Islam

Islam, Islamism and Islamophobia: our culture has lost its reason, or its capacity to reason

This is a guest post by the Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden.

___________________________

The public square is a charged place. Three contenders are striving against each other. Emotion, reason and fundamentalism are locked in a public struggle for the soul and mind of the body politic.

The emotion is born of fear and anger. Fear of murder, fear of the bombing of little children, fear of public acts of terror.

The anger is aimed at those who did it and those who allowed it to be done.

Reason raises its head and is engaged as people try to think clearly, define, analyse, diagnose and find solutions.

The fundamentalism, however, comes in two forms. The first form is Islam and its uncritical acceptance of the Koran. The second form is the dogma or progressive politics, and the uncritical acceptance of the dogma of pseudo-tolerance and pseudo-inclusion.

When I was a teenager, someone invented a new board game. It had three teams on a square board – psychiatrists, priests and lawyers. They leapt over each other and took each other like draughts or chess pieces. According to the values or rules of this game, the priests could carry off the lawyers; the lawyer triumphed over the psychiatrists and the psychiatrists beat the priests (Freud and Feuerbach would have been delighted at the triumph of their hierarchy of values).

It was fun for a while, but it never caught on widely.

Our public contest resembles this game a little. Fundamentalism is stronger than emotion and emotion stronger than reason, but at this point the rules fail. Reason neither matches nor captures either.

The heart-breaking misery and anger of the parents and friends of the dead children and adults who were targeted not just by a bomb, but by a shrapnel bomb, carefully and consciously designed to maim and punish as well as kill, dare not express their anger against these twin agencies of fundamentalism.

Those who lift their voices in anger against the ideology of Islam enshrined in the Koran, which demands the deaths of infidels, those people who resist Islam in the public square are silenced. They are muffled either with the suffocation of accusations of prejudice by political dogmatists, or with death threats by Islamic dogmatists.

This happens whether they are the sophisticated Tom Holland asking questions about Mohammed on Channel 4, or the energised Tommy Robinson calling out to Luton as George Fox did to Lichfield: “If you don’t change your ways, blood will run through your streets.” If the anger is directed at the Government or media for its disingenuity in replacing the word ‘Muslim’ with the anodyne ‘terrorist’, the fundamentalists of ‘tolerance and inclusion’ bully them into silence with threats of the criminal law being used to charge them with hate speech.

In this context, Archbishop Cranmer has offered us some badly needed encouragement. He writes in defence of the heady antidote of ‘reason’. Well he might. Reason has driven the scientific revolution; reason has underlain liberal democracy; reason is the first tool of liberation that reformers grasp for. Reason, dialectical or otherwise, helps us peel away lies, distortions and untruth from the bedrock of reality.

In his analysis and encouragement, we are offered the following prescription:

You have to home in on the offending religion, identify its unacceptable precepts, expound its error, name and shame its false prophets, and declare something unequivocal along the lines of: ‘Mohammed of Mecca hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England’.

How might we do this? By teaching people to use the same techniques of textual criticism that scholars have used on all historical texts, including the New Testament. He continues:

This demands intelligent textual criticism; an understanding of context, culture and Sitz im Leben. Let us not just teach our schoolchildren to wash their hands before they touch the Qur’an or to be sure to place it back on the highest shelf in a place of honour, but how to analyse, critique and understand it, and then freely to assent to or repudiate every word of it.

It would be a serious step forward for every school in the country to teach textual criticism of the Koran; for the media to show some interest in reporting the issues; for Muslims to be held to account when contradictions and distortions in the text emerge for analysis.

Based on this social medicine offered to soothe our cultural disease, Cranmer concludes:

If we could now move on from the self-censorious unwritten blasphemy laws which leap to defend anything Islamic (and that includes hurling ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobia’ at every tentative inquiry), we might just beat the religious fanatics with a hefty dose of reason and enlightenment.

It is the ‘if’ I want to explore. How does reason counter the weight of the criminal law and the weight of death threat? Where are the intellectual Tommy Robinsons, willing to stand in the full glare of the media and ask questions while all the time vigilantes search for the family address to assassinate (a venerable Muslim word) their families?

Even the Spectator TV critic wondered aloud in last week’s edition what Tom Holland was really thinking when he presented scrupulously careful commentary in his last film on Islam.

Where is the evidence that our society is capable of exercising reason in the face of these twin dogmatic fundamentalisms of political progressive propagandising and Islamic threat?

Emotion is calling out in the streets and on the internet in its apoplectic misery that our governing classes are more concerned to protect the hurt feelings caused by so-called Islamophobia, than protect our children from Rochdale rape gangs and Manchester bombers.

Reason asks if there is even such a thing as Islamophobia. Reason says that it is reasonable to be afraid of people committed to an ideology that uses violence and assassination against its enemies without theological or cultural constraint. Only the dogmatism of pseudo-therapy links this reasonable apprehension with a mental anxiety that is unreasonable of a fear of spiders (arachnophobia) or fear of being shut in small spaces (claustrophobia). If reason had any power in our society, Islamophobia, in its strict and etymological sense, would be a sign of sanity, not criminal intent.

Allied to a real anxiety, or even phobia, that Islam and the koranic practice of Islam means us harm and threatens our democracy and freedom of speech with the horror that progressive political dogmas of tolerance and inclusion have invented and legislated for double-speak that silences not only what we say but what we are deemed to think, we have the growing apprehension that our culture has lost its reason; or if not lost its reason and gone mad (though it might have) has lost its capacity for reason.

If this apprehension or even diagnosis is wrong, then bring on the Cranmerian public investigation of the Prophet Mohammed’s values and claims.

Bring on the changes to our educational curriculum that will allow the Koran to be exposed for what it truly is in the face of what it purports to be, all the while threatening those who dare to want to examine its claims in public.

Bring on the triumph of courage and reason. And then with Cranmer we can rejoice that England has defeated religious fanatics in the past, and will do so again.

But in case our society has lost its reason, or capacity to reason, those of us who have not need urgently to discuss what to do next.

Many of us believe that only full-bloodied Christianity has the passion, the moral force, the transformative power and the vision to counter the determination and inexorable forward march through Europe of Islam. Islam was once held off at the gates of Tours in the west and Vienna in the east, and it was held off by force. Since military force appears to be currently unimaginable, spiritual muscle, which is always morally and metaphysically preferable to military force, is the only other option.

Unless there is a better diagnosis of how the terror and inexorability of Islam can be countered in England, then let the Christians rediscover the confidence, and take their faith, their love and their voices into the public square, unashamed of either the mockery of the secularists, or the threat of the Islamists. Nothing in history has been able to halt the grim shadow of ‘the prophet’ across the face of human history except for the Risen Christ, who brings trust in the place of terror, forgiveness in the face of fanaticism, and culture and experience of life in the face of a culture and experience of death.

  • Richard Hill

    I nominate the possible future leader of the Anglican Church, namely Prince Charles, as the head of a new “Cranmer Institute for the Study of Religious Texts”. This institute would become a highly visible target and should draw fire away from ordinary people. The Prince has previously shown interest in comparative religion and should be delighted with this new honour.

  • Brenton deed

    Good article. How many articles are appearing by “peaceful Muslims” claiming they have nothing in common with the “terrorists”?
    Well they have the Koran in common and that has so many contradictions that you can pick whatever stance you choose!
    We will continue to lump all Muslims with the violent Muslims until the “peaceful” Muslims formally reject the violent verses in the Koran as “satanic”.

    What I find baffling is how the liberals defend them? Would they defend nazis?

  • Jon Sorensen

    “You have to home in on the offending religion”
    … says Christians with their holy blasphemy laws and victim complex. 🙂

    Our culture has not lost its reason, or its capacity to reason. It never really had it when religions are/were in charge.

    Christians get offended and upset if there is a “public investigation of the Jesus’ values and claims.” Christian and Muslims are pretty much the same.

    • B flat

      Your comment is simply a baseless and mean-minded calumny. It is a cowardly lie, riding on the fouled arse of discredited revolutionary hatred.

      For example: Your last paragraph is untrue. Christians, or rather the highest Church authority founded universities throughout Europe with their theological schools precisely for this, public defense of research and new insights, conducted in a safe space, where the secular arm had no right to intervene to stop the research or debate. This was done in mediaeval times and the renaissance, well before the enlightenment, all under papal and episcopal mandate. Only after the Reformation did the secular authority interfere.

      Secularism now denies us this freedom, and dishonestly proclaims “safe spaces” while allowing its opponents no room to speak, no public presence. And of course, the Theological Schools are either closed or completely emasculated.

      • Jon Sorensen

        So you claim that Christians don’t get offended and upset, while getting upset, offended and started to throw ad hominem. Thanks for making my point by getting offended and upset.

        So let’s look your claim that my last paragraph is “untrue”;
        So what if rich churches founded universities. That was the time of religious wars and inquisition. Christians killed heretics and non-believers. Remember Catholic church has in a business of designing/testing/distributing/training/using torture equipment. Yes- Torture Equipment. Any negative views of Jesus was quickly eradicated.

        Same today. when scholars question the historicity of some aspects of Jesus life, hate mail flows in immediately. Even when Christian leaders question Gospels words you can ask Mike Licona what happens.

        So you are wrong with your claim.

        You also seem to have a victim complex. Nobody is denying you are freedom to study or believe in your religion. Remember religion gets privileges nobody else gets like tax breaks and sets in upper house. You are just confused about reality.

  • Anton

    There are four belief systems in play here: Islam, secularism, politicised Christianity and gospel Christianity. The third has had it and the fourth (my own) is not political. That leaves the first two to slug it out for worldly power, and I think Islam will win some way down the line after a lot of blood.

    What’s a British nonconformist to do? Love the people you encounter indiscriminately and offer them Christ, for a start. But you have to leave them free to say no. As Britain is currently a democracy, we can legitimately act politically within its constraints, as well as those of the gospel. Advocate policies that put our own house in order – promote policies that genuinely reward family stability and penalise instability, and enforce the law impartially on all communities within Britain.

    • Dreadnaught

      You make the common mistake of seeing Islam as a simple entity, when on fact it controls every aspect of the life and death of it followers, yet split Christianity off as having a Political Wing. Very strange.

      • Anton

        You make the common mistake of supposing that the two religions are similar! In fact, the Quran is a political book as much as a religious one, but the New Testament is not. It is purely about how the individual believer is to be remade holy. The collective of believers in Christ in the Christian scriptures, the church, is not a political entity and cannot be, because faith in Christ is voluntary or it is not genuine faith, and politics is about setting the law which means telling people what they can and can’t do whether they like it or not.

        Christians who happen to live in a democracy may act politically as members of their nations, but that is not what Christianity is about; please remember that most Christians don”t live in democracies.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Qu’Aran is not sequential either. ALL alternative versions were destroyed to allow only one version. It is ONLY true in Arabic. It has the famous “Satanic Verses”

          • Albert

            If memory serves, there are in fact lots of variants of the Qur’an. The text really became standardised in the early 20th Century!

