26 March 2009

More than 1000 reasons

by Frank Turk


The above graph plots out exactly why I think we waste our time when you get into Catholic apologetics: all that meta yesterday and the day before, and frankly? Nobody was really reading the blog. Google Analytics says so: no uptick in traffic.

You know why? Because apologetics doesn't win people into Catholicism, and it doesn't win people out of Catholicism. I could give you 1000 reason why I think people join Catholicism -- but there is only one reason to leave -- and it's not because of an argument. The reason to leave Catholicism is actually foolishness when viewed by people seeking a reason: it's that Jesus Christ was crucified, and because death had no power to hold him, He was raised on the third day.

He didn't become bread. He didn't establish a home office in the city of Caesar. But know for certain that He is both Lord and Christ -- so repent and believe in Him.

That's the reason for the hope that lies within us, y'all.







89 comments:

greglong said...

You'da thunk the nun graphic would have driven more traffic.

Chad V. said...

Heb 10:11-14

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Boerseuntjie said...

The WORD become flesh... AMEN!

He is the REASON, not our reasoning.

Frank Turk said...

And having said what I said, it's interesting that Paul wrote to Titus in order that the "presbyteros" would lead the local church, but the writer of Hebrews indicates that the ones who worked in the temple were "hiereus".

I'm just sayin'. Informational.

Frank Turk said...

I am also deeply concerned, and troubled, that Phil has swallowed the Twitter Kool-Aid.

Talk about stumbling block ...

DJP said...

Oh, you're kidding me.

Tsk. Some people are such trend-chasers.

/c:|

Rick Frueh said...

Whatever your theology, if a person's heart is not open, or being opened, by the Holy Spirit all the apologetics in the world, spoken by the Apostle Paul Himself, will not convince anyone.

BTW - I eschew twitter as emergent. I still have a 1611 cell phone. :)

Everyday Mommy said...

"The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" -- John 1:29

pastorharold said...

Amen! That's good preachin'

stratagem said...

Not more people - better people!

Atone said...

The above graph plots out exactly why I think we waste our time when you get into Catholic apologetics: all that meta yesterday and the day before, and frankly? Nobody was really reading the blog. Google Analytics says so: no uptick in traffic.

Alright. Then why did you and Dan insist on lighting these little fires in the first place? After all you held the shotgun and said dance, so we danced.

At any rate, I think the premise of this post is a little scary. As I certainly hope that your Google Analytics number isn't what's driving your content. If your serious about defending the faith and all, the Spirit should be driving what you post, not who might or might not be listening.

Try running a Bible commentary blog sometime purely by metrics, you'll burn out in six months for sure :o)

So anyway, is this a repentance from silence that the match you guys lit this week should never have been struck?

Personally, I think this kind of blunt dialogue with RC folks is needed and useful - when kept in the bounds of gentleness and respect. You have no idea who is lurking, and who might be weighing a jump to or from one side or the other. But the question here is what's your motivation for posting, Frank? Is it just to drive numbers? It kinda looks that way...and no, I'm not just referring to just this one post. Peace.

Brad

DJP said...

Frank did me the favor of closing my meta, so I'll do him the ____ of answering on his.

No, Brad — we do it for your sweet-talk!

Nobody should eisegesitize anything deeper than what Frank said, and file it under HH for "Hunh. Howbowdat?"

I'm sure not apologizing. I put a "QED" over the point of my post, and thank my RC commenters for providing it. It was classic RC response: deny, then prove. You don't understand, but here, here's exactly what you said.

And I do think it's a valuable tutorial for the watching masses. (No pun.)

As to Frank, I would HYPOTHESIZE that it is more personally wearying for him, because (as he shared) it's more personal. That's his background. He's had this conversation countless times. He cares. It is exhausting to care for the souls of folks who don't care about their own souls, and to do as God did, with the same result (“All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people” - Rom. 10:21).

stratagem said...

If he were running things by the numbers on the chart, it ought to be obvious to all that PJ's "Dirty Preaching" post kicked off a huge downtrend in readership.

Frank Turk said...

For the record, DJP can speak for me anytime.

You know: we have Google Analytics installed simply to count the passers-by. It does a fabulous job. But what I garner from traffic numbers like those is not, "oh: we should do more posts on cuss words." What I perceive there is that there are no Catholics looking for answers and there are no Protestants excessively worried about this question.

And this needs to be said: I thank God that there are guys like James White and Eric Svedsen who have, as far as I'm concerned, put the questions of the matter to bed already. Actual protestantism is alive and well in that respect -- and I count them as fathers in the faith as well as brothers and fellow work-men.

But look: how many times does the argument for the perspicuity of Scripture against the Bible-plus-Tradition argument have to be rehearsed and ignored/ How often do we have to go over sola fide again, when the other side is implementing arguments which were disposed of in 1993 -- let alone 1689 (or even earlier than that)?

