Tuesday, December 13, 2011

White On The Vortex

White goes after "The Vortex"
40,000 Protestant denominations? Wow, we have proven the 33,000 number a bold-faced lie many times in the past, but hey, I guess it is just a matter of inflation! Hard to take promoters of Romanism who repeat these absurdities seriously...but it is even worse when they will stare into a video camera and claim that no one...NO ONE, ever accused Mary of sin until the Reformation!? I mean, the Immaculate Conception was not even defined as a dogma until the middle of the 19th century, and it is just too simple to provide citations proving such claims to be outright lies.
The 40,000 or 33,000 denominations statement is NOT a "lie" - and White has been shown this evidence in the past too - but rather a funky way of playing with the numbers.  The origin of that whole concept comes from a David A. Barrett 1995 report which counts each country that a given denomination exists in as another denomination.  By Barrett's numbering, while he has 33,000+ Protestant denominations - he also has the Catholic Church with 239 denominations in 234 countries (a statistical "1").  If we use the division of the countries into the overall count of denominations, the Protestantism is a statistical "140."  Protestantism still has a problem here because ANY NUMBER GREATER THAN "1" IS CONTRARY TO GOD'S WILL!  So, while 140 sounds a lot better to the Protestant than 33,000 (or 40,000) it is still greater than "1" and thus not within God's Will and Plan for His Church "That they may be One."  

White devotes the first part of his December 8th "Dividing Line Webcast" to the matter of Michael Voris, "The Vortex" (Voris' video was posted by me to this blog back on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the same day as White's entry) and to that portion, I will respond.

Webcast begins ripping on Voris' hair - as if that means anything, perhaps it does to one who has no hair?  Why even bring it up?  Does he have a toupee?  Who really cares?  After a bit of chit-chat on his server needs, he gets back to the Voris video - briefly.  After the first line from Voris about lies and falsehoods being trapped and exposed he digresses into a bit of whining about not being able to find Catholic apologists to debate him.  Then he talks about his upcoming course he'll be teaching and not talking about Voris' video!  Then finally, after nearly ten minutes, starts getting back to the audio from the video.  
9:58 (video time) - Voris states, "When Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we have the esteemed privilege, yes privilege, of being caught up in the creative mind of God the Father in the desire He had from all eternity."  
White interrupts...
10:12 "Except that it's a dogma which did not become dogma until 1854 and was unknown, absolutely unknown in the early church.  In fact there are lots of quotations you can provide about that... I loved St. Bernard's against the concept, uh, how many people had argued against it and things like that.  I liked the comment of Ludwig Ott in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma on page 221, "The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not explicitly revealed in Scripture, neither the Greek nor Latin Fathers explictly teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary."  So, if this is in the mind of God, it took Him quite some time to finally get around to revealing it to men, which actually that would make it a new revelation because it's neither found in Scripture nor in Tradition, so it's revelation outside of the canon of the New Testament itself."

OK, now I must interject.  Dr. Ott stated the dogma/teaching is not explicitly found in Scripture or Tradition - and White jumps to it is not found, period.  That is not what Dr. Ott said, but purely an assertion of White's.  But is it not taught implicitly?  Let is look:

There are two passages in Scripture which point us to this truth. We look first at Genesis 3.15, in which we see the parallel between Mary and Eve of which the early Church Fathers already spoke: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed: he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." The Jews saw this passage as referring to the struggle between Christ and Satan, and so the Church see in "the woman" a prophetic foreshadowing of the Virgin Mary (Vatican II, Lumen gentium, # 55).  
Scotus wrote (cited from J. B. Carol, Mariology I, 368): "Either God was able to do this, and did not will to do it, or He willed to preserve her, and was unable to do so. If able to and yet unwilling to perform this for her, God was miserly towards her. And if He willed to do it but was unable to accomplish it, He was weak, for no one who is able to honor his mother would fail to do so."  http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/marya2.htm 
Early Church Fathers:
"Every personal sin must be excluded from the Blessed Virgin Mary for the sake of the honor of God." - St. Augustine, 390 AD to Jehoel. 
"Mary, a virgin not only undefiled but a virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free from every stain." - St. Ambrose of Milan, 340-370 AD.
"You, and your Mother are alone in this. You are wholly beautiful in every respect. There is in you, Lord, no stain, nor any spot in your Mother." - St. Ephraem, 350 AD.
The concept of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin is implied through these citations.  But wait!  There's more!