          • Paul Greenwood

            There is ONE variant – all others were destroyed centuries ago. It exists as valid ONLY in Arabic

          • Albert

            I’ve checked this now: there are lots of variants of the Qur’an. This is inevitable given that none of it was written down by Mohammed or even written in his lifetime, I think. So the earliest history is haphazard. Says Tom Holland in In the Shadow of the Sword:

            “A Muslim scholar of the tenth century, Ibn Mujahid, established what subsequently became the orthodoxy: that there were seven, equally valid, qira’at – ‘readings’ – of the Qur’an. The modern, widely held notion that there is one single text was established only in 1924, with the publication in Cairo of an edition of the Qur’an that went on to become the global standard.” (Footnote on page 335)

          • Anton

            To make sense of the Quran it needs to be set in the context of Ishaq’s ancient biography of Muhammad, the Sirat Rasul Allah (Life of the Messenger of Allah). The single most revealing book about Islam.

    • Anton, you do well to highlight that there are two forms of Christianity involved in this battle. Politicised Christianity as you name it, which values this world, is indeed past its “sell by date” and is being taken off the shelves – though I suspect its carcass will lay around for a long time. This will be a dilemma for many who think they subscribe to Gospel Christianity, for they too seek the redemption of the nation. We need to encourage realism about what The LORD is doing in Western Societies without raising false hopes of redeeming this or any other Gentile nation.

      I agree with your responses that we should love indiscriminately, proclaiming Christ and that we need a (prophetic) voice advocating putting our own house in order. However in the Old Testament there were just three prophets whose messages were well received (I include Moses), the rest were hated and very often physically abused. So the point I think is missing from your comment is that we should walk with The LORD so He can prepare us to overcome by the Blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony and by learning not to love our lives even unto death. (Rev 12:11)

      • Anton

        Indeed; Jeremiah got thrown down a well and slandered as a collaborator after saying that the coming Babylonians were God’s judgement on his nation and that resistance would therefore only make it worse. When I assert that Islam is God’s impending judgement for the postwar calamity of family breakdown, and that if we don’t sort that out then it is futile to resist Islam, I too expect to cop it from people I’d normally walk with.

        • Busy Mum

          Indeed – as shown by yesterday’s thread.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Assyrian Christianity in Syria is so different from Canterbury

        • Agreed. One only has to watch videos of persecuted Christians from any part of the world, irrespective of who is persecuting them, and it is not long before they speak of praying for their persecutors and loving their enemies.

          Theirs is radical Christian discipleship – even though secularism seeks to label anything it disapproves of as “radical” even though the word simply means back to the roots.

  • only full-bloodied Christianity has the passion, the moral force, the transformative power and the vision to counter the determination and inexorable forward march through Europe of Islam

    I expect you’re right but, since the middle of the last century, organized Christianity in Britain has done everything in its power to aid the march of Islam: failing to speak out against Muslim immigration, allowing its churches to become mosques, speaking in support of Islam and reaching an all-time low with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s declaration that he would not want to live in a monocultural (that’s to say, a Christian) society. Throughout, organized Christianity has taken the side of the ‘governing classes’ against the people. Having betrayed the people, can Christianity regain their trust?

    Bring on the triumph of courage and reason

    Amen to that. Reason tells us exactly why white Christian countries are being subjected to Third World immigration and Islamization but no public figure, with the exception of a former leader of the BNP, has the courage to spell it out.

    • Merchantman

      Enoch Powell of course famously tried to resist this in the 60’s but was shut down by the liberal agenda. Through his experience of a multicultural society, in his case as yet undivided Imperial India, he could rationally foresee the problems ahead. He undoubtedly spoke in such a way that was too much for some to accept and too frightening for the mainstream.
      It is frightening to stand in the way of an oncoming storm and reason suggests you take shelter.
      The courageous though will head into that danger and make sure others are safe before considering themselves. The way of the cross is that standing into danger.

      • @ Merchantman—Your mention of India reminded me of a speech Mr Powell made in Southall in 1971:

        It is by ‘Black Power’ that the headlines are caught, and under the shape of the negro that the consequences for Britain of immigration and what is miscalled ‘race’ are popularly depicted. Yet it is more truly when he looks into the eyes of Asia that the Englishman comes face to face with those who will dispute with him the possession of his native land.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Powell was the youngest Brigadier-General in the British Army sand some fluent Urdu

        • Merchantman

          It’s what people stand for that counts- the inner man. Islam wants everyone to submit to it and take on the whole undiluted package. When you come across someone or people it possesses and to whom it gives permission to carry out terrible atrocities, then you need to lock them up or send them away to enjoy its fruits elsewhere, not to return.

      • Paul Greenwood

        He was shit down by Edward Heath who saw it as a challenge to his leadership

  • carl jacobs

    We know that Secularism is too weak and brittle to stop Islam. But there are certainly effective alternatives to Christianity that could stop it. They require men with a willingness to indiscriminately pull the trigger. And that is what Europe will get of it is not careful.

    And when they have finished with Islam then they will settle accounts with the Church.

    • Paul Greenwood

      I have had profound and honest discussions with Muslims avoided by Church-going Christians. I find myself hanging between revulsion at Western society and agreement with Muslims without wishing to ally with either

      • Little Black Censored

        So what have you to say about the Manchester bombing, in the light of your discussions?

        • Paul Greenwood

          Nothing especially insightful other than the use of cannabis, background in petty crime, receiving stolen goods, theft, random acts of violence against others, prison, seem to be pre-requisites for the kind of terrorism perpetrated. It NEVER finds a politician as victim unlike the IRA or ETA or Baader-Meinhof, but is ALWAYS finds a terrorist “known to the security services”.

          Sometimes I think of MK Ultra

    • Another General Franco may arise. He saved Spain from the atheist Communists.

  • Typhoon Tina

    I have no objection to Christians wanting to be killed by Islamics because it makes them feel good about themselves, according to their own particular interpretation of Christian scripture. What I object to is their expectation that other people who might not agree with them, which includes many Christians, should be killed on their behalf.

    • Anton

      Can you name somebody you mean?

      • Little Black Censored

        She is talking tripe.

  • magnolia

    I heard an American media presenter say that little girls were being murdered because British men were scared to tell the truth. I prefer to say adults, for the responsibility is shared, though I accept that a specially strong protective imperative from fathers to young daughters is normal, if somewhat muffled nowadays.

    Fathers in this country- and mothers- need to be strong, determined, truthful, and persistent, balancing that with gentleness, nuance, and sensitivity. Lord help them.

  • Anton

    Only when the State is prepared to distinguish between religions can we get anywhere. For I and most other people here are, I hope, religious extremists; that is, extremely committed to the way of Jesus expounded in the New Testament. He blew nobody up and he said Love your enemies. That’s good enough for me.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Yes but I was brought up with an adage” “Praise The Lord and pass the ammunition”

  • Typhoon Tina

    An interesting read;
    The Manchester Attack – A Blowback From Britain’s Terror Support In Libya, Syria And Beyond

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/05/the-manchester-attack-a-blowback-from-britains-terror-support-in-its-wars-on-libya-and-syria.html#more

    • Paul Greenwood

      Patrick Coburn explained it clearly today in Indie

      • Maalaistollo

        Yes, odd to find such an article in such a place. I normally look at the Independent to try to gain an insight into the parallel universe inhabited by so many on the liberal-left. As with the Guardian, a surprising number of the comments on their site are little more than expressions of left-wing hatred, which is odd when we are always being told that hatred is largely the preserve of those on the right.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Patrick Coburn and Robert Fisk have an expertise I respect if sometimes resent

    • Ivan M

      The writer ‘b’ at moonofalabama, although reliably a leftist and operating on a shoestring, has called events concerning the Middle East far more accurately than all the talking heads on the BBC and Skynews

  • Paul Greenwood

    Wo ich jetzt stehe ist das Jubiläum von Martin Luther und in einem Lande des Ungläubigen feiern die Martin Luther als Held der Deutschen Geschichte statt Held der Reformation. Alle Unterlagen erscheinen auf Deutsch statt Englisch und wie in der Zeiten der DDR wird Martin Luther als Held Deutschlands statt als Held Christentums gefeiert.

    Was vermarkten die das in Deutschland ? “Nun Sag’s Wie Hast Du’s Mit Der Religion?”. In short, only 10.3% GDR types believe and so it is a promotion to see if you believe in God at all. With Margot Kaessmann you get to see if you believe in her version of Protestantism, or from Bodo Ramelow you can decide if you like the former Communists as representative of Martin Luther.

    Kaessman was drunk when she was captured on speed camera and her companion disappeared in the political obscurantism of Kumpelschaft. The Protestant Church is Germany is so PC as to be a part of the SPD.

    One is led to see the Church of Henry VIII as the only true Protestant Faith with a core of Belief anchored in 39 Articles. It has credibility the Church in Germany through subordination to State Power has in Nazi and SED periods forfeited.

    • Martin

      Paul

      39 Articles would have given Henry apoplexy, They are mostly Calvinistic in structure and content. Probably why the wimps in the CoE ignore them.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Yes but Edward VI was key to that more than his father who could not prevent his daughter reverting to Rome

        • Martin

          Paul

          In a sense Bloody Mary destroyed Rome’s power in England because of her viciousness.

          • Paul Greenwood

            I think Cranmer might attest to that………

  • Albert

    Mmmm…I think there are some problems here. Firstly, as to historical accuracy, it is simply false to say that Christianity was only tested rationally in the 16th and 17th Centuries. If anything, the Protestant Reformation rebelled against reason (since it was part of corrupt human nature), while no one how has read any of the writings of Aquinas or Augustine thinks reason wasn’t in play before. What happened in the so-called Enlightenment was that secular reason started to be used to critique religion. But of course, whether secular reason is really all that reasonable is surely to beg the question.

    Secondly, when the so-called Enlightenment philosophers critiqued religion, they did so tending to assume that if only we got rid of religion, we would bring peace. How’s that working out?

    The problem is that reason is less of an autonomous thing than most people wish to admit. The real question to ask is “Whose reason?”

    • Anton

      Much truth in that. Reason is simply a way to navigate from premisses to conclusions. But whence the premisses? Or, in your way of putting it, whose premisses?

      • Albert

        Quite.

    • Paul Greenwood

      You should not forget William Tyndale and Jan Hus

      • Albert

        Which side of the debate are you putting them on?

        • Martin

          Albert

          God’s.

          • Albert

            God’s involved in a debate? Which god would that be?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The God who created you, whom you do not know.

          • Albert

            The living God does not engage in debate.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
            though your sins are like scarlet,
            they shall be as white as snow;
            though they are red like crimson,
            they shall become like wool.
            If you are willing and obedient,
            you shall eat the good of the land;
            but if you refuse and rebel,
            you shall be eaten by the sword;
            for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
            (Isaiah 1:18-20 [ESV])

          • Albert

            That’s not a debate, Martin, he says “Let us reason together” and then he says “If you are willing and obedient”. God is not one interlocutor among others because he is the highest truth.

          • Martin

            Albert

            What do you think a debate is?

          • Albert

            Where people put alternative points of view…

          • Martin

            Albert

            And God has a different pov to us.

          • Albert

            God, being the highest truth, does not have a point of view. He is the truth!

          • Martin

            Albert

            Don’t be so silly, of course God has a point of view. Of course His is the correct one, but that doesn’t prevent the debate.

          • Albert

            A point of view puts God on our level – which is of course, the perennial problem of Protestantism. God is not a being like other beings, with a perspective or point of view that is on the same level as others. God sees all things, and thus it is meaningless, and contrary to his omniscience to say he has a point of view.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No it doesn’t, but if God chooses to communicate with men why should we refuse and insist on putting a barrier in the way?

