Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word "apologetics" derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense.

Authority

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  • Authority

    There are some differences between (Roman) Catholics and (Eastern) Orthodox over interpretation of scriptures. There are many differences between Catholics (and Orthodox) and most Protestants. There are many differences between the multitudinous Protestant denominations and church groups.

    Who is right?
    It all boils down to authority.
    Who has the authority to make definitive interpretations of scriptures?
    Who has the authority to pronounce which doctrines are true?

    Let’s say someone says a particular passage should be interpreted metaphorically. Someone else says it should be interpreted literally. A third person says it has to be interpreted in the light of bible passage X. A fourth person says it should be interpreted in the light of a different passage Y. A fifth person says it is not relevant to the current situation however it is interpreted. And so on!

    Who is right? Whose interpretation do you go along with? Perhaps you come up with your own.

    Whatever you do you will be right because the Holy Spirit is leading you personally into all truth. Right?

    Except the others all believe the Holy Spirit is leading them personally into all truth!

    Welcome to Protestantism!

    Let’s try another scenario.
    For 1500 years Christians throughout the world have interpreted a particular passage from one of Paul’s letters as meaning ABC. The some guy – let’s call him Luther - studies scripture and decides it has been interpreted wrongly and means XYZ, and teaches a doctrine based on his interpretation. Now just suppose that Paul himself appears and says “Actually Luther, you are wrong. It does mean ABC”. Who do you believe – Paul or Luther?

    Well Paul obviously – he wrote it. But suppose the apostle Peter came along instead and says – “Luther is wrong, Paul meant ABC and Luther’s doctrine is wrong.” Who do you believe? Still Peter - he was an apostle. He was taught by Christ and was given authority by Christ. Luther was not.

    But suppose neither Paul not Peter turned up, but Timothy instead. And Timothy says – “Luther is wrong, Paul meant ABC and Luther’s doctrine is wrong.” Who do you believe? Timothy has been taught personally by Paul. Paul has laid hands on him and appointed him to be a minister of Christ Jesus and an overseer in Ephesus; instructed him to pass on to other faithful people the teaching that Paul has given him. Of course I would trust Timothy. He was given teaching and authority by Paul. Luther was not.

    That’s how we know what the correct interpretation of scripture is. That’s how we know what true doctrines are. We get it from the apostles because they were given true doctrines by Christ and the authority to teach them by Christ. We don’t get it from personal opinions of those who have not been given such authority.

    It all boils down to authority!

    Let’s simplify it another way.

    Group 1 proposes a doctrine based on a literal interpretation of scripture.

    Group 2 proposes a different doctrine based on a metaphorical interpretation of scripture.

    You have three choices – yes three!

    1. You decide that no-one has any authority and their interpretations are just opinions. In that case there is no absolute truth. But then why study the Bible if all you get are conflicting opinions? You might think there is absolute truth but in fact all you have are differing opinions.

    2. You decide that one group is right because their interpretation is the most “biblical”. But all you have done is decide that your own opinion trumps the others. Who gave you the authority to decide which is “biblical”, which is right or wrong? Does a particular group seem ‘right’ to you? But that doesn’t mean it is right. You are not infallible.

    3. You look to see where there is a group that God has given the authority to interpret scripture definitively and teach true doctrine. Such a group must go back to the apostles because they were given the teaching and authority by Christ. To whom did the apostles pass on the true doctrine and the authority to interpret scripture correctly? Is there one? Or did Christ abandon his Church to fall into error, despite his promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against it?

    Jesus said:
    "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Mt 15:17-18)
    (Some early manuscripts omit the “against you” to read just If your brother sins….”)

    Jesus’ words only make sense if there is a visible Church with authority over its members; a Church that was founded by Christ himself, not by any man 15+ centuries later.

    Of course, you may decide that the Holy Spirit is infallibly telling you that Mt 15:16-17 doesn’t really mean what it appears to mean….

    I maintain that there is only one Church that can be traced back to the apostles and contains all the authority that Christ gave it. And that is the Catholic Church. The Orthodox Church is close but it doesn’t accept the authority of the Pope as the successor of Peter.

