Friday, March 16, 2012

Willing to Throw It All Out

Martin Luther
What happens if you find yourself understanding the Scriptures in important ways differently than most other Christians, not only today but throughout history? This was the situation in which the Protestant Reformers found themselves in the 16th century (and the situation in which Protestants today continue to find themselves). How did the Protestant Reformers respond?

Martin Luther, Disputatio inter Ioannem Eccium et Martinum Lutherum (1519) [as quoted in  Unintended Reformation, p 96]
Even if Augustine and all the Fathers were to see in Peter the Rock of the church, I will nevertheless oppose them - even as an isolated individual - supported by the authority of Paul and therefore by divine law.
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 2.5.17 (1559)
But if they would attend in sober earnest to the subject there handled by Paul, they would not so rashly pervert his meaning. I am aware they can quote Origen and Jerome in support of this exposition. To these I might, in my turn, oppose Augustine. But it is of no consequence what they thought, if it is clear what Paul meant.
Huldrych Zwingli, Von dem Touff, vom Widertouff und vom Kindertouff (1525) [as quoted in Unintended Reformation, p 90]
I can conclude nothing else but that all the doctors have greatly erred from the time of the apostles... Therefore we want to see what baptism actually is, at many points indeed taking a different path against that which ancient, more recent, and contemporary authors have taken, not according to our own whim but rather according to God's word.
Unfortunately, rather than acknowledge their own finitude and show humility to the Church's hard-won tradition of 1500 years, they did what all heretics in history have done: they doubled down on their own ability to interpret Scripture better than all others before them. They equated their own interpretation of Scripture with 'what Scripture clearly says', seemingly unaware that they too were interpreting Scripture, and were willing to throw out the entire tradition of the Church if and when it conflicted with their own interpretations. Of course, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin not only disagreed with much of the historic, Catholic interpretation of Scripture, they also disagreed with each others' interpretations of Scripture. Thus the thousands upon thousands of contradicting Protestant denominations.

Compare their attitude with that of St Vincent of LĂ©rins in his 5th century writing Commonitory (2.4-6), which well represents the Catholic attitude from the 1st century to the present:
I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical pravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church. 
But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters. For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another. Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation. 
Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense Catholic, which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

17 comments:

  1. I think you are begging the question.

    -- all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all.

    There is no faith that has been believed everywhere always by all.

    -- we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent

    Many Catholic doctrines did not have universal consent in antiquity.

    -- We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses;

    There isn't one faith, nor was there.


    Even in the time of the epistles there is a multiplicity of faiths. I'll agree that by 200 something very much Catholic existed while nothing like Protestantism existed. But the Catholic sects existed among a few dozen Christian and quasi-Christian sects which were not Catholic.

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    1. True, which is why the principle is augmented by the principle given right before it:
      "For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another. Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation. "

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    2. St Vincent is asserting that scripture is a lousy means of settling disputes because it simply reaffirms everyone in their opinion. St. Vincent, you and I are on the same page on that one. The history of the reformation is a history of theological drift all based on sola scriptura.

      To solve this Saint Vincent proposes that we essentially hold an election of the ancients looking for those doctrines believed by all or almost all. I actually agree with him that in so far as possible this is a good system. But when you actually try and carry out his program you run into serious problems with what the ancient world actually did believe. What you find is a very rapid change in the early years, not a stable collection of doctrines being passed down. St. Vincent's experimental methodology invalidates his theory. Go ancient enough and you are confronted with a maze of divergent opinions, quite often none of them agreeing with the later consensus.

      Worse, in most of the areas where modern Protestants disagree with Catholics they can find ancient support. Take baptism. Certainly the Protestant sects that reject baptismal regeneration are defying a unified historical witness. But the sects that reject paedobaptism.... the evidence appears to be rather strong they have, the majority prior to the 2nd century.

