The Problem with Too Many Church Boards…

After what I went through in Miami about 10 – 12 months ago, this article by my dear friend, Charles Wood really struck home with me.  I actually sat through the indignity of having a deacon/finance committee member who was a respected retired colonel in the army say to another deacon in a meeting where I was being micromanaged declare that if I didn’t do what I was told (I was functioning as the interim pastor in everything but title at the time) that he’d “be up [my] a**”.   (And that was only one such example that I experienced there.)

My experience with multiple deacon boards over the years is that too often they want to act like “corporate boards” instead of servant boards.  Of course, Pastors are to blame as well for allowing this to happen as we have failed to teach and organize the church according to Biblical example of administration.  In addition, the constant flow of dishonest, unethical and unbiblical behavior from too many pastors also has driven the credibility of the office of pastor into the ditch and created a spirit of cynicism that sometimes borders on antagonism toward all pastors — even the honest and faithful ones.  I’ll write more on this topic in the future.  I do want to share some of Dr. Wood’s thoughts with you as they are words of wisdom from a veteran pastor and Biblical thinker.

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     The Bible is quite clear that there are two distinct categories of leadership in the local church.  One is elders (which also includes pastors), and the other is deacons.  The qualifications are distinctly different, with those of elders being significantly higher than those for deacon.  Associated with the term elder are such things as decision-making, over-seeing, directing and other policy-setting and direction-determining matters.  Deacons, on the other hand, appear strictly limited to what their name actually means in Greek (deacon is a transliteration rather than a translation of the original language).  The proper translation would be - table servers. Succinctly, in the Biblical pattern, elders deal with authority and its various manifestations; deacons deal with service and its responsibilities.

Somewhere over the years (and this actually predates my ministry), the idea of a plurality of elders disappeared in Baptist and Baptistic churches, with the pastor becoming the single elder in the structure.  This may have been a reaction to the church polity of the Reformed persuasion where elders and even elder governance is either established practice or very prominent, but I really don’t know enough of the history to declare that with any measure of authority.  I do know that for many decades, the prevailing structure on the Baptist side of the issue was pastoral leadership and congregational governance.

Gradually over time, however, a change took place in that deacons began to be  elevated (or to elevate themselves ) to elders and essentially granted all the prerogatives and responsibilities of that position without any change of name..  In many, if not most, Baptistic churches, deacons are still called deacons, but they operate as if they were elders.  My earliest denominational associations were with the GARBC, where the pattern was “deacon run churches.”  Actually, what had taken place in most of those churches is that the deacons had arrogated to themselves (or been assigned by pastors or congregations) a position that was not theirs and to which they had no right.

This won’t rank as “sour grapes” as I never experienced it, but there was a tendency for the deacons (now actually serving in the roles of elders) to assert authority that the Bible never assigned them and even to taking over and running the church, thus ignoring the congregation and rendering the pastor little more than their “hired hand.”  This transition was made even worse and even more anti-Biblical in that many of the men now acting as elders were not even Biblically qualified to be deacons.  Many such churches saw little, if any growth and development unless they had a pastor who happened to be a man of great strength, patience and ability to handle rebellion.

As a result, we have countless situations in which men who are not elders (and often not qualified to be such) viewing themselves as elders and even taking upon themselves the “responsibility” of telling the pastor what to do and how to do it.  In three of my pastorates, I experienced the complications of making this switch that the Bible never authorized or even envisioned.  In one church, the men involved were mostly men who would have qualified as elders anyway, in a second, the men made no attempt of any kind to give me anything but requested advice and prayer support, and in the third (and this just involved a handful of men), I simply ignored them and did what I believed the Lord would have done in most situations, but the “role change without a name change” caused trouble and consumed time that should have been devoted to other things)..

There is a relatively simple solution to this long-festering problem, but the first step may be the most difficult.  There needs to be careful, Biblically-supported preaching on God’s order for the church with a clear emphasis on the difference between elders and deacons and the roles of each.  Then, in the average church, the pastor can take about two-thirds of the description of the deacons in the church constitution, change the name of the category to elders and go about seeing to it by whatever means best or necessary that elders be selected, affirmed, etc., to do the work of elders and that deacons be required to do the Biblical work of deacons.  There would likely be a lot of screeching and screaming, but in the end, most of the self-appointed elders would either settle down or leave, new men could be appointed to do the actual work of the deacons, and the church might well take a giant leap forward in a variety of areas.  At least there would be some attention paid to the Biblical work of deacons.  Church politicians rarely have much, if any, concern for the poor, the sick, the needy and hurting.  Seeking power and control are hardly indications of the kind of compassion that the leaders of God’s church are supposed to exhibit.

[Lest this and other articles I have written lately be misunderstood, I am still deeply committed to strong pastoral leadership.  I do not believe that the pastor should be a dictator, have absolute power or bypass the will of the congregation on most important decisions.  I don’t even believe that the elders are to be an “accountability group” for the pastor - his accountability is to God, and he had better remember that.  I believe the elders should serve as counselors and advisors, to be those in whom he can confide when he needs a listening ear, those who can help him decide which matters and issues need to be brought to the congregation, etc.  I cannot conceive of myself acting against the best judgement of a group of godly men, but I would have no compunction whatever about doing so if I were convinced that the path I was following was one chosen of the Lord.  I think the congregation should vote on most matters of importance (if they are going to pay for it, they at least ought to have some say regarding it).  I believe the deacons should deal with benevolence and with those practices and concerns which would contribute to a church being known as a community and a place where there is genuine love and unity..  I don’t sense that I have made any basic changes in regard to what is discussed in this paragraph.]

- Dr. Charles Wood; South Bend, IN

36 thoughts on “The Problem with Too Many Church Boards…

  1. Rebekah

    I believe this problem is caused by the Baptist “God and Country” complex. They associate America as being founded by “godly men” and seem to believe that democracy is “the way of God”, the only way to govern, etc… even when it comes to a church setting, as opposed to Traditional Christianity which is a benevolent dictatorship regarding heirarchy. Baptists seem to think that the deacons are the judicial and legistative systems to the presidency of the pastor in a sense.

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  2. Rebekah

    Also, as far as deacon meaning “table servers”, ours are used to be just that, to be altar servers for Mass and to perform baptisms and wedding if needed. There is no such thing as a deacon board. It is an office of ordination that takes about 4 years of education to attain.

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  3. Cletis Titus

    I served in a ‘deacon possessed’ church as a staff member and also had a ‘demon deacon’ when I served as Pastor. In both cases they usurped authority that was not theirs and it was the responsibility of the Pastor and the congregation to remind them of their role in ministry. Many deacons control a church because ‘good members’ of the church remain silent. It’s time for the church to rise up along with the Pastor and bring the deacon/servant ministry back in line. So thankful for the many godly deacons I had during the years. May their tribe increase.

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  4. Jonathan Charles

    It is laughable that Rebekah is attacking the pastor/deacon model of many churches when the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church is absolutely unbiblical. There is no biblical grounds for the church at Rome exercising authority over all other churches, no grounds for a papacy-period! While the pastor/deacon model of polity might have its problems, look in the mirror sister! The RC church leadership failed miserably at dealing with pedophilia. They tried to rehab these guys, put them back in ministry with children, and when that didn’t work, they tried to hide these scandals “for the good of the Church” (per Cardinal Law in Boston). Until you can see the beam in your own eye, don’t point out the speck of sawdust in our eyes.

