Thursday, January 17, 2008

DEBATE W/EASTERN ORTHODOX PART 3: JAY DYER'S REBUTTAL OF MY OPENING STATEMENT

I thank Josh for his response. In my first rebuttal I want to do only a few things. First, Josh has brought up a plethora of issues that cannot be dealt with in one response. Thus, I can either spend ten pages on each item he raises, or spread it out a bit, and deal with these several issues over the course of several posts. My first rebuttal will only deal with his assumption of sola scriptura, since we will continue to talk past each other with competing exegesis. I’m not avoiding anything out of fear, either: I will deal with Van Til, Apostolic Succession, predestination, and other issues. But I also think readers would rather read a rebuttal of 7 pages than have to wait another week for a rebuttal of 30 pages.

2. Sacred Tradition, and that the “Word of God” is not solely written.

Suffice it to say that Josh’s arguement, and all of Protestantism generally, rests on the assumption that only the written texts are the Word of God, and that the Word Himself is only known from these. If this fails, then so does all of that system, since this its sole foundation. My goal is to get my opponent and the readers to see the error of his most foundational presupposition, and the overwhelming evidence for mine. When we consider the history of Revelation, we note that in the beginning (Gen. 1:1-3), God’s Word was spoken, and yet nothing was written down. In fact, from Adam to Moses, a period of several hundreds of years passed with the Revelations given to Noah, Abraham, Joseph and others being passed orally. At least, we have no knowledge of anything being written. So, we see that there is nothing inherently defective with oral tradition, as Calvin seems to think in the Institutes. If God can guide the written texts, as the Protestant will admit, then He can also guide the Oral transmission as well. And, in fact, if one believes the Bible, one must affirm that from Adam to Moses the Oral Revelation was passed on faithfully and perfectly to Moses and Joshua, from whence arises the origin of the written texts.

When we survey the Old Testament, we realize that the Patriarchs, all through Genesis, operated according to this infallible Oral Tradition, when God was not giving a new Revelation, of course. When Abraham built an altar, he didn’t have a book to instruct him, He had the truths passed on from the time of Adam in the godly line of Seth, and whatever Revelations God spoke. He didn’t refer to “Genesis.” As an even better example, we can examine the formation of the temple worship of God based on Sacred Oral Tradition in 2 Chron. 29 as follows, concerning King Hezekiah:
“25 And he stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the LORD by His prophets. 26 The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.”
But we have no written record of what David commanded concerning these things. Furthermore, it’s also clear that King David flourished some 250 years before the time of King Hezekiah! It might be argued that this was David’s “opinion” concerning worship, but we know that God doesn’t tolerate men’s opinions in His worship. Such is the irony of the regulativist principle. The next chapter makes it clear that this was the Oral Word of God,
“10 So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.”

Take note of this reformed regulativists: the most holy thing--the very worship of God, is here based on an Oral Tradition. Very similar to the way the Holy Church of God has handed down her Liturgies “from the commandment of God through Apostles.” Other examples can be given. When we read of the sons of the prophets in 2 Kings, for example, we know that there was a guild/school, of which Elijah and Elisha were the preeminent members. These “sons of the prophets” were all prophets and prophesied. But we do not have any record of all that they prophesied, but if they were prophets of the LORD, then they prophesied the Word infallibly. Similarly, Obadiah was a prophet, but his recorded prophetic text is only 21 verses. Do we seriously believe that when he preached (and the OT prophet functioned in many ways like a preacher), that he only read the same 21 verses day in and day out, as if OT prophets functioned in a modern, Protestant, sola scriptura fashion? Such a view strains credulity. I point all this out because Josh has used Isaiah 8:20-21 where we are commanded to stick to “the law and the testimony.” But the testimony is precisely the Oral Tradition. Now, when I say “Oral Tradition,” it should be recognized that that Tradition can, of course, be written down, and never achieve canonical status as a book. We see that in the New Testament with The Book of Enoch. But I want to remove from my opponent the idea that he can cite OT texts as proof of sola scriptura. Furthermore, how can you have sola scriptura in a period of ongoing Revelation? You can’t. We see the same principle of Sacred Tradition also exemplified in the following extra-canonical books/traditions quoted in the OT. Note particularly the fact that the books of those prophets listed must have contained infallibly true religious propositions since they were prophets of the Lord, and not false prophets:
1] Book of the wars of the Lord: "Wherefore it is said in the book ofthe wars of the Lord: As he did in the Red Sea, so will he do in thestreams of Amen. The rocks of the torrents were bowed down that theymight rest in Ar, and lie down in the borders of the Moabites."(Num.21:14-15)2] Book of the just:"Then Josue spoke to the Lord, in the day that hedelivered the Amorrhite in the sight of the children of Israel, and hesaid before them: Move not, O sun, toward Gabaon, nor thou, O moon,toward the valley of Ajalon. And the sun and the moon stood still,till the people revenged themselves of their enemies. Is not thiswritten in the book of the just? So the sun stood still in the midstof heaven, and hasted not to go down the space of one day." (Jos.10:12-13)"(Also he commanded that they should teach the children of Juda theuse of the bow, as it is written in the book of the just.) And hesaid: Consider, O Israel, for them that are dead, wounded on thy highplaces." (2 Kings 1:18)
3] Book of Nathan the prophet:"Now the acts of king David first andlast are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book ofNathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer:" (1 Paral. 29:29)Now the rest of the acts of Solomon first and last are written in thewords of Nathan the prophet, and in the books of Ahias the Silonite,and in the vision of Addo the seer, against Jeroboam the son ofNabat.(2 Paral. 9:29)4] Book of Samuel the seer: Now the acts of king David first and lastare written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathanthe prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer: (1 Paral. 29:29)5] Book of Addo the seer:"Now the rest of the acts of Solomon firstand last are written in the words of Nathan the prophet, and in thebooks of Ahias the Silonite, and in the vision of Addo the seer,against Jeroboam the son of Nabat."(2 Paral. 9:29)

The last one is particularly revealing, in that we are told that that prophetic text contained visions of Addo the seer against Jeroboam. Thus, a true prophet is prophesying against the evil king Jeroboam, obviously from the Lord. But where is the “written law” of this incident? Note also that the OT text itself is directing one to these books as references! On the Protestant model, we would have the infallible referencing the fallible for truths about the Lord! But this is absurd. So, again we see that they did not have a sola scriptura mindset in the OT, as Josh’s use of Is. 8:20-21 mandates. All of these prophecies were still the “Word of the Lord.” Rather, the written law and the Oral Testimony of the prophets was the Word of the Lord. And, it’s because the Word is a Person, and not a book, that some of these obscure prophesies and visions have been lost. It’s because the Person of the Word came to men (Is. 2:1) and spoke what was necessary whenever and wherever He saw fit. And in His providence, He has maintained and preserved for us today what He has seen fit in both an Oral and written form.
At this point, I move to the New Testament. Is this principle continued into the New Testament, or do the arrival of the Word Incarnate and the commission of the Apostles inaugurate sola scriptura? I believe it can be shown that the OT principle carries right on through into the New. Now, this does not mean that there are any new, public revelations that bind the Church after St. John died. Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and most reformed hold that the deposit of faith was complete with the death of the last Apostle. From what conduits that Revelation is derived is where we differ.

Our Lord Jesus, as far as we know, never wrote anything (aside from what he inscribed in the sand). Yet St. John records in John 20:
“30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
And in John 21:
“25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”
All those other words and actions and miracles and signs of our Lord are all infallible truths concerning Himself. And the Apostles were taught all these things, yet could not write them all down. Now surely there is an advantage to the written form, in terms of communication, but there is nothing inherently faulty with the Oral. If the Oral is inherently flawed, then Jesus would have surely written something! But, it so happens that only some of the Apostles wrote anything we know of! But they all went out teaching and preaching the deposit they had received from Jesus, which includes all that He did and said (that each particular one knew).
My opponent cited Acts 20:27, concerning sticking only with the “full counsel of God,” which he assumes means only written texts. However, this section functions as a powerful refutation of his Protestant tradition. St. Paul says that he taught day and night for three years in Ephesus (31)! Now, all we have from St. Paul in this regard is his letter to the Ephesians and the two to St. Timothy. Are we to imagine that he only repeated these written texts (as if that was all the Holy Spirit had to say to the Ephesians)? Was St. Paul like Obadiah in the Protestant view, only reciting his few verses day and night for three years? Of course not, and we can see in the Book of Acts that this is not Apostolic method. They preach the Word. As a side note, it is also in Acts 20:35 where we have the Oral Tradition recorded that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This is nowhere recorded in the Gospels. Thus, all that they taught, both Oral and Written, was the Word of God. Here, my opponent may raise an objection and say that only what the Apostles taught in written form is authoritative and inspired. But where does the NT say that? From whence does he derive that principle? In fact, it says the exact opposite. We read in St. Paul:

“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thess. 2:13)
This means the Oral preaching of the Apostles was infallible. My opponent was hesitant on the phone to agree to this, but we see that St. Paul clearly claims that his oral preaching to the Thessalonians was the Word of God.
And to St. Timothy he writes:
“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.” (2 Tim. 1:13)
“1You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim. 2:1-2)
Again we see that the Oral preaching of St. Paul is commanded to be passed on to men after St. Timothy, along with the written. This is the same injunction of St. Paul used with the Thessalonians: 2 Thess. 2:15:
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”
Clearly the command is for both to be passed on because both are the Word of God. St. Peter agrees:
“…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God [a Person] which lives and abides forever, because,
“All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:23-24).

Thus, St. Peter understands that the Oral preaching he did was infallible, inspired revelation from God, as much as His written texts were. James White admits this, too, in one of his debates with Matatics. Too many problems arise when we propose that the Apostles could orally teach error, and were inerrant only in written texts. And clearly the biblical evidence is otherwise. The same goes for St. Paul’s lost letter to the Laodiceans:
"Salute the brethren who are at Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in his house. And whenthis epistle shall have been read with you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans: and that you read that which is of the Laodiceans." (Col. 4:15-16)
St. Paul would not have ordered that it be read in the church if it was not the Word of God! And yet, we do not have this text. But for the Orthodox, it would be no problem if it were discovered and were identified as certainly Pauline. It wouldn’t be a new revelation, but part of the original deposit. Furthermore, if the Apostles could err in their oral teaching, they could also err in their written teaching, since their written proposition that their oral is infallible would be proven false!

How do we account for all this? The answer is that all truths and all knowledge are summed up in a Divine Person: The Logos Himself, who contains all the logoi of creation, as St. Maximus says. That is why we read in John 5:
“But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
The very same thing said to the Pharisees can be said with equal weight to the Protestant sola scripturist: you search the texts because you confusedly think that they are the Word, when the written texts bear witness to Him. That’s Jesus’ theory of inspiration. And that’s really as far as you can go with the idea concerning what sense the written texts are the Word. Strictly speaking, they are not. They are merely words on a page. But just like icons, they are created images which are empowered to be vehicles of Revelation for the Word Himself. And they contain nothing erroneous. If the Protestant has no problem with me writing “God” or “Jesus,” he should have no problem with icons, since words themselves are images. And those two words are made holy by that fact.
Thus:
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His (the Word’s) sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:12)

He is a living, Divine Person, not a book. And just like it is true that someone can know about me through a letter, without knowing me personally, the Protestant is devoid of true knowledge of Christ, and is just like the Pharisees who worshipped Moses, like the Protestants do St. Paul, when, in fact, St. Paul “wrote of Him.” Even St. John expresses this fact when he writes that he would rather speak in Person as opposed to writing (3 John 13)! Why wasn’t he thinking in terms of sola scriptura?