Theodotus, Bishop of Ancrya says:
“In place of Eve, an instrument of death, is chosen a Virgin, most pleasing to God and full of His grace, as an instrument of life. A Virgin included in woman’s sex, but without a share in woman’s fault. A Virgin innocent; immaculate; free from all guilt; spotless; undefiled; holy in spirit and body; a lily among thorns.” (Homily 6 in S. Deiparam, No. II, PG 77, 1427 A.)
He also spoke of Mary as being consecrated to the Creator before the Nativity (Homily 6, II; PO 19, 329). We can see a more developed knowledge of the Eve-Mary parallel from the quote above. Proclus of Constantinople makes a similar praise:
“He came forth from her without any flaw, who made her for Himself without any stain.” (Oratio I de Laudibus S. Mariae, PG, 65, 683 B.)   ....“Mary is the heavenly orb of a new creation, in whom the Sun of justice, ever shining, has vanished from her entire soul all the night of sin.” (Ibid, Oratio 6, PG 68, 758 A.)
Proclus also spoke of Mary as the ark of the Lord (Homily 5, 3; PG 65, 720 B). Hesychius of Jerusalem agrees with the consensus of the Fathers when he extolled the incorruptibility, immortality, immunity from concupiscence, impeccability, triumph over Satan, and the co-redemptive mission of the Mother of God (Oratio 39 in Sanctissimae Deiparae Annuntiationem, PG 85, 426).
From the sixth century, we have Anastasius I declare the privilege of the Immaculate Conception (Oratio 3 de Incarnatione, No. 6, PG 89, 1338). We also have Severus of Antioch who states:
“She…formed part of the human race, and was of the same essence as we, although she was pure from all taint and immaculate.” (Hom. Cathedralis 67)
Romanos the Melodist, whom the Byzantine Church proclaims as the cantor of the mysteries of Christ, and Mary says of Mary:
“…the tribes of Israel heard that Anna had conceived the immaculate one.” (On the Birth of Mary 4)
By the seventh century the doctrine of Mary’s freedom from original sin had become well elaborated that there was no controversy on the substance of the teaching (Carol, 1:354). Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, describes Mary as:
“holy, immaculate in soul and body, entirely free from every contagion.” (Epistola Synodica ad Sergium, PG 87 (3), 3159; 3162)
He also speaks of the grace that no one has received besides her (Orat in Deiparae Annunt 25, PG 87, 3246-3247).
At the time of the eighth century, we have Andrew of Crete saying that the Redeemer was born from a pure and entirely Immaculate Virgin (Hom. in Dorm. Deipara). He also says:
“It was right, then, that the admirable Joachim and his spouse, Anna, inspired by divine thoughts, did obtain for her as the fruit of their prayer; her, I say, the queen of nature, the firstfruits of our race, whose birthday we celebrate, whose swaddling clothes we honor, and whom we venerate as the source of the restoration of our fallen race.” (Homily 3 on Mary’s Nativity, PG 97, 860 B-C)
Firstfruits of the human race in this text means that she is the first creature who received the gift of salvation (Gambero, 393). He then explains more fully:
“This is Mary the Theotokos, the common refuge of all Christians, the first to be liberated from the original fall of our first parents.” (Homily 4 on Mary’s Nativity, PG 97, 880 C)
We also have John Damascene who called Mary:
“the most holy daughter of Joachim and Anne, hidden from the fiery dart of Satan, dwelling in a bridal chamber of the spirit, preserved without stain as the Spouse and Mother of God.” (Homilia I in Nativitatem Beatae Virginis Mariae, No. 3, PG 96, 675) 
So much for the Early Church Fathers being silent on this matter!  
11:16 - Voris: "Most Protestants have no desire to hear talk of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother."
11:18 - White: "Well, except those of us who actually debate people, as I have, twice on this particular subject.  So, it's not a matter of our not wanting to talk about it.  I don't mind talking about it, its a great illustration of where the Catholic Church has defined something, de fide, which absolutely, positively has no foundation in either Scripture or Tradition."
Again, I must interject - we've just demonstrated that it CAN be seen in both Scripture AND Tradition - just not explicitly. 
11:43 - White: "Now the only thing which has less, (giggles) if you can have...  you can have no, but you can have less than none, (this makes no sense!) is the Bodily Assumption (of the Blessed Virgin).  Ah, but both of them, now de fide dogmas, of the Romanist (sic) system that have nothing to do with Scripture or Tradition which demonstrates that Roman Catholicism, um, is not bound by any external authority outside of itself.  These are both excellent examples of sola ecclesia, the Church as the sole and final rule of faith for itself.  It's not a three-legged stool, or anything like that.  It's not Church, Tradition and Magisterium, no it's just the Magisterium, period, end of discussion. 
Well, fist off, Catholics would not deny "sola ecclesia!"  The Ecclesia (Church) IS Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium!  Now of course White would like you to believe that we do not accept a "three-legged stool" approach - but in fact, we do.  He wants you to believe we preach it is all Magisterium - but we don't.  Secondly, I wish to point out that White is digressing again and not talking about the Immaculate Conception, but of Church authority and governance - and THIS discussion is not about the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!  That's a different subject - which I would be happy to deal with in the future.