    The problem I have experienced in the pastor/deacon model of polity vs. having a group of elders is that many men are chosen to be deacons becasue of their standing in the business world, having money, or like the man in Dan’s old church-a retired Army officer, and yet the men do not have the requisite spiritual maturity.

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  5. Rebekah

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm –read carefully, please
    Here is your answer to the heirarchy/papacy issue.

    Also, pedophilia is not on the topic of the deaconate, but since you brought it up, I’ll discuss it:) Pedophiles love to be in trusted places so they can act out their evils without raising parental alarm. For instance, teachers, pastors, clergy, boy scout directors, babysitters, etc… They are sick individuals that have infultrated many places. Several decades ago, American psychology taught that pedophiles could be rehabilitated with counseling and the Church took this advice. Now, we know that this is an incurable deviency where leniency should never be allowed. Also, the arguement that celibacy causes these problems is faulty. The statistics show that most pedophiles follow this profile: married, and considers themself more religious than most, according to the American Psychological Association. What is mind-blowing is that the sex abuse is even worse in Protestant (including Baptist groups) Churches. http://www.suite101.com/content/sex-abuse-in-the-protestant-church-a268469 . Am I accusing you now of having a beam in your eye because of this information? No, I prefer fair debates:)

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  6. Jonathan God

    I could care less what the RC church teaches about polity, the Bible does not teach that there would be one man leading the church. The rock upon which the church is built is Peter’s confession, not Peter and his successors.

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  7. Jonathan Charles

    Even after the RC church knew pedophiles couldn’t be rehabbed as easily as they thought, they still covered up these crimes. Peggy Noonan took the church to task over this and was rebuked by Cardinal Law of Boston. He stated that things were done for the good of the church. So, it wasn’t just a matter of not understanding the severity of the problem of this temptation in a person’s life, it was a matter of sparing the church which is and was a shameful sin.

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  8. Ted

    Dan,

    Respectfully, I think that the view expressed in Dr. Wood’s article is more of the problem in churches than the solution. On the one hand, he recognizes that the two biblical offices are deacon and elder, the latter of which “includes pastors.” But if that is the case, I don’t understand most of he last paragraph of Dr. Wood’s article.

    *If the authority for leading the church is in the elders, then what is the basis for Dr. Wood’s “deep commitment to strong pastoral leadership”? Isn’t it the elders (plural), not the pastoral (singular), who should be exercising the strong leadership?

    * Why doesn’t Dr. Wood believe that the elders are an “accountability group” for the pastor. Dr. Wood declares that the pastor is accountable to God, which is certainly true, but that doesn’t negate accountability to earthly leaders as well. I am accountable to God, but I am also accountable to, for example, governmental leaders. So why isn’t the pastor, as only one of a plurality of elders, not accountable to the group as a whole?

    * Still further, why are the elders, in Dr. Woods’ view, only “counselors and advisors” to the pastor? This suggests that the pastor (singular) is the leader, and the elders are not the biblically ordained leaders but instead just advice-givers. This is unsupportable as a biblical matter. The question isn’t what the pastor wants to do after consulting with the elders, but rather what the elders as a group want the pastor to do in carrying out his role.

    * Finally, I find Dr. Woods’ statement that he would buck the judgment of the elders if he was “convinced that the path I was following was one chosen of the Lord.” Why is that permitted? Does every other church member get to do their own thing if they think the Lord is “calling” then to do other than the elders have directed? Of course not. The pastor, as one of a plurality of elders, is not more entitled to rebel.

    At the end of the day, Dr. Woods’ article reflects a pastoral attitude that refuses to submit to the God-ordained judgment of the elders of the church, instead elevating the singular pastor as the dictatorial authority unaccountable to the elders. In my experience, this is far more often the problem in the church then the “church board.”

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  9. Rebekah

    For some, that may have been the reason. I agree with you, and what they did in this sense was unacceptable. Whether or not it was merely to spare the Church, or because some of those that covered it up were equally corrupt in other ways, who knows. I do know it was evil and should have never have been condoned. However, this in no way disapproves actual Church doctrine in any way. Because some people of their own free-will choose evil, this doesn’t discredit the fact that this is still the Church instituted by Christ Himself. So, again, I really don’t understand how this is relevant to the discussion.

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  10. ben

    I would like to comment about Ted’s statement: “IN MY EXPERIENCE, this is far more often the problem in the church than the church board.” (Emphasis mine)

    I feel that most people ultimately fall back to a bad experience and find a theology that fits the experience. You are welcome to believe in the plurality of elders if the elders are qualified. I find that when people talk about a plurality of eldes what they mean is an untrained group of lay people telling the Pastor what to do. Most church people do not know how to run a church and as a result draw from their experiences as a Police officer, Latwyer, Doctor, Colonel or in Dans case all of the above. If we are to take Paul at his word the Elder/Pastor is to be “not a novice.” He is to have experience.

    People think they are experts at everything. The church is the last place for a novice. If you do not want one person making the decisions than spread the power around the Pastoral staff. This is where I would disagree with Dr. Wood. I don’t neccesarily think you should have one Senior Pastor that is in charge of everything. Its just my opinion though I can’t say it would be wrong to do this.

    Dan’s situation is interesting. At his Miami church you had a dictator Pastor. A group of deacons that had grown weary of his nepotistic and all-encompassing dictatorship and they decided to take things into their own hands. Thats when they fired the senior Pastor and began micromanaging Dan the iterim.

    The problem was these deacons were no more qualified to run a church than a Pastor is to perform a surgery. The Colonel that Dan spoke of was excellent at what he did in the military but he was not qualified to Pastor or be an Elder. These men were doing enormous damage. (to those who are criticizing the RC some of this damage manifested itself in petophilia) I have no problems with a plurality of elders what I have a problem with is underqualified deacons running a church they don’t understand.

    The church was not a law office, police station, or army batallion as the members of the deacon board treated it. It was a church. I was there. These men were saying things like “I was on the force 25 years” and then making demands as if being on the force some how qualified them to run the church. Today things are a mess.

    I wish they would have listened to a qualified Pastor and allowed them to be lead. It is obvious from scripture that those teaching the word should be leading. Its fine if that is more than one person. What is not OK is a group of unqualified people thinking they are the smartest in the room.

    Our legal system, Medical system, and School systems all have stringent requirements of experience and education that are never ignored. It seems that churches would do well to limit the leadership to a qualified pastor or board of Pastor/elders that has been to four years of college and then graduate school at the least.

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  11. Ted

    Ben,

    I find it a little odd that you criticize the last sentence of my comment referencing “my experience” when Dan’s original post begins with “what I went through” and your entire comment is based on yours and Dan’s experience in Miami.

    If you read my comment carefully, you will see that my theology is not based on my experience. Rather, I quite clearly identify that my theology, based on Scripture, is one of a plurality of elders. (You, by contrast, decline to state a theological position on the matter.) Then, I explain that, in my experience, the biggest problems a church experiences are when a pastor fails to adhere to the role that the plurality of elders doctrine requires, rather than from the “board’s” failure to adhere to its proper biblical role.

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  12. Marshall

    This type of pastor/deacon relationship has plagued churches for years. Unfortunately there is enough blame to go around on both sides of this issue. The only model we have is the Bible and it is perfectly clear that the pastor is to shepherd the flock, or lead the church in all matters. However, when personalities get involved it can become dysfuntional.

