Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Validity




Scott: You have no validity to anything Calvinist, no Eucharist, no apostolic succession, no history beyond or even a bit less than 500 years.

Just a word about "validity".

Apostolic succession itself has no validity -- especially not the Roman version.

In reality, it's a late second century invention -- it may have been descriptive of the way that the second century church established its legitimacy vis-a-vis the Gnostics, but to then turn that around and suggest that this method "is prescriptive for all time" is a heinous usurpation of Christ's own authority in the church.

In effect, the Reformation sought to purge the church from its later, unbiblical accretions.

In the sense that the Protestant churches are Biblical, that is where they achieve their "validity".

Roman authority is simply a lie that has been foisted on Christianity, and it's something that the mindless and the thoughtless and the deceived have latched onto. 


Since this was a distraction to the point I had made on Triablogue (and I accept the responsibility for introducing the distraction) and I cannot create a new entry on Triablogue, I am creating a new topic here.

Well, in reality here, the article by Michael Kruger [1] which Mr. Bugay refers to is not really about apostolic succession, rather the establishment of the Canon of Sacred Scripture - which was INDEED a process which went way BEYOND the second century!  In fact, there was not a relatively stable canon until the late fourth century.  That being said, Kruger's article is talking about sola scriptura - which is the Protestant root of authority, the "sole infallible rule of faith for the church" [2].  In that sense, he is opposing sola ecclesiam, the Catholic position.  I'll get back to the sola scriptura v. sola ecclesiam argument in a moment.  Let me remind the reader, MY POINT was:  "You have no validity to anything Calvinist, no Eucharist, no apostolic succession, no history beyond or even a bit less than 500 years."   Mr. Bugay, in his attempt to divert the discussion to sola scriptura, has not answered to any of my objections!  Let me enumerate them, just to be crystal clear.  
  1. No Eucharist
  2. No apostolic succession
  3. No history beyond, or even a bit less than 500 years.
NONE of these points are answered!  In essence, Mr. Bugay's diversion is concession to my points.  I thank him for such an easy victory!

Let us look at what he did argue for himself, instead of the diversion of Krugar and sola scriptura:
In effect, the Reformation sought to purge the church from its later, unbiblical accretions.
What are these alleged "unbiblical accretions?"  An undocumented, unsupported assertion is wholly an invalid argument.
In the sense that the Protestant churches are Biblical, that is where they achieve their "validity"
The Gnostics, whom Bugay even refers to here, a "Biblical!"  They based their beliefs in Scripture too, albeit an invalid reading/interpretation of Scripture - but their claim to being "Biblical" is just as valid as Mr. Bugay's!  For that matter, the Catholic Church is also "Biblically based," in that we point to many Scriptures as supporting our arguments.  Merely stating "Protestant churches are Biblical" is a relatively meaningless statement.
Roman authority is simply a lie that has been foisted on Christianity, and it's something that the mindless and the thoughtless and the deceived have latched onto. 
Again, no substance, just an unsupported assertion.  Mr. Bugay does not present a single alleged "lie" which has allegedly been "foisted on Christianity."  And he tops that off with nothing less than a direct ad hominem toward anyone who has accepted Catholicism as the one, true Faith.  

Does Mr. Bugay think he's making a valid argument here?  He has done nothing of the sort!

Let us now look at what Mr. Bugay said regarding authority...
it may have been descriptive of the way that the second century church established its legitimacy vis-a-vis the Gnostics, but to then turn that around and suggest that this method "is prescriptive for all time" is a heinous usurpation of Christ's own authority in the church. 
Right here he gives away the store!  First off, if it was a legitimate establishment of authority against the Gnostics, then what makes it illegitimate after that period of time even up to the present?  Secondly, there can be no usurpation of Christ's own authority when it was upon His authority (Matthew 16:18) the Church was built!  Again, that Church did not wait 1500 years to be built either, and as Bugay concedes, it establishes a legitimacy in presenting its case against the Gnostics in the second century!  

