fredag 21 mars 2014

Rejecting Pelagius and Calvin

1) Great Bishop of Geneva! : Rejecting Pelagius and Calvin, 2) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : In Agreement with CMI on Authorship of Genesis

I was just reading how on CMI* they were referring to Church Councils:

Bible scholars at the time of Pelagius recognized the contradiction between his teachings and Scripture. As a result, Pelagianism was condemned as heretical at many church councils including the Councils of Carthage (in 412, 416 and 418), the Council of Ephesus (431) and the Council of Orange (529).

While we are at those, let us not forget:

  • Council of Francfurt (794) dogmatising God predestines no one to evil, followed up by Trent (1545 - 63) when condemning Lutheranism and Calvinism.

  • II Council of Nice (or Nicea, 787) dogmatising that images of the God-Man Jesus Christ, of His Blessed Mother, images and relics of the Cross and so on may variously be honoured with direct or relative cult of:

    • Adoration (since Jesus is true God, we adore Him, as is also the case with the Cross which was united to Him for Our Salvation, which is also the case with what was previously bread and wine but after the Epiclesis is His Body and His Blood),
    • Hyperdulia (for His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary),
    • Dulia (for other saints).

    It was, at Francfurt, accepted only with reservations. The Pope condemned neither council.

There were, by the way, two councils of Orange. If the other one had been later than the one condemning Pelagianism and Semi-pelagianism in 529, I could understand how a Protestant could possibly think there was some kind of "apostasy to papism" in between. You know the kind of thing that Mormons posit just after the death of the Apostles, other Protestants variously at Constantine (2 centuries before the relevant council of Orange), at Pope St Leo I called the Great (precisely at Ephesus!) or at Pope St Gregory I called the Great, a little later than the relevant council of Orange. Also the kind of thing that according to Matthew 28:18-20 can never have happened at a universal scale.

But in fact the "other" Council of Orange is earlier, not later. The First Council of Orange was in 441.

The First Council of Orange (or First Synod of Orange) was held at Orange, then part of the Western Roman Empire, in 441.

The first council of Orange took place on 8 November 441 under the presidency of Bishop Hilary of Arles, with Bishop Eucherius of Lyons among those present. Seventeen bishops attended the meeting. Thirty canons (or judgements) were passed, dealing with unction, the Permission of penance, the right of asylum; recommending caution to bishops in the ordination of foreign clergy, the consecration of churches outside of their own jurisdictions, and other matters; imposing limitations on the administration of ecclesiastical rites to those who were in any way defective, either in body or mind; and emphasizing the duty of celibacy for those belonging to the clerical state, especially deacons and widows, with express reference to canon viii. of the Synod of Turin (AD 401). The exact interpretation of some of them (ii., iii., xvii.) is doubtful. Canon iv. is alleged to be in conflict with a decretal of Pope Siricius; and ii. and xviii. betray an inclination to resist the introduction of Roman customs. These canons were confirmed at the Synods of Arles about 443.

The canons of the first council are often cited in the contemporary debates over the ordination of women to the ministry.

So, the guys who assembled at Carthage, Ephesus, Orange, condemning Pelagianism, were they Bible Scholars in general or were they bishops as in Roman Catholic (or possibly Greek Orthodox) clergy?

But of course I do agree that BioLogos foundation is by denying the very existence of the Adam who was seventy two generations before Jesus Christ (genealogy of St Luke) is also denying the exact and correct consequences of Adam's sin.

Since however I consider both Pelagius and Calvin faulty in analysing those, I must conclude that BioLogos foundation risks reviving both Pelagian and Calvinist errors.

I saw, on another article of CMI**, Dr Jonathan Sarfati make a very good and Thomistic pronounce- ment about the Eutyphro dilemma. He said that the expressed will of God is good, since God is by His very nature goodness, and uncapable of ordering evil. I am not sure, and it is at least reputed among Traditional Catholics agreeing with him, that John Calvin was not in agreement with us. And obviously this is one way in which a kind of Calvinism (or perhaps rather a certain school of Islam, if John Calvin would be innocent of the charge, I have not checked) could creep in through evolutionism. If "god" expresses himself with Evolution, and if ... well first of all we might not yet be sufficiently evolved to be attuned to the Natural Law (even while breaking it as sinners) if there is one, but ... if "good" also means "whatever the divine decrees", then we would have to take good as meaning "whatever Evolution decrees". And since biologic evolution is not the only sense of the word, since Human Morals are supposed to be a product of Evolution, at least indirectly so through a reasoning process which higher evolved men have better capacities for than less evolved apes, well, I suppose you can guess what BioLogos might be doing (or arguing) at the next turn. Or perhaps is already doing so.

Meanwhile, as a colleague of CMI, except I am not clergy and do not pretend at "ministries" outside or independent of clergy, I am a writer, but as a fellow creationist, though often less informed [individually] than they are [taken] together on scientific subjects of great note, I say as they did when citing a reader:*

As one supporter said, “You keep making the bullets and we’ll keep firing them.” It will take effort from truth-loving Christians everywhere to stand up and accurately and patiently, with humility, refute error.

However, they were wrong to cite Thomas Bradwardine:

However, Pelagianism continued to influence the Church after Augustine and even saw a ‘revival’ through the influential lectures of William of Ockham at Oxford University in the early 14th century. As before, God raised up scholars and teachers to stand against error and teach truth. Thomas Bradwardine was a voice for truth responding to Ockham’s Pelagian views at Oxford.

He was, like they, a great genius in Natural Philosophy or what is today known as Natural Science. He has however not been canonised.

