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Sunday, January 30, 2011

private judgment

As seen from Theologica. (I only used the initials of the person in this one)


R. N. said:

"Context, Jnorm.... context, context, context. No sentence nor paragraph is an island. Foremost rule of hermenuetics and all, but maybe that is foreign to your group, I dunno."

I quoted what I did for a reason. You were denying private judgement in regards to Sola Scriptura. As if it had nothing to do with the issue. It obviously has something to do with it.

Also if you read the first page of this thread then you would know that I am aware of what Keith A. Mathison calls Sola Scriptura vs Solo Scriptura. And yes, I will stick by what I said in regards to how I think Sola can easily slide into Solo.

Why?

The issue of private judgment. All the ancient stuff that I hold too.....including the creeds.......will only be accepted by you if you think they are Scriptural. We all know that you are free to pick and choose what pieces of the ancient creeds you like. Do you believe in Baptismal Regeneration? Probably not......and yet you may think you hold to Constantinople 1. Do you believe the Father to be Monarch? Probably not.......and yet you might think you hold to the First council (Nicaea).

Now Why do I say this?

Because you might have the common excuse or cop out of saying "well I don't think this part of the creed is Scriptural, and so I'm not going to accept it".

A full Preterist protestant can say the samething about the part of the creed in regards to the 2nd Advent. They can use the same cop out. The same excuse......the same argument. Not only that, but a number of other protestants can as well. It just all depends on the issue they personally disagree with. Yeah, you all will talk as if you believe some of the ancient creeds, and ancient faith, but when the push comes to shove, you will pick and choose based on what you think is biblical or not. There are some Reformed who are serious about some of the ancient creeds.....like Federal Vision, NPP, Auburn Ave and company, and some of the more high Lutherans, and Anglicans. But a number of Reformed and Calvinistic Baptists don't like these folks and what they are about. And so what does this tell you in the area about embracing the ancient creeds, and ancient faith as subordinate authorities? It should tell you that it's a bunch of lip service! Yeah, there is a distinction between Sola and Solo, but when push comes to shove, Sola can fold into Solo.

This is why I focused on the quote that I did from Charles Hodge.

Why?

Because ultimately it will come down to that issue. And you know it!

R. N. quoted:

Hodge (the paragraphs immediately prior to your quote):

"It is not denied that the Scriptures contain many things hard to be understood; that they require diligent study; that all men need the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to right knowledge and true faith. But it is maintained that in all things necessary to salvation they are sufficiently plain to be understood even by the unlearned."


What does this have to do with what I quoted from Charles Hodge? I already mentioned the idea of essential doctrines (even if you nor any protestant can 100%ly agree on what the essentials are) in regards to the issue of Sola Scripura in this thread.

You also quoted this from Hodge:

"It is not denied that the people, learned and unlearned, in order to the proper understanding of the Scriptures, should not only compare Scripture with Scripture, and avail themselves of all the means in their power to aid them in their search after the truth, but they should also pay the greatest deference to the faith of the Church. If the Scriptures be a plain book, and the Spirit performs the functions of a teacher to all the children of God, it follows inevitably that they must agree in all essential matters in their interpretation of the Bible. And from that fact it follows that for an individual Christian to dissent from the faith of the universal Church (i. e., the body of true believers), is tantamount to dissenting from the Scriptures themselves."


John Calvin felt free to deny the Eternal Generation of the Son. Now I could be wrong, but I think Charles Hodge agreed with him. I don't know about you, but I would call the doctrine of the Trinity an essential. I would also call the first two councils ecumenical....or universal. And not only that, Charles Hodge fought against John Williamson Nevin (Mercersburgh Theology).

I could be wrong, but I think the Mercersburgh group was serious in regards to the area of what you quoted from Hodge. Not only that, but I think they were headed in the right direction. And so what does Hodge really mean? He obviously didn't mean what the Mercersburgh group meant! He obviously didn't mean what I believe and hold too! And so the part I quoted from Hodge was appropriate.

For at the end of the day, the right of private judgment is what it will really come down to. If you are fighting against the ancient Faith, it is because of Private judgment/conscience of what you think is biblical.....etc.


