An Answer to Douglas’s Last Post

This may not make sense to anyone that has not seen how Douglas took the conversation from his last post from here to his own site. If I didn’t know better, I would think that he was simply using our website to promote his own and to carry on conversation within his own echo chamber. If anyone is interested in what he has written to my remarks at his website then feel free to browse his last 2 posts.

So this is my response to his last post – my other replies are inserted into his last 2 posts.

Authority of Scripture

Who told us what is Scripture and what is now the Bible? The Church told us or we could not have known this on our own. The New Testament Books were written after the death of Christ and therefore have not received His Imprimatur. It is the Church that declared these books to be worthy of the title which we now use; The Word of God. Either the Church is right about this and everything else that it declares (by the Grace of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit) or the Church is wrong. And if wrong about this, then where does one find any Scripture or Christian Faith? Is there a church somewhere that still abides only by the spoken word as it once survived in the early centuries? And how did that Church operate without the “Word of God” to thumb through. Besides, very few people on this planet were capable of reading anyway. No, it seems that the Scriptures are used everywhere . . . though adulterated by some. So at least the Church got something right . . . and without scripture to fall back on.

Example: Let us say that you know nothing of history but you believe rationally that something is higher than yourself and therefore in a Creator God. You go to a library to determine what is likely for belief. In this library there is a room that contains all the books that the Church examined for inclusion into the New Testament, the Koran and the writings of Buddhism, or any other religion you want to include.

By your own reading, you are trying to tell me that the books, which you say are the Word of God will be obvious, somehow. How? Do they glow in the dark? It took an authority to declare them as such which was the Church. Otherwise you would not have a Bible. 

If that Church is still extant without substantial change (only growth in explanation etc.) then the words might prove themselves especially in light of historical facts foretold in the text. But as an individual without such authority you cannot nor could anyone else identify these texts. Some may well be and others may well not be. You have nothing to base it on because Holy Scripture has yet to have been codified into a complete Canon of Scripture. The Church did that, not some individual.

Now I assume that you believe in the Trinity. Please show it to me in Scripture. I also assume you think that Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity with both a human and a divine nature and a human and divine soul? Who told you this? It is nowhere to be found in the Bible. How did we arrive at such things without an authority to answer such questions?

A (Corporate) Church founded on/with the headship of Peter:

You need to distinguish first between the corporate and the supernatural nature of the Church. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ or the Bridegroom of Christ in ordinary parlance according to the Scriptures themselves. The supernatural head is obviously Christ. It can be no other. But did He leave us a Church without a visible head (a headless monstrosity)? This is why Peter was chosen. For he had become humble and obedient to Christ which is most apparent when Christ asks him if he loves him three times. And Christ’s words to him were to “feed my sheep, feed my sheep and feed my lambs” which to me says that Peter is in charge of that task. I doubt Jesus had some sheep and wanted Peter to feed them some grass and hay though that would be an ordinary understanding of language? However, among most people we are certain of its meanings in the context of his discourse of the sheep, the shepherds etc. Then it is quite clear. Why also, when predicting the 3-fold denial of Peter did Christ say, when “thou” turnest, strengthen your brothers? The new English word can confuse but in the old English it is certain as it is in Greek and Latin. Christ is saying “you (Peter)” not “y’all” like we say in the South. 

So it is nice to say that God is the ultimate authority of scripture but God is not visually here with us to tell us the answers to many things and has not been for 2,000 years. So God did not tell us about the Trinity and the other beliefs we all hold. Men did . . . but with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit given to the Church at Pentecost. In that sense, yes, God is the ultimate Authority and He speaks through His Church. A mouthpiece so to speak.

There is an absolute necessity for a Church with Authority which is directed by God (by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit). First, there are differing manuscripts. Second, we have many translations. Third, we have many problems in interpretations and in understanding colloquialisms from the times that the books were written. Is each person on their own and will they all come to the same understanding without an authority? The Bible cannot adjudicate in these matters about itself. It does not say that it is Scripture and it does not interpret itself. Men do that as we have always done. To cloak oneself in the self-righteousness of believing  that such a charism has been given to you as an individual and therefore we all can understand the many mysteries which men have studied for many centuries, seems to simply be a large dose of hubris not the humble origins of what you assert (the plain understanding . . . which is not always in the texts). For you are not submitting yourself to God when you reject His Church which gave you the Bible. You deny that the Church is the pillar and ground of Truth. Do you not think that this same Church knows not how to read Scripture? I find that rather odd.