White mentions that there are seven popes who taught against the Immaculate Conception and  numerous Early Church Fathers who talked about Mary's sin - "directly contrary to what Mr. Voris is going to say here in a moment..."

White then goes into another diatribe about the 33,000 denominations - I'll not bore you with all that again now, you can read my primary source material and see that White is just wrong here and disingenuously charging any Catholic who uses this number of bold-faced lying - when again, it's NOT a "lie" but just one way of looking at Barrett's 1995 numbers.  White carries on this 33,000 denominations discussion for a good six minutes... yawn.
For another 2 minutes White rambles on criticizing Roman Catholic apologists with empty assertions.  He hints about what Voris will discuss next (two founding Protestant leaders who believed in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception long before it was defined as dogma) but then drifts back to the 33,000 denomination discussion again... yawn.

Finally, at the 22 minute mark in this webcast we get back to the Voris audio...
22:06 - Voris:  "Two founding fathers of their 16th century revolt against the Catholic Church each agree with..."
22:08 - White (in a gruff tone barges in):  "Revolt!  Revolting!"
22:14 - Voris:  "...with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception."
22:16 - White: "No, they agree with the concept that was not yet a doctrine or a dogma.  See how different that is?
Well, it was a doctrine, it was a teaching, it was a celebrated feast day LONG before it was defined as dogma!  Perhaps White needs to brush up on the difference between doctrine and dogma?  Yes, the words CAN be used interchangeably at times - but fundamentally speaking, not all doctrines are dogmas - but all dogmas are doctrine.

White then makes the accusation of anachronism, he likes that word, and attempts to make a case that because it was not yet defined dogma in the time of Luther and Zwingli that they agreed with the "concept" but not as "doctrine."  The Feast of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated as such as early as the 5th century in the East and they refer to the Blessed Virgin as "achrantos" (spotless or immaculate).  In the West, the feast was celebrated as early as the 8th century.  By either account, it's nearly or over a millennium PRIOR to Luther and Zwingli!

Voris makes a statement that in the first 1500 years of Christendom NO ONE ever accused the Blessed Virgin of sin - that this was wholly something from the Protestant revolt of the 16th century.  White then names a few Church Fathers whom allegedly state Mary sinned..  That being said, I will not state that NO Church Father or ANYONE prior to the 16th century EVER stated Mary sinned - nor would it shake my faith if White, or anyone else, could present a quote here or there.  Voris may have been caught in a bit of hyperbole there - but the fact remains, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated in the East over 1000 years prior to Protestantism's dawning - and some 800 years prior in the Western tradition. 

