Archive for the ‘Liberalism’ Category

For Those in the Roman Communion Who Want to Own Ryan but not Biden…

October 19, 2012

Consider that the corpulent Cardinal Dolan is willing to publicly call both Paul Ryan and Joe Biden “Catholics” in his speech (about one minute, twenty seconds into his remarks) at the Al Smith dinner. The easily offended might want to stop just after that bit, though, and before his joke involving Benedict XVI.

It was nice to see him identify Mormons separately from “Protestants.” However, Cardinal Dolan then shortly afterward suggested that both Obama and Romney have a “love of God and country.” Which god exactly do either of those men love?

Dolan went on to identify something he called the “five finger gospel.” It’s a handy mneumonic for “You (1) do (2) it (3) to (4) me (5).” On the other hand (UPDATE: no pun intended), that’s not the gospel – that’s the law.

Here Cardinal Dolan’s remarks:

You can also find Romney’s remarks here (link) and Obama’s remarks here (link). Personally, I thought Romney’s jokes were more funny, though for some reason he felt it necessary to make about three references to the fact that he totally abstains from alcohol.

– TurretinFan

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Infinite Punishment and Liberalism

August 31, 2009

One adherent to liberalism/progressivism recently commented on my post regarding eternal punishment (link to my post). He wrote:

Dear Turretinfan,

Sin against an infinitely holy God deserves an infinite punishment? Why? Out of necessity? And if not out of necessity, what kind of God would purposely frame a reality so that such a barbarous claim would be true?

Yes, the Bible has many terrifying things to say about God’s wrath against his enemies, as well as some very illuminating examples of how that wrath might get expressed in specific circumstances. Say, for example, the stoning of the one who picked up wood on the Sabbath, or the nice trial by ordeal of a woman accused of adultery. How about the murder of Achan’s entire family? Or the (implied) butchery of the women and children of the enemies of the Jews at the end of the book of Esther? Or how about those Babylonian babies in Psalm 137? None of these even raise the issue of post-mortem punishments and they are already generally recognized as beyond the pale.

In short, the doctrine of endless punishment is one of the surest demonstrations that what passes for Christian orthodoxy in the Reformed evangelical tradition speaks falsely about God.

This comment was signed “Dean Dough” which as his blogger profile indicates, is a pseudonym with his “identity withheld to protect family members still affiliated with very orthodox Christian churches from being tarred with my brush.”

Let’s examine his comments:

Sin against an infinitely holy God deserves an infinite punishment? Why? Out of necessity? And if not out of necessity, what kind of God would purposely frame a reality so that such a barbarous claim would be true?

This comment contains several layers of confusion. First, the reason why sin deserves an infinite punishment is because it is an offense against the dignity of the person of God, who is a person of infinite dignity. It is not so much the absolute holiness as the infinite majesty of God that is in play here.

Second, while it is not necessary that God permit sin, it is necessary that sin offend God in this way if God permits it, because of the nature of God. Thus, it is both necessary (in one sense) and free (in another sense) with respect to God.

Third, while it is easy to label something “barbarous,” it is more difficult to demonstrate that a position is incorrect. D.D. by taking the path of simply applying a pejorative label has demonstrated an apparent incapacity to address the substance.

Next:

Yes, the Bible has many terrifying things to say about God’s wrath against his enemies, as well as some very illuminating examples of how that wrath might get expressed in specific circumstances. Say, for example, the stoning of the one who picked up wood on the Sabbath, or the nice trial by ordeal of a woman accused of adultery. How about the murder of Achan’s entire family? Or the (implied) butchery of the women and children of the enemies of the Jews at the end of the book of Esther? Or how about those Babylonian babies in Psalm 137? None of these even raise the issue of post-mortem punishments and they are already generally recognized as beyond the pale.

This really looks more like a rebuttal argument for me to use against that “barbarous” label above. Yes, folks who think hell is “barbarous” are likely also to think that God’s wrath exhibited in the Old Testament is “beyond the pale.” Their rejection of the God of the Old Testament is their own condemnation. There’s really nothing I need to add to show that they stand opposed to God’s revelation of Himself.

Next:

In short, the doctrine of endless punishment is one of the surest demonstrations that what passes for Christian orthodoxy in the Reformed evangelical tradition speaks falsely about God.