Let the reader be reminded, the "first century" are the years before 100ad!  That was the apostolic era, seeing as how St. John (according to Tradition) lived well into the 90s of that first century.  The "second century" then begins with the first generation of bishops in the post-apostolic era.  It is precisely those bishops, most notably St. Ignatius, a disciple of St. John the Apostle and direct successor to the Petrine seat at Antioch, who specifically declares the validity of the authority of the office of the bishop:
You must all follow the lead of the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed that of the Father; follow the presbytery as you would the Apostles; reverence the deacons as you would God's commandment. Let no one do anything touching the Church, apart from the bishop. Let that celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid which is held under the bishop or anyone to whom he has committed it. Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not permitted without authorization from the bishop either to baptize or to hold an agape; but whatever he approves is also pleasing to God. Thus everything you do will be proof against danger and valid. [3]  (emphasis added)
St. Ignatius lays it out strong and hard here!  To be "valid" it must be permitted by the bishop and/or one whom he has approved.  Period, end of story!  Keep in mind folks, St. Ignatius was a disciple of St. John the Apostle!  This apple fell straight off the tree!

So how about late second century:
St. Irenaeus 
"The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome] . . . handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus" (Against Heresies 3:3:3 [A.D. 189]). [4]

And third century:
Cyprian of Carthage
"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. . . . If someone [today] does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; first edition [A.D. 251]). [5]
And fourth century:
Eusebius of Caesarea
"Paul testifies that Crescens was sent to Gaul [2 Tim. 4:10], but Linus, whom he mentions in the Second Epistle to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21] as his companion at Rome, was Peter’s successor in the episcopate of the church there, as has already been shown. Clement also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome, was, as Paul testifies, his co-laborer and fellow-soldier [Phil. 4:3]" (Church History 3:4:9–10 [A.D. 312]). [6]
Clearly the matter of apostolic succession is brought up early and often in the writings of the Early Church Fathers (and there are many other quotations with citations which could be brought out). 

So, How About Sola Scriptura?

Well, at the root, sola scriptura is a non-scriptural concept, even anti-scriptural.  Why do Catholic apologists say this?  First off, no where in Scripture will one find the teaching that Scripture is the sole infallible rule of faith for the church, no where.  Secondly, Scripture itself points us to ANOTHER infallible authority!  In Matthew 16:19 Jesus states that St. Peter (speaking to him alone at this point) has the authority to bind or loose whatsoever he chooses - and whatsoever he binds or loosed is bound or loosed in Heaven!  Now, unless you contend that error can be bound or loosed in Heaven, that is infallible authority given to St. Peter!  Then later in the same Gospel, Matthew 18:18, this authority is similarly given to the rest of the Apostles as a group.  So, on one hand you have the authority given to the one (pope) and on the other hand you have this infallible authority given to the group (the college of bishops).  Sola scriptura is utterly refuted at this point!

In short, sola scriptura is a lie - so who has, in Mr. Bugay's words, been "deceived and latched on to" the lie?

In over 25 years of my defending the Catholic Church and challenging sola scriptura, NOT ONE PERSON has been able to document the teaching of sola scriptura from Scripture!  Certainly there a many attempts to use verses which support a concept of satis scriptura (sufficiency), but NOT ONE speaks to "sola."

Back to the argument from Kruger and the establishment of the Canon of Sacred Scripture...  where does Scripture dictate to us which books are to be counted as Scripture?  Certainly there are some clues, but no where is there an "infallible table of contents" in Scripture alone.  The process of establishing the Canon of Sacred Scripture is itself an argument AGAINST sola scriptura because Scripture itself, or alone, does not define the canon!

[1] http://michaeljkruger.com/is-the-church-over-the-bible-or-the-bible-over-the-church/
[2] James White as qtd. on: http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2010/01/sola-scriptura-self-refuting.html
[3] http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com/docs/ignatius_smyrnaeans.htm (paragraph 8)
[4] Qtd. on: http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com/docs/ecfpapacy.htm
[5] ibid
[6] ibid





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