteous Do?

  1. And why do you disagree with Natural Law? “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves” Romans 2.14. Thus, Natural Law is essentially this: Do good and avoid evil. The rationally minded man will do just this by nature. By doing good and avoiding evil, man fulfills that which is secretly written upon his nature by God. Now, let us turn to the Psalms: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handy-work…There is neither speech nor language; but their voices are heard among them.” I call you to defend your disagreement. Either there is Natural Law or no law whatsoever.

    VanDrunen stated that “The very fact that this letter is addressed to “his excellency, Diognetus,” is significant, for it suggests that the author considers high government officials worthy of honor and worthy recipients of appeal.” The truth is nothing is known about who Diognetus was except that he is desired to convert from paganism to Christianity. Diognetus is excellent because he desires to learn of Christ. In this VanDrunen puts his foot in it; his misuse of the obscure though excellent Epistle to Diognetus brings all his subsequent conclusions into question. Enough said.
    —–
    “Covenant theology sees a unity of the covenants and it teaches the carrying over of covenant attributes over to the next. Without God’s modification of recension of an attribute of a previous covenant, we should presume a continuity in the subsequent…Moreover, we would affirm with VanDrunen that in the new covenant God entered into covenant with a church, not a nation.” Goodness me! This covenant train of thought leads to us down shaky tracks. Not the least of which turns God into little more than an omnipotent lawyer (God forbid!). As with the scribes and Pharisees, I would say you tithe your mint and anise and cumin and omitted the weightier matters of the law judgment, mercy, and faith which things imply the freedom to act (i.e. do good and avoid evil). The fact is that God is love and this cannot be “covenanted” over. Christ tells us, “If ye love me, keep my commandments…I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” And St. Paul tells us how, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” God’s eternal covenant is in the Blood of His dearly beloved Son which we may drink from freely. There is no covenant with “a church” but one with The Church which is the Bride of Christ, eternal and holy. This talk of past covenants recession vs. continuity is utterly without merit and not only fails to meet sola Scriptura muster it fails to meet traditional muster. The covenants are not two distinct covenants they are one: there are no recessions only continuities. “New” and “Old” Testament/Covenant are conventions of speech or teaching devices (as used in Hebrews 12.24) and can obscure the fact that there is only one covenant as there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time; the one Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

    Galatians 3.14ff: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

    If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

    Why is your heart trouble? The message contained in the Epistle to Diognetus that VanDumby totally missed is that Christians are sojourners here below, that they look for their heavenly home. The empires of this world come and go, some better some worse but all of them temporary. Christians exist within the confines of this world’s economy but seek another. I suggest you return to Psalm 11 once more and start from the beginning — IN THE LORD PUT I MY TRUST; HOW SAY YE THEN TO MY SOUL, THAT SHE SHOULD FLEE AS A BIRD UNTO THE HILL? The exclusively Christian communities you seem to desire are a false hope, a house built upon sand, a city without a watchman and clouds without water. Put your trust in God. If you cannot feel “safe” until you find an earthly oasis, you are seeking safety in the wrong god. Jesus Christ has overcome the world; and let him that is athirst come and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

    1. “And why do you disagree with Natural Law?”

      I don’t disagree that it exists. God communicates things to us through creation and conscience, as the verses you gave support. I disagree that NL is sufficient to govern anything apart from the clearer witness of God’s revealed law in Scripture.

      -Christian law in not positivist law, for it cannot be discovered by men apart from God’s grace and Word.
      -Law doesn’t come from nature, it comes from a personal God. Natural law divorced from the Law of God is idolatrous
      -Man’s interpretation of natural law is subjective and differs from man to man. To the extent that they derive a moral principle in nature correctly, this comes from God–not nature– and his objective law.
      -God has never authorized anyone or institution to govern themselves/itself apart from the Scripture.

      “In this VanDrunen puts his foot in it; his misuse of the obscure though excellent Epistle to Diognetus brings all his subsequent conclusions into question. Enough said.”

      Not sure what you?re saying here.

      The fact is that God is love and this cannot be “covenanted” over.

      Did I say it could? The rest of what you say about Old and New Covenants, and Gal 3:14 ff., etc., I agree with. You’re all over the map, man! It’s hard for me to tell when you’re in a stream of conscience, projecting views on mine, or actually engaging with my writing.

      “This covenant train of thought leads to us down shaky tracks. Not the least of which turns God into little more than an omnipotent lawyer (God forbid!). As with the scribes and Pharisees, I would say you tithe your mint and anise and cumin and omitted the weightier matters of the law judgment, mercy, and faith which things imply the freedom to act (i.e. do good and avoid evil).”

      What does the rest of the verse say? “These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Which proves my point.

      If you think that one who wishes to carry over the Mosaic law is a Pharisee, then Jesus is a Pharisee and you should be careful how you speak of our Lord. Jesus upheld every jot and title, and even the death penalty for incorrigible children. Seems that you try to “sacrament over” all the other beauty of God’s kingdom.

      You quote Galatians 3.14ff: that “no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

      The exclusively Christian communities you seem to desire are a false hope, a house built upon sand, a city without a watchman and clouds without water. Put your trust in God. If you cannot feel “safe” until you find an earthly oasis, you are seeking safety in the wrong god.

      What are you talking about? Do you think I?m seeking a kingdom on earth at the expense of a heavenly hope? If you can prove this from my essay, then do it. Otherwise you?re attributing silly things to me. The church during Christendom reformed many states, and I’m sure the Christian citizens enjoyed righteous justice in the land, where a rapist got the sword rather than three hots and a cot at tax payer’s expense. Yes, I long for heaven. But can we have both, please? “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”

  2. “-God has never authorized anyone or institution to govern themselves/itself apart from the Scripture.”

    This doesn’t hold water. I submit the following obvious contradictions:
    1) Job (a gentile) had no law but that which was secretly written on his heart (ie Natural Law).
    2) Balaam (a gentile) had no law but his acts were contrary to God’s Natural Law.
    3) The Ninevites (gentiles) had no law but God’s Natural Law.
    4) Sodom and Gomorrah (gentiles) had no law but their deeds contradicted God’s Natural Law.
    5) Abraham had no law save God’s Natural Law.
    6) Without Natural Law, the flood was an unjust act by God.
    7) Cain slaying Able was against God’s Natural Law.
    8) Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s Natural Law.
    I reiterate that, as S Paul tells us, the written Law was not covenantal; but the covenant was made in Abraham 450 years before the Sinai Law which was given because of offenses against the Natural Law of God. The Law given at Sinai was the written Natural Law which prior to God had set in the heart of man from creation. You seem to think that Natural Law is subjective; but it is no more subjective than is the Law of Sinai and as such Sinai has not, as you believe, ever been receded. Sinai has been misunderstood. You actually help make my point with this statement from your original essay:

    ‘It is interesting, though, that the laws that define this cultic nation were also the laws that God drove the pagan nations out of the land for breaking (Lev 18:24-28; cf. Deut 9:4-5).” The pagans had no law except the Natural Law, their violations of it brought down divine retribution.

    God’s initial revelation was through Natural Law. His second was through the Law of Sinai. His third trough His only begotten Son. These three revelations are one revelation, not three revelations. All are objective and true. The Gospel of John 1.16ff corroborates this, it says “And of his (Christ’s) fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” And of the Son, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…”
    ————–
    Re: VanDreary you state, “Not sure what you?re saying here.” My point was that VanDuder had made a key argument(that Diognetus was a public official and was reverenced by the author of the Epistle) out of something that is historically, textually unsubstantiated (no one knows who Diognetus was) so VanDugger’s whole contention, that Christians must bow down before the state, falls apart.
    ————
    “Did I say it could?” No, not explicitly but I believed it to be implied. Sorry if the assumption is inaccurate. I was not “all over the map.” To clarify my point, the expression of God’s covenant is found in the summary of the Law, Matthew 22.37ff:

    Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind…and…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    To the world (and to many Christians) these are subjective laws. This is not so. God’s eternal covenant of Love is in His Son. Hence my further statement:

    “Christ tells us, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” And St. Paul tells us how, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” God’s eternal covenant is in the Blood of His dearly beloved Son which we may drink from freely.”

    To which you respond: “Seems that you try to “sacrament over” all the other beauty of God?s kingdom.” No, I don’t. In fact, the beauty of God’s Kingdom are the Sacraments of His Church. And the holiest Sacrament from which all others draw is the Sacrament of His most precious Body and Blood. Again as S Paul says, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”
    —————-
    Backing up a little you state: “If you think that one who wishes to carry over the Mosaic law is a Pharisee, then Jesus is a Pharisee and you should be careful how you speak of our Lord. Jesus upheld every jot and title, and even the death penalty for incorrigible children.” Jesus, as I stated above, is the Mosaic Law; yet, he is not a Pharisee.

    “For the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life.” If we would live the Mosaic Law then we must live Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapters 5, 6 & 7. By so doing, every jot and tittle has been upheld. Yet even this is not enough for our Lord instructs us elsewhere that, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life…He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dewelleth in me, and I in him…He that eateth me, even he shall live by me…He that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”
    ————
    “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” My dear friend, I am surprised that you, who claim Scripture interprets Scripture (BTW Catholics are the one’s that really believe this to be the case, the difference is that we use the whole Bible, haha 🙂 ), should open such a breach. Did not Christ say, “My kingdom is not of this world,” “Occupy [not conquer] till I come,” “Take up your cross daily and follow me?” Did not his Apostles teach that persecutions and afflictions are our glory? Did not the Psalmist say “My goods are nothing unto Thee?” As VanDangly reminded us, Cain was the first to build a city where likeminded folk could congregate which city was the precurser to Babylon.

    So, why look for heaven on earth. It ain’t here: ain’t gonna be here. We can’t have both His kingdom here and there because it isn’t here. Here we have His Church and His Sacraments which provide us with the grace necessary to fullfil His Law. Again, this is point VanDragon missed in the Epistle to Diognetus.

    You said in your essay (which, sorry for not saying sooner, is very good, I’m just being an ass about a few points):

    “[W]e must ask why can’t Christians live in their own cities? Must I choose a neighborhood full of blasphemous, pagan children running about as the playground for my children? (Are such things externals?) And I’m not sure that the ultimate meaning of our lives “far transcends” the work and life we have in civil society. After all, whether we eat or drink we so to the glory of God, and what can transcend that? I?m afraid we can?t have work and play devoid of religion.”

    My gripe can be laid to this statement.

    A tout a l’heure, alligator.

    1. I think we might have an equivocation on the term “Natural Law”.

      Perhaps I mis-worded when I wrote “God has never authorized anyone or institution to govern themselves/itself apart from the Scripture.” Again, not denying that God communicates morals and some of his attributes to all men apart from scripture, my intent is to deny that nature itself is a sufficient source from which to derive ethics, and thus an illegitimate basis to govern men. Men cannot discover God’s law by autonomous reasoning–that comes from Aristotle, Cicero, Aquinas, Grotius, and Locke, not the Scripture. When the Gentiles do that which is required of Moses, they indeed show the law of God written on their hearts. Job and others are good examples, as you noted. But this law is not the law of nature, but the law over nature. So, if you’ll allow a rephrase, God has never authorized anyone or institution to govern themselves/itself apart from His Law. Agreed? It seems that you agree with this when you affirm that Natural law is indeed the Mosaic Law.

      Of course, we’re glad when God’s Law gets through to men through nature, but often it doesn’t and men will use NL to justify evil. How many evil tyrants have appealed to NL as the basis for their wicked policies? The Marquis de Sade said, “Nature teaches us both vice and virtue in our constitution…we shall examine by the torch of reason, for it is by this light alone that we can conduct our inquiry.” He used NL to conclude that “there is just as much harm in killing an animal as a man, or just as little…” Aristotle commended abortion and infanticide by the powers of his reason, unaided by God’s grace and law. How do we tell them their NL version is wrong? By what standard?

      When pagans, or Job, or whoever does what is right by nature, the source and communicator of the law they obeyed is God, not nature. In a fallen world, nature and reason is fallen. Nature is not normative, but rather abnormal, as John Robbins once wrote. God’s law is normative, however, and He will hold all men accountable to His law, whether they have the Bible or not.

      The interesting thing about Rom 2:14-15 is that Paul is not giving us a basis for natural law theory, but rather condemning the Jews (this topic is the thrust of the chapter) who had been spoon fed the law and yet whose obedience to it nearly shadows the Gentiles’ who had not been so coddled. Given what Paul says elsewhere about the Gentiles (having carnal minds at enmity against God, for they are not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” 8:7), it is almost by accident that they obeyed the law! Yet men like VanDrunen have no reservations using this a proof text for NL theory in social ethics.

      The reason I said you sacrament over the other beauty in God’s kingdom is because you are resistant to God’s kingdom coming on earth in any form save the church and her sacraments. Proof of this is the fact that you brought the the Eucharist into a post on Natural Law! It really is amazing. You and VanDrunen are brothers when it comes to relegating the kingdom to the church, though you differ on which church.

      I’m glad you affirm that Jesus is not a Pharisee, and that he still upheld all of Moses. I mistook you as saying that the desire to want to carry over Mosaic law into the New Covenant is Pharisaical.

      “For the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life.” If we would live the Mosaic Law then we must live Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapters 5, 6 & 7. By so doing, every jot and tittle has been upheld. Yet even this is not enough for our Lord instructs us elsewhere that, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dewelleth in me, and I in him. He that eateth me, even he shall live by me. He that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”

      Amen. Remember we don’t desire to carry over Moses at the expense of Christ, but we do think the latter laws are binding today on all nations. I hold to continuity of the covenants, which means I affirm Moses’ and Christ’s own laws he gave his church. But taking communion doesn’t equal civil justice for the thief, so we must preach the whole council.