    The Catholic Church has the four scriptural marks of the Church Christ founded, as described by Paul and proclaimed in the Nicene Creed – one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

    Eph 2:19-22
    So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [catholic]
    built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, [apostolic]
    in whom the whole structure is joined together [one]
    and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. [holy]



  • #2
    Hi there Bede,

    I'm glad you posted about this, it's a topic I've long considered and after several years of painful skepticism after my conversion to Christianity, God had me see things in the most peculiar way regarding authority.

    You see, as with most of the world, Catholic theology maintains this belief in human free will. Now, I realize it's defined in different ways by different people and groups of people, but the most common way I see is that man is the ultimate authority regarding his own choices, including his own choices as to what he believes. So basically, when people usually speak of free will, they're getting at this assumption that man is the ultimate authority behind his choices, that God wouldn't cause him to choose one thing over another, at least not without his own authoritative decision.

    Different from that, there are those of us who hold that God outright causes us to believe particular things, namely regarding Christ, His work and how it relates to us. We believe this is done via the Holy Spirit, who illuminates our minds, overcoming the sinful tendencies so that we know for a fact that we've seen things correctly.

    On the former view, man's beliefs are based on his ultimate choice. It's his choice ultimately as to what he'll believe. Obviously, the authority behind his belief is thus his own.

    On the latter view though, God necessitates the choice of belief in Christ. Thus it is God's authority behind it.

    On the one view, it is man's authority behind the belief. It is thus constrained to be an opinion given that there's no way for him to objectify his own authority. On the other, it's objective because it's God's work and His authority is behind it, He is objective.

    I will argue that Catholicism, with its belief in this free will, entails the former consequence to where authority is man's.

    Only on the latter view, where God causes the belief, entailing it is rightly called knowledge, is the authority God's, necessarily so.

    I will demonstrate this simply in arguing that God causes my belief, including my belief about this very thing. It is not an opinion, and one who wishes to argue that it is only my opinion will be forced to admit that all we human beings have is opinion, thus entailing that an absurdity is true (that we can only have opinions, but there's one fact we can know, that we can only have opinions).

    For sake of clarity with this argument, I would ask the pope himself if he has free will. And if so, is it by his free will that he chose to believe he's the vicor of Christ?

    I hope these words find you well and that they're easy on the eyes (I personally hate sophisticated speech and prefer simpler words).

    In Christ,
    David
    Comment>

    • #3
      The RCC, LDS, JWs, and other non-Protestant denominations claim their church leadership is the final authority on the meaning of scripture. Protestants sometimes go to the opposite extreme, and act as if each person, no matter how ignorant, is rightly his own final authority on the meaning of scripture. The HS leading us personally? Then why do we have Pastors? Why did Priscilla and Aquila take Apollos aside to educate him? Why did Jesus and the Apostles teach? Why did Paul write letters to various churches, and why do we read those letters? Why do two Christians disagree on an interpretation if they're led by the same Spirit?

      Blameless and learned elders, standing on 2000 years of Christian wisdom and in submission to the Holy Spirit, should be our source of authority of the meaning of scripture. But, if there are such men, we're not following them. And, the Church is a sick mess for it.



      Comment>

      • #4
        Hi Cornelius,

        Fortunately, God has provided many blameless and learned elders since the Church was formed. It's just a matter of seeking them out to hold oneself accountable under their guidance. Could I ask if you're under such guidance and accountability?

        I ask out of care, hoping you do have godly men under whose council you have accountability and fellowship.

        Regarding your statement about Protestants going to an opposite extreme regarding authority, I hope you'll see that you've actually presumed some sort of authority in order to make that statement. God has designed it that way, every statement we make comes with some form of authoritative assumption. Our worldview must account for that.

        My reason for posting here is that it was being claimed that Catholicism has the correct authority and others do not. However, that's proved false by the fact that on the Catholic assumption of free will, every human being's authority is necessarily his own. One simply couldn't say that one's authority is God, because one chose to believe that by one's own authority.

        I'm not sure what you mean about the Holy Spirit leading on a personal basis, but most certainly, it is He who guides believers into all truth. He'll use pastors and other believers to do so. And by no means does that entail that all believers will interpret everything without flaw. Because of sin, errors will still occur. However, God has designed it so that the truth can always be meted out. One of the ways this is done is for the believer to expose a contradiction in the opposition's view.

