Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Evidence of Simplicity

Somewhere along the road of life, I became mostly convinced that anything true can be summarized in a simple way. That is, whatever is true can be stated so simply that virtually anyone with their head on straight should be able to understand it plainly.

Catholicism's simple but irrefutable proofs convinced me of her truth. There is no simple Protestant response to the charge that sola scriptura fails on account of its non existence in the Bible. If there were, Protestant apologists would have picked it up a long time ago. There is no simple reason why Protestants have as much claim on early Church history as Catholics do. If there were, the apologists would have all latched on to it. Instead, every apologist has a different (faulty) reason. Some say that Peter being in Rome meant nothing. Some say that he was never in Rome. Some say Peter himself is irrelevant. Some say the first Christian generation apostatized. Some say it wasn't until the 5th century. In fact, none of these silly theories have attracted a large number of anti-Catholic intellectuals. It reminds me of the Jesus debate. Whereas there are large numbers of anti-Christian intellectuals who deny Christ, there isn't any sort of consensus on a plausible alternative to the truth of the gospels while Christians have simple and powerful reasons to trust them. It should be no surprise then that there are large numbers of anti-Catholic intellectuals with a similar lack of consensus against His bride.

I have run across people (especially reformed) when their theology is refuted by these simple truths, they rebut "you don't understand the reformed faith". I've heard that charge at least four times against former Reformed Christians (who knew their faith well). But if the Reformed theology is so complex that even seminary graduates and former pastors can't understand it enough to defend it against simple Catholic claims, then how true is it anyhow?

If "truth is harmonious", then it shouldn't be any surprise to us that all truth can be expressed in simple terms and in its simplicity, it can withstand even complex attempts at refutation. If any doctrine becomes too complex for comfort, as long as we understand it, an analogy may reduce the truth to the simplest of terms. This is why things which are really true can always be explained to men, (even simple minded men).

But there are simple minds and great minds in all faiths, one will object - and this is true. But we are not, at present, dealing with what caliber of minds a particular teaching has attracted but whether or not its fundamental doctrines may be expressed (and defended) in simplicity. Again, the doctrine of sola scriptura may be stated simply "the bible is the only infallible authority" but there is no simple defense of its refutation - "the bible itself does not say so". Similarly, sola fide may state simply "we are saved by faith alone" but it cannot defend itself in simplicity against the arguments of James - particularly "the demons also believe" and "you are not saved by faith alone" (the latter of which is especially difficult to deal with in simplicity).

Therefore I maintain that Catholicism, in her simple, powerful truth refutes all charges against her and that her simplicity itself speaks of her truth. The complexities and confusion of her enemies speak of against them. I say this because God is not the author of confusion and to recall what Jesus prayed "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children."

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain Chooses Sarah Palin

Good choice, a Pro-Life Catholic *update, she is apparently Protestant per Japhy's comments in the combox below. I'll still vote for them though (aren't I the Ecumenist).* She's also moderate enough to appeal to the moderate democrats. McCain has my vote.

Check out this list: 10 quotes from Sarah Palin that will make conservatives happy. Nice.



Thursday, August 28, 2008

Liberalism's War Against Reason

If "every vice is an injury to nature" and vice, of course, hurts the sinner rather than God, it should come as no surprise that liberalism wars against rationality itself. Some time ago on Tom Brown's blog I remember someone bringing up the point that both Augustine and Aquinas considered sin to be that which is contrary to reason. Of course! What reasonable person would put their soul in danger for trivial gain?

When I speak of liberalism I mean, of course, that force and disposition (or lack of reason) behind both the "sexual revolution" and Cain's wicked sacrifice (and subsequent envy). I do not mean any liberalism which, by whatever means, seeks to advance human liberty in accordance with the very dignity thereof (but we needn't worry ourselves too much here since it is practically never used in this way anymore - I spoke here about the usage of this word).

The "spirit" of liberalism I'm speaking of should be clear in light of recent political events such as Nancy Pelosi making absurd claims on the evil of abortion or Obama claiming that he didn't know when life began and even down to Sean Hannity (on the other end of the spectrum) telling Father Euteneuer "judge not lest ye be judged" when called out for publicly defying Church doctrine. It should be clear now that I'm not talking about mere politics.

These people take Jesus figuratively when He says "what God has joined together, let man not separate" and literally when He says "be as wise as serpents". They assert that the Catholic prohibition of contraception has led to increased abortion which is itself the absurd idea that people will obey the Church behind closed doors and disobey in public. On every point they are not only mistaken, but unreasonably so.

The reason for this is that sin wars against our nature and nothing sinful is natural. Reason is part of our nature and therefore sin must also war against our reason.

Liberalism is the apex of what worldly wisdom could muster up philosophically. If it only fell short that would be one thing, but the reality is that it doesn't just leave a man short handed, it leaves him dull witted. For it doesn't fail its purpose of right thinking, it succeeds in its purpose of injurying man's very capacity to reject it.

It is no coincidence then that it is always the liberal who says "it doesn't matter if you're liberal or conservative as long as..." and always the liberal philosophers who come to the conclusion that truth cannot be known. Since they have embraced a philosophy that wars against ones very nature and his ability to reason, it is no surprise that they feel the need to shy away from objectivity. Find the man who embraces objectivity and you'll find one who has good reason to believe that he is really right. Find the man who rejects it, and you'll find one who subconciously knows that his philosophy cannot hold up under objective scrutiny.

Ok, I'm Immature

I'm listening to City of God by audio book while working. The topic now is a serious one and one I am greatly interested to follow his thought process on -which is why this line just caught me off guard and made me laugh out loud:
"Some have such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at pleasure, so as to produce the effect of singing." -City of God 14.24
So if you laughed, you're immature too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Church Fathers on Abortion

Catholidoxy has a nice list of quotes from the early Church fathers on abortion and some common sense arguments against Pelosi's embarrassing remarks. H/T Michael Zappe.

