Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Two Faces of Rome: Director's Commentary

A few people in the universe have requested that I provide citations for my accusations of papal bufoonery leveled in my latest video, which is this:  



So if citations be what ye want, here they be:

Evolution:

"The clay became man at the moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought of "God". The first Thou that—however stammeringly—was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which the spirit arose in the world. Here the Rubicon of anthropogenesis was crossed. For it is not the use of weapons or fire, not new methods of cruelty or of useful activity, that constitute man, but rather his ability to be immediately in relation to God. This holds fast to the doctrine of the special creation of man."
-Joseph Ratzinger (aka His Current Popeness)

"There are so many scientific proofs in favor of evolution which appears to be a reality we can see and which enriches our knowledge of life and being as such. But on the other, the doctrine of evolution does not answer every query, especially the great philosophical question: where does everything come from? And how did everything start which ultimately led to man? "
-Pope Benedict XVI

In other words, for about forty bagillion generations, there was death in the world.  Then God gave Adam and Eve souls because He finally evolved the species enough for these two to call Him God.  Then they fell into sin and brought death into the world but that death was defeated when Christ became sin for us on the cross.  Except that apparently there were already forty bagillion generations of death before this.  So, in the end, the death and resurrection of Jesus are meaningless and the Bible cannot be trusted.

Higher Criticism:

"From the point of view of biblical criticism, it is necessary to mention immediately that the first account of man's creation is chronologically later than the second. The origin of this latter is much more remote. This more ancient text is defined as "Yahwist" because the term "Yahweh" is used to denominate God. It is difficult not to be struck by the fact that the image of God presented there has quite considerable anthropomorphic traits (among others, we read in fact that "...the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" (Gen 2:7).

In comparison with this description, the first account, that is, the one held to be chronologically later, is much more mature both as regards the image of God, and as regards the formulation of the essential truths about man. This account derives from the priestly and "elohist" tradition, from "Elohim", the term used in that account for God. "
-Pope John Paul II

In other words, Genesis was not written by Moses, but was cobbled together over the centuries by a bunch of guys ("traditions") who weren't prophets but who had developed a deeper view of God throughout the centuries.  I can trust that the words of God, given through His appointed prophets, are true.  But  I cannot trust that the words of a bunch of not prophets are true. 

Denying that Faith is Necessary for Salvation:

"With respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God — which is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church — comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it 'in ways known to himself'."
-Joseph Ratzinger

In other words, saving grace can and does come to unbelievers.  But it doesn't come to them through faith in Christ because they don't have faith in Christ.  Therefore, according to Rome, faith in Christ in not necessary for salvation.  (This is why it is that the Pope could, in good conscience, get his smooch on with the Koran.  Because, according to Vatican 2, God can still bring people to salvation through the Koran's words.  You know, those same words that deny the Trinity, the divine nature of Christ, His crucifixion and resurrection.  Oh, and also those words that say you should kill people who believe those things about Jesus.)

Condemning Salvation By Grace through Faith Alone:

"If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema."

In other words, if you are one of those evil Lutherans who believes that you are saved solely by the grace of God through faith in Christ, then you are to be anathema, a Greek word frequently used by Saint Paul, which means "accursed" or "condemned."  Which is totally a bummer, since that's what the same Apostle Paul wanted you to believe when he was using that term.

Scriptural Interpretation Monopoly:

"The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him."

In other words, only the Catholic Church can interpret the Bible.  And if their interpretation completely contradicts the pain words of Scripture, deal with it, Mr. Sola Scriptura Doo Doo Head.

17 comments:

Fr. J said...

Hi, Pastor. First of all--and I imagine everyone says this just before sticking the knife in--but I'm a big fan of your videos. So it sort of pains me to criticize this one, particularly, since I generally enjoy what you do.

It would probably be fruitless for me to argue any of these points with you individually. I am not a Roman Catholic, but rather an orthodox Anglican, and so I have no particular interest in hoisting Rome's flag. Likewise, I recognize that what you're doing is satire, so there's not a lot of room for nuance. But still, I can't help but wonder about a couple of things:

1) Why the stark contrasting of Roman Catholic laity with Roman Catholic clergy? After all, the orthodox faithful likely believe the same things that the clergy do, particularly when it comes to things like the nature of salvation.

2) Your statement about death makes me wonder how you or how LCMS Lutherans in general understand the fall of the angels. Wasn't there already a corruption in the world? Isn't that how Satan, as the serpent, was able to be there tempting Adam and Eve in the first place?

