Saturday, January 12, 2008

Protestant Charges Round 3

Jim has disappeared but he's tagged another contender before leaving. Grifman posted the following comments (again my replies in red)

First off, where does Clement claim to be the pope, with all that this position implies today? I agree that he orders obedience to his letter, but he doesn't say "Obey because I am the pope". Is it because everyone already knew that he was the pope? Perhaps, but you can't really prove he's the pope by this letter if you are already assuming that.

Replace pope with "Roman Pontiff" or "Bishop of Rome". I can't prove he was the bishop of Rome I suppose.. but the earliest sources unanimously confirm he was (take Irenaeus for the strongest and clearest early example). Their testimony is far more persuasive than any other. Here's some background on the word "Pope" that you might find useful. (Note, its roots are Latin not Greek which was the language they used at the time. So it would have been more than just a bit anachronistic for Clement to claim to be 'Pope')

Going further, in Chapter 63 where he urges obedience he states that they should do it so that they should achieve their goal and be blameless. His letter nowhere says on what authority his call to obedience is based unless I've missed something - and I could have - it's a long letter.

His authority seems to be taken for granted.

Secondly, the letter on the face does not appear to be from Clement personally, but from the church at Rome, as it say in the opening greeting.

The earliest ecclesiology of the fathers held the primacy of the Roman pontiff to be based on both the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul (as you will notice in his letter) and also the letter of Irenaeus Against Heresies. Irenaeus says nothing about a Pope but he does talk about the Roman Church and says that it is necessary for all other Churches to agree with her. See this post for details. This early ecclesiology is absolutely no problem for Catholic theology. (See the parable of the mustard seed). However, it does pose quite a problem for Protestant theology.

Indeed, Clement also uses the term "we" thoughout, instead of "I" if, which would seem to indicate he's speaking for the church at Rome.

Popes still use that language today in many of their letters. They are not the king of the Church speaking for themselves. They speak on behalf of the magisterial voice of the Church. Also see my previous reply.

The letter also states in Chapter 1 an apology for being tardy in responding to the question the Corinthians "consulted" the church at Rome on. It looks like they asked for assistance from the church at Rome in this matter, not that the pope was unilaterally intervening.

Yes, they did ask for it. But the question we have to answer is why would they ask for help from Rome (especially when one of the apostles is still living much closer to them in Asia minor).

It looks like St. John didn't intervene because he wasn't asked or maybe didn't even know of the problem.

Again the point is WHY didn't/wouldn't they ask him..

Or it is entirely possible that he also wrote a letter that we don't know about. I don't think we know enough to say what John did or didn't do. All we can say is that the church at Rome did intervene.

Lastly, the letter does talk about church structure/authority. But it seems to paint a bit of a different picture than what exists today.

In Chapter 44 he talks about the apostles appointing men to replace them, and that after those die, others should be appointed. But this subsequent appointment seems to be bit different. It seems that further successors are appointed by "eminent men" and then ratified by the church. It also appears to imply that these successors can be dismissed by the church.

The Catholic Church still affirms apostolic succession. I'm not sure what your point is here.

Clement in hie letter seems to be arguing, not against the Corinthian churches right to dismiss a "bad" minister, but he rebukes them for dismissing those

"who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all".

Clement seems to be implying that those who haven't served blamelessly can be removed by the church at Corinth.

Sure, bishops have that power.

He only rebukes the Corinthian church for "unjustly" removing these men, which seems to imply that men could be "justly" removed with cause. It's just that the Corinthian church is wrong in dismissing these men because they were just and upright.

Those practices seem a bit at odds with those of the Catholic Church today.


(second post)

I've owned several versions of the NIV, and everyone has had this line as a footnote, not in the text itself.

Well I must have had a special one. Not sure if I still have it or not but it's a non issue anyway.

In fact this is the big reason that the KJV only fanatics hate the NIV - it doesn't have variants like this in the text. So I don't see where you say it's there with an asterik. Just go look at the onine version of the NIV - it's a footnote.

Secondly, we don't know that the line is "spurious".

Beyond reasonable doubt we do.

It is in some texts, mostly later ones. The odds are that it is an interpolation, but to say that you know it is 100% spurious is more than can possibly be said by the experts. You claim to know more than can actually be known, then use it as a club against Protestants.

Ugh, The Message is awful, on that we can agree :) I can't speak for a lot of these versions just the ones I have but the RSV like the NIV, has it in a footnote. The NAS includes it in brackets but footnotes the text as not being in the oldest manuscripts.

I'm also looking that New Century online and I don't see this verse. And while it's in Holman, it's in brackets, indicating it's a variant. And the NKJV also shows it's a variant. So without checking all the sources you noted above, I'm 3 for 3 here in showing that all of these show that it is a variant. How more honest do they have to be to make you happy? :)

"But the bottom line for me is: Protestants say the Lord's prayer with the line tacked on... Catholic's don't. That was a selling point for me (albeit a very small one). But it did clue me in on a reality that I would discover in my Catholic studies - those who reject Scripture as the sole authority ironically revere it more than those who say they trust only in Scripture."

That's just plain silly.

To reject my point is plain silly. :P

I could just as well argue that Protestants are more concerned because they include this textual variant in the chance that it is correct, while Catholics don't care enough to show this possibility. But I won't because that kind of argument accomplishes nothing. It's the equivalent of arguing that Protestants love God more because we don't have to waste time with the saints. You should really be better than this.

