Archive for June, 2011

Augustine’s Sermon 272 and Transubstantiation

June 15, 2011

Some folks who allege that Augustine shared modern Rome’s view of the Eucharist like to point to Sermon 272. Since this sermon is quite short, it will be possible for me to go through the sermon from beginning to end, with my comments interspersed.

SERMON 272

ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST TO THE INFANTES, ON THE SACRAMENT

The infantes here are those who are newly baptized. Baptism of new converts typically took place at Easter, and Pentecost is only a few weeks later. These are relatively young believers, spiritual infants, though not physical infants. Some scholars seem to suggest that the sermon may actually have been on Easter rather than on Pentecost. Either way, this is a sermon aimed at those with a relatively small understanding of what is involved in Christianity.

Date: 408

Of course, the date is not in the original. Nevertheless, this is the approximate date (within a range of about 405 – 411) assigned to this sermon using the best available scholarship.

One thing is seen, another is to be understood

This line serves as key theme of the sermon. It is easy to see how this line, standing alone, might seem to fit well with transubstantiation. Of course, it also fits well with a bare symbolism view, and also with everything in between those two. So, let’s read on and see what Augustine says.

What you can see on the altar, you also saw last night; but what it was, what it meant, of what great reality it contained the sacrament, you had not yet heard.

What you can see on the altar is, of course, a reference to the communion elements. Apparently new converts were not given an explanation of the meaning of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper prior to baptism. However, now they are baptized and they are going to be instructed.

Notice Augustine’s word: the things on the altar contain the sacrament of a great reality. For Augustine, a sacrament is a picture. It is something that visibly illustrates something spiritual. The sacrament known as the Lord’s supper illustrates a great reality that Augustine is about to explain.

For Augustine if something pictures faith, it is the sacrament of faith. If something pictures love, it is the sacrament of love. Likewise, this is the sacrament of something, and that something is what is pictured by the sacrament.

So what you can see, then, is bread and a cup; that’s what even your eyes tell you; but as for what your faith asks to be instructed about, the bread is the body of Christ, the cup the blood of Christ.

You can probably easily see how this lends itself to the view of transubstantiation. After all, if Augustine were to hold to transubstantiation, he could say this. At the same time, though Augustine could say this and hold to a bare symbolic view or to anything in between. So, we must read on.

After all, Augustine is merely telling us that there is more to the situation than simply bread and a cup. It’s not just a snack.

It took no time to say that indeed, and that, perhaps, may be enough for faith; but faith desires instruction.

Notice that Augustine does not view the instruction and explanation of “this is my body” to be itself an essential. It’s enough that we by faith refer to the bread as the body of Christ and to the cup as his blood. Nevertheless, as Augustine observes, faith desires instruction. That instruction may not be strictly necessary, but it is wanted by those who have faith.

The prophet says, you see, Unless you believe, you shall not understand (Is 7:9).

You can see here that Augustine is, to some extent, prooftexting this principle from an Old Testament passage that may not really have been intended to convey such a general truth.

Isaiah 7:3-9
Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field; and say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, “Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:” thus saith the Lord GOD, “It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”

You may also note that it appears that Augustine is working with a Latin translation of the Septuagint, rather than a direct translation of the Hebrew original. Nevertheless, Augustine’s point (whether or not it is the point of the Hebrew text) is that first you believe, and then afterward you understand.

I mean, you can now say to me, “You’ve bidden us believe; now explain, so that we may understand.”

So you see, his point is that people can accept Jesus’ words that the bread and cup are his body and blood, but they still may desire (on the foundation of that faith) to have some explanation of those words. Augustine is planning to provide some explanation.

Some such thought as this, after all, may cross somebody’s mind: “We know where our Lord Jesus Christ took flesh from; from the Virgin Mary. …

I interrupt Augustine’s multi-sentence hypothetical comment (the “…” thus is my own as it is below, and not in the text). Notice that these new believers are familiar with the virgin birth.

“… He was suckled as a baby, was reared, grew up, came to man’s estate, suffered persecution from the Jews, was hung on the tree, was slain on the tree, was taken down from the tree, was buried; rose again on the third day, on the day he wished ascended into heaven. …

Again, I interrupt the hypothetical comment. Notice how Augustine summarizes the life of Christ. This summary is similar to what we might find in an ancient version of the so-called Apostles’ creed. There is no mention of descent into hell (as distinct from burial), but then again there is no reason to think that Augustine is trying to exactly copy the creed in his hypothetical objection.

