Monday, September 01, 2014

Mormonism and Islam Origins

I sit and wonder how can anyone accept the "truths" of Mormonism.  I mean, it just seems so far-fetched that anyone with any amount of education and especially if they have studied religious history at all would reject Mormonism completely.  Here we have a religion started by a man, Joseph Smith, who was allegedly visited by an angel named Moroni.  This angel provided him with special glasses through which he, and he alone, could read from golden tablets which were allegedly written by Moroni's father around the 4th century - the translation of these tablets is what they now call The Book of Mormon.  As the story goes, Jews fleeing persecution came to the Americas and formed two groups, the Lamanites and the Nephites and these two groups fought each other.  The Nephites (part of the "true religion") were defeated in about 428 AD and the Lamanites became what we now call the Native Americans (Indians).  The Book of Mormon is the alleged account of the Nephite leader, Mormon, who describes their culture, civilization and the appearance of Jesus to the Nephites in America.  The declared purpose of the appearance of Moroni to Joseph Smith is to restore the Nephite religion to the Americas.  

My thoughts then go to Islam...  The "Prophet Mohamed" is allegedly visited by the Archangel, Gabriel (who is mentioned in Christian Scripture).  Gabriel allegedly dictated the Word of God to Mohammed, who in turn put down those words into what we now call the Quran, (or Qu'ran or Koran).

The two cults have similar beginnings, which is a most significant comparison.  The founders of both were struggling to find the "true religion"  Both religions believe their "prophet" was visited by an angel whom delivered to them the truth of religion.  The founder of each writes a new book of "scripture" adhered to by his followers.  Both claim to be following the same God of the Judeo-Christian heritage, but both Judaism and Christianity are corruptions of the true religion.  Immediately after the death of their respective "prophets," each religion split into two cults, each claiming to be the true succession of the "prophet."  The Mormons split into a group lead by the son of Joseph Smith, they settled in Independence Missouri and are called the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" while the other main faction followed Brigham Young to Utah.  The Muslims split similarly, one group, the Sunnis, believed that after the death of Mohammed, the successor should be elected from among his followers.  Shias, however, believed that the successor should be a relative of Mohammed and they chose his cousin/son-in-law, Ali.  Shia is shortened from "Shai-t-Ali" (the Party of Ali).  So, both cults have one faction which believes in a blood successor while the other believes the successor is to be elected.

A list I found which presents similar and a few more comparisons:
- Visited by an angel.- Given visions.
- Told that no true religion existed on the earth.
- Was sent to restore the long lost faith as the one true religion.
- A book produced from their teachings claimed to be "inspired by God."
- Each claimed to be illiterate or uneducated and used this as proof the book was inspired.
- Each claimed the Bible was lost, altered, corrupted and unreliable.
- Each claimed his new holy book was the most correct and perfect book on earth.
- Each claimed to be a final prophet of God.
- Each claimed he was persecuted because of his pure faith.
- Was a polygamist who had many wives. 
- Immediately after his death a fight broke out from among the "faithful converts" as to who would succeed him.
- Both religions have those who follow the "original doctrine" of the founding leaders and like these founding leaders, have been violent, polygamists, and have revelations justifying their evil actions.
- Each has progressive revelation. ("New" revelation always replaces older revelation that became inconvenient to the prophet.)
Another list gleaned from a wiki article:
- A founding prophet who received visits from an angel, leading to revelation of a book of scripture;
- A founding prophet whose first wife was older than himself;
- A founding prophet who practiced and preached polygamy;
- A division of the religion into a minimum of two parties after the death of the founding prophet, with one party claiming that leadership should continue through the prophet's descendants, and the other party rejecting this idea;
- Special reverence for, though not worship of, their founding prophet;
- Belief that their faith represents the genuine, original religion of Adam, and of all true prophets thereafter;
- Belief that the text of the Bible, as presently constituted, has been adulterated from its original form;
- Assertions that modern Christianity does not conform to the original religion taught by Jesus Christ;
- Rejection of the Christian doctrines of Original Sin and the Trinity;
- A belief that theirs constitutes the one and only completely true religion on the earth today;
- A clergy drawn from the laity, without necessarily requiring collegiate or seminary training;
- Insistence that their religion is a complete way of life, meant to directly influence every facet of existence;
- Strong emphasis upon chastity, including modesty in dress;
- Prohibition of alcoholic beverages, gambling, and homosexual and bisexual practices;
- Strong emphasis upon education, both in the secular and religious arenas;
- Incorporation of a sacred ritual of ablution, though each religion's rite differs in form, frequency and purpose;
- Belief that one's marriage can potentially continue into the next life, if one is faithful to the religion; and
- Belief in varying degrees of reward and punishment in the hereafter, depending upon one's performance in this life.
Fundamentally speaking, both religions have serious flaws.  Let's start with the older one, Islam.  They consider themselves the People of the Promise, which was given to Abraham - which is true, to a point.  God does promise Abraham that the people of Ishmael will become a great nation - but His Covenant would be in the line of Isaac.  The Ishmaelites become the people who would eventually embrace Islam, but they corrupt the story, giving the Covenant promise to Ishmael.  Of course they would say it is the Judeo-Christian heritage which has corrupted the story, but where is their proof?  Where is their evidence?  The Old Testament passages which testify to Isaac predate any "scripture" from Islam by over 2000 years!

