P (Roman Catholic) Rebuts J's Answers
See J's Answers HERE
P's Rebuttal to J's Answer (1)
My first question asked "Where is the visible Catholic Church?" Since here I am ASKING the questions and not answering them I will not answer all the counter questions J asks. I will only rebut J's response to my direct question.
<< I reject P's claim that he's proven that the Christian church is all that he describes it as in his question. >>
Anyone can see the evidence I have marshalled in my opening statement and rebuttals. The Church is as I have described: one universal visible Church. The Bible teaches it and Evangelicals/Protestants admit it (Craig Van Gelder, Norm Geisler, AJ Mason, Pelikan, JND Kelly, etc). We would disagree on the extent of the later authority of that visible Church (i.e. infallibility), but no one denies it was a visible concrete Church in history, and the Church that taught through the apostles was infallible.
As for Matthew 18:17 and John 16:13 -- J did not give me much there except "no church of any type existed" at the time Jesus spoke these words. Granted, what became the visible Church (or assembly, the "called out" ones) was given birth at Pentecost (Acts 2). By the later 1st and early 2nd century the Church that Jesus predicted to be built on Peter (Matt 16:18; 18:17) clearly was a universal visible Church led by bishops just as it was led by apostles earlier. That was the only visible Church that existed: a hierarchical, sacramental, concrete Church in history. That is the only Church with Jesus' authority that could be "listened to" (Matt 18:17; 28:18-20; Luke 10:16) and forever guided by the Holy Spirit into all the truth (John 14:16f; 16:13).
<< I would think there were Christians in Eastern Orthodox churches, Waldensian churches, Donatist churches, and other organizations that predated the Reformation. Do I have to have a list of who was a Christian and who wasn't in order to believe that there were Christians prior to the Reformation? >>
The visible Christian church (historically "the Catholic Church") is not "the elect" only. There is a fatal misunderstanding/confusion of terminology here. By "who was a Christian" J means "the elect" (the "saved" who will be in heaven). The Church is not "the elect" only. By "the Catholic Church" the Fathers and Creeds clearly did not mean only "the saved who will be in heaven." They meant the one historical hierarchical Church led by bishops throughout the known world.
J says since "we have no record of who was saved" in the OT or in the history of Christianity, etc therefore we don't or can't know what is the true Church. But that is a misunderstanding of the nature of the Church. Who is ultimately "saved" (the elect who will be in heaven) is not co-extensive (equated) with the Church. The Church includes the elect but is not equated with merely the elect. The biblical and historical Church believed clearly those who were baptized (either sacramentally or by desire) were brought into the visible Church; they were "saved" at that point. This doesn't mean they could not fall away later, but at Baptism they were in the visible Church. So whoever was baptized (either as an infant or adult) was "saved," was a member of the Catholic Church. That is how the historic Church answered the question "who is a Christian?"
In short, the true Church is not merely "the elect." As I said from the beginning, that is our major disagreement.
J jumps from the Eastern Orthodox, to the Waldenses (12th, 13th century), to the Donatists (4th, 5th century). All of these groups held to one visible Church concept as I have described; the minor difficulty is figuring out which of these is the true visible Church since there can be only ONE true visible Church (I have shown only the Orthodox and Catholics qualify as reasonable candidates). The Waldenses were quite "Roman Catholic" in their beliefs and only later rebelled against the historic Church by joining the Protestant Reformation, see the evidence here
<< I see the church more in individuals like Athanasius, John Wycliffe, and John Huss, who opposed many bishops and councils in order to defend the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. >>
Athanasius, Wycliffe, Huss? That's it? What about the rest of the Church Fathers, the Doctors, the Saints, the Martyrs of pre-Protestant Christianity? What about the Ecumenical Councils? Or the Catholic Mass and Orthodox Liturgy? Do you see the true visible Church meeting for true worship there? Wycliff and Huss opposed bishops and Councils but they had no authority to do so (see the next question on "man of God"). Athanasius was a bishop of the Catholic Church who accepted as infallible the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea and opposed Arian bishops who were declared heretical by said Council.