    Pastors can be dictatorial, easy going, complacent and many other things…but they are still the pastor. As laymen we are to pray for the pastor and allow God to deal with him as He sees fit. The Lord’s church is His Bride and make no mistake He will take care of His Bride.

    Personally I have served as a deacon in a medium sized Baptist church for 30 years. I have served 3 very different pastors, went through a relocation, debt free to in debt, but through it all the scripture tells us who is in charge. I have counseled, advised and even corrected on a few occassions, but always with respect for the man of God.

    A local New Testament church is a living breathing organism and as such can not have two heads. The pastor alone is accountable to God for his sheperding of the flock. That, quite frankly, is an awesome responsibility.

    I will be in prayer for the former church and all churches that have this problem. It can certainly stop any effectiveness for the cause of Christ.

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  13. Jonathan God

    Rebekah,

    I pointed out the scandal in the RC church to demonstate that all forms of church polity have their pros and cons. Most people think the RC church is run autocratically and that the pope will just put a stop to things that shouldn’t be taken place, but from the outside looking in, it seems so bureaucratic that it seems to take a very long time to deal with problems.

    I’m surprised that you acknowledge fallibility of the church and yet still think the RC church stands over Scripture. How can a fallible church stand over the infallible Scriptures?

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  14. Mark Standridge

    Dan, You are right. Served as a deacon in one church, downtown west palm. Went to two meetings of which they were running off the music man. The pastor was leading the attack and most of the deacons were following. The poor music man was not there to give any kind of account. I quit that evening. It is my understanding the church is still having the same issues, only different people. Frankly I hear all the arguements, see the pope like figure in the pulpit, the watch dog deacon, and conclude who needs a title to serve. I have been guilty of being to opinionated toward leadership. In return I missed the opportunity to help make a difference. I’m glad I finally see it now. I wonder those who write and talk about how to correct things may just be the problem, I know because I was one of them. Bad grammar but it makes my point. I know far less about people than I thought I knew some years ago..

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  15. Rebekah

    Jonathan,

    Your statements show how little you know of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church only claims infallibility in what is proclaimed ex cathedra. She never denies the free will of those within the Church.
    “The Vatican Council has defined as “a divinely revealed dogma” that “the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra — that is, when in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians he defines, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole Church — is, by reason of the Divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed in defining doctrines of faith and morals; and consequently that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of their own nature (ex sese) and not by reason of the Church’s consent” (Densinger no. 1839 — old no. 1680). For the correct understanding of this definition it is to be noted that:

    what is claimed for the pope is infallibility merely, not impeccability or inspiration (see above under I).
    the infallibility claimed for the pope is the same in its nature, scope, and extent as that which the Church as a whole possesses; his ex cathedra teaching does not have to be ratified by the Church’s in order to be infallible.
    infallibility is not attributed to every doctrinal act of the pope, but only to his ex cathedra teaching; and the conditions required for ex cathedra teaching are mentioned in the Vatican decree:
    The pontiff must teach in his public and official capacity as pastor and doctor of all Christians, not merely in his private capacity as a theologian, preacher or allocutionist, nor in his capacity as a temporal prince or as a mere ordinary of the Diocese of Rome. It must be clear that he speaks as spiritual head of the Church universal.
    Then it is only when, in this capacity, he teaches some doctrine of faith or morals that he is infallible (see below, IV).
    Further it must be sufficiently evident that he intends to teach with all the fullness and finality of his supreme Apostolic authority, in other words that he wishes to determine some point of doctrine in an absolutely final and irrevocable way, or to define it in the technical sense (see DEFINITION). These are well-recognized formulas by means of which the defining intention may be manifested.
    Finally for an ex cathedra decision it must be clear that the pope intends to bind the whole Church. To demand internal assent from all the faithful to his teaching under pain of incurring spiritual shipwreck (naufragium fidei) according to the expression used by Pius IX in defining the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Theoretically, this intention might be made sufficiently clear in a papal decision which is addressed only to a particular Church; but in present day conditions, when it is so easy to communicate with the most distant parts of the earth and to secure a literally universal promulgation of papal acts, the presumption is that unless the pope formally addresses the whole Church in the recognized official way, he does not intend his doctrinal teaching to be held by all the faithful as ex cathedra and infallible.
    It should be observed in conclusion that papal infallibility is a personal and incommunicable charisma, which is not shared by any pontifical tribunal. It was promised directly to Peter, and to each of Peter’s successors in the primacy, but not as a prerogative the exercise of which could be delegated to others. Hence doctrinal decisions or instructions issued by the Roman congregations, even when approved by the pope in the ordinary way, have no claim to be considered infallible. To be infallible they must be issued by the pope himself in his own name according to the conditions already mentioned as requisite for ex cathedra teaching.”

    Matthew 16:18
    “Thou art Peter (Kepha)”, said Christ, “and upon this rock (kepha) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Various attempts have been made by opponents of the papal claims to get rid of the only obvious and natural meaning of these words, according to which Peter is to be the rock-foundation of the Church, and the source of its indefectibility against the gates of hell. It has been suggested, for example, that “this rock” is Christ Himself or that it is Peter’s faith (typifying the faith of future believers), not his person and office, on which the Church is to be built. But these and similar interpretations simply destroy the logical coherency of Christ’s statement and are excluded by the Greek and Latin texts, in which a kind of play upon the words Petros (Petrus) and petra is clearly intended, and still more forcibly by the original Aramaic which Christ spoke, and in which the same word Kêpha must have been used in both clauses. And granting, as the best modern non-Catholic commentators grant, that this text of St. Matthew contains the promise that St. Peter was to be the rock-foundation of the Church, it is impossible to deny that Peter’s successors in the primacy are heirs to this promise — unless, indeed, one is willing to admit the principle, which would be altogether subversive of the hierarchial system, that the authority bestowed by Christ on the Apostles was not intended to be transmitted to their successors, and to abide in the Church permanently. Peter’s headship was as much emphasized by Christ Himself, and was as clearly recognized in the infant Church, as was the enduring authority of the episcopal body; and it is a puzzle which the Catholic finds it hard to solve, how those who deny that the supreme authority of Peter’s successor is an essential factor in the constitution of the Church can consistently maintain the Divine authority of the episcopate. Now, as we have already seen, doctrinal indefectibility is certainly implied in Christ’s promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church, and cannot be effectively secured without doctrinal infallibility; so that if Christ’s promise means anything — if Peter’s successor is in any true sense the foundation and source of the Church’s indefectibility — he must by virtue of this office be also an organ of ecclesiastical infallibility. The metaphor used clearly implies that it was the rock-foundation which was to give stability to the superstructure, not the superstructure to the rock.

