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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:31 pm 
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theJack wrote:
Peetem,

I don't want to step in too early and comment on things when you are still developing your argument. That's just bad form and, frankly, rude. So I just wanted to offer you two links to rather substantive discussions I've already had that, I think, relate a great deal to what you are saying. Perhaps you would find my comments in those places helpful as you further formulate your own ideas:

viewtopic.php?p=2690211#p2690211 (the whole thread, but my comments from that post forward in particular)
viewtopic.php?p=2653879#p2653879 (both posts)

You can, of course, ignore the links if you like. Just thought you might find them informative. :)


Thank you.

Its going to take me a couple of more days to work out the second part. Its just a time issue - a job and big family make long thought-out responses tough to put together in one sitting.

I would add - the response is going to take a little more time given all the resources which I'll need to reference. So a "couple" of days might be more like five. :D

In the meantime I'll read the threads.

Again, thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:13 pm 
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I'm still here....just cant find the time to put everything together. :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:35 pm 
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After a great deal of thought and reflection, I finally have some time to write more of my case that scripture must be called scripture by some authority. Furthermore, that authority cannot be based on an individual using his own reasoning.

I started to present my case based on teachings/letters of the Church Fathers. Given there exists a solid historical record in their writings, and that record serves as evidence of the nature of the early Church, that seemed like the best approach. To that end I have found very solid evidence that they believed, on the whole, these things:

1) The teaching authority of the Catholic Church.
2) The supreme authority of the Pope as leader of the Church.

In addition to these things, what constituted scripture was somewhat fluid for the first four centuries. I say "fluid" because there was some debate about what was and wasn't inspired amoung the Church Fathers. Without a doubt, much of the cannon was settled fairly early and these works are often quoted. But, there were letters/books that were also considered inspired by many that didn't make it into the final cannon as well as the reverse (e.g. didn't seem to be inspired but ended up in the cannon).

In the end, the debate was healthy, but seemed to be largely settled in 382 at the "Council of Rome" and finally at the Synod of 397 or the “Council of Carthage” and even at later Synod's and by Pope's. As you aware, the 397 Synod more or less proclaimed the “official and final” works, books, and letters that were considered inspired and now a part of the cannon of scripture that is used by the Catholic Church and all Christians until Luther’s changes. This cannon included the deuterocanonical works (despite what some claim). I have also read references to these works (e.g. Wisdom) within the writings of the Church Fathers, so their use as scripture is not up for debate. In addition, the so called “discrepancies” or “inconsistencies” in these works aren't anymore than parts of the cannon today are [full of discepancies or inconsistencies]. OK, I’m being a bit snarky here so in case anyone doubts my position – scripture is infallible - consistent and without error. However, I’ve read lists by atheists of so called “errors” that really aren’t. In other words, I'm comparing those who find problems in the deuterocanon to atheists who find problems throughout the bible in addition to those works. Ouch! Sorry.

Just in case anyone missed it I'll be clear - the Bible is infallible and free of error.

Because of this, I don’t want to start quoting the Church Fathers as evidence – history is solid in my mind and really, I don’t know how any reasonable person could conclude otherwise. Sure, there were works that were accepted by some and others disputed by some rather famous Church Fathers. However, their acceptance or rejection by themselves isn’t anything more than an individual making an error. All the more reason individuals cannot be relied upon to make the correct judgement. But we'll get to that in the next couple of posts....

Before we continue I must also add - I'm trying to create a synopsis of my research and thinking. We could get into a back and forth about the points listed above, but that's not healthy. However, if I really need to start providing quotes and links to my references, I guess I'll have to....but it will make this process all the slower and a real burden.

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:22 am 
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Hi Peetem,

Thank you for taking the time of putting together a thoughtful reply. In response, I'd like to point out our agreement in that the question is whether or not we can know if any given book is Scripture. Now it is evident that either that question is answerable or it is not. No one says we can't know that any given book is Scripture. Then, if we can, the question becomes how do we know that any given book is Scripture? Here there are only two possible approaches: faith and reason. That is, it is revealed doctrine or else it is the proper conclusion of proper reasoning.