57 comments:

steve said...

Among other things, Dyer seems to be rehashing the same objections to sola Scriptura that Philip Blosser leveled some years ago. For what it's worth, I had a lengthy engagement with Blosser:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/12/by-scripture-alone_116761459386808418.html

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/03/sola-ecclesia.html

Jay Dyer said...

I've never heard of Phillip Blosser. I'm reading these posts, and they are well done critiques of Vatican II-type Catholicism. Obviously some of the same texts will be used, just like various reformed thinkers will use similar texts. I'm no longer a roman catholic.

If you would like to organize an oral debate to be taped and placed on respective websites, we can arrange that. Our strength is Patristics. I think FF Bruce, Lee MacDonald and others in their treatments of the canon show the inadequacy of the Protestant approach.

Jay Dyer said...

Also, I have a shelf of Van Til. I've spent several years in Van Til, so I am prepared to deal with all that. I had lengthy debates with Paul Manata when I was a Roman Catholic.

Jay

Jay Dyer said...

Steve,

Consider my article on the canon:

http://www.nicenetruth.com/home/2007/12/protestants-hav.html

If you have the wrong canon, sola scriptura fails. I cite only renowned Prot. theologians.

jay

Paul Manata said...

Jay,

I don't remember "debates," I remember asking you how you could be certain that your understood, or correctly represented, the writings of the Fathers.

I never got responses to those *questions* which I specifically stated were for clarification *prior* to any debate beginning.

I've been waiting for a couple years for those responses.

As an aside, one should not that if one is an externalist and a fallibilist WRT knowledge, your arguments are easily side-stepped.

Anyway, you may want to offer the magisterium's teaching on the infallibility of memory, your senses, etc. You rely on these cognitive features for your understanding of the Father's teachings. If it is *possible* that you can be mistaken, then whence the epistemic certainty?

Saint and Sinner said...

"Suffice it to say that Josh’s arguement, and all of Protestantism generally, rests on the assumption that only the written texts are the Word of God, and that the Word Himself is only known from these."

No, this is not what Protestant theology teaches. We acknowledge that God's Word was once in oral form. Our argument is that writing is the only *reliable* form of transmission.

Saint and Sinner said...

While we're on the topic, it should be pointed out that, for every skeptical argument against the Protestant canon, there is a reciprocal (but far more forceful) skeptical argument against the RC and EO concept of 'Tradition'.

Jay Dyer said...

Again, my internet time is limited. I can't type 30 page responses to everyone. But I can do an audio debate and have it posted by our webmaster. I am certainly open to that. If I'm wrong, I want to be proven wrong. I've got nothing to hide or guard, since my main concern is what is true. We can arrange a phonecall and deal with these issues.

Paul, I'm glad to speak with you again. I didn't mean it was an official point by poitn debate. However, we did debate that issue.

As recall, I responded to every one of your emails. You may not have accepted my responses, but I'm pretty sure I did. The last thing I recall was your erroneous argument that St. Augustine held to 'sola scriptura' based on a text from a Psalm. But I've read the Exposition of the Psalms. Anyone who has spent significant time in his works knows that he certainly did not hold to sola scriptura. And, I have all those emails in my inbox.

If you guys can refute the facts of the present article, and deal with the canon, then answer those issues.

Paul, your distinction between epistemic certainty and psychological certainty doesn't work when you still hold to total depravity. I agree with the distinction, but the problem is still erroneous reformed anthropology, which is oddly the same as Pelagius view of pre-lapsarian man. Is depravity affecting your ability to distinguish which facts are which? It must. The doctrine of the Trinity is derived from texts of Scripture and a certain hermeneutic that comes from the Patristic milieu. An individual learns these from his senses and uses his memory, etc. So, that's an issue for both of us. But as I have consistently argued, total depravity leads to sinfully skewing these facts as well.

But these problems are largely elimanted, and can be re-constructed if you reject total depravity.

And as for 'saint and sinner,' my rebuttal deals with that. Josh did not say that it was once oral in our phone conversation. If you can deal with my articles and posts on the canon, then do so.

steve said...

Jay Dyer said...

"Paul, your distinction between epistemic certainty and psychological certainty doesn't work when you still hold to total depravity."

Why doesn't that work? The noetic effects of sin are not the same for the regenerate and unregenerate alike.

Saint and Sinner said...

I don't see where you deal with the reliability of oral transmission across several centuries. If you can present a skeptical argument against a written text, then a far more powerful skeptical argument can be presented against an oral tradition.

Second, it was never the Protestant position that all revelation has been written. Our position is that all that is necessary for faith and practice has been recorded.

You can see this in the OT prophets. God commands Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. to write down what was spoken to them from God so that later generations would have the record. This very command presupposes that oral transmission across more than a generation is wholly unreliable.

Lastly, as to the canon, if there is no consensus among the church fathers as to the extent of the canon, then there was no apostolic tradition. Thus, your 'guess' becomes as good as ours. [Note: I still don't believe that it's a guess, but for the sake of answering you on your own level...]

If one of the Orthodox giants, Athanasius, didn't believe that the free-standing deutero-canonicals were Scripture, then what does that say about your 'tradition'?

steve said...

In this comment I’m going to remark on some of Dyer’s statements from both his opening statement and his first rebuttal.

1.Regarding Jude 14:

i) Dyer fails to engage some of the standard exegetical literature on this subject. For example,

a) Charles has argued that Jude is citing sectarian Jewish literature because his opponents (the false teachers) represent sectarian Judaism, and since the false teachers are attempting to win his audience over to their position, Jude is fighting fire with fire by quoting their own literature to their disadvantage. Cf. J. D. Charles, “Jude’s Use of Pseudepigraphical Source-Material as Part of a Literary Strategy,” NTS 37 (1991), 130-45.

b) Ben Witherington has also argued that, according to the rhetorical conventions of the day, “it was perfectly appropriate to draw examples from both history and fiction to make one’s points about virtue and vice,” Letters & Homilies for Jewish Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Hebrews, James and Jude (IVP 2007), 608.

Neither (a) nor (b) require us to affirm the canonicity, historicity, or inspiration of 1 Enoch. And these are not mutually exclusive explanations.

ii) Appeal to Jude 14 cuts both ways. It is duplicitous to invoke Jude 14 against the Protestant canon of Scripture when Dyer must immediately pull an about-face to exclude 1 Enoch from the Orthodox canon of Scripture. Dyer is trying to play both sides of the fence.

iii) Since, moreover, Jude wasn’t written by an Apostle, it’s careless of him to say: “My point is not to argue for Enoch’s canonicity, but to show that the Apostles obviously did not have the Protestant sola scriptura mindset.”

2.Regarding Hebrews 11:35:

i) Dyer fails to consider the verse in context. Why is the author alluding to Intertestamental literature? Because, at this point in his narrative, he’s referring to Intertestamental history.

By definition, the author of Hebrews cannot allude to any *Old Testament* books which record *Intertestamental* history.

The author is presenting the reader with a fairly chronological series of hortatory heroes from Genesis through the Maccabean revolt. Naturally he can’t reference the Maccabean martyrs without alluding to the popular literature which would acquaint his audience with their example.

So this, of itself, tells us nothing about the author’s canon of Scripture.

ii) Dyer says the author of Hebrews is alluding to 2 Maccabees. That’s correct as far as it goes. What Dyer omits to mention is that 4 Maccabees is also alluded to. See DeSilva’s commentary for documentation. Is 4 Maccabees included in the Orthodox canon? Or is Dyer once again wielding a double-edged sword?

3.Regarding the authorship of the gospels, I would simply reiterate the point I made to Robinson: Dyer is evidently ignorant of the textual history of these titles. Read Hengel, for starters.

4.His statement that ” FF Bruce, Lee MacDonald and others in their treatments of the canon show the inadequacy of the Protestant approach,” is deceptive in light of the fact that F. F. Bruce defends the Palestinian/Hebrew canon of the OT over against a hypothetical Alexandrian/Septuagintal canon of the OT. Cf. The Canon of Scripture, 44-46.

5.He says the western church committed apostasy by failing to observe the religious calendar of the apostles. Even assuming that the Orthodox calendar preserved the apostolic practice, Dyer is assuming, without further argument, that apostolic practice is normative.

But if that’s the case, then Dyer and other Orthodox believers are also apostates since they certainly fail to emulate apostolic practice in many respects.

Apostolic practice is not equivalent to apostolic precept.

6.He appeals to Eph 4:9-14 to falsify Protestantism. But this appeal either proves too much or too little, for there was no instantaneous consensus in the Eastern church on various issues, viz. Christology, iconolatry, the Trinity, &c.

If the Orthodox church is allowed to gradually arrive at a consensus of opinion—and a rather artificial consensus, since the dissenters were simply excommunicated—then why must doctrinal development terminate with the seven ecumenical councils?

7.Regarding the following argument: “For example, let us look at the Ancient Liturgy of St. Mark, used by the God-bearing Fathers such as Ss. Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, which in its present form dates to probably the third century. But wait you say: ‘that’s not Apostolic, if it’s from the third century!’ Then neither would be the NT Scriptures, since most of the 5,000 or so ancient texts we presently have date from the same period.”

But this comparison is obviously equivocal. In one case you’re talking about a 3C copy of an apostolic work like, say, the Book of Romans. That would be equivalent to, say, a modern copy of Shakespeare.

What makes it apostolic or nonapostolic is not the date, per se, but whether it is a copy of an apostolic or nonapostolic document.

The reason we would deny that a modern copy of Marlowe is Shakespearean is not because it’s modern, but because it’s not a copy of Shakespeare. Rather, it’s a copy of Marlowe.

And there’s an obvious difference between a 3C copy of a 1C text, and what is allegedly a 3C text of a 1C oral tradition. Dyer is equivocating in several respects.

8:Regarding the following argument:

“So, when the Protestant says he wishes to have the ‘mind of the Church,’ yet rejects virtually everything ecumenically confessed by the ‘mind of the Church’ for the first 1000 years, it’s difficult to understand how this is supposed to work. How can he rightfully oppose the hyper-preterist, for example, when he tries to fend such heretics off with ‘Tradition,’ such as the Nicene Creed (and what else is the Creed but our Sacred Tradition?)? He may refrain from using the term ‘tradition,’ to the ‘mind of the Church,’ but undoubtedly the mind of the Church is expressed in her ecumenical Creed!”

i) By the “mind of the church,” I can only assume that Dyer is synthesizing some statements from the NT. If so, then those have immediate reference to the NT churches. It’s anachronistic and tendentious to reapply that phrase to the first 1000 years of church history. That would require an argument from analogy which Dyer doesn’t supply. Otherwise, Dyer is merely begging the question in favor of Orthodoxy.

ii) Even the NT churches were not of one mind. That is why the apostles had to intervene so often.

iii) Why would a Protestant try to oppose hyperpreterism by appealing to the Nicene Creed rather than the Bible? If hyperpreterism cannot be argued down on the basis of solid exegesis, then the Nicene creed, which is, at best, derivative of Scripture, will not succeed where Scriptural exegesis has failed.