“ … That’s where he lifted his body up to; that’s where he’s going to come from to judge the living and the dead; that’s where he is now, seated on the Father’s right. …

We’re almost finished with the objection. This objection fills out the rest of a basic life of Christ. He lived, he died, he was raised, he sits on the Father’s right, and he’s coming to judge the world.

“ … How can bread be his body? And the cup, or what the cup contains, how can it be his blood?”

Here is the question that allows Augustine to affirm transubstantiation, if that is his belief. Alternatively, it allows Augustine to explain that the bread and cup is a symbol or picture, or whatever else Augustine may think. In some sense, it is the perfect question to get at the matter of what the expression “this is my body” means to Augustine.

The reason these things, brothers and sisters, are called sacraments is that in them one thing is seen, another is to be understood.

This gets us back to the theme of Augustine’s sermon. Augustine is explaining that in every sacrament (in his understanding of sacraments, one thing is seen (the picture) and another thing is understood (the message conveyed by the picture). This, incidentally, rules out confession and penance from being a “sacrament” for Augustine. There is nothing in confession and penance that pictures something else, for him. So, even if Augustine had observed a modern Roman rite of confession and penance, he would not have termed it a “sacrament.”

Augustine provides more explanation:

What can be seen has a bodily appearance, what is to be understood provides spiritual fruit.

This provides a slightly more nuanced explanation. There’s a spiritual lesson to be drawn from what is understood by the things that are seen. This spiritual lesson provides spiritual fruit to the person.

So if you want to understand the body of Christ, listen to the apostle telling the faithful, You, though, are the body of Christ and its members (1 Cor 12:27).

This is really not good news for the transubstantiationists. Augustine’s explanation is to provide a spiritual lesson about our (believers’) relationship to Christ from this visible illustration of the bread and the cup.

So if it’s you that are the body of Christ and its members, it’s the mystery meaning you that has been placed on the Lord’s table; what you receive is the mystery that means you.

So, now Augustine clearly says that “you” have been placed on the Lord’s table. And that we receive is “you.” He means the believers themselves are on the table and that the believers receive themselves when they commune.

If Augustine means this in a transubstantiary way, his view is most curious. Are we transubstantiated into bread and wine? What an odd result!

But the result is much less odd if one realizes that Augustine just means to say that we are pictured and symbolized by the bread and cup. They illustrate us.

It is to what you are that you reply Amen, and by so replying you express your assent.

Again, Augustine is making his point emphatically, continuing the metaphor. He does not say, “It is to what you resemble …” but “to what you are.” Nevertheless, unless someone is going to take Augustine transubstantially speaking of us being physically present under the appearance of bread and wine, it seems obvious that Augustine is speaking metaphorically.

What you hear, you see, is The body of Christ, and you answer, Amen.

Here Augustine is explaining what he means by “what you are” – he means that they are the body of Christ. His reference to the “Amen” is a reference, we assume, either to a liturgical custom of the congregation saying “amen” after the words of consecration or perhaps simply to enthusiastic new converts saying it.

So be a member of the body of Christ, in order to make that Amen true.

Augustine makes a quick point of application. It is interesting to note that Augustine’s mentality here seems to be one of saying that we are united to Christ and part of his body by faith, not by baptism itself. If it were baptism itself, then these infantes would necessarily be members of the body of Christ.

So why in bread? Let’s not bring anything of our own to bear here, let’s go on listening to the apostle himself, who said, when speaking of this sacrament, One bread, one body, we being many are (1 Cor 10:17).

We can see that Augustine is relying solely on the authority of Scripture for his explanation regarding this sacrament. But Augustine’s explanation is one that is not friendly to transubstantiation. He draws his explanation from 1 Corinthians 10:

1 Corinthians 10:16-17
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

Augustine notes that the passage is explaining that we are one bread, and he is referring that to the communion bread.

Understand and rejoice. Unity, truth, piety, love.

These are the four characteristics of the one bread, for Augustine.

One bread; what is this one bread? The one body which we, being many, are. Remember that bread is not made from one grain, but from many.

Here is how Augustine explains the metaphor. In a loaf of bread, it is not one grain of wheat, but numerous grains of wheat. Even so, one loaf comes from many grains.

When you were being exorcised, it’s as though you were being ground.