    Matthew 16:18
    “Thou art Peter (Kepha)”, said Christ, “and upon this rock (kepha) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Various attempts have been made by opponents of the papal claims to get rid of the only obvious and natural meaning of these words, according to which Peter is to be the rock-foundation of the Church, and the source of its indefectibility against the gates of hell. It has been suggested, for example, that “this rock” is Christ Himself or that it is Peter’s faith (typifying the faith of future believers), not his person and office, on which the Church is to be built. But these and similar interpretations simply destroy the logical coherency of Christ’s statement and are excluded by the Greek and Latin texts, in which a kind of play upon the words Petros (Petrus) and petra is clearly intended, and still more forcibly by the original Aramaic which Christ spoke, and in which the same word Kêpha must have been used in both clauses. And granting, as the best modern non-Catholic commentators grant, that this text of St. Matthew contains the promise that St. Peter was to be the rock-foundation of the Church, it is impossible to deny that Peter’s successors in the primacy are heirs to this promise — unless, indeed, one is willing to admit the principle, which would be altogether subversive of the hierarchial system, that the authority bestowed by Christ on the Apostles was not intended to be transmitted to their successors, and to abide in the Church permanently. Peter’s headship was as much emphasized by Christ Himself, and was as clearly recognized in the infant Church, as was the enduring authority of the episcopal body; and it is a puzzle which the Catholic finds it hard to solve, how those who deny that the supreme authority of Peter’s successor is an essential factor in the constitution of the Church can consistently maintain the Divine authority of the episcopate. Now, as we have already seen, doctrinal indefectibility is certainly implied in Christ’s promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church, and cannot be effectively secured without doctrinal infallibility; so that if Christ’s promise means anything — if Peter’s successor is in any true sense the foundation and source of the Church’s indefectibility — he must by virtue of this office be also an organ of ecclesiastical infallibility. The metaphor used clearly implies that it was the rock-foundation which was to give stability to the superstructure, not the superstructure to the rock. ”
    (source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm)

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  16. Rebekah

    @ Jonathan God

    In response to your problem with the Mass being a propitiatory sacrifice is unfounded.
    The Mass is a Propitiatory Sacrifice:

    “One of the greatest difficulties Protestants have with the Catholic Church is the teaching that the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice. The Church does teach that the Mass is a real and true sacrifice, a sacrifice which propitiates for sins because it is the sacrifice of Christ who alone can make propitiation for sins. The idea that the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice is offensive to Protestants for three primary reasons. First, it seems to suggest that Christ’s offering on the cross was insufficient to save us from our sins. Second, because Christ is the victim in the sacrifice of the Mass, it seems to require Him to die again and again. Finally, another difficulty Protestants have is that the Scriptures clearly teach that Christ was sacrificed once for all (Heb 7:25-27, 9:24-26, 10:10-14). One thing to consider about this last objection is that the phrase ‘once for all’ is a shortened statement of one of two things. It could either mean once for all time, or it could mean once for all people. The phrase itself doesn’t specify. In fact, the adverb used here does not actually say once for all, but simply ‘once.’ Translators put “for all” in to clarify the statement, but it is really reading into the text. Nevertheless, it is still a troubling point for most Protestants.

    Bishop Fulton Sheen, a popular televangelist of the 1960s and 1970s, once said that there were not one hundred people in America who hated the Catholic religion, but there were countless who hated what they mistakenly thought the Catholic religion to be. If Catholicism really were what these people thought it was, he pointed out, Catholics would hate it too. This statement is especially significant here. Each of these objections is founded on a misunderstanding of what the Catholicism teaches about the Mass. This misunderstanding is that the Mass is a different sacrifice from the cross. In fact, it is not. The Mass is understood to be the very same sacrifice of the cross re-presented in a different manner. To read more on this from where I derived this info for you, check out:

    http://www.soladeiverbum.com/massmain.shtml

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  17. Jonathan God

    The whole RC system is built up on faulty exegesis of key passages. The rock upon which the church is built is Christ and closely connected to that is the confession Peter made about Christ. The church is built up as people make the confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. This fits with what Peter later wrote in 1 Peter 2:5-8, that believers are living stones built into God’s temple upon the cornerstone Jesus Christ. Jesus surely used a pun in speaking of a rock and Peter’s name (Petros), but he hardly identified Peter himself as the rock and it is a s–t–r–e–t–c–h to find apostolic succession in Jesus’ statement. Nothing in the way Peter was treated by the church in the first century shows that other Christians thought of Matthew 16:16-19 as referring to Peter himself as the rock. Peter was a supporting actor in the church’s first great controversy (the Jerusalem council in Acts 15). Paul records in Galatians that he had to severly rebuke Peter. The church at Rome over which Peter may have come to late in life simply didn’t not have organizational prominence over a wide number of churches scattered througout the world until Pope Gregory I (590-604). It is historically inaccurate to consider every man who may have ministered in the Christian church at Rome up to that point as someone over the whole church.

    I understand that the pope’s infallibility extends only to when he speaks “ex cathedra,” but, I’m sorry, the Bible promises no such inffallibility to anyone other than those who were channels for the inspiration of Scripture. Proof of the nonsense of papal infallibility are the recent 2 occasions (1854, 1950) of the Immaculate Conception and Mary’s Assumption. There isn’t a thread of Scripture to support either of those! The First Vatican Council announced anathemized anyone who rejected Papal Infallibility-well bring it on!

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  18. Jonathan Charles

    Rebekah, Hebrews 10 does say that the sacrifice Jesus made was once for all time. Look up the Gr. word “ephapax” in a Greek Lexicon (used in Heb. 10:10). You will find that the word speaks of something that once done has perpetual validity and never needs to be repeated. In addition to that, the sense of v. 14 clearly says that, “For by a single offering, He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (ESV). In between, Jesus is spoken of sitting at the right hand of God which, in the context (vv. 11-14) shows a contrast between the O.T. priests who stand because they need to repeat the same sacrifices over and over, but Jesus sits because His sacrifice is forever finished. It never needs to be re-presented.

    Reply
  19. Jonathan Charles

    You cut and pasted:

    One thing to consider about this last objection is that the phrase ‘once for all’ is a shortened statement of one of two things. It could either mean once for all time, or it could mean once for all people. The phrase itself doesn’t specify. In fact, the adverb used here does not actually say once for all, but simply ‘once.’ Translators put “for all” in to clarify the statement, but it is really reading into the text. Nevertheless, it is still a troubling point for most Protestants.

    The New Jerusalem Bible reads in Heb. 10:10 “once and for all”-all Bibles protestants would typically use say a similar thing. The writer of the article you cut from probably isn’t a translator and hasn’t looked carefully into what “ephapax” means.

    Reply
  20. Rebekah

    @Jonathan

    Your interpretation of what scripture means is honestly pretty meaningless to me. You have your interpretation, and the thousands of other protestant denominations have theirs. Sola Scriptura is a really an illogical thing to adhere to. Historically, as far as there not being clear historical evidence as to the pope ruling over the Churchs (Catholic Churches), you are mistaken.

    The List of Popes
    See also POPE, PAPAL ELECTIONS, ELECTION OF THE POPE.

