White On Korban & Sola Scriptura

by Jimmy Akin

in Non-Catholic Apologists

James White has now supplied a current description of his thought on the korban passage and sola scriptura, so let’s look at what he says.

His basic assertion seems clear. Referring to the korban passage, Mr. White refers to

Jesus’ plain teaching that we are to examine all traditions by the higher standard of God’s Word, even those that claim to be divine in origin.

By "God’s Word," Mr. White means "Scripture," and "even those that claim to be divine in origin" is subsumed by "all," so his claim is that

Jesus’ plain teaching [is] that we are to examine all traditions by the higher standard of [Scripture].

If Mr. White’s claim is not that we are to examine all traditions by the higher standard of Scripture, I am open to correction on this point.

Now, claiming that the above principle is Jesus’ "plain teaching" is a pretty strong claim. In order for a teaching to be plain, there must be (a) an act of teaching and (b) this act must have the quality of plainness–meaning that its meaning is easily ascertained.

A common way that teaching a principle is done is by stating a principle forthrightly. When Jesus gives the great commission he states forthrightly that the apostles are to baptize the nations (Matt. 28:19).

This is not the only way that teaching can occur. One can, for example, teach by stating a principle in a veiled manner. Jesus did this when he used parables, such as the Parable of the Sower and the other kingdom parables (Matt. 13).

By stating matters in a veiled manner, however, the teaching no longer enjoys the quality of plainness, since the veiled nature of the teaching prevents its meaning from being so easily ascertained.

It is also possible to teach without stating a principle at all. This happens when one "teaches by example," as when Jesus himself is baptized even though he has no intrinsic need of it himself (Matt. 3:13-14).

A difficulty for obtaining "plain teachings" from situations that involve "teaching by example" is that there is no explicit statement of principle, meaning that–while it is possible to determine something from the example, the precise extent to which the example is to be followed (or avoided) is often unclear.

This constitutes a difficulty for Mr. White since in Mark 7’s passage on the korban custom, Jesus does not state forthrightly that we are to examine all traditions by the higher standard of Scripture. Neither does he state this in a veiled manner such as with a parable. Instead, the most that can be said is that he is teaching a principle without a statement of principle, simply by his example.

Since it is very difficult to obtain "plain teaching" from instances of teaching by example, Mr. White will have a difficult time establishing the idea that "we are to examine all traditions by the higher standard of [Scripture]" from this passage.

So what kind of argument does he use to support his claim?

He restates his argument several times, but perhaps the most concise and focused formulation is this one:

The argument is plain: Jewish tradition about the Corban
rule made it a tradition that had a divine pedigree, though passed down
outside of Scripture. Jesus specifically subjugated it to Scripture,
hence, to follow His lead, we, too, would have to test all traditions
by the higher standard of Scripture.

"To follow His
lead" is another way of saying "to follow his example," so here Mr.
White acknowledges that he is appealing to Mark 7 as a passage in which
Jesus is teaching by example, and thus he must be able to find in this
passage a "plain teaching" that "we are to examine all traditions by
the higher standard of [Scripture]."

A difficulty for this claim is the one faced by all instances of
trying to derive "plain teaching" from teaching by example: The extent
to which the example is to be followed is often not clear.

It is too easy to improperly minimize or maximize the extent to which the example applies.

E.g., many (including myself) would say that the example of Jesus’ example of holiness and self-sacrifice was being improperly minimized if it were maintained that only he needed to be holy and self-sacrificing and that, because of what he did, we are free to be unholy and selfish.

Similarly, many (including myself) would say that the example of
Jesus was being improperly maximized if it were maintained that
individual Christians–like he–should assert that our relationship with God is so close that "No man comes to the
Father but by me" (John 14:6).

Those are clear cases, but they make the point: Examples can be improperly minimized or maximized.

In view of this fact, we must ask what Jesus may have meant to teach by his example in the korban incident.

And here I need to introduce a clarification of the issue: The issue
is not whether a tradition can be followed if it does not contradict
Scripture. In his blog post, Mr. White acknowledges that "*if
[traditions] do not violate the Word of God,* they can be followed and
practiced" (emphasis his). Mere followability or non-violation of
Scripture is not the real issue, though. Having pews and pulpits in churches does not violate Scripture and so can be done,
but the custom of having these fixtures in churches is not
the kind of tradition we are talking about.

What we are interested in is authoritative tradition–which
is what the Pharisees were asking about when they asked why Jesus’
disciples didn’t wash their hands. They had the idea that the
handwashing tradition was normative for the life of the Jewish
community, just as they had the idea that the korban tradition was
normative (not in the sense of being obligatory but in the sense of
being authoritatively permitted).

The real question is whether extrascriptural traditions can be
authoritative in the way Scripture is, not whether they are merely consistent with Scripture.
Being inconsistent with Scripture is an indicator that a tradition is
non-authoritative, but it is the question of authority that is in focus
at present.

It seems clear that Jesus considers the korban tradition
non-authoritative because it conflicts with one’s obligations under the
Ten Commandments, but to what extent is the non-authoritativeness of
this tradition generalizable?

Here are some hypothetical possibilities, ranked from minimum to maximum:

1) It is only the korban tradition which is non-authoritative.

2) It is those Pharisaical traditions which conflict with Scripture that are non-authoritative.

3) It is Pharisaical traditions in general that are non-authoritative.

4) It is those pre-Christian Jewish traditions that conflict with Scripture that are non-authoritative.

5) It is pre-Christian Jewish tradition in general that is non-authoritative.

6) It is oral (as opposed to written) tradition in general that is non-authoritative.

7) It is any tradition at all (including written) that is non-authoritative.

This list is non-exhaustive. There
are other possibilities as well, and not all of the ones listed above are
plausible ones.

In particular, I think #1 and #7 are very
implausible.

#1 contradicts Mark 7:13’s statement that–in addition to
violating Scripture by korban–there are also "many such things you
do."

#7 is particularly implausible because it would undercut the
authoritativeness of Scripture, since Scripture is itself something
that is handed down to us and thus is tradition (from the Latin, traditio "the act of handing on/over"; cognate of tradere,
"to hand on/over").

Given his conclusion that "Jesus’ plain teaching [is] that we are to
examine all traditions by the higher standard of [Scripture]," Mr. White would presumably
argue that by is example, Jesus is "plainly teaching" us something
along the lines of option #6 (though he might want to swap out the term
"non-authoritative" for something else, like "non-divine"; this would not affect the structure of the argument).

The fact that we have a range of possibilities here, some of which are not completely implausible, means that it is not plain that #6 is what Jesus means to teach by his example. There are other options for how far he might intend his example to be pressed.

So there is a logic problem with Mr. White’s argument.

The fact that Jesus can be shown to have regarded one tradition as
non-authoritative (because it conflicts with the Ten Commandments) does
not mean that he regarded all traditions as non-authoritative.

That would be the fallacy of hasty generalization.

In fact, we can show not only that it is a hasty generalization but that it is a false generalization.

It is clear that Jesus gave certain teachings and practices to his
apostles, who he commissioned to preach and teach these to others.
Though the apostles made use of the Old Testament Scriptures,
distinctive Christian teaching and practice went beyond what could be
proved from the Old Testament. This did not stop it from being
authoritative for the first generation of Christians. The preaching of
the apostles apart from Scripture was still endowed by Jesus with
authority and was normative for Christian faith and life.

Jesus himself–so far as we know–wrote no books (though there is
that one reported letter to the ruler of Edessa, which is considered
apocryphal), yet his word was (a) meant to be handed on to others and
(b) was authoritative and (c) went beyond what was found in the
existing Scriptures of his day.

It therefore counts as (a) Tradition, which was (b) authoritative and (c) not found in Scripture.

This constitutes a problem for Mr. White if he wishes to maintain
that Jesus’ example at the korban incident means that all
extrascriptural tradition is to be regarded as non-authoritative.

It is scarcely likely that Jesus considered his own extrascriptural
(meaning: not found in the Scripture of his day) teachings to be
non-authoritative.

It thus would seem that–however far Jesus meant those who saw his example to follow it–he did not have in mind option #6 listed above. At a minimum, they were expected to regard Jesus’ own oral teachings not found in the Old Testament as authoritative.

And since he gave these teachings to the apostles to hand on to others, meaning
them to be authoritative for the Christian community, they therefore
constitute authoritative oral tradition as well. Regardless of how
other streams of tradition are to be regarded, the oral teachings
beyond the Old Testament that Jesus committed to the apostles to
proclaim to others must be regarded as authoritative oral tradition.

So Mr. White is wrong about what Jesus was teaching his audience with his
example in the korban incident. He wasn’t saying that all traditions
apart from Scripture are non-authoritative; he was excepting those that
he himself would pass on to the Church–i.e., apostolic or sacred
Tradition.

We know that in time the apostles and their associates wrote
Scriptures that recorded many of these teachings, but if Mr. White
wishes to maintain that sacred Tradition is not binding on us today
then he will have to find a different basis to argue this than the
korban incident.

That one doesn’t prove what he wants. Jesus simply was not setting an example whereby he expected the people of his day to reject as non-authoritative all unwritten traditions, for if he had meant this then it would have undercut the authoritativeness of his own oral teachings that went beyond what could be proved from the Old Testament.

Now let me address a few remaining points:

1) Mr. White appears to think it significant that the Pharisees he
spoke with regarded korban as a divine tradition. I don’t know that
these Pharisees did think this (they may have just thought it was a permitted
inference rather than something actually passed down from Moses), but
suppose they did.