I’ve ignored a lot of Dyer’s other arguments because, as I’ve already said, many of his arguments parallel the arguments of Blosser, which I’ve already dealt with.

Jay Dyer said...

saint and sinner,

It's false that st. athanasius didn't believe in the deuterocanon as scripture. I've read about a thousand pages of his now, and he calls them 'deuterocanon,' meaning 'secondary canon,' and EO has always held to differing levels of impotance in the scriptures. St. Paul notes this point when he stated that it was not the Spirit that spoke, but his own opinion.

The reliability of the oral is dealt with in the first several paragraphs. All who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture must admit this fact. From adam to moses it was oral. I list in both posts some aspects of the oral, such as the *authorship* of the texts. Reformed scholars admit this point, as i showed.

Buddy, Ive read *your* top scholars on this (Protestant of all stripes). I'm not the idiot you want to paste me as.

I stated very clearly that I was responding to Josh on the point of all revelation being written. Are you even reading the posts?

The extent of the canon is not determined by consensus, because truths reside outside the canon: thats my point. Protestants deny this point. The deterocanon refutes this.

We know the Fathers and the ancient Liturgies, and we can demonstrate these facts.


If you have the wrong canon, sola scriptura fails.


jay

Jay Dyer said...

Steve has still missed my point. Citation is not evidence of canonicity. That was the *Protestant* argument I was reponding to in my article on the canon.


The argument I am making is that there are non-canonical, infallible propositions outside the canonical texts of scripture. You keep making me say that I must accept these as canonical. Thats completely the opposite of my argument. The fact is that there are inspired truths outside the canon, and these are examples of Tradition. Its that simple. I simply reject that its an argument for effect from 1 Enoch. St. Jude is arguing for the judgment of the wicked at the Second Advent. Im reminded of the grammatico-historico fanatics' fallacy along these same lines that St. Paul is using an allegory in Gal. 4 because its a device to show the absurdity of his opponents use of allegory. Wonder why he uses so often, then?

And FF Bruce was a heretic. But he illustrates the point. The Church historically has received and held to the primacy of the LXX and the DC, not the canon of Christ-hating Jews which other scholars note was cut-down at Jamnia precisely because Xians used the DC references to the Messiah as prophecies of Jesus.


"5.He says the western church committed apostasy by failing to observe the religious calendar of the apostles. Even assuming that the Orthodox calendar preserved the apostolic practice, Dyer is assuming, without further argument, that apostolic practice is normative."

I never said that! What are you even talking about? I'm not making an argument for calendar dates, I'm making an argument for tradition. Quartodecimans were eastern heretics, bro.

If you read FF Bruce's book on the reliability of the NT documents, you know that we do not possess autographa, and we do not know authorship in many cases, such as Matthew. Thus, the majority of the texts and codices, which are 2nd and 3rd century are generational copies. The earliest is the small fragment of JOhn from like 90 AD. But we dont know that taht fragment is autographa. My point is that Liturgy is also apostolic, like the texts of Scripture. But the Liturgies in their present form date from the 3rd century, like the majority of the NT texts.


Jay

Jay Dyer said...

Let's do an audio debate, Steve, on the issue of the canon, or at least discuss this via phone.


Jay

steve said...

Jay Dyer said...

“Steve has still missed my point. Citation is not evidence of canonicity.”

That’s simplistic. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. That depends on some additional factors. The author. The audience. The opponents, if any. The provenance of the cited material. The general reputation of the cited material. How the citation functions in the author’s argument. Things like that.

“That was the *Protestant* argument I was reponding to in my article on the canon.”

Actually, you weren’t responding to the *Protestant* argument. You were responding to Iain Paisley. So you went out of your way to choose a weak opponent rather than test your position against a more distinguished foil like Beckwith or Bruce or Metzger or Ellis.

Yes, you selectively cite Bruce to prove *your* point. That’s the problem. You don’t begin to engage his argument in toto.

“The argument I am making is that there are non-canonical, infallible propositions outside the canonical texts of scripture.”

When a Bible writer uses of extrascriptural sources, his sources don’t have to be infallible. His use of them has to be infallible. The author of Hebrews doesn’t need an infallible source to make his point in Heb 11:35.

“The fact is that there are inspired truths outside the canon, and these are examples of Tradition.”

Do you think that 4 Maccabees is inspired?

If infallible, inspired source material has survived, why shouldn’t it be canonized?

What about the mythopoetic imagery in Scripture? E.g. E. B. Smick, “Another Look at the Mythological Elements in the book of Job,” WTJ 40/2 (1978), 213-28. Is the pagan, primary source material inspired?

“I simply reject that its an argument for effect from 1 Enoch. St. Jude is arguing for the judgment of the wicked at the Second Advent. Im reminded of the grammatico-historico fanatics' fallacy along these same lines that St. Paul is using an allegory in Gal. 4 because its a device to show the absurdity of his opponents use of allegory. Wonder why he uses so often, then?”

You’re not offering a counterargument to Charles or Witherington. Instead, you’re kicking up a rhetorical dust cloud to conceal your inability to argue them down.

“And FF Bruce was a heretic. But he illustrates the point. The Church historically has received and held to the primacy of the LXX and the DC, not the canon of Christ-hating Jews which other scholars note was cut-down at Jamnia precisely because Xians used the DC references to the Messiah as prophecies of Jesus.”

Several problems:

i) You’re disregarding Bruce’s specific argument against a wider canon.

ii) You’re retreating into Jew-hating, Jew-baiting rhetoric to justify your position. Is it possible for you to defend the Orthodox canon without shaving your head or donning a pointy white mask?

iii) You’re also making a really lame argument, as if Messianic prophecy is confined to the DC. If the Jews wanted to suppress Messianic prophecy, they’d have to excise far more than the DC.

iv) Whether “the Church historically has received and held to the primacy of the LXX and the DC” is not a probative argument unless you already believe in Orthodox ecclesiology. So you’re assuming what you need to prove.

“If you read FF Bruce's book on the reliability of the NT documents, you know that we do not possess autographa.”

Now you’re changing the subject. No one said we possess the autographa. The Protestant canon or Protestant rule of faith isn’t predicated on our possession of the autographa. I hope you’re not going to start impersonating Bart Ehrman at this point.

BTW, the absence of the autographa cuts both ways. We also lack autographic texts of the LXX, the Greek Fathers, and the conciliar decrees.

“And we do not know authorship in many cases, such as Matthew.”

You have a habit of blowing past evidence that’s inconvenient for your position. Have you read Hengel on the gospel titles? Do you have a counterargument?

BTW, how do you know the authorship of the church fathers?

“My point is that Liturgy is also apostolic, like the texts of Scripture.”

You *claim* that liturgy is apostolic.

“But the Liturgies in their present form date from the 3rd century, like the majority of the NT texts.”

You ignore the disanalogies, which I pointed out. Your response is not specific to my argument.

“Let's do an audio debate, Steve.”

Why? Because you’re losing the debate at Brisby’s blog?

“Or at least discuss this via phone.”

Why? There’s no public record of who said what over the phone.

steve said...

1. There’s a fatal fallacy snaking through Dyer’s first rebuttal. Let’s take some representative statements:

“And, in fact, if one believes the Bible, one must affirm that from Adam to Moses the Oral Revelation was passed on faithfully and perfectly to Moses and Joshua, from whence arises the origin of the written texts.”

i) He makes no effort to actually demonstrate that oral revelation was passed on “perfectly” during that interval.

ii) What is worse, he doesn’t even demonstrate that Moses and Joshua were recipients of oral, revelatory tradition going back to Adam.

iii) And assuming, for the sake of argument, that they were recipients of revelatory tradition, he doesn’t demonstrate that this tradition was orally transmitted—in part or in whole.

iv) Finally, he doesn’t bother to demonstrate that textuality arose from orality.

So his claim is a tissue of question-begging assertions.

Moving along:

“When we survey the Old Testament, we realize that the Patriarchs, all through Genesis, operated according to this infallible Oral Tradition, when God was not giving a new Revelation, of course.”

2. Once again, he offers no exegetical argument to support the contention that infallible oral tradition was operative during the patriarchal period. This is all pure assertion.

i) For one thing, it’s not as if Abraham must have been illiterate. Babylonian civilization was not a preliterate culture. The art of writing antedates Abraham by at least a millennium. Even if oral revelation was originally transmitted by word of mouth, there was plenty of opportunity to commit it to writing long before Moses.

ii) And even if oral revelation was transmitted by word of mouth during the patriarchal period, Dyer has failed to furnish us with any exegetical evidence that the process of transmission was infallible.

3. Let’s draw some elementary distinctions that Dyer is too indolent to distinguish for himself:

i) An inspired writer doesn’t require infallible sources. In principle, an inspired writer could use an error-ridden source—for what ultimately matters in the process of inspiration is not the input, but the output.

I’m not suggesting that an inspired writer would, in fact, use an error-ridden source. I merely cite that extreme example to illustrate the principle that what counts is not so much what is feeding into the eyes and ears of the inspired writer, but what is coming out of his lips or fingers.

Inspiration will correct for whatever errors exist in the primary source insofar as that carries over to the secondary source, in what he affirms or denies. Infallibility attaches to the end-product.

ii) There’s also a fundamental difference between the ideas of infallible oral revelation and infallible oral tradition. The former does not imply the latter.

Yes, divine speech is infallible. Whatever God says to or through a prophet is infallible. But it hardly follows, either as a truth of fact or a truth or reason, that an oral tradition of an oral revelation must replicate the infallibility of the inspired speech-act.

4. Not only is Dyer’s argument illogical, but it’s also implausible. Let’s take a few examples:

i) In 2 Kings 5:10, the prophet Elisha commands Naaman to wash in the Jordan River. Did Naaman have an infallible map? Did he need an infallible oral tradition of the Jordan River’s location to carry out this command? Or did he rely on local knowledge?

ii) In Isa 6:1, the prophet dates his divine commission to the year that King Uzziah died. Did Isaiah’s audience have or need to have an infallible oral tradition regarding the identity of King Uzzia—as well as an infallible calendar marking the day of his demise? Or was Isaiah taking for granted the common knowledge of his audience?

iii) In Amos 1:1, the prophet dates his ministry to two years before a seismic event. Did his audience require an infallible oral tradition regarding this earthquake? Or does Amos expect them to rely on their ordinary, fallible memory of the event?

iv) In Luke 2:2, the Evangelist dates the census to the gubernatorial term of Quirinius in Syria. Did Luke’s audience require an infallible oral tradition regarding this calendar event? Did they have to have an infallible map to locate Syria? Or does Luke expect them to rely on their ordinarily, fallible grasp of chronology and geography?

v) In Lk 13:4, Jesus refers his audience to a recent tragedy. Does he presuppose that they must have been privy to an infallible oral tradition regarding the details of this event? Or does their hearsay knowledge of the incident suffice?

vi) In Acts 9:11, God gives directions to Ananias. Does God also give Ananias a street map? Or is Ananias supposed to know, in reliance on his fallible senses and fallible memory, where the street is situated?