    St. Peter (32-67)
    St. Linus (67-76)
    St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)
    St. Clement I (88-97)
    St. Evaristus (97-105)
    St. Alexander I (105-115)
    St. Sixtus I (115-125) Also called Xystus I
    St. Telesphorus (125-136)
    St. Hyginus (136-140)
    St. Pius I (140-155)
    St. Anicetus (155-166)
    St. Soter (166-175)
    St. Eleutherius (175-189)
    St. Victor I (189-199)
    St. Zephyrinus (199-217)
    St. Callistus I (217-22) Callistus and the following three popes were opposed by St. Hippolytus, antipope (217-236)
    St. Urban I (222-30)
    St. Pontain (230-35)
    St. Anterus (235-36)
    St. Fabian (236-50)
    St. Cornelius (251-53) Opposed by Novatian, antipope (251)
    St. Lucius I (253-54)
    St. Stephen I (254-257)
    St. Sixtus II (257-258)
    St. Dionysius (260-268)
    St. Felix I (269-274)
    St. Eutychian (275-283)
    St. Caius (283-296) Also called Gaius
    St. Marcellinus (296-304)
    St. Marcellus I (308-309)
    St. Eusebius (309 or 310)
    St. Miltiades (311-14)
    St. Sylvester I (314-35)
    St. Marcus (336)
    St. Julius I (337-52)
    Liberius (352-66) Opposed by Felix II, antipope (355-365)
    St. Damasus I (366-83) Opposed by Ursicinus, antipope (366-367)
    St. Siricius (384-99)
    St. Anastasius I (399-401)
    St. Innocent I (401-17)
    St. Zosimus (417-18)
    St. Boniface I (418-22) Opposed by Eulalius, antipope (418-419)
    St. Celestine I (422-32)
    St. Sixtus III (432-40)
    St. Leo I (the Great) (440-61)
    St. Hilarius (461-68)
    St. Simplicius (468-83)
    St. Felix III (II) (483-92)
    St. Gelasius I (492-96)
    Anastasius II (496-98)
    St. Symmachus (498-514) Opposed by Laurentius, antipope (498-501)
    St. Hormisdas (514-23)
    St. John I (523-26)
    St. Felix IV (III) (526-30)
    Boniface II (530-32) Opposed by Dioscorus, antipope (530)
    John II (533-35)
    St. Agapetus I (535-36) Also called Agapitus I
    St. Silverius (536-37)
    Vigilius (537-55)
    Pelagius I (556-61)
    John III (561-74)
    Benedict I (575-79)
    Pelagius II (579-90)
    St. Gregory I (the Great) (590-604)
    Sabinian (604-606)
    Boniface III (607)
    St. Boniface IV (608-15)
    St. Deusdedit (Adeodatus I) (615-18)
    Boniface V (619-25)
    Honorius I (625-38)
    Severinus (640)
    John IV (640-42)
    Theodore I (642-49)
    St. Martin I (649-55)
    St. Eugene I (655-57)
    St. Vitalian (657-72)
    Adeodatus (II) (672-76)
    Donus (676-78)
    St. Agatho (678-81)
    St. Leo II (682-83)
    St. Benedict II (684-85)
    John V (685-86)
    Conon (686-87)
    St. Sergius I (687-701) Opposed by Theodore and Paschal, antipopes (687)
    John VI (701-05)
    John VII (705-07)
    Sisinnius (708)
    Constantine (708-15)
    St. Gregory II (715-31)
    St. Gregory III (731-41)
    St. Zachary (741-52)
    Stephen II (752) Because he died before being consecrated, many authoritative lists omit him
    Stephen III (752-57)
    St. Paul I (757-67)
    Stephen IV (767-72) Opposed by Constantine II (767) and Philip (768), antipopes (767)
    Adrian I (772-95)
    St. Leo III (795-816)
    Stephen V (816-17)
    St. Paschal I (817-24)
    Eugene II (824-27)
    Valentine (827)
    Gregory IV (827-44)
    Sergius II (844-47) Opposed by John, antipope (855)
    St. Leo IV (847-55)
    Benedict III (855-58) Opposed by Anastasius, antipope (855)
    St. Nicholas I (the Great) (858-67)
    Adrian II (867-72)
    John VIII (872-82)
    Marinus I (882-84)
    St. Adrian III (884-85)
    Stephen VI (885-91)
    Formosus (891-96)
    Boniface VI (896)
    Stephen VII (896-97)
    Romanus (897)
    Theodore II (897)
    John IX (898-900)
    Benedict IV (900-03)
    Leo V (903) Opposed by Christopher, antipope (903-904)
    Sergius III (904-11)
    Anastasius III (911-13)
    Lando (913-14)
    John X (914-28)
    Leo VI (928)
    Stephen VIII (929-31)
    John XI (931-35)
    Leo VII (936-39)
    Stephen IX (939-42)
    Marinus II (942-46)
    Agapetus II (946-55)
    John XII (955-63)
    Leo VIII (963-64)
    Benedict V (964)
    John XIII (965-72)
    Benedict VI (973-74)
    Benedict VII (974-83) Benedict and John XIV were opposed by Boniface VII, antipope (974; 984-985)
    John XIV (983-84)
    John XV (985-96)
    Gregory V (996-99) Opposed by John XVI, antipope (997-998)
    Sylvester II (999-1003)
    John XVII (1003)
    John XVIII (1003-09)
    Sergius IV (1009-12)
    Benedict VIII (1012-24) Opposed by Gregory, antipope (1012)
    John XIX (1024-32)
    Benedict IX (1032-45) He appears on this list three separate times, because he was twice deposed and restored
    Sylvester III (1045) Considered by some to be an antipope
    Benedict IX (1045)
    Gregory VI (1045-46)
    Clement II (1046-47)
    Benedict IX (1047-48)
    Damasus II (1048)
    St. Leo IX (1049-54)
    Victor II (1055-57)
    Stephen X (1057-58)
    Nicholas II (1058-61) Opposed by Benedict X, antipope (1058)
    Alexander II (1061-73) Opposed by Honorius II, antipope (1061-1072)
    St. Gregory VII (1073-85) Gregory and the following three popes were opposed by Guibert (“Clement III”), antipope (1080-1100)
    Blessed Victor III (1086-87)
    Blessed Urban II (1088-99)
    Paschal II (1099-1118) Opposed by Theodoric (1100), Aleric (1102) and Maginulf (“Sylvester IV”, 1105-1111), antipopes (1100)
    Gelasius II (1118-19) Opposed by Burdin (“Gregory VIII”), antipope (1118)
    Callistus II (1119-24)
    Honorius II (1124-30) Opposed by Celestine II, antipope (1124)
    Innocent II (1130-43) Opposed by Anacletus II (1130-1138) and Gregory Conti (“Victor IV”) (1138), antipopes (1138)
    Celestine II (1143-44)
    Lucius II (1144-45)
    Blessed Eugene III (1145-53)
    Anastasius IV (1153-54)
    Adrian IV (1154-59)
    Alexander III (1159-81) Opposed by Octavius (“Victor IV”) (1159-1164), Pascal III (1165-1168), Callistus III (1168-1177) and Innocent III (1178-1180), antipopes
    Lucius III (1181-85)
    Urban III (1185-87)
    Gregory VIII (1187)
    Clement III (1187-91)
    Celestine III (1191-98)
    Innocent III (1198-1216)
    Honorius III (1216-27)
    Gregory IX (1227-41)
    Celestine IV (1241)
    Innocent IV (1243-54)
    Alexander IV (1254-61)
    Urban IV (1261-64)
    Clement IV (1265-68)
    Blessed Gregory X (1271-76)
    Blessed Innocent V (1276)
    Adrian V (1276)
    John XXI (1276-77)
    Nicholas III (1277-80)
    Martin IV (1281-85)
    Honorius IV (1285-87)
    Nicholas IV (1288-92)
    St. Celestine V (1294)
    Boniface VIII (1294-1303)
    Blessed Benedict XI (1303-04)
    Clement V (1305-14)
    John XXII (1316-34) Opposed by Nicholas V, antipope (1328-1330)
    Benedict XII (1334-42)
    Clement VI (1342-52)
    Innocent VI (1352-62)
    Blessed Urban V (1362-70)
    Gregory XI (1370-78)
    Urban VI (1378-89) Opposed by Robert of Geneva (“Clement VII”), antipope (1378-1394)
    Boniface IX (1389-1404) Opposed by Robert of Geneva (“Clement VII”) (1378-1394), Pedro de Luna (“Benedict XIII”) (1394-1417) and Baldassare Cossa (“John XXIII”) (1400-1415), antipopes
    Innocent VII (1404-06) Opposed by Pedro de Luna (“Benedict XIII”) (1394-1417) and Baldassare Cossa (“John XXIII”) (1400-1415), antipopes
    Gregory XII (1406-15) Opposed by Pedro de Luna (“Benedict XIII”) (1394-1417), Baldassare Cossa (“John XXIII”) (1400-1415), and Pietro Philarghi (“Alexander V”) (1409-1410), antipopes
    Martin V (1417-31)
    Eugene IV (1431-47) Opposed by Amadeus of Savoy (“Felix V”), antipope (1439-1449)
    Nicholas V (1447-55)
    Callistus III (1455-58)
    Pius II (1458-64)
    Paul II (1464-71)
    Sixtus IV (1471-84)
    Innocent VIII (1484-92)
    Alexander VI (1492-1503)
    Pius III (1503)
    Julius II (1503-13)
    Leo X (1513-21)
    Adrian VI (1522-23)
    Clement VII (1523-34)
    Paul III (1534-49)
    Julius III (1550-55)
    Marcellus II (1555)
    Paul IV (1555-59)
    Pius IV (1559-65)
    St. Pius V (1566-72)
    Gregory XIII (1572-85)
    Sixtus V (1585-90)
    Urban VII (1590)
    Gregory XIV (1590-91)
    Innocent IX (1591)
    Clement VIII (1592-1605)
    Leo XI (1605)
    Paul V (1605-21)
    Gregory XV (1621-23)
    Urban VIII (1623-44)
    Innocent X (1644-55)
    Alexander VII (1655-67)
    Clement IX (1667-69)
    Clement X (1670-76)
    Blessed Innocent XI (1676-89)
    Alexander VIII (1689-91)
    Innocent XII (1691-1700)
    Clement XI (1700-21)
    Innocent XIII (1721-24)
    Benedict XIII (1724-30)
    Clement XII (1730-40)
    Benedict XIV (1740-58)
    Clement XIII (1758-69)
    Clement XIV (1769-74)
    Pius VI (1775-99)
    Pius VII (1800-23)
    Leo XII (1823-29)
    Pius VIII (1829-30)
    Gregory XVI (1831-46)
    Blessed Pius IX (1846-78)
    Leo XIII (1878-1903)
    St. Pius X (1903-14)
    Benedict XV (1914-22) Biographies of Benedict XV and his successors will be added at a later date
    Pius XI (1922-39)
    Pius XII (1939-58)
    Blessed John XXIII (1958-63)
    Paul VI (1963-78)
    John Paul I (1978)
    John Paul II (1978-2005)
    Benedict XVI (2005—)
    About this page
    APA citation. The List of Popes. (1911). In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved October 13, 2010 from New Advent:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm (with this link, you can click on a biography of all of these popes and see for yourself whom they ruled and what they did.

