The Apostles Creed 17: The Holy Catholic Church

Show Outline with Links

Introduction:

So as we approach the 500th anniversary of the commencement of the Protestant Reformation, it is fitting that we have now come to this phrase in the Creed — why do we, stout Protestants that we are, confess that we believe in the holy catholic Church. Maybe in addition to being stout Protestants, we are also confused Protestants?

The Text:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord.  He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin, Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended into Hades. On the third day He rose again from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Summary of the Text:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25–27).

Husbands are told to love their wives in the way that Christ loves His wife. He loved His Church, and a result of that love was that He gave Himself for her. Giving-love is not a special sort of love; giving love is love. Not only did He give Himself, He gave Himself with a particular end in view. He had the future glory of His bride in mind, loving her with the full intention that the end of the process would be altogether lovely. That ragamuffin street girl would marry the Prince of Heaven.

Now the basic truth in all this is not complicated. The Lord Jesus is a monogamist. He has one bride, and He is going to love her throughout all the course of human history, and will love her efficaciously such that every spot, wrinkle, and blemish is removed. So a bride with blemishes need not worry; the blemishes are being removed. A blemish on the bride should worry; the blemishes are being removed.

So that one bride is the holy catholic church. If you want to know where this catholic church is located, simply look for the Spirit of Christ. As Cyprian once put it, where the Spirit is, there is the church.

A Few Comments About Terms:

The word catholic simply means universal. In fact some of you may have been in churches that, when they said the Creed, footnoted this word to make sure you knew that. “Yes, we are a catholic church, but not Catholic catholic.”

Our modern use of Protestant and Catholic is somewhat misleading. When the controversy that resulted in the Reformation began, there were two parties to the conflict. There was the papal party and there was the reforming party, both functioning within the Church. Without injustice, we may think of the terms this way. There was the Roman Catholic faction and there was the Protesting Catholic faction. Both claimed to be representing the one, true, catholic and apostolic faith. Both still claim that. But think for a moment. Roman Catholic is oxymoronic—Rome is a city in Italy and catholic means universal.

But Are Protestants Negative?

It would be easy to think that Protestants are defined by what they are against. We hear the word protest in Protestant, loud and clear. But it would be better to link it to another way of breaking the word down—think of pro-testimony. This is a confession of what we believe—and to the extent we are against something, it is merely that we are against the renewal of lunatic persecutions on the basis of faith. This was the origin of the term Protestant (at the second Diet of Speyer). They weren’t picketing; they were testifying.

Far better, and far more positive, would be Philip Schaff’s take on this, which was that the Protestant Reformation was the greatest achievement of the medieval church.

Spin Control?

But isn’t this testimony to how any party or faction can interpret the data in a way that comes out favorable to their party? What happened to the Protestant insistence that our view of everything, church history included, should be grounded in Scripture? Actually, that insistence is right and proper, and it hasn’t gone anywhere.

The church catholic is supposed to exhibit two kinds of unity, one in the present and the other in the future. The present unity is to be spiritual, attitudinal, and exhibited through a godly demeanor. “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2–3). This is a mandate for all times and places. This unity is a given, and we are required to preserve it.

Later in the same chapter, another kind of unity, an institutional unity, is set before us, and we are summoned over the course of history, to attain to it. God gave us various gifts, and we are to pursue the exercise of all these gifts “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).

The first kind of unity is foundational, and the second kind of unity is the capstone. We are not supposed to have the second kind of unity yet.

The Church through History:

But what would you say if an intelligent Roman Catholic asked you this (quite reasonable) question? “Where was your church before the Reformation?” There are two faithful Protestant ways to answer this question, and both have a great deal of merit. The baptistic answer points to what is called the “trail of blood.” “Where were we before the Reformation? Hiding from you guys, mostly. In mountainous valleys, caves, and deep forests.” The other answer, equally correct, comes from what are called the magisterial Protestants, and it runs like this: “Well, where was your face before you washed it?”

What we do not want to do is pretend that our church came into existence in 1517 in Germany, or in 1799 on the Kentucky frontier. We are not restorationists. If your church cannot be traced back to the faith and martyrdom of Abel, then it is far too young. But for those who want to argue on the basis of antiquity alone, they need to remember that Cain was older than Abel.

But in the meantime, we should not feel ashamed to own, as our brothers in Christ, men like Boniface, Chrysostom, Augustine, or Anselm. The entire history of redemption belongs to us, and this includes the times of declension as well as the times of reformation and revival.

Defined by Word and Sacrament:

We believe that the gospel is prior to the church, and is the foundation for it. We believe that the gospel is prior to apostles, bishops, pastors, evangelists, not to mention mountebanks and frauds. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8). The Church is the plant that grows from the seed, and the seed is the gospel. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23). Wherever the gospel comes, life follows after it. And when life follows, and you have two or three born again by the Spirit of God, there you have the church. If you had five infidels washed up on a desert island, and a Bible with them, could they repent and start worshiping God? Absolutely. Could they do this as a church? Absolutely.

The Boundaries of True Faith:

John Calvin once taught that when you want to recognize someone, you look at their face. You don’t try to define where a man “leaves off” by trying to calculate the precise end of his tie, or the tips of his shoelaces.

You can say confidently that all of Nebraska is in the United States. And you shouldn’t much worry about which atoms of ocean water—twelve nautical miles out from our low water mark—are in our territorial waters and which ones are outside. That’s not how you tell where the United States might be.

Taking it a step further, when you want to find the true church, look for Jesus. Where is He honored and worshiped? Where is He proclaimed? Where is His bread broken, and His wine poured? Look for Jesus and you will find His bride. That is because He never leaves her side.

188
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
5 Comment threads
183 Thread replies
3 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
22 Comment authors
FarinataJill SmithFarinata degli UbertiJohn CallaghanJustin Parris Recent comment authors

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
insanitybytes22
Member

Okay, but just keep in mind many Catholics believe protestants are just shacking up with the Lord, playing house, not really married to Jesus Christ. Of course, some radical Calvanists and the reformed seem to believe that too, so whatever. “Giving-love is not a special sort of love; giving love is love. Not only did He give Himself, He gave Himself with a particular end in view.” This doesn’t sit well with me. Far too many men seem to believe love is exclusively about duty and that combined with “a particular end in view,” tends to create legalism, love as… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

What definition of love would you prefer? Moreover, aside from not liking the sound of it, do you take issue of this fairly straightforward and literal interpretation of Scripture? Our feelings about it aside, it seems an apt description of Christ’s love for the Church.

insanitybytes22
Member

“Our feelings about it aside…” That’s just it, one cannot have faith in the absence of feelings,just as one cannot have love in the absence of feelings. God is love,. 1 John 4:8 tells us, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Pastor Wilson said, “Giving-love is not a special sort of love; giving love is love. ” I think not. There are plenty of people who simply phone it in, and others who casually write a check, both groups expressing a love devoid of feelings, intimacy, connection. Plenty of husbands do this too, believing love… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

“That’s just it, one cannot have faith in the absence of feelings,just as one cannot have love in the absence of feelings.” This mostly addresses a different topic than what I used the phrase for. What I’m referring to when I say “Our feelings aside” is that it doesn’t particularly matter if a Scriptural interpretation doesn’t “feel right to you”, it matters if it’s correct. Your feelings are subject to the same corruption the rest of you is. God’s word is not. So when you object to either Scripture or Scriptural interpretation, you need a better reason than “I don’t… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

So when you object to either Scripture or Scriptural interpretation, you need a better reason than “I don’t like the sound of it”. “I don’t like the sound of it” was intended to give Pastor Wilson the benefit of the doubt and I was addressing his words, not the words of scripture. “Where exactly does he endorse cold hearted roboticism?” I did not accuse him of endorsing cold hearted roboticism. I have accused him on multiple occasions of handling scripture in a way that at best, reinforces some wrong headedness about marriage and at worst attracts broken men who believe… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

““I don’t like the sound of it” was intended to give Pastor Wilson the benefit of the doubt and I was addressing his words, not the words of scripture.” Which is why I added “Scriptural interpretation” to my explanation, which you ignore. The truthfulness of Scriptural interpretation must be evaluated at the same standard as, if true, it is the meaning of God’s word. An apostle writes a letter to a church. In that letter he gives the directive that women are not to be ministers. Is that an instruction just for that church, or is it a directive for… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

I was addressing Pastor Wilson’s post, not yours, and I see no reason to write him a thesis and bury him in words anymore than I already do.

