Archive for the ‘Dave Armstrong’ Category

Pope Francis – Liberal or not?

December 30, 2014

Matthew Bellisario, editor of the Catholic Champion, was kind enough to bring this clip to my attention, and I’m happy to bring it to the attention of Dave Armstrong and others, who think that Francis is just business as usual for the Roman see:

Christopher Ferrara is a traditionalist Roman Catholic, to be sure, but that’s kind of the point. He says: “Something is seriously wrong with this pontificate. You can’t deny it any longer.” (Christopher Ferrara, 11 minutes in)
“I think we just got stuck with a really, really bad decision in Pope Francis, who again I think has to rank among the very worst popes in the history of the papacy.” (Michael Matt – 24:45 in)
Mr. Matt goes so far as to say that living under Francis is worse than living under Alexander VI and the (other) Borgia popes (around 26 minutes in).

-TurretinFan

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Lent is Biblical?!

February 16, 2012

So proclaims one blog. Of course, there’s no mention of Lent in Scripture. So, how could it be Biblical? The tortured reasoning is that there are “several forty day parallels in Scripture.” Let’s look at those parallels:

Moses’ fasts on the the holy mountain (Ex 24:18; 34:28; Deut 9:9) and his intercession for Israel (Deut 9:25), Elijah’s journey to Mt. Horeb (1 Ki 19:8), Ezekiel’s lying on one side (Ezek 4:6), and Christ’s fast in the wilderness (Mt 4:2).

And what to do the texts say:

Exodus 24:18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 34:28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

Deuteronomy 9:9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:

Deuteronomy 9:25 Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the LORD had said he would destroy you.

The following was curiously omitted by the author:

Deuteronomy 10:10 And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also, and the LORD would not destroy thee.

1 Kings 19:8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

Ezekiel 4:6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

Matthew 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

Oddly, the author didn’t include the other synoptic accounts:

Mark 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Luke 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

Except for the Ezekiel reference, these are all examples of fasting for forty days. But note:

a) These are not prescriptive. There is nothing about these passages that suggests “imitate this example.” Moreover, while there are three examples (Moses, Elijah, and Jesus) none is described as imitating the other.

b) These are supernatural and miraculous. No normal human being under ordinary circumstances can survive for 40 days without food and water. These are not part of some general plan of godly living.

c) These are isolated, not annual, events. Moses apparently fasted for forty days more than once, but it was an occasional, not regular fast. The others fasted for forty days once.

In short, these fasts are only similar to Lent in a very superficial way. Lent is simply dietary restrictions for forty days (not even consecutive days) and the way it is practiced in places like the U.S. and U.K., it’s’ not even really that.

The Ezekiel example is just a strange inclusion. For you will see that although a special diet is mentioned, it is not simply for forty days:

Ezekiel 4:1-17

Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: and lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.

Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it. And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.

Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.

And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it. Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.

And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.

And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.

Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.

Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow’s dung for man’s dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith. Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment: that they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.

a) As you can, Ezekiel’s curious diet was not for forty days, but for nearly four hundred days.

b) Moreover, the whole point of the diet was to illustrate the coming siege, destruction, and dispersal of the Israelites.

c) Thus, for example, the dung-baked bread was to be dung-baked to illustrate that the Israelites were going to be eating defiled bread. The odd combination of ingredients illustrates the destruction of the usual separation that Israel had experienced. The measured food and water illustrate the times of austerity that were coming. The “eat it as barley cakes” is to show that these austere portions would be considered a blessing.

In short, the Ezekiel fast (if we can call it that) points forward to a curse from God. It is descriptive and prophetic, not prescriptive. Like the fasts, it is occasional – not annual (indeed it could not be annual on this planet).

This seems absurd, ridiculous, and frankly beneath response. Yet it is apparently being offered on Facebook (evidence) as though it were a serious defense of the practice of the Roman communion.

Of course, none of this is to suggest that fasting, in itself, is wrong. Nevertheless, Christian fasting is purposeful and, usually, secret. Jesus taught us:

Matthew 6:16-18
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

See people with ash daubed on their face? They are not following this teaching.

