"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." -Cardinal Francis George

Monday, September 26, 2011

Saints, sola, and keys

"Death is consistently described in the bible as "being asleep". Someone who is asleep doesn't communicate in either direction very well."

Saints are not dead, so your example is a straw man. If they were dead, then they could not hear us, but they are Not dead, they are in the beatific vision. They experience God immediately (no mediation) and experience what both Catholics and Orthodox call theosis. It goes without saying that in that state: they can hear us!

And the faith of the church from the beginning has been one that prays to saints and uses images (my catacomb example etc.). You place your opinion above the first Christians who knew the apostles personally, and 2000 years of a Church who has prayed to saints, and prayed for the departed.

You are placing yourself above a council of the Church. For you to accept Nicaea I but reject Nicaea II is arbitrary. And it shows that your acceptance of Nicaea I is based on your previous agreement with it. If you someday decide Nicaea I is not sufficiently biblical (like Arius did and many others did and do) then you will cease to agree with it as well. So you are not submitting to the Church in your acceptance of Nicaea I, but are accepting it because it happens to conform to what you like.

"At the very least, the justification (from the bible) for veneration of icons from these passages would only extend to cherubim..."

I will not even get into your exegesis, which can be debated back and forth, and many smarter people than us have done so. And IF Wikipedia is your first exposure to the councils reasons for their decision, you need to go back to the drawing board and study the issue more. You seem to me to be judging their decision making process using a post-16th century criteria (sola scriptura). That might make it easy for YOU to judge them as off base (if you disagree with their exegesis), but you are missing the way they saw what they were doing and how they were doing it. Their giving biblical citations is not a cue for you to accept or reject their judgement! It is to help you understand how they reached their decision, not to try to convince you!

The point I want to make is that you have an UNBIBLICAL assumption that something needs to be "justified from the bible" to be accepted. Where does the bible say that? Nowhere. In fact it says the opposite, in many places. I've given the texts before, and I am sure you know them. So you need to ask yourself why you believe such a self-contradictory rule. The Christian faith is not only about what is explicit in the bible, and even the bible affirms that fact. A brief example: Polygamy was done away with very early in Christian history. Try to find a prohibition in the bible though, ... you cant. It is wrong because the Church says it is wrong. Period. Even Martin Luther had to cave on the issue and allow polygamy. He could not prohibit it with sola scriptura only.

Also like I said before, the infallibility of the magisterium does not extend to exegesis, but only to the final teaching (unless they specifically define the exegesis as infallible) For instance: Masturbation is a grave sin (mortal) according to the magisterium. They use the passage with Onan spilling his seed (Gen. 38:8-10) for a biblical reference to that act being a sin. But we cannot and must not assume that if that passage is somehow shown to not be talking against masturbation, that therefore the Church's decision to condemn it is not valid. For one thing, there are many OTHER REASONS that they can and do give for it being a gravely disordered act. Their determination is bigger than "the bible says X, therefore Y".

I maintain that you hold to a rule (sola scriptura) that is totally unbiblical. Of course that is insanely ironic, because the rule itself claims all rules should be in the bible. You also hold to a cannon which is not in the bible. You can brush these concerns aside around Rich Gall or other Reformed types that just want to plug their ears, but I will not sit by and let you parade around like the emperor with no clothes.
I will point.
I will laugh.
(I am saying I will call your bluff, not assume your obviously false paradigm)

I think you deserve that honesty.

You can personally disagree all you want at the Catholic beliefs, but at least our basic claim of revelation is not contradictory. We might be wrong, but our paradigm is self consistent.

We claim only the successors of the apostles can decide shit. And lo and behold, they do decide shit. No contradiction.

You claim that ONLY your 66 book bible can decide shit. But your 66 book bible itself explicitly says that it is NOT THE ONLY thing that decides shit! AND your book points to the successors of the apostles to do so! Not to mention not even having a table of contents. Oops. Talk about no clothes, the bible cant even tell you what the bible is. Next time you sit in judgement of all the bishops of Christendom assembled in solemn council at the 7th Ecumenical of Nicaea II, check your paradigm before you scorn theirs. Check to see who is holding the keys Jesus handed out. You will find your hands empty, cold and clammy. Their hands however are holding the keys and the swords. I don't say this to mock or score points, but because I seriously think you have misread your position.

You have read the constitution and are casually knocking at the door of the White House, wanting to come in to let them know what they are doing wrong. You have misread your position.

If you stay in that mindset of believing sola Scriptura is workable, or even plausible, you will be stuck as your own personal denomination. The traditions of men are a dangerous place to try to find truth. And nothing is more of an ANTI-biblical tradition of men than sola scriptura.



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