          • Albert

            Someone with a point of view sees only part of the truth – hence it is a point and it is one point among others. That cannot be said of God.

          • Martin

            Albert

            On the contrary, someone can see the whole truth and still have a point of view.

          • Albert

            A point of view is by the very meaning of the words, partial. But you seem to see God as one debater among others, and this is one of the fundamental philosophical errors of Protestants: they see God as a bigger version of themselves, potentially competition with themselves, rather than as someone who is wholly other and cannot be put in a category with anything else.

          • CliveM

            Albert

            That is a misrepresentation of Protestantism. We do not see God as one debator amongst others.

          • Albert

            Martin does. But I was making a wider point: Protestantism only works because people believe in nominalism, which, undermining the concept of nature in favour of will, places God and creatures on the same ontological level. God becomes an arbitrary despot with morality based on divine command theory rather than natural law, and since his will is in conflict with ours becomes distinctly unattractive. Obviously, I am painting with a broad brush-stroke, but it’s clear that this is the idea of God that Martin is defending, since he sees God as some kind of interlocutor in a debate.

          • CliveM

            Extrapolating from an individual is dangerous, I might decide to base Catholicism on the Inspector General.

          • Albert

            I wasn’t extrapolating from an individual. That Protestantism is basically nominalist is not a controversial claim. I simply recognized Martin in that set, and then, to you, acknowledged that not all Protestants are in that set.

          • CliveM

            I wasn’t being entirely serious about using the Inspector!
            I’m not going to get involved further in your ‘dialogue’ with Martin. I’ll leave you two, too it!

          • Martin

            Albert

            Actually you seem to see God as something beyond logic, yet logic is at the heart of every argument in the Bible.

          • Albert

            I think that God is beyond human reason, but that does not place him beyond reason or logic, just our version of them.

          • Martin

            Albert

            God created us capable of reason and logic, if He calls us to reason does it not follow that we can?

          • Albert

            Yes, but, everything created is infinitely less than God. Secondly, you fail to notice (oddly) the noetic effects of the Fall.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I’m aware of the effects of the Fall, as is God. He still expects us to reason.

          • Albert

            Here’s the error you are making:

            You say: God created us capable of reason and logic, if He calls us to reason does it not follow that we can?

            But, by analogy since reason is a natural faculty: God created us capable of perfection if He calls us to perfection does it not follow that we can be perfect?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Once we were created perfect, then we fell. We can no longer be perfect by our own will, but we do have some ability to reason.

          • Albert

            Absolutely – which is entirely consistent with the position I was defending (although exactly what is meant by created perfect would need unpacking). But even pre fallen man did not have the natural capacity to know God perfectly.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Can a creature know its maker, even angels were charged with error. But you see it is entirely consistent with my position.

          • Albert

            I haven’t the faintest idea what your position is from that.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Of course you have.

          • Albert

            Of course Martin, it could never be you that’s at fault. It must be me that is being dishonest. I’m a Catholic after all, and so you don’t even need evidence of dishonesty. Jesus’ command to love your enemy does not apply to you.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, you aren’t ‘Catholic’, you’re a member of a schismatic sect that fell out with the Eastern churches and separated from others at the Reformation.

          • Albert

            Says a man apparently in communion only with himself.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Is that the best you can do?

          • Albert

            No – but I not going to waste my best on you, since neither argument nor evidence changes your mind. Moreover, it is obviously not the best I can do since it is not my only post to you in the last day or so.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You haven’t got anything.

          • Albert

            Even for an Evangelical, your grasp of scripture is pretty thin. Your knowledge of what you disagree with is thinner still. Yet, you have this supreme self-confidence.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Oh dear, did I hit home?

          • Albert

            You’re just very irritating. You have very little grasp of any of this and yet you pontificate with an incredible certitude.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I thought pontificating was more your style.

          • Albert

            The objection is not to pontificating, but to pontificating from a point of ignorance.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So you are saying you are pontificating from ignorance. What do you really know about the gospel? All your claims for Rome are based on interpreting history and the Bible based on what you’ve been taught. None of them have any validity.

          • Albert

            So you’re a fan of the Eastern Churches are you? I’m guessing you are almost completely ignorant of them.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I don’t have to be a fan to see what happened in history.

          • Albert

            Where do you stand on the double-procession of the Holy Spirit?

          • Martin

            Albert

            No idea. Are you trying to justify Rome’s schismatic behaviour?

          • Albert

            I was just wondering if you understood what the key theological issue was that cause the East to break from Rome, and that you realised that Evangelicals agree with Rome on that issue. It’s just it looks like you know nothing about this…

          • Martin

            Albert

            As Victor demonstrated, the key issue was that Rome wanted supremacy. Any issue would have been sufficient.

          • Albert

            Victor? I think you’re almost in the wrong millennium! What was the theological issue?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Neither the millennium nor the issue is important, what is important is the arrogance of the bishop of Rome. An arrogance inherited by his successors.

          • Albert

            You may call it arrogance, but then as is repeatedly clear, you hold strong opinions on matters you don’t know anything about. So it’s an odd claim. The reality is the Protestant Reformation agreed with Catholic teaching on the Theological of what caused the split – and yet, you critique the Church for defending that point. Moreover, it is not necessarily arrogant to appeal to authority that one has.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The problem isn’t with the theology so much as the attitude of Rome. That arrogant attitude was seen once again at the Reformation, when Rome would not allow itself to be corrected.

            The matter you mentioned earlier seems to be one of those form of words matters that makes a fuss over the form but does not delve deeply into the underlying meanings, not something to divide over. Indeed, I’d rather see the ‘proceeds from’ dropped altogether as it implies a subordination that does not exist.

          • Albert

            Why would Rome allow itself to be corrected by Protestants. Should Jesus be corrected by Pilate? In any case, which Protestants would you have Rome listen to?

            The matter you mentioned earlier seems to be one of those form of words matters that makes a fuss over the form but does not delve deeply into the underlying meanings

            Well done, you’ve done some research into the topic you were already talking about. So if it is so unimportant, you presumably don’t approve of the East breaking away?

            Indeed, I’d rather see the ‘proceeds from’ dropped altogether as it implies a subordination that does not exist.

            When you see the Lord, you can make your complaint to him yourself:

            But when the Counsellor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me

            You really don’t know your Bible do you?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Rome is not comparable with Christ, it is just a fallible church. When someone demonstrates that it is wrong by Scripture it should pay attention.

            Actually it was Rome who broke away from the other churches. Rome is the schismatic.

            I don’t think that the creed can claim Christ’s authority.

            So you’re saying Rome was wrong? I think it is a simplistic reading of the passage.

          • Albert

            Rome is not comparable with Christ, it is just a fallible church.

            All things are comparable in some respect. After all, Jesus compares himself with lots of things. The Church is comparable with Christ insofar as Christ preserves the Church infallible, because of the weakness of human interpreters (cf. the divisions and confusions brought about by the Protestants once they made their own spirits the magisterium).

            When someone demonstrates that it is wrong by Scripture it should pay attention.

            But the Church isn’t proved wrong by scripture. At best we have a situation in which some people think, by their darkened misinterpretation of scripture that Rome is wrong. More honest interpreters, such as your good self, sometimes interpret scripture correctly (as I have just demonstrated in a related post), but misinterpret Catholicism. They thus show Catholicism and scripture are one, and the Protestant position a human tradition which attempts (vainly, thanks to the promises of Christ to his Church) to nullify the word of God.

            Actually it was Rome who broke away from the other churches. Rome is the schismatic.

            Except that if you understood the theological issue like a good Protestant, you would side with Rome on this point. But as you have shown you don’t know the scripture, since you rebuked the Lord for using the word “proceeds” of the Holy Spirit. So when you, who rebuke the Lord, say we are not the Church, I bear your insults with pride. For if you deny the Lord how can you not deny his Church? As the scripture says:

            Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.

            Or will you now just admit you don’t know enough scripture to comment on these things?

            I don’t think that the creed can claim Christ’s authority.

            At one level I agree. A Creed is less authoritative than scripture for example.

            So you’re saying Rome was wrong? I think it is a simplistic reading of the passage.

            Where on earth have I said that?!

          • Martin

            Albert

            Can you show me evidence from the Bible that shows that Christ keeps a local church in fallible? After all, the criticisms in the early chapters of Revelation seem to indicate that churches can make errors and sometimes can drift so far from the truth that they cease to be true churches. Such is the church of Rome. You see, your church is neither Catholic nor Apostolic, it has become its own authority, abandoning the authority of Scripture and raising itself up as the interpreter of Scripture.

            The Church will hold to Scripture, taking it as its guide, you seek to control Scripture, aligning it with your beliefs.

            The issues that caused the break do not matter, what matters is the attitude of Rome toward other churches, exemplified by Victor. Rome was arrogant, and its pride led to the loss of its lampstand.

          • Albert

            Can you show me evidence from the Bible that shows that Christ keeps a local church in fallible?

            It is the universal Church which is infallible, and the universal Church has a specific mouthpiece in the office of Peter, when exercised in specific circumstances. Th rest of your first paragraph is thus ignorant and moot.

            The Church will hold to Scripture, taking it as its guide, you seek to control Scripture, aligning it with your beliefs.

            Martin, how many times do I have to point this out? You are not biblical. Your doctrines are not in scripture, and your ignorance of scripture shows you in repeated contradiction of scripture. You are no authority on scripture. You will twist any passage to prevent its plain meaning contradicting your human tradition, and you have little grasp of huge part of the sacred text and its influence on theology.

          • Martin

            Albert

            That Christ will keep His Church is not in question. The problem is with individual churches, like Rome, where they can clearly stray into error and worse. Rome chose to side with the secular power against Christ. As for Peter, he was clearly fallible too.

          • Albert

            When the Pope speaks infallibly, he isn’t speaking as from a local Church. The Church has never stood with the secular power against Christ. Peter is a good example of someone who sometimes made mistakes, but was nevertheless enabled to speak infallibly – for example, in writing scripture. Or don’t you believe that?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Of course the pope is speaking as the leader of a local church, he’s bishop of Rome. And we know from the Bible that bishops, that is elders/overseers are appointed over local churches, not over groups of churches.

            On the matter of your current pope, by what right did he move from Argentina, since the Council of Nicaea decreed that bishops should remain in the churches they were ordained in and not move to other churches:

            Because of the great disturbances and disagreements that have occurred
            of late, we decree that the custom which prevails in certain places must
            be totally done away with: neither bishop, priest, nor deacon shall
            move from city to city. And if any one, after this decree of the holy
            and great council, shall attempt such a thing, or continue in any such
            course of action, his actions shall be utterly void, and he must return
            to the church where he was ordained bishop or priest.

            Seems he ought to go back to Argentina.

            And what has Peter to do with the pope? Peter was an Apostle, a role that is no longer available.

          • Albert

            Of course the pope is speaking as the leader of a local church, he’s bishop of Rome.

            Of course, how silly of me. You know better than the Catholic Church what the Catholic Church believes.

            On the matter of your current pope, by what right did he move from Argentina, since the Council of Nicaea decreed that bishops should remain in the churches they were ordained in and not move to other churches

            Matters of Church law can be changed by a competent authority.