-TurretinFan

Failure to Understand both Calvinism and One’s Own Doctrine …

November 14, 2011

I saw the following comment from a lay apologist of the Roman communion recently, directed at one of my fellow Calvinists:

If I am going to hell and presdestined to do so, then you don’t have to pray for me or even have any love at all, according to your warped, hideous, grotesque version of Christianity. You can even hate me.

If THIS is what Christianity means, I would rather be an atheist. 

Of course, Thomism (which is supposedly acceptable within Rome’s communion) and even Molinism also teach that certain people are going to hell and predestinated to do so.  That’s not a unique aspect of Calvinism.

Moreover, as in Thomism and Molinism, in Calvinism one is not relieved of one’s obligations to pray for someone or love them simply because of God’s secret decree of reprobation.

The comment quoted above reflects a fundamental failure to understand Calvinism.  It shows that the person does not grasp even the simple concept that, in this life, we do not know who the elect are.  Just because someone is currently a Saul of Tarsus does not mean that they will not one day be a Paul the Apostle (to take an extreme example).

So, the Roman apologist has (a) identified a first set of views that his church deems acceptable, and (b) drawn unfounded conclusions from them.  What should we conclude?  Shall we assume he’s just being silly?  Probably not.  The tone of this comment was harshly serious (the apologist even cursed at my fellow Calvinist in a portion of the comment that I haven’t reproduced).  It could be that he’s just deliberately lying about Calvinism, but what purpose would that serve?  We know what we believe, so we’re not likely to be fooled by his mischaracterization.  All that’s left is that this poor soul doesn’t understand.

We should pray for him, that God would open his eyes.

-TurretinFan

>Final Piece in Cochlaeus’ Misquotation of Luther Puzzle

October 5, 2010

>A few years ago, James Swan and I provided some documentation that a footnote provided by Steve Ray (link to discussion of “When Footnotes Attack”)(additional response) was actually a false quotation, an invention of “that slanderer Cochlaeus,” as Whitaker expressed it in the 16th century (link to discussion of the transmission of the spurious statement).

Cochlaeus was paraphrasing (badly) one of Luther’s writings on the words “This is my body.” We showed that the German does not support Cochlaeus’ mistranslation.

Nevertheless, some of Steve Ray’s supporters seemed to hold out hope that that Matthew Judex “official” Lutheran Latin translation of the work from 1556 might support Cochlaeus. It does not. The relevant portion in Matthew Judex’ translation is this:

Si haec mundi machina per aliquot annos duraverit, iterum more patrum ad tollendas dissensiones humana quaerentur praesidia, constituemur qui; leges et decreta ad conciliandam et servandam in religione concordiam, quod quidem similem priori sortietur eventum.

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That is a far cry from Cochlaeus’ paraphrase:

Si diutius steterit mundus, iterum erit necessarium, ut propter diversas scripturae interptationes, quae nunc sunt, ad conservandum fidei unitatem, Conciliorum Decreta recipiamus, atquae ad ea confugiamus.

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Hopefully this last piece of the jigsaw puzzle lays the matter to rest, once and for all. It is not the case that Cochlaeus simply adopted the Matthew Judex translation.

– TurretinFan

P.S. Perhaps Mr. Armstrong will now complete his post since the work is available (via Google Books), and provide a retraction/apology to Mr. Swan.

Defining "Christian" so as to Deceive Christians

June 8, 2010

Over in the comment box of the GreenBaggins blog, Dave Armstrong asked:

First of all, how could one who accepts the Nicene and Apostles’ Creed not be a Christian? I think that is something you should ask yourself.If those do not help clarify who is and who is not a Christian, what in the world does? This is the very purpose of creeds and confessions: to determine in a concise manner who is within and outside of the fold.

One has to ask why, i.e. upon what pretense, Dave selects the creeds of those councils, and not the Tridentine creed?

If one is going to include “heretics” who do not accept the Tridentine creed, why not accept heretics who do not accept the Nicene creed? After all, from Rome’s perspective, both Arians (who reject Nicaea) and the Reformed (who reject Trent) are “outside the fold” in the same sense. Trent is not less of an ecumenical council in Romanism, nor is its authority any less.