      Did not Christ say, “My kingdom is not of this world” Occupy [not conquer] till I come? Take up your cross daily and follow me? Did not his Apostles teach that persecutions and afflictions are our glory? Did not the Psalmist say “My goods are nothing unto Thee”?

      Here again is this either or stuff. This is a stock objection to our position. All John John 18:36 means is the kingdom, which does manifest itself in this world, is empowered by a source outside this world. Period. The rest of the verse makes this clear.

      This is for another post, but the Scripture teaches that the kingdom of God will sanctify all men and nations by the power of the Holy Spirit this side of heaven. His blessings extend as far as the curse is found, and his power will subdue all enemies of righteousness. Of course, this happens as men are converted and their lives transformed. Gradually as this is done, the kingdom comes. Why pray the Lord’s prayer if we don’t believe it? It says, if anything, that the kingdom has an earthly expression–different from heaven, but nonetheless an expression here.

      Thanks for taking the time to read this post–there was a lot to read there. I think you’ve helped me see some distinctions that will allow clarifications in future writings.

  3. Re: Romans chapter 2 (and 3) (who “inspired” these arbitrary chapter breaks…)

    S Paul concludes “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” The Jews under the Law had an advantage over the gentile because the Mosaic Law is a more explicit revelation than is the Law of Nature. However, one argues against God by not believe that man can please Him without the Mosaic Law (cf. Enoch, Noah et al.)

    With the revelation of Christ, the Natural and Mosaic are realized in the God-Man, the eternal Logos.

    “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” Hebrews 11.3. “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer” Psalm 45.1″

    ————–

    “Here again is this either or stuff. This is a stock objection to our position. All John John 18:36 means is the kingdom, which does manifest itself in this world, is empowered by a source outside this world. Period. The rest of the verse makes this clear. ”

    The only thing that is clear is that you invoke “special pleading” as a defense of your position. My “stock objection” stands. You haven’t a leg to stand on. The rest of the verse (in fact the whole of Scripture) is sympathetic to the Catholic teaching. What? Would you have Christ leave His heavenly throne/altar, the Holy of Holies, to reign on earth? Don’t be so silly.

    No, we cannot have it both ways. Recall this spiritual song S Paul commits to S Timothy, “If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”

    Take up your cross daily and follow Him. He was meek and lowly of heart; we should be too. Our lives must be spent in the pursuit of Christ which is what the Sacraments are supremely about. Our life in Christ is SPIRITUAL, the Sacraments are SPIRITUAL food. If we receive no SPIRITUAL food, we have no SPIRITUAL life (i.e. we go to hell). Christ is risen! We are not yet risen; ours is the cross. We must crucify our flesh. Once the plow has been put in we cannot turn back. Fr. Faber’s words say it well:

    Have we no tears to shed for him,
    While soldiers scoff and Jews deride,
    Ah! look how patiently he hangs;
    Jesus, our Lord is crucified.

    I encourage you to read S Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. The theocratic kingdom desired by Calvinists is of the Jews and is carnal. And consider the sufferings of the Philippians: “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

    Shall we be like those who trust to their “riches” and in so doing live lives sheltered from all evil? “Lo, this is the man that took not God for his strength; but trusted unto the multitude of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickeness.” The devil is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist STEADFAST IN THE FAITH. Wit, seclusion, guns etc. are no defense against the enemy. Thus, they must not make up any part of our Christian economy.

    Think of S Peter walking of the water, who when he looked about and so the tumult began to thrash about and was perishing. Christ rebuked him; O ye of little faith.

    ————-

    “This is for another post, but the Scripture teaches that the kingdom of God will sanctify all men and nations by the power of the Holy Spirit this side of heaven. His blessings extend as far as the curse is found, and his power will subdue all enemies of righteousness. Of course, this happens as men are converted and their lives transformed. Gradually as this is done, the kingdom comes. Why pray the Lord’s prayer if we don’t believe it? It says, if anything, that the kingdom has an earthly expression different from heaven, but nonetheless an expression here.”

    No, the Kingdom doesn’t come gradually. “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is come upon you!” God’s patience and mercy are the thing of legends! Man’s sloth of disobedience does not prevent His Kingdom; it is upon us and it is an eternal, spiritual Kingdom. It is neither increased nor decreased, it is eternal.

    Here again, I return to the Mass. The Mass is not as you believe, a temporal event. Though it takes place in time and space it is essentially spiritual and eternal. The Mass is the primary means by which man enters into the eternal Sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The Mass is God’s gift to man. By it He is in us and we in Him for there we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood. As you well know, Christ died once upon the Cross, under Pontius Pilate, and this event, that took place in time and space, is nevertheless spiritual and eternal. This most important of all cosmic events, the Catholic Church has celebrated every day, every where since its institution by Jesus Christ. Protestants have purloined “communion” but it is a shallow and vain thing, an occasional thing. And it is shallow, vain and occasional because their “communion” is counterfeit. They have “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof: from such turn away!” They rather worship a book about which they can never agree on the final meaning and praise men who can skillfully outwit others through craftiness and guile in their parsing of texts! Please, read 2 Corinthians chapter 10ff if you want to know what the Bible says about such errors.

    You reject the Mass. And because of this the Mass is lacking from your life and from the lives of those you love and are given into your protection. You say you believe in God. Prove it by being obedient to His word. “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” John 6.54ff. Catholics, since its institution by Christ, have believed that the Mass is the ONLY means of obeying His explicit words. Anything else is counterfeit and by the craft of the devil. The Mass even existed before the NT was written because the Church existed before the NT was written. Can I prove this? Absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt! The Scriptures only support the Catholic case: there are no textual conflicts and, in fact, all Scripture concerning the Mass is an integral part of the Mass. Just as importantly (I’ve pointed this out before) the men who fixed the Canon of Scripture SAID THE MASS! Do you need any more corroborating evidence? You trust the canon they fixed; how can you believe that they would fix a canon that contradicted the way they had received and practiced Christianity? Do you really believe some (Jewish?) a-sexual, murderous lawyer from France or some whoremongering, murderous drunk from Germany (who took a lot of Jewish money) knew what real Christianity was? To deny that the Mass is the means ordained by God through which He is to be worshiped and communed with, is to reject the practice of Christians from the most ancient of time. If you question the Mass, you question the Scriptures you think refute it.

    The two things I have found that keep people being Protestant and rejecting the grace of God are:
    1)Ignorance of Church history and Scripture.
    2)Personal wickedness, which conversion would bring to light.
    Since neither of these is your case. What’s the beef?

    1. Sorry for the delay. I wrote this comment once but deleted it by mistake. Then I re-wrote, posted, and it was lost by my hosting company. I was able to retrive it from thd old datbase, and here she is.

      Re: Romans chapter 2 (and 3) (who “inspired” these arbitrary chapter breaks…)

      I believe it was Archbishop of Canterbury, Langdon who introduced them in the 12th century.

      With the revelation of Christ, the Natural and Mosaic are realized in the God-Man, the eternal Logos.

      Fine. Now what do we do if our government gets converted and wants to institute a righteous penalty for murder or rape? To which law does Congress turn? Natural? If we mean by natural law, God’s revealed law, perfect. But if we mean by natural law, man’s natrual and autonomous interpretation and deduction of so-called laws in nature, then we better hope the magistrate isn’t Marquis de Sade.

      The only thing that is clear is that you invoke “special pleading” as a defense of your position. My “stock objection” stands. You haven’t a leg to stand on. The rest of the verse (in fact the whole of Scripture) is sympathetic to the Catholic teaching. What? Would you have Christ leave His heavenly throne/altar, the Holy of Holies, to reign on earth? Don’t be so silly.

      Special pleading? How so? Where did I say I want Christ leaving his throne? I thought the verse I quoted affirmed that he DID rule from heaven, and not earth. The source of his kingdom in heaven, but the kingdom extends to earth. I think you’ve misunderstood my appeal to the verse.

      I encourage you to read S Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. The theocratic kingdom desired by Calvinists is of the Jews and is carnal. And consider the sufferings of the Philippians: “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

      Theocratic means rule by God. Every man, family, church, institution, and nation has a “god” which is identified as the highest point of authority beyond which one cannot appeal. Just think of the different gods out there: democracy, the Constitution, utilitarianism, natural law, etc. You would prove too much to argue against theocracies. That would be to settle for pagan theocracies, for the choices are always but two-God’s law ruling a society or man’s. Period.

      Shall we be like those who trust to their “riches” and in so doing live lives sheltered from all evil? “Lo, this is the man that took not God for his strength; but trusted unto the multitude of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickeness.” The devil is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist STEADFAST IN THE FAITH. Wit, seclusion, guns etc. are no defense against the enemy. Thus, they must not make up any part of our Christian economy.

      Again, there is a misunderstanding. I get this same treatment by Reformed folks. Any argument for God’s law ruling a society with a victorious mindset is construed as:
      1) a misunderstanding of the nature of the kingdom (spiritual vs. carnal); 2) trusting in politics rather than Christ; and 3) an unwillingness to suffer.
      Yet these aren’t not even close to being necessary consequences of our position:
      1) Christ rules over all the earth, not just the spiritual realm or the church. Indeed, he commands his church to make disciples of ALL nations, teaching those things he commanded—and he endorsed all of Moses. In short, every man is bound to obey every word of God, whether it is his general precepts, just civil sanctions or gracious sacraments of the church.
      2) We trust in Christ and we recognize his decretal will. And if he has installed civil magistrates as his ministers, and commanded all men to submit to him via his word, then the issue is settled—they must administer his law, not theirs, in order to properly be his ministers.
      3) We believe that we suffer unto victory, not defeat. Many great victories for kingdom followed great suffering, the early martyrs are an example par excellence. In fact, Christendom is a good example both for my case and as an answer to most of your objections. Did the church that brought about Christendom avoid suffering? Did they pull Christ out of heaven and plant him on earth? Did they have “little faith” by trusting in politics rather than Christ. Were punishments for idolatry a deduction from the laws of nature?

      No, the Kingdom doesn’t come gradually. “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is come upon you!” God’s patience and mercy are the thing of legends!

      Actually, the kingdom does come gradually. Matt 13:31 ff. “He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.’ He told them still another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.’”

      Man’s sloth of disobedience does not prevent His Kingdom; it is upon us and it is an eternal, spiritual Kingdom. It is neither increased nor decreased, it is eternal.

      Isaiah 9:7 says that “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

      Here again, I return to the Mass.

      I’d rather deal with the Mass on a separate post which I plan to do on Scripture and Tradition.

      The two things I have found that keep people being “Protestant” and rejecting the grace of God are:1)Ignorance of Church history and Scripture.2)Personal wickedness, which conversion would bring to light.Since neither of these is your case. What’s the beef?

      I’m tempted to respond, but I’ll just say this is clever and cute…and reversible. 🙂

  4. It’s only reversible if you like wearing things inside-out. My argument only fits the way it’s designed.

    Please, you have no claim to the early Church martyrs and saints; they were not “Reformed” they were sacramental Catholics akin to me and billions of others like me who are sacramental Catholics. Only those connected via Apostolic Succession can claim any connection to Christian antiquity, sacraments and the Bible itself.

    Your ecclesiological head-waters are in the Reformation. Your faith is a mere 400 years old or less. In truth, less because we must take into consideration that you have no visible, earthly organization and no comprehensive, cohesive, contiguous set of doctrines. You are a member of NewChurch; I am a member of OldChurch.

    If it’s new, it’s not true: and if it’s true, it’s not new.

    The OldChurch declares that you reject the authority of Christ. He, before ascending on high, appointed to the Church Apostles, prophets, teachers etc.; this hierarchy is divinely ordained and perpetual, without it you have lost connection with Christ’s Church. Your faith will be in vain because it is not founded upon the obedience to His word. In neglecting His word, you reject Him.

    I can predict what you’ll say re: Scripture and Tradition and the Mass. Of course, I can understand that you would reject that Christ explicitly gave power to bind and loose to His Apostles; which power is neither arbitrarily given nor can it be assumed by someone to whom it was not given. But the Apostles were explicitly given authority to govern the Church by Christ Himself. And the Apostles themselves transferred this authority to other men by lying on of hands and consecration. The Mass is an integral part of this tangibly connected order of men directed by the Holy Ghost. It was instituted by Christ and taught by the Apostles and their successors. We can know they were directed by the Holy Ghost because they were commissioned by those in authority to become like those in authority, to whom Christ made His vows. To these men, Christ promised divine inspiration. I am interested to hear you opinion concerning the Mass; but be warned not to blaspheme the Holy Ghost.

    Do you believe you have the authority to bind and loose? If not, who does and by whose authority were they given this holy charism? Where did Calvin obtain the power to bind and loose?

    1. All (which means Father and Admin!),

      I will be going through these comments and editing out the “?” characters that were strangely inserted on all posts and comments when I transfered databases. This way the comment’s will be read with proper punctuation, and readers won’t think that commenters write with bad grammar!

  5. That’s a good idea! Respond with something no one can understand. It’s like the escaped prisoner who has some blood-hounds tracking him down. All he has to do is find some stream in order to throw those puppy dogs off the scent and he’s home free. “? characters” Indeed! 🙂

  6. When I edit comments, I want people to know that I’m not tinkering with their stuff. I had to remove some weird elements that were thrown into each comment. You didn’t notice because I had removed, them but they were difficult to read because the “?” marks were littered through every sentence.

