Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nat Windsor Photography

If you happen to live in the Colorado Springs area and are in need of a GREAT photographer, check out my daughter-in-law!  She truly has a fantastic eye for photography!  You won't be disappointed!


natwindsorphotography.com
Nathalie Windsor

Hallelujah?

Last night I was pointed to a video on Facebook of an 8 year old girl, Rhema Marvanne, with a great voice singing "Hallelujah" (the version you can hear in one of the Shrek movies).  It  sounds like she's singing for the Lord, but the lyrics of that song begin with King David's "secret chord, which pleased the Lord" then says "but you don't really care for music, do ya." Next it goes into King David's great sin. Then she sings, "I know that there's a God above..." but the written lyrics in the video say "Well maybe there's a god above..." and goes on to say "the only thing I learned from love was how to shoot somebody who'd out drew ya..." The final verse I have mixed feelings... is it a loss of faith in the "cold and broken hallelujah," or is it someone who has found faith in their darkest hour? In short, the song throws mixed signals... but it's an 8 year old with a wonderful voice singing something from Shrek, maybe that's all one should take from it?
Here's Rhema's video:


The original scene from Shrek (not great video quality, but the sound is ok).  In the movie it depicts Shrek's darkest hour - when he's giving up on Fiona.  Ok, it's Disney, so it all works out, but the underlying message behind this song still bugs me.  Here's that video:


Here's another from Rhema which is, IMHO, a bit more appropriate:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cessationism?


Barry Hofstetter wrote on his blog: 
Cessationism in one sentence...Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:12:11 PM
"The purpose of miracles in general in the Bible is to reveal God's power in terms of the progress of redemptive history. Word revelation and deed revelation are intimately related. With the completion of Christ's work through the ascension there is no more need for continuing revelation, and hence no more need for the kind of revelatory miracles found in the Bible."
Now, since I wrote that, it actually has to be three sentences. Christ's works in establishing the church continues through the giving of the Spirit and the inscripturation of the apostolic deposit into what we know as the NT. Christ continued to work miracles through his apostles, but now that the foundation is established (Eph 2:20-21), these types of miracles have inded (sic) ceased.
Have miracles of God truly ceased?  Speaking as one who has witnessed miracles of God in my own family, I say such a statement is nonsense!  I'll witness to TWO of the miracles in our family, there have been more:

Miracle #1:  Son had spinal meningitis when he was just a few months old.  We were out of town when he got sick, about 2 hours from home.  We rushed home, called the doctor, but it was a weekend.  Before he called back we took him straight to the emergency room - where they told us if we had waited even another hour, our son would not be alive.  Well, he was "alive" but that was the good news.  The bad news was that the meningitis was so progressed that IF he survived the treatments, the disease would likely leave him blind or deaf or severely mentally retarded.  On top of that, since he was SO sick the amount of antibiotics they needed to attack the disease with would likely attack "healthy" cells too, which could leave him blind, deaf or severely mentally retarded!  The "cure" was potentially as bad as the disease!  

Well, we prayed and prayed.  We petitioned all our friends and family to pray.  We received word from a friend of one of our family members, "Your son will be just fine."  Watching the doctors take a hand drill like a woodworker would have in his toolbox and drilling through my son's skull to relieve the pressure building up on his brain, made such assurances hard to accept - but we did accept it, and continued to pray and claim our son's healing.  

Our son recovered from the disease and not only with perfect vision and hearing - but NO mental retardation whatsoever!  Praise the Lord!  And all praise does go to Him, for medical science gave us only a grim outlook but God gave us our son back!  He's healthy as can be, a math wiz and is currently serving our country in the U.S. Navy.

Miracle #2:  Our daughter stopped breathing when she was just 17 days old.  My wife walked in and found her in the cradle lifeless and turning blue.  She immediately went into autopilot and recalled the CPR she had learned years previously as a Girl Scout.  Somehow while performing CPR, she dialed 911 and got help on the way.  At the hospital they found an abnormality in the white matter of her brain.  The doctor diagnosed her with Leuko Dystraphy, a degenerative brain disorder for which there is no cure.  We got the prayer chains going again!  Two weeks later an MRI scan of her brain showed NO abnormalities AT ALL!  She had been "cured" of something for which there is NO cure!  

There are SO MANY MORE miracles I could share, and even more details related to the above miracles, but I'll save some for another time.  The point is, you'll NEVER get me to say the miracles of God have gone into cessation!

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Friday, September 23, 2011

Self Authentication of Scripture?

A discussion of this topic began back on August 26th in the Catholic Debate Forum (hereafter "CDF" - link to first post in that thread) wherein it was asked:
How do you KNOW what comprises the New Testament? The New Testament does not self-authenticate its canon, this was done by the Church.
The discussion soon went into one of the "autopistic" nature of Scripture.  I am sharing this here because it almost seems like a deliberate tactic being used by the Calvinist challenger I was (still am) facing in CDF, and we (Catholics) should be on the watch for this.  Let us start by presenting definitions of the terminology.  Before continuing, however, please make note of the first question in this thread, we'll get back to that, I promise.