Here's a debate, which I don't agree with the scoring, but do agree with the outcome (the "pro" side should have received some points as some good points were made).

Perhaps the better argument, which was never raised by the "con" side of that debate, is that by the time Isaac was taken up to be the sacrifice, Ishmael was gone, exiled with is mother wandering the wilderness of Bersabee Genesis 21:14; the biggest "pro" argument was that God refers to Abraham's "only son" - which is made after Abraham had cast out Hagar and Ishmael, and that reference is in Genesis 22:2.  So, when the statement of "only son" is made, Isaac is Abraham's only son, and is the one whom he loved. 

According to "Islam 101" the reason Isaac's name is used was due to chauvinism and that the Jews had corrupted the Scripture here, but (they say) God left the word "only" in there to demonstrate it was rightly Ishmael, who was for a time Abraham's "only son."  However, as the "con" debater above raised, the "pro" side is arguing from English translations, especially the King James Version.  I would argue that "commas" are not part of the Hebrew text, those are purely part of the English interpretation/translation and the text could be (and likely should be) better translated "Take now, thine only son whom thou lovest, Isaac..." 

Either way, based upon facts - the "pro" side of that debate would need to present the older, non-corrupted text, or else the speculation on corruption is just that, and nothing more than speculation. 

A serious flaw both religions fail is in the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity.  Islam denies any deity to Jesus and Mormonism assents that Jesus is "a god" and just one among potentially millions or even billions of gods.  The Mormon "prophet," Joseph Smith taught "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!" (in the King Follet Discourse).  The implication being, we can all be gods.  The polytheism of Mormonism is rejected by Christianity, Judaism and Islam alike.  

Back to the point of this article.  I am not the first (and certainly won't be the last) to speculate on the similarities between Islam and Mormonism.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Explaining Why Abortion is Wrong While Avoiding Religious Terms

Today I would like to show how one can debate, argue, on the merits of being pro-life without using religious texts for support.

Using only science and our own Declaration of Independence we can make a solid argument against any and all abortions. First we need to understand that a person is a living human being. The online dictionary Merriam-Webster defines ‘person’ as “a human being.” Second, our Declaration of Independence tells us that all human beings have an unalienable right to life. And thirdly, we can know that a new human being begins its life at the moment of fertilization. As the same online dictionary defines‘fertilization’ as: the process of union of two gametes whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated.

There you have it. Everything you need to successfully explain your pro-life position as being well supported by science by applying the fundamental right to life for all human beings from the beginning of its life (at fertilization) to its natural end.

There’s no other conclusion possible. You see, the only objections to my position of pro-life is to argue that size, level of development, Environment or degree of dependency are points allowing for the destruction of what is growing in the womb, which science tells us that it’s a living human being.

Let’s look at these different objections to see how weak their position really is. Does size determine if someone has a right to life? No, of course not. A baby is much smaller than a teenager but that doesn’t mean that the baby doesn’t have a right to life simply because it’s smaller in size. The same goes for a newly formed human being, the zygote. It may be extremely small but it is indeed a human being and alive and therefore it has a right to life just as a baby or a teenager does. Size does not determine if one has rights.

