Sunday, December 25, 2011

Generous Dave

Before we continue in this Do NOT Pray series:

We will pause to consider Dave's latest rebuff of my argument.  Of Dave's eventual revealing of the actual context of his own "generous" argument.  And his being less generous by refusing to interact with me on the more obvious context of his post.  On whether "St. Paul is the model of behavior for Rome".

Now, I would offer a response at the posts that Dave linked me to... but then I would be out of context.  I would be "off topic".  Because my argument was not about whether "St. Paul was superior to St. Peter" or what "St. Paul's rebuke of St. Peter proved".  But my argument was that Rome 'more closely' identifies with St. Peter as their "model of behavior" in Paul's letter to the Galatians.  Unlike Dave's claim to the contrary.
An inference that we shall examine.

We will also examine Dave's inference of whether Paul considered all the "Galatians as Fellow Christians".  And examine Dave's reply that "Paul was guilty of hypocrisy as well".

And for the sake of argument, let's just use arguments from Calvin.  Since Dave is so fond of trying to use Calvin against me. 

And thanks to CCEL, we will use arguments from Calvin's Commentary on Galatians and Ephesians.
Commentary from Calvin that seems far more generous to Rome on this topic- than commentary from Matthew Henry, Erasmus, Chrysostom, Jerome, Ambrose or Augustine.

And let's work our way backwards... starting with Paul's "hypocrisy":

Here Calvin claims that Paul was NOT being guilty of hypocrisy.  That Paul was merely being utilitarian.  That Paul was not in fact presenting a different Gospel... but was trying to be 'all things to all men'.  All things... in order to receive the opportunity to proclaim the true Gospel.  Paul was being opportunistic, so-to-speak.  Which is not all bad.

     He circumcises Timothy, (Acts 16:3,) in order to take away a ground of offense from weak minds; for he was at that time dealing with weak minds, which it was his duty to treat with tenderness. And he would gladly have done the same thing with Titus, for he was unwearied in his endeavors to “support (Acts 20:35) the weak;” but the case was different.

Yet, I'm willing to concede to Dave on the hypocrisy charge, anyway.  That the case wasn't terribly different.  That Paul was in fact quite fallible here.  But that still doesn't acquit Peter of the charges.

Now, let's work on Dave's inference that all the Galatians addressed by Paul were "Fellow Christians"
The inference in Dave's post that Paul actually knew all their hearts.  That Paul was a profound prophet.  And that as a prophet, Paul's omniscience extended to the existing faith of all Galatian churches.  An enormous claim for an enormous province.

     To the churches of Galatia. It was an extensive country, and therefore contained many
churches scattered through it. But is it not wonderful that the term “Church”, which always
implies unity of faith, should have been applied to the Galatians, who had almost entirely
revolted from Christ?
I make this observation, because the Papists, seizing on the single word Church, think
that whatever they choose to force upon us is sanctioned; though the condition and aspect
of the Church of Rome are widely different from what existed in Galatia.

Yet, I'm willing to concede that Paul may have been given some divine omniscience in this matter.  That the Holy Spirit was actually giving eternal assurance to all Galatians by including them in the "Church".  As apostate as they were.  But that's hardly likely, is it?

But let's look at my actual issue of contention- that contrary to Dave,  Peter is in fact a far closer model of Rome's behavior than Paul is in Galatians.  An issue that is very hard to concede:

     Between those men [the apostate Galatians] and the Papists there is no difference; and therefore, in refuting them, we are at liberty to employ Paul’s argument.

And why is Peter a closer model?

     With what effrontery then will the Papists boast that they possess the gospel, which is not only corrupted by many inventions, but more than adulterated by many wicked doctrines?

And why does it matter?

     Augustine is therefore right in asserting, that this was no previously arranged plan, but that Paul, out of Christian zeal, opposed the sinful and unseasonable dissimulation of Peter, because he saw that it would be injurious to the Church.

And was Calvin talking about the Universal Church?  The Catholic Church?

     In short, the word Church is often applied by a
figure of speech in which a part is taken for the whole, to any portion of the church, even
though it may not fully answer to the name.

And not so strangely, what else do we find in Calvin's Commentary on Galatians 2?
We find yet another refutation of the universalism that Calvin is alleged to hold by Dave et al.  Yet another indication of Calvin actually holding to the Reformed tenant of Limited Atonement.  Who knew?

     It will not be enough for any man to contemplate Christ as having died for the salvation of the world, unless he has experienced the consequences of this death, and is enabled to claim it as his own.

In closing, we find Calvin making another all too generous claim:

     If they [Catholics] wish to have God appearing on their side, a new Bible must be manufactured; if they do not wish to have him for an open enemy, those two chapters [Galatians 1 and 2] of the Holy Scriptures must be expunged.

Now, I'm sure Calvin knew of many more chapters that must be expunged.  But he was generously- just referring to Paul's letter to the Galatians.  Far too generous perhaps.

