Friday, January 25, 2008

RC Apologist vows to extirpate

Just when we were about to leave the subject of Protestantism, I encounter this interesting comment from RC Apologist Dr. Art Sippo. I got this from Beggars All Reformation here. A commenter asked for the actual source link and it is till about to be provided.

Here is a portion of what Dr. Sippo said...

"As a Catholic Apologist my goal is to extirpate heresy from the face of the Earth. That means that all Protestantism must go. Period."

"Make no mistake about it. Protestantism is false religion. IMHO it is little better than Mormonism in that regard."

"But the legitimacy of all Protestant religions is threatened by the continued existence of Catholicism. That is why so many Protestants are anti-Catholic bigots including the pro-Nazi Mr. Swan."

"Protestantism is an abomination. It has no right to exist. No one in its clutches can command parity with the humblest practicing Catholic. You have no valid ministers, few if any valid sacraments, false teachings on all subjects especially morals, and yet you have the effrontery to demand parity with the faithful of God own Church.Your people left cursing us and calling us foul names: R o m a n i s t s, Papists, Whore of Babylon, idolaters, Anti-Christs, and worse..........(read more)

Thank goodness, at least some Lutherans are safe.


Past Elder said...

From what?

By your earlier expressed criterion, is he from the Sacred Congregation for the Faith? Has the Roman church appointed him to speak or or granted him a licence to teach in its name? Absent that he speaks for himself, and I certainly would not let such things define my self-understanding.

Rome has enough errors that are real without citing hysteria, and citing hysteria detracts from countering the errors that are real.

LPC said...


At least saved from his exptirpation, since some are not Prots(;-) (LOL).

Good point, I was half teasing as you know.

But a point came up. According to Vatican II, these RC Apologists do not have to smash "the separated brethren" to bits, I argued there that perhaps he was pre-Vatican II catechized.

Just an interesting thought, indeed if Vatican II says "separated brethren" are ok, so why the need for this militant RC apologetics.

A case of the left hand taking away what the right hand gave?


Past Elder said...

Well, I was catechised pre Vatican II, and I find these ravings typical of the crudest ignorance grossly misunderstanding that which it claims to uphold.

If one wants a self-appointed apologist as a source for RC thinking, I suggest Dave Armstrong's blog. He presents a forceful, clear and accurate presentation of the Catholic Church and its faith.

If you are content with those who do not self-appoint themselves apologists for, or successors to, anything, but simply speak as Catholic faithful, I suggest you will also find accurate and articulate presentations of the Catholic Church and its faith on the blog of your crosstown counterpart Herr Schuetz, and most likely (I say most likely because I have not visited his blog but only read his comments on other blogs) on the blog of your interoffice counterpart Jeff, and also on the comments on this and other blogs by Christine, who apparently has not started her own blog.

Yes, I know, I quite disagree with these three. However, I do not disagree that what they say the Catholic Church teaches is what the Catholic Church teaches. It is. That is the problem -- what the Catholic Church teaches is a radical, to borrow a phrase dear to Herr Schuetz, hermeneutic of discontinuity with what the Catholic Church taught prior to Vatican II. And, btw, the clearest and most forceful presentation I have found of an argument that my position on that is full of beans you may find on Dave's (Armstrong, not Schuetz) blog, and I look forward to reclining with him at the Heavenly Banquet (it's a seder, you know, one reclines, not sits, holy moly, will this set off a round of discussion about crypto-Jews! -- just having a little Nietzschean fun fellas, dancing, you know.)

Those differences are quite irrelevant to the present discussion. They do present what the Catholic Church (now) does teach.

I'm glad you were teasing at least in part. Otherwise, I'd have to plead with you, as a fellow practitioner of the mathematical disciplines, a fellow geek, and if I understand right, soon a fellow doctor of philosophy, the pure academic research degree as distinct from all these non research "doctors" that litter the hollowed grove, that we simply do not base ourselves on uncited references by people of unknown credentials!

What, more dancing? God bless me, it's a waltz, yes, Der Rosenkavalier ich denke! Hoch!

Past Elder said...

Hallowed. Bleeding hallowed. Must have been thinking hollow having just mentioned non research "doctors". Ah, the band struck up again. Put a thaler in the cup! (How we entertainers love to entertain -- Der Dichter spricht!)

LPC said...


They do present what the Catholic Church (now) does teach

My compadre Jeff and Schuetz present an evangelical without being Evangelical apologetics pro RC, it is more nuanced and more sophisticated.

They present a gentler, kinder, version of Trent...would that be accurate?

It seems that Vatican II has Reformed and all that fuzz Reformation folk are still into are now settled. So I am led to think.

I do not believe it though because my experience in PI is that the Catholicism there as practiced is still medieval, or pre-Vatican II.

You have to translate the German ;-)

And I know you are dancing ;-)


Past Elder said...

I suspect they would say Vatican II represents the same faith as Trent, but no longer fuelled by the heat of the then rawly new Reformation so not prone to over-reaction born of the heat of the age. But perhaps Christine will appear and offer a better answer.