White concludes his on-topic discussion (he does go off on some other distractions after this) with a question for Voris:
33:43 - White: "One simple question Mr. Voris, and if you were ever to step out and debate these things in public, it's a question I'd ask you then, and I don't mind telling what the question is now because to be honest with you there is no meaningful answer to this question. (1) But Mr. Voris, do you really think that is what Mary meant when she said that?  (2) Do you really think that Mary, in her Magnificat, that she actually was saying that when she called God her Savior she recognized that she had been kept from the stain of Original Sin by the preemptive application and the merits of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ when she did not even understand at that point in time what Jesus was going to have to do on the Cross? (3) Are you SERIOUSLY telling me that?
Now, I won't continue in White's preemptive answering, but I will answer him myself, and there's more than one question here, so let's answer them all (I've added numbers above to keep track)
(1) The words of the Magnificat are simply:

My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty,
hath done great things to me;
She is saying that her soul magnifies the Lord... her spirit rejoices in God her Savior - why?  Because He has regarded the humility of His handmaid (past tense) and from that time forward, all generations will call her blessed (future tense) because He has done (past tense again) great things to me.  God had already done great things to her.

(2) Look at it this way, it's not such a great thing to accomplish to get pregnant, so she wasn't talking about merely being pregnant with her God and Savior - but that God had already done great things to His humble handmaid.  Is this explicitly stating she was immaculately conceived?  No, but it's recognizing something "great" had already been done TO her.  

(3) To be preserved from the stain of Original Sin would be a "great thing."  To do this so that she could be the Ark of the New Covenant is a "great thing."  If you "SERIOUSLY" want to disbelieve - then sobeit.

I will close with this thought...  Frequently throughout this Dividing Line program, White is goading Voris to debate with him.  White has always been huge on debating, and I will acknowledge, he's pretty good at it!  I too used to be a bit more interested in formal debating, and while I've not abandoned it (I'll still engage in one, even with White if he chooses) in a debate, just because someone can present a better argument does not necessarily equate to the Truth "winning."  I've seen several debates where White would appear to "win" the debate, or at least part of the debate, yet it was not Truth which "won" - rather a tactful "gotcha" argument was used and his opponent was not prepared to answer him.  This is also why I prefer a WRITTEN debate as opposed to a face-to-face one.  When one has the time to research and respond in a scholarly fashion - White is put on an equal footing - and, at least in confrontations I've had with him - he cannot (or will not) answer to his (many) mistakes (well, there is ONE time that I can recall, in over 20 years of debating him where he admitted to a minor mistake).  Debating has its place, as it can help refine our own defenses and arguments - but such is RARELY the "end-all" in apologetics.



  1. James Swan posts his objection to Voris' use of Luther here, using the same reasoning he and I discussed late 2010 and early into this year. He found that the source I used had some bogus quotes, which I fixed - THIS one, however, we never came to consensus on. In my UPDATE of the original post I stated that one COULD see/interpret the way Swan did, but in looking at ALL of what Luther said on the subject, he held a "two conceptions" view - which he never denied. In the quote in question here Luther states of Mary that the Holy Ghost "warded off sin from her flesh and blood" - but does not say WHEN this happened - leaving open his earlier "two conceptions" theory. See earlier article.

    In JMJ,

  2. To me, the fact that White is openly challenging the Vortex only proves that Voris is on the right track. While I agree that the quote "no one" before the "protestant revolt" ever said Mary sinned is hyperbole, he stated many facts that cannot not be reasonably disputed. Most of the ECFs do agree that Mary was without the stain of original sin--either implied in their sermons or explicitly mentioned.

    I think the sillier argument is that Immaculate Conception is not mentioned in Scripture. Well, neither is the Trinity mentioned. It is implied, yes, most clearly at Our Lord's baptism. However, the IC is also implied, most clearly in Luke 1 when Mary is addressed as "Full of Grace" but Gabriel. To just blankly say that God would not do that is just illogical.