<< Athanasius was correct when he wrote the following to Christians who had been cast out of churches by the Arian heretics of the fourth century... >>
Who were these "Christians" cast out of "churches" ? What kind of "churches" were they? They were Catholic Churches led by Catholic bishops. Let's be clear and specific. I began with the biblical evidence now we move into the Fathers since both J and I have brought them up. I'm sorry, but the Fathers are not going to support J's "evangelical view of the church" one bit. Yes, Athanasius has a lot of great things to say about the authority of Scripture. If he was "correct" there he should also be correct here:
"But let the Faith confessed by the Fathers at Nicaea alone hold good among you, at which all the fathers, including those of the men who now are fighting against it, were present, as we said above, and signed: in order that of us too the Apostle may say, 'Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things, and as I handed the traditions to you, so ye hold them fast .'" (To the Bishops of Africa 10)
"....but about the faith they wrote not, 'It seemed good,' but, 'Thus believes the Catholic Church;' and thereupon they confessed how they believed, in order to show that their own sentiments were not novel, but Apostolical; and what they wrote down was no discovery of theirs, but is the same as was taught by the Apostles." (Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia 5)
"...[the devil] now persuades you to slander the Ecumenical Council, for committing to writing, not your doctrines, but that which from the beginning those who were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word have handed down to us. For the faith which the Council has confessed in writing, that is the faith of the Catholic Church; to assert this, the blessed Fathers so expressed themselves while condemning the Arian heresy...." (De Decretis 27)
Nowhere does St. Athanasius separate the Scriptures from the Church's authority, faith and tradition.
Much more here Athanasius on Scripture, Tradition, and Catholic Doctrine
P's Rebuttal to J's Answer (2)
My second question asked "who are the men of God" (the high ecclesiastical authorities we are to submit to as our Christian leaders)? And who were they before the 16th century?
<< How did this authority get passed from a prophet (Moses) to an angel to a king (David) to a child (Timothy)? If this authority is passed along so unpredictably and inconsistently, then why couldn't it have passed from Roman Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy? Or to a religious leader like John Huss or Martin Luther? Why couldn't the Mormons or the Southern Baptists have it today? >>
It was not "passed" between all these people. Moses was a prophet, David was a king, Timothy was a bishop, so these all fulfill my definition of "man of God" (see my opening statement) according to Scripture as either (1) high ecclesiastical authorities (kings, apostles, bishops) who generally had succession; or (2) prophets inspired by God (like Jesus, Moses, OT/NT prophets, an angel) who generally did not have succession. So there was a slight misunderstanding of my argument here. Second Timothy 3:17 is referring specifically to Timothy as "the man of God" who as a bishop was "fully equipped" by the profitable Scriptures to "teach, rebuke, correct, train in righteousness." As a child Timothy "knew the [OT] Scriptures" but he was obviously not a Christian bishop (a high ecclesiastical authority) at that point. Also simply "benefiting from the study of Scripture" does not make someone a "man of God" according to Scripture.
In 2 Timothy 3:17 Timothy is the man of God (the high ecclesiastical authority) since he was ordained in apostolic succession (1 Tim 1:2-3; 4:6,11-16; 6:2-3,20f; 2 Tim 1:6; 2:2; 4:2; Titus 1:4ff; 2:1,15; 3:10-11; cf. Acts 1:20; 1 Thess 2:6). While J tried to rebut some of this earlier, these texts teach apostolic "authority" is being passed on to the "true sons in the faith" no less than apostolic "teaching." Of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy we read: "even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority" and they were "approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel" (1 Thess 1:1; 2:1,4,6 NASB). So apostolic succession is confirmed both by Scripture and the early Fathers (Clement, Ignatius, Irenaeus forward).
The angel reference is consistent with the "man of God" concept (Judges 13, as I mentioned in my opening statement); angels are often seen as "men" or messengers of God in Scripture so they would fit the inspired "prophet" category. In addition, never in Scripture is anyone identified as a "man of God" who was not appointed in succession (e.g. Timothy) or spoke words directly from heaven (e.g. prophets, cf. 2 Peter 1:21 KJV).
So who is/can be the man of God? Eastern Orthodox bishops are accepted by Catholics as the men of God; they can show valid apostolic succession. However, John Huss (a priest) or Martin Luther (a monk) had no authority to usurp the legitimately appointed leaders in the Church -- the high ecclesiastical authorities, the bishops of the Catholic Church -- who were the only "men of God" that existed at the time. J must produce a Biblical argument that such people can rebel against the appointed leaders in the Church (Heb 13:7,17) and be the "men of God."
Mormons (who claim to be led by prophets after 1,700 years of total apostasy) and Southern Baptists did not exist before the 19th century and 17th century (respectively) so they cannot possibly be the men of God. They might be "men of God" in a general sense (meaning they can be Christians or saved or at least holy people) but they are not "men of God" according to Scripture which are either (1) prophets appointed by God or (2) high ecclesiastical authorities ordained in succession.
