The Three Lens Telescope

I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “The Bible Says It, I Believe It, That Settles It.” This adequately describes the way that many modern western Christians understand and practice the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. All that matters is what the Bible says. All other sources of authority, such as reason, the Councils of the Church, the creeds, or the patristic witness, are all dismissed as man-made innovations.  The Bible is the only authority, which really means that the individual Christian is the only authority since he or she can dismiss what any other person says about the Scripture. Everyone’s opinion is equally valid, and so the only one I can rely on to interpret the Scripture is me. The Holy Spirit speaks directly to me about what the Bible says.

The Root of All Heresy

It is easy to see how, from here, we arrive at bizarre modern sects like snake handling Pentecostals, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or even the hatred and vitriol of the Westboro Baptist Church. If the Bible says only what I think it says than it can be made to say anything I want. This is obviously heresy. It denies the foundations of basic Christian doctrine by separating Christians from the life of the Church. Virtually all heresies find their root in this kind of exulted individualism. We might even say that Sola Scriptura of this sort is the root of all heresy just as pride is the root of all sin.

Protestant Math

So obviously the Reformation was a sham and we should all be making our way across the Tiber, right? Well, no, because smart, truly Reformation oriented Protestants will tell you that the modern, popular version of Sola Scriptura bears little to no resemblance to the classical Reformation doctrine. Reading Reformation era confessional documents like the Westminister Confession or the Epitome of the Formula of Concord, it becomes clear that for Reformation Christians there is not an outright rejection of tradition or the rightful place of the Church in establishing doctrine, but rather an affirmation that the Scripture is the norm by which all of these things are judged. In that respect, the continental confessions are not much different than the 39 Articles which declare that “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.” Scripture gets the final word, but it is not open to endless interpretation by each individual person. Much like a person must be taught the principles of mathematics before solving complex equations, a person ought to be formed by the Church to truly understand the fullness of what Scripture has to say. Teaching doesn’t change the math, it just makes it accessible. According to Reformation Protestantism, the same is true of the effect of tradition and Church doctrine upon Scripture.

The Myth of the Three-Legged Stool

Anglicanism affirms the classical Protestant approach to the Scripture, but with a fairly sizable caveat. For Anglicans, the interpretation of Scripture is not the work of individuals who have been formed in the Church. It is the work of the Church herself. Article XX, on “The Authority of the Church,” makes clear that the Church is bound by Scripture. The Church cannot toss Scripture aside or “expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.” Nonetheless, the Church is “a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ” and she has been given “authority in controversies of faith.” In order to accomplish this task, the Church applies particular interpretive lenses to the art of interpretation, the lenses of reason and the teachings of the Fathers.

Modern Anglicans often cite the “three-legged stool” as being one of the great pillars of our faith, that we rely not on Scripture alone but on Scripture, tradition, and reason to give us a good footing. Each of these legs is equal and each is equally necessary. Much like a stool missing a leg will collapse, a faith that is based on just one or even two of these elements will not be able to stand. Proponents of the “three-legged stool” generally believe that the late sixteenth century divine Richard Hooker was the architect of this idea. In fact, the term never appears in Hooker’s work and he would be quite horrified to encounter it. What Hooker did say was this:

What Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that first place both of credit and obedience is due; the next whereunto is whatsoever any man can necessarily conclude by force of reason; after these the voice of the Church succeedeth.  That which the Church by her ecclesiastical authority shall probably think and define to be true or good, must in congruity of reason over-rule all other inferior judgments whatsoever…

For Hooker, reason is one of the great gifts of God to humanity. Following in the footsteps of Thomas Aquinas, Hooker was a great believer in natural law and in the ability of man to apply logic in understanding the world around him. This same logic, Hooker believed, could be applied to the Scriptures, allowing us to understand them and to see the patterns within them whereby the voice of God found therein could be understood by the Church. Thus, the teaching of the Church through the centuries, what we call sacred tradition, can be trusted to give us the pure Word of God and, if reasonable, must be trusted above our own private interpretations.

Hooker’s approach was unusual in that most Anglican Divines gave much less emphasis to reason. Not that they ignored or dismissed it, but rather that it was simply assumed. William Beveridge’s lengthy exposition of the 39 Articles, for instance, is subtitled “The Doctrine of the Church of England Consonant to Scripture, Reason, and Fathers,” but the focus in almost every essay is upon Scripture and the Fathers alone. Beveridge assumed that if he made the case for the Articles on the grounds of Scripture and the Fathers then the reason of his arguments would be obvious. Reason is what allows the Church’s teaching to be understood, but the Church’s teaching must begin by relying on the consistent witness of the Fathers, which always leads back to Scripture. They are not three separate sources of divine revelation but three interlocking tools that have to be used together in order to reveal the truth of God to the world.

Bringing Christ into Focus

Classical Anglicanism has no “three-legged stool.” What we do have is something more akin to a telescope with three different lenses. If we imagine the thing that we ought to be looking at is Christ Himself who reveals the fullness of God to the world, the Bible then is like a telescope pointed directly at Christ, making Him plain to see. The witness of the early Church becomes a second lens within that telescope which can be applied in order to make the image that much clearer. Reason is still a third lens, through which we see how all the rest come together. In this model, reason and the Fathers are not separate sources of authority to be weighed against the Biblical witness. Rather, all three form one coherent whole in which reason and the Fathers serve to make the lens of Scripture clear enough that we may see through it perfectly. Remove the supporting lenses and the first lens, that of Scripture, is still capable of working, but the image one sees through it can easily become distorted. However, remove the first lens and the supporting lenses become completely useless. All three are necessary, but Scripture is the lynchpin. The Fathers and reason are incapable of showing us God unless they are applied to the Scripture where God has made Himself known.

The Ecumenical Imperative

The three lens telescope is a good system. It relies wholly on God’s Word, while nonetheless acknowledging that God’s Word must be interpreted in order to be applied. Most importantly, it functions within the confines of the Church that Christ has established. While every individual has the ability to take these lenses and use them to see Christ and receive Him, it is only the Church as a whole that has been given the Holy Spirit for the sake of guarding the faith once delivered to the saints. The uncomfortable mission of Anglicanism, therefore, must always include a striving towards unity in the Body of Christ, especially across ecclesiastical lines, since our shameful divisions in the Church can only hinder our ability to receive the great promise that Jesus has for us, the promise of Himself given fully to His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

About these ads

About Fr. Jonathan

Your average traditional crunchy Christ follower with a penchant for pop culture, politics, and puns.
This entry was posted in General Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

127 Responses to The Three Lens Telescope

  1. Utterly superb. Presbyterian Keith Mattheson’s book, The Shape of Sola Scriptura is a big reason I became Anglican, as he convincingly shows the 1st generation Reformers understood scripture as the only supreme, full, infallible authority–while also acknowledging the high place of Church, fully responsible and authoritative, though fallible….and always UNDER that scriptural authority.

    I think it may have been easier in the 16th Century to accept a hierarchy of authorities–since that was the pattern of feudal & renaissance society, whereas today we’re more likely to take a digital, on/off, authoritative/not authoritative approach.

    I’ve considered Hooker’s paridigm as a priority list:
    1: Scripture
    2: Reason
    3: Tradition,

    but the telescope model is even better, as it requires all three working in congruence, even while showing Scripture as the primary, irreplaceable lens.

  2. I think to think of Hooker’s comments as a Big Wheel Trike. We have the Big Wheel on the front (the supremacy of scripture) balanced by the 2 little wheels on the back. Tradition (what has the Church always believed about the thing) and reason (has what the Church always believed actually what the Scriptures actually teach ??). Holy Writ trumps it all but not as my own “private interpretation.

  3. MichaelA says:

    Fr Jonathan, thank you for yet more sound teaching.

    The original meaning of the term sola scriptura was: “scripture alone has certain unique qualities” (i.e. of being direct revelation). As a result of these qualities, scripture is held to be the primary authority for the church, but by no means the only authority. And yes, many today have forgotten (or chosen to forget) this.

    Its can be very convenient for church authorities if they can just adopt any interpretation they like of scripture, without regard to what has gone before!

  4. barrybruce says:

    I think the Pogo Stick model also has some merit. :-)

  5. Thank you for writing about the supposed “three-legged stool”. This was one of the myths that sparked my “Anglican Myths” series.

  6. Joshua says:

    http://www.holyincarnation.org/pub/options.pdf

    I decided to post this in case you would like to read it. I think it is relevant to what you are saying. Let me know what you think.

  7. I do appreciate this post by Fr. Jonathan. But, I will argue that scripture is not the final authority, because the Apostles handed down the faith orally and liturgically, before it was written down.

    I do not support puritan reformations, because starting church after the church in the hope that you will create the perfect one has only resulted in endless division. The perfect church does not exist.

    The real church does preserve the faith and always bounces back.

    • Fr. Jonathan says:

      The Word of God, as it was given orally and preserved in early liturgies, formed the basis of Scripture. Saying that Scripture is the final authority does not deny these earlier means of carrying the Word of God, it affirms them. Unless your claim is that early Christian oral tradition in some way contradicts what is written in the Scripture, I’m not sure what it is you are attempting to refute.