        Jesus exemplified this for us.

        Mark 12:17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

        We can simply do the same and pray God will bless our doing so, granting repentance to the opposing party so that we can enjoy fellowship with them. :)

        In Christ,
        David
        Comment>

        • #5
          DavidM, Cornelius may be referring to comments I made regarding 1 John 2:26-27 and 2 Timothy 4:3-4. What was ignored was my caveat that we are to have teachers and preachers but always test the spirits to make sure they do not spout false doctrine, and not to blindly follow what they say without question. The Holy Spirit is our teacher who teaches us all things, ultimately from what we study on our own and from what we get from others according to truth. I might also add to that 1 John 4 explains many of these details.

          Bede, what you are saying is not only wrong, but heresy in that you are essentially saying that unless we are RCC's, we are going to hell. That is what your reasoning boils down to. God does not go by a denomination, but by the personal relationship we have with Him (or do not have, as the case may be). This personal relationship must match up to God's word or it is a false god one serves.
          Last edited by Stratcat; 05-16-2015, 08:18 AM.
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by Cornelius View Post
            The RCC, LDS, JWs, and other non-Protestant denominations claim their church leadership is the final authority on the meaning of scripture. Protestants sometimes go to the opposite extreme, and act as if each person, no matter how ignorant, is rightly his own final authority on the meaning of scripture. The HS leading us personally? Then why do we have Pastors? Why did Priscilla and Aquila take Apollos aside to educate him? Why did Jesus and the Apostles teach? Why did Paul write letters to various churches, and why do we read those letters? Why do two Christians disagree on an interpretation if they're led by the same Spirit?

            Blameless and learned elders, standing on 2000 years of Christian wisdom and in submission to the Holy Spirit, should be our source of authority of the meaning of scripture. But, if there are such men, we're not following them. And, the Church is a sick mess for it.
            This was most apparent to me the first time I worshiped in a Presbyterian church. Although I was baptized in youth by a Presbyterian church, I attended a Roman Catholic H.S. for my education. Went through the military and some time after not attending any church or worshiping in a personal or corporate atmosphere. Found myself in a non-denominational and then Evangelical church, and finally became a member of the OPC around a year or two ago. One of the most appreciated forms of summary of those things that every Christian must believe came in form of Creeds. The Creeds and Confessions had become the beginning of a study, not only including the statements or answers themselves, but the history surrounding each Creed and Confession. Each Creed and Confession unpacks much history surrounding a specific time period and some issues that crept into the church, throughout the 2000 years many debates and arguments were understood, and I soon began to appreciate the fact that those who do not remember or know history are doomed to repeat it. The Creeds and Confessions themselves became and/or still becoming what I embrace, and therefore am finding myself submitting to church leadership through them.

            God bless,
            William
            Comment>

            • #7
              Creeds and confessions can be a good thing to help a church stay on the mark, but that certainly does not negate the teaching of 1 John 2:26-27. And we are warned about falsehoods from false teaches in 2 Timothy 4:3-4. The best answer is, what does the Bible teach? The Bible does not scratch itching ears, and if people aren't going to believe the Biblical teachings through the Holy Spirit, they are already in trouble. Jumping ship from the Bible to false teachers/preachers is exactly what we are warned against doing in 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

              Teachers and preachers can bring up applicable Bible verses to certain topics being discussed and once led to those verses it is our responsibility to adhere to the teachings from the Lord. There is no new teaching that is not in the Bible, and we are given guidelines in the Timothy epistles to help us stay on track, and that applies to teachers/preachers as well. Human beings are not perfect in their understanding of Scripture no matter who they are. Since when does Dr. so-and-so know more how to teach us than the Holy Spirit does? If we want to look for the source of schisms and cults, read Timothy letters which tell us where this comes from.

              False doctrine does NOT come from the Bible; it comes from people and Satan. I have learned much truth from pastors and teachers over the years, but I find that they are not always right when I compare what they say with what the Bible says. Churches must be Bible-centered, for the Bible is Christ-centered. People simply cannot outperform the Holy Spirit in this arena. This is not to say churches with creeds and confessions and so forth are all wrong, but many are. The RCC and OP churches both have creeds and confessions of faith, yet they are far apart in their doctrine. They cannot both be right.