If so, this shows that some traditions can be erroneously regarded as divine.

So what?

The fact that some traditions of the Pharisees were erroneously regarded as divine does not mean that all traditions are erroneously regarded as divine. (That would be the hasty generalization fallacy once again.)

If one happens upon a genuinely divine tradition (like those Jesus handed onto the apostles) then it will be divinely authoritative.

2) Mr. White refers in his blog post to Scripture being a "higher standard" than the traditions to be compared to it, but here we have another mistake in logic.

It does follow from the fact that a non-authoritative tradition contradicts Scripture that the non-authoritative tradition is on a lower level. Unlike the false tradition, Scripture is true and authoritative and thus is on a higher level. But it does not follow from this that all traditions lack truth or authority relative to Scripture.

If one has a genuinely authoritative Tradition–e.g., Jesus’ own oral teachings–then it is not non-authoritative compared to Scripture.

3) It is true that any genuinely divine tradition will not
contradict what is in Scripture, making it possible to compare the two
and see if they conflict. If there is an irresolvable conflict then the
tradition in question must not be divine.

But the same thing is true in reverse. Put yourself in the position
of a Christian before the formation of the canon: a genuine scripture
cannot contradict the faith as handed down from the apostles.
Therefore, any scripture that genuinely does contradict tradition must
not be a genuine scripture. This is, in fact, one of the reasons that
Marcion’s Gospel and the Gnostic gospels were rejected.

It is also true among written works: What is said in one book of
divine Scripture cannot contradict what is written in another, so if
there is a genuine, unresolvable contradiction between two proposed
scriptures then at least one of them must be false.

And it is true among unwritten traditions: Sacred Tradition cannot
contradict Sacred Tradition, so an irresolvable conflict means one or
both is not a genuine Tradition.

The first century Church was faced with a collection of true Scriptures and
true Traditions that were surrounded by a mass of false scriptures (like the fake letters circulated under Paul’s name) and
false traditions. The consistency test was of some use in future centuries in sorting out
the true from the false in that you could use the items you were most
confident of (be they oral or written) to disqualify items that
conflicted with them.

But this does not allow you to appeal to a case of consistency-with-Scripture being used to identify a false tradition as a proof that
Scripture is superior to Tradition. It is equally true that consistency
with Tradition was used to identify false scriptures.

4) You’ll note that I have referred to unresolvable contradictions between elements of scripture and tradition. This is because there are apparent contradictions that can ultimately be harmonized. These occur between Scripture and Scripture, between Scripture and Tradition, and between Tradition and Tradition. We therefore must not be too quick to declare a scripture or a tradition to be inauthentic based on an apparent contradiction. In his providence, God has allowed these tensions to exist, and he expects us to work through them.

5) Earlier I pointed out that the real issue was not whether a
tradition fails to contradict Scripture (as with the modern custom of
having pews and pulpits in churches). As an alternative,
I suggested that the real issue was whether there were unwritten
traditions that were authoritative. By this, I meant divinely
authoritative in the way Scripture is (not just authorized by a human authority acting
independently of God’s authority).

Because I went beyond the language used by Mr. White in recasting
the discussion this way, he might wish an alternative formulation of
what the underlying issue is–though if I read him correctly he would
agree that it is not enough for a tradition to be merely consistent
with Scripture. If he wishes to propose an alternative formulation to
the issue being whether extrascriptural traditions can be (divinely)
authoritative then I am open to this, but it will not affect the
conclusion of the argument: The korban incident does not establish that extrascriptural traditions lack the divine authority that Scripture enjoys.

There are, of course, other aspects to the subject of how Scripture and Tradition are related and how we can know which proposed scriptures and traditions are authoritative, but these are separate questions.

The point has been established that the korban incident does not show that all extrascriptural traditions are non-authoritative: If it did, Jesus would have been undercutting his own teaching.

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{ 66 comments }

Elliot B June 12, 2006 at 6:31 am

“Put yourself in the position of a Christian before the formation of the canon: a genuine scripture cannot contradict the faith as handed down from the apostles. Therefore, any scripture that genuinely does contradict tradition must not be a genuine scripture. … [T]his does not allow you to appeal to a case of consistency-with-Scripture being used to identify a false tradition as a proof that Scripture is superior to Tradition. It is equally true that consistency with Tradition was used to identify false scriptures.
Bingo. Period.
Scripture is valid Tradition simply because God, by means of valid Tradition, inspired and codified it, as the Scriptures themselves attest. And it’s no good claiming the Fathers define Scripture’s limit or singular authority, since this begs the question, Which Fathers? We know the Fathers because they are approved by the episcopal Magisterium; and they are approved because they aligned with Scripture and Tradition. And Scripture was what it was in the Church because God’s Tradition enshrined it as such. Etc. Etc.
The Lord Jesus (cf. Mth 28) told the Apostles to teach and preach all he had taught. St. Paul (cf. 1 Cor 11), subjected his own teaching to “what was handed on to him”, not by what he deemed suitably scriptural; as well, he placed Timothy and his successors under oral and written traditions (2 Tim 2). St. Peter proclaimed the preached Gospel as the enduring standard (1 Pet 1). Etc. Etc.

cool guy June 12, 2006 at 7:53 am

James White uses the word “tradition” whenever he refers to the position of his debate opponents. It is not just a term denoting the Catholic view on the “handing down” of the deposit of faith anymore (tradere= hand down). For him, it is an all-encompassing term that describes all sorts of heresy. It has become a very emotionally- charged term for him now.
Here is my prediction of how events will turn out:
1) James White will probably respond to you so that his listeners can comfort themselves knowing that their champion has responded to Jimmy Akin (in the process derisively referring to you as one of “Rome’s apologists”)
2) His readership will be content with knowing the fact that at least *somebody* has responded to Jimmy Akin.
3) They will fail to realize the utter illogicality of Sola Scriptura.
That is why I gave up debating Protestants online about six months ago. Their logic is wanting by a large degree, and they cover up that fact by insulting you at every chance they get (like lots of plays on the word “Rome”). I feel sorry for these people, and I hope that at least some of them will come over here to read Jimmy’s post for themselves.

Ed Peters June 12, 2006 at 8:10 am

i think cool guy is right. in every respect.

Tim J. June 12, 2006 at 8:41 am

Thanks, Jimmy.
One of the frustrating points of arguing with Protestant relatives is that they talk as if the Church grew out of the Bible, when that is demonstrably false FROM BIBLICAL EVIDENCE ALONE.
The Bible grew out of the Church, and not right away and in one piece, either. Thank God there was a Sacred Tradition that could help determine what the canon really should be.

Jack Trehawke June 12, 2006 at 8:51 am

cool goy, don’t lump all Protestants into the James White camp. Like I said in the “You’re so vain” thread, not all Protestants are like White, and aha, I see that you wrote back to agree with me that there are Catholics who are just as bad.
If all Catholics gave up on arguing with all Protestants, my bride and I never would have found our way Home. :)
Of course you do have to pick your battles, and your opponents. The kind that relies on sniping and doesn’t seem willing to engage you as a human being, let alone engage your argument on its own terms, is usually a poor investment of time.
Of course Jesus died for that soul as much as any other (pace the Calvinists), but OTOH arguing with someone who refuses to hear is not always the best way of loving him.
I would rather try to begin with a couple of brewskis and some shop talk as applicable, and go from there. If you can’t get to first base there, chances are you aren’t going to slug one home with a clinching argument either.

Venerable Aussie June 12, 2006 at 8:58 am

I see from James White’s site that he is heading over to Walt Disney World in November to debate Shelby Spong of all people on the following topic:
“Is Homosexuality Compatible with Authentic, Biblical, Orthodox Christianity?”
Presumably he’s arguing the negative.
So go easy on him Jimmy. With a debating title like this, he should be congratulated for agreeing to take the Catholic position!
PS Perhaps Jimmy should head over as well and debate him on the topic of this post at EPCOT (after all, doesn’t it stand for “E”xegesis on the “P”ractice of “C”orban in the “O”ld “T”estament?)

Shane June 12, 2006 at 9:18 am

I don’t think the point that Mr. White was making was that extrascriptural tradition cannot be authoritative. The point he was making was that whereas Scripture is a fixed and referencable statement of the word of God, Tradition is not. Even if some Traditions were given as the word of God, there is not a way to verify them in the same way there is to verify the Scriptures. If someone says, ‘The Scriptures say that love is patient,’ one can easily go and check with them. On the other hand, if someone says, ‘Tradition says that such and such is true’ there isn’t any way to check that matter-of-factly. In other words, I think Mr. White is saying this:
There were traditions that were not God given in Old Testament times, and there may have been some that were. The Pharisees had one that they thought was, but they were wrong about that. In the same way, there are traditions in Christianity that were not God given, and there may be some that were. However, we have no way of knowing if one is God given, or if we are just making the same mistake as the Pharisees. Since we know the Scriptures are God given, we should check with those to verify any of these traditions.
So it’s not that Mr. White is saying no extraScriptural tradition can be authoritative. He is saying that we have no way of knowing just which extraScriptural traditions are the authoritative ones, and which ones are not. Therefore, any Tradition that is believed to be God given needs to be compared to the Scriptures because we know they are authoritative to see if it is in line, and if it is, then we can believe it; if not, then we must not believe it.

SDG June 12, 2006 at 9:35 am

I don’t think the point that Mr. White was making was that extrascriptural tradition cannot be authoritative. The point he was making was that whereas Scripture is a fixed and referencable statement of the word of God, Tradition is not.