Now, it seems to me that your last two posts of any length have been an attempt to argue that whether or not any book is Scripture must be a matter of faith since it cannot be a matter of reason. You first suggests several tests, seemingly on the assumption of what a rational process might look like, and evaluated them. You spent the most time on the test of authorship. Then in your second post, you highlighted the debate over certain books and whether or not these books were Scripture. Now, I'm a bit frustrated because I feel like I'm trying to invent your argument for you, but it seems to me that you're attempting there to argue that the very presence of debate--that is, of any disagreement--is somehow indicative of the insufficiency of reason to arrive at a proper answer to the question, "is X Scripture?"

I certainly agree, by the way, that you don't need to quote the CFs. I would quote them, and probably many of the same quotes as you. Whereas you seem to want to quote them as evidence of their disagreement, I would quote them as evidence of the fact that they are reasoning. That is, they are putting forward arguments as to what constitutes Scripture. Some are agreeing with those arguments and others are pointing out what they see as deficiencies in those arguments! In other words, the CFs are acting exactly as if the canon is an article of reason and not of faith. So my reading of the entire process is that they're testimony is completely in my corner rather than yours.

I'll also confess that I'm at a bit of a loss as to why you feel the need to defend the infallibility or inerrancy of Scripture. I don't see what that has to do with the conversation at all . . .

So having said that, I'd make three what I hope are relatively straightforward points:

1. Despite my interpretation of your posts, you've never actually offered an argument that the canon cannot be an article of reason. Just the opposite, in fact, you've offered evidence that it was reasoned about by the CFs until it was formally defined in the fourth century.
2. While I appreciate your attempts to represent what might be proper tests of canonicity in your earlier post, I would suggest you'd do better here to simply ask what those of us who do think the canon is an article of reason think those tests are. I've offered three explicit tests (that are actually four) in the links already provided.
3. I wonder if there isn't a self-contradiction in your reasoning. You claim that we cannot know the canon except as an article of faith, which means it must be revealed through the church. You claim that the church did not define the canon until the fourth century. And yet you recognize that the church recognized certain books (correctly) as Scripture prior to the fourth century. Therefore, it cannot be true that a book cannot be known to be Scripture until there is a formal declaration. Thus you are forced to offer some alternative grounds on which the canon can be revealed without having been defined--perhaps by the teaching authority of some important figure on the assumption this individual is correctly interpreting the true but as of yet undefined dogma. And yet how you can do that without appealing to a series of tests of reason is entirely beyond me, for those very authorities (as you noted) sometimes disputed amongst themselves and, in fact, used their reason amongst themselves in defense of their pronouncements. Against all this, I say what's good for the goose . . .

Bottom line: you keep saying that we cannot know if books are Scripture by reason, but you've provided no evidence for that claim and, in fact, I think quite a bit against it. And, perhaps worse, you haven't stopped to address the question of how someone like me does come up with the canon. I don't get it from your church. I didn't get it from Luther (he didn't think James was authoritative, remember? I do!). So if you cannot derive the canon from reason, then how is it I did? You may claim I didn't derive it correctly insofar as I've missed some (the deuterocanonicals); but then I would ask how I did correctly identify the 27 books of the NT and 39 of the OT books? If reason cannot discover that, say, Genesis or Romans are Scripture, how is it that I did? Is it shear accident that the three (or four) tests I propose completely account for the sixty-six books as we have them today? To your two points, I don't need the teaching authority of the church or the authority of the pope. I have my three (four) tests, and they seem to work just fine. I also have the history of your church and their rational arguments, all of which seems to be exactly what I've always said is the case.

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:20 pm 
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I haven't quite finished my thesis, but will respond to this latest post later today (if I have time).

There's one more element that I need to expand upon.