5. Let’s now take a different example:

If an infallible oral revelation necessitates an infallible process of oral transmission, then, by parity of logic, any textual process of transmission would also need to be infallible. Not only must a prophet be inspired, but every scribe must also be inspired.

Thus, every copy of the LXX is infallibly inspired. Every copy of the NT is infallibly inspired.

6. Finally, it’s nice to know that Dyer still believes in the inerrancy of Scripture. However, you don’t have to subscribe to the inerrancy of Scripture to be an Orthodox churchman. St. Vladimir’s Seminary is a case in point.

Dyer is one of those Evangelical converts who is to the right of his adopted tradition.

Saint and Sinner said...

jay dyer,

"It's false that st. athanasius didn't believe in the deuterocanon as scripture. I've read about a thousand pages of his now, and he calls them 'deuterocanon,'"

I never denied that he believed in a 'deuterocanon'. I deny that he believed that that deuterocanon is infallible. The deuterocanon has been held (by those who deny its proto-canonicity) as being 'ecclesiastical literature'. It is good for teaching certain lessons, but should not be used to derive theology.

"The reliability of the oral is dealt with in the first several paragraphs. All who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture must admit this fact. From adam to moses it was oral."

Of course it was reliable *at the time that it was spoken*. However, when an oral tradition passes through several generations it gets distorted, added to, subtracted from, etc. One of the main criticisms of RCism and EOxy from Protestants has been that the early church became somewhat Hellenized by accepting a Greek ontology (instead of a Hebrew one).

"Buddy, Ive read *your* top scholars on this (Protestant of all stripes). I'm not the idiot you want to paste me as."

I never pasted you as an idiot, but as Steve has pointed out, you selectively cite Protestant sources.

"I stated very clearly that I was responding to Josh on the point of all revelation being written. Are you even reading the posts?"

No need to get defensive. Perhaps I have a position that is much more defensible than he has. Isn't it best to respond to the most formidable arguments rather than the easier positions?

"The extent of the canon is not determined by consensus, because truths reside outside the canon: thats my point. Protestants deny this point. The deterocanon refutes this."

Steve responded to this one above.

Secondly, I should note the opinion of modern Catholic scholars:

"Doubts about the deuterocanonical books keep recurring in the history of the Church among those who are aware of the Jewish canon. Those who prefer the shorter canon or express some doubt about the full canonical status of the deuterocanonicals include Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazianzen, Epiphanius, Rufinus, Gregory the Great, John Damascene, Hugh of St. Victor, Nicholas of Lyra, and Cardinal Cajetan.

"As mentioned earlier, the Council of Trent accepted definitively the deuterocanonicals, and it did so directly in opposition to the Protestant preference for the Jewish canon. Although as Catholics we accept the statement of the Council as binding in faith, it is wise for us to know some of the difficulties that surround this statement. Even on the eve of the Council the Catholic view was not absolutely unified, as the mention of Cajetan in the preceding paragraph clearly indicates. Catholic editions of the Bible published in Germany and in France in 1527 and 1530 contained only the protocanonical books. The Fathers of the Council knew of the 4th century African councils that had accepted the deuterocanonical books, and they knew the position taken at Florence; but at the time of Trent, there were insufficient historical tools to reconstruct the real picture of the canon in the 1st century." JBC, p.523

Jay Dyer said...

If there are prophecies of Christ, then those prophecies of Christ are obviously inspired of the Spirit, and infallible. There are prophecies in the DC of Christ, in fact, several of them. St. Athanasius cites the DC all the time, and in fact backs up doctrines with the DC. So, its just a matter of him not having the same hard and fast distinctions we have today in our various traditions. I mean, Bar. 3 and Wisdom 2 were a standard prooftext of Eastern and Western Fathers for Christ. FF Bruce also admits on pg 19 of his "The NT Texts: Are they Reliable?" that the church accepted the LXX and the DC, and the Jews rejected it (at Jamnia), ultimately because of the prophecies of the Christ! See this example:

1. Wisdom Chapter 2 speaks of the Jewish rejection of Jesus, the "poor just man":
By: Jay Dyer
1For they have said, reasoning with themselves, but not right: The time of our life is short and tedious, and in the end of a man there is no remedy, and no man hath been known to have returned from hell:
2For we are born of nothing, and after this we shall be as if we had not been: for the breath in our nostrils is smoke: and speech a spark to move our heart,
3Which being put out, our body shall be ashes, and our spirit shall be poured abroad as soft air, and our life shall pass away as the trace of a cloud, and shall be dispersed as a mist, which is driven away by the beams of the sun, and overpowered with the heat thereof:


4And our name in time shall be forgotten, and no man shall have any remembrance of our works.
5For our time is as the passing of a shadow, and there is no going back of our end: for it is fast sealed, and no man returneth.
6Come therefore, and let us enjoy the good things that are present, and let us speedily use the creatures as in youth.
7Let us fill ourselves with costly wine, and ointments: and let not the flower of the time pass by us.
8Let us crown ourselves with roses, before they be withered: let no meadow escape our riot.
9Let none of us go without his part in luxury: let us everywhere leave tokens of joy: for this is our portion, and this our lot.
10Let us oppress the poor just man, and not spare the widow, nor honour the ancient grey hairs of the aged.
11But let our strength be the law of justice: for that which is feeble, is found to be nothing worth.
12Let us therefore lie in wait for the just, because he is not for our turn, and he is contrary to our doings, and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, and divulgeth against us the sins of our way of life.
13He boasteth that he hath the knowledge of God, and calleth himself the son of God.
14He is become a censurer of our thoughts.
15He is grievous unto us, even to behold: for his life is not like other men's, and his ways are very different.
16We are esteemed by him as triflers, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and he preferreth the latter end of the just, and glorieth that he hath God for his father.
17Let us see then if his words be true, and let us prove what shall happen to him, and we shall know what his end shall be.
18For if he be the true son of God, he will defend him, and will deliver him from the hands of his enemies.
19Let us examine him by outrages and tortures, that we may know his meekness and try his patience.
20Let us condemn him to a most shameful death: for there shall be respect had unto him by his words.
21These things they thought, and were deceived: for their own malice blinded them.
22And they knew not the secrets of God, nor hoped for the wages of justice, nor esteemed the honour of holy souls.
23For God created man incorruptible, and to the image of his own likeness he made him.
24But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world:
25And they follow him that are of his side.


2. And Baruch 3:36-38 prophesies the Incarnation!:
36This is our God, and there shall no other be accounted of in comparison of him.
37He found out all the way of knowledge, and gave it to Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved.
38Afterwards he was seen upon earth, and conversed with men.

Jay Dyer said...

And all admit that the DC was written prior to Christ, even if they are thought to be pseudonymous.

Saint and Sinner said...

"2. And Baruch 3:36-38 prophesies the Incarnation!:
36This is our God, and there shall no other be accounted of in comparison of him.
37He found out all the way of knowledge, and gave it to Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved.
38Afterwards he was seen upon earth, and conversed with men."

I believe that this is referring to the Theophonies and especially the appearance before Moses and Israel, not the Incarnation.

A parallel passage is found in Psalm 147:

"He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; and as for His ordinances, they have not known them. Praise the LORD!" (Psalm 147:19-20)

Anyway, I believe that Steve's point was that if the Jews were trying to suppress books with prophecies that prove that Jesus was the Messiah, then they would have done much better if they had got rid of books like Isaiah with Is. 9 and the four Servant Songs (42, 49, 50, 52-53) or Daniel (7 and 9) or Zechariah (3, 11, 12) or Micah (5).

steve said...

To elaborate on one of my points, Jesus and the Apostles often refer their audience to the OT Scriptures. But their audience only had access to fallible copies. Copies read in the Synagogues. Or even fallible copies of a fallible translation (the LXX).

Yet Jesus and the Apostles treat these fallible copies as sufficiently reliable to prooftext. If infallible textual transmission was unnecessary, then the infallible oral transmission was unnecessary.

Paul Manata said...

Jay Dyer,

"Paul, I'm glad to speak with you again. I didn't mean it was an official point by point debate. However, we did debate that issue."

Shall I point out my first response to your initial email inquiring about a debate? I wrote:

=============

"Hello Jay,

Before I even begin to work on a response would you mind answering me a few questions? After all, you've looked at my blog and such and poor me knows virtually nothing about you! :-)"

=============

Thus you'll be bound to agree that our entire discussion was a preliminary period. You had said that you had read many of my blog entries. I had never heard of you, or read anything by you. Thus I made it clear that before we got into a debate I would need to ask you questions, and even get qualification of your answers. That's why I said I didn't consider it a debate. But, whatever...

"Paul, your distinction between epistemic certainty and psychological certainty doesn't work when you still hold to total depravity."

Sure it does. I'll just assume that you don't know the difference between the two, or how to use those terms appropriately, until you convince me otherwise. The distinction is a conceptual truth. I don't see how it doesn't work.

"I agree with the distinction, but the problem is still erroneous reformed anthropology, which is oddly the same as Pelagius view of pre-lapsarian man."

If the distinction is correct, then I can appeal to it. You've just admitted as much.

"Is depravity affecting your ability to distinguish which facts are which? It must."

No. And, perhaps it 'must' if you have an argument such as this in mind:

[1] The possibility that S is wrong about P implies that S cannot know that P.

[2] It is possible that S is wrong about the facts.

[3] Therefore, he doesn't know them.

Of course I deny [1]. And furthermore, even without the unsound argument, you're making no allowances for regeneration. Moreover, the doctrine of total depravity is that all of man's faculties are *affected* by sin. You can't get to your conclusion from this generic premise. It doesn't say *how* man is affected. Man may still be able to get the facts right, yet he might not *use them* appropriately, or give the appropriate honor or praise for his gift of knowledge, etc. Any number of possibilities are in there. Thus your conclusion isn't necessitated by the reformed explication of total depravity.

Furthermore, you certainly don't have anything like the certainty you think you have. Indeed, you once thought you could prove your pre-Vatican II Catholicism by "the impossibility of the contrary," now look at you. You're an Eastern Orthodox. And you think that worldview is true from "the impossibility of the contrary." You've already shown that what you once thought was true by the impossibility of the contrary, wasn't. What's to say you're not mistaken here? Indeed, to even *switch* positions as you have, shows how fallible and prone to error you are! Weren't you a Protestant, then a Catholic, and now an Eastern Orthodox? You certainly aren't the paradigm of an epistemically stable person.

You find out how mistaken you every few years. Even the fathers and councils you once thought so sure a source of certainty have been proven by your "apostasy" from Rome to not be as infallible as you once thought. One could say that you are tossed about to and fro like the waves of the sea. I certainly wouldn't pride my epistemic faculties if I were you. You can be just as mistaken as the rest of us. What explains it? Whatever it is, how does it differ from your argument against the protestants. *Whatever* it is that explains it is obviously a feature of your epistemic life that makes you prone to making epistemic errors.