    Also, there has to be an infallible source to understanding scriptures and an infallible source of dogma.

    You can clearly see from the Didache as well as writings from Justin Martyr, etc. that the earliest Christians, even before the Canon of the NT, believed in the Eucharist, The Mass, the perpetual virginity of Mary, etc…

    Also, your problems with Marian doctrine are in no way refuted in scripture. True, most of them are from “holding fast to oral tradition.” For more reading and scriptural references that add to the discussion please thoroughly read the following: http://www.catholic.com/library/Immaculate_Conception_and_Assum.asp

    http://www.catholic.com/library/Mary_Full_of_Grace.asp

    Reply
  21. Rebekah

    @ Jonathan:

    What you wrote here is exactly what the Church teaches about the Mass:

    “Hebrews 10 does say that the sacrifice Jesus made was once for all time. Look up the Gr. word “ephapax” in a Greek Lexicon (used in Heb. 10:10). You will find that the word speaks of something that once done has perpetual validity and never needs to be repeated.”

    Reply
  22. Jonathan God

    The article you cut and pasted on the Mass said that reading “once for all time in Heb. 10:10 is reading into the text. It is not, it is there and the reason it is is so believers will know that propitiatory sacrifices have come to an end, and a sound application of that is even one that attempts to re-present the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

    Have you ever read the Didache? It mentions nothing about transubstantiation or Mary.

    Reply
  23. Jonathan Charles

    The Didache mentions the Lord’s Supper, but certainly not any RC version of it. The problem with RC is that they cherry pick church history for statements that support their bad doctrine and neglect to acknowledge that the significant people/documents in church history do not speak with one voice on matters like the Lord’s Supper, Mary, the office of the pope, their faulty view of justification, etc.

    Reply
  24. Jonathan Charles

    The Didache mentions the Lord’s Supper, but it certainly speaks to nothing like the RC version of it. The problem with RC is that it cherry picks church history for people/statements that support their doctrine (mass, Mary, the office of pope, faulty view of justification [which, by the way, Martin Luther was saved after reading a comment of Augustine to the effect that the righteousness of Rom. 1:17 is the imputed righteousness of Christ to the sinner], etc.) but they ignore the people/statements that don’t support their faulty views.

    Reply
  25. Rebekah

    I have read the Didache many times. Also, the word used for baptism in scripture literally means to immerse or pour water over. In the Didache, it speaks of full immersion and pouring of water instead, if neccessary. Also, I never said the Didache itself talks of Mary or goes into descriptions of Transubstantiation. However, I did mention the early Church Fathers including Justin Martyr. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08580c.htm

    Also, historically protestants cannot show an unbroken line of their doctrinal beliefs. The ones that have been used in works such as “The Trail of Blood”, etc. are groups that were gnostics, and held little resemblence to modern day protestant beliefs. Also, Jonathan, you in no way have the ability to say that the RC is “cherry picking”, when you are using your “private interpretation” to conclude such things. Seriously, sola scriptura is a farce. Also, as far as Martin Luther and John Calvin are concernced, they also believed in infant baptism, and Luther upheld much of the Marian doctrines, which I hope you read about in the links provided previously.
    Also, the NT is clear on the means of salvation. It can’t be both imputed and infused justification. Yes, it is difficult to understand, thus another problem with the “me and my Bible” guys trying to thumb through to understand it on their own. No wonder their are so many denominations! The only view of Salvation that the Church upholds, is the view that has been defined ex-cathedra.

    Reply
  26. Jonathan Charles

    You’re trying to dance out of this, you clearly lumped the Didache in with Justin Martyr, etc. to support things the Didache never touches upon.

    I’d expect you to say Sola Scripture is a farce, based on Scripture alone much of what you believe can’t be supported.

    You’re plain of the reservation when you deny imputed righteousness. The bible clearly uses that language: Rom. 4:3-6, Gal. 3:6 (logizomai). But, what the bible clearly says is of little importance to you since you scorn the authority of Scripture.