How often do we have to be told that a muslim can be saved in ignornace and his belief in "the God of Abraham", but someone who denies that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven is certainly going to hell?

My point is that these are arguments that, frankly, aren't getting the Gospel out. They are distractions. They don't cause non-believers to want to hear more about this savior we have.

My post was a spring-board off of Dan's post, and in retrospect I think that Dan's post was PLENTY and ALL THE TOPIC DESERVED.

Google analytics proved this. End of story.

BrettR said...

"The above graph plots out exactly why I think we waste our time when you get into Catholic apologetics: all that meta yesterday and the day before, and frankly? Nobody was really reading the blog. Google Analytics says so: no uptick in traffic." -- Frank Turk

Though this may be the right conclusion, I would caution against leaping to this conclusion based on the evidence presented. There are many other other conclusions that can be made based on the same information (real or PoMo ridiculous) and the conclusion is based on just one analysis. Be careful of such a small platform off of which to jump off of in coming to any conclusion -- no matter how right it may be; if the base data is found to be off or messed up, the argument gets mangled in the process. That is not a good thing to do to the gospel.

Now on your conclusion (which I think is likely correct): Do you think that we should stay away from apologetics or that we should only use apologetics as a way to get toward the gospel? It sounds like you are saying we should "cut and run" when it comes to persuasion.

donsands said...

"I think we waste our time when you get into Catholic apologetics:"

There's "a time to keep silence, and a time to speak", and a time to shake the dust from ones coat.

"And always be ready when someone comes to ask of your hope, and answer him with fear and gentleness."
It's nice when people come and ask me about my "religion", and I'm able to share with them my gratefulness to Christ for dying for my sins, and for giving me a heart of repentance and faith so I can receive His Spirit, and mercy, and forgiveness. And so now I am able to know the truth, and am set free from the false religion of Catholicism, and Pelagianism.

Frank Turk said...

Brett:

I think I could write a book about that.

In fact, I think I will ...

Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

A Baptist and a Catholic can't sleep in the same bed unless one is asleep. What felloship hath Belial with Christ/ What communion hath light with darkness.

A dead sinner can't be persuaded to receive Christ, BY ANY MAN.

Atone said...

Frank, I’m going to gently (I hope) bust your chops one last time and then leave this alone.

You know: we have Google Analytics installed simply to count the passers-by. It does a fabulous job. But what I garner from traffic numbers like those is not, "oh: we should do more posts on cuss words." What I perceive there is that there are no Catholics looking for answers and there are no Protestants excessively worried about this question..

Hmm... And yet the meta exploded because there are folks worried enough to engage each other for what was, for the most part, a pretty thoughtful debate. Keep in mind, however, I’m not advocating you shift the focus of this blog – far from it. I’m just wondering why you’re suddenly arguing against yourself.

And this needs to be said: I thank God that there are guys like James White and Eric Svedsen who have, as far as I'm concerned, put the questions of the matter to bed already. Actual protestantism is alive and well in that respect -- and I count them as fathers in the faith as well as brothers and fellow work-men.

Gotcha. But wouldn’t you have to say, based on your remarks below, that James’ and Eric’s ministries aren’t getting the Gospel out themselves? After all, the bulk of their ministries are predicated on stoking the very arguments that you say “frankly aren’t getting the Gospel out.”

My point is that these are arguments that, frankly, aren't getting the Gospel out. They are distractions. They don't cause non-believers to want to hear more about this savior we have.

Understood. And I can’t say that I don’t greatly, greatly empathize with this sensitivity and concern. In fact, I stopped a pretty serious blog with traffic that rivaled the tavern guys over two years ago because I couldn’t handle its controversial currency in a way that honored our Lord, even though it was fueling the blog’s traffic. But I’m still wondering why you felt it necessary to bring this subject up at all, given the way you feel about it now – because your traffic told you so?

My post was a spring-board off of Dan's post, and in retrospect I think that Dan's post was PLENTY and ALL THE TOPIC DESERVED.

Well, okay. But you certainly fooled me, sir.

Here’s to hoping this response won’t be taken as Exhibit A as to what I really think of the resident flame throwers. Peace and keep posting the Good News.

Brad

eastendjim said...

I've never had anyone tell me that they were argued into becoming a Christian. All of the Christians I know seem to have been convicted of sin and awakened to the reality that Jesus is Lord, leading them to repent and trust in Christ.

DJP said...

Well then, let me be a partial exception to that. What you said was central. But facts from the Bible had to tear down misconceptions I'd held to. Plus, positive points did the necessary demolition work.

Frank Turk said...

Atone:

I see what happened in the meta over the last two days as utterly worthless arguing, however well-intentioned it turned out to be on either side. The Catholic(s) who participated were not abashed one iota; not one Protestant won a soul to Christ, or was himself converted from the faith.