Conversion Story

Chad Toney, who many of you already know, has a radio interview of his conversion story available for mp3 download.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

St. Augustine on the Sacrifice of the Mass

From City of God 10.20:
And hence that true Mediator, in so far as, by assuming the form of a servant, He became the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, though in the form of God He received sacrifice together with the Father, with whom He is one God, yet in the form of a servant He chose rather to be than to receive a sacrifice, that not even by this instance any one might have occasion to suppose that sacrifice should be rendered to any creature. Thus He is both the Priest who offers and the Sacrifice offered. And He designed that there should be a daily sign of this in the sacrifice of the Church, which, being His body, learns to offer herself through Him. Of this true Sacrifice the ancient sacrifices of the saints were the various and numerous signs; and it was thus variously figured, just as one thing is signified by a variety of words, that there may be less weariness when we speak of it much. To this supreme and true sacrifice all false sacrifices have given place.
According to St. Augustine, Christ, and not man, designed that there should be this daily sign "in the sacrifice of the Church". When sacrifice is removed from Christian worship, right worship is removed from Christianity.

As is clearly understood by St. Augustine and the early Church, Catholics do not offer new sacrifices. We offer ourselves up as a sacrifice. The priest acts in persona Christi offering to God the one perfect sacrifice of His Son.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Catholics Against Joe Biden

The new blog, Catholics Against Joe Biden is up and off to a pretty impressive start. Also check out the Facebook page.

I encourage any other Catholic bloggers who support the Church's teachings on the pro-life issues to pass this along. Let's pray our bishops step up to the challenge and speak out strongly against this evil.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Probability of the Catholic Church - II

In statistics, we use what is called a "null hypothesis" (written as H0) to base our decisions on. That is, in statistics we don't say "H is true" we say that "based on the evidence we are 95% certain that H0 (the null hypothesis) is false". Statistics embrace uncertainty and quantify it. Many people (most) are uncomfortable with using statistics or quantifying any uncertainty as if doing so lessened the validity of results or as if statistics are so easily misinterpreted as to render the research in question meaningless. They say statisticians are boring.. but we have our moments. (I'm not a real statistician of course, I just like stats and that's just a lame statistics joke).

When I was about to convert, I used the Bayesian theorem to weigh the evidence in favor of Catholicism as I saw it. I started with an agnostic 50% probability but it may be more helpful to take the approach of stating the null hypothesis and attempting to accumulate enough evidence to reject it.

With the Catholic question, the null hypothesis (hereafter referred to as H0) would be "Catholicism is not true". Now I'll keep numbers out of this to make it more straightforward especially to an audience not likely as thrilled about numbers as I am. The numbers would only serve to quantify my personal estimations of the evidences anyway - each person needs to come up with their own.

I am not certain that Catholicism is true, but I have personally come to the conclusion that there is enough evidence to base an affirmative decision on (even an important one such as this).

1. What Could Go Wrong?
First we must ask ourselves, as in any important decision, what are the possible consequences of my decision?

The most obvious reasonable danger is that I might be putting my soul in jeopardy by following an apostate religion. This is not a danger to be taken lightly. My reason tells me these things:
1a: If it is an apostate church, there should be perceptible signs. What would an "apostate religion" look like? What would be the signs of something which was leading me astray? If there are no perceptible signs, how can one even be faulted for failing to understand what he was not capable of perceiving since perception must precede understanding?
1b: If the pseudo-neo Platonism which Protestantism embraces is true (that is, the intention is the only thing that truly matters) and I know my intention is good, even if I make a bad decision here, my intentions will trump my lack of discernment. If this is not true, then the only "Christian" alternative to this conversion has fundamental flaws itself.
1c: If my spiritual growth is stunted (that is, I don't lose my salvation but do fail to grow in Christ because of being tricked into saint-worship etc...) then I still go to Heaven, I just won't have as many crowns or as big of a mansion or.. something. At least I won't go to Hell.
1d: If the doctrine of "faith alone" is true, I know I have faith in Christ and that as long as the church in question does not jeopardize this, I can still receive salvation. Again, if "faith alone" is not true, then my current theology is false.
Taking these and doubtlessly other dangers into consideration (such as potential ostracizing from family or friends) and leaving aside, for now, the question of potential dangers of staying a Protestant should it turn out to be false, we shall proceed. I have noted that if at any time I perceive the "church" leading me away from the fundamental faith in Christ, red flags should be going up.

2. What Could Go Right?
This is also important. What are the potential benefits?
2a. If "sola fide" is false, it may well assist me getting into heaven.
2b. Even if a version of "sola fide" is true, it may assist me.
2c. Even if it is true, the "church" may even assist me acquiring faith (though unlikely if a particular "church" rejects a doctrine which is true. Still, "He who is not against is for us" and we Christians are in general agreement that many have been led to salvation through organizations which held imperfect doctrines - even on the "essentials")
2d. I would feel more at ease to talk with my Christian peers intelligibly about the faith.
2e. It could potentially answer a lot of questions and put my mind at ease over various troubling issues (thus again, aiding my spirituality by removing focus from doctrinal dead ends).
2f. It could give me access to the risen Christ on earth through the Eucharist.
2g. To sum these up, it could help make me a saint.
3. Is There Enough Evidence to Reject H0?
If at first it seems that Catholicism just might be right, (which from my experience, all those who ask the question honestly have to wrestle with it more than just casually whether or not they end up converting), then we need to remind ourselves in light of H0, the burden of proof in this case is on the "church" in question (for the skeptic). But this isn't merely being unfairly biased against the church to begin with, it's having a bias towards truth. In our daily lives otherwise, we certainly realize that truth has a way of making herself known. Therefore, if the Catholic Church really is the true church, there would be some way of us knowing (or at least being pretty sure).