      Other doctrines which had near consensus, like the enormous importance of Sophia, which even your scriptures contain references to: Sir 1:1-18; 4:11-19; 6:18-31; 14:20-15:10; 24:1-31; 51:13-30; Wis 7-9; Baruch 3:9-38 have been dropped. So the question is how does this method arrive at Catholicism?



      The problem with Saint Vincent's approach simply is, that there has never really been one faith.

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    3. I wouldn't say that Scripture is a lousy way of settling disputes, but that Scripture alone is. You're right that St Vincent here can't be taken completely. In the rest of his writing, he addresses various questions about what if there isn't a total consensus, calling back on those issues to the ecclesiatical authorities.

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    4. In the rest of his writing, he addresses various questions about what if there isn't a total consensus, calling back on those issues to the ecclesiatical authorities

      Which is Calvin's position as well. The bible is rightly interpreted by the church. One determines what the church is by determining if they rightly interpret the bible. Which amounts to Calvinists agreement to submit on matters of doctrine to those people who agree with the Calvinist on matters of doctrine. And I think we agree that didn't work. But it does raise the interesting point of chicken and egg.

      I think St Vincent's answer can be equally question begging though. There are two ways of phrasing it:
      i) Where there is an ancient consensus that consensus is binding otherwise the church is binding.
      ii) The church is the final authority of what was the ancient consensus.

      That is if you go with definition (ii) then St. Vincent asserts that the church teaches true doctrine. His definition of true doctrine, sounds like it is the doctrines passed down from the generations but if you use that later definition it is those doctrines taught by church. Pure prima ecclesia. But then the whole appeal to the ancients is just window dressing.

      If (i) is however the doctrine that leaves the window the open a bit. So lets take some cases.

      a) Luther argued that there was an ancient consensus and it was in opposition to current church teaching. This BTW comes up all the time in practice. It came for Luther. I think I mentioned on your blog (link in case I haven't Pelosi was right) Nancy Pelosi's assertion that the church's current position on abortion is in fact the heresy of traducianism,. If not I know you are interested in abortion / contraception topics so this creates a nice modern example. Speaker (at the time) Pelosi asserted that current church teaching amounts to the belief that the intellectual soul is created by fertilization, the heresy of traducianism. She presents good evidence from the early father's, and in fact a fairly strong case that there was a consensus that the fetus underwent three stages: vegetative soul (prior to fetal movement), animal soul (once fetal movement occurred), intellectual soul (once it takes on human traits). That meaningful ensoulment occurs much later and that a fetus is no more a human from the stand point of church teaching than a dead body is, both are genetically human but both lack a human soul.

      Now there are people who agree with her position (like me) and people who disagree... but what's important is that in general the overwhelming number of people who opposed her argument did so by arguing that Nancy Pelosi is not empowered to make those sorts of historical judgements, the church is the final arbiter or history. Which then makes the ancient witness irrelevant.

      b) Then of course there is the issue I think is more common. There was not a lack of "total consensus" but rather widespread divergence, and consensus only emerged slowly much later. The question then is can one reopen all the choices made to get from the original positions to the current one? Catholics say no, Protestants say yes.

      So in essence I think you can have prima ecclesia or the witness of the ancients but not both.

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    5. Hey CDHost,
      The Magisterium is the final arbiter of disputes in the Church. But we look to the Church Fathers, and we take special account of consensus among them. The Fathers aren't infallible, but they are very important. This is actually what has led many evangelicals lately to the Catholic Church. They were told that Protestantism was somehow restoring things to the way they were in the early Church, they studied the early Church, saw that it was Catholic, and then become Catholic.

      I don't take St Vincent to be an witness to exactly how the Church should operate today. Much of what he says has a lot of truth to to it though. I showed his quote to show a big difference with the Reformers who were willing to follow themselves to the exclusion of all else. The Catholic way is to follow the Church's interpretation of the Scriptures and the Tradition. The Protestant way, as exemplified in the quotes I listed, is to follow one's own interpretation of Scripture, even if it contradicts centuries of Church teaching.