Notice my lack of engagement in the controversy as a whole. You can use that as a gage regarding my perceptions: I was able to resist blogging comments because of my level of interest.

As to James and Eric, one of the things they aren't really doing is a Catholic-focussed version of "street preaching" -- that is, they aren't really trying to argue with people who, frankly, aren't really arguing: the people they engage are, at best, recruiting and saying whatever they think is necessary to do that. As such, they argue at the right level and with the right representatives -- not with every Manny, Moe and Jack that walks across their line of sight or wanders into a chat channel.

When they encounter Manny, Moe and Jack, they deliver the Gospel. James White is an evangelist who specializes in apologetics to redress (as an elder should, which we will get ti in Titus 1 in a while) and rebuke the person in unrepentant error. But the arguments have to give way to the fact that the problem is not faulty logic, or a spotty reading list: the problem is sin which will take men to hell unless they are saved.

James White (and Eric Svedson, so I don't inspite nit-picking over who I left out) deliver the Gospel that is the power to save, and simply do that along side a ministry which also redresses and rebukes those who make errors publicly.

The lesson is a broader lesson about how we should spend our time, Brad. It's a lesson I relearn every single time I get dragged back to Catholic apologetics, among other things: talking to a brick wall is pointless.

The Squirrel said...

I read, "A Baptist and a Catholic can't sleep in the same bed unless one is asleep." And I thought:

A Catholic, a Baptist, and a Presbyterian walk into a bar.

The bartender says, "What is this? A joke?"

Sorry (c: Old one, I know...

The Squirrel

Daryl said...

A Catholic and a Baptist walk into a bar...

The Catholic says "ouch", the Baptist is unconcious and says nothing.

Phil Johnson said...

I read the Google analytics a little differently from you, Frank. If you remove the flap over that message at the Shepherds' Conference message from the month's stats, yesterday's traffic was above average for normal here, wasn't it?

(I dunno. I never even look at the stats until Frank points out some trend or another.)

Also, I do know a few people who have been converted through an apologists' efforts to correct falsehoods and clarify Scripture. The apologists' work and the evangelists' are different, but both sides eventually need the work of the other.

Finally, I agree that saving faith is never the result of merely-rational reflection, but sometimes a rational argument that convinces the sinner he has believed a lie is the instrument the Spirit of God uses to put a person under conviction, and that is an aspect of the effectual call.

Thus it happened with me.

The Squirrel said...

Frank,

I hear you. I've listened to James White when he takes calls from Roman Catholics, and it is about as fruitful as the meta here was these last few days.

HSAT, It is always good to see the futility of mere human reasoning when it comes to reaching the lost. Only God can open eyes to the truth. But, as we all already know, we need to keep proclaiming the truth, so that, when God opens a set of eyes, the truth is there to be perceived.

Neither PU nor N were converted, and neither was going to be. But none of us know if a questioning Catholic was reading the meta, and had their eyes opened.

The Squirrel

The Squirrel said...

A Catholic and a Baptist walk into a bar...

The Catholic says "ouch", the Baptist is unconcious and says nothing.


And the Presbyterian was predestined to duck...

The Squirrel

~Mark said...

Amen Frank, encouraging post!

Mesa Mike said...

Arguing is fun (sometimes...) but the Great Commission doesn't really call us to do that.

Solameanie said...

Frank,

Here's what you need.

Forgive me for derailing the meta with that little tally-ho.

Frank Turk said...

I refuse to get into statistical apologetics with Phil Johnson. In spite of the fact that he's wrong.

:-)

VcdeChagn said...

Finally, I agree that saving faith is never the result of merely-rational reflection, but sometimes a rational argument that convinces the sinner he has believed a lie is the instrument the Spirit of God uses to put a person under conviction, and that is an aspect of the effectual call.

Thus it happened with me.


Me too..

In honor of live tweeting my wife's External Cephalic Version this morning (Praise God, it was successful if painful for my beloved wife), here is my testimony in 140 characters or less:

"Saved" in 92. Bore little if any fruit. Read Evidence that Demands a Verdict in 97 and realized that what I said I believed was true!

134 characters :)

God USED the book to "lead me to Christ..just as he can use Catholic (or any other sort of apologetics) to do the same.

I admit that after my salvation I overemphasized the apologetics end of things, but that was MY failure.

Frank Turk said...

That really does not ever EVER get old.

And it is NEVER off-topic. It has layers wrapped in nuance wrapped in FEAR AND ALMOST FANATICAL DEVOTION TO THE POPE!

!

Dave Sherrill said...

I spend a lot of time apologizing to Jehovah's Witnesses in public forums. I understand the brick wall illustration. It's a field that is white for harvest but not in the "3,000 believed at Pentecost" way.