    Of course Mary's bodily assumption is not explicitly mentioned in Scripture. The vast majority of Scripture was written before she passed from this earth. However, there are at least two explicit examples of bodily assumption in the OT. Why could God not do so to one He loved so dearly--the mother of His Son--and outside of the writing of Scripture? It makes not logical sense to say that God would not. You don't have to believe it as a Protestant, but, in my opinion, you are arguing against the majesty and power of God when one says He wouldn't do it. We cannot know the mind of God. A person has to at the very least admit He could do it if He so chooses.

  3. Scott,

    I'll never come to a "consensus" with you on this topic, nor was it ever my goal. In fact, I have not budged an inch on this subject with any Roman Catholic apologist. To date, none of you have offered any compelling argumentation refuting any of my blog entries on this topic. It didn't surprise me at all when my main critic on this topic changed his view. The evidence is just too clear.

    Remember, I'm not a Lutheran, so if indeed Luther was an advocate of the immaculate conception, believed in Santa, or whatever, so be it. So far though, none of you have been able to prove Luther's post 1527 belief in the immaculate conception.

    Voris, like many pop-apologists probably didn't even read the context of this quote. In other words, he had no idea what he was talking about.

    I don't recall if you ever had the context of the Luther quote Mr. Voris used, but no matter, I've posted a chunk of it in the very blog article of mine you're citing.

    You are most certainly reading in the interpretation you've come up with. In context, first Luther condemns all of humanity as being born in sin. Then Luther states:

    "That is why his mother had to be a virgin whom no man had touched, so that he would not be born under the curse, but rather conceived and born without sin, so that the devil had no right or power over him. Only the Holy Spirit was present to bring about the conception in her virgin body."

    The key for Luther is Mary being a virgin so Christ would be born without sin (I suggest reading the link I just posted). It has nothing to do with Mary being sinless at her conception.

    Luther then states:

    Mother Mary, like us, was born in sin of sinful parents, but the Holy Spirit covered her, sanctified and purified her so that this child was born of flesh and blood, but not with sinful flesh and blood.

    Note "this child". The context is about the conception of Christ, not Mary.

    Luther then states:

    "The Holy Spirit permitted the Virgin Mary to remain a true, natural human being of flesh and blood, just as we. However, he warded off sin from her flesh and blood so that she became the mother of a pure child, not poisoned by sin as we are."

    Once again, the birth of Christ is in view. There's nothing in this context about the conception of Mary in her mother's womb, nothing. There's nothing about two conceptions, at all.

    There's no need for us to spar on this. If you don't see that the context can be exegeted quite plainly without reading "two conceptions" into it, then you simply don't see it. I'm a big fan of clarity and simplicity. So was Luther.

  4. One last comment Scott.

    Based on the context I recently posted which puts the quote Voris used in context, if someone never heard your "two conception" theory, do you think they could still read that context and understand it?

    If all someone had was the entire sermon, my contention is that sermon could be read start to finish and make perfect sense without needing to import a theory of "two conceptions." That would be the same contention I would hold for the majority of alleged quotes from Luther on the immaculate conception.

    It's also important to remember that the quote is from a sermon. Luther's sermons are profoundly simple. I don't mean that they're written by a simpleton. Rather, his sermons are typically simple and self-explanatory. One doesn't need to import fine theological distinctions for the sermon to make sense. Luther, more often than not, explains what he means. There aren't typically hidden concepts in which one must try to think about some other thing that interprets the sermon. This is why I usually tell people who've never read Luther to begin with his sermons.

  5. James, if you were really up on all this context - which you falsely accuse me of not being - you would know that it is not MY THEORY in regard to the two conceptions, rather it is straight from Luther in 1527!

    1527: "But the other conception, namely the infusion of the soul, it is piously and suitably believed, was without any sin, so that while the soul was being infused, she would at the same time be cleansed from original sin and adorned with the gifts of God to receive the holy soul thus infused. And thus, in the very moment in which she began to live, she was without all sin..." Luther On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God.

    Regarding the context of this quote, I found it on my own then linked it and transcribed it to text for the blog, see source.

    As for "consensus" - I am not expecting you to AGREE with me, as I have already granted that one COULD interpret Luther the way you have! My position remains that Luther explicitly taught the Immaculate Conception as late as 1527 - and after that time never denied it though his teachings did get less explicit on the matter. What WOULD be nice is for you to concede Luther indeed held this "two conceptions" view (hard to deny when I quoted his exact words!).

