Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Mr Windsor, thanks for the time!
I just used the Eph 2 post as an example of what I was trying to bring out back at the Beggars All combox. Just to rundown for those who might not have read all that interaction...
Over here at BA, we make various arguments from the Bible against RC dogma. RCs come along and comment, and one of their principal arguments against our position is "That's just your private interpretation. We have an infallible interpreter, and so we can be sure that what the Magisterium says is the valid interp of the Bible, since she is the church founded by Christ and the gates of Hell won't prevail against her. Since you just have your private fallible interpretation, I don't need to pay attention to your contentions".
"That's just your private interpretation" may be valid - depending on the context. If you're offering a private interpretation which differs from an infallibly defined definition (dogma) then we would have to reject your private interpretation on that given matter - but you're speaking in hypotheticals to me, and not a tangible conversation for me to comment on.
He was honest enough to admit, in the 02Nov post, that his apologetic blogging is not submitted to the RCC either (but that he will heretofore make his priest aware of it). I thanked him for his honesty and pointed out that the logical outworking of this fact is that he does not consider this common argument made by other RCs at various times in the past (I am unaware whether Mr Windsor has ever used this ridiculous argument) to be a valid one. I used the Eph 2 post as an example of that, asking Mr Windsor whether he would use that argument to overturn what I'd said in the 2007 post on Eph 2. It looks like the answer is mostly no, but I am a bit quizzical on Mr Windsor's request for specifics (see the end of his post).
I did not say I would go to my priest, but to my bishop - and I have written him.
As for the "ridiculous argument" comment - as I said - it may be quite valid, depending on the situation.
Would I use "that's just your personal interpretation" regarding Alan's use of the Eph. 2 post? No, and I answered the Eph. 2 post directly and you largely avoided dealing with what I had to say there. In fact, I get the impression that you're largely into the invalid "bait and switch" tactic - wherein you involve yourself in a discussion and then before it's over you start throwing other topics into the mix to distract and dissuade from the original topic. Such diversions are confusion tactics - and the Father of Confusion is whom you are serving when you sink to such. Stick to the topic at hand, Alan. (This becomes quite clear a little further into this post).
Have you really never seen that argument used before? Not even once? Never listened to, for example, any of the many debates that James White has done with RCs over the years, wherein the RC apologists use that argument over and over?
Alan, I am one of the first Catholics White engaged online, in fact his first couple books on Catholicism (at least) he has (informally) credited to debates between himself and me - of course MY SIDE is never fully utilized in those books, but that's a topic for another discussion. My response to you did not say anything about me never seeing that argument before. I asked you for specific cases so that I would not be commenting on intangible hypothetical arguments which quickly become moving targets.
Take a couple of examples, and please know that I am trying to be very specific in my question. I don't want to get into an extended debate on the subject matter itself, but rather on the principle of "he was only speaking as a private theologian/individual, not for the entire Church" nonsense.
You're the one asking me questions - this debate extends for as long as you are asking me valid and on-topic questions.
"Moreover, I have heard that certain persons have this grievance against me: When I accompanied you to the holy place called Bethel, there to join you in celebrating the Collect, after the use of the Church, I came to a villa called Anablatha and, as I was passing, saw a lamp burning there. Asking what place it was, and learning it to be a church, I went in to pray, and found there a curtain hanging on the doors of the said church, dyed and embroidered. It bore an image either of Christ or of one of the saints; I do not rightly remember whose the image was. Seeing this, and being loth that an image of a man should be hung up in Christ's church contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, I tore it asunder and advised the custodians of the place to use it as a winding sheet for some poor person. They, however, murmured, and said that if I made up my mind to tear it, it was only fair that I should give them another curtain in its place. As soon as I heard this, I promised that I would give one, and said that I would send it at once. Since then there has been some little delay, due to the fact that I have been seeking a curtain of the best quality to give to them instead of the former one, and thought it right to send to Cyprus for one. I have now sent the best that I could find, and I beg that you will order the presbyter of the place to take the curtain which I have sent from the hands of the Reader, and that you will afterwards give directions that curtains of the other sort--opposed as they are to our religion--shall not be hung up in any church of Christ. A man of your uprightness should be careful to remove an occasion of offence unworthy alike of the Church of Christ and of those Christians who are committed to your charge." - Epiphanius (Jerome's Letter 51:9)We cite these as evidence against the RC contention that the church has been RCC throughout history. RCs most typically respond with "he was just speaking as a private theologian". Do you consider that a valid response? If so, why, since the question is what the Church has believed throughout history, and isn't that response simple special pleading? If not, can you explain the disunity and fragmentation that this disagreement displays in the ranks of RCC?