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    6. HI Brantly --

      I think you are ducking the issue. Everyone takes some account of consensus among church fathers. To take the Pelosi example there are possibilities:

      a) Traducianism was a heresy in the middle ages but isn't any longer because the Pope subscribes to it.
      b) Traducianism was not a heresy in the middle ages and the church was in error on a matter of faith and morals.
      c) That the current Catholic position differs from Traducianism in some critical way.

      It strikes me that the Catholic position cannot be (a) in theory. The catholic church wants to claim historical continuity not just an authoritative magisterium. Nancy Pelosi's position is that there was an early consensus. I haven't heard anyone disprove that.


      Any church can claim to follow its church's interpretation of scripture and tradition. Once Luther founded a church that church followed Luther's interpretation of scripture and tradition. Once Calvin founded a church that church followed Calvin's interpretation of scripture and tradition. The important question for Catholics is whether that is essentially all Catholics are doing, or whether they are following the correct interpretation of scripture and tradition. The Catholic claim is that they are following the interpretation of scripture and tradition that is consistent with the early church, and under that definition doctrines become a matter of testable objective historic fact.

      As for the magisterial reformers, as I mentioned in our thread on this there were sects that believed even in the 16th century that the early church had fallen fast and hard and that all of Catholic history was a history of heresy replacing gospel and then being institutionalized. There were some who believed in the 16th century that the Catholic church was mostly right in theory but was corrupt in some way in practice and replacing the current leadership with this other group of leaders would improve things, the issue was mainly a question of who not what. There was a belief in the 16th century that most aspects of Catholicism were fine but that the financial corruption had led to some minor doctrinal complications and the church needed to embark on a reform program but not a wholesale renovation. The early reformers were not unified theologically in their belief about the status of the Catholic church. And this totally disjointed philosophy exists today.

      I agree there there appears to be a group of Protestants who never learned what we've called in this dialogue "landmarkism-lite". I certainly have run into Protestant that believe the fathers were mostly Protestant which is of course total nonsense. Where I don't agree with you is that this is (especially in America) the dominant form of Protestantism. Moreover there are many areas in which Protestantism disagrees with Catholicism where it is more consistent with early Christianity. For example I think Protestant understanding of the Old Testament is more authentic to the early church than the allegorical interpretations / typology that emerged in the 4th century and are now codified. That being the case these allegorical interpretations are 4th century not 14th.

      Basically in terms of history:
      a) Protestants need to understand that anything they would consider Christian was by the 3rd century either Catholic or heavily influenced by Catholicism.
      b) Catholics need to understand that for the two centuries prior to that, this was not the case.

      The religion of 50 CE is not reproducible it was tied to a specific culture and a specific historical circumstance neither of which exists. Judaism, Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam all contain some of the pieces of this early faith that others do not, reinterpreted for a modern context.

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    7. Regarding the early Church, I read St Clement of Rome, St Ignatius of Antioch, St Justin the Martyr, St Irenaeus, etc as all very much Catholic (though not infallible), and very specifically not Protestant (however that is defined).

      A few side points:
      It was my understanding that the current Magisterium actually holds to Creationism (soul is created directly by God) rather than Traducianism (which I understand to be that the soul comes from the parents in some way as part of the generative process).

      Spiritual interpretations were certainly present among Christians before the 4th century, as seen in the NT itself (Gal 4, 1 Pet 3, etc) and in the early church most prominently among Origin.

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    8. Regarding the early Church, I read St Clement of Rome, St Ignatius of Antioch, St Justin the Martyr, St Irenaeus, etc as all very much Catholic (though not infallible), and very specifically not Protestant (however that is defined).