I don’t think so. White’s thesis, forcefully and repeatedly stated, is that “we are to examine all traditions by the higher standard of God’s Word,” meaning scripture. In other words, he regards scripture as an inherently higher authority than tradition, which means that he excludes the idea that tradition can be authoritative in the same way that scripture is.

Tim J. June 12, 2006 at 9:35 am

“Since we know the Scriptures are God given, we should check with those to verify any of these traditions.”
Who’s interpretation of scripture should we check these traditions against?
That’s the problem with Scripture Alone… the Scripture is never alone, we come to it with a head full of biases and presuppositions, whether we acknowledge that or not.
The Majesterium (sacred oral tradition) is there to correct our erroneous biases and presuppositions, so that we can approach the Scriptures from within the Apostolic Tradition, and not invent a new religion every time we pick them up.

cool guy June 12, 2006 at 9:36 am

“So it’s not that Mr. White is saying no extraScriptural tradition can be authoritative. He is saying that we have no way of knowing just which extraScriptural traditions are the authoritative ones, and which ones are not. Therefore, any Tradition that is believed to be God given needs to be compared to the Scriptures because we know they are authoritative to see if it is in line, and if it is, then we can believe it; if not, then we must not believe it. ”
Tradition does not exist in a void, though. It is handed down within the community of believers (the church) and is occasionally defined by the magisterium.
Moreover, the same logic might as well apply to the scriptures. Who is to say that such-and -such a document really is divinely inspired? Didnt the early church debate over which books were to be authoritative in the church, doing so *on the basis of the received tradition?*

Elliot B June 12, 2006 at 9:56 am

Re Shane:
“The point he was making was that whereas Scripture is a fixed and referencable statement of the word of God, Tradition is not. Even if some Traditions were given as the word of God, there is not a way to verify them in the same way there is to verify the Scriptures.”
But this just begs the question in favor of sola scriptura (or at least Reformed prima scriptura). I don’t know if Shane is actually endorsing this line, or merely charitbaly elucidating White’s own line; but the point deserves some critical attention.
The Scriptures may indeed be a tangibly more concrete thing — yet even that’s hugely debatable in light of the PROBLEM OF THE BIBLICAL CANON for sola scriptura (ie., Tradition, not Scripture, decides which Scriptures we can go to) — but how we read them is not. A family portrait is certainly more easily and immedaitely at hand than my whole family; but, unless there are exhaustive and perfectly perspicuous explanations of each person written on the back, the photo is a tangible enigma. Only by listening to the “oral testimony” and witnessing the shared “living spirit” of my family can the tangible picture make any sense. You can’t jsut clutch the photo and insist, “By golly, I just know that guy is his uncle Jeffrey!” You need to refer your viewing to ME, or to someone “qualified” from within the family, to get the inside scoop. Since the Scriptures (the photo) lack any such exhaustive and perspicuous annotations (whether as to exegetical intent or canonical content), the only way we can understand them is by the living voice of Tradition as guided by the Holy Spirit in the Magisterium.
St. Ireneaus dealt with this very issue in his _Adversus Haereses_ with the analogy of using the same poem, but rearranging its lines into nonsense (ie., heretics’ using the same material “tiles” in their kerygmatic “mosaic”, but rearranging them [ie., their meanings] into any sort of disfigured picture). He attacked not heretics’ failure/avoidance to refer to Scripture, but precisely their mishandling of said Scripture in light of the Tradition (regula fidei). And St. Vincent of Lerins stated just as plainly that are as many interpretations of the tangible Scriptures as there are interpreters; Tradition however keeps the exegesis and kerygma in line.
It’s no different today. Of course we all go by Scripture as a tangible “axis” (cf. _Dei verbum_ 8-10), but how we go about Scripture depends on the infallible magisterial proclamation of it in light of, and on the authority of, Divine Tradition.
Further, this sort of immediate grasping at Scripture because it’s more tangible ignores the massive textual, iconic, cultic AND ESPECIALLY LITURGICAL heritage (all of which are “tangibly” referencable) of the Church (see. eg., Danielou’s _The Bible and the Liturgy_). Lex orandi, lex credendi — not, I must say, lex lectandi (law of the reading). [Apologies for me whacked Latin.] As the Church prays, so she believes; as the Church prays and worships, so she reads Scripture.
I close with a quote from the inimitable, indefatigable, infrangible G.K. Chesterton:
“What is any man who has been in the real outer world, for instance, to make of the everlasting cry that Catholic traditions are condemned by the Bible? It indicates a jumble of topsy-turvy tests and tail-foremost arguments, of which I never could at any time see the sense. The ordinary sensible sceptic or pagan is standing in the street (in the supreme character of the man in the street) and he sees a procession go by of the priests of some strange cult, carrying their object of worship under a canopy, some of them wearing high head-dresses and carrying symbolical staffs, others carrying scrolls and sacred records, others carrying sacred images and lighted candles before them, others sacred relics in caskets or cases, and so on. I can understand the spectator saying, ‘This is all hocus-pocus’; I can even understand him, in moments of irritation, breaking up the procession, throwing down the images, tearing up the scrolls, dancing on the priests and anything else that might express that general view. … But in what conceivable frame of mind does he rush in to select one particular scroll of the scriptures of this one particular group (a scroll which had always belonged to them and been a part of their hocus-pocus, if it was hocus-pocus); why in the world should the man in the street say that one particular scroll was not bosh, but was the one and only truth by which all the other things were to be condemned? Why should it not be as superstitious to worship the scrolls as the statues, of that one particular procession? Why should it not be as reasonable to preserve the statues as the scrolls, by the tenets of that particular creed? To say to the priests, ‘Your statues and scrolls are condemned by our common sense,’ is sensible. To say, ‘Your statues are condemned by your scrolls, and we are going to worship one part of your procession and wreck the rest,’ is not sensible from any standpoint, least of all that of the man in the street.”
— G. K. Chesterton, The Catholic Church and Conversion

JimR June 12, 2006 at 10:03 am

So it’s not that Mr. White is saying no extraScriptural tradition can be authoritative.
Shane, how are you using the word “authorative” here? I think you are using it differently than Messrs. White or Akin did.
With respect to your argument, I don’t think that reliability is the same as validity. I also think you overstate the unreliability of tradition.
I think that your claim that we can’t know which traditions are divine ignores the fact that tradition is the primary determinant of conventions regarding which books are inspired. By your logic, we can’t know which books of the bible are divinely inspired because it doesn’t come with a divinely inspired table of contents.

Francis DS June 12, 2006 at 10:06 am

“Therefore, any Tradition that is believed to be God given needs to be compared to the Scriptures because we know they are authoritative to see if it is in line, and if it is, then we can believe it; if not, then we must not believe it.”
Other problems include, who is the “we” that will perform the comparison? And what if the various “we”‘s disagree on what scripture means? Who decides which “we” we should follow? Which one of them is authoritative?

bill912 June 12, 2006 at 10:07 am

As Tim J pointed out above, it was Sacred Tradition that determined which books belonged in the Bible and which didn’t.

Jack Trehawke June 12, 2006 at 10:08 am

Tim J and cool guy (sorry about the earlier typo in your name, dude!), you both do a good job of showing why Shane’s proposed rule of faith doesn’t work. The larger point, though, is that what Shane says is not what White says.
And the even larger point is that what White says is not what Mark 7 says. But don’t count on White responding directly to Jimmy’s argument and trying to show how the “clear teaching” of Jesus in this passage is that scripture always amounts to a “higher standard” over anything that can be called “tradition,” when all he has shown is that the Pharisees have some traditions that contradict the scriptures and are therefore false.
BTW, I notice that after venting on the “You’re so vain” thread, Jimmy was able to respond to White’s arguments without getting the slightest bit personal in any way. I approve of the bifurcated response, but I’m guessing White’s rejoinder may be more, er, mixed. :)

Shane June 12, 2006 at 10:12 am

I have actually addressed all those points in a piece I wrote critiquing Mr. White’s arguement, I was just posting that because I did not want Mr. White to be able to say that his point was not addressed.

Vincent June 12, 2006 at 10:14 am

It’s extraScriptural and authoritative that The Gospel According to Matthew is inspired. How would Mr. White say that we know this?

Shane June 12, 2006 at 10:16 am

I meant I was just posting the previous post in which I tried to make sure Mr. White’s arguement had been presented properly. I wasn’t referring to my article as though to say Jimmy didn’t address it but mine did. I think his certainly did address it, as well as several other points I did not.

Ryan C June 12, 2006 at 10:17 am

After reading Elliot’s comments I think Chesterton’s quote on the teaching authority of the Catholic Church is also key:
“I have another far more solid and central ground for submitting to it as a faith, instead of merely picking up hints from it as a scheme. And that is this: that the Christian Church in its practical relation to my soul is a living teacher, not a dead one.
It not only certainly taught me yesterday, but will almost certainly teach me to-morrow. Once I saw suddenly the meaning of the shape of the cross; some day I may see suddenly the meaning of the shape of the mitre. One fine morning I saw why windows were pointed; some fine morning I may see why priests were shaven. Plato has told you a truth; but Plato is dead. Shakespeare has startled you with an image; but Shakespeare will not startle you with any more. But imagine what it would be to live with such men still living, to know that Plato might break out with an original lecture to-morrow or that at any moment Shakespeare might shatter everything with a single song. The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare to-morrow at breakfast. He is always expecting to see some truth that he has never seen before.”
God left us the written Scriptures, his Oral Teachings, and a living Church entrusted with the truth and given the graces to protect and define it – from the Nicean Creed to the Dogma of the Assumption. In addition to differing views of tradition differing views of the Church and development of doctrine need to be thrown into the mix as well.