      • I am in agreement with your views, but the church put these things together.

        You have not denied that the reformers held that the church is responsible for the interpretation of scripture. This is why they started their own churches and designated themselves interpreters of scripture.

      • Fr. Jonathan says:

        Have you actually spent any time reading the Reformers? I think you’d be surprised at what you’d find there.

      • Fr. Jonathan,

        I do not disagree, that the early reformers were more Catholic than the later ones. The issue is that scriptures do not interpret themselves. You still need people to do it.

        Now if we argue that these people have to stay true to scripture, it goes back to the same issue, that thousands of churches do CLAIM, they are being true to scripture.

      • Fr. Jonathan says:

        Again, there is no disagreement between us that the Scriptures need to be interpreted, or that the Church is given the task of doing such interpretation, guided by the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, the Church is also constrained by the Scriptures. The Church cannot interpret anything contrary to the Scriptures. When a church does so, it ceases to be a church in any real or discernible way.

        Moreover, the Scriptures give us the tools with which to identify the Church. One of the problems with the RC model is that the Church tends to be defined by the papacy and the magisterium. I don’t mean that this is the official understanding of the Roman Church, but it is often how authority is exercised. There is no mechanism for the faithful to hold the clergy to task, no great measuring stick with which to say, “Here, in this way, the papacy has erred.” In fact, since the 1870s, the position has been that the papacy cannot err, at least when it comes to faith and morals.

        Scripture and the Fathers act as a corrective against all of that, providing a way for the whole Church to engage in reform and renewal.

      • The understanding is that if the Holy Spirit inspired the church to decide the canon of scripture and the writings we called tradition. Then the Holy Spirit does not let the church go astray on these issues, even if people themselves might.

        Anglicans retain the tradition, but deny that the Spirit infallibly guides this tradition, therefore the question is if you do not trust the authority that preserved this, then why trust the sources themselves?

        Anglicans, RC’s and Orthodox all interpret the fathers and scripture through the light of their own traditions and they have points of disagreement on them.

        RC’s and Orthodox, hold to the former view that the Holy Spirit guides the church so it cannot go astray on these issues.

        Anglicans hold to a more Protestant view that God takes a holiday, so we have to trust ourselves on this issue.

        So at the end of the day, individuals are still the arbiter of these things, where like-minded ones flock together etc, whenever there is a fallout.

        Now from a logical perspective, I am going to look for consistency on issues because God is consistent.

      • Fr. Jonathan says:

        I don’t think you’re really hearing what I’m saying. Our disagreement is not over whether or not Scripture needs to be interpreted by the Church. Our disagreement is over what the Church is and how she goes about doing that interpretation.

      • Yes, I agree. The same issues can rise up in Anglicanism, because at the end of the day interpretation of scripture and fathers is still based on church leaders.

        Nothing the RC church teaches was not found in the early church. The issue once again is interpretation.

      • Fr. Jonathan says:

        No, it’s not based on “church leaders.” That’s where the divide is. The interpretation is based off of faithful reading through the lens of the Fathers. It is a hallmark of postmodernism to claim that a text can mean anything I want it to mean. It can’t. Either the Scripture can be read and understood, or it is useless. Either it binds us, or we bind it.

        Your claim that nothing the RC Church teaches was not found in the early Church is highly debatable, but for now I’ll refrain from taking the bait on that one since this thread is already very far away from the point of this post.

      • MichaelA says:

        ” Nothing the RC church teaches was not found in the early church.”

        That is your belief and you are entitled to your opinion. Others disagree!

      • MichaelA says:

        “The understanding is that if the Holy Spirit inspired the church to decide the canon of scripture and the writings we called tradition…”

        Then you have an incorrect understanding. The Holy Spirit inspired the church to recognise and witness to the identity of those documents that were already scripture. Each book of scripture derives its authority from its Apostolic authorship, which it possessed as soon as it was written.

        The church’s role as a witness to this truth is not the same as having the authority to write scripture in the first place, nor to declare something to be scripture which would otherwise not be so. The church in other words had no authority but to declare those books “scripture” which were already so.

        It is the same as if I tell someone that they must seek salvation for their sins from Jesus: I am not exercising any authority of my own – I am simply a witness and a messenger to a truth which derives from authority outside of me.

        “Then the Holy Spirit does not let the church go astray on these issues, even if people themselves might.”

        I agree – but it is “the church” we are talking about here, not the “Roman Catholic Church”.

        “… if you do not trust the authority that preserved this, then why trust the sources themselves?”

        The short answer is that the *authority* of the sources does not derive from the church (at least not in the sense you mean). The church is only a witness to the identity of those sources (documents) that held Apostolic authority from the moment they were written. You are conflating the entire church with the apostles – sometimes that can be valid, but not in this case.

        “…Anglicans hold to a more Protestant view that God takes a holiday, so we have to trust ourselves on this issue.”

        That does not remotely reflect the Anglican position (nor is your summary of the RC and Orthodox positions really accurate either).

      • “The Holy Spirit inspired the church to recognise and witness to the identity of those documents that were already scripture.”

        You might want to read the history of how the church determined did these things.

        The Damascus canon is adopted by the whole of the Western Church because of the Vulgate. That’s the canon that Florence and Trent will dogmatically ratify 11 and 12 centuries later.

        So you cannot argue it was not the RC church.

      • MichaelA says:

        Please see response below

      • The periphery of the canon is not yet determined. According to one list, compiled at Rome c. AD 200 (the Muratorian Canon), the NT consists of the 4 gospels; Acts; 13 letters of Paul (Hebrews is not included); 3 of the 7 General Epistles (1-2 John and Jude); and also the Apocalypse of Peter.

        Each “city-church” (region) has it’s own Canon, which is a list of books approved for reading at Mass (Liturgy)

        It was under Pope Damascus 1 that the current canon of scripture was determined in the right number and order.

      • MichaelA says:

        Please see response below (for reasons of space)

      • MichaelA says:

        “Now if we argue that these people have to stay true to scripture, it goes back to the same issue, that thousands of churches do CLAIM, they are being true to scripture.”
        Yes, thousands of churches so CLAIM, and the Roman Catholic church is one of the thousands. Since the vast majority of them are right, there is no problem.

      • Actually a lot of the thousands churches are a product of the reformation and they have conflicting doctrines with each other!

  8. “a person ought to be formed by the Church to truly understand the fullness of what Scripture has to say.”

    This is exactly what the Catholic church teaches. So the reformers just started their own church and designated themselves Popes over how to interpret scripture.

    • MichaelA says:

      The reformers did not start their own church. They were part of the medieval church in Europe and they remained part of it, at all times.

      “designated themselves Popes over how to interpret scripture.”
      You seem to be assuming that the Pope was seen by the medieval church as the only person entitled to interpret scripture. That wasn’t the case at all. I would be happy to read any primary source or authority you have to the contrary.

      • The reformers broke away from the church.

        I am aware that the Pope is not the only one who can interpret scripture. Since scripture does not interpret itself, the church is the final authority.

        Scripture says nothing about cloning or stem cells. How are Christians then to decide these issues?

      • Stephen says:

        I’ve declined from posting on this thread primarily because I didn’t want to start another confrontation.
        However, since one is underway….
        “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” (Mt 10:40)
        And:
        “He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” (Lk 10:16)
        Here, Christ identifies himself with the Apostles: this identification is so complete that accepting or rejecting the Apostles is the same as accepting or rejecting Christ.
        Church authority is the only thing that guarantees the accuracy and dependability of the Bible. Not the other way round.

      • Fr. Jonathan says:

        I follow you up until your last statement. Are you suggesting that Scriptures are only accurate and dependable when a given set of leaders in the Church is accurate and dependable? If so, by what mechanism can the people assess whether or not their leaders have become corrupt?

      • This is a view that is post-invention of the printing press. The early Christians did not have personal copies of a Bible, no printers, fax, machines, no computers etc.

        They relied on their church leaders, the successors of the Apostles to teach them and determine what authentic Christianity was among bickering sects.

        This was perhaps easier because there was only ONE church, as opposed to thousands today.

        So yes, I do agree that church leaders cannot contradict previously held revelation. A point you claim Rome has erred on. We tend to disagree.

      • MichaelA says:

        LTTG wrote,
        “The early Christians did not have personal copies of a Bible…”

        This is an unhistorical assertion. Copies of New Testament scripture were widespread throughout the early church, indeed the volume of surviving fragments from the 2nd century is far, far beyond that of any other work. Nor did Christians need personal copies (although there is evidence they existed) – the sunday service was centred around public reading of the scriptures and celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

        “They relied on their church leaders, the successors of the Apostles to teach them and determine what authentic Christianity was among bickering sects.”

        No they didn’t rely on them in the exclusive sense you mean. Nor did those church leaders view themselves as having any authority to add to Apostolic teaching.

        “This was perhaps easier because there was only ONE church, as opposed to thousands today.”

        In the sense you mean, there were hundred of churches, if not thousands. But they were all of one spirit, which was the important thing.