    In terms of a response to Father’s response, that will be done on another post. This one is about Natural law and the Mass comments are off track, though worthy of a discussion.

  7. A closing comment about VanDrunen: I strongly suspect that he will be joining the Catholic Church. He’s reading the good old books and he thinks, more or less, clearly (to wit, his love of natural law). I’ve seen it before – he’s reading himself into the Church.

    Do you recall my simple wager? Anyone in the early Church or even anyone remotely ancient, (Calvin won’t do though I bet you two wouldn’t see eye to eye) who agree with you and your “solas.” If you can find anyone significant (heck, even if they’re insignificant!) who agrees with your view of the Christian faith from as little as 1000 years ago, I’ll convert to Reformed Christianity. Will you make the same wager? I doubt it, you know I can find millions who agree with me.

    I figure we can talk “solas” all day long but since the Holy Spirit is one, there is only one true “sola.” My soul’s hope is in the Catholic Church’s sola which naturally relegates your “sola” a solo show. Now, if you’re happy going “sola” solo and waiting for society to sync their “solas” in solidarity with your “sola,” then you’d better be prepared to wait for a long time.

    I for one don’t think it’s worth diddly to “stand alone on the Word of God.” Does God expect us to “stand alone?” Does the Bible tell us “stand alone” on it? My friend, this isn’t about opinions. “Sola Scriptura” is about private interpretation, individual opinion – it is the voice of Satan whispering, “Did God really say…?” After all and you know this is true, the Bible doesn’t promise that it can save; that is the purview of Holy Ghost. The saving Gospel has always been spread by word of mouth – the Church’s mouth. As the Psalm says, “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” The Holy Ghost is not limited to Scripture, but “sola Scriptura” is.

    At best, it is hypocrisy to profess a Christian faith via “sola Scriptura” while rejecting the Catholic Faith which gave and preserved the Scriptures.

    You claim to be Catholic. In what way is your faith Catholic!?! Do you follow the principle laid down by S Vincent of Lerins? Inquiring minds want to know.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15439b.htm

  8. Father…Father…Father…peace be still. Good, gentle, Priest, if priest thou art, calm thy furrowed visage, and list well to good counsel and sound wisdom, that all may be well with thy ruffled soul, and that thy nose, from which lofty height thou lookest down, may be put back into joint.

    It is good to speak with you again!

    At least, I think I am speaking to the same person that I began a conversation with some months ago on Admin’s old Blog, though I must admit that the conversation was rather one-sided as you did not seem to want to engage me. After reading your current posts, I think that I understand your timorousness, given that you fancy yourself a heirophant, a “bridge” into the unseen world, a master of “miracle, mystery, and authority, a..a…(the build up)…a…member of the Clergy, a wielder of Scriptural interpretive subtlety (was not the serpent “more subtle”) and nuance par excellence, a man who wears his phylacterial collar stiff…white…pure…that others may know their place…. Whist I am merely a member of the hoi polloi, unwashed, untrained and certainly not ordained by Babylon the Great, yet..yet.. game to oppose to the best of my feeble ability the pernicious, insidious, pompous, doctrines that have plagued the true Church of Christ since its inception, and have lead unto millions into spiritual darkness, thralldom, decrepitude, and ineffectiveness. My “authority”, in case you were wondering is found in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, but given the disdain for which you hold the Scriptures, I doubt that carries much weight. Nevertheless I press on. Will you lower yourself to engage me? I suspect that you don’t want to but I also know that your ego will not allow you to do otherwise.

    Parenthetically; Surely you understand that it is my desire in this exercise in redemptive tedium, to “separate the sin from the sinner.” By this I mean that, for all I know, you may be a very nice person. It is not therefore you, as a man for whom Christ died, I seek to punch a ragged hole in, but rather your inane doctrines, and other “knowledge falsely so-called.” But time and contest may prove that you are joined to your idols, in which case I am admonished to leave you alone. The Spirit will tell me when that is the case. In the meantime…..Let’s begin.

    Priest, if priest thou art and no renegade in search of merchandise….I will take your wager, so kindly offered to Admin in the post above, to wit: “If you can find anyone significant (heck, even if they’re insignificant!) who agrees with your view of the Christian faith from as little as 1000 years ago, I’ll convert to Reformed Christianity.” But I would modify the terms slightly in that I would not have you convert under such paltry terms, for that would mean that you held your “faith” in little esteem : Rather that you will retire from the field, never to grace the pages of this Blog again; that you will forswear to proffer again the verisimilitude of true Christianity under the simulacrum of the abomination you call the Mass and all its attendant illusions. ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. Do you agree to these terms?

    I thought not. You’re too heavily invested aren’t you? You’re on a mission aren’t you? You enjoy the exercise of a crackling good fight in the arena of religion, where you are strong and sure to win. You enjoy cowing the uninitiated by trying to prove from the “laws of the Medes and Persians” they know not what. You are a gladiator for Christ, aren’t you?. You like winning, don’t you? The thrill of the conquest, when someone bows before you and calls you “Father.” The sheer joy of commanding another human being on pain of hellfire all the while plying them with brandy and cigars and “conversation”, all the while “looking like the lily but being the serpent under it”. Good, gentle Priest.

    So I give back to you, “father” what was so callously and presumptively thrown at Admin albeit with slight modification.

    The two things I have found that keep people being Catholic and rejecting the grace of God are:
    1)Ignorance of Church history and Scripture.
    2)Personal wickedness, which conversion would bring to light.
    Since neither of these is your case. What’s the beef?

    I choose catagory number 1 for my opening and your consideration.

    “If it’s new, it’s not true: and if it’s true, it’s not new.”If it’s new, it’s not true: and if it’s true, it’s not new. These words are yours. It is a obvious logical fallacy to hold to this though I understand why this would hold appeal for you. But never mind that. I am not here to instruct in logic. Suffice it to say that it is one of your main weapons, shown by how often you draw it, in what I am sure will be a large armamentarium, that is, that the Catholic Church is primal in time…certainly older than the Reformation say or any other “embodiment”, Roman or otherwise…and is therefore to be held authoritatively in doctrine and practice. Is this your position? For the sake of argument, I will assume it is.

    Given that, I would ask you to read and comment on the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 15, verses 1-29. The occasion of the passage was the first Catholic Church Council held in Jerusalem under Christian dispensation about 50 A.D. It is the only record we have of this Council though it may be alluded to in Paul’s letter to the Galatians and elsewhere.

    Participants were Paul and his fellow evangelist Barnabas, along with “certain other” of them. Also present were “the Apostles and Elders”. We know from reading further that Peter, to whom Christ entrusted the “keys” to the Kingdom, upon whom He would build His Church, who was given the power to “loose and unloose”, and all that, was present, as well as James, and Silas, as well as “the whole Church” including “Apostles and elders, and brethern.” I would say this is a fairly authoritative body. Wouldn’t you? The question which they met to resolve was simply put, “must the Gentiles, become Jews to be saved?” The answer to that was thankfully…No! Paul was blessed by the Council to continue his ministry to the Gentiles, and Peter was to continue in his mission to Jews. The end of both ministries was conversion of as many people to Christ as possible.

    These things you know. But what intrigues me the most, particularly as it relates to your claims for your particular brand of Catholic Church is the addendum that was issued along with the proclamation “the Gentiles don’t have to become Jews” which stated that “they [gentiles] abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled and from BLOOD.” This proclamation was given to the “committee of style”, put into proper writing and was duly published for distribution to the churches to be carried by Judas and Silas who would “tell the same things by mouth”.

    It reads: For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: That you abstain from idols, and from BLOOD, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which, if you keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”

    My question then Priest, if thou be priest and not heretic, why, if Peter was present, as well as the rest of the Apostles, why did he, or they for that matter, not leap to the fore and stop the proceeding immediately by bringing to mind of the Assembled Catholic Church the commandment of Jesus Christ himself to “eat his flesh and drink his blood” given at the Sea of Tiberias some 20 years before? Why? If the command to “eat his flesh and drink his blood” was central to the Catholic Church for salvation from sin and the attainment of life eternal was there no mention of it in letters sent to all the Churches. In fact, why was the very practice of partaking of blood condemned and prohibited by the earliest record of the Catholic Church that we have?

    You claim “Apostolic Succession.” I don’t want to talk about that at the moment but it sure seems from the foregoing that the Apostles, not to mention the Holy Spirit sure missed the boat when it came to the central importance attached to the “eating flesh (human) and drinking blood (human) being left out, indeed condemned by the first Counsel in time of the Catholic Church.
    “If it’s new, it’s not true: and if it’s true, it’s not new”. I submit, dear misguided Priest, that it is your doctrine and practice that is new relative to the teaching of the very first Church Counsel of the Catholic Church assembled, all living Apostles present.

    I will end with this. The reason that Peter, and all the Apostles didn’t go bananas at the Counsel is because they understood, along with Peter, that Jesus’ teaching to “eat his body and drink his blood” were as He said it was…”The words that I speak unto you, (eat my flesh and drink my blood), they are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63. This can readily be seen by Peter’s response to this: “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” John 6:68. Peter, and the Apostles did not begin gnawing on Jesus body, but acknowledged that “we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

    Later, Jesus would announce a similar teaching in the Upper Room where he instituted and built upon his “spiritual and life giving words” teaching of “eating his flesh and drinking his blood.” This is found in Mt. 26:26-29, Mk. 14:22-25, Lk. 22:19-20. Notice that this was not a “hard saying, who can bear it” teaching for the disciples. They understood it to be a practice that they should undertake as a sacred memorial service. This is seen in the words of Jesus himself…:This (eat the bread) in remembrance of me etc. etc……….but I suspect that will be too big of a bite to swallow for you. Therefore I leave off.

    “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.”
    Why do you pervert the commandments of God for the traditions of men? I have reproved you, and would correct you, not to harm you, but to wake you up. In the Mass you have embraced a phantom, and are corrupting your mind from the “simplicity that is in Christ” and are in danger of promulgating “another Jesus, which we (The Apostles) have not preached, or ..”another spirit which we have not received, or another gospel which ye have not accepted.”

    There are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. This you know. I hope that you are not of these. If you are not, and are simply in error, then I will pray for you, instruct you, admonish you and help you.
    If you are of the former, then I oppose you. I have been blunt, perhaps even harsh, but I bear you no malice. If you are an “angel of light” then all I can say is “get thee behind me.”

    Please respond if you wish but not with the “burning in the bosom” thing or about the “beauty of the Mass.” I find beauty in truth and “truth comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Sola Scriptura, sola fides, sola gracia, and a whole bunch of other “solas”.

    Any errors in spelling, syntax, sentence construction etc. I freely admit being too tired to proofread. No disrespect intended.

  9. saepe expertus, why so contentious?

    You boldly declare “spirit” inferior to matter. Interesting, since God is pure spirit, and from That Spirit all matter comes. The Spirit is what is most real, hence my strong emphasis on it.

    You have a very novel view of the Acts of the Apostles. I suggest Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?…For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” The Mass is both true and beautiful: its very essence is the Word of God.

    You really seem to like titillating yourself with clever turns of phrase and silly jargon. Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve got better things to do than cut through your nonsense; so please, state your case without all the flourish – save it for your dog or something; I don’t have the time. This brief response deals with the actual substance of your comment.

  10. Father,
    Why so glum, chum? I thought you of more mettle than this given the impressive full court press displayed to Admin. Oh well. Perhaps you will still play despite the brush off. I know you want to. Admit it, you can’t help yourself. After all, you have plenty of time to compose multiple lengthy posts for Admin’s benefit ad nauseum. Why not for me? You may actually win a convert in me rather than having to “compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell …” Much more convenient for you.

    My contentiousness springs from that nasty “sola scriptura” thing which admonishes me to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once (for all) delivered unto the saints”. Jude 3. You see, you and I are talking about, I think, the “common salvation”. Empahsis on the word “common” i.e. there is one methodology laid out by Christ for a person to obtain salvation. I understand from your postings that you believe (boy do you believe) that the “Catholic” way, with the Sacramental System, including Priestcraft, the Mass, Confession, etc. etc. is the way of Salvation, and, dare I say it, the only way. On the other hand, I can find but scant evidence, if any at all, for any of the tenets or practices you claim central to your faith which you refer to as “pure Christianity” and would enforce against me and the rest of us on pain of hell. I call your faith a fabrication, a syncretic gobbledigook of human tradition and pagan practice, smeared with Christian terminology, and driven by the same motive that the Dread Spirit offered our Lord, “all the kingdoms of the world” if we will but worship it – Power and Control of your fellows (for their salvation of course).

    You say that I boldly declare that spirit is inferior to matter. I don’t know where I said that, but I will say this because Jesus Christ said it – “God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.” Yet your “truth” would have me grovel before you and your mighty power to “transubstantiate” bread and wine into the very flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. What? Are you bold enough to actually think you can control the Son of God, call Him down on to your “altar” and sacrifice Him there? That is beautiful? That is beautiful? That is blasphemy of the first order. The Son of God entered into the Tabernacle made with out hands, and, “after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” It’s done. Over. Finished. Nobody needs a Priest! Your entire religious raison d’etre is gone. How do you handle that? You don’t emphasize the spirit over matter. No way. You would have all sucking on a wafer that we can see and hold rather than worshiping God in spirit and truth.
    But you see the source of my contention. I would feel the same way if a thief and a robber were coming through my door. I contest your view because you are trying to enslave people for your own self-aggrandizement in the name of Him who came to set men free from those who would “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men”, those who would “bind heavy burdens and grievous to be born, and lay them on men’s shoulders but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Woe unto you Father…Woe unto you. You can repent.

