tisdag 28 februari 2017

Contra Sproul

Great Bishop of Geneva! : 1) Makarios · 2) Once Saved, Always Saved - True for Church, Not True for All Christians Individually · 3) Protestants - Not - Getting Around Matthew 28 Last Three Verses: John Calvin's Attempt · 4) Barnes NOT getting around Matthew 28:20 ... · 5) Since St Francis of Sales had Real Objections to Calvinism ... 6) Contra Sproul 7) Barnes on Jewish Tradition 8) If Constantine had Founded the Catholic Church ... 9) Salvation and Schrödinger's Cat Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : 10) ... on Apostolic Succession, both as to Reasons and Answering an Objection or Two (quora)

Sproul had very proud words to say about the Reformation. "The Reformation Rescued the Gospel"*, as more detailed in this passage:

Since the gospel stands at the heart of Christian faith, Luther and other Reformers regarded the debate over justification as involving an essential truth of Christianity, a doctrine no less essential than the Trinity or the dual natures of Christ. Without the gospel, the church falls. Without the gospel, the church is no longer the church.

The Reformers followed this logic:

  • 1) Justification by faith alone is essential to the gospel.
  • 2) The gospel is essential to Christianity and to salvation.
  • 3) The gospel is essential to a church’s being a true church.
  • 4) To reject justification by faith alone is to reject the gospel and to fall as a church.

Pushing Back the Dark

The Reformers concluded that when Rome rejected and condemned sola fide, it condemned itself and ceased to be a true church. ...

Apart from the fact that the statues alluded to in the beginning of the essay smell somewhat of the veneration of Saints, vehemently condemned by Calvin, John Knox, Huldrych Zwingli, Theodore Beza, and at least some others (though not totally Luther or Melanchthon, nor Cranmer), this is nearly a good logic.

It falls on exactly one statement:

1) Justification by faith alone is essential to the gospel.

The final statement, which is equally wrong, cannot be concluded without that first one.

Unless, of course, they could document that this had been the fully embraced doctrine of Catholicism before their own time, before their own conflict.

So far, the Bible part involves Luther faking a quote of St Paul about Abraham and even admitting it, while the Patristics part involves overrelying on only St Augustine and even that reading him selectively (Jesuits have amply refuted the Protestant reading of St Augustine), and the scholastic part is lacking.

When what's his name Caerularius condemned Azymes, he argued that Leavened Bread was not just the traditional discipline in Constantinople, but had been so in "the Ancient Rome" (Rome on Tiber, Rome usually so called**) as well.

He therefore concluded that Rome in using Azymes (Unleavened Bread, in the Greek if his time usually referred to as Unleavened, without adding "Bread", which in Greek is azymoi, Azymes) had left what was essential to the Gospel.

While some could shake their heads on this, thinking that the Last Supper at least was Jesus Christ celebrating "the Feast of Unleavened Bread", Caerularius insisted "the Gospel says 'bread' and we don't call Azymes that". While I believe he can be proven wrong, also in assuming that Christ used Leavened Bread, he at least had the local tradition going for him.

A local tradition which Rome has respected. It was not Rome, it was a Norman Lord, who had on Sicily unjustly persecuted the usage of Leavened Bread.

But the Reformers were not claiming to continue even a local tradition.

The monument is clear enough : at least after more discussions, their claim crystallised in the memory of the later Protestants as Post tenebras lux.

It is as if Caerularius had been born in a Latin family, celebrating with Azymes, never heard of anyone using Leavened Bread and even so imposing it as a Gospel necessity. To do him justice, that was not what he was doing.

To do him justice, he was claiming for Constantinople "Post Lucem Lux"***.

While both he and Reformers were claiming for Rome Post Lucem Tenebras*** - and while both he and Reformers could not quite find a clear age up to which Rome had either been celebrating with Leavened Bread or dogmatising that Justification is by Faith Alone.

At least for his own city, he was more coherent than they. Since, for Geneva or Wittenberg, for Sweden and Denmark, for England and Scotland, they were claiming, basically, with one mouth "Post Tenebras Lux", and they could not and cannot now agree on what hour the Tenebrae started in their own Roman birthplaces and missions as well as in Rome.

Why are Catholic Trads not in the same Position? Well, we can point back to Trent as a formally undisputed authority, and we can check that materially it does mean literal inerrantism in Church Father after Church Father making up the overall consensus required by Trent : at least on subjects such as Young Earth and Geocentrism.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Holy Roman Martyrs
Makar, Rufin, Just and Theophil

* The Reformation Rescued the Gospel
R.C. Sproul / January 23, 2017

** By contrast with Constantinople, nicknamed New Rome or Second Rome.

*** I had to correct my use of case after post, it is accusative, not ablative. This for those who saw the essay while it said "post luce" in two places.

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