      If you ascribe the Clementine literature to Clement of Rome I'd disagree he's Catholic, on far too many issues of core theology he disagrees with what will become the Catholic position in a few decades. I think if you read his material you'll see a religion which is quite different in its theology than Catholicism. A few examples:

      a) Rather than seeing Pauline theology as a continuation of Jesus/Peter Paul is seen as a sect leading a rejection of Peter and an embrace of a heretical Jesus.

      b) Clement rejects the notion that good can exist independent of evil. God's will becomes good through liberty. Catholic doctrine holds that God's will is intrinsically good.

      c) He adopts that Platonic view that ties material corruptibility to perfection. This would invalidated ideas like a perfection being expressed in a bodily resurrection.

      d) In Clement's heavenly sanctuary he disagrees with Hebrews and Catholic doctrine on the order of events.

      e) You either have to date the gospels or late or posit a Catholicism that exists without gospels. He like many authors from about 200 BCE on has a heavenly crucifixion drawn entirely from the LXX. His theology of the crucifixion also varies from the Catholic position.

      I think Clement, especially since he addresses other sects is a wonderful guide to what late 1st century Christianity probably did look like, which is to say highly non-Catholic. I'd consider his theology closer to Ebionite than Catholic.

      In terms of Justin I think actually he gives a good roadmap to how Catholicism formed. His works around 130, especially when he describes his own conversion hint at an early state he seems to have converted originally from a non-Catholic logos Christianity. He is also quite unaware of most of the Catholic structures. But very rapidly you see a combining process where the sects and ideas that will become Catholocism are merging in his literature. What he writes in the 140s is far more Catholic. I certainly feel comfortable calling him a proto-Catholic in his middle life and would be willing to consider Justin's logos Christianity a key component of early Catholicism. But I'd want to be nuanced here, yes Justin is Catholic but he wasn't Catholic from the start.

      Iranaeus is unquestionably Catholic: one God, one Bishop, one doctrine. Each of these is a rather detailed discussion. Please dig deep into Clement he'll shatter your belief in a unified Catholic 1st century Christianity as fast as anyone I could point to.

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    9. It was my understanding that the current Magisterium actually holds to Creationism (soul is created directly by God) rather than Traducianism (which I understand to be that the soul comes from the parents in some way as part of the generative process).

      I agree the Magisterium pays lip service to Creationism and rejection of Traducianism. However, I agree with Nancy Pelose that their new doctrine is that ensoulment is a result of conception, a physical activity. In other words if the product of conception has a human soul, then you have traducianism. If on the other hand the product of conception is alive in the way a vegetable is alive then you have creationism. Creationism holds that later development and divine blessing make the product of conception human, that is have an intellectual soul.

      As far as spiritual interpretations being present I agree. In terms of which ones and how they were used, I don't see any evidence for either the early church nor Jews using the themes of Catholicism. Moreover even when they did there was a tendency to see the meaning as primarily literal not primarily symbolic. I'll use your examples

      in Gal 4:1 Paul uses "ouden diaferei (nothing different)" when making an analogy. In 1Peter 3:1 omoiwv (likewise) or in 1Pet 3:5 outwv (likewise / in the same way) etc... They respect the literal and draw an analogy they don't text the text as primarily allegorical.

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    10. I don't know enough about Creationism/Traducianism to really comment too confidently, though I will only say that it was my understanding that God creates the soul at the moment of conception.

      Regarding the spiritual interpretation, it's currently the stance (and has been for a long time as it dates back at least to Thomas Aquinas, and probably much earlier) that spiritual readings of scripture are based on the literal, that the literal can't be displaced by the spiritual.

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    11. Regarding Clement, I'll have to give it another read. You may be right about those other points. What was important to me with Clement of Rome (and I'm only talking about 1st Clement) was his witness to apostolic succession.

      Regarding Irenaeus, I think you might be confusing him with Ignatius of Antioch, though I found them both to be very Catholic. This would push Catholicism back to at least the 2nd century, if not earlier.

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    12. I don't know enough about Creationism/Traducianism to really comment too confidently, though I will only say that it was my understanding that God creates the soul at the moment of conception.