R. N. said: "Call me crazy, Jnorm, but I don't think Hodge meant what you think he meant. Private interpretation, as you have been touting it, is that anyone can come to any conclusion that anyone deems valid when reading Scripture and that that interpretation is just as valid as the next (which, I believe, is why you erroneously conflate anti-trinitarian cults with protestantism). Except, the thing is, even this authority that you claim to use in understanding Sola Scriptura rejects that very notion (see the last three sentences I underlined)."


I will stick by what I said. Is Baptismal Regeneration an essential issue? I can go on and on and on! At the end of the day, your subjective veto power to disagree with the ancient creeds and Faith is what it will come down to. When everyone has that veto power then you will wind up with thousands of different competing groups.


R. N. said: "Because it appears too hard to grasp, I'll explain Hodge's explanation is simple terms:
On matters necessary to come to, and maintain, the true, catholic faith - Scripture is plain."


This is subjective. And if you can't see the subjectivity in this, then I'm sorry, but I can't help you. Yes, I do understand what Charles Hodge said. I just know that protestants can't 100%ly agree on matters necessary to come to, and maintain, the true catholic faith. Now why would I quote that part if I know protestants don't 100%ly agree on what is and isn't essential? Thus, what I quoted from Hodge was appropriate.


R. N. said: "All men are encouraged, and required, to read the Scriptures. In their study they should come to the same conclusion, that is the true faith. If they do not, they are dissenting against the Scriptures. On the tougher things, Scripture remains the final authority, and all men should study the Scripture. In their study they should compare Scripture to Scripture as well as pay deference to the faith of the church."



Most of what you said up above is subjective. I mean, why aren't you a Lutheran? Why aren't all protestants Lutherans? Yet, you are upset that I quoted something that really mattered. The reason why you aren't Lutheran is because you have the right(private judgment) not to be, based on how you understand Scripture.

That's it in a nutshell! And so, once again. At the end of the day, it will come down to the issue of private judgment.


R. N. said: "What we deny, as Hodge points out in the out of context section that you quote, is that any man or men hold authority over us higher than Scripture. Scripture binds us, not the judgment of men."


It wasn't out of context. The issue of private judgment is linked to the issue of Sola Scripture.


R. N. said: "Not our own judgement (where's Daniel's head to wall gif?), for there is the possibility of error, but Scipture (our own discretion is dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit - as Hodge also points out but you've appeared to miss). And then Hodge goes on to explain why - by providing Scriptural reference, no less."



I didn't miss it. I am a former Baptist protestant, and so I know about the individual being guided by the Holy Spirit in understanding God's word. I didn't include that because the Holy Spirit isn't the author of confusion. You don't blame the Holy Spirit for the mess we have today.

No, what you blame is the part I quoted and highlighted from Hodge. That is what you blame. For that is the problem. Now in saying this I do recognize that other protestants will state the issue of private judgment differently, but not all protestants do that.

Also, even when they do state the issue differently, it's not like I believe them. For they are not being honest about the issue. They are just trying to hide the fact that they are the ones that have the last say. Thus, they are using Scripture as a smoke screen.....something to hide behind.

12 comments:

Lvka said...

There's also something else Protestants don't get:

the faith that has been passed on is just that: the faith that has been *passed on*.

It's not like the belief in free will, for instance, was the arbitrary interpretation of some majority-vote of early [or later] Christians: it's simply what they got from the lips of the Apostles.

They didn't just arbitrarily decide this on their own, based on some ad-hoc majority vote.

Drake Shelton said...

Jnorm,
You said,
"It just all depends on the issue they personally disagree with. Yeah, you all will talk as if you believe some of the ancient creeds, and ancient faith, but when the push comes to shove, you will pick and choose based on what you think is biblical or not."

I agree with you. Most of the Protestants I talked to when I was studying the hypostatic union said they all believed the hypostatic union as the ecu councils constructed it and then I started pointing out the soteriological and iconographical consequences to taking the wording in councils 6 and 7 especially the human nature being deified in the Godhead, and they still won't give me an answer, it was clear they never read those documents. American protestantism stinks and they deserve to be embarassed.

