Friday, October 21, 2011

The Early Christians are Inadmissible...

The title of today's post comes from my ongoing opponent. Who informed me that my use of the practices of the Early Church was inadmissible evidence to support my assertion that his faith was not that of the apostles as he claimed.

Seems a bit like a judge deciding to throw out potentially damaging eye-witness testimony, purely because it is damaging.

To be fair this was his initial quote: "My religion is the same as that of the apostles. I can prove it from the Scriptures. Yours is not." 

His words will be in blue....

I responded to that with a 10-point list of ways in which his religion differs from the one taught by the Apostles. 
My List:
1. They believed in regenerative baptism (of infants even)
2. They believed in the Real Presence
3. They quoted, used, knew and taught ergo believed in the Septuagint
4. They submitted to the authority of the Church
5. They called Mary Blessed
6. They taught 7 sacraments
7. They didn't believe Sola anything
8. They believed in a ministerial priesthood
9. In fact they had Bishops, Priests and Deacons
10. They refrained from eating meat on certain days...

This is where the discussion got funny...

His response

1. They believed in regenerative baptism (of infants even)
There is not a single verse of Scripture that (a.)teaches regenerative baptism and (b.)infant baptism.

This one made me laugh... I admit I have to give him a little credit for point b as there truly are no specific verses which say infants were baptized, there are numerous instances however of "whole households" being baptized, so is he really saying none of those households had infants or very small children...Argue from silence much...

However to say not a single verse teaches regenerative baptism, really, really, St. Paul uses the words washing of regeneration in his letter to Titus. (Titus 3:5-6) Further Acts 22:16 tells us Arise be baptized and wash away your sins...

My favorite baptism verse in Acts however has to be Peter telling the people in Acts 2:38-39 that baptism is for the remission of sins and that the promise is to "you and your children."

Seems one has to go a long way to avoid or ignore these references to baptism as a regenerative act.  

2. They believed in the Real Presence
They did not believe your doctrine of Transubstantiation. If they did, then they were deceived by the devil or Christ was a sinner, I proved this to you. You merely touted back: “bbbbbbbut the early church!” That’s not proof. That’s called begging the question.

This has been his argument all along...the apostles were deceived by the Devil or Christ was a sinner, it's a tiresome argument that I have rebutted on this blog several times.
 Here is the post in question where he supposedly rebutted my defense of Transubstantiation. As I said not much of a rebuttal. But let's look at it. 
Deceived by the Devil: Doesn't hold water Christ told his believers unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you shall not have life within you. Jn. 6:54-55. Jesus in fact adamantly over the course of  John 6 tells his listeners some 12 times that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. I don't know about anyone else but if God tells me something 12 times I might listen to Him.

His other argument about Christ being a sinner stems from his errant belief that if Christ told his disciples to eat His flesh and drink His blood before the "fulfillment" of the law that makes Him a sinner. I pointed out that He abrogated the law by issuing the command to eat His flesh. Not so says my opponent after all the law wasn't fulfilled. His argument stems from Jesus saying It is finished must be the fulfillment of the law. I referred him to a post from Shameless Popery where Joe investigated what exactly was finished... 
I don't think he read it because he continues to parrot this argument. Regardless Christ was fully divine therefore even in the Incarnation a part of Him exists with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the eternal Now. When you are outside of time all things are currently the present so it doesn't really matter when something happens in earthly time. 
Also notice the quip here about "The early church,"
3. They quoted, used, knew and taught ergo believed in the Septuagint
(a.)Many people knew the Septuagint, (b.)show me where the Septuagint is quoted, (c.)show me where they show their faith in the Septuagint.

Point a here is self evident so we won't go there. Point b is something I have done many times, showing him numerous references to the sheer volume of NT quotations that come directly from the LXX canon. This link from Scripture Catholic was largely ignored, or made fun of in previous discussions. Now to point C logic dictates that the Lord and the Apostles would quote from Scripture that which they believed to be Scripture. Ergo the Septuagint was considered Scripture by the Lord and the Apostles

4. They submitted to the authority of the Church
They submitted to the authority of the Lord God Christ, not the church. Insofar as a minister of the Word of God is in accordance with the Word of God that person is to be listened to. Your religion contradicts the Word of God at many points. Therefore, it is not to be listened to. I say that on the authority of Christ, the only Head of His Church.

Once again let's look to Scripture shall we: Acts 15 details Paul and Barnabas going to the Apostles for a decision regarding how Gentile Christians are to live among Jewish Christians. Notice here Paul was a "minister of the Word of God" appointed by Christ himself, why couldn't he merely make the decision why did he need to return to Jerusalem and meet with Kephas and James and the rest. Notice also that the council essentially ends when Kephas (Peter) says his piece. Now true James closes the council but it is Peter's words that have the entire crowd silenced. Which is of course a rebuttal to the anti-Catholic rant at the end of this point, Christ gave Peter His flock asking Peter three times to tend his sheep, feed his lambs. Jn 21:15-17.

5. They called Mary Blessed
Of course they did, and they called one another blessed. For the Scriptures say: “Blessed be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed US with EVERY spiritual blessing…” They didn’t pray to her – they knew that prayer to anyone but God is idolatry.