      If that were the case then identical twins would share a soul. More importantly, that doctrine that the fully intellectual soul or rational soul exists independently of a body is contradicted by Augustine and later Aquinas. Essentially it divides the nature of man of being a soul inside a body not a soul conjoined by nature with a body. That theory of the soul is the Gnostic position, the a fully developed soul has no need of a fully developed body. This is rejected by Catholics for the same reason adoptionism was rejected, or why bodily and not spiritual resurrection is asserted by the creeds. Summa I.75.4 touches on this.

      First because the soul is the substantial form of the body, the rational soul cannot be present until there is a body present that is significantly complex and organized to receive the soul. Second, a formal cause is present only in a finished product. An actual human soul cannot be united with a virtual human body. Third, there is no human body in the zygote. Fourth inasmuch as all the positive features of the human body derive from the soul, until the soul is present there is no human being

      I should say I'm not an expert here either, I understand the Gnostic far better than the Catholic position. That being said, I think it has been held (until recently) that because the soul is the substantial form of the body, the rational soul cannot be present until there is a body present that is significantly complex and organized to receive the soul. So I don't think what you are proposing is possible under traditional Catholic understanding, which is why Nancy Pelosi rejected this doctrine. The core of Traducianism is to argue the seminal fluid can contain a soul. If a zygote can contain a soul I see no reason that seminal fluid could not.

      Regarding Irenaeus, I think you might be confusing him with Ignatius of Antioch, though I found them both to be very Catholic. This would push Catholicism back to at least the 2nd century, if not earlier.

      I don't think so, I'm think Bishop trained in Smyrna author of Adversus Haereses. I'm unclear what you think is inaccurate in my comment regarding him.

      As far as Catholicism I'm already granting Justin by 140. I agree Catholicism existed and was the dominant form of the Christian faith by the end of the 2nd century. You see that clearly from the Sethians by the end of the 2nd century they are moving away from Christianity because they consider it intrinsically Catholic, which is not a position they held during the middle of the 2nd century. That is it is during the 2nd century that Catholicism is forming. What I don't see evidence for is a fully formed Catholicism at the start of the 2nd century, which is what you need for the doctrine of apostolic succession in the strong sense. As I've said before after 200 CE I don't have major disagreements with Catholic history it is 200 BCE - 200 CE where the problem lies.

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    13. I think I disagree somewhat with your dating: If we grant St Ignatius of Antioch to be a sufficiently Catholic witness, that puts Catholicism back to the very beginning of the 2nd century, around A.D. 110. And since St Ignatius certainly isn't original with him, that pushes his ideas back to the 1st century, which would put them in the apostolic era (John probably lived to near the end of the 1st century)

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    14. I don't think it is so simple. First off Ignatius is from Antioch which is an early center of orthodoxy.

      Ignatius uses the word Catholic but as an ideal not an institution. He certainly doesn't see institutional authority as existing. His aim is to achieve a unified faith. In particular he sees himself as being on a peer basis with Judaizers and Docetic Christians trying to convince them of his point of view on theological matters. This is like Paul's and unlike later Catholic writings. So I'd comment first off he distinguishes Christianity from Catholicism which is an ideal of submission to Bishops. Later Catholics would deny these alternate strands equal footing.

      In particular his notion of bishop is authority from below not authority from above. Again that's similar to Paul and very much unlike later Catholics where authority is exercised by virtue of station and popular support is not required, and is barely desired. In particular this notion of authority deriving from correct teaching and popular consent is much more in keeping with Protestant notions of leadership than what would become Catholic.

      He seems totally unaware of anything like what would be considered the deposit of faith. For example he shows ignorance of the bible in his 15 statements that mirror scripture he never attributes any of these statements to scripture or any apostle individually.

      The definition I use to distinguish proto-Catholics from early Catholics is belief in "one God, one creed, one Bishop" and Ignatius qualifies. I agree that Ignatius has a Christianity I'd feel OK with calling Catholic. On the other hand it much less mature than the faith that will exist a generation later, development is evident. He's an interesting case but he's consistent with my idea that at the start of the 2nd century you do not have a fully formed Catholicism.