You are not challenging what I said, you are challenging whether or not I am worthy to say it. What you fail to understand is that I am not seeking your approval nor do I need to provide you an explanation for the “basis of my objection.” I have stated my point and explained myself quite well.

Justin Parris
Member

“I was addressing Pastor Wilson’s post, not yours, and I see no reason to write him a thesis and bury him in words anymore than I already do.” I didn’t ask for lots of words. I asked if you had any other basis for your conclusion than your own preferences. You then danced around the issue rather than just answering. “You are not challenging what I said, you are challenging whether or not I am worthy to say it.” How do you come to that conclusion? I haven’t made one single statement that calls your worthiness into question. All I’ve… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“How do you come to that conclusion? I haven’t made one single statement that calls your worthiness into question”

Sure you have, you’ve been challenging every thing I’ve said. My comment sits there waiting to be taken on face value, exactly as it is written, non credentialed, no cross references, no elaborate exegesis, no convenient links.

It’s a simple, “This doesn’t sit well with me.” If you care to understand you will, and if you don’t, you won’t.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

MeMe at comment #208774: “You are not challenging what I said…”
MeMe at comment #208781: “You are challenging every thing I’ve said.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Unless you’re MeMe.

Justin Parris
Member

And, please I beg your forgiveness for this dire offense, I asked you as simple question about it that simple comment. I didn’t get critical of your ideas until you lashed out about them. Believe it or not, I started this conversation with no intent on nailing you to the wall, as I’ll start tomorrow as well. Alas, today was not our day.

Poster below shows your silliness about your accusation of me. God bless.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I have never met a Catholic who has said anything of the kind. The official catechism of the Catholic church recognizes Protestants as our brothers and sisters in the Christian faith. In the words of Vatican II: All who have been justified by faith in baptism are INCORPORATED INTO CHRIST [footnote cites Council of Florence, Session 8, from the year 1439]; they therefore have a right to be called CHRISTIANS, and with good reason are accepted as BROTHERS by the children of the Catholic Church. (3) Catholics must gladly acknowledge and esteem the TRULY CHRISTIAN ENDOWMENTS for our common heritage… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

That’s fascinating. I was always told by the Catholics I have known that the concept of the “universal” church Protestants speak about and the physical organization of the Catholic church are one and the same. That being outside the Roman Catholic church is functionally identical to not being a follower of Christ.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

That is very sad, and the Catholics who told you that were grossly misinformed. The document the article quotes is from 1964, and it is officially binding on the conscience of all Catholics. I will link to the whole thing because it is worth a read: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2016/11/how-catholics-view-protestants.html. I have truly never met a Catholic who thinks Protestants are not followers of Christ. There have been occasional dissident groups who claimed this, however, and some have been excommunicated for heresy. Even in the bad old days, Extra ecclesiam nulla salus had enough loopholes to drive a truck through. Did the Protestant… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

So what do you do about all the anathemas? I mean, I’ve read Trent. It ain’t half so cuddly as what you’re saying here and now. You could say things have changed since the fifteen-sixties, but doesn’t that kind of give away the farm if you want to remain Catholic? A church that erred once could do so anytime, no?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

That the church has become a voice for universal charity, tolerance, and human rights is something I delight in. What it tells me is that the barque of St. Peter may drift into troubled waters, but that the Holy Spirit will, as Christ promised, correct its course. The church erred with Galileo and it doesn’t trouble my faith in the least; it learned from that error and now teaches that we have nothing to fear from scientific discovery because faith and reason can never contradict each other. The church erred in its support for brutal regimes (I find it odd… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

That’s not quite fair, Jill. The desire to get a retraction from the Roman Catholic Church goes to one of the central points of disagreement between Protestants and Rome. It has a much meatier motive behind it than wanting apologies for historical bad behavior. In the protestant view, holding to the ultimate authority of the church and the pope is continuing in bad behavior in the present.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Be careful what you wish for.

Retracting the ultimate authority of the Church and pope would have some serious knock-on effects. The canon of Scripture is dependent upon that authority, for example.

soylentg
Member

Only for those to hold to the doctrine of sola ecclesia.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The origin and authority of the canon is a matter of epistemological logic.

Katecho
Member

Callaghan wrote:

The origin and authority of the canon is a matter of epistemological logic.

But the origin and authority of the canon is not a matter of accepting the “ultimate authority” of popes, or the notion that Rome is the root of the Church (rather than a branch).

Farinata
Guest
Farinata

Not so: the origin and authority of the canon is a matter of Divine prerogative. The role played by the early church in recognizing it neither generated the canon nor established its authority.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The Church did not generate or establish the canon. The question is one of epistemology.

You cannot know you have an infallible list of books without an authority that can declare infallibly that the list is correct.

Farinata
Guest
Farinata

Well then, how do I know the authority is infallibly correct on this, or indeed on any point? Is it because the authority in view attests to its own infallibility? How does that help anything?

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

You cannot know you have an infallible list of books without an authority that can declare infallibly that the list is correct.

If we must have an infallible list of books, then Rome’s claim to infallibility doesn’t solve anything, since Rome didn’t, by it’s own standards, infallibly define the canon until Trent. So for a millennium and a half, having a fallible canon of infallible Scripture was apparently just fine.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

VVa and Farinata, As long as you have the Church and Sacred Tradition, “having a fallible canon of infallible Scripture” is just fine – and having no Scripture (or at least no NT) is fine too. I know that sounds hideous to Protestant ears, but if you think about it, you actually believe the same thing. Cast your thoughts back to the first chapter of the Book of Acts. As Jesus leaves, he tells the Apostles to be his witnesses to “the ends of the earth”. The very first thing that St Peter does next is to top off their… Read more »

Farinata
Guest
Farinata

Agreed, as long as you further agree that just as a father is greater than his son, so the apostles’ own words are superior in dignity and authority to the various interpretations
offered by those who claim their mantle of succession.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Certainly, the words of Scripture, being inspired, are greater than any others. In terms of the ontological truth of a statement, the speaker’s “dignity and authority” is not an issue. So, when the angels told the women at the tomb that Jesus had risen from the dead, they were speaking with celestial dignity and authority. When those same women told the Apostles that Jesus had risen from the dead, they were speaking with much less of both – though the truth of the statement had not changed in the least. Likewise, St Peter at Pentecost addressed the crowd with less… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

To the Protestant, the admission that the words of Scripture are superior implies that, in the case of a difference between a man’s teaching and the holy text, the text gets the final say. Would you accept that implication?

I would say that whereas the words of Christ may be superior in dignity to Peter’s inspired teaching, Peter has no authority of his own: he is Christ’s mouthpiece, and speaks for Christ. So it would be false to say that Peter speaks with less authority than Christ whose ambassador he is.

Katecho
Member

Callaghan wrote:

Retracting the ultimate authority of the Church and pope would have some serious knock-on effects. The canon of Scripture is dependent upon that authority, for example.

Fortunately, rejection of “ultimate authority” of popes, and rejection of the notion that Rome is the root of the Church (rather than a branch), does not entail retracting a belief in the authority of the Church, established by Christ and Scripture, and thus the authority of the canon.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The church that recognized the canon also recognized the bishops of the church as the inheritors of Apostolic authority and the Bishop of Rome as the inheritor of St Peter’s office as the ultimate arbiter between them.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Perhaps, Nathan, but I wouldn’t characterize holding to a doctrine in which you sincerely believe as “bad behavior.” On that ground, I would have to adjure some Protestants to denounce their belief in double predestination, which I think is a mistaken and potentially harmful doctrine. We can recognize our common faith in Jesus and His atoning death without demanding agreement on even central points of belief, and without attributing disagreement to bad behavior.

bethyada
Member

double predestination, which I think is a mistaken and potentially harmful doctrine.

Agreed. But there is a difference between fellowshipping with Christians who hold to that, and having a fundamental creed that the Protestants need to agree to prior to unifying the church.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Yes indeed.