    You say that I have a novel view of the Acts of the Apostles, throw me a proof text, and a personal testimony and then brush me off….but not quite…but not quite. Thank you. You then admonish me to state my case clearly. Very well. I will try again without the flourish and verbal self-titillation. My case is this:

    The earliest known recording of a general Catholic Church Counsel, attended by all of the Apostles living, plus other Christian
    theologians and illuminaries, including the man who would later, it is said, found the See of Rome, and is the first in line of Apostolic Succession along with the other Apostles, the man (men) who was (were) entrusted by Christ Himself with the proper transmission of Catholic Doctrine and practice, …that man….those men….failed, when the situation was perfect to do so, to pass on critical, crucial information to their congegrants and all mankind? Indeed why did they prohibit and disallow the practice of partaking in blood specifically? Why, if the Mass is integral to Catholic practice for salvation of the soul and the cosuming of blood (and flesh) both prohibited by Scripture,…I say again…why the disconnect? Why the incongruity? Surely it is the case that the Apostles are the most wicked of men to have knowingly sat on a blindingly brilliant “truth”, taught by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself that for salvation, “one must eat my flesh and drink my blood.” Yet they are silent, indeed dismissive and condemnatory of the very practice. Why? Perhaps it is the Jew thing again. Those pesky Jews. Jesus should not have entrusted the Gospel to them. He should have know that they would withhold it or try to sell it. But I digress.

    “If it’s new, it’s not true: and if it’s true, it’s not new.” Again, those are your words. You used them as a “clincher” to your post with Admin. I merely play turn about. If the “reformation” is newer than Catholic Doctrine, then I hold that the Council of Jerusalem preceeds, and indeed proscribes key elements of the “Catholic” faith and practice which came after it, and that the findings of the Counsel should judge some of the practices of the Catholic faith, specifically the Mass, as heretical and anathema. No blasphemy against the Holy Spirit intended.

    How answer you? If you don’t have time to answer, I will understand but then I will expect that your presence on this Blog will be scarce as well, busy that you are. Come to think of it, perhaps you do have special transubstantive powers. You managed to turn the “actual substance” of my comment into “clever turns of phrase and silly jargon” with a wave of your flourishing priestly intellect.

    I am sorry that you don’t wish to engage. I find your posts (up until the last one) brisk and stimulating. Pity.

  11. I’m not sure about the theological world, but Pappy always said, “Don’t stimulate your self, son.” You need a bulldozer to sort through this trash.

    For starters let’s look at his/her statement, “Nobody needs a Priest! ” Wouldn’t everyone agree that we need a Priest after the order of Melchisedek?

    Secondly, this guy/girl looks at a prohibition on blood from the Jerusalem Council and is just as offended at the Mass as certain men were at Jesus when he said they too must eat his flesh and drink his blood. The reaction Saepe Exaspero has to the Mass is telling.

    Thirdly and not lastly, what in the world is this guy smoking? He seems to think that the 1st council is the only one that counts. Why? Because it’s recorded in the bible, I guess. Does he even care what the other Councils had to say on such issues as, let’s say…the Canon?

    Saepe Eructo loves the applause of men. He’s done a parlor trick that is amusing to some, but any one who gave 1 hour to look at a Catholic Catechism would have to conclude that Saepe is either Jimmy Swaggart or Jack Chick. Quit reading that stuff.

  12. Holy crap, next time you puke on your keyboard, please grace some other unfortunate soul. I’ve heard your cock-n-bull “you can repent” bung before and unfortunately from my own lips once upon a time. Hey, do you know what they call it when you “stand alone on the word of God” and nobody else stands with you? Insanity.

    Struggle as you do to read the “Counsel of Jerusalem” in your favor (I believe you meant “council”), your opinion is mere novelty. No one in the ancient Church held your bizarre opinion that the use of the word “blood” in Acts xv.20 was speaking of the Blood of Christ (of the Church Fathers none of them interpret Scripture the way you do, their view is the Catholic Church’s view).

    Let’s take a look at Acts xv.20. Your view equates drinking the Blood of Christ with idolatry, fornication and eating strangled things. The passage clearly deals with pagan worship practices that are to be forbidden converted gentiles. Any sola Scriptura bloke should easily, hands-down, see that one. But then again sola blokes are also known for using special pleading when it serves their purpose. Your interpolation of Christ’s Blood into Acts xv.20 shows that you are not quite the “sola” freak you claim to be. In fact, it shows that you are a “saepe sola” freak but not semper! Another consideration for you, saepe sola, is that S John’s Gospel was written after the council. So, answer me this: Why would S John emphasize the words of Christ (i.e. eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood) if that very thing had been forbidden, or at least the drinking His Blood was but since He wasn’t strangled His flesh is still fair game, right?

    Yes, you are a blasphemer. God have mercy upon you as you “stand alone on the word of God.”

  13. Oooh. It looks as though I have aroused the “Father” and “the Son”, though I daresay not the Holy Spirit. Sticks and stones, sticks and stones. Who shall I deal with first? Batman or Robin? There is so much to eat here and so little time before beddyby. You know there is always two, the master and the apprentice. Do I have the relationship correct? It is important to me that I understand the hierarchy before responding. Who grovels and who leads? Since John, “the Son” declines to speak to me directly, but is wont to give moral support to “Father”, who is in rather a tough spot, then I must assume that “father” is the Master. “Son” John (I will just shorten it to S John) is therefore an apprentice, in an uncomfortable and embarrassing position of having to support his faltering master who has been reduced to whining, name-calling, and being the artful dodger. Although I do sense a certain ardent genuity about him that I find compelling in a novice. And being a novice, there is still hope that he might escape the clutches of his deluded and decidedly undressed master.

    I have seen this many times before, but particularly on the schoolyard where the masterful bully, struts and prates, the true “heavyweight”, the stud duck, throwing himself at all whom he perceives he can dominate by strength of arm or intellect. Naturally, he attracts, admirers, wannabes, a train of imitators, weaker than the bully. who are so enthralled with the “gifts” of the bully, that they become his heralds, his toadies, his sycophantic bootlicks, constantly cheering him on, fluffing his ego, eating his scraps, carrying his tray, submitting themselves to his every whim until…until…one day the bully finds himself in a position where he is facing a serious fight by someone who won’t put up with his abuse, and the prospect of defeat faces the bully and what do his pissant cheerleaders do?….”Go on…you can take this guy!….”You need a bulldozer to sort through this trash!”….”Quit reading that stuff!”…”He is just Jimmy Swaggart!”… “Go on, you can take him”…Can’t ya? Can’t Ya? Can’t…….ya? Is that what is happening here? If it is, then there is hope, for every bully meets his match, and when he does it is a glorious thing, and there is nothing like the look on the face of those set free from his influence. Think about it “Son”.

    I am tired now and am going to bed comforted by the thought that it has been a most gratifying day and warmed by anticipation of interacting with both of you further.

  14. saepe sola, you are the bully and the biggest trash talker I’ve yet run into on the blogosphere. You have written nothing of substance still you think you control the argument. Your questions are sophomoric, displaying only an abiding love of ignorance. You address my responses with insults, jeers and pissing contest come-ons. Like I said, save it for your dog.

    So, I’ll give you one more chance, young saepe solo; either make a substantial, reasonable, Biblically consistent point (no cock-n-bull) or, since you ignore the substance of my responses, I’ll ignore your ranting.

    It is noteworthy that your last post made absolutely no progress in the argument yet was comprised of more words than my previous post. I believe a most appropriate name for you to be Thrasymachus.

  15. Good morning “father”,
    Early riser. Excellent trait.
    We are enjoined by Scripture to always be thankful. So in keeping with the injunction and the season, I am thankful today for many things: I am grateful that you have not gone away. For you to do so would be most unfortunate because it would deprive me, a young seeker of the truth who has not yet fully attained, of the opportunity to sharpen himself against your considerable learning and experience. You see “father”, despite my seemingly harsh and combative tone I believe you to be an fearsomely intelligent man, clever and witty, well-read, determined, resourceful, and most probably a decent fellow. If I came on too strong in my last posts, it was because I find in what little experience that I have, that when confronting someone of your intellectual stature, in order to get their attention, it is best to lead with the right. Forgive me. Can we still reason together? Good!

    In that regard, I am grateful that you have given me “one more chance” to make a “substantial, reasonable, Biblically consistent point (no cock and bull)” and that I will cheerfully do, given that your request is about as close as I am likely to get to
    establishing common ground between us. It follows that if we are “Biblically consistent”, then substance and reason will surely be the fruit of our endeavor. Though I note with some amusement, that your suggestion runs dangerously close to “Sola Scriptura”. Just kidding.

    Finally, I am grateful for a new name. I thank you for the suggestion. I have modified your original suggestion which, as you know was the name of a Greek sophist, into what can more properly be called a motto, or nom de guerre if you will, and it is one that I will wear proudly.

    Finally, I am grateful for my family. As tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I intend to spend it with mine and will do everything that I can to avoid posting on this blog, devoting instead my attention to them. If you have a family, I hope you will do the same. I will return and the subject that I will want to talk about is the Mass.

  16. Aren’t you at all interested in admin’s posts? After all, the blog is about him, not me. I have taken up your arguments out of deep sense of duty, but it seem to me a crude breach of etiquette (faux pas, n’est pas?) for you to enter the milieu as it were a ramping and roaring lion, in medias res, without so much as due reverence to the hierarchy. The standard thing to do is address the original post; then if extended conversations develop it is between only those engaging parties. You have behaved like a child, butted in and charged all over the map in multiple posts without a care to protocol. In the real world, I would have beat the sh!t out of you and smiled all the while; but, alas, this is not the real world. I suspect you wouldn’t be quite such a d!ckhead in the real world either. Amazing what foul behaviors arise on the internet. Really, I’m not the big show here, I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger wandering through this world of woe – gittin’ ready to pass over Jerdon. Though perhaps, perhaps you have been enlisted, entreated, cajoled by admin to engage me? Is the joke on me? O dear, as they say in the mother tongue, “C’est la breaks.”

    A poem for you moral education:

    Wanne mine eyhnen misten,
    And mine heren sissen,
    And my nose coldet,
    And my tunge foldet,
    And my rude slaket,
    And mine lippes blaken,
    And my muth grennet,
    And my spotel rennet,
    And mine her riset,
    And mine herte griset,
    And mine honden bivien,
    And mine fet stivien–
    Al to late! al to late!
    Wanne the bere is ate gate.

    Thanne I schel flutte
    From bedde to flore,
    From flore to here,
    From here to bere,
    From bere to putte,
    And te putt fordut.
    Thanne lyd mine hus uppe mine nose.
    Of al this world ne give I it a pese!

  17. Well, I guess Saepe would have it that I’m either for Father or Saepe. There’s no alternative in Saepe’s mind. He’s the victim, Father’s the bully, therefore I’m the “Son” or apprentice of the bully until I own up to Saepe’s airtight arguments. With conditions like this, who can win?

    Category: Drama
    Starring: Saepe, Sally Fields, and the Olsen twins
    Plot: Thanksgiving at Saepe’s home

    Saepe: Come here my dear little ones!
    Ashley and Kate come running to Daddy’s arms.
    Ashley: Yes, Daddy?
    Kate: You called Daddy?

    Saepe: Your mother and I (Sally Fields enters) want you to know how much we love you! We also want to remind you that Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. Let’s all thank Jesus for the turkey, stuffing, and the great big chip on my shoulder.
    Ashley: What Daddy?
    Saepe: Oh the chip? Yes, uh I mean, verily, verily, without this chip on my shoulder, none of you would be here. We wouldn’t be living the good life if God hadn’t granted me this wonderful dent in my shoulder.
    Kate: Oh Daddy, I forgot that Thanksgiving, was so esoteric.
    Sally: Yes , children Daddy’s a real humble man, what with all the internet battles he’s involved in and his great suffering for truth’s sake.

    Saepe proceeds to wallow on the couch stuffing his gullet with rarified Thai peanuts, and all the children gather around to hear him tell about his pursuit of the truth (again) and how much he has suffered, due to the chip on his shoulder, “much like Bunyan,” he tells them. Saepe proceeds to the table where a large Turkey is prepared.

    Saepe: Oh wife! What wonderful provision is laid before us. Woe be it to us if we forget to be thankful for our blessings…

    A clamor arises. Fear is seen in the twins eyes’ and Sally cowers. Saepe, with furrowed brow, stares in disbelief at the turkey.

    Saepe: Blood! Blood! Ahh shit! The Jerusalem Counsel! We’re ruined! The Pope is coming!

    Saepe, the Olsen twins, and Sally all exit quickly. Sally hastily grabs her box of medications and picture of Burt Reynolds. They’re gone! The house starts to burn! Saepe in a heroic effort rescues his laptop.

    Final Scene: Saepe, with his family walks away in the Twilight down some county road as “Eye of the Tiger” plays.

    Happy Puritian Thanksgiving Saepe.

    1. LOL. Very entertaining. I don’t know that John Bunyan would like being used as a template by a raving and naive papist. But the shear creativity of your effort is unquestioned. I think I shall, in keeping with the lampooning of Rev. Bunyan’s characters assign you the name of “Pliable” and undertake a similar effort. But on second thought, I think not. For some reason the muse slumbers.

      As to the “Chip on my shoulder” I have already alluded to the fact that I have one, and here freely confess it, and moreover, that it was placed there by St. Jude (or is it S Jude) who admonishes me to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints.” (or is that the S’s?). It was in the discharge of my duties assigned by the venerated Brother of Christ that I sallied forth against you although my original target was “father”. You merely chimed in and so I thought worth fencing with you. Does that make me a saucy fellow? I am not disappointed in you as of this writing. You may even prove a worthy adversary given time and independent thought. What does disappoint me is that there is not a hundred papists on this post whose abstruse and subtle minds I may pick at my leisure.