        “So yes, I do agree that church leaders cannot contradict previously held revelation.”

        They *may* not. But they can, and frequently do!

      • “Copies of New Testament scripture were widespread throughout the early church, indeed the volume of surviving fragments from the 2nd century is far, far beyond that of any other work.”

        Yes, but nobody had a personal Bible. I do agree they did not need one, but try getting that one around a lot of Protestants.

        As for worship, in the early church, it was a Mass.

      • I would also add that scripture is the written part of a church’s tradition. But the basic Community first, then the community’s book later.

      • MichaelA says:

        Scripture was not authored by a “community”. Scripture was authored by or under the direct command of Apostles, who in turn were commissioned directly by Christ himself to give His commands to the Church. No other writings carry such authority.

      • Yes, I agree but this still places the Apostolic church before, since the canon is what they determined.

      • MichaelA says:

        The apostles determined the canon, by writing or authorising each book. The church did not so much determine the canon, but rather recognised that which the apostles had already determined.

        I appreciate that you disagree about this, and I am not denying your right to a contrary opinion, but just ensuring that the Anglican position is not misunderstood.

      • Stephen says:

        Being corrupt is a human condition. Face it, we’re all stuck with it.
        (Even Anglican Bishops, BTW.)
        Some of the Apostles dealt with being ‘corrupt’, up to and including betrayal of the Son of Man Himself.
        I’m saying that Christ gave us a guarantee that His Church will be led by the Holy Spirit.
        And, like it or not, His Church gave us the Scriptures, not the other way round.
        Therefore, it makes sense to Trust what the Lord said and to Trust those with whom he charged the leadership of His Church.

        Not liking the fact that the Pope won’t grant your divorce and then setting up a Church and hierarchy of your own to gain your own will seems ‘corrupt’ to me, Father J.
        Would you not agree?

      • Fr. Jonathan says:

        I don’t think you’ll find an Anglican who would argue that Henry VIII was anything other than a jackass. That said, he is no more the founder of the Anglican Church than Constantine is the founder of the Orthodox Church. The same bishops, for the most part, occupied the same Sees both before and after the split with Rome, which itself was not complete until after the Elizabethan Settlement, which is really the first point at which one can legitimately call anything Anglicanism.

      • MichaelA says:

        Stephen wrote,
        “Here, Christ identifies himself with the Apostles: this identification is so complete that accepting or rejecting the Apostles is the same as accepting or rejecting Christ.”

        Precisely. The supreme authority over the church was always Apostolic authority, from the first moments of its existence, and the Apostles’ authority derived directly from Christ himself. (And I am glad to see that you base your belief on scripture!)

        “Church authority is the only thing that guarantees the accuracy and dependability of the Bible. Not the other way round.”

        Yes, Church authority, not Roman Catholic Church authority.

        And even the word “authority” can be confusing, because we must remember that the Scriptures do not derive their *authority* from the Church (and I appreciate this is not exactly what you wrote, but I just want to confirm the point). The church in the 2nd to 4th centuries was a *witness* to which writings were written under apostolic authority, but the church itself did not give those writings authority. Rather, the writings derived their authority from their apostolic authors.

      • The Council of Cartage, under Pope Damascus 1 is well the cannon of the new testament was seen as final.

      • Cadog says:

        Do you mean Damasus I?

      • MichaelA says:

        As Cadog points out, the Pope’s name was Damasus, and I think you mean Carthage rather than Cartage

        Secondly, the Council of Carthage in 397 AD was not under any pope, let alone Damasus who had died 13 years earlier.

        Thirdly, you appear to be relying on the discredited theory that the Gelasian Decretal (a list of scriptural books dated from the time of Pope Gelasius in 496 AD) was promulgated at the Council of Rome under Pope Damasus in 382 AD. This theory was put out by a Roman Catholic monk in the 17th century in order to bolster the idea of Petrine Supremacy but it was never supported by adequate evidence and is no longer accepted.

      • MichaelA,

        You engage in a revisionism that even the Eastern Orthodox do not.

        The Council of Carthage, which refined the canon for the Western Church, sending it back to Pope Innocent for ratification. In the East, the canonical process was hampered by a number of schisms (esp. within the Church of Antioch). However, this changed by …
        AD 405
        Innocent sends a response to Exsuperius, bishop of Toulouse

        “Which books really are received in the canon, this brief addition shows. These therefore are the things of which you desired to be informed. Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and Joshua the son of Nun, and Judges, and the four books of Kings 2 together with Ruth, sixteen books of the Prophets, five books of Solomon, 3 and the Psalms. Also of the historical books, one book of Job, one of Tobit, one of Esther, one of Judith, two of Maccabees, two of Ezra, 4 two of Chronicles. And of the New Testament: of the Gospels four. Epistles of the apostle Paul fourteen. 5 Epistles of John three. Epistles of Peter two. Epistle of Jude. Epistle of James. Acts of the Apostles. John’s Apocalypse. But the rest of the books, which appear under the name of Matthias or of James the Less, or under the name of Peter and John (which were written by a certain Leucius), or under the name of Andrew (which were written by the philosophers Xenocharides and Leonidas), or under the name of Thomas, and whatever others there may be, you should know they are not only to be rejected but also condemned.”

        http://www.bible-researcher.com/innocent.html

        “Thirdly, you appear to be relying on the discredited theory that the Gelasian Decretal (a list of scriptural books dated from the time of Pope Gelasius in 496 AD) was promulgated at the Council of Rome under Pope Damasus in 382 AD. ”

        Not refuted, just denied. Damasus’ commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, c. 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West.

      • MichaelA says:

        See response below.

      • Stephen says:

        Michael posted:
        The supreme authority over the church was always Apostolic authority, from the first moments of its existence, and the Apostles’ authority derived directly from Christ himself. (And I am glad to see that you base your belief on scripture!)

        Wrong, Michael…..
        I base my Faith upon EVENTS that have been CONVEYED to us in Scripture.
        Are you capable of recognizing the difference???

        The Church gave us the Bible.
        The Bible did not give us the Church.

      • MichaelA says:

        Stephen, for my part I base my faith upon truth, not falsehood.

        “The Church gave us the Bible.”
        That is at best a half-truth. The Apostles gave the bible to the church. In turn, the church preserved the bible which was given to it by the apostles. The difference is profound.

        “The Bible did not give us the Church.”
        Who said it did? And therefore, why bother writing this?

      • MichaelA says:

        LTTG,
        “The reformers broke away from the church.”

        No they didn’t.

        “I am aware that the Pope is not the only one who can interpret scripture.”

        Thank you.

        “Since scripture does not interpret itself, the church is the final authority.”

        Of course Scripture interprets itself. Are you suggesting that Scripture does not have a plain objective meaning, but yet the canons of the Council of Trent DO have a plain objective meaning? And the words of the Apostolic Constitution “Dei Verbum” have a plain objective meaning, but the words of Scripture do not? That is hardly a credible position.

        Further, your private opinion that “the church is the final authority” has no support anywhere.

        “Scripture says nothing about cloning or stem cells. How are Christians then to decide these issues?”

        The same way they always have – by following the principles laid down in Scripture. This is what your own Roman Catholic Church does.

      • Councils would not have been necessary in Christianity, both sides in dispute were quoting scripture to justify their views.

        “That is hardly a credible position. Further, your private opinion that “the church is the final authority” has no support anywhere. ”

        ” if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”

        1 Tim 3:15

        Irenaeus

        The Catholic Church possesses one and the same faith throughout the whole world, as we have already said (Against Heresies 1:10 [A.D. 189]).
        Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account we are bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the things pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth. For how stands the case? Suppose there should arise a dispute relative to some important question among us. Should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary [in that case] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the churches? (ibid. 3:4).

        “The same way they always have – by following the principles laid down in Scripture. This is what your own Roman Catholic Church does.”

        Really? Scripture is not a science book with answers on these issues. The church relies on natural law for this.

      • MichaelA says:

        1 Timothy 3:15 starts in the middle of a sentence, and it is actually the preceding verse which contains the reference to written authority. Here is the complete sentence:

        “Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” [1 Timothy 3:14-15]

        The church is indeed the pillar and foundation of truth, but in turn the apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church! (see Ephesians 2:20) This passage is consistent with what I and other Anglicans have written above: From the very first moment of its existence, the church was under apostolic authority.

        While the apostles were on earth, the Church had their written and verbal teaching, together with the written teaching of the Old Testament prophets, as its highest authority. This is what we see in 1 Timothy 3:15. After the apostles left this earth, the Church continued to have their written teaching and that of the Old Testament prophets, as its highest authority.

        I also agree with the passages you quote from Irenaeus (however selectively). Irenaeus makes clear that he regards the writings of the apostles as the highest authority for Christians. He is quite at home with tradition, and in the passage you cite from “Against Heresies” he shows how a certain sort of tradition is particularly useful in polemical arguments against heretics who reject scripture as having any authority. Note his description of the heretics against whom he writes:

        “When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world”.” [Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.2.1]

        Such are the people that Irenaeus argues *against*.