I won't attack this one from the Marian angle just from the Communion of Saints. I can't specifically say whether Mary was prayed to in the Early Church I would suppose she was, however I can say the Early Church did pray to the Saints for intercession. Which they continue to do today, which they did in Jesus time as well (2nd Mac. 12:42-46). Now granted the Maccabees reference is more about offering prayers for the dead.
"Even if we make images of pious men it is not that we may adore them as gods but that when we see them we might be prompted to imitate them." Cyril of Alexandria, On Psalms 113 (115) (ante A.D. 444)." This was true then and it is true now...
 "Only may that power come upon us which strengthens weakness, through the prayers of him[i.e. St. Paul] who made his own strength perfect in bodily weakness." Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, 1:1(A.D. 380).
"But God forbid that any in this fair assembly should appear there suffering such things! but by the prayers of the holy fathers, correcting all our offences, and having shown forth the abundant fruit of virtue, may we depart hence with much confidence." John Chrysostom, On Statues, Homily 6:19 (A.D. 387).

Darn it, it looks like early Christians thought highly of the intercession of Saints....No wonder he didn't want me to use them in my argument. 

6. They taught 7 sacraments
lol. Where? Show me from the Scriptures. 

Evidently he thinks the Sacraments are funny...Curious. This one I think will be merely Scripture references without comment.
Baptism: Already covered but St. Paul details how baptism is the new circumcision many times in his epistles. 
Eucharist: John 6, Luke 22:19-20, Mk. 14:22-24, Mt. 26:26-28, 1st Cor. 11:23-26
Confirmation: Acts 8:14-17, Acts 19:5-6, Heb. 6:2, Rev. 9:4
Marriage: Matt. 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18
Ordination: Acts 6:6, Numbers 27:18
Confession: Jn 20:20-23
Anointing of the Sick: Mk. 6:13, James 5:14-15

7. They didn't believe Sola anything
They believed in Sola Scriptura (2 Tim 3:14-17, Ps 119, etc),

No, Protestant proof text be damned, they didn't. Reading the passage from 2nd Timothy it is clear that St. Paul is encouraging Timothy in knowledge of the Old Testament as he directs him to the Sacred Writings he had known since childhood. Seeing as the New Testament was as yet unfinished this can't be an appeal to Sola Scriptura. Nice try. Ps. 119 is great let your words be a lamp unto my feet, light unto my path sure...but it doesn't preclude other things. Also St. Paul makes numerous references to Traditions (paradosis in Greek) which are unwritten and handed on by word of mouth. 
Sola Fide (Gen 15:3, James 1:18, James 2:23, Eph 2:8-10, Romans 3-4, John 3:16, etc), 

When Paul speaks of works, he is generally referring to "works of law" (read also Galatians) which refer to works done under the Mosaic law. The Jews believed that they still had to perform their ritual works to be saved (e.g., circumcision). In Acts 15, Peter declared that circumcision was no longer required for salvation. We are saved by grace, not works. When Paul refers to "works," he is also referring to any type of work where we attempt to obligate God and make him a debtor to us. The Jews were attempting to do this in their rigid system of law. 
James's poor misunderstood, proof-texted, epistle also doesn't teach Sola Fide no matter how much anyone wants it to. James 2:20-24 in totality repeatedly says that faith needs works. In fact vs. 24 says Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?
So if you torture the Scripture you can make it say Sola Fide, that doesn't make it right.
To be fair I edited his comment here and chose merely to address the two most heretical solas. 

8. They believed in a ministerial priesthood
Scripture please. You’ve asserted this before and when I asked for Scripture you ignored me. “Show me the [Scripture]!” 

Mt. 28:19 Baptism is a priestly function, The Last Supper instruction to do that in remembrance of Him is a priestly function...Forgiving of sins was a priestly function...

9. In fact they had Bishops, Priests and Deacons
Those words are used in the New Testament, but they don’t refer to what you think they refer to :/

Oh really Inigo Montoya...Why because you don't want them to? Or do you have an actual argument here? Have those offices changed in 2000 years, certainly. Has the office of President changed in the US over the last 300 years, certainly. Does that mean Barack Obama is more or less President than George Washington (politics aside), no of course not.

10. They refrained from eating meat on certain days...
I’m sure some of them did. Paul admits this much in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 10, you know, those passages where he explicitly refutes your religion on this matter and says:

Again not much more to report here than his anti-Catholic rantings. These verses do not refute Catholicism, they merely show that judging others for what they chose to do in regards to eating is sinful. But I suppose it's a nice try....

It is more than clear that the only reason to refuse to entertain the thoughts of early Christians is purely because it undermines his argument that he somehow holds the faith of the Apostles. It shows an intriguing amount of intellectual dishonesty.


Nathan said...

I wonder where in Scripture he finds which books are to be included in scripture (hard to have Sola Scriptura without knowing which books qualify).

Michael said...

Oh that's a fun argument to have with him trust me.

Loads of citations like Mt. 4:4 which somehow prove Sola Scriptura and of course the beloved proof text from St. Paul's letter to Timothy.