Does the level of development determine if one has the right to life? Of course not. An adult human being is much more developed than a toddler, does that mean that the adult has a greater degree of this right to life than the toddler does? Just because the level of development might prevent a human being from ‘thinking’ or ‘feeling’ doesn’t mean that our value is based on our abilities. Some individuals , like Gabby Gingras, can’t feel pain at all but that doesn’t mean that she has no right to life.

Does ones location determine if one has a right to life? No. Just because they are living in the womb at the moment, which is in its proper location for its age, doesn’t change ones nature that they are indeed a human being and the fact that they are growing means that they are alive. All living human beings have a right to life no matter where they may be at a certain time in their lives. I have as much a right to life whether I’m in bed or at work; the same applies to the individual whether she is in the womb or in her mother’s arms.

And lastly, the level of dependency. The fact that the individual who is completely dependent on the mother for survival does not determine whether he has a right to life. If that were the case then a newborn would not have a right to life either since it is completely dependent on someone else, usually the mother for its survival. If level of dependency on another for survival determines if one has a right to life means that the killing of newborns would be morally acceptable. No rational individual would support the killing of newborns.

Again, we can plainly see that if it can be ascertained with a great amount of certainty that a new human being begins its existence at the moment of fertilization, then by virtue of believing in the right to life for all supercedes any ‘rights’ the mother may feel she has to an abortion for whatever reason. Science has determined with certainty that a human being does indeed begin its life at the moment of conception which means that a mothers ‘right’ to choose to deliberately kill her developing human being should not be allowed by law.

The right to life is to be afforded to all living human beings simply by virtue of them being human beings. And that right to life cannot be taken away because of their size, level of development, environment or dependency. They deserve this right because we believe that the founders had it right; that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights[that cannot be taken away or denied], that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

God Bless

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sir Richard Attenborough

Sir Richard Attenborough has passed away at age 90.  While he's been a character actor in many films, my best memory of him is as Jacob in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (a favorite of my daughter before she passed away).
Sir Richard Attenborough (Jacob) with Donny Osmond (Joseph)
Rest in peace, Sir Attenborough.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

Dr. Scott Hahn posted to Facebook this Open Letter to Richard Dawkins and encouraged sharing it...  I agree and am sharing...  please feel free to do the same.  I'll have a final comment after the letter....