      As to the “dent in my shoulder” I do but wear it as a stigmata, a holy scar, a sacred mark pressed into my flesh. For I daresay that I would rather sport it, and “be a fool for Christ” than have, as you do, my only spiritual recourse some thaumaturgic psychopomos and his magic rites and liturgical formulae to entrust my soul to. Honestly, I wish you Catholics would be more Roman in your outlook. What wrong with a little Scriptural Fides, Pietas, Gravitas, Virtus, Dignitas, etc.? You guys would rather be seduced by ritual and enthralled by the marvellous. Ah yes, the interplay between Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy.
      We can have correct and right action accompanied by correct and right belief.
      We can have a wrong action based on a correct or right belief.
      We can have a right action based on a wrong belief.
      We can have a wrong action based on a wrong belief.
      The Lord Jesus Christ was constantly dealing with his disciples over these very matters. And they performed or committed, if you will, all of them at one time or another.
      How are we to know?
      Revelation, reason, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit who, I understand will never lead us to do anything contrary to his Word. Scripture is central to the Christian’s Holy Epistemology, profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. I hold to Sola Scriptura and am “insane” and a “blasphemer” for the trouble. Apparently, you hold to Nola Scriptura. How do you keep from falling into the gross error found in the unaided “chamber of your mind”?
      I believe, therefore I have spoken.

  18. Good evening “father”,
    I have tried to compose several replies to your latest and erased them all. I must confess, I don’t know whether to duck or pucker. Honestly now – Have you been drinking? :<) You seemed to be like the Gadarene demoniac screaming damnation and blasphemy last night, now seated, clothed, and in his right mind. Amazing transformation…I think. You are a bit of an enigma, but I suspect you like it that way, and I am fine with that. We all have our foibles.

    Anecdotally, General George Patton, near the end of WWII, was at an informal dinner party with members of the Russian General Staff, his ostensible allies. When it came time to toast the event, Patton informed the Russian Interpreter to tell his General that, "I (Patton) do not care to drink with him or any other Russian son of a bitch." Stunned, then angered, the Russian General responded to Patton through the interpreter, "I think you are a son of a bitch too!" Patton laughed and said, "OK, I'll drink to that…from one son of a bitch to another." I kind of get the feeling that is where we are at in our Blogosphere relationship.

    Finally, I appreciate that you noticed that this is Admin's Blog. But do look where I have posted to his introduction of Pastor Weaver and "Why the South must rise again". I posted there well before I ever picked you up. I had been following "toward praxis" and posting on it for several weeks in its previous embodiment, but it went down for some reason for quite a while. I was going through my favorites the other day and tried the address on a lark. To my delight, it was up and going. On the old Blog I was locked in a controversy about a comparison between "Catholicism and Mormonism" with two people whose nom de plumes escape me. You were obviously one of them as you didn't deny it on my first blast. That said, Admin didn't "enlist, entreat, or cajole" me. I don't know why you would think that. He strikes me as a man who can stand on his own.

    As for what I said being a joke on you…..not hardly….I meant every freaking word I said :<)
    Thanks for the poem. Duly noted.

  19. Good evening to “Father” and “John”, the Dynamic Duo or should I say Darth Sidious and Darth Maul. :<)
    Well I am back, fit, well rested, and ready to proceed on "father's" "one more chance." To wit:

    "So, I’ll give you one more chance, young saepe solo; either make a substantial, reasonable, Biblically consistent point (no cock-n-bull) or, since you ignore the substance of my responses, I’ll ignore your ranting."

    This presupposes that you are ready to engage on a more even keel and not engage in so much Ad Hominem and threats of violence which, frankly, I find frightening. Its almost like a precursor to a Inquisatorial auto da fe with me as the fuel.

    A few ground rules if you please before we proceed to put flesh on the "chance".
    1. My Sensei says that when in conflict with more than one opponent, is is wise to take on the biggest first. I accept that fact and so would, without any disrespect intended, and based solely on my reading of the individual postings from both of you, would like to direct my comments as though they were to a single individual. I suspect that you are both "hand in glove" in terms of doctrine and practice, and so will, leave off, for logistical and heuristic purposes, the necessity of having to fight a two front war. Is that amenable?
    2. May we please leave off with correcting each others spelling, syntax, sentence structure, grammar, etc. etc. I won't if you will stop. It is a waste of time and counterproductive. I understand why it is done, but these ruminations are not term papers.
    3. May we please exhaust one subject before moving on to another? Thank you.
    4. I am not a trained logician and don't pretend to be but I appreciate it when it is used, particularly when one of the legs that my "one chance" rests upon is that it is "reasonable". It is in reason that we most resemble our Creator and since He enjoins us to "Reason together" on the basis of Logos, perhaps we can as well.

    That all I can think of at the moment in terms of housekeeping.
    Now to catch up. On 11/24/09 I wrote:

    “If it’s new, it’s not true: and if it’s true, it’s not new.” This is a quote of a quote from you "father". You were using that as a club with which to hit Admin vis-a-vis his Reformed Position, a position for which I have some considerable sympathy, and it was the catalyst of my subsequent vitriol. You linked that asserted position with the fact that you hold the faith and practice of the Catholic Church, (at least this is what I perceive you believe), and so put these words into your mouth – "the Catholic Church is primal in time…certainly older than the Reformation say or any other “embodiment” [of Christian doctrine and practice], Roman or otherwise…and is therefore to be held authoritatively in doctrine and practice. " (Brackets are mine and added for clarity).
    Is this your still your position?
    I then went on to talk specifically about the practice of the Mass which, unless I am wrong, is central to the practice of your faith. I then rejected the Mass as un-Christian for three reasons: The Scriptures do not support it exigetically, there is no Apostolic support for it, indeed the ingestion of blood is prohibited, and lastly, the Mass is an offense against reason and a prime example of poor eisegesis (or isogesis as you wish).

    Your reaction to these substantive points was to be arrogant, dismissive, and ultimately derisory and unbalanced. I refer of course to your posting given at 11:01 11/24/09.

    It is to that posting that I must turn for a few moments in the interest of promoting reason and logic and laying a foundation for further discussion.
    You said that I was "insane." Ad Hominem. Off limits. Attacking me rather than my argument will do no good in vindicating your position.

    You said that my "Opinion was mere novelty." Appeal to novelty is a fallacious argument. You are basically saying that Catholicism is new(er) than the Reformation. Therefore Catholicism is true. The opposite is also an error: Catholicism is older or traditional than "Reformed" Protestantism. Therefore Catholicism is correct or better than "Reformed" Protestantism.

    You said that, "No one in the ancient Church held (my) bizarre opinion that the use of the word "blood" in Acts xv.20 was speaking of the Blood of Christ. Straw Man Argument. I merely pointed out that that the First Authoritative Catholic Church Council in Jerusalem with all of the Apostles and notables assembled prohibited the ingestion of blood. Do you wish to dispute that they did?
    I also pointed out that Peter, who, if we are to believe Catholic Sources, had been Bishop of Rome for some 15 years, and who returned to Jerusalem for his crucial input to the Council, had absolutely nothing to say in contravention to the Council's Prohibitions nor did he defend the Mass, which must have had to be present from the first in the Primitive Church if your confidence in it as a sacrament is correct.

    Also, your assertion that "No one in the ancient Church held (my) bizarre opinion…. is a fallacious argument based on an appeal to popularity, or an appeal to tradition. Most authorities believe the Mass is true. Therefore the Mass is true.
    While it may be true that "no one in the Ancient Church held (my) bizarre opinion", it is also true that no one in the ancient Church held to the Doctrine of the Mass as practiced by the Catholic Church today. That tells me that the doctrine has evolved over a long period of time.

    Even if what you assert is true, and the practice of the Mass was coeval, congruent and ubiquitous with primitive Christianity, it doesn't follow that the practice of the Mass is true or correct. The essence of the fallacy is the Appeal to Common Practice i.e. X is a common action. Therefore X is correct. Pius VI (I think) authorized Tetzel to sell indulgences to build St. Peter's Basilica. They were very popular but were they true and correct?

    Final points and I must away.

    You say, "Your (my) view equates drinking of The Blood of Christ (in the Catholic Eucharist presumably ) with idolatry, etc. etc. I don't think I said that expressly but if the shoe fits…..You then went on to say that "The passage clearly deals with pagan worship practices"…and yes, I think you make my point nicely. The Eucharist as practiced by the Catholic Church is based upon the hemophagic and omophagic practices that were ubiquitous in the liturgies of the many oriental religions and cults that permeated, and ultimately displaced the old Latin and Celtic pagan systems and which were absorbed into the Church with its elevation as the Official Religion of the Roman Empire.

    And to thrust home: The burden of proof is on you. You claim as a Catholic, that the Mass is coeval with the foundation of Christianity and, indeed is the very cornerstone of it laid from its inception. You press the claims of the Mass as primitive and supreme. You have attacked the tenets of "Reformed Theology" (Calvin, for who's learning I have the deepest regard) and the "Lutheran" Reformation as damnable heresy. Prove to me, from any source that you choose, sacred or secular, that the Mass as it is currently practiced by the Catholic Church existed at anytime during the period of time say from the death of Christ (A.D. 33) to say, the Destruction of the Jewish Temple in A.D. 70. That shouldn't be too hard. I have looked myself and can find nothing but no doubt I am looking in the wrong places. You have more resources than I. No fair using the Bible. The Mass had supposedly been being used as a common practice decades (Century?) before the Canon was closed.

    You write, "Yes, you are a blasphemer." Ad Hominem. :<)

    I hope what I have written is reasonable and substantial.

  20. I’m out. I’m almost 99% sure who Saepe is. He won’t listen, and won’t convert. I apologize Saepe, for my satirical rant and disrespect, if my suspicions are true. He certainly isn’t married to Sally Fields or the father of the Olsen twins. It’s easy to punch a bag (anonymous bloggers), but not someone you know. Father, feel free to proceed, but I have some real qualms about engaging with him. Saepe, I hope you’re not who I think you are. At any rate I won’t reveal who you are, so that you can proceed in your arguments with Father. By the same token Father, I have a bond with this guy like you wouldn’t believe, so for my sake-proceed with kindness (if you care to proceed.) He won’t listen.

  21. I said:
    Hey, do you know what they call it when you “stand alone on the word of God” and nobody else stands with you? Insanity.

    You responded:
    You said that I was “insane.” Ad Hominem. Off limits.

    Thank you for making my point. I didn’t call you insane, but you have appropriated the charcter. So sorry.

    You are a Church of one. No one else agrees with you, yet you think you are right. What a shame.

    Here’s an little syllogism to illustrate my point:

    Some who talk to God are insane.
    Most to whom God “talks” are insane.
    Therefore, more than most who say God “talks” when they talk are insane (and are nicknamed Pierrot Lunaire).

    Thrasymakhos, what you need is a little kitty-cat to love.

  22. Good evening “father”
    I think what you are saying is that we are finished. Thank you for the time that you have given me over the last few days. Out of all the postings that have transpired between us, I find the most intriguing one is #13 wherein you write:

    ” I’ve heard your cock-n-bull “you can repent” bung before and unfortunately from my own lips once upon a time. Hey, do you know what they call it when you “stand alone on the word of God” and nobody else stands with you? Insanity.

    What do you mean by that? There is obviously a great deal of unspoken personal bitterness built into that short set of phrases. Was there a time when you stood alone on the Word of God and nobody stood with you? Or everybody stood against you? Were you accused of being insane for a stand you took? Are you angry with God for some reason?

    At any rate, I sincerely wish you would have been able to explain your position and answer my question, not for the reason that it is “my question” but to clarify your beliefs.

  23. Saepe. Yesterday, I was sure I knew who you were but 1 phone call cleared that up. Yet again I owe you an apology. Thinking to have perceived some clues within your posts I was pleasantly suprised to find out you are not who I thought you were. Hmm? The clues are still there, but I’m baffled as to your identity. This changes you back to an anonymous as far as I’m concerned. I’m not sure why I’m so interested in what is on these pages, but I thought a little bit about your ground rules for discussion:

    “1. My Sensei says that when in conflict with more than one opponent, is is wise to take on the biggest first. I accept that fact and so would, without any disrespect intended, and based solely on my reading of the individual postings from both of you, would like to direct my comments as though they were to a single individual. I suspect that you are both “hand in glove” in terms of doctrine and practice, and so will, leave off, for logistical and heuristic purposes, the necessity of having to fight a two front war. Is that amenable?
    2. May we please leave off with correcting each others spelling, syntax, sentence structure, grammar, etc. etc. I won’t if you will stop. It is a waste of time and counterproductive. I understand why it is done, but these ruminations are not term papers.
    3. May we please exhaust one subject before moving on to another? Thank you.
    4. I am not a trained logician and don’t pretend to be but I appreciate it when it is used, particularly when one of the legs that my “one chance” rests upon is that it is “reasonable”. It is in reason that we most resemble our Creator and since He enjoins us to “Reason together” on the basis of Logos, perhaps we can as well.”

    This is gracious of you, and I’ll adopt it wholeheartedly, if you have not grown weary of more discussion. I, for one, would appreciate some “room to breath on things like grammar and sentence structure. Like I said, in another post, it’s easy to punch a bag but not someone you know. I’m fairly certain, you might be privy to some of us on this blog, but even if you aren’t I owe it to you to be civil. I will assume you are proceeding in good faith, though I see the Devil in your details. I’m sorry to have posted my suspicions. Sorry, to interupt the flow of discourse. Admin, don’t kick me off yet.