The German means The Poet Speaks, though missing the rhyme like quality it has in German. That is also the title of one of the pieces in a suite for piano by Robert Schumann called Kinderscenen, Scenes from Childhood. Another of them, Traumerei or Reverie, was a favourite encore of the great Vladimir Horowitz -- one of those pieces that any decent piano student can play passably well, but it takes a towering genius like Horowitz to play really well. You could hear a pin drop on a carpet at the end of his performance of it, absolute perfection, the entire reverie of the mind laid out in tone, heard as if for the first time even if one had known and played it for years, the mind not wanting to let go of the moment and return to the everyday tasks, such as applauding after a performance.

My real idol though -- Victor Borge. I have a photo of him signed twice, one when I was a kid and taken to a concert of his by my dad, and thirty some years later at the Orpheum here in Omaha.

My first pastor once said my growing up in Minnesota was God preparing me to be Lutheran, so I could lapse into German when ranting like the first American Lutherans. (He was German descended from Wisconsin WELS)

At a show put on by alumni for freshman orientation at the Abbey university, one guy joked he didn't see why Catholics and Lutherans ever though they were that far apart, as the first thing either one of them does when they land somewhere is set up a brewery!

This being 1968, they also joked why not let the monks leave and get married, then they'll find out what poverty, chastity and obedience (the vows) are REALLY all about!

More anecdotes for Australia Day!

Spaeter! (Later!)

Jeff Tan said...

Hmmm.. I'd have to say that that quote sounds like it comes from someone off his rockers. I've never heard of Dr. Sippo until now. What little googling I did just now only netted an exchange between himself and Sungenis. In that exchange, it appears that Dr. Sippo was defending Dr. Scott Hahn whom Sungenis accuses of being too Protestant. I only gave it cursory reading though, and the full picture does not appear in the article.

In any case, Dr. Sippo does not sound like a very good apologist if this quote is any basis.

I have to point out, however, that gentler apologists are not necessarily post-Vatican II. There is a lot more going for dialogue, however, since we're beginning to understand terminologies better. It is also probably true that the way the hierarchy looks at Protestants today is vastly different from the way they looked at Reformers in the 16th century, precisely since the latter were Catholic clergymen or theologians previously.

On another note, I have encountered a Calvinist in the past who uses those "foul names" for Catholics and the Catholic Church. I can only say that I felt horribly out of depth, as I have never in my life been called a liar, a wicked man, and a false teacher -- until I encountered this Calvinist on his blog. It was quite upsetting. I hope I shall never be so upset as to fall off the edge and rant and rave as in that quote from Dr. Sippo! :-P And I hope you won't mind my praying that this will turn out not to be the words of a Catholic apologist after all -- they betray a rather embarrassing mindset!

LPC said...


I heard one time a guy said, he used to be happy until he got married. But then again, happiness has nothing to do with being married, no?


There care fanatics on both sides of the fence. Calvinists, Lutherans and RCs being all sinners nevertheless are prone to lunacy.

I do not take much notice of Sippo and his likes, primarily as I said, any discussion are all un-official with any RC Apologist - you included (LOL). On a confessing Protestant part, you can rest assured to a degree that their confessional statements are there made in public for you to investigate and study. Any explanation or opinions other than what is written in those documents are pious opinions and within the range of their labels.

I must say though that the confessional statements of Calvinists are varied and heterogenous. In Lutheran Protestantism, it is all in the book -- BoC has stated more with elaborations, my example there would be say 3rd Use of the Law or Law/Gosple which are not elaborated in Calvinistic documents, hence their fluidity because of this.

You are quite right though that the heat of the 16th century should not be mimicked today. That is the reason why I do not always follow Luther's statements on Table Talk or in Luther's Works, contra the Calvinists and Zwinglians.

If I did, I would have to say nasty things about the Jews, and Germans too or also pray to Mary.

He should be treated like any Church Father, BTW.


Past Elder said...

I remember the time a Reformed tradition minister told me Catholic believe in a Trinity of God, the pope, and Mary. A Dr Sippo from the other side of the fence! There's plenty of them, and they do complicate discussion.

Jeff is on to something when he says Protestants (here accepting the term as a general reference to non Roman Christians!) at the time of the Reformation were at one time Roman, whereas now they aren't. It is hard for us to capture the idea that at that time this was all new, and there was no doubt a concern for jurisdiction both in people and property. We forget it was not a matter of simply setting up another church where one would follow what one thinks right -- like I pass by the RC parish I am "supposed" to belong to on my way to the LCMS one I do belong to -- but a matter of how Father So and So behaves in the only parish there is going to be -- like if it were over what happens in the RC parish period and there isn't going to be a Lutheran one down the street.

What also complicates the discussion for me is that in my belief the Catholic Church no longer exists, or, what exists as the Catholic Church now is a stinking vile impostor of the real thing, a murderer going about in its victims clothes. I came to that position twenty some years before I was Lutheran. So I reject the RCC twice over, on two distinct grounds, on Roman Catholic grounds, and now also on Lutheran grounds. Which makes this "swimming the Tiber" thing particularly interesting to me -- those who depart for EO get EO, but those who swim the Tiber do not get RC.

I would join the SSP myself except I don't think I could in good faith make the commitment about praying the Office, however, it would be hard for me to see that as crypto-papism as my view of those who do swim the Tiber is that they have been duped twice over, once by thinking the RCC really is, at least now, the catholic church of which the BOC speaks, and once by thinking the RCC now is the RCC at all!

Of course I am speaking of the institution, not individual Catholics.