Farinata
Guest
Farinata

Jill, Sorry, I don’t always receive notifications when I’m answered here. I’m of two minds regarding Trent. I would be very pleased if you Catholics would just take it back, admit you went a little far, and become de facto Protestants. Or, on the other hand, if you all would stand your ground and shout defiance, I could at least respect that. I admire a courageous and honorable foe nearly as much as a faithful friend. What I cannot abide is a Church that wants me to believe contradictory things: that Catholics have no problem with Protestants, that the Catholic… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Jimmy Akin has a good explanation of the meaning of “anathema” in Catholic usage. It’s important to note that the authoritativeness of a teaching is independent of the language used to express it. It may be galling that anathematization is no longer an option that you can aspire to as a Protestant, but you can take solace in the fact that the doctrinal statements of Trent are still binding even if the ecclesiastical penalties are no longer on offer. It’s also important to note that Trent did not condemn any persons or groups by name. It did declare certain propositions… Read more »

Farinata
Guest
Farinata

A very interesting distinction – I will try to read that later today. But how do you retract a penalty and not a teaching? Does the teaching consist of something other than the statement that a certain view – denying the existence of Purgatory – is beyond the pale of Christian belief?

Farinata
Guest
Farinata

John, I didn’t find Akin’s article about anathemas to be very informative. What he basically said was that an anathema only implies damnation if the individual anathematized does not repent. Well, I’m not planning to repent; I still think I’m right. “Here I stand” and all the rest of it. So, by his definition, it would seem to follow that to the extent that I am Protestant, I am not currently in a state of grace. As to other point, that the penalty but not the doctrine is retracted, I fail to understand the purpose. Is it as much as… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Farinata, I wondered if I could make this clearer with an example. If you belong to a church which practices church discipline, what would be the result if one of your congregants left your church and converted to Mormonism or Scientology? Would he or she be “excommunicated” as apostate? If so, how would your church regard the great-great grandchildren of this person? Would each of these people, born long after the original act of apostasy, be regarded with the same condemnation as the one who originally left the church? Not that I am drawing an equivalence between the COS and… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Jill, As I understand it, the Protestant view of excommunication is that is is only penalty applied to church members who do not wish to leave – it’s for hypocrites who want to pretend to belong to the community while living in unrepentant sin. So it wouldn’t apply in your example. We would regard her as apostate, in the sense of having rejected the gospel and hence (presumptively, absent repentance) damned. We wouldn’t tar the grandchildren with that same condemnation (or recognize them to be so tarred by God) simply by genetic inheritance. But if the descendants in your example… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Farinata, I found this on one of my favorite websites and thought you would find it interesting. It is written by a canon lawyer.

http://canonlawmadeeasy.com/2017/09/28/can-a-pope-commit-heresy-heresy-defined/#more-2136

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi Farinata, you err in believing that the condemnations issued at Trent are intended to apply to anyone born into Protestant communions after that time. In the words of Vatican II: “However, one CANNOT CHARGE WITH THE SIN OF SEPARATION those who at present are born into these communities and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with RESPECT and AFFECTION as BROTHERS. For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. (3)” I really don’t know how… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

“No Protestant sins by refusing to accept a specifically Catholic doctrine ” Isn’t this, from a religious perspective, complete gibberish? With respect Jill, and I do respect you, the entire premise of doctrine in general is that if you believe it to be the truth, those who oppose it are in error. I mean, if the measure of my sins is only to the extent that I recognize them as sins, then most degenerates in the world are more “innocent” than the most devout nuns. “I guess what I wonder, Farinata, is what more you would have us do that… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi Justin, several things briefly as I am on deadline for completing an impossibly complicated ballgown (I sew). The Catholic church would make a distinction between sin and error, and a further distinction between innocent and culpable error. I think that this may be a ground of division between us and your communion (but I’m not sure). The noble savage on a remote island somewhere does not sin by failing to believe in doctrines he has never been taught. (He sins on other grounds but not that one.) If you, as the child of a Protestant home, have been taught… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I would say that Catholic faith, insofar as it is truly universal, should be anchored not to the parochial history of Rome, but to the transcendent glories of our common faith. So I don’t see that formally retracting a doctrinal statement which the Church apparently no longer holds in any real sense should be such a big deal. Let me give you an analogy. Suppose one of your old friends posts something slanderous on the internet, implying that you’re a criminal. The two of you have a big fight, but some time later things cool off and she wants to… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Also, Jill, no disrespect intended, but the more I talk to you the more I come to view you as a very idiosyncratic Catholic. Didn’t you mention earlier that your church had excommunicated some group or other? If what you say here is true, how on earth did that happen? If there’s no requirement for doctrinal fidelity, if I can believe whatever I want so long as I do so sincerely, then on what basis does church discipline ever happen?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Well, Farinata, I may well be idiosyncratic but I am generally careful here, when posting Catholic doctrine, to run it past the official catechism first. I am well aware of the temptation to present “what Jill would like to believe and wishes were true” as the official teachings of the Catholic church. But I think we have a miscommunication here. Catholics are required to believe Catholic doctrine. If they cannot (and most Catholics struggle from time to time with a particular doctrine or requirement if they think seriously about their faith), they are required to follow their conscience but to… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

That’s an interesting distinction you draw. So you would say that Reformers got into trouble, not for rejecting Rome’s doctrines, but for teaching others to do likewise? If I take your meaning, you are suggesting the existence of two different kinds of rules of faith and practice, then (or of two different levels of authority in which a given dogma may participate). In the first place, one regarding doctrine and behavior as such, with which I am free to differ if my conscience or my reason force me to do so. If Rome says the bread and wine are substantially… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I also want to add that I find this a very stimulating conversation, and that I am grateful for your patience in explaining things.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I’m enjoying it too, and it enables my inner teacher to get off the leash and explain stuff! You are following correctly, but there are a lot of nuances to consider. The Reformers got into trouble for voting with their feet and taking a bunch of their followers with them. If Luther had merely had private doubts about the efficacy of works, there would have been no problem with Rome. The Catholic church teaches that the individual conscience cannot be forced. But against this teaching there are some presumptions: that the doctrine defined by the Magisterium is correct, that we… Read more »

Farinata
Guest
Farinata

So the duty of obedience is to my conscience, not the hierarchy? Because I see no reason to doubt that men like Luther, Knox and Calvin, who risked death a hundred times for their beliefs, were sincerely convinced in their consciences. I can understand why the hierarchy would prefer that their sheep not rock the boat – good reasons as well as those which might appear self-serving; the reformers’ mammas didn’t raise no anarchists – but I fail to see how you can draw a moral distinction between belief and action. Easier, of course, if you are talking about a… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Farinata, I would say that my duty is first to my conscience–always assuming it is a well formed conscience and that I have done everything in my power to resolve my crisis of belief. Disturbing the conscience of others is a different issue. What if I am wrong, and I am leading people away from the means of sanctifying grace? Remember that Catholics do not believe in the eternal security of the believer. If I am willing to gamble with my own salvation–knowing that despite the urging of conscience, I could be mistaken–should I be willing to gamble with anyone… Read more »

Farinata
Guest
Farinata

Hold on a minute, that article you posted cited Ratzingers argument that transubstantiation was an essential doctrine, to disagree obdurately with which would constitute heresy. Is the idea that I can doubt something, as long as I refuse to be sure of myself? “Obdurately” seems to me to beg the question. My inquisitor may feel I’m being obdurate, but how is he to tell? He can warn me that is a possibility, but if I search my conscience and the Scriptures and I feel pretty good about it, what more is there to say?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think obdurate would mean a steadfast refusal even to entertain the possibility that you could be mistaken. There is a huge difference between “I am doubting the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist; I can’t suppress these doubts, and the more I study scripture, the more I think the church might be mistaken; dear God, please guide me to your truth” and “That’s it! The Catholic church is wrong, I am right, and nothing anyone says or does will ever change my mind on this.” The first person is suffering a pitiable crisis of faith and he is… Read more »

Farinata
Guest
Farinata

So one is allowed to disagree with the Magisterium in a very qualified sense. I am permitted to worry that the Church might be wrong, but not to be convinced of the fact? That is to say, I am permitted to entertain emotional qualms, but I may not actually think, on the basis of sound argument and exegesis, that the hierarchy is in error. The standard of obduracy seems to beg the question. Because one often is inclined to charge one’s interlocutor with “obdurately refusing even to consider the possibility that he is wrong,” while the other fellow is saying… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