        You also wrote:

        “Really? Scripture is not a science book with answers on these issues. The church relies on natural law for this.”

        Last time I looked, the RCC used science and natural law as sources, but always viewed in the light of scripture. It is an interesting point (even if not really on topic) so feel free to cite sources which set out the Roman Catholic doctrine as you understand it.

      • I agree with Irenaeus that scripture is an authority. Irenaeus goes on to say the same about people who reject the tradition entrusted to the church.

        “Last time I looked, the RCC used science and natural law as sources, but always viewed in the light of scripture. It is an interesting point (even if not really on topic) so feel free to cite sources which set out the Roman Catholic doctrine as you understand it.”

        Yes, in the light of scripture, but not to the extend that it holds that something cannot be true if it’s not found explicitly in scripture.

      • MichaelA says:

        Re your last sentence, yes, Anglicanism holds to the same view as you on that issue. In other words, we reject the “regulative” view of scripture.

  9. Stephen says:

    Michael posted:
    “Of course Scripture interprets itself.”

    You bet! Just ask any one of the thousands of Protestant denominations we have running about!
    They will all tell you to disregard everyone else s, but EXCEPT theirs.

    • MichaelA says:

      Now, Stephen, how about we don’t quote selectively! Below is my full statement, which puts my meaning in the first sentence in context. It then asks two questions (really the same question) – perhaps you can answer them?

      “Of course Scripture interprets itself. Are you suggesting that Scripture does not have a plain objective meaning, but yet the canons of the Council of Trent DO have a plain objective meaning? And the words of the Apostolic Constitution “Dei Verbum” have a plain objective meaning, but the words of Scripture do not? That is hardly a credible position.”

      • Stephen says:

        I’m suggesting that we are not wise to come up with our own interpretation of Scripture, Michael.
        That shouldn’t be too difficult a concept to understand, as doing so is precisely what has given us thousands of Protestant views of Scripture.
        Each one claiming to hold the inside track.

      • MichaelA says:

        “I’m suggesting that we are not wise to come up with our own interpretation of Scripture, Michael.”

        Why? You interpret Dei Verbum, don’t you? And you interpret the Roman Catholic Catechism, don’t you? So why wouldn’t you interpret scripture?

        “…as doing so is precisely what has given us thousands of Protestant views of Scripture.”

        And thousands of roman Catholic views of scripture, and thousands of Roman Catholic views of the meaning of the Catechism (I am yet to find two Roman Catholics who agree on even the fundamental point about how much and in what respect they are supposed to agree with the RCC’s teaching – go figure).

        “Each one claiming to hold the inside track.”

        Even this you can’t get right: Most protestants agree on the important points of doctrine – far more so than most Roman Catholics.

  10. MichaelA says:

    LTTG wrote above,
    “The periphery of the canon is not yet determined. According to one list, compiled at Rome c. AD 200 (the Muratorian Canon), the NT consists of the 4 gospels; Acts; 13 letters of Paul (Hebrews is not included); 3 of the 7 General Epistles (1-2 John and Jude); and also the Apocalypse of Peter. …”

    That is not at all what the Muratorian Fragment says (note, there is no such thing as the “Muratorian Canon”). The MF is a fragment with bits missing in several places. Scholars disagree about the dating but I personally think 170 – 200 AD is most likely. It doesn’t actually refer to the first two gospels, but it is reasonable to infer that Matthew and Mark were listed on the part missing at the beginning. Most scholars accept that the reference to “two more [epistles] of John” is a reference to 2 John and 3 John, because the writer earlier in the fragment refers to 1 John.

    What the writer actually says about the apocalypse of Peter (at lines 71-72) is this: “We receive only the apocalypses of John and Peter, though some of us are not willing that the latter be read in church.”

    In other words, some people accepted the apocalypse of Peter as apostolic and some did not. The MF thus reflects the uncertainty in the 2nd-3rd century church as a result of attacks on the NT Canon by Marcionites (who sought to remove books from the canon) and Gnostics (who sought to add new books to the canon like the Apocalypase of Peter) beginning in the 2nd century.

    As for Hebrews, we cannot be sure that the writer did not accept it as of apostolic authorship, due to the gaps in and around the MF.

    LTTG also wrote,
    “Each “city-church” (region) has it’s own Canon, which is a list of books approved for reading at Mass (Liturgy) It was under Pope Damascus 1 that the current canon of scripture was determined in the right number and order.”

    Neither of these statements are correct. You appear to be relying on the discredited theory that the decretals of Pope Gelasius should be backdated to the time of Pope Damasus (not Damascus, which is the capital of Syria!) but even if this were correct, it would not change the fact that the books of scripture derive their authority from their apostolic authorship, not from church recognition. The latter is a good and useful thing, but it does not give scripture its authority; rather the reverse.

    • “You appear to be relying on the discredited theory that the decretals of Pope Gelasius should be backdated to the time of Pope Damasus”

      No I am not. Look up the council of Rome.

      “it would not change the fact that the books of scripture derive their authority from their apostolic authorship, not from church recognition. The latter is a good and useful thing, but it does not give scripture its authority; rather the reverse.”

      Yes, the Apostles give scripture their authority, but how is the church supposed to know this without being inspired by God to do so, given the disputes that arose at the time.

      You mentioned that it was not the Roman Catholic church. A charge I refuted.

      • MichaelA says:

        “No I am not. Look up the council of Rome. ”

        I am familiar with the historiography. I expect you are getting your information from one of the Wikipedia articles (which vary in their accuracy) or the 1911 version of the Catholic Encyclopaedia (published online as New Advent). But they are incorrect.

        The theory that the Gelasian Decretal (canon list) was promulgated at the Council of Rome was refuted in 1913 and that position has been generally accepted. The canon list dates from at least 100 years later, and its provenance is unknown. See http://www.tertullian.org/articles/burkitt_gelasianum.htm for a convenient summary.

        “how is the church supposed to know this without being inspired by God to do so, given the disputes that arose at the time.”

        Who said it wasn’t?

        “You mentioned that it was not the Roman Catholic church. A charge I refuted.”

        Well, you asserted to the contrary! “Refute” implies that you presented evidence and reasoning in support of your assertion, which so far has not occurred!

      • There is some historical speculation about this, but the books affirmed in the decree of Damasus were the same as the ones at Hippo, 393 A.D., and Carthage, around 400 A.D. They were considered official once Rome approved of them.

      • MichaelA says:

        As I wrote above, the evidence that Damasus ever issued a decree is problematic, to say the least. Nor is there any direct evidence that the council of Hippo ever did so – it is speculation on the part of one historian, and it may or may not be correct. But regardless, none of these councils did any more than affirm what the church as a whole already knew, and what e.g. Athanasius had already written as an established fact before them.

        “They were considered official once Rome approved of them.”

        If you say so. I am yet to see any historical evidence of that.

  11. MichaelA says:

    LTTG wrote above,
    “You might want to read the history of how the church determined did these things. The Damascus canon is adopted by the whole of the Western Church because of the Vulgate. That’s the canon that Florence and Trent will dogmatically ratify 11 and 12 centuries later. So you cannot argue it was not the RC church”

    The “Damascus Canon” – is this meant to be a reference to the Gelasian Decretals which are sometimes incorrectly attributed to Pope Damasus (not Damascus), or does it refer to the canon list written by John of Damascus in 730 AD? Either way, I do not understand its relevance.

    As for the rest of your points, I hope the differences between us are becoming clear: I follow the records of Irenaeus, Tertullian and Augustine, who tell us that the canon of scripture was known to the early church when the apostles passed on to glory. Various attacks on that canon were made by Marcionite and Gnostic heretics in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, but those attacks had been largely repelled by the middle of the 4th century. Jerome’s Vulgate recognised this and reaffirmed what the church already knew, as did later councils from time to time. Whenever an attack is made on the canon of scripture, the church responds by reaffirming that truth which was given to it from the beginning.

  12. “Jerome’s Vulgate recognised this and reaffirmed what the church already knew, as did later councils from time to time. Whenever an attack is made on the canon of scripture, the church responds by reaffirming that truth which was given to it from the beginning.”

    I do not deny this, but to deny that this church was the Roman Catholic church is ignoring history.

    • MichaelA says:

      Well, I do deny it (that the RCC is the entirety of ‘the church”), so you might want to provide some proof for your assertion in due course!

      • There were five centres of Christianity. The canon was sent back to the Bishop of Rome to ratify it for the Western church.

        Let’s be honest, the Anglicans simply received everything that Apostolic churches had already confirmed. You are not an Apostolic church.

      • MichaelA says:

        “The canon was sent back to the Bishop of Rome to ratify it for the Western church.”
        As I point out below, this is not the case.

        “Let’s be honest, the Anglicans simply received everything that Apostolic churches had already confirmed.”
        Guilty as charged! So did you.

        “You are not an Apostolic church.”
        Yes we are.

      • I pointed out the letters that confirm this correspondence. You agreed to them, but then say that it only affirmed what already existed. The question is was there a list prior to this that had the exact numbering and order of books that we have today.