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:41 pm 
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theJack wrote:
No one says we can't know that any given book is Scripture. Then, if we can, the question becomes how do we know that any given book is Scripture? Here there are only two possible approaches: faith and reason. That is, it is revealed doctrine or else it is the proper conclusion of proper reasoning.


theJack wrote:
Now, it seems to me that your last two posts of any length have been an attempt to argue that whether or not any book is Scripture must be a matter of faith since it cannot be a matter of reason. You first suggests several tests, seemingly on the assumption of what a rational process might look like, and evaluated them. You spent the most time on the test of authorship. Then in your second post, you highlighted the debate over certain books and whether or not these books were Scripture. Now, I'm a bit frustrated because I feel like I'm trying to invent your argument for you, but it seems to me that you're attempting there to argue that the very presence of debate--that is, of any disagreement--is somehow indicative of the insufficiency of reason to arrive at a proper answer to the question, "is X Scripture?"


As I said in an earlier post, I will complete my case when I get the chance. In the meantime, you are a brilliant person (and I'm being 100% sincere here - no snarkiness). You are "inventing my arguement" because that's the case I was going to make in my future post - you "saw" where I was headed. I only wish I had made my point a little faster before you saw it. :D So I really didn't mean to frustrate you, its just that it takes me awhile and a great deal of effort to try and articulate my position.

But, and I was going to post this in my final segment, I would argue that:

1) Through natural reason alone God's existence can be proven.
2) The truth's of Christianity cannot be derrived through natural reason (e.g., The Trinity).

Anyway, give me a little time to complete my post and then I'll respond to your latest [post].

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:00 pm 
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Bah, my apologies for getting ahead of you. I thought you had finished. Back to holding my tongue--er....fingers. I'll wait to respond until I get a 10-4 from you. 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:16 pm 
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My next Post will be in another couple of days. I just can't seem to find the time to sit down and type all my thoughts.... :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:14 am 
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I'm still working on my reply....this is taking longer than it should, but I just can't get the time to write down all my thoughts...

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:34 pm 
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I'm still working on my reply....its not an issue of length but of depth....this is requiring a great deal of research and the 1,000,000 tangents associated with that effort keep slowing me down.

I must say, I am trying very hard to see the opposing point of view (i.e., reason guides what should be considered scripture). But, when I read the book of Acts, no matter how hard I try, I just don't see that to be the case. This is frustrating as I want to fully appreciate another's point of view, if anything, to be respectful and charitable, but also to make sure I'm solid on what I believe. But, if I can't turn on a "filter" so to speak, I won't be able to appropriately discern another's point of view.....I'm not making sense to anyone but me am I? :scratch:

So Jack, this is going to take me more time....but I'm still in for the discussion once I've got my thoughts spelled out completely.

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:57 pm 
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You're saying that you want to reply to your opponent's actual beliefs, not a strawman, but you're having trouble understanding why he believes what he believes. The desire to treat your opponent fairly in this way is most commendable.

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:22 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
You're saying that you want to reply to your opponent's actual beliefs, not a strawman, but you're having trouble understanding why he believes what he believes. The desire to treat your opponent fairly in this way is most commendable.


Yes Father, you said it perfectly.

Thank you.

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:27 am 
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Let me echo Padre here. It is nice to have someone try to actually hear what you are trying to say rather than assuming you are saying things you aren't. That's a very difficult attitude to have (at least consistently), but do know that at least I highly appreciate it. It's also the primary reason I, for one, spend time on forums like this. Whether or not anyone ever takes anything I say seriously, I can tell you that I get the most out of conversations when I make it a point to be honest enough with myself to truly try hear what someone else is saying. Definitely helps me come to a much deeper appreciation of my own ideas--where they are founded and where, frankly, sometimes they need to change or be adapted.

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 9:41 pm 
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OK, I'm having a difficult time completely understanding your (theJack) position. I'm afraid that no matter how I look at things, I'm just not seeing your perspective. Therefore, would you mind one more time, concisely as possible, outlining it for me? :D Bullet points are ideal, but if that's not how you roll, I understand.