Puzzled June 12, 2006 at 10:20 am

Is 8, 1 Thess 4.

Puzzled June 12, 2006 at 10:26 am

Tim, and whose interpretation of the Magisterium shall we select,and whose interpretation of -that- and whose interpretation of your words, or mine?
Once you adopt the post-modern hermeneutic of despair as an attempt to defend the notion of unscripturated oral, authoritative tradition from the Apostles, you find your self in a totally absurd and useless position, having cut off the branch upon which you were sitting.

SDG June 12, 2006 at 10:33 am

From Shane’s piece:

In summary, we see then that Dr. White’s objection fails for at least four reasons:

  1. It assumes that the Corban rule was actually regarded as Divine in origin, and fails to consider the late date of the completion of the codification of the Mishnah and possible anti-Christian bias in the codification.

  2. It specifically addresses only one Jewish tradition and extrapolates from this a general principle.

  3. It presents an argument against Sacred Tradition which can also be used against the reliability of Sacred Scripture, while suggesting methods to ensure Scriptural reliability are also applicable to Sacred Tradition.

  4. It fails to take into account the special status of the Church granted by God as compared to the Jewish religious establishment, and fails to consider the special protection of the Church’s teaching authority promised through the Holy Spirit.

Nicely put, Shane. I’d say #2 is the nub of White’s exegetical problem with Mark 7, although #4 is of critical importance theologically.
Hey J.W., what do you think of Jimmy’s readers today? :-)

bill912 June 12, 2006 at 10:50 am

Puzzled: If you are right, then we can’t trust the Bible, either, as it is only on the Church’s magisterial authority that we have a Bible.
So, three questions:
1) Do you believe that the Bible is Divinely ispired and inerrant?
If so:
2) On what authority do you believe that the Bible is Divinely inspired?
and
3) On what authority do you believe that the books which are in the Bible–and no other books–belong in the Canon of Scripture?

Tim J. June 12, 2006 at 11:13 am

See, that’s the thing, Puzzled. That is precisely why Jesus established a visible, earthly authority in his Church… to put an end to that absurd hermeneutical spiral.
Questioning my own interpretation of Scripture can hardly be called despair. It’s only good sense. I’m only one person, and can go far wrong in my understanding (and have, as many have).
Sure, we could question our own understanding of what the magisterium teaches, and then question the questioning… but we needn’t. Anything can be carried to absurd lengths. Are you saying that referring to any authority outside OURSELVES represents post modern despair?
How about making our own understanding the sole arbiter of all questions? Sounds like postmodern intellectual hubris, to me. Just me and the Holy Spirit… or not.
You can, of course, question the data that you get from your senses. There is nothing to prevent your doing so, but it also creates more absurdity than it solves. Does the very fact that we accept our sensory data mean that we then are bound to accept as equally valid ALL data that we receive? Of course not. Again, we lapse into absurdity in the other direction.
If we begin by accepting the mystery of our sense experience, we find that we can get on fairly well. If we accept the mystery of the First Principles of reason, we find that we can reason pretty well.
We learn to reason by the practical application of reason. We see what works. Disbelieving our own senses doesn’t work. Believing everything we hear doesn’t work, either.
The Magisterium WORKS, or is at least the only thing in Christendom that can claim to have established any kind of authentic authoritative body of doctrine.
In just a plain, practical sense, Protestantism (Sola Scriptura) doesn’t work. We have everyone laying claim to supernatural guidance, and everyone disagreeing. There is an almost infinite spectrum of Protestant belief, so much so that coming up with “the Protestant Position” on any biblical issue is almost impossible.
You may counter that many Catholics disagree with Magisterial teaching, but that is only possible because there is a body of Magisterial teaching to disagree WITH. We have a Pole Star, even if many choose not to steer by it.
There is no such authority in Protestantism, and therefore no way to authoritatively claim that anybody else’s view of scripture is invalid. There is simply no guarantee, expressed or implied, that an individual – reading scripture, praying, and looking for the truth – is going to get it right. Together, though (in a truly Catholic sense), through the *sensus fidelum*, we do find the truth (“Where two or three are gathered together…”), and Jesus has said the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. Any one of us can be wrong. All of us together (through time AND space) can not. Jesus has promised this. His Church will not promulgate error.

Elliot B June 12, 2006 at 11:17 am

Re Puzzled:
I yet fail to see the relevance of 1 Thes4 and Isa 8; though I must admit, Isa 8:16b, 19b were humorously inapposite for your claims.
[16] … Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. … [19] And when they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the wizards who chirp and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?
How Catholic a passage, for indeed the teaching has been sealed up in the disciples, as living people in a chain of paradosis, and not in mere pages. And indeed, should we consult the “dead letter” of the Law without the Spirit of Christ that DWELLS IN THE CHURCH AS THE HOUSEHOLD OF, THE VERY PILLAR AND FOUNDATION OF TRUTH?
Anyway, Puzzled, it’s hardly pomo despair to admit 1) I on my own lack the wherewithal to “get” all of Scripture perfectly, in a binding way, for all the Church, and 2) the same God “back then” who inspired His Church’s faithful and leaders “unto Scripture” continues to guide them “in Scripture.”
If anything, (rationalist, Cartesian) foundationalism, not Christian hope and trust, has been decimated by pomoism, and foundationalism is the epistemological basis for sola scriptura. Once you forfeit absolute universal hermeneutical/heuristic premises, regardless of concrete hermeneutical frameworks, you forfeit sola scriptura. Once, however, you admit the validity of premises within their own discursive domain (ie., Tradition, consensus, authority, covenant, etc.), then you have a fine and fruitful time with Scriptures in the same domain.
The “point” of “siding with” the Magisterium on Scripture in the Tradition is not to have the finger licking bliss of utter perspicacity (that’s the foundationalist error), but simply to trust God in His Church — not to get an airtight memo, unequivocal in every syllable, but simply to obey your leaders as God has appointed them in eucharistic communion. “Pure” perspicacity is over-rated, a Cartesian, Enlightenment wet dream, not the criteria for Catholic faith. Of course we could go on all day squabbling this and that phrase of this and that magisterial pronouncement — this is rather encouraged by the continuous formation of Catholic theologians, you know — and this very process refines our grasp of the depositum fidei. It’s called LIVING Tradition for a reason.

Elliot B June 12, 2006 at 11:23 am

PS. I’m not saying/endorsing the idea Catholic theologians are designed for squabbling with the Faith, nor that such squabbling is ideal. I mean rather that 1) the formation of theologians by “Rome” sure seems a lousy way to hammer down and cut out any further comments on its “final say”; and 2) God uses even such tiring squabbling in His Providence to bring the Church into all truth.
See the end sections of Newman’s _Apologia_.

Brian June 12, 2006 at 12:08 pm

Jimmy, you ROCK!!! This and your last several days’ posts have been nothing short of amazing and awe-inspiring. Do need a Band-Aide supply for your hurtn’ and tired fingers? We’ll keep praying for you and all at Catholic Answers.

Ryan C June 12, 2006 at 1:41 pm

Well said, Tim. And that other Chesterton post was mine.

cool guy June 12, 2006 at 1:55 pm

Well put, Elliot. The Catholic emphasis on an authoritative magisterium should not be construed as an attempt to establish a clear Cartesian epistemological point of reference. It isn’t about epistemology so much as it is about practical church governance.
Some apologists have overemphasized the role of the magisterium in precisely the wrong way, and a few Protestants have jumped on that approach to mischaracterize Catholicism. Witness Puzzled’s comments:
“Tim, and whose interpretation of the Magisterium shall we select,and whose interpretation of -that- and whose interpretation of your words, or mine?”
These comments show that Puzzled has misunderstood the role of the magisterium (possibly not without help from some Catholic apologists). The magisterium does not establish a Cartesian point of reference on which to build a logical structure (“I think, therefore I am”). As I said, it is about church governance. Occasionally the church will condemn some particular doctrines to be opposed to the faith, but that does not mean that a person can be utterly in doubt about everything until something is defined as dogma. If that were the case, then no Catholics would have been able to believe in the divinity of Christ until 325 – a patent absurdity.

Jonathan Prejean June 12, 2006 at 2:30 pm

“Tim, and whose interpretation of the Magisterium shall we select,and whose interpretation of -that- and whose interpretation of your words, or mine?
Once you adopt the post-modern hermeneutic of despair as an attempt to defend the notion of unscripturated oral, authoritative tradition from the Apostles, you find your self in a totally absurd and useless position, having cut off the branch upon which you were sitting.”
This argument is silly, and I’m embarrassed on Protestants’ behalf that they keep raising it. It’s fallacious to reason from the fact that something is not entirely clear on every subject of interest to the position that something is entirely unclear (which is more or less the pomo/post-structuralist position), but that isn’t even the point. The point is that if there is a real and concrete dispute over what the written sources of authority mean as applied to a particular case, then in Catholicism, there is a process to have these claims adjudicated. Indeed, in every instance of a society governed by written sources of authority, it has been the case that there have been such disputes resolved by binding human decisions, so the burden is quite clearly on the Protestant to justify that Scripture does not require human authority to normatively enforce it.
But here you are, making the fanciful claim that of all texts viewed as authoritative for normative purposes in all of human history, you have managed to come across the one for which there is absolutely no dispute of interpretation in any area that the authority of the text is intended to bind, the one that requires no courts and no enforcement so long as the citizens all concede the authority of the law. And that is supposedly the case despite the ample historical evidence that the Christian Church felt sufficiently justified to impose canonical sanctions against heretics who themselves advocated the authority of Scripture in many cases (although not the *traditional interpretation* of said Scriptures, as defended by St. Athanasius et al.). It seems that you are the one making the ridiculous assertion that you have stumbled across the single example of a normatively self-enforcing document in all of human history. If someone said something equally foolish about the Constitution or any other authoritative text, he would be laughed from the room, but for some reason, we are to make an exception fo Scripture simply because it is “inspired,” absent any argument why inspiration should correlate with normative self-enforcement. It would seem that you are the one who has some explaining to do about why the normative enforcement of Scripture is somehow “different” than that of every other authoritative text in human history.
Puzzled indeed!