While MeMe’s metaphor is not in keeping with church teaching, I have heard a similar metaphor used by Catholics in my family regarding protestant church service. The minister is “playing at church” and “playing at the Eucharist.” Would that be orthodox Catholic belief, or do Catholics now believe that billy-bob the primitive Baptist, when he passes out crackers and grape juice is distributing the elements of Christ’s blood and body and uniting his congregants with Christ?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi , Demo. I find it depressing that nearly 400 years after the signing of the Peace of Westphalia, Catholics and Protestants are still lobbing insults at their friends and relations. I have no doubt that some badly instructed Catholics insult the Protestant sacrament of holy communion by treating it a pointless playacting. I find this a bit complex as it brings in elements of my objective and your subjective. But I will try to keep this simple. Assume there are three basic positions: A. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that when a validly ordained priest says the… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

“Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that when a validly ordained priest says the words of consecration over the elements, they become the literal body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ while retaining their normal appearance, taste, and tactile properties.” ” in Case B, the Protestant celebrating the Lord’s Supper enjoys the presence of our Lord in a real but not in a literal sense. ” So………I’m going to set aside that both of these, portrayed as the least alike in your list, sound exactly the same, and that your distinction of “literal, but not in physical form… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Justin, it is not unusual for entire congregations of Anglicans to become Catholic, bringing their priests along with them. A Time article in 2009 was titled “Pope to Unhappy Anglicans: Come On In.” http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1931193,00.html. I think the outreach to Anglicans has gone on for several centuries. Read this article on “Growing Together in Unity and Mission”: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/angl-comm-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20070914_growing-together_en.html. At the same time, however, the Catholic church does not encourage active poaching by pounding down doors. If the Holy Spirit leads someone to become Catholic, the church rejoices. But, because we do not believe that the Catholic church is the only route… Read more »

Farinata
Guest
Farinata

The thing that strikes Protestants as bizarre is the idea that heresy depends on our feelings about it. That seems like kind of an innovation, too. When was this idea of freedom of conscience first promulgated? because it doesn’t strike me as being characteristic of the medieval or renaissance church.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Farinata, I flipped through a few websites and found a discussion of Catholic theologian Jacques Maritan’s take on Aquinas’ view of religious liberty. The question under discussion was why, if Aquinas believed in the primacy of the individual conscience, did he not entirely support religious liberty. Maritain argues (and I find this persuasive) that, in societies with no clear distinction between church and state, enforced religious conformity was perceived as a political necessity to avert greater evils. The rise of the secular state has generally removed this necessity. (Although I think we see it in times of political upheaval–a belief… Read more »

richardp
Guest
richardp

@MeMe: “Far too many men seem to believe love is exclusively about duty …” Love is a verb. Emotions may be genuine, but they are totally irrelevant and impotent until that feeling is put into an action. My wife’s father had three daughters. As each of their birthday’s approached, he would go into a card store to purchase a card for the daughter whose birthday was approaching. Many times he would become overwhelmed with emotion, with his feelings of love for that daughter – to the point that he couldn’t function and would leave the store -minus the card –… Read more »

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

richardp, you make a decent argument, but I don’t believe it touches on MeMe’s actual position. In her replies to other posts, and on her blog, what she has actually laid out is that love is, in part, dependent upon being felt by the recipient. So no matter what person A does for person B, if person B doesn’t feel loved, then person A has not sufficiently loved person B.

I don’t agree with her on this, mind you. I’m just trying to clarify the argument.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I note your disagreement, and would add my own problem with this position. Suppose you are dealing with someone with a troubled past–perhaps a childhood with horrible parents–which leaves him or her unable to feel loved. Perhaps they see all love as an attempt to manipulate them, or as the opening move of a gambit intended to hurt them. Unless that person can overcome the problem, no love will never be enough for him or her. People like that will always feel that their spouses don’t love them enough.

insanitybytes22
Member

“So no matter what person A does for person B, if person B doesn’t feel loved, then person A has not sufficiently loved person B.”

It is absolutely true. That is because we are called to love people as THEY NEED to be loved, not as WE believe they should be loved. So “husbands love your wives” means you need to, love her as SHE NEEDS to beloved,and for the vast majority of women,that is going to mean she NEEDS to feel it.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

MeMe, I agree that it’s important for wives to feel loved. (I think it is equally important for husbands to feel loved, and I disagree with any idea that needing love is somehow a feminine trait.) My point was only that there are people whose own pathology prevents them from ever believing that they are truly loved.

bethyada
Member

We love as people need to be loved as defined by God. Not always in ways that they feel loved.

insanitybytes22
Member

No. That’s totally wrong because we always believe how we are loving people is “God sanctioned,” a notion so perverse we can even rationalize executing people and try to call it love. Love as defined by God would lay down it’s very life for another, and yet we balk about the horror of being expected to love in away that our wives actually FEEL loved. Usually when humans declare they are only required to love in ways God defined,they are often just indulging in a fancy way of saying duty- love is enough,which is exactly what I was trying to… Read more »

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

I would just like to point out that those whom God loves do not always feel loved by God. This is not due to any defect in God’s love, but is rather a defect in the one failing to feel loved.

Jill Smith
Member

MeMe, I’m not sure if that is true for everyone, or at least not true for everyone all of the time. I know that one of my weaknesses as a parent was my tendency to love in a way that promoted peace and happiness at the time, rather than in a wiser way that would have resulted in conflict. That is love that I knew was not “God sanctioned” and that I knew was ultimately selfish in that it put my immediate needs above her long term gain. I am sure there were also times that I should have been… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

“God is love”

I agree.

” a notion so perverse we can even rationalize executing people and try to call it love.”

Wait a minute, if execution is incapable of being love, how do you account for the people God ordered dead throughout the Bible? The Amalekites as a first group that come to mind. Either God isn’t love, or your definition of love is wrong.

bethyada
Member

I do not dispute some of your conclusions such as Lord did not write a check or phone in His responsibility, He poured Himself out on the cross for us. but I think one needs to be careful about emphasising how much a person feels love. Within a marriage if a person does not feel loved it often reflects issues that could be addressed by loving better. This is not always the case. And sometimes loving better means that the spouse does not feel loved at the time, but does over time. It is nice to feel loved, but Jesus’… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“Those who love him obey his commandments.”

Those who have not FELT His love, will NOT obey His commands.

Matthew 7:21-23 speaks to this idea. It is the same in faith as it is in marriage.

bethyada
Member

My sense of knowing God’s love is less than some others. I have no doubt that a greater knowledge of God’s love would be of benefit to me. Still, I attempt to obey God at times when I don’t feel like it. I know others who have little concern for their sin because they know how much God loves them.

I do think knowledge of forgiveness from God helps us obey God, but sometimes duty needs to faced until feelings come.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I try, very imperfectly, to obey God because I love Him, with my intellect and my will. Nice emotions sometimes help to make obedience easier, but I don’t count on them. I know that God loves me, but it is not a conscious feeling. In fact, knowing me as I know myself, I can’t imagine why He would.

bethyada
Member

You make an interesting point as what you describe reflects (in part) your disposition.

lndighost
Member

I agree that emotions can make obedience easier or harder. What always surprises me is how much easier it is to obey God cheerfully when I’ve slept well and had a good meal. I guess that weakness of the flesh is what prompted people to fast; so that they could tell whether they served God from a full heart or from a full stomach.

CHer
Guest
CHer

Sorry, Matthew 7:21-23 isn’t about feelings. Try the Book of Oprah 1:27 instead.

Jill Smith
Member

Bethyada, what is your understanding of what that looks like? Are you considering specific gender roles, or are you drawing on something else?

bethyada
Member

Jill Smith I was talking quite generically. People sometimes have expectations of us and we can’t meet them (and sometimes shouldn’t).

I know many things intellectually, not certain that my praxis is always up to speed.

Justin Parris
Member

You’re conflating how they actually need to be loved with how they feel they need to be loved. Rarely do our desires for ourselves reflect what’s best for us.

Though, like your attitude on responsibility, this seems very destructive to your own position. MeMe, I am your neighbor, your brother in Christ, and arguably your enemy. Clearly Scripture calls for you to love me yes?

Well I don’t feel loved by you. Shall I prepare a list of the things you need to do, limited only by my desires, in order for you to fulfill your Biblical obligation to love me?