  24. Good evening “John”, “Admin”, “father?” and all interested parties if any.
    Hmmm. I must admit I wasn’t quite sure how to respond, to say the least, to the latest posts from “John”. I got the message very clearly that I had struck a melancholy chord but I didn’t recognize the key. I chalked the sour notes and attendant suspicions up to the time of the posts. Don’t you guys ever sleep?
    No apologies are necessary or desired. Good? Good.
    That said, I am not weary at all of the discussion. I like robust debate. I tend to be Socratic in my approach and what you have seen of my postings is not my preferred mode of interaction in terms of tone. Come to think of it, Socrates was executed for his approach to philosophical issues in that he was perceived as an annoying ass and “gadfly” – The Athenians couldn’t stand anymore of his prodding. That may account for your irritation with me. I guess it is that anonomous “punching bag” thing. I came on strong at first, but only to….well let’s just say I was stirred up.
    I will stick to the rules as they seem to be simple and easy to entreat. I will probably fail from time to time and so invite your correction when and where appropriate.
    So where do we begin? I don’t know if “father” wants to participate anymore. I laid out in my last post to him (and John) what I thought was in accordance with his (“father’s”)request and attendant warning – “So, I’ll give you one more chance, young saepe solo; either make a substantial, reasonable, Biblically consistent point (no cock-n-bull) or, since you ignore the substance of my responses, I’ll ignore your ranting.” That I tried to do. Maybe I am being too verbose or obtuse. I would still like an answer to my question, that question being linked to a wager the “father” proposed to “Admin” (it seems so long ago), to wit:
    “If you can find anyone significant (heck, even if they’re insignificant!) who agrees with your view of the Christian faith from as little as 1000 years ago, I’ll convert to Reformed Christianity.” This wager was supported by “father’s” reliance upon the assertion that,” If it’s new, it’s not true: and if it’s true, it’s not new.” I tried in my last post to show that this is fallacious in virtually any area of endeavor that you can think of. And I said that I didn’t want the “Father” to convert on that basis – I just wanted him to engage. He has decline to do so unless I am misreading him.

    I then………you know what…..If you like the Mass and find deep, rich meaning in it, I am fine with that (not really, but really, I’m fine with that). One group of people like and emphasize orthopraxy. James talks much about this. The other group of people emphasize orthodoxy. Who am I to judge between them? It is just when some organization purporting to be “The Catholic Church” tells me that I am not saved because I see no soteriological significance in the Mass and other rituals , and that I am outside a sacramental system…etc. etc. and that I, or anyone else should convert to avoid eternal damnation then the “burden of Proof” is on the organization and some learned (or unlearned for that matter)member of it to prove to me by Scripture and reason that it is correct without threatening to burn me or whip my ass. Is that too much to ask? :<)

    That said, if no answer to these questions are forthcoming then perhaps we could and should talk about something else. If you don't want to talk about the Mass, then maybe…. global warming? The Deficit? Michelle Obama's "well-sculpted" arms? Keynesian Economics vs. the Chicago School?. Quantum Mechanics? Bookbinding for beginners? How many angels can dance on Al Gore's head? Suggestions?

  25. “Are you angry with God for some reason?”

    No, no anger with God at all! only towards folk like yourself whose solas morph when their opponent has them on the ropes; claiming never to have said “such and such” or “you’re misunderstanding me.” I was once one of you, a solitary sola-idian. I learned first-hand that they are first-order hypocrites. There is no ultimate truth for folk such as yourself; only vain, puffed-up oppinion of one’s intellect. You have no definitive statement of faith other than your Bible which puts you in the same camp with Universalists, Mormons, Congregationalists, JWs, 7th dayers, Charass-maniacs, Jews, Evangelicals, Munster Anabaptists, Calvinists, One-ness Pentocostals, Lutherans, Mennonites, Knockians, etc. etc. No, I have no anger with God. I love God because He is what He is and I intreat His mercy and guidance every day, taking up my cross and following Him. Give me that old time religion – the Faith of the Fathers – the Mass of the Fathers – an ancient, true and discernable tradition. What does make me angry is blasphemy and your ever-being-revealed-but-sola-to-the-core religion.

    ————————-

    “At any rate, I sincerely wish you would have been able to explain your position and answer my question, not for the reason that it is “my question” but to clarify your beliefs.”

    Sincerely!?! I did explain my position. I did answer your question(s). I don’t need to clarify my beliefs; the Catholic Church (i.e. the spotless Bride of Christ) clarifies them for me. The crucible of my faith is the Catholic Church (which is, by the way, Scripture and Tradition which is, after all, what the Bible says the Church should be). Your crucible is whatever you sola-intuit from the Bible. Certainly, you are free to damn your own soul. Don’t be surprised, God will give you what you want. Since you want to “have it your way,” you can have it your way “standing alone on the Word of God.” Anyway, should I lose my mind and become a sola-idian; would I chose a guide such as you? You are condescending, insulting, rude and misinterpret the plain meaning of Scripture (c.f. Acts xv above). Your “sola” is “so-dumb.” Thanks, but no thanks.

    Ten bucks says that you are angry with God which explains your legalistic use of Scripture. So go ahead, keep shoving the Bible in God’s face and see where it gets you.

  26. Good evening “father”
    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my postings. I know that you must be a busy man, and am therefore very appreciative of your time and effort. If you will but bear with me:
    You write that: My “solas morph.” Would you please explain what that means?

    Since you and I share a common background in that you “once were” and “I am” solitary “sola-idian”‘s, what exactly is the definition of that term. I have never heard it before.
    And more interesting to me from the stand point of your humanity, how did you come to learn that they (sola-idians) are “first order hypocrites.” What conduct on their part illustrated their hypocrisy to you?

    You are correct in that I have no “definitive statement of faith other than the Bible”. I shoud have thought that was apparant. Some of the organizations that you cite do indeed have other, some numerous other, statements and testaments of their faith. But I will not quibble there. Catholics certainly do have other “definitive statements” most notably “Sacred Tradition” from which they draw, and I submit that most of our disagreement stems from that development. Cast that gently aside, and let us discuss only issues from Holy Scripture.

    You ask me to give you “that old time religion-the Faith of the Fathers – the Mass of the Fathers – and ancient, true and discernable tradition”. I will, after begging for giveness from the Virgin Mary, all the Saints, and you, and upon being resolved of my mortal sin thereof receive the Mass at your hand as a communicant of the Catholic Church in good standing If…if…you can prove to me from reason or Holy Scripture that the Mass, as it is practiced today is indeed coeval with the foundations of the primitive Christian Church. That is it.

    ________________________________________________________
    You write that you “don’t need to clarify your beliefs; the Catholic Church…..clarifies them for (you).” May I ask one thing?….
    Do you have a father-confessor? Who keeps you in line. Are you a Parish Priest? Higher? Do you realize how spiritually dangerous it is for you to have someone else clarity your beliefs for you? Do you know how unhealthful it is to dodge the responsiblity of rumination, assimilation, meditation on God’s word, the Scripture. Or do you seek solace in Sacred Tradition only. Sola Tradition? Interesting concept. Please tell me about it. What spiritual exercises do you practice. St. Ignatius? St. Anselm? St. Bernard of Clairvoux? Or are you a Catholic sola-idian? Be honest.

    “Father” – you are right about me. I am a condescending, insulting, rude, insane, fool, and sinner. The only thing that I can claim is I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I have not sinned against you as a priest, for that is impossible, but I believe that I have sinned against you as a man, a man for whom Christ died. A man, who, if turned in repentance from idolatry and self-worship would be a powerful follower of Christ and of great use to His Kingdom. I have hurt you, by “brashly trampling dignities and smear(ing) filth on the holiest of holies” that form a precious thing for you. And I would not blame you in the slightest if you didn’t choose me as a guide for I am hateful to you now having told you the truth. But for pities sake, turn from the things you now profess, unto the sure Guide that animates the Holy Scripture. Your office has been superceeded by Another, who entered into the Holy of Holies, with His Own Blood, and once and for all made peace with God on behalf of all men and invites them to come to Him that they might have life. The rites and rituals are finished. The veil is torn. The is only one Mediator between God and man. One heirophant par excellence – Christ Jesus the Lord. I am happy to discuss this with you further if you wish.

  27. (either the hierarchy, viz, “holy men of God…moved by the Holy Ghost”) or the prophecy of Scripture. While the Scriptures are infallible your understanding of the Scriptures is fallible. The Church is the only safeguard for infallible interpretation of Scripture. Either you are with God’s Church or you “stand alone on the Word of God” — alone in the sense that not even God stands with you.

    I have sent a PDF to Admin’s email of a pamphlet (80 pages) entitled “The Mass Presented to Non-Catholics” by Fr. John P. McGuire, 1944, Bruce Publishing. I’m not sure if he can or will want to post it on his site but it provides sufficient answer to you wager. I hope it convinces you to at least search further “whether those things were so.”

    The Mass Presented to Non-Catholics: Fr.McGuire

  28. “Another, who entered into the Holy of Holies, with His Own Blood, and once and for all made peace with God on behalf of all men and invites them to come to Him that they might have life. The rites and rituals are finished. The veil is torn. The is only one Mediator between God and man. One heirophant par excellence – Christ Jesus the Lord.”

    Yes, this is very true. Christ has ascended on high and received gifts for men. O, taste and see how gracious the Lord is. Christ is the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, King of Salem, who offered bread and wine to the Most High God. From this you should not presume that “Your office has been superceeded by Another.” Am I an Aaronic priest? No. Only the Aaronic priesthood has been superseded. I am a priest after the order of Christ/ Melchizedek – a Catholic/Christian priest. A Catholic priest is not the acting agent at the Mass, Christ is; it is His banquet, His celebration at which He makes His Body and Blood to be food for His people. God has always provided food for His people. And God has always required worship from His people, sacrificial worship; Christ, the Lamb slain before the foundations of the world, is that sacrifice. And since God would save the whole of man, He provides food for the whole of man – spiritual food that will, at His appearing, change our vile bodies into glorious spiritual bodies of flesh and bone that, though spiritual, can be handled and can consume food and drink.

    God gave the Israelites Angels food to eat – though Angles are pure spirit it was real, nourishing food. Christ said that He is that bread that came down from heaven.

    “Do you have a father-confessor?”

    I do make sacramental confession to other priests.

    “Who keeps you in line?”

    I keep me in line. But to do so the Church through her Scriptures and traditions provides me with the ways and means of doing so.

    “Are you a Parish Priest? Higher?”

    I am a secular priest, who is at present non-parochial.

    “Do you realize how spiritually dangerous it is for you to have someone else clarity your beliefs for you?”

    I suggest you re-think this question; O thou man who desires to clarify my beliefs for me.

    “Do you know how unhealthful it is to dodge the responsibility of rumination, assimilation, meditation on God’s word, the Scripture.”

    Cows ruminate. The Borg assimilates. It is healthful to meditate on Scripture but not in the vacuum of one’s own mind. The holy Scriptures belong to the Church so they must be, if they are to be properly understood and applied, meditated upon in accord with her principles. I have asked Admin this question regarding Scripture and its interpretation: Are we to presume that the Church that gave us the Bible didn’t understand what it meant, how the Scriptures were to be interpreted? I know Calvinists/Reformeds believe the Mass to be blasphemous idolatry because of their “sola Scriptura” ways. But are unable to reconcile the fact that the men who preserved and canonized the Scriptures worshiped God IN THE MASS! It is impossible to think that these men (who, by the way, knew a lot more about Scripture than we will collectively ever know) misunderstood Scripture. The arrogance of such a belief is astounding. This is the hubris of the Calvinist/Reformed movement.

    Which brings us back to your statement: “Do you realize how spiritually dangerous it is for you to have someone else clarity your beliefs for you?” Do you understand the error in you judgement that you would even think that such a question has validity when presented by a person such as yourself who would clarify, guide me; but into what? You don’t even understand where the Bible you so trust came from.

    It came from the Catholic Church. Men who celebrated the Mass canonized the Scriptures. Men who celebrated Mass preserved the Scriptures. Men who celebrated Mass, canonized the Scriptures, preserved the Scriptures did so because they were maintaining the holy traditions of the Church which are still the sole purview of the Catholic Church.

    “I have hurt you, by “brashly trampling dignities and smear(ing) filth on the holiest of holies” that form a precious thing for you.”

    No, you have hurt yourself.

    “What spiritual exercises do you practice. St. Ignatius? St. Anselm? St. Bernard of Clairvoux? Or are you a Catholic sola-idian? Be honest.”

    In all honesty, you don’t even know what you’re talking about except the “Catholic sola-idian” part. It makes sense to be only, completely, absolutely Catholic. My tradition is Catholic which tradition contains the Scripture among other things including the Mass. As S Paul said: “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Chris, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night an day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make oursleves an ensample unto you to follow us” II Thes. iii.6ff. The NT is full of other examples such as this where “tradition” is recommended as THE spiritual guide.

    ——————

    As for: “that the Mass, as it is practiced today is indeed coeval with the foundations of the primitive Christian Church. That is it.” This is a canard. For the Mass was not intended to exist “coeval.” The Mass being ordained and inspired through Scripture is also part of the living tradition of the Church. It is akin to Christ’s command to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Christ said “do it” but He didn’t say HOW, but He entrusted the HOW, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, to the Apostles and their (by the Apostle’s command) successors (c.f. Timothy, Titus). I know it is difficult for someone like yourself, who are outside the Church, to accept because it reduces your individual opinion to rot. But this is what the Scripture says and how it has always been interpreted by the Church. She and she alone decides the HOW the ordinances of Christ ought to be executed.

