Sunday, January 19, 2014

Crooked Arrows and Analogies,

All The While Spray Painting Targets  And Snipe-hunting For Protestant Fish In a Roman Barrel Full of Cloistered Monkeys

[corrected  2/4/14]

Well, the  combox zeitgeist over at Old Life Theological Society for Callers Cognitive Dissonance seems to have moved on to discussing the quality of home made vs. Safeway pastry. Still  it does provoke us to quietly weep a few crocodile tears for the eminent first commenter (as always) and his denial (as always)  on these kinds of posts at OLTS. 

Particularly since the same interlocutor has just given us "Clark, Frame, and the Analogy of Painting a Magisterial Target Around One’s Interpretive Arrow " in which he attempts to frame confessionalist RS Clark in his own words, of committing the same crime as Clark accuses biblicist John Frame to be guilty of: Setting oneself up as the interpretive authority over Scripture. 
As in do tell, William Tell.

The gentleman goes on at length – thankfully not quite as eye glazing as usual – in appealing to the Prot reader's private judgement in order to demonstrate the solipsism of that same private judgement and the subsequent necessity of privately judging that the sacred magisterial authority of the pope alone can break the solipsistic stranglehold. Circular pleading indeed, if not sophistical solipsistical.

Oblio's Obligatory Obfuscation/Inexcusable Ignorance
As for  Harry Nilsson, where is he  when we need him? You know, the singer  of the song  about "Me and my Arrow, taking the high road". Of integrity, honesty, credibility, stuff like that. Of correctly characterizing the Prot Roman paradigm if you are going to critique the Prot  Roman paradigm? (But  Protestants  paradigmatically eschew  paradigms/the Holy Father hasn't given them one, so no worries?)

As in the reformed confessions never claim to be above correction from Scripture, contra our protagonist's assumption/accusation. In short the whole "norma normans, norma normata" paradigm. The  Scripture is the infallible rule that rules; the norm that norms all other norms, while the creeds are rules that are normed/ruled by Scripture. And this Mr. Cross, as someone with an M.Div from Covenant Theological Seminary, (PCA) an ex-P&R churchman* ought to know. But doesn't. Or at least won't admit for all practical public purposes of his popish propaganda.

Just as he ought to have known that the Mormon claim to Joseph Smith's apostolic addition to Scripture in the Book of Mormon was contra Scripture as WCF Chapt.1 "Of Holy Scripture" confesses. And answered accordingly when the Utah missionaries knocked on his door. Instead, this incident supposedly precipitated his capitulation to Rome's claim to apostolicity  in order to resolve the existential torment, if not ecclesiastical angst that resulted from the encounter with the disciples of the  Mormon Apostles.

Apostolic Doctrine, Succession and Anarchy
But maybe from the paradigm  perspective of the romanist  in the ditch on the side of the road,  everybody else really does appear to be in the ditch on the other side of the road, Plato's cave notwithstanding.  Yet the reformed argue the middle of the road for  themselves,  all the while the anabaptist biblicists  are content to muddle around in the one ditch. As the papists do in the other, honestly, naively and solipsistically as they might in fact be.

The reformed again, at least have a case for their apostolic succession of doctrine, while romanists emphasize apostolic succession for their bishop and lump all who disagree into the camp of the anabaptists, who  only claim to read the holy Book by the light that comes in the crack in their own individualistic roof, the Scriptures having  just dropped out of the sky and down their chimney a half hour ago.

As for the standard charge of question begging from our accuser, to anyone who dissents from his version of the status questionis, what's with the implicit charge of solipsism? Doesn't that cancel out the power of one's private judgement to make an informed decision that the pope's solipsism sacred sacramental authority  is more sophistical scriptural superstitious sacred than me or thee's? But again the reformed aren't anarchic individualistic anabaptists. 

The Reformation and the Renaissance were in part the  fruit of the revolutionary technology of the moveable type of Gutenberg's press and the fall of Constantinople  which brought both manuscripts of the Greek New Testament and the early church fathers west, along with scholars who could read them, which produced critical editions and translations of Scripture and the fathers. And contra the Roman narrative, the reformed can and have demonstrated a reasonable claim on the fathers for their doctrine. 

A Multitude of Counselors
H.O.Olds might have his disagreement with the Second Commandment and the Regulative Principle of Worship, i.e."whatsoever is not commanded, explicitly or implictly in Scripture, is forbidden in the worship of God", but as he says in his Worship That is Reformed According to Scripture , the "reason the Reformers studied the Church fathers" was because "They are witnesses to the authority of Scripture. The Reformers studied the patristic commentaries on Scripture because it enriched their own understanding of Scripture (2002, p.4)". Likewise, he goes into more depth in his Patristic Roots of Reformed Worship. The Reformation was primarily " a return to the Scriptures, but  the writings of the Fathers were read as witnesses to the purer forms of worship of the ancient church (1975, p.1)". 

Warfield's comment is well known: "(T)he Reformation inwardly considered, was just the ultimate triumph of Augustine's doctrine of grace over Augustine's doctrine of the Church" (Calvin and Augustine, 1971, p.322). Or as the Proverbs has it, "In the multitude of counselors, there is safety (11:14, 15:22, 24:6)". The official Roman Church's pronouncement of anathema on the Reformation doctrines of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide did not come until the Council of Trent 1545-1563. Till then Rome truly was a big tent, (as it is today and promises even more so to become with the latest occupant of the Petrine throne.)

After all, Luther had acknowledged that his teachers Arnoldi, Trutvetter and von Staupitz had first pointed him to Scripture and helped him clarify the true biblical meaning of repentance in the sense of metanoia or 'an about face turning from sin' contra the prevailing understanding of "doing penance". And all of his teachers were Roman clergy in good standing with the church.