        “Yes we are”

        You see Apostolic as simply holding to the Apostolic faith, rather the visible established Apostolic church.

      • MichaelA says:

        See my comment below – even the list you rely on does not have the exact same numbering and order of books as today. However, the books are the same, which to me is the only point that matters. But then, it wasn’t the first list to have the same books as today in it (again, see below).

        Re your last sentence, no, that’s not my position.

  13. MichaelA says:

    LTTG wrote above,

    “You engage in a revisionism that even the Eastern Orthodox do not.”

    This is pretty rich coming from you, after the manner in which you have played fast and loose with historical research on this thread!

    “The Council of Carthage, which refined the canon for the Western Church, sending it back to Pope Innocent for ratification.”

    No it didn’t. Once again your research is poor, and your conclusions garbled. One version of the canons of the Council of Carthage in 397AD refers to sending a list to Pope *Boniface* for confirmation, which is why we know that particular reference is a later interpolation (Boniface I did not become Pope until 418 AD). There is no evidence that the Council of Carthage in 397 AD sought any confirmation from Rome. Rather, it listed the books of the Old and New Testament “because we have received from our fathers that those books must be read in the Church.”

    Thankfully you finally seem to have abandoned your assertion that the Council of Carthage was held “under Pope Damascus”!

    “AD 405 Innocent sends a response to Exsuperius, bishop of Toulouse…”

    Yes, correspondence between bishops about the canon. It doesn’t change the fact that Innocent was not deciding what was in the canon, so much as acknowledging what had always been there.

    “Damasus’ commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, c. 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West.”

    If you mean that it helped to settle the controversy arising from the heretical attacks in C2 and C3, then sure – that is a bishop’s job. But that doesn’t change the fact that Damasus was not “determining” anything himself, just acknowledging what had been handed down by the Apostles when they passed from this earth.

    • “There is no evidence that the Council of Carthage in 397 AD sought any confirmation from Rome.”

      And then you bring up correspondence among Bishops!

      ” It doesn’t change the fact that Innocent was not deciding what was in the canon, so much as acknowledging what had always been there.”

      How would he know what had always been there?

      Was there a list prior to this, with the exact numbering and order of the books, that we have in our Bible today?

      Suppose an objective historian who does not believe in God, were to take a lot at this, he would come to the conclusion that the Bishop of Rome did decide the final canon of scripture, to be accepted by the whole church.

      • MichaelA says:

        I note Cadog’s wise and insightful post, and I don’t disagree with him. Since I know readers sometimes do check these posts for research, I will continue to post responses on specific issues:

        “How would he know what had always been there?”

        Through the work of those who had gone before him. The ones we know about include Tertullian, Irenaeus, Athanasius and Augustine.

        “Was there a list prior to this, with the exact numbering and order of the books, that we have in our Bible today?”

        I am not sure why you would ask this, since even the Gelasian (or “Damasine”) decretal has a slightly different order to that which we use today (Revelation is put immediately after Hebrews in the Latin original). But from my point of view, “numbering and order” are irrelevant anyway – you can put Mark before Matthew and they are both still scripture because of their apostolic authorship.

        In terms of the identity of books, the answer is a clear Yes: St Jerome set out the same books we have in our bible today in a letter prior to the Council of Carthage, and so did St Athanasius about 30 years before that. More to the point, they each treated the identity of these books as a matter known to the church at large, and they never suggested that the list was decided on by any pope or council (except insofar as Athanasius was Pope of Alexandria, but I don’t think that changes my point).

        “Suppose an objective historian who does not believe in God, were to take a lot at this, he would come to the conclusion that the Bishop of Rome did decide the final canon of scripture, to be accepted by the whole church.”

        I suggest it is precisely the objective test where your argument fails most: All that Pope Innocent says to the bishop of Toulouse is, in effect: “These are the books that are scripture”. He doesn’t say: “I am deciding which books are scripture” or, “this is my decision on which books are scripture, to be accepted by the whole church”. I can’t objectively find those concepts in his letter.

      • “Through the work of those who had gone before him. The ones we know about include Tertullian, Irenaeus, Athanasius and Augustine.”

        Saint Augustine did insist that the list given by these councils be sent to Rome for approval.

        A friend of Saint Jerome, Saint Exuperius of Toulouse, a Gallican bishop, wrote to Pope Innocent I in a formal letter requesting the list of canonical books. The Pope replied – honoring Saint Exuperius – with a letter listing the canonical books:

        Yes, the church simply affirmed what the Apostles gave them, but they were only finalized with Rome’s approval.

      • MichaelA says:

        “Saint Augustine did insist that the list given by these councils be sent to Rome for approval.”

        Really? Can you give me a reference to your source for this?

        “…but they were only finalized with Rome’s approval.”

        The source you quote says nothing at all about that.

      • Going back to the council of Rome, we have the writings of those who attended.
        No serious scholar doubts the declarations of the Council of Rome.

        Only a few 19th century polemicists such as Ernst vod DobschutzI have been so contemptuous of the facts as to have contrived such story.

        Here is the pertinent excerpt from Jurgens’ Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 1, page 404:

        “The first part of this decree has long been known as the Decree of Damasus, and concerns the Holy Spirit and the seven-fold gifts. The second part of the decree is more familiarly known as the opening part of the Gelasian Decree, in regard to the canon of Scripture: De libris recipiendis vel non recipiendis. It is now commonly held that the part of the Gelasian Decree dealing with the accepted canon of Scripture is an authentic work of the Council of Rome of 382 A.D. and that Gelasius edited it again at the end of the fifth century, adding to it the catalog of the rejected books, the apocrypha.

        It is now almost universally accepted that these parts one and two of the Decree of Damasus are authentic parts of the Acts of the Council of Rome of 382 A.D.

        The assertion from Wiki that this decree of Damasus is a fraud is cross-referenced to an article which in turn cites a Ernst von Dobschutz. The reason he says the decree of Damasus is false is because within it is a quotation from Augustine from 416. He does not provide the quote or the context, but he therefore concludes that the entire decree cannot be attributed to Damasus. Wiki’s, and in turn RD’s entire allegation, are based on von Dobschutz’ claim.

        But as you can see from Jurgens, the document did indeed undergo an edit after Augustine would have made his quote available to the world. This edit would in no way discredit the prior portions that were the authentic parts of Damasus’ Decree.

        In summary the timeline would go like this.
        382 – Pope Damasus makes his decree, lists the authentic canon (which would make sense in light of his order to Jerome to translate the canon)
        416 – Augustine makes his comments.
        ca. 490 – Gelasius takes Damasus’ decree, and edits it, adding to it

        Von Dobschutz speciously takes the edits by Gelasius to discredit what was originally Damasus’. Given Damasus’ concern with the canon, the repeat of his canon at Hippo and Carthage, what Jurgens wrote of his decree is by far the more plausible explanation. And this is probably why, as Jurgens stated, the almost universally accepted position is that Damasus authored the parts on the canon at the Council of Rome.

        Canon 24 at the fourth council of Carthage.

        “Let this be sent to our brother and fellow bishop, Boniface, and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church.”

        In the year 419 A.D., after the confirmation of Boniface in the Roman epsicopate, the Canons of the African Church were collected and formed into one code. In the process of such a revision it was perfectly natural that some reference should be made to foreign churches on such a subject as the contents of Scripture, which were fixed by usage rather than by law”

        http://www.bible-researcher.com/carthage.html

      • MichaelA says:

        “Going back to the council of Rome, we have the writings of those who attended.”

        No we don’t. You do not understand the historical evidence.

        “No serious scholar doubts the declarations of the Council of Rome.”

        On the contrary, no serious scholar nowadays accepts them (as having been made at the Council of Rome).

        “Only a few 19th century polemicists such as Ernst vod DobschutzI have been so contemptuous of the facts as to have contrived such story.”

        There is no such person. If you are referring to von Dobschuetz, he wrote in the 20th century, as stated in my post above. Please read my posts before responding to them.

        “Here is the pertinent excerpt from Jurgens’ Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 1, page 404:”

        Jurgens is partisan and wrong. He does not confront the well-known problems with the view he espouses, but simply makes an unsupported assertion that supports the Roman Catholic position. His book may be popular, but that does not give him carte blanche to make bare assertions in support of his own beliefs, without any proof.

        “The assertion from Wiki that this decree of Damasus is a fraud is cross-referenced to an article which in turn cites a Ernst von Dobschutz. The reason he says the decree of Damasus is false is because within it is a quotation from Augustine from 416. He does not provide the quote or the context, but he therefore concludes that the entire decree cannot be attributed to Damasus. Wiki’s, and in turn RD’s entire allegation, are based on von Dobschutz’ claim….”

        Why on earth are you citing wikipedia as a source? Is that the extent of your research?

        The rest of your post tries to make out that the only problem with dating the Gelasian decretals to the Council of Rome is the presence of a clear quotation from a work of Augustine written 30 years later (and contrary to your post, the quote and context have been supplied many times). Yes, that is a huge problem – after all, if there is one interpolation, why does it stop there? The very idea that this can be reliably accepted as a document of 482 AD becomes absurd. But there are other problems (i.e. obvious interpolations) that you haven’t dealt with. There is simply no reliable basis on which the Gelasian decretals can be accepted as dating from the Council of Rome.