And, Brother Lito, you are quite right that we are not based on the writings of Martin Luther, but the BOC, most of which was not written by Luther. Which is not to proclaim his writings as useless, just not confessional documents, much like any other "church father".

BTW, if you do ever find out, I'd be interested in this "Dr Sippo's" credentials -- both in the sense of on what grounds does he speak for the RCC church (I'm guessing none from the RCC church itself) and on what grounds is he "Doctor" (doctor of what, and from where).

LPC said...

Wow P.E.

Quite a bombshell you just dropped there.

I am glad you do not have to be compelled to join another movement within your Synod. I am skeptical with such "holy orders", because from what I read, most who gets into these eventually leave Wittenberg. Some of them were prominent ones.

As to the SSP, I am even skeptical towards their 'ideal' 'reunion' talk, why? Because I know the LCMS have official representatives for RC-Lutheran discussion. I see no reason to repeat, unless the SSP wants to be a lobby group within LCMS. This is why I like to speak of sleeper cells (LOL). You will understand, a pastor friend here a long time ago suggested I write about RC because of my experience from the ground. I have not given his suggestion much airing, I hope to.

We are to test ourselves if we are in the faith.

I do not believe you are toying with 'poping' I do not believe you are one of the cryptos, the only thing is that with the negativism with Evangelia/Protestatism as I read in Fr. Bollywood's would be a rallying point with them. Since you both share the same allergic reaction to Protestantism, that can be a point of unity which is a subtle net for other in roads of ideas to come in.

Marquart spoke of Von Shenck who was into these Holy Orders, Marquart said that Von Schenk finally left, because before long the group was in to Textra, rather than the Text. The pre-occupation was no longer on the Text of Scripture but to the additions on top of Scripture - vestments, incense, rituals, practices of piety over what Scripture taught. Well what is the RCC but additions? They added the Pope, they added Purgatory, added Prayer to Mary etc etc etc.

Ideas do have consequences that is why Paul says to Timothy -- pay attention to your doctrine, i.e. do not be uncritical towards it. We can not be uncritical specially of ourselves.

Yes indeed, we need to distinguish the individuals from their institutions, and the same is true with Calvinist/Zwinglian Prots. Some are parroting no other teaching they have learned except from their sloppy theologian pastors, not their fault so I am sometimes convicted --I did not get it right the first time too -- I was not born with truth already in my hands. I had to be taught it and still as Paul said, not counting as we have attained, but we lean forward for the upward call of Christ Jesus our Lord. We are saints in work in progress.

Now the Dr, of Mr. Sippo I understand is from Medicine, I have to check again, I think he was in the Army as a physician.


Past Elder said...

I think there is far greater danger of swimming the Tiber from the adaptations of the novus ordo of Vatican II than from, as I would see it, following the AC to retain the usual customs insofar as possible.

I don't know what service books the LCA uses, so I have no concrete idea how this translates to Australia, however my scant knowledge would indicate there too the new calendar, lectionary and revised mass of Vatican II has been adopted and adapted.

To the casual observer -- for example a person out church shopping, someone to whom the faith could be carried -- there would be little difference between my LCMS parish and the RC one down the street I would belong to if I bought their load of crap, largely because the calendar, lectionary and service reflect the 1970 novus ordo rather than what is now called the "historic" liturgy of the church.

Of course, one could say the "historic" liturgy itself looks RC. Many do. No doubt why it has been downplayed in some circles for Protestant styles of worship since the first days of Lutheranism here. But, it is an entirely different thing to catechise about the difference between catholic and Catholic than to explain why we, nearly 500 years on in the Reformation, should still follow Rome's lead and/or fall in step with other churches doing that.

I do not see anything in the SSP even remotely resembling the Roman understanding of the Sacrament of Holy Orders by which any Lutheran pastor is a layman conducting an invalid Eucharist no matter how he dresses up.

And speaking of dressing up, the Whore of Babylon remains the Whore of Babylon even though her pimps have sent her out to walk the street in new clothes. She long ago ceased to be catholic, and now is not even Catholic -- speaking of adding things, adding a second fundamental lie to the first one our Lutheran fathers emerged from.

All the more reason and need for us to be what we are, catholic, and conduct ourselves accordingly.

LPC said...


Well we have a bit more fluidity here. Like I said we are a bit low church comparatively (but that is not a bad thing for me because I look for Law/Gospel each Sunday and I will say goodbye if it ain't there), at least that is how I observe by what I read and notice via the Internet compared to your LCMS.

However due to publication advances, I do go to LCMS web sites for resource and I suspect we may be following LCMS lead to which now you explain was the lead of Mother Church in the first place.

You know, this is the thing with Calvin. He was an admirable man, and frankly he can kick the butts of most Lutherans I know when it comes to scripture. However, Calvin had a way of fixing a thing which ain't broken! He deviated from Augsburg in trying to be more articulate like via media between Lutherans and Zwinglians.

Perhaps there is a lesson, then, if aint broke don't fix it, or you will be breaking something.

But I see your point why does Mother Church has to tell us to dance to their music?

LPC said...


On the dangers of swimming the Tiber because of novus ordo of Vatican II, can you explain further or point me perhaps as to why -- have you written about this in your blog.

You know when I was in radio broadcasting, my station did not like to do mix CHristian and Secular playing of music because they said these Cross-Over music can easily snare the kids to be secular. I recall now Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson both claiming Evangelical connections before but somehow now with broken marriages have weakened their credibility.