"The doctrine of the Trinity is derived from texts of Scripture and a certain hermeneutic that comes from the Patristic milieu. An individual learns these from his senses and uses his memory, etc. So, that's an issue for both of us. But as I have consistently argued, total depravity leads to sinfully skewing these facts as well."

"Total depravity" doesn't give the details for how one's depravity will affect the facts. For example, total depravity doesn't say that we can't know that 1+1 = 2. We may skew this by, say, attributing this to mere chance, or perhaps convention, etc. And, you have proven that you "skew" the facts just as much as us - in fact, maybe more so.

Your "journey" is filled with errors and mistakes. What causes them? Call it *. Call what skews my facts TD. Now, it seems to me that * is just as responsible for skewing facts, uncertainty, mistakes, etc., as is TD. You skewed the facts of God's word by believing in total depravity once. You skewed it by believing in all sorts of protestant teaching. Then you left protestantism and thought all was better. But guess what? That pesky * was back in your life, skewing more facts for you. And *now* you've *finally* got it right. No more skewing for Jay. *This time,* he's a winner. You seem like "that guy" who always is trying to get rich of get rich schemes. "Trust me honey, *this time* it'll work. It just has to." You're just as deprived of theological and spiritual richness as he is of money. Or like the junkie looking for that next high. *That one* will be the mother of all highs, then I can quit. Just like you on your irreligious quest for religious certainty. You want that spiritual high that you can finally have some cognitive rest with.

"But these problems are largely elimanted, and can be re-constructed if you reject total depravity. "

Seems like we've seen plenty of problems of knowledge for you since you rejected total depravity. Why'd you find out that you were in error with Catholicism? After all, you left behind that pesky belief in total depravity. No one is fooled by your shell games, Jay.

"Josh did not say that it was once oral in our phone conversation."

Oh, so your so charitable that you thought Josh never read his Genesis 1, 2, and 3? Is that what rejecting total depravity gets you? An inability to use common sense? Sounds to me like your "phone call point" is simply sophistic debate rhetoric. Surely you don't need to resort to that, after all(!), you've rejected total depravity.

Paul Manata said...

I'd add that I believe in the trinity because, as Jay noted, it is found in the Bible. I take the Bible as God's testimony to man. Thus my knowledge would be comparible to knowledge by testimony. Knowledge by testimony is a valid source of knowledge - even Jay must agree since he trusts the testimony of the fathers or the mind of the church. Couple with that my position of externalism and fallibilism, I'm good in da hood. Furthermore, considering my agreement with Plantinga and Bergmann on the role and nature of defeaters, my beliefs based on what I take to be the testimony of God are not defeated by the kind of arguments Jay is offering. All that to say, Jay hasn't even began to touch my position.

Josh Brisby said...

Jay,

Just a quick note for clarity's sake: When I discussed oral revelation over the phone, it was in the context of your question about Paul being held in house for three years. I made the remark that not everything the apostles spoke by word of mouth was inspired. Most certainly, I do believe that revelation was once oral. Otherwise, how would I make sense of prophecy?

Kurt Roberts said...

Why is Dyer evn debating anymore? He just got ruined. Good job Steve, Paul, and Saint & Sinner.

steve said...

"Protestant apologists such as James White are false in stating that Origen rejected the DC."

In light of Dyer's accusation, it would be instructive to see him deal with this line of evidence, much of which is ultimately drawn from early Eastern sources (i.e. the letter of Athanasius as well as the material cited from the JBC).

http://www.aomin.org/index.php?itemid=2464

Anonymous said...

Well, it seems that Perry is choosing easier targets nowadays:

http://biblicalthought.com/blog/the-book-on-eastern-orthodoxy-is-here/

B.J. said...

Why would the Bereans need to check the claims of the Apostles with scirpture? Is this not a "tpye" of first century call to Sola Scriptura?

Jay Dyer said...

I have posted a new article on the canon and tradition for those interested, backing up some of my previous claims.

http://www.nicenetruth.com/home/2008/01/more-facts-on-t.html


Jay

Jay Dyer said...

As for the situation with Origen, I cited his letter exchange with Africanus in my srticle. But if you didn't click the link, you wouldn't have known that. Origen did not reject the DC:

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0414.htm


Beyond that, since I have been "ruined," why haven't the arguments in my posts on teh canon been dealt with. Its seems to me that Steve is the only one who has touched it, but he argued against Roman Catholicism, not Orthodoxy. He also misunderstood several arguments, not even being aware of the Quartodeciman controversy, thinking that I said all the west was apostate, in terms of worship.

Paul has attacked my character, as I approached him in a cordial manner. If I am such a scumbag, then why not just deal with the arguments and leave the attacks aside. Yes, I have been wrong. Yes, I have been very foolish and arrogant in the past. But I am trying to be honest and work out these issues as best I can with God's guidance. I'm trying to reconcile what I see as correct in Van Til with what is clearly heretical, a perfect example of which is his Trinitarian heresy of God's nature being a Person, along with other problems in regard to the fact that the hermeneutics of the Trinity is not solely derived from texts of Scripture, as he seems to assume. Again, if the Prot. canon is wrong, then all you guys are wrong. As I show in my new post, the issue is at least worth investigation.


Paul, how do you know when you are accurately distinguishing epistemic certainty and psychological? You must also then have a third category of absolute certainty to accurately distinguish the two in all cases.

I never claimed personally infallibility, as some kind of papal charism. I claimed that certain truths, like Van Til taught, are absolutely certain, like the Trinity. But the doctrine and formulation of the Trinity also derives from interpreting the texts, and from certain philosophical concepts that are extra-canonical, such as homoousion. Van Til admits this too, in his "Intro to Systematic Theology."


And if everyone can so easily show me to be a fool, then let's arrange a phone debate, as I have said several times now, and you can make me look foolish. It's evident than many of you don't even read the entirety of my posts you want to reject, much less the citations contained therein. No wonder Perry chooses other battles.

Jay

Jay Dyer said...

Did you even notice in the James White link that St. Athanasius includes the Deuterocanonical Baruch *as canonical*? And thus White is wrong to say that "there is no mentiion of apocrypha." The James White link reads:

4. There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows. The first is Genesis, then Exodus, next Leviticus, after that Numbers, and then Deuteronomy. Following these there is Joshua, the son of Nun, then Judges, then Ruth. And again, after these four books of Kings, the first and second being reckoned as one book, and so likewise the third and fourth as one book. And again, the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book. Again Ezra, the first and second are similarly one book. After these there is the book of Psalms, then the Proverbs, next Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Job follows, then the Prophets, the twelve being reckoned as one book. Then Isaiah, one book, then Jeremiah with *Baruch,* Lamentations, and the epistle, one book; afterwards, Ezekiel and Daniel, each one book. Thus far constitutes the Old Testament."

Furthermore, preceptive readers will note that stev's posting this has nothing to do with my argument in my article that Origen accepted the DC.

B.J. said...

O.K. I admit my post wasn't 1 27,000 word response. Sorry about that. I am really following this debate closely because I am totally ignorant about EO. So I would like an EO to entertain my question, no matter the simplicity of it.

Why did the Apostle tell the Bureans to search the scriptures? Why not just tell them to accept the oral teaching as they delivery it? This seems to fly in the face of an argument against the idea that there is no concept of sola scriptura in the early church. Does it not?

steve said...

Dyer has attempted to cobble together a reply to some of his critics. Let’s evaluate his reply:

“As for the situation with Origen, I cited his letter exchange with Africanus in my srticle. But if you didn't click the link, you wouldn't have known that. Origen did not reject the DC.”

I never took a personal position on whether Origen did or did not reject the DC. You leveled an allegation against James White, and I referred you to a post of his in which he discusses that and other related issues.

However, it’s quite ironic that Dyer recruits Origen to help him make his case. On the one hand, Dyer repudiates the Jewish canon because the Jews are “Christ-haters.”

On the other hand, he cites a heretic like Origen in support of his position. Why is the testimony of a heretic more reliable than the testimony of the Jews?

“Its seems to me that Steve is the only one who has touched it, but he argued against Roman Catholicism, not Orthodoxy.”

This is simpleminded. If you compare Dyer’s arguments with Blosser’s arguments, you will see a considerable degree of overlap. Dyer is engaging in evasive maneuvers through this sophistical dismissal.

“He also misunderstood several arguments, not even being aware of the Quartodeciman controversy, thinking that I said all the west was apostate, in terms of worship.”

Several problems:

i) Dyer originally said: “How is it, my dear regulativist pals, that the church had almost totally apostatized so early?”

Referring to his “regulativist pals” is an allusion to the Puritans and their modern counterparts who subscribe to the Regulative Principle of Worship. Is Dyer claiming that the Puritan theory of worship represents authentic apostolic practice?

If so, then why isn’t he a Covenanter instead of Eastern Orthodox offender against the 2nd commandment?

If not, then he must look down on his “regulativist pals” as every bit as heretical as the Quartodecimarians.

ii) Dyer also said: “I'm not making an argument for calendar dates, I'm making an argument for tradition.”

But the Quartodeciman controversy was a dispute over the date of Easter.”

iii)” Quartodecimans were eastern heretics.”

So, according to Dyer, Polycarp was a heretical apostate since he was a Quartodecimarian. And by the same token, the Apostle John was a heretical apostate since he, as tradition would have it, was the heresiarch of the Quartodecimarian calendar.

Moving along:

“Furthermore, preceptive readers will note that stev's posting this has nothing to do with my argument in my article that Origen accepted the DC.”

i) To begin with, since I’m not a legalist I don’t really care what preceptive readers think. I only care about Biblical precepts.

ii) However, what perceptive readers might note, in contradiction to preceptive readers, is that Dyer is very selective in his reply to White. As I originally pointed out, White’s remarks aren’t limited to Origen. He quotes a passage from the JBC which cites a number of Eastern luminaries either supporting the Jewish canon or questioning the wider canon.

How does Dyer respond to that? He doesn’t. He passes that over in awkward silence—hoping no one will notice that he has no answer.

“Paul has attacked my character, as I approached him in a cordial manner.”

Well, Manata can speak for himself, but I think he was merely making the observation that Dyer is one of those schizophrenic individuals who combines dogmatic self-confidence with dogmatic instability.

“And if everyone can so easily show me to be a fool, then let's arrange a phone debate, as I have said several times now, and you can make me look foolish.”

I never said that Dyer was a fool. But the fact that he’s so defensive leaves one with the impression that Brisby’s combox is a perfectly adequate medium for exposing his folly—if Dyer wishes to cast his performance in those particular terms. Remember, though, I’m not the one who cast the issue in those terms, but since he has chosen to frame the issue in that way, who am I to argue with his own adjectives?

“It's evident than many of you don't even read the entirety of my posts you want to reject, much less the citations contained therein.”

Actually, I think Dyer’s problem is that I pay closer attention to what he says than he himself does.

“No wonder Perry chooses other battles.”

Does Dyer seriously think that anyone is taken in by that face-saving excuse?

i) Dyer also refers us to a new article which he posted on the canon. Among other things, he spends a lot of time on the testimony of Irenaeus.