    Reply
  27. Rebekah

    Sorry Jonathan,

    No lumping was made, at least not intentionally. And either way, it still in no way proves the Church wrong. Am I dancing, no, at least not until my kids are in bed for the night, then perhaps I may get in some exercise. The only one dancing is you. You have no scriptural bases for sola scriptura and you have been dancing from topic to topic to topic. Imputed righteousness is not taught in scripture, otherwise, scripture contradicts itself. Do I scorn scripture? Never!!! However, Scripture and Oral Teaching from the magesterium are equally binding. Again, the Bible is the Church’s book. I do however deny Your authority to interpret scripture. Not because I think you are non-intelligent, but because it should be done by the Church, “the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth.”

    Reply
  28. Jonathan God

    Your MO is to ignore Scripture. You have not attempted at all to give any sense of the passages I have brought before you: Rom. 4:3-6, Gal. 3:6 (logizomai-means “to impute”). You just wave a wand and say “The Bible doesn’t teach imputation” when it is in Scripture. Your church contorts Scripture to try sqeeze out false beliefs and yet something that is simply and straightforwardly stated, you just deny.

    Reply
  29. Rebekah

    “Has any Catholic theologian ever contested that dikaiow and its derivatives are totally void or incapable of being used in a legal sense? No, never. There were various instances in which the Greeks used the word in legal contexts. Paul could have done the same thing, if he desired to do so. But that just begs the question: DID he do so? Take the word “marriage,” for example. Is that a legal term or a personal term? It can be either, depending on the context in which it is placed. When applying for a marriage license, or when in divorce court, the word “marriage” becomes very legal, does it not? But when a husband loves his wife (as opposed to merely giving her food, clothing and shelter) is “marriage” merely a legal term? No, certainly not. It takes on a whole new meaning that law knows nothing about, for law can’t love. Only people who make a personal commitment of trust and care can love each other.

    In the same way, Protestants think that just because they can find some examples where Greek culture used dikaiow in a legal sense that this automatically allows them to conclude that Paul is using it thusly, and, in fact, is confined to such a meaning in the New Testament. It is the all-or-nothing meaning that Protestants attempt to assign to dikaiow that is the problem. They tell us that it can ONLY refer to legal matters, and thus Paul is forced to use it forensically. But they have never proven this. They have never shown that dikaiow has such an exclusive meaning in Greek, nor have they produced a clear passage of Scripture which shows that Paul used dikaiow forensically, and only forensically. What they have done is give a lot of misinformation about dikaiow and Paul’s use of the term in the New Testament, not the least of which is Dr. Horton’s attempt below.

    The verbal ending of dikaiow is declarative; if the biblical writers intended by “justification” a process of moral transformation, there is a perfectly good verbal ending for that sort of thing in Greek: adzo rather than ow. For instance, “to make holy” is translated from the Greek verb, “hagiodzo,” and this word is never rendered “to justify.” When the biblical writers refer to justification, they use the declarative ending; when they refer to sanctification, they use the progressive ending. If it is good enough of a distinction for the biblical writers themselves, surely we should have not trouble with the Bible’s own language.

    6) Although Protestants have touted the ow ending as being exclusively forensic, the reality is that this is simply not true. We can find disproof for Dr. Horton’s contention in one of the very Protestant sources Dr. Horton admires. Philip Schaff, for example, says “Modern exegesis has justified this view of dikaiow and dikaiowsis, according to Hellenistic usage.” and then Schaff makes the admission: “.although etymologically the verb may mean to make just, i.e., to sanctify, in accordance with verbs in ow (e.g., delow, phanerow, tuphow, to make manifest, etc.” (History of the Christian Church, Vol. VII, f. 2, p. 123).

    A study of these three NT words confirms Schaff’s admission. The word delow appears seven times in the epistles, all of which denote a recognition of an actual manifestation (e.g., 1 Cor 3:13; Col 1:8); phenerow appears fifty times, denoting the same (e.g., 1 Cor 4:5; 1 Tim 3:16); tuphow is used three times, referring to an actual blindness (John 12:40).

    We also have the witness of M. J. LaGrange stating: “First, we should not that verbs in ow mean to make whatever the root indicates. Thus dikaiow would properly mean “make just” (La Justification selon saint Paul, RB 1914, 121, cited by C. Spicq, Theological Lexicon of the New Testament, 1995, 1:341).

    Protestants attempt to defend their forensic use of dikaiow by appealing to equally dubious definitions of associated words. For example, Protestants attempt to support an exclusively forensic meaning to dikaiow by appealing to the Greek word logizomai, normally translated as “credited” or “reckoned” in modern translations (cf., Romans 4:3). As taken from pages 324-325 of NBFA, here is what happens when they do so:

    “This matter concerns the use of the Greek word logizomai, translated as ‘reckoned,’ ‘credited,’ ‘accepted,’ ‘counted,’ ‘considered.’.Protestant exegesis, especially that of Romans 4 where the Greek word logizomai appears twelve times, has consistently understood the word in the sense of ‘credited.’.Abraham is understood as one who has ‘something to his credit’ so that when God looks at his ledger book, as it were, he sees that, in accounting terms, Abraham is in the black.

    Evangelical Joel Beeke comments on this verb:

    ‘This verb most often indicates ‘what a person, considered by himself, is not, or does not have, but is reckoned, held or regarded to be, or to have. It is clear then that when Abraham was justified by his faith, the righteousness which was reckoned or ‘charged to his account’ was a righteousness not his own but that of another, namely, the righteousness of Christ.’

    Unfortunately, Beeke presents a false premise which leads a false conclusion. First, the Greek verb logizomai does not ‘most often indicate’ what someone or something is merely ‘considered’ to be but is not so in reality. The New Testament uses logizomai 41 times. Most of these refer to what someone is thinking as a mental representation of the reality they are witnessing (cf., Luke 22:37; Rom 3:28; 6:11; 9:8; 1 Cor 4:1; 13:5, 11; Phil 3:13; 4:8; Heb 11:19, et al). Contrary to Beeke’s proposition, in only a few instances is logizomai used as a mental representation of something that does not exist in reality (cf., Rom 2:26; 2 Cor 12:6).

    Hence, the preponderant evidence shows that logizomai denotes more of what is recognized or understood intrinsically of a person or thing than a mere crediting to the person or thing something that is not intrinsic to it. In the case of Abraham, we can then understand the phrase “his faith is reckoned as righteousness” in Romans 4:3 such that God is recognizing or viewing Abraham’s faith as righteousness.This is very different from saying, as Beeke claims, that God ‘credited’ Abraham with righteousness as if to say that Abraham was not really showing any righteous qualities when he demonstrated his faith but that God, because of the alien righteousness of Christ, merely gave him the label of righteousness.’

    I recommend to the reader that he consult pages 324-354 in Not By Faith Alone to see all the arguments refuting the contention of Dr. Horton that dikaiow is exclusively forensic.

    For more reading on this and to answer anymore questions on the topic, read this entire article (http://www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/dialogs/justification/horton-rebutal3.htm)

    Reply
  30. Jonathan Charles

    As with the previous thread, this will be my last post to this thread:

    1. The Christian church at the time of Nicaea wasn’t under the head of any one bishop. The church as a whole, at that time did not embrace the papacy. The church was universal (Catholic) then as it is today-the body of Christ is made up of those who have been united to Christ by the Holy Spirit. But by 325 A.D. there was no wolrd-wide recognized ROMAN Catholic church. By the way, the first council of Nicaea didn’t deal with baptism or the Lord’s Supper.