Jill Smith
Member

I think that is true, Justin, and when we start preparing a mental list, we can see how absurd our feelings can be. What do I need to feel loved by everyone on this board? Constant agreement and validation. Just enough disagreement to keep things interesting. Why would I think this would be good for me?

insanitybytes22
Member

“Shall I prepare a list of the things you need to do, limited only by my desires, in order for you to fulfill your Biblical obligation to love me?” The subject was not brotherly love,it was marriage, specifically the reference Pastor Wilson made, “husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.” Jesus did not pull out a list of His legal obligations nor did He spend endless hours arguing about the limits on exactly how much love He was actually required to give. He gave His all and He died for us in a brutal and horrific way. The… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

“Jesus did not pull out a list of His legal obligations nor did He spend endless hours arguing about the limits on exactly how much love He was actually required to give.” You have actually read the Bible, yes? https://bible.org/seriespage/70-garden-gethsemane-luke-2239-46 Jesus did exactly what you claim he never did. It’s a rather famous part of the story. “The fact that there is so much resistance to this understanding, so much objection and arguing, validates the point I made originally to Pastor Wilson, ” People arguing with you does not validate the correctness of your point. If that logic held, every… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“I hope you’re at least acknowledging just how kind people are being about your consistent misandry.”

I had a father, I have a husband, five BIL’s, a brother, I gave birth to a son, there are numerous men in my life who I happen to love, so I am going to reject your accusation of misandry.

By the way, I love my husband as he NEEDS to be loved,and not in some limited way I incorrectly perceive as “God ordained,” in order to attempt to justify my own unwillingness to actually love.

CHer
Guest
CHer

That may or may not be true. This is the anonymous internet, where anyone can claim anything about their personal lives.. We can only judge by comments, and he’s spot-on about the misandry.

Justin Parris
Member

So we’re just skipping over the part where Jesus himself debunks your argument?

Justin Parris
Member

Sorry for the double post.

Imagine for a moment that instead of constantly relating every single topic to bad things men do to women, you were constantly relating every single topic to bad things black people do to white people. Every day, multiple times on every topic. Someone suggested that perhaps you’re being a tad racist, and your defense is

“I have black relatives and LOTS of black friends, so I am going to reject your accusation of racism.”

Would that be a very convincing response?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

And there’s the other side of the coin. Mothers have been known to quarrel with teenaged daughters, with the result that an upcoming birthday can find Mom less than tenderly disposed toward her child. Who would, on the basis of temporarily annoyed feelings, decide not to bother with the card, the presents, and the cake?

bethyada
Member

If find your frequently appeal to duty quite encouraging.

insanitybytes22
Member

I find it to be the fast track to remaining single your entire life. Nothing wrong with that, but it sure isn’t the fruits of Christian marriage and therefore should not be presented as such.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I’m not sure why an active sense of duty would make one unmarriageable. A strong sense of duty can coexist with a sense of humor and with much warmth and affection for others. My own sense of duty is directed toward myself–what I believe I must be or do–and I try hard not to impose that duty on others. For instance, the fact that I can’t stand being late for something doesn’t mean that I can demand that everyone else be on time. Feelings, whether good or bad, come and go. Biologists tell us that our feelings are the product… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Duty often leads to deeper love in the long term; feelings are too fickle to base a marriage on. As Lewis would say, happiness comes when we are pursuing what we should be pursuing, and evasive when pursued directly.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

And it is impossible to attain when we are taking our emotional temperature several times day.

Justin Parris
Member

I became significantly *more* marriageable to my wife for placing commitment and sacrifice over temporary fleeting emotion. Emotion as the primary focus is the recipe for a failed marriage, as all it takes is a greater attraction to someone else for you to break your vows. “but it sure isn’t the fruits of Christian marriage and therefore should not be presented as such.” On what basis do you make this accusation? You seem to be making things up based on your own preferences and taking the leap to calling what you make up the “Christian” definition. The fruits of a… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“What’s the basis of your claim?”

Genesis, The Song of Songs, and the Book of John. Also,the Lord did not phone in His commitment , He poured Himself out on the cross for us.

I’ve also been married for more than 30 years and seen a whole lot of affairs and divorces that came about because men had never learned how to love.

Justin Parris
Member

“Genesis, The Song of Songs, and the Book of John. Also,the Lord did not phone in His commitment , He poured Himself out on the cross for us.” Come now, you know this doesn’t answer the question. If I proclaim going to church to not be a Christian act and you ask me where I got that idea saying “The Bible” isn’t an answer. Further, you’re inserting meaning into the opposing view that nobody said. Not one person said you should phone anything in. Being motivated by duty is not remotely the same thing as not caring. Jesus himself did… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“Being motivated by duty is not remotely the same thing as not caring. ”

Indeed it is, especially if one is incapable of caring, Caring costs you something. Love requires risk. Duty simply gives you a way to glorify in your own works, having never really had to sacrifice who or what you are for another person. You’ve done your duty and no more and can now proudly pat yourself on the back for having met some standard of duty. That alone however,is not love.

bethyada
Member

This comment and your other recent one is quite revealing. It seems that what you understand duty to be is not what many of us do.

You talk of men being taught to love, yet I understand that as duty. You talk of sacrifice over duty but I see sacrifice as duty.

What we are saying is that we should do what God expects of us, even when we do not feel like it. Even if it is costly. Even if it means we pour out our lives.

insanitybytes22
Member

“You talk of men being taught to love, yet I understand that as duty. You talk of sacrifice over duty but I see sacrifice as duty.”

I know. I can see that. It is not uncommon in men to understand things like duty, sacrifice, and honor. The problem being, those can be aspects of love but they are not the whole story. A marriage based only on duty and sacrifice is going to be cold and unfulfilling.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

MeMe, suppose that the things that make me feel loved are objectively bad for me. Suppose I told a husband that in order to make me feel loved, he needs to support me in my eating disordered behavior, never confront me about it, and help me get weight loss drugs even though they are bad for me? Would he be loving me in the way I need if he simply agreed to all those terms? I have a dear friend who, while in hospital hooked to an insulin pump, told me to smuggle in KFC and a bunch of chocolate… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

Jill, I think we might be giving a more broad response than is due. Based on her responses, she seems specifically targeting love in marriage, and then *only* in the context of how men treat women. How women treat men is unimportant. She rephrases everything within the framework of how it might negatively effect how men treat women. I think the undercurrent is fairly clear. The only avenue with a hope of succeeding is to argue that the idea of Love=Duty will improve how men treat women on the whole. Fortunately, that’s entirely true, so we can make that argument.… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Justin, I wish it were that easy. But what are we to do when “terrorizing” or “failure to love” is defined as refusing to validate the irrational or refusing to concede that an obviously inaccurate statement is right? When feelings are taken by definition to be more important than objective reality, then anyone who insists on that reality is seen as an enemy. And the more cerebral the approach, the more “unloving” the person seems to be. Which overlooks an obvious point. Not everyone is emotional by nature, and not everyone perceives the world primarily from a feelings-based perspective. MeMe… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“Duty requires you not “terrorize” your wife as she called it. If a husband is doing that, he’s acting in accordance with his feelings, not his duty, hence the only way that outcome can happen is if they use her definition of love, not ours.” Fabulous.” I don’t beat you and I go to work,so I have fulfilled my duty to love you.” So the moment the wife finds a man actually willing to love her as she should beloved, or becomes aware in any way that something is missing, she will bail. I think the divorce rate among older… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

MeMe, why do you assume that the only people failing in love are the men?

Justin Parris
Member

” I don’t beat you and I go to work,so I have fulfilled my duty to love you.”” Your ability to make up things that weren’t said knows few limits. At no point did I say that not beating your wife was your only duty to her. What I said was, beating your wife is definitively contrary to your duty to her. It is not definitively contrary to some people’s feelings. If someone is being cold hearted to their spouse and depriving her of what he needs as you keep suggesting, they are definitionally not loving her, not doing their… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Bethyada, thank you. It was bred in the bone, beginning with childhood stories about the Little Dutch Boy and the Spartan child whose entrails were eaten by the fox as he stood smiling, followed by frequent recitations of The Charge of the Light Brigade, Horatio at the Bridge, and the St. Crispin Day speech from Henry V. I have often wondered where, in the U.S., people had a comparable childhood. Perhaps in New England and the South, but not in California. You are much younger than I. Had New Zealand become much less British by the time you went to… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I was not raised on any of that, and grammar had been removed from the syllabus! It is worse now with English often being a medium to push leftism, feminism, Marxism and political correctness.