The exorcism he’s referring to here is when the new convert, prior to baptism (and associated with it), renounces the devil and all his works. Augustine likens this to them being ground like wheat is ground. Notice that now Augustine has shifted to explicitly using similes (“as though”).

When you were baptized it’s as though you were mixed into dough.

This is rather clever. You add water to flour to make dough. Augustine is spinning out this metaphor.

When you received the fire of the Holy Spirit, it’s as though you were baked.

This would seem to be a reference to chrismation. Again, this is something of a clever hook by Augustine, since literal fire bakes, and since the Holy Spirit is sometimes described in terms of fire, although – of course – the oil with which the newly baptized were anointed was not lit on fire literally.

It is interesting to note as an aside that there is no mention of candles here. If Augustine’s church had made religious use of candles, one might expect to see them mentioned here to provide the literal fire. Then again, perhaps Augustine was simply attempting to connect Baptism (broadly construed to include the exorcism and chrismation) with the Lord’s Supper.

Be what you can see, and receive what you are.

This is just a re-emphasis of Augustine’s application above combined with his affirmation that the people of God are the bread and cup.

That’s what the apostle said about the bread. He has already shown clearly enough what we should understand about the cup, even if it wasn’t said.

Here Augustine allows for us to draw inferences from the text. Although it is not explicitly stated that “we are one cup,” Augustine concludes that we can see the same metaphor there.

After all, just as many grains are mixed into one loaf in order to produce the visible appearance of bread, as though what holy scripture says about the faithful were happening: They had one soul and one heart in God (Acts 4:32); so too with the wine.

Augustine hasn’t explicitly stated that the grains are united into a loaf, but the lesson is clear. He’s further explaining that there is a unity of soul and heart among believers (or at least should be). He’s about to explain this via the metaphor of wine.

Brothers and sisters, just remind yourselves what wine is made from; many grapes hang in the bunch, but the juice of the grapes is poured together in one vessel.

This is an easy metaphor to follow.

That too is how the Lord Christ signified us, how he wished us to belong to him, how he consecrated the sacrament of our peace and unity on his table.

Notice how Augustine calls the sacrament “the sacrament of our peace and unity.” That is because, for Augustine, “the sacrament of x” means “the physical illustration of spiritual reality x.” Here the “x” is “peace and unity.” Other times it may be “faith” or something else. In each case, Augustine means that the sacrament pictures the spiritual reality.

Any who receive the sacrament of unity, and do not hold the bond of peace, do not receive the sacrament for their benefit, but a testimony against themselves.

This is a particularly insightful comment of application. I hope that any schismatics who take communion will think about this. This is one way in which Paul’s warning can be understood clearly:

1 Corinthians 11:27-30
Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Turning to the Lord, God the Father almighty, with pure hearts let us give him sincere and abundant thanks, as much as we can in our littleness; beseeching him in his singular kindness with our whole soul, graciously to hearken to our prayers in his good pleasure; also by his power to drive out the enemy from our actions and thoughts, to increase our faith, to guide our minds, to grant us spiritual thoughts, and to lead us finally to his bliss; through Jesus Christ his Son. Amen.

These are not so much concluding thoughts as they are a general exhortation to godliness and piety. I’m tempted to try to tie these comments back into the main discussion of the sermon, but I think it would be a mistake not to treat them as more or less a general doxology.

-TurretinFan

The Perspicuity of the Magisterium

June 14, 2011

Code of Canon Law 749

§1. By virtue of his office, the Supreme Pontiff possesses infallibility in teaching when as the supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful, who strengthens his brothers and sisters in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held.

§2. The college of bishops also possesses infallibility in teaching when the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council exercise the magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals who declare for the universal Church that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held definitively; or when dispersed throughout the world but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter and teaching authentically together with the Roman Pontiff matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is to be held definitively.

§3. No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.

This is the “death by a thousand qualifications” clause in terms of Roman dogma. Is there really anything that is so manifestly evidently defined infallibly that someone cannot come along later and question it?

Case in point: “Fr.” John Zuhlsdorf vs. “Fr.” Richard McBrien, Crowley-O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.

Zuhlsdorf seemingly claims that the ordination of women was infallibly defined as being contrary to the faith by John Paul in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and then subsequently was reaffirmed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (which, interestingly, indicated that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis did not define this as dogma: “In this case, an act of the ordinary Papal Magisterium, in itself not infallible, witnesses to the infallibility of the teaching of a doctrine already possessed by the Church”). In other words, per the CDF, O.S. did not define the dogma – the dogma is infallible via the mechanism of universal and ordinary magisterium.