So this remains a true statement: find the true "men of God" and you find the true Church of God. Only the Orthodox and Catholic Church has those true men of God according to Scripture.
<< The church father John Chrysostom, when discussing 2 Timothy 3:16-17, not only denied P's interpretation of the phrase "man of God", but also interpreted the passage as a reference to sola scriptura >>
I'm sorry, but I don't see that in the small quote J provides. Chrysostom does not deny TIMOTHY is the man of God in the text. He says we have the Scriptures "in place of me" (St. Paul -- no argument); but St. John Chrysostom certainly knew who the true men of God were; they were the bishops (who in turn ordained priests) of the Catholic Church who are the successors of the apostles:
"They who inhabit the earth, they who make their abode among men, are entrusted with the dispensation of the things of heaven! Priests have received a power which God has given neither to angels nor to archangels. It was said to them: 'Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose, shall be loosed.' [Matt 18:18] ...Whatever priests do here on earth, God will confirm in heaven... Did [God] not give them all the powers of heaven? 'Whose sins you shall forgive,' He says, 'they are forgiven them: whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.' [John 20:23] What greater power is there than this? The Father has given all the judgment to the Son. And now I see the Son placing all this power in the hands of men...." (The Priesthood 3:5:182-183)
"...God has given to priests powers greater than those given to our parents; and the differences between the powers of these two is as great as the difference between the future life and the present.... Priests accomplish this not only by teaching and admonishing, but also by the help of prayer. Not only at the time of our regeneration [Baptism], but even afterward, they have the authority to forgive sins [James 5:14-16 is quoted]...." (The Priesthood 3:6:194-196)
"The oblation [sacrifice of the Liturgy/Mass] is the same even if some common person [priest] offer it, even if Paul offer it, even if Peter offer it. It is the same which Christ gave to His disciples, and which now the priests do. The latter oblation is not inferior to the former, because it is not men who sanctify even the latter, but the same [Christ] who sanctified the former. For just as the words which God spoke are the same as those which now the priests say, so too is the oblation the same, and the Baptism, as that which He gave." (Homilies on Second Timothy 2:4)
"...Timothy was then a bishop [the context is the fluid terms bishop, presbyter, deacon in the NT]. That he was in fact a bishop is clear when Paul says to him, 'Lay hands on no man lightly' [1 Tim 5:22], and again, 'Which was given you with the laying on of hands of the presbytery' [1 Tim 4:14]; and presbyters would not have ordained a bishop." (Homilies on Philippians 1:1)
I ask J: where are his evangelical church's bishops and ordained priests that offer the Eucharist and forgive the sins of believers?
P's Rebuttal to J's Answer (3)
My third question is about "sola scriptura." I allowed J to provide his definition of the concept, and asked for a biblical defense. J does not give me very much in response.
<< Sola scriptura is an assertion that scripture is the extent of the special, public revelation of God we have today. >>
Okay, now where does Scripture teach "Scripture is the extent" of the public revelation we have today? Answer: Nowhere. Where does Scripture foresee that in the future apostolic tradition (1 Cor 11:2,34; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Thess 2:15; 3:6; etc) would be enscripturated so that Scripture would become the only infallible rule of faith? Nowhere. James White has admitted in print and debate that Sola Scriptura was not a valid concept during times of enscripturation. In answer to the question: Did the apostles practice Sola Scriptura? White's answer was emphatic: "NO." See that video clip here
So when did Sola Scriptura become a valid concept? Immediately upon the death of the apostles? What kind of logic is this? Jaroslav Pelikan says the ante-Nicene Church did not teach or practice Sola Scriptura either (see the quotes in my opening statement).
This is really the main issue between J and myself (besides the nature of the true Church). The issue is not "can I provide a biblical defense of the Marian doctrines" but can J provide a biblical defense of Sola Scriptura since that is the foundation of his theology, not mine. I believe the Marian doctrines since they have been witnessed to me by the true Church (we'll get to this in my further response to his questions). It is irrelevant whether I can "trace back the Marian doctrines to the apostles" if J cannot likewise trace back the canon of Scripture or Sola Scriptura to the apostles.