But of all this, not a solipsistic whisper of refutation from our ex-prot Roman apologist. Rome says it, I believe it, Scripture, reason or history to the contrary. In other words, this is fideism of the most raw and rank variety. Implicitly ignorant fideism.

Holy Hegelianism
Regardless of Rome's prejudiced appeal to history/tradition, for those of us who don't quite get or buy into the dialectical doublecross -  that Scripture can never interpret itself and that we can never know what Scripture truly says apart from the Holy Spirit  the  sacramental magisterial authority of little papa's sacred chrismata  - fides implicita - implicit faith, i.e. ignorant fideism,  fundamental pillar of Romanism that it is, is the sop thrown to your conscience in order to further  beat it into submission. If you haven't reached that stage upon the end of Mr. Cross's chain of non sequiturs and misrepresentations, regardless that he does not call attention to ignotus fide or admit it in any way in  his zeal to defeat the protestant alternative of Sola Scriptura. The sufficient  and  perspicuous Scriptures are the only infallible rule for faith and life.

And this from a papist apologist who has told us elsewhere that:
Of course an inquirer who is considering the Catholic paradigm as a whole will consider how the Catholic paradigm (which includes these five doctrines) makes sense of all the available historical, biblical, patristic, and philosophical data, in relation to the other available paradigms.
Yet perhaps there really are no other available paradigms, aside from the anabaptist straw man masquerading as the Presbyterian and Reformed paradigm of Sola Scriptura contra the Sola Solipsism parody that Mr. Cross and the Called to Communion cadre continually parrot. 

But all  it all amounts to in the end is:
To the Pope.

End of Story.

Oblio's Obligatory Encore
Me and my Arrow
Straighter than narrow
Where ever we go
Everyone knows
It's me and my Arrow

Evidently for those only capable of licensed with a papal imprimatur to hunt snipe, one's own cognitive dissonance is not on the religious  radar screen.

IOW Mr. Cross went a hunting for a target and a target he did find. 

The only one his crooked arrow would allow him to shoot in that by definition, the sacred sacramental magisterial authority of the pope is ineffable, indefectable, infallible and unreformable. But for all practical purposes, he can only "claim" (otherwise known as Mr. Cross's inevitable rejoinder of "handwaving assertion") that protestant confessionalism is contradictory because inescapably it lords it over Scripture. Fine. But then he needs to make his case rather than resort to misrepresentation, assertions and accusations of the same to carry his argument. 

Scripture Interprets Scripture According To Scripture
The dogfood version of a pig's breakfast that he serves up regarding solipsistic private judgement, which curiously enough, can only escape itself long enough to perceive the pope's perspicuous sufficiency and authority - but never Scripture's - all the while that he fails to mention that implicit faith/ignorant  fideism is fundamental to and goes hand in hand with submission to the sacred magisterium's papal judgement is,  at bottom,  no more than a dog returning to its vomit. Have at it, Rin Tin Tin.

All this again,  contra the countless examples in the Old Testament, never mind that of Christ and the apostles in the New, or even the solitary example of the Bereans Act 17:11,  of: "it is written". As in the constant refrain and  the repeated appeal  in Scripture . . . . to Scripture. Not "it is written in Tradition". Not "it is written by the Magisterium". Not "it is written in the ex cathedra Papal Bull". Rather "it is written" is written  in -   of all places -  Scripture and it refers to -  of all things -   Scripture, i.e. the written  word of God. Which is appealed to as the final authority, not some monument to  an unknown and incomprehensible God that does not and cannot communicate clearly in his Word.

Of all this, Mr. Cross writes not,  though somebody like the apostle Paul does. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul has the audacity to say that Timothy "from a child (brephos) has known the Scripture which enabled him to become wise unto salvation in Christ Jesus (3:15)". Of our roman interlocutor's schtick, that Scripture is unknowable, if not uninterpretable, apart from the sacramental magisterial authority of the Roman bishop, Paul knows and says nothing. But then again, perhaps our Romanist philosophy professor has never been a child and has always been a grown up adult that  wears a purple biretta beret and all this has escaped him. Like the con man Papillon's  fraudulent  escape from Devil's Island?

But not to put too fine a point on it, if the Word of God had not come in the flesh and spoken to us in the Word of God written, we would have had no sin, but now cognitive dissonance is no cloak for our contradictions (cf. Jn. 15:22). Better yet,  Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. Jn. 9:41

Assumptions, Presumptions and Accusations vs. Proof
But if, as Mr. Cross tells us elsewhere, "The accuser has the burden of proof", then Mr. Cross assumes what he needs to prove:

One, that the reformed confessions are  not in  submission  to Scripture, but lord it over Scripture contra what they explicitly declare; that they are  unreformable not only  in principle, but in  practice.

Two, Scripture never ever clearly interprets or expressly appeals to itself over and above other authorities, magisterial or no. IOW “it is written” cannot be found within the apostolic deposit of canonical Scripture nor does it refer to the same.

Three, solipsistic private protestant judgement, if  it is even  capable of understanding his (infallible?) argument for the  infallible sacred sacramental magisterial authority of the pope,  is just as equally incapable of understanding Scripture.

In other words, Mr. Cross needs to come clean about his magisterial witch hunt with a crooked arrow  if he really expects to be taken for anything but a sophist for the papal cause;  which is to say,  a liar for an ecclesiastical regime, which is itself built  on lies about Scripture, reason or history (aka tradition). Till then he gets to  play bow and arrows all by himself as  by all rights he should. But only if his mother, Rome does not come and take his sharp toys away from him  for fear  he'll  hurt himself.
*Correction: with apologies for the mistake. See here for an  overview of Cross's background.