But then we must also find Dave guilty- of being far too generous.
Far too generous to "Anti-Catholics".

Far too generous in claiming Anti-Catholics as his "brothers". 
Far more generous than numerous popes and councils were to Anti-Catholics.
And far more generous than his beloved Calvin.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Do NOT Pray for the Pope

Continuing in this Do NOT Pray series:

In addition to the principles, precepts and precedents already presented (does this sound like Pippi in Mr. Popper's Penguins?)... let's observe some textual criticism of some relevant verses.  Verses which neither the present Pope, nor previous Popes have given an infallible interpretation to.  Yet verses which his supporters admonish me with.

So first let's look at Matthew 5:44- as Maroun is wont to do in his admonition of me:
  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Mat 5:44 KJV)

Now, contrary to Borland, I believe the above text is a prime example of textual expansion.  Of scribes importing the italicized words from Luke 6 into Mathew 5... to expand the understanding of their readers.   A virtuous expansion... but an expansion that didn't pay import duties .  Prominent textual-critics Aland and Comfort give numerous reasons for this virtuous expansion of the text.  Reasons accepted by most translation committees.  So most translations do not include this textual expansion.

But for the sake of argument- let's go with this textual expansion.  Let's see how universal this portion of the Beatitudes really is in Luke's Sermon on the Plains.  Then we'll look at how universal this portion of the Beatitudes really are in Matthew's Sermon on the Mount.

So, looking at this Lukan portion- it should be apparent that this maxim is based on the Principle of Mercy.  Of us being merciful, "just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36).
But does this portion presume equal mercy to both?  Friends as much as enemies?  As much mercy on the hard heart as on the softened heart?
Clearly this presumes too much.  And delivers far too little... from an all-powerful God.

Also, such is contrary to the claim, "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy" (Exo 33:19 KJV).  A claim not even endorsed by Rome's Douay-Rheims translation, "I will have mercy on whom I will, and I will be merciful to whom it shall please me" (Exo 33:19 DRA).  A peculiar translation that reserves for God at least a little mercy unshewn.  And thus reserves for us at least a little mercy unshewn as well.

And the verse preceding this portion?    "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26 KJV).  Does this not belittle universal endorsement of prophets?  Encourage at least a little discernment of who you endorse?

And the verse following this portion?   "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke 6:37 KJV).  A maxim promoting general Christian charity.  Hardly applies to all judgement, condemnation or forgiveness, does it?  Certainly doesn't apply to civil judgement.  Civil war would surely result.

Now, the Matthean portion is based on the Principle of Mercy as well.  Based on God sending rain on the "righteous and the unrighteous" (Matt. 5:45).  But this doesn't mean that he sends rain equally.  Or send rain indiscriminately, folks. And we have plenty of biblical evidence against that claim, now don't we?  Plenty of evidence that righteous Noah was spared from rain.  And unrighteous men were not (cf. Amos 4:7).

Which brings us back to the admonition in question.  That I should pray for the universe.  And by extension, even the Universalis Episcopus.  No mere enemy... but an apostate of the Gospel of Grace.  Who stands condemned- just as Peter stood to Paul in his letter to the Galatians (Galatians 2:11).  Not for importing numerous specious graces- but rather for importing Works into the Gospel.  Works that haven't paid their import duties.

Yet let's have a look at another passage in this post.
Let's have a look at James 5:16...  where we are told that the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much".
Are the Popes prayers more effectual then?  Is he more righteous than I?

Then let him pray for himself.  Let him pray for his own rain then .  Let him pray for his own mercy.
He doesn't need my puny prayers then. Mine wouldn't avail him much more. And he wouldn't want my prayers and petitions anyways.

Since my prayers would call for the Popes repentance.  Since my prayers would call for him to repent of his misplaced faith... and place his faith in Christ alone.

But the Pope is likely beyond that call.  Waaay beyond that call...

Way beyond that call- when he assumed the title of  Universalis Episcopus.   Way beyond that call- when he assumed the title of "Vicar of Peter, Vicar of Christ and Vicar of God Almighty".  Beyond that call- when he assumed the Patrimony of St. Peter.

A patrimony given to Pope Stephen III in 755A.D.  A patrimony given to him by a puny man named Pippin.  After the Pope promised Pippin the pittance of, "long life and the most glorious mansions in heaven" for the patrimony of much of Italy (funny  how Pippi's and Popper's repeat themselves....).

A patrimony that was lost "a few weeks (1870 A.D.) after the Pope proclaimed to the world his own infallibility in all matters of faith and morals" [Schaff].    A patrimony that was removed from the Pope.  A patrimony that was given to Victor Emanuel.  With the Popes patrimony "confined" to The Vatican.

And it is my prayer, that prayers for the Pope also be confined to The Vatican.
Confined to the Popes repentance.  Confined to a faith in our Victor.

Confined to a faith in Emmanuel (Isaiah 8:8).  The only Vicar of God.