Of course, Scripture makes it pretty clear that the eldership is for men only, but is it manifestly evident? I’m sure it is for the conservatives, and not for the liberals. Its lack of manifest evidence is not due to any deficiency in the text of Scripture, but simply in the sinful rebellion of mankind.

-TurretinFan

Distinguishing Baal-Worship from Jeroboamic Idolatry

June 14, 2011

There are at least two additional passages (beyond those we last discussed) that provide us with further evidence of the distinction between Baal-worship and the institution of the golden calves of Jeroboam, which were intended in service to the God who brought Israel up out of Egypt.

1 Kings 22:51-53

Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: for he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

2 Kings 3:1-3

Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.

Notice that in the first one of these two, one might think that “For he served Baal,” might refer back to “the way of Jeroboam.” However, when you see the ending of the sentence in the first passage, you see it is connecting back to what Ahab did. That becomes even more clear in the second passage.

In the second passage, Jehoram is (to a degree) commended because he did not go to the extent of sin that Ahab and Jezebel went. Nevertheless, he still did what Jeroboam did, and worshiped God in violation of the second commandment.

-TurretinFan

Faith in the Church of Rome

June 14, 2011

VATICAN CITY, 14 JUN 2011 (VIS) – Yesterday at 7.30 p.m. in the Roman basilica of St. John Lateran Benedict XVI inaugurated an ecclesial congress marking the close of the pastoral year of the diocese of Rome. The congress, which will run from 13 to 15 June, has as its theme: “The joy of engendering the faith in the Church of Rome”.

I suspect that the translation is just “unfortunate” and the modifier “in the church of Rome” really is meant to go with the “engendering” rather than “faith.” Nevertheless, “faith in the church of Rome” is what Rome’s apologists are promoting these days; especially those who push hard against the formal sufficiency of Scripture.

-TurretinFan

Pseudo-Greek Propaganda Regarding the Eucharist

June 10, 2011

I ran across this gem in the Called to Communion comment box (from Nathan B.):

The Greek in “Do this in remembrance of me” is anamnesis. It does not mean to “intellectually recall a memory”. It means to “again make present a past event or action or state which those now present enter into”, to be a bit long winded about it.

Doesn’t that sound great? The Greek meaning of the term turns out to be so handy for Rome! But what do actual lexicons of Greek say:

Liddell-Scott-Jones:

ἀνάμνη-σις , εως, , (ἀναμιμνῄσκω)

1. calling to mind, reminiscence, Pl. Phd.72e, 92d, Phlb.34c (pl.), Arist.Mem.451a21; . τινος λαβεῖν recall it to memory, IG2.628.20; ἀναμνήσεις θυσιῶν reminders to the gods of sacrifices offered, Lys.2.39.
2. memorial sacrifice, LXX Nu.10.10, cf. Ev.Luc.22.19.
3. παλίνδρομος ., of the moon, Secund.Sent.6.

And, of course, other lexicons say much the same thing:

“means of remembering, remembrance, reminder” (Friberg)
“reminder, remembrance” (Barclay-Newman)
“reminder” (Louw-Nida)
“a remembering, recollection” (Thayer)
“calling to mind, reminiscence, remembrance” (Lust-Eynikel-Hauspie)
“reminder; remembrance, memory” (Gingrich)

If you think this is just a conspiracy of modern Greek scholars, consider that the Vulgate translates the term “commemorationem,” from which we get “commemoration.”

Of course, more sophisticated defenses of Rome’s error attempt to have it both ways:

The Church constantly draws her life from the redeeming sacrifice; she approaches it not only through faith-filled remembrance, but also through a real contact, since this sacrifice is made present ever anew, sacramentally perpetuated, in every community which offers it at the hands of the consecrated minister.

Ecclesia de Eucharistia, John Paul II, 17 April 2003, at section 12 (bold emphasis added, italics in original).

But, of course, Scripture only teaches us remembrance, not “real contact.” There’s nothing about sacramental perpetuation in Scripture and the Scriptures describe the sacrifice of Christ as being a completed and finished activity, not one that is present, on-going, or continued.

-TurretinFan

Review of "The Fathers Know Best" by Jimmy Akin

June 9, 2011

“Catholic Answers” recently published a book attributed to Jimmy Akin entitled “The Fathers Know Best.” It purports to be “Your essential guide to the teachings of the Early Church.” The book does not provide any meaningful contribution to the study of patristics and little to the Roman-Reformed dialog.

