16 April 2007

Ah, yes. Large-hearted catholicity.




45 comments:

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Now I'm all wound up. That ruined my night.

jen elslager said...

Guard dog? I never knew.

Raulemir said...

Look like Kevin crush you in jaws of logic again, Mr. Phil. You have bad day.

Matt Brown said...

So can we call Kevin Johnson a "guard dog" for Benedict XVI?

Phil Johnson said...

I honestly don't think Kevin is a guard dog for much of anything, really.

He does, however, hold the uncontested record for number of nasty ad-hom attack-posts aimed this direction. He customarily destroys the evidence after a few days. He's a hoot.

Thomas said...

Reformed Catholic? Catholic Calvinism? The Catholic Luther?

Oxymoron?
"...a figure of speech or expressed idea in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction".

Funny, according to Oxford's Dictionary:
— ORIGIN from Greek oxumoros ‘pointedly foolish’.

That sums it up so well!

Neh 8:8

... but it's hardly worth commenting on.

Doug McMasters said...

Phil,

Great graphic.

You're likely familiar with the home-spun wisdom that says, "Throw a stone at a pack of dogs and the one that yelps is the one that got hit."

That dog yelped at GTY's motto without any stones thrown--makes one wonder why.

Kim said...

They misquoted Mr. Rogers. The phrase "one of these things is not like the other" came from Sesame Street. For shame.

DJP said...

Goodness, does he sound thick.

Should God's truth be unleashed five verses at a time? Or do we have to preach the entire Bible, plus church history, in every sermon?

The formula runs like this:

Chip on shoulder + axe to grind + anything = embarrassing display.

SolaMeanie said...

For the record, this is NOT Rev. Kevin S. Johnson, my radio co-host and president of The Institute for Christian Apologetics. Phil has been a guest on our program. The perpetrator of this stuff is a different Kevin Johnson.

centuri0n said...

Kevin is allowed his misguided opinions. What bothers me about him is his defense of (and also his silence toward) Paul Owen's rejection of penal substitution. Paul Owen is a wolf in sheep's clothing, ought to be doctrinally audited by his academic dean for compliance with his institution's confession of faith, and needs to be publicly rejected by anyone concerned about real catholicity and real orthodoxy.

If Kevin were half as interested in the truth of God's church as he says he is, he'd be at loggerheads with Owen today -- and he's not.

Now: let's see what they say about that.

centuri0n said...

Note to Kevin and Dr. Owen:

Notice the absence of the word "heretic" on my last post. I'm willing to concede that Dr. Owen's blathering on this subject is not techincally "heresy" because he hasn't been personally branded a heretic by a legitimate church tribunal. That doesn't un-guilt-ify him on the count of rejecting penal substitution.

So stick to what I said and not what you'd like to argue against.

The Doulos said...

Phil, can you really make your eyes do that? Cool! That must be a great preaching method to get people's attention.

This is really sad. "Let's take an innocuous slogan and use it to condemn an entire man and ministry." Shameful.

Jeremy Weaver said...

I'm glad Kevin's around to keep us in the loop about 'Orthodoxy'.

Kevin's 'Orthodoxy' forbids him from memorizing Scripture. That's very consistent with the Churh Fathers, isn't it?

BugBlaster said...

I'm particularly encouraged by this comment on the subject post by Elder Hoss:

If a man can’t preach a book of the Bible in 2-3 messages, let him find another profession.

I'm going to see if I can light a fire under my Pastor and get him to hurry up.

James Kubecki said...

"I don’t doubt that all of God’s Word is inspired and profitable for teaching and reproof etc. and so on."

Did he just "yadda-yadda" the sufficiency of scripture?

Trinian said...

Wow, I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't read it myself. It reads almost like someone parodying RC insanity...

DJP said...

Why are the clueless so often also humorless?

SolaMeanie said...

Frank,

I assume you're being tongue-in-cheeck about needing a legitimate church tribunal to pronounce someone a heretic. If I see someone denying the Trinity, the Resurrection or the Second Coming of Christ, I will pronounce them a heretic whether a tribunal agrees with me or not.

steve said...