I understand that there are Christians out there who like to use one of those creeds as being a true definition of what is involved in being a Christian. That’s because they think that the essential doctrines of the faith are captured in those creeds. That’s not Rome’s position – Rome doesn’t permit people to differ over what Trent has said: if you deny Trent, you can’t reasonably call yourself a Roman Catholic.

For a Roman Catholic to select the Nicene Creed or the Apostles’ Creed as definitive of what it means to be a Christian is, at best, arbitrary. Trent and Nicaea are equally authoritative for a Romanist. Monothelitism (not condemned at Nicaea) is just dogmatically defined to be a heresy as Arianism. Iconoclasm is as strongly opposed as Monothelitism. And Trent’s Canon IX on Justification defines Sola Fide to be as false as any other condemned teaching.

Unfortunately, a number of Christians fall for this sort of sophistry. They imagine that folks like Mr. Armstrong are recognizing them as true followers of Christ by calling them a Christian. You should have seen him squirm, though, when asked the simple question of whether he equated “Christian” and “saved.” (he himself documented his own numerous attempts to evade the question on his own blog – link) This confusion is exacerbated by the fact that there are many folks within the Roman Catholic Church who do actually think that non-RCs are just on different paths to heaven: RC members who essentially adopt pluralism. Those two groups read Vatican II’s comments “ecumenical” comments in radically different ways.

And which group reads Vatican II correctly?

-TurretinFan

Scripture’s Clarity Confirmed Against Smudges – 7/25

April 23, 2010

Dave Armstrong has posted a series of “25 Short Arguments on the Difficulties of Perspicuity (Clearness of Scripture for Salvation)” (link) from his book “501 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura: Is the Bible the Only Infallible Authority?” I can see that his list of arguments has received nearly a thousand views, so perhaps it makes sense to provide a response to each of these. The arguments themselves are not long – individually they are no more than smudges that aim to obscure Scripture’s clarity. This is number 7/25 of my wiping away of the smudges.

Armstrong’s Argument

7. The U.S. Constitution might be regarded as true and wonderful and sufficient, etc. But the fact remains that this abstract belief only lasts undisturbed as long as the first instance of case law in which two parties claim divergent interpretations of the Constitution. It’s the same with Protestants.

Short Rebuttal

The major error in this argument is that it assumes a bogus standard for sufficiency. The minor error is that the analogy to the U.S. Constitution is false.

Longer Rebuttal

For the Scriptures to be wonderful and sufficient, there is no requirement that they eliminate every disagreement about themselves. Such a false standard for sufficiency is strange – Dave’s own church includes plenty of internal disagreement over their own standards. We don’t claim that the Scripture prevents people from disagreeing – and surely disagreement is an invalid standard of measurement of the sufficiency of any standard.

As for the U.S. Constitution – it is not divinely inspired. The Holy Spirit doesn’t promise to lead Americans into a proper understanding of the Constitution, but does promise to lead believers into the truth:

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Likewise there is no American spirit that provides as fruit the analogous equivalent of “goodness and righteousness and truth.”

Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Thus, while the U.S. Constitution may be as clear as men can make it, the Scriptures are a divine production – they are inspired.

– TurretinFan

Scripture’s Clarity Confirmed Against Smudges – 6/25

April 22, 2010

Dave Armstrong has posted a series of “25 Short Arguments on the Difficulties of Perspicuity (Clearness of Scripture for Salvation)” (link) from his book “501 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura: Is the Bible the Only Infallible Authority?” I can see that his list of arguments has received nearly a thousand views, so perhaps it makes sense to provide a response to each of these. The arguments themselves are not long – individually they are no more than smudges that aim to obscure Scripture’s clarity. This is number 6/25 of my wiping away of the smudges.

Armstrong’s Argument

6. Is every Christian in the world able to find enough time, and become educated enough and familiar enough with Scripture to be his own theologian? And if he consults other ones, wise enough to always get it right when he chooses?

Short Rebuttal

The most necessary things of Scripture are simple enough not to require someone to be a “theologian” per se, and the right approach is test others’ teachings by Scripture rather than relying on one’s own wisdom.

Longer Rebuttal

The way to avoid relying on one’s own wisdom is to rely on the Scriptures:

Proverbs 3:1-7
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: so shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Furthermore, the Scriptures assist even the simple:

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

That’s one of the reasons that the Proverbs were written:

Proverbs 1:1-4
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

So one does not have to be wise to nevertheless receive wisdom from Scripture. Scripture is prepared and even specifically provided to help give light to those who are not professional theologians.