        By the way, you do realise that even if you were correct about this, it does not get you one millimetre closer to proving your point? Why then waste our time with long posts on this issue?

  14. Cadog says:

    MichaelA has obviously read and researched a great deal on all of this, very helpful to me. As has been LTTG’s posts, which both offer good information and also give MichaelA a departure point from which to distinguish Anglican from RC belief.

    It is pretty evident that the arguments on both sides are no more settled by this dialog than they have been by centuries of debate. Frankly, LTTG, it is very difficult to engage in discussion when the ultimate fallback argument is “the Church has always believed in [fill in the blank]” and similar circular or self-substantiating arguments, including the endless claims, as in this thread, that the RC Church’s authority actually exceeds the original apostles’ authority, which is where you end up when you say the Holy Scriptures which they authored are not ultimately authoritative.

    As to Scriptural interpretation and the thousands of churches in Protestantism – yes there are many and varying arguments about many things – but there is actually great agreement on the most essential doctrines. And, incidentally, there have clearly been similar arguments and differences of opinion among RC and pre-RC early church leaders and scholars.

    I have been resisting the impulse to enter into the “the Anglican Church is not apostolic” fray – but, really LTTG, be serious – do you really think that the conflicts and controversies surrounding the papacy, especially in the medieval and Renaissance periods, are any less damaging to the RC apostolic line argument than the brief interval during the 1500s when the Anglican Church, as one of many reform movements at the time, got its start? There was far more government involvement and politics surrounding appointment of church leaders over these many centuries in the unreformed Church, than there has been in the Anglican Church. If Anglicanism is not apostolic, than neither is the RC church for the very reasons you assert.

    Don’t forget – many of the reformers, including Martin Luther and even bad old Henry VIII, did not set out to replace the Catholic church. But the notion that there can be no other authority than 1 man in Rome will get you exactly to a place where the reformers rightly wanted to get the church out of – including things that MichaelA and the other discussants have graciously stayed away from, like the Inquisition, indulgences and other forms of simony, papal and other leaders’ violations of their own vows of chastity (outrageous sexual behavior is neither new nor the sole province of the Episcopal, or for that matter, contemporary American RC church, unfortunately), and the list goes on. A recent useful work is John Julius Norwich’s Absolute Monarchs, but oh my gosh he is BRITISH !! However, I spot checked his account against New Advent, just to be safe, and it seems pretty accurate, if New Advent is.

    Finally, as I really do not relish these endless debates, since they are not the main reason I visit the Conciliar Anglican site, and MichaelA needs no help with the debate – but the Irenaeus passage you quote can just as easily be understood to argue for the original apostles, and therefore their writings, as supreme authority, with councils (hence the “Conciliar Anglican”) having supremacy over individual bishops, including the Bishop of Rome.

    • Cadog,

      I don’t think you understand what we are discussing. I do not place my faith in the sanctity of ANY human being. The church despite the failings of it’s members has not changed doctrine. None of these Popes, defined, taught or changed any doctrine.

      Luther and others were not the only reformers. There were many in the church too, who stayed. The church bounced back, but the reformation churches have been subject to endless division.

      We do not do puritan reformations to start church after church in the hope that the perfect church will be created. It does not exist.

      I never made the claim that Anglicans lost Apostolic succession, when they broke away. This took place later on, based on theological stances taken.

      “RC Church’s authority actually exceeds the original apostles’ authority, which is where you end up when you say the Holy Scriptures which they authored are not ultimately authoritative.”

      I never said the scriptures are not authoritative, or that the church’s authority exceeds the Apostle’s authority. Simply, that the church that recognized scripture is the interpreter of it and not each individual Christian.

      • Cadog says:

        I glanced over this thread and your posts in prior threads. You need not continue to insult the intelligence or good will of those with whom you disagree. I stand by my comments, even if they are not a cut-and-paste, tit-for-tat rebuttal to your posts. I do not have time or energy for that.

      • Cadog,

        I never insulted you, but simply clarified my views.

      • MichaelA says:

        LTTG, come now, you have continually posted offensive comments like “you are not an apostolic church” and many other besides.

      • MichaelA says:

        “The church despite the failings of it’s members has not changed doctrine. None of these Popes, defined, taught or changed any doctrine.”
        You change doctrine all the time – you just don’t admit that is what you are doing!

        And even then, its very difficult to find two RC’s who agree on what the doctrine means in practical terms anyway. Take the powers of the Pope for instance: there is every shade of belief from “its a sin for any catholic to even think of questioning anything the current Pope says or does”, through to “the current and last Popes are actually anti-popes and the chair of Peter has been vacant since Pius X/Pius XII/John XXIII (take your pick)”, and every shade of opinion in-between.

      • There is a difference between opinion and official church teaching. There is also difference between disagreeing with doctrine and the church accepting your disagreement.

      • MichaelA says:

        Which does not respond to my post.

      • A lot of the groups you break up have broken away with Rome and therefore their stance does not represent the official teachings of the church.

      • MichaelA says:

        On the contrary, I was speaking of ordinary Roman Catholics, not of any breakaway group.

      • MichaelA says:

        “We do not do puritan reformations to start church after church in the hope that the perfect church will be created. It does not exist.”

        The vast majority of protestant churches are not started for that reason either, so you don’t need to worry.

        “I never said the scriptures are not authoritative, or that the church’s authority exceeds the Apostle’s authority.”

        Perhaps not, but that seems to be the practical effect of the things you write.

      • When did the fathers or scripture say you could start your own church?

      • MichaelA says:

        Why ask such an irrelevant question? You know perfectly well that we have not started our own church. We are part of the one, true, catholic and apostolic church, founded by Jesus Christ. The manner in which you ask that question appears calculated to be offensive, and to have no positive intent.

    • I will also add that Yes we disagree with each other in our church too, but we do not succeed in changing doctrine. That is the difference. Everybody’s personal and political views cannot be made theology. On the other hand, in Protestant churches if a majority votes in for something, like gay marriage, the ones who disagree will have no choice but to accept it or leave.

    • Stephen says:

      ‘Don’t forget – many of the reformers, including Martin Luther and even bad old Henry VIII, did not set out to replace the Catholic church.’

      Oh, please…..
      Martin Luther did to following ‘reformers’ exactly what he accused Rome of doing to him!
      He accused the Roman Church of being apostate and then called other reformers apostate as well, if they didn’t agree with him!

      • Cadog says:

        I said many of them did not SET OUT to replace the catholic church — meaning, for example, when ML did the 1517 theses thing. That’s just history. btw a citation of your claim would be most welcome.

        Your and your RC pal’s sarcasm and quite biased filtering of history, facts, and the words and arguments used in various responses is really quite unbecoming.

      • Cadog,

        I happen to like Anglicans a lot. The fact is nobody starts their own church over practise, which may have been the catalyst, but not the cause. You start it over doctrine. The reformers constantly accused each other of being heretics.

        Luther on Zwingli and His Followers

        Zwinglians . . . are fighting against God and the sacraments as the most inveterate enemies of the Divine Word.

        (Janssen, V, 220-221; LL, III, 454-456)

        It would be better to announce eternal damnation than salvation after the style of Zwingli or Oecolampadius.

        (Daniel-Rops, 85)

        3. Luther on Bucer

        They think much of themselves, which, indeed, is the cause and wellspring of all heresies . . . Thus Zwingli and Bucer now put forward a new doctrine . . . So dangerous a thing is pride in the clergy.
        (Grisar, VI, 283; WA, vol. 38, 177 ff.)

        A gossip . . . a miscreant through and through . . . I trust him not at all, for Paul says [Titus 3:10] ‘A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid.’

        (Grisar, VI, 289; Table Talk, ed. Mathesius / Kroker, 154, 253)

        Calvin on Luther and Lutherans

        What to think of Luther I know not . . . with his firmness there is mixed up a good deal of obstinacy . . . Nothing can be safe as long as that rage for contention shall agitate us . . . Luther . . . will never be able to join along with us in . . . the pure truth of God. For he has sinned against it not only from vainglory . . . but also from ignorance and the grossest extravagance. For what absurdities he pawned upon us . . . when he said the bread is the very body! . . . a very foul error. What can I say of the partisans of that cause? Do they not romance more wildly than Marcion respecting the body of Christ? . . . Wherefore if you have an influence or authority over Martin, use it . . . that he himself submit to the truth which he is now manifestly attacking . . . Contrive that Luther . . . cease to bear himself so imperiously.
        (Dillenberger, 46-48; letter to Martin Bucer, January 12, 1538)

        I am carefully on the watch that Lutheranism gain no ground, nor be introduced into France. The best means . . . for checking the evil would be that the confession written by me . . . should be published.