Brent Robbins June 12, 2006 at 3:29 pm

I think all Mr. White is getting at with the Korban rule is that:
1. The Pope sits in the seat of Peter, like the Pharisees sat in the seat of Moses.
2. The Pharisees preached the Korban Rule as divinely inspired and authoritative
3. The Korban Rule was false.
4. Thus, although the Pharisees had authority, they held the faithful to false doctrine that was extrascriptural
Therefore…
5. The Pope can lead and bind the faithful to false doctrine that is extrascriptural.
To continue on with the argument, White asserts that some of the RCC’s teachings are extrascriptural and some do or seem to contradict the Scriptures.
The final conclusion being…
Just because the Pope sits on the seat of Peter does not make him infallible and can lead the faithful into heresy.

Shane June 12, 2006 at 3:32 pm

I think those points are addressed in Jimmy’s article, and I think they are also addressed in the article I linked.

Andrew June 12, 2006 at 3:52 pm

“Therefore…
5. The Pope can lead and bind the faithful to false doctrine that is extrascriptural.”
But does that really follow? Moses was not given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Nor was Moses promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against that which was built upon him.

Puzzled June 12, 2006 at 3:56 pm

“Puzzled: If you are right, then we can’t trust the Bible, either, as it is only on the Church’s magisterial authority that we have a Bible.
So, three questions:
1) Do you believe that the Bible is Divinely ispired and inerrant?
If so:
2) On what authority do you believe that the Bible is Divinely inspired?
and
3) On what authority do you believe that the books which are in the Bible–and no other books–belong in the Canon of Scripture?”
====================
1. Yes, I most certainly do.
2. The Bible itself says so. God has given me faith that it is so. The tremendous body of apologetic material supporting its accuracy on all sorts of matters. The Old Testament by the Temple Scroll, the New Testament by Jesus’ promise to the apostles that they would be led into all truth by the Holy Spirit, and so what they wrote as Scripture, or had their scribes write as Scripture -is- Scripture. This is also confirmed in 1 Peter, regarding Paul’s writings. This is also confirmed in the Hebrew term translated as ‘apostle’ – sheliachim, a legal office of direct representation of a person which cannot be transfered or passed on to another.
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
1) Do you believe that the Magisterium is Divinely inspired and has an unwritten deposit of information that is from God and literally true?
if so,
2) upon authority do you believe that the Magisterium is 100% accurate, all the time, and in every possible way, and in all that it says, Divinely inspired?
3) How do you know which tradition to believe? That of the Levites whom God appointed as the priestly tribe? The tradition of the Armenians, or of the Copts, or of the Chaldeans, or of the Greek Orthodox, or of the Russian Orthodox, or of the Old Believers, or of the Maronite Catholics or of the
Roman Catholics?
Tim,
Are you saying that post-modern literary criticism was a problem in the 15 century B. C., or in the 1st century A. D. ?
The rest of your argument against sola Scriptura supra omne is based upon the same pomo notion that there is no objective text to understand, and the additional implied claim that you have another, nonwritten text which does not suffer from the same epistemological problems, which is special pleading.
I misremembered, it is 1 Cor. 4:6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
Elliot:
I certainly disagree most emphatically with the notion that pomo has proven anything other than PT Barnum’s dictum. Foundationalism, coming as it does from the Bible, from the Judaeo-Christian tradition, has most certainly not been destroyed. At all. Lied about, distorted by pomo sophists, sure, but not destroyed, nor disproven. You don’t believe that it has, either, because you are using language to communicate. As does God Himself.
“cool guy” I reject your false claim that I’m “jumping on” or intending to “mischaracterize”. You should know better than to sling mud like some Catholic Jack Chick.
“This argument is silly, and I’m embarrassed on Protestants’ behalf that they keep raising it. It’s fallacious to reason from the fact that something is not entirely clear on every subject of interest to the position that something is entirely unclear (which is more or less the pomo/post-structuralist position),”
The argument isn’t silly, but the Catholic apeal to the post-modern hermeneutic of despair certainly is. It is a very poor choice of apologetic, for if it were true, it would also be true for the creeds and councils, doctors and fathers, Catechism and Magisterium.
Jonathan, your argument that tradition and magisterium means that you have people who can tell you what to believe about the exegesis of a passage, or the lexicography of a word, does not address whether that ruling is correct, nor does it even begin (it seems to me) to address the question of the extra-scriptural legends and practices which in some cases have become required as dogma that must be believed before the schisms can be healed. I also find it very unsatisfactory compared to simple humility before the Bible and its Divine Author, and say on some things “I don’t know”

SDG June 12, 2006 at 3:59 pm

Brent:
What Shane said. Also, of your five points:
1. is not claimed or mentioned in White’s piece.
2. is not clearly the case.
5. does not follow from 1-4, since the New Covenant is greater than the Old, enacted on more excellent promises, with the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the Church that was not given to Israel. Thus, what was true of authority in Israel may not be directly applicable to authority in the Church.

Cearnaigh June 12, 2006 at 4:23 pm

Puzzled,
I am not sure anything that you said or James White said has convinced me of the epistemological superiorty of the Reformed position on this point (I have never bought into the superiority of the presuppositional apologetic, in general, either but I digress…)
I don’t think Mr. White showed that Jesus intended to teach that all “extra-biblical” traditions must be judged by “Scripture” at all (much less a Reformed reading of Scripture).
White’s position on this seems to be partially based on his idea that “canon is a function of Scripture” – which to me is as “extra-biblical” as any other “tradition,” but I digress… 😉
Elliot was right… your point doesn’t show he wasn’t. I can’t ask the Bible to clarify itself, but I can ask Elliot to do so. At any rate Sola Scriptura certainly doesn’t win the day if I have faith in words and language, sir, that doesn’t follow at all.
Tell you what… if you believe that I would be wrong to deny that the Scriptures *assert* the concept that the Bible is the sole [infallible] rule of faith… and can show me (exegetically) why I am wrong to deny it (i.e. show me exegetically how the Scriptures assert this concept)… 1. …I would be impressed, and I will look further into it.
I have yet to be shown this concept in the Scriptures… so you’ll have to excuse me if I have seen no reason to embrace what I see to be a self-referentially incoherent position, why I haven’t chosen this position *over and against* a position I now hold.
If you have time maybe you could show me how the canon being a fuction of Scripture is taught as a concept in the Bible. :)
IC XC
Cearnaigh

SDG June 12, 2006 at 4:26 pm

Puzzled:
I notice that you seem not to have answered the question “On what authority do you believe that the books which are in the Bible–and no other books–belong in the Canon of Scripture?”
The question can be more pointedly put.
The books that we now call “the Bible” were gathered together over time — these books accepted, those books rejected (at least as scripture, though not necessarily rejected as false) — through a gradual process of corporate discernment carried out by men whom we all believe were individually fallible.
Was this process of corporate discernment a fallible or infallible one? True, the Holy Spirit was operative among those men, just as he is among us today. But few of us would say that our decisions today are infallibly correct because we have the Holy Spirit. Are we willing to claim infallible guidance for the process of discernment of those fallible men who brought together the canon of scripture?
If the process of discernment was a fallible one, then like R. C. Sproul we must consider the canon of scripture “a fallible collection of infallible books.” And if it is a fallible collection fallibly composed by fallible men, then we must accept the possibility that those men may have made a mistake. Perhaps Luther was right to question the canonicity of this or that book, or perhaps some book that all Christians have always accepted might in fact not be inspired, or perhaps some book that was left out ought to have been included.
But if we deny that a mistake could have been made — if we assert that the Holy Spirit operated in the Church in such a way as to infallibly lead the Church into the truth of the canon — then we are no longer quite operating on the principle of sola scriptura. We have accepted the authority of the Holy Spirit not only in the text of scripture but also in the hand of the Church gathering and recognizing the canon of scripture.
Which way will you have it?

Anonymous June 12, 2006 at 4:32 pm

James White has responded on his blog. Apparently, he did not see Jimmy’s previous post. He emulates the exact same behavior that was described there.

Adam D June 12, 2006 at 4:43 pm

He very clearly missed Jimmy’s first post. That’s unfortunate. I hope he finds it.

Jack Trehawke June 12, 2006 at 4:50 pm

The sad thing is, I suspect White did NOT miss Jimmy’s first post. He simply deigned not to acknowledge it, or to alter his course in any way. He probably thinks he is taking the high road.

Adam D June 12, 2006 at 5:00 pm

White’s second paragraph is the giveaway (and he returns to the idea repeatedly). He’s confused about how Jimmy started the post, and doesn’t understand why Jimmy didn’t address the fact of White’s 10-years-old arguments. James White could only be confused about the matter if he hadn’t read Jimmy’s previous post where he actually addresses the subject.