Chaucer in The Nun's Priest's Tale (line 476) ranks Bradwardine with Augustine and Boethius. His great theological work, to modern eyes, is a treatise against the Pelagians, entitled De causa Dei contra Pelagium et de virtute causarum. Bradwardine's major treatise argued that space was an infinite void in which God could have created other worlds, which he would rule as he ruled this one. The "causes of virtue" include the influences of the planets, not as predestining a human career, but influencing a subject's essential nature. This astrophysical treatise was not published until it was edited by Sir Henry Savile and printed in London, 1618; its circulation in manuscript was very limited. The implications of the infinite void were revolutionary; to have pursued them would have threatened the singular relationship of man and this natural world to God (Cantor 2001); in it he treated theology mathematically. He wrote also De Geometria speculativa (printed at Paris, 1530); De Arithmetica practica (printed at Paris, 1502); De proportionibus velocitatum in motibus (1328) (printed at Paris, 1495; Venice, 1505); De Quadratura Circuli (Paris, 1495); and an Ars Memorative, Sloane manuscripts. No. 3974 in the British Museum—earning from the Pope the title of the Profound Doctor. Another text, De Continuo is more tenuously credited to him and thought to be written sometime between 1328 and 1325.

Of course I agree that "God could have created other worlds, which he would rule as he ruled this one." I do not agree that space is an infinite void in which God could have done so. But he promoted a kind of Calvinism, and this also in Astrological terms, which I am happy did not sully an episcopal see, but that rather he died of the plague. The fact that he was confirmed as bishop by a Pope seems to indicate either that he was as yet incomprehensible in some of his implications or that there was a trough of Papal Orthodoxy. Since looking up Clement VI, I think rather the former.

Clement VI issued the Bull Unigenitus Dei filius on 27 January 1343 to justify the power of the pope and the use of indulgences. This document would later be used in the defence of indulgences after Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses to a church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517.

Clement VI reigned during the period of the Black Death. This pandemic swept through Europe (as well as Asia and the Middle East) between 1347 and 1350 and is believed to have killed between a third and two-thirds of Europe's population. During the plague, Clement sought the insight of astronomers for explanation. Johannes de Muris was among the team "of three who drew up a treatise explaining the plague of 1348 by the conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars in 1341" Clement VI's physicians advised him that surrounding himself with torches would block the plague. However, he soon became skeptical of this recommendation and stayed in Avignon supervising sick care, burials, and the pastoral care of the dying. He never contracted the disease, even though there was so much death around him that the cities ran out of ground for cemeteries, and he had to consecrate the entire Rhone River so bodies could be thrown into it and considered to be buried in holy ground. One of his physicians, Gui de Chauliac, later wrote the Chirurgia magna.

Popular opinion blamed the Jews for the plague, and pogroms erupted throughout Europe. Clement issued two papal bulls in 1348 (6 July and 26 September) which condemned the violence and said those who blamed the plague on the Jews had been "seduced by that liar, the Devil." He urged clergy to take action to protect Jews as he had done.

Clement continued the struggle of his predecessors with Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV. He excommunicated him after protracted negotiations on 13 April 1346 and directed the election of Charles IV, who received general recognition after the death of Louis in October 1347, ending the schism which had long divided Germany. Clement proclaimed a crusade in 1343, but nothing was accomplished beyond a naval attack on Smyrna on 29 October 1344. He also had a role in the Hungarian invasion of the Kingdom of Naples, namely a papal fief; the contest between Louis I of Hungary and Joan I of Naples, accused to have ordered the assassination of the former's brother, was ended in 1352 by a trial held in Avignon, by which she was acquitted from any charge. Among the other benefits, Clement took advantage of the situation to obtain by her the rights over the city of Avignon.

The man who ordained Bradwardine as bishop issued an Indulgence and excommunicated an Emperor. Hmmm ... would Fangrad* perhaps consider it a fluke that Bradwardine "defended truth"?

I have elsewhere talked about the traditional early Christian indulgenced actions for the dead. And excommunicating an Emperor had been done by St Ambrose - one generation of Christians before Sts Augustine and Jerome.

I cannot see how someone can accept evidence from Tradition against Pelagianism from Bradwardine without accepting evidence from Tradition against Calvinism in certain other contexts from Clement VI. I cannot see how one can accept evidence from Second Council of Orange against Calvinism without accepting evidence from First Council of Orange against Presbyteranism. I cannot see how one can accept evidence from St Augustine against Pelagianism without accepting evidence from St Ambrose that even an Emperor can be excommunicated, can be judged by the Church if he is at all a Christian. And so an as also previously noted that if one accepts evidence from II Orange 529 against Pelagianism, one accepts evidence from Francfurt 794 against Calvinism, and from II Nice and Francfurt against Iconoclasm. And from Trent summing this up.

I am as much a Creationist as Fangrad.* I think he would be a more logical one if he were as much a Catholic as I.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Bennet of Monte Cassino


* CMI : BioLogos, theistic evolution and the Pelagian heresy Debating an historical Adam and the destruction of the Gospel
by Richard Fangrad
Published: 22 March 2014

** What is ‘good’? (Answering the Euthyphro Dilemma) Published: 5 May 2007

Wiki references given in text by links. For the part about Pope Clement VI, four references, of which first two same pages, same work, are:

  • Diana Wood, Clement VI: The Pontificate and Ideas of an Avignon Pope (Cambridge University Press, 1989), 32-33.
  • Andrew Tomasello, Music and Ritual at the Papal Court of Avignon 1309–1403, 15.
  • Eamon Duffy, Saints & Sinners, a History of the Popes, 2nd edition, 167.

Inga kommentarer:

Skicka en kommentar