              We cannot blame God or the Bible. We must blame ourselves for not making the Bible study of ours based on the teachings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our teacher for each of us, not just church leaders, old or new. Where did they get their doctrine that some believe them? Hopefully from the Bible, but we can know for ourselves by doing what the Lord tells us to do and that is to study the word of God for ourselves, or else how do we know which teacher is good and which is evil?

              As it is written, God is not the author of confusion, so if we are in such disarray, guess whose fault it is? The congregations for not doing as God commands and studying His word. By not studying the Bible for ourselves to know directly from the Holy Spirit who is a good teacher and what is the truth, we show that we don't trust God. To put it simply, study from God. He is the best teacher. He taught many good teachers, true, but we must also get knowledge directly from God and rely on those teachings above all if we are to overcome the evil one when he attacks, or when we are to grow in our faith, which comes from God anyway. I am not against the teachings of man that are in line with the Bible, just against the ones that aren't.
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by DavidM View Post
                Hi there Bede,

                I'm glad you posted about this, it's a topic I've long considered and after several years of painful skepticism after my conversion to Christianity, God had me see things in the most peculiar way regarding authority.

                You see, as with most of the world, Catholic theology maintains this belief in human free will. Now, I realize it's defined in different ways by different people and groups of people, but the most common way I see is that man is the ultimate authority regarding his own choices, including his own choices as to what he believes. So basically, when people usually speak of free will, they're getting at this assumption that man is the ultimate authority behind his choices, that God wouldn't cause him to choose one thing over another, at least not without his own authoritative decision.

                Different from that, there are those of us who hold that God outright causes us to believe particular things, namely regarding Christ, His work and how it relates to us. We believe this is done via the Holy Spirit, who illuminates our minds, overcoming the sinful tendencies so that we know for a fact that we've seen things correctly.

                On the former view, man's beliefs are based on his ultimate choice. It's his choice ultimately as to what he'll believe. Obviously, the authority behind his belief is thus his own.

                On the latter view though, God necessitates the choice of belief in Christ. Thus it is God's authority behind it.

                On the one view, it is man's authority behind the belief. It is thus constrained to be an opinion given that there's no way for him to objectify his own authority. On the other, it's objective because it's God's work and His authority is behind it, He is objective.

                I will argue that Catholicism, with its belief in this free will, entails the former consequence to where authority is man's.

                Only on the latter view, where God causes the belief, entailing it is rightly called knowledge, is the authority God's, necessarily so.

                I will demonstrate this simply in arguing that God causes my belief, including my belief about this very thing. It is not an opinion, and one who wishes to argue that it is only my opinion will be forced to admit that all we human beings have is opinion, thus entailing that an absurdity is true (that we can only have opinions, but there's one fact we can know, that we can only have opinions).

                For sake of clarity with this argument, I would ask the pope himself if he has free will. And if so, is it by his free will that he chose to believe he's the vicor of Christ?

                I hope these words find you well and that they're easy on the eyes (I personally hate sophisticated speech and prefer simpler words).

                In Christ,
                David
                I’ve been away for a week. Looks like an interesting discussion has been going on. I’ll try and catch up.

                Regarding your post, I don’t see free will and authority as being about the same thing.

                Authority comes from a person and is given to another person. Yes God has free will and can (and I believe has) given man free will. However that is not what I understand authority to be.

                Authority concerns power and legitimacy.

                Power is the ability, whether personal or social, to get things done — either to enforce one’s own will or to enforce the collective will of some group over others. Legitimacy is a socially constructed and psychologically accepted right to exercise power. A person can have legitimacy but no actual power (the legitimate king might reside in exile, destitute and forgotten). A person can have actual power but not legitimacy (the usurper who exiled the king and appropriates the symbols of office).” (my emboldening)
                (Power, Authourity and Legitimacy; the similarities and Disperities | Isa ISMAIL - Academia.edu)

                To put it simply, I consider authority to be the legitimacy and power to speak and act in another persons name (within the scope of the authority they are given). That is not about free will. I can give you biblical examples of that if you wish. But a very simple one is where Jesus says “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons” (Mt 16:17). Jesus will give his disciples authority to cast out demons.