I've been tempted to walk away from it repeatedly over the years. Yet the Lord keeps bringing me back to that specific threshing floor.

I've learned much from James White's ministry, even when he's throttling a rabid catholic. I continue to listen and believe it is profitable training, even though terribly frustrating at times.

Stefan said...

Frank:

A few random observations:

1. As you yourself have reminded us (and as small church pastors need to be reassured), it's not about the numbers.

2. You yourself know well, that we don't know who might indeed have been persuaded by the discussion the last few days. The whole endless Catholic apologetics thing does seem Sisyphian—and personally, my eyes glazed over—but who knows what fruit it might bear? Like Phil, I too heard the effectual call of the Gospel in the middle of a rational, theological discourse (via a quotation from an Old Testament prophet, mind you).

3. If I don't know what the post du jour is until I actually come here (and thus increment the number of visits by one), that means many of those visitors each day are coming regardless, not knowing ahead of time what that day's post's content is. There may be revisits (or is that stat counting unique visitors), or trackbacks from other blogs, but I'm not sure any one day's numbers are necessarily reflective of what that day's post is.

4. Now I know why there so few comments on the Sunday Spurgeon posts: only a measly 2,000 visits or so on Sundays!

John said...

I get the irony of referring to Google Analysis. But it wasn't the content, it was that creepy Shoalin Levi graphic. Still gives me the creeps.

Stefan said...

Sharing the gospels with secular and atheist Jews (my former milieu) is equally despair-inducing.

There's an underlying assumption—unstated and unarticulated, but it's there—that not only is God "our" God, but that as atheists, He was a creation of our ancestors...and then Jesus was a good mensch, but Paul got Him all wrong, the Gentiles took over, and the rest is history. (Hmmm, this is what some professed Christians think, too!)

It's hard to deal with that, when even the Law and Prophets are rejected out of hand as ahistorical fiction—so how much more the New Testament, that relies so much on the Old Testament!

Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

Apologetics may lead to an intellectual concept, BUT NOT SALVATION ITSELF.

Unless the Holy Spirit awakens a sinner, and regenerates him, giving him the grace and faith to receive Christ as his absolute Lord and all-sufficient Saviour, and issues the inward effectual call to his heart, he can't be saved. Dr. Paul Foltz

Stefan said...

...Which is why we pray that when share the outward Gospel call, the Holy Spirit will give the hearer ears to her, and transform it into an effectual Gospel call, leading to repentance and salvation.

Stefan said...

"Ears to hear," not "ears to her."

Unless the addressee is female, then both are applicable.

Frank Turk said...

John --

I have been waiting also 2 days for someone to comment on Shaolin Levi. To me, it's the perfect graphic to describe popular apologetics: deadly, well-trained, and somehow not quite right.

Frank Turk said...

BTW, I call him "ninja rabbi".

Phil Johnson said...

See, and I thought he was break dancing. Shows what I know.

Frank Turk said...

Phil Johnson wrong twice in a single meta?

I think we have found the chink in his armor, people. If the Emerg*s attack today, beware.

Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

The outward General call can be resisted, but not the inward call to the heart. they are entirely separate, and a general call doesnot turn into a inward call.

Man issues the General;the Holy Spirit issues the Inward Call.

TAR said...

It is not about numbers, it is about at least one with ears being brought here to read.

Stefan said...

Dr. Foltz:

Yes, absolutely. But the Spirit uses the medium of the Word to deliver that effectual call: "...How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" (Romans 10:14).

Nevertheless, I absolutely agree that it is all the work of the Holy Spirit, and likewise that without the effectual call, the outward call will always be rejected.

Stefan said...

Okay, I see your point. Perhaps it was sloppy semantics for me to say that the outward call is "transformed" into the effectual call.

Tax Collector said...

Arguing is fun (sometimes...) but the Great Commission doesn't really call us to do that.

True, but we are called to rebuke false teaching - which is a full-time job when talking with members of the RCC.

Also, I think the whole issue with Catholicism is the same as with any other false religous system - a matter of human pride. To them, the thought of being a totally depraved sinner and incapable of changing your condition, in and of yourself, is a very scary thing to them and therefore they attempt to give themself some value to bring to God's table.

The Bible clearly says otherwise.

Me personally, I just thank God that He would love me anyway and allow His Son Jesus to take my sin upon Himself and give me His righteousness in return.

Eternally thankful.

Bill

gringa said...

Phil Johnson wrote:

"Finally, I agree that saving faith is never the result of merely-rational reflection, but sometimes a rational argument that convinces the sinner he has believed a lie is the instrument the Spirit of God uses to put a person under conviction, and that is an aspect of the effectual call."

So true. My husband and I were saved (he out of the Jehovah's Witnesses and I out of Wiccan/New Age gobblty gook) after being given a book refuting Jehovah's Witnesses. The book helped us see that their doctrines were unbiblical, which helped us when we searched the Scriptures to see the true gospel, and the true Jesus.