    “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” II Peter i.20-1. In other words, prophecy and its interpretation are both reserved for the “holy men of God…moved by the Holy Ghost” and not by any Tom, Dick and Harry with a Bible and corn cob up their ass. There has always been and will always be an observable hierarchy within Christ’s Church. Protestants have no claim whatsoever to either the hierarchy, viz. “holy men of God…moved by the Holy Ghost.”

  29. “Father”
    Thank you for your gracious reply. Very interesting points. I have several meetings today (post Thanksgiving duties) and so will be unable to reply in the depth that I want to at this moment. Perhaps later this afternoon or this evening.
    Respectfully

  30. “Father”
    Are you a ROMAN Catholic Priest?
    “A Catholic priest is not the acting agent at the Mass, Christ is.” A Roman Catholic Priest would not say that. The joke may be on me in that I have been shadow boxing with a totally different species. Please let me know what, if not Roman Catholic, you are. The Pamphlet is hard to…..I haven’t finished reading it so I will withhold judgment.

  31. 1. God is the cause of the sacraments, and of their effect on the soul of the recipient. The person who administers a sacrament is God’s instrument. God is the principal cause; the minister is the instrumental cause of the sacraments. Now, the interior effect of a sacrament comes from the principal cause alone.
    2. God alone can cause the justification of the soul by grace. Such justification is the inward effect of the sacraments. Therefore, since only God can give to sacraments their justifying or grace-conferring power, God alone can institute a sacrament.
    3. Christ, as God, as exercising his divine power, instituted the seven sacraments of the New Law. Yet Christ as man has authority over the sacraments, and is their most excellent minister.
    4. Christ can impart to his priests the authority and excellence which he has in respect to the sacraments.
    5. The validity of a sacrament conferred, does not depend upon the worthiness of him who administers it. The instrument cannot change the essence of what is done by the principal cause. Water is water, whether it flow through a pipe of gold or a pipe of lead. Hence, even an evil minister can validly confer a sacrament.
    6. But a wicked person who administers a sacrament does wrong. He commits a sin of irreverence which, in its essential general kind or genus, is a mortal sin. It is called a sin of sacrilege.
    7. The whole power of the sacraments comes from Christ’s Passion which belongs to him as man, even though this power is not imparted to the sacramental signs except by Christ as God, who imparts this power in instituting the sacraments. Since Christ’s suffering and death as man are the source of sacramental power, it belongs to men, rather than to angels, to administer sacraments. Yet God could give this power to angels.

    The preceding is from S Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica Book III, q.64) he was a Roman Catholic priest. His points justify my truncated saying: “A Catholic priest is not the acting agent at the Mass, Christ is.” A RC priest who says something otherwise is an heretic. I stand with S Thomas as do the vast majority of priests, Roman, Orthodox and (orthodox) Anglican.

    I am a priest in the communion of the TAC. You can look us up here: http://acahomeorg0.web701.discountasp.net/tac/tac_index.aspx

    The USA jurisdiction is here: http://acahomeorg0.web701.discountasp.net/

    I’m very glad you are reading Fr. McGuire’s pamphlet. Thank you for the indulgence. The most apropos parts (to our conversation) can be found in the first several pages.

  32. Good evening “Father” and “John”,
    I have read McQuire’s Pamphlet in its entirety. I have perused the Websites you have forwarded to me. The banner of one of them
    http://acahomeorg0.web701.discountasp.net/tac/tac_index.aspx
    is that….
    “We strive to faithfully carry the catholic message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world which desperately needs it, and to preserve the “faith once delivered to the saints” in its Anglican form as the true and valid expression of that message.”

    I presume that “the true and valid expression of (Jesus Christ’s) message” is the Mass.

    The Banner of the other
    http://acahomeorg0.web701.discountasp.net/
    is that:

    “All of our parishes and missions are orthodox and sacramental, continuing in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles and in the breaking of bread, which was established by Christ as the design for the life of the Church. As faithful stewards of the Catholic Faith in the Anglican tradition, our teaching and practice is based solely on the Holy Bible as interpreted by the universally accepted Ecumenical Councils held by the whole Christian Church before any divisions took place; and the traditional Book of Common Prayer, which demonstrates both our Catholic Faith and Evangelical witness.
    Indeed the best way to understand our faith and practice is to take a Bible, a copy of the historic Book of Common Prayer, and come and worship with us. The center of our worship is the Holy Eucharist, also called Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper, and the Divine Liturgy. It is the only service recorded in the New Testament as having been given us by Christ himself. You will find that our liturgical worship involves the whole person – body, mind, and spirit, allowing us to be active participants rather than mere listeners.”

    So, can I assume, for the sake of observation and argument that the Anglican-Catholic Mass is ESSENTIALLY the same as the Roman Catholic Mass in its Canon, if that is the right word; such that I may correctly make pertinent comments about their Mass and have them essentially true for your Mass and vise versa ? As a “protestant” I have no particular hierarchy, other than the local “Pastor” to consult, if needed on matters of faith, but it looks as though TAC is getting ready to be assimilated, (borg like) back into Rome, and under Papal Authority (“Ut Unum Sint”). Given this from the Primate, “Now the Holy See challenges us to seek in the specific structures that are now available the “full, visible unity, especially Eucharistic communion”, for which we have long prayed and about which we have long dreamed. That process will begin at once.”

    My time is limited, and I want to respond, but not to find out that…whoa…I have been talking about a different animal altogether and my observations are invalid or incorrect as they relate to the Mass. The practice of the Mass is indeed “marvelous” and “mystical” and I don’t want to see my work disappear altogether under the observation that because “that is the way that THEY do it” it does not apply to TAC. In other words, I don’t want a “moving target”. So is there, if necessary, a similar document that deals with only the TAC’s version of the Mass?

    In other words, (gee this is hard) if you found yourself in need of a Mass, would the Roman one do at this point? Could an Orthodox Mass substitute? Or is an Anglo-Catholic Mass the only one that will have the proper effect. Is there… interchangeability? at this moment. I know these are foolish and possibly profane questions but you see my dilemma. McGuire is talking specifically about the ROMAN Mass. I have much to say about the ROMAN Mass but if it doesn’t apply to TAC Mass then I am wasting both our times. And to compound the difficulty, I think from my ancillary studies (I am sure that I may be wrong) that Rome doesn’t accept your Ordination as valid. Does the TAC accept theirs? If “Ut Unum Sint” goes through will you become a Roman Catholic Priest? Will you have a Parish? I am sure that you have, or are thinking of all this stuff.

    Perhaps that is what you meant when you wrote previously “The most apropos parts (to our conversation) can be found in the first several pages.” I was so intrigued by what I was reading that I read the whole thing. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.

    At any rate, would you please take a few moments and let me know how to proceed with my comments? Specifically, to “what” am I addressing them. There seems to be at this moment in time, just like McGuire says that there was in the early Church, multiple Masses of a variegated and evolving nature depending on where on lived geographically. Without getting too technical, which one is correct? Whose Consecratory prayer works best at this moment, given that Prayer must be delivered, according to McGuire, absolutely correctly, in order to offer a “valid” and pure victim. Again, I am sorry to be tedious in this but it sure seems that there is a lot of disunity and speculation surrounding a rite that claims absolute unity, applicability and universality.

    McGuire is not bashful at all about saying that the Roman Mass is an Rite that has evolved over time, with some things being added, and other things being taken out, although he does say that the “canon” is immutable and has been around since the 3rd Century and “must have been” or “probably was” the same Rite that Jesus Christ instituted as the “Last Supper”. He also claims the we “probably” have the exact consecratory prayer that Jesus spoke over the elements. I guess that the “must have been’s” and the “probably were’s” is part of the “Sacred Tradition”. Is that your understanding?

    What I do think is true, and what I do think you would agree, whether ROMAN, TAC, or Orthodox, The Mass is the central event in them all, differences notwithstanding. Each of these organizations if founded firmly upon it. So if you give me the word I am ready to comment on the Mass as outlined by McGuire.

    Thank you for your time in this matter.

  33. Good afternoon “father” and, if he wish, “John”
    I appreciate all of the learning materials that you have sent me. I have availed myself of them, and have looked at many other purely Catholic Sources as well. I have learned much and am grateful for the learning opportunity. This by no means makes me an expert, but I feel confident enough to proceed with a fairly intelligent and informed discussion.
    I had intended to work up an opus magnus as it were in my responses, but, at the last hour thought the better of it. It is not that I doubt that any words of mine will change anybody’s mind; on the contrary it is my prayer that the issues I raise will be carefully considered on your part, because I believe them to be God’s Words and key to our lives. And as to responses, I have a great many as they touch upon the Mass, but will limit myself to only one at a time, this being my first effort.

    The first issue I wish to raise is one of Authority as it touches on the Mass. Both “father” and Fr. McGuire lay claim to being “priests according to the order of Melchizedek”. (Hereinafter “Mel”) And by virtue of that office, to be functionally qualified to perform the Mass. I believe that both “fathers” would say that they were ordained of God, and that God is their authority to perform the Mass. Does that claim to priestly authority rest upon Holy Scripture, or Sacred Tradition? In answering this question, I will confine myself tightly to one passage of Scripture: Hebrews 7:11 – 13:9. I have chosen to use a narrative presentation and will be as brief as practicable.

    I think that we can agree that according to Hebrews 7:11-12 that the Aaronic Priesthood (coming from the Tribe of Levi) has been abolished by God. The Priesthood has been changed. The New Covenant has superseded the Old Covenant and we have “new wine in a new wineskin.”

    According to verses 13 – 22: God has appointed His Son, who was from the tribe of Judah, by oath, to be a high priest “according to the order of “Mel”. Moreover, this “man” (The Lord Jesus Christ) has become a minister of a better covenant. “Better” because for one reason, He is eternal. He doesn’t die. Levitical Priests died and so many had to be appointed by God to fill the ranks of the dead (verse 23).
    Verse 24 tells us, importantly that not only is Christ eternal, but by virtue of the fact that he is eternal, he has an “unchangable” priesthood. The Greek term means “non-transferrable”. If you think about it, this makes sense. How could someone who is eternal, transfer their office to someone who is not eternal? The shoe wouldn’t fit. Jesus Christ then holds his office in unchangable singularity. His is an exclusive priesthood par excellence. It is unique because he is unique. Immutable. Nothing like it. Anywhere.

    Moreover, we are told in verses 25-28 that Jesus Christ, by virtue of his office, is able to “save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him…” And that this saving office is made efficacious by more than the fact that he is eternal i.e. that he is holy, harmless (interesting word study by the way), undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” What earthly Aaronic priest could say that about himself? He needed to make offerings for himself and then the people. Jesus Christ dispensed with all of this redundancy by offering himself ONCE (for all time, finally, eternally says the greek).
    This is undoubtedly what Jesus Christ meant when he shouted “tetelestai” right before he “yielded up his spirit.” Remember, He was in total control of his spirit. No one took it from him, he laid it down. At that point, He consecrated Himself, in accordance with the oath (ordination) of God, (that he was to be a priest after the order of Mel,) and delivered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice to God.

    At this point, (Chapter 8:1-5a) Jesus Christ became the Minister of the Sanctuary, and of the “true tabernacle”…which the Lord erected, man having nothing to do with it. And being a High Priest at that point, it was necessary that he have something to offer. A person can’t be a priest unless they have something to offer and that they be of the order of Mel. The Aaronic Priesthood was about to be abolished physically. In fact, according to verse 4:
    “FOR IF HE WERE ON EARTH, HE SHOULD NOT BE A PRIEST…for Aaronic priests were there and doing their things and no man takes the honor of being a priest upon himself at his own volition as it were.

    This means that Jesus Christ was not a priest when he “tabernacled” on the earth. He was not of the tribe of Levi, and if Jesus Christ was not a priest on the earth, it is impossible that he would have been able to ordain, or pass on through the laying of hands any priestly powers whatsoever to the Apostles and if they didn’t receive his powers then they were unable to pass any on as well, down to this present day.

    Now, I must move quickly and skip over to Chapter 9:9-10. We see from these verses beginning with “Which was a figure” i.e. temple worship with the Aaronic Priests, “in which was offered both gifts and sacrifices that could not make him that did service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience: which stood only in foods and drinks, and various (ablutions), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” Reformation!!!! Never mind. :<)

    So, Verse 11 tells us that Christ, exercising his God given, High Priestly Office entered into the greater and more perfect tabernacle, and "by his own blood he entered in "once" (for all time, finally, eternally, says the Greek) into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. How could anyone presume to "do it" again?

    Look at Verse 24-28 and look at them very well in light of your "office". "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands (The altar complete with "relic"?) which are figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." (Remember, only Jesus Christ holds the Priesthood of Mel according to God Almighty). " Nor THAT HE SHOULD OFFER HIMSELF OFTEN"… (Fr. McGuire says that he is being offered constantly all over the world) for THEN MUST HE OFTEN HAVE SUFFERED (which he didn't, he was crucified [sacrificed] once)…since the foundation of the world" (and according to you and Fr. McGuire even to this day) But NOW…ONCE (there is that word again, once for all eternity) in the end of the ages, hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Amen.