          • Martin

            Albert

            But it isn’t the Catholic Church, it is the Roman church which has gone around abusing Christians and pretending it is the only real church.

            Isn’t it strange, how the Roman church decide that they are competent to change what was laid down by the Council of Nicaea.

          • Albert

            You are not in any position to determine who or what is the Catholic Church. There is nothing strange about the Catholic Church deciding to change its own rules.

          • Martin

            Albert

            But I am in such a position, for I am a member of that Catholic Church, that Church of Christ. I know what is required to be in that Church and Rome doesn’t have it.

          • Albert

            Even if that were completely true, it wouldn’t put you in such a position. Even if sola scriptura were true, you don’t know the scriptura very well, and your grasp of its meaning is pretty limited.

          • Martin

            Albert

            What I wrote is entirely true, whatever my faults.

          • Albert

            It’s not entirely true, since the body of Christ is not divided but is visibly united. But you are divided from it. Therefore, you are not entirely a member of the Catholic Church and thus do not know what is required to be in that Church, and so cannot stand in judgement on that Church.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I am entirely united with Christ’s Church which is Catholic. You, on the other hand, while you belong to a church that by its title claims catholicity, are, as far as I can tell, not in that Church. I pray that you may gain admission.

          • Albert

            as far as I can tell

            Which is to say, nothing at all.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I’m applying James’ test.

          • Albert

            No you’re not. You’re using your human tradition to screen out what scripture actually says, where it disagrees with your human tradition.

          • Martin

            Albert

            As I said, I’m applying James’ test.

      • betteroffoutofit

        Right. Tyndale (1495-1536), translatied NT from Greek (1525). He produced an English Pentateuch (1530); and Jonah (?1531) which, OCEL* says, are “from the Hebrew, with reference also to the Vulgate, Erasmus’ Latin version, and Luther’s Bible” (sv. Bible, the English).
        However, these translators and reformers were preceded by Wyclif (c. 1330-84) and his Lollard followers, who among them provided a full translation of the Bible c.1380/82. Among such thinkers, Langland (c 1330-86) is credited with “Piers Plowman,” whose protagonist struggles (in English) with his contemporary Church and its problems with Truth, reason, and understanding. The more things change. . . , then!!!
        __________________
        *”Oxford Companion to English Lit. 6th Ed. Ed. Drabble.

        • betteroffoutofit

          But the euros always had a problem with subduing independent English thought – that was one reason why P. Alexander II supported William the Bastard in 1066. Today we might observe that, in 1063, Alexander had also “sent banners and granted indulgences to Norman warriors and French knights fighting against the Muslims in Sicily and Spain respectively,. . . ” (153; J.N.D Kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes).

          The First Crusade, btw. was from 1095-99, under P. Urban II. Anglo-Norman William II (aka Rufus, r. 1087-c.1099) supported Urban after 1095 in return for concessions, esp. that granted papal legates to enter our kingdom. – once they had royal permission.
          But . . . the Red one also contended with HG’s predecessor Anselm (1033-1109; ABC 1093 ff) on various issues. Carpenter relates that the English clergy, who relied on Red William for their livings, failed to support Anselm openly (132, “Struggle for Mastery”) – so Anselm left, returning to England in 1100. OCEL observes: that “He was the cornerstone of the Augustinian tradition in the Middle ages with its emphasis on Faith in search of Reason. . ” (“Fides Quaerens Intellectum”).

          Ummm . . . Patterns?

          • betteroffoutofit

            Well, back to English independence and credit for vernacular translation (pre-Luther) — let’s not forget to credit the Anglo-Saxon glosses on e.g. “The Lindisfarne Gospels” (7/8th cent.); and translations by Bede (AD 673-735) – e.g. part of “St. John’s Gospel,” and by Ælfric (c. AD 955-1010) – of the “Heptateuch.”

            So … the frogs tried to stop us, and almost succeeded for 3/400 years — but it didn’t work. HVIII and Elizabeth I finally freed our cultural roots and allowed our language and thought to flourish again.

            Watch out, mozzies and euronasties: We’ve been working against your like for longer than your version of history has been around.

            God WILL help us clear our way.

    • Paul Greenwood

      It also ignores the Peasants’ Revolt consequent upon Martin Luther, Thirty Years War………..UK perspectives are remarkably circumscribed

      • betteroffoutofit

        You had me confused! I never knew Luther (1483-1546) and the jerries had a “Peasants’ Revolt’ . . . Ours of course, being in 1381, preceded both.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Probably not as bloody however…..300,000 or so were killed in German provinces

          • betteroffoutofit

            Well . . .

        • Anton

          The French had one even earlier. Look up “Jacquerie”.

    • Martin

      Albert

      Actually the Reformation was about reason, Aquinas is just another reasonless follower of tradition and much that Augustine said was in agreement with the Reformers. The Reformation was an act of God freeing His Church from the shackles of superstition, the worship of idols and tradition.

      • Albert

        Given how ignorant you are of scripture, I am unsurprised you are ignorant of Church history. Obviously the doctrine of sola fide is opposed to reason. Luther is happy with reason when dealing with empirical matters, but in matters of faith, he calls reason a whore.

        • Martin

          Albert

          Clearly you are ignorant of Scripture and Church history:

          “And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

          Remember, Luther isn’t the authority, Scripture is.

          • Luther was and is wrong. That’s why he added to scripture and wanted James excluded.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Luther was wrong on some things, though at least he wasn’t wrong on salvation, as you are.

          • Albert

            How precisely is that an answer to my post? Besides, you were talking about the Protestant Reformation, so it’s hard to see how you exclude Luther in this way.

          • Martin

            Albert

            That quote from Clement teaches sola fide.

            And the point of the Reformation is that the Bible is the authority, not men.

          • Albert

            Which quote from Clement?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The quote I gave above, 1 Clem. 32:4

          • Albert

            1Clem 32:4
            And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

            Nope. I can’t see where it teaches sola fide. I can see how someone who understands neither the Catholic teaching, nor the Bible on this matter, might think it teaches sola fide. As usual, the problem comes because you do not read the context. The key question to ask is always “what is meant by ‘righteousness’?” Is it forensic or infused? Protestants say it is forensic. Clement/the Bible/Catholics say it is infused. To see what I mean, simply look elsewhere in Clement:

            1Clem 9:3
            Let us set before us Enoch, who being found righteous in obedience was translated, and his death was not found.

            1Clem 30:3
            Let us therefore cleave unto those to whom grace is given from God. Let us clothe ourselves in concord, being lowly minded and temperate, holding ourselves aloof from all back biting and evil speaking, being justified by works and not by words.

            1Clem 31:2
            Wherefore was our father Abraham blessed? Was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith?

            So God is the efficient cause of our justification, but when we are justified, we really are justified. We are made righteous – by the operation of the Holy Spirit in our souls.

          • Martin

            Albert

            If you can’t see it you are blind, or very stupid. I’m more inclined to believe that you are unwilling to admit that it’s there.

            1 Clem. 32:4 And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

            And here it is, refined:

            we are not justified through ourselves or through [anything] we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith.

            But then you can’t see that either.

          • Albert

            But that does not have to be a doctrine of justification by faith alone. That is a statement of justification by faith. Can you not see the difference? The Protestant doctrine is that we are justified by faith alone and not by faith and works. But that’s not what Clement says. His contrast, like that of Paul and James, is between justification by faith on the one hand and justification by works without faith on the other. Now it is evident that he does not believe the latter is possible – and your quotation proves that. But it is evident that for him that we are justified by works, for he says (among the other things I quoted earlier):

            being justified by works and not by words.

            So Clement says we are justified by works, but you say he means we are justified by faith alone and not by works. And yet you accuse me of being either blind, or very stupid, and earlier of not looking at the context!

            So Clement cannot possibly mean we are justified by faith alone because he says we are justified by works, therefore, when he says:

            we are not justified through ourselves or through [anything] we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith

            the works (wrought in holiness of heart) refers to works done prior to grace and faith. However, the man who has faith being justified by works and not by words…, wrought righteousness and truth through faith

            Hence:

            Let us set before us Enoch, who being found righteous [that is, justified] in obedience was translated, and his death was not found.

            And this is just the doctrine of Paul (faith working through love…I can do all things through him…I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God) and of James (Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.)

          • Martin

            Albert

            1 Clem. 32:4 And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

            Yes, that is a statement of justification by faith alone. Not that you’ll admit it.

            As I’ve pointed out to you again and again, works are the result of faith, as James says. And Clement clearly teaches that we are not justified by works, but by faith alone. 1 Clem 30:3 is clearly not about salvation and is not connected to the quote I have given you.

            Once again you fail to produce any Scripture to prove me wrong.

          • Albert

            Yes, that is a statement of justification by faith alone. Not that you’ll admit it.

            It is a statement of justification by faith, by faith alone is not consistent with the other passages cited.

            As I’ve pointed out to you again and again, works are the result of faith, as James says.

            Hello? That’s the Catholic teaching I am defending! If you have been taught otherwise, you have been lied to, and if you have been lied to on that, what else have you been lied to about?

            1 Clem 30:3 is clearly not about salvation and is not connected to the quote I have given you

            Errrr? It’s about justification – as it says.

            Once again you fail to produce any Scripture to prove me wrong.

            Hilarious! Firstly, I was answering your post, which, as anyone can see does not produce any scripture, and secondly, I actually quoted four different passages of scripture, it’s just that you don’t know scripture to notice when it is quoted.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It is a statement of faith alone, consistent with the Bible:

            1 Clem. 32:4 And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

            You are claiming that faith alone is not sufficient, that works are required, James is saying works are the result of faith. Likewise justification is the result of faith.

            You quoted no Scripture.

          • Albert

            It is a statement of faith alone, consistent with the Bible

            I have already shown how it is consistent with the Bible/Catholic teaching on justification by faith. As you disagree, you need to show how it is inconsistent with that teaching, while making it clear that it is consistent with the rest of Clement. You haven’t done either of those things, largely, it would appear because you don’t understand the Catholic teaching that Clement is so explicitly giving. For example, you say:

            You are claiming that faith alone is not sufficient

            Quite, because that is what the Bible says:

            You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            You then say:

            James is saying works are the result of faith

            Which is precisely the Catholic teaching. Here’s Trent teaching that we cannot be justified by our own works:

            Canon 1.
            If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.

            Canon 2.
            If anyone says that divine grace through Christ Jesus is given for this only, that man may be able more easily to live justly and to merit eternal life, as if by free will without grace he is able to do both, though with hardship and difficulty, let him be anathema.

            Canon 3.
            If anyone says that without the predisposing inspiration of the Holy Ghost and without His help, man can believe, hope, love or be repentant as he ought, so that the grace of justification may be bestowed upon him, let him be anathema.

            And here’s the Catechism saying that we need faith in order to please God:

            The necessity of faith

            161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. “Since “without faith it is impossible to please (God) ” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.'”

            You then say:

            Likewise justification is the result of faith.

            Which is precisely what Catholicism teaches. Here’s Trent again:

            CHAPTER VIII
            HOW THE GRATUITOUS JUSTIFICATION OF THE SINNER BY FAITH IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD

            But when the Apostle says that man is justified by faith and freely, these words are to be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted unanimity of the Catholic Church has held and expressed them, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification.