Could this be then cross-over liturgy?


Jeff Tan said...

Quite a mixed bag that I want to comment on, so here goes.

Concerning being an unofficial apologist, I definitely am (unofficial, that is).

Concerning the Catholic Church today being a completely different animal from the Catholic Church pre-Vatican II, and being yet again entirely different from the Catholic Church of, say, the Apostolic Age, I would agree with wide distinctions, but would disagree that the Catholic Church had, at any time, submitted to the gates of Hades. Of course we had our Borgias and horrible sinners running bishoprics. We had horrible catechists, too. But if Past Elder was happy with the Catholic Church of the Apostolic Age, as well as with pre-Vatican II (were you?), then I don't see how one could suddenly come to believe that there were no bishops nor a Magisterium after all.

On the other hand, perhaps I am confused, and in reality, you were not happy with the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church either, and have now realized that there was no visible Catholic Church to begin with, and the visible Catholic Church of the Apostolic Age was only there by luck, not by design. That, it seems to me, is the view of modern Evangelicals. To which I would point out John 17 and the epistles of St. Paul where he emphasized the body and unity.

But I must say that, being a post-Vatican II Catholic, I have not yet found such drastic and yawning chasms of incongruity between the Church as I know it now and the Church as I read from history, from the saints and from Scripture.

As to praying the Office, do you, by any chance, mean the Liturgy of the Hours? I can only say that it is a beautiful way to pray!

And finally, as for the Roman Catholic Church being entirely about additions, I must again protest (wink wink on the pun). They are called doctrinal developments, and it seems that venerable John Henry Newman had already covered that ground in one of his most well-known publications, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. If we are magnanimous enough to accept the development of the canon of Scripture, the doctrine of the Trinity, the hypostatic union of Christ's divine and human natures, then there is at least reasonable grounds to claim other developments, such as on the papacy and doctrines concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Past Elder said...

I haven't posted on it per se, though there are references to this phenomenon here and there.

In sum, it's like this: I think that because the Roman church is no longer Catholic, it begins to appear to some of us as now being, or having become again, catholic, when all that has happened is they are no longer Catholic.

And remain the Whore of Babylon throughout, headed by an office bearing the marks of Anti-Christ.

Cross over liturgy isn't a bad term, and leads to crossing over where it came from -- Rome, Willow Creek, or wherever.

I don't listen, speaking of cross overs, to Christian Contemporary Music, or CCM as it is called at least here. Two reasons. One is, if I want to listen to otherwise unemployable looking types running their mouths, or think that being able to strum a guitar also delivers one of wisdom and vision, I'd rather listen to the original than a Christian wannabe of it. The other is, with few exceptions, the music seems to be mostly about what I am feeling and doing, which is mistaken for Christian because what I am doing and feeling is about Jesus. Lots of talk about God and Jesus, focus on me.

One of our services is called the "contemporary" service. Unlike many places, this does not mean non liturgical. The same liturgy is used, but with CCM or "praise" type music. A good example is this song they sing a lot about lifting God's name on high, over and over until you get a kind of high about lifting his name on high.

The talk is about God, the point is about me. God's name IS on high, that's the message. It didn't get there because I lifted it there, and won't be any less on high if I don't lift it there. So the focus and the euphoria really isn't about God's name or it being on high at all, it's about me lifting. Works righteousness with hands in the air!

Hey, it's real early here, maybe I can catch Brother Swaggart's show! I'd love to sit in with that guy, old blues guy that I am. Ain't no piece of ground gonna keep this body down! Somebody say Amen! Betcha didn't think us red hymnal types said that! Hell, if I wasn't so old I go to sem just to be the first rip roaring Latin chanting pastor to hoop (a reference to the chanting style of some American Baptist and "evangelical" preaching, often identified with black preachers but actually found among whites and blacks both) a sermon!

Wow, Jeff just posted. I'll be back on that I suppose.

Past Elder said...

OK here we go. Man, I might miss Brother Swaggart, so I'll try to go against my nature and be brief.
Or at least dance, Nietzsche style.

Yes, I was quite happy with the pre-conciliar Roman church. As I watched the demolition of it, and the construction of the new Roman church, and was taught by some of the architects, it was manifestly clear that this was not at all what was before, by design. No one but the uninformed would think the church as it was right before Vatican II was in all parts and details just as it was when Peter lived, and the crux of the "traditionalist" argument is not that there was change, or even that the Tridentine church is immutable, but into what it changed. So at the time, I came to the conclusion that if this could happen then yes, the gates of hell had prevailed against the church, and therefore, since this had been his church, he was not the Christ and we must look for another. Whereupon I spent the next twenty some years as a hanger-on to Orthodox Judaism (pardon the redundancy). It was only after having married a Lutheran girl and reading the BOC that I began to see what had really happened, that both of the "Catholic Churches" were the result of apostacy, and that what was being presented in these pages was the catholic church. So, to adapt the expression so dear to the Tiber swimmers, on becoming Lutheran I finally became catholic for real and no longer had to lunge about in "Catholic" institutionalism of any age, deriving from the Roman Empire whose state religion it was rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

By praying the Office I mean praying the Divine Office, not the hatchet job done on it by Vatican II and promulgated as the Liturgy of the Hours.