    So Christ was ONCE OFFERED to bear the sins of many, and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

    To press on to Chapter 10 which is a recap of the preceding. The law was a shadow. YOUR MASS IS AT BEST A "SHADOW". Continual sacrifices never dealt with the problem. In fact God says that he is not particularly impressed with Sacrifices and wills to take them away because in Verse 10 of Chapter 10 we don't need them anymore for any reason because "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL. Its over. "Priests" may stand ministering and offering the same sacrifices, (but) they can never take away sins." Do you hear that "father" and "John"?

    Verse 12: But this man, (Jesus Christ) after he had offered one sacrifice for sins FOREVER, sat down on the right hand of God.
    Verse 18: "Now where remission of these (sins) is, there is NO MORE OFFERING FOR SIN." What part of the word "NO" don't you understand?

    Verse 38: This is the verse that the "Wild Boar" discovered and one that utterly annuls your "Office". Now the just (before God) shall (be those) who live by faith; but if any man draw back (into other redundant sacrificial systems), my soul shall have no pleasure in him. I am sorry but there it is – Sola Fides.

    Finally, skip for time purposes over to Chapter 12: 2: "Looking (in faith) unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God. Tetelestai. It is finished. This is what I meant several posting ago. We don't need a priest. This is so because we have a PRIEST, ONE AFTER THE ORDER OF MEL.

    Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever. A priest according to the order of Mel.

    So, my questions are these. Based on the preceding Scriptures, where to you get your authority to perform again, and again, and again, the "Perpetual Sacrifice of a Willing, Pure, Victim?

    From where to you get the "Marvelous" power to "make" Jesus participate in something that he already had to endure, which was shameful to him?

    Where do you get oath and affirmation from God that you are of the order of Mel?

    Are you eternal, holy, harmless, make higher than the heavens, etc. etc?

    I could go on and on, but my final questions are these: What do you have to offer, as a priest on the earth, that Jesus Christ himself could not offer when he was on the earth?

    These are all questions about you authority. According to the Holy Scriptures, you have none. Your Mass is therefore devoid of what you claim it to be and is a simple, albeit charming rite. You are masquerading as a priest of the Most High when only one holds the office.

    You have been ordained by a nominally Christian organization. Your Mass is idolatry to the max. More on that later.

    "Imaginandi vis res vincit veras" (correct if wrong). "Imagination conquers reality" – I think

  34. T= Thrasymakhos said : F = Father responds

    T: Both “father” and Fr. McGuire lay claim to being “priests according to the order of Melchizedek”.

    F: Not only us but literally millions of men for nearly 2000 years.

    T: The Greek term means “non-transferrable”. If you think about it, this makes sense. How could someone who is eternal, transfer their office to someone who is not eternal? The shoe wouldn’t fit. Jesus Christ then holds his office in unchangable singularity. His is an exclusive priesthood par excellence. It is unique because he is unique. Immutable. Nothing like it. Anywhere.

    F: “Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke v.12) After Christ’s resurrection we find this seeming contradictory passage: “And when he (Christ) had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them: and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” We see here the power to remit and retain sins transfered to others but only by the grace of God. The same principle applies to the priesthood. To better illustrate this I quote from Bede Frost’s “Commentary on Hebrews,” Mowbray, 1947:

    Quote

    The Levitical priesthood was of a physical, mechanical succession; that of our Lord is one of spiritual, undying life and power. The words, ‘hath His Priesthood unchangeable,’ may be taken to mean, that Christ’s Priesthood is not transmitted to successors, or that it is immutable and imperishable. The former meaning cannot be used as an argument against the Catholic priesthood as this consists of a sharing in the spiritual authority and power of our Lord’s priestly life and act. What is known as the ‘apostolic succession’ is not merely an outward, mechanical link with apostolic practice, a visible guarantee of the right possessed by their legitimate successors to act as Apostles. The essence of the Sacrament of Holy Order consists in the fact that it is an effectual sign which actually confers the grace signified by deed and word, a grace not, as it were, passed down from a remote past through a succession of bishops, but directly conferred by God through those who now possess an apostolic authority. Moreover, the Christian priest does not so much act for Christ as in Christ, or as S. Thomas says: ‘It is Christ Who baptizes, He Himself Who remits sins; He, the true Priest, Who offered Himself upon the altar of the Cross and by Whose power His Body and Blood are daily consecrated on the altar.’ (Summa contra Gentiles, iv.76.)

    The doctrine of the Catholic priesthood must be seen in the light of that of the Church as the living Body of Christ of which each individual member continues the life of Christ in his or her particular vocation. So the priest, as priest, continues on earth that eternal and immutable Priesthood now enshrined in heaven. We are not claiming that this was in the writer’s mind, but only that his words cannot be taken as containing any meaning such as would tell against the Church’s teaching. All that he is concerned with is the nature of the Priesthood of our Lord Himself in contrast to that of the Levitical priesthood. It is, he continues, because the former is unchangeable that ‘He is able to save to the uttermost,’ that is, fully, completely, ‘those that draw near unto God through Him’ Who has declared: ‘I am the Way,’ and ‘No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.’ (S. John xiv.6)

    It does not seem unnecessary to point out that both in our Lord’s teaching and in that of His Apostles it is God ‘Who is the Trinity,’ to use Augustine’s phrase, Who is the Centre and the End of all Christian faith, devotion, and life. We are to come to Christ as the Door (ibid x.9.) which we enter the Way by being made one with Him Who is the Way, the Way to be followed and lived, the Way of conformity to the divine will which He ever fulfilled, (S. John v.30 etc.) and alone enables us to fulfill. As the Way in His sacred humanity He has reached that End which we have still to seek and attain, by ‘a new and living way, that is to say, His flesh,’ (Heb. x.20.) in the knowledge that there, in the centre of heaven’s secure and inviolable Majesty, ‘He ever liveth to make intercession for us.’

    But in what way, by what means, does He thus intercede for us? To answer this question we must rid our minds of modern ideas about intercession with the practices which have resulted from them, such as ‘intercession papers,’ ‘intercession services,’ etc., and see what the word meant to the writer. In Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic it was used of any drawing near to God, and continued to be used in the same sense in English up to the seventeenth century. It also implied the idea of sacrifice, and both meanings are to be understood in the sentence before us. Our Lord’s intercession in heaven is not one of words, or of the enumeration of various objects, but the presentation of Himself as ‘the Lamb once slain,’ in the presence of God. For just as He is the one true Worshipper and Worship, so is He the one interceder and Intercession. And what He is in heaven, that is He in the Mass by which His worship and intersession is, as it were, placed in our hands that we may be lifted up, and become part of it. To substitute ‘intercession services’ for the one great interceding act of our Lord is but one of the many ways in which men prefer anything rather than simple obedience to our Lord’s command, ‘Do this,’ by which we, His Body on earth, ‘show forth the Lord’s death till He come.” (I Cor. Xi.26.)

    end quote

    T: Jesus Christ dispensed with all of this redundancy by offering himself ONCE (for all time, finally, eternally says the greek).

    F: The Catholic Church has always taught this. It is a lie concocted by Protestants that Catholics “re-sacrifice” Christ at every Mass. Christ’s Sacrifice happened once, but it is an eternal Sacrifice. The Mass is the means by which God has given man to enter into this eternal Sacrifice and receive of His life giving Body and Blood. The Mass is a Sacrifice because it is a true commemoration of the one, true, eternal Sacrifice.

    T: Now, I must move quickly and skip over to Chapter 9:9-10.

    F: Not so quickly! Chapter viii.5b says: “for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” I focus on the second half of the verse to point out that the OT account of the ‘pattern shewed’ is very sketchy. We are not told anything exactly, generally yes, but there is a lot seemingly left to the imagination. Nevertheless we are told that “Aaron and his sons did all things which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.” (Lev. viii.36.) So how did they know exactly what to do except by having been shown and that this pattern was conveyed to successive generations by example? (Hint: it has something to do with tradition.)

    T: Fr. McGuire says that he is being offered constantly all over the world…in the end of the ages, hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

    F: S. Peter’s first Epistle i.18ff: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from you vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” You have believed lies about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning what she means when she says, ‘offered constantly.’ Yes, the Mass is offered constantly because the Mass is the Eucharist – they are one and they are eternal – Christ commanded, ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’

    T: YOUR MASS IS AT BEST A “SHADOW”.

    F: You would go on to say: Christ’s Passion was at best a shadow, the Cross was at best a shadow, the Resurrection was at best a shadow. Etc. The Mass has nothing to do with the Aaronic priesthood or sacrifice. You don’t seem to understand that the author of Hebrews was talking about the Aaronic priesthood.

    Thrasymakhos, this is a fatal error of reason and nullifies all of your assumptions and conclusions (your “solas” are showing). The Catholic Church makes no claim to the Aaronic priesthood only that of Christ, the eternal High Priest after the order of Melchizedek who offered bread and wine to the most high God. Catholic priests are ministers of Christ, Who is the affective active agent at every Catholic Mass.

    T: “Priests” may stand ministering and offering the same sacrifices, (but) they can never take away sins.” Do you hear that “father” and “John”?

    F: Yes, Aaronic priest’s offerings can never take away sins.

    T: there is NO MORE OFFERING FOR SIN.” What part of the word “NO” don’t you understand?

    F: I understand it perfectly. It is you that do not understand; not the word ‘no’ but the word ‘eternal.’ The Catholic Church has always taught that there is no more offering for sin. Christ’s offering was all sufficient; it was an eternal offering.

    T: Verse 38: This is the verse that the “Wild Boar” discovered and one that utterly annuls your “Office”. Now the just (before God) shall (be those) who live by faith; but if any man draw back (into other redundant sacrificial systems), my soul shall have no pleasure in him. I am sorry but there it is – Sola Fides.

    F: Hold on! This is the most abusive reading of Scripture I have ever encountered. I’m sorry but where is it – sola Fides? It says (literally, sola Scriptura):

    Now the just shall live by faith.

    No “sola.” No “before God.” No “be those.” Only:

    Now the just shall live by faith.

    And this in context not of what you say “draw back (into other redundant sacrificial systems);” but “draw back” from (1) the washing with pure water(baptism), (2) the profession of faith, (3) charity, (4) good works, (5) forsaking the assembly(i.e. Church), (6) willful sin, (7) trampling the Son of God, (8) counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing and finally (9) the whole Christian faith which they had received.

    Do you see that you are guilty of all nine points? Though I suspect you are guilty either as a result of the guile of others who have lied to you or by their and your ignorance.

    Your, voila, utter annulment of my office is ridiculous. It is abusive of Scripture and not Scriptural at all. This “wild boar” was what the name suggests: an insane pig.

    T: This is so because we have a PRIEST, ONE AFTER THE ORDER OF MEL.

    F: There is a priest after the order of Melchizadek, but you obstinately refuse to acknowledge Him as such because you heap calumnies and blasphemies upon His Holy Church and Bride.

    T: So, my questions are these. Based on the preceding Scriptures, where to you get your authority to perform again, and again, and again, the “Perpetual Sacrifice of a Willing, Pure, Victim?

    F: Jesus Christ is my authority in all things as He has spoken through Scripture and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    T: From where to you get the “Marvelous” power to “make” Jesus participate in something that he already had to endure, which was shameful to him?

    F: Jesus willingly endured the shame of the Cross. You imply that he did so otherwise, by coercion, or that He did not wish that shame to be perpetual! He bares the wounds of His Passion in His hands, feet and side even now, seated in Heaven! He “is my stony rock, and my defence; my Saviour, my God, and my might, in whom I will trust; my buckler, the horn also of my salvation, and my refuge. I will call upon the Lord, which is worthy to be praised.” (Psalm xviii).

    T: Where do you get oath and affirmation from God that you are of the order of Mel?

    F: From the Church of God.

    T: Are you eternal, holy, harmless, make higher than the heavens, etc. etc?

    F: No.

    T: I could go on and on, but my final questions are these: What do you have to offer, as a priest on the earth, that Jesus Christ himself could not offer when he was on the earth?

    F: Nothing, except to love the Lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind; and to love my neighbor as myself.

    T: These are all questions about you authority. According to the Holy Scriptures, you have none. Your Mass is therefore devoid of what you claim it to be and is a simple, albeit charming rite. You are masquerading as a priest of the Most High when only one holds the office.

    F: According to Holy Scripture and the Church (because my office is within the Apostolic Succession) I have the authority that God gives me through His Church. (see above, remitting and binding…) My Mass is the Mass of God’s Church and is therefore efficacious to the salvation of both body and soul. I masquerade as nothing. I am what God and His Church have made me. I have no authority outside of these two things. However, you have no authority at all because your rebuke God and you reject His Church.

    T: You have been ordained by a nominally Christian organization. Your Mass is idolatry to the max. More on that later.

    F: All I see is that you are a “church” of one. You reject all authority including that of Scripture because you twist and torture vain meaning from it. You are a pathetic creature indeed for in your abuse of Scripture, you perceive that you have spiritual insight. You are blind to truth. Though perhaps, by the mercy of God which is infinite, my prayers and reasonableness will help open your eyes.

    T: “Imaginandi vis res vincit veras” (correct if wrong). “Imagination conquers reality” – I think

    F: No, imagination never conquers reality. Domini est terra! Magna est Gloria Domini!

    Indeed Thrasymakhos, if this is the best you have, please, save it for someone else who is dull of wit and learning. You are probably pretty good at convincing your Protestant friends that you “understand Catholicism” and can nix all of their dogma; though I warn you against your blaspheming, there are consequences…

    In truth, I was expecting much better and am quite disappointed. Your proofs against the Catholic Church only proved to be boring and insipid.

    As far as I’m concerned, if you continue in your obstinacy, our conversation on these things is over. It would be sinful of me to continue to provoke you to further blasphemies.

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