        (Dillenberger, 76; letter to Heinrich Bullinger, July 2, 1563)

        5. Melanchthon on Zwingli

        The timid Melanchthon launched at least one salvo against Zwingli:

        Zwingli says almost nothing about Christian sanctity. He simply follows the Pelagians, the Papists and the philosophers.
        (Daniel-Rops, 261)

        Luther on Protestant “Heretics”

        Heresiarchs . . . remain obdurate in their own conceit. They allow none to find fault with them and brook no opposition. This is the sin against the Holy Ghost for which there is no forgiveness.
        (Grisar, VI, 282; WA, vol. 19, 609 ff.)

        Those are heretics and apostates who follow their own ideas rather than the common tradition of Christendom, who . . . out of pure wantonness, invent new ways and methods.

        (Grisar, VI, 282-283; WA, VII, 394)

      • MichaelA says:

        LTTG, most theologians in the 16th century wrote like this, catholic, protestant and every shade in between.

        And in the end, what does it prove? Why waste our time with irrelevant quotations?

      • Stephen says:

        Who is filtering history or fact???

        In ‘The Succession List’ of St. Irenaeus and in his ‘Against Heresies’, we see a clear picture of how to know the source of authority and how it was bestowed.
        Around 180 AD, just one generation after the last apostle died :
        ‘But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the Churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient Church known to all, founded and organized AT ROME by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that Church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. FOR WITH THIS CHURCH, BECAUSE OF ITS SUPERIOR ORIGIN ALL CHURCHES MUST AGREE, THAT IS, ALL THE FAITHFUL IN THE WHOLE WORLD; AND IT IS IN HER THAT THE FAITHFUL EVERYWHERE HAVE MAINTAINED THE APOSTOLIC TRADITION.’
        (Then follows a list of successors to Peter as bishops of Rome. Not Carthage, not Jerusalem, not Antioch, but Rome.)

        Cyprian of Carthage 250 AD:
        The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you, 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 DOES NOT HOLD FAST TO THIS UNITY OF PETER, CAN HE IMAGINE THAT HE STILL HOLDS THE FAITH? IF HE DESERTS THE CHAIR OF PETER UPON WHOM THE CHURCH WAS BUILT, CAN HE STILL BE CONFIDENT THAT HE IS IN THE CHURCH?”

        Optatus 350 AD.
        Speaking about the schism of the donatists:
        You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas. Of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all.

        Pope Leo I 445 AD.
        Speaking about those bishops who wanted to alter the Nicene Creed:
        As for the resolution of the bishops which is contrary to the Nicene decree, in union with your faithful piety, I declare it to be invalid and annul it by the authority of the holy apostle Peter.

        Too often, when speaking with Protestants, I see a pattern where as far as they are concerned, the Church did not have much of a history prior to the 1400’s.
        In general, they can’t speak of much of anything that occurred prior to then!

      • Cadog says:

        To your first and last point:

        I suppose we all “filter” and for that matter we are all biased. Your biases lead you to what I and others consider to be unreasonable conclusions, especially on an Anglican site.

        As to history prior to 1400s — the Conciliar Anglican certainly talks about it and knows a great deal. As to that history supporting your cause … I’d go easy on that one. By 1400, the RC church had centuries of accumulated baggage that Jesus would not have been terribly proud of, nor Peter or Paul for that matter. That is my biased, filtered perspective — not too surprising for an Anglican site.

      • Stephen says:

        Well, I’m glad to see that you know it’s not all us ‘RC’ who filter.
        That being said, I long for the day when I could worship in an Anglican service.
        You guys have some of the best Church music ever created and I hold great hopes for the Anglicanorum Coetibus.
        Probably not in my lifetime, but maybe that of my grand daughter.

      • Friends,
        You have shown yourselves to be very knowledgeable. I have learned a great deal from you about history and theology. I have enjoyed reading your debates, although it seems clear to me that nothing will be resolved by conversations such as this. You are discussing events that occurred roughly 500 years ago. How can we, become better Christians, here and now? I am not convinced that either by becoming Anglicans or Roman Catholics (or any other denomination for that matter) is all that is required. We are in a new age. For example, the sea ice in Arctic Canada is at a record low. There is growing poverty throughout the world. Look at the horrific conflict in Syria and other places. Will these be solved by sorting out the average Christian’s relationship to the bishop of Rome? What about the discoveries of science in the past 150 years? How do these discussions relate to what it means to be human? What do they mean to the value and dignity of people with disabilities? I would love to hear your thoughts on these issues, especially on people with disabilities.
        My Amish Mennonite friends only participate in their Communion ritual twice a year and then, they always wash one another’s feet. Perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope could go somewhere in Africa and wash the feet of a Mennonite child with disabilities, donate some of their gold and silver things and then sit down and talk about inter communion.

      • MichaelA says:

        Good point :o)

        I fear that for some the only issue is trying to justify their own view that their particular brand of Roman Catholicism is the only right church on earth. And so it will go on.

      • Cadog says:

        If there were ever to be a “3rd Sacrament” — there would be none better than foot washing. I have also had the unbelievably sacred and humbling experience of footwashing in a Mennonite-type church (Brethren, actually, but the difference is immaterial).

      • MichaelA says:

        Stephen wrote:
        “Too often, when speaking with Protestants, I see a pattern where as far as they are concerned, the Church did not have much of a history prior to the 1400’s.”

        That is wildly inaccurate in the present context. Over this thread and previous ones, protestants have demonstrated that they are quite familiar with “history prior to the 1400s”, indeed far more familiar and accurate with it than you are!

        “Who is filtering history or fact???”
        Since you ask the question, the answer is: you.

        You refer to the succession list of Irenaeus (which is found, by the way, in his Against Heresies at 3.3.3). As we have previously discussed, Irenaeus does not base his own faith on apostolic succession, but on scripture (see 3.1.1). However, for those heretics who do not accept the authority of scripture (see 3.2.1 and 3.2.2), he puts forward further arguments based on tradition and apostolic succession.

        In your post above, you try to make out that Irenaeus believed in no authority for believers except apostolic succession – that is to turn Irenaeus’ argument on its head!

        Furthermore, despite your selective use of capitals, Irenaeus does not put the argument held by some modern Roman Catholics that the RCC must be obeyed because it has been so ordained by God. Rather, Irenaeus’ endorsement of the See of Rome is based firmly on the premise that it has accurately preserved apostolic teaching: “inasmuch as the apostolical tradition [which means teaching, not oral tradition] has been preserved continuously”. (3.3.2) Irenaeus has already stated in 3.1.1 what that apostolic tradition is, and where it may be found (scripture).

        When Irenaeus writes: “and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us” (3.3.3), he is writing about proof – how do we demonstrate to heretics who deny the accuracy of scripture that the truth has been accurately preserved? He correctly points to the fact that the teaching of the apostolic churches did not change over the five or six generations since the passing of the apostles.

        I will respond to your misuse of the church fathers in relation to Matthew 16:18 in a further post.

      • Stephen says:

        Michael posted:
        ‘In your post above, you try to make out that Irenaeus believed in no authority for believers except apostolic succession – that is to turn Irenaeus’ argument on its head!

        Completely and utterly false on your part.
        I was speaking DIRECTLY TO the subject of Apostolic Succession.
        YOU BROUGHT IN a strawman I didn’t speak about, and then knocked it down to your own end.
        Irenaeus pointed to FACTUAL EVIDENCE OF GENUINE FACTS that are REVEALED in Scripture, Michael. (Not the first time you’ve done that, btw.)
        You try to make out that Scripture has a life of It’s own, rather than conveyance of genuine facts.

        Scripture is vitally important. I’ve no desire to dispute that.
        But Scripture deals with events that happened OUTSIDE OF SCRIPTURE IN A REAL WORLD.
        Which has more value, Michael?
        The fact that Jesus actually walked the earth and died for us, or Scripture which conveys that message?
        You seem to be hung up in some vacuum where Scripture is all that matters.

      • MichaelA says:

        Stephen,

        In your post above, you cite three church fathers (three, out of over a hundred!) who believed that Matthew 16:18 was referring to the Church of Rome, even though it patently is not.

        The earliest father that you so cite is Cyprian in 250 AD – more than 150 years after the passing of the apostles. You do not cite anyone earlier than that, and with good reason – the majority of the church fathers, particularly the ones earlier than Cyprian, did not believe that Christ in Matthew 16:8 meant Peter when he used the word “rock” (Gr. ‘petra’). And indeed, the wording of Matthew 16:18 and its surrounding passage is such that Jesus could not have meant that. Yet you set up your own selective reading of three later church fathers, against the authority of the Apostles. Thank you, but I would rather follow Apostolic teaching than yours.

      • Stephen says:

        Would it matter to you if I did offer a Church Father earlier than 250AD, Michael?
        I doubt it, but here goes:
        Tertullian 200 AD:
        “Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matthew 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matthew 16:18]?”

        Tertullian 220 AD:
        “The Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven. WHAT KIND OF MAN ARE YOU, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? UPON YOU, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys”

        Besides, just for you personal edification, the Church Fathers ARE the Church Fathers, whether before 250 AD or after.
        Just a thought to ponder.