Autopistic:  "Scripture's believability is not based not upon (the authority of) the church but the Spirit's external witness in Scripture and internal witness in Christians.  Although Scripture is autopistic, that is, it carries its own credibility and evokes respect for its inherent majesty, it does not seriously affect believers until the testimony of the Spirit seals it upon their hearts (Inst. 1.7.5)." (Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith, McKim and Wright, p. 397).

Calvin:  
Scripture bears its own authentication
Let it therefore be held as fixed, that those who are inwardly taught by the Holy Spirit acquiesce implicitly in Scripture; that Scripture carrying its own evidence along with it, deigns not to submit to proofs and arguments, but owes the full conviction with which we ought to receive it to the testimony of the Spirit. Enlightened by him, we no longer believe, either on our own judgement or that of others, that the Scriptures are from God; but, in a way superior to human judgement, feel perfectly assured - as much so as if we beheld the divine image visibly impressed on it -that it came to us, by the instrumentality of men, from the very mouth of God. We ask not for proofs or probabilities on which torest our judgement, but we subject our intellect and judgement to it as too transcendent for us to estimate. This, however, we do, not in the manner in which some are wont to fasten on an unknown object, which, as soon as known, displeases, but because we have a thorough conviction that, in holding it, we hold unassailable truth; not like miserable men, whose minds are enslaved by superstition, but because we feel a divine energy living and breathing in it - an energy by which we are drawn and animated to obey it, willingly indeed, and knowingly, but more vividly and effectually than could be done by human will or knowledge.    (Institutes 1.7.5)
The word is similar in nature and in meaning to "autopsy" which means "Examination of a cadaver to determine or confirm the cause of death" (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language qtd. here). In other words, the medical examiner determines from the evidence within the body itself to determine or confirm the cause of death."  Similarly, but not exactly the same, Protestants (primarily Calvinists it seems) use the term "autopistic" to mean the body of Scripture itself, since it is the Word of God, is by its nature authoritative and evokes respect. 

"Two approaches exist as to the credibility of the scriptural revelation. Fideists insist that the Scripture and the revelation it contains is self-authenticating, that is, autopistic. The infallibility of the Bible must be presupposed and can be because the Scripture says it is inspired and the Spirit accredits it.   (Basic Theology, Ryrie, Charles C., Victor Books, Wheaton, IL, 1987, electronic media.  qtd. on: http://bible.org/seriespage/bible-written-word-god ).

Axiopistic:  "Empiricists, on the other hand, stress the intrinsic credibility of the revelation of the Bible as being worthy of belief, that is, axiopistic.  The Bible’s claim to authority is not in itself proof of its authority; rather there exist factual, historical evidences which constitute the Bible’s credentials and validate the truth of its message" (ibid).   Ryrie goes on to say, "My feeling is that there is truth in both approaches so that both can and should be used." 
  
Self-Authenticating:  "The act of proving that something, usually a document, is genuine or true without the use of extrinsic evidence." (Webster's New World Law Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.)

Discussion from CDF:
Alright, now that we have the terminology defined, let's examine how the discussion from CDF unfolded.  It is important to set forth the premise of the definitions at hand before progressing in the discussion/debate.  As you recall, the question first asked was "How do you KNOW what comprises the New Testament? The New Testament does not self-authenticate its canon, this was done by the Church."   The question being asked is not "Is the Bible, in general, self-authenticating?"  No, it is specific in seeking an answer as to how anyone, Protestant, Catholic or otherwise, can KNOW - with certainty, what IS the Canon of Sacred Scripture - and more specifically at this time, what comprises the canon of the New Testament.  The challengers in CDF (there were/are two of them in this discussion) kept going back to this autopistic and rather circular response - but never really answered the question at hand.  The autopistic definition they adhere to is actually something a faithful Catholic can adhere to as well!  Since Scripture IS the Word of God (a point on which both sides agree) then without any other extrinsic evidence, it is to be accepted and obeyed, even honored or revered as such.  The problem Calvinism has with this, as with most of Protestantism, is they take this autopistic view of Scripture to the extreme of sola scriptura, which is also not taught BY Scripture anywhere within its pages!  Let us not lose focus though!  One can see how easily this topic can get distracted.  The subject is NOT sola scriptura nor the authority of Scripture!  No, the specific question asked is "How do you KNOW what comprises the New Testament?"  And, the rather short initial posting answers, "The New Testament does not self-authenticate its canon, this was done by the Church."  