Kevin Johnson wrote: But someone has to point out to John MacArthur that the New Testament never really came with verses in the first place

So if this is really an issue, then Kevin Johnson should abstain from using verse references when citing Scripture.

So Kevin doesn't have anything better to do than fire spitwads at a mere slogan?

Your response is great, Phil. No need to waste words on such frivolity.

Phil Johnson said...

Ninth-Commandment Alert!

The original sources of the more prominent remarks pictured on the above chalkboard are referenced at this post. The graphic, or a version of it, originally appeared here.

(Yes, I know: the actual author of the "jackboot baptist" line prolly wouldn't agree with our friends at "Deformed Catholicity" about anything other than their mutual contempt for this blog, but in a way they represent mirror images of one another.)

Let it also be noted (just so that we don't have to come back and deal with this later) that Kevin Johnson is not the creator of the PyroManiac graphic pictured on the blackboard, either.

H.C. Ross said...

"You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you."

John 13:14-15

centuri0n said...

Phil --

is that a picture of Kevin Johnson? I had no idea ...

John W. Lostus said...

For all their spoutin' off over there @ RefCath.com the bottom line is that they will allow any doctrine that was accepted by the "church" throughout its history. So, because penal substitution was not articulated by the church fathers, well then, we don't have to believe it. But, since it was believed from the 16th century on, well then, you can believe it if you want (but don't say I can't deny it either). They just hate it when you assert a biblical doctrine dogmatically because, well, they like a generous orthodoxy. They do not think that you can discern "truth" from Scripture alone. You need to have "the mind of the Church" as well. Does anyone know where I can find this amorpheous "Mind"? I would like to ask it a question about a particular verse...

Thanks

And Cent, someone at their blog suggested that picture was a younger version of "Norm" from Cheers.

Phaedrus said...

Paul Owen is doctrinally aberrant from a post reformed, schismatic, 20th century protestant perspective. If Paul Owen is in error then St. Augustine is defineitly a heretic. See below:

“Therefore, he chose to be baptized in water by John, not thereby to wash away any sin of his own, but to manifest his great humility. Indeed, baptism found nothing in him to wash away, just as death found nothing to punish. Hence, it was in authentic justice, and not by violent power, that the devil was overcome and conquered: for, as he had most unjustly slain Him who was in no way deserving of death, he also did most justly lose those whom he had justly held in bondage as punishment for their sins. Wherefore, He took upon himself both baptism and death, not out of a piteous necessity but through his own free act of showing mercy—as part of a definite plan whereby One might take away the sin of the world, just as one man had brought sin into the world, that is, the whole human race.” (Augustine’s Enchiridion XLIX)

Lastly, reformed catholicity is simply a humble acknowledgment that the Reformers did not invent Christianity at Westminster in 1647. I suppose Schaff and Nevin were in error as well. And all the reformers who insisted they were not forming a new religion but reforming the existing "one holy catholic and apostolic Church." How can a reformed Christian call "reformed catholicism" an aximoron. The Heidelberg Catechism uses the word three times. It affirms the use of the Apostle's Creed that refers to the Church as catholic and refers to the Creed as the content of our undoubted Christian catholic faith.

I agree with Michael Horton, stop referring to the reformed faith and begin referring to it as the reformed confession of the Christian faith.

Habitans in Sicco said...

phaedrus: Lastly, reformed catholicity is simply a humble acknowledgment that the Reformers did not invent Christianity at Westminster in 1647.

Humility. Riiiiight. Anyone who reads their blog can see THAT's what those guys are all about.

Bobby Grow said...

Kevin,

cariacture's in a reductionistic manner the "Evangelical way" of biblical interpretation. The problem with his post is that it assumes a faulty understanding of ecclisiology (and authority)--and undercuts a fundamental premiss of Prot. thought--the priesthood of all believers.

Impacted Wisdom Truth said...

I read the screed over at Reformed Catholics.

It seems little more than a petulant attempt to bring in Tradition as a source of authority by picking apart a straw man. That straw man being the indexing of God's Word in the form of "verses."