In no particular order and certainly not exhaustive:
3a: Having personally experienced Christianity to be true, I take this for granted and no other system makes complete sense of Christianity (especially issues like the canon etc...) Also under this point, she looks more like "the Church" or is a more credible idea of what the biblical "Church" really would look like than any other.
3b: It seems beyond incredible that an organization has lasted 2,000 years with organic continuity at all much less that she has done so without liberalizing or contradicting herself. On the charge that she has contradicted herself (or that she has liberalized for that matter), we can apply the same null hypothesis criteria to the challenge and ask whether we have enough evidence to reject H0. There are only one or two charges of contradiction which even approach credibility. This is certainly not enough evidence to reject H0 in this case and therefore it stands: there is no contradiction, she has not liberalized. In other words, (especially given Christian theology) a man made institution wouldn't have only one or two contradictions per thousand years, she'd have thousands and man made institutions don't just slightly liberalize after 2,000 years, they liberalize to the point of extinction much earlier. This point is especially potent given that she has and continues to make irreversible decisions and statements. By any reasonable estimation she should have worked her way into a corner a long time ago were it not for divine protection. We might object on the liberalization charge that we can't make these types of claims since we don't have a large pool of 2,000 year old organizations to examine but the fact that she is the only one of her age also speaks in her favor.
3c: Almost all Christians of note have either come from her (born Catholic) or gone to her (converted). H0 says this point is null and points to Charles Spurgeon, Billy Graham, John Calvin etc.. but in my estimation, the long litany of saints and converts dwarfs the objector's list by a long shot and therefore I reject H0 here.
3d: She has public miracles even on display while the others have neither the quantity nor the type of miracles claimed by her. (Bodies of dead popes perfectly preserved and on display in Italy, the miraculous staircase in Texas, the image of Guadalupe and countless others that I don't know about). Fatima was witnessed by thousands, Lourdes draws and reportedly cures thousands even today etc...
3e: She promotes the gospel in a way which dwarfs many and rivals any. Most of the world has been evangelized by Catholics. Almost everywhere you go, she is there and there in numbers. I include in this point the fact that she is more pro-life than any others.
3f: If she is wrong she has deceived billions (now and throughout history). If she is wrong, it makes most of Christianity wrong no matter how you look at it and this is not something I can conceive of God allowing.
3g: She is more committed and even (as I have said) more indulgent in Christianity than any other. Her paradoxes speak of her truth. I argued this point more fully here.
3i: Her interpretation of Scripture is at least as tenable as any, and by my estimation seems the best. Her presentation of Christian authority (Scripture, magisterium, Tradition) is unrivaled. Under this point I will also mention that her presentation of the apostolic faith (as interpreted by the immediate successors of the apostles) seems by far the most reasonable.
3j: She embraces beauty and is herself beautiful than the alternatives and in unique ways. (This involves not only aesthetics obviously but the beauty of the saints she has produced. Say what you want about Calvin, who was more beautiful, him or Mother Theresa?)
3k: She makes better sense of doctrinal and hierarchical development than any other. Furthermore, she continues to develop dogmas and no others do. For this reason she seems incomparably more able to deal with future questions.
3l: She has all the right enemies. The world hates her more than anything else and so does Satan. Secular professors don't desecrate Protestant grape juice and Satanists don't steal communion from Protestants. There's a reason for this. Furthermore, she haunts the non-Catholic mind. Non-Catholic faiths don't "haunt" her, they only throw pebbles at her and stick out their tongues.
3m: She is at least leading the way as far as having a reasonable interpretation of the Petrine verses and she has by far the most reasonable implementation of the Petrine ministry. (The others aren't even in communion with Peter's successor!)
3n: She has the fullest and most beautiful (albeit highly controversial and even offensive) implementation of Marian devotion.
3o: She has the best claim to true apostolic succession. She alone can make a legitimate historic claim to being in direct succession with the apostles (building on 3m, taking for granted that the fullness of Apostolicity must be in communion with the See of Peter) and therefore she can also make the best claim for having real, infallible authority.
And I shall end my list here although I could doubtlessly think of others. My fellow Catholics, feel free to append your own "macro-reasons" in the combox.

So if I wrap all of this up, I am left being highly persuaded that the Catholic Church is indeed true. I have determined that for myself, I have more than enough evidence to reject H0. The evidence makes the proposition "the Catholic Church is false" seem beyond unreasonable to me. These are of course, my reasons (as I have said - "macro-reasons") and so I can certainly anticipate many Protestants having "micro-reasons" why they think mine are false but I'm only dealing with these questions on a macro-level at this point.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Petition to Support University of San Diego

From the Crescat:
Brian McDaniel counters the petition submitted by Call to Action and the national Women's Ordination Conference demanding that Catholic pro-abortion feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether be allowed to assume an endowed chair at University of San Diego.

He is hoping to collect 4,000 signatures by the start of classes, September 3, 2008, in support of USD's decision to withdrawal its appointment of pro-abortion Rosemary Ruether. Click to sign McDaniel's petition. Then post this information on your blog and spread the word.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Purpose of the Sacrifice of Mass


Huh? Wait a minute, where's "Community"? H/T De Cura Animarum for the image.



Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Medieval Piety - Saint Worship?

From "In the Presence of Our Lord" by Fr. Benedict Groeschel & James Monti:
In a similar vein, the Franciscan preacher Berthold of Regensburg (died 1272) stated in one of his sermons: "Grant now that our dear Lady saint Mary, mother of God, stood here on this fair meadow, while all the saints and all the angels found room around her, and that I were found worthy to see this sight.... I would rather turn and bow the knee before a priest bearing the Lord's Body to the sick, than before our Lady saint Mary and all the saints of the whole host of heaven."
Passing it along for what it's worth.

On Transubstantiation

This series from Pontifications on Transubstantiation is long but is worth its weight in gold. I cannot recommend it highly enough. H/T Andrew Preslar. If you think the first ones are good, keep reading they keep getting better.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All Earthly Things

From St. Augustine in "The City of God":
Of such evils Apuleius speaks briefly in one passage of that book which he wrote, De Mundo, saying that all earthly things are subject to change, overthrow, and destruction.
And since none of these may be said of the Catholic Church, how is it that one would number her among "earthly things" as if started and upheld by mere men? Isn't it near blasphemy to attribute to mere men what required the Holy Spirit to do?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Theological Errors

Occasionally, I will translate one of my blog posts into Japanese to post on my Japanese blog. Usually, I write in English & then translate into Japanese but I thought I'd try it the other way around for fun. Here's the translation of this short post:
I think one of the most common mistakes of theology is to think of God as if He were a smart and powerful version of me. Surely the atheist is especially guilty of this error. He thinks [if there was a god, this is the kind of person he would be]. But the real God surprises us. If a dog cannot comprehend the mind of his owner, since a dog's mind is closer to a human's than is a human's to God's, it should not surprise us that we cannot anticipate the things of God.
It's difficult to theologize in Japanese! I think I'll stick with writing these in English first.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

De Regnis Duobus

As far as I know the fibers of the universe might as well be built on the number three instead of two. For everything seems to be reducible to simple boolean data. That is, information (of any kind that I know of) is reducible to a simple yes or no at some level (whether we are able to reach it or not). If one objects and insists that this is the way it absolutely must be (as I suppose the naturalist would), then I would point to God who is outside of the material universe and is certainly not reducible in any way to boolean data. I should note here that this post has nothing to do with Pastor Stellman's blog - only the concept "of two kingdoms". The title then, is merely a blogospheric pun (if one would permit me the liberty of coining such a ridiculous word).