The concept of duty is perhaps somewhat part of my nature. I think it true but need to supplement with other virtues.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think the only risk of duty is a tendency to be critical of people who have a less robust sense of it. Fortunately, my criticism is directed almost entirely toward the Snowflake. “What do you mean, you can’t go sell vintage lipsticks today because Trump won the election? Stop crying and get yourself to the store.” This made me suddenly remember a story about a lawyer here who asked the judge to interrupt a trial for a couple of days because his cat had died and he was upset. In Canada he would have been mercilessly ridiculed. Even the… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Jill,

You posted elsewhere that you thought that men made better liars than women.

Given that the lawyer in the story was a man …

I’d be inclined to look for an ulterior motive and file his request under chutzpah.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I can’t imagine telling a lie that would make me look so feeble! “Fluffy died, your honor.”

richardp
Guest
richardp

“Love is a verb. Action is required. That speaks to the issue of duty. For women as well as for men.” I quote myself from above. A lot has been said here. Good stuff. But my point was quite simple. MeMe keeps making my point for me, thinking she is disagreeing with me. How does a wife “feel” loved? That is – did something happen to create the feeling she is experiencing? What good did it do my wife that her father was so overcome with the emotion of his love for her that he left the store with no… Read more »

richardp
Guest
richardp

This comment was supposed to come at the end of the string of comments below.

insanitybytes22
Member

“How does a wife “feel” loved? That is – did something happen to create the feeling she is experiencing?” It is much like our faith. Did something happen to call you to Christ? I think it did. I think the feelings ,emotions, actually receiving and feeling His love for us is what makes us Christians. We can say Christ died on the cross, so there is an action there,but we can say it by rote, not receiving it or feeling it at all. Then we can become pew sitters or bench warmers, not really in faith at all. In John… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

When a modern liberal says, “I believe in marriage”, I accept that he is sincere and well-meaning. I too believe in marriage. The difficulty now – and continuing perhaps for another 500 years into the future – is that those who are uncomfortable with the original definition have changed the meaning of the word. What matters in “marriage”, they say, is the intensity of the feeling of the parties involved: marriage is to be spiritual, attitudinal, and exhibited through a loving demeanor. That’s all good; I again agree that this is very important. “But what about the institutional part?”, I… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

“The parties involved must be free to define “marriage” in whatever way brings them the most happiness. ” The now seemingly common choice to see all of language, Scripture, law, and history, as a sort of abstract art who’s meaning is to be subjectively interpreted by each person is the basis of most all intellectual evil. Is the person in your hypothetical an actual person you know or an example of a person? Are they a liberal professed Christian? I’ve found 1 Cor 7:2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The person in my hypothetical is an example.

In fact, you could think of him not as a liberal of our own time but as a man with a strongly conservative outlook living in the early 26th century. Because he is conservative, he is feels that he needs to hold to what is, by his future time, no longer a new or radical definition of “marriage”.

His interpretation may have lots of logical holes, but it has been defended by people he respects all the way back to the early 21st century.

insanitybytes22
Member

I believe in ancient days, “to lie with a woman” was marriage. The Jewish weddings and ceremonies we begin to see much later in history. Adam and Eve of course, did not have an institutional wedding. In the olden days one simply took a wife.

I love the institution, I’ve been married for a long time, but I try to remember these bits of red tape, this bureaucracy, are all inventions of man that came along later. As is our propensity to rely on laws rather than on the spirit and intent of such laws.

Justin Parris
Member

” Adam and Eve of course, did not have an institutional wedding. ” By what criteria do you determine this? The Bible doesn’t give an account of everything they did. Far from it. It tells us almost nothing about their lives. “I try to remember these bits of red tape, this bureaucracy, are all inventions of man that came along later. As is our propensity to rely on laws rather than on the spirit and intent of such laws.” It seems you’re unfamiliar with the intent and spirit of this law. The public proclamation of the marriage in a ceremony… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“By what criteria do you determine this?”

Mostly because Genesis makes no mention of God having created a pastor, gone down to the courthouse, gotten a marriage license, sent out invitations, hired a band, etc.

Also, history.

“It seems you’re unfamiliar with the intent and spirit of this law.”

It seems you have a propensity to completely miss the point.

Justin Parris
Member

“Mostly because Genesis makes no mention of God having created a pastor, gone down to the courthouse, gotten a marriage license, sent out invitations, hired a band, etc.” The Bible makes no mention of lots of things that happened. You seem to think it absurd that they ever held an actual event for the wedding of Adam and Eve. Why, I have no idea. I’m not saying they did, but there’s clearly no basis to say that they didn’t. Though you’re being blatantly disingenuous here. You know full well I wasn’t suggesting a marriage license or modern laws. As has… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“You seem to think it absurd that they ever held an actual event for the wedding of Adam and Eve. ”

I’m sure she looked quite lovely in her gown, no doubt sporting a navel jewel, too.

Justin Parris
Member

This is pretty impressive. I criticize you for constantly, ceaselessly, dishonestly twisting the words of others and THIS is your response.

insanitybytes22
Member

“I criticize you constantly…..”

Precisely the nature of the problem.

Justin Parris
Member

You are aware everyone can see how you just directly lied about what I said yes? Look at your quote and glance up two inches.

insanitybytes22
Member

I didn’t lie, I copied and pasted your very words. Here, I’ll do it again, “I criticize you constantly…..”

I hear it was a lovely gown too, and a catered affair with violins and everything.

I do hope you pour yourself into The Word with the same enthusiasm you’ve shown for dissecting my comments and calling me names.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

His original text said “I criticize you for constantly…” Look it up; it is right there, unalterable, like the laws of the Medes and the Persians. The preposition makes quite a bit of difference to the meaning.

Your copy and paste commands aren’t working properly or they would have produced Justin’s comment accurately.

CHer
Guest
CHer

Not the first time something like this has happened…

anon
Guest
anon

Good Lord, IB.
Okay, in precisely the same manner of “not lying” I will copy and paste your very words here.
(I’ll only do it one time):
“I did lie,”

anon
Guest
anon

See! Your very words. I just removed some letters.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

If my daughter is reading over my shoulder, it is at this point she starts singing “Let It Go” from Frozen in a glass shattering soprano. Advice I ought to take and seldom do. I know nothing about what happened in the garden of Eden and I can’t remember if Millton talked about a wedding. But, if there was one, I have no doubt that the nine angelic orders were there in full force: angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, dominions, virtues, principalities, and powers.

bethyada
Member

Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Marriage is marked by a vow and coitus.

Of note, our Lord stated to the woman at the well that she was not married even though she was living with a man (and presumably intimate with him).

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

You are one persistent hombre, I’ll give you that.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

He has youth on his side.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

MeMe,

You are correct about marriage. At its heart, it is nothing more than the consent between a man and a woman to be joined for life. We should not allow red tape and bureaucracy to obscure that truth.

But, it is also important to remember that the regulations around contracting a marriage came about in order to deal with another truth:

Men lie.

Those lies can have consequences that last a lifetime, and can echo down for centuries after.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I have to forestall Bdash and point out here that women lie too! I have often thought that men lie more convincingly; they are less inclined to invent the wealth of supporting detail that often trips up the liar. The flat assertion is always safest if you can get away with it. My mother persuaded me in my youth that my nose twitched like a rabbit’s whenever I strayed from the truth. I have tried telling lies to myself in front of the mirror without noticing this phenomenon.

richardp
Guest
richardp

@Justin ” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. ” The “defect” in this comment is that you are presuming the definition of husband and wife. In fact, in each homosexual couple (whether two males or two females), one is defined as the “husband” and the other is defined as the “wife” So it is NOT hard for a man to marry another man when he’s been commanded to take a wife, because he has – at least according to his definition. The same for the… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

“The “defect” in this comment is that you are presuming the definition of husband and wife. In fact, in each homosexual couple (whether two males or two females), one is defined as the “husband” and the other is defined as the “wife”” I don’t think you thought this through. What you’re suggesting is self contradictory. If we have two men, and one of them subjectively defines himself as a “wife” then that man in particular does not himself have a wife. Then we only have one of them with a wife and the other must be in violation of Scripture.… Read more »

richardp
Guest
richardp

Justin, I wasn’t defending the gay argument. I was just point out that it is there. When you can define words to have multiple different meanings, it is not useful to have a debate using the non-specific words. Something more specific is needed in order to put an end to the debate. I offered (only partially tongue in check) that using the chromosomes xy and xx rather than husband and wife would be more useful terms. That would remove all ambiguity and would destroy the ability to equivocate.