Under your system of examination of Scripture every man and every soul that soaks itself in the Scriptures will come to the same understanding; or they will each be a church unto themselves. For only the subjective view will be valid. There is no objectivity in this idea and the divisions of Christian thought around the world are in the many thousands. We only share, it seems to me, the very basic understanding that Christ is the Savior and that He is God. Outside of that there is great differences between what each Christian sect might put forth as truth. And, God in His Wisdom has not left us as orphans to act as such. He left us a visible Authority to decide on all matters of Faith and Morals. Thanks be to God.

Did Christ create a subjective Church and Faith to be understood by our own lights or did He give us an objective Authority that will lead all men together as His flock? Otherwise we are left orphaned and we are the “Peter’s” of our subjective understanding of Scripture and Christianity itself. It is logically unworkable.

12 thoughts on “An Answer to Douglas’s Last Post

  1. I’m going to write my comments that were deleted off @armourofchrist site after he gave a reply to Scoop. I thought it important to show the scriptural understanding for the keys of the kingdom and the imagery being related to the Davidic Kingdom’s office Key Holder and it’s authority within that kingdom.

    I am sorry that my points were censored when I was told that there would be comments on Holy Scripture which I cited for reference and understanding. Furthermore, it’s important to understand the Greek casing system of Petra being in the Dative case doesn’t give a plain reading of Jesus referring to himself in that particular passage in its most literal sense. There must be care taken when making an argument in translation.

    I was hoping we could discuss these points. However, sadly, I would caution against the sin of Christian charity by generalizing any authors work here, straw man, and not let folks clarify their actual words.

    It wounds me that this has been the result of inviting a writer out of trust to this blog to give voice to their tradition. I hope we can rectify the situation because I’ve known many who would try to make a stronger case for their positions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I don’t know how my last comment there would not go through. Seems like you have to log in every time you make a comment and at one point in the process it said that I had duplicated a comment. But when I went to look to see if it was there; lo and behold, it was not. So I have no idea how his site works. But regardless, the point of this new site was to carry on conversations with people outside of our own echo chambers so that we can have more participation and hopefully a better understanding of how we view our differences.

      Like

    2. Gentleman. I rarely comment in threads. I used to partake but every time it seems to end in days spent conversing without any help to anyone. In my wisdom I allow the freedom to let others believe what they like and never try to hammer them down or to one up them. Please, respect that I will rarely comment.

      Scoop, I am sorry if you felt that I was only promoting my site. I tried to find a way to have a conversation where the thread gets too long, information gets lost, or where too much time is spent replying on month old posts instead of producing new ones. I take time and care into my responses, and like the ones over the weekend, I spent the entire day re working and editing as to put my best effort and care into each post. If that much care goes into a comment why not allow it to be a post anyways? If you would like to personally communicate we can do so outside the public forum.

      As for this post; how does the church decide what is the Word of God? What special power or revelation is given to them that only they are allowed to determine what religion is correct? This is my point.. you have taken the view that the holy spirit is absent from the word or that God is incapable of converting from his word. Making his Word the same as any secularized writings. As you have stated in this post. Theology cannot be discussed with someone who thinks Scripture is second and the church is first.

      Philip. I didn’t delete your comments they were automatically held for moderation. I was thinking of using those in posts as well but I have been busy this morning and haven’t given it much thought.

      I am unsure as to why the both of you have chosen to jump to conclusions so quickly. If allowed I will continue to write on your blog however I rarely comment and that should be my choice and also I will post Confessionally Lutheran content. I will refrain from posting based on your comments unless specifically told that you allow to do so.

      In the future I would like everyone to be in line with the eighth commandment, that our neighbors be allowed to keep their good name and to always explain everything about each other in the nicest way. It is the Christian way.

      Thank you for your time and may God’s blessings rest on you.

      Like

      1. I think it’s a misunderstanding that we think the Church first and Scripture second. In fact, a traditional Bishop Athanasius Schneider has written recently that theology begins with Holy Scripture.

        Our position is that God reveals in a manner not restricted by Holy Scripture. In fact, Scripture says as much through St. Paul.

        My comments posted on my feed and then we’re removed this morning. I found it odd when you posted replies to Scoop away from authors of this blog. Perhaps, I could see them and later were gone. I don’t know.

        Anyway, the point of our discussions is to understand each other traditions better.