If God then must transcend the simple on/off - yes/no - true/false dilemma, then it must be certain that the universe might otherwise have been built on three's instead of two's. I am not meaning to reduce the soul or the spirit to mere computer like operations of I & O. I don't even mean to comment on that. I only mean to show that the building block for all data seems to be based on a dilemma but that I know of no reason why it couldn't as easily have been a trilemma. It is, in fact, a dilemma which God saw fit to build the cosmos on and so now I wish to ask what this means.

I guess the orientals express this phenomenon as harmony. For they too have recognized this underlying building block present and to be fair it quite often is harmonious I suppose. God made them male & female, why not male female and something else (this question is especially pertinent when considering that the union of male & female is understood theologically to mirror the eternal unity and giving of self within the Trinity)? I leave that question to real theologians.

But as it has expressed itself throughout redemption history, this dilemma seems to be more dichotomous than harmonious. What is perhaps most peculiar is that in Eden, the dichotomy was in opposite orientation as it is now. What I mean is, all roads led to life except one (eating fruit from the tree of knowledge of good & evil) whereas now, all roads lead to death except one (the Catholic Church). My intuition tells me that this inversion is meaningful.

After the inversion at Eden, we notice a pattern. All sacrifices are insufficient (except one - Abel's), all men are destroyed (except those on the ark), all men are gentiles (except God's chosen people - Israel) and when the Christ arrives, "Narrow is the gate and few are those who find it" and "No man commeth unto the Father but by Me". Who can miss the fact that the Church fathers carried the banner of this narrow dichotomy right into the early Church and allowed it to dominate their ecclesiology? I saw this most clearly with Ignatius of Antioch but it can readily be said of any of the fathers. There is such a thing as "the Catholic Church" and the definition is narrow and objective.

Everyone these days wants to say "we are that Church" or "we have the Catholic faith" nevermind the fact that their community does not look like the Catholic Church nor does their faith look like the Catholic faith. In fact, it does look like the Church, but only in the way that Cain's sacrifice looked like Abel's. It was the same concept, but quite a different substance.

Thus men's imagination will never cease to invent ways to prove that their religious community belongs under the banner of said "Catholic Church". For whatever reason they (who are not part of what is officially called "Catholic") conjure up to say they also deserve that title, it requires an inversion of the dichotomy we saw at Eden. For they do not say "all ways are wrong except the Catholic way" because they have broadened the "Catholic way" to fit their community. They say instead then, "all ways of being Catholic are right except blatant apostasy". This cannot be so since I have argued that the positive end of the dichotomy has been narrow since Eden whereas this way in effect makes the positive end accessible from a wide array of angles.

For the Reformers didn't say "No Catholic Church exists" they said "it exists insofar as it teaches the correct gospel - and here is the correct gospel". Yet since that time innumerable gospels have arisen. And if we were to try and objectively find out what the true gospel is, we must take some sort of a consensus among Christianity. But those outside the Catholic Church would never allow a democratic option because put simply, most Christians are Catholic. Therefore the Catholic Church doesn't get 1.2 billion votes and the Eastern 250 million and the Reformed- 75 million, they get one each! So the consensus is quickly skewed towards Protestantism by this method. The fallacy here is that Catholics are penalized for their unity and Protestants aided by their schism. Each new schism earns a new vote. But surely one will object this isn't how true Christian doctrine is decided. Neither method can be acceptable of course. The Protestant recourse is to revert to a subjective list of supposed "essentials" of the faith to determine Catholicity. I have argued to the contrary that all doctrines are essential based on a more appropriate attitude regarding salvation than is typically employed. For what acceptable reason has anyone to say "this doctrine is not essential" as if one may believe that rape is ok as long as he believes in the Trinity and in remission of sins by Jesus Christ. If we object here how can we not object on every point (as I do) and demand that there is only one way and that is the perfect way - the Catholic way. For Jesus did not say "be pretty good" He said "be ye perfect" and He did not pray that the Christians would congregate according to worship preferences in ecclesial communities that rely on a lowest-common-denominator style "essentials" of the Catholic faith but that the Church would be one. Finally, when He returns in glory to retrieve His bride He will not be found a polygamist as Dr. Peter Kreeft has noted on more than one occasion.

In spite of all this, narrowness of Catholic doctrine does not entail finiteness. For as I have said, the Catholic faith is an indulgence in Christianity on all points of contact. Our dogmas may be quite narrow, but they are also limitless. Or to quote Chesterton, yes the Catholic Church has walls but they are the walls of a playground. A child knows what limitless adventures may be had inside of a walled playground and with that faith, enthusiasm for life and simplicity of heart we too may know the infinite freedom to be found within each Catholic dogma. While on the narrow road we find infinte joy and opportunity. While on the wide road we find ourselves restricted only to the destiny of what our concupicence can only lead us to; that is - death. So it is with God in every other way, the cosmos always supplies us with irony (God loves it). The irony is that within the walls of the narrow Catholic dogmas we know true freedom and joy and without we only know slavery to self and suffering. We thought that being "our own pope" we lead us to true Catholicity only to find ourselves too proud to climb back into the playground of Catholicism.

For these reasons and some others I insist that Catholic doctrine must be narrow for this is how the dichotomy has been oriented ever since Eden. There is one way in which I know of the dichotomy metaphorically returning to Eden: God's forgiveness (and how fitting). Specifically I am referring to the unforgivable sin. In this case, there is only one sin which cannot be forgiven and all others may be. So then, it is in understanding both the narrowness of the Catholic Church (Christ's body) and the wideness of God's forgiveness that we are able to say unhesitantly "there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church" while hoping and expecting that since neither ignorance nor birth place is among the unforgivable sins, many who are not officially Catholic will be found in glory with the saints. I can sum this point up by evoking the dogma of Purgatory. For it is the Catholic Church alone who narrowly insists on this dogma and this dogma alone which accounts fully for God's unfathomable mercy. We have only given a name to that state in which God perfects penitent men in preparation to receive what no one deserved but what only the Catholic Church by her narrow dogmas could have led you to: paradise.