John Henry Cardinal Newman was an utter goof ball, who produced an apologia, a paste, to make a unity out of his various stages of ecclesiastical butterflying which the Roman church has found useful to think itself a unity too over its various stages. The only unity to Newman is it happened within Newman, and likewise the only unity to the various Catholicisms over time is that they happen in the same institution. Ultimately, the Roman faith of any age is simply a faith in itself, that it is the same because it must be the same, and it must be the same because we are saying it.

Really, if one wants to idolise a C19 English high ranking RC convert, go with Manning, not Newman. He doesn't jack around with finding white a development of black, and black a deeper understanding of white. Which is why you don't hear of him much these days. And also why there are plenty of latter day Newmans in the RC church now, and no Mannings.

No, the gates of Hell did not prevail. It's called the Lutheran Reformation.

LPC said...


Thanks for being in conversation here.

As I alluded to you before, Scripture did warn the church that it can go awry. Scripture does not guarantee simply because you are church that you can not go astray because Paul in Acts 20 warned that. That is why we have Scripture to get us back. God will not protect us if we go astray from Scripture. This again runs counter to the Lutheran Reformations idea of Means of Grace.

God does protect, but he does protect using means - Scripture.

So to say that God can protect the church any which way God decides to do it as RC apologists say is tantamount to the same idea of Calvinism, since Calvinism says God's Sovereignty will prevail -- yet does God do things without Means?

You might find it strange but when you stretch the two in their extremes, they can converge.

I for one had a look at that essay of Newman, and he makes assertions there that have no references to source documents of the Fathers or when he does he cherry picks.

In the end as P.E. said God did bring correction to Mother Church - it was called the Reformation, but she rejected it or dances around it. It was in a real sense, calling the Catholic (RCC) to get back and be catholic.

OK some might suggest that she has reformed already because of Vatican II. The credibility of that is quite dubious, because she does not speak the same things - she can speak in both sides of her mouth. On the one hand she can be Trentian, because she has not revoked Trent hence you have Dr. Sippo, on the other she can appear to be non-Trentian as in Vatican II hence, the appearance of folk against the types of Dr. Sippo.

Though far be it from me to say that the Magisterium has no possibility of 'repenting', for it is always possible, however, statistics shows it is not probable by the way history has developed. So the call is made to her people.


Augustinian Successor said...

"I do not see anything in the SSP even remotely resembling the Roman understanding of the Sacrament of Holy Orders by which any Lutheran pastor is a layman conducting an invalid Eucharist no matter how he dresses up."

Touche! And the move towards elevating the ministerial priesthood is not going to remedy the defect. In the eyes of Rome, Lutherans are Lutherans, not Eastern Orthodox, meaning no matter how you dress up, you're still not a proper Catholic, but sub-Catholic.

Jeff Tan said...

Thanks for the responses, Past Elder. Now to mine.

At least I know understand where you're coming from. So in having found the post-Vatican II doctrines contrary to pre-Vatican II doctrines, you came to realize that this Church under the bishop of Rome must have been the Whore of Babylon to begin with. But this does lead me to ask exactly when the Church of Rome was conquered by the Devil (and along with its downfall, the particular churches who were in communion with it). Modern day baptists, for example, seem to believe that the Church, in general, fell into apostasy in AD 241 or so. The ancient Baptists simply went into practical seclusion, a small faithful remnant.

The second point I'd like you and Lito to consider would be this: you're convinced that the development of doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church is contrary, black becoming white and so on, resulting in false doctrine. But what is the instrument by which this is verified? In Lito's words, how does the Lord protect his Church? The answer, according to Lito, is Scripture. The problem, however, is that this could not have been the case until after the Scriptures have all been written and given canonical use -- maybe not until after having been given canonical status in an ecumenical council. Until then, how was the Church protected? After all, heresy began even during the Apostolic age. Is it not the case that the bishops and councils were the instruments of orthodoxy and unity from the beginning? St. Paul must have known what he was saying to the bishops he ordained himself, St. Timothy and St. Titus? St. Peter must have also known something to have felt compelled to raise St. Matthias to the bishopric which Judas the betrayer left vacant?

Corollary to my question is the observation that the Reformation doctrines, e.g., Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, were highly innovative rather than orthodox. I'm not even sure if the Sola Fide currently taught, i.e., faith alone but not a faith that is alone, is how Luther taught it at all. Certainly the phenomenon that holy orders and bishops become unnecessary, which resulted from the Sola Scriptura mentality, should have occurred early on. But bishops, presbyters and deacons were established by the Apostles and did not disappear until after the Reformation. Why is that? Another result of the Reformation was relativism in Christian doctrine. It seems to come from the exaltation of one's own doctrine over that of another. I opine that this was inevitable since Scriptures do include assurances of truth and guidance. But whereas these words were meant for a Church guided by bishops, they warp into individual authority since bishops have been done away with post-Reformation.

Also, there is a logical implausibility in the exegetical model of individuals, again post-Reformation. The doctrinal divergence of the Reformation fathers should have been an ample clue for this. They were sincere in their doctrines and proficient if not brilliant in their exegesis, and yet did they differ in doctrine. Why, if not for the reason that Scriptures were not written as clearly as one might have thought? We agree that Christ wants a visibly united Church on earth. We agree that he would not be remiss in his promises to protect that Church. But is Sola Scriptura the instrument that he had in mind? Is that what he told his disciples? Is that what the Apostles practiced over the household of faith?