    When it comes to Voris, I've seen his vlogs a few times, but I don't know him personally nor have I had any conversations directly with him. Where I felt he was overstating his case, I said so - but for the most part, he was spot on.

  6. Scott, I mean by "your theory" as in the one you hold, or the paradigm you are using to interpret Luther. C'mon Scott, my words weren't that cryptic.

    Once again: Based on the context I recently posted which puts the quote Voris used in context, if someone never heard your "two conception" theory, do you think they could still read that context and understand it?

  7. Hi James,

    I don't mean to be confrontational in the use of bolding - that is just for emphasis. I want to make it clear, it is not MY theory, it's LUTHER'S. No, you're not being cryptic - I'm just being clear.

    I guess I didn't answer your question either, and I apologize for that and will do so now. IF the reader ONLY reads the sermon Voris quotes from, then the other conception concept would not be known because in THAT sermon, Luther does not bring it up. My point was, however, that - as with Scripture too - we don't look at Luther outside the context of Luther! If we have researched this subject (and I can't say whether Voris has or not) then we would KNOW that Luther held this TWO CONCEPTIONS view (or theory, if you wish to call it that). Likewise, if one looks at isolated passages of Scripture - they would never come up with the concept of the Blessed Trinity (without the copyist addition of the Johannine Comma).

    I hope that makes my position more clear.

  8. Let me add, Luther not only held that view (of the two conceptions) but also never directly denied it. He may have gone silent about it, but silence lends itself to consent, not denial.

    In JMJ,

  9. Scott,

    If you're admitting the sermon in question makes sense without reading in "two conceptions", then my work is done here.

    Regards, James

  10. Hi James,
    I suppose if you want to read Luther without considering the context of Luther - well, that speaks volumes.

    I'd say "ignorance is bliss," but you're not ignorant of this. It would be quite disingenuous to look at Luther's works and not consider what he said previously, and never denied.

    Is the quote Voris used, ALONE a good one to support what he's saying? No, I give you that. However, in considering what Luther DID say earlier - what Voris quoted did not detract from Voris' position - it just didn't help him as much as the 1527 quote does.

    In JMJ,

  11. While the 40,000 figure may be too high, the main thing about Protestantism is not how many denominations there are, but why there are so many of them. Protestantisn is naturally shismatic. Ever since Luther broke away from Rome, they have continued to split, split split into many sects and denominations, embracing more and more heresies as time rocked along. Since they abandoned the traditions and the magisterium that could have told them the truth, they will, as explained in Romans Chapter One, have their minds darkened and become fools.
    BTW, this concern for Voris's hair by his Catholic and Protestant opponents is really silly. I don't give a hoot about wheather his hair is real or not. All I care about is his orthodoxy and faithfullness to Christ and the church. The people who mock his hair ought to find something to do, for they have way too much time on their hands. They could use some of that time to read II Kings 2:23-24, if they can 'bear' it. LOL!

  12. Hi Steve,
    The 40,000 figure is too high from a certain perspective - but as you said, the point is not the actual number EXCEPT that this number is greater than ONE! Using Barrett's numbers (the origin of the "33,000") you have to divide in the number of countries for each group. For Catholicism it divides down to a statistical ONE - for Protestantism it's 140, and that's 139 TOO MANY!

    LOL on the II Kings reference, I wonder how many will read it?

  13. James (on his blog) wrote: Finally, this statement of yours was certainly uncalled for. I think it's safe to say that I'm quite fluent in Luther's Marian statements. I've probably written around fifty blog entries on Luther's Mariology, and I've scrutinized every context I find. That you would attribute "ignorance is bliss" to me on this issue is quite insulting, considering the fact that I posted the relevant context of the quote Mr. Voris mis-used, and I also exegeted that context on your blog (and here now). That you haven't done this yet in regard to this 1532 quote while at the same time attributing "ignorance is bliss" to me (to quote you) "well, that speaks volumes."