If one objectively reads through the posts on CDF what they will see is precisely what I'm describing here... the Protestant apologists never deal with the actual topic - but get focused upon the authority of Scripture by the autopistic nature of Scripture.  At one point one of the challengers DOES admit that the process took nearly 400 years to finalize the canon, but then insists the reason he is in that discussion at all is to "correct" the perception of Catholics (me specifically) of the autopistic view of Scripture held by Calvin and Calvinists.  When I confronted him with the fact that this view is actually something Catholics can and do agree with - rather than concede this is true and actually answer the question at hand - this apologist (who moderates one of the largest "Reformed" discussion groups on the Internet) bows out of the discussion.  His diversion did not work out for him, so he quits on that discussion.

THE subject of this discussion remains unanswered:
How do you KNOW what comprises the New Testament? The New Testament does not self-authenticate its canon, this was done by the Church.

Amen. 

Let us end on this note:  "Qui tacet consentit"




Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chesterton, Heretics and Skeptics

At the end of his book Heretics, Chesterton wrote:  “When [man] drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he no longer believes in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sets himself up as God, holding no form or creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass.”  Thus he denounced, with his robust common sense, the era of universal suspicion into which modernity has plunged the human mind.

Bishop Fellay Going to Rome

General House of the Society of Saint Pius X: Bishop Fellay will be received by Cardinal Levada on September 14, 2011


Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, invited Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, and his two assistants, Father Niklaus Pfluger and Father Alain-Marc Nély, to meet him in the Palace of the Holy Office on September 14, 2011. In his letter of invitation, Cardinal Levada noted that the purpose of this meeting is first to make an assessment of the theological discussions conducted by the experts of the Congregation for the Faith and of the Society of Saint Pius X over the past two academic years, and then to consider the future prospects.

As Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta recalled on the occasion of the recent priestly ordinations in Ecône [June 29; 2011], “We are Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman.  If Rome is the head and the heart of the Catholic Church, we know that (…) the crisis will necessarily be resolved in Rome and by Rome. Consequently, the little good we will do in Rome is much greater than the great deal of good that we will do elsewhere.”  With this deep conviction Bishop Fellay will go [to Rome] at the invitation of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
(Source : SSPX/MG – DICI : 08/30/11)

Friday, September 02, 2011

Coredemptrix

We've seen plenty non-Catholics and especially anti-Catholics attacking the title given to Our Lady of "Coredemptrix."  Here are just a few examples:

http://blog.beliefnet.com/pontifications/2009/05/the-mary-heresy-papal-support.html

http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/coredeem.htm (James McCarthy's article reprinted)

http://home.comcast.net/~davidriggs01/mary01.htm

  
(Errant/misguided zeal of {old school} James White)

White writes a whole book on this topic:  Mary-Another Redeemer?

So, on to my reply...

Is Mary "Another Redeemer?"
The short answer is NO!  That is also NOT what the title states!  The prefix "co-" does NOT mean "another" - it means "with."  Mary works WITH Jesus Christ who is THE Redeemer of the world (a concept that White would reject as his brand of Calvinism posits that Jesus only redeemed The Elect, and not the world).  Mary does not replace Jesus Christ, nor is she considered to be equal to Him (though White posits that is the goal of Catholicism in the above video).  McCarthy emphatically states, "There is One Redeemer, Not Two" in his article (linked above) and Catholicism AGREES with him!  This whole concept of "Another Redeemer" is nothing more than a Straw Man (invalid) argument put forth by those who are either ignorant of or acrimonious to Catholic teaching on this matter.  

You're a Co-Redeemer Too!  Well, You Should Be!
I would go so far as to state that we're ALL called to be co-redeemers with Christ!  Whatever work we do to help bring others to Christ is a co-redemptive work.  What we do, or the Blessed Virgin has done, to assist in building up the Kingdom of Heaven does not make any of us equals to the saving/redemptive work of Jesus Christ - and by the same token does not lessen the reality that we may have contributed to this building up.  Are we not to go out and do as He did?  

Not much more really needs to be said here - but if you are reading this and have more questions - feel free to leave a comment and you will receive a direct answer.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<



Other Articles Defending the Title of Co-Redemptrix:

http://www.catholicsource.net/articles/coredemptrix.html

http://www.marycoredemptrix.com/coredemptrix.html

http://www.voxpopuli.org/response_to_7_common_objections_part1.php

http://catholicexchange.com/2007/05/25/97557/

[Further Reading - added by Cathmom5:]
Does "Co-Redemptrix" or "Mediatrix" Mean "Co-Savior?" - David MacDonald of CatholicBridge.com

Mary Was United to Jesus on the Cross - Pope Blessed John Paul II
Mary Freely Cooperated in God's Plan - Pope Blessed John Paul II
Mary Has Role in Jesus' Saving Mission - Pope Blessed John Paul II

Our Lady's Cooperation in the Redemption - Fr. William Most
Unscriptural Marian Doctrine? - Fr. William Most