Shane June 12, 2006 at 5:11 pm

Dr. White says
Be that as it may, what is more likely: that the Corban rule, which is so self-evidently opposed to the moral constitution of mankind, would be elevated after its refutation by Jesus in Jewish tradition (and after the destruction of the Temple!) or that Aboth is in fact representing for us a true Rabbinic tradition, replete with the names of the Rabbis to whom this material was supposedly entrusted? While it is always good to avoid the immediate conclusion that if something is in the Mishnah it represents Second Temple Judaism, at the same time, when the term itself is found in both sources, the outlines of the belief/practice coincide, etc., the burden is then on the one who would question the continuity, not the one who would accept it.
The very fact that Jesus criticized the Corban rule seems to me to be a very good reason why it would have been elevated by later Rabbis.

SDG June 12, 2006 at 5:27 pm

I’m going to hold off on commenting on Mr. White’s new post until Jimmy has had the chance to do so. :-)

Jack Trehawke June 12, 2006 at 5:29 pm

“so far we still have no acknowledgement of, “Oh, I guess White was clear about this all along, I just don’t bother reading Protestant apologists or listening to their debates””
Okay, Adam D, I admit you’re right, on closer look it seems like White just missed Jimmy’s first post. :)

Anonymous June 12, 2006 at 5:31 pm

I wonder why Dr. White decided not to put up a link to Jimmy’s post in his latest response. Did ya notice?

Jonathan Prejean June 12, 2006 at 6:33 pm

Puzzled:
“The argument isn’t silly, but the Catholic apeal to the post-modern hermeneutic of despair certainly is. It is a very poor choice of apologetic, for if it were true, it would also be true for the creeds and councils, doctors and fathers, Catechism and Magisterium.”
Good thing that I’m not asserting it, then. I made quite plain to you what the differences between my (Catholic) view and the pomo hermeneutic is, so I have no idea why you are saying this.
“[Y]our argument that tradition and magisterium means that you have people who can tell you what to believe about the exegesis of a passage, or the lexicography of a word, does not address whether that ruling is correct, nor does it even begin (it seems to me) to address the question of the extra-scriptural legends and practices which in some cases have become required as dogma that must be believed before the schisms can be healed.”
You’re asserting that dogma is limited to what is found in Scripture, and moreover, that it is limited to the meaning historically intended by the author of Scripture. I reject both hypotheses. Make your argument, if you have one, that dogma should be limited to the historical meaning of Scripture.
“I also find it very unsatisfactory compared to simple humility before the Bible and its Divine Author, and say on some things ‘I don’t know'”
You would then say “I don’t know” on a number of beliefs that Christianity has historically considered essential. This is why I suspect your view that dogma is limited to the historical meaning of Scripture is not supportable.

Jonathan Prejean June 12, 2006 at 6:45 pm

“How do you know which tradition to believe? That of the Levites whom God appointed as the priestly tribe? The tradition of the Armenians, or of the Copts, or of the Chaldeans, or of the Greek Orthodox, or of the Russian Orthodox, or of the Old Believers, or of the Maronite Catholics or of the
Roman Catholics?”
I think my boss, who is a Maronite Catholic, would be awfully surprised to find out that he wasn’t Roman Catholic. There are Armenian Catholics, Coptic Catholics, Chaldean Catholics, and Byzantine Catholics of various persuasions, so in most cases you cited, one could be Catholic without having to reject any of them. The only salient divisions there are between Catholics in communion with Rome, the Eastern Orthodox, the Old Catholics, the Oriental Orthodox, and the Churches of the East.
But who is resorting to the hermeneutic of despair now? Do you think that it is impossible to discern from among several claims who has the strongest historical claim to continuity with the Christian Church? Do you think that we cannot reasonably adjudicate whether doctrines like the condemnation of Nestorianism or Monophysitism are correct? Why would history be any more unclear than any other written language? Your dismissal of non-Scriptural sources is arbitrary and unsupportable.

Puzzled June 12, 2006 at 7:17 pm

I’m not Reformed, at least not in the sense of TULIP. Seeing the Lutheran answer to the Calvinist/Arminian Controversy, and seeing the lack of the centrality of the Cross in modern Reformed practice, and discovering the Real Presence and the liturgy in Scripture, I’m now a member of a conservative Lutheran congregation. Not as an attack on the Roman Catholic Church, but as seeking the right worship of God and the Blessed Sacrament.
I’m not particularly a fan of White, he has never come into my reading lists.
Which presuppositional apologetic do you mean, van Til’s which is basically Fideism, and which I reject, or Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s, which apart from focusing on philosophical presuppositions, is more or less antithetical to van Til’s.? I follow Schaeffer in most things. Caernaigh, I don’t know what your present position is. I don’t know what your response to the citations which I have made, is. If you calm down, I think you are someone with whom I could have a profitable conversation – if nothing else to find out what each other is actually saying.
SDG, please answer my questions concerning tradition and magisterium before I answer your question, again (it seems to me, though perhaps I am mistaken) I will say that i disagree with your account as to how the Scriptures were collected.
Jonathan, then I did not understand you, which may well be my culpa.
How can you maintain (if that is what you are doing) that there are things that must be believed to be saved, or else for there to be healing of the schisms, that God did not give us in Scripture? The Orthodox and Orientals wonder this as well, not merely we alone. I could certianly assert the 1 Cor. 4 passage and the Isaiah 8:20 passage (If I cited them corectly). Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 1 Cor. 4:6Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.”
I don’t understand exactly what you are getting at with your last paragraph.
To your next post, I don’t think perhaps that you understood that I was trying to show you what the consequences of claiming that we cannot understand Scripture would be for the Magisterium, and the various sacred traditions. That you seem to have thought that I was not referring to the Churches of the East and the Orthodox suggests again to me, that you didn’t. BTW, the Roman Catholic Church has determined that the “Nestorian” Churches never did and do not now teach the Nestorian heresy, and that the Copts do not teach the Monophysite heresy. That the anathemas were in error. Just as, I would argue, _Exurge Domini_ is in error. That you end thinking that I was trying to dismiss tradtion and the magisterium on the grounds that they could not be understood shows you totally misunderstood my point. Perhaps that is my fault. Instead, I would agree that they can be understood, just as Scripture can be understood.

SDG June 12, 2006 at 7:21 pm

I think my boss, who is a Maronite Catholic, would be awfully surprised to find out that he wasn’t Roman Catholic.

He shouldn’t be. Because he isn’t.
Properly speaking, the “Roman Catholic Church” is only one of the 21 particular Churches that make up the Catholic Church. Specifically, it is the Western or Latin Church that is “Roman Catholic.”
“Roman Catholics” would thus be Latin rite Catholics. Catholics of any of the twenty Eastern Churches are not Roman Catholic.
Although James White, to pick a name out of a hat, insists on (mis)using “Roman Catholic” in the popular but erroneous sense of referring to the entire Catholic communion, Catholics should not encourage or perpetuate this usage.

Tim J. June 12, 2006 at 7:32 pm

“Are you saying that post-modern literary criticism was a problem in the 15 century B. C., or in the 1st century A. D. ?”
Don’t you know? There are no NEW heresies. They are all the same old ones, recycled.
“1) Do you believe that the Magisterium is Divinely inspired and has an unwritten deposit of information that is from God and literally true?
if so,
2) upon authority do you believe that the Magisterium is 100% accurate, all the time, and in every possible way, and in all that it says, Divinely inspired? ”
1) Yes, I do.
and
2) The Magisterium itself says so. God has given me faith that it is so. The tremendous body of apologetic material supporting its accuracy on all sorts of matters…
Sauce for the Goose, sauce for the Gander…
How can “The Bible” claim divine inspiration? At best, this would be found in this book or that, but “The Bible” as a whole is, well, a Catholic invention.

SDG June 12, 2006 at 8:59 pm

SDG, please answer my questions concerning tradition and magisterium before I answer your question, again (it seems to me, though perhaps I am mistaken) I will say that i disagree with your account as to how the Scriptures were collected.

Happy to oblige, although logically it seems to me that if the subject is sola scriptura then the question of the canon is primary and your questions are secondary.
FWIW, I wasn’t aware that I had proposed an “account” as to how the scriptures were collected that was subject to agreement or disagreement. Certainly there are specifics to be filled in, such as particular Church councils, and criteria of canonicity such as apostolic origin (loosely interpreted). But I can’t see how you propose to get away from the basic fact that the NT canon was the subject of gradual corporate discernment over the first few centuries of the Church.
That said, answers to your questions:

Do you believe that the Magisterium is Divinely inspired

Scripture is divinely inspired. The Magisterium is guided by the Holy Spirit in a way that prevents it from solemnly defining error and that serves its mission to proclaim the truths of the faith, but the word inspiration isn’t really appropriate here. (Sorry, Tim J, your answer was a little hasty.)

and has an unwritten deposit of information that is from God and literally true?

Jesus authoritatively handed on his teaching in an unwritten form. His apostles authoritatively handed down the faith in both written and unwritten form, scripture and tradition. From there the faith that was received in both written and unwritten form continues to be handed down in various ways, through oral preaching and written homilies and letters, in the prayer and worship, the art and architecture of the Church, and so on.
The faith continues to be handed down in both written and unwritten form, although I think it might be a mistake to get hung up on the word “unwritten.” Tradition can be written or unwritten. Even if it starts out unwritten, as soon as someone writes it down, whether or not their writing is scriptural, it is no longer “unwritten.”
For example, the word “Trinity” was part of unwritten tradition until Tertullian (or whoever) first wrote it down. Since then, it has been taken up in magisterial texts of the highest authority, although the word itself remains a matter of (written and unwritten) tradition, not inspired scripture. I hope that goes some way toward answering whatever you’re trying to get at.

upon authority do you believe that the Magisterium is 100% accurate, all the time, and in every possible way, and in all that it says, Divinely inspired?