3) Is it your position that higher criticism offers nothing at all to scriptural interpretation or simply that the particular kind of form criticism that led to the JEDP models of reading the Torah is a problem? And furthermore, what leads you to believe that if Moses did not actually write the Torah that it must have been written by people who are not prophets?

4) Finally, given your criticism of the Roman claim to absolute magisterial interpretation, I wonder if you would care to comment on where and how you do see scripture being interpreted authentically? If you and I disagree on what the "plain words of Scripture" actually say, who determines which one of us (if either) is right?

Like I said, I'm probably taking this more seriously than perhaps you intended it, but I figured that it couldn't hurt to ask the questions.

grace and peace,

Fr. Jonathan

kyriosity said...

Was the 'stache Matt Harrison? It was hard to tell behind the text.

(My word verification is "wedlent" I think it should be "tuepent.")

Ss Peter and Paul said...

Pastor Fiene,
Love the videos. I also love Catholicism.
Would love to go in circles with your till the Parousia, but I'll stick to one point.
You mentioned in your own commentary on DI and VatII that "according to Vatican 2, God can still bring people to salvation through the Koran's words."
Not accurate. That's an unfair and incorrect gloss on your part. No educated, orthodox Catholic would say in ANY situation that salvation comes "through the Koran" or through Islam, or Buddhism, or anything else except through the cross of Christ. We would agree on that. We would DISagree on how that salvation through Christ alone could be appropriated to the unbeliever, as Vat II states, in a way known only to God.
Peace!
Mike Brummond

Pastor Fiene said...

Mike,

I'm not arguing that Rome teaches that salvation comes apart from Christ. I'm arguing that they teach that salvation comes apart from faith.

And I did read just earlier today the teaching that the Holy Spirit can essentially still deliver the merits of Christ by working through the holy writings of non-Christians. I'll try to track that quote down.

His Name Extoled said...

Hans,

The 'stache almost makes me deny calvinism and jump on the lutheran bandwagon...you're close to a convert. :)

Ss Peter and Paul said...

An honest question out of my own sheer ignorance:
How does a confessional Lutheran deal with someone living in South Africa who died in the year 40 AD? No hope for salvation? (I assume of course that no apostle made it to every part of the Congo by the end of the decade.)
Peace,
Mike Brummond

Nicholas said...

"The young lions roar for their prey,
seeking their food from God.

...O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures...

...These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust." -Psalm 104

Pastor Fiene said...

Fr. Jonathan,

Thanks for your questions. Since I like to respond as thoughtfully as possible, I'll try to get back to you tomorrow.

boaz said...

"How does a confessional Lutheran deal with someone living in South Africa who died in the year 40 AD? No hope for salvation?"

Christ preached to him in Sheol/Hades.

www.logia.org/features/feature181.pdf

(My pious opinion anyway)

boaz said...

Christ's merits are received by faith, and faith is doing good works, so when pagans do good works, they earn Christ's merits. Just like how you heal dead and diseased trees by making them grow good fruit.

James Kellerman said...

I've noticed that Hans seems to be getting behind in his correspondence and so I thought as a fellow LCMS pastor I might be able to give my own answers to the questions posed by Fr. Jonathan. This is Hans' blog and any views expressed by the undersigned do not necessarily reflect his views.

To be specific, Fr. Jonathan asked "Why the stark contrasting of Roman Catholic laity with Roman Catholic clergy? After all, the orthodox faithful likely believe the same things that the clergy do." I suppose that Hans could have shown two clergy or two lay people, for indeed the variety of opinions cuts across the clergy/lay divide. However, in Hans' defense I would point out that laity would be less likely than clergy to know about some things (e.g., historical criticism) mentioned by the bishop in the video.

Fr. Jonathan went on to query, "Your statement about death makes me wonder how you or how LCMS Lutherans in general understand the fall of the angels. Wasn't there already a corruption in the world? Isn't that how Satan, as the serpent, was able to be there tempting Adam and Eve in the first place?" Of course, the evil angels had fallen before Adam and Eve were tempted. However, the world was still a good place after Adam and Eve had been created (Genesis 1:31) and it is not clear how much Adam and Eve would have known about the fall of the angels. And even if Adam and Eve had known about the fall of the angels, they would not have seen the corrupting influence of death on the world. After all, death is not the punishment for wicked angels, but rather hell is. A careful reading of Genesis 2 and 3 indicates that Adam and Eve were not yet mortal and that the rest of creation was free from the banes we now experience. Thus, evil would have entered the universe sometime between mankind's creation and fall, and yet the world as seen by Adam would have remained unchanged.