Men communicate with words. God communicates with reality. When He speaks, whatever He says becomes reality. That is why it is not possible for God to lie. Because if He says something, it is so. So if truth is harmonious and God speaks through the very cosmos itself, when we see things in nature we know they signify something; nothing is an idle accident. In the words of Dr. Kreeft, if things in nature signify truths then big things signify big truths. This is why we have so much to learn from sexuality. This is why we have so much to learn from the concept "de regnis duobus" and the two kingdoms, the two ways which are not only palpably extant on the pages of God's masterpiece we call human history, they are woven into the very fibers of the cosmos.

Hoc Est Corpus Meum. He cannot lie. You are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church. He cannot mislead. Be ye perfect. He cannot exaggerate. Do not pray as the teachers of the law. He cannot be fooled.

His way is the perfect way, He is not capable of imperfection. Jesus made this evident in Gethsemane "if there is any other way let this cup pass from Me". Therefore we may not accept a plethora of ways leading to Heaven on any level. For if one way is perfect, the others are all imperfect.

Two kingdoms may be summed up in this way: the Catholic Church and everything else. Geneva can no sooner get you to heaven than can Washington, DC; Canterbury no sooner than London. If it's not Catholic, it's not the narrow road.

I would be interested to learn if this was comprehensible at all. I am attempting to write in words a concept which is beyond my skill level to express.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Conversions

I stumbled across this blog, Transistus Tiber (via the Catholic Carnival) which is the blog of a former Lutheran, now Catholic (and a Benedictine Oblate!).

In other conversion news, Taylor Marshall has an interesting post with a list of various Catholics who have converted from the Reformed faith.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What is the Catholic Faith Like?

Catholicism is an indulgence in Christianity on all points of contact. For it would not have been enough for Catholicism to say "Gnosticism is a heresy"; she felt it necessary to permeate her entire doctrinal manifesto with Incarnational theology. When Nestorius said Christ was two persons it was not enough to answer "No He's One", Catholicism indulged in the two natures of Christ and rolled around in it saying "In fact, it is right to call Mary the Mother of God".

When the modernist asked of Catholicism, "is it permissible to lie with your mouth?" Catholicism didn't just answer "No" she said "Neither may you lie with the rest of your body by using contraception".

Catholicism rings true because of her paradoxes. She indulges yet she is frugal; that is, she is both the most ascetic and the most indulgent or put another way, she laughs yet her heart is heavy. She is authoritative yet she is a servant. She is both more unified and diverse than her other Christian brethren. Her theology is complex enough to frustrate the greatest minds and simple enough to be understood by a child. She is ornate with heavenly beauty and homely to look at. At her altar rail, kings and peasants kneel side by side in reverence to the risen Christ. She is more hated than any other Christian community and also more loved. Her doctrines cause more scandal and more joy than any other faith. She has more fire than the charismatics more miracles than the faith healers more mystics than the oriental religions and more alcohol than the secularists yet she is more sober than any of them. Her doctrine is stricter than the fundamentalists and more forgiving than the liberals.

For those outside her only pay lip service to what she wallows in. They say they believe in a certain priesthood too - we have priests! They say they believe in the Real Presence too - we worship the Eucharist! They say they believe in the communion of saints - we ask them to pray for us! They say they believe in Church authority too - we submit to the Pope!

If this isn't the fullness of Christianity, then how could we believe a watered down version of Catholicism is?

What is the Catholic Church like? It's like coming across a pool of cold water on a hot day. The water is so cold that trying to tip-toe your way in just won't work. Some decide to cool their feet by wading in the shallow end. Catholicism is like doing a cannonball in the middle of the pool from a running start and finding her to satisfy you from head to toe.

This is what the Catholic faith is like. This is Christianity in the fullest sense of the word.

What is the Catholic Church Like?

Over the last several days on this blog and various places, the issue of Church has provoked over-simplifications, over-complications, subjectifications and otherications as if the issue stood in need of a final judgment by we digital word smiths and prose warriors.

It seems to me however, that it may be more profitable to talk about what the Church is like than what she is per se. After all, when Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God He never spoke of what it was, just of what it was like. It's hard in that case to object and say "No the Kingdom of God is not like a net!". Therefore we might find more agreement if described the Church in such a way.

The Church is like a mother because she disciplines and teaches. She rears us up in the faith.

She is like the ark because she saves mankind.

She is like a ship sailing towards a destination which encounters storms along the way. Some have jumped ship (heretics) to seek their own way. To borrow from Steve Ray, some have taken material from the ship and built rafts to plot their own course.

She is like a traveling caravan that comes across forks in the road and needs to make a decision. If she takes the wrong path (Arianism for example) she leads the faithful down the road of destruction. There might be 100 ways to go, we only know of her choice that it won't be wrong not that it will be the most exhaustive and certainly not necessarily the quickest.

She is like the temporal government established while the king is away and who has his full approval. Or to be less grandiose, the husband has departed on a long journey and she is like the wife who remains. Therefore she can discipline as mentioned and it is her authority which must be obeyed. Whatever she says is binding and the husband will ratify her when he returns (certainly not the rebellious children).

But the issue with all of these comparisons is that they all require a visible Church which is objectively identifiable. Not one of the above statements could be made of the reformed idea of Church.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Development of the Various Dogmas in Light of the Universal Acceptance of Nicaea

On what grounds might we say that the development of any particular dogma effectively parallels the development of the Trinity? Whatever else we Christians may disagree on, we fundamentally agree on this, the most absurd and the most necessary of all doctrinal developments within our faith. In the words of N.T. Wright, if the Trinity hadn’t developed organically, it would have been necessary to invent it. Let these words ring in our ears as we proceed.

What are the Catholic reasons for asserting that Christians who accept the development of the Trinity should also accept other doctrinal developments? I find the following five reasons to be persuasive:

1. The argument for the Trinitarian development is not an argument of proximity to the apostles, but of Church authority. Denying the Trinity would not be to deny clear Scriptural teaching (for it is not clear on this issue) nor supposed “orthodoxy” held since the time of the apostles (since many if not most or perhaps nearly all of the ante-Nicene fathers held erroneous views on the Trinity when held to the Nicene litmus test). Denying the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Trinity would rather be to deny the living, authoritative voice of the Church.