Content in General
Part one of the book (pp. 15-93) contains an introduction to the book itself, some discussion of “the World of the Fathers,” and some brief discussion of the authors, councils, and works cited in part two, as well as an identification of heresies.

Part two of the book (pp. 97-418) is the obvious focus of the book. It provides a series of topics, with a brief introduction (sometimes as short as a single paragraph, sometimes as much as about two pages) and then a collection of quotations allegedly on the topic.

Quality of the Content
The book has no significant interaction with viewpoints opposed to Rome’s. There is virtually no interaction with respect to non-Roman understandings of the Fathers and there is little interaction with theological disagreements with Rome. The most significant interactions with non-Roman positions are found in the sections on reincarnation and the Anti-Christ, but even they are not particularly in depth.

There is almost no analysis of the fathers’ writings. In general, the quotations from the fathers are simply presented without any individual explanation. There is an occasional footnote, but there is no detailed explanation provided as to why particular quotations should be understood to support the Roman position.

The selections from the early writings that are selected for the purpose of promoting the idea that the fathers and Rome taught the same thing. The result is not a representative picture of the fathers’ writings. Odd patterns emerge when one reviews the quotations cited: St. Sechnall of Ireland gets quoted four times, but Gregory the Great gets cited only once.

Originality of the Content
Apparently there were no original translations provided in this work. The book acknowledges that part two is mostly a rehash of a column from This Rock magazine. Moreover, the content of that magazine has already been amalgamated on-line. Based on a cursory review, it appears that the on-line version may have slightly more quotations. In some cases, however, the translation selected for the book differs. In some cases, the exact end-points of the quotation differs, even if the translation is the same. The introductions to the material are expanded, and – of course – part one of the book is apparently new material.

Scholarly Character of the Content
In part one of the book, aside from an initial burst of citations to Scripture, citations in general are rare. The content of part one may or may not be accurate, but you only have Akin’s word for it, in general.

In part two of the book, Scripture is sometimes cited and the Catechism of the Catholic Church is also sometimes cited. Occasionally a papal work, such as an encyclical, or similar source of Catholic dogma is cited and at least once or twice an encyclopedia, such as the New Catholic Encyclopedia is cited. Aside from those citations, citations to scholarly works are relatively rare.

Almost all of the citations (leaving aside Scripture and magisterial sources) are to J.N.D. Kelly. Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines, is cited on pp. 160, 175, 183 (2x), 256, p. 292-3 (3x), and 299, sometimes at considerable length. As with the quotations from the fathers, the quotations are selected based on what Akin believes is helpful, with the inconvenient comments from Kelly omitted.

Second to Kelley is Luther, whose Large Catechism is cited on p. 267 and whose Smalcaid Articles are cited on p. 412 (alongside the Westminster Standards in that instance). The few other cited authors are one-offs. Shirley MacLaine is cited on p. 399 and Geddes MacGregor is cited on that page as well. Ramsay MacMullen is cited on p. 359, and Timothy “Kallistos” Ware is cited at p. 138.

In all or almost all of these cases, the citation is provided with a quotation rather than simply being a citation to support an assertion allegedly grounded in the author cited. In fairness to Akin, I should point out that he provides citations to every one of his “More than 900 quotations” (I did not verify this claim) from ancient writings.

Merit of the Quotations
Whether the quotations support the point for which they are used is something of a mixed bag. Previously, we discussed an example of a misused quotation in this book. Perhaps in other posts, we will discuss other issues with other quotations.

It should also be pointed out that a lot of the quotations are not from fathers at all. Some of the quotations are from folks like “Pseudo-Ignatius,” “Pseudo-Melito,” and “Pseudo-John” as well as to anonymous works.

Conclusion
It’s not surprising that I don’t recommend this book. Although a significant amount of effort was doubtless put into improving the introductions and providing part one of the book, the effort didn’t yield something particularly worthwhile. Instead, by and large the book is simply a collection of quotations that Akin seems to think are helpful to Rome’s view of history.

Akin’s approach is neither scholarly nor apologetic. He does not interact in a significant way with the Reformed objections to Rome’s historical claims, and his collection of quotations is not accompanied by any serious in-depth examination of what the quotations say.