Of course none of that would have been effective without God mercifully giving us eyes to see.

Stefan said...

There's even Phil's Twitter feed now in the right-hand sidebar.

This calls for an intervention.

Nick said...

You're saying all the things Jesus didn't do, but you forgot a major one: Jesus didn't get damned in our place, which is what Protestants teach.

I'm in a Penal Substitution debate right now with a Calvinist:
http://catholicdefense.googlepages.com/psdebate

If you think Catholics are too scared or stupid to take you on, I challenge you to a Sola Fide debate (eg whether Romans 4, Gal 3, Phil 3, etc, teach SF, or a similar SF issue).

DrOakley said...

Wow, Google data as a basis for determining the usefulness of doing apologetics! I should have thought of that! Of course, I can think of a bunch of folks who would be in slavery to Rome today had I followed Google's advice, but hey...if centuri0n says it!

Dude, we would have socked you, mocked you, and then banned you, had you dropped something like that in channel. And appropriately so!

james

RazorsKiss said...

It's not about how many times. It's about how many people have never heard it - or need to hear it again.

Darby Livingston said...

The obvious reason the Catholic apologetics posted less than the previous post is because sex sells - even when it's being refuted. Duh.

donsands said...

"Jesus didn't get damned in our place, which is what Protestants teach."

He became sin. Christ was made a curse. The Father forssok His beloved Son, and from 12:00-3:00 on the first Good Friday, Jesus bore the fullness of the wrath of God. Our Savior drank the cup of His Father to the last drop, and so the wrath of God is satisfied in our Lord Jesus Christ the Holy ONe of Israel, and the King of kings.

Surely He received the damnation we deserve.
What kind of love would do this? Beyond comprehension kind of love.

I deserve to be condemned, damned to hell for all eternity, and Jesus took my sin, my filthy disobedience upon His body, and He became my substitute.

Praise his holy name forever and ever. Amen.

Chad V. said...

Nick
Protestants don't teach that Jesus was damned, at least not any that know what they are talking about. It's not a universal teaching, it's in the vast minority of Protestant theology.

Name me one Reformed Theologian who teaches that.

Then do your self a favor, read the systematic theologies and sermons on the atonement from the Reformed Theologians and familiarize yourself with what we actually teach.

Nick said...

Donsands,

Thank you for your response. After what you just said, I assure you that you're in for a treat when you read my PSub debate.



Chad V,

You said:"Protestants don't teach that Jesus was damned, at least not any that know what they are talking about. It's not a universal teaching, it's in the vast minority of Protestant theology.

Name me one Reformed Theologian who teaches that.

Then do your self a favor, read the systematic theologies and sermons on the atonement from the Reformed Theologians and familiarize yourself with what we actually teach."


Well, I guess you are in for a treat as well. In my debate I quote Luther, Calvin, MacArthur, Boettner, Hodge, and Wayne Grudem, each teaching what you just denied. These guys are not fringe, nor are what they said.

Let me give you an example:

So then, gaze at the heavenly picture of Christ, who descended into hell for your sake and was forsaken by God as one eternally damned when he spoke the words on the cross, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!” - “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In that picture your hell is defeated and your uncertain election is made sure. (Luther, Martin. “Treatise on Preparing to Die.”)

Mesa Mike said...

Nick, do you know what a simile is?

Phil Johnson said...

1. See? Dr. O agrees with me.

2. Here's a test: see if you can answer Nick without resorting to apologetics. (No military weapons or vicious sarcasm, either).

I'm amazed that someone as naturally gifted in apologetics as the Centuri0n would suggest with a straight face that it's "a waste of time." I'm waiting for what I think must be the second half of this post.

donsands said...

"I assure you that you're in for a treat when you read my PSub debate." -Nick

I did visit, but it wasn't actually a treat. Your blog is a bit confusing for me, and there's way to much to read for me at this time.
I did skim your thoughts, and I believe you are in error.

And as I'm writng this I'm thinking Frank may not want us to go down this rabbit trail, so I'll quit now, and perhaps I'll stop by your blog at a another time.

NoLongerBlind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad V. said...

Nick

A. Mac Arthur isn't Reformed.

To be damned is to be under God's eternal wrath, which Christ clearly is not. Luther didn't say that Christ was eternally damned, but that he suffered "as one who was eternally damned".

NoLongerBlind said...

@Nick:

2 Corinthians 5:21 - "He (The Father) made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin on our behalf (semantically speaking, this could be referred to as Jesus was damned in our place, although I doubt that any solid pastor/teacher would use that exact terminology), so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Does that pass or fail the test, Phil?

Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

The Father forsook tSon on Wednesday afrternoon as he became sin for us. That Thursday was a Sabbath-the Passover, and Saturday was a sabbath. Jewiish day starts at 6PM AND ENDS AT 5;59 PM. wEDNESDAY NIGHT WAS IST, NIGHT, THURSDAY IST DAY ETC. AROSE AFTER 6PM sATURDAY. tOMB WAS EMPTY WHEN MARY CAME THERE BEFORE DAWN SUNDAY.

trogdor said...

Ninja Rabbi is the world's foremost expert in Jew Jitsu.

The Squirrel said...

Jew Jitsu

Oh, Trog! LOL

The Squirrel

Nick said...

Mesa,

Yes, I know what a simile is. How does that diminish what Luther and the other Reformed quotes I list?


Chad:"To be damned is to be under God's eternal wrath, which Christ clearly is not. Luther didn't say that Christ was eternally damned, but that he suffered "as one who was eternally damned"."

Nick: Yes, the Reformed authors I list explain Christ underwent the pains of Hell in finite time. "forsaken as one eternally damned" is still Jesus damned, though all experienced in the time on the cross.

Here is another quote I gave:

Luther: ‘Christ himself suffered the dread and horror of a distressed conscience that tasted eternal wrath;’ ‘it was not a game, or a joke, or play-acting when he said, “Thou hast forsaken me”; for then he felt himself really forsaken in all things even as a sinner is forsaken” (Werke, 5. 602, 605) (Packer, J.I. “The Logic of Penal Substitution.” footnote 44)

Mike Riccardi said...

Nick,

I don't shy away from such claims. They're biblical, and the very principle that 2Cor 5:21, Gal 3:10-14, etc. teach.

Chad,

RC Sproul at T4G 2008, Piper and Mahaney at Resolved 2008 all recognize that Jesus was damned in our place.

He endured the eternal wrath of God for the elect. The death sentence of hell for every sinner that won't serve that sentence themselves was served by Christ. That Jesus experienced (past tense) the eternal wrath of God on the cross does not require that He still be under that wrath.

Nick said...

Mike,

Thank you for your openness here, hopefully the other Protestants around here will see what they were hoping wasn't true about the Reformed Gospel.

The fact is, 2 Cor 5:21 and Gal 3:13 don't come anywhere close to indicating Christ was damned. You're reading that into the text. I deal with both texts in my opening essay of my PSub debate:
http://catholicdefense.googlepages.com/psdebate

Chad V. said...

Mike

I know about Piper and Mahaney, I think they are wrong. Steve Camp wrote a very good post refuting that. I agree with what he wrote.

I didn't know that about Sproul. I can't see how Christ could have been in Hell and yet be with the thief on the cross in Paradise at the same time. IN fact I can't find any text of scripture that says that Christ went to hell. Eph 4:9 is the closest thing there is and I think that more accurately describes either his body in the tomb, or his earthly ministry, his incarnation.

Calvin I think gives a good explanation of this text.

These words mean nothing more than the condition of the present life. To torture them so as to make them mean purgatory or hell, is exceedingly foolish. The argument taken from the comparative degree, “the lower parts,” is quite untenable. A comparison is drawn, not between one part of the earth and another, but between the whole earth and heaven; as if he had said, that from that lofty habitation Christ descended into our deep gulf.

I affirm that Christ suffered the wrath of God in our place and that his death satisfied God's justice so that our sins are not counted against us having been fully propitiated by Christ's death.

To say that he was damned in the same sense that sinners are damned is not accurate in my understanding.

Clearly I stand corrected, My apologies to Nick and all on the string.

I do not shy away from the Penal Substitutionary atonement of Christ, I embrace it as my very hope of salvation.

Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

Chad;
Hebefore Christ's ascension was composed of torments and Abraham's bosom, or Paradise with a great unpassable gulf between them [Luke 16].
When Jesus died he entered paradise, and preached to the spirits of the OT saints [2 PT. 2;8]. wHEN hE AROSE HE MOVED PARADISE TO THE 3RD HEAVEN, WHERE PAUL was later caught up to. [Ephesians 4;10-11].

donsands said...

"To say that he was damned in the same sense that sinners are damned is not accurate in my understanding."

I think you are right, and yet Christ was made a curse.

Jesus was never unholy in His essence, and yet He became the Lamb of God which bore sin, and was killed by shedding of blood. His precious blood was holy, and his body was holy, and yet He at the same time was sin and a curse, and crushed for our transgressions.

The Father forsook Him, which to me is the greatest mystery of the Scriptures.

Jesus said on the Cross, "Father forgive them." He also said, "Father into Your hands I committ My spirit." And yet during the darkness and the three hours where i believe Jesus drank the cup of God's wrath, our Savior said, "My God, My God." He didn't say Father here.
This all speaks of God's great mercy and love for us, His elect children. There's no way to really comprehend this kind of love.