Finally, Past Elder, I'm not familiar with Manning at all. Any reference you might suggest? Also, which examples of Newman's essay betrayed his being a goof ball?

Also, Lito, in cases where Newman seems to cherry pick, note that he does not have to show that all Church fathers were in accord. After all, that is not the verification model of Church Magisterium to begin with. But I'm curious: which parts that were cherry picked struck a wrong chord with you?

LPC said...

Hey Jeff,

A recognized canon was already in motion at the onset while the Apostles were around, there were undisputed books there were also undisputed books considered to be inspired.

I will get back on Newman's quotes.

It seems that RCC today is just like another Protestant denom, this is what I am gathering if I piece what you are saying and what P.E. is saying.

That seems like the bottom line for me. I will get back to you.

Past Elder said...

Touche? Who said anything we do is because we think it will make Rome say we are OK? We can vest and say the novus ordo or the Tridentine Rite word for word, and it's invalid by RC lights, which isn't to say therefore forget vesting and a proper order of service. We do that because of our confession, not to impress Rome. Who cares what they think?

LPC said...


We guys don't. I am sure we don't and we being "classmates" won't because "vee kno vhat shey can do".

But when I look at the SSP statements, it seems like they do. (;-) (LOL).


Past Elder said...

OK Jeff, now you!

I understand your arguments, in fact once held them myself. It's what kept me looking back over my shoulder during the twenty some years after I left the RC church to try to find some way that I was wrong, that the church (as in THE church) hadn't self-destructed and was indeed still the same church. They are impressive arguments, and once one holds them, run deep.

On your first point: I don't think there is a date or single event at which the Roman church fell away, and in fact, the true church to this day can be found within it. I do think the single most significant event in the process, though, was making the church and its faith the state religion of the Roman Empire. I think most of the "developments" you see as valid come from redefining aspects of the faith, particularly church polity, which would include the sacraments and the administration thereof, come from a process of grafting on to the church much of the previous polity and thinking of the state religion before it. To put it another way, it became less catholic and more Roman, ending up Roman Catholic.

Which leads to point two: one can determine where white has been proclaimed black and black understood as a deeper understanding of white from the documents themselves. Even Lutherans are not exempt from this. One of the major reasons why my former synod, WELS, is not in communion with my present synod, LCMS, is over the nature of the Office of Holy Ministry (in an RC view, what's left of the priesthood among us) and the call by which one serves in that office, as well as whether the congregation alone is properly church, or other institutions such as synods are also church in the same sense or man made adjuncts to church. Each side holds the other to have departed from the original teaching. On the WELS side, the present view as stated was worked out by certain theologians at a seminary in Wauwatosa WI, who are considered not to have come up with new doctrine but simply have provided needed clarity to doctrine that was already there. Now, in either a Catholic or Lutheran context, I say a text is a text. Whether one text or another constitutes the true Gospel is one matter, but whether one text affirms the content of an earlier text is another, and I think we have both issues going on here. In a Catholic context, whether texts from any period are true to the Gospel is one question, but whether one text departs from another is more concrete. So, whether Catholicism as known in any age is the true faith or not is one question, but whether Catholicism in one age is consistent with, not to be mistaken for identical with, Catholicism in another age, is quite another matter and capable of resolution regardless of whether either of them is true to the Gospel. I say, on that basis, the Catholicism of Vatican II is manifestly a rejection of the Catholicism before it, so plainly and clearly that the only way one could miss it is if one were completely attached to an a priori that they must be the same because they both came from the Roman church, which being the true church can therefore only teach the true faith. So I say, the Roman faith is primarily a faith in itself. I will leave the details as to how the novus ordo attacks Catholic worship and the "Catechism" attacks Catholic faith to the many Catholic documents about that, some of which are linked to on my blog.

As to the corollary: the "solas" do not do away with bishops, presbyters and deacons, nor deny that such offices existed from apostolic NT times, but rather demonstrate that these offices do not correspond to what became of them -- their "development" so zu sagen -- in the Roman church. Regarding doctrine, it has been said (including by me once) that in Protestantism instead of one pope now everyone is his own pope, so you really didn't get rid of the pope at all, just who it is. However, one would be hard pressed to see those churches run by an office called bishop held to be in succession from the Apostles as models of harmony on doctrine and practice. (What an understatement!) The difference is not a cacaphony versus a harmony, but a cacaphony in which one nonetheless will not leave because the church, or to be more contemporary about it, the community, the People of God, trumps everything else as the cardinal article of faith: one must be Catholic, then the community can decide what that is. But first, last and always, is the community, the church.

The doctrinal divergence you mention really is part of this. It was not Luther's aim to set the Bible against the Church, as if it were revealed first and then the church founded on it. He knew full well that Christ wrote nothing and commanded nothing to be written; that he promised a Spirit, not more books; that it was the church that produced the Bible not the Bible the church. Which is precisely the point -- the church said, here are the books upon which you can rely -- and then quit relying on them and started relying on itself. Sola Scriptura is simply a call to the church to be faithful to its own book!

Finally, I'm not surprised you're not familiar with Manning, which is in no way to point a finger at you. The Roman church has no use for him -- literally, or men like him, but it has Newmans at every corner pasting things to-gether and finding it one. The Wiki article about him isn't bad at all. There will be no more Mannings. I would be delighted to run across him at the heavenly banquet, and will be rather surprised if he is not there.

