Thursday, April 08, 2010

Response to Calvinist claims: Part 1

I am responding to a post by Dan Peterman to a thread posted on Facebook. I do not doubt Dan's desire to serve God, but I believe he is sadly misguided. I decided to post here due to the length of his comment and will be posting a link on Facebook on the wall of the original recipient.

I truly hope that unbelievers are watching. When evangelizing the idea is to indeed have an audience. That is perhaps the best thing about facebook. The thing is, I'm not here to win a medal, omnly to defend the truth.

I think what's more important in such dialogues is to seek the truth. When I err, I need to admit it, and vice versa. If you come in assuming you have it and are impervious to the words of others, you may be thwarting the Holy Spirit's intention on instructing you.

I vehemently stand against the Catholic church and I will say so at any forum, public or private. The idolatry, superstition and anti-biblical nature of the papacy causes a stench that can be smelt for miles by authentic Christians.

You are mistaken. If it were true, then the 1.2 billion Catholics and additional 400,00 Orthodox currently living would be in error, in contradiction to Christ's promise to Peter and the Apostles in Matthew 16:18. Essentially, you're saying that the Christians who lived for 1500 years prior to the Reformation are inauthentic. So where was the Church against which the gates of Hell wouldn't prevail? Your claims would make Jesus a liar, and I reject them.

Now Bill, first of all I want to make it painfully clear that we are comparing apples to oranges. As a Bible-believing Christian I just do not approach scripture the way you do. I come empty handed, trusting that Go has given me His Holy Word and my the leading of the Holy Spirit I will know what that Word is. In other words, I do not need the Pope to do my interpreting for me. I do not believe that men can be infallible.

If you come to scripture without the context in which it was given, then you do come empty handed, and perhaps doubly handicapped if you don't read scriptural Greek. God has given you scripture through the Church and not apart from it. You read your translation of scripture (twice removed), but interpret it in light of your culture and language (2000 years removed). If your doctrine were correct, the Protestant churches would be far less fragmented. Yet you insist that you are guided. Joe Protestant also insists that he is guided. Each of you interprets in ways that are diametrically opposed. Can the Holy Spirit be this divided against itself? "A house divided cannot stand" (Matt. 12:25). The Catholic Church stands after 2000 years despite the world's attempts to destroy it. Where is the church of John Calvin? Can you count its divisions?

In addition, I don't need the Pope to interpret scripture. I need the Sacred Tradition of the Church, of which the current Bishop of Rome is one factor. In addition, "infallibility" most likely doesn't mean what you believe it means. It does not mean "impeccability," which would be absence of personal sin or error. It merely means that the Holy Father, when elevated to the See of Peter, cannot err when teaching authoritatively on matters of faith and morals. This promise comes from Matt. 16:18, and it is bound to the Apostolic tradition. The bishops and Pope exercise this authority together, and it is always connected to the faith handed down through Apostolic succession. That means that no bishop or pope can declare a new doctrine but can only affirm what has always been held by the Church and the faithful.

I am opposed to including so-called "sacred tradition" along with scripture. So when I read a dead man's writings, and I come across something that is logical, makes sense, and is also in line with scripture, I get excited. I want to know more about that person. I am excited for that person and the journey he found in life. I am NOT inclined to take every singl e thing he said for absolute truth especially when he is out of line with scripture. I believe that ALL who are born again in Christ are saints immeditely and this only in te context that they are inb possession of eternal life.

So what you seem to be saying is that you will choose from among the writings you prefer which ones authentically represent the faith, and you make that decision based on your 21st century understanding of translated writings. Instead of a Magisterium guaranteed by Christ to the Church, you will assume a magisterium of your own. Can you tell me where scripture validates doctrines taken from personal interpretation?

No other word is sacred or infallible outside of the Holy Word of God.

I won't dispute that, as we hold that belief as well. What we disagree with is the limitation of the Word of God to the written scripture. Even St. Paul acknowledged this (1. Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 2:15; Tim. 3:15) as did Peter (2 Peter 1:20;3:16).

Catholics view things in exactly the opposite, or sideways with regards to saints. I am only interested in the point of Augustine's life when he became enamored with a predestinarian belief system which is the Gospel. The stetement Augustine made was false in that it was not true. It is no surprise how much he struggled as he was beset bythe harlot herself everyday, the Roman Catholic church.

So you are willing to accept St. Augustine's words (note that I do not say "views") when they agree with your 21st century Calvinist interpretation of scripture, but you are not willing to accept his views when they comport with the Catholic (that is Christian) Church of the time? Mind you, I'm not only speaking of whether or not Augustine held a monergistic view of jusitification, but whether he accepted the sacramental positions on the Eucharist, the priesthood, baptism, and whether he believed in monergism when it concerned salvation/sanctification (as opposed to justification). I'm prepared to show that Augustine might have been a monergist when it came to the initial act of justification, but fully a synergist when it comes to salvation.

So I am not going to waste my time looking p your precious church fathers. As for the sixteenth century vs. 2000 yrs. of church history once again your statement is highly flawed.

I've already pointed out why you will not venture into the dangers that are the early Church Fathers. It is for the same reason that John Henry Cdnl. Newnan found reason to cross the Tiber, and why Jaroslav Pelikan had to (as an honest historian) concede to the claims to the Apostolic churches. If you read the early Church Fathers, you will find them utterly Catholic. They are completely immersed in a sacramental Church that holds saints, particularly the Blessed Mother, in high esteem.

On my statement concerning church history, I request that you produce documentary evidence of my error. Please demonstrate using nondiscredited (that is, impartial) records that the Catholic began at the Council of Nicea or there abouts. Your sources will be only Protestant... or atheist.