If one is looking for some new and interesting contribution to the field of patristics or Roman-Reformed dialog, one will be very disappointed by Akin’s work. On the other hand, if what you want is a propagandizing quote book, you cannot shell out the money for the much better done Jurgens’ set, and you don’t wish to use the web site indicated above, then perhaps this book is for you.

Here’s one quotation from Gregory the Great that you won’t get in “The Fathers Know Best”:

Gregory the Great commenting on Job 15:10:

But that those things which they [i.e., heretics] maintain they recommend to the weak minds of their fellow-creatures as on the ground of antiquity, they testify that they have ancient fathers, and the very Doctors of the Church themselves they declare are the masters of their school; and whilst they look down upon present preachers, they pride themselves with unfounded presumption on the tutorage of the ancient fathers, so that they avouch that the things they themselves assert the old fathers held as well, in order that what they are not able to build up in truth and right, they may strengthen as by the authority of those. See Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Gregory the Great, Morals on the Book of Job, vol. II, Parts III and IV, Book XII, Chapter 28, §33 (Oxford: Parker, 1845), p. 66.

Latin text: Sed ut ea quae asserunt commendare stultis mentibus hominum quasi de antiquitate possint, antiquos patres se habere testantur, atque ipsos doctores Ecclesiae suae professionis magistros dicunt. Cumque praesentes praedicatores despiciunt de antiquorum Patrum magisterio falsa praesumptione gloriantur, ut ea quae ipsi dicunt, etiam antiquos patres tenuisse fateantur, quatenus hoc quod rectitudine astruere non valent quasi ex illorum auctoritate confirment. Moralium Libri, Sive Expositio In Librum B. Job, Liber XII, Caput XXVIII, §33, PL 75:1002A-B.

-TurretinFan

P.S. Quote books have their place. However, quote books should provide something better than what is out there.

Was Judas Baptized?

June 9, 2011

John 3:22
After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

John 3:26
And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.

John 4:1-2
When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

What I understand from this is that in first century Judea and perhaps beyond, baptism was understood to indicate that the person was a disciple of the baptizer. The disciples baptized “in the name of” another – namely at first Christ and later the Triune name, when it was revealed:

Matthew 28:19-20
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

What the above would also seem to imply is that Jesus baptized the twelve (who then baptized others). But that would seem to imply that Jesus baptized Judas, who never had saving faith. Moreover, it seems readily apparent that Jesus knew Judas did not have saving faith.

Given that understanding of these texts, these texts seem to torpedo one of the arguments used against infant baptism, namely that baptism ought not to be administered to anyone who lacks faith.

One thing I’ve pointed out from time to time to my friends is that I don’t see any specific, explicit Biblical limitation on Baptism. The Scriptures nowhere warn against baptizing folks who do not believe, for example. There may be reasons not to baptize everyone who claims that they want to be a disciple immediately (see Paul’s point that he wasn’t called to baptize).

Nevertheless, other times men have been baptized having known about Jesus for less than a day:

Acts 8:34-39
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

You should notice that in the above passage, Philip says that if the eunuch believes with all his heart, he can be baptized.

Acts 10:45-47
And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

In the above passage, evidence of the work of the Spirit in the life of the people was sufficient grounds for their baptism.

Acts 16:27-34
And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

Here again is someone who appears to have been baptized within a day. The actual order expressed here is baptism, then belief, though one supposes that he believed first. But, in any event, no discussion of any limitations on baptism is provided here.

I don’t mean for this post to be an expression of a lot of conclusions about the subject, but rather some thoughts on the issues surrounding baptism. The Bible does not expressly say that Judas was baptized, or that Jesus baptized the twelve himself.

-TurretinFan

Ecclesiology: the Rule of Elders

June 9, 2011

How do Scriptures describe the role of elders? There are many aspects. One on which I’ll focus in this post relates to their role as overseers and rulers. This seems to be a challenging part of the Scriptures for those living in Western democracies, in which rule of society tends to be (at least in theory) populist.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Hebrews 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

1 Timothy 3:4-5 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Cf. 1 Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

There is an important caveat:

Mark 10:42-45
But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

That caveat is important. It should prevent the rulers of the church from overstepping their bounds and becoming like Rome’s hierarchy. Nevertheless, even the caveat notes that there will be leaders in the church. Christ’s leadership of the church provides a moral example for those leaders. That example is not fulfilled through a pastor ceremonially washing the feet of his sub-rulers (as Rome’s bishop does), but through rendering practical assistance, comfort, and encouragement. In understanding that his role as shepherd involves authority over the sheep, but has as its purpose the benefit of the sheep.