    I respond:
    James, I didn't say THAT to you! You've taken MY words out of context, just as you take Luther's 1532 sermon out of the context of Luther's OTHER teachings. No, what I DID say was exactly OPPOSITE of what you're representing here! I said: "I'd say 'ignorance is bliss,' but you're not ignorant of this." And I went on to say: "It would be quite disingenuous to look at (one of) Luther's works and not consider what he said previously, and never denied." I concluded with: "Is the quote Voris used, ALONE a good one to support what he's saying? No, I give you that. However, in considering what Luther DID say earlier - what Voris quoted did not detract from Voris' position - it just didn't help him as much as the (original) 1527 quote does."

    So, if you read MY words out of context, and even not quote them properly (leaving out part of the sentence), I can see why you would be offended. You are NOT ignorant of Luther's works - THAT WAS MY POINT!

    In JMJ,

  14. Another thing I noticed about the numbers thing. The more the Protestant churches split, the smaller they become. Most of the splits are caused by the growing liberalism in the mainline bodies. The traditionalists leave the decaying mainline churches, and the continuing liberalism in the abandoned body causes that group to grow smaller and smaller. However, I noticed a queer thing about the conservative spin-off groups. They also get smaller and smaller too. Why? One, Christ said, if you separate from the vine, you will wither and die. Protestantism did this in 1517, and within 200 years higher criticism and liberalism was already destroying what Biblical truth that remained in them. Two, the spinoffs tend to fight among themselves once they separate from the mainstream churches. This started right during the reformation period. The would be reformers could all agree the the Catholic Church had 'problems', but they couldn't agree upon solutions to the same. Because they couldn't and woldn't agree, they started to fight among themselves, and split into groups divided by, racial, national, and doctrinal lines. A lot of the problems were caused by the hyper-inflated egos of the reformers, especially Luther and Calvin. These fellows had a very high opinion of themselves and their 'mission for God'. They just couldn't believe the other guy was right! So the reformers and their heirs kept fighting and spliting and getting smaller as the years went by. Is it any wonder why the blogger called Internet Monk predicted that protestantism would be irrelevant by the middle 2000's?

  15. I added something to the original article. I had initially only stated: White... cannot (or will not) answer to his (many) mistakes. and I added: (well, there is ONE time that I can recall, in over 20 years of debating him where he admitted to a minor mistake) which is linked to the logfile where he does admit to a minor error, but allows David King (skyman) to accept the bigger mistake in that debate. Neither were very gracious in admitting to the error(s) as you can see by their additional comments in the logfile. Anyway, I just wanted to be clear that I am aware of him admitting to a mistake ONCE in over 20 years of my dealings with him. Many more have been documented, but he won't respond to those.

    In JMJ,

  16. From personal experience I know that within those 140 official denominations, there are thousands of divisions in matters of doctrine and practice. Having been a fundamentalist baptist flavor for four decades, I can tell you that this little church over here on main street in Shiremanstown can't agree with the other baptist church over on second street, and the folks at Walnut and Central won't even darken the door at the Main street church because of their pastor's stand on baptism. So you can argue all you want about the numbers, schism breeds schism and at the grass roots where real people live, there are as many theologians as there are minds. From that point of view 40,000 seems modest.

  17. Thanks Patty. I agree with you on the reality of numerous undocumented schisms per your anecdotal experiences - mine too are not all that different in the Lutheran churches I attended. Being born and raised LCMS when we moved and started going to a WELS church we had to have a family interview with the pastor before he'd allow us to participate in Holy Communion.

    The only reason I semi defend James on the "33,000" or "40,000" figure is that we both (James and I) know where that figure comes from - and he's right - using Barrett's numbers there's NOT 33,000 Protestant denominations unless we're saying there are 239 Catholic "denominations" because of the way Barrett played with the numbers. If the same church exists in two different countries he counted that as two different denominations. I believe a Catholic apologist COULD use the 33,000 figure, but not blanketly - he/she would need to explain or at least be prepared to provide an explanation.

    We do get back to the bottom line, ANY number greater than ONE is too big according to the will of the Father. This is where EVERY Protestant group fails to meet the Will of the Father.

    In JMJ,


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