Dear Dr. Dawkins,
Earlier this week, on Twitter, you drew attention to a troubling fact unknown to most people. You pointed out that in the United States and Europe, most children conceived with Down syndrome are aborted. You’re right. Some experts put the number as high as 90 percent. Others suggest that only 65 percent, or 70 percent, or 80 percent of children with Down syndrome are aborted. The actual number is probably very difficult to determine. You have a platform, Dr. Dawkins, an audience, and in some real way I’m very grateful that you drew attention to the pre-natal eradication of people with Down syndrome.
But you made your point about the ubiquity of Down syndrome abortion in order to defend a terrible assertion. You suggested on Twitter, Dr. Dawkins, a moral imperative to abort children conceived with Down Syndrome. You said that if a woman had the choice to abort such a child, and she failed to so, she would have acted immorally. I’m troubled by that, and, very honestly, I’m confused.
You’ve traditionally held a position of moral neutrality regarding abortion. You’ve asserted that killing animals, with the capacity to experience pain, fear, and suffering, is of greater moral significance than killing fetuses: nascently human, you assert, but without the kind of sentience that gives them moral significance. You’ve suggested that no carnivore can reasonably hold a position in opposition to abortion. You’re not alone in that position, it’s become de rigueur among most contemporary analytic ethicists.
I disagree with your position. I’ve long ago concluded that the fetus, the embryo, and in fact, the zygote are human beings—undeveloped, certainly, but possessing the dignity and the rights of sentient adults.
Despite my disagreement, I recognize that you’ve tried to apply your viewpoint with consistency across a variety of ethical situations.
Until this week. This week, you moved from presenting abortion as a morally neutral act to asserting that the abortion of some people—genetically disabled people—is a moral good. A moral imperative, in fact. You haven’t asserted a basis for this position. I suspect you believe that people with Down syndrome suffer, needlessly, and cause undue suffering to their friends and relatives. And, as a general principle, I believe you’re inclined to obviate as much human suffering as possible.
You’ve often said that people who disagree with you should “go away, and learn how to think.” I’ve tried to learn to think, over the years, but perhaps I am naive in some ways. But one of things I’ve concluded is that ethical philosophy can’t be done in a sterile environment—that our humanity, our intuition, our empathy, in fact, must be recognized as a source of ethical insight if we want to think well. Perhaps you believe that your position on abortion and down syndrome is logically valid. But I wonder if you’re kept awake at night by the revulsion that comes with being the champion of killing.
Suffering is not a moral evil to be avoided. Suffering can have meaning and value. Ask Victor Frankl. Or Mohandas Gandhi. Or Martin Luther King, Jr. Or, if you’re willing, ask my children.
I have two children with Down syndrome. They’re adopted. Their birth-parents faced the choice to abort them, and didn’t. Instead the children came to live with us. They’re delightful children. They’re beautiful. They’re happy. One is a cancer survivor, twice-over. I found that in the hospital, as she underwent chemotherapy and we suffered through agony and exhaustion, our daughter Pia was more focused on befriending nurses and stealing stethoscopes. They suffer, my children, but in the context of irrepressible joy.
I wonder, if you spent some time with them, whether you’d feel the same way about suffering, about happiness, about personal dignity. I wonder, if you danced with them in the kitchen, whether you’d think abortion was in their best interest. I wonder, if you played games with them, or shared a joke with them, whether you’d find some worth in their existence.
And so, Dr. Dawkins, I’d like to invite you to dinner. Come spend time with my children. Share a meal with them. Before you advocate their deaths, come find out what’s worthwhile in their lives. Find out if the suffering is worth the joy.
I don’t want you to come over for a debate. I don’t want to condemn you. I want you to experience the joy of children with Down syndrome. I want your heart to be moved to joy as well.
Any day next week is good for us except for Wednesday.
Sincerely yours,
JD Flynn
JD Flynn writes from Lincoln, Nebraska. 
For many years I taught gymnastics - and in that previous life one of my specialties was working with the Special Needs community.  Many of these children had Downs Syndrome, and each one - in their own special way - was a true gift and joy to work with.  Certainly sometimes challenging, but the rewards were always worth it.  I had the honor to coach the Special Olympics gymnastics champion for several of those years.  
I hope Dr. Dawkins accepts JD Flynn's invitation.  There is no way one can spend time with one of these special children without seeing the gift they bring to all around them.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sadness Over the Death of Robin Williams

On my way home from work today I heard the news of the apparent suicide of Robin Williams.  I briefly looked on Facebook and saw many of the sad posts mourning the loss of Robin Williams.  Certainly as an actor, he will be missed.  He was a man of many talents and was able to bring his audiences to tears of joy, and sometimes tears of sadness too.  What saddens me more though is, if the reports are true, that he succumbed to suicide - which is a total lack of faith, even a rejection of faith.  Only God can judge what the state of Mr. Williams soul was at the point of death - so I will not presume to judge his eternal state, but it saddens me to hear about someone who felt his or her problems were bigger than God could handle.

My prayers go out to William's family, and I do pray for his soul - may God have mercy on him.

Photograph: Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times/

Friday, August 08, 2014

ISIS Monsters Beheading Children

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, aka ISIS, is taking "terror" to new heights.  They are beheading children simply because they are Christian.  I had thought about posting the picture of a Syrian father holding the lifeless body of his headless daughter for the shock value, but I have decided against it.  Or how about group crucifixions of Christians?  If you really want to see that morbidity, it's not hard to find in Google or Yahoo searches.  This is beyond terror, it is horror.

Meanwhile, many Americans sit at home and ponder the upcoming NFL season and/or speculate on what is in store for the NBA and NHL seasons which are not much further away.  Should the world stop and put an end to these monsters who claim to be fighting for Allah?  Or, should we just carry on as if nothing is happening, after all, it's not happening in our backyard?  How is this genocide any less horrific than Hitler's treatment of the Jews?  What is it going to take to get the world to take action against ISIS?  I know the USA is still recovering from many years at war in the region - but our pull-out was ill-timed and left a vacuum which was filled by radical factions of Islam.

Don't get me wrong here... most Muslims are not like ISIS.  I also do not support the errors of Islam, but ISIS is not representative of a majority of Islam.  While we can peacefully debate between Christianity and Islam - there is no "debating" with these radical elements.  All they know is violence and hatred of anything or anyone not like themselves.  The only thing which will end their horror will be their complete defeat in this game of war they have actively engaged themselves within.