The ad hominem attack is not appreciated but if you'll go back and look, you've missed the point of what I said :

(albeit a very small one). But it did clue me in on a reality that I would discover in my Catholic studies

It wasn't this point that showed me that Catholics revere Scripture more than Protestants, this merely gave me a clue. I would later discover it in my studies over the last couple of years. The argument you were attacking was a bad one, fortunately it wasn't mine.

Most Protestant English Bibles seem to openly disclose that this is a variant. To make it some point of Catholic superiority that your Bible doesn't include this variant is putting more weight on this point than it can bear, IMO.

It shouldn't be in the text if we have very good reason to doubt its authenticity (even with an asterisk). Just leave the thing out, or at most put it in with the asterisk in the footnotes only. I'd have no problem with that.

Again, it's not "spurious". It's a variant - there's a difference. There's nothing wrong that I know of in showing variants. I don't know of anyone but you and KJV only people who make an issue of this :)

I mentioned it in passing, you're the one who's making a huge issue of it.

As for common knowledge, I think we can both agree that there are a lot of things about the Christian faith that both Catholics/Protestant should know but don't. But we don't ignore them or throw them out because laymen aren't up on them. Right? :)

But we don't make it easy for the lay people to be misled either.

"As for the Texus Receptus, there's no doubt that our resources for ancient manuscripts and getting closer to the original text is better today than it has been anytime since the days of the early Church Fathers. However, the line simply isn't in our bibles - not even old Catholic versions like the Douay-Rheims."

Uh, but it is in Catholic versions. All the ancient versions that have it are by definition "Catholic" versions. That's what I find so wrong about your argument. The Douay-Rheims is not an "old" version, it's a relatively modern version compared with the 2,000 years of church history and versions of the Bible that came before it. Many of your older "catholic" versions have this text in them. Your newer versions omit it, but many of your older versions include it :)

Like which one? To my knowledge, before the Douay Rheims the only liturgically approved version was the Vulgate.

"So I'm not blaming the KJV translators for putting the lines in there and I'm not blaming the Texus Receptus for having it in the first place. I don't know where it originated. What I do know is that modern Protestant translators know its not legit yet they keep putting it in there."

Again, you claim far more than textual scholars would claim. It's a variant, most likely not original, but we can't be sure. Nothing more, nothing less.

"That was my point. Hope this clears it up."

I just think it's an unnecessary polemic that serves little purpose.

Then why did you make such a big deal of it?


Anonymous said...

Tim, Tim, Tim,

What is :P??

LOVE, PEACE, RESPECT: What do these words mean to you?

Tim A. Troutman said...

Sometimes it can be difficult to grasp another's intent over the internet. Here's a great example of it, I'm not sure if you're joking with me or if you really did take offense at my gesture.

Anonymous said...

Remove the logs Tim, remove the logs! Out of your eyes that is!!!

Tim A. Troutman said...

Ok so it looks like I'm going to have to spell out every detail.

The ":P" wasn't said in disrespect.. If I was mad in a debate do you think I would literally stick my tongue out? The ridiculousness of it should have been your first clue that it wasn't disrespectful but said in a light hearted manner to make a valid point.

Hence, my second post which you apparently didn't understand - you can't always grasp the intention of another on the internet because we're only using text - body language is not present. Given how absurd your complaint was, I wasn't sure if you were joking or being serious.

Also, what is "Tim, Tim, Tim"? To me it sounds very condescending. Certainly far more condescending and rude than a playful ":P".

Then you accuse me of pointing out splinters in another while having logs in my own eyes. Did you read his post? He put a smirk after half the paragraphs and gave a direct ad hominem attack "You should be better than that" (that being a reference to a point that I didn't make) so he coupled it with a straw man attack.

Peace out.

johnsayshi said...

Dear Tim,

While I was interested in the debate that occurred over the course of these blogs, I do have to say that I don't really appreciate the overall tone of your responses. It often spirals into condescending territory and opening up your mind doesn't seem to to be a factor you considered important, which is a shame. I recognise that you've said that grasping intent through text-based communications is not as effective as we could hope for, but the mentality evident behind your words is brimming with disrespect.

That being said, I was pleased to find you admitting poor choice of wording on a few occassions, and not just in this latest instance of "reading between the lines". I just wish you'd open up your bible and read it for what it is, not for what the Catholic church tell you what it is. And no, I'm not a Protestant :) I think more can be gained by putting aside personal denominational memberships and opening up God's Word in the form that He gave it to us; the eternal, (truly) infallible God-inspired Bible.

Regardless of these complaints, I do sincerely appreciate the discussion you've undertaken on here and pray that God will guide you through your life. Even if it seems like I myself am attacking you on here, I am just hoping you'll read Matthew 7:3 (or indeed the whole Bible) with a clear head.

Keep up your search for God! I'll try to do the same :)

In Christian Love and Unity,

Tim A. Troutman said...


Thanks for the comments and thanks for having patience with my bad manners. I have, or at least I think I have, grown considerably since this time and I'm more irenic now.

Now on the Bible, I cannot consider your advice to read the Bible apart from the Church. I have already done it though - I read it twice as a Protestant.

You say you're not a Protestant but your advice to read the Scripture without the Church is not only Protestant but hyper-Protestant.