"John Calvin felt free to deny the Eternal Generation of the Son. Now I could be wrong, but I think Charles Hodge agreed with him. I don't know about you, but I would call the doctrine of the Trinity an essential."

Loraine Boettner in his Studies in Theology did as well. It's a complete scandal and I blame it on the Reformation's lack of a philosopher at the time. I affirm the eternal generation of the Son and I know many so called "Reformed" people who deny it as well. It's shameful and embarassing.

" at the end of the day, the right of private judgment is what it will really come down to. If you are fighting against the ancient Faith, it is because of Private judgment/conscience of what you think is biblical.....etc."


And at the end of the day, when the fathers disagree, your belief is based on what you think is apostolical.

"When everyone has that veto power then you will wind up with thousands of different competing groups."

This is only true in pluralist nations. In Scotland, Geneva and some of the early colonies it was not so.

The problem I have with Hodge's view is that salvation is not the priority of the Scripture. Theology Proper, Christology and Worship are logically first. Protestantism will never come to union until they annoint a philosopher. What is God, what is truth, what is knowledge, what is salvation, participation in God etc.

Drake Shelton said...

The fact is, there is no greater uniformity in doctriune than in the scottish puritan writers in the 16th and 17th century for comprehensiveness of theology and uniformity of practice and liturgy.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

Some Calvinist theologians may have rejected the eternal generation of the Son, but I don't believe Calvin did. I'm Lutheran, so I've no particular interest in defending Calvin, I'm more interested in accuracy in representing others' views.

Lucian,
Your reference to "Protestants" is too general, you really need to distinguish between different confessions to be accurate. A Baptist is a long way from a Lutheran, for e.g. Lutherans believe in the apostolic deposit of faith, we just don't believe that Orthodox reflects it in every facet.

For the Tsar Martyr said...

I don't know if Calvin explicitly rejected EG, but I am quite sure he did. In any case, his doctrine of the Son as autotheos certainly points to that conclusion.

JNorm,
Great post. One question I am wrestling with. I, too, reject private judgment but am I not using private judgment when, upon reading both Roman and Orthodox texs, I decide the Orthodox faith is correct?

This is the quandary I am in.

Lvka said...

And at the end of the day, when the fathers disagree, your belief is based on what you think is apostolical.


No. We're bound to believe in the patristic consensus (which is not the same as unanimity).

Lvka said...

am I not using private judgment when, upon reading both Roman and Orthodox texs, I decide the Orthodox faith is correct?


Not really. (See my comment on that post/page).

Drake Shelton said...

Jnorm

I want the quote on Calvin and the eternal generation. I am not persuaded he rejected it upon further reflection. Boetnner did for sure.

I must agree with the lutheran here. When you were a baptist did you believe that the pope was the Antichrist? If not then by definition you were not a protestant you were an anabaptist.

Jnorm said...

Thanks Fr. Henderson for the correction. Whenever possible I will try and trace the quotes of some of the modern Reformed detractors, just to see where in the Reformed tradition they are getting this from.

Jnorm said...

Drake Shelton,

It's gonna take time for me to find where some of the other Reformed are getting this from.

As far as what I believed about the bishop of Rome back when I was a Baptist. Well, I was a dispy back then. I got the dispy view from the radio preachers. And the old Left behind films from the late 1960's to early 1980's.

Drake Shelton said...

Well, like you and every other eastern convert from "protestantism", I reject that you left Protestantism. You were never in it in my opinion.

Jnorm said...

Drake,


Some Baptists believe they are protestant, while other Baptists believe they are not. The congregation I grew up in was split. Some believed they came from John the Baptist, while others knew better and believed they were protestants.

Most American Baptists are protestants(generically speaking) from the English separatist strain. Mostly from the particular English Baptist groups that had it's start or beginning around the 1640's.

I was raised Baptist, but I became Episcopal, and then after that I became Orthodox. But yes, you are right. I was probably never a protestant depending on how you define the term "protestant". Even when I was Episcopal, I joined an Anglo-Catholic Parish, and so yes, I guess one could say I was never a protestant.

Some Lutherans may also reject to the term "protestant". It all depends on who defines the term.

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