        Like

      2. I have no idea as to what you were able to see or not. All comments on my blog are held for moderation.

        This thread could go on and on and my responses would be slow as I want to be as kind as I can. It is easy to reply that someone who claims to get the Holy Spirit apart from scripture is an Enthusiast or Mystic.. yet what care is given to such a response? Where would the individual feel cared for, heard, and not felt like they were being argumentative? Much care, for me anyways, takes time when it comes to the written word. In our day we read things with the slant of snideness. I also like to take time to find such passages and formulate thoughts that are cohesive with the question. Typing on a phone app is hard for these things. I like to sit down with my Bible, resources, and computer and take time to write, think, and pray. I cannot do this if I am rushed to spit out a quick rebuttal. I won’t partake in that type of forum because it is not my style. Comments left for me are handled with care and love and I treat my responses in the same way. If this is not your style then that is fine.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Douglas, even though you have explained how you like to avoid threads and would rather write posts, why is it harder to write your posts here rather than there? We want you here so that we can make our assertions, differences known and to answer the same from your point of view. This back and forth between sites is unworkable in my estimation and it seems like the same attention could be had if you did it here rather than at your home site. I do appreciate your thoughtful responses and carefulness as opposed by my comments which are dinner table conversation, but there is value in both.

        Like

      4. I see your point. Yet, as I stated above, if I take a whole day to compile a response to one comment. How many days for 15-20?

        That is a lot of time where I am not posting anything new. I thought this was a good compromise. If not, then feel free to comment between yourselves as my comments would either take too much time and care, or would be seen as argumentative.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I for one do not mind at all a well made argument. Argumentative is, of course, opposing views of something two people feel very strongly about. It is not unChristian to enter into them. What is unChristian is when those who are argumentative seem to aim their objection to the person rather than to their argument or ideas. We tolerate the person with the opposing view but we are intolerant of what we might consider to be error. That has occurred throughout our 2000 year old history.

        Like

      6. What I mean is that the whole world is able to see our conversation. I could, as stated above, say that those who claim to have the Spirit apart from the Word are mystics and toss in a quote… However that’s not fair to you or to any reader that watches.

        I would much rather take the time to formulate the Lutheran position from scripture, with added theological texts, and form this response in the kindest way. There might even be scripture that the opposing side rips from context, that needs to be fixed. This, for me takes time,. And it is rarely one author that comments but I might have 10 responses in an hour.. how long will that take me? For me, The forum is impersonal and theological questions can be best over coffee in person, or if done in public, answered with care and restricted to posts. This is a good boundary to have because the conversation will never end.

        Much like on the posts over the weekend… You re state that the church is necessary for they tell us what the Bible is and what the Trinity is.. and I re state that they only got that information from holy scripture, thus scripture is above church.. and around.. and around.. we go. I responded, and my answer is the same, you responded and your answer is the same. These short responses this morning has already taken 2 hours of my day and all I have done is to restate what I have said in my first comment. To break free from a moment.. If you would like me to write in your site or mine my thoughts on a subject send me an email. My email is on the contact page of my site. Otherwise if I repsond to a comment at all it will be short and if I think it is edifying. God’s peace and blessings to you.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I haven’t changed my mind. I rather enjoy helping others with Theology and the Gospel, I do not think I can give my best effort in this spending the day in forums and threads. I also, do not want to cause confusion with replying to comments on my site, so going forward if anyone would like my in depth thoughts I will do so in a post if someone wants me to. Otherwise please do not mistake my silence or short responses as harsh, I have a set amount of time to work so that my vocation of husband and father is not interrupted and I cannot run a blog if I spend all my time in the comment sections.

        Like

      8. The Church has assured us that the Holy Spirit (not Himself but by His Inspiration) guided the authors to the Truth in their writings. The writings did not simply manifest themselves from some Holy strongbox.

        The Church and Her teachings (of which the Trinity as stated before are from Her Teaching) and traditions are guided by Christ or they are useless. Forget Sunday as the day of worship, forget the Trinity, forget a Canon of Scripture. They were all products of the Church. Were they not? And as such, Christ’s guarantee concerning the Holy Spirit (the Paraclete) have been realized as have been His safeguard that the Gates of Hell will not prevail.

        We are not saying that Scripture is anything other than what you have said it is. But we are saying that Church is necessary to the working out of God’s Will on earth without it. Who settles disputes . . . who says which books should be included in the Bible etc.? It seems obvious. It is hardly useful to think of a hierarchy of what comes from God: the Church or Scripture. They operate together and are both working together to do what the other cannot do. The Church cannot make up its own Gospels and revelations, but the Scriptures cannot tell us which books are Divinely inspired and which are not. It cannot answer the theological questions that confronted Christians in the first centuries. And somebody needs to know which Traditions are to be preserved. They each have a role. In fact the Church preserves Sacred Scripture and its interpretations so that it might never be lost to future generations.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s