Where the writer really lost me, though, is when he wrote, "I don’t doubt that all of God’s Word is inspired and profitable for teaching and reproof etc. and so on."

Such a glib and dismissive attitude toward the Scriptures is quite telling.

If you have not done so, check out the link on the right, "Ten Steps to Becoming Reformed Catholic." History and tradition seem to be key; the Scriptures are relegated to second class status.

Impacted Wisdom Truth said...

I read the screed over at Reformed Catholics.

It seems little more than a petulant attempt to bring in Tradition as a source of authority by picking apart a straw man. That straw man being the indexing of God's Word in the form of "verses."

Where the writer really lost me, though, is when he wrote, "I don’t doubt that all of God’s Word is inspired and profitable for teaching and reproof etc. and so on."

Such a glib and dismissive attitude toward the Scriptures is quite telling.

If you have not done so, check out the link on the right, "Ten Steps to Becoming Reformed Catholic." History and Tradition seem to be key; the Scriptures are relegated to second class status.

centuri0n said...

Phaedrus:

Schaff on the Legal aspects of justification --

Western writers were led by their realization of sin as guilt to regard the removal of guilt as the principal feature in the work of redemption. Even as early as Tertullian and Cyprian, it was interpreted in legal terms; and before long there grew up the conception of a legal satisfaction made by Christ to God. This begins with Cyprian and is carried on by Hilary and Ambrose. Augustine takes the legal view in conjunction with a mystical doctrine of salvation, and thus weakens it to some extent.

My suggestion to you is that you are listening to people who want to subvert the long-understood history of the Western tradition of Christian theology for something by which they can accept anything that has a man named Jesus in it as "Christian" and herefore part of the "catholic" (small "c") church.

Augustine had a weaker view of penal substitution -- that is, a mixed view -- but not a completely abberant view. Dr. Owen might know this, but he would never admit it.

Thank you for stopping by.

Doug McMasters said...

I noticed in the yelp against the GTY motto that the poster asserts "After all, we do have a Reformation take on the nature and use of the Scriptures even though our critics mindlessly utter otherwise." I wonder if he would agree with this Reformed document, the Belgic Confession, Article 7, titled "The sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures, to be the only rule of faith." It reads:

We believe that those Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe, unto salvation, is sufficiently taught therein. For, since the whole manner of worship, which God requires of us, is written in them at large, it is unlawful for any one, though an apostle, to teach otherwise than we are now taught in the Holy Scriptures: nay, though it were an angel from heaven, as the apostle Paul saith. For, since it is forbidden, to add unto or take away anything from the word of God, it doth thereby evidently appear, that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects. Neither do we consider of equal value any writing of men, however holy these men may have been, with those divine Scriptures, nor ought we to consider custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God, for the truth is above all; for all men are of themselves liars, and more vain than vanity itself. Therefore, we reject with all our hearts, whatsoever doth not agree with this infallible rule, which the apostles have taught us, saying, Try the spirits whether they are of God. Likewise, if there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house.

centuri0n said...

Doug:

He would say that he would agree with that, but he would point out that a confession exists because of a tradition, not because of the Bible. That is, you wouldn't really know how to handle your Bible except for a tradition which teaces that to you.

You know: because none of us have ever read the Bible except as some church taught it to us, and none of us have independently come to any theological conclusions, finally agreeing with confessional statements rather than just saying "Yassuh" to whichever tradition we grew up in.

centuri0n said...

is it "none of us have" or "none of us has"?

I think I got that wrong ...

Phaedrus said...

Every heretic that the Church has ever refuted used the Bible to defend their damnable errors. I am no stranger to this myself. Before embracing the reformed confession of the Catholic faith, I would only read the Bible in order to find proof texts to defend my errors. Though the state I then found myself in was the logical conclusion of my radical, revivalistic individualism, I knew all along that some thing was wrong. What was it? Were 2000 years of Christians really wrong? Where the pastors of the Church all false teachers. Did the Holy Spirit fail to lead his Church into all Truth? The answers to these questions led inexorably to my humiliation. The Holy Spirit was awakening in me a sense of my own pride and rebellion and knowledge of the wickedness within my own heart that caused me surely and willfully to despise the truth and cleave to heresy.