      But OK now I've expressed what I'll grant keep going with your argument.

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  2. Unfortunately, rather than acknowledge their own finitude and show humility to the Church's hard-won tradition of 1500 years, they did what all heretics in history have done: they doubled down on their own ability to interpret Scripture better than all others before them. They equated their own interpretation of Scripture with 'what Scripture clearly says', seemingly unaware that they too were interpreting Scripture, and were willing to throw out the entire tradition of the Church if and when it conflicted with their own interpretations. Of course, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin not only disagreed with much of the historic, Catholic interpretation of Scripture, they also disagreed with each others' interpretations of Scripture. Thus the thousands upon thousands of contradicting Protestant denominations."....
    Just some thoughts as I scanned your article....
    I believe that in the Jewish tradition we should ....stand on the shoulders of giants......learn from the people in history but are we really obligated to embrace their ideas in entirety just because they are a tradition of 1500 years?
    Didn't Jesus defy the history of his "church" which had been established for ......since God had established his people that he had called out as a nation? So if we want to go back to a tradition that is established with no defiance wouldn't we go back to a tradition without Jesus?
    Jesus chose a rag tag group of followers who were no more intellectual giants than I am....fishermen, men who were not even schooled in the arguments and the traditions of the rabbis......men who I'm sure had no intellectual wins over their religious giants.
    Jesus didn't abolish the law that God had established in the Jewish tradition, but he cut to the quick....he was always slicing through the layers of human traditions that had been woven into the law that God had given, and laid it all bare. He always cut it to the heart of the human and what was really there......
    Shouldn't we honor people who dare to try to do that with the 1500 hundred years of layers that the "original church" has added to the God's original intent? I believe with all my heart that we borrow from and pick the brains of the men and women of the past but in no way do we preserve it as God's holy law.

    And....by the way.......the Orthodox church has also been in existence for as long as the Catholic church...and claim to be the original....just a side note.......and also these "heretics" who challenged the Catholic faith threw it "all" out.....they preserved no scriputural teachings simply because they defied the established church?

    I can't intellectually challenge you, I am not there at all, but I am supremely relieved that the Jesus I serve doesn't hold me to one church, catholic, orthodox, jewish, protestant, but that he has allowed me the freedom to freely and without restraint worship Him, honor him, live in glorious obedience,.......not that I refuse to learn from all these traditions and allow them to shape my beliefs and ideas but that I have been granted the grace to come to the throne freely without restraint....not that I divorce myself from the joy of living in community and subjecting myself to a body of believers but I will not, can not and simply refuse to believe that there is one human institution who has got the words of God "all right"........

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    1. Hey Anon,
      Jesus didn't defy his Church as a reformer, he was God incarnate fulfilling the old covenant and giving the definite revelation of God. Jesus cut out human traditions that contradicted the law of God. Catholics follow Tradition, which is the Word of God passed on orally. The Protestant Reformers rejected books of Scripture and most of the divine Tradition, as well as the Church that Jesus had set up Himself. The Reformers (who all contradicted themselves btw) did not return the Church to a former pristine state but innovated.

      I find it strange that you seem to be trying to argue that the Reformers are like Jesus.

      The Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church were the same thing for the first few centuries of the Church.

      You talk about Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism as though they are clubs to belong to, rather than also representing certain teaching. Jesus holds you to believe the truth, which is found somewhere. Those who hold mutually exclusive beliefs cannot all be right at the same time. You think you're not choosing, but you are choosing, you're just choosing the Church of You instead.

      I also find it strange that you "simply refuse to believe that there is one human institution who has got the words of God "all right" ". Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the Church, said that the gates of hades would not overcome it (Mt 16), and said that he'd be with us to the end of the age, and yet you think that no where has God's definitive revelation of himself been preserved.

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