To say that Christ was not forsaken is wrong in my way of thinking. He was forsaken, so that we would never be forsaken.

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad V. said...

donsands

There is a difference between being made a curse and being cursed. Jesus was not cursed.

And yet while Christ was forsaken he was at the same time the object of His Father's love. I don't say that Christ wasn't forsaken.

"The Father forsook Him, which to me is the greatest mystery of the Scriptures."

Amen!

Mike Riccardi said...

Nick,

I have very little interest in debating this with you, but I just have a question for you who deny that Jesus was damned in our place.

If the penalty for our sin was damnation, and Isaiah 53 and 2Cor 5 and Gal 3 are true -- that Christ is our substitute, that He suffered in our place -- then He experienced the sentence that we deserved.

Bottom line, those texts teach that Jesus suffered the wrath of God and died in our place. Whatever was to be our punishment, Christ endured that, or nobody's saved.

Mike Riccardi said...

Chad,

Of course I don't believe (and if I may be so bold as to speak for them, RC Sproul, Piper, and Mahaney don't believe) that Jesus went to hell. Hopefully my most recent comments to Nick clear that up.

What I'm saying is that Christ experienced and extinguished the wrath exercised in innumerable eternities hell in the place of His people.

Frank Turk said...

I'm a little stumped at how Dr. White and Phil have overlooked this part of the meta:

And this needs to be said: I thank God that there are guys like James White and Eric Svedsen who have, as far as I'm concerned, put the questions of the matter to bed already. Actual protestantism is alive and well in that respect -- and I count them as fathers in the faith as well as brothers and fellow work-men.

But look: how many times does the argument for the perspicuity of Scripture against the Bible-plus-Tradition argument have to be rehearsed and ignored? How often do we have to go over sola fide again, when the other side is implementing arguments which were disposed of in 1993 -- let alone 1689 (or even earlier than that)?

How often do we have to be told that a muslim can be saved in ignorance and his belief in "the God of Abraham", but someone who denies that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven is certainly going to hell?

My point is that these are arguments that, frankly, aren't getting the Gospel out. They are distractions. They don't cause non-believers to want to hear more about this savior we have.


With the context of: in the meta at a blog.

The problem for both of them, of course, is that James doesn't have the comments open at AOMIN.org for exactly the reason I cited here. He does, in fact, agree with me that arguing in the comments of a blog with anonymous people is fruitless and pointless.

There's no way to construe this post as apparently putting all Christian apologetics in the ashcan of world history --and all of you who are now doing that need to think a little harder about the personal history of the person who wrote this post.

But let me be right-minded here and take my share of the blame for the misunderstanding. I said this:

You know why? Because apologetics doesn't win people into Catholicism, and it doesn't win people out of Catholicism. I could give you 1000 reason why I think people join Catholicism -- but there is only one reason to leave -- and it's not because of an argument.

Here's what I should have said to be more clear:

You know why? Because blog apologetics doesn't win people into Catholicism, and an argument in the comments doesn't win people out of Catholicism. I could give you 1000 reason why I think people join Catholicism -- but there is only one reason to leave -- and it's not because of an argument they had anonymously on the internet.

That is what happened here the last two days, and that was what Google analytics measured: interest in anonymous arguments about Catholicism. Because it appears that what I did say has either insulted or demeaned men whom I respect, I apologize. There no question in my mind that I did not intend such a thing, but what I did and what I intended are apparently two different things.

I was wrong. Please forgive me.

Frank Turk said...

Nick --

If I have to demonstrate what kind of apologetics I'd use on someone like you, it would be this:

You have so badly misunderstood and misrepresented Luther that there's no sense trying to find out what you think Rome means when it calls Christ the "Paschal sacrifice", among other things, and says His death merits the believer eternal life. Rome's position is far more complicated than Luther's. (which is not to say it is better -- only more convoluted) If you can't get Luther right, you can't possible get Rome right.

But more importantly, I wonder if Jesus who, in your view, would give a sacrifice to the church to be made over and over again for the sake of granting God's grace -- Jesus giving an active means of grace where his very body is poured out over and over -- would be the kind of man (or even the kind of God of the Universe) who would use lies to argue for something he knew was true? Do you think that Jesus, concerned as Rome would say He is with giving "the presence of Christ by the power of his word and of his Spirit" (CCC1358), would lie about a man in order to discredit him?

Wouldn't it be far more effective to argue against the things which Luther really does disagree with Rome over rather than invent utter falsehoods to knock down in order to (at least in your own eyes) win an argument?

There is no sense in arguing with you. Move on.

Chad V. said...

Mike

I didn't mean to confuse your comment with what Luther said about Christ going into Hell. I was foolishly trying to multitask my brain. Sorry about that.

Nick said...