Jeff Tan said...

Past Elder said: the true church to this day can be found within it

Interesting.. that sounds like what the CDF recently wrote concerning doctrines on the Church.

considered not to have come up with new doctrine but simply have provided needed clarity to doctrine that was already there

That also sounds like what we expect of the Magisterium, as against actually proclaiming new revelation. They instead may declare clarifications or new insights on what is already revealed (from Scripture or Tradition).

the Catholicism of Vatican II is manifestly a rejection of the Catholicism before it

I am not able to comment on this comfortably because I have not investigated this in sufficient depth. I have not seen any signs of contradiction as yet, however, but perhaps I'll start googling around for such discourses. Your claims make it hard now to place where the present pontificate's position is concerning the liberal "spirit of Vatican II" adherents and those who view such a "spirit" with horror. I myself abhor that so-called "spirit", and think that the state of Catholicism in the western 60s was a betrayal of what the Vatican II was really about. But, anyway, it will take some research on my part before I can say whether you've got a point or not. I have to state in the onset that I have a tendency to actually trust the Magisterium, not because it wielded by intelligent and holy men, but because of Christ's promises. In my mind, the Catholic Church most closely resembles the form in which those promises are likely to take.

the novus ordo attacks Catholic worship

Is it the novus ordo per se that you believe betrays Catholic worship or is it the implementation of it in the US, the UK and other western countries? For example, I only recently found out that much of that did not come from Vatican II, but rather from liberal tampering by bishops and priests, primarily in the west. This includes, for example, removing Latin from the Novus Ordo completely: Vatican II documents never taught that.

the "Catechism" attacks Catholic faith

Certainly something I should read up from your links..

demonstrate that these offices do not correspond to what became of them -- their "development" so zu sagen -- in the Roman church.

But don't the other ancient Churches, including the Coptics, Assyrians, etc., have the same understanding of the bishops, their functions and authority? I don't know much about bishops of other groups, apart from the Anglicans (where they seem rather appalling), so I should perhaps take a look there, as well, but it does appear to me that the Catholic and Orthodox understanding most closely resembles, and can trace any development back to, the Scriptural accounts.

More comments on the rest later. Thanks very much for these insights, which are food for thought.

Past Elder said...

Hey Jeff! In any "traditionalist" critiques I have read, the basis is not the excesses of the "spirit of Vatican II" types, which the so-called "conservatives" also bemoan, but the typical texts themselves, in Latin, of the novus ordo.

It's interesting to me that both sides, the so called consevatives and liberals, each regard the other as having betrayed the promise of Vatican II and falsified it. I have come to see either side as a betrayal of Catholicism equally. At one time, I hoped that if the documents of Vatican were observed rather than the supposed "spirit", all would be well, but getting into the documents showed me something equally distant from the Roman faith. So again, this is based not on the "spirit" excesses but the texts themselves.

Having thought the Roman faith to be the true faith, this was shattering. There was no respite from this, even in the traditionalist movement, to which I was attracted but did not join. How it is that the Roman Catholic faith, the true faith and church, should have come to this was impossible to understand unless Christianity itself were a mistake.

And this endured until I read the Book of Concord. Then it became clear. What happened in my lifetime was not the loss of the true church and faith after all these centuries, and not a mistake to begin with either. The more I understood the metamorpgosis of catholic into Catholic, the more it appeared inevitable that what is Roman will change too. IOW, the Roman Catholic Church, having long since ceased to be the catholic church and therefore based on a foundation other than Christ, must inevitably at some point cease to be Roman too.

Likewise, to answer another of your points, Eastern Orthodoxy has long since ceased to be entirely orthodox, but so far at least has not ceased being Eastern.

And, to answer a point you did not make, so also many churches that claim Reformation roots reacted so extremely to this that they ceased to be catholic or orthodox as well.

The Lutheran church from the start exists in a tension between these poles, and to this day (which you may observe elsewhere on this very blog) right along with our Tiber and Bosphorus swimmers we have those who would swim Lake Geneva. Some do this by a formal change of affiliation and some by trying to change the affiliation they have not unlike the "spirit" versus the "document" types in your church.

So we have Catholic and Orthodox churches that are not catholic or orthodox, and Reformed and later derivatives which are not catholic or orthodox either. If the BOC spends a good deal more ink on the former it is because their strangelhold on things at the time was far greater than the latter's, but it is equally clear that we are, and intend to be, neither.

Luther, as he himself pointed out, didn't die for anyone nor is anyone saved in his name. Perhaps in a way it is good that there is no one visible body bearing the name Lutheran, because the point of the "Lutheran church" is not about a man or an institution, but the right proclamation of the orthodox faith of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of the Good News, or Gospel, of salvation by the unmerited grace of God alone though justification by faith in the atoning Death and Resurrection of Jesus alone, and the right administration of the Sacraments, those means of grace which he gave us, that liturgia of our Divine benefactor which we defend and preserve, as taught in the Church's own book, Scripture, alone.

Jeff Tan said...

Does this mean then that there was a time when, before the Reformation, and after the Catholic Church united with Rome ceased being catholic, and the Eastern Orthodox had ceased being orthodox, there was a time when the Church was not? Are we talking Anabaptist Trail of Blood here? I'm sure you aren't, but I'm just positing the scenario: was there a time when the pillar and foundation of truth, the household of faith, was invisible as a body, existing only as a collection of individual faithful scattered across Christendom?