<< 2 Timothy 3:15-17 can be interpreted as a reference to sola scriptura, but it doesn't have to be. Verse 15 does teach the sufficiency of scripture on the subject of salvation... >>
J admits 2 Timothy 3 is not a very good defense of the Sola Scriptura concept. It clearly does not say anything about "the extent of public revelation" being the Scriptures. That is what I want to see from the Scriptures: a biblical defense of J's definition. There is none. Now that doesn't automatically prove the Catholic Church is the true Church or that all Catholic "tradition" is valid and true; but this at least shows there is no biblical defense of J's sole rule of faith which by definition requires a biblical defense.
Verse 15 teaches the Scriptures are "able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus," but (as Robert Sungenis has pointed out in Not by Scripture Alone) so would a 4 page "gospel tract." A single verse can give someone enough knowledge to become "saved": Acts 2:38f; 4:12; 16:30f; John 3:16f; 20:31; 1 Peter 3:21; etc (that there is no name under heaven by which we must be saved, Jesus). However, that is not Sola Scriptura as J defined it in his first sentence (that Scripture is the extent of public revelation we have today).
<< The best argument for sola scriptura is process of elimination. The scriptures are God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). Try proving that the same is true of the tradition of the Assumption of Mary. >>
J needs to start with the Scriptures themselves before we move to the Marian doctrines. Try proving the Scriptures are God-breathed (precisely the 66 book canon accepted by Protestants). There is much appeal to the authority of the Catholic Church in such a "proof" (such as that offered by good evidentialist apologists like Norman Geisler). Prove the Scriptures are God-breathed, let's start there. The reason I accept the Scriptures as "God-breathed" is because the Catholic Church has witnessed to me what the Scriptures are (the same with every other doctrine/dogma of the Catholic Church).
J points to "unreliable traditions" as proof of Sola Scriptura. I can point to books/letters that were eventually rejected from the canon of Scripture by the Church. There is no 27 book New Testament canon until the time of St. Athanasius. That is the middle of the 4th century AD. Either way we rely on that Catholic Church for our Scripture and apostolic tradition.
Contrary to J's statement about carefulness vs. carelessness, the Catholic Church has been the careful guardian of Scripture down through the ages. We would have no Scriptures today were it not for their preservation by the monks and bishops of the historical Church, which is the visible Catholic Church. In short, the Catholic Church is the best friend the Bible has ever had, and she has never taught Sola Scriptura (see the next question).
P's Rebuttal to J's Answer (4)
In this question, I asked J for his method of arriving at truth (as opposed to the Catholic method of apostolic succession, tradition, and Church/papal authority), and to tell me who in the history of Christianity used this method prior to the 16th century. He basically said Sola Scriptura via private interpretation (J: "What I'm describing is personal examination of evidence. That's how all of us arrive at our beliefs."). J suggested (with a quote from each) St. Jerome, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. John Chrysostom and others as holding to this "personal examination of evidence" to arrive at truth on doctrine. Okay, let's start with these Fathers.
"Far be it from me to speak adversely of any of these clergy who, in succession from the Apostles, confect by their sacred word the Body of Christ, and through whose efforts also it is that we are Christians...." (Letters 14:8 to Heliodorus)
"I speak with the successor of the fisherman [Peter]... I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but Your Blessedness [the Bishop of Rome], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane...Meanwhile I keep crying: 'He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!' Meletius, Vitalis, and Paulinus each claims to be loyal to you [three bishops claiming to be in communion with the Bishop of Rome]... Therefore I implore Your Blessedness by the cross of the Lord... that as you follow the Apostles in dignity may you follow them also in worth.... tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria." (Letters 15:2; 16:2 to Pope Damasus)
"Heretics bring sentence upon themselves since they by their own choice withdraw from the Church, a withdrawal which, since they are aware of it, constitutes damnation. Between heresy and schism is this distinction to be made, that heresy involves perverse doctrine, while schism separates one from the Church on account of disagreement with the bishop [Latin: episcopalem dissensionem] (Commentaries on Titus 3:10)
In summary, Jerome believes in apostolic succession of the clergy, the Chair of Peter is the authority of the Bishop of Rome which is the Rock upon which Jesus built His Church, and schism is defined as those who separate from the visible Church by disagreeing with or rejecting their bishop. We can see St. Jerome is quite Catholic in his method of arriving at truth. Does he believe in the authority of Scripture as well? Absolutely, but not Sola Scriptura via private interpretation.
Second, Cyril of Jerusalem.