John F. MacArthur, Jr. said as much yesterday on his radio broadcast. Those who today deny that God has made his revelation in Scripture sufficient and commonly clear and plain, in pride attempt to formulate new doctrines and interpretations in opposition to the teaching of the Church. The charge brought against them is this, "if 2000 years of pastors is wrong, how do we know you are right."

Though I think this is simplistic. For one, how were Athanasius of Alexander and Augustine of Hippo able to defeat the damnable heresies of Arius and Pelagius without "2000 years of pastors?"

Was the Holy Spirit actualy leading the One Holy Church into all truth?

The basic protestant understanding of the Church, described herein as the historical "prot" ecclesiology is wrong in as much as it denies that the Holy Spirit has lead and is still leading the One Holy Church into all Truth. This is not the reformed understanding of the flock of Christ. Semper Reformata.

Apostate Bishop Spong has said that he is open to reviving the Arian and Pelagian debates because he thinks the answers accepted as true in the early Church are no longer valid for modern believers. According to Baptist ecclesiology, the Church has no authority, thus Arius and Pelagius aught to be considered pastors in good standing with their local sessions.

Is this defeated and impotent church supposed to represent the glorious bride of Christ?

The point came when I had to face the fact that the One Holy Church did not teach the errors I held to. In actuality the Church solidly refuted each one. I remember the day that the thought entered my mind, by the grace of God, that the work of a theologian was not to innovate but to cultivate genuine humility and brokenness of heart in order that he might serve his fellow brothers and sisters so that by him the Church might receive benefit.

Kevin's orthodoxy most certainly does not forbid him from memorizing scripture, but the pastoral advice of our father Augustine admonishes him not to memorize Scripture without embracing the truth of scripture in his heart.

And I think it is manifestly unfair to say ReformedCatholicism.com is arrogant without pointing a finger back at the Pyros. The Pyros faked a photograph. Someone called Kevin Johnson a "guard dog" for Benedict XVI? There is obviously a mild rivalry going on. Lets be honest, as with any rivalry, we can expect both sides to wield a sense of humor without much hurt feelings.

Sincerely,

Ryan Close

Martin Downes said...

Ryan,

"According to Baptist ecclesiology, the Church has no authority, thus Arius and Pelagius aught to be considered pastors in good standing with their local sessions."

Which baptist ecclesiology? Arius has had many followers down the years in congregationalism, presbyterianism, and anglicanism, so why pick on the baptists? And do baptists have local sessions?

Doug said...

I have to admit, the Reformed Catholic post has me wondering, "Well, then how DO you (meaning: they) study and preach the Bible?"

It seems pretty obvious to look at "verses" in broad context and then drill down to their specific points. Isn't this the nature of all (good) teaching?

Big picture, then broken down into smaller points that support the big picture.

It's almost like KJ is offering some sort of reductionist theory that you can't look at the Bible in any chunks smaller than X number of words. Not that he says how many words you'd have to group together to be safe.

Am I missing something of does this guy just not make sense?

Phaedrus said...

Dear Constant Reader,

I did not say according to Baptist Christology and Baptist soteriology "Arius and Pelagius aught to be considered pastors in good standing with their local sessions." Obviously, no one can honestly be both a Baptist and a Pelagian, nor an Anglican and an Arian without self contradiction. Rather, I said that according Baptist ecclesiology, which is erroneously referred to as here as Protestant ecclesiology, the visable church has no authority to interpet and teach Holy Scripture.

I won't pick on Baptists only, but seek to defend the Reformed confessions and ecclesiology against Roman apologists. These say that the reformers are schismatic because they derived their teaching subjectively from their own opinion. This is a lie. The Reformation is the offspring, the greatest accomplishment of the Catholic Church and the reformers are within the stream historic orthodoxy. The reformers took seriously the charge of schism and that the church in Rome left the Catholic Church at the council of Trent.