            For, if by grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the Apostle says, grace is no more grace.

            Now go back to Clement and see how close that is. Now of course, there is more to justification than just having faith, for (Trent cites scripture):

            For faith, unless hope and charity be added to it, neither unites man perfectly with Christ nor makes him a living member of His body.

            For which reason it is most truly said that faith without works is dead and of no profit, and in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by charity.

            This faith, conformably to Apostolic tradition, catechumens ask of the Church before the sacrament of baptism, when they ask for the faith that gives eternal life, which without hope and charity faith cannot give.

            Whence also they hear immediately the word of Christ:
            If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

            You then claim:

            You quoted no Scripture.

            You really do walk into these things, don’t you? Here’s my post, set out so that even someone who doesn’t know much scripture can see where the quotes come:

            “And this is just the doctrine of Paul (

            1. faith working through love (Gal.5.6)
            2.I can do all things through him (Phil. 4.13)
            3. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal.5.21))

            and of James (
            4. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (Jas.2.21-24).

            Now what’s so interesting about your denial of these scriptures is that, without the Church to tell you that they are inspired, you presumably think you’ve got some kind of spiritual sense that tells you when something is scripture or not. Well it seems pretty obvious that you don’t. Add that to your serial misunderstanding of Catholicism and the Bible (to say nothing of Clement, for I am happy to argue sola scriptura here, even though the doctrine is self-referentially incoherent) and it seems to me that you have no grounds for your confidence.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No you haven’t shown how it is consistent with your teaching because it is clearly speaking of faith alone, which you deny.

            1 Clem. 32:4 And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

            Once again you misuse James, he is not saying that something beside faith is required, rather he is saying that faith is demonstrated by works.

            It is not Rome’s teaching that works are the result of faith, rather that works are required in addition to faith. By the way, Rome is not the Catholic Church for Rome has departed the faith.

            You quote part of a verse, taking it out of context:

            For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

            Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
            (Galatians 5:1-6 [ESV])

            If we here exchange the word circumcision for baptism we have the same result. If you say you must be baptised in order to be saved you are as wrong as the Judaisers.

            You quote a verse that has nothing to do with soteriology:

            I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. (Philippians 4:10 [ESV])

            You take a verse from where Paul is distinguishing between the saved and the unsaved and you make it appear to mean that works are required for salvation:

            But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
            (Galatians 5:16-23 [ESV])

            Your problem is that you are without the Church. Look again at what James says:

            What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

            But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
            (James 2:14-18 [ESV])

            Faith without works is dead, it is dead faith, it doesn’t exist. If your faith does not result in works, one of which is to turn to Christ in repentance, it doesn’t exist.

          • Albert

            it is clearly speaking of faith alone

            It is not speaking of faith alone. You haven’t even attempted to show how it is. You just keep repeating the quote. But to think it teaches faith alone shows you don’t understand the alternative position. If you think it teaches faith alone, you would probably think Trent teaches faith alone.

            Once again you misuse James, he is not saying that something beside faith is required, rather he is saying that faith is demonstrated by works.

            He is saying both that faith is demonstrated by works and also that we are “justified by works” that “faith is completed by works” and that “a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. ” Why do you deny what scripture explicitly says?

            It is not Rome’s teaching that works are the result of faith, rather that works are required in addition to faith.

            Works are required in addition to faith as already cited, but works are the consequence of faith.

            If we here exchange the word circumcision for baptism we have the same result. If you say you must be baptised in order to be saved you are as wrong as the Judaisers.

            But as any reader can see baptism is not the same as circumcision. You are making the normal Protestant elementary fallacy of confusing works of the law, with works done by grace. Baptism is a grace, not a work of our own.

            You take a verse from where Paul is distinguishing between the saved and the unsaved and you make it appear to mean that works are required for salvation

            Good to see you denying the doctrine of simul iustus et peccator, but I don’t see how you can believe sola fide while denying its corollary. Paul warns his hearers – which means of course that he is saying they must avoid sin in order to enter heaven.

            Faith without works is dead, it is dead faith, it doesn’t exist. If your faith does not result in works, one of which is to turn to Christ in repentance, it doesn’t exist.

            Fine, but then the scripture gives the doctrine you hate:

            You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren?
            Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God.
            You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Seems you’re having trouble reading.

            “are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of hear”

            means these things are excluded.

            “but through faith”

            Means faith alone.

            James is saying that works prove that faith exists. It’s very simple if you read the whole passage. Trouble is, if you accept what I say it destroys your whole belief in your sect. Works come after saving faith, they cannot be required for salvation since they are the result. Equally baptism is the testimony of the person saved so cannot be given to those who cannot testify to salvation. You make grace the same as the law, just changing the name.

            Why you should imagine I’m denying simul iustus et peccator I’m not sure, perhaps you don’t understand. Read the whole of James.

          • Albert

            You have trouble distinguishing between readings of the same text. Just because a text can be read your way does not mean that is the only or correct way of reading it. Your problem of course is that you have misunderstood Catholic teaching on this and therefore see it as excluded when actually it isn’t. You also have a problem of thinking you know and are able to judge when someone is being honest. Even if I am wrong in what I say, you have no knowledge or authority to determine whether I am dishonest or just mistaken. If you knew the scripture properly you would know that. But as it is, you try to argue over the finer points of theology that you do not understand while violating plainly obvious teachings of scripture.

            I am not reading any more of your posts. They theologically sophomoronic and judgemental silly ways.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So now you are saying that the passages can be read the way I suggest? Or are you saying that even if it can be read as I suggest it is not the right way to read it? One has to wonder how you discern the right way to read a passage.

            I will remind you that it was you who strung together a number of unconnected passages from the Bible with no indication that they were from different places and by different writers. You do not appear to have explained that act.

            As I understand Rome’s teaching, indeed, as you have expressed to me, it is claimed it can only be understood when Rome explains it. I’m sorry, but I don’t accept that. It seems to me that as Rome’s teaching has developed over the centuries it has changed and every effort is made to hide that fact. Certainly the passage from 1 Clement that I quoted teaches sola fides, something that is anathema to the current Rome.

          • Albert

            I’m only reading the first sentence of your post. Some passages can be read the way you suggest. Some cannot. For example, this passage could be read as teaching sola fide:

            For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God — not because of works, lest any man should boast.

            But it can also be read in a Catholic way. In contrast, this passage simply cannot be read in a sola fide way and can only be read in a Catholic way:

            Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The Catholic way is the way the Church has always read it, as evidenced by the letter of Clement to Corinth:

            1 Clem. 32:4 And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

            and as James says:

            “I will show you my faith by my works”

            It is clear that James is not saying that something beside works is required, that is just the belief of your sect.

          • Albert

            You can only claim Clement for your own, when you have shown it cannot be read in a Catholic sense. And you can’t do that, until you know what that Catholic sense. And no, I’m not going to drawn on the word “Catholic”.

          • Coniston

            Christian theology was based on reason (as well, of course, as on scripture and revelation) from the very start; Paul debated with philosophers in Athens. This emphasis on reason in explaining and articulating its faith is totally different from Islam, which has no place for reason in its beliefs.
            Jesus Christ is referred to as the Logos – the Word (or Reason or Plan) of God – the divine reason active in the creation, ordering it and giving it form and meaning.
            St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1093-1109), one of the great Christian theologians, wrote ‘Credo ut intelligam’ (I believe so that I may understand); this is based on a saying of St. Augustine of Hippo. Anselm also wrote about ‘faith seeking understanding’.

            Benedict XV1 pointed out the lack of reason in Islam in his Regensburg Address of 2006, though most of the address was an appeal to the West in an attempt to bring reason back into Western public discourse, from which it has largely vanished. There are several websites about his address, including: http://seanrobsville.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/civilization-is-west-history-science-by.html http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4686/regensburg_revisited_ten_years_later_a_west_still_in_denial.aspx
            http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/09/17747/

          • betteroffoutofit

            Yes, I made the point about Anselm below, while also tracing the use of Reason and Understanding in English Christianity – It was accomplished partly through translation of the Bible into English.

          • Martin

            The Christian should read and understand the Bible and be ready to give an answer for their faith.

  • IanCad

    An excellent analysis. Sober, restrained and just what should be expected from a robust and articulate Christian churchman. Nothing to argue against – a nodding of the head read.
    So true; abideth fundamentalism, reason, emotion, but the greatest of these is emotion. At least, as far as danger to peace and harmony and liberty is concerned.
    Passions are running high; good Christian men are fulminating – not thinking. Unbelievers are fearful and seem to take pride in showing it. Is there no shame? Are we not a nation of laws? Have our officers – sworn to uphold the law – completely vacated their responsibilities?? I think not.
    We are not without remedy; and remedy that does not violate our civil and religious liberties so hard won. Our criminal statutes must be upheld, and, at risk of the charge of repetition, I contend that prosecution – to the fullest extent of the law – of those taking part in demonstrations calling for the beheading, annihilation, and massacre of their fellow subjects, as shown in yesterday’s OP, is where to start. All involved in such incitements to murder are a clear danger to civility. Failure to act and bring to justice the participants will be an act of the grossest dissrespect of the law. Was there not – a few years back – a little boy with a sign reading “I want to be a suicide bomber”? Round up those SOB parents and throw the book at them.
    Let me ruffle some more feathers. Our Muslim subjects must not be made to collectively pay the penalty so richly deserved of the few.

    • CliveM

      IanCad

      With regards your last para, yes agreed.

    • Ivan M

      If such a thing happens you can be sure that the times have changed for the better. But there are too many contrary interests at stake. For instance is the UK going to admit that it was a blunder to remove Gaddafi? That they have the blood of Syrians on their hands by participating in the chaos in Syria? Until there is a sincere recognition that what all too many Muslims mean by oppression is merely their inability to oppress others, things will not change.

      • bluedog

        Remember the British parliament voted not to get involved in the Syrian civil war. The current involvement within the borders of Syria is aimed at the defeat of IS, a completely different exercise. The intervention there protects the Syrian people from Wahhabist extremism.

        Heretically, this communicant hopes that the caliphate is not too destroyed too quickly. By taking and trying to hold land, IS has made a fundamental strategic error that opens up ite vulnerabilities to western fire-power. Long may jihadis travel to the caliphate to fight and die for Islam.

        • Ivan M

          I meant to say that overthrowing Assad is not a good idea.

    • Notforinfants

      Ian. Your last point is one I fully endorse and have just made on another site – as follows:


      What route is open to government to combat the threats of jihadism?
      It may involve several measures, but one in particular which needs to be considered. Amongst others then it is for new legislation directly aimed at moslem communites in the UK which compels them to take collective ‘ownership’ or responsibility for all acts of violence done in the name of Islam or Allah.

      At present leading Moslem spokesmen and the majority disown violence and murders perpetrated by their fellow moslems, as for example the oft repeated reassurances that these having nothing to do with the real Moslem faith and that Islam is the religion of ‘peace and mercy’ etc. The Moslem Council of Britain said as much again to crowds in Manchester only yesterday and the BBC made sure that this sickening hypocritical nonsense was circulated.

      Here then in brief is the way in which so called “moderate” moslems can be compelled to take responsibility for the extremists and killers in their midst taken together with other measures, this will ensure a radical change in the status quo in relation to the centres of moslem life and influence, namely the mosque.