I do not believe this, although I do believe that what the magisterium solemnly defines is of the faith.
Briefly, I believe in the authority of the magisterium for reasons that are inseparable from the question of the canon, which is why I think it’s a mistake for you to insist on addressing these questions before the canon of scripture.
Many years ago, as an Evangelical Protestant, I faced the question I posed to you above — How do I know that these books are inspired and not those books? Is the canon anything more than a fallible collection of infallible books? — and I found myself unable to grasp the nettle the way R.C. Sproul did.
Here is how I look at it. The operation of the Holy Spirit in the church either allows errors regarding essential truths of faith to prevail completely throughout the entire world, essential truths of faith to go everywhere rejected and nowhere affirmed, or not.
If he does allow it, then we are faced with the specter of Restorationism, the prospect that all of Church history prior to a certain point represents a “great apostasy” that fundamentally misunderstood the teaching of Christ in whole or in essential part.
I don’t think we necessarily need to definitively settle the question of the canon before rejecting this view as inconsistent with what seems to be Jesus’ teaching. At the very least, if Restorationism is compatible with the teaching of Christ, then I have no idea what true Christianity might be, and the whole thing is a wash.
My belief, then, is that the Holy Spirit is and always has been active in the Church in such a way that no matter how far error may partially prevail, the essential truths of faith will never go everywhere rejected by everyone in any age. In every age, the Holy Spirit attests to the truth in such a way that at least someone somewhere will bear witness to any truth of faith that is elsewhere challenged or rejected.
This isn’t yet to say that the truth will be affirmed by any particular authority — I’m not yet making an apologetic for a magisterium.
But it does follow from this that in any article of faith that happens to enjoy universal acceptance — that is, any article of faith that is widely proclaimed as a truth of faith and nowhere disputed or denied, especially for centuries on end — we must recognize the Holy Spirit’s stamp of approval. If he didn’t approve, he wouldn’t allow this teaching to enjoy universal acceptance for centuries on end; he would raise up someone to dispute it and testify to the truth.
In other words, from this we get the Vincentian canon: quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est (“what has always, everywhere, and by everyone been believed”) — this is a sure mark of a truth of faith). By itself it may not be a sufficient rule of faith (it may also be necessary to have a way to affirm truths even where dissent has always been with us), but it’s a place to start.
For one thing, it gets us the 27-book canon of the NT (along with the answers to other nettlesome questions like infant baptism and the ordination of women). On this view, there is no possibility that Hebrews or James or Revelation are not really inspired, or that the Shepherd of Hermas belongs after the book of Revelation. The 27-book canon clearly has the Holy Spirit’s stamp of approval, as attested by the universal consent of all of Christendom from early centuries.
But it also gets us more than that. Along with the NT, we find that belief in, e.g., baptismal regeneration, apostolic succession, the eucharistic sacrifice and the sacerdotal priesthood, and much more is attested by the universal faith of Christians from early centuries.
Eventually, it becomes necessary to recognize that the early Church itself believed that it was necessary to recognize the Holy Spirit’s stamp of approval not only in the unanimous consent of the believing world, but also in the solemn declarations of ecumenical councils, and that it is this authority that is empowered by Christ, through the apostles he chose, and the bishops to whom they entrusted their authority, to be the guardian and interpreter of divine revelation in both written and unwritten form.

How do you know which tradition to believe? That of the Levites whom God appointed as the priestly tribe? The tradition of the Armenians, or of the Copts, or of the Chaldeans, or of the Greek Orthodox, or of the Russian Orthodox, or of the Old Believers, or of the Maronite Catholics or of the Roman Catholics?

It’s not like that, you know. Tradition isn’t like trading cards, parceled out to this or that group. In large measure the traditions I mentioned above are attested in all of these groups.
At any rate, the question isn’t so much “Which tradition?” as “Which magisterium?” This post is already way too long for me to go into why I follow the successor of the one upon whom Christ builds his church and to whom he entrusted the keys to the kingdom. I hope it’s a sufficient answer to induce you to share your own ideas about why you can or can’t trust the canon of scripture you’ve inherited from the Church.

Tim J. June 12, 2006 at 9:13 pm

“the word inspiration isn’t really appropriate here. (Sorry, Tim J, your answer was a little hasty.)”
That’s true, and I knew it at the time, but couldn’t resist using Puzzled’s own words in my response.
I would be a terrible debater, as I tend to shoot off at the mouth.
I know that the Magisterium does NOT claim to be directly inspired the way that Scripture is, though Magisterial authority is of Divine origin (by virtue of Divine protection from error) and does contain information not in Scripture. It will never contradict the right understanding of scripture, however.
But, yes, thanks for calling me on it. It was sloppy.

Paul Hoffer June 12, 2006 at 11:13 pm

I asked in the first thread if the Jewish Pharisees considered their tradition to be divinely inspired. After doing some research, I came up with the following and wanted to share with the class.
First, the Torah discusses the notion of Korban what it entails. Korban originally was an animal ritually slaughtered on an altar and then burned as an oblation. The reasons for such sacrifices were detailed in Leviticus, but can be found in other Books of the Torah as well. In summary, these sacrifices were often made in connection with vows. Ancient Jews considered a vow to be a solemn promise directed toward God. Either the person vowed to perform an act or to offer a gift or sacrifice as a votive offering or to abstain from something thereby requiring that person to refrain from doing something or to prohibit them or a third party from doing something. Most notable of the latter category is the Nazirite vow where the first born child was given to a life of abstinence.
The books of the Prophets contain many examples of where the prophets condemned vows and the sacrifices made in connection with same when they were made improperly~that is contrary to teachings of the Torah or which were made not in the spirit of repentance or a desire to return to God by striving after righteousness. See e.g., Hosea 14: 1-2; Joel 2:13; Micah 6:6-8; Isaiah 1:13; Isaiah 66:3.
Likewise, the manner of sacrifices was delineated in the oral tradition of the Jewish people. This oral tradition is called the “Oral Torah.” Jews believed that when God had Moses write the first 5 books of the Bible, he also orally explained to Moses how the commandments contained therein were to be kept. This oral explanation or tradition was then handed down by word of mouth from Moses to Joshua, then to the Elders, the Prophets, and the men of the Great Assembly. The Great Assembly was led by Ezra at the beginning of the Second Temple and codified much of the Oral Torah into a form that could be memorized by the students. This codification became known as the Mishna. Originally, the Mishna was required to be handed down word for word exactly as it had been taught. However, after Ezra’s time, different scholars, rabbis and others added case law, commentary and other teachings to the Mishna. Controversies and disagreements arose as to what was true and wasn’t. Out of this mix, the Essenes, the Pharisees and the Saducees arose.
Contrary to what some protestant bloggers might lead one to believe, the Pharisees were sola scripturists; that is, they interpreted the Torah literally, both the written and oral. Tradition in the Jewish sense was actually rote memorization of the Oral Torah or Mishna. Secondly, the Pharisees believed in a priesthood of believers, that all Jews were to lead a priestly life, and thus were to follow the oral and written precepts of the Torah pertaining to the priests as scrupulously as possible. The final distinctive feature of the Pharisees was that they believed in the resurrection of the dead and immortal life after the Messiah comes.
So much for my research. Now in looking at what Jesus was condemning in Matt. 15 and Mark 7, one must first understand what the Mishna says. After cursorily reading scraps of an English version of the Mishna on-line, particularly portions of the m. Nedarim and m. Baba Kamma, it would appear that a person could make the kind of the so-called Korban vow contained in Mark 7. However, it would also appear that the Mishna teaches that such a vow is contrary to God’s commandments and the person making it should seek to have the vow annulled and instead do his filial duty to his parents. m. Nedarim 9:1. Therefore, if the Pharisees were truly following divinely inspired tradition as contained in the Oral Torah or Mishna, then they would seek to have such vows annulled when their parents needed their financial support.
Thus, what Jesus may well be condemning in Mark 7 and in Matt. 15 was not the fact that the divinely inspired tradition contained in the Oral Torah or Mishna was wrong. More likely, He was condemning the fact that the Pharisees were not following the divinely inspired tradition of the Oral Torah at all, but were teaching something completely different~their own man-made tradition. Or He could have been condemning their tradition of taking a hyper-technical sola scriptural view on vows by claiming that such vows could not be annulled even in times in parental financial need. Or He could have been challenging their failure to follow the Mishna by not seeking to have such a vow annulled in situations where their parents were not able to financially care for themselves and instead used the vow as a way to escape their filial duty to care for their parents.
Therefore, based on the above, I do not believe that Mark 7 or Matt. 15 can be used as a way to attack the Catholic Church’s teaching on Tradition.
I do realize that my argument has two weaknesses: 1) portions of the Mishna were redacted after Jesus’ Assumption when it was converted to a written form. Thus, there could be something that the Pharisees relied on that is no longer there. [My counter would be that if the Oral Torah was really the God’s explanation to Moses of His commandments contained in the first 5 books of the Bible to Moses, I doubt very much that Jesus would have contradicted His Father.] 2) I am humble enough to admit that I may have missed something or even a great deal during my quest to becoming a 24 hour scholar on Korban and the Talmud. After all my name is Paul. But, I wouldn’t mind seeing someone with a doctorate degree in theology or divinity from a mail order school or someone much better versed in apologetics take a stab at this and see if they could do better.