"But in learning the Faith and in professing it, acquire and keep that ONLY, which is now DELIVERED TO THEE BY THE CHURCH, AND which has been built up strongly out of all the Scriptures." (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 5:12)
"And to speak more briefly, let us neither separate nor confuse Father and Son; and never say that the Son is alien to the Father, nor receive those who say that the Father is at one time Father and at another Son; for such expressions are strange and impious and not the TEACHINGS OF THE CHURCH." (ibid 11:18)
"To prevent some in ignorance from thinking, because of the different titles of the Holy Spirit, that these are different spirits and not one and the same (and One only), the Catholic Church has provided for your SAFETY in the TRADITIONAL CONFESSION OF THE FAITH [Schaff: "the Catholic Church guarding thee beforehand hath delivered to thee in the profession of the faith"], which commands us to 'believe in one Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who spoke by the prophets...'" (ibid 27:3)
"Now then let me finish what still remains to be said for the Article, 'In one holy Catholic Church,' on which, though one might say many things, we will speak but briefly. It is called Catholic then because it extends over all the world, from one end of the earth to the other; and because it TEACHES UNIVERSALLY AND COMPLETELY [Jurgens: "infallibly"] ONE AND ALL THE DOCTRINES which ought to come to men's KNOWLEDGE, concerning things both visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly; and because it brings into subjection to godliness the whole race of mankind, governors and governed, learned and unlearned; and because it universally treats and heals the whole class of sins, which are committed by soul or body, and possesses in itself every form of virtue which is named, both in deeds and words, and in every kind of spiritual gifts." (ibid 18:22-23)
Again, Cyril of Jerusalem does not separate the Scriptures from the Church's authority, faith and tradition. While Cyril had a high regard for the authority of Scripture, as does the Catholic Church today (see Vatican II, Dei Verbum 11, 21), Cyril does not advocate J's method of Sola Scriptura via private interpretation.
Third, St. John Chrysostom (see also my previous quotes from him).
"'Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or our letter' [2 Thess 2:15]. From this text it is clear that they did not hand down everything by letter, but there was much also that was not written. Like that which was written, the unwritten too is worthy of belief. So let us regard the tradition of the Church also as worthy of belief. Is it a tradition? Seek no further." (Homilies on Second Thessalonians 4:2)
Combined with my previous quotes, we see that Chrysostom knew who the men of God were (the bishops of the Catholic Church) and understood that the tradition of the Church is worthy of belief. He even says that 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is quite clear (perspicuous) that we should hold to the tradition of the Church. Precisely what is that tradition, is another question. I am talking general principles here: the early Fathers and Saints did not believe in Sola Scriptura via private interpretation as the method to arrive at truth on doctrine.
This "personal examination of evidence" that J promotes really allows NO authority whatsoever to the Church, since J says he is free to accept or reject any interpretation of Scripture or any doctrine that he wishes. None of the Fathers advocated such an understanding; they need to be read in context with the whole of their writings (Jurgens 3 volumes and Eerdman's 38 volumes are at least a start).
J suggests the Psalmist, Bereans, "many Church Fathers", the Waldenses, and others agreed with him. I'm sorry, that is just wrong. None of them did.
<< Why would anybody look to a denomination to interpret scripture for him, especially one as corrupt as the Roman Catholic Church, when he can read scripture himself? >>
You can read Scripture, but in Protestantism you will never arrive at certain truth on doctrine. As I keep stating, the Catholic Church established by Jesus is not a man-made "denomination," and every one of the Fathers and Saints said with their belief in the authority of Scripture: "Look to the Catholic Church and her Tradition, there you will find the Truth" (see St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies; St. Vincent of Lerins, Commonitories; etc).
P's Rebuttal to J's Answer (5)
My final question was on two doctrines: J rejects Baptismal Regeneration which has unanimous support from the Fathers; and accepts the pretrib Rapture which does not appear until the 1830s (Darby in England). This is inconsistent with his own standard of "evidence" and "probability" for what we should believe on doctrine.
<< It's true that baptismal regeneration was a widely held belief from the middle of the second century onward. It's not true that every church father accepted it. >>
Will J admit that every Church Father from the middle of the second century onward explicitly believed Baptismal Regeneration? If so, that would be a start. Webster already admits it (my previous quote), as does the major Protestant scholars JND Kelly, Pelikan, Schaff, many others. J mentions St. Clement of Rome or "Mathetes" implying "faith alone" and Tertullian not being "consistent." Even if this were the case, we have the doctrine believed with "universal consent" (Webster) from the middle of the second century forward. That is a long time to go into "apostasy" on doctrine.