But wasn’t Irenaeus a disciple of Polycarp, who—by Dyer’s yardstick—was a heretical, Quartodecimarian apostate? Wouldn’t that make Irenaeus a schismatic? How can he be in apostolic succession given his heretical pedigree as a Quartodecimarian accomplice?

ii) He also quotes Bruce as saying that early church lectionaries can witness to the canon. But no one denies that. This is a diversionary tactic.

iii) Apropos (ii), Dyer equivocates over the meaning of “tradition” by failing to distinguish between historical tradition and holy tradition. A Protestant can sift historical witnesses to the canon just as he would sift any historical sources. There’s nothing inherently arbitrary about that procedure. And that doesn’t commit him to holy tradition.

iv) Moreover, he himself is forced to admit that tradition doesn’t speak with one voice: “Especially when there were competing texts, and even New Testament epistles such as Hebrews, Revelation, and others, were long doubted in key sees and Patriarchates.

v) Indeed, Dyer himself cherry picks just what traditions count as holy tradition.

Dyer also says: “Bruce goes on to note about the Church’s acceptance of the LXX (the Septuagint).”

This misses the point in several respects:

i) Dyer fails to distinguish between descriptive and normative attestation. He’s trying to make a case for Orthodoxy over against Protestantism. But to say “the Church” accepted the LXX gives a Protestant no reason to accept whatever “the Church accepted,” unless you already concede Dyer’s Eastern Orthodoxy ecclesiology. So he’s assuming what he needs to prove.

ii) He is also, in his reflexively anti-Semitic mode, disregarding the fact that “the Church” originally included Messianic Jews who read the Hebrew OT rather than the Greek OT.

iii) Dyer continues to selectively quote from Bruce by continuing to ignore Bruce’s own argument for the Jewish (Hebrew/Palestinian) canon over against an Alexandrian canon based on copies of the LXX dating from the Christian era.

“As I also argued, the knowledge of Apostolic Authorship is not and cannot be derived from many of the Gospels themselves.”

This is a slippery statement. For example, what about internal evidence for the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel?

“Instead, for Matthean authorship, almost all turn to the following Tradition in Eusebius.”

Three more problems:

i) Notice the bait-and-switch tactic in which he implicitly equates historical tradition with holy tradition.

ii) No one denies that early Christian writers figure in one’s overall case for the canon.

iii) He continues to ignore the text-critical evidence for the originality of the gospel titles. It’s a pity that an undergraduate is already so unteachable. So unwilling to confront evidence which threatens to undermine his stump speech.

steve said...

I'd add that quite beyond my replies to Blosser, much of which is equally applicable to Dyer's boilerplate objections to sola scriptura, I've now posted many comments specifically critiquing his arguments, and I'd invite the reader to see how very little that Dyer has even made a gesture at addressing.

Canadian said...

bj,
I am not EO, however a couple of things.
How does it prove sola scriptura if the unbelieving Jewish Berean's have received the preached word from Paul and then search the scriptures of the OT? Of course they will search the scriptures, Paul is preaching to them what he preached in Thessalonica earlier in the chapter, the suffering and resurrection of Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises to their fathers. Did the Jews themselves even have a doctrine of sola scriptura? They accepted the oral word preached by Paul to be the true interpretation of the scriptures didn't they? Paul spent 3 weeks in Thessolonica and the Jews there rejected his new interpretation and held to their own interpretation of the scriptures. Paul said his gospel was not revealed in times past, so it seems the Berean's were in fact accepting new revelation they didn't know from the scriptures themselves. So to say that they believed in sola scriptura is stretching it. One more thing, do you have the list of books which the Berean's considered authoritative? They undoubtedly used the Septuagint which contained books that our Protestant bibles do not contain. Did they search those books in their noble search for the truth?

steve said...

Canadian said...

"One more thing, do you have the list of books which the Berean's considered authoritative? They undoubtedly used the Septuagint which contained books that our Protestant bibles do not contain."

Why do you say that's "undoubtedly" the case? Why do you infer what books a pre-Christian copy of the LXX would contain from later Christian copies of the LXX?

steve said...

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/01/legendary-alexandrian-canon.html

steve said...

I’m going to take this occasion to comment on Dyer’s argument for the Orthodox OT canon, which he equates with the Septuagintal canon:

“Palestinian Jews rejected the DB, but the Septuagint, which is the Greek version of the OT composed in the 2nd-3rd century B.C. at Alexandria, Egypt by 70 or 72 Jewish scribes, was used by non-Palestinian Jews. It is a well known fact that the Septuagint (LXX) was both the Bible of the diaspora Jews and the Bible of all the early Christians, as will be proven below. Further, it’s also a fact that the LXX contained the DB, as will also be proven below.”

http://www.nicenetruth.com/home/2007/12/protestants-hav.html#more

This argument is both anachronistic and equivocal. The most charitable interpretation is that Dyer is simply ignorant of standard scholarship on the LXX.

However, I’ve also noticed, in my exchanges with him, that he has a habit of ignoring counterevidence. He continues to do this even after he has been corrected on his errors and omissions.

It isn’t possible to simply infer the canon of Diaspora Jews from our copies of the LXX, and this is why:

“No two Septuagint codices contain the same apocrypha, and no uniform Septuagint ‘Bible’ was ever the subject of discussion in the patristic church. In view of these facts the Septuagint codices appear to have been originally intended more as service books than as a defined and normative canon of Scripture,” E. E. Ellis, The Old Testament in Early Christianity (Baker 1992), 34-35.

“As we have seen, manuscripts of anything like the capacity of Codex Alexandrinus were not used in the first centuries of the Christian era, and since, in the second century AD, the Jews seem largely to have discarded the Septuagint…there can be no real doubt that the comprehensive codices of the Septuagint, which start appearing in the fourth century AD, are all of Christian origin,” R. Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church (Eerdmans 1986), 382.

“Nor is there agreement between the codices which of the Apocrypha t include. Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus all include Tobit, Judith, Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, and integrate them into the body of the Old Testament, rather than appending them at the end; but Codex Vaticanus, unlike the other two, totally excludes the Books of Maccabees. Moreover, all three codices, according to Kenyon, were produced in Egypt, yet the contemporary Christian lists of the biblical books drawn up in Egypt by Athanasius and (very likely) pseudo-Athanasius are much more critical, excluding all apocryphal books from the canon, and putting them in a separate appendix. It seems, therefore, that the codices, with their less strict approach, do not reflect a definite canon so much as variable reading-habits; and the reading-habits would in the nature of the case be those of fourth and fifth-century Christians, which might not agree with those of first-century Jews,” ibid. 383.

“At this point we encounter the Greek Old Testament in the three great codices of the fourth and fifth centuries: Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus…All exceeded the scope of the Hebrew Bible…In Vaticanus, however, all four of the books of Maccabees are missing and in Sinaiticus, 2 and 3 Macabees, as well as 1 Ezra, Baruch and Letter of Jeremiah—presumably only the result of lacunae in the text. Codex Alexandrinus, approximately one century younger, is, in contrast, much more extensive; it includes the LXX as we know it in Rahlfs’ edition, with all four books of Maccabees and the fourteen Odes appended to Psalms. The Odes also include the Prayer of Manasseh, previously attested only in the Syria Didaskalia and the Apostolic Constitutions,” M. Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture (Baker 2004), 57-58.

“It should be considered, further, that the Odes (sometimes varied in number), attested from the fifth century in all Greek Psalm manuscripts, contain three New Testament ‘psalms’: the Magnificat, the Benedictus, the Nunc Dimittis from Luke’s birth narrative, and the conclusion of the hymn that begins with the ‘Gloria in Excelsis.’ This underlines the fact that the LXX, although, itself consisting of a collection of Jewish documents, wishes to be a Christian book. The relative openness of the Old Treatment portion of these oldest codices also corresponds to that of its ‘New Testament’: Sinaiticus contains Barnabas and Hermas, Alexandrinus 1 and 2 Clement,” ibid. 59.

Is it Dyer’s position that pre-Christian Jews included The Letter of Barnabas, The Shepherd of Hermas, as well as excerpts from Luke’s Gospel, in their canon of the OT?

Paul Manata said...

Jay Dyer:

"Paul has attacked my character, as I approached him in a cordial manner. If I am such a scumbag, then why not just deal with the arguments and leave the attacks aside. Yes, I have been wrong. Yes, I have been very foolish and arrogant in the past. But I am trying to be honest and work out these issues as best I can with God's guidance."

Jay is trying to shift the burden by fallaciously going for pity.

He loads his comment with emotive words - words I never used, by the way.

Thus he has thrown his own conduct here into question. Not mine.

Yes, I did attack his character. In one sense. Some ad hominem arguments are valid. Jay used one with me. He commend that "total depravity" "skews the facts" and thus I cannot be certain. This was an ad hominem - though not a fallacious instance.

I simply reversed his argument. Rather than total depravity (TD) skewing the facts, recall that Jay has what we referred to as a (*) in his life. (*) skews the facts for him. How did I prove this? I briefly ran through Jay's past.

I have therefore shown that Jay's precious "transcendental argument" for his position, and against mine, is totally bankrupt.

This is what I did. Steve is doing just fine beating down Jay with regards the cannon.

"I'm trying to reconcile what I see as correct in Van Til with what is clearly heretical, a perfect example of which is his Trinitarian heresy of God's nature being a Person."

Jay's trying to do more than that. Jay thinks that protestants "can't be epistemically certain" about their doctrines, but he can. I undercut his argument. This was one of his main reasons, as he told me via email, that he left reformed thought. He was on his God-like quest for certainty.

Second, one wonders if Jay has ever bothered to read defenses of paradox? For example, James Anderson's "Paradox in Christian Theology: Its Presence, Character, and Epistemic Status."

Third, the Bible refers to God, without distinguishing the person, in personal terms. So, Dyer is saying the Bible is heretical! Anyway, he at least should acquaint himself with the arguments and defenses of Van Til's claim.

"along with other problems in regard to the fact that the hermeneutics of the Trinity is not solely derived from texts of Scripture, as he seems to assume."

Jay equivocates on "solely." I never intimated it in his terms. Indeed, if he wants to play this game, well then he hasn't derived the doctrine of the trinity solely from the bible, father's, mind of the church, etc. Why? he had to use his senses, memory, etc. So, I've never claim that I derive the doctrine from the trinity "solely" from the Bible where that means that I don't uses anything not labeled "bible" in my derivation. So, yes, I use objective hermeneutical methods, my senses, and other things to help me see what is solely in the Bible. You see, Jay confuses epistemological and metaphysical issues on a frequent basis.

"Again, if the Prot. canon is wrong, then all you guys are wrong. As I show in my new post, the issue is at least worth investigation."

This doesn't even follow, if true. If a math book is wrong, the answers could still be correct.

And, Hays pretty much shredded your arguments against the cannon. So, ball's in your court.

"Paul, how do you know when you are accurately distinguishing epistemic certainty and psychological? You must also then have a third category of absolute certainty to accurately distinguish the two in all cases. "

This just shows Dyers ignorance of this subject - which is what I said above.

Psychological certainty refers to the degree of confidence, conviction, belief a person has in some proposition.