2. Reason # 1 asserts that the pro-Nicene argument is based on authority and not time frame and to supplement that point, one need only ask the question, if Nicaea had occurred 200 years later would the Trinity still be an authoritative Church dogma? Reason number 2 therefore is this: one cannot deny the Trinitarian development because it took over 300 years anymore than one could deny the Immaculate Conception (for example) because it took 1800 years to be defined. Or else, if one could deny the dogma of Immaculate Conception on the grounds of time frame, one has already admitted that 300 years is within the accepted time in which the Church may pronounce dogma while 1800 is not and therefore needs to posit not only an exact range in which the Church is “allowed” to pronounce dogmas licitly but then also provide some strong arguments as to why after 2,000 years an individual has the authority to deny dogma while sometime between 300 & 1800 years, the Church herself lost the very authority to define them.

3. Again to flow directly from reason number 2, the Trinitarian dogma was pronounced on the authority of the Church as were the other dogmas which are in question. If the Church acted licitly by defining the Trinity then it can only be because it was her divine prerogative to do so. If it belongs to the Church to teach authoritatively, to reprimand apostates and defend the faithful from heresies, then it is her duty as long as she sojourns on this earth or as long as those enemies persist. If one denies the authority of the council of Nicaea he does so on his own authority (even if he says it is the authority of Scripture). If one accepts the authority of Nicaea he accepts that it is the Church’s right to answer this question and not the individual’s. Moreover, the deposit of faith (Tradition) belongs to the Church and not to the individual just as Scripture does. And again, if the institution commonly called the “Catholic Church” was “Church” in the biblical sense at Nicaea but not “Church” in the biblical sense at Trent, then the objector must give an exact date and reason for this ecclesiological change.

4. Recalling the above quote from N.T. Wright, it is surely the case that all Christians agree that the Trinity developed out of necessity. Christians all agree that it was necessary to answer the charges of Arius at Nicaea but the Catholic asserts it was necessary to answer the charges of Nestorius at Ephesus and to answer the Protestants at Trent.

5. Finally, one may not selectively dissent to either a particular council or a particular teaching within a council. The objector may say in response to reason 4 “I agree with Ephesus” yet the objector will doubtlessly refrain from calling Mary the “Mother of God” as if, in his private wisdom, he knows better than the magisterium of the Church that the title is misleading based on his private interpretation of Scripture and a line of tradition extending only back 500 years (and not quite to the original reformers themselves!) If one objected to certain aspect of Nicaea because he found a different version of the Trinity in his private study of Scriptures we would label him anathema not on the account of his faulty reading of Scripture but on the refusal to submit to Church authority. The same must be said of anyone who denies the findings of any council which has been established by the Catholic Church.

So this is why the Catholic finds it contradictory when one affirms that it is only proper to speak of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit as co-eternal, of One essence etc... but that it is not proper to speak of the Pope as having the ability to exercise the charism of infallibility. How much more contradictory is it then to say it is not proper to refer to Mary as “the Mother of God” since it was affirmed by the same Church in a council less than 100 years after the Trinity was settled.

Monday, August 11, 2008

CDW: Protect the Sanctity of God's Name

Here's another way in which our liturgical language is designed to act as a veil. The Congregation for Divine Worship has just weighed in on the widespread practice of attempting to pronounce God's Name at mass. I experienced this myself yesterday. Here is the document. H/T New Liturgical Movement.

Long story short: YHWH is not to be used or pronounced.



Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Term "Catholic Church" in Secular Usage

Last year, I argued that the word "Catholic" has always been used as a proper noun - not an adjective. To supplement that argument, let's look at the following imperial decree under Constantine & Licinius:
Wherefore it is our will that when you receive this letter, if any such things belonged to the Catholic Church of the Christians, in any city or other place, but are now held by citizens or by any others, you shall cause them to be restored immediately to the said churches. For we have already determined that those things which these same churches formerly possessed shall be restored to them. - Eusebius Church History 10.5.16
Now the reformers may have envisioned an invisible Church when the fathers spoke of the "Catholic Church" and they may have envisioned an adjectival usage for "Catholic" (universal) but the Roman empire clearly didn't.

Secular law has no interest in theology so it doesn't care whether the Church is "visible" or "invisible". Her usage here and elsewhere is designed to identify the entity in question without using ambiguous terminology. But if "Catholic Church" was commonly used in the ambiguous way that the reformers insisted on, how would anyone read this decree and know who they were talking about?

This decree only makes sense in a world which was not only using this term already (as we know it had been for over 200 years by this time) but one in which the Christians (and perhaps more importantly: the non-Christians) knew exactly who was being referred to. It wasn't the Gnostics, it wasn't the Montanists, it wasn't the Marcionites, it was the Catholics.

Patristic Carnival XIV Is Up

Phil has Patristic Carnival XIV up and running. Go check it out!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Attention NFL Fans

I started a Pro-Pickem league on yahoo and thought it would be cool to have some blog friends on there. If you're interested, let me know. TimATroutman gmail com.

Pro Pick Em is when you choose who is going to win each week. No money involved, its all for fun.



Thursday, August 07, 2008

Do Catholics Also Use Private Judgment?

Over at De Regnis Duobus again, I've been having a pretty interesting conversation with Oso from "You Are Cephas" and a few Protestants.

The charge boils down to this: Catholics accuse Protestants of exercising private judgment (or in their words having "categories of discernment") and therefore are guilty of being "biblicists" but Catholics are "guilty" of the same thing since they obviously have their own categories of discernment or private judgment.

Well it's true, before entering the Catholic Church I had to decide whether it was true or not. I have a friend who was briefly entertaining the idea of converting and she said she wasn't fully convinced of the arguments of Rome. I said, "then I wouldn't convert". Sure, I would never have converted if I wasn't convinced on some level of Rome's truth.

But the charge we make against Protestants isn't that they are exercising private judgment or that they have categories of discernment in the Scriptures. If a Church contradicts Scripture, sure it's not the true Church. That's a no brainer.