Justin Parris
Member

I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. My questioning revolve around the usefulness of the argument. If you can read that text and suggest with a straight face that the author of the verse thousands of years ago did not think of husbands and wives as words denoting biological sex, you are FAR beyond the reach of rational conversation. Those who want to ignore God will find an argument to do so, no matter how terrible it might be.

richardp
Guest
richardp

“Roman Catholic is oxymoronic” Misleading statement for those who do not know. The Holy Roman Empire split into two factions: East (Byzantine) and West (Italy). So, specifying “Roman” tells the audience which of the two factions is being referenced. Catholic with a capitalized “C” refers to the organization that has a Pope. Catholic with a small “c” refers to the universal Church, of which Christ is the head. So, specifying “Catholic” rather than “catholic” tells the audience that it is the organization being referenced rather than the universal Church. Given the facts of the issue, “Roman Catholic” is not oxymoronic.… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Rather than being an oxymoron, the name”Roman Catholic” is redundant (which is why it is never used by the Church herself). Outside of the rare theological argument such as our host’s above, everyone understands what is being referred to when someone says, “Catholic Church”.

A quick thought experiment proves this.

Imagine being approached by a stranger on the street who asks, “Excuse me, could you tell me where the nearest Catholic Church is?” Not even the most obstinate of folks here would be confused by that question.

Nathan James
Member

Yet we understand it because so easily because we do not use the word catholic in any other sense. That is, I would never use catholic to mean universal without explaining it at that moment. It’s almost the reverse of Kleenex, which is a brand name that has become synonymous with facial tissue. Kleenex is in danger of losing it’s trademark because it is used generically. The word catholic has transitioned out of any general use and become solely identified with the brand.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

That transition happened a long time ago. It was already long-established when St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote his series explaining the Apostle’s Creed back in 360 AD: And if ever you are sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord’s House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son… Read more »

richardp
Guest
richardp

“Not even the most obstinate of folks here would be confused by that question.” Unless one lives among a large population of folks who are orthodox, and where there are many orthodox churches / cathedrals. The greater Los Angeles area (where I am) is one such population. The byzantine orthodox church considers itself the one true Catholic church. You would need to specify Roman Catholic for them to understand that you weren’t talking about them. This is the same kind of issue as the one about saying happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas. When one lives in a melting pot… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The differences between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches are very minor compared to the Catholic/Protestant divide. God willing, they will be fully resolved before we reach the year 2054.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

“The differences between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches are very minor compared to the Catholic/Protestant divide. ”

No doubt. The biggest division between RC & EO on the one hand and Protestants on the other is apostolic succession – would you agree? Are there others equally significant?

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The biggest practical division at the time of the Reformation was over the Eucharist. In retrospect, we think of Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura (and the consequent rejection of apostolic succession) as the being major points of division, but those were new ideas and it took some time for the Church to figure out what to make of them. Even in the Protest at the Diet of Speyer that Pastor Wilson cites above, the protesters called for a general council of the church to resolve the growing split. The Sacrifice of the Mass (known as The Divine Liturgy in the… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

“The biggest practical division at the time of the Reformation was over the Eucharist.”

I see. Thanks. Are apostolic succession and Papal primacy less central than I thought? If the RCC is right on those issues then all the rest is fairly moot, as far as where a person should be in communion is concerned.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Apostolic succession and papal primacy are central to the life of every Catholic in the same sense that asphalt is central the life of every driver: driving would be an absolute disaster without it. Still, most drivers spend very little time thinking about the road surface – unless there are potholes on their particular stretch of the highway.

On a day to day basis, the sacraments (and most especially the Eucharist) are the equivalent of the car you drive.

Peter Leithart gives a good explanation of this from a Protestant prespective.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

John, I think some Protestants vastly overestimate how much time the average Catholic pews spends thinking about the pope and the hierarchy in Rome. Life revolves around the sacraments and the local parish. But your analogy is apt, and we recently had a most unfortunate example of it. A con man posing as a priest was welcomed with open arms at various short-staffed parish churches where he said Mass, celebrated weddings, heard confessions, and baptized children. As you know, only the last one isn’t automatically invalid. The diocese has the headache of tracking down the invalidly married husbands and wives,… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Callaghan wrote:

The biggest practical division at the time of the Reformation was over the Eucharist.

Callaghan is almost correct. While the refutation of works/penance/indulgence salvation was important, the formulations around Sola Fide weren’t nearly as big as the debates around the Eucharist. However, the underlying collision that was much larger than both of those was the collision over the order of authority among God’s people. The Reformers wanted to restore the authority of Scripture over the popes and traditions of Rome.

This is still the central sticking point today.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

And it’s whole lot quicker than saying “a Catholic of the Roman rite”.

Kevin Brendler
Guest
Kevin Brendler

“DEFINED BY WORD AND SACRAMENT” Indeed. But no mention of Baptism specifically? Not once in a discussion of where to locate the holy, catholic church of Jesus Christ??? Strange. VERY strange. Peter made baptism essential to Christian identity. (To all you debaters, logicians and philosophers out there, yes, I’m aware of the thief on the cross) Peter made baptism essential to Christian identity. Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.… Read more »

Kevin Brendler
Guest
Kevin Brendler

Yes, Baptists do, on occasion, pronounce unbelievers to be united to Christ. But it’s against their Principles to do so. They do not INTEND to do so. It happens when they are fooled.

Papists and Presbyterians *welcome* unbelieving infants into union with Christ. They do so willingly and purposefully. It is their Religion to do so.

HUUUUGE difference here.

Jane
Member

No, we don’t. We never willingly admit unbelieving children through baptism. We admit children, not knowing whether they are yet believing, will be in future, or will never do so.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Jane,

“We admit children, not knowing whether they are yet believing,….”

You hold that infants can be believing? How do you understand “believing”? Why would we admit anyone absent evidence that they are believing?

We admit children to what exactly? Are *we* the ones who actually admit children, or anyone else to union with Christ?

I may not agree, but I’m not sneering, these are honest questions.

Kevin Brendler
Guest
Kevin Brendler

” … I’m not sneering ….”

I am.

Let her sell her sophistry to the Pope.

If he ain’t buyin’, let her return to the Devil for a refund.

Jane
Member

Great, you just condemned the entire Reformation for the first 200 years of its existence. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Bucer, Melanchthon, Knox, Cranmer, papists all!

I’ll resist the temptation to be as rude about the sense of your comment as you were to me.

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

You hold that infants can be believing?

“On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” (Psalm 22:10)

“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.” (Luke 1:41)

“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.'” (Matthew 19:13-14)

Is there any reason to believe that infants cannot have faith in Christ?

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Vva70, Thank you for your response. Of the passages you quote, the first is a statement of fact the grown man would look back and realize, the third demonstrates the faith of the parents, rather than that of the children, only the second remotely suggests any kind of response on the part of the infant. Even then, it is not clear just what , if anything, John the Baptist was demonstrating; joy, excitement, is not the same thing as believing, believing being what was in question. Yes, there is reason to believe that infants cannot have faith in Christ –… Read more »

Jane
Member

You’re not going to rejoice at the presence of the Lord without faith. No, there is no evidence of faith. But there is no evidence of lack of faith, was my point, so it is too much to say we knowingly baptize “unbelievers” as though we know that any of those particular infants does not believe. The question is not whether awareness is necessary, but how much. Even newborns are not comatose, though their awareness is limited. I don’t where you get “the faith of the parents” out of “for to such belongs the kingdom of Heaven.” Jesus was talking… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Jane, Thanks. I would not call “Then children were brought to him…” passive,. Bringing/brought is active, and the parents (presumably, or some other adults), rather than the children, were the actors. The parents must have believed something, had some kind of faith, to have brought their children to Jesus. I’m assuming when parents bring their infants to be baptized the parents believe something, their actions give evidence that they do, but the infants are entirely passive in the matter, they are carried, no one asks them, they say nothing. As you say, it is incorrect to claim Presbyterians, and I… Read more »