      Legislation needs to be passed which clearly defines any act of violence against another individual or group as being the collective responsibility by the whole UK moslem community, automatically precipitating government closure of a number of mosques (5 or even 10 for each act of violence?) together with the immediate deportation of the resident Imams in each.

      It is my belief that only such a policy will be sufficient to jolt out of their complacency the majority of so called peaceful and passive moslems who either condone the actions of the ‘jihadists’ or who are too lazy or frightened to counter the minority who operate within their midst.

      The closures should be non-negotiable and with immediate effect after every incident. Such a policy would be open, fair, and would put the responsibility and onus on moslem communities to police their adherents in order to avoid the inevitable consequences resulting from actions by militant jihadists.

      • CliveM

        Ok am I missing something, have you read his final paragraph properly?

  • Inspector General

    Greetings, Ashenden! Always good to have you around. Let’s see how we can put you right today, what!

    Now. What’s all this rot about changing the Koran? No one ever suggests ‘reforming’ Mein Kampf. Why is it that men of intellect are able to completely reject the latter as dog filth, but not an Arab book extolling the finer points of hate and predation and conquering of the human race. Surely, yours and Cranmer’s effete reasoning has it, there MUST be some virtue in the thing, somewhere.

    Is it because Johnny Arab and Johnny Sub-Continent are not European, not white, by chance. Are we giving them some consideration because they’re not as civilised as us, and they need encouragement to be so.

    Next week, our Prime Minister was going to travel to Europe to beg the NAZIs to reconsider their plans to invade yet another country. However, she won’t be going now because we had the good sense to suppress the NAZIs 72 years ago. The regime that terrorised Europe and beyond was killed, skinned, butchered, and buried. Or should one say the last regime to terrorise us was. How’s THAT for reforming Mein Kampf!

    Do you see how it works now?

    • Anton

      Dr Ashenden has refrained from giving us his view of the Quran and I suggest you should not infer what you think it is.

      • Inspector General

        One works with what is presented. Problem with that ?

        • Anton

          One might have misunderstood it.

          • Inspector General

            We all have to be careful. There is no ‘Denial of the wonderful concept of multiculturalism’ Act as yet, but nevertheless…

          • Anton

            See Dr Ashenden’s website and you will find what he thinks of multiculturalism. He expresses himself rather more subtly than you. There is ample room for both styles of rhetoric, but you should not confuse form and content or else you will disagree needlessly with somebody who clearly shares your view of multiculturalism.

          • Inspector General

            One is a soldier at heart, sir. Not an intellectual. Hence the lack of subtlety. But point taken.

          • “Not an intellectual.”
            Goodness! What of your alleged “higher what’s it”?

          • Inspector General

            Interesting concept you have there, Jack. That only doctors of theology can understand what is. Understand what Babylonian polytheist converts did to Christ’s relationship to God, for example.

  • Inspector General

    Isn’t multi-culturalism bloody marvellous!

    There were, probably still are, armed police patrolling the streets of Cheltenham and Gloucester. They are approachable, and can be asked questions on security if you go up to them, we are informed. Although this arrangement is no doubt open to Islamic looking types, the Inspector strongly advises against them doing just that, for the obvious reason that Islamic-Police relations seem to be in tatters after Westminster, and one wouldn’t think our chaps are talking any risks, and who can blame them for that!

    • Martin

      IG

      They’re probably looking out for Brazilian electricians.

      • steroflex

        Under the watchful eyes of Cressida Dick!

        • Martin

          Surprised you got that name past the censors. I gather she is also sexually immoral, which can only enrage the like of ISIS more.

    • bluedog

      Pure tokenism, IG. Where there is no front-line and the enemy are virtually indistinguishable from friends, the army is useless.

      • Inspector General

        Of course, Bluedog. To reassure the public that our government occasionally considers the welfare of us ordinary souls.

  • Little Black Censored

    My word, what a splendid article! Read together with that by Laura Perrins in today’s “Conservative Woman” blog, it offers some hope that not everybody in the country is going mad.

  • Chefofsinners

    Teaching children to think would indeed be a good place to begin in tackling Islamic fundamentalism. Some of our schools choose to do this, but it has to be squeezed into tiny gaps left after teaching our fact-crammed calumny of a national curriculum.
    For Christians, analysing various strands of evil is not our calling. It is the truth which sets men free. So let us return to our commission: to proclaim the gospel.

    • Rhoda

      Teaching them accurately what the Qu’ran and hadith says would help. As would studying Islam in the same critical spirit that is usually applied to Christianity.

      • steroflex

        Parents are often not at happy with their little darlings doing the salat.
        More parents are not happy with their little darlings learning all about a non-existent (in their limited view) Jesus.
        Much easier to tell about what happened to the Year Nine girls – sorry students – who entered a poetry competition or raised money for charity.

        • Anton

          What are you on about? All that Christians want is a level playing field in RE.

    • Dominic Stockford

      If the teachers are atheists and agnostics as most are they simply cannot teach accurately.

  • Martin

    Your diagnosis is wrong, as is His Grace’s. The reason for sorrows affecting our nation is not the power of Islam, nor the outworking of fate, nor even the incompetence of our politicians.

    The cause behind the failure of our society is the judgement of God upon it. And why is judgement falling upon us, why did judgement fall upon Israel? We have squandered the blessings that God has given to out nation in the form of vast numbers of Christian preachers, bringing the gospel to every city, town, hamlet.

    Our people were once introduced to the Bible in schools up and down the land. they may not have known much of it but they knew of it. Our current generations know less and less, they are ignorant of what Christians believe and what the Bible teaches. they think that the pathetic Atheist, in his mumbling, uses reason when all he has is hate for his Maker.

    Our nation is ripe for the judgement of God.

    • Inspector General

      Martin. The Higher Understanding tells us that our present predicament is yet another test God has laid on our shoulders. He’s like that, you see.

      • Martin

        IG

        Your ‘Higher Understanding’ is nothing more than the imagination of your fevered mind. Examine the history of Israel.

        • Inspector General

          {GASP!}

        • betteroffoutofit

          So much talk of “Higher Understanding” and “Higher Knowledge” on Cranmer made me seek enlightenment as to what you might all be on about!

          It’s not simple, though, and I havent time to study all the Indian* AND European roots and practices – past and present!!!!
          Suffice it to note that the idea of “soul” once more relates to that of “breath”: as I’ve previously mentioned re OE ‘gast ‘ [as in “ghost”] and Latin ‘spiritus.’ This time the etymology involves OE: ‘æthm’, and Gk. ‘atmo-‘ – both rooted back in Indo-European ‘ēt-men’ (“breath”). Tying the concept to the Biblical “Breath” of life that God breathed into Adam (Genesis 2:7) shows that the history of Israel is also connected with it from early days!

          As to whose imagination or mind is fevered and why . . .
          In general, the Bible surely suggests that God put us here to try us, and to let us learn. I would argue that the relationship between His Breath and our souls/minds can help us maximise the potential.
          Beyond that, I guess I’ll just have my own “never mind” moment and leave the rest to Rupert Sheldrake and his “morphic resonance.”
          ___________________________
          * Abhijñā and Ātman, for starters . . .

          • Martin

            BOOOI

            The Bible tells us that we all, without exception, fail. That we are all wicked rebels deserving of eternal damnation. Not one of us is capable of doing anything to correct our state and it is only the mercy of God that saves any.

            as it is written:
            None is righteous, no, not one;
            no one understands;
            no one seeks for God.
            All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
            no one does good,
            not even one.
            Their throat is an open grave;
            they use their tongues to deceive.
            The venom of asps is under their lips.
            Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
            Their feet are swift to shed blood;
            in their paths are ruin and misery,
            and the way of peace they have not known.
            There is no fear of God before their eyes.
            (Romans 3:10-18 [ESV])

          • betteroffoutofit

            If it’s your choice, you’ll continue believing that you don’t have to do a thing, or to take any responsibility, for your salvation.

            You’re also free to tell me what to do, say, and think.
            Though it beats me why you imagine there’s any point in doing so.

            Oh – and just to clarify – Except for Christ, I never thought or said that anyone – Jew or Gentile – is free of sin.

            Amen.
            _______
            PS: I despise the limitations of your modern translations. But even in yours, I imagine it’s a good idea to consider Paul’s arguments in their contexts.

          • Martin

            BOOOI

            I’ve already posted this to you:

            What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
            (Romans 6:1-4 [ESV])

            But it’s not just free of sin, is it. We are all wicked rebels against the God who made us, unable to act in any way that would please God.

            As to the limitations of the modern translations, the ones I use are at least more accurate representations of the original text than was the AV. By all means look up the contexts, if I’m wrong demonstrate it from the context.

          • betteroffoutofit

            “By all means look up the contexts, if I’m wrong demonstrate it from the context.” You’re so kind. Thanks for the permission!

            I don’t know why you want me to do all the work, though. Clearly, you’re the better judge of translations, as I have only a few years of formal Latin behind me, and no Greek (or even Hebrew or Aramaic)!

            Still – I’m not trying ‘to prove you wrong’ on translation; that, methinks, always involves a degree of personal interpretaion. It’s rather that the idiom and style of the older texts offer me other views. Thus . . .
            Your Romans 6.1-5 appears in the Latin Vulgate as:
            1 quid ergo dicemus permanebimus in peccato ut gratia abundet
            2 absit qui enim mortui sumus peccato quomodo adhuc vivemus in illo
            3 an ignoratis quia quicumque baptizati sumus in Christo Iesu in morte ipsius baptizati sumus
            4 consepulti enim sumus cum illo per baptismum in mortem ut quomodo surrexit Christus a mortuis per gloriam Patris ita et nos in novitate vitae ambulemus
            5 si enim conplantati facti sumus similitudini mortis eius simul et resurrectionis erimus
            [I note that, in a phrase expressing a wish, “absit” suggests: “to be far removed” (Cassell’s Lat. Dict.)]

            And so I delight in Wyclif’s translation:
            1 Therefore what shall we say? Shall we dwell in sin, that grace be plenteous?
            2 God forbid [Far be it]. For how shall we that be dead to sin, live yet therein?
            3 Whether, brethren, ye know not, that whichever we be baptized in Christ Jesus, we be baptized in his death?
            4 For we be together buried with him by baptism into death; that as Christ arose from death [that as Christ rose from dead] by the glory of the Father, so [and] walk we in a newness of life.
            5 For if we planted together be made to the likeness of his death, also we shall be of the likeness of his rising again;

            All my older translations of “absit” also use “God forbid,” – which carries a little more meaning for me than your “By no means!”
            Then, the imagery in the text of v. 5 illustrates a parallel that helps relate my response to the concept of ‘rising again’ – though the others do stay with “resurrection.”

            As to your passage from Romans 3

            [. . . cont’d.]

          • betteroffoutofit

            Cont’d . . . Romans 3

            On general context, my Douay-Rheims refers to the pre-eminence of the Roman Epistle in relation to the importance of the “place to which it was sent, and in the text’s veneration of the Church.”
            The intro to Chapter 1 continues: “He [Paul] commends the faith of the Romans . . . . The philosophy of the heathens, being void of faith and humility, betrayed them into shameful sins.”