God gave us brains and intends for us to use them. He also gave us language and intends for us to understand through it. So if the Scriptures say "A" and a given community says "Not A" then if I am to trust the Scriptures I must deny that particular community (or at least say they're wrong on that point). Language has to mean something. We can wiggle our way out of things by being creative. We Christians are adept at this especially given our doctrine of Scriptural inerrancy in light of certain facts like all four gospels say something different was written above Christ's head on the cross. Suddenly we have to clarify what we mean by "inerrancy". Next we will gladly "sit still" for textual exegesis of difficult passages like Jesus not knowing the hour of the coming Kingdom or Him saying "the Father is greater than I" in order to preserve our particular version of the doctrine of the Trinity. So we're used to all that (whether Catholic or Protestant) and then the question becomes just how long are we willing to sit still and what damage are we prepared to allow to various texts in interests of ideologies or particular doctrines.

Because in the end, words have to mean something or else why use them? So the Catholic can say: If the Scripture doesn't mean "you are not saved by faith alone" when it says "you are not saved by faith alone" then how can I know you mean "I believe in faith alone" when you say "I believe in faith alone"? There must be a line crossed somewhere at which point too violent a manipulation of language neuters language itself.

The Protestant may also charge the Catholic: well then if "all have sinned" doesn't mean "all have sinned" then how can I know what you mean when you say "Mary did not sin"? And the respective debates begin.

We can all agree that if any community contradicts the Scripture then it cannot be the Church of Christ since both the Church & the Scripture by their nature, belong to Christ. What we cannot agree on is the method by which to determine which community (if any) can still claim to be the exact one founded by Christ. First we have to ask, should there even be such a thing? If so, how would we know it?

In my mind the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the Catholic Church being that Church. In fact, I consider it incontestable that if there is such a Church, there's only one valid application for the job: the Catholic Church. Supposing one thought, as the pastor I have been interacting with does, that such a thing does not exist (not in the way Rome claims anyhow). That the true "visible" Church is something other than a specific institution, and even if we disagreed with her reasonings, how probable is it that one community and only one community has a credible application for such an unfathomable claim? She might not be right, but by any reasonable estimation it's at least conceivable that she is. In itself, that is incredible. It is incredible that she exists at all after 2,000 years much less than she can make a strong claim to be organically the same as when she was founded.

But what happens when someone does not agree? What happens when someone examines the evidence and says "the Catholic Church is not the Church founded by Christ" and that same person thinks that some branch of Protestantism proposes a valid Christianity? What do we say to them? The same thing we say to a Muslim or a Jew who is utterly unconvinced of Christ's divinity. If men could stand in Christ's very presence and hear His words and not only disbelieve Him but then crucify Him, how much easier is it for men to remain unconvinced by a Church filled with sinners? It was, after all, sin within the Church which led to the Protestant "Reformation" and it is sin that keeps us divided.

So as long as sin persists in this world competent men will remain unconvinced of various truths for various reasons. It may be me who is convinced of something false and because of my own sinful nature I am unable to see that I am in error. But I cannot revert to Protestantism! It would be a sin against my conscience because I am utterly convinced of Catholicism. Similarly, for a Protestant who was not convinced of the Catholic claim to convert would be a sin against their conscience. That doesn't mean that they have to believe and understand every single doctrine before converting or that they have to come to an intellectual mastery of all dogmas, it means that if they think the Catholic Church is a false Church then to join it would be a sin.

So if you're not convinced of the Church, don't join it. But be reasonable about her, something this potent and ancient must have some force behind it. I don't know of any reasonable middle ground between whore of Babylon and Church of Christ anymore than I know of middle ground between Jesus being God and being a blasphemer.






Wednesday, August 06, 2008

On the Priesthood

The topic of Friday's session of Liturgy & Lager will be "the Priesthood" and so I thought I'd post a few thoughts & resources.

The priesthood is an interesting angle to come at apologetics from. I often hear Reformed Christians blasting Rome for having a priesthood and a Protestant will happily direct one towards Canterbury if they're unhappy with Geneva if only they'll steer clear of Rome. I wonder why the reformed don't really have a problem with Anglicans having a priesthood and a sacrificial liturgy but they do with Rome. (This isn't rhetorical, if anyone has some ideas - share them by all means).

The lack of a priesthood is about as obvious as a separation from historic Christianity as one can get. So Reformed Christians like the PCA pastor I recently interacted with (who was far more charitable than I was) say "Yes we believe in Church authority and in historic Christianity etc... we just think Rome went astray..." but they fall short on various issues like Real Presence, regenerative baptism and I'm not sure if any is more painfully obvious than the rejection of the priesthood. In order to reject the priesthood, one must revert to a fundamentalist "solo scriptura" me-and-my-new-testament Christianity no matter how "Reformed" you are.

The adoption of the Priesthood by Christians was so early that we even have James the very "brother" of the Lord performing priestly duties according to the Levitical rites before 70 AD! (See my post here).

Yet even in this reversion to fundamentalism, the argument falls flat. It is true, the objector will mention, that in the NT, Church leaders are never referred to as "priests" (that was reserved for the Jewish Priests). They are referred to as "presbyters". If the first century Church understood the leaders to be acting out a priestly vocation, then why did they (apparently) deliberately avoid using the word for priest? I would highly recommend part 1 & part 2 of a series on this very subject found on Jimmy Akin's blog. Michael Barber on "Singing in the Reign" also has a nice post comparing Christian priests to the Levites.

Since the entirety of Christianity employed a priesthood for her first 1500 years, we can reject without further argument any Christian community which does not have one. This eliminates every Protestant sect except Anglicanism.


A Quick Response to a PCA Pastor

This is a response to the PCA pastor at De Regnis Duobus H/T Ecumenicity. First I appreciate the charity. The arguments don't work and I'll show that here but at least he's not bashing the Church.
"But," the Catholic will object, "you just gave away the farm! By citing Nicaea you have effectively betrayed Sola Scriptura."
This is a misunderstanding of the issue. Catholics do not object that Protestants cite Nicaea and believe in sola scriptura. We object that you hold Nicaea to be as authoritative as Scripture whether you say so or not and then go on to reject other councils or parts of other councils because they do not align with your 16th century doctrines.

Let’s simplify the issue. Are councils authoritative or not (forget infallibility)? If so, we can reject Protestantism without a second thought since so many of their novelties have long been condemned by various councils even among the unified Church.
In other words, the ultimate reason we hold to this or that creed is because it comports with the church's reading of Scripture as it is interpreted within the apostolic regula fidei, and not simply because it is a creed written by a lawfully-called church council.
This is frustratingly circular. By “church” you mean, like Calvin, anyone who “rightly teaches the word of God” which means “anyone who agrees with my interpretation of Scripture” which means solo scriptura no matter how you dress it up.