The point of my question: if you aren't going to accept Baptismal Regeneration, if this is not a doctrine going back to the apostles (Acts 2:38; John 3:5; Romans 6:3f; 1 Peter 3:21; etc), or if a doctrine like the pretrib Rapture can be totally UNKNOWN to Christianity (Catholics, Orthodox, OR Protestants) for 1,800 years and still be true, then the Bishops, Fathers, and Saints of the Church Jesus started could entirely fall and remain in apostasy (or be ignorant) on doctrine. They cannot be believed or trusted and J should never quote them as support for any doctrine, the canon of Scripture, or anything apostolic.
To see the overwhelming evidence of Baptismal Regeneration click here
J says St. John Chrysostom "repeatedly affirmed salvation through faith alone" but I would like to see the quotes and maybe some context. The following statements are quite clear he did not accept "faith alone" (not in a Reformed/Calvinist sense anyway); he accepted salvation/justification as a continuous process that involved freely chosen obedience in good works as Catholics/Orthodox do:
"He that believes in the Son has everlasting life [John 3:36]... "Is it ENOUGH, then, to BELIEVE in the Son," someone will say, "in order to have everlasting life?" BY NO MEANS! Listen to Christ declare this Himself when He says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord! Lord!' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven" [Matt 7:21]; and the blasphemy against the Spirit is alone sufficient to cast him into hell. But why should I speak of a PART of our teaching? For if a man BELIEVE rightly in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, but does not LIVE RIGHTLY, his faith will avail him NOTHING TOWARD SALVATION." (Homilies on John 31:1)
"If salvation is BY GRACE [Rom 11:6]," someone will say, "why is it we are not all saved?" BECAUSE YOU DID NOT WILL IT; for grace, even though it be grace, saves the WILLING, not those who are NOT willing and who TURN AWAY from it and who constantly fight against it and OPPOSE themselves to it." (Homilies on Romans 18:5; cf. Homilies on Ephesians 4:2)
"We have been freed from punishment, we have put off all wickedness, and we have been REBORN from above [John 3:3,5], and we have risen again, with the old man buried [Rom 6:3-4], and we have been redeemed, and we have been SANCTIFIED [1 Cor 6:11], and we have been given ADOPTION INTO SONSHIP, and we have been JUSTIFIED, and we have been made brothers of the Only-begotten, and we have been constituted joint heirs and concorporeal with Him and have been perfected in His flesh, and have been united to Him as a body to its head. All of this Paul calls an "abundance of grace" [Rom 5:17]...." (Homilies on Romans 10:2)
"Take care, then, lest you too become guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ [1 Cor 11:27]. They slaughtered His most holy body; but you, after such great benefits, receive Him into a filthy soul. For it was not enough for Him to be made Man, to be struck and to be slaughtered, but He even mingles Himself with us; and this NOT BY FAITH ONLY, but even in every DEED He makes us His BODY. How very pure, then, ought he not be, who enjoys the benefit of this sacrifice?" (Homilies on Matthew 82:5)
As well, St. John Chrysostom contradicts J's understanding of Abraham:
"Such a one [a shining example of virtue] was the Patriarch [Abraham] himself, born before grace and before the law. By himself and by the knowledge that is inherent in our nature he came to so great a measure of virtue as to be able to deprive us of all our excuses. But perhaps some will say that this man enjoyed a great measure of God's solicitous care, and that the God of the universe showed His considerable providence in Abraham's regard. Yes, I agree. But if Abraham had not shown beforehand what was his own, He would not have enjoyed the things that are from the Master. Do not consider the latter only, therefore, but examine each case and learn how in every one of them proof was first given of personal virtue, and thus did they merit the help of God." (Homilies on Genesis, Second Series 42:1; cf. James 2:20-26; Hebrews 11:8)
<< The church fathers repeatedly contradicted Roman Catholicism on issues of soteriology and eschatology. >>
J is going to have to try again on that statement. Please give me the Church Fathers that repeatedly rejected Baptismal Regeneration and accepted the pretrib Rapture. There are none. That he believes Scripture teaches such things I have no doubt. When he admits that he accepts his private interpretations of Scripture over and against the first 1,500 years (or 1,800 years) of Christianity, then I will be satisfied with that honest answer. Whether that has any effect on his private theology or not is another question.
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