            For Chapter 3, the RC editors indicate that Paul tells of: “The advantages of the Jews. All men are sinners, and none can be justified by the works of the law: but only by the grace of Christ.”
            Well I don’t see that we’ve disagreed so far. And we know that Paul is writing to a Christian community in heathen Rome.

            In the more immediate context of the verses you quote, he asks why he is also “yet judged as a sinner” (7), and in (9) asks “Do we excel them? No not so. For we have charged both Jews, and Greeks, that they are all under sin.” The cross-reference here is to Gal. 3.10 where he paraphrases from Deut 27.26: “Cursed is every one, that abideth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Deuteronomy requires that the people should fulfill the law “in work” – which Paul has upheld on Ch. 2.

            As we move into the section you quote, a footnote to Ver 10 clarifies that “There is not any man just . . .by virtue either of the law of nature, or in the law of Moses; but only by faith and grace.” So this also supports your point – though it does not say that we can’t do anything.

            Then to your entire quote, which again re-uses other texts. Ver 10 references Gal. 3.22; and we move thence to Ps. 13.3; Ps. 5.11; James 3.8; Ps. 139.4; Isa. 59.7; Prov. 1.16;and Ps. 35.2. Except for James, these all refer back to OT times, and especially those of David. The final cross-reference is between Ver 19-31 and Gal. 2.18, in which Paul again proclaims that all these sinners are justified not by works, but by faith. The law must be upheld (as Christ did) -“established” throught faith. Salvation depends on faith.

            All this does require doing something, it seems. However, the power to do the right things comes through knowledge of, and adherence to the Law – and this we maintain through failth.

            Cont’d . . .

          • betteroffoutofit

            . . .Cont’d
            If we then turn to Romans 5

            1 Being justified therefore by faith, let us have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access through faith into this grace, wherein we stand, and glory in the hope of the glory of the sons of God. 3 And not only so; but we glory also in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience trial; and trial hope; 5 And hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us.

            Again courtesy of the RC editors, this section cross-references to a later time in Paul’s life, when in fact he was in a Roman prison and writing to the Ephesians. They say: “The matters of faith contained in this Epistle are exceedingly sublime, and consequently very difficult to be understood.” Ah.
            But we also find that the Ephesians are his converts – so they either turned like robots, or they allowed some will-power, vision, and hearing to affect their minds and hearts. For Paul now uses the past tense to speak of the sinful state. For God Eph. 2.5 “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ, (by whose grace you are saved).” So it does seem that not everyone remains as shown in Rom. 3.

            Yes we need the help. Yes the faith must be enabled – it has to have something to latch onto. We do participate, though. And even Paul found it necessary to exhort his converts to “Walk worthy of the vocation to which you are called” (4.1), and to keep the law. Clearly too, even Paul had to preach and write to people in order to propagate the gospel – even from his prison.

            Certainly, the question of free will has exercised many great Christians through the ages. I would suggest that we need to exercise some now if we want to retain God’s Kingdom on earth for our children. That is one thing we can learn from the present situation.

          • Martin

            I’ll answer the above and below here:

            BOOOI

            I think the modern translations, aside from those of sects like JW & RCC, such as the Douay-Rheims, are pretty reliable. Of course the Vulgate is an old translation, without the modern discovery of better Greek manuscripts, produced by one of those sects. Wycliffe and the translators of the AV were equally limited in what they had.

            Perhaps it is your familiarity with the text that causes you to prefer one over the other.

            Of course, you need to remember that faith is a gift of God, not something inherent to Man. I think the ‘RC editors’ not being believers benefiting from the Holy Spirit, find more difficulty in Ephesians than there is. Or maybe because it contradicts their doctrine they have to say something to justify their eisegesis.

            The meaning of of Ephesians is neither you suggest. At the New Birth the desires of the one saved are changed, so that they are no longer opposed to God and His law but rather they love God and hence turn to Him, seeking His mercy. They are no longer dead but alive spiritually. They still, however, reside in their sinful flesh which they will retain until death. That flesh is the remnant of what is described in Romans 3, the state they were once in.

            Thus when a person receives the New Birth they are irreversibly changed, they cannot cease to have been changed and the Bible tells us clearly that neither the Father, who gives them to the Son, nor the Son will allow them to fall away.

            We participate in the salvation we have received once we are saved, but only in so far as we improve our state, we cannot be lost.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Wonderful that someone so highly qualified, favoured, and saved should address so lowly an “other”!

            And to register how said lowness would think: if such a thing were possible . . . !! Gosh!!

    • CliveM

      But if it’s all predestined…….. Oh never mind.

      • Martin

        Clive

        That God has a plan does not preclude us from doing what is right.

        • CliveM

          But if God has predestined us to reject his offer of grace……………

          • Martin

            Clive

            We all reject His offer of grace. Only by God’s grace are some saved.

          • CliveM

            “We all reject his offer of grace”.

            So in actual fact this generation is no worse then any other, but God, for reasons only known to himself, has decided to save fewer of it.

          • Martin

            Clive

            I suggest you read Romans 9.

          • CliveM

            I have. Several times.

          • Martin

            Clive

            Then why do you ignore what it says?

          • CliveM

            Do I?

            Martin you have a track record of ignoring what the Bible says, denying both clear statements and the authority of the bible when you disagree with it. You make no attempt to understand the message of the gospel as a whole, and wilfully misinterpret your proof texts.

          • Martin

            Clive

            So show me where I do those things.

          • CliveM

            John 3 :16
            John 8 : 1 – 11

          • Martin

            Clive

            I don’t ignore John 3:16 and the earliest manuscripts do not have John 7:53–8:11 hence it is not part of the Bible.

          • CliveM

            You don’t ignore it, you deny what it says.

            Yes it does. I’ve just checked and its there.

          • Martin

            Clive

            I don’t deny what John 3:16 says, whoever believes will be saved.

            I suggest you read up on John 7:53–8:11. https://www.gotquestions.org/John-7-53-8-11.html

          • There are other books in scripture too. Roman’s has to be understood according to the whole of the bible.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Of course.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Surely it all depends on how deliberately any generation closes its eyes and ears to the Light. As for who is ‘saved’ — I guess it depends on what you mean by the word. Only one Judge make the ultimate decision, though.

          • Sarky

            Your screwed then.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            No, because I’m saved.

          • Sarky

            How do you know? Are you god?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:16 [ESV])

          • betteroffoutofit

            … if we have Faith to consider the Grace?

          • Martin

            BOOOI

            Faith is the gift of God.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Grace is the gift of God (favour; that which deserves thanks). So they’re both the same thing?

            You’re one of those who thinks we can do anything at all, regardless and with malice aforethought — we’re saved no matter what? I see.

          • Martin

            BOOOI

            It’s part of God’s grace. As to your second comment:

            What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
            (Romans 6:1-4 [ESV])

          • Keep digging.

        • Um …. except, according to your world view, we don’t have free will, do we?

          • Martin

            HJ

            Those dead in their sin have no free will, for they are dead

          • And only those regenerated by God, for no reason other than manifesting His Power and His “Glory”, have free will? Except, according to your world view, they don’t.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Only those regenerated. or born again have free will. Otherwise they are dead in their sin and their sin owns them in their entirety.

          • So, as Jack said, in your world view there is no such thing as free will

          • Martin

            HJ

            On the contrary, the natural man has given it away, but the believer has had it restored.

          • CliveM

            Do you not see what nonsense that statement is?

          • Martin

            Clive

            No.

          • CliveM

            Well you really should try too.

          • Martin

            Clive

            Perhaps you should try to understand it.

          • CliveM

            Calvinism is full of contradictory, mutually exclusive statements which make no logical sense.

            Without free will there is no sin. To say otherwise is as rediculous as saying a gun has moral responsibility for the death of the person it shoots. In a deterministic world, with no freedom of action, there is no morality. Your world is no different then a ticking mechanical clock. Actions and movement are simply predetermined and to say a person sins in such a world makes no more sense then to say a cog in a clock sins.

            A new born baby has not chosen the Devil, it is incapable of choice or understanding. A baby is not born with inherited sin. God doesn’t hate some babies condemning them to Hell, whilst randomly choosing others for life. Original sin is a nonsense.

            Your theology ignores the Cross. It makes Christ’s sacrifice an absurdity. It dehumanises and portrays God as vindictive and random. Choosing some for life, whilst randomly condemning others for death would not be love, it would simply be an expression of power.

            Morally no better then how the Guards at the German death camps behaved.

            I reject your image of God. It is a lie.

          • Martin

            Clive

            By nature we give away our free will to our sin. We are conceived with a bias toward sin and even the youngest child is affected by that bias. That bias is original sin. A child, by nature chooses to do wrong, to fail to love its maker.

            God does not act in a random manner, we may not know why He does something but it is not random.

            But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but Through Isaac shall your offspring be named. This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son. And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call— she was told, The older will serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
            (Romans 9:6-13 [ESV])

            God chose Jacob, rather than Esau. God placed His love on Jacob but hated Esau. It is God’s choice, He gets to do what He wishes with what is His. Christ died on the cross for His people, those the Father had chosen. All are condemned, but only some are saved.

            But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, Why have you made me like this? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?
            (Romans 9:20-21 [ESV])

            Do you reject God’s right?

          • So, please explain just how free will and “reformed” theology are compatible.
            In the words of the Westminster Confession, God “freely and unchangeably ordained whatsoever comes to pass.” How does free will square with your belief that God appoints the eternal destiny of some to salvation by grace, and leaves the remainder to receive eternal damnation? In “reformed” theology aren’t people are predestined and called in due time to faith by God and thus born again? The rest don’t receive the call and are left helplessly “dead in their sin” and doomed to eternal torment.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So you’d deny God the exercise of His power? Of course our free will is subservient to God’s will. We are His creatures, but believers have free will within that.

          • As Jack said, you deny free will. How can “believers have free will” when it is all already decided? God’s sovereignty is not diminished by man’s free will.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Because the creatures free will is subservient to that of the Creator.

          • Perhaps God has willed man is free to accept or reject Him.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Man, by nature, has given his free will to his sin and cannot accept God. He is spiritually dead and must be born again.

          • Back to no free will, then?

          • Martin

            HJ

            Comprehension isn’t your strong point, is it.

          • Explain how man has free wiliness those for election and those for when God predestines the elect and the damned. He only sends His irresistible grace to the predestined elect and leaves the rest “dead in their sin”.

          • Martin

            HJ

            There is no free will involved in salvation, they are compelled to come in.

          • There you go then. You denied this earlier.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No I didn’t.

    • Chefofsinners

      Try to drag your theology out of the Old Testament. God no longer deals with nations. He is calling out a people from all nations.

      • Anton

        Gentile nations, he deals with neither more nor less than before Christ.

        Righteousness raises up a gentile nation [goyim], but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).

        • Chefofsinners

          Rather less than before Christ, since the primary use of nations in the OT was to discipline Israel.
          Prov 14:34 must be seen in the context of the promise to Abram in Gen 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

          • Anton

            China and India were great civilisations well before Christ and had nothing to do with Israel. There is no exegetical reason to restrict Proverbs 14:34 to Israel’s neighbours. It is a perfectly general statement about the goyim.

          • Chefofsinners

            In what ways was Genghis Khan righteous, bringing the exaltation of the Mongol empire?
            Ultimately, whatever the intended scope of Prov 14:34, it is an Old Testament statement and part of the age before ‘goyim’ could be blessed through Christ. God is working in a different way today.