    2. The word “Trinity” is not in the Bible. You are being silly when you say, “I don’t find the exact words ‘salvation by faith alone’ in the Bible,” when that is clearly the meaning of Rom. 1:17 and Rom. 3:28. I don’t expect you to interact with those text; just wave your magic wand and wish them away.

    3. As far as dikaioō is concerned, plug the meaning “to make righteous” into these text:

    Luke 7:29 “justified God…”-There is clearly means “to declare God to be righteous” and not “to make righteous” for one cannot make God righteous.

    An O.T. text like Dt. 25:1 speaks of a judges responsibility to “justify the righteous and condemn the wicked.” Does a judge make a person internally righteous or simply declare them to be righteous? Does a judge make a defendant internally wicked or just make a declaration? There are about half a dozen other O.T. texts that show this same thing.

    Rom. 8:33-34, “Who shall bring anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God Who justifies; who is to condemn?” Justification and condemnation are set opposite to one another, they are opposites. To condemn certainly doesn’t mean to “make a person internally sinful” it is a legal declaration. The same is true of justification.

    Rebekah, there are simpy to many lines of support for justification being a declaration of righteosness. You cut and past one article which acknolwedges that dikaioō can mean a legal declaration but call into question whether it means that in every case and you think you have sealed the deal. Such a meaning “to make internally rightoeus” simply won’t work in light of the context and sense of the above verses.

    You also have not answered how Paul felt his teaching on justification would open him up to the accusation of teaching something that could allow God’s grace to be abused by an antinomian approach to God’s law (Rom. 5-6). Paul’s answer in Rom.6 was not that he had been misunderstood but to show how sanctification is inextricably linked to justification, yet it is not the same thing (if this is what Paul meant, that justification and sanctification were the same thing, that would have been the explanation he gave).

    4. As far as logizomai is concerned, your case falls apart when you read all of Romans 4. The passage makes clear that God isn’t recognizing what is intrinsically true of a person. Rom. 4:5 speaks of God justifying the ungodly on the basis of faith which, since Paul speaks repeatedly of the one who “doesn’t work” and being “apart from works,” Paul did not consider faith a righteous act that merited justification.

    Jonathan Edwards on Rom. 4:5: “God, in the act of justification has not regard to anything in the person justified, as godliness or any goodness in him, but that immediately before this act, God beholds him only as an ungodly creature; so that godliness in the person to be justified is not so antecedent to his justification as to be the grounds of it.

    In case you’re not getting it: Rom. 4:5 doesn’t speak of God justifying the godly, but the ungodly. This runs contrary to Catholic teaching stated above that God is recognizing a person as righteous because he is righteous.

    5. Finally, read this article (it’s Catholic): http://blog.adw.org/2010/10/pondering-permissiveness-and-attitude-toward-pre-marital-sex-in-the-church-what-the-data-shows/

    It is from the archdiocese of D.C. In the history of the debates about justification one false charge made has been that justification by faith alone through grace alone by Christ alone leads to antinomianism. Yet, there is a 20-25% gap between weekly attending Protestants and Catholics on the question of pre-marital sex. Of course, I’m sure we both wish the question was answered with a 100% response. But you, as a Catholic, have got a problem to struggle with here. Why do Protestants (the Msgr. who wrote the article guesses the Protestants surveyed are conservative evangelicals) take less of an antinomian approach to sex as faithfully-attending Catholics? It doesn’t seem to me that many faithfully-attending Catholics (nearly 70%!) are too worried about doing their part in the process of salvation.

    I have given you an answer on the N.T. works passages, I have answered James 2. You have side-stepped Rom. 1:17, the whole latter part of Rom. 3, Paul’s understanding that his teaching on jutification would open him to the charge that God’s grace can be abused, Rom. 8:1, that justification and condemnation are opposites and, therefore, both legal declarations.

    I don’t know what turned you away from the truth. Maybe you had to marry into the RC church. Maybe you suffered at the hands of evangelicals who didn’t know what they were talking about. I trust your hope is entirely in Christ and what He accomplished in His cross-death and resurrection 2,000 years ago.

    I’ve enjoyed our back-and-forth on this thread, maybe we’ll bump into each other on another of Dan’s threads, but when you’ve come back to points that have been made earlier and still haven’t been responded to, at that point the conversation is dead on its feet.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  31. Jonathan Charles

    In Rom. 4:3, Paul is quoting Gen. 15:6. There, the construction is ‘chashab’ [to reckon, credit] plus the preposition ‘for’. Every other time this construction is used in the O.T. it speaks of something being credited to someone’s account. In Lev. 7:18 it is the benefit of a person’s sacrifice not being credited to an individual. In 2 Sam. 19:20 it is a Shimei asking David not to credit to him the legal status of guilt for sin. By the way, the Heb. ‘chasab’ is translated by ‘logizomai’ in the LXX (Greek O.T.).

    In light of this, Gen. 15:6 and Rom. 4:3 clearly speak of God accounting to Abraham a righteousness that did not inherently belong to him.

    I know you just believe what your church tells you, but it would do you some good to struggle with these texts.

    It has been good conversing with you; catch up with you later on some other thread.

    Reply
  32. Rebekah

    Jonathan,

    I’m not being silly to say that you don’t find the words for “faith alone” in scripture, in order to adhere to such doctrine. Actually you do find these words together in James 2:24, where is says that justification is “not by faith alone.” Ouch! You keep coming back with things that have already been answered. Again, you are using your human intellect alone to decipher sacred script. I guess its good that you know how to read, because up until more recently in history, many couldn’t. Sola Scriptura back then had to have been even more comical then, than it is now. I’m jesting, sola scriptura didn’t exist then, thank goodness. It would have been an illiterate circus.
    You really make many presumptions considering me as a person. No, I did not become Catholic to get married. I could have married elsewhere or not gotten married at all. Also, I’m not some panty waste who’s only goal in life was to marry. Its typically protestants that think marriage makes a person whole, thus some of their problems with clerical celibacy.
    Also, your pre-marital sex survey, shows one thing and one thing only. Many Catholics are non-practicing, meaning, they are not in full communion with the Church due to living a life in mortal sin. I’m sure even more Catholics are using contraception within married life as well, which is an equal abomination.
    This in no way makes the doctrines of the Church null and void, and to presuppose such an idea, is ridiculous. It just means that there are a lot of idiots that want to identify themselves with something great, but want to live a life full of sin. I’m glad more protestants are avoiding pre-marital sex, I wish more avoided contraception as well.
    Also, even though you have at minimum had your arguments regarding imputed righteousness proven wrong over and over, I am not going to keep doing the “sword drills” with you. I want you to think through this logically. You have your interpretations, I have the Church’s. The problem is, the Church has been around for about two thousand years. Your interpretations of scripture regarding imputed righteousness has only been around for a few hundred. I challenge you to show historically a group who has adhered to your form of Christianity through the ages. I argue that you can’t. I know, I tried to for two years and came up empty-handed. There comes a point where one has to be logical about the issue, not just emotional because we may have been wrong all along. It hurts the pride and makes one feel odd and deceived, but it is what it is. I’m speaking from experience.
    As far as sidestepping your “verses”, I proved them wrong by showing how your false proof of imputation is just that, false, because a few verses or chapters later, the same book will go into detail going directly contrary your whimsy of imputed righteousness. So, what are you saying, its both? I know you want me to “struggle” with the texts you provided, however, I did that about 6 years ago, and had to struggle even more to break free from the deception of protestantism.

    Reply

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