Shane June 12, 2006 at 11:27 pm

That is very interesting. Can you point us toward the website where you read these tracts? Preferably, the link would go to the actual section on the Korban.

Jonathan Prejean June 13, 2006 at 12:11 am

SDG:
Afraid I will have to respectfully disagree, at least in part. I agree that “Roman Catholic” simply isn’t a valid term at all for Catholics, but I don’t see what good there is in using it as a misnomer for the Latin-rite church in lieu using it as a misnomer for the Catholic Church. I’m not a “Roman Catholic” any more than my boss is if we’re speaking correctly. But recognizing that Joe Protestant (or Puzzled) is probably referring to “everyone under the Pope” or something similar and that it would have been far less pithy for me to add “after I explained that what I meant by Roman Catholic,” I condescended to use the term that Puzzled himself used in order to convey the point to him.
My view on the term “Roman Catholic” is this. Many Protestants through sheer force of habit have adopted the term “Roman Catholic” (or the even more repugnant “Romish”) without the least bit of knowledge that it was originally developed in order to circumvent St. Augustine’s argument that even heretics call the Church “Catholic.” Given that they don’t often mean anything bu it, I just don’t see the wisdom in beating them up about it. It’s like the vernacular use of “hocus pocus,” which was originally anti-Catholic but now has simply become a generic term for magic acts. I’ll assume it’s innocuous unless someone makes a point in being pretentious about it (White being a prime example). I don’t consider that encouragement or perpetuation, merely an acknowledgment that semantic creep in the term has rendered the affectation of appending “Roman” in front of “Catholic” practically meaningless for most people.
Puzzled:
“How can you maintain (if that is what you are doing) that there are things that must be believed to be saved, or else for there to be healing of the schisms, that God did not give us in Scripture?”
Pretty easily. The examples you gave of managing to reach agreement on issues that ostensibly divided churches show that agreement can eventually be reached even with those who *thought* that they were in disagreement. I don’t see why the same thing couldn’t happen with Rome and Constantinople, for example.
“To your next post, I don’t think perhaps that you understood that I was trying to show you what the consequences of claiming that we cannot understand Scripture would be for the Magisterium, and the various sacred traditions.”
Well, yes, but no one is claiming that.
“That you seem to have thought that I was not referring to the Churches of the East and the Orthodox suggests again to me, that you didn’t. BTW, the Roman Catholic Church has determined that the “Nestorian” Churches never did and do not now teach the Nestorian heresy, and that the Copts do not teach the Monophysite heresy. That the anathemas were in error. Just as, I would argue, _Exurge Domini_ is in error.”
On the contrary, I think that this is a counter-example. The anathemas against Nestorianism and Monophysitism were correct, and they still stand. The only difference today is that the Churches alleged to hold them didn’t actually hold them, and they maintain that they never did. Had we just abandoned the ideas, they would have had no incentive to clarify their position and to bring themselves in line with orthodox belief. I don’t see why the papacy should be any different in that regard. Honest schism is better than rejecting what one sincerely believes to be the case. That honesty at least gives hope that meaningful discussion can take place.

Daniel Villlarreal June 13, 2006 at 12:53 am

Wow! Brilliant Catholic Answer!

Karen June 13, 2006 at 3:13 am

Paul Hoffer: Very interesting. Thanks for doing that work and sharing.

SDG June 13, 2006 at 7:10 am

Afraid I will have to respectfully disagree, at least in part. I agree that “Roman Catholic” simply isn’t a valid term at all for Catholics, but I don’t see what good there is in using it as a misnomer for the Latin-rite church in lieu using it as a misnomer for the Catholic Church.

Well, Jonathan, that’s not your call to make. The Catholic Church uses the term “Roman Catholic” to refer to the Latin rite. It’s used by the Vatican and in authoritative documents, not to mention the names of jillions of Latin-rite churches (e.g., “St. John Roman Catholic Church”). The term is a misnomer as a synonym for “Catholic,” but correctly refers to the Latin Church.

I’m not a “Roman Catholic” any more than my boss is if we’re speaking correctly.

Yes, you are (assuming you’re a Latin rite Catholic).

My view on the term “Roman Catholic” is this. Many Protestants through sheer force of habit have adopted the term “Roman Catholic” (or the even more repugnant “Romish”) without the least bit of knowledge that it was originally developed in order to circumvent St. Augustine’s argument that even heretics call the Church “Catholic.”

That’s as may be, but consider that the word “Christian” itself may have originated in Antiochene usage as a pejorative term.

Given that they don’t often mean anything bu it, I just don’t see the wisdom in beating them up about it. It’s like the vernacular use of “hocus pocus,” which was originally anti-Catholic but now has simply become a generic term for magic acts.

Beating up the Protestant in the street is one thing, though professional apologists like James White really shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.
But the problem is that “Roman Catholic,” UNLIKE “hocus pocus,” still has an official and necessary usage in the Church’s vocabulary, not just a point of etymological departure rooted in Church usage. We must insist on our current living usage, and not permit it to be used as a synonym for “Catholic.” It’s simply common courtesy, even if one doesn’t personally believe that the Church is “Catholic” in the requisisite sense.
For example, we call “Episcopalians” that even though we don’t believe they have the episcopacy; call “Jehovah’s Witnesses” that even though we don’t believe they are witnesses of Jehovah; call “Presbyterians” that even though we don’t believe they have the presbyterate, etc.
We should not accept “Roman Catholic” as a synonym for “Catholic” just because non-Catholics don’t feel like giving us the dignity of our own name.

Tim J. June 13, 2006 at 7:36 am

” The anathemas against Nestorianism and Monophysitism were correct, and they still stand. The only difference today is that the Churches alleged to hold them didn’t actually hold them, and they maintain that they never did.”
Thanks for pointing that out. You beat me to it.

Mary June 13, 2006 at 8:44 am

Questioning my own interpretation of Scripture can hardly be called despair. It’s only good sense. I’m only one person, and can go far wrong in my understanding (and have, as many have).
Furthermore, despair is a sin. And the Bible can not command sin. Yet Peter explicitly tells us “no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation.”

Mary June 13, 2006 at 8:57 am

The Bible itself says so.
So does every false scripture.
God has given me faith that it is so.
How do you know it’s God who has given you that faith? How do you know you have not been tempted into presumption?
The tremendous body of apologetic material supporting its accuracy on all sorts of matters.
TRADITION!!!!!

Jonathan Prejean June 13, 2006 at 9:41 am

“Well, Jonathan, that’s not your call to make. The Catholic Church uses the term ‘Roman Catholic’ to refer to the Latin rite.”
Err, what about Humani Generis?
“Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the Sources of Revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing.”
This seems to be a sanctioned, if unofficial, use of the term “Roman Catholic Church” to mean something broader than the Church of the West, given that it comports with Pope Pius XII’s earlier use of “One Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church” in Mystici Corporis Christi. As I understand it, the term is also used by the Church in ecumenical documents with Protestants. So I agree that it is sometimes used to refer to the Latin rite, but then again, it is sometimes used to refer to the universal Church. I know of no official use for the term, but informally, it appears to be used in both ways. And as appalling as it may seem, I’ve even seen “Byzantine Roman Catholic Church” before, so it doesn’t appear that such unofficial use is limited to the Latin rite. I don’t see any reason to be more parochial about one use or the other, which is why I prefer neither when dealing with Protestants who are asserting the name for polemical reasons. But I don’t think Puzzled was doing that.
In short, I don’t think you’ve made that there is an *exclusive* official use of the term “Roman Catholic” to refer to the Latin rite. It appears to be used informally to refer to either, and in both cases, only since it appeared among Protestants and never before. In any event, I don’t think there is a “correct” use of the term as applied to the Church by Protestant polemicists, and I wouldn’t appreciate James White using the term “Roman Catholic Church” to refer to the Latin rite any more than anything else, because his intent would clearly be to deny that the church so labelled is the one established by God.

Constantine June 13, 2006 at 11:02 am

Jimmy is a better man than I am. I would not only kick Mr. White when he is down but I would kick him about 12 more times to punish him for past and future stupidity.

Paul Hoffer June 13, 2006 at 1:03 pm

Shane and Karen,
Thank you for the complements. Some of the more helpful links that I looked at:
http://www.come-and-hear.com/talmud/ (the Mishna online)
Wikipedia~Articles on Korban, Talmud, Pharisees
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com
http://www.torahresource.com/English Articles/tradition.pdf
Restoration Quarterly 42 (2000) 193-209.
http://www.torah.org
http://www.jr.co.il/hotsites/j-torah.htm

Puzzled June 13, 2006 at 4:26 pm

I hope this thread doesn’t disappear. I had concluded last night that I don’t understand the Catholic position as well as I thought I did, and that the Catholics aren’t understanding me, either, so that the thing to do is first understand what each other actually means.
Since then, it appears that a lot has been written. I have to head out now, and won’t be able to get back to this until late evening, if then. But I don’t want anyone to think I’m blowing them or their apologetics, off.
I am farily certain I don’t know what I”m talking about when I’m describing the Catholic position, though.

JohnD June 16, 2006 at 2:55 pm

Goodness, Jimmy. This blog entry is jaw-droppingly good. I’m glad I decided to take the time to read it. Thought you’d like to know.

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