"Others of them employ outward marks, branding their disciples inside the lobe of the right ear. From among these also arose Marcellina, who came to Rome under the episcopate of Anicetus, and, holding these doctrines, she led multitudes astray. They style themselves Gnostics. They also possess images, some of them painted, and others formed from different kinds of material; while they maintain that a likeness of Christ was made by Pilate at that time when Jesus lived among them. They crown these images, and set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world that is to say, with the images of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest. They have also other modes of honouring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles." (Irenæus, Against Heresies, 1:25:6)
"These men [heretics], moreover, practise magic; and use images, incantations, invocations, and every other kind of curious art." (Irenæus, Against Heresies, 1:24:5)
"the law itself exhibits justice, and teaches wisdom, by abstinence from sensible images" - Clement of Alexandria (The Stromata, 2:18)
"familiarity with the sight disparages the reverence of what is divine; and to worship that which is immaterial by matter, is to dishonour it by sense." - Clement of Alexandria (The Stromata, 5:5)
"Works of art cannot then be sacred and divine." - Clement of Alexandria (The Stromata, 7:5)
First off, you cited the argument you use - you did not cite a specific example of a Catholic using the argumentation you allege we use. That being said...
For St. Jerome, he was acting in his own personal judgment/interpretation. I would say this is a valid example of just that! Pictoral reminders of Jesus and/or the Saints are not idols for worship. St. Jerome's judgment was, by today's standards, an overreaction to the situation. Now, perhaps if we put things in perspective, when the Catholic Church was just emerging from the persecution of Pagan Rome - such images may have been confusing to the converts to Christianity. However, his reasoning - which was his own private judgment, went a bit too far.
For the first quote from St. Irenaeus - I am not sure what your getting at here. We have images which honor the Saint or Jesus Himself. We do not worship images as idols as did the Gentiles of his day.
For the second quote from St. Irenaeus - we do not practice magic or use incantations in some sort of Wiccan sense. I do not know what he means by "curious art." The point is, our "art" is not worshiped as gods/idols. We have no other gods before Him.
For the quotes from St. Clement - no image is divine in Catholic practice.
You rip quotes from their place in time and then you seem to be attacking 21st century Catholics because YOU feel in YOUR perception that there's the same sort of thing going on and you wish to condemn it. I'm not buying your anachronistic argumentation. Keep in mind, in the days of these Church Fathers - idol worship of actual idols was still a very big thing in the surrounding countries. Even in Rome itself, I sincerely doubt all idol worship sudden stopped when Constantine converted.
Now, on the other topic, your response to my contention with respect to Eph 2,  since Paul goes on to mention circumcision, that means that v 10 - "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" is a command to perform the works of the Law, correct?  Why does not the RCC do so, then?  When was the last time you offered a grain offering?  Were your sons (if you have any) circumcised on the 8th day?  How have you solved the problem that has long vexed the Jewish people, that you don't have a Temple in which to perform the sacrifices?  Why isn't Yom Kippur a big, big deal on the RC calendar?  Why is it OK (a propos) to bow down to graven images now even though Joshua wouldn't've permitted Jews to bow down to images of the dead (but no doubt sainted) Moses?
 And could you please answer another of the original challenges? - our RC friends are saying that justification is at least PARTLY due to works, ie, justification is not by faith alone, in light of your statement No Catholic argues that works of the Law justify. It sounds like you are saying precisely that. Clarification would be appreciated.
Wow, 8 different questions! You are apparently a bit flustered by my direct response to your Ephesians 2 article and feel the need to distract and throw several topics into the fray all at once. So as to not be accused of avoiding your questions I will answer them this time - but if you continue this (tool of Satan) tactic, then my time for you will have run out. Stick to the topic, focus on one point at a time. You will not continue to get away with such tactics with me.
 No. It is a command to perform "good works" and the context is specifically opposing "works of the Law."
 Answered above.
 Answered above.
 My sons have been circumcised, but not according to the Jewish custom.
 The Old Covenant has been fulfilled, we are under the New Covenant. Our Sacrifice is offered as Jesus Christ Himself commanded us to "Do this..."
 Answered above.
 You seem to overlook that Moses himself, at the command of God Himself, had a "graven image" made of a serpent, and all who looked upon that image were healed. Obviously God is not opposed to ALL graven images - just those which people would be using as gods, for He is a jealous God and we are to have no other gods before Him.
15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
My request, if you wish to continue discussion with me, is that you stick to a given topic. You closed that posting with 8 questions on 5 topics. I call that "shotgunning" (like the pellets in a shotgun shell), shooting out several topics at once to a) see what sticks and/or b) to distract from the original topic.