The underlying logic seems to be:

1) If something strikes us as unpleasant, it is false;
2) The Reformed doctrine of endless punishment is unleasant;
3) Therefore, the Reformed doctrine of endless punishment is false.

The problem is with the major premise. To put it differently, the problem is with letting corrupt, human intuition substitute for revelation as the means for determining truth. No matter how “barbarous” or “beyond the pale” the doctrine of endless punishment may be, the problem is not with those who hold what the Scripture teaches, but with those who oppose the revelation of God.

What is illustrative about D.D.’s comment is that it illustrates one of many factors that have produced the diversity of denominations we see today: simple rebellion against the Scriptures. We know that Roman Catholics try to claim that the denominations are due to Sola Scriptura, but notice how liberalism is quite willing to oppose the clear revelation regarding God’s wrath. Scripture is not their standard, and consequently it is improper and illogical to suggest that liberal churches are the offspring of Sola Scriptura, just as it is improper and illogical to suggest that churches with new prophets (like Islam or Mormonism) are the result of Sola Scriptura. One group throws out Scripture one way, the other group another way, but neither seeks to make Scripture the ultimate authority for faith and life.

-TurretinFan

Roman Catholic Archbishop on Christ’s Death

April 24, 2009

Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, chairman of the Catholic bishops’ conference of Germany stated that Christ “did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering, like a scapegoat.” (source)

Now, I realize that conservative Roman Catholics may not agree with this statement (I’d be shocked if they did, given what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about this). But come on. Doesn’t this event say something about the fallibility of your magisterium when an archbishop and top-ranking German bishop (no, not the one in the Vatican – yet) can say something like this?

I could ask: who are you going to believe, a high-ranking official in your church or your own private judgment, but I know that for a lot of my Roman Catholic readers they will exercise their private judgment and reject the public teaching of this important bishop within their church.

Now, if I could only make them see that they need not to stop there, but to put the teachings of Catholicism in Trent and Vatican I to the test of Scripture. After all, it is Scripture that is infallible, not bishops (even very significant bishops).

-TurretinFan

N.B. Yes, this archbishop is a notorious liberal. Yes, the link I have posted above is from a Roman Catholic blog that criticizes this archbishop. No, I don’t think all Roman Catholics hold to this Archbishop’s position. Yes, he is a Roman Catholic and – as between you and him (with very few exceptions out of the claimed 1 billion members of Catholicism), he has more authority to proclaim the teachings of “the Church” (i.e. his and your church). Yes, the bottom line (which you have figured out, perhaps?) is that having ecclesiastical authority doesn’t lead one to correct doctrines. What is the one thing you can have absolute assurance about? Scripture, because it is not the product of men but of God: it is theopneustos (θεοπνευστος).

Biblical Institution of Patriarchy – Objections Answered

March 5, 2008

In response to an earlier post on the Biblical institution of the patriarchy, Ken asks (in comments here):

1) How does a Christian respond to the claim that such bible passages are sexist? That word is so full of loaded meaning that trying to defend against its imputation is like saying you support Neo-Nazis.

Of course, that’s just a label. It is a pejorative label, but the question we need to ask is why the person considers it sexist. Is it simply because it treats the sexes differently? Usually the answer is vapid. The answer is that the label was applied simply because the issue was sex-related, and the opinion was contrary to the opinion of the name-caller.

2) What is the ideal way to respond to a professed liberal Christian who would say that they have a deep personal faith but disdain to honestly interact with passages like these (that challenge modern and post-modern sentiments)?

Q1: A deep personal in faith in whom or what? The answer typically is Jesus/God.
Q2: Do you realize that Scripture is the word of God? The answer is usually yes.
Q3: Do you love Jesus/God? It’s hard to find one who will say “no” at this point.
Q4: So, do you care what this person you love has to say? Naturally, they must affirm or we are back to Q3 and perhaps Q2 or Q1.
Q5: Here’s what He says here … do you agree with what is written?

and so forth.

The problem is, they usually try to change the subject as one is walking through. They would rather their faith be “personal” or perhaps they don’t want to hear “preaching,” or something like that.

-Turretinfan

N.B. Note that Ken is not objecting to the matter, he’s just pointing out an objection we sometimes hear.


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