– TurretinFan

Scripture’s Clarity Confirmed Against Smudges – 5/25

April 21, 2010

Dave Armstrong has posted a series of “25 Short Arguments on the Difficulties of Perspicuity (Clearness of Scripture for Salvation)” (link) from his book “501 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura: Is the Bible the Only Infallible Authority?” I can see that his list of arguments has received nearly a thousand views, so perhaps it makes sense to provide a response to each of these. The arguments themselves are not long – individually they are no more than smudges that aim to obscure Scripture’s clarity. This is number 5/25 of my wiping away of the smudges.

Armstrong’s Argument

5. Since Protestants can’t agree in their interpretation of Scripture, of what practical use is an infallible Bible? If the interpretation is fallible and contradictory, then — practically speaking — the Bible in effect is no more infallible than its differing interpretations.

Short Rebuttal

The practical use of the Bible is explained below:

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Longer Rebuttal

The argument, if we can call this question an argument, seems to be trying to suggest that the appropriate test of the sufficiency of a rule of faith is if everyone agrees about it. But there is no rule of faith about which everyone agrees. To take the alternative for which Armstrong is trying to argue by tearing down Scripture, Roman Catholicism provides a rule of faith in the form her allegedly infallible teachings. Nevertheless, there are differences of opinion among Roman Catholics regarding how to interpret their rule of faith. Thus, if we accept the extremely skeptical premise of this argument, the result is agnosticism: we wouldn’t be able to have any rule of faith at all, because people have differences of opinion over any given rule of faith.

– TurretinFan

Scripture’s Clarity Confirmed Against Smudges – 4/25

April 20, 2010

Dave Armstrong has posted a series of “25 Short Arguments on the Difficulties of Perspicuity (Clearness of Scripture for Salvation)” (link) from his book “501 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura: Is the Bible the Only Infallible Authority?” I can see that his list of arguments has received nearly a thousand views, so perhaps it makes sense to provide a response to each of these. The arguments themselves are not long – individually they are no more than smudges that aim to obscure Scripture’s clarity. This is number 4/25 of my wiping away of the smudges.

Armstrong’s Argument

4. I think Scripture is pretty clear (I’ve always found it to be so in my many biblical studies), but I also know from simple observation and knowledge of Church history that it isn’t clear enough to bring men to agreement.

Short Rebuttal

The fact that the Scriptures don’t bring all men to complete unanimity isn’t really relevant to the issue of perspicuity.

Longer Rebuttal

In other words, the Scriptures are sufficiently clear to present the Gospel so that people can hear and believe. The fact that not all believe has nothing to do with the clarity of the message.

The Scriptures make Christ manifest, even if sinners refuse to accept what the Scriptures say:

Romans 16:25-27
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Furthermore, there is no need for there to be complete unanimity on every teaching of Scripture. One of the joys of Scripture is that one cannot exhaust all of its treasures. The fact that, in the process of exploration, we are going to disagree with other Christians about some teaching or other is reasonable, especially since we are fallible human beings.

– TurretinFan

Scripture’s Clarity Confirmed Against Smudges – 3/25

April 19, 2010

Dave Armstrong has posted a series of “25 Short Arguments on the Difficulties of Perspicuity (Clearness of Scripture for Salvation)” (link) from his book “501 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura: Is the Bible the Only Infallible Authority?” I can see that his list of arguments has received nearly a thousand views, so perhaps it makes sense to provide a response to each of these. The arguments themselves are not long – individually they are no more than smudges that aim to obscure Scripture’s clarity. This is number 3/25 of my wiping away of the smudges.

Armstrong’s Argument

3. If Protestants discount the Church’s binding authority because men are sinners, then they obviously have to discount every individual’s interpretation, as each person is a sinner, too!

Short Rebuttal

Yes, of course. Nevertheless, Scripture is able to speak clearly.

Longer Rebuttal

The fact that men are sinners is true. However, Scripture still speaks clearly to sinners. The Scriptures are able to make men wise unto salvation – Scripture itself says so.

– TurretinFan


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