I urge everyone reading this to pray and fast over these current events.  If an article like this is not enough to convince you, then do a Google or Yahoo images search for "beheaded children" and if that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will... perhaps just letting the forces of ISIS continue until they really are doing these acts in your own backyard?

I am deliberately NOT "linking" the URL below so that you may be fairly warned of the graphic images you will see if you copy and paste it into your browser.

Oh, and lest any have forgotten... it HAS happened in our backyard...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Conversation with a Non-Catholic

Questioner:  You know, when you pray to Mary you are introducing a mediator between God and man and that goes against God  because He said that “there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”

An adequate reply:  If that’s the way you feel then don’t you ever, ever ask me to pray for you ever again.  You see, the minute you ask me to pray for you in your time of need you are putting me between you and our one mediator, Jesus Christ.

What we Catholics are doing when praying to Mary is to ask her to pray to Jesus on our behalf in the same way as you would ask me to pray for you on your behalf.  When Paul spoke of the one mediator he introduced the subject by stating that it was good for us to pray for one another (1 Tim 2:1-5).  It is good for one member of the Body of Christ to pray for the well-being of another member of the Body of Christ and since not even (physical) death can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ (Rom 8:38-39) then even those members of the Body who have physically died are alive and well in heaven because Jesus tells us directly that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jabob is a God of the living implying that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive(Matt 22:32).  And because death will not separate us from the Body of Christ means that those who have died in friendship with God are not only alive but that they are STILL members of the Body of Christ.
Questioner: But they’re dead.  They can’t hear your prayers.

Reply: What would be the point of asking for intercessory prayers if the people we are asking are not aware of us or of our prayers?  Well we can find that they ARE aware of us in Heb 12:1 where it says: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  Or in Luke 15:18 where Luke tells us that their is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
We can see that the saints in heaven are not only alive just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive but that they are indeed aware of what is happening here on earth.

And so ‘dead’ saints are alive in heaven, aware of what is happening on earth and can pray for our well-being just as we can pray for the well-being of others.
God Bless

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Canon Revisited

At BeggarsAll another posting on the Canon of Sacred Scripture has been published.  Overall it seems a bit of a chastisement against a Protestant pastor who had the courage to state "the Bible didn't exist until around 300 - 400 AD".  "for 300 years there was no Bible" and "they had no New Testament for really, 400 years."   
Please note the facts:
  1. The Bible did not exist until around 300-400 AD
  2. They had no New Testament for really, 400 years
Both statements are true!  Actually, there were "canon lists" (several varying ones) for the first 400 years - but there was no "Bible," as we know it today, until about 405 AD.  It was commissioned by Pope Damasus in 382 AD, but not completed until about 405 AD (the Gospels were completed and presented to the pope in 384 AD). 

Why is this such a difficult concept for Protestants to take?  How can they deny the documented process the canon went through before it was finalized in the late 4th century?  Well I can answer for the "why" part, it is because it undermines the concept of sola scriptura.  

When Protestants separated from the one authority which Jesus Christ established and built for His people, they needed to create a new authority, and thus was born the slogan theology of sola scriptura (along with four "other solas").  The terminology itself is virtually unheard of until the 16th century, which this fact alone should cause concern for its adherents.  When the primary language of the West (where the concept of the Five Solas is invented) is Latin why is this allegedly foundational teaching (of sola scriptura, which is Latin) so foreign, even unheard of?

It is time for our separated brethren to come home to the one,  holy, Catholic and apostolic Church which Jesus Christ built (Matthew 16:18).  After all is said and done it is the desire of God that we be one, just as the Father and the Son are one John 17:21).