          • Anton

            Dispensationalist!

          • Chefofsinners

            What, Gengis Khan? I doubt if that was it.

          • Anton

            His empire lasted little more than one lifetime and could well have been judgement on other gentile nations. I suspect you will find that the Mongols at that time had a biblical sexual morality in practice and that other peoples didn’t. But I am surprised that you are operationally a dispensationalist.

          • Chefofsinners

            I’m a sort of dispensationalist-lite. It seems clear that God has dealt with mankind through different covenants at different times. They are clearly demarcated in scripture and the entire concept fits with the rest of the scriptures, rightly dividing them. The full-on view that all Jesus’ teachings were only for a coming kingdom age does not convince me.
            Curiously, most of the people I have heard espouse your view of Prov 14:34 have been dispensationalists. They seem to view the two ideas as operating in parallel. To me the verse needs a careful and fairly narrow interpretation.

          • Anton

            All verses need careful interpretation, but why narrow?

            God is consistent and deals with people and peoples differently only if he has covenants with some but not others, I think.

          • Chefofsinners

            A broad interpretation of this verse would be that it is true for all peoples in all contexts at all times and that ‘exaltation’ means the full range of things that it could mean. A narrower interpretation might be that to be exalted means exalted in God’s eyes, or to be morally superior, or happier, but not necessarily economically or militarily superior. Or that the verse was true when spoken but not today, since God is primarily concerned with the church, a supra-national body. Such narrower interpretations certainly fit the facts as they appear. Nazi Germany was mighty but does not seem to have been particularly righteous. The G7 economies are not necessarily more righteous than less wealthy nations.

            The New Covenant in Jesus’ blood is one which applies to every tribe and nation. Previous covenants with Abraham and Moses applied only to Israel, but those with Adam and Noah applied to all.

          • Anton

            The new covenant does not apply to nations but to a set of people called from all nations. That raises the question of how God deals with gentile nations. The answer is principally via the extent to which they conform to his laws of morality. This is made clear in Romans 1 which can be taken as an inspired exegesis of Proverbs 14:34.

          • Chefofsinners

            Nazi Germany can be seen in all sorts of ways. The point is that the facts of history do not fit an interpretation of Prov 14:34 which goes “If a nation is by and large well behaved it will militarily dominate other nations and prosper economically.”
            The only theocracy that ever existed was ancient Israel. That nation prospered when it followed God’s laws and was judged when it did not. That, for me, is the best interpretation of Prov 13:34.
            Other nations are dealt with as God sees fit for His greater purposes, sometimes rising, sometimes falling, not necessarily because they are particularly good or evil. Within all those nations are a people whom God is calling for Himself. That is and has been His primary work since Christ’s coming.

          • Anton

            If you read “Sex and Culture” by JD Unwin (1934) you will find that every culture to conform fairly well to biblical sexual morality, ie no sex before marriage, and enduring marriage with little divorce, rises in worldly power, and every culture of that sort to go promiscuous quickly lost its worldly power.

            Unwin has his own weird Freudian explanation, but he was scholar enough to separate his anthropological observations from his speculations. The former strongly back up Proverbs 14:34. That nations frequently abuse the power they gain is a different point.

          • Chefofsinners

            So it’s all about sex?
            The verse then means ‘Keep your pants on and your armies will be helped by God to traverse the globe looting and pillaging, making slaves, breaking every other commandment at will.’
            That’s what I call a narrow interpretation.

          • Anton

            Read what the prophets excoriated Israel for. Delete idolatry from the list because that’s specific to the covenant. You are left with the sins that wreck family stability, plus oppression of the poor. The sins that were ck famliy stability are largely sexual, plus selfishness. it’s not me who’s got sex on the brain.

          • Zoran

            considering how many children he fathered I suspect you are on dodgy ground there.

          • Manfarang

            The Jews have a long established presence in India.

          • Anton

            I know. What has that to do with this exchange?

          • Manfarang

            The people of China and India don’t hold offensive views about the Jews.
            There have been long standing contacts.

      • Martin

        CoS

        That doesn’t mean that God does not Judge the wickedness of nations.

    • Manfarang

      Israel is doing fine, making the deserts bloom.

      • Martin

        But they are a nation at war.

        • Manfarang

          You can still enjoy a coffee on Dizengoff Street.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Protestant Ascendancy made England, Sweden, Netherlands powerful and influential…….Protestant Decline reversed this

      • Martin

        Paul

        Failure to place God first is the reason for the decline.

  • Chefofsinners

    There are not three protagonists, there are only two: good and evil, God and Satan. The victory is already won. Every evil deed will be brought into judgment, so do not forget the words “vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

  • Ivan M

    Well argued article by the Reverend. There is however one point that he fails to mention and in fact holds the key to the right application of reason to the current mess. I refer to the loose denigration of anyone who cares for his homeland and people as a Nazi. Till that is addressed reason cannot function effectively, since the reasonable man can see that by limiting the realm of reason to selected issues, the opinion makers are merely engaged in special pleading.

  • Chris Bell

    There is a profound intimacy between Faith and Knowledge. The former is not, repeat not, ‘faith in a thing’. Have we really understood Christ’s teaching? He called us to Know not believe..to Know our true Nature in Him. Since our modern Theology has taken to ‘things’…mental ideas like ‘inclusion’, ‘gender-equality’, ‘non-discrimination’ etc etc these are false knowledges they are things we think but are not our Nature and thus, not surprisingly, we are weak, lost and have forgotten the dignity and majesty of Christ’s teaching. Knowledge is our reality in God. Without it our puny intellects are stymied. Clearly what is known as ‘Islam’ is anti-reason, anti-knowledge and anti-Christ. We need to return to that immense courage of Christ to be able to destroy a creed which is intrinsically violent…as Churchill spoke of ‘Islam’..”No stronger retrograde force exists in the world……”. This is our duty and will define this age. Our Faith is our Knowledge that we are in Him…..with this sword our intellects will shine out of Reason and this despicable mockery of a creed, called ‘Islam’ will be shown to be what it really is……..evil. It will be destroyed have no doubt.

    • Manfarang

      Good luck with your Crusade.

      • Chris Bell

        Who’s ‘crusade’……….you are in it whether you realise it or not. Wake up. Christ is not a religion He is the Principle of your Being. Better to wake up!!

        • Manfarang

          I have lived and worked in the Middle East. Things are different to what you think.

  • steroflex

    OK so I am a Brexit nerd. I know the answer: EFTA/EEA not hard Brexit. So who cares? Who can even understand?
    Theological argument is usually trumped on the blogs by the dogmatist atheist who, indignantly (always indignantly) tells the truth as he (always he) sees it.
    Just as nobody is interested in the EU, so nobody does God any more. But underneath, do I sense a stirring? Am I imagining it?

    • Manfarang

      The Norwegians have said they don’t want Britain to join EFTA. Nothing to do with God.

      • steroflex

        Admit it: both theology and the EU are boring topics to the vast majority of our fellow citizens. that is the point I was trying to make. However, you ask an interesting question.

        “The Norwegians”: A couple of their ministers have stated their desire to join the EU – of course they have. I believe Lady Nugee visited some politician or other out there. The details are not reported.
        All politicians want to be in at the top table and be invited to all those dinners with M. Juncker. And that goes for the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, too, I guess.
        What “the Norwegians” really think is, maybe, more of what the Icelanders said in the fairly recent rejection of the EU in their referendum.
        What is not being done by our government is any serious investigation into the thoughts and feelings of the people within the EFTA group. And that is shocking.

        • Manfarang

          The Norwegians rejected EU membership.The Norwegian government does not want any power shift because of Britain’s membership of EFTA.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Britain founded EFTA

          • Manfarang

            Indeed it did but Brexit means Brexit.

          • steroflex

            And who says what Brexit actually means? I myself voted to leave EU/EEA and to join EFTA/EEA – as did a lot of other people.

          • uppitynorth

            No one could vote for that, it wasn’t on the ballot paper. It’s what you would like to happen.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Tautology

          • steroflex

            I am sure that you know what you are talking about, but I would like a few facts to back it up really. My beef is that the government does not seem to be making any efforts at all to investigate what the Norwegians, Icelanders and Liechtenstein people really want and think. They are simply cut out of the loop.

            Were we to stay in the EFTA half of the EEA, two enormous advantages would happen immediately: The first is that the EU would know where we were and could begin to make sensible suggestions. The second is that all trade would continue as normal while we negotiate.
            Neither of these two things are going to happen at the moment.

          • Manfarang

            “It’s not certain that it would be a good idea to let a big country [the UK] into this organisation,” Vik Aspaker told the Aftenposten newspaper. “It would shift the balance, which is not necessarily in Norway’s interests.”
            She also confirmed that the UK could only join the EFTA if the current members reached a unanimous agreement. The current members are Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. In theory, Norway, or any other EFTA member, could exercise its veto and block UK from pursuing a key element of its Brexit project.
            One of the major concerns for the Norwegian government, the Aftenposten report says, is that Norway would have to renegotiate a host of trade agreements if the UK were to join. This would be an incredibly long and complex process.

          • steroflex

            But you have to ask how it would compare to the alternative. The “WTO”option takes decades!
            Norway is doing very well outside the EU. It can keep its fishing, it can trade freely and, for a very poorly provided for country, it is much richer, head for head than we are. They come here for cheap shopping!
            Nice quote, by the way.

          • Manfarang

            Such a plan, however, is a toxic idea for many hard-line Brexiteers because it would require the U.K. to accept the four founding EU freedoms of goods, services, people and capital. One of the central themes motivating many people to vote for Brexit was taking back control of immigration policy.
            Britain would also have to continue paying Brussels in exchange for access to the EU market.

      • Paul Greenwood

        I am not sure that is true. A political elite wants Norway to join the EU. Norwegians however do not want to lose their fishing grounds nor energy resources to EU suzerainty and the referenda never go the way the elites want. If UK rejoined EFTA/EEA which it founded, the balance would shift against the Norwegian elite. You should look at how Norway is effectively a one-party state with ideological disjoint between populace and power

  • len

    Our youth has been dumbed down by those Universities of Atheism, namely our education system
    People have been’ mind controlled’ by the Media. The Media controls our thoughts exactly as Orwell predicted.

    • Paul Greenwood

      In fact it is sugar in diet and its effect on muscles. It is processed food and carbonated beverages. Food additives and dehydration.

      • len

        If only it was just that.

  • I’ve not read all the previous comments so this observation may have been already made; I don’t have the optimism about reason that the post exhibits. Reason, like emotion, is fallen. Human reason is not trustworthy any more than human emotion. Both are corrupted by sin. Reason can be employed by the human heart to rationalise all kinds of sin. The use of biblical criticism tools being a case in point. The application of higher criticism tools so-called has done little to advance true biblical enlightenment and much to destroy faith. This is not so much because of the tools themselves as their misuse and abuse. They were often used to prove more than they were capable and so reason/science was employed to discredit the biblical text as it pontificated on areas making authoritative pronouncements way beyond what the evidence could bear. Human reason is flawed and fallen and cannot be trusted. Nowhere is this more true than where it pronounces on God and spiritual truth…. the heart has reasons that the reason knows nothing about.