Fr. Jonathan went on to ask, "Is it your position that higher criticism offers nothing at all to scriptural interpretation or simply that the particular kind of form criticism that led to the JEDP models of reading the Torah is a problem?" To the extent that historical criticism pays close attention to the text, it can offer much insight even to those of us who reject its presuppositions. Think of BAGD or TDNT, for example. To the extent that it has a particularly bias shaped by the Aufklärung, it is rather troubling, and that not only in the area of form criticism.

Fr. Jonathan follows up that question with another: "What leads you to believe that if Moses did not actually write the Torah that it must have been written by people who are not prophets?" I would rather ask this: What authority do the apostles and Christ have as prophets if they can't even get the story straight on a matter as simple as who wrote the Pentateuch? Did they speak out of ignorance or did they know the truth but lie about it? Neither alternative would inspire our confidence in them.

Fr. Jonathan asks a final question: "If you and I disagree on what the 'plain words of Scripture' actually say, who determines which one of us (if either) is right?" The simple answer, of course, is God. I realize that this does not help us determine right now whose exegesis is correct and it may seem to be a flippant answer. However, it is a rather humbling answer--and one befitting a student of the Scriptures--to confess that no matter how brilliant an exegete one might think he is, he is under God's scrutiny, who will in the end say yea or nay. Biblical exposition, like so much of the Christian life, is done with the eschaton in mind, when God will weigh the thoughts and words and deeds of mankind.

In Christ,
James Kellerman

Augustinian Successor said...

Are you saying that the Church of Rome has not (grievously) erred in interpreting scripture, particularly on justification? As an Anglican, you should know what the 39 Articles say ...

Stephen said...

Thanks for the fun, Pastor Feine! I loved your Rome episode!

Anonymous said...

This is not satire. It is polemic of a most unfortunate sort.

Mark Palenik said...

Although an entirely separate issue from evolution, how does the insistence that Adam and Even were created only a few thousand years ago fit in with cosmological evidence on the age of the universe?

1) Given the finite speed of light and the distance into the universe we can see, we can determine the age of the universe to be between 14 and 15 billion years old (to give light the time to travel between those distant objects and us)

2) Einstein's equations for gravity (which are the second best verified model in all of physics), except in one special case, demand a big bang.

3) Measurements of redshift of type IIa supernovas (which have a definite, recognizable spectrum)as well as other redshift measurements vs. distance are in correspondence with the above model, including a big bang and an accelerating expansion of the universe.

4) The observed cosmic background radiation makes sense in the context of a big bang and rapid initial expansion.

Although I've studied evolution a bit in classes and could provide quite a bit of evidence for it, my background is as a physicist and so would rather make this point which is along those lines (despite the rather wacky idea that some creationists have that the big bang theory is somehow related to evolution, it is not. They come from different areas of science and are based on completely different forms of evidence. One is biology and one is physics).

So, there comes a point where you have to make the choice that either:

1) Everybody in multiple fields of science has been drawing drastically wrong conclusions and probably falsifying a lot of experimental evidence for some unknown reason.

or

2)The bible is wrong.

or

3)Your interpretation of the bible is wrong.

You have chosen 1) and the Catholic church has chosen 3), which is infinitely more defensible.

theChoirmaster said...

As an orthodox Anglican-Lutherphile, seeing brethren engage in theological discussion warms my heart.

+Chris

Adam B said...

@Mark Palenik (or more accurately anyone of that line of thought who might stumble on this even more than 5 years after that comment):
I am a Lutheran mathematician, though not LCMS, and do not assert my opinion meets that of Pastor Feine or the LCMS or anyone other than myself.

I question your reasoning.
The reasoning underlying (1) requires the assumption that light cannot be created "in transit" which is not scientific. (It is an assertion regarding intrinsically supernatural matters.)
In assertion (2), the equations for gravity, though I am not personally familiar with them, almost certainly do not *actually* require a big bang regardless of the domain of time in our universe; only that, if we trace time back far enough, the universe must eventually adopt such a state. The premise of this conditional statement cannot be fulfilled if the universe was created suddenly.
Assertions (3) and (4), as you correctly note, are simply consistent with the big bang theory; they do not necessarily imply it. These suggest the nonexistence of concrete proof of creation (but does not disprove creation). This, in turn, is consistent with Lutheran theology, which teaches that God expects faith alone worked solely by the Holy Spirit, not by evidence or works.

There is, in fact, no necessity to believe any of those three responses you list; only to recognize that the scientists in (1) have taken a dramatically different philosophical worldviews and their conclusions are colored by these.