  15. Cadog says:

    As I pointed out, with reference to Luther particularly, he did not in the early stages of his protest intend to replace the church. These are undated references, but I am quite certain they are later than 1517-1518, during which time he was in dialog with Leo and his representatives, and as recorded in his Resolutiones, his attitude toward the pope and the church was quite submissive and humble. Of course he was taking positions that were contrary to church teaching but he was not out to establish a new church, not at that time. He wanted to reform the one that was already there. The same is true of Jan Hus and John Wycliffe, both of whom predate Luther. I was not making reference to other 16th century reformers (like Zwingli). I was objecting to your repeated assertions that protestants broadly set out to “make there own churches” when they disagreed with Rome. That may have been true later, but it was not typical pre Luther. As to the other quotes you provide, with reference to Luther, I have no doubt he called the RC church apostate and said many other unpleasant things, but that doesn’t mean he wanted to replace it. Also, like Hus, early on, much of his criticism was leveled at clerical abuses, which I believe even the RC shurch from the safe distance of history regards as inappropriate.

    • Cadog,

      The reason why I am bringing this up is because I think the same thing is happening all over again in churches. Only this time, the reformers are going even beyond the original ones. I am not doing this to be vindictive. This is happening in both Protestant and Catholic circles. Mostly liberal.

      The reformers were not nice, once they had power in their hands. Jan Hun’s followers repaid it it kind, by burning down monasteries and killing monks as an act of revenge.

      The Protestants had learned from the “Hussites”, Bohemians who claimed to follow the heretic John Hus, whom Luther hailed as one of his forerunners. After Hus’s execution in 1415, zealous ragtag armies:

      . . . passed up and down Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia . . . pillaging monasterles, massacring monks, and compelling the population to accept the Four Articles of Prague . . .
      (Durant, 169)

      Erasmus who was fond of Luther, changed his mind after the saw the direction things were taking.

      Erasmus’ Disdain of Protestant Plunder

      The greatest scholar and man of letters in Europe at this time, Erasmus, who looked with some favor upon the “Reformation” initially, but came to despise it as he saw its fruits, wrote on May 10, 1521, just a few weeks after the Diet of Worms, about those who “covet the wealth of the churchmen.” He goes on to say:

      This certainly is a fine turn of affairs, if property is wickedly taken away from priests so that soldiers may make use of it in worse fashion; and the latter squander their own wealth, and sometimes that of others, so that no one benefits.
      (Erasmus, 157)

      It’s true that pre-Luther nobody rebelled against each other and set up parallel church. This did become acceptable after it though for doctrinal reasons.

      • MichaelA says:

        “It’s true that pre-Luther nobody rebelled against each other and set up parallel church. This did become acceptable after it though for doctrinal reasons.”

        Nobody “rebelled” after Luther either. Reformers from the 13th century had been trying to bring the Papacy back to what it had always been – no more than a primacy of honour. It was because the Papacy from the early 15th century on would not accept this and tried to obtain what it desired by force of arms, that splintering became inevitable.

        The fundamental responsibility for this splintering lies with the centralists, not with those who sought to return the church to what it had always been.

    • Cadog,

      The reason why I am bringing this up is because I think the same thing is happening all over again in churches. Only this time, the reformers are going even beyond the original ones. I am not doing this to be vindictive. This is happening in both Protestant and Catholic circles. Mostly liberal.

      The reformers were not nice, once they had power in their hands. Jan Hun\’s followers repaid it it kind, by burning down monasteries and killing monks as an act of revenge.

      The Protestants had learned from the \”Hussites\”, Bohemians who claimed to follow the heretic John Hus, whom Luther hailed as one of his forerunners. After Hus\’s execution in 1415, zealous ragtag armies:

      . . . passed up and down Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia . . . pillaging monasterles, massacring monks, and compelling the population to accept the Four Articles of Prague . . .
      (Durant, 169)

      Erasmus who was fond of Luther, changed his mind after the saw the direction things were taking.

      Erasmus\’ Disdain of Protestant Plunder

      The greatest scholar and man of letters in Europe at this time, Erasmus, who looked with some favor upon the \”Reformation\” initially, but came to despise it as he saw its fruits, wrote on May 10, 1521, just a few weeks after the Diet of Worms, about those who \”covet the wealth of the churchmen.\” He goes on to say:

      This certainly is a fine turn of affairs, if property is wickedly taken away from priests so that soldiers may make use of it in worse fashion; and the latter squander their own wealth, and sometimes that of others, so that no one benefits.
      (Erasmus, 157)

      It\’s true that pre-Luther nobody rebelled against each other and set up parallel church. This did become acceptable after it though for doctrinal reasons.

    • Stephen says:

      I have no way of knowing how much you’ve actually read about Martin Luther, but he is certainly not the Martin Luther that you portray.
      We can go into a conversation of the history of Luther’s actions and quotes if you wish, but I don’t think you would enjoy that.

      • MichaelA says:

        “The king of Israel answered, “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off’”.” [1 Kings 20:11]

      • Cadog says:

        To quote my friend MichaelA from his 8/8 post: “Stephen, can we please keep the ad hominem attacks out of it?”

        I make no claim to be a scholar. It is true that I do not drone on and on with cut-and-paste references carefully edited and highlighted to bolster my position. But I have not “portrayed” Luther in any particular way. And you are right about not knowing what I have read. Most of it actually comes out of books, lots of them, not the internet.

        Given the paucity of your responses to my and others’ inquiries re RC excesses and abuses that actually led to the reformation (it did not come out of nowhere), I would have to agree that I would not enjoy an expanded dialog with you re Martin Luther. But that has more to do with your lack of good will than anything else.

        Christ’s peace be with you.

      • Stephen says:

        So, you wish me to stop ‘ad hominem’ attacks and then proceed to give them to me?
        First off, by defending my position, I didn’t realize I was attacking anyone.
        Secondly, I extend good will to those who show it me.

        Now, back to the topic at hand;
        Martin Luther decried the authority of the Pope and then claimed the same authority for himself against those who came after him.
        (Pot, meet kettle.)
        Luther was very clear regarding his own ability to correctly interpret Scripture and he also denied the concept of a visible Church. That is, until he formed and lead one of his own making, all the while defending his right to proclaim himself as an authority set against that of the Church but also against other Protestants of the time.

  16. Cadog says:

    Indeed, there were “not nice” reform minded individuals — though I don’t think Luther led an army. Like most leaders, he did get more bold as he gained a following. But he and others were not unique in the “not nice” characterization, as I will point out using your source (Will Durant’s History of Civilization, Vol. VI, p. 169), in full context. At the BEGINNING of the sentence you quote, he says:

    “Inflated with success, Zizka’s Puritans now adopted from their opponents the idea that religious dissent should be supressed by force; they passed up and down Bohemia …”

    Viewed against the vast and complex backdrop of the cultural, political, and economic realities of that time, I don’t think the criticisms of the reformers hold up so well, even if you disagree with them on doctrinal grounds which I of course expect you would, else you would not be RC. In other words, excesses and abuses resided on both sides of the conflict, aptly described by Durant as a “revolution.” As another of many examples — the “Jewish Quarters” of numerous Spanish cities (such as Toledo and Seville) have been long empty of Jews — because of the horrible pogroms conducted by the Catholic monarchs just decades before Luther’s time.

    The liberal drift in many churches is very sad. Conservative/traditional Anglicans very much lament what is happening in TEC. Some, like Fr. Jonathan (and myself) have remained; some have placed themselves under the authority of other, safer Anglican bishops (I am referring to the Anglican Church of North America, arguably NOT a “new church” since they have aligned with recognized other Anglican leadership who are themselves in good standing in the Communion, and Canterbury doesn’t quite know what to do about it). In either case, such Anglicans are much closer to your argument to not just go out and “start a new church” because of even the sharpest of differences. And, as I believe Fr. J has also pointed out elsewhere — there will always be apostasy and heresy in the church.

    Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of my remarks, which are admittedly getting a bit afield of the narrower scope of Jonathan’s post.

    • Yes, I do agree that it is easier to keep a church together with Bishops, rather than newer churches that go out and start everything on their own.

      But, even the older churches were started over doctrine to begin with is my point.

      Yes, there will be heresy and apostasy, but Jesus said it would not succeed in destroying the church.

      • A Modest Proposal says:

        “learningtotrustgod”,

        I value your perspectives as a Roman Catholic and am curious as to what you think are the “main” (I’m sure there are a laudry list) points of doctrine that separate 1) Anglicans and 2) Orthodox from Rome?

        The main doctrinal points I can think of are:
        1) papal supremacy
        2) papal infallibility
        3) immaculate conception as dogma
        4) Filioque (for Orthodox)
        5) Purgatory (although the new Catechism has altered the objectionable Middle Age doctrine)

        In Christ,
        AMP

      • Cadog says:

        I don’t disagree with any of these points. Especially the 3rd.

  17. Fr. Jonathan says:

    I think that once again it is time to bring this conversation to an end since it has become unmanageable. I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t really read much of the last couple dozen posts. I think that a comment policy is in the near future for this site.

  18. Pingback: Why I have a Problem with Catholics and Protestants on Authority | Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Comments are closed.