Addendum - Comments to the original post on BeggarsAll:

"Be Careful the way you communicate the issue of the canon in the early church"
1 – 9 of 9

Scott Windsor, Sr. said...
The fact that there was no "Bible" prior to the 4th-5th century is quite true. It is also true that all the books which comprise that which would be declared to be "The Bible" were all written prior to 96AD. That some books were widely read in the early churches MAY be true, but the fact is that there were few copies available in the first 300 years of the Catholic Church and not because they were forbidden, but because all copies would have been hand-written. There is no doubt that many of the books are rightly declared as being part of the Canon of Sacred Scripture in the earliest of canon lists - but likewise several books were included in these lists which eventually were not included while others were excluded but eventually made it into the official canon.
Should pastors be careful in how they describe the early canons? Yes, I would agree with that! They should also be honest about how the canon developed and was not 100% accepted.
7:31 PM, July 26, 2014
Ken said...
Basically I agree, if there is enough time to make clear that the individual books were already canon when written, because they are "God-breathed".
But I suppose you are also wanting books like Shepherd of Hermas, Barnabas, Didache, Wisdom of Solomon, and Apocalypse of Peter to be mentioned as possibly considered by some (Muration Canon and Codex Siniaticus) as "canon" also. But it could be argued that Codex Siniaticus is just making use of the space and material, not proof that they thought they were canonical.
4:05 PM, July 28, 2014
Scott Windsor, Sr. said...
And I would agree as well... except for the point of "just making use of space." In the time before the printing press (and we're talking more than 1000 years prior to it) adding to the "space" was much more laborious and thus not a very logical argument. So, while it "could be argued...", such a paradigm is quite unlikely. The more likely is that they appreciated the Shepherd, Barnabus, Didache, etc. and included them because they did preach the Gospel message - but for any number of reasons (and there are a few) the later counterparts decided against their inclusion in the canon.
As for the point about them being "canonical" at the time they were penned, while it is true they were and are God's Word at the time they were penned, it is a bit anachronistic to argue they were canonical prior to the existence of canon lists.
7:38 PM, July 28, 2014
Joey Henry said...
Scott, you have to define what you mean by canon. If canon for you means that there should be a canonical list defined by an ecclesiastical body, then you correct in saying that it is anachronistic to assert the canon prior to the list.
However, the definition of what is a canon and when a book becomes canonical is at issue. For me, the canon is a result of inspiration. When God inspired some books and not all books, he basically created the canon. Thus, the canon exist even if no ecclessiatical body defines it.
7:21 AM, July 31, 2014
Scott Windsor, Sr. said...
I understand what you're saying - but I must stress - words have meanings. A "canon" (in this context) is a LIST or COLLECTION of sacred books which are accepted as genuine. Thus, to say a book or collection of books is "canonical" BEFORE the LIST or COLLECTION is assembled is purely anachronistic. To be "canonical" does not equivocate to being "inspired." In the case of Scripture, those books which were eventually included in the Canon of Sacred Scripture are indeed ALSO inspired (God breathed) and the inclusion into the canon did not make them inspired. They were, indeed, inspired even prior to them being penned (the writer first had the inspiration and THEN put it to paper/papyrus). By the same token, just because something is not in the formal canon does not mean it is not inspired! Many other books are considered worthy to be read and could be considered inspired and inspirational - they just were not part of the official canon.
Back to the point - NONE of the books were "canonical" prior to the establishment of a "canon." In simpler terms, NONE of the books were part of the "list" prior to the "list" being compiled.
Also keep in mind, there were SEVERAL "canons" prior to the 4th-5th century.
Words mean things.
11:04 PM, July 31, 2014
Ken said...
. . . words have meanings. A "canon" (in this context) is a LIST or COLLECTION of sacred books which are accepted as genuine.
Words have meanings, yes. But the original meaning of "canon" was not a list, rather "criterion" / "standard" / "rule" - the meaning of "list of sacred books" came much later.
(the writer first had the inspiration and THEN put it to paper/papyrus).
No, 2 Timothy 3:16 says the writings are God-breathed, not the person. The person was guided by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), using their own personality, but it was the writings themselves that are God-breathed.
3:25 PM, August 01, 2014

Scott Windsor, Sr. said...
> KT: Words have meanings, yes.
> But the original meaning of
> "canon" was not a list, rather
> "criterion" / "standard" /
> "rule" - the meaning of "list of
> sacred books" came much later.
sw: Without going into the etymological fallacy, the use that we are talking about (as indicated by "in this context") is clearly the use of canon lists as produced (several different ones) in the first 400 years of the Church.
The real underlying point here is that the canon did not determine itself. If the canon were self-determining, there would not have been any debate over it - much less 400(+) years of said debate! No, it was ultimately declared by the Church through the Holy Ghost.
The real reason you do not accept this explanation is that it is quite damning to the concept of sola scriptura because you accept, without exception, the canon of the New Testament as declared by the Catholic Church through the Holy Ghost. <> Scott<<<
1:50 PM, August 03, 2014

Ken said...
Before the word "canon" was used as a list of NT books, it meant "rule", "criterion", "standard" in the explanations of "the rule of faith" or "canon of truth" - in Irenaeus(180-200 AD), Tertullian(190-220 AD), Origen (250 AD) (D. L. Williams, The Free Church and the Early Church, page 17) and was basically organized around the Trinitarian formula of Matthew 28:18-20; and is basically, the same doctrinal content as what later became the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Chalcedonian and Athanasian Creeds.