                That is nothing to do with free will.






                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                  Bede, what you are saying is not only wrong, but heresy in that you are essentially saying that unless we are RCC's, we are going to hell. That is what your reasoning boils down to.
                  I have said no such thing. That is an utterly false claim.

                  Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                  God does not go by a denomination, but by the personal relationship we have with Him (or do not have, as the case may be). This personal relationship must match up to God's word or it is a false god one serves.
                  Of course we must have a personal relationship with God; that is what Covenant is about. However that does not address my post.

                  Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                  Creeds and confessions can be a good thing to help a church stay on the mark, but that certainly does not negate the teaching of 1 John 2:26-27. And we are warned about falsehoods from false teaches in 2 Timothy 4:3-4. The best answer is, what does the Bible teach? The Bible does not scratch itching ears, and if people aren't going to believe the Biblical teachings through the Holy Spirit, they are already in trouble. Jumping ship from the Bible to false teachers/preachers is exactly what we are warned against doing in 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
                  What teaching of 1John 2:26-27?

                  If you are suggesting that it teaches that the Holy Spirit leads everyone personally into all truth then you are wrong. And it is that teaching which, as I suggested in the OP, leads to the multiplicity of personal interpretations of scripture with people claiming that the Holy Spirit has led them personally into the truth.

                  Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                  And we are warned about falsehoods from false teaches in 2 Timothy 4:3-4. The best answer is, what does the Bible teach?
                  Which goes back to the OP.

                  How can you be sure what the Bible teaches?

                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bede View Post
                    How can you be sure what the Bible teaches?
                    Oddly enough, this is linked with your earlier authority claim. Believers will all recognize the voice of the shepherd in Scripture. Why? Because the same shepherd lives in them authenticating His own message. That's what the work of the Holy Spirit is. It is by His authority that a believer proceeds to speak and act on His behalf.

                    A simple question, did the pope freely choose to believe he has the authority of Christ?
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      In post #9, I never said that the Holy Spirit leads everyone in all truth. The Bible says that those with the Holy Spirit are led into all truth. To answer your question, by letting the Holy Spirit be your teacher using the Bible. How can you be sure that the teachers and preachers are always right if you don't know the Spirit or the Bible? If you don't check what they say to make sure it concurs with Scripture. Man tends to put other men on a pedestal. That is how cults form, not from trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and leaning not unto our own understanding. Trust in the Lord--not other people. There are far more warnings about what other people say, no warnings about individually studying the word of truth to show ourselves approved, workmen that need not be ashamed. We are to trust God, not man. Man must be questioned and scrutinized, but the Bible is to be studied and trusted. Only as individuals can we do that, no matter what denomination you hail from.

                      Post number 10 nails it. Quite correct.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DavidM View Post

                        Oddly enough, this is linked with your earlier authority claim. Believers will all recognize the voice of the shepherd in Scripture. Why? Because the same shepherd lives in them authenticating His own message. That's what the work of the Holy Spirit is. It is by His authority that a believer proceeds to speak and act on His behalf.
                        You, like others, have failed to engage the issues raised in the OP.

                        If as you say “the same shepherd lives in them authenticating His own message. That's what the work of the Holy Spirit is.” Then how do you explain so many different and conflicting interpretations of scripture by believers who all claim to have the Holy Spirit leading them into the truth? They are all sure what the Bible teaches, yet they cannot all be correct.

                        Where in scripture does it say that Jesus and the Holy Spirit will personally guide all believers into all truth?

                        Where in scripture does Jesus give the believer the authority to speak and act on his behalf?

                        At the beginning of the OP I wrote:

                        Who has the authority to make definitive interpretations of scriptures?
                        Who has the authority to pronounce which doctrines are true?
                        You seem to be saying that all believers have that authority

                        But then the next part of my OP follows:

                        Let’s say someone says a particular passage should be interpreted metaphorically. Someone else says it should be interpreted literally. A third person says it has to be interpreted in the light of bible passage X. A fourth person says it should be interpreted in the light of a different passage Y. A fifth person says it is not relevant to the current situation however it is interpreted. And so on!

                        Who is right? Whose interpretation do you go along with? Perhaps you come up with your own.