Who defines “the church’s reading of Scripture” and the “regula fidei”?
If a Catholic holds Trent's conclusions to be important because they represent the teaching of their church, but if a further layer of importance is added when he becomes convinced of those conclusions himself, then what I want to know is: Are you really that different from us, methodologically speaking?
Yes we are. I don’t think you understand the Catholic mindset. You keep referring to it as if we think in denominational terms like you do. We believe that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ. I can perfectly understand you not believing that (your job sort of depends on it) but what I can’t understand is your inability or refusal to actually ponder it for a second for the sake of the argument. If it is true that Jesus founded the institutional Catholic Church built on Christ, your questions here become irrelevant.

Replace the word and you’ll see what I mean:

“If a Catholic holds Trent's conclusions to be important because they represent the teaching of the Church which Jesus Christ Himself founded” (We can stop there). Yes we will accept whatever a council declares if that council is held by the Church which Jesus Christ founded. If we’re wrong about that, then we’re wrong about a lot of things. You don't accept the teachings of any church as if that church was founded by Christ because you think all churches are subject to the Bible (which means your interpretation of the bible). Therefore "church" becomes anyone who agrees with you. So the PCA is no different from the hyper-individualist free-church Christian. You paint the bullseye around the arrow!

What you are doing is like arguing with an atheist that abortion is immoral when the atheist has presuppositions that you’re not taking into consideration. First you need to establish that his presuppositions are false then you can start talking to him about abortion. For Catholics, we think the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ and that the Protestant reformers were heretics. That is a presupposition that we bring into every discussion. If you want to talk with us about creeds and councils, talk to us about Church first or at least show us where and at what point in history the Catholic Church became corrupted. We can tell you exactly when yours went wrong, why cant you do the same for ours?


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

On Priestesses

I found it odd that a particular news article kept referring to certain defiant women (who had attempted ordination) as "priests". First, they're not ordained as has been made clear by the Vatican but even if they were, "priest" itself is a masculine word.

They would no more be "priests" having received ordination than they would be "actors" if they took up drama. In the case of the latter they'd be "actresses" and in the former, of course, they'd be "priestesses".

Notice the deliberate avoidance of the word "priestess"... Why? It is clearly because the word carries strong pagan overtones. Which in itself is fine, that is; we often avoid using words like "cult" not because the meaning is necessarily illicit but because of its negative association. Fine. But let's suppose the negative associations have something to tell us - in that case it is worth our further investigation.

"Priestess" sounds pagan because it is pagan and has been exclusively pagan not since the advent of the Catholic Church but since the advent of Judaism. This is a crucial point that is consistently overlooked by supporters of women's ordination. Both Judaism & Christianity grew up and flourished not restricting their priesthood to males only out of a cowardly submission to the cultural influences around them but in an act of counter-cultural distinction.

The Levites and their Christian heirs ordained only males to their priesthood in a world and culture which not only routinely allowed priestesses but was routinely dominated by them. Some pagan religions had exclusively female priesthoods.

This is from my comment at De Cura Animarum where a link to the article in question can also be found.

Monday, August 04, 2008

On the "Essentials of the Faith"

By “essentials of the faith”, evangelicals typically mean “that bare minimum required to keep one out of Hell”. It’s not usually thought of this way but if you remove the fluff, that’s what it means. I think it may be more productive to think of it the other way around – what is the bare minimum required to get into heaven? Once we can answer that question, I think we’ll know the real “essentials of the faith”.

In defense of denominationalism, one man may say “oh we Presbyterians & Baptists view baptism differently but we agree on the essentials of the faith”. It was that sort of comment that prompted me to think about this some more. If the very entrance rite into the faith is not essential, what is? (I’m deliberately avoiding the obvious question of who gets to determine the “essentials” in the first place).

While a Baptist may say that he and an Anglican agree on the “essentials”, on closer inspection one may find the Anglican to be of the variety that endorses Transubstantiation. Again, if the central sacrament of Christianity (potentially idolatry if misunderstood) isn’t an “essential” then what is?

Many of these evangelicals seem to have “don’t be Catholic” among their “essentials” of the faith. A Baptist may shrug off the Anglican’s Real Presence or even Transubstantiation and say “we agree on the essentials” but he would never do so to one who submits to the successor of Peter. That’s odd. How ironic and sad, what once was considered an essential: “there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church” has become reversed in Protestantism: “there is no salvation inside the Catholic Church”. Of course, “essentials”, in the sense I mentioned above, would likely be granted even to devout Catholics by most evangelicals I suppose. That is, the Catholics' faith (albeit misguided) may just be a “get out of hell free” card even if they are idolaters.

So what are the real essentials of the faith? Again if we thought of “essential” not as “how to stay out of hell” but “how to get into heaven” I think we are left with only one answer to this question: every doctrine is an “essential of the faith”. One must be perfect to enter heaven and there are no lies or falsities inside the pearly gates. Again, no vain word will be spoken in God’s presence and no one will debate doctrine with Him. There will be no “pro-choice” Christians in heaven - not even one. There will no sooner be Christians in Heaven who believe adultery is morally permissible than will there be any who believe that contraception is morally permissible. Or perhaps, if it ends up being the case that Protestants got it right and contraception is actually permissible, there won’t be any who believe it is evil in Heaven. In short, there won’t be anyone who enters heaven having any false doctrines or sinful practices.

None of this means that any who die having any false beliefs of any degree go straight to hell. This is why the doctrine of purgatory is... an essential of the faith!

So not only do we have to reach a level of moral purity to pass through the pearly gates, we also need to reach doctrinal purity. Doctrinal purity is far easier than moral purity of course. On earth, all one must do is align his or her beliefs with what is known objectively to be pure in doctrine: the Church. Purifying one’s behavior is quite another story and while the former is easier than the latter, they both depend on God’s grace. So I say without hesitation, all doctrines are “essentials of the faith”.


Friday, August 01, 2008

My Blog - Certified Spam Free

Google bots had silenced my blog for the last day or so. They thought I was a spam blog for some reason. In other blog news, I recently reacquired the ability to type in Japanese on my computer so I will resume posting on my Japanese blog after more than a year of silence there. Some of you newer readers may not know it exists and I'm sure that most, if not all, of you couldn't care less but I thought I'd mention it.