This "rule of faith" or "canon of truth" was also called "the tradition", "the faith", "the teaching" (Athanasius, To Serapion, on the Holy Spirit, Epistle 1, 28) or "the preaching" (Irenaeus)

So, you are wrong. The standard, rule, criterion was the doctrinal truths of Christianity (which Protestants agree with because they came from Scripture and were taught to new converts before baptism, and functioned as "the standard" until all the NT books were discerned and discovered and put togehter under one "book cover", so to speak.

So, I did not make an etymological fallacy.

There was no real debate over the four gospels, Acts, Paul's letters, 1 John and 1 Peter.

Clement and Pseudo Barnabas seem to allude to 2 Peter.

Irenaeus, Tertullian - 180-220 AD affirm most of the NT books, both Irenaeus and Tertullian affirm the book of Revelation - before those 2 writers, there is just not much extant from the earlier writers; their output was small - Clement, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Polycarp, Papias. What we have of their writings is too small to even quote or allude to very many of the NT documents, though they do allude to and quote from some. Clement, very early, uses Hebrews.

The only debate was over Hebrews, Revelation, James, Jude, 2-3 John, 2 Peter. (mostly Eusebius tells us that there was debate over these books.)

But Revelation (Irenaeus, Tertullian) and Hebrews (Clement) are mentioned and affirmed early. 2 Peter by Clement and Psedo-Barnabas.

The power of the NT documents is self-evident and they eventually won because of their self-evident power and quality as being "God-breathed".
12:52 PM, August 04, 2014
What is the context of this discussion? Beyond etymology, we're talking about canon lists of the Canon of Sacred Scripture. Yes, the word "canon" or "kanon" also has the meaning of a "rule" or "criterion," but in this context we're speaking of the lists which were put together, several of them in the Early Church. So, when we speak of the Canon of Sacred Scripture, these books were not canonical until there was a canon or list to which they belonged. One canon of the Old Testament is the Septuagint or Greek canon, another is the Palestinian or Hebrew canon. Catholics, along with Jesus and the Apostles, used the Greek canon; Protestants and post-Christian Jews adhere to the Palestinian canon. Pre-Christian Jews followed a mix between the Alexandrian (Greek) canon and the Palestinian (Hebrew) canon.

Then there came the New Testament canons. One of the first recorded canon lists was the Marcionian Canon, and while Marcion was declared an heretic, it was not because of his canon - though it was controversial. Irenaeus argued for a 4 book Gospel canon and Origen presented a canon quite similar to the current New Testament canon, except he did not include James, 2 Peter 2nd and 3rd John and he did include the Shepherd of Hermas. I could go on, but the point is which canon list? If any book belonged to any canon, then it was "canonical" per that canon. The final canon of Scripture does not exist until the late 4th century, so per that canon, while many books were not disputed by that time, none were part of that canon until that canon existed.


1:54 AM, August 06, 2014

More to follow? Check back here and/or check on BeggarsAll.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Validity or Sacramentality?

Dr. Edward Peters, Canon Lawyer, wrote a very good - and not very long - article on the difference between validity and sacramentality of marriage especially as it relates to the annulment process.  The two aspects are not to be confused, but they often are.  Dr. Peters writes:
Not only is the sacramentality of a marriage NOT determined in an annulment case, the question of its sacramentality is not even RAISED in the process. The annulment process is about the validity of marriage and only about validity; a successful petition results in a “declaration of nullity”, not in a declaration of non-sacramentality.
All of us Catholics, and especially apologists, should not only be aware of this distinction, but should be prepared to answer to it when false information is presented.  Not all sacramental marriages are valid; not all valid marriages are sacramental.

At any rate, I hope you'll take the time to read Dr. Peters article.