-TurretinFan

St. Bernard of Clairvaux – Index

June 8, 2011

This is an index of the works of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, one of the most significant medieval theologians (A.D. 1090 – 1153). Of course, this is just an index of the works I know of, and is – in that sense – a work in progress. If you become aware of other works that I could add to the index, please let me know.

Biography

Life and times of Saint Bernard abbot of Clairvaux

Works in English
Life and works of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
Volume 1

  • Preface to English Edition (pp. vii-xvi)
  • General Preface (p. 1)
  • Bernardine Chronology (p. 76)
  • List with Dates of S. Bernard’s Letters (p. 91)
  • Letters 1 – 145 (p. 107)

Volume 2

  • Note on the Seal of S. Bernard (p. 457)
  • Description of the Position and Site of the Abbey of Clairvaux (p. 460)
  • Letters 146 – 189 (p. 468)
  • Note to the Following Treatise (i.e. the treatise against the Errors of Abelard) (p. 549)
  • Letters 190 – 380 (p. 565)

Some letters of Saint Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux (First copy)(Second copy)
Letters (numbered 1-66, though I don’t know if they conform to the same numbering scheme above)

The treatise of St. Bernard, abbat of Clairvaux, concerning grace and free will, addressed to William, abbat of St. Thiery (First copy)(Second copy)

St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s Life of St. Malachy of Armagh (Copy 1)(Copy 2)

  • Life of St. Malachy (p. 1)
  • Letters of St. Bernard (letters 341, 356, 357, and 374)(p. 131)
  • Sermons of St. Bernard on the Passing of St. Malachy (p. 141)
  • Additional Notes (p. 161)

Saint Bernard On consideration

Saint Bernard : The twelve degrees of humility and pride

Saint Bernard on the love of God

Sermons of St. Bernard on Advent and Christmas
I. Advent

  1. Sermon on its Six Circumstances (p. 1)
  2. Sermon on the Words to Achaz, “Ask Thee a Sign,” etc. (p. 14)

II. On the “Missus Est”

  1. Praises of the Virgin-Mother (p. 23)
  2. The Mission of the Angels (p. 33)
  3. Colloquy of the Blessed Virgin and the Angel (p. 48)
  4. The Annunciation, and the Blessed Virgin’s Consent (p. 60)

III. On the Vigil of Our Lord’s Nativity

  1. On the Joy His Birth should Inspire (p. 73)
  2. On the Miraculous Nature of the Nativity (p. 81)
  3. On the Dispositions Required in Those who Celebrate the Feast (p. 89)

IV. On Our Lord’s Nativity

  1. The Fountains of the Saviour (p. 101)
  2. The Three Comminglings (p. 108)
  3. On the Place, Time, and other Circumstances (p. 115)
  4. On the Shepherds Finding Our Lord (p. 122)
  5. On the Words, “Blessed be the God and Father,” etc. (p. 126)

V. On the Circumcision (p. 135)
VI. On the Holy Name and Other Scriptural Titles of Our Lord (p. 141)
VII. On the Epiphany

  1. On “The Goodness and Kindness of Our Saviour hath Appeared” (p. 151)
  2. On “Go Forth, Ye Daughters of Jerusalem” (p. 157)
  3. On the Gifts of the Wise Men (p. 161)

Works in French

Oeuvres de Saint Bernard
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4

Les plus beaux écrits de Saint Bernard

Works in Latin

Opera Omnia (see PL 182–185)
Volumes 1-2
… Volumes 3-4 not in Archive to my knowledge …
Volume 5

Opera Genuina
Volume 1 (via Google)(second copy)
Volume 2 (via Google)
Volume 3 (via Google)

-TurretinFan

Some Interesting Papacy-Related Quotations

June 7, 2011

John Bugay has lifted two interesting quotations from a recent book entitled, “The Petrine Ministry in the Early Patristic Tradition” (Eerdmans, Nov. 2010).

The first quotation includes “the monepiscopacy replaced presbyterial governance in Rome only in the mid-or late second century” from a Lutheran scholar.

The second quotation includes “The East never shared the Petrine theology as elaborated in the West. It never accepted that the protos in the universal church could claim to be the unique successor or vicar of Peter,” from a Roman communion Archbishop.

Hopefully that whets your appetite for more! The context for the quotations can be found via the Amazon.com preview of the book, for those interested.

-TurretinFan


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