Oh I also found it interesting that the BoC contains the filioque. Still retains a Latin flavor, although I read someplace that it was dropped from the BoC in places where there was dialogue with the EO Church.

Past Elder said...

Yes, we retain the Creed in its Latin form. The filioque controversy was not an issue in the Lutheran Reformation, which originated in the Western church.

There are Eastern rite Lutherans, however my experience of them is too limited to offer any real good answer. The most I can say is this: on my blog, there is a link to the Divine Service of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church, which uses a "Lutheran" version of the rite of St John Chrysostom, and the Creed as given there does have the words "and the Son" but in parentheses.

As to your main question, I have not so much an answer to the question as a question about the question. Which is: the question itself presupposes that there will be a visible, as in specific men and communities, entity to which to point and say There is the true church. This is itself derivative of the idea of Apostolic Succession, a clear succession of men with authority, which when found will guarantee truth. RC and EO always approach the idea of church in this way, and find non-Catholic and/or non-Orthodox church bodies lacking because they cannot produce such a "visibility". We look at it from a different, even opposite, way. We do not look for men whose authority guarantees doctrine, but for doctrine whose authority guarantees the men.

It's kind of like the Have you stopped bearing your wife thing. One cannot answer the question directly unless one has a wife and has at some time beat her. But if that is not the case, the answer will not be an answer per se, but a questioning of the question, pointing out that either one has no wife to beat or not beat or that one has never started beating her to stop it. To simply anwer No will be understood in the context of the question and seem to mean No I have not stopped, when it really means No I have not stopped because I never began either!

Jeff Tan said...

We do not look for men whose authority guarantees doctrine, but for doctrine whose authority guarantees the men.

I understand that, and perhaps there will always be disagreement here. I just don't see how it squares even with Scriptures, OT and NT. I think I find it easier to accept the gist of what someone was telling me about the Reformation (he's Reformed), or what he was getting at: never mind the evidence either way, the Catholic/Orthodox notion of episcopal authority simply doesn't work, certainly from the 16th century situation. And so, whatever the Church might have done from the very beginning, or whatever Scriptural evidence there is, Apostolic authority through the Apostolic successors simply cannot be.

This, I can understand, but it is sad (to me), for this seems to be to be a surrender to despair.

Past Elder said...

I wouldn't characterise my position as never mind the evidence. I find no evidence whatever in Scripture that Jesus had any intention whatsoever of founding a religious community under the headship of Peter with the other Apostles and those whom they ordain in succession. The bishop/priest/deacon priesthood can be based on Scripture, as in claim to have a Scriptural basis, but that it is taught there as present in the Roman Catholic Church is beyond any stretch of which I am capable.

One would have to see it as a development. There are two ways of doing that. One is Newman's way, which indeed admits a development from rather than an identity with Scripture, but finds this legitimate, in fact the very reason for the church itself. Or one can find it as my liberal Catholic professors did, that there is a basis for it but the present form of it is not essential and contains much that can, and should, be changed. Two very different ways of understanding development, but either way, development.

And so back to the original point: there is no way, other than an a priori assumption that it must be so, to maintain that the Roman church pre or post the last council represents what the church has done from the beginning. And Orthodoxy, whose validity in an apostolic sense is not contested by Rome, witnesses that apostolic succession does not necessarily follow Roman models.

As to despair, if one means by that despair of the promises of Christ, this will not arise if one does not see any promise of Christ about an institution. If one means its more general meaning, despair will only appear if one believes in an institution and tries to imagine faith without it. If one's faith is not tied to an institution then it does not arise to despair that there is no such institution.

At one time, I could not imagine how anyone could read the Fathers and not be or become Catholic. Now, I think the chief article of the faith of the Roman church is faith in the Roman church. But it will no more be seen as such than its understanding of works will be seen as Justification By Works Also.

We've hit the archives now -- not sure if you will see this!

Jeff Tan said...

I find no evidence whatever in Scripture that Jesus had any intention whatsoever of founding a religious community under the headship of Peter with the other Apostles and those whom they ordain in succession.

That's just how it goes: it becomes one's interpretation against another, or one's against the Church's, which cannot really be equated with that of just another individual.

As I've said, my interpretation, from NT as well as OT, is that there is a stronger institutional underpinning than the Protestant model's. Moreover, "institutional" has taken a beating, so much so that people can so easily ascribe evils to anything organized or institutional, whereas it really means only one thing to us: it was designed and initiated by Christ, and that's the only reason to trust it. And it's more than a means of organization or structure: it's a family, which is a theologically profound idea, one that reflects the perfection in the bond of the Persons in the Trinity.

chief article of the faith of the Roman church is faith in the Roman church.

I don't see this at all, although I have no doubt that many people emphasize their ecclesiology too much. On the other hand, one must not set it aside completely, because Christ does not. And St. Paul was clear enough about governance in terms of teaching authority, correction, succession, unity vs. schism, etc. One might be tempted to think that, in the face of scandals coming from clerical authority, it is best not to have any clerics in authority. If you think about what happens to teaching without authority, you'll see that the problem isn't authority, but abused authority.

We've hit the archives now

Yeah.. I'll see if I can join in your discussions in your blog one of these days instead.