                        Whatever you do you will be right because the Holy Spirit is leading you personally into all truth. Right?

                        Except the others all believe the Holy Spirit is leading them personally into all truth!
                        To which you seem to have no answer.



                        Originally posted by DavidM View Post
                        A simple question, did the pope freely choose to believe he has the authority of Christ?
                        As I said earlier, this has nothing to do with free will so I do not consider your question relevant to this discussion on authority, and in particular the authority to interpret scripture to determine doctrine.


                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                          In post #9, I never said that the Holy Spirit leads everyone in all truth. The Bible says that those with the Holy Spirit are led into all truth.
                          But surely all believers have received the Holy Spirit.

                          And we still come back to the point that those with the Holy Spirit claim to have the truth and yet they are teaching conflicting truths.

                          Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                          To answer your question, by letting the Holy Spirit be your teacher using the Bible. How can you be sure that the teachers and preachers are always right if you don't know the Spirit or the Bible? If you don't check what they say to make sure it concurs with Scripture.
                          In the end that boils down to - do these people agree with your personal interpretation of scripture. In the end you put yourself on a pedestal as the correct interpreter. Other people are right if they agree with you.

                          I know the Catholic Church teaches the truth because Jesus promised that it would. He didn't promise that I could reach the truth by studying the scriptures however hard I tried.


                          Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                          Man tends to put other men on a pedestal. That is how cults form, not from trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and leaning not unto our own understanding. Trust in the Lord--not other people. There are far more warnings about what other people say, no warnings about individually studying the word of truth to show ourselves approved, workmen that need not be ashamed. We are to trust God, not man. Man must be questioned and scrutinized, but the Bible is to be studied and trusted. Only as individuals can we do that, no matter what denomination you hail from.

                          Post number 10 nails it. Quite correct.
                          All you are saying is trust yourself and not others.

                          But then there are a multitude of others, all claiming to have the Holy Spirit, but all teaching different interpretations of scripture and different doctrines.

                          I trust the Catholic Church because I trust God. I believe his promises.


                          Last edited by Bede; 05-27-2015, 12:31 PM.
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Pardon my interjection here.

                            No one is to interpret Scripture, and it is "not of any private interpretation, but holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Private interpretation is why we have so many different beliefs. Also, too much emphasis on trusting church leaders; not that they can't be trusted at all, but the fact is, they all have their private interpretations, which is why their are so many denominations. Even the RCC does not believe everything unilaterally within the church. I know Catholics with different beliefs.

                            The Scriptures interpret themselves. We are commanded by the Lord to "preach the word. Be instant in season, out of season. Reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." There is your authority. "Study to show thyself approved, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." There is where we are not to privately interpret the Bible but to "rightly divide" it. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, by whom all other teachers must conform. The Holy Spirit indwells the believer, thereby making the believer have God-given authority to teach and preach the word of God in Spirit and in truth, which is how we are to worship Him. God seeks such to worship Him. Nobody is trying to sneak anything between the lines, but what is written so far in this thread is to be taken at face-value.
                            Last edited by Stratcat; 05-27-2015, 12:37 PM.
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Bede, you fail to see the point I was getting at, or rather, you don't want to see it. You're here declaring to us that your Catholic organization is authoritative. You're doing so on the basis of your choice to believe that, so it's by your authority, not anyone else's. Likewise with the pope, thus why I asked that question.

                              Free will is nothing more than the belief that oneself is the authority behind one's choices. Consider the definition from Merriam-Webster.

                              authority: the power to give orders or make decisions : the power or right to direct or control someone or something

                              Your free will theology most certainly bares on this matter, to the disproof of Catholicism. I'm rather sure you see that, thus why you'd rather evade the issue by trying to dismiss free will as irrelevant.

                              If you wish to know how it is that differing beliefs can still occur in light of the Spirit's movement in human hearts, I'll gladly discuss that. You simply wrote off the possibility as if it couldn't occur. But there's a biblical answer. You'd know that if you actually thought it through rather than pushing an argument that defeats your own view. Eastern Orthodox, Seda Vacantism and scores of fractured beliefs within Catholicism disprove your own view as well if you wish to pursue that line of argument.

                              I suspect you'll again assert your personal authority.
                              Comment>
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