So any one, Presbyterian or Anglican or pentecostal, it doesn't matter, that slanders the authority of the One Holy Church, which the Holy Spirit has lead and continues to lead into all Truth, is in error and opens up Church doctrine to subjectivity and winds of opinion.

Lastly, the words "drill down" into the text betray an implicit dependence on "foundationalism." Foundationalism is a tool for exegesis but it is not the only tool. Furthermore it is very analytical and open to subjectivity. Dispensationalism is most likely product of drilling into the text to see what it really says.

Where is the mind of the Church? Baptists aught to know this. Christians are a royal priesthood. Thus all Christians posses the mind of the Church along with all other spiritual gifts given to the Church by the Holy Spirit. But we can choose to reject it and despise it and enter into schism if we wish. I am not accusing anyone here of as much. If the pastors of the anti-Nicene and Nicene Church cannot be trusted then why should we trust Father MacArthur? MacArthur implied as much when he said, if 2000 years of pastors were wrong why should we trust the emergent church innovators?

Sincerely,
Ryan Close

steve said...

Sheesh. The tone of Kevin Johnson’s laments would lead one to think expository preaching is a heretical practice.

For goodness’ sake…the GTY motto simply acknowledges the manner in which MacArthur preaches. So what if there weren’t verse divisions in the original Scripture text? Okay, so GTY could change the motto to Unleashing the Word, One Precept at a Time. Of course, that won’t be necessary, for there are many of us who don’t recognize Kevin Johnson’s self-appointed role as motto police of Christian media organizations.

The normal way in which people read a book is from beginning to end, word by word. That is the most logical way to ensure that you see the correct context, the correct meaning, and the correct order of a writer’s thoughts. So to preach in such a manner makes tremendous sense.

No one has said expository preaching is the only way. It’s MacArthur’s preferred style of teaching, and it’s been the preferred style of many fine Bible teachers—with very good reason. The careful and logical approach implemented in preparing an expository message strongly ensures a clear understanding of the text, which I’d say is pretty important when it comes to the Bible.

As Greer Boyce notes, “expository preaching demands that, by careful analysis of each text within its immediate context and the setting of the book to which it belongs, the full power of modern exegetical and theological scholarship be brought to bear upon our treatment of the Bible. The objective is not that the preacher may parade all this scholarship in the pulpit. Rather, it is that the preacher may speak faithfully out of solid knowledge of his text, and mount the pulpit steps as, at least, ‘a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.’”

Phaedrus said...

I can completely agree with this last paragraph. But I would add, that just as we aught to listen to our own pastors and teachers, a pastor goes to seminary to learn from others. These others have learned from their fathers going back to the Apostles. In understanding any passage it can be very helpful to read what our honorable Church fathers have said.

Phil Johnson said...

Phaedrus: "Rather, I said that according Baptist ecclesiology, which is erroneously referred to as here as Protestant ecclesiology, the visable church has no authority to interpet and teach Holy Scripture"

Oh, give it a rest.

1. No one "here" except you has made any reference whatsoever to "protestant ecclesiology." Search and see.

2. No one "here" is defending any of the opinions that are regularly lampooned at "Reformed Catholicism"--including Baptist successionism, Anabaptism, or Cletus Spuckler's Manual of Babdist Teechin'.

3. Given the fact that they regularly make such a pretense of loving humility, even-handedness, and scholarly objectivity, the contributors at "Reformed Catholicism" are appallingly lacking in even simple Christian courtesy--especially when it comes to dealing with Baptists.

4. In fact, the misbehavior at that blog is so frequent and so egregious that I don't normally reply to or even refer to those guys at all, until they deliberately make themselves impossible to ignore.

5. But in no sense do I regard that blog as a "rival."

6. If you want to propagandize for them using that kind of misrepresentation, keep it over at their blog and out of the meta here. Seriously. Any more deliberate false generalizations like that about what we stand for will get you permanently banned from the meta.

Thomas said...