Chad,

You and others are missing the point. You are objecting to Jesus being "damned" but you STILL affirm God the Father dumped his eternal WRATH (which the elect DESERVED) on Christ on the the Cross...THAT IS the same thing as undergoing damnation, though Christ endured this in finite time.

You cannot affirm God's Wrath poured out on Christ and yet object to "damned."


Donsands,

"The Father forsook Him, which to me is the greatest mystery of the Scriptures."

But you need to realize what you're saying. What you're describing IS the eternal wrath the damned receive.



Mike:Bottom line, those texts teach that Jesus suffered the wrath of God and died in our place. Whatever was to be our punishment, Christ endured that, or nobody's saved.

Nick: No, they don't say Jesus underwent God's wrath, nor do they say Jesus stepped into the electric chair for us, nor do they say God turned the gun from our head and instead put it on Christ's head: That is Penal Substitution, and I deny it as unBiblical and Blasphemy.

The Scriptures say Christ "propitiated" God's wrath, which means turned it away, NOT took it on himself. Numbers 25:1-13 and Deuteronomy 9:16-21 are both prefigures of Christ and both explicitly teach Atonement can be made and God's wrath turned away WITHOUT requiring PSub. Their good works, their obedience and love for God turned away his Wrath, just as Christ's perfect obedience even undergoing murder by the Romans was so pleasing to God that it turned away His wrath. THAT is what propitiation means.



Frank,

Please show clearly how/where I misrepresented Luther or any of the other quotes I list in my PSub debate. Mike has already vindicated me by showing Sproul, Piper and Mahaney clearly state Jesus was "damned." You've got to understand this was not permanent but endured in finite time on the cross.

You can't go accusing me of things when proof has been offered.

Frank Turk said...

Chad --

Don't link to blogs that don't link to this blog. It's not a rule, but there are usually reasons other blogs like that one don't link to this one.

Because I am the reason that blog does not link to this blog, please show me a little mercy.

donsands said...

"But you need to realize what you're saying. What you're describing IS the eternal wrath the damned receive."

Amen.

The Holy Messiah, Lamb of God, drank the cup of God's holy white hot wrath, every drop.

And so i am forever grateful and amazed at this love the Father has for me, and the Son has for me as well.
It's infinite understanding for us finite sinners.

donsands said...

"There is a difference between being made a curse and being cursed. Jesus was not cursed."

I'm not so sure. Of course there's no comparison of a cursed sinner in hell, and Christ on the Cross being a curse. Yet i am cursed, and deserve to be condemned to hell for all eternity. Christ my Lord took this penalty in it's fullness, and so now I dont have to.
Think of that. There are no words for this kind of love. And yet the love the Lord has for me is secondary, and only from the love Jesus has for His Father, who gave me to Christ, and so christ ided for me, for the glory of the Father, and for the salvation of my soul.
The glory of God is ultimate. I benefit from God glorifying His garce and His name.

What a God we will spend eternity with!

Chad V. said...

Frank

Sorry about that. I had no idea. I'll remember that for the future. I didn't realize that he didn't link to here deliberately.


donsands

Amen! Amen!

1 Pet 3:18

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

Frank Turk said...

Nick --

only one comment to you, and then I strongly suggest, since you are far off-topic, that you drop it.

You said this:
[QUOTE]
So then, gaze at the heavenly picture of Christ, who descended into hell for your sake and was forsaken by God as one eternally damned when he spoke the words on the cross, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!” - “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In that picture your hell is defeated and your uncertain election is made sure. (Luther, Martin. “Treatise on Preparing to Die.”)
[/QUOTE]

The bold part there is a wholly-orthodox formulation even in the account of JPII> (cf. this), and Luther would interpret it the same way JPII does.

Regarding the italic part there, we are fortunate that we can read the entire statement in context on-line, and we find that the sentence you excluded was, "If you concern yourself solely with that and believe that it was done for you, you will surely be preserved in this same faith." That is, Christ received the punishment we desereved -- not just "me" but "all of us believers".

Christ received my damnation, my punishment. However, I am certain there's no way to disabuse you of your belief here -- except that you would in fact repent of it. You have to repent for this kind of thing before you can be any kind of apologist, Nick -- let alone any kind of follower of Christ. If this is what the faith brings you to, I think you have faith in the wrong thing -- I am in fact sure of it.

Frank Turk said...

Chad -- no need to apologize. The internet is a strange place. Please just leave it at that.

Frank Turk said...

And in all this bru-ha-ha, no one has adequately paid attention to "Jew Jutsu".

Trogdor: you just burninated yourself a free TeamPyro t-shirt. e-mail me and I'll fix you up.

Frank Turk said...

And for the record, Nick, since I failed to add it on: Piper, Sproul, et al., mean exactly the same thing Luther does, other blogs which don't link here notwithstanding. It's the work of Christ as represented in Isa 53, among other places.