Epistemic certainty, according the epistemologist Dr. M. Sudduth, "[R]efers to the degree of *warrant* possessed by a belief. Warrant is, roughly, a truth-indicating property, typically cashed out in terms of the extent to which one's ground, basis, reason, or source of belief are adequately truth-indicating. ("Knowledge," will be understood here as a strongly warranted true belief). An epistemically certain belief is, roughly, one that has the best possible grounds or evidence, typically the sort that preclude all possible reasons for doubting the truth of the proposition or belief in question. Epistemically certain beliefs will have maximal warrant."

So, I am psychologically certain that, say, my wife isn't a robot. But, I know that rational people can (and do!) doubt this. There are *possible* reasons for doubting the truth of my belief. Hence, I do not have epistemic certainty regarding that proposition.

Thus it's fairly easy to distinguishing the two. Jay didn't even understand the terms, yet he didn't have a problem critiquing me wrt them above, viz., "Your distinction doesn't work."

"I never claimed personally infallibility, as some kind of papal charism. I claimed that certain truths, like Van Til taught, are absolutely certain, like the Trinity. But the doctrine and formulation of the Trinity also derives from interpreting the texts, and from certain philosophical concepts that are extra-canonical, such as homoousion. Van Til admits this too, in his "Intro to Systematic Theology."

So what. We use our eyes too, Jay. So that is "extra-canonical." Your critiques are laughable. Indeed, you use extra -canonical, -patristic, -mind of the church, -etc., sources too. Whence arises a problem. Nice self-excepting fallacy, Jay.

"And if everyone can so easily show me to be a fool, then let's arrange a phone debate, as I have said several times now, and you can make me look foolish."

I'd say that's already been achieved.

todd katz said...

great debate, my complements to all, I am a law prof/medical missionary,i am not a sophisticated academic theologian, but i am learning.thank you all.

Saint and Sinner said...

I just noticed the ‘Canadian’ comment. So, this is a little late, but…

“They accepted the oral word preached by Paul to be the true interpretation of the scriptures didn't they?”

They didn’t just accept it. They searched the Scriptures daily “to see whether these things were so” (v.11). They tested his message with that of the Old Testament.

You see, there’s this pesky little rule in the OT (Deut. 13:1-5) about false prophets which says that even if signs and wonders are done by a prophet but that prophet’s message does not conform to previous revelation, then the prophet should not be followed but put to death.

Thus, the logical conclusion of Acts 17 is that the Scriptures are clear enough to test whether Jesus was the Messiah. This is confirmed elsewhere (Luke 24:25-27, John 5:39, 45-47, etc.)

“Paul said his gospel was not revealed in times past, so it seems the Berean's were in fact accepting new revelation they didn't know from the scriptures themselves.”

It was a ***mystery*** not revealed in times past (i.e. its full explanation was hidden), but it would be completely false to say that the Scriptures did not clearly foretell the atoning death and resurrection of the Messiah (Isaiah 52-53, Dan 9, etc.).

“Did the Jews themselves even have a doctrine of sola scriptura?”

It depends on which Jew. Modern Rabbinic Jews are the spiritual descendents of the Pharisees, and they had PLENTY of oral traditions that allegedly went back to Solomon, Moses, the prophets, etc. Their traditions had a very different view of the Messiah than who Jesus was. So, if they went with tradition instead of Scripture, then they probably wouldn’t have become Christians.

I went over the similarities between RCism/EOxy’s and Rabbinic Judaism’s view of tradition here:
http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/2007/09/alfred-edersheim-on-matthew-15-and.html

Saint and Sinner said...

"One more thing, do you have the list of books which the Berean's considered authoritative? They undoubtedly used the Septuagint which contained books that our Protestant bibles do not contain."

I've been doing some reading, and it seems that Josephus states that the Jewish people recognized only 22 books as canonical (which might include the apocryphal appendices but not the free-standing works such as 1 or 2 Maccabees). It is also worthy to note that he was using the Septuagint.

B.J. said...

Thanks for the response Canadian...
I do have a couple of comments though.

"I am not EO, however a couple of things."

Judging from your responses so far in this debate, I have my suspecisons as to whether you aren't EO diguising yourself as Protestant. My assumptions aside though, I would like to comment on some of your comments, which are EO in nature, only you are not EO.
So since you speak for what might be an EO answer, given you are Protestant, I would like you to answer your EO answers to my question the way you, a Protestant, would if an EO responded to you the way you did me.

You asked, as a Protestant thinking for an EO:

"How does it prove sola scriptura if the unbelieving Jewish Berean's have received the preached word from Paul and then search the scriptures of the OT?"

My intent was not to prove Sola Scriptura per se, rather raise a level of doubt concerning the alledged fact that they don't have a concept of Sola Scriptura. Furthermore, why would they search the scriptures if oral tradition was beyond contestation? It doesn't make any sense for Paul to command them to seach the OT if Oral tradition was such.


You continued being a pretend EO ny saying:

"Of course they will search the scriptures, Paul is preaching to them what he preached in Thessalonica earlier in the chapter, the suffering and resurrection of Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises to their fathers."


Why? Oral Tradition carries unmeasurable weight we are told. Does it not?

Continuing:
"Did the Jews themselves even have a doctrine of sola scriptura?"

Well, this is what is at stake. I think Paul's command to search the scriptures presuppose an authority higer than oral tradition, else why search at all? Just take Paul at his word.

"They accepted the oral word preached by Paul to be the true interpretation of the scriptures didn't they?"

If they did than why search the OT? I mean maybe they did. My point is that if they did it makes no sense for Paul to say what he said.

Lastly:
"So to say that they believed in sola scriptura is stretching it."

I agree they did not have a doctrine of Sola Scriptura. I think my scripture cast some level of doubt on the fact that Sola Scriptura, as a concept, was foriegn to them.

"One more thing, do you have the list of books which the Burean's
considered authoritative?"

No, but this is irrealevent for my purposes. They had something to check Paul's message. That is what I am talking about right now.


"They undoubtedly used the Septuagint which contained books that our Protestant bibles do not contain. Did they search those books in their noble search for the truth?"

I am not sure. It would make for an interesting study though.

Saint and Sinner said...

I believe that 'Canadian' is on the verge of converting to EOxy, and he, like many converts to RCism back in the 90's did, is trying to pull as many along with him as he can.

Canadian said...

Why do you put the scriptures at odds with the preached word? Or why do you put is as always an opposite of Tradition? You guys presented the opinion that it was sola scriptura at work here just because they searched the scriptures, then you assume that I must be attacking the searching of the scriptures. No. I was challenging the idea of sola scriptura here. Are the scriptures supreme, sure. But even the scriptures themselves come from the life of the Holy Spirit working through the church.
BJ, you keep saying Paul commanded them to search the scriptures. He didn't, but he did use the scriptures to confirm and support his new revelation about Jesus being the one the Jews were looking for. This is not a two source view of revelation, one Tradition and one Scripture, that would more closely resemble Rome. For centuries, the regula fide was not scripture at all. The Spirit sustained the church without the New Testament canon for many many years. Again, I am not lowering the supremacy of scripture, but only agreeing with the Father's and Paul that scripture alone doesn't work without the life of the Spirit.

steve said...

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/01/in-dyer-straits.html

Canadian said...

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/encyc09.regula_fidei.html?highlight=regula,fidei#highlight

Jay Dyer said...

Josh,

Here is the Metropolitain Zizioulas article I mentioned on Trinity, Nature, and Person:

http://www.nicenetruth.com/home/2008/01/the-doctrine-of.html


Jay

Jay Dyer said...

Also, here is that famous Lossky article I mentioned, wherein he makes it quite evident that filioquism is heresy.


http://www.nicenetruth.com/home/2007/12/the-procession.html


St. Photios' classic "Mystagogy" is also a must-read on this issue:

http://www.nicenetruth.com/home/2008/01/st-photios-the.html


Jay

Jay Dyer said...

Josh,

Concerning last nights conversation: statements only prior to the third century:


Infant Baptism

"And when a child has been born to one of them[ie Christians], they give thanks to God[ie baptism]; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who as passed through the world without sins."

Aristides,Apology,15(A.D. 140),in ANF,X:277-278

"Polycarp declared, 'Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?"

Polycarp,Martyrdom of Polycarp,9(A.D. 156),in ANF,I:41

"And many,both men and women, who have been Christ's disciples from childhood, remain pure and at the age of sixtey or seventy years..."
Justin Martyr,First Apology,15:6(A.D. 110-165),in ANF,I:167

"For He came to save all through means of Himself--all, I say, who through Him are born again to God--infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men."

(And St. Irenaeus believed in baptismal regeneration)

Irenaeus, Against Heresies,2,22:4 (A.D. 180),in ANF,I:391

"‘And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan’ [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as newborn babes, even as the Lord has declared: ‘Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5]" Irenaeus, (Fragment 34 [A.D. 190]).



"I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixy-five years in the Lord."
Polycrates,Fragment in Eusebius' Church History, V:24:7(A.D. 190),in NPNF2,I:242

Here Tertullian comments on his preference of delaying baptism in deference to the traditional & universal practice of baptizing infants writes:
"And so, according to the circumstances and disposition, and even age,of each individual, the delay of baptism is preferable; principally,however, in the case of little childrem."
Tertullian,On Baptism,18(A.D. 200/206),in ANF,III:678

"And they shall baptise the little children first. And if they can answer for themselves, let them answer. But if they cannot, let their parents answer or someone from their family."
Hippolytus of Rome, Apostolic Tradition,21(c. A.D. 215), in AT,33

"[T]herefore children are also baptized."
Origen,Homily on Luke,XIV(A.D. 233),in JER, 65

"For this reason, moreover, the Church received from the apostles the tradition of baptizing infants too."
Origen, Homily on Romans, V:9(A.D. 244),in JER,65

"Baptism is given for the remission of sins; and according to the usage of the Church, Baptism is given even to infants. And indeed if there were nothing in infants which required a remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous."
Origen, Homily on Leviticus,8:3(post A.D. 244),in JUR,I:208

"But in respect of the case of the infants, which you say ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, and that the law of ancient circumcision should be regarded, so that you think one who is just born should not be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day...And therefore, dearest brother, this was our opinion in council, that by us no one ought to be hindered from baptism...we think is to be even more observed in respect of infants and newly-born persons.."
Cyprian,To Fidus, Epistle 58(64):2,6(A.D. 251),in ANF,5:353-354

GeneMBridges said...

Why do you put the scriptures at odds with the preached word? Or why do you put is as always an opposite of Tradition? You guys presented the opinion that it was sola scriptura at work here just because they searched the scriptures, then you assume that I must be attacking the searching of the scriptures. No. I was challenging the idea of sola scriptura here. Are the scriptures supreme, sure. But even the scriptures themselves come from the life of the Holy Spirit working through the church.

Which church? How do you distinguish between true and false tradition?

For centuries, the regula fide was not scripture at all.

Actually, if you read the Fathers, you find that the regula fide was derived from Scripture. They distinguish between doctrines and practices. The latter may have come down by oral transmission, but they were not infallible. They insisted that doctrine, however, be derived from Scripture and not tradition. That's the issue that the Protestant rule of faith is addressing.