Please somebody correct me, for i would really like to understand this: the Reformation happened because the Catholic Church made itself the Master of God's revealed truth, putting a spin on it that even went against its "plain" reading.

When Luther came out he wanted to reform the Catholic Church and not start his own thing, right? But he was eventually thrown out (that's real godly, i must say). So, to say that a Trent-like faith is also reformed is in this context an oxymoron (note spelling).

Now, i believe nobody reading this blog denies that there is a catholic (meaning "universal") church for which we all strive. The biblical teaching on unity is always IN TRUTH. We all strive for unity, but it has to be unity in truth.

The only way i know that i am in the truth by something as absolute as GOD'S WORD, and not a bunch of people, a church or denominational traditions (as long as they are not in line with Scripture and contradicting apostolic teachings).

If MacArthur should go against Scripture all of us here would speak up, even if it went against tradition.

But then, we also understand that we are not perfect.

Phaedrus: i trust that with "The One Holy Church" you didn't mean the Roman Catholic Church. Because that would make us reading this blog ... um ... right ... heretics.

sincerely,
Thomas

Phaedrus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phaedrus said...

Dear Constant Reader,

Fair enough Mr. Johnson. I am very stressed out at work right now, so perhaps I am missing some rest. I am your humble pupil. Very soon I will seek and give myself a rest.

1. The following passage from the thread in question implies there is an ecclesiology erroneously linked directly to a fundamental Prot. (sic) premises:

"The problem with his post is that it assumes a faulty understanding of ecclisiology (and authority)--and undercuts a fundamental premiss of Prot. thought--the priesthood of all believers."

I do believe in the preisthood of all believers. I also believe that the Holy Spirit has lead and will continue to lead the One Holy Church into all Truth. There are implications I do not ignore. However, the "fundamental premiss of Prot. thought" has not been described.

2. I never even brought up "Baptist successionism (sic), Anabaptism, or Cletus Spuckler's Manual of Babdist Teechin'." Did I?

3. Mr. Johnson's third remark is not addressed to me but I would like to say that there are very even handed contributors on RefCath.com and they sometimes present posts on Baptist Catholicity and some are even hopeful of reunification.

4. & 5. need no response.

6. Mr. Johnson, if I misunderstand the position you are proffering, and am inadvertently misrepresenting you, please help enlighten me. Tell me and everyone else what role the Church has in interpreting and defending right doctrine. What is the relationship between the clear and Holy Scriptures and Apostolic tradition? I am sorry for any false generalizations. I am sorry if I have offended you or any of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Questions: Has the Holy Spirit lead the Church into all Truth as Christ promised? If an individual errs in good faith by "drilling" into Holy Scripture alone without the guidance of Godly pastors and fathers, is he a heretic? It has been said, "If MacArthur should go against Scripture all of us here would speak up, even if it went against tradition." What if Father MacArthur departs from your own personal opinion of what the Bible way is, but insists that in his personal opinion he hasn't departed? Who decides who is right?

I struggle with these kinds of questions each day (Shortly before my alarm clock goes off and begins to play GTY). I am not making anymore false generalizations. I am just asking questions. Educate me. From now on I will humbly sit and listen until I get a better understanding of your position.

And dear Thomas,

When I refer to the "One Holy Church" it is obvious I am not here referring to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Bride of Christ, to which, all who truly put their trust in Christ and Christ crucified alone for their justification are sacramental united. No "Reformed Catholicism” is not an oxymoron. That is like saying "Baptist Martyr" is an oxymoron.

Luther was excommunicated from the church in Rome. However, the Reformed confession of "our undoubted Christian catholic faith" says that obviously he was not excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Rather he was one of her greatest defenders.

Sincerely,

Ryan Close

Russet Shadows said...

I too went to the RC site. It seemed like it was just a pounding pit where the owners smacked their 20-ton arcane tomes over the heads of newbies, proclaiming love and generosity with the sincerity of 19th-century slavemasters.

In short, I was not impressed.

Phaedrus said...

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I heard you on the radio this morning and you sounded great. I did not disagree with anything either you or Father John said. Very well put.

Sincerely,

Ryan Close