Bill, you make the mistake of assuming too much. And you what they say happens when you assume. Buddy, we are both using the same Bible for the most part, except for those parts the Catholic church has changed and not too mention the fact they included the Apocrypha which was even rejected by the Jews.

I can demonstrate that the scriptural references made by Christ in the New Testament come from the Septuagint (the Greek translation that includes the so-called Apocrypha) and not from Hebrew scripture. I can also point to the fact that the Hebrew canon was fluid until at least late in the first century and that the Masoretic text stems from much later sources than the earlier sources of the Septuagint. In addition, Jews accept stories from the Septuagint for some of their own festivals (most notably Hanaukkah). So exactly how are these works suspect? In addition, I ask you to explain how any of the books of scripture have been identified as acceptable? In Sacred Tradition, the matter was determined by universal consent and constant usage. How do Protestants justify casting out the Deuterocanonical books in use for 1600 years by Eastern and Western Christians on such a whim?

The history of which you speak s the same history of which I speak. The Catholic church has decided to claim it and say they are the only church. We could have a lengthy debate on the fact that the Roman Catholic church came about arounfd the time of Conatantine. There was no Pope prior to this. You assume.

There is no debate for anyone who knows anything about history. While Orthodox Christians and Catholics might debate whether one or the other is *the Church*, Protestants aren't, as an institution, in the running. That doesn't mean that individual Protestants aren't part of the Church. Even the Council if Trent, in the midst of the Reformation, admitted that any one who was baptized with the same intention of the Church and under the proper form (Trinitarian) was joined to the Church.

Yes, that means that you are joined to the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, whether you like it or not. While I might gloat to a small degree to your consternation (and that is my sin), I'm also gratitified, because I truly believe that you want to attain the truth and want others to find it as well.

The claim that the Roman Catholic Church came into existence at the time of Constantine runs up against a few inconvenient facts:

- The Roman Church clearly existed when St. Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, and clearly existed when both St. Paul and St. Peter were martyred in Rome in the 60s AD.

- St. Clement, the second or third successor of Peter as Bishop of Rome, wrote a letter to the Corinthians concerning authority and tradition.

- St. Ignatius wrote a letter to the Romans noting the authority of the Roman see based on the authority of Sts. Peter and Paul.

- That the Church has maintained a list of all the successors to St. Peter preceding the Council of Nicea. St. Ireneus actually recorded this list in the second century, long before the Council of Nicea.

So while I base my beliefs on documented history, YOU assume. I assume that documented history at least approaches the truth.

When it comes to Augstine, you also assume that one needs to read him as a dialogue. I hope that between this and my previous post on this thread that you can grasp what it is I am trying to explain to in regards to your argument. I do not need to read the dialogue. I can plainly see what he said. I told you that he wrote "A treatise on the Predestination of the Saints" after coming to grips with I Corinthians 4:7. He died a monergist. So your straw man was to tell me you were sad that I was reading him out of context, when I know full well where Augustine ended up standing on free will, which in factf was the context itself. Also, of course, in telling me I should read him as dialogue instead of monologue which is ridiculous as I have shown. Bill, the reason Protestants can appreciate Augustine is because he began to show signs of life as he was drawn up out of the mire of the Roman Catholic church and brought into the invisible church. I tried to tel someone else on hee that the word catholic isn't bad. I knoe I am a part of a ctholic church. It just means universal. But men have capitalized it and then paid homage to and worshipped it. Shame!...

If you were to tell St. Augustine that he wasn't Catholic, I suspect he would make the same retort. You take his writings piecemeal and make claims he would never make. This entire passage is a claim to your belief, not his. And when I say that you must read Agustine as a dialogue, I mean that he was responding to debates of his time. If you don't know what he was responding to, you don't really understand the whole point.

As I said earlier, I'm prepared to show that Augustine might have been a monergist when it came to the initial act of justification, but fully a synergist when it comes to salvation. And I will add that even non-Catholic sources agree with me.

I have said quite alot on here to youand others and it sems to just go in the one ear and out the other. I get tired of repeating myself only to never get a direct reply to a specific argument I have raised.

I share the same frustration with you.

I have clearly shown that Augustine became a firm believer in sound Biblical , predestinarian faith, but I'm sure you will still pussy foot around and never quite deal with teh issue. What is actually happening is you guys are bluffing your way through things. You always have as a church and you almays will. Thats what you have to do when you don't have a winning hand, or in this cse the Truth. I'm sorry man but I am going batty and I am well mawareyou are prepared to go at it until Christ comes. Just remember, eternity is a long time to be wrong. I would do a little more digging if I were you. I have taken the liberty of pulling of some canons and decrees again. I also have scripture along with them to clearly show that they contradict the Word of God. And for the guy who keeps saying that the Catholic church has renounced faith plus works and that Vatican II has renounced the Council of Trent, buddy I would give the Pope a call if I were you cuz you wrong!

Okay, you're changing targets initially in this passage to predestinarianism, which is a completely different point. I will address this later. However, I will point out that in the passage above, you have provided no proof for any of your claims, scriptural or other. In fact, your claims to proof have all been of the same quality. You can't even point to where scripture validates your claim. You can only say that you interpret those passages differently. Superb. Demonstrate your authority. I have none but the Church. You have none but...

Which reminds me of a great verse..... When the Sadducces were questioning Jesus hard on the issue of marrying and having your huband die and then marrying again and whose wife would she be and...... and then after they had presented their little riddle, I love what Christ said nd it fits so nicely here, he said, "YOU ARE WRONG, because you know neither the scriptures or the power of God.

Heh. And Catholics take Him at His word and outlaw divorce. How is the Calvinist position in support of Christ's word?
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