I just want to make sure I'm going about this in as fair a manner as possible.

Thanks so much!

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 7:38 pm 
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Sure, Peetem. I suppose I could get into a lot of nuance, but at bottom my claim is this:

The canon of Scripture is an article of reason, not of faith.

That's the whole of it. So you might claim that it is an article of faith, largely on the argument that if it is of reason then people won't know what books constitute Scripture. And to that, I just shrug. This is an argument I've been having here for years. It didn't impress me in 2010, and it doesn't impress me now. The fact that some people get their sums wrong is absolutely no indication that I can't get my sums right.

So take any given argument about any given doctrine in which Scripture is cited to prove some point. Let's put it in logical form (the same logical form I cited previously in this thread):

1. The book of X states y
2. The book of X is Scripture and is therefore authoritative
3. Therefore, Y is true

So there are three and only ways to dispute the argument:

1. Challenge (1), that is, to say that the book doesn't say what the interpreter says it says (this is the normal approach);
2. Challenge (2) and say that (2) is not Scripture after all (this is what non-Catholics do with doctrines based on the Apocrypha, for instance); or
3. Challenge (2) and say that no book of Scripture is inspired and so authoritative (which is irrelevant to our discussion)

Set aside the first and third approach. The only thing that matters for us is the second. You want to say that we can only know a book is Scripture if the (Catholic) Church declares it, and that because you say it's an article of faith. I disagree. I say it's an article of reason, that is, that people can come to a reasonable conclusion as to whether or not (2) is true.

At this point, I don't feel a lot of need to expand or that it would be helpful. What's important is the essence of my argument. I say that I can know that James or Genesis or 1 Peter or Romans are inspired Scripture, because that's the only reasonably conclusion from the evidence. That's the sum total of my argument. If you want to claim that reason cannot know that a book is inspired, feel free. I think you'll be wrong. If you want to say that whether or not a book is inspired may be known by reason or by faith (as, say, God's existence can so be known), then that's perfectly fine, too. I'll grant that something known by faith is more certain than something known by reason and carry on my merry way, content in the knowledge that I know the canon of Scripture by reason. I don't begrudge your knowledge by faith. I just charge that you begrudge my knowledge by reason.

Not bullet points, I know, but that's about as good as I can do right now. I hope it's sufficient. :)

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 10:30 pm 
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Thank you. This is a big help.

It's also what I thought (more or less).

Now pray I get the time to respond. :D

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 9:11 pm 
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OK,

So I've outlined my points, which I am going to support with scripture (lots of scripture). The problem is, while I know the verses, I don't know the verses. I'm really good at learning something, but terrible with the details. Needless to say, taking the time to record the chapter and verse are important to me, and that's now the holdup.

So, I haven't ended the discussion. It is simply delayed a bit longer than I intended.

I will say that I believe that no matter how solid a position I have, I don't think I'll make any headway in properly explaining my point. I find that as hard as I try, I idea rattles around in my head but the articulation always falls short.

So a bit longer....thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 9:51 pm 
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Sure thing, take your time. The good news about a discussion thread is you can wait as long as you want between replies. I've been here seven years. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. (Unless I get banned, but I don't plan on doing that . . . ;))

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:42 pm 
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OK, so here's where I am.

I had everything outlined and then gave everything I had put together a good "thinking". This has been going on for weeks now (in case you haven't noticed). Ultimately, my outline has turned in to something like a thesis on authority.

Now, I hadn't intended to go this direction, but I ended up here nonetheless. To me its very clear - from the beginning of the Bible authority is granted by God to man (for all sorts of things, including spiritual guidance).

So, this is why I'm still delayed. Authority is a really big subject and honestly, seems to be the single issue that separates Roman Catholics from everyone else.

Long post short, its going to be a bit longer. :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: "Great Apostasy" theories
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:53 pm 
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