The Spirit sustained the church without the New Testament canon for many many years. Again, I am not lowering the supremacy of scripture, but only agreeing with the Father's and Paul that scripture alone doesn't work without the life of the Spirit.

Which church? Appealing to "the life of the Spirit" is a weasel term for you wrapped in mystical language. What you mean is "the life of the Spirit" manifested in the thinking of "the church." So, it's the life of the Spirit mediated through an ecclesiastical body. But this is also vague. How would we determine if "the Church" is wrong or right? One can be true to "The Church" without "the Church" being true. The same is true of "tradition." I'm assuming you're EO or headed that way. How do you know, then, that the EO is the One True Holy Apostolic Church through which the Spirit is living His life?

Protestants do not devalue "tradition" at all. Rather, we deny that tradition is accreted over time in such a way that it attains some sort of infallible authority. That authority is only in Scripture. It is sufficient as an infallible rule of faith for the churches.

GeneMBridges said...

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/01/dyering-waters-of-baptism.html

Mr. Dyer, I gather you were trying to restrict yourself to statements only prior to the third century:

You need to check the dates for Cyprian and Origen.

Canadian said...

Mr. Bridges,
Thanks for your courteous reply and questions. I am a not EO, and am not engaging in entertaining polemics here for fun. I am seriously looking at the EO claims and appreciate constructive and irenic challenges. But folks saying crap like I am trying to convert everybody is a waste of my time. I am putting these things into the line of fire so Christian brothers (do you still consider me that, Josh?) can not only come up with arguments that attempt to cast a shadow of doubt on specific doctrinal issues, which is ok, but can convince me that EO is not apostolic christianity and that Protestantism is.

Canadian said...

I am at work and will address some of your questions when I can.

Canadian said...

“Which Church?”
The New Testament and Patristic church which uttered, wrote and collected the scriptures. The “one body” of Eph. 4:4, Rom. 12:5, 1 Cor 12:12-13 and John 17.

“How do you distinguish between true and false tradition?”
What has been believed everywhere, always and by all. The consensus of those which the Holy Spirit has made overseers (Acts 15, 20:28). Paul commanded the Philippians:
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. These things were not all inscripturated, they were passed on and apostolic practices were then found in the liturgies, hymns, baptismal confessions, sermons etc. of their heirs as well as in scripture.


“How do you distinguish between true and false tradition?”
I could ask: How do you distinguish between true and false scripture? You must admit the scriptural canon was determined by tradition. How do you know the “fallible” tradition got the infallible canon right when the infallible canon doesn’t list it’s own contents?

“They distinguish between doctrines and practices.”
I thought scripture alone was the only Protestant rule for faith and practice. So, what we believe must come from an infallible source, but what we do can come from an infallible one? Often, what the early church believed was revealed by what was practiced by the believers after them.

“They insisted that doctrine, however, be derived from Scripture and not tradition.”
St. Vincent writes: ‘But here some one perhaps will ask,’ Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation? ‘For this reason,—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters. For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another. Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation.’ (Commonitory 2:5).
Also, it seems for a doctrine to “derive” from scripture it must not be explicit there. Is deriving doctrine by “good and necessary consequences” a biblical rule, or an ecclesiastical one? Is it then a tradition of interpretation?
It seems in Orthodoxy, tradition is the receiving, passing, preserving, interpreting, work of the Holy Spirit who sustains the faith once delivered to the Church until Christ comes. It is not a wellspring or reservoir for new or changing doctrine, as it has been with Rome.


“So, it’s the life of the Spirit mediated through an ecclesiastical body.”
Mediation sets forth the image of a judge who sits between God and man which is subject to bad decisions because of indigestion, disinterest, indecision, hatred of one or both of the parties etc. The life of the Spirit described in scripture is not mediated through, but active within the body. It gives it life, unction, fruit, knowledge of Christ, guides into all truth etc.

“One can be true to the church [or tradition] without the church [or tradition] being true.”
Which church? The church is the ground and pillar of the truth of which the gates of hell will not prevail; and which is built on a rock. Even the churches in Revelation were “the church”, but sinful nonetheless. The threat to individual churches of the removal of their lampstands is real, but do you think that Christ’s church as a whole was a snuffed out lampstand for centuries?

“How do you know, then, that the EO is the One True Holy Apostolic Church through which the Spirit is living His life?”
Great question. At this point, I don’t know. Keep in mind that they consider us Christians and our baptism in the name of the triune God to be valid. Yet they would not regard us to be in the fullness of the church. I do know God hates schism, division, and the heresy that springs from it. But unity in falsehood is no unity at all.

steve said...

Canadian said...

“The New Testament and Patristic church which uttered, wrote and collected the scriptures. The ‘one body’ of Eph. 4:4, Rom. 12:5, 1 Cor 12:12-13 and John 17.”

i) You’re equivocating. To begin with, not even the NT church ‘uttered or wrote the Scriptures. For one thing, that leaves the OT scriptures out of account. Are you a Marcionite?

ii) Apropos (i), are you denying that the Jews had a collection of Scriptures?

iii) And the NT church didn’t write the NT scriptures. Rather, the NT scriptures were written to and for the NT church by inspired individuals. They were not penned by committees.

iv) Are you equating the “one body” with one visible, continuous institution? If so, how do you exegete that definition from your prooftexts?

“What has been believed everywhere, always and by all.”

i) That criterion would falsify Nicene Orthodoxy, which wasn’t believed everywhere, always and by all.

ii) It would also falsify apostolic doctrine. For example, both Paul and John had theological opponents.

“The consensus of those which the Holy Spirit has made overseers (Acts 15, 20:28).”

i) Now you’re shifting ground from “all” to a tiny subset of “all” (i.e. overseers).

ii) And how do you know who the Holy Spirit has made oversees in the sub-Apostolic age?

“Paul commanded the Philippians.”

And how do you establish the authenticity of Pauline agrapha?

“I could ask: How do you distinguish between true and false scripture? You must admit the scriptural canon was determined by tradition. How do you know the ‘fallible’ tradition got the infallible canon right when the infallible canon doesn’t list it’s own contents?”

i) When you throw the question back in Gene’s lap, this implies that you lack a good answer to his question. You can’t make a case for your own position. You can only try to poke holes in his position. In that event, how would Orthodoxy represent an improvement over Evangelicalism?

ii) Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Gene only has a probabilistic argument for the canon. What about your argument for the Orthodox church? Isn’t that a probabilistic argument?

If both the Evangelicals and the Orthodox must resort to probabilistic arguments, then you can’t cite the lack of absolute certainty as an argument against Evangelicalism, for your objection cuts both ways.

iii) Apropos (ii), not all probabilistic arguments are equally probable. So it would still be a question of which argument has the best evidence in its favor.

iv) Why do you make infallibility the standard by which to measure the canon? Where has God ever said that our canon of Scripture must meet the condition of apodictic proof? Why do you think that’s a Christian duty?

v) You also disregard the intertextuality of Scripture. The case for the canon isn’t limited to external forms of attestation.

“I thought scripture alone was the only Protestant rule for faith and practice.”

i) It is the rule of faith for what is commanded or forbidden. But some beliefs and practices are merely permissible.

ii) No, not every apostolic practice is normative. If Matthew ate kosher food, that isn’t mandatory for us. If Paul made a Nazirite vow, that isn’t mandatory for us.

iii) And we are at liberty to hold various beliefs that go beyond Scripture as long as they don’t go against Scripture, and as long as we don’t treat these beliefs as binding on the conscience of another Christian.

“Also, it seems for a doctrine to ‘derive’ from scripture it must not be explicit there. Is deriving doctrine by ‘good and necessary consequences’ a biblical rule, or an ecclesiastical one? Is it then a tradition of interpretation?”

NT writers often reason from the implicit teaching of Scripture. Read Paul. Read the author of Hebrews. Jesus frequently reprimanded the scribes and Sadducees and Pharisees for failing to infer the implicit teaching of Scripture. Haven’t you ever noticed that? Speaking of which:

http://www.dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=39

“It seems in Orthodoxy, tradition is the receiving, passing, preserving, interpreting, work of the Holy Spirit who sustains the faith once delivered to the Church until Christ comes.”

That is what Orthodoxy claims for itself. Why should we credit that claim?

“The life of the Spirit described in scripture is not mediated through, but active within the body. It gives it life, unction, fruit, knowledge of Christ, guides into all truth etc.”

Where does Scripture tell us that the Holy Spirit guides the “church” into all truth? Wasn’t that promise made to the disciples?

“Which church? The church is the ground and pillar of the truth of which the gates of hell will not prevail; and which is built on a rock.”

Are you interpreting these verses independently of the Orthodox church, or is the Orthodox church interpreting them for you? If the former, then you don’t need the Orthodox church to interpret Scripture for you. If the latter, then it’s viciously circular to invoke an Orthodox interpretation of the scriptures in order to validate the application of said scriptures to the Orthodox church.

“Even the churches in Revelation were ‘the church’, but sinful nonetheless. The threat to individual churches of the removal of their lampstands is real, but do you think that Christ’s church as a whole was a snuffed out lampstand for centuries?”

This depends on how you define the church “as a whole.”

“I do know God hates schism, division, and the heresy that springs from it.”

i) That’s a rather sweeping statement. If God hated schism all that much, he could prevent it by rendering all Christians infallible and impeccable. So he clearly has a purpose in allowing it. Same thing with heresy.

ii) God also hates divorce. But there are Biblical grounds for divorce.

iii) What if a church is teaching heresy? Then isn’t it one’s duty to leave a heretical church?

Saint and Sinner said...

"What has been believed everywhere, always and by all."

Well, that would eliminate the veneration of icons as well as prayers to Mary and the saints.

That would eliminate the Eastern view of the atonement.

That would eliminate the essence/energies distinction.

That would eliminate apophaticism.

That would eliminate the Eastern view of the Fall of Adam.

That would eliminate private confession.

“The consensus of those which the Holy Spirit has made overseers (Acts 15, 20:28).”

Sheesh! I always catch hell from the Orthodox whenever I say that they have a Magesterial body like that of Rome.

"St. Vincent writes..."

Of course, Vincent's maxim is meaningless:
“Mr Newman of course can no longer concur in this position, and a considerable part of his introduction is occupied with an attempt to remove it out of the way. He takes up the famous maxim of Vincentius, quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, of which he himself and his Tractarian brethren used to boast so much, and shows conclusively, as many sound Protestants have done before him, that from its vagueness and ambiguity, and the difficulty of applying it, it is of little or no real practical utility."
- W. Cunningham, Discussions on Church Principes: Popish, Erastian, and Prebyterian
(Still Waters Revival Books 1991), pp.41-42.

"The church is the ground and pillar of the truth..."

I dealt with that proof-text here:
http://contra-gentes.blogspot.com/2007/10/eisegeted-verses-1-timothy-315.html

"...but do you think that Christ’s church as a whole was a snuffed out lampstand for centuries?"

This question becomes a problem to the Protestant only if you beg the question against Protestant ecclesiology (and assume the EO one instead).

"Keep in mind that they consider us Christians and our baptism in the name of the triune God to be valid."

These guys don't:
http://www.orthodox.net/ecumenism/index.html