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

Glad to help, JohnM. They also seem to divorce Christian faith from even a basic awareness of Jesus’ atoning death, and resurrection. If the question is not whether awareness is necessary, but how much, shouldn’t the answer be – “At least that much.”? Also, I would ask, what then is our answer to inclusivism, if no more awareness than infant is capable of possessing is all that is necessary? Saving faith is not something that comes from within ourselves, but is rather a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). Because of this, we must be able to acknowledge the difference between… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Vva70 One point of clarification, if it is even necessary – Baptists would agree with you that baptism is not a requirement for salvation. I don’t know if you were under the impression they did or not, but I think some Christians are under that impression. What do you see as the connection between baptism and faith, particularly the baptism of an infant? Is the gift of faith assumed to be conferred via baptism? That really is not what I supposed Presbyterians believe, but something like that is what I gather Roman Catholics believe – I could be wrong. Otherwise,… Read more »

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

JohnM, I realize that most baptists do not see baptism as a requirement for salvation. I brought it up to help provide a context for the following paragraph. On to the subject of infant baptism. When we perform a baptism, we are baptizing someone in whom we expect to see signs of faith in the future. This is true whether we are baptizing a child or an adult. We expect this in the case of the adult based upon a profession of faith, and we expect this in the case of the child because the child will be raised in… Read more »

Kevin Brendler
Guest
Kevin Brendler

“Is there any reason to believe that infants cannot have faith in Christ?” Ridiculous. You want to argue for infant faith and baptism upon the lone, *extraordinary* case of John the Baptist?????? Absurd. You might as well dispense with baptism altogether, based upon the **extraordinary** case of the thief on the cross. You don’t build doctrine on -EXCEPTIONS- to the rule!!!!!!!! Unless you’re in a cult. Why don’t you just throw out the doctrine of Original Sin? That will surely aid your subterfuge. Oh. Your plot requires more cunning than that? I see. Idolatry forces you into the most perverse… Read more »

Katecho
Member

JohnM wrote:

You hold that infants can be believing? How do you understand “believing”? Why would we admit anyone absent evidence that they are believing?

Infants and children can be represented in the faith by even just one believing parent, and raised in the faith accordingly.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Katecho,

Sorry, I didn’t notice your response before now.

When we say the infant is being represented in the faith, do we presume the infant has faith he is unable to express, or do we hold that the infant’s faith or lack thereof at the time doesn’t matter, as long as the parent has faith? Why would we think either?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Of course, infant baptism is the overwhelming practice of the historical church, to the extent that anyone has records. I am curious: do you accept that kind of argument when it doesn’t vindicate your prejudices, or has it strictly an occasional legitimacy?

lndighost
Member

I suppose the ad populum sauce will be applied only to the head covering goose and not to the covenant baptism gander.

Kevin Brendler
Guest
Kevin Brendler

:-D i like that one.

However, my argument for the head covering was Biblical in nature and force, with the history thrown on top secondarily, like chocolate sprinkles.

You’ve got no Biblical argument for infant baptism, without misconstruing redemptive history, and the relationship of Old and New Covenants.

And, to your point, female head coverings were the *-UNIVERSAL-* practice in the church for 1900 yrs or so. The same universality CANNOT possibly be asserted for infant baptism.

So the ad populum sauce applied to the head covering goose CANNOT honestly and legitimately be stretched to the paedobaptistic gander.

But nice try.

lndighost
Member

Kevin, you said, “You’ve got no Biblical argument for infant baptism, without misconstruing redemptive history, and the relationship of Old and New Covenants.” I could say that you have no biblical argument for excluding the children of believers from the sign of the covenant, without misconstruing redemptive history, and the relationship of the old and new covenants. Then we could have a conversation about redemptive history and the relationship of the old and new covenants. But I regret that I can’t devote the time to that conversation (which, in any case, I suspect neither of us would find satisfactory), so… Read more »

Kevin Brendler
Guest
Kevin Brendler

” … infant baptism is the overwhelming practice of the historical church ….” “Overwhelming” does not have quite the same absolutist punch as “UNIVERSAL.” :-D There were several groups that defected from infant baptism up till the time of Reformation, and then MANY, MANY after that. So it’s apples and oranges, darling. “The Lateran Council of 1139 did enforce infant baptism by severe measures, and successive councils condemned the Waldenses for rejecting it. (Wall) Evervinus of Stanfield complained to Bernard, Abbot of Clairval, that Cologne was infected with Waldensian heretics, who denied baptism to infants. (Allix) Peter, Abbot of Clugny,… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

So quick to find exceptions for practices you disagree with.

insanitybytes22
Member

Let me trying saying this in another way. The Catholic church loves protestants in a duty only, legalistic perception of love, one that insists, God ordained love has established that protestants are commanded to shut up, submit, and be grateful we love you as the second class citizens you are. It never occurs to Catholics that the reason why their protestant wives are nailing themselves to the church door, is because the legalistic, Catholic definition of “how to love” is all wrong. It’s absolutely charming to see the nature of that dysfunctional relationship reflected in some off the wall teachings… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Good grief. Okay, MeMe, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. On behalf of over one billion Catholics worldwide–every single one of whom loves you only as a tiresome, legalistic duty because we’re all mean as snakes–let me apologize for telling you to shut up, submit, and be grateful. I don’t know which of the billion of us told you that. It wasn’t me because I have an alibi. At the crucial moment, I was working my shift over at Holy Inquisitors parish, taking pictures of all the Protestant wives nailing themselves to the church door. And fine pictures they… Read more »

Rob Howard
Guest
Rob Howard

The 95 Prostheses
You win the internet today for this whole thing, but the above made me literally laugh out loud, and I nearly dropped my phone, because it’s so hard to hold it and applaud at the same time. Well done.

Rob Howard
Guest
Rob Howard

… aaaand I thought I knew how to quote something, but I see now that I was wrong.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Use a <blockquote> tag around the text you quoting.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

To be more clear, typing:

<blockquote>95 Prostheses</blockquote>

will get displayed as:

95 Prostheses

john k
Guest
john k

So typing that gives an opening quote mark with no closing quote mark?

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The details of how the words inside a <blockquote> tag are formatted will vary by site.

On this site, in addition to the leading quotation mark, the text is rendered in a gray italic font and given a small margin on all four sides.

insanitybytes22
Member

I don’t want your mea culpa, Jilly. I want you to change the entire paradigm. I want you to consider the possibility that I am actually a grown human being who does not require your constant discipline, your perpetual rebuke, as if I were an errant and stupid child. I wish you to perceive me as a woman who loves the Lord as much as you do,who has a husband, children, grandchildren, who may actually be fairly intelligent in her own right. I want you to do that and then I was us to sit down and laugh together at… Read more »

lndighost
Member

I want you to consider the possibility that I am actually a grown human being who does not require your constant discipline, your perpetual rebuke, as if I were an errant and stupid child.

So say we all…

CHer
Guest
CHer

“I want you to consider the possibility that I am actually a grown human being who does not require your constant discipline, your perpetual rebuke, as if I were an errant and stupid child. I wish you to perceive me as a woman who loves the Lord as much as you do…” That’s easy. “You will know them by their fruits.” – Matt 7:16. Your only fruits on here are your comments, and Jill’s are much better than yours. If you really want what you claim: 1) Stop lying 2) Admit (repent if necessary) when you’re wrong 3) Stop being… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi MeMe, let me say first that I don’t at all think you are stupid; I think you are very intelligent and I don’t doubt that you love the Lord. I also think that you and I are so extremely different in personality type, temperament, and way of looking at the world that we are probably doomed to misunderstand each other. I have thought about this a lot, and I think our problems come down to two areas. I think you believe that when I ask for evidence or clarification, I am attacking you or chiding you or implying that… Read more »

CHer
Guest
CHer

“soon to be featured in the latest illustrated edition of “Men’s Failure to Love Their Wives, Volume CCDVIII” by MeMe. Sometimes the wives in my pictures only nail artificial limbs. I call those pictures “The 95 Prostheses” in tribute to Martin Luther who was reportedly very good to his wife, but I am sure you would disagree. After all, he got his early training from us.”

Hilarious! Vintage P.J. O’Rourke-level stuff there. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking coffee when I read it.